Ma’ Faves.

Today is the first day in about a week and a half that I didn’t feel like sticking my head in a bucket of Skittles and washing it down with a dangerously hoppy IPA while crying. This is good news. It’s my personal belief that the world was slightly off kilter last week. That’s what I think.

Now that I’ve settled down, I’m prepared to tell you about some things that I’m really quite enjoying right now. It’s kind of like Oprah’s favorite things but without the incessant screaming and hugging of the complete strangers next to you. I mean, feel free to hug the person next to you… I guess.

1. My iPad. I’m not quite sure how I lived before my iPad. I like to put my iPhone and iPad next to each other at night. They cuddle. I don’t know why there are fools out there that believe they still need computers and laptops. iPads are the future… and the future is now. I have read more books in the months that I’ve owned this iPad than in my entire adult life. I also watch a hell of a lot of HBO Go and Netflix on this bad boy.

2. Curry rice. Rice cooker filled with rice and water. Couple shakes of curry powder, turmeric, paprika, and garlic. Cook. Mix with veggies. Enjoy. Bachelorette meal at it’s finest.

3. Scarves. If you haven’t seen me through a full winter yet, you might not know that I wear a scarf every day from mid October to roughly May. If you know what I do for a living, you might question whether or not this is a safe choice. I think you’re kinda right, but I wear them anyway.

4. Stickin’ pumpkin in shit. You may remember this from my last post. I am really likin’ pumpkin right now. Stick it in anything and… WABAM! Flavor and nutrition!

5. Skype and face to face. Why would you talk on the phone when you can talk face to face? If you’re a close friend, you’ve probably seen me in the last month or so on the other end of your screen. I was probably wearing my pink fuzzy robe with a towel turban as my accessory. For some reason I always seem to be ready to Skype after a shower…

6. My pony. With the help of 8,304 bobby pins, my hair is now long enough for a mini-ponytail. I feel like freaking Rapunzel.

7. Candles. If I were to leave my blinds open and my neighbors were to see in through my window they would surely think I was having a seance. I like to light about a dozen candles, lie face down on my bed, and scream “SERENITY NOW!” into my mattress. Is it “lie” or “lay”? UGH! I need a candle break.

8. “Game of Thrones”. Sure, I’ve fallen asleep during almost every single episode, but I really truly do it enjoy it. I blame all of the overall darkness of each scene on my narcoleptic episodes.

Things to be happy about:

– It didn’t rain today.
– I went to the dentist and didn’t have any cavities.
– My mom turned 61 on Saturday!
– I don’t have school on Friday!

Peace, love, and patchouli – Portland Pollyanna

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Sometimes …

… I listen to Taylor Swift.

… the closest thing I get to fruit on any given day are Skittles.

… I make the same thing for dinner for three weeks straight.

… I take very long, hot, non tree hugger showers.

… I sleep with a mountain of clothes next to me on my bed instead of putting them away.

… I scream “I’m from INDIANA!” when petitioners stop me on the street.

… I sing in the 42nd street MAX elevator while I wait for it to go up. It distracts me from the fact that it smells like a urinal.

… I stay under the covers for an entire Sunday watching “Game of Thrones”. WINTER IS COMING!

… the “harp” iPhone alarm isn’t powerful enough to wake me up.

… I listen to the same Taylor Swift song four times while writing a blog post.

… my glasses are so dirty I can’t see out of them.

… I ride the long route home so that I can wear all of my Aqua Man gear – – shoe covers, rain pants, rain coat, hat, waterproof gloves. So cool.

Things to be happy about:
– A new funny new book on my Kindle bookshelf.

– Conquering various things on my personal to-do list.

– Putting pumpkin in everything. Tonight I put it in my stir-fry. According to the points made above, I will most likely eat this for the next three to four weeks.

– My grandma thinking that my future trip to the Netherlands is “so neat!”

– Field trip to the pumpkin patch tomorrow!

– Voting!

Peace, love, and patchouli – Portland Pollyanna

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Bus Bumps and a Positive Outlook.

Have you ever seen one of those TV shows with the dramatized high speed police chase scenes? They’re all the same. A police car inevitably goes flying over a hill and gets sweet air, crashing its bumper to the ground creating a shower of sparks. “Surely this sort of thing does not really happen”, you might say to yourself from time to time.

You’re wrong. You’ve never ridden along with a particular surly school bus driver whose name will remain unnamed.

But let me back up.

