Looking Back at 2023

Millie, Whiskey, me

A lot happens in a year – sometimes you need to write a “Year in Review Post” in order to figure out what happened.

Teaching and Learning

I was very excited to start the year with a few weeks of teaching a Women in Trades course. Unfortunately, I could only get released for half of the course and later had to realize that these first weeks were the only times I got to teach. This is an ongoing story that will likely continue into 2024.


This year it became even clearer to me that teaching adults is where my passion lies, and this realization will shape any decision about future career moves. In the meantime, I take any opportunity to teach. I’ve been teaching short general interest courses at the College and look forward to doing more of that in 2024.

I also enjoyed learning about teaching and took four courses toward my provincial teaching diploma in 2023.

This latest course was the most challenging and the most interesting of the four. I hope I can take the follow-up course in 2024.

  • Professional Practice
  • Teaching Adults With the Brain in Mind
  • Collaborative Teaching and Learning
  • Foundations of Online Learning and Teaching

I now have enough credits that I can start the last element of the PIDP in January and expect to earn my Provincial Instructor Diploma this spring.

Politics

The rise of hate in the world has also deeply rooted in our little city. The cult that has continued to gather downtown on Saturdays to rant about anything from Covid mandates and vaccines to 5G and climate change denial had to find a new target and found that protesting “Drag Queen Story Time” at the Library was a worthwhile target. As disgusting as the signs of the few protesters were, the overwhelming number of counter-protesters was uplifting.

Unfortunately, the ugly head of this extreme right bigotry, fueled by some of the extremist local churches reared up later in the year. I feel sad that our society is sliding backwards in the direction we see happening in post-Trump USA. I feel that all we can do is create spaces for our 2SLGBTQ+ neighbours where we can protect them. I often remember my Dad, the minister saying “Those who use the bible to promote anything but love, do not understand anything the book teaches.”

Vacation

map with quadra island

The absolute highlight of 2023 was our honeymoon trip to Quadra Island and Vancouver Island this summer. We took our time travelling to our destination by stopping in North Vancouver and Nanaimo. Quadra Island is a magical place and while it was extremely dry the natural surroundings are just stunning. We explored the island and the work of some of the artists there. At some point, Michele mentioned that she had not seen me this relaxed in a long time. I guess taking a good long time off and leaving home to travel has a lot of benefits 😊.

The whole trip went a long way to recharge the batteries. This was a good thing because a difficult phase of our year was about to begin later in August.

60 before 60

As my birthday neared, I realized that I am going to be 60 years old in 2024. For some reason this fact triggered a lot of thoughts about what I want to do with the rest of my life.

But that is really a rather vague way of thinking, so I decided to focus on what I want to do before I turn 60 next August.

Some of these things are little things:

  • Meditate at least 30 days in a row (I’m at day 117 right now)
  • One new blog post every month
  • Visit a different craft brewery every month
  • Go camping
  • Try yoga
  • ….

Some of these things are already checked off, others are planned and some more need to be added.

Some of the bigger things on the list have caused quite a re-focussing of my attention:

  • Finish PIDP – I have been taking courses toward the teaching diploma for four years now and was blown away that I can manage to complete it before I turn 60.
  • Drawing – I had started drawing in October 2022 during Inktober and did a few things after. With the goal of drawing every week and completing Inktober52. I am motivated to learn more and develop my own style. I have taken some courses and workshops and enjoy my drawing journey as well as sharing it on Instagram and my blog.
  • Baking sourdough bread has been a major interest of mine since I received my first culture in 2020 when stores ran out of yeast. I have been baking bread almost every weekend since then and have begun to develop my own recipes.
    A friend pointed out that this Frithjof.blog site lacks focus (that is somewhat by design). Her comment spurred me into creating a new website, Sourdough.guide, to teach online how to make simple sourdough bread and to share my recipes. I feel this has taken off and I enjoy combining my passions for teaching and sourdough baking with my knowledge about building websites and using social media tools.
    All the baking posts will go on the new site now.

Pets

Millie, Whiskey, me
📷 Michele Rule

We lost two pets this year that I loved very much. Whiskey left us in May and we feel fortunate we could give her a safe and comfortable home for the last four years of her life.

In August we had to say goodbye to Millie the cat, who had bonded with me in particular. I miss her calm, independent spirit. She was very sick at the end and I am glad she didn’t have to suffer too long.

Mr Stanley came to us later in August. He came from a household where he was bonded with another cat and had a hard time adjusting. Unfortunately, Daisy, our remaining cat was not happy to share her territory and we spent months keeping the two apart. Right now Daisy is enjoying a “vacation” at Gramma’s house.

Stanley is also quite the character, and we enjoy getting to know him.

Fires

Extreme wildfires have been a constant for several summers now. The climate emergency is shifting weather patterns and causing drought conditions here on the West Coast. Combined with forest mismanagement and other factors, it seems almost impossible to avoid big fires every year.

At first, we thought we could avoid fires in our area while the north of the province experienced the worst fire season in history. But then the fires hit us hard and friends and neighbours were evacuated, and some lost their houses to the fires. It was hard to live under the big smoke cloud for weeks and feel like we would have to leave at any time.

The fires jeopardized the visit of my cousin Sonja and her husband Joerg who were on a long trip across the continent. Fortunately, the situation normalized enough to make it possible for them to come and spend a few great days with us. It was wonderful to connect, and we fondly remember their visit.

Thanksgiving

In October we went on another little vacation to Vancouver. We spent a lovely time seeing all the kids that live there now. We saw 300 + Witches on paddle boards, went to the Bloedel conservatory and had Ethiopian dinner with Amber, Amelia, Sean, and Thomas.

Health

Fortunately, we avoided getting Covid again when so many had to struggle with another bout of it. It seems like vaccination numbers are down, but I am glad we could finally get a new shot this fall.

Michele’s health struggles continue to be an increasing concern with some visits to the ER as well as some concerning developments that are not yet explained. More tests and doctor’s visits are needed, and we hope to get some answers eventually. These struggles weigh on us both, but we are finding ways to cope and I am doing what I can to be a support.

Holidays

Our holidays were quiet, and I took a major amount of time to bake Christmas cookies 😊 In fact, I got a little carried away. We were glad Thomas could come and join us and we are looking forward to seeing our grandson soon to surprise him with the presents that we have for him here.

2024

A side effect of having the list of goals is that I have begun to do more planning and reflecting. 2024 has the potential to become a wonderful year. Even if not everything turns out the way we hope, I think the lessons of 2023 will help me enjoy what is coming better.

I learned that the disappointments in other people and their decision are just that. They are disappointing but in the end, they are challenges that I need to deal with.

I feel extremely lucky to live in a warm house with the love of my life. I have a stable job I enjoy and I have the time and the means to learn new things and teach others the things I know.

Bring it on 2024!

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