Monday, July 22, 2013

Search term obsession

I check my search term references semi-obsessively.  Today's surprise: someone searched for "lisa frank giraffe".  Yes, I do have a post about Lisa Frank... but I was curious to know how I stacked up.  More importantly, I wanted to see the results of such a search, because a Lisa Frank giraffe sounds mind-blowingly colorful... and awesome.

However, this led me to a Bing v Google competition.  I Binged "lisa frank giraffe" and my site did not come up, like in the first four pages.  I was disappointed, but then realized, who the heck Bings anything?  So then I Googled "lisa frank giraffe", and my blog was the very first website listed.

Clearly, Google's got this.

Also, there is a shocking lack of Lisa Frank giraffes and Lisa Frank giraffe photos.  Are giraffes NOT girly?  Are they not filling the minds and dreams of every young girl in the world?  Is it because giraffes are only in Africa?  Is Lisa Frank unknowingly racist?  These are questions I'd like answered.

On a giraffe-related note, here I am, feeding a giraffe.  Best day of my life.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Clean, uninhibited appreciation for life

Wow, Jenni, bitter much?
My angsty post last time about Panera should remind me to take a deep breath and ask myself if all of this will matter in 10 years (or really, 10 minutes).  It won't.  It didn't.  Hey, that was a poor use of my energy.  Moving on...

I watched a good 18 minute Ted Talk this morning to get inspired for my day (I needed a small pick me up this morning...).  It's a little gloomy at times but the message is clean, uninhibited appreciation for life.  Not a bad thought to start out my day with.  Here it is!

Deep breath.  I will get through this.  I will get a job.  Life will be good.  No.  Life already IS good.  Attitude.  Awareness.  Authenticity.

When I looked at my desk today through the eyes of a three year old (as suggested by the Ted Talk), I gained a better appreciation of my little nook.  I mean, the colors alone attract attention, not I want to paint a picture, and all of the little giraffes everywhere?  They are begging to be played with.  The windows?  Can you believe all the motion that's happening outside?  I am up so high!  I'm like a princess in a castle!

Is this procrastination?
Did the awareness and enjoyment of my surroundings become a waste of time?  A lesser priority?  Is enjoyment of the little things ever the lowest priority?  And if it is, do you still find time to do it?

Yes, ok, namaste, I get it, this blog is all about inspiring things now.  I think I can feel my husband rolling his eyes at me :)

Friday, July 12, 2013


Panera stops serving breakfast at 10:30.

Apparently they are super efficient about switching out their breakfast and lunch items because when I arrived 4 minutes after they technically stop serving breakfast, they could not be bothered to assemble an egg-cheese-bagel sandwich.  The bagels are still out and for sale.  The cheese is still used for lunch sandwiches.  But the egg... the egg has already been replaced by soups.  It would be IMPOSSIBLE to go back to the refrigerator and grab an egg.

If I worked there, I would have walked back and grabbed an egg, made the sandwich, and said "traffic can be really iffy sometimes, right?  Have a super day knowing that people are really nice and understanding in the world."

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Basically Famous

The wedding program that I spent hours designing, executing, and printing up for my wedding is featured on a trendy website for creative wedding program ideas.  I feel like this is the beginning of a career change for me....  Just kidding, I'd still rather teach math to high schoolers.  Check it out though:

I credited myself and my creative genius.  I am so full of it.  Ha!
I hope many sea-faring couples enjoy though.
Many thanks to my parents for letting me get away with a program like this.  Also, thanks to Chris Beer because I suspect he had something to do with this site having any images of our programs.

DelitschAntiqua - Larger pirate font
Pristina - Scripty pirate font
Arial - Names etc.
Consolas - Font for games

Hooray, I'm famous!

In other news, I finally got to shower in the upstairs bathroom because the plumber came and fixed it this morning.  Sigh.  It's been a good day.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

24 hours in vague, uninspiring phrases

Yesterday @ 3pm.

