30 November 2012

Taking work home

Long week.  I know all weeks are 7 days, but this one seemed longer.  It is only one of maybe 3 full 5 day work weeks we have had at school with all of the government and Jewish holidays and with the hurricane/storm.

It was such a long week that when I was on the subway on the way home after Staples this evening, it took everything in me to not go all teacher on the loud annoying teenagers on the train.

November Photos - Week 4

November Photo-a-Day prompts taken from Fat Mum Slim.

November 21 - What you wore
21. I love rings.  I don't have enough of them.  this one is a favorite because it is kind of juvenile, kind of hippy-ish, kind of cute.  And the band is some type of elastic, so even if my fingers swell, it still fits comfortably.

November 22 - Grateful
22. I'm grateful to have not bought the 2 pieces of Reese's that add up to a pound.  Have any of you seen these??? They were massive.  I was in line and their were people behind me otherwise I would have gotten a better picture so you could see just how big they are.  Behind them is a new Snickers container that is so big it is called Slice n' Share.  One inch is a serving of that massive Snickers you are supposed to cut up, but I'm sure people eat on their own.  The Reese's - 1/6 of the package is one serving.  Good luck keeping your portions correct with these snacks!

November 23 - Black
23. These tights are so far from the normal black tights most women wear that I had to secretly photograph the girl wearing them as I stood waiting for the subway.

November 24 - Sound heard
24. I taught my adorable nephew to clap.  It is always amazing to me to see how hard simple things are for a small child to do.  Eventually he caught on.  His claps sound more like golf claps, but they are cute - as is his little laugh and his smile and his cute eyebrows that naturally look like the best threading job ever.  Good time spent with family and friends for Thanksgiving.  Very relaxing and very fun!

November 25 - Sky
25. It was great being home for the holiday, but also felt great to land back in NYC.  I was welcomed by this sign and the Queens (?) sky in the background.  Took a pre-sunrise flight from StL - don't think I will ever book a flight at that time again.  Got off the plane, took a two hour nap and then got back to work and to grocery shopping.

29 November 2012

StL friend in NYC

This afternoon after school I received a text from a coach from my last school.  He was my assistant coach and is a great guy who helped me find some joy each day even if it was through a dirty joke or a friendly jab at me.

His wife works for a company that has her travel occasionally for work and she is in NYC.  He took two personal days off school and is in town for today and through the weekend.

Of course, I had to meet up with him for at least a bit.

We met for drinks close to his hotel by Columbus Circle - an area I have been to a couple times to see the massive statue in the mall, but not really to do much else.

We found a hole in the wall, yet still kind of ritzy bar, and had a couple drinks and chatted it up.

Like me, he has made last season his last year of coaching.  Said my leaving made it even easier for him to walk away.

We caught up on him, his family, his neighborhood, the school where he works, the school where I work, and his views of NYC and where he was going to go while here with his wife working all day tomorrow.

It was so nice to see a familiar, friendly, face.  And to be corny and just catch up.

Good times.

Now, I need to catch up with all the other people I have been meaning to meet up with since I have been in The City.

28 November 2012

Semi-wordless Wednesday - AM travel

Here is the view of Manhattan from the back of my BK-bound cab.  You can see the new WTC building - hint, it's the really tall one.

I had to take a $20 cab this morning since the train I normally take was backed up due to a stall at some other stop.  I waited about 25 minutes hoping it might arrive.  Then I walked to a different train line hoping that would work out; waited there for another 5 minutes before deciding to just cab it.

Money well spent that could have been spent on a lot of other things that I could actually use.

27 November 2012

While I was sleeping

Today when my alarm went off, I stayed in bed for about 10 extra minutes.  I was so tired that I had three oh, so realistic dreams that led me to believe that I was out of bed.

I dreamt that I was awake, brushing my teeth, showering.

Then I woke up and decided I needed to get up.  But I was still too tired.

I fell back asleep and dreamt that I was walking around the room trying to keep the wooden floor beams from squeaking as I went to the bathroom to get ready for work.

I woke up and told myself that I really needed to get up.

Instead, I had another dream that I was showering and getting my hair ready and putting on my coat to leave.

At that point, I made myself get up because the dreams were so real that I really thought I was doing these things.  I was afraid the next dream would be me at work and I would wake up at 8 still in the bed.

26 November 2012

Gift 10+ years in the making

I am an admitted cheapskate.

Well, not exactly cheap, but I don't buy a lot of things on a whim.

It usually takes me a few days, sometimes a week or more, to determine if I really want to buy something.  Even then, I will buy it, and leave the tags on for a few days so I can decide if I really want the item.  Sometimes, it sits in the bag for a week before I am finally sure that it is a keeper.

