Tag Archives: personal


3 Mar
Photo credit: Danielle Walquist Lynch, via Flickr

Photo credit: Danielle Walquist Lynch, via Flickr

This morning, I woke up before the sun came up. I got dressed, put on my running shoes, and drove to Seattle Center. Then, I voluntarily ran 3.1 miles.

This is not something I ever thought I would do. Running seemed pointless. I didn’t understand why people would force themselves to do something so unpleasant. However, before I even finished the race, I found myself wondering when I would have a chance to do it again.

I ran with several of my friends from my teaching program, and since education is pretty much the only thing I think about at the moment, I very quickly began making connections between running and teaching, running and learning, running and the education system… You get the point

Learning: Many students think reading or math (or any other subject) is boring, pointless, and unpleasant. It may be painful at first. You may stumble. You may fall. But if you keep getting back up, and trying – you will get there.

Teaching: I was lucky enough to have awesome friends pushing me and keeping me going.I used iPhone apps and GPS trackers to motivate myself. As teachers, we have to either be those motivators, or find what works for our students. Sitting next to them giving encouragement, or finding a program that helps them learn – there are many paths to success, but all paths need support.

Education: Ten Thousand people showed up for this race. TEN THOUSAND. If ten thousand people can get up before 6am on a Sunday, park, gather, and run a carefully organized race course, then why can’t we make schools better? What can we learn from this?


The most important lesson I learned – don’t give up. When I started training, I couldn’t run a mile. Now, I can run 3. It feels great!

Thanks-Vember 30, The End

30 Nov

Today marks the last day of November, and I was pretty good about blogging every day! Even with all the crazy deadlines and assignments and family commitments and theatre work I’ve been doing, I only missed a couple of days.

But I missed yesterday. I wasn’t thankful for anything yesterday. I was not in a good place the last few days. And today I decided to make an appointment with a school counselor. Most colleges and universities offer counseling services to their students, and I don’t know why more people don’t take advantage of it. College is stressful – even when, like me, you’ve already completed four years of it and are now back at it. Actually, maybe that makes it more stressful – when I was in college the first time, I didn’t have to pay rent for the years I lived at home or in the dorms, and when I did move out my financial aid covered almost everything, I just had to work a few hours a week to pay for fun things like movies. I got stressed about tests, and stressed about relationships, but nothing seemed too overwhelming.

But now, it’s hard. I’m struggling to pay rent, struggling to keep up with my schoolwork, I’m struggling to maintain my relationships, and let me tell you – I’m sick and tired of being broke. After college, I worked minimum wage jobs (or less – two years in AmeriCorps) and pinched every penny. There was a point when I wouldn’t use the clothes dryer in my apartment building because it cost $1.00. Instead I hung my wet clothes all over my apartment. I’m not that poor anymore, but I have to pinch and save and I want to buy my family and friends holiday gifts and bake and I just don’t know how I can do it all, and pass all my classes, and write all these papers. So I made a choice. It was sort of hard for me to make the appointment, I almost walked out. But I had a friend there for support, and that definitely helped.

Two days ago, The Bloggess tweeted:

“There would be less people coming out with “brave secrets” if everyone would just be honest about having the exact same secrets.”

(PS – she’s hilarious but don’t click if you’re easily offended)

So, I’m sharing my “brave secret” with you, because it seems like the thing to do. I decided I needed to talk to someone about all the stress I’m feeling. Is it normal to feel this stressed? Maybe not, and maybe this will help.

On this last day of November, this last day of publicly giving thanks – I’m thankful that my university offers a support net. I’m thankful that my classmates are also there to support me. And I’m thankful for all of you who read my blog.

Also, because I have gotten a lot out of this blog, and because I was inspired by Gretchen Reubin’s The Happiness Project, I’ve decided to start a Gratitude blog. I’m not going to have a daily post requirement for myself, but I’ll post regularly about things I am grateful for. I hope you’ll check it out!

Thanks-Vember 27: Taking Risks

27 Nov

Two years ago, tonight, I invited a really great guy to go see a concert with me.

I was tired of waiting for things to happen, so I decided to give it a little push. (Well, maybe not little. Subtlety has never been my strong suit.) Lo and behold, he said yes, and he still likes me! We are celebrating our anniversary by working on our separate projects – he on a play and me on my piles of homework – but it’s still a special day.

So today I am thankful for taking risks. I took a risk asking out this man. I took a risk applying to this program. I try to take risks every day (small ones!). I think it’s working out for me so far!

