Category Archives: Neither Here, Nor There

The day-to-day, sometimes mundane and random events of life.

Flora Vista

Yesterday we moved out of our Flora Vista House. I said good-bye to walks to mesa lane, late night roommate talks, and game nights in the living room. I might even miss our infestation of spiders, the subtle skunk smell that lingers in the living room, and the memories of finding a dead rat in the laundry room.

We’ve shared countless glasses of wine, hours of conversation, and two-and-half years of memories. Here’s to microwave beeps, the chore chart and the on-going saga of the internet. I’m going to miss you Flora Vista.

P.S. For the next three weeks I am lucky enough to reside in the Mumm household, where poor Jeff has had been inundated with a host of rapid-fire girl questions and conversation topics that generally center around finding jeans that fit, fashion trends and nail techniques (and not the hammer and nail kind). Read more about it here


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Writing a Better Story

I write almost everyday. Usually it’s nothing eloquent or profound; actually more often than not it’s nothing more than muddled words and loosely strung together thoughts and prayers. But I still write it down.

I started writing in a journal when I was in the 6th grade. It was my mom’s suggestion (and probably desperation) to help her high-strung-stressed-out-daughter who couldn’t really express what she was feeling. I filled pages and pages of journals.* The pages were safe to express my growing worry and insecurity. And those pages also kindly held my hopes and dreams without passing judgment or disbelief. Writing allowed me room to be me without having to filter through my own or others expectations of who I should be.

I know that a lot of what I write is not new. Someone else has probably already said it better and/or sooner, but I am learning that writing is not about impressing people or being the first to discover some great thought. Writing is about creating space to tell a story. To tell my story. Writing gives room for ideas and feelings to take meaning and shape, when they might have otherwise sayed buried somewhere deep within.

Henri Nouwen said, “We have to trust that our stories deserve to be told. We may discover that the better we tell our stories the better we will want to live them.”

This makes me want to write and live a better story. What about you? Do you like to write? What story to tell yourself?

(*yes, somewhere in some over-sized box at my parents house I still have these journals. And yes, I know one day I’ll have to throw them away)

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I bought a brush

Something you may not know about me is that I don’t own a brush. Really.

See people with curly hair don’t really brush their hair. In high school I used to watch girls stand in front of the mirror and brush their long, smooth locks with envy. I wanted to brush my hair, too. If I was lucky I could run my fingers through my curly hair and then re-scrunch it, but that was it because usually when you brush curly hair it just ends up resembling the mane of a lion. Think huge frizzy, poofy fro! Not so pretty.

But this past weekend, I bought a brush.
And I actually got it use it to brush my hair, my straight hair!

A few months ago one of my students kept pestering me to straighten my hair. In order to silence her requests I agreed, only if she passed all of her classes. And even though she is one of my favorite students, she failed two classes last term so I felt fairly confident about my end of the bargain. By the way they don’t teach you these classroom management techniques in school. I mean betting with students is probably frowned upon, but for some reason it motivated her. Our term ended last Friday and low and behold- she passed ALL of her classes!

Hence Ms. Acker with straight hair:

Hair really shouldn’t be that big of deal, right? I mean most people change their hairstyle or hair color and life goes on after a few initial comments and reactions. But my hair has been curly for most of my life and I rarely; I mean rarely change anything about it. I think I used the same silver barrette for 4 years of high school: half-up, half down, every day. For years my far cooler and fashionable younger sister has hinted that I should “change it up” every now and then, but I don’t. I’m a creature of habit and I don’t do change that well. Not with my hair, not with moving, not with anything. Change is hard for me.

But sometimes I think its needed and even necessary. And maybe that’s why it takes a silly thing like making a bet with a student to usher in something new and different. I don’t think I’ll keep my hair straight forever, but it’s a nice little brush with change (yes, pun intended.)

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Just one

According to my reliable sources at Real Simple most people give up or simply forget about their new years resolutions by February 17th. Well, it’s January 6th and I am happy to report that I have kept my one, yes, just one, new years resolution:

I will floss my teeth everyday.

You would think as a fairly responsible, healthy adult I would naturally floss everyday, but truth be told– I don’t. And it gets worse. I am also am one of those people who causally lies to my dentist every 6 months or so. (oh, just confess, I know there are others out there who do it, too!)

“Are you flossing every day? uh-huh. I mumble, nodding my head to convince him, just as much as myself.

Because new years resolutions often dissolve into new years ideals that seem to either get forgotten or broken by the 3rd week of February I’ve decided that my new years resolutions should be 1) simple and 2) shared. Cassie, a friend of mine who has this way of bring simplicity and joy to just about everything in life, told me that she only has one resolution each year-just one thing, however small or practical. One year she decided to stop biting her nails and for a whole year that was her goal.

I was inspired by the “just one” rule because so often I tend to over do it. I tend to create unrealistically long lists of every hope and goal imaginable for the coming year. Now there is nothing wrong with dreaming big dreams and writing out hopes for the year ahead- I still do it, but my lists are too long and far too personal to publish on the public-sphere of the blog world. Nonetheless, there is something significant about having a very tangible, measurable new years resolution, however small or practical it may be.

Last year my one resolution was to not use a plastic grocery bag for the whole year.

