Sunday, December 31, 2006

Another lazy day

Being sick with a cold does sidetrack one from seeing people (because you don't want to make them sick), exercising, and doing a lot of other things that require even a normal amount of energy. However, I am enjoying a lot of time on the computer (mostly playing WoW), and when our Internet connection was down for a little bit yesterday I also started reading some more again (and continued to read when the connection came back up, and was tempted to bring the book to bed when I had trouble sleeping for a while). I think it's very fitting that on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day I'm reading some more of the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. I'm only on book 2 (The Great Hunt) at this point; it's been a while since I read book 1 (The Eye of the World) but the details are more or less coming back to me (the important ones, anyway). I do like a good fantasy book. Oh, I'm getting a lot of rest, too; been a long time since I slept until noon like I did today (I was awake for a little bit earlier today, just didn't get out of bed). Thanks to those of you who sent your well-wishes to me through Martin when he was at church today. Hopefully I won't have to put up with this cold for too long as there are more productive things I'd like to do with the rest of my week.

Stay healthy, everyone! And have a happy new year!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Unnnngh part 2

Apparently my brother and his wife do a lot of shopping through , and they have e-mailable gift certificates, so I don't actually have to leave the house to finish my Christmas shopping, hooray! I've found a ride for hubby up to Amy and Irek's, too (and maybe back, depending on whether hubby wants to stay overnight or not, but surely someone will give him a ride home regardless), and he has indeed made the cookies we're going to take to my parents' place on Jan. 1, and he also picked up pop while he was out getting cookie-making supplies, so I don't have to do that, either. Even the gathering at my father-in-law's has been postponed. Looks like we have the night off...a good thing when one is sick.

Time to load up my warlock and get her some more levels in WoW...


You know what they say about the best-laid plans. I'm sick. I've made the necessary phone calls to get myself off Sunday school duty and to give my regrets that I won't be going to the New Year's get-together at Amy and Irek's (but I still think Martin should go, and so far he is planning on doing so; like the rest of us, he doesn't spend nearly enough time with his friends, partly because everyone is so busy) so I don't make everyone at church and everyone at Amy and Irek's sick. I still need to get presents for my brother and sister-in-law (and to fill out my gifts to my parents a little more) and I still need to get cookies baked for Monday and to get pop for Martin to take to Amy and Irek's. I also still need to go to the Christmas gatherings at my father-in-law's and my parents' places. I am going to try to delegate the cookie-making to Martin, but as I am the driver in the family I still need to go out today to get those presents and the pop, but I'm going the gift certificate route for the presents so it shouldn't be too big a deal so long as everyone knows how to drive out there today (being sick doesn't make for great reaction times :-P).

Oh, look, there is snow outside! That's pretty. I hope that doesn't cause any problems on the roads; it's late enough in the day that everything should be cleaned up by now. Wish me luck with my errands and at my father-in-law's tonight...

Friday, December 29, 2006

Christmas is *not* over.

I actually already listed my plans to continue Christmas in a comment on Mira's blog already, but for the sake of recording them in my own blog...

Today (Friday, Dec. 29): start the process of baking Christmas cookies (from Mira's gingerbread recipe)
Tomorrow (Saturday, Dec. 30): finish baking cookies; have Christmas dinner with father-in-law and stepmother-in-law and hubby's siblings
Sunday, Dec. 31: teach Sunday school at church in morning; go to Amy and Irek's for some ice skating and other New Year's stuff and stay overnight
Monday, Jan. 1: return from Amy and Irek's; go to my parent's place with the cookies I made to celebrate Christmas with my family.

After that I guess I have to start marking again and otherwise getting ready to resume classes and such, including working on my cover letter, resume and portfolio as interviews with school boards will be starting fairly soon (January, maybe, and definitely February). Vacation was nice while it lasted but I guess I wouldn't want to be lazy all the time :).

