Tuesday, December 30, 2008


The Christmas spirit, the spirit of hope, the spirit of giving, is something most people give up when Christmas is over. Even now as I shove the last of the leftover turkey in the fridge, return the last gift and shelve my Boxing Day bargains, I think about how I have already shifted my personal focus from giving, to getting. Getting things done, getting things put away, getting things cleaned up and getting back in shape.
I have to admire people who are able to spread the spirit of hope and giving all year long. For some it comes naturally and effortlessly, I wish I was one of those people. Apparently some of this spirit spreading exists in my genes, but my sister got most of it.
Right now, while I, a self absorbed, single white female, lick the icing off the last Christmas cupcake, my sister, Nicole Farn and her husband, Troy are stepping off a plane in Costa Rica, all of their possessions on their backs, ready to learn Spanish and spread hope and empowerment to several Central American communities!
She, a successful Civil Engineer in Edmonton and he, a city fireman decided to sell their acreage, most of their material things, and trade in the life of a “dual income, no children family” for a selfless, simple life of helping those in need! They have signed up to be part of several volunteer projects in various different villages and countries. These two are on a mission to keep the Christmas spirit, the spirit of hope, the spirit of giving, alive for a whole year and they intend to keep it alive for people they don’t even know!
Not everyone can, or even wants to give up all possesions or comforts. Not everyone can imagine a year without turkey, shopping or cupcake icing, but, somewhere deep inside each of us, we wish we could be a part of the incredible unselfish quest that some embark upon. The Farns are going on selfless journey around the world and we can be a small part of it by following along with them on thier blog: http://thefarnyard.blogspot.com/2008/11/sold.html Bon Voyage Farns! Good luck, we love you!

Monday, December 29, 2008


Have you ever seen a more angelic bunch?  

We got Tucker when times were sad,
To cancer, we had just lost our dad.
 Tucker, all furry and black,
 Gave us all our smiles back.
We had someone to fill the empty space,
someone who licked kisses on every face.
For loving us through the pain felt in our family,
Tucker will always be an angel to me!

Duke came as a Christmas mystery
a gift of love for Troy he was meant to be.
But his freckly nose and his wicked farts
quickly won over everyone's hearts.
He has grown to be a giant who's gentle and kind
athletic and loyal with a super sharp mind.
The way he gives the Farns and mom unconditional love
I gotta believe he's an angel from above!

Scout came to us just because, 
and she brings us happiness like nothing else does!
Her tongue licks at warp speed
and on the carpet she has peed,
but that's what adorable puppies do
 and it won't stop us from loving her too!
For cuddling with everyone all the time
Scout qualifies as an angle of mine!

Jasper wasn't here to celebrate this time around
and though he pees when you make a high pitch sound,
he loves to chase his ball and swim for sticks
in fact he's got a wide array of tricks.
He'll follow a mountain bike for miles
and lick your face until it's covered in smiles.
He's a protector, sleeping at the foot of the bed,
and for that reason he's an angel in my head!

This season, whenever a bell rings,
I am sure one of our puppies gets their wings!

