Sunday, October 20, 2013

Away, away, away

A weekend escape to Northern Minnesota with friends.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Friday, August 30, 2013

Coffee with Laurie

There's been a whole lot of change. New job, new roommates, new students, new thoughts. Duh new thoughts. But, fresh thoughts. Those don't always come, or at least ones that really make you take a step back and reflect.

My body and mind are tired right now. I've been getting up at 5:15 for work and am still adjusting, because although I'm waking up substantially earlier than I use to, I still go to bed fairly late. Must. Change. That. Habit. But, even though I'm tired, I want to take a few moments to write down a few highlighted positives from the recent few weeks... Has there been overwhelming things going on too? Yes. Very much so. But, I already let those overwhelming matters consume my thoughts more than I'd like to, so I'll focus on the positive, smiley face type stuff. That's where it's at.

I've made an unexpected friend. Her name is Laurie, and she is the grandmother/guardian of one of my former students.  I've always gotten along really well with Laurie, but this year with her and her grandson (a person I hold near and dear to my heart) was absolutely wonderful. A blessing.  And this summer, she really took me under her wing.  She started calling me her adopted daughter.  She invites me to go to church with them every week.  We just like each other, and most importantly, we both care immensely about the young man under her roof.  This young man, who I swear has great potential to be the future president of the United States, goes to the library with me just about every Saturday.  One Saturday she called me when I was on my way to say that he wasn't going to be ready at the time I usually pick him up because he had spent the night at his auntie's house.  I told her no worries and that I didn't mind waiting until he got there.  She then said, "Well, come on over and I'll put on a pot of coffee and we can just chat."  So, I did just that.  It was a serene way to start my day. As soon as I knocked on the door she greeted me with a hug and pointed in the direction of the coffee pot, where she had also laid out all the essentials.  We then sat on her couch, she in her robe and I in my workout clothes, and just talked for 45 minutes.  The sun was shining through the blinds and we each filled our cups twice.  It felt like a movie.  But, it was better than a movie, because it was real.  The sheer joy that I felt being with Laurie was I think one of those moments when you truly realize, feel and start to believe that the simple moments in life are the best.  I could go on and on about Laurie.  I'm sure I will post more in the future about our relationship and how great of a person she is.  For now, I'll just harbor and protect the love I feel for her and her family.  They've been a blessing to me. A second family while away from my own.

Favorite Spot
Growing up I read books all the time.  I loved to read. I still do.  I don't necessarily get as much time to read as I'd like, but I still get that sense of peace when I'm enveloped in a good book. I'm gong to work really hard on making a conscience effort to maintain a work/life balance this year.  Ya know, just got to know when to say, "Enough is enough."  I've been walking to my favorite place every night after work for just 30 minutes of quiet or 30 minutes of reading.  No one else is around.  I don't have my computer. I just lay down on the grass by this big tree and rest. I'm surrounded by big tress and beautiful flowers.  The lake is half a block away. So blissful.  It's my favorite spot in Minnesota.  My "secret, not so secret spot" that maybe I'll write about in a book someday.

Here's to coffee with friends and to quiet time under the blue sky.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Toussaint Morrison

Feeling this. From Minneapolis. Represent. 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Go Big Or Go Home

 Did a photoshoot with my little cousins :)
 Twins vs. White Sox at Target Field with Lauren and Mal
 Hannah's ballet recital
 Madeline being adorable
Me and Madeline

The previous pictures have absolutely nothing to do with the following.  Just a heads up.

It was May. I had just finished a long day. I was tired.  I was hungry. I had my heart set on one thing, and one thing only... Leeann Chins. Once I had made up my mind that I was getting it for dinner, I was getting it. There were no ands, ifs or buts about it. So, I searched for it on my phone. There was one ten minutes away from where I was. Bingo. I headed there.  I sat in traffic. So instead it took 20 minutes.  My phone told me that I had arrived at Leeann Chins, but guess what, the place had been knocked down and was now a parking garage.  The feeling of defeat.  The feeling of, "Ohhhhh heck no." It started to pour. A little bit of lightning.  Some may have stopped the journey there and just headed home to make a PB&J.  But not me. I drove another 20 minutes out of my way to the next closest Leeann Chins.  Finally.  I was a little ashamed that I had prioritized something so silly.  But, mostly, I felt satisfaction.

