Thursday, December 28, 2006

Winter, Oops Autumn, in Agawa Canyon

I can finally download pictures without any glitches (hopefully), so I thought I would show some of our pictures from our trip to Agawa Canyon. We went on the day long train trip to see the sights of autumn. Instead we saw winter! At first I was disappointed, thinking it was going to be a gloomy day. Sault Ste. Marie was rainy and dull. As it was we were on the last weekend of the autumn season and most of the leaves had fallen; however, as we rode further north it started to snow. The snow got heavier and deeper as went up toward the canyon and by the time we stopped there was 20-30 cm on the ground. It was amazing and breath-taking. We rode in the dome car on our first leg of our journey and I was awestruck by the beauty that surrounded me. Since we were on the last car of the train, Don opened the door. The photographers on the train were lined up to take pictures and I loved watching the track rolling along. Here are a few of the pictures I took out the back of the train:

We were quite fortunate to go to the canyon n the day we did. If we had gone during the winter we would not have been allowed to get off the train since the canyon receives up to 15 feet of snow and it would be too dangerous for hiking. As it was we were not able to go to the lookout - closed due to dangerous weather conditions. It was a mix of rain and snow once we got to the canyon so I got soaking wet when we hiked to two of the falls. The water falls had not yet frozen over so we saw something more unique - water and snow, not snow and ice. The downside - I was soaked and my glasses kept fogging over. For those who are visually impaired like me, you can appreciate the frustration and disappointment when taking pictures and trying to get the light just right and focusing when you can't see.

Don had a great time looking at the trains. Being a model railroader he loved watching the engines changes from front to back for the return trip. I took some pictures of different parts of the train hoping to some day put together a collage for his train room.

I loved taking pictures of autumn peeking through the snow. The brightness of the colours against the snow was amazing.

We met a couple from Florida who come up to Ontario, Quebec and the eastern states every fall in order to get a real feel for the season. They had this honking digital camera that had a super zoom lens and could take five or more shots for my one. By the end of the trip they had taken 1400 shots! And I thought I took a lot of pictures!! They said they would send us a CD with some of their pictures on it which meant I was able to get some good pictures taken from inside a train (the windows were water streaked).
The return trip was relaxing. We sat below (not up top in the dome car) and could stretch out since there were fewer people than on the way north (a group of the people in our car hopped another train and kept going north to Hearst, another six hours north). We walked through the train and found car after car empty! When we asked we found out that there was just 200 people on the trip and since the next day was a full train of 800 they kept the cars on the train. We had free rein - great!

I loved looking at all the cottages along the rail line. Many of the cottages had no road access so during the summer the cottagers hop the train and the train stops along the way whenever people need off. The little huts you see at farms for children waiting to catch a bus are also along the rail line for people waiting for the train. I think that would be so cool to be that isolated... One man whose front door to his cottage was probably about 20 feet from the track was sitting on his veranda with his dog and reading the newspaper. I'm not sure I would want to be that close to the tracks. Here are the last look at our trip - the way back south:

I hope you enjoyed a glimpse into a special walk through a winter wonderland that Don and I took. The only thing that would have made the time better was to make it longer. We are now thinking of looking into the train trip up to Hearst, Ontario, a ten hour trip. I would also love to take the Polar Bear Express from Cochrane up to Moosenee and Moose Factory in the summer. Anyone up for it?


Have I Said How Much I Love Autumn?

I just had to add a few pictures I took this fall. I LOVE AUTUMN! It is such an amazing time of the year. The weather is usually fair and the colours magnificent. Barbara and I went to Elora Gorge to see the sites. I also went up to the Caledon Hills, just ten minutes north of where I am. The pictures below are from my hiking through the badlands and driving on the equestrian club road.

I just had to include this picture of our car. Don and I drove along the trans Canada on our way to Sault Ste. Marie. The weather was interesting - snow one minute, sunny the next, then foggy and icy. We saw that our car antenna had a layer of ice coating it that was about one inch thick. We found the first rest stop so we could take a picture of it since the ice was melting fast. When we got out we noticed the ice coating the front of the car. I just had to take a picture of it against the autumn trees since I thought no one would ever believe how contradictory the weather was.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Reflecting on 2006

The director of Education sent out an e-mail to all Peel Board staff. He reflectied on a few questions and challenged us to do the same. Here are my thoughts...

