MY LITTLE HELPER

Valentine’s Day has come and gone since I’ve last posted – I marked the day with my usual teaching, a committee meeting, a ski date with some of my favourite dudes, and then a non official dinner. Friends of ours have recently moved into a fantastic new place in one of my top 5 neighbourhoods of Edmonton – Bonnie Doon! We went to go check out the new place and have a nice evening with friends, and we also decided to take transit there.
The first leg was getting onto the LRT and taking it downtown for a bus transfer. Aside from the bus being somewhat late (6 minutes feels like a long time when you’re always expecting it), I was amazed by how fast it was! A 7ish minute ride later, we got off at our stop and walked 2 blocks. Don and I were both carrying bags with dinner goodies, and I was wearing my purse and ukulele. All good.
We’ve also had the fun of eating at North53 a few times this past while. It’s so delicious and they’re also a sponsor for Apricity’s Welcome, Baby! fundraiser. Thanks, guys!

We ordered the whole chicken and afterwards, when they were taking away the carcass, I asked if they could um… wrap it up so that I could make broth at home.

They made me a swan!

See? The next day, with some onions, carrots, and celery.

I don’t like to waste. And it has been super yummy to eat all week. I put some macaroni in it and call it a meal.

As the title of this post suggests, this week’s post is really about my little helper – Alice!

She’s still having some major league 2 yr old tantrums (I’d say we’re averaging 3 per day), but I am determined to weather this phase in the hopes that her crazy behaviour results in some new development or brain re-wiring. The main issue is that she wants to do everything “by MESELF”, but, as you can imagine, she’s not able to do everything herself. This makes her brim over with madness and I wonder whether or not we need to move into a house with an attic so that I could lock her in it.

Strangely enough, once we get on our way and finally leave the house, she has been a wonderful side kick to me while I’m busy doing work. Here she is, hanging out in the corner of a classroom during the 3rd of three poverty discussions I was leading last week (I’m heading up the United Way’s youth initiative).

Speaking of kids, the students at Victoria School of the Arts really impressed me! I spoke to three classes that were all engaging in different ways. In one class, a girl actually shared a personal story of her own separation from her birth parents, and the poverty she has lived in. She also revealed that she suffers from depression because of the stress of the difficulties she has had to face. She is 11 years old.

In another class, a precocious boy (another 11 yr old) jokingly said that childhood trauma isn’t so bad if you’re super rich, like how Batman is doing fine without his parents. I jumped in and pointed out that Bruce Wayne having to transform himself into Batman is actually a manifestation of his coping with his parents’ murders. And that becoming Batman, however many people he saves, isn’t really a healthy thing. Bruce Wayne has difficulties with friendships, and relationships. Then, this other eager kid shot his hand up, apologized for interrupting, and had to make sure everybody knew that Alfred the butler is an acting father figure to Batman and how that one stable relationship is part of what keeps Batman tethered to the right path. The metaphor still has me smiling.

Then, in an older class with grade 11/12s, a girl had a very progressive solution to poverty. She mused that businesses and schools could partner so that willing participants would be able to work and earn, but still somehow finish their high school diplomas with credits provided for the work they were doing. We really didn’t have time to think it out, but she essentially thought that creating an environment where people could upgrade and work at the same time, would ultimately be beneficial to such an individual, so they could increase their skill set and move onto more lucrative employment in the future. It’s easier said than done, but I LOVE IT! We discussed how we would need to move a lot of different parts to make such a program successful. Big business owners and policy makers would have to be convinced that this was a good idea, and even after then, it’s a long road before you have a system that works. The point is, poverty elimination is going to be a very long road. I’m thrilled that the kids I’m talking to are eager to invest in that journey.

After all my rambling (I’m sure you can imagine…) Alice’s treat was a ladies lunch with my Works Galaco-chair, Sydney.

And on an entirely different day, Alice was also very helpful with restocking the cheese (and trying to steal the Jacek chocolates) with Tricia at Cavern one morning.

Then, I finally got the flu that everybody has been having. I was fine one day and then the next I was not. UGH. Good news is that I’m never down for long (years of teaching and being sick has made my immune system really tough and quick to recover). I did, however, need to be at the AGA to see some of the students from Ben Calf Robe school.

Aaron Paquette was teaching one of the workshops and I managed to creep on his rough work. Again, the kids are always the best part – I met Portia, who was sweet enough to ask me for… my autograph! Hilarious!

FINALLY, it was also Chinese New Years this week. Lots of lucky money envelopes exchanged, my kids did dragon dances for me at dinner, and my dad brought over so many oranges for me to give to my students. Much love, all around.

Feeling lucky. Even with the tantrum management and the flu!