Friday, December 4, 2009

It's Been TOO Long...Fall Term Snap Shot

As I sit and reflect on what has happened since I last updated my blog, I have made a pre-New Year’s resolution to stay on top of this blog. I feel like it’s the end of the semester and I haven’t been keeping up on my homework and now it’s piling up on me. Wait- that is what it is! In my last post I sympathetically wrote about how the dog days of summer were over and I was heading back into the grind of university life. Boy, has it ever been a grind; it has had some bright spots and had some downright earth crashing spots too. I was excited to start the semester and the final year of my BA, but I can tell you now that I am that much more excited for it to be over. To give a summary of my semester, I’ll go course by course: Religions of the World I- The professor is great! She is young, dynamic and extremely knowledgeable. As with any religion course I am always so worried what some people are going to come out with and say evoking a near riot in class, but this professor seems to let people talk, but still keeping a diplomatic feeling. The classroom itself comes with the most uncomfortable seats, but it’s beyond all of our controls. I meet one of the best new friends I have ever had in this class. Finally I have met a mature student who just gets it and gets me. We have so much in common and our friendship is starting to look like that girl friend that you should have in your university days that sticks by you for life. Melissa is a fantastic person. Throughout this semester we have gone through MANY experience together- some exciting, some deadly. Not very often now that a day goes by that we don’t talk, text or email...even our men get filled in at the end of each day! Gender & Religion- Not knowing really what to expect in this class beyond the general course description when I registered, I was a little disappointed. We had so much material to cover I feel that we only did brief summaries of each without digging deeper into each faith or tradition. The professor is great entertainment for a Tuesday night course and it certainly doesn’t feel like we’ve been there for 3 hours after she’s done teaching. Of course, having Melissa in class with me helps, but the teacher tops this one. Sports Marketing- There’s not much positive that I have to say with this course other than that it’s over. The teacher was horrible and I had one of the most negative experiences with group work again. This class had no midterm exams or final exam but rather one individual assignment and two group assignments. We all know how I hate group work and this just reinforced my feelings about it. NEVER AGAIN! Methods & Theories in Religious Studies- Oh, yet another 3 hour night class in the pit of the university. Our classroom has no windows, no ventilation and is in the basement of the engineering building. Not very often has our class gone the full 3 hours simply from the depressing atmosphere that we were surrounded by. This course involved a lot of heavy reading that I had a lot of trouble with at the beginning. The reading included well over 200 pages a week and if you missed a reading, you had no clue what the class discussion was about. The professor is certainly intimidating, but shows her soft side from time to time; I HATE the TA...he’s so condescending and talks like...I can’t even describe it. This is a full year course, so I’m in for the long haul. The teacher has promised she’d look into a room change for next term. Inuit & Aboriginal Religions- Boy, can you think of a better way to spend your Friday night than wondering if the professor is actually going to show up? This is what I have gone through for the last 13 weeks. This professor has to be the worst one I have ever seen. We went a week where she didn’t show up at all and 11 other weeks where she was 15-45 minutes late for class to only talk in circles about stuff that was so hard to understand what she was saying. BUT, it’s over!!! I can’t say that I have learnt anything in this class, but Google has been extremely helpful in completing my take home midterm and take home final exam! Now that you have a snap shot of what my classes were like, I’m sure you can see why I am looking forward to the holiday break. The break this year is a very short one (just 1 week), but it makes the next semester start and finish that much sooner too. The motivation right now is the 7 teachers college applications that I have submitted and waiting to receive acceptance letters. They send acceptance or refusal letters starting April 1st, so the wait begins for that too. I will leave you with this for now, but I promise I’ll post the latest and greatest in the coming days and weeks to get back into the routine. Until then...have FUN! Stephanie

