Happiness is being an Aunt. It's all the best parts of having kids but you get to go home to your clean house at the end of the night. Just kidding, my house isn't clean! Both of my sisters are expecting their third child. For each of their pregnancies, they delivered within several weeks of each other. I seem to gain nieces and nephews only in pairs! I'm babysitting my nieces B. and L. tonight because their Mommy is both in her third trimester and on crutches with a broken foot. I'm on official "Aunt Duty" tonight! Here are just a few of the many reasons why being an Aunt of 4, soon to be 6, is so awesome!
1. I get to spoil them without suffering the consequences. Look, I can pretend I'm sorry I kept sneaking them cookies on Christmas, but we both know that's just not the case.
2. I get to buy, gift, and ultimately send them all home with obnoxious toys that make lots of noise and eat up batteries. How's that mini drum set with 160 programmed sounds working out for you?
3. I get to laugh at their tantrums. You have to admit that falling to the floor in despair because "the microwave ate her food" is pretty funny.
4. I get to share my wisdom and impeccable taste. Oh, she was singing the Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme in her car seat all the way home? I have NO IDEA where she heard that...
If either one of my sisters is reading this, I love you and I'm kidding. Mostly.
I am a Christmas tree in March.
A little baffling, a lot out of place.
A little remiss, a lot overdue.
A little jovial, a lot absurd.
A little neglected, a lot used to it.
I am a Christmas tree in March.
Inspo for today's post. My loft, 3/10/17. I keep staring at it thinking, "maybe today is the day I'll get my act together and put this away." In my defense, it's up three flights of stairs!
I was told today that the small bulletin board by my desk is "the most Robyn thing ever". I could pretend I don't know what that means, but I do. So I'd like to take you on a little walk through, if you will....
I mentioned this tv show called *Pitch on Facebook because I was hoping people would watch it so it doesn't get cancelled. I tried to sweeten the deal by pointing out that it stars Mark Paul Gosselaar, or as I call him, LumberZack Morris! Shortly after, pictures of him have been popping up in my classroom about once a week. On my SMART board, hidden in bins, or taped to the ceiling. We have a resident prankster at our school!
*If you're looking for a show with an amazing message for women, please check this show out on Hulu or OnDemand!
Lots of music teachers have these mini resin busts of classical composers, but since I can't seem to do anything simply, I invested in the action figures instead, of which I have several.
My classroom is an apolitical place, but for the first time in my career I feel as though I have students who are carrying the current climate on their shoulders. To be clear, this should not be a political statement and yet, here we are. The Hate Has No Home Here Project was started by the North Park neighborhood in Chicago and promotes just and inclusive communities by encouraging neighbors to declare their homes, schools, businesses, and places of worship to be safe places where everyone is welcome and valued. The phrase itself was designed by elementary students at Peterson Elementary School. This poster is in English, Urdu, Arabic, Korean, Hebrew and Spanish. You can get your free printable here.
Three teachers from my building, including myself, decided to sign up for grad school together. I cannot tell you how amazing it has been having that support right down the hall. I made one of these for each of us at the start. The students are heavily vested in the countdown too, which was totally unexpected!
A card from one of the ladies in our masters cohort trio! Did I mention that we are getting our degrees in Educational Technology? PS- does the outdated iPhone cable bother anyone else!?
You know how some people have what book they are reading as a part of their email signature? I absolutely want mine to say "Currently Reading How To Kazoo: The Complete Guide and Practitioner's Manual" just to see if anyone would notice. Unfortunately, I value gainful employment too much to do it.
This is my school portrait, taken shortly after the Cub's won the World Series. I have worked at my current school for 9 years and somehow have avoided the yearbook photo every year. Originally I was a traveling teacher and then... I just kind of avoided it. So this year the office staff, who happen to be White Sox fans, warned me I better get my butt to the gym for my photo or they would summon me over the building-wide PA system. I really, REALLY think this is what they had in mind. I made my friend Michelle literally hide behind me with the win flag. She's both in the photo and not in the photo at the same time. I just got a new building ID badge with the same picture on it that I am supremely proud of.
