Monday, April 23, 2012

What does it take?

After so many months - a post. I had forgotten my new year's resolution. Simply two things: 1. to write more 2. to try more - especially trying to be happy. How have I been doing while no longer consciously trying? Not as good. I have replaced happy with busy. Which is not to say that I am unhappy. Just, not focused on finding it or relishing it when it happened. Tonight, I am grading in my new house. For weeks, I have been focused on chips in the paint, problems with the table, and the relative lack of being unpacked with everything in its place. Tonight, I will focus on hot cocoa and improving students' essays. And on simply enjoying.

Friday, June 24, 2011

I'm so tired of acting tough, gonna do just what I please....

I have been on a fairly large Jack White bender lately.

Don't confuse this with a Jack Black bender. Fortunately that has never happened to me.

Often a fan of the White Stripes (Icky Thump was one of the albums Chris and I played incessantly on our trip cross country and some part of it reminds me of Arizona and endless stretches of road), I have been listening to everything by him lately.

And I have to admit, I think I may be a tad obsessed with Jack White as a "person."

Or, at least... as a persona.

I have loved his commitment to doing what he pleased forever now.

Pretending an exwife is a sister. Wacky, but great. Helps avoid awkward questions I guess.

Teaming up with Lorretta Lynn? Just plain awesome.

Starting a dozen other bands...just for fun? The man is starting to sound as hyperactive and in need of stimulus as I am.

Throwing a divorce party to say farewell to a relationship that had beauty but didn't work? Who does that? Jack does.

But mostly I just like that whatever he does, he seems to commit 100% to. That whole only wearing red or white or black thing? That could've been difficult for many. He did it with panache. He was steampunk before there was a word.

Simply put - I love him, and think he is a genius, for doing what has made me happiest - no matter what. And I think doing that has made him a success.

I'm not saying I am going to commit to a three-color pallet (though, to be honest, I wear a lot of blue) or that after 5 months of piano lessons (I'm up to F thank you) I'm going to start a band, but...

I think I am going to try to inject just a little more of Jack White into my life.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

With my lightning bolts a-glowing, I can see where I am....

Day 1 of trying to be happy.

Well, currently I am happy - happy to be finished with grading research papers!

But that was not really about attempting to be happy as it was attempting to be done.

This trying to be happy stuff is harder than Uncle Leo made it out to be.

But, my attempt today came during traffic.

I am not certain who taught me this, but I have been taught that traffic is car-dance-party time.

I have done this in just about every car I have ever driven.

I have started multi-car dance parties on 80 at rush hour.

And today, I ignored the looks on my fellow drivers as I busted my move.

And I realized, not for the first time, that this was an odd way to deal with traffic, but that it made me happy.

Or, happier.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Give us this day... daily lesson.

I have abandoned the Lessons from Literature approach. Though I am certain I will still make frequent literary connections, I think it was feeling more of an extension of classroom epiphanies and less about actual learning for me.

And I need to learn.

Yesterday my 95 year old great uncle told me the secret to his age.

He said he tries to be as happy as possible.

While a relatively happy person, I don't know if I can say that I actively try to be as happy as possible.

I try many things: to be as fit as possible, as efficient as possible, and even, frequently, as good as possible.

But I do not think I have ever tried to be as happy as possible.

The idea is ponderous to me.

How can this change my daily life? I will try to find out.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Lesson 23. Oh the places you'll go.

Ok. This is not really a lesson.

Chris is in charge of the budget. He had declared at least a year off from international travel (though I snuck Canada in as our 51st+.. I wonder if I could do the same for Bermuda).

So now I have to think about local travel. In these United States.

I know this summer we are doing the Northeast. Culminating in ocean kayaking in Maine.

But where else should be on my list?

So far it's....
Savannah. I don't know why.
I liked. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. That's why.

I generally want to sample the south a little more.

California more too.

And I've never been to Boston, only drove through Chicago, and can't remember anything about Philly. But watching/reading John Adams made me really want to go back.

Colonial Williamsburg too. Monticello. I love ye olde colonial. Chris doesn't.

And there is a bike trip down from Buffalo to Albany along the Eerie Canal (got a mule, her name is Sal) that we've been planning.

Don't worry. It's an official tour.

And Yellowstone. That's on the list.

I guess we should see Texas too. During our cross country trip, it was only a lunch stop. I want to remember the alamo. Or learn about it in the first place. Just like in Pee Wee's big adventure.

I would go back to Nashville too. Just for the food.

And Cleveland. Cause it rocks.

I will think of more soon. I think I need a map.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Lesson 22: Repetitive redundancy.

A few weeks ago, my beloved Stephen King ("Uncle Stevie") decided to no longer be a guest columnist for Entertainment Weekly.

His predominant reason? Fear of repeating himself.

And while I am sad he is leaving, I can understand his worries.

I worry that there is a shelf life to our jokes, our stories, and our demands.

Sometimes I think that may be part of the reason I am a high school teacher. I like the part where I am in people's lives for brief flashes and then a memory.

I keeps me from worrying that I am going to wind up an overplayed chorus. Like a summer song that gets played too long into the fall.

Now I just have to decide if I still want my subscription to the magazine.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Lesson 21: Don't stop believin'

I think I have written before about optimism.

While I never seem to get to teach it (Willy Loman the optimist? Only ironically), my preferred literature often reeks of optimism.

Persepolis? Times are tough but we'll get through.

Old School? School is awkward but I will grow up and make money telling people my woes.

Even my super favorite A Prayer For Owen Meany? I may be getting smaller but I still see you.

Why is optimism seen as childish?

I had a 15 year old today tell me that he would rather not look forward to a possibility of a snow day and be surprised than spend a day hoping.

I know I am supposed to agree. I know I should be cynical. All I want is snow though.

I am hoping to live forever as an optimist.

For example: despite knowing that the snow is supposed to end early, I have thoughts like...

...maybe they will run out of room to put the snow and I will have off?

...but I picked up my car from the shop, I am so prepared for school so I must have off.

...I work in such a big town, they will never be able to plow it all.

I guess this can be the optimist test.

Will I go in tomorrow or will my inside out pjs pay off? Will it be a day of cocoa cookies and catching up... or will I review for midterms?