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.

 

Volleyball, Toilets and Trad Music

…..exciting two days

It’s been awhile since I’ve written about my personal adventures and daily routines. I don’t know where the time has gone but being sick and dealing with family members who are also under the weather has definitely put my writing for this blog on the back burner. I’m also trying to get my house ready for our new addition. No, we’re not expecting another grandchild or taking in a foster child. My 90 year old father has decided he wants to live with us. Of course, we couldn’t say no.

Since the March Break I’ve been sick with an ear infection and then with a sinus cold. My hearing has suffered greatly and I feel like I’m under water. I can’t tell you how many times I have misheard what people are saying. Sometimes it can be quite comical but it’s also frustrating. I think I’m getting better but in the evenings my throat gets quite sore. Other than that I feel okay and I haven’t taken any time off from work.

Earlier this week, my friend and colleague, P, asked me if I wanted to be part of a volleyball team and play in a tournament against teachers from other schools. I agreed to do it as long as I felt well. By Friday, three people dropped out and that left us with only six players. Regardless of how I was feeling, I just couldn’t drop out, so I went to the tournament.

When I got there I felt somewhat intimidated by the players from the other teams. I think there was only one other player out of 45 players or more who was older than me. On our team, we had two 26 year olds, two 31 year olds, one 50 year old and me, the almost senior citizen.

Once we started playing, I quickly lost any inhibitions and just had fun. My serves were terrible but by the last game I finally worked out what I was doing wrong and my serves improved immensely. There were six teams in total and to my amazement we made it into the finals. In the seventh and final game we played against one of the teams we had lost against. At that point I was happy to place second. It was in that game that I took some chances and I actually dove for a ball and landed on my knees (no knee pads, of course). OUCH!

I got up quickly and assured everyone that I was okay. I kept playing (there were no substitutes) and in a very close game we ended up winning it all. I think we were all a little surprised but ecstatic. Not bad for a group of people that had never played volleyball together. Afterwards we went out with the team we beat in the finals (they were great sports) and had a drink.

Later that evening when I got home I had a bit of a headache and a sore throat. The latter was from the cold and the former might have been from the fall. I think I jostled my brain when my knees hit the floor. Today, however, the headache was gone and I haven’t suffered any aches or pains from the activities of the previous night. Maybe I should look for a senior’s volleyball team to join when I retire.20170331_201317_resized-2

On Saturday, my husband and I spent the day looking for toilets and kitchen cabinets. When we agreed to have Dad come and live with us we knew that the basement would need some major renovations. We bought a toilet, a grab bar and at Ikea we started to plan out the kitchen. They have an amazing computer program for planning out your kitchen. I think we spent a good hour or more just playing around with different configurations for our tiny little space. When you’re done it gives you a parts list and the total cost of your kitchen.

In 8 days our contractor is coming to the house to start the job so we still have a little bit of time before we make our final decision. The tiles for the bathroom are purchased and the living area is mostly cleared so those two areas can be started on right away.

In the evening Kevin and I went out for dinner at a restaurant not far from our house. In the last year we have become quite close with Will, the owner of Sugar for my Honey. He is always trying new things to bring customers into his restaurant. Last night he hosted a great musical event with live Trad music. The group, Nua, is a Canadian trio, featuring a guitarist, a bodhran player and a fiddle player. If music is food for the soul, this group filled the bill. The event sold out and the crowd loved the food and the music. Here is a video of one of their selections from their new CD, Flow.IMG_1524

Flow (click to open)

 

 

Supercrawl in Hamilton, ON

….last weekend I went to my first art crawl

Since 2009, Hamilton has hosted an art supercrawl that now spreads over 16 city blocks and has gone from a one day event to an entire weekend. It celebrates the diverse art community in the James St. North community in Hamilton. This year it featured numerous art installations, hands on art demonstrations, live bands, street performers, dozens of food trucks, and hundreds of vendors selling jewellery, crafts, paintings, clothing, knitwear and handmade toys. Supercrawl 2016

 

Fun Fair and Baby Time

….a busy three days, part 2

Last Saturday, the parent council at my school hosted the long awaited Fun Fair. For the cost of a wrist band the students enjoy an abundance of fun activities for four hours. There were inflatables, a dunk tank, face painting, games of chance with prizes, cotton candy, popcorn, a cake walk, a photo booth, video games, planting stations, video games, candy kabobs, fire trucks and police cars to explore, music, a silent auction and so much more.

I was suppose to go in the dunk tank but the water was too cold for me and I had been promised warmish water. I was hoping that as the day progressed the water would have warmed up but because the hose runs continuously it never really changes temperature. No one really seemed to notice that I bowed out. The grade 5s gladly took over my time slot and took turns all day sitting in the tank waiting to be dunked.

