Reclaiming Experience

This blog is a tool for recording my experiences as well as evaluating my day-to-day life. With my camera in hand, I will make meaning out of my life.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Day 244: Life Draft

Well, I started my project tonight that I mentioned a couple days ago.  I tried to place the items in chronological order and I made sure to supply the goals with ways to achieve them.  Right now, this is a "My Perfect Life Until I'm 30" list.  I feel like when I reach 30, I should reevaluate where I'm at and determine what should be adjusted.  Ultimately, I'd like to reach these goals by then, but some may be more challenging than others.  I think it is a draft still, but it at least guides me to where I want to go and what I need to do.

My Perfect Life
1. Be more relaxed
Read every night
Prepare for the next day the night before
Plan outfit night before
Spend time outside everyday
Don’t avoid things that worry me, attack them
2. Use my time more wisely
Watch less TV (maybe a half hour a day)
Use free time to read or write
3. Become a writer
Take a class
Take advantage of workshops (especially abroad)
Write everyday
Create an outline
Read more books with the style I want to write in and break apart the elements to determine the key components
Discover how I write best (strict schedule or flexibility, location, and style)
4. Travel abroad at least once a year
Decide around Thanksgiving where I will go
Book a plane by the end of the year
Continue to earn points for travel
Cut back on useless expenses
Excess food
Save at least $100 each paycheck when credit card is paid off
Stop impulse buying
Meet more travel partners to share costs with
4. Become multilingual
Begin with Spanish through the Rosetta Stone program
Hopefully complete within a year
Continue onto French or Italian after Spanish (depending on travel plans)
Maintain language with practice (Spanish=dad, Crystal, travels, other Spanish-speaking people around me)
5. Connect
Attend the Rick Steves reunion
Try to contact extended family at least once a month
Think of others in everyday life and share moments that remind me of them
Attend more social events when invited
6. Have a plan for something new to reignite excitement
Be sure there is something happening each month to look forward to such as travel, class, reaching a goal, etc.
7. Determine other possible careers
Investigate tour guide possibilities
Determine writing prospective
Shadow possible options
Continue to try to find enjoyment in current career
8. Relocate
Take time to investigate the best location
Find job
9. Get married to the love of my life
Engage in more activities I enjoy to try to meet someone with similar interests
Be more open to opportunities
Spend less time at home

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Day 243: Decisions, Decisions

The morning started off rough, which is usually an indicator for the rest of the day, but luckily the world was on my side today.  I had a meeting this morning which was fine.  Coming back to school provided a warm welcome.  I think as the afternoon went on, my head got bigger and bigger.  The kids were awesome with the sub which was fantastic.  Then, the principal saw us in the hallway on our way back from recess and congratulated us on being so well behaved.  As the kids walked by, he gave them each a high five.  As I approached him, he shook my hand and told me that the superintendent had nothing but great things to say about me and told me I was doing a great job.  Since starting at this new school, I have felt that things are going pretty well, but to be recognized for it is awesome.  I think things are off to a pretty good start.

Today I also focused on one of my "perfect me" items.  I haven't completed my list yet, but I know that I want to be multilingual.  I moved forward one more step to this goal tonight by purchasing Rosetta Stone.  My dad and I are going to split the cost and share the Spanish version so we can both learn.  It was hard to decide which language to select.  I really want to be fluent in Italian and French.  I am most educated in Spanish and it would be the most practical, but maybe not my number one interest.  I decided I would begin with Spanish because I think it will take the shortest time to master, and I will have plenty of opportunities to practice.  Then I can move onto a language of choice after I complete Spanish.  I am always amazed at how multilingual Europeans are, and I want to be the same way.  So here we go!

My picture shows a little reflection at night.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Day 242: My Perfect Life

I read an article about a woman creating goals by outlining her perfect life.  She put them in order from the first to be achieved to the last.  Then, she came up with plans to reach these goals.  I really like this idea and I want to create my own.  I was planning on it tonight, but I don't think I have the energy quite yet.  This may be a weekend task.  It is only a little past seven, and I wish I was in pajamas in bed.  I need to work on this. 

