Thursday, June 29, 2006

It's over, it's over, it's over...

Well that's it! I'm officially done, and have been for about 2.5 hours. I'm just chilling at home on the couch, waiting for some colleagues to call, and then we are going on a pub crawl. Oh man, I haven't been on one of those in eons. I am looking forward to this.

You know, I've been looking forward to summer vacation forever now, but now that it's here, I have a bit of a sense of melancholy. I don't know why. It could be that the end of an old year signifies the eventual beginning of a new year which means change. I'm the type of person who is always resistant to change... Today I had to say goodbye to coworkers who are retiring, switching schools, etc. etc. and I guess that has me feelin' a bit sad. Plus, I got my schedule for next year and I'm not so sure about it. I actually get to teach a senior course, and I'm a bit excited about that, but I'm not sure about a couple of others. I also think that deep down I'm gonna miss a lot of the kids that I taught this year, especially my grade 9s, and I won't have them next year.

Anyway, as I ramble, I guess I'm feeling that typical feeling when you end something and it's just done. There's no fanfare, not anything really and you feel a bit let down because you were so excited for whatever to be done. Plus, I think I just have to get into the swing of vacation. My life is tyically ruled by bells, and I gotta get used to no bells for two months.

Last summer I didn't feel this way so much because the day after the last day of school, I hopped on a plane to Australia. Moral of this story: go on big trip at the beginning of summer to avoid end-of-school-year ironic melancholy. Had to throw the word ironic in there because I think it's so ironic that I'm feeling down at the beginning of the vacation I was counting down for.

On that note, I'd better get out the door for my pub crawl. To quote Homer (Simpson), "To alcohol the answer to, and cause of, all of life's problems!"

Oh yeah, and happy summer ya'll.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

My capillaries scream.

Happy new Dashboard Confessional CD day! I'm such a geek, I know... But I've really been looking forward to this album for some reason. I think it's because I decided that it was going to be the soundtrack of my summer (with a name like Dusk & Summer how could it not?). I'm on my first listen as I blog, and so far I'm thinking it's going to be really really good. Oh, and I'll be able to cap it off with the concert on Friday. I'm so excited.

So I "worked" from "home" today. This means that I slept in, watched TV, made some necessary phone calls and filled out some necessary forms, walked to get my new CD, detoured to Indigo and bought a new book and chilled at Starbucks for a bit.

The book I got is "Suite Francaise" by Irene Nemirovsky. Nemirovsky was a writer of Russian descent who lived in France during WWII. Her family fled to the French countryside to hide from the Nazis and she started to work on an epic novel. She was taken to a concentration camp in 1942 and killed. Her daughters spent the rest of the war fleeing and hiding from the Nazis, but they were able to carry a suitcase containing their mother's work. They assumed that what was inside the suitcase was a journal, and decided it would be too painful to read. 65 years later, one of the daughters started to read her mother's work and found out it was a novel. It was published in 2004 and just recently translated into English. Reviews say that it's amazing and even better than the backstory. Unfortunately, Nemirovsky never finished it and only two of the five parts were completed. Anyhow, I decided it may be a good start to my summer reading.

I chilled in Starbucks for a bit and enjoyed another banana creme frap (my drink of the summer). Starbucks for me is like the preppy cool boy (or girl, for male readers) that you may be skeptical and wary of at first, but then you get to know him and find out he's not that bad at all. He's even pretty darned good. Today as I was chilling with my frosty beverage in a comfy leather chair reading my new book, I was offered a sample of their new tangerine chilled beverage and then given a free coupon for a banana creme frap. Oh, how Mr. Preppy Cool Boy is totally winning me over right now. I've almost forgotten about The Second Cup, my old reliable boyfriend. He never gave me freebies and his chilled beverages have changed and are not as good as they used to be.

(Aside: Oh my gosh I am dying over the song So Long So Long on my new CD! It's got Adam Duritz of the Counting Crows singing along. It's great. Oh my.)

Here's something for all of you Coldplay fans that frequent my blog - I came across this download of a Nelly Furtado song featuring Chris Martin song that didn't make the album because of label nonsense. I like it a lot.

This article about the new Harry Potter book concerned me. I hope I hope I hope I hope she doesn't kill him. Not because I want him alive for sequels, but poor Harry has had so much happen to him - can't he live happily ever after??

Happy hump day to you tomorrow. I'm going to have to make an appearance tomorrow to hand in some stuff and then it's grad. Thursday's our year-end staff meeting/lunch and then I'm dunzo. Woot! (Yes, I think my daily reading of pinkisthenewblog has rubbed off on me. I now think like Trent writes.)

