Posts in photography
a snowy studio

0J7A3180 Today is the last day of the Fall Term at my school. It is exciting because it ushers in the holiday season and students (despite taking final assessments today) are in pretty awesome moods knowing that today is the end of the first third of the school year and the last day before a week break and the end of these courses. When we come back to school in 8 days, students will start all new classes, with teachers, and with new classmates. It is like the first day of the school year all over again and while some of the logistics on the teacher end of this can feel overwhelming to grade and finish one set of courses while prepping new courses, it is also a fresh start for everyone and a new chapter. So it is an exciting day and it is snowing! Yes, the last day of the Fall term is letting us know hard that today marks the beginning of the Winter season and I am totally ready for it. With cozy times and more festive spirits, I cannot wait to spend time in my little studio making pottery in-between the family and school moments. I am busy making orders for Naomi Mugs, ornaments, platters, and berry colanders, and I love love love making these items knowing they will go to someone's home and become a part of their daily landscape.

0J7A31480J7A3394-20J7A3199

Terror & Songs

"I fear Squirrels the most," my brother Bryan said one random evening over dinner. We all cracked up laughing. Not because his fear isn't legitimate since squirrels are pretty terrifying. They just sort of freeze-up when you see them and then shift side-to-side as they contemplate their escape and you engage with them in this awkward dance as neither of you knows which direction to shift your weight into and you fear that the beast will choose to leap onto you face! But that exact sentence has been repeated in our family countless times because of its beautiful construction and the way it brought us all together in agreement that squirrels might be the creature to fear the most. Prior to the articulation of our familial collective phobia of squirrels (known as "Sciurophobia"), there was and remains another creature of equal trepidation: The Music Snob. Now this person is not insufferable, entirely. In fact, the music snob is a much important species in the ecosystem of humanity.  Except, the music snob is super intimidating. You know you are in the presence of a music snob based on four telltale signs:

  1. The snob wears an over-ear-set of headphones of probably some sleek vintage looking variety.
  2. The snob hates pop music <period>.
  3. The snob complains about what is found on radio stations.
  4. The snob ask you about some band they just saw live that is so obscure sounding, you can merely nod your head for fear of embarrassment

Mostly, this person intimidates me because my musical preferences are so pedestrian. Tops 40s are my jam and I rarely download a single song but enjoy whatever the radio personality puts on. Live shows don't compel me to purchase tickets and I don't think I even own a set of earbuds. There does exist a desire to be more musically inclined but no follow-up is ever consistently achieved. When people share their favorite songs during ice-breaker activities, my face heats up in a panic. "What was a song on the radio that I heard this morning?" as my mind floods with anxiety before my turn to share out.

But there are three songs that no matter what else is going on in the world, when the introduction chords or baseline drops, I pause. These three songs compel me to listen to them in their entirety because I sort of love them and they make me think about the three most important relationships in my life. They aren't maybe the coolest and they likely would not impress a music snob, but they are literally music to my ears and in the past 24 hours I have heard each of them on the radio and gotten a little smile from coincidence. So take that hypothetical  music snob judging me! haha

 

For David:

When the rain is pouring down And my heart is hurting You will always be around This I know for certain
You and me together Through the days and nights I don't worry 'cause Everything's going to be alright People keep talking they can say what they like But all I know is everything's going to be alright
No one, no one, no one Can get in the way of what I'm feeling No one, no one, no one Can get in the way of what I feel for you, you, you Can get in the way of what I feel
-Alicia Keyes
Alkire00028
For Henry:
I told you to be patient I told you to be fine I told you to be balanced I told you to be kind Now all your love is wasted? Then who the hell was I? Now I'm breaking at the britches And at the end of all your lines
Who will love you? Who will fight? Who will fall far behind?
Come on skinny love My, my, my, my, my, my, my, my
-Skinny Love
Alkire00010.jpg
For Owen:
For all the things my hands have held The best by far is you
If I could fly Then I would know What life looks like from up above and down below I'd keep you safe I'd keep you dry Don't be afraid Cecilia I'm the satellite And you're the sky
And you're the sky
-Cecelia and the Satellite
Alkire00048
Amsterdam Part II.

Amsterdam at night is known for its seedier side. Americans immediately conjure up images of ladies of the night hawking their bodies in the windows of the red light district as tourists gape open mouthed at their gestures and nakedness. The smell of pot smoke fills the air as drunken stag parties stumble about from pub to pub. While some of this might be true, much of it is the stuff of imagination as this "darker" side of Amsterdam wasn't really visible to us during our sojourn to the city. Yes, we toured the red light district and came upon coffeeshops from time to time, but none of it seemed illicit. All of it seemed totally normal and even "respectable" (also we attempted to get to bed by 9:30PM so we probably missed all the fun anyway). On the other hand, our nights in Amsterdam were consumed by another nefarious agent. Did you hear that sound? Oh no? You are lucky then because each night if we attempted to put Henry to bed in his travel crib an exorcism of the most horrific order unfolded! That first night was the stuff of parenting nightmares and I was convinced that Henry's screams could be heard back in beantown. For hours, he was completely inconsolable and wanted nothing to do with David. I was left pacing the floor of our tiny Amsterdam apartment with Henry strapped to me in the Ergobaby. If my paced changed, he shrieked. In those early morning hours, I broke down and begged David to get us back home to the States. I had had enough 24 hours in to our week long vacation. I threw in the towel. David however filled my cup with coffee and assured me that despite my zombie state and utter fear of a nightly repeat that it would get better. And it did. Well it did because we just gave in to the little tyrant. Instead of trying to get him to sleep in his crib (which he does beautifully every night at home), we let him sleep in bed with us. We also just went with his flow. Instead of bedtime at 7PM, he went to bed at 9:30PM. Instead of sleeping through the night, he woke up from 1-3AM for a play time session everyday. It was a crazy schedule, but we made it work. In the end, we all got enough sleep to make it through each day feeling rested and excited to explore. But, I will not lie, I am really happy to be back home if only for the return of our sleep schedule!

