Friday, April 8, 2016

Quarterly Update

Maybe if I make it sound all official and business-like, I'll be more inclined not to neglect my blog. So here is my update for the first quarter of 2016!

First up, have a look at this awesome project spearheaded by my sister in-law, who is a 6th grade math teacher in Tennessee. I love this project for so many reasons. I am old enough to remember a time when every child in class was expected to sit still and shut up for hours on end, and got the strap and a reputation for being a troublemaker if they couldn't comply. We've come a long way in education since then, thank goodness. At our school here in rural MB, it is not unusual to see kids (my own included) sitting on yoga balls and squishy cushions right at their desks, and in some cases it is literally all they need to go from mentally scattered to focused and ready to learn. Research shows over and over that implementing sensory strategies to regulate a child's nervous system for learning is significantly more effective than expecting them to regulate themselves and using punishment to motivate that. So, if you're in a position to help out by donating or sharing this with your friends, do consider it. If you know any billionaires, that would be even better! Either way though, check it out. It's a pretty cool idea!

In other news, our posting to Ottawa seems to be going ahead this time, and things are in full swing around here. Our crazy house was listed last week, and we hope to find an eccentric millionaire who wants to buy it in the next month or so. We are excited for this next chapter in our lives, and a little light-headed at the housing prices in the National Capital Region, but this will pass once we get used to the crippling mortgage payments. The kids are alternately excited and a little nervous, but as always we will get through the next few months together and do what we have to to have everyone end up happy and well-adjusted. Firstborn feels that this will be best accomplished by us buying a house with a hot tub.

And now for the bad news. Look at what my dog did this morning:

That is my favorite mug. I got it as a 40th birthday gift. It is the perfect size for my morning gallon of coffee, and it has just the right amount of personality to let people know I am not to be trifled with. My dog is lucky I love her, because this was a euthanasia-level act of naughtiness. At 14, she really should know not to be up on the counters, scrounging around for food. But at 14, she is also daft and deaf, so I suppose cutting her a little slack won't kill me. In the meantime, the hunt is on for a new coffee mug.

Happy spring, blog buddies! Surely it's going to warm up soon!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year!

Look, it's my second post of 2015! Pathetic. My blog is officially all but abandoned. If it was a dog, the SPCA would have seized it by now.

I've changed how I make resolutions. Saying hippie-dippy things like "I will simplify my life!" while staring into space and raising my right hand ever-so-slightly like I'm Hamlet doing a soliloquy is all very dramatic, but there's no point to it if I'm crying into my massive pile of clutter and lamenting the futility of my existence by the first week of February.

Nope, daily goals. Daily goals are the new fad. If there's anything I'm really good at, it's jumping on the latest fad!

So, here it is: I will spend 15 minutes decluttering every day. I suppose I will also spend 30 minutes a day exercising. I'm not so enthusiastic about that second one, but I guess I can set aside 30 minutes a day to work towards something that (like it or not) is kind of necessary.

So, that's 45 minutes a day spent trying to better myself. Maybe I can round things up to an hour with 15 minutes spent working on my blog. I kind of miss it, and I think I will eventually have those extra 15 minutes a day that have been lost since I started working again.

Which brings me to some exciting news. We're told we'll be posted to Ottawa this summer--land of no teaching jobs whatsoever! So, we will triple our cost of living and I will have no income! It's the perfect storm! I won't be able to afford to do anything but declutter, work out, and blog!

I really can't expect that anyone will think to check in here at this point, but just in case you're all still out there, wondering what's become of me, I hope 2016 is your best year yet. I could go on and on with my well-wishes for all my old blog pals, but the incomparable Neil Gaiman will always say it a million times better than I ever could.

Happy New Year! Bring on 2016!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Extra! Extra!

As I'm about 50 posts behind, having not blogged since last JULY (Yeesh!), I imagine there's no one left out there who is still checking in to read this. But I am a former student of journalism, so when I find myself privy to a scoop, my journalistic instinct kicks in and I simply must put it out there. So, if anyone stumbles across this post, just remember, you read it here first!

Today, my little sister Mel was the only Canadian to run the Chicago Lakefront Ultra Marathon. For those not familiar, that is FIFTY FREAKING KILOMETERS! I complain if I have to drive that far! So, while she has shamelessly shirked the proud family tradition of sitting in front of the TV eating chips and complaining about being fat, she's made up for it in other ways.

But that's not all. She finished this feat of madness in the ridiculous time of 4:19, and was the 4th female finisher, missing third place by less than 20 seconds! And she placed 13th overall! That's not just an exciting Facebook brag for her friends and family. In my (completely unbiased) opinion, here in Canada, that is NEWS!

Here's a picture of Mel at the starting line. I dread to think what she must have looked like at the finish...

I've harassed her local paper to ensure she gets some real media recognition for this, as she's humble enough to just quietly go back home and carry on as normal. Because this event does not get the same media attention as something like Boston, this could easily get brushed under the carpet. Frankly, it is my journalistic duty to see that that does not happen.

And now that I've beaten the competition and gotten this hot story out there (I can't confirm anything officially, but it is rumored that I was the inspiration for Kate Mara's character on House of Cards), I'm hoping tonight she will take a break from her grueling training schedule to eat a large bag of Doritos in front of the TV.

