Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Taking Care of Business

I think I'm at that place where I've wallowed in self-pity for as long as I can and now I just feel damn angry.  While I'd say I'm better at wallowing than I am at demonstrating anger I need to get things done and wallowing isn't good for getting things done. So...ahem...
                                 BITE ME!!

HEY, not you guys!! Come back!!

You know who I mean! That being said this will NOT be a blog where I pulverize Michael. While I am angry at him I am not a basher...except in my own mind. I won't get into "he said, she said" kind of stuff. He has his own issues to deal with, he's made his decision. Now I need to get off my ass and take care of business because....life goes on.  Right now it feels like a crappy life but once you've reached my wise old age you know there's nowhere to go but UP. 

So I got my budget done for January and paid all outstanding charges on my Mastercard. What with all the renos I was a little afraid of facing this day so I waited until it was a payday to buffer the numbers a little. I also lost a day of pay too so the paycheque wasn't quite what it should be. I now face 2014 with no credit card debt and no debt except for a small mortgage on my PEI home. I've paid off more than half of the original cost and have the amortization whittled down to 8 years remaining. Where I have fallen short is in my savings - I'm short by $1500. Yes - $1500.00!! Not too bad eh? I can live with that. What with interest, tax refund and extra scrimping I can probably make that up by the end of June.

Yes, June 30th is on its way! I have around 180 days left til retirement. The day after new years I am going to phone OTPP (Ontario Teacher's Pension Plan) and get the process rolling - I am going to make it OFFICIAL!! Exciting!!

I went out grocery shopping for the 5 day juice fast I'm going to do starting tomorrow. For those of you interested in the details of the juice fast GO HERE. This is the "Reboot with Joe" site (Joe from Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead fame); scroll down to see the different plans - there's a 3 day plan, a 5 day plan etc. I still felt a little light-headed while shopping - that flu bug was nasty! I also took back 2 large bags full of wine bottles (no alcohol while fasting! - hence starting tomorrow not today!) Now I'm gathering up all the garbage around here which will be no mean feat! I'm making a fresh start tomorrow - JANUARY 1, 2014!!
I don't know what 2014 will bring but anything will be better than December 2013!! Tonight I am getting together with my gal pals for drinks, treats and laughs. Honestly, I can't think of a better way to start the new year.

I wish for you all a blessed New Year, lots of time spent with loved ones whether they be partners, siblings, children, friends or the furry kind :) Love comes in all different sizes and shapes, sometimes it lasts forever, sometimes just for a brief moment in time. Experience all that you can!

                                Me and my Best Girl
                                  December 25, 2013

Monday, December 30, 2013

Thank You

Hi everyone. I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart to all of you out there who have supported me with kind words and offers of help, whether it be to offer your home to me or a shoulder to cry on, to go for a coffee or just stunned shock.

I appreciate each and every offer, every supportive word, every cyber hug, every email from some of you who are unable to comment. Why is that anyway?

Right now I have nothing figured out. I want to take my blog in a different direction but not sure what that will be yet. Unfortunately I ended up with the flu also so I really was down and out for awhile. I haven't been out of the house since Christmas Day but am going to attempt going to the grocery store tomorrow morning and to a friend's house for New Year's Eve tomorrow night. Nothing too strenuous. The flu was mostly in my respiratory system - lots of thick coughing, fever and chills, headache and body aches. I still have a bit of a cough but not too bad and am over the chills etc. I guess my immune system was pretty non-existent.

Again, I've made no decisions. But there are some obvious areas I need to work on. These include:
1. Health and Fitness
2. Renos and redecorating
3. Preparing for Retirement

I have started thinking about #1.  Tomorrow I am starting on a 5 day juice fast. I recently watched "Fat, Sick and Almost Dead" on Netflix about a fellow from Australia who went on a 60 day juice fast because he was obese and on many medications due to the diseases he had developed by being obese. He was able to rid himself of all medications, drop a large amount of weight and become physically active again. I have also researched somewhere close to school where I can join a beginner's yoga class. And I have researched a place close by where I can treat myself to a spa day.

