November, 2010 browsing by month


T., U of L, Green [although, then… I would have said Blue].

Monday, November 29th, 2010

I glanced at last year’s yearbook today while at school while covering another teacher’s class.

I have never met last year’s departing Grade 9’s (unless, of course, our paths crossed during my Spring job interview for two whole seconds).  Still, I glanced through their ‘Nickname:, Future Plans:, Colour:’ write-ups; the ‘Future Plans:’ question (and answers), in particular, made me think.

What would I have answered in Grade 9?

Why were so many future plans to travel the world, even while so young?  What would determine which students actually do?

One student wrote: “…to get through life.”  Concerning.   Who was he?

I know what I would have written.  I would have written the same thing in Grade 12, and in Grade 6. I would have described my potential education degree and my potential teaching career.  …in detail.  I wouldn’t have known then that I was destined to live in a city.   I wouldn’t have known then that I would pursue a graduate degree and fall in love with Montreal, rollercoasters, and patio gatherings [among gatherings of other nearly every other variety].  My future plans would have been to sit in and in front of a classroom for a long time to come.  I then saw to it that those future plans were realized.

Which gives me more pause for thought.

What are my future plans now?  …and how able am I to reach the learners who drag their way into my classroom hoping to just get through it, while less sure of where their futures lie?

What are the differences between students who plan to conquer the world, travel it, and those who hope to navigate even the tiniest corner of it with even some success?  When I said and knew I wanted to teach, was it because I wanted to make a difference….. or because I liked the collective personality of the teachers I’d encountered and the difference they made to me?

Why couldn’t I be the [email protected]$$ kid that wrote the funny response and/or laughed at the funny responses instead of asking. so. many. questions?

How much would you pay for silence?

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

Well… I pay about $20.  $11-and-some-change as a [graduate] student when I buy a punch pass.  …and with that: free yoga.

See, the studio is a fairly strict one–as far as offering-an-environment-of-tranquility goes.  Talking at the front desk: fine.  Talking in the hallways/changeroom: fine.  Talking in the studio: not fine.  Yes, you can offer a smile and a namaste when the situation calls for it….. but that’s about it.

I think when I first went, this was an awkward notion for me.   At the very least, the whole experience was new and novel.

I’m not always one to not-talk when I’m asked to not-talk.  At meetings, conventions, libraries I opt-in, opt-out.

At the yoga studio, though….. these days….. I opt-in wholeheartedly.  …and love it.

…..and expect everyone else to do the same.

……to a fault.

Lately there have been some talkers.  AND, it’s really grinded my gears.   …to the extent that, last time I really wondered what I should do about it.

I asked myself: Are they new?  Are they being purposefully defiant?  What is going on?

It’s a tough scenario.  I don’t want to impose my beliefs and expectations on a stranger.  I don’t want to create a weird energy for the remaining 1.5+ hours.  I also [basically] know that my gears are not the only ones being grinded–the rest of the room [likely] feels similar.

So far I try to will some silence.  Unsuccessfully.

Maybe I’ll try a glance or a gentle plea…..and see how that fits and feels.  [It’s awfully tempting to just let out a big “SHHHH!” and hope it remains anonymous!]

It’s not like I don’t spend most of my day asserting expectations on others.  THEN I ask myself, maybe I should feel just as much conflict within my school building as I do just that–assert my expectations on others, while not [always] quite sure of the background or understanding or reasons those individuals have for feeling the need to communicate a [somewhat louder] presence.

When are we most uncomfortable sitting still, and quiet, solo?  On the flip side… when are we most willing to go out of our way to find a time and space to sit still, and quiet, and solo……… and pay for it?


The Dichotomies of Being a New Year’s Refugee

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

I’m not a New Year’s Refugee.  …and I [mostly] don’t even feel like one.

Something fabulous will come together, or it won’t.  Regardless… the evening, night, resolutions, and odometer turning will all be observed somehow, somewhere.  …maybe here, maybe somewhere else, maybe in the mountains.

I just keeping hearing of New Year’s great escapes that, to various extents, pull at some or all of my heartstrings… but for one reason or many, won’t work.

For whatever reason, I can remember most of recent history’s NYE extravaganzas quite vividly.

Is that my fear?  That I’ll remember this one… vividly… as being awful?

…or as one with some stone unturned?  …as one without some opportunity realized?  …one where I didn’t make the most of my long break and gap between semesters [and mental acrobatics]?

My roommate was experiencing some NYE-refugee-itis symptoms…… was it just super contagious?

OR, would I rather think about something like NYE, than…..the cold…..the homework….parent conferences…work..responsibility.

Some [party] food for [meditative] thought.


Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

there are both worse and
better things than snowfalls but
first falls remind me…..

My Calgary

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

This is the newest addition to my Google Reader.  a) If you don’t have Google Reader you are MISSING out.  My friend Joanne introduced me to this internet game-changer awhile ago.  b) Who knew you could add Flickr photostreams?  I didn’t until I tried… but now I think I’m onto something.

I’m rambling.

The point is that this random photographer has visually captured My Calgary.

This all gives pause for some thought: what else constitutes My Calgary.

Well…. based on this weekend:

  • …rolling my eyes and laughing.  Friday I was able to connect with some colleagues I was LONG overdue connecting with.  There were hugs.  I love hugs.  There was wine.  I love wine.  Most importantly: there was a collective sense that parts of our job are acutely important and parts of our jobs one just has to surrender to, while laughing, eating, and… well, eye-rolling.
  • …dancefloors.  I’m probably almost too old for those.  My Calgary though allows for escapes from the cold and early-dark nights.  It allows for goofy dancing, and favourite songs, and celebrity sightings.
  • …yoga studios.  Today’s, yet again, allowed me to leave feeling smiley and recharged.  I know I’m obsessing.   So much of yoga is feeling like a metaphor these days… and a helpful one at that.  …so why knock a good thing.
  • …Meals, and massages, and Wii-ing (hmmmm… that doesn’t sound quite right), and Brothers and Sisters watching (seriously: this show is rocking my socks off these days… I had no idea it was so good)…… relaxing.
  • …knowing that there are tons of close escapes.  The family in The Shoe, the sister in Edmonton, the mountains… occasionally, the airport.  This weekend these escapes seemed especially favourable to homework and report cards.  Alas, a weekend soon…hopefully.
  • …phone calls to check in on My Other-Favourite-City.  Phone calls that always feel long overdue.
  • …Starbucks.  Just because I’m a bit of an urban stereotype.
  • …friends.  Enough said.

My real Calgary will feel even better when a) I have some actually quantifiable amounts of free time (when, exactly, will that be???) and b) when my favourites re-open: the devonian gardens and the Talisman.

I complain often about how busy I am and how backwards things here can feel…. but really:

My corner of the world isn’t so bad.  I have to keep telling myself that these days when my itch for travelling has never been louder.

Oh great. Somehow I…

Saturday, November 13th, 2010

…got into a time machine and just went back in time nearly exactly four years.  Looks like I have a bit of a November-self.  …a restless, [mostly] optimistic, bracing-for-winter-and-basically-no-daylight self.


Let me…

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

…tell you what I do.  And what I believe [about great teaching]… and why I believe those things to be true.

That’s what I got to do today.  =)  Twice!

I had a bit of a new [-to-me] audience… undergraduate students about to embark on their first major student teaching after the long weekend.

I tried to be encouraging and real… and a little bit fun.  Who knows how it all came across?

I was a bit nervous… but it was a really lovely, exciting, rewarding experience in the end.  In fact, I’d like to find some similar opportunities!  The whole day had a really neat energy.

Today I got to leave the city and my regular “real world” for a different “real world”.  I got to be creative.  …to connect with some of my favourite people.  I got to try something completely, utterly new.

Now I have to wonder…… what can I bring back from today’s world TO my real world?!  What did I learn today.

*grateful, curious sigh*


Saturday, November 6th, 2010
  • Yesterday, the universe was aligned in such a way that I ran into three very unexpected faces.  All three run-ins were anti-climactic… but still… it was interesting.  It could all mean absolutely nothing [and probably does], but it’s more fun to think that this is some convergence window where something exciting/interesting results.
  • Today, I headed out of the city and to my Aunt & Uncle’s farm for my Grandma’s birthday.  I wasn’t sure if I would make it, but midway through the day, I decided it was the perfect plan.  It was.  Sunny drive with Starbucks Gingerbread Latte in hand, I headed out to a card game, some incredible food, and lively entertainment from two of the funniest/funnest kids around.  I listened to [and sang/danced-along to] a birthday mix-tape [/CD] in both directions while reflecting on how important and busy as I like to think I am… I’m more urban than rural these days, no question… but today was a pretty nice venture into the calmer, slower part of my world.  My un-Montreal self.
  • There could not be a better weekend for an extra hour [of sleep].  I’m sneezy, behind, and not so quick to jump into action these days.  This extra hour could potentially provide the moment of creativity and inspiration [and healthiness] I’ve been waiting for.