I’ve received some good advice on the topic of failure, probably for the best that I received this advice prior to actually accomplishing my first university failure. Unofficial anatomy marks went up last week, and realistically, not even a curve can save me–I got an F.

The word failure, though, to me implies that I didn’t try my best. That I didn’t work hard and that I didn’t engage as deeply as I could. That I didn’t work for it. And I worked for it. I worked for the 37% that I got.  I did two tutoring sessions a week for a month. I did hours of revision and notes. I consumed a ton of iced coffee [caffeine doesn’t do much for me, so this was purely to add some joy to the agony within the form of a venti iced white mocha].

And fortunately, as it always seems to cycle back to all of Jay’s words in Physical Activity: Promotion and Adherence: I am more than my grades, and my grades do not define who I am as a person. And at least I know 37% more for when I re-engage in the journey of anatomy for September.

Experience is what you get, when you didn’t get what you wanted.

Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

Experience. I got it.

When I finished tutoring at the end of Winter term, I said to the student i was working with “You know this stuff now. Implement it — make it happen”. The guy I was tutoring had a lot of really good, creative reflections on the course content of Issues in Health. He knew the content. He knew how to implement the content. Now it was beyond ‘course content’ and had become ‘choice’, and was in his hands.

I am the first to admit that knowing it is the easy part. Doing it, on the other hand, is another story. Some more than others, but we all are aware, to some degree, of which activities/behaviours promote our health, and which behaviours are detrimental to our health. I’ve said it before, that I spend all day (and sometimes night) long some semesters learning about health and wellness. Today, for example, though not the most wellness-promoting, I wrote an anatomy exam, wrote a lab quiz, then came home and ate Sweet Chili Heat Doritos while on Skype for hours.  Still, I am in the same environment as I was the past two terms, but the content around me has changed and thus my behaviour has changed. February and March, for example, I spent tons of afternoons in the gym for class, plus regular exercise outside of class. Last May I was in a physical-activity oriented class.  Each hill and valley in the below graph I have either an understanding of why I was successful, or an excuse for why my numbers [kilometers] are lower:

Dailymile graph.png

I think often that my last year seems to have been in two parts: Before Promotion and Adherence and After Promotion and Adherence, with a transition period in between when the course was occurring. The transition period was like my intervention. I was surrounded by Good Things two days a week, by words and motivation and people who were fighting the same battles as I was: the balance of school, work and maintaining a specific level of physical activity. Some also with the additional mixer of unpredictable chronic disease affecting their routines.

This said, my environment on the whole did not change. I was still surrounded by the same people with the same goals [or a different array of the same people with the same priorities] but it wasn’t freely discussed. We weren’t bouncing ideas off each other all the time, like the discussions about reading textbooks on the stationary bike, or having accountability partners, or eating five bowls of cereal a night [that happened. Not to me, but to people in my class. So good.]

It is not about that that class is done. it is not about my asthma sidelining me for over two weeks. It is not about the anatomy midterm sucking the proverbial life out of me.

It’s about me. It’s about my choices. It’s about me finding ways to continue that process that started nine months ago and do what i am capable of, and then some.

It’s about getting back into it.

I know it. I know what I should be doing and I know how to do it. Now I just have to implement it.

Make it happen.

note: there is some crazy thing going on with my tags. i’ve got tech support and my friend Mike on it :].

So I missed yesterday. Fortunately I have two “get out of post free days”, but I can’t say I used it wisely. I basically forgot about #hawmc until 11:46 pm, and it wasn’t like I didn’t spend the bulk of the day at home after getting off work. Oh well–I had a great Skype call with Jamie, Larry, Carrie Lynn and Thomas to make up for the lack of #hawmc!


Today is ten things you can’t live without day. And I just can’t bring myself to write it. Because it could be done, but it could be cliche and/or meaningless. It could be about stupid medicine and oxygen and the bottom row of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. It should be bigger than that, and I think the journey of blogging is moving beyond the material things of life and gaining perspective on life outside of what we’re currently staring in the face. About the value of people and stories and community-building. And I know the whole perspective/perception/choice/change thing is something I blog about a lot, maybe because it’s a relatively new understanding for me that came about in my physical activity: promotion and adherence class last term. I just think it’s so crazy how that one class, those two days a week, had so much impact on how I think about things, how I think about how things impact me, and my general perceptions of life and people as a whole.

So instead of ten things I “can’t” live without [because “can’t” isn’t an option, nor is it a positive perception!], keeping it on the theme of perspective AND music, here are the top 10 songs on my iTunes (by different artists), because as a person who analyzes each section of these songs deeply and finds connection in them for some reason, they likely have more influence on me than I have previously contemplated.

