Sunday, May 31, 2009

Zigga-zig-ah.

Best moment of yesterday's roadtrip:

We're in the car listening to Mathew's selection of music.

Becca T: "I like this song. Who's it by?"

Mathew : "It's by Mat Kearney. I like him a lot, especially 'cuz he spells his name like I do."

Long pause. Then in a very earnest, serious and dead-pan tone, Becca T says: "Your name is not Kearney."

Cue to Christy laughing very hard in the backseat and telling Becca T that that comment was officially her fave part of the roadtrip.

Yesterday's roadtrip was very fun. I was looking forward to it mostly as a fun opportunity to hang out with two of my fave friends for the day. It was a beautiful day, so things looked pretty than they are. I bought some new clothes, and a bunch of junk food not available in Canada.

We had a long line at the border to wait through on our way home. However, we made the wait fun by everyone plugging in their iPods to play their iPod's secret shames. So we listened to Hanson, Vanessa Carleton, Aqua, Madonna, LFO, The Moffats, Mariah Carey, Spice Girls, Hilary Duff, Ashlee Simpson and more. I'm not telling whose shames were whose though. ;)

Sunday is a day of work for me. Chores and work and errands.

Stay tuned for tomorrow night's Bachelorette post! Mathew, who I'm going to start calling Kearney, might be joining in on the fun too! Hope you all had fun weekends!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Book Gripe

I should be in bed, but I just finished book #18 of the year, and it's a book that made me go "argh!" out loud very many times and hence I feel like ranting.

The book is "My Sister's Keeper" by Jodi Picoult, and it's got a very interesting plot. It's about a family with a daughter who has a very rare and severe form of leukemia. The parents decided to have another child to be a donor match for girl with cancer. The younger daughter was actually conceived through IVF, and doctors were able to pick the embryo that was a genetic match for the elder sister.

All through her life, the younger sister has been going through medical treatments to donate cells, blood, and bone marrow for her sister. She loves her sister, but when she is asked to donate a kidney when she is thirteen years old, she decides to hire a lawyer to become medically emancipated from her parents. This means she won't have to donate her kidney if she doesn't want to.

Anyway, even though the writing wasn't amazing, and there were a couple of annoying subplots tacked on (ie a romance between the girl's lawyer and court-appointed guardian), it was quite thought-provoking. Basically, it got me to thinking, how many measures should be taken to keep a person alive? The sister with cancer went through a lot of pain, and it seemed like the family might have taken too many measures to keep her alive. It seemed like the kidney transplant might prolong her life for a year, but then she'd most likely relapse. Is an extra year alive, with most likely more pain and suffering worth it? The mother had all this hope that she'd maybe finally be cured, but it just seemed like it was a lot of pain and suffering for such a long shot.

So the plot was very though-provoking, and there are really no answers to the issues that the book brings up. However, the ending of the book made me throw it across the room. Argh. I won't ruin it here, in case anyone wants to read the book, but really, puh-lease. Bad, bad, bad ending.

I was actually talking about this book to two students today - hooligan-ish boys no less. They had asked me if I like to read so I started telling them about my current book. They thought the book sounded very interesting, and I really can't wait to tell them how it ended. They will be as incensed as I am, I'm sure.

Has anyone read this book? I'm curious to hear other's opinions.

Oh, and there is a movie version coming out in June. Apparently they forgo the tacked-on romantic subplot! So maybe movie versions aren't always worse than the book.

ps This is my 600th blog post. That's probably novel length in itself. Oh, and whenever I do end this blog, I promise the ending won't suck as much as the ending of that book. Grr. It's kept me up past my bedtime!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

There's a reason why I love this town.

I'm still in Joel-Plaskett-happy-mode, and listening to him a lot. Here's a random post for you kids.

