Thursday, April 10, 2008

living in the past

yesterday's post got through monday, march 31, at this rate I'll be living in the past for at least another week. I better speed this along! let's see if a different format works.

tuesday, 1 april: this was a day I was really looking forward to as I was going to meet two blogging buds - gary and steve. meeting blogging friends face-to-face is quite affecting; it really brings a certain dimensionality to the belief many of us bloggers have about how blogs have the ability to expand the meaning of community.

in the morning I met gary and his class. gary graciously invited me to join him and his class on their field trip to the met. if you're familiar with gary's blog you know he teaches first grade in a bilingual school where classes are conducted in english and in american sign language (asl). not all the children in gary and lauren's (his teaching partner) class are deaf - in fact, the children probably reflect the entire spectrum of hearing- from no hearing loss to profound or total hearing loss. most of the children who have no hearing loss have family members who have hearing loss and thus use asl at home. before we went off on the trip, there was morning circle. during circle I was introduced to each child; each child signed their name and shared with me their special name. I also received my 'sign language name' (my special name is the sign for 'mouse'). how cool is that!

the field trip was incredible and the children were bright, curious, and totally engaged. before the tour began, the class was broken into two groups. I was sorted with gary's group. the kids I was with knocked the socks off jill, our docent; I expect she was probably more used to first graders who had to be constantly reminded to stay together or pay attention - but not this group. at one point we were looking at a replica of a boat that was put in a tomb of some egyptian noble; one of the children said "that's like odysseus' boat" -I thought jill was going to fall over in surprise; gary explained that a few months ago the class had studied the greek myths. what did I say bright children!

the field trip was a total blast; unfortunately the weather didn't cooperate for us to have a leisurely picnic lunch in central park. the rain did stop long enough for us to sit on some benches adjacent to a playground in a corner of the park near the museum. we ate lunch but unfortunately the morning's rain put a kibosh on the après-lunch playground activity.
soon after eating, we boarded the bus and returned to school. once back to school I said thanks and goodbye the children and their adults (gary, lauren and mike, the student teacher) parting is such sweet sorrow! the kids took off for their gym class and soon I took off for the rest of the day's adventures.

tuesday evening I gary and I had plans to meet steve, but before then I had a few hours on hand. from the school, I headed south in order to visit one of my favorite museums - "the lower east side tenement museum." I few years ago f and I discovered this wonderful museum which explores america's immigration experience. the museum conducts a series of guided tours each of which goes into depth about some aspect of the immigration experience. f and I took the tour which focused on the garment trades ('piecing it together'); this most recent visit, I was able to join the tour entitled 'getting by' - in which we "learn about the networks of support that were available to them during hard times. Discuss the development of social welfare in the United States, and compare the options that people had in the past to those that are available today." it was an excellent tour, max, the docent, did a commendable job and was able to stimulate much discussion among our group. in fact, so much discussion our group exceeded the time alloted!

after finishing up with the tenement museum I headed up to midtown to meet steve and gary at six. I looked at my watch and figured I had just enough time to walk to our rendezvous location - the lobby of the new york times building. all traces of the day's rain had vanished and it was a beautiful late afternoon. the walk was delightful and I made it to our meeting place with fifteen minutes to spare - enough time to run a comb through my hair and attempt some semblance of good grooming.

gary and I had tickets to see the play xanadu at 7 so our meeting with steve was way too brief. gary and steve had met before; however, as soon as I saw steve turn the corner I felt I was reuniting with a long-lost friend the wave of recognition was instant and powerful. this blogging thing is indeed a strange phenomena at times!

the evening was great fun even if the gary's and my meeting with steve felt like some sort of blogging community version of a speed date. the play was hilarious; the music was pop-ish and infectious. since many of the characters in the play were greek muses, perhaps we should have arranged for the kids to have come with us, I bet they would have also enjoyed it.

okay, did I say I was going to try a new format and attempt to get through more than one day a day! sorry - I do go on!

