Monday, April 30, 2012

Finish up the A to Z Challenge

On April 1st I wrote: 


I wrote recently about how I am  little jumbled inside about my priories and my focus, and it is all making me very...unmotivated. I also wrote about how I was going to drop my initial plan for the A to Z challenge which was to write about starting a schedule...For April, my goal is simple: Come up with 25 things that I already am, 25 things I believe in, 25 things that make me who I am. The objective for this is to help me feel more grounded and less emotionally scattered. This will follow the A to Z Challenge format (obviously). 


And then, on April 20th, I lost all motivation, got overwhelmed with life, and only got through R. 


So, I'm back. And I didn't realize until this morning how much I've missed writing. ALL I can think about today is all the things I want to write about. 


But I have to finish the A to Z Challenge first. It's still April, so I've got time. 




I am [R]estless



I am consciously [s]lowing myself down so that I can enjoy life more.

I was mortified when my meditation instructor told me that Buddhists tend to move more slowely than other people; I like going a million miles a minute. But once I started to internalize the ideas of mindfulness and living in the moment I have realized that this outward slowness is not actually mental slowness (or, mental deterioration like I once though) but rather just an ability to not rush on to the next thing and not enjoy life.

I am also [T]eresa, not Terry. 

My mother chose my name and the names of my sister because "they would look nice on an office door besides the words CEO". While I would much rather it be Ph.D. next to my name, I still think it it's pretty awesome that I have such a strong name. Therefore, I think it's weird when people call me Terry. And I tend not to respond.

I am [U]norganized, but I am working on it

When I had my son I realized how it was not an option anymore to be disorganized. My kitchen (usually) is very organized, my work bag is EXTREMELY organized (though my desk is a bit of a catch-all), but my car and my bedroom are a disaster. I am slowly work on this problem, and I am making HUGE progress, but I still have a long way to go. 

I am a [V]egetarian 

This started out as an accident and turned into a full out lifestyle choice that I am very VERY happy with. 

I am a [W]orkaholic, and I am happy that way

I dealt with the guilt of being a working mom; it was crippling at times. But not only am I a mom I am a teacher to 60 other students who I want to help grow and mature just as I want to do with my son. Yes, I love my son more than anything on earth, and my job will never take me away from him, but I love my work too and know I would not be myself without it. I work hard to balance my time and have the benefit of a part time teaching position to give me extra time with him and I am very happy with the way things have balanced out. 

I am e[X]cited (yeah, yeah, all the adjectives that start with X derive from the word Xenophobic, so I had to get creative)

I am an easily excitable person. You might also say that I am driven and focused and passionate. I get excited about finding great articles about integrating 21st Century Skills into a Low Tech classroom and I have almost wrecked my car more than once when I had a debate epiphany while driving. This keeps life interesting. 

I am [Y]oung

This one seems like a no-brainer, but it is more complex than it seems. I look young. I have a sister that is two years younger than me that people have always thought was older and I still get carded to buy cough medicine. But, at work, people have always thought me to be much older than I am. I consider it a mark of respect when people say things to me like "Oh, you're only 25?! I thought you were, like, 28 and married". Because apparently married also implies maturity. Now, I know three years difference isn't a lot, but in terms of new professionals someone with one year experience is very different than someone with 4 years of experience. It is that differentiation of competence that makes thinking about my age in terms of my professional life...interesting. It marks me as more of an equal with my students, and I let some of my pop culture youth slip out form time to time, but I don't dress down on dress down days anymore and I always wear my glasses just to give myself those few more implied years of experience with my colleagues.

I am [Z]ealous

And sometimes I am a zealot (like when my debaters are yelling in the library, or messing around in the cafeteria at a tournament). But I am very passionate and focused in everything I do. And I am proud of that. 

Phew...Okay. The final list is:
I am [R]estlessI am consciously [S]lowing myself down so that I can enjoy life moreI am also [T]eresa, not TerryI am [U]norganized, but I am working on itI am a [V]egetarian I am a [W]orkaholic, and I am happy that way
I am e[X]cited
I am [Y]oung
I am [Z]ealous




Sunday, April 29, 2012

I did not die

Well, 
I basically took the last two weeks off from blogging. The goal for my April A to Z Challenge was to help remind myself of who I am and what's important to me to make me feel more conformable with the impending unknown of the fall. 


It wasn't working; It was making me feel worse. 


So I kinda defected from responsibility for two weeks (my house is a mess, my car is trashed, but I did go on a job interview for the fall and I have another one Tuesday), and I met someone amazing. Truth be told he is a big part of the reason I haven't been writing, not because I have been spending every waking second with him but because I've been spending a lot of waking seconds thinking about this unexpected situation. 