What did I do in 2006 that makes me most proud?
I suppose it would be the work that I have done in my classroom with my students since August and with mentoring and teaching other teachers about comprehensive literacy. Keeping the lessons simple and mini really works within a framework of reading and writing workshops. In teacher's college making formal and complex lessons was expected; however, keeping lessons simple and focused is better. I have been fortunate over the past year to work with teachers in planning and modeling literacy lessons. Just that little bit of modeling and professional discussion has made a positive impact on the schools I serviced.

What challenged me most this year?

Sometimes my own negativism or high expectations of myself create the moments of biggest challenge. At these times I need to slow down to speed up, to realize that it is best to take small steps one at a time rather than leaps and bounds to make the most impact on myself or others. I can be too hard on myself and wanting to see change too soon, before I am even ready for the change...

Who—or what—really inspired me?
I don't think it was anything big or anyone in particular, but I get greatest inspiration from the small and simple things in life, not the "big" moments. Examples: a child saying to me, "Mrs. Rutter you look pretty today" even when I feel tired and am having a bad hair day. These kinds of comments give me that extra boost to realize my day is good afterall. When my husband, Don, has dinner made when I get home from work, or when he buys me something (usually a candy treat) just because he was thinking of me, or hearing the words, "I love you", or a whistle when Don sees me in the morning. These simple gestures of love and kindness make me feel secure and, yes, even sexy. Looking at the autumn colours and realizing how amazing God is with His artistic touches. These days inspire me to write a poem or paint.

What touched me or surprised me?
I am back in the classroom (grade 2, in a portable) for the first time in three years. A lot of things that have surprised me and touched me this year are the little things I had forgotten (isn't it amazing how quickly we forget the day-to-day things that make life what it is). What touched me - the excitement of seeing the joy of learning and zest for life children have. Children are so naturally curious and fully embrace life. What do we do as adults, or what happens in life along the way, that dampens that spirit as children get older. Children start off wanting to go to school, wanting to learn, wanting to please others around them (particularly the adults), yet so many get turned off of school as they get older. Maybe I am ready for a change in grade to a junior class to try an reverse the trend.

What's the biggest lesson(s) I learned this year?
Keep it simple stupid : it is usually the simple things that make the biggest and lasting impact on myself and others. Also, don't sweat the small stuff: don't worry about what you cannot change. This is a hard lesson for me, considering I have such high expectations of myself. In order to not worry, I am learning to make lemonade when I am thrown a lot of lemons. I know, I know, how cliche of me!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

A Day With the Girls

Now that I can download some images, I thought I would go crazy...

I was so excited to have Emily and Elizabeth stay with Don and I for a few days in the summer. We spent a day shopping and going to the Caledon Hills to the Badlands and then to a conservation area in Belfountain. The Badlands are always interesting to see and we did a small hike to the Belfountain falls and then waded into the creek.

Don insisted that we go to Canada's Wonderland and take Andre, a boy from Barbados. Great idea, except that it was the hottest day in the summer with the humidex being somewhere between 42 and 45! As you know, I melt in anything over 25 so I had a challenging day. Unfortunately I ended up spending a couple of hours laying down on the grass outside the park while Don and the crew finished going on the rides since I was having difficulty breathing.

I thought you might enjoy seeing pictures from our time with the girls(hopefully it all works well...). I think the girls had a great time. At the very least, they thought Uncle Don was a "funny man", a comment he repeats often to this day. He will tell me during his teasing moments (which happen quite frequently) that Elizabeth and Emily think he is a funny man...

In Flanders Field

I thought I would create an entry just for a special poem with a heartfelt story...

"In Flanders Field" was written by Liet.Col. John McCrae, a Canadian surgeon in WWI. He wrote the poem during the battle in Ypres after burying a friend. Wild poppies were growing in the ditches amidst so much death and destruction. It has come to symbolize remembrance since the red of the flower is the colour of blood. The yellow/black centre represents the mud and desolation. The green stem represents the forests and field where so many died. The poem is now also a haunting song.

John McCrae, himself, died later in the war in 1918. His last words were, "If ye break faith with us who die, we shall not sleep." How fitting...

IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place, and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead.

Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders field

Remembering Remembrance Day

This has been a very emotional hour or two. It always is. As someone who loves reading about history the sacrifice of so many through war is touching...

