Thursday, October 30

Any Day in Hoboken

Today was rather chilly in Hoboken and with the cloud cover, it made for a few good pictures of what you might see on any given day in Hoboken.
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BARS! The singles scene here is widely known. Hoboken was once listed in the Guiness Book of Records as the city with "Most bars in a square mile". (This trivia is found in the "On the Street" section of this page, which also has more facts and trivia than you care to know about Hoboken.)
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It's 2:00 on Wednesday afternoon. Jimmy Buffet has nothing on Hoboken!
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And age really isn't a factor..
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CLEAN! In addition to every street in town being cleaned once a week, Hoboken has city workers who pick up trash 24 hours a day. This is a member of the day crew, and he is just one of dozens of men who have their own push carts, but there are also men just like him driving golf carts with trash cans on the back.
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This is the night crew.

I took this shot at 1:00am in front of our apartment.
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CHILDREN! But there is one type of litter that even an army of garbage collectors working around the clock cannot keep up with.
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Hoboken is a city of strollers, and the sidewalks and streets are a dumping ground for all things loose on a stroller.
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GOING TO THE CITY. The PATH (Port Authority Transit) train is the primary means of transportation for getting into New York City from New Jersey, and the train from Hoboken takes about 10 minutes to get to its first stop in the city. While I don't know how many people use the Hoboken station every day, I do know that its first stop in the city has over 49,000 people ride in and out of it each day.
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MOM & POP SHOPS. The city has worked very hard to keep the big box stores out of Hoboken, so there are countless specialty and organic stores throughout town.

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THE VIEW. And, although I've mentioned it before, the park and pier overlooking the Hudson River toward New York City is my favorite part of any day in Hoboken. Even the cold and dreary ones like today.
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Tuesday, October 21

A Little-Understood Group

In March 2003, Johnathan Rouch published a fascinating article in The Atlantic entitled "Caring for Your Introvert." Rouch's sub-headline read "The habits and needs of a little-understood group." While the article reads much like an instruction manual for caring for a new plant, it drives home the issues I, as an introvert, face.

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Most extroverts are shocked and often become argumentative when the topic of personality comes up, and I say that I am an introvert. I always have to define introversion for them because of the introvert = shy stereotype.
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I think the stereotype that being an introvert means being shy is bogus. Because I have moved so many times during the past 10 years, I have had to face meeting new people, making new friends, and adjusting to new work environments and relationships possibly more than most. In these types of situations, I learned that I can’t be shy. I taught myself how to “turn on” in social situations, which is extremely hard work and can lead to burn out. When I burn out, unfortunately the friendships that have caused me to work so hard fizzle out. However, when I find friends who I eventually don’t have to “work” to be around, those friendships last, few as they may be.
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I have been quoted in saying, "I don't like people." It's true. What I mean isn't that I am anti-social or think that others are losers. Rather, I simply do not find enjoyment in being in a group of people. Actually, this is the most lonely environment that I am ever in. On the contrary, I feel the least "alone" when I am by myself, and the way I value and enjoy the company of "people" is one person at a time.
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Sunday, October 19

Thursday, October 16

Puppet Politicians

A friend of mine posted these McCain and Obama amigurumi finger puppets on her website, and I had to share them with you.
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They are Lion Brand crochet patterns. Once you login to Lion Brand, you can click on the links below to go directly to the patterns.
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On the left - Obama:
http://www.lionbrand.com/patterns/80658AD.html?noImages=

On the right - McCain:
http://www.lionbrand.com/patterns/80657AD.html?noImages=




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Tuesday, October 14

A Child's Love

Today is Grover's birthday.

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Pregnancy & Babies: Am I Realistic or Glass-Half-Empty? You decide.

When I read the first line in Baby Proof, I felt a sense of validation and relief. Even though the book was fiction, at least I knew someone had considered that a woman might struggle with the decision to have a child. So, I began looking for a nonfiction book about real women struggling with this decision and feeling trapped in a society that seems to be making her decision for her. I haven’t found the book I’m looking for, but nevertheless have an ever-expanding library of pregnancy and baby-related books.
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Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy, by Vicki Iovine.
This is my favorite of the books I’ve read. Iovine details her personal experiences during four pregnancies. The premise of the book is to speak to the reader as “only a girlfriend would”. What I appreciate about this book is that Iovine doesn’t sugar-coat pregnancy. She also doesn’t limit her discussion to her first pregnancy, which I have noticed is often romanticized by a first-time mother. After having four babies, Iovine gives the gross, uncomfortable details that other books on pregnancy barely mention.
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Since turning 30, I have been developing a mental filter that sifts through the idealistic picture of pregnancy and babies. In Iovine’s forward, she says, “Being pregnant is a time of such anticipation and optimism and dreaming . . . and fear and insecurity and self-doubt (but more about that later).” I am still looking for the book that discusses what she puts off for later because right now, I only feel the latter emotions she described and am numb to the former.
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I am afraid. I recently wandered onto the CafĂ© Mom website out of curiosity for what online moms in my geographic area have to say. I was appalled at what I found. Mothers in the “Regional Club: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania” were opening their introductions like this, “Hi. I’m Janice from Northern New Jersey, and my son has Autism, asthma, Asperger Syndrome, ADHD, and anxiety.”
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I got nauseous reading the countless entries about the illnesses (which don't all start with the letter "A", by the ways) these children have. There were very few who mentioned the child’s hobbies or interests. I also have a friend who recently had a baby with Down Syndrome. Like I said, I am afraid. Terrified! These aren’t issues that I want to learn about, explore in detail or recognize as a possibility after I am already pregnant. I want to know them now, before I decide whether I want to have a baby, a baby who could also be affected by them.
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As far as insecurity and self-doubt, I abound there also. Am I being realistic, or am I being glass-half-empty?
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Want more information on the illnesses listed above?
ADHD
Asperger Syndrome
Autism

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As if there aren't enough things to worry about.
What if the child looks like this?!
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What am I reading on the topic today?
The author's introduction: "You probably think this book talks about nothing but a long list of complaints. And while it's true that they do focus on the negative, they're more importantly filled with compassion, great advice, and plenty of much needed humor to help get you through this difficult time."
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Wednesday, October 8

Baby Proof

I love Emily Giffin's books. I finished her most recent one, Love the One You're With, in record time. But, the one that came to my mind today was Baby Proof. The thought came during an elevator ride with my neighbor. This was the first time I had ever seen her without her toddler son. In our brief conversation, she said that she just needed some time to herself, and then she said that she never thought about how much her life would change after having a baby.
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I got off the elevator with Emily Giffin's first line in Baby Proof ringing in my head like a gong. "I never wanted to be a mother." I have been thinking this at an ever-increasing rate as more and more of my friends and family are nesting and dedicating all of their effort and investing in every resource available to make a baby.
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My thoughts here in no way mean that I don't like babies or that I don't ever want to have them. I was just never the girl pushing the stroller or swaddling a baby doll. Trust me, other people's babies are very cute, and my nephew is among the most irresistible of all of them (as I'm sure my niece who is due in December will be also).
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What I am saying is this:
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First, having a child is an enormous, life-altering event; an event that will span the rest of the parents' lives and turn their sense of identity on its head. Also, I don't believe being married means that I must have a child. I'm saying that my own decision about having or not having a baby will be based on intense self-examination as I try to understand and answer this one question - is having a baby something I think I should do, or is it something I want to do?
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I do have a sense of humor about motherhood, don't get me wrong. Here are a couple of pictures as proof.
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