Friday, January 30, 2009

Chance events

In working with kids in schools there is always the possibility that something will happen that you think "Wow... I'm glad I pursued that!". Such was the case at school today.
I loathe the way some people have kids gather in the carpeted meeting area in classrooms. I know it is an attempt at orderly behavior but it is so impersonal and just not fun. "Table one- come to the carpet/rug" almost military as far as I am concerned. What I tend to do is say "Anyone wearing red come to the carpet." It has kids thinking about something about themselves petty but a little more human.
Anyway on this particular occasion in a grade 4 I asked them to tell me something they had in common with the new president. This was in a school in Harlem where they had heaps in common. The first hand that shot up was a girl in a plaid sweater. I asked her what she had in common with the new president and she pointed to one of the white squares on her sleeve. Both the teacher and I looked a tad startled... did she not know who the president was? .... did she not know her very obvious links to the president? But I asked her what it was she had in common and her reply..... "This square is white and our new president lives in the White House!" Smart kid! We worked our way through all kids some very proudly announcing that they were African American, or from Africa, or had short hair like the 44th president. Once all were settled on the carpet I said I had something in common with the president. The children and teacher's turn to look startled, apart from my being Australian they could see how very white I am. I then proceeded to tell them "I am left handed and Barack Obama is left handed". Great cheers went up from three other left handed kids in the class- yet another connection they had to the new president.
Just as I was going to move on to the purpose of the lesson one boy shot his hand up and said he had a question. It was one of those moments in teaching when you have to decide whether to go with what is happening or move on- I chose to ask Ronald what his question was and he asked "Why is Michelle Obama called the first lady?" Another great five minutes of discussion while we "tried to work it out together" and a lovely segue in to the comprehension strategy we were going to work on "clarification". Thanks to Ronald we had used a whole heap of strategies to clarify the concpet of First Lady. Talk about lucky and fun!
After work we gathered at Mare a bar in Chelsea and then on to Spice for dinner. We caught the subway back home and on the platform someone had dropped their "gummy letters" candy/lollies and look what letters were there- just had to form my name and photogrpah it. A woman near us on the platform was very curious about what we were doing and was shaking her head in disbelief- I think at my egotism rather than my luck.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Some work and play





Taking photos during the day is a good idea as then one can remember what one did! Having had a snowy day on Wednesday it was with a little trepidation that I headed to work but fortunately I managed to avoid slipping on the icy footpaths. It is a hazard when the built up snow melts during the day and then overnight freezes on the footpath. I was able to add a photo of a lost mitten to my collection of photos of lost winter garments (all two of them).
After a really full day of demonstrations and debriefing of teachers I headed to the office for a meeting/ study group discussing aspects of leadership. It was a good discussion and we got decided on a direction for our work which made the time spent much more useful than some of our other meetings as a group.
Sue and I then headed downtown to The Blue Note for a Holly Cole evening of entertainment. We were booked in to the early show which meant we could be home at a reasonable hour and be ready for work the next day.
Holly Cole was great but the problem was the crowd. A tour group from some Italian tour company arrived and had many of the best seats. There were 150 of them so significant in the space. We had a good spot right at the front against the stage so great view but the tour group proceeded to talk very loudly all the way through the entire performance. Despite having been asked by management, the tour operator and the rest of the patrons, to be quiet nothing seemed to faze them and they obviously weren't there for the music but merely to say they had been to the famous New York jazz venue.
In spite of all this Holly Cole sounded great.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Story of my day in 6 words!

Home, train, work. Train home, work!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Keep going.... I'll catch up

Having met Cait outside the Apple store on 5th Avenue we made our way to CBS (like 50 yards away) and were trying to locate the other Australians that were going to be there for the Australia Day acknowledgment. It was soooooo cold (21F plus wind chill) and they said they wouldn't do an outside broadcast for less than 20 people so under instructions we went away for 30 minutes and sought warmth in the Apple store. We returned to be told that there were enough people but they wouldn't need us until 8:20am so off we went to the nearest coffee shop and had a coffee in the warmth and returned to stand outdside and wait for the weather man to come and complete the CBS morning show weather forcast. We waved our flags and cheered and talked Australian!!!??? and then headed for Columbus Circle to catch the "D" train to the Bronx and our appointment with a new school I was to begin working at. A s we scuttled along 59th St comparing how many toes we could still feel and whether our fingers existed any more we looked to our right and admired the beauty of Central Park. I managed ot pull my camera out of my handbag and said to Cait keep going I'll catch up" and so managed to snap this view of the bridge and the frozen lake.

