The Winter Blahs

A sad view outside my classroom

A sad view outside my classroom

Sigh, another day, another few inches of snow on the ground here in Minnesota. Last week, the snow had basically all melted and we had some wonderful 50 plus degree days where I could actually go out of the house and not want to curl up and hibernate for a few months. But alas, yesterday we got a few more inches of snow and it’s really beating me down. By this time in winter, it’s hard to get too excited or happy about anything. I feel like I am just in a blah mood all the time. Our short trip to Ann Arbor this weekend helped but still, now back to normal life and this icky time of year. I’m dreaming of summer vacation (2 months away!), trips to the cottage and elsewhere, and just some time to be outside and feel not like a groundhog living underground without access to sunlight. I’m dreaming of sundresses, flats (goodbye ugly thick boots!), and freckles (I’m too realistic to dream of a tan). Hopefully it all comes here shortly! Since I only have one long weekend break left in the school year, I’m getting antsy!

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A Beautiful Quote

poem

There is nothing more that I can say on that one. Just enjoy it. That is all.

The Silly Worry I Have About Returning to Europe

9784103-place-de-la-comedie-montpellier-france

I am not talking about plane crashes or anything that catastrophic (I hate flying so let’s not even go there). It is that Europe won’t live up to my expectations again. Montpellier was exactly what I needed all those years ago. At that time, I was still reeling from my first breakup, truly on my own for the first time in my life without the security of my twin sister, and feeling constrained by my OCD. Deciding to go abroad on my own was a deliberate choice that I made to get out of my comfort zone. I knew more than anyone else that it would not be easy for me, but I did not want easy. I wanted to show everyone-including my ex-boyfriend who didn’t think I was strong enough to do it-that I could plant my feet on different ground and make a half-life in the shadow of the Cevennes mountains. It is no great wonder that I want to pick up where that life left off. Reading my journals from that time, you can see me going from uncertain, anxious, and heartsick, to someone wild with discovery. It is quite a thing to behold. In many ways, I am not much different from that girl who went abroad on her own. I still have that dullness of heartache that hasn’t mended quite right. I still feel that I have something to prove. I still want transformation. I just hope that I find the sights of Southern France and Italy enough to stir that change in me for a second time. I can’t wait.

 

How are Those New Year’s Resolutions Going?

Any one out there a devout creator of NY Resolutions? I haven’t done them for awhile, but this year I wanted to be a bit more deliberate about what I wanted to achieve in 2014. First of all, I want to start taking better care of myself. That means regular exercise, less caffeine (I am sorry co-workers….An Erin without caffeine is like an angry lion. Don’t mess with it/her), and eating food that isn’t processed cheese or candy. It isn’t just about physical health though. I want to make more time for reading, writing, meditating, learning, my general goal of becoming a Renaissance woman. I feel like it is so easy to become complacent once you get out of school and into the “real world”—I think that is what was the hardest part of graduating. My mind craves knowledge, and I didn’t necessarily have the constant access to it. Most of all, I want to spend money on what counts: experiences. Trips, concerts, things that I can take with me even as I age (as much as I love my clothes, they aren’t going to last forever).

What are your NY Resolutions? Are you keeping on track?

I’m Alive! AKA I’ve Sucked Lately as a Blogger…

the wire

First, I gotta give props to my wonderful sister Erin for picking up the slack these last few weeks (or months, cough) that I’ve been AWOL. I have no real big reason to why I have been so bad about it, just a wide variety of things that distracted me in the last few weeks–health scare with my dad, traveling, sickness, visitors, pure laziness, etc. So before Erin smugly reminds me that she is a much better blogger than me (true), I just wanted to recap some big things going on lately.

1. I’ve had a tough week or two lately teaching. Nothing huge and monumentally awful, just some difficult small issues with a few students. Like always in teaching, there’s always an ebb and flow and lately I’ve just been feeling exhausted by this particular rough patch. Still, I always have to look at the bright side. I’m lucky enough to have my own classroom and the incredible students and their works always has to outshine the crappier moments.

2. Kyle and Aimee visited Kevin and I unexpectedly in Minneapolis last week due to some bad weather and issues at our cottage. It ended up being a really awesome weekend! We went to Psycho Suzi’s, indulged in some amazing tropical drinks in the midst of the Minnesota winter, hung out with some friends and introduced Kyle and Aimee to them, went to a comedy show, and heck, I even braved the Mall of America the Saturday after Thanksgiving! It was a great time and I can’t wait to have more people visit, maybe in the spring when more are willing to trek up north!