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Today I'm sinkin' lower than the Sun does on a Sunday...

Whoa, long time no blog. I've been sort of MIA from the universe of the Internt for the past few days. Just haven't felt like staring at a computer screen for a bit, I suppose.

Well, school's pretty much done with. We have some grad activities and such to finish off - Thursday is officially my last day but really all I have to do this week is clean my desk and organize my binders for next year. Long live vacation!

The weekend's been pretty good. My friend Mathew had a bday get-together on Friday night. After going for dinner at Marche (or Richtree as it's now called) we went to someone's place to chill. The apt was right by the university which made me feel *almost* like the clock had turned back.

Last night Becca T and I hung out and watched the movie North Country. We drank some South African wine; perhaps starting a new trend of having our wine match the nationality of the star of whatever movie we're watching. It was a pretty powerful movie; I cried a few times but I blame the alcohol which sometimes makes me hyper-emotional.

I bought a CD on impulse this weekend - "Puzzles Like You" by Mojave 3. I was at HMV and they were playing it and I thought whoa, this is super fun summer music - I must have it! But they were selling the disc for $22.99 which is ridiculous, so I crossed the street to another store and got it much cheaper.

Hmmm, yeah, so right now I'm spending my Sunday afternoon doing laundry. The laundry night in my building is typically super busy on a Sunday night, so I was wary of attempting it on a Sunday afternoon, but it looks like everyone procrastinates with their laundry 'til Sunday night, thus leaving it really empty on Sunday afternoons.

In concert news, I'm going to see Dashboard Confessional/City & Colour next Friday. Then, on Canada Day, I'm going to Edgefest which is sure to please my inner 17-year old because Our Lady Peace is headlining. Keane, Hot Hot Heat, Mobile and Neverening White Lights are playing too. Should be fun. Oh, and I also scored Sarah Harmer tickets for July 27th which is the day before I leave for Britain.

So, I guess my summer's shapin' up to be OK.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

I'm not feeling strong so save it for someone else.

Last summer I went to Australia. Bought an aboriginal painting on canvas at a market in Kuranda (a town in the rainforest). Intended to get it framed.

During Christmas break, I went to Cuba. Bought an oil painting on canvas in the market in Havana. Intended to get it framed.

At the end of March, finally dragged my ass to get my paintings framed.

Of course, out of all of the different frames, I pick one that turns out to be on backorder. The back order kept dragging on and on and on. The store kept calling me back and saying "We're so sorry, it's never taken this long before... It will be two more weeks." I say "Well, it took me months to bring them in for framing, what's another 2 weeks?"

Anyway, they were finally done on Friday. I picked them up today. I got a discount for the insanity. Woot. Pictures of my nicely framed paintings are below. (The pics are crooked... they're actually quite straight on my wall thanks to the sharp eye of my roomie.)


Anyhow, my P1 class wrote their exam today. I took them (the exams, not the class) to Starbucks and marked them while enjoying a banana creme frappucino (highly recommended).

While marking, I realized that I am probably Starbucks' target customer because their music was totally suited to my tastes (Damien Rice, Rufus Wainwright, Dashboard Confessional). Felt like I was listening to my iPod. (Actually, I was... but I kept hearing lots of songs in between the songs on my iPod.)

Anyhow, 2 more sets of exams to be written and marked and I'm ever so close to summer!

Monday, June 19, 2006

True dat, double true.

I've entered the sweet time of the school year called exam week. Today was tutorial day. I had 5 kids come to see me. I joked with another teacher that since we had so few kids come see us for extra help, it must mean that we are fabulous teachers and that they understand everything. Yup. That must be it. Has nothing to do with the nice weather and the World Cup...

So, it was a break-neck trip home. My pal Teresa was dropping her son off in TO so I scored a free ride to the wedding. Thank you Mapquest for the fabulous directions. The ceremony was quick, and I remained tear-free until I hugged my friend afterwards. Right now I'm rocking lots of mosquito bites, because my friends and I hiked over to the police training field to play on the equipment in our dresses and heels. (The wedding was at a police rec centre.) Then I drank enough to tear up the dance floor for a bit (read - I actually danced). Oh, and I was contantly mauled, dragged, and spun until I felt sick by the 18-year old sister of the newly-wedded Mel. Good times.

The next day the girls and I went for brunch (slow service) and then did a super-secret, super-quick scrapbooking session to make a book for my friend's fifth wedding anniversary. After this, I had 3 hours to celebrate Fathers' Day with dear old dad, who was grumpy because his "shovel foot" has been acting up. My dad, aka Psycho Gardener, has dug so much with his foot that he's developed arthritis in his digging foot. (I have come up with a scientific term for this malady.) Anyhow, heat 'n humidity aggravates the shovel foot.

