Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Is Tennis Over Yet?, My Birthday, and Eleanor Roosevelt.

We are now in the fourth week of school. Tennis will be done for JV/C tomorrow, after we get annihilated by Centennial. Team sections for varsity are Oct 6, with individuals following that. This is the first time I've had to stay on and help the varsity, as a JV/C coach. I'm about done with tennis. I threw my back out a week ago and my left foot and ankle are still numb, which has never happened before. This makes tennis, standing or coaching, uncomfortable. I'm also starting to get a little sick, most likely bc I have yet to fall into a daily pattern that involves a few Nalgenes of water. Simply put, I need a break. Today was the first rain cancellation that we've had all season and I'm very thankful for it. I have a chiropractor appointment at 3 and then I'm headed home for the first school day all year. I'm planning on snuggling up on the couch with some TiVo.

The four weeks have gone by super fast though. Every weekend has been jam-packed and this weekend will be no different, aside from one slight detail...someone is turning 32! I'm keeping it low-key this year and have just planned a trip to the magic table on the West Side, some cuppycakes, appetizers, a fire, and some beers. For my actual birthday, I'll be working at Lifetime and then maybe I'll watch some football and have a nommy birthday dinner. Not sure, but that sounds like a good plan to me. My birthday present to myself is to try out acupuncture on Saturday morning - fun!

In the past two months I've been reading a lot of Eleanor Roosevelt. I read My Year With Eleanor and while I didn't care for the author, I've very much enjoyed getting to know ER. I read Learn by Living and liked it so much that I bought it for Josh and highlighted all of my favorite passages. I also requested a copy for myself for my birthday. I'm currently reading her autobiography, but it's quite lengthy and I'm on renewal #3 at the library. I may end up buying that one as well...

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from Learn by Living:

I find that life is much more satisfactory when it forms a kind of pattern, though I do not believe in too rigid a pattern. In the first place, you will create a pretty uninteresting and sterile atmosphere if everything is set so rigidly that it cannot be changed. Inflexibility will make your life an unnecessary burden and it will also make it dull. Worst of all, it will make you a burden to other people.  (pg. 51)

I think one of the basic things to recognize is that the only valuable development is the development of an individual. If you try to change that individual so that he loses his personality, you have done something that has destroyed the most important thing about a human being, his essential difference from anybody else. Any one of us who tries to make someone over and force him into an image of what we think he should be, rather than encourage him to develop along his own lines, is doing a dangerous thing.  (pg. 69)

Not to arrive at a clear understanding of one's own values is a tragic waste. You have missed the whole point of what life is for. (pg. 73)

Unhappiness is an inward, not an outward, thing. It is as independent of circumstances as is happiness. Consider the truly happy people you know. I think it is unlikely that you will find that circumstances have made them happy. They have made themselves happy in spite of circumstances.  (pg. 82)

Human relationships, like life itself, can never remain static. They grow or they diminish. But, in either case, they change. Our emotional interests, our intellectual pursuits, our personal preoccupations, all change. So do those of our friends. So the relationship that binds us together must change too; it must be flexible enough to meet the alterations of person and circumstance. (pg. 86)

To respect one's fellow men is perhaps more difficult that to "love" them in a wide, vague sense. In fact, it is possible that to feel respect for mankind is better than to feel love for it. Love can often be misguided and do as much harm as good, but respect can do only good. It assumes that the other person's stature is as large as one's own, his rights as reasonable, his needs as important. (pg. 102)

Your ambition should be to get as much life out of living as you possibly can, as much enjoyment, as much interest, as much experience, as much understanding. Not simply to be what is generally called "a success." (pg. 118)

This is your life, not someone else's. It is your own feeling of what is important, not what people will say. Sooner or later, you are bound to discover that you cannot please all of the people around you all of the time. Some of them will attribute to you motives you never dreamed of. Some of them will misinterpret your words and actions, making them completely alien to you. So you had better learn fairly early that you must not expect to have everyone understand what you say and what you do. 
The important thing is to be sure that those who love you, whether family or friends, understand as nearly as you can make them understand. If they believe in you, they will trust your motives. But do not ask or expect to have anyone with you on everything. Do not try for it. To reach such a state of unanimity would mean that you would risk losing your own individuality to attain it. 
I never can understand why so many people are afraid to live their own lives as they themselves think is right. You can get rid of your neighbors but you cannot get rid of yourself, so you are the person to be satisfied. (pgs. 124-125)

Why should we shy away with shame from having made a mistake? No human being is all-wise; no human being always lives up to the best that he is capable of. Failure comes to everyone, except when one does nothing at all, which in itself is a failure. All we can do is to be honest with ourselves, be humble and try, as we gain wisdom, to rectify our mistakes and possibly to avoid some of them. (pg. 154)

For one thing we know beyond all doubt: Nothing has ever been achieved by the person who says, "It can't be done." (pg. 168)

I think she's a pretty neat lady and I'm excited to read and learn more about her.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Chilly Weather

Right now it is a chilly 52 degrees in St. Paul. This morning it was in the 40s and I had purposely left all of the windows open overnight. When I woke up my room was nice and chilly. It reminded me of Tutu's bedroom and that made me smile.

