Remembering 9/11

September 11, 2021 – 20 years later

Gosh. I was looking for photos of NYC and the twin towers or ground zero and I stumbled onto this photo. I was married on July 21, 2001. I graduated from my Masters Degree on October 2001. In between was 9/11. Watching the footage on TV tonight is jarring to say the least. I remember this day like it was yesterday. I was living in Sechelt, BC. We were renting my friend’s house on Turnstone. I woke that day and was getting ready for work. My “husband” was still in bed and I was watching the morning news and getting ready. At that time, I was watching the news in disbelief. I was not even sure if I was watching the news. The images were unreal… almost fictional. I thought was was watching a movie or had the wrong channel. When I realized what was happening, the second plane flew into the second Twin Tower. I was shocked and in disbelief. Then, I had to go to work. I was teaching at the high school. How do you “teach” what’s happening? You don’t. You just be… and pause.

The video footage being shared on TV is extensive. It makes me feel sick. I’m brought back to that time. The devastation. The fear. The pain. People are trying to make sense of what they are watching or experiencing. Listening to the heart wrenching stories of family members and those who were at the foot of ground zero and survived reminds me of how many people are impacted by this one event and the ripple effect it’s taken with all those who witnessed and remember. The chaos. The trauma. The devastation. I can’t believe that it was 20-years ago. Our lives changed radically on 9/11… how we live… how we travel… and, how we can trust others. I am reminded of other recent horrors like George Floyd, unmarked graves of residential schools, and the COVID-19 pandemic. I am sickened and in my lifetime. My perceived problems are not problems. I am safe. I live a life of privilege. Even though my marriage ended, this tree I am sitting on in this photo no longer exists, and I moved away from my home after 25-years, I live a good life. I am lucky. I am grateful.

We will never forget.

It’s OK to Cry… Right?

Weeks 77 and 78 – September 10, 2021 – What’s my value?

I missed last week’s reflection because everything was parked so that I could get orientation for teacher candidates prepped. It’s not to say that what transpired today has inspired me to write this week’s pandemic reflection, but I definitely had the urge to cry several times today, but resisted. I am just so glad the week is over and orientation was a success. It was my primary goal to ensure that the first days of teacher education, whether if the teacher candidate was returning or if they were new to the program, that the lingering feelings were joy, happiness, and belonging.

SIGH. Although the feedback I am hearing from Teacher Candidates are excellent and I feel very satisfied with the work that I have done in collaboration and consultation with others in the department, I still get pulled aside to and “put in my place” again for the decisions I had made and the actions I took. I have no regrets. And, I had no ill intent. I’m not sure what is said behind my back and how that information is interpreted, but I was told today is follow the collective agreement of the other employee groups and in the end, my work was belittled to “why didn’t you… [  ]?”

I had no words… LIE… I had lots of words and stated clearly my purpose, my drive, and my rationale. All arrows pointed to the student learning experience. I am 100% willing to take ownership of the decisions I made, but there were plenty of variables that made the journey to orientation challenging, uncertain, and delayed. I could not control those factors. All I could do was problem solve, adapt, and be reflexive. Was it perfect? Hell no. When is it ever perfect? And, what the hell does that mean? No one says what that mean, but today I did… and truth, I could say a lot more. But why?

Just throw me under the bus and move on. GAH. My goal was to ensure Teacher Candidates were engaged in a coherent, comprehensive, and collaborative orientation before the school year starts. Everyone had the opportunity to contribute and participate. I’m exhausted. I supported new faculty, contacted people when we pivoted, checked in with facilitators, co-published an orientation guide, and revised a PowerPoint show that took hours. Over a month of planning with hopes of landing on both feet. Do you know what? Everything that I have done will not help me get tenure.

That’s the kick in the mouth. Everything that I am doing is for the students and the program are not recognized in academia to further my career. WOW. That is the true awakening. It’s taken me about a year to realize this. I lost a tenure-track opportunity because I am investing my time in the wrong place. I am constantly in service to others and I am passionate about the program and its potential. I am not taking care of myself and neither will the system. As much as I wanted as strong start for the Teacher Candidates, my actions in doing so have negatively impacted my career.

