Sweet Dreams: Daily Prompt


I am legit falling asleep right now.  So how fitting that today’s WordPress prompt and that one of this week’s writing prompts from Mama Kat are both about dreaming.

We’ve been asked to describe the best and most vivid dream we’ve ever had (which I’ll have to link up tomorrow — until then, check out Mama Kat’s blog).

I have two dreams to share — I don’t know if I’d call either of them the best, but they’re certainly the most vivid… the kind of dream where you sit up in bed after you wake up and wonder if that actually happened or not.

I don’t put much stock in dream theory or whatever it’s called — the analysis of dreams to inform you what they really mean for your life…. but one comes up meaning big change or stress, and the other comes up suggesting that I’m suppressing creativity that wants out….. Maybe I need to get on writing that book?

1.  I’ve woken up more than once after a dream where I found out I was pregnant and was faced with the daunting task of telling everyone I know that I’m a hypocrite.  You see, some of you may already know this about me, but it’s not currently possible for me to become pregnant.  Every time this happens, I don’t know who the Father is, and I have to explain to not only my parents, but to everyone around me, how I got pregnant out of marriage, how this happened, and what exactly I’m going to do.  One pregnancy dream lasted long enough that I had the baby, and was raising it on my own.  I had friends over to meet my baby girl, and a friend sat on my baby on the bed.  I woke up in a sheer panic — “where’s my baby!?  Is she ok!?  Wait…. I’m not pregnant.  I don’t have a baby.  I don’t even have a boyfriend.  Time to go back to sleep.”

They are the strangest dreams.  The pregnancy dream is the one that apparently means you’re suppressing creativity.

The other dream I’ve had that is super vivid… is where all my teeth fall out.  haha it even sounds ridiculous to say it.  Apparently it points to anxiety and stress.  I’ve had this dream more than once.  The most vivid time I’ve had this dream went like this…

It was the first day of school (I had the dream at the end of summer), and I had spent a bunch of time prepping and lesson planning — ready to wow those kids with how awesome a teacher I was going to be (I switched schools and positions in September of this year).  I’ll admit that I was quite nervous about the switch, even when awake.  I was switching from teaching Grade 4-8, and teaching them French… to Kindergarten, Grade 1, and Grade 2… Science, Social Studies, and Gym.  Nothing would be the same as the year before.  As I stood (in the dream) in front of my first Grade 1 Science class, I sneezed.  When I sneezed, every single tooth in my mouth fell out into my hand.  I remember very clearly looking down in my hands at every tooth from my mouth.  I tried to introduce myself to my new kiddos, and all I could do was gum at things.  I woke up and for hours….. not kidding… HOURS…. I ran my tongue across my teeth to make sure they were all still there.  I don’t consider myself to be an overly vain person, but I can’t lie, the idea of having no teeth is not an enticing one.

So there you have it — apart from a hallucination when I was a kid that I only vaguely remember (My fever was high.  My Dad and best friend chased me around a circuit board armed with pillow cases full of rocks, swords, and banana cream pies.  I woke up screaming…..), those are my two most vivid dreams — being pregnant with no explanation, and losing all my teeth right when I have to do something important.

I just really hope they don’t both happen at the same time.  That’d be wretched.

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#BoycottSochi, #SochiProblems, and other Sochi thoughts


I’ll be honest when I start this off.

I am not a sports fan.

I’m ok with playing some of them — I’ll play volleyball, quite happily.  I love swimming.  I’ve dabbled in snowboarding.  I like to think I’m a runner, even though I haven’t run in months, haha…. I love cardio kick boxing…

But I participate in every single one of those.

I don’t watch sports…… except for every four years in February.  Then… and only then… the PVR needs to be regularly emptied so I can record some more, and I make sure I’ve watched all of the sports that I want to see.  It’s the only time I care about results, scores, whatever…. it’s the Winter Olympics.

This year, they’re being held in Sochi, Russia.  Personally, my patriotic support of the games has never been higher than on the last ones, Vancouver 2010.  That might be my Canadian Passport talking, though.  Plus… there were Inuksuks everywhere, and if I had to pick a symbol of Canada that I love most, it wouldn’t be the maple leaf; It’d be the Inuksuk.

But I digress.

There’s been a lot of controversy over the location of these games.  There are many people out there… I even know some of them… who believe that we shouldn’t be there — that the depth of the inappropriateness, criminal activity, prejudice, and discrimination that happen in Russia in general is too great, and that we as a global community can’t possibly support Russia by showing up for the Olympics.

To be honest, I don’t know that much about what’s been going on.  And that is what’s going to fuel my argument in this debate.

