Saturday, September 15, 2012


"If I'm being honest.
This has all just been
one long love letter
I've been writing to you."

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

(another) manifesto

I believe in sending cards and notes with handwritten, honest messages. As long as the note is a kind one.

Otherwise, I believe in writing handwritten letters for venting and then "sleeping on it". Chances are you won't want to send it after all.

I believe in doing hard things if it is right. I believe I can do hard things. I believe it is okay that I have to sometimes remind myself of that.

I believe every life has a beautiful story.

I believe in wearing horizontal stripes no matter your size or shape. I believe in stripes, damnit!

I believe in knowing how to spell and punctuate and checking to see whether you do it right or not. I believe the world judges you when you fail to do this.

I believe in all food.

I believe in freckles. Freckles should never be photoshopped.

I believe in toe nails splashed red.

I believe in Costco. I love that darn place.

I believe in smiling for photographs.
I believe in a good phone voice. Works like a charm.

I believe in the investment of a "safe" swimming suit. The kind you can walk around in without fearing something might pop out.

I believe sleep is more powerful than anyone can say.

I believe in education. Not for the increased salary. Not for the practicality. I believe that education makes us better versions of ourselves. Learning is priceless.

I believe in empathy.

I believe in traditions. Like watching this and this each year while wrapping Christmas presents.

I believe in silliness and whimsy and play. At every age.

I believe that there is always room for gratitude, and the tough things do eventually sort themselves out. I believe in reminding myself of this often.

I believe in forgiving myself.

I believe in forgiving others.

I believe that teaching isn't just what I do, it is who I am.

I believe in my students becoming good and beautiful people. I hope I am right.

I believe in loving and celebrating my body. Even when it is so very easy not to.

I believe a good hair day makes a good day.

I believe in comments. (Hint, hint.)

I believe I'm done. For now.

Friday, June 1, 2012

My Neuroses Know No Limit

Last week I had a panic attack. I was in my office grading and I felt trapped, as though all of the contents in my office at school were closing in on me. I am lucky enough to have a 9 x 7 little square of space for me and me alone. It has a door. That locks. This little nook is my sanity some days, the place I go and listen to music while I grade or avoid my to do list and simply let the seething of a frustrated teacher ooze out of me during prep period. My office is where I sit when that final bell rings and typically ask "what just happened to me?" 180 days out of the year.

And yet, I couldn't breathe.

(Old silly picture of me pointing out a giant zit for the recipient of the photo, I'm pretty sure--
featuring my messy, survival-mode, office in the background.
And Edgar Allen Poe w/ his raven hangin' on the microwave.)

Enter Pinterest. Specifically this little idea space of mine on Pinterest. Once you've visited the dark side of neurotic organization, there is no turning back.

After many hours of work in the midst of teaching my final days of school with the antsy adolescents, several trips to the dumpster/recycling bins, and a semi-pricey little jaunt to Ikea, my life has gone from chaotic and over-stimulating to still chaotic but perhaps more aesthetic.

Behold (and please forgive my hazy phone pics):

(My desk has NEVER known a life this clean during my entire career.)

(These shelves never used to look like this. Trust me. It was ugly.)

(I purchased this small floor shelf to add a little more storage space for some easy to access office supplies.)

(My previous bulletin board "design" was a little too frenetic for me--if I liked it, I pinned it on somewhere.
I took everything down and covered it with some mini-chevron fabric and decided to choose my favorite
pin-ons to frame the edges--because, let's be honest, the fabric wasn't quite wide enough.
I'm sure more of the day-to-day business of school will be added next year; but for now it is clean!)

I can now breathe again. I love my new-to-me, very organized, very lovely little office.

Maybe the next time I actually blog again I can tell you all about my date
with a hot anesthesiologist coming up on Saturday. If I blog again.

Monday, May 14, 2012

On Listening to My Body

Yesterday morning I awoke with my stomach knotted, a fever, chills. And an exhaustion so intense, I felt dizzy if I sat up. My body felt rooted to the mattress beneath me. It wouldn't cooperate with my day's agenda. This vessel that carries me through life was speaking. I needed to listen to what it was telling me: you need to stop--you need to slow down. So I did. I slept and I slept and I slept.

It was Mothers' Day and I ended up spending most of my visit with my own mother wrapped in a quilt I made for her 65th birthday, on a bed my family's had since childhood, now stored in my old bedroom. My fever dreams echoed with the sounds of playing grandchildren.

In my heart I kept saying: I don't have time for this. Not now: the AP exam is Wednesday, and state testing, and commitments to family and friends, and work, and work, and laundry--always laundry, and the landlord's inspection, and, and, and.

The truth is that I need to slow down and I don't really know how. This life I've designed for myself, my life, is stuffed full. There is what feels like far too much shoved neatly into a tight compartment of 24 hours. Don't get me wrong: I like that my life is so full: I love my job, I dote on my students, I want to be the best aunt and sister and colleague and teacher and daughter and friend--I love my friends, I love my family, I love the people in my life. But my rich life is overwhelming me. I'm gainfully employed with two jobs. Jobs I need. But it is, simply put, way too much.

