31 January 2012

What is your genius?

Today during a professional development session about learning iWork, the facilitator asked us "What is your genius?"

He wanted to know what we are really good at beside teaching our subject matter.  What are we really passionate about?

I was really shocked that so few people in the room had an answer.

Maybe they were ashamed to admit their online porn addiction, or their WOW game play, or maybe they are really unsure.

It was reassuring and kind of saddening all at the same time.

I don't know my genius, but I figured that I was alone in this.

He made us create a slideshow using iPhoto with about 10 slides.  Mine ended up consisting of randomness.

  • A basket: I have a lot of random knowledge about random things - I once was at a trivia night with my mother and other lawyers and was able to answer many law questions better than them.  My mom still says that I am really smart (sometimes even lets it slip that she thinks I am the smartest of my four siblings.)
  • The logo for How It's Made - I love that show and learning how things work and how they are put together.
  • A beautiful natural woman: Hair care - I love learning about how to care for natural hair.  I am looking forward to growing mine back out so I can play more with it.
  • A piece of food: Nutrition - I can tell you about what to eat that is good for you, what you need to eat when you are pregnant, how much and what you should eat if you are trying to lose weight or build muscle.  Unfortunately, I am often too lazy or tired after work to make really nutritious variety... I basically eat the same thing most days.
  • A trash can and a recycle symbol: Minimizing my life - Getting rid of something each day has worked this entire month and a half.  I will try and continue through February.  I am also trying to not associate with people who are continuously negative.
  • A pen and paper: I love to write.  Even succeeded in completed this NaBloPoMo posting every single day in January.  Not that every post was stellar or award-worthy, but I accomplished that mission and intend to do it again in February.
Maybe one day I will have a true genius.  Then, perhaps it will be easier for me to figure out what I will be when I grow up.

30 January 2012

Insane weather, sane spring sports?

It is so beautiful outside - 66 in January in StL.  Who could ask for better weather?

The weather is making me think of spring sports season.

I'm already starting to feel stressed about starting the track season and I still have 27 days until it starts.

We have no track at this time due to construction of a new one, and it will not be finished until about three or four weeks into the season.

I don't have a schedule complete.  Unlike all of the other sports at the school that I know of, the AD does not make the schedule with other ADs.  I have to make calls and email coaches and ADs to find out about meets and then coordinate them.  Since we have no track, all meets are away and we can't do the basic stuff at the start of the season that I would normally do.

I am normally all about the track season and would have already been doing preseason conditioning with the kiddos.  I have the backbones of a schedule and have not done preseason stuff.

And I am not really bothered by that.

I have enjoyed my time without it.  Just like I enjoyed not doing summer track this past summer.  Thirteen years of coaching school and summer each year is starting to wear on me.  The summer was a good break.

I know that to some people, I am known for coaching.

This is somewhat saddening.  I don't love it as much as some people seem to think that I do.

I know I am fairly good at it, but it is not something I am obsessed with like some people I have worked with in the summer time and that I have seen at other schools.

I called the first meeting with my assistant coaches for tomorrow and have a meeting with interested kids on Thursday and then the ball will officially be rolling.

I am not really nervous, I almost don't care - as evidenced by my lack of effort to start conditioning up to this point.

At the same time, I don't want to suck at anything that I do.

Hopefully, the great weather is a sign that the weather during the season will be tolerable.

I hope I can make it through the season with my sanity.

29 January 2012

How relaxing has evolved

The way I relax has changed over time.

When I was a kid, I loved to just read a book.  Doing so was great.  I could imagine that I was in that the world of the novel, I could let go and just read their story, I could learn about different parts of the world and different time periods in history.  I also played out side or played games or put together puzzles.

In college, I loved to go to parties with my roommates.  It was fun to just relax and dance.  I loved to feel the bass in my bones.  I still find it amazing how music can impact people - how you can really feel it.  When I was competing (track) a lot of relaxation was had just vegging out in front of a tv, or talking with friends or catching up on sleep.

First year out of college and first year teaching, I loved to sit back and watch tv, go to music shows with the guy I was dating, and go to parties and bars.

It was during that time - post collegiate track career - that I started to love running.  I lived in the perfect spot in Columbia, Missouri where I not only had an excellent view of nature, but also had easy access to a trail that was awesome.  I remember how nice it felt to come home from school/work, slip on my sneaks, and hit the road/trail.  I never listen to music when I run for a few reasons.  First, I love to hear nature and my feet hitting the trails, second, I don't want to have some dangerous shit happen to me and not even realize it is coming because I am busy listening to a song in my earbuds.  

I was still in great shape, though it was changing since I wasn't competing, but it was still awesome.  My mind could roam, I could see animals, and I was relaxed.

When I moved back to St. Louis, relaxing became more about television and internet.  And I got into a relationship that was time consuming in a good way.  We watched movies and talked to relax.   I still ran some times, but I still have not been in as great an area as CoMo, and I can't stand running inside or on a track.

I find that now, relaxing to me consists of escaping myself in some way.  This can be by watching tv, by playing around on the internet, watching movies, and sometimes just playing Words With Friends or Unblock Me.  Sometimes it is just a nap.  I love to just drift off for a little while.  Sometimes I actually feel like cleaning house is relaxing - vacuuming, cleaning the kitchen or bathroom, decluttering.  It can even be as simple as a hug from my man.  That is a feeling that can sometimes take my mind off of the daily grind.

Any of these are even better with a glass+ of wine.

They feel good.  

I do want to get back into running, for now my morning yoga is a great way to start the day, but I don't think it has the same effect mentally as getting outside and feeling/hearing the air wiz past my ears as I run.  

Another Stream of Consciousness Sunday post.  Try it out yourself.  There is info if you click the button.


28 January 2012

Searching for living space

Searching for a new apartment is getting annoying.  Beginning to wish it was as fun and as exciting as House Hunters.  I just want a decent place with a washer and dryer that is not falling apart as the house I am living in now seems to be doing.  I also don't want to be paying $200+ for heat that doesn't even seem to be heating anything.  I want it to have external windows, unlike the place I saw yesterday.  I don't even mind the price since it will be cheaper than this place with all the additional bills and heat that I am paying for.

Right now, we are having a lot more people than ever before looking at this house.  I am hopeful that it sells - though cautious of the person who would find this place grand.  I just want it to sell.

27 January 2012

The sun always rises

The sun finally came out today.

I'm not sure when last I saw it, maybe a week or more.

It is amazing what just some sunlight can do for my psyche.

Of course it is not an immediate change of moods, but even seeing the sun right now, though it will set in about an hour is really uplifting.

Reminds me that good can come after long periods of dark cloudiness in life as well as in nature.

26 January 2012

Alternate worlds, alternate endings

When I was a kid, I used to wonder if there was a person somewhere in the world who was doing the exact same things as me at the exact same moments.  Someone living my life in a different town and country - Twilight Zone-like, but not in a creepy way.

Now that I am older, I still wonder if there are people who have the same issues as me, people dealing with the same ups and downs, the same life indecisions, the same medical issues, the same family issues.

There are over 7 billion people in the world, it could be possible, right?

It really amazes me how life happens.  

How there can be someone in the world who is going through some really hard shit at the same time that others are suffering through inconceivable drama.  Even when I am sitting, planning lessons, there are people I know who are dealing with problems I wouldn't even wish on others.  And at the same time, there are people I know who are living the good life with not a care in the world.

It is really something when you think about it.

I am kind of rambling, but there is a lot going on in my life and my immediate loved ones lives that really have me thinking about so many things, and nothing at all at the same time.

24 January 2012

Naps, and not the kind on my head

I used to love nap times when I was in preschool.  How cool that I had a story read to me, let my food digest after eating some super yummy lunches (loved the home cooked food), and rest up before afternoon recess (I really had to have energy as I was one of the faster, stronger kids and was often responsible for pushing the merry-go-round - why don't they have those any more? Are they really that worried that a kid will fall underneath and get sucked into the netherworld? Or maybe it was all the rust and possibly-lead-ridden paint. They could always switch to plastic, couldn't they?).

When I was younger I was the designated Kid Sis #3 waker-up-er.  She would not let any one else wake her up.  She loved the way I did it, plus we were designated Best-Buds, even had a special way of holding hands.  She was so cute.  I would drive her to school in the mornings before going to school myself.  Many mornings, I would get ready - get dressed, eat, make myself look decent, get my backpack ready, then wake her up.  After making sure she was in a good mood, I would go back to my room and take about a 15-20 minute nap.

Best sleep ever!

At my old job, teachers did not have desks in the classroom.  There were designated offices based on the subject you taught.  Humanities were together.  I had a desk in there that was perfect.  It was large, and was set up right next to all the other desks perfectly.  On long days when I had completed all of my grading and prepping, I could place my coat on the back of the chair, and sit under the desk in such a way that I would not be seen.  I could put some kind of cloth on the ground, use my bag as a pillow and take the best. Naps.  Ever.


I know some of you are likely thinking that I am a horrible teacher, not to toot my own horn, but you couldn't be more wrong.  I had last hour prep and needed the rest in order to make it through all of the incessant drama of the district and be ready for track practice after school.  When I was there at that school, the stress was so much that I basically lived with a headache all the time for about the last year and a half+ that I was there.

Others or you are thinking that I am a genius for making those 10-20 minute breaks happen with no one knowing.  Well, KBO caught on, but I believe it was because I told her that I was doing it and that she should take advantage, too.

I haven't been able to do that with the new(er) gig.  I must.  Find.  A.  Way.

There would be nothing better for work productivity than if every job incorporated a nap time.

I know that in a school, that could lead to sex scandals with the students, but what about if it was just for teachers during their prep hours?

I should totally get our school to invest in this idea.  Other occupations already have.

I don't even need anything as complex as the Google Nap pod pictured.  I just need to be able to lay my head down to de-stress, juvenate and juvenate again. (From Pootie Tang, I realize the actual word is rejuvenate.)

23 January 2012

Shooting for chain reactions

This morning when I woke up, my mission was to not complain about anything today.

When I got to school, I ran my errands to the copy room and talked with a teacher who is usually a prime complainer (I didn't give in to her basic offers to add my two cents of complaining and tried to redirect her to the positive).

