Tuesday, March 12, 2019

original gangsta

This isn't even my slice to tell, but it was so funny, I had to post it.

My ELA class is a combination of 7th and 8th grade students. They stay for two years, so our current eighth graders are on year two with us. It's cool, because they become the mentors to the seventh graders.

Yesterday, when I was home sick, I guess one of the seventh graders told one of the eighth graders that he needed to rename the turtle (the stuffed animal turtle that sits in the window and is used as a talking piece sometimes during discussions).

She replied, "You aren't even an OG in this class, you can't name the turtle!"

My coteacher told me she overheard this conversation yesterday and meant to text it to me last night. Kids are so funny, especially when they use language like this in the perfect context!

Sunday, March 10, 2019

good news

This is a model from writing I picked up watching Rachel Hollis on Amazon Prime in Made for More. Before they start their training, they ask the crowd to share good news. This news could be simple things like "I found my fave new shoes ON SALE" or bigger things like, "My cousin beat cancer." All news is good news, so here is some from me today.

Good news:

I got a huge chunk of my To Do list completed on Thursday.

Good news:
The weather in Chicago is creeping up into the 40s. It's a heat wave!

Good news:
My class's behavior was ON POINT Thursday. Like, so much that I offered 15 minutes of free time tomorrow (first time all year) if they could do that again. It was BLISSSSSSS.

Good news:
I saw Aziz Ansari the other night. SOOO GOOD.

Good news:
The last of four book club books came in and our new 7th grade book clubs are all set in poetry: The Crossover, Brown Girl Dreaming, Bronx Masquerade, and Home of the Brave. Can't wait to get started with these after spring break!

Good news:
After days of indulging on not-so-healthy food choices, it's always great to return to routines and add health back in via densely nutritious protein shakes and detox teas.

Good news:
We rolled the clocks back so the daylight will stay with us even longer now. Summer is on the horizon!

Saturday, March 9, 2019


Every year my friend, she's so kind, takes me to the Avani Spa in Fontana, Wisconsin. We get a massage and hang out in the pool area all day. It's lovely.

My fave location in the whole place? The steam room. I had never been in one before coming here, but I love sitting in there.

Just Thursday I finally caught a cold, so to sit in a room that's like a giant netty pot is THE BEST. (Minus the gross part of the netty pot.) I swear, my skin is so conditioned every time I get to spend some time in this little, it's-a-good-sweat room! Wanna go sit in a giant humidifier? Yes, please!

Friday, March 8, 2019

when lunch stinks

I am a meal planning person. Every weekend I make a bunch of lunches and some dinners and portion them up so I'm good to go daily with healthy food to keep me feeling well throughout the week. This week I made a Portillo's Chopped salad (it's delicious) and homemade dressing.

The dressing consists of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic, and a bunch of spices.

Fast forward to yesterday, I ate in my classroom alone. Was much in need of some quiet time. Salad was delicious, I ate at my conferring table. And as the kids came in for block 4, I haphazardly threw all the dishes into my lunch bag, but didn't close up the containers. I didn't realize how strong of a scent that particular dressing had.

Block 4 began, I was working on some other things outside of my room, but ran back to my space about 45 minutes later to grab something. I come in to Israel shaking his head. "Ms. Brezek. Why?" He, along with a few others, were working together with their teacher at my conferring table. Israel continues, "That smell, it's terrible. What was that?"

I had no context for what he was talking about. I must have looked confused, because his teacher chimed in. "I moved your lunch bag over there and also dropped a few drops of lavender essential oil. The kids were really distracted by your lunch."

Israel continued, "Yeah, it smells so bad. What *was that?"

Feeling a little embarrassed, I realized I didn't wash the dishes or or even close the lids. "Oh yeah, sorry guys, it was salad dressing..."

Israel interrupts again, "It's like, I just can't focus. It's so strong." He's shaking his head, clearly distraught.

At the time, I didn't realize how strong it was. But that night after school, I didn't go home, I had another commitment. And on my way there, I slammed on my brakes, my lunch bag flew to the floor, and the scents got all wound up again. I picked it all up, but when I got into my car that evening after about 3 hours of time, it did smell. It totally stunk, and I could feel Israel's pain.

How is it that I can have a delicious lunch and the remnants are just miserable?!

Thursday, March 7, 2019

on being a mom (kinda)

So did you read my post about Annie a few days ago? If not, start there.

Today I saw her during block 4 and I don't even remember what she was talking my ear off about but then I interrupted, "I wrote about you and Adam on my blog."

