Saturday, October 27, 2012

blogging is a funny thing

Blogging is a funny thing.  My blog has evolved and isn't at all what it started out to be.  And I'm ok with that.  As it turns out, I need something completely different than what I thought I needed.  But I'm not going to change the name.  I am too lazy.

Through my blog I've made friends with people, people with whom I would have never otherwise connected.      People who share similar interests to me, very diverse interests.  I read the blogs of others, and am inspired and touched.  And amused.  I love when I get an email from someone who found me/my blog because of a comment I've left on someone's blog.  I love that there are people in this world that get me.  And all of my quirkiness.

The big thing about blogging is that it completely emphasizes what a small world we really live in.  And that there are kindred spirits out there.  The world is really like a village.  A huge village in which we take care of each other.  I love that.  And I love that somehow we ended up connected to each other.

For my peeps who follow/read my blog regularly, part deux of the man in underwear story.....this week I had  students come to me upset that a football had been kicked "accidentally" over the fence into a neighbouring yard.  I'm sure my face was priceless.  My office staff immediately started giggling.  I bravely went to see what yard the ball was in, and to retrieve said ball.  Fate decided to smile kindly on me that day--it was a different yard.  No second man in underwear experience.  Luck!  Of course, this time one of the students involved was a boy from grade 8 who is at least six foot three.  I took him with me this time.  I have learned a lesson.  Always take a witness.  Preferably a really big one.  Of course news travels fast.  Before I had a chance to even get back to my office, the custodian (very nice man) offered to go the next time, especially if it was underwear man's yard.  He was laughing so hard I thought he might cough up a lung when he said it.  I'm glad I have so much authority with my staff.  *insert head shaking*  I love my job.  And the people that I am lucky enough to work with--even if they laugh at me :)

In sadder news, my yoga teacher is moving back to Toronto.  I was really looking forward to regular practice with her.  My hip is finally better!  Several pain-free weeks!  I have to find another good fit.  While I'm thrilled and excited for Sarah and this new chapter in her life, I'm disappointed for me.  I guess I'll try Buddha Rider in Collingwood, but I'd like to find something a little closer to home.  There are a few studios, I'm thinking it might look like several different studios, with several different kinds of practice.  What I really need is a group of like minded people who will practice with me on a flexible kind of basis.  Who's in?

It's a cold, wet fall day here in Ontario.  Following an extremely dry summer, my sensible side is telling me it's great that we've had so much wet weather that I'm growing webbing between my toes, and sprouting gills.  The other side is craving sunshine.  CRAVING!  And I don't mean on a school day so I can't get out and enjoy it.  *sigh*  I'm feeling a little like the Cargillwitch's hens.  Not enough light, and a serious egg shortage.  Of course the egg shortage is just perimenopause.

On that note, have a fantastic fall day.  A good day to catch up on my paperwork.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A day in the life....

Just in case you thought my job as an elementary school vice-principal was all glamour, let me give you a little update in some of the things I've done over the past few weeks (keep in mind that I have a couple university degrees...):

  • upon entering the kindergarten classroom, in which a music teacher was covering the kindergarten teacher saint, instead of delivering the message, helped several 3 & 4 year olds change their pants after a series of potty accidents.  Luckily only pee was involved.  Kindergarten teachers are to be revered.
  • when faced with a very upset child, because his beloved stuffy "accidentally" ended up on the other side of the fence, in a neighbouring yard, walked around the block to the house, knocked on the door, only to be greeted by a rather rotund, shirtless late-middle aged man, wearing what appeared at first glance to be underwear.  Rather flustered, determined he was actually wearing short shorts (quite a feat, with a very red face and unable to look directly at him....mortifying.  He could care less.).  Asked to retrieve toy from back yard, and picked way through backyard sure I would step in dog poop.  At least it's only a jack russell, not a great dane.  However, retrieved toy and remained poop free on my shoes.  Next time the toy is the dog's.
  • held tissues to countless bloody noses, blue latex-free gloves go well with whatever outfit I happen to be sporting that day.
  • spent 2 & 1/2 hours at a parent/school meeting, which started at 6:30 pm.  After being at school from 7:45 am.  Good times.  Had difficulty not yawning from exhaustion.  Does not inspire community confidence when the v-p is having trouble staying awake.
  • spent today in a mentoring meeting, learning about dealing with human resources issues.  And how I could be named in a grievance.  Or lawsuit.  And how to deal with labour conflict.  Named in a lawsuit.  Doesn't that sound like fun.  Note to self....memorize the Education Act and the scads of board policies, as well as the collective agreements of the 4 employee groups in the building.  I don't think I will need my GABA to help me sleep.
So you see, while you are all envisioning a nice office, great pay and benefits, I'm cleaning up pee.  And rescuing toys from jack russells.  

