December 6, 2016


Well that felt like 0-60.

Had a full day today. Was at school from 7:30am to 3:00pm. Taught two classes. Did some marking and then went to a meeting about Learning Spaces after school. The foot was feeling okay for most of the day. It was pretty swollen, but I tried to stay off of it as much as I could. It is amazing how far everything feels on crutches and how exhausting it can be just to get to lunch.

The killer was that we stayed after school until six pm to see Kaia’s recital, which was great and super worth it, but after a week and a half of bed-rest, a nearly twelve-hour day was pretty intense. My foot feels kind of numb right now with a strange prickling burning sensation on the top, but let’s pretend that is normal. I’ve got two classes early tomorrow, so I will go in and teach those, do some work on an assembly I am trying to organize for Thursday and maybe call it an early day tomorrow.

Everyone has been very kind and considerate and looks at me like I am crazy to be at school. “It looks so swollen.” They say and it is, but not as much as it has been. I need to be there. It is the last stretch and it feels okay to do what I am doing. It’s uncomfortable at the end of the day, but there are not many days left.

At one point tonight, after Kaia’s piece was over, we were sitting there listening to a few other students play their pieces and my mind began to drift. The drummers played along with a song track and one of my former students, who is in high school now, played Numb by Linkin Park, one of my favorite songs. He was nailing it and in some magical bizarre moment it all felt pretty transcendental.

My foot was throbbing and numb and ached from the long day. My mind was drifting and blank and utterly focused on the song and for a few disconnected seconds I felt fully alive and free. Yes, I was sitting there with a broken bone nearly two weeks after surgery, but I could feel it healing and the music told me that the future was just around the corner and that although someone said to me today in passing, only slightly joking, “Men your age shouldn’t be on skateboards,” I knew that she was wrong.

Men my age can and should do whatever we feel like. Sure we make mistakes and over-reach and hurt ourselves and ruin plans and make life difficult for those around us, but without taking these risks what are we doing? We cannot live our lives if we are always feeling the need to live a life that is overly cautious.

Enrico was pounding on the drums. Linkin Park was singing:

I've become so numb, I can't feel you there,
Become so tired, so much more aware
I'm becoming this, all I want to do
Is be more like me and be less like you.

I am not sure who the "you" is at this point. Perhaps just a doubting voice in my head. I was tired and hurting, but I was alive damn it and fully aware of my existence, some say this is the path to nirvana. I don’t know about all that, for me it was the end of a long Tuesday in early December and I wasn’t feeling too sorry for myself. And that felt more right than anything has felt in a while.

December 5, 2016

We Are Winners

I’m not big into sports. I don’t really like to play them and I could careless about watching them. Sure, I’ll follow an interesting story or look in to the games of a World Series so I am in the loop. I’m always down to watch the last two minutes of an NBA game seven when everything is on the line, but usually during regular season play, I could careless about most sports or teams.

Except for one sport- NFL football and one team- The Oakland Raiders. And for most of my life they have been terrible. Losers. So watching them usually just meant frustration, sadness and disappointment. But for reasons I have written about before, they were my team and I supported them and the game I love. There is nothing like American Football. It is a thing of beauty. Calculated, graceful and barbarically chaotic, it is the sport for me.

For the last fourteen years or so, I would check in on, uninterested, but bound by duty to see how badly the Raiders lost on any given week. I rarely knew their players and had lost touch with who they were. All I knew was that year after they year they were terrible and had become some kind of laughing stock of the league.

But this year things are different. I have watched four games from start to finish. I can name at least six players on both sides of the ball and get crazy excited when our small secondary back Jalen Richard runs for fifty plus yards in our tenth win of the season.

Not only are the 2016 Raiders winning. They are good. And not only are they good, but everyone knows it and is talking about what a breath of fresh air this team is. They are young but determined. They play smart and hard and with flair. They are poised and do not lose hope when they fall behind. They can run the ball and pass the ball and their defense, behind Kalil Mack is coming to life. They are in first place in the AFC and they are humble.

I cannot put into words how happy it makes me to watch them win, read the articles talking about how great they are, watch post game conferences where they mention that they are just trying to “stack up enough wins” to get a good spot in the playoffs.

