a slice of life at 20-something as told through babble and poetry...

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

November Currents

I haven't forgotten about you, o' blog o mine....i hope I get some readers, as some of my lovely friends have left the blog world.
So...after a full two months and then some, I thought I'd share some current loves of my life.

This week 's CURRENTS...

book: "Teaching to Transgress" by Bell Hooks (for Diversity in the American School class)

music: Ra Ra Riot, Vampire Weekend, and Camera Obscura (

song(s): "Dying is Fine" by Ra Ra Riot, "I Stand Corrected" by Vampire Weekend, "If Looks Could Kill" by Camera Obscura

television: Throwdown with Bobby Flay

eats: entenmann's chocolate chip poundcake (guilty!)

mood: relieved that midterm time is over and excited for the weekend

place to be: on my fabulous couch

movie: i want to see "The Kite Runner" when it comes out

more to come...

Sunday, September 2, 2007

The New September

Um...i've been back from beach bummin' for quite some time. I'm back in teacher-mode, back in student-mode, just back to my new york life...

It's hot outside today...but it's on the brink of that crisp fall-feeling we all anticipate. I hope so anyway.
Remember that back-to-school feeling? That tingle in your stomach and you weren't quite hungry for breakfast because you were too excited or nervous or scared or all of the above? I do. It was comforting to know that new beginnings were set in stone every single September. As adults we have to make our own - and it's a thrilling feeling to get that excited feeling; that tingle in your stomach again...

My year begins now. There are so many new beginnings happening that are going to really shape me this season.

What's going on with me?

~ I started my second semester of grad classes this week.....
~ I finally went food shopping and stocked my empty fridge....
~ I tried to catch up on "reading for pleasure" before I have reading assignments for classes with little to no success...
~ I began setting up the classroom I will be assistant teaching in
~ I am overwhelmed with the responsibiliities that lie before me, but I'm hiding it tremendously well ;)

This Fall, I hope to gain:

~a stronger sense of time management

~comfort in a first grade classroom

~ A's in my classes

~ a better version of me (as always)

Hopefully I will be able to write more creatively here this fall. I am taking a class in Diversity, and we have to keep a journal to write in after each class. We can write anything we want to, even draw or paint. I'm hoping to share some of my responses on this here, blog.


Sunday, August 12, 2007

Takin' a Break...

Before the summer comes to a close, I"m off to one of my favorite places: the jersey shore.


see ya soon, NY

21 Words of Wisdom

I don't normally enjoy cheesy chain letter forwards I get in my inbox ~ but this is rather profound and reflective ~ a great guide to self-improvement. Enjoy and take it in... (

ONE. Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.

TWO. Marry a man/woman you love to talk to. As you
get older, their conversational skills will be as important as any other.

THREE. Don't believe all you hear, spend all you have, or sleep all you want.

FOUR. When you say, "I love you," mean it.

FIVE. When you say, "I'm sorry," look the person in the eye.

SIX. Be engaged at least six months before you get married.

SEVEN. Believe in love at first sight.

EIGHT. Never laugh at anyone's dream. People who don't have dreams don't have much.

NINE. Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt but it's the only way to live life completely.

TEN.. In disagreements, fight fairly. No name calling.

ELEVEN. Don't judge people by their relatives.

TWELVE. Talk slowly but think quickly.

THIRTEEN. When someone asks you a question you don't want to answer, smile and ask, "Why do you want to know?"

FOURTEEN. Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risk.

FIFTEEN. Say "God bless you" when you hear someone sneeze.

SIXTEEN. When you lose, don't lose the lesson

SEVENTEEN. Remember the three R's: R espect for self; Respect for others; and R esponsibility for all your

EIGHTEEN. Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.

NINETEEN. When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.

TWENTY. Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your voice.

TWENTY-ONE. Spend some time alone.

I think #8 and #11 are my favorites. They are simple notions that ground a caught up person. And #3 is a good reminder for motivation. It's my new favorite quotation.

What are your favorites? Why?
Do you feel you've mastered any of these?
Do you disagree with any of them?

I love to excite good conversation... :)

~ J

Friday, August 10, 2007

revelations and things...

Instead of back tracking on my summer in the city through the blurry eyes of muddled memory, I decided to move forward. I really just wanted to write a concert review on Spoon because I wanted to have a play on words, with my blog entitled, "Spoon Me"....I know you're laughing on the inside.

Yeah. I'm over it.

Moving forward is always the best way to go....and I just want to write. If a concert review comes, it comes....I'm taking it all as it comes....and it ain't coming right now. But, I will tell you what is...

What has been on my mind today is the "value of a good thing".

