November, 2011 browsing by month


Storms: expected, and unexpected.

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Sunday morning I got up, zipped to Home Depot and got two Christmas Cacti for my two incredible Grandmas.  Both have birthdays in November and today there would be Turkey to celebrate.  The cacti [such a fun word, non?] were delivered, the turkey was eaten, and Grey Cup scores popped-up in the background (while my little cousin listened in interest as he had a 25-cent bet going on with my Dad).

My sister and I went to leave amidst some snow.

A few moments later my sister calls to say she’s turning back; the roads are bad.  I mention that I’m going to take it slow and will call when I’m back in the city.

The roads get from bad to worse.  Each hill has those unable to get up it.  The wind is insane and only made worse by the ice (and falling snow).  Radio time is checkered by emergency alerts.

A few useless tire spins and defensive driving techniques through fishtales have me deciding that I’m going to stop midway and spend the night….. something I’ve never had to do, ever.  Not worth it… even though I have nothing with me to get me ready for the start of my week.  Not ideal but not the end of the world either… fact, an effort to make the night the opposite of the end of the world.

* * * * *

Now, mid-way through the week.  The storm that is the end-of-November, a storm I’ve seen brewing for a good long while,  has nearly passed and wasn’t made too, too complex by the storms of Sunday night.  Reporting period for work, over.  University portfolio, submitted.  Stitches out, tomorrow.  Marking pile, substantially smaller.

To be frank: these last few weeks (and this one in particular) have been insane.  These weeks happen.  And now, as it all settles I see it for how it was. A lot…..funnily enough, it’s not until stress is over for me that can really see it.

Vancouver and Sydney are on the immediate horizon.  So is Christmas.  It’s not until tonight that I can really wrap my head around that either.  Time to shop and pack and scheme and plan and daydream…and eat and drink and be merry.

Heck, maybe I deserve my own Christmas Cactus for the condo here.


Thursday, November 24th, 2011

I went under the knife today.

As dramatic as I’m trying to sound, the whole procedure was a pretty minuscule one.  I drove myself to the specialist and back and didn’t need to go into the mind-altering world of general anaesthetic at all.  I wasn’t nervous. …until I arrived.  There’s something about signing off those liability wavers and seeing all the instruments getting unwrapped that seems, well, a bit unnatural.  I asked the assistant, “This is all pretty routine…..right?”

Her response, with a smile, “Yup. Routine for us. …but probably not routine for you.  Any questions for either doctor?” [The other doctor was one in training, the one whom I would consent to turning me into an Operation board].

How true is that for any profession though, really?  Even teaching.  The most routine moments of my day are definitely not routine for students, parents, and families.  As mindful as I try to be when sharing or hearing serious news, my attempts at empathy can only that: attempts.

I asked what kind of pain I was looking at. The answer was that the freezing would be the worst but, if making a dentist connection I should consider that the mouth is more sensitive than the back, so even that wouldn’t be so bad.

Everything went so, so fine; their answer was very accurate. So long as I can avoid infection… I’m laughing.  Even with that, I have a prescription in-waiting on file to ward off potential invaders.

I leave with a little less skin and a few more stitches.  I also leave considering: routines, empathy, and career training [as well as the maze that is our northwest suburbs].

This week will see me finishing up a reporting term, hearing student responses to an AMAZING inquiry day yesterday, finishing off a university term, getting those stitches out, and then jet setting off to Vancouver for short stint.  Then December: a true, true countdown to dining room meals and sandy beaches.

Life is healthy. And good.  With routine, and without.  For all of it: I’m glad.


Friday, November 11th, 2011

Yesterday, I was teaching.  Well… it was the end of term and students were writing tests and as I was supervising I was lining up the finer details of an upcoming field-trip.  Our Remembrance Day assembly was behind us–one that brought back memories of my time at C.P. when I had a hand in the whole event.

The students, er learners, were now all finished their tests and the school day was pretty much at its end.   The room was quiet but filled with anticipation for the long weekend (3 days for adults, 4 days for kids).  A student was called down to get a notice to distribute from the office, and the rest were waiting for him to return.

Quiet.  Waiting.  Nothing out of the ordinary.



