Day 22: You Can’t Unring a Bell

You can’t unring a bell- no matter how hard you try. Once it’s said, once it is out there for consumption, once the damage is done.  The permanency of some things is startling. When you’re younger, I think it’s easier to unsee or unhear or unfeel, you’re more malleable to the things that go on around you, but sometimes there’s just no going back. I have learned this across some years of my life and again today. Maybe not being able to unring a bell is the universe’s way of pushing you in the right direction…sometimes away from certain people and places and towards something new.


Day 21: Pump Your Legs

Remember when you learned how to swing on a swing and your parents would be coaching you through, yelling, “pump your legs?” I vividly remember those days despite the fact that they were so long ago! This morning I was on my way to work and as I was driving I passed a house that has a tree swing. There was a little girl pumping away and swinging so high it actually made me a little nervous!

The sun was shining and this little girl looked as happy as any kid I’ve ever seen- I mean who wouldn’t want a before-school swing session to get your day started off right? It got me thinking about the morning rituals and routines I have and if they make me as a happy and carefree as the little girl swinging. The answer is, not really.

I think the addition of my morning reading from 100 Days of Brave might be the toe dip I needed to make my mornings more enjoyable and not so rushed. It’s weird to think about different things I could do that would bring more joy into the morning and set my day up for success. I’ll have to think about that more in the next coming days. I am grateful for the little bit of inspiration I got from the girl who definitely knew the art of pumping her legs!


Day 20: I Got My Sticker!

Today I voted. Today I also got my sticker. Two years ago, I was unceremoniously denied my sticker after I voted and I wrote an angry blog about it for the SOL challenge. I have to say I was slightly apprehensive that I would not get my sticker as I walked up to the door at my voting precinct. That worry lasted about 2 seconds because just as I stepped over the curb I looked up and saw a mom coaching her daughter on how to pose for a picture with her sticker.

In my previous blog I had mused about the importance of the “I Voted” sticker and this very odd ritual of documenting that you voted by posting an obligatory photo to prove that you actually voted. I was obviously scarred by this unfortunate incident, but was reassured that today would not be a repeat, I was going to get my sticker!

I opened the door to the gym at the junior high where I was going to vote and was shocked by the long line. Sometimes I don’t mind a long line because it gives me a self-imposed mental break. I stood in line and to my right were 2 rambunctious boys playing catch with an eraser and right away I thought how the last thing I want to is listen to annoying kids after a long day at school. I know, it’s a little harsh, but that’s just the truth. I quickly scanned the gym for their mom and then a wave of nostalgia came over me.

I have such vivid memories of going with my mom to my elementary school as she voted when I was a child. I went with her when I was able to vote in my first election- that was a really special milestone. I always admired how knowledeagable she was about politics and how she loved to exercise her right to vote.

As I was recounting these memories a small smile came over me. I love those unexpected moments where I am reminded of my mom, especially when it is some obscure memory that may have never been brought into my consciousness had the 2 boys not been playing catch with that eraser.

I waited in line another 5 minutes, just enjoying the time to myself and then chuckled a little remembering how upset I was 2 years ago when I didn’t get my sticker. Having said that, I have to admit, after voting, I was happy to get my “I Voted” sticker! I proudly headed out the door and immediately stuck my sticker on my coat!



Day 19: Be Brave

I started reading 100 Days of Brave: Devotions for Unlocking Your Most Courageous Self at the urging of my niece. I can’t say I was surprised by her book recommendation, I at times can be pretty fearful. I am not fearful of bugs, snakes, heights or anything like that- more fearful of my future or things not working out. This daily devotional focuses on building up your self-belief and also asks you to be reflective. Today is my 6th day and I feel quite empowered by the words and how the author asks you to recall moments in your past when you have been brave. Each day the author challenges you to tell your story of bravery to someone, so today I decided I’d blog about.

As I was sitting on my bed this morning thinking about a time when I had been brave in my own life, right away I thought of when I had chosen to leave the very first school I taught at to pursue working in public schools. I remember when I had made the decision, it was quite early on in the school year, but once I decide, I decide. I felt compelled to give myself the opportunity to do more, learn more, and impact students more. Leaving the comfort of your very first school is hard, but I am grateful I was brave enough.

Throughout that process, I remember feeling scared all the time, but not enough to stop me. I think that’s how I always feel though, a little bit scared, but my desire to be happy, to feel fulfilled, and to realize my dreams is much stronger than the fear. Maybe I am brave after all. Perhaps my bravery is just masked by a series of overthinking things and taking things a little bit slower; I guess I’ll have to accept what my bravery looks like for the time being and try not to be too hard on myself!



Day 18: Sunday Funday… at Mariano’s?

If you have never grocery shopped at Mariano’s, you should. I make this suggestion not based on the quality of food or the prices, but the simple fact that on any given day, it’s like grocery shopping on steroids! People are drinking at the bar, walking around with wine as they shop, or eating at the oyster bar. It is literally a whole thing that I had never known about until I started shopping at Mariano’s!

When I shop, I go through the store in the same order, same path, and same food. As I entered the store today, I felt a little bit of a buzz, people were extra chatty and there was an energy; maybe it was the weather breaking a little and the feeling of spring was taking over. Fruit, salad, and lunch meat in tow, I rounded the corner and looked to my left to see the bar was packed! I mean, every seat taken and a small line had formed of people waiting to get a beverage to enjoy during their shopping expedition.

