Monday, December 24, 2007

The Miniature Earth

Facebook has been an interesting esperience. It can be frivilous and I can feel guilty not responding to everything I read or see. The best thing is that it has allowed me an opportunity to touch base again with old friends I thought I would never hear from or see again. I have now had contact with Karen Kushner from elementary and high school days, BJ Prior from camp days and Cheryl Watson and Scott Kelly from Asbury days.

I have been sent a lot of videos and thought this was very pertinent for this time of year when we reflect on helping others. We truly are blest to have financial security, all of our basic needs met, family who care for us, and peace in our society. In particular I am blessed to have peace in my heart. May we all appreciate what God has given us and may we never take it for granted.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas - Music Video

As a primary teacher I just couldn't resist posting this on my blog. There is alight show using this song,but I thought this was a little more interesting. ENJOY!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Miss Piggy Goes Camping

I found this Miss Piggy number - just for Jennifer!

I'm Counting My Blessings!

What is eaten in one week!
Just in case you need to think of something new to be thankful for this holiday season.....
This is undoubtedly one of the most interesting e-mails I've ever received. Take a good look at the family size & diet of each country, and the availability & cost of what is eaten in one week.

Italy: The Manzo family of SicilyFood expenditure for one week: 214.36 Euros or $260.11
Germany: The Melander family of BargteheideFood expenditure for one week: 375.39 Euros or $500.07United States: The Revis family of North Carolina (Sure hope most Americanfamilies eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and less junk food than this family.)Food expenditure for one week $341.98 Mexico: The Casales family of CuernavacaFood expenditure for one week: 1,862.78 Mexican Pesos or $189.09 Poland: The Sobczynscy family of Konstancin-JeziornaFood expenditure for one week: 582.48 Zlotys or $151.27
Egypt: The Ahmed family of CairoFood expenditure for one week: 387.85 Egyptian Pounds or $68.53
Ecuador: The Ayme family of TingoFood expenditure for one week: $31.55
Bhutan: The Namgay family of Shingkhey VillageFood expenditure for one week: 224.93 ngultrum or $5.03
Chad: The Aboubakar family of Breidjing Camp Food expenditure for one week: 685 CFA Francs or $1.23 ?
Don't know about you, but right about now, I'm counting my blessings!

Winter Storm Warning!

I LOVE snow! I LOVE snow storms! There can never be enough snow, as long as I don't have to drive in it. Tonight we should be getting a dumping. I plan to sit in front of the fireplace and stay warm and cuddly. My favourite memories are when Don and I took a walk about 2-3:00 in the morning when all was still, no one on the roads, and no tracks in the snow. The beauty of fresh fallen snow can't be matched. I only hope it stays around another week until Christmas or we get another dumping just in time for Santa.

Oh - I can't wait to use my new camera to catch it all!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

My New Camera

I finally saved up enough money to get myself a digital SLR. YIPPEE! Now they playing begins. It is going to take me forever to learn how to work everything. There are so many options. I can't wait for Christmas. Barbara, hope you can show me everything!
My first official event to photograph was Rick's Christmas party. It was a lot of fun. We had a girl at our table named Heather who giggled through the dinner, especially when there was an announcement about the dancing about to begin. She had a boyfriend at another table and she couldn't contain her excitement.
As for Rick, his big excitement was sitting beside Barbara because the food just kept on coming! Even when Barabra finally announced that the food was gone he reached out his hand and grabbed a handful of whatever he could find and stuck it in. Man, that boy is the fastest grabber in the west! Kudos to Barabra for being quick witted and grabbing back the honking slab of meat that just happened to have a teeny corner sticking out of Rick's mouth. Rick would have been chewing that all night and probably the next day!

Flat Stanley Comes For a Visit

I read the novel, Flat Stanley, with my class. Stanley was a normal boy until one night when he was sleeping a bulletin board fell on him. Now he is as flat as a piece of paper. To encourage my students to write, they each made a Flat Stanley and took him home for the weekend for a visit. I also did the same thing and made a slideshow of our visit. Here are a handful of the pictures from the slideshow:

Flat Stanley walked in the Brampton Santa Claus parade under Don's hat!

Flat Stanley went to pizza hut and ate a whole personal meat lovers pan pizza all to himself!

Don and Flat Stanley spent a lot of time together playing games on the computer. Stanley even beat Don in a game! Later they watched Hockey Night in Canada together.

Yoda and Stanley became buddies for the weekend. Stanley and Yoda slept together.

