Monday, 31 January 2011

Life Stealers

On my way to work this morning I was tuned into Cosmo Radio (yes it is my radio station and I love it much to Adrian's dismay).  They were discussing the new movie that is coming out with Leighton Meester and how it is similar to Single White Female and it got me thinking..... how many of us have experienced this Single White Female phenomena on some level in our lives.

Let's be honest, the Single White Female story is the extreme story, or the Hand that Rocks the Cradle story.  But I feel that it is a more common occurrence than on a less intense level then most people realize.  This goes beyond imitation as the sincerest form of flattery, this goes into that level where the over step those bonds.  It's those girls who start off imitating your style, your likes, your dislikes, they start using inflections in their voice, make friends with our friends and then start to turn your friends against you, or start to seclude you from everyone so you become dependent on them.  These are the girls that are now known as frenemies. We have all had to deal with them, and we will always have to deal with these girls.  

The last time I dealt with a girl like this was in high school.  This girl was a very nice girl but even then she seemed lost in the tides of high school and she latched on to my core group of friends.  She definitely began to single white female me early on.  She would buy clothes that were similar to my style, and I didn't have a distinct style, it was just classic pieces with some trendy pieces, but she would buy shoes and clothes that I had bought.  I remember a huge embarrassment in high school one day because she came to school wearing the same outfit.  Then she began to make friends with all my friends and she began to flirt with the boys I liked.  At one point, she even got my boyfriend to cheat on me with her.  I am sure she tried to convince him that I would be ok with the idea.  I so was not ok with it, but she cried and apologized and we maintained our friendship.  It was after high school that we stopped being friends, it was one thing too many and I couldn't continue to have her in my life.  It just wasn't safe and I couldn't tolerate it anymore.

I know other friends that still have friends that could possibly be trying to SWF them.  These girl friends will tell my friends that the style choices they are making are ridiculous or affecting them negatively but then they will go out and adopt those fashion trends for themselves.  In one way they are imitating my friends fashion choices and that can be very flattering, but at the same time they are cutting down these fashion choices in the hopes that my friend will quit using them so that it does not seem like something they are copying.   I know other friends that have friends that ingratiate themselves in their lives then work from the inside to turn other friends against the other friend.  It happens even now in adulthood, but the question is why?

Well I put some thought to it and I have come up with a hypothesis.  It is my hypothesis that people who pull SWFs on other girls are girls who have not found their identity.  They have an idea of what they want but have not been able to realize their full potential as the person they think they should be.  Then before they fully realize who they are they see someone else that seems more glamorous or gets more attention or appears to get everything that they want so they work to emulate that person in order to get what they want.  Usually it ends there, most people are sociopaths or psychopaths, however there are some who cross the line and try to take things further.  But it is my belief that these people do not have a strong sense of self, but are more fluid and are forever changing different parts of their personality.

If you know someone who is like this maybe you should get out before it goes to far, maybe the friendship is not worth it.  It is definitely not something you can talk to them about because they will not see themselves as this SWF.

If you are the SWF and see yourself doing this my only piece of advice for you is to take a few moments to yourself and answer the following questions.  "Who am I?" "What are my greatest desires and wants?""How do I like my eggs?"  If you can answer those questions easily and you don't change from those core answers no matter who you are with then you are find, but if you have trouble answering these questions then you may need to take more than a few moments and really find your true self.  Because it is that true self that people are drawn to, not the chameleon you portray to try to make others happy.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Viva Las Vegas

So after finally making it to Vegas and reporting back to you (a month later finally) what I was able to do while in Vegas I am ready to give my final word on the trip.  It was an ok trip, it was not exceptional, it was not horrible, it was only ok.  I have decided that I am not a Vegas holiday person.  

There is so much to see and do in Vegas, and it is a trip you have to take at least once, but if I were given the choice between Vegas and another location I would likely choose the other location. This is not to say that I won't go back, Adrian and I are planning on honeymooning in Vegas, and I would go on a girls trip there, but if there were other options I would love to explore those options.  

