Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Just A Reminder.

Don't Quit
Unknown Author 

As things go wrong as they usually will, 
When the track you're climbing feels all uphill, 
When you're salaries are low and your debts are too high;
You would want to smile but you'd have to sigh. 
When car is making you down a bit, 
Rest if you need to but do not quit. 

Life is hard with its own twists and turns, 
As sometimes everyone of us learns. 
When many a failure turns inside out, 
When you could have won if you had turned about. 
Do not give up even when steps are slow, 
You just may succeed with another blow. 

Success comes with failure on the inside to out, 
With that silver tint in the clouds of doubt, 
You may never tell how close you are, 
It could be near even if it feels so far, 
So stick to with your greatest, strongest and hardest hit, 
It's when things seem worse that you should not quit!

This poem correlates greatly with the long, full, and gruelling day I've had today. To all my BEd friends out there, two more days! 

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Way to My Heart.

For one of my classes this week, we had to compose a magazine of writing genres about a similar topic. Another name for this project is "multi-genre writing." The topic my group chose is near and dear to my heart - food! 

I had to choose two genres of writing wherein I spoke about food. My choices were easily made. I chose to write a poem about the Food Network, and I chose to write a personal narrative about food and tradition, specifically in my family. I would like to share the latter with you. 


Family, Food, Forever

In my family, food is the center of a lot of our bonding. It's a tradition, something that's being passed down from generation to generation. I think my love for cooking started with my father. He and I have always shared a love for it. As the older sister, I naturally took on a sort of mothering responsibility with my family. Most evenings, I cooked supper for my family so a meal was on the table when my parents got home from work. Once I got my license, I started carting my brother to and from his hockey practices, and often cooked two meals a night (because my brother was a VERY picky eater). Rarely did I ever complain about having to do so. 

My dad is known for his barbecuing in our family. One of my favourite things to have after being away from home for a great length of time are my dad's barbecued hamburgers. Though I can't remember one specific moment wherein my dad taught me how to cook something, I think some of my favourite memories are of the two of us sitting at the kitchen table sharing ideas and flavours with one another, and dreams of opening a restaurant together some day. Now it often features of glass of red win - a new shared love between the two of us. I am so grateful that this shared love for food is what bonds the two of us. 

Both of my Grandmother's are also known for cooking large and elaborate meals. My Grammy Dickinson is famous for her brown bread; My Grandmom is famous for her homemade rolls. Both of them are near and dear to my heart. The older I get, the more I appreciate the lessons they have taught me over the years. Today, a lot of these lessons come simply from family recipes. A family favourite that my Grandmom makes ever Christmas was handed down another generation this year. "The Christmas Ring" - a must0have on our dinner table Christmas morning. My mother curses at attempting to make it, as she has never had much luck. So, when Grandmom suggested that I be in charge of the Christmas ring this year, I was mildly in shock. However, with constant coaching and step-by-step instructions, out collaborative Christmas ring gained much praise from the family (thought she won't take any of the credit). What I cherished most about this time with my Grandmom, though, was learning about how she was handed down the recipe. She told me stories of making the ring with her mother-in-law (my Mum Mum), and how it was one of the first times they spent one on one time together. I envision the day when I get to have a similar moment with my grandchildren. 


I found this piece really easy to write, and could have written pages and pages about the topic. I chose to write about food and the tradition is has in my family because I cherish any moment that I have to connect and grow with my family. Writing this piece gave me time to reflect on some recent happenings, and it was much like a therapy session. When I left the piece after it's completion, I felt a sense of satisfaction and appreciation for the piece itself, and for where I've had the fortune of growing up. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


The last 24 hours have been highly reflective. Which, if you had asked me 9 months ago, I rarely did. But since starting an education degree, I've found myself reflecting at the end of every week - whether it be through writing notes in my journal about what went well that week and what didn't, and how I can improve on those faults. However, yesterday was both reflective and encouraging all at once. 

I will be starting my second internship of this degree on March 12th. So, yesterday I met with my internship supervisor. It was great getting to sit down with her and have a little "get to know you" session prior to her evaluating me on a weekly basis. She's sweet, kind, and offered many words of encouragement upon expressing my anxieties of this upcoming internship. She said to me, "You have a beautiful smile and I can tell you have a caring heart. Those are two important characteristic one needs to earn the trust of high school students." I thanked her for such kind compliments. 

Later on in the day, I went out for supper with a new friend. She has experience working with high school students, and we discussed the upcoming internship. When I expressed how I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to get to know my students and have them get to know me in such a short period of time, she responded in saying, "From what I know about you and your personality, you'll have no problem earning their respect and trust. Just get down to their level, and show that you care and you'll do just fine." 

