Saturday, March 10, 2018

Final Reflections for #CCCWrite

So, this week the Final Reflections post totally escaped me! I had kept up with doing a post each week for #CCCWrite... until the last one. I've tagged my other #CCCWrite posts here, and what's great about the blogosphere is that the door is always open, so I'm going to catch up now with the final post.

Which means, first of all, a HUGE THANKS to Michelle for setting this up. Having this as something to do each week was something that really meant a lot to me; I came here to take care of my dad on hospice six weeks ago, just as #CCCWrite was getting started, when the hospice nurse told me my dad had days or maybe a few weeks to live. I thought I would be here two or three weeks, and then I would be home, using #CCCWrite to keep me focused while dealing with the sadness of losing my dad. And he was indeed so sick when I got here, barely able to stay awake, totally ready to die. Hence the hospice prognosis.

But here's what happened instead: it's now six weeks later, my dad is so happy with the people helping him at home, cooking good food for him, watching movies (SO MANY MOVIES) with him... that hospice has now revised its prognosis to weeks or even months. I'm going to stay another two weeks to see if this steady-state carries on, and if it does, I will go home for a while, who knows for how long, until hospice calls me back again.

Of course, the lesson is that all you can say for sure is TODAY, one day at a time. And in all the chaos of having suddenly brought myself here for an uncertain stay, it was so nice having the #CCCWrite prompts to help me to think about what is going on. My first post was about We All Need Help, and I have learned that lesson in a new way, navigating the world of hospice and homecare and HHAs and PCAs and  CNAs and RNs and APRNs and on and on and on. A new world to me and, now that I understand better how it works, a world I can navigate on my dad's behalf (he has no real idea who all the people are as they come and go, but he likes them very much).

So, my main goal for the Club was just to keep up in this chaotic time, and I did (almost). And I am glad I did. Because...

... my unexpected outcome is something awesome: I am going to InstructureCon this summer, thanks to the fabulous people at Instructure, and my mission is to work with them on how to create more/better opportunities for people to connect and share, building digital trails at the conference and beyond the conference that can amplify all that InstructureCon energy outwards and onwards. And why did this happen...? It happened because of the discussions I had with people at Instructure after the blog post I wrote about (not) going to conferences as an adjunct.

To me, those are the kind of great "chain reactions" that can happen when you put your thoughts and hopes online, brainstorming out loud about the problems you face, asking for help, and sharing the solutions that you find. And as I get ready to think about this conference adventure during the summer, I will be able to go back and read people's #CCCWrite posts about their conference experiences, and that will give me insights I can use as I plot and plan for the InstructureCon adventure to come.

At that conference, I will finally, after all these years, be meeting Michelle Pacansky-Brock in person, which is very exciting... and in the meantime, I'll be seeing her online, along with other people I've connected with during this experience. My participation in the Club was pretty limited because of "circumstances beyond my control" (in fact, it gave a whole new meaning to "beyond my control"...!), but even with that limited participation, #CCCWrite has propelled me forward towards an incredible new  opportunity, and I am very (VERY) grateful to Michelle for being the #CCCWrite catalyst.

Blog on, everybody!!!!!!!!!

And here's a graphic for our journey: I didn't even put this panda on there; someone else did! But I like having the panda, of course. :-)

From Anne of Green Gables: I'm just as ambitious as ever. Only, I've changed the object of my ambitions. I'm going to be a good teacher-- and I'm going to save your eyesight. Besides, I mean to study at home here and take a little college course all by myself. Oh, I've dozens of plans, Marilla. I've been thinking them out for a week. I shall give life here my best, and I believe it will give its best to me in return. When I left Queen's my future seemed to stretch out before me like a straight road. I thought I could see along it for many a milestone. Now there is a bend in it. I don't know what lies around the bend, but I'm going to believe that the best does. It has a fascination of its own, that bend, Marilla. I wonder how the road beyond it goes--what there is of green glory and soft, checkered light and shadows--what new landscapes--what new beauties--what curves and hills and valleys further on.

More Quotes from Children's Literature.

Sunday, February 25, 2018


Instead of writing about un-plugging from the Internet as per the #CCCWrite prompt, I want to write about un-driving. Un-plugging from the car motor.

Being plugged into the Internet is how I read and listen to music and have conversations with friends and learn learn learn. It's all good. Cars: not so good. They do get you from here to there, but with nothing but stress (for me) along the way. I just do not like being in a car. I love public transportation. Trains. Buses. But best of all: sidewalks.

So right now, one of the best things going on in my life is that I do not have to get in a car. I have not been in a car for over a month! I'm in Austin, caring for my dad who is on hospice (end stages of lung cancer), and he lives downtown. So, this is one of the worst times of my life... but one of the things keeping me sane is that I don't have to get in a car. Zero car. All walk.

Groceries? I walk to the Target on the UT campus. It's a tiny Target, but that's fine; it does have a tiny grocery store, with almost everything we need, and for what's not on the shelves, they will special order anything Target carries and deliver it to the store for free. Butter-pecan-flavored Ensure? Yep! They can get that, and my dad is happy.

Pharmacy? There's a tiny CVS in the Target, or a bigger CVS up the street. Random stuff in the middle of the night? The 7-11 is open 24/7.

And even more important: WALKING FOR SANITY. I can walk to the capitol; it's lovely (this is the side I approach it from):

I always make sure to salute the pioneer woman (I like the way her sculpted dress is always blowing in the wind):

The UT campus itself is a pleasure to walk (my dad's in a condo literally across the street from campus):

I only expected to be here some days, maybe a couple of weeks, not a couple of months (as it now appears), so I am very lucky that I was wearing my all-time favorite pair of walking shoes when I arrived:

So, it is unplugging FROM THE CAR that is keeping me sane right now.

Being able to walk places was so great for my dad until he got sick, and being able to walk instead of drive is the key to my sanity at the moment. It's a practical thing. And a spiritual thing.

And yes, I sing along with Girish and all my other favorite kirtan singers while I walk, even when there are people around. The unofficial motto of this city is "Keep Austin Weird," and I figure that my out-loud kirtan contributes to the good weirdness. Feel free to sing along to the video if you want! :-)

Sunday, February 18, 2018

My Beautiful Graduate Seminar OMG What Did I Just Do? Mistake

Inspired by Michelle's impromptu video for this week's #CCCWrite post, I made a Flipgrid. If you want to give Flipgrid a try, here's the topic: Beautiful Mistakes. Feel free to add your video... and then you can embed it in your blog if you want too!

Here's how to embed in a blog:
1. Click on your video at Flipgrid (here's mine for example).
2. Click the share icon in the top right (the paper airplane; at least, I think that is what it is).
3. Choose embed.
4. Copy the code, and paste it into the HTML VIEW at your blog. I also change the width to 100% so that it will fill my post space but not run off the sides.

One of the things I really like about Flipgrid is how the videos can appear in blogs too!