1) This weekend, Becca T and I tried to go see the Don Jail as part of Toronto Doors Open. It was full so we couldn't get in. You read it right: I can't even get into jail these days, yeesh. Anyway, it was a beautiful day, so we turned lemons into lemonade by buying some freezies and eating them in the park while enjoying this view of the city skyline from the Don Valley. Note: I can't take a straight photo to save my life.


2) Last week I can home to a cat-in-a-box which made me laugh really hard. I know small things, small minds, but I'm a happy person so who cares?

3) I was like the coolest teacher ever yesterday. My grade 11 "Science and Society" class were discussing how the evolution of technology has changed our lives, and I told them about a hilarious comedian's rant that I once saw on Youtube, and then I was able to show it to them, and they found it hilarious. Here it is below, in case you haven't seen it before yourself.


4) New albums: I bought the new Hayden album yesterday, and I've listened to it four times already and it's pretty good. I still have to listen to it in detail, but it stands up to being good music to have on in the background. I'm not so sure about the new Tori Amos album which I bought last week. It's kind of out there, as all of her stuff is. I dunno, maybe it'll grow on me.

5)Weekend plans = drinks on Friday night, shopping roadtrip to Buffalo with Becca T and Mathew on Saturday, and writing exams (blerg) on Sunday.

6) I just had a good phone conversation with a new friend about Sloan and teaching. New friend also likes Jay best, so this bodes well for the friendship, I guess.

7) Thanks to everyone for the comments on my Bachelorette post! I'm going to make it a weekly thing, I think. Next week, Becca T and I are going to watch together, while eating gluten-free pizza. So, you'll get to read random comments by me, Becca T, and even Rilo if she puts her two cents in again.

8) Things I'm going to be posting about in the future: a) Christielli's summer vacay travel plans; b) Things Christielli wants to do this summer; c) Upcoming changes in Christielli's life for next school year that she's apprehensive about. So stay tuned for posts that aren't random with actual topics! :D

Monday, May 25, 2009

I admit it. I like this season of the Bachelorette.

So last Monday, while procrastinating cleaning my apartment, I actually watched the entire premiere of The Bachelorette. The current bachelorette is Canadian, which is cool, but I have to admit that last week kind of got me hooked. And, I've found out that rawbean is also hooked, so I've decided to blog about the show, 'cuz well, blogging about useless TV is fun. Oh, and I think this season is going to be super dramatic, 'cuz it looks like from last week's previews that one guy turns out to be a lying liar with a secret girlfriend, so there's gotta be a be a special place in hell for that dude, or any dude like that.

This show is hard to watch because all of these dudes look the same. It's pretty confusing. They should wear name-tags.

Why isn't Tanner P. going on about his foot fetish again? That was the funniest part of last week's show, dammit!

This whole search for the rose is lame.

I like her red boots.

Whoa, Jake just totally went in for it! I dunno, maybe he should have waited for her to finish her sentence before planted a big wet kiss on her. Especially 'cuz she was answering a kind of "deep" question that he asked. Hear her answer, then kiss her.

Martina McBride's career must have been affected by the recession if she has to go on this show.

The Harlem Globetrotters' careers must have been affected by the recession if they have to go on this show. But hahahaha, the bachelors are so the Washington Generals.

Jillian needs to stop emitting that high-pitched squeak. It's annoying both me and Rilo. However, I do like her basketball shoes.

LOL My new dating strategy will be to have the Harlem Globetrotters pick a dude for me. It's totally true love if it's okayed by a Globetrotter.

This Wes dude is a little bit creepy. I think I don't like him, even though he is a musician.

LOL Tanner P. has let his foot fetish freak flag fly! Yes!!!

Shut up David about the "Man Code"!!! This David guy bugs me; he's judgmental toward everyone.

Oooh... The Bachelorette has turned into Survivor, and the dudes get to vote out a dude. Will she agree with them?

Nope! She's keeping the dude they dislike!