My students are presently preparing letters and a questionnaire. They are hoping to find people who love to have Flat Stanley visit them for a week and take pictures of his adventures. Stanley's new friends would take him with them wherever they go and take pictures of places he visits. They will also answer the questionnaire and mail him back to us. My grade 3 students will read the journal and the questionnaire and look at the pictures (which could be e-mailed) to determine if Stanley visited an urban or a rural community. FUN TIMES IN GRADE 2/3!

Any takers? If you know anyone who would be interested, let me know.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

My Past Life!

Well, Evie, I tried the past life experience and here it is...

I don't know how you feel about it, but you were male in your last earthly incarnation.You were born somewhere in the territory of modern East Australia around the year 1775. Your profession was that of a leader, major or captain.

Your brief psychological profile in your past life:Timid, constrained, quiet person. You had creative talents, which waited until this life to be liberated. Sometimes your environment considered you strange.

The lesson that your last past life brought to your present incarnation:It always seemed to you that your perceptions of the world are somewhat different. Your lesson is to trust your intuition as your best guide in your present life.

Do you remember now?

I don't remember, but it sure is interesting. I was a male from Australia, a leader, timid, and creative. Hmmm, let's see, I would love to go to Australia on a teacher exchange some day, have been in leadership roles, am timid in new circumstances, and may be considered somewhat creative. Hmmm.... What do you think?

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Another Year Ahead

It is now the end of the first week of school. I had a class of 20 students until two moved away. Now I have a class of 18 - PERFECT! Unfortunately that will not last very long. We will proabably have to re-organize the school since some other grades' numbers are too high. I may need to become a split grade 2/3 one the dust settles.

It all comes down to the government mandate that primary classes not be any larger than 20 students. There is debate in the research about this issue - are smaller class sizes really better? Some say yes since the less teacher stress means for happier students and more time for class programming. Some say no since it all comes down to good teaching, regardless of size.

I can see both sides of the issue. I know that when I have had the rare smaller class size I have felt calmer and less overwhelmed by the marking. In today's educational climate more and more has been asked of the classroom teacher. We are secretaries, moms, nurses, social workers and so on, not just teachers (although the best teachers throughout time have always taken on these additional roles). More and more is also being added (dumped) into the curriculum, as if time at school will solve all of society's problems. Children need to know about sexual abuse so let's add it to the curriculum. Then there's anit-racism education, daily physical activity (DPA), computers, and so on and so on. It is all worthwhile programming but there is only so much time in the day. Effective teachers do not just program. They assess, program, reassess, reprogram and so on. All of this means quality time in order to do it well and honour the creativity, different learning styles and multiple intelligences of children. It all comes down to TIME and we never have enough of it.

On the other side of the argument in the calssroom over the years in which there were more children there was fabulous learning happening and a vibrant energy. I have ocassionally heard from some of those children who remember the classroom experience with fondness. I would like to think that I had somehting to do with it.

The long and short of it - I am carrying on with teaching a straight grade until I hear differently. There is never a dull moment in education. There is always something new or different happening.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Calgary Happenings, Part III

I have a few minutes so I thought I would do one more blog. Thanks to Joanne's digital camera I have had pictures to show you of my experiences so far. You will have to wait until I get home to see my pictures once they are processed. So far I have 12 rolls to process (or is it 14?)!

Joanne took me to Banff National Park for a day. We went along the old Trans Canada, 1A, and the sights were amazing. How can anyone not believe in God when they see the beauty all around? Joanne and I went to Lake Moraine. What a beautiful spot. I think I could live in the mountains so easily. I kind of feel about them the way I do about northern Ontario - awestruck.
I was able to take a couple of pictures of trains traveling the rails along this stretch of road. Some day I would like to travel across Canada by train in a sleeper car. What a great way to see the country.
I think I have these growing my garden back home! The columbine is one of my favourites.
I was so glad that Joanne was patient with me since I kept yelling, "Stop the car!" so I could get pictures and I wanted to sketch. Lake Moraine was a lovely spot to stop and get out the sketch book and pencils. It would have been great to have a day just to sit by the side of the lake and paint. The water is turquoise. Who needs to go to the Caribbean when you have the lakes in the Rockies? The only problem is that you freeze the tush off if you swim in the ice cold water.
A couple days later Gayle drove me up to the mountains. While we were at Lake Moraine four teenage boys dared each other to jump into the lake. They all jumped in at the same time and as soon as they came up they made a mad dash for shore. They would enjoy being a part of the polar bear club that goes for a swim every winter in the Great Lakes in Ontario. I think the one in Toronto does it around New Year's.

