Thirty and Thankful

First of all, a big happy birthday to my marvelous momma Brennie the Babe!

Brennie the Babe

I apologize for the pixelated mess that is this picture but I feel like this picture appropriately captures my mother‘s spirit.ย  Yes, we were born a mere day apart. I’m sure she wanted to make it a same day event but considering she had already been in labour with me for 16 hours, she probably couldn’t hold out another 11 hours. It’s OK mom, I forgive you. I won’t reveal her age because she doesn’t look it, so I will leave it up to you to guess. I love my Brennie very much and I hope she has a beautiful day being the beautiful creature that she is.

Not only is it her day of birth but this post would not be complete without talking about my mom because when I reflect on what I’m thankful for in my life, my mom and my family are a huge piece of the gratefulness pie. I haven’t blogged in a while and I didn’t have a lot of desire to do so until a couple of things happened. One, I have not been feeling so hot these days with my pregnancy. Physically I’m a disaster and still have 10 weeks to go. Two, for some reason I’ve found myself doing a lot of ‘Facebook comparison creeping’ lately. Both of these things have resulted in me being a little down. However, after having a fabulous birthday dinner with all of my friends and reading these amazing and kind words by my buddy Evanoff (which also depict my birthday festivities), I realized I really needed to snap out of it because I have nothing to be down about. Interestingly enough, while I thought about writing this post, the episode of Friends is on where Rachel turns 30. They do a flashback to all of the ridiculous things that the friends did while turning 30. I came to the conclusion that a) they look like they’re 40, not 30 and b) I’m much happier with the state of my life than any of theirs and they’re on TV! So, I must be doing something right.

I’m going to make a little list and if it bores you, please stop reading and start reflecting on all of the things you are thankful for ๐Ÿ™‚

1) As mentioned above, my family is numero uno. My mom and dad are still a big part of my life and they are both healthy and young at heart. My mom has always been one of my best friends and she still is. I’m grateful that this relationship has remained stable throughout my life and it did not suffer the ups and downs that usually come with being a teenager. I can only hope the same will happen with me and my babe as time progresses. Speaking of babes, I’m also grateful for my sister. Even though we are six years apart, we get along famously. We have the exact same sense of humour and I think we bring out the best in each other:

Melon and I #2 Melon and I

I am proud of my tiny dancer and am really enjoying the changes that have happened with her over the last year or so. She surprises me everyday, particularly in regards to how good she was with that rifle.

Of course a list of my family would also not be complete without talking about my hubby and best straight, Marko. He really is my soul mate I think. I’m not sure that’s really a concept I believe in, but we’re about as close as you can get.

Mountains 2

And dear Doge, he makes me happy. He’s kind, supportive, sweet, thoughtful, hardworking and generally an all around good person. He likes almost everything about me and tolerates the rest with a patience that has gone unmatched. Most importantly, he lets me be me and I actually think he enjoys all of the ridiculousness that comes with it and that my friends, is saying a lot. I am a difficult woman to love and he does a damn good job. Plus he’s kind of a hotdog, so that’s always an added bonus ๐Ÿ™‚ I am so, so grateful he is the person that I am bringing a child into the world with because I can’t think of a better partner for what sounds like a biggest roller coaster of life.

2) My friends. For anyone who knows me, you know my friends are a huge part of my life. I am also very lucky because I have had the same group of friends since high school and in some cases, public school. We are hilarious to us. As Lindz mentioned in her blog, we’re not always hilarious to bouncers but for the most part, we are well received. Particularly as we get older. Although I’m thinking that the older we get we may have toned it down just a bit, resulting in a higher acceptance rate. But then when I look at recent pictures like this:

Emily's bday

….and maybe not so much. Maybe we are just getting older and people feel sorry for us so they accept us in our geriatric state. I’ll take either.

Not only do I have fantastic friends who have been a part of my life forever, I also have some amazing new ones that have become a part of our ‘group’, as well as some new beauties from the college. On that note, I am very grateful that Durham College started hiring lots and lots of instructors born in the same decade as me ๐Ÿ™‚ That’ll do Durham, that’ll do.

