36 Hours in Denver

I have a LDBF (long distance best friend, for those of you who aren’t aware) who lives in Denver, which happens to be one of my favorite cities. One of the reasons that this LDBF relationship works so well is that roundtrip tickets from Chicago to Denver (and vice versa) are often less than $100. Shout out to the real MVPs – Spirit and Frontier! If one of us lived in the middle of nowhere Kansas, where flights are exponentially pricier, this friendship likely wouldn’t be a thing. So anyways, I booked a flight out for this past MLK weekend.

A few days before my flight is due to leave, Chicago gets a winter warning for a storm that will drop oodles of snow on us. Airlines start canceling flights and allowing for passengers to make alternate plans. My flight wasn’t canceled, so I decided to wait until the day of. I wake up Saturday morning, and the flight is on time. Sweet! As I’m packing, I get a notification. Flight is delayed three hours. Okay, that’s fine. Another hour passes, and it’s delayed five hours. Thankfully, that was the last delay. My 41 hour trip to Denver has been reduced to 36 but that’s fine! I got to O’Hare and was blown away by how empty the airport was. It looked like a ghost town. Despite the shut down, I get through security in less than 5 minutes. That is unheard of for Chicago! There wasn’t even a line at Starbucks. To make it even better, my flight was half empty.

So here’s what I got up to that weekend. Keep in mind that I’ve been to Denver 5 times over the last 3 years, so this was definitely not a tourist trip.

Saturday: My LDBF picked me up from the airport. The one thing that always amuses me about Denver is how nice the drivers are. There’s no honking. There aren’t cars weaving through traffic like the jerks in Chicago do. Everyone keeps their distance from the car behind them. They’re just so dang nice. We stopped at a tea shop, then headed to her place. She and I are both trying to figure out our life’s purpose, so we made vision boards. Both of our vision boards ended up with a lot of yoga and travel inspiration, due to our limited magazine choices. A year of flexibility and airplane rides is a-okay with me! We rounded out the evening with some dank steaks (have you ever had a steak from a Traeger grills?) and a bad game of bowling.

Sunday: We woke up the next morning and wandered around Denver for a bit. We grabbed breakfast bowls at a spot called Illegal Petes and then continued on to drive up to Boulder, which is the cutest town ever. I picked up a few mugs, and some CBD oil from the most enthusiastic man I have ever met. I never mentioned dogs, but he ran through a 10-minute spiel about how good it is for them (for the record: I am not an animal person). We ended up at the casino because her dad is an MVP there and we could get free food. My friend and her boyfriend killed it at blackjack, while I lost $20 on dime slot machines. Gambling is a vice I will not be getting behind. That night was the blood moon lunar eclipse, and we ended the night with that!

Monday: My flight was due to leave at noon so we started our morning rather early with a hot yoga class. The class was very meh. The instructor didn’t cue well and the music didn’t fit at all. (Note to self: go to more yoga classes). She also mentioned Martin Luther King a ridiculous number of times. We went back, showered, had smoothies and coffees, and then she dropped me off at the airport with a bag of snacks, like a real best friend does. A quick two hour ride later, and I was back home with a full heart!

Head + Heart = Hustle

Head + Heart = Hustle

After college, I went into Teach for America as a corps member. I was placed in Chicago, and taught for two years while going to graduate school to become a licensed teacher. It was the hardest two years of my life, by far. For most people who go into TFA, academics had been easy for them. Many came from top tier schools and had impressive resumes. None of us expected to be challenged the way that we were those two years.

A photo from summer training my first year. See all those charts in the back? I’m pretty proud of them.

During our two years, TFA held countless professional developments and learning opportunities. In all honesty, I was not in the appropriate mental state at the time to take advantage of those. “You want me to think more?” I would say to myself every time I saw a flyer for a meeting. Those two years in the corps were, for the most part, just me trying to keep my head above water. I couldn’t think about the future when I was struggling to get through my day.