I have gotten a bit better.  I recently bought a new coat and wore it two days after buying it since it was so cold.

Tomorrow, I am going to do the unthinkable.

I am going to use the backpack I just bought today.

It is the most awesome backpack ever.  It has so many internal pockets that I almost started drooling as the worker was showing me the bag in the Union Square Paragon Sports store.  It is just the coolest ugly shade of mustard and charcoal gray.  And it is really large - can hold up to 41L and even comes with a dedicated tablet pocket. (I guess I need to buy a tablet.)

It is going to be perfect for work, for grocery shopping, and as a carry on bag for travel.  I wanted a Timbuktu bag since those are super durable, but settled for the ubiquitous, and still durable, North Face bag.  The color helps it be different from others' - hopefully.  And the bag is awesome!!

My parents gave me money over the Thanksgiving weekend as an early birthday present since I won't see them again before the birthday and they will be out of the country in December.

I decided to use the money to get something useful.  My previous backpack has been in use for over a decade... since I was an undergrad.  The handles were worn and the insides were so worn that the rubber(?) inside continually flakes onto whatever is inside.  I'm hoping this bag lasts at least 10 years.

The worst part of the old bag is that it is not water resistant or proof.  During the snow a couple weeks ago, all the graded papers I had were moistened by the rain.  I worried for my laptop as well.  I never worried about my bag getting wet when I was just a driver who was in the wet for less than a minute at a time, but as a walking commuter in the rain for who knows how long each depending on where I am going, I need my bag to be protected.

The new bag is water resistant.

It is a gift to me and a gift to my students so they don't get back graded work with water marks in the future.

25 November 2012

Look, I'm complaining

This year, I have been trying not to complain, and because of that, almost didn't follow Jana's prompt today, but I am complaining anyway.

Today's prompt for Stream of Consciousness Sunday was "I'm annoyed by..."

Today what has annoyed me:

  • The woman on the bus from the airport who did not move her items from the chair next to her even as the bus became standing room only and elderly people got on the bus.  She just sat with her sunglasses and, each time someone new got on the bus, or moved closer, or was trying to look at her, she pulled something out of one of her bags and appeared to try not to make eye contact.  I wanted to tell her off and waited for a oncoming rider to tell her off or at least ask to sit in the seat.  Instead it was just a peaceful ride.
  • I still need to do some planning for school tomorrow.  I kind of know what I'm doing, but I kind of don't.  I don't want to open my planner to see what I have planned.  The day is over half over and I don't know if I will have energy to do it later, but I don't feel like doing it now.
  • I don't have food in the house.  I am trying to eat better, and not eat out/deliver as much.  Hard to do when there is no substantial food in the house and I don't have the energy or desire to go to the grocery store.
  • The creaky floors in this apartment really bug.  I have never heard anything this loud.  If I am walking, I cannot have a conversation with the boo.  If one of us is saying something, the other person cannot be moving on the wood floor.  I need to get some kind of runners, or area rugs to see if that will damper the sound a bit.

Sunday Stream of Consciousness.

Five minutes of writing whatever is on your mind (or whatever addresses the prompt).

See more and link up your brain dump on Jana's Thinking Place.

22 November 2012

Inhale the good ish

This is how I am going to make it through the rest of today and through the madness that will be travel on this busiest travel weekend of the year.

21 November 2012

November Photos - Week Three

More pictures in my November Photo-A-Day installation.  Prompts come from Fat Mum Slim's list.

November 14 - Man-made
14. My ride to and from work each day is the subway.  It is really amazing that man made all these routes and dug up all the tunnels and put together the electrical system that runs the trains and keeps them from colliding.  The tunnels are all dug out of some really hard rock.  I have been meaning to get to the NYC transit museum to learn more about how they were made, but have yet to do so.

November 15 - In your bag
15. Went grocery shopping at Target.  These were a few of the items in my bags.  I am really digging the "limited edition" pumpkin spice bread from Pepperidge Farms.  Tasty!

November 16 - The view from my window
16. Classroom window before I left for the weekend.  Some students were in afterschool programs.  I had just finished stuffing my face with food and dessert and juice from our teachers' Thanksgiving feast.  So many good foods.  And the office staff went to the store while we ate to buy storage containers so we could take food home.  So wonderful.  I took this picture of the view from my window as I tried to rest for a second to let all of the food settle in my belly.

