taylweaver: (Default)
So today, I went on an (unsuccessful) hunt for bowls with lids. This hunt took me to the two huge discount stores on Avenue M - Bargain Hunters and Amazing Savings. In Bargain Hunters, especially, before I even walked into the store, there were the rows of mishloach manot - baskets filled with Purim goodies, stacked up in the front windows. Once I got in, Purim was everywhere. A sign wished the customers happy Purim. and one aisle was labelled "Mishloach Manot baskets." There were all sorts of candies and cookies and crackers and other Purim stuff... it was amazing. I wanted to buy and buy and buy (total Purim purchases so far: zero. I obviously restrained myself)

It was such a wonderful feeling to leave with as I picked up my kosher take-out on the way to the subway (well, okay, so it took me a few feet further from the subway to go get the food - the take-out place being on the fat side of Amazing Savings, but you get the general idea.

About an hour later, having arrived on the Upper West Side, I entered my local CVS to buy something - and lo! there were more baskets! Only these were a riot of pastel-y colors. And there were eggs and bunnies and all sorts of colorful - pastel - chocolates! Help! It was the attack of the Easter aisle! And this, before the St. Patrick's Day goodies have been removed from the little shelf space they take up. (As an aside, it's amazing how so many holidays in America have their own special color scheme. Hallmark must have done some great marketing. Chistmas: red and green. Easter: pastel. Halloween: orange and black. Thanksgiving: fall colors. Valentines Day: pink and red. St Patricks Day: green. July 4th: red, white and blue. Granted, some of these were pretty intuitive, but still...)

Anyway, no offense to those who celebrate Easter and such, but I much preferred the Purim aisles. It's amazing how the aisles and CVS didn't bother me until I could contrast them with the aisles in Bargain Hunters. And even more amazing was how I walked into Bargain Hunters and took for granted the fact that it was filled with Purim stuff and bereft of Easter stuff. It's like a little reminder of what it's like to be in Israel - only I was in Brooklyn.

It's so wonderful to work in a Jewish neighborhood...

It felt so great to be in that store and to start to think about how Purim is just two weeks away, and how I have so many resourcs at my disposal to help me get ready for it.
taylweaver: (Default)
Well, really more like reasons to be frustrated on the rare day when the subway is majorly messed up.

Okay, only two lines. But the ones I needed to get to school.

I left my apartment at 7 AM. I got to work at 9:25. That was an hour and fifteen minutes late. My commute literally took twice as long as usual. Or rather, the last ten minutes of my commute took over an hour.

I guess that's the subway equivalent of getting stuck behind a major accident on the highway.

Actually, it was a track fire. That was what the conductor told us on the train. That there was a track fire at Newkirk Ave. At the time, we were at Prospect Park. And then we sat for a while. And the guy in the subway station kept announcing in a rather loud and frustrated tone that no trains were running to Manhattan (where most people were trying to get - I have a reverse commute) - and that people needed to go to the other end of the station to get a free bus transfer. And there was also a softer, more recorded-sounding announcement that no trains were running in either direction due to "debris on the track."

Note how they did not say "flaming debris on the track" - a far more accurate description. Thankfully, our conductor told us this, so it was not too much of a surprise when, after 10-15 minutes of sitting on the train and hoping it was a minor fire, the conductor announced that the train we were on was being taken out of service and that we should all get off.

That was when my bus map came in handy.

That was also when I got cell phone reception.

Prospect Park is the station where the B/Q comes comes above ground, and most of the station is aboveground - with reception, but, of course, the car I was in was at the very back of the train, so I needed to get out before I could call my school, just as the school day was starting, to let them know that I had no idea when I'd be arriving. Thankfully, the school where I work has many, many students who ride the subway, and also other teachers who do, so I was far from the only one who was arriving late. They were well aware of the problem.

Anyway, out came the bus map, and while it did come in handy, it also offered some disappointing news - because there is a subway line from Prospect Park to where I needed to go, there is absolutely no way to get there without switching busses.

And then, even with the bus map, I didn't know the area and probably walked at least ten minutes out of my way before I found the bus stop and boarded a very crowded, very slow bus. While on the bus, I got a seat, then gave it up to a little girl who was asking for one. Unfortunately, that put her next to the strange guy sitting in the adjacent seat, and she kept looking at him, so I ended up drawing her attention away from him by asking her about her Pringles.

But I digress.

I then proceeded to switch busses, but because I did not know the area, walked out of my way again - only a minute or two this time - but that was enough to just miss the bus. Thankfully, it was a beautiful day, and that bus comes often.

Still, the last ten minutes of my commute took over an hour.

And, of course, by the time I got to school, the trains were running again. I would have arrived earlier if I'd waited for the train to start running again. But I couldn't do that, because what if I had waited an hour only to discover the trains still were not running?

Of course, even when I left school this afternoon, the trains were not back to normal - the B train had joined the Q on the local track for a stretch. Because I end my day at Newkirk Ave., where the problem was, I got to see why. When reached the subway around 3, there were a bunch of men on the express tracks, still working on repairing all the damage, including the damage to the third rail - or at least to stuff around it. I think the fire even damaged the station a bit - there was a support column that looks like it used to have more paint, and an overhang that was a bit more crumpled than it should be.

