Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Tourists at Home

Continuing what we started yesterday, the Squid once again set out to be tourists in their own city.

Today's destination was the Transit Museum where, unlike yesterday, we have ventured before. The exhibits have not changed much but it is always fun to walk in and out of the old subway cars and play with the turnstiles.

Then we decided to walk back into Manhattan in order to get some Dim Sum at our favorite spot in Chinatown. My original thought was that it would be fun to walk over the Brooklyn Bridge in the falling snow. This was while I was still envisioning the snow as light and fluffy.

Look closely at the temperature in the photo above.

Our innate intelligence took over, however, and we took the Manhattan Bridge instead. The two bridges are mere blocks away in Brooklyn but considerably further apart in Manhattan with the Manhattan Bridge dumping one directly onto Canal Street and Chinatown. The wind was howling and the snow was NOT light and fluffy but rather hard and piercing. Mini drifts swirled around our feet as we descended from the bridge.

Walking quickly to our destination (or as quickly as the perpetually crowded streets of Chinatown will allow) we sat down and practically inhaled our dumplings and a whole pot of tea downed as we warmed up from the walk. Temps in Brooklyn as we crossed the bridge were 28 degrees Fahrenheit (-2 Celsius).
We then tramped around some more in search of red bean pastries for the kids and donuts and bialies for all.

Now home and warm we are settling in for a quiet New Year's Eve. May this year bring you nothing but good things!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Sunrise on Top of the City

We went for a little walk this morning. Leaving before sunrise, we hurried through deserted streets in order to catch this sunrise.

Sunrise with pigeon

Then we spent some time gawking at the views. Yes, we gawked like tourists.
Except instead of reading the cheat sheet, I quizzed the kids on what some of the buildings were.
Figured out where we were?
We see the very top of this building from Squidette's room. This will, when we ultimately sell this apartment, allow us to advertise it as having a view of ...
The Empire State Building!
Yes, it is true, this was the Squidlings first visit to the observation deck of the Empire State Building.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Catch Up

In the time since I last posted there have been ...

mittens, (double knit, with elephants)

winter concerts (Squidette is the one directly to the left of the conductor)

Holiday Windows,

and visits with family.
Up to date?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

There is something ...

... to be for making the bed with too much of the covers on your husband's side of the bed. When you climb into the bed, 15 minutes after him, and steal the covers back ... they're nice and warm.

Only 8 more hours until dismissal ... and I'm not even AT work yet!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Heart and Phone Breaking

Today was a heartbreaking day. It was also a phone breaking day as I took out some frustrations on my desk phone.

It still works.

After a fashion.

Made my boss laugh ...

That's all I can say about that.

Except ... if you are a parent ... go hug your kids! Please!!! Pretty Please!!!

Make sure they know you love them.


I'll wait.

Actually I won't wait ... but I'll return another day and show you the massive pile of HotSnapz that arrived yesterday. I'm using one right now. And two kept my hands nice and warm during yard duty. After which I managed to burst one. Oops. Good thing I ordered lots.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Warming Up ... I hope

Lots of research was done this weekend, followed by lots of online purchasing.

Flannel lined khakis and jeans were procured from L.L. Bean, as were fleece lined shoes.

HotSnapZ hand warmers were ordered. (We went to dinner at a friends house and experienced these wonderful, reusable, items. I may have over ordered in my enthusiasm. Or not.)

Wool tights, including a pair of cotton lined tights were ordered.

Sock liners were located.

And the temps are supposed to go into the 40s tomorrow. Which is good since none of this stuff will arrive before Tuesday at the earliest.

It was a quiet weekend but busy. I worked on cleaning a book room at work while the kids were in band practice. This was my fourth Saturday of work on this room. I think one more session will do it. Then on to the next one ...

An adult-only dinner on Saturday and a pre-chanuckah party on Sunday. On to the last full week before break.

Friday, December 12, 2008

So Cold!

My new job includes new responsibilities. Most of them just require tackling the learning curve. One, however, requires additional wardrobe.

Our middle school students are not allowed off "campus" for lunch. They can bring from home or eat school lunch and then can, usually, go outside to play in the yard. Both the cafeteria and the yard have to be supervised. Finding staff volunteers for yard duty is not easy. The main reason? The weather.

The kids have to go out as long as it's not raining (or snowing). Trust me. I kept them in on Monday because it was below freezing. I regretted it 10 minutes into the period. These are middle school kids. They have LOTS of energy. And they need to burn it off during recess. When they don't ... beware!

But back to the weather.

Very few days are picture perfect and the person manning the yard has to be prepared. During the mid fall and mid spring it's easy. Sunblock, a hat and a lightweight jacket do the trick. Early fall and late spring are even easier -- just the hat and sunblock. Add some knitting and it's easy duty.

