Object Lesson


This afternoon I had a plan.

It was haircut time. And I was so ready for it. I ran this morning and threw the mass of it up into the messy bun that has been all I’ve really had the patience to do for weeks now. I had photos downloaded. I was jazzed.

I chose the time and made the appointment. Left home on time. Did everything right. Strolled in with time to spare.

The stylist wasn’t there. None of the employees there could tell me why, and I couldn’t ask, thank you, language barriers. I texted and called her. I sat and waited. Nothing.

I left.

Furious and disappointed and mildly panicked.

I hate getting appointments wrong. And I knew I wasn’t wrong. She’d told me to come by at 4. I felt stupid and mad and stood up and embarrassed. I’d been so excited and now was so let down. I wanted to go back to the salon and cut off my stupid bun myself and throw it on the floor and do a rage dance on it.

(Colleen in a tantrum is special stuff guys. Spe. cial. stuff.)

As I stalked directionlessly downtown my phone was buzzing semi-occasionally with texts from Nate and friends, but none from the MIA Hair Lady. People were everywhere and my messy bun flapped gently in the breeze, waving hello to the passersby. Nothing was right.

But three things happened as I came to the intersection by the movie theater: 1. I took a deep breath and laughed (a little) at my tantrum. 2. I prayed Lord-I-forgive-MIA-hair-lady-and-please-forgive-my-tantrumming-innards. 3. My phone buzzed. It was MIA-H-L.

I don’t get my hair cut often. As it turned out, she’d changed salons, 3 months ago. Very apologetic about the whole thing. New place is 20 minutes away by subway, but she had other appointments lined up. Could I reschedule? I told her to send the new directions and I’d let her know. The breath I’d been holding behind clenched teeth whooshed out as I hung up.

Oh, girl, when will you learn to hold your plans loosely?

I decided to go run some other errands and maybe see if the other hair place I used to use downtown had any openings. But first I went to find the birthday gift I’d mentally bookmarked for Nate two months ago. His birthday isn’t until April, but it’s rare that I’m downtown without him. This will save the day, I thought.

The store was there. The gift was not.

Again, the nudge. It doesn’t work out like you counted on. And it doesn’t have to.

Should I swing by the salon I used to go to? Sure it’s out of the way and I hated what they did to me last time I went there–and actually come to think of it after that experience I swore I’d never go back–but I wanted a haircut today and how bad could it be?

You could. Or you could give up your plan. Grab a coffee and head home without any real damage from today. 

I turned around in the middle of the street at least twice.

But thank God, the coffee was good. My bun still flops triumphant and greasy. And I am somewhat shamefaced to admit that in the throes of unwillingness to let go I went and TRIED ON PANTS at H&M. Because nothing puts you in a good mood like TRYING ON PANTS.

Lord have mercy.

(He does.)

Sixteen Days

Sixteen days since I last wrote. I’ve written like ten posts in my head, which counts, luckily.

Work and life get real busy sometimes and this place slips through the cracks. because it’s easier to scroll through endless other-people-words than make some of my own. Still pressing through the need to hoard the words instead of releasing them.

Here’s what’s transpired the past few weeks.

Spring isn’t just on her way. She’s here. It’s real. I keep forgetting to take Nate’s trusty ol’ digital camera to work with me because the campus is looking purty.

hello gorgeous.
hello gorgeous.

The new season means lots of things but one of them is this: We got all the way through winter and I haven’t had a single seasonal cold. For one reason and one reason only:


This stuff. hashtag bless. Every time we’ve felt that old throat tickle or sludgy slowdown, we’ve pounded back TBSPs of this stuff. And so far? so burninatingly good.

(Natch, both I and the Boy are feeling particularly sludgish today…so here’s hoping this post isn’t a jinx of some sort.)

The haircut urge is still on, guys. and it’s growing. I dreamed I had this gal’s cut a few nights ago. but I dreamed I gave it to myself and it turned out awesome and I loved it. So…*grabs kitchen shears*

(Of course, that same night the Boy dreamed I straight up shaved my head. He said it was ‘scary, but okay.’ *grabs razor*)

I just watched a Jeep commercial about driving around California and felt a wee leap o’ the heart.  Before the year is out, I’ll be there. (probably not in a Jeep. but who knows.)

Good things are happening at church: a new pastor’s been selected for the English service! Nate’s loved preaching but with us having an expiration date we’ve been praying so much for the next person to come in. There’s a lot to do there and we know it, but the wonderful thing is there’s a lot that can be done. I’m hopeful.

It feels so good to be hopeful.

Ten Things Tuesday #6

  1. I was born and raised in Bloomfield Connecticut, but I and all nine of my siblings say y’all on the regular. Casually. It’s probably an even split between Y’all and You guys. Never  ‘Youse guys.’ Sally McMahon permitted y’all in her household, but ‘youse guys’ would have gotten you the grammar lecture to end all grammar lectures, delivered in a horrifying 30s era gangster impression, see? Shudder.
  2. Weekly conviction, from Emily by way of Sara. God’s not on social media.
  3. Things I Have Googled this week: When was Jonah written (courtesy of Nate texting Bible questions from work), what’s the difference between eau de parfum/eau de toilette (borne of too much beauty blog reading), how to take a screenshot (see last post), and ‘WWII German Artillery’ (from a discussion that arose during a Band of Brothers viewing).
  4. The weather is full-on schizo out here: Monday morning was straight-up balmy and I ran in shorts (or whatever halfway between capri and shorts would be called. what’s the word? oh yeah, unattractive) with no frostbite, and this morning was so frigid and windy that Nate and I had to shove our way through the buffeting gusts to reach the bus stop. Buffeting. Gusts.

