Thursday, June 30, 2011

Guys and Ghouls

Last night I spent the night at my friend's house and had a ghostly adventure. Her mother is on vacation and the empty house provided a 'reassuring' backdrop as I slept. Sometime in the middle of the night, I woke up from this bizarre dream and then this eerie feeling overcame me. The dream itself consisted of me and my friend entering her kitchen to find all of the cabinets askew and opened by a 'friendly' ghost and then discovering this rabid-looking cat climbing the walls of her house. Waking up from that dream of course left me feeling nervous, and then as I lay there trying to sleep again, that "sleep apnea" type thing that happens to me occasionally occurred, where I felt as though I were awake and paralyzed and heard a strange noise in my ear. Add some clanging wind chimes going off in the kitchen to that strange noise and I lay there with the pillow over my head trying so hard to fall back asleep. I distinctly remember a cold breeze sweep over me and I was certain a ghost or ghoul was hovering over me ready. In conclusion, I had a good fright and didn't sleep that well.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Week Start Jump Start

Early Monday morning. Got up early and headed into the city. And by nine o'clock I had finished my dermatology appointment and was walking back to the trolley with a chunk of skin missing from my chest. Let's rewind a second.

I had scheduled this dermatology appointment after watching this PSA concerning skin cancer, and due to the fact that I never used suntan oil and always have new freckles and spots showing up on my body and back, I grew a little concerned. When I got to the Tufts Medical Center, I cautiously walked into the waiting room only to find that I was not only the first one there at 8:00AM, but over time, the youngest person by nearly half a century.

The doctor checked over my body and skin and said everything seemed normal and there was nothing to worry about. But then she noticed one spot on my chest that she said had a strange coloring, so she decided to REMOVE it and run some tests. GREAT, I thought. I was terrified because I had never had anything like that done before. Before I knew it, there was a giant needle of numbing crap waiting for me and a small razor-looking instrument sitting on a sterile tray.

Of course the little procure didn't hurt, but I could NOT look while she took the few seconds to scrape away my flesh as though she were running meat through a slicer. It's been a day now and I have to put vaseline on it, and I'm terrified to see what is under my band-aid.

Welcome back to Boston?

But in much, much better news, I have a new apartment for August 1st that is literally a few steps from the Porter Square Red Line station in Somerville. I'm really ecstatic about that, although I'm dreading the move from Philly to Boston at the end of July...

Friday, June 24, 2011

Thanks for the Memories

A year has come and gone so quickly. I feel as though last week were August 1st, 2010 and I just moved into my apartment in Philly. My apartment was a home in the making, and it really was a year-long process to make it comfortable and looking great. I remember that first month where I had no bed, no desk, and ate PB&J sandwiches for nearly every meal. But even though I had no food and an air mattress for my bed, I still had cable to keep me company.

In mid-September, a small hole sprung up in the air mattress and that prompted me to run to IKEA and finally purchase a bed. With that bed the apartment began to quickly materialize, and new additions (mostly from IKEA) made my place more inviting and someplace that I would look forward to come home to after work.

And now, today marks my last day living in this apartment. I'm not moving out tomorrow, but I will be returning to Boston for the summer. I'll make my way back to Philly in late-July to clean out and pack up my apartment, and then move all of my things back to Boston for my July 31st move-out date. But today is the last day where I will remain in my apartment fully furnished and decorated.

See everyone in Boston :)

Summer Promise

In an effort to save money, I vow that this summer I can only eat out at a maximum of two times per week. This is a major cut back from eating out nearly twice a day when I'm in Boston with my friends. I've got a bit of money saved up for future rent and living for about a half year, but I feel that I waste SO MUCH MONEY on food, which in my eyes is instant satisfaction with no lasting benefits.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

T-rrific Adventures

I was just reading Joseph Birdsong's (of 5AwesomeGays) latest blog post in which he recounts some of his crazy encounters while riding the "El" (elevated subway) in Philadelphia. Reading over his traumatic (and clearly true) tales inspired me to recount some of my own harrowing woeful stories of public transportation. However, this past year I haven't had many encounters on the "El" here in Philly, so therefore I'm going to recount some of my most memorable experiences while riding the T in Boston to get me pumped up for my return this weekend.

"The Hot Cars"
All too often I find myself in hot, steaming cars with the heat on in the dead of summer. And no, it's not that these cars just have no A/C - there have been times where the heat is actually blasting through the car from the floorboard below.

