Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The past few days, we've been watching Scout's ears slowly perk up, making her Yorkie side more aesthetically 

Honor roll

Monday, January 19, 2009

Sunday, January 18, 2009

New York Trivia Challenge

Without cheating, try to answer the following questions.

1) Why is New York referred to as "Gotham City?"
2) Why is New York referred to as "The Big Apple?"

Leave your guesses as comments.
Once you've commented, check this link: 

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Hawk on fire escape

During my Saturday school lesson this morning, my kids started freaking out about a bird they saw on a fire escape across the street. At first, they thought it was an owl. After a closer look, we discovered it was a hawk. This picture doesn't do it justice but the bird was beautiful and big! What a bizarre place for a hawk to hang out - on a Harlem fire escape.

If you look close, you can see it on the far left of the top floor fire escape.

are you dead serious?!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Publishing Board - After

Ainsley spent over four hours in my classroom this Wednesday - sorting through graded papers, photocopying, organizing, refreshing this bulletin board in my classroom and one in the hall with the 'A' papers.

Such a big help!

Publishing Board - before

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Monday, January 12, 2009

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Scout Digs Plaid

Scout's Story

Early December, after much thought, we decided to get a dog. For financial and philosophical reasons, we planned to go the rescue/adoption route. We searched online and visited shelters around the city, looking for a dog that would fit in our tiny apartment. We were beginning to feel discouraged because all we could find were huge dogs; mostly pitbull mixes.

After weeks of searching, Ainsley found the Havanese-Yorkie with one ear. We met her 'foster mom' (a kookie woman from New Jersey) who rescued her from a puppy mill. We met in the dog friendly Hotel Pennsylvania and began to become attached. We paid the fee to cover her shots, signed a contract, took pictures, posted them online, called friend and family, and bought her food and treats and toys and a bed. The woman offered to hang onto the dog over the holidays so we wouldn't have to fly with our new puppy. We were thankful for this option and planned to pick her up as soon as we arrived in New York from Seattle.

Needless to say, the holidays were spent showing off more pictures, brainstorming names and preparing ourselves for life with a dog.

Ainsley called to check in on December 26 - no answer.
She tried on December 27 - no answer.
December 28 - no answer.

Finally, from the Sea-Tac airport, Ainsley gets ahold of this lady and the saga began. Here's her side of the FISHY story, in first person:

* I didn't want to spoil your holiday so I didn't call you back until now.
* The dog has had an accident
* It was staying in a crate, 7 ft off the ground
* I heard a loud bang from the next room and came running
* The dog had somehow opened the door of her crate and fell to the ground on her head
* She is now 'neurological,' twitching eyes and all
* No, you can't come see her - she's at the vet
* No, I won't give you the vet's number. The vet doesn't appreciate prospective parents calling about their dogs. We have a unique relationship and they cut me a deal because I rescue dogs and I can't afford to jeopardize that relationship.
* Once she comes home from the vet , you may not see her until I give you permission because I won't release her to you until i know she is 100% recovered.
* I will give you one daily update via text message - no more.

All of this information came while we were waiting to catch our flight. Ainsley was sad - I was furious.

It all seemed super shady to me. After days of being strung along we finally came to the conclusion that:
a. the dog was dead and this lady had fabricated the story and drug us along to get us so frustrated and hopeless that we gave up and moved on.
b. she sold the dog for a profit and created this story to make us move on.
c. she had become attached to the dog and created the story so she could keep her.

She was extremely rude, unapologetic, and defensive each time we spoke with her so we decided, reluctantly to turn the dog down. We texted her giving her our mailing address and requesting a refund. She responded with "as per your contract, you will recieve your money within two weeks."

Wednesday marks the 2 week mark. We'll see.

All of this drama left us feeling pretty bummed. When we finally let this dog go, Ainsley and I looked at our pile of dog food, treats, bed and such with a sigh.

We had planned to go the movies but decided to stay in and search for another dog on our laptops. After 3 hours of searches and applications, we found Scout. Ainsley applied at midnight and recieved a response at 12:15am saying that we had been approved for adoption. We looked at each other, then read the address of the puppy rescue where she was - Olmsted Falls, Ohio.

Long story short, we booked a ticket at 12:30. I left the door at 6:45 the next morning and flew into Akron. I rented a car, drove an hour to the sprawling suburb, met the dog, learned her story, signed the papers and was back on the road within an hour, puppy aboard.

When I finally, got back to the apartment it had been a 24 hour trip.

In a nutshell, here's Scout's story.
* Rescued from a puppy mill with two siblings
* The founder rescue agency had a house fire where she lost everything including several dogs and cats
* Scout and her siblings were staying in the barn so they were safe from the flames.
* In order to deal with her incredible loss, the woman gave the surviving dogs to her friend who also ran a puppy rescue so she could adopt them out.
* 'A New Leash on Life Rescue' is the name of the second agency.
* She had only posted Scout's availability online for 12 hours when we found her.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Our Puppy's Name....


named after:
Jean Louise "Scout" Finch

Jean Louise "Scout" Finch is the main character and the narrator of To Kill a Mockingbird. She is somewhat of a tomboy. She is not afraid to put up a fight for her beliefs. She is smart for her age and has trouble in school because she can already read and write when she starts first grade. She is in love with Dill Harris (only a childish love), who comes to visit from Mississippi every summer. The novel is written from the point of view of Scout when she is older and she often comments on how she didn't understand something at the time, but now, as a grown up, she does. She is the only one of the three children to see Boo Radley, and actually talk to him. She learns a lot by "standing in his shoes." She was terrified of Boo, but once she actually saw him, she realized he was harmless. She learns the true value of getting to know someone before "judging them." She is sad at the end that she never gave him anything back, as he gave them treasures and their lives.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

LaGuardia flights offer the best city views - These shots taken with Scout under the seat in front of me

Mid-town Manhattan

Southern Tip Manhattan

Above Harlem looking south along Manhattan