Thursday, January 29, 2009
Tonight I'm headed off to a 4 day retreat at Murray Hill, a retreat/conference center here in the city. The retreat is organized by Opus Dei and designed for young, professional women. I have been so looking forward to this retreat for a while now. It will be a great chance to step back, examine and reflect upon my plan of life.

If you have any prayer requests, let me know! I'll be spending A LOT of time in prayer over the next couple of days, so now's your chance.

Uncle Tom's Cabin In The Bronx

Tuesday, January 27, 2009
My students are currently reading Uncle Tom's Cabin in Literature. A hefty book for 8th graders, you say? Definitely, but reading this book with urban teenagers cracks me up, especially during parts of the story when the slaves are being mistreated by their "masters" I hear a lot of:

"oh no he didn't"
"I would have smacked him"
"That's OD!" (translation: that's over-dosed, over-done. further translation: that's crazy)
"ahh, this book is making me mad (very) frustrated."

These comments are often accompanied by flailing gestures and hand movements. Ha. At least the story is affecting them, right?

Sunday Evening Traditions

Monday, January 26, 2009
I've started a new family tradition, Fancy Dinner Sundays. Every Sunday, for the last three weeks, I've made a fancy dinner, meaning a dinner that requires more than taking something out of plastic and putting it in the oven. It's a nice, relaxing way to begin the week. It's also made me realize how much I enjoy cooking. Now, I know there are wives and mothers out there who prepare delicious meals for their family seven days a week, but I'm taking baby steps here people.

Here are some meals I've made so far:

Fancy Dinner #1
Broiled Salmon
Roasted Asparagus with olive oil, sea salt and ground pepper and a touch of balsamic vinegar (this was very tasty)
Goat Cheese and Pear Salad with dried cranberries

Fancy Dinner #2
Chicken Fajitas
(umm, I don't really know how to elaborate on this one, broiled chicken with sauteed red peppers and onions, served with black beans, cheese, guacamole and salsa)

Fancy Dinner #3
Baked Chicken stuffed with goat cheese and sun dried tomatoes
Sauteed Leeks (a favorite in our home)
Crackers and hummus
and my honey oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for dessert

Any suggestions for future meals to try?

Yes, We Can!

Thursday, January 22, 2009
Here's change I can believe in: that a woman does not have to choose between her child and her education, or her job or whatever else society tells her are incompatible with motherhood. I so wish I could be at the March for Life this year, but I am there in spirit.

It's so fitting that all the hype surrounding the Inauguration and Obama has been replaced with tens of thousands of people willing to stand up for those unable to stand up for themselves, to give a voice to the voiceless. These people have come from small towns and big cities. They are black, white, young and old. (Arguably, a much more diverse crowd than was present just a few days ago for the Inauguration.) And they are united by a single purpose, belief in the idea that life is sacred, alarmed that anyone could think otherwise.

And this is a tough year, a poignant year for the March for Life. After the election of the most pro-abortion candidate in America's history, one who has the audacity to promote laws that support infanticide, the fight may seem lost and the courage of those who truly hope for "justice for all" diminished, but I am comforted by what General Washington once said,

"Let it be told to the future world ... that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive...that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet (it)." *

Today, I am proud to be pro-life. Today, I am proud to be an American. God Bless to all the marchers!

*Obama also used this quote in his Inaugural Speech, but I think Washington would have agreed that it applies more to the pro-life movement than to what Obama was referencing.

Book Club

I went to the first meeting of my book club last night. It was so much fun! A few of my fellow teacher friends and I decided to start a book club- girls only. We had dinner and wine and discussed our book, The Memory Keeper's Daughter. A wonderful book, I highly recommend it.

The story begins in 1964 during a blizzard one night when a young father (and doctor) is forced to deliver his own child. However, his wife ends up giving birth to twins, a healthy boy and a girl with Down's Syndrome. In a panic, he gives his daughter to the nurse and tells her to take the baby to a home for mentally disabled children and adults. He then lies to his wife and tells her the baby had died. The nurse, in a twist of fate, decides to take the child and raise her as her own. The plot follows the lives of the doctor's family and the young nurse and their separate, yet tangled lives. Read it, I know you'll enjoy it.