I watch the Remembrance Day ceremony on tv. This year I considered being in Ottawa for the day - even if I was one of the 26,000 in the crowd it would still be a visible way of showing my appreciation, to applaud the vets during the parade. In the past many years as a society we are forgetting the importance of this day. You just need to watch the solemn ceremony to understand the need to never forget. I think it should be mandated that stores etc. should not be open until 1:00 on Remembrance Day so as a country we can honour the fallen. I remember as a child how people and traffic would stop at 11:00 to pause, think, mourn, remember. Can't we do that again? I feel embarrassed and disappointed by the number of people who see this as just another day. Here are just as few more of my thoughts o this day...

I think of how many people have forgotten or are not interested in knowing about significant battles and what they tell us about our country, such as Vimy Ridge. Perhaps now that so many young lives have been lost in Afghanistan we will want to be back in touch with our history.

I think of the story of Hanna's suitcase and the touching way the story came alive through a Japanese museum curator. It's interesting how this children's book has become a best seller in Japan yet as a country they have not recognized their part in the atrocities in World War II.

I think of the remaining vets. On such a cold, rainy day it is inspiring to watch these vets stand and salute their comrades. They are old (the average age of WWII vets on Canada is 85), sick and feeble, yet they stand for O'Canada, salute their friends, and participate in the veteran's parade with such pride. Their faces tell the story of the pain and horrors they saw and felt, yet year after year they participate willingly in events to honour the dead. Can't we do the same?

I think of the tomb of the unknown soldier and placing poppies on the tomb. Something I just learned... a headstone representing the unknown soldier has been placed in the war museum in such a way that on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month it would be basked in natural light. Wow!

I think of Don's grandfather who lied about his age so he could go to war. He volunteered for both the first and second world war. His other grandfather was disappointed to not go to war - he was turned away because of flat feet.

I think of my own grandfathers who each participated in WWII - one as a foot soldier and one through the Red Shield Services. I wish time could stand still or I could take time back. I would have spent more time with them as a grand-daughter asking them questions and listening to their stories. A part of their gruffness and how they perceived life is due, in part, to their wartime experiences. I am proud of them and their willingness to go. Papa Sears found it difficult to talk about, as did most vets. It isn't until recent years that vets are so willing to now talk about what they went through. We need to embrace their stories, write them down, and keep them in our hearts.

I think of the mothers and other family members who lost sons, daughters, husbands, wives, brothers and sisters. The mom who represented all moms today is from Newfoundland. She told a story of her son who had a strong sense of duty. He served in Kosovo and Afghanistan. When he was leaving Kosovo he met a man who was cold because he didn't have a winter coat, so he took off his jacket and his cap and gave it to the man.

I promise I will not forget. I promise to wear my poppy. As written before, I would love to go to Ottawa to recognize the vets. Anyone on up for it next year?

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Spectacular North Country

Over the past few days Don and I went up to Sault Ste. Marie. We had a great time and many interesting adventures...
We left Brampton at 5:00 am so we could catch the boat, the Chewcheman, from Tobermory at the tip of the Bruce Peninsula to Manitoulin Island. We arrived in good time and ate a wonderful breakfast of bacon and eggs as the waves were getting higher and higher and the water was very rough. We loved watching the boat rise and fall and rise and fall, crashing into the waves. All we kept saying was, "wow" and "cool". We were doing well until about 45 minutes before docking when were both said that breakfast was repeating just too much and, as you guessed it, I walked to the washroom with the barf bag in my hand and used it as I walked into the washroom! My mistake was getting up and walking around the ship. I found out later that staying sitting down is the best thing for the stomach. Oh, well, a lesson learned. Don did better than I - he stayed sitting down and we docked just in time!
Driving the Trans Canada was an experience. It was as if lines were drawn because one minute it was fine and the next it was snowing, then raining, then sleet, then nothing, then snow, and on and on it went. We stopped at a picnic spot for a break and noticed that the whole front of the car and the antenna were covered in about 3-4 cm of snow ice. I just had to take a picture since where we stopped had no snow but we had a very thick coating of snow on the front of the car.
We got up early the following morning to make sure we boarded the train in plenty of time. It was a dull rainy day and I was feeling a little ripped off; however, once the train started rolling out of the station I was looking forward to seeing what little bit of autumn was left in the canyon. We paid extra to sit in the dome car and going north we were up top. We were on the last car on the train. The further north we went the more snow we started to see. We no longer saw autumn, bit winter! It was an amazing sight, especially when Don opened the back door and I could take all kinds of great pictures out the back of the train. A couple of my pictures show the motion of the train.
When we arrived in the canyon there must have been up to 30 cm of snow (1 foot). It was a a wet, heavy snow. It was a cross between rain and snow falling and I got very wet. We did a short hike to two of the falls and Don spent time watching the trains and the switching of the engines. We ended the day thrilled with the landscapes we saw and excited that we saw a snippet of winter. I will need to go back sometime sooner on the season to see fall another time...
On our way back the boat did a lot of rocking again, but I am pleased to announce that my stomach held strong - probably because I refused to eat anything all day until after we got off the boat. We ate lunch in Wiarton and took our time going home by driving along Lake Huron through all the small towns. It so puts me in the mood for a cottage! Yes, Cathy, dream away...