Prior to January 2014, I knew virtually nothing of the conflicts going on in Russia in regard to human rights, gay rights, war crimes… just to name a few.  I’ve had to do some reading.  I’ve been sitting on this post for about a week and a half… and then Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop Prompts came out for this week and gave me the platform to write the back half of the post… and so I sat on it some more.

As food for thought, here are some of the things I read.  Now, I realize that some of the sources here aren’t amazing.  I realize that my search term – “boycott Sochi” – was a very leading search term, and that it’s probably led to some biased results… but… for me, that’s inconsequential.  If that matters to you, you can stop reading right here.  I’m being honest with you so that in the comments, I don’t get blasted for using slightly slanted sources…. plus, as a fair warning, I probably won’t approve any comments that are rude, anyway.  I never do.

Now — here’s my stance.

First of all, the only thing I’d heard about Sochi at all was the anti-gay policies and the eradication of stray dogs.  I’m not minimizing these things at all; They’re awful.  But there are other issues at hand here.  There are all kinds of human rights issues that are massive, all surrounding Russian government.  “Human Rights Watch have documented exploitation of migrant workers in violation of Russian law; evictions of residents without fair compensation and in some cases, with no compensation at all. Many resettled residents lost a portion of their livelihoods; Threats, harassment, and lawsuits of activists and journalists critical of the Games, as well as Russia’s discriminatory anti-LGBT propaganda law.” [Source]

And I think that’s my point…. before the Olympics started, that’s all I’d heard about.  While they aren’t good things, by any stretch of the word, and they aren’t things I want to draw attention away from, there are issues that go so deep in Russia…. that I would never have known about.  Because I wouldn’t have looked.

So yes, I know many people wanted Sochi boycotted.  They wanted The Olympics not to be held on a world stage that’s so fraught with issues deserving of international attention……. but if The Olympics weren’t being held in Sochi, would all of these issues be garnering such international attention?  Or would they have gone on, largely unnoticed, out of the public eye?

I get it.  We don’t want to be supportive of crimes that are being committed what appears to be completely intentionally.  But my argument is, if we boycott and keep international attention out of such places, how can any change be effected?  How will we know?  I wouldn’t have known.  Maybe that’s my own fault, but the point stands.  I would have been completely clueless that most of that was going on in Russia.

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Now that I’ve expressed that, Mama Kat’s prompt that I chose for this week is to choose one Olympic sport we’d like to compete in and explain why.

I can’t choose.  I can’t.  I need two choices!!

I want Slope Style Snowboarding.  And I want Ice Dance.  I want them both.

Why?

Because both of them are beautifully artistic and require incredible athletic ability (neither of which I’m very good at — my art comes out in words, and I’m a super klutz.)

Like I said above, I have dabbled in snowboarding.  I know PRECISELY how difficult it is.  I learned in the Alps in France, and I couldn’t even handle the Bunny Hills.  Wrecked my knee… basically proved for a whole week why I should never strap my feet on top of a waxy board and slide around on slippy snow.  Period.

I have a similar experience on ice.  I think that ice dance is phenomenally, outstandingly…. pulchritudinous (Characterized by or having great physical beauty and appeal ~ because I needed a word that carried more punch than ‘beautiful,’ ‘stunning,’ ‘gorgeous’ etc.)  My heart nearly broke when Tessa and Scott were beaten by Meryl and Charlie and ‘only’ took silver.  I love Tessa and Scott.  I think they should get married and have figure skating prodigies, and I’m super sad at the thought that this is their last Olympics.  I want to a) be in that incredible shape physically, and b) be able to move around on skates while letting go of the boards.  Both of those things would be amazing.

Speaking of figure skating… have you seen this?  I’ve thought pretty much all of these things (27 Things You’re Really Thinking About During Figure Skating)

Those are my sports.  Or, if I was athletic at all… those would be my sports.  But those are my choices 🙂

So there you have it.  Not only would I NOT boycott Sochi, but in an ideal world, I’d be the only athlete to compete in two completely different disciplines.  Everyone was super surprised when Torah Bright of Australia decided to compete in Slope Style, Snowboard Cross, and half pipe…. well I’d compete in Slope Style, then blow the competition off of the frozen water in ice dance.

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Boiling Snow — What Winter Looks Like


One of Mama Kat’s writing prompts this week is for us to show off what winter looks like in our neck of the woods.  This week, thanks to a disgusting thing called a ‘polar vortex,’ winter in my neck of the woods feels wretched.  It looks …. slick.

The roads are shiny, glossy, and slippery.  So are the sidewalks.  So is the playground at my school.  Indoor recesses three days straight, anyone?  Winter in my pocket of Southern Ontario can vary completely, depending on the year.  Last year was very mild, and we had above freezing temperatures well into December.  This year, we’ve had snow since November and it hasn’t gone away.  That’s unusual, and I’m ok with that.