And thanks to my handy-dandy, reusable chico bag that was compacted and stuffed into in my purse, I did pretty a good job keeping this one. And now we will all breathe a little less CO2. Thankyouverymuch. I plan to keep this one up, only because every little thing helps. And I am convinced that a world with less plastic bags will be a much better world.

So, dear twenty-ten, this year I will floss my teeth everyday.

Please ask me about it. And remind me that although the world may not be a better place because of my diligent flossing, I am convinced that my gums and teeth and my future children will thank me for it. And if nothing else, I will not have to lie to my dentist anymore.

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Plan to be Surprised

I am a night owl and consequently, I am also a night blogger. The hours between 9 and 11 pm are like prime writing time. It’s normally in these evening hours that I find the time to slow down and let my heart and mind begin the tremendous task of sorting through the thoughts and feelings floating through my head. On a bad night this process lends itself to overwhelming questions and insecurities about the big what ifs of life. But on a good night, this very process lends itself to writing. And somehow, almost automatically words begin to flow from my fingertips and appear on the screen.

So, on this first night of November I am up late, but I blame it partly on the time change. Somehow I convince myself that it’s really only 11:22, completely disregarding the bold 12:22 on my clock, and I feel a little more justified to still be up.

One of the best monthly investments I’ve made in the past few months is my $4.99 Netflix membership. Given that I don’t go to see movies that often, I spent years trying to keep track of all the movies I wanted to rent on a pink little post-it note next to my bed. This worked fine, except when I walked down to Video Smideo and realized I had forgotten to bring that blessed little post-it note with me. Ugh. For this reason, I think the online que is the best thing every invented. And now, twice a month I get a spiffy red envelope in the mail filled with the solution to my post-it note dilemma.

This month I watched Dan in Real Life and loved it. If you have not seen it, you should. It is maybe once of the most enjoyable films I’ve watched in a long time. Sweet, simple and just flat out funny. Not to mention, it has an incredible soundtrack! I am obviously not a movie critic. My three adjectives don’t do it justice, but there is a line at the end of the movie that grabbed my attention and stuck with me.

As Dan Burns (played by Steve Carell) is reflecting on the events of his life and offering up his last bit of fatherly advice he says, “Instead of telling our young people to plan ahead, we should tell them to plan to be surprised.”

It was one of those moments when you feel like, holy crap, he is speaking to me. That line was meant for me. Plan. To be. Surprised.

I sat there and realized that so often my rational, pragmatic self gets the best of me and I plan for what makes sense or what seems manageable, but rarely do I plan to be surprised. At first glace it almost seems like an oxymoron or some clever play on words. How can you really plan to be surprised? (this is my cynical, logical voice speaking). Surprises by definition are just that “surprises, usually spontaneous, unexpected events in life.” You can’t plan those types of things or if you did they wouldn’t really be surprises, obviously.

However, I think the line in the movie is getting at something else. It doesn’t mean that we get to necessarily plan out exactly how we’re going to be surprised. But rather, I think it means that we have to learn to expect surprises. To plan for them. To be open to them. And maybe to even look for them.

How would your life look different if you planned to be surprised? I mean it. What would today or this week look like if you planned to be surprised? Try it. I decided that I am going to adopt this new mantra for the month. I am going to plan to be surprised. I’ll let you know how it goes : )

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A Good One

One of my new favorite summer indulgences is Honest Tea and when they’re on sale at my local grocery store I stalk up. Not only are they a fair trade and certified organic company that is environmentally consicous, but they also taste great!

Today printed on the inside of my bottle (so clever) was this quote:

“Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it.”


I like that. It’s a good one to remember.

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Summer Sickness

I absolutely hate being sick. Usually I will do everything in my power to convince myself and others that I am just fine. I have found homemade remedies that I swear cure 99% of all sickness- usually some combination of 2 shots of wheat grass, sitting in the steam room at the gym and drinking emergen-c will take care of most ailments. Even when I was little I was the kid who would beg my parents to let me go to school so I wouldn’t miss out- even if I was sniffling and coughing. (I know not so great for those parents who were trying to protect their little ones from germs. oops)

But, today none of my remedies worked. I am home sick. Blah.

The kind of fever sickness where I am simultaneously hot and cold and my whole body aches. My head strangely feels like its 4 lbs heavier and I get dizzy whenever I stand up. I slept for 13 hours last night and was hoping that I would just magically feel better in the morning. I love Saturday mornings in this sleepy beachside town. So I convinced myself to get up and enjoy it. Probably against better judgment I decided that I would battle my sickness. I browsed through a few garage sales, got breakfast from my favorite local bagel shop and then my friend and I tried to go surfing. Well, in case you didn’t guess my sickness beat me. I lost.

And now I’ve spent the whole day in bed – napping, watching re-runs of The Office on my computer and drinking lots and lots of tea. On days like this I wish I had super telepathic powers like Sabrina the Teenage Witch. I mean she could sit on her bed and simply with a look of her eyes move the box of Kleenex from the bathroom to her bedroom or bring a cup of hot tea from the kitchen to her bedside. Aw, man…that’s what I need right now. It feels like someone came by and zapped the life out of me. Like some kind of mean trick on this gorgeous summer day. Wow, you know you’re really sick when you’re idolizing Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

But I guess lying in bed for 12 hours will keep you humble. And remind me that yes, I too get sick. And no, I can’t make myself get better. (although I’ll probably keep trying.)

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