Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Tricks

It's wonderful to be able to learn new things. This week has had several of those wonderful experiences.
  1. Bram has always hated wearing socks. They irritate his feet. Although he has to wear them to school and in boots and shoes, etc., I continually find them in little wadded up balls all over. This irritates his mother. However, I gave him a couple pairs of new socks for Christmas (stocking stuffers) and they just happened to be 100% polyester socks instead of 100% cotton socks. And... they don't irritate his feet! He doesn't feel forced to take them off! In fact, his feet were a little infected near the big toe - a little red and slightly swollen. After several days of wearing 100% polyester socks, the infection is gone! We're going out today to purchase him a bunch more 100% polyester socks.
  2. I've been diligently doing my exercises for my arm. When I do them regularly and consistently, my elbow doesn't go out of place as quickly. Bram was watching me do my exercises and commented that if I was really wanting to strengthen that muscle, he would teach me a karate exercise that would help. It's a mid-level punch. And... it really does help. Not only that, but I don't have to cart around a weight to be able to do it. And... when I make the fist correctly, it also helps. Go figure.
  3. I was e-mailed the latest info to post for The Party. However it was in table format. And I don't remember the HTML for doing tables. I tried to get my nephews to put it up for me, but they got about half-way through and decided that it was no longer interesting. I did remember that Word has an option when you open a new document to open either a new document or a new blog posting. So I tried it as a new blog posting. It uploaded it for me to The Party, and there you have it - in table format, without any difficulty whatsoever.
  4. I've been working on learning a new piano piece. I've been finding it difficult. I finally stopped - worked hands separately while counting aloud, paying attention to fingering. (I can hear my teacher's voice in my head). It went much better.

It's so nice to learn new things - especially when the learning thereof isn't painful.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Holiday

Bram and I had a good day yesterday for Christmas. The Pradzynskis and Friesens came over first thing in the morning and opened presents at my apartment (I have a tree and the apartment was tidy) before driving up to PA to celebrate the remainder of the day with family up there. The Steiners also came over to open presents - but their little girls aren't morning people and they weren't happy about it. Unfortunately, I think someone (D.P.?) took my phone with them - as we definitely had it just before they left and it's no where to be found after they left. It's a cordless phone - not a cell phone, so I'm sure it's just an oversight. However, it does leave me without a phone until they bring it back. I actually have a wall phone, but I can't check my messages on it, as it's such a basic type that it doesn't let you use the * or #. So, someone's left me a message - and I'll check it when I can... later.

Later on, around noon, Bram and I went over to the Steiners for Christmas dinner and opening more presents. In the late afternoon we came back home as we were tired. Had a nap (both of us), then Bram was bored, so we baked cookies.

I need to go out to Fabricland this morning then we're hoping to catch a ride to S'toon with Aunt Alice who was up to help celebrate Christmas with the Steiners. I just don't trust driving my vehicle out of town as I think the transmission will die at any moment.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Well, that was a mistake!

I ate lunch in the cafeteria Friday. That's not too unusual - I eat lunch in the cafeteria most days, particularly when it's cold out. It's just so easy. Friday is the day that the cafeteria serves a themed meal - from some portion of the world. Yesterday was Aboriginal themed - they had homemade soup, maple drizzled salmon, bannock, etc. It was all excellent.

However, the homemade soup had hamburger meat in it. They had used chopped up hamburgers - and the hamburgers had oatmeal in them. And the salmon was covered with a breaded topping - which also had oatmeal in it.

I felt really awful all afternoon. I managed to make it through teaching my class, then I went home to bed. I slept until after 6 pm. I managed to stay awake then until I picked up Bram at the airport - then I went back to bed.

I'm feeling much better today. Hopefully I won't have any other side effects. Next time I'll be sure to ask. I don't care to ever feel like that again.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


I started my day with my regular piano lesson this morning. Now I have no lessons until January. I had a productive day at work - got lots done.

Then I had the last class of the day - English 9. I have a couple of students in the class that are doing their best to disrupt the class and anyone else's learning. I ended up kicking them out of class - at different times. At the end of class I had to go and deal with their behaviour. After that I was shaking. It's so frustrating. I'm a good teacher - and they're not letting me teach.

I need to remind myself that God's grace works where I'm unable. That he is able to change hearts and lives. That he loves me - and them, even when we're being particularly unlovable. Right now the best I can do is pray for them, long and hard. After all, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

That being said, I'm really glad that we all get a two week break from each other after Friday. Three more teaching days.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Wearing a Halo

I swept and washed my kitchen floor this morning. Then I vacuumed the living room after work! You may not be able to see the halo, but it's firmly in place. (My mom would be so proud of me, I know). I've started to set up my Christmas tree but don't have the decorations on it yet.

I was also totally caught up on my marking at school, but since then I've had students hand in a bunch of stuff, so I've got lots to go again.

The piano tuner was over this afternoon. He spent two hours on my piano. Got my damper pedal so that it's much better now. It was very stiff before. It's a brand new piano, but he replaced the spring - thinks that perhaps they installed the wrong spring in the factory, because this one fits exactly (and matches the other springs for the other pedals). Now that it's tuned, the whole sound is much brighter. I think I may have to have him back though - there's an unpleasant buzz on three or four keys (and they're all in the octave just above middle C - I use that octave a lot!).

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Counting Blessings

It continues to be "count your blessings weather". Last year I never switched from my "fall coat" - good to around -30C to my winter coat. I'm switching this morning. It's -33 out this morning, -41 with the wind chill. Time to switch coats.

I note that while it's bitter in Regina, it's only -20 in Yellowknife and a balmy -12 in Inuvik. Cambridge Bay is always my comparison point however - it's -33 there this morning, and with the wind chill it's -50!

I can count my blessings that I don't live in Cam Bay.
I can count my blessings that I have a warmer coat to switch to.
I can count my blessings that I don't have to drive to work; don't have to worry about if my car's plugged in; don't have to sit in a cold vehicle waiting for the windshield to warm up enough to see out of it.
I can count my blessings that my apartment is warm; the library where I work isn't too cool and the people I work with warm my heart.

All in all, the cold temperature is a very minor discomfort. (Having said that, I'm envious of Roy and Monica in Mexico!)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Phone Calls

I've just gotten off the phone after visiting with my kids. I always find it very difficult to phone anyone - even my kids. I force myself to do it - and then I cry after I hang up. However, I can be very grateful that we can talk by phone, it's just difficult. I miss them a lot.

Part of it is my own weird phobia - I have a hard time talking to anyone on the phone. I have no difficulty e-mailing, but I get a sort of sinking feeling when I need to phone. When I see the message light flashing, I have to force myself to check messages - and give myself a reward when it's done. I wish that wasn't part of my internal wiring, but it is, so I force myself to do things I don't enjoy and get it done.

Bram's flying in for the Christmas break December 18. Rose doesn't get Christmas off. Sigh. Oh well. Maybe next time.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Indoors today

It was -25 when I woke up this morning. Now, at noon, it's warmed up to -16. I don't need to go anywhere today. I think it's a good day to just stay indoors and enjoy the fireplace.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Shovelling Snow

I've done that every morning this week before work. It's nice to have snow to shovel. Like mowing the lawn, it's something I've never really done before. Growing up, I had lots of brothers who had that responsibility, and after I was married, it was either my husband or my kids who took it on. As long as there's not too much to do, I kind of enjoy it. Gets my blood working before I go to work and you can see your progress. Unlike some jobs (like housework), there's a definite end to the job. All good things.

Monday, November 30, 2009


This is the season for me to fight temptation. That's because everyone has mandarin oranges. I really like mandarins. However, I'm mildly allergic to citrus. If I eat too many oranges, I get laryngitis. I used to get laryngitis every year in December and I could never figure out why, until Lloyd pointed out that the only time I ever ate citrus fruit was in December.

Now to add to temptation, the local grocery store has pomellos in. If you don't know what a pomello is - it's sort of like a grapefruit on steroids. The ones I've bought are about the size of a cantelope, and they're much sweeter than grapefruit, but definitely the same grapefruit-like flavour. I had a student in Yellowknife that would bring me 1-2 a week (imported directly from China) when they were in season.

So in three days I've eaten an entire pomello and a mandarin. I hope I won't be sorry. I think I'd better restrict myself for several days now.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


One thing I've noticed about living by myself is how little some chores need to be done. I'm doing laundry this morning. About once every three weeks I run out of clothes and figure it's about time. Thursday I bought groceries. That's about once every two weeks. (Mind you, I eat lunch in the cafeteria at least twice a week.)

Unfortunately, some chores still have to be done at very regular intervals. Dishes must get washed. (God bless dishwashers - and they have to be unloaded/reloaded about once a week). Floors must be swept.

