Self Pity

Feeling some self pity and anger today; even the coffee, a bowl of cereal and cookies, and the sun on the mountains doesn't seem to help. I'm cranky sourpuss even though my life is pretty good. Everyone is nice to me and I don't have to work; not that I ever really minded working. It's not like, "OMG thank god I never have to go anywhere and do something I don't like for 8 hours and talk to my co-workers and walk around Manhattan on my lunch hour!" Most of my jobs I've liked well enough or tolerated. The few I didn't like, I got rid of pretty quickly.

The baby is sleeping. I put her in her crib and she got the picture. This morning, I went through the closets in order to find new bedding. I haven't changed the sheets on any bed in over three weeks. Gross. So, there's bedding in the closets. We're supposed to take off the bumpers now because the baby could feasibly crawl out.

I need to start writing like this again. It's good for the soul. I have to keep reminding myself that the first year is a year of transition. I just feel a lot of fear and anxiety. Some of it is probably maternal hormones. I'm still nursing so still feel like a frayed nerve sometimes. It's gotten better. It was really bad for the first several months coming home from the hospital. I could look at the news or read anything disturbing. I'd get disturbing news stories or thoughts stuck in my head and they'd run through a lot. It's like, "Why the hell do I keep thinking about Ariel Castro?!!!" But I think about him and those girls all the time! It's like, "What kind of a shitty world do we live in?! My aunt is right to be a shut in and watch old movies checked out from the library." I'd do that too.

The baby is asleep and I'm showered and coffeed and breakfasted. There was class this morning, but husband and inlaws had to go into the city in order to do some paperwork nonsense. It was just me and the baby. She wants to crawl but doesn't know how to do that yet. She either just gets down on her belly and scootches backwards or sits on her butt and bounces around the room. She'll never get it. She'll be the only bald, scootching 18-year-old in college. ;)

I have two showers in my bathroom; a standing one and a hand-held one in the bath. I've taken to using the bathtub hand-held shower. It's more thorough and has a stronger spray. The stand in shower is almost worthless. The spray is too scattered and weak. My face and hair get clean, but everything else just gets damp.

Today, there was class in the morning but I couldn't go because I had to watch my own baby. I'm doing laundry; thank god I have a dryer. I put things out to dry on the terrace two days ago and they're still damp. I have no idea how things are down in the basement. I put a table cloth down there. I'll put the duvet cover down there later. I'm doing a big laundry. In my tiny washing machine. It's okay.

I just need to relax and remind myself that I have a bed to sleep in and food in the larder. I knew I'd have mixed feelings when I got here and I have them. I'm not really homesick, but I wouldn't say I'm ecstatic to be here, either. It's not really under my terms. I'm in an apartment where I'm not allowed to do anything. I'm not allowed to use the dryer because it takes too much energy. I'm not allowed to take a bath because it uses too much water. I'm not allowed to turn on lights because they use too much electricity. The garbage is downstairs, out the gate, and down the street! That's a big fucking drag.

Thank god the grocery store isn't too far away. I'm scared to drive my car because I keep stalling out in the driveway. I'm a nervous wreck. I can't speak Italian and can barely understand when someone talks to me.

Eureka moment

Woke up at five a.m. and dozed on my back until six.

I feel great! I'm not hating life at all. I'm wondering if that's the key to waking up on the right side of the bed.

I will have to work that into my morning routine again.

Italy

My new apartment is large and beautiful but it was outfitted in the 70s so every socket has 20 transformers attached to it. It's a lot of concrete and tile so the acoustics are bonkers and it's colder than your place in Montara. I like that. My last two apartments were warm-to-hot and it always felt odd to walk around in shorts and flip flops all the time. I know cold.
We're also in a northern latitude? so it's darker longer in the morning.

Every day my Italian improves slightly. I'm also trying to study for the drivers test. They whisk the baby away downstairs so I just do my own thing unless Anna needs nursing. She doesn't seem to miss me at all. Now I know how people can abandon their children.

I drove a stick car around Italy a little; I still stall sometimes at the incline in the driveway. That leads to some tension, but not bad. I live in a very small town (think Kenilworth) with very few businesses. I can walk to the post office and the bank and a couple other stores but that's it. Everything else I'll need the car. I hope to get a little car soon.

I try to be gentle with myself and not get on my case too much. The apartment is too big to be a wreck yet, but we're going to get our stuff sometime within the next month. There's a lot of space so I hope it won't stress me out.

Food here is very expensive. Paid 3,99 euro for a small jar of peanut butter that was in the "Ethnic" section. That's why everyone is so thin. It's jarring. Also, the men are all fashion plates. There's the garbage man who has a haircut from Milan!

Not only do they NOT pick up garbage here, but you have to physically take all the recycling and garbage down the street to these huge bins that are already full of everyone else's garbage.  I almost bought a plane ticket "home."

There's low violent crime in Italy, but a lot of burglaries so everyone has these ugly metal shutters on their windows. We have to put them all down at night and open them every morning. The good thing about them is they block light so the baby is still asleep at 7:38 am. Maybe she's still jet lagged.

Self Pity

Feeling down today. For many reasons. I don't understand the language. It's cold in my apartment. It's grey outside. I'm out of my comfort zone in so many ways. My friends and family are all continents away. I'm full of dread and loathing for a test I have to take soon (the Italian drivers exam in Italian).

I study and do okay but no where near passing.

I've been here 12 days.  I have to just keep reminding myself of that. I have nowhere to walk to. I want to put the baby in the stroller, but there are few sidewalks and the in-laws will probably give me shit for taking the baby out in the rain. They already think I'm a terrible mother. They bought vegetables to make baby food for her without even asking me. I guess I have to take or leave everything.

I just looked out the window and there's snow on the mountains.

Everything takes forever to do. I just want to lie in bed and do nothing for awhile but there's just so much to do and nothing I can do.

Tomorrow, I go back for more Italian lessons at the school for Stranieri.

New Jersey Jury Focus

Just moved to Jersey and got an official-looking letter from Paul E. Newell, Esq. asking if I'd like to participate in a jury focus group. I'd get $100, a continental breakfast, and a buffet lunch at the local Hasbrouck Heights Hilton if I accept.

It sounds like a scam to me, but a quick google netted nothing.

Has anyone else ever been phished like this?
The Nonverbal Mediation of Self-fulfilling Prophecies in Interracial Interaction

The concern and issue of this article is stated in the title and
the abstract--Self-fulfilling prophecy. It's that positive or negative
thoughts will lead to positive or negative behaviors; these behaviors
will trigger behavior in others. Others will react, which will
reinforce the initial subject to continue to act in that negative or
positive way. In the end, the subject reaps the exact rewards or
punishments that he or she expects. In the paper, the researchers call
it a "false definition," however, I believe that it can be positive
behaviors as well. If someone acts and thinks and behaves in a
positive way, others may behave accordingly, reinforcing the positive
behavior.
Self-Fulfilling prophecy is similar to demand characteristics.
Researchers may subconsciously shape subject behavior through words
and reactions--eliciting the hoped-for results. If researchers know or
expect certain behaviors, or to look for behaviors in their test
subjects, they may subconsciously positively reward or punish the
behaviors they do or don't want. Double-blind studies, where research
administrators don't know which variable is being studied, are useful
to combat demand characteristics. Self-fulfilling prophecy takes it
one step further--instead of just acting accordingly, the subject
thinks accordingly. When the subject thinks a certain way, he or she
acts a certain way. The subjects subconsciously pick up on these cues.
In the end, the test results may be skewed and inaccurate.
Studying self-fulfilling prophecy is important because the concept
of self-esteem is so important. Those with higher self-esteem perform
better in work, school, and in relationships. They're more productive
members of society. It behooves a society to enable its citizens to
work, act, and produce at the best of their ability. Low self-esteem
can lead to depression, addiction, unemployment, incarceration, and
divorce. A worker who is employed and happy contributes to the
greater societal good. Studying something as basic as human resources
and interviewing techniques is fundamental in both western and eastern
societies.
This study was performed in 1974--almost 40 years ago and only 10
years after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed. Those who
participated (college and high school students) were a little young to
remember how it had been before the passage, but their parents
remembered. The students may have heard or experienced deep prejudice
in their homes and schools. Even though laws may change overnight, it
takes a little longer for culture to catch up. It takes three
generations for a society to shed a trauma; the first generation lives
through the crisis (i.e. the great depression), the second generation
is reared by the first who lived through it, but the third generation
is not stymied by the experience.

