First Day of School

86acaaff3d8bc7a4ebcfbf6e78ae9bfd--first-day-of-school-tot-schoolToday – my first day of teaching – started out great. I woke up a couple of hours early, brewed myself some coffee, and read through a few chapters of Hebrews while listening to “Wonder” by Bethel on repeat. It was a slow, peaceful morning of getting in the right headspace to start my teaching career.

I prayed for my day, gathered up my bags, and walked to the backdoor where I was greeted by a cockroach on its back with its legs still twitching. I just got creeped-out chills even typing about it. It’s still alive and just got flipped over. Gross. After a quick kiss, that will be Seth’s first order of business when he comes to visit later.

Remembering that I should do a “first day of school” picture, I decided to go out my front door to take a selfie in front of the door. I’m not a big fan of selfies, but I didn’t have anyone to take my photo, so I stepped outside to do it myself… and was greeted by a black cat walking right across my sidewalk.

First, a roach; next, a black cat; then around 2pm, the sky went dark! …Okay, so the solar eclipse didn’t actually have anything to do with my first day of teaching, but it made for a good third ominous omen. In actuality, the third creepy thing about today was coming home to an unlocked door. I thought for a second that maybe Seth had let himself in with my spare key, but then I realized that between the roach and the first day photo out front – for the first time in years – I forgot to lock the door behind me! Fortunately nothing was taken, but it was still strange walking in to my unlocked apartment.

School was good. Most of my classes are good. I’m exhausted. There’s so much I could write, but my legs hurt from standing, and my throat is sore from talking, and I really just want to go drink a cup of hot tea with honey, curl up on the couch and read or watch Netflix.

So for now, I’ll simply say: 1st & 3rd period are AWESOME! I have some fellow Harry Potter fans in there, and they think I’m a pretty cool teacher because above my door on the way out, I have this sign:

Mischief Managed

In 2nd period, I had to get ISS involved. On the first day of school. That’s a story for another day. And 7th period is super chatty! I will definitely have to draw up a strict seating chart for them. 4th is my conference period (long lunch – whoop!), and 5th and 6th are not really notable at this point. More to come. Stay tuned.

Authentically Exhausted Aurora

Advertisements

Just Call Me Leonidas

Leonidas

300 is a pretty significant number for a group of followers. It was the number of Spartans that King Leonidas led into battle against Xerxes and his invading army of soldiers.

It was the number of men with which Gideon defeated the Midianites.

It was the number of witches and wizards in Dumbledore’s Army.

(Okay, maybe not that last one, but no conversation about great armies is complete without mentioning Neville Longbottom rallying the troops for the Battle of Hogwarts.)

Neville

This week, my blog reached 300 followers, and I am so thankful for all of you, but especially those who have read, commented and encouraged me along the way. Bitter Ben, IB, Ally, Mrs. Spike, J and so many more… thanks for your frequent likes and comments!

As a way of saying thanks, let’s do a roll call! Fill out the poll below, and leave a comment answering: What would you do with an extra $300 this month? Buy 300 chocolate bars, 2 pairs of Kendra earrings, a new iPad… the possibilities are endless!

QueenGorgo

“Send our army for hope – hope that a King and his men have not been wasted to the pages of history – that their courage bonds us together, that we are made stronger by their actions, and that your choices today reflect their bravery.” -Queen Gorgo, 300

Authentically Aurora

Always.

Alan RickmanMy heart is so sad today. Alan Rickman was one of my favorite actors of all time, and I love him even more after reading all the tributes that shed light on who he was off screen.

Alan was one of the rare actors who understood the complexity of the INTJ persona; he magnificently portrayed multifaceted antagonists and, as Stephen Fry wrote, was “a man of such talent, wicked charm and stunning screen and stage presence. He’ll be sorely missed.”

JK Rowling described Alan as “a magnificent actor and a wonderful man.” Others called him “deeply principled”. Daniel Radcliffe described him as loyal, supportive and encouraging. “Contrary to some of the sterner (or downright scary) characters he played, Alan was extremely kind, generous, self-deprecating and funny.”