As every Raider fan knows, there is the expected let down. The downturn where even a decent season ends in a series of losses or a blow out in the playoffs, but this team is different. They just play well. Smart. Scripted. Good football. So while they might lose a few of the last tough games before the playoffs. Or worse they might get beaten by a team in the playoffs- this has already been a season of amazing football for this team.

Regardless of what happens for the rest of the year, I am looking forward to what we look like in the next few years. But, who are we kidding, everyone in Raider Nation knows that we are looking unbeatable right now. Massive O-line, two great backs, a gaggle of big play-maker receivers, a clutch tight end, a secondary that is finally looking decent, a strong D-line and linebackers, the best kicker in the league, a punter who dances when flagged (with the flag) and the potential MVP and best quarterback in the league in only his third year.

This team is something special and I am looking forward to watching them throughout January and hopefully at the school Superbowl party when they beat the Cowboys! Just Win Baby!

Everybody I talked to at work, looked really worried about my foot. So much so that they are making me nervous. I checked in with the doctor today- wound is healing. Still split a bit at the bottom and bleeding a tiny bit. He hopes it will be waterproof and sealed in one week’s time. In the meantime, I still need a bandage and bag when I shower. He says to keep putting weight on it, so the muscle do not atrophy too much and make rehab difficult in the coming weeks. I am due back in three weeks for an X-Ray to see how the bone is healing.

So I went to school today and taught a class and got reacquainted with my kids. They were great. So many smiles and waves and welcome backs. I needed them and it felt good to be amongst kids.

By the end of the day I was in quite a bit of pain. My body wasn’t used to being up and about and it took a lot out of me. I came home and crashed for like 30 mins. The foot is swollen and throbbing, but I think that taking it easy the next few days, and knowing that I could take a day to rest, will be my plan. It’s the last nine days of school and I feel like I want to be there and finish things up with my peers and students.

Tomorrow will be my first full day and we are staying late for Kaia’s guitar recital, so I am a bit nervous, but one step at a time is all I can do.

This whole ordeal has got me thinking about not taking my body for granted. I need to have gratitude about the little things like walking around my classroom, or from the car park or to the canteen or down the hall….so often we assume that are bodies will always just do what they are meant to do, but nothing like a fractured bone to remind you to take it slow and appreciate how fragile it all is.

I am looking forward to walking again. To running. To skating, To swimming. To rolling around on the ground with my kids.

Take this moment to close your eyes and be thankful for your body in whatever shape it is in.

Oh....did I mention that the Raiders are 10-2!

December 4, 2016

B-Ball and Beer

I was supposed to run a half-marathon today. Somewhere in a warehouse or garbage bin sits my number bib and tank top. Run might be a tad too optimistic of a verb, I was not ready for this run even before I fractured my ankle. My plan was to have a pre-dawn walk-about to clear my head and sort my thoughts. A slow jog here. A comfortable walk there, beneath the slowly rising sun, through the streets of Singapore, to help me think about and plan my litany of new year’s resolutions. I was looking forward to three hours alone to align my priorities. But that was before the fall. The break. The bed rest.

There would be no dawn. No walk. No run. No need for any of that contemplative malarkey. I have been in bed for over a week. That is enough time to overthink everything and than think about it again.

I was out today. Twice. The sun was out too. I wore sunglasses and watched the girls play basketball. So fun watching them ratchet up their intensity and start to grasp the basic skills. Then home and rest and some work. Read a few grade 6 stories and began the grade 6 weekly mentor presentation.

Later Kaia and I did a home share with her writing and it’s so cool seeing her progress. I can’t help but compare her to the grade 6 kids I teach. I know she still has half a year to go, but every time I talk to her, or every time I teach my kids, I think about whether she would like the assignment, or think about whether or not she will be okay in grade 6. Today’s share put my heart at ease. The girl is starting to learn to write.

We finished Captain Fantastic and then outing number two- met friends at Brewerkz for an early evening dinner. Nice chat with friends. Good food. Setting sun. Cold beer.

My ankle is throbbing something fierce, but it was worth it being out in the world and interacting with people again. I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow and I am hoping that the open surgery wound will be closed and water-proof, and I am looking forward to a half day at work.