Tag Archives: Goings-on

On Signing Petitions (via Margaret Atwood: Year of the Flood)

I rarely sign petitions myself. I tend to have the opinion that they accomplish nothing but demonstrate a bunch of people (but not enough to make an impact) cared enough to sign their names to a piece of paper (and sometimes not even that much… http://www.petitionspot.com/ anyone?).

Nevertheless, I also can be influenced by individuals whose opinions I respect. And I did type my name on the petition Margaret Atwood mentions in her most recent post, one which like every other piece of writing she creates made me chuckle, smile, sympathise and sob. Ok, I didn’t really sob, but I could have.

So, I walked into The Office of O.W, Toad Ltd., where the usually smiling staff (two in number) who attempt to run my life with whips of steel were giving me the frowny treatment. “You’ve been signing petitions again,” they said. “Naughty Margaret! Don’t you remember that you promised not to do that?” I knew it would be pretty feeble of me to protest that signing petitions was something anyone in a democracy should feel free to do. That would be … Read More

via Margaret Atwood: Year of the Flood

By the way, should you be interested in a bit of Q&A with my favourite author, check out Sept 20 – 24 on here.


Like words? Like surveys? Go here.

I’d like to request that those of you who fancy words, spelling and grammar go here and fill out a survey that belongs to a research project I’m doing on how people currently use language.  This particularly survey focuses mostly on which spelling of words you prefer.  Don’t worry;  it’s not a test.  I won’t judge you (much).

Merci.  🙂

10 observations about the G20 presence

1.  The TTC gets unpredictably shut down.  Is this a) to protect riders?  b) to prevent protesters from getting downtown quickly?  c) give the personnel an excuse to snooze?

2.  Stores I want to shop in are either closed or close early.  And after this afternoon, they’ll probably be closed for repairs.

3.  Protests pop up on a daily basis causing traffic delays, even for pedestrians like myself.

4.  Rogue protesters break stuff, set stuff on fire and generally wimp out on making a message credible.  Nice covered faces, no balls.

5.  Too much money is spent on cushy dinners and unattractive fencing that could be spent on dinners for the hungry and city beautification (amongst other worthy recipients).

6.  You can’t freely walk wherever you want to.

7.   World Cup + G20 = the majority of all conversation

8.   Steven Harper comes off as a gracious Canadian host.

9.  Muskoka was celebratory about the G8 presence;  Toronto is generally irritated with the G20 presence.

10.  The herds of raid police produce a feeling of police-state rather than of safety.

Courstree blog & website

I spent much of my long weekend redoing Coursetree’s website.  Although I loved the design Ian did for the first version, the graphics just didn’t seem the most effective for the content of the page.  I felt that a more serious design (and readable) was warranted for my potential customers.  As a result, I went for a newspaper or blog-style approach.  Please take a look at version two here.

Additionally, I’ve wanted to participate in the ESL blogging world like so many others I follow on Twitter.  Plus, there is a lot of detailed information, like the About Us section of the website, that I felt was too much text for the homesite.  So, Coursetree Blog came to be.  Please check it out for ESL-related materials.  🙂

Rocco the rockstar!

My baby puppy (actually 10 years old) was diagnosed with Diabetes.  The first thought that ran through my mind was ‘oh good, at least it’s not a fatal kidney failure.’  For about a week, he had started being unable to make it through the night without peeing.  At first, he’d wake me up almost at the time I normally get up, prompting me to take him outside.  Then it got worse to the point where he’d just pee in his bed, most likely while sleeping.  He’d come in after peeing and gulp up more than the recommended amount of water and then need to go again a mere few hours later.  I even counted 49 seconds during one of the fountains that were released while he stood on one leg diligently.

One trip to the vet, some bloodwork and phone call later and I’m now giving him twice daily injections of insulin, after meals.  I was terrified that doing this would result in him becoming comatose or causing him undue pain.  I’m thankful these fears were unfounded.  He’s doing well so far.

Our routine
6:45 – Ian gets up.
7:00 – He takes Rocco outside to pee.

7:45 – He wakes me up.
8:00AM – Rocco and I eat our breakfasts.
8:20 – I take Rocco out to pee;  Ian goes to work.
8:30 – I wash Rocco’s paws. I put him on the island on a special towel we picked out just for injections.  I follow the injections procedure (see below).
8:37 – Rocco runs to his bed to eat a post-injection treat.
12:00 – I take Rocco out to pee again.
8:00PM – We feed Rocco.
8:20 – We give Rocco another injection and another treat.
12:00 – I take Rocco out to pee for the last time in the evening.

