Dos and Don’ts of Flying

Do Know the Rules and Regs

I know it’s a lot, but TSA has a website and every airport has information centers you can call. You need to know if your bag will fit. You need to be prepared for security. Do your homework.*

Don’t take over the armrest

If the thing you are doing requires you to enter my personal space, ask yourself how necessary it is. If it is extremely necessary, make it happen fast and apologize for elbowing me in the ribs (lookin at you lady-from-yesterday’s-flight).

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Do pack snacks. 

One time I bought an orange juice at an airport Starbucks and it was $8.

Eight. What.

Airports are like theme parks except airports allow you to bring food in so, get you some snacks before you get to the airport and save a dime. Or eight dollars.

Eight!

Don’t shame a parent because their child is crying. 

I don’t like screaming children, you don’t like screaming children, their parents don’t like it either. But there is nothing they can do so, buck up buttercup, life is hard and the babies feel it all.

Do pack water. 

An empty water bottle is allowed through TSA and can be easily filled at a water fountain past security. Planes are dry and flying does weird stuff to your body so hydrate.

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Don’t play your sh*t out loud

This is a rule for life I think. If you are in a public space and you’re watching videos or listening to music, use headphones. Because, are you kidding me, don’t be a d*ckhead.

Best of luck

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*If you haven’t already researched it, look up ID requirements for 2018 flights. The laws are changing and certain state licenses won’t be accepted.

Dos and Don'ts of Flying (1)

Learning to Take Care of My Damn Self

Growing up I watched my very motivated father work his fingers to the damn bone. If there was a retake needed by a football player, he’d stay until 6 to give it to them. If a parent meeting needed to happen at 5 am or 9 pm, he’d make it happen. If he needed to learn Spanish or trombone to get the information across, he’d do it.

Every evening I watched him get home late and fall asleep minutes after sitting down. And every single school break I watched him get horribly sick and spend his time off recovering.

When I started teaching I promised myself I would find a way to work for my kids, to give them every chance I can, without burning myself out.

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I have been blessed with a team of co-workers who are caring and understanding, who always look out for me. My co-teacher tells me often to take care of myself. The beginning of every department meeting is either a self care check-in (where we talk about our specific self care goals and what we are doing to reach them this week) or a self care practice (Tai Chi, guided meditation, etc.) My Assistant Principal meets with me once a week to lesson plan/unit plan/revise curriculum/talk about what’s not working and how to fix it. My in-school mentor meets with me once a week to talk about literally anything I need help with.

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I’m supported, much more so than a lot of teachers. I’m lucky and I know it. But still I got caught with a case of ignoring my own needs.

Last Monday I got up at 4 and laid on my couch sobbing because my head was pounding so hard I couldn’t move. I called in sick but by noon the fever, headache and general ick was so bad I couldn’t stop crying.

I went to the clinic in the afternoon (I’ll be honest I went mostly because I wanted to be at work the following day) and found out I had a high fever, a sinus infection, and an ear infection.

My point is: don’t do this. Don’t let it get this bad. I was sick, really obviously sick and tried to push too hard through it and for what?

Americans especially have this notion that if you are not absolutely killing yourself at work, you’re lazy. I can’t say this enough times: that’s bullsh*t.

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In Peru, we would work from about 7- or am until lunch, go get lunch and take a nap or spend time with family, and then go back to work from 3 until 5 or 6. Yeah, that’s a three hour lunch. We also took 20-30 minutes breaks throughout the day to sit and talk.

At first I was torn apart by the difference and went to the go-to argument so many others have used (or at least thought in their head): well maybe if they worked more, their country would be more advanced. This, my friends, is also bullsh*t.

The reasons that many countries struggle has more to do with internal structure and corruption than with amount of hours worked. Hard work may be important, but worker bees working their buzzers off with no break  will not improve a country or a city or a workplace or a person.

I suppose the moral of the story is: put in the work, do whatever it is you do the best that you possibly can, but remember that half of being your best is treating yourself well. Work hard, self care hard.

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Best of luck.

