Boston Loving

I had two of those moments today where I thought “I would miss some things about the city… I could do this long-term life in the city thing.” Why one of those moments occurred as I traipsed through downtown on my way to the T station, with what seemed like 20 pounds in my backpack all while dodging puddles and the spray from passing cars, I’m not so sure. Moment number two was more predictable. I was seated in my favorite Starbucks, with a free beverage courtesy of a birthday coupon, in a comfy armchair, by the fire, reading The Girl Who Played With Fire. But then, I thought, instead of Starbucks, I could be in Bonhoeffer’s with my car waiting out back, ready to drive me home.

Anyway, in honor of my missing Boston moment, here is a list of things I would miss about the city:

  1. Christ the King Presbyterian Church
  2. My community group
  3. Spring on Charles Street, when the leaves have finally come out
  4. Free Friday Flicks on the Esplanade during the summer
  5. Aimless wandering with plenty of new paths to take
  6. Free orchestra concerts throughout the city
  7. Summer evenings on the waterfront
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Discipline = Happiness… an Update

So my goals for March were:

  1. Go to yoga on Friday
  2. Wake up at 7:00 on Saturday and Sunday (which means go to bed at 10 on Friday and Saturday)
  3. Try the mostly sugar-free thing, for one more week

It’s funny because I had all but forgotten about having consciously made those goals in the midst of progress-report writing-rain avoiding-March dragging-craziness that has been going on. However, they must have been in the back of my mind because for the most part I did try to do them. I didn’t make it to Yoga at all (on account of the craziness), I tried the sugar-free thing, and I DID the waking up at 7:00 thing.

I didn’t want waking up at 7:00 on the weekends to make such a big difference. I LOVE sleeping in until whatever time I wake up, and I’ll do it plenty over my summer vacation. The boost in happiness I get on Mondays though, after a weekend of being disciplined enough to schedule that 7:00 wake-up call is practically immeasurable. So, it just goes to show, that discipline does offer a happiness boost, much as I find myself chagrined to admit it!

Bolstered by this realization, April’s goal is: get to the gym. I started early, figuring that building a routine while I was on vacation and the gym was right downstairs probably wasn’t such a bad plan! I’m aiming for 5 days a week (M T Th F Sat), and my attitude is that I just need to show up. I showed up Monday to a gym with none of my favorite cardio machines available and only a 30 minute window in which to squeeze in a workout. After some wandering around trying to figure out the bike sign-up, I managed to squeeze in about 20 minutes of biking, and gave myself a pat on the back for showing up. I’m hoping that just by showing up for awhile, I’ll be able to throw some discipline at that area of my life too.

Pause

The rain in New England these last few days has been literally record breaking. Basements are filled with water, rivers are flooded, and people are just simply wet. I kept meaning to take a picture that would somehow serve as a witness to the crazy weather, but I’ve been too busy just moving myself from point A to point B without getting too wet in the process. It’s easy to get grumpy with this kind of weather, but teaching has forced me to find the bright spots. We start each day in prayer, for example, and I find myself thanking God that the rain is feeding the plants, that it’s making the grass on the Common greener.

Rainy days always make me want to spend the day in bed with a book. It’s always painful to drag myself to work and force myself to be productive when the call of home and leisure is so strong. Today, the kids were feeling the same way, and begged me for some independent reading time. Now normally, I would be inclined to lean on my lesson plans, and plow ahead but today, feeling the same need myself, I gave in. I was surprised to see my squirrelly fourth graders, kids who tend towards socialization at any opportunity spread out around the room, stick their heads in books and read silently for over thirty minutes. While I couldn’t get lost in my own book (tempted as I was), I spent the time going over tests with the kids, giving them one-on-one time that would otherwise have been impossible. I was grateful that the rain forced us to change our plans, take a break from the constant instruction, and just be. We’ll have make-up work to squeeze in tomorrow, but for today it was enough just to savor a perfect teaching moment.

Big Changes Ahead

I hate that I miss this. Growing up in New Hampshire, I thought that this kind of life was so small, that by living here I was missing out on life. So I grew up, I moved to the city, and I set out to live the large life I thought I was missing. The thing is, though, that it turns out that I like the small-town life. I like driving 5 miles in 5 minutes because there are no stop lights. I like looking out the window and seeing trees instead of buildings. Living here in Boston might give me an opportunity to meet people, but the reality is that my life here is pretty small too. I know people from church, I mostly hang out with the same people from home that I’ve known for my entire life.

There are, of course, things I would miss if I moved back home. I’d miss summers in the city, when I could aimlessly wander and find endless things to do. I’d miss my church, and my community group and the relationships that I have built there. I’d miss being near to my cousins, and watching their young babies grow up. But as the list of things that I miss about NH grows longer, the list for Boston grows shorter, and I sense that my time to go is nearing. I will miss this place, the memories of trying to make it on my own, but I am comforted by the fact that the things I will miss can be sustained if I put forth the effort. I’m also glad that I don’t have to make this decision on my own, but that I can trust that God will open and shut the correct doors for me, if I just have the courage to walk up to them.

Summer Dreams

I took the day off on Friday, and spent the first part of the weekend on the Cape. I was hoping for weather like last weekend, but the rain and wind forced me to enjoy a much more low-key weekend, which in the end was just perfect.

A perfect breakfast routine… a book, a comfy chair, coffee, and a treat. (Healthy starts again next week).

Crazy waves, and crazy wind, but some sunshine finally!

A favorite view…

The End.

