Thursday, 28 June 2012

Library book mystery ...

During busy work times, I tend to gravitate towards chick lit novels that do not rate highly on the 'quality literature' scale.  They provide a lovely few moments of escapism without taxing the brain at all (whilst they probably don't kill off any brain cells, at the very least they give me totally unrealistic romantic expectations.)  In the book I powered through last Saturday (first non-report-writing-Saturday in a month), I found a greeting card with the following cover ... 

"Ah, that's lovely," I thought, "someone is using a special card as a book mark."  But when I opened the card, I was even more intrigued as this is the message I read ...

Isn't that just lovely?  I was so curious about the story behind the card, I couldn't stop thinking about it.  Who was Rachel Rose?  Who was her fiancé?  Is it 'O'?  Who is Jenae?  Was she the matron of honour?  What was the 'something' that was bought for Rachel Rose's outfit?   Is someone missing this card?  I couldn't think of what to do with the card so I'll keep it as my bookmark until I figure out what to do with it.  You never know what kind of treasures you'll find in trashy chick lit novels!  But, the mind-taxing part of the school year is now over and in about 24 hours, I will officially be on summer holidays and can sink my teeth into more quality literature.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Wet June = muddy dog ...

June in Calgary is typically very wet.  This June, it seems that it has been even wetter than the past few Junes.  Perhaps it is because of the lovely Abbey who adores being outside in the rain as this photo demonstrates ...

Abbey during one of her walks (photo courtesy of Ryan from All Paws In)

Abbey just loves being out in the rain.  On a walk, she'll deliberately run through the long, wet grass and lie down in puddles.  She's not even fussed if we get caught in a thunderstorm or get hailed on.  At home, she loves being out in the backyard digging in the mud and generally making a mess.  Luckily she is willing to sit still long enough to be toweled down before she comes inside.  The wet June has been fun, but we'll all ready for some summer time now!

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

A full licence! (and other bureaucratic wins) ...

I promise that normal posting will resume once the craziness of report writing (for students I've only known for 7 weeks!) dies down.  But in the meantime, a few more bureaucratic wins to report on.  Last week, my full Canadian licence appeared in the mail, alongside an Alberta Health Care card (like a Medicare card I think).  And, an even bigger win ... a year long teaching contract at Calgary Girls' School, with the verbal promise of it turning into a permanent position at the end of the next school year.  Next bureaucratic steps ... fighting for my right to be correctly placed on the teaching salary scale and gathering 'relationship evidence' for when C and I apply for my permanent residency. 

Cheesy photo to celebrate my new full Canadian licence

Monday, 18 June 2012

Millarville Half Marathon course ...

For those of you who are interested, here is a photo slideshow from the Millarville Half Marathon on Saturday.  It was taken by an guy who ran with a Go-Pro strapped to his chest.  Enjoy the scenery (of the mountains, not of the many butts struggling up the hills!) ...

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Millarville Run to the Farmers' Market ...

On Friday night, I was doubting my decision to get up at 4.30 am the next morning to run a hilly 21 kilometre course.  My training had been close to non-existent in the past few weeks, I was battling a very irritating cough and I'd just finished writing 11,000 words of reports about students I barely knew.  But, I got up and felt surprisingly good (a honey/lemon drink and a Berocca do wonders to one's energy!)  The kind and lovely C also got up at 4.30 am to drive me all the way to Millarville where the temperature was much lower than Calgary's ... a chilly 5 degrees (and its supposed to be summer right now!)  The race began at 7am and in the few first kilometres, I experienced a wave of panic as people were overtaking me, left, right and centre.  But, I managed to battle my inner doubts, and stuck to my race plan ... start off slow and finish strongly.  This, I managed to achieve despite the long, seemingly never-ending hills that dotted the race course, and I finished the course in a respectable 1 hour and 56 minutes.  Much faster than the goal time I had aimed for. 

The race, in its first year, was super well organised (apart from the predictably long pre-race women's bathroom line up) and I think I'll definitely run it again next year.  The scenery was spectacular - rolling green fields dotted with cows and the Canadian Rocky Mountains in the background.  Incidentally, my next half marathon is the Rocky Mountain Half Marathon, actually in the mountains. 

Coming in to the finish line

After the race was also very enjoyable - C and I spent an hour or so wandering around the Millarville Market, buying up big on fresh fruit and veg as well as local beef, elk sausage and llama jerky. 

Finishing off ... 21km of fun!

