Finding a Voice

Friday, April 29, 2005

Dad's heart

Mom and Dad stayed overnight on Tuesday in the Pilgrim Inn ($20 off on Tuesday nights!). We saw each other briefly that night and had a nice visit and lunch together at the Point on Wednesday. They were on a little tour to see a few people. They brought me lots of birthday presents. It's almost 2 months after the fact, but they were fragile so mom didn't want to mail them: 2 antique Asian dolls and 4 decorator plates with the Chinese characters for the seasons written on them (one for each plate).

While Mom shopped in the bookstore, Dad showed me the pictures of his heart from his recent angioplasties. The first angioplasty was the day after his heart attack. It's easy to see where the artery is pinched before and then widened after the stent is in. A couple of weeks later it's the same story for the routine follow-up stent: pinched artery, widened artery. But within hours of the second stent, Dad was obviously in trouble and having another heart attack. In that before picture, the artery completely disappears after the blockage! Four stents later it reappears. Crazy. My dad could have died, but with some quick intervention he's still here and I'm so glad.

We didn't have enough time together. I'm trying to figure out a time to get to Spiritwood before I go on vacation at the end of May. It would be very good to see Grandma & Grandpa, too.
posted by Colleen McCubbin at 6:34 PM 2 comments

School's out

Most of the college students left last week. There were modular classes this week and the rest of the students will leave this weekend--probably today.

Grad was lovely. In some ways I was relieved to reach the end of the school year, in other ways, wistful. The summer will be full with working out details for my new responsibilities with student families while trying to write a thesis on the history of women at Briercrest; specifically, oral history. Note: Dr. Bruce Hindmarsh has written an interesting related article, which mentions both Annie Hillson and Isabel Whittaker who were, essentially, the founders of Briercrest.

My assistant, Phil, is officially done this week. He'll be returning to the States, looking for a church to work in down there. Then it will just be me in my office space in the H. Alvin Memory Centre (aka the dining hall building or the Whittaker building--nobody ever really calls it the H. Alvin Memory Centre, or even the Memory Centre). People ask if I get lonely over here. Not really. Extraverted as I am, I really like solitude and silence. Besides, it's summer and most days it's easy to walk from one building to the other. Fewer distractions over here.
posted by Colleen McCubbin at 6:13 PM 0 comments

Friday, April 15, 2005

Relieved ...

I talked to my dad on the phone this morning. He is probably getting out of the hospital today. He slept well last night with no pain, though there was a noisy guy in the middle of the night in an adjacent bed who insisted that he was going home. "They must have sedated him," said dad, "because he was quiet this morning. They moved him to a private room."
posted by Colleen McCubbin at 11:19 AM 0 comments

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Why is the Degree Important?

Briercrest graduation is a week from Saturday: dozens of students will cross the stage to receive diplomas for Bachelor's degrees and other sorts of certificates.

Other students are trying to decide whether to finish their Bachelor's degrees. Below is a helpful excerpt from a document on the Council for Higher Education Accreditation website:

Education for the degree is education for

• developing and deepening the capacity to think;
• obtaining knowledge on which preparation for the future depends;
• acquiring a fuller understanding of cultures;
• strengthening the foundation for informed citizenship, participation in community life and public leadership; and,
• sustaining vocational roles and career goals.

The degree represents the efforts of educators and students to organize the learning experience in pursuit of these critical purposes. As the capstone of higher education, the degree is intended to foster lifelong learning and useful involvement in the world around us. By its confirmation of skill development, the degree signifies that the student has acquired some mastery of general education and preparation for career or profession. The degree indicates that a course of study has been completed and that the student is positioned to continue to learn, work, and function productively in pertinent communities.

posted by Colleen McCubbin at 10:06 AM 2 comments

Dad again

So, Dad went in for a routine follow-up angioplasty on Tuesday morning. Around noon they installed a second stint (which is like a pen spring to widen the artery). Then they realized there was a problem, took him back into surgery around 4:00 and put in four more stints!

Mom phoned her kids and dad's siblings, but that's a lot of people to keep track of, so in all the excitement forgot to call me. I had been wondering, but figured that if it was really bad I would have heard by now so decided not to worry. Finally this morning Mom called me with the update.

On Tuesday Mom went for lunch with her friend Doreen who lost her husband three years ago. "I thought, 'I wonder if I could be a widow,'" Mom said. "Of course I could." You just never know.

I'm okay. There's no reason to worry, really; que sera sera. At the same time, it's very pretty sobering to be faced with mortality, especially of my parents. People younger than me have lost their younger parents. "The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord."
posted by Colleen McCubbin at 9:54 AM 0 comments

Saturday, April 09, 2005


It's been awhile, hasn't it? How rude of me to post unsettling news about my dad and not update ASAP. Dad's okay. He feels better than he did before the heart attach. In fact, he feels better than he has for quite a few years. Mom says his color is a lot better. He's going for a second angioplasty on Tuesday--a rather routine procedure as I understand it.

Only 3 more days of college classes, then exams start on Thursday. Convocation is on April 23rd and shortly afterwards Caronport will seem quite empty and peaceful. I love the rhythms of the college year: the energy of several hundred students arriving in September for an 8 month experience, followed by long, peaceful summers in a lovely, green Caronport with jaunts to places like Toronto and Arlington Beach. Sadly, I doubt that I'll make it to Vancouver this summer.

I've got lots of exciting options for places to go and people to see--like a Royal Military Academy grad in Kingston, ON and a formal evening wedding in Washington DC and another wedding in Vancouver--but have been making decisions with my head more than my heart lately (a strange experience for another post maybe) and choosing simplicity and rest rather than complexity and activity. This decision making process certainly brings disappointment, yet there is also relief. I have asked for a writing leave in the summer and have more or less been told yes. At first I thought I'd go away for about 4 weeks, but gradually it has sunk in that I need rest, and rest looks like staying put and settling in rather than packing my car with clothes, food, music, books, computer, paper, pens, maybe bedding and cats, and going off somewhere. That definitely does not sound restful! There are other ways to focus.

Yesterday me and the boys (Glenn, Peter, Ray, Gord, Tony, aka the "Dean Team", plus Brad & Loren) went to Saskatoon for a leadership summit with speakers Patrick Lencioni and Sherron Watkins (Chuck Colson BreakPoint commentary). The Dean Team is the Student Development leadership group I belong to.

In examining 5 dysfunctions of a team and suggesting ways to hold better meetings, Lencioni did helpful groundwork for our team to do some important work together, especially learning to communicate more effectively. I experienced many epiphanies through the day and a lot of joy on the drive home over being part of this team.
posted by Colleen McCubbin at 9:47 PM 1 comments