GAWD. This idea is counterintuitive. Is it ok to cry? Do I value my worth? Maybe.

Shifting My Mindset

Week 76 – August 27, 2021 – Fourth Wave is HERE

You know… I thought about quitting the weekly pandemic blog, but NOPE. The fourth wave is here. Thank you delta variant and the deep desire to getting life back to what it was. I have to admit, not wearing a mask felt great. Being around people was awesome. It felt great giving someone a hug. Damn. Human connection was AMAZING. I can see how the numbers are going back up. Not everyone is vaccinated and the delta variant is getting everyone and anyone. No one is 100% immune, but having a population that is not vaccinated does not make things any better. 864 cases today in British Columbia. Yesterday was 628. Gawd. Do the math? It’s not good.

I feel like it’s dejà vu. I’ve been here before. I was in Prince George and teaching at the university. We pivoted on Friday, March 13, 2019. Boom. We were online and teaching remotely. Albeit, it was great to return back to the Sunshine Coast to be with my daughter and live by the ocean, but I am happy to return back to Prince George to get back into the classroom and teach in person again. On Thursday, August, 26, 2021, it was announced that the mask mandate is back. Not sad. The day before, vaccination passports were introduced. Understandable. The numbers are multiplying and I am paying attention to the numbers again. I spent time planning and prepping to return back to the classroom, but pandemic rituals will also be apart of it. Social distancing, hand sanitizer or hand washing, daily health checks, and masks. Here we go again.

August 28, 2021 – Returning back to the blog. This is how it rolls sometimes. I’m in the shift. Here I am again, on the floor of my friend’s house that I am house sitting, watching food documentaries on Netflix, and pondering the purpose of life. Oh ya… the classic midlife “unravelling”… as Brené Brown calls it. I thought my midlife started when I was 40. Apparently, it never ends (at least not yet). That’s ok, but as we delve into the fourth wave of the pandemic, unfortunately… the pandemic reflections persist. Admittedly, I don’t think I am the same person as I was 2-years ago, but I can also recognize is, I am still changing. I feel that I spend a lot of my time resisting, when really I should be surrendering. This tension is the learning I’m engaged in so far.

I have to also recognize the my blogs have transformed to a place for me to write and think to unpack what I am experiencing, feeling, and thinking. When you are engaged in transformation, you have to engage in some form of sense-making. What the hell is happening… in essence. After a few health scares and car crashes… lol… how many more wake up calls do I need? Oh wait… there is more. Ok. I get it. Stop. Look. And, listen. It’s not easy because sometimes I don’t believe myself. Often what I have been telling myself is not true or not good. What the hell? I’m done with “the shoulds” and what I want to do is to get into “the coulds.” What can I do? What do I want to do?

In many ways, it feels selfish. What I am learning is, it’s what I am meant to do. Buying my car was waaaaaaay out of my box. But when I really think about it, buying my car is something that I had always wanted to do ever since I learned how to drive. I never thought I deserved a car like the one I bought. Now, I have one. It’s unbelievable. Driving a U-Haul… I never thought I would ever do that, but when I had to, I did it. I was scared poopless, but I held my breath at times and jumped in. I shake my head thinking about that journey and can’t believe that I persevered. And, my health… is a work in progress. Huge neglect on my part and now I have to make it better. 🙂

With my work… I am slow to change. I don’t know if that’s exactly true, but I wished I was a bit more swift. Ok. That sounded a bit judgemental on my part. It is what it is, but as mentioned earlier, I need to stop resisting. I can feel it. In the end, it equates to sabotage. I have many deeply held beliefs that need unpacking. This is the work. And when I work with people and connect with others, these are opportunities for reflection. They are mirroring what I see in myself. For example, I loved what I witnessed at emergency. Even though I was in incredible pain, I found the health professionals were caring, professional, and competent. On the other hand, I had conversations with a few colleagues, whom I perceive as mentors, last week and realized days after… I’m their colleague (not grad student). Shifting my mindset. 

