Monday, February 24, 2014

Soundtrack for reading: "Happy" by Pharrell Williams

It finally happened. Friday, February 21st.

9:00 am: Got to work. Started feverishly working to avoid staring at my phone, mainly because I knew that the phone call for which I was so anxiously waiting could not possibly come before 2:30 pm.

12:00 pm: Ate lunch. Pretended I wasn't obsessed with checking my phone every 3 seconds.

2:00 pm - Went into the lab. Attempted to do extremely delicate procedures that required lots of concentration while simultaneously not looking at my phone or willing it to ring.

2:35 pm- Cursed at my phone.

2:45 to 3:45 pm - Proceeded to curse at every phone that rang or buzzed that wasn't my personal cell phone. Got really angry when my pharmacy called me. Resisted eating Girl Scout cookies. Hyperventilated to my office mate and anyone who would listen over Google Talk.

3:55 - Stress ate 5 Girl Scout cookies. Focused on not vomiting from anxiety.

4:04 pm - Answered the phone with an exhausted and defeated, "Hello?" only to be pleasantly surprised to find that the 4th year medical student who had interviewed me on February 7th was calling me. She tried to make small talk. I tried not to throw up.

And then she told me that I was accepted to Rowan School of Osteopathic Medicine for the class of 2018 and I nearly fell out of my chair. She then proceeded to talk for a few minutes, but I'm honestly not entirely sure what she said because I think I was still in shock. I know I repeated variations on, "Thank you" about twenty seven times, and I'm 99% sure that I told her that she was my favorite person ever.

After I got off the phone, Kristin (my officemate) and I jumped up and down and hugged and made a lot of probably-obnoxious noise, and then I proceeded to tell everyone I knew, essentially. Some of my favorite responses were:


Texted to me by Dr. Constance
"WHOO HOOOOO! Congratulations Dr. Alison! I can now feed the llama of excellence his treat for a job well done of carrying you into interview battle in all your glory. Excelsior!" - Dr. Michelle

Kristian: I am SO proud of you Alison. In a few short years I'll have the world's best doctor, and it's going to be amazing! PS- I'm starting team Dr. Toback now.
Jenn: JACKETS! We need jackets!
Victoria: I'm in.
T-shirts at the very least.

"Paging Dr. Wife!" - Ken

"Yayyyyy that's in New Jersey and not another state!" - Steve

I love you and I'm so proud and I am here to tell you TO do it. Even at my lowest point (3:30 am while on my 3rd q3 call that's on a Saturday) I've never regretted my career. Ever. Go get em!" - Dr. Constance

Posted to my wall by Jenn

WHOO-HOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Alison just called me to say she has been accepted to Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine!!!!!! I am SOOOOOOOOOOOO happy for her!!! Jumping for joy - literally - but stopped long enough to type this message. I'm going back to jumping now!!! Yip, yip, yeehaa!!!!!" - Mom's Facebook status

YAY! And you thought this shit wasn't worth it, muhahaha.
Just stand there and bask in your wrongness, BUT also bask in the glory of med school. OMG so happy. You're gonna quit your job and have a med school!
Me: It's like having a baby, but way longer than nine months.
Pam: Haha, yeah, and paying up front. But please, keep being a role model.

Colleen: OMGOSIJDGFHSUo;ajlsfds... also my Jedi mind trick worked!
Me: Whoo!

(Only moments earlier, I had been freaking out and Colleen said that she was trying to Jedi mind trick them into calling me. She also later called me and sang me a song about how I was going to be a doctor.)

Me: ... yellowcake?
Levi: LOL, autocorrect. YAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!

(And yes, now "yellowcake" is being used an expression of joy in my family.)

Basically, I have the best friends and family in the entire world. And I'm going to be a doctor!!!

That's all for today, I just wanted to share this with all of you. :)

- A

PS: Can we just talk about how Pharrell does NOT look 40??? Craziness.

150 Every Day Adventures

Friday, February 21, 2014

Well folks, we made it to Friday! Sorry it's been light on the posting around here lately, but it's been kind of a crazy (read: terrible) week. Between work, health issues, snow, and general dissatisfaction with winter at large, there just wasn't much to write about and I was insanely busy at the office. But also, I've been working on getting this post ready to go! Chrystina, one of my blogging besties (who I also am fortunate enough to know in real life), is a world traveler and party planner extraordinaire. She also is super creative and when she was in Denver for work a few weeks ago, she found a list of things to do in Denver and thought it would be a great idea to put together a list for Philly! I agreed, even though I don't actually live in Philly, and hopped right on board. Joining me are the following lovely ladies!

