Monday, January 31, 2011


It's only Monday, but it's already a long week. Isn't it annoying when that happens? Even more so when we're looking at two days of nasty snow, rain, sleet and other blah? I have only one pair of boots (I didn't buy them until my third year in New York! I only bought them because I was going to Prague, where it was cold. Yeah, I don't know.), they're black suede, and all stained with salt. At least they're warm? I keep meaning to look into new boots that are more water resistant, but this freaking snow just won't quit.


In happier? sadder? news, today was Grandpa's funeral. The rest of the extended family returned to Seattle, except for me obviously. My mom said the funeral/memorial was wonderful and perfect, and they even had a blue sky. I'm so glad it all went well and that family and friends had such a good celebration together to honor Grandpa.


In other, more unimportant news, I finished my eleventh book so far this month/year. One of my goals (I know, I haven't posted them yet; I know you're all on tenterhooks! ha!) was to read 100 books this year. So eleven in January is a pretty good start. Full disclosure--number eleven was read pretty much just today (I had a long subway ride and it was a YA novel). However! In the past two weeks I blazed through The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo series, which is almost EIGHTEEN HUNDRED pages. Pretty proud of that. :)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Happy Snow Day!!

I still went to work, but I am so excited that school was cancelled for everyone!

Walking through it this morning was beautiful. The air was still and not frigid for once, and the snow covered everything in a soft blanket. I took a ton of pictures with my iphone because everything looked so pretty and clean and white.

Sunday, January 23, 2011



For some reason that other post didn't actually post when I meant it too, a week ago or more.

I suddenly flew home (got the call, bought a ticket and got on a plane within three hours) because my grandpa was in the hospital with a serious infection. He passed away a few days later, a week ago now.

We spent a lot of time hanging out at the hospital with him and my other family members. It was really sad to see him deteriorate, and there was a lot of crying. However, there was a lot of time to talk to and catch up with family people that haven't spent much time together in years. That part was actually kind of fun, or at least good. There was plenty of laughter to cushion the tears.

Grandpa had a hell of a life. He left high school and enlisted with the Merchant Marines when he was only fifteen (he lied and said he was sixteen), during World War II. He may have also been part of the Korean War? He worked on boats for decades probably, and did all kinds of things all over the world. When he was 32 and working in Alaska, one of his colleagues fell into freezing water, unconscious. Grandpa jumped in and saved him, barely avoiding being smushed between the boat and the dock. He was awarded a Carnegie Medal for this act of bravery.

I wish I knew more about him and all that he did. I'm very sad that he's gone. I hope that my mom and her siblings will put together a bit more info so I can learn. I won't be able to fly back for the funeral, but I'm really glad that I got to be there to see him and be with family.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Friday, January 07, 2011

Goals: New in 2011

Since I was quite successful accomplishing many of my goals in 2010, I was eager to map out new goals for this year. I might have gone a little crazy; there must be thirty or more goals I wrote down just for me, along with a dozen or more for husband and me to do/accomplish together.

One of the goals is to post here once a week, and as I was pretending to sleep just now I suddenly realized that since I've procrastinated putting the goals post up here, it's been a week already! (I also mentally wrote some book reviews and then suddenly tried to remember the first name of the CTT teacher that I worked with my first year. I've racked my brain and even looked at a list of names that start with S and I still can't remember! It's killing me.)

So. I'm not ready with the big post about goals and reasoning and such just yet, but the photo is a beginning. Last year, in addition to finishing a third year of self-portraits every day, I also did a full Year In Photos of the calendar year. I'm doing it again this year, and so I thought it fitting that my first YIP would represent some of my goals for the year.

I'll be back soon with more exciting* details!

*Yes, that's sarcasm.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

My Year in Review (with photos), Part 1

(This is long and photo-heavy [duh], but please stick with me. Part 2 is a separate post below this one.)


--I took my class ice skating as a reward trip for filling our marble jar. It was by far the best trip of the year! Every kid skated, regardless of their ability. Kids helped each other, encouraged each other, worked together, etc. We all laughed and bonded.
--One of my students was pulled out of the school. He was...a challenge, to say the least. A bully, inappropriate, disruptive, possibly a thief...he bothered everyone else in the class and made it extremely difficult to teach.

It should have been such a relief to have him gone. However, I had so many other challenging students that I had no time to breathe or relax.

I looked ahead, at another five months of teaching in this situation, and felt dread and unhappiness. I told myself I was done and would not return (after finishing the school year--IF I could manage to stay).

--In following with one of my goals, I signed up for a photography class. Here's a shot from the first assignment: take a photo every 11 steps.

--We bought tickets to Costa Rica!


--Sometimes I wished I could just hide out.

--I worked out!
--The best possible thing happened--a snowstorm and A SNOW DAY! IN ADVANCE!!! My then-boyfriend texted me about it after they announced it in the early afternoon, and oh my god, I felt like I had won the lottery. But quietly, so as not to alert the kids just yet.

