Sunday, December 30, 2012


Don't get me wrong, I am loving this brief winter break from teaching.  But, in all honesty, I miss my kids and I am itching to get back to Minneapolis to work with them! Last week I had a meeting with my advisor and we analyzed the data I've collected so far on my students and looked at where they are academically and where they need to be by the end of the year.  I feel the urgency!

These quotes help trigger more momentum for 2nd semester...

"Once you learn to read, you will be forever free."  Frederick Douglass - one of my role models

“Frederick Douglas taught that literacy is the path from slavery to freedom. There are many kinds of slavery and many kinds of freedom, but reading is still the path.”  Carl Sagan

"Feeling without judgment is a washy draught indeed; but judgment untempered by feeling is too bitter and husky a morsel for human deglutition."  Jane Eyre

The following song is a song that my students LOVE. Big time. They call it, "When I get older." Hearing them sing this song always makes me so happy.  I don't think they realize right now at their young age the weight of the lyrics, but some day I think they will. 

1) Me and Lenny before Christmas.  His red eye is ridiculous.
2) Pops visiting me in Minnesota. Just a young college kid at heart.
3) Momma in Florida.
4) Self-explanatory.
5) Dad in Florida.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Bear Hug

Yesterday was a good day, a real good day.  It was the last school day before winter break.  Everyone was a little anxious and the school felt a little chaotic, but people were genuinely happy.  Kids were doing crafts and there were winter movies playing in the background.  I wrote each of my kids a note just simply saying how proud I was of them and how lucky I felt to have them in my life. Seeing their wide grinning smiles as I helped them read their individual letters felt so calming and my spirits were high.  Each of them hugged me and my student DW said to his friend on the way out of my room, "I can't wait to show this to my grandma and hang it on the fridge."

Bus dismissal is always crazy. Kids are running to catch their buses as they clunk over snow banks.  They drop their art project. They say, "Wait, I think I need to go the bathroom." My response: "There's no time, little one. There's no time." They say, "Oh man," and continue to clunk along, their hat too big for their tiny head and their mittens almost slipping off their tiny hands.  They attempt to make snowballs and then get shut down.  They try to sneak off their bus so they can run in the snow. Again, shut down. They press their faces up against the glass, totally unaware of the germs, and mouth, "Bye, teacher!!!!" with an over-enthusiastic wave.

I was hurriedly trying to find my student M because he got his first 100% on a spelling test and I really wanted him to be able to take it home to show his parents.  As I'm frantically stepping on and off each of the 7 buses trying to find him, I suddenly hear a soft voice a few feet behind me.  Who is it? M of course. His big ole hat is shading his eyes, and his oversized fleece jacket drapes his small frame.  His pants sag a little, not because he is trying to be cool, but because his pants are too big for him and his green belt doesn't tighten tight enough.  Exasperated, I say, "M, I've been looking for you!"and I hand him his graded spelling test. He then says quickly in reply, "I've been looking for you too, Ms. B."  He then does his oh-so-adorable, gap-toothed smile and gives me a big bear hug and hands me a note that simply says, "To Ms. B... Love M" and it has a picture he drew of the two of us reading a book.  He then gave me the sincerest, "Merry Christmas," I've ever received and another hug.  "I'll miss you over break!" he shouted.  Before I could even reply, he was turned around running after his bus, his hands holding onto his pant loops to keep his pants from falling.  I love that kid.  I really do.

A song.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Runaway Train

{Just proudly sitting on a tree branch circa 1993}
{My brothers. No wonder I ended up being a goof. Look at my role models}
{A photo my ma took a few years back in the woods by our house}

In 1993 I was 4 years old, rocking a boy haircut and goofy grinning left and right.  A few states away, in Minnesota, these 
guys were jamming away. 19 years later... I drove down Lyndale Ave and this song came on. 

Beautiful. Not exactly relevant to my life right now, but a nice song to listen to on the way home from an evening with friends.  

