Friday, October 01, 2010

Too Long...

I can't believe how long it has been since I last blogged. I'm not sure why. Perhaps I don't really have an excuse. For some reason I seem to think I have little to say and then when I read friend's and family's posts I think, "Why didn't I think of that to write about?" It's so silly, really. Let's see, what has been happening in my life since...February?!

1. In March I spent a week in Myrtle Beach with Don, my sister, Barbara, and her three boys. I enjoyed getting away with family and spending time walking on the beach and relaxing. We went to a show, Dixieland, and spent a day in the Charleston area visiting a couple plantations.

2. I hosted Easter at my place. Ethan ad Owen, the twins, wrestle like the older boys and the one thing that had them rolling with laughter was throwing their toys in the garden so they could walk through it. I always find it amazing just what little ones find so interesting! The best part of Easter, as usual when there are little ones around, is the easter egg hunt. It was great to watch Barbara's boys with the twins. They are going to make very caring fathers some day. Awwww.

3. My nephew, Jason, was off for a tour in Afghanistan. While I fear for what life may bring him over there and pray for his safety daily, I admire his dedication and string sense of duty to his country and the world. I am such a proud auntie!

4. May was our annual Sears' reunion. It was good to see some cousins that have not been able to attend for a few years. It is great to hang out with family - something we don't do often enough!

5. The very beginning of July I took four nieces and nephews camping. Stephen's kids joined Cameron and I for a few days in Killbear Provincial Park. It was perfect weather for tent camping. We went on the boat cruise through the Georgian Bay islands and went down to Midland to Ste. Marie Among the Hurons. Every night we were visited by some brazen raccoons and I, of course, got very little sleep. You know, I wouldn't have it any other way! I got my tent camping fix and the kids had a wonderful time.

6. My family also rented a cottage in Haliburton for a week. There was about fifteen of us at the cottage for the week (Don and I, mom, dad, Rick, Barbara and John and the three boys, and Stephen and Gayle and three of their children. Tom and Doreen, our cousins, stayed a couple of days and David and Evie dropped by for a day while on vacation. Jennifer and the twins, Ethan and Owen, also visited for a day. It is the first time we have done this as a family even though we have been thinking about it for a few years. It was a large cottage - large enough to let the teenagers have their space without intruding on the adult space. There were kyaks, paddle boats and a great dock and swimming area. While there was some rainy weather (one really great storm), it did not hamper our activities. The week was much needed time away and great bonding time.

7. I spent a night camping with Stephen and Gayle in Barry's Bay so we could see Jason who was on leave from Afghanistan. Jason was suppose to be on leave in Europe until he took ill. While it was disappointing for Alyson not to have alone time with Jason the rest of us got to see him - yeh! Jason was proud to show us around the lake in his boat and to take Nathan and Kathryn fishing.

8. My niece Elizabeth dropped in for a quick visit. She is so grown up now. My how time seems to fly by!

9. At school this year I am teaching grade five. I taught grade four last year, so I have all of the same students again, plus a few add-ons. I am enjoying my year so far and the comfort level my students have in asking interesting questions. I am also enjoying the depth we can go with our units of study.

Well, I guess this sums up the bigger events in my life over the past few months. Life just keeps rolling along, and I like it that way. The more I look back at events in my life it are these seemingly ordinary experiences that mean the most.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Scrapbooking TIme Away

I have been away over the past few days. I rented a cabin at the Salvation Army Camp at Jackson's Point. My sister, Barbara and friends Milena, Janet and Paulette also came at different times throughout the week to keep me company and scrapbook. By the end of the week I had fifteen layouts done (15-double page layouts). It was great to have time to work on my trip west this past summer. Stephen I hope you enjoy the layouts. Hopefully there will be more to come once I finish journaling them.

I am so excited because Barbara showed me how to stitch photo images to make larger ones and I now can scan and stitch my layouts to show my work. Thanks bunches Barbara! ENJOY.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