I contently ate my food at home with the rain still pouring.

Recently my roommate and I were shooting the breeze around our kitchen table.  We were talking about for how some health reasons/surgeries/etc people have to fast for 3 days or so.  She said that she didn't think she could do it.  I said I think I could.  This then turned into a conversation of how I have no sense of moderation (my words, not hers).  I feel like these past few years (but maybe always) I've had a go-big-or-go-home mentality.  I admire my roommate's ability to plan things out enough where she can thoughtfully make decisions.  I, on the other hand, feel like I make decisions too often in the moment.  And, once I have my heart/mind set on something, its got to happen.  I mean, once I decided I wanted Leeann Chins, any other dinner option was just going to make me mad.

I don't know how to sum this up.  I probably don't really even need to.  Basically, I just wanted to share the story about the one rainy night when I didn't give a care about anything in the world other than getting Leeann Chins and how it was one of the most pathetic moments of my adult life.  I can't believe I'm 24.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Beginning of June in Minneapolis

 Blue hues. 
 Field Day Madness.
 Lake Harriet. Secret spot. 
Last day of school. We made it!
Minneapolis.  I hope I never grow use to this beauty.
My TFA buddies that work at my school. Very professional.

My second year of teaching just wrapped up.  I need time to collect my thoughts. But, I do know this, I'm so grateful for all the people in my life - family, students, friends, colleagues. The list goes on.  Whether near or far, I'm thankful for you.  The above are a collage of snapshots from the beginning of June.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Alabama Shakes

I'm ready for a porch sitting summer.

On repeat. My roommates can likely attest to that.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


 A stormy day with coffee
Parents visiting me in Minneapolis

Monday, April 29, 2013

End of April

I'm writing right now early on Monday morning at a coffee shop before work.  I rarely wake up early enough to make this happen.  But the birds be chirping. The sun peeked through my blinds today in a non-annoying manner. The window was slightly open and the breeze was wonderful. I have a beast of a paper to finish for grad class.  2... pages... to... go.

Yesterday I tried out a new bakery/coffee shop. And its glorious name is Turtle Bread in Linden Hills.  I am familiar with the magic of Turtle Bread on Chicago Ave, but this Turtle Bread had a floor composed of black and white mosaic tiles. My favorite.  Also, in order to get to this location, I had to drive around Lake Harriet with the windows down. Bonus.

I haven't written here for quite some time.  I'm sure my entire 3 loyal readers (mom, dad and my dog Lenny) have noticed.  Minneapolis weather had been quite a goon for the past few months.  Now that it is starting to get nice out, I'll try to take more pictures and post.

In the meantime, here are two photos from when I visited Kevin in the North End in Boston in early April.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Red Tent

The Red Tent - Anita Diamant

  1. "If you want to understand any woman, you must first ask about her mother and then listen carefully. ” P. 2
  2. "He gave me a woolen bracelet.  It was nothing. No precious metal, or ivory, or anything of value. Just a woven braid made from leavings, the kind of thing shepherd boys make absentmindedly, sitting under a tree in the heat of the day, out of tufts of wool caught on brambles or blown to the ground." P. 53
  3. "I am lucky that your friend does not understand the meaning of 'no.'" P. 275
  4. "My beloved turned into a beacon as bright as the sun, and his light warmed me through and through.  Kiya glowed like the moon and sang with the green and solemn voice of the Queen of the Night." P. 320
  5. "If you sit on the bank of a river, you see only a small part of its surface.  And yet, the water before your eyes is proof of unknowable depths. My heart brims with thanks for the kindness you have shown me by sitting on the bank of this river, by visiting the echoes of my name." P. 321

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A Day In The Life

It's spring break and gooooooooood things are happening. Can't wait to be in Boston in 2 days to be with friends and family! My heart is happy.

I leave you with this for the day... a sentence from my second grade student... the full sentence said, "I'm swag because my mom is swag." Well put. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Tricky Business and Jams

This gave me a good laugh.