After a successful visit to a school setting up more work Cait and I went back via Columbus Circle and had a coffee. I was then heading out to another school in Brooklyn on the N and then the J which involved changing train at Canal Street. The transfer meant walking up a steepish stairway to the platform where the J goes from. I was behind a man with a trolley and a tray of some sort of pastry he, I thought, was taking to a venue. Turns out he was taking it to the platform I was heading to to sell. I nearly got hit by a tray and trolley as he hoiked the trolley up the steep stairs. Then he was setting up for sales when the turf war began between him and the other guy who was already selling his pastries from the platfrom. Much shouting at each other then one guy grabbed the other guy's tongs... yes tongs and threw them to the ground. The tongs were bent and twisted and the tongs owner then tried to overturn the tong benders trolley of pastries- it was getting nasty!! I thought someone- possibly me- would end up on the tracks. The bent tongs got flung on to the platform again this time by the bent-tongs owner and he snatched the other guys tongs and ripped the glad wrap on the tong-bending trolley owners pastries. The guy who almost decapitated me with his pastries then retreated back down the platform just as the police arrived from the lower platform.
I hope you could make sense of all that tong-bending!
Twas very fraught and a tad scary- we commuters weren't sure who was going to get injured in the process.
So an eventfilled Monday for me!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Great friends

I really am spoilt- I have such lovely caring friends.
Today Julia arrived with these boxes. She'd bought some for herself to put her scrapbooking and art journaling things in and said she could buy some for her without buying some for me!

Yesterday Margie arrived at the door with a bunch of tulips for me as she and Julia had been buying flowers for themselves and decided I had had a bad trot of late and should be cheered up so these lovely tulips are now on our dining area table.

What lovely random acts of kindness- this combined with the lovely box that Shirley sent me I truly am a very lucky person to have such lovely caring friends looking out for me.

Today has been the day of getting organized for the week although writing this has taken me away from the tasks I need to get done before the week's work begins so perhaps I'll post this and get on!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Hanging around

Having arrived home at around midnight from the Lower Manhattan Crop I was keen to get my pages up on the Get it Scrapped website. I was really pleased that I got this page done. It wasn't as easy as I thought. The class was "Hold the Schmaltz" and I figured this approach would help me put on paper what I thought and felt about these photos. So there I am sitting at the table in the middle of the Friday Night crop and I start getting teary! I thought I'd be able to manage it all and no-one would notice but one woman commented on the photo of the eucalypt and asked where it was from I kinda hastily said Australia and she said you sound like you miss it. I replied that I did and continued on but then others around me asked a couple more questions and I just started near sobbing- immediately tissues are flung from just about every corner of the room (slight exaggeration here) . Janice who was next to me asked if it was my mum and I said that it was she said put it aside for a while it is still too raw try a more fun page. So much for me being able to hold the schmaltz! Once I'd pulled myself together I did complete what I set out to do and pleased with the result.
Here is the journaling We drove the long way to Castlemaine admiring the giant tors and the wattle in bloom. We meandered through the winter countryside, getting lost and then finding our way to Jan's bush property. We roamed through the eucalypts and she said her farewells to the bush.
All very cathartic for me although when I tried to read it to Michele when we were talking on Skype I told her I need to post it here cos I still couldn't read it without crying!
When I was talking to Michele I glanced out the window and the light as the sun was setting was reflected beautifully on the buildings around me. The advantage of using skype- you can get up and take a photo and use both hands while still maintaining conversations with people in Australia.

Having spoken with Michele and done nothing much else all day it was time to head to Catherine and Maria's Australia Day party. Given that Australia Day in on Monday it didn't lend itself to a party on the night hence the Saturday celebration. The people there were pretty much all consultants and people I knew. A small apartment which felt pleasantly crowded but not unbearably so. Catherine and Maria do a grand job of celebrations. Last year for Australia Day they were dressed in shorts and t-shirts and thongs (flips flops for you Americans- I'm not refering to their underwear)- well at least Catherine dressed that way last year given that it is summer in Australia. This year we arrived all quite casually and Maria and Catherine were dressed up to the nines. Australian flags everywhere. Catherine has some lovely Aboriginal art Emily Kngwarreye style (you can check out Emily's work here). Both Catherine and Maria had gone to a great deal of trouble planning and organizing.The wine and beer could be placed in an esky in the bathroom as all good Australian parties do- if it had been here we would have simply used the New York refrigerator- the blacony!
They had great Australian party fare including sausage rolls, party pies and tomato sauce as well as other finger food.
Maria had put together a number of games including \ a game of people bingo based on Australian icons and history, a game of housie(bingo) based on pictures of Australian icons, Rob gave us a fun quiz about Australian facts and we all participated in a game of two-up gambling using plastic money, after all Maria and Catherine are math consultants. It was a variation and an interpretation of the game and very funny.
Quite a few people brought out their Australian clobber hats and t-shirts- poor Marg decided to wear her driazabone which had seemed like a good idea at the start of the eveing but she was melting by the end of the night. I didn't manage to get a photo of her hence the link to the website.
It was another relatively late night (midnight) but a good night had by all I'd say.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The real me!