Read Kitchen Confidential. Cat napped by my feet.
Snack: a dozen or so pistachios.  So salty.
Nap.  Still not feeling well.
Nick came home.
Bags league.  Good friend Jenni pays for our drinks and food, unexpectedly.
Multiple losses.  Oh well....
Drive home.
Dishes?  Nahhh... Straight to bed.
Read Us Weekly magazine.  Interesting article about The Bachelorette.  They make her life seem so hard :( but it's not............
Awake.  Vomit.  Disgusting.
Can't go back to sleep... watch Arrested Development on computer.
Nick wakes up.  Informs me of impending storm.
Assemble and pack Nick's lunch.
Nick leaves.  House is quiet.  Cat is knocking all sorts of things over.
Cat and I cuddle up in bed.  Still not feeling well.
Storm.  Wind.  Rain.  Hail???
Wake up.
Breakfast is a handful of goldfish and a pluot.  Still a little sick, but feeling a little better.
Nick texts that can opener has been delivered.  I confirm at front door.
Cat is really annoying.
Make to-do list for today.  I will be proud if I get two things done today.
Cat continues to be annoying.  Sigh.

My thoughts are coming out in fragments.  I need to shake this largely psychosomatic illness because I have a big interview tomorrow, which I hope will conclude in me signing a job contract.  My head is heavy, and my thoughts are jumbled.  My motivation is declining steeply.  What can I do to perk myself up?

Monday, July 1, 2013

I'm too busy being busy to tell you how busy I am

"Busy is a drug that a lot of people are addicted to" - Rob Bell

I am attempting to distance myself from the word "busy."  I wish I could remember where I first read about the common culture of "busy," but since the word's first appearance I have since sought out a lot of literature on being "busy" so the sources have all sort of blurred together.  (Google "culture of being busy" and you'll find a plethora of articles related to this modern "phenomenon" - you'll see what I mean).  I am using quotes generously here, but if I were actually telling this story, my hands and first and middle fingers would be gesturing frantically from all of the stressed phrases I'm using.  It's appropriate I swear.

Even writing this blog post, I wanted to title it as "busy week".  It's a trap!

This particular article by Scott Berkun really caught my attention.  Specifically, I enjoyed the paragraph where he writes, "The phrase 'I don't have time' should never be said."  I wish to avoid this phrase almost as much as I wish to avoid the statement, "I can't, I'm too busy."  I believe that modifying how I phrase my talk about time will lead to a change in action, which is my goal.  It's all about prioritization.  RBF, as my parents have always taught me (Responsibility Before Fun).  However, there was always some F and some R, not just an overwhelming sense of R.

I also frequently come across articles that tell me "stop being busy, be efficient!" but like the Berkun article, I ask myself "what do I do with all this time I've saved?"  I could fill it up with other "busy-ness" I suppose, like seeking more work, or finding a nook to clean, or new and different errands, or signing myself up for new classes or work or activities.... but wait, isn't this the type of busy-ness that I keep striving to become more efficient at?  The type of activities that I'm trying to do efficiently so I have more time... for what?

I have written many times in this blog about how I don't know what I want to write about.  I talk about all of the things I wish to do, and then write about those things.  I also talk about how I have NOT blogged in awhile because I have been busy with other things.  Consider this a mini, mid-year resolution, but I am going to try and conquer  an aspect of the "busy" this month.

Here are my Month of Idleness Resolutions:
I will attempt to refrain from the word "busy" and the phrase "I don't have time" (ala Marissa Bracke's article).  As a result, I intend to question the priorities of events that I am invited to and to make better decisions with my time.

I will also direct my yogic intentions inward to reflection on how I want to spend my time not being busy. Alone, deep in thought?  Reading and reflecting?  Biking, hiking, kayaking, exploring nature?  Baking, cooking or organizing my house (which is therapeutic for me, not necessarily for everyone)?  Spending as much time as possible with friends?  No matter what I decide is the most important priority outside of "me-time", I will be sure to be thankful for the time I do have, right now.

