Maybe it is because I had no life this year....but I feel pretty good about my daily writings this month.....My plan of writing 'almost' every day, with some scheduled posts for busier dates was definitely successful and helped me not to get discouraged and quit the process.
I love having this place to record my thoughts. Each year, I think maybe I will find inspiration to write throughout the year, but so far I haven't used this blog to do that. I love going back and reading the stuff I have written in previous years, it is very inspiring to have a place with all of my stories.
I don't know who is really reading...I don't get many comments, but that is okay, I am not doing this for others and I haven't really shared it on social media so most people don't know it exists.
If you have been reading each day or each year in March, thanks.....and see you next year!
Ideas for posts next year: going without gluten; dealing with acid reflux; being *nearly* debt free; the 2nd year in a job is always easier than the first.
My husband and I like to dress up in costumes.
We've done lots of couples costumes in the past: Santa and Mrs. Claus, Beetlejuice and Lydia Deetz and even Cesar Flickerman and Effie Trinket (from the Hunger games). Here is a link to all of our best costumes, in case you are curious.
This New Years eve, we were invited to an 80s party. Everyone does the neon/rock'n'roll thing so we wanted to do something a little different.
We set ourselves to tasK: Watch all of the Karate Kid movies and go as Daniel and Mr. Miyagi. Of course I would go as Daniel and Jeremy decided to shave part of his beard into a fu manchu so he could do his best ever Mr. Miyagi. When we showed up to the party, I think people were surprised. I was wearing the traditional karati gi, as worn by Daniel-san in the finale in the first movie. I had even painted a bonsai tree logo on the back.
After the party, we were still on a karate kid kick, so we downloaded the new show on Youtube: Cobra Kai, which features the original actors from the movies: Daniel and Johnny are adults who are still rivals...it was a great show, surprisingly well done.
I've posted about Nelliepalooza before so I will link to that post in case you want to see some more pictures from the event.
For the past 9 years, I have hosted Nelliepalooza every fall and spring. For one weekend, a big group of friends meets at a local campground, and we craft, laugh and eat our way from Friday-Sunday. It is always very fun and memorable.
This year, I could not get motivated to work on stuff in advance, despite hosting the event during spring break and having the entire week off to get ready---I just wasn't looking forward to the 'work' part of it....
Also, many of my friends were gone on vacation so I only had a couple of people that I actually 'know' in attendance, out of the 33 guests that were there.
I decided to announce that this will be my last Nelliepalooza event. I had mixed feelings about this announcement. The part that I look forward to the most: getting everything set up and getting to work on whatever project I have in the works.....will no longer be part of my routine twice a year. The parts that I look forward to the least: cleaning 28 toilets, sweeping floors and dealing with people's questions/issues for 3 days.
The group in the photo below are part of the original group that attended 9 years ago for my birthday...everyone else that was there this time are all newbies or have only been coming for a few years.
I opened it up for someone else to take over organizing the retreat if they were so inclined, one group volunteered and a couple of others were definitely interested in keeping it going. Maybe in the future I can attend as a guest and not be in charge.
Its definitely the end of an era and I'm excited to put my attention and energy elsewhere in the future!
My husband made the comment recently that I am obsessed with pillows.
I haven't known myself to be obsessed with pillows...but now that I think about it, we do have a LOT of pillows.
On our bed, we have our regular two pillows that we sleep on, plus the two pillows with the decorative shams.
In addition, I have anywhere from 2-4 throw pillows.....currently, I just have 2 pillows on the bed, both of them are embroidered designs from Mexico, they are beautiful.
On the spare bed, we have 3 pillows, plus 2 with shams and 2 throw pillows.
On the couch, we only have two pillows right now, but I am shopping for some new ones. I like to make a little nest of pillows all around myself when I am lounging and watching t.v.
On the porch, we have 7 pillows on the loveseat and chairs that are out there.
Downstairs, we have a little loveseat with 3 pillows on it (one is for sleeping as it pulls out into a couch).
In the attic, I have a tote of fall pillows, about 5 throw pillows that I pull out in the fall.
At Christmas, I have 3 pillows in my Christmas tote...and 5 shams that I use to recover the pillows that are on the porch to make them look more seasonal as they are super summery.....
Okay, yeah, I have a lot of pillows...I even have a little one in my car and neck pillow that I take on long trips.
Shopping for pillow shams in Mexico. I found so many pretty ones I wanted!!
It seems like every year around St. Patrick's Day, we are working on a big home remodeling project. We usually start it in the winter, but sometimes we do it all in one weekend like the time we pulled up the carpet in our bedroom and moved the furniture around.
Our living room is one of the few rooms in the house we did not repaint when we moved in. It has been the same dark maroon color for the 13 years we've lived in the house. This winter, I decided that we needed a fresh new look. We started with a light blue paint. I spent most of our snow days and a couple of weekends priming and painting the walls, filling holes and touching up the trim.
The most annoying part of this process was moving around the furniture, including a big card table with a 2,000 piece puzzle. I had to move each item of furniture away from the wall, and adjust the puzzle table so that it was not disturbed while I painted and moved things. Talk about annoying.