I've done it! Just a couple of strands of reddish colour at the front but now I am the real me!
Quite liberating really! All I need do now is manage it and there ain't that much of it to manage so shouldn't be all that difficult!
Took the photos on my Mac using photobooth trying to get the angles and not look too bizarre- don't know that I achieved it but you can see it all!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Surprised

I shouldn't be surprised by the generosity of my friend Shirley but today I certainly was. She gives of her time and friendship in innumerable ways however today was a complete surprise. In amongst the deliveries awaiting collection at the front desk was a parcel from Australia- from Darwin in fact and I didn't know the name of the "sender". I opened the parcel and there was this beautiful box embedded in red tissue paper. A simple note saying "Happy Chinese New Year. love Shirley". The gift was unexpected and its beauty lay not only in the items it contained but in the inclusion of me in her celebrations and thoughts.
It was a wonderful thing to come home to after a good day at work. I spent time with the cute kids in kindergarten and with a lovely new teacher who is willing to try anything and wants to have everything working well for the children. She is thoughtful and hard working and is a pleasure to work with- makes going to work really worthwhile.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Signs of winter

It was while I was walking to the subway on my way home that I spotted the lost scarf. I have been saying to myself for a while that I should photograph the lost gloves or lost or abandoned umbrellas that I've seen which to me are symbols of winter. I always think it and have never done anything about it until today. It is usually gloves I see- scarves not so frequently. Sometimes the gloves as propped up on fences and umbrellas seem to end up just dumped where they have failed their owners- gutters, sidewalks etc.

Having my camera "out" I then decided on these other symbols of winter.

frequently as we allow them at home. How can any kids play on equipment covered in snow.No wonder kids aren't allowed out to play at lunch time in schools as The temptation is always to have snow fights (not allowed) of to roll in the snow (not allowed).
Trying to stop kids playing in this lovely fluffy cold wet stuff would be like herding ants!


And what did I learn today- it isn't all that difficult to stop and take the photo when you think of it!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Obama Day!

On my walk to the subway this morning I was determined to try to remember to take photos of things that were specific to Inauguration Day. Just near the entrance to the downtown N/R/W train is the TKTS area of Times Square and Time Warner had a screen set up (the blue bit halfway along the photo) to show the Inauguration- glad I got a photo as by the time I came home past the same spot at around 3:30pm the screen was gone.
There were no free papers being handed out where I was but I got this shot of the newspaper stand and with it the photo of Obama.

So a day at work with the hope that the school would have the Inauguration available to be viewed. I began working knowing the agenda for the day in terms of the inauguration and continued doing things. Unfortunately I was told that given that the whole school would be watching the inauguration I could "do" some other pieces of work until all classes returned to their rooms. Just a tad shocked at the lack of understanding of the significance for everyone of the day, including this little Aussie!
However I did watch the whole thing in the company of US citizens excited by this moment in history.

So what did I learn- never assume you know the things that may come out of left field!

But the day continued and we had our Toodle-oo W and and Howdy Doo Obama event. Friends were invited to call in as soon after work as they wanted and to share some take out and a few drinks and talk about politics while we watched the parade and the balls and the reviews of the day .... speeches and events.

Not too late an evening but we marked the day and enjoyed the events.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Tagging

So I have been tagged by Anke so now I have to list 6 things about me

1. I am finally going to my natural hair colour

2. I used to be really athletic!

3. I try to be organized but things seem to get messy really quickly.

4. I hate the sensation of speed

5. I get car sick, bus sick, tram sick, sea sick, air sick.... basically most forms of transport I have thrown up on.

Not sure if I met the criteria but now I am supposed to tag 5 more people, but don't know that many with blogs! But here goes.....sorry guys. So, I will tag

Michele patient sister

Kath my niece in WA

Linda fellow scrapper

Tami an innocent bystander and great "inspirer" at Get It Scrapped

I'll understand if you let this drop as it is really fiddly or if you find and easy quick way to do it let me know!


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Lazing around

The day at the Scrapbooking Meetup enabled me to get the photos in place for this page but I had to finalize the journaling and that was the reason for doing the page. Our challenge was to find humour in what others do. It'll come as no surprise to you Michele that I find this aspect of who you are very funny. We get so many laughs from your capacity to torture lyrics.
I've included the list from the internet of other people's tortuing of the lyrics of songs here too.