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Dog Days are Over

After a long yet seemingly short summer, back to school is just around the corner. When reflecting on the past 3 months, I can’t seem to tell you what occupied my time. I took 3 courses over the summer months, 2 in May-June and one in July-August. I am now successfully finished the third year of the BA and about to start the fourth and final year on Wednesday night. While not in school over about a total of eight and a half weeks, I accomplished a few tasked that I had on the back burner for a while. I got caught up and on top of the house chores, cleaned out closets and cupboards and started to stock the freezer for the winter months. I even have the in-law family Christmas presents done- all 9 of them! It is amazing the stuff you accumulate in a house when you don’t try too. We’ve only been in our house for 4 years, yet I seem to always be able to add a few extra bags of garbage at the curb after a week of house cleaning and pare down my closet by 30-40 hangers every couple of months of items that I no longer wear or heaven forbid no longer fit me. There are a few girls out there that I’m sure check their calendars and anticipate the cloths dump of my closet. Surprisingly after each clean out, there are not gaping holes that need to be filled in the closet; however, I am conscious with a rule that for every one piece of clothing that enters my closet, one needs to exit. It’s the only way to keep the other half from noticing the new purchases! I have two more full days off before I head back to campus and I have a long to-do list drawn up. Gardening, lawn care, laundry, baking and the no longer avoidable storage room re-organization top the list. I’m hoping to have most of it done by the time Mac gets home from work, so that I don’t need to answer the “what did you today?” My fourth year schedule isn’t the best one I have built in my schooling career, but it’s going to take some adjusting too. In the fall semester I have class every night except Monday night and only 2 1.5 hour classes during the day. I am going to despise the teacher that accepted to teach a class on a Friday night from 5:30-8:30...come on, don’t you have anything better to do on a Friday night but teach a bunch of university students that would rather not be there?! It is going to be good for getting things done around the house and to study without any distractions. It will be a revolving door at 4 o’clock every day as I head to school and Marc comes home from work...married life will be excellent...we won’t ever see each other to disagree!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Why Do I Love Clothes, Shoes & Handbags?

I’d love to know the answer to this heavy question, but I think it’s something too deep to even try and figure out. I went out to the Winners/Homesense yesterday with a mission to find some scrapbooking supplies and found myself wondering the rows of clothes, shoes and handbags. I did accomplish my intention of scrapbook supplies along with my clothes and shoe urge. There’s a method to my madness in a place like Winners/Homesense; I wander up and down every aisle looking for the clearance section of each department and see anything catches my eye or if I can improvise with anything. I often find great picture frames or the odd dish at a steal of a price, but this season I’ve found some great clothes. The latest styles of loose fitting shirts/blouses have been in abundance and I’ve capitalized on a few different colours and styles. These are great for teaching in or just pairing up with jeans to head out for a casual night. I don’t normally find extraordinary deals in the shoe section...I try lots on, but when I turn them over to see the price tag, they are quickly returned to the shelf (like the $199 pair of Guess studded sandals I loved today). Yesterday was an exception...I started in the size 6 section and slowly scowered the shelves for anything that caught my eye, and then there was one...brown, beige and orange New Balance casual running shoe (Puma style) that were just calling my name...I fell in love at first sight...I tried the size 6’s on and they were a little light...I then hoped and prayed as I rounded the end of the aisle into the size 7 section to find an identical pair...there they were, sitting on the middle shelf...I tried them on just to make sure and they fit like a glove...I NEEDED to have them! Into the cart they went! Now that I’m back to school I have discovered that I can’t wear my beloved and renowned sandals all year gets a little chilly on the toes walking to 8:30 am classes across campus. Thus revelation has prompted me to invest in real shoes...closed toe ones! I am starting to accumulate a great assortment of styles and colours to match just about everything in my closet. Today I was blessed with a red pair of Hush Puppies’ from my mom that I can’t wait to wear...I just might need to hope for some chilly weather to put my jeans on just so that I can wear them soon. Along with my new runners above, I think I could pass as in style come the next school year. As I made my way out of the shoe section gravity pulled me towards all the handbags...there were so many different coloured ones, all that I wanted...One in particular caught my eye...and no wonder it was in the clearance section for $225.99...needless to say, it’s still on the clearance rack! I am proud of my urge to find a new handbag this time...I haven’t always been able to hold off the urge, just look in my closet and you’ll see the finds I have found. There’s just something that I refuse to pay a whole lot for a bag or shoes because I could have more than one for the outrageous price of one item...quantity is sometimes better than quality (as in the brand name). I do have to admit, not everything that I find is expensive...I am quite proud of a find that I made back in the spring in the Joe department of the Real Canadian Superstore; I went in for a few groceries and stumbled upon a rack of handbags that were on clearance for $4.00 each...I couldn’t believe it...I had to take 2!! So impressed with my deal, I couldn’t keep the second one for an occasion so I gave it away right away and had to explain my great deal. If anyone was to come look into my closet today they would find baskets of shoes (I don’t use a shoe rack because that would be laying out the evidence that I have too many shoes!) and handbags above and below the rails of clothes I have accumulated. I somehow am able to mix and match most things together to make different combinations of outfits and keep each piece in general use most of the time. I’m stuck on the practicality of versatile pieces of clothes, handbags or’s almost my way of justifying it! When looking through the racks in the store I find myself comparing what I already have to what I am finding and how or where I can wear the outfit. Often I tend to go on colour, then blue, and then purple...I feel a red binge coming up!! I have a wide variety of colours on my closet but I am most attracted to beige pants...I have at least 10 pair!!! When I am done with a particular piece of clothing or it doesn’t fit me or my style anymore, I do pass them along to much deserving girls...I have the rule, for every piece of clothing that goes into my closet, one must come out...I stick pretty close to that so that I don’t have more that I really need...and it keeps my wardrobe up to date and manageable. I don’t find myself shopping at specialty clothing stores (other than my splurges at American Eagle- but I hit the clearance rack first and always bring my rewards coupon with me!) very often unless I’m looking for something very specific. Winners is by far my most sought after place to keep my wardrobe current and on budget. I am proud to say I shop at Winners and even prouder to tell of a deal or steal I found while I was there. I seem to even find Roxy, American Eagle, Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren in Winners- why would I go anywhere else? I truly believe that handbags and shoes help make or break an need to make sure you have a good bag and shoes just like you need to brush your hair and teeth before going out...when it comes to shoes I’m all about practicality and comfort above trendy and style (no point your feet hurting just walking out to the car) and the bag needs to be proportionate to the items needed to be brought along. Is it just me that has the gravitational pull to clothes, shoes and handbags?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Summer...Sweet Summer