Emma Thompson’s tribute is my favorite, articulated with a bittersweet mingling of admiration and sorrow: “What I remember most in this moment of painful leave-taking is his humour, intelligence, wisdom and kindness. His capacity to fell you with a look or lift you with a word. The intransigence which made him the great artist he was – his ineffable and cynical wit, the clarity with which he saw most things, including me, and the fact that he never spared me the view. I learned a lot from him. He was the finest of actors and directors. I couldn’t wait to see what he was going to do with his face next. I consider myself hugely privileged to have worked with him so many times and to have been directed by him. He was the ultimate ally. In life, art and politics. I trusted him absolutely. He was, above all things, a rare and unique human being and we shall not see his like again.”

Take note, young stars. This is the kind of legacy you want to leave behind.

Wand Tribute

Authentically Aurora

Feasting on Bitterness

Great HallHave you ever had an amazing, wonderful, magical experience that left you giddy with delight until you realized that there was some green grass of other opportunity knocking that came and ripped your budding happiness out by the roots, leaving it dangling helplessly as it withered and died, all the while looking forlornly at the blindingly vibrant greenness of the grass on the other side of the fence?

Ashley and I recently discovered that you can now buy tickets to have a Christmas feast in the Great Hall on the Harry Potter set outside of London. The same set that we visited three months ago. The same set where Ashley said, “Wouldn’t it be great if we could eat here in the Great Hall?”

Well guess what, Ashley, my magnificent, prophetic sunflower? Now you can.

And by “you”, I mean not you, because we already used up all of our saved vacation time and frequent flyer miles and milk money and hopes and dreams on what once was considered a stupendous vacation that now is rendered less stupendous by the wicked, Voldemort-inspired knowledge that the Great Hall was indeed made for eating and can now be utilized for just such a purpose outside the confines of the magical, cinematic world of Harry Potter. But it can only be utilized for such a purpose by the happy few who procrastinated in their visit to the WB Harry Potter studio.

These fakers aren’t even real fans. They could have gone on the WB Studio Tour earlier, but no! They had excuses like having to work and wash their hair and put their Muggle kids through college. Hello! It’s college, not Hogwarts. You parents need to sort out your priorities! And now, since they are procrastinator fake fans who felt the need to be responsible and deal with “real life” before caving to their childhood fantasies of paying thousands of dollars to fly halfway around the world with bright, shiny stars in their eyes as they picked out their robes and their wands and got their photos taken at Platform 9 3/4 — now these responsible adults get to go to the Great Hall at a time when it will be open for a Christmas feast!

They will eat flaming puddings with fires that dance like a phoenix’s tail feather. They will feast on hams studded with cherries so sweet they will put the house-elves’ treacle tarts to shame. They will guzzle butterbeer so free-flowing that Hagrid might end up with another dragon egg. And Ron may even show up in his latest Christmas sweater hand-knitted with love by Mrs. Weasley (not that anyone wants to see that eyesore).

Meanwhile, Ashley and I will be feasting on our tears – our salty, bitter tears of crushed dreams and missed opportunities.

Authentically Aurora

Animagus Aurora

From time to time, I have meltdowns based on my fear of becoming a cat lady.

Then I remember that I don’t have any cats.
And I feel better.

But then I am reminded of my rapidly approaching thirtieth birthday, coupled with my perpetual single status, and the panic starts again.

Then I get asked out by three different guys, three days in a row.
And I am comforted that there is hope for me yet.

Until I watch cat videos and realize that, although I may not own any cats, my cat-like mannerisms have already transformed me into a McGonagall-like cat lady. I know, I know. Where I went wrong was watching cat videos in the first place. But what’s done is done, and I am horrified to realize that those cat videos have infiltrated my psyche. I have become Animagus Aurora, the cat-less cat lady.

1mcgonagall

When I peruse the online dating profiles of my inevitably terrible matches, this is a remarkable likeness to my reaction:

Online-dating

And when those terrible matches want to take me on a date, sometimes I have to resort to playing dead:

No-date-1

No-date-2And on first dates, when guys try to get too friendly too soon, they may get some of this action:

No-Petting

But I can be all-too-easily won over with chocolate:

Chocolate-Cat

And once a man earns my trust (with said chocolate), I melt into a snuggly cuddle monster. “Pet me!”

Pet-me-loop-1

Pet-me-loop-2

The secret is out. There is no fighting it. My cat lady status is official, even sans cat ownership. In light of these evidentiary videos, I regret to inform you, dear readers, that I have clearly become…

Animagus Aurora, the cat-less cat lady

Laughing Our Way Through London – Part I

Hyde ParkLondon is a peculiar city. It has the hustle and bustle of NYC, the rich history of Rome, the quaintness of small town Germany, and the diverse ethnicity of Houston. Over the course of the last week, I found that I quite like London more than most other major cities I have visited, largely because of this synthesis of large scale opportunities with small town class and culture.