My day ended on a very positive note.  I had a couple students from the past surprise me with a visit.  It was great to catch up and hear where their lives are going.  They are in high school, so as you can imagine, times are rough.  But they are young and can achieve anything.  I was going to take a picture of the signs they posted all around my room, but I forgot my camera.  That will have to be my picture tomorrow.

Today's picture shows water that I drank while in Italy, but have found here also.  It is a mineral water and I'm going to think like the Europeans and value its health benefits.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Day 241: A New Routine

More ideas approached me this morning that may increase my productivity.  You see, I wake up around 5 and then I get on the computer for a little bit and drink some water to hydrate.  Then I clean my face, brush my teeth, put on my makeup and straighten my hair.  If I picked out my outfit the night before, the next task goes much smoother.  I then walk Kendra and think about breakfast.  Normally at this time, I am getting anxious to start working and feel that I have no time for breakfast.  

Today I tried a new approach.  I hit the snooze button an extra time (4 hits if you are keeping track).  Then I started getting ready right away.  I just don't feel ready for breakfast when I first wake up.  I then walked Kendra and came back to fix my sustenance.  While enjoying my fruit, yogurt, and protein, I browsed the internet and did a little work.  How productive, and I got to sleep in for 10 more minutes!  I am hoping this is the key to a more rational morning.  We will see how tomorrow morning goes.

Then, I came home tonight and I was even more productive.  Sub plans, grading, planning, and more all happened in a reasonable amount of time tonight.  How did I make it more enjoyable?  I listened to an audio book while working.  Several of my tasks were mindless, but necessary.  These mindless tasks are easily distracted by books.  I am finding myself really immersing myself in reading right now as an escape.  I finished one tonight, now it is on to the next.

It is the little tricks in life that prove to be mood changing.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Day 240: It is Monday

The morning approached way too quickly today.  It was not the most restful night with Kendra waking up so frequently.  Sleep is probably the number one indicator on how my day is going to go.  It was a fine day, just felt a little bit long.  I am very happy to be home now.  I know I should be working on a couple of things, but I can't help enjoying some free time.

Time has passed, and a picture has not appeared.  I am now in bed and I find myself looking around for photographic inspiration.  I find nothing, so you get to see the hanging of my bag.  I feel like I am hanging on similar to this purchase from a Tuscan town.  I have a firm grip, but I feel like I am sagging.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Day 239: Action Plan

Okay, so yesterday was kind of break down and whine day.  Now that I got that out of my system, today is plan of action day.  What am I going to do to find more enjoyment in the day to day?  

Well, a couple of plans came to mind.  The first is to take a class.  Not a class for credit, but a class for enrichment.  So I looked at the schedule of my grad school and found the perfect class: "Writing Your Life's Adventures."  It starts on the 20th and lasts a month.  We meet each Thursday from 7-9.  I think it may be one step to finding a little more pleasure during the week.  Plus I'm hoping for a little fire under my seat to get me moving in accomplishing a goal I've had since my first creative writing class in high school: become immortal through my writing.

The second thing that has me putting a smile on my face is the intention to attend the Rick Steves Tour Alum reunion in January.  It is in his hometown, Edmonds, and I think he visits the reunion as well.  I would take a personal day on that Friday and leave for Washington on Thursday after work.  It wouldn't be a long stay, but I think it would be worthwhile.  I think I may be able to use my frequent flyer miles for that trip if I can get a reasonable ticket.  Plus, I have many acquaintances out there, so hopefully I can take care of accommodations.

The last thing that lightened my spirit was hearing back from my tour guide.  I had some questions for her, and she said that once she is done with her tours, we can try to possibly talk on the phone.  She has experienced so much and she is a great resource that is willing to share information.  I look forward to our conversation.  

It is funny to think of what other action plans I have come up with to solve this very same problem.  Usually as school starts and fall sets in, I get a little lost.  Each time I try to find something to bring me back.  It seems that they are temporary fixes.  I probably look like I can't stick with anything, but it is all about being happy in the moment and having that excitement, even if it is short.  Some things I have done in the past to try to remedy the mind plague include: grad school, trip planning, my first blog (Out of the Cave), my next blog (The Sunday Chef), online travel writing class, letter photography, photography business, this blog, a dog, and I know there is more.  I think I am becoming more ADHD as I age.  Some things have stuck, so I guess that makes my way of thinking not so horrible.  I wonder what other people do to get by.