I'm not kidding myself that doing these things will change my life but I have to do something and start somewhere and where better to start than on myself.

LOVE you guys!!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Can't think of a title

Sorry not to be in touch.

Just one short week ago I couldn't imagine that I would be writing this - but Michael has left me. In the span of one week he told me he didn't feel he could move to PEI and that he feels he needs to live on his own.

Right now he is staying with a sister in Kitchener. He said he would stay with her over the two week Christmas break and then come back to London and decide what to do next. I didn't realize that meant that while Kazi and I were in Toronto for our Les Mis weekend he would be moving his stuff out of our home. I came home to find an empty closet, empty dresser and thought I was going to die.

I can't even think about what I'm going to do tomorrow, or the next day, let alone the rest of my life. It has been turned upside down and sideways. My (our) plans have gone up in smoke. The only decision I've been able to make is to NOT make any decisions.

I know this is a real shocker for you, it was a shock to me also. I felt that all was going well, extremely well in fact. I was in no way prepared for this. Just writing this is making me feel like I am going to throw up.

So on that note I'll end for now and provide more info later. I just wanted to give you an update as I know I left things up in the air with my last post.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


Just to let you know I am not disappearing again. Dealing with a major crisis and will update you when I can. Keep me in your prayers please.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Greetings from Siberia

Hah! just kidding... it's a balmy -7c today, which compared to yesterday's temp of -15c feels quite mild. I am at work at the moment, it's 6:20am and I have about 90 minutes before the little rugrats arrive.  Today is Friday and in my classroom Friday is Funday! I have planned an Advent activity for each day of December and today is MOVIE day! We are watching the Grinch. Before you get up in arms for "watching a movie during school time" we are watching it over the lunch hour. And our Best Buddies are coming to watch it with us. Should be a great time - I have treats!!

Other Advent activities around our theme of HURRY UP AND WAIT have included crafts, reading Christmas books, creating matching and sorting activities for the students with a higher level of need, making Christmas cards, cleaning and decorating the classroom, playing a Christmas game and doing several different countdowns til Christmas. We've also studied Advent Wreaths and their symbolism and next week we'll be going to Mass at our local cathedral. We also put together a large box of items for our Advent project - this year we're helping Ark Aid Mission who helps homeless teens.

Every once in a while I get a JOLT like this morning when I was opening my classroom door - this is my LAST CHRISTMAS with my students - and I feel sad...for about a New York minute! No, really, there is some melancholy mixed in with the excitement of being now under 200 days til retirement. Yes, that's right, you heard it here first - only 198 days til I'm done! I wonder what I'll be doing one year from now at 6:32am? Will I be in London still or in PEI? Will I be awake?? or still asleep. Stay tuned...

Monday, December 9, 2013

Kick my Butt - PLEASE!!

I am in the depths of laziness. IF you can call a person  who gets up at 5am, works straight through til 4pm, goes and buys groceries, then goes and buys 2 new toilets, then goes home to make dinner - lazy! 

Here I sit, laptop on my...you guessed it - LAP - dressed for exercise, recliner in the recline position, the only things getting exercise are my already nimble fingers.

Exercise is highly overrated.

I would rather sleep.

Or eat Smarties.

Or read.

Good night. Come kick my butt tomorrow.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Winter Blahs - Trying not to Complain...

Well, not trying hard enough!