I really could go on and on about the topic of my friends but since they are an integral part of my blog, I’ll leave it to you to do some exploring ๐Ÿ˜‰

3) My career. This section is going to be a little long because I’ve never explained how I got where I currently am but it has been a series of really, really fortunate coincidences on my part and I feel they need to be discussed in detail. Yes, I have gone after and taken every opportunity that has come my way but lots of people do this and they have not been as successful. I know how lucky I am. I applied for a job as a learning facilitator at Durham College while finishing my Masters degree in 2011. Instead of being a successful candidate for this position, they hired me to teach. I would be lying if I said my whole life I have wanted to teach. Really, I was out of options in university and so I applied to Teachers College during the double cohort year. Not a wise choice but somehow I got in somewhere. I only got into one out of three choices, but I got in! After this I was again lucky enough to learn of a full time job in Calgary and for two years I taught in the elementary system out West. There were no jobs here and yet I was hired over the phone in Calgary. Lucky, yes. This gave me the experience to get into grad school and the experience that Durham was looking for to hire me. After only one semester as partial load at Durham, I was eligible for an interview for a full-time Communications position. I interviewed being told not to get my hopes up as I had limited experience and at first I did not get the job. However, through yet another series of fortunate events for me, I became the first choice and received full-time within four months of being hired. I’ve been told this doesn’t happen. I don’t know why it happened to me and not one of the dozens of other qualified, hard-working individuals I work with at Durham everyday but I am so grateful that it did. I love my job and I love Durham College. My boss has been the most supportive administrator I could have ever hoped for, not only through my hiring but into my pregnancy. I also have AMAZING colleagues. As I mentioned above the ‘face of Durham’ is changing and I work with so many talented, young and dynamic instructors who teach me new things everyday. Loving the people you work with at all levels is key in job satisfaction and I’m not sure I would be able to top this elsewhere.

The icing on the dream job cake was when I happened into a sessional instructor position at the university. This occurred a year after I received full-time at Durham. I will not go into detail but landing this was even more coincidental than Durham and it is pretty much my dream job. I teach teachers, how to teach. Somehow they let me do this. It’s pretty mind-blowing for me. I have been doing this in conjunction with Durham for a year and honestly, if it stayed like this for the rest of my life, I would be happy. Sometimes I complain about marking (really this is the only downfall to the job) but I know how lucky I am. Sometimes writing it out though really fills you with a sense of gratitude. I think more people should do this and they might realize things are a little better than they perceive them to be. Our generation LOVES to complain about their jobs and I really think this attitude is only going to get worse. Flashback 100 years ago to these children in their coal minery best and I think we can probably put it into perspective:

I am going to stop my list here. There are other things I am grateful for but I read a quote the other day, โ€œIf you want to feel rich, just count the things you have that money can’t buy” and this list pretty much sums it up; Fab family, amazing amigos and a satisfying career.

And just to round it out because this post has been far too serious, lately I’ve been thankful for:

Doge


Just look it up. Having a little Shiba ourselves, Mark and I are dying right now for this somewhat despised meme. It’s been around for a while but all of a sudden it’s exploded all over the internet.

Home Alone 1 and 2:

I love Christmas and I love hijinks. These movies bring together the best of both worlds. Somehow I can pretty much find one of these movies on TV everyday in the month of December. It makes my heart happy. Side note: Ignore Home Alone 3 and 4. They are terrible and I pretend they don’t exist.

Jack Sparrow:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GI6CfKcMhjY

This music video makes me want to die. It’s old, I know. But Mark and I didn’t even discover it until a year or so ago and it is my go-to whenever I need a pick me up. I’m sure we all have that picture, image, song, etc. that can take us out of any terrible mood, this my mine. I love The Lonely Island and Michael Bolton is a straight up joke bag, so much like the Christmas/hijinks combo of Home Alone, this video does not disappoint.

Anyway my dears, that’s all for today and probably for a couple of weeks. Although I do have my next blog floating around in my head which makes it much easier to write. Perhaps I will surprise everyone, including myself with another posting soon! Thanks for reading and a question to prompt your genius; What are you most thankful for?

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Penny Got Knocked Up By Robbie the Creep!

It’s true – I’m knocked up. My name isn’t Penny, my husband isn’t Robbie, and he really isn’t a creep but I felt this was a fitting way to tell the inter webs that I have a bun in the oven.ย  I certainly thought it was appropriate for Facebook:

Pregnancy Announcement

As the announcement alludes to, this is from Dirty Dancing, which is hands down one of my favourite movies. Leon, Julie and I can recite it almost word for word. If you don’t at least know the line, ‘Nobody puts Baby in the corner,’ you are pretty much dead to me.

Now, I’m 5 months along, which doesn’t excuse my absence from blogging but for some of you out there who found yourselves unexpectedly pregnant, you can maybe sympathize with the fact that I simply have not had the mental fortitude to be able to blog and work a full and part-time teaching job. Pregnancy brain is real my friends.

