Monday, December 31, 2012


I'm not completely sold on the idea of New Year's resolutions.  As my Mom said, "I think that if you're living a life where something could be better, you should change it when you notice the need for change." (Not verbatim, but that's the drift)

But, I do think there is something refreshing about saying "It's a New Year and what a perfect point in time to make a change for the better".  Sometimes, people need that kick where other people are changing so they believe they can improve themselves too.

Last year, I didn't have a resolution and I was fine.  I think I'm going to do more of a goal than a resolution this year.

From January 1st - December 31st, 2013 - I will not:
- purchase coffee drinks (or coffee regalia)
- purchase alcohol

There are stipulations:
1) When I go home or am traveling**, I am allowed coffee/beer/ these libations can be a major source of discussion and information about an area's culture.
**traveling to mean being 300+ miles away from Bozeman
2) If someone offers to purchase the drink for me, I will accept (if I want it).

Really, what I'm going to do is put away the cash that I would otherwise spend on these items and save it.  I would love to go to Iceland next summer or begin my first leg of Triple Crown hiking.  Whatever I decide to do, the money will be used towards traveling.

Have a fantastic New Year's Eve friends!


Friday, December 14, 2012

An Elementary Teacher's Reaction to the News

I am trying to rectify in my head the things that I should say regarding my feelings about the shooting in Connecticut.  Part of me says to not say anything at all, because it is merely drawing attention to the killer, which may have been what he wanted..and the last thing we should do right now is give him a media sensationalized glory.

But the other part of me is telling me that I need to type my thoughts out. So, I am going to do that. I will probably delete this post later, purely because sometimes things are better kept in the heart and left up to good conversation.

But, for now, an expulsion.

Incidents like this cause me to wonder about my (personal) belief that the universe is moving towards order instead of chaos.  In my mind, there is far fewer things more heinous than killing.  Even fewer are the things more heinous than killing children.  Those children may have been our nation's next Einstein, Martin Luther King Jr., our next Gershwins and O'Keefes.  Yes, the opposite is true as well. These youth could have been our next Dahmers, Raders, and Bundys.

But, as I said, I like to believe the world is moving towards order.

More than anything, I think most of those children would have grown up to be "productive" adults in society.  They may have never accomplished anything of "paramount greatness", but in living a wholesome and loving life, they were living greatly enough.

Beyond that, even the surviving children now have a lifetime to live thinking back to that day where they heard the "pop pop pop" and screaming of their classmates.  Of hiding behind desks and in closets, wanting nothing more than to be held by their mother and father.  Longing for some certification that what they were experiencing was only a nightmare and that they would wake up soon.  These students will have to think about this and rationalize, in their young minds, why someone would do this to innocent individuals.  The youngest will have to re-learn that killing and violence is not an okay way to handle anger and resentment.  Students model what they see everyday. If a student sees a parent hugging a child, they are likely to be a loving student.  If a student is exposed to the horrors of molestation and rape, the terrors of violence at a young age, they will act out in similar manners towards their peers.

Today, so many young people were forced to grow up. To become elders in child bodies.

As I was thinking about this post (and whether or not I was even going to write it) during my dog walking session with Koda, I was going to go on my rant against guns and weapons. How I don't believe in the "right to bear arms", because (to quote Dylan) "the times, they are a changin" and the reasoning behind having guns when this country was formed is no longer valid.  But, that would lead to an upset and angry post, which are emotions that I have no desire to feel.  So I will merely leave it at this,

Guns were made to kill.  Whether the killing was done to animals or humans, they were not tools of peace or compromise. They were a quick fix tool.  I acknowledge that perhaps they have made life so much easier, but sometimes I think life it too easy and that the laziness that we are afforded leads to acts of ill will as well.  Guns are a non-necessity, and should be treated as a tool used for those who have been properly trained and proven their reliability with them.  They should be a last resort, and not a first.

And even after all this typing, my mind continues to ask me "What would you do, if, next Monday when you were walking down the hall, the entirety of one of the second grade classes was to be dead and you lost your Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade co-workers?"

My heart aches.

My friends, there is a call for reform in education. They say that we're not teaching our students enough to keep them up to date with the world and other nations.  That may be true. That may be a problem.  But, if we cannot raise our children to think like rational citizens, what does educating them more mean anyway?  We need a reform in so many areas besides purely curriculum, and it's not all on the teacher's end either.  We need a reform in the way we teach children to handle anger. We need a reform in the way we teach parents to talk with their children. We need a reform in the things that we allow children to watch and perceive as "okay". We need a reform in the way we all perceive the sanctity of life.

My friends, we are a nation and a world in need of reform.  How are you going to help the cause?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Sunday, December 2, 2012


I love this blog because I can literally write almost whatever I want and if you want to read it, you will, and if you don't, you won't.  I mean, I know that's how it is with all blogs, but this one I don't really care how many views I get. I appreciate them - but I'm not trying to make anything big out of it.  Not quite the same as Hike the Crown.

I learned a lot of good lessons yesterday, but the biggest takeaway lesson was on struggle.  I hate struggling.  I don't like not being proficient or better at things.  I also know that I need to change that.  Everyone struggles, and a lot of the time it's the people that have struggled the most significantly that have the best perspective.

Yesterday, I struggled.
Cross Country Skiing kind of struggled.

You see, coming from the Upper Great Plains, I'm used to in my mind...there wasn't really a trick to cross country skiing because it was flat.

I tried XC yesterday on hills. Not as easy.
Going up was fine. It was a challenge to synchronize movements, but once that was big.

Going downhill, however, was a tricky trick.  I fell probably about 10-12 times in a matter of 2 miles.  That definitely takes the ego out of a girl.  (Something that is good for me, I think).

The process of falling and getting up also taught me a lot about myself.  I get angry pretty quickly after a few failures.  I think by about the fourth fall I yelled at Nathan "I'm not having FUN anymore."
But, I had to get back up...I mean, how else would I get down. And I'll be darned if I let a few pieces of wood strapped to my feet beat me.  So I got up, and by the end I could go down slight turns and slight hills without falling.

But, jeez, the bruise on my knee from one biff reminds me of the struggle it took to get there.  It's good, though, to struggle.  It makes the hot chocolate at the end so much more worth it. :)


Sunday, November 25, 2012


Yes. The question mark was intentional.

While at home over the holiday (which I loved, I miss my family so much) the conversation of happiness came up.  What makes a person happy?  Can anything actually make a person happy or is it an intrinsic choice?

Then Nathan and I talked about it briefly tonight.