I did not complain all day.  I believe I was even able to help some colleagues and students see the brighter side a few times today.

Then I was reminded that we had an all-school assembly in the morning which I had totally forgotten about until after school had started.

It was really mind blowing and was truly inspirational.  I don't remember the speaker's name who came to the school, but he was great.

If you have not experienced Rachel's Challenge, check out the link here.  There is also a Facebook page.

Rachel's Challenge is based on Rachel Scott, who was the first person to die in the 1999 Columbine school shootings.

There were stories of Rachel's journal thoughts, Rachel sitting with new students to the school who sat alone at her lunch table and Rachel went and sat with her, a special needs student who Rachel stood up for and Rachel began to spend time with between a class each day (who admits that he was going to commit suicide before Rachel impacted him).

The challenge is to start a chain reaction of kindness.

There are five main statements that the challenge pushes for people to follow (each of which tie to my desire to be better than I was yesterday).

  • See the best in people.  Don't prejudge people and be sure to give people three chances to show you their hearts when you first meet them since they may be having a really bad day when you first meet.  Every person has something good about them.
  • Dream big.  Set goals.
  • Speak kindness to people since you never know how your words might impact them.  And you never know what they are going through in their life.  Reminds me of one of my favorite poems by Paul Laurence Dunbar.
  • Watch your inspirations.  What you speak and hear is what you absorb and what you will eventually become.
  • Start a chain reaction.  Share your love with people, especially the people you care about the most.

The Dunbar poem is fabulous:

   We Wear the Mask

    WE wear the mask that grins and lies,
    It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—
    This debt we pay to human guile;
    With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
    And mouth with myriad subtleties.

    Why should the world be over-wise,
    In counting all our tears and sighs?
    Nay, let them only see us, while
            We wear the mask.

    We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
    To thee from tortured souls arise.
    We sing, but oh the clay is vile
    Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
    But let the world dream otherwise,
            We wear the mask!

All fit into what I am trying to do in my life.

Oh, and I'll try and go another day with out complaining, too.

22 January 2012

Consistently behind

When I was younger days and weeks were pretty consistent.  School during the week, Saturdays were filled with morning cartoons (which I don't really see too much now... not sure what kids do with their mornings now).  Saturday afternoons were fun time, reading time, and just relaxing.  In high school, Saturdays were track meets.  Sundays were church and homework and family time.

As I've gotten older my weeks are still pretty consistent.  Work, try and relax after work, play on the internet.  Weekends are for running errands and trying to catch up on rest.  Every so often, I get to catch up with friends on the weekends or a night or two during the week.

Unfortunately, I wish the days weren't so consistent.

More fun, more planning to make things better in my life would be great.

I need to mix it up so that I can reach higher.

I feel behind on many levels.

I am not where I want to be with even simple things like hair growth, or with more complex things like family, and career.

I'm not sure where I want to be career-wise, but I know that I want more.  I just need to figure out what that more is and then work out a plan of how to get that more.

This week during one of our professional development days, I had a revelation.

I realized that I am good at leading other teachers.  I don't know what it is, but for some reason, when I talk, they all listen.  This isn't the first time I have noticed this, but this time around, it really moved me as I looked around the room and saw all eyes on me.  When I was finished sharing my views on what we were doing, there was not a sound.  It was like they were all waiting to hear more and to gain more direction/advice.

I have been told by some of the admin in the building that I would make a great administrator, but I don't know if I would want to do all of the other stuff involved in being a principal.  Perhaps something with social justice.  I will have to look into those types of occupations.

Five minute Stream of Consciousness Sunday post.
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21 January 2012

Tupac keeps me going

I used to be "in love" with Tupac Shakur.

I memorized almost every one of his songs, read his book of poetry, had a poster of him in my bedroom and just about died when he also became a fabulous actor as well.  I was glued to Kurt Loder's updates (when MTV was actually relevant) when I found out he was shot and later when he died.

One quote that stands out to me regularly from Pac is one that is so true, even though sometimes it doesn't seem possible or that I am capable of holding on.
I know it seems hard sometimes, but remember one thing.  Through every dark night, there's a bright day after that.  So no matter how hard it gets, stick your chest out, keep ya head up... and handle it.
How can you not love a man that speaks such beauty and truth?

20 January 2012

Boys reminiscing on HS?

I almost squealed with glee today during my supervision when I overheard a boy student telling a girl student that it didn't make sense that a boy who was 23 would be interested in dating a girl still in high school and not even 18.

I have never understood the appeal for a person that old to talk to someone still in high school.

Even people who go off to college and have a senior (HS) GF/BF don't always make it because their lives don't mesh any more.

And what do they have to talk about?

I guess how the older one is going to sneak booze to the younger one since it is legal for him to buy it.  I guess how he loves her and wants to sleep with her to show that love.  I guess how he really is cool, even though he wants to date some one who hasn't yet finished high school.

Strange to me.

Especially the girls who say that their parents know about the BF and even let the girl stay the night with the guy.


In class today the boy said to the student that she was dating a pedophile.

He talked about how he had to step in one time when his HS-age sister was trying to date a soldier who was 24.

I won't go as far as to use that term, but I do think that older people should not be with high school students.

