Sunday, March 31, 2013

Last SOL for March - #31 Easter

Today is the last Slice of Life for March! This wonderful challenge was created by Stacey and Ruth of "Two Writing Teachers". It gave us all an opportunity to write daily and share these slices for our lives for one full month. I,  for one, am sorry to see it finish. Yest there will be slices on Tuesday so we will be able to keep in touch. I am so hoping that this discipline of writing daily will continue.

Many slicers have written about really paying attention, really noticing those moments in our days which can spark our writing.
I liken this to the weekly  photography challenge I do called  "Shadow Shot Sunday" - because I am always on the lookout for shadows no matter where I am.
Now, I will be actively searching for those small moments that can lead me to write daily.

This may be the end of SOL March but it is really a beginning - of a habit of writing, of paying closer attention, of new friendships.

Thank you to all who visited, who commented with such encouraging, supportive words. It has been a grand month!

                  Happy Easter - one and all!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Shadow Shot Sunday

Yesterday was a beautiful  day - cool, but sunny. I was out for a bit and captured a few shadows.

I had just taken out this dead plant and was struck by its shadows.

Our poor inukshuk - toppled over. Now that the snow is almost gone, he can be restored to glory.

In honour of Easter:

Be sure to check here for wonderful shadows from around the world!

Wishing everyone a Happy Easter!

Friday, March 29, 2013

SOL #30 - March 30th

Today is day 30 of the Slice of Life March, the writing challenge sponsored and run by Stacey and Ruth of "Two Writing Teachers".
After today, there is only one more slice for March. I have made it to the end (well almost -  1 to go) and am proud of that. I will continue with the Tuesday Slice.

This year Easter and the whole lead up to it has not been what I have been used to. We have not attended church in the past couple of months. I miss the music, the prayers, communion. I miss the community of worshippers. Every day, I read  from "Our Daily Bread", I try to enter prayers and gratitudes. but it is not the same.

A few times I was able to take part in the Walk with the cross - not this year.
In my old church, there was a sunrise Easter service - there are none here. There is something about seeing the sun rise and singing ":Hallelujah ".

Easter is a joyous time and I plan to go to church. I have missed it. A new beginning. A time to rejoice

When I was young, I can always remember going to church with a new bonnet and dress. Now I seldom wear a hat.
One of the most joyous services was Palm Sunday in Montreal, when we visited my in-laws. Children and older people came in waving palms branches and we all sang. Very uplifting.

I realize this is a hodgepodge of memories and thoughts. But, I wrote as I thought  and remembered
- rather than edit and change.

SOL #29 - March 29th

Today is day 29 of the Slice of Life March, the writing challenge sponsored and run by Stacey and Ruth of "Two Writing Teachers".
There are only two more days left - hard to believe. This month of writing has been a challenge at times but a blessing as well. It has reinforced in me the need to write. It has also opened me  up to so many wonderful people. There has been so much  honesty and such heartfelt posts.  I feel much closer to several wonderful women.

 We looked after my husband's son's 3 - almost 4 - year old.  I had forgotten just how exhausting that can be. He arrived at 9 and his dad picked him up at 5. In between, we:
- played cars
-taught him how to do dominoes
-read several books
-made paper bunnies
-dyed eggs
-drew pictures
-watched TV
--made paper Easter eggs
-answered at least a hundred "whys"
-fed him lunch and several snacks
-wiped his nose many times
-gave him one 2 minute timeout
-watched "Toy Story 3" (my first time)
-and listened to many stories

We collapsed on the couch after he left and could have napped!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

SOL #28 - march 28th

Today is day 28 of the Slice of Life March, the writing challenge sponsored and run by Stacey and Ruth of "Two Writing Teachers".
There are only 3 days left. This month of writing is almost over - and I am actually ad to see it finish. There are some amazing people taking part. I will be going back to catch up on days I just could not read many posts.

Today I received the painting I won in the  "Paint Party Friday Auction to Benefit Sandy Hook Elementary School".
Not only is it an amazing painting by Kristin Dudish, but it was a very worthwhile auction. I know everyone was deeply effected by the deaths at Sandy Hook. As a teacher it still haunts me.
I joined the 26 RAK for Sandy Hook in February and still look for ways to support the community.
So, when I saw the auction advertised, I visited all the artists involved.

