Wednesday, August 17, 2011

we all float on

I want to float on these last bits of summer for as long as I can. I am in between, that place right before the change, before the priorities are re-aligned. It's coming, there's no doubt, and soon. The first stage is already here, but more on that later. Right now, I still want to lie on my back in the pool staring at the light, fluffy clouds above me, my only worry what we will eat for dinner or finishing another chapter in my book. I want to feel the freedom of the whole day, the whole week stretched out in front of me, countless possibilities to be had. I want to wake slowly on the trail of dreams, when I feel good and rested. I want to sip my coffee as I visit my favorite sites, inspiration swelling inside of me and spurring creative projects that can all be realized. I want to eat melon and corn, cheeseburgers, roasted pepper, onion and zucchini. I want to try new recipes every week, with all the time and patience I need to devote to them. I want to kneel and dig in the dirt, pulling weeds, planting flowers, re-arranging a garden that will take form as the years go by. I want to drink Pina Colada on my parents' deck with the sun rays streaming in through the branches of the maple that has grown towering over the backyard since the days I was a little girl. I want to eat food from the BBQ. I want to watch fireworks, I want to bike ride and roller blade, take drives down to the countryside. There is still some time. If only this last little bit of August could last forever... Holding on to these glimpses...

Saturday, August 13, 2011

time keeps on slipping into the future

Here we are mid-August, a few days away from the famous "call". Trying not to be stressed about that; trying to enjoy the last little stretch of summer before school starts up again. Trying not to freak out about the unknowns - which school, which grade, for what length of time... What will be will be, so no sense stressing over things you can't really change.Right? I will try to suck it up and make the best of whatever comes my way.

I feel like I need to recap the summer. I've been really crap at blogging. Here are some things that have been happening around here. Sadly, we'll have to go way back to June for a full-fledged summary.

Behold, Patrick's birthday:

First we had a brunch with his family, and we celebrated Father's Day at the same time. The following weekend we had a dinner with my family, which was also a sort of housewarming. We got my parents tickets for the Beatles' Story to make up for the fact that we hadn't really done anything for Mother's Day or Father's Day since we had been so busy with the move and the end of the school year. My family also surprised us with a new BBQ!

I was pretty stressed about cooking for both families for the first time, but it all went pretty well in the end. Patrick and I are refining our cooking/team skills, so it's working out nicely. It is so great to have our own kitchen with a huge island. I must say, it makes all the difference. Now I just need to learn not to freak out about having everything perfect.

Ah yes, during all this time, Pat was also taking an yoga/massage course which came to an end that weekend. An amazing perk to all this is that he must practice giving massages to a certain number of people before he gets his official certificate. Guess who has been volunteering lots of her time towards this goal?! Yup, I'm cashing in on it people. It's great. It's really relaxing now that we have a massage table in the basement. I am spoiled, I know.

Hmm, what else.... Well, we adopted a kitty. She belonged to our friend Dave, who will be moving to Dubai shortly to work for an undetermined period of time in the construction business. Although he wanted to bring her with him, he would have had to pay a ridiculous amount of money to have her quarantined (think $3000) and even then, there was a chance that they might have killed her if they didn't like the look of her, even if she was perfectly healthy. Seeing as he did not want to take that risk, we volunteered to take her in. We've had our ups and downs with her over the past few months. She is needy, she meows a lot for attention, and she has nibbled at some of our curtains (thankfully it's not that noticeable). But overall things are going well and she has her "cute" moments that makes her irresistible, as seen here.

Dave was also staying with us for a few weeks when the lease to his apartment was up. We were glad to help him out as he got his shit sorted out. He's sort of been in limbo for the past little while as he waits for the official okay to sign his contract and begin his new life abroad (which he finally found out should be this September if all goes as planned). Our basement was a royal mess since we hadn't even cleaned out all our boxes from the move, then we needed to find space for Dave and his things. I was getting a bit antsy because my mom was having new couches delivered around that time, and we were going to take her old ones, which we would also have to put in the basement. I also really wanted to paint over the atrocious orange colour that was gracing the walls down there... All this to say that Dave ended up moving in with some other friends so that we could continue sorting out/renovating over here and to accommodate the donated furniture that I wasn't willing to pass up.

