Slice of Life Challenge Day 31
Today is the last day of the month which means my posts will be much less frequent.
Here are some reminders and tips (both for myself and my small audience) for next year:
1. About a week or a month before March, start a notebook of ideas. Jot down ideas for topics. This way, you can have a running list of ideas and it sort of takes some of the pressure off figuring out what to write. Notable things don't happen every day, and it takes perspective and time to tease a story out of some things that make great tales.
2. Have a reoccurring theme once or twice a week. This year I did #tbt where I showcased old photos each Thursday. Next year I could do lists, hobbies, books, movies, or even feature places I've been on a selected day of the week which helps fill up the blog pretty quick with pre-selected topics.
3. When you am feeling in the mood to write---use that time to create drafts for some of those topics in the notebook. That way if you do have a busy day, or writer's block later in the month, you have a post that just needs a little polishing before hitting 'publish'.
I have really enjoyed this challenge. It has given me a place to jot down those stories that otherwise never get told. Even though my audience is quite small (I have refrained from sharing this blog on FB), it still feels nice to have a authentic audience, and it is very motivating to be held accountable for the challenge.
Today we will celebrate with pizza and cake at 2:00--- #andthatmyslice.
5 more minutes. I used to be really bad about hitting snooze. And then, one day, I just wasn't. I moved my alarm clock a little farther away, so that I had to get all the way up to turn it off, and that broke my bad habit of going back to sleep. Now I tend to wake up 5 minutes before it goes off. Or even half an hour before it goes off.
I'm always curious to hear other people's morning routines. Do they hit the snooze, or get right up? What do they eat for breakfast? Do they make coffee every day? Do they lay out all of their clothes the night before? How long is their commute? Do they turn on the tv or music while they are getting ready?
My husband sleeps until 7:30, so I never see him in the morning. I also have to keep the house mostly dark and quiet since he is still sleeping. Like a thief in the night, I slip out in the darkness each day---well before sunrise.
It is a little lonely going to work so early, eating breakfast at my desk---but if I eat at home, I'm starving again by 9:30, so its better if I can eat it a little later in the day. It is also nice to have a little coffee pot at work, so if I am running behind, I can make a quick cup while I set up my classroom for the day.
I try to have a general idea of what I am going to wear hanging on a hook in my closet the night before---sometimes I wish I had a dozen of the same thing so I wouldn't have to think or coordinate or pick out jewelery, or shoes. Being a girl is a lot of work.
If I could design a 'dream schedule' for myself it would look something like this:
7-8 get ready and drive to school
8-9 work in my classroom before students arrive
9-4 school day
If I had just a little more time at the beginning of the day, to exercise (and have unstructured time to work in my classroom)--I would be much more productive. I am more energetic and creative in the mornings.
As it is now, I try to get to school between 6:45-7 so there is really no way I can exercise before school---and it is hard to get much done before students start trickling into my room (at 7:15) to work on projects and for WIN time--at the bright an early time of 7:55. I cherish that little bit of time I do have in my classroom alone each day. It is the only time I have to eat my first meal of the day and mentally prepare myself.
Do other professions need mental prep time? As an art teacher, I have to reserve a little time to set up, think through a demonstration, sharpen pencils---the tasks never end, and no matter how early I get there, I always wish I had 5 more minutes.
I think we consider too much the good luck of the early bird and not enough the bad luck of the early worm. ~Franklin D. Roosevelt
The problem with always being early, is that most people are always late. So not only am I waiting awkwardly in the parking lot, or in the restaurant at the table, for the 15 minutes that I was early, but also during the 15 minutes that the person is late.
It wastes a lot of my time.
Being early saves me from the anxiety of being late. If I happen to run late, for whatever reason, I picture my friend, sitting alone, fuming that I wasted her time or that I am not punctual. I can't handle the thought of that---so I try to always be early, sometimes to a fault.
It happens often enough, that I am too early for my own good, that I have started always bringing a book, just in case I have to find something to do for a long stretch alone.
There are some common thoughts that go through my head when I am early and someone is late. I made a list below of the scenarios that tend to happen to me because of my chronic earliness:
1. You worry that there was a miscommunication and maybe they aren't coming at all.
2. You wonder if they are hiding somewhere, laughing at you for being so punctual and that maybe they knew you were going to be so early so they planned some sort of practical joke.
