Archive for August, 2009


August 31, 2009

I have the our-students-are-coming-tomorrow jitters!!

so this is why I’m here!!

August 26, 2009

Tonight was the high school ice cream social — an annual event that happens about a week before school starts. It’s mostly hanging out outside, socializing, and eating ice cream, but it also offers a change for students to meet their advisors.

It was SO GREAT to see the 10th and 11th graders, and to meet the 9th graders in my advisory (and their families). Lots of stories, laughing, and catching up. It was totally refreshing after a week and a half of meetings and planning! I feel totally motivated and inspired now!!

Time for bed — I’m exhausted from being at school for more than 12 hours!!

goodbye summer

August 19, 2009

Last week was the last week of summer vacation. I spent it well, though that doesn’t make it any easier to say goodbye. I went to the beach twice with my mom. I spent one evening with three childhood friends: Sarah V, Sarah N, and Anne. On Sunday, my last day of vacation, David and I visited one of our favorite people, our friend Julie who went to Hampshire College with us. She lives in Lebanon, NH; it was a beautiful drive on roads completely surrounded with green–trees as far as you could see.

Here I am with Julie at the cafe where we ate lunch, in Hanover, NH (where Dartmouth is).

Julie and David in her apartment. David loves Julie because she laughs at all his bad jokes.

I can’t believe that she’s lived there for almost a year now and this was our first time visiting her there. It was so nice just sitting in her apartment, talking. Julie’s the type of person who I think I could talk to forever. When we were in college and sharing an apartment, whenever I was sitting on the worn, comfy, blue velvet couch that was leftover from whoever lived there before us (the couch that when you hit it or sat down with force clouds of dust & dirt floated into the air) and Julie was headed upstairs, I’d say, “Oh, just one more thing…” and I’d trick her into staying almost every time.

My last week of vacation wasn’t all rainbows & sunshine & friends. Our landlord informed us that he’s found a buyer for our condo and we need to move out. We were extremely shocked and upset. Our lease ran out in July, but we have an email in which it was agreed that our lease was to be renewed until the end of June 2010. (I feel certain that our landlord showed the buyer our place while we were on vacation, since he knew we were away, without ever telling us, let alone giving us the mandatory 24 hours notice.) In a panic, we spent a few days looking at apartments. We found one we liked and were hoping to get our landlord to pay moving costs. After a week of panic/frustration/searching/trying to get our landlord to call us back, on Monday he informed us that we could, in fact, stay, and that he’d “stuck his neck out for us,” and spoken to the buyer who agreed to lease it to us after he acquires it (first it was Nov 1, then Feb 1…). This should have been a huge relief, but it wasn’t. We’re incredibly frustrated and feel misled.  We decided last night that we are going to move anyway and that we don’t want to stay in this situation. It looks like we’ll be moving over Labor Day.

On Monday, I started school. It was really hard to go back–summer has been so good for me–but it was AWESOME to see my co-workers! The last three days have mostly been meetings, everything from Deescalation & Restraint training, to 504 training, to planning interdisciplinary projects. Tomorrow it looks like we will have some planning time which I think will make me feel a little less overwhelmed. I have a brand new 11th grade English curriculum to plan!

Palmer family films

August 11, 2009

For my grandfather’s 85th birthday, I took a box of film reels my mom found in his basement and got them transferred to DVD. Unfortunately, they weren’t ready in time for his birthday party. I picked them up the day David and I got back from Los Angeles.

A number of the films are of him and his family in NYC in the 1930’s. I haven’t spoken to him yet since he’s watched them, but my mom said he recognized almost everyone and really loved them! I’m posting them here so the rest of the family can enjoy, and hopefully we can find out more details about them!

Seattle, Portland, & Los Angeles

August 11, 2009

David and I got back last Wednesday (our flight got in at 5am…), from our two week trip. We spent three days in Seattle, three in Portland, and a little over a week in LA with David’s parents. We were pretty exhausted when we got home, but had an awesome time. I loved Seattle and REALLY loved Portland!

Seattle, Day 1

We started the day by walking to Pike Place Market, a huge indoor and outdoor farmer’s market and place for artist/craftspeople to sell their goods, which first opened in 1907. We went back here at least a couple of times each day–we loved it. In the early morning, when we got breakfast, it was quiet, calm, and nearly empty. Later in the day it was packed with tourists and locals, noisy and full of energy.

There were a number of places selling fresh seafood.

The colors were beautiful! Lots fresh fruit & veggies... We had a juicy peach.

This was one of the stands outdoors.

In the morning, we watched florists cutting and arranging bouquets. Many of these bouquets were only $5 or $10.

We then went to Seattle Center, an area in downtown where the Experience Music Project and the Science Fiction Museum are located. We went to both museums (one ticket gets you in to both). The museums were founded by Paul Allen (who started Microsoft with Bill Gates). My favorite part was the large exhibit that is currently at the Science Fiction Museum devoted to the creativity and imagination of Jim Henson.

This is a quote I jotted down at the exhibit:

“Jim didn’t think in terms of boundaries at all the way the rest of us do. There are always these fences we build around ourselves and our ideas. Jim seemed to have no fences.” -Jon Stone, Sesame Street producer and director

Here I am in Seattle Center, right by the Space Needle.

The space needle.

David's standing in front of the extremely cool-looking museum. Frank Gehry designed the building. You can see the monorail to the left, which goes through the building.

A close up of the building's texture.

After going to the Science Fiction Museum, we walked back to the Pike Place area to get lunch. We later returned to go to the Experience Music Project.