As I lay in my backyard catching up on some much needed vitamin D, I can’t help reflect on what it was like to have a summer vacation. As of yesterday at 1:45 pm I am officially on summer holidays until July 28th. Yes, on July 28th I return to the class room, but in the mean time I am face to face with the blades of grass that I usually despise because I have to cut them. I went this morning to the grade 5 class and it was just oo much for me to handle on a hot day like this...I mean desks are being cleaned out, bulletin boards are being taken down and instead of a math lesson and homework they are playing math games...Those were the last days of school as I remembered them to be...tomorrow they will even have a substitute teacher! Some of the fondest memories as a kid came from our summer vacations...camping in Bon Echo Provincial Park, soccer tournaments, pool parties and who can forget being allowed to stay up that we’re all out on our own those things seem so trivial and everyday. This past weekend I spend the days studying hard for an anthropology exam I wrote yesterday, but the nights were full of what real university students do...heading downtown with a bunch of friends and hitting 3 or 4 bars in the market. I have to say I missed out on a part of my life with my school career and working career overlapping...but I’m well on my way to making it up now! I do have to admit that 4 am is late and then 8 am is a little the same day. But you do what you have to do to be a university student! I’m looking forward to having Marc on vacation with me next week...the weather looks like it’s going to be ok and we’ve got plans to build a deck in our more laying on the grass to catch the vitamin D! We felt a little behind the times when our neighbour Bob put up a deck and shed earlier in the summer and the neighbours beside him did it last year...apparently we’ll even have a fence by the time I go back to’s all way toooo exciting around here! I leave you now with a little hope that you will get some well deserved vitamin D intake soon and once my deck is build you’re more than welcome to come test it out.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Thanks for the Questions Grade 5!

Thank you to Mr. Mayo’s grade 5 class at Our Lady of Wisdom School for the excellent questions about my vacation...I’m going to try and answer them the best that I can... During our trip we have been in 2 different countries that speak different Barcelona, Spain where we started our vacation and will end our vacation their first and most popular language is Spanish. Spanish is similar to French in a few ways so even though I don’t speak Spanish I can slightly understand the locals and they can slightly understand me when I speak back to them in French. A lot of the people that work in the port (where the boat is docked) speak French or English as it is a popular tourist spot with people who are not from Spain or speak Spanish. While we are in France, the first language is French. I am able to speak with the local people a little bit, but Marc and his family are fully able to have a conversation with them. Even though we all speak French, the French in France and the French in Canada are slightly different. I find that there is a little more slang in the Canadian French than there is in the French French. Marc and his family are able to help me with translation if I need it. Marc has 2 brothers and a sister that are fluent in Spanish so it helps when we order a taxi to take us somewhere and we can’t tell them where to take us! I have meet a few interesting people, mostly the employees on the cruise boat that we’re on. Most of the employees are from Asian and south American countries. The employees on the boat work 7 days a week for 12 hours a day. They are on the boat for 10 months of the year before they are able to go home to their families for 2 months. Everyone is extremely happy to be on the boat and serving the people who are on the cruise. We see one employee every day in the cafeteria who greets EVERYONE with a Good Morning...Happy Happy in the morning and at lunch time it changes to Yummy Yummy, Happy Happy...he is like a Walmart greeter that absolutely enjoys his job and the people be greets. Many of our taxi drivers have been very interesting people...they are very knowledgeable about their cities and the history about landmarks. We haven’t meet any famous people as in Brad Pitt or the Pope, but everyone is interesting or has an interesting story in their own way. The best tourist attraction for me so far is visiting the Vatican and Vatican City in Rome, Italy. Being a Catholic, I never imagined that I would be able to visit the Vatican once in my life time but I have been fortunate to visit it for a second time. When you walk into St. Peter’s Square and see the Vatican and the Basilica, it is just like any pictures you have seen. Since I am studying Religious Studies at university it is especially special for me to take everything in and understand the meanings behind some paintings and the history of the buildings. Second to the Vatican is the leaning tower in Piza. Like I said in my last blog post, the tower is still leaning! It is an amazing structure that continues to stand even though it is leaning at 3.99 degrees. There are 294 steps on the inside of the tower that tourist can pay to climb and see an amazing view of the City of Piza. We wanted to visit the beaches in Cannes, France, but the weather was a little too cold for us to get in the water. The waves were about 4 feet high and the wind was gusty, so instead of being cold on the beach we went back on our cruise boat and swam in the heated pool there. The pool is at about 104 degrees F and the hot tub is close to 100 degrees F. Here is a picture of the beaches in Cannes, France, pools and hot tubs as well as a picture of us enjoying the sun beside the pool... Here are some pictures of the Coliseum...Maybe Mr. Mayo will allow me to show you more pictures and describe to you what is in them when I return... The chocoholic festival was not very impressive...I was a little disappointed actually. There was a chocolate fountain that we were able to dip our pieces of cake or fruit in. We actually visited a chocolate store in Nice, France a couple days later and got some REALLY good chocolate there...there was milk chocolate, dark chocolate, chocolate with pistachio nuts and many different kinds if truffles (fancy chocolates). We bought some chocolate to bring back to Canada, but it didn’t make it home...there was a little late night snack that ate it all! Thanks Pascal for the advice not to drink the salt water at the beach...the water in the pool and the hot tub was salt water directly from the Mediterranean Sea and I have to admit that I got a little bit in my face. I don’t make too much of a habit of drinking the pool water so don’t worry about that! Once last picture, here is the boat that we travelled from city to city on...there were 2500 passengers and another 2500 employees working on the boat. I look forward to seeing all of you when I get back to Canada. Please keep sending me questions and I will show you more pictures when I’m back at Our Lady of Wisdom! Mrs. Ranger

