Share Your World 2016 – Week 13

….lucky week 13

Are you left or right handed?

I’m left handed but I’m able to do a lot of things with my right hand. I write and draw with my left hand. With my right hand I knit, play ukelele, bowl, bat, golf, throw a ball, play tennis and control the mouse and scroll bar on my computer. With both hands I can iron, use scissors, brush and blow dry my hair and use a saw.

If you had only one TV, would you prefer the TV in the living room or another room?

We only have one TV and it’s in our TV room in the basement. We didn’t want it in the living room because we didn’t want it to be a distraction when we have company. Too often we’ve seen people go straight for the TV instead of sitting down and having a conversation. They might as well stay home. I also don’t like having a TV in the bedroom. When we were younger, we’d fall asleep and wake up to the white noise of the test pattern on the TV. I guess I’m aging myself. Today’s generation doesn’t even know what a test pattern is.

Have you ever participated in a distance walking, swimming, running, or biking event? Tell your story.

When I was younger long distance walks for charity were all the rage. In high school I walked 32 miles around the city to raise money for a charity I don’t recall. I do remember collecting pledges for every mile walked and stopping at check points to verify that I’d walked that leg of the walk. We started early in the morning and I finished at city hall, and it was already dark. I remember there being hundreds of people waiting at the finish line and when I arrived the first thing my father did was hug me and step on feet. Ouch!

Four years ago I ran my first 5k run. I worked with a group of young girls at school and we participated in Girls on the Run. The first year I did this I had just started to lose weight and was down about 18 pounds but by the end of the run I thought I was going to die. I think I had a bit of a panic attack and couldn’t stop crying. The following year I did it again but this time I was down 30 pounds and I had been running more consistently. It felt great.

I’ve done one other running event after that, two years in a row. The Railpath Run in the Junction raises money for The Stop to increase access to healthy food in a manner that maintains dignity, builds health and community, and challenges inequality. This particular run I’ve done with my oldest daughter who lives in the community. It’s a lot of fun and both times I’ve done the community walk/run portion. This year I was only going to walk the course but once I started I couldn’t stop running. I’m not very fast but I’m consistent.IMG_6303

Complete this sentence: Love is… 

• a smile from my granddaughterIMG_7725

• flowers waiting for me when I arrive home from work for no special occasionIMG_6031

• when the whole family gets together

• the dog greeting me at the dog, her whole body gyrating… she’s so happy to see me

• my husband hugging me and playfully teasing me

• my husband’s home cooked meals

• my husband’s complete acceptance of all my flaws and imperfections

• my father’s weekly phone calls

• the pride I feel when I speak of my children’s accomplishments

• continuing to worry about your children’s well being even when they’re adults

• is get togethers with close cherished friends

• is supporting family and friends in good and bad times and in sickness and health

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Last week I was grateful for a short work week and a very long weekend. I was grateful for two days of beautiful weather and being able to get out for a long hike with my husband through High Park.

Our dog, Frances, was very ill ten days ago so I’m very grateful that she’s on the mend and pretty much back to her old self. I know she getting better because she actually wants to go outside and walk but the vet told us to not exercise her too much. That’s a hard thing to convey to a dog, especially one as active as Frances.

I’m also very grateful for time together with the whole family (not including our son in London) during the Easter weekend. We had a wonderful dinner here and our granddaughter provided us with a lot of laughter as she fed herself sweet potatoes and cauliflower.

This week I’m looking forward to another short week at school (4 days) and more success on the scale. I’ve lost 6 1/2 pounds this past week and look forward to more healthy eating and walking. My husband is doing this with me so it makes it so much easier. I’m starting to look at clothes for the wedding this summer and I’m hoping to lose another 20 pounds. I think that’s pretty doable in the next 13 weeks.

For more Share Your World posts check out Cee’s blog.