I’m starting to get my feet back on the ground and get back into the groove of work but the last 5 weeks have been rough. Some nights I would come home so exhausted that I barely made it through dinner before I went to bed. I also became a fan of afternoon naps. However, that seems to be behind me. AND I honestly miss blogging. I can’t say I’m back three or four times a week but I would love to write weekly and put something out on Mondays or Tuesdays. I think that is reasonable….right? Right? Blogging friends, let me know. I feel guilty for giving it up but I just didn’t have the motivation and I didn’t want to be putting out forced garbage. You can always tell when someone is blogging for the sake of blogging. There’s also the little fact that I wasn’t over the moon when I found out I was pregnant. In fact, I probably looked more like this:

Baha, that one gets me every time.

So yeah, I wasn’t happy and I wasn’t excited, I was actually kind of terrified and mad. Odd combination but that’s the best I can identify. The staff at the doctor’s office kept asking me how excited I was and I would respond that I wasn’t. In one case, the medical assistant made an awkward face, turned on her heel and left the room. I don’t think she was used to that attitude from an appropriately aged mother-to-be. Needless to say, for the summer, I didn’t really felt like turning my blog into a baby blog because I didn’t wanted to talk about it. I could pretend it wasn’t a part of my life but it was a BIG part of it. Your whole life changes and your stomach becomes the center of your universe. I knew from June 18th on (my sister’s b-day) that I was rocking a blastocyst and I tried to keep blogging like normal but once I came back from Calgary I didn’t have the heart to keep going and ignoring the game changer growing inside me.

But happy news…I am now very, very excited! One of my best friends and my now sister-in-law, Leon, is having a baby (soon!) and baby fever is kind of spreading in our group of friends.ย  Here is a picture of the two of us crowning at Emily’s engagement party:

This baby love has really helped. With the exception of our friend Lisa, who had a baby when we were in our early 20’s, no one in our ‘group’ of high school friends has a child. We are pretty content to be in our twosomes and do carefree couples things, usually involving alcohol. I was not looking forward to giving this up and I didn’t know how my friends were going to react. However, they have all been gents about it, which shouldn’t surprise me. We have always been supportive of each other and our adventures, whether it be getting a pair of glasses tattooed on our faces, or growing a fetus.

Finally, my blog was also about my attempts to get back to the gym and lighter living and I can’t say that being pregnant really inspires this. I can’t fit into any of my old pants or jeans. I sometimes struggle with the lung capacity needed to teach some of my classes, which clearly doesn’t equate to full-blown gym workouts. My feet are already starting to swell. Today I looked down to my feet pushing up over my sandals. This.has.never.happened. I do not have wide feet. In fact, I quite like my feet. But I have a feeling those days are over. For example I feel like I could be sporting a pair of these beauties:

Fear not, this is not me…but I feel like it could be.

Last but not least….I am hungry. I’ve always liked food but now I’m actually hungry on a frequent basis. This is a deadly combination. I wanted to include a picture of a really large pregnant woman to forecast my pregnancy future but when I typed it into Google images of Jessica Simpson kept coming up, so I will save you the visual. You get the idea.

The summation of all of these factors hopefully gives you an idea of why I simply stopped blogging. However, I think I’m ready to get back on the wagon. Obviously the focus is going to change a little bit because my focus is going to be changing a little bit but being able to blog about my life will prove to me that I’m still a human being. Not just a human being maker.ย 

So if you can forgive me, please keep reading. I promise to make it up to you with tales from faraway lands in the very near future.

The Time I Saw Fireworks Three Nights in a Row

As the title of this post indicated, there were a lot of fireworks this weekend. Which was great because I missed them last year and was quite sad inside. But I didn’t just sit in a lawn chair and watch fireworks for 72 hours, there were other activities occurring as well. On Saturday after a swim and some clean up, Mark and I headed to Khaki and Julie‘s cottage in Minden. Mark put on his best ventriloquist dummy smile for the ride:

Puppet Face

Over the years the word cottage has changed to the term ‘cottage cheese‘ and now it is just straight up ‘cheese.’ When you ask Julie what she’s doing in the summer, she is often ‘cheesing.’ Personally the term reminds me of cottage cheese cellulite, so it always makes me laugh when she says that since Julie is one of the fittest girls that I know.

After a beautiful 2 hour car ride with the pups we got arrived and Bolt ran out of the car and took a 4 minute pee. I’m not lying. He drank a ton of pool water when I was swimming and held it the whole way. He may have his faults but he is a champ at holding his bladder.

