A personal initiative to live more appreciatively

Thursday, May 31, 2012

#178: Down Town

One of my favorite aspects of my town is that we have a true, old timey main street. Tonight my sister and I went down there to walk around. We popped into a few local, independently owned stores, sat on a bench to eat frozen yogurt, and she ended up seeing a good friend whom we talked with for a while. It might sound corny, but my down town seems so quintessentially small town America, which feels so homey and wonderful.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

#177: Sweet Gestures

On a fairly regular basis, I pilfer from one of my coworkers, coincidentally named Mary Ellen. In her desk drawer she keeps a stash of extra salt & pepper packets she gets from a local deli. Once I realized that such a treasure trove existed, my lunches have seemed underseasoned. And so to Mary Ellen's desk I go, where she is always so willing to let me take as many as I need, as often as I want. Maybe this doesn't seem like a big deal, but I am always grateful that she lets me do this.

Today, Mary Ellen called me over to let me know she had something for me. And lo and behold, she had brought me my own personal salt shaker to keep at work! It genuinely meant a lot to me. Seriously-- there is little in life that makes me happier than simple, sweet gestures.

Monday, May 28, 2012

#176: Memorial Day

Memorial Day is one of our most significant national holidays, and yet is observed quite casually. For most people, today marks the unofficial start of summer, a day out of work to spend barbequeing with family and friends, or an escape down the shore. These are, all, wonderful. But the holiday is remiss if one does not stop and think about what it actually represents: a day to honor and respect the men and women who, throughout our history, have dedicated and given their lives for the freedom and well being of America.

There is no more important job than that of a serviceman or woman. I cannot put into words how thankful I am for the sacrifices made by the armed forces and their families, who've served and sacrificed in their own way. Our freedom as a nation-- my freedom, as an individual-- is invaluable, but not without cost. I am always heartbroken to hear of a death in the military; these men and women knew nothing of my existence, and yet because they gave their life in service of our country, they gave their lives, in part, for me. There is nothing grander in life to be thankful for than that.

To my readers-- those who've served or are the family members of those who serve-- I don't thank you enough for your sacrifices. This post is my feeble attempt to express what is inexpressible. No words or breadth of meaning will ever be able to express the depth of my gratitude and appreciation. You are honored, today especially, but truly everyday.

#175: Egg & Cheese on an Everything Bagel

With a day off I decided to treat myself to an egg & cheese on an everything bagel, but the attainment of such turned out to be a bit of a hassle. My bagel deli of choice was unreachable due to a Memorial Day parade. My back-up bagel place was, somehow, out of bagels when I arrived. And so it was across town I went, fueled by conviction. Finally, on my third attempt, I got one. Egg & cheese on an everything bagel happens to be my post-long run meal of choice. Despite not running long today, it still managed to taste like victory. It might seem ridiculous, in light of all the monumental and significant aspects of my life for which I am thankful, but I sat in the deli and savored that egg and cheese on an everything bagel like it was the greatest breakfast sandwich ever made.

Friday, May 25, 2012

#174: Felicity

Having the day off for Memorial Day Weekend, I decided to indulge myself in some major tv viewing time. Even though I personally own the box set, when I found the entire Felicity series on Netflix I decided that I would start it (Netflix plus: no need to change DVD disks!) and make it a summer goal to rewatch the four seasons.

Felicity was on air when I was in high school, and I was a faithful viewer. In college, when I started buying the DVD seasons, my friends and I started making our way through it. These connections to the series at two of the most significant time periods of my life have always set it aside as not just a tv show; I always felt that I could relate to the conflicts and self discovery of the characters, always felt like I wanted my life to somehow feel the way life seemed to feel on the show...whatever that means. It may have come at the hey-day of young adult dramas, but I think it's more legitimate than being lumped in that genre. I think it's really well written, and there are many poignant lines that I remember fawning over in my youth, and still appreciate now as an adult. Literature will always take precedence over tv or movies, but there are often stories told through those mediums that are just as meaningful to me as some of my favorite novels, and Felicity is one of them.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

#173: Kyle

When the phone rang at the end of my class today, I wasn't greeted with a hello.  "Are you busy? You're using your busy voice."

