Friday, May 18, 2012

Education is a passion of mine.

After roughly four years of working for Imagine Learning, I have developed an incredible passion for education. In particular, the education of children in urban areas. I spend the vast majority of my working life in district offices and schools that are either overseeing or offering public education to urban students. It is amazing to see first-hand some of the absolutely amazing work that is being done in the classroom. The news media makes it a point to make us all think the public education is horrible, and if we don't have our kids in private or charter schools then we might as well just give up. It makes me so sad. While there definitely is still much improvement that needs to be made, the strides that are being made are pretty awesome. It makes me sad to see families leave one school district for another. We need the parents to form the PTAs that help administrators turn districts around and make them amazing. You might be thinking I am crazy as you read this, but this is what I see first-hand every day. The schools where the parents are involved are making huge gains and you can feel it in the school. I look forward to the day that I send my kids to public schools and have the opportunity to work with and help out at the school. 

There is a definite change that is taking place in many schools. A shift in the way that teachers teach, and the way that children learn. Below is a really cool piece by Sir. Ken Robinson, a British guy who I think has a lot of fantastic ideas for changing the way we teach kids so that students can really focus on their passions and maintain high levels of creativity. It might be a little over the top in some areas, but overall, very fascinating stuff. Watch it when you get a minute. People in America need to get more involved in education. Instead of constantly complaining about our schools, let's get in there and help them in this transformation. Also, here are a couple of cool books I am reading by Ken Robinson. 

Out of Our Minds:Learning to be Creative
The Element:How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything

Sunday, May 06, 2012


We have had some fun over the last couple of months: highlighted by a much anticipated trip to Palm Springs for the BNP Paribas Open. One of my best friends from growing up and his wife met us there and we had a great time watching tennis, playing tennis, catching up, and enjoying the beautiful weather.


We stayed right on a beautiful golf course in a great condo that Josh found. We utilized the BBQ and cooked up some tasty stuff. It was so fun to catch up and reminisce about old times. It was also fun to meet their little boy for the first time. It is always interesting to see people as parents for the first time...these guys seem to have it down already.


One of the nights, Noah and Yadira (a family friend) came up from San Diego for the night matches. Yadira is one of Rafa’s biggest fans, so it was especially exciting to see Rafa play that night.


The California desert is about as different from the East Coast as you can get, but it was extremely beautiful. Especially at that time of year.


It was a tennis players paradise. With all the different surfaces. There were also a lot of old people there. We were usually at least 30 years younger than anyone else around. Old people like warm weather I guess.


Here is the car I rented while we were there. It was fast.


We made it back to DC just in time for the Cherry Blossoms! It was a very warm early spring, so the blossoms came out early. Those things never cease to amaze me. The amount of beauty that they give off, and the amount of people that that they attract. Wow, that is a lot of people.


The blossoms came out just in time for a visit from my parents. They were in town for a speaking engagement and because the blossoms were early, they saw them at the peak of blooming. We happened to randomly run in to my college roommate’s parents amongst the droves of people that were there. They are also old friends of my parents, so it was fun to see them and catch up.


Julie’s birthday came and that meant some wicked awesome Strawberry Pie. Mike, another of my college roommates was in town for work, so he got to enjoy the pie with us, along with Steve and Jesse. We had pie and then went to the 10:45pm showing of Hunger Games – which conveniently opened for Julie’s birthday. We went to the Uptown Theater (this huge beautiful art-deco theater from the 1900’s) and waited in line for an hour or so to get it. It was a night to remember. They did a good job with the film.


We also had the opportunity to get up to NYC for the baby blessing of our new niece. It was so special to be there for that and to represent the fam. Me and Tal are the only east-coasters right now. Man, I love that city.

nats game

And last but not least, Baseball season started. We have ourselves a great team playing a couple of blocks away. Watch out for the Nats this year. They are legit. It has been fun to see them gradually improve each year we’ve been here, and then to see them really emerge as a playoff contender this year.

So, Julie is in Hawaii right now having a blast. I am hanging out here alone. Luckily Shawni and Dave have been in town for the American Mother’s conference so it has been great seeing them and catching up. Happy Sabbath!

P.S. I didn’t really rent a Ferrari while we were in Palm Springs.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

4年 (4 years)

Yesterday marked four years since Julie and I got married. That went by fast. We’ve had some amazing adventures already – and we’ve just bared scratched the surface. Julie is celebrating our anniversary by going to Hawaii without me….mean huh? Really though, she is somewhere over the pacific ocean about now on her way to paradise to meet up with her mom, sister, and sister-in law (a trip they’ve been planning for years). Julie just finished working four night shifts in a row at the hospital – so I think she is very deserving of catching up on her sleep on a beach in Hawaii. 
Julie worked the night shift the day before yesterday and I had to leave for meetings first thing in the morning yesterday (our anniversary). Before my meetings were over, Julie had to take off to catch her flight. So we had all of 15 minutes together on our anniversary. Nice huh? We had just enough time to watch this little thing I made for Julie highlighting the fun we had over the last year. Don’t feel obligated to watch – I just want to have this on here for record’s sake, and so that Julie can watch it in Hawaii and feel bad for me as I am not in there with her.
Marriage is an amazing thing. I learn so much for Julie every day. We have grown together in so many ways through the ups and downs. I am glad Julie said yes.

update: youtube blocked this video on some computers, so if it won't work on blogger. if you want to see it, it works on youtube via this link