Wednesday, March 28, 2012

spring break

Well the sheets are washed, the bottles returned, the taxes entered (just waiting on some numbers from my dear girl), the back porch swept, and the medical receipts submitted. Whew! Spring Breaks are exhausting.

I also have been knitting (and frogging - I can't seem to find the pattern I like for the bamboo wool I have), visiting friends, and napping.

This will be my last Spring Break for, well perhaps, ever. It is odd to think about being retired. Odd, but good. Very good.

I imagine we will head for the West (wet) coast soon in our camper. The forecast is for rain, rain, and then, wait for it, more rain. Thank God we have a furnace, and a hot water shower inside our little abode.

We are looking forward to wave, wind, whales, and hot springs.

Of course, I will also take along some marking, and we do have to begin to plan a budget for our drop in income come August. I don't have a pension, so we will be living on my husband's pension. I am a bit of an ostrich about these things, but I will have to get my head out of the sand and take a realistic look at our expenses. Maybe, next week.

But for now I have mending to do, and blocking to do (a lace scarf that needs to be blocked on wires - something I have never done). I also have socks to darn and a baby sweater to finish. My colleagues all seem to be having babies (well, not all, but three of the female variety).

The bills are paid, the dishes done, and I may even sweep the floor. I actually like a tidy house when I am not overwhelmed with school work.

The question keeps coming up - what next? Where do we want to live? I have to say, today, with the fresh wet cedars all around me, and the birds singing, I could just stay here.... The cedars have pretty much taken over both the front and back yards - it is like living in a little cabin here on the hill overlooking the city - and yet, it isn't because the neighbours will soon be intimating our trees are too big, and they (gasp) drop leaves on their properties. Sigh. Why did they move to this area if they don't like trees? They could go live in Richmond. Just sayin'.

Anyways, last night I felt kinda blue (but I think I was tired), today I am calmly happy and optimistic.

For me, this is always a good thing.

And, the daffodils are everywhere.

And, the cherry blossoms have arrived.

I can't wish for anything else.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

It is what it is

And I am what I am. No, this is not a cutesy quote from Popeye.

Ironically enough I think of myself as a healthy person. The irony in this is that if you were to look at my medical history - clearly I am not. Ill health kind of sneaks up on you. Or, at least, it did to me.

I recently went to an acupuncturist and had to give them my medical history. It was shocking to see it in black and white, and I didn't even include everything - only those things that I felt were relevant to my migraines.

However, last week I had to see a specialist about a nagging bladder problem (I know, I know, too much information), and they wanted a total history of surgeries, and medications, and the whole she-bang.

Wow. It was weird to see it all listed out there like that. I don't think there is any point listing it here - but it was daunting to see it all in black and white.

I have tried to live a healthy life. Over the past 30 some years I have been a runner, a vegetarian, a yoga practitioner, a swimmer, a walker.....well, again I don't have to list it all.

I do have chronic depression and a chronic blood disease. I guess I don't count chronic illness, cause I just have to live with that, day in and day out. I guess I always think of ill health as those more acute things - like colds, flu, pneumonia, appendicitis, etc. I don't suffer those things much at all. So, I think of myself as healthy.

I have had chronic back problems since breaking my back in the late 70s, but oddly enought that has been quite stable in the last year or so.

Hey, I did The Chief last year at the age of 55! And until recently, although I have been a migraine sufferer, it was only a few times a year. I could deal with that.

But now it seems to be snow balling down on me. Two to three migraines a week. I have been waiting to see a neurologist for six months - that appointment is coming towards the end of April.

I don't want to go to these specialists and be put on more medications or sent for more tests. It seems hopeless. I have been to three doctor appointments in the last few months and noticed something very odd.

No one ever touches me. They don't look in my eyes, or ears, or listen to my heart or take my blood pressure. They stare at a computer screen and ask me questions, and while I answer they type into their computer. It is odd. Then they send me to a specialist (6-12 months later), and they ask me questions and send me for tests and don't touch me. Or look at me. It is weird. Is it because I am 'old' and becoming invisible? Is ill health a way to get someone to notice me?

I feel 'old' and I hate it. My elbow hurts, my upper arm is stiff, I don't sleep well. Blah. blah. blah.

I have taken health for granted. Not been as diligent as I should be about my physical and mental health.

I have to stop whining. It pisses me off - both my whining and my lack of wellness.

I am going out into the sun.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Writer's block

I cancelled two acupuncture appointments this week. I felt like I was rushing and stressing about trying to get to appointments, and that didn't make sense to me. I got a migraine on Monday. It seems like they are coming about 2 weeks apart. This is better than 2-3 per week. I had a bad headache yesterday, but no visual migraine, so I don't know if it was a migraine, or just a headache. Anyways, enough about that.