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Hubby and I have opened our stockings and presents already. Hubby is playing WoW using the new 19" flatscreen monitor I got him (with his money...but s'ok :)). I am about to install the software that I can use to transfer music and phone contacts and so on to my new Sony Ericsson Walkman cell phone that hubby got me. In a while we'll go upstairs to exchange presents with at least my mother-in-law and the sister-in-law who still lives here...hopefully my brother-in-law and other sister-in-law will come over, too, so that we can do our exchange with them at the same time. Then we will trek off to Nana's to see my father-in-law's family. Not sure if we will also be popping by my father-in-law's house or not, but at some point we'll come back here before we head off to dinner at my hubby's uncle's place with my mother-in-law's family. Then we will come back here and I will fall into bed exhausted...but hopefully happy :). Yes, the day has become highly commercialized and I have to admit that my mind is much more on the presents and the busyness than on the Christchild. Hopefully next year school won't go so late and I will have time to put myself in the proper mindset :(.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Random blogness.

Near the top of (almost) every Blogger blog is a button or a link on one side or the other that says, innocently enough, "Next Blog." Have you ever clicked this link? Today, while feeling bored, I did. Yes, I explored a bit through the random blogs of others. I came across blogs in other languages. I came across blogs offering me a credit card. I came across the story of a lady beginning to enjoy her retirement, her grandchildren, and so on. I also came across this public service announcement for women revolving around the sacredness of a man's bar of soap. It does seem more or less geared towards women who are married or otherwise living with men. Anyway, it amused me.

Hmm, I have a holiday break coming up. Methinks it is time to reactivate my WoW account...for a month, anyway.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

"You might be a teacher if..."

This is a forward I just got. It's really geared more to teachers of younger children than to high school teachers like me, but still lots that's applicable.


* You want to slap the next person who says "It must be nice to have all those holidays!"

* You can tell it's a full moon without looking outside.

* When out in public, you feel the urge to talk to strange children and correct their behaviour.

* You can 'hold on' until after lunchtime yard duty.

* You can go to the loo, take a phone call, have a conference with a
colleague, tend to first aid and have a cup of coffee in 20 minutes.

* You check for spelling and punctuation errors in every piece of writing
you see.-

* You walk around shopping centres wearing face paint, stickers and a daisy
chain, and don't even notice the stares.-

* You look 50 before you are 30.

* You can't pick a name for your unborn child as every name
reminds you of a student.

* If you can't get your friends to listen to you, you put your
hands on your head or clap or flick the lights off.

* You rate the educational value of cartoons.

* You count your life in periods of ten weeks (depending on term

* You can't go anywhere without thinking 'what a great place for an

* You cringe at the way bank tellers grip their pens.

* You don't know the date, but you know it's day 5, week 4, term 4.

* You believe the staffroom should have a Valium salt lick.

* You believe that unspeakable evil will befall if someone says "gee, the
kids sure are mellow today."

* Meeting a child's parents instantly answers 'why is this child like this?'

* You believe in the aerial spraying of Prozac.

* You get a warm inner glow when just one child says "thank you for helping me."

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The sound of music...

I went to my host school's senior Christmas concert today. (The music dept. decided to have a junior and a senior concert rather than the "marathon" concert they've apparently had in the past; today's concert ran 7 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. as it was, with a 10-minute intermission partway through, so I'm glad they've switched to the two-concert format.) I realized at this concert that I still love music - live choirs, stage bands, orchestras, wind symphonies, and chamber groups, A.C.I. has it all, and they were all good. I need to get out to see the TSO or something again sometime. I should get myself some jazz CDs ('cuz I still love the stage bands, apparently, even when I don't know anyone in them). I should pull out the classical albums that I do have and listen to them more (but then, I do most of my listening to music in the car these days...bringing my "the most relaxing classical album ever" CD into my driving probably would put me to sleep and would not be a good idea...but I think I have other CDs that could work). I doubt, however, that I will ever go back to playing music, though I have fond memories of the times when I did do that (flute, keyboard, recorder, clarinet, bass clarinet, piccolo, guitar, viola...I've tried them all). I just hate practicing, and I don't think I could ever bear to put a reed in my mouth again . Perhaps when I start learning how to organize my time better and life settles down more (will that ever happen?), I will join the church choir again. I'll have to see.

