Well, we made it everyone! Yay! Year two of the March SOL Challenge is under my belt and I celebrated by going to the Jelly Belly Factory (that's my story and I'm stickin' to it). A little backstsory would help- my sister is expecting and is on bed rest so we are all taking turns getting her other kiddos out of the house for a while. My Dad came up with the idea of taking my niece up to Wisconsin to get some Jelly Belly's because she is obsessed with black licorice jelly beans. I just can't get over the fact that a 5 year old bypassed the bubble gum and cotton candy flavors for....black licorice. We took a factory tour (where you have to wear a paper hat) that rides around the factory on a trolly (it's some Willy Wonka level stuff) and then it drops you off right at the store. Personally, I cheaped out and bought their "belly flops" which are the jelly beans that didn't pass visual inspection but taste just as good. My niece, however, went right for the rainbow colored tubes of jelly beans. Every time she liked a flavor, I would pick her up and hold her as she put her bag under the tube and pulled the lever to make jelly beans drop into her bag. She was utterly fascinated by the concept! On the way home we stopped at the Mars Cheese Castle where the employees were so impressed with the fact that she liked the fancy cheese samples that they kept bringing different cheeses out for her to try. Her favorite was the goat cheese curds. She walked in the door and said "Mommy, Mommy! I got bwack licrich and goat cures." This kid, I tell ya!
This is a simple shout-out post. I am in love with cupcakes. They are like little works of art that you get to eat. But lately, I have been coming around to donuts again. There seems to be an eternal debate in the culinary world on cupcakes vs. donuts. Donuts are the good ol' standby but the 2010's have undoubtedly been the decade of the cupcake. The sheer amount of cupcake stores is getting out of control around here. For a while, the cronut was a thing- a cross between a donut and a croissant. People were paying like 50 bucks just for one of them and standing in line for hours outside of bakeries at dawn. But I don't really care about cronuts, possibly because I've never had one. Today though, I think I found the perfect aesthetic blend of cupcake and donut. Ladies and gentleman, may I present to you... the red velvet donut with cream cheese frosting!
Today was a nothing day. A lay on the couch with your Kindle curled in an afghan day. Just a dreary, it's so dark out you need the lamps on at noon kind of day. Where you pull the back the drapes and peer outside only to say "not today." And a mug of tea warms your hands while you guilty pleasure read Charlaine Harris, the page turned down from where you left off the last nothing day. And later, you drift off into a Netflix-induced coma while everyone else goes about their workday. All in all, it was a good day.
I found out that they are bringing back the show Trading Spaces, which is exactly what I needed to hear today. This news is giving me life right now! Trading Spaces practically gave birth to the DIY reality genre (if you don't count This Old House, which my Dad used to watch on weekends and it would just put me right to sleep). Growing up, I would watch Trading Spaces with my sisters and my Mom. TLC would air marathons on the weekends and we'd watch several episodes back to back. The disasters were always just as entertaining, if not more so, than the successful redesigns. I will never forget the time that Hildi glued hay to every wall of a living room and the owners cried. I would have cried too, honestly, but I must be a horrible person because I thought it was just spectacular in it's horribleness. Another time they put all cardboard furniture in the room. CARDBOARD!!! Good Lord, I cannot wait for this show to air again!
You've got to check out these other disasters!
Today, I bought a new smoke detector.
Last week I changed the battery and thought that was that. It was not. Around 2 A.M. I was awoken by the same shrill, intermittent chirp, chirp. Not nearly awake enough for climbing on a step stool (but doing so anyway) I tried an all new battery again, the box of them still sitting on my dresser, never having been put away. I'd just wanted to restore some peace and quiet!
With my lips turned under into a thin line of annoyance, I finally just disconnected the thing from the wall all together. This morning, I googled the exact make and model to see what was going on. My assumption was that the detector itself probably needed to be replaced, when all of the sudden I came across this:
"If the smoke detector is beeping irregularly, with no discernible pattern, it’s probably not the battery. It could be—brace yourself—that a spider has made itself cozy inside the alarm. Screw up your courage, take the cover off the device, and then use a can of compressed air to blow out any cobwebs that’ve gathered there."
Nope. Nopeity nope nope nope. Not happening. I will burn this mother to the ground myself before I do that.
Today, I bought a new smoke detector.
My spring break is not starting off so great, you guys:( The Z-pack my doctor gave me for this sinus infection is just not working and now I'm sicker than when I went to the doctor the first time. I have been sick for at least three weeks now, my throat is on fire and I have that yucky sweaty feverish feeling. I'm absolutely convinced the Z-pack is for chumps. Gimme the good stuff, doc! I also dropped my phone at church today and shattered the screen. I really tried not to get upset because, hey, stuff happens, but I'm sick and sick of being sick and I only made it about three steps into the house before bawling. Honestly, it's not that big of a deal, it was just the straw that broke the camel's back. My Mom gave me hug and refused to let me apologize for crying. She texted me later when I got back to my house and said I could always come to her and my Dad, which I kind of laughed at because I was being utterly ridiculous and my Mom is over here being so adorably sincere. Then I cried all over again just because of what she said. I think I have a few more good cries in me today, in case anyone wants to send me some pet rescue videos or something. Seriously though, Mom's are the best. Even in your thirties, you still need your Mom. Mom's always know how to make it better.