It was Kristin's painting "26 Hearts` that really moved me. On her website, she described the creation of her painting. in great detail. I loved that her 6 year old son Tyler even helped in its creation.

Over 4 days I kept checking and bidding up when I needed to. Then on the final night, I stayed up late to ensure I would win it. It was so nerve-racking as sometimes in an auction you miss by seconds. But I was the highest bidder and today I actually have it hanging on my wall. Kristin sent a few other special things as well. Thank you Kristin and Tyler!
I feel very blessed.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Glue it Tuesday

As I watched "The Voice" tonight (my new favourite show), I created this collage of painted papers for "Glue it Tuesday"

I love the idea of creating collages just for the fun of playing with papers. It is so freeing.

Check it out here.

ABC Wednesday - K is for Kandinsky

This week at ABC Wednesday, the letter is K.

K is for Kandinsky.

Kandinsky is " credited with painting the first purely abstract  works." (Wikipedia)

One of his most famous abstracts is  "Colour Study. Squares with Concentric circles."  1913

Here is the ATC I created with sharpies based on this painting. Very soothing to paly with colour!

Be sure to check here for great K choices.for the week.

SOL # 26 - March 26th

Today is day 26 of the Slice of Life March, the writing challenge sponsored and run by Stacey and Ruth of "Two Writing Teachers".
There are only a few days left - hard to believe. This month of writing has pased quickly and has almost become a habit.

Each morning I get 2 newspapers and skim through them as I have my breakfast. I tear out stories that I need to read in depth for after supper.

This morning i was looking for an article about the 1,600 km walk by young native people, from a reserve in northern Quebec to the nation's capitol in Ottawa. I had seen the news report last night that they had arrived in Ottawa after walking through the winter months. The walk started with one youth and gradually added over 300 native people as he walked through communities. They were trying to bring the plight of native people in Canada to the government's attention.

There was very little support from the government to celebrate their trek when they arrived..
In the Toronto paper there was 1 picture on page 6 with 2 lines. In our local paper there was a longer article but on page 12 of the classifieds.

Our illustrious prime minister chose to be in Toronto to greet the most important pandas from China who will be in Canada for 10 years. It says a lot about this Harper government where their priorities are.

Monday, March 25, 2013

SOL #25 - March 25th

It is day 25 of the Slice of Life March, a wonderful challenge being held by Stacey and Ruth at "Two Writing Teachers". Less than a week to go - this month has gone by quickly.

We were shopping Sunday afternoon at Costco and it was packed. Shopping there is not one of my favourite things to do - except for visiting the book section. And again, I did not leave without a book ( and a magazine)
"Stretching for 50+/ Core Strength for 50+ by Dr. Karl Knopf looks to be the perfect book for what I need now. My flexibility, especially in my knee is poor. I start a  new round of physio today.

My husband bought me a spring bouquet of flowers.This is his favourite place to buy flowers - usually roses.

 He has done this  almost every 2 weeks (unless we have a plant) since we started dating 13 years ago. That is a lot of flowers,.We both love flowers on our dining room table. They are lovely to look at and smell. They do give joy

.One of my joy cards (which I have been making regularly  this year - it is my word of the year) fits this well.

I had been talking about this with the secretary at my Valentine's. My husband had sent me roses at school and she had brought them to me. I told her that he does this every 2 weeks or so. She said her husband had better not waste their money on flowers - they just die. She would rather have a sweater!

Yes, the flowers will die eventually, but they do give so much joy while they are here.

What's your opinion?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sunday Weekly Wrap-Up

This week seemed to speed by - I did not get as much done as I wanted but did do a number of other things as well.


I completed 3 collages this week for:

Glue it Tuesday - a new meme that is very open. Mine was done to celebrate spring

Collage Obsession -the theme was "I can fly"

Joy Cards

I also completed several more joy cards.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

SOL #24 -March 24th

Today is day 24 of the Slice of Life March, the writing challenge sponsored and run by Stacey and Ruth of "Two Writing Teachers".
There is only a week left - hard to believe. It has definitely become a necessity to write each day. I only hope I can continue on my own. Having the accountability and the camaraderie of the SOL has been a great help.

Saturday morning my husband attended a retirement workshop put on by OTIP. There were some gloomy statistics and information. Besides information about pensions and insurance there was some advice about retiring:

We have to reinvent ourselves - we are no longer defined by our past lives.

