Monday, January 30, 2012


Found here.

When I lived in Berlin, a friend of mine had a small framed poster in her kitchen that said "Tea Revives You." Cute, but . . . . meh.

Coffee on the other hand? Now we're talking. (Boldest brew, black as it can be, yes that's everything, thankyouverymuch.)

Extended check in soon, folks. Promise.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

you can't always get what you want

But this last Christmas? I, for one, got exactly what I was hoping for:

(OK, so I'm still working on the world peace thing ;) )

Sunday, January 22, 2012

breakfast of champions

For a while, my breakfast consisted of grabbing whatever was easiest as I flew out the door after hitting the snooze button 20 times. Usually that meant a prepackaged granola bar and a banana. Not terrible, but I would end up hungry again within a couple hours.

Enter the realm of the protein-packed smoothie. This keeps me full from 7:00 am all the way 'til lunchtime at 12:30 pm. Here's how I make it: Blend 1/4 c. chopped frozen mangos, a banana, and a bit of spinach (you can't taste it once it's in there) with 1/3 c. of water. Add about a 1/4 c. organic coconut yogurt, 1 T. almond powder, and 1/2 T. flax seeds and blend again. That's it, you're good to go!

I was out of mango the other day, so I used frozen berries instead (hence the color of the smoothie pictured). And honestly, I don't really measure, but the result always tastes good and hasn't once failed to tide me over. Makes getting up when my alarm actually goes off totally worth it :)

And of course, no breakfast in my universe would be complete without this:

Happy Monday, folks!

more lines from teachers that i can't get out of my head

(Pre-game sidetrack: I wonder if anything I say will stick in the minds of my own students for years to come? Hopefully they'll continue to use "Help me, please!" and "Thank you!" well into adulthood. Those phrases, along with the morning greeting, are pretty much our daily English vitamins. Even I hear them running through my brain on repeat before I fall asleep at night. "Good morning, Ms. Emy!" might not be quite as universal, but it is cute to hear them say it everyday. Anyway.)

My high school drama teacher's favorite thing to say was, "Only boring people get bored." Mostly I think it was a way to get us to shut up about being tired during rehearsals, but it definitely lodged in the "Truth" section of my brain. Even now, every time I think, Ugh, I'm bored, it's immediately followed by, Oh, crap, I don't want to be boring! I'm not bored, I'm not bored, I'm not bored...HOW CAN I BE 'NOT BORED' RIGHT NOW?!

Well, despite my best intentions, it seems I may be very boring after all, because you know what I realized? I am massively bored in my life, in so many ways. Really what I mean is that I'm not being challenged, but it manifests itself as what I'd call "lacklusterness," aka, "boredom with a touch of exhaustion."

It is a classic mistake of teachers to think that proper education for gifted children is to give them more work than the rest of the class (as opposed to, you guessed it, different work). Which pretty much describes my current work situation: There is WAY too much to do, and most of it is meaningless.

I don't like busywork. I'm not good at sucking it up and doing it anyway. Instead, I start to shut down.

So I've been going to programs held by NYU here in the Dhabs. (Did I mention I saw Christo awhile back? No?! Well, it was AMAZING.) The most recent lecture I attended, by Margaret Wertheim, was also fantastic. As someone who used to hate math as a rule, I never would've guessed I'd be Googling hyperbolic geometry into the wee hours.

I've also been experimenting with photos (the dinosaur above, for example, which also represents how I feel at work lately), planning my sketchbook, journaling in the form of letters written to Steve Jobs (don't ask, it was just something that happened one day), daydreaming about becoming a serious off-roader, and thinking lots about going back to school. At first, it was book arts (and maybe it still will be), then it was possibly getting my Montessori certification, and now? Now I'm thinking big.

Like I said, I need a challenge.

Also, I love learning. I want to know SO MUCH about SO MANY things; I can't seem to satiate that hunger. But here's the catch: I hate grades. And I really don't ever want to take another standardized test, not ever. I want to learn for the joy of it, not to achieve some end result. While trying my best, yes, but without any sick pressure (real or imagined).

I could start here. And from my living room couch, halfway 'round the world, if I want.


In any case, I'm still fumbling my way through, hoping to find the right path. (Is there such a thing? Ah, well -- Onward.)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

strong and tender

What I will remind myself to be tomorrow. Also, forgiving. Especially of myself.

I'm kinda dreading work tomorrow, folks. Like really, completely feel sick about it. 

So I'm reading this book with the kids simply because I think it will be fun. I'm trying to avoid over-planning in order to focus on being in the moment, meeting the children where they're at in any given instant. We enjoy each other so much more that way. They seem to learn more somehow, too. We'll also be making cloud dough together and I'll introduce our new letter writing station (complete with cardboard mailbox, though nowhere near as cool as this one). 

