Monday, October 30, 2006


No one really ever tells me anything at my school. Apparently, there exists things I am just supposed to know about and know what a big deal they are. When I was asked a month or so ago if I was interested in going to Congres 2006, I replied not really. The school only was alloted one paid spot, and another teacher appeared very keen on going. I could have applied to receive in school funds, but still would have had to foot a bill of over $100. So I declined the invite.

Weeks later, for reasons unbeknownst to me, the lady who wanted to go backed out. Our school now had a paid spot up for grabs. There was another teacher going, but he received in school funds (and didn't seem to care that he would have to pay) so I decided to go. It seems like a terrible waste of board money not to have them send someone. I filled out my forms and signed myself up.

No one told me that this conference was a really big deal. I mean a National conference that only happens every 2 years and won't be back in Sk for a guessed 15 years kind of big deal. 900 folks from around the country kind of big deal. I heard from many people that their schools had cancelled school so their teachers could be there. I just assumed it was a little conference with folk from around the province like is always offered. Silly me.

So I'm super glad I got to go. Not only was almost everyone I graduated with there (minus the girls on mat leave) but I picked great sessions, except for one. I left with lots of useable material and am feeling much better about teaching Core French next semester.

An an extra added bonus Not So French Girl was down for the conference and stayed with me. She's always a welcome house guest! It was unfortunate I had to work Sat night, but I think all worked out ok.


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

would you like a headache?

In an attempt to be creative, interesting and a good teacher all at the same time, I decided to get my grade nines to perform a little activity this afternoon. This seemed like a fantastic idea yesterday afterschool as I was planning it. In my mind everything was going to go tickety-boo, complete with an administrator walking in making some comment to the effect of "my, what a spectacular learning environnment you have created here!"

The plan - have them measure their height, femur length, head circumference and then answer some simple ratio and proportion questions. Sounds simple right? At first I was thinking I would just write the instructions on the board, and let them go at it. Then a little voice piped up that maybe a detailed worksheet would probably be a good idea. Bless you little voice.

So today. I get everyone seated, quiet, paying close attention. There are some simple instructions that go with the activity. All measurements need to be in the same units. I don't care which units, just the same ones. I told them where their femur was. I demonstrated how one would go about measuring apporximate femur length. We discussed what circumference was. I reinforced that to measure the circumference of your head you would need to use string and not a meter stick. Ok, good to go. Anything else they would need to know was on the sheet I had so carefully prepared. One last warning about how the meter sticks were not to be used for anything besides measuring and we were off.

I think it took less than 2 minutes for chaos to break out. Kids yelling for my help in every direction. I am incapable of helping anyone because I am utterly confused at how the instructions "Measure and record your height" followed by a space to record said height could be confusing. When I finally can speak, I consider hitting some of the children with the metersticks myself because they have already forgotten how to make a ratio. They love ratios. Nothing gets easier than first value, colon, second value. We spent the first 20 minutes of class making ratios. Somehow femur length and height are outside what we can make ratios with. Girls and boys in a class, easy. Minutes spent reading to minutes spent watching tv, done deal. My personal favorite, chocolate cake to marble cake, to white cake, super fantastic. Femur to height, wha?!

In the meantime the noise level has gotten loud enough that my neighbour feels the need to check in. His wall is shaking. You need to bang to measure. Of course you do.

The questions continue.
"I don't get #2" impatiently says student.
"What does #2 say to do" I exasperatedly reply in my most patient tone.
"Check with 2 other groups..."the trail off.
I don't reply, I just raise my eyebrows expectantly. Student stares at me.
"What does check with 2 other groups mean?" my expectant look obviously getting me nowhere.
"Oh! You really want us to check with other groups?"
"Ummm yeah..." I trail off, not wanting to say anything inappropriate by accident.

Repeat, repeat, repeat.

I may have been pleased at my students knowledge of integers, but they sure do have a long way to go in the domain of being independant thinkers!!!