It’s almost Thanksiving! (Giving Thanks, day 20 & 21)

21 Nov

Yesterday, I left my house at 7:50am and didn’t get home until 10:30pm. And I survived! I am thankful for that 🙂

Today I’m thankful for this 5-day weekend. I was going to get right into the homework swing, but I haven’t. And that’s ok, because I have four more days (well, 3 and a half because I plan on doing nothing but eating tomorrow afternoon). I am thankful for the awesome show I am working on, which has a preview on Friday night. I’m thankful for professors who take time to chat about stress and workload and who give good feedback – but most importantly make me feel heard.

I’m thankful for the fact that my awesome man-friend went to the store for me yesterday so I didn’t have to go today. I’m thankful for friends who are hosting a “Friendsgiving” tonight. I’m thankful for my awesome ridiculous, extended family – many of whom I’m not actually “related” to (by blood or by law), but who provide me with support and inspiration every day.

With that said, I’d like to ask you something. Can you try, in the frenzy of “The Holiday Season” that is rapidly approaching, to remember the things that are really important in your life? Can you tell your friends and family how much they mean to you, give the waitress a tip, and the bookstore employee a smile? Can you think about those who have less than you, those that have to work on Thanksgiving in order to pay rent, those who can’t afford gifts for their children? I’m not saying you have to drop everything and go work at a homeless shelter, but just remember to be kind, and thankful for what you have.

With that, a reminder from one of the most influential people of the 21st century:

Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.   – Oprah Winfrey

Thanks-Vember 7

7 Nov

I am thankful for my parents.

They are immensely supportive of me in all my crazy adventures. Most recently, they gave me and man-friend their old car, so we have two. This means, when he needs to go to work in South Seattle, and I need to go north, and we’re both sick and it’s raining, we don’t have to juggle schedules, take the bus, or ride a bike in the rain. We both try to avoid driving as much as possible, but sometimes, you just need a car. And now that worry is off our shoulders.

My parents taught me to care for others, to stand up for myself, and to focus on the important things in life. It’s not always easy to let criticism and anger slide off, but for the most part, other people’s opinions are not important. When I am angry at people, or hurt by someone’s judgement, I often ask myself – “What would Mom say? She’d probably tell me it’s not worth my time.”

My parents taught me the value of a dollar, and more importantly the value of a good friendship. They have friends from high school and earlier who they are still close to, and I hope I’m on my way to friendships with that kind of lasting power.

My parents taught me about love. They have been married for 44 years, together for 46. They were together through a war, through deaths of family and friends, through good times and through bad. My mom has often told me she’s married to her best friend, and I hope I will be able to say the same thing about my husband after 44 years. Sometimes they annoy each other, sometimes they get mad, but they always get through it.

My parents taught me the value of a good education. Whether or not I would go to college was never an issue – it was always assumed that I would, no matter what it took. If every child had parents (or a parent) like mine, teacher’s jobs would be a lot easier.

Thanks Mom and Dad, I love you.

Thanks-Vember Day 5

5 Nov

Today, I am thankful for my wonderful man-friend. I mean, I am thankful for him every day, but today I’m going to tell you about it.

Mondays are looooooong days. We are usually in class from 9am – 5:45 pm. Today we were asked to come in early for a meeting at 8:30. For those of you keeping track at home, that is 9 hours and 15 minutes. Plus driving time. Which meant I left my house at 7:30 this morning and got home around 6:30. Wowza.

When I got home, my man met me at the door with a glass of… water (right. water.), took my bag into my office, and sat me down to dinner. It was the best thing that could have possibly happened. Then, he fed me, and did the dishes while I came in here to finish my homework.

Some girls get jewelry, I get tater-tot casserole and time to do homework. (and I WIN. Jewelry is for schmucks.)

My Desk

23 May

Inspired by the video “people and their desks” and by EduSuz, here is a picture of my workspace.

I can’t even call it a desk, because there are five pieces of furniture in the mix here. The black piece is an old vanity, which is theoretically my desk. My computer sits on our dining table because there is no room on my desk (it’s very small, and I am more of an “Einstein” when it comes to my desk. There is a filing cabinet upon which my printer/scanner sits, and behind the table is a bookshelf where I keep all my textbooks, notes, and supplies. The cabinet with photos on top holds most of the equipment that my business partner and I use to make natural beauty products – inside is beeswax, shea butter, and all sorts of fun goodies.

This “desk” space is temporary – in July I will get to move into our second bedroom and pull my actual desk out of storage. I’m excited to have a little more space to spread out.

Sunday I was having brunch with one of my friends, telling her that I felt like I was completely unorganized. She laughed and told me she thinks I seem like one of the most organized people she knows. I guess everyone has a different definition of organization!

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