My coworker, Kyle, was on the other end of the line. And he was right. A circle of kids were around my desk, each with frantic questions about their papers due tomorrow; students helping me put away the laptop computers were panicking that one was missing; the class clown was about to draw on posters hung on my board. "Actually, I am," I responded, promising to call back. I hung up, surprised that he could tell so much just from the tone of my "hello". Then again, I shouldn't have been surprised at all; Kyle knows me extremely well, and this simple reminder of our closeness made me think how thankful I am of it. If that wasn't enough, when I eventually did call Kyle back and remarked how stressed I was, he immediately asked if there was anything he could do to help, and then followed up that we needed to find time to catch up-- exemplifying how great of a person he is, how lucky I am to have him as a coworker and friend.

Kyle and I were both first year teachers together and our classrooms were across the hall from one another. At the time we weren't a part of the same team, but we spent most afternoons together, lesson planning or grading in my classroom to keep one another company. If I were asked by a preservice teacher for advice regarding how to survive their first year, I'd tell them to find a Kyle for themselves. It was really wonderful to have someone who was also experiencing the beginning of a teaching career, someone to bounce ideas off of, vent to, assure you that you weren't crazy. Over the course of the past six years we've been lucky enough to be given opportunities to actually work together. We coached track together, co-advised student council, and two years ago were put on the same team. He's an unbelievably talented teacher, a colleague you observe with his students and realize you're witnessing a master educator at work. He comes to school willing to give of himself entirely to his students and activities for them, and he tackles projects enthusiastically and efficiently. While we have a wonderful working relationship, one irony of it is that we have a tendency to disagree; what I've found to be so amazing about that is we have a tendency to use our differing opinions to develop a workable compromise that was better than either of our original ideas, or we work so hard to convince the other that we're right that whomever wins has the other as their biggest proponent. I once stated to my administration that I've never collaborated better, in any capacity, with anyone, than I do with Kyle, and that made me realize that he's my favorite person to work with. 

I'm further blessed that Kyle is also one of my closest friends. He has all the makings of a great one: he's trustworthy, attentive, supportive, selfless, honest, funny, genuine, busts on me and calls me out when I need to be called out. Getting to know Kyle over the years I am not surprised we are good friends-- we have similar personalities and find each other easy to talk to; however, I am still often reminded, like today, how lucky I am to be friends with him.  He's an all around amazing person, the type of guy who makes you a better person by knowing him. 

It's that time of year when decisions are being made about who is going to work in what unit next year, and it's always possible that one or both of us will be moved out of our team. This year we are both retiring from student council, and I stopped coaching track last year. It hit me today that these final weeks of school, potentially, could be the end of my time working with Kyle. The thought of that possibility saddens me. And yet I know, ultimately, there's no reason to be sad. We won't work together forever, but in Kyle I know I have a friend forever, and for that I am unbelievably grateful. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

#172: Sharing Dinner

A creature of habit, I have a tendency to order the same menu items when I go out to dinner. Tonight was no exception-- until I was faced with a rare conundrum: my two favorite meals from a restaurant  (one a regular menu item, one a special) were both being offered! I found myself faced with making this decision until Allison, my dinner companion, chimed in that she would get one and I could get the other, and then we would split them. I love doing this when dining out, having the opportunity to eat half of two meals, and I also love a good friend who's willing to make their dinner selection based off your inflexibility.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

#171: The Kindness of Strangers

A stereotype was confirmed for me this weekend: Midwesterners truly are the nicest people. We rode the subway twice, and both times were immediately offered seats; at a crowded beer garden two groups of people made room at the tables they were sharing so that we could have a table, too, and then they offered us their appetizers to share; crossing the street a man walked at an angle and slightly stepped in front of me, then turned to apologize profusely for cutting me off. We were in awe all weekend at this, and it became a running joke to compare it to the stereotypical New York/New Jersey treatment in these scenarios. Of course I am not a believer in true stereotypes: there are unbelievably selfless, kind people in NYC, and likely jerks in Chicago (although we didn't come across any...) But I think there is definitely truth to the culture. NYC is so on-the-go I think courtesy gets a bit lost, whereas amidst the slower pace of the Midwest people actually see one another, making them more kind. I am so grateful I witnessed this culture of kindness.

When we landed I witnessed a rather terse interaction between an airport employee and a passenger, I sighed, already missing the politeness and friendliness I was immersed in all weekend. After this weekend I am on a mission to cultivate midwestern manners more in my life here on the East Coast. 

