Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Gone Sailing!

See ya in a bit folks, have a good one.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Notes from a conference?

Nope, tooooooo much, though I didn't have the radio on in the car on the way home, thinking way way way too hard.

One thing they talked about was memory fragmentation, and how rapid it is after a learning experience. Have to say it has me worried, I am so excited by so many topics, and I have no idea when I will be able to get around to making some headway with any of them, I just finished that block of teaching and I don't know when I will have time to process it into all the different areas I work with, adult learners, children's learning, language learners.....

So many different angles.

5 superb presenters, and I am struggling to hold it all in my head.

What a wonder, and more tomorrow.

It was interesting too, the interplay of the different presentations.  Everyone got the same keynote speakers, but then the experiences from the others were all subtly differnt, well, some were enormously different.  It all doesn't quite tie in tightly, so it is a bit of a juggling act, but it does tie in.  Then there is my teaching philosophy angle that also requires another sideways look at it all.

I am rambling cause my brain is basically gone.  Sleep so I can process and learn more tomorrow.

Next order of activity.


Monday, August 23, 2010

Stream of consciousness

Counting the days till we go sailing.  No.  Counting the hours.

Glad and sad to leave work here.

Conference for the next two days, looks super fascinating.

Think I may be getting a sinus thing going on, sore teeth lately.

Love the book I'm reading right now, The History of Love by Nicole Krauss. T'would be brutal for language learners, too many changes of character with too little notice.  No single central character emerging.

Dog ate two dinners tonight, no wonder he was glad to see me.

Must sleep.

Wonder what the house looks like now.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

If you don't know Toronto, you won't get this:


Youngest and an equally young friend were chatting about our lives in Spain.  Young friend asked Youngest if she had ever been to BCN.

'Yes indeed' she responded.

Young friend paused.  'Is it like Mississauga?' she asked?

I tried not to snort.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Took the train to Ottawa today, that was super YUMMY!

Drove home.  That was not.

Love train trips.  Hate driving.

Good side?  The girls are home, and we chatted quite a bit on the way.

Delightful to see them again, and to top it off, the man is going to get the boat launched tomorrow!  Ready for us to have our mini sailing vacation starting part way through next week!

Soooo ready for that.

Books, paint, family and sailing.  Does it get better?

Hmmm, should get some super yummy groceries.

Friday, August 20, 2010


It is odd sometimes having an unusually difficult time coming up with a post.  Today was intense at work, very intense and it is filling my head as I troll around for thoughts to work into something to say.  I, however, cannot talk about any of that.  So it rolls around and around some more.

Here in Toronto it is tomato season, and many many families are starting to process and put up their years worth of tomato sauce.  How it is most often done is with a machine in the yard that you feed the cleaned tomatoes into and it separates out the seeds and the skins and pulps the flesh.  A huge time saver, then it is put into a large kettle (not always, but often) and cooked down a bit.  Into the large jars goes some basil (sometimes) and the tomato.  The jars are sealed and put into a boiling water bath so the canning is safe.

An interesting factoid that goes along with this is that the women who work on this have to be in a certain part of their cycle or they cannot participate.  To this day.

I do adore something about that, maybe not the fact of it so much, as the continuance of the tradition.

Also learned another olive technique.....soak them in plain water, changing it every couple of days for a few weeks, at this point I lost the train a bit, but you would then put them in brine?  With some garlic? It was not exactly a complete recipe....

May try again this year and see if we can figure it out.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Running dilemma

Seems the iPod doesn't like being tucked inside the sports bra when I run.  Got all hissy and fussy and wouldn't work right this morning.  I'm not really all that sweaty, but there must have been a little too much damp.

Now what?

Hold it in my hand or what?

Any advice out there?

Stupid mutt is right under my bed and barking.  Making the bed shake and noisy. Like a kid's worst nightmare.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Got together with a good friend tonight, and her now adult child.

Laughed and laughed and laughed.

Goodness gracious, but it felt great.

Then I ran across this when I got home so I laughed some more.  Not only laughed, but saw some great witty protest.

Thought I'd share.

Who d'you laugh with most?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Good think I slept well last night

'cause today's been one long kind of irritant.

Don't even want to get into it, cause in a while, most of it will go away.

The bright side?  The man and I went to dinner at one of our favourite places in the city, we went there on our first date way back when.  We also figured out that the waitress was probably in kindergarten that day.  