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Tower is Still Leaning!

What was first discussed as a relaxing day on the boat proved to be a full day of visiting and travelling. We started out via taxi to Florence...about 1.5 hours away from the port...once at Florence we embarked on a race through the city to see as much as we could...churches, museums, bridges etc...we took plenty of opportunities to take scenic photos and relish in the memories of our last visit to Florence and close the book on the chance of returning...Our excitement rose as we headed to Piza to see the leaning tower and the surroundings...we can officially confirm that the tower is still leaning...ever so slightly more than it was when we first visited in 2004!! We didn’t climb the interior this time, but took time to tour around the adjoining park and do a little shopping...I set out on our European vacation to bring back another leather handbag/purse as I did in of my fondest memories of our last trip across the ocean was purchasing my leather purse in Piza...I added 2 more to my collection today...and if I remember correctly I paid less today for the 2 than I did for the one five years ago!! Both purses are black, one more of a small purse that can hold the minimum essentials and the other a midsize handbag that I can use for night and day (big enough for my school stuff, but not a gym bag size!)...I had the best lemonade slush I have ever had in my life...I wasn’t too sure about slush, but it wasn’t like the typical Canadian Slush Puppy you got after a hockey game or public was real lemonade that was partially frozen...just what I needed to boost my back up after a long day of visiting...back on the boat was the chocoholic festival on deck 12...yummmmm, but I ate too much!!! Reality is starting to show its face again to us...we have just one more day of exploring before we have to strategically pack all of our things up and make the trek back home...the topic at the dinner table tonight was the destination of our next trip!!! Hopefully the day tomorrow in Cannes & Nice, France is as beautiful as today was in Florence and Piza and we can enjoy it to the fullest.

