Saturday, November 24, 2012

A little of what I've been up to

This past week has been abit of a trial for residents of southern Saskatchewan. The difficult weather started with freezing rain Tuesday morning, followed by a huge snowfall. It seems that we have had 60 cm. of snow this past two weeks, and that is more than the total snowfall we had last winter. However last winter was very unusual, in that we had  warm temperatures and very little snow.

My commute out to work at the rural daycare center where I work has been challenging. I generally take the bus to a certain point and then wait for my ride. I wait right on the highway, and so get a good look at weather conditions. This particular day after the freezing rain, there appeared to be very little visibility.

The wonderful young woman who picks me up, didn't see me, so she called the daycare center to see if they'd heard from me. She then turned around to see if she could find me and pick me up, and unfortunately became stuck.She got herself out, and called the center again who told her I had called from a store close to the highway. to enquire if she had called in. They told her to just continue to work.

Meanwhile as I still hadn't heard from my co-worker, and it was getting late, I decided to accept a ride from a wonderful parent, who was on her way to take her children to the center. So, really I was only 1/2 hour late, and as well my co-worker arrived at around the same time as me.

Later at the end of our work day, this young woman admitted to me how scared she felt to drive back home into the city, but she did an amazing job, driving at 40km all the way. The road was so icy, and we saw a few cars and a semi-trailor in the ditch.

I felt proud of this young woman, who is just in her early 20's. Interestingly she has just graduated with her teaching degree, and knows my son. She is working at the daycare, and subbing when she is called, for the school board. I just know she's going to do great as a teacher, and she is so accomplished already, as well as seeming to have nerves of steel.

The next day, at closing we still had several children waiting for their parents to pick them up. We learned that another semi was jack knifed on the highway, and that traffic was stalled for up to one hour. This day our wonderful director had already sent most of the staff home early. Some of our staff have drives of up to 1 hour, to small towns, which in these conditions were going to take much longer. The director sent me home shortly after my children were picked up, and again my co-worker drove home at 40 km, past the huge back up of traffic behind the accident.

Working in this rural daycare center is giving me a whole new look at living in our province during the winter. I find myself wondering how people really could have managed so many years ago in pioneer times. However, even today, it seems to me that rural people are a courageous, hardy group.

As well, I am planning to purchase a simple "pay as you go", cell phone to use, if needed, when travelling to work. 

Thankfully the week is over, and it does look like the forecast for next week is for better weather conditions.

My co-workers and I in the toddler room have been exploring recycled materials with our kids. We started this at the beginning of November, and have just followed our brainstorms. Interestingly, once a person begins thinking about what can be done with boxes, and other recyclables, the ideas seem to flow.

There is a whole movement in early childhood education to use open-ended materials, which allow children to use their imaginations. It seems that adults also use their imaginations more when using boxes, cardboard tubes, and empty plastic containers.

Well, really that's about it for my news. Thanks for reading along!

I had been planning on posting one or two pictures here of my ideas using boxes, however interestingly, I have now used my quota of free photos. I hadn't been aware this would ever happen! There was a time I didn't even know how to download pictures on to my computer, so this is progress indeed!!

I think I'll be able to post my pictures next weekend

Wishing you a safe and happy weekend!.

Monday, November 12, 2012

More snow

Well, here on the prairies, we have have had a winter storm this weekend, resulting in about 30 cm. of snow. Arthur is unhappy that he can't see out the living room window.

Here is a better picture of this window, showing the snow piled up against the pane.

Today was a day off work, for many people, due to Remembrance Day falling on Sunday. I went for coffee with a friend. The coffee shop was bustling, and the streets were full of traffic. The roads were in poor shape, and some city transit buses became stuck, but still many people seem to have ventured out. The temperature was very mild, so it was a nice day off.

Last weekend, I picked up an anticipated parcel at the post office - two coffee mugs, created by Teri Casper, and featuring our favourite celebrity blogger, Mr. Cheddar. Teri, has the wonderful artist blog, Teri's Painted Daisies, and is an all around lovely person. Mr. Cheddar, a handsome, big, orange cat,  is a big favourite with Herb and Artie. :) His mom, is Geraldine, a friend, and blogger of great energy. Geraldine always has an interesting project or two on the go, and authors four blogs, one called Veggies, Yarn, and Tales.

I love these mugs, and like the orange and lime colours I chose. Here are two close up pictures of this mug.

I gave one of these lovely mugs as a gift to a friend, and she was so pleased to receive this, as she has heard about the  handsome, and witty Chedster .I ordered these from Teri's " Zazzle shop".  I plan to order a few more gifts from her work in the future.

Yesterday, I made a delicious soup recommended by Geraldine, from her wonderful blog, Veggies, Yarn, and Tales - a Black Bean Soup.
The recipe calls for vegetables, vegetable soup stock, prepared black beans, and stewed tomatoes. I didn't have stewed tomatoes, so used fresh.

I added pasta to the soup, and used rice pasta. For the past two months I've been eating gluten free, as suggested by my doctor. I have found that it is quite easy to manage.There is a wide variety of rice noodles, and various breads, available. I would like to make my own bread but have been able to buy tasty, homemade style bread at a gluten free bakery in the city.