Some chores don't have to be done at all. Beds don't really have to be made - just the covers flipped back. Then when I do laundry (and put away all of my clothes), make the bed really, really well.

It's time to put a new load in the wash.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Special Day?

It's my 20th anniversary today. I'm finding this week to be difficult. Please keep me in your prayers.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The beginning and the end

Report card marks were due in today by 4 pm. I went to school for 7 am and got them completed by 3:50. I had a meeting at 4 that went to 5:30, then another at 7 that went to 8:45. I feel like I've spent too much time doing tedious tasks today.

However, the new six week term starts this week. It's always exciting looking forward to new terms. This term in English the theme is supposed to be "Indigenous and Norse Narratives". I think I'm going to call it "Telling Stories". I'm planning to start with telling my story and then move on to telling other stories. I always have a short scripture passage I have the students memorize related to the theme, but I haven't found one yet for this theme.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Tacos in a Bag

Western hosted Women's 3A Volleyball provincials this weekend. It was a big deal. There were nine other teams, plus Western's. We had to provide score keepers, linesmen, door people, a canteen etc. for two gyms. I took tickets and helped with the canteen.

Now, I've been involved with schools for over 20 years (most of that time in the NWT) and I have to say that some things are definitely cultural. Apparently "tacos in a bag" are a very common gym food or canteen food down here, but I'd never heard of it. If you're not in the know either - you take an individual bag of taco chips (doritos), open it along the side NOT at the top, add a spoonful of hamburger cooked with taco seasoning, grated cheese, chopped onion (optional), chopped lettuce, salsa and sour cream. Add a fork. Let the customer stir well. It's essentially an individual taco salad. No mess. The only equipment that's needed is a crock pot for the meat. I tried one. It's pretty good too.

However, taco's in a bag are unheard of in the north. I bet they'd be a big seller too. The typical gym food there is chili, sloppy joes or hot dogs. In the far north you might get caribou stew or muktuk (depending on availability). Muktuk is whale blubber. I've never had an opportunity to try it, but I hear it's really chewy and somewhat fishy.

We had lots more than that at the canteen though. You could buy fruit and dip, veggies and dip, fresh fruit, chocolate bars, soup and sandwiches, pop and bottled water, coffee and tea, cookies, rice crispy squares or puffed wheat squares; the list goes on. Hopefully we've made a fair bit of money from the whole thing.

Monday, November 16, 2009

What a Day!

Had a great weekend! Went as a coach of Western's Bible Quiz team to Morden, MB (Bible belt country). It was exhausting, but a lot of fun. The team did really well - ended up 6th out of 20 teams in the B division. There were about 240 teenagers, coaches, officials, etc. there.

Today however. I had one of those days that.... whatever they pay me.. it's not enough! Had outright defiance from more than one student, had another student ask me to please wear deodorant.

I can continue to count my blessings. Chapel this morning was very uplifting. I really enjoyed it. Today was an aberration, I don't get days like that very often. Everyone, regardless of their job, has days they wish it was someone else's job. Today was my turn, I guess.

Monday, November 9, 2009

A day off

Today's a holiday - I work tomorrow and then have Wednesday off. Sounds good to me. I slept in until 5:55 (as usual) this morning, then woke up, rolled over and went back to sleep until nearly 8. Then I picked up a book and remained in bed until I finished it. Very nice.

It's now nearly noon. I've practiced piano for an hour. I think I'll do some sewing this afternoon. After all, my brother has twins that I haven't even seen yet, and I must need to make them baby quilts, as I have for the other 20+ nieces and nephews I have. Maybe I'll see if I can get to S'toon and visit them Wednesday.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

My Latest Trick

I'm supposed to be working on sight reading right now for piano. My teacher has loaned me one of her books (actually from when she was a child) of really easy hymns to sight read through. They're about a grade 2/3 level. There's very few of them I don't know, so that even makes it easier to sight read. So... I've upped the bar a little. I either have to sight read them with the metronome (which means I don't fudge the timing) or I have to sight read them and transpose them up or down a step or two.

Can I do it yet? Not well. We're working on it. It'll come.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Seek and Ye Shall Find

Well, Ruth walked into my apartment and said, "Here it is!" It was right there - I must have been blind. That's the way it goes somedays.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Daylight Savings Time

For the rest of the world (not including Saskatchewan), today was the start of daylight savings time. I have never understood this. This is partially because I grew up in Saskatchewan where we didn't change time twice a year. It is also partly because in the NWT, one hour's difference makes no difference when you lose 6 minutes of daylight everyday. Daylight savings time still means that you're getting up and going to bed in the dark.

So, why does cutting one end off a blanket and sewing it onto the other end, make the blanket any longer?

Where oh where?

Last Sunday the sermon went on extra long, so we didn't really have much time for Sunday school. Ruth and I co-teach the 8-11 year olds. Because there wasn't much time, we did an activity instead of the regular Bible story. Then we rushed out right after service to go to Kennedy for Grandpa McMillan's funeral.

I usually prepare Saturday for Sunday's class. However, because I had prepared last week, I didn't worry about preparing yesterday. I got up, went to get my materials.... where are my materials? I've searched the apartment over and can't find them. I phoned Ruth and she checked her car and house. Not there.

So, Ruth and I winged it this Sunday. This gives me a week to find when I put them.

Saturday, October 31, 2009


I've been reading Malcolm Gladwell's books. I just finished Blink. I think of the three books I've read that he's written, I have enjoyed The Tipping Point the best. However, I can safely say that I've enjoyed all three. He has another one out: What the Dog Saw. I'll have to wait until it comes into the library though.

What's Blink about? It's about snap judgements and when that's a good thing and when it's a bad thing. It includes the accounts of many psychological experiments. With The Tipping Point I was able to see an immediate application to many aspects of my life. I can't say that with Blink, but I think I need to read it over several more times first.

Friday, October 30, 2009


I looked out my window and what did I see?

I know that's a Cradle Roll song, but it popped into my head as soon as I looked out the window this morning. Everything's covered with a beautiful blanket of fresh white snow.

It will turn slushy and grey soon, but it's sooo beautiful right now. I'm very thankful that I can walk through it to work. (And also that I don't have to drive in it.)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Problems of an Introvert

I'll come out and admit it right off. I am introverted. I need to have time by myself to recharge my batteries. I love teaching and I work with around 120 really great people, but then I come home to my apartment by myself and I love it. I have to force myself to go out evenings. In fact, I carefully manage my time so that I don't have to do that too often. Weekends are really great because I have lots of time to myself, plus church where I interact with some of my favourite people.

Having said all that, this has been an atypical weekend. Friday night I went out to school for a bit because they needed some stuff that I could get for them. Saturday morning I spent the whole morning at school, helping sell bag lunches. (The Promise Keeper's Conference was at school Friday and Saturday and this is a big fundraiser for the students to prepare for Grad.) Saturday afternoon I babysat Gloria (who is a really sweet baby). Sunday morning was church. Sunday afternoon I went to Grandpa McMillan's funeral in Kennedy. It was wonderful. There were a few less than 500 people there I think. This evening there was small group (which I normally don't go to, but I caught a ride to the funeral with Ruth and Walter and they go, and it was on the way home.)

So... I'm mega peopled out by now. And tomorrow we start again with school! I guess I need to be thankful for the grace that God gives me so that I can interact with people in a positive way when I need to.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Rider Pride?

OK, I don't have a TV; I don't know what station carries it on the radio. So I keep track of the score by going to and then checking there. It's definitely not instantaneous, but it works.

But what is it with the Roughriders consistently trying to throw it away in the latter part of the game and then in the last few minutes trying to recover? It doesn't seem to be a very good game strategy to me!


I have a nephew asleep in my bedroom on my bed. I have a grand-niece asleep in my living room on my couch. I fell asleep for about 10 min. while she was still up, which is why all of my rubber gloves are out of the box and spread across the kitchen floor. I think she's waking up. I'd better go.

Friday, October 23, 2009


My least favourite part of teaching is keeping up to date on the marking - which means that I'm generally never up to date on the marking. I've got a lot of it to do this weekend. I'm also being auntie and babysitting for Gloria tomorrow (there's a Riders game and guess who has to go?). I'm wondering whether Gloria will be amenable to me marking while babysitting, or if I'll just use it as an excuse not to do it. It's not like you can ask an 11 month old.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Back to an old routine

I had my first piano lesson Tuesday morning at 7:15 since some time back in March when I had trouble with my hands and arms and had to quit. Now I went for lessons for awhile after that but was strictly working on theory - not playing. It felt really good to do that.

