Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Great Day!!!

1) Someone (an adult) annoyed me at work.  Went to the gym and mentioned to my trainer.  He said "why don't we try boxing?"  I did and it was so much fun!  Most fun I've had working out.  Ever.

2) My dear friend Alex scored me tickets for Beyonce!!!! So excited.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

What to write about?

I used to be able to blog more easily that I can now.  Here I'm sitting at the end of a pretty dull weekend and I can't think of a thing to really write about.  Ugh.  I'll do it later.

Monday, February 01, 2016


It's a new semester and I'm really happy that my classroom is free during my prep period.  It means that I can spread out/set-up in here without bothering anyone and relax.  (I have prep period first, and I'm ready to go, hence I'm blogging.)

I had a pretty chill weekend.  I watched Straight Outta Compton which was OK.  It was revisionist history, from everything I've read about N.W.A., but I still found it interesting overall.  I tend to really enjoy music biopics.  It takes me back to the music appreciation course I took for fun in university.  (Fun and credit, mind you.)

I went to the Raptors game on Saturday night and it turned out to be one of those exceptional evenings that you could not predict its awesomeness.  My friend Elaine and I bought these tickets waaaaay back in the summer, and I tell you, we couldn't have chosen a better night!

My first small happy moment was ordering a Coke Zero (although I've mostly given that carcinogenic brew up) in a Raptors souvenir cup.  I have one of these cups from my first ever Raptors game, and I use it all of the time, so I figured it was time for an upgrade.  The first snack booth was out of them and only had Leafs cups left, but after hunting around we found one.  Woo-hoo!

We had nosebleed seats which I'm accustomed to from my Jays games, but basketball is definitely more pricey.  Anyhow, I was checking out who was sitting courtside, and from up where I was sitting one dude (shaved head, beard, work boots) looked like Drake and I said to my friend Elaine "hey!  I think that Drake's here!" and she said no, it wasn't Drake.  Then I texted my friend Elisa, who was also at the game but had better seats, and she made fun of me for thinking Drake was there.

About 30 minutes later, they put Drake up on the scoreboard and I had fun gloating!

During half-time, my friend Elisa texted me.  A co-worker of hers has seasons tickets down in the 100s, and the seasons tickets holders who sit behind her weren't there.  Since Elisa already had good seats, she texted me to see if I wanted a free upgrade.  Woo-hoo!  My Drake-watching (oh and basketball-watching) was so much better from down there.

The Raptors ended up winning against the Detroit Pistons 111 - 107 which was amazing because it was their record-breaking 11th win in a row.  I will point out, because I have to, that the 2015 Jays had TWO 11-game win streaks, but anyway.  Yah.  (I miss baseball.)  And, because the Raptors scored more than 100 points, we could all use our tickets to get free pizza at Pizza Pizza the next day.

Souvenir cup, Drake sighting, amazing seat upgrade, 11th win in a row, and free pizza!  That's a pretty good Saturday night!  I can only hope that Drake had as much fun as I did.

p.s. The Woo-Hoo! title of this post expresses mainly my joy that my classroom is free right now.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Weekend, exam week, etc.

I headed to Stratford for a chill weekend.  It was a friend's baby shower, so I figured why not go, but I only made it a mini-trip (left on Saturday morning and came back Sunday night).  I didn't do a whole lot when I was there, other than go shopping for a present, and then go to the actual shower.

We are now finished first semester, and it's exam week.  I am chugging through the marking.  I now have six sets of term work left to deal with and two sets of final exams.  I'm feeling like that is getting under control, but then there is the fact I have to get ready for another semester.

Tonight I get a break when I go to Pitch Talks.  Woo-hoo!

Also, it's really dreary today.  Man, I could use sunshine.

That is all.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Leaving early.

Really the biggest thing I need to improve is my work-life balance.  I can honestly say I love my job, it's fun, it's fulfilling, and gives me a lot of purpose.  In a lot of ways, I feel ridiculous to be paid to do something so rewarding and so fun.

But it is a lot of work.

I can see how you could be a crappy teacher and get by.  Boring textbook lessons every day.  Don't change things up or be creative.  And you could leave at the bell!

But I would hate that.  I'm always changing things up, experimenting with new labs, inventing new games, and scouring the internet for interesting videos and funny science cartoons. And as a result my classes fly by and we all have fun.  Case in point today, I had a room full of teenaged boys with words taped to their foreheads walking around and playing a version of the game "Headbands" to review for their exam. And they were having a great time and completely into it. 

Anyway, the more I keep planning and innovating (the stuff I like), the farther behind I get in the drudge work of marking, photocopying, cleaning up my lab, and other things I hate.  And then I feel stressed and ugh, and it's an awful cycle.  I often stay at school way too late trying to get caught up but I'm not even that productive because I distract myself either by planning something new, or get caught up chit-chatting in the staff room.  

This year I'm trying to leave school early more often and it's great!  I leave, go to the gym or run errands and come home refreshed enough to maybe to a little bit of school catch-up.  I must keep doing this.

Yesterday, I left early to go on a three-hour expedition to get supplies for a long-term lab for my grade 12 biology students (they have to take another semester of bio but with another teacher).  It was still work-related, but being out of the building was so much better and I had fun because a friend was kind enough to join me.

I need to get out of there early more often.  I must continue this into next semester despite the spectre of another new course to teach for the third semester in a row.  I'm no longer using "I'm teaching a new course" to allow the rest of my life to fall apart.

January... so far, so good.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Off season woes.