"There's a bathroom on the right."
"There's a bad moon on the rise."
Bad Moon Rising, Creedence Clearwater

"Midnight after you're wasted."
"Midnight at the oasis."
Midnight at the Oasis, Maria Muldaur

"She's got a chicken to ride."
"She's got a ticket to ride."
Ticket to Ride, The Beatles

"Are you going to starve an old friend?"
"Are you going to Scarborough Fair?"
Scarborough Fair, Simon and Garfunkel

"Baking carrot biscuits."
"Taking care of business."
Takin' Care Of Business, Bachman-Turner Overdrive

"Hope the city voted for you."
"Hopelessly devoted to you."
Hopelessly Devoted to You, Grease

"Just brush my teeth before you leave me, baby."
"Just touch my cheek before you leave me, baby."
Angel of the Morning, Juice Newton

So other than completing this page I did nothing much until it was time to bundle up and head to Ann's on 56th St. Anne in Queens has been unwell and had postponed our lamb roast- something to look forward to still! But Ann on 56th was all primed up for a roast dinner so invited us all there for an evening meal of roast beef. We walked up through some slushy snow and back through falling snow.
The meal was "grand" the five of us having lots to talk about work and plans for holidays and no pressure on as Monday is a public holiday and we can sleep in a relax. Laughing with friends is such a good way to relax and unwind.
And what did I learn? I can plan and organize my week (which I did early in the morning) even when I don't work the next day. A bit lame I know but I really struggle to think of what I learn each day!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Crop till you drop!

The Lower Manhattan Scrpabooking Meetup met up at the Mulhenberg Library and I got there and stayed the duration- that is from 10am until 4pm .
I managed to get 5 pages done and a page in my art journal .
I am really pleased that I managed to get so much done. Not as much as others, such as Rosie who got 11 pages done but things flowed fairly well along with the conversation.
Cheryl was a tad weary as she had hosted the Friday night crop the night before at her work. I asked her what time it finished and she said 5:30am was when she got home! She lives a short distance from the location of the crop- about four of them "cropped til they dropped"! By 2:30-3pm today Cheryl wasn't making much sense! I suggested she needed some sleep- she didn't contradict me.
I caught the 1 train home- it's is right by the entrance to the library so very convenient for me. Sue, Margie and I met up and headed to the Lincoln Plaza Cinema and met up with Julia who had booked tickets for us to see Slumdog Millionaire. What a fabulous movie. I really thought the structure of the story was clever and kept you engaged in it. A couple of parts of it were were the only ones laughing as there were visual or questions related to cricket. Only a couple of people in the audience knew the names of the three musketeers, the information was significnt in the movie. The views of life in the slums of India and then the violence and conflict between religious groups was really well addressed. We had to wait in a queue at the cinema to get into the theatre. I took this photo of Margie, Julia and Sue all checking their emails while we waited.

A great night out at the movies followed by dinner at one of our favourite bars- O'Neal's unfortunately the bar staff tried to rip us off- they hear the accent and assume we are not from NYC or know our way around the city!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Fraught

The sequence of events that led to my creating the "Trying 2B Positive" page were the culmination of a week where things in particular work kept dropping off.
During the week one school canceled some of my work days which represents a few $$$. So today I was at home when I should have been traveling to and working in Staten Island.
It was a chance to get the source of the fumes that were invading my room since Thursday night. I assumed it was from the renovations in the next apartment but wanted to be sure. The guys came and sorted that out. Then I decided I'd get the final stage of returning to my natural colour done. But Francois wasn't working so had to book that for next week.
Okay I figured I could get on with the preparation for a workshop I'm doing Monday week. Contacted some people to find out exactly what I needed to do and after a bit of phone tagging was finally told that day was canceled. Panic on my part as work was disappearing out the door much faster than it was coming in. But I decided no don't panic and don't be selfish there are others worse off than you. So I'd register for some volunteer work- contacted New York cares and the only time I could be "orientated" was in about a month. I can't even give myself away!
So in an effort to pick myself up I resorted to my Art Journal and then a trip to Grand Central and met my friends after their day of work- and we had some great laughs and great margaritas.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A view from the couch


The couch has been the place that I have been spending a lot of time lately. The view is great!
On this particular occasion I felt it was worth photographing because of the light. Everything was so shiny bright.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

What have you learned today?

