Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Greatest Title I Hold…

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Seated on the carpeted floor leaning against the footrest of the couch, my niece Emersyn crawled onto my lap and snuggled herself into me. Neither one of us have been feeling our best and today was a long day spent celebrating the Baptism of her newest sister, my niece, Sawyer.

She smiled up at me and buried her head underneath my chin, wrapping her perfect little hands around my neck. “I love you, Auntie Sammy,” she whispered into my ear. “I love you, too… More than all of the stars in the sky and back again,” I said as I squeezed her tightly.

Before long my two other nieces, Sloane and Eisley, made their way over and forced their way into our snuggle session. With arms wrapped tightly around one another, we made silly faces, gave bear hugs, took funny selfies, and giggled our way through the rest of the afternoon.

A perfect afternoon spent with my favorite people who give me the greatest title I could ever hold…

Auntie.

 

 

 

Lower Wacker and GPS-NOT A Good Match…

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There are just some places people should avoid… Places that just scream trouble.

Places like:
-The back of an alley on a pitch black night
-Dark, abandoned buildings
-Any store on Black Friday. Really leaving the house at any point on Black Friday is just plain terrifying
-Woods or forest preserves of any kind when you’re by yourself

But here in Chicago, there is one place people know to avoid like the plague. A little place called Lower Wacker Drive. While a handy short cut for people in cars who know where they are going, for those less familiar or on foot, Lower Wacker can be a source of major stress. GPS stop working and the never ending, poorly labeled tunnels do not offer a lot to those who find themselves lost within.

My friends and I learned this the hard way last year. One chilly, January night we were headed to dinner and  The Chicago Theater to see Eddie B, a teacher comedian. We parked nearby, checked our GPS to see how far we were from our destination, and began what should have been a quick walk.

Several turns and a few city blocks later with our handy GPS leading the way, we found ourselves a looooooooooong way from our dinner spot, lost on Lower Wacker.

Walking along, everything seemed okay at first. We figured we would eventually get service and be able to find out way out. There were three of us and we felt pretty safe so we decided to keep walking. And we walked some more. Ideas for hailing a taxi were thrown out, and quickly waved off because, “My GPS says we are close.”

Spoiler Alert: We were not close. Not even a little close.

Annnnd then we began stumbling upon homeless communities huddled in blankets sleeping on grates. We maneuvered our way around, trying not to disturb or interrupt, our hearts breaking for those stuck out in the cold.

Again, the idea for hailing a taxi was thrown out- maybe it would be safer for us to just grab a cab. But noooooo, our GPS claimed, “we were close.” So, we continued moving forward, hoping that the end of lower wacker was in sight.

Pausing to wait for a walking signal, we noticed a scary sight. An individual with a blanket tied around his shoulder fanned out like a cap was quickly approaching. Hearts beating a mile a minute, we decided it was finally time to give in and grab a cab- three girls by themselves lost on Lower Wacker…not such a great combination.

A quick minute or two later of waving our arms, we were safely inside the cab and headed to our initial destination.

Literally just a block from where we parked. Dang GPS.

 

The Room Where It Happened…

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I had never really been to the theater until I started teaching. My sixth grade team not only welcomed me into their little family, but turned me into a musical nerd as well. Bring It On and Finding Neverland. Phantom of the Oprah and Aladdin. Pretty Woman and Waitress. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Lightning Thief.

And Hamilton. Ohhhh Hamilton.

My nerdy, history loving self had wanted to see Hamilton since it hit the stage… I could not wait for the show to make its way to Chicago. But what I could wait for was ticket prices to decrease.

But they didn’t. And then one of my coworkers shared an app she downloaded, The Hamilton Lottery, that you could enter in everyday in hopes of winning $10 tickets.

For weeks, I religiously entered. And everyday, the same response, “Sorry, you didn’t win a chance to purchase tickets today. We hope you’ll be back” lit up my phone. Until one day, November 26th when that all changed.

On this cold, November morning during my school plan when my Hamilton Lottery notification went off. I didn’t get too excited, after all that ping usually meant nothing but disappointment. I walked over to my table to sit down and do some grading until my phone went off again. And I saw it.

I had won two tickets for Hamilton! Two tickets for HAMILTON!

After a quick freak out involving some jumping up and down and shouting, a run down to my friend’s classroom to invite her to join, and a quick two days later, and it was time. Time to see Hamilton.

And oh, it was the most amazing show. From the staging to costumes to casting to the nonstop rapping. Oh, the rapping… it was everything I had hoped it would be and more.