Food, wine, friends and a book, what a great way to spend an evening.

Inauguration Part II

Ok, I couldn't resist just one little jab at the Inauguration. What was the deal with the Inaugural Poem? Ha! It was awful. My favorite lines were, "a woman and her son wait for... the bus" and "a teacher says, 'take out your pencils. begin." recited in a robot style voice. I don't think I've ever said, "take out your pencils. Begin."

Maya Angelou she was not.

Inauguration Day

Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Inauguration Day. This morning I was prepared to dress all in black, to mark this as a day of mourning. And then I realized I was being a bit overdramatic and decided to dress as I normally would.

Today, my school attended an Inauguration Celebration at the Harlem Armory. There were around 8,000 people there to witness Barack Obama be sworn in as the 44th President of the United States.

There are several comments I could make about the Inauguration, but I will refrain. Instead, in Charity, I will say a prayer for our new President. For although I disagree with Mr. Obama on pretty much just about everything, the fact is, he is now our President, therefore out of respect for the Office of the Presidency and love for my country, I pray God bless him and guide him and ask that God may continue to bless this great nation of ours.

God of power and might, wisdom and justice,through you authority is rightly administered,laws are enacted, and judgment is decreed.Assist with your spirit of counsel and fortitude the President and other government leaders of these United States.May they always seek the ways of righteousness, justice and mercy.Grant that they may be enabled by your powerful protection to lead our country with honesty and integrity. St. Thomas More, patron of statesman, pray for us.

Central Park

"The enjoyment of scenery employs the mind without fatigue and yet exercises it; tranquilizes it and yet enlivens it; and thus, through the influence of the mind over the body gives the effect of refreshing rest and reinvigoration to the whole system."
~Frederick Law Olmstead (the man who designed Central Park)

This past weekend we enjoyed a good few inches of snow. Both Saturday and Sunday mornings we woke up, went to Starbucks for our morning coffee and headed out into Central Park to relish in the newly fallen snow. I just love Central Park. It's an oasis of calm amidst a busy and fast paced city. But especially after a snow fall such as this, all the trees are frosted with white and the world seems quiet and peaceful.

After this weekend and a few strolls through the Park, I am feeling refreshed and reinvigorated.

Happy Birthday, Kerry!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

To my loyal blog reader and friend, Kerry, Happy Birthday! Hope you have a fabulous day!

Odds and Ends

Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Not much going on here. It's been such a busy week at school. Yesterday I had 3 one hour meetings. Another teacher was joking that our school motto should be "we love meetings". It's true, our school loves any excuse to have a meeting, I think it makes people feel important or like they're working really hard. To me it just feels like a waste of time.

But I don't want to sound like I'm complaining all the time about my school. I do like working there, for the most part. The kids amuse me. Just today I got a good laugh hearing them try to pronounce the word "chihuahua" in a story. I'm such a horrible teacher, I laugh when students mispronounce words, but they were reading it "chee- who-hah-who-hah" and it was just too funny. Another student wrote an essay all about how awful it was that slaves were "wiped" by their masters. Of course, she meant "whipped," but it gave me a chuckle nonetheless.

Matthew is still feeling a little under the weather. He's had a pretty bad cold for over a week. I think he's at the tail end of it though. He says he has a surprise planned for me this weekend to thank me for taking such good care of him while he's been sick. He's such a romantic.

Hope all is well on your end!

My Classroom

Saturday, January 10, 2009
My classroom, where I spend the vast majority of my time here in NYC. It's a nice spacious room, much larger than my previous classsroom, but not quite as charming. I've tried to decorate it as best I could. There are floor-to-ceiling green chalkboards on the front wall, so I covered those up with blue construction paper, which looks much nicer.
Here are a couple of pics of my classroom and one of me sitting at my desk.

My Evening

Friday, January 9, 2009
I was at school until 8:00pm last night. It was our monthly mandatory "discovery night," which means we sit in a circle and basically discuss our inner child. I'm serious.

I'm counting down the days until school's out and it's only January. Uh oh...

