Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Fifth Day of The New Year

So I think I spent the day doing things "wrong". I also think it might have been on purpose. It's five days into a new year and I'm already itching to do the "wrong" thing. Here is a list of wrong things I might have done today:
1. Bought coffee instead of making it at home (that's me trying to save money...ha!)
2. Maybe I didn't really attack that pile of grading...
3. I sort of left my class room a bit untidy. Whoops.
4. I ate pizza instead of going to spin class.
5. There are so many dishes in the sink. So many. 

I'm sure I did a few other wrong things today I'll continue to be wrong and lie to you and act like I didn't do some other wrong things. But maybe it's good to get this all out of the way this week...instead of like in February. I'm pretty sure by February I will have forgotten about the pizza. The grading will get done tomorrow. And the coffee...well...I can try again in the morning. No one died. I'm still totally fine. I'm going to chalk today up to the Gods and Goddesses of the New Year. May they have mercy on me. I did manage to swing by the creche in front of the Catholic church and steal some straw from Baby Jesus for my wallet. I do this every year. Cause I'm a paranoid Eastern European cultural Catholic. It's good luck to stash that on your person for the rest of the year. My grandmother would be proud. Tomorrow is the Feast of the Epiphany. I will be putting away my Christmas tree. And considering the merits of Carnival season starting. I think that means it's totally okay to eat doughnuts.'s the time of year to just be WRONG. Enjoy The Adoration of the Kings by Jan Gossaert.

Monday, December 26, 2011


Um. Yeah. It's the day after Christmas. Some of us have had way too much of everything. Butter. Chocolate. Vodka. Our family. Whatever that too much is...let's all take a collective moment to appreciate that fact that it's now time to go back to the gym/oatmeal and almond milk instead of Christmas cookies for breakfast/not buying crap/vacuuming(What? Am I the only one who totally avoids vacuuming during the holiday season?). Sigh. It's time. Time to put on our real pants. And make them fit. It's time to get pissed at the woman in yoga class who looks like she has Xena Warrior Princess's abs...and to perhaps decide that she needs her own damn yoga class...for people that have those sort of abs in real life without special lighting and makeup. Yeah. It's okay to feel a jealous rage brewing when you see her. Even though it's YOGA class. Even though you are supposed to be learning to feel compassion and empathy. Well...I say...that woman should have some empathy for me and keep those abs under wraps. I don't need to see that mere days after I may have eaten a one pound box of chocolate in the car under duress during a Christmas Eve shopping outing gone wrong. I had to eat it. It was the chocolate...or Applebee's. I think I chose wisely. Happy boxing day. Now pull yourself together and go throw out those cookies you are mindlessly eating.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


So I spend some time reading blogs. I like the voyeuristic quality. I also like to look at pictures of stuff. So blogs make sense…cause like…they are pictures of other people’s lives. They are little Cinéma vérité . They are addictive.

Sometimes I want to read a blog because:

-I want to look at photos of food.

-I want to read about and look at makeup.

-I want to look at photos of clothes.

-I want to pretend that my life is half as interesting as the people’s blogs I read.

-I want to feel like I am connected to the person’s blog voice. Too perfect or serious doesn’t work for me.

-I want to stare at photos of others peoples loved ones.

-I want answers to questions that have no answers.

I ask of lot of a blog. Sometimes I can’t quite find the right blog. I flip from one to the next…expecting that some how I will stumble upon the right entry for the zeitgeist of the day. And it’s like when you are in the middle of the Netflix instant play menu…or the OnDemand channel…you just sort of want what you want…and nothing is feeling right. Where is that feel good dramatic reality fairy tale lifetime channel movie from the early 90’s anyway? Why can’t it just exist? WHY? Sigh. It’s kind of like my dating life. I’ve spent quite a bit of time attempting to find something that doesn’t exist except in my head. It leaves me feeling like perhaps that is just how it is.

This past month I learned that no manner of anxiety/hope/panic/crying/dramatic appeals to celestial beings will soothe the search for love…or the perfect movie…or the right blog to read. In fact, it’s best to just sort of let it go. And relax. Cause it is fine. It is fine to date the wrong person. And not watch the right movie. And not read the right blog. In fact, it’s perfectly fine to accept the feeling of being disgruntled and dissatisfied. It just means eventually when it is right, you will enjoy it that much more.

If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment. –Henry David Thoureau

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Gratitude and Grace

Tonight at yoga class the teacher started talking about doing yoga at a school with children. She mentioned how she really enjoyed teaching them, but that the best part was how they made lovely personal thank you notes for her. She said that those thank you's where such a wonderful reminder of how gratitude can be one of the easiest, simplest, and most treasured gifts to receive.

It reminded me of something that happened to me during my first few years of teaching. Which in turn reminded me of how the very first year I taught I couldn't imagine making it to Thanksgiving...much less the seven years that I have now completed teaching. I remember when we hit Thanksgiving break, I went down to the music teacher's room (who was another first year fresh out of school girl) and I did leaps around her room in pure esctatic joy. I was so excited to have a little break from pretending to know what on earth I was doing. I knew that I wanted to teach, I just wasn't so sure that I had any idea how to go about it in the correct way. Which I now find funny. Cause there is no correct way, there are many correct ways.

Anyway...the original event I remembered was this: I had been teaching for two years. I was over worked and often anxious. I never knew if what I was doing was in fact having any impact besides keeping everyone entertained/busy during their special block. I continually questioned if I could continue doing this for another....five...ten...fifteen....twenty years. I often ended the day exhausted physically and mentally fried. I sometimes entered the school building in the morning with a sense of impending doom...worried about whether or not I was ready for a day of working with 140 different children ranging from 5 to 13. I sometimes sat in my classroom with the lights off and cried after everyone went home. I didn't know that I would feel so isolated and lost. I tried to not let anyone see this. Especially not my students. But I couldn't help feeling like maybe this profession was not for me.

