Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What's the world coming to?

I was in Walmart Sunday afternoon (for the first time for about three weeks) and they had totally eliminated their fabric section! In Yellowknife, Walmart was the only source I had for fabric - I guess it's good that I'm living where there is a Fabricland.

Then I tried to log into Scrabulous.com and the website has totally disappeared! You end up at one of those sites that tries to sell you the domain name.

Is this one of the first signs of the end of the age? No fabric and no scrabble? What's next?

Monday, September 29, 2008

I did it!

I've got my unit plans done for semester one for Grade 9 English!!! I feel good about it. Now to do the same for Creative Writing 10 (the only other class I teach). I like teaching, but I'm not too keen on all the required paperwork.

I think I can celebrate by doing some mindless computer games, seeing as I've also done my piano practice for the day.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Technologically challenged

It's potluck this morning after service. I've got Lazy Man's Cabbage Rolls in the slow cooker. I've got Coleslaw Forever in the fridge and I've got Apple Crisp in the oven. Therein lies the problem. I can't figure out how to do the time bake or delay start on the oven. I've wasted about 15 minutes trying different combinations of push buttons; I can tell it to delay start - but then I can't seem to tell it what I want it to do when it does start - like bake at 350 for 30 minutes. I can't find an owner's manual for the oven anywhere either.

I'd sneak out of church for a minute and run the half block home to start the oven at the right time except that I'm teaching Sunday School this morning. I think I'm going to have to give my keys to someone else and have them start my oven at the right time.

This is the reason why I don't own a VCR, DVD player or cell phone. There's too many buttons to push. (There would also be the matter of not having a TV to display anything from a VCR or DVD player on). I can manage (just barely) my CD player and clock radio; but that's the extent of my technological skills.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

"I choose to praise you"

It would be very easy to indulge myself in a pity party this evening. I'm not feeling very well; I've been on the verge of tears all day besides that and I'm missing my kids. I wanted to phone them, but was afraid I'd be crying all over the phone so I chickened out and didn't.

However, I have chosen not to be pitiful. I have so much to be thankful for. We had a very moving Ladies' Bible class this morning. It was a real encouragement - and there's something about a women's only Bible study that is very helpful. My parents were up again for the day and I was also able to visit with Aunt Lois and Uncle Roland for a short while. I hadn't realized how much I have missed being a part of my extended family until I moved south again. I made another quilt block - as did Ruth. (Actually, Ruth did hers first.) It always feels so good to create things. My house is spotless and I was able to have my parents and my sister share lunch with me. Ruth and I are teaching Sunday school tomorrow and we're prepared for it. Last night I attended the City Wide Worship time which was held at the Regina Auditorium, and it was great.

Part of a tune is running through my head, and I can't remember all the words. However the chorus has "I choose to praise you" as the main line, and that's what I'm going to do. It's so much more constructive than indulging myself in the poor poor pitiful me thing. In addition, I'm going to have a lengthy prayer time. There are so many people I know that are needing additional prayers, that I have committed to pray for.

Thank you, Lord, for your grace. The way you love us in spite of our failings and shortcomings. Bless my kids; keep them safe.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Weather

It seems a little cliche to talk about the weather - but I can't get over it. It is so beautiful out! Currently, at 8:30 pm, it's still +11 - and today is the 25th of September. It was up into the high teens or low 20's every day this week. On top of that there are the absolutely gorgeous autumn leaves with the golds, reds, yellows, greens and browns. To contrast, in Yellowknife right now the temperature is 0.3 with light snow. Yesterday had a high of 3.4, which is seasonally very normal.

Now I definitely didn't move to Regina because of the weather - but I can sure say that I'm enjoying it. I walk home at noon everyday, breathing in the acrid scent of fallen leaves and then walk back to school with thankfullness in my heart. Some of the college students had a picnic at noon today on the lawn.

