A Teacher’s worst nightmare

In May 2013, a good friend of mine was wrongfully imprisoned in Shanghai.  He was an amazing teacher, a kind friend and a loving partner. Despite having support from the majority of students and adult witnesses to prove his innocence, Dee was accused of abusing children in his kindergarten classroom. There was an absolute lack of proof and knowing Dee personally, there is no chance that these allegations were accurate. 

After a murky investigation and a closed trial, with no defense witnesses or evidence allowed, and no cross-examination of police evidence, Dee was sentenced to 12 years in prison. He has maintained his innocence throughout his imprisonment and continues to fight against his false incrimination. He was not allowed ANY visitors while he awaited conviction and trial. Finally his partner became his wife and she was allowed to see him twice a month. 

On top of working full time as a teacher herself she tirelessly fights for his innocence. Unsure of where to turn to now, she is desperately looking for anyone with any connections to help spread his story. All they are asking for is a fair trial. This is the only thing they want because his innocence is so easily proven.

If you have any spare time please visit the FREE DEE CAMPAIGN website and read his story and PLEASE share it with anyone that you think might have a connection to someone who might be able to help.

 

https://www.freedee.org/

 

The Free Dee Campaign is a coalition of family, friends, colleagues, and supporters working for justice for David “Dee” McMahon and for Dee’s release from wrongful imprisonment.

 

 

Thank you for supporting my friend!

Inspired poetry

One of my favourite writers is Charles Bukowski. He is blunt, filthy, at times depressing and always entertaining. I often look to him for inspiration when I am in the mood to write poetry.

This poem of his called, This Kind of Fire, is a favourite of mine. I don’t know about you but I have definitely found myself wondering if the “gods deliberately keep pushing me into the fire” I love that line. Have you felt that way before?

This poem came to mind this week as I have been so focused on trying to show some members of my team that there has been in a shift in the way we should be approaching the instruction of reading and writing. I have been feeling like I am talking to a concrete wall, unable to move it even an inch. I thought I would try writing my own version.

 

This Kind of Fire by Charles Bukowksi

sometimes I think the gods
deliberately keep pushing me
into the fire
just to hear me
yelp 
a few good
lines.

they just aren’t going to
let me retire
silk scarf about neck
giving lectures at 
Yale.

the gods need me to
entertain them.

they must be terribly
bored with all
the others

and I am too.

and now my cigarette lighter
has gone dry.
I sit here
hopelessly
flicking it.

this kind of fire
they can’t give
me.

 

 

My Kind of Fire by Shannon Taggart

sometimes I think the gods

deliberately keep pushing me

into the fire

just to feel my

blood

boil

they just aren’t going to

let me give up

convincing others

that

change

is

necessary

They are going to leave me

to sing and dance

pulling research

out of my

well-educated ass

 

the gods need me

to entertain them

they must

be bored

with all the others

I know I am too

 

my fingers are tired

my research

has been exhausted

I sit here hopelessly

hitting my head against

the concrete wall

hoping that one day

 

it might budge

 

 

My Beautiful Campus

In July 2017, I moved to a small town just outside of Calgary, Alberta to join an amazing school surrounded by 220 acres of land. As an outdoor enthusiast, this was a dream come true for me.

On our campus you can lose yourself in the beautiful groomed trails surrounding the school. Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter, you are bound to come face to face with a family of deer and cross tracks of various creatures hiding in the forest. Whether in hiking boots, snowshoes or cross-country skis the trails are always accessible.

While hiking the trails, you will find a large pond. If you are feeling up to it, you can borrow a kayak and go for a paddle. Otherwise, you can dip your toes in on the dock as you bask in the sun and breathe the crisp forest air.

If you aren’t feeling up for a long trek, closer to the the school, you can follow the path through the Forever Woods. There you will find beautiful benches and memorials of the students that were lost many years ago. You will find a beautiful calmness along this path.

Lastly you will find the Aspen Lodge. A Cabin with walls made of windows, surrounded by Aspen trees. You can warm up by the fire and enjoy the view of the nature surrounding you.

Recently a family of Elk decided to visit our school. Every morning I pass them lying down in the snow next to the driveway and on the way home I see them munching away on the grass they have dug up under the piles of snow.

elk.jpg

 

A Trip to the Car Wash…Perspective 3

Through my eyes:

As I strap Marlowe into the car seat, Jeezy says he is driving. I bite my tongue as I climb into the passenger seat. I try to get comfortable because when Jeezy drives, it takes us a while to get anywhere. After perfectly adjusting his seat, he begins to back out of the driveway. I am pretty sure a turtle would have been down the driveway and around the corner by the time Jeezy got to the end of our short driveway. As soon as we enter the road, Marlowe begins her ritual of telling us that she is “all done” every 30 seconds or so. The repetition of those two words in a very slow moving vehicle is enough to make anyone want to jump out of the car window. We hit the main streets, racing down the road at 5 km/h below the speed limit. Finally we make it to the car wash. Jeezy pulls up as far away from the key pad as possible. Apparently it is impossible to reach the keypad from your car. After punching in the code, the door opens and Jeezy uses extreme caution to ensure that he is perfectly centred in the car wash bay. As soon the water begins to spray, Marlowe screams at the top of her lungs. I hop into the backseat and attempt to calm her down. Good thing two year olds are easily distracted. Nothing like a little Mortimer to take your mind off of the scary sounds around you.

