Tag Archives: work

Exit 21


Her hands held the steering wheel as a ray of sunshine glinted off her silver bracelet, catching her eye. It was a Pandora that her kids had chipped in to buy her for Christmas a couple years ago. She looked at the book charm that her husband had added to the bracelet. There was also an apple from a former student and a little boy and girl representing her grandchildren. On a whim, for her birthday she had bought herself an airplane and suitcase charm. These were her favorite although she would never tell her family that. She realized that she usually didn’t even remember the drive to work anymore. It felt like one of her favorite books, A Wrinkle in Time. She got in her car in the morning stowing her big bag and settling her coffee in the cup holder. Then before she knew it, it would be like the road folded up and she was already pulling into the parking lot at work.

Today seemed different. What if? She thought. What if I just got off at a random exit and had an adventure instead of going into work today. She’d driven this same route for ten years, every single day, driving past all the exits she had never taken. Maybe today I’ll take exit 21, she thought and started making up stories about the cars that took exit 21. She decided that they’re probably going up to the mountains to a little cabin in the woods to sit by the fire in their pajamas, reading and drinking hot chocolate as they watch the snow fall outside. They don’t even care if there’s a storm because they don’t have to get up an hour early to shovel the drive and scrape the ice off the car windows. Or if it’s summer, she pictues those lucky exit 21 people heading to a lake to sit on the dock sipping white wine and snacking on expensive cheese and crackers. I could be those people. Maybe today’s the day. My car will veer off at the last second. To hell with exit 54. Where has exit 54 ever gotten me? Exit 21 became the stuff of dreams.

I’m doing it she decided. Exit 19, 20, 21. She steered her car off the exit, her heart beating fast. She seemed to be the only car on the road. I wonder where this will take me she thought. She followed the winding mountain road until she saw a roadblock ahead. As she got closer she could read the sign, “Road Closed”. She stopped her car, climbed out and started laughing. “Figures, “she said out loud. She plucked her coffee mug out of its holder and leaned on the hood of her car, sipping the coffee and contemplating the sign. After she took her last sip, she got back in her car, turned around and thought, well maybe tomorrow I’ll try exit 38.


The Gift of a Dog


I sit on this beautiful beach but instead of enjoying the incredible view of lake, mountains and clouds, and the sound of wind and waves, I am thinking:


My husband has been laid off today.


A black, wet dog nose touches my arm and the eyes express the hopeful message, “Hey, could you please throw my ball? Huh, could you?”


I’ve just started my own business. What if I have to give it up?


Wet furry dog shakes on me, soaking my notebook. “Did you just see me go swimming after that ball? That was so amazing!”


What if we have to move someplace I hate?


Cold dog nose again, “Is this the best day ever or what?”


What if my kids have to change schools?


Black furry chin on my knee and eyes gazing at mine, “Do you know I adore you?”


What about health insurance?


Wet dog shake all over everything once again. “Feel free to throw the ball some more. Joy. Joy. Joy.”


I’m scared.


Wet dog lies next to me on warm rocks. “I’m so happy to be with you today.”


I’m so happy to be with you today too my sweet, furry, wet, stinky girl.


More dog shakes. I laugh and throw her ball. Then I join her, swimming and jumping in the waves.







Take one breath. Then another…


Flipping Off Road Signs


So today was another one of those days where I should really just stay home (see past post, “Heckling Babies”). How do I know this? Because I gave the bird to a road sign. I was driving on the expressway and one of those temporary big, orange-lettered signs was shouting at me, “Right lane closed, expect delays”! So of course, the only thing to do was to give it the finger.  “F-U sign!”

I think there should be a test before we are allowed to join the world for the day. Some way to prove we can be a kind, compassionate grown-up. Maybe we can all wear mood rings and if our ring is black, we’re allowed to take the day off. Our boss would say, “Um Trista, I notice your ring is getting kind of orange, why don’t you just head home. Come back when you hit green or blue.” Would anyone ever make it to work for a whole week? I suppose not. But we’d be nice on the days we did.

But as of today, there is no mood ring law about joining the world so here I am, swearing at road signs. They flipping deserve it.

Filling My Bucket


On a recent weekend morning, I got dressed and headed out to the grocery store. Then I sped home and put my pajamas back on, deciding that I just wasn’t ready to face the world yet. My bucket was empty. I really like the bucket analogy. We need to fill out bucket so that we can have enough energy for life. When my bucket is empty, I don’t have anything to give my students, kids, husband, friends, or anyone else.

So how do we keep our buckets filled? Here are some simple, realistic ways that I can remember to fill my bucket. It’s important to do little things like these frequently because once I let my bucket get totally bone-dry empty, it’s daunting to try to start filling it again.

  1. Spend some time writing in a coffee shop
  2. Laugh–about anything
  3. Go to a show, concert or play
  4. Spend time near water
  5. Browse in a bookstore
  6. Watch a good escape movie (Jurassic Park and Harry Potter are awesome)
  7. Listen to music
  8. Dance (not in public!)
  9. Go out for a really delicious meal
  10. Take a fun class
  11. Do some photography

It is not selfish to spend time filling my bucket. A full bucket lets me be my best, true self out there in the world.

How do you fill your bucket?