During my day off yesterday I decided to make myself feel as though it was a day off and start by watching the news on TV. The morning show segment was finishing and the presenters were asking each other "What have you learned today?" Most of the responses were things about one of the other presenters and items that were in the news so it wasn't too hard for them to think of something. Except for one of them who used the time to advertise her upcoming radio broadcast- bit of a worry if she had only learned that it was on that day given that she was to present in a bout 30 minutes! I digress (surprise surprise!) ..... I had forgotten until now that I thought that would be a good thing to do each day, that is, ask myself and anyone else who wants to do it "So what have YOU learned today?" (ever the teacher I guess.
And what did I learn?
I learned that when I don't deal with an issue (like getting some financial aspect sorted) then I don't sleep. Hopefully now that I have contacted home and received the information I need I'll sleep better tonight. It amazes me how you can be completely asleep (or so you think) and you are suddenly fully awake worrying about something. The mind is a wondrous thing- also a troublesome thing!
I also learned where the teacher resource books are in the bookroom at my Brooklyn school. In finding the things I was able to help some of the teachers.
The day really was a get to work do the work get home sort of day.
The thought of a day off though buoyed me and made me completely idle or should I say Idol in the eveing- yep it's audition time on American Idol- the part I love the best seeing some of the weird and wonderful ones try and strut their stuff. And also try to pick the winner in the early stages.
And so ... what did you learn today?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Catching up

I managed to change one of my work days and have spent the day catching up on things. A bit of a late start meant I felt a bit more rested. I knew it was later waking up because when I rolled over and looked out the window even though it was still darkish the light on top of the Sheraton Hotel (on 7th Avenue) was turned off and that usually goes off around 6am so with a contented sigh I rolled over again and napped until it was lighter.
It was a bright sunny morning with the sun streaming in the windows so during breakfast I took a photo of the way the orchid was so beautifully lit.

My day continued in a fairly leisurely fashion although I worked at my computer getting together units of work for teachers in my school I work in on Fridays. I'm actually quite pleased with the work I put together so I hope they are!
It took much of the day to get it all organized which is a sign of the complexity of it not my slwoness at getting something done.
Debbie had posted the new class on journaling showing the character of the subjects on the page and I was keen to do something with it- not the least of which was I don't want to get behind. I'm happy with the page I did using some of my Christmas photos and so still felt a bit blue from thoughts of no letters from Maddy and chose to do an Art Journal page about it. That made me even more teary but it is such good therapy getting it down on paper. I used my Sunday routine as the focus partially prompted by looking back at my albums I've made in the Scrap Your and Everyday Life classes. One page was about my Sunday morning routine which included in large part, writing to Maddy.
Later in the day Julia visited on her way to bookclub and she looked at the page and it made her teary too so I think I got it right.
Bookclub was a small affain discussing The Catcher in the Rye- I didn't reread it again but enjoyed the discussion and talking about the parts of New York Salinger wrote about- not just places but the way things appear and happen- nothing has changed all that much- other than that Times Square is a lot more civlized than when he wrote about it.
It wasn't too late and evening as we all have to work and getting up in the morning after a late evening early in the week is a tad difficult.




Sunday, January 11, 2009

A day indoors


It snowed most of yesterday afternoon so that when we got up this morning there was still some snow on rooftops and on our balcony. The melting snow from the balcony about had dripped down and little icicles hung around the edge of the left side of the balcony "roof" and they in turn had dripped down and created a frozen surface on the outside of the glass surround of the balcony. Proof to me that it was cold enough to stay indoors.
I did venture out onto the balcony when I heard sound of music and chanting. It was obviously a protest of some descrition so I went out to have a look and part of the group that were representing Palestinians protesting the bombing in the Gaza Strip. It wasn't until I saw the news that I learned waht it was and that there was another protest happening on the Eastside but that one was Israelis protesting at the UN.
My day was relatively successful in getting myself organized, diary, reflective journal etc but for some reason I felt more keenly today the absence of my letter writing routine.
Each Sunday since October I have felt the "hole" in my routine that was filled with my writing to Maddy. It was the time when I would think about what she would want to know and see and hear and try to convey aspects of the life I have in NYC as well as comments on the political scene. Her letter would arrive late in the week, having posted it on Sunday in Melbourne, and I could compose some things responding to her questions and comments as well as filling her in on the theatre I'd been to or the things that had happened at work or on my way to work.
Today in particular I felt that loss.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Snowy Saturday


