Nine Things I’ll Actually Do in 2016

Enough with the bow-shit of new years resolutions. Here are the things I’m A C T U A L L Y going to do in 2016. I’m about to spit some real talk…

  1. Make my bed. Bless my husband’s heart. I deem myself an organized freak show, but when it comes to making my bed, I drop the ball in all the bad ways. There is literally nothing that comes close to going to bed with fresh and so clean-clean sheets. Shout out to Derek for doing this 96% of the time and me just being a lazy arse and waking up in the morning with juuust enough time to moan, then groan, then pee, change, eat breakfast (often provided by D Stein) and walk out the door. I am not a morning person and it is starting to show.
  2. Read more books. For heaven’s sake. If you aren’t making time for leisurely reading, what the hell are you doing with your life? Side note, I really need to start reading all of the rando books I buy at book sales that I say I’ll read ‘right away’ and then life happens and I’m all, “Ugh, sorry bro, you’re like 14th in line.”
  3. Hug more. I, for some forsaken reason, never have been a very touchy feely person. The first time I cried during a movie was in 8th grade at my friends hotel-sleep-over party and I watched Fools Rush In (You know, Chandler Bing and Selma Hayek, babies born…). That was the FIRST time I ever shed a tear for a movie slash anything. The joke was that I had no soul, but really…what was wrong with me? I have feelings, lots of them. Mostly they are loving feelings, but I am really bad at showing them? So if I’m awkward next time you see me, just know that I am trying my best to show my love and gratitude.
  4. Find the silver lining. I’ll be honest, work has not been my most favorite activity lately. Sometimes that silver lining can feel as far away as Mordor from the Shire (SPOILER: That is a long effin’ way away.) It has been hard, a lot of pressure from a lot of different things, at the same time I’m trying to stay ‘cool’ with 10 year old boys and girls, so that alone has been a challenge. But I need to focus on the silver linings of situations I can’t necessarily control. I’ve been trying my best, and the other day I truly saw that silver lining.  I have two Hispanic boys in my class that I particularly have been working on bonding with (“Whatevs, Mrs. Stein, you are lame and don’t know how to bond”). So these two boys are the sweetest thing since Sweettarts, but I really have been trying to get to know them. So I recently told them I was trying to learn Spanish on the Duolingo app. They asked what that was and I explained, and then something magical happened. Marco and Alejandro** opened up to me. They joked about Mrs. Stein being a “loco maestra” and just LOLed real hard when they knew that I knew what they were saying. It was amazing. The other day I was writing on the board as my students walked in one morning and I heard, “Good morning, Mrs. Stein!” in the most beautiful English from behind. I turned around and it was my little Marco. I could have crumbled into a pile of happiness right there. Silver linings exist y’all. You are making a difference, even if it is in a morning greeting. That is beautiful. Leaving your cart at Aldi for someone else to take. Give them the $.25. Holding the door open for something that already looks pissed off. Asking a cashier how their day is going. It is worth the smile on their face.
  5. GIVE. I need to give more. Whether it be my time, my advice, my money. It doesn’t matter. Giving makes this world go round. I have been OH SO BLESSED with the things I’ve been given and what I have worked for. I have been provided opportunities that others haven’t, and I need to recognize that, appreciate it, and give back to this beautiful karma that has been with me for 27 years. I volunteer here and there (shameless plug to Girls on the Run and Reach Out and Read KC). But, I need MORE. I crave MORE. Time sometimes isn’t available, but I need to figure out a way to payback this kismet that I have been given.
  6. Garden. If you know me well, you’ll know that I like to reduce, reuse, and recycle on the REG. Being a 1 year homeowner, I have just recently experienced a true backyard garden. You wanna eat healthy? PLANT A GARDEN. Support your local community? PLANT A GARDEN. Save the bees? BITCH, PLANT A GARDEN. Last summer, I felt the most pioneer-woman I have ever felt. I grew tomatoes, red peppers, and serrano peppers in my garden and MADE A FREAKIN’ SALSA with it. Woman card: achieved.
  7. Send more snail mail. I am all about the good kind of excitement. Note: I wrote the good kind of excitement. I get absolutely n0 pleasure from opening up a can of biscuits. In fact, I can’t even do that shit. It terrifies me. I make my husband, my dog, my invisible friend open up a can of biscuits before I submit to doing it. I digress… snail mail is the best. I feel like a fool when I get home from a late night at work with a goofy look on my face and say, “Did you get the mail?!” Bills are bills. They’ll never end. But snail mail is where it’s at. The person who sent it was thinking about me. For a long enough period of time to write/draw something, fold it, slap a stamp (super expensive) on it, and send it my way. Snail mail is a happy-gram waiting to happen.
  8. Break my phone habit. This is ironic because I’m typing this on my computer which I will eventually check on my phone. But I have a serious problem. I have an addiction to my phone and it makes my SICK. I am ‘that’ person. I don’t deem myself a “basic bitch,” but I might as well. At a stop light, I check my phone. During a Netflix marathon, I check my phone. During a dinner with a long lost friend, I check  my phone. As I’m writing this blog, I’m checkin’ my phone. I post my most recent #tbt and OH HELL YES I CHECK MY PHONE. I live for those damn orange notifications. What is my life? Since when am I a person who needs peer recognition in order to feel successful? This needs to end, asap.
  9. DO THE DAMN THING. This refers to: everything. This blog? DO IT. Go out to dinner with friends I haven’t seen since high school? DO IT. Plan that girls trip that we’ve been talking about for 6 years (lookin’ at you, ladies), DO IT. I’ve been saving my money, my energy, my time, for stuff that I am too big of a wuss to do. Work on my beach bod? Get off my big fat white butt and take care of that nonsense. I’m not going to sit here and say, “I’m going to eat salad for 20 days of the month and run 1 marathon every two months.” If you do that, bless your beautiful, healthy heart. I’m a realist, I know that I need to do work on my health, but I am not going to go cray-cray and commit myself to daily Cross-Fit workouts. I know very well I don’t have that discipline, but I’m going do to something, damnit. Even if it means no more Joe’s Pizza after over-served evenings in Westport, that is a damn win in my book.

