Category Archives: Friends

Attack of the Immune System

Sounds dramatic, doesn’t it? I’ll preface this post with: I AM FINE. I really am. I am just having an emotional, dramatic response to something today because I am, well, an emotional, dramatic person.

I found out today that my immune system is “attacking” my thyroid. Not life ending. Not even life changing. But still, I am having an emotional, dramatic response. You see, my immune system already took out my pancreas 33 years ago, and the diabetes affected my retinas. Now, the immune system is targeting my thyroid.  This apparently happens to a percentage of Type 1 Diabetics. I got this instead of neuropathy or kidney disease. I’d rather have thyroid issues than those other things.

In my dramatic, over-emotional head, this feels big though. I tend to internalize all my health issues. Growing up with what was called, “a life threatening” disease affected me. It has caused panic whenever I feel a lump.  It has forced me to realize that when I get a chest cold, it could turn into pneumonia. I have to be aware of how I feel 24/7. That is my reality. But I didn’t see this one coming.

My gentle doctor asked me if I was more tired lately, but I have attributed that to teaching K/1, being a union activist, going on strike and starting a Masters degree. He asked if I sometimes feel muddled and unclear. I again attributed that to the reasons I was tired. He asked if I was putting on weight. Well, d’uh, I like to eat carbs and my only real physical activity is chasing 5 and 6 year olds around. Apparently, all of this could be because my thyroid isn’t working right.

My thyroid will never be what it was. Neither will my pancreas. I’ll add taking pills to the list of things I do daily to keep my quality of life good. It’s not a big thing. It’s not going to kill me and it’s just a pill every day. But right now, for today, it’s a big thing. It’s an adjustment. It’s something else to read up on and be aware of.

Today, I will process and somehow writing this out makes it a little better.

Thanks.

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In A Normal Year, In A Normal June.

In a normal year, in a normal June, I would have been busy this weekend. I would have been at my desk at home, reflecting on my students and the work they have done. I would be writing my comments about how much I have enjoyed their humour, their effort, their loving hearts, and their helping hands. I would have written about how much I have enjoyed the gift of being their first teacher. For some of them, I have been their only teacher for two whole years, and I would have written how they hold a special place in my heart.

In a normal year, in a normal June, I would have been building their photo albums to send home. I would be spending nights putting pictures into Comic Life of our field trip to the farm, of Halloween costumes, crazy hair day, math explorations, artistic endeavors, of Vaisakhi, and Christmas. I would have documentation of learning to send home with each child to share and remember for years to come;  a book of memories of their time in Kindergarten and Grade 1.

In a normal year, in a normal June, we would have celebration days to be together and laugh and play. My children would have Sports Day and decorating bikes for bike parades.  We would have counted to the 100th day of 2014, and celebrated by making 100 necklaces, eating 100 kernels of popcorn, and laughing as we imagined ourselves 100 year old.

In a normal year, in a normal June, I would have the time to say goodbye to each and every child in my class. I would have the time to look at them and reflect how they have grown and bloomed. I would have the opportunity for last hugs and for a few tears as the little ones I have taught for 2 years leave me, to brave the new world of Grade 2. I would have their certificates of accomplishment made and gold stamped, I would have the time to let each and every one know that I cared for them, was proud of them, and that they would always be one of my kids.

In a normal year, in a normal June, I wouldn’t be locked out of my classroom at lunch, before and after school. I wouldn’t miss a day a week because of rotating strikes. I wouldn’t be facing a longer lockout or a longer walkout.

This is not a normal year, however, or a normal June. I am not allowed to have this time that is precious to me. I am not being given the opportunity to have my celebrations and laughter with these muffins of mine. It fills me with great sadness to see that I might only have 4 days left. Four short days. It is not enough to prepare myself to say good bye to these children who have touched my heart, and affected my soul.  And yet, I have to. I have to say an early goodbye to these 21 students. I’m not quite sure how.