This school year has gone by fast. I've been teaching for twelve years and this is the first year where I've felt like it flew by. It hasn't been the easiest year of the twelve by any means, merely the quickest. I think it's because of how busy it's been. Time flies when you have none! I wonder if this is just a new stage in my life; the part where in the blink of an eye life passes you by and you don't know where it all went. Time is weird in this way; how we wax poetic on the passing of it but also measure it rigorously.
I read an article last year that said time is the most commonly used noun in the English language. *It makes sense. Time is a science. 24/7/365. In modern life we apply it to schedules and calendar apps and holidays and birthdays. As a music teacher I recognize life has a rhythm that we are all obliged to follow. But time is also a construct. St. Augustine said that time is merely a perception. A perception of our past, which are memories. A perception of our future, which are expectations. And a perception of the present. He says that the past "is not" and the future "is not" so the only tangible thing is the present, the now.
Maybe then, time is both objective and subjective, a dichotomy of sorts. I wonder if the many slices I've read about kids growing up too fast and wishing time would slow down are all just part of the human condition. Maybe the ebbs and flows of time that we feel are a reminder to remain in the present just like St. Augustine says, because it's all we really have.
*Ahead of her time.
Behind the times.
Race against time.
In the nick of time.
Time of your life.
Hell of a time.
Bide your time.
Time on your hands.
All in good time.
Only a matter of time.
Only time will tell.
The test of time.
The big time.
Time is of the essence.
Time heals all wounds.
Third time's the charm.
I'm sure there's more. Can you think of any?
Everyone around here has been talking about their amazing upcoming spring break plans. I have been regaled with the details of planned vacations all over North America with flights to catch and bags to pack. When the conversation turns to me, I respond with the same glee, although the plans are different. "I am going to get my eyes checked and order new glasses and contacts!" I shriek with utter delight and a fist punch towards the ceiling. The bemused responses don't faze me, because you see, I ran out of contacts and managed to break my glasses shortly there after- figures. I should have made an appointment before I ran out of contacts. I should have made an appointment when I fell asleep with my glasses on and then proceeded to toss and turn all over them during the night. I should have done a lot of things. But alas, I did not do those things. What I did do was tape them up and wear them to work... for weeks. If you're judging me, please know that I am right there with you. My self care in this regard has been frighteningly low. I just haven't had the time and apparently wearing broken glasses in public isn't the rock bottom I thought it would be. It should be, but there in lies the problem. So this spring break I am going to tidy up, do laundry (and actually put it away, if you can believe it) and generally speaking, get my poop together! And all that starts with stocking back up on contacts and a ordering a couple pairs of eyeglasses. You might be somewhere this week on a pool-side lounger soaking up the sun, but don't cry for me. Who has two thumbs and a hot date with the optometrist? This girl!
Last year during the SOL March writing challenge my Grandpa passed away. One of the things I wrote about was how I spent the day I heard about his death in a blind panic looking for several sets of stamps he had given me. At first, I didn't want to open the envelopes because I really struggled with disrupting them. Over the course of several months more and more packets of stamps would appear. My Mom would find a set in her hutch with my name on it or I would find another set in my kitchen drawer with some bills. I joked with my family that there was no possible way my Grandpa had given me all these sets and that he must still be collecting and sending stamps to me somehow.
As he would pass on a little packet of stamps here and there, I would say to myself that I would frame them all someday. Someday was apparently an overly warm day afternoon this past fall. I picked up some nice matted frames from Target that I found on clearance. They had to be on sale, as my Grandpa would expect nothing less. I don't think the man bought anything that was full price in his life. I started by laying out the stamps on top of the glass just so I could get an idea of how many frames I would need. I settled on three. I left the project out for several days as I was working on it.
One day I came home from work and found the stamps shoved up to the top of the frames. I kind of panicked. At first I thought someone had come in the house via the sliding glass doors across from the kitchen table and the breeze had blown the stamps around. That would make perfect sense except I live by myself. I even tip-toed around and did the proverbial "Is anybody here?" bit. I texted my family and asked if any of them had stopped by while I was at work. I looked around for open windows, ceiling fans left on. I even picked up my cat and looked deeply into his eyes to assess his involvement in the matter (he says he didn't do it).
Logically, I know there is a rational explanation. But it won't stop me from smiling and saying "Message received, Grandpa. Shall we try alphabetical by country of origin, instead?"
Here are some universal teacher experiences told via the Bitmoji app! Can you think of any others? I can, but they should probably stay in my head:)
Reese: Elementary Music Teacher in Chicagoland. Clarinetist and Trumpeter.
I'm writing a Slice of Life every day for the month of March as part of the Slice of Life Challenge. See more at TWO WRITING TEACHERS.
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