On top of our random and at times horrifying nights, we jotted down some funny or random items from our trip that either made us smile, laugh, or scratch our heads:

  • Selfie sticks: everywhere we turned photos were taken using selfie sticks. From teens to geriatrics, the selfie stick was by far the device of choice among the tourist circle. We saw them so often that we even thought to ourselves, "hmm maybe we should get one?"
  • Grandparents: when you take a bus tour you will inevitably be among the grandparent tourist circle. And there is nothing wrong with this. It is just a fact. The convenience of these types of tours make it incredibly welcoming to this demographic and it was also ideal for our little family. As such, we learned so much about all of the grandchildren of these delightful tourists. Each Oma and Opa would pet Henry's hand or head and tell us how sweet he was and how cute he was and how much they missed their own little grand-babies.
  • Dutch Girlfriend: Everywhere Henry went, he was a flirt. He would cast his "come hither" eyes to the crowd hoping to catch a young lady. Henry melted many a hearts in Amsterdam but no one fell harder than this little girl we met while eating dinner at the Golden Temple. She could not stop coming over to our table, holding Henry's hand, and staring at him. It was an instant connection and I cannot wait for their paths to cross again.
  • Day of Details: One morning David declared it the "day of details." While I sort of laughed at this idea, it was actually really fun. David went about the city with a keen eye hoping to capture the smaller points of Amsterdam. He ended up taking some great shots!
  • Love Boat: When we got aboard the ferry to Marken the theme to the Love Boat played on repeat for the 30 minute trip. Ha, it was amazing!
  • Bjorns & Bikes: Did you know that you can just strap your newborn to you in a Bjorn and bike around the city? Every country is different and we should not jump to immediate judgements but this was one practice that surprised me every time I saw it. Dads glided by with their little fresh babies in Bjorns as they biked here and there. Amsterdam bike culture is VERY different from Boston. In Boston, a cyclist runs the risk of losing life or limb to a disgruntled driver which is not at all what it is like biking in the very, very cyclist friendly city of Amsterdam. Nonetheless, this practice was super curious, but I am sure those little babies napped really well while their parents biked them about strapped to their chests!
  • Robin & Heather: It is sometimes hard to realize how much you miss someone until you see them again and are directly reminded of how awesome they are! I miss Robin and Heather terribly. They are truly good friends, good people, and good souls. Their visit to Amsterdam for the weekend of our stay was by far my trip highlight.
pot sticker soup
Sometimes you just need a recipe that will take no longer than 15 minutes to throw together and will comfort your family through winter chills and colds. This recipe feels like a "kitchen sink" type of meal. Everything gets tossed in, simmers for a little bit, and serves up nice and quick. Its a win win: fast and delicious.

Ingredients:

2 cups shelled edamame

2 carrots peeled and sliced

2 handfuls of shiitake mushrooms sliced

Rice Noodles

16 frozen pork pot stickers

5 scallions diced

2 32oz chicken broth cartons

1 piece of ginger approx 2 inches in length diced

2 tablespoons soy sauce

salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot over medium heat add the chicken broth and ginger. Bring to a boil. Add in carrots and simmer for 5 minutes. Add edamame, mushrooms, rice noodles, pot stickers, scallions, soy sauce, and salt and pepper. Simmer for another 5-8 minutes or until pot stickers are cooked through. Serve in a nice big bowl and enjoy!  We definitely enjoyed this while it snowed again outside our window. This is one long winter in New England and still more snow to come!

an epic nap

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 9.16.13 AM After work on Wednesday,  I brought Henry upstairs to my bedroom while I changed out of my work clothes. He was laying on the bed babbling to me while Buster and Bella were pacing around the bed. Suddenly, Henry started to get fussy. At first, my immediate response was to "change the scenery."  Now that Henry is slightly more mobile he loves to "move" more and being stationary isn't really an option. But, bringing him into my arms, his fussiness didn't subside. Problem-solving Henry is usually easy. Most often, the fussiness is for: a change of activity, hunger, sleepiness, or a diaper. This time, it just so happened to be sleepiness. While I nursed him on the bed, Henry kept nodding off. It was so sweet watching him fall asleep in my arms. But, I have to confess, I have never nursed him while laying down. It just has never seemed like a natural position. With my sleepy baby in my arms, I thought I would try it. Carefully, I laid down on the bed with Henry on my side. And he napped. As I was in my pajamas, I closed my eyes and savored this super snuggly, beautiful moment with my son. My eyes opened every few minutes to take him in and I just could not get over how beautiful this was.