 

 

 

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Homework Completed! Finally!

I was given this homework assignment by 2 friends, Jodi Pulvers and Michelle Hiebert. Although I looked forward to doing it, but time once again got away from me. I shall be answering the questions from both of these lovely ladies.

So here is how it works:

  1. Acknowledge the nominating blogger
  2. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
  4. List 11 bloggers
  5. Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer, and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. Don’t nominate a blogger who has nominated you.

Here are 11 random facts about me:

1) I did not want to be a teacher. My mom was one and I love her to death, but I didn’t want to be her.  It took me a while to realize I was my own person as a teacher.

2) I sang with the Vancouver Opera Association when I was a teenager. I am a proud soprano and I do miss singing in Italian and Latin some days and will often burst into Broadway tunes after school in my classroom.

3)  I have never had a boyfriend. It just never happened.

4) I have a secret desire to voice a cartoon character in a Disney film.

5) I am a proud Nerd/Geek/Whovian/Trekkie/Browncoat and more. I love Science Fantasy. I have memorized most of the lines of the Lord of the Rings movies and I want to learn to speak Elvish.

6) I love Scotland. When I was traveling there, we crossed into the Highlands, and I flet a sense of utter contentment that I have never felt before. I knew I was home.

7) I LOVE board games. Love.  I would love to play them more, but that doesn’t seem to be in the cards either 🙂

8) I want to become proficient in archery. It is a goal I have had since high school when we took archery in gym. It was the first thing I excelled at in gym.

9) Lego is the first Christmas present I remember getting. The memory of that first Lego set is burned in my memory. It started a long relationship with the building blocks.

10) I believed in Santa till I was 13. I still kind of do. I believe in magic and fairies too 🙂

11) I have never made a meatloaf. Most people have by this time in their lives. I have not.

Jodi’s Questions:

1. If I could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? Scotland. I love the United Kingdom, their food, culture, tv, and they have systems of government that are like Canada.Their healthcare is comparable to ours, and I just love the idea of being in the Highlands.

2) What is my biggest regret? I have a few big regrets. My 2 biggest (yes, I’m using 2) are 1) not telling my dad that I loved him more when he was dying. He was my hero, and I miss him so much still 2)not going to a party to met the guy I was interested in. He asked me to go, and I flip flopped on it. I didn’t go and I have always wondered “what if”. I really liked Simon.

3) If I could change one thing about myself physically, what would it be?  I would change my weight. It has been a struggle my whole life and I have been told it could kill me. I am working on changing. it’s just taking me a long time. As a Diabetic, i feel this shold be easier, but it really isn’t.

4) What is my favourite colour and why? These are hard. Currently, my favourite colour is blue. Dark blue. TARDIS blue. Doctor Who is one of my favourite shows, and I want to see the blue TARDIS show up one day. Blue is colour of the medical officers on Star Trek, and Dr. Crusher and Dr. McCoy are two of my favs from the show.

5) Favourite food? Argh! These are hard. I love sushi. Probably sushi. Maybe Okanagan Peaches 🙂

6) What is my best childhood memory? Halloween night. Mom always made our costumes and we would drive in my dad’s rusty truck from farm to farm to trick or treat. There was an old radio show on CKNW and it was a bit creepy but fun! After mom and I would go through the candy and do an exchange for little raisin boxes and diet pop.

7) What is the weirdest animal you have held/touched? Sea cucumber!

8)What is the furthest place from home I have traveled? I think it’s pretty close between St. Petersburg, Russia and Kanazawa, Japan.

9) Most recent book I have read: Allegiant

10) What am I most proud of in my adult life? Probably that I have gone back to University. I hope to get my Master’s Degree from this!

11)What is 1 thing on my bucket list? I don’t have a bucket list. If I did, probably to go to Greece and Egypt. I studied Ancient Civilizations in uni, and I would like to see the places I studied!