Just when you think I'm done blabbing, I'm not.  I wanted to share something that means a lot to me.  I just finished watching a movie and it is one of those movies that makes me feel alive.  It makes me want to pursue my passion, even if I don't know what it is yet.  Whenever I think of my passion, I think of the possibilities with writing.  I've collected some quotations from influential people.  These quotations actually are only from a short span in my life, maybe a year, but they mean so much to me.  Here they are:

"Your emotions will make you a good writer." --Dad (#1 influence)

"The fact that you work hard at your writing and you are excited about it--call it talent, but I call it good.  I think you're an excellent writer and I think you can write very effectively.  Why?  You enjoy working hard at it." --Mr. Halterman 

"Writing is about honesty and taking risks." --Mr. Halterman

"I think that once you become really interested in anything and you commit yourself to it, you'll get pretty good at it."  --Mr. Halterman

Another is not a quote, but a memory.  In my humanities class junior year we had to write a paper about The Illiad.  We worked for so long on our thesis.  I remember meeting with my teacher and she told me that if I worked hard enough on my paper, I might be able to publish it someday.  I've gone through times where I took this as a teacher trying to motivate a student, but no real backing in the statement.  For this moment, I want to believe what she said, not as a way to encourage me to work, but as a way to bring out the possibilities.  I will have to look up what my thesis was and see the potential.  I got a B on the assignment, so I must not have reached it.

I have another moment.  During my creative writing class, we were to write three poems.  My first poem was very cliche and I tried to stun my reader, but it was expected.  I remember my good friend got a gold star for her poem, but mine left for more to be desired.  It is so funny how even in high school, a little shiny sticker can influence motivation.  So my next poem I really worked hard.  I took a scientific phenomenon (of course) and turned it into a more emotional and real spectacle.  The day after turning it in, he talked to our class about a poem that moved him.  That nearly brought tears.  Guess whose poem that was...  I got the gold star!  It needed work, and was far from done.  As my teacher said, "revision is terrible freedom."  It was the most amazing moment to know that I could create something that could move somebody.  This is what I want to do.

I rarely want to revisit high school, but when I think of who I was becoming in my writing classes, I can't help but want to go back.  I wonder if I would have had a little more time, if new options would have jumped before me when considering a career.  The French say it best: c'est la vie.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Day 238: Lots of Thoughts

So I've spent some time today trying to catch up on my blog.  I've been taking the pictures everyday, but I haven't been writing everyday.  I'm at a point right now where I am not enjoying this as much.  

I started this blog because I was going through some challenges earlier this year and I needed something to look forward to each day that I could do for myself.  It forced me to get out and try to make something of each day.  It was all working out great and I even wanted to continue on after this year.  

Once my big trip started, it became overwhelming to try to catch up.  So I cheated and didn't write like I normally would, but just did a "best moments."  Really all I want to do is write about the trip and work on improving my writing.  I know that I can do this through the practice with writing in my blog, but by the end of the day, it feels like I have to force it and I just want to get it done with so I can go to bed.  But I'm not giving up yet.  

Truthfully, I think I am unhappy with my blog right now because my life doesn't feel very exciting right now.  It would be nice to think that teaching is my new adventure, but it is my job.  I just don't think I am one of those people that can be as excited about my job as other things I truly love to do.  I need to figure something out because I know how happy I can be, and I am not there.

Right now I am reading a book about a woman that moves to Paris after her husband dies.  I used to think that I could never live in Paris.  A foreign language, big city, and the distance all made it seem unrealistic.  Now that I have been able to spend more time in the City of Lights, I do think I could live there, or maybe even should live there.  As I sit on my couch right now and write in my blog, I try to imagine how things could be different if I was in Paris.  First of all, I would have taken an early morning walk in the Luxembourg Gardens.  I might find a chair to sit at for awhile and take out my journal to write.  On my way back to my apartment, I might grab a demi baguette and cheese to enjoy on the Seine.  I'd probably pick a spot on the quai by Notre Dame.  After my extended lunch, I think I would go up to Notre Dame and gaze at the tourists.  If I'm feeling especially bad, I would step over to the next island to grab a glace (ice cream).  From there, I think I'd take a nice stroll home, stopping at the markets to pick up produce for dinner.  

