Let me preface this post that they don’t necessarily always have to go together, but there is a singular purpose in trying one new restaurant and seeing one new movie in a theater a month: TO GET OUT OF THE HOUSE … Continue reading
The goal is to read three books a month, but I only made it through two (and a half). Consider it a stretch goal.
You by Caroline Kepnes – It’s been a really long time since I’ve had a book that I literally couldn’t put down, and I would like to openly thank Caroline Kepnes for entertaining me during my long flights to and from Europe. Written from the point-of-view of a stalker, this book is as if American Psycho, Misery, and The Catcher in the Rye had a baby. At first, I was disgusted by Joe (our narrator) and terrified for Beck (his obsession), but Kepnes is so skilled at weaving the plot that Joe subtly became my protagonist, and I feared for the moment he would get caught. It’s pretty slick writing that can get you to like (and even feel sorry for) a sometimes violent, sexually depraved sociopath. It does get a little graphic at times, but if you liked American Psycho then you could definitely handle this one.
Even more exciting, once I had finished the book, I discovered that a sequel comes out this month! I can’t even imagine where or how that story will play out.
The Painter by Peter Heller – Having read Heller’s The Dog Stars a couple years ago, I was excited to pick up his next book. The blurb on the back described an artist (cleaned up after trouble with the law) who finds himself accidentally pitted against a band of dangerous hunters and ends up on the run. True, but this book was deeeeeep. Like possibly too deep and heavy for me (that part about the pet pig was just too close to home). The moments of action were really engaging (and the narrator is tongue-in-cheek funny), but the book slows down considerably to dig into identity, self and grief (and there’s some class and gender and man vs nature stuff in there, too). Basically what I’m saying is, this is a heavy text. There’s a surface story, but there’s also a lot going on along the way and if you’re just looking for a quick read – this isn’t the book you are looking for. I liked it but I didn’t love it.
On a side note, for February I have several biographies that have been stacked up on my nightstand so I officially declare February Biography Month. I’ll let you know how it goes.
I remember a moment in my classroom, telling my 6th graders, “You see this wrinkle?? This one RIGHT HERE?? You did this to me!” This morning, three of my friends (two of them also teachers who can probably attribute their … Continue reading
This week started pretty terrible. It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly where my misery at work stems because I could technically blame my boss or blame a lack of resources or blame January, but my working environment has complex layers that all … Continue reading
In my role as an instructional coach, I’ve worked with teachers across all spectrums of experience and style. I can’t say that I have a favorite “type” (variety is the spice of life), but right now I’m having a lot of fun watching the evolution of my brand new teachers. In the fall, they had so many questions, and so many tears. One of them even shared this graphic with me:
Ten years ago, I was charged with teaching 6th grade for the first time, and I can vividly remember these feelings. When they said, “You get to spend a week at Outdoor School with your students,” I wanted to run and hide in a hole. An entire week? Sleeping on a bunk? Eating camp food? Singing songs? No, thank you. My (very patient) teammates can attest that I HATED Outdoor School, and made my misery well-known…for several years.
The thing is, I like my life. It’s just the way I want it to be. Having grown-up living in joint custody, where I schlepped my stuff from house-to-house every few days, I developed a keen sense of what I wanted in my adult life: STABILITY. CONTROL. COMFORT.
If you grew up consistently sleeping in one bedroom, eating out of the same fridge, and taking the same route to-and-from school everyday, you’ll never know what it was like to basically live a vagary lifestyle of unknowns. Now, I want to eat the same, bland breakfast everyday; Netflix and chill afterwork; play video games in bed; you get the idea.
So a couple weekends ago when I was being dragged around Barcelona with 49 other teachers on zero sleep and strange food, I asked myself, “What the hell am I doing here?” Most everyone else seemed pretty content to let someone else decide when and where we went, what we would eat, when we would go to sleep; but I kept finding myself sneaking away from the group, and at one point I ditched them to go running and eat salami from the supermarket. (It was a very freeing moment).
There’s a misconception that I am so particular because I’m high-maintenance, or inflexible. That’s not it at all – I grew up constantly experiencing change based on the whim of my parents. In fact, that has made me so incredibly flexible in the workplace (which I think my teammates can also attest to). So when they said, “Go to Outdoor School,” it wasn’t that it was cold and muddy and the bunk was hard as a rock and the food came out of a can or the camp staff are insanely perky at 6am – it was that I had no control.
That being said, I know that I can’t hide in my shell for the rest of my life. I signed up to take my students to Greece in the summer (with a teammate who will help calm my anxiety) because HEL-LO it’s a free trip. At the same time I was thinking, “What the hell am I doing here?” in Barcelona, I also thought, “Look how far I’ve come. I can do this.”
The kicker? Even though I’m no longer teaching 6th grade, I volunteered to spend a week at Outdoor School in place of a teacher who has an infant at home. An entire week. Sleeping on a bunk. Eating camp food. Singing songs. And I’ll probably enjoy it.
After an epic run in Barcelona last weekend, I was excited to run in another semi-warm location during the heart of January. This weekend I’ve been holed up at the Park Hyatt Aviara in Carlsbad, CA for an author’s retreat, hosted by Corwin (no, I’m not an author, but I’m honored to spread their word). Typically the way these events work for me is that I spend all day sitting, and expel all my pent up energy at the end of the day. However, the days were extremely compressed from sun-up to sun-down so instead I joined a small running group in the morning.
Straight off, we don’t know where we’re going. We had a map the concierge gave us, but once we hit the road, there were no signs, and no light read the map. My GPS gave a vague location but since we didn’t know which direction to go, it didn’t really help. Regardless, we squeezed in a quick three miles that went STRAIGHT DOWN, and then STRAIGHT UP.
As you can see, there was a lot of backtracking and, “Wait – where are we?”
That being said – you can’t complain about running along the Four Seasons as the sun comes up.
I’ve run in this area once before, and it remains one of my least favorite runs ever. I know there are running trails, but I just can’t seem to find them. While I did identify the trail around the lagoon, I turned back after thirty feet because it was so empty and hidden amongst the brush that it screamed “rape trail.”
So instead, I’ve now run in weird loops around the resorts and residential streets that are not interesting enough to keep my mind off the fact that I don’t know where I am.
Two down, ten more to go.
One of my (lofty) goals this year is to run in 12 different cities. First off, why make this goal at all? A lot of people find it hard to fit exercise into their travel (whether it’s business or pleasure) but … Continue reading
I don’t make resolutions, but obviously I set a lot of goals. Right now, I’m revisiting a bodybuilding eating plan that I successfully completed last summer. Like most people, I enjoyed my holiday cookies and New Year’s Eve Taco Bell to … Continue reading
Most active people I know are familiar with a foam roller. At this point, if you’re not doing some body rolling, you’re missing out in a lot of ways. Personally, I don’t use my foam roller as often as I should… … Continue reading
Last night, a podcast called Radio Blackout interviewed me about my annual bucket list. It was pretty informal and we were just joking around most of the time, but when I gave them my pitch that if you achieve 20 goals a year, then … Continue reading