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, November 30, 2012

Day 333: Gone Fishing

Finally it is Friday.  These full weeks are killer.  In my mailbox I had a little fishy with a note that people were meeting up for drinks after work.  I think I've mentioned before that my school calls it fishing.  I had a great time hanging out with my coworkers.  I think the cool thing is one of my good friends was there, but even after she left, I still continued to have a great time with everyone else.  I definitely work with a bunch of nice people.

I made my picture just in time today.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Day 332: So Much for That Idea

I'm sure you could imagine my disappointment this morning when I realized the powerball winners were from AZ an MO.  Makes going to work just a little more bitter.  Not that I should be surprised.

I treated myself to a little Portillos tonight.  I'm going out to eat with my parents Saturday to celebrate my birthday and then I figure I'll do my French detox on Sunday to get back on a healthy track.  My winter instincts need to realize that I don't need to put on weight to stay warm.  I can simply turn up the heat.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Day 331: Big Money

I started my morning with purchasing a lottery ticket.  $550 million dollars.  What do you even do with that kind of money?  Well, I'd like to find out.  Along with the rest of the United States it seems.  What an upbeat way to start your day.  Imagine the life you could live if money was no concern.  The truth is, I wouldn't buy extravagant things.  I'd go places.  I'd help loved ones.  I'd donate to charities that I believe in.  Would I buy a new car?  No.  Would a buy a new home?  Maybe an apartment in Paris.  Would I stop shopping for bargains.  I don't think so.  I sometimes wonder what I could accomplish if I had money and time to myself.  I doubt we will ever find out.

I saw an article on MSN that I thought was funny.  11 things more likely to happen than winning the lottery.  Want to know what they are?  I'm more likely to:
1. Die as a pedestrian on a street.
2. Drafted into the NBA after college (I don't know about this one.  Maybe WNBA).
3. Die in the air (uh oh!).
4. Become a movie star.
5. Die after being struck by lightning.
6. Die from a hornet or wasp sting (oh my gosh, that is one of my worst fears).
7. Born with extra fingers or toes (don't have to worry about that one).
8. Become US President (no thank you).
9. Attached by a shark.
10. Make a hole in one on a 3 par hole (maybe in putt putt golf).
11. Win some prize in the lottery.

Well, I guess I shouldn't get my hopes too high.

I'm pondering tonight what I want to do for next year as my project.  I was looking through this blog last night and I really value being able to relive events I may have otherwise forgotten.  Maybe for my last day I should do a "best of" post.  But what is next?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Day 330: Thoughts on a Full Stomach

I wish I had more confidence sometimes.  Right now I'm mostly speaking about my teaching.  Unfortunately, this is where the realistic part of me shoves through.  I know that I'm not the best teacher I can be.  How can I be as a first year teacher in this new position?  The truth is, I don't think I'll ever feel like I am the best teacher I can be.  That is frustrating.  To think that I could always be doing something better feels overwhelming.  Think how many lives I affect (or don't) because I am not the best I can be everyday.  Good thing I can default on being human and no one is perfect.  It is kind of odd that I am writing this, because it was not a particularly bad day.  Just a little reflection.

Something I feel confident in proclaiming is that tonight's dinner was good.  I found these London Broil steaks on sale at Caputo's and they are quite tasty.  Uh oh, I'm reverting to food a lot lately.  I must be stressed about something.  

A friend asked me recently what I'd like for my birthday.  I think I'd really like to go back in time to relive one day.  It has probably been one of the highlights of my life.  Does anyone know how to make this happen?  Let me know if you do.  If only I could choose what I dream about at night.  I think I'd program the best moments for each night.   

Monday, November 26, 2012

Day 329: Workaway

I found this really cool website today called workaway.  It is basically a home-stay volunteer program.  You can volunteer all over the world.  Some are awesome like helping at a B&B in southern France, whereas some are a little strange.  I might have to consider this site...

I had such anxiety about going back to work today.  I know that it is ridiculous, but I couldn't seem to get over it.  Of course I was perfectly fine once the kids came.

I watched a really good movie last night and I want to read the book now.  It is called "Sarah's Key."  It takes place in France during World War II.  I knew that French Jews were deported, but I had no idea that the French police were in charge.  The story was heart-breaking.  This little girl locked her brother in the closet as the police came to take them to the Velodrome.  Unfortunately she was pulled away for a long time and the brother died in the closet.  She worked so hard to escape and when she finally did, she reached the apartment that was filled with new tenants to find her brother dead from starving and dehydration.  How horrible.  I am so fascinated by holocaust literature.  I am always amazed at the inhumane acts that took place.  I definitely plan to visit some memorials in Paris.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Day 328: Lobster Night

As you can see, I had a wonderful dinner tonight.  After feeling the way I did this morning, I didn't know if any food would stay down, but fresh air did the trick for me.  I was going to have shrimp tonight, but Whole Foods had their lobster tails on sale.  So, this girl pounced on the opportunity.  I also picked up some awesome London Broil wrapped in mozzarella, mushrooms, and herbs for a super cheap price.  You should probably be expecting to see several food photos in the near future.