I wonder if it made things better or worse that Newkirk Ave. is an outdoor station.

Anyway, so that is my subway story for the day.

And yes, had I left my apartment ten minutes earlier, I might have made it to school on time - but that is just coincidence. I am fairly certain the Q train before mine got through before everything shut down.

(for that matter, had I been running late and missed my train, I would have been stopped somewhere higher up on the Q route, possibly with better bus prospects. Oh well.)

And yes, it is true that I should try to leave earlier to allow time for delays - but this is not the sort of delay I can leave time for.

Anyway, so it was a weird start to the day.
taylweaver: (Default)
(by way of explanation, for those who are not Jewish, a mezuzah is a scroll with a specific passage from the Bible that is rolled up in a case and hung on doorposts of Jewish homes)

So yesterday afternoon, I went to a different school than I usually go to in order to observe a more expereienced teacher. I had looked up the location on Mapquest, and was delighted to note that it was less than a mile away. Plus, the weather was gorgeous. So I decided to walk.

As I started my walk, I was a bit vigilant. This was not a street I had walked down before, and though I knew I wouldn't get lost - it was straight down the same road until I turned down one side street at the end - I had no clue what neighborhoods I was passing through.

Well, it was encouraging to pass by an assortment of single-family homes, surrounded by trees and even a few patches of grass. It seemed almost suburban. As I walked, I also began to count the mezuzot. On one block, I was thinking in my head: Mezuzah... Mezuzah... Mezuzah... screen door (couldn't see the post)... Mezuzah... Building with a Jewish name... And, a few blocks later: Site of future Yeshiva (Jewish school)...

Is it weird that knowing I was in a Jewish neighborhood made me feel that much safer?
taylweaver: (Default)
That's what I thought the van parked in Chinatown said. It's much more interesting than what the van actually said - "demolition and carting" - and it also shows how tired I was on Friday.

As for what I was doing in Chinatown in the first place - well, that is a happy thing - I finally got my last paycheck for the summer. Now, if only I could get my first paycheck for my current job... that would make me very happy.

In other news, I started wandering around to the new schools on my caseload. I was sitting in an office looking at documents in one of them when a person walked in and introduced herself as a speech teacher. She looked at me for a moment and said something along the lines of, "you look familiar, but you're in the wrong context. What's your name." I told her. Then she asked, "were you AN's roommate?" "Yes. How do you know her?" "I live with her now."

And did I mention that all three speech teachers in that particular school are Jewish? They showed me the one kosher place in the neighborhood - a falafel place, which also sells sushi. Does every single kosher place sell sushi now? It didn't quite match the other foods there - all very Israeli. Made me think of the article in the Times this week (last week?) in the dining section about how Chinese food gets mixed with all sorts of other cuisines - including Kosher. Of course, Sushi is Japanese, but never mind...

On a different note, it's strange enough when I realize people my age are married. Even stranger to meet someone around my age who is divorced.

at last

Sep. 20th, 2005 07:38 pm
taylweaver: (Default)
It's been over a week since the last entry. Shows how busy life has been. Also stressful. But mostly busy.

So here, now, is an update that is likely to be far too long, as it includes all sorts of randomness and so forth.

First of all, I have been spending literally hours a day on public transportation. At least three hours a day, if not four, depending on my schedule. Thankfully, this is likely to improve as of today, but more on that later. My commute is at least an hour each way, depending where I'm at when the day ends. Plus, there is the travel between schools. At least those "commutes" count as work I get paid for... Yes, that's right. I get paid to sit on the Q train and do the crossword puzzle.

That having been said, I have been on so many bus lines and train lines and at so many different subway stations. It has really been interesting. Over the past week or so, I have ridden the following trains and busses: 2/3 (probably both), N, Q, R (so I could get to 23rd st - more on that later), D, B (I think - that may have been last week), B64, B72. I have seen many different subway stations, having gotten heavy use out of the Q station at Avenue M (Yay Jew-land!), the N station at King's Highway and the Coney Island Stillwell Avenue station, which, by the way, is beautiful. It's full of light without any direct sun, and when the Q train pulls in, if I am in the last car, I can see the front of the train curl around far ahead of me such that I wonder: is the train really that long? I am also getting a feel for the different characters of different subway lines or different stretches of different subway lines. It's amazing how different the subway feels when it's above ground and I see houses and trees and such. Plus, no matter what line I take, I get to enjoy the Manhattan Bridge twice a day.

I have also noticed some interesting characters on the subway. It's amazing what people do on the subway. Like the woman who was testing her blood sugar (cringe) and the man who was clipping his nails (different sort of cringe) and the man who was muttering curses, then stopped muttering, then started cursing again and banging on the door. And the woman who was so tense, she kept shifting in her seat. Also, the woman who was so scared of losing her balance that she remained standing, clutching a pole, until the next time the train came to a stop - or she tried to wait, anyway, then finally gave in - before taking one of many empty seats.