The weekend left me yearning for the simpler days of summer, for sunshine on my skin, warmth in the air, and unscheduled hours. Summer is coming, but it seems not nearly fast enough.

On the Mend… and Back to the Sugar Free Idea

The good news is that eyes heal quickly. When I took off my bandage off this afternoon I realized that I am almost totally back to normal already!

On to another topic… although I was a complete and utter failure at going sugar free, my eyes were really opened to how much sugar is in my food, how much I crave the sugar in my food, and finally how much of the sugar in my food comes from corn. Before watching Food, Inc. I had no idea how much of my food is actually made of corn or corn products. Now, I’m all for corn, but I’m also a big fan of knowing what my food is made out of, and having corn by-products in everything I eat doesn’t exactly fit the bill.

So… I’m going away for the weekend, but when I get back, it’s time to start again, but this time with more of a “whole foods” focus.

Bumps in the Road

I had already planned to take Friday off from work, head down to Cape Cod, and spend a quiet weekend in semi-solitude. I hadn’t booked my non-refundable hotel room though because the weather wasn’t supposed to be spring-like, and because I hate parting with my hard earned cash. I had resolved to come home and do it during the afternoon until at school I went from looking like this:

To this:

Seriously, I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried. I was reaching up onto a bookshelf for a box of books when one came shooting of the pile and hit me in my open eye. Under the advice of my mother, I made a doctor’s appointment, found out that I have two corneal abrasions which require a trip to the eye doctor because they were the result of “blunt force trauma.” The moral of this story is that books really can be dangerous.

Routine

I spend so much time trying to figure out better ways to streamline my life. I have time maps and planners and routine cards that I carry with me or post in various places at home or at work all in an effort to be more efficient. Now don’t get me wrong, I love being efficient. I love that for the past week and a half I have made a list of the things I need to get done at work, and I have gotten them done and left work within forty five minutes of when I am supposed to. I am on track to finish my progress report comments and grades on time, and I won’t have spent a single weekend minute working on them and to fully understand how big of an accomplishment this is, you have to realize that this is my 11th set of progress report comments and I have never not spent at least an entire weekend day writing them. Score 1 for efficiency!

However, there are times when I miss out because I am so concerned with being efficient. I know that if I don’t go to sleep by 10:00 p.m. the next day feels torturous and that I struggle to make it through my to-do list. I know that if I want to make it to bed by 10, I have to start winding down by 9, and I like to set out my breakfast, lunch and coffee before I head upstairs for the evening. Suffice it to say, this reliance on routine makes it difficult to jump outside of the box and do anything out of the ordinary on a weekday. It makes me yearn for summer or for vacation when my time is not so structured, and I can make time to do things and be rested.

And yet, I can’t live just waiting for the next vacation. So there has got to be a way to be spontaneous, and still maintain most of the routines that keep my life running smoothly. For the most part, my routines make me happier, but I need not be so wedded to them that I forget to take the time to live.

Spring Cleaning, Day 1

I woke up on the early side this morning, and spent a couple of hours lounging before it was time to attack the Spring Cleaning of my bedroom. I was pleased to find out that I didn’t have all that much to get rid of that much stuff which is probably a function of the amount of purging I did before my move this summer. I did, however uncover an embarrassing number of dust bunnies which is priority number 1 for tomorrow.

I was going to post pictures, but the sheer mess was embarrassing. I’m planning on pictures of the final product tomorrow.

The Pull of Home

I spent Saturday in New Hampshire. I’ve been missing the Granite State recently, and a friend offered up her house and her company which resulted in an altogether perfect Saturday. We spent a considerable amount of time debating the merits of New Hampshire, and whether or not I should consider a move up there when my lease is up in the fall. By the time we left, I’ll admit that I was more or less sold. I timed the drive down to Boston, realized that while her neighborhood is nine miles from the highway and it takes me 10-15 minutes to drive it, my neighborhood is 2.4 miles from the highway and it still takes me 10 minutes to get there. I left the stars twinkling in the early evening sky, the sunset over the distant mountains, the relative silence, and returned home to a night sky turned pink from the city lights, windows I needed to shut because of the noise, and blinds that wouldn’t keep out the changing of the streetlight that shines directly into my bedroom window. I woke up in the morning, and started my research.

And then…

Then I left my house with only a fleece to fend off the New England weather, soaked in the early Spring sunshine on my drive, arrived at church on time for the first time in months. Saw not one, not two, but the many, many friends I have made there over the past two years, and enjoyed a picnic lunch on the lawn of the Cambridge city hall. Sure there was traffic rushing past, and the green space was maybe 1000 square feet maximum, but I was surrounded by the people who have become my family down here, and I was reminded that is not easy to replace. I ran my errands, came home, and spent the rest of the day, soaking in the sun streaming through my bedroom window before it finally set behind the apartment buildings in the distance. This color, streaming into my reading corner, makes my Sunday afternoons complete.

There are so many things that I have found wrong with the Boston area over the last few months. There are so many things that make me want to hightail it north to a place where nature isn’t something you drive to, and silence isn’t something obtained by investing in a bulk supply of ear plugs. In the midst of the imperfection however, there are moments when I feel my roots stretching deeper into the soil here.

I know as a Christian, I need to seek God in this, to ask Him where to go and where my roots belong, but I do not know how to hear His answer. It cannot be as simple as the pros and cons list to which my friend A. and I assigned point values last night, which told me in no uncertain terms to move back to New Hampshire. Still, with the pull of my old home slowly tugging at my heart, and the pull of my new home tugging back, it should be an interesting season in which to determine my next steps.