May, 2012

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into vari-colo[u]red polyphony

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

Like all ceremonies, convocation is all a bit of a crazy ritual when you break it down.

In a whirlwind, we drove down to Lethbridge, and the real ritual takes hold: family, classmates, colleagues, break bread and laugh and celebrate.  All the rest, to hear our name in a gymnasium, while wearing strange regalia pinned and folded and adjusted by volunteers smiling and congratulating us at every turn.

We’re there to celebrate struggle and each other and a milestone; an investment.  There to celebrate community and learning.  Learning.

“Learning …
its path correct, narrow, certain, straight.
At its end it blossoms and billows
into vari-colored polyphony:
the sweet infinity of true knowledge.

-Elizabeth Alexander

We pose for photos.  We make time for meals out.  We smell lingering bits of campfire even the next day as we organize; how is it that campfire smell is so difficult to get rid of?

The names begin and I remind myself at how often I said to myself, “How nice will it feel to done all this and convocate?!”  How often as I kept swimming, and kept pushing through, did I latch on this whole gymnasium moment?

A’s turn to M’s turn to R’s and I stand next to cross the front.  I hear my name and smile.  I’ve already entered the gym with all the others and gave a big wave to my Mom and Dad, a wave only beginning to gesture my thankfulness for their support (and kind graduation gift!

Travis. John. Robertson.

How silly, all this for that.

I smile and receive my certificate.  I hear some of the group and walk to the Chancellor for my big photo.  I walk in a surreal tunnel while eye-contacts and genuine eyes and smiles congratulate me and I respond with my most genuine smile and thank-you.  My instructor stands and adds his handshake.  Next I take my pin.  I make the iPhone and the Internet wait until after, then bask in some of that, too.  So much celebration and so many well wishes.

The room and the moment are mine.

The work behind me.

The world in front.  …with me hopefully all the more equipped to ask the right questions and add my voice and hand to the solutions, in community, building, and learning.

Held up by a cohort and family and community and arena I admire and respect …and get to play around with, while getting creative and real.

I’m given my moment and take it.  In a whirliwind.  In a crazy cap and robes.  Marking the milestone and achievement.

Travis Robertson B.Ed., M.Ed. Now officially.

Surrounded by the best though officialness is just some extra fun.

Four for…..

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012
  • I convocate on Thursday!  The end of this M.Ed. has been a long drawn-0ut process… to the extent if I mention that it’s my convocation nearly everyone says, “Didn’t that happen already?”  In only-slightly-related-news, did you know only a handful of countries call university graduation “convocation” (according to Wikipedia), among them: Canada, Ukraine, Pakistan, India, and Sri Lanka.
  • Eureka!  Last night was my second Pecha Kucha night (just try to pronounce it; I dare you!).  I had a really great time.  Great friends!  Great speakers!  Great food-for-thought!  There was such a diversity of presenters… makes me want to give the whole thing a whirl at some point in my life.  Something to add to the life list.  This was Calgary’s 12th (Eureka!) the 13th is Seed… what would I even say with that theme?  My Grade 4 Science Fair project was on germination, you know.  Ironic, because I don’t think I knew what germination was then.
  • Watch the Bodhi Tree online newsletter for some exciting news on a particular yogi student.  *hem*  I got the news that I’d get the newsletter nod on a super busy, hectic day and couldn’t help but pause and smile.
  • My 9’s presented me with a gift this week.  It’s a picture of their group in front of the Supreme Court in Ottawa doing an impression of me.  So funny!  Evidently, no one is EVER listening to my lectures or instructions….. they’re watching my every move and mannerism.  They also informed me they keep a tally of my most-spoken phrases.  Among them, “Be here.  You need to be here.

5:30 to 8:30

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

Three hours seemed to take half an hour.  When someone else is asked a question, I hear both sides of the conversation.  When I’m asked a question, I panic a little and it impedes my hearing it and finding an answer.  I can’t let my mind drift at all because it’s really hard to anchor it back to the language that’s not my own… and as it all happens… I remember both more and less than I thought I might.

I wrap my head around the differences between ‘qui’, ‘que’, and ‘qui a’ … as I do I wonder if the same rules apply in English.  Can we say, “It’s her that I respect”? …or is it always “It’s her whom I respect?” … or who… at least I know it’s NEVER “It’s her who to I give respect” so I can eliminate that option.  …but while I think all this I have to be remind myself to get back on guard, what if a question comes to me in French and I’m panicked and unprepared and adrift in my own English thoughts.