Shorthly after, we got into the painting, adn that is when the fun really began. We noticed a little chip in the wall, and upon closer investigation, we discovered that the paint was peeling right off in the same fashion as wallpaper. Then the little hole became a gaping, scary hole.

The real party came when we found about 4-5 different layers underneath with some really sketchy type of plaster that had never dried properly, so it started coming off like sand when we touched it. Here is what the basement looked liked when we thought we would never see the end of it. Depressing, isn't it? Doesn't it look like a DIY project gone terribly wrong?!

I am very happy to report that after a few weeks of peeling, priming, plastering, re-priming, re-plastering, three coats of paint and 2 coats of touch-ups, it is complete! What a fantastic day when we were finally able to vacuum and mop, and start to place furniture the way we wanted. I am so glad that it's over. Oh how rewarding it feels! Here is what it looks like now.

Anyways, I have been rambling for long enough now and I want to go enjoy the sunshine before this evening since we have a going away dinner to attend :) Hope everyone is having a good weekend!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

he is here!

My best friend has had her baby! The whole family is doing extremely well. I am impressed with how calm and easy-going they have been about the whole thing - they are naturals!

Julie and Ken kept his name a surprise until he was born, can you believe it?! The curiosity was killing me, although I think it was a cool idea in the end because it made his birth that much more special. Julie called me late one Tuesday evening as Pat and I were peeling paint off of our basement walls (a lovely story for another time). Pat said that he didn't even recognize her voice over the phone because she sounded so chillaxed (though she claims it was pure exhaustion). She just wanted to let us know that we had a new baby friend, and everyone was doing well. We were soooo happy to hear the news and couldn't wait to meet him!! We went to the hospital on the following Thursday morning, on literally the hottest day of the year. Just walking outside was like melting into a steam bath, it was that drastic. We drove out to Chateauguay through the road work and traffic, but we didn't mind because we were going to meet Joshua (yes, I had caved and asked Julie to tell me his name over the phone because I couldn't wait any longer)!!

We were impressed with how nice the hospital is, not dreary and hospital-like at all really. It looks more like a strip mall when you first walk in, and light streams through the skylights in the main hallway. We tracked down the "pavillion des naissances" and found room 21, the second-to-last room on a long corridor, but very nicely and privately located. We knocked on the door and a few moments later, out came Ken with little Joshua resting in the crook of his arm. How precious and miraculous a newborn truly is. It's stunning at first to see them, you can't believe that they are finally here after a long journey from beyond. But there he was, tiny and adorable, swaddled in his blankets.

After a quick visit from the nurse, we were able to go in and see Julie, who looked fabulous for a lady who had just given birth. And no, I'm not only saying that because she's my friend. She had already lost so much of her weight and looked comfy and well-adjusted. I found myself hoping that I will look that good when I give birth. I hope I can be that "together".

The private room they were staying in had a nice large window overlooking a green space with tall trees and sprawling hills. Another nice feature was the double bed they got to share. I must say we will definitely consider this hospital when it's our turn, although it won't be for another long while, don't you worry.

Patrick and I took turns holding Josh while Julie and Ken recounted details of the journey they had just experienced, each adding dimension to the other. I am so glad we were able to visit and be part of Josh's first few days. I can't wait to watch him grow.

Congratulations on your beautiful boy my dear friends!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Just a quick post to mention how cool our weekend was. It was my third time seeing U2 and I must say it's impressive how massive their concerts still are (this one in particular). Despite the disgusting crowds and the drenching rain at the end of the evening, we had a great time.

In store this week: painting the basement, receiving couches, finishing the grout sealer in the kitchen and bathroom, hanging more pictures, garden work in the backyard, hopefully finding a TV unit and starting my photo wall.... We'll see how productive I actually am.

I know I am due back with a "part 2" of the last few months. I'll add it to the list of things to do.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The last few months - part 1

Why hello, its been a while, no?! I'll be honest, there were some times that I contemplated whether or not I really felt like having a blog anymore. For the last few months, there has been so much going on that I never found the time or motivation to document because there was always something else to take care of. I haven't written for myself in ages, and am feeling quite stunted and uninspired and incapable in that department. With summer here, though, I really want to get back into it. I am disappointed that spring 2011 is a blur in my mind, uncaptured in words and in very few photos. So I will try to go back and fill in the missing pieces, try to tell this story of our move, of the end of the school year, of big life changes and little adventures.

