Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Little Black Dress

Brian is in Myrtle Beach with his baseball team on their spring break, so naturally I spent the weekend doing thrilling things like cleaning out my closet (cue Eminem song). In a weird way, it was kind of fun! I made a point to try on everything to see if I still liked it and could foresee myself wearing it within the next year. If I couldn't, then off it went to Goodwill. It was a good time of rediscovering clothes and looking forward to spring and summer (if, in theory, those seasons are still on their way after this crazy winter).

My favorite rediscovery was this little black dress. It is, actually, THE Little Black Dress. It has been with me since the fall of 2008, my freshman year in college, and we've seen lots of events together. My mom bought it for me at a Gap outlet on a fall break during my freshman year of college. 30 bucks. It's cotton, has a tiny black print on it, and roped me in from the beginning with the flutter sleeve. I am nothing if not a sucker for a flutter sleeve. 

It's been to four weddings, countless mornings at church, two bridal showers, out dancing in Sevilla, on a few dates, and lots of other brunches/lunches/dinners out. Throughout college until now my weight has existed within a 19-pound range, but somehow this magical dress has fit me at every stage from my curvy years (studying abroad will do that to you) to my slimmest times. That's a friend through thick and thin, and both me and my self-esteem are very thankful for its faithfulness. I am so excited to break it out again soon. Thanks to this dress for being there through it all. Here's to six more years!


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Row Your Boat

On Friday night this weekend Reese, Thomas, Brian, and I went to see Divergent in theaters for its opening night. (First off, I LOVED IT. I read a few reviews that complained about timing, but I thought they pulled it off perfectly. Tris and Four were awesome.) Besides the great movie, I got to sit next to Thomas, a great friend, and had a quick conversation that had me thinking about it long afterward. Thomas is one of those people from my college years who has the gift and talent of friendship. This kid will always be a good friend to people, and that is truly a cool kind of person. He asked me, "How's it going?" And I said, "It's fine, you know." And he said, "But yeah, how are you really doing?" And that of course, was the question that got us into the conversation. The one that always comes up when you ask one another, after college, how are you really doing?

We laughed about that question and came up with this kind of funny metaphor for our lives, and somehow Titanic seemed to fit. We spent four years in college, living fun lives, going to parties, making plans, sleeping in, and wasting time. We were on the big boat, without a care in the world. Then graduation hit, the boat sank, the party was over, and off we went into the dark, deep unknown. Each on our own little lifeboat. The friends we had aren't living next door or in the bunk below you, the workload has quintupled or sometimes septupled, and the schedule of working more-than-full-time is overwhelming. You stay in touch with your friends as best you can, by the little ways, but those little ways often include the social media methods, giving you the idea that other people are glamorously, beautifully, joyously, richly, living their lives to the fullest as free, happy, young twentysomethings. It's easy to look at all that from your little lifeboat and feel like you're the only one in a big, scary ocean.
 But then, Thomas pointed out that, from his perspective, he saw me doing things like moving to the city alone, working in a crazy career, all while going to grad school, which made it seem to him like I was being brave and living an exciting life. It made me remember two things. First, it made me remember that not everyone sees the piles of unfinished laundry, the empty refrigerator, and dark circles under my eyes like I do. Second, it made me remember to give myself a break, to remember that sometimes I am brave, and to keep on keeping on. My life's not perfect, but it's happening! It's going! Things are moving along, I'm learning, I'm working, I'm serving, and I'm making small little accomplishments along the way. Don't let yourself forget that, Anna.

I think we can all give one another a break. Not everyone is always glamorous, happy, or in a room full of friends. Everyone has a bad day and everyone is figuring out this whole working world thing. Everyone's rowing along in their own little lifeboat, just like you. I also think we can give ourselves a break. Unfinished laundry can mean making up new outfits, empty refrigerators can mean some fantastic Thai takeout, and there's always concealer for those under-eye dark circles from the lack of sleep. Give grace to one another and give grace to yourself. 

Because we aren't on the big boat anymore. We aren't living in the illusion that next weekend or the next party is all that there is. We're in our little lifeboats now, but it's better this way. I'd rather live this life out in the deep dark unknown, rowing along, not because it's always glamorous, but because it's real. It's no longer a frivolous life, and it's no longer boringly superficial. Finally, out on this lifeboat, life has become a little more significant.

We have to keep on rowing our boat. And I suppose even if we fall overboard from time to time, then we'll have to just keep swimming. Off into the waters, moving forward and making waves.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Mad Scientist

photo 1

Last Friday the whole first grade went to the Museum of Science and Industry. If you're a teacher in Chicago, let me do you a favor and tell you to GO THERE. For Illinois residents it's free. Completely free. We had a blast touching gadgets, learning about weather, and playing with air pressure, wind, and simple machines. We sat in tractors, airplanes, and steered ships. It was such a good time. My group had some tough characters in it but they behaved like champs. 

I'm thinking we'll have to go on a field trip every Friday. Hmmmm. 

photo 2

photo 3

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Great Debates

Sometimes I look around and see the things people argue about. The things that matter most to people. The important things. I was moved to think about these things when I happened upon a status of someone that I know from back home. It was a debate, of course, as they stage in small towns often.

Except this debate WAS ABOUT CHICKENS. And I'm not kidding.


