Blood, sugar, podcasts….magic?

I am going to a live recording of a podcast episode tonight. If you told me a year ago I’d be paying money to go sit in a room and listen to people talk- I would’ve laughed in your face. I’ve always been a music person for as long as I can remember. I never understood people who liked AM radio or silence in the car. Sometime over the summer, I started making long trips every other weekend to go visit friends. I found my playlists getting stale, and no matter how much new music I added, I couldn’t seem to find things that would keep my interest for the hour-two hour drive. On a whim, I pulled up the Spotify charts for podcasts. The top of the list: “My Favorite Murder”, and “Last Podcast on the Left”. I did some googling and found out that both of these podcasts were related to true crime. More specifically, serial killers, cold cases, cults and the paranormal (things like Amityville, etc). I was immediately interested.

I downloaded some “My Favorite Murder” episodes and was hooked. They are marketed as a “true crime comedy” podcast, and the hosts are two women (with a fanbase that is also largely women).  The women (Karen and Georgia) talk regularly in the first few episodes about how they were surprised how well they were received. They always felt strange or awkward and out of place for being fascinated by the macabre. They made a point that really stuck with me – a lot of the fascination (for women especially) comes from a desire to be prepared if this kind of thing were to happen. It’s stemming from an anxiety rather than a LOVE of murder- their motto has become “Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered”.  Their podcast has opened up the conversation for women (and people) everywhere about the things happening in the world around us- how we can make ourselves safer, how we can prepare for the worst, and the glaring faults in the criminal justice system (specifically where sentencing is concerned…post for another time maybe).

The fans are called ‘murderinos’, and they are truly the best community I could’ve stumbled upon. There are tons of subgroups- “teacherinos” (teachers who like the podcast), “slayerinos” (people who love buffy and the podcast) “Memerinos” (people who love memes and the podcast), and my personal favorite “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Crime” (a cooking group for podcast fans). Everyone who loves the show has this common thread that ties us together – our anxiety about / fascination with crime. They even have fan groups by city- the Chicago Murderinos group is a great place to find pet sitters and exercise buddies or get restaurant recommendations. Everyone in the community really looks out for each other’s safety, and we always end our convos with “SSDGM” (stay sexy, don’t get murdered). As a broader community, the true crime fans of every walk of life have made a huge difference online- Reddit threads have helped cold cases get reopened and solved, and there’s a new -interactive- podcast coming out

This is all just a long winded way to say I’ve found a huge group of my people, and I’m excited to be in a room with them all tonight.





First day of spring break and I’m up, writing, at 6:00 am. Normally, I’d be angry about this. It would be an indicator that I didn’t get enough sleep, or I have a migraine that disturbed my slumber…I wake up early, but not usually THIS early. On weekends, anyways.

But I’m not upset. I’m nervous. And excited. I leave for Omaha, NE in T-minus 2 hours. I am driving out to stay with my college roomie and her fiance for a couple of days because I haven’t seen her in about 9 months. This drive will be my longest alone thus far in my life (time to grow up, I know) and that’s what’s giving me anxiety more than anything else. I am a great passenger. I love being the DJ, I love navigating for someone else, and I’m completely at ease gazing out the window and chatting aimlessly with the driver. Put me in the driver’s seat, and I stop enjoying myself as much. Especially when alone! I do much better with others to talk to.

Thankfully, there’s an invention called “Podcasts” that gives me the illusion of having others with me! My favorites are: “Getting curious with Jonathan Van Ness”, “Last Podcast on the Left”, and number one: “My Favorite Murder”. Two of the three are true crime podcasts. The last, and my favorite, “My Favorite Murder”, is actually a huge reason I’m going to Omaha in the first place- I get to see the hosts of the podcast do a live show at the Orpheum Theater tomorrow night. More on MFM tomorrow, I’ll be too excited to contain myself.

So, wish me luck. 7 hours of driving alone in a car through states full of flat land(looking at you, Iowa), here I come! At least I’m driving TO one of my favorite people in the universe.

Image may contain: 2 people, including Kelsie Abolt, people smiling, selfie, closeup and outdoor

(Kels and I on graduation day- a couple hours after I got the call offering me my current teaching job)

miles of smiles

Today was a great day.

The last day before spring break and I got to share it with my dad and brother. See, my dad works every other Friday, and my brother is on his last leg of spring break. I knew I was going to need help getting through today, so I voluntold them they were coming in to help run STEM stations. They pretended to argue but agreed almost immediately.

They came for lunch. Dad treated me (so sweet, especially since he is doing work for me), and we chatted about everything under the sun. When it came time to pick the kids up, they both got visibly nervous. I always find it funny how people who aren’t teachers react to alone time with kids. It seems to terrify non-teachers, and I find it hilarious. Then I realized I probably look that way when I have to interact with adults. Oh well. So it goes. The kids came in, I got them settled and in their groups, and then the rotations began.

I had Dad, a seasoned engineer of many years, running a “baking soda balloons” station. Basically, students filled balloons with baking soda (via a funnel) and dumped them into a bottle of vinegar- causing the balloons to inflate. You wouldn’t BELIEVE the screams of excitement as these balloons inflated. The giggles were infectious- HIS INCLUDED! Something about being around excited kids causes adults to mirror their excitement too. The good adults, anyways.

Jack, a seasoned engineer-in-training, ran a popsicle stick catapult creation station. With 7 popsicle sticks, 4 rubber bands, and a plastic spoon, black puff balls were sailing across the room to screams of glee. I heard the kids peppering Jack with questions about me as a kid, me as an adult, me outside of school….” How come she’s older than you but you’re taller?” was my favorite question and the hardest for him to answer.

