Thought-provoking application questions

As I was completing an application for a new teaching position, I came across this question: "If there were absolutely no restrictions placed upon you, what would you want to do in life?" Wow, what a simple, yet incredibly difficult question to answer.

I would travel the world exploring the different scenery, cultures, languages, histories and people. I would talk to everyone I could during these trips and listen to their stories; and possibly write a book on my experiences and their lives. How amazing would that be to actually travel to the places that I read about constantly and talk face to face with someone who lives within a culture I find fascinating?

I know that I would be so fascinated by everything that I learned throughout these journeys that I would have to share and discuss everything with others. I have always held the idea of writing a book in the back of my mind. The topic and format of the book tends to change over time, but the idea remains constant.

For a while, I was writing short stories and a fairly constant pace, but the writing of those has declined over the years. It is something that I would like to eventually begin doing again, but I never feel like I have enough time. I know, I know, if I wanted to do something enough, I'd make time. As of now, I am enthralled by the idea of creating a collection of Chuck Klosterman-esque essays. Though I may not possess quite as much snark as he does. 

I'm sure my book plan will change at least a dozen more times before I even attempt to begin writing. Still, I do plan. 

{image via}


Christening the Papa-NeeNee

This past week, my friends and I gathered together to christen a new boat the "Papa-NeeNee." She had bought the boat last fall but was unable to put it in the Milwaukee Harbor until this past weekend. It's a beautiful boat-- complete with a full living area below deck and a spacious seating area up top. Even more beautiful than the boat was the weather. We were able to cruise down the river before sunset without even a blanket to stay warm. After a relaxing night on the boat, we enjoyed a delicious fish fry at the Yacht Club. Amazing night. 


Bachelorette weekend

This past weekend my friends and I celebrated Alyssa's upcoming wedding. About 15 of us gathered at a cabin {more like a condo} in Wisconsin Dells. I was pleasantly surprised that friends from all over the country were able to fly or drive in for the festivities. We celebrated with wine, board games, a wine tasting, delicious meals, long conversations, dance parties and a wild night out. It was an incredibly fun weekend and  I'm so glad that I was able to celebrate with Alyssa and the rest of our friends. Can't wait for another friend to get engaged :)



A young Barack Obama

I recently stumbled across photographs of a young President Barack Obama. What a smooth man. I never realized how hip our president is; I'm really digging the hat.

{These photos and more via}


The Kite Runner graphic novel

I just finished reading The Kite Runner a Graphic Novel by Khaled Hosseini this afternoon. Most of my students think anything longer than a few pages is WAY too much to read. So to tempt students to read, the librarians at my school recently bought many new graphic novels. As the Kite Runner is one of my favorite novels, I decided to give the graphic novel a try. I heard that Hosseini actually approved all pages included in the book. To be honest, I appreciate the effort to interest teenagers in reading, however, I did not like the graphic novel version at all. It was like when you read a book and have images in your mind of how everyone should look and act. And then you see the movie and it's nothing like that. You lose so much emotion and detail when you move to the graphic novel version of stories. I highly suggest reading actual books, especially Kite Runner, rather than graphic novels. 


my life, according to photos

Yes, most of my time lately has been spent in my classroom grading papers, administering tests, writing lesson plans and such. I do have spring break coming up in a week though and boy am I looking forward to sleeping in past 5a.m. I'm sure I'll spend 90 percent of the break writing plans and doing other certification work, but it'll be nice to do it at home or a coffee shop anyway. 


Mr. Mad Men

In elementary school, the PTA held monthly book fairs and as a class we would walk to the gym dollars in hand and pick a new book or two. It was always my favorite day. When I was really young, I used to race to the Mr. Men books. {My favorite was Mr. Tall.} Imagine my surprise and glee when I found out The Poke had the idea of combing Mr. Men books and Mad Men... two of my favorite things. I love how they were able to capture the characters' personalities in such simple drawings. How cute.

Don Draper is back

The day is finally here. Mad Men is back from a 17-month hiatus. I'm completely thrilled. The last season left me with so many questions {especially concerning Don's possible marriage and Peggy's promiscuous ways} that have remained unanswered for far too long. I admit I'm not much of a TV viewer, Mad Men is my one exception.  The characters are all so well-developed and interesting and the show constantly surprises. If I didn't have to teach tomorrow, I would mix an old fashioned tonight in honor of Don Draper's return. {Guide to the cocktails of Mad Men.} I will still be watching, on the edge of my sit, I anticipate. I can't wait to see what this season will bring. 

{image via, read for great insight into the women on the show}


little notes

dear midwest,
thank you for the beautiful weather we've been having lately. i love listening to spring training baseball on the radio while driving with my windows down. please stay this way.

dear amc,
i'm so excited that mad men is coming back in less than a week. i've been waiting so long for my favorite show. please don't keep me waiting as long for next season. pretty please.

dear clemente,
i'm so sorry you've been sick lately. who ever heard of a cat developing allergies. at least we can cuddle in bed and be miserable together.

dear allergies,
i know we've gotten really close over the past month or so, but you're too controlling. i could really use a break.