Life is good. 


Oh, and the baby was sick, and then I was sick, he is mostly better and I'm starting to feel better (thanks to three new allergy medicine prescriptions, jeesh). And I'm starting to clean up my house (5 loads of laundry are done though not folded, and tonight is the first night in two weeks I'm going to bed with an empty sink). I made whole wheat biscuits tonight (which was  HUGE mess but they are good enough to be worth it) and I think I'm gonna put bananas in them the next time I make them (they are a tad dry). I also made cauliflower Spanish "rice" and some steamed broccoli. 


So, some day soon, probably tomorrow or Tuesday, I will finish my A to Z challenge, write the intro for my May Area of Opportunity (hint: Finally kick that diet coke habit) and get back into writing. 


Until then...

Friday, April 20, 2012

I am [R]estless

I have a  good friend who has a tattoo on his leg that says "not all who wander are lost". That is very much how I feel a lot of the time. I love to wander around the store aimlessly or just drive around listening to music. 90% of the time it's simply because I feel restless, I feel a need to move and explore and, well, wander. 


I don't sit still well. I'm good at sitting on the patio at my favorite bar and talking for hours, but if it's daylight I would rather be out hiking or swimming or anything that is moving. 


I'm so glad it's starting to be summer. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

I am [Q]uiet

This is a really new thing for me, partially brought on my the new sense of peace I have been working for and then recently enhanced by the new guy I've been seeing recently who literally never stops talking ;)


But I've learned that if I just let people talk they say way more interesting things than if I try and direct the conversation. 


Now, don't get me wrong. I still like to talk. But I have really been enjoying being more quiet and spending more time listening. 


The new boy's brain literally runs a mile a minute, and it's super interesting to just sit back and see where he can end up in 10 minutes of uninterrupted talk time. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I am not a [P]oet, but I am a writer. I need to remember this.

I am not much of a poet, but I am a writer. Actually, the past 6 months of blogging (oh my gosh, I just realized it's been that long) have really made a huge impact on my writing style. I have developed some very basic but very profound personal stylistic attributes that make writing not only easier but also more productive for me.


I need to remember this.


My blog is not a journal of my personal life; I don't want my personal life on the internet. I share tidbits, mostly detail-less life lessons learned, but that's as far as I go. When I was younger though I kept a journal ritualistically. It has a huge source of stress relief, personal reflection, and  internal growth. There have been many times in my life when I couldn't figure out the right words to SAY what I was feeling that I was able to write down my feelings and make sense of them. Actually, I often gave these writings in the form of letters to the people who were closest to me.


I spent 5 years in college learning to write and I TEACH writing for goodness sakes. By putting my ideas into the structures i teach and using the strategies I know I can make sense of just about anything.


So, though I have no aspirations to be a poet, I already am a writer. I need to remember to practice what I preach and let my skills help me as I want them to help my students.


Today, I will be writing a letter.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I am [O]verwhelmed (Fixed)

I am (O)verwhelmed. 


This is an edited post because last night at 11:30 p.m. I realized I hadn't written for the day, tried to do it on my phone, was too tired to download the blogger app, and the mobile version of blogger...sucks. Which is okay, since they have an app. But I'm back this morning to fix it. 


I'm not overwhelmed with the A to Z challenge; I'm overwhelmed with my life. This is partially because I have so much going on right now and partially because I don't know where I'm going to be working, and therefore living in the fall. I already decided I'm moving, but I'm up for several jobs that are all about an hour from my house but in completely different directions. I need to not only know where I'm going to be working and what classes I'm going to be teaching but also where my son is going to go to daycare, if I'm going to be able to take grad classes in the fall, if I'm going to be coaching/starting a speech team (this would take my work week from 5 to 6 days a week), and so many other things. 


I am perfectly content to make all of these decisions, but not knowing where I am going to be working means that I can NOT start planning, which makes me feel extremely apprehensive. 


I found this article a while ago when all the crazy unknown was starting and I found it very helpful. Today, this is exactly what I needed. 

A guest post by LaRae Quy 
on Michael Hyatt: Intentional Leadership

1. Be Curious
Quy explains that curiosity about the unknown is a positive way to embrace it. Instead of being afraid of new things, if we are curious about them we can approach them with a more positive attitude. 

She says to:
"Turn: a change of focus, direction, and attitude.
Aside: pulling away from other things that have previously held our attention.
Look: embracing the new and different with the spirit of curiosity, not fear."