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Couldn't Sleep - Too Much on My Mind

I have been thinking a lot about the school shootings that have been happening lately...

When I watched the coverage of the shooting in Quebec, especially the part where students were running away from the school to get away from the shooter, my mind went back to over 30 years ago. I couldn't help but cry, as if reliving the experience all over again.

It seems so surreal, as if the whole thing happened to someone else, and some of my memories are sketchy. I don't know for sure what I really saw or heard...

I remember being late from french class because I had a presentation. I know, I know, so often we say if only this had or had not happened, but in my case it is so true. I remember coming down the stairs during lunch time and seeing a deserted hallway. I opened the door and looked down the hallway. I saw a line of blood pools. A head popped out of the cafeteria and a hand signalled me to go away. Confusion and a feeling of doom came over me as I went back up the stairs and went outside. I saw people scrambling out of the home-ec classroom windows.

I remember feeling scared and concerned about finding all my friends and family. I stood at the front of the school in disbelief as rumours and facts became known to me. I am thankful to the Kerrs for coming to the school in search of all the SA kids and they drove us all home.

I remember arriving home and mom flying out of the house and how all I could say was, "We don't know where David is." I remember waiting, watching, feeling scared. I was glued to the television and the newspapers as they covered the event, hearing the personal stories and feeling concerned for classmates who had been shot.

I remember hearing MS's sister coming over the PA system on the morning we all returned to school apologizing on behalf of her family and thinking that it wasn't her fault so why would she feel she had to apologize.

I remember that a piece of my locker had been replaced and thinking it was a good thing I was late for lunch. God was looking out for me.

I remember being at camp the following summer and having a sudden feeling of dread and my heart pounding when a tire popped. It made me wonder if maybe I had heard some of the shooting afterall, maybe even the last shot.

It is hard to believe this ever happened in our quiet town. As a teacher in the same school district it amazes me how few people know that the shooting ever occurred. That shooting influenced so much in Ontario society - a gun registry and lock down procedures we are expected to practice today. Recently I was watching a brief CBC coverage of the first high school shooting in Canada - the one at BCSS. CBC is working on a special of the shooting. I imagine I will glued to it again....

Monday, October 02, 2006

10 Things You May Not Know About Me...

Sorry, Barbara, this has taken so long. Too much thinking...

1. If I couldn't be a teacher I would love to work in a zoo. I am fascinated by animals, especially polar bears, penguins, beavers, whales, and owls.

2. I love having my back rubbed. The sad thing is that it happens so seldom because Don hates rubbing my back!

3. My ultimate vacation dream would be to go on a cruise to the Antarctica.

4. I love the taste of veal, but have refused to eat it since I found out how veal meat is "made".

5. I am a rebel environmentalist at heart but have a hard time reconciling what would be best for the environment and the reality of cost...

6. I would like to travel through Europe and retrace the steps of Canadian battalions during the World Wars and discover my family history.

7. I am fascinated by the Royal family and its history.

8. If I had the money I would Iike to have a cottage somewhere rustic up in Haliburton somewhere... a place that could be low maintenance... Anyone want to buy me one?

9. I would love to get my Master's degree but I have too many other things I want to get my pilot's licence, get my visual arts diploma, sky diving, scuba diving... and the list goes on. Life has so much to offer...

10. It would be wonderful to do a teacher exchange to Australia or New Zealand, or teach for a year in the Arctic.

I thought of another one...

11. I am a reflective person. I have written poems as a way to reflect on my life experiences and my love for God.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Not Enough Time Off!

I may be able to finally catch up on my blogging. I have two weeks off to relax and reconnect with life!