150 Things To Do in Philadelphia Jamie Carly
Emily Alison Chrystina
Without further adieu, here is my carefully crafted list of things to do in Philadelphia, just for you!

91. Go to happy hour at Tria and try whatever the server suggests after you tell him/her what you like.
92. Get ice cream at Scoop deVille.
93. Eat tater tots and have a swanky cocktail at Alfa.
94. Get a slice of pie at Magpie. (Butterscotch Bourbonl is their signature, but I love their caramel apple!)
95. Roast your own s'mores tableside at Cosi.
96. Walk through Penn's quad and people watch on Hamilton Walk.
97. Play Quizzo at New Deck Pub on Monday nights.
98. Spend the day walking around Reading Terminal Market. Don't miss the cookie stand!
99. Visit the Philadelphia Flower Show (Coming up March 1st-9th!)
100. Try to get rush tickets for the Philadelphia Orchestra.
101. People watch on South Street.
102. Grab a slice and a glass of wine at Zavino.
103. Get your brows waxed or treat yourself to a fabulous blow out at Heads and Tails in Rittenhouse Square.
104. Have a glass of champagne while getting your nails done at Nail Bar.
105. Wander the Philadelphia Museum of Art. (First Sunday of the month and every Wednesday after 5:00 p.m is pay what you wish!)
106. Pick up a cookie from Insomnia Cookies (either the food truck on Drexel's campus or the shop on 16th!)
107. Go to "Free at Noon" at World Cafe Life on Fridays.
108. Eat at Sbraga or The Fat Ham (Kevin Sbraga is a NJ native that won Top Chef!)
109. Catch an improv show, a play, or anything else cool and theatrical at Philly Fringe Fest (usually in September!)
110. Give acupuncture a try at Open City Healing Arts.
111. Get inspired to be creative at Paper Source.
112. Explore comics and graphic novels at Fat Jack's Comic Crypt. (They have kitties!)
113. Check out an author event at The Philadelphia Free Library! (Tickets are usually free or inexpensive!)
114. Pick up something new to read at Whodunit, a used book store that used to cater to mysteries, but now embraces all genres. The owner, Art Bourgeau, is super nice.
115. Visit the American Museum of Jewish History.
116. Go walk through the giant heart at The Franklin Institute. (They have lots of other cool stuff, too, but the heart is my favorite!)
117. Have a cheesesteak at Tony Luke's. (I like mine with provolone!)
118. Head to The Curtis Institute to hear some amazing music students at their (free!) recitals.
119. Take in a performance of PHILADANCO! (Philly's contemporary dance company)
120. Walk over the Ben Franklin Bridge and back. (Definitely not a winter activity, haha)

Bonus: Not really Philly but.... hop the PATCO and head to the Camden Aquarium or Battleship New Jersey. There's a great view of the city skyline!

And now I bet you're wondering, "But Alison, your list started at 90 and you said that there would be 150 awesome, super fun, exciting things to do on this list!" Fear not, dear readers. You can blog hop to Chrystina's, Carly's, Jamie's, and Emily's blogs to get all 150 things to put on your Philadelphia bucket list. Not only will you basically never run out of fun things to do in this city, you'll get to meet four other great bloggers, and we all like that, right? Right.

To be honest, the total time that I spent living in Philadelphia was short. I moved into an apartment on 39th Street and Ludlow Street into the University City neighborhood when I transferred to Drexel University in 2005. I lived there for about 6 months until I realized that I didn't really like my roommates, needed air conditioning, and hated not having a washer and dryer in my immediate vicinity. I also wasn't a fan of not having my car and I didn't feel safe walking alone at night. (At this point, I was wondering why I moved into Philly at all, because what the heck was I expecting?) So I moved home and commuted for about a year and a half... until I couldn't stand living at home and moved back into Philadelphia to live with three girls in a 2 bedroom apartment right on Drexel's campus. It took about another 6 months for me to realize that I hated sharing a room, really missed having cable, didn't enjoy living in a building in which the elevators routinely didn't work, and that I seriously hated drunk people who pull fire alarms at 3 am (therefore causing you to not only walk down 11 flights of stairs but also back up those same stairs because you can't use the tenuously-functioning elevators during a potential fire). So... I moved home again and continued commuting for the rest of my undergrad career (and also my graduate career).

