marathoner452: (I love reading)
(1/4)   New Amsterdam-267 pages (1/267 pages)
(1/8)   Poor Man's Provence-221 (2/488 pages)
(1/14)  We've Had a Hundred Years of Psychotherapy-And the World's Getting Worse-242 pages (3/730 pages)
(1/23)  Bayou Farewell-338 pages (4/1068 pages)
(2/11)  The Sound of Building Coffins-356 pages (5/1424 pages)
(3/3)    Lincoln's Melancholy-243 pages (6/1667 pages)
(3/16)  A Mercy-167 pages (7/1834 pages)
(4/7)  It Sucked and then I Cried-253 pages (8/2087 pages)
(4/9)  Introvert Power-237 pages (9/2424 pages)
(4/12)  Just Another Kid-411 pages (10/2835 pages)

goal is 90 books for 2008
8 of 10 Caribbean books read (10/21)
25 of 100 Modern Library's Best 100 books read (6/30)  
3 of 10 New Orleans books read (2/11)
marathoner452: (Default)


how a teacher shows that it's a snow day

Snow Day! )
marathoner452: (fluffy nola)
...the in-house substitute teacher cheering me up over lunch just by listening and telling me that I'm doing a lot better than I think I am.

...teaching equivalent fractions to a 6th grader.   (Who despite being almost 14 performs on a 2nd grade level in reading, writing, and math.  Thank you New Orleans public school system.)

...sunset over the Mississippi while taking Stitch for a walk, and counting 125 train cars at the corner Mazant and Chartres.

...a long overdue after-hours haircut, on the recommendation of my 4th-6th grade fashion consultants.

...cafe au lait with soymilk and Ekaterina until the coffeeshop closed at 10 pm.

...the Louisiana Music Factory, which will get another chunk of my paycheck this weekend as I shop for Christmas presents and continue to flesh out my music collection.

This is a problem, I'm getting entirely too attached to New Orleans.  How could I ever leave?  Where could I go?
marathoner452: (St. Charles Streetcar)
So I just bought some very New Orleans Christmas cards at Maple Street Bookshop and I have a problem:  I need addresses to mail them to.

For the low cost of 30 seconds to leave your mailing address as a (fully screened and seen only by me) comment to this post you too can have a card shipped to you direct from the 9th Ward of New Orleans by a public school teacher who probably cares too much and definitely needs a few days off, a haircut, and coffee.

If you would like my address to fill my mailbox with pretty cards, just ask in your comment.
marathoner452: (rebirth)
New Orleans has the highest murder rate in in the United States, twice as dangerous as Detroit and Baltimore.  95 per 100,000.  Detroit is 46 and Baltimore is 45, and those are the cities the rest of my family lives near and sees on the news all the time.  We're also the second most dangerous city in the world, behind Caracas, Venezuela.  I also live in one of the more dangerous neighborhoods of New Orleans.  I like to shock people by telling them I live in the 9th Ward, like the kindergarten aide at the faculty meeting this afternoon who's a New Orleans native.

Sometimes I have to pinch myself and ask if this is really my life.  Three years ago I was fresh out of college and back living in very safe and comfortable Hampstead, Maryland, working as an AmeriCorps VISTA.  I could safely go out for a run at 11 pm.  Then I came down to New Orleans for what was supposedly just a volunteer trip in March 2006 and, as D. would say, New Orleans had "somethin' to say" about me ever leaving.  As they say, "New Orleans chooses you."  I live in the 9th Ward and teach at a school named hope.

I never had romantic ideals of New Orleans, never spent spring afternoons sipping coffee in a courtyard in the Quarter or at Jazz Fest or riding the streetcar down St. Charles.  Heck, the St. Charles streetcar wasn't even running when I came to visit and the Canal Street streetcar just ran as far as Claiborne and was free 'cause hardly anyone was visiting.  My first Mardi Gras was spent at the St. Anne parade through the neighborhood followed by dinner at Sugar Park.  My first impression of New Orleans was from the Claiborne bridge down into the Lower 9th Ward.  But jeez, I never expected to have a drive-by shooting 2 doors down on a Sunday evening.

http://www.nola.com/news/index.ssf/2008/11/new_orleans_has_highest_crime.html

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=4480

In more positive news, Chicago came to visit and brought us cake this time.  If only all faculty meetings consisted of 6 layer lemon cake.
marathoner452: (Default)
I'm impressed with how much the kids at school today knew about the election.  They were so excited to have a black man as President, finally, someone who looks like them or at least isn't white.  They have so much optimism and hope for the future.  It's inspiring just to be around them, and I hope they never lose that positive energy.