1. How old will you be in five years? 55
2. Who did you spend at least two hours with today? Don. We are sneezing, coughing and blowing together. Awww - love!
3. How tall are you? The last time I checked I was 5' 3"
4. What do you look forward to most in the next six months? I would agree with my sister - the family vacation in the summer. I miss my family!
5. What's the last movie you saw? Julie and Julia. It's been a while since I have been to a movie. I'm due.
6. Who was the last person you called? My sister, Barbara, to confirm details about a few days away.
7. Who was the last person to call you? That would also be Barbara, to confirm arrangements for a night out.
8. What was the last text message you received? No cell phone - I now, I'm behind the times.
9. Who was the last person to leave you a voice mail? Don't have voice mail.
10. Do you prefer to call or text? Obvious according to the previous questions - call, although since I am not a phone talker I suspect I would prefer texting.
11. What were you doing at 12 am last night? Just got home from seeing "Jersey Boys". Loved the show. Loved it so much I have been on the Internet searching and watching videos today.
12. Are your parents married/separated/divorced? married
13. When is the last time you saw your mom? Christmas time. They are now in Florida for three months.
14. What color are your eyes? Blue/Green - is that hazel?
15. What time did you wake up today? 8:30 a.m. I actually slept in. Yahoo!
16. What are you wearing right now? PJ's - my favourite weekend attire!
17. What is your favorite Christmas song? So many favourites - Stable Door might be my first choice today.
18. Where is your favorite place to be? Camping anywhere on a warm, sunny day.
19. Where is your least favorite place to be? Right now it is my basement - too dusty and messy. I can't wait until we get it finished and I can tidy up to make it more comfortable.
20. Where would you go if you could go anywhere? Great Britain and parts of Europe (Belgium, Holland, France) to see the history, particularly of the World Wars and retrace the steps of Canadian Forces and my grandfathers.
21. Where do you think you'll be in 10 years? Hopefully living north - Georgian Bay area, Haliburton, so many choices.
22. Do you tan or burn? Burn, burn, burn!
23. What did you fear was going to get you at night as a child? Fire
24. What was the last thing that really made you laugh? My husband, Don, is always doing something to make me laugh.
25. How many TVs do you have in your house? 4
26. How big is your bed? Queen
27. Do you have a laptop or desktop computer? I love my laptop.
28. Do you sleep with or without clothes on? With
29. What color are your sheets? cream
30. How many pillows do you sleep with? 1 pillow
31. What is your favorite season? No doubt about it - autumn. The colours and the lovely warm days can't be beat.
32. What do you like about fall? the colours, the crunchy leaves, hiking, crunchy apples, the colours in the grocery store from Ontario grown produce, wearing sweaters, Thanksgiving... I could go on and on and on....
33. What do you like about winter? Enjoying a warm fire during a blizzard and then late at night taking a walk through the neighbourhood. Everything is so fresh and peaceful.
34. What do you like about the summer? Wearing light clothes and going camping.
35. What do you like about spring? I enjoy sitting on my deck in late spring and enjoying my garden. The best colours are in the spring, before it gets too hot or the bugs eat away at the leaves.
36. How many states/provinces have you lived in? Two - Ontario and Kentucky
37. What cities/towns have you lived in? two
38. Do you prefer shoes, socks, or bare feet? In the summer, bare feet 24-7 if I can. Winter - socks and slippers.
39. Are you a social person? I love being around people, although may not be social.
40. What was the last thing you ate? a bowl of tomato soup
41. What is your favorite restaurant? This a difficult one since I enjoy a few - Swiss Chalet, Applebees, Kelsy's, Mandarin.
42. What is your favorite ice cream? Heavenly Hash
43. What is your favorite dessert? I'm not a desert eater, although I love apple crisp
44. What is your favorite kind of soup? tomato
45. What kind of jelly do you like on your PB & J sandwich? Raspberry
46. Do you like Chinese food? YES!
47. Do you like coffee? No
48. How many glasses of water, a day, do you drink on average? about three
49. What do you drink in the morning? milk and orange juice
51. Do you sleep on a certain side of the bed? I can sleep on either side of the bed although the left because it has the alarm clock.
52. Do you know how to play poker? No
53. Do you like to cuddle? yes
54. Have you ever been to Australia? Not yet but I have thought about doing a teacher exchange. I just don't know what to do with the husband...
55. Do you have an addictive personality? No
56. Do you eat out or at home more often? At home
58. Do you know anyone with the same birthday as you? No
59. Do you want kids? Too old now for my own, although I could inherit some.
60. Do you speak any other languages? French, although not well.
61. Have you ever gotten stitches? Four separate times - both eyebrows and both pointer fingers. I believe in keeping things equal.
62. Have you ever ridden in an ambulance? Yes. Once - to be with one of my students.
63. Do you prefer an ocean or a pool? Ocean or lakes.
64. Do you prefer a window seat or an aisle seat? Window seat. I like watching the wings and the views.
65. Do you know how to drive stick? Yes
66. What is your favorite thing to spend money on? Books - children's books
67. Do you wear any jewelry 24/7? Yes - my engagement and wedding rings.
68. What is your favorite TV show? I have a couple - anything Law and Order and Star Trek.
69. Can you roll your tongue? I don't think so
70. Who is the funniest person you know? My husband, Don.
71. Do you sleep with stuffed animals? No
72. What is the main ring tone on your phone? Just a normal ring
73. Do you still have clothes from when you were little? No.
74. What red object is closest to you right now? A candle. Go figure, eh Barbara?!
75. Do you turn off the water while you brush your teeth? Yes, or I leave it a trickle.
76. Do you sleep with your closet doors open or closed? Closed, although it doesn't bother me one way or the other.
77. Would you rather be attacked by a big bear or a swarm of bees? What horrible choices - I guess if I had to, I would choose bees since I could run into water to get away from them?!
78. Do you flirt a lot? I can, although not much
79. What do you dip a chicken nugget in? Sweet and Sour sauce
80. What is your favorite food? Chicken and popcorn
81. Can you change the oil on a car? no
82. Have you ever gotten a speeding ticket? No
83. Have you ever run out of gas? never
84. What is your usual bedtime? 10 p.m. because my alarm goes off around 5:45 am
85. What was the last book you read? A children's Picture book called A Bear in War about a teddy bear that was mailed to a Canadian soldier during WWI. The bear is now on display at the Canadian War museum in Ottawa.
86. Do you read the newspaper? Sometimes.
87. Do you have any magazine subscriptions? Canadian Scrapbooker, The Reading Teacher, Educational Leadership
89. Do you watch soap operas? I am a Coronation Street lover!
90. Do you dance in the car? Not usually, although on occasion I have drummed.
91. What radio station did you last listen to? 680 News for the weather - needed to make sure I was prepared for yard duty :)
92. Who is in the picture frame closest to you? a picture of Don and I
93. What was the last note you scribbled on a piece of paper? a list of must-dos at work
94. What is your favorite candle scent? vanilla
95. What is your favorite board game? Backgammon
97. When was the last time you attended church? Unfortunately it has been awhile.
98. Who was your favorite teacher in high school? Barbara, Mr. Featherstone was my favourite too!
99. What is the longest you have ever camped out in a tent? Three weeks
100. Who was the last person to do something extra special for you? Don - took me to dinner and to the Jersey Boys. Loved it!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Algonquin in Winter