2. Take Small Steps
This directly relates to the reason I do Monthly Areas of Opportunity rather than having one huge news years resolution. The idea there is that you can't throw a bad habbit down the stairs: you must walk it down one step at a time. In facing the unknown, rather than fixing an existing problem, this principel take the form of approaching the future one SMALL step at a time. Specifically, I shouldn't start looking for apartments and daycare next to each of the places I might be in the fall, I should focus on getting those jobs first. Then I can worry about the rest. 


3. Learn Mastery
This strategy has three parts: cultivate strengths, uncover weaknesses, and prepare for the unknown. In terms of my situation, this means that I need to cultivate my strengths of planning to be super prepared for the second interview I have on Monday. I need to figure out what I'm wearing (because, honestly my suite is ugly and makes me feel less confidant, so I need to fix that problem). And then I need to prepare for the unknown in terms of some good, old fashion interview prep. From there I can cultivate my strengths of planning in terms of making a long term plan for the summer to get myself settled into a new living situation, look for the weaknesses in terms of what my new job will be so I can start preparing, and keep a positive attitude through all of this for when life throws me a curve ball. 

Yes, thinking through all of this was exactly what I needed today. 


Monday, April 16, 2012

I [N]eeded that

I know I'm breaking my pattern, and my students would yell at me for ruining my own continuity, but last night I had a big of a long-coming, much-needed breakdown.

I don't want to go into details, because the I don't like to put my personal life on the internet, but the point was that I finally said some things out loud, admitted some things to myself and those very close to me, and I was able to ask for the help I needed.

No, I am not on drugs. Actually, the things I was admitting were some insecurities I'm not sure what to do with. I'm not used to having ego problems; I've always been very secure in myself. But I've been questioning recently if this self that I am so secure in is too distant from those around me.

However, I realized something important.

There is nothing wrong with me.

As long as I am being true to myself, and I am, then I need to wait for those who want me for me.

I do have some; I'm not totally alone. And more will come as long as I am true to myself, even if that self is a bit impervious sometimes.

So maybe N should be that there is [N]othing wrong with me. But sometimes, we all [N]eed some breakdown time too.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

I am [M]oving

Oops, I totally thought I write this yesterday and scheduled it. Good thing I checked. And good thing tomorrow is Sunday, almost halfway and I'm close to getting behind.

I am [M]oving.

For the past three years I have lived in a house that my mother owns. Originally, the renters were myself, my sister, my boyfriend at the time, and one of his friends. Then the boy and I split and he moved out. Then I had a baby and the friend moved out.

And my mother moved in.

She said she was just coming to stay for a week to help with the baby, but that was a year and a half ago.

When I was 17 I moved in with my dad because I was tired of fighting with my mom. After she got over the trauma, she and I were much closer because we could visit but I could be my own person. When she moved in this time she treated me like and adult, but it has become abundantly clear that my standard of clean and organized is not her standard, and her standard of polite information is way more checking in than I care to do as an adult.

So, regardless of how much of a financial straining it will be, I have decided I am moving out in or about August once I figure out where I will be working in the fall.

Now, don't get me wrong. Currently, all I would need to do is get a minimum wage retail job for the two days  week I don't teach and I would be able to afford this, so it will definitely be financially possible. I will either have a full time, full paying teacher job, or I will be a part time teacher and a part time...something else.

The time has come once again to give up on my mother and I learning to live together so that we can visit and she can stop making me crazy.

Friday, April 13, 2012

I am [L]only

Normally, I broadcast my posts on Facebook and Twitter, but my Facebook friends I actually see on a regular basis, and some of my Twitter friends too (and some of my students follow my Twitter, so I like to keep it professional)...but this one is just between you and me. 


I am Lonley. 


I am not ashamed of this, I just don't really like to talk about my personal life a lot, but the point of this exercise is to help me be more focused, and I can't focus if I'm not honest with myself. 


From the time I was 18 until I was 24 I was seeing a man who I thought I would one day marry. Things didn't work out; we didn't end up in the same place in life and we just couldn't make it work. We split, stayed very good friends, and are seeing other people. The man I was in love with is not the man that he actually was, and when I realized that I was able to be friends with him, not hate him, and move on. 


But that has left me coming home to a house with my sister and mother instead of coming home to a man I love. That has left me without a good night phone call, a stead date to events, and a lot of nights at home alone. 


I love my life, but there is no way to deny the fact that I want a goodnight phone call, and to know that I have a steady date to cuddle on the couch whenever I want, and someone who wants to commit to me as much as I want to commit to someone. 


But I haven't found that someone. So, until then, I am going to keep looking. 


