Back to school and other life things

September 9, 2014 |  Category:   life


The first day of homework and with it, homework drama. Oh right…totally forgot about this part of school; I didn’t miss it at all. But here we are and I suppose the kids need to adjust back to school routines too – it’s an adjustment for us all. This Fall we’ll be entrenched in middle school applications: school tours, interviews for the kid and a lot of hand wringing. This is what happens when families stop moving to the suburbs – not enough spaces in the city schools, and so it’s like a fierce competition. All these Brooklyn families in our public school district fighting for a seat in middle school. It’s not stressful at all (that was sarcasm if you couldn’t tell). Lord, help us.


In other mundane life news, I started exercising again. I basically stopped any kind of physical activity over the summer. I became a lump on the bed or the couch (more so than usual) and if I was at the office, I became a lump on a chair. I’m blaming all of this on the grieving process, but I’m slowly shaking it off. It almost feels like I pushed some sort of reset button on life after the summer and things are moving again. Do I need a fitbit?
Speaking of vanity, Fall is the season when I get the most obsessed with clothes and fashion. There isn’t much of a Fall clothing budget to speak of this year (hello, braces for the 10 year old), but I do love to window shop on the internet and look at all the pretty things. I’m also “guest” pinning my favorite looks from New York Fashion Week day by day over here. Please follow along as I’ll be pinning from other design, fashion and food events around the world as they happen. I know, I know. I’ve come over from the dark side of Pinterest ambivalence and have even been more active on my own Pinterest account. What is this world coming to?
P.S. Those pencils up there? Those are just some from my pencil collection that I’ve had since high school. Do you know how old that makes them??

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  • Jane September 9, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    Middle school applications?!?!?! Where I grew up, if you you go to public school, you simply go to the elementary school and high school in your catchment area, unless you want to go to French immersion, in which case then you start lining up outside the school the night before registration day…. School tours and interviews? Sounds like college!! So much stress on the little ones. Are certain school much better than others? I’m very curious about this system, since it seems like such a different world than the one I grew up in (outside of the US).

    • Jenna September 9, 2014 at 5:57 pm

      It’s not like this in most areas of the US (maybe it’s only NY even). It’s because there are so many kids who are staying in the city and not enough spots in schools.

  • Rachel September 9, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    I can’t even imagine having had to apply to go to school on top of everything else at that time of my life – sports, music, social life, etc. Are there any schools at all that you don’t have to apply for, or is that your only option?

    • Jenna September 9, 2014 at 6:00 pm

      There isn’t any other option (except move to the suburbs, which some people do). When I grew up here we didn’t have this system, though there were always specialized competitive high schools that you had to test into and that remains the same. The city implemented this system for middle schools around 15 years ago I think.

      • blandine September 12, 2014 at 5:48 am

        This is really puzzling to me – if there has been a gap between nber of school-age kids/seats available in middle schools for 15 years, why hasn’t the city/the state taken action by now? Surely it should be indexed on demographics? It’s totally a cultural thing but it sounds crazy that public authorities wouldn’t ensure that each kid can go to school.
        Anyway, good luck with that! including with exercise, I am trying to take it up too…

        • Jenna September 14, 2014 at 7:26 pm

          Every kid does go to school, but it may not be their top choice – that’s the issue that makes it competitive.

  • Hata Trbonja September 9, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    Oh no! Homework!
    I was a teacher for 6 years before moving to France and I hated checking homework. I don’t know any teacher that likes doing it, honestly.

  • Paige September 9, 2014 at 7:18 pm

    Love the pencil collection. One of my prized possessions is a heart shaped eraser (black with a rainbow-tailed shooting star) in a tiny glittered plastic box that was a party favor for my 5th birthday skating party.

  • Roos September 10, 2014 at 3:31 am

    I love your pencils! I stared at your picture before I read your post and admired the erasers (yes, I’m quite the pencil person and cannot believe how you managed to make such a beautiful picture of old pencils :-))

    Well done you, for shaking it off. You are truly brave – staying stuck is so much easier.

    Hang in there! Love from Amsterdam,

  • liz September 10, 2014 at 5:44 pm

    A fitbit? Yes!
    Four days in and I’m a little obsessed. (As much with how little sleep I get as with how much more activity I’m doing to get the charts to look better.)
    But maybe I’m just a bit too much of a geek.

    • Jenna September 10, 2014 at 5:51 pm

      Hmm…maybe this data would be a little too much for me then! I tend to get a little obsessed with stuff like that.

  • Dee September 11, 2014 at 9:59 am

    Your pencil collection is pretty! I’ve wondered about the fitbit since I read a hilarious piece by David Sedaris about his fitbit obsession. I don’t remember much about the jhs application process in Brooklyn, just my mom being relieved when I got into one of the g&t schools. I was relieved too, b/c the tales of the zoned jhs and later, high school (I went to Tech)? Wow. And I’m in my 30s, so this jhs process was in the early 90s.

    • Jenna September 11, 2014 at 10:48 am

      Was it like this that far back? I didn’t realize. My brother went to our neighborhood middle school so maybe he just missed this process by a few years.

  • Caroline September 11, 2014 at 10:47 am

    DC has a lottery for each grade. Depending on who you ask, there are a “handful” of top schools in the city and so everyone applies to get into those. It’s not rare for a child to change schools 2-3 times during the elementary years and many parents participate in the lottery every year. Nothing is based on actual merit or abilities (unless you apply to the performing arts school). It’s all LUCK!

    • Jenna September 14, 2014 at 7:27 pm

      Yes, at some point it does come down to luck. If you have too many “qualified” applicants for certain schools, it becomes a numbers game.

  • Bobbi September 14, 2014 at 9:47 am

    Love your pencil collection! Where can I get some? That has to be stressful but good luck figuring out middle school!

    • Jenna September 14, 2014 at 7:28 pm

      Oh, these are really old! Some that I collected when I was in high school, ha! You can get these kind of pencils at any place that sells Hello Kitty products – seems like it’s more ubiquitous now than when I was a kid when you had to go to Asian neighborhoods like Chinatown or Koreatown.

  • Allison November 7, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    I don’t know why but the ‘Back to School’ title and sight of those pencils with the tiny shapes in their erasers just brought tears to my eyes. I’ve been revisiting your blog after just dipping into it occasionally now & then for your beautiful photography…but this time around, I’m really appreciating your bravery & beauty in sharing so much of yourself and your intimate thoughts.

    Your blog is beautiful. And you live your life, too, as a fragile and beautiful thing, too.