Long post today.  Thank you for taking time out of your day to read my thoughts.  I appreciate my time and your time today.  Namaste! (As a side note, I think I have fallen in love with yoga.  More on that later.)

Monday, June 24, 2013

Waiting for power... and possibly for Godot.

Today we are supposed to have internet!!
... but we have no power.

Yesterday we manually lit our stove so that we could cook some food.  The night before we had a 40 minute span of power and we were able to make mac and cheese quickly, and the night before that we had no power and didn't think to light the stove so we just snacked on grapes, cheerios, and munchies.  It has been a weird week as a homeowner.

I am at the arctic tundra of a coffee shop again.  I came prepared this time in a heavy sweatshirt.  As I was walking in the 80 degree heat, I thought to myself "ugh, this sweater is overkill, why did I drag it along with me" but as I passed through the doors into Antarctica, I remembered why I hoofed it with a few pounds of fleece.  Ahhhhh.

Here are a few things the internet world has missed due to my lack of connectivity.

1. Nick is a true Mr Fix It, Jr.
Jenni: "Haaalp we don't have enough hot water to the sink" -big frowny face-
Nick: -wrench, twist, unscrew, shine light, remove value- "Well, let's head on over to Lowe's."

This is what we found.  Disgusting. >>

Nick installed a new valve.  Twenty minutes later the hot water flow was renewed and at full force.  Amazing.

2. Cat loves new house.  Especially baskets.
We got this particular basket from a neighbor.  So neighborly!

I was going to use it for sorting clothes but instead it is now cat-basket.  Another household item is taken by cat, as with many things in my life (for example, cat-shelf, cat-blanket, cat-couch).

3. When we do have power, we can:
a) watch TV with an antenna (I know!  So retro!),
b) make delicious food like these chili cheese dogs (mine are vegetarian but I went full meat with Nick's).

We are so normal.

4. Nick bought me no-reason flowers.
The best kind of flowers :)

Time to pretend to work on schoolwork again...  Maybe I'll be able to update from my house tomorrow?  A girl can only hope!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

My world is a cold, cold place right now

It is freezing at Starbucks today.  I'm sure it is a comfortable temperature behind the counter for all of the little baristas back there, but for me, I am shivering.  I deeply regret my iced tea choice right now.

It has been over a week since I have had the pleasure of browsing the internet.  Sure, I have been squinting at and prodding my phone, anxiously anticipating the name reveal for Kimye's baby just like everyone else, but there is something refreshing about typing something into the computer instead of poking little letters and having to pinch zoom to read.  First world problems, right?  But I'm marginally enjoying my frosty time right now as I type on a legit computer.

Life without internet is tough.  I've actually been productive for the last week.  My lazy bone is like, "what is happening.  Go back home and cozy up on a couch, you deserving beautiful person, you." (My lazy bone is a flatterer).

However, had I not come to this Starbucks on this bright, humid day, I would not have heard a grown man  loudly direct his "homie" to his "crib", nor would I have had the pleasure of viewing obnoxious pantylines from the too-young-to-be-flaunting-that girl who ordered a large sugary mess of a drink.  I would have missed the older couple in the corner sharing a latte over a newspaper (awww..) and I may have forgotten my detestation for modern, on-the-go American breakfast items (pound cake??).  In other words, I would have missed out on life.

I prefer to indulge in these bits of humanity on a sweet and sweaty day like today.  No picture, no poems, no exciting prose today; just me and my observation of the people around me as I avoid working on some schoolwork (the supposed "real" reason I came to a coffee shop today).  Now, to the smooth voice of Eric Clapton, I will be enjoying the rest of my drink, snuggling further into my jacket, and typing out a storm of lesson plan analysis.  Have an equally successful day, my friends.  Don't take the internet for granted!