Teaching is tough but it's so totally worth it.  This is historic, both the election and what we're doing with public education in New Orleans.  We have the potential to change the world if we seize the moment.
marathoner452: (I love reading)
(11/8)    Cubanita-195 pages (61/15720 pages)
(11/12)  City of Refuge-403 pages (62/16123 pages)
(11/27)  Ekaterina-373 pages (63/16496 pages)
(11/30)  Bohemian New Orleans-169 pages (64/16665 pages)
(12/13)  The Choiring of the Trees-388 pages (65/17053 pages)
(12/16)  Annie on My Mind-234 pages (66/17287 pages)
(12/18)  A Place Where the Sea Remembers-163 pages (67/17450 pages)
(12/25)  Our Grandmother's Drums-319 pages (68/17769 pages)
(12/29)  Heart Like Water-356 pages (69/18125 pages)

goal is 90 books for 2008
8 of 10 Caribbean books read (10/21)
25 of 100 Modern Library's Best 100 books read (6/30)  
2 of 10 New Orleans books read (12/29)
marathoner452: (Default)
A LITANY FOR SURVIVAL

For those of us who live at the shoreline
standing upon the constant edges of decision
crucial and alone
for those of us who cannot indulge
the passing dreams of choice
who love in doorways coming and going
in the hours between dawns
looking inward and outward
at once before and after
seeking a now that can breed
futures
like bread in our children's mouths
so their dreams will not reflect
the death of ours:

For those of us
who were imprinted with fear
like a faint line in the center of our foreheads
learning to be afraid with our mother's milk
for by this weapon
this illusion of some safety to be found
the heavy-footed hoped to silence us
For all of us
this instant and this triumph
We were never meant to survive.

And when the sun rises we are afraid
it might not remain
when the sun sets we are afraid
it might not rise in the morning
when our stomachs are full we are afraid
of indigestion
when our stomachs are empty we are afraid
we may never eat again
when we are loved we are afraid
love will vanish
when we are alone we are afraid
love will never return
and when we speak we are afraid
our words will not be heard
nor welcomed
but when we are silent
we are still afraid

So it is better to speak
remembering
we were never meant to survive

- Audre Lorde, The Black Unicorn

marathoner452: (Jackson Square)
My grandparents were here for the weekend and we accomplished the following in 48 hours:

Friday night:  dinner jazz cruise on the Steamboat Natchez

Saturday:  breakfast at Cafe du Monde
ferry over to Algiers to Mardi Gras World
lunch at Napoleon House, delicious pesto pasta salad and a Pimm's Cup for me and red beans and rice for them
driving tour of Lower Nine
back to the house to take care of the animals, D. at Voodoo Fest
dinner at Deanie's Seafood

Sunday:  breakfast buffet at Orleans Cafe
10:30 church service
back to hotel room for first half of Saints game
wandering Quarter enjoying perfect weather
lunch at Johnny's Po-Boys

Then they're going to Snug Harbor for dinner and a show tonight.  All that and I didn't even have to walk down Bourbon Street once.  I'm back in love with New Orleans and extending an open invitation to y'all to visit.  :-)
marathoner452: (Default)
There were 5 teachers out today, out of a grand total of 30ish.
It was/is raining and we have no gymnasium, so PE was inside and the kids had indoor recess.
Both the art teacher and Spanish teacher were out, meaning that some teachers got no "MAPS" electives and therefore no break from their students all day.
One of my students was absent yesterday not because she was suspended but because she had to get her hair done.  Good to see her mom values education so highly.
There's mold in the upstairs boys bathroom and probably elsewhere in the building, no wonder we're all getting sick.
I found at least 13 more kids that may have IEPs, and I haven't even searched 1st and 2nd grade's files yet.  Unfortunately, that' s not unusual for New Orleans.  That's what you get when you have records flooded and families evacuated out of state for years and so many students switching schools all the time.
Plus, the copier's not working.