I did volunteer to man one of the inflatables for an hour with one other parent. There was a steady stream of children climbing up the steep ladder and coming down the equally steep slides. I was surprised that some parents allowed their ‘babies’ to go on this apparatus. Their little legs couldn’t get up the ladder very quickly and they slowed down the momentum of the ride. A couple of times we (actually the other mom) had to go up the ladder and bring the children down.

One of the highlights for me was the silent auction. This year every class painted a ceramic plate or teapot which were professionally fired. They were all beautiful  and every item was bid on.

There were lots of other items to bid on and I ended up with a beautiful pot of flowering plants, a set of necklaces, a floral print with cards and a gift certificate for a haircut. I donated two of my paintings and my friend L and I offered a ‘Tea’ for up to 4 students. The last item went for over $100.00.

All in all it was a very successful fun fair. Here are a few more shots of some of the many activities that took place that day.

When the silent auction closed, I gathered up my merchandise and headed home where our daughter and granddaughter were waiting for me but more of that in the next post.

Cheers for now!

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A Concert, Sketching on the Subway and Walking 11 000 Steps

….it was a good day

This afternoon I took the subway downtown to attend a Music in the Afternoon concert at the Edward Johnson Building. I was hoping to hear the pre-show lecture but I arrived too late and sat in the lobby and ate my lunch. IMG_7681The concert was very enjoyable. The Daedalus Quartet performed Jean Sibelius’ String Quartet in D Minor, Voces Intimae, Op 56. and then they were joined by Romie de Guise-Langlois on Clarinet. Together they performed James MacMillan’s Tuireadh for clarinet and string quartet. The piece was long and haunting and I quite enjoyed it but many of the older members of the audience were clearly not enjoying it.. After the intermission, the group played Johannes Brahms’ Clarinet Quintet in B Minor. For many this final number brought the audience back in their favour.

 

On my way to the concert I pulled out my sketchbook and started to draw the woman who was sitting in front of me. It was the first time that I have attempted to sketch people on location. I usually use photographs or use my imagination but I’m determined to stretch my skills and try new things. At the concert hall, I arrived early so I also attempted to sketch the podium on the stage. It’s not a bad start but I have a ways to go and lots to learn.

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After the concert I walked along the Philosopher’s Walk and took photos of the snow and surrounding buildings. We finally got a really good snowfall but by next week the temperatures are suppose to rise to double digits and it will all melt and we’ll be left with slush and puddles.

When I got off the subway I had a fair distance to walk to get to my car. I drove over to the Junction and parked the car again and did a little shopping in the area. All in all it was a good walking day and I recorded 11 000 steps by the end of the day. A good day all round!

 

 

 

 

Share Your World 2015 – Week 41

….she’s finally here

I waited before posting this week’s Share Your World because I didn’t want to report that the baby still hadn’t arrived. Well on Tuesday, October 13th at 10:39 in the evening my daughter, G, gave birth to a healthy 7 lb. 15 oz. baby girl. Mother and baby are doing extremely well and Dad is over the moon.

It’s been a few days since I’ve posted anything. We’ve been a little busy driving back and forth to Hamilton. So here are my answers to Cee’s questions.

What genre of music do you like?

I like lots of different styles of music. On Thursday I went to an afternoon concert and listened to chamber music but I have to admit that I am a fan of Pop and Jazz. I don’t like heavy metal or Rap music.

What is the worst thing you ate this last week?

The worst thing that I ate was a crispy chicken sandwich from Tim Horton’s. I usually like sandwiches from this food chain but we were a little suspect on how they could make such a crispy sandwich in such a short span of time. I also had a chicken breast from Swiss Chalet which is also normally very good but this one was dry. The first meal was consumed while visiting our daughter at the hospital and the second one was at the airport where my husband and I met my sister from Calgary on a 4 hour layover.

Would you like to be famous? In what way?

I don’t want to be famous. I just want to be remembered in a good light as a kind and caring person. I used to think that fame would be fun but I do like my privacy and I think that often you lose that when you’re famous.

Complete this sentence: This sandwich could really use some …

….of my husband’s mustard pickle or tomato jam. This summer my husband has experimented with some new preserves and these two are wonderful on sandwiches.

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 a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner with my family but most of all for the safe delivery of our first grandchild a couple of days later. I think she’s beautiful but I’m sure all grandmothers say that of their grand babies.

In the week coming up I’m looking forward to spending more time with the new baby but I’m also in the mood for art. I need to reorganize some of my art supplies and start framing some pieces for Christmas gifts.

Thanks to my daughter, Gaelan and her husband, Brendan for letting me share these photos with you.

Introducing

Winifred Josephine 

Born October 13, 2015