An Emotional and Fruitful Week

…..said goodbye to a good friend and colleague today and packed up a very profitable book fair

The week started with emergency surgery for Lucy, five more days of book fair, an all day workshop on Tuesday, report cards, Halloween, and ended with an assembly and tearing down the book fair. There was so much going on that no one had time to think about CR leaving us and moving to Portland, Oregon.

When she did come by after school today to say a personal goodbye I was stunned and unprepared, even though we had taken her out for dinner the week before and presented her with a farewell gift.

Eight years ago I sat in on the interview for a new grade 5 French teacher. I was so glad that CR accepted the position. She was young and inexperienced but her French was good. She fit in immediately and the students, staff and community loved her. It turns out that she is the same age as my youngest daughter and she had gone to school with my daughter’s best friend. Over the years I saw her blossom and become an amazing teacher. We went on numerous overnight field trips, and coached soccer and Girls on the Run together. She’ll tell you that she learned a lot from me but I learned as much from her.


I didn’t know how difficult it would be to say good-bye. Even as I write this my eyes are starting to well up. I will miss you Claire.

As I said earlier, the book fair was extremely successful. We surpassed our goal and the library and school will receive 70% of the sales in product from the book company. I thought it was originally 60% but because we booked early we received an additional 10%. I pulled books for all the teachers to use in their classrooms and had my library helpers deliver them after school. I just hope that I didn’t miss anyone.


I’m looking forward to the weekend. I have to proofread some report cards but other than that I’m free to enjoy my neighbours annual turkey dinner on Saturday. My daughter and her husband will be returning from their cruise vacation on Sunday and will pick up Lucy from our place. I’m hoping to finish reading The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and if the weather holds out I should start putting the garden to bed for the winter. At least I can put the patio furniture into storage until next year.

As my friend P says, “Keep it fun!”


The Month of June in Photos

Saturday, June 1st – Fun Fair

Saturday, June 8th – High School Reunion


Sunday, June 9th – Girls on the Run 5k 


Wed, June 12th – West Conference Girls’ Soccer Finals


Thursday, June 13th – Forest of Reading Celebration

Saturday, June 15th – Opening the Cottage

Wednesday, June 19th – Spring Concert

The report cards were printed, proofread, reprinted, copied, signed and sent home today. The grade 5s had their farewell ceremony yesterday and today were away for their fun activity day. Today the rest of the school had their Fun Day and a colleague and I spent the morning clearing out the computer lab so that construction crews can come during the summer to remove the wall and enlarge the library.

I’ve returned 90% of all the artwork that students produced in my art classes and students have returned most of the books that they took out of the library. I’ve started removing the books from the shelves that will be moved during construction. Only one more day with the children and then the staff party, followed by one more day of meetings and closing down our classrooms for the summer.

…….busy,busy and only a few things left on my to do list. Phew it’s almost over and then I can start planning for our trip to Ireland.

Another Thing Checked Off the List

….the end of the school year is fast approaching

Soccer games finished – check


Girls on the Run finished – check

Report Cards printed – check

Invitations for Forest of Reading Celebration made – check

Author and actor invited for the big day – check

T-shirts bought for the concert – checkP1020297

Track and field finished for this year – check

Timetables organized – check

Money collected and counted for Jump Rope for Heart – check

Things Yet to Do in the Next Two Weeks:

Phone Heart and Stroke to pick up the money collected for Jump Rope for HeartP1020209

Proofread report cards

Finish cutting papers for the bookmaking activity

Order pizza for students’ special lunch

Hand out invitations to the students and teachers

Print final copies of the report cards

Plan lessons for the next two weeks

Clear off book shelves in the library for the renovation over the summerIMGP0551

Hand out prizes for Jump Rope for Heart when they arrive

Volunteer Tea

Spring concert

Activity ‘Fun Day’

“Phew, I can do this!!!”