November 17 - Last thing you bought
17. I was planning on waiting until Thanksgiving to get my winter gear.  After the big storm of Sandy, it got really cold.  It isn't even that cold, really, but it is really windy.  And I am walking outside.  All of the time.  I thought I would be able to layer, but I have no layers in town.  I thought my scarves would suffice, but they are thinner, warmer-weather scarves and don't provide enough warmth.  So, I broke down and bought a coat from my new favorite store, Uniqlo.  I love the coat (even though it does not have internal pockets or zippered external pockets).  I debated about the white with all the dirty subways and whatnot, but went with it because it pops and is different from the typical dark colored coats you see in the winter time.  It is really warm and the hood is huge!!  I have warn it the past two days, and it is actually so warm that I get hot on the subways and if I am walking fast.  I guess this means I may not need too many layers underneath.

November 18 - Happened this weekend
18. I went to another Bollywood fitness class.  So loving it.  Third one in a week (and ever) and my body is starting to learn the moves better so I don't feel like the idiot in the back of the room (at least not the whole time).  The location was different from during the week.  It was in a building that looked very nondescript and I had to go up a few flights of stairs and down a hallway that made me wonder if I was in the right place.  The ground was splatter painted, which made me wonder if it was the same ground from the late 80s/early 90s.  Do people still think splatter paint is cool?  I found a neat little eatery that served some good pancakes, bacon, and eggs after the class - anywhere that serves breakfast after morning is a great dining location to me.

November 19 - Something awesome
19. Seemless.com is the most awesome thing ever!  It is a website where you can order food from tons of NYC restaurants and the food is delivered to you.  Restaurants that are not really delivery restaurants.  I ordered a simple sandwich from a place, but there are Asian, pizza, Mexican, and more places that deliver to my area.  Pretty great, right?

November 20 - Work/play
20. On this day, I took my advisory class to McD's as a reward for earning good behavior points.  Well, 7/10 of them.  I allowed them to vote on the destination (or a potluck), and they voted for that restaurant.  I saw a cop car as we crossed the street to walk over to the place and joked that I was going to call him over and tell him the students were truant.  Little did I know they would experience something crazy in the restaurant after we had our food.  Some cops pulled up in this van and were interrogating three young school-aged kids outside.  Then they came in.  They walked over to where we were and started asking my students what they were doing.  I guess they didn't think I was a teacher at first (I was dressed in my jacket and beanie-style hat).  I told them that the students were supposed to be in school (wink, wink to the officer) and that they might need to be taken in.  The officers talked to the students some more, even pulled their jackets back at the belt to show their taser and gun.  The kids were freaked out.  After a few more moments, my eighth graders were assured that they would not be taken in and that it was ok for them to be with me since it was an approved leave from school for 45 minutes.  Hilarious to me!!

You can see my week one and two photos as well.

20 November 2012

Pranks, truancy and McDonald's

I love playing jokes on people.  I love that I can say things with a straight face and get people to believe me.

My 8th grade Advisory students earned enough good behavior points to earn a special lunch. They chose to go out to eat.  So, today, I took the seven who turned in their permission slips out to eat.  I was democratic and allowed them to vote on their destination.  They chose McDonald's. 

When we had our food and were eating, a police van pulled up in front of the restaurant.

The cops got out of their van and started talking to three young school-aged people outside the restaurant.  I told the kids that the cops were probably coming to get them since they were not in school.  

The kids laughed off the idea until they saw the cops pulling two of the kids aside outside and looking really serious.

Then the police came inside and immediately started walking toward our group.  I was in my coat and a beanie-type hat and knew the police would not immediately realize I was the adult.

The cops started asking the students what school they went to and why they weren't in school.

Of course, me being me, I turned to the male cop and agreed with him that the girls were supposed to be in school.  I told them the name of the school and that it was around the corner.  

The students immediately started trying to defend themselves by calling my name, "Ms A.eye!  I still have a copy of permission slip!  Tell him the truth."  The cop seemed to realize that I was playing and started playing along with me that he was going to take the kids away.  The female cop came over and started asking why they were not in school.  And it started again.

Eventually, we adults let the students (who really looked as though they were going to shit their carmel cold coffee drinks) know that they were ok since they were with a teacher who had permission to have them out to lunch.

The cops then went to a couple of students who were at a nearby table.  

Those two were not as lucky and were taken away in the police van.

The students I was with vowed that they would never skip school and go out in public in the future.  

I told them to just never skip school.

19 November 2012

Working for way less

I guess I should be happy that I am getting a pay check.  I am no longer working as though I were a volunteer teacher.
I'm trying not to do this to the people of the BoE,
but there is only so much I can take.

But, I'm still not getting paid what I am supposed to be getting paid here in NYC.  The Board of Education is hella slow with their paper work.

They have not yet approved my previous 9 years of experience to push me up in the salary schedule - I understand if they don't give me all the years, but I should not be getting paid the same as a first year teacher.

I had to go down to the office today to make sure they were working on that.

They have not yet gotten my master's degree into the system.

I had to go down to the office today to work on that, too.

