taylweaver: (Default)
Has it really been 20 days since I last posted? On the one hand, that seems unreasonably long. On the other, so much has happened over the past 20 or so days that I feel like it has to have been far longer.

And now for an update:

Days 1-2: Transit Strike, alas, continues. Slightly worn sneakers carry me half an hour by foot to the alternate site I got myself assigned to (so that I could actually call it a work day) and half an hour by foot back home. Day 1 also included a detour to Teachers College (I was sort of in the neighborhood) to order a document I need in order to get my salary up to where it should be. It also included a stop at the Bank Street bookstore on the way home. Did you know they sell packages of blank dice? With label stickers? They're great when you want your dice to only go up to 3 so that your students don't win the game too quickly.

On Day 2, (3rd day of the strike, as my last post was the first day), the strike officially ended some time during the day. It did not end on a more practical level until the following day, however, so my now considerably more worn out sneakers carried me home to pack a heavy suitcase, and then outside to catch a cab so I could catch the charter bus that I rode to where I spent the next seven days...

Days 3-9: USY Convention. For those who don't know, this is a gathering of over 1,000 Jewish teenagers (was it 1,150 this year?) from all across the US and Canada for a week of learning, praying, social action, socializing, and other general fun.

Day 3: Now worn-out sneakers and worn-out feet carry me all over the hotel as I help to get ready for the teen-agers, who will arrive on Day 5. This year, I got to make signs (as usual) with schedules, room info, etc. Then Shabbat began - but I will call all of that Day 4 (a la Jewish calendar time)

Day 4: Shabbat. A very special Shabbat that I look forward to every year. This is a day when my dress shoes get to carry my tired feet and body to amazing services (because the people on staff care) and some okay meals... but the special parts are the Friday night gathering in the director's suite (some of you know who the director is - but I will give no further detail in a public entry) at which home-made dessert foods play a starring role - my own bar cookies included. This year, I was too tired to enjoy all this - but I did enjoy a good night's sleep in the cozy hotel bed ([livejournal.com profile] mysticengineer would love these beds - all poofy and squashy and down-filled. Those with allergies to down would probably hate them.) The following morning, I got to enjoy waking up when it was already light out, reading from the Torah - and pretty well, too, I think - and hearing my father teach about the weekly Torah portion - specifically about Joseph. There are times when I really love hearing my father teach, and this was one of them. He is all about group discussion, and it was pretty interesting to think of Joseph in new ways. One take on him that I really appreciated: Joseph as the equivalent of the straight-A student who wants people to like him, and thinks that boasting about his good grades is the way to get there - because he has little concept of how to be liked by others. Or something like that. Another interesting idea that came up: Maybe he wasn't in touch with his father during his time in Egypt because he thought his dad was in on the conspiracy - having sent him out to check on his brothers in the field (which leads to the pit and the sale and Egypt) when his dad knew his brothers disliked him. Shabbat also included an extra long nap.

Saturday night, it was back to work, getting everything ready for...

Day 5: USY Convention begins. The usual excitement. Plus an unusual event: family Chanukah party in Philadelphia with a combination of local relatives and cousins who were visiting other local relatives. Cousins as in three little kids who were very cute and photogenic. Yay digital camera! So the first night of Chanukah was really special.

Day 6: Convention, second day. A highlight: the keynote speaker was a family friend. She is disabled, and spoke about her experiences in USY, her disability, and her life story in general. The USYers gave her a standing ovation, and I learned things about her life that I never knew before.

Day 7: Convention, third day. Since the educational theme was disabilities, this day of social action projects, which carried groups of USYers all over the Philly area, ended with all of us at Temple University, watching a wheelchair basketball game. Then some USYers who won raffles got to try out wheelchair basketball for themselves. I got to give out boxed dinners. And then I got to help man the lost and found, which had tons of stuff in it, because things fell beneath the bleachers and had to be collected afterward.

Day 8: Fourth day of Convention. Concluded with a dinner dance. Loud and chaotic for the USYers, quieter for the staff - we ate, then began packing up - more wear on my shoes...

