niennie

twenty-something. girly girl. teacher. puppy-enthusiast.


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New Year’s Goals

Several years ago, I thought I was clever.  Maybe that’s a lie, because I still do think I’m clever, but that’s besides the point.  Anyway, a few years ago, I made a resolution that I would never again make a New Year’s Resolution.  Why?  It’s not because I think I’m perfect, or I’m anti-goal setting… but I feel that it is entirely too socially acceptable to attempt your resolution for the first few weeks of the year and then completely fail at or give up on them.  Maybe it’s just me, but really, why make a resolution if you know that you’re just going to end up throwing it out the window in a month?  Asking yourself why you should try to keep it when everyone else stopped theirs?

I have kept that resolution well.  For a few years, I didn’t make any resolutions at all.  But then I started to get antsy because I do like setting goals and working to make myself better… and I then began setting New Year’s Goals for myself (yes, a matter of semantics I know, but it soothes my brain regardless).  Goals are less seasonal and more likely to be kept and worked on throughout the year.

Now that I’ve taken up two paragraphs of your life primarily about the reason why I use the word “goals” instead of “resolutions” I can finally actually tell you what mine are.

In no particular order, I give you: Niennie’s 2014 Goals

1.  Live a Healthier Life.  Probably one of the most common in the world, but really… I’ve put on weight that I worked hard to lose.  I don’t feel comfortable in my body anymore – or in half of my clothes because they no longer fit.  I need to eat less processed foods and more fresh fruits, veggies, and lean proteins.  Along with this, exercise, exercise, exercise.  Once upon a time I got more than my money’s worth out of my gym membership.  Now, I pay the gym to sit at home and eat pizza and candy and drink wine.  I don’t necessarily want to go all uber-strict calorie counting (which was what I did the first time)… honestly, I just want to feel good about myself.  And I know that I feel good about myself when I eat nutritious foods and work out.  Love myself first, treat my body well, and then worry about losing weight again.  Right?  Right.

2.  Be more positive.  While I like to believe I am an optimistic person naturally, I do have a tendency to complain.  A lot.  About everything.  I want less negativity in my life, though, and I think that complaining less will help to cleanse me a bit.  What do you do when you complain?  You focus on something negative.  You get more and more upset about something that really isn’t that bad.  Your energy affects those around you.  Instead, by changing what you can change, trying to accept what you can’t, and focusing on positives rather than negatives in your life you can be a good influence on those around you.  I would prefer to be a good influence on those around me.

3.  Calm down.  I have terrible anxiety.  I worry about everything, I shake my leg almost constantly, and my heart races at the drop of a pin.  I want to work on controlling my anxiety by being more cognizant of what causes me to become upset and actively work on talking myself OUT of a panic attack, not INTO one (which I have done, many times before).  Along with this, I need to practice meditating and being introspective: identifying my state of mind and body and work on relaxing both.  Diet and exercise might help (see goal 1), and focusing on the positive in life will too (see goal 2).

4.  Be a better communicator.  Considering that I’m a teacher and talk all day long, I’m not very good at communicating.  Okay, maybe I’m just much better at communicating with 6-and-7-year-olds than 26-and-27-year-olds.  Heh heh.  Regardless, I know this is a weakness of mine and that I need to sincerely work on articulating my thoughts and feelings in a neutral way, controlling my tone of voice and delivery so that I am neither offensive nor defensive in the conversation.  This is probably going to be one of the most difficult goals for me to accomplish, because I don’t really know where to start or how to change these habits…

5.  Write.  I feel like I’m off to a strong start with this blog, but I just hope that I continue to write in it consistently.  Once school starts up again I have a hunch that I will be busy and neglect this project.  I don’t really want that to happen, so I will have to make a point of making time to write on a regular basis.  Also, I need to work on coming up with better endings/closings/ways-to-wrap-up-posts because I’m pretty bad at that…

According to my calculations, I still have 30 hours and 17 minutes until the New Year, so if you will excuse me I’m going to eat my veggie chips and watch Game of Thrones with my boyfriend.