Learning to Take Care of My Damn Self

How To: Batch Cooking

I’m back!*

So a couple of days ago, a friend asked me for advice about batch cooking/meal planning. I’ve been doing it consistently for a while, mostly because it makes for fast lunches when I wake up late and quick dinners when I come home tired, but also because it’s hot as balls in NYC this summer and turning on the stove once a week keeps my teeny apartment stay much cooler.

Seeing as school is starting soon, fall is coming for us, and change is around the corner, it seems a good time to share some of my hard-earned knowledge.

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Am I a professional cook? Absolutely not. Am I an expert of kitchen tools and food quality? Not even a little bit. What I am is a perfectly average cook with an interest in saving time and a propensity to walk away from a cooking session with at least two bandaids. I do not own a zester of any kind and for the last four years I’ve either cooked in the corner of a tiny studio apartment or shared a partially outdoor and entirely oven-less kitchen with a Peruvian family.

So why am I, the oft injured non-expert, writing about batch cooking? Because I can’t be the only one with a lot of interest and almost no skill. If we all read advice from only the experts, we’d start to get worried about our abilities. This one’s for you, average cook with very little time, I raise my box of bandaids to you!

Lessons I Learned While Batch Cooking:

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Have a Plan

Sure this seems obvious, but until you’re splashing boiling water down your pant leg because you have thirty seconds to strain it and oh sh** you should have but the meat in before the greens and is that FIRE, THAT’S FIRE…you don’t understand just how little you can wing it.

This is particularly important in the beginning: planning not just what you want to cook but the order in which you will cook it and a rough timeline is key.

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Mix Up Staples and New Recipes

This took me a while, but especially starting out, you don’t want to have to cook some new and impressive recipe for every meal. That’s 21 new recipes.

I don’t know about you but around 20% of the new recipes I try are sub-par. 20% of 21 is more than four meals. Four meals that you have to box up and eat later, knowing they aren’t going to be very delicious.

Avoid this by choosing 1-2 new recipes for the week and sticking to what you know for the rest. It’s also important to mix it up, cooking some full meals (ex: Beef Curry on Rice, Cracklin’ Chicken) and some things that can be mixed with other things (ex: boiled carrots, vegetable mix**).

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Ask For Help/Take a Damn Break

Cooking food for the entire week is not a simple task. While I’ve gotten better at it, almost every week I end up either hurting myself or getting tired doing it. Boyfriend has gotten very good at stepping in about five minutes before I hit this wall to help me finish up and clean the kitchen.

If you don’t have someone right there to help you, consider planning in a place to take a break and sit down with a glass of wine for twenty minutes. This does not make you weak, it makes you smart and less likely to injure yourself.

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Choose smarts, not the emergency room.

 

I hope these tips help in your future kitchen adventures and may the odds be ever in your flavor (Yeah).

Best of luck!

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*At this point, I’d like to say that I’m going to pick up the blog, cradle it in my arms, and rekindle my loving relationship with it, I would really like to say that. But I don’t want to lie to you. I’m starting the year of my life where grad school and full time work as an NYC public school teacher intersect and I’m still trying to figure out how to fit eating and sleeping in. But right now, I have a vacation and I’m going to blog, because even in the darkest times, something something, idk I’ll write when I can. But I do love you, you perfect cupcakes and I appreciate you reading the blog at all.

** Pre-cooked vegetables make for really fast omelets in the morning.

How To-

Feelings Friday: Feeling Phone-y

This week I’ve had a hard time; with blogging, with working, with going on a run without hurting myself. It’s been a week for sure.

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Lately I’ve been focusing on putting everything together for grad school and moving to New York, which mostly means thinking things are ok until I take one step forward and everything is 100% not ok. Between weird rental policies, holds on my student account, and casually taking out tens of thousands of dollars in loans financial aid, I’ve been absolutely killing myself with stress.

Until Tuesday when I left my phone at home.

When I first got to work, dug through my purse and realized I’d left it on my bed next to a slumbering Boyfriend, my first thought was “how strange, I should text Boyfriend, wait…”

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Not having my phone meant focusing on what was in front of me. It meant not checking for alerts or messages in between small children reading to me. It also meant not constantly refreshing my email to see if the realtor has gotten back to me. It meant a little peace and quiet from the self-induced stress machine that is the Internet.