When an idea or concept is good, when anything is good for that matter - why waste it? Good things were meant to be shared. After taking a two-day workshop in learning how to piece together and implement a reading/writing curriculum in the classroom, this concept hit me like never i had never truly understood it or something. Teachers share so much. God, I think of how hard ones before us have worked, written books to guide young teachers to be the best of the best - someone builds new concepts off of their concepts - and it's like generations of collaborative efforts. It's amazingly breathtaking when you think about it....well...of course i'm speaking in an ideal sense. This is if we lived in a world that was a lot like NYC - where most of the teachers truly give a shit about HOW they are making a difference. Of course I am talking about the teachers who take a stand for what they believe in, and believe in their work as an educator - not a drone of the system.

ANYWAY - my point is, good things are to be shared. When someone is doing something that's working and you feel that works for you, adopt that idea. Teachers do it all the time, and it's a compliment.

Unfortunately, I think I still have "copy" disease from junior high - where if you adopted something - like a similar birthday party theme or hair cut you liked, you were a "copier". You copied. This meant you had no individuality (which, at the time, everyone knows -is a lost concept) - no real idenitity. You didn't have enough individual style to fit into the "norm". Wow. Junior High sucked. I am fighting that competitive feeling. I always feel I have to have a "better" idea to make something work for me. This is not always true. Most of the time, it's never true. There isn't a better concept, just a different one. And it's okay to use the same concept, idea or thing that works - because WHO you are as a person will add a dynamic that makes it unique to you.

I don't know how this relates or makes sense in your life...but it's what i was thinking about while walking from 110th and Broadway to the 1 train...

So, I'm adopting an idea right now. If it works and it's a good thing, why not spread a good thing around? How many times have i said "good thing" in this blog?

this is it: My friend on this site has (or did have) theme type days in her blogs. I particularly enjoyed the theme: Currents. I'm completely stealing the title, but giving Darla credit for it, of course ;) I just like "Currents". I like it better than any other title I thought up so far. Maybe I'll come up with one someday, but for right now, I'm embracing it. A compliment for Darla. Thanks, Dar-bar.
(if you have copyright on "Currents" I will immediately change it! - lol) define "Currents" for me: these are things I have particularly enjoyed and indulged myself in throughout the week or so. Some have developed into all-time favorites and some are just one-hit wonders...


~summer meal : cilantro lime chicken and mango salad

~ dessert: fancy chocolates from San Francisco

~color combination: blue and chocolate brown

~ music: STARS (check 'em out!)

~ redecorating/craft idea: making a cork-board or picture frame out of wine bottle corks

~ place to be: my bedroom

~ book: "Reviving Ophelia" by Mary Pipher, Ph.D
(excellent physcology book on the generational change in adolescent girls...fascinatingly poignant and all too real)

~ movie: City of God (brilliant!)

~tv show: Big Love (HBO)

~ drink: water and red red wine

~ mood: thoughtful, anxious and energetic

How was your week?


Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Confessions of a Social Butterfly

This summer has been surprisingly full of out-and-abouts and all kinds of exciting inbetweens. It's been, by far, the best summer I've had in quite awhile. It may be true, that I am easily satisfied, but to have an amazing summer without leaving this city is quite possible .... proof is in the I dunno.

I will be writing some belated concert reviews soon....some great stuff - take my word!

In July, I attended my first Ani DiFranco concert for one of my dearest friends' birthdays (the infamous Darla). It was lesbian infested goodness. I tried my best to fit in, but I am too awkwardly straight, it seems. Mainly I enjoyed my time with friends. Ani was good too. Of course we all know she is uber talented. Duh. She rocked out.

That same week, on the weekend, I attended an AMAZING festival concert on the Camden waterfront (near Philly) at Wiggins Park. This one deserves a full blogging. Three days of glorious sun, music and vendors that sold pottery! (Okay, I'm a bit of a hippie at heart....just a bit).

Before all this, I saw my first River-to-River free event in NYC! I saw one of my favorite bands, Spoon live in Battery Park. I love me some free music and I love me some Spoon. Though there was rain at a stop-n-go pace, This deserves it's own blog as well....stay tuned. You need some Spoon if you haven't taken a taste yet, my friends.

Just so you know where I've been, here are some places i've gone and want to be- whether it's on the web or in this crazy real world....


1) (by far, my most frequented website. I'm a junkie. Music, music and more music!)


if you ever are out in the middle of tribeca -hehe - go to this little restaurant/bakery. It has perfect portions, a homey feel, and just good food. Unfortunately, not the best cupcakes though. Buttercup Bakery will always win in that department!

3) (i just discovered this site about a month ago. maybe too late...but you can find a pic of anything!)

4) Just completed a four day, month long workshop for children's book writing with the fabulous author, Amy Hest. Read some of her stuff! (Missy - if you are reading this, you may know her work already). It was a great workshop on "Writing Your First Children's Book". Wish it was longer - but the four day intensive was thought provoking and informative at best. She is a very open and giving person - so write her if you want to know more about her work! Check her out. It's the least I could do...