5 days until I'm home for winter break. One. Step. At. A. Time. 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

I once was a kid with the other little kids

That's me as a kid with all the other little kids.  The ridiculous photo of me with the balloons is from when I was in 5th grade and broke my nose.  I believe this is the only photo that exists of me with my nose cast. A wonderful, shining moment in my life. Top photo: Kindergarten graduation on far right in the white dress with navy trim next to two of my besties to this day, Sam and Anne.  2nd photo: Preschool play date in the jean dress. 3rd photo: 1st day of Kindergarten in the green and blue checkered dress. 4th photo: Just being a preschool beauty. 

You know you are a kid when:  
You can't stop obsessing over the mechanical pencil your teacher took away from you when you were play fighting with it during breakfast. You only rest assured once she promises to return it at the end of the day.

You know you are an adult when:
You forget how important/cool a mechanical pencil is to a first grader, and forget to return it to said first grader at the end of the day even though you promised. 

*Mechanical pencil has been returned and teacher/student relationship is intact. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012


Black and White - Genoh - Minnesota photographer
Emma's Rug - A favorite book of mine growing up by Allen Say
Painting of Minneapolis skyline by Dave Lechko

I really want to have a little conversation with the man or woman who decided that a 5:2, week:weekend ratio was a good idea. What were they thinking? It just seems like yesterday I was packing up my teacher belongings from my classroom and looking forward to the weekend. And now? Weekend has come and gone.  But, rather than complaining about the inevitable, I'll instead be grateful that I had a wonderful, relaxing weekend. 

A funny movie has great powers to ease the annoyingness (not a word) of dealing with grad school work that managed to pile up.  Breakfast with friends for laughs and a sense of calm. Chocolate peppermint bark ice cream just because it made sense at the time and I don't regret it for a second.  Weekly library outing with my students. Brief Panera stops with them for good measure. Buckling down and getting lesson plans finished efficiently.  Finding a picture of your mom with a perm and a picture of your brother in high school rocking a similar look. 

I haven't done any writing in awhile.... 
I live there. No, not there. There. Behind the brick building. Not the one with the ivy. Not the one with the porch. The cracked window. The rusty lawn chair sitting in yesterday's snow.  With an American flag from 4th of July, Summer '99. With wrappers in trees, glistening in the dusk's lullabying sun. Where the babies are crying. Where I hold my little brother's hand as we watch cartoons. Where the sidewalk has crumbling curbs.  Where yesterday's news is yesterday's news.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Love is kind

{Wait for Me via}
{Portland via}
{Cute boy via}
{Sleigh ride via}

Saturday, November 17, 2012

On A Saturday Like This

{Lake Mendota via}
{Gregory Peck on set for To Kill a Mockingbird via}
{Orange and blue via}

On a Saturday like this.
An early wake up and cozy morning with my roommate where we sit in bed and wonder where President Obama would have lived had he not been reelected.  No consensus made. My 2nd grade student waiting on his front stoop for me to pick him up to go to the library and him hugging me as soon I got out of the car. Man, I love that kid. Going to Panera and him saying that the bacon, egg and cheese breakfast sandwich he ordered was the best thing he's ever eaten.  He then proceeded to the register to ask them how they made their sandwiches because he wants to, "Start making this gooooooood stuff at home." Classic. A nice, long phone conversation with family. A walk around Lake Harriet on this warm, sunny day. 

Yup. And this. There's always this. It may or may not be the third time I've posted this beauty. Don't care. Still making me laugh. Extras. So good. Make time to see the series if you haven't.

*Going to town on fragments. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

I love my students

 {The school cafeteria... Where chaos and laughter erupt.}
{A painting hanging in my room. Instant good mood.}
{Poster I made hanging in my room.}

I need to start each day being grateful.  I am fortunate to have a job where laughter is inevitable. I love working with kids.  I love being a teacher. I need to start documenting the sweet shenanigans my students say more frequently.  

"Yo Mama G, is there chicken up in the kitchen?" - 3rd grader response to an assignment that asked them to write a question using at least 3 sight words, one proper noun, one noun that's a thing and one noun that's a place. 