It really needs to be Friday already.
marathoner452: (airplane)
I'm flying from New Orleans to Baltimore on Tuesday December 23rd.

My family's driving from Baltimore to Michigan on Thursday December 25th.

I'm flying back to New Orleans via Detroit on Monday December 29th.

New Orleans for New Year's + just enough time with my family before they start driving me nuts = my kind of Christmas vacation. Yay for being a teacher and getting a Christmas vacation.
marathoner452: (fluffy nola)
1.  Evacuation makes for a great diet plan if you're too stressed out to eat.  I managed to lose 10 pounds in 5 days, not that I needed it.
2.  I love coffee, especially when driving 5 1/2 hours in the middle of the night on 3 hours of sleep.
3.  Taking the cat to the hospital the day the storm hits is far healthier than watching the news all day.  (The cat is fine, just needed Valium to chill out and some IV fluids.)
4.  Random conversations with strangers at Target may lead to a free dinner at California Pizza Kitchen, at least in Birmingham.
5.  Two people + three cats + one dog make for a very crowded hotel room.
6.  I am capable of driving and parking my roommate's large truck, but I'd much rather drive (and park) my little car any day.

Birmingham was nothing but good to me and I want to go back and visit when I'm not evacuated, but there's nothing sweeter than home sweet home.
marathoner452: (Default)
The word is that we'll be allowed back into New Orleans as of midnight Thursday.  I am sorely tempted to be waiting at the checkpoint when it opens but in the interest of not arriving back in the neighborhood in the middle of the night sans electricity my plan at this point is to wait until early Thursday morning to leave Birmingham.  Like 4 or 5 am early in the interest of avoiding as much traffic as possible.  You'd better believe I'll be playing New Orleans music all the way.

The Meters
Harry Connick, Jr.
Morning 40 Federation
Hot 8 Brass Band
Dirty Dozen Brass Band
Louis Armstrong

Woo hoo!  We are coming home!

http://www.nola.com/hurricane/index.ssf/2008/09/with_electricity_still_sporadi.html

"If you don't have a generator to run an air conditioner, it's going to be awfully hot and humid," St. Bernard Parish President Craig Taffaro said. "This is not an environment for everyone. It's for those who absolutely feel like they must return."

And I do.  I love you New Orleans.
marathoner452: (rebirth)
Just so you all know, I am safe in Birmingham for the duration.  I have the animals and D. has promised me her soul in exchange for evacuating her life.  If all goes very wrong, and I hate to imagine this, then I meet her in Philly and make it somehow back to Maryland. 

For now, I'm sharing a hotel room with a fellow teacher from Esperanza.  We go back to work Thursday at the earliest.

The Chipotle here won't let you get your margarita to go, even if you're from New Orleans.  So I shall have to rely on the stash I brought with me until I can pull sympathy points (which I still sincerely hope will not be possible).

As I was leaving New Orleans I saw a pair of angel wings on the door of a shotgun house.  That about sums up our situation in New Orleans.  We need guardian angels and all the prayers we can get.
marathoner452: (Default)


From my limited knowledge of hurricanes, a hit just to the west is worse than a direct hit because in the northeast quadrant of a hurricane you get the sustained winds plus whatever the forward motion of the storm is.  And don't forget the storm surge.  At least it's not getting worse, but Gustav's still a tropical storm and he's not even in the Gulf yet so who knows what could happen.  I'm evacuating Saturday afternoon/early Sunday morning unless Friday night's forecast takes the storm well away from New Orleans.  I may be evacuating with a co-worker and her cat, which would make for a far more enjoyable experience than being stuck in a hotel room by myself for four days.
marathoner452: (Default)
Happy Birthday, [profile] fofalex!

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