The News

There a bunch of “new” here.  It’s Friday, and I have a lot of new things I’m obsessed with. I guess I’ve been feeling kinda spend-y lately – after all, December is when the best sales happen, and the only person I really buy Winter Vacation Presents for is B. So there is a lot of new to share here on the blog.

First up, is this t-shirt I picked up at a recent Trails and Ways show here in Denver.  Trails and Ways is a band from Oakland (the Bay Area!) that I first discovered watching PBS’s Farm to Table Family videos. I bought their album Pathology and seriously became obsessed with their single Tereza from an earlier album.  Trails and Ways recently released a new album, which I also scooped up promptly and have been listening to almost non stop since.mother-denim-high-rise-maverick

Next up are my new glasses from Warby Parker.  I have seriously bad eyes, thanks to the Schenck lineage.  Both my sister and I have coke-bottle-thick prescriptions, and without my glasses or contacts, I can’t see further than a foot away from my face.  I’ve been wanting to get Lasik for some time, but my prescription only just recently stopped getting worse. I love the look of glasses, but with my strong prescription, it’s often easier just to wear contacts. These new additions to my Warby Parker collection though, are super comfortable.  They have nose pads, which help with the sliding down the nose problem. The frames themselves are also relatively light weight, which help with the end-of-the-day glasses strain. The kids really like them – I got complements on them starting 1st period!warby-parker-hadley

New jeans!!  New and different! I haven’t owned a pair of jeans that aren’t skinny jeans in a really, really, long time. I saw these, and immediately thought Rossin – they’re the perfect kind of stretchy, comfy, funky but still adult-ish, 70s-ish style that I could easily picture her in. THey’re definitely not the most flattering style for my long-torso-short-legs body type, but I still love them anyway. Mother Denim seriously makes the most comfortable jeans ever. These are my second pair of Mother jeans, and I will be on the lookout for more. They are ridiculously expensive full price, but affordable if you find them in the extra-sale section at Anthro.

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The jeans were a bit hit with the kiddos on Friday. Right away, while in the halls herding children into first period and welcoming my own kiddos, one of my 10th graders looked at me and said with a laugh, “Miss!  You look look such a nerd today!”  My response was, “thanks!” and I really meant it.  At least 4 kids said “nice jeans, miss!” as the day went on.mother-denim-high-rise-maverick3

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Lastly, I bought myself a new coat. I wear my Arcteryx Atom jacket just about every day, but I wanted something a bit less technical looking, and with a bit more warmth. I stumbled on this coat at Banana Republic this last weekend and it was 40% off store wide.  I knew a coat like this would never make it to the sale section (it was already sold out of some sizes online), so after some internal debate, I snapped it up. I’m so glad I did too! It’s filled with down, and waterproof (I’ve yet to test that claim though) with a full faux fur hood. It’s so warm and super cute for around the city/to school. My Arcteryx will always be my favorite, but this one fills a different need.banana-republic-parka

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glasses: warby parker – t-shirt: trails and ways – jeans: mother denim – sweater and parka: banana republic – shoes: converse


No Voice

I’ve been sick with some cold/flu/who knows for the past 2 weeks. It started over the TG break with a super sore throat. I battled it out the full following week and by Friday, my students said I sounded like a frog. Over the weekend, my voice gave out. I knew I was in trouble on Sunday, when I tried to call Bambi (my dog) in from outside, and no sound came out. I sucked it up and went in to work anyways on Monday and regretted it it almost immediately.  I should know better by now. Working while sick sucks, but teaching while sick sucks the life out of you. I was dead woman walking come 3pm, and I left early with sub plans on my desk. Advice to myself – take sick days when you need to, even when Final Exams are fast approaching!

There has been a lot running through my mind lately since my last post – the election – self care – teenage hope – the constant ask/expectations of more and more of teachers.  All being saved for another day, if ever I get my voice back.

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cardigan: madewell – shirt: urban outfitters – jeans: uniqlo – shoes: mia – lipstick: bite beauty multistick in almond


Rollin into Winter

Just a quick little post – WINTER BREAK.  Coming soon!

I picked up a few shirts from Urban Outfitters this past weekened in their sale, and wore one of them the very next day.  I liked the kind of graphic, cartoony vibe it created when paired with black jeans, so I tried to make my hair match the look by twisting it into highest bun ever. I gave myself a horn, narwhal style.  Success!

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shirt and belt: urban outfitters – jeans: uniqlo – boots: madewell


A Life Long-Lived

My grandpa would have turned 100 this coming April.