There’s something special in Rome, Italy

With an early start to the day, we were off to Rome, Italy and Vatican City. The weather was perfect for the day long events, over cast, yet warm. We purchased the hop on, hop off tour bus excursion to be sure to see all the important locations throughout the city. It worked like a charm! Starting out with a bang, we visited the oldest sporting venue in the world...the Coliseum. Marc and I had been there before, but never inside. With a short line up for tickets we decided to take this last opportunity to tour inside and see it for was fantastic...we could finally place the events and the proceedings that happened 1900 years ago and try and imagine an event in action...the steps were steep, the building made of brick and stone and the tunnels underneath the stage for the fighters and their combatants (lions, jaguars, tigers, elephants etc)...after leaving the Coliseum we toured by the State capital building and the tomb of the unknown soldier...the monument is guarded 24 hours a day, are not permitted to sit on the steps leading up to the monument nor to talk once within a certain distance of the tomb...our travels continued to the Pantheon...a dome covered chapel that has an opening in the top for the sun to shine in...the tomb of the first king of Italy in housed there...with a slight detour we found our way back to the tour bus and hoped on to the next stop...the Vatican and St. Peter’s Square. This was the location that I was looking forward to the most...It has peaked my interest even more since going back to school and studying religion, but this time I could take everything in and connect the dots between the meanings of statues, paintings and names...I can’t imagine being able to go to the Vatican once in a life time, but I have been ‘blessed’ to be able to go twice...I took lots of pictures this time to remember this forever...with the day winding down we headed for the tour bus to take us back to the train station for our 1.25 hour train trip back to the port to board the boat... The evening was a quiet one with the daily dinner in the Grand Pacific dining room at the Captain’s table and then retiring to our cabin to catch up on homework and the news of the day. Tomorrow we’re off to Florence and Pisa...we’ll see what the day brings us...hopefully it doesn’t lean too far to one side than the other and we’re able to handle what is thrown our way... P.S. – the seas are a little rough tonight...we can hear the waves hitting the boat from our cabin, but the sway isn’t as bad as last night.

Naples/Pompeii, Italy

Fantastic is all I can say about today...we were fortunate enough to be able to rent a mini van and a driver for five hours to take up to Pompeii and through a brief city tour of Naples...Pompeii was a resort village in the early first century that was smothered in molten, lava and ash from the neighbouring volcano that eventually buried the entire village...excavation began in the mid 1750’s and still continues was fascinating to see the structures and the forums that were excavated and recreated to show how the village was 45 hectares of the 66 have been excavated for people to walk of the artefacts that have been uncovered include pottery pots, columns, statues, tombs and even people with their dogs...our day continued with breath taking views of the city of Naples, from high on the coastline...our driver Salvador was nice enough to frequently stop for us to take photos and tour around the points of interest...Naples is a very risk taking city...there are no rules of the road, literally a free for all...there are thousands of motor scooters that weave in and out of traffic, passing on both the left and the right, sometimes coming within inches of an oncoming vehicle...not something that we’re use to seeing!! Naples has a high rate of crime especially pick-pocketing. In 2004 there were over 150 Mafia related deaths, but apparently the crime rates are improving...The seas were very rough once the sun felt like the table was swaying at dinner time...I had to sit right back in my chair and not stand for too long or else I would really feel the sway...not a comforting feeling in public!!! Tomorrow I am super excited to be going to Rome...we don’t know how we’re going to actually get to Rome as it’s about 2 hours away from the port, but that’s tomorrow’s worry...tonight’s worry is just trying to ignore the sway and the banging of the waves hitting the bottom of the boat.

Monday, May 25, 2009

A Day at Sea...

Today was a full day of sailing the Mediterranean Sea...the weather was sunny but windy. With a day to catch our breath and acquaint ourselves with our new home, we took advantage of the sights and services...We woke up a little later than we thought...11 am! It is very easy to lose track of time when you don’t have a window in your room. We have an inside cabin on the port side of the ship and are about is taking some time to get use to the room riding the waves and taking a shower in a wind storm!!! It is just a slight sway to the boat that I feel most when I’m standing...I try and sit the most I can!
We went for a good workout this’s not every day you can work out with the Mediterranean Sea passing you by as you run into nowhere!
The food has been fantastic...lots of selection and plenty to go around.
We’re docking in Malta tomorrow for our first off-ship experience. Hopefully the sun keeps shining and I’ll be able to report back the sights and sounds Malta has to offer.

Embarking the Norwegian Gem!

Today is embarkment day! We’ve packed up all our things, piled into four taxies and headed for the port to board the ship. What a MASSIVE SHIP! Board was soooo is better than any airport or entrance/admission I have ever had at any event...within 30 minutes our bags were checked in, we had out embarkment card and we were seated in the buffet lounge having can’t over eat on the first day or it’s gym for you every day after’s had lived up to the hype so far...lots of variety and the food is fresh (no excuses...we haven’t left shore yet!!!). Our cabin is room for making a mess, but plenty of room to be organized. We tested out the hot tub before going to bed and it provided a great night’s sleep...tomorrow we’re at sea all day and the pool is on the list of things to do. Here’s to my sun chair and a good book...

Day One- What an Adventure!