It has been an interesting two months. I am teaching grade 2 at a balanced calendar school. It felt strange to be teaching throughout August but having two weeks off in October sure feels great! Perhaps I will be able to do a few day trips and enjoy the autumn colours. Don and I will be taking a few days the second week to travel to Sault St. Marie to take the train through the Agawa Canyon. Hopefully scrapbooking, stained glass, painting, shopping, finishing a fence and digging a garden will also be a part of my time off. WAIT - can I have more than two weeks off please? I'm exhausted already...

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Latest Happenings

I know, I know - I don't keep up on my blog as much as everyone else. I often have a hard time writing off the cuff so think I don't have much to say. Also, I have been trying to download some pictures and getting frustrated with how long it takes and so gave up. I don'thave that kind of time. I spend most evening sitting at the computer planning and preparing for my classroom. Iknow, I know - I guess I had better get a life!

Anyway, Don and I went to Jenn and Kevin's for dinner last night. I so enjoyed spending time with them and seeing their new home. Lovely! I was thinking on my way home that I wish family wasn't spread out so much so we could see each other more. It was so much nicer when we lived in teh same city and say each other at church. I know, I know - that's poart of growing up and getting your own life. It's great that we all have jobs we are passionate about and wonderful families, but I just miss y'all!

I was at the National program last weekend and thought, "Boy does life ever fly by?" I saw Prof Curnow and realized it has been over 25 years. Wow! You know you are getting older feels like yesterday that you went to music camp and remember most details like they just happened.

By the way, at the National program there was a video with Jason in it. He was wearing his army fatigues and getting shot over and over again. The situation was humourous and the national students cheered at this, but if Jenn, Kevin, Alyson, or Jason could explain it to me, I would appreciate it (do you "get" it?). I don't really get it - am I missing something?

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Summer Happenings

Not much to report on my life at the moment. I have not had an exciting summer. Here is what I have been doing:

  • I took a two day course on Differentiating Instruction. It sounds impressive doesn't it. It also sounds heavy and boring. It wasn't too bad but it was a bit boring...
  • I took a week long course on teaching math. There was a lot of hands-on activities so it was pretty good. Hands-on is always good :)!
  • Emily and Elizabeth visited for a few days - it's amazing just how much they have grown in one year. I miss all of my nieces and nephews who live far away. You miss so much when you are hardly ever around them.
  • Don and I actually spent a few days camping. We had a wonderful time at Port Burwell. Gary ad Laurie Reilly came down for an afternoon. It's hard to believe they are mom and dad's officers now!
  • I spent a week and a few days getting my classroom ready.
  • I am now back to work in this heat! While I am cooking right now, I sure will enjoy October and the two weeks I will have then. Hopefully I will be able to go away, then.

Once I get my pictures back I will share them at another time. In the meantime, I have enjoyed reading everyone else's Blogs and catching up on family. Toodles!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

My Most Cherished Possessions

I forgot to do my most cherished possessions... (sorry, I copied and pasted Joanne's). I put this as a comment and thought I might add it as another posting. Also, I thought of a fifth one that some people might find interesting.

  • my photo albums
  • my professional portfolio
  • my furniture antiques (Don's grandmother's sewing machine, my dining set, Don's grandfather's chest)
  • my children's book collection
  • my grandmother's Salvation Army bonnet. This has come in handy - I have taken it into school when talking to children about treasures that give us memories.

Finally Replying to My Tags...

I can't believe I am finally getting around to the tag! My internet/e-mail has been so unreliable these days. They are changing the system at work and with my personal server at home - a double whamie! Anyway, here goes...

4 jobs I've had:
  • lots and lots and lots of babysitting
  • Simpson's (The Bay) Cafeteria cleaning tables and cooking
  • working for the Salvation Army in the camp kitchen as a cook and at DHQ as a Girl Friday
  • a primary teacher and Early Literacy Teacher for the Peel District School Board.
4 movies I could watch over and over again:
  • Fiddler on the Roof (actually, most musicals, especially those with a social message - fun and thought provoking, a hard achievement)
  • Money Pit (I love watching the section where the house starts falling apart)
  • Back to the Future (any of them)
  • Wizard of Oz (the best witch ever!)