The day dawned clear and chilly then the predicted snow arrived late morning and continued throughout the day.
Sitting up in our aerie that is our apartment we were able to watch as buildings and streets were beginning to have a smattering of snow then later more and more snow. It wasn't a huge amount or really even a lot but enough to cover car roofs and to block our view downtown and up town giving a feeling of disconnection from all around us.
I spent that day drifting from one thing to the next although I did manage to get the Christmas tree down earlyish without too much mess of pine needles in the apartment. The corridor leading to the trash room is another matter but then they vacuum there regularly so the pine needles will disappear as if by magic. The red ribbon and bow are gone from the front door and the magnetic figures are back on the door much to everyone's amusement.
As it is Saturday it is pizza night. We only established this concept last week! Rather than head out and spend heaps of money on a meal out we are making our own pizzas. My contirbution to it all is to talk to Sue while she constructs the pizzas using the non stick trays I brought back from Australia. We know they must be in shops somewhere here but be blowed if we could find them so just as easy for me to bring them back given that I was going to be at home over Christmas.
Our meal plans have gone very well and we had mentioned the pizza idea to a friend and she said she'd love to come along! So last night before Anne and I went to the theatre Ann S arrived and Sue was busy in the kitchen whipping up our tea of delicious pizzas made from really fresh ingredients. It was really relaxed and we sat around chatting until Anne and I had to dash off to Studio 54 on 54th St to see Pal Joey, part of the Roundabout Theatre Season.
I didn't know the story of Pal Joey at all, the plot description says Set in Chicago in the late 1930s, PAL JOEY is the story of Joey Evans, a brash, scheming song and dance man with dreams of owning his own nightclub. Joey abandons his wholesome girlfriend Linda English, to charm a rich, married older woman, Vera Simpson, in the hope that she’ll set him up in business.
Vera Simpson is played by Stockard Channing whose performance was fabulous. She looked and sounded fantastic and really commanded the stage. Her rendition of Bewitched bothered and bewildered was stunning.
Martha Plimpton played Gladys Bumps and is wonderful- I always enjoy her performances and have been lucky to catch her in a few things.
I'm ashamed to say I knew none of the rest of the cast but the show worked really well and I thoroughly enjoyed the "return of Rogers and Hart's famous cad"!

Friday, January 9, 2009

My commute

It seems that my focus during the week has been either on food or getting to work. My weekly commute has taken on a different component not quite Planes Trains and Automobiles instead Trains, Ferries, Taxi and a bus all in the one return journey!
My Friday school is on Staten Island and this morning I decided I needed to get there on the earlier ferry. The ferry takes 25 minutes to cross between Manhattan and Staten Island. I need to be at the school by 8:02. The taxi ride, quicker and in theory less stressful than the bus, takes about 15-20 minutes. The "1" train to South Ferry, to catch the ferry, takes about 20-30minutes. Talk about a tricky maths problem?! I practically have to leave home before I get up! The 6:50 ferry is the one I aimed for so left home at 6:10am and successfully reached the ferry terminal in time for the ferry which was delayed leaving due to extra traffic on the harbour! I got to see the sun rise over Brooklyn and the Brooklyn bridge. Taking photos in that light and through the salt encrusted windows is a tad difficult. When it gets to warmer weather I'll venture out side.
This time the "usual" taxi driver wasn't there- these taxi drivers stand outside and plague you to use their taxi/ car service. Due to the cold they were all (about 8 of them) inside the ferry terminal doors. Some of the drivers had left their car motors running while they hawked for passengers- I presume to keep the inside of the car warm pity about the environment and the petrol they were wasting. I was quite relieved that the usual driver wasn't there as the last time he decided to give me a lesson in how to read a map and also how I should phone him so that he can be there waiting for me! I didn't need someone "telling me off" when they were supposed to be offering a service!
Back to today's journey- I followed another driver out to his car (checked that it was an official "T" car and what the fare would be as they don't have meters) having told him where I was going. The combination of my accent, his thick woolly hat and his own accent meant that we took a little while to understand each other however he reassured me he knew exactly where the school was. I have to say I was a tad dubious but I did have a book of maps with me in case we were lost. Oh ye of little faith! He knew exactly where it was and dropped me there without berating me so I took his offered phone number and will try to use his services again next week.
Having completed a day's work I then had the return trip to manage. This is where the bus comes in. To get back to the ferry it is easier (and cheaper) to catch the local bus to the ferry. I walked about 6 blocks to the stop and after the 20-30 minute bus ride was at the ferry in time to catch the 4:10 ferry back to Manhattan. The journey across the same stretch of water I crossed in the morning brings different sight and icons into view- partially because I sit on the same side of the ferry to get varying views and mainly because it is daylight!
I noticed the little isolated building as we were leaving the terminal. And the of course we go past The Statue of Liberty too and I can't not take a photo of her as she is gorgeous!
As it was Friday I was meeting Sue et al for our weekly Friday night catch up at a bar then Spice for dinner. I managed to get to the bar by 4:55pm.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The light of day