We're working on sight reading - which means doing much easier pieces than I had been playing. One of those things where you have to go backwards before you can go forwards. So I'm playing Gr 3 stuff instead of Gr 7 stuff and training my eyes to look ahead. In many ways it's the same skills I teach my students about reading - it's just that it's for reading music instead of reading print.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Deodorant Mystery

I have collected four different containers of deodorant from around my apartment. They're all different brands. I know that none of them are mine, because I can't use the stuff. It makes me break out wherever it touches - and I use powder. So, whose are they? Do people come visit and leave their deodorant behind? Do they really miss it? Maybe it's just one of life's mysteries.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Post Lectureship

Lectureship was good. It was also good to see various family members. It was even better to see my kids, however the time with them was much too short. They arrived Wednesday night and I put them back on the plane early Monday morning. Sunday night as they were busy packing, Rose said, "OK mom, where's my passport?" I had no idea - I hadn't seen it the entire time she'd been here. So we turned the house upside down looking for it. Never did find it. But I had a copy of her birth certificate, and she had her health card, which gave her two pieces of government issued ID and she could get on the plane.

Wednesday my parents were here, and mom found the passport. It had fallen under the couch.

It was a short week at school - Monday was Thanksgiving and Tuesday was an inservice day. However, it didn't really feel like a short week. Just as busy - and there's a tournament this weekend. I need to leave right away to take tickets at it. It's also the big foodbank push on this weekend. I helped with that last night.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


I got to babysit de niece today - Abigail; Robert and Melissa's baby. They've been in Regina since Wednesday as Melissa was taking a course. However Robert and Josiah went back to Saskatoon because the radio station went down. Josiah got to go to Linea's birthday party that way - so it was a good thing. However, that meant that Melissa was looking for a babysitter for yesterday and today.

Yesterday she got her friend to babysit. This was a good thing because I was at a Bible Quiz tournament the entire day. However, today it was my privilege. It was a real privilege too. Abby is a very happy baby. She didn't really know me at all - she's seen me maybe a half a dozen times in her 8 months of life, but Melissa nursed her and sat her down and she was happy to be with me. She went to church with me, and I took her to Melissa at noon to be fed and she slept until mommy picked her up. So she got to socialize with the babies at church (we have lots there) and eat puffed wheat. (The other babies and toddlers really liked the puffed wheat too - we shared).

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

And the good news is....

I went to physio this morning and he worked on my right arm. He told me the reason that my elbow was bothering me so much was that something wasn't in alignment. It was a bit like an eye exam - which is better, here... or here.... now; here... or here - until he found the right spot. He pushed really hard while I moved my hand and - things stopped hurting! It's amazing!

I've been hurting for so long, I've forgotten what it's like to be pain free, but I think I can manage this. Now I have to do regular exercises to keep it working and I'm to go back on Friday, because he says it will go out again if he doesn't work at it some more. On Friday he's to work on my left arm and wrists.

Then, hopefully I can restart piano lessons.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


OK, folks, note that I have actually added a photo to my blog. This is a rare occasion, so you'd better appreciate the extra effort involved.
I thought I was retreated out - but regardless I went on another retreat. This one was organized by the Christian Schools Association and was for the student leadership teams at each school. It as a Dallas Valley again, but at their main camp instead of the Conestoga camp. I was the adult chapherone/leader for Western's team of six students. Again, it was an excellent time; the speaker was very good, and when I finally arrived home at 4 pm Friday, I slept until after 6 pm.

However, while I was there, I simply couldn't ignore the ripe chokecherries. They had been ripe two weeks earlier when I was there, and they were still ripe - a very few were past their expiry date. I picked 25 cups worth in about 2 hours, then yesterday I fashioned myself a jelly bag, looked up recipes online and proceeded to make a mess. I had a lot of fun too - but the whole thing is rather messy. I have ended up with 17 cups of chokecherry syrup, which I froze in freezer bags instead of buying canning supplies, and I'm guessing about 10 cups of chockecherry juice concentrate. I still have to bag and freeze it but it needs to cool first. I think I'll throw out the jelly bag - it's just a tea towel sewn in half with a casing for the string so it can hang from my cupboard knobs over the sink. A new tea towel is only about a dollar, so I think I can afford to throw out this one, rather than trying to get all the pulp out of it. Likewise, I think I'll discard the rag I was using for the counters and stove - and I have two shirts that are good only for painting now.

Ideally to do the whole thing properly, I'd like to have a food mill - like the one above - but they're not in the grocery stores. (I hear my mom has one, but didn't feel like driving to S'toon to borrow it).

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday School

I think I started helping to teach Sunday school when I was about 11 years old. My mom was the teacher and she brought me along to help. I taught essentially without a break until I was 41 -when I decided that I needed to learn other ways to serve, and perhaps I was preventing others from serving in this area if I continued teaching.

It was hard to stop teaching. After all, I had done it for 30 years, and I felt incredibly guilty about it. I didn't stop totally - I continued to help with VBS in the summer. However this fall I'm back teaching again. I'm coordinating the Sunday School program here at church and team teaching with my sister Ruth Sunday mornings. I also help with the Wednesday night program at Daryl and Kristen's house.

I have decidedly mixed feelings about the whole thing. I love to teach. I teach for a living - and have for many years. I like to teach Sunday school too. However, it also means that I can't attend class for myself. It also means that I'm tied down - I can't easily go away for a weekend. It takes a fair bit of effort, and planning and all the rest of it. It also means that I don't really have a day off from teaching - I do it for a living Monday through Friday, prep for Sunday School on Saturday, teach it on Sunday; fit in marking and planning, etc. between times. I nearly always feel blessed when I do it though - I come away feeling refreshed and uplifted.

One of the things I found when I stopped teaching was that it forced me to grow in other areas. I committed myself to try new things. I would mix the sound, for example (traditionally this seems to be a male only role). I would greet, make the coffee, and pray. However, here in Regina, there's no need to have someone to mix sound, or make the coffee, or greet. I need to be careful now that I'm teaching again, that I don't stop committing myself to growth - just because I'm doing what is easy and familiar.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

My Arms

I've been having difficulty with pain in my arms since back in March. I stopped practicing piano, because it seemed to aggravate it. However, it seems to be getting worse. They ache most of the time now. Sometimes it hurts enough that I can't even push a shopping cart. I have been in to the doctor and she's ordered some tests - I'm supposed to go back next week. I'm mostly frustrated. I'm not used to hurting more often than not. I reminds me of Aunt Rose and how she never complained even though she was in constant pain. I've got a long ways to go.

I'd like to continue with my piano lessons, but my teacher (rightly) has told me that I can't do anything until I get the situation with my arms settled. I really miss making music. I can still sing, but I enjoy playing the piano as well. It sits and stares at me in my living room.

Retreat and Advance

The Labour Day weekend, the church here had a retreat out at Clearview camp in Kenosee Park. The last time I was there, I was in Grade 4 (I think that's just about exactly 40 years ago). The camp has changed a little bit since then. There are flush toilets and showers, to start with.

The entire retreat was delightful. It was very good getting to know my church family so much better, and talking about things of importance. It was also very nice that nearly everyone came - we missed one elderly couple (both over 75 years old), one couple with small children, and a few (very few) students. It is so much easier to get to know people when you live with them for a short while and eat with them, etc.

One of the highlights for me was I picked 2 gallons of high bush cranberries that are now in my freezer. I need to do something with them. I know how to do low bush cranberries, but the high bush have a seed, so I think I'll have to do jelly or something messy with a jelly bag. I've never done that before, so it can wait in my freezer for awhile I think. When I figure out how to do it, I may post some pictures.

Then Tuesday morning the entire school went out to Dallas Valley for the annual school retreat. We returned later on Wednesday afternoon. Again, the weather was fantastic and the whole thing was excellent. The chokecherries were also abundant and ripe; but although I love chokecherry syrup, I didn't pick any - I know how messy and indelible the chokecherry juice is.

After parts of six days of retreats - I'm retreated out. I am at heart, an introvert, and sharing with people for so many days was great, but I'm glad to be back home by myself.

School has been going well. I'm enjoying the Grade 9 class. I need to get my syllabus completed this weekend, but aside from that I'm on top of the game.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Happy New Year

It's the start of a new school year. The weather is gorgeous - much nicer than we've had most of the summer; so it must be time to go back to school.

I finally got my mark for the theory exam I wrote August 8 - 81. I would have been happier with a higher mark, but it's quite acceptable. Unfortunately, I'm still having a lot of trouble with my arms, so I'm really unable to play piano. I've broken down and have been in to see the doctor; had a neck x-ray and am supposed to make an appointment to go back in a couple of weeks. I'd really like a referral to a physio, as it's very frustrating to not be able to do things.