I personally found Vegas very overwhelming. There was so much to see and do that for a first time visitor to the city I was on sensory overload the entire time I was in Vegas.  I didn't even know where to begin with visiting many of the sights.  Vegas is a great town that offers much stimulus for your senses, but it also stimulates your pocketbook and can be quite expensive if you are not careful.

I enjoy relaxing and taking in sights while I am on vacation and that was the one thing I felt I was unable to do while in Vegas.  We TOOK in MANY sights, but we were always thinking about all the other sights we wanted to see and didn't always get a chance to fully enjoy what we were looking at because we had to hurry to get to the next attraction.  I know the more I go to Vegas the less the vacation may seem like this, but for a first time visitor, it did not quite live up to the expectations I had.  I am not disappointed I went, I do not regret it at all, but it just did not give me the experience I thought it would.

So for those of you who have not been to Vegas, don't go there for a relaxing trip, and for those of you that have been there before, can you let me know if it gets better each time you go??  I think it must if you continue to go, but maybe not, I am not sure.  

Viva....Our last day :(

So our last day in Vegas had finally arrived.  Knowing we wouldn't be able to have our lovely Siesta's Courtney and I slept in again.  We packed up our suitcases and checked out of the hotel. We left our bags with the hotel while we went exploring for the morning.

I had enough credits on my MGM card from gambling that I was able to get Courtney and I a free breakfast from Starbucks.   Yup it definitely pays to get the players cards while you are in Vegas at the Casino's because they are always giving out some kind of comps.

After our breakfast Courtney and I headed to the Grand Canyon souvenir shop to get some souvenirs from Vegas.  You know those shot glasses and t-shirts and stuff.  I didn't really find much but it killed off about an hour while we did some last minute shopping. Then we headed back to the Luxor to go through the Bodies Exhibit.

That's a neat exhibit too.  It's been around Canada so if you have seen it, you know what I am talking about.  If you haven't seen it you should, it's pretty amazing.  Just the ways that they have dissected the human body and the different things they show you.  It is so informative and worth every penny we paid to go in.  The only room that is a little disconcerting is the room where they have fetuses.  I am always bothered by babies dying before their time and stuff so that was a little hard to look at. But it was still neat the way they had preserved the bodies and things.

Finally, Courtney and I got our bags and we caught the shuttle to the airport. We arrived early to the airport but it was a good thing since the airport has two different buildings and we had to catch the shuttle over to the secondary building.  It was like being in the old Saskatoon airport.  It's one long hallway with not a lot to look at.  I was expecting to have to go through the body scanner or to be patted down to get through security but they just sent us through the metal detector and that was it.  Other people had to go through the scanner but I guess Courtney and I did not look threatening.  And that ended our Vegas trip, which was a great way to end 2010!!!

Viva....Exhibits and Ross Dress for Less

Courtney and I slept in on Thursday.  After our late night on Wednesday we deserved a day to sleep in and relax.  We decided we were going to stay near the hotel and enjoy the all day buffet, so we looked for things to do within walking distance of the hotel. It was not hard to find things to do.

We bought our all day buffet passes and ate breakfast.  It was a decent buffet, not necessarily as good as the Saskatoon Inn buffet, or the buffet in Jackpot Nevada, but t was pretty good.  The selection was huge and the selection also looked good, not wilted or neglected like some buffet's look. 

Then Courtney and I headed down to the ticket box office to buy passes to three different exhibits.  They had 8 exhibits to choose from and they were charging $54 for all three.  It was a pretty good deal seeing as all the exhibits were over $25 each and the sale price at the Tickets for Less booth were around $20.  So after deciding on CSI, Titanic and Bodies Courtney and I started our day.  I would love to include pictures in this post but unfortunately Vegas has something against pictures in their exhibits and we were not able to take any pictures.  I was very sad :(

Courtney and I started out by shopping at Ross in the morning.  Even at 11 the streets were getting congested with people.  Each day I am sure the population of Vegas increased by the thousands preparing for New Year's Eve.  I think it could have been fun to spend New Year's in Vegas, but I am actually glad we didn't.  I like being around people, but sometimes they become quite trifling.  I was able to find some great buys at Ross (as always) and then we headed back to the hotel.

