Husband slept in this morning but I did not. The baby slept well through the night, so we were both awake around 6:30. I fed her and put her  back to bed. I decided to just get up and study a bit of Italian drivers ed. I'm studying the chapter on speed and safety distance. How fast everyone can go on certain roads if they're towing trailers or whether they're driving mopeds or whether they're over the age of 85 or have a provisional license. Because I will have a provisional license, I'm not allowed to drive a powerful car or drive too fast on the autostrade. Meh. Who cares?

Yesterday, we just took boxes and opened them up. My MIL is taking it upon herself to wash everything in the boxes: baby clothes and blankets, husband's clothes and my own clothes. I think this is too much: especially for a woman without a dryer and rainy weather. All the clothes get hung in the basement; they dry within 24 hours but still. I'm not minding so much hanging the clothes in the basement. I almost enjoy it. Well, it's not the worst chore. I'd rather hang clothes all day in the basement than wash floors.

The baby is out in the ingresso playing with the pink IKEA tray we brought all the way from Jersey with. She was attracted to it this morning while Giovanni ate, so I let her play with it. Before, she was playing with old keys on a keychain with the plastic shopping cards/fobs.

Anyway, so we slowly started to integrate our crap with our new apartment. All my spices showed up but I don't really have a place to put them yet. And Giovanni and I are often at odds over where to put things. I'm trying not to be a bitch and I'm surprised at how relatively well I'm doing. I've had some bitchy moments, but I forget. Trying to clean when my husband is home is like trying to shovel the walk during a snowstorm. Best to just wait it out until Monday morning when he goes to work. That's when I can go to work.

The weather is terrible so we've been staying home. Yesterday, Giovanni tried the GPS system again; I thought it was a fool's errand but he got it to work!! I threw all my powers at it and wasn't able to get it to work. He did it and made it work fine. We're now in Europe and Rosta and we can find ourselves. Now, we'll probably have to use a different voice. We have Michelle, the American chick telling us where to go and what to do. She'll butcher the street names, that's for sure. But at least I'll be able to understand her. That's the important thing. I hope she understands Roundabouts!

The plumber showed up around 2:00 pm. "My" shower was shitty and had a tiny spray; I idly mentioned I'd like a super deluxe shower head someday. Well, it happened!! The plumber was called (I later found out that they'd had some leakage problems anyway so it was time). He waterproofed the bathroom and installed it. I'm not supposed to use it for 24 hours so no super shower today. So be it. I can wait. I've waited for many things in my life.

At 8:00 pm, Giovanni and I headed to our favorite local pizza place (ha! it's the only local pizza place we can walk to) for beer, l'acqua gasata?, and pizza. We got shown to the upstairs room. It's warmer than downstairs because it's next to the pizza ovens. Delightful on a cold November evening but I'm sure it's bitching hot on summer nights. Good luck to us trying to find a table in the summer; there's outdoor seating and, once again, the only game in town.

Today, more of the same. Just puttering and putting things away. I've got food enough for both lunch and dinner. I need to lower my standards about cleaning. Now that I have the cleaning lady, that's one thing to let go of. I got home last night to TWO letters from my sister and one more letter from my father about changing my address for Schwab.


For some reason, I'm in a nasty mood. Which doesn't make any sense. I've had a full night's sleep, I've had caffeine, I've had breakfast. Just ruminating and gnashing my mental teeth, though. Must keep my mouth shut.


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.

Not electronics duster but keyboard blower


The baby is in the ingresso and it's raining outside. It's Seattle weather again; and it's never going to let up. I'm going to have to come to terms with this weather. It really is depressing. Yesterday, husband requested Mexican lasagna which meant I had to go out in the weather and go to the store. And I'll probably have to go back again. I can't do it all in one fell swoop like I used to at the Shop Rite. Well, I can't make a meal plan other than hamburgers. When they have cheap hamburgers (2 for 1 euro) I tend to stock up. They're so easy.

So yesterday I went out in the brutal weather and went to the Auchan. First, I put 20 euro in the tank. You can't fill up your tank here; you have to prepay and it's all done on machine. So if you put in more money than your tank can hold, you're fucked or have to ask for money back from the clerk and it's a pain in the ass so it's just easier to put in finite amounts one at a time. Bleah. But, it's relatively quick and easy. There must be a benefit somewhere, but I've yet to find it.

I have to make a list of all the things that are better in Italy versus better in the states. Of course, an Italian could make the list and it would tilt the other way.

Yesterday, the whole family got up early because we had to go to the Questura in Turin for my paperwork. Well, to submit my paperwork. Husband drove me in and my FIL took his car. We got into town with too much time to spare and ended up sitting around the Questura longer than we had to. Oh well. Better that way than missing our appointment window. FIL read his La Stampa and I read a copy of "All I need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten." It kept making me tear up and kiss husband. After husband and I went to the sportello and submitted all the paperwork, he went to work and FIL and I waited with a billion other people for me to be fingerprinted. It's not a well-oiled machine, but it seems to work. I'd say it's better in the states, but probably not.

Finally, we got out of there. Husband called while we were on our way home to tell me he wanted Mexican Lasagna for dinner. I didn't think I could find taco seasonings (I was right) but I was able to find a packet of German chili con carne seasonings which worked just fine. I was also able to find beans, corn, tortillas (most expensive item!), and I even had a pan at home that worked!! It worked even better than my 8x8 which I may or may not have packed.

I ran out of my prescription mom vitamins so bought a jar of 90 maternity vitamins for 45 euro!! Ouch! Oh well, Anna is worth it. I guess she gets all her vitamins from me. It's very important we both are able to grow.

She and I are growing the same; she's learning a language (two!) and I'm learning a language. She's learning how to crawl and move and I'm learning how to drive my dumb car. We're both getting situated to Italy but this will all seem normal and regular to her and it will always seem foreign to me.

Every morning I get my news from the New York Times and I wonder if that's a good idea. It doesn't make me homesick much, but it can happen. If they've got a lot of pictures. I guess Facebook can do the same thing. Yesterday, everyone posted pictures of their Thanksgiving dinners. That was nice to see. We had Mexican lasagna. I had husband print out a whole bunch of measurements and conversions for my kitchen--also oven temperatures. I posted on Facebook that my old recipe in my new kitchen required more math than I'd like. I did have to do math!

I found an elf onesie at the Auchan and put Anna in it this morning. I tried to take pictures, but she refused to lie on her back but insisted on flipping over onto her stomach. Funny how times change. She used to hate tummy time and lament and complain if you put her on her stomach. This, too, shall pass. Can't believe that's she supposed to be crawling, cruising and speaking a few words! Those things aren't happening. But they're about to.

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.


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?