Friday, June 14, 2013

To Do Lists

I could quilt all of my to do lists together and form a sizable afghan under which I can hide and do nothing on those lists.

I really do love making lists.  I like being "organized" (what does that really mean??) and I especially love to cross things off of lists.  However, lists are lost.  Lists continue to grow.  When I cross something off, it can come back (think: dishes or laundry).  I find to do lists give me short-term inner peace, but leave me feeling empty because the list is never completed.

I am moving tomorrow.  New house.  Beautiful new house.  We got to visit it today, which was more painful than I expected because all I really wanted was to be moved in already and be home.  I am so impatient sometimes.  "Practice more patience," however, is not on my to do list.  It should be.  But it would likely never get crossed off.

I would really like to go to sleep right now, but my impatience and my adrenaline are keeping me up.  I am making list after list after list.  Moving list.  Places to contact with new address (insurance, post office, etc.).  Job search places.  Contact these people.  What book should be next for my book club.  If I combine all of these lists into one master list, I would be completely overwhelmed.  Instead, I have each list on a separate sheet of paper, labeled, and ready to be accomplished.  Here I am, accomplishing a task - "blog".

Wheeee, I am having so much fun!  Here is to my marginally interesting blog post!

edit: As a side note, someone searched for "giraffe diarrhea" on Google and clicked through to my site, so that's a bonus.  When I searched for "giraffe diarrhea", my blog came up as #8.  Some of the other links look promising, too.  Maybe I'll give them a weird search word reference on their web stats.  Can't really tell if this is a great keyword or not.  I'll take it.  I'm just in an accepting mood tonight.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Blackberries & blackbirds

If you were ever wondering when the best time to buy blackberries is, that day is today!  Here is my scientific evidence.

Fact #1: They are HUGE.
Opinion #1.1: They are great as an ingredient, but not great as decoration because they make the plate look oddly disproportional.
Opinion #1.2: It is much easier to eat an entire carton because there are only like 8 berries in a carton due to their size.  When have I ever needed an excuse to eat an entire carton of berries though?

Fact #2: They are all juice and beautifully sweet.
Opinion #2.1: They are excellent in smoothies or jams or anything you need juice for...
Opinion #2.2: If you freeze them, and put them frozen into water, they make water even MORE refreshing.  This will become relevant to my life if it ever warms up in Minnesota.

Fact #3: They are on sale at virtually every grocery store.....
Opinion #3.1: ... and if they are not on sale, you need to find a new grocery store to shop at.
Opinion #3.2: If you are planning on buying blackberries for a recipe, you'll need to double or triple the amount you buy.  If you are anything like me, you will burn through a few cartons before getting down to business.  I meant to make a blackberry dessert but oops, I just devoured the entire carton as I'm typing this post.

The blackbird part seems irrelevant to my delectable berry discussion, but I had my recurring blackbird dream last night.  The dream is terrifying.  In high school, I wrote a short story about it at 2am one morning because I had woken up from the nightmare with the vivid thoughts still bouncing around in my mind.  Anyway... Blackberry.  Blackbird.  You see the literary gem here, right?

I had a similar experience this morning.  Here's my 4am sketch and my 4:39am poem.

"Untitled poem of a young blackbird"

She sings,
blood pumps.
Desperate, confused, alone.
She cries "help".
"Wait for me,
I'll help you escape."
She screeches and halts.
The threshold is occupied.
He is all dark.
Black innocence flees black mystery.
"You've got to help her."
He flickers with aphotic movement.
He is quick, obscure, confident.
She chirps in his hand.

Stunned silence.
Dark eyes glower.
Her head artlessly angled,
her last chirp is withdrawn.
I stare into the night.
Is this the freedom
she sang for?
I sing.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Old Obsessions

Know what's amusing?  How many blogs I have.  Like 20.  I should stop and think before I sign up for a new blog.  Mine are all over the place.  Blogspot.  WordPress.  Weebly.  Google sites.  I can't make up my mind.  They are of varying topics: books, cooking, personal, teaching, artwork, travel...  I have yet to dedicate one solely to my cat, but I promise it's in the works once I come up with a clever title.  I am a hot mess.
Glenda, my very much alive plant
Let's get right to it, though.

