A Heap of Thoughts

I’ve been really busy, but really busy relative to the norm created within the
past ten months, definitely just kind of busy by regular human standards. I’m still trying to figure out when I should run because I don’t feel like having to shower and dry and straighten my hair every single morning (i like to shower at night so its dry and ready to straighten in the morning) but when I get home from work around 430, I feel like relaxing, not running, so I haven’t run since last weekend. Must work on this. Maybe every other morning will be a nice compromise.

And, to go deeper, there’s something really surprising that working with kindergartners has taught me. Basically, I’ve been ready to have a child for over a year now, but I was nervous about how much it would change my life and how my life would basically revolve around them. For this reason, I decided I maybe only wanted one because then at least I would be able to tailor things around one little human’s developmental stages. I thought more than one would be hectic and obviously leave me with precious few remnants of my current life. The thing is, working with these kids, I’ve realized that having my life changed by a little person might be the absolute best and sweetest thing. I looked at the change as scary and partly negative, but I’m definitely seeing now that I’m the kind of person who would probably love that change and embrace all of the responsibilities of parenting. I can’t tell y’all how much i just adore these kid and I think I’m actually happier working 5 days a week with them than I am being able to do whatever I want all day. So, I guess I’m really really ready to be a parent… Impatient and yearning ready and I finally know that I wont be what I feared, a parent who regrets having kids.

Its a hard thing to get over having a mother who wished (and said) she never had you or your siblings, and I think thats why I spent a long time in my twenties pushing down the love for kids that I’ve always had. I mean I babysat everyone and volunteered to work in my aunt’s daycare when I was too young to actually work there just because it was enjoyable to me (despite 17-21 diapers a couple times a day!). Basically, I am over it, and I’m still that person who loves the little ones and I’m just way so ready to love my own little family. I can’t expect that to happen too soon, what with my husband only being home every few months and not at the ideal times, but man do I want it. And, as much as the wanting is and has been hard, it’s so freaking beautiful to be able to whole-heartedly and without reservations want this.

I Accidentally Found My Calling

Okay, that’s a little dramatic, but I’m all hopped up on three days of working as an instructional assistant for a kindergarten class and it’s really strange because it was supposed to be over tomorrow and instead of feeling relief about the coming weekend after four days straight with five year olds I was sad. Sad… Like, what? Anyway, I made it known that I would love to stay on, so they extended my assignment through next week and asked me to apply for the actual job (which it seems hasn’t been posted yet, so I got a head start).

I was supposed to be in Michigan visiting C this week, but we had a pet sitter snafu and that didn’t happen, so I picked up this 4-day sub position. Seems kind of like the michigan thing not working out was the best thing that could have happened because I could have missed this opportunity entirely. I’m not an everything happens for a reason person, but in this case…

They recently bumped it down to a part time position with no benefits and its 5 hours, 5days a week. This might help me because the teacher wants me to get the job and most people want benefits and a live able wage. The job wouldn’t pay much at all, especially because it pays zero for vacations and summers, no sick days, etc. It’s not a cushy position at all, but it would work for me since it is more money than I make now, I don’t need to make much and I have benefits through C. So, yeah I’m applying and hoping I get it and it all looks good. I guess the only problem would come once we finally have a child of our own if daycare cost more than I would make. But that’s a bridge I’ll cross when I come to it. In the meantime, I’m super excited, I want this and I could pay off my student loans in half the time, so wish me luck!

Snippets From Turning Stone Resort and Casino

Because I’m totally baller (according to my somewhat facetious brother) I was offered two free nights at the hotel at Turning Stone in Verona, New York. I had no plans for my birthday and don’t know anyone around here (still!) so it seemed like the perfect week to cash in those free nights. My brother managed to get a couple days off and we went to live it up for a couple of days. I drove two long days round trip (9hours one way, 12 on the return- DC/Northern VA traffic is the worst) and it didn’t even seem like too long of a drive for such a short trip because we packed so much in that it felt like 4 days, not 2. I barely slept but it’s not like I have to go straight back to work after vacations so it doesn’t matter, though the drive home was rough.