"Ms. B, don't make it too hot." - 3rd grader said while pointing and winking.  This was in response to me saying I had to heat my lunch up in the microwave and him remembering the last time I did and almost choked on food that was too hot.

"Am I your favorite student? I hope so, cuz you're my favorite teacher."- 3rd grader

"Who let the dimes out???? Ten, ten, ten, ten!!!!!" - helping us to remember a dime is worth 10 cents.

"I've got a nickel. I've got a nickel. I'm gonna buy a pickle with my nickel. Fiiiiive cents, fiiiive cents!!" - helping us remember a nickel is worth 5 cents.

"You look sooooo cute today!" - Kindergartner said with a little hand flip.

"Your hair is soft. Like ice cream." - Kindergartner said while petting my hair as I try to tie another kid's shoe.

"My grandma rides horses and likes to rearrange her furniture. She also likes casinos." - 3rd grader

"My bus smells like fart. I think it's my sister's fault." - random comment from a 3rd grader during my math lesson.

"Ms. B, when is your birthday? Cuz I'm gonna buy you something at the dollar store." - 2nd grader

Conversation while joking around with a kindergartner.
Me: "DJ, do you have a mustache?"
DJ: "Ewwwww no. Mustaches are disgusting. Only dads have those."

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Are you still in Vallda?

This song. Again. And again.
"Every summer is the summer closer to further away from you."
{Image via}

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Faith in Humanity

{Ireland - image via}

1)  My brother informed me today that if he and his fiance ever get a dog, they will get a beagle and they will name him Bagel.

2)  I was early for grad class on Thursday, so I stopped at a coffee shop beforehand.  A little girl around Kindergarten age had a piggy bank with her.  Her dad bought himself a coffee.  The girl counted out quarters and nickels to buy a hot chocolate.  Good stuff.

3)  After work on Wednesday, traffic was particularly bad. Instead of trying to fight it, I pulled off the highway and went to get food and read a book.  An older man that works there came up to me with a piece of baklava and said, "For dessert. On the house."  Day maker.

4) My dad sent me a note attached to an article about Jackson Hole just because he knows how much I love that heavenly place.

5) Momma sent me winter socks, a scarf and a thermal randomly in the mail this week. She constantly sends me reminders that confirm why she's my favorite lady in the world.

6) I was sitting next to two woman this morning at a coffee shop.  The one was talking muchisimo gossip about someone in their Bible study.  The other one then responded, "Why is it your damn business? Let that be between her and God."  The other woman looked so shocked. After a few moments she then said, "You are so right.  Thank you."

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Practicing Fade-Aways

{Slam Dunk by Clifford Otto} 

In college I had John Murillo as a professor for two of my creative writing classes.  Words fail me right now, so to put it simply, he was awesome.  I learned a lot from him.  He's a really cool, humble guy.  I love his poetry.  Here is a poem called, "Practicing Fade-Aways," from his book Up Jump the Boogie.  It's sicky sicky good. Enjoy!