Finally the green light shines, Jeezy slowly, really slowly, starts to move slowly through the dryer. As he ensures that he uses every second on the dryer timer. Taking deep breaths in the back seat, I am happy that we don’t have any more errands to run because already I can taste blood, I have been biting my tongue so hard.

A trip to the car wash… perspective 2

Through Marlowe’s eyes:

My Mom straps me into this awful contraption again. I can barely stretch my legs out and I have to face backwards. For the longest time I could only see the seat. My parents always talk about what they see out the window but I can’t see any of that. Finally the added this magic thing to the seat so that I can see them. My Dad waves at me. Whenever my Dad is driving, we always seem to be in the car for a really long time. At least when my Mom drives we go ZOOM ZOOM down the road.   I let my Dad know that I am all done with this torture seat as soon as we start backing up out of the driveway. I continue to remind him that I am all done with this car trip every 30 seconds just in case he forgets. My Dad stops the car in this really weird place. Things start attacking the car from all angles. It is so loud. I try to escape my seat to save my parents. I scream and cry to get their attention and tell that them we have to get out before it is too late. My Mom understands me. I see her climb into the back seat. I try telling her to get us out of the car quickly but she ignores my pleas and talks calmly to me. Why won’t she listen to me? She shows me a book and before I know it, my Dad manages to get us out of the scary building alive. If I hadn’t screamed, there is no way my parents would have known it wasn’t safe in there. I think I probably saved their lives that day. After escaping, I continued to remind my Dad that I was all done every 30 seconds in case he forgot. Finally, we made it home alive. I hope they never take me in that darn car again. Nothing good happens in there.

 

 

A Trip to the Car Wash… perspective 1

Through Jeezy’s eyes:

I start the car. I give Marlowe a wave through the mirror and begin to check my mirror three times before I back out of the driveway at the high speed of 1 kilometre per hour. Stopping before entering the road. I close the garage door and wait for it to close completely before confirming that the road is clear. After looking both ways 5 times, I creep out of the driveway. I put the car into drive and proceed down the road at 10 kilometres per hour. Marlowe shouts “ALL DONE!” Ignoring her, I grip the wheel at exactly 10 and 2 and begin the journey to the car wash. I stop for exactly 5 seconds at each traffic signal. I know they say you only need to stop for 3 seconds but it never hurts to take an extra couple of seconds to look again. I drive 5 kilometres below the speed limit and let everyone pass as they please. Once we arrive to the car wash. I pull up as far away from the key pad as possible. I get out of my car to enter the code and wait patiently for the door to open. I buckle up again and sing with Marlowe as I wait.

Finally the door opens and I enter the car wash making sure that I am precisely in the middle of the bay. Backing up and readjusting until it is perfect. I place the car in park and the car wash begins! Marlowe cries in the back seat because of the scary sounds and weird colours pouring over the car. Shags crawls into the back seat to calm Marlowe down and I begin to calculate how long each part of the car should spend under the dryer in order to maximise the drying time given. Marlowe calms down and I exit the car wash without a drop of water to be seen on the surface of my car. I return home with caution, taking care at every intersection. When I arrive home, I beam with pride over my safe driving skills and my sparkling car.

 

Stayed tuned for The Trip to the Car Wash through Marlowe’s Perspective tomorrow…

Rusty Writing

I am out of practice

my mind is blank

the words are missing

hidden in my brain

I haven’t written

shared my thoughts

without the practice

my flow is dusty

I hear the creaks and crackles

as I grasp for thoughts

search for metaphors

and interesting words

As I  start to write

the hinges loosen

they start to come slowly

a little faster each day

 

 

 

Lessons from a 2 year old

 

birthday

 

Dear Marlowe,

Today you are two.

Somehow I managed to help you survive for two whole years.  At first it seemed impossible but every day you taught me something new. In two short years, you filled my life with the lessons I needed, so that today it seems so easy. Spending time with you is a treat.

You are smart, strong and so very caring.

Your mind is full of wonder and excitement. Watching the world through your eyes is like peering out the window to a magical place. Your willingness to share your most treasured snacks with me, reminds me that the smallest things can change someone’s day. You change my day every day.

 

You are full of love.

 

The feeling I get when I hear your giggles and shouts of  “MAAAAAMAAAAA” through the door, when you hear me coming home from work makes my heart sing. The love you hold for your Dad is indescribable. Your early morning shouts for “DAAAAAADAAAAA!” make it easier to get up each and every day.  You have inspired me to show my love for others more often. Your endless love fills me with joy.

 

 

 

You are you, perfectly you and I am me, perfectly me with you by my side.

 

Love

Mama