The small town adjacent to the minuscule town from which I come is considering a proposal to allow homes in the town to have a coop of 6 or fewer chickens if they so choose. Some people take the "it's organic and healthy and whyshouldntpeoplebeallowedtodowhattheywantaslongasitdoesntbotherotherpeople" side, while others take the "it's smelly and weird and iliveintownsowhydontyougobacktothecountrywhereyoucamefrom" side.

So that's happening. And the debates are still raging.

And then I scrolled a little further down my news feed, where I saw a status from someone who lives in Chicago, who couldn't get down her block thanks to a police barricade because it was the first day of the year with moderately warm weather, which is wonderful and a long time coming for most of us. But of course around here warm weather means that it's extremely dangerous, because the warmer the weather, the more violent the streets become. And there's debates there, too. Big ones. About who is at fault for all of this and how to make it better or at least how to help. And there are more than just two sides to that great debate.

But the violence is still happening and the debates are still raging.

Oh this life of ours. And this world of ours.

I kind of maybe believe that everything is important, or at least I definitely believe that most things, big and small, are important, and if they don't seem important to you well damn it that doesn't mean it's not important to somebody. Every perspective matters, from main street to wall street to the street-you-avoid-if-you're-being-honest-with-yourself. People care about their lives and they should care! I hope those in the great Chicken Debate of 2014 understand that I actually believe it is a valid thing to discuss chicken coops. Let the debates rage, I suppose. But. But. (I have that dastardly conjunction after every complete thought I've ever had. It's a curse.)

How do we go about these great debates? Whether they be about chicken coops or crime rates?  Do we put the needs of others above our own? Do we look to the interest of others? Do we, in humility, value others above ourselves? Do we love one another?

I'm, of course, asking these questions to myself. Just when I'm tempted to type a comment on a heated status or respond to a misjudgment spewed hatefully in the labyrinths of crime watch blogs, I try to ask myself this stuff. Usually it results in me refraining from the comment I intended to write. Sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes the process of these questions prompts me to go write a silly little blog post like the one you happen to be reading. Because when people come to a consensus or at least agree to disagree concerning the chicken coops or the crime rates, at the end of the day, we're still neighbors down the hall, down the street, and down the block; we are still members of this crazy world and live and work and love together in the middle of it.

I guess the important things, underneath all that chicken wire, in the end, are the people after all.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Nights Like These

Tonight I thought I'd go to a coffee shop to get some work done. The wifi cut out at the coffee shop, losing an hour of work I had done thanks to a dysfunctional autosave feature, so I closed it and decided to cut my losses and leave. Off I went to finish running my errands.

Upon checking out of target, I noticed that my computer charger was no longer in my bag. I called the coffee shop to see if I left it there, and they said they were sorry but it wasn't there. I went back home defeated, commenting to myself that this kind of thing always happens to my clumsy self. I think, somewhere in the stark and echoing night, I heard the voice of Brian Gesch telling me to work on my  situational awareness.


I parked my car and slushed tragically toward my apartment, when there, lo and behold, in the middle of the street, lay a certain computer charger that I had inadvertently dropped out of my bag upon getting into the car to leave. Sure, it had been run over several times! Sure, it was buried in snow! Sure, the outlet tongs had been bent at completely a 90 degree angle! BUT. It was, nonetheless, my lost charger.

I got back home, ghetto-rigged it back so the tongs were straight, dried it off, and plugged it in, half excited and half worrying that I hadn't dried it enough and was about to electrocute myself. worked. IT WORKED.

No, I didn't get back that hour of work I lost at the coffee shop. But I got my charger back and it works. In fact, it's helping me type this very blog post.

Let's just chalk this Wednesday night up to weirdness and be done with it all. I say this calls for some daydreaming about a honeymoon on the beach, making some tea, and reading a book that's not on an electronic device.

Good night world. I hope your Wednesday is over soon, just like mine is about to be :)

Monday, March 3, 2014


I love the fam. Gotta say it. On Saturday my brother Rudi got together 13 of the cousins to play Whirlyball on Saturday morning followed by pizza and pop (we don't call it soda down here in Chicago apparently) and it was all just fabulous.

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Ever since I've known that Brian was "the one" it's really special to me whenever he can see my family doing what my family does best: being friends. Somehow, I think, it helps me to help him understand the girl he is with a little better. We had a blast and hung out afterward for lunch, then went our separate ways. We're all basically in our twenties and thirties now, but that childhood bond is just growing up right along with us. The two hours together went by way too quickly, but I love these kinds of times and I love this kind of togetherness.

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Sunday, March 2, 2014

Stuff Students Say: February Edition

Here are this month's faves from my fave little people.

This piece of paper costs me 200,000 dollars. My daddy told me that. 

Ms. Gesch I'm going to tell everyone that you have a boyfriend.

I wish it was always Valentine's Day because I always love you.

(During a Guided Reading session)
Is Amelia Earhart dead? Because she coulda hid her plane in the ocean and swam away and that's why nobody found her. 

Ms. Gesch you talk like Hannah Montana.

(When I put my hair in a ponytail at the end of the day)
You look better with that updo.

Student: Do you love me?
Me: Yes I do.
Student: Of course you do!

Student: Ms. Gesch you got a wife? 
Me: No.
Student: But I thought you said you were getting married!
Me: Yeah but I'm getting married to a boy so he would be my husband.
Student: Ohhh so YOU the wife and HE the boy husband? These words are all different.

Koalas can have babies?!?

Ms. Gesch every time I go to work on my reading my legs hurt so that's why I have to play on the computer.