After that, I hopped aboard the train back to TO.

Right now I actually have the hockey game on in the background as I blog. The Oilers are behind. Boo.

Friday, June 16, 2006

All the best DJs are saving the slowest song for last...

Well I made it!!! The last day turned out to be rather anti-climatic. My P1 class was crazy (grade 9s), P2 was subdued and P4 were really no different than usual (a little bit crazy). Anyhow, they still have their exams to worry about but I've got a weekend free of work. Woo!

World Cup Story of the Day:

The Mexicans in my period 2 class were begging me to start their exam on Wednesday an hour earlier so they could catch the beginning of the game. They couldn't seem to get the fact that I don't set exam times and that they are set in stone. It made me laugh that they though if they begged long enough I'd agree.

This weekend is my friend Mel's wedding. I have about a thousand things to do before I leave tomorrow. Hope that you all have fantabulous weekends!!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

There's only one thing to say...

Countdown Update: 1 more day of classes!!!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Cannonballs and kettle drums, catapults and pellet guns, kiser blades and minor chords...

I think I've totally got my summer blog groove on. I'm posting every day. Last time I did that was in the summer. Guess I'm prepping myself for my vacation.

Today's lyric title is from the lead song from Danny Michel's new album Valhalla. I'm a-liking it lots. Danny's a nifty singer-songwriter based somewhere in Southern Ontario and he's worked with a lot of other cool Canadian musicians (he played guitar on Sarah Harmer's last tour). He's great to see live, so if he's in your neck of the woods, I suggest that you go. Or, go buy his new CD. It's even got a No Doubt cover song on it...


Anyhow, today was a rather crazy day at work. I'd have to say I'd file under a bad day, even though it really wasn't all that bad... However, it caused me to become so lost deep in thought on my way home that I actually missed my stop. I've never really missed my stop in my entire communiting career - which is impressive since I often fall asleep on the subway. Today, I wasn't sleeping, I was just thinking. Then I noticed that the train is above ground at the Bloor Viaduct, which is not part of my route home.



So, after I'm too stunned to hop off at Broadview, I get off at Chester station to turn around. I decided that since I'd gone all the way there, I might as well walk around Greektown for a bit. So, after my brief walk, I turned around and made my way home without missing any more stops.

So here's hoping that tomorrow is a better day and that I don't miss any more stops!

Countdown Update: 2 more days of classes

ps Maybe my current blogging mojo is a result of the fact that I enjoy updating my countdown to the end of classes.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Addendum to World Cup Post

Oh, the World Cup madness does not end in my world.

Today, my period 4 classes started murmuring about soccer during exam review. "Let's get through this section and then you can talk about soccer as much as you want," I suggest. This works and we finish the review and then they enjoy 20 minutes of soccer-talking bliss.

Things I learn:
- Most of them think Brazil will win.
- One kid in my class can list the winner of every single World Cup ever. I tested him. I looked up past winners on the internet and he knew them all - all the way back to Uruguay winning in 1930. I was very impressed with him which lead him to say "I should get bonus marks for that. Bonus marks Senorita!"

(Aside, I cannot hear about Uruguay without thinking of the classic Homer Simpson line. Makes me giggle.)

Anyhow, I intend to stop World Cup related posts as soon as I can. The problem is that when in Rome you do as the Romans do. For me, Rome is my school, and the Romans talk about soccer all the damned time.

Countdown Update: 3 more days of classes

Monday, June 12, 2006

It is the soundtrack of your ever flowing life...

Ahhh... World Cup time in Toronto. Fun times. Now, I'm not a soccer fan; not really a fan of any sport per se (although I grew up watching baseball with my dad and can hold my own in a baseball conversation...) but I do like observing the pandemonium that goes with the World Cup. So many cars on the streets have flags attached to them. It just makes walking around kind of fun because you can test your flag knowledge. I think it reminds me of how multicultural Toronto is.

Something like 90% of the student population at my school are huge soccer fans. The madness started on Friday when kids in my period four class started to talk soccer. Then they asked me the "Miss, what are you?" question.

I get this question a lot from my students. A lot of them are either immigrants or children of immigrants, so they are keenly interested in cultural background. I gave them the standard "Half Polish, quarter English, quarter Welsh" answer.

"Oh Miss, poor you. Poland's gonna lose to Ecuador today." By gosh, they were right. The kids don't know science, but they do know soccer.

