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Jun 30 2010

The Incredible Unfairness of Being 8

When you’re 8 a lot of things can seem unfair.

When you catch hell for smacking your sister and leaving a massive whelt (cuz your dumb sister gets hives and any contact with her skin leaves tell-tale evidence), it’s unfair.

When you have to clean up your room because your mom is “too busy” to do it for you, it’s unfair.

Even when you have to do homework! How unfair is that?

Sometimes “unfair” is relative and sometimes something happens that’s really Unfair, with a capital U.

I figure that having kids comes with the responsibility of teaching them how to be good human beings. As far as I’m concerned, I can fuck up every other job I ever do, in my life, as long as I get this one right.

I teach my kids that when they make a commitment, they keep it. No matter what.

To that end, my 8 year old, like it or not, is honour-bound to hold up her end of a bargain once struck. In doing so she has learned to work hard and feel great about the accomplishments she’s achieved.

This past week though, my little girl has been the recipient of, what I consider, a pretty unfair decision.

The details don’t matter but the broad strokes do. A lot.

In one swoop she learned that commitment only applies to her, that someone that has not worked as hard gets the golden egg gets to shove it down her throat to boot!

Awesome!

So now her hard work was for nothing and she gets mocked for not getting the same accolades as the other kid.

Double awesome!

How do I teach her that the behaviour of others should never dissuade her from what she knows is right and what makes her feel good about herself?

How do I show her that it is only her own opinion in her efforts that really matter?

How do I tell my 8 year old that the world is sometimes unfair in the most heinous ways and that sometimes those ways cannot be explained away with adult rhetoric?

And do I teach her to not sweat the small stuff even though, in her life, this is the BIG stuff?

How?

I thought about it a lot. I agonized through 90 minutes of yoga, trying to get my head around this explanation. I think I messed this up with the 11 year old a while ago because she has a great, big protective wall of sarcasm up around her to avoid such disappointment in the adults, and kids, in her life.

I don’t want the 8 year old to have a matching wall. It’s too tough to see through.

My strategy is to cuddle her up, even more than usual. To tell her that nothing can take away the accomplishments that she has achieved. That her worth is more than the decisions made by others.

If you knew the whole story you might think it insignificant. You might think that until you looked into the face, stained with tears, of the most amazing, talented, nice, funny, sweet, loving 8 year old in the world.

You might change your mind then.

I was put on this earth to protect and teach her. Now that I can’t protect her from this hurt, I’m going to have to teach her to put it in perspective.

In a year we’ll look back and think it silly to get so upset. But that’s a year from now. Tomorrow we’ll have to figure this out. It’s not going to be a simple solution. In fact, there is no solution that will teach her more than leaving things the way they are.

And that, my friends, is the saddest part of all.


Jun 28 2010

Livin’ the West(Wet) Coast Lifestyle – Ya Baby!

There are some things about living on the westcoast that are simply just better. It’s better to live near the mountains. It’s better to live near the sea.

It’s better to have the best hiking, mountain biking, sailing, skiing, wind-surfing, kite-boarding, snowboarding etc at your doorstep.

It’s so much better that Tourism BC’s slogan is “You Gotta Be Here”.

Yesterday, Sunday, a friend and I took advantage of living in BC.

We did the mack-daddy of all Vancouver “things to do”.

The Grouse Grind.

For those of you unfamiliar with “the Grind” it’s a ball-breaker. Sure there are some lunatics that run up the bloody thing. The locals call it “nature’s stair-climber” but I think that was in the 80′s when stair-climbers were cool. Doesn’t seem like a cool name anymore.

Essentially the grind is 2.9 km straight up. It’s a freakin’ mountain for Christ’s sake!

I found out something really important yesterday while struggling up the Grind….60 days of yoga does not provide ANY cardio!

The whole way up I was entertaining people by stopping to smell the new cedar posts or stopping to tie my shoe or stopping to look at the “scenery”.

Notice a theme here?

I had to stop….A LOT!!!

I was breathing out of my ears. I can’t get over how hard the grind is. There were 5 year olds peeling past me at break-neck speed. urrgg. stupid 5 year olds.

Just as you think that you’re getting fit and slim and all pretty, you find out you have no cardio and you’re probably going to die on the side of a mountain in front of a bunch of strangers. How awesome is that!?

