Friday, November 30, 2007

A Big Day

Today is a big day.

It's the last day of NaBloPoMo. With this post, I have blogged every day this month. Whoohoo! It's become obvious that I will work for the extrinsic reward of a possible prize.

Writing for its own sake... not so much.

Maybe if there is Ribena at the grocery store in Dublin and a young Irish lassie promised to bring a big jug to New York if she comes to visit, maybe I would keep posting for that.

Will post for bribes.

It's also a big day because I just found out that a photograph I took of a seaside village on an island in Greece is going to be published in a book on Mediterranean islands. Hurray for a ferry stop at a tiny little island that most people don't take pictures of! Hurray for photo researchers doing searches of Flickr accounts! Hurray for labeling photos with place names!

Lastly, it's a big day because today 27 months after the storm, repairs on the inside of my parent's house will be completed. There will still be a storage pod on the lawn, a full set of 30 year old kitchen cabinets on the front porch, no landscaping, and no garage/driveway/ sidewalk. But the inside will be done.


Thursday, November 29, 2007

Finding Found

Last night my roommate April brought out an anthology of Found Magazine. There's great stuff to be found out in the world. I kind of wish I had held on to this to send in.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Feels like Day 28,000

Well. The paper... not done. The professor, not pleased.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Phoning it in.

I have made peace with the fact that the paper I have to turn in tomorrow will be crap.

Low expectations. That will make it easier to get to sleep tonight.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Naming Rights

Today, one of the girls at school wanted to name a roach after me.

We have hissing cockroaches in an aquarium in our classroom, three adults, and unknown number of babies. Today the teacher took the biggest adult roach out of the aquarium, held it up, and had it "announce" homework assignments for the day. Some of the students were repulsed, others were fascinated. The teacher let some of the students touch the roach and a few brave ones held it. The roach has a name, but I don't remember what is is.

There was a group of students near me (and the roach aquarium) who also wanted to touch a roach. I picked up one of the roaches from the aquarium and encouraged some of the kids to touch or hold it. I felt like I was back at work at the zoo, picking up roaches and talking about them. Where do you put that on your resume?

The teacher informed us that the roach I had taken out of the aquarium remains unnamed. A girl who had been holding it in her hand suggested that we name it Jenny. I said I wasn't sure how I felt about that.

"What's bad about naming a roach after you? I would be happy."

Maybe we should name the roach after her instead.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


How much time can one spend constantly working and still not get anything of substance done?

I'm at the three day mark.

20 out of 26 items on the Thanksgiving Vacation To-Do List have been knocked out. But I still haven't written one word of a massive child study research paper.

I have, however, learned how to make KICK-ASS photo transparencies to use on an overhead projector.

Sometime I have to start looking through books about qualitative assessment and cognitive theory that are piled on the floor next to the opium bed. I also need to start digging through the 100+ pages of data I've collected, and qualitatively assess it all. "Sometime" needs to happen between now and Wednesday at 7 pm.


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Me eyes, me eyes

(In a pirate voice) "Me eyes. Me eyes!"

They are tired of looking at the computer. I've been typing and researching all day. I made one trip out of the apartment after dark to go buy office supplies.

My reward for getting work done was supposed to be watching a movie. The eyes won't have that. Argh. Is there any chocolate in the house?

Friday, November 23, 2007

12 of 246

Last night at Thanksgiving dinner I took a couple of photos. One was of Dan, his dad, and his brother showing off their mustaches. It turned out blurry, which is sad. Another photo captured an ephemeral portrait Dan made of his father via his nephew's Fischer-Price sketch pad. The nephew thought it was a drawing of Uncle Dan. With the mustaches, there is a great resemblance between father and son.

I took 246 photographs this afternoon.

Today's photographs were all botanical. Leaves and berries and tree trunks showing off their autumnal glory. I've missed going to Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. I tried to make up for my long absence by reveling in both today.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

It's not easy being green

Kermit is tied down with nets and sandbags to prevent him from breaking free and taking on Manhattan.

Roomates Nerb, April, and I took the subway up to the Museum of Natural History last night and mixed into the large crowd of people strolling past the inflated Macy's Day Parade balloons.

One of our favorites was Mr. Potatohead.

Nerb liked Scooby Doo.

I was quite excited to see Kitty Chan.