"Let Us Out"
Most of my troubles occur on Blue Line trains (although I find the Red line to be the slowest and most frequently delayed). Once in the summer I was heading over to my grandmother's house in East Boston from work and was hoping to get off at Airport. Granted there were also quite a few people in my crowded car who also wanted to get off as well. When we pulled into the station, however, the doors didn't open. At first most of us thought it was just a delay and they'd open eventually, but then people from the other cars quickly poured out and before we could do anything, the train was moving to Wood Island. And of course, it was I who moved to the emergency speaker and explained that the doors never opened.

"Wind Swept"
One day on the Blue line between Orient Height and Wood Island I found myself nearly being swept out of the train. It was a nearly empty car aside from myself and one lone rider at the other end. I was sitting at the end of the car right beside the inter-car door. All of a sudden the train bounced a bit and the door FLEW open, blowing huge gusts of wind into the car and nearly knocking me off my seat. I got up but with the shaking of the car and the wind in my face I could barely stand. I tried to push it shut again but it had slid and locked into place. Once again I had to use the emergency intercom and inform the driver.

"Third Rail?!"
My last harrowing tale concerns a full-out evacuation I was a part of. One day, of course after a long day of work in Quincy Market, I was on the Blue line traveling home. The train stopped right after Maverick, but still in the tunnel. We sat there ... for a century. Finally the conductor informed us of a "downed wire" ahead and that we couldn't go any further, meaning that we were going to have to evacuate. Of course, luck would have it, that I was in the third car (of the old four car trains) and we were evacuating from the front door of the conductor's room. Making our way to the front took a long time and moods tempers were flaring. Once we got to the front, we were guided along the side of the track and we walked from the tunnel to the nearby Airport Station. We were instructed to walk slowly and carefully as the third rail on the opposite side of the track was still active. I felt like a refugee after some terrible apocalyptic event, emerging from the underground tunnel among a group of strangers from all walks of life. 

And my one public transportation claim to fame: while living in Beijing, I often took the #13 line around the northern area of the city. The stop closest to my apartment, Xizhimen, was the terminus station and while waiting for the train, lines would form on the spots where the train doors were known to stop. And when I mean lines, I mean long and winding lines full of perhaps 50 people per line. So this one day I got there and I found myself at the very back of one of the lines. Clearly obtaining a seat was going to be non-existent, especially with the fury that Chinese bum-rushed subway seats. However, when the train pulled up and the doors opened, the pushing began and along with a few other denizens of the city, I found myself quickly getting to the front, squeezing through, and getting a seat. As long as I live, this will remain one of my defining moments.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Depressed Denny

Might I have depression? This is the thought that roamed through my head tonight after awaking from a 6-8pm nap. Today was the second-to-last day of school and my whole body has been aching after getting terribly burnt from an exciting weekend at the Jersey Shore.

When I awoke I found myself without motivation, and wishing to remain in bed and just lay there for the rest of the night. Sure, maybe I'm exhausted from my weekend activities and the end of my first year teaching. But when I finally jarred myself out of the bed I found that I was too lazy to make anything for dinner, too lazy to even attempt a one page response I have to write for my class that just ended (already a day late), basically too lazy to do anything. And this seems to have become a trend of mine over the past few months - increased exhaustion and a sharp increase in my lack of motivation.

Nothing seems to interest me anymore that doesn't involve my bed. I spend my time either sitting here in my computer chair or laying in bed. I have a couch I bought that I never sit on, and a kitchen that I never eat in. My library books that I was so excited to get have gone unread, my to-do list that is a mile long goes un-done, and my return to Boston is creeping ever closer.

Tomorrow I will have officially finished my first year teaching. I keep telling myself that no matter what comes next, it can only get better - you never have to go through your first year ever again - and the skills I learned this year will make any consecutive years better. The end of school trip on Friday to an amusement park was really the cherry on top of a great year (leaving aside TFA and Mastery problems) with my kids. All the kids went crazy for the trip. Saturday I went to the Jersey Shore with two friends and we had a blast going to the beach, eating seafood, and hanging out at my friend's beautiful beach apartment. It was the perfect weekend - aside from this incredible sunburn I got yesterday at the beach that covers my entire chest - and is extremely painful!

