Ten Days and Counting

…..retirement is close at hand

I don’t normally count down the days to the end of the school year but this year is different. I’m finally retiring from teaching after 35 years of service.

I know some teachers who when they know they are retiring start the  count down from the first day of school in September. This is not my style but as my last day approaches I’m starting to feel that my life is about to change. I’ve written three speeches for three different retirement parties that all took place in the space of one week. The first one was for my principal and good friend, M, the second one for my longtime friend, L and the third was for me.

All three parties were very different. The first one was a sit-down dinner in an Italian restaurant, the second in the nursing home where L’s dad lived and mine was also in an Italian restaurant but less formal with finger foods being served.  All were special in their own way and I loved them all.

M’s party was held at her favourite restaurant. The meal was excellent and the speeches were warm and personal. M’s family was there and both her youngest sister and her niece spoke. They were funny and touching at the same time. L and I gave our speech in the form of a report card, which the staff thoroughly enjoyed because it was a bit of a roast but in the end the message was more serious. When M spoke she talked about how and why she came to be a principal.

L really wanted her father to be able to attend her retirement party and for that reason she booked the ‘party’ room at the nursing home. There was a piano player who played the entire evening in very comfortable surroundings. There were couches and overstuffed chairs situated around the room where people could sit and talk and listen to the speeches. Friends manned the wine table and servers walked about the room with canapés. The highlight of the evening took place when L and her father sang together and at the end of the evening L sang a solo. Three former principals came to the party plus family, friends and colleagues from school. It was a very musical evening and the accolades about her teaching career, especially those about her choirs, were very fitting for a much loved music teacher.

My party was the last one, held on Wednesday of this week. It took place in a restaurant literally up the street from where I live. My husband and I had eaten there on a couple of occasions and thoroughly enjoyed the food. My family, including little Winnie, friends from years past who were now at other schools, retired friends, neighbourhood friends, life long friends and colleagues from school attended. I was especially honoured when my very first principal from 1976-79 arrived with his wife. I wanted the party to be casual and fun. The finger food was amazing, the aperol spritzes refreshing and the cake and desserts delicious. My friend P, was the MC for the evening and he kept everyone laughing. Three of my friends used the Wizard of Oz as their theme for the speech they gave about my time with them at the school where we all met and worked at for eight to ten years. There were so many wonderful speeches that it would take too long to talk about each and everyone of them. I had the best time and will never forget the thought and care people put into planning my special day.

 

Share Your World – May 15, 2017

…..thanks Cee for four interesting questions for this week’s Share Your World

How many languages do you you speak?

I speak English, some German and very little French and even less Italian. I wish I was more fluent in other languages but that takes practice and commitment. When I travel I like to learn a few key phrases in the language of the country I’m visiting. Today so many people speak English that it’s made us somewhat lazy about learning a new language.

What are you reading, watching, listening to, eating?

I like reading good literature. I’m a fan of historical fiction, mystery novels and humour. The last book I read was Stranger: A Novel by David Bergen. A great read.

Since our internet was down we watched a lot of Netflix. Riverdale  and  Medici: Masters of FlorenceThe first is based on the Archie comics but this murder mystery is nothing like the original comics even though the characters are the same. It was a little sappy but fun to watch. The second show was a riveting historical portrayal of the powerful Medici family. Having travelled to Florence this summer I found the scenery and the story line very compelling and we binge watched it over three days.

Tonight I had a bowl of soup from IKEA. We had to return some kitchen parts that didn’t work in the renovation. Earlier in the day we were treated to a luncheon put on the parents in our school community. There was so much food that we will probably feast of another couple of days. I tried not to eat too much but I certainly didn’t need another big meal later in the day.

What was the last photo you took with your phone?

The last photo and a couple before that were of my husband. Each time we were out eating lunch or dinner. The last one was taken tonight at IKEA in the restaurant and in the first one we’re at the Feel Good, Buy Good show where he made a smoothie while peddling the bike.

What is your favorite time of day? 

This is a tough question. I think it depends on the time of year. In the summer I love early mornings and in the spring and autumn I love the light late in the afternoon. Sometimes I like late at night when everyone has gone to bed. I often get a lot done then and feel the most creative.