I'm blogging today because I just read my friend's great blog, and she's going to China, and I have no doubt that her blog will be amazing.  This post is not out of jealousy (although, clearly I am envious of her travels!) but out of reminiscence.  That "oh yeah, I have a blog I used to love to write in" feeling.  So here I am, blogging about blogging yet again.

Latest news in Jenni's life:
- Got married to my best friend; it was spectacular
- Started practicing yoga; my life is forever changed for the better (probably should have said this for that getting married event...)
- We are closing on a house on Friday; I absolutely cannot wait
- I will be a licensed teacher in July; right now I am job hunting
- I have managed to keep a plant alive for more than a year; serious celebration ensues.

Here is a picture of said plant.  Her name is Glenda.

In solidarity with Glenda, I am hereby resurrecting this blog.  It's aliiiiiiive.  Last time I lamented about not having a topic - I still have too many things to write about, but I am choosing not to care right now.  It's late.  Cut me some slack maybe.

I am going to talk about.....
1. My new house and all of the projects we are going to do in it!  (on the list, installing a garbage disposal!  Running a water pipe from the sink to the fridge!  Hanging up pictures!  We are basically the HGTV channel, but IN REAL LIFE!)

2. Glenda, Pax, and Nick, and anything interesting they may be up to.  Glenda likely will not be up to anything interesting, her 5 minutes of fame are up.

3.  Anything I want, buddy! Maybe some artwork?  Maybe a poem?  Maybe a bread I baked?  Maybe a crocheted blanket?  Maybe an interesting website I found?  Maybe a new Sanskrit word I learned?  I did write a poem the other day, actually, about a giraffe screen cleaner my parents gave me for my birthday.  I love it, and he just stares at me happily all day.  Ahem....

brown, white, spot,
a friend my parents bought,
if you were a real pet
on your life you could bet
that I would hug you a lot

Lame?  Yes.  I didn't claim that my writing/art/thoughts would be good.  You should read Moliere if you want clever rhymes.

Goodnight!  Go forth and conquer!

Thursday, December 13, 2012


I've been searching for a common theme for this blog.  You know, the theme that sort of ties the blog together.  There are travel blogs and DIY blogs and .gif blogs with hilarious images where readers are like:
Reader: "Why would I read this blog?  Oh, because I love to travel too!"
Reader: "I love fish tanks, I'm so glad there's a website dedicated to the tutorial of how to make interesting tanks!"
Reader: "This person is hilarious, I want to be her."

Instead, my blog is a mishmash of life-bits and pictures.  I keep searching for a theme.  I don't want to turn this into a wedding blog just because I spend a lot of my free time on pinterest, browsing the many details of wedding planning.  I am failing at cooking blogs because really, I'm just a recipe-following cook in the kitchen.  I failed at an exercise blog because, honestly, I don't do anything remotely interesting fitness-wise (although I did run this morning in 10 degree weather with snow on the ground).

It's also this time of year that I start to think of New Years Resolutions which always leads me to think about my hobbies.  I have a lot of hobbies.  I talked to one of the teachers I work with and I asked her if she had any hobbies and she said she didn't have time to have hobbies because being a teacher is a lot of work.  I felt bad, because I don't like giving up my hobbies.  I think my hobbies are what make me an interesting person to talk to and to spend time with.  I also always want to try out new hobbies, which leaves me with even less time.

So today, I started to crochet a shawl.

There is no point to this blog entry today, other than to blog about what I should be blogging.  This blog took an existential turn on me.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


I got to substitute in a Creative Writing class today.  I know, this is like super far from the mathematics realm, but it was kind of nice to experience because almost everything about a writing class is different from a math class.  In writing classes, there are rubrics, there is the cooperation of creative and linguistic endeavors, and students spend long classes working independently.  In math classes, there are example problems, practice, reviews, formulas, theories, application of vocabulary in a numerical context, and problem solving.