The other night while eating dinner I looked around and I felt at home.  I really like where I live right now.  I'm surrounded by memories and comforts.  It is a relief to know that I'll be able to stay here another year.  It is nice to have a home of my own.  If only it was a little cheaper, but we all know that won't happen.

I'd like to apologize to my loyal readers out there (all 4 of you).  I ran out of photo space on my blog so I had to go through and delete a lot of things on my account.  I was mostly just being lazy about it.  We are in the home stretch now.  What should I do next year?  I need my projects...

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Day 327: Shopping and Wine

Crystal came over today for some shopping and wine night.  We started our tasting pretty early, and went into the next day.  Perhaps a little too much wine.  We had quite a feast around 11.  I pulled out all of my leftovers and we had another Thanksgiving.  Ashley came over for a glass of wine too.  I love just hanging at home sometimes.  It is definitely better for my budget.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Day 326: Black Friday

 Black Friday was very different this year.  It actually began on Thanksgiving.  We were out till a little after 1 am and then I was able to get a great nights sleep.  I like it this way.  I wasn't planning on putting up Christmas decorations tonight, but something came over me and gave me some inspiration to get it all out.  Here is my little tree and a new ornament that I got on my trip this summer.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Day 325: Thanksgiving

I love Thanksgiving.  It is so great to see family and come together to share some food and wine.  I really enjoyed talking travel with my aunts and getting some ideas on paper.  I also really enjoyed trying famous wine from Napa Valley.  If you have ever seen the movie "Bottleshock," this is the wine.  It beat out French wines back in the 70s.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Day 324: Over the River and Through the Woods

One morning I an sleep in, it doesn't happen.  How is it that I feel completely awake at 5 in the morning today, but when I have to do it for work it is near impossible?  Ugh.  Well, my morning was very productive.  I did all my packing and raided my travel bookshelf to bring books for travel talk in Decatur.  I can't wait!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Day 323: Hour Early Dismissal

It was a little crazy today with the kids, but I'm probably just excited as they are to be getting a little break.  I had this idea that I would come home and get so much stuff done, but I didn't do anything.  Probably one of my laziest nights, but I liked it.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Day 322: Art Day

This is the first Monday I've had as an art day and it is amazing.  I was very negligent of my work this past weekend, but it made no matter because I got it all done during plan time.  Imagine what I could do if I had this time everyday...

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Day 321: Take a Hike

I normally don't have fun on Sunday, but this Sunday was an exception.  Although I've been sick, I needed to get out.  The weather was warm and beautiful and we all know that these days need to be cherished.  So, I asked Crystal if she wanted to go for a "hike."  I wanted to go to Starved Rock, but it was too far, so we went to the fox river and walked from Geneva to St. Charles.  When we got back we stopped to have some drinks and chat.  I never do this on a Sunday.  I really enjoyed myself.  This is what Crystal stepped in on our hike.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

320: Walk in Care

I decided to give up and go into walk in care this morning.  After only a couple hours of sleep, I realized that this sinus infection is not going away.  I was at walk in care for almost 2 hours, but I have to admit I didn't really mind.  I felt like I had some time to just sit and let my mind wander.  I enjoy having time to just think.  I ran a bunch of errands afterwards and came home to nap.  One funny moment happened as I was picking up my prescription at Walgreens.  I was waiting in the drive thru as I hear a woman yelling behind me.  At first I thought she was being impatient and yelling that things needed to get moving.  As I was able to focus in on her words, I realized she said, "I don't even know you, but I love you because you love pugs."  I have a magnet on the back of my car that says I love my pug.  How funny that she just yelled that to me.  

Last weekend I was with my dad on the Marine's birthday and a car behind us was honking and drove by shaking the rock on symbol.  The guy yelled, "semper fi."  My dad has his Marine magnet on the back of his car.  It is kind of cool how showing a little bit of ourselves on our cars can create connections between strangers.

Looking at my picture, I think I have a problem.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Day 319: Mixed Emotions

Unfortunately my work day was not as great as the day before.  I made a mistake in my teaching which is probably one of the most embarrassing things ever.  It happened in math and I thought I knew what I was talking about, but it turns out I didn't.  It has probably been over 12 years since I'd done this skill, but for some reason I had confidence I knew what I was doing.  I was so upset with myself the rest of the day.  But, as with any mistake, I have decided that all I can do at this point is learn from it and make sure I am better prepared next time.