Someone told me recently that you can make the decision to be happy at any time. You just need to stop yourself and make the conscious decision. This person told me this while I was ranting on and on about one frustration or another. At the time I probably wanted to slap him, but, I am starting to think he’s right.

Today I made the conscious decision to be a total bitch. I made the decision to be pissed off for the majority of the day. I actually recall stopping and telling myself “Kate, you can make the choice to be happy RIGHT NOW.” Then I recall telling myself to piss off.

The thing about making the conscious decision to be crabby when you’re a teacher is that your mood will inevitably rub off on everyone around you. You will soon be surrounded by a bunch of wee ones with the same ‘tude as you. It ain’t pretty.

That’s precisely how I ended up on the school bus at the end of the day.

Stay with me.

So, after getting a report from the bus driver that my little cherubs were less than satisfactory I let me and my bad mood threaten that I would ride the bus with them home to witness their unsatisfactory bus behavior first hand.

Note to self: never threaten such things at 8:30am when you’re bein’ a crab.

3:05 rolled around and, after an entire day of enduring a kiddie crap storm, I was left with no choice but to follow through with my threat. I am, after all, a VERY proud woman.

I will say only a few things about this ride:

1. I will never be a bus driver.
2. Bus drivers can be very, very mean.
3. Bus seats are very upright.
4. I have a hard time sitting upright.
5. The mixture between bus fuel, stinky boy, and the bus drivers perfume makes me turn green.
6. Speed bumps hold a different meaning to some bus drivers… as in SPEED UP when approaching a speed bump and send small children rocketing toward the ceiling. This is where my police chase comparison comes from. I swear we caught more air than Evil Knievel.
7. I had to stand with my head between my legs outside for five minutes after that bus ride begging myself not to upchuck.
8. I am no closer to knowing why my students cannot hold it together on the bus. Perhaps because of numbers 1-6?

Tomorrow I will do things differently. Tomorrow, when I stop and tell myself that I have the power to choose to be happy I will not tell myself to beat it. Tomorrow, come hell or high water, I will NOT ride that bus.

I will never look at speed bumps the same way again.

Things to be happy about:

– 8:00 gal snack time in the Coop kitchen.
– Countless cups of tea while listening to the downpour that I’m thankfully not stuck in.
– Memories of a fantastic weekend with a good old friend.
– Learning how to make macaroni and cheese from scratch that takes less than 15 minutes start to finish.
– Cuddles.

Peace, love, and patchouli – Portland Pollyanna

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Another Convert

“Portland is a cesspool of a city. Voodoo Doughnut is its only redeeming quality.”
– Matthew Laudermilk, 2010.

My family hasn’t always been thrilled about Portland. While visiting for the first time, my brother had an unfortunate run in with a toothless homeless gal and, for two years, he was haunted by her image.

Fast forward to summer 2012 to find my brother publicly hugging a stinky hippie holding a cardboard sign with the words “free hugs” scribbled on it.

What changed his mind you ask? Well, getting folks to love Portland a simple, but you must remember this formula:

beautiful natural destinations + well thought out food and beverage choices + my very enthusiastic

and welcoming friends and boyfriend + people watching + a little bit of spontaneity along with

some well defined plans = a undeniable new love for the previously foreign city known as Portland.

This past weekend my mom flew in from Indiana to visit me. Not only was it my birthday, making the visit extra super special, but it was my mom’s FIRST TIME visiting Portland and the Pacific Northwest. Now, Linda had never come out and stated explicitly that she had reservations about Portland, but, with how popular culture portrays Portland, I knew that she was probably nervous. She probably thought that we would be doing yoga every morning, walking around from one tofu restaurant to another without any shoes on throughout the afternoon, and protesting fluoridated water by night. Honestly, most of the stereotypes that you see on “Portlandia” are completely true, so I wouldn’t have blamed her for being scared. I’m not sure that I convinced her that Portland is “normal”, in fact, when I asked her what she thought overall, her response was, “it sure is different.” Fair enough. With that said, she seemed to have a great time and everyone over in these parts had a great time meeting and spending time with her! We all hope she comes back real soon!

Matt + Linda = two converts. Success.

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Things to be happy about:

– remaining perfectly calm during a very eventful day at work today.

– the beautiful fall colored streets that I ride on during my afternoon commute.

– watching my students giggle, jump, and scream while watching our homemade volcano (courtesy of my fantastic classroom assistant) erupt.

– pumpkin beer.