I was fortunate to be able to spend a few days at Adventure Lodge in Whitney, Ontario. Whitney is a small town just outside the east gate of Algonquin Park. I went with a teacher friend, Sheryl. During the day I hiked and the evenings were spent enjoying a gourmet meal and scrapbooking. In southern Ontario we have very little snow (next to nothing), but up there it is a winter wonderland. It looked like scenes from Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe with the heavy snow hanging off the trees. It lightly snowed each day so there was always a freshness about it. We hiked in Algonquin Park and saw a yurt and, yes, people were camping in the yurt. Maybe someday I will stay in a yurt during the winter. Sounds cold, but if it would be anything like my autumn experience it would be an amazing experience.

I also went horseback riding - something I haven't done for 30 years. With the heavy snow was wonderful. I considered going dog sledding but I was afraid it would be too much work. I thought I would be sitting and just enjoying the ride or standing on the back of the sled and the dogs doing the work. When I found out we would be constantly pushing with the legs I thought I would make it a pass. Maybe I will attempt it next time. Anyway, enjoy the photos!

All I can say is...BLISS...

Click to play this Smilebox scrapbook: Winter Getaway
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Friday, January 08, 2010

2009 Memories

I was talking to a friend about how she has recently reflected on her top memories of 2009 and then I read my sister's post about her top 100 memories of the past year, so I guess I am destined to do something similar.

I will start with the memories that I share with Barbara that were special to me in some way:

- New Year’s Eve and morning since Don and I spend it with Barbara and John and their boys. We have been doing it this way for a few years now. I can't think of any other way to start a new year.
- Spending a week at Jackson's Point cropping with my sister, Barbara and a friend, Sheryl. Don also joined me at the end of the week for a couple of days. It was fun to get away and just crop until I dropped and enjoy winter. It was my first time up at camp with lots of snow and cold. I loved it!
- Mrs. Gage’s funeral. It was a true celebration of a wonderful lady. She is so missed!
- Spending a weekend in Syracuse with a group of scrapbookers. I loved staying in a hotel and cropping in a room across the hall and then, of course, scrapbook shopping!
- Easter at Joanne’s new house. It is always wonderful to spend time with family. The twins, of course, made it interesting and everyone had a chance to hold one of them! Also, watching Don, Kevin, John, and Jason golf from the comfort of Joanne's deck was also great. Do I still hear a "CRASH"?
- Gayle’s visit since we had a girl's night out for dinner and Jenn joined us with the twins.
- the Sears family reunion in Belfountain and visiting the Badlands in Cheltenham on our way home. Many of the family were amazed by what they saw, so it was special.
- going out for lunch (breakfast?) with mom and Barbara for Mother's Day. It took a while to decide on and find a place to eat, but Cora's worked out well.
- Aunt Ivy's 90th birthday. As I have already written, anytime spent with family is always precious to me. This was a lovely afternoon celebrating the life of a great lady. It is even more special since a few days before Christmas she passed away.
- going to Barbara's for dinner and have a visit with Rick. We celebrated his birthday. I need to spend more time with him!
- celebrating my 50th birthday. Rather than hate my age, I like to think I embrace it. What better way, than to have a family bowling night. I just wish my score reflected the good time!
- I agree with Barbara - monthly Friday night crops at my place. It gives me a chance to enjoy down time with friends. These times are so hard to come by sometimes.