19 January 2012

Frozen fingers or popped tires?

Yesterday, I was running late to work.  One reason was because I slept late, but the reason I am going to blame is the weather.

It was super cold and I had to wait for the windows to defrost so I could see out of them and not crash.

While waiting for greater visibility, I heard a beeping noise (one of the Mini's notifications) and then the symbol I took a picture of to the left.

Low air in the tire.  I don't like driving with notifications on.  Even when the gas light comes on, I always want to get to a station as soon as possible.  I guess that comes from having an old janky car for so long, as well as from hearing stories of people who thought they had 80 miles left of gas only to run out 20 miles from a gas station, or seeing people on the side of the street in the rain trying to change a tire.

Almost as soon as I saw this symbol, the local weather was being talked about on the morning radio show.


I thought I heard wrong, and the temperature gauge on the car was covered because the low tire image was on.

But then I realized that it is probably correct because even after 5 minutes, there was still frost on the windows and my fingers were still numb.

How was I going to add air to the tires in this cold and dark weather?

I wasn't.

I drove super carefully to school and then did it after school when the temperature got up to the upper 20s/low 30s.  I cursed before getting out of the car and then had my hands become hard to move from the cold.

But, now my tires are at the correct pressure and I can, again, see just how cold it is when I look at the dash board.

17 January 2012

More than just teaching

As a teacher, I have to deal with a lot of unusual, uncomfortable things beyond the scope of just teaching the content.

Oh, you'd like to know a few?   There is the unintentional/uncomfortable comedy that happens at assemblies when big girls booty pop on a handstand (toward the end of the page is a description of the popping).  How about yucky kids who come to school deathly ill and dare me not to become sick.  Or the year that there was an epidemic of ringworm, staph, swine flu, shingles, mono all within a 3 month span.

Then there are some of the different discussions I have had to have with kids:

  • "No, she might not like you if she is going to the dance with someone else and won't return your texts."  
  • "No, you can't use me as an alibi for when you were in an area of the school without permission, and not where you were supposed to be, just because you stopped in to politely ask how I am doing.  You are still unexcused.  You should still get in trouble."  
  • "Yes, you are beautiful, even if boys your age do not tend to see it, yet.  Let me show you some beautiful African and African-descent women that you resemble so you can see how beautiful you really are."  
  • "No you should not be dating him if he is in jail and about to go to a half-way house even if he has written you long, loving letters while he was locked up."  
  • "Yes, it is probably time for you to leave him if he punched you in your face and you are more worried about how your dad will react than how you are going to deal with the issue and him doing it to you again."  
  • "No, I will not give you five or dap because you have some sort of thing going on with your hand that looks contagious.  Let's just do the head nod instead." 
  • "No, you should not let a teacher call you a waste of skin and a waste of life."  
  • "Yes, you should tell an administrator if a teacher is singling out the black kids by not helping them and only offering assistance and extra attention to the white students."

Today, I had to deal with one even worse than the kid I once had who seemed to drink at least five mini-milk cartons (not sure if it was the regular or one of the fancy vanilla, cookies and cream, or strawberry flavors) before first hour each morning.  This doesn't sound bad until you understand that the kid was severely lactose-intolerant.  Severely.

But this was worse because it seems to be getting worse each day and today it manifested itself into the worst nasal discomfort I've had to suffer through in quite some time - literally caused me to choke at one point.

There are kids who congregate out side my classroom during passing time to chill, talk, hack the sack, or sit and relax.  I never really knew if the uncomfortable smell was the students, or the sack, or the smell that came from students' dirty shoes being raised into the air to meet the hacky sack, or what.

Today I figured out that it may just be one of my students.

S/He came into class during the break as I was leaving and the BO was unbearable.  When the class period started and I went back into the room the smell had migrated throughout the whole room.  Of course there were some students who mentioned the smell, but not wanting the student to feel attacked, I told the kids maybe it was a something outside or maybe someone in the art or shop rooms below us was cooking up something.  I then lit some candles - one for my desk and one that I moved to a more central location.

This helped but it was still pretty bad.

I share this not because I am being a mean, horrible teacher and making fun of the kid.

I am seriously concerned and talk with the school nurses when I smell something this rank.  The smell reminds me of first grade when I had a hermit crab that I was supposed to take care of for the class and it died and smelled really, really bad.  If it's not a deodorant issue, there may be more issues with the student's home life that needs to be addressed by the guidance workers in conjunction with the nurses.

As a mandatory reporter, this is, to me, a first step to prevent any problems.

16 January 2012

Let us be dissatisfied

I know that the man had several issues that made him not perfect, and really, who doesn't?

Here is a segment from MLK, Jr's "Where Do We Go From Here?" speech at the SCLC conference in August 1967.

I have emphasized segments that stand out to me STILL in 2012.