Got a WHOLE stack of yummy books today too...

  • The Road Home, Rose Tremain
  • Fabre's Book of Insects
  • Proust and the Squid: The story and science of the reading brain, maryanne Wolf
  • Reading and the Brain, Stanislas Dehaene
  • Wisdom: from philosophy to neuroscience, Stephen S Hall
  • The Emotional Brain: the mysterious underpinnings of emotional life, Joseph LeDoux
  • The NUmber Sense: How the mind creates mathematics, Stanislas Dehaene
  • A Brief Tour of Human Consciousness, V. S. Ramachadndran
  • Forever Today: A true story of lost memory and never-ending love, Deborah Wearing
  • On Being Certain: believing you are right even when you're not, Robert Burton 
  • How We Decide, Jonah Lehrer
  • Proust was a Neuroscientist, Jonah Lehrer

So, maybe today wasn't all irritating, new books and dinner with the man.

Cup's half full when you add it all up.

Hope yours is too, 



Last night

You know those days when you think you're doing just fine, and then you stop?

Yeah, cause when you stop you realise your nearly dead from being so tired.  Honestly you didn't even feel tired before that moment?

Last home, the man and I had been out with friends we hadn't seen in ages, had a lovely time, I was all set to walk the mutt with the man before getting on-line, checking the email, blogging yadda yadda yadda...then I sat down on the bed to change. 


Managed to stagger out and brush my teeth but sooooo


Feel much better today though.  Hope you're all doing well.



Sunday, August 15, 2010

House update #7,652

The usual view down into Youngest's....

View of the new dining room:

Eldest's room with a doorway into their bathroom:

Part of Youngests:

Part of Eldest's, looking up into her loft:

All sent by the architect last week.

More to come.

Friday, August 13, 2010


Friends in Spain have rented a little finca, a cabin and a bit of land in the woods.

Looks pretty darned nice doesn't it.

Enough to set a girl dreaming.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

play and inflexibility

I am getting to play with the new netbook that my nearly 100 year old great aunt bought herself while I set it up.  It is doing a weird skipping thing when I type that will have to stop very very soon or it will make my aunt nuts.

While reading stories to Youngest, Eldest was using the netbook.  Did not like it one little bit cause it's different.  Also it is set up for an older person.  Minimal buttons, big fat curser, etc, etc, etc.

I do find it odd that she finds it more difficult to adapt than I do.

Thought the young were supposed to be so flexible.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

urge to run, how weird.

Having run a grand total of twice, I am now feeling quite compelled to run every day.  Odd isn't it, considering it is something I really don't like at all.  Something about this program is nice though, cause it forces you to start off slow enough that you actually feel faintly competent, though maybe my expectations were just so very very low.....

possibly it is just that, I am stunned by having any ability at all in an athletic endeavour I have always found so profoundly difficult and horrid. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


If you go over here, you'll see a 30 second video of a dog doing head bobs.  Everything it possibly can to stay awake.

I know why humans do this, though I am somewhat mystified by toddlers who chose to, but dogs?  Why do they have to struggle to stay awake?  It feels so miserable too.

Why why why would they do that?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Run number 2

Went out again this evening, well ran outside for the first time this evening as I did the treadmill thing the first time -so I could return the shoes if they weren't comfy, after today's run, they're mine.

Went with Youngest and Chuck.  Youngest was very very game and keen but we had a pace problem.  If she tried to keep up with me she got horrible stitches and if I slowed to her pace my legs nearly died.

Hmm, not an ideal outing for either of us.

Chuck just seemed pretty darned reluctant.  Keen at first but his interest withered when he realised the opportunities to pee and sniff were limited.  Nothing like towing a dog when you run.

Except when he sees a cat, at which moment your stride suddenly lengthens miraculously! FLY be FREEEEEEEE!!!!!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Mice and snakes

I am currently babysitting a snake, which is fine, they are pretty low maintenance.  This year though we've had something of a crisis.  You see, this year they owners have decided to feed the snake live mice rather than dead ones.

The horror.

With some trepidation I agreed to this plan, but found myself procrastinating.  Good thing snakes have slow moving metabolisms, she/he had to wait an extra week.

After a couple of questions from the owners, promises from me and the kids away I went to the store to get the mice.  The owner of the store could see my rather extensive trepidation and I explained the whole story.  He said that he never feeds live mice to any of his animals and it isn't necessary to do so, rather it was the owners choice.

