Monday, April 29, 2013

Struggle Bus

I could rename my blog today. I really could. And what would I call it you ask? The Struggle Bus.

Turns out that’s taken. Someone beat me to it. Shucks. Why Struggle Bus you ask? Because I’m officially on it friends, join the party. We have free kittens.

Now for the most part I don’t discuss what situations I’m facing on my blog, instead I just dole out my feelings and censor all those gory details. Today, you get the gory details.

I’m a certified teacher in the state of Michigan (GO MITTEN!) I can teach any science 6th-12th. I love being a teacher. Recently as you all may know, I got a dream teaching position in Utah which I accepted. I move on July 29th.  In order to teach in Utah (or any other state that isn’t Michigan) I have to pass a test. No biggie right? All of college coming down to one 120 question test that is the most failed of its kind in the country, easy peasy.

So I signed up for the test in late March and studied for a few days before. I felt pretty confident since I passed the Michigan test the first time that this would be no different. Turns out I passed the test in 47 states. The three I didn’t pass in? Arkansas, Massachusetts, and you guessed it, Utah. BY ONE POINT.

Second time around signed up for April 29th (today) and got a prep book. Spent the last few weeks studying and practicing. Then I had surgery this past week. I figured I would hopefully feel okay by the time I took the test. So today arrived and off to the test I went. And guess what happened? I passed the test in 47 states. The three I didn’t pass in? Arkansas, Massachusetts, and UTAH. BY ONE POINT. AGAIN.

On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being my own private day with giraffes and 1 being anything awful you can think of, I emerged from the testing center feeling about a -3. Now I would have to take the test again, and wait over a month, cutting it a little close for my comfort in terms of getting certified in Utah.

Obviously I responded the way any normal 20 something would, I called my mom crying, ate a bowl of chocolate rice krispies, cried some more, and took a hot shower (please tell me if you have any other self pity methods I can take part in, I’m on a time limit….see below). Needless to say, it has been a rough evening.

It was so easy for me to feel awful after. Easy for me to lash out, and cry, complain, and generally wallow in my own self pity. We have all been there. Whether it be a test, the loss of a job, a dream opportunity turning out much differently than you thought, or a variety of other problems. On top of my surgery, this test seemed like the end of the world tonight.

And I could continue to wallow for a month waiting for the next test date. I could let it stress me out everyday, frustrate me, and generally wreak havoc on my health in what should be a time of healing. But I think there was a reason this happened to me today, April 29th. Because April 30th, is a big day in my family. A sad day. It is the day two years ago we lost my cousin Matthew Noble. And you know what one of the first things I thought of tonight once I ate the entire box of cocoa krispies? That if Matt were in this situation he would grab a drink and relax. He would know this is just a hurdle, a small one. His dreams were so much bigger than hurdles. He would tell me to “chill little cousin cause life is too short.” He would be so calm it may actually bug me, but I would know he was right. He would also tell me that the third time is the charm.

And even though Matt isn’t here to tell me I know that’s what he would do. And it might seem like a rough few weeks for me, but in the scheme of my life and my dreams? This is so very small. So two years later, I think of my cousin today, and everyday, as he reminds me that sweating the small stuff gets me nowhere.

Stressed about finals? Graduation? Family stuff? A teacher certification test in Utah? Life is too short to stress. Give yourself one good cry and then move forward. I also recommend the cocoa krispies. Truly exquisite.

Love & Hugs.
Love you Matt. To read a blog I wrote about him last year, check here: (

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Mitten Love

As I prepare to move, I have 5 or so To-Do lists strewn about my apartment at any given time with tasks ranging from “SPAY PEACHES” (Thank you Bob Barker) to “Remove Chafonda” (only me I swear…) I’m also adding new things every single day.

And of course, as I figure out where I'm living, and the lay of the land in Utah, I also think of all the reasons I love my motherland (Not Ireland in this case but Michigan). I love where I'm from and here's just a small glimpse why....

Because I get to show off my complete wardrobe every day from my coat, to boots, to capris, to flip-flops. In Michigan we call that April.

This is Easter. That is snow. And leggings. And flats. 

Because I don’t need a GPS. I have a hand.

 The dot is my hometown. 

Da Mitten 

Because only in Michigan do you get views like these:

My experience gliding over Frankfort, MI. Lake Michigan as far as you can see.

Because we celebrate cherries and lilacs amongst many other inanimate objects in weeklong festivals with thousands of attendees.

