Monday, June 05, 2006

Ava the light of my life

So May 3 I was blessed with the most beautiful baby girl I've ever seen. She's adorable. She looks so much like my husband, but has so many of my little mannerisms, even for a 1 month old little girl.

The thing is that twice now people have given spiritual thoughts or talks on coping with the death of a child. Now in my ward, there are numerous 1 year olds, Ava, and a little boy that was just born last week. Are they talking to me? When the missionaries sat in my home and discussed it, there was little way to see it otherwise. Thus my greatest fear in life has been that I'll lose this little girl somehow. The love I have for her is so strong. I've given up *everything* for her. I left NYC, the place I love, the job I loved for a simpler life where we can afford to have me stay home to raise Ava. Heck-- I even baby-fied my living room this weekend, removing all of the books from the bottom shelves and replacing them with neatly organized toys. I've covered over all of the exposed plugs, and otherwise "babyproofed" the room. It no longer looks like a teacher and a librarian live here, but rather a child with her parents. And I like it that way.

So you can imagine my horror when I went to check on her tonight and I found her swaddled (ok good) but up against the bumper of the crib. She was breathing just fine but the thought of her going closer to the bumper and suffocating scared the beejeezus out of me. I moved her to the middle of the crib, and she woke up. I still haven't put her down since and I'm not sure when I will.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Bank of Mom & Dad ?

So I just read this NYT article, The Bank of Mom and Dad and it's got me thinking. What type of society are we living in, when college educated individuals literally cannot afford to live on their own without additional support?

Some would argue that the cost of living is too high. Sure this is the case in many of the nation's largest cities: San Francisco, New York, Washington D.C., etc. Yet, I managed to live within my means (for the most part) for 7 years in New York City as a teacher. Sure I had to make sacrifices. I had to have a roommate, and we shared a tiny 580 sq ft., 1 bedroom apartment. I didn't eat out all that often. I rarely took cabs, opting to use my monthly Metrocard. Sacrifice helped me to live there.

So what does this say of some of these college grads? They want their parents' lifestyle, without putting in the 20+ years of work to get there. We can't all afford Pottery Barn furniture with Crate & Barrel dishes straight out of college, along with the gorgeous apartment in the city. But most can afford a smaller apartment, in a safe neighborhood, with Martha Stewart dishes and Straight from the Crate furniture. One of the children listed in this article had a dog that his mother was paying $16 per day for doggie day care. What in the heck?! If you can't afford your dog, why do you have it? Why not wait to get the dog until you can afford it on your salary? Why in the world should Mom and Dad have to spend this money after you are old enough and capable?

It is our materialism, pride and greed that allow us to think this is ok. Sacrifice is a word not heard often these days. We live in a society that tells us we *need* it NOW, and we can pay for it later. Credit card debt is not ok. Living off of our parents is not ok once you have the degree and job. Live within your means, and you'll be much better off in the long term. You'll be learning principles that will help you later on in life.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Deep thoughts from the shallow end of the pool--er something like it. . .

Life has taken so many turns since I last blogged. Nick and I are married. I'm as big as the house pregnant with our first daughter. I quit my job teaching in the Bronx so that I can take care of myself and our baby. It saddened me to leave, especially since I taught the same darlings for 3 years running, and they only have a few months until they graduate and go to high schools all over NYC. I was working with Carnegie Hall on a pilot program to create documentaries of blues musicians that moved North--- who has 8th grade kids creating documentaries for Carnegie Hall?? Only crazy little me. I hope my successor can pull it off, or I can help enough to get it done.

As we moved out to PA, the people became more and more friendly (almost annoyingly so--as you *always* have to say Hi and have idle chit-chat), and the streets are quieter. I know it's better for us. I don't miss the NYS taxes, nor do I miss the chaos of the city-- but I do miss the wonderful people who are there.

