Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Don't forget...

to visit Kelee at The Katillac Shack to join in the Pet Parade Party.

You can see a video of the project and photos of the dogs dressed in their finery!

AND... Abby and I won a "Cheerful Applique and Handwork" prize for our summery daisy scarf!


If you comment on Kelee's post by October 1st, you will be entered in a draw and another $1.00 for each comment will be donated to help animals in need.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday morning reunion

A few weeks ago, I got an invitation to attend a Pampered Chef party. I went to one of these about 10 years ago and bought a baking stone. It's one of the best kitchen items I've ever purchased. It's still in perfect condition and we use it all the time. I love their products!

Today's party started at 10 am. I had a little trouble finding the house because it's in an area of town that I rarely visit. But I made it there on time and very much enjoyed myself at the party. The hostess (who is also the consultant), Vicki, made wonderful corn chowder and mini carrot cake muffins while we were there, demonstrating many of the products. What a great lunch!
So, what did I buy? I bought a chopper - the OnlyChild has been asking for one of these for a while and it would have come in handy when I was making all that salsa.

I bought a mini muffin pan - also at the request of the OnlyChild. She can make mini cupcakes in this and I know I'll use it too.

I bought a new pastry brush. This one is silicone (no photo) which means that nobody will find bristles in their piece of pie and think I got dog hair in the food.
I also got this baking dish for 60% off (the discount was a draw prize).
So what was so great about this party that I would blog about it? Vicki is a woman I met when we were in grade 6! And I haven't seen her since I moved away in grade 7! For those of you doing the math, that's almost 28 years. It was a really nice reunion - and, you know, she is exactly as I remember her. Same big blue eyes, same bubbly personality, same wide smile. She's just a little taller (I don't think I am) and is now married with two adorable little boys.
I very much enjoyed seeing her again and this time I hope we stay in touch a bit better.
Edited to add: I forgot to mention that Vicki and I had re-connected on Facebook about a year ago, so it wasn't just a coincidence that I ended up at her house. But wouldn't that have been a great story! Just thought I'd better make myself a bit clearer.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


That's my rendition of an echo. haha.
Pat at Silver Thimble is having a wonderful givaway to celebrate her 150th post. I hope you go and visit her, even if it means you reduce my chance of winning! Every time I see "Pat of Silver Thimble" I always think of the L.M. Montgomery (author of Anne of Green Gables) book, Pat of Silver Bush. I loved that book when I was a young girl. Little did I know I would grow up to marry a man from the same island as Lucy Maud. Since Mr. P and I met, I've had the chance to visit all the Prince Edward Island tourist sites based on her books, including the house that inspired Silver Bush.

But that's not what this post is about, is it? Here's another great giveaway: Go and visit Gene at Gene Black an Alabama Artist to help him celebrate his 250th post and the arrival of a new 'baby' (the easiest kind of baby - no diapers to change, just bobbins).
And it's the weekend. I'm supposed to be marking. In fact, I have assignments piled all over and they're getting in the way of me playing on the computer. I get sidetracked easily, though, which is why the marking has been shoved aside so I can blog. Better get back to it even though I have other, more important (fun) things on my to-do list, like finishing that "Let it Snow" quilt which has been nicely laid out on the spare room bed for months, waiting for me to sew the blocks together. Oh, it's been hanging around for such a looonnnnggg time now.
As my mother always said, There's no rest for the wicked. I wonder if she was actually talking about me when she said that. Hmmm...
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Pet Parade Party

Remember back at the beginning of the summer, I made this? (Click on the photo to go to the post.)

It was part of Kelee's scarf decorating project that raised funds for homeless animals. Kelee reached her goal and now is celebrating with a party!
On September 30, please visit The Katillac Shack to see a parade of pets proudly wearing their scarves. My sweet Abby Dog will be among them.
See you there!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Two things I realized today:

  1. I have 127 days left in my 30s. Well... 126 if you consider that today is pretty much over. Ouch.
  2. I am not enjoying the course I am taking. I don't understand it, I'm not interested in it, the textbook is boring, and the people in the class are pretentious.

