DIY

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It’s been a number of years since I’ve spent time in the DIY laundromat to do this household chore. Our Bosch has decided to do it’s own thing so I Google-mapped the nearest laundromat. It was just a short bus ride away, so I threw the sweaty mound clothes in the Ikea bag and off I went to the DIY.

If you’ve never had the privilege of participating in this life-lessons event, try it out some time. Maybe try it in your hometown, and then in some places you travel to.

Pourquoi, you ask?

I say, pourquoi not?

There are a number of things I thought about during this an hour and a half excursion:

There is comfort in washing clothes; in the smell of the laundry detergent that fills the air in every laundromat.

You learn to read and follow instructions. Hopefully it’s before you go buy the potentially unneeded detergent.

The signs that are so easy to follow that almost anyone could clean their clothes independently.

You will learn that the dryer “averagely takes about 30 minutes to dry” (I do love finding those intricate English misnomers).

You will use some time management skills and see how much you can actually do in that 30 minutes while the dryer is averagely drying your clothes.

The laudromat is a wonderful place to observe others, and reflect on life.

I value these mini-life lessons. They are in everything we do. We just tend to overlook them.

Paper Straws

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A few mornings ago, I figured I would try the new little cafe near our apartment since we are moving neighborhoods in a couple of weeks. Looked cute, had a menu I could work with, and of course, Wifi available.

Found myself a spot, got settled and got working. I’d eaten some food, but needed a little something else so I checked back to the menu for another something to order. I picked out an avo, banana, honey and whatever else smoothie for my late morning snack.

Now.

For smoothies, a straw is usually a necessary tool to have around to have a fairly clean drinking experience, so obviously mine arrived with one. A straw of the eco-friendly variety.

Cool. Good.

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But it was a paper eco-straw. In a smoothie. Iced coffee – no problem, paper-straw me. But not for a smoothie. While the drink was everything I wanted it to be, the texture of the paper eco-straw turned me off a bit when in fact, I thought maybe the avo would throw me off. Yeah, yeah. First world problems.

But you know what? It’s feedback and story worth knowing. I survived that soggy straw experience and you can too. I probably should have just removed the straw and let the smoothie make a little mess as I drank it, or¬†I could have brought my own eco-straw since I now have a variety of them. At home. Don’t forget yours. ūüėČ

FlexiWorkLife: Not What You Think It Is

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FlexiWorkLife is not what you think it is.

It looks pretty on the outside, but inside it’s a contorted and complicated. It’s twisted and needs organizing. It’s way harder than one would think it might be.

This is mid year two of me choosing not to teach full-time to work on passion projects and develop other skills – things you have no time or energy to do when you teach full-time. I didn’t think the transition to FlexiWorkLife would be an easy one, don’t get me wrong. I adore routine and schedules and knowing what’s happening at all times. I was stepping into this abyss of so many unknowns and that was going to take some major adjusting. The choice to make a change was a tough one to make, but I knew it was the time to do it.

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Here’s what I’ve learned in the last year and a half. There’s a lot more than what I’ll list, but I’ll give you the things that stand out to me the most:

  1. Working from home is not easy. It requires motivation, dedication, focus, focus, focus, planning, scheduling and mandatory breaking times.
  2. I valued and needed routine more than I realized. I missed it just a few weeks into this change.
  3. Questioning my decision would be a normal event.
  4. It wasn’t a surprise that I would need to adjust my working routines often. I just didn’t realize how often that would need to be.
  5. Variation in working location is more important than I realized. When you teach, you are forced to use the spaces you have and now I was facing this open pit of choice in working spaces. This was tough. Some places I tried: co-working spaces, every cafe and coffeeshop in the neighborhood, the condo pool.
  6. Feeling lost in life would also be a normal event.
  7. Feeling extremely emotional would be a normal event.
  8. Realizing that many other people were in the same boat was comforting. Extremely comforting.
  9. Having a network of go-to people would become central to my life.
  10. It does get easier over time, in a way. But there will always be days that are way harder than others.
  11. Time is way more valuable than I realized and it’s one of the most important parts of learning to live an efficient and effective FlexiWorkLife.
  12. Opportunity is literally everywhere. Like every kind of opportunity you can think of. And if there isn’t an opportunity that you want, you can make it! It just takes time and focus.
  13. It’s possible to learn things you didn’t think you wanted to learn, but then discover how important those things are for understanding a greater scope of other things (a bit meta, I know).

That’s a longer list than I anticipated writing, and there is more I could write. But I’d like to hear from you!

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It’s Our Tradition, She Said

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One of my long time BFFs, Jill, and I have always talked books, recommended them to each other and shared them.¬†The few years¬†we were roomies, we had shelves overflowing with books. Shelves that were doubled with books. And that didn’t stop us from making frequent trips to the book store either. We always looked forward to our journeys to¬†Chapters, to look through the book shelves, usually leaving with more books to add to our home library.

Even when we moved apart from each other, we still made our Chapters trips every once in a while. And a few years after that, after I moved to New York, we both kept up our own book store trips. My solitary trips to Barnes & Noble were never the same, but still filled me with some sense of ease and homeyness.

So as our years of book sharing evolved, Jill and I discovered an author we both loved. Somehow the book¬†Barefoot¬†was picked up and read during one of my trips to B & N, and when I shared the book with Jill she said she had read it too.¬†From then we started reading¬†Elin Hilderbrand‘s beach reads quite incessantly. We read them for the tangled stories of relationships and the descriptions of the beautiful setting on¬†Nantucket.¬†To say the least, now we both anticipate the release of her June summer books for one of our first summer reads. And the last couple of years, we also anticipate the¬†release of the winter series for a cozy cold season read together.

Since the new book¬†Here’s To Us¬†came out a couple of weeks ago, we checked to make sure the other purchased it before starting to read. We were both in the midst of other books, so we both needed a few days before getting into the new book. Jill mentioned that reading it simultaneously was our tradition – and it’s definitely true! Something that’s “our thing”, that we stick to a couple of times a year, even when our lives are filled with other things. So now here we are, literally on opposite sides of the planet, still reading books together, over coffee or on the couch or wherever, because it’s our tradition.

I think maybe we can partially thank Elin for our tradition, but mostly we can thank ourselves for staying connected, even when our lives keep moving along and changing.

And one day, Jill and I will make a trip out to Nantucket together to explore all those places we’ve read about in the books!

Elin

I’ve Been Brainwashed

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I have a good friend whose friend says that New York has a way of making you think you can’t live without it. Well¬†that’s definitely¬†true.

New York has brainwashed me. It’s been brainwashing me for the last nine years to think I can’t live¬†without it: its hidden treasures,¬†beauty and all it has to offer.¬†The food and restaurants, the parks, the uniqueness of many places around the city. The running around Central Park and the relaxing to write blog posts in Bryant Park. Walking down a couple of blocks and having the option to eat any kind of food I want at practically any hour. How can I leave it?

Well, I can.

Yes I will miss it, but I will be okay without it. A new adventure awaits in another time zone and place, and I’m excited.

Friend Therapy

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The last two weekends have been full of friend time, and the next three weekends will be about the same.

Spending time with friends both at home and away from home is so much fun. Friend time has so many benefits, like therapy. Some benefits very obvious, some maybe not as obvious…¬†however¬†all positive when you’re friends with the right people!

Friend time allows for…

… talking/catching up on what’s going on in our lives

… bouncing ideas off of each other

… eating at great restaurants we may not normally eat at

… sharing opinions about society’s big problems

… planning trips together

… collaborating about world domination

… dreaming¬†about a more peaceful and productive society

… talking about great books we’ve read and recommending the ones we love to each other

… laughing at funny things we’ve said, done or plan to do

… crying about anything without judgement

… challenging each other to be the best version of ourselves

… nonsense

… just time together in the same space

… self-reflection of ourselves as friends, and the kind of friend we want to be…

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Restored Belief

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Let’s face it, the world is a huge mess right now: backlash against the police, non-peaceful protesting, shootings, hostage situations, and on… Luckily for me, I feel like spending time in Singapore has restored my belief in kindness and humanity.

Having time away from NYC and being able to spend time getting to know some new communities reminded me that there are places that can be peaceful, even in a large urban center.

My belief in the kindness of people has been stored…

How refreshing for a government agent to understand your circumstance and try to make things a little easier for you by giving you a few extra minutes at the counter to get your things together.

How lovely that people can just wait patiently in comfy chairs for their numbers to pop up on the screen at the post and government offices.

How peacefulness watching traffic flow without the constant blowing of horns.

How novel having a cashier that actually smiles and greets you because she enjoys her job.

How deliberate people are to leave the particular seats open on the train for people who really need them.

How calm a crowd can be, ensuring that everyone is enjoying themselves.

Of course I’m not saying there is no kindness in New York; it just seems few and far between when you go to a place where it’s so prevalent. Now that I’m back in the city, I’ll look be looking more diligently for that kindness. I want to keep my restored belief in people. But when I feel that belief diminishing, I will be the kindness and humanity, in the hopes that it will restore other’s belief in it too.

 

Year of Change

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As 2014 wraps up, I think about how fast time has gone. Was it really a year ago that I had the crazy busy Christmas break? A trip to Edmonton to see my family, a wedding in North Carolina and then to Phoenix to be with Brett and the kids? Yes, it sure was.

The beginning of 2014 proved to be somewhat mechanical with Brett and I continuing to work in the same jobs we had for a few previous years. But then May came, Brett got an offer for a new job and the changes started rolling!

