Posted in 29 for 29, Humor, Uncategorized

29 videos that make me happy.

This is a day late…but yesterday would have been a day early…February is a little bit crazy, but it still deserves a #29for29 list.

Life is full of ups and downs, twists and turns…and we all have our ways of dealing with them. One of my favorite methods of dealing with the less-than-pleasant world is to watch videos that bring me joy.

Here are my top 29, ordered from amusing to life-bringing. Watch at your leisure.

29. Obama’s like a real person

 

28. Weekend Update Joke-off (where my fave people on SNL were all together)

 

27. Pretty much any Scrubs episode prior to season 7. Here are some options for you (and I do the first one, btw).

 

26. Canadian Tire thingy aka…sappy teacher video

 

25. Jack Sparrow

 

24.  Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog (the middle is my favorite part)

 

23. The adorable laughing penguin.

 

22. Movie Insults (for when you want to say things you shouldn’t)

 

21. The end of Crazy Stupid Love

 

20. Any of Jimmy’s Thank You notes

 

19. Dick in a Box (an oldie but a goodie)

 

18. The final Obama Anger Translator (because I can’t anymore)

 

17. If you’re not a Texas Tech fan, you won’t get this one – if you are, I don’t need to explain. Crappy video quality, sure, but my memory is sharp.

 

16. The Little Miss Sunshine dance scene

 

15. Bruce Willis as Rachel’s boyfriend

 

14. Glove and Boots Hero’s Journey (yes, it’s educational, but I still love it)

 

13. Drunk History vol. 5 Remember when drunk history was only online? I do. I’m so old.

 

12. Any Celebrity Jeopardy sketch with “Sean Connery” in it. That 40th anniversary edition is like a high school classroom.

 

11.Kyle’s Mom (no, I’m not better than this)

 

10. Beyonce’s dancers

 

9. Sassy Gay Friend – Giving Tree

 

8. The Mysterious Ticking Noise

 

7. Whine about it: Why mornings are the worst

 

6. America’s Sweethearts buffet monologue – I know this whole thing. Like, memorized.

 

5. Bonjour, Girl!

 

4. The convenience store scene. Sorry not sorry. At all.

 

3. 2015 Madden commercial (I still love it, shamelessly. I still don’t totally know why.)

 

2. Substitute teacher video pt. 1

 

1. Substitute teacher video pt. 3 (low quality, I know, sorry, but it’s worth it)

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Posted in Challenge Accepted, Life Musings, This is real life.

29 goals for my 29th year

This weekend, I celebrated my 29th birthday (which was also my golden birthday, since I turned 29 on the 29th).

 

glowy29

The celebrations were delightful, but they also reminded me that I’m getting old…because I definitely opted for relaxing in lieu of half the plans that I’d made for the weekend, and I have no regrets about it.

giphy

I know, Danny Glover. I know.

Anyhow, while I may need to tone it down a little bit on the turning up, I absolutely refuse to take a backseat at life – and so I decided to make a list of 29 things I legitimately want to do this year, before I turn 30. Not because life ends at 30, but because I want to have even bigger horizons to reach for at that point.