We ate lunch at Pan Africa Market. David hates when I take pictures of what we eat, but I had to post because this is probably the best food we ate on our entire trip. If you are in Seattle, go there!!

After we returned to the Experience Music Project, we went to the Olympic Sculpture Park, which is along the water.

Here I am, walking along the water in the park.

Seattle, Day 2

After getting breakfast in Pike Place market, we checked out the Seattle Public Central Library, which I have wanted to do since reading about it in newspapers and design magazines/blogs when it opened in 2004. We had an awesome time walking around and exploring this really, really cool space.

David rides the escalator.

I ride the escalator.

One of the things that most impressed me was that not only does the library look really cool, but is extremely functional. In the picture below, you can see that the Dewey Decimal numbers are on the floor. They are actually rubber mats that can be moved/shifted when new books are added. It makes it incredibly easy to find the section you’re looking for!

Another really cool function is an escalator of sorts for books. When you put books in the book drop outside, they are sucked up along a glassed in conveyor belt that travels along the ceiling and goes up to the second floor, where they are presumably checked back in and then shelved. When books are returned at the front desk, which is the bottom floor, they feed them into the sameconveyor belt system and they travel upstairs.

After checking out the library, we wandered back to Pike Place and went to The Gum Wall, which is by a movie theater below Pike Place market. It is similar to Bubblegum Alley, which we’ve been to in San Luis Obispo, CA. It was kind of cool and kind of gross…

That night we went to explore the University District. We ate dinner at a vegan restaurant called Chaco Canyon Organic Cafe.

Seattle, Day 3

In the morning we went on Seattle’s Underground Tour, which allowed us to “roam the subterranean passages that once were the main roadways and first-floor storefronts of old downtown Seattle. Afterwards, we got lunch in downtown.

We headed to the Amtrak station and got on the train to Portland. The views from the window were beautiful.

I took this from the train.

When we got to Portland we checked into our hotel, then headed out for dinner. We ate at a really great burrito place, The Laughing Planet, which was in the Pearl District. We then checked out Powell’s Books, the most amazing bookstore I could imagine. It’s the largest independent bookstore in the country. The downtown location is 68,000sq ft, open to 11pm seven days a week, buys 3,000 used books a day, and has more than 1,000,000 volumes!!! They have maps of the store at all the counters so you can find your way around.

Portland, Day 1

On our first full day in Portland, we went to Saturday Market, “the largest continually operating outdoor arts and crafts market in the nation.” The market consisted of rows upon rows of tents selling clothing, jewelry, candles, artwork, soaps…There were also a number of food booths–Greek, African, Thai… We got a delicious breakfast at a Tibetan food cart.

Here I am standing on the riverwalk that runs by Saturday Market.

We then walked the length of the River Walk to Waterfront Park. We ate lunch in the Pearl District, at Cha Cha Cha, a delicious burrito place.

We took the Light Rail to Washington Park, which is about 130 acres. Only a 10 minute or so ride from downtown, I felt like we were in rural NH! It was so beautiful. It borders Forest Park, the largest urban wilderness park in the US. We hiked along a few miles of trail to the International Rose Test Garden.

David on Wildwood Trail.

You can see David in the mid-right portion of the photo with his arms in the air.

The rose gardens were beatiful, but it was so hot!!

Here we are in the rose gardens.

That night we went and explored the Nob Hill area in Northwest Portland. We had dinner at an Indian restaurant with the friendliest & most helpful waitress we encountered on our trip.

Portland, Day 2

After breakfast, we went to the Saturday Market again.  We then walked the River Trail again. For lunch, we got falafel at the Saturday Market. We spent most of the day just walking around, exploring. We walked through China Town and Old Town.

For dinner, we went to the Blossoming Lotus, an all organic vegan restaurant. It was SO GOOD! While we were eating, we suddenly heard, “Sarah Richardson’s little sister?” One of my sister’s friends, who happened to be in the restaurant at the same time as us, recognized me from a photo she posted on Facebook of me at my Hampshire graduation. WEIRD! And so cool! We laughed about what a strange coincidence it was. He’d just been visiting Sarah the week before in Toronto. When we left, I called Sarah and we laughed some more.

After dinner, we walked around a lot more and then went to Voodoo Donuts, the hippest place we went to on our trip. It only closes from 3am-6am; even though it was 10pm, there was a long line going down the street. Every time we walked by, the line was there. The donuts were soooo sweet–we got one with vanilla frosting and Oreo cookie (an oreo or two crumbled on the top) and one with peanut butter and Oreo cookie. If you travel to Portland, you definitely have to go there. (They also have vegan donuts!)

Portland, Day 3

We went to the Hawthorne and Belmont districts of Portland. It was a hipper, funkier area of Portland. We walked around and had lunch.

David drinks from one of the famous Portland water fountains--Benson bubblers--which continuously has water coming up.

A street near Hawthorne Blvd.

We went back to the Riverwalk and walked around some more. It was so, so hot (in the 100s) that I felt pretty sick, so in the late afternoon we headed back to the hotel to wait for our shuttle to the airport.

Los Angeles

We had a great time in LA with David’s parents and brother, Eric. We got to see his grandparents and spend a lot of time relaxing and hanging out. David’s parents took us to some incredibly nice meals and we spent a lot of time just talking. I’m upset that I really didn’t take any pictures… This blog post is getting really long, and I’m getting lazy, but suffice to say that I really, really enjoyed our time there!! I’m really happy that they’ll be coming out to visit in November!