Honestly, it confuses the snot out of me.  Right now, I have a highly intrinsically rewarding job, but it's also highly stressful.  I feel like it's affected my personal relationships, and I'm not necessarily okay with that.  Most people have been exceptionally understanding, and I appreciate that.  Does the stress go away though?  What happens if the angst cause by the stress begins to outweigh the intrinsic pleasure?

How does one even know what they're supposed to do in life?
Or is anyone even supposed to do something?  Perhaps it's all a shot in the dark and there isn't this sense of pre-determination/fate that guides a person to the "right" career choice.

And how do you know when to balance the pleasure your job brings isn't enough to compensate for the unhappiness the life outside of work brings?

This isn't to say that I am unhappy, or anything of the sort.  But the phrase "stuck" was brought up tonight and it got me thinking about how many people (myself included) often feel "stuck" in their situation.

I'm ready to go home, again.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Selfish Post

This post doesn't ask any questions. In fact, it's a stereotypical post for this time of year.

No, it's not a food post...that'll come later on Thursday.

It's the Thankful Post.

I was out at the dog park with Koda last night.  Under the stars, north of town at the foot of the Bridger mountain range - I could see down onto Bozeman.  For the first time since I've been here,  I felt utterly content to be where and how I am.  I have finally gotten used to the things that previously annoyed me (Montanan's, at least in Bozeman, are fantastic at pulling the "rolling stop").  And, while I still don't have a core group of friends, I do have friendly acquaintances and people I could call up and get a drink with on the weekends if I wanted to.

I live in a cozy apartment that is spacious enough that Nathan, Koda, and I can all be in it and still be in separate rooms if we want to get away from each other.  That apartment is right next to a beautiful little pond that I get to walk my dog around regularly.  That pond is surrounded by trees (one of my favorite types) which also block out the businesses surrounding it, so all I can see is Hyalite Canyon in the distance. And, when I do come home from those dog walks, and Nathan is home - we get along. We don't fight, we have discussions.  He lets me indulge in my cooking/baking hobby, even if it does mean that the electric/heat bill goes up a bit.  I only hope I give him as much freedom as he gives me.

(Nathan, if you're reading this, and I don't....let's have a discussion).

At work, I have an incredibly supportive staff and administration that are willing to send me to conferences so I can continue to be a better educator.  They give me advice and they have welcomed me with open arms.  They are okay with the fact that I do things a little bit differently and don't burn me at a stake every time I propose something that doesn't make the most sense.

While I haven't gotten to know too much of the community surrounding my school, it also seems supportive.  I'll know more after the Christmas concert.

As I'm writing this, staring out the window at the kiddos on the playground, I feel calm and content.  I am Thankful to be working a job I enjoy. I am Thankful to be able to afford to have food on the table every night...and food that I made.  I am Thankful that I can go for hikes on the weekend and really get away from people.  I am Thankful that I can still indulge my introverted-ness.

I am Thankful that I have a family that supported me moving away and starting my own career somewhere else.  I am Thankful that my family and I are comfortable saying "Love Ya" to each other.  I know a lot of families where that's seen as "odd" - and I don't get it.

More than anything, though, I am Thankful that I get to go home tomorrow (on a plane! Not driving!) to see that family and spend time together.

Hey, and Thanks for letting me indulge in a Thankful post.
You know, studies have shown that you can significantly improve your happiness by stating even just one thing that you are Thankful for every day.  Whether it's the season or not.


Sunday, November 18, 2012


Do you ever feel like you care/love "too much".

"I love too much" - isn't that a silly phrase?

But, sincerely, if you don't love too much, are you loving enough?

Saturday, November 10, 2012


More formally known as facades.

Or is it - façades?

I think what really inspired this series of thoughts was a “one-night-Billy-Joel-binge”.  There is one song of his that I’m particularly attached to entitled “Stranger”.  I’m attached for a few reasons:

1)   There is whistling involved, and anyone that has lived with me even briefly knows how much I love to whistle
      2)    I associate Billy Joel very closely with my Dad, and I’m quite fond of my father
      3) The song has a solid beat supported by well thought-out lyrics, something I find lacking in a lot (though, certainly, not all) of today’s music

That being said, the opening line in this song is

“well we all have a face that we hide away forever, and we take them out and show ourselves when everyone is gone”.
(click here for a video of a live performance)

And, whenever I hear it, I think “HOW TRUE”

Think about this, do you act the same way around your co-workers that you would your grandparents?  What about the way you act around your friends compared to your teachers?

If they’re the same, then I congratulate you on either being a truly genuine or a truly foolish person.  You see, I think these faces serve a genuine purpose, otherwise we wouldn’t have developed them long ago.  I think they’re a protective and progressive maneuver. 

Let's throw ourselves into a hypothetical story.  Hypothetically, back in caveman days, a man was interested in a woman – so he acted like tough stuff.  He puffed out his chest, opened his mighty yawp and roared.  However, when the head of the clan walked by, the chest deflated and the submissive personality came out.  If the man had continued to act like “da bomb” in front of his superior, the superior would have felt challenged and would have thus initiated a fight between the two men.

The face of the tough guy got him the lady of his dreams and the submissive face kept him from getting his bum handed to him.  

In these instances, the facade is an alright thing.

But, I believe quite strongly that the various masks aren't always good.  Anytime that those faces cause you to wonder who are you, who you could be, and if you're being honest with yourself - the reality of those faces should come in to question.  When, at the end of the day, you're getting ready for bed, looking into the mirror as you brush your teeth, and ask yourself "Am I really okay with what's happening in my life?" - the question should give cause for a serious pause.

Because some masks are harder to take off than others, and the longer you leave them on, the harder they continue to be to take off.

Similarly, if these masks cause pain to another being, then they should be questioned.  If the reality of your in-genuine smile and interest in a person causes that person heartache, then your mask of a "kind hearted soul" isn't so kind hearted.  I saw this a lot (and, to be honest, acted this way) when I worked at The Coffee Shop.  At the end of the day, most of us were more interested in getting a tip from the customer than finding out how they actually were.  And, hey, if the customer didn't know that we didn't really care and weren't really listening, then what did it matter?

Bad, bad, bad.

And, to what should we blame feeling like it was necessary to act this way?  Contemporary expectations of how the service industry should act?  I'm realizing, more and more, that I would rather have a waiter/ess that is genuinely like "Man, today has been nuts, and I'm super tired, so please excuse me if I'm short with you" than "HEYYYYYYYYYYYYY! How're you?! OMG I'M SO GLAD TO SEE YOU."