For when I need a reminder. You can print one here.
My friend keeps telling me that the grocery store is the best place to get a date. Which is exactly the kind of thing someone who isn't single would say. Attached people are chock full of this kind of "helpful" advice. But I'm calling it. The grocery store "meet-cute" is an urban myth. Except at Whole Foods. I totally believe this happens there all the time, to which I say...good. You people deserve each other.
Not for nothing, but expecting me to chat up random strangers in a grocery store is an exceptionally bad take. Allow me to state the obvious: unbalanced people buy groceries too. Being a human who requires sustenance isn't exactly a qualifier of any kind.
Has cart, will travel (aisles).
Besides, I'm not at the grocery store to get a date. I'm there for Totino's pizza rolls and tampons.
And kitty litter.
And diet cherry Coke.
Case in point: I went to the grocery store this weekend in sporty ankle socks and ballet flats. Let that sink in for a minute. What could any man expect from a woman in public unironically wearing a t-shirt that says I woke up like this? Because I did...wake up like that. I wore my big ol' nerdy glasses and had my hair in a messy bun (an actual messy bun, not one of those cute ones that count as a real hairstyle).
I don't even know what I would say to such a paragon of mankind.
"Food huh?....Yeah....I like food".
[said coyly] "Do you know where the organic Doritos are?" [twirls hair].
Ugh, I'm going to die alone.
If you need me, I'll be in the boxed wine section.
Someone made a joke to me about my ADHD and I've really been struggling with how to feel about it. It was a super off hand joke about how I probably wouldn't remember something on account of my ADHD. They thought it was funny - I thought it was an accusation. I chuckled in an obligatory way because I didn't know what else to do and because not laughing would have made things so very awkward. But even as it was happening I knew I did not feel good about it (if the gnashing of teeth didn't give me away). On one hand, well, I do have ADHD. This is one of my fundamental truths. I believe I have a good sense of humor about myself and that includes any struggles I have with my symptoms. I am an open person and it doesn't bother me to share this part of myself. Don't get me wrong, the struggle is real. It's just that being open about it is my way of saying that I won't be ashamed of it. Fortune 500 companies are helmed by a massively disproportionate amount of people with ADHD. We make up a significant portion of the twice exceptional population. Out in the world, my contemporaries are responsive, successful, productive members of society. GO US! What could I possibly have to be ashamed of? Not a darn thing. But don't get it twisted. I work hard. Like, into the ground hard, even for things that don't and shouldn't matter. I want the be the best at what I do. I am unflinchingly competitive. I wonder though, actually I know, that I'm being hypocritical. I mean, if I can have a sense of humor about what I deal with then I should be okay with someone responding in kind because after all, I am the one who opened that door. Is it even all that different from something I might say about myself in a moment of amused pique? Not really. I can't help but wonder if I've overshared this part of myself and now I can't walk it back. I've opened myself up to criticisms that I've only allowed myself to acknowledge.
So I just got home from work...at 10:30. I had to stay at school and finish some grad school work. I could have come home to do it, but it just would not have gotten done. I often stay late, but not usually this late. It gets legitimately eerie there at night. I can't see out the darkened windows and the custodians weave in and out of classrooms in a rehearsed pattern that only they seem to know. I distrust the location and origin of every noise. That's not to say I'm afraid, it's just such a dichotomy from the raucous daytime that it's jarring. Now I am rushing home to finish my slice for today. During lunch (when I should have been working on this) I was messing around trying to figure out if I could tell a story using nothing but Bitmojis. I think I am going to try it with a slice sometime this month. A day in the life, if you will. I think it could be really fun - for me - I don't presume to think this would entertain anyone other than myself. It's been a 15 hour day but I know I will spend the next hour thinking about how to pull this off.