{Click here  to listen to him read the poem}
{Click here to view his website}

Practicing Fade-Aways

—after Larry Levis
On a deserted playground in late day sun,
My palms dusted black, dribbling
A worn, leather ball behind my back, this loneliness
Echoes from the handball courts nearby.
Nearly all the markings—free throw lane, sideline,
Center circle—rubbed to nothing.
A crack in the earth cuts across the schoolyard,
Jagged as a scar on a choir boy‟s cheek.
Twenty years ago,
I ran this very court with nine other
Wanna-be ballers. We‟d steal
Through peeled chain links, or hop
The gate, to get here: our blacktop Eden.
One boy, who had a funny pigeon-toed set shot
And a voice full of church bells, sang spirituals
Every time he made a basket,
The other boys humming along, laughing,
High-fives flying down the court.
And a boy we called „The Sandman‟
For how he put you to sleep with his shoulder fake or drop step,
Over six feet tall in the tenth grade,
Smooth talker with an itch for older guys‟ girlfriends.
One Sunday morning, they found him stabbed to death
Outside the Motel 6, pockets untouched,
Bills folded neatly against his beautiful cooling thigh.
And „Downtown‟ Ricky Brown,
Whose family headed west when he was two
But still called himself a New Yorker,
Who never pulled from less than thirty feet out,
And could bank shots blindfolded.
He went to Grambling, drove himself
Crazy with conspiracy theories and liquor,
Was last seen roaming the French Quarter, shoeless, babbling
About the Illuminati‟s six-hundred sixty-six ways
To enslave the populace.
At sixteen, I discovered
Venice Beach, with its thousand bodybuilders,
Roller skates, and red thong bikinis.
I would stand on the sidelines and watch
The local ballplayers, leaping and hollering
Quicksilver giants, run and gun,
Already grown into their man bodies,
Funkadelic rising from a boombox in the sand.
Now, all I hear are chain nets chiming as I sink
One fade-away after another,
The backboard, the pole, throwing a long shadow
Across the cracked black asphalt.
What the nets want must be this caress,
This stillness stretching
Along every avenue, over high school
Gymnasiums and deserted playgrounds,
And the ambulance drivers drifting into naps
Back at the station house.
What the boys who ran these courts wanted was
A lob pass high enough
To pull them into the sky,
Something they could catch in both hands
And hang from,
Long enough for someone to snap
A photograph, to hold them there,
Skybound. Risen.
John Murillo

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Nuh Uh

If I had an elephant like that, I too would take it everywhere.  And no gosh darn sign would influence my whereabouts.  
{Image via}

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Rainy Day at Lake Harriet

I've been going out of my way to take the picturesque roads on my way home from work. It is definitely worth the extra five minutes.  

Yesterday it was raining and I saw an old man on his front stoop reading a book. His dog was lying next to him.  It looked so peaceful.  

Monday, October 8, 2012

Fall has a way.

And Fall has a way of doing that when your mind is clear one minute and jumbled the next. When you make a commitment but then forget what it is and to whom it is for.  When you make watered down promises that never come true. You bask in the hope of someone else's and hope they'll follow through.  To smile. To shrug. To say it's no big deal. Is it? To white lie and wonder if it's been noticed.  To hear big words and nod along as though you understand.  To sleep and waver. To be awake and not listen. When the highway is open and you count the yellow tickers. To daze. To not know the date. The month. To slap your knee and the next minute forget why.  To stick your tongue out in quiet rebellion.  When you trace the circles under your eyes the third day in a row. To be your age. Sometimes. Not often. To not be your age. Often. To wonder what they're doing, when they are 408 miles away. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Fall Beauty

Sometimes when your To Do list runs 2 pages long, it's easier to just do nothing. Ya know, crawl under your desk and hope no one notices you're missing.  But that I shall not.  Happy Monday. Time to get stuffings done. 

My parents visited me in Minneapolis this weekend. Here are some snapshots. 
 {Lake Harriet}
 {The Rose Garden}
{Pretty rose}

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Monday, September 24, 2012

I bet the meadow is beautiful

There are leaves on the ground. There are friends in the kitchen. There are homemade cookies on the counter. There are lesson plans written and put away. There are phone calls home to look forward to. 

There is a book on my nightstand with pages flapped indicating favorite quotes. There is an orange, yellow, maroon afghan on my bed. There is Wilco playing. There is an open window. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Home Feels Rights

I was briefly home this past weekend. It felt right. Calm. Breezy. Comfortable. Safe. Love.

I have a few distinct memories within my 23 years of living that I remember taking the time to think, "Never forget this moment."

When I was in Florida when I was little, maybe around 5th grade, my mom and I were walking on the beach at night.  We were holding hands and she told me to stop. So we stopped. And we counted some stars. We then had a conversation about how wonderful it was that the moon we were looking at was the same moon people in New York, California, and Ireland were looking at. She then asked me if I knew how much she loved me. I said yes. She told me to never forget. I haven't. 