In other news:
- I almost bit it two times today on the walk in to work today.
- Had a kindergarten student show off his 2 Spiderman rings he got from his birthday cupcakes and his big, proud smile warmed my heart in the best way possible.
- Good conversation today with the lady that works at the nearby Subway.  Starting to really try and see the people that I interact with.
- Worked out a deal with a student focused around writing to see if it can improve bus behavior. 
-  Started what I consider to be a boss playlist for my kiddos while they do independent work.  I decided to introduce them to some oldies. If I play songs that they know they tend to get distracted. If you have any suggestions for me to add, send them my way! Here is part of the playlist:

My current favorite song on the playlist. Those moves at 1:35. Love.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The phone goes click click

January and February have come and gone. I'm ready for Spring. Real ready. Super ready. Ready, ready.  I want to go for walks and bike rides after work and then finish it off with a stop at the ice cream parlor. I want to make a softball team with friends and join a league (minimally competitive of course). I want to wear a sweatshirt and shoots hoops outside at the nearby park. I want to have my mom visit and sit on my back porch with her. 

Until then, here are some goodies I captured on my phone over the past two months. 

1. Notes I got from two 1st grade boys. Cuties. 
2. 100th Day of School celebration crafts. The wall behind my desk. Junie B. Jones fascination.
3. Trip to Park City, Utah with friends for the Sundance Film Festival.
4. My perty little bike that I am dying to ride regularly. Took her for a spin around Lake Harriet yesterday and she rode like a beauty.
5. A card, a view from my room, a note of encouragement.
6. Family room, gift from brother for Valentine's Day, text messaging with the bro... keeping one another sane. 

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Children of the Mountains

{image via}

1) A song
2) A hope for summer 
3) I wouldn't object to wearing that
4) Not too shabby Minneapolis 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Coming from the same root

Image via

I read this and found it very intriguing and calming.  A simple, fresh outlook.  Good to keep in mind. 