It is supposed to be 4-6 more weeks for the master's and who knows how long for the previous years experience (that has been in the system since Sept 16 with no confirmation of my previous work, yet).

I will have a really fat back-pay check when it is all worked out.

Hopefully, that is one day soon.

18 November 2012

Comparing dancing, peanut butter cups, and boots

I find that I compare myself to no one at times, and almost everyone in other situations.

I started a Doonya Bollywood fitness class and am comparing myself to the other participants.  I know that I have only had three classes and some of them have been doing it for years, but I compare how well they know the dances and hate when I mess up and no one else appears to mess up.  I compare that I feel like I have stronger stamina and strength in my legs since I can sometimes lift them higher for longer than the others.

Some days, I am perfectly content with my items of clothing.  Other days, I compare them.  I just bought a white down coat and am now comparing other people with white coats to each other to see which ones are unclean looking and hoping that mine does not get that way.  I compare the boots others wear to mine.

This morning I went to the grocery store and found myself comparing what others had in their carts and baskets to what was in mine.  I was not buying much, and everything in my cart was healthy, and I almost felt superior for a moment.  I looked at a large container of peanut butter cups, picked it up to read it, then decided that I couldn't add that junk food to my healthy cart, because that wouldn't look right.

I am not always like this.  I don't know if it is the weekend, or if it is this new city, or what.

I do know that I do more people watching in NYC than I have ever been able to do.

Perhaps that makes me more aware that others may be watching me and comparing themselves to me, as well.

When I used to run back in StL in the parks or on the streets, I would compare my gait to others'.  Part of that was the coach in me wanting to help others run more efficiently, but part of it was hoping that they saw me as someone who ran well - that they would compare themselves to me.  I know that this summer when I ran, I still had good form, but couldn't run as far or as fast as I used to.  That made me somewhat self-conscious about my running, thinking others would be laughing at me in their heads as they saw me running.

I do seem to notice that I compare myself to others that I do not know more than people that I actually have relationships or am around a lot.  I don't compare myself to my coworkers because I know that I do what I have to do in the classroom - what is best for me and my students.  I don't compare myself to my siblings because we are each at different points in our lives.  (I admit that I did for awhile, but, I have come to understand that our lives are different.  Same with where I am compared to where my parents were when they were my age.)

Are any of you more apt to compare yourself with strangers than with known people?

Stream of Conscious Sunday post linked up with Jana's Thinking Place.  Five minutes of free writing on the topic Comparisons/Competitions.  You can link up, or read others' posts on her site.  It is a great way to release some thoughts from your head.  I hadn't even really thought about all the ways I compare and compete with others until this post... and some of the things just happened no more than an hour ago.

16 November 2012

Sitting for six days and nights

It was six days of trash sitting on the sidewalk before the city picked it up.

More a statement than a complaint.

I know many people in other parts of the city (and neighboring cities) are way worse off with their sanitation issues due to lack of water and power.  And sewage flooded into the streets.

15 November 2012

Guys and dolls

I saw this on FB and thought it was brilliant.

I really can't stand all of the things people do to try and teach girls and boys to be the way society thinks they should be rather than just let them be.

14 November 2012

November Photos - Week Two

I am loving taking pictures of things in my life.  These are the second week of November pictures based on the list from Fat Mum Slim's November-Photo-A-Day Challenge.

November 7 - Reflection
7. I love my small metal wallet.  I decided to use it to showcase a reflection of myself on this day.

November 8 - Something you do every day
8. Rarely a day goes by when I don't ride the subway somewhere in NYC.  I usually am on the ones that go underground.  Because of Sandy, I had to take a different subway to and from work for four days.  It lets me off on the outside/upstairs.  It was kind of nice to be outside, but this was also during the time of the big winter cold storm we had right after Sandy.  It was cold.  One day, it was snowing while I was waiting to get on the train to go home.  This night (since it is getting darker earlier due to the awful daylight saving time change) I was able to watch some of the sunset from the station while I waited for the train.  Pretty cool.

November 9 - Small
9. All throughout the apartment, there are these nail holes.  I have never seen so many nail holes in my life.  There is, seriously, not a portion bigger than two square feet that does not have at least two nail holes or tape on the wall - even really close to the ground.  There are places where tape has been painted over with layers and layers of paint.  We thought we had pulled out all the rusty nails and tape after the first few days of being here, but there are still days - months into our stay - where we will be just chilling and suddenly see a new nail or a new piece of tape.  It really makes me wonder what the previous tenants had up on the walls and what it must have looked like with it all up for display.  The above picture is a six inch part of the wall and has five nail holes.  When I glance up, I sometimes think the holes are little bugs and I get up to kill them.  Then I realize it is just another nail hole.