Injection Procedure

  1. Hold the insulin bottle and move it back and forth to mix up the fluid.
  2. Put the need in the end of the bottle while holding it upside down.
  3. Pull the plunger to fill the needle with fluid.  Push the plunger until it’s back to 2 units.
  4. Tap the needle to get rid of any air pockets.
  5. With your two fingers, pull Rocco’s neck up.  With a third finger, make a triangle shape with Rocco’s neck skin.
  6. Put the needle into Rocco’s neck softly.
  7. Pull the plunger back until about 10.  If there’s blood, pull the needle out and start again with a new needle at Step #1.
  8. If there’s no blood, push the end of the plunger in a little.  Let the plunger return to 2 by itself.  If it doesn’t, gently push the plunger back to 2.
  9. Push the plunger in slowly until all the insulin is inside Rocco.
  10. Pull out the needle and rub Rocco’s neck gently.  Make sure it’s not wet  (if it’s wet, then you went through the skin too far;  if that happens, DON’T DO THESE STEPS AGAIN)
  11. Hug and kiss Rocco.  Give him baby treats to make him feel better.

Praise for Rocco
So far, Rocco’s been a rockstar.  When I put him on the special towel, he lies down on his tummy so that I can give the injection easily.  He doesn’t resist.  He doesn’t bark.  And only once has he bitten me (though he didn’t actually break skin or anything, just a lot of kerfuffle).  And has he become catatonic or lethargic?  No.  He sleeps a lot but that’s usual.  Otherwise, he is as chipper as he should be.

A festive event

With the purchase of our condo and the holidays coming up, I wanted to have everyone over to celebrate.  Unfortunately, I used up the housewarming party theme when we first moved in as renters (would it be uncouth to do it a 2nd time expecting gifts?  …. yes, yes it would).  So aside from just your standard Xmas get-together, I wracked my brain for original ideas.  Then, one morning while watching Breakfast Television, it came to me (as they were doing a segment on it):

Xmas Cookie Swap invitation

Invite everyone to a Xmas Cookie Swap!

Ok, so it’s not that original.  In fact, people have been doing cookie exchanges for decades.  My mom is involved in at least one or two every holiday season.  But it’s new to my generation, independent of our parents, at least in my neck of the woods.  (Aside:  why has that idiom cropped up in my last two posts?)

Now, the question left is:  What kind of cookies will be the most delicious?

Business/busyness Pt 2: the Creation of a Workshop

“Writing Made Engaging” – that’s the title I gave to a then yet-to-be-created workshop back in July for this December’s TESL Ontario Conference.   Both our presentation proposals were accepted for the program (I’m SBK, Saturday December 12, 10:00-11:00).  Deadline for full presentation and handouts submission:  November 19.

Next step:  (July – November 14) Procrastinate–It’s far off in the future and there’s a lot of more immediate work that requires my attention.

Next step: (November 15 – November 20) Delay submission–No time to do anything in November with focus fully on our own conference (see previous post).  Ask to have the deadline pushed back until Monday, November 23.

Next step: (November 21 – November 22) Research–Read five writing texts from start to finish.

Next step:  (November 23) Create Powerpoint presentation–Spend entire day off putting together a visually appealing yet not overly flashy, informative presentation.  Send it to TESLOntario as requested.  Decide that the slides would act as handouts.

Next step:  (November 25) Statistics on room–Find out that there are 53 of a possible 70 people already registered for my workshop.  And it’s being videotaped and streamed live on TESLOntario’s website.  Ack.

Next step:  (December 1 – 10) Finalize what to say–Now that the slides are done and there’s a concrete flow and message, all I need to do now is to make myself sound intelligible and prepared.

I’m excited, but a little nervous.  It’s the biggest group I’ve ever spoken to in a workshop format.  So just for you EduGeeks out there, here’s the plan:


  • Identify what makes writing tasks uninteresting and unmotivating for students
  • Address each item by showing an example of not-so-good tasks and their counterparts
  • Give attendees a chance to discuss my suggestions while looking at chosen texts
  • Summarize group work as a whole
  • Finish with further suggestions

Another, more concrete post about the content to come, here.

%d bloggers like this: