06/26/06 02:27 - 78ºF - ID#27725
Rain, rain, go away!
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.
Location: Tonawanda, NY
06/21/06 05:44 - 73ºF - ID#27724
You've got questions, I've got answers
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?
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.
1. What type of hardware or software purchases have you made as a result of using estrip?
2. Have you used the mobile version of estrip? Why or why not?
No, I don't really access the internet from my phone.
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?
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?
8. Have you ever gotten in trouble for using estrip at work?
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.
Location: Tonawanda, NY
06/18/06 09:43 - 85ºF - ID#27723
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.
Location: Tonawanda, NY
06/11/06 10:24 - 58ºF - ID#27722
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
Family and friends lined up at 6:15am! It kind of felt like having paparazzi follow you for a second.
Before the ceremony started everyone tried to stay dry but soon we gave up and put the umbrellas down so that we could see.
This is a professor reading the paper while the ceremony was going on! so funny.
There were so many people it was really overwhelming.
Our little ceremony was under a tent thank goodness.
With mary after it was all over.
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.
Location: Tonawanda, NY
06/06/06 08:35 - 80ºF - ID#27721
Seeing some of New England
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.
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!
Location: Tonawanda, NY
06/01/06 09:26 - 65ºF - ID#27720
National Spelling Bee Craziness
Location: Tonawanda, NY
05/30/06 10:23 - 80ºF - ID#27719
I also found out that I didn't do well on my applied linear regression final. It was a group project but my partner took the class for satisfactory credit so I ended up doing almost all of it. Still, I thought we were going to do okay. In the end we got a B/B+ (they only give grade ranges at my school) which is basically like a D/D-. Just to give some perspective, my partner would not have gotten credit for the class if we received half a grade lower. Anyway, the comments on the paper were the worst part. We had to include the program code for the data analysis but I didn't include all of the sub-programs (if that's even what they're called ) because they said they didn't want "the diary" of our analysis. Apparently they meant they didn't want that in the paper portion. So even though our model was okay, the grader assumed we didn't do all these extra steps. In the end his/her comments were so brutal because they were laced with sarcasm. I would never have written such means things to someone even if I thought they spent two minutes on their work. I mean it was a 25 page data analysis!
I've had this horrible sick feeling in my stomach all day because I feel like I've failed. This was a really important class and I've worked so hard this term to learn this stuff. I'm not smart enough to get it I guess. I'm just ashamed of my work and myself and I hate that feeling so much.
Location: Tonawanda, NY
05/23/06 08:38 - 55ºF - ID#27718
Location: Tonawanda, NY
05/22/06 05:42 - 50ºF - ID#27717
My reason for bringing this up is that this weekend I barely left my apartment. I know it's bad to stay in all the time- I don't even enjoy it- but sometimes if there is no one around to do things with and I don't NEED to go out, I just stay in as much as possible. It's a really bad, depressing habit and after weekends like this, I make myself nervous. I start to actually get afraid of going outside, maybe not afraid but more like a sense of dread about it. It's kind of like when you know you could go to a party but you just think it's going to be awful even though every time you go to one you have a really good time. Has anyone ever had that feeling? If you just jump that first hurdle and go, then everything ends up going well. The thing is, when I'm alone I don't really have anyone motivating me to jump that hudle so I just end up staying in. And of course, like any truly unhealthy habit, it builds on itself. Once I'm in for one day then it's even harder to go out the next day- all the while, I feel more depressed at the thought of how long I've been inside. What an unpleasant cycle!
Anyway, it's a good thing that I almost always have something I need to do each day or someone to call when I'm bored.I don't have a problem doing things by myself when they have to be done, but doing things alone will never be my preference. I wish I was a more independent person. I guess as long as I force myself to do the things I need to do, I don't really have to worry too much about becoming a shut-in... I hope. I think what this all boils down to is that I need to come home where I have a few friends left OR they should all come here. Yes, that was an open invite.
P.S. It's been raining for a million days in a row... really, who would want to go out in this weather!
Location: Tonawanda, NY
05/19/06 10:59 - 53ºF - ID#27716
New home and other tidbits
I also finished my first year of grad school. Pending satisfactory grades on my finals, I am now a Master and one year closer to the end of the road. The end of school completely snuck up on me since I am usually in school until mid june. It's also a weird schedule because finals were due last week but commencement isn't until June 8th. I guess other schools in the university have different schedules so we have to wait for them but still, this three week break is awkward.
On a totally random note, I had a strange experience with the realtor who helped me find my new place. Her name was BethAnn and after having met her only once to look at apartments, she left a message on my voicemail that went something like this:
"Hi Maureen, I know we were supposed to see another couple places today but I need to put that off until tomorrow because I just found out that my boyfriend of 3 three years has been going on sexual benders behind my back for God know how long. I read his email the other night-- only one day after we had the most amazing talk and he said he wanted me to be the mother of his children-- and I found that he was sleeping with tons of different women, sometimes a couple a day. Anyway, I have to move out of the house we just bought together-- can you believe we just bought a house together?!-- and so I can't meet you as we planned today."
Then the message cut off and she called back because, believe it or not, she had more to say. She went on:
"So anyway, hopefully we can meet up tomorrow to look at those places... oh and don't you worry, I called his parents and got him an appointment with a psychiatrist and have already called a lawyer-- there better be something mentally wrong with him. Okay, hope you're having a great day and I'll tell you more details later. Bye dear."
I have been saving those two messages for two weeks because I wanted to make sure I got them down here. I think it's so funny that she would tell me all that after one meeting. SHe told me the next day that she hoped I didn't feel like she was being too forward but she just didn't want to be "insincere." That comment struck a cord with me because anyone who knows me knows that I am super-private about personal stuff. I would never, NEVER have left anyone a message like that-- not even my best friends. It felt kind of funny when I heard her say that because, honestly, even though I thought she was a little crazy and unprofessional after listening to the message, I definitely couldn't say she was not sincere. I even found it a little endearing. Sometimes I really envy people who can be so open and wear the heart on their sleeve. Although she might be too open, I think we are both on the extreme ends of sharing personal info and would benefit from moving a little towards the center. And anyway, she found me a nice condo :)
Location: Tonawanda, NY
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