If I take you back to early spring, I was an MLS-addict, obsessed with checking properties for sale, either hunched over my computer or oh-so-conveniently, pretty much anywhere I went with my Remax app on the iPhone. We racked our brains over tons of possibilities, looked into condos, made check-lists and jotted down calculations over and over, tweaking variables to find out what would work best. It was so draining and stressful for a long time, with so many unknowns and what-ifs. You can really get lost and discouraged in the process. But I am happy we toughed it out and did our homework, because it paid off.

Thankfully we found a great agent who understood our needs and eventually helped us find this place. We visited it on a Thursday evening and the following day, she managed to negotiate the price way, way down with the seller's agent. We were surprised and a little overwhelmed at how fast it started to roll from that point on. She stressed the importance of us making an offer right away, before the weekend and the possibility of an open house which would attract more people and offers. We were stunned, I think, when we went to her office that Friday afternoon, not fully aware of what we were launching ourselves into. We told her that we wanted to visit one last time before making an official offer. It was supposed to be my birthday supper that evening, but I dragged my mom away from cooking duties so she could come by again for some advice. All along I knew that I didn't want to let this place go, so after an hour or so of debating, of inspecting the place, of dreaming of the future, I filled out the paper work for the first offer and oh my lord what a feeling...
The next day, on my birthday, we received word that our offer had been accepted!! The only thing they didn't agree to was giving us the table (seen here) and chairs that they had been using to stage the place. We were disappointed at first, but we had already bought chairs a few months earlier and were going to be refinishing my parents' old kitchen table, so it wasn't really a loss. Also, the chairs were fabric, which wouldn't have stood the test of time or dealt well with spills and stains. The table was also glass, and although it was gorgeous, I think it would have been a pain to clean, not to mention that it wasn't the most child-friendly type of material, which would be a concern in the future.
So the next few weeks involved lots of calls, sorting, planning, organizing, and finally packing. Without including any of Pat's things or the kitchen items that were stuffed under the stairs in my bedroom, here is what my parents' basement looked liked (eeek!):
Honestly, looking at this, it still feels surreal. The amount of time that went in to coordinating all of this was monumental, but we did it! I am so glad that I moved in the month of May, before the last month of school and the need to move all the boxes from my classroom back into storage at home... Anyways, we were really lucky to have family and friends helping us a TON. Here we are on moving day:

Everything went pretty smooth overall, and although it was exhausting, it was exciting and fun at the same time. My mom and my uncle were especially helpful over weeks and countless projects, and we are forever indebted to them for all their hard work.

The last little while has been all about settling in, organizing, making it our space, decorating, and getting into a groove together. It has been a learning process. It has been a bit crazy at times. We have learned that a house will always be a work in progress, and that's okay. It was hard for me to accept at first, but I am coming to understand that I need to just let things be and appreciate what we have. I think we have done quite well for being here for two months.

There is much more to tell, but I have to get ready for work at the library. One more day before my vacation time. I will be back sometime soon to fill in part 2.

Enjoy the sunshine.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Big Changes

So I've been a terrible blogger, I know, I know. But I have good reason, trust me! After a long search of condos and houses, we have finally found "the one". Thankfully we're through the worst of it (financing, inspection, pyrite, etc) and all that's left is to sign at the notary's office in a week from now. Then of course there will be the move and everything that comes along with it... but thankfully the place is newly renovated which means that we won't have to do any remodeling or repair work aside from some landscaping and repainting an ugly color in the basement. It is pretty much ready to go!

We are finally starting to allow ourselves to be excited after a very long, stressful period of searching. We originally almost bought a condo, went to sign for it and everything, but then realized that it was incredibly noisy and we couldn't envision ourselves being happy there. That's when we began a house search with a real estate agent that my mom knew from the gym, who helped us to find our house and turned out to be a great match for us. We actually ended up signing the acceptance offer on my birthday two weekends ago, and everything has been a crazy, stressful blur since then. Now that everything is in order financially and with the notary, we can relax a bit and begin the next phase of planning of the move, which will happen in two weekends from now. Everything is rolling so fast, which is a bit overwhelming, but at the same time exciting since we have been waiting for this for a long time. Also, Patrick needed to be out of his apartment by June anyways, so the timing works out perfectly.