The first revelation came about during announcements at school today when the 'prayer person' said that there are only 100 days left in 2009. Have you been living your resolutions? How's that 2009 to-do list looking? (Mine is on the right hand side of the page... still many projects unfinished and unstarted.)

The second big awakening occurred about 5 minutes ago when I felt the panic rise inside me again. I'm trying to write my online posts for the course and I have only tonight and maybe Friday night to do 4 of them. I'm reading the chapter in the textbook and I keep having to re-read paragraphs because it simply makes no sense to me. When I read, I take notes so the information sticks in my brain for later use. It's not working! The text is 403 pages long and I'm sure that 400 of those pages are complete bullsh*t.

Boy, I'm just full of insights today...

Monday, September 21, 2009


I finished writing one learning guide. I am doing a victory lap (in my head).

Still piles of other stuff to finish, but it feels soooo good to be able to check this one off the list!
And it only took a cup of tea and one chocolate bar.

That's me to the right, sitting at the computer. Of course, I wasn't wearing a dress to get this work done. I was in my comfiest clothes and my booties!


Aren't these the cutest? Adult booties. My friend Erminia's Nona (Italian grandmother) made them. While we were in Jesolo (near Venice), Erminia's aunt visited her bringing a pile of pairs of these in an array of colours. I got first pick!
They're so nice and warm. My feet were freezing, even though it's a nice-ish day outside. The weather has been strange lately. Mr. P removed our air conditioner from the bedroom because we were sure that Fall had arrived. He had to re-install it a couple of days later because it was unbearable in our room at night. Our bedroom is tucked up under the eaves of the house - hot in summer, cold in winter. We're going to wait until at least next week before we put the air conditioner away again!

Happy Autumn, everyone!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A dog... but no ponies this time

Thanks for all your feedback regarding Meet the Teacher nights and Parent-Teacher interviews. It seems that most, if not all, of you consider those events pretty important, at least at the elementary level.

When the OnlyChild was younger, I went to all of those meetings, too. It was easy for me, though. From Kindergarten to grade 2, Mr. P and I both worked in the same school that she attended (it was K-12) and from grades 3 to 5, we lived in a small town and knew all her teachers socially as well as professionally. The junior high years were a little different, but I still made the attempt to attend as often as I could. Rarely did I hear from her teachers, though, with good news or bad news. They were not good at keeping parents informed. Since she attends the school where I teach now, I hear everything... whether I want to or not (and quite often, I do not want to know what's going on...).

Our school is different, as some of you know. I work in a self-directed program. We don't have regular classes (seminars once or twice a week) and there are no homerooms. Instead, the students all have Teacher Advisors. When I get a new student in my group, I set up a meeting with the parents and the student; these usually take place in June or August, before the new school year begins. I become the school contact for those parents. If they have a question about their child, regardless of the course it pertains to, they call me - not the course teacher - and I find out what they need to know. The parents love this system because it simplifies the contacts. I have to stay in touch with the parents throughout the year, by phone or email, to let them know how their child is doing. Some parents want to hear from me every week; some prefer once a year. I let them decide the frequency.

So... no wonder we have such a poor turnout at Meet the Teacher night. The parents have already met the one person at their child's school that they need to know. And we're in regular contact.

Plus, it's a high school, and it's a well-known fact that parental interest in education decreases as the child gets older.

Okay, onto other things...

I marked assignments for three hours today. I had a meeting at 9:00, then I came home and made coffee and was at my desk by 11:00 am. I told myself I 'd work for two hours and then take a break, but I really wanted to get through the whole pile so I kept on going.

When I was done, I finished my September Bunny Hill block:

It's about time. Cute little Scottie dog, eh? I started it two weeks ago and all I had left to do was the embroidery. I actually feel a little guilty because I've spent the last two hours eating lunch, sewing, and now blogging. I really have an unbelievable amount of work still to do this weekend.
Mr. P had to sit me down last night for a talk about this. He thinks I am getting far too stressed out. He's right. Between work and the course I'm taking and all the other things I want to do, there's just not time for everything. He thinks I should drop the course, but I'm determined to see it through now that I've started it. Really, though, it's work that's got me in a tizzy. The marking is unmanageable and I still have course materials to write. Plus, my department head was on me yesterday because our diploma (government exam) results from last year were not great. Apparently that's my fault because I 'teach' the course. Remember, self-directed learning. I spend only 80 minutes a week with these students in seminar, and that's if they bother to show up. There are no consequences if they don't. I told him he should find someone else to teach the course because I was tired of worrying about it.
Yeah... so my day went downhill from there and I had a self-pity bout last night. Mr. P and the OnlyChild are both out of the house tonight so I've got some time to work on writing. Tomorrow I'm going with my friend Sandi to a scrapbook day. I thought about bowing out, but Mr. P convinced me that I need to do those kinds of things - activities I enjoy - or I'll go completely bonkers. Well, he didn't quite put it that way.
Thanks for letting me vent again. I know (I hope) things will calm down soon and I'm looking forward to a time when I don't perpetually have a four-inch pile of marking, when the learning guides are all written, and all the tests and exams have been made up. Then I will be able to breathe easier.
I hope your weekend is going well and you're making time for fun!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Dog and Pony Show

Tonight was Meet the Teacher Night at school. What a dog and pony show that is! It's such a production, with a speech from the principal, introduction of staff members, and a wine and cheese reception to follow. We all have to attend; our jobs are on the line if we don't show up!
It's rather funny at my school, though. We have over 100 staff members and every year we outnumber the parents... by at least 4 to 1.
Yep, 100+ of us... and about 25 of them!
No parents ever seek me out during the reception. They don't need to talk to the Social Studies teacher. I just try to find a friendly colleague to hang out with so I don't look like a big loser standing by the wall alone.
Are you the type of parent who attends (or attended) Meet the Teacher Night and every Parent-Teacher interview? I want to know what you think of these events... are they worth your time? Do they make you feel more comfortable with the school? Is it different for parents whose children are in elementary school than those whose children attend high school?
p.s. The dog in the photo above reminds me so much of my Derby. He can jump that high too!

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Unless you want to hear me complaining (again) about how busy I am at work, I really have nothing to share with you.
Or show you... I worked on my Bunny Hill September BOM block last weekend, but don't have the embroidery done. I made the cards for my ATC swap, but haven't mailed them yet so I can't show you those either.
Not much has been happening in the sewing room, other than frantic typing of tests and learning guides on the computer and even more frantic marking of assignments. I'm even at the point where I'm trying to combine my leisure activities with school work - marking while watching Glee in the OnlyChild's room Wednesday night, choosing the movie Sicko as our Saturday night entertainment because I had to preview it before I show it to my grade 12 Social Studies class, taking my marking into the porch in order to enjoy this beautiful sunny Sunday.
Arrrggghhh. Busy. In fact, I'm so buried in marking and other work right now I haven't even had time to go online to post responses for the master's course I'm taking, so that means I'll get behind in that also.
Okay, enough complaining already. I'll pop my head up for some air soon and, hopefully, will have interesting stories and exciting projects. Maybe...

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


All those tomatoes... What's a girl to do?

I made Fresh Summer Salsa. Want the recipe? Okay, I know Pat and Sara don't want the recipe, but others might. ☺

Fresh Summer Salsa

4 large tomatoes, diced
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 green pepper, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp white vinegar
pinch of pepper
2 pinches of salt

Combine all ingredients. Serve with tortilla chips or (my favourite) pita chips.

Pita chips? Take a pita; cut it in eighths then peel the layers apart. Place on a cookie sheet, spray with cooking spray, and bake in 350 oven until slightly browned. Yummy - and much healthier than tortilla chips.

This salsa will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for a week, give or take a couple of days.

Sorry, no photo. I'm too lazy to trek downstairs with the camera right now.

Plus... I have other things on my mind. Such as...

After searching high and low in bookstores across the city and not being able to get my paws on a copy of Blogging for Bliss, I was prepared to order online. But now I don't have to.
The lovely Jeanne of A Bushel and a Peck picked my name ~ MY NAME ~ in her draw for the book. I'm so excited. Thank you, Jeanne. Thank you! I'm so looking forward to curling up with this book during my (ahem) spare time some weekend.
And speaking of spare time, it's becoming rare around here. I picked up the marking from my mailbox today and it is ~ no exaggeration ~ about 5 inches tall. The kids have only been in school for a few days. Little keeners. I wish they'd slow down. Arrggghhh. It's so busy at work!
Yeah... so why am I messing around on the computer...? Sigh.
(I won, I won!)