Put Loopie and Baylee on the plane yesterday morning bright and early. Loopie had everything well organized; had preweighed her luggage, etc. Unfortunately the bathroom scales weren't the same as the airport scales. She was 8 lbs overweight on her largest suitcase and they weighed her carry-on (not allowed to be above 22 lbs). She was 6 lbs overweight on her carry-on as well. We were able to juggle things around and I took some things back with me, but it took about an hour to get that all done. That's why she had planned to be early at the airport. Good thing, eh?

This past weekend was busy, with welcoming and registering new students as well as a wedding. Rose was a bridesmaid for the wedding and is now sleeping in my guest room before she flies back to YK tomorrow bright and early. Lots of new students (and many parents) yesterday at service. I'm always excited at the start of a new year.

I now know what I'll be teaching, which is a good thing. I'll have English 9, Math 11, 21 (essentially remedial math) first semester and English 9 and Christian Ethics 9 second semester. In addition, I'll be coteaching a college course. Now to get my syllabi ready.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


People have been saying, "what's happened to summer?" because it has been very cool and rainy. However, I'm grateful because I know what a really hot prairie summer can be like, and I'm still acclimatized to the north. It has been pretty wet, but that means that I can't mow the lawn or even feel guilty about it, and I don't have to worry about watering the garden. Lots of things to be thankful for.

I've started to go into work get get ready for the fall term at school. I'm not even putting in half-days yet, but I've started the get things cleaned up and sorted out a bit. Hopefully they'll get the new computer up and ready for me so that I can finish the year end and inventory on it and switch over to a new year.

No, I don't know what I'll be teaching yet. Lots of possibilities, but nothing for sure until we know what the enrolment is and the grade distribution. For sure I'll be in the library (half-time?) plus.... some of the possibilities include: English 9, Christian Ethics 9, Remedial math (Math 11, 21 and 31 - as a combined class), Fine Arts/Guidance/Health 9 (as a job share - six weeks of each?), a college class on surviving post-secondary (as a job share). So, I'll find out next week. The English 9 is very likely for sure, so I can work on getting prepared for that.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Winding down

It's not even August yet, and it feels like summer is winding down. Rose flies out today for Yellowknife. She'll be back in a month for a wedding. Bram will leave in a week. It has been so good to have them with me.

I've caught a summer cold. I'm walking around with a box of kleenex in my hand - just in case. I've also got a sore throat and no energy. Aside from that, I'm feeling pretty good.

My parents have been up since Tuesday evening - spending most of the day with me and the evenings over at Ruth's. They brought Sonja down with them. Dad's been helping me with doors and locks at my new apartment - we've still got two locks to rekey and one more deadbolt to install. Mom's been finishing up Rose's graduation quilt (it looks beautiful!). She's the one that shared the cold with me. Thursday mom stepped into one of those rings that they put around bundles of newspapers and fell badly. She cut her cheek and bled profusely and may get a couple black eyes from it as well. She's looking worse for wear.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Great Sale!

Sears Clearance Centre had an indoor sidewalk sale on this week. I went yesterday to drop off some stuff at Value Village and discovered it. Bought a few things. Today I took Rose. What an amazing shopper! She (and I) together bought 3 skirts, two pairs of pants, a pair of capris, and two packages of 10 panties - all for under $25! All of Rose's new clothing is green (surprise, surprise) while all of mine is in the purple, burgandy, lavender colour family.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Back Home

We actually arrived back home Sunday night, however I've been busy catching up ever since. Had a great time in Arkansas. It's approximately 30 hours driving (one way) to get there. Or, for Bram, it's approximately 90 hours spent in a vehicle since he came down from Yellowknife. He'd just as soon not do another long trip for awhile. I did over 80 hours last summer, so I know what he's feeling. Two hours or so short of Little Rock, Bram was very sick in the van, but was better after about 24 hours of the flu. He had a hard time adjusting to the hot temperatures and humidity, and walked around with a styrofoam cup full of ice which he breathed over for the first few days, which seemed to help.

Rose has started her two weeks of summer session, French Immersion. I think she's enjoying it. She took the bus for the first time this morning, got off at the wrong stop and wandered for about 45 min. before she found where she was supposed to be. I guess that's how you learn.

Saw lots and lots of cousins when we were down there; many of whom I hadn't seen for years and years. It was really good to see them. (Technically, most of them were first cousins once removed, or my cousins' kids; but it was still good to see them.) Came home by Winnipeg and saw Grandma Baxter and Tara as well as many other people who I haven't seen for years. It was all good.

The MAP training was also good -very hectic but excellent. (To find out more about that, check out Sonny Childs' blog at ). There's a picture of Bram there and of the group as well as several summaries of the week.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Busy Times

It's the end of the school year. Grad is tomorrow. I've been doing inventory in the library for the past two weeks. Final exams finished Wednesday. Report card marks are due Monday. All in all, it's been a very busy time. However, the end is in sight.

Monday is the last day of work for me, and it's an in-service day. So I essentially have to have everything done before then. I still have about 1.5 to 2 hours worth of inventory left to do; and then I need to generate reports, etc. I think I can likely squeeze that into tomorrow somewhere. I have exams marked but don't have the report card marks generated yet. Rose is pretty much ready for Grad. I need to take her out tonight to get some essential undergarments (see Robin's blog for a further explanation) and she gets her hair done tomorrow morning.

For the past two weeks I've not done much more than inventory at work. It's eaten up all of my time. (Every book in the library has to be scanned for that - do my arms ache!) At home I've been working on my Theory 4 - nearly done! My last lesson is Tuesday for that.

It'll be good to have a breathing space, but no... Lord willing we leave Wednesday for Arkansas. Tuesday will be taken up with all my running around that I've been putting off. I have a huge list.

Monday, June 8, 2009

News Flash!

OK, I've just found this amazing website. It is a meal and menu planner - not only does it plan meals for you based on your preferences (budget, cook for one, beginner, cook for kids, express, gourmet, eat local, etc.); but it gives you the complete shopping list for it, an action plan (designed to minimize the time you'll spend in the kitchen), has the complete recipe and nutritional info for each item on the menu (including diabetic symbols) as well as a price per serving! If you really like a recipe, you can save it in your cookbook on the same site. It also has a serving selector, so if you like the recipe but want to do for a different number of people, it will automatically change it for you. Best of all... it's free!

Have to tell you, I'm really impressed! I'm definitely going to give it a try.

Now, I suppose you'd like to know the website?

"It rained for 4 days and nights"

I realize the original kid's song is 40 days - but I can't claim that it's been raining for that long. It has definitely been raining though. I think it's all my Dad's fault, because they've started working on repairing the roof. They've removed all of the shingles, covered the roof with poly and have been working on putting up new rafters. The plan is to superinsulate the roof. Well, it's rained non-stop since Friday. Lots of rain. Lots and lots of rain.

The good news is... the poly doesn't leak. I've had my ceiling leak anytime it's rained all spring. Not this time. The bad news is.... that the poly was supposed to have been sealed to the evestrough at the front of the building and the worker assigned to do that task didn't do it. So, I have had a couple of drips on my windowsill but in the Williams' apartment next door, they've had quite a bit of water in. It's damaged everything they had sitting on or near the windowsill. The good news is... that they usually had their laptop sitting there, but they had it with them this weekend, so it wasn't harmed. The bad news is... that they had lots of books sitting there.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Oh yeah

I almost forgot. Rose and I were taking tickets for the musical on Friday night and visited just a few minutes with Aunt Louise. Rose was telling her that she was 18 now, so was an adult, and Aunt Louise assured her that she wasn't truly an adult until she took her mother out for supper and paid for it. So Rose took me out to supper tonight. She was wanting sushi, but we found three sushi restaurants downtown - all were closed. So we had Vietnamese food. It was excellent.

Rose drove part way to Gravelbourg and partway back. She's getting more practice in, but really needs more before she goes for her license. It's spring so we cleaned out the van too. It really needed it.

Another year older...

yes - and deeper in debt.
I think I have everything in place for the property I'm buying. It closes, Lord willing, on June 15.

My birthday was last week - as was Rose's, and Walter P's. I had everyone over for supper on Wednesday to celebrate. I had made black forest cake for Walter - it was a big hit; and angel food cake for Rose. Loopie had made a lemon cake for me. So there was lots of dessert. We had hamburgers and three or four kinds of salad for main course. It was good.

It was the musical at Western this past weekend. Fiddler on the Roof. Tate was the main character - did a great job. The whole thing was very well done. Glad it's over though. I only helped with costumes, which wasn't too big a job. (Value Village had their half-price sale on Monday and we took full advantage.)

