Tell Me What You Want, What You Really Really Want

We just got back from a Christmas holiday to Calgary and Fernie, and not a moment too soon.   Another day or two and I’d end up causing a big fight.

The trip was great, but highlighted by a series of strange communication errors. Either I would only hear half of what someone was saying, or I’d only say half of what I meant.  So many situations were unnecessarily strained, from arranging a meeting with my aunt and uncle or sorting the recycling as we cleaned out the condo in Fernie.

Inevitably I’d get frustrated by the misunderstanding.  Of course we were going to meet today!  Clearly this pile is recycling and that is garbage!  Then I’d get accused of being ‘snippy’ which would raise the tension three more levels.

Luckily we had a nine hour drive home where I could stew, mope, then try to figure things out.  I was taken back to a “Crucial Conversations” class I took years ago where the instructor kept quoting the Spice Girls.

Tell me what you want.  What you really, really want!

If what I really, really want is smoother, easier, stress free conversations with my friends and family (and I do), then that’s what I need to focus on.

Relax.  Get centred.  Explain in detail what I’m thinking.  Ask for feedback.  Ask for input.  Ensure we have understanding.  Then ensure we agree on the next step.

It’s hard for me, because I’m either experiencing life in big gulps and don’t want to stop, or I’m anxious about something and am dancing around the issue.

But if I’m going to reduce the number of Defcon 4 moments, I better stick to the program.

Relax.  Get centred.  Explain in detail what I’m thinking.  Ask for feedback.  Ask for input.  Ensure we have understanding.  Then ensure we agree on the next step.

I’m not really one for New Year’s Resolutions, but it seems I have one this year.

Arsene Ben

Arsene Ben

Turning 18 can be a traumatic time for a young adult. These days, instead of representing endless possibilities, an 18th birthday can leave one staring into a huge, empty void. High level organized sports stop at age 18 for all but the tiny tip of the pyramid. With the end of high school comes the end of band, choir and musicals for most kids as well.

I never really noticed this until I watched Ben graduate from high school this summer. A nice banquet, some awards, a final concert or two, then it was over. I don’t think he’s touched his trumpet since and has only picked up his guitar a handful of times. Instead, it’s on to grown up things like working and figuring out his future.

Ben’s soccer career also made a big shift, although that took until October. His club team qualified for Nationals as Saskatchewan champions, so Ben spent Thanksgiving in Newfoundland squaring off against powerhouses from BC and Ontario. But then, it was over. The next level is University soccer, but Ben’s not interested. So his competitive ‘career’ is over, although he is loving playing on a recreational adult team once a week.

So I was thrilled when Ben was asked to help coach his former high school team. He worked with the rookie goalkeepers and gave pointers to the back line. It seems like he took a turn at some of the drills too.

Thanks to a solid midfield and blazingly fast forwards, his team won the City Championship last night and Ben was all dressed up on the sidelines. I think he was as happy with this medal as the one he won as a player in Grade 9.

The head coach insisted on suits for the coaches for the final game, joking that he wanted to look like Pep Guardiola. In my mind Ben looks a little like a young Arsene Wenger. Likely just a proud father vision there.

I hope Ben keeps coaching. That’s something that can last well past 18, or even 36. Who knows, maybe he can get me tickets to an Arsenal game one day.

Whycocomah? Because it is there!

Our last night on Cape Breton was at the lovely Whycocomah Provincial Park. Huge grassy sites with great views of the village across the water.

One unique "feature", however is the placement of the washrooms. They’re quite a way from our site, and way down the hill too. The quad and glute workout is free!

In the pic, our tent is up and to the right of the picnic table waaay up the hill.

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Skyline Trail: Foggy then spectacular

We revisited the Skyline Trail in Cape Breton Highlands Park, although we weren’t sure what to expect. It was one of the highlights of our 2005 trip but this morning was very foggy.

The trail started like a trip through the Forbidden Forest, and by the time we made it to the headlands we couldn’t see a thing. We spent about 30 minutes taking pictures of the nothingness.

Then, just as we were heading back down the trail, the skies cleared. We hurried back to a glorious view of French Mountain, the headlands, and the ocean. We could see clear across to Cheticamp. Well worth the wait!

It was also cool to run into Monica Rivers and her family on the trail, who are also from Regina. Small worl indeed…

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Cape Breton Highlands

The early morning fog doesn’t detract from the views; I think it enhances them.

This is one of Canada’s most beautiful places.

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