I want to look into the eyes of the man who will some day be my husband and say "I was thorough when I looked for you".


Well, minus the lesbian implications of that quotation. 
(Google the quote if you don't know it. Everyone needs to see that movie)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

My [K]ids know I'm kinda weird.

I am a high school teacher. Some of my kids have figured out that I have Twitter, some know I blog (though none of them care since I write about mom stuff) and some of them have even figured out that I'm on Reddit (one even FOUND me on Reddit. I was impressed. I gave him extra credit.). They know that I like zombie movies, and that I LOVE Bones. A few know I like to run, they all know that I'm a mom (though I'm sure none of them realize that means I spent at least half an hour a day dancing in my living room with my son to Mama Mia). 


A few of my debaters know that I really am a policy coach at heart, which has a connotation somewhere between a bummy college techie and a conspiracy theorist. A few know that I'm a vegetarian. And I think only one knows that I lean towards the practices of Buddhism. 


What all these things add up to is the fact that every day when I stand in front of my classroom and make korny jokes just so I will get to see them make a  weird faces, and I teach them crazy stuff about Power Point and watch them get excited about technology, and talk about robot autonomy (yes, I teach a whole unit on robot autonomy), I wonder if they see me as a real person. 


I know in high school I didn't see my teachers as real people; they were teachers who had no cares or lives outside of my classroom. Now, the "not real people" is a metaphor, but a lot of times I wonder if my kids literally see me that way. 


Then again, it is weird for me to see my kids in street clothes (they wear uniforms) and it is REALLY weird to see them outside of school. 


My kids know I'm weird, and if they had any idea how weird I actually am...well, I can't really fathom what that would be like. Then again, I know my kids are kids, and I know I don't know the half of it.  

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

My house is [J]am packed with books

I was going to write today about how I am on a [J]ourney through life, about how I am learning to live my life minute to minuet and enjoy the ride and other such transcendental crap. However, I am pooped (hence today's post not being up until almost 9 p.m.) so I'm going to write about what I was thinking about 5 minutes ago.


My house is absolutley positively jam packed with books. 


This is the baby's book case. He has gotten 15 new books in the past week (most of them are spread all over the living room; only about half are in the book case shown here. 



And this is my night stand. Yes, it's a mess. And tonight I don't care. 






I have three teacher textbooks, a Jody Picoult book I saw done as a speech piece this year that I want to read, a notebook, a book of poetry, my "comfort book" that I just like having close by when I don't feel good (The Alchemist by Paulo Cohelo, you should read it) and I don't even know what else. (and YES, my running shoe insoles are also tucked in there. Like I said, it's been a long couple days.) 


I was reading one of the mom bloggers recently (I can't remember who) and she was talking about how one of the things she refuses to declutter and pare down is her children's books. I have no desire whatsoever to get rid of a single book that I own (and I have probably 15 boxes in the basement besides the ones on my shelves). I'm an English teacher. Books are what I love. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I am no longer [I]mervious


Bones is absolutely postively one of my favorite shows. Besides a minor girl crush on
Michaela Conlin, there was also an episode that I saw during the beginnings of me being a vegetarian that renewed my commitment to not eat meat.


However, there was a quotation in one of the episodes I recenlty saw (not recently aired; I'm just now finishing up season 6 on Netflix) where Bones and Booth have the following conversation: 



Bones: I'm... quite strong.
Booth: Yeah, well, you've always been strong.
Bones: You know the difference between stength and imperviousness, right?
Booth: Well, not if you're going to get all scientific on me.
Bones : Well, a substance that is impervious to damage doesn't need to be strong.
Booth: Hmm.
Bones: When you and I met. I was an impervious substance. Now I'm a strong substance.
Booth: I think I know what you mean.
Bones time could come when you aren't angry any more and I'm strong enough to risk losing the last of my imperviosness. Maybe then we could try to be together.
Thank you IMDB for the quotation



This how I feel.

For a long time when I was stressed I would retreat into myself, closing myself off from the people who I needed to help me deal with my problems. For a few years after that I would lash out at those closest to me because I felt like if they would just do whatever it was that I wanted them to do then my life would be better.

Then I saw a counselor.
And then I took meditation classes.

And now I have coping skills.

I used to pretend I was more impervious then I actually was and would just hide inside myself. Now I am not afraid of fear and stress and sorrow and anger, because I am strong enough to get through them.

Monday, April 9, 2012

I [H]ave a career, not a job.

Okay, by now you all know the drill. 26 days, alphabetical, a bunch 'o things that make me feel like me. Ready, go: 


I [H]ave a career, not a job. 