I always love having my home people around my school people. It makes my heart so full to have those two very important spheres collide. I ran a slime station, of course, and had similar reactions from my kiddos.

It made my whole afternoon so much better to see smiling, laughing, engaged and amazed kiddos- fully experiencing the homework reward THEY CHOSE!!! (side note: how COOL that they wanted to do science instead of watching a movie- I must be doing something right). It made me even happier to see the smiles on my dad’s and brother’s faces as they absorbed the happiness leaking from my kiddos every pore.

Now, I am at home in bed with my pup, ready to enjoy an eventful (and hopefully restful) spring break.


each kindness

This morning started much like yesterday. Cold and wet. Late start. Delayed arrival. With the added bonus of being stuck behind a truck AND a bus in the bumper to bumper traffic.  But, thanks to the kindness of a thoughtful coworker and fellow-slicer, my morning got a lot sweeter when I checked my mailbox. I am thankful for delicious donuts. I am thankful for kind coworkers who look out for each other (and each other’s tummies). I am thankful that someone thought of me extra this morning. I always dread Thursdays because I don’t get a break at all …but today, I started with a grateful heart. Who knew donuts could do so much?!

fab fit fun(k)

Today, I was in a funk. I woke up late (turned off my alarm) to a weather-induced headache, got to school later than I normally do, and had 10 million things to do throughout the course of the day (as we all do). End of the day, I had a meeting that I was slated to be the notetaker for (oops, Chromebook was dead) and there were 10 million notes with intricate details. Ow! My hand!

I’m done whining now. It was just a day. But I got home, and there it was on my doorstep. My fabfitfun subscription box, a whole day early. It put a smile on my face. I threw a pizza in the oven, and I’m patiently awaiting my brother’s arrival at my house so that we can go to yoga together. That will give me some laughs too- boy is like a board. Can’t even touch his toes on a good day. 🙂

same, same, different.

We met at an interesting time in our lives. The semester before student teaching in our methods classes. I had seen her around before in other classes- but I just knew her as the “girl with the cool neck tattoo” in my cultural geography class. We had never really talked until that semester; when we were partnered at the same lab table in science.

She’s my complete opposite in some ways- she has dark curly hair that contrasts with my straight-ish, blonde-ish mop. She has loads of intricate, beautiful tattoos and I am a blank canvas. I was raised in the church and she exudes spirituality- tarot, crystals, astrology, dream interpretation. She is fearlessly herself while I generally try to hold back in new situations. She is bold and confident and loyal. I am even-keeled and rational and temperance. She is proudly emotional- she doesn’t bottle- I do. I am learning from her every day how to let myself feel things and move forward.

She’s also my soul twin in other ways. We both love to cook. We cook together, we cook for each other, we cook alone and then force feed the other as soon as they walk through the door. We love finding cruelty free, natural alternatives to meat / beauty products / cleaning supplies. We are passionate about animals. We embrace wine of all colors. We love the same junk food (mozzarella sticks and marinara, giant pretzels with stone ground mustard). We even like the same kinds of movies- psychological thrillers & horror movie marathons are a normal thing for us. We enjoy fuzzy blankets and head scratches and hugs after hard days. We go to yoga together as much as possible (she makes fun of me for being so tall that my booty rises about half a foot taller than everyone else’s in down dog, and I envy her for being the human version of Gumby- so bendy it hurts to watch). We both teach- her 6th grade science, me 2nd grade everything. We vent. About EVERYTHING! I know her family, she knows mine. We get in the same “I need to clean everything right now, my life is in shambles” moods (usually on different days, which benefits us greatly). We love old records, plants, and doing our nails. The most important thing? We think we’re hilarious. I don’t think anybody else on planet earth would find the things we send each other hilarious- but we do, and that’s all that matters. The best sound is her laughing through the bedroom wall at something dumb I sent her.

Carly is the truest definition of friend. We met at a very strange and turbulent time in our lives and stayed connected two years past graduation. We met up occasionally to grab breakfast (another love we share) and grew closer. In October of this past year, we moved into a house together, and we’ve been roomies ever since. I’ve always been told to be careful living with a friend- but I couldn’t be happier that I live with her now. She’s the best support system to come home to, the best movie-watching (even tho she falls asleep), yoga going (even tho she’s bendier than me), and nail-painting buddy. It’s been a hard year for both of us, and I really can’t imagine where I’d be without her to come home to. I’ve always liked this quote about friendship “Some people arrive and make such a beautiful impact on your life, you can barely remember what life was like without them.” – Anna Taylor. That’s really how I feel about Carly. I can’t imagine life being as sweet as it is without her by my side. She’s probably sobbing reading this because I’m sending it to her right now. LOVE YOU CARL 🙂

(18) I’m not mad……

…Just disappointed. This was a conversation had with my kiddos after lunch today when some of them had gotten whacky and forgotten all expectations for school behavior.

I began by reviewing the expected behavior, patiently, in even tone. I reminded them that this is almost the end of 2nd grade and that next year they’ll have far less ‘slack’. I let them know that I knew they know better by now- and any misbehaving is a choice.  I remained calm the whole time- and delivered the final line. “I’m not mad at you guys. I’m disappointed. You know how to make better choices than this. I’m moving on, and so should you. Now is your chance to make the better choices I know you’re capable of.”

I was surprised when the reaction was one of silence. Some of them looked in their laps, some of them got red in the cheeks, some of them stared solemnly back at me. It seemed my disappointment weighed far heavier upon their little consciousnesses than anger. The rest of the afternoon went swimmingly. Good participation, good noise level….especially for the week before spring break.

The surprising thing? I really WASN’T mad. Just disappointed. (I thought that was just something people said. It always felt like anger. It was never explained to be otherwise.)