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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Growing old (un)gracefully

I love my cuddly, touchy, snuggly boys!
I love the way that little L often strokes my hair and plays with it….and I particularly like it when he pulls out any white hair that he may see lurking amongst the black foliage!
For awhile now, I have been threatening to dye my hair -
in an attempt to combat the rapidly multiplying white population.
Tonight, L decided that he was going to go on a White Hair Hunt.
On parting my hair to gain better access to the white hairs percolating so nicely underneath,
he exclaimed, “OH WHOA!!! You’ve got HEAPS of white hairs now, mum!”
Then, he added helpfully, “I think you should probably dye your hair WHITE !”.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Swamped but sunny

I have spent all morning surrounded, enmeshed, swamped, wallowing, drowning under paper.

Reports, certificates, applications, references, passports, invoices, notifications, lists…

And so on…and so on….and so on.

How do Administrators (and people who do this sort of thing for a job) remain sane??!

At least our glorious weather has continued unabated!

Over a week now of perfect, perfect weather.

I could gloat…

The weekend came and went.

Quick as a blink.

Fri – E's concert. Wonderful.

Sat – Concert in the Town Hall wth some famous violinist. Included music for the Opening Ceremony

Of the Athens Olympics in 2000. Spectacular.

First time I've seen so many percussionists on stage together with a Symphony Orchestra. Exciting.

Sun – L's concert. Fabulous.

And in between – friends to stay, and play!

Mountain biking, eating, shopping, talking, even some sleep.

And glorious weather

All weekend!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Time is slipping away.
Spring Break is almost over. And what do I have to show for it?

Hmmm.... Well, last weekend at my scrapbook retreat, I did complete two projects that were hanging around my neck. It was nice to hang out with Barb and to do some digital scrapping with her. And I went through that enormous pile of papers that just wouldn't go away. I went with my mum to see a new Van Gogh movie at the IMAX theatre. And I spent a lovely afternoon with my friend, Karla. I went to lunch with Grace and did some school planning with her. I've also visited Monika a few times. A little bit of ironing got done.

What do I have to NOT show for it? Wasting time on the computer, a bit of reading, the entire first season of Heroes under my belt, sore muscles from sessions with my Wii "trainer". A bit of cleaning, which, although it is initially satisfying, promptly disappears.

I'm still wondering why we start Spring Break in the winter, and why the weather is always miserable (although we did see some sun yesterday!). Questions which will remain unanswered.

The best moment of the break had to be arriving home after being away away, to see Little Joe, who ran out to the car to hug me, announcing, "I'm so glad that you're back - I've been alone with Dad for a whole weekend!" It's so nice to be appreciated!

Three more days till the ratrace begins again!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Vignettes from the weekend

I am tired.

Wanna know how I know?

I put a pot of potatoes on for a vigorous boil for tonight's dinner…

Only to discover when dinner was ready, that

we had a pot of BLACK, CRUNCHY rice.

Supremely unedifying.

What a spate of glorious, glorious weather!

Hot, sunny, and clear.

Without the humidity of summer.

Long may it continue!

Supremely edifying.

We have had such a lovely weekend.

On Saturday, a bunch of us (5 families) met up at a school Gala Day.

Such great fun - You've just gotta go to these things with a bunch of friends.

The kids ate lotsa junk food and bounced around on sugar highs!

The moms hunted gourmet bargains (cakes for $2 !) and

free samples (sacrificial love - to help preserve their husband's waistlines).

The lads…who knows what the lads talked about! My guess would be – technology (and probably technology)!

And the kids also went hunting….for free stuff they thought their parents needed! Bless their woolly socks.

Photo frames, a CD rack, paintings, old computer parts, a mat, pottery, nic nacs, vases, books, fake flowers, and even A MOP!

Turns out that the mop was actually not a giveaway, but had been a tool in use! Ooops!

Dinner together is always a treat.

Fish 'n chips with friends.


Sunday's sermon was great.

All about turning our "Some day…" into "This day…"


So nice to spend time with family on a Sunday afternoon.

And to explore the nearby rocky shore with curious boys.

People enjoying the sunshine everywhere at the beach.

