Thursday, June 18, 2015

Foster Diaries #2: Tiki the Siamese

It is notoriously hard to get cats over five years old adopted. Most people want fluffy, mewing kittens (many of which end up right back in the shelter when they outgrow their itty-bitty cuteness, or aren't given the patient socialization most kittens need to grow into well-behaved cats). Many adopters who take home adult cats want the benefit of an established personality and temperament, but still lean toward younger ones. When people are willing to take 9-year-olds like Tiki, it is often because they are either animal-saving saints or are interested in particular breeds. While a quarter of all shelter animals in New York City are actually purebreds (not that it should matter), I thought Tiki would be overlooked by potential Siamese-lovers due to her crossed eyes and prominent overbite, likely caused by inbreeding.

Luckily, a lovely family in New Jersey will most likely be taking Tiki home tomorrow! She really is the most magnificent cat. Many animals are rightfully stressed out by busy adoption events and moving between foster homes, but Tiki has remained an absolute peach during both. She is such a friendly and calm little lady! Tiki loves any TLC she can get, and will purr like a lawnmower when she gets it (and maybe even treat you to her very musical meow), but she will never bother you for attention. She enjoys burrowing in my clothes or duvet, occasionally playing with her favorite mouse toy. At night, she sleeps soundly at the foot of my bed. 

In addition to a sweet personality, her appearance is ridiculously endearing. Who wouldn't love this face?
I decided to leave the bedroom door open this week (allowing the cats to mingle) because Tiki is quite easygoing, and I thought she might be here for a while. They have made a lot of progress together in the last week - they went from hissing across the apartment at each other to lounging carelessly within a few feet!
Both Andrey and I totally fell in love with our little ray of cross-eyed sunshine. Tiki-riki, you wonderful creature, we will miss you so much!

Next up: Butterscotch the Maine Coon, who will be arriving to recover from surgery in a quiet environment when Tiki goes to her furrever home.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Foster Diaries #1: Sami the tortie

Hello, lovely blog followers!

The NYU semester has wrapped up, and I am very much enjoying the beginning of summer. I am still student teaching my 7th graders every morning and tutoring kindergarteners in the afternoon. When the school year ends on the last Friday of June, I'll begin my summer position as a camp counselor for the 92Y Trailblazers. At the moment, I'm very much enjoying this intermediate period! More than anything, I now have an unusual amount of free time, and I'm becoming very involved in a fantastic rescue organization called Zani's Furry Friends.

One of the ways I've been helping out is by fostering shy or undersocialized kitties who need a quiet and loving environment in which to thrive. The first of my foster babes, who went to a wonderful furrever home today (!) is Sami. Sami is a teeny, painfully shy, one-year-old tortie girl of just four pounds. This sweet pea was pulled off the kill list at Animal Control a month ago, but had some trouble in her previous foster home, which had many pets and people. In the five days she was with me, she went from cowering (but never hissing) at my touch to responding to affection! Now, Sami is in the very capable hands of an experienced pet parent who will do a great job of fully socializing her!

The following pictures aren't great because Sami was crated/very shy, but nevertheless:
She caught a little cold at our last adoption event, but it cleared up right away
Much cuter here than when she woke me up every 45 minutes for 4 nights in a row!
Coming soon... Foster Diaries #2: Siamese Tiki!

P.S. Tabby is not a huge fan of the fostering idea, and generally ignores our bedroom, where the fosters are confined. However, she has been surprisingly good! She is still eating, showing affection, and has done no territorial -ahem- markings. I'm very proud of her, considering she hasn't met another cat since she left her litter-mates at two months old! And if anything, fostering just makes us love her curmudgeonly self even more :)
Doesn't she slightly resemble Barney from The Simpsons?

Friday, April 17, 2015

Katze, chat, gato

As I mentioned in my last post, Tabby the tabby cat has come to live with us in New York. We are extremely sad for Steve and hoping he will be well enough to have her again eventually, but for now, we are greatly enjoying having this fluffy curmudgeon around the house.

Some introductory facts about Tabby:

  • Her full name is Tabitha
  • Her (equally creative) nickname is Cat or Kitty
  • She is a spry thirteen-year-old lady
  • She enjoys looking out the window, so much so that the sill next to Andrey's desk is now called the Cat Office
  • She also enjoys eating all flying things that come through those windows
  • She is one of those rare cats that likes it when people pet her belly
  • She expresses her love in head butting, deep purring, and attacking feet
  • She is the same kitty from this photograph of her and her first canine buddy, Sloane: 

Andrey and I are hoping to move in to a dog-friendly apartment next summer, and we'd love to get a pup! It'd be Tabby's third co-pet, and possibly (depending on many factors) even another Great Dane.

A few more recent photos of Kitty in hew new abode:

I've also been posting lots of pictures of her on Instagram, a feed of which is embedded on the left side of this blog.

More Kitty to come!

Enjoy your weekend.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Life lately

Well hey there, it's been a few weeks. March madness is real, and I'm not talking about basketball. A few pictures from the past month or so...

Rooftop views after dinner with my mom, Steve, and the Sarches:
More precious kindergarten love notes:
 Twiggy visited us for a few weeks last month! We had a blast taking her in the snow...
 ... and taking her to our favorite sites in the city ;)
Last weekend, we had an absolute blast with Andrey's cousin Anna, her husband Sean, and their wonderful baby Max! They just moved to Connecticut, and we are so psyched to have family so close by now!
WE FOUND A TURTLE! No joke. We found it in a tiny isolated city park while walking Twiggy one freezing day. We knew it couldn't be a wild turtle (some of which live in Central Park), and figured it was a dumped pet turtle. After long phone calls, multiple trips to shelters, and several realizations that nobody effing takes turtles!, he was taken in by ACC, given a full medical exam, and will soon be transferred to a wildlife sanctuary!
And lastly, we recently took in a new roommate (more on that tomorrow):
Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Life lately

have a confession (is it a confession when everybody knows this about me already?): I absolutely love snow. Taking walks during a storm, crunching through piles on the sidewalk, making snowpeople, almost getting bowled over by runaway sleds on 91st Street - I love every bit of it. So I have been kinda super jealous of all the snow Boston has been getting, which I'm sure most people who have been in Boston for the last month would like to smack me upside the head for saying. 

So I was very pleased to look out the window on Sunday and see that we were finally getting some real snow! I was home for most of the day, but I enjoyed the view as I worked. 

Life is good in this very slushy city. I taught my first solo lesson today at student teaching! It went really well, and my coordinating teacher gives amazingly helpful feedback. Over time, I'll transition into teaching a few lessons a week, and next semester, I'll take over an entire section for several months at a different school. 

I'm looking forward to lots of visitors this month. First, Adriana will come up from Yale for a Ben & Jerry's and Gilmore Girls-filled sleepover on our one overlapping spring break weekend. Then, my family will visit the same weekend that part of Andrey's family moves to Connecticut - we're both so excited to meet his adorable baby nephew! 

After that, just six weeks are left in the semester. I love my student teaching placement and am definitely not looking forward to switching, but it's got to happen. Their last several hires were former NYU student teachers, so my fingers are crossed! 

But enough of the future - some recent pictures:

The view from my workspace:

FaceTiming with Whisper 

The frozen Hudson: 

A kindergarten letter:

One of the many frozen chunks of leaves that occasionally fall, scaring the crap out of unsuspecting people and dogs:

Have a great week!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Spring 2015 semester classes

Hi everybody!