This polar vortex thing, though… it’s insane.  It’s apparently this crazy mass of air from the arctic that has moved in and settled for a few days.  Just a few though.  It was 0 Celsius on Saturday… and early this morning it dipped to a record setting -24 feels like -40.  Now, fun fact:  those numbers are both in Celsius, but at -40 it doesn’t matter anymore.  Celsius and Fahrenheit meet.  They split back up at that point, but -40 is -40 any way you look at it.  I have one thing to say: Go home, Arctic, you’re drunk.

The ridiculous thing about this image is, I live in the light blue, not that giant dark blue chunk of foreboding arctic absurdity.

It’s the kind of cold that makes you numb in minutes.  It’s the kind of cold that buries its way in through whatever you’re wearing and makes itself at home.  It’s the kind of cold that makes salt refuse to melt ice, resulting in the skating rinks that are the roads.  It’s the kind of cold that makes my dog not want to stay outside long enough to go to the bathroom.  It’s the kind of cold that sends frost quakes coursing through the ground, making houses and decks creak and groan.  It’s the kind of cold that made the CD Player in my car refuse to play CDs.  And it’s the kind of cold that makes the sap crackle and snap inside the maple trees as it freezes and expands beneath the bark.

It’s cold.

But this post is not to complain about the cold.  It’s actually kind of neat.  I mean, I don’t like the cold, but that doesn’t mean I wrote a blog post to whine about it.  And that being said, I do realize that many parts of Canada, Europe, and Russia all get this type of bone-chilling cold on a regular basis, all winter long.  I get it.  But it’s atypical here.

But since this is an atypical winter, and since normally winter here really isn’t anything to write home about, there have been some creative folks out there doing creative things.

I’m sure some of you have seen the videos floating around of people tossing cups/pots/bowls full of boiling water into the frigid wind and watching it turn to snow and blow away.  I didn’t believe it’d work at first.  To be truthful, I don’t really understand the science behind it….. but I wanted to try it.  Mostly, I wanted to call the Internet’s bluff….

But I failed at that.

I took a pot of boiling water outside after work today, knowing I may never see temperatures this cold again… or at least not for a really long time (it’s supposed to be back to +3 by Saturday… and I’m totally ok with that).  I took that pot of boiling water outside, and I whipped it into the air.  It turned to snow instantly, and while I still don’t really get it, I’m pleased that I’ll have a story to tell my kids one day.  “When I was 29, it got SO COLD outside, that a whole bunch of us took pots of boiling water outside, whipped them into the air, watched the water turn to snow instantly… and then uploaded the videos to YouTube.”

WARNING:  You MUST throw the water into the wind, and stand so it blows away from you.  Otherwise, the water could still be hot and I’ve seen lots of reports of people getting burned trying this.  Common sense appears to not be all that common.

I’m gonna be that Mom/Grandma… the one that still talks about YouTube, even though by then the kids will likely be able to send videos to each other with their brains.

And that’s what winter is like here, right now.  This is more of a sound description than anything, I suppose… but… it is what it is!

The 10 Greatest Things About Being a Kid


I have not been a kid in 20ish years, but I teach them every day.  I think, if I could give up my independence and go back to being a kid for a day, these would be the 10 reasons I’d do so.  Probably the only 10 reasons though… cuz most days I just don’t think I could deal with the drama that accompanies being a kid.  (Inspired by my two kindergarten classes and the prompt found at Mama Kat’s Losin It)

Anyway, here’s the list — Letterman style — last to greatest.

10.  You don’t have to do up your own coat or tie your own shoes (until you prove once that you’re capable, then you always have to do it).

9.  Your lunch is packed for you, and an adult will open the hard-to-open wrappers and containers for you.

8.  When someone’s reading you a story, it’s expected that you’ll call out in surprise at the idea of things like alligators living in the sewers.

7.  When you miss your Mom, it’s ok to cry.  People will even hug you for it.

6.  You get invited to everyone’s birthday party, and celebrate pretty much every holiday during school time with parades and wicked fun crafts.

5.  Everything you’re learning is new, so pretty much everything’s exciting and mind-blowing.

4.  Along with # 5, the adults in your life are very quick to praise you to no end for every simple discovery.

3.  Your laughter is intoxicating and makes others laugh with you.

2.  You can say and do really cheeky things and get away with it because you’re unbelievably precious.  (e.g. kids saying things like “point taken,” “my listening ears are broken,” and “my thinking cap fell off,” and when you win a game and do the biggest gun-show ever)

1.  It doesn’t matter how ridiculous you look in your class picture, the picture is still absolutely adorable.

Also, while I’m here, PLEASE read this post by Angelina at The Road to Roma called “An Open Letter To God (re:  online dating).  It pretty much sums up my feelings about online dating right now.  Angelina… it’s like I could have written it myself.