Doesn't look like much in these photos but our kitchen now has a new floor of ceramic tiles.  By noon today the grout will have set for 24 hours so we can start putting the kitchen back together. I know a big part of my winter blahs is caused by every room in this house being in an uproar! Just finding a pair of scissors this morning I felt like Roald Amundsen looking for the Northwest Passage!
Another crinkle in the reno plans because they wouldn't be reno plans if there weren't any crinkles (or is that wrinkle??)- where the floor of the foyer meets the hardwood - can't put ceramic tile there as planned because then the ceramic would be way above the hardwood (floor wasn't level BIG SURPRISE so had to be levelled) so having to make a change to vinyl flooring which is thinner - I am SO NOT happy about that!. We went across the city yesterday to return the ceramic tiles which we can't use now only to find out that we only had 30 days to replace them AND we can't return them anyways on a Saturday as THAT person doesn't work on Saturdays...WHAT???  On the bright side (gotta look for that bright side) we are hopeful we can return the leftover ceramic tile in exchange for vinyl and we found a piece of vinyl that is on for half-price that looks almost the same as the ceramic. Michael will have to make another trip there tomorrow to see if it can be worked out. Sigh.

So it doesn't look like this place is going to get decorated for Christmas this year, which is too bad as it will likely be our last Christmas here. Things are costing way more than I thought AND taking a lot longer to complete. I did some number juggling yesterday to see if we could afford to stay in the condo longer than anticipated if we need more time for the renos before listing for sale. It could be done though it would be tight. I'm also going to let Kazi know that she has until June 30th next year to live here rent-free, then I'll be charging her some rent. It's time to spread your wings, little birdie, and fly, dammit, fly!

Are some of you in the path of that nasty winter storm going on in the U.S.? Looks awful! Most of our big snow has melted away so the world looks grey and grubby. Not that I'm complaining - HAH! Ok, time to look for the positives:

  • only the foyer, 2 bathrooms and basement steps left to "refloor", then the painting can begin
  • only 2 weeks of school left, then 2 weeks of holidays (trying NOT to think of the UNPAID day our lovely schoolboard is giving us (yes an extra day of holidays!! Who needs that day of pay anyways...right before Christmas...with all the extra bills and expenses...
  • taking a mini-holiday with Kazi to see Les Mis in Toronto :) (will NOT think about the money spent...will ONLY think about the great time we'll have!!!)
  • at lease I don't have to deal with fir tree needles everywhere this year...I wonder if we still have the fake tree in the basement somewhere - will have to go exploring again!
  • I feel healthy again though have a bunch of tests to complete for my physical and I have to start taking iron supplements as my iron is low (I don't eat much meat) so perhaps that will help with my feeling tired most of the time
Okay, time to wrap it up. I'm going on safari as my cup of coffee is cold and I'm going to try and find the microwave!

Keep warm!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Love of my Life

 You'all know who this is...right? Well, I betcha didn't know that Bart is THE most excellent teaching aide a spec ed teacher could have. Confused? No doubt, but in my shoes we have to think outside the box once in a while pretty much all day every day.

In September I met a new student named Amanda. Amanda had come for several transition visits in the previous April, May and June which seemed to go well. But mom was really nervous about the transition from elementary to secondary school. I am well used to that - most parents are more anxious than their kids. Especially when those kids have special needs.

Well, the first day of highschool arrived and we began to understand why mom was anxious. Amanda refused to eat, refused to engage, refused to NOT SCREAM BLOODY MURDER, refused to do just about anything. Hmmmmm  We tried all of our usual strategies - no go.  The educational assistant, new to my school tried every trick in the book and I mean everything. I could find NO fault with anything she was doing.
 So, we enlisted the help of Bart. I found Bart, years ago, stuffed in a box in the school basement. I had a student with autism who liked the Simpsons so I brought Bart to my classroom but the student wasn't interested, in fact, he didn't even want to look at Bart so he sat untouched in my office for several years. I brought Bart out and soon Amanda was carrying him everywhere. She still screamed, she was still stubborn and she still wouldn't eat. BUT, she had found something she liked and she dragged Bart with her everywhere.
I thought let's set Bart up doing the things we want Amanda to do - like sit at the table and eat her food, sit in her rocking chair and listen to a story on tape....
 sort "eggs" into an egg carton...
 spell her name...
 play games on her iPad...
deliver mail to the teachers' mailboxes....
Oh look!! Bart's in my mailbox :) I love his sheepish grin!
Bart became indispensable, working with Amanda on all of her tasks. Whatever Bart would do, Amanda would do.
 Here's Bart using Amanda's specially adapted computer - he looks like a real pro!
Fit dominoes through a small slot? No problem - Bart makes it look easy!
Oh no.....not the pennies again! BORING!! Don't they know we don't even use the penny anymore in Canada...DUH!!
 Oh, alright - if it makes you happy I'll do it - keep your shirt on!
Ohhhhh, that's the way you do it...easy peasy!
Shredding?? - it's a no-brainer!!

