Yesterday I had a great combination of celebrating my birthday and my 3M teaching award with former students and family. We started with a pot luck picnic in a sunny (albeit very windy) Hawrelak Park. Then we embarked on a car rally that had us gathering all sorts of objects and getting photos and videos of unusual undertakings. With my teammates Tara and Jesse, perhaps my favorite item we obtained was in answer to “video of chef or owner of a Whyte Avenue restaurant describing at least 3 menu items = 6 points,” Sam, the friendly proprietor of Cafe Beirut, joyfully gave us the ingredients of tabbouleh, shawarma beef, and kibbi. (Thanks Sam. Go visit him for awesome Lebanese food.)

After two hours of gallivanting, we got back to our house to have cake. The star of the show was three-year old, Eli, who gave us a wonderful dose of “Vitamin E,” his special brand of unbridled exuberance and joy that is better than any pill. He held court with monologues on such topics as “Party Poopers” (who aren’t people who poop at parties, but ones who take away the fun) and the best ways to eat cake (my interpretation is it’s a whole facial experience).

What was so much fun about the car rally and being with Eli? They were both undeniable invitations into a state of play and the present moment. Especially with outstanding playmates, there is nothing better. Part of what I love about spending my life with university students is I get to be with their energy, engagement, and willingness to explore. We can all do with garnering more of the spirit of our inner three year-old who has no qualms about being exhilarated.

I am in great appreciation of all who made yesterday spectacular and who made it very easy to be Psyched for Monday today. My thanks also to the members of Edmonton’s finest who assisted with the handcuffing item in the car rally!




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