Thursday, October 23, 2014


I hate to spring something on you with no warning..... but I sort of sprung it on myself.....

I am suddenly on vacation.

Right now.

And for MORE than one day.

I knew I wasn't going to make it to the end of the year without more than a daycation here and there and next week turns out to be the only week I could possibly be away until Christmas so I drew a line through it in my diary and BOOM...... vay-cay-shun.

Then I realised  tomorrow is a Pro D day and my favourite children would be home all so I am taking an EXTRA day off (sort of) and so this Thursday night is the start of the longest break I have had from work since we went to South Africa!

And boy oh boy do I have some BIG plans.

1,  I am getting the Mazda oil changed on Monday (it likely needs way more work than that which will kill the budget so best to get that over with on Monday)

2.  I am going to defrost the freezer.  Like a boss.  I am going to chip away at the ice flow creeping over the top edge and beat it back to nothing.

3. And then I am going after rogue beets tucked in the back of my fridge plotting revenge on me....I am getting them and all the other science experiments in my fridge.

4. I am going to stay on hold with Rogers for as long as it takes to change our accounts from my name to Allan's....... I will tell them my marital bliss depends on it.  And it does. I will play bejeweled blitz while on hold.

5. I am going to prune the front that in the winter winds it does not sound like all the dead souls of Steveston are clawing at the front window.  As they do.

6. I am going to declutter and dejunk.....something....probably our bedroom...and the front hall closet.

7.  I am going to buy 2 pairs of shoes.  You think "Ah finally she is doing something fun" but No...this is as hard work as cleaning toilets and as fun.  Unless I take myself to the USA on my own for a morning.... that could be fun? Hmmm we might be on to something here....

8.  I am also finally going to buy a long mirror for this house so Lindsay and I don't have to stand on a chair in the dining room to have a clue how we look below the waist.

9.  I may cook.  I may bake.  I may order Take Out.

10.  I am going to help some dear colleagues for a few hours in a big week in their lives.... run errands, clean, whatever they need.....and bring them food.

11.  I am going to wander into Steveston with my phone/Camera and have a coffee.  And a pastry.

12.  I will make it to 3 Jazz classes.

13....... And I will work...... DON'T get mad..... I am in the middle of a big conference registration, I have a student I am supervising on practicum and I may have a few other minor things to attend to.

I am so looking forward to the time to be at home, the time to sort some things in the house that have been neglected, to have some hours alone, my music playing, puttering at my pace.......

Would I prefer to be going to Hawaii or OC or Edmonton..... well sure.....but this year has taught me to find contentment in the small things, to be grateful for what is right here.

And I am.

Sunday, October 19, 2014


I am back from the deaf.

Yes you read that right.....


Oh man.....what a week.

What a mess a little bit of water can make in your ear.

My left ear was rendered useless for most of the week and I was a miserable person.

I had no idea how loud I was speaking, I had to look for clues in the faces of the people I was speaking too.....if they drew back and their pupils widened I realised I was too loud.  If they leaned in or furrowed their brows I realised I was too quiet.

It was annoying for everyone.

But mostly for me.

Because I could hear absolutely everything going on in my body........

I was suddenly aware of the sound of my own breathing....

Chewing was like having my very own jack hammer in my head.....(although I was slightly relieved not hear any actual voices from in there! HA)

A sneeze was like an earthquake (or so I imagine)

I most definitely could hear my jaw clenching and unclenching.......the grinding of my teeth (which happens rather more often than I realised)

Lying down at night I could hear my blood....I am not kidding you....I could hear it....pulsing around my body....

It kept me awake   - stupid pounding pulse....


I am mostly mortified that a minor issue like a blocked ear could bother me SO MUCH.

What a wimp!!!

If I was two I would have thrown back my head and given full vent to my frustration but seeing as I am 42 (ish) I felt I needed to be a bit braver.

But it was hard.

When the Doctor syringed out my ear and I could hear again I wanted to dance a little jig right there in the office.

Until she decided the other never blocked ear could use a clean out and promptly blocked it.

I could not believe that I only been undeaf for ONE  minute .... the jig died...... right there...

I think she could see from my crazed look that it would be unhelpful to send me out into the general population so she gave it her full attention and after a good deal of effort she unplugged the ear.


I cannot tell you how relieved I was, how joy-filled to have two working ears.

I practically skipped back to work.

Isn't is amazing how much we take our bodies for granted and how something so small can derail things.... or is that just me?