Rose and I went to Gravelbourg for their grand opening of their new building today. Saw lots of people I haven't seen for years, and had good visits with many of them. Was called Nancy once (by someone who honestly thought I was Nancy; not just getting the name wrong); and was called Ruth once (by someone who, when I said it was May, said - you changed your name?). I assured both gentlemen that Ruth and Nancy were my much older sisters, and yes, there is a family resemblence, isn't there? The guy who called me Nancy was a little reassured because he thought I had looked younger than he remembered Nancy looking.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Joys of Theory

I can now decipher and comply with instructions such as:

"Write the dominant seventh chord in root position for each of the following minor keys. Use half notes in chorale style. (Remember to raise the leading note). "


"Write the harmonic minor scale that has A as its sub-dominant. Write it ascending only, using a key signature, marking the semi-tones with a slur, in the tenor clef and 5/4 time, beginning on the sub-mediant, beam notes correctly as necessary, add appropriate bar lines and rests in the final bar (if necessary) to make it musically correct."

What's next? Figured bass (a short-hand method for writing chords that was used during the Baroque period), Cadences (actually, I'm nearly done Cadences), Transposition, Open Score, Melody Writing, and Simple Analysis. Then on to Theory 4.

I can't say it's exciting - except for the thought of being nearly done. However I am learning lots.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Missing Bram

For the past week every time I've tried to phone Bram he's not been home. I'm really missing him. He finally phoned me tonight and I was able to visit with him a bit. But I had to hang up after a little while because I was starting to cry. I really miss him a lot. Lord willing, I'll see him when he comes down for Rose's grad. It's just so hard being away from him. I'm very thankful that I get to spend so much time with Rose, but that doesn't mean that I'm not missing Bram. Having one doesn't make me miss the other any less.

More Frost

OK, I've moved my tomatoes in every night this week - and back out every morning. According to the weather office, I need to move them back in again tonight.

Oh well, at some time it will be spring. Until then, it just not quite as warm as I'd like. (But still warmer than Yellowknife).

Monday, May 18, 2009


is in tonight's forecast - so I moved the tomatoes in for the night. Will move them back out tomorrow morning, hopefully.

Long Weekend

Rose is sleeping on my couch. I'll wake her up in a bit, but let her sleep a while longer. My TO DO list today includes:
  • mowing the lawn (something I've never done - I always either had brothers, a husband or a son to do that.) However, there's a first time for everything.
  • finish transplanting my tomatoes. Rose and I did most of them Saturday but I needed to buy another planter - which I picked up yesterday.
  • work some more on my theory (lesson tomorrow).

Rose and I may decide to go to Moose Jaw to the spa today as well. We'll see.

I had an exciting time on Friday. I was walking across Fourth Avenue on the way to work. A car had stopped to let me cross and I was doing the little thank you wave to the driver when she was rear ended by the car behind, who hadn't noticed that she had stopped. Apparently she had been reaching for her cell phone in her purse on the floor. The front car just missed me by inches and that driver passed out for a few seconds. The back car wasn't drivable. I stopped shaking by noon.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Looking for Suggestions

In my Grade 9 English class, I always have my students "learn" a passage of scripture appropriate to the theme that we're covering. (I don't say the word "memorize" because it scares some kids off. "I can't memorize, that's too hard." However they can "learn" it.)

For example, when the theme was survival, and the book we were reading was Into Thin Air, talking about climbing Everest, they learned Psalm 121. We have just finished a theme on love and relationships, with Romeo and Juliet, and I had them learn I Corinthians 13:4-8a.

My final theme for the year is Identity and Choices. I'm doing literature circles, where the students are reading one of three books and sharing sometimes with students reading the same novel and sometimes with students reading a different novel. Each of the novels has a protagonist living in a non-home environment (living on the streets in downtown Toronto, living on an island off the coast of Alaska in an alternative justice program, and living alone in the bush in Northern Ontario after running away from home). Each main character is going through and has gone through tough times and develops their character through the book through the help of some significant adults in their lives. Any suggestions for a scripture passage for my students to learn that would relate to this?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


A lot has happened in the past week. My wonderful sister-in-law arranged a mortgage for me, and it looks like I've got my downpayment arranged as well; thanks to the generosity of my family. We've had an opportunity to see all of the suites, and we'll see the garage tonight. It feels like I've been busy all day at work, and then things to arrange every evening in order to purchase this property. I'm still amazed at how the Lord has had everything work out so smoothly.

Quizzing went very well over the weekend. Our team ended up sixth on the A consolation side - which is pretty good. Thomas and Alex also got their Club 145 awards. This meant that they had memorized all 145 "key verses" in the book of Luke. I copied out the references for each verse on slips of paper (ie. 1:37), they drew 15 of them out of a hat and quoted them. For five of the 15 verses, they had to know them just from the reference, but for the remainder they could "finish the verse", where I gave them the first few words. It's quite an amazing feat!

This week is the final week of this six-week grading period, so I'm also busy marking so I can have marks in tomorrow. Because I'm a really great procrastinator, I have more to do now than I should have if I had been doing a little every day. However, it will all get done.

Because I've been unable to practice piano due to my repetitive strain injury, I've started working on theory. (I have to say that learning theory isn't very exciting; important, maybe, but exciting - no!). I was working on Grade 3 theory, but when my teacher saw how much I had done, she said that I could likely write my Grade 4 exam in August if I work hard at it. There are only 4 grades of theory - so I'd be done with it then. I'd just have harmony, history and pedagogy to do after that. It'll be very nice to be that much further along towards my goal.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Busy Day

It's been an extra-busy day - the first of several I think.
I went to work at the regular time, shortly after 8; which meant that I'd been doing my regular bustle about the house since sometime between 6 and 7. Went home for lunch at noon; taught my afternoon classes, as usual.

At 4 pm I came home and made supper. I had the Steiners invited for supper, as I hadn't had them over for a while. Had a very nice visit. They had to eat and leave early as Daryl had a regular Bible study on Thursday nights. However, while they were there, I got a call from my realtor saying that my final offer on the four-plex had been accepted. I phoned a few people before I ran out the door a little before seven to go to quizzing practice.

Normally, we only have quizzing practice on Sunday nights, but this weekend is the final tournament, and we all agreed we needed to practice some more. Things went much better at the practice than they had earlier this week, so that was good. Finished shortly after 9.

Walked home, met my realtor who had been waiting outside my apartment for me so that I could sign the amended agreement to purchase. (Their amendments were very minor things).

Then, I loaded the dishwasher (hadn't had time after supper), tidied the kitchen and dashed out to the grocery store (God bless stores open past 9 pm) because I've got people billeted with me for the quiz tournament and have to be able to feed them.

So this weekend will be the final quiz tournament for the year; hosted at Western. I'll likely be busy with that before school lets out. It will run Friday night, all day Saturday (usually from about 8 am to 10 pm) and then most of the day Sunday. In the midst of all that, I'm hopeful that I'll be able to get word about a time to view the rest of the fourplex, as I've only seen one suite. Busy is good, right?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Name them one by one

I thought that "count your blessings" weather was over until next winter, but no... woke up this morning to heavy wet slushy snow. I had to drive in the snowfall to my piano lesson and clean off the windshield to drive back to work. However, I'm sure spring will be here at some point - just not today.

I'm still having trouble with my arms so have switched from working on piano to working on theory with the hopes that I can write my Grade 3 theory exam in August. Hopefully giving my arms a total break from playing will allow them to heal as well.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Baby steps

Well, it's been an exciting weekend. I've been looking at houses for the past week and my parents were up on the weekend for the College grad. Congratulations to Ryan! Anyway, we went through a four-plex just down the street from the one they own with Ruth and I put an offer on it this afternoon.

I continue to be dependent on everyone's grace as I don't have any money for the downpayment and likely won't have any until I get a separation agreement in place. It's a good thing I've got a lot of family. It's both exciting and scary to be doing this. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

One week later

Rose has been on Easter break for a full week now. I actually had inservice last Thursday, so I've had a little less than a week. What have we done with our time?
  • Done lots of laundry
  • Gone on a trip (with the Vance's) to Great Falls, Montana for a youth rally. (It was fun).
  • Got the oil changed on my van (which took three trips to Walmart; seeing as they really don't believe in customer service).
  • Made at least four trips to various bookstores (at Rose's instigation).
  • Read several books (I'm trying to read books that are recommended for the Gr. 9 curriculum so that I know what I want to teach with next year).
  • Tidied up (it's amazing how much more clutter is added by one more person in the apartment).
  • Bought groceries.
  • Practiced piano and had a piano lesson.
  • Currently I'm helping Joe with homework.