This summer I was at my roommate's cabin in Wisconsin. It was so relaxing. A lot of reading and laying in the sun (with SPF, duh.) My roommate, her friends and I went on her speedboat.  They all took turns water skiing. I was too much of a chicken. Some day.... Anyway, I found a cozy spot at the front of the boat. I stretched out. The sun was beaming.  The waves made for a comforting rhythmic lullaby. The speed of the boat allowed for the wind to briskly pass on my face.  There were small drizzles of lake water splashing on my legs. This was the day before my aunt passed away. I remember overall feeling really down that week. But, during those few hours on the speedboat, I remember having a great serenity knowing that she was going to be safe and free from pain soon.  I like to think that she knew I was happy, and that while she was dozing in those few hours, it brought her some happiness too. 

This weekend when I was home it was the perfect on-the-verge-of-fall weather.  The windows in my bedroom were open, allowing a slight breeze to wander in.  I woke up to the sound of my dog's whimper at the bottom of the steps at 6:00. I clambered down the stairs to let him out to go the bathroom.  He didn't have to go.  He just needed company.  I laid on the couch in the family room.  He nuzzled his nose under my arm and once I gave in, he rested his head on my stomach.  He then voluntarily gave paw. He closed his eyes.  I fell asleep again.  When I woke up two hours later, he was asleep and snoring. My dad had made a coffee run and gotten me a pumpkin latte.  Still hot and waiting for me on the counter. Such a beauty. Dressed in a sweatshirt and sweatpants, with my latte and book in hand, I made my way over to the hammock deep in our backyard.  There I contently laid for two hours. My dad was within sight reading the paper, and my mom was in the kitchen on the phone, her laugh audible and soothing.  

Monday, September 10, 2012

I don't want to hear about your quiche recipe

Last Thursday... what a day.

High points
- Seeing a man of Spanish descent (guesstimated to be in his 60s) sleeping and loudly snoring on a bench inside Target. 45 minutes later... same man... same position... same loud noise. 
- Having a Kindergartner named Wilbert tell me I can call him Wilby or Little Man for short because those are his nicknames at home. Consider it done.

Low point 
- ... Ai yai yai. Hard to pick. Having a student grab my lunch off my desk and flush my sandwich down the toilet didn't help anything. 

But, overall, school year part deus is off to a good start! 

**I most likely actually do care about your quiche recipe.  Just not right now. 

Monday, August 27, 2012


I'm pumped for the second season of Girls. I don't know when it's coming out, but I'm pumped regardless.  About 49% of the time while I'm watching the show, I think to myself, "Yup. Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt."

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Grace Potter

When it all amounts to, "Oh well."

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Year in Minnesota

A short film I filmed and edited of moments from my first year living in Minnesota, and snippets of stops home to visit friends and family in Chicago. Enjoy!  If you choose to watch, please watch in HD.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Ya don't say

{Wise words from Ralph Waldo Emerson}

Friday, August 17, 2012

My former student holding it down for the ladies

Have you seen the Hot Cheetos and Takis video? You should! It's blowing up. My former student, Jasiona, is the girl rapper in the video.  She is so talented, sweet and hard working. I absolutely loved having her in class.  She always had a positive attitude and a great energy.  She was never afraid to ask questions and she always gave her best effort.  She was in 4th grade but was in my 6th grade reading class.  I'd like to say that I gave her these rapping skills, but that would be a lie; she's just a natural!

True story: One day when we finished our reading lesson early, Jasiona taught me and the rest of the class how to dougie. It was one of the best days.  Also worth noting, Jasiona and Eric, who I mentioned in a past post as being the kid who liked to dance to Thriller, were both in my reading class... what I'm trying to say is that reading was one of the best hours of the day... learning and fun intertwined... doesn't get much better than that.

I talked to Jasiona's mom today and she informed me that Y.N. Rich Kids are performing tonight at 5:00 at the YMCA in North Minneapolis on Broadway.  If you are in the Twin Cities area, you should go! These kids are awesome. So invigorating to see young kids being positive and having fun!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Monday, August 13, 2012

Mary Kate & Kirk Wedding Video

On June 23, 2012 my beautiful cousin got married in Chicago! It twas a fun day, to say the least. I posted pictures back in June, but here is a small video I put together from some footage I collected. If you are able to, watch in HD. Enjoy!