wednesday, april 2: unlike the previous three days, wednesday schedule of activities was fairly light. I met up with my niece who goes to college in the city. fortunately for me her class was canceled and she was free until four in the afternoon. I met her at her apartment which is located in midtown new the u.n. I enjoyed seeing her studio apartment, it was pure new york - ironically, m's apartment was smaller than the flats I had just toured the day before at the museum. however this space is very modern and is in pristine condition, the building has 24-hour concierge service and amenities that our immigrant forebears could not possibly imagine. m's view was spectacular and created a wonderful sense of space in the small apartment.

m and I went to lunch at ippudo ny a new ramen bar which k mentioned that might be worthy of checking out. when I say new, I mean new, ippudo opened two days earlier. despite having just opened, the place was hopping and although we got there well after the lunch rush, we still had a brief wait to be seated. I don't know what I liked better the food or the decor and ambiance of the place.

wednesday was sunny and sweet, after lunch we had lovely stroll down to fraunces tavern. there are few things in life as invigorating as walking within the energy fields humans and machines create in nyc! my niece works at fraunces tavern. the place has a fascinating history - although it can't boast than george washington slept there, they can say he lifted a tankard there and also conducted important meetings within it's walls. the tavern even sports a museum focusing on america's revolutionary history. I enjoyed touring the museum it is a perfect complement to my current fascination with that era in american history (thanks to hbo's john adams series!).

I was intending to try and wrap up my time in new york with today's post, but alas as usual I went on way too long. but at least covering two days activities in one day is better than one to one.

photos: top: tibetan prayer flags flying in park off delancey st; bottom: fraunces tavern on pearl street. I expect all the other photos are self explanatory!

to hear living in the past click here


zquilts said...

Fabulous post ! Especially loved the prayer flag photo~ WHere were you in Ct? I too am from NYC and Ct!

Lee's River/Zlatovyek said...

oh this was so much vicarious fun, you have no idea! The pics are great. I'm enjoying your trip! This blogging thing is strange indeed.

Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

That looks like great fun, and I hope to visit Gary's class someday too. Perhaps I could speak in Bambara or tell tales of adventures in the Andes and Himalayas to entertain the kids. I love the tenement museum too since that's where my U.S. roots began in the late 19th century.

TheElementary said...

Your name in sign language! That's amazing.
I'm also stuck in last week- I haven't been proceeding forward as well as I thought I would after my trip.
'Speed dating'- that's so funny. You always lighten my spirits!

Gary said...

Wow, how strange to come over to your blog and find pictures of me. I love the Xanadu pic but was especially surprised to see the one of Lauren and I talking. I didn't know you took that and feel I should apologize for having my back to you.

Thank you so much for a wonderfully fun day. The kids really thought you were great. Don't you love that my cupcake gave you a spontaneous hug? They are so full of joy. No wonder I love going to 'work'.

I am going to post about that trip soon (I hope) but you probably said it all better than I did anyway.

See you soon!! And JT I look forward to you visiting as well.

mouse (aka kimy) said...

z - we lived in ct almost 16 yrs. first in new haven (almost 4 yrs) then 12 yrs in farmington (chosen solely on the basis of their public school system since e was about to enter 1st grade)

lee - so happy you are enjoying the armchair vacation. don't ya just love nyc!

junk - you will love gary's class - hope you make it for a visit - speaking of visits any chance you can make it to DC for the cyber convergence early may. email if wish more info! we'd all love it if you could make it.

te- reentry is always a bit difficult! ;)

gary - sorry I did take liberties with pics of you - but you are so cute! and speaking of cute, cupcake is absolutely the cutest! hugs to all the kids always!!!! I look forward to your met post if it will be - but I know you will have wonderful takes on the day! keep on following your bliss. see you soon!

WAT said...


All that fun with Gary?! I am jealous! Ya got ta see him in all his teaching glory with the kids! How cool.

And then to see XANADU?! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAH!!! The movie is soooo bad, but the soundtrack I do remember being pretty cool.

Steve said...

I felt the same bond on meeting you -- and you're right, our meeting was way too brief! Oh well, next time. It was great seeing you and Gary, in any case. :)

I love the comment about Odysseus' boat from one of the kids. Kids are smarter than we give them credit for.