It still hasn't sunk in that I am leaving here, the place I've called home for most of my life. I think it will be bittersweet in many ways. I am stoked to live with Pat in our own environment (soooo needed after almost ten years together) but at the same time, I think I will miss my parents and this house.

Anyways, there's more I could go on about but we're having an Easter brunch and grandmother duties call. Have a great weekend everyone!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Currents + Another Page

listening to: the sounds of my house. The new Radiohead.
eating: nothing yet, but craving some cereal.
drinking: again, nothing yet, but coffee very soon.
wearing: pink PJ bottoms with cupcake designs, and Pat's Niagara falls sweater. Very stylish combo.
feeling: worried about my uncle (operation is today).
weather: still cold, with a deceptively bright sky. When will blasted Winter end already?!
wanting: to get a good phone call from out West at the end of today.
needing: to fully appreciate my last day of March Break.
thinking: it's time to start breakfast!
enjoying: scrapbooking!
wondering: what workout should I do today?

I was flipping through this book and decided to randomly choose one topic to scrapbook about. I looooove this book. It gets my creativity flowing almost every time. Here is what I made this morning. I am quite pleased. These were some feelings I've had for a long while and it felt good to put them into words. Man did I hate hate hate that class.

Happy Friday everyone :)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A new digi-page

Patrick will probably kill me for using this picture, but I like it!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Winding Down

With March break comes the realization that I have not be nurturing the things I love nearly as much as I should. I have been shoving things, both figuratively and literally, into crevices with the thought that I will get to them in time, but all that has amounted to is a lot of clutter. I have been living in this vision of the future, putting things on hold because it's not the time quite yet. But this has drained me more than I realized and is no real way of living. So for the past few days, I have been slowing down in the now.

This past weekend we went to Burlington. We browsed the shops a lot. We tried on nerdy glasses just for a laugh.

We discovered that snuggies exist in various forms. Disturbing, yet highly amusing.

We ate a lot - far more than we should have. One night we went to the Pub and Brewery and the other night we went to the Olive Garden with Julie and Ken. The calorie intake was probably over 2000 per person. Debauchery I tell you, but it was soooo good.

We then decided to go swimming even though we all felt like we were going to explode. The water was positively freezing... We avoided the hot tub with its murky brown water and group of very noisy Quebecers. All this made us laugh almost uncontrollably, which we hadn't done in a while.

Later, Pat and I snuggled on a king-sized bed and watched movies. We browsed the charming downtown square and went to a few antique places, although found nothing worthwhile. That's okay because just looking was more than half the fun anyways.
We drove home in a rain storm on a nearly empty highway. Just us in our tiny car, moving through space and time, the sound of slush and wipers and faint music playing in the background. There is something about the open road that is so hypnotic, so all-encompassing and soothing to me. Maybe it's because I traveled a lot when I was younger and there was nothing I loved more than watching the world zoom by, reading license plates and checking off all the states and provinces we passed through. In any case, the feeling is still there for me as an adult driver - I love the highway just as much as passing through all the little towns along the way.

In the end, our shopping spree was not very successful, but I am fine with that. In fact, I'm a bit relieved since I just had to fix my car brakes before leaving and that was a huge amount that I wasn't expecting. We are happy we were able to get away for a few days. We needed some down time together and it has allowed me to feel calm and peaceful.

Now I am back home and have been taking care of a few necessities, like laundry and organizing files - getting income tax papers ready to go. I actually made a digital page today, which I will share soon. I felt very rusty while making it, but in the end, am pleased with the result. I need to force myself to get back into it and I know the joy will come.

I feel the urge to take pictures, decent-looking pictures, as it has been far too long. Maybe a walk tomorrow will expand my horizons a little bit...

