Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sunday Scenes.

When I'm overwhelmed, I procrastinate. When something is hard, when something is making my brain hurt, I procrastinate.

Welcome to my Sunday.

This is the scene I'm avoiding. Its pretty enough with the flowers, but lurking in that computer is a mountain of work that is turning my brain into scrambled eggs.

Speaking of which, I made pancakes for breakfast. Simply because the act of taking off my pajamas and putting on shoes was simply too much this morning. We're almost out of maple syrup so it's a good thing that syrup season is almost here. I'll be stocking up when we head to the local sugar shack next month.

I also noticed our icicle collection is coming along nicely. In my opinion, icicles are good because they mean that the temperatures rose enough to start the thawing process. On the other hand, its still cold enough to have icicles. But I think at this point we've seen the worst of winter.

Briefly, I considered cutting down my Valentine's hearts. Then I decided I loved their color and cheerfulness enough that I'd take more photos of them and leave them up for the remainder of February.

Let's be honest, I'll be doing well if I take them down by Thanksgiving.

Instead of dealing with a return and getting a refund on my new favorite (but broken) necklace, TC worked his superglue magic and fixed the loose pearl. Actually, he did this last night while we were at Carla's for raclette because she had superglue and we didn't.

'Hi! Thanks for having us. I brought wine and cheese! By the way, can I borrow your superglue?' 

Classy, no?

My last bit of procrastination involved finally popping in the magnets to these cute polaroid frames and trimming down my all time favorite instagram pic. Refrigerator happiness right when I walk in the back door!

Do you ever think it would be nice, for just like an hour or so, to trade lives with your dog? Don't get my wrong, no matter how scrambled my brain is, I would never want a dog's life - my life is way too much fun. But nonetheless, it might be nice to not even know what the word 'procrastinate' means or be able to differentiate between Sundays and Mondays.

Oh yeah, the baby dino finally hatched. After some googling, I've determined he's a parasaurolophus, which are plant eaters, giant weenies and the most vocal of the dinosaurs. Sounds like my kind of pet.

Murphy hopes you have a wonderful week!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Makes Me Happy.

This sweatshirt makes me soooo happy. The giant anchor. The loose and comfy American Apparel fit. It just begs to be warn with yoga pants. Come summer, its going to be perfect over my bathing suit when the sun starts to go down on the lake.

Also exciting, not only does Happy Family have this anchor design, they also have a T. Rex t-shirt that Sheldon has worn on three episodes of Big Bang Theory!

God bless Etsy.

I'm all about shopping from and supporting online boutiques. Shabby Apple creates their own line that is full of vintage inspired pieces. Everything is super cute with great colors and textures. I stumbled on this necklace and immediately sent TC the link. Ya know, just in case he ever needed a gift idea. He surprised me with it for Valentine's Day. My mom has a similar one in gold, which inspired my search, so this makes me feel just like her.

UPDATE: The necklace just broke after three wears. It no longer makes me happy, but the idea of TC buying it for me still does. (PS: Dear Shabby Apple,  please tell me you're going to pay for the return international shipping on your faulty product or I'll be forced to not like you anymore.)

We're all aware of my obsession with photography. My camera goes everywhere with me. Because of that, I like to keep things simple. I don't generally carry a camera bag or an extra lens. However, I constantly find myself wishing I had a mini tripod that could easily fit in my purse. I just needed something to take the occasional picture of TC and I - nothing too fancy. The problem is finding one that is strong enough to hold a big camera and big lens.

Again, TC to the rescue. He found a super strong Gorillapod to solve my problems. It comes in several sizes and this is the SLR-Zoom that holds up to six pounds. It bends at each ball joint so it's perfect for uneven surfaces, wrapping around a fence post or curling around a tree branch. Really, the best part of the bendy legs is how easy it is to point it up or down so I can get the perfect angel.

Also, Thor took it on a joy ride through the snow the other night when he mistook it for a new toy. It survived without so much as a scratch.

Now that, that makes me happy.

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Finish Line.

I've only run a handful of races in my life. Every time I do, I always am surprised by the volunteers. Who are these people that stand at the water stations for hours? Where do they come from? Why on Earth would they want to stand in the heat or rain or snow for hours just to hand me a cup of water that I'm going to throw on the ground?

Consider a marathon or half-marathon. The speedsters will come cruising by quickly, but then the volunteers still stand at their post for another hour or two until the snails like me come creeping by.

The longest race I have ever run was a 15k last spring. It was cold, it was hilly, it was windy, it was snowing. It was miserable. But it was going to be my first medal - and I was excited for it. I even knew just where I was going to hang it at home.