The researcher writes on page 111, "It has been demonstrated time and
again that white Americans have generalized negative evaluations
(e.g., stereotypes) of black Americans." Times have changed since this
article was written; however, contemporary researchers would probably
garner similar results using similar populations. There are different
groups all over the country (and the world) who are in conflict with
each other. There is still rampant sexism, racism and homophobia.
Disabled and overweight people are regularly treated with disrespect.
For example, we could probably recreate these findings here in America
using overweight people, or people with visible deformities. We could
replicate these findings in England possibly using Irish applicants or
in India with its rigid caste system.

The researchers claim that others found similar results using
different populations. Kleck (page 110) found that "normal
interactants were found to terminate interviews sooner...with a
handicapped person...and employ greater interaction distances with an
epileptic stranger (Kleck et al., 1968)." Instead of prejudice, it
could be anxiety which causes people to act inappropriately.
Interviewers may have had many negative stereotypes built up around
minorities, but didn't have as many around disabled. Therefore, the
anxiety caused by an unknown situation and unknown proper etiquette
could have caused them to terminate the interview early--not racism.

This study was done with privileged, male, white, ivy-league students.
It's probable that researchers would garner a different result with
this study in the 21st century due to better education and increased
sensitivity in schools to race. I would be curious to see how "white
guilt" could play a part. White guilt, or the over compensating by the
dominant class for perceived potential racism, could even out the
interview interactions and perhaps even skew the results in the
opposite direction. The white interviewers would spend more time with
the black students in the first interview.

It would be interesting to see if these results hold true with women
interviewers; women are more stereotypically in tune with their own
and the behavior of others. Women are shaped to be more sensitive to
social cues and female subjects/interviewees would definitely read
more into interviewer behavior--thereby perhaps showing more varied or
stronger results.

In the first study, the independent variable is race...yet even within
race there are shades of grey. There are African Americans who were
born in the south and who were born in the north; there are Africans
who are immigrants to this country. All could be initially assessed
and therefore treated differently by the research subjects.

Bake Sale

Is there any lovelier sign??!

12/09/2012

Sitting here at 4:00 pm on a Sunday afternoon; it's raining and getting dark outside.

Had a great weekend! Yesterday, I headed out into the world at about 11:00 am. Walked down 145th to the ACBD train station (picked up a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich at 145th and Amsterdam?). I love my neighborhood. Was at Harlem 125th Metro North within 45 minutes. Well within the amount of time. Read my counseling textbook all the way to Brewster--the chapter on Existential Psychology.

Lr picked me up at the Station and we headed to Niantic, CT, which is near the ocean. It was about a two-hour drive but I'd made some xmas cds for us to listen to. Those went over well. We stopped at an outdoor bookstore called the Book Barn that had free coffee and donuts. I only bought one book (I was overwhelmed) but she bought several books.

Then, we went to her friends house. It was like Martha Stewart. Very homey but lovely presentation. We stuffed ourselves on the cooking; the Paula Dean corn pudding was my favorite with many of the pastries close seconds. Everything was homemade so I felt no guilt. What a treat! When do I get home cooking like that?

Lr was smoking cigarettes outside (she's a bad girl). Smoking cigarettes with Lr outside has always been one of life's pleasures so I had a camel light--with the filter ripped in half like I used to. I can't remember the last time I had a cigarette. Must have been last year when I bought that pack during grad school and smoked them out my window. This was more pleasurable. It gave me quite a kick and buzz. I had to lean up against the house because there was no where to sit. It was cold and rainy out.

