Wednesday, December 5, 2012

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On August 1st I left New York and am traveling with my boyfriend, Zach, in New Zealand. To follow our travels, come visit us on our new blog, Bring A Snack!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

That's a wrap

I have 8 more days of being a teacher. Today I purchased a souvenir. Or a trophy of sorts. I bought an antique brass NYC Public School door knob. 

I first saw this door knob at P.S. 110 on Delancey Street, while at an HIV/AIDS Curriculum workshop. While learning about how to dramatize the antibody/antigen relationship in their auditorium, I slipped out to use the bathroom and saw the knob on the teacher's bathroom door. My initial reaction was to steal it right then and there. But then I remembered that I was in a school and am also an employee of the DOE and its wrong blah blah blah. I think about them often. Then last night, while at Torrisi Italian Specialties, I spotted the knob again. My reaction this time? WTF is it doing here? If a restaurant can have it, I should too. Thank you, ebay.

I feel good about my 8 days left. I'm not freaking out, though sometimes I think I should be and do a double check Wait, are you sure? Yeah, we got this. Yesterday, I told my kids that I'm going to explore another part of the world. They already knew something was up; they had heard the talk around town. We checked it out on the globe and looked up pictures on the internet. Some of them think I've gone completely mad, but that is okay :)

I'm going to install my door knob on the outside of our bedroom door so that when it is open, and I'm laying on my side, drifting off to sleep, I can look at it and remember:
*How much I love the kids I've taught. Especially the ehem, tough cookies, shall we say. Way more than I had ever expected.
*How lucky I've been to have met and taught with my coteacher
*How deeply and systematically fucked the Public School system is, so help us God.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Fifty Nifty

A few weeks ago, the schoolwide Friday trivia question was, "What is the largest state in the US?" I got everything from Denver to Russia as answers. 10 tries later, a kid got it. But seriously? Russia? Really? Our Social Studies curriculum is focused around New York State, from Native Americans to New Amsterdam to New York City, so I don't usually work on memorizing the 50 states. But I will when you try to tell me that Russia is a state. 

It's time for fifty nifty. It's how I learned the states. It's how I still know them. And the thing of it is that this super silly song makes rote memorization easy and fun.

On Tuesday, I handed out the words and we sang along to the video, which played from the computer speakers. I was flush and hot in the face the whole time, as it was basically a solo the first time around. Ms. Anderson, your face is red. Thanks, kid. Its because Im not comfortable singng, but I do it anyway because it is less embarassing than hearing that Russia is a state. The kids asked for the website and jotted it down.

On Wednesday morning, one girl reports that she knows them all. She started half singing, half saying them in alphabetical order, and when others jumped in, shouting random states, she stuck her fingers in her ears, closed her eyes and kept going, without missing a beat. South Carolina, South Dakota, O Hi O, Oaklahoma, Oregon... She was up all night learning them. Another tells me she put it on her iPod and listens on the way to school. She doesn't know all if them yet, but will by Friday's quiz.

Usually they don't care about quizzes, but this one is attached to a pizza party if you get all 50. If you spell all of them right, there are brownies, too.

Keep in mind that I teach a bunch of English Language Learners and Special Ed kids, some of whom have never heard the word Montana and have no context for what a Montana is or isn't. This makes for some hilarious spelling errors on their quizzes. 

My dad grew up in Middle Soda Minnesota.
This kids obviously never heard of it.

New Hamster. Nuff said. 

So close to Vagina. Close enough to make me laugh out loud.

These kids may make it to the pizza party and I will give them the biggest brownies in the pan if they can spell them all correctly. We are now at a point where everyone knows what is NOT a state, even if they can't quite list all fifty nifty United States. I'm going to go ahead and say, Mission Accomplished. Russia has defected. 

Activities, or lack thereof

We have 8 weekends until we leave NYC. 6 are booked with activities.

Being in the midst of a major life transition, I find myself trying to do everything all at once. My inclination is to schedule and plan so I have time to do everything and don't have to say "no" to any fun stuff, which is exactly what we have been doing all spring. Weekend trips, Bachelor/ette parties, weddings, races, hikes, concerts etc.  Let's do all of the activities that I love to do.

Except that one of my favorite activities is sitting on the couch on the weekend and writing. That I have not done in quite awhile. Until this morning. When I am finished, I am going to go to the grocery store and then make some delicious things to eat this week.

As much as I am looking forward to fun activities and far flung travels, I also really enjoy being home, in my kitchen, and on my couch, while I still can.

Also, big news: Harriet left this morning. She went to Baltimore, where she will be until we return from our travels. You can read about the adventure of getting her ready on our new blog, Bring a Snack.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Most of April has been spent in Baltimore. I spent a week at home during my spring break, and took a quick weekend trip to attend the Grand National steeplechase race with Liz, Paul, Melissa and Zach, and hit up Ocean City for the half marathon. For as strong as my love is for NYC, I might love leaving and coming back even more. Especially when the world is in bloom.

Ma n' Pa's front patio. Why not move take spring break here?
While at home, I picnicked in a field, met up with old friends, laid in sunny spots with my dad, swam in the pool at mom's fabulous gym and went to Wegman's as frequently as possible. I made dinner with meats from local farms, ran in the woods, and listened to 89.7, Towson University's public radio station. It took a week to get my fill.

On a dock with dad. Some species are best in their natural habitats.  
I spent some time downtown watching boats chug in and out of the harbor and hit up the American Visionary Arts Museum, which I am SO PROUD to call part of home. By far the most fun museum I have ever been to. Art by people who like to laugh. They said "no pictures," which I kind of respected. Except for the bra ball. Had to sneak a picture of that.

Think giant ball of twine. Except with brassiers. 

AVAM was named one of the most "blinged out buildings" in the world
by some source that I can't remember. 

Posted in the bathroom at AVAM. Make it big and read :)

That boat is light pink and hunter green and has a thin gold pinstripe in between.
I used to daydream about owning it while rowing past it in high school.
Twas so perfect to see it alive and well. 

Final product not pictured. Not sure how to make meatloaf look appetizing,
but it was ridiculously good. You know you're working with special
meat when it it is hand wrapped packages, stamped with the farmer's name.

We ate their friend.
After most of the steeple chase races, there are pony races. Check out the clip below. Obviously, the little man last place is the crowd favorite.

While I have spent FAR too many hours on the Bolt, Mega and Chinatown busses this month, I've also been able to spend rich, quality time in Maryland, which I haven't done in quite awhile. Totally worth the I-95 traffic.

Melissa, Liz, me and Katherine at the Grand National Steeplechase Race. 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

This weekend was the Ocean City Half Marathon! C'est finit! I ran with Liz, Paul, Maureen and Zach. Everyone finished strong and celebrated heartily.

Liz, Paul and Zach broke ahead from me and Maureen at the start. I wasn't going for a time (okay, secretly I wanted to finish below 2h 30m, which I did with a time of 2:26). Mostly though, I just wanted to finish the race.

Note Maureen's lack of bib

Maureen had planned on running in the 5k, but the race was full, so she decided to just run it without a bib. As we were all lined up at about 6:55 am, Zach pointed out that the 5k didn't start until 7:45am. Not wanting to wait around, Maureen decided to run in the half marathon and turn around or stop whenever she felt like it. By the time we reached the 6 mile mark, she had not yet turned around and decided to run the half marathon. Girlfriend didn't train for this at all. Our pace was a rather leisurely 11:00 minute mile, but we gabbed the whole way, which made the miles pass way faster than any playlist I could have come up with.

Mile 3
While the idea of running 13 miles was pretty significant, the run itself was exactly as expected and felt completely normal. We started at the bottom tip of Ocean City, Maryland, by the boardwalk rides and ran through neighborhoods, past some cows, marshes, a pit beef stand, through the woods, past old eastern shore homes and finished by crossing the bridge to Assateague Island. 

Mile 12

Post race jello legs = no more standing

Post race rum runner at Seacrets also = no more standing

This dude was awesome. He was spending his 80 somethingth birthday at Seacrets.
His cane was stuck in the sand below the bar. 

While running, Maureen mentioned that she was happy to have run her first relay with her dad and the half with me. I like that idea, of races being excuses to see friends. It takes some of the edge off of the race and ensures a fun weekend with friends. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

2012 Reading List

I've been lucky so far. I haven't picked any duds to read. Finally ran in to a challenge, but not a ud. Molokai had me in tears. Frequently. A Walk in the Woods had me laughing out loud on the subway. Frequently. The World According to Garp had me turning pages and raving about it. Frequently.

Currently working on both Undaunted Courage, a biography of Lewis and Clark by Steven Ambrose and Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James (had to see what the fuss is about!) While I don't usually read more than one book at a time, these are so wildly different there is no confusing the plot lines or characters. Let's just say one is a "to school" read and one is a "from school read" and leave it at that ;)

I can't remember the last time that I read a historical biography, but I'm fully enjoying the exercise of reading a new genre. I am constantly consulting maps, looking up words, and rereading to figure out wtf just happened. At points, I'm reminded of Infinite Jest simply in that I want to put it down and say to hell with this whole book, let me get my hands on an US Weekly. IJ was a huge milestone for me as a reader because I didn't scrap the billion page, footnote riddled project and the gratification did come way later* in the book. In that case, it may have come in the days after finishing it, when I was still stewing on everything. Point being, I didn't put it down and I'm glad that I didn't. Undaunted Courage just got really good. I'm 40% through the book and it just got really good. Lewis and Clark have been living off of meat for two years, everyone is sick, they ran out of whiskey and have just figured out how huge the Rockies are. And it is October. They are about to be seriously f-ed, yet Lewis is intent on saying that he presumes the road ahead will be a good one until it proves otherwise. They are the original long term, budget travelers.

Up Next on the Reading List:
Wild- Cheryl Strayed (SO EXCITED about this one)
The Hunger Games Trilogy
Seabiscuit- Laura Hillenbrand
Letters to a Young Chef- Daniel Boloud
Gifted Hands- Ben Carson
Visit From the Goon Squad- Jennifer Eagan
97 Orchard: An Edible History of Five Families in One Tennement- Jane Ziegelman
The Art of Fielding- Chad Harbach

The first three of those are physical books, so I plan to read them before we head out in August. While we are gone though, I'll be reading those puppies on my Kindle. Let me know if you want to borrow Kindle editions or have any recommendations. I LOVE book recs.

*The shoot out scene on the front of the Ensor House is still probably my favorite scene.