Thank you, Lord.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Technical stuff

I'm supposed to be doing my scales in 16th notes, with an accent on the first of each of the 16ths. This is harder than it seems. The memonic to run through my head for 16th notes is "huckleberry" - count it out, there's four syllables. So when doing four octaves of scales, the "huck" part of each huckleberry is supposed to be slightly accented. However, it's on a different note for each octave. At the same time, I'm supposed to be remembering to put my thumb under the third finger sometimes and the fourth finger other times. Make sure you don't accidentally get the accent on your thumb, just because your thumb is naturally heavier than your fingers. The only way to keep it all straight is to go really slowly. I used to think that doing the scales was the easiest part of my technical requirements. However, I'm learning.

Now, on to arpeggios. Arpeggios should be played in 16th notes, not in triplets. (Back to huckleberry again.) Again, if you go slowly, you shouldn't have too much difficulty.

Then there's the dominant 7th chords. Apparently the correct fingering for those four note chords is the thumb and second finger and the fourth and fifth finger. Except for sometimes when it's the second and third finger. However, keep in mind that I have really tiny hands, so sometimes I have to use my thumb and third finger - instead of the more standard thumb and second finger. Confused yet? If you go really slowly, it's not too bad. (Yes, there is a recurrent theme here.)

The good news is that this year I don't have to do triads. I do them anyways; just because they don't require them this year, doesn't mean that they won't require them another year and I don't want to lose my hard-won skill at them.

I used to think that I could run through practicing my technical stuff with about 5 minutes per element; 5 minutes for scales, 5 minutes for arpeggios, 5 minutes for chords and triads. Lately it's been taking me about 45 minutes. I know it's all good for me, and it's amazing how much I am learning. I guess that's why I'm paying for lessons, eh?

Another day we'll look at sight reading.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


It's been a busy week. The high school had a two-day retreat Wednesday and Thursday. It was excellent; everyone had fun and there was only one injury. We were out at Dallas Valley Ranch camp. I had never been there before but was very impressed. That also meant two days I didn't have to do any lesson planning; just enjoy myself being with kids (and theoretically being a responsible adult). I can do that.

Friday afternoon three sports teams took off for various locations, which left the school seeming kind of empty. I only had 6 students (out of 16) in my Grade 9 English class. So that was pretty relaxing.

Friday evening my parents arrived. I had a good visit with them, as they stayed at my apartment. Dad hung my thread racks for me, so I can't think of any more little tasks that need to be done. Nice.

Saturday morning I helped Ruth pack up her office. She's bought the office building next door and will be moving next weekend. We packed 72 boxes of old files, that by law must be kept for 7 years. That's a lot of files! Then we had lunch together. In the afternoon I helped Ruth sew her first ever quilt block. She's justifiably proud of herself. Saturday evening I baked butter tarts.

Today, Sunday, is always a highlight of my week. I practiced piano for an hour this morning before service; then attended service, followed by lunch at the Pradzynski's (I brought the butter tarts). Al and Nancy arrived in the afternoon (after my afternoon nap) and we had a short visit before they went to clean. (They have a monthly contract in Regina.) I went to help with the Bible Quiz program (I brought butter tarts again), then helped the Taylor's clean so I could get a bit more visiting in. Stopped by Tony and Joyce's on the way home and visited there a bit. Now I don't have any lesson planning done for tomorrow, but that can be done in the morning. It is definitely bedtime and I'm tired.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sunday evening

I've had a good weekend - much better than last weekend. I have started the Ladies' Bible Class/Quilting class and it was just so good to get together and share with other women, to study the Bible together and to pray for each other. The quilting is just an added bonus. I've made my first block, and made a correction in my block instructions (my excuse for making a quilt each time). I'd show you a picture, but I think my camera must have been stolen out of my van as I can't seem to find it anywhere. Oh well, it's just a "nice to have", not an essential. It also meant that I had to get the guest room set up properly as a sewing room. It looks pretty good; there's room for four machines to be set up, and yet when my kids come down there's still room for a single bed in there.

