Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Tuesday's Treats and Treasures

Yesterday I didn't manage to put a post together as I went to the 6:45pm showing of:
oh please please please go and see this movie!! Visually it's a feast for the eyes. It's hilarious and quirky, eccentric and silly and we (friends from work) laughed until our sides hurt! The only problem is it was so fast paced that I missed a lot because I was shrieking with utter glee! Which means, of course, that I'll have to go see it again...and again!! This is a movie I would buy.

So on to the treats and treasures of yore (yesterday)! My ID cards from the past 5 years!

I'm not getting older, I'm getting better! Not much change that I  can see - perhaps my face is fuller in the last one - that helps to plump out the wrinkles so I'm told...I've also started to use coconut oil (the new super food, well one of them anyways) and hope to see the clock turn back and me starting to look younger and younger...yes, I'm dreaming :)

Addendum: I know what the difference is now with the last picture - my smile is starting to slip and I look tired. I picked the right year to go.

As you may have guessed yesterday was "photo day" so let's have a look at the photos I kept close to me over the past 800 14 years that I taught at CCH...look at my sweet little puddin'pop :) I bet every one of you moms out there have a macaroni picture frame of your little cutie pies...
she was such a happy little scamp...who knew she'd grow into a surly teen?? Hah, just kidding...sort of...
one of my most favourite (and challenging) students - she used to call me "Spicy Eyes" because that was written on one arm of my glasses! She kept me hopping with her daily ritual of questions that HAD to be answered: can I break your glasses...(me - NO), did they cost $534?...(yes)...can I look down your top...(NO)...what colour camisole are you wearing? this point I'm trying unsuccessfully to redirect her...can you call Ed Roland? singer of her favourite band "Collective Soul") and on and on. Eventually I wrote down a list of her questions and my answers and put it on the side of the fridge and I'd just point at it when the questions started. Gave me a bit of a breather.
 Bad photo but I have a little hamster peeking out from inside my jacket - we had one for a classroom pet for a few years.
 What form...what grace...what?? It was "Share your Talent" day and I just had to clown around :)
What a happy crew! This was the first year that we went to the Special Olympics. A number of football players volunteered to coach the kids. They ALL had a blast!
Pre makeup, pre blonde hair extensions, pre eyelash curler, pre hair straightener, pre everthing but total CUTENESS!! Ah, Kazibelle, I do miss those innocent days...
 But whoa!! Look at those dimples would ya!! This is one of her "casual" Gr. 12 graduation pictures - what a beauty!
 A conglomeration of photos: 4 generations of Harrison men in the bottom photo - my nephew David, his son Jack, my brother Gord and my dad Doug.
Me, with darker hair, in front of the Montmorency Falls near Quebec City. And I'm thinking "braless"! Brazen hussy!
What more can I say about my one and only - she'll always be #1 in my heart!
One of my valentine cards from a I the worm or the apple?
 A plaque to keep me motivated...
 At least 6-8 years ago - a wonderful group of students and staff...
Yup, I was still really enjoying my job back in those days - life was darn good. Sometimes I look at old photos and wonder to myself - "why did I get rid of that top? I love that top!! Drat!"
Now THAT top I only wore a couple of times and then donated it - you win some you lose some!
OK, this is from the middle ages...24 years ago this July. I'm graduating from UWO with my parents to support me. My dad before cancer got him in 2002 and my mom before Parkinson's took her in 2000. Kazi is there too - I was 7 months pregnant!!  I remember how brutally hot it was that day and she kicked up a storm ALL day!

Finally a pink candle (because I go through a LOT of candles) and my little "blessings" stones that got me through a lot of rough moments...

Today being Wednesday I brought home a new batch of stuff but will post about that tomorrow. Its getting past time I was on my bike pedalling fiercely through an episode of "House of Cards"!

I wish you a wonderful evening and thank you for joining me as I wandered down Memory Lane!

Monday, April 28, 2014

What did I bring home today....

Well, now you know I'm really me! My nameplate dates back to when I started working for the Royal Bank of Canada - so it's about 38 years old - YIKES!!  I'm as old as the hills! And don't I just hang on to things for a very looooooooooong time?! I think I should keep hanging onto it - I mean what if I end up not remembering who I am some day when I'm 95 years old?? It could happen...

I also brought home an old file box which I'm going to use for my monthly files...bills, receipts, insurance etc. I used to have a large cabinet with 2 lower drawers for filing and it was FULL!  See?
Proof that I am indeed downsizing!

I don't have any more dental appointments before my retirement date so brought home my extra toothbrush and toothpaste....hmmmmm, I guess that means NO garlicky food for lunch!

 And finally my lint brush...I'm hoping I won't need to de-fuzz again before the end of June - I'm so optimistic! Well if I do need to get rid of any lint I can always use my old standby - wrap masking tape around my hand sticky-side out. Hey, desperate times call for desperate measures!