I stood for a second with my cart and just starred at the group of people waiting to get a drink at the grocery store- there was perhaps a slight undertone of judgement at this seemingly ridiculous act. I tried to maneuver my cart around the crowd and found myself contemplating joining in the grocery shopping/wine fun. I mean, in the spirit of Sunday Funday, why not?! About 2 minutes later I had a glass of white wine in hand and took a slow sip, not quite comfortable with my new shopping accessory.

I have to say that as I slowly pushed my cart up and down the aisles, getting my yogurt, bread, and eggs, I felt a little silly taking sips of my wine in between the aisles, but secretly loved the silliness of it all. This just may be the new me- Home Depot on Friday nights and day drinking wine while grocery shopping. Like I said before, adulting is a real slippery slope.


Day 17: My Favorite Ex-Pat

My friend Sarah, whom I’ve known for just about 8 years, recently moved back to Illinois from London. We met at the very first school I taught at; I was her son’s kindergarten teacher while I student taught. Sarah and I just clicked and even though a year later she moved to London, we remained friends. This winter she and her boys moved back and I was so happy to have my good friend back stateside.

Today I visited her beautiful home in Hinsdale and we sat on her comfy, purple “bubble couch” as she calls it and ate gummy bears while we caught each other up on the past few weeks of our lives. Somewhere in the middle of our chat and as I was digging selfishly for the red and clear gummy bears, Sarah stopped talking and just gave me the biggest hug. She thanked me for making Illinois feel like home again.

I had missed my friend and was equally grateful that she was back. We would no longer have to squeeze in a quick lunch in between her transatlantic flights, we could see each other any old time we wanted. We could sit on a Saturday for hours on end, eating gummy bears, just chatting. No more jet lag filled conversations rehashing months of our lives  or the pressure of seeing each other in a small time frame. My favorite Ex-Pat was back and I am so grateful because the truth is, she helps make Illinois feel more like home for me too.




Day 16: This Feels Like Adulting

I’m on my way to Home Depot… on a Friday night. This feels like adulting to me. I’ve planned out what I want to look at; light fixtures, the floors, the cabinets.

It’s weird how adult life sneaks up on you like that- one minute you’re planning what bars you’re going to go to and then before you know it, you’re in Aisle 6 at Home Depot on a Friday night. It’s a real slippery slope.





Day 15: Ordinary Day

Full disclosure, today has been just a super ordinary day. I woke up at 5:30am, took a shower, got ready for work, and headed out. The morning was quick and without any incident. This ordinary day is welcomed after a furious 2 weeks of work and you know, all that other stuff life likes to throw at you.

I used to take ordinary days for granted, but today, I appreciate the calm and quiet of a day like this. I wonder what age I was when I made the switch? When I started to crave calm and ordinary verses being busy all the time and living in the more chopsticks side of things.

Today was just an ordinary day, by one I am extraordinarily grateful for.






Day 14: Eighty

After class today I raced over to my brother’s house to celebrate my dad’s 80th birthday. My family is big, really big. My family is loud, really loud. My father is quiet, really quiet and in his older age he typically just sits at the table and observes all of the laughter and hi-jinx of his kids and grandkids. He occasionally cracks a smile or a small laugh, but mostly I think he just observes his family and I really do mean his family.

The reason we are who we are is because of him and my mom. He created the foundation for our family and it’s nights like tonight that I am aware of how blessed we are to have one another. My dad always instilled the importance of family and because of that, we love to be around each other. I never feel more myself than when I am around my family. There is no judgement, no jealousy, just love and admiration that manifests itself is teasing and joking.

As I mentioned, my family is big and I love that there are 6 or 7 groups of us around the house, laughing together about nothing and everything. I am especially grateful for the simplicity of tonight’s celebration; we needed a respite from the stress of the last few weeks and suspended all of that to just enjoy each other’s company.

I needed tonight, we all did and I think my dad was happy too. As he blew out each of his candles, I couldn’t help but wonder what he wished for…whatever it was, I hope it comes true.


Day 13: “The Universe Is Conspiring In Your Favor”

A long time ago I read something that said, “The universe is conspiring in your favor” and at the time I thought it was an interesting thought, one to keep for times when things seem quite the opposite. Over the years when life has presented its many challenges, this obscure quote would pop into my head and give me just the ounce of comfort I needed. The strange thing is, I have no idea who said it or where I read it, but it has stuck with me over the years.

Things, as of late, have been swinging my way and today, when I received more exciting news, I thought about how perhaps the universe really just might be conspiring in my favor. My drive home from work today was filled with gratitude and excitement, mixed with a twinge of fear.

As I was driving these fearful questions started overtaking my thoughts. What if something falls through? What if for some reason something changes? Did I bite off more than I could chew? I hate myself for letting the fear sneak into every moment. I tried to quickly bump the thought out of my mind and just exist in the happy.

This fracture in my personality is something I constantly have to work on repairing and today was no exception. As I pulled up to a stop sign and was trying to get the fear-filled thoughts out of my head, I remembered the quote I had read so many, many years ago and recited it to myself in a tiny whisper, “The universe is conspiring in your favor.” I felt a little of the fear float away in that moment, replaced by the anticipation of all that is to come.