Slowly But Surely

….the temperatures go up and then they go down but surely Spring is in the air

On the weekend we attended a soccer (football) game. The tickets were gifted to us by our daughter and daughter-in-law who had other plans and couldn’t use them. The forecast wasn’t very promising but we decided to bundle up and bring along a stadium blanket to keep us warm.

The seats are very high up in the stadium but the view is spectacular.IMG-2128
I wish I could say that the game was exciting and that we were victorious but TFC was off its game and we were quite disappointed in how they played. In the second half my husband wasn’t feeling well and just couldn’t get warm. We left when the game was tied 1-1 and made our way to warm restaurant for a meal. There were TV screens all through the place and by the time we got there the game was over and Toronto lost 2-1.

On Sunday, the temperatures were up slightly but the best part was the sun and no wind. I took a walk through Col. Sam Smith Park and took a lot of wonderful shots of the lake, the beach and the trees and plants that are getting ready to erupt with colours of green, pink and yellow. You know when the weather is good because everybody and their dogs are out walking.IMG-2153

A Busy Week

….when it rains it pours

This past week was the week I dreaded the most because many of the events that I organize and other special events and meetings that I take part in took place in this one week. On Monday the parents organized a very special luncheon for the staff at our school. The library was pretty much closed so that they could decorate, set up the tables and put out the food. As always there was so much food that the staff didn’t have to bring lunch for the next three days.

On Tuesday we had a soccer practice after school and then I drove to the warehouse to pick up an order of paper that I needed for my book making workshop on Thursday. When I got back to school I had dinner with the principle and then we waited together for the parent council meeting to begin at 7:00. I’m the teacher rep for these meetings. Needless to say by the time I got home it was pretty late.

On Wednesday we had another soccer practice after school so I started to set up for my workshop earlier in the day. I cut enough paper for about 60 books and I typed out the names of the 60 students who would be attending the special Forest of Reading Celebration. I placed the lists in the attendance folders so that teachers would know which students needed to be released from class. I would have stayed later and put more things out but I was reminded earlier in the day that I had bought a ticket to see a stage production that one of my former colleagues and dear friend was the stage manager for. I went home to have dinner with my husband and then left shortly after to get to the church on time for the musical extravaganza. It was actually very good.

On Thursday the day started with a bit of a wrinkle in our plans. The photographer for the grade 5 year end photo had to be rescheduled and it happened to fall on the same morning as the Forest of Reading Celebration. Four of the six teachers that were running the workshops that morning also had to be in the photo. Luckily my right hand woman, MC, was able to call down the grade 3s and 4s and read to them for a few minutes and then got them started on the art activity of bookmaking.

After the photo was taken the grade 5s went to the gym where two of my friends and colleagues hosted a drama/dance workshop based on one of the books from the Forest of Reading that I had read to the entire school. The book was The Artist and Me. I wrote about it in an earlier post. I went straight to the library to help MC with the bookmaking. This year I chose three easy designs and the first group mostly chose to make the accordion book.

At lunch the participants in the activity day went to the gym where they were served pizza, juice and ice-cream bars. All the teacher expert readers were invited as well. After the food was devoured the children went outside for lunch recess and the teachers had a bit of a break.

In the afternoon our visiting author, Sue Irwin, arrived with her props and extra copies of her book Safety Stars. She talked about her love of hockey and how she came to write a children’s book about how hockey evolved over the years with new safety equipment. She also tried to talk about the process of writing but the children had questions mostly about hockey which she happily answered. 9781459408470

At the end of the day I handed out special awards to the students who had read the most books. The goal was 12 but the top students had read 30, 39 and 41. Every student who attended the celebration also received a gift bag with a pencil, pen, book mark and stickers and one book of their choice.

After school I had one more soccer practice with the girls before their tournament the following day. On the way home I took the car through the car wash.