Very early in the morning Trish rang to let me know that the "L" was not running due to technical failure if some description. My immediate thought was "Hmm... I can climb back into bed!" But she had very kindly checked out on Hopstop the alternate trains to take "J" or "M". So it was get ready for work time and I was heading to the "N" and "M".
The morning light really was beautiful as I walked towards subway so I took time to "smell the roses" or at least take a photo (none of which do justice to the sky or the light. I missed the really big clouds while I tried to decide if I would photograph it).
So to the train and to work- well that was the plan.
I'd finished my Dick Francis book the night before so began to read the Obama biography as the train sped along (express train to Canal St just love it!) and then a quick trip up to the "M" platform. The train was in the station- I checked the sign "Yep heading to Brooklyn!" I thought and jumped in sat down and began reading my book again. Eventually I tuned in to the train announcements and realized- you guessed it- I was going in the wrong direction. Had to get off at De Kalb and wait for a returning "M" and finally arrived at Flushing Avenue. A quick walk for a few blocks and I was at the school about 45 minutes late.
I walked in the door of the room in which Trish and I work and she apologized. I told her it was my fault for taking the wrong train but her apology was for the fact that the "L" had come back on line around 7am and I would have been able to catch it and not been lost or late. I laughed it off as I could have checked for myself.
The journey home was quicker as the "L" was still in service and it is quite a quick journey unless I take the wrong train.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Ain't friends grand!?!

It has been a long week- is it only Wednesday, Hump Day! Only tow more get ups before the chance to sleep in again. And in this context Anne called around this evening on her way home from work (she did manage to shop on the way!) . The purpose of her visit was to help Sue with her planning for the workshop she has to give tomorrow. What a friend! She sat on the couch and talked to Sue about the games and programs she, Sue, could use and shared lots of ideas and resources. Sue did give her lots of things in exchange but What a friend! She was as tired as we are (getting back into routine in the cold is not easy) and then she had to go home to Queens and get herself organized for tomorrow. Okay so it's not all that far to Queens but it is cold and wet- an icy day with reports of frozen areas. So what a good friend she is- it was lovely to see her too although I wasn't much company having tried to get another Art Journal page done it didn't really work- perhaps tomorrow night.
We did invite Anne to stay to dinner but she wanted to get home to her own hearth and I can completely understand that. I get home and get into (forget about slip) something comfy and slob around the apartment. I was home relatively early tonight as I didn't have far to ravel. This morning "on my commute" there was a guy selling spinning tops- why would you think that would be a big sale item on a subway train? My first thought was that he stole them from somewhere. One young woman was approached and refused and must have said something along the lines of "What's the value in that?" and he then berated her and put the guilt trip on her saying that at least he wasn't on drugs and he has gotten himself clean and he's not going back there. That is great but every day there is someone on the train selling all manner of things from batteries to CD's- these tops topped the lot I think.
On my way home tonight there was an announcement (automatic thingy) saying it is illegal to ask for money on the trains and please help the MTA in their quest to stop this. There are also signs throughout subways telling people where they can donate to legitimate support services for the homeless and others.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Just when....

.... you think there is not photo opportunity for the day and you'll "make do" with your page for your scrapbooking but then class Sue is on dinner cooking duty...!!

Julia arrived late afternoon to collect the remainder of her gear to move back to her apartment. It had been a day of challenge for her and Sue suggested she stay to dinner as she (Sue) was cooking chicken stir fry.

That's Julia in the striped top .
That's Sue grinning and looking at the camera and cooking?!

Cooking in the grand style perhaps?!

I managed to get a page done for the class on Debbie's website- one that when I think about it I have been wanting to do for awhile. Looking for the perfect latte in NYC is perhaps and oxymoron.

It was a great way to end the day with friends talking about our work and all its idiosyncrasies.











Monday, January 5, 2009

Getting back in the swing

The journey to one my schools in Queens is a bit of a trek from the subway crossing a very busy section of Queens Boulevard and finally arriving at the school some 15 minutes later. The advantage of this place (has nothing to do with work) is that on the side street next to it there is a fabulous Asian grocery/ supermarket which has an absolutely fantastic fresh fish section. It is so cheap! I have finally got into the habit of going there on my way home and buying up fish and seafood for our meal plans.
Today I planned to add to our purchase from Fresh Direct as I know the vegetables and fish is soooo much cheaper there. Having (been organized) made a list I knew we wanted a few things like bok choy , asparagus and cilantro. I found everything but be blowed if I could find the cilantro. I asked two of the guys working there then proceeded a funny conversation with me trying to get them to understand that I was asking for cilantro and for me to undertsand their Asian pronunciation of cilantro (whatever it is in Chinese). Eventually we understood and I went to where they indicated and sniffed some crushed leaves. On my way to find the fish sauce I went past them again and said thank you and one of them jokingly said "You should speak Ingrish". Much laughing all round and I departed for the subway with my great purchases.
So now all that needs doing is the cooking of bok choy and prawns- it is so quick, easy and delicious.
Sue was home when I arrived sitting in the same place she has been most days over the break. I am certainly not complaining as she has sat and trawled the internet for accommodation and deals for our final leg of Route 66 which we are doing in April. Instead of staying in hotels if we are in a place for three nights she has managed to find apartments- the deal she got us in Barcelona was stunning. So I am perfectly content to feed and provide drinks to my travel agent! Apart from anything else I don't even need to leave the apartment to get my next vacation organized- just agree to the great arrangements she makes.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Brunch