I spent the night on the couch and this morning she made scrambled eggs with cheddar bacon muffins. What a delicious breakfast. I'm still not all that hungry. I kind of wanted to hit the road, though. She drove me home and they continued on to the East Village to visit the Puerto Rican trading company. I used to buy beans from there YEARS ago when I lived on Allen Street. I could get a pound of coffee for about $4.99 or $5. Those days are long gone. So it goes.

I showered and logged into the computer. I'm still not all that hungry. I need to go to the grocery store and buy lunch meat for my lunch tomorrow. I thought I maybe should cook or something, but I'm so lazy and may just do Taco Bell for dinner. I have stuff around here so could also just do vegetables and rice with beans. I don't want to prepare a thing.

I don't like the cards I bought this past year. So it goes.

12/08/2012

It's Saturday morning; I've gotten a lot accomplished. No running today. Who knows if that may have been contributing to the insanity the past couple years. Maybe I need to go back to running.

Yesterday, P and I were alone in the office. She asked me about Chandi foods up on 29th street--where I go for lunch and love. She said she wanted some Indian comfort food. At 2:00 pm, we put on our coats. She asked, "Should we shut the office door?" We shut--and locked--the door. We had no key. We shrugged our shoulders and went to lunch.

She's vegetarian and I ordered what she ordered. We sat and talked.

We walked back to the office and P got the key from the 11th floor and we got back to work. Boyfriend headed off to Italy yesterday. I got a couple emails from him.

Came home and read about Adler on the subway. I should have gotten up and read more of the textbook but I did not. I sent out my recommendation forms this morning and got that off my plate. What a relief. This may all be over for now--to start up the madness next fall. I'll have to put that in God's hands.

I read something that journaling is just rumination. It just reinforces the madness. I know that's true. Distraction is key.

12/5/2012

Last night was the first night in four nights I spent at home. I went to bed and it was roasting but it cooled off; I guess super turned off the heat. It's quite pleasant right now with the heat off. It's warm out because it's rainy weather. I have the feeling the temperature will plummet some time during today.

Things are shaping up with me. I started the application process for the program.

Had a good and long weekend. On Friday night, I went to Jersey and we ate at the Blue Moon restaurant. We then went back to Gvnni's to watch and episode or two of The Event. I'm not that crazy about the series, but Gvnni likes it. On Saturday, we came back into the city so that he could do the training and I could run a ton of little errands.

When he got back from training, we went to the Subway for a sandwich and shared it at my little table for two. Then, we headed back into Jersey where we watched more episodes of The Event and Gvnni ended up watching all five episodes; he didn't have any episodes to watch on Sunday night. On Saturday night, we went to the Indian restaurant again. It has fantastic food, but the service is a little odd. The first time we went, we were ignored and had to beg for menus. This time, our food came with no spoons of any kind (and a lot of drippy gravies and curries).

On Sunday, we drove into the city again to attend the New York Public Library open house. We shared a Subway sandwich ahead of time, which turned out to be pointless. When we got there, the affair was heavily catered and there was too much food. We met my friend in line and she had brought her camera. She says she brings it everywhere. Gvnni had a good time; he loved the food and enjoyed looking at the building and the paintings.

When we left, we walked through the Bryant Park Christmas fair. Then, we walked up Fifth Avenue to the Abercrombie and Fitch store (which is a hell mouth). He wanted to buy some clothes for his niece. The shopping bag had a naked male torso on it so I offered to carry the bag for him. When we got to Columbus Circle, he wanted to stop at Grom--the gelato place. Typically, he doesn't stop for sweets and we'd been eating all afternoon. He'd had a couple of glasses of wine to boot. No worries! I enjoyed.

I like talking about myself with people who love and care about me; I hate having to do small talk about myself in social situations. I just don't care about talking about my career (photoretouching) and school (which is a major stresser).

When I got back into the city, Gvnni texted me that he wasn't going to training and did I want to hang out! I said I wasn't going to Jersey, but he could come into the city and we could go to Dinosaur BBQ at 9:00 pm. He picked me up and had a great meal.