Date night

My Mom and I enjoyed a date together tonight. We stopped for a relaxing dinner of chicken florentine and fettuccine alfredo. Then, we caught a showing of Casablanca at the local theater. Yes, Casablanca. I was ecstatic when I heard that my favorite movie of all time was going to be shown on the big screen 70 years after its initial release. I must have seen the movie a hundred times, but let me tell you, it was a hundred times better watching it on a floor to ceiling screen. Humphrey Bogart was even more dreamy. I wish we had a theater that would show old classic movies on a regular basis. I would love to see Cary Grant, Gregory Peck, Paul Newman or William Powell also on the big screen. 


"8": A Play about the Fight for Marriage Equality

I thought this was fantastic so I had to share. "8" is a play {directed by Rob Reiner} about the case filed by the American Federation for Equal rights to overturn Proposition 8 in California. It is an incredibly moving, intimate look at the issue of same-sex marriage and the California amendment that aimed to ban it. The play features such famous actors as George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Kevin Bacon, Martin Sheen, Jamie Lee Curtis and more. Originally, this play was performed and streamed live. But you can watch it online.

Book club

It's known that I love books. My friend Jessi does also. We used to sit at coffee shops for hours discussing our latest reads and those still on the list. Well, she lives in Washing D.C. now so we don't get to sip coffee and talk like we used to, however, we can still talk books. After years of searching for a good book club with no luck, Jessi and I have decided to create our own. Which, I suppose, isn't so much a "book club" as it is two people chatting about some book they read, but I LOVE the idea nonetheless. 

We're going to start with First They Killed My Father by Loung Ung and we already have a long list of others waiting. Can you imagine why we haven't found book clubs to interest us? Couldn't be due to our somewhat depressing taste in literature, huh? I'm really excited anyway. 



These photos crack me up. I just had to share them. The men, especially, are such great sports to jump in women's clothes for a photograph. I doubt I would be able to convince any of my male friends to don their girlfriend's or wife's clothes for fun. Hilarious. To see more, visit the blog.

little notes

dear readers,
sorry i've been m.i.a. for a bit...school has become a bit overwhelming. too much lesson planning and rearranging stuff last minute. i'm going to try very hard not to disappear as often.

dear umpqua oats,
thank you for being a delicious alternative to my typical saturday morning breakfast of cinnamon roll and coffee.  you make eating healthy so much more appealing and easy.

dear students,
i am encouraged by your amazing participation and excitement during class lately. i hope to find pleasing ways to keep you excited about learning.

dear jessi,
your lengthy emails put a smile on my face. i love that though we cannot sit in coffee shops for hours upon hours discussing books and life, we are able to carry on that same long conversation through email. miss you, girl.

dear neighbor,
it is too cold for your dog outside. you know how i know that? he's been barking for the last two hours. please bring that poor pup inside.

{image via}

Happy Bridal Shower, Lauren!


Rules of a gentleman

If I ever have a son, I hope he would grow up to be a gentleman. It's something that I would try to teach him from the start. Who wouldn't want to marry a gentleman?? 

As a teacher, I notice that children nowadays are not as polite or compassionate as, I feel, they used to be. Makes you wonder a bit about the future. 

I love this site's rules of a gentleman, clever and so true. 


Geek Valentine

Not much of a post, just wanted to share these cute geek Valentine's. How cute are they?


Disney fashion

I've always been a huge Disney movie fan, but eventually you grow up and have to ask yourself the question, "Am I too old for this?" The answer is no. Especially when you can combine Disney magic and fashion. I recently stumbled up a tumblr {from Pinterest of course} called Disney Bound that creates ensembles with a little inspiration from Disney movie characters. They're creative and beautiful. I'm not sure what it says about my fashion sense that I align best with Mary Poppins though. 



Karina is two.

Yesterday, Karina turned TWO! She was such a cutie. Her grandmother bought her a Tangled princess dress that she wore throughout the party. Since Karina is a huge Tangled and Minnie Mouse fan, her party was a bit of both, which meant Tangled AND Minnie Mouse cupcakes. She must have had about 6-8 cupcakes! It was also nice spending time with friends who were in town from out of state. Great day.



I know it's not spring, but I've been in a crazy cleaning and organizing mood lately. It's probably because I got so many new clothes items for Christmas that I now have to fit someplace. And also, I got a new vacuum! For either reason, I've been doing a bit of organizing around my house. {Goodwill should expect a pretty big donation soon.} I've had help in my organization spree from Pinterest.com. I found many creative ideas of organizing areas and items that would otherwise be shoved in boxes and pushed aside. It's a great feeling to open my closet doors to find a nicely ordered area instead of a mess.

A few ideas that I liked and have or will try at home {though I doubt any of my organization will look as nice}:

{idea via}

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