Day one of the Ranger Family vacation as been quite the adventure so far...the 7 hour plane to Barcelona took the road in progress route...there was so much turbulence that I thought on several occasions that I was going to be sick...sitting in the middle seat next to a women who insisted on planting her elbow and/or her hip into me for the entire trip, being sick didn’t seem to be an option. I didn’t take any gravol this time, and in hour 5, 6 and 7 I was beginning to regret that oversight. Once we arrived in Barcelona we were greeted with wide open arms of Marc’s sister Marie-Josee and her boyfriend Mathieu. MJ and Mathieu continued to guide us through the airport and onto the train to head into the city. So far so good...nothing out of the ordinary happening. Once we climb up and down many....and I mean M-A-N-Y flights of stairs we were on our way on the metro to our hotel/apartment. The REAL fun started once we got off the metro and started walking towards our thought that I was in shape, but clearly after walking close to 30 city blocks to our hotel, I had had enough. My patience, energy and strength to continue on with the trip were tapped dry. I impatiently revealed that I needed to get out of my wool sweater and fleece pants if I was going have any way to continue on with the day. The hotel/apartment that we are staying in was not going to be ready until 3 pm...not good news to the group that had just walked (more like hiked) for over an hour with all our baggage...all we wanted as a place to have a, sweating and tired...all we wanted was the shower. It worked out that we could get one of the two rooms and the shower rotation has begun. As I sit and write this paragraph, I had the fourth spot in the shower...and man it was nice! Jet lag is starting to set in so I’m going to get Marc’s Red and my pillow and camp out on the floor for a little while. do-do was excellent...the floor was the best thing I have felt in a few hours!! We explored the city for a few hours tonight...we hopped on the City tour bus and it took us all around the city’s prominent destinations...with the city trek is on order for dinner...a quiet night ahead is promising a good night’s sleep! We embark on the boat tomorrow afternoon...there is excitement in the air!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Vacation Eve

So the time has is the eve of the big Ranger Family vacation to Europe. Marc and I started to pack our suitcase last night and for once it is not me having to pare down the selection of clothes!! Marc officially made our suitcase bulge at the sides and just about maximise the weight allowance. We debated long and hard about what could be eliminated and what could be moved over to the carryon bag. In the end, nothing really had to be eliminated, but rearranged to other places. Marc will now carry his jeans, 2 pairs of shoes and our snack treats in his carry on knapsack along with a few other important items. Marc has never brought a carryon bag before so this will be interesting to see who in the end is carrying it. I too have my knapsack for my carryon bag, but I have to pack a week’s worth of homework that needs to get done before we get back. I just have the last minute things to pack tonight before we try and get a good night’s sleep in. I wonder if it will be like trying to sleep on Christmas Eve knowing what happening in the morning? The weather looks nice and sunny in Spain and was 34 yesterday in Rome...ummmm I can’t wait to get there! Marc and I had a little pre-vacation this past weekend in Toronto...Marc as I’m sure you know is a huge Toronto Blue Jays fan. We didn’t get to any games last year with my school schedule and the way our holidays fell with their home schedule so we more than made up for it this past weekend. We battled the traffic on the 401 on the Friday night to get to the game in the 5th inning...not bad, still time for a slice of pizza and an ice cream cone. Saturday’s game was interesting with Marc refusing to let his Jays loose 1-0, but in the end they prevailed...the weekend was a fantastic get away that we both really needed, but it was made even better by our good friend Jeff who is the GM at Rogers Centre...he’s hospitality was second to none with spectacular seats in the VIP club right behind home plate and the outstanding food both on Sunday and beat that slice of pizza and an ice cream cone from Friday night by miles! We definitely owe a few to Jeff the next time we’re in town. Here are a few snap shots from the weekend...the intense fan and my favourite...

I am hoping to update my blog once we’re on the boat so that you can track our progress and adventures. Keep checking back and don’t forget to leave me your comments! Stephanie

Monday, May 11, 2009

The End is in Sight

Well, here we are on the last day of the tournaments...I can hardly wait to get my sweat pants on tonight and crawl into bed where it is warm and have a nice quiet evening at home. This last tournament has had it all...a team not show up...a team quit after their first game...and the zamboni run over a puck causing delay. We can honestly say that we will not be planning a midget/junior tournament for the next couple of’s just short of disaster. I started back to school this week after a brief time off. My courses are going to be interesting, they kind of overlap and once causes the other. The tough part will be keeping them both straight and not mixing the theorists. I had to do a little bit of sideline work with my anthropology teacher as his midterm exam was scheduled while we’re on the Ranger family vacation in Europe. In the end I’m having my midterm exam mark dispersed between the written assignment and the final exam. A little more pressure for both, but I get to go on vacation still. My sociology teacher is super funny...he likes to take side tracks while lecturing so you never know if you’re on topic or not. Besides, his first language is French and he’s a lot like me when I try and speak French, he has to translate things in his head first and then’s like a live TV broadcast with a 3 second delay to make sure that there are no obscenities! I’m still trying to shake this bug that I got last weekend...I’ve gone from not being able to eat to being able to eat with nothing staying down...again last night was rough. Once I decided to move into the spare bedroom for the remainder of the night, Marc didn’t reserve any time to take over my side of the bed...he had it covered within milliseconds! We’re starting the serious countdown to our vacation...we less than 14 days away. We’ve booked a mini pre-vacation for the long weekend coming up to Toronto. I scored big time on the hotel nights...we’re staying downtown Toronto at the Renaissance Hotel at Rogers Centre for $100 per night. It’s an amazing deal considering it’s a long weekend and its right in the middle of the action. Marc is super excited to be able to catch (hopefully) 4 Jays in a row...we didn’t get to see any last year with the house renovations and my school classes. On the Sunday it’s Photo Day with the Jays so we might be able to get our pictures taken with a few of our favourite players before the game. This is truly the highlight to my weekend! I’ll keep my countdown to our real vacation alive and get back to my sociology and anthropology textbooks!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Weekend Wrap-Up & A Look At A Monday!