It's a glamorous life I lead......  Hope my stories of my exciting job make you chuckle.  I wouldn't change jobs for all of the money in the world.  For real.  Pee and all.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

tough dog update

If you read my last post, you'll know of what I speak (write?).  In the tough dog debate, youngest son votes tiger.  'Cause tigers are totally badass.  And who would mess with a tiger?  The debate about a hypothetical dog choice at some point in the future rages on.  Apparently my bright child has missed the point--tigers are feline, not canine.  No doubt jackals and hyenas are on his desirable pet list too.

How exactly does one train a tiger?  I'll have to ask Mike Tyson.  Or Alan.
Really?  Who wouldn't want a tiger?  Dogs are so passe!

The best scene of the whole movie!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

my coffeemaker is broken....and I am an addict and other tales

Remember a while ago when I swore off coffee?  Well, I couldn't give it up.  I did cut down considerably.  But over time, I've worked my way back up to drinking a far amount of coffee.  Coffee with almond milk.  Or for a really big treat, sweetened vanilla almond milk (I know, crazy right?!).  This week disaster struck.  My coffeemaker died.  I thought I could tough it through a day or two without coffee.  WRONG!  I had a headache.  I felt like crap.  I had to get a coffee from the new Tim's around the corner to get rid of the headache.  I was an addict craving a fix.  Suffering withdrawal.  I have decided that I do need to get the caffeine monkey off my back, but reporting time at school is not the best time to tackle it.  Stressed out teachers and a snappy, grumpy administrator is a bad mix.  But my addiction to coffee is a testament to my addictive personality and chemistry.  I could imagine if I ever tried a drug like meth.  I'm an Intervention Canada episode waiting to happen.  I am incredibly grateful that my most serious addiction is caffeine.  So many poor souls are addicted to so many other drugs (caffeine is a drug, I admit it).  Coffee and word games.  If I'm going to be an addict, those are fairly harmless, I must say.

In better news, my daughter came home from uni and stated that I've lost weight.  Enough that you can tell.  Which is fantastic, because it means that my thyroid is improving!  I have been a little more careful with what I'm eating (I did eliminate sugar and simple carbs for a week).  Eliminating sugar and simple carbs makes me just feel so much better.  But I digress....  Chelation is not the most fun I've ever had, but I do like that it's working, the mercury and lead are being drawn out of my body and consequently my thyroid antibodies are improving.  3 more rounds of chelation and hopefully I'll be done.  And have a thyroid that is able to properly do its job.  Which means that my body will work better.  Great news.  Autoimmune dysfunctions are a pain (bitch really).  I will continue with the carb elimination deal too.  The other autoimmune dysfunction  I've seen some evidence of is insulin resistance (all related to the damned thyroid), coupled with some estrogen/progesterone imbalances.  Which are all improved by a simple carb-free diet as well.  Don't panic, I still eat a variety of complex carbs from other sources.  I'm NOT doing Atkins or some such other craziness.

If you too think you have some carb/hormone issues, I recommend the book The Carb Sensitivity Program by Dr. Natasha Turner.  Same ND that wrote The Hormone Diet, which I also recommend.  I'll let you know how it works in the long term.  I feel better already, so I'm thinking good things :)

In other news, lots of discussion around here about what life will be like in a few years when the youngest has gone away to school (or other endeavors).  Hubs isn't comfortable with me being completely alone for weeks at a time when he's on afternoons (I think maybe we watch too much Criminal Minds).  The solution?!  A Rotweiler.  Yep, "Mr. I'm not a pet kind of guy" wants to get a big, scary dog to protect me when he and the boys aren't here.  He wants to name it Fluffy, because he's a rabid Harry Potter fan.  I'm both touched and amused.  My Chase the Wonderdog lab/border collie cross just isn't tough enough to scare potential intruders away.  Not to mention that by the time we are looking at, she will be a very old doggy girl.     He's afraid if I get a big lab that I'll turn it into a huge suck and it won't be protective.  I'm not convinced that I won't turn a big scary dog into a suck too.  But apparently rottie says, "I mean business" and lab says, "hey, where's the fun?". The hitch with this plan?  I'm used to an eerie smart dog that understands what I say and desires to please me.  I'm uneasy with trying to train a dog that could be dangerous if not trained properly.  The debate rages on.  I'll keep you updated.  Of course, as middle child pointed out, it would be cheaper to have an alarm system installed.  Always the logical one.