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

I’m grateful to have gotten our phone lines fixed and for being able to access the internet at home again. I’m also grateful for a wonderful weekend where I was able to spend time with my husband and my family.

This week I’m looking forward to our Forest of Reading Celebration. More than 50 students have qualified to attend the event. The food is being ordered, the author has been booked and the activities are coming together. That takes place on Thursday and on Friday the girls are playing in the soccer tournament scheduled to be hosted at our school. Every time one of these events takes place I  can’t help but think that this will be the last time I will be involved in organizing it. My retirement date is getting closer and closer.

Till next time, cheers!

Easter With the Family

This year we celebrated our Easter Sunday on Saturday. Our daughter and son-in-law in Hamilton invited us over for an Easter dinner of lamb ragu. We invited my niece who is working in Toronto and our oldest daughter and my daughter-in-law drove to our house, where we all jammed into one car and made the 40 minute drive to Hamilton. IMG_1668

The day started out very rainy but in the afternoon the sun came out and we experienced an early summer day. We spent a good deal of time outside without jackets and went for a nice walk to the park down the street. My niece had never been to G’s place and she enjoyed hearing stories of being pregnant and she saw first hand what it can be like raising a toddler. She’s due to have her first child in August.

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Our granddaughter is always a little shy around new people and even her grandparents who she hasn’t seen too much of this winter because of illness on both sides. It didn’t take long though before she warmed up to her cousin, once removed and they engaged in a game of peek-a-boo in the backyard.

For Easter this year I bought Winnie a garden set because she likes to help her father   clean and plant flowers in the the garden bed.  I knew she’d love the watering can because she loves anything to do with water. When I showed her how it worked she let out a shriek of joy and came running to her Oma. For the next hour or so she kept busy watering the garden and herself.

After spending some time in the garden and walking to the park we enjoyed a very nice dinner. Our son-in-law made the pasta from scratch and the ragu had cooked most of the day. We were in charge of dessert so my husband called up one of his favourite clients who works in an Italian bakery and asked her for advice on what dessert we should bring for an Easter dinner.

She quickly recommended a pastiera, a south Italian Easter tradition. It’s a wheat and ricotta pie flavoured with orange blossom water and adorned with a lattice top. Yum!IMG_1666

Today I’ll be spending time with a friend whose partner went into the hospital yesterday. He’ll be there for a few days as the doctors try to figure out what kind of treatment he will need.

I hope everyone had an enjoyable Sunday. Lucky me, I get one more day off tomorrow. Time to get the snow tires off the car.

 

Share Your World – April 10, 2017

…..thanks to Cee for coming up with four more questions for Share Your World

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

When I was in high school I remember that walking events were all the rage. The one that stands out for me was a walk that took on the shape of Canada and circumvented  the city of Toronto. The walk was called Miles for Millions and I remember that it was very long (32.2 miles) and it took me about 10 to 12 hours to complete. The finish line was at city hall and there were thousands of people there. My father was one of the many anxious waiting parents and the first thing he did when he saw me was hug me and step on my foot. Ouch!

Five years ago, this month, when I introduced myself to the blogging world I started training for my first ever 5k race. Every year since I have participated in one 5k run. I’m not fast but my time improves slightly every year. I remember after my first running event I thought I was going to die, literally.

Name one thing not many people know about you.

I worked as a chamber maid for one summer in Oberaudorf, Germany during the Munich Olympics. A delegation of East German men were allowed to come to West Germany for the games and I was the official greeter at the train station. It was a pretty big news story and my photo was on the front page of the local paper.

What is your favorite flower?

My two favourite flowers are sunflowers and Gerbera daisies.

Things I want to have in my home (paintings, hot tubs, book cases, big screen tv etc)

I would like a proper art studio with great storage for papers and all my paints and pens. I’d also like a new garage or large shed so I don’t have to look at the eye sore at the back of our yard. Of course it would also be beautifully landscaped with colourful plants and an outdoor fireplace.

