7.26.2014

What's Making Me Happy: Face Masks and Animal GIFs

It's been a while since I've done one of these... Let's get back to it!

Face Masks

(I apologize in advance for my discussion of zits and pimples and stuff.)

I don't have the worst skin in the world, but it's far from perfect, too. My skin is oily some times and dry other times and freckled all over. I won't get break outs for a long while but then I'll have a horrible bout of PMS and my chin will turn into a giant pimple. What makes it all worse is I have a tendency to touch my face and, even worse, pick my face. I'm well aware of how awful picking your face is for your skin, not to mention how gross it looks. So I've been cutting back on all of that, but I still end up getting at least one painful zit that I can't leave alone, and then there's a scab. And they usually last forever, and I can't leave those alone and the vicious cycle continues.

This is a really long introduction to this face mask I got from LUSH cosmetics. My sister was in town a while ago and we went up to Boulder and made a pit stop at LUSH. I walked away with two face masks: 1. Catastrophe Cosmetic (a loooot of blueberries in there) and 2. Mask of Magnaminity (a looooot of peppermint in there). Long story short: I use them each once a week, a few days apart, and my skin is soft and clear. And when I have a scab because I've been dumb and use the Catastrophe Cosmetic, I swear the scab is gone in a matter of a couple days rather than a couple weeks.

To summarize: I like these masks. They be good.

By the way, not that you were actually wondering this, but LUSH doesn't know they exist, so they didn't, like, pay me or anything.

Animal GIFS

Remember a while back when I posted about using animal gifs to make you feel happier about the world? Given the state of world affairs this summer, I feel like some more animal gifs are necessary. Here they are.

Remember that Baby Beluga song by Raffi? I loved that song. I also love this beluga and the little boy's reaction.
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I firmly believe dogs should be allowed in the workplace. Exhibit A
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I cannot CAN. NOT. handle this dog's expression. OMG.
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7.25.2014

Better Late Than Never

I'm currently sitting in my classroom (with windows!) with every intention to get work done. I'm working on creating videos for my flipped classroom, but working on my computer is basically the same as cleaning my room as a kid: I'm constantly finding things I completely forgot about and have the ability to distract me for hours. Since I'm sure you want to be distracted as well, let me share a few items I found (I think I was intending to decorate my classroom with these...?).

Fresh Prince memes

Actually, are these memes? My students get angry at me when I call a non-meme a meme but they can't really explain it to me. I'm also not entirely sure why I wanted these memes. I guess I was just in a Fresh Prince mood (but really, who isn't?).



Parks and Recreation memes

I'm of the belief that one cannot have too many Parks and Rec quotes.




This demonic baby

I think my intention was to scare my students into submission.


And then there's a lip sync video I made with my students

Set to Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody". I will not be sharing it with you for the following reasons:

a. My students are minors and I don't feel like having parents get angry at me before the school year even starts.
b. I look insane. As in, someone who shouldn't ever teach.
c. We used old, disgusting wigs. I'm not sure why. Except for the time where I taped a picture of a Wayne's World hat to my head.
d. At one point, a student is playing a guitar on his lap when he is joined by another student who also tries to play the same guitar at the same time and it just does not...look...right.

But it's there. And you should feel better (worse?) for knowing that such a video exists in this world.

7.22.2014

Back to School: The Wardrobe Issue

Ok, I know, it’s July and I’m writing about work. I’m sorry I’m reminding you that in a few weeks time you will - assuming you are a secondary teacher - be in charge of molding the minds of 100-200 adolescents (I have a friend who works for an online charter school and had 300 students). It’s a depressing thought, I know, and again, I’m sorry for bringing this up. To be fair, I've been going into my school to do work for this next year, so I'm already starting to get into the groove, except that at 2 pm I religiously stick to a routine of returning home, turning on Netflix, gorging on chips and salsa and taking a nap.

But I do have a reason for writing about work. Those reasons include: 

1. My tax refund ($1100! Holla!) which I should put immediately towards savings and my credit card bill, and I will, but I also want to buy new clothes.

2. It's that secret magical time of summer break when all teachers (at least the female ones - I can't speak for the males because I don't have those tools) start to feel the itch for back to school shopping. We've spent all summer sitting around in sweats and now we're actually feeling in the mood for some suitable work clothing.

3. I recently read two books, both of which are self-help. And sure, you can laugh at me, but they help my self. Anyway, they've convinced me to put 100% into my work, which includes my wardrobe. Not like I've been sloppy or anything, but teachers tend to lean into two extremes: 1. Teachers are professional and should always dress as though going to a reputable business instead of wrangling cats/teenagers (this is not to imply that wrangling cats is not a reputable business), and 2. Teachers have a lot of freedom in work, meaning we/they can show up in jeans and flannel every day and essentially look like a homeless person. I'm in between, but I want to dress more professionally (right now, anyway...we'll see how I feel in the Hell hole that is October).