The truth is, I don't think I could ever get bored there.  As I read what I just wrote, I try to figure out if I can recreate this here, and I don't see how.  First of all, I can't think of a city that has everything Paris has to offer (parks, sights, architecture, history, food, people, and easy access to other great European Countries).  Sure I could have gone to a park this morning, farmer's market, and grabbed some ice cream, but it is so different here.  I'd get in my car to go to a park (and it wouldn't compare to the Luxembourg), then I'd get in my car to go to the farmer's market, then I'd get in my car to go find some ice cream.  I can't just stroll.  Part of what makes Paris so great is not just reaching the next stop, but all of the beauty you can see while walking.  Every moment seems like the best.

So maybe I could move to Paris someday.  I always talk about it being an "if I win the lottery" kind of deal, but maybe it doesn't have to be.  I wonder what work is like there.  I wonder what it would be like to be a teacher there...  Maybe I should reconsider being a tour guide...

Friday, August 24, 2012

Day 237: I Love You Friday

You can't completely appreciate weekends until you are working.  I am so happy it is Friday.  I'm ready to sleep and participate in some activities that I enjoy.  I want to read books with an adult reading level and take some time to accomplish things I've been trying to do for a couple of weeks.  

Today's picture shows a sky that reminds me of the sky in Venice on an early morning walk.  It was nice this morning, but it was a scorcher by the afternoon.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Day 236: Reality

Today was one of those days that pushes you off your little cloud you've been sitting on.  I got to see some true sides to a couple of my students.  Although it is not that bad, I had to make a couple of phone calls home.  The honeymoon is over.  Overall, I do have amazing kids, and I can't complain because I know how much worse it could be.  Things were just a little more real today.  On a positive note, a student did a portrait of me today.  She is so creative.  I can't wait to see what she can do this year.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Day 235: Hump Day

I am happy to say that over half the week has passed. I've been working with my friend to try to plan far enough in advance so that we can enjoy our weekends.  It is nice to work with someone that plans and works like you do.  Somehow, I still have the feeling that I won't be able to have a completely work free weekend.  I don't know if that exists (other than summer time).

Today's picture shows one of my bulletin boards with the students' goals. We are reaching for the stars ;).

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Day 234: Today was a Good Day

So, I'm guessing that most of my readers don't know the Ice Cube song, but I'd have to say that today was a good day.  Not that I ever have to use an AK, but I felt that my teaching was falling into place.  I was able to hit the snooze an extra time.  My girl took care of business when she needed to (this may sound odd, but if you are a dog owner, you understand).  The day went by pretty fast.  I received some compliments today like: "Miss Reece, do we get to play the invertebrate and vertebrate activity again today?" "I've heard good things about you from the middle school parents," and "goodbye Miss Reece."  It feels like the routine is finally starting to set in.  I just debated on whether or not I should use the word finally.  Although I am only on day six, when you are feeling constant stress, anytime it is over, it feels like a "finally" is appropriate.  Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture till the last minute, so you get this weird one.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Day 233: Special Memory

Tomorrow I have to share with my students an example of a narrative.  We are selecting a special memory.  We not only have to describe the memory, but also an object that represents this memory.  The students then have to guess the object.  I know mine is probably a bit above their level, but I'm curious to see if they can understand.  I think I'll make a lot of pauses to share examples of how they can relate.  I think it is something we can all relate too; wishing time would stop or that we could return to a moment in time.  So here it is in rough draft form.