Michelle’s Questions:

1)What is my favourite travel memory? Seeing Europe with my mom. I was 18, and I got to see more than half of Europe and Scotland, England and Wales. The whole trip was amazing and I can’t pull just one memory from it.

2) If I could travel anywhere in the world and money was no object, where would I go? See above: Greece and Egypt.

3) What is my favourite meal and why? Tough one. There are a lot of meals my mom has cooked that I love. Probably homemade ham, mashed potatoes and gravy. I love my mom’s cooking.

4) If I could have dinner with anyone living or dead, who would it be? My sentimental answer is my dad. I’d love to have him around again. Non-sentimental: Nathan Fillion. There are many other geeks I’d love to have dinner with: SImon Pegg, WIl and Anne Wheaton, David Tennant, but Nathan Fillion just seems to have such joy for life and I think we would have a fun dinner. Maybe build some Lego….

5) If I weren’t a teacher, what career would I pursue? Forensics or Cartoon voicing.

6) What is my favourite way to spend a day by myself? Read, read, game, game, sleep, read, game, sleep.

7) What is my favourite song? Chopin Nocturne in E minor, Op. 72 No. 1

8) What is my favourite book? I can’t answer that! Ummmmm….Harry Potter, maybe. I don’t know!

9) What is my favourite movie? Oh dear Lord. I can’t answer this either! Do trilogies count? Star Wars! Lord of the Rings!

10) What is the perfect night out for me? I am assuming this is as a single woman and going to answer this as a non-date night. Dinner with friends, maybe a movie out or in, board games and lots of laughing!

11) Who do I love to spend time with most of all? My mom and my niece.

Bloggers I’d love to know more about:

1. Mardelle Sauerborn

2. Amy Murray

3. Stacey Garrioch

4. Keith Rispin

5. Melody Watson

6. Jane O-Keeffe

7. Melva Herman

8. Sharon Hales

9. Tracey Thorne

10. Lorrie Burnham

11. Meg Sexton

Questions for you

  1. Who is your favourite Muppet and why?
  2. Where is your favourite place to eat out?
  3. What is your favourite holiday and why?
  4. What cartoon did you love to watch as a kid?
  5. If you could renovate one room in your house, without worrying about cost, which room would you do?
  6. Which period of history would you like to go and see in person?
  7. What is one thing you would change about your own past?
  8. What genre of film is your favourite to watch?
  9. John Stewart or Stephen Colbert?
  10. You win an all expenses paid holiday. Where would you go?
  11. What illness would you cure if you were able to?

Busy Hands

The second of the #kinderchat January blog posts is to share a goal I have for 2014. I try not to make resolutions anymore, as I tend to make lofty ones that are far too easy to break. A few years ago, I looked at my life and started to analyze where I need to repair things. My list was not long, but it did have challenges. I needed to focus on: fixing my finances, creating a living space that I could maintain order in, get into a more organized school space, become more confident about who I am, and finally, work on losing the excess weight I’ve been carrying since my dad’s passing 13 years ago. To date, I have achieved (in one way or another) all of those goals, but one.

Losing weight is a struggle for me; it always has been. I am an emotional eater. I find comfort in my lonely moments, stressful times, and joyful experiences by eating something delicious and not nutritious. I need to change. I need to find something to replace that emotional connection I have with the jar of peanut butter, block of cheese, box of Glosette raisins and more.

So my first goal for 2014, is NOT to lose weight. My goal is to find something new to do. I am looking around my house and searching my life to find things I can do to keep those hands of mine away from food when I am emotional. I’ve started a list already: iPad games, video games, playing piano, colour, build Lego. I know that people will tell me “go for a walk, do some exercise to relieve stress” but that is not what I consider a stress reliever. I’m not saying I will be a sloth. I plan to add some activity to my life, but first, FIRST, I have to work on my hands. I can’t have them reaching for food, so that, dear friends, is my first goal of 2014.

Okay, that and leaving school early, but that’s for another post……..