My outlook on my imminent return to Boston is positive. I'm excited to be near friends and family and finally living in the city as I've always wanted to. I can finally have it all - the beach nearby, the BPL, my amazing friends whenever I want to see them and not missing out when they get together, and visiting my family whenever I feel (without having to live with them!).  If I keep those thoughts in the forefront of my mind, I know that I can make the best of not having a job starting out.

Now, I need to make sure that I go in tomorrow with a clear head and an optimistic outlook. I want to end the year on a strong note and be sure to show the kids that they meant the world to me this past year and that I couldn't have asked for a better group to teach.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


It was real, Philly. I'm moving back to Boston for August 1st. I have to find myself a job. I have to get myself back on my own two feet, figure out where I truly want to go in life, and get myself together. While I hate uncertainty in my life, especially concerning work and the future, I am finding a bit of excitement from the uncertainty and sense of adventure for what's to come.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Put in Place

Reflecting back on this past year, I've really been put in my place. I have never in my life been met with so much failure in such a short period of time. So far in life, I'd have to say that I've had a lot of positive successes and have never really had to truly fight tooth and nail for anything that I've wanted, be it at college, work, or education. But this past year I struggled, met with failures, and have had to fight for myself in ways I hadn't truly thought possible.

The failures began early this year when I began to find myself not fitting into the mold at my school. This high-performance charter has very high expectations of staff and a very (often times) rigid system of instruction and discipline. My school provides teaching coaches to all first year teachers at the charter and I found early on in the year that I was struggled to fit into the mold of my charter. My first failure came when I didn't pass my close-out metrics for my coaching cycle.

Moving on from the coaching plan, I could tell my instruction was improving and I was becoming a better teacher, but having been in my first year, there was still much to learn. My school then put me onto an improvement plan to work on fitting the mold and tightening up my teaching. However, the close-out metrics were extremely high for a first year teacher to attain and I found myself failing again to meet them. And this time, the price for failure was not obtaining a contract at the school for a second year. This came as a blow to me, as I felt I had made significant improvements throughout the year and I was just started to get my feet wet with teaching.

Having not been rehired at my school, I then found myself on the chopping block (and still remain) at Teach for America. Policy states that all corps members need to retain their two-year placements, or else Teach for America has the right to dismiss. Once again I found myself needing to fight to keep my position within the program, and I found my whole character and persona as a teacher being inspected.

Teach for America ambushed me last week with dismissal, a move that came relatively out of the blue. I left the dismissal meeting distraught and without a clear picture of just why they had chosen that course for me, after there had been talk with staff about re-placing me at a new school site.

The next day, more failure: because I was dismissed from Teach for America, I would also be dismissed from the Penn program I had put so much time, effort, and worst of all, money into. I couldn't handle this and sought to fight the dismissal within the program due to lack of evidence and ambiguous terms.

Last night my dismissal grievance hearing took place and for one hour I found myself arguing in favor of my character, my teaching, my ability to serve, and my very core and personality. The meeting was tempered and civil, and I felt that I voiced all that I had inside, and the meeting went where I wanted it to go. However, once again I left the meeting with no clear picture, and the decision of my dismissal (whether it sticks or not) is still to be determined within the coming days.

All in all, I've not only been met with a slew of failures this year, but it's been trying on my very being. I've noticed that a lot of grey hairs have recently found home in my hair, and I don't doubt that the stress and anxiety from this year has brought this on. While my decision with Teach for America is still being determined, I am trying to be realistic and I'm not holding my breath. Perhaps it would just be more enjoyable to return to Boston, a city I WANT to be in, with people I love around me, and concentrate on finishing my Master's in Education at a different school and find a job that won't make me fight and defend my very being, let along a school that actually knows how to developmentally teach children.

My only solace is to know that by this time next week, my first year of teaching will be behind me, and on my own terms I believe it went very well. I taught my students and served them well. I loved my kids and enjoyed all my moments with them. I will never forget the times I had this year and the enjoyment that came from my school (even when it also brought pains).

This Friday I'll be going on a day-long field trip with my students to an amusement park in Jersey to celebrate the end of the year - which should be very exciting, and then on Saturday I'm going to the Jersey shore with some friends - hoping to spot some guidos and guidettes. Send positive energy my way, please - I really need it!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Raging Inferno Party

I was watching an episode of 5AwesomeGays today (see below post) and the video game "The Sims" was mentioned, particularly about some of the various ways that a Sim could die. I recall the many ways that I used to treat my Sims and the nostalgia made me really miss that old game (the originals - not all this new Sims nonsense).