10. Odette – Matthew Good

This song I am sure lead to this night. It and another further down the list is one that, during the bad breathing nights and asthma burn-out periods, gets me thinking a little too deeply too late at night–too wide awake, breathless and trapped in my own thoughts because I can’t sleep. Don’t wanna be so wide awake.

I look tired but I, I feel wired, and my body hums like it’s coming undone […] don’t wanna be so wide awake, don’t wanna be so wide awake. Hey, midnight, turn on your lights. Roll out your stars.

9. Perfect Day – Hoku

This one’s just a feel-good tune and just poppy enough to make me smile.

People say, they say that it’s just a phase, they tell me to act my age . . . well I am. On this perfect day, nothing’s standing in my way, when nothing can go wrong, tomorrow’s gonna come too soon, I could stay forever as I am, on this perfect day […] I’m in the race but I already won, but getting there can be half the fun

8. Isadore – Incubus

I think I like the mystery in this one. What is not awesome about the time Erica and her Isadore climbed aboard a balloon? It also has great guitar. But really: the mystery.

You can’t just leave, I’ve given everything. I can’t bear to leave, you’ve taken everything, you’re taking everything. It’s not who you were, it’s who you are, and we’ve come this far lover. No, I won’t rest until the world knows the name Isadore. […] Goodbye Erica, now I see, that my worst fears were in tune.

7. Drive – Ed Kowalczyk

The redemptive power of Jesus in a pretty typical Christian-rock way, but by one of my favourite artists, Ed Kowalczyk. I was already into Live prior to hearing Ed’s solo stuff, but the questioning organized religion and questioning God thing was really, really honest feeling to me based on my current perceptions on faith/dislike of religion/journey with God. While I feel like ALIVE [Ed’s solo album] was a weaker release than the Live stuff, I’ve learned to appreciate that they are separate entities. This song, as well as Grace, Soul Whispers and Rome still hit me hard in that they breathe the message of redemption into the music but without being, you know, preachy about it. I don’t do preachy music (or people) well.

Headed out into my desert, all alone and thirsty for something more […] probability of a victory’s over, would You mind if i put this on Your shoulder? i need something more! here i am, standing inside Your love, like a child falling asleep at the wheel of my life, and letting You drive. […] You’re the only One who can save me!

6. Square State Syndrome – Farewell Fighter

This one is the victory tune in the recovery phase from when Odette by Matthew Good becomes a playlist staple. It’s for when I can release what’s holding me back, when the shit stops weighing me down, when I can breathe again . . . physically and metaphorically.

And I stopped right there, not just to catch my breath but to gasp for air […] if you’re keeping score, this is a victory. i can finally breathe, i can finally sleep at night. […]

5. Daydreamer – Dr. Noise

I like a good heavy tune. I like some screaming, awesome guitar, and well-fitted drums. And this Dr. Noise tune hits it on the mark.

As the dream world fades, revelations made, reality enters once again. […] but something’s haunting me bittersweet reality.

4. Sunshine Escapade – Tess Dunn

This is one of the earlier recordings on Tess Dunn’s Youtube (not sure it’s even still up) that I swiped with vid to mp3 [Tess, I promise if there’s ever a studio recording I will buy it!], and it’s about Ari Shine, another very cool artist that I came to know of through Tess.  Tess and Ari both have cystic fibrosis, and this song is a powerful representation of the bond that chronic disease can bring between two people who share other common interests–something I have experienced myself in huge ways.

I just want to believe you when you say we’ll have a way soon, cause soon seems too far away for me […] when i am all alone, when i need you most, and you never turned me away despite what they have to say, and that’s why you’re becoming my sunshine, you may not fit the stereo[type] but why should i care? […] i’m beginning to think i’ll be okay, so promise me you’ll never change

3. Past Praying For – VersaEmerge

This is the tune that got me into VersaEmerge. I may be the only one who thinks of it this way, but we are in reality, all past praying for, and it is only in Jesus that we are redeemed. And sometimes, in spite of it all, sometimes I do think I’m too far gone still and why would God bother to redesign me. Questions unanswered, but, there has to be some reason that this song echoes with me so much. I ignore God, I float through days without paying Him a second thought, and even though I am working at this, sometimes I truly feel I am totally past praying for . . . but He redeems me in spite of my doubts and ignites my faith again when He writes it into my journey.

Always kept quiet, clenching my teeth, finally, fighting the floor, raise me from my bones once more. […] I wouldn’t want to wake you from yourself, doesn’t sit in your stomach just quite right. […] crawling around me, sleepless. In the wake I’ll be just like the rest, tell the sun don’t fall so we’ll never forget […] in the wake I’ll be just like the rest, past praying for.

