that perfect hand…

In Ocean's 11, Danny said that "the house always wins. If you play long enough, never change the stakes, then the house takes you. Unless, when that perfect hand comes along, you bet big… and then, you take the house." Here's the hand I've been dealt, sometimes it's risky and sometimes it's safe, but all the time… it's perfect. It's mine.


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chasing fear [away]

I’ve been messing up a lot lately and I think it’s a direct correlation to the confused state of my focus; of my values. Remember when I asked you to think about where you invest your time, you talent, and your treasure? How did you decide what would capture that focus? Or did life just go from moment to minute to hour to day to week to a routine that you never anticipated to begin with? That’s where I am.

Ever wonder about ‘value’? Not morals but the parts of our worlds that we place value on. And not necessarily material things (cell phones, homes, a good cup of coffee) but humans, relationships, family. Or success and goals and pride. I have struggled with value very recently because what I value, who I value, seems to be concrete in my heart but what I can’t control, the desired to be valued or considered valuable is getting to be pretty hard. I think that’s where unconditional love comes in — that the whole truth of caring or respecting someone, something, is being able to do it when or irregardless of whether or not the person or thing feels the same, or is capable of valuing, me back in the same way. What’s more, we all express care or value in different ways. I find I am a lot like my mom — I like to bless people with baking or my time or a little surprise or something that shows that they are thought of. But as I am learning, just because I do it this way, others don’t and it doesn’t mean they care any less.

But back to being valued. When did I decide that my measure of worth was based on if I was affirmed and valued by other people? Yes, I realize that I cannot demand to be valued by the same cup of coffee that I value so deeply. However, with people it’s hard not to scream “can’t you see how much I care about you?” and aside from scaring someone silly, that actual admission would cause my head to tumble fast to the floor and my heart to lead which is something very, very difficult for me. What’s more, admitting that makes the potential of no return much more possible — when you actually face what you value, who you value, head on. Whatever it is, especially with friends, the chance that you care and value a relationship to an exponentially large degree can reside on the chance that the other 50% of your relationship doesn’t feel the same way, or feel as much as you do. I think that’s why I have very few good friends; I’m a bit overwhelming in the caring department.

Mom told me recently that I am a winner. She reminded me of the things I would do or wouldn’t do growing up and even in the recent years solely based on whether or not I could tell I would be successful or not. Meaning: unless I know I will win, I won’t do something. I need instant gratification, I need to know I am rewarded for the effort I put in. Success to me has never been less than what I know I deserve. If I got a B+ and I barely put any effort into an essay, that’s one thing… but if I got that B+ and worked hard and visited the prof and did my very best, I would be enraged. Literally. Same with relationships. If I’ve been around someone for a breath and can sense that this is worth the investment and worth the effort, I put more than 100% in so I know I am doing all that I can to know I am doing the very best that I can. BUT that doesn’t mean it is returned and that fear of failure, the fear of not being worthy of that same type of respect or adoration or value makes the risk of putting my heart out there for a friend or family or whomever something I don’t do very easily — certainly not with confidence. Why? Because there is an immense vulnerability in this risk that a winner might actually end up losing.

But where has my goal of caring and loving and valuing unconditionally gone when I apparently expect and want a return? Or to know it’s been worth it? It is worth it? If nobody ever calls me back or I never text message anyone, then why do I take my phone with me wherever I go? Because there is a potential somebody will.

I mean, isn’t that the point — defaulting to the positive, not negative? Believing that people do value you just as much as you them? This is where I get lost in my own insecurities that I am doing the wrong thing, saying the wrong feeling, laughing at the wrong time, or caring where it isn’t welcome.

Back to coffee. For the value I find in a good, honest cup of coffee, it’s a bit of a blow when it turns out to being a syrupy cup of bitter and gross grinds-infested-not-even-resembling-coffee liquid. I get discouraged. I am sad. I wonder why I placed so much of my heart and desire on that tantalizing mug when there is always a chance for disappointment; or a chance that it will fail me.

I do think it is all worth it when there is that chance, that moment where I feel, even if only for a breath, that not only is the investment necessary to my living my life the best way I can but that I am doing it with joy and commitment to… not make any concessions, for anyone. I am going to be me and hopefully that in itself will be rewarded value enough.


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olympic highlights

We took the 7:00 am ferry over to Vancouver for the day and what a perfect day it was. Dad and Nate picked us up from the ferry and we spent the day perusing the sights and action downtown Van. We checked out most of the houses in our midst (Canada House, Saskatchewan House (for Mark), Manitoba, Quebec, Ontario, German House, Saxony House, etc etc) while also touring around Canada Hockey Place, Canada Place to see Dad and Nate at work, and of course… the flame cauldron. Our highlight was definitely, randomly, getting in line for the Ontario house while deciding what we should do next. Once we entered the house, there was a myriad of people congregating at the small stage…when lo and behold we were told that WAYNE GRETZKY was on his way there for an interview! The hearts stopped in the chests of the 3 guys we were with… and then started beating again when we got autograph… SUCCESS! It was very, very cool.