As we househunt for the home we want to purchase, everyone has an opinion-- don't buy here, buy there. But when you feel drawn to a place, can you really buck that feeling? And when fireplaces and in-ground pools are involved-- hello?! Is there any other option! Pennsylvania summers are hot and sticky, and what better way to spend a summer than lounging with my baby in a pool :) We'll see what happens. . .

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Immensities of Life

So it's been a while since I posted, and yet so much is going on. New school year, new name, new husband, and a new haircut. Hurricane Katrina hit and once again it appears that the country has a major emergency and an incompetent president. It never ceases to amaze me. Yet I hope for a better day. And I know it will come.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Bleh

This week has been the highest highs and some of the lowest lows. I visited Podunk, PA with Nick this week. We saw my sister, Joe and their adorable Bella. I can't tell you how much I love that little girl. She is so sweet, polite and my favorite niece (that's hard because I only have one right now :) She lights up my life.

At her birthday party, she, Kaylee and Tristan (all 3 year olds) ran around the farmhouse like they were racing the Indy 500. Each one of these 3 year old terrors had a baby carriage or a Tonka trunk, racing around the track of the living & dining room and kitchen. After we ate the lunch, Jessica put party hats down for the little ones. They sat down, quietly put on the party hats and looked up to say, "cake please." It was so precious.

Fast forward a few days and I'm driving up to a charter school in Boston for an interview. I was running late, after 2 1/2 hours of driving, we finally got there at 9am (1 hour later than planned). I watched a few ideal high school classes, lunched on some yummy Thai food, and prepared my lesson. I had to teach two different grades, in two different rooms, back to back. I didn't even get the 45 mins to the lesson I was promised. And the microscopes were all turned on. All 50 of them. I've never felt so examined in my life. The male adults had positive comments. The females couldn't come up with a compliment if their lives depended on it. The kids overwhelmingly loved me. After 15 debriefing sessions, I finally walked out the doors at 6:30pm. Nine (yes 9!!!!!) hours for a job interview is too freaking long. Never again. I seriously hurt. I've never had a migraine but I think I had one then. I couldn't even keep my eyes open while Nick drove, as the sun killed my brain. I've seen the depths of hell and have no desire to return. . .

Yet I have my little putt putt car, I can return home soon, and reenter my rat race in the Bronx, with the hopes of educating a few more children. I just pray that I can finish the year. Never before have I been so tired. Yet I'm so happy. I love Nick. I can't wait to marry him. As he, Jess, Bella and I shopped for the gown, I loved what I found and I know it will be a gorgeous day.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

News of the Week

The new SAT is out. If I'm going to teach HS English I'd best learn quickly what to do for this. From the NYT on scoring:

"In meetings before the release of the scores, test developers went over some of the elements that they liked and disliked about essays that they had seen. They emphasized that length does not guarantee success and that big words used incorrectly would pull the scores down.
"I read really good papers that had only three paragraphs," said Kathleen Williams, vice president of test development at the College Board, noting that students who relied on the pat "five-paragraph essay" might find their results disappointing if they failed to tie their thoughts together."

Miami schools are now run by Guilani's Chancellor, Rudy Crew. He took his plan for the Chancellor's Schools in NYC to Miami to have teachers spending more time with kids who need it most.

"Under a new program devised with the teachers' union, Dr. Crew was offering 20 percent more pay for 20 percent more hours for all teachers willing to work in the 39 most-troubled schools in the county, the ones he had designated as the "School Improvement Zone." He liked to describe the plan as "an internal Peace Corps"

This makes me think quite a bit. The charter school movement has some serious steam right now, and this is their entire premise: pay teachers for the extra work. KIPP keeps kids in school longer. MATCH lets kids leave early when they have acheived all of the objectives for that week, leaving those who don't understand to stay for tutoring. Such an interesting concept--and I wonder when it will come into the public school and WORK there.

Is it vacation yet??

I've never wanted Spring Break so badly, and this year it's so much later than normal. With all of the stresses of a typical day, I just need some time to relax and not worry about having to face my 170 microscopes every morning.