The highlight of the day really. I got fresh air in my lungs, walked a few blocks and then came home to get organized. I find that I am pretty organized- enough to spend each evening preparing my brain for the next day's work!
We went to The Beacon on 56th St. Sue had asked me if I'd survive until 11am without breakfast and I said I could however it was not an issue as this little lay-a-bed didn't wake up until 10:10am! I don't know how long it is since I have done that. The fact that I didn't turn out the light until 12:45 may have had something to do with the sleep in.
Part of what kept me awake was reading and then looking through an art magazine. I got some good ideas about things I could do in my Art Journal (I told you I am becoming obsessed) and actually tried some of it out today.
Sue gave me a small notebook which I have kept by my bed to write down ideas and thoughts about all manner of things including the art journal.
I had planned to "take a photo a day" this year but have managed to miss some already including New Year's day and yesterday so the photo here is an effort to get one taken for today. It is also one of the last ones of me with red hair as I am in the process of going back to my "natural" colour- that means I am going to looking very different soon when Francois finally gets the scissors to my locks and cuts off the final dyed hair and I see the "real" grey haired me! Can't wait but have to be patient and let it grow a tad longer so I don't appear too shorn!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Her indoors

It was all I did really... remained indoors and attempted to get organized. I have become obsessive about my Art Journal and spent part of the afternoon painting pages and gesso-ing in preparation for the week of doing my Art Journal.... oh and working and getting on with things like earning my living! I decided if I got that done on the weekend it would be easier to do the the collaging when I got home from work.

I started by getting my goals written and then planning my week based around those goals for the year- how sensible is that? Getting my goals written is part of a routine that Michele and I have- it started in about 1994 (I have them all in a little book) and we rate ourselves on them each year. I haven't done very well over the year- less than 50% most times but it is interesting to see that things I set as a goal have now become part of what I do and who I am for example in 1994 one goal was "To plan for birthdays and Christmas by buying gifts through the year" now I do it without thinking so that most birthday and Christmas gifts are ready earlier than the last minute.

During the day I also worked out where and what I was doing at "my" schools in the week- still have logs to print and things like that to do but getting there. My head is a bit clearer of jet lag (can't work out how to make that sound less grammatically incorrect).

Sue and I spent time planning the menu of meals for the week, then ordering the food which will be delivered tomorrow. But I'm also at one of my schools near the great Asian market so will buy fish and things to bring home for our "grand" menus. I couldn't believe how cheap some of the fish was and the vegetables (like bok choy) were so fresh they last for ages. Makes one think about how "old" the ones are in the local supermarket.

We had dinner at home with Julia and I have mucked around with stuff like ordering photos and getting things tidy. The photos I need for the class with Debbie- still need to read the notes book.

Cropping the year away?

The possibility of going to an all day crop/meetup in Lower Manhattan was so tempting that I went along for the day. I actually left them still cropping at 9:30pm with many of them planning to keep going until 2am!
I spent part of the morning getting my photos sorted and realize I have nothing that is current or inspiring enough to create too much from. Perhaps I'm being a tad harsh..... but I do need to get some photos printed for the new class I'm doing with Debbie Hodge . But I managed to gather a heap of photos and pages and then made a trip to the supermarket. Cheryl, the meetup organizer, has over the past few months been asking members to bring along something for City Harvest - I bought some tinned food and also some contributions to the snacks for the day.
A short train journey (four stops) and I was at the venue. And I wasn't the first to arrive. Eager scrapbookers were there on the dot of 12 noon!.
Cheryl is so generous with her time and the company's office space. She had set up tables in a range of spaces (which she does on a regular basis I just can't do Friday nights!). I found a possie and set myself up and by sheer chance I was near the heater- it had begun to snow outside.






I started on my Art Journal pages and manged to get two more done . I was really pleased with the results of both pages. Sue had given me a book on Art Journaling for Christmas and I read it all the way to Melbourne on the plane (plenty of time then to peruse!) and combined with the great inspiration and instruction from Dina Walkley at Get it Scrapped I feel quite inspired and confident about what I am doing. Can't wait for the new class later in the year to add to my repertoire of ideas and processes.


The day proceeded with members coming and going so that at any one point in the day there were about 26 people scrapping and chatting. Just before dinner time the noise level did plummet and rose again once everyone had partaken of Cheryl's great Crockpot of chili and the trimmings- this is what I mean about her generosity.

Conversations drifted around a range of topics- home and family being one main one. The exploits of family conversations were derived from the photos people were using and then there were the work related conversations or the lack of work which was a bigger theme with many being affected by the downturn in the economy.

I eventually left at 9pm as I was quite tuckered out. I got four pages done and two journal pages done so an okay effort I think.