My mom once told me that if you have a desk at work you wear pantyhose with a skirt rather than having naked legs. 


I [h]ave a desk, even though I don't have a classroom. Actually, I have half an office, which is more than a lot of the people in the English department can say because the "English" office is shared by 4 people and the speech office is just the two of us. 


So, I wear pantyhose. 


I also am called Ms.Potter rather than Teresa. This still super bugs me. Probably because I was called Teresa for my first three years of coaching because I wasn't a teacher yet. And my camp kids have always called me Teresa even though I'm in charge of stuff. 


But I also [h]ave a a piece of paper that says I'm supposed to be called Ms. Potter, and I paid $50K for said piece of paper, so I will learn to like it just long enough to earn being called Dr. Potter. 


For me, the difference between a job and a career is transferable skills. When you have just a job, if you lost that job no one would want to hire you specifically because you already have what it takes to work someplace new. When you have a career you already know how to do 95% of the things that are required to do that job, you just need to learn procedures and brand info. With a job you will start back at the bottom of the  totem pole at a new job, with a career you will get to keep your "years of experience" (in terms of prestige and payroll hopefully at least). With a job people may look at your resume and say "Okay, so I assume you can show up on time and can take direction", but with a career someone will say to you "What can your experience add to our company?". 


I have a career. I am very proud of this. 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The week in review: Goals

On Tuesday decided that I wanted to try some published goal setting as a way to help me focus my life. 


This is how I did: 

Family Goals
1. Learn the Buddhist Bedtime Prayer so I can start saying it to the baby. I suck at memorizing things. This is going back on the list for next week so I can keep working on it. 

2. Spend 1/2 an hour every night with no TV, no music, just the baby and I sitting on the living room floor playing legos or reading books or doing something with focused US time. By putting this on my to-do list I realized how much time I don't spend with my son. I wrote the list Tuesday, and I had done this Monday which was what inspired me to put it on my list. Then I did it on Tuesday. But on Wednesday his dad picked him up from daycare and didn't bring him home until it was time for bed. I did sit and read him a book, even though he was ready for sleep, so we did spend some quality time together. Then Thursday we spent all day at the zoo, but again Friday he went to his dads until Saturday evening. We did have us time Saturday. This is not something I want to give up, and I want to continue to help this adapt and grow with our lives. 

3. Remain peaceful and calm through the whirlwind that is large family gathering (A.K.A. Easter) . I tried, I really tried. And it went okay; it went a lot better than it would have a year ago. 

Professional Goals
4. Finish The Fault in Our Stars summary and submit. Nope. I really hated this book, but I've done too much work to give up the easy $75 I can make for finishing this. 

5. Figure out a writing schedule. I'm proud of how this one worked out. I am excited about having a more focused work schedule. 

6. Write an AWESOME lesson plan for my unit on visual design. I'm about half way done. I am at an intellectual stopping point while I try and work out some of the details in my head before I can put them on paper. 

7. Go through "things" 3-5 on the 21st Centry Learning Commons 21 Essential Things professional development project. I didn't make time for this, but I'm okay with that. I will keep working on it. 

8. Answer an Enotes question every day. I think I did 5/7. Close. 

Personal Goals
9. Go run at least 45 minutes at least two more times this week. Yeah, I didn't get to this one either. I feel like the week just kinda got away from me. But pushing my heavy toddler around the hills at the zoo definitely gets me some points for an endurance workout. And if the gym was open today I would have totally been there. Next week. 

10. Read 3 more chapters of The New Rules of Lifting for Women. Again, I didn't get to this. 

________________________________________________________________

So, what I've learned from this experience is that 10 goals are too many to pile on top of my already busy life. For next week I am going to try 5 goals and see how it goes. Note that some of the unfinished goals did not transfer. I am not 100% sure if I really want to do these things so I'm going to take my time and do some self-evaluation before holding myself to this again. 

Goals for next week: 
1) Actually memorize the Buddhist Bedtime Prayer for real. 

2) Do one "thing" of the 21 Essential Things and one chapter of The New Rules of Lifting for Women

3) Run for at-least 45 minutes for 2 days (I am starting a new job on Monday that involves playing soccer with preschoolers. That will count as one of my 3 total runs). 

4) Keep finding ways to spend 1/2 an hour of just me and baby time, no distractions, or at-least a few minutes of alone time when he is not at home for the evening. 

5) Scrub the crap out of my kitchen floor. This has needed it for a while now and I need to just buckle down and do it. 

Hopefully this week will go a little better. 