Day 9: Convention ended. We watched a fun video, then said tefillat haderech (the traveller's prayer) together before heading our separate ways until next year. I got to go home via NYC, so I could get my computer. Then home with my family for a few days (as opposed to at the convention with them)...

Day 10: Got to sleep in late. Put in an effort to find time for the purchase of new sneakers - except that my sister's coat made its way into that same lost and found (not via the bleachers, but because she was helping to sort the stuff back at the hotel and forgot to take her coat at the end of that) and so her coat was in a box, being shipped back to the USY office, so her issue took priority - but in the end, we got to neither.

Day 11: Quiet Shabbat with my family. After such an exhausting week, not nearly enough time to nap. Also gave my sneakers another good workout with a 30-minute walk to shul, and the same walk back. Wore my new Shabbat coat for the first time - and got snow on it! Managed to nap through an an exciting snowstorm in the afternoon. Also managed to get a ride back into the city that evening - New Years party at NU's - only she was sick, so we only saw her roommate. Fireworks from the roof of [livejournal.com profile] mbarr and [livejournal.com profile] wildblueyonder2's building - they looked small and less impressive than last year - I guess I wasn't in the same mood. Oh well.

Day 12: recovering from Day 11 - no, didn't have anything too toxic... - and also a little Chanukah get-together at [livejournal.com profile] mbarr and [livejournal.com profile] wildblueyonder2's apartment. They let me fry beignets in their kitchen. Much fun. Much tasty sugary goodness.

Day 13: last day to recuperate before returning to work. I think that was also the day I realized that wearing the sneakers was hopeless, as they had worn too far and were now rubbing my toe. Didn't do anything too interesting that I can recall.

Day 14-17: Back to work. Wearing shoes other than my sneakers. A different pair each day, as each set was rubbing in a different place. Also saw two doctors - turns out I have enflamed eyelashes - or eyelids, anyway. And $35 later (plus the appointment cost), I have a prescription cream to put on my eyelids. And was it on Day 16 that I went to Barnes and Noble and had fun buying calendars half price? A crochet calendar (as in, a whole box of crochet patterns that just happen to have dates on them) for myself, a magnetic poetry calendar, and two weather calendars for my students, since I may be teaching Earth Science next quarter. And on Day 14, I ordered new sneakers online.

Day 17 also included a trip down to JH's synagogue, and the usual hour walk back up - which my feet somehow survived.

Day 18 saw me reunited with [livejournal.com profile] rymenhild, who was here too briefly, but who also got me back in touch with [livejournal.com profile] terriqat and [livejournal.com profile] shirei_shibolim, and I followed them back to their apartment after lunch for more hang-out time. That evening, [livejournal.com profile] rymenhild was off again, and I got to see the second Star Wars movie (as in, the second one made, NOT Episode II) with friends.

I also began to crochet a mobius strip shawl. As [livejournal.com profile] mysticengineer pointed out, this is not only a fun project for me, but a way for me to understand the mobius strip a bit better.

Day 19 was mostly spent cleaning up from Day 18. And I think I did some other random stuff too...

Day 20's big highlight was hearing Neil Gaiman speak at the 92nd Street Y. He spent a lot of time speaking about the writing process, which I found useful. And he is also rather entertaining. Plus, I got three books signed (two of which I have actually read before...) I bought all three at Barnes and Noble beforehand - and the best part was, one of them, Anansi Boys, was 50% off - just begging me to buy it! So that was a really great evening.

Which brings us to today. I wonder if my new sneakers have arrived yet...
taylweaver: (Default)
Nice thing about being a teacher instead of a student: less homework
Nice thing about less homework: time to hang out with friends (and occasionally give up a few hours of sleep to do so)

Benefit to being able to hang out on weeknights: saw HARRY POTTER last night.

Big thank you to [livejournal.com profile] mbarr for getting tickets to an advance screening. It was two days before it really hits theaters, and it didn't even have any coming attractions attached - not even a fandango ad or a cell phone warning. The screen turned on - and there it was.