My evening was fantastic.  Some girls from work have formed a book club and we had a meeting tonight.  Wine, good company, great discussions, what more could you ask for?  Although there have been some challenges with moving to elementary school, I am so happy to have the opportunity to work with the people that I do.  It makes such an impact on my motivation to go to work each day.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Day 318: Teaching Moment

I made a bargain with myself on Wednesday that I would go into work that day, but take Thursday to go to the doctor.  Then as the day went on I realized it would be much more difficult to be gone.  So I went to work.  It actually ended up being one of my best teaching days so far this year.  I feel like what we were doing was really contributing to the growth of my students.  I'm glad I didn't miss this day.

Can you tell what I did tonight?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Day 317: Restless Night

I did not want to go to work today.  I was up for a couple hours in the middle of the night with a painful sinus headache.  This little illness doesn't seem to be working itself out.  I laid in bed looking at the clock and wondering if I should put in for a sub.  Then I kept thinking about sub plans and felt that there was no way I could be gone.  It would take me a couple hours to make sub plans, then I'd have to go in to set everything up in the morning.  At that point, it almost feels easier to just tough it out.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Day 316: Ill

I'm sick.  I really hope I don't go through what I went through last year. My voice is dissipating like it did last year.  It doesn't help when I have to talk and project my voice all day.  I may have to go to the doctor...

My picture is a little odd, but I noticed it as I was walking to my bedroom tonight.  I have a dead little friend in my Severini artwork.  I wonder how he got in there.  Now I have to open it all back up to get him out.  

Monday, November 12, 2012

Day 315: Full Week

Uh, this week is a full week.  No half days, meetings, breaks, nothing.  It is always nice to have a little distraction in the week that breaks up the monotony.  Oh well.  

I'd like to be back at this cafe in Arles right now.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Day 314: Monitoring Progress

60 days ago I created my perfect life outline after reading an article.  It has been two months, I think it is time to reflect and revise a little.  Here is what I created with comments in italics.

My Perfect Life
1. Be more relaxed
Read every night
 Haven't exactly done that...
Prepare for the next day the night before
I've tried to improve this, but is still a work in progress.  It shouldn't be that hard...
Plan outfit night before
Done! 1 goal reached so far.
Spend time outside everyday
Well duh, I knew I could do this one.  Especially with Kendra.
Don’t avoid things that worry me, attack them
I have improved on this.
2. Use my time more wisely
Watch less TV (maybe a half hour a day)
I watch very little TV now.  I'll have it on sometimes, but I'm usually doing something else.
Use free time to read or write
What am I doing with my free time?  Or do I not have much?
3. Become a writer
Take a class
Did that.
Take advantage of workshops (especially abroad)
Will do that.
Write everyday
I am writing everyday, but maybe not as productively as I'd like.
Create an outline
Does a mental outline count?  I even came up with a new idea.
Read more books with the style I want to write in and break apart the elements to determine the key components
I've looked at a couple.
Discover how I write best (strict schedule or flexibility, location, and style)
Probably not during the school year.
4. Travel abroad at least once a year
Decide around Thanksgiving where I will go
Check that off the list for this year.  Plans are made!
Book a plane by the end of the year
Prices for flights are going down.  Come on Aer Lingus.
Continue to earn points for travel
I am, but probably not optimally.  I need to focus on my debt right now.
Cut back on useless expenses
I struggle with this.
Excess food
Doing better.
Save at least $100 each paycheck when credit card is paid off
Credit card is not paid off yet. :(
Stop impulse buying
I wanted to buy a new couch today, but didn't.  
Meet more travel partners to share costs with
Maybe I will have people that will come visit me in Paris.
4. Become multilingual
Begin with Spanish through the Rosetta Stone program
I have not worked on this lately, but will during winter break.
Hopefully complete within a year
So far, I am not on track with this goal.
Continue onto French or Italian after Spanish (depending on travel plans)
One step at a time, Melissa.
Maintain language with practice (Spanish=dad, Crystal, travels, other Spanish-speaking people around me)
Que es esto?
5. Connect
Attend the Rick Steves reunion
Plans may have changed.  Flights are expensive and I am poor.
Try to contact extended family at least once a month
This is probably the easiest task.  I love talking to my family.
Think of others in everyday life and share moments that remind me of them
Attend more social events when invited
I have been a social butterfly lately.  I have gone a little crazy with this goal.
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.
I think I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving most this month.
7. Determine other possible careers
Investigate tour guide possibilities
I hope to talk with Jennifer soon.  
Determine writing prospective
Pretty much just a work in progress.  I will know more this summer.
Shadow possible options
Have not done.
Continue to try to find enjoyment in current career
Finding some gems in what I do.
8. Relocate
Take time to investigate the best location
I will stay here another year.  This is a much longer term goal.
Find job
Once again, much longer term goal.
9. Get married to the love of my life
Engage in more activities I enjoy to try to meet someone with similar interests
Succeeded with this.
Be more open to opportunities
Still working on this, but improvements have been made.
Spend less time at home
Definitely have done this.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Day 313: Dog Sitting