Actually the whole experience was surreal and awesome… every second of it was purely incredible. People in Vancouver that were working for the Olympics were so gracious and kind and I don’t think it’s because we were all wearing those red Olympic mitts! Everyone was genuinely excited to be part of something so big and after being there, Canada (especially BC) should be very, very proud of what they’ve put together over there. Seeing many different supporters of different nations was neat…especially when they were all flanked with thousands of people wearing red and white. I encourage you, any of you, if heading to Vancouver is at all an option for you…take it; it’s a once-in-our-lifetime opportunity and it’s pretty darn cool that the unification and peace between nations that the Olympics bring is resting on our home soil. We are blessed and it was such a reminder that I am a part of something in this world that is bigger than my own.

GO CANADA!

As for the pics, I tried a gallery style posting so hopefully it’s ok. Click on the first picture and then they will get bigger and you can just scroll thru them… rather than making it one huge long post? Crossing my fingers…


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Iron Chef 2010 – edited with lyrics

Countdown is on — Kitchen stadium opens Thursday for Battle YAM/SWEET POTATO. Check out our anthem:

Our pride was hurt last year

But now we’re coming back with a vengeance

Yams are the key

But without us they are nothing

Iron Chef is the game

Team Hardcore Power-house is our name

Redemption will be sweet

You amateur peasants

Our cooking is so much better

Why are we even here?

We are going to destroy you

…why don’t you just crrry abooouutt it.

Boo hoo.

Boo who?

Boo them.

Boooooooooo.


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to include or not to include?

As I am nearing the end of the 2/3 semester of my teacher’s training, I am trying to put into thought/personal philosophy some of the theory we’re learning by attaching my heart to the ideas of the texts and lectures. Part of the learning process for me might be to bounce these ideas off of others (ie: you) that are not connected to my level in the field (ie: my classmates). Here’s my concluded thought on inclusion of students with disabilities and exceptionalities in the classroom. We used this piece in a presentation yesterday and it’s fairly long but I would love some feedback on this, especially if you feel strongly one way or the other or if you have a student, child, or peer in your life that lends inclusion to being a personal concern of your own (presently or in the past). Disclaimer: I am obviously a little idealistic in some ways as I haven’t taught yet but like I said, I am attaching my heart to theory.

______________________________________________________

We’ve outlined the main positives and negatives of inclusion when looking at it through the individual versus society paradigm.

As a collective whole, we argue that inclusion, for the most part is a good thing and should continually be a part of the BC school model.

We conclude this based on the principle of benefit maximization that ‘justifies any exchange between the welfare of one group for the welfare of others so long as the average welfare increases’. Yes, this principle can do potential harm if human rights are denied to increase average welfare but we found that this threat simply enhances just how serious an issue were are faced with when questioning inclusion.

As such, looking at the positive and negatives for both sides of the theoretical tension, the positives for both necessitates inclusion.

However, we recognize that inclusion needs to be determined on a case-by-case basis. For example, we cannot decide that one ADHD student can’t be included in our classroom and from then on, all students with the same disability are also not included. This is because everyone….student, parent, colleague, admin…are all unique from one another and thus, so are their cases/circumstances and have to be treated the same way.

When we are presented with or choose, collectively, to include disabled or special needs students, we have to recognize that we are TEACHERS. When we train for and take  on this career, we commit to a moral responsibility to best serve our students and have to commit to do so in whatever capacity we can. Inclusion requires us to use resources, special education support and staff, parents, administration, and any finances available to make it as successful as possible. We can only in our most vigilant and humble ability do the best that we can.

Social inclusion ensures diversity in the classroom which brings a richness of culture and knowledge to the community. Through inclusion we learn to live, work, play, and learn together. It also results in a more equitable environment where we work towards common goals while recognizing the value of individuals.

The BC Teacher’s Federation states that we’ve made substantial progress in terms of integration but are still far off from complete success which is something our group agrees with. Students needs, while often unmet, need to simply be acknowledged and then we can move a click forward.

When we emphasize the individual versus society paradigm, the issue of ‘able-ing the disabled’ becomes largely about whether or not the morality of society deems inclusion as a valued investment. So we need to ask what are the COLLECTIIVE needs of each INDIVIDUAL society?