Girls on the Run 5k

….today was the day

I woke up early, 6:07 to be exact. I put on my running clothes and made my way downstairs to make coffee. I checked my emails as I enjoyed my Crema and protein bar. It was lovely and quiet in the house, just what I needed before heading out to meet my fellow coaches, L and C.

We had decided ahead of time to meet at L’s house and go together in one car. There was very little traffic at 7:30 on a Sunday morning so we made good time getting to the race venue. The race this year was being held at the Vaughn Mills mall. When we got there, there was already a sea of pink t-shirts.


Our school was assigned a flag where our girls had to meet us. We handed out their numbers and safety pins and the moms and dads pitched in pinning the numbers to the fronts of their shirts.


It was great seeing so many parents get involved, not just by being there but also registering for the run so that they could run with their daughters.

There  weren’t as many pre-race activities as last year but some of the moms had brought along coloured hair spray so that the girls could have racing stripes put into their hair. Even some of their teachers got into the spirit.


I’m not sure how many times I’m going to have to wash my hair to remove the pink dye. One mom, who’s a hairdresser, said that it might take three or more washes. Hmmmm!!!!!


Two hours after arriving at the mall, the race finally started and about 1000 little girls and their coaches and parents started on the 5k run.


I had set a goal for myself to run the 5k without stopping and try to do it in 45 minutes or less. Last year I think it took me about 55 minutes and I walked at least half of it. It was very warm and humid today. Before I left my husband asked me not to overdo it and to be careful not to get caught up in the excitement of the race. I know that the recent heart attack of a very close friend who lives out west was leaving him feeling a little apprehensive about me running today. I have to admit that the our friend’s heart attack was also in the back of my mind. The attack was a mild one and she’s doing much better but she’s the last person we would ever have suspected of having a heart condition.

I set a very reasonable pace for myself and was able to run the first half without stopping to walk. When I did stop it was at the water station but I started to run again almost immediately.  The heat did bother me and I walked a couple more times but never for more than a minute. In the end I finished in a time of 47:27, 2 1/2 minutes slower than I hoped for but this year I felt so much better than I did last year. I didn’t experience those moments of dread like I did last year and I wasn’t as emotional….no tears.

Now that I have an official time I can work on getting that number down. I should plan to do another 5k sometime this summer. It’s good to have a goal.

Time to work on my art piece.


Planning for the Summer

…..opening the cottage and buying tickets for flights to Europe

It all seems so surreal. We haven’t done either of the above yet. It’s almost the end of May and my focus has been on school and it continues to be my focus.

On Friday we will be hosting our Jump Rope for Heart activity and then I’ll be collecting and counting the donations and filling in the paperwork in the week to follow. Next Tuesday the girls’ soccer team will be playing at the Esther Shiner Stadium for the West Conference Finals. One more practice tomorrow morning.


Also next week we have two more sessions for Girls on the Run and then on Sunday June 9 we head up to Vaughn Mills for the actual 5k race. On Friday, next week, we have a report card writing day which is city wide. Hopefully we won’t have the usual problems when more than 11 000 teachers try to get on the system at the same time. Two of us are the report card administrators at my school we are in charge of making sure that there are no glitches in the system at the school level. Unfortunately there are always glitches but they are usually easily fixable.

The following week I have to print all the report cards for the staff. Not a difficult task but somewhat time consuming because again every school in the board prints at the same time and everything comes through cyberspace. The following day I have my physical. That reminds me, I have to check what time my appointment is. I can’t remember if I managed a time after school or if I have to take time off.

On the 13th my Forest of Reading student book club is having their big celebration day. Plans are underway and so far we’ve prepared a book making activity and one of my colleagues has confirmed that we have an artist coming in to do a drama workshop with the students. A pizza lunch has yet to be organized and prizes have to be obtained.


Tonight I spoke with my oldest daughter and we’ve set a potential date to open the cottage. It looks like it may be the Father’s Day weekend. I have to contact my friend D and see if she wants to go up the same weekend.

