A moment to write…. aah. So refreshing. Let’s see. To be honest my life overall has been terribly boring. I have been working non-stop between school work and work for my fellowship. Seriously, every single day I feel like there is just not enough time.
On the up side, I have had some visitors this month to interrupt my stressed-out crazy routine. Sara and Meagan, two of my best friends that I grew up with on the beach in Rhode Island, came to visit Jenn and me in Boulder. Jenn and I had tried to prepare an itinerary for the weekend, but with everyone’s lives in such a whirlwind at the time, it was impossible to plan what we each needed. Friday night we made it out to the Med, where Jenn used to work. Here, we got some of our best photos:
It was an intense night… the first time the four of us have all been together in about 2 and half years. Our conversations throughout the night conjured up all types of emotions and stories… and some excessive drinking.
The next morning we had breakfast at Lucille’s, one of the most delicious breakfast spots in Boulder.
I snuck off to work on an organic chemistry assignment after breakfast and met back up with the girls in time for some snacks and wine before we headed back out. First to the brasserie, then the attic:
Sunday morning we had a simple breakfast at Jenn’s,
after which I again snuck away for most of the day to get some work done. Later, I met back up with the girls at Jenn’s house. While we lounged a bit, Meagan worked on putting together a “surprise” birthday cake for Jenn.
The night and the rest of the visit (for me, at least) ended with a birthday dinner for Jenn at Hapa.
As always the sushi was delicious, and we got a little special treatment… roses for Valentines day and the boys in the kitchen sent us out 4 chocolate covered strawberries for the occasion.
After the weekend, I was truly in survival mode, just trying to get through each day between teaching, classes, a Monday morning test, a paper due Wednesday, and meetings. When Friday rolled around, I had been invited by my cousin Brian to spend the night in Steamboat and ride the next day. My car was packed and ready to go, but after feeling so overwhelmed and stressed from having a little fun the previous weekend, I was nervous. Plus I’m going on 4 straight weeks with a cold along with its annoying symptoms and I would have to do the over 3-hour drive up and back solo. So I bailed… and I’m still regretting it. The snow was amazing and my brother Chip said they spent the whole time in the woods.
Before I could dwell on my mistake, Brian and his friend Murph decided to spend Saturday night with Chip and I in Boulder.
We had some wine at home, while Murph cooked up some “magic” pasta. After Chip’s dessert,
we met up with our cousins MaryKate and Coco out for a little bit, and the remainder of the evening turned into craziness. I admit, I didn’t plan for it, but there was no turning back.
And now, mostly because of my decision not to go to Steamboat, but to stay home and do work, I actually have a few moments of free time before I get back to my 1000-something page environmental organic chemistry textbook. Woohoo!
Wow, I have been neglecting this blog. It’s a busy time and I’m totally swamped. This month is the most intense month for work for me, and my classes are picking up fast. I’ve had friends and my cousin in town and so much to write about… but no time. Soon I’ll make up for it, but for now, I’m just leaving a link. The story behind it… I received an email on Thursday from my boss Janet saying “you’re famous!” Janet wrote an article about me and my work, the NSF-funded GK12 fellowship where myself and four other fellows teach engineering projects in various schools in Longmont and Lafeyette ranging from elementary to high school. Janet claims that I was randomly chosen for the article, but I think she just wanted to use a photo of me skating. And there is one in the article. It makes me feel a little silly because the article introduces me as a “competative skateboarder” which is up for debate. I have skated in a number of contest over the years, though, and won the most recent (girls division) so I guess I’ll accept the description. Anyways, so excited about the publicity and that a skate photo of me did make the article… at the end.
I really couldn’t help but be jealous when I heard on Friday that Baltimore was about to get hit by a blizzard. Ever since I could remember, I have always loved snow. The memories of playing in the snow, the white glistening beauty, and the association with snow days – a day off with no responsibilities.
It’s actually a little funny that I even make this association, especially since both my high school and undergraduate university didn’t give snow days regardless of how much it snowed. In high school, I went to a boarding school and I guess they figured we could walk through any depth of snow. At McGill in Montreal, they wouldn’t dare give us a snow day or there might be a winter when almost every day warrants another snow day.
