Thursday 28 February 2013

Winter Wonderland

   More snow overnight and this is what I woke up to this morning. Quite a sight! Luckily this snowfall was a little easier to clear as I had to go out in my car in the afternoon (teaching assignment). Now the accumulated snow is beginning to fall off the branches. but quite a few have broken under the weight.
  I was assigned an MID (Mild Intellectual Disability)class today. There were two Educational Assistants which made dealing with some behavioural problems easier. You can imagine much fun was had at recess time! One little boy was autistic and completely lost it just prior to going home time. We were able to calm him enough to get him on the bus (most self-contained class students are not attending their home school) but my heart went out to the bus driver!  

   Back to Judy's class tomorrow - she is attending a workshop - so things will be somewhat calmer.

Wednesday 27 February 2013

Snowed In Again!

We had the worst storm last night. It completely blanketed everything with wet, heavy snow. I had barely time to dig a path from my front door to the driveway when Judy arrived with James in tow. Of course, he loved it and we stayed outside for nearly an hour, digging around the car, starting a track to the road and building a small snowman. We were soaked through when we got inside and I was quite exhausted. The road was a mess until this evening when the plough came by, but Judy has a heavy station wagon and was able to plough through it.

Now I have a sizeable windrow across the end of my driveway and still have the lower part to dig through. Fortunately, I am not working until the afternoon tomorrow so, if I haven't managed to dig my way to the road by then, I will get Judy to drive me to work during her lunch hour.

Needless to say, James and I were housebound today but were able to entertain ourselves. We baked shortbread in the morning, played a board game (his rules - he is only three after all!) and he experimented with linking his pony to his wagon and hauling it around the basement filled with a load of play food.I guess he was taking it to market. We both slept after lunch (mac' and cheese again - it was a big packet - in fact I finished it for dinner) and I had to wake him when it was time for him to go home. I decided not to attempt going to my Scottish Country dancing this evening so will have even more dances to catch up on. Quelle domage!!

Tuesday 26 February 2013

Just a Working Stiff

   Actually it was quite an easy day - a small withdrawl class in the morning with an Educational Assistant (only 5 kids) and 2 classes for library in the afternoon. But somehow I'm exhausted! I spent almost an hour tidying the library, shelving books, sorting the collection, which was quite a mess, and fielding requests from students.

   Although it has been reasonably mild today (+3C) a big storm is headed our way. Already the wind is picking up and seemingly 10 to 15 cms of snow is moving up from the States, later turning to rain which will make for heavy shovelling. James and I may be staying home tomorrow.

Monday 25 February 2013

The Cameron Highlanders

   A bit late but worth a look. I found this Christmas card on the "Scotland's People" website that I use to do my genalogy research.
 It was sent by the troops during WW1. The site has extensive records from the 1850's to present times and you can print or request documents (birth and death certificates, marriage licenses and poll registrations.) Through it I have managed to trace over 2,000 ancestors.

   Had a quiet day with James today - a visit to the Early Years Centre, then home for a snack and play in the basement. He had me pulling him around on his pony, a decrepit looking thing on wheels that has seen one too many kid visits. We had a bonus from the EYC - they were distributing mac' and cheese boxes, his favourite lunch, which had been donated by a local store (probably near their expiry date) so we snapped one up and had it for lunch. That and some fruit was all he needed before toddling off for a nap.

   It's my turn to bring the treats for tea break at my S.C. dancing class tonight.  Luckily I have some cake and shortbread in the freezer which will suffice. Must remember to pick up some milk on the way. Also , must remember to ask the instructor to teach "Postie's Jig" which is on the next monthly dance. It's quite tricky!

Saturday 23 February 2013

James Back to Normal

   After working on Thursday (hence no blog yesterday, nothing interesting to report) I had a day "off" with James. He is back to his usual busy self and we visited the Early Years play group yesterday morning. We hadn't been at all last week so it was fun to watch him checking out all the familiar toys and interacting with his peers. He is definitely one of the more outgoing kids. The Friday group is for 3 and 4 year olds only so the staff put out more interesting activities. He painted a picture using real paintbrushes. It didn't look like anything in particular but he was very proud of it.