Where did the term dog sitting and baby sitting come from?  Any good watcher knows you don't actually sit on them, so I wonder where that idea comes from.  Anyway, I had the pleasure of dog sitting Oske today while my friend and her family were at the U of I game.  He was scared of me at first, but after bribing him with a treat, we became best friends.  I think he was sad to see me leave each time.

In between visits, I went to a Japanese steakhouse with my dad.  We love their rice, noodles and scallops.  Here you can see a tempura scallop appetizer we shared.  

Later in the evening I was feeling pretty crummy.  I had sore glands all day, but nausea joined the mixture in the evening.  Hopefully I sleep well.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Day 312: Book Club, Fishing, It Has Many Names

Today was only a half day with the students, but meetings in the afternoon.  It was nice to collaborate with my team members on a unit.  I wish that we did this more often.  We all have good and bad ideas, but when we come together we seem to create something really awesome.  I wonder if we could work together more often.

After work some of us went out for drinks.  At my old school we used to call it book club.  I've heard someone else call it going fishing at this school.  Whatever you call it, I like it.  Speaking of like it, whatever I am doing to Kendra, I think she likes it.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Day 311: Tech SAC

Today was a committee meeting day.  These days are long like the dark hours of winter.  I survived like I always do.  The evening finished off with a student progress concert and drinks.  Not bad considering tomorrow is Friday.

I was so tired that I wiped my eyes when I got home.  Oops.  Good thing I didn't do that while I was out.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Day 310: Home

It was so nice to be able to just come home tonight.  I feel like I've had a lot of plans lately.  I watched Cold Mountain, fixed a delicious dinner, and relaxed.  Nice night.

Speaking of Cold Mountain, I love that movie.  There are so many lines that are memorable to me.  I love the part when he talks about the memories being like a bag of tiny little diamonds.  I think that is a great way to describe good memories.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Day 309: Catching Up

All day I looked forward to catching up with my friend, Kelli.  Work seemed to crawl by, but then it was finally fun time.  We went to Rosati's to participate in their $3 wine night.  We haven't hung out alone in a long, long time.  I love getting together with groups, but hanging out one on one is so much more personal.  Especially for someone like me that can get lost in a group.  I look forward to more wine nights.  It sounds like my life is made up of a bunch of these lately.  I'm happy with that.

On a side note, I have clean sheets.  Nothing like a fresh bed.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Day 307: Daylight Savings

I love the extra hour of sleep from daylight savings.  I kept looking at the clock today as I was working and was so happy to see that it was much earlier than I anticipated.  

While grading this afternoon I watched the Bears.  I know I may seem like a traitor after my weekend of Packers, but I enjoyed the Bear's game today.  They kicked some butt.  7-1, doesn't sound like Chicago.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Day 306: Wine Night Part 2

Tonight was a repeat of last Saturday.  This time Ashley joined us for wine night.  We had some appetizers and watched a couple movies.  I think I could get used to having Saturday wine nights at my place.  The pictures show Crystal's odd way of putting together her plate.

My day also involved cleaning.  Not bad in my opinion.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Day 305: Friday Funday

TGIF is one of my favorite acronyms.  There is something about the weekend that brings out a happier person in me.  Perhaps it is the freedom.  

Today was another good day.  The kids were pretty well behaved and they are excited about our social studies project.  Anytime they are excited about what we are learning, I'm a happy teacher.

I even went out tonight.  Olive Garden, drinks at Quigley's, and movie: not bad.  We went to see Argo at the end of the evening.  It is so hard to believe that the movie is based on a true story.  I don't think there will ever be a day that I want to visit Iran.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Day 304: Sugar Hangover

Today was an excellent day at school.  The kids were so calm.  I think they were suffering from a lack of sleep and sugar overdose that resulted in a crash. 

On Monday, we begin our next guided reading round.  The kids started asking me today if they could get their books.  They want to read!  Some were able to go ahead and start.  One of my favorite scenes from the day was when I looked over and saw three boys huddled together, reading their book.  I hope I can keep this momentum going.