This week in Review: The A to Z challenge

This week I began my A to Z Blog challenge. The goal is to write 6 days a week using the letters of the alphabet as a guide to your topic post for each day. My original plan was to write about starting a garden, but I've been feeling really unfocused recently so instead I changed my theme and am writing about 25 things that make me who I am. The goal is that these things will remind me what is important to me. 


Lets recap. 




So far I've been a little surprised with the comments. I am not used to having so many new visitors every day, and I wonder if the nature of the blog challenge visitors is changing the nature of the way people read and respond. 

First and foremost, people aren't answering the questions that I'm posting at the bottom of the posts inviting them to engage. That tells me that people 1) don't need the question to come up with something to say and/or 2) don't like my questions. So I'm not going to write them anymore. 

Also, I was a little surprised that people feel that being "from the internet" carries a negative connotation. There is nothing in my post that hints at the idea of a virtual social structure as inferior to a face-to-face social structure, so I guess that's just the stereotype showing it's face. And a lot of the people who seemed to feel this way were also the one's who don't seem to be as active in the culture of the internet as I am. I really feel that it is more of a stigma that others are afraid of rather than an authentic feeling that people experience once immersing themselves in internet culture. 

Well, Sunday was supposed to be my "break" from the challenge, but I'm used to posting just about every day anyway. So I'm not going to take a break =) I'm actually going to write a second post for the sake of bite-sized posts and for the sake of better SEO. 

I'm looking forward to my next week of the A to Z Challenge. I like this topic. It IS making me feel better. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

I am not [G]irly

I have been writing about things that make me feel like myself, things that help remind me of what is important, in order to help me feel more focused. I am doing this by listing 25 things that "I am". 

Well, today's "I am" is actually an I am not.
I am not [G]irly. 

I have a one and a half year old son. For the first 20 weeks I was pregnant before I knew it was a boy I was trying hard to not tell myself I didn't want a girl (because I thought that would just be bad Karma, and a little mean) but the truth was, I wanted a boy. 

Not because I don't like girls, but because I would have no idea what to do with a girl. I don't like dresses, I barely wear makeup, my hair is in a ponytale 95% of the time, and I would much rather go hiking in the woods than go shopping. 

I'm just not your typical girl, and I was afraid that I wouldn't know what to do with a daughter. She probably would have spent a lot of time with her aunts trying to learn the "girly" things in life that mommy thought was silly. 

Now, don't get me wrong: I love to cook, and I like a clean house, and I actually have been looking at a lot of Etsy shops recently thinking about learning how to sew. But I feel like those are more functional adult woman things than the typical things that are defined at "girly". 

Yesterday I used an Urban Dictionary definition of "from the internet" and was pleasantly surprised by the overwhelming positive response. So when I looked up the Urban Dictionary defintion of Girly I thought this was also worth quoting: 

Okay, so the point of Urban Dictionary is to exaggerate a stereotype, but this very much illustrates all the "girly" things that I just find obnoxious. 

Below is a picture of "The Pink Project" by JeongMee Yoon where she takes pictures of little girls surrounded by all their pink things. If I had a daughter she would only have pink things that were presents because I really don't like pink. But if I had a daughter I would buy her toy dishes and food, but not a princess tea set, and dress up clothes, but not just princess dresses, and she would have cars and legos in addition to her dolls. 

(via)
I guess more than anything all of this rejection of female little girl "stuff" is more of a desire to let a girl be exposed to as many things as possible in life so she can choose her own way; it isn't as much a rejection of girly-ness as an acceptance of all things. 

But, then again, my son has more yellow things than blue, and he has trucks alongside his collection of measuring cups and kitchen spoons. 

Friday, April 6, 2012

I am [F]rom the Internet

I have been writing about things that make me feel like myself, things that help remind me of what is important, in order to help me feel more focused. I am doing this by listing 25 things that "I am". 

Today's "I am" is that I am [F]rom the internet. 

This statement is slang.

Via Urban Dictionary
However, it is really hard to actually explain. The colloquial definition is that someone who is "from the internet" is someone who interacts in exclusively online social networks that do not have a real world equivalent.

Online dating does not mean you are from the internet. Using Facebook does not  really mean you are from the internet, though things "from the internet" are often passed around on Facebook. But interacting on sites like Reddit (do not visit if you don't know what it is...it will ruin your life and sleep schedule. This is why I didn't link), knowing the meanings behind rage faces (this one is safe) without needing the desertions and commonly using acronyms like NSFW (safe) or TL:DR (safe) are marks of things that exist exclusively online. LOL Cats is another more common example.

