May 31, 2016

Report Writing

Today was pretty full on. Extended meeting planning for next year which required cover and went well into lunch. Two classes. An Off Tangent meeting. My ow crazy, rowdy, obnoxious kids in the ride home, and a pleasant, but coming at the tail of end of a long day dinner with Kim. Real Food was delicious and I think I ate 50 dumplings.

Then came home and attempted to write reports. I got two done. Wrote them from scratch. No templates. No formula. Just two reports on two kids I have taught all year. Only twenty more mentor comments to go.

But for now I think it is time for a glass of wine, some Silicon Valley and rest before tomorrow. Which includes two student led conferences for my own kids, teaching, more meetings and more reports. There will be a respite of Drone Wars or Game of Drones tomorrow night, but you have to wait till it’s over for details on that event.

In the meantime, a few juicy snippets from the reports:

_______ is a soft-spoken, gentle and kind young man. Never one to demand attention, he carries on at his own pace and gets what needs to be done, done. He has a variety of interests and he pursues them with vigor and intensity.

Even after working with _______ for two years, I find it is difficult to really get to know him, because he holds so much close to his chest, but it is clear that he is a happy well-adjusted young man taking on the world on his own terms. And I find this very admirable.

I wish there was a way to harness and use _______ ’s energy and enthusiasm to power our society. She is a raging fire and a bolt of lightning. Whether she is trying to articulate and relate the merits of Rousseau’s Social Contract and her own ethics in an English essay, or taking control of a GC meetings or event, _______ works with energy and care.


Hmmmmm..... report writing can actually be like real writing if you have some fun with it. Check back with me when I have done at least ten.

May 30, 2016

Cue Tantrum

Hey Skyelar, we are going out to lunch, so maybe wearing those leggings and that shirt is a bit too casual. Can you put on some proper pants and maybe a t-shirt under that sweat shirt?

No. This is fine.

Yeah, but first of all the colors are exactly the same or very close and that looks strange, and really leggings and that sweatshirt might be something you were around the house.

No. This is fine.

I’m gonna insist that you were something that is a bit more appropriate for going out to lunch. Please go change We are running late.

No. This is fine.

Skyelar, that outfit is not okay for going out. Go change it right now.

No. This is fine.

I am losing patience here. Go change your clothes.

No. This is fine.

Skyelar! We are late. Change your clothes now!

….cue tantrum……No. No. I don’t always have to do what you tell me. This outfit is fine. It is not weird!

I never said…..

Escalating tantrum….I will not change. Cue tears. Cue screaming. Cue running to mommy……

Daddy says I’m weird and my clothes are ugly. I DON’T WANT TO CHANGE. I’m NOT WEIRD.

Sobbing in Mairin’s arms.

Elapse time to about ten minutes later. She comes out of her room with a different coloured pair of leggings. This is somehow a compromise and we are both winners.

I’m gonna tell everyone my tooth is wobbly today at school.

You know. It is actually not that wobbly. Not really noticeable at all.

But you said last night it was wobbly.

Yeah, but now that I have felt it, it still feels pretty secure.

But you said last night it was wobbly.

I’m just saying it doesn’t feel wobbly enough to announce to your whole class.

But you said last night it was wobbly.

Skyelar! What can I say it is not wobbly.

You are a liar.

….cue tantrum……my daddy is a liar. Escalating tantrum….You said it was wobbly. Cue tears. Sobbing in Mairin’s arms.

We finally make it to the car. Each of us holding a heavy grudge. I realise I am involved in a stand off with a six year old over a wobbly tooth. I smile. She smiles.

Are we good?

But you said last night it was wobbly.

I suppose it might be.

I gots mentor comments to write before Game of Thrones people. Enjoy your Monday where ever you happen to be in the world.