You know, for old times' sake.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Confusion at the Fair

Major Dad is off fighting the floods, so the kids and I are on our own for the time being. Yesterday, we decided to drive an hour down the road to the big town fair. A good time was had by all, but I found myself a little confused at the signs they had posted on all the rides. 

It has always been my assumption that symbols posted in public places should be the kinds of things you can glance at and immediately recognize the meaning of. Like the universal symbols for men and women outside public restrooms (though to be honest, I messed that one up recently too). But apparently it's good to have a super-visual type with you at the fair these days, because Firstborn figured all of these out while I was still standing there like a dog with my head cocked sideways trying to make sense of them.

There are a  LOT of rules for riding the teacups these days!

Me: "No love? No heartbreak?"
Firstborn: (rolling eyes) "No heart problems, mom."

I thought maybe this one was banning bionic men, but Firstborn said it meant no one with injuries should ride, and that bionic men would most likely be fine. That probably makes more sense.

No one attached to a blood bag?? Because it would be kind of awkward to hit a bump on the roller coaster and have your bag of O-negative go flying across the midway. But I was wrong here too. No blood pressure problems. Does having my blood pressure skyrocket trying to figure out these symbols count?

This one was a real head-scratcher. Even Firstborn took a long time to figure it out. Standing in line for the ride with the sun in our eyes, we couldn't make out that that was a bird, so all we could see was a bag with an arm coming out of it, and wondered what on earth we were being told not to do on the carousel! Okay, fine. So a stork with a baby bag means no pregnant women. Would a silhouette of a woman with a baby bump not be a little more clear?!

These are at least self-explanatory. And while I'd like to believe that they're just there as a precaution, I've lived on this planet way too long not to know in my heart that that last one had to be put there because at some point some jackass tried to sue the town fair after he spilled his martini while riding the Zipper.

Today we will instead go swimming at my good friend Granny Bob's house. There are no confusing signs there, and bionic men are welcome. My brain needs a break...

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Captain is No More!!

Don't panic, I didn't hit him with a frying pan.

This change is of a completely different kind. It comes with more responsibility (read: irritation) for him, and more money to spend at Michael's for me.

That's right! The Captain has been promoted!

In army terms, this momentous event looks like the difference between this:

And this:

Is anyone else feeling like they've been asked to solve one of those spot-the-difference pictures from the kids' magazines?!

In any case, let's bid a fond farewell to the Captain, and say hello instead to Major Dad!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Happy June!

I thought I'd better check in again, as the last time I posted I think I may have sounded a tad cranky, and I don't want anyone worrying that I've been wallowing in misery since that curveball the military threw at us a month or so back!

Life has happily carried on, and my house is now back to its original filthy state. Though it does turn out that unpacking is a much slower process than packing was.

Last week we had a bit of a wind storm, and a couple of our old rotten trees out back finally met a tragic end:

Right on top of my gorgeous chain-link fence!
The Captain kindly went out there this weekend with a chain saw and took care of the mess, and I propped my poor old fence back up. So no real harm done there, but I'm now on the hunt for a new location for my laundry line. As you can see from the picture, there's no shortage of trees. It's really just a guessing game as to which one's going to fall down next!
In other news, I have a long-overdue missing persons report. Has anyone seen this dog?
We lost him somewhere in Florida back in January, and have been hoping he'd turn up behind my brother's washing machine, or in a forgotten pocket of one of our bags, but now that it's June and he hasn't resurfaced (the hotel, airline and rental car company had no luck locating him either) it does seem that Doggie might be gone for good. Firstborn has taken it far better than I have.
And finally, the countdown is on! 18 more school days to go before summer vacation, thus ending my year of substitute teaching (another reason you haven't heard much from me). More importantly, I only have 3 weeks left to figure out how I'm going to keep my kids occupied this summer! Better get on that--yikes!
Happy Monday!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Alrighty Then...

As some of you know, we've been preparing for a big move some 2200 kms away from here.

A move of that nature with kids, dogs, a cat and a whole lot of stuff is not something you can get done in a weekend, so I've been working like a busy little beaver trying to get the house ready to be appraised and sold, as well as looking at places in our new town, trying to plan a house-hunting trip and keeping in contact with the new school board to ensure my special needs child doesn't get lost in the shuffle. RB has been wildly unsettled by this whole experience, so there's been a lot to deal with at this end too. This week alone, I made 7 trips to the dump and took one full carload to Value Village. I discovered that the best way to clean baseboards and white moldings is with a Magic Eraser (I can be environmentally conscious once I'm settled in my new home!), and that there really is no particularly effective way to get the smell of old cat pee out of things like carpet or unfinished wood (groan!). In short, I have kept myself very, very busy these past few weeks. I haven't eaten or slept enough, and frankly I miss TV and wine!

So you can imagine my surprise when, after losing hours and hours and hours of my life trying to make this crazy house a place someone might want to buy, the Captain called me from his course in New Brunswick and broke some rather disconcerting news. His posting has been cancelled! He is apparently needed for the same general position he was taking in Petawawa right here at home.

I'm not entirely sure why it took our military this long to figure that out, but it sounds like this year, there are a whole lot of other families going through the same thing. So apparently messing us around like this wasn't personal. But frankly, I'd still like to kick someone's ass.

So my spring cleaning is done, and I'm settling in for another two or three Manitoba winters at least. Ontario friends, we will get there eventually! In the meantime, I'm putting on my sweats and catching up on some TV. With a large glass of wine.