Saturday, September 3, 2011
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Today, as I sit under a blanket with the patio door wide open enjoying my morning coffee, the headlines are all about Jack Layton.
Yesterday, a man who made history lost his battle with cancer.
The general feeling on Facebook from my friends is this is a great loss to Canadian politics. I would have to agree. While I don't hold with the NDP, Layton has brought a new vibe to the stagnating, ever the same, political scene in Canada. Since 1867, it has always been the either the Liberal (or whatever incarnation of them at the time) party in power with the Conservatives (or whatever incarnation of them) as opposition, or vice versa. It makes for a dull dance back and forth with the same arguments and the same kind of people shouting at each other.
I was really looking forward to watching the political scene this fall, but now I think that without Layton some of the excitement will be dulled.
I'll never forget when he looked at Stephen Harper and said "Why do you have the worst attendance record in parliament? Most people who don't show up to work don't get a promotion!" (quote is not exact). Now that made for great politics.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
The inspiration for this recipe comes from my cousin, who had us make pork tacos one night.
They were spectacular, and the pork adds a sweetness to the dish.
Here goes, here's my recipe for
Sweet Pork Sloppy Joes
1 medium cooking onion
1 clove garlic (or 2 tsp of minced garlic)
1 lbs ground pork
1 can plum tomatoes
1/4 c bbq sauce (I like Diana's Original recipe)
2 tbsp corn starch
Buns for sloppy joes, or tear up old bread to make sloppy joe bowls
Finely dice the onion. Drizzle 2-3 tbsp of olive oil (about three times around the pan) in a deep skillet. Slowly saute the onions, adding the garlic. The onions are ready when they are translucent. Be careful, if done to quickly, the onions will brown and become bitter.
Add the pork to the skillet, and scramble fry until all the pork is a grey cooked colour. Add the can of tomatoes and barbecue sauce, stir thoroughly. Cook on med to low heat for at least 5 minutes. Take corn starch, mix with small amount of cold water to make a paste. Slowly stir into sloppy joe mix to thicken. Remove from heat.
This recipe is at its absolute best when it is heated in the slow cooker for a few hours on low.
To serve, scoop a generous amount over the bottom of a bun, place top, and eat.
Tear up bread/bun into a bowl, scoop a generous amount over top, eat with a fork.
Sunday, June 26, 2011
So, lets back up to the staff meeting.
Basically, new hours of work and a couple of new expectations meant that school and my job at the daycare became mutually incompatible. This was to take effect July 1. I had time, or so I thought.
Mom and I discussed how things could work financially. That was actually the easy part.
Then came benefits, I would lose those, and can't get them through school. I have a lot of medications that I take daily. Not good.
Then came no childcare subsidy, because subsidy won't support parents who work casually. Shit.
Then came getting to the dentist before my benefits end, and a cavity that needed filling. At this point I had three weeks left.
Then I sat down and worked out how much sick time I had used and how many vacation days I had used. You see, we don't have to earn our time off before we use it, and we must use it before we can have an unpaid day off. Its a really awful system, that means if you leave in the middle of the year, chances are you owe them time/money. I will never work for a company that does that ever again. NEVER.
I had been sick in the Spring, the kids had been sick a few times, it all added up to more sick days than I had earned. Thankfully, I had only used half the vacation time I had earned. That helped. But then, I had my main vacation booked for June. Shit. And due to another policy, I had to take at least half my time in a block of Monday to Friday. That meant that I would be using 7 vacation days in June. I would have used all but one day by June 15. If I stayed until the beginning of July it would mean I would work from June 20 to June 30 for FREE. Yep, I would make nothing.
This realization, that I would be working virtually for nothing for two whole weeks was not sitting well with me. When everything started, I had about six weeks to figure everything out. But I was not working for free, which cut me back to quitting the day BEFORE I left for England, giving me three weeks to sort things out. Double SHIT
Oh, and now I had to research travel insurance because I wouldn't have any emergency medical coverage. Add another thing to the colossal to do list.
Everything got done, I ended my job on June 8th. And I didn't owe them anything. I went to England, had a spectacular time, and arrived home eager for my next challenge.
Now let's back up to the night of the staff meeting again.
My Mom and I agreed before she went home that I was quitting my job. That meant it was time to start a job search. I started that night. I emailed a friend who is the supervisor at another daycare. She had said to call her if I was ever looking for work (the highest compliment ever!).
