Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Uh oh.....

Just a quick note before I get started for the day. I'm going to be "out of the picture" for a little while as my old and trusty laptop is now an ancient and dead laptop. I was hoping it would last til the end of June and see me through to the end of my school career. It almost made it. Only 74 more days to go!
So the time has come for me to go with an Apple laptop so all of my devices will be synced - yippee! Now I'm just waiting for my tax refund which unfortunately won't be put into savings after all, at least not much of it - the rest will pay for the new laptop which I was going to buy anyway so I don't feel too awful about the expense.

The thing about my tax refund is that the Canadian Revenue agency was hacked because of the heartbleed virus and I've heard about 300(?) social insurance numbers were stolen. The owners of those SINs will be informed by registered letter. (Haven't received one yet thankfully!) For a few days they closed down their website and suspended operations so my refund is in CRA limbo - who knows when I'll see it :( I'll give it a few more days and then will use savings instead and then repay my savings.

I just hope that I can get someone to get my old laptop working briefly so I can get some photos and music out of it. My external hard drive fell on the floor a couple of months ago and also isn't working and I have a huge amount of photos on it. Grrrr....this is where a snarky comment about modern technology vs an old shoe box full of photos would go...

So if you wonder where I am I'm in a deep Matrix which is indeed - infinite!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

It's Sunday - Here are the Numbers

Ok, let's start with the items being brought home from school. Over the years many kitchen items have found their way to my kitchen at school. If I had a nickel for every time Kazi asked me - "where's the pizza cutter...where's the pie lifter etc" I would have enough nickels for maybe a Timmy's coffee.
So the utensils are marching their way home where they belong at long last. Along with a nice brown betty teapot, a smaller KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON TEAPOT  and my travel mug (I wondered where that was!)
 CDs are finding their way home too. I've given away a lot as I now keep all my music on my iPod, iPad etc. If a student liked a certain band or singer and I had one of their CDs I would give it to the student to listen to at school. I also took a lot into a 2nd hand store and made a little money.
And I found another of Kazi's books. I remember her getting this one from her Uncle Gord and Aunt Pat when she was only a year old. I will tuck it away with the rest of her picture books in the hopes of being a gramma some day! The plastic tabs will come in handy for my future "home office".

I think I'm way beyond an average of 3 things per day that I'm bringing home but that's ok. I've taken a lot from my home life to use at school...every teacher does that. Wouldn't it be nice though if when teachers retired they get reimbursed for all of those out of pocket expenses that we pay for over the course of our 20+ year careers?? Dream on Jane...

I've taken furniture to school too but won't be bringing any of that home.

Now for an update on the numbers!

  • 77 - the number of days until I retire!!
  • 9 - the number of days I've been waiting for my hefty tax refund - it could be another 9 days too as the Canada Revenue agency has suspended operations until they have "patched" up the damage caused by the Heartbleed virus
  • There have been a number of 1st's this week too: first day sitting in my wee backyard; first Saturday afternoon sitting outside on the patio at the Village Pub!! and best of all - the first time I rode my bike outside!!! Wheeeeeeee!
  • 13 - the number of days of only drinking juice based on the "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead" website
  • 7 - the number of pounds I've lost so far
  • 8 - the number of pounds I'd still like to lose before the end of June
  • 0 - the number of cups of coffee I've had in the last 2 weeks
Yesterday at the Village Pub I had my first solid food in two weeks! I ordered a Mediterranean pizza with a gluten-free crust made from rice flour and quinoa flour. It had feta cheese, tomatoes and whole black olives - so much flavour - I savored every morsel! I will continue to have juice once or twice a day and maintain a diet of mostly vegetables in hopes of losing 8 more pounds.

I accomplished a lot last week. Midterm report cards are completed (only 1 more set of report cards left to do :) , I sent my letter of intention to retire to the school board(in order to qualify for the $5,000 bonus) and I completed my online pension application too. Happy happy me!

Today's job is to revamp my clothes closet as I am hoping I won't need my winter sweaters anymore and I'd like to get out a few spring tops/pants for school. (I ACTUALLY WORE SANDALS YESTERDAY!!)