I've totally taken for granted how easy it is to work hard when you are passionate about something. I won't pretend that compiling 36 pages of unit curriculum in backwards design is easy, or even fun in the traditional sense, but I manage to get down to work pretty easily. I think it's because I'm educated on the content, believe in the process, am vested in doing the work the right way to the benefit my students, and have strong opinions to guide me. It's easy to get to work when you clearly have something to say. Right now though, I have this huge project due for grad school and I just cannot seem to get into a groove. I think it's because this particular assignment is very dry (comparing specs on various laptops such as the RAM, GHz, etc.) or because I'm struggling to connect it meaningfully to my classroom and my students. Either way, I have a huge final paper due in a few hours and despite having spent forever on this, I am still frustrated and unfocused. I haven't been so unbelievably annoyed with myself in a long time. Get it together Girl!
Saturday nights are a mixed bag for me. During the work week I crave the sweet respite of my cozy living room. I imagine curling up in super cute PJ's with a home design magazine and some herbal tea and just living the life. But it never really works out that way. The super cute PJ's end up being an old t-shirt and the design magazine is a grad school textbook and the tea is almost always a diet Coke. And I'm okay with that, really. But sometimes, like tonight, that quiet haven I dragged myself through the week for starts to feel like the walls are moving in on me. I'd turn and tell someone but there isn't anyone there to tell. It's weird how we're not supposed to admit if we ever find ourselves lonely. I've stopped admitting it, even to myself. People look at you with a weird sort of pity if you say it out loud. Constantly having people around you is a kind of validation of the self, so being lonely can only be a fundamental failure of sorts. I am a fundamental failure of sorts is what my inner voice tells me. To be fair, I do have lots of people in my life. I have lots of friends and family, and I spend time with them all in spades. I am social and outgoing. I don't mind being alone but I hate being lonely. I swear, there is something different about the air on Saturday nights. It's heavy and unsustaining and seems to settle more on my shoulders than in my lungs. The whole thing makes me feel very small. But the stars seem small in the night sky too and they seem pretty okay with it, so I will try to be too.
Today I attended The 34th Annual DuPage County Institute for Music Educators.
The irony of The 34th Annual DuPage County Institute for Music Educators is that it not in DuPage County at all. It's in Kane County. Yeah, I don't get it either.
It also sounds a little like The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee which was an amazing Broadway musical, but not totally relevant to this discussion.
Maybe they should just rename it? I've gone for accuracy and clarity over brevity. Or maybe I just think really long titles sound official and *fancy*. Either way, I present to you...
I think I'm just bad at naming things.
In my defense, the host of this event is bad at using maps so we all have our things, okay?
Apropos of nothing, there were cows. Lots of cows. I stood in the parking lot of the event taking pictures for like 10 minutes as if I'd never seen a cow before.
Better cows than grizzly bears, amirite?
No coffee or tea
Is to be sipped by me.
For Diet Coke, my heart holds so dear.
I wish I employed
such else to fill the void,
But to my caffeinated regimen, I must adhere.
It started out fine,
but now I prefer it over wine.
It’s starting to become a concern.
For breakfast I drink
that sweet stuff and think,
"How does my stomach not churn?"
When my debit card got hacked
The nice bank lady had asked,
"What purchases did you make recently?"
For surely she supposed
I must have been hosed
As McDonald's I stopped at too frequently.
But you must understand!
Their Coke is not bland.
McDonald’s has got me on lock.
For every day goes
and my car always slows.
Their employees are never in shock.
For a mere $1.10,
A coke and some zen
Is how I pull into my school.
And if you decide
That this choice you deride,
Then you come and teach with no fuel!
I don’t want your coffee
Or "salted toffee schmoffee."
And as for Kombucha, you’re on your own.
Just give me my pop,
you judgmental sop.
When you call it soda, I groan.
So my choice has been made,
No matter how it’s portrayed.
I’m content to jump into the fray.
So say what you will.
It might make me ill,
But McDonald’s Diet Coke is my BAE.
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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