Sunday, December 28, 2008


Happy Holidays!! I am still riding the "high" that Christmas brings! I gotta say, this was one of the best Christmas' I have had in a long time! All 7 of us, mom, Nic and Troy, Aim and Shane and Marty and I were together for 5 days over Christmas.  The 6 of us and three dogs walked into mom's house and it instantly felt like Christmas! Everything was decorated, the tree was up, there was food galore and big hugs all around.  There was nothing but happy memory making from the minute we walked in the front door until the minute we stepped out to head back home!  
This Christmas was extra special,we got to celebrate a lot! Christmas morning came, we clebrated! News came that my cousin had her baby, we celebrated.  Nic and Troy were preparing to leave on a journey of a lifetime, for them, we celebrated.  Mom, Nic and Shane all have birthdays in January so, since we were all together, we celebrated and.....Aimee and Shane got engaged so we were lucky to be able to celebrate that too!  It was weird how all of the things we celebrated brought both smiles and tears to the party.  Christmas morning always first brings smiles, but tears soon fell when us three girls opened a special gift from mom. She had made a book for each of us with photos of all of Dad's race T-Shirts and his other favorite shirts. Outsiders may not understand, without seeing the book, how something like that could make all three of us cry, but just seeing the T-shirts brought back so many happy memories.  The tears were right from our hearts, not tears of sadness, tears of happy times remembered.  
News of my cousin's baby brought mostly smiles, but some small tears over the fact that we couldn't be there to help welcome the new miracle into the world.
Nic and Troy having the opportunity to travel and volunteer and explore the world is exciting but tears came when we realized these were the last few days we'd be seeing them for a WHOLE YEAR!!!!  
The birthdays brought mostly laughter and smiles, but since the celebration involved a trip to a comedy club, there were tears of laughter streaking down most of our faces at some point or another.
The engagement was incredible.  It happened right there in front of the Christmas Tree and our whole family right after gift opening Christmas morning!  As soon as we saw the box, we started crying from sheer emotion over what was about to happen!   Laughter and smiles soon followed as we realized how lucky we were to be chosen to witness the event!
Yep, this was a Christmas of celebrating as a family and it will be one we we remember for a long time.  We laughed, we cried, we loved and we celebrated all together!  
Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


I got a venti coffee this afternoon and then headed to the airport to pick up my sister and Shane from the airport.  They were flying in from Colorado to spend Christmas with all of us here in Canada!  I was sooo excited, Aimee hasn't been home for 2 years and I got to be the one to pick her up from the airport!!  
I am fairly anxious when it comes to being places on time, especially places I am not familiar with finding in Calgary's crazy traffic, so I left early, really early.  I got to the airport with plenty of time to spare and drove through the "Arrivals" loop twice, just to make sure I knew where I was going to pick them up. Satisfied that I had a plan, I drove to the new "Cell phone waiting area" and parked my car.  I had my coffee, a tabloid magazine, the Kenny and Dolly Country Christmas CD and my seat heaters so I was comfy while I waited for Aim to call.  There were several other cars in the lot, obviously waiting for planes to arrive so I wasn't alone.  I caught up on Tom and Katie, Paris Hilton, Jenn and Brad and Angelina while I sipped my Starbucks Venti Latte.  Delicious!  It wasn't long before I felt the urge to pee. It was just a little urge, so I ignored it.  Eventually the little urge turned into one I could not ignore.  I looked around but there were no washroom facilities in sight.  I tried to tell myself I could hold it and wait, but I had already been waiting and I could not wait anymore.  The feeling became overwhelming, almost painful.  Apparently a Venti is way bigger than my bladdar!  The car at the end of the row left to meet his passengers and I steered my jetta over to his spot.  I was going to have to pee right there in the parking lot, I had no other options!  I got out of the driver's seat, walked over to the passenger side, opened the door, quickly squatted beside it and peed.  I only had enough nerve to squat there for a few seconds, peeing long enough to relieve the pressure before pulling up my jeans and heading back to the driver's side!  I can see the headlines now "French Teacher relieves herself in public...." let's hope no one got a real close look!!!
Mental Note, "do not drink a venti coffee while sitting in the Cell Phone waiting area!!!!!"

