Doing my homework. Thanks, Glen.

I think.

This is, as Glen called it, a ‘meme thingy’ being circulated around the twitter/blog-verse and it works like this:

  • Post 11 Random facts about yourself
  • Answer 11 questions asked by another
  • Provide 11 questions that you ask to another 11 people in your PLN (professional learning network)

So, 11 random facts about myself.

1. Coming up with 11 random facts about my self is weirdly difficult. I wonder why the number 11.

2. I had a Bronco that did donuts down the logging road that led to my first teaching job. After many, many months, a nice mechanic believed me when I told him it had to be something wrong with the vehicle rather than just that I was a ‘woman driver’. The suspension on the vehicle was shot. That’s random.

3. I have not blogged much this year, and was thinking I would manage over Christmas. (Un)fortunately, we got high speed internet, and Netflix, and I have fallen into it and I can’t get out. Also, I am tired.

4. I was born in the USA, in Salem. A different one.

5. I was born premature, which caused my mother to file bankruptcy. I weighed four pounds. My mom told me that it was because the Kennedy’s premature baby died in 1963 that the technology was pushed forward, and I survived in 1965.

6. I am a Canadian. I am a settler.

7. I am Anxiety Girl – able to leap to the worst possible conclusion in a single bound. It is my greatest superpower and my kryptonite.

8. Wine. Sometimes red, sometimes white. With bread and cheese. I could live off it. Coffee. Coffee snob.

9. I am married to the perfect man for me. Whatever. He would be perfect no matter who he married. We have two kids and when they were born, my heart was permanently removed from my chest and stuck, with no protection, outside my body. Survival is questionable.

10. Sometimes Aragorn. Sometimes Legolas. (That’s for you, @gthielmann.)

11. I believe, as a student of the humanities and a citizen of the world, in the responsibility to witness, to know, to have a voice. I still believe in world peace, and I am 49. I prefer the utopian illusion, because the dystopian reality cannot be allowed. It cannot be allowed.

Glen’s questions for me:

1. If you morphed into an all-round Olympic athlete, what would be your Winter Sport and your Summer Sport?

-country skiing, biking

2. What was the most interesting book or written work you read in 2013 (and was it paper or digital)?

I’ll pick two – Indian Horse, by Richard Wagamese (paperback), and Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth Wein (audiobook). I picked Indian Horse, because I believe it to be the Canadian novel that we all must read. I am stilling hearing the voices of the narrators in Code Name Verity, and I think I will for a long time.

3. What is a major change you would make to the BC Education system?

Assessment – in particular, percentages and letter grades, which I despise. And, more generally, I would change what we ask students to do with the limited time we get to spend with them. Death to worksheets. It is more complicated than that. This is a blog post in waiting.

4. What is a work of art (any genre or form) that inspires or challenges you?

I am trying to write a piece of creative fiction. It is hard because it keeps turning into a memoir. I don’t know what to do. Whatever it is, I don’t have time to do it.

5. Considering the wealth of oil in northern Alberta that we seem anxious to liquidate in a single generation, are you in favour of the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline?

No, I am not. I am not in favour of the bitumen going out via pipeline, or tanker, and I am not in favour of literally burning through fossil fuels as fast as we can. We need it. It has some unique properties and we have an ethical obligation to preserve it for as long as possible. Then there is global warming…. In the meantime, though, fracking scares the hell out of me, and I am worried we are not paying adequate attention to that. Our real problems are more system-wide.

6. What is a food experience that you wish on your children (or nieces/nephews)?

Guilt-free

7. If your house was burning, but insurance would cover the obvious expensive items and your family & pets were safe, what meaningful artifact would you rescue from your home?

Pictures, on the computer.

8. If you had to pick a different career than the one you’re in, what would it be?

Farming. Some days, I just want the simplicity of growing things. I know that farming is not simple, or easy, or even profitable. I grew up on a farm and suffer no illusions. But sometimes I crave the land, and having no greater responsibility than to make sure my soil is good, the animals fed, and my plants watered. No one else’s skill level, passion, understanding, or life is in my hands. Then again, I have felt guilty about plants I have killed….

9. If you were to ever publish a book, what would you like it to be about?

Assessment, or previously mentioned novel

10. What was a great event or experience in your work life from 2013 (e.g. teacher experience for many of you)?

A particular student wrote a paragraph.

11. What was a great family moment from 2013?

The small ones – a game of Settlers of Catan. Having dinner with the relatives in the Netherlands on Oma’s birthday. Listening to my daughter play ukulele and sing with her friends. Christmas morning. My son and I watching Walking Dead together. My daughter and I watching a romantic comedy. Breakfast in bed with my husband. Skiing out onto the lake where the morning sun is already shining. Sailing with my husband on the off-shore breeze. Our annual autumn beach walks. The small and great moments that make a life.

Questions for my (victims) PLN:
1. How do you balance your work and your personal life in a job that is never done?
2. What was your favourite vacation?
3. How do you make use of story in your life?
4. What is a current event that is gripping your attention at the moment?
5. Which place in the world has made the biggest impression on you?
6. What would you change about the education system?
7. What is something on your bucket list?
8. What was a proud moment for you this year?
9. What course do you/would you like to teach above all others?
10. What book/movie/non-fiction/ text made a big impression on you this year?
11. What is your favourite musical group?
Post in the comments or on your own blogs!

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