   I could tell he was feeling better as he ate a huge (for him) lunch - a big bowl of my homemade veg. and lentil soup, two egg and cheese grilled sandwiches and two different kinds of fruit. This was basically the same as I ate! Before lunch we had watched Baby Einstein (for the umpteenth time, but it gives me a chance to make some coffee) and had scones that Judy had baked and sent with him. Then he had a great time building in the basement. I was there but doing the Sudoku so was distracted. He managed to get the table organ on the floor behind the couch and piled on it my aerobic step and one of the bins we use to store toys. Then he got inside the bin and called to me while he toppled the bin and slid out! Very hilarious!! He did this two or three times and made me watch ("One more time, Grandma"). I tested the organ this morning and, surprisingly, it still works. Not surprisingly he slept for 2 1/2 hours in the afternoon and I had to wake him before Judy arrived to take him home.

   In the evening I went to one of my Scottish Country Dancing groups. It was snowing slightly, just turning to rain, but I'm glad I went as we were learning the dances for the monthly dance in March. Only a small group, because of the weather, but at least we had enough for a set. Wayne brought Lemon Cake (very good) for tea break and gave me some of the leftovers because I praised it so much!

   Today some snow shoveling. There wasn't a great accumulation on the driveway and sidewalk, but enough to make it a hazard if it freezes overnight. I had a lucky find at the grocery store, frozen shrimp almost half price so I am adding them to some leftover pasta which, with the addition of some veggies, will make for a gourmet meal. Can't wait!

Thursday 21 February 2013


I am experimenting with inserting photos into my blog so here's one from my trip to Morocco last year. Of course, I forgot to label the photos when I got home but I think this is the entrance to the market in Marrakesch, called the Sultan's Gate. If anyone has been there and recognizes it, please let me know. It really was magnificent and was part of the city walls. The market was interesting too.
   Worked today and rewarding myself with a glass of Limoncello in front of the fire. I only work enough to pay for my trips. Bitterly cold out today (started at -12C, with the windchill, -21C) but we are promised some milder temperatures for the weekend. It is presently -5C as the sun begins to set.

Wednesday 20 February 2013

After The Storm

Took me all day to clear a path  for my car to the road. Luckily the snowplow came by and not only cleared the road but removed the windrow at the foot of my driveway! God bless you, Mr. Snowplower. You really went above and beyond! (This happened a week ago)

James is still sick so we didn't go anywhere today. He slept for three hours this morning and Judy came by with medication in her lunch hour. Luckily she works nearby. He perked up enough for a trip to the library in the afternoon but the wind was bitingly cold and brought on a coughing fit so we didn't stay out long.

Tuesday 19 February 2013

A Close Call

     Usually I have James on Mondays and Wednesdays. Today being Tuesday, I had made other plans - lunch with my retired teachers' group followed by a dance demo for said group. However,  at 8:15 I got an ominous phone call! Generally no one calls me that early in the morning. I had a nasty premonition that it would not be good news.

     Sure enough it was bad news. James was sick again and couldn't go to day care. Could he be dropped at my house? How happy I was to have made firm (and non-cancellable) plans - already paid for the lunch!  As it turned out things worked out for the best. After a visit to the doctor, Dave worked from home and James slept most of the afternoon. He will be here tomorrow, sick or well, and my only goal will be to comfort and cuddle him and keep him happy.

  The demo went well (apart for some technical problems with the sound system) and my introduction was well received. I think I even heard someone chuckle at a small joke I made. Can't think why I was so apprehensive. 

Sunday 17 February 2013

A Day For New Resolutions

    It is extremely cold today. My outside thermometer registered -13 degrees celsius when I got up this morning. It managed up to -9C by noon but is now dropping as the sun sets behind the trees. With the wind chill ( what the weather reporters refer to as the "real feel") the current temperature is around -19C and will drop further during the night. I will be staying indoors.

    Spent the day catching up on the weekend newspapers. It's amazing how fast time passes when you are reading! I have started Anna Karenina - it is heavy going but I am determined to persevere, at least until I can get to the library.