So yeah. Now that this is published on the inter-webs, I better freakin’ stick with it.

*Mic drop*

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Bring it, 2016.

**Names have been changed for child privacy.
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A Casual Cheese Fan

Following in Cate’s footsteps, I, too, would like to borrow a few of your life’s precious moments to introduce myself, and explain exactly what it is I plan to do here.

Medieval Cheese

Girl, you know this pouch is packed with cheese.

My name is Derek. My mom calls me “D.” My dad calls me “DD.” My close friends utilize vague pronouns to attract my attention, as they may have actually forgotten my name. Now that I’m thinking about it, this is of great concern. MOVING ON.

I greet each day with a crippling dose of optimism armed at my…waist – ready to unleash it upon innocent bystanders at a moment’s notice. That may sound merciless, but this is just how I live. THIS IS WHO I AM.

A proud product of Kansas State University, I am literally bursting at the seams with purple. You may think that, considering I’ve exchanged marital vows with a KU graduate, our relationship may be a bit abrasive at times. Well, you’re partially correct, but it’s only so during college basketball’s conference play. Outside the aforementioned times, our marriage consists of nothing but gleeful bliss and, of course, cheese.

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We make it work.

Speaking of which – I’ve always liked cheese. Want some cheese on that burger? Yes, please. Some powdered parm on your lasagna, sir? HOOK IT UP. Shredded, sharp cheddar to accompany your salad, your grace? Wouldn’t eat it without it, bub. You get the idea, gang. Like most folks, I’m a casual fan of cheese. I’d say it most resembles Adele adorers (Adelorors?). Everyone likes Adele a little bit, right? But they’re not, like, counting down the days until the Adele show, ya know? A much better metaphor surely exists here.

This all changed when Cate graced my existence with hers.

Cate’s obsession revealed the key to her heart. When she was en route to Manhattan, one could find me en route to Dillon’s to stock up on all the cheese my Sunglass Hut salary could afford. Following our responsibility-fueled jaunts (greetings to parents and family members, current/future occupational supervisors, and potential voters!) to Aggieville, I would masterfully concoct cheese-based dishes, slowly but surely winning her over. These one-of-a-kind creations would be graced by entry-level cheese products including Cheeze-Itz, American Cheese Slices, bricked cheddar and mozzarella, Squeeze cheese and, I assure you, much, much more.

To me, cheese is much more than a good you consume or adorn other dishes with. It’s become more of an avenue for me. An avenue that’s lead me directly to Cate and her delightful family. This is why, dear reader, I’ve accepted my fate as a cheese Adeloror, and why you’re reading this today. I look forward to discussing cheese and life in-depth as this blog develops, and do hope you enjoy it.

Welcome to the Gouda Life.

– D