Monday Musings | of phoning it in, a game plan, and a new friend.

1) I need to apologize. I hate apologizing. Not because I’m never wrong, but there is a certain defeat in apologizing. It means that I couldn’t fix my mistake and all I could offer were some words. My service-oriented personality finds the words “I’m sorry” to be absurdly inferior when I really want to make things right.

Regardless, it’s time. While I had a blast doing Project27, it left me a bit burned out on the blogging front. Coupled with some personal issues (I won’t bore you) and an increasingly busy schedule, I’ve been giving less than my best to this blog. There are many of you who faithfully follow my ramblings and I’ve been taking you for granted.

I’m sorry.

I’m not going to make empty promises, but I will endeavor to do better. My goal is to provide you with honest, authentic content. I’m not catering to your interests or pandering to the crowd, but you deserve to see more than fluff or mindless drivel.

(I suck cards from Jen at Witsicle)

To that end…

2) I’ve made a game plan for the next couple of months.

Be on the lookout for the Best Balsamic Vinaigrette you’ve ever tasted (and probably the easiest), my Tips for Memorizing Scripture, and an exposé on the Relative Merits of Coyote Urine. That’s right, Coyote Urine. You won’t want to miss that. I’ll regale you with tales of Kids College and show you my attempts at building a teaching wardrobe for the fall.

I’m also determined to host a contest/giveaway before the summer is out. You hear me? Determined!

Speaking of teaching…

3) I had the opportunity to meet up with my mentor teacher for my first placement in August. Because I’m in secondary education, I have to complete a placement in both middle and high school. Middle school is up first and I got together with the teacher who will guide me through my first 8 weeks.

She is awesome. Seriously. Ms. G (that’s how you’ll know her) and I have similar philosophies of teaching, and no nonsense attitudes about classroom management. She had a horrific student teaching experience as a student, so she is determined to make this a great experience for me. States of matter, here I come!

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day 25 | Monday Musings | of family ties, customer service, and a moment of remembrance…

Happy Memorial Day!

1) It was an emotional roller coaster of a weekend [more on that later] as I celebrated my birthday with a small fraction of my family. Though our numbers were small, I got to spend time with my oldest brother. Growing up, I barely knew him at all, as our age difference is a whopping 14 years. It wasn’t until I was an adult that we spent any significant time together.  Yesterday we had a chance to just spend a few hours sitting around and talking. We shared memories of our dad and different experiences we’d had with him.

True story, it was some of the best therapy I’ve ever had.

2) I don’t have many vices. I’m not into labels or having designer everything. I’d rather buy/wear pieces that don’t have to worry about. One major exception: I love Kate Spade. LOVE. If you tuned in to the list of things that make me happy, you probably noticed that a sale at Kate Spade is a happy trigger if there ever was one. I have a tradition of saving up and then buying a new bag at the Memorial Day sale, kind of a birthday present for myself. Each time I go in, the gorgeous bags and friendly staff at the Hagerstown, MD Kate Spade Outlet make my shopping experience one of perfection.

Last year I fell in love with and purchased this bag in a mere 13 minutes. I loved that bag.

And then, the unthinkable. The fastener broke. So much anguish. First world problems, you know?

So I took it back, a year later. I just wanted it fixed, but the awesome staff replaced the bag with one that I liked even better. They were professional and sweet and I was incredibly impressed with how much they care about their customers and stand behind their products.

This is why I’ll buy Kate Spade for life.

3) I’d be remiss if I didn’t take a minute to express gratitude for the men and women of the United States Armed Services who made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure my freedom, as well as the families who must press on each day without their loved ones. I can never fully comprehend your sacrifice or demonstrate my sincere thanks.

I hope that the life I live, in some small way, makes the life that was lost lived, not in vain, but to fulfill a great purpose. It’s a heady responsibility to be among the living, but we owe it to the dead to take care of the country they died to protect.

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day 18 | Monday Musings | of the boss lady, and doing what the kids do…

1) In one of my many jobs, I work for my dear and sweet friend Kristi who is, in addition to being an awesome mom and volunteer of the year at her daughter’s elementary school, a therapist. Today, I was sitting in the office, tap tap tapping away at the keyboard as a waded through the stack of files in my inbox (I love having an inbox, btw) when this conversation happened:

Kristi: You seem quiet, today.
Me: Yeah.
Kristi: What’s going on?
Me: *chuckle* I’m kind of falling apart.
Kristi: Okay, seriously, what’s going on?
Me: *spontaneous sobbing*

Oh, friends, it wasn’t pretty. Snot oozed from my nose as a torrential downpour fell from my eyes. Not my finest hour. To my relief, and Kristi’s credit, she didn’t even bat an eyelash.

Why am I telling you this? Maybe you feel like you’re the only one barely holding it together. Maybe, like me, you’re frustrated with yourself because you seem to be the only person in your life having a hard time. You aren’t.

Maybe, you have no idea what I’m talking about. I guess, at the very least, when something ridiculous happens, you can remind yourself that it could be worse – you could start sobbing on construction invoices.

2) I’ve resisted Instagram for a reason that makes me feel silly and more than a little old: I didn’t know how to use it. I still don’t really know how to use it, but I’ve started, so hopefully, it’ll get easier.

If you’d like, you can follow theadventuresofeverygirl and stay updated on my goings on. You can also reach out on Facebook and connect with The Adventures of EveryGirl. I hope you’re tuning in on Wednesday, because I’m working hard to prepare my first contest giveaway ever!!!!

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day 11 – Monday Musings: of eusocial formicidae invasions…

1) It is a truth universally acknowledged that a girl in possession of a day off is in want of a disaster.

Fridays are the day that I get to catch up on things. No students, no jobs, no classes, just me and a huge cup of coffee and my never ending list. It is on these kinds of days that I like to really cook. Not just prepare a meal, but make something that’s good for the soul as well as for the tummy. This past Friday, the menu included Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs in a homemade marinara. Yum. While not a difficult recipe, per se, this isn’t something you start and stop. Once you’ve committed, you kind of need to see it through.

I’m wrists deep in seasoned raw ground beef when I need to throw something away. No biggie. I walk over to my kitchen trash can which is when I notice that we’ve been invaded. By ants.

Ants!

ants

In an ordered line stemming from the back door down into the trash, they go. Marching one by one, or so I’ve been told. Abandoning my meatballs, for the moment, I wash the meaty goodness off my hands and all but hurl the trashcan onto the back porch, where, I reason, they are at least not in the house. Then, I take a broom and sweep the visible ants out the door. I feel I have temporarily ameliorated the situation until I notice that they are unperturbed by me and continue their march.

A quiet voice in the back of my brain reminds me that I once read on the internet somewhere that you can use cornmeal to get rid of ants, and I’m in full on panic mode. I know that an invasion can quickly turn into an infestation and I’m Not Having It. So down the cornmeal goes on the floor. I hope that I may at least contain the problem.

By that evening, there are only a few visible ants and by the next morning, they are GONE. They are still outside climbing all over the trashcan, but that’s a problem for a different day.

The meatballs, by the way, were delicious – and ant free.

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day 4 – Monday Musings: my bundle of joy, and the end of an era…

1) So I undertook an…undertaking…no. That can’t be right. I embarked on a journey. Still wrong.

Stupid fancy words. Whatever. I planted a garden.

Traditionally, I can’t even keep a house plant alive. The only reason I’m allowed to have a cat is because he cries when he’s out of food so I remember not to starve him. I didn’t have crazy high hopes, especially since we were using seeds instead of seedlings. However, I’m pleased to announce:

A thing

I am the proud mother to a dozen tiny plants, with more popping up each day. No fruit, just yet, but in a couple of months I’ll be begging friends to take some of my tomatoes. Don’t worry, this won’t be the last you hear of the garden. In the coming weeks, I’m sure I’ll refer to them ad nauseam.  Kate Middleton, eat your heart out.

2) After almost two months, I’ve come to the end of my time in therapy. I’m exceedingly grateful for my therapist and the work we’ve done. I’ve learned so much. Most notably:

  1. Feel Every Emotion – When grief or heartbreak or sadness comes, there are so many emotions. I wish I could say that the stages of grief hit exactly once each, in order, and for a short duration. Unfortunately, that’s just not the way it is. Avoiding emotions may delay them, but they just come back later, usually at the least convenient time. Dealing with each feeling as it hits can be painful in the short-term, but there is an incredible amount of freedom on the other side of the wave.
  2. You can’t make everyone happy – you are not a jar of Nutella. Seriously.

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Monday Musings: of vocabulary lessons, office overboard, and a world of nope…

Happy Monday!

1) My mom and I spend a lot of time together. I mean, a lot. Which means we talk a lot. So much, in fact, that it’s a wonder that we have anything to talk about anymore. I guess the secret is talking about really inane things. At a recent dinner out, we were discussing…I dunno, something. The conversation took a nerdy turn:

Me: So they feel ostracized?
Mom: No, just left out, there is no…
Me:…
Mom: I don’t want to say ostracizing, but I can’t think of what it should be.
Me: Ostracization?
Mom: I don’t think that’s a word. I don’t know the noun form.

Out come the smartphones, of course for a Google search.

It’s totally ostracization, by the way…

2) In an effort to supplement my income, I’ve started doing office work for a friend who has a business headquartered in her home office. My first task has been to scan an ENORMOUS box of documents, receipts, invoices, bills, and statements into a computerized filing system. That, of course, isn’t good enough for me, and I felt the need to organize the chaos as well.

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Just when I had my compulsiveness under control. Oy.

I’m really enjoying it, maybe too much. I love to organize and sort and set up systems. The work is a little mindless at this point, which is completely awesome. As a bonus, you can only scan construction documents for so long before you start to pick things up, so I’ve learned a ton about the construction industry. I’m always up for learning new things!

3) I don’t want to jinx it or anything, but I think spring has sprung!!!!

*cue epic late blizzard*

But seriously, it was finally warm enough today to open the windows and let a little fresh air into the house. Of course, this made me want to clean (what else?!). First stop: laundry. Because, you know, it takes the longest and I can do other stuff while it runs.

Off I go to load the washer and in the bottom of my laundry basket I find THE. BIGGEST. SPIDER. I’VE. EVER. SEEN. So I did what any normal person would do. I ran away.

Spider Nope

You know what’s worse than finding a spider in your basement? That’s right, losing a spider in your basement.

How important are clean clothes, anyway?

Featured image by FictionChick

Monday Musings: of eyeliner overload and Easter weekend…

1) I’ve talked a little about being a Mary Kay consultant, but I haven’t harped on it, mostly to create boundaries in my life. I’m not really trying to use this platform to promote that business (though if you’re interested, by all means, hit me up *wink wink*)

onewoman-headerRegardless, I have a funny story and I want to tell it, so deal. Mmkay, pumpkins?

My neighbor, Maureen, called me the other day. A call from her isn’t the most unusual thing in the world, but it was a little out of the blue. After some pleasantries, she got down to business.

Maureen: Listen, you, ah, do Mary Kay, right?
Me: um, yeah…?
Maureen: Do you have any eyeliner in Bronze?
Me: …

Now, let me explain. I’ve known Maureen for just about 19 years and I think I’ve seen her wear makeup a grand total of zero times. Not a stitch, let alone a specific color of a specific brand of eyeliner. Turns out, the makeup wasn’t for her, but for her mother who was in a panic because the company decided to discontinue that particular color and she was trying to stockpile a supply before they ran out. Maureen informs me that her mother wants as many of them as she can get.

$300 later, I think she’ll be good for a bit. Sometimes, it pays to pick up the phone.