#170: A Weekend with Katelynn

Katelynn accompanied me to Chicago and I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to experience the city with her. More importantly, I am thrilled that we were able to have a whole weekend together. When you're in college and you spend nearly every waking moment with your best friends you take that time for granted. As cliche as it is, I wish I knew then what I know now. I wish I could've told myself 10 years ago that I should savor every moment spent with Katelynn and my other college best friends; that someday adult life would take over and we could go weeks without seeing one another, a few hour long dinners becoming the new normal. But adult life brings some perks to your friendships as well: like being able to jet off for a weekend in Chicago together, and having the wisdom to know that this was unbelievably valuable time.

I so thankful for the weekend Katelynn and I just spent together. I am thankful to have had the time for us to talk, laugh, reminisce, reconnect, muse about the future...just like old times. We packed a ton into our days, and while on one level that was to get as much out of the city as we could, it was also to get as much out of our time together as we could. I'm exhausted, but it's the best kind of tired, when you know you're tried from laughing so loudly, smiling so much, trying so hard to hold onto the hours that are inevitably going to slip away-- the kind of tired you get after spending time with your best friend. 

Buffas at The Bean

#169: Chicago

I spent the weekend in Chicago. This was my first time in the city, and there's so much wonderfulness to appreciate about it. Anyone who knew I was going there and had been before told me that I would love it, that it's a cleaner, quieter version of New York, and I wholeheartedly agree with that sentiment. It has hustle and bustle without the claustrophobia of literally being in a mass mob of people, and it was very cool to go from metropolitan streets of skyscrapers to the lakefront beach. We covered the town, seeing Willis (Sears) Tower, Navy Pier, Millenium Park, Wrigleyville and Wrigley Field for the Crosstown Classic, The Maginficent Mile and of course deep dish pizza. The food was great, the people unbelievably friendly and kind, the weather perfect. A Cubs win would've been nice, but as any faithful (24 hour old) fan would say, there's always tomorrow!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

#168: Inspirational Stories

I am a sucker for personal transformation stories, so I loved watching this video sent to me by Erinn. No matter how confident of a person you might be, it's easy to occasionally doubt yourself. This story is a reminder why we shouldn't doubt ourselves, and I am thankful to now have this in my repertoire of inspirational stories.

"Arthur's Transformation"

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

#167: Greetings from Noel

When I walked in the door from work today Noel was sitting on my family room couch. I went to sit and pet her for just a minute, and she crawled into my lap, purring really loudly. It was so sweet, and clear that she was happy to have me home, that I just couldn't get up. When my day is go-go-go, like today was, it's great to come home and have a nice, quiet moment with Noel. She regularly greets me at the door, and it's one of the aspects I appreciate most about having pets.

Oh. Hi.

Monday, May 14, 2012

#166: Willie Geist

I woke up earlier than usual this morning, so I aptly watched "Way Too Early", hosted by Willie Geist before I was motivated to actually get out of bed. Willie Geist is simultaneously so intelligent and so entertaining, and I really enjoy regularly catching the end of "Way Too Early" and then the first hour of "Morning Joe" because of him . I'm not proud to say that I have a tendency to be irritable in the early morning hours, and there are definitely a number of personalities that I "can't take" until I am fully awake (now, at 8:30 p.m. being fully awake, that feels like an awful thing to say. But in 10 hours I will stand behind that statement with full conviction). Much of the morning circuit television presence is made up of those personalities, but thankfully there's Willie Geist. He's sarcastic and observant, quick witted and ironic, and helps ease me out of my morning irritability into my rest-of-the-day pleasantness.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

#165: Solsbury Hill

Last week was pretty rainy, so it was lovely to have a nice weekend with lots of sunshine. While Kegan drove today I had the window down, my feet up on the dashboard, and it felt like the perfect summer day, only made more so when "Solsbury Hill" came on the radio.

"Today I don't need a replacement, I'll tell them what the smile on my face meant..."

"Solsbury Hill"

#164: Silence

"Life is so loud."

I said this to Kegan earlier today. I really wanted to go for a "hike", and since this was my "Cat Mother's Day" I was able to call the shots this afternoon.