3. Kevin and I started a new show that we’ve been always meaning to watch, “The Wire!” It was a bit slow at first, as we were introduced to the many characters. However, we definitely got really into it. I love how it focuses each season on a different institution in Baltimore–it starts with the first season focusing on the drug world and the second season, which we just started, is on transportation and the waterways. Still, it deals with so many heavy issues that are rarely so honestly shown on tv. It gives depth to all the characters, even the traditional “bad” guys. Plus Idris Elba, my main man crush lately, plays a very intelligent entrepreneur/head of the drug trade. All the characters are realistically flawed in their own way. And they certainly are not scared to kill off main characters. I’m excited for one of the future seasons when they focus on education. I would definitely recommend that you check it out or even buy it as a Christmas gift for any friends or family (um, but make sure it’s family who can handle some adult language and such obviously).

4. I am anxiously awaiting my Cancun trip! I went for the first time in May and it was also my first experience with an all-inclusive. We are headed to another all-inclusive resort this time, with Kevin’s sister and brother-in-law joining Kevin and me! I can’t wait to escape this insane Minnesota cold and drink a ridiculous amount of tropical drinks!

Anyways, I promise I’ll be blogging here more in the Christmas season!

Thanks to This Ornament, Erin Circa 2000 Never Dies

ornament

Oh jeez. What is the most scary is that I actually remember taking this school picture. Between the hand-me-down short sleeve sweater, the braces, the glasses, the strange smile, it could be in the dictionary next to “adolescent” (or “awkward” for that matter). And thankfully my parents have never thrown out a single ornament so this treasure goes on the tree each year. We still put up one of my elementary school creations that is now just a plastic spoon with a smiley face (it used to have golden hair so show it was an angel).

 

Who Braved Black Friday This Year?

I may love clothes, makeup, and paper goods, but that doesn’t mean I love shopping for them. In fact, I hate the very act of shopping. It is stressful, annoying, and uncomfortable when there are hoards of people in the stores for the holiday season. Being short this often means I get elbowed in the head until I am on the verge of a concussion or walked into because people don’t see me. My palms are sweating just thinking about it! Ugh! Thank goodness for Cyber Monday! That being said, I am flabbergasted/a tiny bit impressed with those who brave the Black Friday crowds for deals. They must be made of stronger stuff than me! I don’t know of anyone in my life who does it so I have an ongoing curiosity with it!

So tell me, readers, are you a serious or recreational Black Friday shopper? Any funny stories you can share with us who spend our Black Fridays hibernating? The only time that someone in our family did the whole Black Friday thing was when our older sister Lindsay stood in line to get Furbies for Jamie and me (which we played with for approximately 10 minutes). Lindsay is always sure to remind us that she and her friends basically wrestled a lady to get them for us–now that is love.

A Quote for the Day

vwoolf

How beautiful. Virginia had quite the way of putting things.

Have You Ever Had to Call 9-1-1?

I had to do it for the first time on Wednesday! The experience was so quick and surreal that I am honestly still reeling from it. Wednesday morning I came downstairs to find my Dad slumped over in the chair. He immediately told me to call 9-1-1. No warning, no time to think. Isn’t it funny how there are details that you are sure you will never forget? Like when he told me to call an ambulance, I was chewing trail-mix and I promptly spit it out in my hands so that I could talk at once. The ambulance arrived momentarily and I am thankful that the EMTs were very kind to this crazy, still-in-her-pajamas lady. At that point you can imagine that I was having a full on panic attack, especially since my Mom was out of town and I was the only one in the house. Luckily, after two days in the hospital my Dad was able to come home. Phew.

Things I Never Thought I Would Do: Pilates

half_trapeze_2_1While some people rise to the challenge of exercise, I am a little more indifferent. There are a lot of other things that I would rather be doing such as watching another episode of Extras or thinking about how adorable Kermit the Frog is when he rides a bike (someone has to think about those things). However, my mom wanted a Pilates partner so decided to give it a try. Luckily, I love it! Sure, I get sore in muscles that I didn’t know that I had and you use a reformer machine that looks like a 21st century mass-produced medieval torture rack. It still is way more fun than just walking on a treadmill mindlessly and you see results pretty quick!

Who else loves Pilates? Have you tried the reformer?

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