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Daily Prompt: Brainwave

Daily Prompt: Brainwave

Before I enlighten you with my brilliant idea, I would like to say that the descriptor “best” is a subjective term and is certainly in the eye of the beholder.

I love trashy television, and let me tell you… they just don’t make it like they used to.  I was (am) a huge fan of stupid VH1 shows, especially their dating shows (Rock of Love 1-3, Daisy of Love, I Love New York, Tough Love, etc…).  A few years back, after listening to the public complain about how young people these days just don’t vote anymore I devised a perfect idea to give new, aspiring politicians a chance while engaging young adults in politics, ultimately increasing their voter participation.  And so I give you… America’s Next Top President.

The premise of this show is for politicians to duke it out in different competitions to demonstrate their political and social prowess for all of America to see.  The competitions will be based on various reality TV show themes and competitions.  For example, we can have our candidates compete in a diplomatic-hand shaking photography contest a la America’s Next Top Model.  There will be project management activities courtesy of Donald Trump, and perhaps a Bret Michaels style Mud Bowl or Truck Stop Games (season 3) to help the candidates release some pent-up energy and connect to their fellow Americans.  Group therapy sessions like in Tough Love would give us great insight into the mental stability of our potential leaders.

Of course, any reality show worth its salt has to have its weekly eliminations too.  This will help to narrow down the playing field a bit.

Other benefits of the show:  as with other reality TV shows the casting is open to anyone – giving other, regular people the opportunity to get their name and face out there, not just those who have been groomed for this their entire lives and have billions to spend on campaigning.  In addition to this, it may help out a little with our 2 party dominated system.  Candidates on the show will be put into “parties” based on their political beliefs, however they will be split by color (Red, White, Blue, etc) instead of labels such as Republican or Democrat.  This way, the winners for each party will be able to run alongside the regular liberal and GOP candidates in the election, thereby creating more voting opportunities.  Pair that with the publicity from the show and watch as “third party” votes rise.

Honestly, when you think about it, the idea isn’t really that much more ridiculous than how politics are handled in the real world… just saying…


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Daily Prompt: You’re a Winner!

Daily Prompt: You’re a Winner!

Who wouldn’t love to immediately come into one billion tax-free dollars?  Just in case this happens to me (because we all know how likely that is), I have made a list of precisely how I would spend that money…

First, I would pay off all my pesky student loans.  Take that, Citibank, Great Lakes, Sallie Mae, and UAS!  Second, I would take care of my parents’ and siblings’ debt, mortgages, and other outstanding expenses.  Third, I would buy a house (with a pool, large backyard, and state of the art kitchen) and a new car.  I assume my boyfriend would like to trade his car in for something different, and I would gladly arrange for that to happen.  I would also hire a personal chef to come in a few days a week to help with meal preparation and grocery shopping, and hire a cleaning service and for someone to do the god-damned ironing.  I would also arrange for a gardener to expertly landscape my yard and assist me with my houseplants.

After those items have been taken care of, I could leisurely spend my money on the following items and services, listed in no particular order:

  • Buy a puppy.  Or two.
  • Get bi-weekly pedicures.  That’s right, bitches, I am never painting my own toenails AGAIN!  Mwahahaha.
  • New clothes, new makeup, new shoes… because I can.
  • Completely re-do my classroom, complete with new organization, comfy pillows for the reading nook, every and any art supply I could ever need, and a seriously fleshed out classroom library.  Yes, that’s right – I would keep my job (for at least a while)!
  • Extravagant gifts for the ones I love.
  • Vacations, vacations, vacations.
  • Hire a personal trainer.
  • Donate regularly to charities, especially those aiding children and families in the United States to obtain proper housing, nutrition, and education.  Also, to charities that help families with members who have special needs.
  • Start college funds for my future children and my lovely nieces.
  • Random acts of kindness for strangers.  Also, extravagant tips for service workers.
  • Did I mention a puppy?