Around lunch I panicked a bit, worried because I needed to work a couple of things out fairly urgently via email. However, on my lunch I found a staff computer and took care of everything in about five minutes. Without Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitstagram, Chatbook, Facelr, I was able to complete an important task without distraction.

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The starkest realization I had was that I didn’t really miss the internet constantly whispering in my ear. I didn’t get home and jump on my phone to make sure I hadn’t missed the trivial daily drama. I did check to see if I missed anything truly important and guess what, I didn’t.

So this week I’ve started leaving my phone in my purse, checking it once before lunch and then putting it away again. I haven’t missed anything dire yet and my stress level has plummeted. Turns out my phone is not my lifeline, but in some ways, my stressor.

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If you’re feeling anxious or stressed this week you should know: I feel you. I feel you so hard, bro. Take a breath, put down your phone and read a book or go for a walk. Do a thing that humans were built to do.

And best of luck.

***Sidenote: if anyone knows of any cheap(ish) apartments in NYC I’m listening…***

10 Things Teaching Special Ed Taught Me

For a couple of months I’ve been subbing as a Special Eductaion Instructional Aid. Every assignment is different but I tend to spend time working with students with a range of special needs, from language issues, to physical needs, to behavioral concerns, it’s always an adventure. 

After spending my first days in a high school Special Ed classroom this week, I thought it might be time to share what I’ve learned from my students.

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Comparison is not fair (ison)

Someone is always going to be better than you at something, you cannot be the best at everything. The good news is, you’re really good at some things and you can get better at others. The goal should always be to keep improving, not to compete with someone else’s abilities. Those are their abilities, you have your own.

Sometimes you need to yell or cry or run around

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Sometimes sh** goes down and you need to just let yourself react. It might take a pillow scream or jumping around or crying it out and that’s ok. As long as you don’t hurt others, do what you need to.

Take a damn walk

It’s amazing what a walk around the block (or halls) can do for your mood. Removing yourself from a tough situation, taking a breath, getting outside and moving around can solve a lot of inner turmoil. Continue reading

Lessons Adulthood Taught Me

I’ve learned a lot of things in my adult life; how to apply for (and actually get) jobs, how to BS my way through classes, and sometimes learn, how to parallel park. It’s been a journey. It’s what this blog’s all about.

Here are a few lessons that have recently jumped out at me from their hiding places in my brain.

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When trying to decide if you should buy something, walk away for a while, distract yourself with something else for a few minutes, hours, days. If you still want it, go for it.

Men’s shirts button the opposite way from women’s shirts.

It’s always a good idea to keep important items in your purse and/or car. I keep febreeze, tweezers, floss, deodorant, chapstick and (my favorite) a snack, usually nuts or granola, in my car. I have used all of it several times.

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Boiling water can get candle wax out of fabric. Just dip the garment in the water in 15-20 second intervals until all traces are gone.

Rarely is it a good idea to completely wash something out of your life. Harsh cleansers pull all of the good oils out of skin, traditional shampoos do the same for hair, forever gut cleansing without a single french fry can hurt your soul, and cutting out a loved one entirely is a bold move, that should be given proper thought.

The general idea that money doesn’t matter is solid. However, money is always going to be needed in exchange for goods and services. So, hope to win the lottery  or marry rich all you want but maybe also have a backup plan in case you don’t.

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The amount that virginity matters depends on the virginity holder. No one else.

If you are worried about health issues, WebMD will destroy you. Go to a doctor, ask the professional. Because chances are it’s not cancer but even if it is, I’d want to hear it from the doctor, not Dr. MacBook.

Try not to hurt the people who always love you. Try not to love the people who always hurt you.

If you dislike something and need a situation to change, talk to the person/people who can change it. Have I ever been passive aggressive? Absolutely not. Ok maybe a few hundred times. But, as I get older, I feel more and more like there ain’t no time for that sh**.

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Best of luck!