    It’s set! It’s dry! None of those horrible chips and ridges and fingerprint ridges that happen when I inevitably poke my nails to see if they’re dry? #bless
  6. That Sally Hansen stuff is part of my current campaign to #SaveTheNails. I don’t know what it is: some form of seasonal affective disorder or just teenage rebellion, but this time of year my fingernails go straight to the Other Place. They’re thin. They’re brittle. They’re chipping and flaking right down to the quick. I picked up the Insta-Dri in hopes it will stop me picking my nails. Like maybe if they’re pretty enough I’ll leave them alone. I also picked up some cuticle butter that I want to eat because it smells like lemons.
  7. I will not eat the cuticle butter. I will not eat the cuticle butter. I will not eat the cuticle butter.
  8. Currently contemplating a follow-up to my student emails post about the ‘interesting facts’ my students had to submit about themselves this week. Teaser: ‘my nickname is Camel for 4 years.’ Yea? Nay?
  9. Currently listening to: Nate making robot noises in the kitchen while he toasts us up some garlic bread. Soundtrack of happiness.
  10. Today, after a month of no eye makeup, I tried to wing my eyeliner, and I did not stab myself, not even a little. Victory, o friends.

Student Emails

emailshotI have a really great job.

I am a professor of talking. It’s amazing.

My strong suit is being in front of the students. I get along with them and I like them. My weakness is doing teachy things: curriculum development, lesson planning, being more than a week ahead of myself at any given point in a semester. jk. but real talk.

The beginning of the semester is always a little stressful: finding classes and making sure you’ve got your schedule down properly and aren’t forgetting things or materials and the printers always break halfway through your syllabus. Every time.

The nice thing is that the first week of classes is lite on actual instruction: it’s my chance to assess their levels and try to break through their inevitable English-speaking antipathy. No college freshman wants to mess up in front of a group of peers and English is hard to learn, y’all. So for the first week we play games, and the homework is simple: email me your answer to this question:

Why are you taking this class?

And no matter how stressful the first week is, those emails, man, they make it so so so so beyond worthwhile. Because bless them, how hard they do try to answer that question, and bless them, how some of them do not try at all. (as in, out of something like 75 students I have 58 emails.)

Here are this semester’s tallies:

  • Times I was called ‘sir’: 1
  • One sentence or less in length: 13
  • Paragraph-plus length: 13 (due largely to my upper-level content course)
  • Obviously written in Korean and then crunched through Google translate: 20
  • Unintentional Poetry: 6
  • Unintentional Sass: 5
  • Emojis: 6

Here are my favorites. From the Unintentional Poetry category:

I don’t speak english very well
and I don’t understand english well
but I want to be improving my english skill
this is my answer to your question

to all questions.

i want to good at english

but i am not

so i will try to!


From the Unintentional Sass category:

i came because i wanted to see a teacher

Like…that’s the whole thing. okay? Success?

From the Google Translate and Paragraph categories, subdivision Delightful:

I wanted to learn English like a professional may come from the old and in college and live in the future, so important Hebrews sseuyigi like they’d better put up the good work going to work hard to help me because I go to vacation again when traveling overseas trip I hope doeteumyeon

Yes. My thoughts exactly.

If one week age I had no idea about the university and professor, entrance ceremony day be absolutely kept in the dark about course application, but teacher question me why are you taking this class? I talk it was destiny, I believe destiny
entrance ceremony course application time I just focus number 1485 and teachers name: collen I think Wow!! another country people I confidence this class is perfect so I choice 1485, frist class time I feel wonderful I have very best choice
teacher image is very similar my ideal english teacher.
Thank you^^

Just reading these puts me in the best mood. Because darn it, they are trying, and they are failing spectacularly, and that is being a student. And it doesn’t stop in university or adulthood or everrrrr. A reminder that I need all. the. time. So bring on the semester, kiddos. I believe destiny! You believe destiny! Let’s destiny together! Wow!!

Ten Things Tuesday: Wednesday Edition

  1. Normally I draft my Ten Things Tuesday posts on Mondays. #secretsandlies #drama but seriously, it’s way easier to get a head start on it. TEN IS A LOT. Anyway…it’s the first week of school, and that has sapped my brains so that neither my Monday attempts nor my Tuesday attempts were worth anything at all.
  2. But on Tuesday, y’all, IT SNOWED. And it doesn’t even matter that it turned into rain in about 45 minutes, or that I accidentally wore shoes with holes in them and my socks were soaked through by the time I got home. It snowed. And all was right. So suck it, crappy Monday post drafting.
  3. School has started! and already I’ve raked one young gentleman over the coals. for catcalling. Sigh. He didn’t say anything particularly offensive and it was more embarrassing for him to get called out in front of all his friends. But someone has to tell a cocky uni kid that hollering after a foreign woman in a hallway isn’t an okay hobby to pursue. especially when she turns out to be your professor. Ugh. yay new semester!
  4. Like, come on, 19-year-old freshman. Really?!
  5. Currently wearing: comfy grey sweater and red penguined pj pants. Which are maybe 8 years old and have a wee tear on the right knee. They are slightly highwater, and hella faded. Why am I wearing these pants?
  6. So many reasons. A) I’m home from work for the day B) I was pantsless but it’s cold out C) I went to Olive Young for a new hairbrush and found these:

    and I ate the whole box. then I texted Nate because my stomach and my conscience were killing me.


    My first batch of student emails is in…post on the best of coming later this week.

  8. I wish I could beatbox.
  9. The new hairbrush I bought when I was waylaid by the toffee chocolate smells like wood varnish. Which somehow just makes me feel like that hairbrush is legit.
  10. I have a new hobby and it’s envying the sweaters of tv characters (current: Annie from marry me).