So on that spring note I'll move on from here and get busy. If the rain holds off I might get in another bike ride.  This is me riding my bike in PEI,and yes, that picture was hard to take:


Tuesday, April 8, 2014


Drum roll please........

I have just submitted my Application to Retire online!! Woot woot!!  I will be officially retired on June 30, 2014 and collecting my pension in July!! On June 30th I will receive a lump sum payment of my pay for July and August (as our school year ends August 31st) plus..............

A $5,000 bonus for letting the school board know by April 11th that I am retiring!! Score!!

The down side, not for me but for grads of teacher's colleges, is that enrollment is DOWN and less than half of them will be hired. The number of new teachers far outweighs the rate of retirement what with fewer students in our schools. So I am willing to step aside for a fresh young eager enthusiastic teacher...I know, it's a sacrifice but I'm willing to make it :)

Now while that sounds like OODLES of CASH coming my way it will be taxed at a rate of 50% give or take...however I should be in for a juicy tax refund NEXT year! (Haven't even got this year's refund yet and I'm dreaming about next year's!) But I'll take what I can get and be happy with it.

Today I ran a HUGE training session with the EAs, admin staff and school board representatives. It took hours and hours and weeks and weeks of work to prepare but the great feedback I received made it all worthwhile. I look at it as a legacy I leave behind when I retire.

I have fallen behind with bringing objects home from school so I'm going to distract you now with.......


            GREEN SHOOTS!!'ve forgotten all about my April 3 Challenge now haven't you?? hee hee...oh rats...

Okay, feast your eyes on some MYRTLE...
And for Barb - remember you commented the other day about the snow being gone from my patio?

 One last holdout due to the shade...
It was such a beautiful day on Sunday I sat outside with the last pile of snow on one side and the blooming myrtle on the other side, savoured a good cup of chocolate chai tea while I lazily listened to an audio book called "Death and the Lit Chick" - can't wait to get back into it again tonight!

Oh, and by the way I've returned to my bike with a vengeance! Pedalled for over 90 minutes and 30 kms last night! And today is Day 9 of my Juice Fast! If you would like to visit the website and learn more about this type of fast go HERE!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Sunday Morning - April 3 Challenge

Want to know what's in my April 3 Challenge basket for today??  Ok, here goes...

Books! Picture books to be exact.  I brought at least 30 of Kazi's old picture books home on Friday. This is just a small sampling - Rupert! Babar! Madeline! Franklin!  And Barbara Reid's fantastic books in which she uses plasticine to create all of the pictures.  I can't leave these precious things at school - I have to hang onto them for my future grandchildren. Hopefully I will have one or two :) But not yet...

Ready for the numbers??

84 days left until June 27th!! Time is whizzing by! It helps that I'm also doing redecorating tasks every weekend too - in one way I want time to slow down so I can get more done around here but on the other hand I can't wait to experience the wonderful weather of June and the feeling of finally having "enough" time.

By that I mean I always feel like I'm in a hurry, even on this precious Sunday morning I'm checking my watch - I need to get my laundry done, I need to do some other chores like take down the wallpaper border in my bedroom, I need to read your blogs, I need to make juice in my juicer for the next couple of days. What I wouldn't give to feel time weigh heavy on my hands. That hasn't happened for about 40 years.

Other important numbers...

  • Today is DAY 7 of my juice fast!! And I feel great! I'm down 5 pounds and really feel like I'm "in the groove :) 
  • Kazi finally gave me her tuition document and I finished our taxes Friday night! My refund is twice as much as I thought it would be - almost $2,000 :) Going to sock it into savings except for a wee bit to help cover extra bills in May - driver's license renewal ($80) and new license plate sticker ($90)! Happy birthday to me - nothing better than paying out $170 on your birthday! :) 
  • 26 - The number of hours I slept yesterday and this morning!!! What's up with that? I laid on the couch to listen to an audiobook and woke up at 8pm! Then I went downstairs to watch TV (I'm currently hooked on The Walking Dead of all things and woke up at 11:30pm! So off I toddled to bed thinking I wouldn't sleep a wink and woke up at 6:30am!! Holy moly! I guess I must have needed it as I feel much better today. Yesterday I was a bit anxious and weepy about how crappy work is these days but not today! Now that I think of it I woke up earlier than my 5am alarm all week so I was a bit sleep deprived. Well, now I'm not!
  • ONE more picture!