The students in this class were instructed to write a 10 minute play about anything they desired.  The only cavet?  They needed to use at least three forms of persuasion (bribery, flattery, praise, threats, blackmail, pleading/begging, positive/negative emotional appeal).  While I was walking around, convincing students to keep on task and to work on their assignment, I realized how much I really missed writing creatively.  I mean, that's what draws me to having a blog.  I started getting into the concept of having a blog when I was working on math assignments non-stop, and all I wrote about all day were proofs.  I grew tired of that very specialized form of creativity; writing proofs takes thought and cleverness, but it's reason and logic, not emotion and dramatization.  I missed it.  

Since I no longer have math assignments or teaching assignments to do, I really want to spend some time this month writing creatively.  When I was brainstorming today, I found out what NaNoWriMo is and now one of my friends' facebook statuses make a ton of sense.  NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month.  I thought my friend was talking baby-talk or something crazy like that.  I really should ask more questions when I think absurd things.  Anyway, I think NaNoWriMo is in November, so I missed it this year.  But maybe I can do some work and get my future students involved in this concept in 2013, despite being a math teacher?

Monday, December 3, 2012


I got engaged this weekend!  It's real!  It happened!  It's taking me awhile to realize that this ring I am wearing is mine and I'm going to get married to my best friend!  Whaaaaaat.

The whole proposal ordeal was beautiful and special and everything a girl asks for; Nick did a really great job :)  Nick proposed at Beaver Point (not the real name of the place... I'm not sure it has a real name) and I cried and it was the most perfect ring and everything.  Then a random jogger went by and I blurted out that I just got engaged and he said congratulations and I felt bad because I told a random stranger first instead of like, my parents or Nick's parents.  This is my life.

I also finished all my school work so I should be starting my student teaching in January!  I was so excited that I didn't have a lot to do today so I decorated my fridge to look like a snowman.  Isn't he cute?  This is what happens when I'm looking up ideas for a wedding on pinterest and then I realize "hey, I can do that unrelated project in like 10 minutes".... so I did.

I also put up strings of lights around my apartment, so it's getting really festive in here.  I'm getting a little sad because I didn't really want to travel this Christmas but I think it'll be a good idea to see both my family and Nick's family since we just got engaged.  I don't know why I feel like a homebody right now.  I have the rest of my life to sit at home and snuggle with my cat.  So maybe I am excited to go on vacation then :)  Or I'm going to try to be!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Internets are scary

It was a beautiful day when Nick and I went to the apple orchard to get a pumpkin.  Usually when we go pumpkin-picking, it is a clear bright day.  This time was no exception.  Eating a caramel apple outside in October is way nicer when it's beautiful and only slightly cool outside, instead of being ridiculously hot or ungodly cold.  What's sad though is we didn't get the chance to carve it and it ended up just rotting and we had to get rid of it.  Sad pumpkin.  Happy Jenni holding said pumpkin.
I recently read a blog in which the author's frenemies found out she was spending a lot of time talking about them and their lives in her blog, so she shut down the blog and faced a lot of backlash from it.  I felt really bad for her because she was a good writer and I am kind of a gossip so I enjoyed the content of the posts.  But it made me feel bad about posting pictures of my friends or Nick on the blog because you truly don't know who is reading it.  I don't want to defame my friends even though they pick the most embarrassing pictures of me on Facebook.  Blogging versus Facebook, which is more poisonous to personal image?

On a "the internet is a vast, anonymous, scary, dangerous, embarrassing, unknown place" topic, has anyone here watched Catfish, the tv show?  That is some seriously weird stuff.  Don't trust anyone on the internet who says they love you and want to but refuse to meet you or Skype with you.  Seems like common sense but there is a whole tv show dedicated to exposing people who do this.