Twitter / atb20

Saturday, April 29, 2006

a roll through the park

well, i didn't make it to the peace march this morning, and that was disappointing. it just seemed like it would cut into too much paper-writing time. i imagine there will be more... seems like there should be an extension for political activism at a social work school, but i guess i could have always been more prepared and started my papers last weekend. since i didn't though, i had to take a brief opportunity to escape the confines of my apartment. by 4pm it was impossible to focus on my paper any further, so i strapped on my rollerblades and took to the park. as a reminder for myself during those painfully long days strapped to my computer in the cellar of schermerhorn, here is a photo tour of my voyage...

further away
the cherry blossoms were still in bloom though the leaves were starting to sprout as well...

cherry blossoms up close

west side

i'm not sure what kind of tree this is, but it has the most beautiful purple buds growing all the way down the branches.

looking across the ballfields from the east side, just before coasting down "the great hill"

one of my favorite spots in the park... unlike the lower half of the park, above 100th st. is pretty peaceful and tourist-free.

i almost didn't notice this guy hiding in the tree. he swooped down to within feet of me as he tried to escape from a few pesky jays.

sheeps meadow
no doubt it's spring.

across the lake

bird in the grass


park enthusiasts will notice that i didn't get any shots of the popular lower east corner of the park. while beautiful, that area attracts more navel-gazing tourists than i can comfortably wheel around with my camera. in addition the entire area reeks of horsesh*t, so i try to get through it as quickly as possible. it was really a spectacular day for a rollerbrake though -- i hope my fellow ny-ers got out to enjoy the day.

Friday, April 28, 2006


well, if i'm gonna go for a walk tomorrow, this seems like a good excuse. any new yorkers want to join me??

imagining myself outside

Umbrian arbour
Originally uploaded by giles sanders.

hell, if i'm going to start imagining myself someplace i might as well go for the gusto. i shall imagine myself on our honeymoon terrace in italy... reading under the tuscan sun under the mediterranean sun... listening to the excited shouts of the local children standing on the cliff nearby: la medusa! la medusa! hearing the blue-green waves lap against the rocky ledge below... mil napping in the cool shade of the room... a belly full of tomatoes caprese and soury sweet peaches and pears. the breeze sweeping through the crisp sunlight blowing strands of hair into my face... the sparkling, crystalline water summoning me to challenge my fear of jellyfish... and dive in.
bringing myself back to reality, i can at least take comfort in the coming weekend. unlike last weekend, we should be able to expect sunshine and highs in the 60s. unfortunately, i have two papers due next week (in what will be the last week of my spring semester, yay!), so my outdoor time will likely be limited. though i plan to make every effort to fit it in where i can.
final note: for some reason, i'm not able to post comments from my work computer, so it seems that both mbajackass and cartoonsite have gone unresponded to.

c, thanks for the input re: bird adolescence... i've tried a "birdsitter" dvd to little avail. at this point i'm very tempted to post an ad on craigslist: "spf, 5, looking for friendship and maybe more."

m, no need for gifts -- thanks for offering though! many congrats!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

the terrible fives

when i took her to the vet a few months ago, i was told that she's in her adolesence and in a few years she'll calm down and become a more respectable member of the family. what they didn't tell me was that in the meantime she could get much, much worse.

izzy has officially lost it. she is no longer able to entertain herself in relative peace and quiet. if we are in the apartment and she is not either in our food or destroying one of our possessions, she is screaming and/or pecking at our feet. she used to have long periods of relative mellow-ness interspersed with brief bouts of flapping, screaming, and destroying. now it is the other way around. i'm not sure what to do with her at this point, and lord knows, mil is well past his "cool." any bird experts out there? is there something i can feed her? ambien? xanax? honestly, i think she just needs to get laid. any handsome galahs out there looking for a good time? she likes long walks on the kitchen tile and eating her way through cereal boxes...
in other news, mil took his mcat this weekend. that's eight hours of his life that he'll never see again (then again, neither will i). it was touch and go for a while there, but i think he's beginning to regain his usual spunk. he's still not sure how he did, so he's trying to get used to the idea that he might have to take it again in august... i guess i need to do the same.
i'm having some moments of inspiration re: the job search recently. after watching several episodes of the west wing, i'm thinking i might want to incorporate some policy work into my next job. i saw some interesting listings on monster for a political advisor for the mission of japan and a program associate for the council on foreign relations. sounds much more interesting than poorly paid social worker at underfunded clinic in the bronx...

