Sunday, June 29, 2008

Filling the Well

Now that the chaos, otherwise known as JUNE, is over I can concentrate my energies upon "refilling the well". I have willingly although sometimes snappishly worn myself out on behalf of my family and my students, and now it's time to replenish my spirit and my strength.

June, as all teachers can attest, is the month that saps one's resources more than any other. Year end trips, culminating activities, exam preparation, IEP meetings, graduations, proms, shopping expeditions for said prom and graduation dresses, packing up the classroom, exam supervision, report cards all contribute to the bittersweet emptying of what was, the previous September, a very deep, very wet well.

On the last day of school my inner well resembled that dry and dusty pit of despair as illustrated above. But the proms and graduations are over, the exams are marked, the report cards filled in, lockers are empty though still smelly and supplies are packed into boxes to await another September.

Let the refilling begin.

The refilling of my well began at about the same time that my daughter filled out her prom dress and struck a pose with her beau. She puts a smile on my face and joy in my heart.

Stay tuned for more wellfilling moments.........

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Knickerbockers - Lies (60's punk classic)

This song is for Mapquest - the liars! (Read post below and you'll understand.)

Suicide Rate Soars in Toronto


Not really, but I wouldn't be surprised if it did. I considered it freqently while spending hours in Toronto's traffic yesterday. I went to a JUMP MATH workshop at the University of Toronto and arrived 45 minutes late, even after adding an extra hour to the driving time suggested by Mapquest. It seems that Mapquest doesn't take heavy weekday traffic into consideration when calculating the time it takes to drive from one place to another. Two weeks ago, on a Saturday, my daughter and I calmly arrived in downtown Toronto after a carefree drive of an hour and forty minutes. Yesterday I arrived (not calmly) after three and a half hours of what I can only call EXCRUCIATING TORMENT!!

I don't know how Torontonians do it. Apparently it doesn't bother them to drive 2 or 3 feet at a time and then stop for a break, drive another 4 or 5 feet and stop for a little rest. Leaving aside my shattered nerve ends for a moment, I hate to think what all of this idling is doing to our air.

It wouldn't be so bad, I suppose, if one were a student of philosophy. I had plenty of time to think. I wondered why there were thousands of cars/trucks/transports on BOTH sides of the Gardiner Expressway and the QEW. Obviously people need to roll down their car windows and start exchanging phone numbers. The ones driving out of the city centre need to connect with those driving in - perhaps they could switch homes or switch jobs and they'd have no need to drive at all. Perhaps politicians could enact a law that prohibited workers from living more than 1 kilometre from their place of employment.

Then I noticed the Go Trains rattling by with room for hundreds at a GO. I decided then and there that if I was ever again stupid enough to travel to Toronto on a weekday I would take a train. Imagine, no thousands of cars trying to merge in front of you from all of those on ramps. No stop lights. The time to read a chapter or two while being whisked along at HIGH SPEED while your vehicle, if you have one, sits quietly at home - no wear, no tear, no pricey gasoline.

The only relief for my constantly roaming ADD-addled eyes was the sight of dozens of bikers, no doubt on their way to Port Dover for Friday the 13th. I was entertained by the variety of bikes, the outfits and the amount or lack of possessions. Some were loaded down with side bags and boxes and even a flashlight hanging by a rope where others were travelling lean and mean. But I could tell they were frustrated also as they had to keep their feet firmly planted on the ground - not so easy for those wearing flipflops and its NO way to ride a bike.

All I could do when I finally arrived home (traffic didn't start to move til after getting to Hamilton - took me two hours to travel 55 kms) was grunt to my daughter and lay down on the couch. I was disgusted that the round trip took seven hours in total and almost a full tank of gas. I just checked on the ViaRail website and a round trip would have cost me $69.50 - just a bit more than a tank of gas and much less time and frustration - they even have wireless internet!

Live and learn, that's all I can say.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Thursday Thirteen # 8 - Canada Has Its Own Day

With Canada Day on the Horizon

I thought it would be appropriate to provide a list

of surefire ways of knowing if you are Canadian or not, but I know that


for sure because..................