When I came across the finish line an older lady in a yellow jacket smiled and put her hands out to stop me. She grabbed the bottom piece off my bib, then put the hard-earned medal over my head and told me congratulations. It was a proud moment for me.

This past weekend I volunteered to work at the local Hypothermic Half Marathon. Lucky for me, my assignment was the finish line. The race organizers took the whole thing in stride, as if they'd done this a million time, which I'm sure they have. Similarly, the runners at the front of the pack also seemed very relaxed - like this was just another half marathon for them.

But if you walked to the back of the pack it was easy to see the first timers. The people who had been training for months. The people that were putting their heart, their soul, and all their hard work into this race. It was clear that this was a big moment for them.

I could totally relate. I trained for a half marathon last year but was side-lined at the last minute. I knew first hand how nerve racking and exciting this race must be for them.

It was a small race of less than three hundred people. As the first wave of runners crossed the finish line I stopped each one, congratulated them and ripped the bottom off their bib while someone else handed out the medals. As the minutes passed the snow was picking up and it was getting colder while the other volunteers and I waited for the later runners to come in. The crowd was thinning and the excitement at the finish line was obviously fading.

All I could think was how the people we were waiting for - those finishing with slower times - were the ones that were probably the most excited and therefore probably needed the biggest congratulations at the end. I made that my job. At the now desolate finish line, I became their own personal cheerleader as they crossed the finished line.

I can't tell you how good it felt to give them that big smile just like the lady in the yellow jacket gave me last year. I danced, I high-fived, I cheered, I even gave a few hugs right there in the middle of a blizzard at the finish line. It's funny how proud you can be of someone you don't even know.

If you are a runner, or even a part time runner, and you've never volunteered at a race then I highly recommend giving back to the racing world. As good as it feels to cross the finish line yourself, helping someone else do it feels pretty darn good too.

Just some food for thought.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A Fire in the Snow Fort.

If you want to come hang out with us in the great white north, than you're going to need to come prepared.

Last year the boys built an awesome snow fort around the fire pit in Serge's backyard.

This year we decided to do it again, but up the ante. This year the boys prepared the snow fort a few days in advance by bringing in the tractor. The design this year piled up tractor buckets of snow followed by a manual dig to create enough benches for at least a dozen friends.

After all their hard work, it was up to each of use to come prepared for the chilly evening. On the list of things to bring: work gloves for shoveling, a busted old cooler, and wine. Funny how all these items seem to go together when you're talking about hanging around a winter fire in a snow fort.

It also seemed completely natural to have a drink in one hand and a shovel in the other. I don't deal with shovels but they sure come in handy when you need to dig out a new seat or perhaps make yourself a shelf to house your beers.

You'll also want to be sure to wear your winter boots if you're coming to our snow fort. Most of us were sporting Sorels because they're the best. Luckily no one's melted in the fire, despite keeping our feet propped up on fire wood near the edge for the whole evening.

It was amazingly warm and cozy inside the fort. The walls were high enough to block the wind and the snow insulated the heat from the flames. When you're coming off -30 degree days all of the sudden a temperature above freezing is considered mild. But even if it is nice out, you'll still want to bundle up in a parka, hat and mitts. The more fur trim, the better in this country.

As much as he doesn't want to admit it, we were also celebrating Serge's birthday. We'll make a proper birthday cake later this week, but for the fire he settled for my homemade chocolate cupcakes topped with cream cheese chocolate icing. I like to serve birthday cupcakes in my finest tupperware because I'm classy like that.

If you're ever up in our area and want to see how real Canadians spend their Friday nights in the dead of winter, than come on by. My friends will put on their sunglasses, light you a fire and whip up a snow fort in no time. Just bring your own snow pants.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Dinosaurs for Valentine's Day.

I wore a light pink shirt and a dark pink scarf to work today. I wasn't even thinking about it. Towards the end of the day I mentioned to my students that I should have saved today's outfit for tomorrow.

knock, knock. anyone home? 

Not one of them made the connection that my pink ensemble should have been saved for Valentine's Day. Not one of them. They're teenagers, surely they're aware of the holiday, right?

I've never been one to decorate for Valentine's Day. Or wear pink and red, for that matter.

But the other day I had this sudden urge to string hearts around the kitchen. TC was off skiing and it just seemed like a cute thing to do.

It took me approximately three minutes and a ten seconds to cut out seven hearts, punch seven holes and tie seven pieces of yarn to the pot rack.

That's nothing if it's not love.