Spending three weeks with the same people can be viewed in many different lights.  You would think all of this time together would create boredom, a need for freedom, or perhaps frustration.  Normally this is what happens when you can’t get away from the same people.  I’ve felt this way before when quality time was a bit more than anyone could take. 
Something was different with these people.  I found myself wanting to be around them all of the time.  I was always excited to make plans to go to all of these fantastic places in Europe not alone, but with people that shared the same thoughts that I did.   It first started in Venice when we all went on a gondola ride down the canals.  I wasn’t going to go because I had done it before, but I saw that everyone else was going, so I had to tag along.  There was a moment when all of our gondolas were grouped together.  There was a man belting out his Italian tunes while the accordion player filled the grand canal.  The moonlight lit the water so that a reflection shimmered upon the faces of my new friends.  I actually understood what it meant for the moon to hit my eye like a pizza pie.  I felt a sense of invincibility; like nothing bad could reach me.  Unfortunately, the gondola ride ended and time moved forward like it always does. 
This was the first memory that forced me to realize the strong bond with the people that I met.  For once, I was comfortable and I wanted to live in the moment.  This continued throughout the three weeks I was able to spend with my friends. 
Our time together came to an end in Paris.  This was not our reality and our normal lives waited for us to return.  I was so devastated to go back home.  I wanted to repack my suitcase and prepare for our next destination together.  I wanted to conquer the world together.  Things like time and money seem to always put a damper on possibility. 
On our last night in Paris, we all sat together to share our special memories of the trip.  I shared mine, and I found that as everyone else shared theirs, I wanted to change mine.  The truth was there were so many special memories that an entire book could be written on them.  Perhaps that is my next adventure.
My night ended in the rain at one of my favorite Paris sights.  It was cold and wet, but I found myself feeling so happy that nothing could dampen my spirits.  I spent my last moments in front of the symbol of Paris.  The one that is most recognizable as you enter the city, and the one that forces people to gather.  I carry this symbol with me.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Day 232: A Familiar Feeling

I forgot what Sundays were like when you are working.  They are basically another day added onto the work week.  The anxiety starts to set in...  Am I ready for tomorrow?  Did I set my alarm?  What am I going to have for lunch next week?  What happened to my weekend?  Ahhh, yes.  It is now 6:47 and I can say that I have answers for all of those questions.  I can now sit here after my filling dinner and watch "Adventures in Babysitting" without any worries (at least for now).

It is a strange thing.  I'm pretty sure I have the right career, but I suppose I'll always want my time to be free and my own.  I hear of people who wake up each morning, excited to go to their job.  I don't know if I'll ever feel as excited about work as I do about other things I love.  I'm sure that is natural, but it seems teachers are superhuman sometimes.  Do you know those people I am talking about?  The ones that live and breathe their work?  Well, I can admit that work does force me to appreciate free time and home more.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Day 231: The Three R's

Oh how I love you Saturday.  You let me sleep in and move at whatever pace I want.  Today I spent some time whipping up some food for my girl.  Yes, I am that owner now, the one that cooks for her dog.  At least I have someone to cook for.  She has not been eating her meals lately, but she will eat treats.  I think she is demanding a higher quality life with better food.  So,  I meet the demands of my dog.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Day 230:The Best Part of Me

Unfortunately, I cannot show today's picture because it is of my students.  You'll have to trust that the picture exists.  Today my students picked a part (body) that represents the best of them.  Can you imagine me doing this with my middle school students?  They had to write about why that is their best part and I took a picture.  I am going to make a class collage on a wall and post their writing around it as a border.  They turned out soooo cute!  I can't wait to get it up there.  Today was a great day.  My students seem to get along so well.  I have a couple that I will have to keep entertained, but for the most part, they are a bunch of sweethearts.  The days seem a bit long, but I think it is just because I haven't had to stick with something that long since last year.  

Here is my piece on the Best Part of Me:

My eyes are the key to unlocking secrets of the world.  By lifting my eyelids, I can take in the details surrounding me.  Many might find most observations to be insignificant, but I find meaning in the overlooked and little details.  Maybe it is a dad helping a child up after a fall off his bike or a lonely man sitting in the corner; there are stories everywhere.  I always want to know more about how others live and think.  My eyes unveil these stories and my favorite hobby, photography, helps me preserve the unwritten words.  All senses make up a memory, but vision is my most valued ability.  Some day when my hair is gray and my skin is wrinkly, I will be able to look back at these photographs and remember what my eyes saw.