Friday, August 10, 2012

If you really knew me... dun dun dun

I got an iPhone a few weeks ago, and I've been putzing around with it. Here are some instagram shots.
New books have arrived for my classroom! I highly recommend all of these!
A stroll through the nearby park with Mallory on a beautiful Sunday.
 Breakfast with Mallory at Grand Cafe. Delicious is an understatement. 
 Allison and Rachel being beach beauties at Lake Harriet.
 Rachel, Allison and I roof topping in Uptown.
 Sunflower heaven a few blocks from my house.
 Lake Harriet being picturesque per usual. 
 This looks like it could be straight out of the book Holes. 
A new favorite. 

In other news, isn't the title of this post so dramatic? Like it should be the name of a murder mystery or the name of a corny reality series that documents the lives of "misunderstood celebrities." Well, anyway, I'm just following suit of other bloggers' posts (aka my cousin).  It feels kind of like those chain emails I received and sent when I was in 6th grade when all of our friends would answer the same revealing questions... like... What's your favorite color? Who are your besties? What's your favorite Disney movie? 

I ate those shenanigans up as a middle schooler. Who am I kidding? I still do, hence, the following...

If you really knew me... 
You'd know that my go to food in almost any occasion is CHEESE!

If you really knew me...
You'd know that I think Enya has the voice of an angel, and that I really like to listen to instrumental music to calm me down or when I'm trying to study/write a paper.

If you really knew me...
You'd know that I have eaten many a meal in my bed while watching Friday Night Lights, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Office, and Friends.

If you really knew me....
You'd know that one time I found a Cheeto in my bed and I was never more ashamed of my college self.

If you really knew me...
You'd know that I drive super close to the wheel. Go-kart style. I don't like the feeling of my leg being straight while driving; it makes me think my foot might miss the pedal. The positive part of me driving this way is that whoever sits behind the driver's seat in my car gets tons of leg room.

If you really knew me...
You'd know that I had a deep admiration for American Girl Dolls growing up. You'd also know that my first American Girl was Addy and that she still is my favorite.

If you really knew me...
You'd know that I love having freckles and am panicking over the fact that I seem to be getting fewer and fewer every summer. WHAT IS HAPPENING?

If you really knew me... 
You'd know that fall is my favorite season. Sweatshirt weather, not sweating, pumpkin patches, orange leaves, pumpkin spice lattes... I could go on... what's not to love?

If you really knew me...
You'd know that growing up I slept with the window blinds open by my bed because I liked to look at the stars before I fell asleep. And actually, you hopefully don't know this unless you are in my immediate family, because otherwise, we got some issues to address.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Windows Are Rolled Down

Look up, childThe world is bornShoe's untiedAnd your soles are worn
Windows are rolled downSun is setting highWindows are rolled downI'm fixing to die
Corn rows have companion feelThis rocky road and this steering wheelWho do you call to ease your pain?I hope for you to get through this rain
Windows are rolled downMoon is hanging lowWindows are rolled downThink it's time for me to go, hey
Is it what you dreamed it'd be?Are you locked up in this fantasy?Oh, this miles that have torn us apartMy new found faith and my broken heart
Windows are rolled downSun is rising highWindows are rolled downFeel that wind rushing by, hey
Windows are rolled down

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Love Story

I think somewhere deep down, we all hope for a love like this. 
I feel so grateful that I stumbled upon this on my cousin's blog.

This is a video from StoryCorps. They describe the video as, 
"Danny Perasa and his wife, Annie, came to StoryCorps to recount their twenty-seven-year romance. As they remember their life together from their first date to Danny’s final days with terminal cancer, these remarkable Brooklynites personify the eloquence, grace, and poetry that can be found in the voices of everyday people when we take the time to listen."

I found this video the same day I came across these pictures. An adorable couple celebrating their 55h anniversary. 
I need a tissue for these types of things. 
{Pictures byJesse Holland Photo. Found on Style Me Pretty}