This evening I went over to WCC to help with the Bible Quiz group. We're learning the book of Luke. That was also good, to help mentor a group of students who want to know the Bible better. I baked some gingerbread (the cake kind), which also went over pretty well.

I'm nearly completely planned for tomorrow and I've done at least an hour's piano practice; so it's been a very productive day (and weekend). I am so thankful for the Lord who gives me strength in these very tough times. He is my rock and my hiding place.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


It was actually warm enough this evening that I had to open a window in my living room, subjecting the entire neighbourhood to my piano practice. It's a nice problem to have.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

First Week

I've finished the first week of school. I am teaching only one class, Grade 9 English, plus working as a teacher-librarian. I'm delighted with the class, and also that it's going to be a really non-stressful assignment. I need non-stress in my working life because my personal life surely isn't right now. Hopefully things will improve there too.

This weekend has been productive, despite a slow start. Yesterday I worked really hard at procrastination all day (and having many years' experience at this, I can say that I did it really well!). I therefore finished an entire quilt top; queen/king bed sized. What I should have been doing was working on my unit planning; however I've done that for four solid hours this afternoon, so it did get done too. What I haven't done is practice piano or do laundry, so I guess that's my task for this evening. I also need to write my Sunday letters, but that may be reserved for early Monday morning. We'll see how far I get tonight.

Saturday, September 6, 2008


Bereft - adj 1. Deprived of or lacking something - usually used with of. 2. Bereaved.

How are you feeling? I'm feeling bereft.

"If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it;
if a foe were raising himself against me, I could hide from him.
But it is you, someone like myself,
My companion, my close friend,
With whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship
As we walked with the throng at the house of God."
Psalms 55: 12, 13

Thursday, September 4, 2008

"I can do it myself!"

Part of the joy of being an adult is the realization that I can do it myself. Then comes the further realization that I can't do everything by myself and that sometimes I don't want to do it and sometimes I have to do it anyways. This week has been a little frustrating with a lot of little things that I haven't been able to do by myself.

I bought some high stools to fit under my eating bar (some assembly required) and had to get my nephew to carry them in from the van for me. I now have them partially assembled, but cannot manage to figure out the wordless instructions and will have to be rescued by someone else. I have some pictures that need hanging and they're big enough it's a two-person job. Lots of little things like that.

However, it helps me to realize that we're all dependent on the grace of God and if that grace is acted out through others extending their grace to me, then perhaps I just need to be a better recipient of that grace. Thank you Lord for your grace. Help me to ask for and to receive grace from others when I need it.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Labour Day

I've decided that I will offer the Ladies' Quilt Class and Bible Study once more. I haven't done it for at least three or four years and I'm living in a different city now. However, this means that I need to pull out all of my materials for the class and check to ensure that they're up to date, find my samples, etc. I can't find one entire (almost) finished quilt, which means I must have left it in Yellowknife (rats anyway). However, I do have another finished set of sample blocks, so I've got them out and ready to go. There's 15 of them, but I think I'd prefer 16 for a queen-sized bed, so I've researched another block that will fit into the lesson series and have cut out the pieces for it. I'm alternating cutting and sewing with piano practice. They're both sort of fun and sort of work.

Today I went over to Ruth's and helped her sort through the clutter in her bedroom and decrease the total amount of clutter substantially. Seeing as she helped me unpack and get settled, it's only fair. Then we went out shopping for a little bit for essentials that either she or I needed, and then I came home to have a nap before doing home kind of essentials.

The one thing I needed to do today and didn't was lesson planning - but although tomorrow's the first day of school, it's not a teaching day, so I can prepare for it tomorrow night. (Nothing like leaving things for the last minute, eh?) The thing is, I always have to think about things for a long time before I can put them down on paper, and I'm still in the thinking, digesting stage.