Tuesday, January 26, 2010

It has been that kind of week

Haven't been blogging much of late. Too much going on at work and home to keep me busy. It has been a stressful few days. The worst thing is I am powerless to really do anything about the things I am stressing over.

So today I came home, plunked my little guy in front of the TV, put supper on, and promptly took a small crowbar to the stupid wooden border around the mirror in the powder room. The the dingbat who lived here before us nail gunned and stapled the "decorative border" around the mirror on the wall. And by the way, said dingbat previously had this bathroom painted puke green and purple haze...so I guess I should be grateful for the baby shit brown she threw on the walls to get the house ready for sale. (Hey maybe I could quit teaching and move into the naming paint colors industry?)

Anyhow, I had no plan, few tools, and no one to help out. I got the wooden border off (and a few good chunks of the wall off too- you know- just for shits and giggles), but I cannot get the damned mirror off the wall. It is clamped and glued. I have wrenched the clamps free, but the mirror still stands there.


Somebody better have one for me, because the next tool I am going to take out will likely be a sledgehammer.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Newfoundland at Hand

One of the things I do for extracurricular activities at the school is prepare my students for a competition called Skills Canada. I have been fairly lucky, a few years back a student of mine- one of the most hard working kids I have ever taught, John Matienzo, competed in the Web Design competition and won first place provincially and then went on to place fourth Nationally.

Last year I brought another group of students to compete- we went as a team with other teachers and students from our board. Gerry Goulding was one of the other teachers involved and he is originally from the Rock. The night before the big competition the team went out to a group dinner and it was then that I noticed Gerry’s ring. It was a beautifully crafted gold ring with the shape of the Island on its face; is bolstered by the Newfoundland flag on both sides. I just had to ask him about it.

It turns out Gerry makes the rings himself:

“I got into the business of rings after I came back from Newfoundland one summer. I had purchased a Newfoundland ring from Trinity, Trinity Bay. It wasn't the nicest designed ring, however, it still caught the attention of any fellow Newfoundlander that happened to be in viewing range of my finger. A few people even asked that I purchase them one the following summer. When I visited the place that I bought the ring from the previous summer I found out that they did not make them any longer. I made a decision right there and then that I would design an even better version of the Newfoundland ring that would be both gold or silver and capture both our Island Map and the flag of Newfoundland.”

It is one thing to come up with a great idea, it is quite another to make it a reality. Gerry comments: “It sounds simple to come up with the idea of a Newfoundland ring, however, there were many design hurdles to overcome before I arrived at the current version of the ring. Finding the right people to cast and mold the design proved to be an eye opening experience for someone who was very green to this type of business. Although I do not come from a business background, I have enjoyed the challenge of designing a product and bringing it to market. “

Until recently, Gerry found the best way to sell the rings was using sites such as Kiijii and Craigslist and had a fairly good response. Recently, he set up a website Home Pride Jewelry which showcases the ring and other products he offers such as versions of Irish County Rings custom jobs. I told Gerry I may ask him to a Newfoundland brooch for my mom, as she collects brooches, he was very receptive. He plans to expand his line to include other items such as pendants, bracelets, and earrings. “One of the driving forces behind my motivation to sell Newfoundland jewelry is that we are definitely a flag waving, proud people and love to let everyone know where we are from: the best place in the world! My ring motto is," Newfoundland....always close at hand!"

Thanks Gerry- now get to work on that brooch there are only 343 days left until Christmas!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Just a big thank you!

Stephen Eli Harris is the man behind The Newfoundland and Labrador Blog Roll. He tracks and promotes all the sites you see on the lower left hand side of the my blog under the Newfoundland Flag. I imagine it is a lot of work - thankless work at that. Recently he created an award for the best Newfoundland Blog and was interviewed about it by the lovely Angela Antle on the Weekend Arts Magazine. The pod cast for that interview can be downloaded here.