May 29, 2016


It must have been a bit past 2am. A slivered cream-colored moon hung low in the sky, shedding shards of reflections into the sea to my left. I was running on the Marina Bay Barrage and the Singapore skyline replete with the Marina Bay Sands hotel and The Singapore Flyer were to my right. I had come through the worst of it. The long haul through the golf course, grinding out kilometers 12, 13, and 14. I had fallen behind the pacers a while ago, and as a result I had lost a bit of momentum. But just minutes before I had eaten a banana and doused myself with water and was determined to run from kilometer eighteen on till the end.

The conversation with myself was quiet at this point. I was tired of yelling at myself or trying to negotiate a pace. I simply shut the brain down accept for my eyes, which were looking at the moon beams and my ears listening to make sure I could hear each thump of every step. My heart and lungs were working fine. My mind was finally quiet. The only problem was that I wasn’t sure my legs could make it. My muscles were stiff and the joints tender. The pain shifted from my knees to my ankles to my hips and back again and again. At times everything hurt at once, while at other times everything from my lower back down was numb. Is this where the joy is?

What are you doing out here? My mind was awake again. Just stop. Who cares? Why are you running in the darkness, in the middle of the night? What are you trying to prove? And to who?

The last hour had felt like torture at times. Very little of it was fun or even enjoyable. But something inside me refused to stop. There is no one thing I am trying to prove, and the only person who cares beyond your potential supportive “Likes” on Facebook is myself.

It’s funny. At first I just wanted to see if I could do it. But after a while, when the pace felt good around 15km, I felt like I couldn’t just stop or even slow down. Yes, I walked and ran on and off, but I knew that I was going to come in around, or even under, two and a half hours.

There were so many thoughts and images rumbling in my mind throughout the night, but I am too tried to document and you must be tired of me, so I will spare you the details.

It was a good night and I am happy with the results. While I was in the middle of it, I swore I would never do this to my body again, but I am already getting fired up for the next one.

I’m sorry for being so self-promoting these days. It is not my intention to be the guy who is always talking about himself. But I have had a pretty good week, and well….when you choose to write an extended post every night, sometimes they can become pretty self-serving. I really do appreciate the reactions and the likes and support from everyone out there. it means a lot to know you are reading, sharing, commenting and liking the things I put out there.


Today was a mellow day.

My body ached and the lack of sleep made me feel pretty hungover. We had a nice lunch at Jamie’s Italian and took the kids to see The Angry Birds movie. What I saw of it was was terrible. Lot’s of yelling and screaming and things blowing up. I had no expectation that it would be good, but honestly the idea of a cool dark room today was just what the doctored ordered. Marin suggested that next time we just take $12, crumple it up and throw it in the garbage, but I digress. I slept through about 75% of it.

After the movie we headed to Longboard Love near Vivo City and I bought my new skateboard, pads and helmet. I got a Rivera board. It’s a hybrid long board and regular skateboard for learning to skate the pools at the skatepark, but it still has big wheels and a wide board for cruising East Coast Park. Kaia and I headed to the park straight when we got home and had a great preliminary session.

Skateboarding is a very physical activity. And after last night, my legs were feeling the pumps as I tried to do some pool work. Chris was there as usual and he gave me some pointers, as did Kaia of course.


There is something very humbling, terrifying and exciting about learning something new. Especially when this new activity can be quite dangerous. There is so much I want to know how to do right now, but my middle-aged man mind is not ready to take those risks and break any bones. So I am taking it nice and easy.

As if I didn’t have enough things taking up my time, here is something new. I can’t wait to get back on the board already. I’m hooked.

Which brings me to my final thought- we are all always complaining about how busy we are and how hard we work and how our jobs are taking over our lives, but I am realizing that if we value our hobbies, and if we keep them new and fresh and varied that we will end up spending our time living our lives more fully.

Yes, it is true when your job is something you love and you do it with passion and energy, it can feel all-consuming, but balancing it with marathons and skateboards, playing live music and writing. Hikes and travel and books. Time with friends- bowling, drone-battling, movie watching, Frofling and more…a balanced life cannot simply be empty time when you are not working. You must fill it with other things that demand as much energy and love as your work.

We build balanced lives, not by taking work away, but by adding other activities to balance it out.

What are some things you do to help you find balance?