On Friday the girls’ soccer tournament took place. There were only three schools participating on this day. Our team won their first game 7-0 and lost the second game 4-0. It was a really chilly day but I’d rather have that than a day sweltering with heat.  We’re not sure if we’re moving on. If we are it means more practices. I guess we’ll find out on Tuesday. On the way home tonight I went back to the car wash and complained about the dirty water that they used to rinse the car. I didn’t notice the spots all over the car until the next morning. They gave me another voucher for a car wash so I decided to use it right away.

Ah, finally the weekend but there is no rest for the wicked. On Saturday I did three loads of laundry, cleared more things from the basement, started to take out my summer wardrobe and put away more winter items. I cleaned bathrooms, tidied my father’s apartment and vacuumed and de-cluttered the living room. We drove to the mall to get some new keys cut and buy some light bulbs and batteries. I checked out Winners while we were there but it was late in the day so I didn’t have time to try anything on.

Today is grey, cool and it’s pouring down rain at the moment. We went out earlier and picked up some meat from the boys that my husband coaches. It was some kind of fundraiser for one of the many activities that they’re involved in. We spent a couple of hours relaxing over coffee and just talking. Now that we’re back home we’re resting up a bit before we head out again to do more errands, i.e., grocery shopping, garden shopping and checking out fences for our backyard.

Tomorrow is a holiday in Canada, Victoria Day. Traditionally it’s the weekend where  a lot of people head up north to open the cottage. I was hoping to do the same but I knew if it was cold and raining I wouldn’t be making the trip this weekend. Only once did I go up in May when the conditions weren’t optimal and I vowed I’d never do it again. My daughter and I froze and left early. We’ll see what tomorrow brings. Perhaps we’ll visit a friend or drive to Hamilton or continue cleaning up around here and maybe we’ll start putting in our garden.



Share Your World 2016 – Week 25

…..check out Cee’s Share Your World and join the fun

How many languages do you you speak?

Basically I speak two languages, English and German. German was my first language and I understand it very well but I am very hesitant to use it. Growing up I had to go to German school on Saturdays and I hated it. Whenever my parents or their friends spoke to me in German I would answer in English. When I turned 18 I sang in a German choir and did so for 27 years.

What are some words that just make you smile?

The first word that makes me smile is my granddaughter’s name – Winnie. I can’t help but smile when I think of her or hear someone utter her name. Come to think of it all the names of my loved ones make me smile. Other words that make me smile are love, art, summer vacation, cottage, puppy and party.

If you were the original architect of one existing building, which building would you select?

This is tough because there are lots of buildings that I would be proud to put my name on, even ones that have been somewhat controversial. I love old and new but I think the one that stands out for me at the moment is the AGO. It is a combination of old and new. Several years ago it underwent a renovation and I simply love the lines and all the wood on the inside. The architect is Frank Gehry.

Would you rather have telepathy or telekinesis? (Telepathy is the communication using your brain waves, telekinesis is channeling the energy onto physical objects to cause substantial, observable physical changes.)

I think I’d rather have telepathy. It would be neat to be able to send messages without opening my mouth.

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 being able to check off more items from my to do list. As you know June is extremely busy for me at school. Every time I’m able to cross off another item it takes a huge weight off my shoulders.

Things that are done:

2 retirement parties- collected money and bought gift for one

Jump Rope for Heart – money collected and prizes distributed

Report cards written, proofread and printed

Timetables for next year organized

Father’s Day gift bought and BBQ with the family

Year end school concert

Rehearsals for grade five farewell

book club for June

finished paintings with the students for the stage

son’s wedding via the internet

city finals for girls’ soccer

taking 78 students to Jays’ baseball game to sing the national anthems

This week I’m looking forward to the grade 5 farewell assembly, play day, cleaning up my office in the library, the staff party and making final arrangements for our trip to Italy. Most of all I’m looking forward to getting on that plane next Saturday. Phew! I’m tired just thinking about it.



A Busy Three Days

….as May comes to an end I can breathe a sigh of relief

May and June are two of the busiest months for me. Many people assume because the school year is close at hand that my workload starts to diminish as well. Nothing could be further from the truth.