Any serious hiker would likely call my my version of a "hike" a "walk in the woods", which is why I put it in quotations. Kegan and I spent some time walking down the towpath of the D & R canal, and our turn around point was a spillway, right before which there was a bench. Before we headed back we sat for a short time on the bench, not speaking, just taking in the peace of the silence around us. We both made moves to head back, but persisted on sitting for just a bit longer. It was when Kegan made the definitive decision that it was time to head back that I turned to him and said, "Life is so loud." He, in his ever understanding ways, knew exactly what I meant, simply nodded, and we turned to head back down to the canal to the car to continue on with our day.

Whether it's because of the environmental noise that always surrounds us, the constant hum of always being connected, or the resounding of one's own thoughts, true quiet is rare. I'm thankful for moments like today when I am able, even briefly, to be lost in silence. It's profoundly loud.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

#163: A Working Shower

Kegan and I have long been ignoring the signs that our shower has slowly been becoming inoperable. Yesterday we came to a crossroads: it broke. For a while it was stuck on, and we feared we wouldn't be able to turn it off. Then we were able to turn it off, and we feared we wouldn't be able to turn it on. We placed a phone call to have a plumber come over as soon as possible, but we were faced with the realization that we potentially would not have a working shower until then.

I can't say I enjoy my morning routine. I think I would love it if it didn't occur so early, as I feel like I go through the motions half asleep, and spend most of my pre-commute hour wishing I was back in bed. That being said, the thought of a disruption to my usual routine was concerning. It reminded me how much what I should appreciate on a daily basis-- the little things that become background noise to our days-- are often only appreciated until we are threatened with living without them. Suddenly it became apparent to me how disrupted my day would be without a working shower, and how thankful I should have been the 10,000+ days of my life in which I had one!

Spurred by that thought, I convinced Kegan we needed to give it one more try. Armed with a screwdriver and a wrench, we found a way to make the shower work. Granted "cold" is now "hot", "hot" is now "cold", and there is approximately a one degree angle at which you need to have the level turned in order to have the shower turned off. But it works! And for that I will shout my thankfulness off rooftops.

Tomorrow I imagine I will be thankful for plumbers.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

#162: Homer's Odyssey

Homer's Odyssey is basically a feline version of Marley & Me. I read it a few years ago, and my sister-in-law, having borrowed it, recently returned it. It's been sitting on the table by my front door for the past few days, and as I come and go I can't help but look at him on the cover and smile.

Homer was a kitten who went blind, and ultimately had his eyes removed. This, coupled with his black coat, made him nearly unadoptable. Then journalist Gwen Cooper was called by a veternarian friend to meet him, and she knew she had to give him a home. She thought she was saving his life, but as her memoir revealed, he saved hers.

I'm thankful for the book itself, for people like Gwen Cooper, and for cats like Homer. Even if you're "not a cat person", Homer's story of resiliency is inspirational, and anyone who has ever loved a pet will be moved by his story.

Homer, The Blind Wonder Cat

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

#161: Dr. Meixner

A decade and a half after my first grade teacher taught me school was nothing to be scared of, I decided to become a teacher myself. Dr. Emily Meixner is the director of the English/Secondary Education program at TCNJ, and has been a major influence in who I am as an educator.

I was blessed to take multiple classes taught by Dr. Meixner, as well as work with her on an independent study that was close to my heart. She also mentored me through what was a challenging student teaching experience, and I often credit her with being the first person who made me see my potential as an educator. My whole life I had heard that I would make a good teacher, but it wasn't until Dr. Meixner uttered those words that I took it to heart. When you're a teacher you meet so many people to admire in your profession, but there are few people whom I admire professionally as much as I admire her; when someone whom you respect to the degree I respect her extends their faith in you, you take it to heart.

Much of my pedagogy stems from the essential beliefs I formed in Dr. Meixner's classes. She is engaging and dynamic, progressive and wickedly smart. As a preservice teaching student I gained invaluable knowledge from her, and thousands of adolescents, the students of her students, mine included, benefit from her masterful teaching. I often miss my college classes, and if I could take courses again, many of the ones I would want to repeat are Dr. Meixner's.

Luckily in the age of Facebook and email, I am still in touch with Dr. Meixner. She continues to support me professionally, and I am so thankful for all she's ever done for me. Years into my teaching career I strive to make Meixner proud...even if she has no idea what I am doing. In my opinion, when a teacher has that kind of lasting impact on you, when she continues to sculpt you years after she taught you, that's the definition of teacher appreciation.