We ate a small lunch and had some coffee, then headed back over to MGM.  We decided to go explore this casino for a bit and to check out the CSI exhibit first.  It was a neat exhibit, but almost something geared more towards the younger audience of Vegas.  Courtney and I chose our crime scene then we went in to observe and take notes on what we saw.  After we had to visit the different labs to process our evidence.  The labs were various computer stations that lead you through the evidence processing, but really you couldn't get wrong answers as they were spoon fed to you.  It was fun, but I am sure Chandler would have gotten a bigger kick out of it then I did.  Still it was a good way to break up our afternoon.

After supper, which was a late supper because Courtney and I had another Siesta for like 2 hours, we went down to the Casino to gamble some more.  We had been gambling here and there while in Vegas, I had won $400 in total so it was a good investment and we had fun!!  After that we headed over to the Luxor to check out the Titanic Exhibit.

Now for those of you who know me well, you will know that I cry at the end of sad movies, I cry at the end of sad novels, or at sad parts in novels.  I am a fairly empathetic person and sometimes the travesties of the world are very depressing for me.  That being said the Titanic Exhibit was amazing but it did make me really sad when we went through it.  As you go into the Titanic Exhibit you are given a card with a passengers name and information on it.  You go through the exhibit and learn about the passengers and see relics from the actual ship.  It is very awe inspiring to imagine that maiden voyage.  So many people were transferred to the Titanic because of the coal strike and these passengers had never intended to sail on this ship.  It's fairly, I have lost the word for it, because it's late, but if that coal strike had not been on, the Titanic may not have sailed with such a full load of passengers and maybe more would have survived.  However, the coal strike was on and that strike filled the Titanic on this disastrous voyage.  At the end of the exhibit you go into a room where it lists all the classes and in each class it lists the survivors and deaths.  It is very sad, and I tried to stay strong but my eyes welled up and some tears spilled down my cheeks. So many people died and unnecessarily, there were so many could of, would of, should of moments about that whole night.  I can't even express fully the emotions I felt going through that exhibit.  I strongly suggest seeing this exhibit if you get a chance!!!

After that Courtney and I called it a night so that we could get ready for our last day in Vegas!!!

Friday, 28 January 2011

Viva....Thunder from Down Under

My sister really wanted to go to Thunder from Down Under so on Wednesday night we planned to go there, but for the day on Wednesday we went shopping and exploring the strip again.

Wednesday we caught the bus to the indoor outlet mall. I am glad we went here second because it would have been too windy outside to enjoy the outdoor mall that we had gone to on Monday.  This mall was ok, it wasn't anything super spectacular, but I was able to find some amazing deals on clothes and hats for the family.  This outlet mall was south of our hotel, passed the famous Las Vegas sign.  So we got ourselves a day bus pass again and took the bus to the mall.  Because we had the bus passes we felt it would be best to take the bus up the strip and to give our legs a bit of a break.

So after our afternoon siesta ( I know we loved our afternoon naps, and some may judge but it enabled us to have energy to go go go) Courtney and I boarded the bus once again and headed to the North end of the strip to walk our way south.  (We did not go to the Stratosphere, but next time I will go there).  We got off the bus at the Fashion Mall and decided to go and peruse that mall.  It was amazing.  Like everything else in Vegas the front facade was very deceptive to the actual size of the building.  I couldn't believe how huge it was.  There is a Lulu Lemon Store there, but it's just a regular store not an outlet store.
Courtney and I then headed south by foot to look at Mirage, and Caesar's Palace.  We took some pictures at Mirage and by the Pirate Ships at Treasure Island.  We then went into the Forum shops to see what that place was about.  And that place is about money, serious money.  I totally felt out of my element.  I swear we were all walking around and our incomes were flashing over our heads, letting everyone know who belonged and who was being a poser.  But it was so nice in there, next time I go to Vegas I may look around a bit more.  Courtney and I stopped for a bite to eat in Caesar's, we just ate in the food court, it was good food. 