  1. Visit two new countries I’ve never been to before.
    • This better happen, I’ve already bought the ticket.Screen Shot 2016-05-30 at 10.55.35 PM
  2. Take a cooking class.
    • I’ve always wanted to go, but I’ve never managed to rationalize the expense.
  3. Work out again. For at least a solid 3-6 months routine if not longer.
    • Nope, not a fun goal. But one that I need to make work.
  4. Attend a gala.
    • Because I’m fancy, bitch.giphy
  5. Plant a tree.
    • I took down four this year, it’s time I replace at least one of them.
  6. Do something that absolutely terrifies me.
    • Shouldn’t be hard. I’m scared of a lot of stuff.
  7. Write a new book.
    • I miss miss miss writing, but now that grad school is over, I have time to make it happen again.
  8. Learn how to do one fancy hairstyle really, really well. 
    • Not a ponytail, not just a straight blow-dry, but something special for when I need it. cd03499d2c16866c646b235ce4e89abd
  9. Make a pilgrimage to my heart-home.
    • Columbia, Missouri – I’m coming for you, fam.
  10. Re-read Jasper Fforde’s books I love and read the new ones for the first time.
    • Thursday Next is my homegirl, y’all. And I haven’t read his new stuff for YA, but I’m excited to see what else Fforde has dreamed up.
  11. While I’m at it, let’s do the same for Harry Potter.
    • If Thursday’s my girl, then Harry’s my boy.original
  12. Buy a stranger’s dinner.
    • It seems like a nice thing to do.
  13. Finally learn to use my sewing machine.
    • two years later.
  14. Complete a 30-day photo challenge.
    • You’d think I’d already done this, but you’d be wrong.
  15. Go clubbing.
    • It’s been a while for a reason, but I do enjoy dancing in spaces that are too crowded for people to realize how bad of a dancer I am.giphy-4
  16. Catch up with all the people with whom I never intended to lose touch.
    • Not the people I phased/cut out, but the people who drifted. It’s time for a check-in.
  17. Find a new volunteering opportunity.
    • Back at it with the more time thing. Plus, the need for something other than just my job that gives my life a little direction.
  18. Get a makeover, just for fun.
    • Not because I need one, but because I think it would be entertaining.
  19. Have a legit 12-hour movie marathon – topic to be determined.
    • Star Wars? Star Trek? Indiana Jones? 90s teen romcoms? Over-done indie movies of the early 2000s? So many options.giphy-2
  20. Finish my “Girl Power” wall of inspiration (for now, I’m never really done with any of my creative projects).
    • It’s well on its way and I love love love it, but I’ll need to complete some of the other items on my list before I can call it mostly complete.
  21. Write fan letters to the five people whose work I admire most.
    • Authors, artists, anyone who inspires me.
  22. Spend a day completely by myself.
    • This means no friends, family, or social media for 24 hours. Just me. Not sure how I’ll make this happen, but I will.
  23. Get another tattoo.
    • There are several vying to be next, but we’ll have to see which occasion presents itself first.dd29ca6dd0319bb016df21ab3452b196
  24. Color something every. single. week.
    • People know me well. I received many coloring books for presents during my 28th year, and I love them all. Plus, coloring is like a form of therapy for me, so I am super-into it.
  25. Throw a four-course dinner party that I cook myself.
    • The cooking class should help with that.
  26. Mark one more off my list of the “World’s Most Beautiful Libraries.”
    • I predict this will be the George Peabody Library in Baltimore – I’ve been to the New York Public Library, the Morgan Library in NYC, the Boston Public Library, and the Seattle Central Library.eastroom_0
  27. Learn to meditate.
    • This comes highly recommended from one of the three people I respect most in the world, so I should probably get on that.
  28. See at least one more live performance of *something.*
    • Musical? Play? Concert? TV taping? All of the above?
  29. Write a “29” blog post every month.
    • Last one is to get my ass back into blogging. Master’s degree ruined a lot of the fave parts of my life, but I’m reclaiming every part it tried to take – this blog included. So, each month I’m going to post about my “29 favorite/most important whatevers.” This list counts as the first one.

See? I’m already on my way.

Posted in This is real life.

Walking the Balance Beam

I haven’t posted in a while, I know. Blame grad school – not my crazy job, not writer’s block, not anything except all the classes that have me completely swamped online.

In any case, I feel like I’ve been teetering on one side or another of a balance beam lately. Not a tightrope, mind you, I could never even stand on one of those. And not the Olympic balance beam, either. We’re talking one of those barely-off-the-floor kinds you find in kiddie gyms. Or the one this dog is about to fall off of.

That’s my kind of balance beam.

Either way, today, for some reason, everything balanced out.

Seriously, everything. And I wanted to take five seconds to just appreciate it.

This morning, I realized that the healthy debate I was planning on having at work was too little too late and I was stuck with what someone else had decided. I immediately dreaded having to tell the person who recommended my course of action what happened. Later this afternoon, said person emailed me, thanking me for my input and letting me know that even if I couldn’t sway the group, she would help me figure out how to help my kids. All before I had a chance to tell her.

Then, I had my first day teaching my extra tutoring group, which was a beating, but on the way out, one of the kids told me that now he understood what it meant when his thesis “wasn’t supported.” (Baby steps, y’all.)

Second period, I had to write up a kid who JUST came back from … not here … because he was losing it in class, but by the end, he’d come back, apologized, acted out again, checked himself, and had a long talk with me about his struggles. By the time he left, he told me that we probably wouldn’t be friends, and that he’d probably end up in the office from my room again soon. 

Not the outcome we look for after that much work. 

Thankfully, the very next class period, I found a note on my desk from a student that made me literally cry in between class periods. I’m tearing up right now just thinking about it. The kid wasn’t one I put a lot of work into, but according to the note, I’m a teacher who kids can trust just because I’m honest and genuine with them. 