2) This is Holy Week for those that celebrate such things and Sunday is Easter. I’m not really a Holy Week girl, but Easter is a pretty big deal. I think it’s really interesting that despite the holiday’s religious origin, Easter seems to have gained a fair amount of commercial success, unlike most holidays that the early church repurposed from pagan traditions (Christmas shouldn’t be in December, just saying). What started as a strictly religious and fairly complicated holiday has turned into the unofficial start or spring with its frilly dresses, plastic eggs, and frightening anthropomorphic lagomorphs.

134abcd331ab1f4dc9be107e34e83ddcHave I mentioned that I fear people in animal costumes? No? Well, there you go. And clowns. *Shiver*

I’ve not been shy about my faith in this blog. I’ve not tried to hide my Christianity from you. I’ve neither pretended that being a Christian gives me all the answers or implied that I’m anything other than a thoroughly imperfect person in constant need of the grace of God. I’ve also not shoved Him down your throat. I can’t make you believe in God any more than I can make you believe in sunlight. I think it’s pretty obvious, but if you can’t see it, you’re probably living in the dark. However, in the spirit of the season and with the weight of the immense sacrifice that was made for you and me and everyone else, I would like to personally invite you to step into the light.

Monday Musings: of therapy, becoming better, and a tribute…

1) So I’m seeing someone. Not like that. I’ve started seeing a therapist.

But Simone, you’ve handled everything so well!!

Counselling and SupportHonestly, no, I haven’t. I’ve pretended to handle it. I am an exceptionally skilled manipulator of the truth. I know all the right things to say and all the right things to do. I’m a student, you see. I’ve studied psychology and grief and I know what the stages are “supposed” to look like. So I put on a brave face and I do what has to be done to make everyone else feel better about what I’m going through. Looking inside has been too painful.

It has to stop. It’s time to focus on me, which is terrifying. It’s time, though. It’s time to stop worrying about how I seem and start focusing on how I am.

Yikes.

2) In the spirit of becoming a better person, I’ve embarked on a 30 day planking challenge and a new daily (or almost daily) workout routine.

Can I just tell you how much pain I’m in? Ohmygoodness, these legs, they’s a-burnin’.

My workout routine starts with 80 Jumping Jacks to get the heart racing, followed by 20 pushups and 40 sit ups. I haven’t been able to do a proper sit up since high school, so I’ve adapted. Here’s my move:

Lay on your back with arms and legs extended (think of making yourself as tall as possible). Lift arms and legs 6″ off the ground. Exhale and draw knees to chest, while crunching up with abs and raising shoulders to meet the knees, arms extending to touch the sides of your feet. Contract abs. Release and extend limbs back out, keeping them 6″ off the floor.

Then round out with 50 squats, 20 lunges (each leg) and a 60 second wall sit and the routine is under 15 minutes. I can’t walk correctly without my legs reminding me that I’m out of shape – details, details.

stock-footage-single-flower3) Speaking of things that are painful. In my last post (which was the most popular post in a good long while, oddly), I referenced a sweet woman I’ve known a long time who had entered hospice care. In what is being viewed as a bittersweet blessing, she went home to be with the Lord on Saturday night. Her family and friends are relieved that she is no longer in pain, but they are grieving this incredible loss.

Debbie was a loving mother, wife, sister, friend, and grandmother. She was a tiny woman, but her smile was radiant. Even through all of her treatment, she was always joyful and positive. She has left behind and incredible legacy of beauty and kindness and a wonderful family to carry these traits on into the world.

Monday Musings: of milestones, sickness, and spring break…

1) I’ve officially fulfilled all my requirements for my teaching internship (what most people call Student Teaching).

Pause for excitement:

Friends1

Oh, Chandler. But seriously, it has been an INCREDIBLY long road. With the wedding, funeral, boyfriend, breakup, pounds lost, Schoolstudents gained, full-time job, new niece, 37,400 miles driven, and 77 blog posts, there were times I thought I’d never make it, and times I wasn’t sure I was cut out for this job. Looking back, I still don’t understand how I managed to do everything at the same time. I probably didn’t.