"AHHHHH, MS. BREZEK! WHYYYYY?" She paused, then continued, "I gotta read it."

Lauren was overhearing this and says, "Oh, on bigtimeliteracy? Let me pull that up." (Lauren did her first slice of life challenge in 4th grade with me, FOUR years ago, nbd.) :-)

She does and reads it. She tells me, "You write so descriptively."

My heart swells. Because (1) she compliments my writing, but more so (2) she can appreciate descriptive writing.

Annie walks back over to me, all smiles. Kinda embarrassed, but also kinda appreciating the attention. "You're like my mom, Ms. Brezek." She's smiling, kinda laughing. "Like, she does stuff like this. I don't know, you're just kinda like her."

(I honestly don't remember anything she said after the comparison.)

Mostly I was just feeling like I got the best compliment ever.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

multitasking is cr*p

I bought this book awhile ago:

I tried it out and it was difficult, so I set it aside. Then I noticed Oprah was doing a book study with the author, Eckhart Tolle, on her podcast. This week she released the conversation about chapter 9, next week it will all conclude.

In chapter 9 book, Eckhart states:

I used to think multitasking was the thing. Like look at me, I'm getting all these things done all at once, woweeeee!

But in the past few years, I've reconsidered. You can't be doing all the things at once. Well, to rephrase, you can be, but you won't be doing them well.

I find myself sitting at my desk at work, focused on one task. Then my email will ping, and I USED to just stop my work flow and go over to my email. At times now, I still do that, but now I catch myself. And I stop myself. And I go back to the first thing I was doing until it's complete. Then I will probably check my to do list before I go to the email, because people do not need a reply within 1 or 10 or even 60 minutes. Things can wait.

Our phones cause the same problem. We are doing something - making lunch or washing dishes, or folding laundry, or even at dinner with a friend or family member. The phone pings, and you interrupt what you're doing and give your attention that that.

Now that I've been more reflective of this fact, I've gotten so much more mindful of my phone. If I'm out with a friend, the phone is out of sight. I want the people I'm with to know that they are what's most important. I want my full attention to be on them.

If I'm home working on something, like right now, I'm writing this blog. My phone is on silent. It's still within arm's reach, but it's turned over and on silent. I want to finish one thing at a time.

When I'm at work in planning meetings of any sort, my phone is usually right there, but it's on silent and turned over. I'm not responding to email and I even try super hard to keep head space fully engaged with what I'm working on with people. It's important to me to be fully present for the 40-45 minutes we are working together.

And when I'm alone, I am tired of being anxious about the future or stressed about something I said earlier in the day. So now I just try and catch myself when I'm in anything but the present moment. It takes time, but it's making a difference to be fully present at each moment. And it helps.

Anyways, I guess I used to think multitasking was the sh*t, but now I think it's b*llsh*t. So let's spend some time together so I can get fully present to you and I and the work or fun we will find ourselves in.

Sidenote #1: I do like taking pics, so I may grab my phone for that. But the posting of said pics, later on :-)

Sidenote #2: I highly recommend you listen to Oprah's series on this book. Chapters 1 and 2 are tough, but starting on 3, it's amazing, and I think about as life-changing as Brené Brown's work!

Who's with me on this?

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

what I'm loving

Some things I'm currently loving are...

♥ that all my friends are blogging right now.
Our district has some pretty forward-thinking teachers, so it's cool how we're all sharing small moments of our daily lives with one another in March.

♥ that spring is coming!
Pretty sure we turn the clocks ahead next weekend. St. Patty's Day is coming (one year it was like 65 in Chicago that day, hoping for that!) Baseball is coming. Spring break is coming. WHen the sun is out, my spirits have an instant lift!

♥ rituals and traditions.
Fat Tuesday is here, tomorrow Ash Wednesday, and it's the season of Lent. Easter will be here soon. I love these parts of the calendar each year to remind me of things in life, and that they signal new easons are upon us!

♥ Hobby Lobby.
I've been dreaming of the gallery wall I want to create in my living room above my desk. Hobby Lobby has the best stuff for this, can't wait to share it with you once it's complete!

♥ my yearly visit to Lake Geneva with Lizzy!
Next weekend we will go to the spa and stay at the room her parents own at the resort. There's always a lovely brunch in there, too, can't wait to go!

♥ the app called Over.
If you like Word Swag, this one takes it up like 100 levels, but you can create amazing graphics and flyers from the convenience of your iPhone!

What are you loving at the moment?
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