One particularly stressful day...I taught my fourth grade students their lesson...and I remember feeling like I didn't do a good job. That I could have done it better. That my classroom management was not very good. That I really wished I could be the teacher that my students needed. At the end of the class...when I was rushing to get together supplies for the next group coming of the little girls shouted my name. She was trying to get my attention as I rushed around the room. She came over to me and said "I have something to give you."

I figured it would be a doodle or some other little thing. Instead she quickly deposited a packet of papers and whirled out of the room with her class. I was left by myself for a few minutes so I sat down to look at what she had given me.

It wasn't just a doodle. It was a six page illustrated story. A story that was all about me. It told of how I arrived at the school the year before. It talked about this little girl's anticipation of my excited she was to meet me. It described her memories of meeting me. It even went on to tell of how she was going to grow up...and have children...and I was going to teach them too. It was a tribute usually only reserved for celebrities. She expressed her infinite gratitude for me as her teacher in a way that I never asked for and never expected. It was hands down the most incredible thing anyone has ever made me. It not only made my day....but sort of made my entire teaching career. Just minutes before I had been questioning my capability to be a teacher at all. And after reading this little story I felt can I not be a teacher? It was one of those moments when I realized that sometimes in life something bigger then we are interferes and clearly shows us what we need to see. As my yoga teachers say....what a difference a difference makes.

I'm grateful for all the people that have let me see what a difference a difference makes...including all my students. Peace.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Mix

So you and me are both gearing up for the best non-religious holiday the U.S. has to offer. No gifts need to be bought. Nobody feels left out. There are no weird stories about things being magically delivered by other nonsensical things. We can all just chill and get along.

I'm thankful for following items right now: family, friends, glitter, my health, Liz Lemon/Tina Fey, music, the kindness of strangers, maraschino cherries, Jane Iredale mineral foundation, Italian gold, oil paint, sharpie markers, parties, babies, dogs, boots, my waist, tea/coffee, a really good Manhattan made with Maker's Mark, the future, mashed potatoes, snow, sun, wind, rain, love, yoga, naps, my pillow pet panda, my ability to welcome any form of impulsive fun, the half day I will be having tomorrow, and finally...the luxury of having heated seats in my car in winter.

Here is what I will be listening to with Ron and Kathy on Thanksgiving day.

I hope you all have the best Thanksgiving.

1. New Soul - Yail Naim
2. Jet Sounds - Nicola Conte
3. The Distance - Cake
4. Side of the Road - Lucinda Williams
5. There She Goes - Sixpence None the Richer
6. I Saw You in the Wild - Great Lake Swimmers
7. Home - Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros
8. These Are the Days Jason Collett
9. Let's Call the Whole Thing Off - Ella Fitzgerald and Louie Armstrong
10. World on a String - Kermit Ruffins
11. If You Really Love Me - Stevie Wonder
12. Days Like This - Van Morrison
13. Higher Love - Steve Winwood
14. 1979 - Smashing Pumpkins
15. Time of Your Song - Matisyahu
16. Beast of Burden - Rolling Stones
17. Five Years Time - Noah and the Whale
18. Under African Skies - Paul Simon
19. Thank You - Dido
20. Bend - Ben Sollee

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Dance Dance Dance

In honor of Friday...a very danceable day if you ask me...this post is all about movement. Did you know that how you dance announces to the world your particular personality? I guess those of you who don't dance in front of others are not into sharing that information with the public. But for all of you who get down on a regular home or out and this article. It's really interesting. I think I'm the extroverted one. I like to flail my arms around and bang my head up and down. Cause I'm willing to make a fool of myself in order for the rest of you to feel like it's also okay to make a fool of yourself. And if you happen to join in...all the better. We all need to bring the party. Especially on a Friday.

So go dance around in your cubicle/classroom/bedroom/sidewalk/playground/basement/ or wherever you end up on this beautiful day.
Also...this video will get you in the mood if you feel like you'd rather spend the day comatose.

Photographs from Jordan Matters. His series Dancer's Among Us is beautifully fun. Go get some inspiration for how you want to dance through your day.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Nut Cracker

Holiday time is upon us. I'm already thinking about how wonderfully chill Thanksgiving Day can be. It is hands down my favorite of the winter holidays. I love hanging out with my undercover hip parents, my loving/cantankerous brother and my brother's fiance (who always brings really good pie). We usually end up yelling and laughing about some sort of ridiculous memory together. Being loud is an integral part of the experience. Fighting to be heard is a family tradition that goes way back.

As the holiday madness reminds me of all the holidays that have come before. And one of the most influential aspects of those Christmas Pasts...has got to be the ballet The Nutcracker. It was my favorite/earliest theater experience. I wanted to be Clara. So much so...that I totally got myself a flannel nightgown...Lanz of Salzburg...just so I could twirl around my room and pretend to be Clara. I also begged for a Nutcracker. I spotted one at Macy's and threw a tantrum of need that has never been seen before or since. Then like a good Catholic girl...I proceeded to spend the next four weeks leading up to Christmas devoutly praying to Jesus that I would receive said Nutcracker as a present. And can I tell you that upon finding it tucked in my stocking on Christmas faith in Catholicism shot up a good 110 percent. I tried this trick again in 6th grade to procure the favor of the cutest boy in school and it failed to deliver. Apparently Jesus only grants wishes for toys...not middle school crushes. Hmmm....
Anyway, in the spirit of the season go read this lovely article about my favorite Christmasy event...the classic American Nutcracker Ballet.