By June I found out I was accepted into ASCD’s Emerging Leaders program. Brett started a new job AND I was also accepted into the 2014 and 2015 NYC marathons on the same day.

In July I became somewhat of an anxious mess, but eased into my marathon training. Spent some time in San Diego with Alaa and Monica, then went to DC to participate in my first ASCD L2L event.

In August my training increased and I began mentally preparing for Brett to go to Singapore for the month of September. I also started a new job. No more teaching at the same school I had been for the previous eight years. Emotions and anxiety running high!

In September Brett was away and I started my new position. Many new routines and anxiety not improving! Pretty intense marathon training. A lot of newness this month!

In October Brett returned from Singapore but only for what seemed like a hot second because he had to be in Austin for a couple of weeks. Good thing was I was able to go to Austin for the long weekend to hang out with him. Marathon training became somewhat derailed for a week in particular due to two migraines! No bueno. But the good news was, by the end of the month, the anxiety began waning as the training tapered.

In November Brett made the move to Singapore – on my marathon weekend. Thankfully I had Alaa and Brooke with me over those transition days to soften the blow. Days at the new job were not ideal but at least I didn’t have the same stress of teaching. A break from running was okay for a couple of weeks, but then I ready to get back at it by mid-month.

And somehow December rolled in, becoming the second month of Brett being away. The job improves sightly but it’s still not necessarily what I signed up for… Going to Singapore for three weeks over the holidays was what I had been waiting for – despite the snafus with managers about the days off and the derailed departure because of a passport that would have expired in four months.

Now that I’m here, I feel like I have a clearer picture of what I need to do in the beginning of 2015. The first three months will be extremely busy with travel and fun friend/NY stuff. But it’s another year of change. Good change. Somewhat less dramatic, but also somewhat more.

Stay tuned and thanks for reading this year.

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My One And Only

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I guess I could try and describe November 2nd, 2014 to you – the day I ran the TCS NYC marathon. My first marathon, and my only.

I could go through the play-by-play of the morning getting to the start and describe the emotions running through me as I ran through this great city. But telling you wouldn’t really do the experience justice. You would have had to have been there, experience it, and bask in the enormity of this life-changing event.

Training for and running this marathon taught me a lot about myself and what I can do, including how to deal with struggles along the way.

I remember telling someone in a little over a year ago that I would never run a marathon. That running a marathon was crazy. But today, I can say I have done it. I know it’s cliche to say – but never say never. You’d be surprised what you can do, and the incredible sense of accomplishment that comes with it, especially when you think you can’t. And taking so many people on the ride with you is another accomplishment in itself.

Take a chance and do something you never thought you would, or could do. You will be amazed at the adventure it takes you on.

Total exhilaration at 26 miles, just 0.2 to go!

Total exhilaration at 26 miles, just 0.2 to go!

Looking back at the finish

Looking back at the finish

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The most precious medal I have earned.

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A sea of blue capes to stay warm at the end.

Three Sightings in a Week

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So I know I’ve been pretty quiet the last couple of weeks. In all honesty, I feel like I don’t have a lot to say, but I actually do. New job. Husband away in foreign country. Fall, my favorite season. Friends. Running.

But on my list of what people like¬†to hear – because they’re not usually an everyday occurrence … celeb sightings. I’ve had three sightings this week. All in very different places but all comedic people, funnily enough.

The first was last week during one of my numerous Central Park training runs. As I was in my last mile, I ran by this guy from a TV show who I recognized immediately. Curly haired, short, white dude. No idea what his name is, or what show he was on…

The second was on Monday, and it was so exciting! My colleague and I were leaving one of our school sites, walking and debriefing. In my mid-sentence, she says – “wait a minute”… and I look right beside her to see Jerry Seinfeld getting miked for an interview maybe, or maybe his show Comedians in Cars with Coffee since there was this gorgeous old Mercedes parked just to the right. So we keep walking and then I stopped and asked her like a 16-year old – “should I go and ask for picture?” Well, I answered my own question… I walked back to where the small group were standing and talking, and asked a big dude if I could snap a shot and he said it was fine. So I did! I should have asked him to say something to my Voxer group while I was at it.

Jerry on West 83rd Street

Jerry on West 83rd Street

My third sighting was today, on my way home from acupuncture in the Gramercy area. I was walking past a little playground and saw this woman on her phone, pacing by a stroller. I looked at her because I thought she looked familiar, then she looked at me because I was looking at her. She kept talking and I kept walking. It was¬†Rachel Dratch, who plays Debbie Downer on SNL. I contemplated taking her pic, but I didn’t want to be a creeper hahaha!

So I imagine that will be the end of my sighting for some time. Three in a week was a lot of work. ūüėČ

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