What do I still want to do?

  • Quilt and bind a quilt for the Friesen's new baby.
  • Finish the binding on another quilt.
  • Read some more books.
  • Do some more laundry.

Doesn't it sound like a really exciting life?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

What's up with Hotmail?

Rose just tried to get onto hotmail because she's expecting a letter - and it told her that she didn't have an in-box yet. Go figure. So, we logged out of her profile and into my profile and I tried to get onto hotmail first. It won't let me log in; each time I log in, it gives me the same log-in screen again. Really weird.

Spring Break

I drove the half a block to school yesterday to load up Rose so she could come back to the apartment for spring break. She filled her biggest suitcase with her bedding (wanting to wash all of it), and also brought her laundry bag full. We did all the laundry except for the bedding yesterday.

Last night Rose convinced me that we really needed to go to Chapters. She bought herself a Chinese/English dictionary (she's taking Mandarin at school). She also bought a book on writing Japanese kanji and kana (she's been studying Japanese with her cousin, Alex). I bought an 8 CD set on learning Spanish in preparation for our summer mission trip to Mexico. So, we bought three different items on learning three different languages. Kind of interesting.

By the way, did I mention that, Lord willing, we're planning on going on a summer mission trip to Mexico? The youth group here is going and I'm going as a chaperone. Hopefully both of my kids will be going too. More about that on another blog.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Old Fartitis

I had my first piano lesson in three weeks today. My teacher had a week off as she was doing student examinations. I had to take last week off because my arms had been giving me grief and I was wearing splints (the joy of repetitive strain injury). I was able to manage the one hour lesson today because I took ibuprofen before I started and my teacher was very careful to have me do exercises and work on pieces that involved no stretches or difficulty. At least I didn't have laryngitis.

I've taught my library assistant how to catalogue fiction books (because they're the very easiest) so that I'll be typing less, so that my arms and hands can heal.

Frankly, having my body break down isn't much fun. I'd rather trade it in for a newer model.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Glad that's over

The funeral for the student who died last week was today. They held it at school in the auditorium - and I'm sure there was over 800 people in attendance because the auditorium only holds 1000 and the lower floor was completely full and there were some people up in the balconies. Hopefully this will provide some closure for our students and we can go on from here.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Looking ahead; looking back

It is Homecoming at Western this weekend. Now, last year was my honoured year and I was a little disgruntled because I couldn't fly in until Saturday morning, so I missed visiting Friday night and I had to leave Sunday morning in order to get back to teach on Monday. This year I live across the street from school, so I have registered, but it's not really my class. (It is my honoured year for college, and of course Western was such a community that I do know everyone).

It's also a little awkward. I had one person ask me, so are you still in Saskatoon? My response was that I'd lived the past 20 years in Yellowknife but was now living in Regina and working at the school. I know that it'll come up, well what is my husband doing. He's still in Yellowknife; we're separated; he's involved with another woman.

There's only three days of school next week. We have professional development on Thursday and it's Good Friday the next day - followed by the week off. Monday won't be much of a school day either as the funeral will be at the school Monday morning and I expect that most of the student body (and staff) will be attending. We will have to have classes (or another option) for those that don't want to attend; and I expect that even after the funeral the students won't be able to attend to much or do much. It's a good day to have a work period. That only leaves two teaching days next week. I can handle that too, except that I'd really like to be able to teach more. It'll have to wait I guess.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A difficult day

It's been a long and difficult day. One of the students at Western committed suicide yesterday evening. She was in Grade 9; I taught her English. None of us had any warning, but because the school is small, it has affected everyone. We sort of had classes today; students were excused if they didn't feel like attending, but classes kind of limped along. We started with a general assembly and didn't resume classes until about 10:30. Kids (and adults) were crying in the chapel, in the hallways, pretty much everywhere. Please keep her family and the other kids in your prayers. Unfortunately suicide can be contageous and that's one thing we really don't want to happen. (Apparently several of her extended family had already died this year and it was already contageous).

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Parting is such sweet sorrow

I had to put Bram on the plane this morning to fly back to Yellowknife. It's so hard to live away from my kids. However, Rose will arrive back home tonight after Chorus Tour. Even if she does live in the dorm, at least I get to parent her on a daily basis. I have trust in God and rest with Bram in His hands, however. It is difficult.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The dog died

Lloyd phoned the kids last night to say that Pepsi had died. He hadn't been home when it had happened. Rose was talking to me and said rather plaintively, "My best friend died." Bram didn't say much, but I know he's feeling it too. It is very sad.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Just so tired...

Well the quizzing tournament was very good. Friday evening I was able to drop off everyone at home/dorm by 10:30 pm or so. Saturday was a very long day, however. I started picking up people a little before 8 am. I dropped that last ones off at the dorm at 11:20 pm. Then I still had to get home and put myself to bed.

Not too surprisingly perhaps, I am a little tired today. There was a congregational meeting this afternoon, but I skipped out on it and went home and had an afternoon nap instead. I figured that if I had stayed, I would have had my afternoon nap regardless, and this way, at least I was comfortable while doing it. Usually when I have a nap, I sleep for an hour, but this time I slept for two and am feeling a little groggy now.

How did the kids do in quizzing? Well our team had decided to move up from the B quizzing to the A quizzing, which is substantially more difficult. It's a rare thing in the A quizzing for the quiz master to finish asking the question as someone has generally jumped to answer the question before he has more than a few words said. That being said, they did pretty well. They ended up on the consolation side of the A competition and did tenth on the consolation side. They quizzed in seven different games; while when they had been in B they were eliminated after only three games (B doesn't have a consolation side). That made the switch worthwhile for them.

Because we have five quizzers on our team, and two of the quizzers were feeling really intimidated by moving up to A, we told them that we'd find an alternative for them. You must have at least three quizzers to make a team, and unless you go to having alternates, a team has a max of four quizzers. So Tim (the other coach) checked around and made arrangements for them to quiz with another partial team from Saskatoon, Erindale. However, one of our quizzers ended up in the hospital and couldn't come to the tournament at all (please keep her in your prayers), but Shea, who is a novice quizzer, quizzed with Erindale. That team ended up first in the B division - so way to go Shea! That was very exciting.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Home Alone

Jordan has been living with me; taking one high school class and one college class at Western. He's a good kid. Doesn't play his music loud; actually has really good taste in music;usually cleans up after himself; is pretty responsible. However, Jordan has gone to S'toon for the weekend and I'm home alone.

It feels pretty good. Except... how alone am I? Rose came over for supper and had me take her out for some things she needed. So that was tonight. There's no school tomorrow, but Joe's supposed to come over for me to help him with his (way overdue) paper(s) in the morning. I'm supposed to have an extra practice with the Bible Quiz group in the afternoon because we have a tournament all weekend. The Bible Quiz tournament will start Friday evening, and run all day and evening Saturday. Sunday is the usual; church, potluck, church meeting, Bible Quiz practice.

So much for a quiet weekend home alone.


I woke up a little after two this morning and have been unable to get back to sleep. At five I finally gave up and got up. I leave for my piano lessons at about 6:45, so it just gives me a little extra puttering time in the morning.

It's not so bad to have the occasional bout of sleeplessness. It allows me to pray for the people God puts on my heart. It lets me realize how dependent we all are on God. It lets me count my blessings. Finally, it lets me get an earlier start on my day. None of those are bad things.

It only gets bad when it happens too many nights in a row. I'm trusting that won't happen.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Lost and Found

I had an appointment today with a speech/language pathologist to learn about vocal hygiene. That's because I had those six weeks of laryngitis in December and January. The appointment was at 11 am at the Wascana Rehabilitation Centre.

Seeing as I don't really know my way around Regina, I did what I usually do: typed Wascana Rehabilitation Centre into google maps, and printed out the directions. I followed them carefully and ended up at the Science Centre.

I had left with plenty of time to get there, but had to stop and buy gas on the way, and then as I initially had the wrong directions, it took me awhile to find out where I actually should be going. I was only 10 minutes late - but that was as a result of prayer, because the directions I got at the Science Centre weren't as clear as they could have been. I'm thankful I did find the right building though, made my appointment, and found my way back to work.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Time Change?

I see by some other people's posts, that it must be the time change this weekend. This will be the first time in 20 years that I haven't had to worry about that. There are some really nice things about living in Saskatchewan.

New Skirt

Rose had so much fun finishing her kimono that I realized that I really hadn't sewn for quite awhile. So I bought myself some fabric and made myself a skirt. I'd post a photo of it, except that I'd have to remember what safe place I put my camera so I wouldn't lose it. It's three different fabrics, sort of colour blocked on a diagonal front and back. The original pattern had the colour blocking, but only on the front, so I redrafted the pattern as I couldn't see having a solid back to the skirt. I'm quite pleased with the whole thing.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

I splurged last night

I was out buying groceries and I bought myself a pot of mini-daffodils - they were under $5, and they look so nice on my window sill!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

What a nice weekend!

