Monday, December 28, 2015

It's the first storm of the year!

After a practically tropical December, it started to snow after a day filled with cold winds.  It now sounds like it's freezing rain out so yuck.  A perfect night to stay home, drink some wine, and cuddle with the cat.  I did have plans tonight but they got canceled on account of the weather and I'm kinda bummed, kinda not, maybe just somewhere in between.

I have a 6:40 am train to Montreal to catch in the morning, so maybe it's for the best that tonight is extra chill.  I still have to pack, but since I never sleep well the night before a trip, I'll do it later or maybe even at 4 am in the morning.  A 6-hr train ride gives me plenty of time to catch up on sleep.

Christmas was nice, hey? I always hate when it's over though.  I mean it's still the season but the inevitability of taking down the decorations, and going back to work looms.

I'm hoping 2016 is a better year.  Other than when it came to baseball-related adventures, and the usual assortment of concerts and stuff, I can't help but feeling blah about this past year.  Work was significantly more challenging since I had senior-level biology courses to teach that I hadn't taught before, and that took up a lot of time/energy but I still think I could have used the remaining time/energy more effectively.  Balance is always such a struggle, but I know that I can find it and I'm happier when I do.  A goal for 2016 right there.

Hope you are all enjoying your holidays.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Set Yourself On Fire

I was going to blog about the amazingness that was Stars' SET YOURSELF ON FIRE album show last night and all of the feelings it made me feel but...

I got caught up in the gripping but upsetting 10-part true crime documentary MAKING A MURDERER on Netflix as I did some light crafting.  Now it's 1:30 am and I'm going to live like I'm on vacation (because I am!) and watch the last episode.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

It's not beginning to look (or feel) a lot like Christmas.

This weather!

It's December 13th and we haven't had any proper snow!  I think there was maybe one snowy morning in November, and I remember some flakes coming down on November 30th as one of my classes and I were making our way toward the Science Centre, but that's it.

It's been down right *warm*.  I have my windows open in my apartment to keep it from getting too hot inside.  I'm not complaining, I don't think, but I'm not feeling super Christmas-y at the moment.

However, I do think that I had a productive weekend on the Christmas front.  I got some presents wrapped, cards and packages mailed out, built a new Christmas decoration (a Lego gingerbread house), and my pal Mathew and I went out for dinner this evening to exchange gifts.  I have a list of things to do this week, but I don't feel that overwhelmed so that's good.

I also had a good weekend on the entertainment front as well.  I've been in a reading rut.  Over the past month, I've started about five different books but none of them could hold my attention.  Finally, I decided to go back and read something that I remembered as being amazing.  I borrowed the e-book of Khaled Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns which I think I read about five years ago.  I couldn't remember much about the plot.  All I could vividly recall is that I wept many time throughout the book.  It did not lose any power the second time around.

I watched a couple of episodes of Jessica Jones on Netflix.  I don't usually like superhero stuff, but this show grabbed me.  And hello feminism.  How often do we get a kickass woman lead in superhero stuff, and many of the other characters are women too.

I got distracted from Jessica Jones because I noticed that I had access to the second season of Transparent.  I watched the first season of that show over a couple of days over the summer, and really enjoyed its story of a man transitioning to a woman later in life and his dysfunctional family.  It also has moment of magical realism and genuine weirdness which I appreciate.

This week is going to be busy.  My goal is to get three productive days of work out of my classes, and then I have Christmas-related errands to run each night.  Not to mention a high school talent show to help produce (well, I'd say I'm a co-producer... I have lots of help from people with more expertise than I).

What a busy time!

Friday, December 11, 2015

What class is this?

A couple of former students came to visit me today.  They are in their third year of university, and like to visit every now and then.  I really appreciate that they organize their visits; nothing feels worse when former students come to visit and I'm in the middle of something and can't properly catch up.  They told me that they'd come during my period 3 class today which was fine since for about half of the class, my students were to be working on interactive activities and probably wouldn't need much direction from me.

Today about half of my period 3 class was away on a trip.  This class is small anyway; it's a grade 12 enriched biology course that's part of an academically advanced program that my school has recently offered. I've been teaching at a break-neck pace, and had a lesson ready to go about the history of vaccination, its immunological principles, and the use of monoclonal antibodies to make vaccines but when I saw that half the class was away, I decided to give them a chance to catch up on yesterday's work on the specific immune response.

Sometimes some of my students from this class hang out in my room during lunch.  Yesterday they were here, and I saw on Facebook that Serial (my favourite podcast) had released the first episode of the second season.  I got super excited, and started telling them all about last season and how good the show was.

Today one of them asked me how my podcast was, and then the others (who hadn't been there) wanted to hear all about it.  We decided to use today to catch up on work and listen to episode one (which I'd listened to yesterday).  At the same time, the VP of Student Council (who was on spare) came up to ask me if I wanted anything from Starbucks (he was going to the mall), and I let others place their order too.

My former students came to visit as we were just discussing the podcast and our drinks were being delivered.  They asked "what class is this?" and I sheepishly admitted it was the enriched biology class but we usually do a lot of work and don't listen to podcasts and get Starbucks hand-delivered to us.  I found it hilarious because it really looked at that moment that my standards were slipping!

(Note: the kids were as amused as I was by the cliffhanger ending of Serial when Sarah Koenig phones the Taliban like it's no big deal.)

Sunday, December 06, 2015

O the rising of the sun and the running of the deer.

I have finally got somewhat into the Christmas spirit.  I've been to a Christmas party, the tree is up, and I've been listening to my Los Campesinos! Christmas album on my record player.  I've decided that their version of "The Holly & The Ivy" is my official 2015 Christmas jam.



I had a good weekend.  On Friday, I ran a few errands and then came home to finish season three of Nashville on Netflix.  Season four is currently on the air, but not yet on Netflix, so now what to do with life?  (I did start Jessica Jones tonight which is really good, so maybe I'll be okay.)

On Saturday, I got up early to walk the Santa Shuffle 5K (a fundraiser for a homeless shelter in Toronto) with some student from my biology class.  They actually organized it themselves and needed a tenth on their team, so it was me.  Most of them were walking it, and since it was advertised as a run, they were worried they'd be judged.  I assured them that I've done these things before (including this exact race twice), and that others would be walking and no one would be judging and they'd be fine.  After it was done, they gave me an enthusiastic "you were right!" as they scarfed down complimentary hot dogs, hamburgers, donuts, and hot chocolate.

I haven't run a race in all of 2015 and I miss my running days so much.  It's my fault for allowing myself to fall into a spiral of laziness, but being at a race makes me miss it so much.  I gotta start training again in the new year.  It'll be hard, but I hope my body will remember how to be fit and slide back into it.

On Saturday night, I had a Christmas party to go to which was all right.  Today I had a lazy-ish Sunday but got my nails done and my tree up.  I'm giving myself a weekend off of homework and it's great.

I booked a New Year's trip to Montreal with my friend Vern this evening.  I'm glad to get away for a change of scenery.

Also, I don't think I mentioned it here, but I've booked a trip to the Dominican for March Break with my friend Nadine.  Luxury and warmth in three months here I come.

But I have to make it through the next two very busy weeks of school first.