Once in a Blue Moon

Week 75 – August 22, 2021 – Pivoting at its finest

I decided to post a picture of my new car. It a replacement from the one I had posted last week that experienced a slight mishap with a buck. Both the buck and I are fine, but my Honda CRV took the brunt of it. I found out one week after my accident that my car was a write off (while I was chairing a meeting), my car rental was ending, and I realized that I had to buy a car. I was just griping to my kid the night before my accident that I did not want to be spending anymore money. Moving and all that was happening in my personal life, I had no appetite to spend anymore money. Well, the universe go me. After my meeting, I picked up my plates from the collision car repair place, had another two meetings, and spent the rest of the day with my kid.

We looked at cars and went out for dinner. I had a really delicious meal. Butter Chicken. I went for my night walk, was chatting with a friend, and then the pain struck me. I thought it was heartburn, but I was vomiting and the pain got increasingly worse. After an hour of moaning and being brought to my knees, I went to Google to see what was happening to me and the information I received was not good. I texted the link to my kid and asked her to drive me to emergency. What a nightmare. I was in so much pain, yet I helped my kid drive me to emergency. She was spooked, looked for parking, but did not want to come in to the hospital. Understandable. It was in the middle of the night, we are in a new city, and your mom is not doing very well.

After checking into emergency (and had great difficulties taking out my care card out of my wallet), the hospital goes into lockdown. That was fun. I was in incredible pain, trying to text my kid to lay low in the car, and waited out a lockdown for my own safety. Admittedly, all that I was doing was moaning and praying for the pain to stop. After the lockdown, I had to advocate for myself and beg them to help me with the pain. I was moved to one bed and got an EKG to check my heart then I was moved into emergency and treated by the doctor. An assessment, blood test, and mini-ultrasound brought me to a diagnosis of gallstones and a gallbladder attack.

If the car accident was not a sign to slow down, then this painful attack was a second wake-up call. I had these painful attacks before, but thought it was heartburn. It was something more. The universe often whispers to help guide and inform, but when you are not listening, sometimes it hits you with a full swoop to the head. What was it going to take to wake me up? Something had to change. Strangely, during my time in the hospital, I really enjoyed watching and listening to the coaching or mentoring in this teaching hospital, the professionalism of the staff, and the level of care I received during this moment in my life. I felt that way about my car crash and all those who helped me with that situation from ICBC, the collision place, to the car rental place.

Thinking in threes, I felt the same way about driving the moving truck. Gawd. I didn’t want to drive it, but did. I moved my stuff and my kid’s stuff from the Sunshine Coast to Prince George. My brother helped me to drive the damn thing back to Prince George… and I am so grateful. I had so much fun and had a moment to rest. My friend helped me to find movers to lift all of my stuff up three flights of stairs into my apartment, and my brother helped me to bring a zillion boxes to my office at the university. ((deep breath)) It was a lot and I am grateful. My kid and I are settled in.

The day after my emergency episode and my daughter picked me up at 430am to take me home from the hospital, life continued with a meeting at 9am, a meeting at noon, and a meeting at 2pm. Life goes on. I went to the car dealership at 330pm and bought a car by 6pm. I took the car home the next day. I had moments of regret. This was a huge purchase. I never done something like this for myself before. This was the first time buying a car without my mom, it had all the bells and whistles, and I made the purchase before learning what I would get back from ICBC. It seemed almost too good to be true, like I have good credit (which I do… great news!). It has taken me a few days to fall in love with my car, Musubi, and know that I am worthy of this car and I am safe in this car. I feel very lucky that I am able to make this purchase for me.

But, it’s not the car that matters or how it drives. What I have learned is the following: (1) I can do this on my own; (2) I can ask for help; and (3) I am strong, resilient, and optimistic. I am so happy to be alive. In each of these scenarios, I could have died. Ok. A bit dramatic, but it’s true. I could have given up. I am not 100% well yet, but I am learning how to create boundaries, make choices, and value myself. These are big life lessons and I am happy that I have the opportunity to learn them and hone these skills. It will take one step at a time, and tonight on August 22, 2021 is an excellent time to make a change. It’s a blue moon. A time for grace, kindness, and patience.

