If you never try, you never know!

Time has been flying by lately I find. We’re already half way through October, feels like it was just last week when the school year started! Thanksgiving weekend has passed, Hallowe’en is in 16 days. Someone at work today mentioned that there are only 10 more Fridays until Christmas… crap. That’s something I’m not even going to think about until there’s that white stuff on the ground. It’s too early to think about that! (Thankfully I don’t have many gifts to buy)

And, I just realized that in 3 short months I’ll be basking in the sun and heat with a bunch of my closest and dearest friends in Jamaica, getting a break from the bitter cold that we’re supposed to get here in the lovely prairies of Canada again this winter. See, I’ve never really traveled anywhere. I mean, I’ve been across to the west coast, and the furthest east I’ve been was Montreal, and down into the States a bunch of times, the most recent was when I went to Chicago in 2012. So when my very good friends invited me to their wedding, I crossed my fingers that I would be able to get the time off work, did all the necessary things to get that to happen, and waited to hear back from the school division on if I can go or not.* This will be the furthest away from home I’ve ever been and even though its turning me more into a hermit, it will definitely be worth it. Besides, hermit mode is only temporary.

*working in education usually means that we can’t take “holiday” time, especially since we have 2 weeks off for winter break, just a couple of weeks before. It can be pretty tough to get the time off and the most I could do was try.  

I’m seriously looking forward to the time off, especially being able to hang out with some of the best people I know, not to mention that crystal blue water and amazing beaches. But for now, hermit mode engaged (for the most part that is, a few adventures to be had but not as many)!

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A new project.

I’ve lived in my house for about 4 1/2 years now, bought it because the rent in my previous apartment was going up, more than I could really afford to be throwing my money into a corporation where I didn’t see anything in the end except a small fraction on my income tax. My parents were amazing and have been amazing by helping me out with everything in it, something goes wrong, I call my dad. Either he’ll tell me how to fix it or he’ll come and fix when he has the chance.

Recently, my aunt decided that she’s going to get a new kitchen. My dad offered to help her and take all the cupboards, counter tops and things out of her kitchen. He then got the bright idea (and brilliant I may add) that he wants to take on another project. He wants to put in a new-ish kitchen into my house using the cupboards from my aunt’s place since they’re in great condition, and for those of you who have been to my place, you know how little space I seem to have. And the “pantry” is pretty much a joke. So over the past few weeks, my mom and I have been scrubbing down the cupboards that are taking up half of my parents’ garage to clean them up, I’ve been taking measurements and pictures so my dad can plan out and eventually cut up pieces to make them fit (since her kitchen isn’t the same shape as mine) and then put them into my place. We finally finished cleaning the cupboards tonight, now onto stage 2 of cleaning out the cupboards here and then my dad can come in and start doing the renos.

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This is just a small part of my kitchen… but that “door” to the left of the picture? That my friends, is my “pantry”. Yep, it’s so stupid how narrow it is, long and narrow… bah haha.

The picture to the right will be the new pantry. So much more room! This way my roommate won’t have to have his food in a box on the kitchen table because there is literally no room in the current pantry I have for food other than my own.

This project is going to be a huge and very demanding job, but my dad has the experience (as he’s built many houses in his day including both the houses I lived in growing up, one being their current home), and has the creativity to make a whole new floor plan. I look at the plans my dad has made up and just tell him to do what he thinks will work best. Since I don’t have that level of creativity or artistic talent. We’ve agreed upon one of the plans, and once it’s done, it’s going to look kick ass. So much better than the kitchen I have now.

I’m happy that I have an amazing family who are willing to do these kinds of things. Much love to each and every one of you.

The “New” way to teach math….

Alright, so here’s the deal. I seriously suck at math. Numbers and I have a love-hate relationship and have apparently since I was a little girl… I mean, I knew my alphabet and recognized words (in both French and English) by the time I was 3, but according to my mom, I couldn’t count to 5. That’s how much my brain just despises numbers.

In high school, I failed math (the most basic math too), forcing me to go to summer school in both grade 10 & 11. Thankfully, we were the last graduating class in Manitoba who were able to graduate without having to take math (let’s just say I graduated from high school 16 years ago in June. You do the math) … but I still took it, and yep, you guessed it, failed that too. Really didn’t help that my teacher for grade 12 smelled like cough syrup and/or booze first thing in the morning. I would just show up to class, and sleep or socialize because from what I remember, he didn’t really teach. Or maybe I was just sleeping throughout his lessons? I can’t remember, my memory is a bit foggy. I’ve tried to avoid math since graduation. I know it’s impossible since I do like cooking and more recently, will be helping my dad out with redoing the kitchen in my house. And well now, it’s impossible for me to avoid since I work in the education system. It’s literally everywhere.