May started with tryouts for the girls’ soccer team and then practices three times a week. Last week the girls played their tournament and won so practices continue for the next two weeks before they move on to the semi finals. I head up the Forest of Reading book club and last week we had our year end celebration. I wrote about that here.

One of my other pet projects is raising money for the Heart and Stroke Foundation by running a Jump Rope for Heart day. I’ve been doing this for 17 years. Every year I think that the fund raising won’t do as well as previous years and the children and the community always come together and surprise me with their generosity. Two weeks ago we had the kick off assembly for Jump Rope for Heart and sent home the pledge envelopes. On Thursday I was worried because only 12 envelopes had been returned. On Friday I was overwhelmed with the number of returns. Over 100 envelopes came back and according to one of the parents the on-line contributions were higher than previous years. Our goal this year was to raise $8 600.00. It looks like we’ve gone well above that number. I’ll know better in the next few days when the last of the envelopes come in.

Friday was a hot sunny day for our actual skipping event. Our office assistant and her husband supplied us with music for the hour while the entire school headed outside and skipped to their heart’s content. Despite the heat everyone seemed to have a good time. There were prizes for skippers who showed a lot of effort. I chose about 8 teachers to go around and select children who they thought were really working hard. These students were given a yellow ticket that they could redeem for a new skipping rope or small football. A special thanks to the Heart and Stroke Foundation for supplying the prizes.

The next two days proved to be just as busy. On Saturday we had our Fun Fair at the school and our daughter and granddaughter spent Saturday and part of Sunday with us. More about these two days in a post to follow.

My First Pam Am Games Experience

…..couldn’t have asked for better weather or a better outcome

There was so much negativity in the media about these games that I felt compelled to actually buy tickets for some events. The prices were very reasonable and I questioned why wouldn’t we want to support our athletes. People were critical of how memorable these games aren’t and challenged people to remember where the last games were even held.

One day, recently, someone phoned in and actually answered those questions. I decided to do some research and I also learned a little bit about the last games. They were held in Guadalajara, Mexico in 2011 and opened Oct. 14th and closed Oct. 30th. There were three mascots for these games: Huihci, a deer, Gavo, a blue agave and Leo, a lion.

Image courtesy of:

This year is the first time that golf was added as a sport. I learned that bit at the soccer game during intermission when they hosted a trivia game.

Well I think the support for the games has been quite a surprise for the naysayers in the media. Many events have sold out and so far traffic hasn’t been the nightmare that they predicted.

On Saturday, my family and I drove to Hamilton to attend the women’s soccer game. There were actually two matches for the price of one. The first game was Brazil vs. Costa Rico and then it was Canada vs. Ecuador. We could have taken the Go Train free of charge but we weren’t sure how late it would be before we returned home so we opted to drive and park at our daughter’s house. She lives a couple of blocks from the new train station, that was actually finished on time for these games. At the station there were shuttle buses to take people to the stadium. It was a sea of yellow school buses or ‘cheese wagons’ as the kids call them.

It was barely a 5 minute walk to the station and we boarded one of the complementary buses to the stadium. The ride took only 10 minutes, if that, and then it was a short walk to the entrance. There were volunteers everywhere to assist people and they were extremely friendly.

We were sitting on the sunny side of the stadium but luckily the sun was setting so we weren’t staring into the sun for too long. We missed the first half of the first game but we really were there to see the Canadian women play. In the first match the Brazilian team won over Costa Rico.

There were easily over 15 000 people in attendance at this game. The camaraderie and spirit in the stands was amazing. It was a sea of red and white with a smattering of yellow from the Ecuadorian fans.

The Canadian team didn’t disappoint. They easily won with a score of 5 to 2.

When the game was over thousands of people lined up for the shuttle buses. We were glad to be in the line for the Go Trains because the line up for the buses going to the parking lots were crazy. There are a few kinks that need to be worked out with this free service but all in all it was a wonderful experience and we’re looking forward to returning in two weeks for the final game. Hopefully Canada will be in the finals.