Example 1: In my Sim town I always wanted there to be a giant, haunted mansion. If you ever played the Sims, perhaps you will recall that when a Sim dies, you can turn their ashes into a gravestone when placed outdoors. Late at night, sometimes a Sim ghost would wander the ground of the house and walk about the graveyard. I always aspired to attain this, and it was no easy feat!

To do so I would make an eight person family and move them into the plot of land where the mansion would later be built. I would build a small shack with only one door and no windows. Inside would be six fireplaces with wooden furniture placed all around the room. I would start out by having all the Sims walk into the shack, and then delete the door - they were trapped! Then I would have one of the older Sims light all the fires. Eventually some of the wooden chairs would catch fire and the fire would spread around the room. Within a few minutes the fire would trap a few of the Sims and they would burn in the flames. If a Sim is on fire, you can elect to have another Sim try and put it out, but I didn't do that. Finally the Grim Reaper would come and the Sim would be ripe to be turned into a gravestone!

Once I had a whole graveyard complete, I would move a new family into the plot, build the mansion, and await the ghosts at midnight.

Example 2: A giant Sims party.

In the Sims House Party, you could throw insane bashes and if you were lucky, Drew Carey (I know, how random!) would show up to you place in a limo. But the best part was to have a dance floor surrounded by dancing cages. I would always through a party, use the costume chest to evoke a theme (say, luau) and then throw on the music and watch the Sims dance in the cages. It was pretty PG-13 over at my place.

Example 3: Love bed.

I would always through a love bed out in the middle of the yard and see what sort of Sims would go to town in front of everyone. It was always the shy Sims who would let loose and romp in the sack while a party was raging around them. Typical.

Oh, the Sims...

Basically a random, hopefully humorous post to brighten the mood. Tomorrow I have my TFA grievance meeting to discuss what went on last week. It's not until eight o'clock so I'll be feeling the dread throughout the entire day. I have to evoke positivity to the max tomorrow - here goes nothing!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Inspirational ... GUYS!?

It all started about two weeks ago. My friend from UMass tweeted something that I can't even remember right now, but in his tweet he briefly mentioned something about "the 5AwesomeGays" and how amazing they were. But what were they? I thought to myself. I followed a link he posted and found myself on a YouTube Channel. The channel had recently ended (sadly) but the 5AwesomeGays had been vlogging on it for the past three years. It consists of five guys (who changed around a few times) who posted videos every M-F consisting of their opinions, challenges to one another, and questions of the week.

Aside from being funny, witty, and inspirational in many ways, these guys are very relatable and around my age. It sounds very stupid to say, but they've been helping me get through some of these intense days I've been going through, what with TFA fucking me over, the insane humidity and heat of Philadelphia summer, and the school year ending. They have over 800 videos from the three years of their show, and I've happily watched their whole first year.

I highly recommend their YouTube channel to all. And if 5AwesomeGays is not your thing, there are other channels similar to them (5AwesomeGuys, Girls, Midwesterners, etc.) so you can find something you like within this premise.

Go forth, young one:
5AwesomeGays 5AwesomeGays 5AwesomeGays 5AwesomeGays
5AwesomeGays 5AwesomeGays 5AwesomeGays 5AwesomeGays
5AwesomeGays 5AwesomeGays 5AwesomeGays 5AwesomeGays

Friday, June 10, 2011

Cliche and Mushy

I just wanted to write a blog post thanking all of those amazing people in my life. This post goes out to all of my friends, family members, co-workers, and others anyone else who touches my life or advocates for me in sense of the word.

Coming from a person with no emotions, I seem to always take friends and people close to me for granted. Because I have a complete distaste for talking on the phone, I tend to rarely speak to the people who mean the most to me unless they are physically around me (or through Facebook - but some people feel this means is too impersonal). But this year has proven to me that while things may change and people come and go, those who you love and care for will never be far - it sounds very cliche and mushy, but I've found this to be completely true this year. I know that I can come back to Boston and when I'm with my friends, feel as though I never left.