Wake Up Call

Week 74 – August 16, 2021 – Kaplowee

Last Wednesday, I was in a car accident. I hit a buck. I would have to say it was “the perfect accident.” I’m ok (aka. I’m not dead or injured). The buck is ok (aka. he got up and ran away). I had no passengers or witnesses. It was dark and I was on my way home. The car did not explode when I drove it home soon after the incident. All I could do at that moment was gasp and tried to assess what happened. The incident was quick and my car looks like hell. I made the insurance claim that night online. This photo is the morning after. I took photos of her for my insurance claim. My poor little car. I invested thousands in her before moving up to Prince George. My daughter and I were just unpacked and settling in. Although the accident created another distraction from life and work, I thought it was also a wake up call.

The message is, SLOW DOWN. Notice. I think I have a lot on the go personally and professionally that I can lose sight of what’s important. My kid is important. You have no idea how grateful I am to have her with me in Prince George. My mind, body, and soul can rest when she is near me. She transitioned well to moving. She was born and raised in Sechelt, so moving to a different town was a big deal for her. I am thankful to her friends who helped her with this transition. One drove up with her, another came by to visit, and some are local. She connects with her friends online regularly. She seems happy here. My kid takes care of me as much as I take care of her.

My health is very important to me. I’ve been neglecting this for years and there comes a time when you have to put your ego and shame aside and address your health concerns. Being on the Sunshine Coast for the past year was a blessing during COVID-19. I was able to check with my health professionals and be prioritized for treatment. It started with my teeth, to my blood pressure, and then my throat. I had a lump on the roof of my mouth, holes in my teeth, and apparently my blood pressure was way too high. I had my wisdom teeth removed, got a mouth guard, and looked into the sleep apnea. I cannot do the CPAP. I thought my eyes were getting worse, but it was from being online too much (aka. remote learning). What I was worried about, the health professionals were concerned with other things. In the end, I am on the right track and ready to take next steps with my health. I started walking again with the #Daily5kChallenge and getting back on WW. I need to focus on my blood pressure.

Finally, my sense of self-efficacy is important to me. I need to believe in myself that I am able to do things. I have mentors, friends, and family members who believe in me. They support and encourage me. I have accomplished many things, but what I am learning is… I am still learning. That’s it. Kindness and compassion are key to my success. Fear does not hold me back, but it’s how I protect myself. This is a Brene Brown lesson. I am Enneagram 8 and I protect myself from being hurt. Most times things turn out OK, like driving a U-Haul truck, being in politics, or completing a doctorate degree. It’s taken me some time to understanding this. I am passionate about student learning, identity development, and subject matter acquisition situated in the context of mathematics education, teacher education, and system change.

I am also learning that I am always researching and I just have to write about it. TRUST is a big thing for me. I just read a tweet from Simon Sinek that said “Leaders take the risk to trust first.” That resonates and makes a lot of sense to me. I am brought back to the ideas of vulnerability and being hurt. I can’t prevent myself from being hurt and be seen at the same time. Not everyone is there to protect or support me. The only person I need to belong to is myself and TRUST that everything will be OK. We are back to my car as the metaphor. She had a few scratches, needed a few repairs, and was lined up to get new tires in the new year. All of a sudden, plans changed. HAPPENSTANCE and chaos theory, as I’ve heard from a few Teacher Candidate presentations, and my car has taken a new trajectory. I was not hurt or injured. I can do this and will do this. The accident was a signal to stop… and restart.

Belonging to Myself

Week 73 – August 8, 2021 – Figuring things out

I love this image. It is a metaphor of what is. My daughter and her friend were working on this the other day. Her friend kept her company during her drive to Prince George and stayed for a few days. They bought a puzzle to complete. I was somewhat surprised that they did, but enamoured by the patience and persistence required to participate in this endeavour. The puzzle process did start with some frustration and uncertainty, but overtime they gained momentum and finished. They were motivated to complete the puzzle and proud of their accomplishment. I was proud too. Soon after, they bought a second puzzle with more pieces. This was admirable, for sure.