Monday, December 22, 2008


I often feel like the Tazmanian Devil, like everything I do, is done in a whirl wind at top speed!  Marty one the other hand is NOT a Tazmanian Devil in any way, shape or form!  This means we are complete opposites and most of the time, this polar difference creates an awesome balance that makes our lives peaceful, exciting and fun.  Every now and then though, it drives us crazy!  Tonight is an example.  After supper we had to head into the West Hills shopping area as Marty needed to pick up items to create booze gift baskets for the head offices of his accounts.  I figured while we were there, we could swing by the grocery store so I could buy some pie making ingredients (I am making cherry pie for Christmas dinner at mom's.)  The shopping trip was actually pretty quick. With the crowds in this city, how can you not be motivated to get the hell out of all shopping centers as quickly as possible.  Once home though, Marty's productivity level seemed to slow way down!  At least in my eyes!  
I bounded out of the van, carried my groceries up the stairs and immediately started making a batch of caramel popcorn twists.  While the twists were baking, I put together my pie and made a pitcher of Irish Cream, mom has a great recipe for this.  :) In between all of this I must have done the dishes a dozen times!  Marty, carried up all of the booze, arranged them into three baskets and wrapped them in cellophane....that's it, nothing else.  Oh, my pie just came out of the over (it is 10:50) and Marty has just now started writing cards to put on his baskets.  I am not leaving anything out, he didn't take breaks, he didn't even turn on the TV, he has been making three baskets since 8:30pm!  The baskets are perfect though and to be honest, I think his progress was slowed by his little helper....check out the photos and you'll see what I mean.  :)

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Wow, 'tis the time of year when life is crazy busy, not much time to write...not until I am ready for Christmas!  Between the baking, cleaning and present wrapping, Scout and are suffering from "cabin fever!"  We are tired of being contained in this little condo because of the weather!  This cold snap has been hard on us both, so the other day, I went out and bought Scout some booties, so that her feet could handle some cold weather walks and the salty roads!  She hated them at first but after today's walk, I am sure she has changed her mind!  I let her off leash and she ran and ran and played in the deep snow with her booties on!!!  I had sooo much fun watching her and she had so much fun enjoying the freedom that having warm feet gave her!  

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Today I went to see the chiropractor. My shoulders were sore! Not, "I just did 3 sets of 15 shoulder presses" sore, but weird, not normal sore. The chiropractor confirmed that I had pulled the muscles in my shoulder and that some of the joints in my neck were out of whack. Wait, let me rephrase that, Scout, had pulled the muscles in my shoulders! She is a big girl and she and I love to walk together, but Scout has become very curious, as puppies do, and though she tries, she can't always resist the urge to run after fat, furry bunnies, coffee cup lids, candy wrappers, snowbanks, and strangers...while I am attached to her!! I get that puppies chase after things, and at first it was kind of cute and only slightly annoying, but now that Scout is HUGE, her, more than occasional "pulling" has become irritating and painful! I woke up this morning and could hardly lift my arms above my head!

I had seen on the show "End of my leash," the dog training show, that it is more effective to have the lease around your waist than in your hand, so I decided to try that today. Talk about awkward! I had the retractable leash and huge mittens on, not a combo for success!
We start puppy classes in January, sure hope my body can hang in there until then!

Monday, December 15, 2008


So, my blog wish came true! I got the call at 5:30am this morning and the voice on the other end of the phone said, "Go back to sleep, today is a snow day!!!" I couldn't believe it, how awesome is that??? I was sooo excited! I wanted to scream and dance! In my ten years of teaching, I have only had one other snow day. Last year, I got an early morning "stay in bed" call and I screamed and shouted and jumped up and down on the bed! This had never ever happened to me before! Marty, feeling it was far too early in the morning for this kind of excitement shushed me! He shushed me on my first snow day ever!!!! I didn't care, I deserved to celebrate a little, didn't I?

But Marty had driven up to Edmonton yesterday for work and screaming only would have woke up Scout, which in turn would make her realize she had to pee, which would have required me to get up and let her out. I was NOT getting out of this bed. I was naked and it was cold, obviously too cold to even go to work! Instead I sent a "yipee" text to my Maria, who is also a teacher, though not at my school. A few minutes later I got a call from a teacher who does work at my school. She had forgotten her "emergency fan out calling sheet" at school and she wanted me to check and see who she had to call. I, anticipating the snow day, had checked the fan out sheet last night and knew I did not have to call anyone to pass on the message. Because I didn't need it, I had left the sheet downstairs, in my school bag. Grrrr, now I was going to have to get up in my birthday suit in the cold, cold air! I got up, ran downstairs, checked the list and jumped back into bed. She did not have to call anyone either!