Now tonight I can enjoy my Friday.  I don't think you can truly appreciate how awesome weekends are until you are working.  I heart weekends!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Day 229: First Day of School

Busy is probably the best word used to describe today.  I woke up just about every hour last night, thinking about school.  At one point I was freaking out because I remembered I didn't have a projector screen and I didn't check my projector, so I didn't even know if it worked.  Then as I laid there I remembered everything else that I needed to do to be ready.  Normally I wake up in the morning feeling better about things, but I don't think I got enough sleep to feel this way.

Things got a little crazier once I got to work.  Severe weather was on they way, so our original plan was shot.  We had to have an emergency meeting to figure out how we were going to get students in.  Once we did that, it was a short time till they arrived.  Overall I think the day went well.  The only minor catastrophe was that we forgot to pick up our lunch bin, so they had to run down to get their lunch bags at the end of the day.  Otherwise I felt like things went pretty smooth.  Nobody cried, so that is always good.

I was ready to come home and crash.  I took a shower and chilled the rest of the night.  Those kiddos wore me out.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Day 228: Nervous

The jitters are setting in.  I think I could teach for 40 years and I would still get the jitters for going back to school.  This year feels just as bad (if not worse) than my first year of teaching.  There are just so many little things to remember that I didn't have to worry about in middle school.  I am so excited to meet the kids though.  It is funny that I don't get nervous about them, it is more of an anxiety that I will do everything I should do.  It is also about how I come across to the kids.  In today's picture you can see my eyes.  I took this picture to make a model of a project the students are going to do (The Best Part of Me). Tonight I am frantically trying to create plans b, c, and d, in case I'm not happy with plan a.  I just want to have many options so that it all goes according to plan.  I doubt that sleep will find me tonight.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Day 227: Back to School

Each year on this day I think of Adam Sandler's little spiel in Billy Madison.  Here is the little tune in case you don't know:

Back to school. Back to school, to prove to Dad that I'm not a fool. I got my lunch packed up, my boots tied tight, I hope I don't get in a fight. Oh! Back to school... back to school... back to school. Well, here goes nothing.

Good luck to all of my teacher friends going back!

Today's picture shows a bulletin board that will be filled with reading strategies as we approach them in the year.  Like how I included Paris?  You know me...

Monday, August 13, 2012

Day 226: Trivia Night

Today was rainy which was perfect for being productive.  Unfortunately I had to deal with some reoccurring issues at the post office, but after that I got to work.  I was feeling the little nerves that pop up each year before the first day.  I think that even if I teach for 40 years, I will always feel the jitters.  Luckily I was distracted by Monday Trivia night at a local bar.  I got to hang out with some cool people and steal the winning position in the final round.  Now we have a gift card for next week.  Bring on the useless info!

I'm back to school tomorrow, but I've still got two days till the kiddos arrive.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Day 225: FUN

I don't think my blog has ever been so full of pictures of me, but I think it accurately reflects the day, so here they are.  My dad came over today to help me with some things and go to the French Connection Day at Cantigny.  One of the things I needed help with was pictures of myself for my Reece Reviews Reading Corner.  I think it might be my cutest idea.  I review a new book each month and I award it based on Reese's Pieces.  Students can recommend books for me to review, so they are involved as well.  My review provides information about the book such as what is awesome about it and what to be aware of.  I thought it would be fun to have some pictures of myself around this board.  I also want to have a display outside my room that features what Reece is Reading.  Of course I have silly little captions to go with these pictures (like "Reading is a workout for your brain").  I think it is going to be a pretty awesome year.  I feel like teaching elementary allows all goofiness to come out.  Watch out 5th graders!

The other highlight of my day includes my visit to Cantigny for their French Connection Day.  McCormmick fought in the First Division which was apart of the battle at Cantigny during World War I.  They keep the ties to this part of his life with a celebration of France.  The festivities included French food, wine, goods, and a fun size Eiffel Tower.  It looked bigger when I saw it in July.  As a funny remark, at first I capitalized food and wine like it was a proper noun.  I suppose it should be based on the importance in my book.  

