Monday, May 11, 2009

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


I love spring. 
It's a gardening thing, and it underscores my true nature as an optimist. When I squat down and peer over my garden, where a more objective person would see shoots, some weeds, a few clumps of new perennials and lots of bare ground, I see what's coming. I don't mean this in a metaphorical way. I mean, I really envision what will be there in a week or a month or in late July. I get excited about the possibility in the green. 

This is also what makes me a little sad this time of year. The beginning of my gardening marks the end of the school year. 

Most of my faculty colleagues love our job because basically we are done teaching late April. Sure, most of us do some spring teaching, or workshops and always there are meetings. But the bulk of our main teaching with the students we know best is done. 
I miss them!
I miss the busyness of the college. It's really strange to me that there can be thousands of people crowding the halls and staircases one day, then almost no one the next. 

I miss their eagerness, their trust in me, their ridiculous excuses, their popping by my office to chat, ("Are you busy?"), and I absolutely adore their brilliant, probing, sometimes hesitant questions. 

I especially miss the graduating students. The ones I likely won't see again until at least convocation, if at all. I become very attached to my students over their two or three years in the program. I have a penchant for seeing them as individuals and not as a 'class'. The severing of these connections is not as easy for me as I think it should be, as a professional. I really LIKE my students, even the 'annoying' ones. It's hard for me when they move on, move past us, when we have become surrogate parents for may of them! 

As many move to Toronto, it's not easy to stay in touch. Online social networking has made it easier, but it's not the same as seeing them every day. 

I miss seeing the possibility in the green.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Jane Jacobs: my reason for moving downtown Check this out!

Here's a test....I'm putting a call out on Twitter, Facebook and here on my blog. We need a Jane's Walk in Kingston. Imagine a tour of the uber-cool courtyards, back alley residences and hidden out-of-the-way architecture downtown. Have you ever walked along Bagot Street, peeked down the arched driveway of a row-house and glimpsed a coach house in the alley behind the home? What a treat it would be to share these secret spots.

If you don't know Jane Jacobs, please do yourself a favour and read at least one of her smart, common sense-filled books which contain a vision of liveable cities. She and Richard Florida provided all the motivation we needed for our move downtown.

I've contacted the Canadian director. Now....who wants to be involved???

"No one can find what will work for our cities by looking at ...suburban garden cities, manipulating scale models, or inventing dream cities. You've got to get out and walk." - Jacobs, Downtown is for People, 1957.