I tried to go back to sleep, but now I was way to excited. Lists of things I could do with this "gift" of a free day started running through my head! I got excited about meeting Maria for coffee. I was excited to check out some of the busy stores as most other shoppers would be at work, in jobs that dont give snow days!!!

It was, the kind of day outside that makes you wish you could just pull the covers back up over your head, and I had the opportunity to do just that, but by 7am, I couldn't lay in bed anymore! I let Scout out for a pee at 7:10am and then we tried to snuggle on the couch, but I just couldn't sit still!!! I had tonnes of things to do if I was going to take advantage of this wonderful, surprise day off...then I got a text from Maria. Turns out her school, in the same school division as mine was NOT closed! She had to go to work, ugggg! No coffee date.

I enjoyed a yummy, breakfast, before venturing out with Scout for a few minutes of fresh air. The second we stepped outside, we were reminded that there was indeed as legitimate reason school was closed today, it was bloody COLD!! I snapped a couple of pictures of our snow to post on this blog and ran back inside!

I spent the day just feeling lucky to be home, not working!! I took the day to get a bunch of little errands run and check things off my list. One thing we had to do this week was take Scout to the vet's for her third set of vaccinations. Marty and I had been taking her together in the evenings, however he is going to be gone for a few days, and hey, I had time to go today! :) At 2:45pm, I bundled up and walked my very excited, house bound puppy the 8 minutes to the vet's office. Scout was pumped to be out of the house, I dont' think she noticed the cold at all! I enjoyed the fact that her poop froze on contact when hitting the snow. Frozen poop is way easier and more pleasant to clean up! The vet and the vet techs all came to the front when we walked in. Everyone thought Scout was adorable and they kept calling others to come see her wrinkly little forhead. I beamed, proud as could be, not that I could take credit for Scout being cute, but I figured I deserved some credit by association. At the end of our visit, after learning that Scout weighs 15.9Kg (about 35lbs) and that she is HEALTHY, the vet commented on what a happy puppy she is. "My favorite patient of the day," she said and once again I beamed!!! Scout and I took the long way home, prancing like proud peacocks the whole way!

It has been a fantastic day, a perfect snow day! Guess it would be greedy to hope for another one tomorrow....

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Marty and I were going to go to Edmonton this past weekend to spend a day with mom, and to go to the Oilers' game, but Friday it snowed. It snowed a lot!! There were severe winter storm warnings broadcasting on all of the radio and TV stations and by the time school had let out for the day, the police were advising against travel on the main highway between Calgary and Edmonton! Now Marty and I, we are Canadians, we have been living with crappy winter driving conditions for over thirty years, however there is a fine line between letting the weather dictate your life and being dumb enough to believe it can't dictate your life. Though, we both really wanted to go to Edmonton, we decided not to tempt fate by driving on the icy roads. Instead we "hunkered down" and waited out the storm inside our warm, festive livingroom! We pulled the craft table up to the couch, poured some irish cream, filled a bowl with nuts and bolts, lit the fire place, turned on the Christmas tunes and wrote Christmas cards. Scout nestled in between us and knawed on a rawhide bone. Though I was dissapointed not to be up in Edmonton with mom and Nic, I actually felt pretty happy there on the couch with the snow falling outside the window, surrounded by my own little family! :)
It stayed ridiculously cold all weekend, and the novelty of cuddling on the couch eventually wore off. Scout and I got very feeling very housebound, but one walk down the street and back quickly reminded us why we were staying inside!!!! I sit here typing this tonight hoping the cold hangs in just one more day, just long enough for school to be cancelled.....a girl can hope can't she??
Here's hoping you are staying warm on your own couch cuddled up to something warm and cute!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