Yesterday’s tournament action was more exciting in the stands than it was on the ice at times. The mom’s really take things seriously in summer hockey! That brings me to something we’ve seen week after week lately. Parents and coaching screaming at the referee and opposing team for some of the most minute of things. It was once said best that you have to remember that the parents are of the same knowledge and experience as the players are. The younger the players, the less experienced and knowledgeable they will be. It tough to sit and watch how some parents act when in a few years after they’ve seen many more hockey games they will understand the particular ruling and circumstance surrounding it. Until then we’ll continue to see unexplainable yelling & screaming from inexperienced parents. It was Marc’s birthday on Saturday, but with the hockey tournament we didn’t celebrate. Instead I went out with my bestest friend in the whole world Debbie to go see Il Divo. They were FANTASTIC! Debbie & I both commented on the different demographic they attract (we were definitely on the younger side of the demographic chart!), but the four guys are all varying in age. The Spanish guy was a little greasy looking...definitely lives up to his latest news that he has separated from his wife because their schedules keep them apart...clearly after the Saturday night performance he hasn’t gotten any in a LOOOONNNGGG while! I’m heading back to school today for another 2 months of classes to catch up on the semester that I missed. This term I am taking Anthropology and Sociology, which I’m hoping will help me with the same courses in religion starting in the fall. I’m looking forward to studying again, but if the weather keeps being sunny, I’m going to hate it soon! Tonight’s the surprise dinner for Marc’s birthday that he isn’t suspecting at all. So far, so good!! I’ll let you know how it goes! 18 Days until our family VACATION!!!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Yikes, Time Flys when your Having Fun...or are just too busy to notice!

It’s been well over a month and a half since I last logged on to share the events and happenings. I last left off saying that we were heading down to Lake Placid for the NCAA Division III Men’s Ice Hockey Championships for my brother’s team. Well...we did make it to LP and had an unforgettable time. The boys pulled out a 2-0 win in the semi finals over Hobart College on the Friday night and then continued to over achieve the expectations but posting a 4-0 will over GA. Marc and I had a great time. We were able to enjoy some time with the other families and friends of the players at a reception before and after each game hosted by the school. There are some real characters that surround the team!! When you get a chance check out the Neumann Knight’s Men’s Ice Hockey Mom’s and their karaoke night at the local watering hole “Wise Guys” after the semi final win. ( I could divulge all the stories of the night after the championship game, but I’ll keep those for another 25 years when we’re all reflecting back on the time that was.
Hockey ended there for me as I had to focus again on my school work and finish up two group assignments. Marc continued to follow Kevin’s season until the end leaving me to look after everything at home. Now if that isn’t a lucky guy, I’m not sure who is....Marc hasn’t been home on a weekend in well over 3 months!
I made it through all the group assignments and the final exams that had to be written. I have to say that I made out pretty good in the’s finally nice to see some grades rewarding the hard work and time that I’ve been putting in. I learnt again what I thought I already knew about group work...I hate it and I will never trust people again. A group project of 5 people turned into working in partners all so that all the members could get the same grade. I must have it written on my forehead that I will look after everyone’s work because that’s what I ended up doing...I attract the lazy SOB’s!!
I’ve been enjoying a week off from school this past week and boy did I need it. We’ve been running AAA summer tournaments for the past 3 weekends with another one this weekend and the last next weekend. It has been consuming all of our time, energy and the space in our house. We’ve got stuff everywhere...there’s no guest room, dining room, garage or even laundry room. They all belong to the Casselmen Pirates!! Soon enough it will be all over and we’ll (I mean I will) be able to pack everything away for another year. For my week off, I’ve been able to catch up on laundry, housework and the now attention demanding yard work. The weather has been nice for the most part all week, so I’ve also managed to catch a little vitamin D (sunshine colour!) to touch up my fading colour from Cuba. I now feel like I’m not the only one with our Christmas lights still up on our house (in APRIL!), we have grass seed laid in the front and my stargazer lilies are starting to poke up in the front flower beds.
For now I’m going to leave you, I have to get back to the timekeeper’s bench for a peewee hockey game....oh what we do for kids these days!!
Enjoy the sunshine!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