In other news, I killed a yellow jacket this morning. It was on my front door. That is, the front door to my apartment. On the inside. I don't usually kill bugs, but yellow jackets sting. So it is dead now. Ew. I hope this doesn't turn into a trend. Downside to a window on the courtyard side, perhaps?

And I got to see [livejournal.com profile] mysticengineer last night. Regrettably, only for about ten minutes. During that time, Fresh Samantha (sorry, too tired to link) kept referrring to her as "engineer" while demanding help with her new cell phone. This seemed like a misuse of [livejournal.com profile] mysticengineer's title, so I decided to take true advantage of her engineering expertise (really, her HVAC expertise) to ask her why my air conditioner was getting cold, and also collecting condensation - it got my blanket wet - but not cooling the room. I was not surprised when she immediately said it was the fan. I think that in my head, I was thinking, "the problem is the part that makes the cold air come out into the room." Plus, I have learned a lot about air conditioners just by listening to the aforementioned engineer discuss her work. Of course, when the doorman wrote the work order for me, he did not write what I said - only that it wasn't cooling the room, so I am now waiting for the maintenence men to say it is cold enough and nothing is wrong. We shall see.

And con ed lost three checks we sent - two from subletters - so it has been interesting to sort out that mess. And I had to change the name on the cable in order to change the address, but after going to 23rd street two days in a row, waiting for... an average of 20 minutes each time? - and dealing today with a woman I saw yesterday and had hoped that I would not end up dealing with because she seemed to not really know her stuff - the cable is hopefully set.

And I still do not have the check for my last two weeks of summer school. Every time I call, they tell me, "in a few days," pretty much. It keeps getting pushed back - and I am getting frustrated. NEVER tell somene to mail you a check...

And math class is going okay... two kids give me attitude. And I don't really have an interpreter yet... but I am surviving without one so far... It will be interesting to get one later on.

And my case load for the rest of the day just changed - so less in-between commuting. We will see if the commute is short enough to stop at some of the kosher restaurants for lunch. (the ones on Avenue M, that is). So now I start all over again with meeting kids and so forth - which will just serve to give me more time to figure out what I am supposed to be doing with them...

And I guess that means I will be riding fewer trains - no more Stillwell Avenue. Oh well.

And no, still not fully moved in. Give me time...

And this concludes my update.
taylweaver: (Default)
There's something redeeming about a digital camera. With a regular camera, especially a disposable one, I have to weigh the worth of the picture against using up 1/27th of my film and then paying to develop the photo. With a digital, I can try the same photo as many times as I want, knowing that I can still take 200 more, and that, if I don't like it, I can delete it. There's a certain freedom that comes with having my new camera - knowing there is always another picture, knowing I lose nothing but a few seconds of battery.

I guess it's related to taking risks - the digital camera gives me a sort of safety net. In a way, it lets me take more risks because I know there won't be any consequences - and it is nice to feel safe when taking risks and trying out new things. Safety nets are important.

Anyway, Coney Island was fun - thank you to Y for dragging us out there. It was great to walk barefoot on the sand - yet another risk I was willing to take! And I survived it unharmed, I am pleased to say - though the sand is going to be in my shoes all summer - and it was great to snap fun photos - I think I took more than a roll of film worth, which, as I said, was liberating. And it was also great to just lay on Y's special sand-repelling beach blanket and doze off - and also yell at AB for her lack of self-restraint in regard to a certain DVD....

I was lying there, thinking about what we could do later, remembering that M had lent us two Firefly DVD's, and there were a few episodes left, then remembering I thought I had left them at AB's apartment. So I asked her. And the exchange went something like this:

Me: Wait- I left Firefly at your apartment, didn't I.
AB: Yes.
Me, suddenly remembering how bad this could be: Did you watch any of it?
AB, with one of her trying-to-be-innocent-but-really-confessing-her-guilt grins that I can sense even though her face is toward the super-blanket, so i really can't see it: Yes.
Me: AB - how much did you watch?
AB: A little... (more grinning.)
Me: How much did you watch?
AB: A little
This exchange repeated itself a few more times, with AB burying her grinning face further and further into the blanket, and her grin dissolving into laughter. She eventually admitted to two episodes, in that cutesie little, "how can you be angry at me" voice.

Yes, it worked. It is very hard to scold someone when you can't keep a straight face! (I hope I do better with my future students) I hit her a bunch of times with my beach hat, but really, I was just laughing too hard to be angry.

AB's excuse? she has no self-restraint. I don't think she even really apologized. I think she just admitted to succumbing to temptation, and used that as justification - and I let her! Maybe because it was just so her. Because I was so not surprised.

And you wonder why she is the evil one...

She did, however, agree that she deserves to be punished. I feel very little need to punish her, but I also feel I should not indulge this little weakness of hers. As such, I have decided that it is only fair to let everyone else laugh at or with her. (I hope with her, because at her might be a bit severe.) AB, consider yourself punished. (and go back to work - exercise some self-restraint :) - you know you can. You did on the train - and stop reading this til your lunch break - and do let me know if you feel I should delete this. You're probably the first one reading it anyway...)

Anyway, Coney Island was fun. Even if it was not Y's idea of an ideal beach experience. It was certainly a convenient one, and a really great day off.

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