Missing the Rock is in the running for this award but is as far from winning it as Tiger Woods is from reconciliation with his wife. Karen, John, and Barry are kicking major ass. As they should- they do outstanding work. If you haven't checked out their sites you are missing out. Go grab yourself a beverage of your choice and have a look- and while your at it check out a few more on the Roll: Townie Bastard, Product of Newfoundland, and Oh Me Nerves just to name a few. Then go the the Blog Roll and vote! It is your duty as a Newfoundlander!

The best thing about this award is that it has highlighted all the quality work that Newfoundlanders are contributing to cyberspace. It is amazing to see the quality, variety and heart that is put into the work. I really encourage my regular readers, and you over there in the pink sweater dropping in here for the first time, to check out some of the blogs on the Roll. You will be delighted by what you find.

Thank you Stephen for doing this for all of us! And to those who have cast your vote in my direction, I sincerely appreciate it.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Christmas is in its box

Well it is all over for another year. Christmas is back in its box slumbering until next year. The halls have been undecked, all the trim is put away, and the tree has been tossed to the curb. The only things I have left of the Christmas accoutrement are the two flaccid Poinsettias dying in my living room. It is kind of depressing.

Don and I have only purchased a real tree for Christmas the past two years. The first two years we lived here we lived in a junior one bedroom at the corner of Bloor and Jarvis. There was barely enough room in that apartment for a couch and a bed, so we could hardly get a tree. Real or not. We had a Christmas plant though. I think it was a rubber tree; we decorated it with a bit of garland. Come to think of it, that was sort of depressing too.

For our Christmases in Whitby we bought a small fake tree decorated it with Star Wars ornaments and snowflakes. We tried to keep the cat away from it. However, we woke up one morning to find the Wicket perched in the tree with Yoda in his mouth. He growled at us when we tried to take the ornament away from him and clung to the branches when we tried to wrench him from the tree. This became a tradition every year actually. Wicket would scale the tree and claim a new ornament as his own. After 6 years of an 11 pound cat scaling the PVC tree it no longer had the classic Christmas tree shape. It was still somewhat triangular but the center section had a gaping hole in it that bowed quite a bit. When we moved to the new house the fake tree did not come with us.

For our first Christmas in the new house we decided that a real tree was in order. We made a day of it, Don, Wilson, my sister and I went to a tree farm to cut our own tree and discovered it was a fun way to spend an afternoon. Don was too sick to do the cut-your-own this time around so we went to Sheridan Nurseries instead. They stored the trees in an outdoor greenhouse but they did something I had never seen before- and when I compare it to the lively experience at the tree farm, this was downright creepy.

All the trees were hanging. Hanging from a rope wrapped around the greenhouse rafters.

It was like stepping into a forest of suicides.

All of them hanging there, swaying in the soft breeze, oozing sap and dropping needles. I wanted to take them all home; save them from this dismal end. Alas, we left with one Fir tree, the one that looked like he had the most to live for. We brought him home, shoved a tree stand up his ass, rammed a snowflake on his head and light him up with LED lights. He was beautiful! He had a good life as a Christmas tree.

And now he is on the curb, pondering the end that awaits us all – the chipper.

P.S. Anyone have any advice on how to keep a Poinsettia alive?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Republic of Doyle

The Republic of Doyle debuted last night, and while I wasn't wowed, I will watch again. It was the pilot episode and you could certainly tell. I can't really put my finger on exactly why, other than to say the episode seemed to lack some polish. It came off a little raw- like we were watching a dress rehearsal as opposed the the start of what is supposed to be CBC's new hit series- if you believe the hype.

I liked that fact they we were not subjected to any fishing scenes, stages or ridiculously outrageous stereotypical presentations of Newfoundlanders. It was wonderful to see the beauty, color and personality of the city of St John's displayed the way it was; almost like it is part of the cast. Another character to get to know and love. I see a lot of potential for the show. It could be a good ride.