What I’m saying today is that we must go from this convention and say, “America, you must be born again!” 
And so, I conclude by saying today that we have a task, and let us go out with a divine dissatisfaction. 
Let us be dissatisfied until America will no longer have a high blood pressure of creeds and an anemia of deeds. 
Let us be dissatisfied until the tragic walls that separate the outer city of wealth and comfort from the inner city of poverty and despair shall be crushed by the battering rams of the forces of justice. 
Let us be dissatisfied until those who live on the outskirts of hope are brought into the metropolis of daily security. 
Let us be dissatisfied until slums are cast into the junk heaps of history, and every family will live in a decent, sanitary home. 
Let us be dissatisfied until the dark yesterdays of segregated schools will be transformed into bright tomorrows of quality integrated education. 
Let us be dissatisfied until integration is not seen as a problem but as an opportunity to participate in the beauty of diversity. 
Let us be dissatisfied until men and women, however black they may be, will be judged on the basis of the content of their character, not on the basis of the color of their skin.  Let us be dissatisfied. 
Let us be dissatisfied until every state capitol will be housed by a governor who will do justly, who will love mercy, and who will walk humbly with his God. 
Let us be dissatisfied until from every city hall, justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream. 
Let us be dissatisfied until that day when the lion and the lamb shall lie down together, and every man will sit under his own vine and fig tree, and none shall be afraid. 
Let us be dissatisfied, and men will recognize that out of one blood God made all men to dwell upon the face of the earth. 
Let us be dissatisfied until that day when nobody will shout, “White Power!” when nobody will shout, “Black Power!” but everybody will talk about God’s power and human power.

We still have work to do.  I'm not a proponent of some of the Civil Rights ideology, but I do believe that people should be treated well, that people should have the opportunity to be better in all aspects of their lives.

Unfortunately, this is still not so.

15 January 2012

Subconsciously pleasing

Even though I am a grown ass woman, I still have a tendency to want to please the parents.

I believe that I am doing some things in my life that I could move on from or do differently just because I subconsciously do not want to upset them or put more stress on their lives.

I am starting to get better at not doing this, but I think that I still need work.

I know I am far from where they were at this stage in life and I know that I am not as comfortable as I would like to be.  So why is it hard to say no to them when doing so could help me be better?  It's not like they can spank me or ground me or take anything away from me.

I guess I just want to be seen as a good daughter.  I know they say that they are proud of me, but I guess I just want to not do anything that would change their opinion.

Crazy, I know.

Sunday Stream of Consciousness post - five minutes of free writing.

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14 January 2012

Car and face maintenance

Yesterday while waiting for my oil change and watching two partial and two whole episodes of "Father Knows Best" in the waiting room, I had some interesting people-watching.

Waiting for things I know will take long is much easier than waiting and not knowing what I am waiting for.

There was a woman sitting in the room along with me.  At first she was texting or doing something on her phone.  Then she started reading a thick book.

Then she put that down, took off her scarf and the fun began.

She had three large bags with her and took a bottle out of one of them.  I recognized it as foundation.  She poured some onto her hands and started spreading it on her face.  I was intrigued.  She then continued (without washing or wiping her hands) to reach into her bag and take out some various shadows for her eyes.  She used four different colors in the pink and purple families to get a smokey-eye effect.  There were about two different eyeliners, as well.  It looked pretty good.  She moved on to lipstick/stain and then a lip gloss to add just the right amount of shine and stickiness.  Next came some sort of finishing powder on her face, though more of it seemed to land on her blouse, stomach, and lap than on her face.

She put a shiny jeweled necklace on her neck, rewrapped the scarf and pulled out one of those sticky-paper lint rollers out of one of her bags.  She started on her lap, moved to her chest, removed a sheet, stood up, and redid the process adding her back and the back of her tights to the mix as well.

The finished product was decent and she only caught me watching her twice.

I was intrigued.

My issue is the same one I have when I see people wearing their hair in a wrap-style, rollers, house shoes, pajama pants, and the like out of the house.

I understand that there are times when you don't feel like getting all done up to go to run some errands, but shouldn't you not look like crap?  And shouldn't you not do your fixing up out in public?  I can almost allow reapplying lipstick or lipgloss in public, but the rest, I don't think, should be done for all to see.

I know it wasn't as bad as these situations, but I don't like germs or the possibility of sharing body goo in any form.  I know they have a bathroom in the shop with a really nice, large mirror, so she could have easily gone in there.  Then she would have also been able to wash all the foundation and face germs off of her hands before she continued to touch things in the waiting area.

13 January 2012


Another week down.  Still tired.  Still getting rid of something each day.  Still stressed.  Still trying to relax more.  Still trying to figure out in what direction my life needs to be going.

Because I have so much going on in my head, I am finding that I am easily annoyed by chatter - in person, on the television, on the radio.  It is almost like I don't want to hear seemingly mindless talk when there are bigger issues in the world and in my life.  (The awesome oil-addiction world pic comes from makefive.com.)

Please do some reading on the current oil subsidy crisis in Nigeria when you can.

I think bigger issues are why I have been drawn more to documentaries and informational shows the past few weeks and have barely watched my typical shows.  (I am really not impressed by the Project Runway All-Stars - though Austin Scarlett is still mesmerizing, especially with the new 'stach.)  There is just something that makes me really want to turn the channel or walk out of a room when the talk is banal.

And all of it has caused me to loose some of my luster.  I have lost a bit of my sarcasm.  I am no longer able to come up with quick comical quips.  I don't seem to be able to recap stories in the same illustrative way anymore.