Back when I was in school, the way math was taught was simple. 20+40=60. There, done. Easy peasy. Right? We were taught our multiplication tables, how to do long division, basic money math etc. The first time I saw one of the teachers I work with teach something to a class of grade 5 & 6 kids, my facial expression was basically like this:

One of my coworkers looked at me and laughed, asking me if I understood what the teacher was talking about. I looked at her and said something along the lines of how “everything is confusing” and it “makes no sense to do it this way”. Because to me, it was like someone was trying to explain quantum physics (or something completely ridiculous like that).

In case you’re not a parent with a child in elementary school or aren’t around in the education system, this is how they taught it and how they teach it now:

I don’t understand why the fuck they make you do more work than just finding the simple answer? Why add a bunch more numbers to find “any possible answer” that could equal the actual answer for the original question? Like come on people! Why?!? *pulls hair out, screaming* To me, math is just a bunch of numbers splattered on a page, teasing me because it knows it confuses me to all hell.

I was talking with a friend about this exact situation a couple of weekends ago and she said basically the same thing, it makes no sense. What so ever. I guess call me “old fashioned” but I prefer the way I was taught it. Yah I know I said I could barely count to 5 when I was a kid, but if I was taught this “new” way back when I was in elementary school, I very likely would have made the exact same face as I did a couple of weeks ago.

Math + me = don’t get along. That’s my math.

All the leaves are…

IMG_20140921_180823It’s that time of year again, days are getting shorter, nights (and well, days here too in Winnipeg) are getting chillier, leaves are changing colours. Sadly, we’re nearing the end of summer with the fall solstice in a few days. Before we know it, it will be Thanksgiving (in Canada anyways), then Halloween, then the dreaded white stuff will be here. But I don’t want to think about that just yet. It’s too early!

And as much as I know the white stuff is coming, fall is such a pretty season, with all the leaves turning yellow, red, orange, purple. We recently had a bit of frost and I’m a moron and totally didn’t cover up my tomato plants. Thinking that they’re done for the year because of my stupidity (or maybe it was just sheer laziness?), I just went outside to see if there are any that are ripe… turns out they survived the frost and I have a few that are turning red! I have way too many that are still green tho, and with the colder weather (and frost) fast approaching, I’m not sure if they will all ripen. That being said, I got a pretty good haul from my veggies this summer. And I’m still able to dig up carrots since they generally last for a couple more weeks underground.

This song just popped into my head, seems a bit fitting for the season… 

I already have plans for both Halloween and the day after (also Halloween themed) but really only think I’m going to dress up for friends’ wedding social on November 1st. Now, normally, I’m not one to really think about Halloween costumes, especially this far (over a month) in advance. I’ve always been much more an “oh shit, I need a costume because Halloween is in like 2 days!” kind of girl. Yep, very last minute… that’s me. But as I was sitting here today, procrastinating on doing those dreaded chores, I was looking on Pintrest (I love Pintrest, so sue me lol) for costume ideas. Well, more like makeup ideas. It has sparked up some ideas that I may end up doing and being able to use what I have at home instead of going out and buying a costume for only one night. I’m thinking of either a “dark” version of Alice in Wonderland (I have black dress, the apron, stockings etc) or doing make up something like the second picture with another black dress, boots, wig and red costume wings.

So dear readers, what do you think? Which should I do?

Kids say the darndest things

Little kids make me laugh. I’m surrounded by them on a daily basis now, and honestly some things that they say make me raise an eyebrow, and wonder “wtf? where did that come from?” I know their imaginations are in overdrive at that age, they run wild and free. There are some days I wonder what’s going on in their minds when they sit there and laugh for absolutely no reason. For whatever reason, they’re drawn to me, like a magnet.

I, years ago, worked in a daycare. I remember it was one of the breaks (either spring or summer) and so we were doing “theme days”. The day I’m thinking of in particular was a science day, geared towards pre-school kids, and one of the experiments was buoyancy. We got the kids to make little ships with egg cartons, and a sail. I put water in the kiddie pool and we were off! The kids pushed their little “boats” around the pool (ocean), laughing and smiling. One of my coworkers decided to throw a wrench into their ocean by dumping handfuls of ice cubes (icebergs) into it. One of the boys (he was 3 at the time), nudged his boat along and it hit one of the icebergs… and naturally, toppled over. What he said next was what surprised everyone. He looked up and exclaims, “That was like the Titanic!” Curious of his answer, I looked at him and asked him “what happened with the Titanic?” As he was fixing his boat, he said, “well… it was a big boat that hit an ice cube! Wait, I mean an iceberg! And then it sank, like my boat.” I’m guessing his parents taught him about it, but it really surprised us.

Another instance is when I woke up one morning with a popped blood vessel in my eye, it was completely bloodshot in the inner corner, it was really gross to look at. I had to go to work at the daycare that morning, and well, of course that’s the first thing the kids notice. Some of the kids asked me why I had “poked myself in the eye so hard to make it bleed”. hahaha.