I think I already answered quel-que-fois to a question that didn’t have that as a possible answer.

Which pages are homework for Thursday again?

May long [in 3].

Monday, May 21st, 2012
  1. Victoria Day weekend has always been a big weekend, growing up.  It was when our outdoor pool opened up.  As a kid, that meant swim club began …and all the 4:00pm or 7:00pm suppers (or both!) to accommodate practice.  As a young adult, it meant that grunt work preparing the pool turned into actual lifeguarding …even if that guarding took place with a handful of swimmers in winter-like conditions every time the sun went behind a cloud.  Here in the city, pools don’t open until Father’s Day [fair weather urbanites]… still this the weekend, always, summer began.  Fitness and tans too.  I celebrated the milestone with three swims, albeit indoors.  $6 for the last 90 minutes at Talisman makes it all a steal!
  2. I booked my flight.  I’m going to Paris! …and Berlin!  I’m beyond thrilled.  Everyone keeps saying I need to expand my horizons beyond my usual cities and these two are both very new.  It will all be with amazing company, too.  I’m taking French starting tomorrow, not because I feel any need to but because I want to get excited and immerse in something and because a little attempted French in my other-Paris, Montreal, has never ever failed me.  I really can’t wait to take it all in and to see what adventures unfold.  30 has been a year of travelling and I’m pretty grateful for all that’s made that possible!
  3. I have a new scent.  haha, is this blog worthy?  A new cologne.  My most recent two have me made fun of (one having probably grown out of and the other for being one from the 90’s that EVERYONE has).  I walked to the Bay downtown yesterday with one goal in mind and found my new one.  One day later, I think I found a great pairing.  We’ll see if this one gets me made fun of.

[Really this was an ‘in 5’… with 4 and 5 being what I really want to write about and not really sure what to type….. maybe this week?  Oh well; back to the work week!]

1.2 k.m.

Sunday, May 6th, 2012

I just jumped into a pool and swam 40 some lengths! Well… 20 some, because it was a 50m pool.

The fact that I need to put this out into the universe is a good hint, …that it’s been awhile since type of swimming has been any part of my routine.

Luckily, I hadn’t forgot how.  In fact,  I really liked being back in the pool.  A lot.  Time kind of flew.

Nice end to a great weekend.  A weekend of opera (well sort of), a weekend catching up with Ali, and a weekend with the folks (and Grandma) at Cross Iron Mills.

So now I kind of want to swim more.  Not really sure why now, all of a sudden.  Already, I’m thinking maybe it’s time to make a return to master’s swimming in the Fall.   Never know.

Thanking, Stretching, Summering

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

I like it when I remember to be grateful.  Awfully, fully, presently grateful.  Last week being grateful came easily.  Most importantly, my family got great news related to the health and happiness of one of our own.  Grateful relief.  All that while, I finished off a reporting term while my financial life got organized in a pretty big way (no, I didn’t win the lottery and have organization come round in the way of a windfall.  This time.) Grateful accomplishment.  To top it all off, I got to Theatre Junction Grand and Ubu for a terrific DJD show, Spontaneous Combustion (a triple-threat of an evening).  I got to the mountains for a Spring Ski, which was actually my first (and likely last) ski of ’11/’12.    …and an evening in (and out!) with the boys.  Grateful connecting.

This week the gratitude continues as I stretch some horizons.  I registered for an Intensive French course in the coming weeks.  It’s been awhile!  Today, I zipped downtown for a placement test (and interview) and had to smile as French started flowing from my brain to my mouth seemingly out of nowhere.  I landed myself above Beginner and below Advanced in the last Elementary module.  I consider some yoga (teaching!) workshops, upcoming.  I figure out the remaining university courses (3!) to get me from 5.7 years of university to 6.0… now that this M.Ed. is behind me.  If the French was a .1 that would be a joy, but alas it isn’t.    Then there’s this whole potential endeavour…..would I even qualify?  I do like exploring!

I think it really hit me today, now that it’s May… that Summer is upon us.  I think it’s slowly hitting me that I have a pretty wide-open July.  July to swim, practice yoga, or to do what exactly?  The city and the world are my oysters.  (What does that mean, exactly?)  August has three adventures stacking up, but what about that beautiful month beforehand?

Hmmmm…

I think I have an interview in French at 4:30…

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

…because I do.  And I’m nervous.

It’s all been a pretty swift and crazy chain of events.  Sometimes these sorts of adventures, though, turn out to be the best.