November 10 - Can't/Won't Live Without
10. Since being in NYC, I have been without a car.  I have been using the subway for all travel except for a few days post Sandy and one day a while back when I had a lot of stuff I needed to lug back from Target, and the night I saw Tim Gunn and it was after 11 when it was over and I just wanted to get home quick.  This is the subway/bus pass.  It is the most used item in my metal wallet.

November 11 - Night
11. I am all about doing whatever I need to do (well unless it costs too much or involves me going to someone beside myself) to keep my hair healthy.  This was something that was so new to me that, this night, I had to take a picture of it so I could remember to Google it when I got home.  According to several sources, placenta in your hair is the perfect conditioner.  Little did I know.

November 12 - Drink
12. We have so many days off here in NYC - they are enjoyable for now, but we'll see when it is the end of June (literally) and I am still teaching - much different from the late May end of school in StL.  Monday was Veterans' Day and I took it as an opportunity to run some errands.  While out and about I found a Chipotle.  Haven't been there in many, many months.  It was really good.  Not as good as the local place by my old place of work, but still good.  I drank this clementine soda-thing.  In HS I swore off soda due to it's lack of purpose nutritionally.  I didn't drink soda again until about 4 years ago.  Still don't drink it much, but wanted to try this out since it said it was natural and had no added sugars.  Not too bad.

November 13 - Where you slept
13. This is my simple platform bed.  And this is my simple quilt-like blanket.  It keeps me warm, it helps me sleep.  It, along with some good melatonin get me through most nights.

You can see my photos from the first week of November by clicking here.

13 November 2012

I'm finally like Oprah

It has been years since Oprah ended her regular talk show.

I stopped watching it at one point because I got really tired of her interview style - she interrupts people way too much for my liking.

But, she was good for having some really great topics and guests.

I always wished that I would be able to get on the Favorite things show, or that I could invent something and have her talk about it one day so that I could experience the flood of customers that people who had their products mentioned on her show complained about.  Or else, I wanted her to just send me some of her money.  I would even take 0.00003% of her one day earnings.

But, I never succeed in these.

I guess there is still hope, but I have given up on that dream.

I did, however, finally experience one of the groups she had on her show.

Last night, I took a Doonya class - Bollywood fitness.

It was super fun, and was the best cardio workout I have had since early August (that is how long it has been since I have done any type of cardio).  I did feel like very much like the new kid since I was the only one that did not have experience with it and the only one who was taking the class for the first time.  It was really fun, but kind of hard to remember when the dance moves were going to change up.  It was also hard at first to make sure I was moving my arms correctly - it was like I could only focus on the arms or legs when I was learning the moves, not both.

I want to go back for more.

12 November 2012

What I don't have to be afraid of anymore

I can now stop watching every step to be sure that I don't step on a nail and get tetanus.

I can now allow the students to breathe on me with their nasty germs.

I can now touch the handles in the subways and not have to be 'surfing' while I stand trying to hold my balance.

I can eat food from places that look slightly questionable, but smell oh-so-good.

I can now breathe easy.

This weekend, I finally have received my medical insurance from my place of work.  If I get sick, now I can see a doctor (if I can find one).

Well, I can breathe easy as long as whatever happens to me does not require prescription medication to solve the issue.

The new insurance does not cover prescriptions, except for those related to diabetes.

So, I still have to do some work to acquire insurance from the teachers' union - the Target pharmacist said they cover regular medication.  Why is this all so difficult to get done in this city?

This is the third month I have had to pay full price for medications.

I don't have money to keep doing that ish.

11 November 2012

Play that funky music!!

Sometimes, it is the simple things in life that tickle me so.

I saw this and think that this is how I want to go out!

09 November 2012

I'm a proud introvert

I am an introvert most of the time.  I can be extrovert-like sometimes, when I feel it is necessary - like around certain friends/family, or any time I need to be 'performing' - like in the classroom when I teach.

Why have we become a society that sees introvertism as a negative thing?

Found this video from Blogush - a fellow teacher who, like me, sometimes questions if he should stay in the system that seems to not want teachers to innovate.

08 November 2012

Doing all right

Sometimes, I get little messages like this just when I really need them in my career.

This was the last question on a survey I gave the students after the first marking period was complete.

It made me smile and reassured me that, even in this new school, I am doing ok.

07 November 2012

November Photos - Week One

Happy First-day-with-no-campaign-commercials-but-probably-endless-election-analyzation-and-probably-soon-after-inauguration-day-already-campaign-stuff-about-the-next-election Day.

November Photo-A-Day Challenge.  I'm doing the prompts list from Fat Mum Slim's November list.

I have done this for a few different months this year, and have enjoyed it each time.