To, again, quote "The Stranger":

 "it was then I felt the stranger kick me right between the eyes"

So what do we do?

I think there are a few things that can help us realize when we need to remove the mask:
1) Constant contemplation on how we feel our days and our lives are going.  If we're please with the way we feel life to be heading, then it's okay.  If we're a little upset with day to day life and the possibility of a future, then perhaps a new course of action should be taken

2) Constant contemplation of the sorts of masks we have. 
My most easily recognizable masks are:
teacher, girlfriend, daughter, sister, granddaughter, friend, co-worker, student (of life, at this point), musician, writer, reader, critic, dog-owner
but there are finer ones that it took some contemplation to come up with:
music teacher (I'm realizing, very different from classroom teacher sometimes), coffee shop loiterer,  role model, social critic (this is a bad one some days, a good one others), dog owner, small female, individual with high standards for not only myself, but others (which leads into expectations, which can often lead into unnecessary disappointment)
To name a few....
3) Realization of our relationships and how they affect the way we act.  Are they causing us to form facades that are unhealthy?  Are they helping us remove facades?

So, when I have to be a friend, co-worker, and critique at the same time...sometimes there is tension.

I challenge you to make a list of your masks and then take note of the ones that can cause tension. Then take note of the ones that cause angst daily.....assess those.

I'll leave you with my favorite part of the lyrics to "The Stranger":

"Don't be afraid to try again, everyone goes south, every now and then.  You've done it, why can't someone else? You should know by now, you've been there yourself."

Feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts and thanks for reading.


PS:  Does anyone else find it ironic/hilarious that the word facades itself has two spellings: facade and façades?

PSS: Check out my other blog, Hike the Crown, to read about one of my other masks: A girl attempting to Triple Crown in USA hiking!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Mindsquish be honest...I didn't view myself ever saying what I'm about to type:

"I'm thinking about graduate school."

When I completed my degree at Augie, I was so ready to be done and never look back. I wanted to be a teacher, and have teacher problems and not worry about doing research and writing papers and grades and all of that stuff....unless it was my student's research/papers/grades.

But, what I'm realizing as I go day-to-day, is that I feel like I'm in a MINDsquish.

"MINDsquish(as defined by myself): A state of mind wherein the inflicted feels their mind stretching and expanding unilaterally, but would rather feel it stretched in a more wholesome manner.  In this sense, the mind is expanding (hence the large font size for the word "Mind"), but the perspective is being shrunken or squished (hence the small font size for the word "Squish").

As I live in Bozeman, it was only natural for me to look into MSU - Bozeman's graduate schools.  As though designed by fate, there is a graduate program for K-12 Music Education Curriculum and Instruction...which is definitely something I would be interested in.

But, otherwise, life is going really well.  I apologize for the short post, but I need to do a little more lesson planning, gardening researching, and work on the Triple Crown blog.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Great Falls, MT

I am sitting in the hotel room in Great Falls, MT – where the MMEA Convention is being held for this year.  So far, it’s impressive.  They have a much longer and well supported history behind their Music Educator’s Association than South Dakota did…and it shows.  That’s not to say there’s a lack of passion in South Dakota, far from it. All I am saying is that there is clearly more support for music here outside of the schools than there was back home.  I guess, perhaps, having a Senator that is a former Music Educator helps a bit.

It’s interesting. Really. Watching all sorts of people around me.  I see the people who have been in the job for 5+ years and how they have all sorts of wrinkles…but mostly laugh lines forming around their faces.  Then I look at the college kids and the new teachers (1-2 years into the job) and I see a sort of arrogance about them.  I hope that I don’t portray that arrogance.  I’m realizing more and more as I sit and listen to people and observe people that I know pretty much nothing about my job. 

Perhaps I’m confusing arrogance and eagerness.  I simply get frustrated when someone says something in an open forum Q&A session, I have an answer that should put their question into new light for them (this was an instance of talking about P-Bones), and the girl didn’t really listen to what I said because I wasn’t speaking.  One of the most important ways we can learn from other people is by truly listening to what they’re saying and not assuming that they’re null and void simply because they aren’t the presenters.

Or maybe my headache is just making me crabby.  My welcome into Great Falls wasn’t welcoming at all. I was talking on the phone with Nathan, as he was giving me directions since my Garmin pooped out on me – and some lady pulls up next to me, lays on her horn and angrily mouths at me “YOU CAN’T TALK ON YOUR PHONE”. So I mouthed back, “I’M LOST.” She mouthed, “I DON’T CARE”.
So I raised my hand in anger at her. How dare she. How dare I respond in such a childish way. It’s not like she thought I was a local. I had SD plates.

Maybe she just hates South Dakotans.
And if she didn’t, she probably does now.
Way to represent.

But the teachers have been, on the whole, very welcoming, especially the older teachers. I’ve made a few contacts, but not many. I’ve definitely absorbed a lot of information and will be doing a bit of shopping tomorrow morning. 

There’s a concert in 45 minutes.  I’m currently in the debating stage of whether or not I want to go.  This headache is kicking my butt and I could really use the extra sleep/time to lesson plan/writing time/reading time/relaxation time.

But, as a friend of mine might say, HTFU. You only live once.
I’m just not that enthused, and generally, I know that when I’m not enthused about something, it’s best just to go to bed early. There’s another day tomorrow (hopefully), and I dare not waste it.


PS: Sorry this post didn’t have much substance. I just needed to vent. I’ll write something worth reading either later tonight or this weekend. I hope you all are well and I miss you dearly.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Happiness vs. Pleasure

I've recently begun reading "The Art of Happiness".

The book itself is a conglomeration of speeches the Dalai Lama has given, talks he has had with the books author (a Western psychologist), and the psychologist's thoughts on the question of "what makes people happy?".

While I'm not comfortable mind-vomiting at length on the topic, yet, I would like to pose the question to whomever comes across this blog:

What is the difference between happiness and pleasure, to you?  Is that difference important? Do you find yourself more often pursuing one over the other and do you think it has affected your overall outlook on life?

So far, I've come to believe that there is a great, and possibly grave, difference between happiness and pleasure. Too often I find myself thinking "Oh, that will make me happy", when really, it is a simple thing of pleasure. That extra delicious and gooey chocolate chip cookie that came out of the oven after I've already had 2....pleasure.  That expensive beer that I've been dying to try? Pleasure.

So what is happiness, then?

A friend of mine hypothesized something about this topic that I think could very well be true. Happiness isn't in the accomplishment, happiness is in the process. (Thanks Margaret, I'll tell you more in the letter back!)