It's Sunday evening, and looking back over my weekend, I can only thank the Lord for his tremendous blessings. If I had stayed home as I had wanted to, I don't think I would have been blessed as richly.

Rose and Thess came over and sewed Saturday afternoon. Rose came back Sunday afternoon and is now nearly completely finished her kimono. She has maybe an hour's more sewing to go to be done. Thess is working on her wedding dress. We got it cut out and most of the skirt sewn, so she's doing very well too. One thing I really appreciated about both girls was that they were very independent and didn't need a lot of help. I've been teaching beginners for so long, it's really good to have some sewers who were more independent.

I visited a bit with cousins on Facebook Saturday night. (I can sort-of find my way around it.) It was good to talk with some cousins that I haven't visited with for years.

Sundays are always my favourite day of the week. I slept in until 7:30, then practiced piano until it was time to go to church. I think my witnessing went over ok with the teen girls. (How do you know for sure?) After service Ruth asked if I could "host" the regular potluck at her house (she had the meal ready to go) as she had forgotten that she and Walter had been invited out to lunch. So that was a no stress thing. Go to someone else's house, where the meal's already prepared, and host it. So I got to have some good visiting in again, then took Rose back to my apartment and had a nap while she sewed.

About the time Rose was getting frustrated, I woke up from my nap and was able to help her with her sewing, then took her back to the dorm. Had Bible quizzing practice tonight. Made fruit salad for it, which went over really well, so when I got back home I made up another batch. (I've got all of this fruit that was on clearance from the grocery store that needs to be used up.)
I have to admit that I really enjoyed the fruit salad, but now my tongue has broken out all over. Oh well, it should be better tomorrow.

I've finished up the evening by practicing piano again. And, it seems to be going a little bit better - or at least I'm not getting as frustrated. So that's also good.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Thank you, Les

One of my students just phoned me (9:10 pm), saying that she had told her dad to pick her up at Western at 9:15, thinking that was the location for the devotional for all the basketball players. However, she was over at Regina Christian, and could I run over to the school and tell her dad to pick her up at Regina Christian.

So, it's -22 out (-32 with the wind chill), and as I was talking to her on the cordless phone, I walked to the neighbour's apartment to see if any of their teenage boys were there. Nope. However, Leslie very kindly put on his coat and toque and ran over to the school for me. Thank you, Lord, for generous neighbours who go the extra mile for me.

Weekend Plans

I had hoped to cocoon this weekend - stay in out of the cold, vegetate a bit, maybe do a little sewing. However:
  1. There's a big basketball tournament at school, and I've agreed to take tickets at the door tomorrow morning from 11:15 to 12:45. (I did it for about three hours today and it wasn't an onerous task.)
  2. I have library books that must be returned, so I guess I need to plug in my van so that it will start tomorrow.
  3. I promised Rose and another student that they could come over and sew tomorrow. Rose has a kimono about half finished and the other girl wants to sew her wedding dress.
  4. I am to "witness" to the teen girls class Sunday morning on how the Lord has worked/is working in my life. (I've been pondering and praying on this all week, and I don't know what I'll say Sunday yet, but I do know that the Spirit will give me the words I need.)
  5. Jordan has three papers overdue and I need to try to bully him into getting them finished.

Maybe the cocooning will have to happen tonight and then I can get back to the grind tomorrow.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

You know you're procrastinating when....

I need to be doing marking. In fact, I've done about half of it, maybe a little more. After awhile I go a little brain dead though. So, I have:
  • finally joined Facebook (will I regret this?)
  • practiced piano
  • tidied the living room
  • helped Rose with her homework
  • checked my e-mail
  • brushed my teeth
  • gone to bed... talk to you in the morning.


It's -31 this morning; -42 with the wind chill. That's genuine "count your blessings" weather. I'm thankful that
  • I have a warm apartment with no drafts.
  • I can walk to work and don't have to start the car (especially seeing that it's not plugged in.)
  • I picked up groceries yesterday when it was a little bit warmer (-22)
  • high school teachers don't have to do "supervision"
  • my bed has flannelette sheets, so snugly!
  • I've made my lunch, so I don't have to walk home at noon
  • in Saskatchewan (unlike the NWT), while it may be -31 this morning, the weather will moderate up to near freezing by Sunday. (However, I would point out that it's only -25 in Yellowknife this morning.)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Introvert vs Extrovert

Every single evening for the past week I've either needed to go out for some kind of function, or I've had people in to my house. Since I'm moderately on the introvert side of the introvert/extrovert scale, this has been a challenge to me. I kind of figure that I "perform" all day as a teacher, in the evenings I like to recuperate at home (alone?). All the visiting has been good and important, but I'm really looking forward being home alone on the weekend to recharge my batteries a little.

In addition, it's really hard to fit in piano practice if there are people in to my house or I'm going out every single evening. I'm missing the regular, extended times of practice. I'll keep working on it though. I don't have piano lessons for two weeks now, as my teacher is in Europe, so hopefully I'll have some progress to show her when she gets back.

We're still struggling with strengthening my visual recognition and kinesthetic senses (a.k.a. sight-reading). I'm practicing with some duets - just playing the secondo parts, as they don't have a melody, so it's hard to jsut play the "tune". I actually have to pay attention to the timing and the fingering.

Monday, February 16, 2009


Teacher's Convention was in Calgary Thursday and Friday. This was the ACSI Teacher's Convention (Association of Christian Schools International) for Alberta and Saskatchewan schools. I have to say that it was the best teacher's convention I've ever attended, and in 20 years of teaching, I've been to many, many of them. What made the difference?

First of all, it was a meeting of like-minded Christian teachers - so they had scheduled in worship times every day. That made a huge difference. Then, the different workshops and general sessions were excellent. Usually, I figure that if half of the convention had stuff that was worthwhile, then it's been good. This time, every session but one that I attended was great - and the other one was ok, just not great. Finally, I got to travel about 9 hours (twice) with my co-workers, and share and eat with them. That really builds community.

Western received an award at the conference for the REACH program, which was also cool.

Today was a holiday, so Rose and I went to Moose Jaw. We had lunch with Doug, Dar, Ben, Jean and little ones. Got to see Ben and Jean's new baby. Then we did one of the Tunnel tours (the Al Capone one) and then went to the Spa, which was crowded. We had a good time together.

This evening I was supposed to have Bible Quiz practice. Rose and I got home about 6:35- quiz practice was supposed to be at 7 - and I always bring home baking. So I made boiled chocolate cookies (with rye flakes instead of oatmeal). However, no one was there for quiz practice, so I shared the cookies with the students working in the library on homework and went home and practiced piano. This was also a good thing, as I've got piano practice tomorrow morning.

All in all, it's been a very good week.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Learning Styles

Things haven't been going well with piano lessons lately. It's not for lack of practice on my part - it's more like I've hit a wall or something. My piano teacher thinks it finally comes down to learning styles.

I'm primarily an auditory learner. I learn best by hearing. I enjoy listening to the radio; once I hear something, I remember it, etc. (This is a little unusual, except perhaps in my family.) However, to play the piano, you need to use kinesthetic learning (remembering body movements) and visual learning as well.

The catch is, that while I can struggle to visually remember things, like the black and white pattern of the keys, I really have a hard time with my kinesthetic memory. One of the new pieces I'm working on starts with a really lovely arpeggio in E. My teacher pointed out that the last three times I played it, I used different fingering each time. My fingers aren't remembering!

So, on the theory that you can teach an old dog new tricks (did I just call myself an old bitch?); I'm to work on my visual and kinesthetic memories. We're setting aside the pieces that I've been working on and start on pieces at a sight-reading level. (Grade 3 instead of Grade 7). I'm to work primarily on sight reading (visual), teaching my fingers the patterns they need to remember, working hands separately (kinesthetic) and working on phrasing (auditory). One step forward, two steps back.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Six months later

It is six months today since I left my husband. It was a a difficult decision, but one that I had to take. I felt that I couldn't remain in a marriage where he felt there was nothing wrong with being involved with another woman. I'm still of that mind.

It's been a difficult six months. However, the Lord has been with me through out the change and turmoil. He immediately provided me with a job, and a place to live. I've learned a great deal about living in faith and trusting in his providence.