I've no idea how to avoid it: this overflowing plate, this juggling. I feel like all that is expected only amplifies over the years. I can't imagine having a husband or children or a yard to maintain. I can barely get the oil changed!

And so, I ask you, my dear readers: am I alone here? How do you swing it all? How do you say no? How do you fit it all in? Because lately I feel I'm failing abominably. June cannot come soon enough. And even when school is out, I sign myself and my time up for more.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

truth comes randomly

(my brain as depicted by post-its)

I like getting in a hot car or shower when I'm incredibly chilled. I like how my skin prickles and thaws. I appreciate it almost as much as the dull hum of sunburn on my skin as I enter a cool pool.

I like quotes. Profound quotes. Silly quotes. Poignant quotes. I like words, generally. I suppose it is the pith of a great aphorism that I dig. That big ideas can be held together by a few well strung words, like bright and perfect beads placed in just the right order.

I like when silly things distract my classes and the typically lethargic perk up. This morning a giant (we're talking quarter-sized) bee flew in through the window. Our mutual fear put us on common ground. There was squealing and funny faces and a little bit of immaturity. But the uncontrollable parts of life remind me not to take myself so seriously. It's just Romeo & Juliet.

I like tracking packages coming my way almost as much as I like when I return home from work and see the box waiting on my doorstep. Thank you, FedEx guys, for creating this delightful online feature. I like knowing my Old Navy goods left Phoenix yesterday.

I like those stupid LOLZ kittehs. And not even in an ironic way. I frequently do, in fact, laugh out loud. I don't care if this tidbit about myself reveals my utter, lame, and absolute unhip-ness. I embrace these things in myself. And kittehs are cute.

I believe in large quantities of Diet Coke. I like that first sip. I like the fizzle sound. Diet Coke is a visceral experience, friends. I'm addicted and don't really care what you say.

I like writing on the white board. That deep, pressing desire you had as a kid to write a message on your teacher's board: just as satisfying as you imagined. I get to do it ALL the time. (Teacher perks must be recognized anywhere). However, I will hit you with a ruler if you write on mine. (Figuratively, of course. The most "damaging" thing I've done to my students is launch a dry erase marker at their unsuspecting--usually sleeping--self. No beating with rulers here. Ever.)

I like electronic compressed gas dusters and am equal parts disgusted and thrilled at what these brilliant inventions remove from my keyboard. It kind of works the same way as removing bathtub drain hairballs. The thrill comes mostly at admiring how clean it made things, or how well the drain now does its intended job.

I like teenagers so much more than most adults. Teenagers keep it real. This occurred to me yet again as I listened to upper management blow smoke during an "Employee Forum" at job #2. At least teenagers openly demonstrate to you that your existence doesn't really matter to them. Besides, it feels really good to know that, during said open demonstration of disdain, I am making money for being here while the little darlings are not.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

While I brew up an actual blog post...

Something to satiate:

I am beautiful as I am. I am the shape that was gifted.
My breasts are no longer perky and upright like when I was a teenager.
My hips are wider than that of a fashion model's.
For this I am glad, for these are the signs of a life lived.

~ Cindy Olsen, co-owner of The Body Objective

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

KONY 2012

Watch it.
Share it.
Take action.
Change the world.

Monday, March 5, 2012

just for me

In my life, so often, there are stretches of time that pass in a blur. I spend each moment focused only on "getting it done" in order to move on to the next task before me. It leaves me unfulfilled and, quite frankly, miserable. I dread what is, in all reality, the things that make up my life. And it is no way to live.

Today, the past several days, really, have been "one of those days". I've felt unsettled and downright depressed. A colorless grey seems to fill me up inside. It has been something more than a simple case of the winter blues, I've felt myself trudging--merely surviving each day with some small hope that it would pass.

Today, however, something nudged me to watch some
Mormon Messages on youtube instead of grading as I ate my lunch. Oh, how glad I am to have come across this:

Life is worth enjoying. Life is good. Life is made of moments. It is so important for me to remember that. I felt like, today, this message was just for me. I hope you watch it and feel that way too.

Sunday, February 26, 2012


I'm glad this won an Oscar.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Tag. I'm "IT"

This is Adele. I love her. Find out one of the reasons below.

Here's what you do:
1. Post the rules
2. Share 11 random things about myself
3. Answer the 11 questions from the post in which I was tagged
4. Create 11 new questions for my tag-ees to answer
5. Tag 11 people

11 Random Things About Me:
1. I have a sick enjoyment in watching my students make fools of themselves during class activities (dancing the "iambic pentameter" dressing up for "Greek Mythterpiece Theater", etc.). It gets them out of their insecure little shells and is a slightly sadistic kind of payback for their misdeeds.