Teaching in Baltimore is the first time I got to experience a few snow days since I was a little kid. And even though I didn’t go out and build snowmen or forts or go sledding like I used to, I possibly enjoyed snow days even more when I was a teacher. And now living in Colorado, snow days are almost unheard of. And to be honest, for the first time, I actually like not getting snow. I think this is only because it’s possible for Boulder to be warm and sunny enough to skate outside in a t-shirt, while the mountains just a little under 2 hours away can be getting dumped on.
Yet, I still felt that pang of jealousy. Now realizing they literally got a few feet of snow overnight, I can’t even begin to imagine what a mess the city must be. I’m not sure if they’ll be back in school tomorrow but through the magic of facebook, I know that school was closed today and yesterday from the storm Friday night. Crazy.
Anyways, we did get a little bit of love from the snow gods and it snowed all day Sunday and Monday… although we really didn’t get much accumulation.
…and a Sense of Humor
Along with the snow, came this classic photo…
Hey Bich! Who doesn’t love laughing at other’s mistakes? I haven’t seen such blatent misspellings out in public since I left Baltimore that I almost wonder if this could have been on purpose? It reminds me of a time I was driving behind a ice cream truck, which on the back had written: Watch Out Childeren. Awesome.
While we were at the Outback Saloon on Saturday night, we all found this pretty funny.
I guess they forgot which superbowl it was this year… good thing they saved it by adding a I to write the 4 as IIII instead of IV. Nice work!
Ever since I watched the Patriots play the Saints much earlier this season, I became a believer. I knew the Saints would take it all the way.
I had some invites to a few superbowl parties, but was feeling down about how far behind I’ve felt in school, work, etc. So, I stayed home and watched the game solo with a fire burning and my Fundamenals book on my lap. It wasn’t as much fun as watching with my friends, but Drew Brees, Reggie Bush, Pierre Thomas and the rest of the saints were exciting enough to watch. And I managed to get a tiny bit of work done.
I woke up and actually cleaned the house a little bit… mostly the kitchen. Our house is starting to look a little rough. Just when I finally got the point of settling down to do some work, I got a text about skating. So I hopped in the shower, got dressed, and headed out to pick up Brian and meet the rest of the crew at Sol. Perfect, because I had to set up some new trucks and wheels.
After we hit up a spot along the street. I took a few photos of everyone skating the median. I looked not only sketchy to skate, but was located in a busy intersection of traffic. Crazy.
Fuzz. Unfortunately a butt shot, but a nice ollie next to a line of traffic to the right.
Jack skated with us and killed it all day long. I almost can’t believe this is one of the only photos I took of him and it’s not even a great shot. I guess after this spot I was trying to skate myself, but seriously he did so much crazy stuff.
Nate was going for wallride to fakie… I think. He kept heading more towards wallride rock to fakie. Now that would have been insane.
Neil was the first to skate this spot and got his wall ride before we left. Pretty sweet.
We clearly weren’t too welcome at this spot though. Earlier, a woman told us not to rollerblade near the church that was along the side of the road. Brian assured her that we would never ever rollerblade there. After a short conversation with a cop, we finally hit the road and moved on to another spot. It turned out to be so awesome. I was just trying to get a feel for my new trucks and sort of just in my own world, but everyone else was ripping. Everyone together (except me, because again, I was lost in my own world) did 38 tricks for Brian’s 38th birthday. Very cute.
Later we went to Oskar Blues for dinner. The wait was long, but we all drank beers and finally were seated at a dark table in the corner and everyone reminisced about skate memories/trivia for the many hours we were there. The dinner ended with Brian getting a desert and being recognized on the microphone in front of the whole restaurant for his 42nd birthday. Haha.
Then it was time for the Outback Saloon karaoke night. We had a great showing and everyone was psyched to come out and celebrate for Brian’s birthday. In then end only Leslie and Reed made it up on stage to sing, but with with shuffle board and pool and just watching the other people singing and dancing, there was never a dull moment.
And so Saturday came to an end… and now it’s time to get back to business.
…really sums it up. I’m inches away from drowning in just about every aspect of my life. I’m behind in everything and don’t feel like I’ve had enough time to put into each of my classes, my work, skating, and even this blog. I also have already broken my promise to myself about making it up to the mountains to ride at least once a week. Slightly over-ambitious I suppose.