Anyways, I have to go pick up my man after his long day with clients. More tomorrow. Cheers!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

100th Day

Guess what? We celebrated the 100th day of school today! I wanted to share some art that my students made. The task was to draw what they look like today and then imagine what they'll look like at 100. I was very pleased with the improvements they made with their self-portraits, since at the beginning of the year it was quit a challenging task. I made a template first, and then modeled how to draw each feature, one at a time. If you let them do it completely independently, in whatever order, I find they tend to make the head way too small and then forget to add detail. We went verrrry slowly. I think they did an amazing job, if I do say so myself. I find them hilarious, actually. The cotton adds a certain charm, no? Ahhh, nothing like kinder-art!

We are more than half-way through the year, which I find hard to believe. 100th day of last year literally feels like it could have been a week ago. Am I in some kind of time warp!? Time really flies. March break is looming in the distance, not far off now... Only two more teaching days, parent-teacher interviews and a Ped-day until my brother's birthday and then a mini -trip to Burlington. So very psyched. I am pretty drained lately, fighting off colds constantly and really busy with both jobs... Some R&R is definitely just what I need. And shopping of course ;) Hopefully even some antique hunting, just for fun. It's not like I have anywhere to store it, but I would resort to cramming something in the corner of my bedroom if I found "the" piece. So if you know of any good places around the area, please let me know!

What else, what else? I bought these boots:

I waited for them to go on sale and they were so worth it. I was doubting myself a bit right after my purchase but since then, have gotten tons of compliments at work. I guess I made the right choice after al. Funny how I am so influenced by external feedback. Silly, really, but I can't deny that it helps to solidify decisions.

I had every intention of writing a longer post but it's 5 pm already, so I need to force myself to workout or else I will crash very soon. Have a good night!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Winter in full swing

So much for my resolution to update the blog once or twice a week. I think I was just a little gung-ho when I put that list together. Ahh, good intentions. I guess I have been pre-occupied with other things, such as:

- Getting financial stuff organized (new accounts, transfers and such... fun stuff)
- Replacing my car battery
- Working a lot (report cards, k screening, and portfolios all due soon)
- Obsessing about finding a house/condo (MLS every night)
- Watching the Pacific (as usual, HBO does not disappoint)
- Hunting down and finally purchasing our perfect dining room chairs (ignore all the crap in the background)

- Attempting to find a new winter jacket (no luck so far)
- Shoveling a crap-load of snow
- Sending lots of positive energy to my uncle who is battling pancreatic cancer :(
- Going on field trips with my class, like this place
- Reading this book
- Having drinks with colleagues
- Going to Darla and Pat's wedding (so much fun)!!

So there you have it, a brief peak into my world at the moment. I am going to unwind now, maybe watch a movie or catch up on my book. I need lots of rest for the upcoming week as another field trip is in store! Cheers.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Currents+Brain Stew

listening: the sound of my printer
eating: nothing yet today
drinking: OJ and coffee to come
wearing: sweats and a roxy sweater
feeling: groggy, confounded, apprehensive
weather: light snow and sunshine
wanting: to stretch my sore muscles
needing: a new pair of winter boats if I can't fix the zipper on my old ones
thinking: about too many things at once
enjoying: having today off
wondering: will we get approved for a mortgage? how much can we really afford?

When words are slow and clumsy (though my mind is racing a million miles) I turn to this quick and simple list to capture the moment.

We have been looking at condos, townhouses, houses.... we have been dreaming. We have been making budgets and check-lists and overwhelming ourselves just a tad (okay, it's more me, not him). We are conjuring up scenarios, tweaking different variables, all to see what is do-able, what is comfortable and affordable. It is so very scary to think that all the savings I've worked so hard towards will soon be "gone" and then we'll be locked into a long period of debt. I know I can't think like that. Everyone is in the same boat, everyone has to tackle it. Gotta shift the frame of mind and accept it. Just do it, just give in and know that it's okay.

I know I need to slow down, take breaks, pace myself, and then it will seem more manageable.

Today I would like to go outside and take pictures of the way the sun is reflecting off the snowbanks. I would like to take a walk. I would like to scrapbook. I would like to spend fewer hours in front of this screen.

Happy Sunday!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Back in the Groove

It's Sunday morning and I'm just about to finish an over-sized cup of coffee. It's regular, not vanilla hazelnut, which means I have officially bid farewell to the holiday season. I'd been clinging to its allure for a few days (okay, a week) longer than I should have, but really now, the gingerbread people were all eaten last night so there's no going back. We will have to wait another 11 months before the most wonderful time of the year.