Friday, April 21, 2006


yay ladies night!
yay martinis!
yay weekend!
yay samoas!
yay spring!
boo social work!

i made the mistake of going to an msw job fair this afternoon, and it was very depressing. everyone was nice and eager and talking about all the important work you get to do with cancer patients or adolescents or substance users. then i ask them about starting salary and they talk about their "competitive starting salary" of $46K, and this is from the hospitals which are known for their relatively high salaries. now, yes, i know that this is more than i'm making now and not a bad salary for tulsa, but in new york city, after taxes it barely covers the rent... on a 1br apt. back to the drawing board...
don't tell my boss (who's one of the founders of the cognitive tradition in psychology), but i'm learning to love psychodynamic psychotherapy. there's a certain artistic and intuitive quality that makes it more engaging than other, more "evidence-based" intervention techniques. it also uses the therapist more so than a more cognitive or behavioral approach. i am learning a lot about myself as i explore the various pathologies and neurotic tendencies of my clients. i always thought of myself as a fairly uninteresting specimen. my parents once gave me a cartoon from the new yorker with a college girl sitting in her dormroom writing a letter that says: dear mom and dad, thanks for the happy childhood. now i'll never be a writer psychologist. and i thought it was pretty much true, but as i go through the process of analyzing my clients, i realize that there's a lot of me that i've left unanalyzed (maybe for the better). i mentioned in an earlier post that i am more neurotic than i ever thought of myself as being. i tend to judge myself pretty harshly against a standard of perfection that i will likely never achieve. i think this is part of the reason i've had such a difficult time figuring out what i should do with my life. at some level, i've internalized my parents' hopes and desires for what i'd achieve, and they're not quite meshing with what i see myself enjoying. the difficulty is parsing out what is me and what is my parents and what is everything else.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

think happy thoughts

sequoia rays
Originally uploaded by zrim.

so, mil is counting down the hours to the mcat this saturday... and though i'm not of the religious sort (as is blatantly obvious in my post from earlier this week), i've taken to offering supplication to the little known g*d of standardized tests. mil has found himself seeking counsel from the buddha. and now i ask those of you who have some love for that mop-headed encyclopedia of useless movie trivia and simpsons quotes, i call my husband, to think happy thoughts for him this weekend. we'd be much obliged to ya.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

i've been blessed

someone here in the department has a girl scout for a kid, and that means i get to dine on one of my favorite springtime delicacies... samoas... it's been a while, kid, i'm happy to see you've come back.
i'm feeling motivated to talk politics what with the looming threats against iran and the whole controversy surrounding these generals who've spoken out against rumsfeld. but there is a part of me that's tired of complaining... i know the administration wants to paint all liberals as a bunch of screaming hippies, but really we just want a country that will make us proud to be americans and a world where our kids and our kids' kids can enjoy life in peace. i don't think that those desires really make us distinct from the conservatives in this country. i think it's more important to have a dialogue that shows our commonalities and allows us to open our hearts and eyes to alternative perspectives than to hurl labels at eachother a la o'reilly and randy rhodes. (honestly, i love listening to randy, and i think she's a smart person -- unlike o'reilly, but she's an entertainer. i don't think she's doing anything to encourage a dialogue.) i was listening to that paragon of democratic ideals, jerry springer, this morning, and i think i fell in love a little bit. the man speaks respectfully to everyone who calls into his show no matter what their viewpoint is, and he responds thoughtfully and intelligently. if you haven't tuned in to air america recently, his show's worth a listen (9-12 ET).

Monday, April 17, 2006


birch aquarium
Originally uploaded by atb20.

my cousin's little cutie, pictured here, can't quite distingush fish from sharks (or "shocks" as she likes to call them). i don't blame her... i think i was about ten before i figured that one out. (and whales are mammals?? you're kidding me, right?) anyway, we enjoyed an afternoon at the birch aquarium out of fear that it might rain -- of course, it turned out to be the most beautiful day of the trip. that said, my day was made when the kiddo here vehemently waved "bye-bye!" to every passing car as we left the aquarium. and when i say vehemently, i mean it was an order. bye-bye... bye-bye! BYE! BYE!