For me, the chaos of a puzzle “in progress” depicts how my life feels right now. I have the border put together and some images formed, but I am no where complete. It was a challenge to move what I could take from my home, pack a U-Haul truck, and drive it back to Prince George. Thank goodness my brother was wiling to help me and made the trip feel like a mini road trip. We dumped boxed at the university and I hired movers to “lift heavy things” up three floors into my apartment the next morning. I was frantically unpacking, but also learning more about Prince George with my brother. I needed the company and support. My daughter drove up a few days later with her friend. I am so thankful for her friend for keeping her company.

I unpacked boxes at my apartment and office. That took a few days. It’s a lot of work. I am super tired and achy. My kid was unpacking her stuff too while her friend was here. They explored Prince George too. After her friend left yesterday morning, she finished unpacking later that night. Slowly but surely, the pieces were fitting together. The feeling was amazing. I loved how everything seemed to fit and have its place. When all was said and done, my daughter returned to the second puzzle, I painted my toe nails, and the vibe in the apartment was calm and still. I was so impressed.

In the meantime, I was also trying to write and complete a manuscript to complete and submit, learn something new for another project I am working on, and organize and fall start up event that needs some collaboration but it is the summer months. I also need to start writing my course syllabi, read some books, and get writing on some other projects before the fall starts. I am so tired and exhausted, but also satisfied and content. Not to mention about my personal life which will require time and attention. I can see why some things are not done, but it is a work in progress. Patience and persistence. There are many pieces and it will get done with time and deliberate action. Soon, I’ll be ready for the next puzzle that has more pieces.

What I do know for sure is, I need to believe in myself, trust my instincts and intuition, and belong to myself. I am not here to seek approval from others or to impress them. My job is to ensure my kid is safe, I am happy, and my actions are aligned to my beliefs and values. I can only belong to myself. This belonging required trust, integrity, and faith. I can do this and I am on the right path. There will be bumps in the road (i.e. some pieces don’t fit), but I will persist and be patient with myself and others. I need to remember the feelings of joy, the satisfaction of hard work, and the love and passion I have and bring to the work that I do. In the end, that’s what it’s all about.

The Move is Complete

Week 72 – July 28, 2021 – Starting All Over Again

Today was the first day I’ve had a good night’s sleep. I really needed it. It was an amazing feeling to wake up in my own bed, at my own place, with everything in its place. Gawd. I don’t like moving and I don’t like driving a U-Haul truck even more. I did not think I could do it, but did. Here’s a photo of being the LAST vehicle on the 730am ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Langdale. First of all, I missed the last ferry the night before because for some reason I thought I could drive from Hope to Horseshoe Bay in 1.5 hours in this beast. That decision is called denial. I was slow going to Quesnel from Prince George. I was slow from Ashcroft to Merritt. And, I was slow on Hwy 5 and it was getting dark. Are you sensing a theme? I missed the ferry by 10 minutes.

The beast and I were trapped between the iron gates and plastic pylons. We made a U-turn and headed back to Burnaby where I slept at my brother’s place for a few hours. I left promptly at 5am to avoid traffic and get gas. It was also a Friday, which meant “ferry traffic.” At 6am, I bought my ticket and was told that I already missed the ferry. Crazy, but it’s true. COVID-19 rules are loosening and people are travelling. So, making the ferry as the last vehicle was an AWESOME ferry experience, but also a beautiful metaphor as to how the move went. Lots of uncertainty, problem solving, and pivoting. In the end, all of the pieces landed in the right place. I packed up the truck in 2-days, found a mover in Prince George, and my twin brother drove most of the way to Prince George. Thank goodness because I had only one hour of sleep.

