Last Fridays

There are only 2 (two) more Fridays left in the school year. Final exams start tomorrow, and end by this Friday. I’m giving up on wearing anything more than jeans and t shirts from here on out. This is what I wore to school last Friday, because it snowed that day, and I was still cold. Harrumph.

THLT Patagonia snap t

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pullover: patagonia – tshirt: upper playground – jeans: mother denim – shoes: vans – watch: fitbit blaze – belt: urban outfitters

Cusp of Spring

It’s warming up here in Denver, but it’s been a rocky spring.  Our garden was first pummeled by a late spring snow storm, only to get ripped to shreds by a hail storm a couple of weeks later! This set of photos are from the start of the month, in the thick of the weather see-saw that is spring in Colorado.

This shirt dress is from COS, picked up during my spring break trip to Toronto. It’s roomy, edgy, fun, and it HAS POCKETS! I wore it out to a girl’s night dinner, and I was asked exactly 4 times if I was headed to Denver Fashion Week after dinner by servers and strangers. That MUST mean something cool – right? The leggings are from Costco (they have heaps more than just food!), and they are the softest, warmest, leggings ever. More to come from Costco in the future. None of it is particularly fashionable, or glamorous, but very, very, practical.

On a side, note, B and I got engaged! more to come on that later.

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sweater and dress:cos – leggings: costco – boots: blundstone – bracelet: julia szendrei

If You Must, Do it Directly (guest post!)

Hey guys, Erika asked if I (one of her friends/ colleagues) would want to write a guest-post in her blog.  Sounded fun, so I agreed.  You’ve seen me here before!  Erika and I have been teaching at the same school for 3 years strong.  We have also bonded over the challenge of fly-fishing – I’m sure you’ll read about some fishing this summer.  We will be teaching partners next year, which I am very much looking forward to (<- ignore the prepositional stranding throughout!).

People who get along tend to share values in common.  Turns out I get along with people who share my love for being outdoors – my closest friends are women who don’t paint their nails compulsively, but rather hike, bike, run, climb, and compete in their free time.  All my other friends are men with whom I play sports.  I love people who can yell at each other [or more accurately, when I can give them a hard time on the sports field], and then 2 minutes later we’re over it.  Environments where there are so many emotions/too much sensitivity can be a struggle to manage for me. I find that when people handle disagreements with the right balance of sensitivity and reason (emphasis on reason), they are easier to get along with.

I think that’s one reason Erika and I will crush the co-planning gig for Chemistry next year.  Erika is a direct communicator, just like I am.  My prediction is that we will be VERY efficient in meetings, but have the right amount of socializing in the mix.  Due to this predicted efficiency, I think I will finally hit my stride in accomplishing all the things teachers have to do in the 12 minutes of plan time that aren’t consumed by meetings about meetings, more meetings, emails, phone calls, data trackers, and more data trackers.

I am looking forward to what it might be like if my life were NOT consumed by my job – hopefully round three of Chemistry will be less of a struggle than the previous two years.  Also, wish me luck as I try to convince Erika to give up some hours over the summer to plan out Chemistry content so we can save time in the fall!

As an aside on the note of direct communication, if you haven’t watched the full monologue of Hasan Minhaj at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, you should really get on that. In my opinion, comedy is one of the most engaging forms of entertainment.  When you couple it with direct communication,  there isn’t anything more complex or a more astute presentation of information.  Hasan’s monologue was so good that I have watched it three (3) times – worth every minute.  Finally, and most importantly, I wish I could teach class like this monologue EVERY DAY.

“Do you want to know what he’s not doing while he’s golfing? Being president. Let the man putt-putt…  apocalypse delayed; take the W.”  – Hasan Minhaj

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Day of Silence

Last week the Gay-Straight Alliance at my school organized a Day of Silence, to represent the marginalization of LGBTQQ youth and the silencing of their voices. As part of the day of silence we wore black as a symbol of our support for our LGBTQQ students. I’m not too crazy about this outfit, and there isn’t really much to say about it, except for the fact that this new sweater of mine from COS has extra long sleeves, and thumb holes.

Instead, I’ll tell you about my nightmare of a morning, and how glad I am for not flipping out. As a teacher, there are a lot of things worse than technology not working.  A fight could happen, a kid could lose it and cuss you out, you could lose your shit and cry in front of a class. Today though, it really felt like one of the worst mornings, ever. In retrospect, it wasn’t even close to being the worst, but it sure felt that way by the time I got a breather from students.

So…there is this cool new documentary called Before the Flood out about climate change. The 9th grade bio teacher who told me about it said her kids really got into it, and she even had a worksheet ready to go!  I was all set for a chill day of watching a documentary and discussing the juicy bits. I bought the movie on iTunes, and watched it myself last night to prep. Come 1st period this morning, I was hit with a High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) error when I tried to play the darn movie.

It was like dead air on the radio station as I scrambled to troubleshoot the Promethian Board and my laptop display settings. No luck. I could feel my blood pressure rising as the kids stared at me blankly. One kid decided it was cool to yell “just play it already!” or something to that effect. I told the kids to work on their homework while I tried to figure it out, the stress constriction forming in my chest and throat. For the rest of the period, I tried to trouble shoot. As the bell rang, I found the same movie, the full version, online for free. OMFG. As I’m recounting my morning story, my stress levels are going up again. So I’m going to stop here and go be one with my couch. Happy Tuesday, everyone!

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glasses: warby parker – sweater: cos – belt: banana republic (old) – jeans: f21 (old) – shoes: target

Spring Sprung

These photos are from last week.  I broke my shopping ban in Toronto over spring break and picked up a second pair of Blundies.  Seriously, I need another pair of Blundstones like I need a hole in my head.  But these are black, and the pair I already have are brown. That is my thought process here, I’m not even kidding. But ALSO, they were cheaper because I was in Canada, another Commonwealth country, and I have more buying power with the current exchange rate. Justification of a ridiculous purchase! All jokes aside though, these boots will last me literally forever. One woman I know has had her Blundies since college, and I’m pretty sure she’s at least a little bit older than me.  This means my Blundies will last untill I’m dead. Just like this dress from 2012, this sweater from 2015, and this scarf from 2013.

On the school front, there are only 4 (or 5, depending on the positivity of the person) weeks till school is out!  Our kids have been testing these past 2 weeks, and the teachers have been feeling the testing fatigue. Testing at our school means 100 min blocks, all day every day for 2 weeks. I love my kids, but these blocks have felt extra long these days. I have also been planning these class blocks packed with super relaxing and chill activities such as annotating scientific texts, structured discussions/debates, argumentative writing, and synthesis.

It’s funny – every year I think I’m sooooo done, I’m just going to show movies for the rest of the year! But then a super interesting topic comes around and bam, I spend heaps of time really working to develop their thinking skills.  This year, they will be studying the potential future US/Mexico border wall, but through the lens of the ecological impacts a large physical barrier would create. These past 2 weeks I’ve been busy working on the build up – not even the juicy part! We’re still just working on learning ecological relationships (trophic levels, disruptions in food webs, etc), and I got evaluated this past Tuesday.  Ugh.  My lesson was pretty good – I had spent hours working on it myself and elicited the eyes of no less than 4 other people, which means it was “effective”. Evaluations really have a way of feeling punitive as opposed to a learning experience. It’s to the point where I have been trained to just be thankful that I’m “effective”. SAD!

THLT blundstones

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glasses: warby parker – scarf: topman – cardigan: madewell – dress: gap – leggings: target – boots: blundstone 510

Favorite Things – March

I have a secret . . .  I’m somewhat really obsessed with watching makeup and style YouTube videos in the evenings before I fall asleep. It’s my guilty pleasure. Some people watch the Bachelor, some watch 16 and Pregnant, and then there are others who watch Primitive Technology (I’m looking at you, B). I watch people put makeup on and talk about skin care products they like. One feature I really enjoy is watching Monthly Favorites type videos where people talk about what they really enjoyed in the last month. I’m stealing the idea, because I’m tired of just writing about school, and there are some really cool things I want to share!

First:

Girl’s night out to Hop Alley here in Denver. I love this place, mainly because it is actually a really good Chinese American restaurant. Bonus points, they mix up drinks to share, Scorpion Bowl style! My mom is one of the best chefs ever, and I grew up in California – the mecca of good Chinese (and all other Asian) food in the states. Needless to say, the bar is set pretty high for me in terms of Asian cuisine, and I can be extremely critical. Just ask B – he HATES going to Asian “themed” or “inspired” restaurants with me because all I will do is criticize their terrible food, their cultural appropriation, and casually racist drink names. Take note, Cholon Denver.

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Second:

Toronto!  My BFF Abraham and I went to visit our friend Edgar in Toronto over Spring Break. Edgar used to teach with us here in Denver, but moved up to Canada last fall. We missed him, and what better excuse to do some quick traveling? My favorite bits included taking a day trip to Niagara Falls, getting drinks at the Lockhart (the best Harry Potter themed bar ever, complete with magic tricks!), and breaking my shopping ban at COS.

 

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THLT the Lockhart toronto

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Third:

B and I are ramping up with the gardening thing. We have been spending every weekend working in the garden. We built new garden beds in the front yard, planted a new grafted 4-fruit tree, and sowed a bunch of seeds in the vegetable garden. Waiting patiently for the summer harvest and for the peonies I planted to bloom!  Check out some of our work on B’s blog, beau.blog, and my Instagram (mostly stories though).

Fourth:

Our new lemon tree. Impulse purchase at the garden center – but it smells absolutely AMAZING. I will happily sit by this little mini tree and stick my nose in the flowers all afternoon. I really hope it does well in our living room, I love it so much!

Side note: more often than not, when I look at this little plant, I am transported back to 1996 when I spent the summer in Taipei, Taiwan, and the song craze of the summer was called Lemon Tree.  It’s amazing, check it out.

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Fifth: Material Things

I bought this NARS blush palette near the end of 2016, and I’ve been using it every single day since. I love Nars blushes, and I already own a few singles as well as the Danmari blush palette. The shades are very pigmented, and the colors very bold and strong. Even for a blush lover like me, anything more than a tiny tap of the brush verges into painted clown territory. Blended out well, these blush shades are perfect for my medium skin tone and can look very natural. It can make my cheeks look as if I just ran down the hall to the copier and back during 1st period with my fingers crossed I don’t come back to a hot mess.

Aesop…so darn “artisanal”, but so darn heavenly, I can’t even resist. I went on a ridiculous Aesop splurge whilst in Melbourne this past summer (cheaper due to the exchange rate, and country of origin!), and I’m still savoring these two: Resolute Hydrating Body Balm and Marrakech Intense Perfume. B isn’t a fan of the smell of the perfume, but I don’t care, I love it. Both scents are unconventional, intoxicating, more spicy than sweet, and slightly hippy-ish (a term I wouldn’t usually use to describe myself).

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B turns 36

My favorite person, B, turned 36 last week. We had a small backyard BBQ to celebrate the weekend before, and I hastily snapped some photos of him with some of our closest friends who happened to be in good lighting. Here are the best of them.

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I’ve been super lazy with blogging lately, I know. I got back from a spring break trip to Toronto, so a post on that will be coming up soon.  I’ve also been amassing a list of blog post ideas that will help put me on a schedule with posting more regularly. I’m determined to get better! Thanks for hanging in there in the meantime.