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An excerpt from his obituary:

Donald W. Schenck, World War II veteran, died on Veteran’s Day, November 11, 2016 of natural causes.  He was 99.  He leaves behind two very proud and grateful sons and a plethora of family and friends whose lives were richly influenced by this loving, humorous, and sometimes gruff but ultimately gentle giant. He was looked upon lovingly as “Dad” by many besides his own sons.

Don was born April 25, 1917 in Great Falls, MT to Carl and Emma Schenck of Neihart, MT, the 6th of 11 children.  He lived in Neihart until he was nine years old. The family moved to Great Falls in 1926 and Donald completed his education there, graduating from Great Falls High School in 1935. He lived in Shelby, MT from 1935 to 1972, where he began his career, met his wife Ethel, and raised a family.  In 1972 he and Ethel moved to Helena, where he continued a full and rich life until his death.

He met Shelby girl Ethel D. Gunderson in 1937 and they were married on June 23, 1941 in Great Falls by Pastor Lunde of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, who had also married Don’s parents in 1909 and Ethel’s parents in 1915. They had two sons, Melvin in 1946 and Clayton in 1949.

Don enlisted in the U. S. Navy SeaBees as a Yeoman on July 24, 1942 and was stationed in the Bureau of Yards and Docks in Washington, D. C. and the Bureau of Naval Personnel in Arlington, Virginia from late 1942 until April of 1945, He was then ordered to temporary duty north of the Arctic Circle near Bettles, Alaska in support of a Navy Seabees survey crew providing engineering work for the construction of an airstrip.   This airstrip was vital to air travel over the Brookes Range between Fairbanks and Point Barrow in Alaska.  He received his honorable discharge on January 4, 1946 as a Yeoman First Class and returned to his wife and home in Shelby. Three of Don’s brothers served in the war in the European front, and his brother Melvin died in a German prisoner of war camp at the end of the war.

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Growing up, my sister and I would spend every other summer and every winter up in Montana with Grandma and Grandpa. I remember one summer, he told me that “children we meant to be seen, not heard”. I spent most of my time with Grandma anyways, watching her make pies and helping her cook Christmas dinner. Grandma and Grandpa were the ones to introduce my sister and I to casseroles and cheese whiz.  They also called their couch a “davenport” and wallets “billfolds”. Grandpa aways carried a white cloth handkerchief around in his back pocket for when his nose needed honking. He often used to try and steal my nose too, a trick that would always confuse me but would bring out a giggle anyway.

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Grandpa and I didn’t really have much in common, and if we did it was kept secret. As a tween, when everything was about peace signs for me, Grandpa went on a rant because he believed the peace sign was a symbol of the broken arms of a cross. In winter of 1988, after the Dukakis/Bush election, I asked Grandma and Grandpa who they voted for. That did not go over well, because apparently politics were never to be discussed at the dinner table. I think Grandma was actually pretty liberal, which was at odds with conservative Grandpa. I wonder if they even ever discussed politics with each other.

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Grandpa was very devoted to his faith, a subject that I actively avoided discussing with him. He adamantly believed the bible was the direct word of god, and that it should be taken literally, whereas one of my favorite books is “the God Delusion” by Richard Dawkins. Needless to say, I never bothered to talk about science, politics, or religion with him as I knew it would only lead to huge blowups during the holidays. Instead, we stuck to conversations about the weather, the dinner, and the holiday decorations. In the later years, more often than not, Grandpa would just sit at the table sneaking scraps to the dog while the rest of us carried on in our conversations.

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Grandpa was also very dedicated to public service and giving back to his community. He once tried to explain to me what the Freemasons were, and what he did with the Lions Club. I asked why Grandma wasn’t also a Freemason, and I don’t remember ever getting an answer. The only thing I understood at the time was that with the Lion’s Club helped raise money to provide glasses to children who needed them, and I thought that was cool. I was 8 years old and my only exposure to clubs and associations were the Chinese Family Associations my mom belonged to. I remember thinking that these were the same, but for white people.

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I hadn’t been back to Montana to see Grandpa since December 2009. I wish I had asked Grandpa to teach me how to fish. I regret never asking him to tell me stories about growing up in what is now a ghost town in Montana. I think my sister was better at that stuff, and most of the time I preferred to be an observer rather than a participator. That’s my sister above, dancing with Grandpa at her wedding.

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Vote!

I voted.  Did you? I’m loving the “Secret Pantsuit”group on my social media also,  Have you seen it? Are you a part of the group?  If I owned a white pant suit, I would have worn it today.