Then he told me I would have to put the mice in one at a time and be sure that the snake gets it, if not they mice can nibble on the snake and possibly kill it.  So that means that I would have to manually lower the mouse into the cage, in my hand, and watch it get taken.  Twice.  It eats two mice.

The horror.

I manned up and got the mice, they fortunately came in a closed cardboard box and I reluctantly left the store with them, got about halfway to the car with the pair of them running around inside the box and squeaking and turned back.

You have to understand, we had mouse infestations in our house in Toronto, I put out catch and release traps.  A momma mouse abandoned her baby under my chair when she discovered I was on it, I carried the baby to where she had gone and hidden, then left the room.  I am a total wimp as far as this goes.  Total.

Anyway, I turned back and got two dead mice.  I'm cool with that, no problem there.  I know the snake has to eat yadda yadda yadda, it's just my role handing them over to their doom that I have trouble with.

Telling the girls about it, I could, I believe, kill an animal if my children needed to eat.  I could do that.  For the snake though?

Not so much.

ps.  it ate them both and seems fine.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Racoons and running

Two unrelated items for today!

First, Chuckalicious has a wee bout of diarrea going on, fun wow!  3 am walk with the pooch.  Thankfully only the one walk.  The number of racoons I saw in a ten minute outing was RIDICULOUS!  I must have seen at least 10.  OMG

On an unrelated topic, I have started running.  Can I just say that I hate running.  HATE IT. takes so little time for the benefits it offers, requires no equipment other than shoes and determination.  The back story is this.  I am not even faintly fat...not even remotely, but three years ago I put on a pound.  Nothing to worry about there.  Last year another pound and a half and this year another pound.  None of this is a big deal, but that puts me 3.5 pounds over my normal weight and if this goes on a for a decade I'll be 13.5 pounds over. The realities of aging metabolisms.  Ho hum.

 I eat pretty well, not too much and pretty healthy, but I have a little sugar in my tea and some chocolate from time to time.  I know if I cut that out I'd handle the whole issue, but you know what?  I like the sugar in my tea and a little chocolate from time to time is a great thing, so this seems the solution.  Good for my heart and lungs and all that too.  Running in Spain in the mountains with the dog would be fun, and any other exercise I couldn't combine with walking the dog and frankly having to fit both in would be a hassle; so running it is.

I was looking at the couch to 5k program, and asked about it when I bought the shoes, she said she had heard of it, but that the store has a 'learn to run' program, straightforward too.  During week 1, run three times with this pattern,  1 min of running followed by 1 minute of walking. Rinse and repeat till you have been out for 20 minutes.  Week two, again run three times during the week, this time run for 2 minutes and walk for 1, repeat till you have been out for 20 minutes.  Week three, three min running, one walking.  You can imagine how this works.  By 10 weeks, you're running for 20 minutes with a single one minute break in the middle.

That's all I want, I don't want to complete a race, I don't want to ever run further than 5k, but I'd like to nip this tendency in the bud as early as possible and as conveniently and cheaply as possible.

To help keep myself honest, I have decided to post when and how I run on the blog, might help motivate me.

Wish me luck.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Vanity sizing.

Bought a pair of jeans today.

First time I've fit into a size 8 since I was about 15.  I've put on a couple of pounds in the last two years too.  I'm weighing in at the upper end of normal for me.

Somehow, I think something weird is going on.

Do people really buy this, or do they just get frustrated when they have to make the fourth trip to the change room like I did today?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The compost bin is gone

Brought the garbage in the other day, more specifically it was recycling and compost day for the curb pick-up, but when I got home the compost bin was gone.

Just gone.

Who on this earth would want to steal a stinking green compost bin?

Really, who?

Am I the only one who finds this weird?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Photocopy queen

In my job here in the summers I do quite a bit of photocopying.  Not all day like some poor clerk in a law office, but sometimes the print run is long enough I'll bring a book.

The machine is HUGE.  A high speed job that whips out the copies at the speed of light.  Well that would be an exaggeration, but it is pretty darned fast.  It is, however, a wee bit temperamental and requires having it's innards scratched really fairly often.  It's pretty clear too, none of this lower...lower....a little to the left.... business. gives me a diagram and instructions so that I can reach into it's overheated innards and scratch away.