November 1 - Something beginning with 'C'
1. 'C' was definitely for crowd at 42nd and Lexington Ave.  First day out and about with subway service post-Sandy.  It was insane, and I couldn't get a picture that really showed the massive crowds at this corner.  This is where many people caught shuttles to go across to Brooklyn.  As well as where people from the Bronx, Queens, and Upper Manhattan had to get off subways and take shuttles, walk, or take buses down to lower Manhattan.

November 2 - Colour
2. After work on Friday, it took us almost a half-hour to find a cab that had gas and was willing to take five of us teachers back into Manhattan.  The yellow-coloured cabs were hard to find and the amount of them that told us no or who already had passengers was disheartening.  We kept walking toward the bridge and finally found this van.  We were hoping it was the Cash Cab so we could win some money and be on TV.  No luck there, but we were happy to get back to Manhattan.  It was good bonding time, too.

November 3 - Breakfast
3. I'm not doing oatmeal everyday, like I did last year, but I am eating it every so often.  This Saturday, I had it with the usual add-ins - blueberries, strawberries, and granola bars.  Nice and warm on a cold morning post-yoga.

November 4 - TV
4. I never dreamed that I could live without TV.  But, miraculously, I have done so since August.  I have only watched about three hours of tv since I have been in NYC.  After I got rid of the cable, I checked to see if any local channels came on the television, but, I think I need some sort of special device to make that happen.  I don't think it is that serious.  I do think that I may invest in some sort of device (PS, AppleTV, or otherwise) that can help me to view Netflix/Hulu/etc-streamed videos.  Until then, I still have my yoga mat in front of the TV until I get a couch and it (yoga) is a great way to start my day.  (I don't normally have the TV on static, that was just for the photo. Usually it is stays off.)

November 5 - 5 o'clock
5. Before the storm, I really had not seen very many gas stations in NYC.  I figured people didn't drive that much.  After Sandy, I started seeing lines like nothing I have ever witnessed.  This day the line of people was three blocks, the line of cars was at least a mile and a half.  There was really no good angle that would show the depth of the lines.  People seemed to wait fairly patiently - that was good.

November 6 - A favourite Thing
6. I don't have a tv that is functional, but have been so busy that I haven't really missed it.  Election night, I didn't want to be on the web looking at results all night, so I searched for one of my favourite shows - House Hunters International.  I found some episodes on HGTV.com to quench my thirst.  I still don't understand how some of the people on there have the extra money to buy a second home or to just move to another country (sometimes, seemingly without a source of income in the area).  But, it is good entertainment and I love seeing the homes.  I am the person who walks down the street (much easier now than when I tried to do it driving) and loves to look into the homes/apartments without blinds to see how their homes look.  The geek in me also watched a little bit of Star Trek, too.

06 November 2012

Vote or die!

Rock the vote!

When voting time comes around, I always remember a line from the MTV campaign a few elections ago, "Vote or die!"  I always envision Puff Daddy (Diddy - as he goes by now) saying it on the commercials.  Not that I ever thought of him as a good spokesperson, but still.

Later, I remember hearing that several of the celebrities in the ads did not vote and also did not die.

That led me to not worry so much that there was a curse over those that did not vote, but it is still nice to vote when you can.

05 November 2012

Sounding like a 110 year old smoker

Thoughts in going through my head:
    Image source
  • No, I don't really want to come over and help you with your assignment.  Why?  Because you are coughing as though you have the Bubonic Plague.  Every time I start to think maybe you are ok, you start hacking again.  It is not a normal hack.  It sounds as though you have been smoking for 50 years, have serious bronchitis, or are about to blow out a lung.
What I actually do:
  • Walk over to the student.  I try to breathe slowly so that I don't breathe in her air to many times. I ask if she needs to get a drink or go see the nurse. She says no, she just has asthma.  She then procedes to pass me her assignment.  I take it and walk to the turn in area with it.
Then, when I have a chance, I apply some hand sanitizer to my hands.  I want to rinse my lungs with it, but I don't think that is safe.  

I have never heard asthma sound like that.

Oh, the joys of being a teacher during the sick season (and really all year is sick season with some kids).

04 November 2012

I've been trained too well

I have almost no winter clothes in NYC.  I have two cardigan sweaters with a low cut front and two thin scarves.  Two long-sleeved shirts that are so thin that I don't even know why they were made long-sleeved.  The rest are four plain colored short-sleeved t's that I've been wearing under the cardigans, jeans, and two camisole-type tops that I can also wear under the cardigans.

The temperature has been in the forties the past few days.

I knew this was coming, so I have been perusing stores for at least a higher collared sweater to wear and a couple long-sleeved shirts.

Unfortunately, I have trained myself too well.