The carrot orzo is cooked. Dan and Sharon are coming by in a bit to drive over to the big family Thanksgiving event. Dan said there will be small nephews to run around with and strong possibilities of mud.

There's so much to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Macy's Parade Eve

The international roadtrip is not happening. It has not been happening for a couple of weeks, I just forgot to mention that here.

Tonight I'm headed with at least one roomie, maybe two, to the streets near the Museum of Natural History and we're going to visit the Macy's Parade balloons.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I'm spending it with my friend Dan's family. A Brooklyn Thanksgiving with vegetable lasagna and carrot orzo.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


I have so much work to do and I'm dragging my feet about getting it done. I do best in the mornings and lately my free time to get things done has been in the evenings and that's just no good. No good at all. Not enough concentration juice left in the brain by the evening.

Lately I've been noticing that I have almost no short term memory retention. I draw a blank whenever anyone asks what I did the day before. I'm not really sure. Or the week or weekend before? If I didn't write it down, I have absolutely no idea.

Packing my bag in the morning for going to work or school has been disastrous lately. It takes me 15 minutes because by the time I walk to the kitchen or back to my room to get what I needed, I have no idea what I am looking for. This can happen 5 or 6 times before an item makes it into my bag. I need an hour and a half to get ready to leave the house in the morning.

I think this memory problem also makes me a very boring conversational companion. I might be telling the same stories over and over again to people who don't want to hear them. I don't know because I can't remember who I've talked to about what. Just tell me to shut my pie hole if I do it to you.

Today I misplaced my little notebook that has all my lists that keep me reminded of what I am supposed to be doing. Bad. Very bad.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Close Call

The beauty of having clocks all telling slightly different times is that even though it may be midnight in the kitchen, in my bedroom on the internets, it's just 11:59.

So close, SO CLOSE to missing the posting for November 18th.

I'm getting a jump start on the 19th.

What was I doing that kept me from remembering to post?

Laundry in the morning. On the way to the laundry mat, Nerb and I passed by our famous neighbors' brownstone. There was a box of free books outside for people to take, a common occurrence in our neighborhood. Usually the books people leave out on their stoops are not so great. Today we decided we needed one. Thanks Maggie and Peter.

Four hours of karaoke in the afternoon made my brain a little squishy. Tinkerbell brought along her co-worker, Jake, and he has the best karaoke singing voice I've ever heard. Wow. Wanting to listen to him sing more songs helped stretch the afternoon into a singing marathon.

On the way home I bought a snazzy pair of knee-high boots. A shoplifter was caught while I was in the store and her screaming and cursing created quite a ruckus.

I returned to my apartment, graded 25 essays, and rewrote my resume so that I can submit it for an internship at a photography museum this spring. The resume and cover letter took up most of the night.

And then I was talking in the kitchen to Ms. Nola. While I was with her I looked up at the clock, screamed, and ran for the computer. She thought something was on fire by the way I ran out of the room.

My blog was on fire! Code red. Code red.

Almost missed the deadline. 11 more days to go.

Did I make it?

Saturday, November 17, 2007


I felt much better this morning after a full night of sleep.

Today I had a great time today with the kids. We talked about trees. Trees and leaves. And then we raked leaves from underneath trees. Jumped in leaves. Threw leaves. It's all fun and games until someone gets leaves in his/her hair. In the end, all was forgiven and peace was made.

After our day was over, I decided to walk the park, zig-zagging east to west and west to east the whole way down.

I saw a lot of the park I'd never seen before. Like the reservoir. I realize that I have favorite trails that I always walk down and parts of the park that I particularly like to visit. Today I avoided all the parts I know I like and saw a lot of new areas, like the pinetum. I'd never even heard of the pinetum. But there it was, full of pines. And a special playground, the pintum playground. Not one of the more well-known areas of the park.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Busting out the Fuzzy Socks

I am not feeling so good. I've been cold for a couple of days now and my skin hurts. I thought that I had a fever but my temperature is below normal. I don't know what this means.

The plan is to make something hot for dinner, bundle up in something warm, and put on fuzzy socks. That's it. Then it's bed time. Another exciting Friday night in New York.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


It's the fifteenth of the month and this is the fifteenth post. We're halfway through the month of November. It actually hasn't been too hard to do. Nothing like the hopes of winning a prize to get one blogging everyday, rain or shine.