Every year I am less intimidated by the monster, to the point that this year, indeed today, I did a brave thing.  A risk, so to speak.  See, I hate to engage a long print run only to discover that the pages are going back to back one up and one down, or whatever.

Today though....I hit the staple button.

I know, a height of bravery not assumed by everyone, is such a hassle figuring out where one copy starts and the next ends, and then patting them all neatly together and stapling them.

I went for it, and I didn't even do the prudent one-cop-to-see-if-you've-got-it-right.  Nope!  Just hit the button and waited for the staple to appear at the bottom right hand corner of the package.

That's be an interesting mental exercise for the students, though they do say that breaking our routines is supposed to be good for our mental development.

Guess what!  Came out just fine.

Who'da thunk.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

More info

The Master's I am looking at doing would be a self-directed Master's of Ed - less work than an MA and I don't want to be an academic so there seems little reason for doing it.

The field I would be looking at I got to name myself, as it is self-directed.  Provisionally it would be something like, 'Management of Educational Settings within an Environmental Context'

Basically, what the goal would be is to take my current skill base, teaching both adults and kids, and move it up a level or two on the totem pole as well as giving me options to move out of the purely educational field I am in and allow me to move out into, well my preference would be to work within the environmental movement in some capacity.  Though the skills could also be translated within industry too.  

Not where I want to go.

If I am accepted, which is still a looooong way off, I would get to design the program with assistance from the university and my faculty advisor and create definitions of what I want to learn and how to get there.  

Should be interesting and useful as I know where I want to go, what I need to learn cause I don't know it and make sure it's a fun ride on the way.

Currently I have to write a several page plan for the degree and it is to include some of my history and reasons for studying.  I am busy debating format, it is emerging as narrative, which has strong advantages to it.  Fortunately there are people there to assist with the process.  That'll be one of my questions as I get further into it.

Fun to do even if I don't get accepted, though I hope I do.

Answered some of the questions?

Monday, August 2, 2010

It's official

I've paid up the money and I have applied to a master's program.  Due date for all paper work is the fifteenth of September to begin in the Spring term, which may mean after Xmas.

I am applying for a self-directed program cause I am just so special and can't seem to find what I really want to study any other way and I have no desire to go to all this time, effort and cost to just get a piece of paper in the end.

I could do that easily enough.

Wish me luck, m'kay?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

THAT's why I do that.....

I was listening to WNYC Radio Lab's podcast titled "Where am I" and they were talking about - if I remember correctly - findings by Robert Sapolsky who has found that there is a physiological, physical, in-our-bodies aspect to emotions, for instance anger.  Now this would seem to be a no-brainer, and it is.  What he has done though, amongst other things, but what he did that gave me the big fat AH HA moment when I heard it, was analyse the gender differences in emotions ; at least in anger 'cause that's what they were talking about.

Seems that men and women get the physical sensations of anger with equal speed.  FAST.  About two seconds after being ticked off by someone, your body kicks in.  The difference is, though, that women gear down much more slowly than men do.

I do this.

Particularly with the kids. If they really tick me off, and get told off, it doesn't matter if they apologise.  I accept the apology, but they themselves will say to me that often the apology actually makes it worse.  I don't stop being angry with the apology.  

Now the podcast, and the neurologist said that this is what's actually happening: the argument starts, both partners get the anger response, raised heart rate, sweating etc etc etc.   If the man discovers that he screwed up, for instance, he stops being angry quickly and apologises.  For him, the issue is over.  You could substitute my kids here.....for her, on the other hand, while her brain is aware that it's all over and has accepted the apology, physically she is still very angry, and her body is madly sending her brain anger signals.  Her brain then, not the frontal part with all the reasoning, it may be trying to put on the brakes, rather something further back is still hitting the alarm buttons, so her brain figures that she is indeed still angry and  she finds something else to be angry about.

This would sound like, "Mom, I'm sorry, I'll never do it again."

Grumpily, "OK hon."

Contritely, "Really Mom, I'll never do it again, I am very very sorry."

Curtly, "OK.  OK. Thanks."


Ramping up again, "BUT, what I need is not another apology, I need the BEHAVIOUR TO CHANGE!!!!........"  or some variation on the theme...

Sound familiar?

Maybe now that rational bit of cerebral cortex will have a better fighting chance and I won't do this as often.

Do you do that too?