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)
So I am posting a new entry at last and it's about - of course - the subways.

But this time, it is no random story or observation. As all of you probably know by now, there is a transit strike in NYC today. And in case you can't tell by the time on this entry, I am very much not at work.

Granted, I needed a day off (even if it involved taking one - school is open), but if it is any longer than one day, I'm going to have a problem.

I will once again ask: does anyone know of a good way for me to get from Manhattan to the middle of Brooklyn? No? I didn't think so.

And now, of course, for the random story. (Yep. I lied. This is pretty much another subway entry like all the others...)

Yesterday, I think I must have been hoarding subway rides in anticipation of today's strike. Well, that wasn't entirely my thinking - but I think that, had it not been for the strike threat, I would have been on the subway a bit less... but now I should explain:

Yesterday, I rode on a total of ten different subway trains over five different trips. The fun part is, only one of those transfers involved walking any further than across a platform.

And now I shall elaborate:

My day began with my usual commute to work (1st and 2nd train). Then, mid-day, my usual travel to the second school I work at (3rd). After that, my day got less usual - I had a staff meeting back at the first school (4th train). Then, because I was in the neighborhood, I went to Amazing Savings to buy things like chocolate - and a few gifts, like a photo frame for my parents. This did not involve the subway, because that's the neighborhood of my first school - which is why I went - I usually don't end my day there. It is important to note that i went there because I left with a few heavy bags, and therefore wanted to minimize my walking.

But I also wanted to go clothing shopping in Manhattan, which is why I stopped at a kosher Dunkin Donuts - conveniently located right next to the subway - and bought an egg and cheese croissant sandwich for dinner. It sounds like such a non-Jewish sandwich... But it was $2, and I was able to eat it on the train. Which is good, because I got home late.

So. Onto the local train (5th) - but it wasn't going where I needed to go. Well, actually, it was, but I would have needed to walk an avenue block once I got there. So I transferred to the express (6th train) as soon as I could. But the express, though it would run up the correct avenue in Manhattan, was also express in Manhattan. So I switched to the local - a different local - (7th) to get to my final destination. Both transfers involved walking across a platform. Which was nice.

Went to Burlington. Shlepped around my heavy school bags and Amazing Savings bags. Found a coat. Agonized over the coat - can't return for cash there - waited on an insane line to buy the coat. Left the store with the coat - plus all my heavy bags. Could have walked one avenue block and taken one train home - would have dropped me two avenue blocks from my apartment.

But remember, I was carrying heavy bags. So I got back on the same train (8th one), and then switched twice (9 and 10!), because the wrong express train came first and I was impatient. Those were also same-platform switches, though one was a very long wait. And once I got to my street, it was only five minutes to my apartment where I could finally put everything down.

I know that all sounded rather confusing. Especially because I didn't put in all the subway lines - I decided it was too much info for an unlocked entry. (If you want to know, feel free to ask.) Let's just say I spent a lot of time traveling: hour in the morning, half an hour each way in the middle of the day (some of that is walking time, though), and probably 45 minutes to the store and 45 minutes home.

That having been said, I did buy a winter coat, and had I waited even one more day, the coat would not have been there for me. I would have bought another one there, I think, but the other one was not as nice. I got the last coat in my size of the style I liked - and they had petite sizes! - and the woman looking next to me was looking for the same size and might have discovered it first had I not been there.

So yeah, I have a fancy wool winter coat now.

And I spent a lot of time on the subway.

Today, I plan to spent a lot of time on foot instead.
taylweaver: (Default)
So [livejournal.com profile] mysticengineer kindly lent me her copy of Myst IV, now that she is done with it.

I played it for an hour last night.

It's amazing how big a chunk that took out of my evening.

It also doesn't play so well on my computer - every time I move, it is so slow to change - I keep getting that little hourglass in the corner. Also, whole chunks of the screen tend to turn into solid colored blobs where there should be railings or furniture or whole pieces of wall. Rather annoying.

Yeah, don't think I'm going to continue playing - didn't even get to solve any puzzles yet. Oh well.

In other news, trying to figure out how to get to work if there is a transit strike. If there is, I think I may be conveniently sick on Friday - even if I get there, no way I make it back by Shabbat.

However, if it continues beyond Friday, does anyone have any suggestions on how I can get to and from work?

And now I am off to do report cards...

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