4. I recently cleaned out my closet and got rid of clothes I don't absolutely love. I got rid of roughly 2/3 of my closet. What remains is grey and/or grey-black. It's cool; I call it Parisian chic. My grumpy mood at 5 am will fit in perfectly. But seriously, I'm trying to mainstream my closet - I'm actually really enjoying having fewer choices - and I'm trying to focus on quality, which means fewer purchases but they'll be special purchases!


I mean, of course I used this gif. Nothing else would work.
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So I've been planning out what I plan to buy with the portion of my refund earmarked for clothes (holla at ya, Banana Republic!) and here's what's on my list:

A pair of slim ankle-length pants


Sloan Fit Slim Ankle Pant

I mean, my God, these are expensive. But they're an investment, right? And they're perfect. So onto my list they go, in spot #1.

Button-down shirt(s)

Non-Iron Chambray Shirt
These shirts are non-iron. Did you hear that? Non. Iron. I mean, I don't iron my stuff anyway, but these would actually look fine if I stick to my habits. 

Pencil Skirt

Sloan-Fit Zip-Pocket Pencil Skirt
This is actually number two on my list, so long as it's longer than is shown in the photo (because a. teenage boys and b. air conditioning). 

If I could spend all of my money, I would also buy a dress, another skirt, a bunch of silk shirts and some shoes. Speaking of shoes - I'm definitely a flats girl. Partly because when I wear heels I'm as tall/taller than 90% of the men in my department and mostly because they kill my feet. Do any teachers out there wear heels? I'd like to know this.

So I may not be very excited for school to start (and specifically the early mornings) but new clothes? Why, yes, please and thank you.

PS Coming up - my classroom. It has windows, guys! This is big.

It's almost time for this, teacher friends. Better start stocking up on that wine now.
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6.26.2014

A Modern-Day Lady's Guide To Interpreting Men (And Why I Hate Women's Magazines)

I don't typically read women's magazines, mostly because I find I'm much more critical of my body after reading the magazines. Yes, this is the same for fitness magazines (I don't have abs like that). Yes, I realize the photos are all airbrushed (but I can't see the "before" image, so....). Yes, I'm happy with my body (despite the fact that I've been sucking in my bloated stomach all day). The fact still remains: I usually end up standing in front of a mirror breaking down the stretch marks I have on my bum and the fact that I have peach fuzz on my body. So I steer clear, and usually I'm much happier with myself.

But I also have problems with the articles in most of the magazines. Even the fitness ones. Because they are all dumb. All. Of. Them.

Example 1: I once read an article from a women's running magazine about how to run with your spouse/boyfriend and the writer stated that it was best to not discuss your problems with your partner and tell your lady friends later on. Because he doesn't want to hear your problems. Because women are running with their husbands now, but it's still the 1950s. (Additional advice, straight from me, but in the same vein: let your husband/boyfriend win every time. Don't be faster than him. Men have fragile egos and will leave you if you don't let him be faster and win.)

Example 2: I happened to find myself in the company of a few women friends in a hospital room, where we had a pile of magazines plopped in front of us. We all grabbed a magazine, perused the pictures, then traded and perused again. I ended up with a pretty well-known health magazine with a cover story about decoding men. (Side note: how does that count as health?) The article was essentially a list of nice things your partner might do for you in a relationship, an entire paragraph on how to interpret that action, and then another entire paragraph on how to respond to that action. (Also, there was a picture of a shirtless man painting the toenails of his supposed girlfriend - how many ways can you say DUMB? And also, no.)

Example 2a:
Action: Your boyfriend takes you out for a nice dinner after you've had a rough day at work.
Interpretation: Your boyfriend is saying he values you as a human being and thinks you work really really hard and he wants to thank you for all the work you do to help put dinner on the table because he's not working nearly as hard as you and he understands that you have problems that are more important than his problems yada yada yada. This paragraph goes on for a while.
Reaction: Some long discussion about whether or not you should say thank you or do the same for him when he has a rough day. (I mean, really? How did your parents raise you?)

Now, here's my theory when it comes to guys: they say what they mean. I've dated several guys, and I like to think they've been a variety of types and personalities, and while some of them did not say anything they truly meant (note: this does not mean males are bad, it means those dudes were bad people), for the most part it is pretty simple to figure things out. Guys, unlike some females, do not cloak things in passive aggressiveness and with the intent to hurt you. (Although really, ladies, you should be saying things you mean and with honesty as well. It would behoove you.)

And so, ladies, I ask you to please stop reading too much into what that dude said to you and just take it at face value. The End. Figure out something else to worry about.*

If you need a helpful guide, or a few examples, I've included a few actions/phrases often used and their translations.