I thought id share five pictures that captured the experience well, though there may be another one coming with food, which was delicious.

The ceiling at Upstate Tavern

The ceiling at Upstate Tavern


A sight i haven't seen in a long while, fresh pine cones.

A sight i haven’t seen in a long while, fresh pine cones.


The  gorgeous foliage

The gorgeous foliage


I tried a flight at Upstate Tavern

I tried a flight at Upstate Tavern


A crowd just beginning to form at Lava (it was 18+ night and I was dressed as a 29-year-old librarian and didn't dance)

A crowd just beginning to form at Lava (it was 18+ night and I was dressed as a 29-year-old librarian and didn’t dance)

Noland Trail and a Meet-up Mishap

Saturday morning I went to What was supposed to be a meetup at Noland Trail in Newport News. Unfortunately, the organizer decided not to show up or update the event to reflect that fact which was a real dick move. She answered her phone and told me as much and that she was stuck in Williamsburg with no internet. As if she wasn’t talking to me on a smartphone, not unlike the one I had just used to go to the website and get her number. People.
Anyway, I was there, it had taken me twenty minutes to get there and I was dressed to hike or run so I just went out on my own and did both for a little over 3 miles. Turns out the organizer also didn’t research at all and there was a breast cancer walk at that very time, the after party for which let out just as I attempted to leave an hour after arriving. So, that sucked, but it sucked a lot less than breast cancer so I tried not to be too annoyed as it took me over half an hour to get out of the parking lot and onto the main road.
It was a really nice trail with a lot of hills and it was all along a big lake and the James River so I’ll likely be back. And I took pictures since I was taking it slow for two of the three miles.
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PreK is My Jam

So, I’ve been an active substitute teacher for two weeks now and have worked four days- one as a reading interventionist with 1st and 2nd graders, one hellacious half day as a first grade teacher, a day as a preK teacher and a  half day as a preK paraprofessional. The only bad day was doing first grade because the kids completely changed as soon as their teacher left and there was no getting everyone to be quiet and focus at the same time, or to stay on task, so it was chaotic and I couldn’t really get them to complete anything.

Working as a reading interventionist went well because the largest group I had was six kids so it was easy to keep them on task and engaged. PreK has been amazing because there are two adults (a teacher and a para) for each class of 18 kids. This generally means that there is a familiar adult in the room even when there is a sub, so the kids don’t act out like they tend to when there is a sub. All of the kids, the first graders who handed me my ass included, are so freaking cute, but I think the kids can sense that I’m really pretty nice and also don’t know every classroom rule and so they definitely tested limits and I always had a group of kids harassing other students while another handful were asking me for snacks or the bathroom or complaining about kids taking things from them, etc. I just had to realize that I might not be the best at wrangling a classroom full of unfamiliar six year olds by myself.

Basically, I’m thinking of sticking with preK and I’ve already gotten to know two teachers who would like for me to come back next time they’re out, so I think the plan could work. I was actually supposed to teach high school English today, but the school I was going to be at has been on lockdown once this week (yesterday!) for gun threats and has been in the news three times this week for the same reason, threats of a shooting. I felt like based on that, this probably wouldn’t be an environment I’d be comfortable in, especially as I was already nervous about working with older kids because I’ve heard of teachers getting harassed and threatened and I don’t know if I’d be able to keep them from acting out. So, yeah, I threw that job back into the pool and I’m sticking to the little kids that I have loved working with. With the h.s. thing, even if the rumors hadn’t come to anything yet, I figure where there’s that much smoke, there’s going to be fire. Scary.