Other memories:

- celebrating more than 20 years of teaching at a breakfast hosted by the Peel Board. It felt good to be honoured my years of service.
- spending March Break camping in Louisiana, touring around New Orleans and then going over to Florida to spend some time with mom and dad. I loved visiting the French Quarter in NO and doing a plantation tour. When can I go back?!
- Going west to spend two weeks camping in Kootenay National Park - camping beside the river and waking up to seeing the mountains - the cold, shivering nights that were so cold the mountain tops became covered with snow - seeing bighorn sheep and mountain goats - Radium Hot Springs - the natural hot springs - Fort Steele - campfires - hiking to Dog Lake - Invermere - the Stolen Church
- Don and I buying ourselves a Wii for our anniversary and playing bowling and curling over and over again.
- "Yurting" in Bon Echo Provincial Park. It was stunningly beautiful, peaceful, and a great time doing something I have not done before (staying in a yurt).
- going up to Dorset in Haliburton to celebrate Thanksgiving with Don's family. The views from the tower of the autumn colours was to die for.
- Christmas Eve at Barbara's
- Having mom and dad and Rick for Christmas Day. I got to watch mom and dad play shuffleboard with the Wii. Mom only plays games to "get" the other person. She's deadly!
- Boxing Day in London and spending time with other members of the family I do not see very often. I got a guitar (one of my "wishes" for years) and now I just need to figure out how to play it.
- watching the World Junior game on New Year's. We won against the U.S. Too bad we couldn't do it in the final. Oh well, there is always next year... Here's hoping!

I know, I know - 100 memories? There are more memories, I am sure. I have not even thought about my teaching memories... Sorry, I am now out of breath!

So, Cathy, What's Up?

It has been a while since I have posted so I thought I would give a brief overview of the last many weeks. I worked, I worked and I worked! Between report cards, parent interviews, concerts and planning this is basically what I have been doing.

In November I celebrated my 50th! Yes, I am 50. I have lived half a century and am proud of it. I celebrated by bowling with any family who could come. My score was terrible and I loved every minute of it, although my ears were ringing after from the extra loud music. I do not have many pictures to show for it since once the glow in the dark started picture taking was very limited. I would like to let my hair go whichever colour it wants to be and be proud of it, but until my 70+ mother decides to let her hair go this is difficult. I would probably look like her sister! Mom, let's embrace our ages and just let it be...

...and James gets a strike!

I was so ready for a relaxing Christmas break. I had a lovely time on Christmas Eve with Barbara's family and Christmas Day with mom, dad and Rick. I enjoyed just being with family. It does not take much for me to enjoy my time with family - just hanging out is enough to make me happy. At Barbara's place we were all able to play bowling and I was a spectator for car racing. I can't believe it, but mom and dad actually played Wii shuffleboard on Christmas Day. Mom sure is a brutal player - she is out to get the next player. She does not care about winning. Winning is secondary - getting the other guy is the reason for playing a game. She thoroughly enjoys being evil. She studies the situation and is only looking at how she can knock someone off. She even has an evil tone to her voice. Mom was in a position to win a game against dad. All she would have to do is make the marker go off the board and shes would still win by a few points, but what does she do instead? Mom aims to get dad's marker(s) off, misses, and then looses by a few points. You know the saying: pride comes before the fall. Well, mom's saying is evil comes before the fall.

My bigger tree.

My white tree in the diningroom
Mom planning her strategy. Is that the evil grin?
On Boxing Day Don and I parted with each of us visiting our own extended families. These opportunities come less frequently these days so rather than one of us missing out seeing nieces, nephews, brothers or sisters, we each traveled the distance to spend the day with our own families. It has been a long while since I had seen Mike and Mel and the boys, seeing Jason and Alyson, and seeing Joanne and Bruce and Jenn's boys. Life moves so fast that it is important to grab these moments when you can. Jason will be off the Afghanistan soon and the babies, well, they grown up so fast...