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Not All Who Wander Are Lost…

…Except for the ones who are, and maybe that’s ok.

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Getting lost isn’t always a bad thing, despite how terrifying it can feel. As the saying on my Urban Outfitters wall hanging goes, Sometimes you have to get lost in order to find yourself. If that’s the case, and I like to think UO would never lie to me, then I am on the right track. I am definitely lost.

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I always knew that I was going to be a teacher and trying to define myself as anything else is fuzzy at best. “I mean, what did you want to be when you were little?” my career counselor asked me this week. Teacher. “Oh, well, that doesn’t help then.” No it doesn’t, lady. No it doesn’t. It’s a little bit suffocating trying to navigate such an uncertain future. I don’t know what road to take because I am not sure what the destination is.

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So I am going to get lost. I am going to fall into the wonderland that is this great country and wander until I find my destination.The Cheshire Cat said that if you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there so I am going to take the long and winding road. I am going to adventure, explore, meet interesting people and collect stories along the way. I’m going to get a little lost and hope it will help me find myself.

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Cooper and I will take off on our adventures on June 6. We are making our way up to Colorado to visit cousins and then down through Utah, making stops outside of Fishlake National Forest and Zion. Next we will regroup in LA before slowly camping our way up the California coast. We’ll visit friends in San Fran and then camp another few nights in Oregon before checking out the hipster paradise that is Portland. Cooper is especially excited for that one. Next we will camp in Idaho, Montana, and South Dakota for a few weeks before making our way back to my hometown in Upstate, NY in time for an early August family wedding. After that we will head up the east coast to the other Portland to galavant around Maine for a while. At least that’s the plan. I am open to change.

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Most of our trip will be tent camping or visiting friends (because budget of the funemployed!), but thanks to Airbnb, I’ve also been able to procure some unique and inexpensive accommodations along the way. Cooper and I will both be chronicling our adventures; the new people we meet, sights we see and squirrels we chase. That last one will probably be mostly Cooper actually. I am going to breath in the spirit of this great country and see what it inspires. Here’s to adventure!

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Euphoria Girl:

Snapchat: Euphoriagirl (The dirtiest pic I’ve ever posted was of my vacuum filter. It was FILTHY! The rest of my pictures are very clean. Don’t worry! :-) )

Instagram: @accmusicblog

Twitter: @accidentalEG

Facebook: Accidental Euphoria

Cooper:

Instagram and Twitter: @Coopterrier 

Facebook: Coopterrier

Dear Verizon,

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I have been a long time customer of Verizon. They offered me a good deal once, my whole family was ‘in the network’ and they had great coverage. All right. It’s been ten years or so now and my dealings with them have been minimal at best. My plans are still a good deal, the coverage is consistent and my bills are paid online automatically. The few times I have ever had concerns, I was able to speak to an actual human and work everything out.

But yesterday they made me a customer for life.

I spent the majority of my spring break becoming intimate with my toilet seat or curled up in the fetal position in bed with kleenex stuffed up my nostrils. The doctor prescribed antibiotics, but they could only start working when I could take them without immediately barfing them back up. It was unpleasant at best and certainly not the week of galavanting around SXSW in the Austin sunshine that I had planned.

Then Verizon showed up at my door.

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This photo was taken after I had officially eaten TWO things and not barfed them up! Boom! Also, I totally knew there would be cameras so I put on makeup.

I knew they were coming. I’d seen on Twitter that they were behind an initiative called #ATXunite that was doing all kinds of things for locals unable to attend this event that takes over our great city every year. So I tweeted that I was home sick and missing the festivities and they told me they could help. There was some brief exchange and then a few hours later a team of the nicest people showed up with a giant get well bag in tow. It was overwhelmingly generous! The two big items included a set of Ultimate Ears speakers, which are ridiculously fantastic and will be perfect for my big trip this summer. The other was a Yeti mug, which keeps my tea hot FOREVER! But what was really touching were the smaller things, things that were specifically for a girl stuck at home with a bug; this month’s Glamour magazine, a couple of boxes of Kleenex, chapstick, a relaxing face mask, a calming scented candle.

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Perusing through #ATXunite reveals that I’m not the only one getting an individualized gift. All over the city, Verizon is hooking people up with thoughtful gifts, sometimes just fun, but often catered specifically for someone. It’s pretty awesome.