Our Apartment: The Settling in Edition

The last time I posted about our Virginia apartment, it was still an unpacked mess, so I thought I’d update with a few new pictures since we are more settled in now. Also I finally got the hutch I’ve had my eye on for over a month that I didn’t think I’d actually get. It is THE FIRST piece of furniture I’ve ever gotten to pick out for our home, as C. holds the purse springs and has chosen, without my even seeing them, the couch, coffee tables, end tables, bed frame, washer/dryer and etc. He did a great job choosing everything and mostly it’s bargain stuff anyway, aside from the  bed frame and washer dryer (which I loooove), but it was high time I got a little say in our decorating choices, and that’s why I’m so ridiculously excited about this new addition to our house. It’s just so pretty, and we don’t have a lot of pretty things as they are obviously mostly pretty masculine or neutral.

So, yeah, pictures.

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Cooking; A meditation

Today, I accidentally discovered what it is that I love so much about being alone in kitchen with my music, just cooking at my own pace. I had this great acoustic mix playing, had slowly and carefully prepped my ingredients at my own slow pace, not trying to be efficient or worrying about getting anything done before something else, because I did everything just one single thing at a time. My favorite way to cook is to spread what could be done over 45 minutes into a 2 hour ritual, to make it a sort of meditation.

So, there I found myself, swaying slightly and un-self-consciously to a lovely, strumming, jazzy song as I slowly, carefully, peeled two soft-boiled eggs for a cold ramen dish. I caught myself, just purely in a moment. That happens so rarely for me, I think so much, the same thoughts often roll over and over in my head, it’s not even anything new, it’s not even important, it’s just a constant rumination. And of course, I was still thinking my own little internal monologue while peeling, but it was just so much slower and softer than I am used to. When I take cooking slowly, and especially in the prep time when the over-sensitive smoke alarm isn’t crying out at my attempting to sear something, there’s just something so gentle and soothing about the little purposeful movements involved. This is a pretty strange blog post I guess, but I guess that’s what I wanted to explain- how different cooking can be from everything else, writing especially. It’s so outside the self in a way. Anyway, I’ll just leave you with that. A meditation on the meditation of cooking. A post with the most variations on the word “slow” I’ll probably ever write.

Astrological Naval Gazing

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I know that for most people, someone else’s astrological chart is about as interesting (or less so?) as hearing them describe a dream. Personally, I have my astrological sign tattoo-ed on my foot, so obviously as illogical as I may find the whole thing, I also relate to it. My scientific mind basically sides with the Big Bang theory pilot where Sheldon says the whole thing about believing that your personality is in some way shaped by the position of arbitrarily definied constellations at the time of your birth, blah blah obviously astrology is, at best, a pseudo science. But it is a pseudo science that I think is fun to explore, and as an older member of the millenial generation, I’m totally game for a free reading based on my birth date, time and location. Even though it’s irrational, I’m all like “yeah tell me all of the things about myself, that’s so cool, special snowflake, it’s as if they KNOW me… whatever… I don’t even believe in this, but it’s SO me!” You are welcome for the exaggerated internal monologue.image

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Anyway, I found a website where they will make and analyze your birth chart for free and I thought it was awesome because I had a friend who did it for me once by hand and I did a lame version myself using a book where I highlighted the sections relating to the placements of things when I was born and got a similar result but with much more work and it wasn’t as cohesive. So, if you’re into this sort of thing at all, it’s pretty cool to have it all laid out neatly without the hours of poking around in a book going from index to text and back again. It was pretty damn accurate except that, as a libra, it’s always assumed that I’m super beautiful and vain and I’m definitely more sometimes pretty and in no way classically beautiful, but I guess astrology shouldn’t be trying to predict how I look because how in the world does when I was born mean anything about how my genes combined to affect my appearance? (I know, you’re saying the same thing about personality…)

I was going to link to the site I used, but every time I try to paste on wordpress it just adds to to my title and it’s terrible like that. So, if you want one, it’s from about.com and I found it by searching “birth chart” on bing. Sorry for the lack of linking skills, I don’t even get it. (The options for linking in posts are always grey-ed out and unavailable to me).

Happy weekend everyone!