I thought I would do my semester class descriptions. First, I'm going to start with my other obligations:
  • Student Teaching: I still can't believe I'm actually student teaching! I'm graduating early thanks to my A.P. credits, overambitious class-taking freshman year, and an advisor who does her best to help kids avoid the crushing weight of student loans. Therefore, I'm actually a first-semester senior (wait, what? Wasn't I in high school last month?), and am doing my first of two semesters of student teaching. I'm not going to post too much about my placement here for privacy/career reasons, but I will say I am loving it so far!
  • Work: I still work as an America Reads tutor at the same school I've been at since 2012. This year, I got kindergarteners! These magical and adorable little munchkin bubbies are the light of my life. They give me so. Many. Smiles. And some excellent quotes!
  • Volunteering?: Andrey and I both desperately want to have multiple four-footed creatures around the house, but our lease prevents us from getting any. We're going to apply to volunteer at the local ASPCA (a convenient block from our apartment) when their next round of orientations and interviews start in late March. I worked at one Boston location in high school and loved it.
So now, on to classes! I'm happy to say that a month into the semester, I am so invested in every single class (and I MAJOR HEART two professors in particular). It's such a great feeling to know that each class and assignment is legitimately valuable and helping me become a better teacher. So, without further ado:
  • Integrating Students with Disabilities in the General Education Classroom (4): Our professor, Sharon, is a former principal from district 75 (the district dedicated to special education-only schools). In this class, we learn about how to best accommodate students with a wide variety of special needs as general education teachers. It's really helpful, especially considering so many of my kindergarteners have special needs, and Sharon is extremely knowledgeable and helpful. It's also nice having classes with fewer than ten students - you get to know everybody so well.
  • Integrating History & Literature with Adolescents (4): There's something ridiculously charming about a professor who only wears green and blue clothes and has no filter. This class is so fun! Most of it revolves around a team project - for five weeks, my group, which includes two other students, independently teach a unit we developed. Rebecca, our professor, used to supervise student teachers, so she gives amazing feedback on our lessons. Not only do I feel myself improving my lesson planning habits and instructional techniques everyday, but I can also tell you more than you ever wanted to know about badass pioneer women and their important legacy to the suffrage movement and first wave feminism. This class is especially helpful because I'm currently student teaching the seventh grade in a double period English/social studies mashup classroom (Humanities, which is more elegantly named than its science/math counterpart, SMath... yup, it's actually called SMath, Google it!). I've made some new friends, too! My other four classes are almost exclusively with the same social studies education majors (there are a whopping fifteen of us across all four years). While five of them in particular are friends I adore, it's also nice to meet new people from the English education track. Ah, the advantages of single-digit student count classes.
  • Key Debates in U.S. History, Post-1865 (4): I knew I would like this class right away, because the professor, Diana, is a good friend of my favorite professor last semester, and generally a very accomplished scholar in the social studies ed field. Rather than do a general survey course about US history, Diana chose to examine specific points of contention, beginning with the failures of post-Civil War Reconstruction efforts. It's super interesting, and with eight students (five of whom are the social studies buddies I mentioned), we can have really great discussions.
  • Student Teaching Seminar (4): This seminar is the counterpart to our student teaching placement. Because I'm a first-semester senior, I have reduced responsibilities in my placement (for example, I don't take over my class section as the main teacher for a few more weeks, whereas my second-semester friends already have). We discuss the practical dilemmas of student teaching, including curriculum, co-teaching, and class management. The instructor, Maura, teaches history in NYPS and completed NYU's teacher preparation program (her current student teacher is also a friend of mine), so she's super helpful. She's also very knowledgeable about the ridiculously long and complicated certification process, which I've already had to begin, despite not graduating for another ten months. With a whopping twenty or so students (it includes all of the Masters social studies education majors), it's my largest class!
  • Integrating Media & Technology in the Classroom (1): This little 1-credit course is so much fun. It only runs for six weeks, of which we've already completed four. Nonetheless, I have learned quite a bit; I thought I was pretty knowledgeable about educational technology, but the professor, Sava, has totally opened my eyes to some really cool resources! I'm actually pretty sad for this class to end. I think NYU should make it a 4-credit option, and not just because Sava could be a stand-up comedian!
As you may have noticed, I have no fewer than three classes nicknamed "Integrating." My planner can get very confusing! Speaking of my planner...

My beloved 2013-2014 planner, filled with freshman career musings, sophomore European adventures, and junior early graduation glee, has retired. Unfortunately I'm suuuper picky about the size and format of my yearly planner. But after searching since December, I finally found one that is perfect! Behold, my adorable new planner:

For $22, you can choose the cover print, the page type/layout, and words or a monogram for the front; I scored this one for $12 because it was predesigned. I don't work for them or anything - May Designs is just amazing, and beloved by organizational junkies everywhere! 

So there you have it - my semester, in a nutshell. With the 35 hours I spend at student teaching and work alone, it's kind of like being a full-time TA and full-time student simultaneously, but I legitimately love every bit of it.

Let me know what you'd like to hear about in upcoming posts, and thanks for sticking with this one through to the end!

Stay warm,

Friday, February 13, 2015

Long time, no see...

I've thought a lot about whether or not to revive this blog. After finals ended last spring, I immediately went on a wonderful three-week family vacation to Greece with limited internet connection and lots of beautiful views to enjoy. When I returned home, I immediately starting working at my summer job. When that ended, Andrey and I were working hard to make our new apartment home, and before I knew it, a whole other busy semester went by!

I didn't want to write a few new posts and then be silent for another long stretch. After wanting to share photos and stories here for the last several weeks, however, I decided I would commit to blogging again! For the sake of my own sanity and making sure TTM remains easy to maintain, I'm not going to fill it with catch-ups from the past ten (!) months. I do, however, promise to do my best to share new tidbits as they happen.

Stay tuned - 2015 has been mighty interesting so far, and it has only just begun!