More like BAM X3000.  Out of nowhere my glass clock fell from the wall.  On its way down it hit a florescent light, making the light flicker all the way down the perimeter of of the room as a crazy loud shatter of glass hit the floor followed by a classroom of kids screaming, and looking to me to see my response.  I think you had to be there but the whole moment was surreal.  Those in the hall even popped in, to see what was happening.

It scared me half-to-death.  So much so that I could still feel the reminisce of that moment HOURS later.

Now, this whole episode was pretty benign and inconsequential: no one was hurt.  All that had to happen was a quick call down to the office to ensure that a custodian knew there were glass shards everywhere.  Seconds later we all went about our weekend lives.

This moment, though, did remind me that the world can change in an INSTANT.  For better or worse.

Considering today’s date; In 1918 the world changed, not so much in an instant, but for better.
Years earlier the world changed, much for the worse.

In our own private lives, the changes are maybe more subtle.  …Some with a crash that wake us up.   …Some with a soft smile and a hello.  …Others with sadness and a good-bye.

The evening progresses and I find myself at Newyorkland.  The show draws to an end and the mood of the play is quiet and sombre.  Two of the four characters are holding guns and I smile to myself now fully expecting a loud bang to end things off.  My mind instantly going back to the afternoon clock-surprise-explosion… so much so that my heart starts racing again.  No bang.  No loudness.  Just the end of a [pretty funky, well-done] show.  The soft mood continues right through to the final bows.

Yes, the world can change in a heartbeat.  …but not always right when we expect it to.  In my own experience…..

quite the opposite.

Some [optionally] required [wiki-]reading.

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

Scroll to the good parts–the (full) text subheading– and enjoy.  I did.

  1. Desiderata
  2. If-

Who knew there was so much wisdom in Wikipedia?


My Sunday. Numerologically.

Sunday, November 6th, 2011

10:30 … the time 9:30 Yoga at the Nat Christie Centre actually felt like because of the bonus of Fall Back time change.
4 … the number of us that went to Dim Sum.
1 … person among that 4 still wearing his yoga clothes (shorts… despite it being freezing) at Dim Sum feeling kind of stinky, me.
25 & 49 … the number of sleeps until Vancouver and Sydney respectively.
1h 12m … the amount of time I spent on the phone tonight and it seemed more like…. 4m.
$3.50 … the market price of today’s recommended coffee at Phil & Sebastian
5 … the number of hugs I had today. …although this TED Talk recommends 8 for appropriate levels of oxytocin.
6 … the number of cartons of Almond Milk I got today for an insanely low price at Costco.  Who knew the suburbanites paid so little for sustenance?
2700 … the number of crosses I drove past on Memorial Drive to get the Almond Milk.
2 … number of tickets I bought online for a midweek fine arts treat. …before diving into my U of L work over the long weekend.


November begins. …in five.

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011
  • Fifty five days until take-off to the land down under.  Man oh man oh man, I hope I’m able to make the most of this trip and my time with the boys.  I’m beyond stoked but I don’t want to set expectations that are too specific, because we all know how that [inevitably] goes.
  • I know I need to stop writing about yoga. Or you’ll stop reading.  [Or you already have].  BUT.  I am in love, in LOVE, IN LOVE with this endeavour.  Tonight I walked into the studio tired, and grumpy, and reluctant.  I walked out smiling, and glad, and grateful.  Seriously: someone should turn this process into a business.  Oh right, someone has… and it’s costing me a mere [albeit well-spent] fortune.
  • Volleyball is going to give me an ulcer.  …or maybe it already has.  haha, it is such a nail-biter.  I want them to do well, and yet have so little control over the outcome.  It’s like watching Olympic gold-medal matches but, in so many ways, worse!  This really has been a great new experience in the realm of my teaching career though.  Don’t worry: it’s already on the resume.
  • I have an urge to travel like I’ve NEVER had before.  I’m not sure what it is? …the blogs I read?  …effective advertising? …graduatestudiesandtuitionitis? …teachingitis? …Winter? Envy? An inability to read my bank statements? 30? I’m basically blaming the fact that I didn’t get to Montreal this summer and haven’t been for 1.3333 years… but I might need to get to Edmonton to West Ed. or to Vancouver to see Barry to make it stop, here.
  • Must. Type-up. This term’s university work.  December 1st is closer than it appears.  Cannot, CANNOT wait to re-claim a good portion of my life this Spring?!