Lifelong learning will keep our minds active.

Ask yourself:    Where am I today?
                         Where do I want to be?
                          How am I going to get there?

Everyone has a money story. What is mine?

Retirement is more than just money - it's about finding the right emotional and financial balance.

Retire to something, not from something.

It was a valuable workshop. I have some more tools to assess whether this is the year to retire. It also really started the dialogue with my husband about when I need/want/should retire.

Friday, March 22, 2013

SOL#23 - March 23rd

Today is day 23 of the Slice of Life March, the writing challenge sponsored and run by Stacey and Ruth of "Two Writing Teachers".

The weekend has arrived! But it will be busy, just as this week has.
Friday was my student teacher's last day with us. She has been practice teaching here for 4 weeks. I am really sorry to see her go, as were the children.
She will be an asset to the profession - she had such a wonderful rapport with the children and developed several excellent units. It was Lisa who suggested robots to end the 3D geometry unit.
She is hoping to teach in Italy and then England for a year.

Today was also our marble party - a party the children earn by filling a jar with marbles by performing cohesively as a group. It was great that it worked out for Lisa's last day!
The children planned their party and wanted food (of course), pjs and stuffies and electronics.
A fun time was had by all.

I even learned a new game - if I had a smartphone I might become addicted: 4Pics and a word. I love word games - this would be on a lot!

My husband and I then had supper out at Swiss Chalet (a chicken place we love), as a gift from Lisa. What a lovely start to the weekend.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

SOL#22 - March 22

Today is day 22 of the Slice of Life March, the writing challenge sponsored and run by Stacey and Ruth of "Two Writing Teachers".
It is hard to believe we are heading into the last week of March and the last few days of Slice of Life for March. I wasn't too sure at the start that I would be able to complete a daily slice. But creating the slice before bedtime and scheduling to go online for 2:30 a.m.,  has worked very well. I am even up past midnight many nights and can post sooner and post to the "Two Writing Teachers"

Thursday my husband and I attended  a Bowfire concert in Brantford.
We had first seen this group 7 years ago and actually appeared on their DVD. (2 seconds worth - don't blink or you'll miss us!)

Tonight there were 7 fiddlers extraordinaire. Both fiddle and violin music was played; there was stepdancing and several vocals. It  was an amazing show.
Of course we bought their new cd - most of the music that was played  is on the cd.
We came out of the theatre to find our car had almost been towed! We had parked in the tour bus's spot - someone had moved the pylons. Luckily for us someone came to our rescue and we arrived just as the bus was ready to move back!

All in all a wonderful night.

Here is a link to Bowfire -

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Glue it Tuesday

The first "Glue it Tuesday" at "Artsyville", where anything goes as long as there is cut and paste.
Another night of being awake past midnight! So what to do but create some art.
What I  had in mind when I started evolved into something totally different. I had planned to just glue bits of painted papers (created with the gelli plate of course!) down but I soon began to cut out flower shapes in honour of spring (which hasn't really sprung yet!)

Here is my first collage "Spring"   for "Glue it Tuesday" I know there will be more!

Join in here.

Linking as well with

In the Studio

Art Journal Every Day


Paint Party Friday

SOL #21 - March 21

Today is day 21 of the Slice of Life March, the writing challenge sponsored and run by Stacey and Ruth of "Two Writing Teachers".

I read an excellent article Wednesday morning entitled
"Nourish, don't discourage, children's creativity" by Don Morgenson, a professor of psychology at Wilfrid Laurier University.

He states:
"...while our children's intelligence scores were rising, creativity scores have dropped."
While this drop in creativity may be attributed to too much TV and video games and passive play, Mr. Morgenson states that many people "focus their concerns on our public schools which,... are simply not fostering creativity in our children."

I can believe this. Schools are now focused on achieving higher levels on provincial/state tests. Many teachers teach to the test and so much time is spent on language and math that the arts are sacrificed.

Children need art and music and drama.They need to engage in creative thinking activities regularly.

How sad that the very things that give joy, are denied children in school.
I must be a very old-fashioned teacher, as I make sure we do art every week. If I can teach a concept in math or science or social studies and I can bring in art, music or drama, I will.