I also hired a private tour guide for the First Division Museum.  As we walked through, my dad pointed out the names of the tanks and other equipment which is pretty foreign to me.  He did fill me on some pretty neat tidbits.  For example, some of the gas masks required urination in order to work.  Can you smell the ammonia?

After Cantigny we went to a Japanese Steakhouse (how French is that?).  It was pretty awesome.  I love hibachi. 
Now I'm working on preparing for Day 1 of elementary teaching.  The countdown is on at T-2 days.  Yikes.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Day 224: Little Italy

It was a rather slow start to my Saturday.  I was hoping to hang low during the day and go out at night, but the plans did not go the way I hoped.  Instead I went into the city for an Italian Festival in Little Italy.  I was pretty much just bored and wanted to get out to do something.  The festival was okay, it definitely wasn't Italy and there was a lot of Greek food (odd).  The most entertaining part was a meatball eating challenge.  The contestants had two minutes to eat the most meatballs possible.  By the end I was thinking I should have signed up so I could get a free dinner.  Two minutes of stuffing your mouth isn't too bad.  Then, whatever is left over you can either finish or share with others.  It was a beautiful day to be outside, so I can't complain too much.

Tonight I am going to finish my last page I need to update on my blog from my trip.  This is kind of a sad moment because it means there are no more pictures of my trip to go through.  My mind is constantly trying to figure out how I can accomplish my next trip.  One of the best days is when I purchase my flight and it becomes official.  Now to figure out where to go...

Here is a link to all of my pictures if you'd like to see them.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Day 223: Full Friday

I don't think the weather could be more beautiful. Upper sixties/lower seventies, beautiful sun, fluffy clouds, how wonderful.  

Well, the time is winding down to work on my classroom.  My goal today was to get as much done as possible so that I could have Monday free.  I'm not sure if I'm there yet or not.  I don't think I'll know for sure until Sunday.  I did have a little disruption during my work time.  My dad was visiting Kendra and accidentally locked himself out.  I had to drive back home and back to work, but at least it was a nice day to cruise and have the windows down. 

As I was walking Kendra tonight, I had thoughts of what people love the most.  I don't mean family, or things like that, but I mean a selfish love.  Something that you love because you get pure enjoyment out of it.  I'm sure everyone knows what my selfish love is.  I wonder what others think...

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Day 222: Kiddos

Today was another day at school.  The families came in today to drop off supplies and meet their teachers.  I got to meet some of my new munchkins and they seem so sweet.  I can't wait to meet the rest of them.  I also got to see a student from last year and that was such a great surprise.  She used to come in my room each morning to talk to me and I will miss that.  I know that new bonds will be made though.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Day 221: Reading List

 Another day at school and I feel I need about 15 more of them before I am truly ready.  I did have a little fire put under my seat today when I realized students would be coming in tomorrow to drop off supplies.  Say what!  My room is in no condition for viewing (at least it wasn't).  Now I'm debating whether or not I want to go in because I doubt I'll get much word done with families there.  It could be a good opportunity to meet my new crew though.  The first picture shows my current reading list.  Of course there has to be at least one travel book.

The second picture shows some more framing I have done.  Why do I love framing so much?  There is something in creating something that looks more visually appealing.  The newest are the Van Goghs on the right.  

My moment today that I'd like to expound on a little bit lasted about 37 seconds.  I was walking out of school when the coca cola man looked at me and asked if I was excited about school.  Of course I said yes, and talked about getting ready.  He simply said he dreads going to his job each morning.  I said that is too bad and we parted our separate ways.  I think little moments like this are so odd because he revealed a deep personal piece of information and he knew me less than a minute.  It makes me wonder why he doesn't make a change.  What is so bad about it? 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Day 220: Thoughts and Random Pictures

Today's reflection revolves around a quotation I just found.  "I am not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world." — Mary Anne Radmacher