There were several kids on Khaki’s dock, which I’ve learned is Julie’s nightmare so we took the dogs for a walk. On the way back we met a new canine friend. A big black lab decided to follow us the entire way back to the cottage even though we repeatedly told it to go home. It also tried to be friends with Bolt because all dogs seem to gravitate towards him even though he is pretty antisocial. Bolt is hands down a people dog. He pretty much wants nothing more in life than to be a person. One day Facebook thought Bolt was a person and it was the best day of his life:

Facebook funnyAnyway, I was so, so proud of my little buddy. While he clearly wanted to bite the dog’s face, he listened to me while I repeatedly told him, ‘leave it’ which is his code word for chill out. It may have also had something to do with the fact that the dog had clearly just had surgery and did not pose much of a threat but I like to think he’s coming along…..just a bit.

We had a nice family BBQ dinner with Khaki, Julie, Rob, myself and Khaki’s daddio Lane. Lane was a high school visual arts teacher for many, many years, so I found him very easy to talk to. He also seemed to have a million stories about Mark’s relatives because he taught most of them at Port Perry High School. The antics were exactly what I expected; they featured a lot of trouble and even a shot gun.

After dinner I took a couple of pics off of the dock because it was seriously beautiful, this is my favourite:

Dock

Dinner was pretty late so by the time we were done it was time for fireworks. Lane and the neighbours put together their fireworks stock pile and we had a good old show. Mark was the firework’s photographer because we decided it was his talent in life.

Fireworks

Then I took a turn because I didn’t want to be upstaged by his talent:

Fireworks

We had a nice little fire after the big show.

Fire

Julie is a little camera shy but Hallie is not.

I also enjoyed some fireside snuggles with Bolter:

Snuggles

Apparently fireworks do wonders for my hair.

We went to bed around midnight but I must admit, I got into the book I was reading and was up until probably 2am or so. This led to a little sleep in the next day. After a late breakfast we went for a ride in Lane’s brand new boat. This was a highlight for me. The lake is gorgeous and so are the cottages on it. A couple of beings who did not enjoy it were Bolt and Miyou. Miyou kept trying to run to the back of the boat and walk dangerously close to the motor, while Bolt would not leave the front of the boat and Mark’s side.

Bolt

After our boat ride we headed into town and then it was time for us to pack up and head to our next event, Emilio’s Canada Day BBQ. We said our goodbyes to the cutest cheese eva…

Cottage

…and were on our way.

We arrived at Emily’s at 5, only to discover she had been detained at work until 6:15. Poor little gal. Luckily Cork is a hostess with the mostest and entertained Mark and Kris while I went and made myself at home with a little nap.

Everyone else (including Emilio) showed up around 6 and the festivities were underway. Dinner was delicious. Cork and Emilio made us BBQ, I brought a salad and there were tons of fruit and veggies with dip. However, I must say, dessert was the highlight and I rarely say this. My friend Joanna brought her amazing apple and caramel/Skor dip. There were also cookies. To top it off, Lindz and Evan brought little cakes which were topped with whip cream and homemade raspberry jam. So delicious. We lit those babies up with sparklers and sang a very loud and very patriotic Oh Canada. You can see I’m pretty into it here:

BBQ

Mark and Corey…not so much.

But just look at how patriotic a dessert can be!

Dessert

After dinner we had a fire and were treated to the most elaborate fireworks display I’ve ever seen in someone’s backyard,ย  courtesy of Emily and Corey’s neighbours. They had the craziest sounding fireworks any of us had ever heard, ever. They sounded like those sticks that you can buy at the dollar store that when you tip them back and forth they make odd, whiney sounds. This is what a couple of sets of the fireworks sounded like. It was pretty much my dream. It was really weird though. They were having this intense fireworks show, on which they must have spent almost a thousand dollars but no one was making a sound. It was like a ghost was setting them off. Obviously we helped to create the kind of cheering and fanfare that was necessary for such a spectacle but I really just don’t understand some people.

Speaking of not understanding some people…..at one point Corey fell asleep. He had been up for almost 28 hours at this point, so no one could blame him for that. However, Emily took it upon herself to first set a cup on his head and see if she could balance it. Once this was achieved a few times without him waking up, she then took to batting the cup off of his head with a giant stick.

Cup Smash

Let’s just say, Corey didn’t stay asleep after this. He was such a good sport about it though. That is true love. I would have thrown Emily and her stick into the fire. I was laughing so hard I was screaming though, so I’m glad someone invited that clown to the party.

This was pretty much our cue to head out and again we got home around midnight. It had been a pretty busy weekend so I don’t think either of us could last much longer.

Then, something incredible happened. We slept until NOON the next day. NOON. It was glorious. Mark was off and this rarely happens, so he really wanted to take advantage and make it the laziest day possible. I think he succeeded. He literally did nothing but sleep and play X Box. I managed to make it outside for a swim and to do a few sets of upper body exercises but overall, it was just a beautiful day.

