On the Music Festival & Being Good Neighbours

One of the reasons why I now live in Haida Gwaii is because I happened to attend the Edge of the World music festival on my first visit to the islands. I was here for a two-week outdoor education course by SFU, which I mostly attended to learn first hand if Haida Gwaii should be shortlisted on our where-to-move-when-I-graduate list. The course was offered in early August 2014, so I attended the festival as well. And here I am!

I liked the music, but that’s not why the festival helped draw me to the islands. What stood out was the community so evident in every detail of the event. Above all else, I wanted to move to a place where people regularly come together to create and celebrate cultures as community. The festival certainly stood out in this regard — including the homemade food, children’s workshops, range of bands and performers (from both on and off-island), and the Haida and other First Nations music and ceremony.  Continue reading

Summer 2016 Update

Been busy since school got out at the end of June. Here’s a brief recap of my summer so far:

  • Joined family in Ashland, Oregon for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and had a great time watching fireworks for the Fourth, plays, spending time with family
  • Visited my dad outside of Seattle and had a blast at a Mariner’s game together
  • Had a chance to catch up with friends in Vancouver, before heading home for a day — and then heading right back to Smithers and Terrace areas for camping with Ron

I have another month before school starts up and plan to read, write and prepare a bit for the fall. My dad and stepmother will be visiting in August as well.

History Matters: LGBT Struggles or Western Crusades?

Nyc 10/19/98 Candlelight Vigil For Slain Gay Wyoming Student Matthew Shepard. (Photo By Evan Agostini/Getty Images)

I still remember the day that I heard the news of Matthew Shepard’smurder in 1998. Shepard, a gay man in a Wyoming college town, was tortured and left to die by his assailants. He became an icon in the struggle against gay bashing and hate crimes. Shepard had met his assailants at a bar, and it was widely suspected that he’d been lured out and then beaten to death because of his sexual orientation.

Shepard was in his twenties, from a small town and gay. So was I. This terrified me. I had already been attacked, when walking down the street in the Capitol Hill neighbourhood — a gay district in Seattle. My best friend had been severally beaten in his teens, also in Washington state. I knew people who’d been lured into dangerous situations, stories that mirrored the reports of Shepard’s murder.

And I knew our history. Violent police raids. Death from the neglect of the AIDS crisis by politicians like Ronald Reagan. A history that included Nazi death camps for gay men, just two generations before. And there was the entrapment, prison, shame and bullying that had carried on long after the defeat of the Nazis (and to this day, in many parts of the world).  Continue reading

Why Silence Still Equals Death


“Hope will never be silent.”
— Harvey Milk

A new chapter in the history of lesbian, gay, bi and trans people started today. Forty-nine people were murdered in a gay bar in Orlando. At least 50 other people were injured. With so many deaths by gunfire in a single incident, this is the worst mass civilian shooting in the modern history of the United States. The victims were targeted by a killer who, according to his father, was recently upset  at the sight of seeing two men kissing. read more at my other blog

Spring 2016

The last update was just after Lent and right before coming back from spring break. Reading what I wrote then (mostly about the doubts and contradictions within teaching) it’s hard to put myself back there, considering all that has happened in my work as a public school teacher over these past two months. I am glad that I was thinking so much about how to do this work, given that I needed to be grounded in order to contribute to what would soon follow.

Soon after returning from break, our community lost one of its own in the tragic death of a student. I did not personally know the student – Jaylund – who died this spring, although I knew of him and knew who he was. Many of the students that I work with directly knew him well (as did almost all of my colleagues and many of my neighbours and other community members). His death is painful for the entire community and his loss affects us all.

As a teacher, who is new to the field, new to the school, and new to the community, the death of a young man hit me hard. Of course, it hit others harder. But I, like everyone, felt his loss and was shocked by his tragic death. Being witness to a community of young people – our students – in mourning and grief took everything I had. I am still drawing from my reserves and I am coming to appreciate that nothing can prepare a community for such a loss.  Continue reading

Seattle Layover

We managed quite a lot on our layover on the flight from Sacramento to home. I flew into Seattle and had time to see mom, Janice, and Luke (who happened to be in town for business – bonus). Ron and I attended a concert, too. Then it was up early for the final two legs of the trip.


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Final Lent Reflection

Tomorrow is Easter Sunday. On Ash Wednesday I wrote about plans to write throughout Lent, especially on liberation learning, and I said I’d cut back on social media. While I managed to stay away from social media I did not write much this season. Why?

Short answer: Too much and not ready. Meaning that I had too much to think about and that I’m not ready to share – at least not here. But the exercise worked in terms of getting to thinking. Lots of thinking, about me. Not about liberation learning, but about teaching and learning as it relates to what I do. I am exploring limits, contradictions, and uncertainties (doubts).

So what will I share? Human relationships are not just but are just. Human beings are not compassionate but are compassionate. Public education is transformative and respectful but it is also neither of these qualities. Life is meaningful but life is meaningless. Limits, contradictions, uncertainties (doubts).  Continue reading

Visit to San Francisco

Not too many photos from today’s “Day in the City” but here’s one as the train left along the Bay, heading back to Davis:



Lent Update

Lent happens during spring. Both are times of renewal. I haven’t had the time to write (or, more honesty, not the focus to write), but Lent has been on mind. I stopped drinking coffee, an unplanned departure for the season. This has cleared up my thinking, given me time to feel a bit more, and allowed me to consider why I am here, what I am doing, who I am, and how to be. And today I started to write. Not here. But out of my head and into the world – locked on a screen but freed nonetheless.

Movie Night