We took in the Bellagio show again, I really enjoyed it, but I definitely didn't enjoy it like I did the first time.  This time I was busy filming it so it took away from the experience.  It was a different one from the one my sister filmed.  After touring through the Bellagio to see their Christmas set up again so I could get pictures we caught the bus back to the Hotel to prepare for Thunder from Down Under.

Thunder from Down Under is a Male dance show.  All the men are from Australia and they all look great.  I couldn't help but think that if these guys were single they must sleep around a lot.  Or they were gay.  And if they were in a heterosexual relationship, the female must be very understanding.  I kept thinking they were good looking and stuff, but imagine how many people have touched these guys and these guys let them every night and sometimes twice a night.  With that said though I did enjoy the experience, they interacted with the crowd and the music was catchy.  There were ladies there of all ages and it was a good night.  My sister bought drinks that night and we drank more than we had drank the entire time we had been there in total.  Although she kept losing the drinks on the floor (jello shooters with lids) whenever the guys came to the table.  We even met a couple of girls there too.  They were nice and it was fun.  There were lot's of girls from Canada there and one of the girls won a free photo with the guys!

Afterwards we went back to the hotel room to go to bed.  It was well past my bedtime and Thursday was going to be a busy day again.

Smartboard file or Google Document

I have an idea, I want to create a working document for my students to be able to access and change and edit as they work through a unit.  I am thinking of doing something like a Wikipedia for 8th grade science and I need to know what would be better to use.  I was thinking of doing a Smartboard file with different pages then creating a main page with links that would take you to different slides the the students had worked on.  I am just not sure if I am that tech suavey to do that.  Then I encountered Google Documents, and was wondering if that would be a better idea, and then I could transfer the information to a Smartboard file for a presentation for the students. 
Does anyone have any ideas or suggestions that could help me solve this conundrum?

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Viva...P.F. Changs?!?!?!

Ok one of the places Courtney and I were directed to eat at while in Vegas was P. F. Changs.  I know so many people who love this place, and everyone has always raved about the food.  So Courtney and I went.  To say that it was a let down might be a bit of a understatement.  I was very underwhelmed with the whole experience.

First the place was stupidly busy, they told us we would have an hour and forty five minute wait for a table.  Uh, that really sucked because Courtney and I had been walking all afternoon and evening.  It was already 7:30 so we weren't going to be eating until after 9.  We figured it was a bit of an overstatement but there was no where to sit and wait in the restaurant, so we walked around the shopping mall. 

Second, when we came back forty minutes later, like they asked, they had passed over us because we weren't there, and people ahead of us had not come back.  I looked at the maitre' d and told him that we were told to be back in 40 minutes and we were, so we would like a table.  I was getting grouchy!!  We still had no where to sit and wait so I sat on the floor and glowered.  Five minutes later, we were led to a table.  The lead us to a nice booth even not some little table for that I was grateful.

Third, the food was ok, it was tasty, but it was nothing spectacular.  Nothing that I couldn't get from a Chinese restaurant here or anywhere else for that matter.  And it was a little expensive.  Courtney and I shared a meal for two which was the best deal, but it didn't give you a huge selection of food to choose from.  So we sampled the lemon chicken and another chicken dish with brown rice and an appetizer.

The best thing about the meal was the mini desserts.  They were the perfect sizes for after a meal and did exactly what we needed to satisfy that sweet craving.  The complaint about the dessert, the one I wanted, the red velvet cake, was sold out so I had to have cheesecake. 

So I am not sure if I just didn't have the right food or what but it was a little disappointing after all the talk and hype for P.F.Changs.  Will I go again, it's a possibility but maybe only if there is a whole group of us and everyone else wants to go there.

K-W-L Sheets

I am trying something new in my science classroom.  I am hoping it will work out for me, and not blow up in my face, but I have decided to step outside my comfort zone and let some control for the unit go to the students.  If I am successful I will continue to use this for the rest of the year, if not, then I will reassess and find some other teachers who can help me find a way to make this idea work.