We had a good time on the trip up and fun exploring Prince George after the truck was unloaded and the beast was returned. We visited local restaurants en route and in Prince George. I learned that I really enjoyed maple lattes and that my introverted twin brother was a lot more adventurous than me. I’m the extroverted conservative one. He was always supportive and reassuring. I appreciated his curiosity and creativity. We had a tonne of fun and I loved his “planning” perspective on Prince George. It was insightful and informative. All of my friends have been supportive and I need that as I venture forward with next steps. I am starting all over again. The move is finally complete. It only took me three years, but I look forward to what’s next.

July 29, 2021 – Lessons that I have learned from driving a U-Haul.

  1. I can drive this beast (even though I did not want to).
  2. Expertise is developed over time with deliberate practice.
  3. Walk through the fear with full trust and belief in myself.
  4. This experience is a metaphor of my research and career.
  5. Be willing to ask for and accept help from others.
  6. I am safe, able, and open to learn from my own experiences.
  7. I can rely on my brother (and family) for help and support.
  8. I can be alone with my thoughts for long periods of time.

Understanding Place

Week 71 – Monday, July 19, 2021 – Saskatoon Berries

I’ve been contemplating the daily blog, as I have attempted before, inspired by a couple of colleagues on Twitter who do this wholeheartedly, particularly during the school year. I need to commit to a daily practice of writing, even though this may not be the type of writing that I need to be doing. I think it’s about practice and developing skills. It’s been a whirlwind to come to a place in midlife to realize that I am starting all over again. I am at the beginning and this is a scary place. You spend most of your life building an expertise and thinking that you have something to profess, when really you take your first step in that direction to realize that you are a novice or beginner at best. This is humbling, but also refreshing. I can start again.

I can rediscover what’s important to me and why. I’ve been grappling with my values and what’s important to me for the last 18-months in my pandemic reflections and I am wondering if anything has changed. My kid is my first priority. Student learning and their experiences are very important to me. Professional learning is central to my being as a learner and practitioner. I think that is my top 3 of “what’s important to me.” I start thinking about myself and my needs. What about me? I’ve been wrestling with my next steps and wonder about research and it’s importance to me. Research is a new landscape to me. The rules are different, but familiar. My role, how I see myself, and how I show up would be different. A person, colleague, and mentor said to me that research is not work, but something for myself. What I am researching is something I am passionate about, it’s important to me, and it’s driven by my why.

According to Simon Sinek, your why does not change. The how and the what might change, but never the why. Wow. I love the writing process. Another friend and colleague shared with me that “writing is thinking.” That could not be more true. I’m experiencing that right now. Although the landscape has changed, I have prior knowledge and experiences that can help me to adapt, learn, and adjust. My friend took me out to walk around their neigbourhood so that I could find new happy places to be in my new community. I’ve been a coastal girl my whole life and now I live in the central interior where there are 4 clear seasons, more snow and mosquitos I can handle, and the land is surrounded by rivers, not the ocean. Yet, we picked Saskatoon berries (not salmon berries, like we do on the coast), we walked along the river (which had beach sand to my surprise), and we had coffee and something yummy to eat at the local campsite (because nothing beats a double espresso). To my delight along the walk, my friend mentioned that the local hall used to be a curling rink. DAMN.

Here we go… CONNECTION. I was so excited to learn about this local two-sheet rink. What I am learning is, even though I am living in a different place, there are many things that are familiar to me, but also new to me. I can find things that are close to my heart that resonates with me deeply. I feel the same about research. The last few years has been a treacherous journey to move from practitioner to researcher. I am a novice and I can see what I need to do now. I am at the beginning. That said, I am reassured that pursuing a life of research is for me. It’s not selfish, but more about an opportunity to realize my vocation, my why, and my passion in education. Research aligns to my why and it’s ok to be engaged in healthy striving. This is the work. As I make decisions that are more attuned to who I am and what I want to do, the more I am beginning to understand my place. I am excited to see what happens next.

Customer Service

Week 70 – July 18, 2021 – How do you make people feel

I had an incredible experience dropping off my winter tires at the car dealership. I am moving (again) back to Prince George, post-pandemic, in preparation of returning back to in person teaching in the fall at the university. This transition back into “regular life” is emergent, chaotic, and uncertain to say the least. I tried coming up to Prince George twice from the Sunshine Coast, but my engine emissions light flashed on during my first attempt. My car was loaded with books, so I returned back on the ferry to unload and reload my car with my winter tires and a few lighter things. I wanted to leave that day, which was Sunday, to avoid traffic, but the engine light persisted. Thank you Google and a second ferry trip, I returned back to the Coast and made a car appointment for Wednesday, the first one I was able to make.