Case in point was our robots -  this was how we celebrated the unit on 3D geometry and introduced the unit on measurement. Monday, they wrote about their robots in a cooperative group story and then presented their robots, complete with names and story.
We spent 2 afternoons on this, but achieved so much. The children will not remember that we did worksheets on 3D or measurement - they will remember the joy of creating and cooperating.

SOL #20 - March 20th and WOYWW

Today is day 20 of the Slice of Life March, the writing challenge sponsored and run by Stacey and Ruth of "Two Writing Teachers".
After talking about fear and driving yesterday, I thought I'd just say that the drives to school and back were a little bit of a challenge. I got home safe and knew I needed to do something to really relax before bed.
I got my school work done first and then set up my long table in the family room so that I could create papers.
Just playing with paint and the gelli plate is a de-stressor for me. I could feel the tension leave my shoulders.
I only need 30-40 minutes of art time to relax fully.

One of the memes (special art  challenges each week) that I occasionally take part in is WOYWW
(What's on Your Workdesk? Wednesday). It is fun to check what other artists have happening on their workdesks.
This was mine Tuesday night!

(The gelli plate, roller and paints)

(Stencils I used and some of the prints I created)

(Some of the delicious papers created when rolling off extra paint from the roller or stencils - great for backgrounds)

What do you do for relaxation?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

ABC Wednesday - J is for jagged

This week at ABC Wednesday, the letter is J.

I have chosen J for  jagged.

The common definitions are:

1. raggedly notched; sharply irregular on the surface or at the borders.

2. having a harsh, rough, or uneven quality. 

A study in our classroom of lines  always includes the jagged line. It always makes the children (and me) think of lightning.

This is the ATC I created for this week. The background is painted.

Be sure to check out the way others around the world have focused on J  here.

Monday, March 18, 2013

SOL#19 - march 19th

Today is day 19 of the Slice of Life March, the writing challenge sponsored and run by Stacey and Ruth of "Two Writing Teachers". Some topics are much easier to find than other. Today's is a result of the weather.

We are getting freezing rain reports and have been all night (I am writing this at 10 pm Monday).  I don't know what the morning will bring but I am already worried.

Freezing rain had been threatened most of the day and I had been watching the weather throughout the school day. At 3 pm, the snowflakes started. I was on prep so I got my things ready to go home. I get anxious with reports of snow and freezing rain. I have never had a full-blown  anxiety attack, but I have come close.

Twenty-eight years ago I fell asleep behind the wheel of a car, rolled to the side of the road and then, when I was jarred awake, I pulled the car back onto the road, causing it to roll across the highway. My daughter still has the scars across her forehead and I still suffer from the whiplash I received. But we were very lucky. We had been moving from Alberta back to Ontario and had been driving for 24 hours straight. My husband
( now my ex thank God), refused to stop in Winnipeg where I had family.

It took me a year before I drove again. But the fear was there and still exerts its ugly hold on me. I cannot drive on major highways (like the 401). I find it difficult to drive to new places. It takes many repetitions before I am comfortable with the new route. I know my children always were upset because I couldn't drive some places. I tried to find alternatives for them,
Even today, my husband does all the driving when we go anywhere, especially on a long trip. It is hard on him I know, but the fear is so deep, I cannot drive. He is very understanding - he has never forced me to do what I feel I cannot do.

So back to the freezing rain. When the weather turns bad, I can feel the fear rising. I have driven at times with other teachers to work and I have called in sick - as I usually have a migraine by this time.
I know I am a good driver, I know my 1/2 hour route to school, but the fear is always there when the weather is iffy.
I say a prayer every time I get in the car - to be surrounded by angels, to be protected.
I wish I could be different and just get in the car and drive. I have thought of taking another driving course but I have not been able to force myself to.

Hopefully, the morning will not be as bad as I am imagining now.

SOL # 18 - March 18th

Today is day 18 of the Slice of Life March, the writing challenge sponsored and run by Stacey and Ruth of "Two Writing Teachers".

Today is March 18th  and my Dad's birthday. If  he had still been alive he would have been 90 today!  Yet he has been gone for 41 years.

My Dad was born in Scotland but grew up in Winnipeg. He ended up joining the navy at 17 because he wanted to see the world. He got as far as Halifax and was on several destroyers there. The only story I heard him talk about was the time a German sub surrendered. He had a large photo of the surrender document as well as photos of his ships.

