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.


1 Comment

wading through the tides…

I’ve been attending Luke’s astronomy class this semester just for fun. Partly because I wanted to prove that he was wrong about the constellation cassiopeia, and mainly because I find astronomy completely and utterly fascinating. Since moving to the island, I’ve become almost equally as fascinated with the tides.

What I’ve learned in astronomy is that tides are caused by the Earth’s rotation, the moon and sun, and the gravity that exists between them. The earth leaves what’s called a ‘tidal bulge’ in its wake of rotation and when the water is closest to the moon, it experiences stronger gravity and the pull of the moon causes the water to rise; the furthest point from the moon experiences low tide. However, sea levels also fluctuate depending on weather systems, like storms and winds.

What I’ve learned in life is that tides are frustrating and that sometimes, taking the bad with the good makes the good less obvious. Or sometimes, it takes wading through the highest tides only to find nothing but deeper water on the other side. It is suffocating and drowning and being submerged can be paralyzing but it eventually will roll away and things will be ok again. And the moon in this life is just a great of force on my heart as it is on the water of the earth.

— in 19 days I start my practicum. I gave myself until this past Saturday to be scared and afraid of it… it felt like a timeline was necessary so that I could consciously just get over myself. Now, I am still as unprepared as I was a week ago, still as unsure as I was when I got accepted into the program almost a year ago, but still as excited for it as I have been my entire life that I’ve dreamed about teaching. I’m not afraid or scared or whatever… this is going to be the best sort of fun and I am so so so excited to finally do it!

And the other stuff right now that makes tides overwhelmingly powerful and make me feel as though I am swept up in something I can’t control? That’ll be okay too.

Advertisements


5 Comments

resolving to…

Here’s my list of resolutions, in no such order:

1. win iron chef 2010
2. listen more; talk less
3. run, run, run
4. spend more time alone; learn to enjoy the quiet
5. relax more; organize less
6. make some decisions about my future
7. eat more raw; eat less wheat
8. start saving for some trips i’m dreaming of
9. learn to understand grace
10. give myself a pedicure without cutting off my entire heel (like i did on sunday)

Luke’s resolutions, in no such order:

1. get in shape
2. use the word “chesterfield” instead of “couch” from now on and wherever it fits

We’re aspiring big this year. Look out.


Leave a comment

unraveling

In my English methods class today (the class in which I am learning how to teach English) my professor was going over different, recurring themes of stories that are tried and tested (and true) for engaging young people. One of the themes was ‘innocence and experience’ and the other was ‘a hero’s journey’.

There are Eight Stages of a Hero’s Journey:

1. Call –> some kind of thing that is a catalyst that begins the journey or the sense/need for change.

2. Separation –> the call demands a movement away from your previous life or existence and forces you over a threshold.

3. Challenges –> with a call and separation comes challenges and difficulties that all cumulate, pile up, and we struggle through them awkwardly.

4. Abyss –> the worst part, feels like doom (like a monster or a demon or a natural disaster or inner turmoil) that we have to face head on; what ever is in the abyss has to be met.

5. Transformed –> post abyss, you are transformed by the fact that you met a challenge that you never, ever thought you would meet. This results in your new self — arguably, results in you becoming who you actually are.

6. Revelation –> you finally begin to understand your world and your self as connect realities, especially since, in a sense, you’ve overcome the world.

7. Atonement –> a prayer and reconciliation with what you went through and reconciliation with yourself.

8. Return –> all true hero’s journeys end with a return to the beginning, in some way, with a gift. The idea behind this is that you can come full circle…returning to the world or your life in the past knowing what you’ve learned from your trip and your real sense of yourself.

(The very best illustration of the Hero’s Journey concept is Lord of the Rings. Think about it)

Anyways, this lesson moved me to tears. I never cry, but I found myself (literally) blubbering like an idiot in the bathroom stall post-class. Why? I am stuck in my own, personal abyss and I can’t seem to move forward and be transformed. We’ve been talking a lot both in some of my classes and some of my relationships about how life, as a student, seems forever on hold. I find myself making excuses or justifying certain things or being lazy about my dreams simply on the grounds that I am a student and everything else will come later. I will be better, later. I will volunteer, later. I will be the victor in my journey, later. Self improvement, changes, confidence, bravery…later. It has to come later.