Many thanks to everyone who gave advice, extended grace, and listened to me lecture about all things E&S for the last couple years. Special thanks to my mom, who now knows more about space-time and General Relativity than any accountant ought.

2) Thursday was my last class before Spring Break 2015. It was also supposed to be my midterm. Alas, my professor moved the test back by two weeks because of the snow related missed classes. I settled in for my midday break and blogging-palooza, as per usual, when the most curious feeling swept over me. Wave upon wave of nausea accosted my senses as everything I had ever eaten tried to make forced exit at the same time.

Stomach flu: 1, Simone:0

On the bright side, I didn’t make a scene in the middle of the Starbucks, but made it all the way to the restroom. After cancelling my students (which breaks.my.heart.), I dragged myself home, where Stuart and I curled up into the fetal position for a day and a half. One of my greatest television viewing pleasures is the Food Network, but one reference to raw egg or melty cheese and I was done. Ick.

I’m feeling better now, by the way. Looks like it was the cute 24 hour virus that has been circulating the local school system. Adorable.

3) Speaking of Spring Break. This week marks my LAST SPRING BREAK AS A STUDENT. By this time next year, (Lord willing!) I’ll be in a classroom of my own. I’ve been told that the week off is actually much more appreciated from that side of the desk. We’ll see!

I recently had someone try to convince me that teachers don’t work as many hours as 9-5 ers. I thought he was kidding and that this issue had been resolved years ago, but in case you are still living in a state of denial:

recite-x6gfqg

Besides, if you think your kid’s teacher doesn’t do any “work” during the break, you’re out of your mind.

Monday Musings: of reluctant obedience, a serious question, and a broken heart…

1) I’m stubborn. This is not news.

PromptingI also crave order and systems. In that spirit, I like to plan out my time, even if the plan then goes adorably awry. A couple of days per week, I have a gap in the middle of my day that I devote to computer work: this blog, homework, bills, and things of the like. It’s a period of time with a defined ending point, as I have students at 3 and I literally have nothing else that I can be doing.  So far, it’s been pretty effective.

I’ve been feeling compelled to write out my testimony. A year ago, our pastor challenged everyone to write it out and email it to him, but I didn’t do it. I’m just a rebel like that. I had all but forgotten about the task until the past couple of weeks, when I have been on the receiving end of the not so gentle prodding of the Spirit to complete my assignment. The other day, we came to an impasse; I resisted, He pushed. As I set up with my computer to get some blogging done, I couldn’t get it to connect to the internet.

Rude.

A whisper in the back of my mind told me that this would give me plenty of time to write out my testimony.

Grrrrr. Fine.

1,312 words later, the internet connection came back in time to send off my tome to my pastor.

I guess we know who’s sovereign here.

2) Which brings me to a serious question. It’s been suggested to me that I should publish my testimony here, but I pause. Besides its inherently personal nature, it’s also really, really long. In context, this post is 514 words, roughly 40% of the length. I hesitate, but if you’d be interested in reading my story, let me know and I may pluck up my courage.

3) It’s taken me 13 days to steel myself for this announcement. After a little more than 3 months together, I’ve been dumped.

Take a second, I know I needed one.

Learn SomethingYou can be sure that I’ll have more to say on the topic as soon as my head stops spinning. At this point, I’m nursing a broken heart and trying to just get through this season of my life. I’m doing much better than I was 13 days ago, but I’m far from over it. I’ve made a habit of being honest with you, my sweet readers, and this is no different. I am hurting. Grief is grief and loss is loss and I’m facing the second major heartache in my life in under 6 months. And it sucks.

I’m reminded of a song by Ginny Owens that I sang for church this past fall:

“The pathway is broken and the signs are unclear
and I don’t know the reason why you brought me here.
But just because you love me, the way that you do
I’m gonna walk through the valley if you want me too.”

Friends keep telling me that I’m strong enough to make it through this.

I’m not, but I know someone who is.