Whine Weds

I’ve seen the #wineWeds and #whineWed tags on Twitter and both have made me smile. Although I do prefer the sarcastic #whineWeds tag. Lately, I have followed the #wellnessWeds tag on Twitter and other social networking sites. I am trying to spend any extra time thinking about the positive and surrounding myself with people who really bring me joy. Yes, I have read Marie Kondo’s books and I have decluttered lots in my house, and other parts of my life. There is something truly liberating for me to be able to protect my time.

Recently I was at a regional conference in my home discipline and I took special care to protect to my schedule, and outside of conference commitments I was very careful with any extra time that I had. I brought along some work and I needed to take care of it. I read reports, and graded in the sun, and kept up with my email. I also attended fewer obligatory receptions, and I am fine with that. I was in charge of my time. I did get some networking in, but it’s not the feverish networking of someone who is looking for work and trying to make all the connections. I’ve been there.

I am hearing from vendors or other partners about the need for a conference call and the one to three day warning for the meetings is not enough. The emails that note ASAP are not a priority for me and my time. The people who I work with regularly and have access to me and my time do not need to flag the message as important. It is often the vendor or someone who has not planned their time well, who uses that flag or note.

I need to balance my work and it is getting easier for me to offer a polite no and suggest the call or meeting for next week or the week after. So, on this #wellnessWeds I lift up my coffee and say, “Protecting your time, protects you.” It is perfectly acceptable to say, No. No, I am not available. No, I will not engage with you. No, I will not respond to your passive aggressive email with a passive aggressive response. No. But, always say yes to Tacos.


Anti-Bullying Workshop: Part 2

I previously blogged about an Anti-Bullying held on March 31st, 2012 that I attended in San Diego. The workshop was sponsored by Voices of Women and was for the local Somali community. The latter half of the panel included a community member and the local Police. The first presenter was Ramla Sahid, community organizer. Yes, I smiled when I heard this descriptor and after hearing her presentation I was so impressed. Did I share that she’s also a SDSU alum?! Yes, she is. This young woman is working for social change. “We are accountable to one another.” Hearing her say this was important. She was reminding the mothers and daughters in attendance. Yes, the audience was predominantly sex segregated and I will speak to this later.  She also gave a polite yet scathing commentary on how the tough on crime legislation and policies in California were counter-productive.

The other speakers were two police officers: one Lieutenant and one Detective. I am not using their names–both of them work in the community and I will leave it at that. The two really spoke to the intricacies of the laws regarding bullying and harassment. There were a few moments when I wondered if the presentation was right for this audience, but nonetheless their presentation was good. I also was at times fascinated by their guns. The guns looked out of place–I know that they were on duty, but after years in Canada I am not as used to seeing lots of guns around. (Humor). The officers noted that if bullying begins in primary school it only worsens in junior high and high school, so it’s important that we respond.

“Respect is universal.” Lots of head nodded when the Lieutenant made this statement. Farah noted that we need to get the men involved and that they need men only workshops. I am not sure if I agree, but then again I am not taking into the cultural considerations. Perhaps he is on to something and these male only workshops can also speak to the importance of fatherhood. More workshops is definitely something work thinking of given the proliferation of bullying and need to curb it in schools.

When the question and answer period took place Agin Shaheed noted that we must get the fathers involved. There were only mothers in attendance. He also noted that across the US 87% of teachers are women. (Is this why we keep on hearing the press and experts pick on teachers? Is there bullying against teachers because this is still viewed as women’s work? Maybe that is another post).

Anti-Bullying Workshop: Part 1

I had the distinct pleasure of the Voices of Women’s (VOW) Anti-Bullying workshop in San Diego, California on March 31st 2012. VOW collaborated with the United Women of East Africa for this workshop. I was quite pleased to be in the minority in the crowd. The majority of the attendees were women from the Somali community in City Heights neighborhood in San Diego. The array of panelists provided insight into the policies and realities of anti-bullying today in San Diego and more specifically the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD). The array of handouts that SDUSD uses with documenting bullying and the anti-bullying efforts impressed me. I kept multiple copies so that I could share them at home. And, here I include my screen shots.

The first speaker, Agin Shaheed, is an administrator with the SDUSD. His exact position focuses on Race Relations. I couldn’t help but think that his job must be incredibly rewarding and exhausting. Shaheed noted that the SDUSD is the largest school district in San Diego County and second largest in the state. This would make it behind the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). Shaheed opened up his remarks reading a moving poem he wrote. He reminded the audience of 50 about the murders of Shaima and Trayvon. I was glad I packed my tissues. Shaheed made a germane point about cyberbullying and the way it invades the home–it makes this form of bullying more invasive. Victims of cyberbullying are not safe anywhere.

The next speaker Maslah Farah, Director of the Neighborhood Unity Foundation shared that he was bullied and got into trouble while he was in school. He shared that the bullying stays with you for the rest of your life. He also opened up my eyes to how important cultural issues are. He noted that in Somalia families really look to the teachers as a second parent and that corporal punishment is more common in the schools or other forms of discipline that are not allowed here. (I could hear some warm laughter as he noted this). What I took from his talk is that he was kicked out of high school and is now successful and using his community work to mentor others in the community. He reminded us that we need to move away from a mainstream culture that enjoys witnessing misery.

This portion of workshop really made me think about the ways that we think about bullying. I also wondered what sorts of policy the local schools in Victoria (where I live) have regarding bullying. We can talk until we’re blue in the face about how bullying is bad, and that kids should not do it. But, until we practice this and don’t encourage bullying among adults we unfortunately model bad behavior. Just turn on some reality television shows and we can see and hear bullying. Look at some of the news magazine shows and we can also see the bullying nature by the hosts. We live in a society where bullying is rampant. Not to seem trite–but we  need to model better behavior.

Fri Fun Facts from the US

As you know I am an ex-pat living in Canada. I get back to the US a few times a year. And, I am in the US now. I’m focusing today’s post about the US or more specifically San Diego. I’m at San Diego Comic Con #SDCC11.

1. One of my favorite things about San Diego is the memories from all the years of living here during university and after. Both my daughters were born in San Diego (well, actually La Jolla) and the same doctor attended their births. Que awwww.

2. The weather. San Diego has a temperate but warm climate. San Diego also does not have the smog that the great Los Angeles basin, Riverside, or San Bernardino counties have.

3. San Diego still maintains a smaller city feel even though its population exceeds  3.1 million people. It’s a good-sized city with lots of different neighborhood offering something for everyone.

4. San Diego hosts Comic Con each year. Isn’t that a great reason to love the city?!

5. San Diego is a tourist town. There are lots of things to do: Sea World, Zoo, Wild Animal Park, Lego Land, Balboa Park, the ocean and different beaches, great Aztec games (I am a two-time alum from State), eateries, baseball Go, Padres, and countless other outdoor activities.

6. Thanks to the universities there are lots of centers and choices for students. San Diego State, University of San Diego, UC San Diego, as well as CSU San Marcos and Point Loma.

I could continue, but I don’t want to gloat. It’s great to be back in San Diego.