He buys you flowers. = He bought you flowers.

He didn't buy you flowers. = He didn't buy you flowers.

"I'll talk to you later." = He'll talk to you later.

He didn't call. = He didn't call.

"I like you." = He likes you.

He took you out to dinner after you had a rough day at work. = He took you out to dinner after you had a rough day at work.

He rolled over to go to sleep. = He rolled over to go to sleep.

I think you get the gist here. DO NOT immediately jump to conclusions in either direction, whether it's the conclusion that you will be married and in love for the rest of your life or that he hates you and is sleeping with someone else. DO take things at face value and DO make sure you have enough focus on yourself and are developing yourself enough that you realize you're strong enough to deal with whatever comes your way. Because, modern-day ladies, you totally are.

*I reserve the right to not follow my own advice.

6.14.2014

Why I (Not-So Secretly) Like Teenagers

A disclaimer before I begin this post: I used to really dislike teenagers, back when I was one. From the inside looking out, I found teenagers to be petty and irritating and overly dramatic and I swore I would never ever teach high school students. I think I said this because I secretly knew in my gut that I was going to end up being a high school social studies teacher but I just didn't want to admit it to myself. Because teenagers.

Now, however, with ten years separating myself (age-wise) and standing from the outside looking in, I still sometimes find teenagers to be petty and irritating and overly dramatic, to be honest. But I don't always feel that way, and usually I find teenagers today to be funny and open-minded and talented and hard-working. And I actually really love working with teenagers, for reasons I will shortly give you.

But first, let's back up to what inspired this post. If you are on social media anywhere, you are probably familiar with the Albert Einstein technology picture, which shows a questionably-sourced Albert Einstein quote about the evils of technology paired with a photo of teenagers on their evil technology. In case you need reference, there's a picture below (which I wish I could source, but the original site didn't have a source or a link because they're professional like that).


So let's just ignore the first blatant criticism of this image, which is that we have no idea if Albert Einstein ever actually said this quote. Then let's ignore the second blatant criticism of this image, which is that it doesn't include any sources. (I'd argue that the "generation of idiots" in the second photo should be people who randomly post this image as fact, but that's getting off topic.) Ignoring those two things, I look at this supposed "generation of idiots" (teenagers) and I still have problems with this image because, as I've said, I actually really love working with teenagers.

"But why?" you ask....

1. They're ridiculously, beautifully open-minded. Gay marriage, racial differences, special needs - teenagers today are more accepting of everyone. I see lesbian couples who are able to participate in the gross PDA rituals that formerly only straight couples used to participate in. Which is great for equal rights but I still tell them to cut it out because it's still PDA. I also see lots of mixed-race couples, boys who are openly gay, "normal" students working closely with severely handicapped students....these teenagers aren't held back by the discrimination practices of former generations.

2. They're really smart. Like, really smart. When everyone is complaining about US students falling behind other countries in all of the things, I think our students are actually becoming brilliant. First of all, there's the fact that they have to learn about at least 5 different topics a day and retain that information. Consider your job: you probably have one topic to focus on, whether it is creating a marketing campaign or studying the blood-clotting abilities of some special plasma fluid, but you don't have to switch from a mathematical frame of thinking to an analytical method of thinking in a matter of minutes. Yet these students do just that, several times a day, which I think makes them brilliant. Then there's the fact that they are so well-informed about the world. Often my students will engage in intelligent debates or conversations or ask questions about what is happening in the world, which I think is fantastic. They just need someone to give them the resources.

3. They're caring. My first year teaching, my middle school students created a fundraiser for the people affected by the tsunami in Japan. We raised a couple hundred dollars, and they were so inspiring in how much work and effort they put into the fundraiser. It was beautiful. Students at my current school support the special education program at every assembly, and they do it so enthusiastically I'm usually moved to tears (I'm also usually really sleep deprived so don't think I'm a really emotional person).

4. They are hilarious. If there's one thing that's guaranteed, it's that I'll laugh at least five times during my day. Teenagers today have a wonderful range of humor, from dead-pan to slapstick, and I love it. They're a lot funnier than most adults I know.

5. They understand technology. They don't always use it very well, but they get it. And more often than not, they get the boundaries of when it's appropriate to use technology in my classroom and when it's not.

Here's the thing about teenagers, and everything else in this world: our perception often defines them. If we perceive teenagers as idiots, then that's all we'll see. And we'll be very sad because that's a very sad way of living. But if we choose to see them as brilliant, sensitive, caring, hilarious, open-minded human beings, we'll see them as the wonderful people they are and could be.

PS Seriously, stop spreading around that quote by Einstein unless you can actually find the source for that quote.