He married during the war - to my older brother's mother. She would die of Hodgekin's  disease when my brother was 2.

 My dad obtained his degree in business with honours through the veterans department and then went on to a long career with the bank.

When my brother was 5, he married my Mom and I was born a year later. Two more sons and another daughter were born in the years to follow.

We moved from Winnipeg, to Montreal and then to Toronto.
 My Dad moved up the ladder in the bank , became a manger and then head of a division. He was well respected even though he could not tolerate fools. He was never a yes-man.

At the age of 49 he died, from an accident. At his funeral, I remember the custodian at his branch saying that he would greatly miss Dad - that he always inquired after his family members by name.

It was from my Dad that I got my love of books and my math ability. I also got his build and hair!
He was an extrovert,  a man who could talk with anyone about anything.

My Dad never got to see me graduate from university, marry or see my children.  It was my Mom who walked me down the aisle for my first wedding and my sons when I married the second time.

I think about him a lot, especially on these special days.

 Happy birthday Dad!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Sunday Weekly Wrap-Up

This is the last day of March Break! This week has gone by so quickly. I did not do much art but spent more time with my husband. We were able to relax and rest - something we both needed to do.


I was able to create a fun collage for Collage Obsession. The challenge there this week was fairy tales. Mine was a bit different but seemed to just create itself. - first with the writing of the story and then the artwork. Here is a description of it.

i also created a collage for ABC Wednesday, a fun weekly challenge based on the letters of the alphabet. This past week's letter was I (I was for imbrication - overlapping layers!)

Joy Cards
The most fun was creating more joy cards. I found several great quotes this week and they ended up on cards.

Linking with

Inspire Me Monday   (Create with Joy)


Creative Every Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day!   Have a wonderful week!

SOL #17- March 17th

Today is day 17 of the Slice of Life March, the writing challenge sponsored and run by Stacey and Ruth of "Two Writing Teachers". We are now more than halfway through the challenge. I wouldn't say it is becoming easier, but it is becoming more of a habit and I actively seek out ideas now. It has lead to more writing in other areas as well.

Happy St. Patrick's Day! A day to celebrate the Irish and all things Irish. Leprechauns, rainbows, green beer.

Ireland is a beautiful country, one I would love to visit one day.

It is too bad that each of us does not have a special day to celebrate the countries of our ancestors. Most of us originated from other lands. In my case, my father was born in  Scotland as were all his family. My mother's family was from Norway - my mom was the only one born in Canada.

I have been to Scotland and loved the rolling hills, the castles, the history of the place.I love the bagpipes, the   kilts, the heather.

I have never been to Norway though and neither had my Mom. I know about the fjords, the rosemaling (beautiful folk art) and the food ( we had many a feast when we visited the tantas when I was growing up!).
Someday I would like to visit and learn more.

(top of a stool painted by my aunt)

I have traced our family tree, from both sides and it is fascinating to see old documents and pictures. Someday i would like to trace where the families lived and died and maybe even find more relatives.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

SOL #16 - March 16th

Today is day 16 of the Slice of Life March, the writing challenge sponsored and run by Stacey and Ruth of "Two Writing Teachers". Writing a new slice each day has been a bit of a challenge - sometimes the ideas come quickly and other times it is a bit of a struggle.

Pamela Hodges' post yesterday really struck me as a very useful guide to getting projects completed. I am a great starter - always on the lookout for new ideas. But, at times, I struggle to finish some of these projects.

Pamela's steps just make sense:

1. Have an end goal in mind.
2. Set a date to ship.
3. Break down the process into steps.
4. Be disciplined and follow your plan.

I decided that I needed to try it - maybe it would help me to finish a number of projects I have waiting to be finished.
My first step was to choose 5 distinct projects.
1.  Get healthy/ lose weight/ exercise  - this is ongoing and I start and stop. I even started a blog to keep track.
2. Edit a children's story I wrote and had assessed. I would like to edit it and submit it.
3. Finish writing a children's story I started to  write.
4. Finish setting up my" art studio".

5. Finish an afghan that I started many years ago - just needs the squares joined.

Over the weekend, I plan to go through each of these goals and set up a plan as prescribed by Pamela to complete them.
Wish me luck! (Thanks Pamela for great advice!)