I need a restart button.

Or if one of those does not exist, let me just hold down a power button and then do a manual restart.

12 January 2012

Winter horrorland

After working at my last school, I was upset that I lived 23-27 minutes away from the new location instead of the 10-15 minutes from the last school.

I don't like the commute, but I know that a lot of people in other cities deal with longer drives to and from work, or even throughout the city.

Today, it snowed a bit during the middle of the night.  First snow of the winter.  I looked out the window when I woke up and didn't think much of it.  It was just a dusting, with some good wind.  I didn't even check on the telly to see if there were school cancellations because it was really not very bad outside.

Even so, I still left ten minutes earlier than normal because I know that when it rains or snows people forget how to drive.

I didn't expect what was out there.

It took me 40 minutes to drive a route that normally takes six minutes.  At this point, I really wanted to turn around and go home, but there was no way to get off the highway and there was just as much traffic on the other side of the median.  It was bumper to bumper.  I was starting to get the manual transmission-shaky-leg from being in stop and go traffic for so long.  I got off the highway, but even that was a mess.  There was a BMW on the off ramp that was doing nothing but spinning its tires trying to get up the hill.  I spun a bit, but gained grip and was able to move on.

At this point I heard on the radio that EVERY SINGLE highway in the Lou had major accidents or portions completely closed to traffic.

Traffic on the roads was bad, too.

All in all it took me an hour and thirty-three minutes to get to work.

Even with the stress of turning down semi-random streets to avoid traffic and to avoid accidents I could see up ahead, I was able to stay calm the entire ride.  There were people in cars that I could see were visibly upset and disturbed.

I just kept breathing and kept focused on the road.

Despite all the time it took to drive to work, I was really just grateful to make it safely.

And when I finally got to work, I found out that the after school supervision I had signed up for was cancelled.

I had time to do something I have not done yet this year - grocery shop.

Unfortunately, I feared it will probably be ridiculous in there since when it snows people seem to think that the apocalypse is arriving and they MUST BUY ALL FOOD.

I just needed the basics, but I knew I must deal with the crazies trying to stock up on bread, canned veggies, and for some reason, fresh broccoli (not sure what these people think they will make with these items, but they are always gone in inclement weather).

Fortunately, it only took about 30 minutes to get through the grocery store and about 45 minutes to get home.

Hopefully the roads are better tomorrow.

10 January 2012

Too tired to cry

I was so tired today that I wore jiggly earrings to work so that if I moved even slightly they would make noise which would hopefully keep me awake.

I was so tired that when I got to school and none of my desk drawers opened (they were somehow jammed shut) I wanted to cry, but was too tired to exert the energy needed to do so and then clean myself up.  Instead, I invested in the help of the resident strong man and the resident tool man.

I was so tired that I semi-stumbled over my heavy feet while walking through the hall to retrieve items from the copy room.  Even though tired, being a formidable (though far from in shape) athlete, I was able to prevent a fall.

I was so tired that I thought I wouldn't make it through class each hour.  Fortunately, I did, and even managed to teach a really awesome lesson on culture.

After school, I went to a scheduled doctor's appointment.

My appointment was for 2:45.  I was in the waiting room and checked in by 2:35.  I watched about three people who arrived after me go to the back before me.  Made me think of this Curb Your Enthusiasm scene.  I was not called into a room until 3:09.  The nurse spoke to me to find out what I needed, and then I had to wait.

And wait.

Why do they do this?  Why the tease?  Why make it seem like you are going to be seen when you leave the waiting room, only to have to sit for another 15+ minutes.

The doctor came in, we talked for about two minutes, and then she left.  For another 10 minutes.

I had a brief laugh when I thought of these scenes from Curb (check out 0:53 and watch Jerry Seinfeld's face... I know the show is non-scripted, but he seemed as though he really was shocked at the turn in the conversation).

Then I played a few minutes of Unblock Me on the cell.  Usually, the game is really easy.  For some reason, today, I was stuck on a puzzle for at least four minutes.  It was really depressing.

I turned off the game.

And then, all of a sudden, I almost cried.


No, it wasn't because of the depressing ass Tracy Chapman, Hootie, DMB, and Alanis music.

It was simply because I was seriously exhausted and overwhelmed by the intricacies of this and all my decades of doctor visits.

If I hadn't been too tired to search the room for tissues, a trashcan, and explain to the doctor (if she ever came back) what I was upset about, I would have cried.

Instead, I used my yoga breathing and sucked it up... like I tend to do these days.

09 January 2012

Peace is my reward

I have been really good at minimizing things in my life.  I am still throwing out/recycling/giving away at least one item each day - either at home or at work - this morning's items were an old umbrella, an old nose ring, six spare buttons that do not seem to match any item of clothing that I still own, and some detangler/leave-in conditioner that, even with my super short hair, didn't seem to work and smells unattractive.

During December, the work ladies decided to do 12 days of necklaces leading up to break.  I am so minimal that I don't even own twelve necklaces - I had to mix in scarves to act as necklaces.  I have gotten rid of earrings that I haven't worn regularly throughout the past year, I  have three watches (one of which has been without a battery for over two years - might be time to get rid of that one, since I clearly have not missed it).  I have enough rings to wear on each of my fingers (if they were all the same width) but still have some that I may decide to part with since I haven't worn some in quite some time.