I'll take the lesson (again) to appreciate this imperfect body of mine that has many things about it I do not like or enjoy but it works for the most part and for that I am truly grateful.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - A Walk in the Park

This park is SO close to my office - just across the parking lot.....and I almost never walk to it or through it.....but yesterday I had an errand that required me to walk through it....... and it was a good thing!

Monday, October 13, 2014


Oops we did it again.......

We tried to fit 4 generations (if you count Spanner) into a small cabin in the woods with an less than adequate kitchen and pull off full thanksgiving dinner......

And once again we did it........ thanks to a turkey butterflied on the BBQ and some creative juggling of items in the convection microwave........we had the usual too much food delicious as always!

On a stormy, blustery weekend when the weather seemed to change hour by hour we hunkered down and read, listened to music, made our mandatory stops in Hope including the "every book is $2" store and our beloved Blue Moose coffee shop, walked, someone fished (and took an unexpected swim), some napped, Lindsay won 3 free cruises by answering the phone, a certain puppy picked up huge shin whacking sticks in the forest, we drank wine and ate food (chocolate is a food!) and stared mindlessly into the crackling fire (or was that just me?)

And just so we are not confused between two nations having stat holidays on the same day - a primer on why we win (if there was ever a competition) having the better stat!  The better day!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Monday, October 6, 2014


I don't know why I thought things would settle down once the kids and Allan went back to school?

Not only has their schedule filled up and become very busy but my own work has somehow also intensified...... we are one busy family and it feels like we are tumbling through each day just trying to get through one day at a time.

Allan and I try and make a dinner plan while brushing our teeth and pouring coffee in the morning and negotiating who is picking up which child at what time while we pack our cars and head off to work each morning........ and by mid-morning (which can feel like days rather than just hours later) I have usually forgotten what we agreed to and crossing my fingers I took something out of the freezer for dinner.

We just haven't found our school term rhythm yet.  Not had a free weekend to sync calendars and schedules.

And we are tired.  We are pushing ourselves to stay awake until the kids plug their phones in in our room at 10pm.  And then we are yelling at them to turn out lights so we can get to sleep.

As we stumble along we manage to do bake and cook, to shop and do laundry, to clean the house and connect with friends as much as we can, go to church.  Allan is still fishing..... the weather has been so lovely so far this Fall.

And so I am feeling a little bit like I am hanging on by my fingernails for the upcoming long weekend for Canadian Thanksgiving........ three days in our little wood cabin in the woods.

Rest..... I feel it coming!

Before then we will get through some more Grad festivities, pack our boy off to France (and try and be a big girl about letting him go!), fit in a couple of workouts, spend an evening getting ready for my work Art Auction next week, register dozens of people for a conference, clean everyone up for school photo day.....and much more I have likely forgotten......

Feeling grateful even in these whirlwind days that I get to do life with this family, our friends, our colleagues...... in this place.....I will be giving thanks this weekend.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Costco Daycation

I am not sure what it says about my life that a desperately needed food re-stock shopping trip to Costco for our strike emptied freezer turned into a vacation?

I think maybe it says I am desperate.

Or maybe its really genius?

Instead of making a mad dash to Costco in Bellingham and trying not to go mad while driving,
going mad in the border line ups, going mad actually Costco shopping (not to mention the parking lost madness), going mad having to walk by the Costco wine selection.....

Instead..... my Mom and I made it into a leisurely and lovely day.

I am going with genius!

We left at 8:30am.

5 minutes at the border.

Breakfast at our favourite spot.  For $6 on a weekday!

A delightful 45 minutes at Fred Meyer. I LOVE Fred Meyer - it's quirky to me.... I love looking
at interesting products we don't get north of the 49th.  I love buying tortilla chips made 5km from
my home for half what I can but them for at the local Safeway....

We hit the Mall and I made excellent use of the "golden half hour" so named by my spouse to indicate my absolute limit for being remotely interested in clothes shopping for myself.  I got a sweater, a top and a pair of  pants.  28 minutes.

And that was me done for the day.  For me.... that is.

I then happily shopped for others.  And was successful.  I caught Allan at recess and madly texted him photos of T-shirts..... phew... that made it easy!

So power shopping over we headed to Fairhaven through historic downtown Bellingham.

It was a beautiful sunny day and Fairhaven was looking great.

We found a cafe and had a lovely lunch with a quirky waitress serving us.