This is an interesting anthropological phenomenon. I don't pretend to be a trained cultural expert, but it is very interesting to me that the internet has created an interconnected social culture that bridges time zones and war zones, continents and hemispheres but has a cohesive culture that is not replicated within those timezones and continents in real life.   

That all being said, I am from the internet. I have no idea how to explain what memes are or what it means to troll because they are part of internet culture, which is based more on multimedia presentations than simply words. I know what they are because I have been enculturated.

TL:DR
The norwal bacons at midnight. 


What cultural experiences have you had that can not be replicated in real life?


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Penny Thots: My new project

Check out the new project I ma working on. It's a personal finance blog where 20 different writers are working together to share their ideas and tactics.

(And I will get paid when we start getting enough page views! So click away)
Here is the beginning of my first post 


A Productive Way to Waste Time: Idea Shopping

I am a high anxiety person. I saw a counselor for a while and that made me feel a lot better. I attend meditation classes and exercise regularly, and that has made me feel a lot better too. But I would say I went from about a stress level 14 (on a scale of 1-10) down to about an 8, and while I feel better I still have to be conscious of things that make me extra stressed.
I also have pretty good self-control when it comes to not spending money I don’t have. However, I am not good at sticking to an exact schedule. When I get stressed and have time that should be allocated to being productive–but is not dictated by an appointment–I sometimes blow things off and go wandering.
I am an expert wanderer. I love walking around Wal-Mart or Target for an hour or a book store. I usually don’t buy anything unless I really need something and have the money to spend, but during these times I look for ideas.
I look for organizing tools to see what is new and exciting and could someday be something I want to buy. I look for prices on electronics and furniture and snow blowers and organic vegetable seeds so I know who has the best price.
I also like to venture into stores I’ve never been in, or stores I don’t go in regularly enough to know their stock and prices. I unofficially call this “idea shopping”. The goal is not to buy things, or stock on up sale items, or scour through clearance racks: the goal is to create ideas.  
Or check out my Game of Balance post about a recent Idea Shopping trip.

I am [E]ating healthier


I am spending this month writing about how I need more focus and inspiration in my life, and how I wanted to find 25 things that I am (or like) as a way to help me find focus.

Today's "I am" is that I am eating healthier (or, more healthy. But I feel that adverbs are falling out of use, so I thought I would follow the trend). 

In February, I decided for my monthly Area of Opportunity that I wanted to be a vegetarian for one day a week as a way to help encourage myself to be more healthy. Well, this ended in me accidentally become a strict vegetarian.

I have been using different tools to help me make sure I am getting what I need in terms of nutrients, like MyFitnessPal, and I have learned a lot about how I need to adjust the food pyramid to meet the needs of a vegetarian.

I have been working out 3-4 times a week and am now able to do 5 miles of hills on the elliptical with no sweat(running makes my knees sore, I'll get there eventually). I also have been doing some fitness reading and know that when something gets easy that means its time to fine a new way to challenge yourself, and this is exactly WHY I am reading about fitness.

All of this makes me feel amazing about myself. I haven't lost a ton of weight, but I know that I am also building muscle, so I'm okay with that. I sometimes go over my calories for the day, but I know that healthier choices overall will make a difference even if I am not perfect.

Today my friend asked me if I wanted to go to Olive Garden for lunch and my first though was that there isn't really anything there besides just pasta with sauce, or salad drenched in cheese and dressing, that I can eat. We picked a healthier restaurant. 

Don't worry, I'm not starving myself. My calorie counter is set at 1750 calories a day, not 1200. But it's impressive to me that when I am more conscientious about what I eat that making healthy choices is a lot easier. 

And I'm impressed that 1750 calories is more than enough to keep me full and happy. 

What are some healthy food choices you are making?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

I have big [D]reams

I wrote a few days ago about how I am in need of some focus and inspiration, and how I plan to seek this by listing 25 things that I am. 

Today's "I am" is actually an "I have". 

I have big dreams. 

Professionally, I want to earn a Masters in Instructional Technology (which I am scheduled to start in May), earn a doctorate (though I'm not sure yet what I want to study), and do education research, all while still maintaining my own classroom. 

In my personal life, I want to be a conciseness vegetarian, a mom who teaches my son about life, a financially independent woman, and some day a dedicated wife. Of course I want to be a good daughter and friend and mother, but I feel like those are implied.

I want to run 3 times a week, and be more healthy. I want to take my vitamins, drink more water, drink less Diet Coke, and learn to cook with TVP. I want to see as many concerts as physically possible, backpack through The Grand Tetons, learn to kayak, and go to the zoo enough to make my pass worth the money. I want to clean out my basement, get a full time job, and move into my own apartment. And these are just my goals for this summer. 

