Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Winding down

It's the last week of my practicum and things are winding down. I'm wrapping things up and going through the "termination stage" now. It's been an emotional week and there may have even been a day when I broke down in front of the people at my placement but I'll tell you more about that once I've had a good night's sleep.

Hope your week's been a happy one. Despite all the emoting that's been going on, it's been a great week. Talk soon friends and take care. xo

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Go to sleep

It's been a long day but a really special one...for some many reasons. I'll tell you more later but it's bedtime now.

[It's going to be a bitch getting up in three and a half hours!]

PS My niece is in town. Teeheehee. I feel giddy when I see her and my voice and face really change in the most unattractive ways but still. I think she knows what I'm trying to say. She's so adorable...and those cheeks! ♥

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Dream Job

I'm not sure if any of you have checked out the blogs I've listed under Inspiration but I just wanted to encourage those of you who love journals, travelling, photography, writing and art to check out Patrick Ng's blog. He's so creative and has what I envision as a "Dream Job".

He's so generous with his knowledge and is constantly sharing what he's learned through his work and during his travels. He's my "go to" for those blue days when I'm feeling sad, unmotivated or lacking creativity. Whenever I log on, I feel so inspired.

Thank you, Patrick Ng. ^.^

[The above pictures are courtesy of his website.]

Dear Diary

I picked up a really beautiful journal from Indigo the other day. It was in the bargain section of the store so it was dirt cheap. It has a knitting theme to it but because I don't know how to knit, I just added little black labels from my Dymo saying, "I don't" (knit) and "I still don't" (knit). I also added more labels on the tabs and little pouch inside.

I've been looking for the perfect journal or at least, one that feels good when I write in it, that is well organized and welcoming. I've tested out a few in the last year and nothing has really impressed me. I keep hoping that I'll connect with some soft cover journal so I don't have to lug around a bulky or heavy hardcover but I don't mind this new one, at all. In fact, despite its weight, I really love it. :)

[Hello new friend! Oh, the secrets I'll tell you!]

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Motivational, that is

A friend shared this video on Facebook and I just wanted to pass it on. It has a great message (and absolves me of the non-linear path my life has taken).


This week at my placement has been really amazing. Each night I've come home feeling a bit high from my experiences there. It must sound like such a strange thing but I've really been feeling great about how I've been developing as a Career Counsellor, what I've been learning through my practicum and my love for the profession. I feel energized when I get home and I love sharing details about my day with J + H. It's so different from the days when I'd come home exhausted from my previous jobs - loathing myself for being there, being irritable and a bit weepy. I felt like there was nothing meaningful about my days. In fact, I think some of my greatest joys at that time were going out at lunch to look for people to interview and photograph for blogTO or sipping on tea while writing diatribes in my journal.

This week and the positive feelings associated with it have been more indicators that I'm heading in the right direction. If I open myself up and believe that where I am is where I'm supposed to be then I'll move to where I'm supposed to go next. Of course, this doesn't mean I'm going to do things blindly and without effort or the hard work that is necessary to move forward but just to trust myself and go for it. The opportunities to learn and grow will present themselves and I'm confident I'll meet people along the way who will help facilitate the process (like my practicum supervisor and other staff members plus special friends I've met through my studies).

For the first time, I don't feel embarrassed to tell people what I'm doing or working towards. I feel excited and proud that my work life finally has some meaning. It feels good. I'm in a good place surrounded by good people. I feel really fortunate.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The forecast

It's going to be the perfect beach day today - 29 degrees and sunny. Wish I could spend the day there with a good book, my journal, fancy pens, some frosty treats and a hammock.

Hope your day's sunny. Talk soon. xo

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Pick a card, any card

Today I administered a SkillScan to one of the clients. This assessment tool is actually offered as part of a two week group workshop at my placement but it can also be given during individual counselling sessions. It's self-directed and comes in the form of a card sort. Each card is color-coded and has a skill and its definition written on each. There are also additional ivory cards which identify categories that the client will use to organize their cards.

The client goes through the set of cards and identifies whether the skill listed is one they are competent in or have minimal or no ability in. The pile of cards with minimal or no ability is then set aside. The pile of cards that have been placed in the competent pile are then categorized according to varying degrees of interest from major, secondary, minor to unwilling to use. From there, the client then transcribes their results onto a SkillScan Profile. The colors on the cards represent a particular skill category (e.g. Humanitarian, Communication, Creative Expression) which are reflected on the profile. The client then identifies the top 3 skill categories they're interested in and records it on the profile. There are also sections to record skills that the client wishes to develop, as well as those they are unwilling to use. Once the client has filled out their profile, they can cross-reference their results with the Skill Wheel on the back of their profile which shows the various skill categories as they correspond to particular professions and jobs.

As with all assessments, the SkillScan is merely a tool and will not determine what a person should do or what they're supposed to be. This assessment does have many benefits, though, as it can be particularly useful to help build confidence in a client who may be out of esteem as it provides a gentle reminder of the skills that they possess. It is also a helpful tool when creating resumes because it provides terms for the client to use which can help them expand on their content. Finally, the SkillScan can also be useful in career decision making as it identifies areas of interest and potential jobs for the client to explore and think about or it may act as a confirmation to something that they've been already considering.

I really loved being able to work one-on-one with the client - to be able to explain the assessment tool, provide guidance along the way and then, debrief the experience with her. On Friday, I'll be administering Personality Dimensions to two people which I'm looking forward to. It'll be like facilitating a mini-workshop.

Tomorrow, I get to see my friends from school again and listen to them share their experiences about their placements. At noon, there's a brown bag lunch event. It's a video featuring one of the leaders in the Career Counselling field in session with a real client who is going through career exploration showing the power of metaphor. Should be interesting.