My life seems to be hanging in the air right now - I feel as though I was walking steady and tripped up, and now my whole being is hanging in the air, waiting for the impact of hitting the ground. The question is, will I be able to easily pick myself up from the fall?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Broken like Shattered Glass

Overnight my whole life has come tumbling down. Teach for America let me down and as such, my coursework will go unfinished and there is no longer any reason or ties to keep me in Philadelphia. As such, I am moving back to the Boston area this July/August and I am desperately scrambling right now to find a place to move into for August 1st in the Boston area.

The whole story is just so convoluted and upsetting, but to make the long story short: Teach for America fucked me over as they have to many other corps members in our region. While I'm upset with the decision, part of me feels relieved to be free of TFA and about to embark on my epic return to Boston to live and work. However, the injustices of Teach for America will not go unnoticed and I am working on filing grievances, looking into possible legal action, and hoping to reach out to the media about what occurred and is occurring to corps members in this region. Thankfully we have some awesome corps members who are looking out for the backs of those who find themselves in the cross-hairs of TFA Philadelphia (as I have just been found).

I went from having a lot of support around me to none overnight. I don't think I will ever feel my life as fucked up as it is right now, and it's all thanks to Teach for America. No job, no prospects, and no coursework because of their unprofessionalism and having strung me along.

This will not be forgotten.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Setting the Standards

Possibly offensive post coming your way via immigration laws.

Here's the deal: everyone knows that I love me some immigrants, and that I am the product of various immigrants who came over from Italy over a hundred years ago. But sadly, immigration and the role of immigrants in our society has greatly shifted in the past century. While many who come here now continue as those in the past did to work hard and strive for the American dream, there are increased dangers and risks of allowing illegal immigrants to stay within our borders.

I understand that America holds many ideals up for people to come to our nation, work hard, and become citizens. I get that. I strongly support America's open opportunities, and even safety to those living in other nations who seek to come here. However, I do not feel it's completely fair to have America reaching out with her arms wide open (while those already in her arms are struggling and living in poverty) while there are many nations who would not reciprocate that mentality to Americans who may choose to live or naturalize abroad.

For example, while I was in China I (sort of) experienced the harsh immigrant/expatriate laws upheld in their country. A friend of a friend (who was either Canadian or American) was caught fighting in a bar with a national, and was sent to jail and deported out of China. No questions asked. Got the boot for scuffling. China holds a strong non-violence pledge for non-citizens who want to come and shake things up. Why is it wrong for the good 'ol US of A to have the same sentiments?

Secure Communities is a program that would have local law enforcers scan fingerprints of those taken into custody and allow the FBI to crosscheck the fingerprints along immigration databases to see if anyone should be prioritized for deportation.

I always draw most of my news from trustworthy and here is what their recent article (about MA refuses to sign on to the program) had to say:
"...the state was concerned that the program, which refers criminals based on fingerprints, is creating fear in the immigrant community and is netting more non-criminals, such as those caught driving without a license, than hard-core offenders."

Obviously the goal of the program is to catch those hard-core criminal immigrants who may be here for all the wrong reasons. However, I fail to see what is wrong with netting some minor offenses as well. Why should we allow people without licenses to drive on the road? I don't have my license. If I go out tomorrow and drive a car, I'll be in a mess of trouble if I crash it and get caught. Why should we allow someone who doesn't follow the laws to remain in America? Perhaps next time they'll break a more egregious law...or run someone over. I'm sure if I went abroad and drove without a national license, I'd be in a world of trouble and face deportation charges in MANY nations. Why should America be different? Just because we are more liberal and open-armed, should we be more lenient in little rule breakers? My answer is absolutely not.

America needs to stop trying to step on the toes of people while there are safety issues taking place all around us. It's not offensive to demand safety in your communities, whether it be from criminals who are American or criminals who may be here illegally. To me, breaking any law, no matter how small, makes you a criminal. Why should we be soft on someone just because there is a threat of deportation? Ignorance of the law is not an excuse, and if you choose to come to live in this nation, you must abide by all of the laws, or it is my firm belief that if not you should face deportation.

If anyone actually reads this, I bet they'll get to this point and be thinking "wow, Vinny's so discriminatory!" But I'm not. I don't care what nationality or ethnicity people are. If you break the law, face the consequence - and I believe deportation is a just consequence. My friend's Chinese friend nearly totaled a car and hurt someone when he was driving drunk last summer and he continued to stay in America only to drive drunk again! Why is that alright?

