Monday, March 26, 2012

Red Hook Criterium

The adventure begins here. Or maybe it continues. 
The adventure resumes. 
I took a break from going out and exploring. 
I forgot that I like that.
But now I'm back :)

I haven't been out exploring NYC much recently. I've been thinking about adventure as our big trip and almost forgot that I LOVE New York because there is so much opportunity for adventure right here. This past weekend I ventured to Red Hook, Brooklyn to watch Cuse hoops and the Brooklyn Criterium. Zach had told me about the Criterium a few days before and explained it as a night bike race on a super short loop, where the cyclists have to do tons of laps and make really tight turns. That is exactly what it is. It is an unsanctioned bike race that was started 7 years ago by bike messengers in BK. 

I've only been to Red Hook once before and I had never attended a bike race before, so I was PUMPED for this endeavor. As soon as I got off the F train at Carroll Street, I felt the adrenaline. I had no idea what the evening held, but every time I saw a bike, I smiled a little more. Passerby may have been creeped out, but that is ok. 

sights for seein

oh hello, keith haring. fancy meeting you here. 

Since the two (bball and bikes) could have potentially overlapped, there was no time for commuting. I looked up a bar right next to where the race was to take place. Red Hook Bait & Tackle was perfect. Deer heads mounted on the wall. Friendly bartenders. Delicious, local brews (Kelso IPA Mmm). Live music. 

The only downside was that they only served potato chips. Not a big deal except the only  two chip flavors they had were sour cream and onion and salt and vinegar. Hate them both. 

I asked the fiddle player what the difference was between a fiddle and a violin. She said a fiddle has strangs and a violin has strings. She plays a fiddle. I think we could be friends. 

I would have liked to hear her fiddle and her friend's harmonica, but the racing hour had come. Two blocks toward the water, right at the entrance to a dock like area, people had gathered with their cow bells and cameras. The Red Hook Criterium began the moment I got there. Gosh, I love when things work out. 

Clinton Wharf at Pioneer Street, Red Hook BK

A guy wiped out on the first lap and just lay on the ground while race folk 
cleared away his gear. 
Can't imagine that felt good. For the ego or the body.

Stadium seating. People were on the top by the end of the race.
 The cyclists did 24 laps. One guy, Dan from Williamsburg, whooped everyone else by a long shot. He pulled out in front in the fourth lap and held the lead while the pack drafted at least 30 seconds behind him. Every time someone got lapped by speed racer Dan, they were out. Check out the video. It came out better than most of the pictures and captures the energy pretty well. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Head and The Heart

Hit Play. Then read. It'll be like a little soundtrack. 

Zach and I went to see The Head and The Heart at Terminal 5 last week. Twas a Sunday evening show and had us out till after midnight, and was worth every minute of it. They put on a great show and have an infectious energy and gratefulness about them.  It felt as if we were at a gigantic backyard show at a friend's house who we haven't seen in awhile. And as if the hosts were genuinely happy that everyone came over to their house. The paper lanterns and trees on their set may have helped create that vibe. Or when they had both of their opening bands join them onstage for an everybody all together now rendition of Lost in My Mind. 

Terminal 5


They also played a few new songs, which I am really excited to listen to again. From what I remember, less folky, but similar sound. Until next time, guys! Thanks for swinging by!

Jello Shots

a zesty lemon 
packs a dinner party punch. 
slurp. gulp. jello shots!

Vodka + Pink Lemonade + Gelatin = Jello for grown ups


Scoop out. 


Sprinkle with sugar and slurp 'em down!

These were a huge hit at dinner a few weeks ago! They're a bit of college nostalgia, some kitchen craftiness, and excellent entertainment. The recipe, from Baked Bree, one of my favorite food blogs, was super easy. I may try out the margarita version for Cinco de Mayo. Or for any other day de Mayo.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


April is poetry month, but we are getting a head start on figurative language. I taught alliteration last week, which some kids got right away:

Kid 1: The kitten karate kicked the Kool Aid man in the kitchen.
Kid 2: Monsters make meatloaf on Mondays.
Kid 3: My sister was surprised since she never saw a singing shark. 
Kid 4: I threw a pizza in my brother's face.

Like I said, some kids struggled. 

Here is one of my favorite examples. By a favorite student. Teachers have favorites. Just in case you were wondering. 
A stranger stepped on a sandwich. Someone slurped it up. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Don't just leave. Do you know how hard it is to get back into teaching? -teacher friend upon hearing news of our planned travels. Ugh. (See anxious face from chart above)

I'm pumped for our trip, but there are times here and there that I question what we are doing. Usually when someone does this:

risk = bad, don't do it. 

I know there is a chance that I won't come back and be able to find a teaching position. But, there is also a chance that I won't want to. Or that I will find one better than the one I have now. I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. This trip is the first significant change I've had since moving to New York. I've been teaching for five years and most other changes (grad school, moves, additional jobs) were those made for the sake of security. It is scary to do something that is for the sake of anything else. For adventure. For discovering. For learning. (See happy face from above chart)

The feeling called HOLY SHIT THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING (not listed on any feelings chart I've seen) has two faces- the kind of nervous face and the jump for joy face. What helps ease the nerves is a good solid evening of planning. And looking at pictures on the internet. Zach and I have been talking about the trip for going on a year and over the last year, people have forwarded many tid bits, emails, contacts and websites about traveling and New Zealand. Last weekend, we finally took some time to sort through some of the information and started getting a handle on the to do list. (See confident face from above chart)

(c) Ignjat Reljic Djuric
Pretty awesome illustration!
We plotted some farms on a map to get a general sense of where we are going once we arrive. Upon arriving in  Auckland, we plan to buy a camper van from an auction or backpacker on their way out, and head north to an Avocado farm. A camper van would provide us with a home base, freedom to travel wherever we want, and a place to sleep. The blog, Backpacking Matt, has been an awesome resource for what to do to make our trip happen. H actually has a post called How to Buy a Camper Van in New Zealand. Yes, that is exactly what I am looking for, thank you Matt. (Hey ma, he gives insurance recs, too!) I checked one message board to get a sense of these camper vans and stumbled across this post, the excitement for which took the place of any qualms that had bubbled to the surface.

After 8 months of travelling it's now time to sell our beloved toyota deliboy. this economic and reliable van brought us to all the magnificent places of the north & south island. he's probably the only one in new zealand! this is your chance to buy a unique car!

the facts:
-1989 toyota deliboy
-only 231000 km (!)
- wof till 15.8.2012
- reg. till 22.5.2012
- economic on petrol: 10l/100km
- manual transmission
- engine in good condition
- new battery, exhaust and tyres
- comes with vtnz roadside assistance (!!!)

fully equipped
- comfy as a bed for two, duvet, sheets, pillows
- carpet on the walls, no humidity anymore
- 2 chairs, table
- chilly bin with 3 cool elements
- 2 60l storage boxes + a few smaller ones
- mugs, pots, pans, plates & cutlery
- 3 kg gas cylinder (lasts 3-4 months) and 2 small gas stoves as well
- roadmaps & campsite brochures
- pioneer car stereo & ipod/mp3 transmitter
- tools

looking for a job? we can offer that as well. work for a carnival and sleep in your new van! $4000 or nearest offer