Friday, September 30, 2005


One day when I was probably about 10 or 11, I was in my bedroom with a Barbie doll I had retrieved from the depths of some piles of stuff in a closet or under my bed. I decided that even though I had never really liked Barbies at all, I wanted to have a pretend friend who I would know everything about and who I could tell everything to. It lasted all of 18 seconds. Probably because Barbies are mute. I wanted to have a companion who would only know the good things about me and would be limited to that picture. Likewise, I would only know the neat and tidy things about her; the things I imagined didn't include catching colds and bodily functions.
Blogs seem to be a way for people to present a certain image of themselves - I can post whatever information I feel like presenting, and viewers who don't know me are limited to that information. My clothes on the floor and dishes on the counter probably won't make the cut in what I write. But they're there.
That's also one of the things I like about looking at other people's blogs. I can imagine that someone's car is clean, their office is immaculate and efficient, and their bathroom isn't filled with half-empty jars and bottles. I can imagine that they lead a magazine life. A TV character's life. One with no depth, but man, is it neat.
I'm realizing more and more that it truly is the 'messy' things in life that make it interesting and that make people unique. The messiness rounds everything out and makes us human. Trying to overcome those things and 'attain' just isn't worth it.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Devil's walking stick

I was outside doing some yard work this afternoon, getting a flower bed ready for a nice long sleep by clearing out all of the gout weed and trimming up the clematis and tearing down a really makeshift and ugly trellis. I am really excited for next spring and summer when I know what to expect will come up out of nowhere. Perhaps I shouldn't get my hopes up, lest I be sorely disappointed to realize that I paid too much attention to the plants and over-loved them. Hopefully that won't happen, especially not with the peonies that I missed blooming this year when I was away. This image is a Devil's Walking Stick, or Hercules' Club. It drops its branches in the fall and has a very thorny trunk. I think it's quite unique, and I'm glad we have one in the yard. Some of the other things I am excited to have are (in no particular order): daffodils, tulips, crocuses, 4 clematis, a japanese cherry tree, flowering quince, 2 snowball trees, a white lilac and a 'regular' one, a chestnut tree, japanese maple, 2 weigela, honeysuckle bush and vine, hydrangea, a dozen types of roses, a thornless raspberry patch, peonies, daylilies, lily of the valley, delphiniums, phlox, a HUGE oak tree, cedar trees, daisies, chinese lanterns, etc. Definitely a lot of work, and definitely worth it!

Freckled retina

An image of my fully functional right retina. How amazing is it that this is an actual photograph of my retina? I got a copy printed out so I can show it to my students when expalaining how the eye functions. There is a small freckle on my retina (just like a face freckle, only an interior one) just below my optic disc. That's the white bit - it's also what creates the blind spot that you have. Eyes and sight are so fabulous. And accommodating for the loss of vision is such a huge challenge. We take in 70% of the information about the world around us through vision. Having that sense compromised changes everything.

A few years ago

Adam took this picture of me a couple of years ago on the ferry between Digby, NS and Saint John, NB. I'm really only posting it here because that's the easiest way I can figure out how to get it in my profile.

The culprit

Currently sleeping very peacefully on the dining room floor, this is Virgil. The cat who missed his litter box last week. He spent a traumatic first year of his life at the local SPCA in a very small cage with another cat. We picked him up on a very snowy day in January, and he has been spoiled (and getting larger) ever since. He loves to jump at doorframes when you tap on them, play between the railing spindles on the staircase, and chase dry leaves around the floor. Other daily activities include rubbing up against my dark clothes for work, sleeping on Adam's bookbag, and sitting on the windowsill in the kitchen. It has been warm weather since we moved into this house, so I don't know what he's going to do when we can't open the window all the time. He's too fat to fit on the sill when the window is closed.

New addition

This is Maeve Rosa Tay, the newest addition to the Woollin family (some wonderful friends of ours). She's obviously beautiful, and she's the first baby I can really spoil and play with since she belongs to close friends. I'm quite excited about the whole thing and have bought her the cutest little hat from MEC in Apple Green & Blush! We're going to be meeting her on Thanksgiving weekend... I can't wait!

Saturday, September 24, 2005

A very red room

The first room we got around to painting in our new (very old) house was the living room. We finished it a couple of weeks ago, and I think it's perfect. The colour is Benjamin Moore Raspberry Truffle ('raspberry' makes me think fuschia, but this is certainly red) and those are some of Adam's pictures on the walls. (There's a link to his sites on the right. I think he's pretty talented.)

Friday, September 23, 2005


Would you like to know the perfect way to ruin the awesome carrot muffin breakfast you were just about to enjoy? (This happened to me this morning.) The smell of cat poop wafting into the room will do the job nicely. Which isn't really that unusual (but definitely gross), because we have the litter box quite close to the dining room because of the setup of the house. So I ask my husband to close the door so I don't smell it as I try to eat my awesome carrot muffin, and on his way he stops and looks at the floor. He then quickly walks away and says "I'm going for a run" and he's gone. Unfortunately, the cat had already gone for his run, and he missed the litter box.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Gearing up

So I participated in one of my distance university courses (no, that doesn't sound right - the courses aren't from a place called "Distance U") tonight, and I was advised by someone who knows to approach my supervisor (the advisor is my supervisor's former supervisor) about my caseload. So I've decided that tomorrow, I will do just that. And in an accurate show of how confident I am about the decision, I've decided to e-mail her about it.

Here's the situation (I don't mean to sound whiny; I'll try to simply make my point): I have a caseload of 21 visually impaired students. Three of them are braille users, nine of them have direct service (ranging from 1-8 hours/week) and the others are monthly consults. I was thinking about it, and I really think it is a disservice to the students to have one teacher doing a poor job because there is simply not enough time to do a decent one. Kind of like having a classroom with too many students. But having to travel up to an hour to see some of the students and needing time to check e-mail, make phone calls, and prepare materials - it's just not possible to do a good job. And it's difficult to say that something is beyond my capabilities.

My day started off on a fabulous note - I made my first student of the morning cry. OK, that's not entirely accurate. She didn't get her way and ended up crying and still not getting her way. But that kind of set the tone. The afternoon did end up a lot better, though - one of the students I really enjoy working with was having a great day, I felt somewhat prepared, and things just went well. Oh, except for the fire drill that took place midway through the session and I didn't know for certain where to go and talked the whole way out of the school building and forgot to close the door behind us when we left the room we were working in. At least it was a drill.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

So I caved...

Yes, you're right.

I am the one who once decried blogs as self-absorbed and said I didn't want to start one. However, after reading some that I really enjoyed, my mind may have changed a bit. Or maybe I just want to feel important.

Regardless (note the absence of an 'ir' in front), I hope for this to be a space to post bits and pieces about my life - from pictures of my newly-red living room to ones of my garden. And, of course, pictures of Virgil the fat and handsome cat. And anecdotes about my job as an Itinerant Teacher of Students who are Blind or Visually Impaired. There's always something interesting. Like the preschool instructor who referred to me as the student's "illiterate teacher" rather than "itinerant teacher".

Oh, the name! As anyone who knows me will confirm, I am a bit of a Frenchy's fanatic. Frenchy's is a local used-clothing store where I have found the vast majority of my wardrobe and lots of other things. You never know what you're going to find there, which is why it is so difficult to drive by a Frenchy's without stopping in. Hopefully it will be the same with this blog and it will be perpetually interesting.