    Tomorrow is a holiday (Family Day) and I plan to start my Spring cleaning. Spring is too nice a season to stay indoors doing housework so I will try to have it all done before the end of March. I have a strong urge to purge the house of all the junk I have accumulated in the 14 years that I have lived here. I wonder if this foretells another move!  Also, I have decided to cut out liquor and chocolate for Lent. So far I have eaten all the chocolate in the house but there are still some liqueurs in the liquor cabinet which I am diligently consuming! I figure I will save about $80 dollars by Easter.

Thursday 14 February 2013

Dancing, Lunch and Tires checked...

    Busy day!  James did not appear at my doorstep so he must have recovered sufficiently to go to Day Care. I know they don't want sick kids showing up (and I don't blame them, bugs spread pretty fast). So off I went to dance with my RSCDS (Royal Scottish Country Dancing) colleagues at a Church Senior's Luncheon. We did seven dances and also cajoled a few of the Senior's to join us on the floor for 4 ceilidh (sp?) dances. The audience was enhanced by the presence of about two dozen pre-schoolers from the church school program. They were by far the most enthusiastic, joining us on the floor for a modified Circassian Circle!

    We were treated to lunch after the performance (no need for dinner tonight) and left on a high note, vowing to return next Valentine's Day. Maybe more will be encouraged to join in the dancing now that they have seen how easy and fun it is.

   On the way home I dropped in to my Toyota dealership and got the tires checked - all were low, no charge to have them brought up to the correct level and it only took 45 minutes! How I love my Toyota!! Almost finished "Meridon". "Anna Karenina" is waiting on my bedside table. I went to the movie a couple of weeks ago and need to read the book to see how closely they resemble each other - not much I suspect!

Wednesday 13 February 2013

A Trip to the 'Burbs

    James is still sick and Judy has taken a lieu day to volunteer at her other kids' school. So I am off at the crack of dawn (well, 8:15) to the 'burbs to babysit James at home. He is a sad little munchkin when I arrive but cheers up a bit as the day progresses. We even managed a trip to the library where he found lots of neat stuff to play with and borrowed a couple of books. I cooked his favourite lunch, Mac and Cheese, which he ate with gusto. Then down for a nap. Hope he makes it to daycare tomorrow as I am unavailable as backup. More on that tomorrow. Suffice to say I have some dances to practice tonight!

    Took a nap myself this afternoon (bad idea!) and woke up with a headache. Hope I am not coming down with James's bug. I think I will stay home this evening and get an early night. All will look better in the morning.

Tuesday 12 February 2013

A Nasty Experience

Got a call today to go to the local elementary school to cover one of the Kindergarten classes. I had previously been there for the other Kdgn. and had a reasonably good morning, but this group was quite another kettle of fish. Probably just a bad mix of kids, but we had fights, tears and accidents (no one hurt, thank goodness). I won't be going back to that room again, if I can avoid it. I feel badly because the principal has been very good about sending jobs my way, and the other classes have been fine. But this is one morning I would rather not repeat!
    I am still digging out from the snowstorm we had last week - a big snowbank on one half of the driveway where I dumped the snow blocking in my car. Now it is melting and as heavy as concrete. I dig away at it a little bit at a time to avoid wrecking my back. It's supposed to get colder this weekend so it will be there for the duration of winter. Is it time to downsize to a  condo or bungalow with snow removal?

A Day Without James

    Don't get me wrong - I love my grandkids. James comes to my house two or three days a week and having him for company is a joy. But when my daughter phoned on Monday morning to  say he was throwing up and couldn't come, my initial reaction was, "Wow, a day to myself with nothing planned!"

     Usually, on the days he goes to daycare, I look for occasional teaching work. Sometimes something comes up or I plan to take a ski trip, swim some lengths at the pool, or take in a movie. However, now Monday was wide open and what do I do? Turn on the gas fire and spend the day on the couch with a book!

    Right now I am reading the third book in the "Wideacre" trilogy by Philippa Gregory. I was first introduced to her when her book, "The Other Boleyn Girl" (about the sister of Ann Boleyn) was hugely popular a few years ago. She wrote the "Wideacre" trilogy in the 1990's and the series is set in Sussex, England in the 18th century. The books epitomize the challenges of the rural population to free themselves from the overpowering grip of the landed gentry - the Squires and nobility. Not all characters are lovable (in fact some are downright evil) but the story line followed throughout the three books is compelling. Best to read them in order.