Bart is now a full-fledged member of our classroom. He goes everywhere with Amanda. There is no more screaming, she eats her snacks and her lunch with no issues and has pushed beyond all previous skill levels. Amanda doesn't speak except for a few sounds, signs and gestures but her eyes speak volumes and her laughter fills the room with joy. We are giggle buddies. She'll come over to my desk, lean in and whisper "ho ho" at which point I give my heartiest Santa laugh which sends her into fits of laughter. Yes, she has learned how to "prompt" the prompter!
Leaning in close for a barely audible "ho ho" - Amanda - we love you so much!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Fa la la la la the First Box is Here!

 The first delivery of Christmas presents has arrived!! I tried something different this year. I have ordered all of my gifts from The Hudson's Bay Company (The Bay) ONLINE!! I've never done this before. Oh, I've ordered the odd gift from a particular company before, but I've never sat down with a list and systematically ordered gifts for everyone on my list. I must admit, I feel euphoric!
Adding to my euphoria is the fact that every single item was ON SALE!! AND I got FREE SHIPPING!! Yowsa! (Yes, some of us still use that word!) The quality is excellent and most items made in Canada. I just placed my order on Saturday from the comfort of my recliner, pot of tea close to hand and most of the gifts arrived today. Still a few left to arrive.
I am not a "mall" kind of gal. Last time I was in a mall was....I don't know....maybe last Christmas? I have a thrift store close to hand so when I need a blue top to go with a certain pair of pants then off I go to Talize where for $5 or $7 I can get just what I need. I am so well stocked with clothing I probably won't have to buy a thing for about 10 years once I retire other than underwear and socks. Unless I grow larger...or hopefully smaller...

But...I digress.

A mall experience for me consists of wandering aimlessly, bumping into people while feeling like I am under water, a dull roar in my ears, vision blurred by shiny sparkly things that all call out simultaneously BUY ME BUY ME and I ALWAYS overspend, and think "just one more gift, just one more gift" and I forgot what I've bought already, I get overheated, overwhelmed, feel cheap one moment and then poor the next...ARGGGGHHHHH! I hate it!

I think I'm onto something :)

Do you like shopping in a mall full of desperate people??

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Dear Anon - You Really Made my DAY!!

Three days ago I received a comment from Anon......

  • "Well, I know my comment is not apropos of your post today ... however I thought it wouldn't hurt to leave it anyways! :)
    I recently had some extra (forced) time off my feet which gave me extra blog reading time. While I was an occasional reader of your blog, and certainly missed your posts on the one or two occasions where you had taken a few months' break from writing, I can now say that with my extra time I found myself reading every post of your blog, all the way back to its inception!
    Jane, I must say, (hopefully without sounding like a weirdo) that you seem like an awesome person that would be cool to know in real life. Your empathy towards your students despite all the obvious stressors of the job really shines through. Your down-to-earth, no pretentiousness is pretty cool too. (Here's a blast from your blog's past ... I loved the post where you proudly modeled the cardigan sweater than you found on the ground in your parking lot). A very important lesson I am learning from your blog is to "get out there, be open to things, and experience life". Whether this has always been your personality, or was something that was cultivated in recent years by your very own live-in life coach, it's something that leaps off the screen. 
    Again, I know it's weird for me to just leave a comment like this out of the blue without it being triggered by a specific post, but I thought it may be a nice thing for you to hear that someone out in cyberspace really has enjoyed your writing."