Around 8:30PM we headed up to the fireworks spot that we stumbled upon last year. At one of the highest peaks in the city you can literally see all of the fireworks shows going on from Oshawa to Pickering, all the way out to Toronto. The peak also looks down in a neighbourhood that is very fireworks friendly, so at any given time you have three or four backyard fireworks going off and one major one on the horizon. We arrived at 9PM and were the second ones there.

Mark the Loner

By 9:30 there were cars parked up and down the sidewalk and the side of the road. There were easily 100 people there. Obviously it’s not a well-kept secret.

Busy Road

Other than being a beautiful display and a nice night, it was pretty uneventful. However, one funny moment for both of us occurred when an older couple came by with their tripod. The man wanted to take some professional pictures of the fireworks and of his wife with a sparkler. He lit the sparkler for his wife and she literally just stood there with it in her hand. The man had to direct her to wave it around, which she then did but made the most pitiful circles I’ve ever seen. If he hadn’t of told her to do anything she would have just stood there until it burned out. I couldn’t resist getting a picture because seriously…..who doesn’t know what to do with a sparkler!???

Sparkler Genius

I wanted to steal the sparkler out of her hand and show her just what she should have been drawing with it but I didn’t want to get burned. As far as I know she has only ever been trained to use a sparkler as a weapon.

How was your long weekend (or just weekend if your Americano)? What is your long weekend tradition?

Tales of the Tartan

As mentioned yesterday, my Friday was so filled with fun that I needed to break it into two posts. Warning: those of you here for fitness or food, this post has none of that. This is all about another kind of good time, so if you like to smile, stay with me!

After coming home and cleaning up a bit, it was time to continue reliving my youth with one of my oldest and best friends, Emilio. Here is a picture from a few years ago when we stole a wheelbarrow from Hope Depot.

I kid, but isn’t that what it looks like we’re doing?

Emily and her beau Cork came over around 8PM and we had a few pops before heading over the local watering hole, the Tartan Tavern – http://www.tartantavern.com/

Now, the Tartan and I do not have a great history. Back in the day when I was a younger lass, I was removed from the establishment for singing karaoke when it was not karaoke night. I was also removed on my 28th birthday because someone mistook me for another girl who was ‘reported falling all over the bar.’ This girl was a brunette. Not really sure what was going on there. However, now that we’ve moved, I live so close to the Tartan I thought, ‘Why not? I’m a 29 year old PROFESSOR, so things should be copacetic.’ I’m so happy to report that they were! When we got there we immediately met up with these two lovely ladies:

Image

Renee

…..and Sherrie. Note: I did not have an appropriate picture of Sherrie from the evening, so I admit I stole this from her Facebook profile.

Something magical was happening at the Tartan that evening. Not only did I get to stay in the establishment the entire night but several individuals apparently popped some tags at Value Village before coming to the bar. We actually asked them if this was the case and they confirmed it. It was an instant connection. First, we saw these tight pantalons on a young gentleman:

Image

And then there was this creature, truly a kindred spirit:

Image

Yes, a leopard pose for a leopard vest. He was also wearing tiger pants and Emily and I felt it was necessary to pick him up to show these off.

Image

After a little bit of socializing with our new friends, we also decided to do some justice to the dance floor. Mark likes to pick me up when we dance and I was very afraid I was going to be removed from the premises if he kept up with these shenanigans, so I felt it necessary to inform the bouncer that we were fully in control and that no one would be injured. He said he liked our moves, so I felt comfortable enoughย  to get my Patrick Swayze on. I got someone to take an impromptu pic to showcase our talent:

We practice our lifts in the water, so it always comes out just right.

This image was more or less for Leanne and Julie, so I hope you appreciate it girls ๐Ÿ˜‰

Overall it really was a great day and night. Emily texted me the next day and said she was in such a great mood from the Friday we had just had and I have to agree, it really felt like I was 18 years young again…except I’m not. I can happily say I can go out to an establishment and not be targeted for removal and that I can have a really amazing time without doing anything that jeopardizes my professionalism. When I first started blogging, I worried about my students finding my writing and then I thought, I’m not doing anything that I wouldn’t want them to do. I’m not setting a poor example or being a bad role model. I’m young(ish), like to have fun and I think that makes me a better educator. I can relate to my students and I hope that they can relate to me too. It also makes me a happy person to be around most of the time. I’ve also realized through my recent friendships with my high school teachers that really, past a certain age or maturity level, we’re all the same. You grow up, but you don’t grow old. That is my life lesson for the day. On that note, Corey, Emily, Mark and I would like to say goodnight and have yourself a terrific Tuesday.

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Am I a good group photographer or what?