It's Been a While

It's been a little while since I've had the time to sit down and log back in. We've been VERY busy to say the least around where with traveling, school and just every day life. The last I left you was with a brief introduction and the NCAA Div III hockey playoffs were just starting. Well...we've been on the road every weekend since then traveling between Syracuse, Geneva and Plattsburgh. I've become quite comfortable at the border crossings as well as driving down to Syracuse. I have a travel mate that has a bad habit of napping in the car, so I am getting to know my reliable travel companion 'Tom-Tom' to direct me. The highlights of the past couple of weeks has to certainly be the on-ice results of our newly adopted Syracuse Crunch and Kevin Lalande as well as the forever loved Neumann Knights and Matt. Both teams are on fire as of late, Neumann running through each team they face in 1 game showdowns. We've been fortunate enough to see the weekend games in person and watch the week night games online. I don't know how the players play because I can hardly stand to watch. We visited Plattsburgh State University this past weekend and what a fantastic campus arena. The fans were a little mellower than I expected and the locker rooms were *&^%, but what matters most of all is the OT win the Knights got. Kevin has been on fire too in Syracuse. We have been able to watch him on Friday nights as of late (to not conflict with the Neumann schedule), and were there for his second consecutive start at home last week. He played great and just came a few minutes short of a shut-out. I fulfilled my promise from the previous week of my famous chicken stir fry and smuggled 6 meals worth down to Syracuse. Living in a hotel is only good for so long, but a little home style cooking goes a little further. I experienced my first poster board assignment of my young university career last week. It's been almost 13 years since I last produced anything close to a poster board assignment and set it up like an elementary school science fair. I went into the assignment a little unclear of the expectations or what others were doing, but in the end I wasn't too far off first base! It went considerably well for the low expectations and the fact that the teacher had to visit over 60 students throughout the class time. I was satisfied with my display and traditional display; time will tell with the teacher posting the grades in the next day or so. School is starting to wind down in the coming weeks. I don't have too much on the go before it all comes to an end, except for a few group presentations. I am a little worried about one, but I'm confident I will be able to pull everything together just in time. We're off to Lake Placid this weekend for the NCAA Div III Frozen Four. I'm getting nervous already, but it could be because I still have 12 dozen peanut butter cookies to bake!! If everything goes as planned, we won't make it to Syracuse, and we'll come home with self inflicted head aches! Maybe 'Tom-Tom' can drive home on Sunday! Let me know what's been keeping you busy?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

My First Blog

Well...I've been putting this on the side burner for a while now, and I made a commitment to myself that as soon as my crush of midterms were finished I would get started on a blog. I've been truly inspired by all the other blogs that I have been reading that I thought that it's something that I could do and keep people up-to-date on my trials, tribulations and triumphs. These past two weeks have been a real test for me at school. It was the first time ever that I have had such a heavy work load between assignments, classes and midterm exams. It really made me think if school was something that I wanted to do while trying to balance a house and wife duties to the fullest. The brighter side of me prevailed (with only 1 melt down I might add) and I pulled through. I'm not sure how the exams turned out result wise, but I did the best that I could. Add to the mix a surprise trip to the US to watch my brother Matt play in his one game showdown. Marc called me mid-afternoon on Friday afternoon to tell me to skip lunch and to pack a little bag because we were going to Philly! I had everything packed and in the truck by 2:45 and we were on our way. Marc promised to drive all weekend so that I could study for my 3 midterms in 2 days once we returned. We made it to the border where we hit a real hard *&^ agent who grilled us about everything. He wanted to know what was in my makeup case for crying out loud! It was just as we were passing the border that I should check who Matt was playing...I said Utica, but it was Elmira. It then donned on me that I should make sure it was a home game before driving all the way to Philly to only find them on the road. Well...I was wrong again (I know 2 wrongs in 1 case!), they were playing on the road in Elmira. But where is Elmira? My ever so knowledgeable brother informed me that it was in Upper New York state somewhere...thanks but do you know how big Upper New York state is??!!! We had to let the cat out of the bag and spoil the surprise. In the end we had a great weekend of visiting past players in Syracuse, New York, watching the Neumann Knights beat the number 1 ranked Elmira Soaring Eagles and a shopping stop at the outlets. We're heading back to Syracuse this weekend to watch Marc's great friend Kevin who was traded today from the Calgary Flames organization to the Columbus Blue Jackets organization. Hopefully we'll be able to see Kevin in action or at least for a few drinks afterwards. Let me know your thoughts, comments or questions you may have!