Sometimes I find it difficult to take a compliment without debating in my head if the person offering the compliment is being truthful and genuine. It has nothing to do with their character, it derives from my insecurities and self-concious tendencies. I expressed this to my supervisor, and she came right out and told me that I was being too hard on myself. And it all just clicked. When I got home later on, I wrote in my journal a few notes about the day. One of those notes being, "my family was right." 

Through my Grandad's illness and demise, I often blamed myself for not trying hard enough to spend more time with him. I remember one instance where his condition got quite worse in a 24 hour time period. I fled to his home (which is about an hour and 20 minutes away) and he laid asleep in his hospital bed in the living room. I cried. I cried for a long time. Miserable, shaking cries. And sobbed about how I shouldn't have spent time with my friends the night before and should have come to be by his side. Both my mother and Grandmother told me that I was being too hard on myself, and that it wasn't the first time I had treated myself in such a way. I knew that I was tough on myself, but who isn't, right? I sort of let it slide by, and trudged on the way I always had. 

And like I've said time and time again on this blog, I've grown up a lot in a years time. In my reflecting, I've noted that I need to loosen up in some aspects of my life. I can't fix everything, and I can't be in more then one place at a time. My family knows that I love them, and being in their presence does not stop the hurt and unhappiness that comes with life. When someone gives you a compliment, their being honest. Listen to what people have to say about you, it'll help you grow. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Last Week.

Another week has come and gone. Only three weeks of classes left before the March break. It's blowing my mind how quickly this school year is flying by - much like the four before.

Here are some of the perks of the last week:

~ I started volunteering at my internship school last week.  It's been a great motivator and reminded me as to why I'm doing this BEd programme.

~ I went to Snooty Fox last week with 3 friends. It's the first time I've been to Snooty in about 3 weeks, and it was delicious. I never fail to leave without a full belly and a smile on my face.

~ I went skating again last Thursday with my friend, Jenny. As sore as my ankles were from the last time, I made it the entire hour and even taught Jenny how to stop! So proud :)

~ I watched a new movie on Friday with Amanda that she has been recommending to me for over a year now. It was The Family Stone and I loved it. Of course it made me cry, but it also warmed my heart. I highly recommend it. I'm dying to watch it again this week!

~ I spent a fantastic day with Amanda on Saturday. We went to the market, ate delicious food like a "Waffle on a Stick" (I had the one dipped in chocolate and Skor bits) and a pulled pork wrap, did school work at Starbucks, ate a copious amount of Chinese food, and then sat on the couch watching the hockey game and singing to each other. A fabulous day - thank you Amanda.

~ I had a non-school related afternoon with my friends Andrea and Jenny on Sunday. We ate food and talked about our pasts. I love learning about how my friends grew up, and I feel like the three of us got a little closer after Sunday afternoon, and I cherish that.

~ I stayed up late on Sunday and watched the Grammy's from start to finish. Kudos to Adele on her clean sweep of awards. I really enjoyed the performances and respected the beautiful rendition of "I Will Always Love You" that Jennifer Hudson did in memory of Whitney Houston. I've been reading a lot of critiques on Twitter, and people can be quite mean. It's hard to please everyone, and with the death of Whitney Houston the day before the Grammy's, there was a lot of pressure on a lot of people to respect her life tastefully. And in my opinion, that is exactly what they did.

~ I continued with the "February Photo a Day Challenge" from fat mum slim. Here are my pictures from last week:

Thanks to my family and friends for helping make another week fly by. 

How was your second week of February? What are you looking forward to about this week? Does anyone have any Valentine's Day plans? 

Thanks for reading :)

Thursday, February 9, 2012


This week I started volunteering at the school that I did my internship at. It's been over a month since the last time I saw all my students. When I woke up Monday morning, I was feeling a little funky and a little off. Even my roommate Amanda noticed and mentioned in the kitchen "you seem a little off today." I was hopeful that my visit at the school later in the afternoon would perk me up, and it did just that.

Lunch hour was just finishing and the students were gathering books and papers out of their lockers as I walked down the hallway towards my old classroom. When they noticed me, there were yells of "It's Miss Dickinson!" "We missed you!" and I was bombarded with hugs and high fives. I couldn't wipe the smile off my face, and I replied over and over again "I missed you all, too!"

While sitting in the classroom working one on one with some of the students, I was reminded as to why I am in this program and completing a degree in Secondary Education: for the students. Witnessing their successes and enthusiasm motivates me to do my best everyday.

Before leaving, I had this conversation with my cooperating teacher:

Teacher: "How did you make out today?"

Me: "You have no idea how badly I needed this. Thank you." 

