You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2012.

Beyond Price: Taking a stroll far longer than your usual way just to make sure you enjoy the breeze, the sun, the temporary 55 degree weather that has kept you cheery all day.

 

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When I first wanted to be a writer, I used to believe that my first efforts at telling stories had to be perfect. That my first piece had to be absolutely up to par, engaging, metaphorical, and that I had to deliver the right story in the most perfect inhuman way imaginable. When those first sketches and drafts weren’t so good–of course they weren’t–I thought that meant I wasn’t supposed to be a writer. It was only later that I understood how the process works. I imagine it must be similar with everything else in life.

This week my favorite quote came from ‘The Fault In Our Stars” brilliantly written by John Green. This book was seriously heart warming, it made laugh hysterically, it made me tear up dramatically, it made smile cheerfully, it made me angry at the world and its unfairness, and it made me appreciative. Definitely a good read, if you have the time- GO FOR IT!

“I can’t talk about our love story, so I will talk about math. I am not a mathematician, but I know this: There are infinite numbers between 0 and 1. There’s .1 and .12 and .112 and an infinite collection of others. Of course, there is a bigger infinite set of numbers between 0 and 2, or between 0 and a million. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities. A writer we used to like taught us that. There are days, many of them, when I resent the size of my unbounded set. I want more numbers than I’m likely to get, and God, I want more numbers for Augustus Waters than he got. But, Gus, my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful.”

 

Teacher-hood is a day in January, a hot air ballon bursting, and children dying to play a prank on you, hoping that you’ll fall for it.

Teacher-hood is having a student that puts a hand in yours with absolute trust, having a student that relies on you to solve her social issues with boys when seated next to the one that won’t play with her.

Teacher-hood is listening to the hilariously weird things they say when they’re learning something new.

Teacher-hood is going along with fairy tales and make believe stories because you can’t stand to give up the magical part of life they seem to know and love…     no matter how ridiculously unreal it sounds.

Teacher-hood is working late even after you have clocked out, getting to the school a hour early to prepare, creating engaging lesson plans and activities that will benefit and interest the students, while knowing that your students, their parents, and your friends will not have a single clue how much we stress on their behalf.

Teacher-hood is listening to their small story out loud about them losing their teeth, and how many gifts they’ve received on their birthday.

Teacher-hood is not knowing what’s going to hit you next.

Teacher-hood is made up of a series of concrete, specific actions every day from the second you step into a classroom till the second you crumble on your living room couch. The actions can seem petty and small to some people like…like making sure each folder is labeled and color coordinated, refilling art supplies, or making sure you picked up every seat from the floor and placed it on the table for the custodian to clean up the classroom easily.

Teacher-hood is about accepting the limitations of time and energy, which stretch beyond you, even if sometimes it feels they could consume you.

Teacher-hood is accepting that things are always going to change, that in September you will have to get to know and love 20 plus something new students all over again.

Teacher-hood is smiling inside because everyday you see a student growing and hopefully… improving.

Teacher-hood is admiring children because they know how to inhabit brief periods of time with extreme passion.

Central Park NYC

Just a couple days ago, before my brain almost died from complaints. I was sitting in my favorite coffee shop in New York City right on 17th street, staring out the window, lurking to try to find something to hang on to. I was reaching for something authentic and a memory flashed through my mind as the bitterness of the cold reached people’s lips. –

It was one of those chilly winter days, it was Monday, and you knew snow would be coming soon. And I remember that morning I took a walk in the park with a dear friend who came from out of town. Then we were just sort of sitting around on the bench and Empire of the Sun’s “WALKING ON A DREAM” starts playing in someone’s car loud enough for us to hear it.

“Never look down. I’m just in awe of what’s in front of me/ Is it real now? When two people become one. I can feel it/ When two people become one.” – All of the sudden a song I utterly ADORE and was very, very pretty, was lingering in the air and I happened to glance over and saw more people sitting there sharing what might be the same feeling of satisfaction. I remember thinking to myself how categorically lovely this was. And I guess it was a combination of everything, the sound of the music, the shivery breeze, how faultlessly kind my friend is, how gorgeous the naked trees looked in Central Park, and for one brief moment everything just seemed to come together unfailingly perfect and I felt happy. It was perfect, almost indestructible in a way.

It’s funny now, how that simple little moment moved me in a very, very profound way. 

Winter in the City

“Excuse me for putting a good spin on a traffic jam.” – When Alec Baldwin appeared in Friends season 8.


I’m off my game and I don’t know how to get back on it” Finn on Glee

Sadness breeds more sadness, and the key is really to just find hope. Find hope in the small things that make up your life now. Find hope in words that are spread from people who care, from people who are only a text away, or a call away, or even a facebook update away from saying the one perfect thing you needed to hear. Believe your friends when they tell you, that they totally understand how you are feeling. Find hope in letters, and sounds, and in friends that tell you not to regret the past so much, to maybe just take a lesson from it. Find hope in knowing that you are not alone, that you are not the only one who is desperately worried about your career, your romantic challenges, your bank account. Find hope in friends that text you words that mean not just something, but everything.