When I did the Six Items or Less almost two years ago, I decided to minimize my clothing.  I also started to shop smarter - if the item was not something I could wear in several ways or wear multiple times in a week and not have people really notice and not something fairly durable, I did not buy it.

The problem with this is that most of the clothes I see in stores and online are not items that fit these criteria.

I have been back to some of the same stores several times to double-check items, to look for new items, to see if they could work with my wardrobe.

But, I have still bought nothing new.

The weather is getting cold enough now that I a may need more than my deep v-cardigans and a scarf to cover my chest.

But, I can't seem to find clothes that I like and that will work.

My goal is to make it until Thanksgiving and see what winter clothes I left in St. Louis.  I honestly cannot remember if I kept a lot or if, in the haste of moving, I gave a lot away.  The only things I can remember holding on to are a pair of gloves, a pair of argyle tights, a pair of leg warmers, and my favorite (way too big) college track hooded sweatshirt.

Here's to hoping for continued warm weather and good, warm clothes in the bin when I get to the parents' house in a few weeks.  If not those, then, hopefully, some better clothes options in stores.

This was my five-minute stream of consciousness post for this Sunday.

Today, there was no prompt and I just let out whatever was in my head for five minutes.  You can join by going to Jana's Thinking Place.  While there, you can post your own thoughts, or read the thoughts of others who have linked up.

02 November 2012

Post-Sandy commute to work

Back to work today.  No kids.  Just teachers.

Trip to work: Two subways to 42nd Street, met with three teachers who also live in Manhattan and then tried to catch a cab to Brooklyn.  Got a cab, the driver almost didn't want to take us when he found out we were going to BK.

Coming home: Tried to get a car with the car service company by the school (that had been our go-to plan when we were heading toward school).  Services said they had no cars due to no gas and not being able to get gasoline in the area.  Got to see Lower Manhattan.  The armored vehicles, the lack of lights, the desolateness.  Kind of eerie.  Some areas, like Union Square, I have been to and have been in awe of the amount of people.  Today, it was completely empty.  I was scared driving through there with no street lights since cabs were rushing all over the place and we almost were hit twice.

We started walking down the street trying to get a cab.  walked for 30 minutes in the direction of the Williamsburg Bridge hailing cabs and car service vehicles to no avail.  Finally found a man getting out of a cab and were able to squeeze four teachers in.

Drove through Lower Manhattan again.  Got to see the street corner where the lights turn on and where life begins again.  It was amazing to see how it suddenly went from no people to people.

Walked several blocks from Grand Central Station to help a fellow teacher find her way to the Bolt Bus she was going to take to VA for the weekend, and then took a normal train back to the crib.

Not sure how this is all going to work on Monday when we are back to having students and I have to be at work by 7:20.  There are shuttles that I saw at 42nd and Lexington that will take me over, and hopefully there will be more subway lines opened.

Not sure how students will all get there, and if they are all ok, either.  Many live all over the different boroughs, not just in Brooklyn.  We've heard from some, but won't know for sure about all of them until the middle/end of the day on Monday (if school is not called again).

01 November 2012

October Photos: Week 4

Last week of October Photo-A-Day Challenge with prompts brought to us all by Fat Mum Slim.

October 24 - Weather
24. On this cloudy weather day, I had a student pull out this book to read after taking a test in my class.  I've never read the book(s), but have heard that they are not-so-soft porn.  The student was in 8th grade.  She was, of course, bragging about the book to other students.  A few students in class told her that the book was not for their age, another student quickly took it out of her hands so she could find some scenes to read.  I took the book from her and told the student that I would hold on to the book until I could confirm with her parents that it was ok for her to read.  She said her father had given it to her to read, that it was ok for her to be reading the book.  Three days later, the parents came to the school and my cloudy thoughts about her and the book were brightened.  The mother had read the book and said it was NOT ok for the girl to read it.  The father said that he had not read it and just passed it on to the daughter after one of his cousins said it was a good book - glad he wants his daughter to be an avid reader, just hope this helps him preview the books before passing them on.  They were happy I did what I did, I was happy the father did not intentionally give his 12 year old daughter a sexually graphic book.

October 25 - People
25. I find it amazing that some people spend so much money on their pets.  I was in The Shake Shack and saw this on their menu - food for the dog.  You can get it for them to eat there, or get a bag o' bones goodies to go.  Amazing.  I didn't see anyone buying these items, but some one must, or else it would not be on the menu.