Of course, everything in the house was against us! As we lay there in the growing darkness, Buster was the first to try to upset the moment. He jumped on and off the bed, paced around the room, and even let out a bark as a truck drove by. Then it was Bella's turn. She grabbed a bone and brought it to the bed and started to gnaw loudly on it. I waited with baited breath to see if the nap spell would break. Henry held on to his quiet slumber. Then from downstairs, Blaise started to howl and bang up against his crate. Hearing the pups upstairs, he eagerly sought to play with them and therefore held the nap in the balance. His enthusiasm woke up Daisy who joined in his choir of howls.  Tenuously, Henry remained asleep beside me. After the two longest minutes, the house fell silent and I confidently thought, "Ah, now we can relax into the nap for real." No sooner was this thought made, then my parents came home from an errand opening up the garage. Again the cacophony of dog noises erupted! This time, Henry was jolted from his slumber, but he didn't cry. He merely smiled up at me and my heart melted.

banh mi

That food truck festival left me craving banh mi sandwiches. Seriously, it is crazy how yummy that sandwich was. I can still taste it if I close my eyes, mmmmm. Anyway, instead of pining for it, I decided to try to recreate it. And of course with this goal in mind, Blue Apron has the same recipe as one of their meal selections. While I don't subscribe to the service right now, I headed out to the grocer to buy the ingredients and whip it up.  What ensued was hilarious. Overall the recipe was super simple. Since it is a sandwich you sort of create an assembly line for the eaters-to-be. First, I prepared the cucumber and carrot salad then the mayo then the slaw then the toasted breads. Once each of these was lined up in their serving bowl on the kitchen counter, I turned my attention to the chicken. Now the issue with Blue Apron is that they send you spices in the perfect amount. While I can copy their recipes, when it comes to the proportion of spices I have to wing it. We love a good spicy meal so I was quite heavy handed with my "copied" spice blend. I covered each piece of chicken with the blend and started to cook it up in the pan. Suddenly, Henry was sneezing and sneezing in the living room, David started coughing, my mom started to sneeze and cough. Then it hit me and finally all four of the dogs started to sneeze!  WAY TOO MUCH PEPPER got into the air. We were all suffering from this effect, eyes watering,  and sneezing uncontrollably. I turned on the vent and opened a window but the sneezing continued. We were very skeptical at this point about eating the sandwiches but found that they were actually quite delicious, if a bit too spicy. Thirty minutes after the meal we were still sneezing and Henry continued to sneeze even through his bath!  Clearly, the next time I make this we will use about 10% of the spice I originally thought was necessary.  And yes, I do plan to make these again sneezing or no! Hopefully I can convince the rest of the family to trust me again.

Ingredients:

2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts

2 Carrots

1 P Cucumber

¼ Head Red Cabbage

4 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar

3 Tablespoons Mayonnaise

2 Tablespoons Hoisin Sauce

2 Banh Mi Rolls (we used sub rolls)

2 Teaspoons Sesame Oil

1 Tablespoon Bánh Mí Spice Blend (Chinese 5-Spice, Galangal, Lemongrass Powder, Smoked Paprika & Cayenne Powder)

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Peel and cut the carrot into thin matchsticks and cut the cucumber into thin circles. Thinly slice the cabbage leaves . In a small bowl, combine the hoisin sauce and mayonnaise. Completely coat the chicken in the bánh mì spice blend (this is where I went a little too crazy!). In a small pot, combine half the rice vinegar, ½ cup of water and a big pinch of salt. Heat to boiling on high. In a large, heat-proof bowl, combine a dash of the sesame oil, the carrots and cucumber. Once the pickling mixture is boiling, remove from heat and pour over the carrots and cucumber. Cover and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the sliced cabbage, remaining sesame oil, half the hoisin-mayonnaise sauce and the remaining rice vinegar. Toss gently to mix and set aside. In a medium pan, add chicken and cook.   Slice the bánh mì rolls in half lengthwise. Place the sliced rolls on a small sheet pan (or directly on the oven racks). Toast 3 to 5 minutes, or until crispy on the outside and warmed through. Assemble sandwich to your particular liking and enjoy!!

food truck festival
Things have been a bit hectic here. My parents moved in while they await the completion of their home 6 miles away. And, we are helping them sort out a bit of paperwork and some home-selling bumps! In order to give everyone a break from the whirlwind this has presented, we decided to take a little short break on Saturday morning before having to dive back in.I don't know why but everyone seems to love food trucks! The meals are cheap, trendy, and delicious.  Not to mention the trucks always seem to have the cutest names like Chubby Chickpea, Insane-wiches, or Tipsy Taco. On Saturday our suburban community gathered on the common for the Metrowest Fest: a food truck festival combined with live music, bounce houses for kids, and a craft fair. The weather could not have been more perfect. When the sun came out it felt like a warm Summer day and when it hid behind the clouds a cool, crisp Fall breeze came through. The event started at 11AM and was bound to be a zoo, so we decided that since we have our little man it would be best to drive over and find parking early. We arrived around 10:45 and the whole space was ours for the perusing.

