July 15, 2012

Summer 2012

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 12:02 am by a care in the world

I’ve all but abandoned this blog as the pressures of school and life have overwhelmed me this year, but I’m halfway through summer break and feeling reflective again. My husband and I just returned from an 8-day road trip through California, visiting friends from previous lifetimes and soaking up the magnificent views of the Pacific.

People have asked me about my favorite part of the trip, but my favorite part was simply our itinerary. We spent a couple of days in San Francisco, courtesy of my ever-generous in-laws, a couple of days in Carmel with great old family friends, a few exciting days in L.A. with college soccer buddies of my husband’s, and family a short visit in San Gabriel with my favorite old neighbors. The wonderful people we got to spend time with and the variety of places we visited was my favorite “part” of the trip. It is good to love and be loved, even far from home.

Since we have been back we’ve been thrust into church life as much as ever– a funeral and a 65th wedding anniversary celebration have kept us occupied our first 2 days home. As we try to adjust to the time change and to being back in our “real world,” I’m starting to think about next year and my new school. I’m very excited to be teaching closer to home and in my area of expertise– English, finally! I’ll be with middle schoolers and while the curriculum is a little more rigid than I would like, I’m interested to see what it’s like to teach assigned books, grammar, vocabulary, and a specific writing technique. I think the thing I’m most worried about is trying to plan out a year-long syllabus before I even meet my students. Darn those private school parents and their intrusive expectations!

For now, I’m trying to take the to-do list a line at a time, starting with church first thing tomorrow morning. Then, bring on the planning!

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September 27, 2011

Tribute Part 2

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 10:18 pm by a care in the world

I’ve already written about my teacher, Dan Dalke. I think of him often, and try to bring the same excitement into my classroom every day that he brought to his. I teach in North Carolina, but this year the sophomore class trip is to Atlanta, my home city. I’ve been in charge of planning our visits to various tourist attractions, but the one that stands out for me more than anything else is the GA Aquarium.

Photo from here.

Besides teaching me marine biology, Dan taught me to care about the world, the oceans, the environment… he taught me the excitement of learning something new and unexpected. Who imagines that they’ll learn or care about fish in high school? Certainly not me. I loved English and history, and science only ranked a little above math. However, when Dan walked in with those flippers and that cape, I was sold. Nothing like a nerd who knows what he loves and isn’t afraid to show it. That’s the kind of nerd I aspire to be.

So Dan, this trip is for you. My mother has agreed to help me chaperone, and we will say a little prayer for you in front of the big tank. Whale sharks and 16-year-olds beware!

Photo from here.

June 7, 2011

Portland, ME

Posted in Uncategorized tagged at 9:19 pm by a care in the world

It’s been quite a busy start to the summer! Here I am writing about our trip to Maine 10 days ago, having just gotten back from North Carolina for a college reunion. It’s always wonderful to see old friends and professors 🙂

So, Portland! This was my first trip ever to Maine, and I was really stunned by its beauty. The closest place I can compare it to is Northern California, with its rocky beaches and rolling fog. We ate amazing food all weekend– highlights include lobster stew and strawberry rhubarb pie delivered to us by an opera-singing waitress in an almost-empty restaurant, and a  backyard lobster bake Sunday night at our hosts’ home. I don’t think I’ve ever been happier to have my hands messy.

personal photo

We started out the day with a hike on Morse Mountain, ending up on a beach so foggy that we couldn’t see 50 yards in front of us. The water was too cold for most of us, but we did enjoy a walk and a couple of sandwiches and beers on the sandy rocks.

personal photo

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  It was beautiful and ethereal, but we got even luckier later that afternoon– the fog burned off by the time we got home and this is what awaited us:
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personal photo

It was an unforgettable trip and a perfect getaway from New York City. Our hosts were so welcoming that we felt perfectly comfortable and just let ourselves be taken care of for a few days. Thanks for the lovely vacation, and next time sign me up for dish duty!

June 1, 2011

Boston

Posted in Uncategorized tagged at 11:13 pm by a care in the world

This past weekend, my husband and I took the bus from NYC to Boston to visit his best friend. I was so excited to have a whole day set aside for visiting a couple of museums– I hadn’t been to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts since I was 17, and I had never been to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. My husband was a great sport to go exploring with me, since he knows how much I love art museums.

At the MFA, I was on a mission to visit the 18th and 19th century American Art, since that’s my focus for my independent research project this summer (again, that post is coming!). I have very fond memories of visiting the MFA when I was 17 and studying at Amherst College for the summer. I think it was the first museum I had gone to on my own– my dad is an art historian, so I’ve been to many museums with him. There’s nothing like seeing something with an expert 🙂 Anyway, I was wandering through the MFA when I came face to face with Jonathan Singleton Copley’s “Watson and the Shark”:

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I’m sorry for the poor quality of my photo– I was being sneaky in taking it. I remember being stunned and getting the shivers when I saw this painting 10 years ago– it was the thrill of seeing something I’d read about in real life. You can read about the story behind this painting, but what was so exciting for me was seeing the pages of a book come to life in a 230-year-old painting. I felt a connection to the painting that the museum experience in a way that I can’t explain– I’m clearly not doing a very good job here. Suffice it to say, seeing this painting a few days ago gave me goosebumps all over again.

The MFA also had an amazing Chichuly exhibit on display (personal photos):
 
    
 
 
 
Our next visit was to the Gardner Museum, which is a totally different animal. A 100-year-old personal collection, the museum is based in a 3-story palace built around a stunning courtyard and houses more than 2,500 paintings, sculptures, tapestries, furniture, manuscripts, rare books and decorative arts. Besides the courtyard, I think our favorite artwork here was John Singer Sargent’s “El Jaleo”:
 
Photo from here.
 
Gardner Museum Courtyard

Photo from here

After the museum visits, my husband’s friend picked us up for the drive to Portland, ME…