Monday, December 30, 2013

Nope, not me on Judge Judy

I have let this email sit in my inbox for six months because I don't know how to respond to it.  I just feel sorry for the person who saw someone with my name on Judge Judy and thought they would try this email address.

Friday, October 25, 2013


My poor husband.  Last night I thought he'd ordered me a pizza as a surprise.  Today I thought he'd booked us a vacation in Hawaii!

But no, it's one of my alter egos.  I hope they have a good time!


I did think briefly about becoming a midwife.  I decided to stick with teaching, though, since it rarely involves shiftwork.

I'm a bit mystified as to how this came to me, actually, since it says "no email address provided" and the name I've obscured isn't actually mine.  Someone got one of our email addresses wrong somewhere, though.

Job op!

I'm always interested in freelance job opportunities, but I didn't recognize the sender's name when it came up in my inbox.  And when I opened it up, well.... I may have many talents, but illustration is definitely NOT one of them!  I let her know she had the wrong email address, so hopefully the correct person who shares my name got the opportunity.

Now I'm hungry!

I got a bit excited when I saw this Domino's pizza email in my inbox.  I thought maybe my husband had ordered one as a treat for me.  But then I saw the address... across the continent and in a different country from me!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


It's a little known fact that I use a MacBook Pro for a laptop when I'm away from home, but that's less of an ideological choice and more because that's what my husband's company had sitting on the "slightly broken" shelf that I was able to borrow.
I certainly wasn't in Seattle buying a cable for an iPhone last week.  Must have been one of the other people with my name, forgetting her email address in the rush of excitement.

No big announcement coming here!

Apparently one of the other people with my name is pregnant, and the hormones have caused her to forget her email address.
I guess I have lots of pregnancy-related mailing list emails to look forward to now.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

1921 Census - Toronto - York East - Street names

I can't seem to find a map anywhere online of how Toronto was divided up in 1921, into the districts they used.  Here's a (hopefully) handy list of the street names I've found in each area.

York East, Sub-District 10 - Toronto (City, part):  Wards 1 and 8, Polling Division No. 10 and 11
 Pape, Winnifred, Caroline, Leslie, Lang (meaning Laing?), Knox, Sears, Minto, Eastern, Queen

Sub-District 11 - Toronto (City, part): Wards 1 and 8, Polling Division No. 12 and 13
Connaught, Queen, Woodbine, Kew Beach, Buller, Lake Front, Woodbine Beach, Morley?, Eastern, Woodward.  Italicized names no longer exist and were presumably changed. Please leave a comment if you know the new names.

Sub-District 12 - Toronto (City, part): Wards 1 and 8, Polling Division No. 14 and 15
Queen, Kippendavie, Kew Beach, Kenilworth, Waverley, Lake Front/Kew Beach (each house is listed as both, as if that is the whole name).

Sub-District 13 - Toronto (City, part): Wards 1 and 8, Polling Division No. 16 and 17
Queen, Waverly (sic - presumably Waverley), Lee, Leuty, Violet, Alfresco Lawn, Lake Front. 

Sub-District 14 - Toronto (City, part): Wards 1 and 8, Polling Division No. 18 and 19
Queen, McLean (sic - presumably MacLean), Balsam, Hazel, Fernwood, Lake Front, (something I can't read, but looks like 'Points' or 'Parrot' - only two houses), Fir, Park, Willow, Beech, Silver Birch, Balmy, Glenfern, Neville Park, Munro Park.

Sub-District 15 - Toronto (City, part): Wards 1 and 8, Polling Division No. 40 and 41
Queen, Pape, Blong, Brighton, Audley, Dagmar, Badgerow, Austin, Gerrard.

Sub-District 16 - Toronto (City, part): Wards 1 and 8, Polling Division No. 42 and 43
Description says Queen, Brookly, Bertmount, Coady, Mallon.

Sub-District 17 - Toronto (City, part): Wards 1 and 8, Polling Division No. 44 - 46
Queen, McLean (sic - presumably MacLean), Balsam, Hazel, Fernwood, Lake Front, (something I can't read, but looks like 'Points' or 'Parrot' - only two houses), Fir, Park, Willow, Beech, Silver Birch, Balmy, Glenfern, Neville Park, Munro Park.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Not Me

One of the other people with my name has apparently signed up for Hulu with the wrong email address, because suddenly I'm getting weekly emails suggesting things I should watch.  When I clicked "unsubscribe" I got a message saying "we're sorry, Hulu is not available in your country".  Yeah, I knew that, thanks.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Really not me!

Now, I'm sure that some would argue that at my age, skin cream is a good idea, but I'm not one for much a cleaning/makeup regimen.  I certainly wasn't at one of those "independent consultant" parties for skin care products last night... I was tucked up with my favourite guys, eating pizza and catching up on Season 3 of Breaking Bad.

One of my alter egos was enjoying it, though, I guess.
I politely responded and said that it wasn't me, and the original sender ended up using the excuse of "oh, sorry, I shouldn't have put in the dot".  Someone, and this has been going on for years now, still believes that is different than

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Nope, really not me

Until I opened this up, all I could wonder was why anyone would invite me to something with the word "Guns" in the title.

So, there is a further clue... one of the people who thinks they have my email address lives in or near Apple Valley, Minnesota.

I did spend many formative years in Thunder Bay, Ontario, a short drive from Minnesota... but nope, this is not meant for me.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Foster Learning

So, here's the vision... Children in foster care (including kin homes and children formerly in care) are matched up with students two years older.  They work together over the internet, using technologies like Skype and Scribblar, for math coaching.  The children in care get a consistent coach who stays with them throughout their schooling, and after two years can become coaches themselves.  The coaches collect hours towards their community service requirement, or can choose to be paid an hourly rate.  Lead teachers work with the coaches to ensure a high-quality, positive experience for every student.

A collection of details and a few questions I anticipate will be frequently asked:
  • Students will ideally be in Grade 6 or 7 when they begin.  We want to help with the transition to middle school, and also catch girls before any distaste for math or disbelief in their abilities kicks in.
  • Coaches will ideally be in Grade 9 when they begin, although they can be older.
  • Students need not be behind in math.  We will have plenty of enrichment activities for students who excel, so that they gain the experience of writing contests and talking about math with other good students.
  • Coaches need not be good at math.  Part of good coaching includes modeling how to find out about a topic.  Coaches will also find their own performance in math improves as they study the subject in depth with their students.
  • Traditional 1-on-1 tutoring will be a portion of the coaching.  However, that will be balanced with group sessions for two to four students to work collaboratively on an activity that covers multiple grade levels. 
  • We'll start with math and expand into other subject areas according to demand and the availability of lead teachers.  Science is the obvious next subject.
  • Coaches will receive extensive training, both before they begin and throughout the program.  They will stay current through the online forum on the website.  Training will include information on the unique needs of students in foster care to ensure that the appropriate sensitivity and respect is maintained.
  • We are starting with children in foster care because of our experience as foster parents.  We are familiar with the typical educational experiences foster children may have, for example; missing school for meetings, court dates and family visits,  periods of stress and upheaval when school is a low priority, and changing schools mid-year.  We are also impressed and inspired by the resilience and spirit of the foster children we've had the pleasure of working with.
  • A nominal hourly rate will be charged for coaching; possibly $12/hr for 1-on-1 and $6/hr for group activities.  Advice and assistance will be available on the programs that pay for tutoring for children currently in care, and how to apply.  Coaches will be paid the student minimum wage, $9.60/hr.
What we need to do now:
  • Recruit students for September 2013.
  • A small amount of funding is needed to buy and host a webdomain ( is available), set up the forum software, buy a pro license for Scribblar, and a pro license for Wolfram Alpha. I would also like a classroom license for
Medium-term goals:
  • Secure outside funding so that coaches can be paid even if there is a shortfall in coaching revenue, and to provide an honorarium for Lead Teachers.
Long-term goals:
  • A larger amount of funding would allow us to supply students with refurbished, used computer equipment so they can participate in the program.
  • Potential partnerships with programs such as JUMP Math and IXL.
  • Data collection to test our interventions and activities and measure how well our program is ultimately helpful in improving educational outcomes.
  •  Research or develop software that can be used on the iPad to encourage student involvement.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Nope, still not me

The person with my name who signed up for Tumblr using my email address the other day has uploaded a profile picture.  It turns out to be of her dog, so it's not very helpful in tracking her down.

Oddly enough, she still hasn't activated her email address.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Nope, not me

I have never heard of this website, which appears to be for a photographer.

I certainly didn't sign the guest book.

One of the other versions of me has forgotten her email address again!

Sunday, June 23, 2013


My first name is on the unusual side; people have to be told how to pronounce and spell it, and still often get it wrong.  It peaked in the 1990s with 421 babies per million getting my name, which is still not a very large number.

Granted, my last name is common.  It still mystifies me, though, that there not only seem to be at least six people in the US with my full name, but that they regularly get their email addresses wrong and put in mine instead.

Today's email is typical.  At 3am one of my alter egos signed up for Tumblr, using my email address instead of hers.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Calculus on the Khan Academy

I'm doing a lot of Calculus marking lately, and starting to think about matching up the Ontario MCV4U curriculum with the Khan Academy videos and practice dashboard (sorry, now known as the "Knowledge Map").

Their Derivatives 1 questions provide practice in finding the derivative of polynomials (only quadratics, in fact).  The Power Rule questions add simple negative exponents of -1 or -2.

The best place to start for Optimization questions (Lesson 12 in my world) is probably this link:
Unfortunately the Knowledge Map currently stops with taking derivatives, so there are no practice questions on the topic.

This link seems like the best place to start for Vectors:
There are exercises for scaling and adding vectors; so you have to spot 2a and add a and b, but there none where you have to find 2a+b for vectors (and students invariably need to practice the distributive step).

Monday, April 1, 2013


Yoga is something that I've been enthusiastic about many times over the years.  I've attended classes at at least two places of work that offered them, at my local community centre in both Toronto and on the Island, and at the occasional studio.

Searching the blog I see that I've never written about it.  At this particular point in time, with life crazy but about to slow down, with loss pervading my thoughts, yoga seems like a logical practice to pick up again.  In January I set no resolutions, but my mantra became "a quiet mind in an active body".  I had some success and it's time to revisit.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Use a strategy for happiness

I'm only on the second habit of happy people, and already it feels like he has copped out on me.  His suggestion is that I use a strategy for happiness; figure out what makes me happy and make it happen.

The research he has based it on, though, says that good and bad things happen in the same proportion to happy and unhappy people.  The difference is that happy people spend about 2/3 of their time thinking about the happy things, and the unhappy people spend 2/3 of their time thinking about the unhappy things.  So that suggests to me that what I should actually be doing is monitoring my thoughts and gently guiding them back into happy paths.

It turns out that's actually much easier to do than emptying my mind, so I've been fairly successful at it.  I even find that I've associated thoughts, so that common negative thoughts are closely followed by their corresponding positives, with very little effort on my part.  My daily emails have been going well, and I've gotten some nice responses.  I'm not running out of people to send to yet, so I'll keep it up for a little longer while I explore the next "secret".

Friday, January 4, 2013

My life has purpose and meaning

I've been re-reading David Niven's The 100 Simple Secrets of Happy People, which my husband bought me years ago, knowing that I'd be interested in a review of research rather than a self-help book.  Rather than resolutions this year I'm trying to meditate on the 100 principles he identifies.

So, for the past week or so I've been constantly turning over in my mind his first point, that my life has purpose and meaning.  My very existence has touched the lives of many people and enriched some of them.  (I had to stop myself from insert "hopefully" there.)

My perfectionism wants to blow this out of proportion, and as I've been thinking I've found I have to constantly remind myself that this doesn't mean:
  • that every day, hour, or minute of my life has to have purpose or meaning
  • that I don't need to do some grand, amazing thing with my life to create that purpose or meaning
  • that it's perfectly okay if the bulk of what I did in my life is behind me, and I lead a quiet existence taking care of myself for a while, or even the rest of my life if I'm so inclined
Strangely, I also find that I'm constantly reminding myself that the foster parenting we are doing right now is purposeful, meaningful, and also highly visible and earning us the respect of many people.  Because it has just become what life is for us, I can go for days without thinking of it as "special" in any way.  I'm making more of an effort to be gentle with myself about the stress I feel, but also give myself credit for what I'm doing.

It would be helpful if I can make a habit or routine out of each point so that I can integrate the principles of happiness into my life.  For this one I've settled on a habit that I will try at least for a week, and see how it goes; I will email one person each day that I haven't communicated with in a while.  I'll pick people whose lives I think I've enriched; I do a good job already of remembering to send emails at intervals to people who have been important to me, but I don't look the other direction.  To help it become a habit I've picked a time to do it - right after the baby goes down for his first nap of the day, because it's quiet then - and I've got a box on my Unschedule for the week so I can see my line of unbroken Xs.

So... baby's down for his nap... someone will be getting an email from me within minutes!