We, the grade 8's and I, sat through the 1.5 hour Kindergarten to grade 3 Christmas Concert dress rehersal this afternoon...wow! I'm not gonna lie, it was long and painful! That's what dress rehersals are for though, right? To torture the rest of the kids in the school, the ones who are not in the concert and whose teachers (me) insist that supporting the little guys is important! I dragged the reluctan "French 8's" down to the gym for the 1:15pm start of the dress rehersal. We entered upon the following scene: several blue chairs lined up in crooked rows, a garland draped key board, three microphones, 6 Christmas theme sweater wearing primary teachers, one frazzled music teacher and over 100 4-8 year olds fidgeting on the risers. The grade 8's filed into the back row and the pre pubescent flirting immediately began. I checked the clock, 1:25, still the "little guys" weren't quite ready to start entertaining us. The grade 8's were growing restless and the flirting was escalating. One of the boys now had three ponytail holders in his hair and two of the girls were giggling in a high pitched squealy way. I confiscated two PSPSs, one cell phone and a laptop before the sound of music finaly filled the gym! The small audience quieted down temporarily to watch the adorable smiling faces on the stage belt out Chritmas tunes. Unfortunatly the "belting out" part didnt' last long and soon the little voices were barely audible. The music teacher was waving her arms like a maniac and the music was pumping out of the speakers, but the kids just wern't singing! Eventually someone discovered the microphone and an unplanned solo busted out! The grade 8's groaned in their seats and the primary teachers began pulling out their hair. I sat at the back of the gym, glaring at the gr.8's and grinning at the little performers! I love Christmas concerts, I love how improv always happens, I love that they kids wave to thier parents and friends in the crowd and I love that it never quite goes as planned. I'll admit it is easy for me to love all of this when I am not directly involved in the performance!

At 2:45, I dragged the 8's back to my classroom, explained to them, how important it was to the "little guys" that we were there, being an audience and sighed a secret sigh of relief that the rehersal was finally over!

I won't be at the actual concert tomorrow night, but I know that no matter what happens, it will be a memorable event for all of the students and their parents!

I have no photos of the snow or the concert, but I have posted an adorable one of Scout perched on top of Marty. Both of them think they own the couch....what about me?? Where do I sit?

Monday, December 8, 2008


Yesterday it snowed...a lot!  The snowfall reaked havock on the streets of Calgary, creating slippery, icy, messy accident inducing scenarios.  I did a little driving, (I had to buy new boots),but it didn't take me long to realize, it just wasnt' worth the frustration!  I parked my car, bundled up in my winter walking gear, grabbed the leash and took Scout for a winter walk! Wow, there was a lot of snow!  The sidewalks were burried, under a deep blanket of snow.  The snow covered my new boots and hid Scout's paws, but she loved it!  Scout bounded through the snow, with the joy of a child making the first tracks in the powder! I couldn't help but get caught up in her excitement!  Until that moment, I had forgotten how to love snow. Unless it was sliding beneath my snowboard, I hated it!  But, there was something fun, something really contagious about watching my puppy bounce through the snowbanks!  Huge snowflakes were falling and I had this uncontrollable urge to take Scout off her leash and let her run free, with me, through the deep snow in the park!  We ran and slid and smiled and laughed like two little kids!   This was the "magical, movie" kind of snow.  The kind of snow that makes romantic movie couples want to frolick! Scout and I weren't in a romantic comedy and we weren't expecting a hot young man with a cute chocolate lab to come by and sweep us both off our feet, but we were frolicking and we were loving the fresh snowfall and eachother!!!!
I really want to post some pictures of how beautiful the snow is, but I never seem to be home in the daylight to take a photo.  I will try to take some pictures tomorrow!