Teacher: "I noticed you were working with [student] today. I want you to know that [student] has been struggling putting anything on the page lately. Just having you here today motivated them to write a page and a half of their autobiography. That's says something about you." 

I left with a warmth in my heart and a smile on my face and a reminder of how motivational and rewarding the teaching profession is. Despite the fact that finding a job is proving to be difficult, I think that I've chosen the perfect profession.

"The best way out is always through."

- Robert Frost

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Last Week.

Last week was a fantastic week filled with friends. Everyday had something to look forward to. Then the weekend saw some bonding with family. I feel so relaxed and at peace these days, which is a nice change from the usual stress and anxiety.

Wednesday should be called "Roommate-day!" My roommates and I went out for supper to Whopper Wednesday at Burger King. It was Nadine's first time eating there - which shocked the rest of us and was ultimately the motivation for us going (besides cheap Whoppers). Afterwards Nadine, Amanda, and I went to see Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Talent. Pure talent. 

Thursday I went skating with my friend Jenny. This was her second time on the ice and she was determined to learn how to stop. This was also the first time I've been on the ice since last winter. My thighs were SO sore for about 3 days, but I loved every minute of being on the ice. Note to self: future blogpost about my skating "career."

Robynne, Jenny, and I. 
Friday was my friend Robynne's birthday. I met Robynne through schooling this year, and I consider myself very lucky to have such a fun spirited and lovely girl in my life. For her birthday we went out for supper at possibly my favourite restaurant in the city: The Snooty Fox. Afterwards, we had a much needed fun gathering at Jenny's and then went out dancing. This didn't help the pain in my thighs, but it was so much fun! Prior to going out dancing, Robynne, Jenny, and I had a foolish photo shoot wearing matching bright red lipstick. Here's a sample:

Another fantastic perk about last Friday: Hey Rosetta! announced their concert date for the city and Sara and I purchased our tickets!! SO EXCITED!! This will be the 4th time I've seen them, and they never get old :)

Saturday I headed off to spend the rest of the weekend with my Grandmom. We did a lot of my favourite things while I was there. We bottled the batch of wine she so generously purchased for me, ran some errands, had a fantastic homemade supper of ribs, baked potatoes, coleslaw, then ice cream for dessert (I always here my Grandad say "I've never turned down an ice cream" in my head whenever Grandmom offers ice cream for dessert). We finished the evening sitting in front of the tv and watching The Notebook. Grandmom had never seen it, and I warned her that there would be a lot of tears at the end, but I think she (and I) enjoyed every minute of it nonetheless.
NOTE: new pet peeve that came out of this moving watching - when television stations cut out vital parts of movies.

Sunday Grandmom and I went out for breakfast at Cora's then met up with my mom and dad to watch my brother play hockey. I try to see my brother play as often as I can because I'm so proud that he is following his heart and doing what he loves while he can. When I came home, friends were just finishing up Sunday supper and we all sat down with a drink in hand and watched the Super Bowl (GO GIANTS!)

Breakfast at Cora's. Yum-o!
Last week, thanks to a heads up from Amanda, I started the "February Photo A Day Challenge" from fat mum slim.

Each day has a photo mission. All you have to do is a take a picture that fits in the realm of the category and post it to Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, or  your favourite social media site. Here's a look at my photos from the first 5 days of the challenge:

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close.

Lines from the film Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close:

Oskar: "What do you miss about him?"

Mother: "I miss his voice telling me he loves me."


Sitting in the theatre, I nod my head and whisper "yes." I know how this feels, and I still feel it now and then. 

An incredible and moving movie. I didn't cry as much as I thought I would. In fact, I only teared up once (during the quoted moment above). It was amazing and inspiring to be in Oskar's thought processes and in his journey to find something he thought his Dad had left behind for him. He is a remarkable boy with the most intricate mind. I could have sat and watched/listened to him for hours. I'm definitely more motivated now to go read the book.  

Oskar is a nine-year-old boy who lost his father in 9/11. After finding a key in a blue vase in his father's closet, Oskar spends his weekends searching for who the key belongs to and what it opens hoping he'll find something that his Dad intended for Oskar to find. 

Oskar meets many people and hears their stories, when at the same time, the audience is living Oskar's story with him. I felt connected to Oskar and when he experienced extreme emotional break downs I wanted to reach my hand out and comfort him. It was obvious at the end of the film how much he impacted every person he encountered. And to see the relationship between Oskar and his mother blossom was one of the most touching and beautiful things I've ever seen on film. It was so real and so calming that I felt I was in the room with them. 

A wonderful movie, and I highly recommend it to you all. 

If you've seen it, what did you think? Leave a comment! 

(Photo via IMDb)