I finally got to be in the room where it happened!

I got to see Hamilton!

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Sometimes You Just Need Your Mom…

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My mom has always raised me to be independent. To be able to stand on my own feet and not have to rely on anyone for help. Asking for help is not easy for me- its a stab at my pride and I always want to make my mom proud.

But sometimes, you just need your mom.

You need her to…
-Go shopping for formal dresses and brand new furniture; she’s the only one who will be really honest with you.
-Hold your hand and pull you in for a hug when your heart is broken and torn to shreds. She’ll happily sit there to remind you of how wrong she thought this guy was to begin with… that you’re so much better off.
-Be your biggest cheerleader and not let you give up, no matter how hard or how stressful the situation may be- she knows in her gut that you’re going to be just fine.
-Let you vent. She will listen and always be on your side. No. Matter. What.
-Laugh with you. Scheme with you.
-Try new restaurants and maybe have one drink too many together.
-Spend too much money shopping, cry through sad movies, and just be together.

Sometimes, you just need your mom.

Like today.

After feeling under the weather the last week or so and a very emotional afternoon yesterday, I woke to feeling like junk. Headache. Sore throat. Dizziness. A wheezy chest with coughs that made my body shake. Aches and pains… I mean, clothing rubbing against your skin should not hurt.

The only thing I wanted to do after surviving the day was go home, lay on the couch, and sleep away this yuckiness. But a run to Walgreens would need to be had. I needed flu meds and 7-up. Kleenex and chicken noodles soup. Vicks and Tylenol.

And, since I live alone and my mom is a very long hour away, I would have to stop and shop myself. Go home alone to lay on my couch. And sip away on canned soup.

Her warm hugs wouldn’t be waiting to embrace me. Her soothing hands would not be waiting to place a cold cloth on my hot forehead. Her loving voice wouldn’t be there to coax me to sleep.

Adulting can be hard.

And sometimes…Sometimes you just need your mom.

Fear…

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Fear is an uncomfortable emotion,
It clouds our thoughts and weighs shoulders down with the unknown…

Fear makes hands tremble…
Tremble as they pull doors closed and flip switches off,
Tremble as they shift furniture out of the way.
Tremble as they offer comfort, holding
hands and pulling closer to embrace.

Fear makes voices tremble…
Tremble as they whisper, “Are you okay?” and
“Take deep breaths” and “Everything is fine!”

Fear makes our hearts tremble…
Tremble as a quick “I love you” text is sent to mom;
an “I’m so glad you’re here with me” to a coworker.
Tremble at the unknown.

Fear makes our souls tremble…
Tremble as we hug a little tighter,
Tremble as we take calming breaths together,
Tremble as we sneak in one more embrace as we say our goodbyes.

Fear is an uncomfortable emotion,
It clouds our thoughts and weighs shoulders down with the unknown…

A Disappointing Morning…

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I woke up early this morning…excited and full of anticipation. Today, is Paczki Day, or Fat Tuesday for us Polish people!

I had placed my order over the weekend, scheduled my pick up time for 6:30 a.m. (EEEK…early mornings are NOT my friend), and paid a little extra for “no wait pick-up.” This whole idea of “no wait” was pretty great- they would be boxed, tagged, and waiting for me on a shelf. All I had to do was show up, grab them, and I’d be on my way.

Or so they claimed…

I left my house on time (another shocking feat), drove the thirty loooong minutes to the bakery, to arrive only to see a line alllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll the way down the block. For the bakery. My bakery.

“Okay,” I told myself, “They are probably the last minute Paczki buyers lined up to buy what’s left.” I parked my car and strutted confidently towards the bakery. I had, after all, selected the “no wait pick up.”

I walked into the bakery…empty. Not a soul in sight. “What can I help you with?” asked the girl behind the counter. “I’m here to pick up my order. I placed it for “no wait pick up,” I replied. “Oh, pick up is next door,” she said pointing to the attached room. “Umm… you mean that the line snaked down the block is for pickup? For the “NO WAIT PICK UP” option,” I asked, double checking just to be sure. “Yep,” she nodded. There were quite a few orders.

“Okay,” I thought to myself, “Maybe this line is going super quickly and I”ll still be in and out.” I pumped myself up and got into line, trying to stay positive. I had plenty of time before I had to be at work- it was only 6:30am.

I jumped in line and waited. And waited. And waited some more. Finally, almost an hour later, I was in the building were the Paczis were…me, thousands of Paczis, HUNDREDS of people in various lines through the building, and a total of five…yes, five, workers available to help ALL of us.