Balance, right there.

I made a list of possible projects that I have no idea whether or not will be acceptable for my grad project last year and then also a list of back-up professors to have on my grad committee. Then, as I went in to draft an email to basically “propose” to these professors, I opened an email from my fave prof that started “Thanks for helping me cry today,” in reference to the rather hearten-my-sleeve paper I submitted and ended with him asking for which font I would recommend he print his favorite line out in to hang up in his office.

Finally, I realized that I had unfortunately booked my massage at a time that ended in the height of rush hour. Then I decided that instead of sitting in the stand-still traffic for an hour, I’d head up toward Plano and get to listen to a little “librarian” read me a story about puppies.

It almost makes me feel like I’m ready for the grown up version.

Almost.

Posted in Deep deepness, Humor, Life Musings, Life's A Trip., New But Not Improved, This is real life.

27 lessons I learned at 27

Happy birthday to me!

I’m 28. Which means that there’s no longer any pretending, at all, that I’m not in my late 20s.

Without further ado, here’s the list of the 27 most important (debatable) things I learned this year:

27. Everything is better when it’s dyed purple.
10304638_10102355702669920_7018318408632320615_n 26. How to use a floor sander. No, really, I did.
25. Never use a toaster if you’re even a little bit distracted.
24. Any shirt I ever thought was awful and tacky can be easily surpassed by searching “Harry Potter” or “Star Wars” on lookhuman.com, and I want to own them all anyway.
horrifyingness 23. How old Pharrell actually is.
22. When it comes to chicken biscuits, or lack thereof, people are quite unforgiving.
21. The best way to intrigue people is to let all your eccentricities show – wear them proudly!
Photo May 04, 5 12 36 PM (1) 20. I have the sense of humor of a high schooler – which, by the way, I didn’t have when I actually attended high school. (reference #24)
19. The best way to ruin a bar is to add a DJ.
18. I own CDs that are older than most of my current students.
old albums 17. Much like celebrity deaths, coworker pregnancies can also come in threes, making for an interesting last six weeks at your new job. #loveyouguys #butreallythough
16. I am not above ordering and then using a selfie stick, though I desperately want to be.
15. Remodeling your bathroom is really effing expensive but totally worth it, if you like daily indulgences. And I do.
Photo May 09, 4 59 34 PM 14. I can easily relate to 90% of male hispanics by casually dropping the phrase, “I mean, he’s no Messi, but…” into a conversation.
13. There are some things that even dads can’t fix…like when a tree falls on your house.
12. People who say “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” are either lying or just plain wrong (probably both). If that were true, we wouldn’t need willpower.

Did I eat a piece of this made-from-scratch coffee cake at 12:15am today? Yep. Do I regret it? Not even a little.
Did I eat a piece of this made-from-scratch coffee cake at 12:15am today? Yep. Do I regret it? Not even a little.

11. The definition of “thot,” according to today’s youths.
10. There is, in fact, a limit to my generosity.
9. Even though they’re horrible people, the Underwoods are actually the ideal couple. #houseofcards
 8. Vodka is not now, nor has it ever been my friend. I need to accept that and move on.
7. Getting a third dog pretty much guarantees that you’re going to be vacuuming your house every other day. Accept it and get one anyway.
Photo Feb 27, 9 47 09 PM6. Some friendships deserve second chances.
5. Some don’t deserve the third, fourth, and fifth chances you gave them.
4. How to operate a real-life popcorn machine (highlight of my teaching career, ladies and gents).
hUw2gw 3. I’m the ultimate female sidekickGet in line, ladies.
2. Believing that you have value is a lot easier if there are others who believe it, too, but it’s not impossible if there aren’t.
and
1. The older I get, the younger I feel.
1969160_10102877040090550_2545704298991365085_nHappy Friday, y’all.

Posted in Challenge Accepted, This is real life.

Definitive Proof is…Definite? (SC #4)

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve challenged myself to quite a few things this summer, and I’ve already marked #4 off the list.

In fact, I marked it off before I even posted the list.

In case you forgot, or never read it in the first place, here’s the challenge:

#4: Read an new book start-to-finish AND watch the movie adaptation in the same day.

Boom. Done. Check it off the list.

And you know what I learned, once and for all?

Movies are not only not as good as the books, but they’re also, sadly, shallower.

Case in point: Warm Bodies, by Isaac Marion.