Finally, the walls were done. We went shopping for a new rug and some new items of furniture. Most of the pieces in our living room were from family rummage sales, we got them cheap, taking them off the hands of other family members. This time, I really wanted to decorate the entire room. We kept our white leather couch that we've had for about 6 years as it is still in good shape. We got rid of two end tables, the coffee table chest, and a black leather love seat. We plan to move a small green chair and a book case out of the living room once all of the furniture arrives.
So far, an ink blue velvet chair, the rug, a new round marble coffee table and end table to match, another blue end table and a mirror are the only things we've replaced. On the way are two floor lamps, and two chairs to replace the love seat. I wanted a coffee table and chairs that were more open, instead of a wall, barricading off part of the room.
The reason the living room is hard to decorate is because there are competing focal points. We have a 60" flat screen that needs to be front and center but we also have a big stone fireplace (my husband is dead set against having the flat screen above the fireplace), and a 100 gallon freshwater aquarium. The room has 4 doorways which cannot be blocked off. It is hard to arrange furniture in a way that is comfortable and functional.
I had the idea to build a new, more slim fish tank cabinet and get rid of the cheap particle board one that we've had for 12 years. Around the fish tank, we could install shelves to make the space more functional. We also decided to take off our mantel and refinish it.
Over spring break, we worked on installing part of the shelving, but it will probably be another month before the other shelves are ready to install. We are also waiting until our new chairs arrive mid-April. I'm excited about the updates as the entire room feels like a whole new space!
I was in line at a checkout counter the other day and I heard the guy in front of me tell the clerk, "I don't eat fish."
Don't eat fish? So if there was like literally nothing else to eat, you would not eat fish?
I can't really imagine not eating fish.
When I was a kid, my dad always fried fish in the summer. He would catch it on the trot-line or a limb line or by dropping a line down the side of an old sunken tree. We would cast our poles out under Twin Bridges at mid-night and wait for the catfish to grab hold of a worm and we would reel them in one at a time until we had a stringer full of dinner. We would lay on red banana lawn chairs moon bathing, catching mayflies, watching shooting stars and eating corn nuts.
Or else we would take out my dad's little silver fishing boat after he threw the net on the shore and caught scores of shad to use as bait for crappy.
Bass, catfish, crappy, goggle eye, blue gill, those were our favorites. Most were creek-caught or from Grand Lake.
The first thing I really learned how to 'cook' was hard boiled eggs so that I could make tuna salad any time I was hungry and wanted a snack.
Now, I love roasting up a big slab of salmon and folding it into a salad full of spinach, strawberries and feta.
That dude that doesn't eat fish ain't never had it cooked right.
I don't have a great picture of 'fish' so I'm sharing a collage from Mexico. Fish tacos, ceviche and avocado stuffed shrimp were some of my favorites from the trip.
In high school, I only attended the barn warming dance once.
A lot of my friends were in FFA but I never signed up for any of the stuff even though we raised chickens and rabbits when I was a kid. I lived out in the country and my high school was surrounded by farmland so now that I teach in a more rural school, I feel right at home.
I guess I was surprised that Carl Junction is so much more rural than Webb City...they seem so close together...but one major difference is the prominence of the Archery program and the Future Farmers of America. Many of my students are involved in FFA and I think it is so cool. They are hardworking, polite, respectful students and I treasure them in my classes.
Each year, high school teachers have to chaperone one dance. I heard through the grapevine that the Barn Warming dance is the best one and that is no lie. I saw absolutely no twerking. Just a bunch of fun-loving kids dancing and enjoying the evening.
On November 30th, we showed up to the Red Door Barn with our plaid shirts and boots and we were dressed perfectly. A few kids were wearing farmer's ball caps and several had on cowboy hats. The walls were lined with hay bales and the floor was littered with piles of loose straw. The barn ceiling had been strung with twinkling party lights.
There was almost no cell phone reception at the barn, so kids were forced to interact and participate.
The music was mostly country and there were TONS of line dances that nearly the entire group in attendance got in line to participate. I've never been to a dance with that much group participation. Lots of couples were two-stepping all around the place just like it was the Paint Stallion (a now-closed honky tonk in Joplin).
It did not feel like I was working as a large group of teachers had a dance circle and I joined in, dancing the night away with them. It was a great evening and I hope I get to chaperone that dance again next year!
To 'crown' the king and queen, the candidates have to compete in games like hay throwing and minute to win it activities. While they are competing, the students lined the walls to enjoy the show.
This time in the evening is the worst. It's too late to really do anything as I am too tired to accomplish much but it is too early to go to bed.
When I look at the clock and realize that it is 8 pm. I get a little depressed as that means the evening is nearly over. It is almost bed time.
Each night, I try to eat dinner around 6 or 6:30 and I try to start getting ready for bed by 9 p.m.
So the 8th hour is nearly wasted.
Usually it is spent trying to stay awake while I watch t.v., but a lot of the time I'm dozing on the couch around this time.