I was a pretty big baseball fan when I was a kid.  I would read my dad's baseball magazines religiously and was quite happy to go on a family vacation to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.  I had my baseball card collection and my MLB Panini* sticker books.  I used to ride my bike with the boys in my neighbourhood to the convenience store to buy sticker packs and trade.  I remember oh-so-clearly tearing my Mark McGwire sticker out of my book to give to my then-BFF Karl because that was the only sticker he was missing from his "Rookies of 1986".  I always regretted doing that, but then after all of the steroid scandals, I'm glad that sticker is no longer in my possession.

My baseball obsession peaked in 1992/1993 when the Blue Jays won back-to-back World Series.  Those were good days, hey?  In 1992, my dad took me to my first baseball game at the Skydome. I even named a cat after Joe Carter, who hit the home run that won the 1993 WS.

As I got older, and the Jays weren't as great, my basbeball obsession diminished.  When I moved to Toronto, I'd go to the occasional game, but more as a social occasion.  It was fun to reminisce about the old days, and remember all of my favourite Jays from the glory days (Fred McGriff, anyone?).  But I didn't follow baseball at all.

Fast forward to the end of 2013.  My friend Mathew had recently rekindled his own love of baseball, and asked me if I want to join him on flex passes.  15 games for $120.  Why not?  Even if I missed games, it was a great deal!  And baseball games are fun, right?

Well, by the end of the 2014 season I was pretty much watching every game that I could on TV.  Even though the Jays weren't in contention that year, my early-90s super-fandom came flooding back.  And then, well, you know what happened in 2015.  It was a (bat) flippin' amazing season!  Playoff baseball games!  Woo-hoo!

And that brings us to now.   The long boring off-season.  Do you know what I'd give to be watching a game right now?  Baseball has the most insanely long season of 162 games but somehow that's not enough for me.  I almost need to start following all of the international leagues or something.

On Tuesday, my pal Mathew and I are doing something that cements us as die hards.  We are going to an event called Pitch Talks, which is a series where we listen to people talk about baseball.  Yes, it's come to this.  The event is advertised for "real baseball fans" and I'm pretty sure I qualify.

Tonight Mathew just messaged me "what are you going to wear to Pitch Talks.  I think I'm going to wear my playoff hoodie."  I started laughing so hard.  This is what the off season has brought us to.  Until then, we've got 29 days until pitchers and catchers report to spring training.

*Wow!  The 80s were great!  I like to remember the days when "Panini" didn't refer to a sandwich, but to those sticker collections that you could spend all of your allowance money on.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Pirate Cat

When I got home on Thursday, Rilo greeted me at the door with her left eye closed. It was weird.  All evening, she wouldn't open her left eye and it was rather runny.  I consulted the Internet about what it could mean when your cat was closing one eye, and after becoming freaked out with stories of cats having their eyes fall out of the socket, I figured that she probably just got something in it, and if it didn't look better the next day, I'd make a vet appointment.

Even though she looked like a pirate with one eye shut, she was her old spirited bossy self, so at least I knew that she wasn't in pain.

On Friday, I got home from school to a quite pathetic looking cat.  Her pirate eye was half open and very runny.  It was 6 pm, so I called the vet's office right away to make a Saturday appointment before they closed for the evening.  I described her condition, and they fit me in for an afternoon appointment.

As Friday night progressed, her eye got better.  In fact, her eye was back to normal by the time I had to cart her off to the vet on Saturday.  However, no harm in getting her checked out.  It's been a while since she was at the vet anyhow.

Getting Rilo into her cage is quite the ordeal.  There's nothing she hates more.  I got her carrier out on Friday, and as soon as she saw it, she promptly hid.  After about 20 minutes, she figured the coast was clear.

On Saturday, even before I got ready to go myself, I seized the opportunity to pack her up.  She was snoozing on the couch, and I scooped her up and got her locked up in the cage before she knew what was happening.  As I was getting myself ready, I was treated to a cacophony of furious meows and the sound of claws trying to scrape through plastic.

The vet's office is about a seven-minute walk from my place.  As I was walking, many people expressed "poor kitty" at my pissed-off meowing caged pet.  When we got to the vet's office, we had to wait for awhile, and a couple of dogs walked up to her cage to check her out.  I was afraid she'd get scared, since I don't think she's seen a dog up close before, but she was too angry to care.  I think she just saw the dogs as someone else she could express her outrage too.

Once we were into the examining room, and she was out of the cage, she was fine.  The vet was impressed how chill she was.  I explained the eye problem to him, and he said it was most likely a flare-up of cat herpes that she probably caught back when she was at the Humane Society.  Like the herpes simplex virus in humans, it can lay dormant for long periods of time.  In cats, an outbreak of the virus can result in upper respiratory infections and ocular discharge.  These outbreaks are often caused by stress, but it doesn't seem like anything has changed to stress Rilo out on Thursday.  Who knows, maybe I didn't wake up early enough to give her treats.

Anyway, it was good to get her checked out.  The vet said she was in excellent health for an approximately eleven-year old cat.  (I don't know her exact age because it was estimated she was about 3 - 5 when I adopted her.)  Her only problem is that she's got some tartar build-up on her teeth.  The vet said that she could use a cleaning, and then he printed up an estimate for me, which would run around $1000, so ummm, I think she's gonna live with dirty teeth.

So now at least I know that if Rilo busts out the pirate eye again that it's just her herpes acting up.  Nice souvenir, there Humane Society.