Monday, September 07, 2009


Tomatoes of assorted shapes and sizes.

Beets and potatoes.

Carrots (and a couple of baby parsnips - not quite ready yet).

And an artful arrangement of vegetables photographed by the OnlyChild.


Saturday, September 05, 2009


Sorry... I didn't mean to be gone so long. It's been such a busy and tiring week. This working thing stinks! Haha.

Back to school... the grade 10 students arrived on Wednesday, all eager, excited and nervous. There were no grade 11s or 12s there that day, so they had the teachers all to themselves for orientation. As I've mentioned before, I teach in a self-directed program, so the system is a bit different for students who have been used to traditional classrooms and bell schedules.

Now, lest you think my job is easier than being in a classroom all day, consider this: In one of my 'classes' I have 65 students. That would never happen in a traditional system. No way. Well, except for that year I had 54 students in grade 10 English class. Yeah, that was fun.

Anyway... We do teach some classes. We have 'seminars' every week for each class we teach. I also teach one class every day (80 minutes) in the upgrading program. The rest of the time we are working on the 'learning floor' providing one-on-one help to students. And marking. And writing learning materials. And taking care of our 16-20 'advisees'. We are responsible for their education plan, schedules, contact with parents, giving them a much-needed kick in the butt every so often, counselling when they have personal problems, etc.

My school is a very busy place to work!

But I like it... most days. If I didn't, I would have found something else to do by now because it's just not healthy to work at a career you don't like... especially when you're dealing with adolescents. They can be trying, to put it politely.

Now it's the weekend. It's a glorious, sunny Saturday. I have lots of work to do, but not today. Maybe later. Today, I'm going to try to enjoy a bit of relaxation. Maybe go to the gym (I've been neglecting/avoiding it this week), perhaps take the OnlyChild to a movie. She wants to see The Time Traveller's Wife. The book was excellent!
Thursday night I went with a couple of friends to see Julie and Julia. Loved it! Meryl Streep is so good in the role of Julia Child. If you haven't seen the movie, I would highly recommend it. But go with your girlfriends, rather than your husband/boyfriend. It's not a 'guy movie'.

And did you see the new t.v. show Glee? I hardly ever watch television, but Mr. P was away Wednesday evening so the remote control was in my hands. The OnlyChild and I really enjoyed Glee. I think we might have to pencil it in on our calendars for the rest of the year.
It was nice chatting with you again. I've missed you all the past few days. I hope you liked my sunflower photos. I grew these flowers myself! I can hardly believe they actually bloomed, since my past experiments in gardening have been dismal. I had a whole row of them but then Mr. P dumped a load of sod on half of them that he'd scraped off the back lawn when he built the deck. Ooohhhh... I was upset! But the survivors grew very well, as you can see.
I think Autumn is coming... although the days are warm, the mornings and evenings are chilly. This is my favourite time of year. I liked it better when I lived in the Maritimes, though, because the trees burst into a riot of reds, oranges and yellows and Fall lasts for weeks there. Here, it's yellow leaves one week, bare trees the next, and then snow.
(Shhh... I said a dirty word - SNOW)
Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The first two days...

I survived the first two days of school. The transition from summer vacation back to work wasn't quite as painful as I'd anticipated. In fact, it's just like I never had a holiday. Wait a second... that's not a good thing.

Anyway, as the saying goes, I'm back in the saddle.

We've had two days of meetings and... church. We all attend an opening mass at the beginning of the school year. I took this photo with my cell phone from the choir loft (I was in the choir). People were just starting to file in around 8:30 this morning.

The mass is held in the professional concert hall downtown. It's a beautiful facility with great acoustics. There were about 25 of us in the choir plus two cantors, an organist, and a 9-piece brass band.

Tomorrow is the first day with students. The grade 10 students come for orientation, then on Thursday grade 11 and 12 students have their first day. It will be busy. Yep, we hit the ground running!

Teaching: Wimps Need Not Apply!