Friday, October 20, 2006


My favorite time of the year. Parent-teacher interviews. Normally I don't stress out too much about them - there's not a whole lot that can go wrong in 5 minutes - but this year I was feeling a little apprehensive. You see, often with high achieving kids come crazy parents. Not to mention everyone, parents included, maybe got a little too attached to their previous teacher. Not that she wasn't wonderful, but there was a lot of freaking outlast year when a stable replacement was hard to track down.

Needless to say I was 100% booked last night. 6:30-9, one 5 minute break. It went much better then anticipated. Almost all the parents were great, very supportive and just stopping by to meet me. Turns out I'm good at ushering parents out the door and staying on time - I ran ahead of schedule almost all evening. The parents of the my most easygoing and generally likeable student are of course people who never smile. He must be adopted. I also had a family feud in my classroom. Sweet! The best part? I was not included in the conversation at all - they simply used my room and chairs. Of course, they were late and then wouldn't leave. Maybe they don't have chairs at home? Je ne sais pas. They may have remembered to say goodbye to me when they finally did leave.

The good part of interviews is invariably many teachers get together and go for a drink afterwards. We had to go out seeing as in switching school boards I left behind being legally allowed to drink in the school. Sigh. Not everything about the Catholics is bad... Anyway, there was probably about 20 teachers who wound up going out (not great numbers if you consider there are over 120 staff members...). It was bizarre at first. My old staff was a fairly close staff. When I showed up I was amazed that there literally were people sitting at the table that I had never seen before. I knew 2 names. Awkward. Someone finally admitted they had no idea who I was either, and some intros were made. Finally I felt at ease enough to insult someone, and voila! acceptance into 'the group.' I think I will include a meeting people goal in my professional growth plan for this year. Seriously, learning 30 names will take effort.

Today I got to sleep in, was served a fresh cinnamon bun breakfast to accompany my Personal Development, and accomplished looking at my Professional Growth binder. Baby steps... Oh, and I also decided that as part of my plan for this year I'm going to start keeping a super nerdy teacher blog. They encourage journal writing for reflexion, but physically having to writing things is almost obsolete. I would never actually sit down with a book and write things out, so I will type them. And share it with those who are interested. ie, my administrator in charge of consulting with me on my growth. He's not actually interested, but he gets paid to pretend so I guess that counts.

The rest of my interviews were fine, a little on the disorganised side, but nothing exciting and no stories. Darn you parents for being supportive and not crazy! You make terrible blog material.

Monday, October 16, 2006

so far so good

I am currently wearing heels AND trouser socks. So far so good. I haven't fallen, tripped or sprained an ankle (yet). This is actually somewhat of a feat considering I had to shuffle to my car this morning, and then skate around it to get it cleaned off. The trouser socks and myself are also getting along. There is no love, but no hatred either. I guess they will do until a better solution presents itself.


This weekend was the best weekend since my 26th birthday. You're prolly thinking I did something exciting, adventurous, or fun. Nope. Instead I celebrated getting old and stayed at home all weekend. I cleaned, I did school work and I watched tv. It was freaking awesome.

I have no idea what is wrong with me. I'm not a dirty person, but I certainly am a messy one. As hard as I try to fix this, I just can't do it. I'm one of those 'has to make a big mess before anything can get clean' kind of people. Only it's a little extreme cause it applies to every facet of my life. I don't refile school things when I take them out, I have a big pile of 'things to refile, someday.' I don't put clothes away or wash them until there is a huge pile that has taken over my dresser/floor. Floor for dirty, dresser for clean. Mail stacks for long periods of time until it gets dealt with. At the end of the day I have to clean my classroom and put everything away cause I am capable of messing it up in the 4 hours I teach in here. Gah!

So this weekend, I cleaned my house. All of it. With the exception of the computer room, cause that is where some chaos is allowed to stay. Seeing as I can only clean in bits before I get bored, this took 3 days. But now it's awesome. And I really am going to try to get slightly neater. My closet organiser should help. This year I've already been way better with the bathroom. Next step - keeping things off the kitchen table and hanging up my jacket. Big hopes and dreams for 26!