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glasses: warby parker – t-shirt: thrifted – skirt: j.crew – cardigan: uniqlo – tights: h&m – boots: franco sarto


Pyjama Day

I went shopping this past weekend at the mall here in Denver, and actually hid from a student.  By hide, I mean I turned around and faced a wall/ATM. I guess I wasn’t in the mood for an awkward, weird exchange, and it seemed like I hadn’t been spotted yet. So I hid. That’s normal, right? B didn’t really think so.

Anyways, at said mall where I hid from a kid, I picked up this sack dress from Anthropologie (on super sale).  It’s so soft (cotton/rayon) the dress feels like it should be worn to bed instead of worn to work.  So I wore pyjamas to school on Monday and it felt glorious.

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dress: anthropologie – boots: madewell


I’m No Expert on Cat-Calling

I just finished up sexual health week in my bio class, where we talked about STIs, contraceptives, and I answered a hundred burning questions from teenagers about sex (both as a noun and as a verb). We ended the week with consent as the discussion topic of the day, and it spilled out into a whole new can of worms that I’ve been mulling over for the past few days — rape culture in high school.

A few disclaimers to start with: I’m not an expert on anything.  I’m not an expert in teaching, not an expert in science, not an expert in rape culture, not an expert in sexual health, not an expert in psychology, not even an expert in fashion (which is what this blog is all about). I’m also not intending to make blanket statements about any groups of people. I may inadvertently do so in this post, but please know that it is not my intent to create nor perpetuate stereotypes about any groups or communities. So, take this for what it is – a teacher who is struggling with how to approach a sensitive topic with her teenage students.

I started the lesson with a warm-up, asking kids to respond to this comic I found from an old Huffington Post article. Responses in my  first period class (non-honors Bio) ranged from “some of the things being said aren’t bad at all” and “she’s getting complimented”, to “she looks angry”. Responses in 3rd and 5th (Honors Bio) were more what I expected to hear, such as “she’s being cat-called and it’s gross”. Following the warm-up, we watched this video about a woman walking the streets of NYC for 10 hours and getting cat-called a ridiculous number of times. The conversations exploded the moment the video finished in every class, but the difference in the tone of the classes was striking.

In first period, the conversation was dominated by the boys (and one girl) with comments such as “well, she was walking down by the clubs, so what would you expect?” and “that’s rude! she should say thank you when people say good morning!”. Girls are already out numbered in this class, and most of them pretty much kept quiet unless I called on them.  A couple girls tried to argue back with the boys, but they ended up getting drowned out. One kid said something along the lines of “well, you know, she’s got curves and she’s wearing tight pants, you know, how can people ignore that?” The most vocal girl was agreeing with the boys – even going so far as to say the guy in the video who followed the woman for 5 minutes was “just going in the same direction, what’s wrong with that?” My jaw just hit the floor at that point.

This was when it really hit me (at 8 in the morning) how grossly ill-prepared  I was for this conversation that was happening around me. These are teenage boys (and a girl), earnestly and innocently having a conversation that essentially perpetuates rape culture in our society – victim blaming, mansplaining, and #notallmen. The saddest thing of all was when I moved the conversation on to Brock Turner, a couple girls said, “it’s sad, but that’s what we expect now”. *tears*

My 3rd and 5th periods were so different from this – girls spoke up, the boys agreed with the girls, and even expressed solidarity with the woman in the video.  *tears* One kid mentioned that a girl from 1st period had warned her that she “was going to get so mad about class today”.

In the end, I failed my kids big time on this.  I hadn’t created enough of a safe space for my girls to speak up. I assumed the kids were mature enough to tackle these sensitive subjects and I assumed they’d all agree that cat-calling was a negative thing to do. I failed to recognize and anticipate past experiences of my students (one kid told a story about when he had paid a genuine compliment to a stranger who misunderstood and cussed him out and how he’s still upset about it).  I was woefully unprepared for what happened. I should have paid closer attention and structured the lesson to give girls opportunities to share in smaller groups. I should have designed a pre-lesson that focused on empathy. I should have done a lot of things, and next year, there will be changes.

Or…maybe I should just leave it up to the experts? Who are these experts in high school? I know some of my colleagues also struggle with this. When I asked around, I heard that one year an English teacher taught A Streetcar Named Desire, and some kids said that Blanche deserved what she got (rape). Who’s taking this on and is it even our place? Is this one of those things were I’m stepping out of line as a biology/science teacher? I really don’t have an answer to this. Reader, do you?

In the meantime, here’s an outfit from this past week.  Moving through my Australian COS haul slowly. A lovely kid in 6th period (AP Bio) said that my “outfit is on point today, Miss.”  *tears*

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top: cos – jeans: uniqlo – shoes: cole hahn