I had a busy, yet relaxing weekend. I went to see the University of the Fraser Valley's version of As You Like It on Friday night and it was wonderful! My class and I are performing this same play at the end of April, so I was mentally taking notes as I watched.

On Saturday I went to a Fibers trade show, and bought a book on knitting knee high fairisle socks. Something else for my list of things to do when I retire. I have lots of knitting to do these days as I have 3 colleagues expecting babies. Knit. Knit. Knit.

On Saturday my man and I went to see our son perform with his band. It was a great two hour show. I sang along with all the songs, and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Happy Saint Patrick's Day.

Today was a lazy day which included two, count em, two naps. I drew a cloud chart on the board for school tomorrow, and had tea with my son. So, I can knit all evening, guilt free, because my prep is all done for the week. And then on Friday at noon my spring break starts.
Whew! Can't wait for two weeks of r e l a x i n g! Of course before the break my grade 4/5 choir, and my grade 8s are performing at Centennial Theatre - so there is a small amount of stress still left to go.

By the way, I don't really have writer's block. What I really want to write about is too hard right now. So this blog should really be called writer's procrastination.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


Ok, so I think I am a great teacher. No, really, I do. However, I had a rather, shall we say, humbling experience this week.

In my defense I have been teaching a one month block on 19th and 20th century revolutions and wars. I started with the War of 1812 and ended with the Women's movement of the 1960s. This involved ALOT of research, much of done, clearly, too late in the evening.

Anyways, I was telling the story of Gandhi and India's revolution for independence. I always try to teach history as much as possible through biography. Well, Gandhi's biography is huge, and I presented this to the class over two days. Suffice to say I had a lot of prep to do.

Here is where it gets embarrassing. Gandhi spent 22 years in South Africa where he experienced the segregation of the coloured people from the whites, and some of the degrading things blacks were subjected to in South Africa. I was reading several web pages about this and came across the story where he discovered the blacks were not allowed to walk on the same sidewalks as the whites unless they bought - wait for it - a sheet. A sheet. Now, in my sleep deprived brain I thought they were referring to bed sheets, aka linens. Well, that kinda made sense - you want to walk on my sidewalk you have to purchase something from my store.

The students went along with this idea - until I came to the part of the story where Gandhi encouraged all the coloured people to burn the 'sheets' in protest. Ok, I can go with the burning of bed sheets - kind of like the 'burning of the vanities'. Anyways my one student, who always keeps me honest, thought this didn't make any sense. Why would they burn something they had spent money on and probably needed anyways? Aha! Ever the teacher that can think quick on her feet I went on about Gandhi's vision of non-violent resistance (which he got from Leo Tolstoy, btw). Anyways, I stuck to my guns...and the next day we were talking about Hitler and World War II.

Ahem. I imagine now that anyone reading this is wanting my teaching credentials revoked. I started to think about this last week, and it suddenly dawned on me. Sheets. As in sheets of paper. Like a pass! OHHHHHHHHHH! I get it. Oh my God, now I have to face my class and (ahem) point out the folly of my logic.

I went back and read their essays on Gandhi, and so far I have not found any that mention bed sheets. Whew! Dodged a bullet on that one.

So, I am sure on Monday we will all have a good laugh. I think they have enough esteem for me that I will be forgiven (although they are 14 year olds so it may take a bribe in the form of swedish fish - their favourite candy).

Sheets. Who knew that word would be my humbling moment.

Ok, now I am going to bed to pull the sheet over my head.

I am not coming out until the sun does! (Which is kind of ironic since I am teaching Meteorology for the next two weeks - Coriolis effect anyone?)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


They are harbingers of spring. They are hope during January's cold, and February's rain. First the snow drops, then the crocuses. And then the daffodils, trumpeting the coming of light and warmth. Followed by hyacinth, and tulips. Aw, yes, the tulips.

I don't really understand how bulbs survive the winter. Only a few inches down in the cold, dark, often frozen earth. What is it in them that can withstand the dreariness? What spirit infuses them to awake once more, and raise their heads, and push up and out, and grow once more toward the light? Why don't they give up?

Sometimes I think giving up would be the easier thing to do. Sometimes, I imagine, those hardy little bulbs emerge in January, in a corner of a lot, and no-one even notices. When I notice them it is like a little, unexpected gift. One I often am not able to share with anyone. Just me, and the snowdrops. Just me, taking heart from their presence. Their presents.

I am not a gardener, but I have planted bulbs. I am not one for buying myself flowers, but I do buy daffodils, and irises, and tulips. Bulbs remind me that there is something inside of everything that we can't see and don't understand. Bulbs remind me that with the tiniest bit of warmth, life will strive to overcome desolation.

Even though winter isn't over, they promise of spring.

I could use spring right now. It has been that kind of winter.