The first year I worked in an elementary school, one day my student was away so I was just helping out in the class (32 kids, and 5 adults in the room at all times, it was pretty busy!). I was working with a boy who has FAS and we were working on ELA. The kid was trying his best to remember my name, so we went through the alphabet. I started saying the letters and when I got to the letter F, he looked at me with bright eyes and goes, “your last name is Fish! That’s it!” (it’s not) – For the rest of the year, he only called me “Ms. Fish”, he couldn’t remember what my real last name was, but to him, and only him, I was Ms. Fish.

I’ve had some of the younger grade kids come running up to me at school already and either pull on the sleeve of my shirt and tell me something that I’m supposed to know about already, or give me a hug and tell me that they’ve missed me, it’s insanely cute. Considering they’ve only known me for a couple of weeks.

I’m definitely looking forward to the day I have kids. They’re always entertaining.

The human brain is a mysterious tool

Wow, two posts in two days… this is abnormal for me. But that being said, dear readers, I’ve been thinking about something today. What’s that, you ask? Let me tell you.

As you may (or may not) know, I work with special needs kids (both in schools and respite). My main field is actually with deaf and hard of hearing (so yes, I do know sign language… and no it’s not universal!), but over the past few years I’ve been incorporating the two, working with both special needs and/or deaf students. This has been my career for 8 years, and there are no two days alike. I’ve worked in every level of education, starting off in nursery school, then elementary to junior high then high school and now back to elementary.

The reason for this is, I’ve always been fascinated with the way the human brain works, especially those of special needs people, whether the person being autistic, FASD, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy or whatever. No two people are alike, same with being “normal”. One autistic kid may have certain ticks whereas another may not have those. I’ve had this fascination for as long as I can remember, one of my cousins is in the Autistic Spectrum and have a few friends’ who have kids in the spectrum too.

Sometimes, with my student(s), I see that look of determination when they’re trying to figure something out that a “normal” person would find to be a simple task or request and I really wonder to myself, “what are they actually thinking?” Or they have this look of utter confusion when you make a joke or say something that makes no sense to them. I remember once, as I was doing respite with my autistic boy, he was having a hard time so as I was calming him down, we were talking. I told him that he has a good life, he has a family who loves him, food to eat and a “roof over his head”. His automatic reaction was to feel for a roof over his head. He was pretty confused when he didn’t feel said roof, so I explained what it meant. I knew perfectly well that normally with autistic people, metaphors usually don’t work… but it had just come out because to me, he’s a normal kid. Sometimes, just saying the simplest thing can make their entire day, but at the same time, can also make their entire world come crashing down.

I love doing what I do, to see the sense of pride when they accomplish something and are praised for it, or watching them compete (in something like Special Olympics) and you can tell they’re having the time of their life because all the training they do has paid off. There are times when I can “see” the wheels turning in their brains with trying to explain their thought process, and honestly, I’ve had some of the most interesting conversations with special needs people. I’ve been told by many people, “oh you must have so much patience” or “you do such a hard job”. If you know me, you know perfectly well, I have my moments of being patient but it’s the end result that keeps me there. Knowing that I’ve helped someone with a decision or have taught them something makes my entire day. After all, “a day without laughter is a day wasted.”

If you see a special needs person in the community, please make their day by saying “hi” or asking how they are. Trust me, even if they don’t show it, they likely will appreciate it.

New blog!

I’ve been blogging for quite a long time, starting way back in the good ol’ “livejournal” days (which is now almost a ghost town), made the switch to Blogger for a few years and now here I am.

I go through phases of wanting to play video games, especially in the winter months. If any of you know how the winters can be in the prairies, you know how cold and bitter it can be here for what feels like forever. With the release of the game “Destiny” – I’ve been tossing around the idea of getting it as I’ve heard some amazing things about it. It’ll be something to keep me busy in those winter months since I’m trying to save up money for the upcoming trip to Jamaica in January! I know becoming a hermit isn’t adding bonus points in my favour for a social life, but I do go out… once in a while.

Catching a cold from the kids at my work, scratchy throat, stuffed up nose. Hopefully this is the worst of it… I have to be well enough to possibly go for drinks with a couple of friends and also help my parents again with cleaning the cabinets they took out of my aunt’s place that will be going into my place eventually. Such a huge job but the end result will definitely be worth it. It’ll look better than what’s here right now, not to mention more cupboards and drawers… and hopefully a bigger pantry! Because for those of you who have been here, know that the “pantry” I currently have is pretty much a joke.

Yesterday a friend of mine and I went out for sushi at this little place in St. B (weird to have a sushi place in the heart of the French community here), but it was amazing. Tons of laughs and the restaurant gives a scoop of ice cream as desert with the meal. Well, these are the plastic spoons we got with our ice cream (we asked it to go). Seriously, the smallest spoon I’ve ever used! Slightly bigger than a lighter… needless to say, we were both pretty amused at this.

I’m going to finish off my weekend by continuing to battle this stupid cold I’m catching and watching Breaking Bad on TV.

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