What on earth am I waiting for? As I study the cyclical understanding of knowledge, I came across something pretty cool:

Jewish thought teaches that humans learn through Question and Answer. Did you know that the word “question” in Hebrew is the same Hebrew word used for “borrow”? Similarly, “answer” shares the same Hebrew term used or “return”. Unless we’re at a highly, deeply transcendent place, all of our knowledge is given and received, borrowed with the expectation of return one day. What we do with what we learn while we have it, while we’re borrowing it, is up to us. That’s pretty neat. It’s also pretty convicting.

I have been struggling for three days over something and while I try and study for my one and only test, this struggle is robbing me of any ability to concentrate or focus on what I need to do. It’s like a dragon I need to fight out of my little abyss (don’t you love that word?) before I can move on.

I think that a hero’s journey is forever changing and forever happening, with connected mini-journeys along the way. Right now I feel like as I keep putting certain things off for later, I am slowly stepping backwards instead of forwards, moving at a pace I never thought I would. There are so many things sitting at my fingertips that I’ve let become routine or ordinary or a part of the world of myself that I never thought I would allow.

It is a battle and on days like today, the fight seems to be burned out and I am confused on how to be the hero in my story when I barely know which way to take my next step as I am unraveling at seams that have been stitched ever so tight.

Maybe it’s about time to quit putting it off, all of it off, no?


1 Comment

a mess of things

It’s the end of week two and I am ready to take on  the world. I think I’ve peaked and learned everything I need to be a successful teacher.

Can you imagine it would be that way? Between raging disbelief that I am on the cusp of my dream-come-true and the intensity of the teaching program itself, already, it’s felt like a semester…not a few weeks…have passed already. It’s all very theoretical and practical and intelligent but what I forgot to add to the equation were two resounding things:

1. Other classmates. For the very first time ever I’m actually in a group/cohort of people that are doing the exact same thing I am. A little hard to fathom. And at other times, difficult to handle as I am learning, albeit very slowly, that other people’s opinions are exactly that — they don’t have to be mine.

2. Fear. All of a sudden I am trembling at the responsibility I am learning for. Can you believe in 15.5 months I will be teaching? I can’t. I am afraid. Excited, but afraid. Wow.

So that’s school. I’ve met a couple really spectacular people that I am oh-so-excited about. You really do need like minded people to meld with, especially for group projects. Can you imagine teaching the joys of steak eating with a vegetarian for a partner? Exactly. So I am humbly blessed by the magnetic force that attracted us to one another. It’s great.

On the home front, my little apartment is quite the place. I am fully unpacked and organized which is fantastic but it’ll still take a bit to feel like home. In other words, it’s a bit of an adjustment being solely on my own. I have to pay for everything myself, clean entirely by myself, and then come home to no one. It’s very nice and I enjoy my own space but after spending the summer at home and the year before with some of my favourite people in the world, it just all feels so very quiet right now. I am hoping I will get used to it. Nicest part so far? Walking to school, snuggling into my comfy couches with a book, and having people over where they just feel totally at home. I like being a host — I think I get that from my mom! — so it is pretty fun to have people over and let them just relax. So feel free, I can guarantee quality conversation and cinnamon buns.

I got my practicum placement yesterday and I am pretty excited about it! It’s close to home so when I return for Thanksgiving, I will stay for two weeks to do an observation and meet my mentor teacher before the real deal comes in the spring. I will spare the details for this highly publicized domain but I am very excited about it. I had hoped to go out to Camrose but for whatever reason, the high school there was not taking student teachers. Maybe it’s the conditioner I use? Either way, the practicum advisor’s exact words were: “Sorry Kate, Camrose doesn’t want you” — maybe there is a lesson in that.

Up and coming? Trip to the mainland for a grand tour of Dad’s masterpiece renovation in Vancouver that has been completed and running further than the 5 ish k I am up to now.

And on top of all that, it’s so nice to be back. I miss home, for family and friends, but I am pretty excited about the possibility of everything here. I had a conversation yesterday with Luke where we were questioning each other’s motives and “styles” of living life (sort of what we’d want our legacy to be). With all that I am learning in school and doubly in my personal life I think I want my way of life to simply be this:

Authentic.