No spoilers. Don't worry. I will only say it was a good movie. Well done. Wonderful job making a 700 page book into a 2.5 hour movie. In fact, I think I liked it better than the book.

Anyway, it was fun.

Another nice thing about being a teacher: on occasion, it feels really great to realize that I am actually good at it (at least in some ways).

Today, we had one of our new teacher orientations. Near the end, the presenter did an activity with us. After having discussed lesson planning, and doing last-minute lesson planning for related services (one on one with the kid - or a max of 3 kids, but usually one - for 30-40 minutes each session), she made us each take one of our handouts and put together/start teaching an on-the-spot lesson during which she played the role of the student.

After I went, I got all sorts of compliments.

They (the presenter and the supervisors present) said I came alive. They did not expect that - I guess my teacher mode is different from my interacting-with-adults mode. So that was interesting too - to know that I have a distinct teaching personality.

But anyway, it felt good to be complimented. It felt good to be able to pull off a lesson that way too, to know how to do it.

Oh, and one more nice thing: I discovered that my new (as in, from last year) eye doctor is on my insurance plan - so as long as I have a "medical" reason to see him, it will be covered.

Now I just need to make an appointment...

Mile 23

Nov. 7th, 2005 07:40 pm
taylweaver: (Default)
So yesterday, my apartment mate, Fresh Samantha, whom I shall henceforth refer to as FS, ran the New York City Marathon. She finished with a time of 6 hours and 20 minutes. She is amazing.

I met FS at Mile 23, with much help from her brothers, who called me to update me after FS's cell-phone got waterlogged (water, not sweat - so don't get grossed out) and stopped working. I should also thank [livejournal.com profile] mysticengineer for having a phone number so that I could reach the aforementioned siblings - otherwise, I would never have been able to meet up with them at all.

At any rate, around 3:45 PM, there she came, jogging down the street, a brother on each side. I gave her a big (wet) hug. Then, instead of just cheering and letting her pass, I ended up joining up with the FS team, "Go FS" sign and all (of course, it said her real name). What's really fun about the marathon is that the crowd is so encouraging. One of the things they do is read names off of runners' shirts and call out individualized encouragement. So as I walked and ran beside (and often behind) Yehudit, people could see the sign and cheer her on by name.

It's amazing how hard it was to keep up with her. Granted, I was wearing jeans, carrying a bag with books in it (silly me thought I might read in the park before waiting for her), and holding up the sign - but FS had already run 23 miles, and she was still giving me a run for my money. (Groan away - it was the best way I could think of to put it.) Not only that, but my muscles have been protesting all day - from just three miles.

It gives me a fresh respect for marathoners. It feels like I am sharing an apartment with a (tired and achey) celebrity. It was so exciting to run beside her.

It was also pretty cool to see her run with three siblings (her sister showed up a mile or two later) running alongside her, cheering her on.

And after the marathon, I met up with some friends for dinner, after which we went to see "Good Night and Good Luck." the film about Edward R. Murrow. Murrow's name is one that, until this movie, I had only heard at all because it is the name of [livejournal.com profile] daphster's high school - and now one of the schools where I work. It was pretty cool to learn more about him, because it makes me feel like the school has such a special name, and it makes me feel even more honored to work there - not that names really mean anything when it comes to public schools. But still...

Anyway, it was a very low-key, sedate movie. More about education than excitement, but in a good way. Seeing the real footage of McCarthy was also fascinating - I learned about him in high school, but to see the actual face on the screen was a new experience for me. It was, I thought, very well done, and also a story worth telling.

Then I watched West Wing - live debate. Not that we actually watched it live... but it was a very different viewing experience. I thought it was an innovative idea - and I was rooting for the Democrat. Maybe that's why I liked his answers better? It may also be that I just don't like Alan Alda's style - I feel like he talks down to the audience - more like a politician. But whatever.

I also heard that they did another live debate for the West Coast - which means they actually aired two different episodes, because two live performances means two different performances. [livejournal.com profile] mbarr said he might try to get the California one. I don't know that I'd watch another hour of it, but I am just a bit curious...

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