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Goodbye 2019

January 2, 2020 am31 1:11 am

I could open with a lame resolution to write more. Writing, when you are in the habit, can become predictable. I am not going to pretend that a resolution will make any difference. Instead, I’d like to look back at the year that just passed. I think it marks part of an ongoing transition for me – from something – I could describe that – to something – I’m not sure I know what that will be.

How was 2019 a transition?

It was the first full year in which I gave no tests. I’ll write about that. It’s a big deal. A kid made a documentary film about it (small scale, just in the school).

I spoke about not giving tests at LImaçon in March – and math teachers at two other city schools showed interest. I spoke about it again at New3 (New Cubed)  at Siena in July.

It was a big year for union work for me – I lost a seat I had held on the UFT Exec Board for a decade. I’ve freed up some time, and reinvested it in some personal projects, and politics, and in school.

And I am slowly making my way closer to retirement.

In January we wore Red for Ed. I like wearing Red for Ed. But we need to think about doing more.

Hiked in Sterling Forest.

In February I suspended my attendance at caucus meetings.  A welcome break. Don’t know when I’ll go back. Hiked Cold Spring.

March was Limaçon. And I put on my third school play. Kind of produced. Really stayed out of the way so that the pros (kids) could do everything. I did book the theater. We went years without theater at my school. Someone had to get it started. Hiked Taurus


In April I helped organize my school’s 3rd annual career day. We went years without a career day…  Hiked part of Macedonia Brook State Park (Kent CT) Want to go back.

In May I got talked into not only visiting the Adirondacks, but at looking at land.  I’ll be spending more time up there, starting soon.

Hiked Schunnemunk.

In June I attended my last UFT Executive Board. I asked one more time about the School Diversity Advisory Group report. And I talked about leaders who only fight for members who are strong enough to fight for themselves. We need to stand up for those who cannot defend themselves. The weird thing was that was it. I sat down, then left. In June I hiked West Mountain, in Harriman. And to Pine Meadow Lake, in Harriman. And back in the Adirondacks I explored more. I went to Clara Hemphill’s retirement. And went to a celebration for one of our Peace Officers (recognized by the UFT). I watched a friend’s kids, and got them to eat sauerkraut, drink the sauce, and ask me to buy them more (Clearwater).

July was the math conference at Siena. And I visited Olanna Historic Site, which was fascinating. Protested ICE in Philly. Hiked Sleeping Giant with my sister. Walked through Mt. Auburn Cemetery.

Marched and shouted for Ricky to resign. Twice. And he did.

Scrambled around Great Barrington and Cornwall CT with my uncle and cousin.

And back to the Adirondacks.

Opened August with beautiful walks in Van Cortlandt, and back to Sleeping Giant with my sister.


And climbed a hill just south of East Rock with my aunt and uncle. And then… Road Trip with Alan! Eastern PA. Antietam. Harpers Ferry WV. The Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. And then Kentucky. Louisville. A distillery. A horse farm. And the Mohammed Ali Center. Drove to a Reds game. Then southeast to the Cumberland Gap. Hike. Then Harlan County and Mingo County and finally east to Beckley (Coal Mine) and the New River Gorge. Last vacation day we caught the Pulaski Yankees of the Appalachian League.


Got back. Hiked West Mountain again. Hiked further northeast in Harriman. Hiked to Pine Meadow Lake from the other side.

September school opened. Our push for Discovery has started to reintegrate our school. Very cool. We want to do more. It’s frustrating to get stonewalled by people who you think are allies. But we will keep going. I was back in Harriman, and back in the Adirondacks.

October brought another hike in Harriman. And another trip north.

And then a 14-hour emergency room visit (unrelated to hiking, and I’m ok).

And another Red for Ed day. Love those, but…

In November our after school program really got going. We do enrichment and test prep for 7th graders from local middle schools. Our students do the teaching, and with guidance, the planning. This year we more than doubled the program from about 25 to almost 60. (we run classes with 12 – 15 – no shortage of junior and senior volunteers. And yes, I went up to the Adirondacks. And back to Sleeping Giant with my sister and her husband and his bad knees (ouch).

In December I hiked with microspikes for the first time (Minnewaska).

And for the first time in my career I’m the target of some disciplinary something or other (I don’t know what, yet. I can’t imagine it’s horrible, but it sucks not knowing).

I got back to the Adirondacks.

And just 3 days ago, to close the month, to close the year, I saw my mother walk. Maybe fifty steps. No walker, no wheelchair, no cane. For the first time in over two years.

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