I also really went above and beyond for my favorite guy this week. Motivated by a message from a dear friend, I wrote out five notes for TC. Each note listed one of the top five reasons that he's my favorite. Briefly I considered being funny but ended up taking the cheesy-lovey-dovey route because deep down TC's a pretty sappy guy. Just don't tell him that I told you so.

I attached the notes to little treats and have been hiding them in his bag every morning. The treats are pretty extravagant - only the best stuff I could find at the grocery store. I'm that kindda gal.

The little treat today was the best of the week. I went all out and ventured to the dollar store for the sole purpose of tracking it down. I saw one the other day and have kind of been obsessing over it ever since.

What is it? A dinosaur egg. Obviously. After sitting in water for a day the egg begins to crack and over the next few days a baby dino hatches. First, he pokes his head out of the shell. Then he yells ROAR! Well, he doesn't actually roar, but he does keep growing until his egg completely cracks. He's super cute too.

Upon opening it, TC emailed me and said he can't wait to meet his new friend when it hatches. Then he said, and I quote, "I bet it will look just like you!"


See if I ever buy him a dinosaur again.


Makes me laugh every time.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 11, 2013

A Letter to Mother Nature.

Dear Mother Nature,

I understand that you're angry. You made it very clear the other day with that whole blizzard thing. But, really, more snow tonight? Is this necessary?

While dinner was on the stove tonight I took a second to get the coffee pot ready for tomorrow morning. I'm secretly hoping that it wasn't necessary because school will be canceled tomorrow. I know it's a long shot, but you really kind of screwed me over by having a blizzard on the weekend. If you're going to snow again tonight, it may as well be enough to keep the school buses off the road in the morning. 

I'm going to go ahead and guess that you don't really care, but I'm going to think snowy thoughts just in case. I'm also going to wear my pajamas inside out, because I hear that helps encourage the snow. Or am I supposed to wear them backwards? I can't remember. Maybe I'll wear them inside out and backwards just to be safe. 

Love, Me

I'm such a Southerner. I can't even remember the right way to wish for snow.

Send help.

Or a plane ticket to Florida.

The Blizzard.

Saturday morning I woke up to the sound of TC outside screaming at Maple to come back. Mother Nature was unleashing her fury in the form of a blizzard and the black dog decided this was an opportune time to take off down the street and dig in the neighbor's garbage. 

Twenty minutes later, at the miserably early hour of eight o'clock, a third beast came running into the house. It was Thor. Serge was dropping him off to hang out with me for the day so he and TC could take off to the ski slopes. 

Playing outside in a blizzard is not my idea of a good time so I volunteered to make myself pancakes, sit on the couch all day and hang out with the dogs. 

By the way, thank you Jodi Picoult for writing totally engrossing novels that I can't put down no matter how hard I try. 

Within five minutes of coming in, Thor decided to mark his territory and pee on the dog bed. 

Once I made the pancakes and Thor felt it his duty to lick all the dirty dished clean while they were still in the sink. I didn't witness it myself, but when I left the kitchen the dishes were neatly piled. When I came back, they were a mess.

About a month ago Thor turned Serge's guest bedroom into a scene that you only see in the movies. He created his own blizzard of down feathers after eating the comforter as a snack. Two weeks ago he ate Serge's leather couch for breakfast. Yesterday he ate TC's favorite hat for lunch. 

The storm was the worst I've ever lived through. The only comparison I can think of would be the hurricane when I lived down in Florida. The winds were unbelievable and the snowflakes were flying in psychotic circles, never seeming to touch the ground. Huge drifts were piling around the yard, but oddly the driveway remained clear. 

To take the dogs outside I had to bundle up in full winter gear. Snow pants, boots, gloves and my parka completely zipped up to my nose with my furry hood pulled tight.

It was horrible outside. Snow was whipping me in the face and my boots were sliding through the snow.

For the second time, Maple decided to take a trip down the street. I ran down the driveway after her only to find a huge drift of snow at the end. I know it was waist deep because I couldn't walk through it. As I watched Maple dig into the trash, I tried to climb over the drift. The snow kept giving way and eventually I ended up sliding face first down the pile until my lower half was completely buried. 

If anyone wants a dog, she's free to a good home.

The blizzard raged on all day, never letting up. There were points in the day where my neighbor's houses seemed to vanish. 

The tree branches were scraping against the windows but still the snow piled up the panes.

I was beginning to worry about TC and Serge driving in this weather. As far as I could tell, not a single car had driven down our street all day, and yet the two ski bunnies were all the way in Nova Scotia getting their adrenaline fix. 

Then a text came that said they were on their way back home. Even better, Serge was going to bring his tractor over once they were back. 