From this moral ideal, we cannot quantify the benefits or investing in certain types of students (ie: the majority) over another (ie: special or exceptional needs) because they are DIFFERENT. And while this difference should not be emphasized in order to favour one group over another, the difference HAS to be acknowledged so we can recognize one simple truth:

We cannot equate the circumstances and needs of humans but authenticity and recognition of equality should be the basis of where all our decisions and efforts for inclusion fall.

Furthermore, we need to remember that our individual goals may not always fall in tandem with goals and views of society.

So the conflict of a SOCIETY comprised of multiple INDIVIDUALS is simple: the differences and abilities between the individuals need to be recognized, accommodated, and celebrated… not feared and ignored.


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[unsolicited] ramblings

Oh for the love of dark roast coffee, my practicum starts in 2 months and 12 days…eep. Aside from being utterly and totally unprepared, I am scared out of my dirty blond crowned mind. Why am I doing this? In fact, I’ve started having teacher anxiety dreams. I won’t go into detail but sometimes they involve me losing lesson plans while other times they involve my skirt tucked up in my panty hose (kinda like HERE). I don’t know what else to say about that… but I am freakin’ out [on the inside].

Speaking of school, this semester has been positively and completely draining. Part of our course load this term involves a class on Indigenous Peoples [in the classroom] and another on Disabled and Exceptional Students. Both of these classes are stretching me, challenging my biases, questioning my professional validity, and again, scaring me to know end as I wonder how to best serve those categorized students in my classroom. I guess not every student will come from a wasp-esque, middle class, Caucasian, able-bodied situation where they are both enthusiastic and excited to learn… right? No, I did not actually believe that going into my education, but these two specific courses are really, really pushing me. They are also making my bed look oh-so-appealing come 5:00 pm. Plus, we attend school in a cohort. That means for all six classes I am with the exact same people for every single one. Cabin fever much? We’re so connected that I can predict what is going to come out of certain people’s mouths before they even raise their hands. It’s hard to not get frustrated but seriously, the course load is so heavy, it’s exhausting. Plus, with all this work and emo feelings-discussions all the time, how will I ever prepare for my…eep…practicum?

2010 Olympics — did I mention my Dad is kickin’ it with the rockstars that run the show out there? Post-completion of the renos at Canada Place, Dad has been hired by Vanoc to do a whole bunch of maintenance-esque jobs around “town” for the Olympics. He’s rubbing shoulders with so many big-wigs that he was given 2 tickets to see the dress rehearsal to the Opening Ceremonies! I’ve stopped taking his calls until he can make some Team Canada hockey, curling, or figure skating tickets appear to me from thin air. Or bobsledding ones so I can channel my inner ‘Cool Runnings’ style dreams. I am kidding, but it is pretty cool to have my Dad so close to everything down there.

2010 Iron Chef — it’s happening all over again next week so stay tuned for some details, updates, and play-by-play action of the event… we’re considering streaming on the internet live for the whole thing. Grab your popcorn. Also, we’re still looking for judges for this year’s competition since the three from last year have all either moved away or been voted out of the ‘stadium’ because of their biased ignorance to our team being the very best. We will not allow judging that will rule against us. Period.

Also, I am considering a May 2010 trip out to Alberta post-practicum. Anyone think that would be fun should speak up so I know to take this seriously or not. Read: Weston, Auntie is coming! 🙂

Finally, for those of you inquiring minds wanting to know — dolphins are my spirit animal. Here’s why:

“The Dolphin – Symbol of Breath of Life, Love, Balance and Community
Dolphins Wisdom Includes – Knowledge of the sea, change, patron of
sailors, harmony, wisdom, balance, Communication skills, freedom, trust,
understanding the power of rhythm in your life, use of breath to release
intense emotions, water element magic, unselfishness. Dolphin reminds us
to get out, play and most importantly, to breathe.

Dolphins are connected with the power of breath and with emotional
release, which are also both deeply connected. One of the most important
factors in spiritual growth is to give ourselves the freedom of full
experiencing our feelings and emotions. Often negative emotions are
suppressed as we don’t want to be a part of them, so we try to stay apart
from them. Feelings of sadness, pain, anger, grief. Dolphins teach us that
we need to feel our feelings.

(Doesn’t that sound like ME?! haha FEELINGS)

Dolphins spend most of their day playing. Their life is lived in joyful
harmony with each other and their world. Apparently they have learned the
lesson that love is the most important factor in life. If dolphin is your
power animal he may be there to teach you how to love yourself and your
world more. A big part of Dolphins medicine is living in balanced,
harmonious communities.

If Dolphin is your power animal, you may do well using your voice for
healing or communicating, in day to day life with those nearest and
dearest to you..”

As always, grace and peace.