Thursday, December 4, 2008


You know those jobs, those chores, the ones you hate to do? I call them "hate jobs." Think about it, everyone has a list, at least a little list of "hate jobs." We all hate chores like; cleaning toilets, doggy poop and projectile vomit. But most lists include more than just the normal, obvious things. Most lists include obscure chores, things you don't have to do often, but when you do, you HATE them! I was reminded of my list just a few minutes ago, when I began the process of stuffing my duvet back into it's freshly washed cover. This is a job I HATE!!! Luckily, ever since I moved in with Marty, I have avoided doing this job. Tonight though, he went to the Metallica concert and forgot to tell me that he had washed the sheets (yay Marty for doing laundry) but had forgotten to take them out of the dryer and put them BACK ON THE BED (boo Marty!) I cussed all the way down the stairs, all the way to the dryer and all the way back to the bedroom. The whole process is awkward, my arms always seem to short, my vertical always seems too little and my patience is always minimal!
I grabbed the corners of the duvet cover, scrunched up the rest of the cover, stuffed the duvet itself into the corners of the cover, jumped up on the bed and held the duvet corners, newly covered by the cover and shook the whole thing over the end of the bed until the cover slid down over the duvet. Ofcorse it only slid part way down, I had stuffed the duvet in sideways. Grrrrr! I HATE this job.
"Hate" is a strong word, that's what my mom always says, so I don't just throw it around. There are not too many chores on my "Hate Jobs" list, but here are a few of them:

Putting the duvet cover on the duvet-frustrating!
Taking down the Christmas tree and decorations-depressing!
Weed Whacking long grass near gravel and shale-ouch!
Scraping grease off cookie sheets-who doesn't use foil for messy projects???? Grrrr!

There are lots of chores I dont' like doing, but these top my list of "HATE JOBS!" How about you, what's on your list?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Marty was given tickets to the Flames hockey game tonight, so that's where we went.  Marty likes to park for free, so we always have to walk a long way to the Saddledome and it was pretty chilly, so I decided to wear my "pea coat," you know the nice big dress coats,the kind that button up and tie at the waist?  Anyway, I wore it over my T-shirt and hoodie with a scarf and mitts, I was very warm!  The game was great, it is always fun to watch live hockey!  In between the first and second period I went to the bathroom.  I was sitting there, reading the little sign warning me not to "dispose of sanitary products in any of the toilets at the Saddledome." Those signs always kind of gross me out.  I hate thinking about "sanitary products," mine or anyone elses, especially used ones that need to be "disposed of"  Ewww!  To distract myself, I thought about the time Aimee used a washroom at Walmart and without knowing it,until it was too late, flushed her car keys down the toilet!  Can you imagine?  I can't remember all of the details, like how she solved this problem, or who she tried to get to help her that didn't just burst into laughter, I just remember thinking it was incredibly funny....to me!  With the smile from the memory still plastered on my face, I stood up only to realize that the "tie" from my coat had, without me knowing it, fallen in the toilet! Not only had it soaked up toilet bowl water, but I was pretty sure I had peed on it!!!!  OOOOOOOOPS!!!!! EWWWWWWWW!  I think I would have preferred flushing my keys, at least Aimee never had to touch her keys again.  I, on the other hand, had to wear that coat for the next two periods of hockey and all the way back to our vehicle!  You should have seen how frozen the end of the tie was by the time we made it back to the van after the game!  GROSSSSSSSSSSSS!

Monday, December 1, 2008


I might love December first as much as I love Christmas!  I love the anticipation of waiting for it, oh and I wait for it!  I wait for December first, to bust out my Christmas music, I wait for the first, to hang any lights or decorations and I wait for the firs,t to indulge the first of several seasonal mugs of eggnog!  Today was December first and I am writing this blog from my very festive, garland draped, extremely well lit, living room!  I LOVE IT!!!  My belly is full of eggnog and rum, and my heart is full of peace.  
The evening started with Marty, Maria and I putting on santa hats.  We only needed two more things to really get into the Christmas spirit: The eggnog and rum that Marty topped with a  sprinkle of cinnamon and "Kenny and Dolly's Country Christmas!"  
We dug garland and lights out of boxes and draped them over every surface in our livingroom and kitchen.  Scout "helped" ofcorse!  We sang, ok, I sang, we lauged and we reminisced, it was a perfect December first!  Now, I raise my festive, Christmas mug, hoping you will join me in a toast to the holidays and the spirit of Christmas.  Cheers!!!!
P.S. here is the link to the youtube site of Kenny and Dolly singing my favorite Christmas song from their album, enjoy!