Source: Luminita D. Saviuc from Purpose Fairy

"Here is a list of 15 things which, if you give up on them, will make your life a lot easier and much, much happier. We hold on to so many things that cause us a great deal of pain, stress and suffering – and instead of letting them all go, instead of allowing ourselves to be stress free and happy – we cling on to them. Not anymore. Starting today we will give up on all those things that no longer serve us, and we will embrace change. Ready? Here we go:"
1. Give up your need to always be right
"There are so many of us who can’t stand the idea of being wrong – wanting to always be right – even at the risk of ending great relationships or causing a great deal of stress and pain, for us and for others. It’s just not worth it. Whenever you feel the ‘urgent’ need to jump into a fight over who is right and who is wrong, ask yourself this question: “Would I rather be right, or would I rather be kind?” Wayne Dyer. What difference will that make? Is your ego really that big?"
2. Give up your need for control
"Be willing to give up your need to always control everything that happens to you and around you – situations, events, people, etc. Whether they are loved ones, coworkers, or just strangers you meet on the street – just allow them to be. Allow everything and everyone to be just as they are and you will see how much better will that make you feel."
“By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try. The world is beyond winning.” Lao Tzu
3. Give up on blame
"Give up on your need to blame others for what you have or don’t have, for what you feel or don’t feel. Stop giving your powers away and start taking responsibility for your life."
4. Give up your self-defeating self-talk
"Oh my. How many people are hurting themselves because of their negative, polluted and repetitive self-defeating mindset? Don’t believe everything that your mind is telling you – especially if it’s negative and self-defeating. You are better than that."
“The mind is a superb instrument if used rightly. Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive.” Eckhart Tolle
5. Give up your limiting beliefs
"about what you can or cannot do, about what is possible or impossible. From now on, you are no longer going to allow your limiting beliefs to keep you stuck in the wrong place. Spread your wings and fly!"
“A belief is not an idea held by the mind, it is an idea that holds the mind” Elly Roselle
6. Give up complaining
"Give up your constant need to complain about those many, many, maaany things – people, situations, events that make you unhappy, sad and depressed. Nobody can make you unhappy, no situation can make you sad or miserable unless you allow it to. It’s not the situation that triggers those feelings in you, but how you choose to look at it. Never underestimate the power of positive thinking."
7. Give up the luxury of criticism
"Give up your need to criticize things, events or people that are different than you. We are all different, yet we are all the same. We all want to be happy, we all want to love and be loved and we all want to be understood. We all want something, and something is wished by us all."
8. Give up your need to impress others
"Stop trying so hard to be something that you’re not just to make others like you. It doesn’t work this way. The moment you stop trying so hard to be something that you’re not, the moment you take off all your masks, the moment you accept and embrace the real you, you will find people will be drawn to you, effortlessly."
9. Give up your resistance to change
"Change is good. Change will help you move from A to B. Change will help you make improvements in your life and also the lives of those around you. Follow your bliss, embrace change – don’t resist it."
“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls” 
Joseph Campbell
10. Give up labels
"Stop labeling those things, people or events that you don’t understand as being weird or different and try opening your mind, little by little. Minds only work when open." “The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don’t know anything about.” Wayne Dyer
11. Give up on your fears
"Fear is just an illusion, it doesn’t exist – you created it. It’s all in your mind. Correct the inside and the outside will fall into place."
“The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.”
 Franklin D. Roosevelt
12. Give up your excuses
"Send them packing and tell them they’re fired. You no longer need them. A lot of times we limit ourselves because of the many excuses we use. Instead of growing and working on improving ourselves and our lives, we get stuck, lying to ourselves, using all kind of excuses – excuses that 99.9% of the time are not even real."
13. Give up the past
"I know, I know. It’s hard. Especially when the past looks so much better than the present and the future looks so frightening, but you have to take into consideration the fact that the present moment is all you have and all you will ever have. The past you are now longing for – the past that you are now dreaming about – was ignored by you when it was present. Stop deluding yourself. Be present in everything you do and enjoy life. After all life is a journey not a destination. Have a clear vision for the future, prepare yourself, but always be present in the now."
14. Give up attachment
"This is a concept that, for most of us is so hard to grasp and I have to tell you that it was for me too, (it still is) but it’s not something impossible. You get better and better at with time and practice. The moment you detach yourself from all things, (and that doesn’t mean you give up your love for them – because love and attachment have nothing to do with one another,  attachment comes from a place of fear, while love… well, real love is pure, kind, and self less, where there is love there can’t be fear, and because of that, attachment and love cannot coexist) you become so peaceful, so tolerant, so kind, and so serene. You will get to a place where you will be able to understand all things without even trying. A state beyond words."
15. Give up living your life to other people’s expectations
"Way too many people are living a life that is not theirs to live. They live their lives according to what others think is best for them, they live their lives according to what their parents think is best for them, to what their friends, their enemies and their teachers, their government and the media think is best for them. They ignore their inner voice, that inner calling. They are so busy with pleasing everybody, with living up to other people’s expectations, that they lose control over their lives. They forget what makes them happy, what they want, what they need….and eventually they forget about themselves.  You have one life – this one right now – you must live it, own it, and especially don’t let other people’s opinions distract you from your path."

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


"The world we have made through the eyes of those who will inherit it."

Sunday, February 10, 2013


Pictures via Vandell Cobb

Sometimes it feels like it all goes back to those moments sitting in front of the TV with my brothers in the early 90s. We had a bowl of popcorn.  We had Sega propped up on the VCR. Mom and dad were nearby on the couch. There was an outside world, but right then it was just about the five of us. We peered into Chicago through the TV screen and we saw MJ sky bound. Meanwhile, we were grounded on our family room floor with those who mattered to us most.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

It'll be lost

That painting is still crooked. Intentions to fix it 428 days in a row and counting.
I've grown so accustomed to things.  But, some day I will miss them. 
And I'll long for it all to be just as it was. 

1. Lake Harriet walk at dusk.
2. A familiar sight. Three little bears.
3. Art from a 5th grader with an impeccable eye.

What? A girl can't listen to Bon Iver on a quiet February night?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Wonderful Man

Uncle Jim, you are a wonderful man.  You will be missed.  Your devout love for Diet 7Up will be missed.  Your quiet kindness will be missed.  Your laugh will be missed. 

It brings great peace to know you are with Aunt Sharon in heaven.  Rest well.