Let's get this over with. It's cold here. Bloody cold. I'm trying to make peace with the fact that the two summers we were gone to the West Coast were the two mildest winters in Winnipeg in recent history. Yes, I know the sun shines here in the midst of the cold. But I will tell you the truth: give me rain any day of the week. Who cares if the sun is shining if going outside is dangerous? What are you going to do, enjoy the sunshine from your window? Mike takes the cold in stride - biking and going for runs in the evening even when the windchill dips below minus 40. I don't take the same approach. I feel like curling up in the fetal position in my bed and staying there until April. Before I drive the girls to school in the morning I've started heating up my Magic Bag in the microwave and then sitting on it in the van. I then heat it up when I get home and put my feet on it while I eat breakfast and read the paper. I heat it up again before bed and put it where my feet will go while I brush my teeth so that by the time I'm done, my space is toasty warm.
Middle school teachers are Super Heroes. No kidding. They all deserve a raise. Toughest job in the school for sure. It also appears to be a pretty entertaining job. Lots of drama. Lots of shenanigans. Lots of heartbreak. It's a tough gig.
Mike discovered an amazing musician on PBS last night. Blew us away. Sarah Jarosz is her name. If you like roots, bluegrass and Americana, you'll love her. She's only 21 years old and already being lauded as a master.
Speaking of music, Mike and I were able to go to the Tragically Hip show at the MTS Centre last weekend. I first fell in love with The Hip back in grade 9 or 10 when my brother played me their album Fully Completely and I heard the song "Wheat Kings". I was an odd teenager and was obsessed with the David Milgaard story. The song gave me chills. When I hear the lines, "Late breaking story on the CBC. A nation whispers we always knew he'd go free" I still do. That song was the highlight of the show for me. We had awesome seats and great entertainment in the row behind us. There were a few times during the show when I just looked around the stands and was interested to note the demographics at the show. Lots of men - some grey hair, lots of middle aged guys, and even some hipsters. There were people who brought their elementary school aged kids. Hip fans are an interesting bunch. Passionate and loyal. I got a huge kick out of this story on CBC this week - where else will you hear a tale about the Tragically Hip, Vegas, and Schmauntfat in the same place?
It's true, we're going to Florida tomorrow. 12 whole days of glorious sunshine, free time, and family time. But wait, there's more. We're meeting up with one of my oldest and dearest friends from Ontario and her family. We only get to see Tan and Shawn and their kids once a year at the most, and it's usually for very short visits when they come to Manitoba to visit family, so this is a huge deal. I'm looking forward to laughing my ass off with Tan, driving Shawn crazy, and falling in love with her boys all over again. Oh yes, we're doing Disney too. First time for our girls.
Of course, in order to be ready to go away there is a lot to do. If you're taking courses in a Master's program and missing two weeks of classes, there's even more to do. I had to work ahead like crazy this week to finish a paper that's due during the time we're away. It's times like these that I revert right back to University mode. Dreading the process.... abstaining from the process.... putting off the paper.... filling my time with ANYTHING but the paper.... feeling sick about the fact that I haven't started writing the paper...... and then, and only then I sit down and actually WRITE the paper. And that is what I did yesterday. I really didn't move from the dining room table until it was finished. That feeling you get when you're finished? It's just as good as it ever was.
I'm taking a course called "Couple Therapy" this semester. Tonnes to think about and read about and wonder about. I love the feeling of walking into class and actually knowing most of the people sitting in the chairs around me. We can laugh at things now, give knowing glances, and invite feedback from each other in ways we couldn't when we just met. I'm meeting some great new people too. Our program is full of people a wide range of age groups and career paths. Again, this semester, there is one lonely guy in the class surrounded by a great throng of women. He's kind of become the mascot of the program.
If you're a Costco shopper and love Thai food, you should definitely check out the "Happy Planet" Thai Coconut Soup. It's in the refrigerated section near the produce and comes in a two-pack. So crazy delicious.
I could eat crunchy peanut butter and jam on toast every single day of my life.
I hate packing for trips. Mike is a packing genius. In fact, he's so assured in his role, that he doesn't allow me to pack. I just make piles and he packs them in. I guess we're a good team?
When we're going away on a trip I become kind of obsessive on checking the weather at the destination. So far, the forecast for Orlando is looking dry and hot, so I'm feeling good! I also get a little obsessive about wondering and worrying that someone in our family is going to get sick on the holiday. I've reminded our girls one million times over the past week to wash their hands. The more time I spend in school, the more I realize what a vile, cess-pool of germs they are. You see kids picking their noses, picking their ears, spewing, coughing, sneezing and dripping all over the place and on all kinds of things. I should hose my kid's off when they walk in the door. But I don't. I just tell them to wash their hands.
I'm keeping track of all of the books I'm reading this year. The list so far is:
-Anne Lamott's Operating Instructions
-Dora Dueck's What You Get At Home
-David Bergen's See the Child
I'm currently reading Anne Lamott's Help Thanks Wow: The Three Essential Prayers and Sarah Poutney's novel, Sweet Jesus. You could say it's been a great year of reading so far. How could it not be? Anne Lamott is my all-time favourite writer, hands down. Her book on prayer is so good, you don't want to rush it because you don't want it to be over too soon. I heard about Poutney's book on Shelagh Roger's "The Last Chapter" on CBC Radio and knew I had to read it. I'm devouring it. It's the kind of book you wish you had all day to loose yourself in. I'm hoping to escape in it on our flite tomorrow.
Making appointments, getting to appointments, cancelling appointments, remembering appointments and thinking about doing all of the above is nearly a full-time job when you have 3 kids.
Sasha read for 955 minutes last month. That's her new record.
I would choose sleep over nearly any other activity any day of the week.
I went with Ellie's class on a field trip last week. We spent the morning at the Legislature. I'd never been there before and really enjoyed our time there. Next stop was the Planetarium for a session on light. 2 minutes in to the session and I was zoned out and getting set up for a nap. And nap I did. The whole time. That place is a sedative.
Hannah's doing a Science Fair project on fonts and memory. She came up with the idea herself and is learning a bunch. Personally, I hate Science Fair projects. It's not because of the work involved. It's because of the way I feel when I see how many kids get no support at all from their parents, but are expected to produce something at the same calibre as kids who get all kinds of support. It's heartbreaking. I can hardly stand to think about it.
I always bring sour wine gums along on the plane when we're flying. (And Ativan.)