My traveling companions on this trip were Ashley, her younger brother Ron, and Kelly – a university friend of Ashley’s who turned out to be delightful company. On one of our first days in London, we explored two of the city’s largest parks: Hyde Park and Regent’s Park.

During our walkabout, enjoying the unexpected sunshine and sipping on iced coffee, we explored many twists and turns of greenery dotted by the occasional monument or fountain. After quite a few miles of walking (we walked a total of 16 miles that day), Ashley called out to the group, “Is that a statue?”

I looked around and only saw people sitting on benches or laying in the grass. Then I saw where she was pointing. A particularly dark featured man sat reading under the shade of a large tree. He was all one uniform color, dressed in dark hues and sitting immobile. I squinted behind my sunglasses, trying to make him out. Was it a statue?

The rest of our group peered at him as well. “He is very still…” mused Kelly out loud. But then– No… no, he moved to scratch his nose. Definitely not a statue!

We all gave Ashley a hard time about her faux pas until I had one of my own. We’d just come from a Harry Potter walking tour where we saw many of the filming sites for the Harry Potter movies, so I had magic on the brain. Walking through Hyde Park, I saw a cluster of people in the distance all wearing flowing black robes.

“Look! Wizards!” I said with delight. I was surprised so many people had dressed up for their Harry Potter walking tour. But as the group got closer, Ron snorted with laughter. They were not in fact wizards. They were Muslim women, dressed in full hijab. Oops. 

Lastly, near the end of the day, Ashley, Kelly and I went to use the public loo in Regent’s Park. Ashley and I both had the misfortune of walking into stalls without toilet paper, so Kelly had to pass some to us from under the stall door (thanks, Kelly!).

As we all finished washing and drying our hands, another woman walked into the loo and straight into one of the stalls without toilet paper. We all looked at each other, horrified, before I called out to the woman, “There’s no toilet paper in that stall.”

She didn’t respond, but I heard the sound of her already using the facilities. So I went into the stall next door, wadded up a ball of unused paper, and held it under the stall door for her. We ladies have got to look out for each other, after all.

“Here,” I said kindly. “That stall doesn’t have toilet paper.” Ashley and Kelly watched my actions. We all waited in silence. The woman never said anything, and she also never took the toilet paper.

After waiting for an uncomfortable amount of time, I glanced at Ashley and Kelly, who both looked very awkward about the entire situation. Then Ashley, with wide eyes, mouthed, “Let’s get out of here!”

So, giggling silently, I pulled my hand back out from under the stall door, stuffed the unused tissue in the bin, and ran out into the sunshine with Ashley and Kelly, laughing all the way.

Authentically Aurora

London: Motherland of Magic

HP WorldAshley and I have gone to Harry Potter World every year for the past three years – without small children in tow as an excuse for our unbridled enthusiasm. We unreservedly embrace our inner nerdiness. Especially since, with the coinage of the term “hipster”, nerdy is the new cool. I didn’t have it so good in junior high. But I digress…

Last year, I wore this shirt around Universal Studios all day:

Harry Potter Grumpy CatAshley was still willing to be seen with me and even take pictures with me. I am sure there is now no doubt as to why she is my best friend.

This year, we decided to change it up and go directly to London, Motherland of Magic. United Airlines will serve as our portkey to the UK.

Ashley and I are convinced that the only reason we remain stuck as Muggles is that Voldemort was in power during each of our 11th birthdays, so we never received our Hogwarts letters. We’re headed to the heart of magic to see the Headmaster himself about either adult admission or use of a Time Turner. The official Pottermore quiz has already declared that I am, without a doubt, intended for Gryffindor.

While we’re in London, we will surely stop by Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes. When I was in elementary school, my mom wouldn’t let me have the Sonic Sleuth Bionic Ear (something about eavesdropping being rude?), so I was thinking about getting a magical Extendable Ear – that is, until my full physical earlier this week.

The technician administering the hearing test had a look of awe on his face when I exited the hearing machine. “Wow. That is the best hearing test result I have ever seen!” He looked at me in wonderment. “What do you do again?”

So. Extendable Ears? Not needed. Born with ’em! But I could be talked into picking up one of those love potions…

amortentia

Authentically Aurora