When Gayle took me up to the mountains we also went to the Columbian Icefield in Jasper. Such a "cool" place. It was interesting to learn all about the glaciers and the shaping of the Rockies. There were trees there that are 300 years old and only about six feet tall. There was another patch of trees that were 8oo years old and only about eight feet tall. They harshness of the mountain environment with winter-like conditions almost year round makes for an extremely short growing season - I think they said about six weeks! The day we went was actually a warm day - 15 degrees.

Nathan and I took a tour bus out onto the glacier. It was one of these buses that are used in the oil industry on these humongous wheels. Nathan was excited because his family has only visited the toe before. We saw big horned sheep on the side of the road. I tried getting pictures of them through the bus window. Hopefully they will turn out and I can show you them at another time.

On our way back down the highway we stopped in Lake Louise to see the famous Fairmont Hotel. We also stopped in Banff for dinner. We ate at the Old Spaghetti Factory in the open area section. Eating spaghetti looking out at the mountains - life couldn't be better! A couple days before when Joanne took me to the mountains I saw the other famous Fairmont hotel, Banff Springs, and the Canadian Place owned by the government (Canada House?) and used for summits and retreats. I preferred the Banff Springs hotel to Lake Louise because of the rocks/bricks used in constructing the buildings. They look more historic.

Anyway, now that I have rambled on and on and on, it is probably time to say aurevoir. I will be traveling into the BC interior for camping with Stephen and Gayle and the kids. We are hoping to go to Head-Smashed-in Buffalo Jump (I love saying that!), the Frank Slide and the Crowsnest pass. These are all historic places. I will write again when I get home. So.... toodles for now and speak to you soon!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Calgary Happenings

Here is the next update of my visit: Joanne took me to the bomber museum in Nanton. There was a wonderful display and information about the Great Escape and the role Canadians played. Bruce just happened to have the movie so that night I watched the movie.
We visited Drumheller and the hoodoos. Cool place with interesting formations but it sure was hot that day. Another afternoon Joanne and I went backroading to look for abandoned buildings. The prairies are full of them since it was so hard to make a living and get a farm established. If the buildings could talk I can just imagine the history and personal stories they could tell. It is sad that so many grain elevators, a key to the export of winter grain, are now silent.

I had a blast at the Calgary Stampede. I got up early - very early - to get into the city and reserve a place on the street. I sat with Stephen and the kids - aren't they just too cute!

I loved the standing ovation the armed forces received, especially the army. How fitting considering just the day before we lost another six of our soldiers. They are doing such an awesome and courageous job in Afghanistan that they deserve all of our praise and support.

I loved seeing the street cleaners that were a part of the parade to clean up all of the droppings.

That night we all went to the grand stand show. There were the chuck wagon races before the show. The rider I cheered for won his heat. I have no idea who he is, but his wagon said "sandalwood" on the side and since I live off of Sandalwood Parkway I thought it was fitting. Amazing Las Vegas style show. I loved the dancing, the ventriloquist (?), the native ring dancing, and the fireworks.

Monday, July 02, 2007

It's Me Again - I'm Here!

I finally have a few moments to blog. Flew out to Calgary on Saturday. The flight went okay. I don't like flying alone - I like having company. The seat beside me was empty so it wasn't so bad. I liked watching the airplane on the map to see our progress. I ate pretzels and watched some TV. Travel certainly is becoming more luxurious!

I couldn't believe that I was able to get a flight out for $149 ($200 when taxes etc. are counted in). On the way back it is costing me $350! So much for a cheaper trip!

After touching down Joanne was there to greet me. It was great to see a familiar face in an unfamiliar place. We stopped by Stephen's with a Dairy Queen ice cream cake to say hello and see what is left of his family. Nathan, Kathryn and Stephen - Gayle and the rest of the girls are away on some singing thing. I love being with family. It's too bad that I have to take an airplane to see them. I would much rather take a car so it can happen more often.

Yesterday Joanne and I went to a small town (forget the name) to see a bomber museum and go through some antique stores. I bought two school books from 1909 and 1912. Joanne started reading a poem and I laughed since I do that same poem with my children in grade 2! We saw a lot of books that we read when we were younger and they were newer at the time. I sure felt old! In my class a few years ago we were talking about "many years ago in the pioneer days" and one of the kids said, "You mean in the black and white days?" It made me laugh because I was brought up in the black and white days! I guess age is a relative thing because I still feel like that little girl sometimes.

The bomber museum was cool. I liked seeing the war from such a Canadian perspective, especially the display about the Great Escape.