Today I had one student approach me and tell me that a really bad thing happened to her country. I was concerned, but it turned out that her country, Angola, lost to Portugal. Oh, the humanity. At least the Portuguese kids were in really good spirits today. Two of them were wearing their soccer jerseys in class (not part of the uniform) but I decided that I wouldn't fight that battle and let it go.

After school, a colleague and I wondered whether second semester marks were lower in World Cup years were lower. Wouldn't surprise me.

Anyhow, umm, maybe Poland will recover somehow. Guess I could always root for England... Or Australia.

Hmmm, so it's taken me 250+ blog posts to get to a sports-related post. It'll be a long time 'til the next one my friends. Maybe I'll save it up for if the Leafs ever make the playoffs... Ha-ha.

Countdown update: 4 more days of classes.

ps Actually, I may have done something sports related when the Olympics were on. Perhaps I save it for big sports thingys that are every four years.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

We will still need a song to carry us away...

And another weekend has almost bitten the dust. However, this is the last weekend where I'll feel the typical Sunday night blues (and they're not so bad tonight). Next week is the last week of classes and then bam! It's exam week. Exam week is a breeze when you're on the teaching side of the desk. The kids write 'em, they leave, I mark 'em, the end. Easy days for me.

Anyhow, this was a pretty fabulous weekend. The highlight was yesterday, which culminated in my looooooooooong awaited Hawksley Workman concert at Massey Hall. This thing was announced like last August and it was supposed to be on March 25th, but poor Hawksley got sick and it was postponed.

One of my oldest friends in the world introduced me to Hawksely, hence I started to refer to her as Becksley some years back. Becksley lives in London (Ontario, that is) and she and her bf came up for the concert. We met up and went for supper before the show. It turns out that Becksley reads my blog all the time. Every time I started telling her a story, I would remember that she probably knew all about it and read about it on my blog. It took me awhile to think of things to talk about. Soooo, I guess I should avoid actually promoting my blog to my friends so that I'm not completely repetitive in person...

After dinner, we met up with Becca T and the four of us made our way to Massey Hall. Becca T and I were sitting apart from Becksley and bf, but we were in waving distance.

Hawksley was AMAZING. I tabulated that this was my seventh time seeing him live and he never fails to rock my socks off. He started out with some stuff from the new CD but spent most of his time playing his older stuff. It was great. I have to admit, since I hadn't seen him in almost 2 years, I forgot how good he is live and how great his songs are.

I think it was an extra-awesome show because he was psyched to be playing Massey Hall. He played 4 encores. My highlight was during encore #1 (I think) when he came out with his banjo and sat at the front of the stage, away from the microphones, and led the crowd in a sing along of "We will still need a song".

So, the show was definitely the highlight of my weekend. Today was spent procrastinating and doing a bit of work. I think this will be pretty a pretty busy week for me because I have to finish any stray marking, get the rest of my term marks in, go to staff meeting and retirement parties and do a bunch of errands to get ready for my friend’s wedding next weekend.

Hope you all have a super week!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Is it any wonder I'm tired?

Two things made me laugh today. Well, probably more than two, but these are the ones that I deemed blog-worthy.

Funny Item #1 - I got my hair cut exactly 2 weeks ago. Today I got 4 compliments from coworkers on my hair. Comments in the vein of "Did you just get your hair cut? It looks good." I attribute the lateness of the comments to one of three things:

a) Teachers tend to rush around too much and notice things late.

b) It's a really solitary profession -- you really don't spend much time with your coworkers.

or: c) The hair looked horrible when it was first cut. It was too short. It's grown a bit and looks much cuter now.

Funny Item #2 - I was card shopping for a birthday card, a wedding card and a fathers' day card. (Note: I am not usually this early with buying fathers' day cards but there was a buy 3 cards get 3 free sale so I figured it was a good time to get myself prepared). One fathers' day card caught my eye. It went along the lines of:

"Hey Dad! Some guy told me that you have a drinking problem and an anger management problem..."

Open card.

"So I hit him over the head with one of your empty whiskey bottles. Happy Fathers' Day!"

This made me laugh out loud. I was soooooo going to get it for my dad, being that he has a pretty sick and twisted sense of humour. Then I thought of my mother. Who would surely find the card distasteful. A few years ago my dad bought me a birthday card that went along the lines of "I didn't know what to get you for you birthday, so I stole you this card." She deemed this as a highly inappropriate card and got my dad in trouble. The card was confiscated and my father was sent to get a new card. She saved me the card so I could see the impropriety for myself. I was unaware of her rules for greeting cards before this incident.

