An Afternoon at the Gours’

Today we went over to our friends’ house for lunch and board games. We hadn’t seen them since at least December – it may have been longer. We decided on a potluck lunch theme which turned out to be homemade fries, home made hummus, pitas, a gnocchi salad, a spinach salad with apples, and some fish sticks. It was all very delicious even if it was a rag tag mix.
After lunch we played 2 cards games: Sushi Go! and Love Letter. Both are good games that are quick to play.
After a couple of rounds of games we moved to the living room where they had a karaoke machine set up. I’d never had the chance to do karaoke before and it was quite nerve-racking. My voice was really quavering in terror as I belted out Minogue’s In Your eyes. 🤣 I got used to it and ended up singing 4 songs. Miranda sang 2 and a duet with Simon and Ian sang 1. Simon ended up singing 4 too. It’s actually quite fun once you get over the nerves.
We ended up leaving around 5.30 and braved the icy conditions along the way. It was a great afternoon and I hope we can get together soon.

New Glasses

Today my new glasses came in. For the first time ever I have bifocals (which officially makes me a geezer) and a pair of prescription sunglasses. It was cheaper to go with 2 pairs instead of the just the one.
I have to admit the bifocals are weird. It’s like having water on your lenses. I have to get used to not looking down in them when I’m not reading. Plus the little line is distracting at times, like going downstairs. I decided to get bifocals instead of the progressives because the 3 tiered lenses bugged me. My distance part was so small thanks to the frame size and I don’t really need the mid-range for computer work since I changed jobs. It might have worked better with my new ones, but I chose not to go with it this time.
I hope I get used to them. I may still have to go back to progressive otherwise.

Of course Simon keeps calling me Sam (from Cloudy with Meatballs):

    or I could be Johnny Test’s sister, Susan:     

The Library of the Future …Today

Just up the road from us in Rocky Ridge a new YMCA opened this month. Inside it there’s a branch of our local library. I had heard about its futuristic design and today Ian and I went to see it.
I had requested a book and chose there to pick it up. It’s a very small branch, maybe the size of a master bedroom, but without walls. It’s just inside the main entrance. What’s special is the lack of human staff. Everything is operated by computers. You scan your card and choose the book(s) you want to take out and they pop out of a compartment in a wall. Ian thought it was cool. It’s not intended for serious research or book-browsing, but it has a few stacks of books and benches for reading. I’m not sure what happens if you try to take a book without checking it out – maybe there’s a perimeter scanner that goes off if unscanned books cross it.

The best thing is we can walk or ride up to it when the weather is better. It’s definitely more convenient.

The new YMCA/Library

The library

The “staff”

The pick up compartment


Hooter on Our Lamppost

I was sitting in the bonus room reading CNN when I heard this deep hooting sound. For a few calls I thought it was some kids goofing around, so after the third round I opened the window to hear its direction and discovered it was perched on top of the lamppost out front of our house. It was dark, but you could see its outline. It was a great horned owl, Alberta’s provincial bird.  At first I thought it was a cat because of its “horns”. It was so exciting. Almost as exciting as the partridge we had about a week ago. It was calling and another was answering. Simon managed to get a pretty decent shot of it considering the lighting.


…and here’s one of the partridge … 🤣

A Shot in the Arm

It was flu shot day for us. The clinics opened up on Monday, but we waited until today for a couple of reasons. 1) The initial crush would have died down and 2) the kids are off Friday afternoons in case there was a side-effect we would not have to worry about keeling over in class or at work. Simon (obviously) worked from home and I don’t work Fridays.
I had picked up the forms on Monday so we could cut the wait by having all the paperwork completed. We all walked down to Rexall Pharmacy in Tuscany Centre after lunch. There was only 1 other ahead of us. We all tested our blood pressure while we waited. (Whee!) Then we went in one-by-one (except Ian, Simon joined him) and got the jab. Actually it was a lot less painful than the pharmacist at Walmart. We hung around for a few minutes afterwards then walked back home.
Hopefully this will reduce the number of flu incidents in our family this year.

