Snap back to reality

Oh, you guys, it is SO DARK. It’s still a week away from the shortest day of the year, and the sun rises at 8:32 and sets at 4:28. There has been low-lying cloud and fog, and the other day I went to pick the kids up from school at 3:30 and the streetlights had come on. On Thursday it got so dark AT NOON that my light-sensing outdoor lights went on. At NOON. I’m popping Vitamin D and listening to Michael Buble, Neil Diamond, and Elvis sing Christmas carols on repeat. I think it’s especially hitting me because a week ago we were in Florida, and I was feeling a bit amused seeing people wearing down jackets and gloves, at 24 degrees Celsius.

I feel like we’ve really hit the ground running, since our holiday. The kids have caught up on their schoolwork and were back at patrols and karate last week. I had volunteered to chaperone the last day of Jake’s class’ week-long field trip, which was Friday. Week-long field trip. I know. It was, we were told, a huge privilege to go on this field trip. Of hundreds of applicants, only a few were chosen, and Jake’s class was one of them. However, after discussing with the other parent volunteers, and then being on the trip itself, I can only say this: I think it would have been a bigger privilege NOT to go on the field trip.

I wasn’t sorry that Jake missed the first two days. According to my friend (HI REBECCA) who chaperoned one day, the kids had the privilege of sitting in on a school board trustee meeting. As an adult, I cannot imagine anything more boring, and I’m pretty informed on the school board’s policies. As a child, though? It seems like staring blankly at the wall for six hours would have been more interesting. I was just happy that I chaperoned on Friday, which was an early dismissal day. Something I thought I’d never say: the bus ride there was the best part. At least the kids were cheerfully singing Christmas carols for the whole time, and there was only one class so I didn’t have to share my seat with two children.

The vast majority of the field trip was spent at the Calgary Board of Education building downtown, and the woman running the program was not exactly someone who I thought excelled at working with children. We were ushered into a room that was completely white and grey, with absolutely no colour or artwork. The kids were given a big lecture on funding, and community collaboration, and then were given a small exercise to do. FUNDING and COMMUNITY COLLABORATION. I was dying of boredom, and I’m an economist. I felt deep sympathy for the children, who were then supposed to write a journal entry on what they’d learned this week. According to every student, the best part about the whole week was the one hour they spent touring an indoor garden and looking at a fish tank.

You know, there’s learning enrichment, and then there’s complete waste of time and resources.

Mark’s class has the privilege of a week-long field trip in January, but his is at the Arts Commons so hopefully it will be more interesting, or, at the very least, not a totally useless week.

Well, it’s the last week of school before the winter break, so I’m taking advantage of this time to get a lot of work and writing done. I want to spend the holidays with the kids watching Price is Right and holiday specials, maybe with a giant mug of coffee and Baileys. I have gingerbread men to bake and a gingerbread house to decorate, which I’d normally have done already, but I’m holding off so we have extra activities to do over the break. With a week off school before Christmas, I think a few extra activities will not be amiss.

By the way, if you’re feeling stressed out, I have a few links for you: How To Enjoy The Holidays Without Losing Your Mind and Avoid Holiday Stress and Put The Zen In Your Holidays. To that end, I’m not going to feel stressed that I haven’t – yet – written my usual Sears Catalogue post. It’s coming! It’s coming! I think. Have a happy Monday, everyone. xo


  1. It’s been gray and cloudy all day, so I put on the outside X-mas lights at 3:10 so they’d be on when the kids got home from school.

  2. Sarah Piazza says

    Did you say Bailey’s? You know, not to sound too Scroogish (is that a word?), but I really love the quiet and peace of January… That field trip sounds pretty rotten for children, I agree.

  3. Is a week-long field trip something they do to fill up a week when there’s a mandated number of teaching weeks and they’ve run out of teaching?

  4. “I was dying of boredom and I’m an economist”. Nuff said.
    Agree on the dark. I turn on every light in the house at four and it still feels like I’m in a cave. Turns out it’s the dark more than the cold that I hate about winter.

  5. I’ve never heard of a week-long field trip. The 4th graders at my kids’ school take a two-day trip to Austin and San Antonio, and the 5th graders spend a week at a science camp. But they don’t call it a week-long field trip.

    Whoever planned those trips must have been extremely naive. Or high. “Yeah, the kids will love that!”
    This made me snort: “I was dying of boredom, and I’m an economist.” You have a great sense of humor.

  6. Good lord, that field trip sounds more like a punishment. That’s a rough go.

    It’s so dark and rainy here this time of year it’s tough. Right now it’s 3:41 pm and it’s virtually dark outside my office window. I am becoming full pagan in my eagerness to celebrate the solstice because at least it means the days will be getting longer. Sigh.

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