P1010867 P1010811

The week following, the school will be preparing for the spring concert. I promised my friend L, who is the music teacher, that I would help her with the organization. There is also a possibility that somewhere in the middle of all of this that the girls’ soccer team could advance to the city finals but I guess I shouldn’t count my chickens before they hatch.IMGP0142

In the last week of school the grade 5 students have their farewell assembly and a special activity day. This will be the first year since I started at Rosethorn that I won’t be directly involved with these activities. That means, however, that I will probably be in charge of an activity for the school wide fun day instead.P1010535

Somewhere I have to find time to pack up a wall of library books before we leave for summer vacation. During the summer, construction workers will be coming in to remove the wall between the library and the computer lab.


My husband has applied for his new passport and he’s been in touch with family overseas. He’s going to look into booking tickets for our flights in the next week or two and then we’ll sit down and make plans for our accommodations and planning our itinerary. We’re hoping to meet up with our son and his girlfriend when they go to Dublin for a conference. We’d like him to meet the Irish cousins and hopefully we can plan a short trip to the west coast with him.


I know people who plan months in advance for a trip like this. I’m a little nervous that we’ve left it so late but with my husband’s health issues we can’t plan too far in advance. Even at this stage we’re still waiting for one more appointment before we can make definite plans.

In the end it will all work out. If Europe doesn’t pan out, I still have the cottage and my little paradise in the sun and I will see my son in the fall.

A Day of Soccer, Girls on the Run and School Council Meeting

….this one’s for you Michele

It was after 9:00 pm when I got home tonight.

It started to pour last night and the lightning kept flashing through my bedroom window. The forecast for our soccer tournament looked grim. The only reason for cancelling a game would be the onset of lightning.

Luckily the rain, thunder or lightning never did appear and we were able to play all four games. The girls were amazing and won every game. We’re moving on to the West Conference finals in June. ImageImage

At the end of the tournament the skies darkened and I was sure that Girls on the Run would be rained out. Again the rain stayed away and the girls were able to get out and run their laps in preparation for their 5k run. Being out in the sun all day and walking back and forth between the two soccer fields, making numerous trips from the fields to the office and other rooms of the school and doing recess duty and bus duty at the end of the day, left me exhausted. I didn’t run tonight.

After Girls on the Run I ended up staying at school because we had a school council meeting  and I am the teacher representative. Michele ordered dinner in for both of us….chicken and salad. Perfect. The meeting started at 7:00 and ended at 8:30. It was pretty uneventful but people sure had a lot to say. Even when the meeting was over discussions continued in the hallway and a couple of parents came down to the library and had numerous questions for me about the upcoming renovation. With a little encouragement from our fearless leader we finally made our way to the parking lot.

I thought I could come and home and relax but M insisted that I had to write something for my blog tonight. This one’s for you Michele.


Time to Get Serious

….3 weeks to go before the Girls on the Run 5k

No more excuses. The back feels better, no more colds, the ground has dried up and the weather’s been great. 

Today I set a personal best in training for the upcoming 5k run. My husband and I started on our usual walk to the park and when we got to the rugby pitch we both started running around the 500 m field. I ran six laps without stopping for a total running distance of 3k. My husband ran farther and faster but he does intervals where he alternates between running and walking. My total travel distance this morning was 5.6k.


My goal is to drop another 5 to 10 pounds in the next 3 weeks and continue to lengthen the distance that I run before I stop to walk. I’m not too concerned about my time but I would be happy if I completed the 5k in 45 minutes. That may seem slow to some of you but it’s a step in the right direction for me.

I’ll keep you up to date on my progress.


Busy Day

…..a quick update

The day started with soccer practice at 7:40 to 8:20. After the announcements my principal and I drove across town, through rush hour to check out some used furniture and fixtures for our school. We put our names on pieces that were on the wish lists of the staff. Now we have to wait and see which pieces we’ll be gifted.