And we take our cherries very seriously. 

Because we’re Bipeninsular and proud.

Proud Yooper sign at the Garlyn Zoo from my trip there!

Because we use our 60,000+ lakes in many different ways. Our rivers too.

Enjoying Pere Marquette with Miss Michigan!

Baptism in Lake Michigan

Excellent family photo backdrop.

Because we have the prettiest people. I mean really. 

Because we have giraffes in the wild. Here's proof:

Because even our ice is shaped like a mitten.

Because how many other states can have a title called "Miss Tip of the Mitt?"

Because in Michigan it's easy to feel like you're in the most beautiful place in the world. 

Pyramid Point, a little slice of Heaven.

I love the state that has made me who I am. I will always be a Michigander at heart. 

Why do you love Michigan? I'm sure it's because of the pretty people. They suck you in. 

Sunday, April 7, 2013


For the first time in what feels like a millennium I went on a sort of vacation this past week to Utah. Of course you’re thinking, “My how I would love to see photos of that!” Yeah well me too. It wasn’t until I was half naked in front of the TSA I remembered I forgot my camera to which I replied, to myself, out loud, “I FORGOT!” At that point the TSA thought I forgot to mention I was secretly hording some illegal cargo, and they took no short cuts to make sure this wasn’t so. Therefore, the photos at the end of this blog are literally the only poor quality camera phone photos I have (and for those of you wondering, I don’t have an iPhone).

Anywho… I went out to Utah because I was recently offered a middle school teaching position for the next school year. They gave me an opportunity to tour the school, see my potential classroom, and explore the surrounding area (and by this I mean eat In and Out while driving through the biggest mountain I have ever seen in a rental car that was significantly nicer than any I had ever driven, skill challenge accepted!) It was 75 degrees in the valley, and I was surrounded by snowcapped mountains. Needless to say, three days was not enough time, I didn’t even get to go shopping! (This is where my boyfriend mumbles “First World Problems.” True.)

So after my visit, I hopped on board a plane to return to the Mitten having been offered my dream job, months before I had expected, that would be a wonderful introductory opportunity, at a great district. The challenge? It’s only about 1,563 miles from home.

1,563 miles from my family.
1,563 miles from my friends.
1,563 miles away from my last season of competing in MAO in Michigan.
1,563 miles from my hot yoga studio.
1,563 miles from the Great Lakes.

Normally, making this kind of decision would drive me crazy. And by crazy I mean Oreo’s stock would jump 10% in one day. But I actually found I had an eerie sense of calm about the whole thing. The visit went amazingly well. I found a wonderful apartment. Peaches is on board, and Chefonda will be gone before I know it. I have about 200 8th graders who will love my Periodic Table of Peeps. AND maybe I will learn how to ski finally. Also, as if it weren’t the ultimate sign, IKEA is .3 miles from my new apartment. THAT CLOSE.

When I think of all the decisions I have been coerced into making lately, and all the decisions I have second guessed, it is incredibly relieving to feel like the biggest decision yet, is the best one I have made.

That being said, there are many Michigan-only things I will miss, one of them being my Michigan MAO family. I had expected to compete next year for my final season of eligibility. In fact, I had already sent in applications for pageants. Even though I won’t be in the Mitten come August, I will most certainly still be involved, that I can promise. Yall will probably get very sick of me commenting on every one of your photos online….be warned. And I will surely dabble in some Miss Utah locals. My evening gown will seem brand new out West! For those of us all registered to do the Color Run in GR together….I will find a way to be there, it is my last hoorah with all you girls :) 

So this is my official announcement of trading in the Great Lakes for the Great Salt Lake. If I did not call you and tell you personally, or text you it is only because my brain is so overwrought with the current size of my to do list it has taken a leave of absence. Look at it this way, if you ever want to take a skiing, hiking, mountain biking, or National Park vacation, I can be your tour guide (Also, there is a supercute outdoor mall in downtown Salt Lake….)

I had begun to think that every adult decision I make was going to be really frustrating, especially in terms of deciding what school district to work at in the fall. Thankfully, I realized some decisions are easier than others. Don’t get discouraged, ask the people you love and trust for advice, and when you make a decision don’t think you’re alone. There are always people to support you. 

En route to Utah! 

See, this is the quality we're working with on the photos. 

Confidently navigating Utah's really complex road system....

Everyone in In and Out stared at Matt. :)