      First of all Anon,  just knowing you have taken the time to read all of my posts, some 727 entries, blows me away. And, it fills me with gratitude that you have let me know this. Right now, if no one ever reads another of my posts I will still be a very happy person.

      One thing I know about myself for sure is that I don't have a pretentious bone in my body. (I hope that didn't sound pretentious lol!) I'm a simple girl who enjoys a simple life. Well, it's not so simple right now but that is the goal for when I retire.

      The past few days have been really stressful so your uplifting comment couldn't have come at a better time. I had my final "teacher evaluation" yesterday - that's when a VP comes into my classroom and watches every single thing I do and say. Even though I am a seasoned veteran it was still very stressful and I barely slept the night before. About 2 hours later my vision started to get ripply which is a sign of an oncoming migraine so I went home and spent the next 18 hours in bed. Today I felt pretty good so off to work I went and my GIANT young man had a rough day injuring one of my staff. She went to urgent care and my young man went home. See? Not so simple at present.

      But in a few more months (208 days:) I will be moving to a slower-paced part of the world where the biggest decision of the day will be sunny side up or sunny side down!

      Thank you again Anon, for taking the time to let me know you've enjoyed my writing! That means SO much to me, it really does.

      Saturday, November 30, 2013

      Carla's Novica Giveaway!!

      Gorgeous tree ornament from NOVICA!

      Hey y'all - you know Carla right?  Well she's having a give away from one of the most unique stores ever - NOVICA!! Head on over there and leave a comment and/or share on social media for a chance to win a $40.00 gift certificate at Novica!

      Just follow this link!!!   Now, just do it!

      Thursday, November 28, 2013


      I thought this picture was perfect - turkey AND football...what could say American Thanksgiving better than that?

      We do have football here in Canada too, but do not revere it to the same extent I don't think. It just so happens though that the highschool I teach at IS a football school and takes great pride in its long football history. Just last Saturday, amid the snow squalls, our senior team blasted the other top city school's team 30-17 taking #1 spot in the city of London.  Today, amid more snow squalls, they played in another championship game but sadly lost....boo....Oh well, there's always next year!
      Here's their photo from last Saturday's game - note the snow they're laying on - such tough guys!

      That was the same night I was riding the "party bus" or else I would have been there in the stands, freezing to death and cheering them on...well, not likely no, but I would have been there "in spirit"... ...um..sure I would. Hey, I did check my phone once or twice for updates!!!

      So, enough about football...(I really prefer hockey)...I hope all of my American friends have a really great holiday weekend with your loved ones and if that includes watching football, so be it. As long as there is also some pie thrown in for good measure. Put your feet up, pat your tummy and smile like a cheshire cat because YOU (most of you) DON'T HAVE TO GO TO WORK TOMORROW and I do :(

      Tuesday, November 26, 2013

      The Handyman Gene

      Michael can do many things. He can whip up a big pot of soup or stew or as he calls it, a medley, from a few scraps and bones. He folds my freshly cleaned clothes better than a high end retail clerk. He can iron and sew and find all the bargains at the grocery store.

      But...he didn't get the handyman gene....rats. (Can you tell he was raised only by women?)

      I was hoping that with a little help he could install our new hardwood. Wrong. Lots of extra prep needed to be done using materials and tools we've never laid eyes on before. The "guy" did a really great job but that was an extra $550 that I hadn't planned for. Next he'll install our ceramic tiles but said there's a lot of prep needed for that too so I foresee another $500 bill coming my way. We've also booked him for a couple of other "odd" jobs around the house which will also make a dent in my bank account.

      Woe is me...

      I've noticed recently that MURPHY is visiting some of you - Carla's dishwasher, Sonya Ann's family's cars...at least we can take comfort knowing we're not alone in our misery. Yes, misery loves company.

      OK, my whining is over...for now. As Sluggy told Sonya Ann there is a positive flip-side to all of her troubles. I wonder if I can put a positive spin on my own troubles...