I just hope the adults don't get in the way. Adults love to interrupt our play and make me do paperwork/tell me what I'm not doing right. 

I suppose I'm an adult (even if I don't feel that way). But I'm also kind of weird, and a little outside the box, and, in certain instances, pretty damn good at what I do. And this, too, shall pass, whatever "this" is.

Cross your fingers for me though, won't you?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

week's end

I once had an education professor that would always say, "Ask yourself, am I an energy drainer, or a community contributor [when it comes to this workplace]?" As a classic gold-star-seeking individual, I made it my mission to ensure I was the latter. Which makes me feel a little guilty writing this, but . . . OH, THANK GOD THIS WEEK IS OVER! It was most definitely a doozy. Reminding myself that life is sometimes like that, and that it's OK to be human, makes gold stars seem less important.

I'm losing my voice (yep, sick again! In a few weeks it'll be bye-bye, tonsils!), so my weekend plans are essentially to keep cozy and do nothing (nothing major, anyway). So far I've spent the afternoon knitting some i-cord while watching Arrested Development episodes one after the other and drinking hot tea with honey by the bucketful. And you know what? I happen to be enjoying every second of it.

Have a relaxing weekend, folks!

Image sources: 1 | 2

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

the breath inside the breath

"Are you looking for me? I am in the next seat. 
My shoulder is against yours.
You will not find me in stupas, not in Indian shrine
      rooms, nor in synagogues, nor in cathedrals;
not in masses, nor kirtans, nor in legs winding
      around your own neck, nor in eating nothing but
When you really look for me, you will see me
      instantly --
you will find me in the tiniest house of time.
Kabir says: Student, tell me, what is God?
He is the breath inside the breath." 

Kabir, 13th century Indian poet and mystic

Monday, January 16, 2012

flip side

Check out that thing I do all day over on my other blog, and you'll see my reasons for maybe staying instead.

They're small ones, but good ones :)

(Though of course I still don't have an answer. Life can be so tricky like that!)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

leave it?

Oh, lordy.

I don't like the feeling of silencing myself, you know? Of not feeling like I can speak freely. I often have trouble walking the line between what is socially acceptable and what . . . . isn't. A lot of time is spent asking, "But why?" And there are never any good answers, so it's a constant battle between figuring out if I should play the game full-force (all the while recognizing it is, indeed, a game), or bailing. Sometimes I want to live in a yurt in the middle of nowhere. Not that that's any kind of answer, but it's appealing to think about giving it a go.

Just like it was appealing to think about giving this whole adventure a go. There was a part of my privileged self that wanted to see what it was like to be the underdog. To be, essentially, the hired help.

I think I can say I've had that taste. And you know what?

I. don't. like. it.

So, stick it out, or see what's next?

I'm hesitant even writing this, because there's also that core part of me that's still so dang thankful. (Also, scared.)

Yesterday someone said, "Hey, it's their country, like it or leave." And I thought to myself, Um, I don't think I'll ever like human rights violations. Someone else said, "Hey, you're making money, life's good, live it up and have fun!" And I smiled but thought, Are you joking? What if everyone went through life so mindlessly? (It reminded me of this post from a couple years ago. I've never been one to selfishly suck it up. Until now? Of course, living alone in a yurt wouldn't help anyone, either . . . . Oi. I wear myself out.)

So there you have it, world.

I simply don't know.

Cozy spaces and happy places, all via my Pinterest board.

Friday, January 13, 2012

in the raw

Last night I reread some of my journal entries from the past couple weeks. This one, from January 1st, relates, at least in part, to what I wrote about yesterday, so I thought I'd go ahead and post some of it here.


"...I am bubbling over with resolve this year, just about ready to burst with all the everything I've had swimming in my mind lately. On marriage, my next steps, fear of being an artist (I want it so badly it terrifies me), noise on ways to live and what makes up the "self", noise of song lyrics and movie lines and tips on better living.

I've come to the conclusion that I read far too many blogs.

Generally I gravitate towards certain breeds of "lifestyle" blogs, full of juicy bits about clothing, food, products, etc -- and not a lot of depth. The writers of these blogs always seem so very together. Like some sort of whitewashed, new American dream: BEHOLD THE MODERN WOMAN! Sure, she sometimes gets stressed from her day-to-day duties (i.e., "doing it all"), but she wouldn't have it any other way. Ain't life GRAND?

These blog writers also either a) photograph extremely well (and have friends to take those pictures), or b) are budding photographers themselves. Though I admit to reading these blogs every damn day, they make me tired. I either start to feel like I'm short-circuiting from information overload, or I'm not measuring up in the slightest. 

Today it hit me: I don't want a "lifestyle" -- I want a LIFE. A messy, rich, rough-around-the-edges, honest-to-goodness (and occasionally honest-to-a-fault) life. It doesn't have to look like or be anything other than what it is, and it most certainly doesn't have to photograph well.