I agree because of situations such as this: when I graduated from college, did it bring me "great happiness"? Honestly, no. When I graduated college I didn't feel much. What about the process of learning throughout high school and college? I look back on that, and when I was stretching my mind, that was a time that I was quite happy.

Margaret brought up the concept of cooking/baking food. She and I think similarly on this matter and both sincerely enjoy the process that goes into making the food, almost as much as we enjoy eating/tasting it!

When I examine my current career, I continue to think that this may be true.  I am happiest when I am in the process of teaching. My job is a very "do-ing" oriented job, and I think that's a great reason why I love it. I love watching and encouraging the process of learning amongst my students.  I also get great pleasure from their post-assessments and seeing how much they have learned, but not nearly as much as I get day-to-day.

I don't think that we can really recognize happiness until we look back on it. In the moment, I think it appears more as contentment and then people get afraid that they are settling.  Humans, for some odd reason, seem to love drama.  Humans tend to like to fight the Tao concept of Wu-wei.....and perhaps that's okay. Perhaps the process of fighting the status quo makes some people happy, but once the battle is over and they've made their point - do they continue to be satisfied?

Like I said, elementary brain goo.  Still working on it. Also working on getting ready for bed, good night!


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Livin' La Vida Teacher

Well, I made it.

When they say the learning curve your first year teaching is steep....they don't say how steep.  We're talking like 98% gradient. Straight. Up.

But it's good.
Well, it's getting good.

I'm new. The kids know that and they're testing me.  I also have very different expectations than the previous band director (or so I'm learning).

To date, I feel more comfortable with 2-8th graders than I thought I would.  Though I still struggle with the younger ages.  I didn't think I had to come down hard on the younger ages, but from what the experienced teachers are telling me, I do.

What else I've learned:
- What works for one class of 1st graders probably won't for the second. So always have about ten different activities in the back of your mind.
- Organization is key
- Communication is key
- Love your administrative assistants
-....and your maintenance man (my guy, Andy, is awesome)
- Don't take gruff from anyone
- Sometimes, those kids, they're just gonna cry. Let the tears flow. They won't screw around again after that.

But, as it is Saturday, and I sit at a local coffee shop (certainly not my favourite, but right now they boyfriend is employed here and got called in to work on his morning off wherein we were going to have a date with fresh, homemade caramel rolls.........long story...anyway, here I am) grading papers and doing some other "office type" work for class, I'm pretty darn happy.  I feel content.  I can remember being 9 years old and giving my younger brother "lessons" in math and reading and enjoying teaching him and grading him so much.  This is just like a "grown up" version of that.

The lady next to me just dropped an olive all down her front. Aww shucks woman. Your white shirt isn't so white anymore.

Sarcasm. Sorry.

In continuing with the verbal vomit, maybe I'll explain why I don't care for this particular coffee shop.
Croissants? Oh yea, $4-6 (and they're not nearly as good as QCB's in SF...thus, in my mind, they're not worth that much).
A Slice of Quiche? $6
1 Cup of Pour-Over Coffee (12oz) $2 (it's mediocre)
Pizza? $9-17 (it's not filling)

You get the idea. Not the quality nor the quantity deserved for what you're paying. (In my mind).

So who would pay that kind of money? The yuppies of Bozo.  I really have a hard time appreciating people who buy fancy things at expensive places just because they're perceived as "fancy" by the society.

The "I eat here because it makes me seem high class" mentality.

But maybe that's just because I believe in the "I eat here because the food is good, good for me, and it supports the local community" mentality.

And I'm bitter that the place called Nathan in to work when we were supposed to have a date morning.
Caramel rolls from scratch aren't easy, my friends. They're time consuming. And not fun to eat alone.

Lesson for the week:
1) Caramel Roll dates are likely to be interrupted. Don't do 'em. Make the rolls for co-workers.
2) Puppies continue to kick butt (Koda is awesome and loving it out here).
3) Yuppies are Nopeys.
4) Kiddos grow on you. But some of them take a reallllly long time.

Monday, September 3, 2012


Just under 2 weeks ago (already 2 weeks, wow) I moved to Bozeman, Montana for a teaching job.

The first week I was here was spent with Nathan and Koda, getting to know the area.  I also spent that week at the school I'm working for.  I walked into a situation where the previous band director and I have completely different organizational styles, and so it seemed like there was a lot to do.  I spent most of those days cleaning, organizing, and trying to figure out what I was going to do.

Last week was all PIR days at the school.  Those involved a learning curve that was steeper than any of the mountains around here, meeting the staff (who all seem fantastic), and working on the classroom.  I feel so thankful to be at the school I am.  The Superintendent, the Principal, and all of the staff are exceptionally welcoming and supportive of the music program.  I feel so lucky.

My parents came up this weekend with a U-Haul full of stuff from South Dakota.  I'm not good with "Good-Bye's" in general. Normally I just get really awkward and walk away quickly. But, with parents, it's more a tear-jerker situation.  I love them and am so thankful for their support.

That's all I'm going to say, because words aren't going to do any justice.

Now, I'm sitting at Rockford Coffee with Nathan, writing a blog while I should work on lesson plans. Really, I'm just trying to process this entire transition. It's quite a lot.


Monday, August 13, 2012


Below is a recipe for some soup that I mentioned in the Vlogs my friends and I do between each other:

2 eggplant (mid-sized)
1 zucchini
1 red/green bell pepper
2 tomatoes
olive oil
1/2 shallot/onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2-3 c. chicken stock
1 1/2 tsp. curry
1/2 tsp. cayenne
opt. Sour Cream/Cottage Cheese

1) Slice the eggplant, zucchini, peppers, and tomatoes in half.  Place on foil covered baking sheet, sprinkle lightly with salt and bake in the oven at 400 for 20-30 minutes (until skins come off the eggplant easily).

2) While veggies are roasting, saute the shallot/o and onion for 5 minutes. Then add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds.  Then add the chicken stock.

3) When veggies are done "roasting", allow to cool 5 minutes, then remove the skins from the eggplants, zucchini, and tomatoes.  Bring the chicken stock concoction to a boil and add all the veggies (this is where you throw in the carrots).    Add cayenne and curry (and any other spices you may like!). Boil for 10 minutes.

4) After boiling, allow to cool for a few moments. Then, throw the entire soup mixture into a food processor and blend until desired consistency.

5) Serve with a dollop of sour cream/cottage cheese (if desired) and something to cool the palate down with.