I received a response on my break the next day, to fill her in when I had the details, and gather up my documents.
I'm now working for her for the summer, 3 hours a day, 5 days a week.
Gotta love the rewards of being pro active.
Next challenge solved: I have enough work to sustain things around here, and have a little to continue my dream of becoming debt free.
Monday, May 23, 2011
It was not a good staff meeting. I don't know that any of the staff walked out of it happy. There was a lot of swearing, aimed curses, etc. flying around in the hallway afterwards.
Oh well. Things are what they are. But they mean some changes for me.
I panicked and called my mom to make sure the girls were sleeping, because I was upset. They were. On the way home, we talked about what had been said, what was going to happen, and what it meant for me.
The long and the short was that I was at a crossroads about a year to sixteen months sooner than planned.
The choices: drop out of school, keep my job or quit my job, stay in school. The two are going to become mutually incompatible very soon.
Each choice has its drawbacks, and each choice has its merits. But, for me there is only one.
I have already sent the email to inboxes, the hard copy is printed and signed. Tomorrow I quit my full time job.
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
At the end of January, I noticed that some parts were, well, feeling different. So I stepped on my Wii fit and took a body test.
It told me that since December 28th I had lost 4.6 kilos.
I was extremely please. Over 10 lbs in 33 days, over my birthday nontheless.
Tonight, after being at the Keg, eating a full dinner, having a small dessert, I stepped on the Wii Fit again - mostly because the pants I was wearing were not sitting the way they usually do.
And I am absolutely astounded! It said I have lost about 13 kilos since the end of January. That's over 28 lbs.
So, if the Wii Fit is correct, I am losing about 10lbs a month, without consciously doing it. So, say, 4 ish months from now I will weigh what I did in 1998, and 6 months from now, I will weigh what I weighed when I was my lightest at my adult height. Can I really hope for that much? Especially since I don't really know what's happening to me?
Monday, March 21, 2011
The girls slept pretty late, so we left around 10 am, and made excellent time getting to the 404. Then we had to wait to get past all of the people trying to head down the Don Valley Parking Lot (er Parkway).
We got off the highway, and turned North, pulled over for mutliple ambulances and police cars, and then crested a hill, only to find out that those emergency vehicles were all gathered directly in front of us, and there was no way by. I don't know this area very well at all, so I had no clue where to go once we got turned around. I dialed my cousin, and we headed East, then North again. Finally, we made it to her house and had a great visit.
When it was time to leave, the girls wanted to go visit my Grandad's memorial tree, and since it was the middle of rush hour, I figured we might as well go down into the city. Off we went, on a route planned by my traffic analyst cousin to help us avoid the back flow from the DVP on the 404. I made one adjustment to her route, taking the 407 ETR west from the 400 to the 427. I am really really glad I listened to my gut and did that.
As we came off the 407 onto the 427, I noticed an enormous very black plume of smoke, down to the South and East of the airport. I wasn't quite sure where it was, but I knew it was close to the highway we were to have taken. As we travelled south, this plume of smoke continued to light up with smaller explosions. It was a very bad fire. I kept trying to scan radio stations to find out what was going on and where, but the traffic was thick and I couldn't remember what station was the all news and traffic station. When we got down to the area of the airport, the traffic pretty much stopped, except for the people heading onto the 401 westbound. The 427 takes a curve eastward at this point, and we were in the edge of the smoke. I decided to go west to Dixie road and make a phone call - especially since there were police vehicles closing off the 401 Eastbound.
Cause, here's the thing, I have no idea how to get out of the city if the 401 were to be closed. Because at that time of day, the only other route I know would involve going directly into the downtown core, and then getting stuck on the Parking Lot.
Turns out my options were to got through the core, or to head North and find the 407.
I finally found the radio station, and as we fought our way down Dixie, I discovered I was right, the 401 was closed between Kipling and the airport since the smoke was though to be toxic (that made me really glad we moved away from it as soon as we could smell it), and that it was a 4 alarm blaze in a hydro substation. 10 minutes later, the newscaster announced that the 401 was being re opened, as the smoke was deemed non toxic, and the firefighters were beginning to get the blaze under control.
We had our visit at the tree, picked up my cousin, and went to see my Aunt at work. Then it was time to hit the road.
We were moving at a good pace, cleared the city very quickly, the kids were sound asleep in the back and I was doing okay behind the wheel. Then........
