Thursday, July 14, 2016


I set my Fitbit to 20,000 steps.

I read somewhere that this could be life changing.

I am starting to appreciate the challenge more and more...

5,000 steps = regular day wanderings

10,000 steps =[the preceding] +a least one major outing + the dog around the block in the am and pm

15,000 steps = [the preceding] + another major outing + parking further away

20,000 steps = changing major parts of my day to accomodate movement...this is a good thing...this is eye-opening...

@20,000 I am...
  • snacking less
  • watching tv less
  • thinking more
  • relaxing deeper
  • sleeping sounder
  • drinking more water
  • appreciating my neighbourhood
  • meeting people
More to come.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

turning off teacher

Although teaching is my current stop along my career path, it will not be my last. And as amazing as this job is, it triggers behaviours that I am not entirely comfortable with. In truth, it has exacerbated some of the same characteristics that I had left behind in the kitchens of past.

10 years ago, teaching found me. Faced with a 'whats my next move?' moment I opted to shift out of restaurant life  at a moment in time when the opportunity presented itself, and my motivation to change was accessible, and the resources to support the change were available. All of this couched in a singular notion- that if I truly wanted to grow my family, my current lifestyle would need to end.

In the professional kitchen there is little time for 'self'. The business pulls so many resources from its staff that I often felt the blackhole-pull teasing at my personal life. The down time from the kitchen often was dotted with frantic calls from either the owner or other staff members. The gravity was unavoidable. For roadside view of my past autobahn self- check out  or both articles present parts of my former career, in all its guts and glory.

So now, I discriminate.

In the past this meant choosing work stuff over life stuff. Now, I find that at 3:00 pm I crave my family. I want to hustle out of the building, into my vehicle, and pick up my kids. This is new territory for me. But I gotta admit, it feels pretty good. There is a palpable upswing in my mood as I walk into my kids school- no matter the type of day they may have had and all of the possibilities that may have occurred, I feel one step closer to my center.

Coming home for downtime has taken on new meaning for me. I find that at the end of the work day I crave, well, 'home'. In the past I would have/could have remained at work, puttered around organizing, copying, recopying, and possibly reorganizing stuff for the next day. Much of this busy work was/is fuelled by an internal autopilot mechanism that often mislead- more often than not, created anxious dissonance with my family's needs, and did nothing to build connectivity to my work.

Going forward into 2016 I remain focussed on getting and being 'home'. A huge challenge in this will be developing a finer and clearer integration of work with life. Additionally, I aim to remain at home while there.


Friday, July 01, 2016

haven't learned anything

I went to a local library today with my children. 

We discovered a maker-space and asked if we could print out some lego. We could, so we did. An hour and a half later we returned to retrieve the completed piece.

Final cost $5.05 and 1.5 hours of time. Seemed expensive...but I had no benchmark to measure from, so I paid. It made me think about the last few days of my school year.

On exam review day a student challenged their final mark on both the exam and the culminating task. I am always open to these discussions and encourage students to think critically about their needs and wants in my classes. 

As such at the beginning of each semester I explain that each student will be able to explain and describe their learning without any references to marks by semester end.

This student looked at their final marks and asked 'Why's my mark was so low?'


'What have you learned?' I asked.

'I haven't learned anything obviously...'

'Then your mark is on point from what I have observed of your learning, what have I missed?'

'What do you mean?' Anger bubbled in the question.

'Have you learned more than what I observed in class? What did I miss?'

The student then proceeded to explain their thoughts and observations from class, sometimes there was curriculum connections, other times just keen observation. 

Ultimately, the student demonstrated a depth of learning that indeed did not surface on their final summatives.

Final cost 1.5 hours of my time.

What should I have done? 

Change the mark or leave the mark as is? 

What would you have done?

juggling 1.0

I made a drastic claim in a previous post - Digitally Actually Me

In it I declared that I would take a break from tech...for the whole summer.

I have had some time to digest and exist in that decision and, well, it was a mistake.

Funny that the main reason I wanted to walk away from tech use for the summer was that I was no longer having fun with it.

My tech use had become entirely labour focussed and in its use I felt closed in and cut off...
The feeling of disconnect that I thought would bring balance actually created imbalance, until I started to do other stuff.

Normally I am good with big changes, but in this case it was too much.

I realized that in many ways tech use has become so ingrained in my life that leaving it cold turkey is impossible.

For now, I am making sure that in each moment where I am consuming media or creating media, I ask myself five questions:
  1. Is this making me happy?
  2. Is this improving my communication?
  3. Am I creating connectivity?
  4. Am I saving time?
  5. Is there something else that needs my attention?

some are learning

20160709-191411.jpgIf I were taking a course, either online or in-class, creating time for wellness and even happiness would be difficult.

Truthfully, I have never really given in to trying to relax and create balance in my summer time away from teaching.

A hat tip to Matthew R. Morris for reminding me that teaching draws on many personal resources, summer time and downtime  opens up the possibility of recharging, reloading, and returning to the activities of life.

This is the first summer in a long time that I have not taught. I think that in 11 years this is the second time I am without work and the first time that it was intentional.

I am walking and playing with my kids and growing things in my garden.

This has been a very fortunate accident.

troubling bridge over water

20160709-180832.jpgI've been walking a lot this past week.

Somewhere in these kilometres, my analytical self started chatting with my wellness/fitness self. My sudden sense of jiggliness and my guilt over obvious free time was a hot topic between them.

Being off for the summer will bring many mini projects into focus. For now, I am focussed on a small personal wellness task...losing weight. And beyond that, feeling better.

I am sure that I go through this self-congratulatory false revelation moment every summer. This time my intent is fueled by random thoughts of mortality and general wellness.
I am searching for the tools to extend this endeavour beyond the summer, when work starts again and routines are more regimented.


20160710-083318.jpgI sometimes feel like my teacher self has a balance and poise that does not cleanly translate into my life outside of work.

I want the best version of me in both realms and I want to close the gap between me at work and me at home.


20160710-090500.jpgI am finding that I need to write in a form that falls somewhere between Tweet and blog length. Tweets satisfy the impatience and blogs connect to my ramble.

Right now, though, I think that I also need some way to capture audio and video... maybe a vlog.

Not sure what the posts will be about...
Here I go.