 Beyond price: TEXT from friends“Hey, Remember life is never a straight line. I’ve personally gone through some amazing ups and downs. I think at its core you are upset cause your romantic life isn’t what you want, and your professional life is also in a tough spot. Trust your instincts and know that you may be going through a tough time, but you ARE NOT A FAILURE. Give it time and trust that things will be better soon. BIG HUGS from miles away.”

I was painfully unaware that sometimes a text away from your true friends have a long lasting positive buzz. But just like that, I felt better.

Dear fourteen year old sis,

I know this might be awkward  for you to discuss with your much older sister. I know you don’t like to bring personal subjects up because it makes you feel violated or maybe like I’m just going to tell you what to do and judge you for thinking different. My 14-year-old sis, I just want you to realize that is not my intention at all. I want to be as open with you as I possibly can. And more than anything being open means that I have to be honest with you. I will lay out my opinion about the matter and I will suggest what I feel would be the best decision for you based on my own experiences. But at the end of the day it will always be your choice. People can nag you, judge you, tell you what to do, tell you what not to do, criticize you, point fingers and make you feel small, or slutty, or make you feel like something you are not, but at the end of the day the decision is always yours. People are going to say what they want or what they think is right, but you’ll figure out someday that none of that matters. It is all gibberish really. The only person with control over your body is ultimately, you.

I know you feel alone. Probably more so than ever since I’m in New York living my grown up/city life and our brother is in West Virginia finishing up his degree and getting ready for law school. It is funny, cause even though I had my brother there all the time to hang out, fight, and talk to, and even though I had the little six-year-old you to play with and look after I have felt alone. I have felt like I was the only one in the house trap in a corner of webs with nowhere to go and the only way to break out of it was to rebel my way out. I remember what it was like to be in High school, to not feel pretty enough, to not feel good enough, to not feel smart enough. I remember not trying out for cheerleading freshman year because I felt too small and everyone would make fun of my skinny legs in that short red skirt and think I wasn’t cheerleader “worthy”. I’m happy you had the guts to try out and make it yourself. I already see a much better version in you than I did in myself. I was simply a teenager with a very low self-esteem. I was a teenager without balls to say, “eff what you think I should look like!!!”. As you know I eventually did join sports, volleyball to be exact, JROTC, yearbook committee, and other school clubs. The confidence to do it all didn’t come till later in high school when I finally made the decision that I needed to go to college, and in order to do so I needed to be more active. And that is actually what I regret the most about high school, not giving my all-ALL THROUGH out high school. I didn’t get to show people who I really was. I was too TIMID to break out of the circle of popularity and “fitting in”. You live and you learn right? Once I finally built some courage in my bones, I was never the same.

I am, as I hope you are aware, a much better person being exactly who I am and embracing it to the world. I hope you have more than bite size courage, I hope you have enough BOLDNESS in you to do what is right for you and you only. I hope you have the guts to start your own path instead of following the girls who talk too much, who do too much, who go out too much, and barely have parental supervision, or even goals in life. I hope more than anything you pull an invisible middle finger to whoever dares not to see how worthy you are. If you haven’t grown some courage to do so yet, that is what I am here for. Let’s just say, I’ve been there done that and can now run a little gutsy encouragement down your tracks of life. This is really an introduction to what I hope would become a better way to communicate our frustrations from sister to sister, from teenager to woman, or even from woman to teenager. I may be a better person than I was in high school but I still have a lot to figure out. We are all a work in process, and that is okay. 

I love you forever,

your big sister.

Bucket of beers – $35

Sliders with fries – $6

Watching Giant’s wide receiver Hakeem Nicks get by Packer’s safety and cornerback for the touchdown in the first quarter – EFFIN PRICELESS 

Image taken from http://www.nj.com

A second round of beers – another $35

Vodka and cranberry for the heavier drinkers – $8

shrimp skewers – $12

Watching Osi Umenyiora reaction after SACKING quarterback Aaron Rodgers and causing a FUMBLE in the second half

 – PRICELESS 

 

image taken from http://www.nj.com

Bill – $300

Watching Giant’s running back Ahmad Bradshaw run by Packer’s outside linebacker for 24-yards in the 4th quarter. Watching Eli Manning make a key pass to wide receiver Victor Cruz in the 4th quarter. Applauding Giant’s wide receiver Mario Manningham for catching a touchdown pass in front of Green Bay Packer’s cornerback Tramon Williams in the 4th quarter – BEYOND FREAKING PRICELESS

Beyond Price: Getting together with friends for AWESOME entertainment. Sharing excitement and high fives with other New York GIANTS’ fans. Cheering and yelling enthusiastically at the top of your lungs every time Eli Manning completed a pass. Wearing BLUE. Wearing RED. Wearing WHITE. Wearing your favorite team’s gear proudly. Laughing at the only two guys that were rooting for the Packer’s face reaction every time a touchdown was made. Tweeting about the Giants. Celebrating the Giants making it to the NFC Championship game. Sharing your love for the game with strangers. Sharing your love for the game with friends. Sharing your love for the game with family. Sharing laughter. Sharing happiness. WINNING. 