A Life Less Televised

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I love television. As far back as I can remember, I have loved television. TV was Fraggle Rock, Sesame Street, and visiting Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. It was Saturday morning cartoons with my brothers in our pjs and my dad telling me that it was my job to read all the “Pows!” “Whacks!” and “Rabbit Hunting Season” signs for my brothers. That’s the burden an oldest child must bear. Television was Nickelodeon and all the things you couldn’t do on television. It was The Secret World of Alex Mac and being glad that Clarissa was there to explain it all and that my brothers were older and didn’t need explaining anymore. Television was all the shows I wasn’t allowed to watch, but covertly did anyway. It was learning about sex and boys from Dawson, Joey, and Rory Gilmore (which might explain why I am so terrible at dating). Television made me want to be badass like Sydney Bristow or Olivia Benson and find a love like Ross and Rachel (but maybe less complicated). Television has at times found me LOST, solving crimes or traveling throughout time and space.

I love television because it is escapism, conversation and community. I watched Dawson’s Creek so I could talk to the cool kids in 10th grade chemistry class. I watched Grey’s Anatomy because that’s what everyone in the teacher’s lounge watched. Hell, it seemed everyone in America watched those first seasons and McLoved every minute of it. Television made me feel like an insider when I usually felt like an outsider. I hate the Kardashians and everything they stand for but I’ll admit that I’m part of the problem because I have probably seen every single episode. There is no better mind numbing escapism than E! and Bravo.

I love television!

So about a month ago, I sold it.

My dad asked if it was some kind of political statement. I told him no, but maybe it is a little bit. I did it because I have done this crazy, maybe stupid, outlandish quitting my job thing in order to pursue something that I don’t actually know how to pursue. It is way easier to suppress the terror and ignore the immensity of this decision and watch 4 hours of Law & Order SVU instead. Except I can’t ignore it. I have to embrace my terror. I need to take it and mold it into my future and no housewives of any county are going to be able to do that for me.

So I got rid of the temptation.

I like my post-tv life. I play a lot more music. I was an avid reader before, even with my TV, and I still am and now moreso.  My apartment is SUPER clean! I spend more time writing or just being with my thoughts, which is often uncomfortable, but that’s good. I need to be with them. When friends come over we sit and chat and my backgammon set no longer has a thick layer of dust over it.

This isn’t to say that I have taken some kind of social stand and completely given up television. I still have aNetflix account and an ipad, on which I maybe binged the entire first season of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Sunday. I watched clips of the Oscars on youtube the day after it aired and the finale of Parks and Rec when it became available online. I still want to be part of the conversation. I still like to escape. I just need some decisions to be out of my control. When I am on my couch with a remote in my hand and there’s an SVU marathon, I have no control.

 

Hot Dogs Reading

I recently started following @hotdudesreading on Instagram. I’m not sure if there is anything hotter than a hot boy reading  (unless he is reading to me…in bed) and whoever is behind this account is genius. Coop, an avid instagrammer himself, decided to get in on the action and so I present Hot Dogs Reading. Incidentally, someone has also posted a lot of pictures of actual hot dogs (the food) reading books to that same hashtag. It’s kind of hilarious.

No, James Franco isn't the only hot dude who reads all the time. Also, my photos are way more naked than his. I hardly EVER wear clothes!

No, James Franco isn’t the only hot dude who reads all the time. Also, my photos are way more naked than his. I hardly EVER wear clothes! I mean, except right now. ~@coopterrier

This coon hunting thing sounds interesting. I need to look into it as I've tapped out my squirrel game here pretty hard. #WhereTheRedFernGrows

This coon hunting thing sounds interesting. I need to look into it as I’ve tapped out my squirrel game here pretty hard. #WhereTheRedFernGrows ~@Coopterrier

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101 of them? That’s just ridiculous. I mean, consider the poop cleanup alone. ~@coopterrier

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This To Kill A Mockingbird is is not as informative as I thought it would be. ~@coopterrier

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This reads, “Squirrels are known for running in erratic paths to evade predators.” No shit, Sherlock. Actually, that reminds me, I’ve been meaning to read that Hound of Baskervilles book. Maybe it will tell me something I don’t already know. ~@coopterrier

Oh god. The end of Old Yeller. Don't look at me. #weepsuncontrollably

Oh god. The end of Old Yeller. Don’t look at me. #weepsuncontrollably ~@Coopterrier

100 Happy Days

Almost exactly 5 years ago today I sat in the living room of my apartment in Rochester, NY. A fire burned in the fireplace, snow fell outside and I sat under a pile of blankets crying because I was so unhappy. My life was on a trajectory of settling and that terrified me, so I made up my mind right then and there that I would move. Anywhere. 5 months later I packed up a u-haul and set off for adventure in Austin, TX.

It has been the best adventure.