Visions of this scene played through my head as I pictured myself giving my dad this card. He'd find this funny but I'd have to endure the wrath of my mother. The card was put back and exchanged for an inoffensive card with a joke about killing spiders. Gotta love the quirks of your family members, I suppose...

I'd say some more, but I'm very tired of typing because I just had a long MSN conversation with some friends and had to send out a bunch of emails regarding wedding presents, post-wedding brunches and more secret scrapbook projects. Plus, I'm gonna do a bit more typing 'cuz I have to catch up on my blog reading and commenting... I'll leave you with one last very important tidbit of info:

Countdown Update: 6 more days of classes!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

I'm standing up there in a weakened state and it's not great.

Random assortment of today's thoughts and observations:

1) There are eight more days of classes left. Plus 9 days of exams and other assorted chores. But it's really those classes that I want to be done with. The kids are getting beyond restless. My period 4 class can't even focus on a movie for gosh's sakes! (Well, until I threaten them with the alternative of an assignment... then they shut up... luckily they were unaware that this assignment did not exist...)

2) There was an amusing subway conductor working on my way home from work. As the car was loading he announced "Don't hold the doors open please. People want to get home. Don't crowd the cars... I'm talking to you people in the first car. Don't be afraid to walk 20 feet." People on my car were cracking up.

3) All this coverage of terrorist plots in Toronto/Canada is rather unnerving.

4) Now that the heat wave is over, the air conditioner is working in my classroom and it's freezing. Oh well, I'd rather be too cold than hot.

5) I like lists.

6) Whoa. Apparently Brangelina got $20 million for baby pics. That's a lot of cash. They say they're giving it to charity.

7) Favourite line from the Colbert Report last night: "Stephen Colbert did not sell out. The world bought in to Stephen Colbert." And I also liked his gravitas contest with Stone Phillips. Not to mention that he yet again credited himself for Canada's shift to a right-leaning PM.

8) Today is day 2 of me procrastinating laundry. I find living in an apartment building really make laundry a chore that I put off.

9) I subscribe to one magazine: Chart. It's Canada's finest music magazine and I'd highly recommend it for its reviews, articles and snide remarks. I got my issue today with such illuminating articles such as "The 16 Commandments of Rock 'N Roll Fandom" and "16 Essential Hoser Records".

10) Gosh, it was hard to come up with 10 things to say today.

ps Looks like 06/06/06 went by without incident... I had a friend in high school who was nervous when 1998 started because 1998/3 = 666...

pps I get visitors to my blog through yahoo using the search "drunk chris ficus train". This amuses me.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

These souvenirs betray you; absent warnings nailed to hydro poles.

Tomorrow I will be spending my day writing exams. So, having summarized the way my Sunday will be, I will do my weekend post in reverse chronological order.

I just got home from a Christine Fellows concert that I went to with Becca T and a couple of her friends. It was great. Not only does she have a quality first name, she's a fabulous artist. If you're into alterna-folk type music, you would really like her.

It was a really small show at the Rivoli and I really wish I'd remembered to bring my camera so I could post some pictures but unfortunatley, I am that forgetful. The show was unique because it had a multi-media portion; there was an artist who used an overhead projector and put up transparencies of work that illustrated the songs. It was a great show, and I think she's playing in Winnipeg on June 8th (hint hint to my Winnipeg reader).

(Insert sadness here - there's going to be a whole "From the 'Peg" festival at the Harbourfont in July. This will include The Weakerthans and Christine Fellows and a whole host of other cool artists, I'm sure. Guess who will be in England then? Gah. Could they not have scheduled this just a couple of days earlier so I could go? *sob*)

Back to the weekend... I managed to make the show after having dinner with my friend Flora in Whitby. She has her old English/History friends from teachers' college over each June for dinner and I get invited even though I'm a science girl. It was pretty fun, and I was rather sad I had to leave early, but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do to make her shows.

Friday night Becca T and I went to see The Break Up with Vaughniston or Vinnifer if you will. There were a few laughs, but I'd say it's a renter.

I saw a preview for the movie Snakes On A Plane and I kind of want to see it. It just makes me laugh too hard that they decided to make a movie about snakes on a plane and then decided to call it Snakes On A Plane. Bonus laugh: I guess there's a line from the movie that goes "There are mother-f-ing snakes on this mother-f-ing plane!" This kills me.

Well, that's my weekend in review. I don't really want to go to bed right now because it just means morning will come and I'll have to work all day. Hope the rest of you have much more relaxing Sundays that I will have.