Another fifteen minutes later, I had to give up and leave empty handed. My order? No where in sight. My level of disappointment? High. My attitude? At an all time cranky. I would have to go back after work- between tutoring and job number two.

I pray for no lines…

 

 

Bonus Day…

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Today’s bonus day off has been just what I needed…

A perfect day for me to:

– Sleep in. I was supposed to meet friends for a 5am workout, but I have been under the weather for the last week and an extra few hours of sleep was just what I needed.

-Run errands. No Sunday crowd to battle at my local Mariano’s, no endless lines awaiting me at CostCo. I was in and out in record time…and man, did that feel good even if my bank account is crying a little at my unnecessary purchases that CostCo talked me into buying…

-Drag my self to the gym. I missed my 5am workout and had to face the gym all by myself. Legs and the stair climber…ugh. After not working out for a week, it was really hard to go back.

-Do laundry. An enormous pile of dirty clothes had been staring me down all weekend and this sick girl just did not have the energy to tackle such a task. So now, as I sit and write, my laundry is being done.

-Order my Paczki to prepare for Paczki day tomorrow! I cannot wait to splurge and enjoy my favorite kind, fresh strawberry, for Fat Tuesday.

-Sit on my couch and watch mindless TV. I’m currently catching up on grading sub work, cuddling with my cat, and enjoying the sun streaming through my patio doors (as I pretend its not -20 degrees outside), dreaming of spring weather.

-A little cleaning. I’m a clean freak. I hate clutter. Dust drives me nuts. And I like things to be “just so.” Just ask my students, they have to deal with me constantly straightening out their desks on a daily basis…they know how crazy I can be.

-Do nothing. Once I’m finished with folding laundry and catching up on school work, I plan to do absolutely, positively nothing. And that, that will be my favorite part of today.

Today’s bonus day has been JUST what I needed…

 

Momma Nugget…

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I am not a mom in the traditional sense. I am a “Cat Mom” to my extremely feisty cat Frankie who thinks she runs the world. I am an “Auntie Mom” to my four, beautiful nieces who mean the world to me. And I am “Momma Nugget” to my wonderful seventh grade “nuggets” who keep me laughing every day.

These “nuggets” did not always love their nickname:
– They begged to be called chicken tenders (because they’re so “big”)
– They asked to be called a whole chicken (because they are “full grown”)
– They whined to be called rock stars (because they’re SOOO “cool”)

But they’ve come around, and with the exception of being a spicy chicken nugget (ya know, when their 7th grade hormones are running wack), they LOVE to be called by their nickname.

And they gave me one as well, Momma Nugget. A nickname that I treasure and hold near and dear to my heart because a nickname from a seventh grader means a WHOLE lot!

They EVEN wrote me a Momma Nugget theme rap- a piece of writing I will keep forever.

Confidential Momma Nugget Rap

Ms. Geijer: I’m the Mama Nugget ( Really Low Voice )

NJ and RC pop next to her pointing their  thumbs at her

NJ and RC: She’s the Mama Nugget ( Really High Voice )

Singing

NJ and RC: She’s the Best

NJ and RC: She’s the Best

NJ and RC: She never wears a dress

NJ and RC: She’s the Best

NJ and RC: She’s the Best

NJ and RC: Cause she’s in-de-pen-dent

NJ: She’s more important

RC: Then the — superintendent

 

Ms. Geijer: I’mmmmm the chicken tender

NJ and RC: And Werrrrrre her little nuggets

NJ : And we follow her directions

RC: Most of the time
NJ and RC: She’s the Best

NJ and RC: She’s the Best

NJ and RC: She never wears a dress

NJ and RC: She’s the Best

NJ and RC: She’s the Best

NJ and RC: Cause she’s in-de-pen-dent

NJ: She’s more important

RC: Then the — superintendent

 

NJ and RC: She treeeeeats us all like we’re 7th graders

NJ and RC :time to  KIIIIIICK up the responsibility

NJ and RC: and we try our best

Geijer: Most of the time

 

NJ and RC: She’s the Best

NJ and RC: She’s the Best

NJ and RC: She never wears a dress

NJ and RC: She’s the Best

NJ and RC: She’s the Best

NJ and RC: Cause she’s in-de-pen-dent

NJ: She’s more important

RC: Then the — superintendent

( RAP )bum bum bish x2

She teaches us everything we know

Commas, periods,adjectives

nouns , verbs, and suffixes

Homophones, and some memoirs

How to read and summarize

She really is the most wise- 

 

NJ: Sheeeeeee’s our chicken tender

RC: And our greaaaaaaaaaaaatest defender

NJ: She’ll stand up for us

Giejer: All of the time!