I also watched a tonne of tv while doing school work. This makes school stuff less annoying. Seeing as I'm making up the answer key (somedays better than others...) I have lots and lots of questions to do, all the time. Tv makes this slightly less painful. Marking is also better while accompanied by Mack and crew. If my current school work load is any indication, I will be caught up on all the CSIs by Christmas... sigh.

Honestly it was good to be a hermit for a few days. Not to mention both my school and home life are in much better shape. Stress minimisation, that's what I accomplished this weekend. I would like to think that someday soon, having a clean house, being caught up on school AND seeing my friends is a possibility. For now, 2 out of 3 ain't bad.

Friday, October 13, 2006

birthday extravaganza con't

After our delicious supper and a small wardrobe adjustment, we continued our evening with what every good birthday must contain - dancing! Remembering how well the hose turned out for Rach's stagette, I decided to head there first with plans on bailing if it sucked.

We were joined by Xtina and some of her fabulous friends/aquaintances. They were wonderful because they were so fabulously nerdy. They convered the whole spectrum of the nerd scale, which I highly appreciated. The friend was my favorite type of nerd - nerdy interests but some social skills, very funny, and generally confused by those operating on a lesser intellectual level than himself. The two aquaintances were the extremes. #1 was more of a traditional nerd. As in a geek. Little social skills, even less interest in posessing any. #2 had the long hair and glasses, reasonable social skills, less intelligence but potentially a closet full of costumes and magic cards. There was also an aquaintance girl whose role did not become obvious until later in the evening. She seemed very nice, awesome and normal but seeing as we were with her friends you knew she must have some secret nerdiness locked away that she can bring out when she wants to.

Back to the hose. Hmmm, I should have assumed the luck we had the first time was just that - luck and maybe attempted another local. It would appear the Hose has developped several fatal flaws and therefore should only be attempted in a large pack. Flaw number 1, the good music appears in very spaced out sets. Unless of course you are a gangsta' and then they temporarily interrupt what you like so people can dance every hour and a half. Flaw number 2, the age of the patrons. When I go to a bar, I always expect to see what I like to fondly refer to as "the creeps." You know them, they're old, they're creepy, and occasionnally they drink enough that they think talking to you is a good idea. At the Hose on Friday night, those creeps were not 40-50, they were 25ish. WHAT? If I were to draw you a box and whisker graph of what the average age at the Hose was, this is what it would look like:

Naturally, when this is your age dispersion, stupid drunk boys happen. They yell. They also come up to your table and try to hand out straws. This is awesome for many reasons. No one really wants a straw in their drink that a stranger has manhandled. A drunk stranger. Some people are more opposed to this than others. Some people, are nerd #1. Having not said a word all night as far as I know, he must have been sitting in the corner working himself up into a big ball of angry. All the drunken stupidity must really have gotten to him, and drunk straw man is who pushed him over the edge. Contrary to his very nerd nature, he could no longer contain himself. So angered was he by the drunken straw touching and handing out, he grabbed a straw off the table, stood up, and whipped the straw at drunk boy's back. This may have been on of the funniest things I have ever seen. I was in awe. I mean, drunk boy didn't even feel it and nerd #1 was practically shaking he was so angry. I sure hope he felt better after the release of the pent up anger, cause we made him stay there for at least another hour. He confided to Xtina later that "he's never been a bar person." I resisted the great urge to call him Captain Obvious, I was pretty sure he wouldn't find that funny.

I digress. It was weird to be in a bar with creepy 25 year olds. I always thought there was a process to becoming a creep. It would appear it's inborn in certain people. But we didn't get to bent out of shape by it, there was of course dancing to be done! True, it was dancing with 17 year olds by the nicest guess, but Sexyback is Sexyback. On the dance floor is where we met Elbows. He swooped in out of nowhere and appeared to belong to no one. We were suspicious, it seemed very likely a dare on behalf of his friends that he come dance with the two 'old girls' on the dance floor in the most ridiculous way possible. His manner of choice? The elbow dance. Much like the uppercut, with no cutting. He also favoured the twirl, the group sway and his grand piece de resistance was trying to push himself off our shoulders and onto the speaker (failed on all 3 attempts). I kept expecting Elbow's friends to show up and politely escort him away. They never arrived. Luckily, bad music eventually did, and we sadly had to leave the dance floor and Elbows behind. Whatever became of him we don't know, as far as we know he is still cutting up a rug on the hose dance floor.