Tomorrow I think we are going to Drumheller - the dinosaur place. I can't wait. So until next time, toodles!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Now It's My Wedding Picture Turn!

At the family shower two weeks before the wedding.

My, Alyson, what a lovely wedding dress you have!

The Holiday Inn in Cambridge.

The boy cousins. If only they had jeans and boots, just think what would have happened.

Having the pictures taken in a park with a stream was a great idea.

Thanks Jason and Alyson for thinking about keeping the cousins occupied.

A moment with his nana. This is such as loving picture.

I think it is one I will cherish for many years to come.

I liked how Jason and Aylson were very relaxed throughout the day. There were many sweet moments between the two. Unfortunately I don't have an automatic mode on my camera so was unable to catch them all. I'm glad they took Uncle Don's advise to not worru and jusy enjoy their special day.

Great car. Alyson said it was great to get a vintage car fro the fifties and then I thought, "Wait a minute, I was born in that vintage decade. Does that make me vintage?" I am feeling very old tonight...

Some of us got together for brunch the next morning. I loved spending time with my family. We don't do it often enough. Anyway, I couldn't believe that Jason and Alyson made it down to breakfast, too. I think it was something about having a coupon from the hotel with them being newlyweds. I don't know about you, but having breakfast with my mom and dad would not have even entered my mind when I got married! On second thought, food...Jason... some how it is fitting!
You sure can tell Jason is a newlywed - playing with the ring. Thanks again, Jasonand Alyson, for such a great day. Congratulations for the many years to come.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Another Wedding Reflection

I always feel like my blogs are way behind the times. Again, people have already reflected on Jason and Alyson's weddingwith photos before I could. Maybe I need to get a digital camera so I can be more ahead of the game...

Anyway, I, too, have been reflecting a lot over the wedding of a next generationer. It is hard to believe that Jason is a married man. I know I am going to sound cliche, but it seems like just yesterday when he sat on my knee in church or stayed with me in my apartment. It is wonderful to see the maturity in the decisions he has made over the past couple of years. I am proud to be an aunt and to be a small part of his life.

I so enjoyed the wedding. It was very evident that Jason and Alyson had a great time, too. I'm glad that they made themsselves a priority. So often it is a tense filled day for the bride and groom, but they were relaxed and just enjoyed spending time with family and friends. There were no pretenses, just honest fun. Alyson will fit right into the family.

Thanks for a great day guys!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Panama City Beach

I used my Roxio Program to create a scrapbook project. Unfortunately, it was a little limiting for what I was hoping for (more choice in layout, being able to add more journaling).

The first photo page shows two pictures of our overnight stay at Shakertown. As you can see, the accommodations were very modest but the atmosphere was divine!

The second photo page is of Gator Lake in Andrews State Park. We saw a large blue heron but, again, missed the gators. The twisted trees were cool and it is amazing to think that just over the hill was the ocean. Great park - it's a repeater experience.

Lastly, I just had to include a sunset. I tried every night we were there and always missed it. I was glad that on the last night we got down to the beach just in time.


Wikipedia Tag

I thought I would put in my year as well and this is what I found...

Three events:

  1. 1520 - Stockholm Bloodbath begins: A successful invasion of Sweden by Danish forces results in the execution of around 100 people.
  2. 1793 - In Paris, the French Revolutionary government opens the Louvre to the public as a museum.
  3. 1973 - The right ear of John Paul Getty III is delivered to a newspaper together with a ransom note, convincing his father to pay 2.9 million USD.

Two Important Birthdays and one death:

  1. Birth - 1927 - Patti Page, American singer
  2. Birth - 1723 - John Byron, British naval officer (d. 1786)
  3. Death - 1674 - John Milton, English poet (b. 1608)

One Holiday or Observance:

  1. Saint Michael's Day in Greece and Cyprus and to those of Greek Orthodox faith worldwide

Monday, March 26, 2007


Dad, Don and I went on an air boat to look for alligators. While I enjoyed the air boat it was, overall, disappointing. I thought we would do more on the air boat than start and stop a handful of times. The closest I got to seeing an alligator was a penned one. Oh well, sometimes you win big and sometimes you lose big!

Isn't he a cutie! When I was about 13 years old I thought a pet alligator would be great. What was I thinking!

I thought I would include a couple pictures to show Don and mom and dad's idea of a vacation - sunning and sleeping. Notice I am not in the picture and it is not just because I have the camera. It is hard or next to impossible to find me laying down. I just want to see and do it all!