Huge noise of something exploding, and a percussion to go with it. It was so close I thought it was one of my tires. But the car didn't swerve or become uncotrollable. Then OH SHIT brake, avoid, reocover, dammnit, brake, avoid, recover. A car carrier at my 2 o'clock, about 20 feet ahead of my bumper, had blown a rear tire, which came at me fast, hard, and showing all kinds of shreds of its steel belt. NEVER have I actually witnessed this happening, let alone happening close enough I could feel it, and then had to avoid all kinds of pieces flying at my car, with the potential to pop my tires and do other serious damage.
My heart was doing staccato beats for at least 10 km after, thankfully, the girls didn't notice a thing.
And I thought this was the end of the curse.
Turns out my poor cousin began vomiting, etc. at 4am, and then my kids began at 7:30.
Next time I head to Toronto with the kids, I am definitely going to be keeping my eyes open, cause this trip was insanely crazy.
Sunday, March 20, 2011
1. New tires on the car
2. Purchased (but did not put together) the bench for the entryway
3. Some Easter and Christmas shopping
4. Obtained all of the materials I need for the Literacy course (this was not easy in any way shape or form)
5. Got a massage
6. Got the tire alignment that my car desperately needed.
A few things came up on short notice, such as a meeting with the new cook and the supervisors, and epi pen training, which definitely interfered with my plans, as they meant compressing my week even more than it already was with taking Friday to spend with the girls.
I'm not disappointed in what I got done, but I must admit, the week did not go the way I had it planned.
Friday, March 11, 2011
Anyhoo, March Break starts tonight, and the girls leave for their Dad's place until next Thursday. This means lots of time without children running amok to get some things done. And my tax refund also came in, so....... the question becomes: What am I going to do this week?
1. I know I will be logging some time in the library, since I started my Literacy course and the work load is immense. Absolutely mind boggling immense.
2. I will be logging extra hours at my third job, since I haven't been there in two weeks.
3. I need a project. Paint the upstairs? Paint the kitchen? Fix the pipe and replace the drywall in the entryway? Tear into the basement some more? The possibilities are endless. Add to that I need new closet doors for every closet in this place, and new clothes for a wedding in 3 months, and I have tons to get done.
But which project will I actually tackle? I just don't know.
Friday, February 11, 2011
I got a call this morning from the school just after the kids got there. Laura had peed her pants, said it hurt, and said there was blood in it. By the time I picked her up, she had wet again, and was walking bow legged. We had booked a doctor's appointment for an hour or so. I took her home and tried to clean her up, and she was in so much pain. Every time she peed, she cried. And there was a lot more blood.
Thankfully when we got to the doctor, she managed enough to test, and it turns out to be a really fast acting, serious infection. She's on some wicked antibiotics, and apparently the speed with which the infection took hold and caused so much distress is normal for some women and girls.
But man, was it a scary thought looking at that blood and trying to figure out what would cause so much bleeding.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
I remember that storm. I was stuck at home in it all by myself.
Thanks to that storm, I now have a life plan. During that storm, with nothing to do, and balding tires meaning I had nowhere to go, I found SUNY Potsdam and the part time MST program that I am now in.
As for the supplies, I always have extra cans and water on hand.
Now to see what this big storm will bring.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
What did we have tonight, you ask?
If you are queasy, or otherwise don't agree when humans hunt or scavenge for food
I wouldn't read on............................................
Cause this is a great story.
That involves some venison that a hunter friend scavenged when he saw it get hit by a car.
A week ago I got a message from my friend's husband. I have chatted with him in the past about hunting and game and fishing. I had said I missed having duck and deer and other game during hunting season, and told him how much my girls love game meat.
He then posted on facebook how he had snagged a deer that was hit right in front of him. He killed it (the humane thing given its injuries), gutted it and took it to be butchered.
He kept mentioning it on Facebook. I kept commenting "GRRRRR"
Like I said, we like deer meat, but my brother didn't get any this year, so we were going without.
I won't buy it in a grocery store.
So the message basically asked if I would like some of the meat, because the girls and I enjoy it so much. I took him up on the offer, and he gave us some chops (which I find are the easiest to cook when in a hurry) and some honey garlic sausage. He wouldn't let me pay for some of the butchering cost in return (in fact, I believe I might have caused some minor offence).
