Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Unplugged A.M.

Today I woke up feeling a little anxious about the day ahead of me. I have to admit, sometimes the abundance of technology in the morning (What's happening on Twitter? Has my boss emailed me? Did that client approve that article?) before I've even properly caffeinated or, heck, even gotten out of bed, can be daunting.

So this morning I tried something different. I left my computer in my bedroom and took just the March edition of ELLE downstairs with me. Instead of reading websites and emails and social media, I thumbed through the magazine over my cup of coffee. It felt almost like a Saturday at first.

I'm happy to report that reading a magazine led to a better morning overall--a more inspired outfit for the day, an interesting essay (made of paper and ink) and a calmer attitude overall by the time I hit the shower. In fact, I even brought my lunch today. Now that is the antithesis of frazzled. 

I think I'll ditch my computer more often in the mornings and start reading books and magazines. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

No Shoppin', No Droppin'.

I hemmed and hawed for several days about what to give up for Lent this year. Most people I know didn't give anything up because, heck, the Pope just up and quit, right?

But I really don't do the giving up thing to acknowledge the Pope; it's more just a pre-spring ritual from my childhood that I still enjoy. Still, the decision took ages this year. Facebook? Booze? Pandora? Fashion Magazines? None of them really stuck.

Finally, as of yesterday, I decided no shopping til Easter. I can buy groceries but that is it. No sunglasses, no Goodwill jaunts, no Target, no random tubes of lipstick, no consignment. What will be tough about this choice is keeping my spring wardrobe on hold. Trust me, I've thought long and hard about whether my future array of cute, flattering tanks and skirts will suffer if I'm not able to find them until April 1st. But you know what? Materialism never got anyone anywhere except in debt.

That said, if you get sick of my ensembles between now and Easter Sunday, take heart. I'll be busting out a new sundress soon enough.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Out Loud.

My "tutee," as I call her, the middle-school-girl I teach in the afternoons, has been working on an essay this week about family. It's been an interesting exercise for both of us; she, because she needs writing tips in general, and me, because I can use most of the same lecture I normally give the college students I teach at night. 

One of the most important lessons that she's learned this week is to read everything out loud. Before this, every time she completed a few sentences and a paragraph came to fruition, she would silently hand me the sheet of lined paper, ask me to read it and "see if it was right." 

But I've taught her that reading out loud to me and to her own ears is the best way to evaluate the writing and look for ways to make it better. 

So, over and over this week, she has read her modest paragraphs out loud in the kitchen. I have to smile as her brow furrows and she stumbles over the sentences that aren't as well-crafted. 

"See?" I tell her. "When you read silently, you don't notice the construction of the sentence as much."

The same goes for me with my own work, of course. I read everything out loud if I can, especially poetry. (Though I hate reading it at a microphone to others. Go figure!) I can't remember who first taught me to read things out loud, but I suspect that my mother reading stories to me every day as a child (before I was able to read myself) fostered a love for hearing words against the air. 

I've always considered myself an auditory learner; I recall songs, conversations and anything that I listen to. 

So, tell me your stories. Hearing them is sometimes better than seeing them on a page. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Bestie Birthday.

My birthday has come and gone without *quite* as much fanfare as years past, perhaps. The main reason for this is that I have been feeling subpar for about a week and a half--I'm finally almost recovered today, after falling deathly ill with Vestibular Neuronitis, a peculiar virus of the inner-ear, on February 1st. Thank goodness I'm about 80% over it.

Despite all of that, my 33rd birthday was one of my best. Two of my dearest, oldest friends came and visited me from afar, and sprang for an oceanfront hotel room in Folly Beach during "Folly Gras," Folly's celebration of the weekend before Lent begins. The rest of our clan, including my housemates, another good friend from out of town, and pretty much all the ladies who matter most to me, gathered seaside to heal my emotional woes after I'd been sick and filled with despair for a week.

Although I didn't swill cocktails and pound shots this year in a trendy bar downtown with 60 people, (I had exactly one flute of celebratory champagne; that was it)  the clarity helped me realize that I was fortunate to be flanked by my favorite people in the entire world, so soon after withering in bed for five days. It was a message from the universe about reviving myself for the road ahead in life, as corny as it sounds.

On a side note--my skin looks amazing, I haven't had a hangover in ages, and I've discovered lots of interesting, festive things to drink that don't include booze. These include hot cocoa with whipped cream, fruity virgin cocktails with lime slices, bubbly mango seltzer, and my old stand-by, cranberry juice with soda water.


With my BFF Mandie from TN
Center Street on Folly Beach during Folly Gras 

My best friends and me, ready to celebrate.