--Later, we had a week off from school! I was a good little teacher and cleaned and organized my desk before going on vacation.

I'm pretty sure I sat around and did nothing much over the break. Ahh, heaven.


--I went to DC to hang out with a bunch of photographer friends. We did another scavenger hunt, which at one point had our group split into two and dash into neighboring museums a few minutes before closing. It was like being in the Amazing Race! One of the items on our list was the Hope Diamond:

--At school we did some fun science experiments. I wished I had more time for science! So did the kids! (This is obviously not the only science I did all year. Many lessons I just didn't photograph.)

--Spring finally arrived! Hallelujah!


Spring break started right at the end of March and into the first week of April. We were in Costa Rica!

We ate delicious fresh fruits,

saw incredible sights,

frolicked on the beach,

went zip-lining in the cloud forest,

and of engaged!

--I also started a new photography class.


--State exams happened. I had a bit of a breakdown, thanks to one of my students. One of my thoughtful students made this for me to make me feel better.

--We started putting together plans for the wedding, meeting with a photographer and officiant, and looking into some restaurant/reception venues. We finally explored the Highline after one such visit.

--Yet another one of my students and his parent continued to cause me frustration and anger.

--Finally I got to witness Manhattanhenge:

--I bought a bike!


--The last month of school!

--We celebrated my then-fiance's birthday at our favorite pizza place:

--I went home for a weekend to watch younger siblings graduate from high school and college.

I also drank in the green goodness!

--I found some sparkly, pretty wedding shoes:

--We sent out the invitations:

--I took my class on a bunch of field trips: to the zoo, to the Hall of Science, to the Met, and we also had a field day.

--I was told that I was not being offered a contract to return. This news was hard to take and accept, but then I remembered that I'd already decided to leave the school and finally leave teaching for good, way back in January.

--I put together a class yearbook. Each student wrote a little blurb about themselves, and I took individual photos. I got prints of pretty much everything I'd done all year, and the kids helped cut out and organize it all by event/project. A student drew a cover and I put in a table of contents. I was pretty proud of it! I made a copy for each student and even tried to get them to sign each other's. They took it a little too literally and just wrote their names in the other books. Heh. I hope that they keep it and enjoy looking through it in the future.

--We got out of school!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was free!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My Year in Review (with photos), Part 2

Well, no doubt the first six months were really busy and eventful. The second half was a little quieter and a lot more fun.

--We traveled to Seattle again,

and had an absolutely perfect day at Mt Rainier.

--It was the hottest day ever and I got a little bit of heat exhaustion. Happily, we managed to get the last air conditioner at Costco, and lo, it changed our lives.

--There was plenty of time to hang out with friends and have adventures. One day, Ms. M and I took advantage of the Key to the City to see some new places.

--I went camping with some friends for a couple days upstate.

--I bought a new camera!

--Our families and friends spent a weekend in New York, and then we got married!!!

(there are so many gorgeous photos I wish I could share here....alas, they all have faces in them, plus they belong to our photographer. This is a friend's photo that I stole.)

--We went to Chicago to visit some of my family and then for my new husband's work trip.

--We 'remodeled' our apartment with some new furniture and a new layout. Exciting!

--Ms M. moved to Beirut. I miss her!!


--I was unemployed, but I got some temp jobs here and there.

--And I had time to hang out with friends! Here's my 'unique' bowling form:

--I started some baking adventures.

--I got back into crochet.

--I had lots of time to bike around and work out.

--I landed a job!

--I got to see friends at home and out on the town.

--I also did a model photo shoot and had a fantastic time!

--We went to the New Yorker Festival, where we saw Regina Spektor, Malcolm Gladwell, and members of Saturday Night Live. (Not all at once. Can you imagine the awesomeness that would ensue if they were?)


--I turned 31 and had a wonderful birthday out on the town. Plus my amazing husband got me an iPhone.

--I voted!

--I started another part-time/at-home job.

--I did two more model photo shoots! Loved it!

--We celebrated Thanksgiving with friends.

--I went on a business trip and was quite busy with work(s).

--After three and a half years, I finally made it to the dentist.

--I handmade several Christmas gifts.

--There was a lunar eclipse!

--With some friends, we visited the Dyker Heights Christmas lights.

--There was a big ol' snowstorm!!

--We've been playing a lot of Rock Band, and in particular I'm loving the keyboard!

--We celebrated our first married Christmas together, with our first real tree! It's been a lovely, quiet week.

--We celebrated New Year's Eve with friends.

It has been one hell of a year. Thank you for sticking with me, in these long months of ups and downs. I accomplished almost all of my goals for 2010, in part because of the support and feedback here.

I hope you had a fun New Year's Eve and a restful New Year's Day. I'm looking forward to sharing more adventures with you in 2011!