 

Instantly my parents knew that they wanted to check out the Lobstah Roll Truck. We were their first order at exactly 11AM. It looked delicious and my parents confirmed that indeed it was just as tasty as it appeared.

David is super lucky. At work each day of the week, one of these scrumptious food trucks parks at the end of the road by his office. So while all these places were new to me, they were old hat for him. Bahn Mi is a truck that David always raves about so I rushed there.

The sandwich was FANTASTIC!  I seriously could eat it everyday. The meat was tender and the sauces nuanced. The bread was toasted perfectly and I only wish I had another one!

We also sampled truffle fries, limeades, bacon grilled cheese, and calamari before we decided that we needed to take a little breather and walk around the craft fair. By then, it was starting to fill in and we were so happy we were able to see our friends: Joe, Nikki, Christine, Carl, Maryellen, Dan, Jill, Jordan, Karyn, Ernie & Annabelle there too!

David climbed the steps of the football stadium to take this above shot, do you see us?

But before we headed home completely full, we stopped at Frozen Hoagie for a sweet finish to a delicious morning. Now some of us are napping as a result of this food fest.

 

concert in the park
Every Friday of summer, our town hosts an outdoor concert in the green. I have wanted to go to these for two years, but inevitability something always comes up. The weather might storm, or we might forget about the series, or we might decide to skip it. But finally this past Friday was our night! We called some fellow town friends to meet us there and we drove over. Setting up our blanket, we found a beautiful spot in the cool summer air. The green was full of families and friends ready to share an evening out under the stars. Little did we know at the time that this would be the last concert in the series for the summer. Thank goodness we went then, no?  While I am not a fan of the Grateful Dead, the cover band did a good job.  We enjoyed the music and when Henry became fussy we even enjoyed the dancing and bopping around that he demanded! We stayed until the sun set and before any bugs were noticeable and headed for a little ice cream treat to cap the night. It was a perfect summer evening and we will definitely need to get to those concerts more often next summer!
childbirth class

Ten couples sit in a semi-circle in the basement room of the hospital.  We are there to learn about the natural process of childbirth. Sitting there, David and I cannot stop laughing at the humor of this setting. We are all educated adults and yet this natural human act of giving birth to a child is so mystifying that we have all registered for a four week course. The room is quiet when we first arrive as couples check in and get their name tags. I can not help but glance around at all the bumps I am surrounded by.  This was the first time I was in the room with so many fellow pregnant ladies and honestly it felt great. It felt like I was among "my people." Our instructor is super nice and introduced herself as a mother, nurse, and educator. And with that we began our natural childbirth class. I am hoping that in the end of these four weeks, I will have a clearer understanding of what "textbook" delivery looks like. When everything goes according to plan: What is happening to one's body? What is happening to the baby? How can you tell when it is time to go to the hospital? What pain management options are available?  How can you unpack your delivery wishlist? How can I have the delivery I imagine for myself and my baby? It feels like I should somehow know the answers to these questions already. Since I am pregnant shouldn't my primal pregnant brain take over and just somehow know? Unfortunately, it doesn't quite work like that and I am hoping that David and I not only answer these questions but actually feel prepared for this journey soon.

Scanning the room it was clear that each one of us was having a very different pregnancy experience. Age is not the only indicator, but as we warm up and start to share stories about our baby bellies, it becomes apparent that our symptoms of pregnancy run the gamut. I will definitely admit that having the latest estimated due date in the group leaves me with a little bump envy. I couldn't help but ask David if we were in the right place and if we were really pregnant?  He laughed and just said our guy is little but yes you are most definitely pregnant! The first night was all about getting to the basics of human anatomy during childbirth and giving an overview of the courses topics. I am currently a little intimidated by all of the reading we have to do.  The cute purple folders passed out contained dozens and dozens of handouts and recommended reading lists.  And, for someone who is SO type A like myself, these "suggested" materials immediately get put under the "mandatory" category in my eyes. Yes, I know every woman's experience will be different and that there is not "test" I am studying for, but somehow being as informed as I can be gives me comfort (perhaps that is the historian in me).

The best part of the birth class was the last fifteen minutes. Spread out in our couplings, we laid down on yoga mats with pillows, closed our eyes and were led through a relaxation exercise. AH!  It was divine.  At first, I felt so tense on the mat and my mind kept wandering off to my to-do list, but I gently tugged it back a few times and by the end of the exercise, I truly felt like I relaxed. Even the little guy who was poking my ribs and bobbing around in my tummy when I first laid down went completely still by the end. It was actually quite a cool experience. Our only  real homework from class is to practice these relaxation techniques and David is super cute and excited to help guide me through them.  I think these next four weeks will end up being quite insightful, fun, and will allow us to hopefully make friends with other couples in the area who share our June arrival month.

Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 8.48.23 AM

back to school

Screen Shot 2013-08-06 at 8.02.45 AM It has started. The back to school commercials are in full force. Delighted parents run up and down the aisles of Target filling their carts with folders, pencils, clothes, and backpacks. Happy music plays in the background while their frowning children walk listlessly behind them. Of course, August is still the summer, but with the arrival of August comes the arrival of back to school anxiety dreams for me. These commercials don't help either.

Don't get me wrong, I love my job. I am so lucky not only to have the summers off to pursue my other interests, spend time with friends and family, and travel, but when I head back into the school year it is to a truly amazing school filled with superb co-workers and dynamic students.  But, even though I do actually work in Edutopia, I still get those pesky anxiety dreams. They are always the same. Imagine:

I arrive back to school to only find out that the schedule I have been following all day is wrong and I am missing all of my classes. Or, I arrive to class only to realize that I have not planned a single lesson and am frozen in front of the students and, of course, I am wearing my yoga pants too!  Or, and this is my favorite kind of anxiety dream, I walk into my class totally unprepared.  I stare blankly at the students who begin to roll their eyes at me and suggest my teaching ignorance, only to fall flat on my face and break a tooth and I am in my yoga pants! AH!  Waking up in a cold sweat, I remind myself that (a) I am such a type A personality that I could never not be prepared for a class and to just relax and (b) I am still 3 weeks away from the start of school and as with every year once I am back it is like riding a bicycle and the teaching muscles will remember what to do and the kids will inspire me and the summer haze will fade into a crisp Fall. And being at school will be the exact place where I am suppose to be.

Dear Summer,

Please go a little bit slower.

Sincerely,

An Anxious Teacher

"Dear Summer,

Please go faster.

Sincerely,

A Crazed Parent" @NikkiMoff

Screen Shot 2013-08-06 at 8.03.03 AM

what i read, what i thought

Screen Shot 2013-07-10 at 12.15.51 PMHave you ever felt used by someone?  You know what I mean.  Have you ever felt as though some one was being your friend merely to gain access to your home, car, vacation spot, food, connections, lifestyle, advice, etc.?  I am guessing that the sensation of feeling "used" is quite universal. Perhaps the user is intentionally abusing your kindness, generosity, or naiveté, but probably they are seemingly unaware of how their behavior is coming across. While reading the book Prospect Park West  by Amy Sohn, I kept coming back to this idea of how we constantly use those around us. David has recently been reading How to Make Friends and Influence People  and, from what he shared, it seems the user-usee relationship is the integral relationship of human interactions. According to author Carnegie, the best way to interest someone is to compliment them in a genuine fashion and/or ask them about themselves or something/one they love. His advice stems from his belief that everyone is self-interested and that in being self-interested, we therefore use those around.  How to manipulate, control, or shift this primary occurrence is what is key to "success." In the book Prospect Park West, the characters are highly interesting. Each has a quirk, a compulsion, a fun side, and, quite frankly, a selfish side. As the book progressed, I was wrapped up in their trivial daily dramas but found that the characters are not likable people. Each character is using someone for their own personal or professional gain in overt ways. Rebecca uses Lizzie to feel loved since her "meanness" repulses her husband while Lizzie uses Rebecca to explore her sexuality until Rebecca put off by the affection Lizzie shows is then repulsed by Lizzie. Karen uses Melora as a crutch for social anxiety while she also uses her husband to gain access to premium property in the coveted Brooklyn neighborhood. None of the characters truly express love or genuine affection for any of the others and yet they are connected through their constant need to self-promote. While I cannot say that I liked the book and its variety of messages, it did get me thinking about the purpose of relationships, friendships, and made me more aware of how I and those around me self-promote or use in order to advance or get their way. While this is all part of human nature, I am hoping that this chick lit can be a breaking point for me. I truly want to try to avoid being like these women in this novel. Yes, their stories are sensuous, suggestive, and fun but the content of their character left me wanting. I can see some of those baser traits in myself and I want to do more to not only be aware of them but to shift them to something more positive. In the Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald describes Daisy and Tom as "careless" people.  I would describe many of the characters in Prospect Park West as similarly careless.  But, hopefully with this in mind, I can avoid a similar description.

what i read, what i thought

Spring Break started with a snow day as you may have read in my last post: students. Stuck inside for a few hours, I hit the ground running on my long list of books to read as quickly as I can within the next 14 days. It is so decadent to know that from now until March 25 my only priorities are to see people I love, relax, and read. The first book tackled was The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Yes, this book is technically a young adult book, but before you simply dismiss it hear me out. “Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together until all living humans read the book. And then there are books… which you can’t tell people about, books so special and rare and yours that advertising your affection feels like a betrayal.”—Hazel, from The Fault in Our Stars

Revealing the full plot of the book would be an injustice to the complex waters that Screen Shot 2013-03-09 at 6.29.54 PMGreen emerges the reader.  Teasing out the intersections of love, friendship, sarcasm, coming-of-age, mortality, passion, and purpose, Green's protagonists, Hazel and Augustus, demand to be brought to life and demand the reader's utmost attention. It is a bittersweet, poignant story.  At times genuinely reflective of angsty teenage melodrama but it is more often about the finding meaning while facing oblivion. Green's voice defies the categorization of young adult with its raw glimpse into the world of Hazel and Augustus.