Despite my initial night-before hesitations, I was more than happy to have been a part of the inaugural Millarville Run to the Farmers' Market Half Marathon.

Post-race celebrations ... Moet and cheese on our front verandah

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Teaching certification!

A few weeks ago, I received the results of that ridiculous 6000 word essay on the history of women in Red Deer that I had to write in order to become a 'real' teacher in the eyes of Alberta Education.  I received a measly 56%.  But, it was a pass.  All I had to do was send off the transcript to Alberta Education and teaching certification was mine.  Thanks to my new job, I was able to get a 'Letter of Authority' which meant I could start teaching and be temporarily certified for a few months.  I was happy enough with that but on Thursday, I received a letter from Alberta Education with a lovely letter telling me that I'd now met the teaching standards for Alberta and was now certified.  So, I am now the proud owner of an Interim Professional Certificate, valid until 2015!  Now I just need to work out how to incorporate my knowledge of women in Red Deer in the early 1900s into my Grade 5 teaching.  So far, I've learnt more about Canadian history actually teaching it rather than writing crazily long essays on tiny, tiny elements of history.

Friday, 8 June 2012

One week to go ...

I'm looking forward to this next Saturday ... 21.1 km and a beer under my belt by lunch time

This time next week, I'll be enjoying a pre-race bowl of pasta and an early night, ready for the Millarville Half Marathon next Saturday morning.  My training has taken somewhat of a dive in the past month.  A combination of starting a new full-time job and having a hard-to-shake cold in the past week or so has meant I haven't been able to be out running as much as I would have liked.  I think I've done enough 'normal' runs and have a reasonable number of kilometres under my belt - in the past month, I've done two 18 km runs and many more over 10 km - but I haven't done enough strength work or hill runs as I would have liked.  I think I'll mostly notice the lack of hill training given that the race is held in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.  And, I know for a fact that at the 14 km mark, there is a 1.1 km long hill.  That's going to be a killer!  But, I'm proud of the fact that I haven't fully given away my training.  I just need to re-adjust my goal for the race ... now, I'll be happy with any time between 2 and 2.5 hours.  After the run, I'll be ready to celebrate.  Not just the run but also the finish of writing report cards (on kids that I have only known a few weeks!) and also the end of my 7-week no-alcohol stint.  In fact, I have already put a lovely bottle of Moet in the fridge.  A far cry from the glass of Powerade I'll be having with my bowl of pasta next Friday night!

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Kananaskis Country ...

I've mentioned before that one of the cool things about being a teacher is getting to go on fun field trips with the kids.  On Friday, I had the pleasure of accompanying my class to the Bow Valley Provincial Park in Kananaskis Country, which is nearby Canmore.  Our purpose was to explore the wetlands area in Middle Lake.  We had a spectacular day and the kids had a ball wearing their rubber boots and searching for aquatic critters in the lake.  In the afternoon, we went for a short hike around the lake before heading back to the Calgary rat race.  The short day trip to the mountains made me excited for the upcoming hiking season.  Hopefully, in a few weeks when things die down (more on that later), we'll be able to head out to the mountains for a day of hiking in the fresh air.

Middle Lake in Bow Valley Provincial Park, Kananaskis Country
Calm waters

Green at last

Sunday, 3 June 2012

A Saturday afternoon stroll (and sniff) ...

On weekends, I love to get out and about with Abbey, taking her on different walks so that she gets to experience as many new things as possible while she is a puppy.  I am also hoping to build up her walking stamina so that when the hiking season arrives in a few weeks, she will be fit and strong enough to join us on some of the less intense hikes.  Yesterday, it was such a lovely afternoon that we went for a super long walk (for a little four legged creature) around the Bow river ...

Downtown Calgary

Hot (freshly professionally groomed) dog rests in shade

Looking away form downtown Calgary

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Bureaucratic success (licencing) ...

In the past month, I've come to accept that I need to go through the tedious process of getting an Alberta licence ... getting a driving history from Australia, sitting a written test, having a learner licence for 2-4 weeks, sitting a road test, having my Aussie licence revoked.  The privilege of going through this process was going to cost me around $250.  I'd accepted all of that. 

I spent last night and this morning studying for the written test.  C and I had planned our schedule over the next few weeks to ensure he can drive me around so I don't have to rely on buses/cabs/bicycles too much.  This afternoon I turned up to sit the test ...

"Oh, you can just swap your licence over.  The policy was changed last week."

Wow, what a relief!  One more bureaucratic hurdle leaped.  The others are all in the works and will be revealed soon when they are confirmed.