And that's a wrap for yet another Manic Monday. We had a really good day at school - everyone was super tired for some reason - they were too tired to misbehave :)  One EA went home sick and we managed just fine being 1 short. Another hmmmmmmm moment!

Well off I go to exercise and eat dinner. Not at the same time mind you. Last night I made some jerk chicken and a pot of leek and potato soup which turned out even better than I thought it would.

Hope your Monday was a  good one!!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

I'm a little behind...

which is very different from "having a little behind"...

I have been lax of late in reporting the # and kind of items I am bringing home from school.  Let me clarify...I continue to bring 3 or more items home daily but have been a bit slow in taking photos and uploading those photos to my new laptop. And of course I excuse my neglect by pointing out, once again, that I am still learning how to use my Macbook Pro.

So, for the first time I have uploaded my photos and will post them in today's post! Yay!

If I were bi-polar, which I don't think I am, I could say that that explains the rather huge swings in my emotions of late, but since I don't have that claim I blame my mood swings on life in general - in one moment I feel higher than the loftiest of kites only to come crashing down into a tree like Charlie Brown's ill-fated kite.  One moment I feel on top of the world when the reality of my impending retirement hits home, only then to sink into the abyss when I realize the many challenges of my retirement journey.  That, in itself, is a complete series of posts!

For today I will stick with the decluttering of my work environment, the great things I nabbed at the recent silent auction held at my school and the results of my recent and continuing work around the house. goes...
A box my brother gave to me years ago... and some videotapes I just can't get rid of yet...
 videotapes of Kazi's favourite shows when she was about 4 or 5 years old... call me sentimental!
Inside that box...labels and sticky notes galore...will I still use sticky notes when I'm not a teacher any longer? My gut says yes!!
From the silent auction - a gorgeous book bag along with three books I haven't read yet...I am preparing my summer reading program...I think I paid about $13.00 in total - each of the books is labelled for a much higher price :)
Some CDs that I brought home this past week and there are still lots more at school. No wonder poor Kazi would get upset with me eh?  So many things around the house ended up in my classroom for some reason or other...though I promise you I never took anything that she was currently using...
 My Christmas CDs - won't be needing them at school any longer...
My thermometer...I think this will be very handy to have at Crofters Lane in PEI...
 We have more spices than the average household since I took this set to school...then I would have to buy duplicates to use at home!!
I won this gorgeous plate at the silent auction - I paid $12.00. Perhaps a bit pricey but it was instant attraction so I had to have it...
This lovely flower has a tea light in it - I am changing the powder room counter to a black/grey granite look (more about that later) so this candle holder will look fabulous! ($6.00)
Last but not least I purchased this tea mug for Kazi as I thought it suited her personality and she loves her tea! ($8.00)

I think I am still way ahead of my April challenge of bringing at least 3 items home per day.  I will be continuing this challenge for May and June as well as getting rid of obsolete materials so the classroom and my office will be ready for the incoming teacher. All teachers tend to hoard materials as we "never know when we might need something"!

OK, on to the renos & redecorating...
Last weekend my friend Julie spent a couple of days with me...she painted this shelf in the kitchen to match the wall colour so it looks like it's part of the wall...I love how bright the fruit looks now...
I tackled wallpapering the foyer and then putting up the mirror and the shelf underneath. I used to always have a table under the mirror piled with crap and making the foyer appear narrower than it is.
 The smaller wall shelf opens up the space while still leaving a spot for mail or keys. The wallpaper is just a textured beige colour and helps to cover up the hallways many bumps and bruises. This area is finished except for a piece of trim where the walls meet the ceiling.  I can handle that myself.
 The dining room is finished. I love the soft colour. The plate on the table I got at Winner's on sale for $7.00 and it matches the picture on the wall perfectly - a pop of colour from a spray of poppies.