Friday, August 10, 2012

A Letter to Mahli

(Pre-Script Note: Mahli is an engaging and wonderful individual that I have known since we were 12-13 years old. We're now 22 years old. Do the math. Relationships like those are the ones that you hold on to with all of your might and love with all of your [platonic] heart.)

Miss Mahli,

Today, you get aboard a hunk of metal, soar into the air, cruise in the air for a while, descend, and arrive in a completely new culture. A new sort of civilization that you fell in love with 3-4 years ago.

You have been working and saving and learning for the past 3-4 years just so you could get in that hunk of metal and land in Mexico.  I'm so proud of you for achieving your goal.

I know that there are a lot of uncertainties, now that you've gone and are completely on your own, basically for the first time in your life.  Well, perhaps on your own physically (minus the factor of one very lucky dude).  But you're definitely not on your own emotionally or support-wise stateside.

When I met Mahli, I didn't like her. She seemed mean and bossy and pushy.
Seemed being the key word in that sentence.
I judged Mahli at face value for something I don't think she even realized she did.
(She cut in front of me in line with her friend Angie at volleyball tryouts in 7th grade).

I've learned a lot from her and that first experience.

I have a lot of really fond memories of this lady. And writing them all would be virtually endless.
But we did have one tradition throughout High School that I remember fondly.

Nearly every Friday evening, we would get together at her house. With Puppy Chow (the human treat) in tow, we would spend the next 1-2 hours watching Most Haunted.

Yes, we were silly back then.
We're still silly now.

And while we were watching it. We would talk. We would catch up (our classes often didn't coincide). We would gossip like silly girls.

And that was wonderful.
It was cathartic for both of us.

College brought about separation.
(Mahli, don't tell anyone, but you were one of two people I actually cried about leaving. It was silly of me. I'm generally an internal emotional roller coaster, no matter the stoic appearance.)

But we stayed friends throughout the next for years, even with minimal communication.

And we're going to stay friends throughout the next however many years, with communication.

It's always a much more difficult thing to say "Good Bye" to people, when you know that you can talk to them online at nearly any moment. It's like they're always here and the break/separation is not actually happening.  There isn't a clean break, and that's something that the generation before me and my generation and the generations following me have to deal with.

How do you say "Good Bye" while logging on to a chat platform and saying "Hello" simultaneously.

It's tough.

Mahli, I cannot adequately express, in written form, how pleased I am to have known you for the past years of our lives.  We've had a typical friendship in many ways, but an extraordinary one in others.  I want the best for you, Miss Mahli.  Know that, if you should ever need any help, I am always a phone call away (no matter the stupid "roaming" fee the cell phone company may put on it).

All my [platonic] Love,

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Human Condition

Still and all, why bother? Here's my answer. Many people need desperately to receive this message: I feel and think much as you do, care about many of the things you care about, although most people do not care about them. You are not alone.

Kurt Vonnegut

Some people know "what they're supposed to do" from the very get-go.  And by get-go, I mean as a child.  They may not know that they know it, but they know it.

I don't know if it's appropriate to say that I fall in that category or not.  I knew that, in those moments when I was teaching my younger brother, Derek, to do fractions and read as we sat beneath my bunk bed in a bean bag chair with my makeshift dry erase board, I was truly enjoying myself. Even if Derek didn't always grasp the concept right away. 

I enjoyed watching him learn. 
And I'm pleased to say that he is a very fine mathematics student to this day. 
(I like to think that I contributed to that in some way).

I knew, inherently, at that time that I was meant to be a teacher of some sort.  Whether it is just through talking with people and learning and teaching things via regular conversation or as the head of a classroom with the official title of "Miss F", I knew that I loved watching people's eyes as they absorbed and made sense of new information.  In the education world, we refer to it as the "Aha!" moment.

Or at least, on the Great Plains we do.

So right now, it's fairly easy to say that my discontentment with life comes not from my living situation (a spacious apartment/duplex with a dog is nothing to be discontented with), or my social situation (happily with a fella, have good friends I can call on any time and a supportive family), but it is with the fact that I feel like I'm not sharing and teaching enough.

It has taken me most of the summer to realize this.  I am happiest when I know that I am going to be a positive influence on someone that day.

(or, at least, I hope I'm a positive influence)

Which brings me to Mr. Vonnegut's quote.

For a long time.
Seriously. A Long Time.
I felt like:
 "Why does no one else seem to care so deeply as I do about eating foods of quality over quantity?" 
"Why does no one seem to care about the fact that our precious planet is being killed?" 
"Why does no one seem to care about the education system in our state?"  
"Why does no one question things?"

I mean, occasionally I would find one person who would think about  a few of the same things as I did.  I found friends that I could engage in conversations about these topics with.  In those ways, I found myself.

But, I felt like my education had failed me.
I felt like those were questions we were supposed to entertain in the later years of high school.  Sure, they may not be "on the test". The may not even mesh exactly with the subject matter, but anything can be taught in context if you try hard enough.

(I firmly believe that.  You want me to combine math and music? Done. Music and literature? Done. Music and science? Done.)

Anyway, that is why, I think, in High School I was content, but discontent.  Why I was constantly feeling like I need to find ways to push the envelope. To try and find ways to think (if that makes sense at all). I knew that there were questions that I wasn't being encouraged to ask, and I needed to find out what they where and why I should be asking them.

I felt like I needed a teacher to say:

I feel and think much as you do, care about many of the things you care about, although most people do not care about them. You are not alone.

So, when I decided (and by decided, I mean continued to fulfill the calling that I had felt since I was 10) to be a teacher, I decided that I wanted to be a teacher that continually reassured students that there is always someone that you can talk to.  If they bring up a topic I don't know about, I, as the teacher should be so interested in encouraging them to be curious that I will do research on it myself, or point them in the direction of someone with similar interests who will be happy to ask questions with them.

I want to be a teacher that students remember as a mentor more than a lecturer.  A guider of those with curiosity versus a talker of topics and nothing else.  I think that may be the concept of a true educator, way back in the day, back when people asked questions and didn't accept the status quo.

So, I guess what you could say is that I want to be old-school.....yo.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


"Go put your creed into your deed.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson"

In other words, friends, actions speak louder than words. Or, perhaps, we should back up all of our talk with actions.

Let me begin by stating outright that I fully acknowledge that I am a hypocrite, and that even in writing this, I am increasing my hypocrisy tenfold.

But I try, so very hard, to not be a hypocrite. 

One of my biggest pet peeves is when people say one thing, and do another. When they profess to living the lifestyle of one personality, and actually live the lifestyle of the exact opposite.

(Like I said, guilty as charged).