"Some infinities are bigger than other infinities ... There are days, many of them, when I resent the size of my unbound set. But Gus, my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity." —Hazel, from The Fault in Our Stars

 

what i read, what i thought

Spring Break started with a snow day as you may have read in my last post: students. Stuck inside for a few hours, I hit the ground running on my long list of books to read as quickly as I can within the next 14 days. It is so decadent to know that from now until March 25 my only priorities are to see people I love, relax, and read. The first book tackled was The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Yes, this book is technically a young adult book, but before you simply dismiss it hear me out. “Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together until all living humans read the book. And then there are books… which you can’t tell people about, books so special and rare and yours that advertising your affection feels like a betrayal.”—Hazel, from The Fault in Our Stars

Revealing the full plot of the book would be an injustice to the complex waters that Screen Shot 2013-03-09 at 6.29.54 PMGreen emerges the reader.  Teasing out the intersections of love, friendship, sarcasm, coming-of-age, mortality, passion, and purpose, Green's protagonists, Hazel and Augustus, demand to be brought to life and demand the reader's utmost attention. It is a bittersweet, poignant story.  At times genuinely reflective of angsty teenage melodrama but it is more often about the finding meaning while facing oblivion. Green's voice defies the categorization of young adult with its raw glimpse into the world of Hazel and Augustus.

"Some infinities are bigger than other infinities ... There are days, many of them, when I resent the size of my unbound set. But Gus, my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity." —Hazel, from The Fault in Our Stars

 

what i read, what i thought

Spring Break started with a snow day as you may have read in my last post: students. Stuck inside for a few hours, I hit the ground running on my long list of books to read as quickly as I can within the next 14 days. It is so decadent to know that from now until March 25 my only priorities are to see people I love, relax, and read. The first book tackled was The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Yes, this book is technically a young adult book, but before you simply dismiss it hear me out. “Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together until all living humans read the book. And then there are books… which you can’t tell people about, books so special and rare and yours that advertising your affection feels like a betrayal.”—Hazel, from The Fault in Our Stars

Revealing the full plot of the book would be an injustice to the complex waters that Screen Shot 2013-03-09 at 6.29.54 PMGreen emerges the reader.  Teasing out the intersections of love, friendship, sarcasm, coming-of-age, mortality, passion, and purpose, Green's protagonists, Hazel and Augustus, demand to be brought to life and demand the reader's utmost attention. It is a bittersweet, poignant story.  At times genuinely reflective of angsty teenage melodrama but it is more often about the finding meaning while facing oblivion. Green's voice defies the categorization of young adult with its raw glimpse into the world of Hazel and Augustus.

"Some infinities are bigger than other infinities ... There are days, many of them, when I resent the size of my unbound set. But Gus, my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity." —Hazel, from The Fault in Our Stars

 

what i read and what i thought

I can't believe I just finished it!! Reading for pleasure during the school year is practically impossible, but when a friend passed along this book to me and said, "I cannot tell you anything about it but that is was amazing," I knew I needed to make an exception. Each night I would come home with my stack of papers to grade and lessons to plan and stare at the book on the kitchen table.  When would I ever get the time to crack it open? Then two weekends in a row the city of Boston was hit by tremendous snowstorms. I woke early these days to make my coffee, nestle in on the couch and begin reading Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.

Screen Shot 2013-02-24 at 8.17.03 PM

As the snow fell in heavy flakes outside my window and as I emptied my coffee cup, the pages ticked off one by one. I wasn't sure this book would capture my imagination.  The first few chapters were good but nothing that compelled me to want to dedicate my day to the story and to the protagonist, Nick Dunne. Early on I didn't like Nick, so why finish his story? But, my friend had said this was the type of book that you should only read once you have set aside some ours to get lost.

It was about 50 pages in when I became hooked. As the story of murder, intrigue, and possibilities unravelled I found myself squealing with every new twist and turn.  Just when you think you have a handle on what is going on, the trajectory takes a sharp turn and leaves you biting your nails in anticipation. I could not gobble up the last 100 hundred pages fast enough. As I approached the last few pages, David called out, "You are almost there. You can do it."  I was hypnotized by Flynn's tale. Never a fan for CSI or Law and Order, I literally could not stop until the story came to its unexpected conclusion.  It was a twisted end and one I am still deciding it I really "liked" or not, but regardless I recommend this book to the next reader.  Enjoy the ride.

what i read and what i thought

I can't believe I just finished it!! Reading for pleasure during the school year is practically impossible, but when a friend passed along this book to me and said, "I cannot tell you anything about it but that is was amazing," I knew I needed to make an exception. Each night I would come home with my stack of papers to grade and lessons to plan and stare at the book on the kitchen table.  When would I ever get the time to crack it open? Then two weekends in a row the city of Boston was hit by tremendous snowstorms. I woke early these days to make my coffee, nestle in on the couch and begin reading Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.