 This little shelf was painted a burgundy colour so I repainted it white - it's near the front door and holds our keys.
This you may have already seen - I'm very proud of this room. The new curtains are a great match to the gorgeous area rug. The walls were a mess and it took me two days to repaint them. I had to add a coat of primer because the upper half of the walls were painted green while the lower half had wallpaper which I removed a few months ago. There had been many pictures on the walls along with a large mirror. Once all removed there were a couple of dozen holes to spackle, sand and then paint. Now you can't tell where any of the holes were - it looks amazing. The colour is called Swan White and is a nice soft and creamy colour.
 The kitchen is finished...for now.  When I come back in the fall I am replacing the double sink, faucet and probably the countertop. What has been done? New ceramic tile floor and white subway tiles for the backsplash, new handles on all the cupboards and drawers, two coats of Extreme White on walls and ceiling, new light cover, a good cleaning and new shelf paper and the shelf painted to match the walls. Oh, and you can see I'm still making green drinks! Marjorie - I did explore the Omega juicers but went with a new Breville for now. However when the condo is sold I'm giving the Breville to Kazi and buying myself the Omega as it can also be used to make nut butters & milk, hummus and sorbet!!
 I am very happy with my dining room too. The table had been holding all of my reno and paint supplies the last couple of months but now I've moved all that to the basement where I will continue my redecorating efforts. Kazi, her boyfriend Steve, and myself had Easter dinner in our new dining room and it was FAB to have a nice place to eat once again. Kazi has influenced Steve's eating habits (formerly a strictly meat and potatoes kind of guy) and now he is enjoying her juicing efforts as well as eating tons of salad and other vegetables. A convert!!
It's a calm and beautiful room. Walls spackled and painted a soft colour called "Meeting Room" which sounded appropriate. New hardwood floors and baseboard, new area rug, new curtain & rod.
Here's a final shot of the foyer (look, there's Dougie the Dodge!!) and I'm happy how it's come together. New vinyl floor, new wallpaper, more spacious with the exchange of a shelf instead of a table which stuck out into the space.

I'll be doing whatever else I can fit into the last two months before I head to PEI for the summer and fall. When I return I can devote my whole days to finishing the basement and upstairs bedrooms and bathroom.  It will be wonderful to have nothing but FREE TIME to get things done. Then it'll be up for sale in early 2015.

My FIVE YEAR PLAN is coming together. Sometimes (most of the time) it doesn't feel real. Occasionally I feel a jolt of PURE JOY but mostly it still feels like a dream.

If you made it to the bottom of this lengthy photo-filled post you are a true friend :) I hope you are having a wonderful Sunday. The sun is shining here in London, Ontario although still cold. I have the recycling to get ready, two narrow strips of wallpaper to add to the foyer near the front door (then that's done!), leek soup to make, green drinks to make and I'm due to give myself a haircut later (I trim it myself every two weeks!)


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Still not where I need to be...

...and by that I mean I'm still learning how to use my new laptop and don't have enough time to really get into it. I'm sure things will slow down by the weekend and I'll self indulge by spending a few hours learning the ins and outs of my new Mac.

What I can say about it so far is I love how it feels...the keyboard is just right, I love how the letters are back lit so I can still use it when the room gets quite dark and I can find the home row so easily.

Even though it's been a very busy week so far I don't have much to report. One thing that has pissed me off (yes, I can get to the point where I swear occasionally!) is that someone at school has spilled the beans on my retirement!! Other than my dep't head, 2 VPS and the principal no one else should know and that was the way I wanted it. I hate being the topic of gossip and with the EAs I work with that's a real problem. However a teacher came up to me today to congratulate me and I asked him how he knew I was retiring and he mumbled something about seeing the job postings.  Well, that is blatantly untrue because the posting for my job won't come out until May 1st! Then one of the EAs said at the end of the day that they heard a rumour I was retiring so rumours are running rampant and I guess I'm just going to have to spill the beans. So NOT the way I wanted it handled. I don't know where the "leak" is unless that Wikileaks guy is up to no good again!!

The good news is my tax refund arrived today and is more than enough to pay for my laptop!! I put it on my master card (for the points) and will pay it off tomorrow once I deposit the check. The bad news is our juicer went kaput so I've been pricing better models. I didn't pay a lot for the first one we bought a year and a half ago because I wasn't sure how much we would use it. Well, we use it almost everyday so it's worth getting a more expensive, better quality model. I'll get that done tomorrow too.

Kazi cooked dinner tonight. Well, I cooked the quinoa and she made a stir fry with shrimp, 3 different colours of peppers, onion and garlic. She likes things spicy so it was somewhat "hot" but not too hot. Delicious actually...she's coming along as a cook:) This weekend I'll finish off a couple of little projects around the house and promise to write a long post with lots of photos. We now have a very liveable main floor and it makes me extremely happy. That still leaves 2 other floors to work on but as my friend Jules said I'll need something to do when I get back from PEI in October or November AND it will be so much better to be able to work away at it day after day instead of squeezing it into my weekends and holiday weekends!! Much less stress!

So all in all things are moving along as planned.

Oh, and I must update my April challenge - I haven't been neglecting it, I've brought a lot more stuff home but without my laptop I've not kept you up to date on my progress. I'll add that to my weekend post too - YIKES - it's gonna be a LOOOOOOOOOONG one! (or two or three!)

And now off I go to get on my exercise bike - gotta keep burning those calories and toning my muscles (at least that's what I tell myself!) Ciao!

Monday, April 21, 2014


Hoo boy...I'm on a steep learning curve with my brand new Macbook Pro! I just started typing and a message from Kazi flew in from the right side of the screen! Took me a minute to figure out how to answer her, but I managed. Thankfully she has the same laptop so you know who I'll be going to for  advice.

