Survival Kit: Mrs. Mulvey on Popcorn, Puzzles, and Britney Spears

MSMHS school counselor Mrs. Mulvey talked with Current reporter Scarlet Colbath on the seven things she can't live without.

Survival Kit: Mrs. Mulvey on Popcorn, Puzzles, and Britney Spears
Photography and illustration by Kaiden Chandler.

Welcome to Survival Kit, a monthly column interviewing teachers on the seven things they can't live without. In this edition, MSMHS school counselor Mrs. Mulvey talked with Current reporter Scarlet Colbath about naps, competition, and her love of puzzles. Here's their conversation, lightly edited for clarity.

1. Weekend Naps

Alright, so Scarlett, the first thing I can’t live without is probably a good afternoon nap on the weekends. Obviously, with school we get up very early five days a week; on Saturdays when there’s nothing going on and I don’t have to be anywhere, I love having a slow, easy start to the day and then having a good hour-and-a-half, two-hour nap. And I love that now that the lighting has changed, it’s still bright out when I wake up, so I didn’t even lose any time in the day.

2. Popcorn

The second thing I can’t live without is kind of like an odd food choice, but I love popcorn. So, Smartfood popcorn is my jam. I just love that it’s so versatile — you can do whatever you want with it and it’s going to be good. Movie theater popcorn is delish, just like heating some kernels up in the microwave. I don’t know, it’s just an easy snack; I like the crunch and it’s good for any occasion.

Scarlett: With my grandma from Minnesota, we always get a big bag of a mix of cheese, normal, and then this candy caramel one that’s so good.

I love the white cheddar, or really any of the cheddar flavorings on it. For the holidays as a kid, we would get those big tins, and they’d have the three dividers; it’s pretty much the same thing you’re describing. And one that was the super orange cheddar cheese popcorn was always my favorite

3. Seltzer — From a Dispenser

The third thing I can’t live without, this is another kind of odd one. For those of you who don’t know, I do live at a boarding school up in Oakdale. So, in the cafeteria they have fountain drinks and sodas and everything, and I love filling up my really tall mug with just really good ice and seltzer water. Something about it coming out of a dispenser makes it so much better. I don’t know why, kind of like getting a Diet Coke or something at McDonalds, it just tastes better. It’s the same thing. The seltzer water just tastes so much better, so that would probably be another thing I can’t live without. I normally just go for plain, but I’m not against flavors. If I do a flavor, probably like a lime.

4. Britney Spears

I’m a very big Britney Spears fan. I have been since I was really young; I remember getting her first couple CDs when I was in elementary school, so I really enjoy listening to her music. I hope she chooses to come out with some new stuff, but I did have the opportunity to see her in Vegas during her residency, back in like 2017. I almost cried when she was coming out on stage because I was fangirling so hard. She’s my favorite artist. [My favorite song by her], “Sometimes” is actually from her first album, and it’s one of those kind of heartfelt slower songs. There’s different remixes of it; it was in a movie recently with a different artist singing the song, and it just has such a very classic late 90s/early 2000s vibe, and it’s just a very lighthearted long song.

5. Competition

Number five would be competition. So — if the student staff faculty game wasn’t any indication — I like doing the competitions and competing, and the whole buildup to that game in particular was really fun. I’ve always been somebody that has been involved in sports, and I like competition whether that’s as an athlete, as a coach, just being able to be involved and stuff, and being able to perform and win. That’s always been really fun for me, so I would definitely say competition is my number five.

I would say so, I think it’s very specific to certain aspects [where competition is motivating me]. Obviously in the workplace I’m not competitive, but there are, you know, different aspects of my life where I do love a good competition. Whether that’s spikeball in the summer, a cornhole tournament, I find my outlets to be competitive. 

If it’s something that’s really important to me, such as coaching my freshman volleyball team, I want to win. Nobody goes into a game not wanting to win, but I definitely have my priorities in check where I’m not going to be super upset if I lose a game of spikeball. 

6. Iced Coffee

The sixth thing is probably iced coffee; for those of you who see me around the school, I often carry one, it’s just kind of a staple. It makes me excited to be drinking iced coffee regardless of the season. I try to be good and make it at home, but it never tastes as good as if I get it out somewhere. I think for iced coffee, I prefer Starbucks, but sometimes I do get Dunkin’ just for convenience. I like to try new spots, especially when I’m traveling. So, in the summer, I was in Newport and my husband and I were trying to find all these different smaller coffee shops, either like iced coffee, iced espresso, whatever they had just to see what was good. But I will say, if it’s something before work, I’ll probably just go for the convenience of a Dunkin’ or a Starbucks.

7. Puzzles

My final thing I can’t live without is puzzles; I really like puzzles. So, I have — this is probably like a combination of COVID quarantine and just needing something to do — but I have a ton of 1,000 piece puzzles, and I enjoy just sitting at my dining room table and just working on a 1,000 piece puzzle in complete silence when I have downtime. There’s just such solitude and peace that comes with that; I’ll do it for an hour and a half, two hours, walk away and come back to it. It’ll take me a week to finish it, but in little spurts. I love doing sudokus when we’re traveling on a plane or something, that’s how I see it. Light and easy, but it gets you thinking without having to put in too much thought. 

Scarlett: I’m sure we’ve all seen the puzzle one in your office with the date.

Yes! I love that puzzle. And it’s so cool, because the way it’s set up is that you have to manipulate the pieces to show the calendar month and then the day that it is of the month. It’s very frustrating when you can’t get it, I’ve gotten August 12th so many times figuring out this puzzle, but getting today's date is always such a challenge. It’s fun to have some brain teasers to start the day.

Thanks for reading Survival Kit, a publication of The Current. Join us next Thursday for news, opinion, puzzles and more in The Current: Monthly Edition!

-Scarlet Colbath, Staff Writer for The Current

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