3. You always end up drinking too much water, and the waiter keeps asking if you need anything else while you wait.
4. Or, worse, the hostess won't seat you until everyone in your party arrives, so you stand at the front, watching the door like a hawk.
5. You wish you would've lied and said an early time to your friend, knowing that they would be late.
6. Sometimes you annoy people because you get to their house too early, and they are not ready. That has happened in my book club---we said 6:30, so I arrived at 6:20---the hostess was clearly not ready yet.
7. You start to wonder who you are keeping company with----that they can't respect you enough to be punctual.
8. You start to worry that something really bad has happened, and then you get mad at yourself for being annoyed at something so trivial as punctuality.
9. You tell yourself that if they don't get here at a certain time, then you should just leave.
10. You try to play it cool when they walk in, like you haven't been there for 30 minutes, waiting......
11. You leave early, trying to beat the weather or a storm....and you end up working at school for 2 hours, even though it is canceled for the day. Definitely a waste of time--and since school is canceled, you end up driving home in the worst of the storm, which is even more dangerous than staying at school and waiting it out.
12. You are the first one at every dinner so you pick the first spot at the table, and then everyone else comes in, picking other seats, and you get stuck at the end of the table, with all the babies and kids. It is way better to arrive 2nd or 3rd so you can position yourself near everyone else at the adult end.
13. Inevitably, when you are early, the other person is running late, so what started out as a short wait, ends up being half an hour---and the other person has a solid excuse for running late---but you just have to smile and pretend you weren't about to leave.
Songs really are like a form of time travel because they really have moved forward in a bubble. Everyone who's connected with it, the studio's gone, the musicians are gone, and the only thing that's left is this recording which was only about a three-minute period maybe 70 years ago. ~Tom Waits
I have an interesting relationship with music.
1. I don't karaoke. I cannot carry a tune. I have tried to karaoke, and it was an epic failure, on several occasions.
2. Concerts are not my favorite things. If it is a band I really, really like, I can get into the concert, but if a band starts playing, and it ruins my conversations at a restaurant or event, I get annoyed.
3. I love to dance....but I am not good....and I am a slow learner. I love zumba, but it took me several years of intermittent classes to pick up some of the basic moves.
4. At weddings, I'm always out on the dance floor.
5. As a kid, I always wanted to two-step the night away at the 4th of July Old Miner's Saloon Show and Concert nigh. The city would set up hay bales around a paved pavilion and a band would play old country music. I would sit on the hay and dream of being swept into the arms of a man, with whom I would dance the night away. I've never really mastered the art of two-stepping....
6. I do not like musicals. I can tolerate Grease, because it was a favorite movie of mine in High School...but other than that, I generally don't enjoy when people sporadically break out in song.
7. If I find an album or a song I enjoy, I can play it on repeat. For. Ev. Er.
8. I have trouble remembering the names of albums, band members, songs....even lyrics.....so if people are talking about music, I usually can't hang.
9. Do not send me to the jukebox.....I get anxiety that I will pick out lame music and everyone will throw food at me.
10. Sometimes I need total silence. Music disrupts my ability to focus and think. That's probably why I like to write in the early morning, before the day is filled with distracting noise.
11. If a good song comes on the radio, I like to turn it up as loud as my car stereo will go and JAM!
Yesterday, I had a junior intern in my classroom. It was her very first day to teach a lesson in my room.
She was busy explaining the project to students, when I got distracted from my paperwork.
While she teaches it is my responsibility to fill out a form and give her feedback, but while I was concentrating on what she was saying and trying to fill out all the little boxes on the form, I noticed a boy sitting in front of my desk with a little white paper wad.
The boy started flicking the paper wad around the table. My junior intern hadn't noticed him, but I noticed and I could not concentrate on the form because he kept flicking it. And flicking it. And flicking it. Finally, another kid at his table got annoyed too, and he grabbed the paper wad away from the first boy. The first boy made a big angry huff at the other kid. And then he met my eye.
The look on my face, and the scowl that followed made the boy wither into a sad, wilted, tear-filled, brokenhearted puppy. He looked like a cartoon character with a quivering lip, fat watery tear about to fall from his eye. But he had forgotten all about the paper wad. He sunk into his seat, and turned his eyes on the other teacher in the room.
When I got home from school later that afternoon, I went straight to the cupboard to fetch my Easter candy. I have a little container of jelly beans (from last week) and Cadbury mini eggs. My absolute favorite candy in the world. It had been a long day, I needed some sugar.
