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Last Visit 2014-07-25 14:08:19 |Start Date 2004-06-22 03:13:06 |Comments 51 |Entries 101 |Images 115 |SWF 2 |

06/26/06 02:27 - 78ºF - ID#27725

Rain, rain, go away!

I swear it has been raining here for a million days in a row. I feel like I've come home sogging and gross every day for months. It's uncomfortable to wear shorts and sandals, even though it's hot out. If it rains in Buffalo when I'm home next week, we'll know it's me.

Anyway, work has been so stressful lately. My normall autonomous job has become totally prescribed ever day because the feds are coming in a month. The research I'm working on right now evaluates the Head Start program to determine if it adequately meets the needs of "high-risk" populations in Boston. Without doing this, I could pretty much tell you the answer. Nonetheless, our work is interesting and feels very much tied to practical concerns. It's really not my style of analysis and data collection but we have a huge population and a lot of federal money so I think it will be fruitful. And the money leads me to "the feds" and their visit. It's so frustrating because they won't tell us ahead of time what they want to look at when they come, so we end up preparing a million reports and wasting lots of time. One group that came just wanted to know how we were using the money. Another group that came one time wanted to know preliminary findings that seems solid so that they could start to implement changes in the program before we finish the project (it's going to go on for 3 years). It's very hard to plan for a presentation when you don't know the point of the visit!

Besides work being busy, home has been busy too. I've been spending most of my free time with my neighbors lately. They have agreed to let me find them another student to live in their apartment. In the meantime I'm helping out until I move. Honestly, being with them is helping me learn a lot about myself. They challenge me by requiring that I relate to a different time and mentality. Beatrice also challenges my patience and understanding. Her depression has led her to make unkind comments towards me in the past week. At first I was totally devasted by the things she said. She didn't mean them in a cruel way but I was still heartbroken. My grandmother has behaved in the same way since my grandfather's death so I've dealt with these feelings before. Still it was so hard for me to accept that I can't change her feelings, make her happier, or have everyone like me. Her husband has only gotten more wonderful while she has been getting worse. I brought them cake two days ago and today he returned my plate with a note asking if he can be my "honorary grandfather... or would that be great-grandfather?" haha. In the past couple days I've been getting better dealing with Beatrice too. I've decided to be cheerful when I'm hurt and accommodating when she's unhappy. I now know that she doesn't like her tea very hot (something to do with an article she read about chinese men getting stomach cancer or something) and she doesn't like when I wear flip-flops. Such little things are easy to handle so that's how I'm going to tackle it from now on. One little things to make things easier at a time.
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Permalink: Rain_rain_go_away_.html
Words: 559
Location: Tonawanda, NY


06/21/06 05:44 - 73ºF - ID#27724

You've got questions, I've got answers

People:
1. How did you find out about/why did you become of estrip?
I heard about it through (e:Mike) at the beginning but began my journal years later.

2. How "out" are you about having a publicly accessible online journal. Do your friends know? Does your family know? Do your co-workers know? Does your boss know? Do you use your real name? Do you use your real photo?

I use my real name and real pictures of myself and friends. All of my Buffalo friends know about my journal but only one of my friends from college has seen it. My mother has a vague conception of what this is but that's as far as she'll get I think.

3. How many epeeps have you met real life?


Not many that I didn't already know because I've been away as school almost all of the time since I started my journal. I would always like to meet more of the people whose lives I read about daily.

4. How has estrip changed the way that you meet people, on and/or off line?    

No. However, if I were home more I think that might be different.

5. How has estrip affected you love life?    


No.

6. How many of your friends have joined estrip because of your influence?

I don't think anyone has joined because of me.

7. Are you from Buffalo/do you live in Buffalo?

I'm from Buffalo and I consider it to be my permanent address but I currently live in Cambridge, MA.

Equipment:

1. What type of hardware or software purchases have you made as a result of using estrip?

None.

2. Have you used the mobile version of estrip? Why or why not?    

No, I don't really access the internet from my phone.

Lifestyle:
1. In what way has estrip changed your Internet surfings habits? Describe the amount of time you spend on estrip, when you use it and about how long?

I probably spend 20-30 minutes a day (on average) reading other people's journals. Writing one of my own probably takes me a little longer than that. Usually I do it at night before I got to bed or when I don't have anything to do at work or am between classes.

1a. How many journals do you usually read per day?    


I usually skim the 12 most recent journals, read the ones of my friends, and then check a couple favorite "strangers".

2. In what ways has estrip changed the way you perceive your local community?    

It reminds me how much I miss home while I'm away at school. It's easy to forget how much fun it is to be home. Since the summer started I've been reading everyone's journals and realizing how much I love Buffalo in the warm weather and how much there is to do. It also keeps me up to date with some of the issues going on at home since so many people on the site are politically-minded.

3. How has journaling about your life affected the way you spend your free time?


I don't think I've changed the activities I do but I do take pictures of things sometimes because I know I want to share them on the site. I probably would not have documented certain things before writing my journal.

4. Has estrip changed your living situation in any way?    


No.