I want to know who I am and be okay being that. I am pretty sure that I am on the fast track to getting there. So stay tuned for more… and a lot less “update” styley (word?) posting. I just wanted to get in touch.

Cheers from one of the most beautiful places in the world!


5 Comments

pad

Here is my very first place on my very own. It’s small, cozy, and perfectly close to UVic and running trails. Speaking of, I went for a run this morning only to come back to find I locked myself out. Since Luke is the only known human to have a key to my place and my landlords are out of town, I ended up shimmying through my bedroom window — it was not cute. On top of being sweaty and gross, I cut up my hands on the window sill. Oh well, never a dull moment. That either teaches me to leave the door unlocked or not to run. I will let you decide the best lesson there. Anyways, welcome to _______ Crescent, home of me and an unending craving for coffee and the company of you:


7 Comments

taking the fall

I would like to say that there will be a lot of nudity within this post. In the last three days I have had some very uncomfortable, sad, disappointing, awkward, humbling, and life-strengthening moments. Someone at work told me today that all bad things happen in threes and while this is representative of my catastrophic weekend, I will only share two of my three heinous moments as the first one is too depressing to ever repeat.

And numbers two and three are where you owe me your deepest and most heartfelt thanks because I subsequently experienced your worst nightmare(s). Twice. So now you don’t have to. I am glad I could help.

Either that, or it has the makings of a solid straight-to-DVD bomb of a Hollywood movie:

Scenario #2:

I was in the hotel room getting ready for Blake and Ashley’s wedding and I came out of the bathroom to ask Jes if my outfit looked ok. When she gave her consent, I turned to put on my shoes when she said “oh KATE it’s tucked up in the back, Mark don’t look!” and I yanked out the hem of my skirt that was caught, somehow, in the sash. After some advice to pay attention to that problem if I went to the bathroom at all that night, we left for the ceremony.

Right after all of the speeches and vids at the reception, I realllly had to use the restroom (which was down a bunch of stairs and a hallway from the room we were in). So I went to the bathroom, and when I finished washing my hands, I gave my skirt a little tug. Since it swished a bit, I figured I was good to go and headed out into the hallway.

It was not until I was almost at the top of the stairs and I heard a half snicker from a 14 odd year old at the bottom of the stairs that I realized my skirt was tucked into my underwear or sash (or both), giving that unlikely suspect a full view.

I was a mere 4 stairs and 10 steps away from utter and total mortification. Every time  saw that girl throughout the rest of the night, she grinned — and did the people around her.

Scenario #3:

I had a very long night last night. I drove home from the coast in torrential rains, almost hitting the meridian 2 times when I lost control of the wheel in the slippery rains. That is my excuse for this next painful experience.

I got home around 12:30 am and had to work this morning. I took the first hour off so that I could sleep and so I woke up around 8. I had a shower, wrapped myself in a towel, and headed back down to the den where I make my home for the four months I am here in the summer. I was doing a bunch of stuff, all wrapped in my towel, like unpacking and blowdrying my hair and packing my gym clothes. Since I moved my dresser to Victoria a couple days ago, all of my underwear is sitting on the arm chair right by the window.

I was still wet so I pulled off my towel and was drying myself off before putting on my underwear and there I am, stark naked, when I glanced out the massive window to see two of our landlords’ handymen working on the irrigation… separated by glass, a mere two feet away! One of them was hanging his head, his BRIGHT RED face, and then ran away, mortified. The other one, awkwardly looked at me and then got reaaaaal interested at something near his feet.

I didn’t want to make any drastic moves… so I backed away from the window, and in my mid fumble to get the towel around me while getting out of his view, I fell over the arm chair.

The guy did not know what to do.

So wanna know what he did?

Came to the door after I got home from work (so 9 hours later), uncomfortably told me that the irrigation was all fixed, asked me how my day was, and then proceeded to stand there and fumble through what I think was a dinner offer.

I’m not quite sure though, I had a 30 second lapse in reality where I forgot who, where, what, how, and why I was.

And I am never going to imagine the audience naked when I am giving speeches or teaching — it would be much too hard on me given my latest victimization.