This time of year, however, it's tough. The kids are running around but the duty person tends to stand still or walk slowly around the perimeter. Not enough exercise to really keep warm.

Then there's the issue of clothing. The school is over heated and I often ride my bike to work. Both of these factors are totally incompatible with yard duty right now.

I've stashed a hat, scarf and fingerless mitts in my work closet and even purchased a warm jacket just for yard duty. Gloves or mittens are always available no matter how I got to work. My problem areas are my legs and feet.

If I wear heavy slacks then I am too warm in the building -- the same goes for long undies under light slacks. I also tend to wear dress shoes, read: nice,thin flats or heels, with hose. Totally and completely incompatible with cold sidewalks.

And I like to wear skirts.

Do you see my problem?

I'm already changing clothes twice during the day. Once from biking gear to work clothes and then back again (and then into "house" clothes once home). Time permitting, and it rarely does, I'm willing to change my bottoms if I have to but now I need to figure out the right kind of bottoms.

I've heard about flannel lined jeans (and a quick google shows where I can get some) but does anyone out there have any experience with them? Brands to avoid? Or to run for?

I know that a new pair of Dansko clogs are in my future with the old ones going to live at work for quick, warmish, footwear. And wool socks are a given.

I'll figure it out.

Except on the days without time or when I'm not expecting to have to go out. Like today. When I wound up outside in 35 degree weather wearing wool socks, bike shoes, a cute pleated skirt and stockings.

Yes, I was shivering when I finally got back inside. But the kids were happy. And that's all that really matters. Right?

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

On Forgiveness

Today I was asked for forgiveness. Not for actions taken against me directly, but rather for not standing up for or at least alerting me to the actions of another.

I left the meeting with the answer (essentially) "what's past is past."

It wasn't a straight forward answer but neither was the request straight forward.

Have I forgiven?

Was there anything to forgive?

It's one of those philosophical issues where I'm just not sure. The person acted in what they felt was their own best interest. I tend to be more altruistic in my actions, even if they cost me.

Can everyone be like me? No.

Can I expect everyone to do as I would? No

Can I teach my children and hope that they follow my example? Yes.


A couple of weeks ago I made a comment that basically gave someone the benefit of the doubt. My son remarked "that's my old mommy! You're willing to think the best of people again." It made me realize just how far I had sunk in such a short time.


I'd lost a part of myself over the last school year. I'd started seeing the bad instead of the good in people. Seeing ulterior motives everywhere. And the scary part is that they were there.

I hated that of myself.

Call me a Pollyanna. I want to believe that all people are good. Or that they at least have some good in them.

Last year I learned differently and, unfortunately, brought it home to my kids.

Yes, there are bad, and even evil, people in this world. And sometimes you will run across them. That is, however, no reason to act in kind.

I came out of these experiences a stronger person. One who I hope is even more sensitive to people. To their nuances. And to the effect my actions can have on them.

Is there a message in this all?

Only if you think there is.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

A Blanket, Some Mittens and Some Rambling

I've been a busy girl, as is evident from my lack of posting.

Last Saturday night we went to the Opera (The Queen of Spades) and on Sunday Little Squid got his post opera migraine. Which continued into Monday, netting me a half day off of work. When I returned home with Little Squid (he was at work with me until I realized that this migraine was not going away), I decided to tackle the woven squares I'd worked up over the years.

I organized and placed and sorted and, with Little Squid's final approval, started sewing them together. The status as of this post is:

It still needs a final border of the brown blocks -- need to weave 24 more of them -- and several yards more of the jewel green tape. Little Squid is weaving the tape on his inkle loom. For the time being, however, it is serving it's intended purpose as a second couch blanket. One blanket doesn't cut it when you are snuggling with a large child in the middle of a cold winter night.

Then there are the mittens. Knit over the holiday weekend to replace Little Squid's battered bumble bee stripe mittens. They are double knit and, when same color out, the elephants are supposed to be on the back of the hands.

There's been other stuff going on. And all of it takes the form of fantastic blog posts. In my head. As I ride home from work. Yup. Still riding. Managed 2.5 days (5 trips) last week. and 8 trips the week before.

Tomorrow the temperature at 6:30 a.m. is supposed to be 18 degrees.

I might drive.


My comforter has been back on my bed for a few weeks now and I must say, snuggling under it after getting throughly chilled at work and on the ride home (can you say "double period yard duty?") has been a wonderful experience. My bedroom is finally a haven again, except for the occasional nasty dream about my former "room mates."


Have I mentioned that I love my job again? My staff is fantastic, as are most of the kids. At my old school the goal really seemed to be to take a good school and make it better. Here ... well let's just say that we're not on anyone's top ten list. There's good, honest work to be done and people who can envision the end result. Kids are knitting and crocheting all over the school and that is only making our job easier. Thank you to all who have made this possible!!!