I get depressed when I see the big hand point to the 12 and the little hand point to the 8 because that means that my leisurely free time is almost over.
The day is segmented into sleep, work, chores, meals, and leisure time...with the least amount of time being allotted to free time.
Each day on the ocho, I am reminded of this sad fact.
Sundays at 8:00 pm are the worst because it means the weekend is almost over.
An 8:00 on a Sunday at the end of a week off work is probably the saddest hour of the year.
"I had to do something about my longing, so I got up, went to the kitchen in my nightgown, peeled a pound of potatoes, boiled them up, sliced them, fried them in butter, salted them generously and ate every bite of them—asking my body the whole while if it would please accept the satisfaction of a pound of fried potatoes....”
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love
Every time I slice up a pound of potatoes and my knife glides through the smooth body of a yukon gold, I'm reminded of how much I love this passage from this book.
One of the first foods I learned to cook when I got my own house were fried potatoes.
When I was a kid, at least once a week, we had fried potatoes, deep fried tots or home fries. If we weren't fying them in the fry daddy or in a skillet were were eating them mashed, au gratin, or baked nearly every day.
Now, I'm keen to make potato salad or potato soup from scratch. My mother-in-law makes a delicious 'Katherine's Potato' recipe which involves boiling, cooling and then shredding the potatoes before adding sour cream, cheddar cheese and paprika and then baking the mixture to a melty, gooey mess.
We found the yummiest 'melted' potato recipe that we have only made twice as it involves two sticks of butter, but the potatoes are roasted on high in the oven and come out both crispy and tender and juicy, they are divine.
On Christmas day this year, we had family over for the afternoon to open gifts and snack. I made tiny-twice baked potatoes as an appetizer, with crispy bacon and green onions on top. They were gone in a flash.
Although I don't make them as often, I love a good sweet potato.
The poor potato has gotten such a bad rap in the world of 'healthy' and low-carb.
I don't care what anyone says, cauliflower will never be a potato. Mashed cauliflower doesn't hold a candle to truly buttery, creamy mashed potatoes.
Maybe it is a mid-west thing, but I love me some good old fried potatoes and they will always be one of my favorite comfort foods.
"When was the last time you made a new friend? Or grabbed an early morning cup of coffee with an old friend? A recent study found that when women have children, they drastically reduce the amount of time they spend with their friends -- barely five hours each week, down from 14 hours a week before having a child. And yet friendships are vital to our health and our happiness." --Parents Magazine
Since I don't have children, I'm the friend on the other side. I'm not at home cuddling a new baby, I'm just spending more time alone reading or watching t.v.
This year, 3 of my friends are having babies so I've been thinking a lot about my friendships.
I've had to make new friend groups over the years as different circles of friends ebbed and flowed with new jobs, new school situations and new babies at home.
I love my well-established friendships and I'm guilty of taking them for granted.
I've got my book club group, we get together once a month (twice if we have something fun planned). Most of the gals in that group do not have children, but a couple of them do. The mothers definitely have a harder time making it to every single meeting as sporting events and sick kids keep them at home. Since we have been meeting for almost 5 years, we have lots to talk about with art and books and films.
I've got my cooking clique group. A friend circle that I'm part of, but my function is the younger, hip friend who doesn't have kids...and the rest of them have 3-4 children aging from 5-19 years old. We get together about once every six weeks for dinner and maybe a girl's weekend once a year. We talk about marriage and savings and vacations.
I've got my teacher friends. One group is made up of women who are either not mothers or have grown children so they have more freedom. We get together once every 3 months or so (if we are lucky). The other group of art teacher friends all have children of various ages and and we only get together about twice a year. We all have a lot in common with our careers so we always have tons to talk about. And then there are teacher friends that I treasure and value and respect, be almost never get together because we have grown apart.
Then I have my 'circle' friends. This is the group that I go to concerts, and actually go on vacations with....its the group that is popping out babies left and right. Last year, we all went to Mexico, we saw Justin Timberlake in concert and we got henna tattoos together. They are the girls enjoy spa nights during our annual girls' weekend and they have seen me at my best and my worst. All of them are married to a group of guys that went to high school together so we do a lot of couples activities together.
Sometimes, I feel like I have so many friends that I don't spend enough time with the ones that are the most special to me and then I feel guilty when I make a new friend...because I'm more likely to ask my new friend to go do stuff while my other friends are out of the loop.
I guess I'm lucky that I have so many friends, but I don't have a best friend. I don't like feeling that close to someone. I don't really want someone (besides my husband) to know everything about me. I'm to guarded with my emotions and I don't like to open up very often.
I've been thinking that it might be time to attempt to make a few new friends.
My class at MSSU and my new job have given me many opportunities to make new friends, but making a new friend is really hard. I don't want to come across as needy or annoying. Making a new friend at work is really tricky as people have their established friend groups and its hard to break into that.
I'm open to new friendships and inviting new people into my circle. So that is one of my goals for this year. To make a new friend or two that I can have a laugh with and meet for dinner and just talk.
This is my 'slice of life' blog.
My Art Teacher Blog:
This Little Class of Mine