Tonight there is a frost advisory, but most likely it won't hit the Cities. The suburbs may feel the freeze though.

Yesterday Comcast installed my cable and high speed internet and I couldn't be happier! TiVo is currently recording and I can now upload all of the State Fair pics to Facebook via reliable internet. All is right with the world.

I'm extremely happy, tired, and content right now with every aspect of my life. Actually, I'm just tired from work. I could use a nice long summer break right about now! I have a bunch of fun things planned this week and I'm looking forward to the Autumn Brew Review with some of my best buddies on Saturday.

So now I'm going to crash on the couch with my comforter, blankies, and some mindless TV. Tired, but content.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

All Moved In

So it's Sunday, one week after I officially moved in. I only spent two nights sleeping on my futon in the "lounge" and then set up my bed. This may actually be a record, as I usually spend many more nights on the futon before I get my act together and set up my bed.

The lounge (it's so cool, I just might capitalize it) is my favorite part of the duplex. It hangs out in the back of the building on the other side of my room-sized closet. It has French doors on one side and windows on the other three sides. When they are all open there is an amazingly wonderful breeze flowing through. Matt and Josh graciously moved my vintage fridge back there ("graciously" might just be an exaggeration...) and cold beers are currently chilling within it. There are flower twinkle lights set up above the futon and my radio/iPod speakers are tuned in to Jazz 88. Last night I listened to the Bing Hour while a cool breeze wandered through the apartment.

Comcast, on the other hand, has not been as relaxing. It would have been nice of them to tell me that I needed in writing a note from my landlord saying that they could work on the place. I had a verbal ok from him, but apparently that wasn't good enough. So now I have to wait another week+ until someone can get back out here. And even then I'm going to have to leave tennis practice early. It's a good thing that I'm stealing internet from the oh so technically savvy tippy. What kind of person doesn't lock their internet? Unfortunately, tippy's signal isn't strong enough for my TiVo to hook up to it. Bastards. I do have my BluRay player hooked up to the tv so at least I can watch movies. Last night's selections were The In-Laws and A League of Their Own.

Yesterday I decided to play "Apartment Tetris" and re-arrange everything that had accumulated in my bedroom and living room. I now have all of the bathroom things arranged in the hall closets, the bookcases positioned, the rug laid down, and the coffee and end tables out of my bedroom and into the living room. Heck, I even vacuumed the baseboards! The Lounge is also all set up, complete with chairs, stools, and pictures adorning the walls and baseboards.

Today's task (after watching The Help, finally) was the kitchen. I am proud to announce that the kitchen is all set up, minus the extra table that I can't fit into the back stairwell because two of the legs need to come off first. I vacuumed the floor and bought a Swiffer Wet Jet, which I will try out later tonight or tomorrow morning. I was going to put the books on the shelves and set up my shoes, but I'm thinking it's time to relax, have a couple of beers, and start watching movies. I was also going to clean the bathtub and bathroom today, but I think I'll hold off on that until tomorrow as well. Perhaps this lack of energy is the pot from the downstairs neighbors, seeping into my brain...

That is the only downside to my new place - the downstairs neighbors like to toke up and whatever they are smoking reeks to high heaven. I've only smelled it twice, once last Monday, and once today, and it is horrible. I've emailed my landlord twice. Right now I have my windows open because it's nice out, but if this continues during the winter I will raise holy hell. I've already stated that I am a teacher and smelling like pot is unacceptable. It's also written into the lease that there cannot be any illegal drugs on the property. I like this place and the area and if anyone is going to have to move, it's the people who are smoking illegal drugs. I am not, by any means, a prude. Smoke it if you got it! Just not in my house where I can smell it and where it makes my clothes and things smell like it. I think I'd prefer the girl who yelled at her kid in the duplex below me over these people. Or the crazy guy who would run the length of the duplex, even he'd be better. Those people were at least friendly to me when they ran into me. This girl (and there seems to be a guy and sometimes a little girl) has never said hi to me or introduced herself. I will have no qualms about getting rid of her, if necessary.

Aside from that, I'm so happy to be back in my old neighborhood! I'm enjoying walking to breakfast and to the local bars, restaurants, and shops. I'm so close to everything that I've missed. I'm close to the interstate and my commute is only about 35 minutes. I hop on, drive 25 miles, then hop off again. It's perfect! The neighbors I've met have been extremely friendly. They've introduced themselves and it's nice to know some people. The couple next door have a very large dog named Millie and they seem very nice and welcoming.

I still have a lot of work to do on the place, but it's coming along nicely. I bought a nice new flat screen tv for my bedroom and I'm excited to be able to watch movies and football in my room again, even if it is only steps away from the living room... It's a great place with lots of personality and I think I'm going to really enjoy living here. What amazes me the most is that when all of the windows are open, this amazing breeze whips through the entire place. It's the coolest thing to have a breeze throughout the entire house! And since I'm on the second floor, I can keep the windows open all the time and not have to worry about creepers, thieves, or peeping Toms.

And now I think I'm going to get a beer, curl up on the couch with the comforter (it's 64 degrees, dropping into the 40s tonight!), and pop in a DVD. This is the life!