The book is wonderfully brilliant and riveting – so much more than I even expected. I mean, the personality of R shines through the narration and his character fleshes out as…well…he does. Perhaps now is a good time for a spoiler alert? Yeah, if you’d prefer not to read about the ending of both the movie and the book…you should stop here and just take my word for it that the book is better.

Here’s the premise: R, a zombie, goes a-hunting and chows down on this guy’s brain. Why the brain? Because as a zombie you lose your memories, your feelings, and your entire identity. But, when you eat the brain of a living person, you get their memories, for a few minutes, and become something…more. Of course it fades, but this time, for R, it’s different. Because the memories he devours are of Julie, another living person who his meal happens to be in love with, and who happens to be in the same room while her beloved is turned into a meal. And R, bless his cold zombie heart, falls in love and protects her.

Now, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the movie followed the book rather closely for most of the movie. Especially the opening.

Of course, there’s no way that they could achieve the depth of character development that’s present in the book due to time and style restraints, but it was a really decent retelling. It even had one of those side characters that I know right away is me!

I didn’t even mind that they changed his clothes and took away his fake zombie family. Time constraints, ya’ know? I understood all the changes and why they were necessary. Really, my main complaint was that they managed to find the blonde version of Kristen Stewart to play Julie, who’s supposed to be all happy and full of life in this dark place – and even there I understood that it was easier to alter her character to that fit rather than explain her whole back story. I was okay with it all.

Until the end. 

See, the ending was restyled for a broader audience in the same way that I’m absolutely petrified Mockingjay will be. Don’t worry, I won’t spoil that. No, I’ll just say that for Warm Bodies, the ending was this beautifully rich and tragic wrap up in the book that ended in a necessary mutual death that represented the defeat of evils that kept the “plague” alive on both the living and the dead sides. Were you, the reader, rooting for Julie’s father to die? No, no, of course you weren’t, because we like to see people get redeemed.

But when he doesn’t die in the movie, when he’s easily convinced and brought to the other side, you realize that it just doesn’t feel…right. The dude needed to die. Otherwise, it’s just…God, it’s not as meaningful. It doesn’t make as big a statement. And the statement – guess what? It’s not depressing and sad, it’s actually hopeful and redeeming and says something very real about the human condition. And damn it, they took it!

Because that’s what Hollywood does. They make it appeal to the masses. Like Taco Bell and Panda Express.

Is Panda Express terrible? No, but it would be so much better if they didn’t try to keep their spice levels and flavor palate at a level that would please most American msg addicts. Basically, it could have more flavor depth. And so could the film version of Warm Bodies.

Maybe fast food wasn’t the best analogy for a zombie movie, but oh well.

So, in conclusion, I shall hold this defeated challenge up as not only the first mark on the scoreboard, but also definitive proof that books are better than movies in 98% of cases.

Summer Challenges – 10 9
Me – 0

 

Posted in This is real life.

College for Gangstas.

This week was College Week in my district, as all of my fbook friends are well aware, thanks to my posting of Mizzou-themed outfits for each day of the week.

mizzoufit

Presh, I know.

That one was my favorite. Even though – or perhaps because – I received a tutorial on how to best wear my scarf from my yearbook kiddos before the pictures we took that day.

Of course, I’ve managed to work college into all of my lessons thus far.

Well, college of a sort.

On Monday, we talked about all the different options for post-high school education and their advantages. Tuesday, we discussed what they kiddos would want to study if they went to college RIGHT NOW. Wednesday was the day for asking “What is the best reason to consider college as an option?” Trust me, there were some interesting answers there. Today, we tackled the most intimidating part of applying/going to college in the future.

Unsurprisingly, my kids said “being too stupid.” I also got a few “getting in” and – my personal favorite – “having to hang out with stupid nerds all the time.”

Yep. That was, in case you weren’t sure, aimed directly at me. All in good fun, of course.

Tomorrow they’re going to love it, though, because our discussion topic will be: “Name a legitimate scenario of when going to college is a TERRIBLE idea.”

Yep. I’m serious.

See, here’s the thing: I’m realistic with my kids about college and all post-high school education. I tell them that college rocked my socks off, that my best stories I can’t tell them until they’re older (so obviously they should invite me to their graduation parties) and that I would pay ten times what I owe in student loans to have that experience if I had to. But I also tell them that it was so awesome because it was the right path for me. I show them pictures and tell them stories about real people I know who didn’t go to college…and make more money than me. More than I’ll ever make, really. I tell them about my friends who decided to go to college for business – even though they didn’t have to after trade school – so that they can run their own shop or restaurant later.