Anyway, I am actually going to get some rest now...and then get up and do some more practicum planning :-P. Thankfully tomorrow night I won't have to plan anything for Friday's practicum as my 3 classes on Friday are writing full-period tests (which my host teacher is preparing). I still have lab reports to mark, a "quest" (it's a long quiz or a short test) to put together and some assignments to do for York, but, seeing as they are not urgent, for one night at least I will let myself get some rest rather than worry about such things as those. I am back at York next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday...and hopefully after that I can get my Christmas shopping done, yikes!

Good night for now...

My first practicum evaluation

Today was, for me, the day that strikes fear into the hearts of student teachers everywhere: the Site Visit. My course director from York came to see me teach and to flip through my practicum binder. I knew going into this that my course director has been happy with all the work I've done in the program so far, and my host teachers have been pretty happy with all the work I've done at A.C.I. so far (they've also been working on the formal evaluation of me that they're supposed to submit by the end of the week and have shared their evaluative thoughts with me--they're all quite good), but when my York life is about to intersect my A.C.I. life things get a little intimidating. Due partly to some procrastination on planning for this intimidating lesson and partly to getting lots of other things done/organized, I stayed up until 1:30 a.m. this morning planning my lesson (which isn't actually too bad compared to some planning/marking nights). When I went to bed, I checked what time the alarm time was set for. Satisfied, I went to sleep.

I woke up just after 7 a.m. this morning. This is not the time I had intended to get up (apparently I checked what time the alarm was set for but didn't actually turn the alarm on). However, I was able to work with this time frame because I knew what I was going to wear today and had my planning pretty much done and the things I needed to take with me pretty much in one place; I just dressed, gathered my things, threw my hair into a banana clip, threw on some face powder to deal with the shiny greasiness, brushed my teeth to deal with the morning breath, and drove myself to school unwashed and unfed and planning to buy lunch from my home form at school (it's a "Christmas Cheer" fundraising week at A.C.I. to raise $ for Agincourt Community Services and my home form has decided to sell food--though our food buyers were both absent today so they ended up not selling today after all). Oh, I also did a quick e-mail check to make sure I wasn't missing any last-minute message from my course director telling me he'd decided not to visit after all...guess he really is coming.

At A.C.I., I did manage to get done pretty much everything I wanted to before class, including creating an overhead on the photocopier (though the first photocopier I tried to do this on broke down on me--@#%$!), setting up a spot for my course director to sit with my practicum binders and a copy of my lesson plan, preparing all the equipment and chemicals for a demo I did for the students, preparing some writing for a note the students would take from the blackboard, looking over some questions I wanted to assign them to work on in groups and making sure the answers given for those questions by the textbook (and the teacher's resource) were correct (though I didn't get through all of them). My course director took a bit of time to show up at the beginning of the period (my host teacher ended up escorting him to our classroom from the main office), so I and the students waited until he arrived. One student asked if I was nervous; I told her, "I'm just teaching," and wasn't really that nervous; I also asked if she was nervous!

Overall, the lesson went well, and the class behaved well for me (my course director even made a note of their good behaviour and attentiveness). When my course director called me aside to discuss the lesson while students worked on their group work, I mentioned being pretty happy with the lesson, but that there were a couple things that we've discussed at York as being very important to lessons that I didn't think I'd included and that I knew I had to work on. Well, it turns out I did actually include some of those elements (yay!) and that my course director knows those elements have to be worked in around the culture of the school and may or may not get into every lesson. I got a glowing written evaluation; a couple things to think about more were mentioned to me (and others to my host teacher separately) but overall my course director was quite pleased. He had come to observe my period 1 class (8:45 a.m. - 9:55 a.m.) and I had 2 more periods after lunch to teach the same lesson, so it was nice to know off the bat that I was on the right track...and having my evaluation in first period kept me from stressing about an upcoming evaluation any longer than first thing in the morning. Incidentally, the student who'd asked if I was nervous also asked how I did after my course director left (he had to leave earlier than the period had quite ended because he had 2 other people to see today, one for some type of "crisis"), so I told her I'd done well and that this was a good class...probably partly because in first period they were too tired to act up :)!

