Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Tribute to Moms

I pulled a book off of the bookshelf to use as a writing surface and until that moment had not realized that we even owned this particular book. It was The New Yorker Magazine 75th Anniversary Cartoon Collections. I spent a good hour paging through the cartoons, laughing out loud. When I came across this one, I had to snap a pic for Evy, Pat and Lydia. Cheers!

Playing Tourist

View from the Top of the Rock
My second cousin, Candace, came to visit New York last week. She had not been to NYC before and wanted to see some iconic NYC sights. Usually I'd point people toward the train station and say "have fun," when visitors want to go to Times Square. This time though, I put together a NYC sights on a budget itinerary that we both enjoyed immensely. Candace and her room mate Grace arrived Friday evening and left on Sunday. Wvery minute in between was well spent. Including the Saturday afternoon power nap. We saw two proposals, a Cohen brothers movie being filmed, street performers, subway rats, tourists, bums, hipsters, ate dumplings and bagels, visited mid town, chinatown, the seaport, WTC memorial, Grand Central and the tippy Top of the Rock. And we made lasagna. In less than 48 hours.

Dim Sum at Nom Wah Tea Parlor was the highlight of Friday night.
Either that, or the serenade --> proposal that we say at
Times Square. 

Capturing the view from the (almost) Top of the Rock

Candace and Grace getting oriented at the
Top of the Rock

Grand Central Station.
Best ceiling in the city. 

The World Trade Center Memorial on Sunday morning was a somber and wonderful experience.
Candace's visit was the perfect excuse to play tourist for a weekend. I saw things that I had yet to see and showed of some of my old favorites. Twas lovely :)

The only things we missed? A New York slice of pizza and Central Park. Gotta save something for next time, though.


I just joined Pinterest. If you are unfamiliar with Pinterest, it is a website that is based on the idea of a push pin board, where you can post pictures of things and look at other people's boards. It is a great space to share ideas with like minded people. I like it especially for DIY projects, interior design inspiration and recipes. The best is seeing something and then actually bringing it to life.

While I was sick, I saw this awesome library:

And while I don't have sexy built in, dark wood shelves, I do now have my own color coded bookshelf:

My friends Ariel and Ben made a phenomenal dinner last night and topped it off with dessert that Ariel found on Pinterest. A chocolate chip cookie impregnated with an Oreo!  It was SO good. The Oreo got soft and puffy and became one with the chocolate chip cookie.

Pinterest version

Ariel's version!

Good company + good food + laughing = the best

I also saw this while perusing the travel section. Bridge of the Immortals in China. Might have to go check it out ;)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Yoga Party

Clare has been teaching yoga for almost a year now and I finally got to take her class. She has led mini yoga sessions when we get together for family things, but last night I got to see her in her element. It was perfect.

I went to her 8:00 candle lit Hot Power Fusion class at Core Power Yoga on S. Colorado Blvd (go if you are a Denverite!). We had gone to breweries in Fort Collins earlier in the day and despite trying to rehydrate throughout the evening, I was sluggish and lacking motivation to do anything that takes effort.

Flight of saisons at Funkwerks. Maybe not the best choice
before hot yoga, but there are only so many hours in the day!

In teaching, we often talk about meeting students where they are and then building from there, which is exactly what Clare did. It was a crazy, windy, Wednesday and people were coming from their busy workday. 45 people to be exact. The class was packed with people jonesing for their daily dose of Clare. She greeted the class, acknowledged that we were all feeling a little "on edge" and started a slow, methodical class. The beginning of the class is a familiar sequence of hot yoga poses, and the familiarity was a great way to start.

As the heat in the room built, so did the music and before long we were moving through a Warrior 2 sequence to La Roux. Everyone had officially ditched their day and was now in a fun, sweaty, almost dance party space. Needless to say, class wasn't your typical (boring) meditative class. It was a workout. It was hard. It was loud. And it was satisfying. It was a yoga party :) And the icing on the cake was the mini back massage I got while flopped on my stomach during the lotus series.

We ended in savasana with Radiohead's All I Need and relished the satisfaction of making it through a challenging class. People were all smiles, thanks and namaste as they went back out into the world. And that's really the point of a yoga class, isn't it?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mid winter

Wow. It is so much easier to write about school when I'm on vacation. I just took a hot yoga class at Core Power Yoga and am drinking a cup of super smoky tea in a coffee shop in Denver. Slippery People, by the Talking Heads is playing and the sun is out. Life is good.

We have been in school for 103 days. To celebrate the 100th day of school, my class created a model of the Empire State Building using 100 milk cartons. Though it is not to scale, it was fun to make. In the process, I might have held up my coteacher at hot glue gun-point. Inappropriate? Probably. The kids won't tell though.

Check out the muscles on LeBron.
Muscles, not warts. 

For those of you who don't remember, February is Black History Month. We have been discussing people who inspire us, black leaders, the civil rights movement and the way that the work done by those who came before us have made things possible that we often take for granted. One way that we did this is by creating a time line and looking at the different time periods, the job opportunities, and educational opportunities available for different races and genders.

<3 colored duct tape

"Everyone got an education, they just got it different ways. Like Harriet Tubman had to get hers in secret, and Rosa Parks got hers in a school just for black kids and Michelle Obama got to go to any school she wanted." -student

By starting with the question "Who inspires us?" we worked backward to look at what had to be in place for their success. When we started the unit, my students were not understanding that Beyonce was significant beyond being a superstar with a great voice and great style. She is bagillionaire, a world traveler, a household name and there was a time when her fame and success would not have been possible.

Ben Carson separates conjoined twins. The student
who wrote about him is a twin. The match was perfect.
On a different assignment she wrote, "I want to be a
doctor like Benjamin Carson." YES. It worked!

"Ms. Morrison and Ms. Anderson couldn't work together if they didn't stop the segregation. I am so very glad and proud that ended because if it didn't happen, I couldn't have the most wonderful teachers in the world. I hate segregation." -excerpt from kid's writing notebook :)

They got it. It took awhile, but connections were made. Over the course of the unit, the "people who inspire us" moved from those who simply have fame (Lil' Wayne) to those who have overcome obstacles and have had to work hard for their success (Michelle Obama, Ben Carson). Valuing and admiring hard work. I suppose that is one thing that I attempt to teach my kids ALL YEAR LONG.

Of course, there were some misunderstandings that needed to be cleared up along the way:
"Thurgood Marshall was an NAACP Chef Lawyer." 

Leaving out that "i" makes quite a difference ;)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Shit bitch you is fine

Once again, this super romantic couple was sick on Valentine's Day. No kissy kissy smoochie smoochie. Just a TON of Russell Stovers from my students and two mid week sick days. I do wish I got a teddy bear holding a red plush heart, though. Not just any teddy bear. I want a gigantic shit bitch bear.
See below:

God Bless the Lower East Side. Shit Bitch Bears are displayed on Clinton Street, nestled between some fancy bottled hibiscus water store and a spanish dry cleaners.

P.S. Zach, I don't think your love is lame. I'm quite fond of it :)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Zach gave me a Kindle for Christmas. I love it now. I did not at first. At first, I was confused.  Upon opening the box, my reaction was something like, OH! oh. Ohh? Hm. So many mixed emotions. Did this mean the death of books? Was I crossing over to the dark side? Zach explained that it would be awesome for traveling because it is small, lightweight, and I'd always have something to read. That makes sense, but I was still wary of this little machine, this little destroyer of the publishing world.

Turns out, I love it and not in the fake, I love this sweater set you got me for Christmas because you're watching my reaction sort of way. I have come to love it. I wouldn't say that I am an ebook convert because I have not abandoned books, but now have another reading option. I love the dictionary function and not having to take out my phone while reading to look up a word (can you imagine lugging an actual dictionary around?). You just tap the word and it tells you. Genius. I love that you can have a new book within seconds.

I hate that you can so easily spend money (la di da, just pushing some buttons on my kindle, forgetting that this is hooked to my bank account, do de do). I have to figure out the whole lending part of it.

I love the kindle when I have an awesome book on it. I don't love it when I have an okay book on it or a boring newspaper article on it. Makes sense right? I suppose that is exactly how one feels about whatever reading material is in one's hands.

Recent books I've enjoyed:
*Molokai by Alan Brennert (heart wrenching)
*A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson (hilarious)
*All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy (gripping)

Recent books I have not enjoyed:
*Walden by Thoreau (too preachy, sorry T)
*The Fallback Plan by Leigh Stein (couldn't stomach the narrator)

Reading To Do list:
*The World According to Garp
*A Visit From the Goon Squad

I'm also looking for a good biography and adventure/travel writing (in the vein of Bryson or Krakauer, but not actually either one of them). Any suggestions?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Chapter 28

On 8/1 Zach and I are packing our backpacks and heading to New Zealand to try some new things. Experience another way of living. Shake up the comfort zone. We haven't decided how long we will be gone, but we anticipate it being somewhere in the 1-2 year range. 

We fly into Auckland, which is on the North Island of New Zealand, and are going to start off by working on a farm outside of Auckland. Many farms in New Zealand rely on WWOOFers, or people working in exchange for room and board, so there are many opportunities for this kind of work. This would allow us to go hike, explore, or work part time jobs while traveling from farm to farm down to the fjordland at the southern tip.

We are only planning our first step, which is both intentional and a little nerve wracking. The calendar in my phone is filling up with dinners, races and weddings right up until 8/1. Then it is completely empty for the rest of the year. The point of only planning the first step is that there is only so much we can know from our apartment here in NYC. We aren't going for two weeks to see the sights, but going to slowly, deeply, get to experience different cultures. 

No guide book will tell you how much fun it is to bike over the Williamsburg bridge on a sunny day, that it is hard not to people watch while flying down the descent, that the graffiti changes  seasonally, or that the drunk bum with the boom box on the south side is harmless, despite looking kind of scary. I will though.  And if you visit me, we can go for a run over the bridge and you can experience it for yourself.  I'll show you everything I love about my city so that you, too can fall in love with it.That's what I want to find in New Zealand. People's favorite places and favorite things. Except I hope the bridge is made out of vines and suspended between two mountains and maybe instead of a drunk bum, there is a hobbit.

We are toying with the idea of hiking the country top to bottom, camping in fjordland, visiting some of the remote islands of the south pacific, and possibly indonesia or thailand.  But all that will come once we are there. Our travels and decisions will be knot together by a few golden threads: live simply and frugallybe open to unexpected opportunities and trying new things and enter into each step with a sense of adventure. And be safe (obvi).

There are tons of logistics to be taken care of before we go (Employers, insurance, apartment, Harriet **let me know if you want the most lovable furball in the world while we are away. will be eternally grateful**, visas, doctors, cell phones, packing), but we are slowly but surely tackling them. Zach and I are both leaving our jobs here in NYC. We will start with manual labor, which will always be an option (thank god for being able bodied!) but may find our way into other types of work.

We have been talking about our plan over the past year and have been put in touch with some great contacts and stumbled up on awesome travel blogs (check out Backpacking Matt). Thanks friends for passing on tips :) We will both be writing about our adventures and challenges abroad on a new blog, but I'll be keeping in touch right here until 8/1.