Fall Weekend In Brooklyn


I haven't had a chance to properly get out of town to experience the full blast of nature in the Fall.  To take a baby step in the right direction, though, I've spent a bit of time in Brooklyn.

Is Brooklyn closer to nature?  Let's pretend.

Here are a few photos I snapped while spending a terrific weekend among dear friends, exploring the neighborhoods, catching up on each other's lives, and enjoying the relaxation that comes from being with people who are close.








It was everything weekends are supposed to be.

Plus, he bits of the season that I can get, even in small doses, are pretty solid, don't you think?

Fall, as experienced from inside a classroom

Perhaps because it is so fleeting, I love Fall.  I always want it to last longer, to delay winter as long as possible, and I want to do all of the things.

I want to go outside and throw myself into leaf piles, but that's just a fantasy I can generate while sitting at my desk surrounded by teenagers, and taking in everyone's needs until it's too dark to see colors anymore.

As we school-folk know, though, these months are stupidly busy times.  Some days it feels like I'm barely afloat: I plan a lesson and execute it, and somehow it takes all of the day's minutes to do only that.  

One of the things I do is note the awesomeness of the tree outside our classroom window every few minutes.  Sometimes I stop mid-sentence to point it out.  Last week, I even interrupted a student in the middle of her sentence, which meant interrupting the whole class and risking losing the balance of the classroom universe, forcing all of the students in the class to stop listening for a second and just LOOK AT THAT TREE!

It's the best I can do on the weekdays.  The classroom tree.

Classroom Out Of Context

We're already at the point in the school year where it's a struggle to stay on top of things.  In fact, I feel like I'm behind in just about everything: grading, book keeping, recommendation letters, preventing my desk from looking like a Kinko's exploded ...

When things are this busy, time in the classroom can feel so pressed, too.  We're all just moving through the curriculum and doing so much that we sort of forget to check in and say, "Hi!  How are you?" and really mean it.

It's probably the most important thing I do: connecting with kids.

We went on a field trip yesterday to visit a college.  The tenth graders were wonderful, asking questions, touring the campus, exploring the facilities, all curious and adorable.  It was so refreshing to see them outside of our regular context.  A field trip is oddly more exhausting than a regular teaching day, but the true value of it comes in the time spent with the kids, because the time itself is different.  What I enjoyed the most were the truly mundane things that we did together: eat lunch, walk across the campus, wait for people to arrive, and ride the subway.  I so enjoyed just chatting with my students about what having roommates is like, or when you're supposed to pick a major, or if going into the Army is worth it, or how it's acceptable and why it's so hard to break up with someone, or how powerful Taco Bell's Doritos Locos tacos really are.

When I see a group of teenagers in the city I do what any sensible adult does: I cross the street, or get into a different subway car, or avoid their noisy ruckus in whatever way I can.  But when they're my kids?  I want to ask, "Hi! How are you?" and mean it.

More Than Enough

Feeling so grateful today.

image (an extra cool daily project)

Secret Language of Birthdays

I remember diving hard into the Secret Language of Birthdays book when I was a kid, and I just got sucked back in to the website now!  I've essentially used this 40 year study of 20,000 people to analyze my relationships with all of the important people in my life.

Perhaps this is a waste of time.  Maybe there is no such thing as birthday science.  

But hey.  This is really fun.

I'm mostly enjoying my own disturbingly accurate birthday facts.

B O R N   O N   O C T O B E R   2 3 

"Truth to tell, they do bore easily and so are often on the lookout for excitement. Therefore what appears heavily stressful or difficult to others may actually be enjoyable to them."

(See also: my loving relationship with New York City)

"Most October 23 people are not so big on planning. They have a talent for improvisation, and therefore tend to deal with situations as they arise."

(This has presented a happy balancing act for my teaching life.)

I am also:

- constantly struggling to balance all areas of my life (um, yep),
- prone to an active life that allows for growth and change (yay!), and
- good at handling emergency situations (I killed a spider in my apartment just yesterday -- proof)

Do you typify your birthday, too?


Heyyyy, brother.

High_Line_Sami_Lifestyle_17.jpgMy little brother, who is always less little than I remember, just moved to New York City. He is working grown-up hours and living in a grown-up apartment. His days are longer and his spaces are tighter and taller. It's a big life move for him.

But also: me.  Selfishly, I can focus on how this monumental shift in his career and lifestyle affects me.  Which is: deeply.

Because it is awesome.

I made the decision long ago to come to New York without my family.  This mattered at the time. The move was mine, and it had to be mine alone. And it really, really was.

Maybe I've proven whatever I needed to prove, and found what it was I came here seeking.  Or maybe I've just really missed them.

All I know is: my brother is near and it feels like home.

In My Brain / 01

clockwise, from top left:

SEE.  Frances Ha.  I had a movie date with myself at IFC last week.  This film made me happy.

PLAY.  Llama Font.  Llamas are awesome.  Fonts are awesome.  Boom.

MAKE.  Plastic Bag Envelopes.  I'll think of a reason to make these with students and use these in the classroom.

LISTEN.  The Head and the Heart: Let's Be Still.  The perfect sounds for the changing season.

High Line Light

The magic hour in New York City is exceptional this time of year.  The moments before the sun sets are prolonged, and the yellows that hit the sides of the buildings reveal my idea of how the city is supposed to feel, all the time.

It's noticeable.  It's a deep breath before night.  You might look up more than you usually do because everything is warmer and more inviting.

I snapped these while walking on the High Line with Sami last week.  Transforming these abandoned elevated railroad tracks into a park space has to be one of the city's best ideas, ever.  It's like a step stool for the teeny humans in the big city. A little boost so we can look this town in the eye.




Typography Inspiration for the Classroom

Throughout the years I've noticed that design matters to my students.  They notice the details, the colors, and the objects.  They tell me that my classroom makes them feel a certain way, even if they can't describe which way that is, or what about it makes them feel it.  I always try to make my room feel cozy and inviting (a student once told me it feels like a grandma's house), and I think a lot about the items I will use to decorate the space each year. 

I love typography, and I am always on the lookout for good quotations and pretty designs that will appeal to teenagers.  Aren't these rad?

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