5. Do you find that you mediate/document more of your experiences now that you share them with others?    

Answered this in question 3.

6. Has publishing on estrip affected the way that write?    

I don't have many opportunities to write in a non-academic way so I think I write a little worse on here than I normally would. It's also a completely different still because for my field the goal is to be concise and clear. Here I tend to write long sentences that are not very clear at all.

7. Do you have other online journals? If so, with what service and has estrip affected your usage of that journal?

No.

8. Have you ever gotten in trouble for using estrip at work?

No.

9. If you have stopped using estrip, why?

I've never officially stopped but there have been times that I've gone months without updating my journal. This was probably due to feeling busy or not thinking that there was anything interesting going on to share. There have been a few occasions where I didn't feel like I sharing things with the people I am friends with on the site so I just chose to stop writing for a while. However, I have never stopped visiting estrip or reading other people's journals.

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Permalink: You_ve_got_questions_I_ve_got_answers.html
Words: 774
Location: Tonawanda, NY


06/18/06 09:43 - 85ºF - ID#27723

Neighbors

Yesterday my 94 year old neighbor Beatrice Keyfitz fell. Her husband, who is 97, came knocking on my door to ask me to help her get up. When I went into their apartment she was on her back and so upset with herself. Luckily she was ok and I just sat their holding her up and trying not to move her until the EMTs came. After 3 firemen and two teams of EMTs came and looked her over they helped her up and decided that she might be a little bruised but that nothing was broken. Since she declined a trip to the hospital everyone left and all the commotion was over. I ended up staying with them all night because I was scared that Bea might have fallen because she was dizzy and something else would happen again.

Their set-up is really unique. They live in two apartments, one across the hall from the other, on my floor. I think they need two because they have so much crap! I mean combined they had a long time to accumulate stuff! They both use walkers and move slower than mud when they cross from one apartment to another. I've never seen them leave the building although they have friends visit fairly often and they use the elevator daily to get their newspapers. Mr Keyfitz orders at least 3 packages a week from amazon and he receives newsletters and books from all around the world. He was a professor of demography at Harvard and on the committee to select Nobel Prize winners. He could speak 6 languages once but he's forgetten 3 at this point. He still does Tai Chi and is trying to get me to join him "because it works miracles." He is also taking his first piano lesson ever next week. Mrs. Keyfitz is an amazing musician and a linguist herself. She has perfect pitch (or so she says) and can hear music when she looks at notes. She's more pensive than Mr. Keyfitz but she's really very kind. I sat with them for so long last night I know their entire history. All their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren. The stories of how they got married and how their parents came to America. They are truly remarkable people.

After spending so much time with them I went to check-up on them today and asked them if I could look into Lifeline for them. It's this thing my grandmother has that you wear around your neck and if you fall or need assistance you press the little button and a central office is called. The person asks if you're ok over a loud speaker and then they call relatives or 911 if you need it. They gave me permission to find out about it when I gave them the info they thought it might be too expensive. It breaks my heart that people need to worry about money when it comes to their health and safety. Anyway, I called a couple places to see if I could apply for Medicaid for them because it covers Lifeline. We'll see what happens.

In the meantime, Mr Keyfitz came to me this afternoon and asked me to live with them! He was so sweet. He said I could have one of their apartments and eat all my meals with them (or without if I preferred) and I wouldn't have to pay anything. All they want is someone to do an hour or two of errands for them a day. I've been sick all day because I feel so sorry that I can't help them like that. I have a place to live...we bought a condo. Plus I couldn't take one of their apartments just for an hour of work. I told him I would be extremely appreciative if he'd let me come over and spend an hour with them most days eventhough I can't live with them. They are fascinating people and Beatrice is a bit depressed lately so I like cheering her up. He said he couldn't ask me to help them if they couldn't do something for me. Basically, I'll come no matter what after I move in a month. I think they'll be happy to see me even if they say they don't want to impose. My heart is just broken because I would love to be able to take care of them and give them the security and companionship of having someone around. Luckily, even after 70 years of marriage (!!) they still enjoy each other so much that they aren't lonely. I'm so fortunate to have met such extraordinary people and now that it's almost time to move out I feel so sad that I won't living next door to them anymore.

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Permalink: Neighbors.html
Words: 786
Location: Tonawanda, NY


06/11/06 10:24 - 58ºF - ID#27722

Graduation

Thursday was my graduation. My mom and Mary came all the way from Buffalo, just to suffer through 4 straight days of terrible rain to see me graduate. For the past couple weeks I kept telling my mom I didn't even want to go to the graduation because it's such an ordeal. Plus, I'm going to be here for at least another 4 years so I don't really feel like it's a legit ceremony for me. When you graduate it marks the end of your time someplace and then you leave, right? Well anyway, I hate admitting it when I'm wrong but that was definitely the case here. I am soooo glad I went and I kind of wish I had realized how nice it was going to be so that I could have had more people come. It doesn't really matter because having my mom, mary and jeremy there was really enough.