On the agenda for the day?  Basement cleaning (hubs and youngest kiddo), basketball in O'ville and probably some work on my big project so that I can get my final principal's qualifications.  Strangely, I need to have something to hand in, not just all in my head.  Which means, I need to get started on recording some of it and not waiting until the last minute.  Of course, in order to do that I need to analyze student achievement first.  Jealous?  Your life could also be this exciting!

This is really the only rationale I need for doing work on improving math instruction:
How I see math word problems: If you have 4 pencils and I have 7 apples, how many pancakes will fit on the roof? Purple, because aliens don't wear hats.

But somehow, I think my project needs to include more than that.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


My husband is on afternoons.  It's the second week.  And quite frankly, it sucks.  While I'm not crazy about the first week, it's not too bad, spending evenings doing my own thing (while the boys often do their own thing in another room).  There's only so many hours one can while away on pinterest, facebook and other people's blogs.  I catch up on schoolwork first, then read, and then spend time on the computer.  Sometimes I watch t.v.

It's just our way of life, not spending much any time together for 2 weeks of each month.  But I don't like it.  If I wasn't drained from work, etc, I could take up a hobby.  For now the only appealing hobby is sleeping :)  I shouldn't complain.  At least my sons are around.  I'm really not looking forward to 4 years from now when I'm really all by myself!

K, enough whining.  This post is really for my husband.  So he knows that I miss him.  He will read it when he gets up tomorrow (and I'm at school, changing the world, one child at a time....or something like that), or maybe even when he gets home tonight.

On the plus side, I have my fur posse surrounding me.  Two kitties, and one dog.  All hellbent on being close to me.  Pretty sweet, really.  And they will likely join me when I crawl into bed tonight.  Which doesn't leave much room for said husband.  Unfortunately for the posse, he doesn't share my willingness to contort himself around sleeping critters.  But when choosing between furry friends and husband, I choose husband.
Every time.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving....Canadian style

It is Thanksgiving in Canada.  A long weekend of big meals, fall weather and working around the house.  Saturday Thanksgiving dinner at my parents/birthday celebration for hubs and oldest nephew.  The next big family meal will be Christmas, and my sister will have had her baby by then.  Our houses aren't going to be big enough to hold us all!

Photo: Howdy Neighbours. This is our Mountain in full regalia.
Thanksgiving picture of Blue Mountain area (which I swiped from Dave Russell, via facebook.  Thanks Dave!)

Yesterday was our smaller family Thanksgiving, minus our daughter and her boyfriend.  They had one of his family dinners.  Big difference between the 4 of us, and the 16 of us the day before!  The day was a very low-key day, and I got caught up on some very important tasks.  You know, reading blogs and pinterest.  Things I've gotten a little behind in :)  I could do that with little guilt, seeing how I did hours of school work stuff Saturday morning when I was up at 5 because I couldn't sleep.  Yes, that's just how exciting my life is.  4 hours of work on a Saturday morning while the house sleeps, and hours blog reading and pinning on a Sunday.  I did do some laundry and read the newspaper too, just so you know my weekend hasn't been completely one of sloth.

Hubs has been working on cleaning the garage this weekend.  Forcing me to go through some boxes of teaching stuff that were stored in the rafters.  I ended up throwing most of it out.  Teachers are a Hoarders episode waiting to happen!  I haven't tackled the boxes from June that are still sitting waiting to be sorted, from when I cleaned out my classroom.  I don't think I'll ever have a classroom again, so I don't know why I keep so much stuff.  Again, hoarder issues!