I get annoyed with drivers who are driving recklessly quickly,
but in turn, if I am in a hurry, do the same thing.

(Which begs the question of "Why do we hurry?" and "What's wrong with arriving precisely when you are meant to (like a wizard)?" be discussed at a later date, I would suppose).

And sometimes I catch myself and say "Well, Andrea, they could be on to a VERY important meeting, or perhaps someone is sick, or perhaps this....perhaps that...."

And then my inner gut says "Yes, and you know what excuses are like."
Unacceptable for most part. On all grounds. I should be more tolerant because I should love them and feel compassion for them because they are a living being. They should slow down because they should love and feel compassion for other individuals, and because there are very few things in this world that truly warrant rushing.

(If Nathan reads this, he knows how unbelievably hypocritcal I am being right now, I'm the queen of punctuality and untimeliness tends to drive me insane.)

Or, perhaps the hypocrisy that kills me the most, and the one that caused me to seriously reflect upon my personal beliefs/philosophies/religious understandings.

Back log, for those who know me, skip the next two paragraphs.
I work at a coffee shop in my home town, and we get a variety of customers. Everyone from the pre-teen who is testing out their new found driving skills and freedom by meeting up with friends, to the middle aged mom catching a coffee between children's activities, to the loner old man who loves nothing more than "A 12oz coffee, blueberry muffin, heat it up please with some butter and plastic fork, and a glass of water with plenty of ice" - Every.Single.Morning.  

One significant group of customers that we cater to is the religious group. (Ie: Pastors, their wives, their congregation, their bible study groups, the individual doing a personal bible study, etc).  I bear no bad bones about this people. I think the fact that they are trying to truly understand what they believe is incredible, and I wish more individuals did something like that.

Everyone back with me?
So it's that latter group that I see daily, the religious individuals, that cause me the most hypocritical angst.  We have some folks that come in daily, daily, or perhaps even multiple times a day and order expensive drinks.

Awesome for business.
But how are all of their congregation members doing financially?
There is a lot of hidden poverty in the city I live in, and I find it hard to believe that the hundreds of dollars they spend every month at the coffee shop couldn't be better redirected to someone who needs the help more. And all of the time they spend just hanging out at a coffee shop? It could also probably be much better redirected.

Within this group, there are also a lot of older, wealthier individuals (often female), that preach to being awesome Christians. Yes, them. With their pounds of makeup, lots of jewelry, fancy Coach bag ("No it's not a knockoff! It's original!").  They, who treat the staff at the coffee shop like underlings. Like indentured servants to their caffeinated desires. These are the people that caused me to truly question my religious understandings. To look around while sitting in Mass and see more people with more things than they will ever need, wearing ridiculous things that they don't need, coated in cologne/perfume that is just causing everyone else around them to gag throughout the entire service, because they want to smell nice.

You see, my problem is that it is very ego-centric. The understanding of religion, specifically Christianity, in this area.  Everything is fine and dandy and "Our God is an Awesome God - As-Long-As-I-Can-Keep-Driving-My-Escalade-To-Get-My-Nails-Done". 

It kills me. 
I grew up Catholic. I went through a Catholic school system and got a very good education (if a bit biased). I am undeniably grateful for the opportunities presented to me by my parents and the sacrifices they made. 
But with this education, I've learned a lot about what the figurehead, Jesus, preached in a way of a lifestyle.

Here, want a good idea, let's start with the Beatitudes and move from there to the Ten Commandments.

Anyway you slice it. These individuals aren't even close to following the core, the essence, of their belief system. The moment they talk down to a staff member at the shop because the drink isn't just right, they've strayed. 

My big question is then, do they repent?
Unfortunately, I think the attitude of "I get what I want" is so inherent in society and the culture, especially around here, that it doesn't seem wrong.

But remember, I, too, am a hypocrite.
But I acknowledge it.
And I work on it daily.

Because to be a hypocrite is the biggest annoyance in my life right now, and it will be for the rest of my life. But perhaps, because I am trying to be better. Because I am making a sincere, dedicated effort to improve my existence, I can say that yes, I am a hypocrite, but I am a progressive hypocrite, working to change and improve daily.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Terrifying Monotony

I'm convinced that the time after you graduate from college but before you've secured a "real job" is possibly the most terrifying time of your life to date.

At least, that's how I feel.

I wish I could say that I've been able to do a lot of great thinking. And, perhaps, I have. But life seems to keep me so busy that I'm not able to really focus on developing thoughts.  I thought that this summer was going to be the summer for that, but between work and the Civitas project, my thoughts have been a bit preoccupied.

Between those two things, and the puppy:

(and "aww" is totally appropriate here)

Anyway, perhaps one thing that I've learned is that, if the department of education ever did decide to do it, and if all the schools perhaps stuck to it as well, creating a host site for all open education positions with a wonderful search engine would be the best creation ever.


I'm still alive and all is relatively well.
I'll be sure to have something decent posted here soon. And hopefully on a regular(er) schedule.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Talks with Mom (part 1)

As my brother is on a travelling baseball team, my parents are often gone during the summer, sometimes both at the same time, sometimes one at a time.  Such was the situation this weekend. Derek (lovingly referred to as "Deek") was playing in Topeka, KS and Mom decided to stay home.  Because I love my family and I love being able to talk with them (when they're in talkative moods), I ventured over to the homeland to talk with Mom for the late morning-early afternoon hours.

This conversation had some usual parts:
"Hey, how was work....." "How are you doing....." "How is Deek's baseball going....."

but, after all of the small talk and idle chatter, we can generally glean a good hour of solid conversation, which I always find myself learning from.

Two Points Made By Mom (this trip):
1) The key is balance.
2) Some people like to have shallow and basic relationships with a lot of people and not spend the time to develop deep, lasting relationships with a few people. Other people prefer just the opposite and would rather have a few very close friends and not know many people.

Point 1

This point almost came out of the blue, but it was a good one and a concept that I've taken to heart.  No matter what aspect of life, it must be kept in a balance.  Working time must be balance out with sleeping time, and anyone who makes you feel lazy for needing your time to recoup via sleeping needs to bugger off.  I'm guilty of giving folks a hard time for "sleeping too much".  I, personally, can run just fine off of 6-7 hours of sleep.  Others need more like 8-9.  So, folks that I have teased so mercilessly, I apologize.

Time spent relaxing (physically and mentally) should be paired evenly with time spent creating and doing.