Again, I wish I could source. Ummm....Source: A comment someone left on Facebook.
PPS Can you tell I'm on summer break by how positive I'm being about my students?

6.04.2014

It's Summer Break and I'm Sucking At It

So. I have been on summer break for roughly one week (give or take a couple days) and I actually thought to myself today: "I wish school was still in session."

This is essentially the equivalent of saying I get paid too much.

So basically, instead of being all...

Sourcey Source
about summer break, I'm sitting here being....

Sourcey Source #2
And it kinda sucks.

And by the way - I know, these are champagne problems and I realize there are people who read this who are probably thinking to themselves, "Oh poor you. You have two months where you don't have to work. Here's the world's tiniest violin playing a sad song. Boo hoo." I get it - I'm kind of a jerk for complaining about this. I'm sorry.

But still...

I have a few theories as to why this summer break feels so...weird and not Sound of Music-like. They are as follows:

1. There is something mentally wrong with me. I think this may be the most obvious of the reasons, and I won't say it's not a cause of my anxiety.

2. I'm not entirely happy with how the school year ended. To be honest, I felt like I dropped the ball on the last unit, mostly due to burn out (ironic, then, that I want to keep working) and running out of time to get things done. "Grading? What grading? I'm trying to survive over here."

3. I'm not moving this summer. This is the first summer of many years that I am not unpacking as we speak. I'm not sure what to do with myself. I might just pack up my dishes just so I can unpack them and make things feel normal.

4. School was actually functioning as a distraction for me and now I don't know how to distract myself. Life sometimes sucks and/or is confusing and/or is really hard to deal with. In the past few months, I've had to deal with a close friend with cancer, boy stuff, school board drama...work helps me channel my frustrated/angry/anxious energy into something productive.

5. I miss the routine. Maybe not the 5 am wake up time. Maybe not the 9 pm bedtime. Maybe not the complete exhaustion. But I miss having someplace to go, something to do. I feel like a lost little puppy.

6. I miss my students and co-workers. As an introvert, this is crazy for me to say, but: I miss interacting with so many people on a daily basis. I miss having conversations with people and laughing with them all the time. It turns out my tomato plant sucks at discussing current events.

7. Summer break is really different as an adult than it is as a kid. Or even a college student. Everyone is in different parts of their lives: married, in a serious relationship, about to have a kid...and I'm sitting here reading my books. (My parents just got a new cat, so I can make that a life event on Facebook, right?)

8. I'm freaking out about what I'm teaching next year. The thing about teaching is it doesn't matter if it's your first day teaching a subject or your 1,000th, the students are going to expect you to be an expert on the topic immediately. So I'm trying to figure out economics, and then I'll work on trying to figure out what I have to teach about economics and when, and at the same time I'm going to work on creating videos for my US History class.

9. I'm not traveling this summer. There's a camping trip that might happen later in the break, but my spring break trip to San Francisco means I won't be traveling this break. Something about the physical distance and seeing something new helps to make the division between "work" and "break" a bit more clear.

10. I don't actually have a ten, but it felt nicer to end on an even number than on something like 9.

In order to treat this weird affliction, I've decided to do the following: 1. Apply to a temp agency. 2. Harass the telemarketers who keep calling me. 3. Read. 4. When not reading, watch Grand Budapest Hotel (I'm on viewing number 5 and I bought the film yesterday). 5. Start working on next year's curriculum.

Hopefully your summer is going better than mine, and if you wish to donate to my vacation fund so I can take that trip that would save my sanity, you can send blank checks to Somewhere Over The Rainbow, Don't I Wish, USA 55555.

5.22.2014

5 Things That Have Happened in the Last Few Days of School

1. I have watched Forrest Gump five times a day. A history teacher's staple, naturally.

2. My room was overrun by large flying ants and below is the result.
The ant formerly known as Ho Chi Minh.
3. I have been called mean on no fewer than four occasions per day. In teacher-speak, "mean" stands for "I'm not getting the grade I want in your class".

I laugh because otherwise I'd have to actually examine my personality.

I like to think I'm Peggy/Joan/a badass woman.
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4. My AP students predicted my future in five years. They were mostly divided between declaring that I would finally find a boyfriend or I'd be a woman "who don't need no man", but they all pretty much decided I'd stay at my school teaching the same subjects.

And then there was this one:
Ms. Hartlaub - In five years you will fill Mr. Helton's position as the only APUSH teacher at Bear Creek. At first people will doubt you but you will use your "charming" personality and extensive knowledge, along with Google, of American history to be the most successful APUSH teacher Bear Creek has ever had. Further, I will come back to visit you, to tell you of all my achievements, and you will ignore me.
5. I routinely did this:

"Can I still turn in this assignment from two units ago even though it's the last day of school before finals?"
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Summer's almost here. Summer's almost here. Summer's almost here.