Tuesday, February 24, 2015

February always finds you folding.

This February has been bitterly cold. An abnormally high percentage of Lake Ontario has frozen over, and it is unsurprising given the high snow banks, wind chills, and extreme cold alerts.

My skin has never been this dry, nor my lips as chapped. It's truly the winter of my discontent.

I am doing my best to avoid my tendency to hibernate.  Today, instead of coming home from work straightaway, I ran some errands and then worked for two hours at my local Starbucks as opposed to hunkering down on my sofa to bone up on mechanisms of cellular transport, you know, sodium-potassium pumps and the like.

My workload feels infinite.  It's not out of control (yet) but there's always more to do, and more that can be done.  I feel like I'm going to spend all day on Sunday in Starbucks marking lab reports, woo-hoo.

However, I do have some fun things planned this weekend like dinners with friends and a Hayden/Dan Mangan concert as Massey Hall.

This last weekend I binged on season one of Broadchurch.  Has anyone watched that?  Amazing!  I also watched an episode of the Welsh program Hinterland which is delightfully dark, and I totally have a crush on the lead detective.  Both these shows are about murder, and I also watched Dateline NBC with my pal Mathew on Saturday, so I might be murdered out, I don't know.

Cold, dark, winter.  That sums up February.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Take the weakest thing in you and beat the bastards with it.

It's been a cold few days I tell you.

There was a freak power outage on Friday at the museum so we actually got kicked out at noon.  One of the employees commented it was only the second time the ROM had closed in his 20-year career.  It was too bad since the afternoon was the part that I was looking forward to the most: walking around the exhibits.  Oh well, the power in the rest of the neighbourhood was still working so I treated myself to Starbucks and browsed a bookstore.  I picked up a new book for me and a third baseball preview magazine for my dad.

Night two of Hey Rosetta! and Stars was amazing.  For night one, we had balcony seats (a good school night option) but with our GA tickets night two, we made it to the very front which was amazing.  Stars is in my top three favourite bands, and is my go-to when I need to cheer up and they are just such an amazing and gracious band.

On Saturday, I took the train to Stratford and hibernated in the cold reading books with my parents.  Same with most of my birthday until I ventured out for drinks and dinner with friends.  That was fun and I made it back home to watch most of SNL40 with my parents which I really enjoyed.

There were mechanical issues with my train on Monday, but luckily they figured that out in advance and there was a bus in place of the train which got me home mostly in time.  Again, with the cold on Monday, I hibernated, spent time with Rilo, and caught up on my most awful guilty TV pleasure (The Bachelor, of course).

Today was back to the old grind and it was a nice day. I have really nice classes yet again.  My friends surprised me with a tea party in the drama department prop room and it was lovely with real teacups, cucumber sandwiches with no crusts, and tiered-platters of baked goods.  I really have great friends.

And even if I was being mopey for some of the weekend because I've hit the midpoint of my thirties, I think this birthday taught me that birthdays aren't about getting older, but just a necessary reminder of one's awesomeness by our loved ones, which is something that we all need, especially in these long winter months.

p.s. FYI, you are awesome, my reader friends. Trust me on that.

Friday, February 13, 2015

No One Is Lost

It's as cold as fuck out there.

Tonight I got to see two amazing bands (Hey Rosetta!, Stars) play at a great venue (The Danforth Music Hall).  Tomorrow night I'm going back to do it all again.

Today some kids threw me a mini surprise birthday party after school.  I think I wasted my wish as I blew out my candles; I definitely should have wished for something more substantial during such a special moment.

Tomorrow I get to spend a PD day at the museum.

On Saturday I'm heading down to St Ratford to visit my parents for the long weekend.

On Sunday I turn 35. I'm not sure how I feel about it. I was feeling morose earlier, but then the concert put it into perspective for me.  Life is pretty good; I've got a lot of people who think I'm awesome, even though I sometimes don't.   I should listen to the Stars song more about holding on when you get love and letting go when you give it.

But, ugh, it's going to be cold as fuck on Sunday.

Monday, February 09, 2015


I've started teaching a course that I've never taught at all, save for dabbling in a few units during my practice teaching in 2003.  That was a long time ago, I tell you.

I've taught the same set of nine or so courses for about ten years now.  The science curriculum has gone through an overhaul in that time with units flipping around and the addition of new topics I personally knew very little about (light and optics anyone?).  I always change my styles and my methods, and I love adding new activities and keeping my courses current.  However, I've felt quite comfy for the longest time, and enjoy knowing my shit.

But this new course: the most advanced high school biology one can teach.  Should really be no problem for me: I have a specialist degree in biology, and I graduated with some awards on top of it.  I know, okay, I knew, my shit.

But, argh, time.  I wish the fates would have brought me this course at the beginning of my career.  It would have been easier back then, I think.  My skillset has changed in a decade. Bring me students who are unmotivated, and/or struggle with reading, writing, behaviour, are new to Canada, etc. and I'm rather good at getting them to learn, and hopefully like science.  Those skills took a long time to build, but aren't so useful at the moment.

Now I feel that it's me versus the content.  I have get back with biochemistry, biochemical pathways, metabolic processes, DNA replication, protein synthesis, homeostasis, and population dynamics.  I find I have to take notes before I teach, and I have to look at these notes while I teach, which I have not done in years. As I go through my lesson, I have to predict the times at which my students will ask "why?" and make sure I know the answer.

It's a good challenge, and my brain is happy with the challenge, and I do feel like I'm tapping into a dormant part of myself. Dammit, I think I missed some of these molecules, proteins, and enzymes that I was oh-so-familiar with.  I've already found a great series of videos on YouTube to enhance my lessons with, and booked a cool trip for my class where they'll get to DNA fingerprinting using PCR methodology.

But dammit, I do feel a little nervous when I'm up there, which I haven't felt in years! It's weird.  I feel like a fraud with an expired degree but I'm doing my best to renew it, but it's keeping me on my toes.  A decade is a long time.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Hibernation, Cross-Border Shopping, Superbowl, and Snowmagddon

It's been a busy long weekend of sorts for me.

I worked really hard last week to get all of my exams marked, semester one wrapped up, and stuff ready for semester two, so that I could work from home on Friday.  This was great.  I didn't leave my house at all that day.

On Saturday, even though our dollar is low, a couple of friends and I went cross border shopping in Buffalo.  I didn't buy very much, other than a bunch of groceries at Trader Joe's.  The highlight was going to a diner called Grover's, which was apparently features on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, and had the most insane ginormous burgers ever.  I think I am still full.

Sunday ended up being a rather fun day.  I ended up going for drinks with the same person both before and after the Superbowl, and during the game I ran some errands, but did take time to watch Katy Perry's sharktastic performance.  I have to admit that I might be suffering from a slight hangover today, and I'm super tired, but that's okay.

Today is the start of a new semester, but it's a bit of a fizzle.  We got a lot of snow overnight, and it was still coming down this morning.   My commute to work was awful, and I got in a couple minutes late which didn't matter because classes did not start on time.  When they did start, they were half empty, so I ended up having a light watered-down day one since I didn't want to do anything too important that I'd just have to repeat tomorrow.  I'd love to go home early today, but I have a meeting after school, so I am procrastinating and drinking tea instead.