Now I am headed off on a new adventure. In exactly 100 days, Cooper and I will load up in my car and make our way back up north. I miss my family. I miss my brothers. It is exciting, but mostly it is terrifying. I have not had a moment of regret about quitting my job and leaving education, but leaving this city terrifies me. I am terrified of leaving a city where the sun shines all the time. I am terrified of leaving a place with year round patios and picnics. I am terrified of moving back to a city covered in cold and ice and dotted in pot holes. I am terrified of a city that isn’t going to think my tattoos are super cool or my quirky, outspoken, adventurous personality normal. I am terrified of leaving my friends and my local watering hole where everyone knows my name. This city has made me so happy. It has helped me figure out who I am and who I want to be in this world. And now I am leaving it.

Adventures are supposed to be a little bit terrifying. That’s what makes them adventures! And even though leaving this weird, wonderful city scares me, I know it’s the right move for me. At least for right now. So I am going to make the most of these next 100 days. I am going to spend them on exploring, adventuring, laughing, dancing. I am going to spend them on patios, trails and in parks. I will spend them with friends and together we will laugh and eat all the tacos. EVERY LAST ONE! I will fill them all with as much happiness from this city as I can bottle up in my soul to take with me.

To 100 happy days!

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Trees Gone Wild: A Nature Porn

I once opened my apartment door to find a pair of panties hanging in the trees outside. Weird. I assumed it had somehow fallen out of the neighbors laundry basket as she’d walked by or something. Then a few weeks later another pair appeared. Whatever. I’ve never bragged about my place being classy.

Last week I opened my door to over half a dozen panties and bras hanging from branches and strewn about the ground. WHAT THE WHAT?

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not all panties pictured

My neighbor speculated that they’re coming from the roof. He’d been standing outside his door once when a gust of wind had blown and a handful of them had begun drifting down from above. Perhaps a scorned lover had thrown his cheating girlfriend’s undergarments on the roof in a fit of rage? That was last week. Today I came home and found this.

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HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

 

 

America’s Test

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I don’t think there is anyone, outside of Pearson, Harcourt, and a number of politicians who have clearly never met children, who isn’t at least a little bit up in arms about all of the testing we are putting our nation’s children through these days. And if you aren’t up in arms, you should be, because it is ridiculous! In Texas alone, fourth graders will spend 15 ENTIRE school days devoted just to standardized testing.

Last week the fourth graders at my school were chosen by some sort of lottery to take a national test in addition to our local and state exams. We don’t ever see the scores, but it is for “America’s Report Card” so it’s important. Or something. It is a big enough deal that outsiders are sent in to administer the test. So I readied my students with sharpened pencils and desks in 1950’s spaced out rows.

“Don’t worry.” I told them. “This isn’t going on your report card. They aren’t ever going to tell me how you did, but it’s important that you do your best because this test is for America. Who is it for?”

“MERICA!”

“WHO IS IT FOR???”

“MERICA!!!”

Because that’s how we roll.

Then we got to waiting and wondering if Obama was going to proctor the exam. We agreed that we hoped he had better things to do, but this being America’s test and all, we couldn’t rule out a presidential proctor.

And then in he walked. He’s not Obama. I mouthed to my students behind his back. They stifled their giggles and kept straight faces. Nope. He was not President Obama. He was Oscar The Grouch personified. Way to put on your best face, America. He grumbled and frowned. He hung up his directions and mumbly tossed out directions with his heaviest disdain. It was unclear who exactly he was speaking to: Adults? Minons? Robots? Certainly not children.

Toward the end of the test, one of my students raised his hand. He was finished.

“Can I read my book?” he asked politely.

“No you may not read your book!”

“Um…then..what do I do?”

“You just sit there.”

Oh America. Really?

After the testing portion, the students needed to fill out a survey and the proctor read the questions out loud. America wanted to know if they were black or hispanic and if they lived with two parents and had a dishwasher in their house or apartment. When my students asked about that later I told them that was probably America’s way of finding out if they were poor or not. The survey also wanted to know their zip code. None of them knew, but most of them are neighborhood kids, so I stepped in and told them.

Oh. Dear. God.

I was met with immediate and harsh reprimand from the proctor. There was a stern yell and some very serious finger pointing and wagging.

“NO! YOU DON’T HELP THEM!!”

To be clear, this was with their zip code. The other proctors in the other rooms actually asked the teachers to tell the kids their zip code. He turned back to the class to continue but then quickly turned and gave me another stern glare and finger pointing.

I could see the fire in my students eyes. It was the fire and glare that said, “hold my baby, I’m about to cut a bitch” because these kids have my back. And I love them!