 

NJ and RC: She’s the Best

NJ and RC: She’s the Best

NJ and RC: She never wears a dress

NJ and RC: She’s the Best

NJ and RC: She’s the Best

NJ and RC: Cause she’s in-de-pen-dent

NJ: She’s more important

RC: Then the — superintendent

Ms Geijer Solo

I teach them lots of things to use

Now and later as you choose

Finish your sentence with punctuation

Use an I with a dot after each exclamation

Print and copy only once, never twice

Or you’ll really pay the price

Capitalize your propers and your I’s

And make your font a really good size

To make a complete sentence

Use a subject as your entrance

Then move on to predicate

Then you’ve got your sentence straight

A verb is a word that is an action

It really gives the sentence traction

Unless it’s linking, then it’s the sentences real glue

It keeps the subject and predicate stuck through and through

A noun is a person, thing,idea or place

It’s unquestionably  the sentence’s base

An adjective is a describing word

It adds detail that was formerly unheard

The memoir is a detailed memory

Not long you see, as short as a summary

Homophone is a confusin’ thing

So people make mistakes when they’re texting

They have many different definitions

But like I said, confusin’ is there ambitions

See you’ve already learned a lot

Just from what I recently taught

NJ and RC: She’s the Best

NJ and RC: She’s the Best

NJ and RC: She never wears a dress

NJ and RC: She’s the Best

NJ and RC: She’s the Best

NJ and RC: Cause she’s in-de-pen-dent

NJ: She’s more important

RC: Then the — superintendent

 

She’s the best

She’s the best

She’s the best

She’s the best

She’s the best

She’s the best

She’s the best

Fade out

“Lil Rocko…”

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“MS. GEIJER, Ugggggh,” an exasperated H moaned while leaning over my back table, dramatically, arms askew.

“Um, are you okay?” I asked, trying to refrain from laughing at my VERY theatrical seventh grader.

“I just…I just really need to ask you a few questions,” H whined, not picking his head up to look me in the eyes.

“Of course! What’s up?” I asked.

Dramatic sigh. “Ms. Geijer, I just REALLY need a drink of water. And to go to the bathroom. And I need to go back to my locker. And I need you to look over my paper cus I don’t think it sounds right. So can I go?” H asked, finally making eye contact.

“Well, you WERE just at lunch. And you just came in to class from your locker. And I’m not sure that everything you just said was actually in the form of a question….”

“But PLEASE Ms. Geijer?! See what happened was…” H trailed off.

I eagerly leaned forward, elbows on the table, hands folded in front of me. I LOVE me a good “see what happened was” seventh grade story…

“Uh-huh?!” I asked, intrigued…”What happened?”

“Well, it’s a long story. Can I just go?”

“Okay, but under one condition….” I replied. “Its going to cost you. All of these questions on top of needing special permission to go back to your locker is going to be pretty pricey…”

“Okay, how much? I’m rich…I have a pet rock making business. I can afford it,” H said confidently.

“Four million dollars. I’ll have a formal receipt to you by the end of class. Payment is due immediately… And a throw in a pet rock! I’d love to promote your business.”

“I got you, Ms. Geijer,” H smiled and sauntered out of the classroom.

  • A few days later, payment was received:
  • A four million dollar check…IMG_4554 (1)
  • And a new classroom pet rock fondly named “Lil Rocko…”Image-1

 

 

I’m Baaaaaaack….

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Each year, I feel that March creeps up on me without a whole lot of notice. All of the cold, gray days of January and February sliding into each another, one right after the next. It seems as if the dreary months will never end and then, before I know it, its March…

The emails start to fill my school email inbox… First, from Two Writing Teachers…”SOL is almost here! Don’t forget to sign up!” and then from teachers in the district. There are informational breakfasts to attends. Feedback to share to others. Quick check ins in the hallway and texts from friends all asking the same question, “Are you going to do it again this year?”

And each year, I sit and contemplate, “Should I do it again? Should I take this  year off?” and every year I find myself clicking on the emails, entering in my information, trying to remember my log in… And before I’ve realize it, I’ve clicked submit and entered myself into another Slice of Life challenge for the 5th year in a row.

So here I am. I’m baaaaaaack for round 5!

Slice Of Life