Screen Shot 2013-02-24 at 8.17.03 PM

As the snow fell in heavy flakes outside my window and as I emptied my coffee cup, the pages ticked off one by one. I wasn't sure this book would capture my imagination.  The first few chapters were good but nothing that compelled me to want to dedicate my day to the story and to the protagonist, Nick Dunne. Early on I didn't like Nick, so why finish his story? But, my friend had said this was the type of book that you should only read once you have set aside some ours to get lost.

It was about 50 pages in when I became hooked. As the story of murder, intrigue, and possibilities unravelled I found myself squealing with every new twist and turn.  Just when you think you have a handle on what is going on, the trajectory takes a sharp turn and leaves you biting your nails in anticipation. I could not gobble up the last 100 hundred pages fast enough. As I approached the last few pages, David called out, "You are almost there. You can do it."  I was hypnotized by Flynn's tale. Never a fan for CSI or Law and Order, I literally could not stop until the story came to its unexpected conclusion.  It was a twisted end and one I am still deciding it I really "liked" or not, but regardless I recommend this book to the next reader.  Enjoy the ride.

what i read and what i thought

I can't believe I just finished it!! Reading for pleasure during the school year is practically impossible, but when a friend passed along this book to me and said, "I cannot tell you anything about it but that is was amazing," I knew I needed to make an exception. Each night I would come home with my stack of papers to grade and lessons to plan and stare at the book on the kitchen table.  When would I ever get the time to crack it open? Then two weekends in a row the city of Boston was hit by tremendous snowstorms. I woke early these days to make my coffee, nestle in on the couch and begin reading Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.

Screen Shot 2013-02-24 at 8.17.03 PM

As the snow fell in heavy flakes outside my window and as I emptied my coffee cup, the pages ticked off one by one. I wasn't sure this book would capture my imagination.  The first few chapters were good but nothing that compelled me to want to dedicate my day to the story and to the protagonist, Nick Dunne. Early on I didn't like Nick, so why finish his story? But, my friend had said this was the type of book that you should only read once you have set aside some ours to get lost.

It was about 50 pages in when I became hooked. As the story of murder, intrigue, and possibilities unravelled I found myself squealing with every new twist and turn.  Just when you think you have a handle on what is going on, the trajectory takes a sharp turn and leaves you biting your nails in anticipation. I could not gobble up the last 100 hundred pages fast enough. As I approached the last few pages, David called out, "You are almost there. You can do it."  I was hypnotized by Flynn's tale. Never a fan for CSI or Law and Order, I literally could not stop until the story came to its unexpected conclusion.  It was a twisted end and one I am still deciding it I really "liked" or not, but regardless I recommend this book to the next reader.  Enjoy the ride.

seriously, where do i work?

Screen Shot 2013-01-11 at 7.49.21 PMThere is a scene in the movie The Hangover that stopped me in my tracks.  It is not one of its more notorious scenes involving tigers, drugs, or yanking a tooth out.  It is a fast moment at the very beginning of the movie and it left me laughing until tears ran down my cheeks. Bradley Cooper's character is rushing out of school having taught a full week of classes.  His wild bachelor weekend is about to commence when a "nerdy" little student rubs up along side him and starts "Mr. Wenneck, I was...." before he can stammer out the request, Cooper turns his flat hand to face the boy stating, "It's the weekend. I don't know you. You don't exist." Commence laughing hysterically.  It is so funny because I would NEVER say this, but sometimes when the clock strikes 3:25PM on Friday, I wish I could flip the switch from teacher mode into whatever it is I am on the weekend and run down the hall to my car. I love my job but after pouring out my empathy and passion all week long, I am utterly drained and dragging on Fridays.  The last thing I want to do after classes on Friday is facilitate an afternoon activity.  Alas, this is my destiny.  So there I was today changing in the bathroom to teach Pilates to my 12 students in the afternoon program while envisioning this particular scene from The Hangover.  As I pulled on my yoga pants, grabbed my mat, and walked to the room we transform into a "yoga studio," I knew I had failed to fire up the Bradley Cooper in me.

I stretched on the floor with the students and before long, I felt fully present with them.  Breathing heavy, stretching, and doing slow flow Pilates exercises is a sure way to reboot a LONG Friday afternoon. With ten minutes left to the class, one of my ninth grade boys came in and asked if he could hang out in the room while he waits for his carpool.  Since it was Friday, I agreed that he could join us.  Announcing to the Pilates kids that "in 4 minutes it will be time for Savasana," the ninth grade boy got up and disappeared. I did not think much of it, perhaps his carpool arrived, and continued to lead our last exercises.

As we closed our eyes for Savasana, the ninth grade boy returned with his guitar. He sat down on the floor, dimmed the lights, and began to play Blackbird by the Beatles.  It was such a beautiful, random moment.  Instead of laughing hysterically from a cynical scene about teaching, I started to cry totally overwhelmed by how special this school is, how special these students are, and how I am so lucky to work each and every day with these thoughtful, messy, curious, funny, sweet and so-much-more kids. Pilates on a Friday afternoon was the best thing I could I have done before heading out to the weekend.  Being appreciative even when you are tired is always a good reminder. Happy Weekend!

seriously, where do i work?