Picnics, kites, sunbathing, strolling, swimming,

Seniors having games of petanque in the sand –

E's comment:

" Oh great! A day we can all look forward to – the day our parents start playing petanque!"

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Imprinted memories


Don't you love handwritten notes?

Some of my most favourite notes have the words,

"I love you….. Mummy/Sweetheart/Friend"

They're the ones you look at over and over again.

And they're the ones you will always keep in your heart.


Ange of the North,

Have lots of fun creatively imprinting memories

at your Scrapbooking Weekend!

Don't forget to come up for air…


PS. This is a photo taken by E – I have 'borrowed' it

cos I like it so much!



Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Spring Break - Let the Adventure Begin!

Spring Break has officially begun. And as seems to be the custom here, the weather has been particularly wintery, even with snow on Sunday!
I can't really count the weekend, as we always have them and this one was particularly busy with errands and jobs. So yesterday was really my first day. I stayed in bed until 10am with a wonderfully scrumptious new book, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, then had a session with my cute personal Wii trainer. The rest of my day was spent at Monika's house. It's the move that never ends! Only it will be ending quite soon, as we have tenants moving in next week. We also transported yet more boxes to her new home, which is quite lovely. I think it will work out, and she seems to be almost happy about it. Although, if you ask her what she thinks, you'll get a very Eeyore-ish response.

The best part of yesterday was post-work, when I went to the pub with Phil and Christine and Barb and Larry (poor Chris was the only one who had to be at work, AND had to teach night school) for a Corona and appies. Yummy!

Here's our ketchup bottle, complete with the requisite French labeling. How Canadian!

Wish you were there!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Gallivanting around the Nth Island (Pt 9) - the end!

As promised, this is the last post about our gallivanting around the North Island during our summer holidays.

Two things of note.

Firstly, my 3 lads discovered a love of pumice carving! We would go exploring at least one beautiful beach each day whilst we were at Taupo. Because Taupo is actually a sleeping volcano, many of the eastern beaches are strewn with pumice from volcanic eruptions thousands of years ago. It's incredible to hold a piece of pumice and realise that there is a piece of history in your hands! And then the boys would carve their way into history!!!

L particularly was mesmerised by the concept of pumice carving. He was first inspired by his dad carving a fishing hook. L would pick interesting pieces of pumice off the beaches and bring them home to finish his carving. Each morning, the first thing he would do after breakfast, would be to sit on the deck and continue his carving work. His tools of trade were the flotsam and jetsam off the beach – bits of driftwood and the like. I was so touched, that the first major artwork he sculpted, was for his mom! Isn't it great, ange2ange?!


Secondly – a major highlight for us all, was our trip to the Waitomo Glowworm Caves.

The name "Waitomo" means – 'water entering a hole in the ground'.

At Waitomo, there is an enormous underground labyrinth of ancient caves which have developed over thousands of years. Amazing limestone formations, humungous caverns, beautiful glowworm grottos, impressive stalactites and stalacmites, underground rivers, hidden waterfalls, etc all lend themselves to a truly subterranean adventure. And adventures, you certainly can have – from abseiling & rappelling hundreds of metres into the inky blackness, conventional caving, rock climbing, or going black water rafting. Or you can take one of the many fascinating tours around this area. Many years ago when I was young and fancy free, a group of friends and I went blackwater rafting. It was a lot of fun and I'm glad I did it then cos I'm not sure that I would be as persuaded to do it now! And I've always wanted to try the "Haggas Honking Holes" adventure, described as 'Indiana Jones Caving'….but the prerequisite that "participants are to be fit and brave" was a wee deterrent!

We were totally wowed by the tour we went on. I know the boys were as spellbound as we were with the magnificent formations, vast caverns, spectacular underground tunnels, and gorgeous glowworms sparkling all around. For me, the highlight was "The Cathedral" - an enormous cavern with amazing acoustics where many famous people including Pavarotti have sung. As we stood in The Cathedral, a group of Korean tourists stopped and broke into song. It was THE MOST spinetingling, beautiful, clear sound I have ever heard (and I was glad for the darkness to hide my tears of emotion!). They sang a Maori love song called "Pokarekareana", made famous by many including Dame Kiri te Kanawa, and Sir Howard Morrison. And they sang it perfectly in about 8 part harmony. It was truly beautiful. We all stood in total silence as a sign of utmost respect, as these Koreans sang our native song. Only later, did I find out that the Koreans consider this song to be their native song too! It appears, that the Maori soldiers taught it to the Korean soldiers during the Korean Wars.

