December, 2011

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En route

Monday, December 26th, 2011

Sometimes in your blog you need a post to look back to where you’re so grateful and excited and glad that all you want to do is bask in it all.

Times like when Christmas and Boxing Day have you well fed and when you’re just on the cusp of an adventure, in many ways, as big as they come.  …What’s that Spanish word again, corazonada?…

You need those posts because there are other posts where the work is overwhelming and the decisions are tough and the winters are long and dark and the homework just doesn’t seem to get done and the housework either.

Yet from this vantage point the latter posts seem unrecognizable and impossible.  From the top of the world, things further from the top become pretty distant.  Here, where it’s hard to set an intention for the coming days… only because all the many possible intentions just seem so great.

Thank you “August/September Travis”… for this 30th birthday gift.  Turns out:

…you know me so well!

…derived from the Latin sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still),

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

The notion of a solstice is an interesting one.  Winter Solstice, in particular.  It reminds me of things getting better and brighter; it also reminds me that in the quiet (and coldness and darkness) of Winter is an inevitable Summer, slowly getting closer.

The shortest day of the year (or longest night… depending how you want to look at that) also reminds me of my Grandpa L.  Turns out this time of year, is a time for thinking of family in more ways than one.

I’ve already mentioned the amazing things my Grandparents and family exemplify, and my humble grattitude.  For this grandparent, though I’d have to add one more virtue that’s especially prominent (and very evident on both sides of my family tree, too): discipline.

The discpline gene is one I hope I’m able lean on as I wade further and further into adulthood.  Hard work, quiet reflection, doing what’s right and not just knowing what’s right all have value.  I know that as I reflect on memories with this Grandpa.  He knew his stuff.

Beyond discipline is heart: my Grandpa’s laugh was a deep heart-filled laugh.  My Grandpa’s joy and pride (often in his kids and grand kids) could be felt two, three, four towns away.  …and wisdom: I have so many stories and conversations I remember in great detail; again, benefiting from growing up so close to my broader family.  His stories, his views, his polished appearance (and polished home and car) are beyond nostalgic for me; they’re part of me.

Core aspects of my life I’ve learned with, through, and from my Grandpa right up to a Christmas season spent in northeast Calgary.  …where I was able to truly determine what it is on this planet that has the most value.

Devoted to life, learning, and love while grateful for family, abundance, and life-lessons I pause this solstice and remember.

All with yet another tearful smile.

Wandering [mind].

Sunday, December 18th, 2011

My hands keep ending up in prayer position.  My dreams keep ending up with me travelling… recently in Europe, of all places… while I walk I wonder if I can feel whether the ground is different under my feet, and convince myself I can.  If Vancouver taught me anything about flights to see dear friends, it’s that they have a way of feeling overdue and the arrivals feel strangely familiar.  My to-do list awareness has parent conferences front and centre, but gift buying maybe even more prominent.  Although, almost done.  I find myself looking forward to the meals, and that last day at school that seems a little surreal and filled with students buzzing.  I’m glad the days can’t get much shorter here.  I’m grateful my university terms are positioned as they are… too soon, to worry about March, in any real way.  Packing doesn’t register either.

Should I be doing some running and swimming and push-ups to prepare for my time on Beaches and in summer?  Maybe some tanning since I haven’t seen real sun in months? More yoga? …and the malls, just how busy will they be?  How can I make that jet lag slightly more bearable?

I eat the treats in the staffroom convinced the sugar and the fat are warranted at this timer of year; at least part of me thinks I should be hibernating a little.  A smile came easily at African on Monday despite there being a circle requiring let-go, let-loose, get-some-courage solo-time.  A smile came even easier tonight as I shared great food with great friends.  December has flown by; the days are long but the months are short… it seems… in these 30’s (haha, there’ve been two and a bit).  Waiting for the flight to Australia is a bit ineffable compared to other trips; for whatever reason I can picture the flight and have trouble anticipating much beyond that.  I have a bit of a reference of Bondi, and city life from my brief visit last round [while also having a reference for some pretty major heart-hurt].

Haircut Tuesday.  Conferences Thursday/Friday.  Home Friday.  Festivities Friday/Saturday.  Take-off… living life quite fully (and getting to be one of the first North Americans to experience 2012).

Wondering.  Wandering.

Hearts

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

My grandparents exemplify love, and joy, and kindness.  My parents do, too—beyond hard work, dedication, and commitment.

That’s why on this day in 2004 I experienced profound loss.  My grandfather passed away.  I was completely caught off-guard as my cousin then parents contacted me as I was student teaching.  My expression must have matched my heart because my mentor teacher quickly told me that despite there being a few weeks left, I’d demonstrated enough to complete my requirements already… and that I should be with my family for as long as I needed.

I grew up minutes, if not seconds, from my grandparents.  I knew them and they knew me very well.

It’s not lost on me that I’m very fortunate to experienced family and love and happiness in the way that I have. As I continue to work with families more and more, I continue to see the huge spectrum of experiences (young) people have.

I gladly took some time with my family to be sad, to remember, to organize, and to consider what was happening.

 

My memories of my grandpa are beyond heartwarming.  I remember him on walks and wagon rides.  I remember him nearly always there as I played sports (spoke, or performed). I remember him at dinner tables with amazing meals and warm-spirited competitive card games.  He was hard working and fit allowing him to garden, recall railroad stories, and stay active with all us grandchildren.  I remember him smirking, rolling his eyes, listening, and laughing.  I remember his smile, his presence, and his laugh.

Today I remember and smile.  I continue to be grateful for the family and life he (and the rest of my family) made possible.

I continue to hope that I also exemplify some of the best of what this life is all about:

Love.

Van

Monday, December 5th, 2011

Somewhere between being passively aggressively reminded that  I could print my own luggage tag  and take-off, I knew I was in serious trouble… I’m addicted to flights…..and on a very fixed income.  Take-off was like that much needed cup of coffee, that shopping spree, or that pint of premium ice cream.

The weekend was a perfect one.  It was a perfect reunion.  It was a perfect get-away.  And, it was a perfect adventure.

I arrived in Vancouver and was greeted by my luggage and B.T.B.Comm at the exact same time.  A ride on the Canada Line had us catching-up on each other’s last little whiles.  From there I learn a few facts about Vancouver.  Fact: Every 3 minutes in Vancouver, just like in Edmonton, a gourmet burger meal in a basket is interrupted by a birthday song.  Fact: every late night venue in Vancouver is a number or a transportation term.  Fact: late night pizza is so inexpensive and so delicious.

The next day has us shopping and exploring and learning more about Thai culture.  The thing about graduate degrees is that they justify indulgences.  Reunion time broadens after brunch and we laugh from sushi, to house party to houseparty, to dancefloor.  The day was filled with laughter, familiarity (despite nothing really being that familiar), and conversation.

The last day, though, I saw Vancouver.  …probably for the first time, actually.  I saw the energy of the city as the Santa Clause parade went by; I saw the composure of the city as person after person stood looking at English Bay; I saw the fitness, the torches, the shops, the trails, the boxing, the water, the mountains, the green, the wraps, the big cement Sears, the dogs, the yoga gear, the sky, the many Fairmonts, the trains, the brick, the old, and the new.

All of that further reminding me:

I’m in serious trouble.