Tonight, I got down my big skillet, cut up an onion and threw it in the pan with olive oil and a spoonful of chopped garlic. Once they had sweated out, I added one of the packs of chops (4 good size chops, thinking there would be leftovers) to the pan and seared the meat each side.
A sprinkle of salt on both sides of the meant, splash 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar on the meat, pour about 1/2 cup of vegetable stock in the pan, and turned it down to simmer for a couple of hours.
We had mashed potatoes and broccoli on the side, and the juices from the pan were strained and used as "au jus"
Like I said, I expected leftovers, and got not a single crumb for seconds for me. They ATE IT ALL!
The girls were then talking to my mom and dad after dinner, and told them all about mommy's yummy dinner. And said I should make it more.
Guess I'm going to have to find a few more friends who have good field skills in hunting and scavenging.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Today we tried them with a twist, as the carrots I purchased Friday were completely limp when I went to grate them today.
Instead of shredded carrot, try shredded zucchini. Tastes great and its very healthy.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
I did get one whole eye of round cut up in various ways (roast, quick steak, stir fry) and marinated then sealed. I did get a whole chicken roasted (in the slow cooker) then shredded. I did get chicken breast marinated, grilled, sealed, and frozen. A dozen twice baked broccoli and cheese potatoes created and then individually wrapped then frozen.
What's left, you ask?
Another whole eye of round to cut up and seal
A huge thing of chicken wings, which must be dealt with tomorrow, divided and sealed.
Potato soup to be made and enjoyed.
Muffins to be baked, and pumpkin loaf to be baked. Then individually wrapped and frozen for busy mornings.
Saturday, January 8, 2011
I have spent what was left of the morning after sleeping in scouring my recipes, online and off, to do some batch cooking. One thing that got me last semester was the lack of time to plan ahead, and have some semblance of an idea of what I am cooking for dinner each night. I have a great slow cooker, a mini slow cooker, and one of those vacuum sealers, with rolls of bag material so I can custom fit to each recipe or serving.
I have lots of great ideas. And posts of my creations will follow, along with any links to the site it came from.
Thursday, January 6, 2011
Many many people keep asking about what I am taking at school. And many keep asking how its going.
I don't like repetition, so I decided I would create a blog page regarding "this school thing" and what it is all about.
My life's dream, my biggest wish, my soul's desire has been to become an elementary school teacher since I was around the age of eleven. At the end of high school, I was declined for concurrent education. I went on to complete a science degree at Trent in Psychology, and focused as much as possible on child development and educational psychology.
At the end of my degree I applied for consecutive education, this time I was wait listed. I was so close, but I wasn't playing horse shoes.
One very dark, dismal, winter day when I was sitting alone at home with little to look forward to and little to inspire me, I began web surfing. I started at Trent, checking out the new Emphasis on Education program that began after I graduated. I then progressed to Queens, and then I checked out the Ontario College of Teachers. I found a list of all the Faculties of Education that were offering approved part - time Teacher Education programs in Ontario.
Trent was on the list, and the program looked great, 2 years instead of 1, but I wasn't sure about it. I'd been to Trent, suicide capital among universities in its hey day, movie set for a really really bad sequel, and full of hippies. Great place, perfect for my undergrad, but I didn't want to go back.
Then I hit on it. State University of New York offered a program in Ottawa that was a Master's level in the states. Apparently it doesn't meet all of the Master's level requirements here, but the point is, its an amazing program, taught in Canada.
I went to an information session, and fell in love. I talked to former teachers and principals of mine, now friends, and they told me how great it was to get SUNY teachers. I applied, got accepted, and decided to wait an extra year before starting.
The grading scheme is a little intimidating. 72% is no longer my fall back grade. It happens to be a fail. 80% is a B-, 90% an A-. I am sure you get the picture, its pretty demanding and pretty daunting.
First course was Introduction to Education. We looked at major issues and policies in education as well as leading pedagogy and the various proponents.
Final grade..... 90%
Second course was Development and Education. We looked at child development, common theorists, and current issues affected by development.
More to follow as time marches on.........
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
I am not a stoner, cause its illegal and a little expensive for my tastes.
I am no longer a drinker - that relaxing glass of wine/whisky/tequila was stolen from me when I began a new medication regime in the Spring. Technically I can still drink on these meds, however I can't even get half a drink in before I feel absolutely awful.
I have nothing left but my coffee. Glorious, dark roasted, coffee.