My trip was postponed and I was making plans on getting a moving truck from Prince George and packing what I could while I waited. Damn. I am self-declaring myself a hoarder. I have stuff in my office from the early 90’s and rejection letters from summer jobs I applied to as a university student. I had my high school report cards and lots of “keepsakes” from my kid and my past experiences. I even found a book signed by my former teacher sponsor from practicum and by the students in her class. I didn’t even realize until now that I had a keepsake from my teacher education experience. If anything, this moving process is helping me to see myself in a different way and to see what I value, what I need to pay more attention to, and to me more present or intentional with my actions. Also, the extra few days gave me a chance to reconnect with a couple of my good friends on the Coast. I value our friendship, the conversations, and the walks that we go on in the forest and along the ocean.

I also had some time to spend with dog, Sally. She was not doing well for a year. We were very aware of her condition and never knew when she would pass away. She was the best dog ever. Never complained. Always a lady. You can see her in this photo above on a car ride with me and the kid. She just loved them. Such a happy dog. She was with us for 15-year. I remember the first day we got her. I loved her so much. I loved her energy, disposition, and kindness. I loved just picking her up, giving her a big hug, and kissing her all over. I loved our routines of a morning treat, lying by the fireplace, and going for walks. I have many good memories of her. It makes me sad that she passed away on Wednesday. I was in Vancouver getting my car fixed. I received the call while in the ferry line up returning home. She passed away. Everyone was out of the house and she was lying peacefully. She said her goodbyes the night before and during the day. She was such a good dog. Missing her.

Ok… back on topic… which I am… sort of.

I thought the engine light was a bit in my head because I brought my car in a week before in preparation for my departure and did a tonne of repairs then. It turned out that the sensor needed repairing. The service department did a fantastic job on my car (both times) and have nothing to complain about the quality of work on my car. But, the service department person didn’t believe my story about my engine light. He even took my key to check if the engine light was on. He did not believe me that I said it was on and off. That morning, the light was off. And yes, he returned from my car to let me know that the engine light was indeed off and informed me that investigating this perceived problem would cost $100. I said yes… do it. I could not risk it.

That experience was odd and then to find out that there was a problem, I was a bit annoyed. I am glad the work was done and done well but I’m left with a feeling that made me blog about it. Now, in Prince George, as mentioned earlier, I had to bring my car to the dealership to store my winter tires. I had the service department contact me about what the service appointment was about and when I arrived, everyone was happy, enthusiastic, and encouraging. It was a Friday afternoon. Their positive disposition took me aback, but also inspired me to blog about it as well. At first, I felt like I was a walking rain cloud, but really, I was left with a feeling… that anything is possible, I am important, and they were willing to help me out.

I think about this experience and education. We can be technically sound, but how do we leave people feeling? This is an important question and one I have grappled with for a few years. I wonder about customer service and quality of work. We can have both, but in the end, it’s how we left the customer feeling. In education, it’s the learner. I am also left with Brene Brown’s work and thinking about the work we each have to do in order to provide that experience for learners. It’s a big journey and often feel that it is transforming over time. We need to be patient with ourselves, believe in what we are doing, and know our purpose (or why) and how it is interconnected a bigger why. I appreciated the intentionality and hope that was provided at customer service (and hope that my tires are stored in a good way).

Thank you for this lesson.

A Better Day

Week 69 – July 9, 2021 – Lessons Learned from Golf

I’ve learned a lot about leadership, teamwork, and communication from curling. I spent many years on the ice, playing the game recreationally and competitively as an adolescent and young adult. I stopped playing for many years, because of my work and my kid. I played once in a while, but never returned back fully committed. I cannot wait to get back into curling when I move to Prince George on a permanent basis. It’s a great place to meet people, but also engage in a sport that involves strategy, technique, and finesse. I’ve always thought I must have been a farmer from the prairies in a past life. I love to curl, but also enjoy a round of golf. There is something I like about these sports (i.e. no contact and there is nothing flying at my face). All good things.