I wasn't a big fan of Jake's wife Nikki, or Jake's possible hook-up Leslie (the female Constable). His wife overacted a few scenes, and the constable defined the term one dimensional. It would be impressive if The Republic of Doyle avoids the trend other shows follow where the male and female leads end up hopping into the sack together. A relationship of intellectual equals should develop between them. Yes, the sexual tension can create a few sparks and a few laughs, but a sense mutual respect and restrained professionalism should prevail.

Consider the following to be a public service announcement aimed at the Republic of Doyle writers: Please never allow Jake and Leslie to cross that line. I am telling you this for your own good because as soon as they do the horizontal bop The Republic of Doyle becomes just like every other show. It is usually a death knell. Think Mulder and Scully. Maddy and David. Bert and Ernie...ok maybe not that last one.

Still I liked it...I will give it a few more episodes before I decide if the show becomes a keeper for me or not. Have any of you seen it yet? What did you think?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

It's resolution time again

It's resolution time again. Common resolutions like losing weight, quitting smoking, spending more time with family and less time at work are likely to be on the top of many resolution lists. I have not made New Year’s Resolutions these past few years because they rarely stick, and there is nothing more pathetic than a lie you tell yourself.

I asked friends how successful they were with resolutions in the past and the question is met mostly with laugher followed by an unconscious bow of the head and a sheepish admission that most of the resolutions they make don’t make it past February. Why is it so hard to keep those promises to ourselves throughout the year?

It is simply a lack will power; or is it unrealistic expectations? Whatever the answer may be I have decided I am going to make a resolution this year. And here it is:
I am going to take better care of myself and enjoy the time I have.

Yep. That is it.

Now I know a lot of you are asking what that means- and I am not sure I can really quantify it for anyone. Actually, I think that is part of the point.

I can say it means if I have to make a choice between mopping the floor, or coloring with Wil before he goes to bed- I am going to break out the Crayola. It means I am going to eat breakfast most days of the week rather than just on the weekends- but I am not going to flog myself if all I can manage Monday morning is a mug of tea when I get to work. I will reduce my portion sizes, try to drink more water, and as soon as my foot heals, I am going to exercise again. Not to lose weight, or to look better, but to feel better. To be around as long as I can with the people I love. However, I will have the occasional cookie with my son after school but it is more important to me that we will bake them together.

I don’t know if it was the four soldiers and the first Canadian journalist who were killed over Christmas in Afghanistan , or the poor men sent to the winds on a scaffold Christmas Eve but I have just decided that I don’t have the time to waste of worrying or berating myself over things that really have little meaning.

This is one New Years Resolution that I really hope I stick with.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Welcome 2010

Where is my flying car?

I always thought as a kid that when 2010 arrived we were going to be zipping around the planet on our own personal flying cars, eating replicated food, and taking off to the moon for the long holiday weekend.

While we aren’t quite there yet, our home had its most technically advanced Christmas yet. Don gave me the new Iphone, which I have named Noodle for some reason. I gave Don a Blue Ray player, which he refuses to name, and we upgraded our satellite to HD TV. His mom gave him a GPS for the car and my parents sent us a new gynormous LCD television as our old CRT finally gave up the ghost. If I was looking for the 2010 space monolith this year, I certainly found it- it is sitting in my living room with a Blue ray and an Xbox 360 attached to it. It is huge! I think Don is in love.

Wil didn’t get any new technology really, and that is fine with me. He was so happy with the gifts he received, but certainly caught on to the fact that the bigger gifts have toys in them. Anything in small package was pushed aside in favor of the big boxes, even if they weren’t his. He had to help you unwrap the “big one”. It is funny watching him open gifts. If he likes what he opens he wants to play with it right away. He would jump up and down saying “Open it Da da!” All his other gifts could wait as far as he was concerned; he wants to play with the new toy now!

Watching him Christmas morning makes Christmas away from family and friends back home on the Rock almost bearable. He was so happy to have the both of us home with him, to play with his new toys, and to have his cousins visit. It was good to have some time off- we needed it.

I am hoping the New Year finds you all happy and well and most importantly that Santa was good to you!