Where am I now? Physically I'm in much better health, since the stress I was living under has lessened. Mentally, I'm also in much better health. However, in many ways, I'm still waiting. I've attempted get a separation agreement from my husband since I first separated, however he has not responded back to any of the letters sent by my lawyer. At some point he will either have to reply or I guess I'll have to take him to court. I don't want to do that, but I do need to have a formal separation agreement.

My daughter is now down here at school, living in the dorm. That is a real blessing. I wish my son was out of the situation he was in, however he is daily in my prayers and I trust that the Lord will keep him safe.

I continue to give thanks for the grace and mercy of our Lord. I thank my friends and family for their continued prayers and help. Life goes on.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

New Link

Note that my sister Nancy has now started blogging - now that she's on her way to India, and the link is at the top left.


The whole school went skiing on Monday. I had never been downhill skiing before, and I tried it. I might be just a little bit stiff today. We all had fun.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Good News and lots of acronyms

I saw the ENT (ear/nose/throat) specialist today. He kindly put the scope thing down my nose to view my larynx and told me that I don't have any nodules on my vocal chords. He thinks I'm having trouble with GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) again and that's why I'm still hoarse, although I'm much better than I have been. He's referred me to a SLP (speech language pathologist). The really good news is that I get to go off all of the medications I'm on. He's put me back on Nexium for the GERD (for at least three months, he says), but I've been on it before and I don't have side effects with it, so I'm ok with that. I'm already feeling better since I've missed my latest dose of prednesone.

He also informed me that I may never get my total vocal range back again. (I'm hopeful that the SLP will help with that).

Anyways, I'm happy about the whole thing. I don't have to go back to see him unless I lose my voice again, and hopefully I won't.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

From Saskatoon

I'm posting from my parents house, am up here for a Bible Quizzing tournament. It's very much a family affair this weekend. We normally have five quizzers, but two of the girls were in a basketball tournament this weekend and couldn't come, so there's Alex Bastian and Tate and Thomas Williams, with Tim Friesen as the other coach. That makes me Aunty May to all of them. They did very well. They won their first three games, which placed them in fourth in the B division. However in the elimination rounds they got second in both games, which eliminated them from the tournament. That was a little disappointing, but they still did very well. Thomas quizzed out (answered four questions correctly) in each match, and in all but one match he quizzed out without error. Alex also quizzed out once, and all three of them answered questions correctly in most of the matches. Right now they're at the social event, which is at Harry Bailey pool - I wimped out from that.

Because we were eliminated early from the games today, and because they didn't have any morning games until after 10 am, I ended up going to five different bookstores today. We stopped at McNally Robinson on the way to the tournament this morning, because we had some extra time and I wanted to find a book for my English class. Then at noon I ran to the Canadian Bible Society bookstore because I needed to pick up some Bibles I had ordered for the school. Right beside that bookstore is a teacher's bookstore, so I had to check that out as well. Then after we were eliminated we went by Indigo (I needed another copy of the same book) and Scott's Parable. All of us find going to bookstores a perfectly normal thing to do if we have extra time on our hands, even if we're not necessarily buying anything.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


I've got all of my marking done and the marks submitted. (Hopefully some marks will change once some students see what their marks are without their assignments submitted.) Got all the textbooks signed back in from first semester and the second semester texts signed out. Got a master list made up of what's still missing. Feels really good.

Today was the first day of the second semester. I went over with my class what we were going to be doing during this term - now I need to get a formal semester plan done up, read the book that we're going to be doing for this term (over the weekend I think), etc. etc. Thankfully, I've splurged and ordered a commercial unit plan for the book so that I don't have to do all the prep for it. Sometimes it's worth it to use someone else's ideas. I don't have to follow it slavishly, but it will definitely give me a starting point.

I promptly lost my voice again once I went to half dosage, so I've switched to a staggered dose - taking one pill every four hours, instead of two pills three times a day. I don't take the one in the middle of the night, with the hopes that I can still sleep. This way, I'm hoarse, but I do have a voice and I can cope with the side effects (although they're still not fun.)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Making, baking

This evening I was in a cooking mood. So far I've made 3 half-sized pans of vegetarian lasagne (for Jordan), two full-sized pans of regular lasagne and a dutch oven full of cabbage rolls made with sour cabbage leaves. I'm thankful that the Williams have a deep-freeze in the hallway, because I'm filling it. I guess I'll have to have a crowd over for a meal sometime.

Good News!

I've got an appointment with an ear/nose/throat specialist for this coming Tuesday at 2 pm! That's incredibly quick. I'm happy about that.

I went back to see my GP this morning because I can't handle the side effects of the prednisone and she said to go on a half dosage during the week and full dose on the weekend. So, I've only had a half dose this morning, and already am hoarse again. The side effects are definitely less though. I think I'll leave it where it is (half dose) until I see the specialist.

Monday, January 26, 2009


I've been informed that it's been some time since I've updated. Well, I've been sitting in limbo for the past several weeks. Things are now resolved a little bit, so I can update on them.

Primarily what I've been waiting for is to find out where Rose was going to stay when she came to school. She's finally decided that she'll live in the dorm. Apparently she decided that last week, but I only found out tonight. Now that that's settled, I can let Jordan know that he can live in my spare room (where he's been living for the past month anyway); and that he can start paying board. That will help to cover my expenses a little bit.

I've suggested to Rose that she might want to consider sleeping at the dorm but eating with me; seeing as last year when she lived in the dorm she had a lot of trouble with the cafeteria food and her allergies. Apparently she flies into Regina Wednesday, but she hasn't let me know when.

Now that it's settled where Rose is staying, I can also let Western's Bible Quiz team know that I will be accompanying them on the tournament to Saskatoon this weekend. (I can also let my parents know that I'd like to stay there, if I could).

I'm still not over my laryngitis. However my voice is much improved. I saw the doctor for the third time in three weeks on Friday and she's referred me to a specialist - hopefully I'll get in pretty soon. She's also got me on mega medication: prednisone (2 tablets three times a day - or six times the usual dose), an antihistamine and something else. It seems to be working; I can now go for most of the day before my voice starts giving out and cracking up - and I can even sing a little bit. However the side effects aren't great. I feel really shaky much of the time, I'm exhausted and yet I have insomnia, and I'm nauseous (it reminds me of being pregnant). I'm also having trouble concentrating. However, I'm only on this for ten days; so hopefully it'll clear up the laryngitis and I'll be able to get back to a normal routine.

We're at the end of finals right now; the last set is tomorrow; then we have a day off classes(marking day) and the new semester starts on Thursday. I have to have my marks done by then; I haven't started working up the final marks yet. I've done lots in the library and tomorrow I absolutely must do marking. (I was supposed to do that today but had too many distractions.) I also need to have my second semester plans drawn up. Maybe there's a use for my insomnia.

My piano recital went well, I think; I'm starting to learn two new pieces now, and have laid to rest the two I did at the recital. Moving right along.

Saturday I helped the Hinnergardt's move. Their new house is going to be very nice once they get settled. I had a crowd over for Sunday dinner yesterday - around 25 or so. I think it went well. Ham and scalloped potatoes (rice for me); plus contributions from the Williams next door and the Pradzynski's. There was lots of food to go around and the ham bone went into the pea soup I made for today. (I made some vegetarian pea soup for Jordan as well.)

Sunday morning Ruth and I did our monthly Sunday school stint. We had around 18 kids; mostly pre-schoolers. We did the story of the first exodus (how the Israelites were refugees); made beaded bracelets for a craft (because they plundered the Egyptians), had a colouring centre and playdough centre (making matzoh) for the other two centres. It went very well I think. It went especially well, seeing as we planned it Saturday night in about 10 minutes while we were sitting at the Hinnergardt's recouperating after moving far too much stuff around.

That's it for the update. It's time to go to bed, hopefully to sleep. I've got my piano lesson across town tomorrow morning at 7:15 am.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Dealing with Difficulties

I still have laryngitis. This is week four and counting. Sometimes I think it's getting better, but it's pretty sporadic. Just when I think it's ok, I have no voice again. I am still unable to sing, too. In some ways I find that harder. (However, teaching with no voice is no fun, allow me to say). I saw a doctor earlier this week and am on antibiotics, an anti-inflammatory and a gargle. I'm going back to see the doctor next Friday. Who knows, I may have a voice by then.

I have a student in one of my classes that I'm finding a challenge. His attendance is poor at best, his attitude is consistently negative and his work ethic is nil. On top of all that, he's passive agressive (and can be defiant). I may not be able to change him, but I can change my attitude toward him. I'm praying for him (and me) with the hopes that something will change for the better.

A week from today I have a piano recital. (It's a requisite part of piano lessons.) My teacher assures me it will be fun. I'm not so sure - but I'm doing my best to be practiced up for it. We'll see.