Either way, this last week has been rough. Between feeling inadequate in all my classes and a bit over my head at work, there have been a few unexpected challenges. But just like all weeks, there’s always an up and a down.
The week (really weekend) began with a mid-day Saturday skate session at an elementary school in Longmont.
The banks with drains and brick dividers reminds me of the bank to guardrail spot in Baltimore that I absolutely loved to skate. They eventually put curb blocks down along the banks – maybe to stop us from skating there? – but really it just made it even better. Here’s some of the clips I have from the spot:
Anyways skating the spot was rad and we had quite a crew.
It took me a little while of skating and warming up to attempt ollying over the dividers on the banks. They were bigger than they looked at first glance, about the lenth of a skateboard. My first real attempt I went as fast as I could, cleared over so far that Brian said I ollied twice the length necessary and then slammed hard on the ground. Oops. But the next time I just went slower and made it no problem. Then I spent the rest of the time trying to kickflip over, which was just as unsuccessful as the time I dragged Dan to the similar spot in Baltimore and made him film me trying to kickflip over. Oh well… some day.
Next we headed to Dave Fuller’s ramp in his backyard. Sweet. I was a little sketched out at first that one side is a curb block thingy, but I just took it easy and barely did a thing. Nice cop-out. Not the same for everyone else, obviously.
The ramp… with Fuzz skating.
Jake… nice stand-up fs 50.
While people were skating, Neil couldn’t resist chopping some wood. Then Glen (related to the strongest man in the world) had to show him how it’s done:
Fun times. Even though I had a lot of work to do and probably should’ve headed home, I stuck around whining about how I was hungry and hoping we would all get some food somewhere. While waiting, got some more photos.
Finally we did head off to get some food. After being told the wait would be an hour, more likely two at Oskar Blues, we instead headed to the Efrains in Longmont.
A car that was in the parking lot… it looked pretty sweet in person.
After some margharittas and mexican food, we all made it over to Brian’s for a litte Wii and poker. Good thing Lazer remembered to bring his after dinner mints!
I played like shit and didn’t really have a good hand the entire game, yet managed to go heads up with Mariah at the end. I still didn’t get dealt any cards and played even more poorly perhaps, and took home $30 for second place. Not too shabby.
The next day was ALL about getting some work done. Monday I was going to be giving a presentation during our work seminars that was supposed to address using math in our engineering projects as well as training our undergraduate math tutors, who will be tutoring students from the schools we work at in Lafeyette. I spent the whole day working on the presentation (which was supposed to have been emailed to one of my bosses 4 days earlier – oops) and spent a little time in the office with Juan who was preparing a model heart for his engineering project at Lafeyette.
When Monday came around, I was stressed about the presentation but I think it went smoothly in the end. As soon as it was over, though, I was still stressed because I had to go home and paint cans that would hopefully dry for the activity I was doing the next day at Trail Ridge Middle School in Longmont. I also picked up some bulbs for the heat lamps, and ended up buying myself a new present at Michael’s Camera – a new flash! Just the smallest most basic Nikon flash.. but it was really all I could justify affording.
The first photo I took with the new flash… my messy closet. Sweet. Just to test the flash of course.
The next day I went up to Longmont with all my materials to work with a teacher I hadn’t worked with before and her 4 science classes. Juan must have done a number on these kids last semester because they were so excited for me to come in, but equally upset that he wasn’t going to be back. So cute. I had been planning on having the students work in groups of 3, but the teacher already had them set up in groups of 4, which was fine, although I was short on colored cans for that arrangement. Oops. Regardless the first period went smoothly and the students gathered data on the temperature of their cans while under the heat lamp and graphed the data for their can before the class period ended.