But, perhaps the most important fact of this balance (between all of life's aspects) is that the balance is different for everyone.  For me to feel balanced, I need about 60% of my time alone and 40% of my time with people (not counting as sleeping hours and no, Koda doesn't count as "people").  I also need about  1/3 of my car riding time to be spent in silence (I really don't care to listen to the music on the radio much, it's either NPR or MPR or nothing).  The silence allows me to collaborate my quiet time and alone time into my driving time...multi-tasking?

(The topic of multitasking is also and interesting one that I'll touch on later).

But there are some things that I think we spend the majority of our lives trying to figure out how to balance.  How much food do we actually need to feel satiated and happy but not overly full? How much money do we need in our savings to feel secure, but not pompously wealthy?  How much affection do we expect out of a relationship to feel loved and cared for, but not smothered?

And how often do these balances change as we grow and mature (or, perhaps, im-mature?)

Point 2

I'll confess.  This topic came up while discussing Nathan and my Dad. You might call them the "men in our lives", although mine has taken a noticeable absence as of late.  Either way, both of these individuals sincerely love to talk to anybody and everybody.  When going somewhere with my Dad, it was always guaranteed that  you should budget an extra half hour of time, because you would inevitably run into someone that he knew and wanted to chit-chat with.

My Dad loves to chat. Nathan loves to chat.

My Mom and I are quite different.  I can go for a long while without seeing a bunch of people or talking to a bunch of people and feel quite alright with it.  However, if the opportunity presents itself and I am with a few close friends (or even just good friends that can make me laugh!), I will spend hours talking with them.  I love getting to know people deeply and personally, and, in my opinion, the people that are almost always worth knowing deeply/personally are not going to share all their secrets within just a few days of knowing you.  They might give you their blanket story, but truly learning what makes them tick will take much longer and will require effort on both parts.

Is one mode of communication and befriending better than the other? I wouldn't care to say yes or no to that.  I think these ways are just different, and to be honest, it's another act of balancing.  After all, what is the point of having 1,000,000,000 friends, if no one knows you well enough to (as my Mom said) "wipe your butt if you need it?".  Similarly, it can get awfully lonely just having 5 friends to talk with.

Balance. It's all about balance.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012


I've recently finished a book entitled "The Fault In Our Stars" by John Green.  While there were many quotes that I took from it (yes, I'm a quotes person), there was one that I wanted to meditate upon longer than the others:

"You are so busy being that you have no idea how utterly unprecedented you are."

What a life motto to have (even if Mr. Green didn't mean it in this manner).

To formulate your existence around the idea of enjoying existence and creating yourself solely from your experiences and not focusing on what others think of you for your persona or your experiences.

I don't think I'm alone in saying that I've spent more time than I care to admit being concerned with what others thing, specifically about me or my actions.  While some of it is mostly to ensure that I'm living up to the high standards I imagine others hold for myself (ie: parents), I feel like I miss out on a large amount of life because of this introspectivity. (Not a word then, is a word now: introspectivity)

If we each focused on our own humanity and our own desire to live our individual lives as we desired, would we be even more unique than we are now?  Is that even a possible thing....if we are truly unique? Simultaneously, that one in a million comment doesn't necessarily work out....there are 6,840,507,003 people on this Earth.  I'm no mathematician, so I let you figure out how many "yous" there are in existence currently.  Not to mention the past and present.  All concepts of uniqueness beg one to believe that their individuality is truly honed by their experiences.

Which goes back into being "being".  Being experiences.

Nobody else on this planet has spent 10 days crammed in a car with Nathan, Brittany and Sean trying to make it to the west coast and back.  Plenty of other people have spent 10 days crammed in a car with 3 other individuals.  When my being coincided with other peoples' beings, that is where uniqueness came from.....not from the broader experience, but from encountering other beings at a very specific time.   

Margaret, as I know you're going to probably be reading this...I'm dying to hear your thoughts (I value them highly).  Your's too Lauren!

I think I'm going to leave it at this for the time being, mostly because I'm not quite sure where I want to go with this yet.  I just felt as though I should do a blog post, even if it is incomplete, inconsistent and incoherent.....


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Needs vs. Wants

I have the good fortune of working at a locally owned coffee shop in my hometown.  I've been employed by them for the past 3 years and have enjoyed it and continue to enjoy it immensely.

I know that I've noticed the following situation before, but never really had an outlet (outside of my private journal) to talk about it.  Here we go:

A customer walks into the coffee shop (I know, sounds like a bad joke already, doesn't it) and sidles up to the register.

Me or another staff member: "Hey, how's it going?"
Customer: "Good"
(occasionally the conversation will go on a little bit longer where we may mention what has happened in our day)
Me or another staff member: "Awesome.  What can I get for you?"
Customer: "Well....I NEED a(n) (insert drink name here)."

This is where I lie in discontent.  Does any customer really need a 16 oz-extra shot-sugar free-skim-vanilla latte?  Are they in such a state as that they will cease to exist without said latte?  From my observations, they do not need this substance, but they in fact want it.  The difference between needs and wants.

Now don't get me wrong, I've done it too.  After a long day at work or school or whatever I'm prone to saying "Ugh, I need a good beer."  I am fully aware of the fact that I do not need a good beer, merely that I desire it.

I'm calling myself out, too.

However, it's easy enough for me to say to myself:

"No, miss lady, you do not need a beer, but merely want it because you find the process of drinking a beer, which is often accompanied by great conversation, exceptionally relaxing.  People who actually need things are the starving children of the world, which sounds completely cliche, but it happens to be an unfortunate truth.  There are starving children, and they do need food."

I don't know how many of you frequent coffee shops, but at the one I work at, we tend to have a clientele that would not take kindly to being corrected.  And, I just so happen to enjoy my job enough that I don't want to lose it because I was trying to redirect the misguided use of the English Language.  After all, if the word need comes to symbolize merely a "want".  What word are we going to use to fulfill the meaning of the word "need"?

But perhaps it is upon my shoulders (and now yours, for reading this and realizing it) to correct these individuals.

Anyway, rather than ranting and being redundant, I will leave the conversation at that.


Things I've read that you should read: "The Fault In Our Stars" - John Green
Things that I've heard that you should hear: Hundred Waters (it's a group)
Things I've eaten that you should eat: Spinach and Cheese Quinoa
Things I've drank that you should drink: Delirium Nocturnum

Friday, June 8, 2012

Kurt Vonnegut on the Arts

I love this video of Kurt Vonnegut. Scoot yourself ahead to about 6 minutes.

Anyone who participates in any sort of art...should completely watch this.  It's only about 2 minutes long (well, the discussion of art from minutes 6-8)...the entire video is about one hour.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

What A Night

Last evening I had the distinct pleasure of going down to my trombone professor's house and surprising him with a gift and a visit from two other section members.