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2013 In Pictures

Here’s my “Wordless Wednesday” post from yesterday. My 2013 in review.

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Weeds are pretty too!

Weeds are pretty too!

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Project Update!

Today I met again with the fabulous Michelle Hiebert to work on our #tiegrad project. During the session, I looked at the table and had to laugh.

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Yes, we had that many devices: 3 laptops, 2 iPads, 2 phones, 1 camera, and a NERD shirt. I almost feel like we should be writing the “12 Devices of Christmas”!

In short, we worked hard, coughed up a lung, sniffled, ate brilliant brunch and accomplished our goal! Great session overall 🙂

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My friend, Miss Night, put a post up on her website challenging us to a…well, a challenging year.  When I first read her post, I gasped.  I was stunned.  She was going to give up tv. She was going to give up drinking anything but water. For a MONTH. She was going to unplug from Social Media on the weekend. I read her challenges and couldn’t imagine doing ANY of these. I was speechless.

September 3 hit with a vengeance. Suddenly, I had a split grade which I was completely unprepared for. My Master’s course was starting up, and I had made a personal commitment to not let my house become the usual zone of destruction. I was on our local teacher union executive. I had classes, meetings, prep work and house work. Suddenly, I realized…..I haven’t been watching TV during the week. The bigger surprise to me: I didn’t miss it.

Now, I did slip up a couple of times. I had to watch Jon Stewart’s return to the Daily Show, and I always check the TV on September 11 to see what memorials are being held, but beyond these 2 weekdays, I haven’t missed watching TV. I have watched Netflix on the weekends, and I might have snuck a couple episodes of Community, but I haven’t missed TV.

What have I been doing to occupy myself? I’ve baked, coloured big books, blogged, worked on assignments and classroom projects. I’m making sure my laundry is hung up, washing all my dishes nightly, tidying up before bed. I’ve started eating at my kitchen table because the TV is not on. I am enjoying my food more and I think I am eating healthier.

Here comes the hardest week of all for me. Premiere week. The Big Bang Theory, NCIS, Castle, Once Upon A Time, Criminal Minds are ALL premiering before this challenge is complete. I have decided to PVR a couple of these shows, but I have really realized that I don’t need to watch all the shows my friends watch. It’s okay, and I can wait to see if Leonard gets lost at sea, or if Raj has continued to talk to girls. And thankfully, the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who is on a Saturday!

Thank you, Miss Night, for issuing the challenge. I thought it would be difficult, but it has been eye opening.

Turning Off the Boob Tube

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To Friends I May Never Meet

Social Media and I used to have a very relaxed relationship. A year ago though, a friend suggested I check out an online PLN that went by Kinderchat on Twitter.

Who knew it would change everything?

To be honest, I was reluctant to read what these Kindergarten teachers were discussing on Twitter. Twitter was my “not work” thing, but I thought I would give it a chance. In the first conversation I lurked at, I realized that these people were scary smart and they challenged some of my core teaching beliefs. I didn’t like that. Who was some stranger to challenge how I taught? I swore that I wasn’t going back. But the following Monday night, my curiosity got the better of me. Off I went to lurk in the Kinderchat world. I quickly realized that these folks made me THINK! I started to post replies and get into conversations. I started carving out the time on Monday night to be a part of this experience. It totally changed how I taught!

Then something amazing happened: I started to talk to these folks about all sorts of things.

No topic was taboo. The struggles to find plus size clothing, Richard Armitage, the right wine to drink with dinner were all discussed. Feeling down or sick? I just had to post it, and there were people who were willing to talk, to cheer and cry with me. People who laughed at my horrid typing, and favourited my bizarre posts. Slowly, without ever actually meeting them, these people became an important part of my day.

I’ve been lucky to meet some of these Kinderchat members, and I may not ever meet others. I am, however, honoured and thankful to no longer call them my “Kinderchat” friends, but just: friends.

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