Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Household Pet? Member of the Family!

Well my dog forced me out of the closet this weekend! I have to admit that her life has an importance in my family life. I have always been a little irreverant about her place in our home since she chewed up my favourite sandals as a pup! I affectionately call her 'dumb dog' and I was not ashamed to use guilt to make the kids pay attention to her. Seemed liked I was the only one who fed her and gave her water and I was the one that never wanted a dog.
Well she has been a part of our lives for 9 years now and on Saturday we nearly lost her. She went under the back wheel of a Ford F150 and came out of the situation crying like I'd never heard her cry before and dragging herself across the road in a fashion that left me thinking I'd have to finish her off with the shovel I was holding. Fortunately, a police officer neighbour came out and told me he thought she would be okay judging by her legs. Well I picked her up and brought her inside and me and my daughter began a vigilance that lasted all evening Saturday and into Sunday. She wouldn't eat or drink and at one point made an effort to get outside. We helped her because we thought she wanted to pee, but it was like she wanted to go and hide. It took us an hour to coax her out from under the deck. Anyway, she finally drank a little just before bed on Saturday and she ate a little on Sunday as well drank some. It wasn't until Monday that we knew she could still pee; my poor wife had a huge mess to clean up.
Anyway, I bundled her up on Monday afternoon and pulled my daughter out of school and headed for the vet in Meadow Lake. The trip passed uneventfully and the vet took a quick look at her and concluded that she would heal. Her pelvis is broken but that will fuse together again in a matter of days or weeks. His biggest concern is that her diaphram may be broken and she will need surgery for that. He set her up with an IV and some pain killer and placed her in a kennel until x-rays can be done in the morning. We had to leave her there, but we left with lighter hearts knowing she was being helped and confident that she will make a recovery if we give her the time.
I have to confess I'm glad the dumb dog is going to make it even though it is going to cost me $$$. My kids have had to deal with enough tragedy lately; a miraculous recovery from their dog will ease their worries and make life seem more forgiving. And hopefully, my wife's long distance running companion will be able to enjoy more runs in the future. Rest well tonight Scooter; you may be home in a day or two.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Are you getting enough sleep?

I know I'm one of those people who cheats on sleep. I sometimes literally go until I can't stay awake. You know the micro sleeps that you can have when you are driving; I've actually experienced those while working on my computer and of course just doing leisurely things like a Soduku puzzle. One thing for sure, when I finally give in to sleep, I'm not having trouble getting to sleep.

The experts are talking about how the electric light bulb and electricity have changed people's sleep patterns and how unhealthy that can be. I found this clip on Youtube and boy am I bad! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mxrMLD5Uwdk I'm not doing much right when it comes to sleeping. I do cheat my sleep during the week and then try to catch up on the weekends. I wonder if I developed good habits if that would change how productive I am by the end of the week.

I was exhausted last night and spent most of the evening either napping or watching World War stories during Remembrance Week on the History Channel. Great programs but it was not what I should have been doing. I had planned to work on my classwork last night but just didn't have the energy. The strange thing though is I woke up this morning dreaming about my project. I had a brainwave and even though I'm tired I felt compelled to get up and write down my thoughts about my project; I feel cheated because it was supposed to be a catch up morning for me. A chance for me to rest so that I could put in a good day's work on my project. I guess taking care of me will have to be a higher priority; I cannot keep functioning this way.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Remembrance Day Guilt

I'm feeling guilty tonight. Our school held its annual Remembrance Day assembly as I believe we should do, but our ceremony included God Save the Queen. I never really thought about the song before, but today the words were like a dagger in my heart. I couldn't wait for the song to end; all I could think of was how contradictory it was to being respectful of the Dene culture. I know it is a song that is traditionally used in Remembrance Day ceremonies but it is one I will want to seriously discuss before it is played again in our school.

As it is I started a conversation about how can we do something equally meaningful on National Aboriginal Day? I've planted the notion with some staff already. I'm even thinking we should have a Remembrance type ceremony for aboriginal people who essentially faced genocide with the introduction of small pox in the 1800's. Nevertheless, I will continue to observe remembrance day as I am greatful for the sacrifices made by previous generations in the belief that they were creating a better world for those who would follow them.

If you want to see a powerful song about Remembrance Day check out the Edcentre.ca blog @ http://edcentre.blogspot.com/

Just for the record, I've attached the lyrics to God save the Queen - I couldn't believe the second and third verse.

God save our gracious Queen
Long live our noble Queen,
God save the Queen:
Send her victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us:
God save the Queen.

O Lord, our God, arise,
Scatter thine enemies,
And make them fall:
Confound their politics,
Frustrate their knavish tricks,
On thee our hopes we fix:
God save us all.

Thy choicest gifts in store,
On her be pleased to pour;
Long may she reign:
May she defend our laws,
And ever give us cause To sing with heart and voice
God save the Queen.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Into the Wild

I recall the t.v. sitcom M.A.S.H. and the song suicide is painless that was the show's theme song. I didn't think about it much back then, but with the recent rash of suicides and attempted suicides in my town I can assure you that suicide is not painless. There are so many kids in this community who are hurting and crying for attention. It is an educator's nightmare. We seem to be focused on the bureaucracy of our jobs and continuous improvement when kids need help; I'm struggling with the idea that administrative tasks may be interfering with my ability to be a hallway presence and make a difference in a kid's life. On Wednesday last week, I spent over an hour listening to and talking with a grade 12 student; the bureaucracy did not triumph in this situation and it felt rewarding although it was also an emotional session. However, it was what the student needed. She didn't need a crisis hotline, she didn't need a therapist; she needed a compassionate listener to make sense of her own emotions over the most recent suicide.

I'm at the point now where news of another suicide or attempt is not all that surprising. I think I expect to hear of more; the surprise is who tried or succeeded. I wish I had the ability to wave a magic wand and heal those who hurt, but I don't. I try to make a difference for those I reach and I will continue to stress to people that life is a joy. I watched the movie "Into the Wild" on Friday night and was so touched by the story. The young man's awareness of the beauty of nature was inspiring, yet his final realization that happiness is nothing if it is not shared pointed out what I believe about life. The purpose of life is to make the world a better place for those around you; it is a joyful mission when you reflect on the connections you make with others. For those in despair and wanting to end their own lives, the challenge is how to move their perspective from one of having too many problems to one of having challenges to overcome. I embrace each day I am given; today's snow was a visual reminder of the changing season and I took a minute to notice the path of snowflakes, the coldness in the wind, and the joy of a warm home with people in it that I love.