Today was a gloomy grey day, but the leaves are suddenly bursting into a color so it was beautiful anyway. Saturday's science program is all about looking at trees and the timing of the fall colors is perfectly matching up with our curriculum. Whoohoo!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Mr. Q

Tonight I looked forward to switching trains at Times Square. I got out of class on time and was waiting for the Q train on the platform a little before 9:30. That's usually when he arrives and I hoped I would see him. It's been a few months.

The Q train pulled in and there he was. My favorite conductor. I don't know his name, but he has a wonderful voice and he always cheerfully announces all the stops and possible transfers along the route. He's what every subway conductor should be. Polite, helpful, and easy to understand.

He also looks and sounds just like one of my favorite children's book authors, Daniel Pinkwater. Somehow it wouldn't surprise me if Daniel Pinkwater was a subway conductor. I can imagine that the author of Lizard Music, The Hoboken Chicken Incident, and The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death would probably be up for riding the rails at night.

Once, over the summer I was on his train and his voice coming over the PA system sounded tired and down. I was riding in the car with his little booth tucked into the corner. When I got out at my stop, I went over to his window and told him he had the greatest voice. He perked up, "No one's told me that in years."

I love him.

If I knew his name I'd write a letter to the MTA and try to nominate him for some kind of outstanding conductor award. It may seem like a small thing, but most of the conductors come on the PA to scold riders and scream as if we are naughty children, "Stop holding the doors! I'm not moving this train until you let go!" It's great to have someone who is professional and kind. Especially at the end of a 14 hour day.

Mr. Q. Train Man, you've got a huge fan.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


I was thinking how nice it would be to lay down my head on the opium bed mattress and go to sleep. And then I remembered that I hadn't blogged.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Trying to Go Home

I'm working on a plane ticket home for Christmas. Still working on it. Tried to get a seat today but needed a international student card number to get it and I don't have one. Will get that tomorrow. Hopefully there will be a seat left on the cheap plane tomorrow.

What it boils down to is that I could use a free round-trip voucher I got for being bumped this summer IF I could fly home on December 19th. I have class on that night. Last class of the semester. And it's an important one where we present our findings on the projects we've been researching all semester.

Since I can't fly on the 19th I have the choice to either pay several hundred dollars to go home or wait until after Christmas.

Grad school is killing me.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

2 for 1

Help the United Nations World Food Program and build your English vocabulary at the same time.

(Thanks Alice)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Nobody Wins a Fight

This morning a boy, whose behavior makes me feel like a bus has hit me nearly every week, was calm. I wondered how long it would be before he cranked himself up and I wanted to go jump off a cliff.

He walked over to the snack table where I was standing, looked up at me, broke into a smile, spread his arms wide and ran at me to give me the greatest bear hug. My heart grew two sizes.

Whatever the test was, we passed. He's not fighting us any more. And it was such a lovely day, even when he was threatening to beat up one of the other kids who got his jeans dirty. Nobody got punched. There was no real fight.

The the end of the day when we had our wrap-up circle, all of the kids were sharing something that they learned during the day. We had spent several hours out birding in the park and a lot of them shared new bird-related tidbits of knowledge. After going around the circle, one boy waved his hand up and down, wanting to share one more thing. "I learned that in a fight, nobody wins."

I agree whole-heartedly.

Last week, fighting. Nobody won. This week, no fighting. Everybody won.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Three Days

It's a long weekend. I'm feeling pretty happy about that. Time for sleeping. Time for writing papers. Time for reading. At least that's how it feels on Friday evening after work with the whole weekend stretching into the future. It definitely won't feel like this by Monday night when all the deadlines are loudly ticking down.

OH CRAP. I just realized that I have to go to a performance Monday night that I'm not particularly excited about. Not a problem except maybe I won't get home in time to see Heroes. Despite the fact that my roommate Nerb and I are both disappointed with Heroes so far this season, there is always hope that next week will be better. We throw around threats every time the plot logic starts falling apart. "I might not watch next week. Really. I mean it." I guess on my end, it's all just talk. I'm still watching.

Stupid free performance, interfering with our Heroes Monday night ritual.

School was interesting today. I'm starting to get into a groove with the 7th graders. There is only one so far that hates me. He likes to whomp other kids on their heads with books, pencils, his fists... whatever is handy. He's a bit of a bully. I see him and let him know that he is seen. He doesn't like that and gives me hate faces. That's our co-existence. I'd like to change his behavior between now and mid-January. Fun times for him and me are coming.

