December, 2010

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On this…

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

…the longest night of the year, I stayed up to watch the big lunar eclipse.

The last time I remember doing that was in Edmonton at the legislature grounds while student teaching… that round, of course wasn’t also the longest night of the year because the last time both were combined was 1634.

I don’t know which is more neat: knowing that the redish colour is caused by all the sunrises and sunsets on earth… or knowing that so many people are collectively sharing the same experience as I [freeze and] look up.

I’m not a big astronomy geek really.  I am, though, a pretty good sport when it comes to this kind of stuff.  …especially during holidays when there’s less of a call to urgency when it comes to sleep.

On this the first day of winter… with days now getting longer… I was given a gentle reminder to marvel at the [extra]ordinary.

Not a bad way to start things off, at all.

In fact, something to consider for the 2nd day of winter, the 3rd, the 4th, the 5th……………….

Some things pulling at my heartstings

Monday, December 13th, 2010
  • learning.
    I know I’m learning as I’m M.Ed.ing but the kind of learning-I’m-yearning, is Drop Everything and Learn, learning.  The thing about this cohort system is that I can immerse in the summers but Fall/Winter tend to be a little bit more partial devotion.  A writing course.  A language [French].  A yoga retreat.  A writing course.  Creative writing?  Non-fiction? A literature/media study.  A social science, psychology, heart-of-the-matter, social work, sociology undertaking.
  • travel.
    I know I’m at the departures level often enough of good old YYC.  I want a trip that I couldn’t have seen coming though.  One that comes together in an instant and makes sense in that instant and becomes an opportunity realized.
  • speaking.
    My Lethbridge day rocked my world… my face off, if you will.  My newest staff has only got to see a snippet of me up on my soapbox.  I didn’t apply to this year’s Teachers Conference because last year I felt that while the opportunity was a neat one, I was also on the cusp of being snowed in from coursework, assessmentwork, etc.  Plus I LOVE convention all on its own–so it’s hard to build-in/add-on to something already quite… well… lovely.  I want to craft my soapbox and find myself up on it more… you know the one: the don’t-stand-and-deliver-when-you-teach-but-please-humour-me-while-I-do-regarding-this-important-issue soapbox.
  • Montreal.
    It always does.  Let’s be real.
  • Sydney.
    I only got to see it for six minutes.
  • New Zealand.
    I’m now so well-versed.
  • yoga.  social media / local video undertakings.  West African.  djembe-playing.  piano lessons.  swimming more lengths.  Ripped 1000.
    You know… the things I go in and out of dabbling with depending on the schedule.  Things that are always more fun The more one commits to them and feels more confidence with.
  • campus calgary/open minds.  school performances.
    It’s hard when you’re the new guy at a school to be too vulnerable.  It’s also hard to be too keen.  I’m missing, though, that crazy project that takes forever.  …that week-long field trip that had to be applied for MONTHS ago.  …rehearsing something a trillion times until it’s just perfect.  I’m looking for that excursion or experience where my ear has to be to the ground, me enthusiasm has to be communicated, people need to be brought on board: then voila.
  • Edmonton.
    Even a trip that far has been forever ago.  Seriously.  This TCP/IP course just kicked me flat on the buttox.
  • good old fashioned confidence, because this is something I’ve done a thousand times.
    There hasn’t been too much of that lately.
  • taking on something [pleasant] completely new, sight (site?) unseen
    TCP/IP doesn’t count.
  • ……………..

All at once

Sunday, December 12th, 2010

A year ago, I was in Montreal… for a weekend.

It felt indulgent to be there for a whirlwind trip.  It also all felt a tiny bit destined… that all that Montreal love I’d sent out into the universe was sent back to me–as the trip was a [won] gift.

Every trip I’ve ever taken to Montreal–other than the one a year ago–was a much longer summer trip.  Up until then, I’d only seen my city with sixteen hours of sunlight, backdropped by festival after festival, and the company of many fellow tourists.

I’m kind of a summer guy.  I love busy, adventurous days.  Many happy memories, Montreal and elsewhere are under blue skies and limitless sunshine.

But.