 

Money can’t buy the joy you get when your favorite sport’s team in the whole wide world makes it beyond expectations, beyond the regular season, beyond the first two playoff games. 

Money can’t buy the joy you get when you can prove people wrong. ELI MANNING IS an AMAZING QUARTERBACK! He has definitely proved everyone who has ever doubted his abilities as a performer, wrong. TAKE THAT!!!

MONEY CANNOT buy the memories you make with friends and strangers when you are sharing the same intense excitement and love for football. 

 

GO New York GIANTS! Next stop – San Francisco. 

image credit - http://www.nj.com

Beezus and Ramona The Movie

A child’s 5th birthday is… endearing. They are amazed by everyone wishing them a very happy birthday. They are aware that they are now 5 and that 5 is more than 4, therefore they are big kids who get to go to big kid schools and do more big kid things. They are ecstatic about their very own cake, all the cute little gift bags, the candy, the laughter, the dancing, the playground, but most of all they are excited about the people that are with them celebrating this very special day. They don’t torment themselves with petty details like who did or did not make it to the party, who bought the most expensive gift, who bought the cutest dress, who is the coolest person to hang around with. They just live to enjoy the day for exactly what it is.

They believe that life still reveals magnificence in the simplest and tiniest things, in a flower, in a balloon, in the sky, in the stars, in the sprinkles on their cake. They don’t lose sight of what becomes something they love with all their heart. It doesn’t matter how small or great the gestures is, how small or big the gift is, how short or tall people are, they just take notice that eternal beauty passes justly through the whole world. 

But the most admirable trait of a child is that they live in a state without expectations and suspicion. Oh how I long to be like this again. In childhood there is time for every development, quietness for every voice, and space for all of life and all of its values and things.

This is what it means to be young: hopefulness and love in the most beautiful surprises,  joy in daily discovery. 

Beyond Price: Childhood. A child’s 5th birthday. Celebrating “pure” life.

What do you enjoy as intensely as a child? 

A new year offers the chance to renew the self–to discover, to develop, to evolve. Are you taking advantage of your brain? Your body? The soul that wants to spread and become a butterfly? It is never too late. And I undoubtedly believe that IT IS NEVER TOO LATE  to LIVE as you want with every red blood cell that travels through my totally hot but sometimes tired body. Yes, I just called myself hot. I am allowed to love myself and my body, I encourage you to do the same.

Do you remember how the circulatory system works? (Yes? No? Did you day dream about the boy you had a crush on all through your biology classes like I once did? Just me? I basically had to reteach myself almost everything I had ever learned in high school to become a qualified general ed teacher. Total time bust. See youth? If you take advantage of your time now and keep your head in the books you wouldn’t have to reteach yourself everything later.)  Anywho…

Our bodies have a well-organized system going on that works almost perfectly if you are treating it right. Sometimes it runs perfectly well even when we are treating our bodies like we hate it (aka taking a whole bottle of gin to the head). Be GRATEFUL.  So the blood is our body’s transportation system. Everything from oxygen to hormones is transported around the body, and even the things we don’t need like waste products are carried out for disposal. In order for blood to do its job, it needs to be pumped around, and that is the primary purpose of the HEART. Duh right?

So now I’m asking you. While our arteries carry the oxygen-rich blood, and your heart is pumping away making sure you are staying alive to experience life on this EARTH, what are you doing to develop? To evolve? To become the best version of yourself? Your heart is pumping. Your heart is working day and night, waiting for you to show it to the world. But guess what, just like our bodies our mind and life need a well-organized system to live by. That’s where resolutions, bucket list, monthly list, daily goals, whatever you choose to tackle come in to help. Don’t knock it until you take it serious. MAKE YOUR LIST to help keep things in tact so that we can one day sit back and actually be satisfied with the life that we have and have been living, even if it is just for a day. Don’t be afraid to make a list. Don’t be afraid of failure. You aren’t perfect. We are humans. We forget, we mess up, we get hurt, we move on. Then we try to do better the next time around. It is a beautiful circulatory system.

Is there a mountain you want to climb? Write it down. Arrange a time and place. and DO IT. JUST DO IT.

Our heart wants us to do it. Our heart wants us to live. Healthily of course, but LIVE BOLDLY nonetheless. Our heart wants to put its name out in the world and declare that it was here, making a difference.

The word for this year is ‘process’. The changing self is always a work in process, so consider that your only resolution is simply to be “WILLING to do the WORK”, as your heart is. 

Beyond Price: Your living heart. The new year. Getting another chance to make it better.