And then we wandered around, poking into a great toy store and enjoying the fresh air.

Soon it was time to head back to do the grocery shopping this trip was really about.  All that was left in our freezer was bagels and bacon and while some of us could use those ingredients well....we couldn't do so for long... so Trader Joes was the first stop.  Another leisurely stroll, list in hand, trying not to be tempted too much (we may finally have gotten that second paycheck but its pretty
small this time around).

Then we hit Costco on a very quiet afternoon....and were in and out in 30 minutes with rather less bargains than hoped for but enough meals to get us through until a real paycheck shows up!

A needed coffee and then we started up the very full Mazda and headed north and through the border and the tunnel in record time - home for dinner of Thai Takeout because that's how daycations should end.

I love the feeling of knowing the freezer is full.  David has the clothes needed for his trip. Lindsay bought the boots she wanted.... a few little treats for friends and colleagues.....

So great to have time with my one but us to please.... we pottered about, we chatted, we laughed (we should have taken a selfie) was lovely.

Already wondering what my next "daycation" could be.... any ideas?

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Trade Off

Technical education has for too long been relegated to the back of school buildings and slowly starved of funding save for some creative PAC's who have stepped up to buy some equipment. Which by the way is only eligible to events that occur outside of the curriculum (under the false assumption our education system is adequately funded by Government).  

Many shops sit idle and dusty for lack of funding.  Where they still exist shop class has become a convenient place to place those students struggling in other areas so the old stigma of "shops for dummies" persists and many parents would rather mortgage the house for a university placement than allow their child to do a trade. 

You've been hearing a lot about trades as this government seems hell bent on delivering qualified trades to its LNG masters.

But here's the thing folks......

Creating Post Secondary Trades seats at a University as was announced this week is little help.

If Trades isn't an integral and integrated part of the education system from a young age our children simply don't see it as a relevant or viable choice for further study.

Nor are their minds trained in things technical.

My husband is a Technical (Shop) Teacher and he has a mechanical and mathematical mind...he can see how a block of wood can become a spoon, how pieces of metal can be welded together to be strong, how to connect wires to make a circuit, program a robot to actually move.  All these things baffle my mind.  My brain has not been stretched to  think in these ways.   Naturally my husband thinks I, and all the kids in his school, can be taught these things.

He also believes I could learn physics.  Bless the eternal optimism of teachers! 

What he does know is that by the time he gets to introduce these technical skills (basic building blocks towards those prized trades) to students in Grade 8 in high school it is very challenging for many of them who have not had to connect their smart brains to their hands.

As an Early Childhood Instructor I spend not an insignificant amount of time teaching our students how to help children develop eye-hand coordination. And then when we send them to school those skills are used for writing and baseball?

While all Grade 8 students are given a tiny taste of the technical education offerings in a school (a few weeks at most) many never return.

And why is that?

Because for the most part the technical areas of the school "The Shops" are not a place any of us would want to spend much time. Often too small, dimly lit, with machines that are old and noisy, full of dust and improper ventilation.  Not spaces conducive to creative and technical learning.

And let’s talk about the teacher.  The Technical Teacher program at BCIT is in decline.  Why?  Because Districts saddled with funding Tech Ed are wary of expanding these programs.  They are costly to run and heavy on resources.  In our district there are hardly any Tech TOC's and not much hope of attracting more.

What we need are natural teachers who want to teach technical skills instead of approaching trades and luring them into the classroom...the salary alone would be sufficient deterrent not to mention those pesky kids!

Of course there are some amazingly dedicated Specialist Tech Ed Teachers doing innovative work with matchsticks and tin foil....and managing to engage bright kids and keep the ones with behavioural and other issues from losing limbs.  Like their colleagues they spend hours allowing kids to be in the shops after school to tinker and build and practice and sometimes just be there because it’s better than being anywhere else.

And so the massive disconnect here is clear.  The Government talks up trades and minimally delivers post-secondary trades education but does not fund the very building blocks the people filling those seats will need…..well-resourced shops and shop teachers.

It's time for Ms. Clarke to come clean and tell her LNG cronies that she hasn't been in a "shop" in a BC high school for decades and has no idea how her precious trades people are being incubated...or not...

Tech Ed needs to start young, be integrated into all school from early grades and properly funded or sometime soon when you call a plumber in the dead of winter because your hot water tank has blown all you will hear is a dial tone and that LNG plant we've staked our economic future on..... yeah....its closed due to lack of skilled labour.