I am in love with the message in these words.  It is an interesting thing because as I read it I feel I know exactly what it means (at least to me), but to try to describe the meaning seems more challenging.  It is as though my mind has a greater vocabulary than the English I can share here in the blog.  I suppose it is similar to some languages trying to translate into other languages; there just aren't words for everything.  If I were to do a two minute free write on this quote, it would look like this:

moon is the same on both sides of the world, but perspective is different, grass greener on other side, change, eyes truly open, moving scenes, place=time, surroundings, environment, moments in Venice, notice life in new ways, observant in free thought of travel, distractors removed when you are removed from that setting, absorb, reflect, take in life, apply

Today's pictures really don't relate to these thoughts, but they do relate to the fun I had today.  Today was pool day, the final one of the year.  After soaking up some sun, Crystal and I enjoyed some more wine and the movie: P.S. I Love You.  We were being silly and took some pictures.  The first shows a picture Crystal brought (after a year) of me with one of my favorite cover band members.  The second shows our sunny faces.  The final shows me trying to hide my Rudolf nose.  

Monday, August 6, 2012

Day 219: The Power of Pesto

Another productive day for me.  I planned out the first week of school with a friend which has really helped me see what we are going to do.  We were so productive that I forgot to eat lunch.  As you can imagine, I was quite hungry when I got home, so I decided it was pesto time.  I had such amazing pesto in the Cinque Terre and I have wanted to try to make it again ever since.  I think the key is pine nuts.  When I made it before, I used either cashews or walnuts and it is just not the same.  Let's just say that this recipe was delicious.  Just the right balance of basil, garlic, and parmesan.  I have leftovers for about 7 meals which is going to come in handy.

Part of me is kind of glad that school will be starting up soon.  I am in need of some human interactions.  I have been hanging with friends lately, but I need to meet some new people and get some insights from some other minds.  I don't think I used to value people this much.  I suppose it all depends on who you surround yourself with.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Day 218: Neglect

I would like to apologize for my lack of effort and reflection with my blog the past couple of weeks.  I have been writing very minimally and taking pictures the very last minute.  I think the reason for this is lack of time and feeling more of a priority with catching up from my trip.  So now that I am aware of my neglect, I am going to start fixing it.  I have really enjoyed tracking my life each day and I need to remember the original purpose.  It is time to hone back in on those moments that make my day and not just a filler to say I took a picture each day.  Here we go.

I felt pretty lazy today.  I slept till 9:30 which is not like me at all.  I've been sleeping later and I need to just snap out of it.  The weather has turned for the better, so I knew I needed to get outside.  I decided to head into the city and see what it had to offer.  I thought about going to a festival in Edgewater, then I thought about going to Old Town.  I did neither and ended up in Lincoln Park.  I found a free parking spot (at least I think it was) and went walking.  I circled some blocks after realizing I didn't pay attention to where I parked.  Then I noticed that I was close to Lincoln Park Zoo and took advantage of some free entertainment.  I have never been before and it was quite a treat.

The primates are my favorite, especially the gorillas.  They are just so humanistic, or maybe we are more primatistic (made up my own word there).  I think you can read so much into their emotions and I feel like I can relate.  I have mixed feelings about zoos.  They can do good and can help educate people, but it is sad to see these poor creatures in captivity.  They probably have longer lives in this safe environment, but what kind of life would it be?  But I go anyway.

I rode around the city a bit after lunch.  Lollapalooza was going on so the city was buzzing.  It is nice to have the city close by, but it sure isn't a Paris or Venice.  I wonder which city in the US has the nicest people.  I bet that it isn't Chicago.  I will smile at someone if I make eye contact and I find that I rarely get smiled back at in the city.  Chicago can be a scary place.  I remember hearing on the news that Chicago is deadlier than Afghanistan.  They said that the number of Chicagoans murdered is two and a half times the amount of U.S. soldiers killed in Afghanistan since 2001.  

On our trip we discussed how violent crime is just unheard of in Europe.  I wish that was the case here.  I was reading a section on women traveling independently and it talks about how here we worry about assault whereas in Europe you most just have to worry about unwanted advances and theft.  Not feeling safe is one of the scariest sensations because you have little control.

Enjoy the pictures!