It was finally of an appropriate hour to be able to leave and head to Diva's for what was hopefully to be better music, and a slightly less intoxicated crowd. It was here that the girl's role became known. She was nerd #1's girlfriend!! I never saw it coming. She ditched them to come with us, which was almost as unexpected as her dating nerd #1. Not unexpected was running into a fight on the way out. Want to make your bar look busy? Simple, don't let anyone leave! An approved practice since 1925!

Diva's was mediocre, but still fun. Kev and crew showed up and confirmed that all of Saskatoon was mediocre - hypothetically due to the long weekend/rolling stones concert combo. Twas a good birthday indeed.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

birthday extravaganza!

I had been warned by Big Red that we had supper plans on Friday at 6:30. So I wasn't too surprised by him arriving at my house unannounced at 5:30. I was surprised that he arrived with flowers! Absolutley gorgeous flowers. These are the only flowers I've ever received from Big Red, but he picked them out like he'd been doing it all his life. A true expert in flower selection, Big Red bought me a bouquet that's gotten nicer looking over time instead of uglier - every day a new lily has opened, and these flowers appear to have genetically modified stem cells because the rest of them aren't dying. My boyfriend the prostar.

After I finished getting ready (and said goodbye to NSFG and D) we went for supper. Secret supper. My 3rd gradish attempt to break Big Red's will and have him tell me where we were going failed miserably. A year and a half later he appears to be completly immune to my pestering. So I found out when we were a block away.

In attempt to win some kind of "best boyfriend ever" award, he took me to the Taj Mahal. As Kilometers would say "OH MY GAWG." You see, Big Red doesn't like Indian food. I believe he has been quoted using the word 'hate' and 'Indian food' in the same sentence, several times. Well it was fan-freaking-tastic. So good that Big Red is willing to admit he doesn't hate Indian food anymore. He's not yet willing to add a like or a love in there, but this is huge progress. Besides, I don't think I loved Indian food the first time I ate it either but I sure do now. Anyway, back to our meal. We shared an appetizer platter that had the best pakoras I've ever eaten on it. I mean, I'm not sure I'd be willing to agree that what we had at the Taj Mahal and what I'd know previously to be pakoras were actually the same thing. For supper we shared 2 dishes - lamb and spinach was Big Red's pick, while I chose chicken with oranges and almonds. Then for dessert homemade mango ice cream complete with a sparkler.

I was all so good, and the staff was so awesome. You can tell how proud they are of their restaurant and how much they love what they do. The father and son duo were always around to answer questions, make sure everything was perfect or just to chat.

Well played boyfriend, well played!

i heart my friends

I have pretty awesome friends. Seriously, you rule. Even if you did forget my birthday was this weekend, I understand cause I forget birthdays all the time. Actually, I remember them several days before and then forget the day of only to remember again the day after and feel like a total twit and bad friend. So, no hard feeling about the birthday wishes or lack of.

Back to my friends. Not So French Girl and D decided to come visit me all the way from the queen city. How awesome a present is that?! They couldn't come down for the weekend since D had to work, so instead they came Thursday night. I'm still working Thursday nights for my mom, so they had supper with other friends until I was finished. Then we went for delicious and funly named drinks and food. I think by naming something a "purple nurple" you make it taste better. I was proved right. Mmmmm. The company was also spectacular (which goes without saying, but for extra reinforcement I said it) AND we spoke mostly French. Good stuff.

Back to my house where we met up with Kev and his not from Austria girlfriend. D turned into Magiver so we could enjoy wine with our conversation. 2 screws, pliers, and some elbow grease = tasty. After exerting all that effort D didn't even have any wine, but the rest of us enjoyed it for him. Kev regaled us with stories of his travels across the world until the wee hours of the morning.

