Friday, February 26, 2010

Olympic Adversity

adversity. noun. 1, adversity. a stroke of ill fortune; a calamitous event

We all have adversities in our life. Some call it bad luck, others call it fate. But we learn to deal with it, regardless of how wrongly victimized we are. We learn to rise to the occasion, from the occasion.

This triumphant human spirit rejoices in the hearts and minds of all who were touched by the powerful and wrenching story of the Canadian figure skater, Joannie Rochette, whose mother passed away from a heart attack within hours of her arrival in Vancouver, a mere 2-3 days before Joannie would take to the Olympic ice for the 2010 Games.

Joannie maintained her third place ranking throughout her two skates, ultimately winning the Bronze Medal. Adversity fell in her lap, with the potential to cripple her, yet she somehow managed to stand, and stand tall she did, isolating her mental pain and anguish into bittersweet gratification. I can only imagine how deep and reflective she had to be, intentional or not, in order to pull those performances out of her.

Now, I'm not trying to over-dramatize. Although I used to be a huge figure skating fan at one point in my life (remember: Battle of the Brians, Kerrigan vs Harding, Midori Ito, the Jumping Bean?), I no longer follow the sport but an appreciation has remained for the hard work involved. But even then, my interest has waned. No, I'm way more interested in the human interest stories around these athletes, these Olympic athletes, specifically. They fascinate me with both their physical ability and their mental tenacity.

Take Slovenian cross-country skier Petra Majdic, who caught some ice and fell into a three-metre deep ravine while on a training run, broke four ribs (some reports say five), punctured a lung, and still managed to qualify, then make quarter-finals, then semi-finals and go on to win a Bronze medal.

How's that for conquering adversity?

So, now, I keep in mind: when kicked to the ground, there is always a way to get back on your feet just need to dig deep within yourself to find out how.

I Believe.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Parlons Francais, Part Deux

So, we accepted the enrollment spot for french immersion in the Fall.

It took over a week to finally hash it out with my husband, the pros and cons. I was already set on it, having mulled it over while driving to and from work, during running, before drifting off to sleep each night, during commercials of Olympic coverage. I just needed to go through the formality of having actually having a discussion with the hubby before making a final decision.

Technically, we have until this Monday, Feb 22, 3pm, to inform them of our acceptance. I wanted to confirm before the weekend though, in case, through a slight oversight, should the school decide to rescind their offer, pulling a fast joke on us or having had placed their bets that we would never have called back in the first place.

Hubby was hesitant, of course, to agree with me, without so much of an argument, though. He's a brooding-kind of debater, if there was such a thing, and getting him to speak his mind succinctly is like arguing with the wall.

He was concerned with how he would learn to spell dog or cat if they weren't going to teach him that. We would have to help him, by continuing to read to him in English at home, I say. But we're so busy in the evenings as it is, he argues. We'll have to change that, I insist.

But, bottom-line, he just wants him to go to a good school, learn well, and be "more smarter than his father".

As I see it, since hubby hit the nail on the head by admitting out loud his education goals for his son, whatever decision we made is ultimately the best one.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Internet Woes

My internet connection crapped out before the weekend, and I had to call my ISP and get a technician in.

After three days, 2 new modems (and a partridge in a pear tree), I am finally connected again.

Oh, the withdrawal I've had!

I'm CONSTANTLY online, much to the chagrin of my husband ("You prefer it to sex, don't you" -- hmmm, no comment...LOL) and I have been shaking (literally) as a result, my hands trembling from not typing, from not being connected. It was kind of a good thing, as I got some much needed cleaning around the house, though not enough. I would probably have to be offline for a whole week before I start doing the WHOLE house. But, thank god, it was only three days!

So what sucked about being offline:

One major shoot-me-now was missing out on Clearly Contacts free eyeglasses giveaway this morning. First 500 people in Vancouver to use the emailed code sent this morning would get free eyeglasses. I paid $89 last week to get my prescription updated so that I could get a chance at free eyeglasses. My last pair cost me over $600, granted, they were imported Nikon glass lenses, so FREE sounds good to me. So what I can get a pair of glasses on the site from $38? Isn't it the principle that I COULD get it FREE? Besides, the designer frames on the site do cost closer, if not over, $100, so free or not free, it's a decent deal. I'm just bummed that I couldn't even try and get free glasses, just because my modem crapped out. C'est la vie, non?

And, after finally checking my email after these few days (I got no less, I kid you not, than 100 emails over the weekend), I started getting Comment Spam on my blog. After finally deleting all the comments, I have one thing to say to this commenter: Go spam a Chinese-written blog! For f&*k sakes, how am I and my readers going to read your spam if it's not in friggen English?? Seriously, use SOME marketing skills!

So, now you'll see I've had to moderate my comments for my blog. Don't take offence. I used to think that comment moderation was pointless until now. Now I understand. I hope you do too.

So, I have a few days of catching up on everything: Twitter, Facebook, email, etc. I may need the whole week to feel like myself again; the weekend wasn't the same with my computer!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Parlons Francais!

So, today, that long-awaited letter (ok, maybe it just felt like ages!) arrived today, informing us that my son has been guaranteed a space in French Immersion this Fall for kindergarten.