The weekend trip to Montreal was cozy, and warm, and a completely different side of a city I’ve grown to adore… while at the same time, also very familiar.  In some ways the festive atmosphere is more indescribable.  …Long nights.  …More obscure warmth.  …new highlights.

…a different cold.  …a different sensation of  snow.  …different yet same December traditions.

It’s easy to daydream, and plan, and convince others for the summer trips.

But remembering back to last December, I think I need to be more purposeful of finding some winter escapes, too.

In cold, warmth reveals itself differently.  And in winter…………
Simon’s has a whole new line of menswear that I didn’t even know
existed.

In fact, now that I’ve been there in winter I daydream of adventures there much more year round than I had before… and THAT is just one city that I’ve already discovered.  What about the ones that I haven’t yet?

I continue

Sunday, December 5th, 2010

to deem corners of this city as unCalgary.

I think I need to change up the semantics a bit and consider myCalgary, evolvingCalgary, or newCalgary.

Urban, creative, reflective spaces that make me proud/think/smile/wonder/compare… continue to pop up.  Are there more of them?  Am I getting better at finding them?

Will I ever date anyone ever again, so I can go to them in a new

, well,

context?

festivity gratitude

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

Thank you Jill Barber.  Your confidence when you sing makes me feel like I should tap into my confidence more too.  When I heard your song for the first time on CBC Radio 2 I knew that you knew that I knew that you knew exactly how I felt.  Broken hearts don’t feel very nice, do they?  Thank you for not playing that song right away, then making me fearful you wouldn’t play the song at all, then singing the song so powerfully (and playfully) that I heard it completely differently–MUCH better for the narrative for the evening, the leaving me hanging.  I’m pretty much on board to follow your career for a long, long time.  You’ve captured much of my heart… and reminded me I have a big one that often gets left on my sleeve.

Thank you Knox.  I’m not much of a concert goer.  I’ve now been to three concerts at your church, though.  There’s something cozy about your space, even though the ceilings are super high and the feel is probably meant to be more regal than comfy.  Your acoustics make things sound nice, and seem to tempt singers to get their audience congregation-style to sing along.  Everyone feels cheeky when songs have little curse words like hell, too.  This last concert had us scramble a little, but your volunteers handled things beautifully and with big smiles.  You’re kind of a Calgary secret; who would know you are such a great music venue many a weeknight.  I feel very in-the-know and like a professional concert goer when I go to you.  Cheers!

Thank you Michael Kaeshammer.  I didn’t even know you existed until this week.  How fun and energetic and TALENTED are you?!  Very.  Thank you for making me feel a little like I wanted to know you better and a little like I already do know you.  Your passion for music and people shows!  I’d say you made people at least 10X more cheerful than they were after work and 100X more cheerful than they were during work that day.  You lifted my spirits [post Jill Barber no less] and your drummer did, too.  He also made me miss African Mondays.  Well played!

Thank you Brewsters.  You remind me that it’s important to keep it real with my colleagues and have a support network.  You allowed me to complain a little about my graduate degree and what it’s requiring of me–including tired eyes.  Things were put into context for me when I said ‘it was exciting and probably will be again soon, but right now it just feels like……. work’.  When a colleague said to me “That probably hasn’t changed as much as you think it has, it’s probably everything else that’s changed around it; there’s been a lot else that’s changed”.  I had to give her that; she was right.  Brewsters smiles, laughs, compliments, and issue re-framings are all very welcome.

Thank you Habitat counter.  You let me take a break from last night’s dancing with some of my favourite [new] colleagues.  I got to take a good look at your venue space and think about how Montrealesque it all was, right down to the logo.  Then you allowed me have a quick talk about work with yet another wise colleague.  You then exceed all expectations when I kept smelling burning, and a very specific type of burning at that–one like ironing that was going to slowly.  Turns out you were hosting a candle and a purse that were a little too close….. luckily the purse was no one’s in the group.  Luckily someone noticed what was happening but after a few full minutes of everyone wondering what that smell was.  No one was hurt, and nothing was lost [or too wrecked].  You added just the right amount of drama to a night otherwise fun and innocent.