October 26 - Listening to
October 26 - Listening to
26. The school where I work has a connection with several businesses in the city.  One of them is the Rush Arts Gallery - a gallery that is connected with Russell Simmons and his brothers, including Run from Run DMC.  Students of ours are taking classes and making beautiful art pieces.  They met with some of us on Friday and we were able to listen to information about their current show, Word, and about what they can and want to do with our students and us, the teachers.  I love art.  I used to do some drawing and sketching when I was in middle and high school and wish I had time to get back into it.  The art was really inspiring.  So much so, that I took more than one picture for this day.  Each piece was connected to the concept of words.  The image of the girl and the ball was from an artist who is tri-lingual.  She picked images that represent words that sound the same in Spanish, Chinese, and English. The "step right up" style image is one that a woman made that is similar to the ones she made that can be seen on the way to Coney Island - this one is clearly much smaller than the ones she made for the carnival area.  This artist, Ms Roberts, was there during our time at the gallery and was even sketching one of my colleagues while we listened.  It was in her private notebook, so I don't know if she wanted us to realize that she was doing it, but one teacher sitting near her saw it and told us.  I gained a few ideas for projects I want to incorporate into my classes in the future to help meet the needs of my visual learners.

October 27 - Morning
27. There was a really great homemade donut shop right by my old place of work in StL.  It was so good; they also had great breakfast sandwiches.  It was so good that I had to put myself on an intentional fast from them after my pants started to not fit as well and I noticed that I was spending so much money on breakfast.  NYC has some decent breakfast places, but I had not seen a place with fresh donuts until this week - I see a lot of people with Dunkin Donuts but they are no good to me since they don't focus on donuts, more on the coffee they sell.  Nothing beats freshly made donuts.  This place is called Dough.  It had some huge donuts and really hit the spot.

October 28 - Looking back
28. As I walked on 7th Avenue in Harlem close to 137th Street on Sunday, I saw this huge line.  I had to look back and take a photo.  Turns out, it was a huge number of (mostly European) tourists waiting to step inside the Abyssinian Baptist Church on 138th Street.  The line was really long, and this picture really doesn't show the enormity of it.  I had to look up the church to find out why so many people line up each week to see the inside of the church.  Turns out is is a pretty big deal.  Please click here and read a bit about its history.  Looking back in history, there have been so many African American churches that have helped our society in so many ways, from the acceptance of unions, to the acceptance of public school education, to the use of medical insurance to ease the cost of care.

October 29 - Moon
29. Of course, with Sandy lurking over NYC all day, there was no way to see the moon.  With me stuck inside all day, I didn't even get to take photos of any kind of Halloween decoration moon.  Instead, I imagined the light of the moon as I sat in the bed (yep, still don't have living room furniture) and listened to the pounding of the wind against the window.  The wind was so strong (and windows so bad) that the wind was actually moving my curtains.  Kind of creepy.  Mental note to get something to insulate them before winter arrives.  They say the gusts were up to 70+mph and I believe it after hearing all of that noise and seeing the way the lone tree in front was bowing.

October 30 - Clothes
30. I was happy to venture into the outside after days of Sandy.  I put on my scarf, my raincoat (which is also serving as my winter coat since I don't have one - it's all about the layers), my new Payless boots (that I bought from a male checker who said that he had just returned them in exchange for the black pair - I can't hate on him, they are super comfortable) and my jeans and stepped out to Duane Reade to get some cold medicine.  Fortunately, it was only drizzling slightly, but was still super-windy.  I only went out long enough to get some snacks and meds from the drugstore and get a sandwich from a local shop then I got back into some yoga pants and a t-shirt and took some Nyquill (generic, of course) and slept for two hours.  Yes, in the middle of the day.  I feel sleep is the best solution when I am starting to feel sick.

October 31 - Whatever you please
31. For Halloween, it is normal for children to go from store to store and ask the owners for candy.  That is their trick-or-treating.  There was no school due to Sandy, so kids started earlier than normal - though we were scheduled to release kids around 11:30 or 1 (can't remember) so they could be home early before any violence or anything started.  I saw a lot of cute costumes and some crazy adult costumes.  I wanted to take pictures of them, but thought they might be offended.  Instead, I found this product in Duane Reade.  It was in the section that had a lot of products that were all in Spanish. This is hair gel.  I love that it says "Snott Gorila Gel" - and that the gorilla is having some issues with his nose.

You can see my previous October photos by clicking the week links.  Week 1, Week 2, and Week 3.

I am back in the habit of writing each day.  I have written all but 14 days so far this year.  The 14 days off were in August and September when I was in the midst of moving and getting adjusted to the new city.

I'm pretty proud.  I'll try and keep at it.

Only 60 more days and it will basically be a full year.  I may go 14 days into January to make up for the missed days.  Or I may take a year off from blogging like I had done prior to the start of this year.  JK.  I love the blogging buddies I have and don't think I can stay away for more than a few days, now.

We'll see what happens.