4 places I've lived:

  • Mississauga, Ontario (although it was called Cooksville at the time...)
  • Brampton, Ontario
  • Wilmore, Kentucky
  • Brampton, Ontario...Brampton, Ontario...Brampton, Ontario (I'm so predictable)

4 TV shows I love: (6 instead...)

  • anything Law and Order
  • CSI
  • I Love Lucy
  • Dick Van Dyke Show
  • M*A*S*H
  • Corronation Street

4 places I've been on vacation: Okay...5 again...

  • Quebec City (I agree, Barbara, it's the best. I love the ambiance and history of the place)
  • Camping anywhere (as long as I am outdoors and in a tent I am happy. I enjoy the provincial and national parks best for the hiking and nature activities. My favourites - Arrowhead, Charleston Lake, Port Burwell, Bruce Penninsula)
  • Salvation Centennial Congresses - Kansas City and Winnipeg. The atmosphere is incredible and meeting new people and seeing old friends is great.
  • Haliburton School of the Arts (over the years I have stayed in cottages and attended art class during the day. I love learning something fun and enjoying cottage life. It would be my perfect life if I didn't have to have a job)
  • Ottawa (I could live here - just give the word...)

4 favorite dishes:

  • Oriental Salad
  • Spaghetti
  • Chicken Friend Rice
  • Almost anything beef, especially roast beef and yorkshire

4 websites I visit daily:

4 places I'd rather be right now:

  • on a road trip anywhere. The paces I have not been that I would love to see - the Canadian east coast, the Canadian west coast, the arctic (Churchill, Manitoba, the polar bear capital of the world; Moosenee, Ontario; Iqualuit; Yellowknife to see the Aurora Borealis), the antartic (this would be a tricky road trip!)
  • camping
  • in a hillside cottage on an Ontario lake in the autumn (the colours would be fabulous)...or an island cottage in the St. Lawrence (I love isolation)
  • traveling Europe (especially England) to trace family history and see Canadian Armed Forces sites and key battles (Vimy Ridge, Normandy, Holland...)

4 most cherished possessions:

  • my photo albums
  • Mum Young's antique serving bowls
    Family photos
    Handmade Christmas Ornaments from the kids over the years

4 least favorite chores:

  • cleaning toilets (I agree, Joanne)
  • any laundry, especially ironing
  • organizing my boxes and boxes and boxes of teacher stuff (I'm over-run!)
  • vacuuming (it's a good thing Don likes to do it!)

4 best stress relievers:

  • bike riding
  • hiking
  • petting Yoda
  • sitting on the deck/patio and having a BBQ

4 bloggers I'm tagging: I am not tagging sweet!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

What's In a Name?

I have been thinking about and preparing this blog for a little while. The Bible study I am in has been focusing on Mary and Martha. I have been thinking about the meaning of their names since most names do have meaning... So I went to a website and found all kinds of names.

Martha means "mistress of the house" or "lady" in Aramaic. How fitting since Martha was consumed with keeping her house in order and not taking quiet time to reflect in the presence of Jesus.

The meaning of Mary is not known for certain, but there are several theories including "sea of bitterness", "rebelliousness", and "wished for child". However it was most likely originally an Egyptian name, perhaps derived in part from My "Beloved" or Mr "Love".

I couldn't stop there. I was thinking - I wonder how many of us live up to the meaning of our names. So... I looked up the meaning of my siblings and their husbands. I wonder if we live up to the meanings of our names. What do you think?

Catharine - The Romans associated it with Greek
καθαρος (katharos) "pure" and changed their spelling from Katerina to Katharina to reflect this.
Grace - Means "grace" from the English word, which ultimately derives from Latin gratia.
Catharine Grace - Pure Grace! Kind of sounds like me, don't you think?!

Donald - From the Gaelic name Domhnall which means "ruler of the world", composed of the Old Celtic elements dumno "world" and val "rule".
Stewart - From an occupational surname originally belong to a person who was a steward. It derives from Old English stig "house" and weard "guard".
Donald Stewart - Ruler of the world and a house guard. He thinks he is anyway!

Joseph - From the Latin Iosephus, which was from the Greek
Ιωσηφος (Iosephos), which was from the Hebrew name יוֹסֵף (Yosef) meaning "he will add".
Roy - Derived from Gaelic ruadh meaning "red".
Joseph Roy - He will add red. Add red to what?