We were floated by boat into an underground system of caves which had the most wonderful glowworms. It was surreal, sitting in pitch blackness on an inky black river, in total silence, with only the lights from the millions of glowworms above. An unexplainable feeling. I suffered terribly with not being able to take photos of all the gorgeous cave decorations and caverns we explored! Photos not allowed! So you will just have to imagine. However, as soon as we were able, I whipped out my camera. This was a photo of our boat disappearing back into the cave from which we exited.

We arrived home tired and happy and glad to have been able to give our boys a taste of some of this beautiful country of ours.

There's plenty more to see…but that, we will have to leave for another trip!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Feeling bleu...

I will post the last “Gallivanting” post soon….when I write it. Hopefully before you start putting up your “Gallivanting” posts from Spring Break!

But today was the annual school Swimming Sports….its advent, perhaps signalling the end of summer and the approach of more autumnal pursuits.

It has been a day of blue. Blue water…blue face paint…blue wigs…and an indisputable victory to the BLUE house team. Should I add, by a huge margin?! But that would be blatant skiting…..!

All the kids did so well.
My finger feels like it has done some work today on the stopwatch!
And I am a little hoarse from enjoying the day a little too much. But it has been such a buzz to see what 'styley' swimming my two have developed.
Great results.
Proud parent.
Tired parent.
It has been quite a week.

Some of my fave photos from the day are shared with you -

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow!

There's something about the week before Spring Break. Why does it always feel so tortuous? And another question that has been plaguing me: why does Spring Break start in the winter? Tell me that.
Monday started with a snowstorm. Just in time to leave for school. Not a nice way to drive - I felt so grumpy! The children at school were happy to throw snowballs, though, and we only had one parent crash into another in the driveway. By the afternoon, almost all the snow was gone.
Report card pressure cooker. Not only was I trying to write my own, but I also spent two sleepy days editing other people's. Surprising bit of trivia: not all teachers are good writers!!
Beautiful weather replaced the snow. Gorgeous sunset on Tuesday over the Fraser River. Those are log booms floating in the water.
And this morning was cold and frosty, but so lovely. We're breaking some old records for cold this week. Brrrr!
Tomorrow, I "get" to teach my middle school music workshop. Please remind me - why did I volunteer to do this?? After that, the stress will be over! Yay! And then, only one more day before two long weeks of delicious freedom!
Farewell, children! Farewell, early morning commute! Farewell, stress and pressure! Until March 30!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Musical Memories

I just spent a large portion of my day at my parents' house, oh so far away. My dad helped me to prepare a middle school workshop on music in the WWII era. He knows so much about this kind of music and was very helpful! I really enjoyed hanging out with him today and having cultural conversations. He's so great!
Do you remember those black discs?

Brown things...

There are some things that parents hope they won’t pass onto their offspring.
And there are some things that a parent may hope their children will inherit from the other parent.

It would seem that both my boys have NOT inherited their father’s perfect vision.
And I was so hoping to spare them my terrible visual genes. Guess not.

L has just got his new “FredBare” specs for reading the whiteboard in class.
He’s still awfully CUTE though…and I’m such a sucker for the ol' warm brown eyes.

K has been going and going and going, since rushing home from Camp
to fill an unexpected 72hr shift at work.

When we brought him his dinner last night, he was mulling over a child who is very sick
with a highly unusual worm infestation. (BLERRRRK!)
It is thought, that the kid got this infection from SUCKING A SLUG! (double BLERRRRK!)

E’s solution to his father’s conundrum?
Dad, shouldn’t that kid really be seeing a Vet??!”

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Gone Today, Here Tomorrow

Here are my crocuses on Friday afternoon.
Here are the same crocuses on Saturday morning.

Need I say any more?


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