Basically, I don't have a whole lot of jewelry.

Even before my recent big chop, I was really getting in to rocking larger jewelry on my ears and around my neck to coincide/counteract with the short hair.  I love the contrast of short hair and big jewelry.

I have a few larger pieces, but this morning decided that I will get some more.

I don't buy a lot of things for myself, or others, really.  I didn't get myself anything for my birthday or the holidays until about a week or so ago.  I decided to get some peaceimages pieces.  LOVE HER and her jewelry.  Do check her site and show her some love if you like what you see.

The new Vision Studs arrived Friday, and I put them on this morning for work.

Love them!!!

Had to do an impromptu photo shoot of them because I loved them so much.

Now, I have decided to treat myself with more of her stuff as a reward to myself for getting rid of more things and for not having spent much money the past three months.

I know that is kind of counter productive -- buying something to reward myself for not buying and for eliminating excess, but that is what I am doing.  I will still be eliminating and not buying much after this.  Might have to get rid of some more jewelry to counter the new additions.

I have already put an order in for two more items.  Maybe I'll share those in pictures when they arrive and I rock them.

So peace is my reward for minimalism.  Lovely.  Not as rewarding as full-out world peace, but I think this peace looks great on me.

08 January 2012

Have you seen my childhood?

When I was a child, I don't know that I ever really knew what I wanted to do when I "grew up".  I went through a few different phases of career goals.  For awhile, I wanted to be a psychiatrist like my father, a lawyer, like my mother.  A writer, a singer, a radio host, an actor, a professional athlete.  My thoughts ran a huge spectrum.

Perhaps, my lack of direction as a child is what has gotten me to the stage I am in today. 

I still am not sure what I want to do with my life, or how I want to get the different things I want to get (some of which are rather vague).  

I am pretty sure that I am good at what I am doing now, teaching, but I don't want to stay in this occupation forever.  

I don't want to work forever.  

I would love to be able to do something that would provide me with residual income of some sort, or at least something I could do where I could be the boss of me.  * Cue Malcolm in the Middle theme music*

Perhaps if I had focused as a child, I would be better today.

I sometimes wish that I had superpowers.  My desire would be to be able to go back in time and make changes... yeah, so that would change a lot of things that are happening now, but I'm pretty sure that a lot of things would be better if I could even make small changes to the things I did, the way I reacted in different situations, the way I approached activities, the people I engaged with, etc.

This was my Stream of Consciousness post for this Sunday.  I like the idea, and it actually helped me get out of a rut (a little bit) with my posting for this NaBloPoMo.

You can find out more about Sunday Stream of Consciousness here or click the badge below.


I still love this movie

Another quote I love for Saturday!

I love this movie and love that my nephew loves it.  I have even used scenes from the movie to help high school kids understand the concept of an absolute ruler in history class.

06 January 2012

Motion, progress, and a rocking horse

As I finish the first work week of the year, I keep this thought in my head.
Do not confuse motion and progress.  A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress.  ~ Alfred A. Montapert
I need to have this thought in the front of my mind as I try to accomplish different things in my life.

I am still tired from trying to get back into the swing of a work week after the holiday break.  Hopefully my mind is right during the weekend and I can write more as I try and make it through NaBloPoMo - a month straight of blogging every day.

05 January 2012

Worry less and feel good anyway?

I saw someone post this either on FB or Twitter and thought it was brilliant.

Only issue is that I need to better heed the advice.

Worry less:
I am going to try to live by this idea.

Smile more:
When I am not smiling, I tend to have a really serious look on my face.  There are students and grown-folks who tell me that I need to smile more.  I have started to smile more even when I don't feel like it.  I try to always greet people with a smile.  Even when I walk down the halls at work or walk down the street or walk down aisles in stores and come across a person, I smile at them.  Often, I get a smile back.  Other times, I am ignored, other times, I get a strange look - I guess some people are not used to seeing a friendly face.
I still feel that I have times when I am worrying about something that I am not smiling at people.  I need to worry less so that I can smile more.

Accept criticism:
When people I care about criticize me, I get defensive and close up a bit to what is being said.  I guess that I really want to be accepted by people I care about and don't want for them to be seeing the negative sides of me.
In becoming defensive, I sometimes miss what they are saying or don't want to admit that I am in the wrong.  I make excuses for my actions - sometimes ones that don't really make sense.
I heard a quote (sorry I can't remember who it was from) that I try to repeat that summarizes what I need to do with this part of the poster
We receive great value from being open to feedback without becoming defensive.
So true.  I am already getting better with this, and am already taking steps to address some of the issues that have been brought to my attention.
If I can accept criticism, I will be able to smile more during these conversations with loved ones and worry less about how I come across since I will be working to better the aspects of me being criticized.

Take responsibility:
I need to do more of this.
I take responsibility for my failures to act.  I take responsibility for my mistreatment of people.  I take responsibility for my life being the way it is.

A motto I recite each morning is "Be better than you were yesterday."