I just wanted to let you know that I did get the education discount for a total of $280 big ones!! Not too shabby:)

Did everyone have a wonderful Easter holiday? I loved every minute of it - the mild weather was greatly appreciated (thanks to my friend Jules for helping to clean up my patio area so we could get outside and she also helped me with a painting project which I'll show you shortly once I figure out the "photo" in where are they?)  How do I upload them and how to access all of the ones on my not so healthy Dell laptop :(

One step at a time.  It will all work out I'm sure...sort of sure...hoo boy...

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Uh oh.....

Just a quick note before I get started for the day. I'm going to be "out of the picture" for a little while as my old and trusty laptop is now an ancient and dead laptop. I was hoping it would last til the end of June and see me through to the end of my school career. It almost made it. Only 74 more days to go!
So the time has come for me to go with an Apple laptop so all of my devices will be synced - yippee! Now I'm just waiting for my tax refund which unfortunately won't be put into savings after all, at least not much of it - the rest will pay for the new laptop which I was going to buy anyway so I don't feel too awful about the expense.

The thing about my tax refund is that the Canadian Revenue agency was hacked because of the heartbleed virus and I've heard about 300(?) social insurance numbers were stolen. The owners of those SINs will be informed by registered letter. (Haven't received one yet thankfully!) For a few days they closed down their website and suspended operations so my refund is in CRA limbo - who knows when I'll see it :( I'll give it a few more days and then will use savings instead and then repay my savings.

I just hope that I can get someone to get my old laptop working briefly so I can get some photos and music out of it. My external hard drive fell on the floor a couple of months ago and also isn't working and I have a huge amount of photos on it. Grrrr....this is where a snarky comment about modern technology vs an old shoe box full of photos would go...

So if you wonder where I am I'm in a deep Matrix which is indeed - infinite!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

It's Sunday - Here are the Numbers

Ok, let's start with the items being brought home from school. Over the years many kitchen items have found their way to my kitchen at school. If I had a nickel for every time Kazi asked me - "where's the pizza cutter...where's the pie lifter etc" I would have enough nickels for maybe a Timmy's coffee.
So the utensils are marching their way home where they belong at long last. Along with a nice brown betty teapot, a smaller KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON TEAPOT  and my travel mug (I wondered where that was!)
 CDs are finding their way home too. I've given away a lot as I now keep all my music on my iPod, iPad etc. If a student liked a certain band or singer and I had one of their CDs I would give it to the student to listen to at school. I also took a lot into a 2nd hand store and made a little money.
And I found another of Kazi's books. I remember her getting this one from her Uncle Gord and Aunt Pat when she was only a year old. I will tuck it away with the rest of her picture books in the hopes of being a gramma some day! The plastic tabs will come in handy for my future "home office".

I think I'm way beyond an average of 3 things per day that I'm bringing home but that's ok. I've taken a lot from my home life to use at school...every teacher does that. Wouldn't it be nice though if when teachers retired they get reimbursed for all of those out of pocket expenses that we pay for over the course of our 20+ year careers?? Dream on Jane...

I've taken furniture to school too but won't be bringing any of that home.

Now for an update on the numbers!

  • 77 - the number of days until I retire!!
  • 9 - the number of days I've been waiting for my hefty tax refund - it could be another 9 days too as the Canada Revenue agency has suspended operations until they have "patched" up the damage caused by the Heartbleed virus
  • There have been a number of 1st's this week too: first day sitting in my wee backyard; first Saturday afternoon sitting outside on the patio at the Village Pub!! and best of all - the first time I rode my bike outside!!! Wheeeeeeee!
  • 13 - the number of days of only drinking juice based on the "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead" website
  • 7 - the number of pounds I've lost so far
  • 8 - the number of pounds I'd still like to lose before the end of June
  • 0 - the number of cups of coffee I've had in the last 2 weeks
Yesterday at the Village Pub I had my first solid food in two weeks! I ordered a Mediterranean pizza with a gluten-free crust made from rice flour and quinoa flour. It had feta cheese, tomatoes and whole black olives - so much flavour - I savored every morsel! I will continue to have juice once or twice a day and maintain a diet of mostly vegetables in hopes of losing 8 more pounds.

I accomplished a lot last week. Midterm report cards are completed (only 1 more set of report cards left to do :) , I sent my letter of intention to retire to the school board(in order to qualify for the $5,000 bonus) and I completed my online pension application too. Happy happy me!

Today's job is to revamp my clothes closet as I am hoping I won't need my winter sweaters anymore and I'd like to get out a few spring tops/pants for school. (I ACTUALLY WORE SANDALS YESTERDAY!!)

So on that spring note I'll move on from here and get busy. If the rain holds off I might get in another bike ride.  This is me riding my bike in PEI,and yes, that picture was hard to take: