Life is full of unexpected joy.
Yesterday, I texted Anders and told him I would be near Boston getting a massage tonight. I asked him if he wanted to meet up for dinner. He said yes.
At dinner, he ordered the mochi special. We knew there would be three mochi on the plate, but neither one of us expected mini pandas.
After dinner, we strolled over to Paris Creperie. They had a mint matcha latte with lavender that smelled and tasted like spring.
May your weekend be filled with unexpected joy.
Tuesday was one of those days. It was as if a thick fog encased my brain.
It could have been from the stress of a looming Friday deadline for the VSLA conference.
It could have been because I ate some sugar Monday night.
It could have been because my back has been in so much pain I've barely been able to walk this week.
Or maybe it was all three of those things. Whatever the case, all my synapses definitely weren't firing.
When I went to pick my students up from PE, they weren't there. Baffled, I glanced outside. Now, why I thought there was any possibility the PE teacher would take my class outside without jackets I have no idea. I also have no idea how when I saw the kids that were outside that I didn't realize that they were younger students outside for the recess. But as I said, my synapses weren't firing.
A minute or so passed, and the kids outside didn't line up. I rationalized that they must be lining up at the other outside door. So, I headed toward it.
As I walked toward the outside door, I passed our kindergarten book buddies. At this point, my brain should have jolted itself out of the sludge. But, it didn't. It stayed stuck in the mire.
Why? Because every double-special day, my students transition from PE to art and I pick them up from art, not PE. Every double-special day I greet our book buddies because they have art right after us.
But I saw my colleague and said, "I can't find my class. I think they must be outside."
My colleague must have been too stunned to respond.
Eighteen kindergartners called out, "Mrs. Narita, your class is right there." They gestured wildly at the closed art room door.
Doubled-over, my colleague tried not to wet her pants.
Thank goodness for kindergartners.
Some people enjoy fine wine or fine chocolate.
But I don't drink or eat sugar.
So, I treat myself to fine soap.
End of a hard week, time for some black raspberry and vanilla goat milk soap.
A friend's birthday, time for some sweetheart soap.
When I need to forgive myself, time for some be a goldfish soap.
Need a trip to the spa, time for a Meyer lemon salt bar.
Craving the feel of sand under my feet and sun on my face, time for a beach day.
And no, I'm not in the soap business but I am in the business of joy-creating joy for myself and giving it to others. All it takes is a single click to send a bar of joy to someone you love.
You won't regret it. In fact, you may get a text like this that makes your week, "Oh, how did you know?!? I simply love these soaps. Love the size, smell, lather. They're perfect! Thank you!
Nothing beats spreading joy.
On Sunday, I read an awesome Slice of Life Challenge blog about the fact that we have a choice what stories we tell ourselves. I should be bookmarking the blogs I like so I can come back to them later.
Maybe after this when I comment on other people's work, I'll see their blog name and I can come back to this post and credit them properly. Maybe that person will actually read this post or someone else will read this post and will leave the author's name in the comment section. Fingers crossed!
Yesterday, I had many choices to make. When I awoke at 3:30 AM, I chose to stay in bed until 4:00 because I didn't want to wake my oldest son who was sleeping in our living room because we're renovating our upstairs before 4:00! Like there's really any difference between 3:30 and 4:00.
For my writing block, I chose to work on my upcoming VSLA presentation because although the presentation isn't until the 18th, the slide deck is due this Friday.
Instead of writing my SOL post immediately after school, I chose to write my morning work and today's schedule on the board, straighten the mess on my desk a bit, and leave.
Why? Because Anders was still home and I wanted as much time with him as possible.
I could have titled this post Family First. It's alliterative and is a message everyone can get behind.
But for me, choosing not to write yesterday's post, was something much bigger than that.
Choosing not to write yesterday's post meant accepting that I am not perfect.
Choosing not to write yesterday's post meant accepting that I cannot be all things to all people.
Choosing not to write yesterday's post meant accepting that I cannot always do everything I want.
When I signed up for this challenge, for me it wasn't a challenge to write every day. I already do that. For me it was a challenge, to have fun. To write just for the sake of writing.
I had a choice to make when I signed up for SOL. Not sign up knowing that it would make my imperfection public, or sign up, have fun, and accept that I am human.
I choose imperfection, joy and acceptance.
Thanks for coming on my journey with me, and thanks again to the Slicer who reminded us all that we can choose what stories we tell ourselves.
I know it's March 5th, but it feels like Christmas morning. And not just because there are nine inches of fresh snow outside the window. It's because today, it will be just the four of us.
Right now Tom is running an 18-mile race, Corbin is still sleeping, and Anders is at his girlfriend's house. But later on something magical will happen, something that almost never occurs. The four of us will be together at home.
Although I don't know everything that will happen, there are a few things I can count on. We'll for sure have a lovely home-cooked meal. Southwestern steak tips, guacamole, salsa, and spicy rice are on the menu with a homemade apple galette for dessert. Some kind of cutthroat game, whether it will be Sushi Go, Ticket to Ride or Settlers of Catan is yet to be determined.
The last item that will for sure be on the agenda, is Anders and Corbin's endless ribbing of one another. That's my least favorite part of just the four of us being together. But it's funny how time and circumstances have changed my viewpoint on that. I'll take it over a quiet house.
Here's to you and yours having a magical day, too.
Our house sings when winter storm winds blow.
Does it sing stories of creaky bones at the ripe old age of 113?
Does it sing stories of the father who built this house for his daughter so that he could look out the window of his house at night and see light from his daughter's house and know that she and her family were safe?
Does it sing stories of the family who raised three sons here 90 years ago?
Does it sing stories of the garden viewers who toured the grounds or of the golf course long overtaken by the forest?
Does it sing stories of the woman who lived here years ago and how she dressed all in white and danced on the lawn in the middle of the night?
Does it sing stories of us as young parents moving in with a two and a four-year-old?
Does it sing stories of Christmas morning pasts of two little boys who were so excited about their Lego sets that they forgot to get dressed for hours?
Does it sing stories of those two little boy transforming into towering teenagers?
Does it sing stories of breaking hearts mixing with tears of joy as those two young men left the house?
Does it sing stories about the two little girls who graced our house with their presence this fall?
Does it sing stories only about the past, or does it also sing about what's to come?
Our house sings when winter storm winds blow.
Every Friday I wear this sweatshirt.
The bright colors lift my spirit, and my mind associates it with the weekend.
But the colors and the association of a slower pace coming my way, aren't the only reasons this sweatshirt brings me joy.
This sweatshirt also reminds me of friends and family. In November of 2021, my friend's daughter died. Her daughter was the same age of my youngest son.
My friend posted the celebration of life details on Facebook. In the post, she asked that people wear hoodies and/or pride colors. I felt strange about going to a celebration of life in a hoodie, and I definitely didn't want to wear any old wrinkled hoodie that I had shoved in the back of a drawer, either.
Luckily, I work near The Paper Store and I had a gift card. I saw this hoodie and I knew it was perfect-bright colors, tie-dye, and an elephant on the back.
My friend, surprised that I had flown back to Chicago, was thrilled to see me, loved the sweatshirt, and her face lit up when I told her I had bought the sweatshirt to celebrate her daughter.
Every Friday I wear this sweatshirt and I think about how lucky I am to have a friend from high school, how lucky I am that my sons are alive, and how lucky I am that I have a job I love.
This past Sunday, as I looked ahead at the upcoming week, today loomed large. Not only would my school be participating in Read Across America Day, but after the kids finished their half day, I would be conferencing with fifteen different sets of parents.
So, when April Jones Prince retweeted a tweet from @serita_nicole about a teacher in her school who had made personalized bookmarks for each student, I wondered if I could do it. Could I pull off conference notes and a set of personalized bookmarks for Thursday?
Well, thanks to some snow day magic, it happened. Today, I stood outside my classroom door and gave 23 students personalized bookmarks that had a book recommendation for them based on their one-little-word goal for the year.
And I did it in style wearing my book scarf and my book socks, gifts from last year's class.
Okay, six conferences down, ten more opportunities to spread even more reading joy.
5:15 AM-The phone rings as I work. "Due to the forecast, Nashoba Regional School District is closed for the day." A free day to do whatever I want, whenever I want... snow day magic.
6:00 AM I go back to bed, but I don't fall back asleep. That's okay, though, because if I need to I can take a nap later on... snow day magic.
7:00 AM A Peloton bike boot camp complete with a cool down ride and a ten minute stretch because there's no need to hustle to get out the door... snow day magic.
8:00 AM I finish cutting and moving podcast tracks, add the outro, and automate the music tracks for Friday's episode. Ready to publish three days early... snow day magic.
10:00 AM Time to prepare for 15 parent teacher conferences on Thursday... snow day magic.
11:00 AM Time to nap because my eyes are closing... snow day magic.
12:30 PM I watch the falling snow remembering how my dog, Buck, loved snow so much he ran joyful figure eights as it whirled around him... snow day magic.
1:00 PM Time to join the 2023 Slice of Life Story Challenge... snow day magic.
2:00 PM Even more time to prepare for parent teacher conferences... snow day magic.
3:15 PM Our Project Lit Book Club has our virtual author visit with Rajani LaRocca. She is as gracious, kind, and intelligent as ever and our students analyze Red, White, and Whole as if they were MFA candidates... snow day magic.
4:45 PM Out into the woods to one of my favorite places in the world with one of my favorite people in the world... snow day magic.
7:00 PM Time to talk with a friend... snow day magic.
7:30 PM Time to talk with my parents... snow day magic.
8:00 PM Time to squeeze in one more hour of conference prep... snow day magic.
9:00 PM Time to watch an episode of New Amsterdam with Tom.
10:00 PM Time to go to bed and give thanks for snow day magic.