Listen & love:
I love to love.
I love to listen.
With all this technology in my hands, though, I find that sometimes I am distracted as I listen to people and don't hear everything being said.  I am sure that I have missed out on some great things people have said IRL, on the telly, and even things I have skimmed over while reading because I was multitasking --unsuccessfully.
I need to be more responsible and be more present with people and with everything that I am doing.

Don't hate:
I don't really have too much of an issue with this one.  I don't hate people.  I understand that some people are reflections of their environment.
I hate their environment.  I hate their upbringing.
The older I get, the more I hate the systems that contribute to the way the society is set up.  I hate that there are still racist ideas spewing out of people (regularly in comments on sites).  I hate that politicians refuse to really address the racist comments that they have said.  I hate that people are not willing to be respectful to the President and his family, even if they do not share his political opinions.  I hate that politicians are not willing to work to better society mainly because they want to disagree with the administration.  I hate how the economy is working right now.  I hate that even in athletics there are discrepancies between how races are seen and how they participate.  I hate that we have to make light of the fact that people say things about the other (or their own) races.
I could go on and on with things I hate.
I try not to worry about many of them, but they are in my face daily.

Embrace change:
I know that I want a lot of things in my life to change.
I sometimes do not act because I am afraid of failure or what might be out there if I don't succeed.
I need to not worry so much, listen to people's support, and be more willing to embrace change.

Feel good anyway:
This one is simple, yet hard for me.
But I will try.

03 January 2012

Not worrying about problems

I have really embraced the idea of living basically.

So much so that it seems that things are coming at me daily for a few weeks now that are pretty much beginning to reassure me that that is the right focus for me at this time.

The latest one was an image I saw on Twitter as well as on FB at least three or four times over the past week.  And each time, I seem to examine it and think about how true it is.

So simple.

And yet, I feel that I must worry about if I can do something about a problem that does exist, if I am doing the correct thing about it.


02 January 2012

Basically effective

Each day for the past week and a half, I have been getting rid of something.  There have been old pens that do not work, old makeup, old clothes I no longer wear, old paperwork that I no longer need, old yoga DVDs that I don't use (I just use different poses from websites and create my own yoga/pilates morning workouts), old medications that are expired, old food that is WAY past expiration dates, old teacher material that I haven't/don't use, old screws that came with things I put together, but don't know what they go to, old hair products/accessories that I won't be needing any time soon... you get the idea.

This has been the beginning of a cleansing for me.

It is really a relief each morning to get up and ask, "What am I going to get rid of today?"

People typically keep so much junk in their homes that they end up needing storage units or stuff their garages/basements so full that they cannot use the area for its rightful purpose.  I have never wanted to be one of those people.

I have always lived fairly minimally.  I don't own a lot of things, but I can still stand to minimize more.  I want to have only things I use and nothing that has been sitting for more than a year unused (besides photographs).

I'm trying to do the same with my life.

  • I know I can't completely get rid of people who cause me stress, but I can limit how I allow them to impact me.  And, for the most part, I can limit the contact to just the necessities.
  • I will become better at allowing people closer into my life.  I am a loyal friend, but I can go a long time without talking to friends.  For some, we get back together and it is like no time has gone by, for others, they may feel awkward after not talking for so long.  I need to make sure I know who is ok with which scenario - better yet, just stay in touch with all friends and fam.
  • I am better at communicating in writing than verbally.  Verbally, I may need to sit and think before saying what is to be said... almost like an editor or something.  I need to become better at sharing verbally with people; I need to make sure they know where I stand and what I am thinking. 
  • I will do things to help my various health conditions.  Continue my daily morning yoga, start back with cardio, visit the chiropractor and the specialist doctors more regularly.
  • I will continue to get rid of items in my home and at my desk at school.

I want to live basically so that I may think more effectively.

01 January 2012

Long hair, don't care

Three nights ago, I had my boyfriend's niece cut my hair.  She is in school to be a cosmetologist, and has learned a lot about hair.  She hasn't yet learned how to cut a fro, but I gave it a go anyway.

She used a traditional method you would use on straight hair.  It was not too bad, but once washed out, it was not super even all the way around.

Two nights ago, I decided to do another big chop.  In total, in two days, I cut off about five inches of hair.


Back to under an inch in length.

I'm using this as a new beginning in a few different ways.

I am going to retrain my hair to not be tangled, I am going to retrain my self to take better care of my hair, I am going to learn more ways to protect the ends as it grows so that it looks great as it gets longer, I am going to keep it shaped as it grows out so that it looks great as it gets longer.

I am going to become more disciplined with my hair and my life.

In my life, I basically am more of a follower to some extent.  I don't just do what others do, but I am slightly lazy and more or less let things go as they go, unless it is something I have an understanding for and can control easily.

I am going to begin to take more control.  I am not going to allow others and outside situations to dictate what I am doing.  I am not going to let others allow me to fail.  I am not going to allow people to annoy me.  I am not going to sit back and not know what I want.  I am going to formulate plans and take action to really figure out what I want in all situations.

I am going to begin to take more control.

No, this is not some sort of Jan 1st resolution that will fail in a few weeks.  This is something I have been working on throughout the past year and that I feel I will be even better at this year.  

My hair is just the beginning of my new beginnings.