Anyway, I have to go as I am going to see my grade 11 and 12 students play in A.C.I.'s senior Christmas concert tonight, but I wanted to share part of what happened in my day today. Thanks for listening.

Pre-emptive hoax strike: entering PIN # backwards does NOT get you the police

The following is a new hoax that's going around:

I just found out that should you ever be forced to withdraw monies from an ATM machine, you can notify the police by entering your Pin # in reverse. The machine will still give you the monies you requested, but unkown to the robber, etc, the police will be immediately dispatched to help you.

The broadcast stated that this method of calling the police is very seldom used because people don't know it exist, and it might mean the difference between life and death. Hopefully, none of you will have to use this, but I wanted to pass it along just in case you hadn't heard of it. Please pass it along to everyone

Like I said, it's a fairly new hoax, but it's a hoax none the less...see . Thank you for being responsible and not passing on the hoax to others.

Saturday, December 9, 2006

I'm in!

I've finally been given the link to make my blog into a Blogger Beta blog. The old blog wasn't perfect and this new beta blog isn't perfect, either, but I think I will stick with the beta version for now. I don't know how to get the "recent comments" feature to work with this new version (I tried just copying and pasting the code into the html section of a text block, but I guess the things the code makes reference to for the old version aren't the same in the new version and so the behaviour it produced when I tried to use it was very odd), so that will have to be scrapped. You'll just have to check for yourselves whether the number of comments at the bottoms of the entries has gone up or not (if you want to read other people's comments), just like I have to do on your blogs (for those of you that have and update them and that I check) :-P. I do like the ability to add labels to your posts right within Blogger; I'd tried doing that through before, but it got cumbersome. I've only added labels to November's posts so far but hopefully I'll get them all labelled eventually.

I got the car serviced today; first time I've been the one to take the car in, so I took hubby along for moral support and to help me know what to do. Our dealership owns the Country Style next door, so we got free hot chocolate (well, the coupons were actually for hot chocolate, which we don't really drink; we bought donuts to go along with our hot chocolate, too). There is a lot of comfortable seating at our dealership as well as TVs to watch and computers on which you can surf the Internet and bookshelves with a variety of books on them, so it's easy to keep oneself entertained...though I did find it annoying that someone seemed to be watching something on TV that must have been like American Idol because it involved a lot of singing and a LOT of annoying, screaming, probably teenage female fans. Anyway, although my car took about an hour and a half to get the servicing it needed this time around (oil/lube/filter, 55 point inspection, tire rotation and balancing), I was comfortable and was able to finish marking the quizzes my students wrote on Thursday.

Just before we went to the dealership I bought a new copy of Eragon so hubby would have something to entertain him, too; he wanted to read it anyway since the movie is coming out next week, and I can't find my original copy anywhere and didn't have time to borrow it from anyone else prior to our car service appointment. Hubby seems to be enjoying it so far. I am looking forward to the release of the movie next week, though the trailer seems to indicate to me that some things have been changed from the book. I wonder if all 3 books are going to go to the screen? I wonder if it will take longer for the 3rd book to come out because of all the movie-making? Anyway, not bad for a homeschooled kid to have his first novel gain such popularity as well as a Hollywood production.

Well, I am going to go continue enjoying the weekend now (I suppose I should do some more marking at some point, too). As Brom would say, "May your swords always stay sharp."