Have you ever seen a snow blower on a big tractor? It's magical. It effortlessly sucks up snow that is three feet deep and shoots it way up into the air, far far away.

As helpful as the tractor was, TC still had a lot of work to do this morning. Somewhere, we knew, there were three cars buried in the driveway.

And while I thanked my lucky stars that they were safe on the slopes and road yesterday, I was even more thankful that he didn't ask me to help clear the snow this morning.

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Rocking Chair.

I'm sure it is worse if you have children, but I don't, so I'm just going to go ahead and say this.

I am exhausted.

The irony is that my exhaustion is fueling my exhaustion. For example, this new "job" of student teaching is infinitely more work and more stress that any real job I have ever had. This is solely due to the fact that your "boss" is watching, observing and critiquing every single move you make. All day. Every day.

And while my "boss" is awesome and kind and knowledgeable, he's still my boss and the pressure is still on.

So, as it is, I come home from an eleven hour work day and I am terrified to sit down and do nothing. Because if I do, then I'll inevitable worry about how tomorrow is going to go. Or maybe I'll rehash the events of today and then beat myself up over all the things that I could have done. No, it's better to stay busy and find something else to think about.

So instead of sitting down and letting my mind wonder, I busy myself in the kitchen. Then when all the dishes have been cleaned within an inch of their life, I can't take the temptation of the couch anymore so I decide to head to the gym. At eight o'clock at night.

This is when I decide now is a good time to get back into running. On the treadmill I go...for an easy hour of painstaking cardio. I try and zone out to the beat of the music and get lost in Sheldon and Leonard's nonsense on TV but all I can think about is the lecture on the molecular structure of protein that I have to give tomorrow morning to a class of advanced biology students who are each more worried about their futures than all of my friend's worries combined. I cannot escape my mind. It's following me no matter where I go. I cannot hide from my worries.

Once my run is done I am now not only mentally exhausted but physically too. I am now so tired that when I walk out of the gym the cold, whipping wind hits me directly in the face and I momentarily forget to breathe. So I stand there, on the verge of collapse, and tell myself to BREATHE.

Because it is just a little wind. And it's just a little bit of biology. And it's just kids. These are all things that I can absolutely handle if I just remember to breathe.

I'm home now. I'm sitting on the couch with a glass of wine. Instead of worrying about tomorrow I'm choosing to write this blog post that is about absolutely nothing. Besides, someone once told me that worrying is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn't get you anywhere.

I'm not typically a worrier. Mainly, because I truly believe the rocking chair analogy. You can either control a situation or you can't. If you can, than do something about it. If you can't, than let it go. Either way, worrying isn't getting you anywhere.

So, I'm going back to my theme for the year. Confidence and kindness. I'll work hard and be confident in my abilities and also be kind to the people I see throughout the day.

Lucky for me, I have this fabulous new planner that mysteriously appeared in my mailbox. Some anonymous and fabulous person knows me very well and managed to find the perfect gift (thank you!).

What a perfect way to plan my days.

And on that note, I'm going to get some rest.

Happy Tuesday!

And might I suggest sending someone an anonymous gift? It's good for their soul. Yours too, probably.

So Far, So Good.

I'm currently taking a break from revamping what my sophomore science class will be tackling tomorrow. The topic is weather. My nemesis. Not only because I am certainly no meteorologist, but also because it has been snowing all day, is supposed to continue snowing throughout the night and it still won't be enough to cancel school tomorrow.


Teaching has highs and lows. There are days where you feel like you're on fire. The kids are listening, they're interested and you're rockin' it. Then there are days where you've somehow missed the mark.

Even though I ate my apple, Thursday was rough. I was nervous and a little bit overly excited. I talked at warp speed, cracked bad jokes and sweat profusely.

Friday was better. Much better. I trusted the kids to stay with me for the times that I took a second to catch my breath. I spoke at a normal pace and managed to not sweat through the back of my shirt.

Surprisingly, they didn't revolt. Or eat me alive. Nor did they fall asleep or play on their phones the entire time.

I'll take that as a small victory.

After losing sleep and worrying myself sick over my Thursday performance, I finally worked up the courage to ask my supervising teacher what he was thinking on Friday. "Was that okay?" I asked. "Are you going to fire me as a student teacher now?"

No, he told me. He laughed, rolled his eyes and said that I was doing great. Then, attempting to use his most serious tone, he ordered me to go home and enjoy my weekend.

So I did.


Note: Pikachu the Chinchilla is our classroom mascot that we're watching while his owner is away for a few months. He'd be cuter if he didn't poop so much.