Much to my dismay, the little plastic container of candy was not in the cupboard.
I search high and low, and I could not find it. Where could it be? I always leave it in the same spot-----
And then I realized....Mr. M. must've hidden it. Where could have have hidden it? Why?
A few hours later, when Mr. M. got home from work, I questioned him about the missing Easter candy. "I've hidden it somewhere in this house," he said. "It's up to you to find it."
I proceeded to give him the same look I had given that boy, and after the scowl that that followed the look, Mr. M. withered into a sad, wilted, tear-filled, brokenhearted puppy. He looked like a cartoon character with a quivering lip, fat watery tear about to fall from his eye. But he turned right around, dug the candy container from its hiding spot, and handed it over without a fight.
I can't have an entire blog without mentioning that I have my own crafting retreat twice a year!!
This retreat represents everything that is important to me---
taking time to socialize with other women.
taking time to reflect.
making time to create.
making time to look at photos.
taking a break from the fast pace of the world.
Twice a year, my 'scrapbooking' buddies and I meet up at a local campground south of Joplin. The camp is a beautiful place---with a pond, a swimming pool, cabins, trees, a fire pit....We sleep in the cabins, on bunk beds--just like at camp--and set up tables filled with crafting supplies in the main lodge. From Friday-Sunday, all we do is eat, snack, sleep a little, and craft our hearts out.
Most of the ladies are scrapbookers....but some are quilters, and card makers, and painters. It is always fun to see what everyone is working on. We have a chef who cooks for us, and also does all the dishes...which gives us plenty of time to get to those projects we've been putting off. Everyone brings their own supplies, and their own to-do list. Lately, I have had to do homework during the retreat---which is no fun.....
I rarely advertise for the event. I have a blog, an event page, and a facebook page just for communicating the event. I always make an event flyer, which gets circulated digitally, and since 2010, the event has grown and grown. This year, I had 45 signed up a week before the deadline and I had to close registration--space is limited!
I never get much sleep at the event---I am usually exhausted by the time I get home on Sunday---it is a lot of work to haul all of my supplies down, unload, set up, work on my projects (I never want to miss anything), sleep a little and then pack it all up again and haul it home and unload it again.
The most memorable thing to happen was two years ago. (It was the first year we hired a cook---before that it was pot luck, everyone brought their own food.) On the way to the campground, the wind started whipping the trees around and I got really scared. A big storm was rolling through and my car was right in the middle of it!! The path to the campground is very rural---lots of fields, some big trees,
On road trips, I am usually the navigator. I am the one who talks to Siri, plugs in the 'directions to here' coordinates and makes sure that we are on the right course. My husband is the driver. He sets the cruise control, selects the playlist and he gets us to our destination safe and sound.
Sometimes being the navigator is boring. My brain wanders to all the other things I could be doing. I am a big multitasker---I like to listen to audio books while I am getting ready in the morning and driving to school---I like to be efficient. But on a long car trip, there are only so many things I can do while listening to music, navigating, and playing the hawk game. Those 'things' aren't enough to make me feel like I have accomplished something.
My desire to feel like I have accomplished something beyond the parameters of the excursion, sometimes lead me on a trajectory to do the most mundane and tedious tasks at the most inappropriate times.
Last Memorial Day weekend, we were helping a friend move. Our truck was loaded down and we were headed to their new town house in Fayetteville. I had the coordinates punched in and we were making good time.
At some point we hit some road construction---and had to take a detour---and since we had never been to this particular location, it was necessary that I find us an alternate route. However, I was too distracted to realize that my navigation skills were needed at the moment.
"Hello, yes, I would like to make a reservation for brunch next weekend," I said on the phone.
My husband, the driver, making wrong turns, cursing, furious that we were taking a long unnecessary trek in the wrong direction because the receptionist had put me on hold and I was so busy making BRUNCH RESERVATIONS FOR NEXT WEEKEND that I could not be bothered to get our overstuffed truck to the right place.
"She put me on hold....hang on...." I told him as we started down a hilly, 2-lane road, green cow pastures on either side of us--obviously not headed towards downtown.
"Can't you call her back later?! Why is this so urgent that you must take care of it right now---at this exact moment, when we are lost. You've had 2 hours to call and make these reservations, yet you chose the very last 5 minutes of the trip, when we are on a detour, to take care of this? Why on earth would you think that is a good idea?"