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

I’m grateful for all the help that our daughters have given us in the last three weeks. We’ve been cleaning out the basement and purging a lot of stuff that we haven’t used in years. As you know my father is moving in with us so we’re renovating the space in the basement to give him a self contained apartment. When it is all finished he will have a new bathroom, a freshly painted bed sitting room with new lighting, trim and baseboards and a small kitchen with all new cabinets, floor, sink, microwave and refrigerator. I’m also grateful that the city picked up all the garbage that we’ve been putting on the curb.

This week I’m looking forward to watching the progress that our contractor is making on the renovation. I’m also looking forward to getting together with the family for Easter. We’ve all been so sick with colds and sinus infections for the last month and we haven’t seen much of our family, especially our granddaughter. It also looks like good weather is in the forecast and I’m looking forward to putting away our winter clothes.

Share Your World – Feb. 6, 2017

….thank you Cee for continuing to come up with new questions for Share Your World

Regarding your fridge, is it organized or a mess inside?

Since we got our new fridge just before Christmas it’s pretty organized. In the old one many of the shelves and bins were broken and removed so it was really difficult to see what was in the fridge. I’m loving my new fridge.img_0735

Do you prefer your food separated or mixed together?

I’m not too fussy either way but I do love casseroles and soups. I’ve never understood people who can’t have their food touching other food. I think it’s some kind of mental disorder.

Do you prefer reading coffee table books (picture), biographies, fiction, non-fiction, educational?

I like looking through coffee table books but my favourite genre of books would have to be fiction. I’m partial to historical fiction and mysteries. I’ve tried reading biographies but I find many of them to be too dry and factual. I guess if they weren’t factual they wouldn’t be biographies but sometimes too much and perhaps unnecessary information is included and that makes the story burdensome and long winded.

Close your eyes. Listen to your body. What part of your body is seeking attention? What is it telling you?

Right now the bottom of my left foot is sore. It’s only sore on the heel and once I start walking on it I forget about it. I don’t know if I need to change shoes, get orthotics or lose more weight. It’s probably a combination of all three.

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

I’m grateful that my report cards are done. My father seems to be doing well and is making plans to travel.

Since I’m late posting this week’s Share Your World, last week’s  gratitudes are from 10 days ago. I’m grateful for being invited to attend a Varsity Blues Women’s Basketball game with the grades four and five students. It was a lot of fun.

This week I was able to spend some more time with my granddaughter and I enjoyed going out at different times with two very special friends. Yesterday another good friend, D, hosted a musical bells party. It was wonderful seeing a number of people from the cottage and D’s extended family. Playing the bells was a lot of fun as well.

 

Share Your World – January 23, 2017

…..thanks Cee for Share Your World

Do you prefer juice or fruit?

I’m definitely a fruit person. I stopped drinking juice a long time ago when I found out how much sugar is added to juice and how much of the fibre is removed. Eating one piece of fruit is much more satisfying than drinking a glass of juice (equivalent to 2 or 3 pieces of fruit).
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Did you grow up in a small or big town? Did you like it?

I grew up mostly in a large city. For a period of 4 years I lived in a smaller town and I have fond memories of playing in the neighbourhood and riding my bike. When we moved back to the big city I lived directly across from the skating rink, the park, my school, the tennis courts and the outdoor swimming pool. I loved it. There was always something to do.

If you were to paint a picture of your childhood, what colors would you use?

I would use bright colours like blue, red, pink and green.

Ways to Relax List: Make a list of what relaxes you and helps you feel calm.

• reading a  book

• knittingimg_0861

• painting and drawing

• having tea with friends

• enjoying a cup of coffee after dinner with my husband

• doing yoga

• going for long walks with my husband

• going out for dinner

• lying on the beach at the cottagep1010410

• having a pedicure

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

I’m grateful that my father is adjusting to living on his own again and finding a new purpose at the retirement home where he resides. I spent time with my family this weekend and was introduced to our daughter’s new dog. She’s a beautiful French bulldog. A and J named her Olive. Winnie wasn’t too sure about this new addition in her aunts’ home but I’m sure both baby and puppy will adjust and get used to each other in time.

I’m looking forward to finishing my report card comments this week and doing some more art assignments from Carla Sonheim’s 365: A Year Long Class.