Before September, I used to go to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden about once a week. Sometimes I went more often, 2 to 3 times in a week when the garden was in a dramatic stage of transition. I don't think I've been to the garden more than once since August. Maybe, If I'm good this weekend and get a lot of work done tonight and tomorrow after teaching, I can go to the garden on Sunday and wander around for a bit. As a reward.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Time for another 20 minute viewing

Today wore me out. It's the second day I've been with the seventh graders and I still don't know half of their names. Knowing someone's name gives you a degree of power. I was at half power today. Tomorrow's goal is to learn the rest of the names. Full power and speed ahead.

Tonight I'm on strike against homework. No homework. No studying. No reading.

I'm going to try to finish watching a movie I got through Netflix. I watched the first twenty minutes sometime last month. Maybe I can get through another 20 minutes before I doze off. It's a good movie... I have two other films from Netflix that arrived back at the end of August and I still haven't touched them.

In light of this time lag, my monthly rental plan is starting to look expensive. I could have bought a new DVD of each of these movies for what I pay to have them sit collecting dust on the top of my dresser.

Oh well.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Turkey Day

An international road trip is in the works. My roommate April and I are looking for trouble.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Back to modesty

Thanks to windy weather the past few days, the tree that screens my window from the view of the other apartments on the block has lost most of its leaves. It was a luxury to not have to pull down the curtain after dark.

Although my room is tiny, it can be inconvenient to get to the window to pull down the shade. Sometimes there is no empty floor space in which to place a foot. It's also been nice to not feel on display in the kitchen since the leafy trees in the backyard have shielded us from neighbors' eyes. With each leaf that falls, we become more exposed.

I remember feeling like waving out the window as I ate dinners alone last winter. It always felt like someone was watching. One of my early purchases after first moving into this apartment was a blind for that window.

Is it really going to be another six months before the trees are green again? Uggghhh. I don't know if I can survive the urban landscape for that long.

Time to buy some more houseplants.

Monday, November 05, 2007

This is Dedication

I'm locked out of my home and without a phone. Sitting in a coffeeshop a couple of blocks away. Making sure there's a post for today. I home one of my roommates comes home...

Sunday, November 04, 2007


It was a delicious extra hour this morning. One more hour to sleep in the opium bed.

My new bed was comfortable to begin with. And then I got a memory foam mattress pad to put on top of it. That made the bed criminally comfortable. It would be so easy to lie in bed all day long. Everyday. It's like a drug, the opium bed. Once you start, you can't stop.

It's lulling me to sleep now, but I've still got lots of work to do...

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Catch the Madness

Dead Tired

I feel like I've been hit by a bus.

There's a boy I work with, who, admittedly, has his charms, but he is so disruptive and makes me so tired that after we finish for the day, I just want to lay down on the floor of the dirty subway car and curl up in a little ball for the long ride back to Brooklyn. It will take me until tomorrow to recover. I know this from past weeks.

Yesterday, our class photography exhibition went so well. The students enjoyed seeing each other's portraits and adults from throughout the school stopped by to join in the celebration. It made the students in our class feel important and cared about.

I held off on crying until the end, when the kids gave me the present of a surprise series of appreciations. One in particular choked me up, a favorite student who started off struggling and now makes such efforts. His thank you went deep, looking me in the eye and communicating, without needing to put it all into words, that it wasn't just the help with classwork that he appreciated. It was a thank you for letting him know he's a good kid, and a smart kid. Things he hasn't heard enough of in his life.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Leaving the 6th grade

It was our last day together and I cried.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Short and Sweet

Today's the first day of NaBloPoMo.

I'm going to try really, really hard to post every day this month. Some days it might not end up being more than a sentence.

Tomorrow is my last day of student teaching in the sixth grade classroom where I've been working the last couple of months. I love them. I can't believe tomorrow is the last day. I'm probably going to cry, which sucks. Getting teary-eyed in front of middle-schoolers is a bad move. It disturbs the illusion of authority and togetherness.

I begged my college to be allowed to stay at the same school for my next student teaching placement. It worked out, much to my relief. I'll still get to see my kids in the hallway and sometimes at recess and lunch. Tomorrow we're having a big celebration and exhibition for a self-portrait photo project we've been working on for six weeks. I should be preparing for that instead of blogging about it...