While he was cleaning, he dumped an old flowerpot into the compost bin.  When I soon afterwards went to dump some apple peelings, I discovered little beady eyes looking at me as soon as I lifted the lid.  He had unknowingly dumped a nest of young mice.  I of course am a softy, and had to rescue them.  Against his better judgement, he helped me to get them out of the bin and release them into the wild.  AKA my neighbours back yard.  Field mice are adorable, cute little creatures.  And I cannot harm a living thing.  I should add that this is not a backyard compost bin, but the bin that gets collected by the township on garbage day.  They would have been crushed.  I could not allow that to happen.

While this is not one of the released mice, they did look pretty much like this.  Only a little grayer.  They were young.

If the crazy weather cooperates today, perhaps a nice long walk with the dog.  It was cold enough here yesterday for a winter coat (and I was wearing sandals and shorts last week!), and my b-i-l said it was like sleet where they live, 20 minutes away.  Cold I can handle, wet precipitation of any description, no thanks.  But dare I say it?!  I have been pain free for a week, both hip and foot.  I'm knocking on wood right now so I don't jinx myself!  I want to go for a walk.  Maybe once it warms up a bit outside.  Maybe I'll even get a few pictures of my own, instead of grabbing them from my friends' facebook pages!

Whatever I do, I'm going to enjoy one more day of weekend.  It's the last one until Christmas vacation.  I'm going to make it count!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

late night phone caller & a double life

Dear Carol Bailey,
I don't know who you are.  I'm not sure I want to know.  I do know that you called me at 10:16 last night, disturbing my peaceful slumber.  I realize 10:16 is not late for most normal people, but I wake up for the day between 4 and 5 a.m., so 10:16 is very late.  And possibly when I am in REM.  I know it was you, no point denying it.  I have caller ID.  And I'm thinking about giving you a hang-up call at 4 when I wake up tomorrow.  But I will block my phone number, so you will have no idea who it was.  I'm not usually a vindictive woman, but when it involves sleep, look out.
A tired and grumpy Nicole  Hmmmph!

Glad to have that off of my chest.

Today is an exciting day!  Not only am I wearing my very comfortable Queen Elizabeth shoes (they are red, one saving grace), so my suspected bunion isn't hurting, today my Ministry of Education funded project actually begins!  Ok, it's not just mine, I share it with some fantastic teacher friends.  But I am very excited!  It's been almost a full year since we applied for the grant, and we are starting!  Yippeeeeeee!!!!!!

That's where the double life part comes in.  By weekend I am a wine drinking, yoga pant (or pyjamas, who am I kidding?!) wearing, wild haired person.  By weekday I am an educator.  I wear fairly conservative clothing, tame my wild tresses and slip my tootsies into shoes that would make British monarchs proud.  I do very exhilarating things all day long--discipline unruly children, support teachers, answer a kajillion emails, read compelling professional research and yes, write grant proposals.  Based on data of student learning that I have examined for trends and gaps in student learning.  I align my work with Ministry of Education plans, board plans and school plans.

So you see, that's why come Saturday I refuse to get dressed in real clothes.  I only do so under duress.  The people of my small town are under the impression that I may in fact be a lunatic.  Because they only get to see me at my weekend finest.  I'm sure they don't even recognize me when I pop into the store after school.

A real double life.  Watch it Carol Bailey, I may not just hang-up phone call you, I may send you a suspension letter too. 

Monday, October 1, 2012


I think I'm getting a bunion.  I have awful pain on the outside of the big toe joint on my right foot.  How I might ask, does one who has ALWAYS worn shoes for comfort, not fanciness, get a bunion?  Or the start of a bunion?  High heels have never been a footwear choice (seriously, the black old lady pumps I have, have only been worn a handful of times in the 8 years I've owned them).  Birkenstocks, Blundstones, Clarks and New Balance runners are the footwear of choice.  How on earth could those choices cause a bunion?

My hubs was just diagnosed with osteoarthritis in his hands.  I of course am highly suggestible.  Maybe it's not a bunion.  Maybe it's arthritis.  Maybe it's something I was born with, only now rearing it's ugly head.  That's reasonable, right?

It's not gout.  Of that I'm sure.  No swelling, heat or redness on the joint.  Or maybe it is.

I do know that this madness has to stop.  I cannot be getting a bunion to go with my Queen Elizabeth shoes. Not possible.

I will ask my awesome chiro/sports therapist.  Who I'm sure thinks I'm a complete hypochondriac.  But it's not him getting bunion.  Or needing a hip replacement (ok, that may be a slight exaggeration....)

How do you know if it's a bunion or not?  That is the question.