Peace, love, and patchouli – Portland Pollyanna

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Things I Think I’ve Learned in my 27 Years of Life

Well, folks, it’s been twenty-seven years since I entered this crazy world. On this, my day of birth, I would like to reflect back on what I think I’ve learned. I won’t pretend that I’m anywhere near done learning, but I have been feeling rather wise lately. So here it goes…

– Hugs are kind of ok.
When I moved to Portland I was a strict non hugger. I would become stiff as a board as soon as I saw someone come at me with open arms. Portland has taught me that it’s ok to hug. In fact, hugging can be kind of nice sometimes. Did you know that there are studies that show that hugging for six whole seconds (1 mississippi, 2 mississippi, 3…), releases endorphins and makes you happier. Pretty rad.

– People really like getting mail.
I am notoriously bad at sending mail. I never have stamps. Where do you even get stamps? Seriously. But, the few times that I’ve “borrowed” a stamp from someone and actually sent a piece of mail to a friend or family member, it has paid off enormously.

– If I want something to get done, I have to do it immediately.
I carry around a tiny little notebook that I’m constantly scribbling in. When people ask me what I’m writing, I always tell them that I can’t remember to do something unless I write it down. That’s a lie. I can’t remember to do something EVEN if I write it down. After years and years of forgetting to do things like send gramma a birthday card, call a student’s mom, or send a document to my boss, I decided that I have to do something immediately when I think of it or it will NEVER get done.

– My mom is always right.
My mom is not of this world. She is a tiny little psychic or something. As difficult as it is for
me to admit, she’s been right a whole heck of a lot more than she has been wrong. Thankfully, she has never been one to indulge in “I told you so” behaviors.

– I cannot and SHOULD not multi-task.
When I got my first job I liked to pretend that I was capable of multi-tasking. My coworker would be talking to me about something while I would be trying to type up a document at the same time. She would ask me if I was really able to do both things at once. “Of course! I’ve ALWAYS been a multi-tasker!” I’d exclaim. Then, when she left the room I’d look at my document and realize that I’d typed out half of the conversation that we were having. Fail.

– Chocolate chip cookies get you friends.
If you move to a new city and need friends, find your own unique recipe for chocolate chip cookies and make them often for everyone you meet.

– You can never have enough underwear.
No explanation here. When I pack for a trip, I bring enough underwear for a 180 day trip around the world.

– I strongly dislike hummus.
I’ve tried time and time again to love hummus. I just don’t. Please feel free to explain why everyone on god’s green earth likes it so damn much.

– I don’t always need to say whatever I have going on in my head.
I’m far from mastering the art of keeping my mouth shut, but at least I’ve realized how unnecessary it is to say every single thought I have in my head. I do not need to tell the barista that she looks like one of my friends from elementary school. it just makes her feel weird.

– I don’t like stuff.
When I moved in June, I got rid of a lot of stuff. Now, when people walk into my room they probably wonder where all of my things are. They might wonder if I have some of it in storage. I have been much happier since I got a lot of clutter out of my life. No more clothes that I don’t wear, books that I’ll never reference again, make up I’ll never put on anyway, and single earrings that I’ll never find the partner to.

– I like ooey gooey lovey dovey stuff.
I won’t go too much into this, but I can just say that I used to be really cranky about lovey dovey stuff. Perhaps I was just cranky because I didn’t really know what the lovey dovey stuff was. Ponder that.

– I’ve always got ma gals.
For most of my life, I’ve had more guy friends than girl friends. Since moving to Portland, this has changed a lot. I have a solid circle of gals that keep me sane. I read recently in a book I’m pretty into that studies show that both men and women feel more satisfied after discussing feelings and issues with women. I think there’s something to that. By the way, I’m not really big on quoting things or even going back in books to make sure I’m getting facts right. This isn’t school, folks. Hopefully I’m right about all of these “studies” I’m referencing.

– I have much to learn.
I feel like a newborn these days. The rate at which I’m coming to realizations and learning new things about myself is astounding. Stay tuned… it’s pretty exciting.

Things to be happy about 10/04/2011
– I made it to 27.
– My mom arrives at 10:30am.
– My birthday buddy and cousin turns 20 today.
– Two of my favorite people in all of the world will be dining together tomorrow in the far off land of San Francisco. This just warms my heart.
– I have two support staff that make taking personal days really easy and free of stress.

Peace, love, and patchouli – Portland Pollyanna

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Grump.

As far back as I can remember, I have been a grump.

Grump Evidence A:

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What the heck am I so pissed about!? Poor gramma…

I have quite enjoyed being a grump. Being a grump is extremely self-indulgent, after all. Nobody ever seems to get as much recognition for being super happy. Grumps, on the other hand, force you to pay attention to them. Being a grump really worked/works for me…. sometimes.