there and back again

so, as you can see, i didn't manage to post from california... you can probably glean from this fact that i also did not work on my various papers. fortunately, none are due this week. somehow the presence of my family makes it virtually impossible to accomplish anything substantive. i don't know how they do this. even my brother was parent pressured into playing hooky on friday. (though this is relatively simple... you just have to utter a simple four-latter word: golf.) i did eat well and get some knitting done. i had the opportunity to see my statuesque sister-in-law with a growing baby bump. and i finally got to tour the stylish suburban casa my brother and sister-in-law call home. makes me feel a little behind the game, but i guess that's the nature of being a little sister -- nevermind that my brother was much further along the path to adulthood when he was my age. he has that innate drive to make a living wage that seems to have passed me up.
so, for those of you who miss the presence of papa moosk in their daily lives, i thought i'd recount a bit of family conversation on the eve of "good friday." (please note: this conversation took place after moosk and parents sat on a plane for over eight hours arriving at their hotel at what would have been 2am ET.) my father, the paragon of tact, asked my brother & sil, "isn't good friday supposed to be the day that jesus died?" response: "yeah." dad: "well, that sounds pretty sh*tty to me. whey do they call it 'good friday'? shouldn't it be 'sh*tty friday'?" and my father doesn't say things quietly -- he says them for all to hear. and if he thinks that what he said was funny, he will repeat it over and over again. and he thought this was funny. meanwhile, the rest of us were scanning faces to see if anyone around us was sending evil karma our way.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

happy 201st post!

there was a period there where i never thought i'd see this day, but here it is... 201 posts. my baby blog is all grown up...
so, i'm a little ocd now with the banners. i apologize. i think the new tagline says it all. still, i will try to leave this one up for at least two weeks. i just kept seeing that cloud banner and saying to myself -- oh, i can do better than that. this one is courtesy of the world's most boring social work class. genuine doodle, folks.
finally, the reason for the new change of scheme is that i'm heading out of town tomorrow, and i feel bad leaving you guys to suffer through a long weekend without me. to those celebrating holidays, i wish you the happiest of easters and passovers. personally, i get to enjoy all of the feasting without any of the fasting thanks to a little thing i call agnosticism. i will actually be bringing the computer along to get some paper-writing done over the weekend, so there's probably a good chance you'll hear from me before monday.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

my emergence from the cave...

there are few moments more revitalizing than the first steps out of a dark, dank, cavernous lab into the brilliant sun of a midafternoon on a thoroughly warm and breezy spring day... so spring-like that the pink and white petals from the blossoms on the trees flitted to the ground in the breeze...

...and fewer moments more disheartening than the clank of the door shutting out the chirping birds and the laughing undergrads, leaving me alone with my computer monitor and the recycled air of my own personal dungeon.

Monday, April 10, 2006

i like to believe...

...that i don't care what anybody else thinks of me. unfortunately, i do. i often ask mil whether or not i should cut my hair or wear a certain outfit or write a certain thing in my blog. unfortunately, as well, he is rarely able to offer much more than a "whatever you want to do, hon." (okay, maybe that's a "fortunately").

...that i didn't care what anybody else thought of high school. for some reason, i always fancied myself "above the fray" because i was never popular and never made much of an attempt to be so. a more correct portrayal might have been that i was "beneath the fray" because, like many adolescent girls of my ilk, it seemed like it took a lot of work to become popular and i was lazy.

...that i am a generally nice person. the evidence is to the contrary. i rarely give up my seat on the subway to people loaded down with bags or groceries or the borderline "elderly." i purposefully walk into people when they don't make room for me on the sidewalk. and i've laughed at more politically incorrect "family guy" jokes than i'd care to mention.

...that i pull my weight at home. again, the evidence does not support this assumption. i don't know how many times mil has done my laundry or made my dinner or cleaned up after me, but i do know that the number far exceeds the times i've done so for him. all despite the fact that he currently has absolutely no free time.

anyway, just felt the need to clear the air there. anyone else have similar self-delusional thoughts?

Saturday, April 08, 2006

not working on my paper

this is a recurring theme here at elegy... me, sitting at home alone on a saturday or sunday, knowing that i should be spending time catching up on homework, but consciously doing anything but. you'd think that at this point in the game i would have figured out how to psych myself up to accomplish a little more than creating a new banner for mba jackass and playing with my bird on a rainy saturday. but, alas, i haven't. fortunately, at least izzy is happy for the attention. she's been her more adorable self most of the day, wagging her entire body for a soaking shower, playing bull to my matador as i fluff the blanket, and purring on my chest at naptime. now that mil is home, the day isn't showing much sign of improvement as he has decided to use this time to score the practice mcat he spent the first 8 hours of his day completing (note: his prep course will score the test by monday, but that's just not soon enough for my little masochist). here's to hoping i can do my part to distract him...