And quelle surprise, she's letting the ones go who I barely remember. Ooooh, one dude is kind of choked up. Awww. Oh, and she let go of the British guy. Last week they actually captioned him for dumb viewers. Yeesh.

And, as always, the best part of any reality show is the scenes from next week. Ooh the drama!

***

So for any non-Bachelorette watchers, my next post will be far more interesting and useful. :D

Sunday, May 24, 2009

It was extraordinary.

I just checked something off my "things to do before I die" list, that I didn't even realize *was* on my list, until I did it. (Not that I actually have the list written down, but you know, there are just things that you know that you want to do.)

And that, my friends, is seeing a concert from the front row of Massey Hall.

Massey Hall is probably Toronto's most esteemed venue for a concert. I think I've seen three other shows there, but all from the balcony.

Somehow the internet ticket gods bestowed upon me these row A tickets, and I was excited, but I didn't realize how amazing it would feel until I was actually there.

And, it was especially amazing being front row for an artist that is as talented as Joel Plaskett.

He played two sets. The first was a rootsy set with his dad and two other musicians (who all play on his newest record) accompanying him. It was a really great set, and included a lot of fun older stuff, as well as new stuff. Also, Becca T was immensely happy when he randomly gave a shout-out to gluten-free pizza during a song. My personal favourite was the acoustic version of "Nothing More to Say" from Ashtray Rock.

There was a short intermission, and then the Emergency band came out for a more rock-based second set. It was extremely high-energy, and pretty much everyone was out of their seats and dancing for the second set. By the end of the show, BT and I were standing against the stage, both wowed that we got to touch such a legendary stage.

It was definitely one of the best concerts I've ever been to, and if talent was correlated to fame, Joel Plaskett would be selling records like Nickelback. But, who gets to play Massey Hall? Take that Nickelback!

After the show, BT and I debriefed the concert with a pitcher of cider, as is our tradition. We got a bit drunk and giggly, and then I walked it off as I walked home on a perfect May night.

Extraordinary.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

It's a hard knock life.

The weather outside feels like *summer*, but the exhaustion in my bones lets me know it's not.

Today was an incredibly long, tiring, but awesome day. It was a typical day at school, but afterwards I had to go up to the middle of nowhere to vote in the annual elections for the local unit of my union. A colleague who I really respect was running, so I made the trip out, which I wouldn't have otherwise. Not much of a unionista am I.

After that, I went back down to the mall near my school and met up with Becca T for a little bit of shopping and dinner. I then brought her to school, where I showed off my cool science teacher skills and sacrificed a gummy bear for her, as well as lit my hand (and then hers) on fire.

The reason why we were hanging out at my school so late was that it's annual school musical time already. Becca T always likes to attend the performance with me. The drama teacher at my school (who is also a very close friend of mine) always puts on an *amazing* show, and tonight's was fantastic (guess what it is from the title of this post). A lot of my current and former students were involved, and they did such a good job. I have to admit I got a little verklempt.

On my walk back home, I thought about how much I really love my job. I am so lucky that I get paid to do something I love, and I'm blessed to be in a job where I can devote myself to other people. The last two books I've read have been about a meth addict (first written from the father's point of view, and second from his point of view). One of this dude's sponsors believes that a way to overcome a lot of one's demons is to help other people. I completely agree. I find that when I'm at work, and I'm completely immersed in helping my students, I am not absorbed in myself, and I'm at my happiest.

Anyway, I really believe that we'd be a happier society if we moved away from individualism and to collectivism. I know that I can fall into times where I am completely self-absorbed, and I'm so glad that I have a job that takes me away from that tendency.

And with that, I am also glad that tomorrow is Friday and I'll have two restful days away from said job. On Saturday, I finally get to go see Joel Plaskett play at Massey Hall and I have front row seats. Woot!

Happy weekend!

ps My hair smells like molten gummy bear.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

There is a magic world parallel.

Things I need to do:

1) Do dishes, tidy my apartment, vaccuum, put away the laundry I did *last week*.