The idea is to start my new science unit off with a K-W-L sheet, a sheet I used to use a lot in my internship and teaching in Saskatchewan, but I have not been using in Alberta.  (I can't really explain why, but it is what it is).  I will ask the students "Please list all that you know about Cells and Systems in the human body."  They will then record down all that they know about Cells and Systems on their K-W-L sheet under the K for know.  We will then share our answers and I will create a smartboard document that will include all the answers the students came up with.  This way I assess which students I am going to have to work with more, and which I am going to have to let lead the other students in collaboration activities.  Once that is done, each student will then document down as many questions as they have for what they would like to learn.  They will record these questions in the W column for want to know.  Then we will share our questions and I will add the questions to the smartboard file.  This file will be shared on our student common and students will be able to access it during science classes and they will be able to add smartbook pages to the file answering the questions.  So that when we review we will be able to click on the questions and link to a new page that the students collaborated on to share the answers.

The idea is to assess my students, to see how they are learning the material and to see them relay that information to other students and other teachers or administrators.  I won't be giving them a mark, the students will mark themselves.

The other idea is to give the students a project, where they will research the systems of the human body and they will teach the class about those different systems.  Thus, taking their learning into their own hands. They are going to be using books, the Internet, and different computer programs in order to finish these projects. 

I am hoping that this will help students to see that learning isn't about the marks they get, but what they actually take away from the learning experience and how they can expand on that knowledge to get a better understanding and comprehension for the world around them. 

Any suggestions or ideas from other teachers for this idea and project would be greatly appreciated!!! Thanks.  This is a Grade 8 Science Class, most students are from the middle class socio-economic status, we are within a Catholic school.  The unit is Cells and Systems.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Viva... the spa and strip!!!

So as a wedding gift, or a bridal gift, to me, my sister bought us Spa treatments.  I had a massage and a mani and pedi.  I was in heaven for the morning.  Then I ran inot a problem getting dressed because my nails ended up smudging. I was a little disappointed but all the pampering had put me into a great mood so I didn't mind so much.  The spa at the Excalibur was really nice and just what the doctor ordered, although I have decided if I get a spa treatment again in Vegas it will be on my last day not one of the first days.  My feet were so sore from walking that night and I am sure it had a lot to do with the pampering they got that morning.

After the spa we went for lunch.  I made Courtney and I walk to In and Out burger for lunch.  It was ten minutes away walking and we just had to cross the free way no big deal.... or at least I didn't think it would be a big deal but we were acousted by an annoying guy, the conversation went a little like this.

"Hey girls how are you" Annoying Guy (AG) greeted speed walking from behind us as we started walking towards the over pass.  He shrugged his back pack further up his shoulder.
There was a non commital response from Courtney and I, just "oh good." very quietly because he seemed weird.  We did not wish to engage him in conversation, however this was not our lucky day.
"Oh yeah, me too.  So do you like perfume?" AG asked reaching into his backpack.
"Nope," Courtney and I said in unison, Courtney continued, "I work in a scent free office and can't wear perfume."  I told him I was allergic (lol).
"Oh yeah me too, but here this is Mariah Carey's new scent.  We used to be tight but we had a falling out."  Laughs AG spraying the perfume onto a piece of cloth and waving it around.  He then handed the cloth to Courtney.
I rolled my eyes and Corutney sniffed the perfume. "So do you like it?" pressed AG.
Courtney admitted it was ok, but didn't really care for it.  She handed the perfume sample back and sped up her walking. 
"Yeah me too," AG agreed.  AG adjusted his walking speed and brought out another sample of perfume.