2. Watch the Sky – Something Corporate

Once again, this is a getting-through-the-long-asthma-nights tune. I am fortunate I don’t have these nights often, as if I did my resonating tracks would have to be longer than two songs. The piano in this song is such an awesome driving force, and also could potentially speak to the redemption factor . . . and persistence.  There are bad days with any chronic disease. There is guilt that we didn’t make the right choices or did something to throw our control out of whack. And . . . there are good days where we know we can do this.

And then your frequency is pulling me in closer till I’m home. And I’ve been up for days, i finally lost my mind and then i lost my way, i’m blistered but i’m better […] i will crawl, there’s things that aren’t worth giving up i know, but i won’t let this get me, i will fight, you live the life you’re given with the storms outside, some days all i do is watch the sky […] this guilt feels so familiar and i’m home […] i think i, i could use a little break, but today was a good day. and it’s a deep sea in which i’m floating, still i seem to think that i must crawl.

1. Delight in Me – Addison Road

The number one most played song on my iTunes is one that is purely a worship song about God’s healing, His redemption and His love. The way I’ve been feeling lately in my faith journey, it surprises me that this is still at the top, but it really holds true to the permanence of God, that He truly never lets go no matter how far we try to run away from His open arms, that no matter what, He loves us.

i’m down here, pick me up. i’m lost, You found me. […] You forgive, I remember […] You delight in me ’cause i am precious to You. You delight in me ’cause, oh You love me. and when i’m low and i feel so useless, i’ll remember Your promise to me.

There. The top ten. And, you know, the rambly bit above.

This is the best I’ve felt in weeks.

This morning, I woke up and grabbed my inhaler has a completely different meaning.  I woke up, realized how fantastic I was feeling, and reached up to grab my Ventolin to pre-medicate for my first workout in over two weeks, instead of reaching for my inhaler to take the edge off gunky morning lungs.  I kept it short and light, covering 5.66 km in 25 minutes–the last thing I want to do is start going too hard too fast and end up back where I was two weeks ago and get sidelined again (I’m doing a vlog series right now called Working up to Working Out, chronicling my journey back to kicking ass, so feel free to check that out).  And I feel even better afterwards.

Following that I checked the MyBlackboard thing to see if our research papers for Issues in Sport had been graded yet (surprise surprise, nope. They were due November 18th. This would not bug me so much if I had grades for more than one of four reflections for the class also), and the icon under Promotion and Adherence caught my eye.  Course wrap-up message and final exam grades.  Bring on the seconds worth of anticipation when you can’t get the page to load fast enough, right?

The final exam was yesterday and our (unofficial) exam marks are posted (this has me wondering if Jay slept at all or just motored through them), and scored 84% . . . and if all stays as is, will have officially earned my first A- in university!  Needless to say, I am stoked, and that combined with how I left my Physical Activity and Aging exam feeling so positive on Wednesday night . . . well, it’s awesome.

And with that, and being a ball of energy, I am off to work — today is “Santa Day”, so it will be full of pizza and presents and staying at work until 8:30!

But also full of feeling positive, so hooray!

In the middle of campus, there’s a set of stairs sandwiched between two escalators.  It’s been a topic of discussion in more than one of my classes, and Promotion and Adherence is no exception.  We watched this video in that class too — I’d seen it before, but I love the concept.  Who DOESN’T want piano stairs?

They might make more students actually use the stairs between the escalators on campus.  I actually race people by running up the stairs and seeing if I can beat the person who got on the escalator the same time I got on the stairs.  Mostly people on campus just STAND on the escalator, too, like the people in the video above. Hello, they are meant to make you go FASTER not SLOWER.  Additionally, a girl in my class said that the only people she ever sees on the stairs are people who are in kinesiology.  We need Point of Decision prompts hanging at eye level above all the escalators and elevators on campus.

Burn calories, not electricity. Take the stairs.

Today I was on a mission for baked chips on campus.  The vending machines in the athletic centre had none, so I ran [literally] to the other building via the skywalk on the next floor up, up one of the flights of stairs between the escalators, and up to the other vending machines.  Nada.  Back to the cafeteria.  Nope.  Oh well, no chips for Kerri isn’t exactly a bad thing, right?  Ran back down the stairs to the athletic centre again.

So, who is the only person on his way up the stairs as I am going down?  Yep, it’s my Promotion and Adherence prof, Jay.  Further underscoring the kinesology-people-on-the-stairs thing.

I try to take the stairs whenever possible — when I was still seeing my old pulmonologist [yeah, I’ve decided to ‘break up’ with him], I’d always take the stairs to the seventh-floor lung clinic.  Thatgot me a look from the receptionist a time or two!  [Hey, I may have asthma, but I’m young and otherwise healthy!]

They may not look like pianos, but they’re good for you!  If you don’t already, try it this week: take the stairs.  It all adds up!