#160: Mrs. Bonnano

In honor of teacher appreciation week it seems only fitting that I would express my gratitude for my former teachers, the ones who had the most impact on my life.

Mrs. Bonnano was my first grade teacher; 20 years later, I still find myself thinking of her and all that she did for me. I had major school anxiety, which stemmed mostly from the separation anxiety I felt being apart from my mother and the intimidation I felt by a child who was bullying me. It's no exaggeration to say I cried every morning I arrived at school, and often in the afternoon when I came back to school. My mother picked me up from lunch because I couldn't handle the entire day away from her (and I think I was also avoiding recess and my tormentor). Mrs. Bonnano never lost patience with me. She simply hugged me every day, let me know that I'd have a good day and that inevitably the bell would ring and I would get to go home. I became so attached to her, felt so secure in her classroom, that I never left it. Even though I was supposed to go to other classes for reading and math, I just stayed in Mrs. Bonnano's classroom. She had the lowest levels of both, so she even took the time to work with me independently at my level. I know personally how challenging it is to work with emotionally insecure students, and how daunting and time consuming differentiation (especially that for the sake of just one student) can be. A teacher now, I marvel at her dedication to her teaching and to me.

Like is true with any teacher, I learned so much more from Mrs. Bonnano than the content she taught me. I learned about compassion and care; that one can find love in the arms of people besides family; that no matter how tough your day is, you always get to go home. As the year went on I became more and more comfortable at school, entirely because of Mrs. Bonnano. I aspire, every day, to make my students feel as safe as she made me, because she's the teacher who taught me school-- when you're in the right classroom, with the right teacher--  can become a second home.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

#159: Race Spectator Signs

My favorite spectator signs from today's half marathon, which I hope to internalize for future days running:

"Puke and Rally!"
"Your feet hurt because you're kicking serious ass."
"You've trained longer than Kim Kardashian was married."

#158: The Long Branch Half Marathon

When you're running your 5th half marathon, your prerace attitude is not one of a novice. I realized today-- maybe because I was with someone running her inaugural half--  how different I felt from when I ran my first half. There were no overwhelming nerves, which was great, but there also wasn't an overwhelming excitement, which was kind of lame. That pattern existed in so many facets: I didn't neurotically check that I had everything I would need for the race, but I also wasn't anticipating the day as it approached, so the event was like a flash in the pan. My pacing was spot on and I knew exactly how to tackle the 13.1 miles, but I finished and that was it: race over. I was handed a medal and then weaved through the people waiting to pose with theirs, focused on getting my post-race snacks, and then I was out of there.

This is the reality of being a long distance runner and competitor for a few years: you settle into the sport, and the wisdom of your experience begets many benefits. But the allure and excitement of being new to it fades, and that's sad.

I've been thinking about this as my day has progressed. A few half-marathons ago this would have been "race day". Today it was just "a Sunday when I ran a half in the morning." I'm thankful for the normalcy, as that says so much about how far I have come and the commitment I have maintained in my running life. But it also highlighted to me that I want to combine the best of both worlds, that I want to find away to cultivate that excitement again. I know how to do it, and it's going to take a lot of work, but when I am on the starting line of my next half marathon with butterflies, it'll have been worth it.

That being said, a half marathon still has an amazing emotional impact on me. We arrived late due to traffic and I missed the official start. I jogged across the parking lot and squeezed between two barriers, falling in behind the last corral. Taking a cue from my cousin Kathleen I put Coldplay's "Every Tear Drop is a Waterfall" as my first song, and with its opening notes I took in what was happening around me. 6,000 people were off and running-- everyone at the culmination of an amazing personal achievement. I spotted a female spectator crying, obviously overwhelmed at the knowledge someone she loved was half marathoning (or at least, that's what I like to think that's what it was about.) Complete strangers had given Katelynn and I pins for our bibs when we didn't have any; hundreds of volunteers were giving up their Sunday mornings to hand out water and yell encouragements: a testament to well-intentions and the ultimate goodness that I believe exists in most people. A half, regardless of how exciting it might be, is an awesome event to be a part of, and I am thankful that I was a part of one today.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

#157: Grape Stomping

An oldie, but a goodie. Dare I say my favorite viral video ever?