Gotta love some statistics:
"The Secure Communities program is now in 42 states, according to ICE. Since it began in October 2008 through April 30, 2011, ICE has deported more than 77,000 criminals; less than half were convicted of aggravated felonies such as murder."

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Dancing Queen

Last night I took my first step into a much larger world: that of going out alone! It was a bit awkward but overall, not bad. When I first got to the bar/club that I was going to, it was still a little early and there weren't enough people dancing for me to blend in. Therefore I resulted in hanging around the bar pretending I was waiting for someone. I think I have the "fake wait" down: I kept checking my phone, then I would hold my head high and scan the entrance for my "friend", and then I would check the time and angrily shake my head mouthing the words "hurry up" as I sat there. I'm a loser.

But once the dance floor started poppin' I found myself a little spot on it and started to dance, and after a while, there were so many people dancing that no one could know who anyone was with. And there was this one girl with a blinking crown that was so off the wall that she was running throughout the dance floor dancing with everyone. She was quite amusing. While dancing (drunk dancing) I kept channeling my inner-Effy (from Skins UK). I kept imagining scenes of her dancing without care while drunk/on drugs in the TV show and since I was drunk enough, it was easy to forget where I was, rock out, and enjoy myself. I think I danced for about two hours - so it was worth the $50+ I spent on cover/drinks/cab (or was it?).

And now I have the wondrous "day after drinking" shakes, meaning it's time to go eat something because I haven't had a substantial amount of food since Friday night. Ah the joy of living alone/not having a lot of money - easy diet!

I leave you with a song to dance to:

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Get a Hold 'a Yourself!

I need to take back my life. I feel as though my life is being pulled into different directions, and I've let go of the reins. This is unacceptable.

As my first year of teaching draws to a close, much uncertainty is clouding whatever happiness and jubilation I should be experiencing. Having been let go from the school I'm at now, my confidence that I'll be re-placed at a new school this fall by Teach for America is not high. It seems as though they will be leaving me on the back burner while they first take care of the new corps members and others who were laid off by the district. For once, my life has no clear path laid out in front of me. I doubt my situation with Teach for America will be dealt with until the end of the summer, therefore I'll be left with an entire summer of worry: worrying whether I'll be teaching in the fall, wondering if I should look for a new job, etc. Just what I was looking for!

On top of that bottle of uncertainty, I've allowed some other people in my life to make some decisions for me that I'm not wholeheartedly feeling. Instead of being honest with other people and expressing my concerns, I let my sympathy (for what though?!) take over and I find it nearly impossible to say "no" or turn someone down. And that leaves me doing things that my heart isn't necessarily in.

I need to learn to stand my ground. Not even just that, but I need to learn how to say what's on my mind and realize that doing so will not hurt the feelings of those around me. I seem to have this notion that people actually care about my opinions and decisions. But they probably don't...

SIDETRACK away from all of the things that are up in the air with my life, my friend got me hooked on this YouTube channel - 5AwesomeGays and I've been (quickly) going through their 800+ videos this week. It's a really cool little vlog thing where they have one guy posting a video for each day of the week (M-F). They're pretty funny and entertaining, so I highly recommend watching a few if you're bored!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Extreme Weather

It's times like last night when I wish I were living back in the Bay State. As you may have heard, a tornado touched down in multiple regions of Massachusetts last night, most notably Springfield, Massachusetts' third largest city. One of my best friends was working in that city when the tornado hit. Luckily he was safe but the building he works in lost some windows and his car got hit by a tree. Tornadoes are not common in Massachusetts at all.

In Boston, the lightning storm that hit was also extreme. My friend there told me that lightning was flashing over seventy times each minute! It was a continuous light show of one flash after the other. Check out this video to see some of the lightning up close.

Sadly, the weather report in Philadelphia for yesterday had originally included lightning storms - possibly the same which hit Massachusetts - but instead we got some lovely humidity and sunshine. Thankfully I woke up today to a crisp day. The humidity left overnight, and I don't know where it went but I hope it doesn't come back for a white.

All of this makes me a little nervous. What is causing this extreme weather to occur in areas of the country where these types of events are uncommon? While this disaster is still quite minimal, I can't help but worry about other recent events (Japanese tsunami, Haitian earthquake, among others) which are equally as extreme.