I had to work Friday, so I met up with NSFG and D for lunch at my most favorite lunchtime restaurant. Jake's, you make me so very happy! Adding to the happieness, I ran into my favorite coworker from my old school. Fitting seeing as she is the one who introduced me to Jake's. If you have never been to Jake's for lunch, you need to make it a priority, it's really that good.

After school, I visited some more with NSFG while D slept in the papasan (all the while maintaining he wasn't tired and didn't need a nap). NSFG helped me get ready for supper, and then when they had squeezed all the goodness out of Stoon that they could in 24 hours, they packed up and left. This leaving coincided very nicely with the arrival of Big Red who may or may not have encouraged D to buy NSFG flowers.

Thanks so much for coming guys! Come back any time! I know you're saying it's my turn to go visit now, which I will, but don't be shy about announcing you want to sleep in my spare bedroom anytime. This goes for everyone else too.

Thursday, October 05, 2006


Before yesterday, one of my favorite things someone had said about me was that "I was all that and a bag of potato chips." What a hilarious compliment. Yesterday, I was called a "cracker-jack." I liked it just because saying cracker-jack is fun. Had it stopped there, I would have been happy knowing that someone had paid me an ambiguous, but fun compliment. The person, however, made sure to follow up his compliment with the reinforcement that it is in fact a very good thing to be called a cracker-jack. You may not know this, but the antonym to cracker-jack is slug. Now you know - look I can teach English and Math!

Then, as I was sitting in my desk prepping for my day this morning (read, enjoying my not quite sweetened enough coffee wishing it was Saturday so I could still be sleeping and cursing myself for forgetting I had something to do last night until 10:40 when I was just about to go to bed) another teacher stopped by to say hi and tell me how much my school and staff appreciates having me here. What a nice way to start my day! Oh Mr. D, you make me feel so welcome.

This is pretty awesome. It is so nice to be noticed as someone who is working hard. Sure, I know I work hard, but it sure does make my day when other people notice and go out of their way to tell me. At my job last year I could have completely revolutionnised the way math is done and no one would have said boo. At least not to me.

Telling people they're fantastic for one reason or anther is a good thing on many levels. It makes me want to tell other people I think they're awesome too, so they can enjoy the same feeling. Which is good, everyone loves to hear it, and sometimes we forget to mention it even though we think it all the time. And, it's encouragement to keep working hard. I can't have all these people telling me I'm doing a good job and then go slack off!

So, blog readers, I appreciate you. For one reason or another you're keeping up with me and my life and that's pretty darn cool. Unless of course you're keeping up with me because you're holding a grudge and figuring out what you're best revenge would be. In that case, well I appreciate that you think I merit that much time and energy. Now go tell someone why you appreciate them! Do it, it's thanksgiving. We shall feast on a cornicopia of compliments. Good times.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

les reponses

The missing links to the song game i poster earlier. I couldn't put the answers up until someone got MC Hammer, it would have been just plain wrong.

#2 - Metric, Slow Night
#5 - Black Eyed Peas, Go Go
#7 - The song title is really Don't get lost
#8 - Wide Mouth Mason, 40 Watt (I'm not sure I've ever listened to this song before now...)
#9 - Watchmen, Holiday
#11 - WMM, Sleepwalker
#15 - Wilco, Reservations

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


To make the day where I got to switch my blog over from blogger to the new beta-blogger (which I find much friendlier) I figured I'd change the look too. Thanks Google, I look forward to when you have all the bugs ironed out.

Oh ya, remember this? I'll post the answers tomorrow. I know, the suspense will kill you...

to my blogging friends

It's no secret I have an addictive and impressionable personality. I find more and more time in my days to dedicate to habits. Blogging is simply a natural addition to my pre-existing habit of talking with friends online while perusing the internet.

It's a quirky habit though. Reading blogs is a window into other people's lives. Not surprising considering my attachment to tv characters, I get somewhat attached to the people whose blogs I read. It would appear, I get confused about the small slice of reality these blogs contain.