I want to get 8 hours of sleep a night and have a clean house. 

And I see this a as attainable. I see all of this as an exciting challenge. And I have realistic expectations for achieving my goals. 

Goals themselves are just as important to me as the outcomes, and the journey is way more important then the destination anyway. 

What are some of your big dreams? 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Weekly Goal Setting

Note: My A to Z Post is below this one. I was quite inspired today and posted twice. 


There is a blog in my Google Reader where the writer sets 10 weekly goals (I can't remember which one; I'll let you know when I come across it again).That was fast. It's the Money Saving Mom of course.  I really like this idea and, though it's Tuesday, I wanted to try this for the rest of this week and then get started next Sunday for the following weeks. 


Family Goals
1. Learn the Buddhist Bedtime Prayer so I can start saying it to the baby. 


2. Spend 1/2 an hour every night with no TV, no music, just the baby and I sitting on the living room floor playing legos or reading books or doing something with focused US time. 


3. Remain peaceful and calm through the whirlwind that is large family gathering (A.K.A. Easter) .

Professional Goals

4. Finish The Fault in Our Stars summary and submit. 


5. Figure out a writing schedule.


6. Write an AWESOME lesson plan for my unit on visual design. I'm being observed the first day back and this was the unit that I wanted to be so much more than it was last semester. 


7. Go through "things" 3-5 on the 21st Centry Learning Commons 21 Essential Things professional development project. The first two chapters have been fairly awesome in terms of teaching me about amazing FREE 21st centry learning tools offered through INFOhio. I'm excited to keep going. 


8. Answer an Enotes question every day. 


Personal Goals
 9. Go run at least 45 minutes at least two more times this week.


10. Read 3 more chapters of The New Rules of Lifting for Women


I'll keep you posted on how this goes. 

I love [C]ountry Music

I wrote April 1st about how I need more focus and inspiration in my life, and how I wanted to find 25 things that I am (or like) as a way to help me find focus. 


Today's "I am" is actually an "I love". 


I love Country music. 


Yeah, yeah, not a big deal you say. However, this is something that has become kinda important in my life. 


I was in a relationship for 6 years with someone I thought I would marry. Well, it didn't work out, but it gave me a really good idea of what I wanted in a relationship, what was important to me, and what I wanted to do better the next time around. One of the things I keep coming back to though, the thing that I can't seem to find in the new people I have been dating since then, is a willingness to spend $200 on authentic cowboy boots, excitement about listening to a fiddle, and a love of country music. 


When I was 8 months pregnant I went to see The Zach Brown Band at Blossom, a.k.a. an outdoor huge field on a hill. It was the best 3 hours of my life (even though I couldn't sit, stand, or walk for more than 15 minutes at a time). It was  undoubtedly the best show of my life. 


I definite a lot of the moments in my life in terms of the songs that hit me at the time. Music was even the thing that helped me let go of the hate that I felt for the boy of the 6 year relationship. 


Right now all I want (besides world peace, and enough time to run every day, and a new car) is someone to sing this song to me. 
Woman like you-Lee Brice


I love the innocent sarcasm and the sweet message behind the song. 


I love country music. It is part of me, is part of what I want in the person I will spend the rest of my life with, and it is something that helps give me focus and inspiration. 


And that is the point of this, right?

What is something that is important to you that you want to share with the person you spend forever with? 

Monday, April 2, 2012

I am [B]roke

Yesterday I wrote about how I am in need of some focus and inspiration in my life and how I planned to list 25 things that describe me to help me find said focus.

Today's "I am" is that I am Broke.

When I started 2011 I was on track to make a whopping $18,000. But then I lost my job in May, was unemployed for a few months and am currently underemployed. I finished lat year at $14,000. I am on track to make $24,000 this year but I am hoping to have a full time teaching job in the fall so hopefully that will go up.


All of this has taught me a lot, though.

  • It has taught me how to organize my money, and that it is possible to do a lot with a little.
  • It has taught me that there are a lot of ways to have fun, spend time with friends, and entertain a toddler that are free. It is easy to cook for friends, and the baby loves the park, and I made a few small investments to provide prolonged fun. I bought a zoo pass, I bought a cheap computer, I use the library a LOT, and I bought a gym membership.
  • It has taught me to budget and keep track of my money so that when I make more I won't just blow it all. It has also taught me that using a cash wallet system is a much better idea then just pretending I can keep track of my money in my head.
  • Finally, it has taught me that I can do anything I set my mind to. 
What have you learned so far in your personal fiance journey?