Screen Shot 2013-01-11 at 7.49.21 PMThere is a scene in the movie The Hangover that stopped me in my tracks.  It is not one of its more notorious scenes involving tigers, drugs, or yanking a tooth out.  It is a fast moment at the very beginning of the movie and it left me laughing until tears ran down my cheeks. Bradley Cooper's character is rushing out of school having taught a full week of classes.  His wild bachelor weekend is about to commence when a "nerdy" little student rubs up along side him and starts "Mr. Wenneck, I was...." before he can stammer out the request, Cooper turns his flat hand to face the boy stating, "It's the weekend. I don't know you. You don't exist." Commence laughing hysterically.  It is so funny because I would NEVER say this, but sometimes when the clock strikes 3:25PM on Friday, I wish I could flip the switch from teacher mode into whatever it is I am on the weekend and run down the hall to my car. I love my job but after pouring out my empathy and passion all week long, I am utterly drained and dragging on Fridays.  The last thing I want to do after classes on Friday is facilitate an afternoon activity.  Alas, this is my destiny.  So there I was today changing in the bathroom to teach Pilates to my 12 students in the afternoon program while envisioning this particular scene from The Hangover.  As I pulled on my yoga pants, grabbed my mat, and walked to the room we transform into a "yoga studio," I knew I had failed to fire up the Bradley Cooper in me.

I stretched on the floor with the students and before long, I felt fully present with them.  Breathing heavy, stretching, and doing slow flow Pilates exercises is a sure way to reboot a LONG Friday afternoon. With ten minutes left to the class, one of my ninth grade boys came in and asked if he could hang out in the room while he waits for his carpool.  Since it was Friday, I agreed that he could join us.  Announcing to the Pilates kids that "in 4 minutes it will be time for Savasana," the ninth grade boy got up and disappeared. I did not think much of it, perhaps his carpool arrived, and continued to lead our last exercises.

As we closed our eyes for Savasana, the ninth grade boy returned with his guitar. He sat down on the floor, dimmed the lights, and began to play Blackbird by the Beatles.  It was such a beautiful, random moment.  Instead of laughing hysterically from a cynical scene about teaching, I started to cry totally overwhelmed by how special this school is, how special these students are, and how I am so lucky to work each and every day with these thoughtful, messy, curious, funny, sweet and so-much-more kids. Pilates on a Friday afternoon was the best thing I could I have done before heading out to the weekend.  Being appreciative even when you are tired is always a good reminder. Happy Weekend!

seriously, where do i work?

Screen Shot 2013-01-11 at 7.49.21 PMThere is a scene in the movie The Hangover that stopped me in my tracks.  It is not one of its more notorious scenes involving tigers, drugs, or yanking a tooth out.  It is a fast moment at the very beginning of the movie and it left me laughing until tears ran down my cheeks. Bradley Cooper's character is rushing out of school having taught a full week of classes.  His wild bachelor weekend is about to commence when a "nerdy" little student rubs up along side him and starts "Mr. Wenneck, I was...." before he can stammer out the request, Cooper turns his flat hand to face the boy stating, "It's the weekend. I don't know you. You don't exist." Commence laughing hysterically.  It is so funny because I would NEVER say this, but sometimes when the clock strikes 3:25PM on Friday, I wish I could flip the switch from teacher mode into whatever it is I am on the weekend and run down the hall to my car. I love my job but after pouring out my empathy and passion all week long, I am utterly drained and dragging on Fridays.  The last thing I want to do after classes on Friday is facilitate an afternoon activity.  Alas, this is my destiny.  So there I was today changing in the bathroom to teach Pilates to my 12 students in the afternoon program while envisioning this particular scene from The Hangover.  As I pulled on my yoga pants, grabbed my mat, and walked to the room we transform into a "yoga studio," I knew I had failed to fire up the Bradley Cooper in me.

I stretched on the floor with the students and before long, I felt fully present with them.  Breathing heavy, stretching, and doing slow flow Pilates exercises is a sure way to reboot a LONG Friday afternoon. With ten minutes left to the class, one of my ninth grade boys came in and asked if he could hang out in the room while he waits for his carpool.  Since it was Friday, I agreed that he could join us.  Announcing to the Pilates kids that "in 4 minutes it will be time for Savasana," the ninth grade boy got up and disappeared. I did not think much of it, perhaps his carpool arrived, and continued to lead our last exercises.

As we closed our eyes for Savasana, the ninth grade boy returned with his guitar. He sat down on the floor, dimmed the lights, and began to play Blackbird by the Beatles.  It was such a beautiful, random moment.  Instead of laughing hysterically from a cynical scene about teaching, I started to cry totally overwhelmed by how special this school is, how special these students are, and how I am so lucky to work each and every day with these thoughtful, messy, curious, funny, sweet and so-much-more kids. Pilates on a Friday afternoon was the best thing I could I have done before heading out to the weekend.  Being appreciative even when you are tired is always a good reminder. Happy Weekend!