Thursday, May 3, 2012

#156: Cozy Autumn Vanilla

One of my takeaways of The Happiness Project was that you should splurge on little luxuries that make you happy. Shortly after internalizing that I found myself at Bath & Body Works, which had just released their Cozy Autumn Vanilla line. I loved it, and bought every product. Normally I would've considered that excessive, but I kept hearing Gretchen Rubin's voice in my head encouraging me to do it. And honestly, it might be ridiculous, but my Cozy Autumn Vanilla products do make me happy. I haven't used them in a while, but was reminded of how wonderful it is when I found a body wash.

Yes, seriously. Today I am thankful for Cozy Autumn Vanilla body wash. That's the beauty of a thankfulness project...you see reasons to be grateful everywhere and in everything.

#155: Roma's Adoption

I recently discovered that the shelter from where I adopted my two cats has a twitter account. Scrolling through their previous tweets I came upon one from February, announcing that one of their residents, Roma, had been adopted. I was so excited to learn this because Roma is the brother of my two cats.

When we adopted Kennedy and Noel as kittens we also met Roma in the foster home where they were being raised. He had already been adopted, and would be picked up the same day we came for the girls. After we had them for a week a woman from the shelter called to check how Kennedy and Noel were doing. I gushed about how quickly I had fallen in love with them and how well adjusted they were, and she said, "I wish I could say the same for their brother." Roma had been returned within 24 hours because he "cried too much." While the shelter tried to insist it was just an adjustment issue-- the poor baby had just been taken from his sisters and mother and was living in a new place, after all-- but she decided she didn't want him. In the end Roma and his mother went to the shelter itself. Shortly after they were both adopted, together, but that adoption only lasted a year. The woman who adopted them decided she wanted to offer childcare within her home and thought she'd be limiting herself by having cats. Roma and his mother found themselves back at the shelter.

Kegan and I have stayed involved with this shelter. We volunteer there and make financial donations when we can. Each time we went we would seek them out and spend time with them. They were very attached to one another, so the shelter was making an effort to find someone who would take both of them. When we went by this past Christmas we discovered their mom had been adopted...but Roma was still there.

It was hard to see him. I felt bad he had his mother, whom he had been so close to, taken away from him. Because he looks just like Noel, it was sad to see him in a cage; I couldn't help but see my own cat with a different fate. Honestly, I considered taking him home. Kegan, surprisingly, was the one who talked me out of it. We already had two cats, and three seemed excessive. Also Kennedy and Noel get along so well, we didn't know how the dynamic would change by adding an additional cat. With a heavy heart I left the shelter, and just began praying that Roma would find a home, one that would be lasting.

I am so grateful he's been adopted, and I truly hope that this is his "furever" home, as the shelter would say. (Yes, so corny. But I couldn't help myself.) For anyone that has ever considered adopting a pet, or has the means to, please consider it. There are so many Roma's out there...so many pets who are simply looking for a family, care and love. I guarantee you, from personal experience, you'll get that back, and more, in return.

Roma Love

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

#154: Kim

My students have begun a research paper, which means I've begun three of the most delightful weeks of my school year, because I get to spend them in the library with our school librarian, Kim.

For a Language Arts and Literature teacher, there is arguably no one more resourceful in your daily professional life than the school librarian. I hit the jackpot when I was hired to teach at the school where Kim, librarian extraordinaire, works. She's truly amazing: with a history teaching background and personal love of literature she has the perfect blend of instructional skill and passion. Today in her introductory lesson to my classes she was reminding them that her job is to prepare them to independently research as well as find books that they love to read, and I was reminded just how well she achieves both of those objectives on a daily basis. She can steer any kid in the right direction, drops the titles of great novels on demand and has cultivated a library that is energetic and the homiest, most cheerful part of my school. Since I began my teaching career Kim has been supportive of me and my work with my students, and I've so thankful for everything she's done for me and for them.

Beyond being a fabulous librarian Kim is also, simply, a fabulous person. She is so great to talk to, laugh with, and the first person to offer me baked goods if they are available (which is a quick way to make me fast friends). For the first four years of my teaching career my classroom was right next door to the library, and I couldn't have loved that more. I didn't just appreciate my vicinity to my favorite place in the school, but took comfort in knowing I was only minutes away from seeing one of my favorite colleagues. Any librarian is held in high regard in my opinion, but Kim is one I hold in the highest of regards.