During the second class I worked with, there was a mishap that was borderline traumatic. One the heat lamps exploded, resulting in shards of glass spraying all over the classroom. Some of the glass punctured a few cans, leaking water all over the tables. One girl got a minor cut and was bleeding and a boy got a minor burn on his arm. I was completely shooken up and really didn’t know what to do, and meanwhile all the students were so excited. The teacher I was working with was amazing at handling the situation and forced the students to finish the activity, while turning off all the other heat lamps. I barely wanted to continue throughout the day, but we did, after changing all the 250 watt bulbs to 100 or 60 watt bulbs. After the day ended, I packed up and left, but still felt so terrible about what had happened. I had tested the projects with a 250 watt bulb and never had a problem. I just couldn’t understand what happened, and I couldn’t stop envisioning how much worse it could have been – if someone got glass in their eye… Later that night, the teacher sent me an email that said she had found out that the group had been splashing water (cold water) on their heat lamp bulb and that’s why it exploded. I supposed that may me a little more releaved, but I was not looking foward to going back in on Thursday to do the same activity with the students downstairs.
I could only spend so long dwelling on the situation, because I had to get an assignment done for the next day. While I was working at Panera Bread in Longmont, I noticed something on my friend’s facebook that made me curious… after some online investigation, I found out some terrible news. The best friend of one of my best friend’s sister died over the weekend. It was so shocking.
Needless to say, I wasn’t feeling up for much when I got home, but Chip and I had made plans to go to our friend Haley’s birthday potluck dinner. Chip made some chicken fettucini, and we headed over to her house for an ecletic potluck and dinner company. Haley wore an amazing crown that her boyfriend Andy made for her, which even included her old RI liscense plates. I also met Sam Fox, not the Sam Fox we know who happens to be Haley’s brother, but another Sam Fox from South Kingstown, Rhode Island, where we grew up, who also happens to be out here in Boulder right now. What a small world.
Wednesday is always my crazy day of classes, and SCD didn’t make me feel too much better as we watched a video of Kibera, the largest slum in Africa, located in Nairobi, Kenya, and struggled to even consider what could be down to improve the environmental health of the residents… even if we had millions of dollars. Our guest instructor also shared her experiences working with a population of indigenous people (I’m forgetting which country) who lived in a landfill. Not the first time we’ve had someone come to our class with that experience actually, the first woman with a similar story was working in Guatemala, I believe.
After class I just needed a release, and luckily Wednesday is our skate night and Glen was having people over to skate rampy. The session was the most packed so far, with maybe 11 people? I forget. I was having a rough time at first (typical) but eventually starting getting in the groove. I landed 5 front disasters in a row (woohoo), stuck kickflip rock but hung up (good enough at the time), tried some fakie shuvit rocks which I haven’t tried in forever, and tried back disasters with Glen at the end of the night for maybe a half hour straight. I never landed one but got really close, but Glen got into back smith pushed it into back disaster and landed it. So sweet. I called it quit when my crappy trucks finally broke. I think something hol
ding the kingpin in place was loose… not sure exactly.
The next day I was back in the classroom, but I didn’t put any students’ lives in danger, so it was a success. And these were students I had worked with in the past, and one class even cheered for me when the teacher welcomed me back. Aaaah. After teaching, I went to Sol with Brain and Lazer to shoot some photos. I knew that I shouldn’t skate because my truck was so messed up, but ended up trying to take a run and slammed so hard I knocked the wind out of me. Ugh. That was it for skating. But here are a few photos:
After everyone got warmed up, El Vortex showed up! I’ve never been in his presence before… so pretty exciting.
This kid was really excited also!
There were a few other photos, but I’ll save them just to see if they end up anywhere special.
And finally it was Friday. I survived classes and a group meeting in which I feel that I’ve been totally slacking. Then I it was time for Happy Hour with some coworkers, Jon and Eszter. We hit up the Hapa hour hour and got some edimame, shrimp dumplings and sushi (don’t get the Plum and Shiso roll!) along with some cocktails. When we finished, I was so excited that both Jon and Eszter were in for moving down to the Boulder Cafe which was has happy hour for an hour longer. We got some beers and fondue and managed to squeeze into a corner of the bar. So psyched that I have such awesome coworkers!
Later I met up with my friend LP at her apartment. It was the first time I met her pet snake, Princess Lulu.I even held Lulu! What a shocker…
LP with Lulu.
I went out with LP and some of her friends to see her African dance teacher’s band play at St. Julien. I haven’t danced in so long and it was such a fun atmosphere. We bar hopped a bit and at some point, I dipped out to head home.
What a week. I feel like I’m really struggling to get everything done between classes and work, and finding time to skate and have fun. I have a feeling this semester is only going to get rougher…