Grace - Means "grace" from the English word, which ultimately derives from Latin gratia.
Evelyn - From a surname which was originally derived from the name
AVILA. Originally derived from the Germanic element av which is of unknown meaning. However during medieval times the name became associated with Latin avis "bird".
Grace Evelyn - Grace bird. Sometimes she eats like a bird!

David - Possibly derived from Hebrew
דוד (dvd) meaning "beloved".
Joseph - From the Latin Iosephus, which was from the Greek
Ιωσηφος (Iosephos), which was from the Hebrew name יוֹסֵף (Yosef) meaning "he will add".
David Joseph - beloved who will add. Add what?!

Joanne - English form of Johanne, an Old French feminine form of Johannes (see
JOHN). John itself derived from the Hebrew name יוֹחָנָן (Yochanan) meaning "YAHWEH is gracious".
Elizabeth - From
Ελισαβετ (Elisabet), the Greek form of the Hebrew name אֱלִישֶׁבַע ('Elisheva') meaning "my God is an oath" or perhaps "my God is abundance".
Joanne Elizabeth - Yahweh is gracious, in abundance and an oath. Interesting.... :)

Stephen - From the Greek name
Στεφανος (Stephanos) meaning "crown".
John - English form of Iohannes, which was the Latin form of the Greek name
Ιωαννης (Ioannes), itself derived from the Hebrew name יוֹחָנָן (Yochanan) meaning "YAHWEH is gracious".
Stephen John - Crown of God's grace? This was a little trickier to put together...

Barbara - Derived from Greek
βαρβαρος (barbaros) meaning "foreign".
Janine - Modern French form of Jehanne, an Old French feminine form of Johannes (see
JOHN). John, itself derived from the Hebrew name יוֹחָנָן (Yochanan) meaning "YAHWEH is gracious".
Barbara Janine - foreign God is gracious? This is strange.

Michael - From the Hebrew name
מִיכָאֵל (Mika'el) which meant "who is like God?". I like this one!

Richard - Means "brave power", derived from the Germanic elements ric "power, rule" and hard "brave, hardy".
Considering everything Rick has been through in his life he certainly has lived up to his name!

Here is the website I used:

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Kids Will Always be Kids

Yesterday Jason was sworn in to the army recruits. He asked me twice if what he was wearing looked good because he wanted to stand out without standing out too much. Even though money is tight he purchased a yellow shirt just so he could make a good impression. He was very excited yet anxious. When I saw him leaving I thought of the little boy who loved to carry my garbage to the shoot to watch it go down (I would save it up just for James and Jason to get their thrills). I saw that same wide-eyed excitement.

Don and I were going to go down with him to watch him get sworn in but he said he would like to go on his own. I also thought how grown up he has become. It was something he wanted to do on his own.
Joanne, you have a fine son - one who has carefully thought through the decision he has made. He has worked hard to get through his obstacles and is proud of being a recruit. He doesn't take his decision lightly. You must be very proud of him, too!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

A Home Memory

Reading Barbara's blog got me to thinking about our hoe on Freeport. It was a child's paradise. My special memories of our home and street:

1. playing hide-and-go-seek with most of the kids on the street. I loved to hide in the woods. 2. building tree forts.
3. hiding from the man in the caboose! We thought he reported children to the police.
4. sneaking across the tracks to eat strawberries (I think I only did this a couple of times) or into the orchard to eat apples (the farmer really loved us for this!)
5. playing house in the woods - I made a livingroom, diningroom, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom inbetween the trees. The leaves made great toilet paper! (how rude...)
6. riding the bicycle on the paths through the woods and pretending I was traveling on a real road.
7. eating rubbarb dipped in sugar, fresh from the Chandler's garden.
8. the GoGo girl cutouts on our bedroom wall. We thought they were so cool.
9. playing hide and seek in the basement and the favourite hiding spot was the speaker.
10. our first sleepover was in the basement.
11. Mr. Cakoe (?) and his friendly words. He had a favourite song, too! I think it was about Joanne in a bikini (?). She wore an itsy-bitsy teeny-weeny yelow polka dot bikini.
12. I think it was Mr. Cakoe's son who had a convertable and he gave the kids a ride around the block.
13. Riding double after being told not to and we fell. Cathy Jane needed to get stitches.
14. Stephen taking my brand new bicycle and having an accident with it. I was more concerned about my new bike that I hadn't even ridden yet rather than Stephen who banged his head - such sibling love!
15. Seeing baby birds in the tree outside our bedroom window.
16. yelling to the kids in the house attached to us through the bathroom wall.
17. mom hanging the laundry on the line
18. Mrs. Chandler feeding the squirrels and chipmunks. She would call them and they would come down out of the trees to eat from her hand.