He then handed Courtney another scent to smell, Courtney did and said it was nice again.
"So which one do you prefer?" AG asked.
"Neither really," answered Courtney. 
"Oh come on all girls like perfume."
"No I really don't," Courtney said.  I continued walking rolling my eyes and shaking my head.
"Yeah me too," AG agreed.
Huh, was all I could think, he just said all girls like perfume and now he agrees that not all girls like perfume.
"I used to have like 30 bottles but these are the only two I have left,"AG explained, "I sold all the other bottles in like 2 hours."
This is where I was sure that the bottles of perfume were hot items, not as in hot and desirable, but as in hot and stolen.
"Are you ladies from here?" questioned AG as we continued walking.  I had tried speeding up and slowing right down to lose him but he maintained speed with us. We told him we were visiting.
"Yeah me too.  So are you from out of state?" we told him we were, Courtney told him we were from Canada, I could have shot her.
"Yeah me too."
"He is not." I said, I am sure he could hear me, but he continued talking all the same.
"No actually I am from California (seriously) but it's like the same thing "(is he on drugs, oh wait probably).
He asked if we were staying at the Motel Six and we told him no, he told us "Yeah me too."  Seriously most annoying guy.
Finally he started walking faster than us and I had Courtney stand and look at the freeway for a bit.  Then we continued on our way to In and Out.  I thought it was worth the trip, Courtney felt they put too many onions on their burger, but she didn't order with me so I couldn't help her to order her burger properly.  Funny though as we got to the intersection where we headed towards In and Out, he headed towards the Motel Six.

After we went back to the hotel room for our seista.  Two hours later we were ready to head out on the strip. 

We checked out the M &M store, then we made our way further down the strip.  Courtney filmed the Bellagio fountains, and I watched as my camera's battery died.  We also did the Madame Tousseaus Wax Museum.  It was a lot of fun.  Here are some pictures for you to enjoy!!

Friday, 14 January 2011

My Utopian Education System

I have been doing a lot of thinking and a lot of supposing lately as I read different educational blogs.  Many of the blogs I read are in regards to the affects of standardized tests, grading, and achievement in the classroom.  So how do you get kids to achieve in the classroom? How do you get students to understand that it is not the mark they get, but the learning they take away from this course that is what matters?  Why are teachers being forced to give standardized tests, that only take a snapshot of the whole year, not an actual measurement of the whole year?  I for one never did well on multiple choice tests or true and false tests.  It truly did become a guessing game for me when I had to take these tests, even if I felt I had learned the material.  So I began to think of what a school would look like if I ran the school.  So here  is my Utopian School Story.

If I ran the school so many things would change, but so many things would stay the same. 
My class sizes would be small, but always moving.  I would essentially start my school as a Pre school to Grade one school.  Then I would grow with my students. 
There would be no marks in my school, students would not go home saying I got a xx% on this project, they would go home saying ' I learned _________ today in school, it was so cool because______________" .
Parents would come to understand that a mark was only a comparative number, it demonstrates what a child can do compared to his peers or the person that created the test. 
I would have engaging learning using a variety of tools and resources.  We would have field trips and guest speakers and we would have learning through play. 
I would produce activities that engaged the children in learning, that go them thinking, and would make sure they were not concerned with their mark. 
At points I understand that I may have to bow to the instructs of society and that a standardized test may have to be issued.  But I know that my students won't be concerned with their mark they will just go in and do the best that they can.  I also believe that if you don't put so much pressure on students (and teachers) that standardized tests might be more accurate results.

It's not perfect, but it's maybe something that should be looked at changes need to come into our education system, but I think they have to start from the bottom up and Universities have to stop being so concerned with percents if the rest of our education isn't going to be.

Blog is all over the place

I really started this blog out with specific purpose in mind, but like most of my writing adventures, my fingers do the talking and lead me to new and interesting areas.  So now I am thinking of starting a third blog, or something.  I don't know what to do.  I have three or four topics that I really enjoy posting on, my family and friends, my personal life and challenges (which I do on my Lifestyle Lift blog), the state of education, and the miscellaneous stuff that interests me, like things that I read in newspapers/ magazines or hear on the radio. 