I thought it would only be a one hour thing and that Vance would have a lesson at 7pm after my supposed lesson.  But it wasn't and he didn't.

I think Jason and I left around 11pm?

So what do you do, in small town Midwest, until 11pm?  You sit and hear awesome stories.  You get a tour of Vance's farm and hear about its history.  You eat pizza with friends.  You, in essence, have a really good time.

Throughout college, I had an "okay" time.  I didn't hate it, but it wasn't like "oh-my-gosh-these-are-the-best-years-of-my-life-let's-do-college-foreverrrrrrrrrrrr".  And, to be honest, I'm completely okay with that.    There were a few things that I particularly enjoyed.

These girls:

These folks:

Which were part of this ensemble:

And yes, of course there were other things that I really liked about college (I really enjoyed being in all of the ensembles), but there were a lot of things that I thought were problems that should be fixed.  A lot of politics.  And, mannnnnn, politics just aren't cool.  Especially when they influence your education and the quality of your education.

I mean, hey, it's my thousands of dollars and my time spent doing homework. I want the best damn education I can get..especially since I'm paying for it.

But I digress.
Last night was a lot of fun. I hope to do something similar to it again sometime this summer.


Thursday, May 31, 2012


Today was a good day.

And not like an "Ice Cube" kind of good day,
but just a good day.

Work went well.  I baked a ton of things* which is always an absolute joy.  I talked with some co-workers  I haven't been able to talk with in a while.  (It's a sad truth, how one can sometimes make their best contacts shortly before they have to leave).

From work, I went home and walked puppybutt/Koda.
From there we went to see Grandma and her pups.

I always enjoy seeing my Grandma, it's such a pleasant and relaxing experience.

Then I went to Nathan's parents' house to pick up the key (I'm letting the dog out on Saturday and Sunday).  I also always enjoy talking with Nathan's Mom.

She's undeniably one of the most genuinely kind ladies I've had the fortune of meeting.

Dropped Koda back off at the apartment and went home for dinner (and application printing!).

More than anything, I enjoy sitting with my parents.  We don't even necessarily have to be engaged in a conversation.  It's one of those situations where just sitting somewhere and knowing that you're wanted there and loved, that means a lot.  The apartment can get a little lonely at times, but knowing that I have a family that will take me at any point, that means a lot.

Even if Twerp** wasn't there to harass me.

It was a day of acceptance and I am so thankful for everyone.

My apologies for the super corny post.  Sometimes it's just nice to write about the things that you're thankful for, rather than the things you're feeling critical of.

Oh, and Koda-update.

He's much better.
Koda plopped himself in this chair, the one Nathan used to sit in before he left, a mere 12 hours after Nathan took off.  It's now Koda's "go to" spot.

Oh, and Nathan and Andrea picture....for the sake of being cheesy:

And finally, a good post should end with a hint of Buddha.

Peace out!

*Blueberry Crumble Bars, Lemon-Almond Biscotti dipped in chocolate, hazelnut syrup, and homemade peanut butter cups/tortes.
** AKA Little Brother

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Large Spaces

It's funny how you can take one thing out of a room, and instantly it feels larger...more empty...and more lonely.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Photos of a Graduation

Well, commencement has come and gone.  I don't have a whole lot to say yet, as not much has happened outside of the ceremonies.  So, I'll let my photos speak for themselves:

These two are perhaps the best folks a person could meet up with if one was having a bad day.  While we jokingly call each other "not so kind" names......these two girls are awesome.

We are the senior trombones.  I was blessed when I get to play next to these three.  They're all excellent musicians and individuals in their own ways.  We have easily spent into the hundreds of hours together at rehearsals and traveling.  It's hard not to enjoy someone after that much time together.

This is the CIVITAS class of 2012.  Civitas is the honors program.  We're the second class to graduate from it. 

Ah, mah friends.  These two girls were the first ones to befriend me at Augustana and we've kept in touch ever since.  On the left you can see how we were 3 years ago compared to the girls we are now on the right.  Okay, to be honest, we're still giant goof-balls, the gowns and mortarboards just make us look exceptionally intelligent.

Oh Augustana, it's been fun (sometimes).  I will always have both fond and fearsome memories of you.  But the greatest things are the opportunities that are presented to me now, as a graduate.  So of course I'll remember the past and everything I learned....but I look so forward to the future.

Until then...

(I apologize for the not very interesting entry....I'll make it up by having some awesome links at the bottom from now on)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

I'm a Teacher! (Almost)

My undergraduate career is finally coming to a close. Well, almost finally coming to a close.  I have one honour's project left to do this summer and then I will be officially done.  The trickiest part of all of this is that I yet have a job.  However, from my understanding, teaching hiring goes all the way into summer and right up to the next no worries?

Okay, small worries. But nothing to get upset about.

Yesterday, I was talking with Mitch at Queen City Bakery  about a few of the states that I have applied to work in.  While he definitely is staunch in his opinion on some states, and while I might not completely agree with all of his opinions, he did give me an incredible kernel of wisdom,

"You don't know how good your first job is going to be;  how much you're going to enjoy it.  The best thing you can do is make sure that you're in an area that you love living in when you're not working."

While it saddens me to think that I may not find the "job of my dreams" on the first go-around, he made a good point.  I've lived in the Upper Midwest my entire life.  It's beautiful here. The people are kind and hard-working (most of the time).  But it is time for me to approach life from a new angle, and why not start right away?  Thus, I have applications ranging from Oregon to Maine...but the main operative is to land in an area that is slightly mountainous (to very mountainous) with a lot of outdoor opportunities as well.

So, that's currently on the radar.

Also, after wanting a dog for approximately 10+ years, I finally have the time and location to have one.  With the coming of graduation I have moved into the upper level of a house.
Thus, meet Koda.

I adopted him from the Humane Society.  He is part Weimaraner, part Australian Shepherd.

He had a ridiculously rough start, thus has been sleeping a lot.   With the help of a great veterinarian friend, he is on the fast-track to getting better though.  We hope that, within a week, we will be able to do walks and other exciting outdoor activities with him.

Alas, it is time for me to go explore the world of cleaning out the dormitory.  I hope to do regular updates (perhaps every Thursday and Monday) incorporating daily life, coffee, recipes, and arranging/composing works in progress.


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Snow Days

Even as a student teacher or a teacher,
Waiting for snow days is one of the most gut wrenching experiences.

Mostly because you want them just as badly as the kiddos.