When we got back to school I ordered books and supplies that a few more staff members had requested. 


Art class to my 3/4 class. Worked through recess.

Library class and then prepared for Girls on the Run

3:00 to 4:30 – Girls on the Run. My back was still bothering me today so I didn’t run but I did walk quickly around the course. I did 4 laps for a total of 2k. We have a few girls who need a little extra motivation to keep running so I kept sneaking up on them and bellowing at them to run. It was a lot of fun and it was the most running these girls have done since we started 6 weeks ago. 

5:00 drove to Costco to pick up a cake for a baby shower at school tomorrow. Also picked up some chicken and salad for tonight’s  dinner.

5:45 prepared dinner and washed up dishes

6:30 drove to book club. We had our meeting at the library where the author, Nancy Richler talked about her book The Imposter Bride. More on that in my next post.

8:00 went for coffee with the girls from the book club. Really enjoyed tonight’s talk.

9:30 drove home

10:00 – checked my emails and watched So You Think You Can Dance

11:50 – should be in bed but decided to quickly post about my day

12:15 – finished this post and plan to head to bed 

Good Night!

A Busy Eight Weeks Coming Up

….we had a staff meeting to set dates for our year end activities

I’m not the best when it comes to writing down dates for meetings, events, birthdays, etc., but a few weeks ago I took out my agenda and started to list everything that was coming up. I’m pretty good at remembering dates or I rely on others to do it for me, however, too many things that I was personally responsible for were coming up so I needed to start keeping track of them.

One of my frustrations is trying to coordinate mutually acceptable dates for tournaments where four or more teams are concerned. This year we volunteered to host the boys’ and girls’ soccer tournaments at our school because we have two large soccer fields. The tournaments have to run on separate days and in case of thunder and lightning we have to set rain dates as well. P1000956

The boys got a head start on us and reserved two prime days in May. The Monday of that week was a holiday and on Friday the West Conference Track and Field Meet was being held. The following week all the schools were beginning EQAO testing so any kind of tournament was out of the question. That meant we had to choose a date a week earlier. We chose the 16th but it turned out that one of the schools had already booked a field trip that day and couldn’t change it. So we picked our rain date from the following week and created a new rain date the week after, a day before EQAO testing is to begin. P1000958

We asked everyone to reply by the end of the day so that we could send the schedules home. Of course two days later one of the other schools wrote back and said that those dates conflicted with one of their tournaments for the boys because they were happening on the same day and the same teacher was coaching both the boys’ and the girls’ teams.P1000959

We were running out of dates so we went to our boys’ team and asked if we could use their rain date for our tournament. I’ve now informed my girls and my parent coach of 3 different dates for the tournament. It doesn’t end there. P1000961

Today at our staff meeting our principal told us that she purchased tickets to the Wizard of Oz for all the grade 3s,4s and 5s for May 23rd, the last date we chose for the tournament. When she checked the main calendar we hadn’t posted the final date for the tournament because we hadn’t heard back from all the teams.

So where does that leave us? Well we emailed all the teams again and told them that we had to go back to the 21st and that the team with the double tournament conflict would have to find someone to supervise one of her teams on that day. I hope this is the end of it but I know that not everyone will be happy about it.

Here’s a quick list of all that is coming up this week alone, over and above my regular teaching day:

April 29th – meeting with rep from Jump Rope for Heart, soccer practice in the morning, open report cards on the main computer so that teachers can start inputing comments, assist with school track and field meet throughout the day when not teaching art or giving teachers prep

April 30 – last day for voting for the Forest of Reading and submitting the votes, soccer practice in the morning, retirement workshop at lunch,Girls on the Run after school

May 2 – soccer practice in the morning, concert at Koerner Hall in the afternoon, pottery class in the evening

May 3 – soccer practice after school

I’m sure I’ve missed something but someone’s sure to remind me. Have a great weekend.