Pros of being a grump:

1. People often consider your sarcasm to be one of your finest qualities.
2. People enjoy the exaggerated stories you tell. Hilarity ensues.
3. Frowning uses way more muscles than smiling. Excellent facial workout.
4. Scowling makes you less approachable. People will leave you alone on the bus and Max.

Cons of being a grump:

1. Sarcasm can make you sound like a real ass sometimes.
2. Exaggerating stories for comedic quality can sometimes lead to ridiculously untrue stories that are hard to keep track of.
3. Frowning makes you look ugly. Plus, when I frown, I tend to get a double chin for some reason.
4. It’s tiring to be so grumpy.

Grump Evidence B:

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Again… poor gramma.

My mother has much video evidence to prove my grumphood. One video showcases a four year old Kate waking up on Christmas morning. I came stumbling out of my bedroom holding my Big Bird stuffed animal, wearing footsie pajamas, my Playschool kitchen apron, and a big ol’ scowl which was slightly offset by having my preferred sucking fingers in my mouth. PILES of presents were waiting for me in the living room and my mom, who was behind the camera, couldn’t WAIT to see my reaction. I hope she wasn’t holding her breath, because there was no reaction. DIDN’T she know I was TIRED!?

This winter and early spring I found myself grumpier than ever. Like, clinically grumpy. Suddenly my typical sarcasm and exaggerations weren’t fulfilling. Life was sort of difficult and I knew I needed a change. There were many changes that occurred this spring, most of which I will never discuss here. But, what I can discuss, is the idea of YOLO.

YOLO – you only life once. It started off as a joke, yelling “YOLO” every time I decided to stay out past 9pm.

It would go something like this:

Friend: “Kate, do you want to go get one dollar PBRs?”
Me: “I don’t know… I’m kind of tired. I MEAN… YOLO!”

Then we’d skipping off to enjoy our refreshing hipster beer.

On a lovely day in May, I met the king of YOLO. From that day forward, my life as a grump was compromised. He’s always smiling. He never says no. He always has a great idea for a great adventure. Suddenly I was going out on adventures on weeknights, going bike camping with nothing but a muffin, two mangos, and a bag of off brand Chex Mix, not looking at my watch for hours at a time, sailing down the Columbia River, eating gummy worms for dinner, riding my bike through a mob of people wearing a giant flowery 80s prom dress, and.. best of all… SMILING. Life was and is good.

Non-Grump Evidence A:

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King of YOLO and said giant flowery 80s dress.

I can say without a doubt in my mind that I had the greatest summer of my life. I’ve never felt so connected to friends and family. If I were a betting woman, I would say that it might be because I chose to change my attitude and become more positive. Consequently, people started talking to me more often on public transportation. Like I said – pros and cons.

Non-Grump Evidence B:

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Family vacay in California

Non-Grump Evidence C:

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Ma gals.

Long story short – I will always enjoy being a grump sometimes. It’s kind of who I am. Do I still have extreme grump moments? Oh god, yes. But, I’ve come to realize the benefits of being more positive. I’m happier than I can remember being in a long while. I have friends and family that are taking notice and frequently congratulating me for the simple fact that I look so pleased with life right now. Can’t get much better than that.

In the interest of continuing to be positive, I will end my blog posts with a list of things to be happy about:

Things to be happy about 10/02/2012:
1. My birthday is less than two days away.
2. My mom is coming to visit me in Portland for the first time over my birthday weekend. Yes, I get an entire weekend.
3. King of YOLO gave me a big ol’ bunch of “remember me while I’m in California” flowers to keep me smiling all week long.
4. Gifts keep pouring onto the porch and, unlike my four year old self, I am quite excited every time I see one of those packages!

The list can go on…

Peace, love, and patchouli – Portland Pollyanna

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Can You Limit Your Sitting and Sleeping Time to Just 23 and 1/2 Hours a Day?

So often I find myself thinking that I don’t have time to get a good workout in.  I’m very much an all or nothing person.  If I can’t devote a few hours to riding my bike, I often don’t want to do anything at all.  It wasn’t until recently that I realized that any amount of exercise counts.  Now, when I’m sitting on the couch watching something on Hulu or watching my millionth episode of “How I Met Your Mother” on Netflix, I think to myself – maybe I have more time than I thought.  This video may make you think the same:

Get out and move.  You’ll feel better, look better, and you’ll still have time to watch TV. Promise.

Peace, love, and patchouli –

Portland Pollyanna

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