ATESL Conference 2017

Today was the first of a 2-day ATESL (Alberta Teachers of English as a Second Language) conference being held in Calgary.  I have never attended one because there has been no real need to in a professional sense, until now. Since I started teaching and using PBLA with Columbia College it made sense to give it a go because many of the topics revolved around it. The only bad thing was having to be there for 7.  I managed to get there by 7.15-ish.

Columbia College is great!  Not only do they train their teachers, but they cover the ATESL membership and conference fees. They really invest in their staff. The following is the series of presentations, keynote speeches, and workshops I attended today:

I learned a lot of really interesting facts and techniques.  I especially enjoyed the keynote speaker on social justice.  He was so engaging and entertaining that I joked with a co-worker that I would be keen on auditing one of his classes.

The food was delicious.  Breakfast was a choice of breakfast burritos, hashed browns, oatmeal, fruit, toast, and juice. The two “nutrition breaks” had granola bars, loaves, and cinnamon buns.  The lunch was caesar salad, pasta, wraps, soup, and cookies. Coffee and tea were available throughout the day.  I also got a lot of free stuff (notebook, magnifiers, a bag, texts, pens, and pencils).

The next big event will be a LINC Language Training Learning Event (funded by IRCC) in Edmonton on Feb. 21&22.  No other details have been released yet.

On Break for 2 Weeks

Thursday was my final day of work in CLB 1 – truly. Columbia College now no longer offers this level. The lowest they have is CLB 2. Of course, no one showed up to this class. They received their report cards on Monday and Tuesday and certificates and we had our farewell party on Wednesday.
Our party went very well. There was a lot of food and only a few students. I love Syrian food even though it’s a lot of pastie-like dishes. There was cheese, spinach, or beef-filled pasties, tabouleh, shawarma, cakes, and squares. I also received some gifts: a purse and a shirt, some flowers, and a chocolate-orange cake.

They were a great bunch of people, especially when you allowed them to be themselves.  I just hope my next bunch are just as great.  I start back on Aug. 14 with CLB 3 (then I’ll be off for a week+a day with out Vic trip).  Of course, now I have to start from scratch again because I have no pre-made lessons for this level. I guess I’ll be planning while on holiday in Vic. 😄


That’s how I feel. I have the dreaded summer cold. I felt it coming on late Friday and I was hoping to either beat it or get over it by yesterday. Of course THAT didn’t happen. Sunday night’s sleep was disrupted because if I moved a fraction of a mm from a certain angle my nose would start acting up. I went to work yesterday, but you know it was a mistake when your bangs are plastered to your forehead with sweat and you can feel sweat rolling down your spine – and this was just standing there. I managed to muddle through (thankfully it was the end of Ramadan and most students were away feasting) and get something prepared for today’s class. I’m not sure who’ll sub – it may end up being my super Mehdi. I’m glad I decided not to go today because I was literally awake until 3.30 before I fell asleep. My sandpaper throat was so uncomfortable every time I swallowed. I don’t have a cough (yet), just feverish and clogged up. I hope I sleep tonight.


…and for my 3rd post of the day…

Ian got his retainer this afternoon.  He had been measured for it last appointment and today they fitted it to his teeth. He has to wear it 24h a day (except for contact sports, eating, and brushing) until August 10th when we go back to the orthodontist.


Grade 4 Movie Day

Today was the grade 4’s end-of-year extravaganza.  They all went downtown to the Globe Cinema to watch Hugo. I was a volunteer chaperone-crowd control. We all piled onto 2 school buses and headed downtown to the cinema.  I’d forgotten how loud a school bus can get.  😣 We got downtown around 9.40 where the “paparazzi” was waiting to take their pictures as they entered the cinema and were in our seats by 10.  Everyone got a small bag of popcorn, a pop, a chocolate bar, and a pack of Twizzlers to munch on during the show.  (Thank you to Tuscany Sobey’s for the snacks.)

The Globe is an older cinema without huge screens, but it was comfortable and pleasant.  They also have $5 Tuesdays with a cheap drink/popcorn combo.  It might be something we can do as a family one eve.

We were back on the bus by 12.15 and back at school for 12.50.  It was a good time had by all.