Anyway, the ceremony was the perfect mix of seriousness and humor. People cheered and laughed throughout the entire thing but it was hard to forget the deeper meaning of everything said. It really felt like a celebration all the way through. At the beginning all of the schools processed in separately, behind their banner. Each school carried their own little symbol that the graduates jumped up from their seats and waved in the air when the President announced their graduation or referenced their school. The law school had gavels, the public administration school had blow up globes, the dental school had blow up crest tubes. Everyone from my school brought a children's book and then we donated them to local schools.

The first thing that happened was a Latin oration by a student. It was at least 10 minutes long and he had it memorized. Only students spoke at the university ceremony, and the degrees were conferred by the president after being presented by the deans. It was a little tense at the beginning because Larry Summers resigned this year after making a speech last year in which he made a reference about women not being naturally as good at math and science. However, he made a couple jokes when students started chanting "Larry! Larry!" about how they didn't have their degrees yet. As stupid as it was, people laughed and there was no more tense for the whole ceremony. There was one student speech which really had an impact on me. Luckily I have a copy since the graduation was broadcast on cable and I taped it. The honorary degrees were my second favorite part. These were 9 of the most extraordinary people I can imagine .

Despite sitting in the rain for at least 3 hours I am sooo glad I went. After the university ceremony my grad school had its own ceremony where we each had our name called and we got our degrees. I think it was the perfect balance of feeling recognized as an individual and also feeling as if you are a part of something bigger.

All lined up
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Family and friends lined up at 6:15am! It kind of felt like having paparazzi follow you for a second.
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Before the ceremony started everyone tried to stay dry but soon we gave up and put the umbrellas down so that we could see.
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This is a professor reading the paper while the ceremony was going on! so funny.
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There were so many people it was really overwhelming.
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Our little ceremony was under a tent thank goodness.
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With mary after it was all over.
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Anyway, I'm really thankful that my family knows more than I do and forced me to go-- even if it was freezing and poured the entire time.


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Permalink: Graduation.html
Words: 637
Location: Tonawanda, NY


06/06/06 08:35 - 80ºF - ID#27721

Seeing some of New England

Last week, my friend Katie and I went to Newport, RI for the day to celebrate the end of the school year. I've never been to Rhode Island before but Katie's from a town really close to Newport so we went to her house for dinner. I loved walking around the town all day. We had beautiful weather (possibly the only day in weeks that it didn't rain even a little) and there were not many other tourists because it was a week day. Seeing all the mansions made me feel like I was walking around in an Edith Wharton book. Since she's basically my favorite author it was a dream come true. It's amazing that all of these huge houses were only summer homes for the rich.

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On the weekend I went to Arnold Arboretum. As far as large areas filled with just trees go, it was a really fun place. The Arboretum was established when a whaling merchant named James Arnold died in 1872 and left a ton of money to Harvard to build a habitat that would house "as far as practicable, all the trees [and] shrubs . . . either indigenous or exotic, which can be raised in the open air." And although I'm not sure that Mr. Arnold's dream has been realized just yet, the arboretum is massive and uses a computerized tracking system to keep record of the name and origin of every plant on the 265 acres (there's something like 15,000 trees, shrubs, and vines!). Professors do research there all the time and we went on a (surprisingly) fun tour with one. After that we ate a really yummy dinner in Chinatown.

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I'm glad that I'm finally doing some of the boston things that I haven't done over the past year. I've felt pretty ashamed of being here so long and only doing things when people came to visit. I plan to do a lot more (including the Duck Tour with or without you (e:Mike)) over the summer!!

Graduation is on Thursday and it is supposed to be 56 degrees with a 70% chance of rain. How unlucky!

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Permalink: Seeing_some_of_New_England.html
Words: 358
Location: Tonawanda, NY


06/01/06 09:26 - 65ºF - ID#27720

National Spelling Bee Craziness

I can't watch the Sabres tonight because I don't have OLN but I think that the National Spelling Bee Championship, which is happening at the same time, is probably just as exciting. I can't believe what these kids can do. I've only gotten three words right and there have been at least 20... not that I'm really surprised. I remember when we used to have spelling bees at Hoover. First we would compete in our class and then all the classes would come together in the Community Room and parents would be invited to watch the "championship." It wasn't really hard to get to the championship so my first year in Hoover (3rd grade when we moved to Kenmore) I got to the last round. Having to stand in front of all of the parents and all of the kids in my grade freaked me out so bad that I totally stopped breathing. From that point all the way through the spelling bees at Kenmore Middle, I would intentionally spell the first word wrong so that I could sit and not be nervous for the rest of the time. I give these kids so much credit for dealing with all the pressure of being on tv and put on the spot. I have literally been tearing up every time someone misses a word. They are so cute when they know they don't know the words. After asking all of the allowed questions (definition, origin, etc) one child even asked, "and how do you spell that?" He had a good sense of humor for someone who was out. Also, one tense moment was when the judges actually had a word spelled wrong and they rang their little bell to signify a girl was out. In reality, she spelled the word right and they had it wrong so she had to be "reinstated." How crazy! There are only 5 left right now. I will be watching until the end.
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Permalink: National_Spelling_Bee_Craziness.html
Words: 325
Location: Tonawanda, NY


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