2) Go grocery shopping.

3) Go to the gym.

4) Mark, mark, mark.

5) Unpack some of my stuff from this weekend in St. Ratford.

What I'm going to do instead:

1) Have a relaxing bath while reading a new book and listening to the new Tori Amos album.

2) Drink some hot chocolate.

3) Go to bed early.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Diagnosis of a foreign frame of heart.

I stayed home sick today. Good decision. I don't think I could have gotten through the day on my own two feet.

The book launch was kind of fun. I had some wine, the bartender was cute, and they gave us free textbooks. I say we should buy our new textbooks (if we get money to do so) from this company since they clearly tried harder to earn our love.

After the launch, I headed downtown to meet up with a friend from high school and her husband. They are legally married, even though their big wedding deal isn't until July. He's American, and she's going to immigrate to the US to live with him, and it's an unbelievable process. In order for her to move to the US, they have to be legally married for 8 months or something like that, so that's why they got married before their big wedding. The reason why they were in Toronto is because she has to get a physical done for the immigration process, and there are only something like two doctors in all of Canada who are qualified to do this. Anyway, it's a crazy process, and they both told me to never marry an American.

Dinner was really fun, and we got to reminiscing about some of the silly things we did back when we were in high school. First of all, didn't you find that high school seemed like an immeasurably long period of time? Time went so slowly back then. Now it just zips by and it's been eleven years, but the same silly stories really crack me up and make me laugh really hard. You know the type of laughing where your stomach hurts and you can barely keep yourself upright? I was laughing like that during dinner, and it was great, because I don't think I've laughed like that in awhile.

Our silly stories involved things like prank-calling boys who'd done us wrong (before everyone had caller ID and you could pull that off), cameras that actually used film, and VCRs. We felt dated as we told these stories, which made us laugh harder.

On my way home from dinner, I started to feel like crap, and when I got home I passed out on my bed. Unfortunately for me, I had to set the alarm clock because I didn't have lesson plans ready for the next day. Trust me, calling in sick is a lot of work for us competent teachers. I can't stay home without having meaningful work left for my students.

Yesterday morning, my throat was scratchy and I had a headache, but I made it through the morning okay. However, in the afternoon I felt like I was going to pass out, and then I had to cover a grade 9 *drama* class for half a period. Last thing you need to do when you're feeling poorly is deal with that. After 20 minutes of me being a complete bitch, they were under control and I could relax. Then, a colleague came to ask me something and commented "you don't look well." That's when I knew my next task was to make plans for staying home today.

So yah, I slept most of last night, and slept in 'til noon today and I'm feeling better. Maybe my lunch of soup, frozen yogurt, and Fresca helped.

Now I'm going to change out of my pjs, get some caffeine, pick up a package of books and DVDs at the post office, and replenish my Kleenex supply.

And, I have one day left until the long weekend. Woot! I'll be making the trip to St. Ratford, and I look forward to a chill weekend there.

Happy long weekend everyone! (Or at least to those who have one... and if not, you could always use a sick day and make it long!)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Gadzooks, gadzooks, gadzooks. What have you got to lose?

I am blogging from work. This is the first time ever that I've done so. I'm on my prep period, but I'm all prepped for tomorrow, and I should be catching up on my marking, but I have to run off in 19 minutes to a textbook launch, so really what I can accomplish in 19 minutes?

(I'm pretty sure I've had kids use that reasoning to not work at the end of class. My answer to that question is always "lots".)

Also, I have my office all to myself today, so I don't have to worry about anyone looking over my shoulder.

They are serving wine and beer at the texbook lauch tonight. I didn't even know this when I signed up. I'm just going because I heard a rumour that they will be giving out free books. They are changing the curriculum for next year, and I doubt we'll have textbooks at the beginning, so I want to get my hands on whatever resources I can.