I talked to Jess and Bella the past few days. I love them so much. My Bella is so adorable. She told Jess yesterday that she wanted to call her Annie at something like 10am. She makes me day with her almost-understood-babble. I can't wait to go to her birthay party with Nick. And as Bella says, she's going to have balloons, cake, Breena (Alisha's baby) and Mommy and Daddy there. :)

Even though I'll get to relax a bit during the vacation, I'm going to have to be on point for quite a bit of it too. I have an interview (I hope) with KIPP-Lynn Wednesday morning, Dover-Sherborn Wednesday afternoon, and The Met Center Thursday and Friday. Kinda crazy. I wonder if MATCH will call me back, but we'll just have to see, won't we?

I love my Nicolae so much. I am quite looking forward to this wedding. It's getting so close, but yet it's so far away. Yet the favors are done, invitations are on order, dresses are being produced as we speak, and I'm so stoked. I love him dearly and I can't wait to look like a princess for him.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

A day in the life. . .

So I did a phone interview with KIPP in Lynn, Massachusetts today. The first question I asked him was, "What was a typical day in the life of a KIPP teacher?" And I realized I've never written my typical day. . . although today was anything but typical, it's definitely worth writing.

6:00am Nick calls
6:15 am I hit snooze, again
6:30 am I decide I really have to get up and shower.
6:45 am Work on the magnet project that is due today at 3pm
7:25 am Walk Perla through the park
7:40am Rush outside to catch the M100 or Bx7 bus
8:25am Jam out to the iPod while walking to the school
8:30am Meet the kids, get them settled for the practice math test
8:55am Realize Tiffany is crying for some reason. Drama at home. Talk to her
9:05am Start the practice test
9:15am Work on the magnet grant while the kids test quietly (and they are really dead silent!)
10:05am Stop the test, and go meet Piloco
10:30am teach 704 key vocabulary for the unit
11:09am Send them to Literacy, grade papers. Tiffany and Felix stay with me
11:45am Go get a sandwich from the bodega, call my sweetheart, eat and chat with Fews
12:34pm Pick up 704 from lunch--Teach them about the Monroe Doctrine
Discussed whether the US should involve themselves in others affairs
1:20pm Send them to another class, while I work on the magnet project again
Corey, Julio, Felix, Tiffany and Vianelly beg to stay. Felix got kicked out of class. Julio walked out. Corey & Vianelly cut class, but I was too busy to deal with that nonsense today. This presentation is due and of course, mine will be used as the model since Piloco favors social studies.
2:09pm "Teach" 703. The classwork group had a quiz to accomplish. The project people have 3 more days to complete their projects. Kiki kept order while I worked on the magnet project (again!) Amazingly 703 was beautiful. I didn't even need to talk to Lawrence or Trent once. I couldn't believe it. Miracles can happen :)
3:00pm 704 is dismissed and we walk downstairs
3:05pm Magnet meeting--finally we get the project set up and all parties to suspend curriculum to hopefully get something meaningful out of this project. Who knows, maybe this could really help the kids find themselves and create a plan for their future.
5:00pm Finally leave the magnet meeting
6:00pm Get home, walk Perla, talk to my sweetie, Jess & Bella on the phone
7:00pm Huge phone interview with KIPP. Do I really want to work 7:30am to 5pm everyday??? Today was a long day. I'm drained. Do I really want to push myself that much? I'm not so sure right now. Four years ago, I would have been the first in line. But that was when I only worked, and did little else. Now I want to laugh. I want to see my sweetheart. I want to have a family. I want to pursue hobbies. I want to have time to go to the temple. As Donald Trump said on the Apprentice just now, "You have to love what you do. You can never, ever quit. You must have the physical and mental stamina to do what you do." Do I really have the physical and mental stamina for KIPP?
8:10pm Call my sweetie, destress and turn the brain off. It hurts!
9:00pm The Apprentice. . . what else is there on a Thursday night!?
I'd bet I'll be in bed by 10:30pm. I'm so tired tonight, and tomorrow will be a killer. . . Friday's always are. The kids get crazy and we all just want a break.