The First Day of Fall at Fort Monroe

When I woke up this morning and stepped outside, it was obvious that the weather had perfectly aligned itself with the autumnal equinox. I mean, it was suddenly, obviously fall. The air was a cool 60-something degrees, the leaves rustled in the breeze, some guys with huge power tillers or something yelled to each other from the lawn below. Aside from the loud machines and yelling it was the perfect fall morning and, magically, it actually came when it was supposed to. I decided it was the perfect day for a run at Fort Monroe, which I think is still my favorite place in Hampton.

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I discovered a new path at the end of the boardwalk and some as-yet-unseen fortifications. I had to take a couple pictures of what I lovingly refer to as the moat, as well, because I am still awed by the fact that there are actual moats, not just around fairy tale castles, but around real forts in the good ol’ USA. The general consensus is that my reaction to this is over the top, but whatever. I think it’s awesome and I want to live on the hill surrounded by this moat and pretend to be a princess. Basically, this moat makes me feel like Amy Farrah Fowler when Sheldon gave her a tiara. If you don’t watch The Big Bang Theory you have no idea what I’m talking about, but doesn’t everyone watch it? I’ve even looked up that specific clip on you-tube just to watch her flip out over and over. It’s great.

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Well, now that I’ve reached the limit on how many times one can say “moat” in a blog post, I’ll quickly sum up my run. It was my fastest pace yet despite a heavy wind that made me feel like I was barely moving. I ran 1.8 miles in 17:42, making for an average pace of 9:51/mi. Mile one pace 9:46, mile two pace was 9:57. I would feel a lot better about this is my 5k wasn’t in less than two weeks, shit!!! I still have only gotten as far as running 2 miles in a row, so I’m still 1.2 short of where I need to be I guess I shouldn’t have slacked off in the beginning of September. I’m kind of stressed about the race anyway because I’ll have to go really early, figure out where to park, and it’s going ot be very very crowded and I hate crowds and hate things where I don’t know where to park or where I’m going, etc, so this is way out of my comfort zone. I’m definitely going to have to pep talk myself into actually showing up, but I will! I will!

Life Lately ( and Cat Pictures)

First of all, I was really proud of myself a moment ago when I realized that the 3 pints of Ben & Jerry’s I purchased a week ago are not ALL gone. There’s a pint and a half in the freezer still, which is holy cow not even normal for me. I was a lot less proud when I reflected on the fact that I ordered a full combo plate of chinese food and a side of (eight!!) crab rangoon last night and there are no leftovers. Like, at all. So. That’s why I wear yoga pants all the time.

In other “news” I ran 2 miles straight this morning!!! I was shocked necause I hadn’t run since my last update and that last run was LAME. I really like my caps today, sorry. Anyway TWO MILES, and I even managed to run the second mile faster than the first in under ten minutes. That’s my first negative split, too! I guess chinese food is good fuel, I’m just kidding, it was probably despite the chinese food that I had my longest run yet. 2.01 miles in 20:26, though, I’m pumped!! Even though I’m the only one who cares, mile one was in 10:23 and mile two was in 9:57.

I also got a job this week and busted my butt tuesday and wednesday filling out and scanning paperwork and proof of this and that. I passed a three state background check with a probe into any DHS-type stuff, I mean, obviously I passed, but whatever, I am going to pretend that there’s some hidden accomplishment in not having a dark criminal past since I had to pay so much for my life to get snooped on. Got a TB screening yesterday, submitted that straight away and all that in such a hurry because there’s a training monday and then not for another 3 weeks, so I HAD to get my paperwork in in time to get looked over, approved and still give them time to invite me to training because it’s “invitation only”. Doesn’t that make an unpaid 7 hour training sound so much more appealing? No? Yeah… not to me either, but what does sound appealing is being done training asap and getting to work. I’m pretty excited about both the variety of ages I’ll get to work with (preK to grade 12) and getting to make my own schedule and pick and choose between grades and districts when work is plentiful.

I don’t really think I’ve done anything special this week aside from what I’ve just recapped here and it was pretty mundane, but I figured I’d do a little round-up anyway.

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