Cranberry Bog Painting

I am going to buy this painting! I'm so excited!

This past fall, Matthew and I went to Cape Cod during the cranberry season. The cranberry bogs are just beautiful when they are in full bloom. The colors are amazing. We also visited a few art galleries while we were there and saw some cranberry bog oil paintings by the artist Maureen Leavenworth. I loved them. So I wrote to her and plan to buy the above painting. It's a reward for myself for completing the school year. How sad, I'm ready for it to be June already...

Breaking News

Wednesday, January 7, 2009
I find this news story reassuring.:)

Big Booty Scientifically Proven To Be a Sign of Good Health,2933,477434,00.html

Our Lady of Good Counsel

I wrote this yesterday, but wasn’t able to post it until this morning.

Happy Ephinany and 12th (and last) Day of Christmas! It makes me so sad to see all the discarded Christmas trees on the side of the curb and how quickly Starbucks reverted back to the use of the plain white cups rather than the festive red Christmas cups. Everyone is so eager to move on from Christmas, but they forget it lasts for 12 glorious days. Matthew and I were trying to remember this morning what the gift was on the 12th day of Christmas. I looked it up, in case you were wondering, 12 Drummers Drumming. And apparently it represents the 12 points of doctrine in the Apostle’s Creed. What? I guess the song is actually full of religious symbolism. Who knew? Not me.

So in the spirit of Christmas, here are a few pictures of our parish, Our Lady of Good Counsel, in Manhattan . As you can see, it’s a beautiful church and the priests always deliver meaningful and thoughtful homilies and challenging penances for the repentant (believe me). The parish even offers a Latin Mass (although we haven’t yet taken advantage of this). I’m so happy to have found this faithful parish.

One of the many great advantages of being Catholic is our access to all the incredibly beautiful churches throughout the world. I cannot think of any other religion in the world that can boast as many stunning “places of worship” as we can. In Manhattan we have hundreds of impressive churches, including St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which is always packed with tourists. I always feel a swell of pride when I walk in and see all the tourists admiring the handiwork of “my people”. There is something about being in a beautiful church that inspires humility before God, that requires our soul to bend towards worship. That same feeling simply doesn’t resonate when standing in a pre-fabricated 1970’s airport hanger type church. For those who know, I’m thinking Newman Hall, Berekely.

Hundreds of years ago, Catholics took such pride in creating beautiful local churches. I love the story of the man who was helping to build the Notre Dame Cathedral in France . He spent hours a day creating and polishing a small carving on the side of the church. One day a fellow worker went up to him and asked why he wasted so much time on such an insignificant part of the church. The man responded that he was creating the carving for God; he hoped God would enjoy and appreciate his effort, even if no one else did. We can all take a lesson from this man and work to create something lasting and beautiful for God.

Our Lady of Good Counsel, pray for us.

Mom, This One's For You

Sunday, January 4, 2009
Hi Mom,
So here are some pictures I took of our apartment. Now you can picture us when we're on the phone I also included a picture of our Charlie Brown Christmas Tree, so pathetic, but oh so cute. As you can see our apartment is very Spartan looking, purely functional, but I've added a few feminine touches (the Christmas lights), or at least tried to. Now you can see why I'm really looking forward to moving.:) Although, looking at these pictures it doesn't seem all that bad. Then again, I didn't show you a picture of our shower, which is really in the closet.

Missing California

We had a fabulous vacation in California. It was such a much needed break and we even enjoyed some warm weather while we were there. But the best part was visiting with my family and friends, some of whom I haven't seen in 6 months or so. It was really tough to come back to New York.

I've made a nice little life for myself here in the big city, but in some ways, I feel like California will always be home. I feel torn, I don't think I could ever live permanently in the Bay Area, but it is hard living so far from the people I love. And it takes so much time establishing new friendships, even though I've met some really great girls here. My impatient side wants best friends asap. Oh well, I guess the moral of this story is, I miss you guys (or those of you who may be reading this)! XOXO


Welcome to my blog! As part of my New Year's Resolution to keep in better touch with friends and family, I'm starting this blog to document my daily life. Enjoy!
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