After the launch, I'm heading off downtown to meet up with my friend from high school and her husband for dinner. I've also warned them that I may show up tipsy from the texbook launch, ha-ha.

Oh, gadzooks is now totally my favourite word because of the song "Heavens to Purgatory" by The Most Serene Republic.

Oh and thanks to everyone for your really kind responses to my last post. My friends will attest that I don't talk about my mom's illness very much, so that was actually a big deal for me to write. But I'm glad I did.

All right, onward to the launch and hopefully lots of free goodies!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Proud, just like my mother planned it.

Happy Mother's Day! I didn't see my mom today, but I did send her flowers. Yay for the internet for making that easy. Anyway, next weekend is my mom's birthday, as well as the long weekend, so it makes more sense to travel home then.

I don't really talk about my mom as much as I do my dad, I think. Even though a lot of my friends have never met my parents, a lot of them know a lot about my dad because he's easy to tell stories about 'cuz he's a wild and crazy dude who prank calls me, reads obsessively, gardens obsessively, and acts a lot like Homer Simpson. (I could totally see him parking across three disabled spots.)

So as I was saying, because my dad's on the eccentric side, I tend to talk more about him than I do my mom. But since it is Mother's Day I'll blog about my mom.

So some background on my mom. My mom was born in Poland during World War II. During the war, her parents eventually became forced labourers on a farm in Germany. My grandparents hated talking about the war, so the family stories from these times are not overly detailed, and my grandparents are dead, so we only have what they shared. My mom told me a story about how my grandmother had three children when they were fleeing from the Germans. It was hard to run with three children in tow, and someone told my grandma to set down the baby (my mom) and come back for her later. If she survived, that is. My grandma did, but couldn't bear to leave a crying baby, and returned for her. That story amazes me, because if it happened differently, well, I wouldn't be here.

After the war, my grandparents settled in Northern Ontario, and my mother was the hardworking, bookish middle-child of the family. She became a teacher back in the day where you didn't need a university degree to get a teaching degree, but she got her BA in English at the same time she was teaching. The thought of taking university courses while teaching just made me say "holy hell" out loud. That would be so hard.

My mom taught elementary school. She started with the younger grades but somehow ended up teaching grade 8 for most of her career. I'm pretty sure it's a universally-accepted fact that grade 8 is the hardest grade to teach. I guess that's another testament to my mother's strength.

My mother's teaching career ended when I was born. The intention was that she would stay at home with me until I was ready for school, then she would return to teaching. That never happened because my mother was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis the year before I was born. By the time I went to school, she knew that she wouldn't be able to return to work.

My mother's MS gets progressively worse each year. She could sometimes walk with me to school (five minutes down the street) when I was in Kindergarten, but that was pretty much the only year she could do that. She could still drive when I was in high school, but she gave that up. In 2006, the year my dad had surgery, she had a pretty bad MS attack as a result of the stress of my dad being sick. She was in the hospital for quite some time, and the doctors told her that she'd might not be able to go back home, but she would not have any of that talk. She worked very hard in physiotherapy, and is now probably in better shape than she was before the attack, and made it back home despite the initial grim prognosis.

So yeah, basically my mom is an amazing person with so much strength and optimism in the face of adversity. I know that I don't tell her this enough. I think I use my mom too much as a sounding board when I'm displeased with the way things are happening in my life, and really, I clearly have nothing to complain about. Probably, the worst thing in my life has been my mom's disease, but it couldn't compare to actually having it. I am always sad about opportunities that I'll never have with my mother. I know that if she was well, we'd probably leave my dad at home, and go on trips during the summer, she'd come visit me in the city and we'd go shopping, and she'd point out that my apartment is a mess and that I really should hem my curtains and fix my dining room chairs.

However, I'll never have that, but I have been blessed with an amazingly strong mother who loves me more than anything, and is crazy-proud of me, which is far important that any of that stuff above.