I'm so stoked!

Everyone who got accepted -- about 44 kids -- were to find out by this Friday, Feb 12, if we were accepted or put on a wait-list. We got the letter saying we got in! It was about a 1 in 2 chance of getting into the program, given the number of applicants for spaces.

So now my husband and I have about 10 or so days to talk it over and decide what we're going to do. If we accept the spot, we forfeit our spaces at the other schools we've applied to, which makes sense. We did, at the same time, also receive a letter from our default school that we've been accepted there too. We just haven't heard yet from the third school if there are spaces available and if we would fill one of those spots.

But, assuming we were accepted to all three schools, which school would I choose?

The dilemma in this is that whatever we decide will drastically impact my kids' (yes, BOTH kids) education AND life.

Option 1: Choose the French Immersion school

  • My younger son would be able to be automatically allowed admission into the program, as would any other siblings that follow (ahem, none yet!);
  • My kids would automatically be allowed admission to the French Immersion high school, which happens to be a very good, well-respected school (great Fine Arts & Science programs, complete with IB program too, with grads going to Ivy League schools), a school we probably wouldn't have a chance to get into if he studied "in English" since we'd be out-of-catchment;
  • kids in French Immersion grow up and "stay together" through the years, going through school, so they'll have a tight relationship (and I heard the parents are nice too!);
  • it's a small school, with a lot of personalized attention and resources;
  • he gets a chance at a bilingual future, unlike me, who missed the boat when I moved here from Montreal when I was 8 years old.


  • it's only half-day kindergarten next year, while most other schools will be full-day kindergarten. Possible daycare costs to be incurred;
  • it's an Annex school, meaning after Grade 3, he'll have to go to the Main School, a little farther away, meaning I'll eventually have two kids in two different schools most of the time;
  • until we move, the school is actually in the opposite direction from work, and across a major artery, so morning traffic will be a bitch;
  • I still don't know how after-school care will be handled when he's a little older;
  • will I still be able to help him out with homework, despite my limited French.
  • his English reading and writing skills will likely lag for a few years, taking a while to catch up.
Option 2: Stick him in a regular English classroom

  • his reading and writing skills should develop at the usual rate.
  • he won't have the same level of French proficiency had he started in FI instead.
As you can see, there are not that many issues when dealing with the English-track curriculum. Not so in the case of the French route: possibly more pros and cons I haven't listed yet.

I'll be doing more research, but I'm leaning on sticking him French Immersion and hoping for the best!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Me Bad! Another Update

I have been just terrible at sitting down and writing any posts! My intentions are good, but I never get a moment to just write and not worry about the content!

And I just wanted to say hello to some of my new followers -- Hello! -- as I meant to say hi earlier but just haven't had the time to do so.

And one of my favourite things to pass the time is going through Google Reader and catching up on blogs posts I follow (and there are a lot!), but I just never have the time these days.

But if it matters, I had started a few blog posts....but just didn't finish them. Is there a still a point of posting them. Hmmm.....

So, in a nutshell, I've been dealing with:

1. Kindergarten Registration: my 4 year old is going to school in the Fall and I had to register him last month. I registered him at his (English) catchment school, which he'll default to if no one else accepts him, and I registered him at the French Immersion catchment school, at which there is currently a lottery underway to see who'll get in.

One of my blog entries I never posted was my take on the whole French Immersion issue, so I won't discuss it here right now.

I also registered him at an out-of-catchment (English) school, a process which included me lining up in front of the school at 5 am, in the dark, until the school opened at 8 am, to secure that possible availability of accepting out-of-bounds students. There's nothing particular terrific about the school, 'cept that it does have a lower ESL (English as a Second Language) percentage than our regular catchment school, and that my next door neighbour has been on the PAC (Parent Advisory Committee) for years, and is currently the Chair. My take is that an excellent PAC that works well with the school administration is a school that takes pride in where it's going in the years ahead and makes for a pleasant school experience.

I'm waiting word this week if we get accepted into French Immersion. My next choice would be that out-of-catchment school I just mentioned, but we won't know if there's any space at the school until about March 1st.

2. Half-Marathon My 12 Weeks training starts tomorrow. I've built up a 100 mile base since October 2009, of which 48 miles were run in the past 4 weeks alone. I'll be following Hal Higdon's Half Marathon - Novice like I did in 2003. The schedule totally works, as I was able to complete my first half marathon in '03 in 2:16:27, and that was just running 3 days/week, not 4 as the schedule suggests. I'm planning on continuing to run 4 days a week, as long as the shins stay injury free, so I'm hoping to break my Personal Best. Here goes!

3. Weight Watchers I officially quit my WW Online subscription, after 8 months. The weight loss has stayed off (35 lbs - yay!) and I've been having trouble tracking my foods for the past 2-3 months. I've been burning over 1200 calories per week for a month now, and I'm eating for fuel for my runs. Again, I have a post I'm in the middle of editing, that shows how you can try WW without having to shell out any money like I did (which wasn't too much, and since it totally worked for me, was so worth the money).

I could babble for longer, but I won't. I'll be back soon, I hope!

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