Got my new living room area rug on Thursday ( you can see it's still settling in after being unrolled) and WOW what a great match! It matches the drapes exactly in colour and is close to a reverse pattern  to them which I didn't really realize until I unrolled it, matches the loveseat to the left. I love it! And to the right you can see a few paint cans still hanging about. They are the ones not tinted yet. I'm waiting to see what I'll need as I continue painting throughout the house. 

And that's everything in a nutshell. 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

And the decluttering continues at lightning speed!

Hello my friends! It's  good to see you again. This week has been a little rough so I am glad ecstatic that tomorrow is FRIDAY!! My group of EAs is warring against each other - well that's not completely accurate. There are 3 who feel superior to anyone and everyone and they are bullying the other 3. There has been an EA in tears every day this week, sometimes 2, like yesterday.

It's complete and utter bullshit. There are 3 nasty ones and 3 really and truly hard workers who volunteer, don't watch the clock, don't do a crossword puzzle when they take a student to an integrated class, are helpful, friendly, cheerful and positive. The other 3 take verbal potshots, play games, feed the kids junk food when I'm not around, do as little work as possible and poison the atmosphere. It's beyond belief. And what can I do? Nothing. It's up to the individual EA to speak to the principal or call their union. I can't intervene or who knows I'd end up with another grievance against me like last year. And I'm not going THERE again.

So I'm happy to be at home and talking to you! And keep repeating my mantra - 87days...86 days...

Anyhoo - the April challenge continues - decluttering my work space and bringing home the things I want to keep. Yesterday's selection encompasses 2 days since I haven't posted since Monday. I did bring home more yesterday and will post that tomorrow.

As you can see I am bringing home more than 3 things a day...but then who can wear just 3 shoes? These have been hanging around my office since the snow started up in November (what a craptastically long winter we have had!!) I'm looking forward to wearing shoes everyday from now on! (fingers crossed!) I haven't worn boots now for a few days...I'm such a risk taker!!

I brought home my last box of greeting cards plus many many pads of paper because I am in LOVE with paper, nice clean fresh unsullied paper for lists, ideas, drawings, songs I hear on the radio and want to hunt down on Youtube and a million and one other reasons. I can never have TOO much paper - in fact I get kind of anxious if I'm getting low! In addition, two, yes TWO books on "Hug Therapy" - I forget where I got these but they're filled with different examples of hugs and what they mean. I'll post a page or two sometime. Last but not least a vintage box of poker chips. Kind of an unusual thing to have at school no? There was an activity using poker chips I wanted to make at one time but never got around to it. Maybe I can start having poker parties in PEI? Who knows? I may not keep them but am undecided as of this minute so will let them hang around for a little while. I could probably get rid of them at my upcoming yard sale.

Well, that about wraps up this post. Oh, Kazi finally printed off her tuition slip so I'll be finishing our taxes on the weekend - YAY - I'm getting a refund but not sure exactly how much...somewhere in the vicinity of $1,000 give or take. Oh yes...I've finished DAY FOUR of another juice cleanse. I feel pretty determined to rid myself of what can no longer be referred to fondly as a "muffin top" but more accurately a hideous "spare tire"!! The more days I complete the stronger my resolve to rid myself of my stress-related eating.  I had a headache on Day 2 and a lessor one on Day 3 as my system gets used to NO CAFFEINE!! Today I feel great! No headache, no hunger pangs and I am allowing myself one little glass of wine nightly because I AIN'T PERFECT!! Three pounds down so far. If I am successful I might post a before and after picture - now THAT'S something to look forward to lol!

Ok, now it's really goodbye! Thanks for dropping by :)

Monday, March 31, 2014

April Challenge

This challenge is perfect! There are 30 days in April and I've been challenged by a reader, Kim, to bring home 3 items from school each day to help reduce the amount of packing up I'll have to do at the end of June which is the end of my teaching career.

Ok students - put up your hand if you know the answer to this mental math question!!

3 x 30 = __________

Yes, you're right!! That works out to 90 things out of my desk drawers, my office, my filing cabinet, my craft cupboards...oh and I can't forget the picture books that belong to Kazi from when she was a teeny tiny little thing. (some things don't change! She's still teeny tiny...especially when she's standing next to me!)

But I digress...OK, next math question - how many days left in my career?? Look down my sidebar...or I  could just tell you and save time - 90!! Coincidence?? I think not!! So I guess that means I can retire at the end of April instead of June right??....No? Well, I tried.

So I said yesterday I'd post pics of what I've brought home already however some has been packed away or assimilated into the general clutter of the house but I found these things that I brought home last week:
 No teacher could exist without post-it notes in every design, size and colour! I have tons left because I won a draw a couple of years ago at Staples - it was my most thrilling win ever!! And coloured file cards, a To-Do list book from Dollarama - that turned out to be my best organizing strategy of all the various thousands of strategies I tried over the years...a wee tube of super glue just in case the post-its don't stick!

 a pink box that used to hold Kazi's beanie babies long ago...couldn't leave it at school. A handmade wooden cross that I made with my youth group at Sunday school eons ago. It fits perfectly in the palm of my hand - that's a keeper. Oodles of ear phones I've taken in to school over the years but most of my students preferred head sets instead. I'll use them on my many gadgets.
And finally two boxes of All Occasion cards. I had more than the two boxes over the years - they come in handy for...well...all occasions!! My plan is to start sending snail mail again when I retire because the odd time I ever get something - a card, invitation, whatever - in the mail I get so excited! So I may be collecting your addresses soon :)

So my challenge begins officially tomorrow - I wonder what I'll bring home...

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sunday Mornings are Simply Divine!!

It's Sunday morning - a very peaceful time - the sun is shining though it is still below 0c but I'm not about to complain. Lots of bird activity outside my window, my coffee is at hand, the washer and dryer are humming away and I had a great day yesterday.

I got a few of those little jobs done - put a second coat of paint on the coat closet and basement door, painted the trim around the patio doors so I  could put the curtains back up, put a new knob on the coat closet door, painted more trim and started to paint the wall heading down to the basement.

 Isn't that exciting - my basement door - FINISHED!
 Even more exciting - the coat closet - painted and newly knobbed!! (That sounds kind of kinky doesn't it?)
 Simple sculptural ceramic knobs - nothing fancy but a sight more attractive than the previous plastic ones.
 Trim is painted, curtains are back up - the area rug for this room is supposed to arrive April 2nd!!
More of the stuff from Talize that was previously sitting in a cardboard box.
 A closer up of the wire candelabra- I have a few different sizes.
 Probably THE MOST exciting photo - the snow is receding at about the same pace as a glacier! revealing my new flagstone patio.
My first completely empty can of paint - yahoo!

While I was engrossed in painting yesterday I had a text inviting me to a friend's son's birthday dinner. Having known the family for years I was happy to meet up with them at the Sweet Onion Grill for fun times and good food. The newest addition to the family - Sophie, age 3 months, got passed around and around with not a peep - she is a placid and content little one and yes, grandma let me hold her briefly!

 Grandma with Sophie...
 My friend Troy and Sophie...
 Grandpa with guessed it - Sophie!
 My best shot of the night - Ethan - the 23 year old birthday boy.
Blowing out the candles with a few of his wee friends!

Then I went back to Troy's house where we chatted for hours and enjoyed a really delicious bottle of wine. I'll have to get the name of it - it was a "staff pick" at the LCBO.

One of my readers, Kim, gave me a great idea for a challenge in April:

"How about an April 3 School Challenge? Bring home, gift, or recycle 3 school items each day. I am giddy with excitement about your retirement because I'm living vicariously. I'm not sure what I'll do with all my school supplies, books, decorations in 5 years."

I had written about the March Take 3 challenge which I summed up yesterday. So I've decided I'll accept Kim's challenge for April :) Thanks Kim for the great idea!! Tomorrow I'll post pictures of some things I've already brought home and then beginning Tues. April 1st I'll bring home 3 items a day from school. This is a completely doable challenge and should make clearing out my office and desk drawers a non-issue come the end of June. 

I LOVE getting ideas from readers. Keep them coming!!