"Hang on, she's back---Hi, yes 3 for next Sunday, the Mother's Day brunch" I requested, as we made a U-turn on a gravel driveway.
"I don't even know if we are going the right way," my husband spat as he whipped the truck into reverse.
Finally, my call ended and I pulled up the map. I got us back on the right path, but my husband still hasn't let me forget that day.
Now, whenever we are going somewhere new, and I am navigating us towards the destination, as soon as we are almost there, figuring out those last few turns he always turns and asks, "are you sure you don't need to make brunch reservations right now?"
Yesterday ended up being a very fun day of riding bikes around town. We rode over 9 miles! It was such a beautiful day with very little wind.
After our bike ride, we needed to make an appetizer to take to a dinner with friends. My husband had done all the research and selected the perfect recipe: Lobster and Brie Fillo Cups. I had purchased all the ingredients, splurging on decadent brie from an International Market in Springfield.
We both went to work. I was on one side of the kitchen, prepping the parsley, chives, lobster and brie.
Mr. M. was on the other side of the kitchen....attempting to prepare the fillo dough---something neither of us had ever worked with before.
If you ever want to test your marriage, have your husband use his sausage fingers to unroll fillo dough, and slather it in butter. Fillo dough is like working with thin, wet paper towels. He threw a big fit in the middle of the process: "I hate cooking!" he exclaimed as the fillo dough turned to shreds in his meaty grip. "How does this stuff even work? Its like so thin, how could it possibly turn into anything?"
Finally, he got into a rhythm, and the appetizers were a success, but not after many layers of the dough were wadded up and tossed in the trash (or eaten).
The flaky, buttery fillo cups were a big hit at our dinner---and my husband later felt guilty that he had thrown such a tantrum. I just had to laugh!
Hard to believe that another spring break has already come and gone. Last weekend, the week loomed in front of me, full of possibility...I was worried that I would be bored because I had nothing planned for the entire week.
Bored I was not.
When I wasn't eating, sleeping or hanging out with friends. I was actually very productive.
I did a lot of writing, both for this blog, and my Master's class.
I did some research on a couple of things I want to try in my classroom.
I started creating a presentation on technology for two upcoming conferences.
I organized paperwork for a retreat I am hosting in April.
I spent a lot of time just doing nothing, resting, drinking coffee, enjoying my screen porch....reading...movies....hanging out with my husband.
I made lists for the weeks ahead.
The week actually ended up being so full of special moments and memories.....
Saturday: Brunch with my cousins at Cracker Barrel. Irish dinner with friends--I made a yummy Reuben casserole, green pin wheels, and Reuben cupcakes.
Sunday: Breakfast at Norma's--Greek Skillet. Movie day, I just finished Gone Girl (the book) and we watched the film...and a couple of other non-noteworthy movies.
Monday: Crystal Bridges, Van Gogh to Rothko exhibit, bike ride, day spent in NW Arkansas at Puritan and Apple Blossom.
Tuesday: Husband off work, spent time landscaping. Shrimp corn dogs with friends--stopped at several spots in Downtown Joplin to see their St. Patrick's day decorations.
Wednesday: Rainy movie day. Watched documentary, Rich Hill on Netflix, highly recommend. Rearranged the bedroom, shopped for a new duvet cover online. Took my niece to see Cinderella at the theater, with popcorn and Dr. Pepper and rainbow sour gummy candy.
Thursday: Rainy day in Springfield. Lunch with a friend at Aviary, shopping at FM fabrics, Tuesday Morning and listening to a book on tape. Had a Thin Mint concrete from Andy's for dinner---I love my friend, she paused before lunch to make sure we knew our plan for dessert before we ordered ;-)
Friday: Running errands before 10 a.m., jelly beans and caramel latte for breakfast. Found out I got accepted into a program at MU for the fall! Road trip to Frontenac---late night french fries dipped in cheese at Instant Karma.
Saturday: Recovered my vanity stool, did a little art journaling. French food with girlfriends--I made
Honey, mustard & crème fraîche baked chicken--it was amazing.
Sunday: Odd jobs around the house, yardwork. Dinner with friends--we are making Lobster and Brie Phyllo cupcakes with Irish butter---first time to make them and I am excited!
This is my 'slice of life' blog.
My Art Teacher Blog:
This Little Class of Mine