Trying to adjust to the 6:15 wake-up call has been brutal this week, especially since I was unable to fall asleep before 2 am most work nights. Ickiness... I am going to try to stretch my sleep time until 7 am and see if I can pull it off. It means I would have to get ready in about 20-25 minutes flat, but I think it could be accomplished if I shower the night before, have my lunch prepared and my outfit picked out. The extra 45 minutes of sleep would be awesome. I'm going to test my plan tomorrow, so let's hope for the best.

My students did not forget everything over the holidays, thankfully, although on the first day back I had the impression that they were incredibly demanding of my immediate attention. Was this attributed to them all being the center of attention over the holidays, or was it my lack of sleep coupled with the fact that I had adapted to almost two consecutive weeks sans enfants? Maybe a bit of both. After much repetition and modeling, I'm hoping that they will soon fall back into a more self-sufficient pattern. I know they are able to, but just need seem guiding.

It's also a library weekend for me, and an incredibly busy one at that. The one advantage is that my shift passes in a blur. I also needed to stock up on must-read books for myself, and some books for my class, so I'm glad to be able to get them while working.

We hung out with Cindy and Jason last night. Ate all-together too much, played Clue, Scene It and tried their Xbox Kinect, which is highly entertaining.

Alright, time to get on with my day. I'll share a layout that makes me laugh. You have to say the title with a Ricky Gervais accent and it will make it that much better. Cheers!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Shift and Begin

The new year has come and gone. It is my last day of vacation. I have toyed with the idea of a trip to Plattsburgh with mom but the specifics have failed to materialize. We like the idea of going, perhaps, more than the actual act of going. Why is that? There is some excitement in various possibilities all at once; an open road ahead and so much to explore. Then again, there is also the danger of dreaming too much and getting tangled in what-ifs and could-haves and far too many variables that it becomes crippling. I have been known to be deceived by this habit. Indecision is my one of my biggest shortcomings. To resolve this issue has been on my self-improvement list for some time. It tends to improve when I make lists with precise details, or when I play out full scenes in my mind so I can watch how it will all pan out if only I make the choice. Imagery can be so powerful. I know I also need to own my choices and show more conviction; only then will more meaning be brought forth. It sounds so ridiculous on some level, to be pained to decide whether a day of shopping or a day of hobbies is more appealing, but there you have it. I have been following a script that says I must carefully choose one or the other, and wisely, or else I will miss out. Since I have very few days off, it seems even more crucial to make the “right” decision. A whole day could be wasted; inspiration, excitement, happiness, or more. What I have failed to realize is that I create all these emotions myself depending on the attitude I have when living these events. I can make anything enjoyable or miserable. Why do I forget this? Why do I forget that everything happens in good time, all things can be realized, just not all at once? Again, I come back to the need to be more present instead of living in the headspace of my future or past.

I will spend my day doing things I love and catching up on some small tasks that can no longer be neglected before the return to work (laundry, tiddying, etc). My Bahamas mini-album is more than half-way done thanks to a get-together with Julie yesterday afternoon. I can be close to finishing it today! But it shouldn’t only be about finishing; it should be about enjoying the process and reliving our trip as I flip through the pages. Need to shift the focus here and it will probably be a lot more fun.

I would like to drink tea from our new glass tea kettle, the one designed to hold fancy flower teas that slowly unfurl as they steep. Some energize, other calm, depending on your needs that day.

Curling up with a book in late afternoon would also be a nice, relaxing way to end my vacation. I am at the ¾ point in one book; that part when you become fixated and can't put it down, and though you know it’s about to end, you don't quite want to leave the characters yet.

Speaking of good books, I have been meaning to mention this one. I read it a few weeks ago in the span of about 4 days. It was so good it kept me up until 3 in the morning one work night. I brought it with me to the staff room on several occasions and raved about it to colleagues, it's that good. It is told through the eyes of a 5-year old. It is haunting and beautiful and hopeful; it made my heart ache. I highly recommend it.

I have somewhat revamped the ol’ blog. It is a bit more “me” right now. I was so bored of the old look; it was so blah. I much prefer this. The font has also changed and I find it more enjoyable. I hope you will too. If this is your last day or week of vacation, do the things you love!