Friday, April 07, 2006

how much for zee little children?

in a move that surprised no one here in nyc, the city council approved the yankees bid to use public funds to destroy one of the largest public parks in new york city. in case you were worried about this being a bad thing, the parkland will be replaced by a new 53,000-seat stadium with 60 luxury sky boxes and 10,000 parking spaces when it is completed in 2009. phew... and i thought this might be a bad thing for the residents of the south bronx. i was busy worrying about the children of the bronx who already have the highest asthma rates in the country and probably the highest rates of child obesity and diabetes. according to the 2003 census, one third of the residents of central bronx do not get any physical activity and one quarter of the residents are obese. 41% of public elementary schools in nyc do not have regular phys ed classes. in addition to the lack of formal pe classes, many schools have eradicated recess due to lack of space or lack of supervision. 55% of nyc elementary schools have no access to a playground and 18% have no gymnasium. so, yeah, that's what the bronx needs -- a new yankee stadium.

oh, and for those that argue that the new stadium is a financial boon to the community... the yanks "will pay for the construction through $930 million in bonds issued by the city, of which $860 million will be tax-exempt. taxpayers will also bear some of the costs because the team will pay back the bonds through payments in lieu of taxes to the city." sounds good to me. maybe the yanks can donate some of that new income from the luxury boxes to the hospitals in the communities because according to a CDC report (2003), annual hospital costs to treat obese children and adolescents during 1997 to 1999 were $127 million, up from $35 million between 1979 and 1981. so, yeah, i can't really trump up pity for bronx councilwoman arroyo when she says that this was a tough decision for her. she seems more than willing to sell out the health of bronx children for a few short-term construction jobs.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

this is what i'm talking about

the careerwoman wars

i decided it was time to trot out a new banner because though i loved it dearly, the old one just reminded me how fickle april is (sunny and 70 one day, rainy and 30 the next). now i'm thinking happy thoughts, happy thoughts.
so, i was catching up on some of the blazing comments from dooce's post on letting leta "cry it out", and i realize how self-righteous people can be about their personal parenting decisions. i guess this is one of those battles that you don't really feel the heat of until you step into parenthood... thank goodness.

since i have no part in the well-touted "mommy wars," i thought i would bring up a little battle that's waging on inside of me... though i must admit it's far less interesting since both sides of me are somewhat blase about the whole thing. over dinner the other night my father asked me if i wanted his help finding a job after i graduate. as many of you know, my father is not a social worker, so he does not mean a job at a local hospital or clinic. he's a real estate guy, so he means a job in real estate. why would he suggest such a thing? because when he mentioned it once before, i didn't refute it outright. for him, this was an opening for me to live up to my potential as a "business woman" -- whatever that is. so, once again, caught off gaurd, i say something noncommittal like: i don't know. what kind of job are we talking about?
his response: well, whatever you find interesting... you could do something like marketing, but that doesn't pay very well.
moosk: what's "not very well"? what... would the starting salary be $50K? $60K?
dad: (look of bafflement) well, no, you'd make more than that. but if you did investing you could make a lot more.
me: like?
dad: like probably around $125K...
me: (absorbing the concept of moosk making a 6-digit salary) what would the hours be like?
dad: like what your brother was working... 9-9/10.
me: (realizing that i'm well out of my league) ok. so, what's "investing"?

clearly, the conversation didn't lead to a job offer, but it did make me question everything i believe in. i left theatre to do something meaningful, something interesting, and real estate investing sounds about as interesting as watching toenail fungus grow. (my brother later confirmed this). marketing could be more interesting and would have shorter hours but it would still be a stretch to call it "meaningful." additionally, when i asked my dad how many working mothers he knew of in the business who had a good work-life balance, i received a blank stare in return. not very encouraging. so, why am i still thinking about it? i know that social work is interesting... incredibly difficult and painfully underpaid, yes, but very meaningful and very interesting. why do i have to choose?

my career priorities in order of importance:
1) reasonable work schedule (i.e., time to sleep, time to see my man, and eventually a flexible-ish schedule that can allow for parenthood)
2) interesting content
3) reasonable wage (i.e., i no longer have to beg money off my parents)
4) meaningful work (who knew it was so far down on the list?)

is that too much to ask? hrm... i guess i will have to continue mulling... advice is always welcome.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

pockets of sun

Originally uploaded by atb20.

i don't know how i'm going to get myself into work tomorrow... leaving behind the sunshine, budding trees, and fresh air for a dungeon with a computer. yay!

it's been a nice weekend. we spent friday night with our long, lost friend ab who's busy acclimating to a new job. we rarely get to see him because he's a budding young executive with a new apt in jersey, so we were grateful he was willing to do the late night, reverse commute to hang with us for a while.

yesterday we did our taxes... i can feel the envy from here. but, guess what -- we got a refund! this is a first for me. i'm so excited... that money's already spent.

and then we went up to westchester for some spoiling by the 'rents. mil actually only lasted overnight because he had his mcat class in the morning, but i got to stroll through rockefeller state park with my mother and tour a little chapel in pocantico hills that has stained glass windows by matisse and chagall. the afternoon was capped off with homemade ice cream in tarrytown and a train ride back to the city. i really don't want to go back to work...