I know that I could have more readers if my blog stayed more focused.  If I took the time to really focus my writing on one or two broad subjects and went more specific in each blog entry, but I don't know if I would always want to write a blog on those subjects everyday, and if I don't write everyday will that keep my readership down?  So many questions, so many answers floating out there that could help me decipher this but I don't know what to do.

Suggestions and comments are greatly appreciated.  Because I know why many of you would read my blog, but I also am aware that some of my posts will reach different audiences but they don't want to be reading all my blog posts, if they aren't pertinent.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Viva.... Shopping

So our second day in Vegas was much more enjoyable than our first.  Courtney was feeling better so we were able to venture out of the hotel room.  And venture we did.  We had mapped out where the outlet malls were and had decided to do a day of shopping.  But we had to have breakfast first. 
Courtney's breakfast.

So after a quick breakfast in one of the hotel restaurants Courtney and I hit the strip to do some shopping.  We caught the Express Bus to the Premium Outlets.  We were there by about 10:30.  It was a busy day of shopping.  Courtney and I went into many stores, stores like Banana Republic, Carter's, Guess by Maricano, Guess, Columbia Outfitters, Fossil, Coach, Kate Spade, Burberry and many more that I can't even remember now.  Courtney and I had each bought a few things.  (when I say a few, I mean I almost filled my second suitcase lol)

My best buy by far was at Columbia Outfitters.  I was able to buy 3 winter jackets and a pair of ski pants for under $250.  It was an amazing sale and one of the things I really needed to get.  I was only shopping for Chandler and myself originally but the sales were so good I had to gt Adrian a jacket as well.

Then we got on the bus and headed back to the hotel room.  We were still considering hitting the Las Vegas Outlet Center on the south end at this point but the bus ride was so long we decided to leave it for another day.  While on the bus we went by Fremont street, we never got there at night, but next time I go I think I want to check it out.  Both of our bus rides that day were full of annoying people.  The ride down to the outlets had us sitting by two guys, one got more and more agitated as more people came on and he kept swearing under his breath. The other was so twitchy and spastic that I was worried he was going to kill people.  He kept asking me if I knew if the bus stopped on Charlston, and I kept telling him I wasn't from Vegas, I think he may have been the only person from Vegas on the bus.  I directed him that the Arts District stop might be his stop because it stopped at Charlston Ave.  So he got off, but he looked completely lost when he was on the street, but he was off the bus. 

Driving down the strip we were able to see all the hotels. Because everything is so big, it looks like it's close, but when you get there, it's so huge and the best piece of advice I was given is to bring comfortable shoes, because you will be walking a LOT!!!

My sister and I then decided to walk the strip that night, but I will blog about that later.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Viva... Fat Burger

Drinking a Starbucks before the flight
When I travel, my travels often revolve around where I can eat and the different restaurants I would want to try while i am travelling.  It's just who I am, I am not a foodie, but I suppose I could be.  I enjoy a great meal, whether it's a fancy restaurant or fast food drive through.  Some notable places I have encountered in my travels are In N out Burger, Sonics, The Forest Buffet in Harrah's in Tahoe, and The Byron Cafe on the Byron Highway in California.  There have been experiences that haven't always been good, but I am generally happy with trying new restaurants.  So after my sister took to the bed on our first night in Vegas, I travelled down the strip to find a place to eat.

I had looked on line and found that In N out Burger was just down the block and across the freeway from our hotel.  It's literally like a 5 minute walk but it was late at night and I had to walk under the one overpass and I was alone since Courtney couldn't be trusted to make it 5 feet without puking. ( I felt bad for her, I really did, but it dampened my first night in Vegas).  So I headed over the walkway from Excalibur to New York New York. 

In New York New York, I was given free passes to Coyote Ugly, which I did not go to, again because I was by myself.  There are some places in this world where you can travel on your own, but I don't feel the clubs of Vegas are one of those places.  There were pretzel places and coffee places and pizza places, but I didn't have a hankering for any of those.  I then noticed two boys walking through the casino with CVS Pharmacy bags.  So I decided to head down the strip to try to find this CVS.  I felt it should be close and that I could find something else to eat along the way.