(I have to finish this post later because my friend Krista is behaving like one of my kids and won’t leave me alone to write my blog post….friends…ppfffttt) ;)


Jun 25 2010

Pecha Kucha – Prounounced “Bloody Awesome!”

Ok, I’m sure some of you have not heard of Pecha Kucha (pronounced pe-cha-ch-ka, depending on who you ask) I’m going to give you the super quick, 411 on the gig.

20 presenters get 20 slides, 20 seconds each for a total of 6 minutes to speak about whatever topic that relates to the particular PK event.

Last night, in Vancouver, was the best EVER Pecha Kucha I have ever been to! No kidding. It was so great and inspiring and, well, even my crazy vocabulary cannot describe how awesome it was.

The event was all about sustainability and Metro Vancouver’s goal to become the world’s greenest city by 2020. Each presenter had something to offer toward that goal.

There were 2 women who saw the garbage being created at public events and did something about it, saving countless recyclables from becoming land-fill fodder.

Another sold ethical SWAG (stuff we all get). Sounds dubious but she really does get stuff for corporate swag that environmentally and human rights -ally ;) ethical. They got Pategonia to put their giant catalogue on ethically-created USB drives thus saving tons of paper and waste.

My favourites were the people speaking about growth and how we now have both the technology and the drive to create environmentally sustainable housing.

Actually, if I’m going to be perfectly honest, my very favourite was Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson. Aside from the fact that he is not hard to lovingly gaze upon :) he is also 100% behind the initiatives to put Vancouver on the map as the world’s greenest city.

His domain is Metro Vancouver which means the surrounding regions need to be onboard too.

This is where I got really excited. The project I work on, outside of Vancouver, will be part of Metro Vancouver’s Regional Growth Strategy. That means that when the project gets past our council it will have to go to Metro and Metro have already made it clear that a project like the one here in T-town is exactly the kind of smart growth initiatives they are talkin’ bout!

Ok, that’s super boring government stuff. Only people who really like government stuff like to read stuff like that. (I like it but I’m weird)

Here’s the cool stuff, the stuff that makes me proud.

Vancouver is arguably one of the most beautiful cities on the planet. A drive from West Van toward Whistler can bring tears of awe to even the most cynical individual. Mountains, Ocean, Islands, temped weather, it’s all here. People flock here like fruit flies on a banana.

We know that more are coming. Many, many more. We know that we want to be the greenest city on earth. (without getting into it I will say that those of us who know that our reliance on oil is coming to an end, know this) We know that sustainability will be the key to preserving the beauty of the Westcoast. And we also know that our reliance on imported food needs to start moving to a reliance on locally grown, organic options.

Knowing all that, every single person in BC should be looking for ways to prepare. Anyone that sticks their head in the sand or allows others to make up their mind needs to start to wake up.

Throwing stones at sustainable growth propositions or casting doubts on projects to further a personal agenda is short-sighted, selfish and does nothing to improve community.

Some people in the town I live in have chosen to rail against the project. They site obstacles such as traffic as reasons to toss the entire thing out the window. Their focus on the smaller picture has muddied the waters and taken some of the attention off of the massive gains for our community.

I have to be honest, my faith wavered a little.

But last night has not only renewed that faith, it’s made me see that the ideas in our plan are so much more ahead of their time than even Metro can believe.

Thank you Pecha Kucha! Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Hey, maybe we’ll host our own PK on the site one day!


Jun 23 2010

I Hate Stuff Like This

Look, I know I wax poetic about the power of positive thinking and my neuro-linguistics training doesn’t often allow me to say things like “hate” but it totally burns me up that these things exist.

What am I talking about?

Tweet Attacks. (I’m not including the link cuz it’s stupid and mean and not even remotely in the spirit of what Twitter is meant to be!)

Tweet Attacks is just one example of an automated system that is designed to use a human interaction tool, like Twitter and turn it into a robot.

I don’t even care if the thing produces income, I think it sucks bum.

I’m going to start a new page on my blog entitled “stupid crap on the net that says it will make you money but that really is horrible and causes lack of human interaction” (maybe with a smaller name though. ;)

Stand by for more “outings” of stupid stuff.