Once of the reasons I think I've been so fixated on becoming a photographer these past couple years (or at least on learning to take decent pictures) is because "everyone else was doing it." Everywhere I looked (at least in blogworld) my eyes were filled with incredible imagery of the everyday. It made my own life seem less and less vibrant. But each time I'd start to read up on cameras and photography, it left me feeling unbelievably, painfully bored. So I'd move on to wishing I had talented, artsy photographer friends to not only collaborate with but also make me look extra cool and pretty in photos (to post on my blog, of course. Hello, narcissism!). Since this is not the case, again, I'd be plunged into a whole new "my life sucks and so do I" pity party.


I'm giving other people's blogs a break for awhile. I'm spending time figuring out what the voice deep inside of me has to say, what it wants to be. I'm tired of noise -- I want insight. I want to know what I have to say, want to figure out what and how I think, and to clear out the clutter that's in the way of me figuring it out. Right now, there's hardly anything I know for certain. I'm overwhelmed by input, body, mind, soul. It's time for something different. I don't want resolution; I want renewal. Cheers, year ahead. And cheers to whoever I'm still learning to be."

*Added for the sake of irony? Or maybe because I believe in paradox.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

still small voice

So when I said I was suffering from writer's block? It wasn't that I had nothing to write about. Nope, it was that I had too much -- too many thoughts, ideas, plans, pictures, etc., to share; and I couldn't narrow in on a topic.

I still can't.

But today I decided to write anyway. Which means, here I am.

I've been thinking endlessly about the world lately, and about my own little part in it. About who I am and how I come across (versus how I'd like to come across, and whether or not it really matters). About paradox and new beginnings and kindred spirits or the lack thereof. About my next steps. Part of me would really like to take this blog in a more "writerly" direction; the other part is signed up for The Sketchbook Project and has become addicted to instagram.

And then there's this small ache somewhere deep down that says, "You don't know what's next, but it's big. Trust that. Just trust." 

I find it really hard to trust, because the what-ifs get in the way, and I am somewhat of a neurotic, and am therefore prone to what-if-ing all over the place.

But that still, small voice? It feels so true.

When I was in high school, I competed in Speech. At the state finals one year, I placed ninth in the preliminary rounds, which meant I was one spot away from making the final round with the opportunity to win it all. (Speech, I now know, is a rather subjective and complicated beast, meaning all wins -- including my own -- must be taken with plenty of salt.)

At the end of the competition, all the first place winners performed on stage for everyone else (and it's not like it was in some fancy theatre, just at whatever high school was hosting that year -- though it still felt like a big deal at the time). I remember sitting in the bleachers in the dark, watching the well-lit winners perform on a makeshift stage in the center of the gym, when suddenly it was as if someone hit the "mute" button and everything went fuzzy. All I could hear was this quiet, strong voice inside me; all I could see were the words it spoke, as if written in my mind's eye:

You are not done yet.

I flashed to a large auditorium, all red and blue and gold, like some sort of legislative building or parliament. I was on a stage, speaking passionately to hundreds of men and women. But it also felt like I was in the balcony, watching this other version of myself. And I heard it again: You are not done yet.

Then I snapped out of it. I sat up a little taller, a bit taken aback, and shook it off.

It's easy to disregard such moments as daydreams and conjured-up whispers catering to our woundedness.

But in my heart of hearts, in that tiny secret place in the pit of my stomach, that voice was and is so real. I can still see the image that flashed in my brain as clearly as I did ten years ago. If I'm absolutely honest with myself, I believe that voice. I just can't figure out what it means.

This year, I'm going to keep listening. I'm going to try to be as discerning as possible. For a long time, the fuzziness has existed inside of me, rather than in that crowded high school gymnasium. I want to pay attention to that blur until it comes into focus, like a polaroid developing, until whatever it is I need to know rings so clear and true that it hurts to deny it.

I think I owe the universe, and life, at least that much.

(Image credits: 1 | 2-5 via OMS | 6: my own, Poland 2009 | 7: my own, Sandwich, Illinois, 2006)

three good things

photo via age old tree*

1. I've been eating well: Decent meals at regular times, without snacking in between -- and while sitting at the table (at least for dinner).

2. I've been flossing regularly, which is a complete and total first for me. Never in my life have I ever -- 'til now.

3. I've reached the end of the work week with minimal stress and am even looking forward to seeing the little ones again on Sunday . . . but oh, thank God for the weekend.

*a newfound favorite that has also inspired me to start contemplating my wild word for 2012.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

hi, folks

via my Pinterest

I'm trying to write, but the words just aren't coming. Everything's a jumble.

I'll get back to you soon, though. Cross my heart.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


via my Pinterest, originally found here

My birthday was January 2nd. 

The above pretty much sums up how I feel as I get older. (And I wonder, does that feeling ever go away?)