      ...yes, actually, I think I can. In fact, like Carla noted the other day, no matter how bad we might think we have it there are millions who have so much less than we do, so her charitable donations will continue in spite of nipping and tucking her budget due to bill increases.

      So...here goes...

      • My floors are magnificent!! I'm trying (not very hard) to imagine the mess we would have been in if we'd tried to do them ourselves. Better to pay extra for a professional job. I probably would have just taken that $550 and blown it on stupid stuff for Christmas. Instead, I'm giving Michael new carpet for Christmas and he's giving me new hardwood. 

      • Magnificent floors will help us to sell this house in the new year. And then the packing will begin in earnest. 

      • I love soup. I love stew. I love Michael's medleys. (No dirty thoughts now!) 

      So, on that note I'm going to heat up a bowl of Michael's amazing chicken soup and contemplate how lucky I am to come home every day to a home cooked meal.

      Thanks Sluggy! Thanks Carla!

      Oh yes, and Michael is REALLY good at starting fires....

      Monday, November 25, 2013

      Stormy Weaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaather

      Around here it's all about the recent stormy blizzardy freezing snow squalling icy roads drifting snow and zero visibility. Nothin' else.
       With that said I consider myself fortunate because in east London we received (like it's a gift) about half of what they were blasted with in west London. Go figure.
       Even so, half as much was about 10 times as much as I wanted, which was nothin'.
      Once you get past the "oh look honey, isn't it pretty? It's like a winter wonderland...." then you procrastinate about 8 hours til it's getting dark then you put on all the clothing you can find which in this train wreck of a house isn't much, then you take the broom and slog out to your truck, or in this case, my truck and you get to it.
       There's Dougie, under his nice warm blanket of snow, ain't it purty??
       Yup, no little "dusting" of snow just to get us used to it, no, Mother Nature let 'er rip bigtime, with snow forecast every day this week just for fun!
      I guess it's a little too much to ask for one more patio day, candles, wine, conversation, bbq....hah!
       Le sigh...well, at least we get to really talk about the weather now...
       and for the next....oh....six months!!!

      Sunday, November 24, 2013

      Riding the Party Bus

      A friend celebrated her 50th birthday last night by planning a surprise party for all of her friends - she is a party planner extraordinaire and has a very generous heart! In spite of the terrible weather (snow, fierce winds) we gathered at her place before the "party bus" arrived. Her bunny helpers (her oldest son and his friend-I found it amazing that they agreed to wear bunny suits!!) provided us all with mini sized bottles of liqueurs (which reminds me they are still in my purse...what's left of them that is...)
      Bunny helpers!

      All aboard!
      The birthday girl dancing on the party bus!
      While tunes from the 80's played we danced (at our own risk!) not knowing where the party bus was taking us! Our amazing hostess provided snacks and water bottles while guests brought any alcoholic beverages that they wanted.

      *Note to self - when next on a party bus bring white wine instead or RED!!

      Our first destination in Dorchester, Ontario

      Michael and I at the Mill Pond Tap & Grill
      Michael and I decided to NOT drink at each destination but to dance instead - a wise decision in the end as we are headache free today. However, we did end up with a few red wine stains on our clothing as drinking and dancing on a moving bus is a HIGH RISK activity! And oh yes, red wine in the eye DOES sting - who knew??

       Heading to the second destination - lots more dancing and snacking and falling on people's laps!
       And here we are at Tiger Jacks!
       The snow is starting to accumulate.
      Dancing at Tiger Jacks.

      Once all the dancing was over and bars were visited the party bus took us back to the birthday girl's home where tons more food awaited us! I tried not to overdo it. It was a great party and ALL planned by the birthday girl herself! I've never been on a "party bus" before, in fact I didn't know there was such a thing having lived a rather sheltered (DULL) life. Its such a fun way of getting from place to place without the worry of anyone drinking and driving though we had to be prepared to catch each other when thrown off balance. No problem - that just added to the fun!