So after walking past MGM, the M and M store, the Coca Cola Store I found the Walgreens Pharmacy and in I went.  I was able to purchase some pharmaceuticals for Courtney, and I may have blogged about this already, but I can't remember.  It's been awhile since I actually sat down and blogged.  I have opened my blog but I just couldn't sit down and write anything.  But now I can so here we go......

Across the alley from Walgreens is this little fast food restaurant called Fat Burger.  There is one in Calgary, but it's like a 50s diner for burgers, the burgers are really good, and their fries were good as well.  They also have some tasty milkshakes.  These are some pictures of my first supper in Vegas.  (I had a less than glorious pizza from Pizza Hut for lunch before Courtney got all ill).  I was very happy.

I have to say that the service and food were both exceptional, and the restaurant itself was very clean.  I enjoyed the guy at the till he was very friendly.  Also the customers that sat beside me at the counter while I waited for my meal were quite entertaining.  They were discussing relationship issues and those are always fun to listen in on. It can make you appreciate your own relationship so much more!!!

After I had filled my belly with sustenance I headed back to the hotel.  I spent some money gambling then I went up to the room to read my book.  Vegas on your own is not that much fun lol....But the trip did get better and I will let you all know about it later.

Christmas 2010

This was our Pre- Christmas decorating.  We got the tree the last weekend that Chandler was home so he could help us decorate.  He's so big now!!

My boys and me.  It was a good picture.

Little Man was not happy about Christmas tree shopping.
It was a quiet Christmas this year in our household.  Chandler was at his dad's so we only had Leigham at home to celebrate with. My sister came down, but my brother was at his fiances parent's house.  My mom and Grandma did not come down because my sister and I were leaving for Vegas that night for our early morning flight.  Adrian's mom and brother came by for supper and gifts but his Dad was working so it was quiet and not at all like a Christmas we are used to.
Little Man in his Christmas PJs a tradition for everyone to get PJs Christmas Eve.

Hugs for Mommy

Sitting with Aunty!!

Merry Christmas Hugs for Sasha or as Little Man calls her "Gog"

We played games and ate a turkey. We cooked our Turkey in an electric oven this year, it was so fast and it didn't heat up our house like in past years.  We had stuffing and mashed potatoes and gravy, then we had rice crispie squares and shortbread cookies for dessert.  We played Scene It Disney and I kicked butt.  It was all in all a good day, but I miss the Christmas of the past when I got to spend time with so many family members and friends.
Helping Dad open gifts.

Helping mom now

Even Sasha was spoiled.

So many presents for Little Man

He's blowing raspberries while he vacuums with his new Fisher Price Vacuum.  That's right my little man likes to clean, his favourite toys, a broom, a duster, a mop and now the vacuum.

Next year will definitely be different.  It should be fun!!! 

Edmodo or School Rack

I am trying to find a website that I can use in tandem with my students, to help engage the learning long before they reach the classroom and long after they leave the classroom.  I want the learning experience to be a memorable and at least parts o fit to be unforgetable.  There are so many websites out there and I guess depending on what you want to use the website for it will make a difference to which you will choose.

I have choosen two different websites and I may end up with only one after a bit, but I want to give them both a chance.  The other consideration is to find out which websites your school will allow your students to access while on the internet.  Knowing that most schools block Facebook and the like, teachers need to have websites where they can interact with their students in live time and not just in emailing.  It could solve some problems with needing subs and the like if you can connect with your students via an internet link.

So the two sites I am using right now are Schoolrack and Edmodo.  I am drawn more to Edmodo, but Schoolrack is alright.  Schoolrack is more basic, you post assignments and tests on the line, it's like a real time timeline, where Edmodo is like Facebook for students and teachers.  As the teacher you control who comes onto your site and what comments are left.  You can post questions and then the students respond and you can moderate the responses and stuff. 

While on that site I found some other cool things that could be used for teaching.  If you are a teacher and want to bring more technology into the classroom, check out this site and look into the communities they have lots to offer.