Monday, April 17, 2006

I decided to try Barbara's game, only I googled "Cathy wants..." instead of "Cathy needs...". What an interesting experience! Here are the results (with my reactions in brackets):

Cathy wants to emphasize and reiterate that her first and ultimate priority is to get out. (Get out of what?)

Cathy wants to do 32 things. accept that my nose is still ugly and get on with my life (I must admit that the Sears nose is not at all becoming!)

Cathy wants to find you the perfect home. (What is perfection, anyway? I am content, but I must admit I keep striving to make life better. Don't we all?)

Cathy wants to tell you about her new Japanese bicycle: "It's a standard housewife/high school student special. (What's a Japanese bicycle? Do housewives ride differently than other people? Is it to do with different positions - an interesting thought).

Cathy wants to be alone. Being alone is the only way for her to discover herself (Preferably sitting on a rock by a lake or ocean does the trick!)

Our old Cathy wants one, wants one, our old Cathy wants one, too. Wait just a bit, wait just a bit, you'll get, you'll get (I want one - or at least I think I do...BUT "old" Cathy? I think I am suppose to be offended).

Cathy wants a little of my time. six cylinders underneath the hood crashing and kicking, ahhh listen to the engine whine. (sounds a little dirty!)

I don’t really want to do it, just want to have it finished! (Don, please more...I don't know what I want...!)

Cathy wants desperately to save her marriage, and Frank is in agony over the trouble he is causing. (Frank should never have said anything to Don. He should be in agony over the rouble he has caused!)

Cathy wants to convey some sense of relaxation and enjoyment, of slowing down and listening to the inner voice. (I think this is suppose to relate to the rock by the lake moment)

Cathy wants to do a victory lap wearing the two flags (sounds kinky. I wonder if the spiked choker and leather boots would be part of the outfit?)

Cathy wants her cake (and I want to eat it too!)

Cathy wants to improve life for aboriginal children and families. "I’ve always been interested in movements of social justice," (I do believe that as a society we need to adopt the philosophy that it takes a village to raise a child)

Cathy wants to spend the time enticing men. (When do I have the time?)

Saturday, March 25, 2006

March Break

I know I hardly ever write, BARBARA! Here I finally go again...

Had a wonderful time visiting with family in Washington, DC.

I wasn't prepared for the great weather the first day. Shorts were definitely needed instead of pants and sweatshirts... I have heard that women do not sweat - they perspire gently. Sorry, but I sweat - it pours off me. Living in a hotter climate would be a major hardship for me - give me fall and winter any day! Don't get me wrong. I do enjoy summer and the activities that come with it - hiking camping, swimming. I just hate the dripping water thing...

It was great to see the blossoms coming out and green bushes. We spent one day walking the mall - walking to the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Memorial, the Vietnam and World War II Memorial, and the Capitol. We also went to the the Air and Space Museum and the Native museum. It was a great day, although my feet were ready for a replacement.

The next day the weather had drastically changed - the temperature was in the 50's and there was a cold breeze. I felt more like home although at home it was freezing. We went to Mount Vernon to see Washington's house and Alexandria. We thoroughly enjoyed looking at these historical places. On an interesting note...we had to be a little creative in finding our way out of Alexandria. We took the long way home - a murder (a shooting) happened on the fast route and so the area was closed and we we detoured. Don stopped to chat with a police officer to check on directions and he laughed, sarcastically, and said, "Good luck!"

Have to go right now. I will have to see if I can figure out how to add pictures when I revisit my blog.

Bye for

Sunday, February 19, 2006

February Blahs!

It's another February day. this winter has been a little strange - has hardly felt like winter at all. This past week we finally had a visit from Old Man Winter with freezing rain and cold temperatures. I hate driving in freezing rain, but at least it was like winter. I am sooooo in the mood for a blizzard and some more excitement.

I just spent a day and night at my sister's place scrapbooking. Don laughs at me when I go to a crop. I pack an XXL bag with paper, a tool bag with all kinds of tools, and another carrying case full of photos and embellishments. Why do I do all this? So I can crop two layouts! Oh, the strange things we do....

Well, Barbara. Here it is six months later and I have finally written another BLOG. What do you think?