Here's the kicker. Acid reflux sufferers are not supposed to consume too much coffee. I have acid reflux. And I am sensitive to caffeine, enough so that I don't sleep if I drink it too late (like after 4 pm, which is dangerously close to the time right now, and I am thoroughly enjoying a cup of Kenyan dark roast).
Oh well. If the doc complains about my three cups a day, then I will simply outline how much worse things could be......I could start smoking again.
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
I have many many thoughts running through my brain. And I really didn't think 10 facebook status updates within a half hour was a great idea. So, here they are.
#1. I am crazy. Today my full time job is closed, so I technically should have a day off. But, I convinced the boss at the store to take his stat day today, keep head office happy, and give me an 8 hour gravy shift. This morning I am kind of regretting it, however, in reality, the money will help alot.
#2. I watch CTV newsnet every morning. This morning they were discussing that just before midnight hundreds of blackbirds began falling from the sky either dead or close to it. They fell for about a half an hour, stopping just around midnight. WTF? It happened in a little town in the Arkansas bible belt. Betcha they are consulting their bibles, trying to figure out if judgement day is coming.
#3. The girls head back to school today. They have announced that they "hate school". I doubt it, I think they just hate waking up before they are ready, and would rather be playing. They seem to do well at school when they are there. Its funny how I take such joy in the complaining and grumping going on this morning.
#4. I am still pissed that I didn't know about the eclipse on the solstice in enough time to plan to be off and able to stay up to see it. Won't be another one like that until after I'm long dead. (Unless I live to be 113 that is)
#5. Both kids are looking a little peaky, despite being home and reasonable well rested. Both have tummys that are a little upset, they both got up in the night to use the bathroom which is very unusual. I am hoping they are not getting a bug. I don't want to start the new year at the daycare by using a sick day the first possible day I can.
#6. Sick days, vacation days, personal days. I ran out of paid time off in October. Laura has been sick a couple of times since, Kenzie once, me once. As of January 1, I get all 10 sick days, all 10 vacation days, and 2 personal days back. THANK FREAKING GOODNESS!
Well, its time to take the little ones to school :)
Sunday, January 2, 2011
The twins birthday is mid November, we usually have a party at home. Usually feeding a lot of people.
Once the birthday party has been completed, its time to get out Christmas decorations, movies, music, etc. This is typically when I start to pick up hours at the store, and every other weekend I work about 16 hours to my normal 12. Doesn't sound like much, but trust me, when you only have 24 free hours every week, those four are sadly missed.
The annual Christmas training (aka party at Jean's) usually happens the weekend of the birthday party.
The tree goes up the weekend after the party. (This year it didn't go up until the second weekend of December) Various decorations are distributed to their respective locations. We begin Christmas crafting. Moonlight madness happens (where I work until 11 pm on a Friday night having already worked a full week) I start panicking that I won't get everything done in time. We do a little baking. My Mom's birthday happens a week before Christmas. This is about the time that I realize I forgot something major for the kids (this year it was movies). The second moonlight madness occurs. Lord help me if they ever add a third.
Keep in mind that with school, I am usually finishing a course around this time. This typically means a big, major assignment.
I go shopping for whatever is left that I haven't gotten with all my pre planning. I get whatever groceries I estimate we will need, it will not be enough. I stock up on coffee. Lots of it.
I bake, cook, and generally help to prepare for the big day. I pack up the dog, the kids (alternating years), the presents (last year I sent a truck load ahead with my dad) and head for Sydenham. We visit, we eat, and my dad usually has presents he needs wrapped that night...he doesn't pre plan well. Then mom needs a hand with last minute wrapping....this year all of it. I tuck the kids in if they are with me, sneak the santa stuff downstairs, eat the cookies and leave crumbs, drink some of the milk, and sprinkle sparkles (fairy dust). Then attempt to relax enough to sleep. By this point I am so tired I have lapped around to wide awake.
I sleep a few hours, we wake up, drink coffee, do the Christmas morning thing, do the Christmas day thing, then the dinner thing. We head home, unpack - usually this entails Mark filling his car too- tuck the kids in or take them to their Dad's house, stay up putting toys together, and pass out on the floor, wake up cold, go to bed.
Boxing day, I work. We have fun and we drink more coffee.
Then a few days later, New Year's Eve and then my birthday.
Kinda makes January the 2nd look like the most beautiful day of the year.