Oh, here's a random picture of me and the kid who was clearly my boyfriend at the time (since he's carrying my dolls) that I have scanned on my computer. My mom took it. Pictures of her are few and far between because she was always the one taking the pictures. I think that's like everyone's mom, right? Moms of the present day will be more well-preserved because of digital cameras and self-timers.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Look up, what do you see?

I have nothing to blog about.

I'd better go do something super exciting this weekend to remedy this, but right now I don't have anything super exciting on tap. Yet. Yet is the operative word.

Or maybe I'll just hang out and watch DVDs and read books. Whatevs.

School's good though. School's always pretty good. Why can't everything else be like school? However, I think that making school good takes a lot of energy and brainpower, and by the month of May, I have little left for other things. These batteries could probably use some recharging, and soon. Next weekend is the long weekend, and I think I'll go to St. Ratford, so that should give me a little bit of a boost.

The song "E-bow the Letter" by REM just came on. It's one of my fave songs by them. Beautiful, but sad.

Did anyone watch the Office tonight? I think every workplace needs a Cafe Disco.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Maybe sparrow, you should wait.

My weekend was dull, and unproductive in the reorganizing my apartment/spring cleaning front. However, there was some productivity in the reading and marking fronts.

On the reading front, I've gotta get my ass in gear with my goal of reading 52 books this year. As you can see from my sidebar, I've finished 13 books and I'm about halfway there on my 14th. The 17th week of the year just finished, so I'm not too far off the pace. Of course, I've got summer vacay, when I will catch up and work my way ahead.

The last book I finished (The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters), was good, but it put a wrench in my reading goals. I wanted to finish it, and when I want to finish a book, I cannot start another one, or the previous will not get finished. I'm not one of those people who can effectively read two books at once. Anyway, I should have started my current book (The Time Traveller's Wife), a long time ago, but I had to finish this book first. It was a good book overall, but slow-going at times. Or maybe it was my brain that was slow-going.

The Time Traveller's Wife is the current selection for my staff book club. I've had months to read it, but I don't like to read the book 'til a couple weeks before the meeting or I'll forget everything and look stupid in front of all of those English teachers. The meeting keeps getting pushed back, and I *think* it's on Wednesday. But the end of tonight, I'll be halfway done the book, but there is no way I'll finish it before the meeting. That's okay though; I think I know enough to contribute to the conversation, and I like it enough that I'll finish it even if I find out the ending.

Pretty much the highlight of my weekend (and this is sad), was spending yesterday afternoon marking with a pal from school at a coffee shop in our neighbourhood. I find that even though I work in the same bloody building as some of my best friends, we go weeks without really seeing each other, since high schools tend to be rather compartmentalized and everyone is so effing busy all of the time. It was fun to catch up with my friend, and share some stories about the crazy people we work with and life itself. And somehow, in between all of the chatter, I got completely caught up on my marking. That's right. I don't have a single piece of work to mark right now. Of course, that will change by tomorrow, when two of my classes have assignments due, but I'll enjoy the moment.

As we were marking, my friend said "Do you mind if I run out for a second and buy a gnome?"

"Holy I'm going deaf... I thought you said you need to buy a gnome."

"No, you're not deaf, there's a gnome in that little gift store across the street that I want. He used to have a friend but someone bought the friend. I want that gnome before he's gone too."

I cracked up and told her to go for it. I marked on my own for a little bit. My friend came back sad and gnomeless. "The store is closed on Sundays."

My friend is super busy these days (she's directing the school musical), so I offered to go pick up the gnome today after school, since I live in the neighbourhood. Yes, I got to go into the store and ask them "how much is that gnome-y in the window?"

Here's a picture of the fellow who will spend the night with me 'til I bring him to school tomorrow. I like him. I kind of want to gnome-nap him and keep him for myself.



ps Gnome is totally one of my fave words ever. I'm so glad I was able to use it multiple times in a post. I'm even going to tag this post, and make it a goal to post more about gnomes in the future.