Lately, I’ve returned back to golf. I am pulling out my clubs from the attic, realizing some clubs are missing and I have no idea where they are. It’s been about 20 years since I’ve golfed, with exception to one school district scramble event about 10 years ago. I wasn’t too serious about golf as I am about curling, but I enjoy the sport for similar reasons. I love the technical aspect of the sport. I love the social nature of the sport. And, I love the easy pace of the sport. Those are three easy check marks for me, but my family claims I’m a bit competitive too. I don’t see that, per se, but I always want to know the score by the end of the day. Isn’t that the point of the whole game?

My dad, twin brother, and older sister will often play pitch and putt in Burnaby, near my dad’s place. I would often watch my phone blow up at least once a week while they would text each other to finalize plans to meet and set up a tee time. I am on the Sunshine Coast and catching the ferry and COVID-19 restrictions gave me little motivation to catch the first ferry to play. However, in the last couple of weeks, restrictions are easing and I’ve been out to the Lower Mainland to visit my family for Father’s Day, my mom’s birthday, and to fix my car. We went golfing on Father’s Day. We only played 12-holes because we had a lunch reservation at the other golf course. I borrowed a few clubs from my dad. Gotta love muscle memory… I placed second.

What a head game… Golf is more like an opportunity to challenge and tame your ego. It’s so easy to listen to others and get inside your own head. What I had to figure out was how to compete with myself and everything else is feedback. The beauty of feedback is that you have a choice of either taking it or leaving it. If you take it, what are you going to do about it. If you leave it, you have to let it go. Golf provides clear feedback. When you figure out a way not to listen to your siblings and not to take things too seriously or personally, your ball and the score tells you how you are doing. There is no disputing it. It’s all in the data… aka. your score. Much like curling, you have to approach each stroke one at a time. You have to trust in the game and your overall score. Don’t focus on the win. Focus on the nuances of the now.

Admittedly, I was surprised to be in second place amongst the four of us for our 12-hole game. It’s been so long since I’ve been out and the first few holes (and possibly more), I was way too in my head, getting frustrated, and worried about what others thought of me or my performance. I spent a good chunk of that game trying to navigate around my ego to really focus on the task at hand and not to worry about the big picture because what I was doing at that moment, whether a putt or a pitch, it was all contributing to a bigger outcome. The return to the game became more about TRUST in the game, my abilities, and myself in order to succeed. I also had to focus on not throwing my club. That was important too. Another exercise in letting go. Ugh.

Well, I returned back to the course for a second time. The photo is an image of my ball hitting the green on my first shot. It was glorious. Take a photo, to then follow up my first stroke with 4 putts. Gah. Five strokes for this par 3. What the heck. A quick and friendly reminder of what golf was trying to teach me. One stroke at a time. Every stroke counts. Don’t take anything for granted. I took the feedback soon after the first hole and I was focused on my putting game. I needed a firm putt. I was always tentative, worried that I would miss the hole. In the end, I would always be short. I had a few double bogeys during this game, but I continued to focus on my putting game. It got better as the game progressed. A firm putt, with confidence in speed and aim. I was getting in the hole more often than not. I was pretty proud of myself.

My game is not perfect, but it is definitely improving. I started to just focus on each shot and accepted where my ball had landed after each stroke. That’s all I can do… and do my best with each shot. I did par a few holes. I don’t want to focus on the bogeys and double bogeys. I was also focused on not comparing and not shaming or blaming. I was embracing Brené Brown during this game and my skills at it were getting better with each hole. We completed the full 18-holes before going for lunch and I was pretty sure I had the highest score and placed fourth. Nope. I came second again to my brother. Two strokes behind. Can you only imagine if I didn’t 4-putt some holes? Gah. Nonetheless, I was very happy with my overall performance. #nexttime