But they sat there quietly and did me proud. He finished the survey and then read a paragraph in his script about how this had been for America and they could keep their pencils for their time. Not so much a “thank you” as a condescending “here, you pathetic minions, I will let you keep these pencils because I am doing you a favor.” He packed up his things and the room was silent. We watched him walk out the door. And then we sort of stared at each other in disbelief.

America’s proctor had forgotten to collect the test booklets.

A moment later he shuffled back in, posture low and mumbling. He quickly grabbed the booklets and left again.

We all laughed. Not with you, America. At you. We laughed at you.

 

On Living Dairy Free: Another Order Of Queso Please!

I have always been lactose intolerant, but never extremely and usually unpredictably. I could consume unhealthy amounts of cheese, ice cream or milkshakes with no consequence. And then there would be that one time that a tiny dollop of sour cream on a taco would send me into immediate indigestion and searching for a bathroom to violate. Whatever. Worth it.

As I’ve gotten older, my intolerance to dairy has stepped up its game. Thanks, Old Age. So I cut back on my dairy. Milkshakes became a lot more predictable and one embarrassing incident with a gentleman caller had me cutting out milkshakes from my diet completely. In fact, I went so far as to cut out all ice cream and sour cream. Totally doable. Almond Dream makes a ridiculous dairy free ice cream. Easy peasy. I would cut out these and keep my cheese.

Except I couldn’t keep my cheeses! Damn my body and its inability to properly digest dairy! DAMN YOU!!!!

So I gave up all dairy. I had to. My body begged me to. And I mean, it could totally be worse.

EXCEPT I AM HORRIBLE AT GIVING THINGS UP! I am actually horrible at following through on a lot of things. I decided to do that whole 30 day squat challenge? I made it 2 days. Then I was going to do the crunches one because I need to work on my abs more anyway. I did 3 days. I gave up gluten last year as an experiment and lasted a month. My friend and I sat down with our calendars and planned out a whole work out regine. That was 3 weeks ago. We have worked out once.

Within a week of going dairy free, I found myself sitting in a booth at my favorite diner saying, “All right, so I am dairy free so I can’t get the enchiladas that I love, but I’ll get a bowl of queso.” I have problems.

I am a work in progress. I have stopped ordering queso. Mostly. I MEAN, MY GOD I ONLY HAVE 100 DAYS LEFT IN AUSTIN! QUESO DOESN’T EXIST WHERE I’M GOING!!

The one thing I am proud of is giving up half and half. I have actually for real done that. I switched over to Coconut Creamer, which is the only non-dairy creamer that isn’t made of chemicals and gives my coffee that creaminess that I love without changing the flavor. I have even been able to make the transition to drinking my coffee black in case I am out and without my flask of creamer. Hell yeah. I have a flask for my creamer!

 

The Plight Of The Single Girl

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Another Valentine’s Day has come and gone and it was most enjoyable! My students showered me with love and chocolate and I spent a sunny afternoon drinking on a patio with fabulous people and then a few girl friends and I had a slumber party. Delightful!

Except what irked me was that all day long, harping on my love fest were signs and people wishing me a Happy Singles Awareness Day! See the thing is, Valentine’s Day doesn’t make me feel single. Valentine’s Day makes me feel loved. I have a bazillion texts from all my family and friends to prove that. And while on most days I don’t mind being without a plus one, here are a few things that ACTUALLY make me feel single.

Being a third, fifth, seventh, or really any kid of odd wheel always makes me feel super single.

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Not being able to open up jars. Seriously, I will totally admit that there are night where my entire meal has been determined by whether or not I can successfully open up a jar. It often involves heavy cursing and then heating up a frozen pizza. AND YES, maybe I should just work out more. Still, it makes me feel in want of a strong man.

 

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Going to my friends kids birthday parties. Talk about loud, sticky ways to make my uterus and me feel inadequate, but also kind of proud of our life choices. In the game of life, these always make me feel like I’m not even on the game board yet.

 

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Checking the little “no guest” box on wedding invitations and then sitting at a table with a whole bunch of couples. Weddings, in general, induce all kinds self pitying single girl feelings.

 

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Not having someone to pawn off Ikea furniture assembly on. Seriously.

 

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How I Am Dealing With Jon Stewart Leaving The Daily Show

When I think that I really hate all people and the world is going to come crashing to an end, I just turn on the Daily Show and Jon Stewart renews my faith in the world. I am currently working through the stages of grief after finding out he is leaving because unless he is going to move in next door to me and drink beers with me on my porch every night and discuss politics, THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE!!!

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