1. I not only have Canadian Tire money in my kitchen drawers I also keep it handy in the glovebox of my car for those impulse buys such as the campfire bench I bought there on Saturday.

2. I not only know what a Robertson screwdriver is but I also use one on a regular basis like the weekend in May when I took apart a sofabed so I could get it out of my trailer.

3. I can easily pay for my lunch just by using change - loonies and toonies. And I am constantly trying to get rid of my change due to the weight of my purse caused by said loonies and toonies.

4. I get very irritated when I spell words like honour, labour and colour and they are highlighted by my computer for being spelled incorrectly. Very irritated!

5. I am irate that they would even consider changing the theme song for Hockey Night in Canada. Tum te tum te tum...tum te tum te tum...

6. I have a friend who went to highschool in Ottawa with Alanis Morrissette.

7. I have followed closely the career of William Shatner.

8. I can sing our national anthem in two languages.

9. I start wearing shorts and sandals when the temperature goes above 0 degrees (celcius).

10. Watching curling on TV has me on the edge of my seat and one of my fave movies is called "Men with Brooms" - it was just on Showcase the other night!

11. One of my other fave movies (out on DVD last summer) is called "Bon Cop Bad Cop" - it is hilarious!

12. I am happy to stand in a lineup of 10 or more people at Tim Horton's at 6:30am to get my daily extra large double cream.

13. I am very loyal to Canadian bands: The Guess Who, BTO, The Tragically Hip, Nickelback, Alexisonfire, Billy Talent, Blue Rodeo, Luke Doucet & White Falcon, Steppenwolf, Rush, Arcade Fire, Jeff Healey, Bare Naked Ladies and the King of them all - NEIL YOUNG!

Wordless Wednesday - Tuesday Edition

Tee hee - I love album cover art. This one is rather unique - I think I'd be afraid to listen to it!

For more Wordless Wednesday - Tuesday Edition look here!
Track Listing
Side 1
Music to Be Murdered ByI’ll Never Smile AgainI Don’t Stand a Ghost of a Chance With youAfter You’ve GoneAlfred Hitchcock Television Theme
Side 2
SuspicionBody and SoulLover Come Back to MeI’ll Walk aloneThe Hour of Parting

Monday, June 9, 2008

Monday Memoirs - Drama Queen

Of course the obvious question here is not why am I on the roof in my mother's skirt and high heels, no, the obvious question is where the heck was my mother when I was up on the roof in her skirt and high heels?

I can't answer that question except to say my brother and I most likely waited until mom was on her way downtown to do her shopping, oblivious to the risky activities her youngest two got up to in her absence.

On the back of the photo the words "no, don't shoot" are written in a childish hand. My brother and I loved to act out skits of our own making, especially since finding mother's old movie magazines in the small closet under the stairs. We tried using a tape recorder that Kim got for Christmas one year but got into major trouble one night when in the midst of creating quite amazing sound effects we dropped the tape recorder onto the glass top of our coffee table shattering it into a million pieces. The amazing sound bite was rather diminished by our mother's wrath.

So we turned to photography and my brother made me, yes made me pose in all kinds of crazy getups in all kinds of crazy locations while trying to emote major silent movie style mannerisms and facial expressions in my limited way(think Gloria Swanson - "I'm ready for my closeup Mr. DeMille). I can't recall the storyline which would rationally explain why someone was trying to shoot me after I had clambered up onto the roof but I bet it would be a blockbuster!

I'm sure they would have missed me anyway as I dove into the upstairs window - the bad guys were notoriously bad shots in old movies, still are in fact.

Weekend Mucking About at the Trailer

Along with trailer ownership comes trailer maintenance. On Friday night there were severe thunderstorms for about 2 hours, and when I went outside in the morning I could hear a steady drip drip drip.

I found that water was dripping over the edge of the eavestrough at the lower end. That can't be good I said to myself. Who knows how long its been since the eavestrough had been cleaned out but I was up for the job, so to speak, at least once I got out the stepladder.