[My favorite part of Thursdays is catching up with my friends! Sometimes we go for extended lunches which end up feeling like free therapy sessions. Heh heh. I love it!]

Hope you survived Hump Day! Talk soon. xo

Monday, August 10, 2009

Another dimension

I led my first workshop on Personality Dimensions today. It was part of the Communications component for a larger workshop which is running for three weeks at my practicum placement. At first, I was really nervous for a couple of reasons: 1) I am not one of those people who is a gifted presenter and 2) my supervisor is one of those people...and she was there to watch me. I knew that she was actually there more for support more than anything else but still, a part of me wanted to impress her with my charismatic speaking style and the amazing way I engaged the audience. Of course, none of these things happened but I did manage to deliver my part of the workshop and it felt good to get the first one out of the way.

My supervisor was very supportive and provided me with constructive feedback afterwards which I will definitely take to heart. Some of the things she touched on were my tone (it needed to be louder) and just speaking with a little more confidence. (It's interesting because I've been accused of being a "low talker", though many might be surprised to hear that I was once known for my boisterousness as I was growing up.) I think both of these things can be improved upon through continued practice and as I gain more experience in the field. I look forward to the day when I'll have an arsenal of witty anecdotes that I can pull out of a hat and when my voice projects across the room effortlessly.

I think I've been really fortunate at my practicum because I've been able to observe and learn from such amazing facilitators - each with their own unique way of presenting that seems to capture and resonate with those that they are presenting to. I've taken notes - both physically and mentally - on ways to improve my own style of presenting and what I've loved most about each workshop and the individual who has given it.

I think of how lucky I am that my experience at my placement has been so positive because I think of how the opposite may have really tainted my view of the profession and perhaps even made me doubt my decision to enter this field. My path may have gone in a different direction or ended altogether. I've teetered back and forth throughout this program with the idea that perhaps this isn't what I'm supposed to do and that maybe I've made a mistake but through this practicum I've dispelled many of the lingering doubts in my mind. True, I doubt I'll ever be 100% about anything (unless it involves traveling, writing letters, using fountain pens, collecting ephemera, watching movies and taking photographs - all simultaneously) but it's the closest I've gotten so far. Every day I'm given the opportunity to learn through these amazing professionals and see how their work provides meaning to others, themselves and to me.

I think it's going to be a really sad day when my practicum ends. (Sigh)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Put away your rubbers

False alarm. The sun's back out and it's bright again. We're still going to cozy up and watch movies this afternoon, though. In the meantime, H & I are having fun together - baking and cooking. (And just to clarify, when I use the term "cooking", I really mean "experimenting". Y'know, not following a recipe and just seeing what we come up with.)

Get out your rubbers

It's really dark out right now and a thunderstorm just started. I love these kind of afternoons. It's perfect for watching movies, curling up and eating popcorn.

(Shame about the housecleaning.)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Mock shrimp, soy lattes and the absence of Tappersize

Before I tell you about the amazing meal we had last night, I have to share some very sad news with you. I've just discovered that they've removed the Tappersize video from YouTube because of a violation of copyright. (Sigh) I'm just glad that I watched it incessantly and was able to place those tantalizing images in my photographic memory for future reference. I'll miss you Tappersize. (YOOOOOOOUUU!)

Now back to the amazing meal...

Last night we went to Jean's Vegetarian Kitchen for the first time and were completely blown away! Have you been there before? It's located at 1262 Danforth Avenue, just East of Greenwood and a short drive from Little India. It's not a fancy place - the storefront is nothing special and the interior is pretty mediocre but the food...oh, the food!

We started with golden curry and taro rolls followed by Nasi Goreng and a really interesting and tasty dish called Assam (Tamarind) Okra. If you love okra (and hell, even if you don't!) this selection will really impress. The okra was cooked to perfection - not too hard and not too mushy - and was partnered with some red pepper and mock shrimp (complete with the white and orange markings!) swimming in a delicious tamarind sauce. (WOW.) We also ordered Mee Slam which is a rice vermecelli dish described as having a "delicious gravy coconut milk" sprinkled with tofu and egg (which we politely asked them to leave out and needed to remind them of when it arrived on our table). Despite it's strange texture, the "delicious gravy coconut milk" was divine. (What do they say, "The first hit's free"? It was that good.)

We left feeling completely satiated and happy that the whole experience cost less than $50. To top things off, we dropped by Starbucks for iced soy lattes and continued our Friday night adventures driving around the city.

Now, it's 2 pm on a lazy Saturday afternoon. J & I are sitting side-by-side on our computers while H is at the foot of our bed reading. I've just set up my google calendar and synced it with J's. (Isn't that romantic?) I'm still full from the blueberry pancakes, maple beans, "fakon" (fake bacon) and Caramelissimo tea from this morning. I'm thinking of going under the covers and having a little snooze before heading out to a barbeque tonight.

Hope you're having a nice Saturday. Talk soon. xo

PS I'm so not a google calendar and "To Do" list kind of person but I'll give it a try. I still love the idea of pen and paper agendas and the only lists I like to write are of silly things like my favorite kinds of pens, cheesy movies I want to watch, dream jobs in exotic locales and inventories of my paper stash.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Letter Etiquette

(Click on image for larger view)

Checking in

Just wanted to check-in and let you know I'm still kicking around. I'm sad that the long weekend is over but wanted to report that I had a wonderful time filled with family, friends, birthday celebrations, barbeques, sweet beverages, cheesy (and politically-incorrect) videos from the 80's, games, sleeping in, staying up late and movies.

I'm back at my practicum today and looking forward to the short week. Hope you had a lovely long weekend and are enjoying the summer. Talk soon. xoxo

(Is it really August already?! Oy!)

Saturday, August 1, 2009