So, just to leave you with some pictures of the cats settling in for the night, and wishing you a good week ahead! (Can you tell where Arthur is in the pictures?)
Thanks for reading!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Spending Remembrance Day Quietly

We have been experiencing a winter storm here on the prairies. I went out for errands yesterday, and the day had the feeling of a true winter day. Over the past few years our snowfall has been minimal, but it has been forecast that we will have lots of snow this year.
This morning I was surprised to find that snow had continued to fall overnight. We have had approximately 30 cm of snow this weekend.

Since I've lived in this apartment, I've never had snow piled up like this against the windows.(I do live on the third floor, and this isn't piled up from the ground, just what blew against the window.)

I spent some of this day reflecting on Remembrance Day. I feel it's important for me to appreciate how fortunate I am to live in a country not experiencing the violence of war. However, I can't feel that we are a country at peace - we have soldiers still in Afghanistan, and also who have participated in military actions in other parts of the world, such as Libya just recently.

We have been hearing of young veterans returning from war, and suffering from Post Traumatic Shock Disorder. This is very terrible to hear about, but something that I believe happened to many veterans of older wars as well, either not understood, or called by other names, such as "Shell Shock". It is not unrealistic to think that the horrors of war are really more than most ordinary human beings can go through without experiencing damage to the psyche.

Several years ago, I found two amazingly written novels by a Canadian writer, Frances Itani, Remembering the Bones; and Deafening, This writer reseached WWI, so deeply, and wrote so well, that I felt a sense of what it may have been to be a young man of only 17, experiencing trench warfare. She also wrote from the perspective of several characters, at home in Canada during the wartime. Frances Itani, is an R.N.; as well as a nursing instructor, and academic, and she seemed to call on her expertise of medicine, to write her books.

Last month, I read her most recent novel, Requiem, which follows the main character, a Japanese Canadian, artist, coming to terms with his past. His family had been interned by the Canadian government, after the bombing of Pearl Harbour, and he and his family, who were Canadians, experienced terrible deprivation at the hands of the government, and their "fellow" Canadians.

I do believe, that we need to honour veterans - but that it is dishonest to glorify war. I think many at war, were heros, and many that we will never know about...and also that even those who return broken in spirit are heroes. I think that the older veterans want us to acknowledge the horror of war, and not to glorify

I found the following video of a war memorial in England, The National War Memorial, at Alrewas.
There is something very powerful in some of the monuments, and the feeling of mourning and grief is very immediate.


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Crow and Kitten are Friends

Crows are my favourite bird, and so I tend to read, and listen to anything I come across about  this social , and intelligent bird. I found the story of Walter the crow, which I posted previously here, so interesting. The story describes a perfect match between humans and Walter. He was lucky to be rescued by this particular family.

The next story, I have found is about how a crow nurtures, and bonds with a kitten.It is truly lovely.
These two small creatures provide a good lesson in how to be friends.
I hope you might enjoy this!.  :)

Friday, November 2, 2012

First real snow of the winter, a look at the wonderful playyard where I work, and a special crow named Walter

Here, where I live, the  landscape has changed over just one day into winter. It  never takes long for me to  become accustomed to snow. I am not alone in this -  other people have described the same phenomenon, of adjusting to winter. There seems to be a sense of the familiar, and soon summer seems like a very distant memory. Maybe this is due to our winter lasting often up to 7 months, and at the very least 5 months.

I do enjoy the snow, and I believe this became instilled in me as a child when snow was the material I played in, shoveling, building forts, and snowmen, making snow angels, making footprint trails, digging out tunnels, and as well wonderful sled rides, and later as an older child tobogganing.

 This morning, I  witnessed the wonder in the eyes of my very young toddler aged children, as we set out to explore the snow.

 I am  privileged to be working at a daycare center with a wonderful and thoughtfully designed play yard.

 In the foregeround you can see evidence of the snow angels my children made.

This is a sheltered spot, and I have observed a small group of children, just 2 or 3, sitting here making up stories, and enjoying the privacy created. In a large center it is important to allow quiet spaces  where children  can "be away" from the group now and then.

This is a nice spot for kitchen play, and as well do outside art.In the summer canopies provide much needed shade.

A few larger tree stumps for children to play on, or create art.
This play house and slide is very popular with the older children.
This is a rural daycare center, and we are surrounded by large trees, and quiet.


 We created footprint trails, and wagon wheel trails.
By afternoon these were covered, as snow continued to fall steadily.

The daycare center where I am now working, is carefully, and lovingly designed to create a nurturing environment for children. I have been truly beginning to feel settled and at home here, and able to do the kind of work I am capable of. 

I had some concern over the commuting I need to do, but my rides have worked out well. I presently work in a room with three other early childhood educators, and I am used to working more independently. It's a learning for me, to participate in a team, but it seems to be going well. Much of the success of this center comes from the strong vison of the leadership, and their ability to communicate their vision, as well as their ability to let go, and trust in  their staff.

So, at this point I can report that my new job is going very well, and every day is a pleasure.

On a completely different note, I found this lovely story, about a crow named Walter, on the CBC website. 
I hope you will enjoy this. I loved it.
Wishing you a good weekend!