I had no rubber gloves and the only tool that would fit into the narrow trough was a garden trowel. Up the ladder I went, trowel in hand. Wow, you can see all around the park from the top of my ladder - cool.

However, the black sludge in the trough, years old accumulation of maple leaves and maple keys, wasn't so cool. It smelled. Bad. Like manure. But being raised by a man who could stick his bare hand into the entrails of a dead chicken I am no wuss, but I do admit to wrinkling my nose. I scooped with the trowel and bravely dug down with my left hand to lift masses of oozing black guck out of the trough and then tried to toss it onto the same spot on the lawn, over and over again.

Oh, and did I mention that all this goo (I think a few more years and I would have had my own source of petroleum) was lying under several inches of brackish water? No? Well it was, and as I gradually worked my way down the front of my porch the water slowly started to trickle down the spout out onto the lawn. By the time I reached the downspout most of the water had successfully escaped but looking back I could still see small bits of sludge here and there that I had missed when it was still underwater.

Not one to leave a job partially done I pulled the hose over and started at the other end again spraying water down the trough till it was totally clear of yucky stuff.

I was a little smarter when bagging the goo I had tossed down. Not really yearning to immerse my hands once again in black slime but lacking gloves I put my hand inside a plastic bag and then cleared up the manure pile. Farmer Hazelnut!

I was able to sleep much better that night knowing my troughs were clear.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Self portrait c.1988

OMG - that was 20 years ago!

For more Wordless Wednesday go here!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Monday Memoirs - Turkey Point

When I was a kid, yeah that's me kneeling on the blanket, my gramma Catton used to rent the same cottage at Turkey Point for a week every summer. This was quite a few years back and it cost about $30 for a week of sunburns, underwater handstands, potato salad and cucumber sandwiches. Yeah, pure bliss! Seated beside me is one of my older brothers - Kim, and one of my older sisters - Dale. I still remember that short set I was wearing - I thought it was so cool. It was white but had these red and white striped thingys you could tie into bows at the neck and on the legs of the shorts.

It was a great place to spend a week - the beaches were sandy and the lake full of dunes - you could walk out a mile and the water would only be up to your armpits. Not that I was a great swimmer, but I never came too close to drowning. The water and the food and the freedom were the best part for me, (no mother telling me to eat my vegetables or not to go out into the lake too far - just gramma who never said no to a second ice cream cone) however, from what my sisters remember it was the gin that my gramma doled out in generous amounts mixed with Wink that provided some of their best memories!

We always rented the same cottage - cottage #4. It is still there, now part of the "Whispering Pines" group of cottages, though updated and a bit more pricey at $535 per week. It has new siding, new windows and linoleum and I don't remember there being a firepit.

#4 was our favourite because in addition to 2 bedrooms it had a sunporch with a couch where another person could sleep.

Here's the sunporch now and you get a good view of the road leading down to the beach - the water isn't too far away. My cousin Murray and I would play on the road with our cars and trucks making roadways in the sand, impatiently waiting for gramma to announce that it was time to go to the beach. There was also a swing at the other end of the road behind a little hedge and a spring coming out of the side of a hill by the swing with cold wonderful tasting water. (Pesticides?)

My cousin Murray usually only lasted til about Tuesday or Wednesday when his dad would have to come and get him because he'd be sunburned so badly. No sunblock in those days. I survived somehow and usually only ended up with the usual assortment of scrapes, cuts, bruises and second degree burns.

Honestly, I was the most battered looking child ever. I was such a tomboy I was forever falling out of trees or falling while climbing over a rusty barbwire fence. Yet I never broke a bone or poked an eye out like my brother Kim. In fact, (correct me if I'm wrong ceeb) I don't remember a single broken bone in our entire family. I give all credit to our mother...."get down from there"...."put that down"...."get off the roof right now"...."stop shooting those arrows at your sister"...."no you can't play with your father's rifle"...."no, you can't drink that"....etc etc.

Now I have my own trailer to go to at a different lake but the feelings are still the same. Everyone needs a place to escape to in the summer, a place to let your hair down with no boss looking over your shoulder, no deadlines....just pure bliss.