The Thankful Project: Coming Down the Home Stretch

Monday, November 25, 2013


Whew! It's been a crazy couple of days... although that seems to have become the norm around here, so I don't know why it's so surprising anymore. Let me just say that before we get to the prompts for The Thankful Project, I am seriously thankful for the fact that it's a short week here! CHOP gives us Thanksgiving off, but I also decided to take Friday off as well. Hurrah for a 4 day weekend, right? Right.

This past weekend was very busy, but ridiculously fun. Friday after class, I went home and studied for for 4 hours. That part wasn't very fun, but I did accomplish my goal of going to bed at midnight. Saturday morning, I woke up for MY LAST SATURDAY CLASS EVER (and promptly threw myself a small parade). Then I went to Philadelphia, acquired coffee, and went to class where I half-listened to the lecture on antibiotics (super interesting, actually) and half-studied for the exam we were having after lecture. (Sidenote: Why do professors insist on lecturing before exams!? Worst idea ever.) The exam itself wasn't TOO terrible, and I managed to figure out how to use the calculator we were given (always a battle). I am anxiously awaiting the grades to be posted, but our professor hasn't posted any of our grades online since our first exam, so I shouldn't hold my breath or anything.

Saturday afternoon was spent grocery shopping and running errands to prep for Game Night that night. As per usual, we were running behind, so people started showing up and I had just finished throwing stuff in my hair to make it curly and putting on my makeup. Fortunately, we were ordering pizza and so there wasn't a main course to be prepared, but nothing was in the oven as far as appetizers were concerned. Also as per usual, I made WAY too much food. I also neglected to take pictures of everything because I was too busy prepping food, making food, serving food, eating food, and laughing my face off. Sorry, guys. Just use your imagination:

- Pretzels with beer cheese sauce (which I've made before, only I cheated this time and used frozen pretzel nuggets... SO much easier)
- Spinach and artichoke dip (I can't find the recipe, but I swear, I'll post it later because it's to die for)
- Pigs in blankets (store-bought, also nicknamed "Cuddly Meat" by one of our guests)
- Chips and salsa
- Buffalo chicken dip (brought by a guest)
- Pizza (ordered)
- Cheesecake sampler from The Cheesecake Factory (purchased at Sam's Club)
- Cannoli dip served with graham crackers and strawberries

We played Cards Against Humanity (always hysterical) and introduced some more people to the wonder that is Telephone Pictionary. Around 11, everyone helped clean up and do the dishes, I packaged up leftovers for people, and by midnight, everyone was gone. And yes, I think it's absolutely amazing that my friends did dishes from their own party. Do I have the best friends ever? Yes, yes I do.

Sunday was spent mostly sleeping, as my methotrexate really knocked me out. I did get out to return some pants to the mall (before the holiday craziness sets in) and also went to my mom's to pick up some mail, a container to marinate the pot roast in, as well as the actual pot roast. Hanukkah starts on Wednesday, which is both weird and wonderful, so for dinner on Thursday, I'm making brisket, kasha, challah, latkes, and maybe rugelach (if I feel fancy). We're having "Thanksgiving" on Saturday at my mom's house with a bunch of her cousins whom I have never met, so instead of making Thanksgiving food twice, I decided to switch it up a bit. If anyone has a good challah recipe, send it my way! I've made it before, but I'm not in love with the recipe I've used, so suggestions are welcome!

And now here we are at work, but at least it's a short week! And now... on to the thankful!

Day 21: Something that's easy to take for granted
Oh, a million things. Health. Having a warm place to come home to every night. Having a loving family and the best group of friends in the world. Health insurance. My job. Having a refrigerator and pantry full of food, including not just the necessities, but fun things like dessert and snacks. Having a wonderful husband who shares all the best and worst parts of life with me. Being able to walk into a store and, within reason, buy whatever I'd like. Being a white, middle-class, female with a college and graduate education who has the academic and financial means to apply to medical school, as well as the ability to apply for loans to pay for it. Being alive.

Day 22: An expectation
This is a really weird question, since most of the time, people's expectations are anxiety-producing (much like everything else in my life, haha). But, I guess the expectation that's placed on me for which I am most thankful is that I am expected to show up to work and do my job to the best of my ability. It's expected that not only will I be here, but that I will be excellent when I am here. My work has engendered an expectation in my coworkers that if it needs to get done, Alison will do it and it will be good. It's a good feeling to know that people rely on you, and not only that, that they're happy with the work that you're doing.

Side note: I'm also thankful for the expectation of food and affection (mostly food) that my cats have of me. They're yowly communicative, little furballs but they love me (and Ken) and definitely expect and require us to care for them. Pets are the best.

Day 23: Something you've seen
The following photos are ones that I took on our honeymoon this past August. The coastline in Monterey is UNREAL. I need to go back there.

Ken and me at the Golden Gate Bridge
Bixby Bridge
McWay Falls
Elephant Seals in San Simeon
Mondavi Winery in Napa
Muir Woods
Muir Woods
The sea lions of Pier 39 in San Francisco
Random gorgeous coastline in Big Sur
Day 24: A physical trait you haveIf you know me, you know that I am the absolute worst at being kind to myself. Thus, picking out a physical trait for which I am thankful is tantamount to climbing Mount Everest for me. Sadly, I don't think there is a single part of my body that I haven't ripped apart for one reason or another. If I had to pick the one that makes me the least angsty or least angry or least sad, I would have to go with my eye color.

My eyes are blue, as are my brother's. Both of our parents have brown eyes (and are clearly heterozygotes, since they produced two babies with blue eyes) and people have always commented on my eyes. I've felt special for having blue eyes since I was little, and I often center my outfits and make up around them. 

Me, my blue eyes, and a giant margarita from Mad Mex
Close second for physical feature: My ridiculously pale skin, also featuring prominently in the above photo. Yes, that is how pale I am at all times. I don't tan, I burst into flames. Fortunately, my skin is (usually) well-behaved, so it looks pretty most of the time. Yay skin, thanks for keeping my insides in.

Day 25: Something you know
I took a whole class in college about how we know what we know called epistemology. It was horrible, mainly b/c the professor was terrible, but it was an interesting course. Anyway.

It's taken me awhile to realize this, and sometimes (read: a lot of the time) I still have doubts about it, but deep inside, I know that I will never, ever, give up. The path may change, I may go backwards for awhile, I may lose the path entirely and have to make a new one... but I have seen the bottom and if I can recover from that mess, I can pretty much do anything. I'm not saying that horrible things won't happen and that I won't be absolutely devastated and sad about them, but I have experienced what, for me, was the scariest, saddest, most horrible time ever in my life, the time where I was closest to ending it, and I have come back. I have built a life for myself that, most of the time, I'm pretty happy with when I step back and look at it all. There are a lot of things I want to work on and lot of things I still have to learn, but I know that I will never, never, give up.

What's something you "know" for sure? How do you know what you know?

What I know right now is that I need lunch. Have a good day, all!

- A

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