It’s so easy to picture myself relaxing in such a luxurious lifestyle.  Now all I need is the cash!


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Reflections

Otherwise known as “2013 in Review.”

2013 has been a rather eventful year for me.  As December comes to a close I generally make it a habit to reflect back on the past twelve months of my life and all the changes it has brought me.  Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on what side of the fence you sit on) I most often do this in lists or short blurbs, which makes it easier to handle.

Since I will be requiring this activity of my students, it only seems fitting I do it first myself…  And so, I grace you with the 10 Best and/or Most Notable Events of 2013 (in no particular order):

1. Was FINALLY hired as a full-time teacher for a first grade classroom in a very beloved school district.  Yay me!
2.  Won a Kindle Fire in a raffle and it has made all the difference in my life as a reader.  I love my Kindle more than words can express.
3.  My second beautiful niece was born in September.
4.  Attended my first NJEA convention and participated in brain compatible teaching workshops lead by Marcia Tate, which completely changed my life.
5.  Made new and solidified existing friendships to create a strong and trustworthy network of peers.
6.  Raised three tadpoles to frogs and so witnessed one of nature’s great miracles.
7.  Being able to watch my first niece grow and spend time exploring the simple pleasures in life with her.
8.  Spending time with my boyfriend, who is there for me through thick and thin, even if we are complete buttheads to each other.  So proud of him for landing a job he enjoys and starting an exciting new career!
9.  Had an amazing trip to Saratoga this year, including lucky winning horses and shopping in downtown 🙂
10. Feeling validated and appreciated as a professional, as well as successful in the start of my career.

With the good must come the bad, but I won’t necessarily try to draw this list out…

1.  The doggie love of my life passing away shortly before Christmas.  I will continue to miss her terribly.
2.  Resigning from my job at the country club, which I greatly enjoyed, and know that even if I were to return it would never be the same…
3.  Developing nasty seasonal allergies, aggravated by everything wet and damp outside.  Ugh!
4.  Gaining back all this weight I worked so hard to get rid of… and losing motivation to go to the gym…
5.  To all the plants I killed this year: I AM SO SORRY!  I swear I had the best of intentions! D:

 

Coming soon to a blog near you: Goals for the New Year.


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Put one word in front of the other…

…and soon you’ll be blogging ‘cross the in-ter-net!

I don’t know exactly what has inspired me to pick up blogging again.  Ages ago, way back in ye olde days of livejournal, I used to write all.the.time.  But I believe I lost touch with it sometime in early college for many reasons, which I won’t extrapolate on, because really it’s not that important.

Why blog?  Why now?  I enjoy writing, that’s for sure.  I leave my boyfriend page-to-two-page-long love notes in the morning, musings about my dreams, plans for the day, things he should know, jokes, and other reminders about life and my undying love for him.  But even though I have journals for myself (collections of them, in fact), I have difficulty sticking with writing in them.  I’m good for a start, but taper off as time goes on… partly because I am only motivated to write in them when I’m upset, but mostly because I can think way faster than my poor hand can go.  Typing on the other hand, now that’s a strength!  Finally my fingers can keep up with my racing brain!

I suppose I’m partly inspired by all the memoirs I read as well.  Not that my life or stories are nearly as incredible or inspiring as those that I read, but I suppose there is some narcissism in blogging.  It’s fun to write for an audience, even though it is highly unlikely anyone but myself will read these musings.  And, if someone does happen to stumble upon this blog, it’s even more unlikely that they will actually know who I am.  I enjoy that anonymity to an extent, though.  It’s safer that way.  A wall to protect you when you’re putting so much of yourself out there for all to see.

Of course, it could be the time of year that gets me into writing mode again.  As 2013 draws to a close, it’s a natural inclination for me to become nostalgic, look back upon this year and reflect about all that has happened.  Likewise, as 2014 approaches, it is time to cook up some goals of my own!  Ahh, but that is an entry for another day.  Wouldn’t want to get too carried away now with the first one, would we?  I’m so glad that you agree.

And so it begins…