Friday, December 26, 2008

(you) wish you were here

Guatemala is beautiful. The weather is sunny and warm--no ice or snow in sight!

The first day and a half in Guatemala City were pretty great. My host Maria (flickrfriend of a flickrfriend; now my own flickrfriend) picked me up, settled me in at her house, and introduced me to her wonderfully kind and friendly family. Unfortunately we couldn´t walk around to see any sights, because it´s too dangerous. Instead we did a driving tour around and then above the city. I´m on my own again in Antigua right now, which is ridiculously picturesque. Spent the day walking around the town, visiting various churchy ruins and making travel arrangements. Tomorrow morning before dawn, I will depart and head for Tikal! After that I am hoping to visit Panajachel at Lake Atitlan and perhaps camp on a volcano overnight before heading home to wintery New York.

Seriously, it is beautiful here. Many, many photos will be here next week.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


I survived the last two INSANE days of school, and I'm off to Guatemala for a week. Happy holidays, everyone.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

I hate Sunday nights

This was a pretty decent weekend, though, especially because it was such a shitty week.

I took a photowalk in the sleeting rain after school on Friday (see previous post) to check out the new snow. I came home soaked but stoked and re-energized.

I slept for nine hours on Friday night and then got lots of things done on Saturday. Finally mailed a bunch of Xmas things as well as the official complaint about my previous landlord (battling over the security deposit because he's a jerkoff). My eyebrows have been tamed once again! (Although I have to say that I have yet to be pleased with an eyebrow wax from the number of places I've gone. I miss the reliably good place across the street from my old apartment.) I ran some other errands and the BF and I had a nice dinner at the Mexican place down the block. And then I finished my knitting project! I'm so excited and proud about that. This represents a bunch of successful firsts for me: knitting on circular needles (though not in the round), following a pattern (though a ridiculously easy one), making stripes, picking up dropped stitches (it took several trial-and-errors, and there's still one little hole), and sewing up the seam (which I haven't actually started yet).

I've been trying to eat enough this weekend too. For the last couple weeks, my clothes and my ring have been falling off. I don't think I've been eating very much or drinking enough water.

Saturday night I went to bed sometime after midnight and slept quite well, despite awful, violence- and frustration-filled dreams. Finally I stretched and checked out the time--1pm! Whoa. I've never been one to sleep ridiculously late, but man was it nice. I do love my weekends.
Met the girls for lunch and then a trip to the photo store! One friend bought her first DSLR--so exciting! Another bought a new lens and I bought myself that cheap 50mm lens as well as a camera backpack. It should be perfect for being out and about on my trip, because in addition to space for all my camera and accessories, there's more space for books, maybe some knitting, and a snack or something.

Speaking of my trip, I leave in less than three days, holy crap. I took my suitcase out yesterday, and so far all I've 'packed' is my passport, guidebook, and converter. I have to do laundry sometime before I go--maybe Tuesday afternoon? I should probably start a list of things to take. The weather is much warmer there than here, which should feel wonderful.

Here's a shot with my new lens!

Technically I'm not ready for teaching tomorrow morning, but I really don't care. So there.

Real snowfall on Friday

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Just kidding.

I've had a super shitty week. It started last week when my car got towed. Who doesn't want to spend the entire afternoon stuck in the slowest-moving line of all time in a cheap city trailer?

Oh, and a bonus? They broke my bumper! Sweet! It's hanging down on one side and scrapes against the ground. I am officially ghetto.

I got sick again, have had a very sore throat and have used up approximately five bajillion kleenex.

The first two days of this week were truly awful with the Debaters; I could not teach. They would not shut up. They were really frustrated too, but not enough to fix themselves.

I lost my metrocard. It disappeared from a zippered pouch on the front of my purse. I really hope it fell out somewhere and wasn't stolen. There was at least fifteen dollars on the card, and there was also $21 in cash folded in the little thingy I keep the card in.

I haven't slept through the night all week.

My to-do list is growing and nothing is getting accomplished (my eyebrows are a jungle, for example)

I had to stay at school until 8 tonight (yes, had to), AND got zero work done.

I saved the best for last--I'm getting demoted!

Yeah. Told you.
It'll start after the break. Not sure what exactly will happen, but I'm not surprised.

I will say that a couple classes have actually gone really well. The Hedgehogs have been amazing (well, some of them). We had an incredible, thoughtful, articulate discussion for TWO days! The Moles also had one good day of discussion.

Also, someone told me today that I'm someone's favorite teacher, and he talks about me all the time. Wow.

Three more school days, three more school days, three more school days...

Friday, December 12, 2008

A stitch in time

That has nothing to do with anything, except the knitting is infecting the grade like the chickenpox! All kinds of kids are interested, and many of them carry it around with them and work on it in downtime. It's kind of freaking awesome. Even kids that aren't part of the official club are knitting!

Is it strange that these urban preteen girls and boys are LOVING a traditional domestic craft that, at least on flickr, is favored by upper-middle-class white women? I don't know and I don't care, I'm just glad.

Tomorrow I'm going to a knitting gathering, where I hope to work on a new, more complicated project (ie, one that uses more than just the one stitch over and over), and meet some new people. I need to get some needles for me and for the kids who are clamoring to learn.

We ended this week with a field trip with my grade. What a treat! As always, we left the kids with behavior issues behind, and the kids we took were awesome. Other groups of kids were loud, disruptive, and all over the place in people's way. Our kids were calm and good-natured and behaved themselves. Oh, and they were very interested with my fancy camera (you know I took several hundred photos of the activity)--I wish I could start a photography club! I'd have to have a bunch of cameras as well as, you know, knowledge of photographic principles. Hahaha. Anyway, a great trip was definitely a fun way to end this week.

And goodness me, I am glad it's the end of the week, because I feel like a slug.

Off to bed with me!

Sunday, December 07, 2008


Can every weekend be a four-day weekend? Please? I could really use the rest and mental recuperation.

I've had plenty of crap happening and rolling around in my head to write, but...I am lame and lazy and also busy and tired. So.

School is meh. During the short week, the Debaters had TWO good classes, where they worked quietly and fairly enthusiastically. It was a little amazing. The next week I let all my classes play a review game of Memory, and the Debaters did the best. They actually followed the directions, most of them cooperated, and they played the game! The other classes goofed around and didn't play.

The Moles are slightly insane as always. We had one good class on Thursday morning, for some reason, but by the afternoon it was back to the usual chaos.

The admin seems to now be looking out for me to err. Our 'meetings' consist of them telling me what I'm doing wrong and how my entire teaching style (which from day one I've been trying to adapt) is wrong and NEEDS to change NOW. And I just sit there and take it, trying to keep a neutral expression on my face and nodding along at my faults. It is possible or likely that I have officially been warned twice.

At this point, I don't even care anymore. If they want to target my bad moments, I can't do anything to stop them. I can't be perfect, I certainly can't be kind every second for ten hours with twelve-year-olds, I can't change overnight, and also, I can't effectively control my worst class without a little force and volume.

So, if they decide that I'm not a good match for the school after all, so be it. I won't be that surprised and then I won't have to make the decision myself.

On the other hand, the knitting club had a great debut. Seven kids showed up, including two boys. None of them are kids that I have a particular bond with, or that I would have said actually liked me. Which makes it all the more unbelievable and positive. Most of them picked it up and got into it, and many of them carry around their needles during the day. Two girls have knitted several good inches! Three or four more kids want to join this coming week. I'll have to go pick up more yarn and needles.

Speaking of positive, I chaperoned a field trip the other day, with kids from a different, younger grade. It was so awesome! My friend, their teacher, is one that I've talked to and bonded with, and she was amazing--she had worked hard on preparing for the trip, setting the expectations, staying patient and yet authoritative. The kids really lived up to the high expectations--silent or very quiet in the subway station and cars, and quite well-behaved in the museum. Much, much better than the other school groups we saw. I really liked being there with them, encouraging them to look at new things and learn interesting facts. They were so enthusiastic! It was a very enjoyable way to end the week.

As you saw in the previous 'post,' I have a new camera! Oh my god, it is beautiful. I upgraded to a Nikon D80. Remember that my wonderful boyfriend surprised me with my first DSLR, a Nikon D40x, back in May. Since then, I have taken approximately sixteen thousand photos....and a great deal of them are of me. Thank you, flickr. Anyway. I've been wanting to get a new, faster lens and keep improving my photography skills. I started looking around ebay and found a used camera body that, with a special Black Friday weekend coupon, was about the same price as the new fancy lens I wanted. This body is more complex and more sophisticated, but I can still use the two lenses I already have. It's heavier, it has different and more controls and menus, and it will autofocus with all the lenses. I wouldn't have known what to do with it if I'd gotten it first. But now, though I definitely need to read up on it, I'm ready for more camera!

And you know what else this means--I still need a new lens! (A cheaper one, though.)

My Christmas trip to Guatemala will be EVEN BETTER with a new camera and lens!

Also, last night I FINALLY beat level 7 of Katamari Damacy. I'd been stuck there for like a week. Victory at last!

I listened to a four-month-old podcast of RadioLab and was totally enthralled with Zoe Keating's layered cello music. It is just gorgeous! Please go listen, it will make your day better!

I went out twice this weekend, which is twice as many times as a normal weekend. Both were fun, but I am compensating by having a hermit day today. And really, I could use one or two more, so can someone get back to me about the four-day weekends? Please?