Up close and personal with one of those charts I stayed up all night drawing

Fast forward to today: I left my placement school and work at a great school now. I have time to think and process my experiences now. I have time for friends and family, and for myself. I cry far less. I no longer have to consider if crashing my car in the morning drive in would be worth the potential week off I could get. Kidding (sort of). I am finally in a place where I can think about the future.

I saw a flyer in an alumni e-mail a few months ago. It was for a fellowship that they called the “Work on Purpose Fellowship.”

Do you want to figure out what your purpose in life is? Are you considering a move out of the classroom but have no clue what to do/where to go? COME ON OUT!

My answer to all the questions on the flyer was yes. I applied to the fellowship and got accepted. Yesterday was our first meeting, and I’m excited to dive into it. I am finally at a place in life where I can develop myself, and I am grateful to have opportunities like this – opportunities that I scoffed at months ago.

I walked into the room yesterday. There were binders, tote bags and pens on each of the chairs. I promptly texted a picture of the pens to some friends who had decided against the fellowship and had a seat (teachers are suckers for quality writing utensils). Upon going through the binder, I realized I was the youngest person there, which came as a relief to me. As ridiculous as it sounds, it made me feel better that people who are older and wiser and had more experience on this planet also had the same wonderings about their career path. Maybe I’m not the only person who hasn’t found their true calling yet! (No duh, Jeanette)

Last night was an introduction. We met all the other fellows, who came from all over the country and had all types of experiences, but who all realized that they weren’t quite sure of their purpose. We talked about what we were going to get out of the experience. We discussed the messed up educational landscape of our city and state.

The fellowship will be utilizing a curriculum developed by Echoing Green, which is an organization that promotes thought and idea amongst social entrepreneurs. Head + Heart = Hustle is at the core of the curriculum. This is what I hope to get out of the next few months. Heart: I know what I care about, which is special education reform. Head: I’m not quite sure what skills I have (does the teacher stare count?). My hopes are that when I figure out my skills, I can match it to my heart and its passion, and find work that is fulfilling, impactful and meaningful to me. So here it goes guys! Time to hustle!

Job Snob and Presidency

I think I might be a job snob. I’ve been called a snob before, but never a job snob. I’m not quite sure how to handle this.

For the entirety of my adult life, I’ve held two jobs – both as a special education teacher. The first school I worked at was the epitome of a living hell. I would cry on my way to work, during my lunch, on the ride back and then a little more at home. I dreaded going to work everyday. The second school, where I currently am, causes far less tears. I have a fun group of kids, a great case manager and the autonomy to teach how I see fit.

I also taught in Israel for a few weeks. Definitely not my calling.

“Is this enough? Am I fulfilled?” I still find myself wondering. Yesterday, I had a pseudo midlife crisis meltdown and cried for two hours about how my professional life is in shambles. “My job doesn’t tick all the boxes,” I cried. I had written a list down at the end of the last school year with attributes my dream job would have. It would have flexible hours, great pay, autonomy and an unlimited supply of LaCroix. On top of that, it would also be aiding in the greater good of the world, challenging me daily and thrill me on the regular. Isn’t that what everyone strives to have in their career?

This got me thinking. When did a job stop being “just a job”? When did good pay, and health insurance become not enough? When did it become something that was expected to fulfill you as well? I think it might be a millennial thing. I worked a summer in a bougie office between my first two years of teaching, and everyone who came through the elevator had the same jokes about retirement. “How many more days for you Sally?” one would ask another. “Ah, you know, 452 and 2 hours,” Sally would reply. My stomach would turn, as I vowed to never be like Sally and gang.

I want a job that I am excited to go to every morning. I enjoy what I do now, sometimes, but it gets monotonous and boring to teach single digit addition on the daily. Am I supposed to get thrill from a career? Is that pretentious of me to desire? My husband made a great point – I want everything that would be found in a fulfilling life in my career. Why can’t I get the checkmarks that go unchecked outside of my job? Why am I insistent that my dream job exists?

I’m in the midst of reading the Michelle Obama book (book number 8 of the year for my self imposed challenge). She apparently had similar feelings when she was a lawyer, and segued into working with the government. She took a pay cut and lost some sweet perks of the job in order to follow her heart. Oh, and then she became the First Lady of our country. So if Michelle Obama can figure it all out, maybe I can too. Maybe if I just finish reading the book (I’m about 44% through), my answer will be there, glowing, highlighted and in bold text, on the last page. Maybe I’ll just run for president. I’m sure they have that unlimited supply of LaCroix that I was asking for. Wishful thinking, amirite?


Texas Highlights Pt. 3: Austin

YOU GUYS. Get on Google flights. Find yourself a flight to Austin. GO.

Austin was easily the highlight of our Texas trip for myself and my husband. Austin made us think. Austin showed us some pretty sites. Austin was legit.

After two days in San Antonio, we drove on to Austin, which was our final city to visit in Texas. Read on for what tickled our fancy there! (Hint: pretty much everything).

Austin Stop #1: Platinum Ink Tattoo

I’m a big souvenir person. I got back from a weekend trip and brought home 3 mugs. My husband promptly told me to stop doing this. We’ll see! My husband and I had been talking about getting tattoos as souvenirs (primarily because they don’t take up kitchen space), which is exactly what we did in Austin on our first night! We stopped into several tattoo shops before finding Platinum Ink. One dude said he didn’t like doing linework. Second dude, instead of telling us how much the tattoo would be, instead asked what our budget was (redflag alert guys), then proceeded to tell us that the images we liked would make terrible tattoos. We finally came across Platinum Ink Tattoo and they had two openings for that evening. The artist who did our tattoo, James, was great! He was able to take our ideas and make them something beautiful. The healing process was really simple as well.

Prototype of my tattoo (Is prototype correct terminology for tattoos?!) I studied exercise science in college and always thought that anatomically correct hearts were beautiful. SO NOW I HAVE ONE ON MY BACK.

Austin Stop #2: Hamilton Pool

On all of our past trips, we’ve always seemed to find that our most memorable moments weren’t in big cities, but rather when we were able to find a beautiful spot in nature. Hamilton Pool did not disappoint. It was a half hour drive out of Austin that made you think you were in the country side. The drive was stunning! In order to get in during the weekend, you need to make reservations online. I’d never made nature reservations before #exclusivenatureclub

While we were there, we learned that Hamilton Pool was formed when a grotto collapsed thousands of years ago. The pool was beautiful. The water was a green I had not seen before, and there were very few people around that day. Coming from Chicago and our concrete jungle, we basked in the leaves and trees and soil.

Austin Stop #3: Mount Bonnell

One thing Austin does not have is mountains. We thought we were going for a hike when we got to Mount Bonnell. However, all we did was climb a few flight of stairs. AND HERE FOLKS, is the highest point in all of Austin, at a whopping 775 feet. Make sure you bring your oxygen masks. Mount Bonnell was crowded with tourists, who also wanted to feel on top of the world. Stop by if you want the world’s easiest hike guys.

Austin Stop #4: The Contemporary – Austin

I have the attention span of a 2 year old bird when it comes to museums. Which is why I love modern art museums. We had heard that Austin had the reputation of being weird, and wherever there are weirdos, you know there will be dope art. The contemporary art museum in Austin has two campuses. They have an exhibit in downtown Austin, which had work from three artists up. They also have an outdoor sculpture park, which I highly recommend.

Admission was $5, which gets you into both campuses. The Contemporary was great. It got our creative juices flowing, and before we left, I proclaimed that I would be pursuing the arts when we got home. (Update on that: I went to Michaels after work last Friday and bought 6 canvases, paint, some oil pastels, and too many paintbrushes)

Apparently some people didn’t think it was as great as we did

Austin Stop #5: Hope Outdoor Gallery

This is the spot to go to if you want to gain a respiratory condition as well as inspiration. The Hope Outdoor Gallery was magical. There were people everywhere spray painting. There were artists selling their work. There was Jeanette, choking on the fumes.

Going to the Hope Outdoor Gallery made me think about the idea of permanence in art. There were artists out there, working hard on making a piece on the wall, knowing damn well that there was a good chance that piece would be painted over the next day. It made me think about their intention. They must know it’s not permanent right? Why do they do it? Probably because they love what they do. I have mad respect for that.

Me, posing in front of stuff I didn’t make.

So there we have it folks. This post concludes my review of the state of Texas. Conclusion? It’s cool. Austin is dope. San Antonio has some old historic stuff. Houston has Beyonce and a space ship. Go visit guys!


On Friendship

Friends are really hard to make as an adult. As a kid, a friend was anyone who also enjoyed the sand box and eating popsicles. It was really easy to have and make friends when that was the criteria. But what about when you’re an adult? I can’t imagine myself seeing a stranger at the grocery store, who happens to also be purchasing toilet paper and kombucha, and thinking “Wow, that person has enough in common with me to be my friend”.

There are cases where friendships are born out of necessity as an adult. For example, during my first two years of teaching, I worked at a school where I was incredibly unhappy. Luckily for me, most of the staff at that school had similar feelings. Many of us became friends and most of us were at least friendly with each other as we walked through the halls, sharing similar looks of depression. People there became friends out of desperation. We needed something somewhat positive to look forward to. As people left the school, they stopped being a friend to those who remained there. You realized that all you had in common with the people who had been your so-called friend was that you both absolutely hated your job.

Then there’s the longevity friend. You know, the friend you’ve know for over half your life and you couldn’t bear to lose the friendship. It’s a bit like your longest credit line. It’s a credit card with terrible perks, no travel benefits and a low limit, but I keep it around because it helps my credit score. Most of your time spent together is spent reminiscing. This “friend” may irritate the hell out of you. You may not even particularly like this person, however, in respect to longevity, you keep this friend.

These two “friendships” I described are not what a friendship should be. I’ve recently spent a lot of time thinking about what being a friend means to me. I’ve thought about energy balance and friendship. I’ve thought about friendship and how they align to my chakras (JUST KIDDING – THAT’S SOME REAL WOOWOO STUFF RIGHT THERE).  After all that thinking, I’ve decided that I am not going to keep friendships because of longevity. I am no longer going to seek friendships out due to desperation or situations. I’m going to continue to foster the incredible friendships that I have with incredible people, and let go of what no longer gives me energy.

When I say “gives me energy,” I mean this: everything you do takes energy. Getting up in the morning. Sending a text message. Driving. ALL OF IT TAKES SOMETHING FROM YOU. Thankfully, this world also has many situations that give energy back to you as well. For example, it may take a lot of energy for me to go the gym, but I feel an abundance of energy as a result of going. Getting up early takes energy, as I love sleeping in, but I feel far more energy because I took time before the day started to relax and read. In terms of friendships, it takes energy to maintain these relationships. Going out, especially as an introvert, can drain my energy. When I go out with a friend who is a true friend, I leave feeling energized, despite the energy that I spent. I leave with ideas and excitement. I have decided that I can no longer be friends with those people who leave me with feeling drained and exhausted. My energy is of value to me. My friendships that give me energy are of value to me.

When thinking of friendships, you need to think about what you need from a friendship. What traits do you value? I value honesty and advice. I value humor and sarcasm. When you ask a child what a good friend is, a lot of them will say it’s “someone nice”. There are too many nice people in the world – they can’t all be your friends. Be friends with people who help you grow. Find people who challenge you and make you think outside of your usual box of thought. Surround yourself with those that uplift you and make you excited about life.

Friendship as an adult is hard. Find friends, becoming friends, maintaining friends. It’s difficult. It’s work. Don’t invest your time in friends who you don’t truly see as friends. Ain’t nobody got time for dat, you hear?


Texas Highlights Pt. 2: San Antonio

After a few days in Houston, getting our Beyonce on (obviously), we drove on to San Antonio. San Antonio is best known for the Alamo, which we are all supposed to remember, apparently. Shortly after booking this trip, we realized that we could not remember the Alamo because we had no clue what it was. Was it a mystical shoe? A dinosaur skeleton? Maybe the spot for the best BBQ ever? WE HAD NO IDEA, but we were going to find out.

First things first: we stayed at the cutest AirBnB ever. A couple had purchased an old farm and renovated it into several apartments. It was the most detail oriented place we’ve stayed. Below are my grainy iPhone photos proof of adorable details.


San Antonio Stop #1: The Alamo (duh)

First thing we did when we got to San Antonio was visit the Alamo. I was not very impressed. The history was cool and all, but it was crowded and just not that awe-inspiring. For some reason, I had thought that visiting the Alamo might be a pivotal part of our Texas trip. It wasn’t. It was interesting to hear about the history of Texas and how it came to be though, so I’m glad we went. (SIDE NOTE: Six Flags, the amusement park chain, was founded in Texas. One of the six flags that they are named after happens to be the confederate flag)

We came, we saw, we remembered the Alamo

San Antonio Stop #2: San Jose Missions

After we remembered the Alamo, we went on to the San Jose Missions. The missions were founded in 1720 and were refurbished in the 1930s as a Works Progress Administration project. It became a World Heritage Site with UNESCO in 2015. I have a thing for UNESCO sites, and try to visit one on each trip. Unfortunately, there are few sites in the United States so I was pumped that there was one in San Antonio.

When we got there, we tried to enter from one side and the woman working the gift shop said that it was closed due to the government shutdown. Bummer. We decided to walk the perimeter, and found an entrance that was being actively used. Maybe she was wrong? Who knows? Anyway, we made it inside and it immediately reminded me of walled off cities we had visited in Germany. We walked through and were impressed by the structures, only to realize that there was a good chance that very little of the original mission was remaining. We spent about an hour walking around the grounds. The church was beautiful, at least from the outside, and it was clear that that was the center of the community that had existed there.

San Antonio Stop #3: In n Out

If the third most notable stop was In n Out, clearly, we were running out of things to do in San Antonio. When we started looking into San Antonio, this was high on my priority list. As a kid, we went to California often and In n Out was always a highlight. I don’t think it’s really that marvelous, but you always want what you can’t have, and Chicagoans don’t have In n Out. My husband was not impressed but I was nostalgic A.F.

I call this piece Portrait of Protein Style Double Doubles

Overall, we weren’t very impressed with San Antonio. It was cool to see historical sites, but that seemed to be most of what the city had to offer. They also appeared to have an immense amount of Ripley museums, if that’s what you’re into. However, we don’t regret visiting. Every experience is an experience that adds to our understanding of the world, and that is how we view our travels. We learned about the Alamo, we ate some lettuce and beef and saw another UNESCO site. No ragrets.

Logic vs. Emotion: A Stupid Fight

It’s 11:17pm on a Friday night, which is approximately 2-3 past my bedtime. I have a flight out to Denver in the morning and Chicago is awaiting a storm, so naturally I’m staying up late to see what happens. As if my staying up will sway to the storm to stay away. Shoo, shoo snow goblins, shoo shoo! 

While awaiting the storm, I perused the internet and found myself taking a Myer-Briggs test. 40 multiple choice questions later, and it has come to my attention that my personality type is that of a ISTJ. I remember taking the same test at some point in high school and college, but the only letter that I recall being the same was the I. Once an introvert, always an introvert I guess.

Now, just to be sure, I took the same test on another site. Lo and behold, here were my results *drum roll please*

So I guess I am an ISTJ. So what does that mean. I guess I’m introverted, observant, a thinker who judges others and has a turbulent relationship with my own identity.

I agree with most of this, except for the logic part. Generally, people view logic as the opposite of emotion, right? However – think about emotion. Why is it there? Why do we have feelings? Probably because our ancestors had to trust that feeling of hair raising on the back of their neck to realize a predator was there. Probably because science wasn’t around – there were no microscopes or research committees. EMOTION WAS LOGIC. Emotion was reason.

Our society says it’s one or the other. I say otherwise. The definition of the word logic is reasoning conducted or assessed according to strict principles of validity. Why is how I feel not a valid way to conduct myself and my choices? Emotion is an instinct, or an innate response to a stimuli. When you are tired, you sleep because its an innate response. When you drink water, you pee. When you feel, you and your entire body are responding to a response.

I think humans underestimate the power of our emotions. I believe that our subconsious and our feelings are powerful and not yet fully understood. I believe that my logic is based on my emotion, and I am perfectly happy with that. I believe that I am a person who is fairly in tune with her body. I know not to eat dairy and that I need 9 hours of sleep a night. I know that I need alone time in the morning in order to set myself up for a positive day. I know that I cry to let go of emotion. I know my body. I think if more people would listen to theirs, they would feel the same way. But then again, I’m an introvert and don’t really empathize with others, according to my personality test (and my husband).

Texas Highlights Pt 1: Houston

This winter break, my husband and I did a road trip though Texas. We hit up Houston, San Antonio and Austin. Austin, was hands down my favorite, and while I really want to write up a recap of Houston, my desire to be chronologically correct has won and I will be reviewing first.

The actual travel from Chicago to Houston were uneventful, which is all you can hope for. Sometimes no news is good news. The first thing we did was go get our rental car. Which ended up being this bad boy….

The RAM 1500 – which stands for 15 MPG according to the husband

This thing terrified me. It was large and in charge and I did not drive it once throughout the trip. The husband however, got a matching cowboy hat and a camo sunglass strap to match this beauty of a vehicle.

We were in Houston for a few days at the beginning and a day at the end of our trip. I’m not going to run ya’ll through every detail because who the hell cares?! I’ll just run you through the things we saw and give my opinion of it. OKIE DOKIE?!

Houston Stop #1: Smither Park.

You. Guys. YOU GUYS. Go to Smither Park. I think that overall, my take away from our trip to Texas was the value of creativity. Smither Park was established in 2016 with work done by over 300 artists from around the country. When you drive up to the park, you’re a little underwhelmed. The park is the size of an oversized city lot, and is in the middle of a neighborhood, seemingly in the middle of nowhere. Do not let this sway you to not go in though. You walk in and you’re overwhelmed by stimuli.

I don’t even have the words to describe what Smither Park was other than inspiring. It made me want to create something – anything. Everything was so well thought out, and the attention to detail was out of this world.

Houston Stop #2: Beer Can House

So I can’t say we went in the Beer Can House, but we did see the perimeter, and it was pretty dang cool. The Beer Can House is a man’s pet project, which apparently took quite a few years to complete. He somehow found a way to completely cover his home in an assortment of beer cans and it was pretty cool. They have tours available, but because we went to see it on Christmas, we obviously weren’t able to get on one. It’s definitely a unique place that’s worth a visit if you find yourself with some free time.


Houston Stop #3: Space Center Houston

The Space Center Houston was something that we obviously HAD to see. We saw it on our last day of the trip, and arrived with about 2 hours to walk through it. It was cool, but appeared a bit outdated. The place smelled of the 90s, if we’re being honest. It was awesome to see an actual shuttle though! An interesting thing I learned was that the Apollo program was not the first space program. There was the Gemini, which ran from 1961 to 1966, which carried fleets of 2 astronauts into space.

Houston Stop #4: Battleship Texas

I grew up on the island of Oahu so I had been to Pearl Harbor numerous times, and have toured the battleship there. My husband, however has not been on one, so I thought this would be a fun way to learn some history. The battleship site is about a half hour drive from Houston proper, but totally worth it. Admission is $12, which goes to restoring the ship. The ship was a ship that served in both WWI and WWII. It was so fun to wander through the ship and see how they lived. The ship, interestingly enough suffered no wartime casualty, despite how active it had been. The ship had volunteers scattered around the ship who were more than willing to answer any questions one may have had. I would absolutely recommend a stop at the Battleship Texas!

And that’s a wrap on the highlight of Houston. While Houston was not our favorite city, it was definitely informative and interesting. I think that highlight for me was Smither Park, as it really made me think about how things can be used, and then reused. I’ll BRB with an update about San Antonio and Austin.


Mindful Episode 1: Commute

Today, I woke up cranky. I did not want to go to work. Can’t the kids just teach themselves for a day? I quickly got my sh*t together and got dressed for work, still very cranky. I got into my car and told myself to calm down. “What are you upset about? Pretty much nothing. Have a good day, Jeanette!”

I thought back to a book I had finished the week before, Slow. It discusses the ideas of mindfulness in a chapter, and how the act of being a mindful person can result in a happier life. So I decided that I would have a mindful commute, and this is what I noticed.

#1 – A beautiful sunrise

Not the sunrise from that morning, but one I appreciated while in Israel

The downside to winter is that there seems to be negative hours of sunlight. Some days it feels like it’s dark when I leave home in the morning and when I leave work in the afternoon. That can be depressing AF, especially for a person who doesn’t tolerate the cold very well. Today, I noticed the sun rising as I drove into work. Against the gray clouds, the yolky sun looked stunning.


Most of my commute is down on the 290 highway. Today, as I was driving at 65 MPH going south, I noticed that the unfortunate folks going north were driving at a snails pace. How lucky am I that my commute happens to be in the opposite direction of traffic? My 15 minute commute could EASILY be 30-45 minutes, if my work was north of where I lived. In the afternoon, all the folks working up north have to drive back south in traffic, while lucky Jeanette gets to drive home at 65 MPH. THIS was worth noticing.

#3 The convenience of a car

Today, I reflected on how I would get places during college. I used a combination of walking, dirty busses and stinky trains. My junior and senior year, I didn’t have a meal plan but had a kitchen instead. This meant that I would spend at LEAST half a day every week transporting myself to a grocery store, shopping for my food (which had to fit in my little pull cart), and then lugging it all home. Today, when I am hungry, I get in my car (with the seat warmers on blast) and drive the three minutes to my local grocery store. While there, I could easily buy 1000 tubs of yogurt, because I have a trunk. It’s luxuries like that that are easily forgotten. I just looked up how long it would take me to get to work from home using public transportation. 43 minutes. 2 buses and a decently long walk. Holy cow. I will never take my 13-15 minute long commute for granted again.

#4 Music is mood changing/therapeutic/magical

When I’m cranky, I would often listen to Brand New, or a comparably angsty teenage band. Today, I listened Clueless Kit, who has some jamming up beat music. GUESS WHAT?! My mood was better. I realized today that music can make you fester on a bad mood, or it can change your mood completely. I will keep this in mind next time I see myself getting cranky.

To sum it up, being aware turned what could have been a terrible day into a pretty decent one. I hope that I continue to remember how to be present and mindful, and continue to appreciate the great gifts I have in life. That’s all, folks.


How I Know I’ve Grown

For the last two weeks or so, I’ve had this constant feeling of dizziness. Initially, I convinced myself it was an ear infection. A few days later, Dr. Google got the best of my and all of a sudden I had a self diagnosis of cancer, as well as non-refundable Vertigo. A life sentence, if you will. During this week, I have been unable to drive and go about my usual activities, such as perusing Costco for too long. Essentially, I have been a dizzy zombie, which has manifested in the form of the always lovely panic attack. “What if this is F.O.R.E.V.E.R?” my mind asks, on repeat. Cue panic attack. Crying, gasping for breath, repeat for good measure.

Today was day 11 of the dizziness. It has gotten a bit better, in part because I went to three doctors, all who have confirmed it is not a rare form of cancer, but rather a sinus infection. Part of it is probably the enormous amount of sleep and Claritin-D I have been taking. Anywho, I found myself in the “Is this forever?!” debacle this afternoon. For the first 10 days, this erupted into uncontrollable tears. Today, ya girl did something different. I said “uh-uh Anxiety goblin, you’re not going to have me today.” AND I WENT FOR A WALK.

It was lovely out. 52 degrees and sunny in December in Chicago calls for a damn parade. So I took a walk. I listened to a podcast on 1480981 ways to make this new year THE BEST YEAR EVER. I saw some squirrels sunbathing. It was a good time. Not once did I cry. My lip never even quivered. Today, I was stronger than my anxiety. Today, I am proud of myself.