I tell them the truth about my own intended career: that about a third of all the most famous journalists didn’t go to college, they worked their way up through connections and experiences. But I went to college to be a journalist, realized it wasn’t for me, and now I’m happy as their cray-cray teacher.

You can see in their little middle school faces that they’ve never had anyone talk about college quite like this before: as something very real and not just a goal that’s impossible to reach or something sacred that they might be lucky to be a part of one day. I show them that it’s just one step on the path to their adult life, but it’s not the end-all, be-all. And it’s not the only step that they can take. It’s also not always the right path, especially if they aren’t interested in seeing what’s around the bend. They can be happy in a traditional college, or happy somewhere else, and I tell them that all I want is for them to be happy with their choice in life.

At the end of my second period today, one of my students came to my desk as I was rushing to a meeting and stopped me by asking, “Miss, is there a college for gangstas like me?”

Don’t laugh too hard, he was serious.

I didn’t really have time to address it then, so I just said, “Yes, and if they’ll let someone lame like me in, I’ll help you study. I promise.”

He kind of laughed as we walked out, but before he headed down the seventh grade hallway, I stopped and told him “I would have loved being in class with a kid like you in college – trust me. You’ll love it if you go.”

He seemed satisfied for the time being (and I think he believed me because he blushed a little) but clearly I need to address the stereotype of colleges only being for brainy people. I spend all year trying to convince my baby children that they’re smart, they just need to apply themselves, but you can see that they don’t really know what college is truly about. So every year I try to give them a real world picture of how they can plan for the future – and what to expect with each choice that’s in front of them.

Knowledge is power and all that jazz.

Tomorrow is our last day this year for College Week, which makes me sad. Why? Because I won’t have a legit excuse to talk about how awesome college was. But instead of mourning the loss, I’ve decided that my students are going to integrate my stories and pictures from college into their study of poetry by retelling one of my collegiate tales in verse. Or using a photo to inspire a lyric poem. I’m good either way, really.

And I’m super-pumped to do my own version of show-and-tell tomorrow about MIZZOU.

Mizzou tee? Check.
Photos of me in the snow in a formal dress? Check.
Magazine I helped redesign for my capstone? Check.
Graduation photo? Check.
Old textbooks I loved so much I kept? Check.
Photos of my drinking with my professors? Uhhh…maybe I should leave that one at home…damn.

Posted in Life Musings, This is real life.

Sometimes, you just need to remember why.

Folks, it’s been a rough few days for me.

There was, of course, the tragedy in Newtown that’s still at the front of everyone’s brains. There’s the weekend that I needed to be a “me” weekend and turned into yet another rushing-around weekend. And then there was today. Which I honestly cannot say much about, as it’s confidential, but it’s one of those things that you never grow accustomed to as a teacher.

And for about an hour this evening, it felt like so much. Not too much, mind you. Just…so, so much.

So many stresses, grown up concerns, and realities.

I desperately need a break that I won’t get until maybe Thursday afternoon, but then as I was scrounging around Pinterest, I happened to fly by my boards page and decided to take a closer look at what I had already pinned, looking for inspiration for our winter game that I just couldn’t seem to get right.

Then I stumbled across this guy:

124904589635977412_tnSowXFA_c

Wait, no, not that one…though I do enjoy a good e-card…and it is true, after all…but let’s see…ah, here it is!

This one.

4785143323974507_kyoP7Wdp_c

We need to remember that from everything that happens, there is a lesson to be learned. Just like how, in everything that must be done, there is an element of fun. I tell my students both these things all the time, and I really need to heed my own words.

Or, as I’m crap at taking my own advice, perhaps I should heed the President’s. Last night, he gave a remarkable speech. Truly. I mean, I’m a long-time fan, and even I was impressed. One thing that he said stuck with me:

“There’s only one thing we can be sure of, and that is the love that we have – for our children, for our families, for each other.”

He’s right – that’s what we have. Each other, and the support that we can offer to and accept from our loved ones.

So, yes, the past few days have been downright awful. And I’m not expecting them to magically look up soon, but I need to remember to appreciate the little things, take comfort in my friends, and find the bigger picture.

And as for the game for our party tomorrow? Snowman Relay. Think pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, team style, with a winter twist.

Four more days, friends. Let’s do this.