You see, I read the blogs of friend's friends. In some cases more religiously than others. Then, because I do know these people, I seem to think we're better friends than we really are. Case in point, Kilometers. Sure, I know Km. We've hung out in the same space on several different occasions over the last 6 or so years. Really though, he is Marlito's friend. We would have no reason to ever speak if not for her. Or now, his blog. You see, Km is so highly entertaining I need to steal him for my own. I have imagined him into my own friend. I dream of the day when Km will come home and I too can be part of his quirky entourage and themed parties. I look forward to him coming home at Christmas. Totally hilarious.

But folks, how could you resist wanting to be friends with this:

Just try...

So please don't be confused when I start to treat you like we're childhood friends. You've been properly warned.

Monday, October 02, 2006


I've never been a die hard CSI fan. In fact, I don't think I'd even watched an episode until there were 3 different shows, 5 seasons, and it was impossible not to watch it just because it's on every channel imaginable at some time.

It became something I started to watch if I was at Big Red's and I was waiting for him to be done something so we could hang out. Or if I was marking and he was on the computer. You know, a safe tv show. One that while he didn't love, wouldn't make huge protests about if we had to watch the last 15 minutes of it. ie. for him it wasn't Alias or Veronica Mars...

The more I watched, the more I realised I really like them (all 3 versions). And while there is an underlying story line, it's not the end of the world if you don't watch them in order. CSI was starting to be my new Law and Order.

So when the season premier included cameos of the Cirque de Soleil AND John Mayer, it was like they knew exactly what they were doing. They were making me cross over from casual viewer to include it in my weekly downloads. I have joined the masses. I'm okay with it.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

le ballet

I went to see Romeo and Juliet last night. All of the regular folk I normally would drag with me and mysteriously out of the province. I had kinda forgot about it, so I didn't secure a backup. So, I went by myself. I'm not too sure what it is that's so intimidating about going to a public event by yourself, but it's tough to get over. It's not my fault no one else likes the ballet. I tried to coerce Big Red into joining me, but he claimed he'd eaten too much at supper and something about "work." Bah.

The good thing about going by myself was that ordering a last minute single ticket I got to sit exactly where I would normally pick and she gave me a student ticket. $10 to see a ballet is a good deal no matter how you look at it. I'm not sure you can go see a dance recital for $10.

The actual ballet itself was underwhelming. The Alberta Ballet is a young company, with young dancers and it showed. Technically, it just wasn't as good or strong as what you'd get from the National or the Royal Winnipeg. That being said, it appears that it's a young and creative company. The movement was interesting and modern. They did lots of interesting lifts and sequences. The overall feel was that they were trying really hard, but just needed more time to get it where it should be. I've never seen Romeo and Juliet before, so I'm not too sure how much of this was original choreography and how much was interpretation. Either way, it was a fun ballet.

While I may be way off, it seemed like the Alberta Ballet needs to work on keeping it's dancers instead of acting like a stepping stone for them. In two years, this exact same group of dancers could be kickassawesome. I have a feeling though, in two years they will be spread across the globe. Kind of too bad, but I guess when your tours consist of Vancouver, Medicine Hat, Calgary, Banff, Edmonton, Saskatoon and Regina it would be hard not to go looking for bigger things.

back to my roots

Big Red was spinning last night at Diva's, so, tired as I was feeling I hauled my butt to the bar so that I could be a proud provider of "girlfriend support."

At 10:30 I was still in my school clothes. Sure it was casual Friday so it could have been worse, but I'm still not quite ready to go to the bar dressed as Mme. I opened my drawer containing things I consider to be bar appropriate (ie. 80% not school appropriate). I wasn't feeling any of it. Looked at the closet. Blah, still not feeling it. What did I decide on wearing? My Math is Delicious shirt and jeans.

Step 2, check face. After opening the drawer and looking at things used on face to improve appearance, I decided that school leftovers were good enough. Hair? not so much seeing as I had a nap on the couch. Ponytail!

All of a sudden I've been transported back to 1999. I'm guessing I didn't look much older. I love that I spent 3 years of my life considering jeans and a cute t-shirt "dressing up" for the bar. I did used to put more effort into my hair, but I was younger, more ambitious and single then.