2. I'm addicted to Pinterest, chocolate, Diet Coke, and sleeping in.

3. One day I'm going to finish writing a book. Maybe I'll even publish it. Maybe.

4. I average about 65-70 hours a week between my two jobs: teaching adolescents to read and write fluently (my real gig) and as a hospital telephone operator (my extra gig).

5. Adele is my middle name (and my mommy's name). Naturally, I love Adele the brilliant recording artist.

6. I have a running record of unbelievably awful dates. They usually ask me out again. This sometimes makes me wonder if it is all in my head.

7. Scarves and cardigans keep me clothed. I adore each equally. Summer is, understandably, a tough time of year for me.

8. I love the movie Amelie. I feel like I have a similar inner-life of whimsy and playfulness.

9. I love that, though I don't have children of my own, I have countless opportunities to nurture and mother. My students, nieces, and nephews provide me with ample moments to "mommy" the little ones (even teenagers need nurturing--shhh, don't tell them I let slip that they're not as bratty and tough as they like to front).

10. I like food. It is great to chat and chew with people you love. I love healthy food. I love junk food. I love cooking food. (As evidence, I'm sitting here at job #2 munching on popcorn, carrots and licorice.) Because of this I think it is totally gobsmacking-mind-boggling-crazy when people say stuff like: "I'm not really a dessert person" or "I forget to eat lunch sometimes." How is that even possible? My body tells me when it is lunch time before it is lunch time.

11. I frequently hold solo dance sessions in my living room, private concerts in my car, and stand-up comedy routines in front of my classes. I am a dork through-and-through. I embrace it.

11 Questions Asked of Me:
1. What are you naturally talented at? I am good at teaching. Honestly, I'm far better at it all now than I was when I started. But I am lucky to have a natural presence that says, "you better listen to me or else!" It kind of helps me in the classroom.

2. What is the most embarrassing song you have on your iPod? Oooh, probably something from a cheesy musical or some good ol' NKOTB.

3. What book have you read over and over? Anything I teach. Two I never grow tired of: My Antonia by Willa Cather and Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier.

4. Who is your hero, and why? My
best friend. She puts everyone before herself. She is good and selfless. I kind of like her, frankly.

5. What song represents you? "Clair de Lune" by Debussy.

6. What is something that can always make you laugh? Potty humor. Always.

7. Who do you consider your best friend? Miss

8. What would you choose for your last meal? La Ferrovia anything.

9. What movie makes you cry, every time? Steel Magnolias or Beaches.

10.What advice would you give yourself if you could go back in time? Go on a study abroad trip during college. Even if you have to put it on a credit card, it will be entirely worth it.

11.What question do you wish I asked, and how would you answer it? "What past job did you enjoy the most?" Probably when I was at The Standard-Examiner as a "Classified AD-visor". Yes, yes I will toot my own horn: I was killer at creating classified ads, upselling, and using my "soxy voice" with the male customers to make more on commission. Plus, it was kind of fun typing all the time.

And finally, the 11 Lucky People I choose to tag are:
1. Alice
2. Stephanie R-to the-idge
3. Stephanie R-to the-ipley
4. Kim
5. Shannon B.
6. Spoons
7. Amber
8. Stine
9. Rowena's Rants
10. Nic
11. Wemdu

(And if you don't do it--no worries. You won't have 11 years of bad luck or anything. I promise. Really. Don't blame me if your life starts to suck.)

Friday, February 17, 2012

These Two Kids

...want some kids. They're in the hoping-for-an-adoption business at the moment. And I couldn't be more excited for them! Give them a looksy here, here, or here. And, if you know of anybody who wants a loving LDS home for their bebe, I cannot recommend these two enough.

I met Shannon in a poetry class during college. We hit it off immediately because I'm pretty sure Shannon hits it off with everyone immediately (she is even more beautiful on the inside than she is on the outside--is that even possible--and furthermore, how is that fair?). I still remember sitting in freeway pile-up traffic trying to get to her wedding reception with the fella pictured above before the gig ended (I made it, thankfully). She is one of the most genuine, good, kind, beautiful people I know. If anybody would make a great mommy, it's her. She also has some mad dancin' skillz.

So, there you go. Please check them out, recommend, and send good vibes, prayers, and juju their way during this process. I know these two will grow their family. I just hope it is sooner than later!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

In which I whine as an excuse for my extended absence.

Yes, I still exist. I'm still here.

All I really wanted to drop by for is to let whoever is still reading know that there are days I'd rather stay at home all day and read and make collages and look around on pinterest and blog and go for a walk in the park and take naps and cook and do anything but work two jobs at once. I'd like to catch up on my overwhelming laundry. I'd like my house to look like I do something besides wrinkle the bed, diminish the toothpaste supply, leave dirty clothing piles in the bedroom and used tupperware in the kitchen sink. I'd like my life back.

But, as of this moment, I'm putting on my big girl panties and becoming a grown up who pays off her debt.

This will all be worth it one day, right? Right?