Friday, June 22, 2007

Keep on Keepin' On~ For Grandpap

It's been one hell of month as I gazed blankly,(maybe just exhausted), at my iCal on my laptop. The appointments and obligations that fill up my calendar for the month of June are nothing extremely out of the ordinary - but from beginning to end, seem so far apart...
For the past few months my grandfather was struggling - fighting the true battle of his life. Finally, in a moment of amazing grace he took his last breath on June 14th. The amazing part was - his wife and four of his children were by his side. He wasn't alone. Despite all his agony in his final days, it's comforting to know he looked into my grandmother's eyes and held his childrens' hands before his final goodbye.
My mother asked me to write a poem for the funeral. She asked my brother to write something as well. I arranged travelling plans to Maryland, met up with my bro and his girlfriend, and prepped for the weight of what Monday or Tuesday may bring. As I wrote thoughts and jumbled ideas, as my bro pondered and collected more information - it was made clear that this simple poem and "something to say", became the Eulogy.

Wow. That's a lot of pressure.

I have a difficult time writing for family - at least, so I thought. I always think I'm too personal or too much of something. In 2004, my 21-year old cousin, whom was one of my best friends, was killed in a car accident by a drunk-driver. When I tried to write for him - everything seemed contrived and not genuine enough. I still beat myself up over the fact that I didn't read something from me at his funeral. I still kick myself because I think I gave up too easily and he deserved more from me. This experience taught me a lot....because I didn't want to be anything but strong for grandpop. Strong was the only way to be for the man who always believed in me...always.

I'm honored that I had a chance to speak, honored that my mother chose my brother and I to speak for her. She knew we would exemplify what everyone couldn't find the words to say.

I'm proud that I took the plunge this time. I was very hesitant - very hesitant - but I knew if my brother was up there with me, somehow, it would all come out perfectly. My brother spent the entire day typing this beautiful reflection on our grandfather - much like a great newspaper article (after all, he is a newspaper reporter!), while I spent time sitting on the train and in the front seat of bro's car, nibbling saltines and guzzling ginger ale, scribbling on a notepad.

I learned more from this experience than any other. It finaly sunk in that I hold back. I hold back when I feel my talents or whatever I have to offer is not of perfection. My mom read the rough draft, after I exasperated that it wasn't finished - please don't read it - it's not really a poem - it's too personal - blah blah blah. After the first few lines, my mother was crying. "This is perfect, Jessica. Don't change a thing" she said, "You're crazy". Now, my mother's like me - honest. She'll tell you exactly what she thinks. She won't be supportive just for the sake of being supportive. I believed her. And though it obviously need tweaking (it wasn't perfect), having that feedback meant SO MUCH.

Maybe I am crazy.

At the closing of a beautiful catholic mass, the priest nodded to my brother and I. We each ascended the wide marble steps to the podium. My brother spoke first. It was difficult to hold it together -for me- he wrote of a gift our grandfather gave him for one of his birthdays - A Merriem-Webster Dictionary. He reflected on what was written inside the front cover : "Keep on Keepin' On". He reflected on the fact that this simple saying was a driving force in grandpop's life and in the people's lives he touched - especially his family. Though my brother and I wrote separately, our words connected with different rhythm, different focus, but with the same intention - love.

I concluded the Eulogy with this poetic reflection:

I was once a little blonde girl in pigtails. At that time, I had no idea the life that this man built inside the walls I called "grandmom and grandpop's house". This was a place I loved to visit, but it was his smile most of all.

A pillar of support with just a hug or a wink. I knew just by looking at him, just by looking in those eyes that the world is worth the journey, and dreams can come true if I really try.

He was determined, strong-willed and a brave soul. Proud and stubborn still - but he would never falter. He was a family man who paved the way for generations to come. A passion; a zest for life that has inspired me to become the woman I am today.

80 years - and I have not seen them all, except in detailed stories over coffee at the kitchen table, except in pieces of memories in sepia toned and black and white photographs.
80 years - and I have not seen them all, but with modesty, with grace, he held onto those years as delicate as his own grandchild's hand.

Though I have not seen them all - I've seen much. I've watch him dance with my grandmother on New Year's Eve, read books to my brother and me - transporting our wandering imaginations. He was the grandpa who was always interested in who I was and who I was going to be.

With love, he would sometimes sneak me a midnight snack or a 10 dollar bill. See, with Henry, with grandpop, it was always be full, be happy, be young at heart. He knew life was fleeting. I take from his journey that the best things in life should happen today - and every day.

80 years - a long, good life - and that's an understatement. 80 years - and I smile for grandpop today. I smile because even as his eyes and will grew weary, he could always see the power behind a smile. The power of happiness, of beauty, and of love.