That being said, I still spent and continued to spend a lot of time in Philadelphia. I work there and many of my friends and classmates work and live in the city as well. I've always identified Philadelphia as "the city" (and yes, all of you New Yorkers out there can just stop laughing at me, I'm aware that the "real city" is NYC), but more importantly, it's my city. It's where I saw my first musical, my first professional ballet, and my first real orchestra performance. I received most of my education there and I make my living there. It's full of history (The Constitution Center! The Liberty Bell! The original City Hall!) and weird things (Mummers! South Street! Secret speakeasies!) and there are even some pretty parts. I can navigate the (extremely tiny and mostly useless) public transportation system and I am the best at playing the "parking game". (Rules: Drive around looking for street parking. You lose if you pick a spot that is 2 hour parking only, not actually a parking spot, or if you hit the cars on either side of you while you're parallel parking). It's a pretty small city when it's compared to New York City, but it's my little city and I will prefer it every time over somewhere bigger.

Also, I freely admit that my list is largely focused on eating, drinking, learning, culturing (that's engaging in culture, not growing bacteria, although that's fun too) and wandering. Mostly eating and drinking. If you're looking for the best bars to go dancing in, this is not the list for you. These are great things to do on a date, with a group of friends, or even by yourself.I hope that you check out the rest of the blogs in this post. You definitely won't be disappointed. I'm sure that in doing these things, you'll also find corners of the city that you never would have explored, and then you can tell me what I should do in Philly! 

And with that, I'm out! Have a great weekend, everyone!

- A

Ah, Love

Friday, February 14, 2014

This is a mish-mash of all things love and lovely in honor of Valentine's Day, so grab your chocolate (or sweet of choice, Pamoushk) and enjoy the love fest!

Soundtrack for reading: Valentine's Day Mix!

So, first, a story as part of this link-up:
Venus Trapped in Mars
Valentine's Day and I have a weirdo history. In middle school, I was a huge dork and I was pretty unattractive on top of it. Glasses, braces, terrible growing-out-bangs, the whole nine yards. The only thing I had going for me (sort of?) was that I had grown significant boobs seemingly overnight, but at 13, that wasn't exactly a welcome occurrence. In 8th grade, I started "dating" my first "boyfriend" who was also super nerdy and "unattractive" and so then people made fun of the two nerds for going out, but whatever. In 9th grade, we were still "dating" because apparently, I have been a serial monogamist for my entire life. Around Valentine's Day, our school used to do flower-grams, where for $1, you could send a carnation to someone. Until then, my existence on this day was very much like this:
Everyone else got candy or flowers or cards, but I was left out, much like our friend, whose father was the inventor of Toaster Strudel. BUT, in 9th grade, this all changed. My then-boyfriend sent me not 1, but 13 carnations! (It also happened to be our 13 month anniversary on Valentine's Day.) Suddenly, I felt like Glen Coco:
It was a good day, even though I was super self-conscious about having just received 13 carnations in front of my entire homeroom and kind of wanted to melt into the floor. Then, in 10th grade, this boyfriend broke up with me just shy of our 2 year anniversary in January. I then turned into a Valentine's-hating bitch that didn't want anyone to be happy on Valentine's Day because, "I WILL NEVER LOVE AGAIN." (Spoiler alert: I loved again.) I even wore a shirt with this on it:
Remember when Happy Bunny was a thing?
Since then, my feelings about the Hallmark-holiday we all know and love (or love to hate) have waxed and waned. After getting over my first heartbreak and realizing that it's really stupid to hate on Valentine's Day, I didn't really put much thought into the holiday at all and my general attitude towards it was "meh". As such, Ken and I don't really celebrate Valentine's Day in a big way. Sometimes we'll do cards (although I will admit that I didn't even do that this year because this week has been horrible) and I think one year he got me roses (but he often gets me flowers for no reason or for other random days because he is sweet like that). This year, we're getting Chinese food and spending the night at home... after, of course, we go to South Jersey Radiology so I can get my spine x-rayed. Because nothing says romance like radiology office waiting rooms and prescriptions for Medrol dose-packs, right? Such is the life of an RA patient... Speaking of what Ken and I are doing tonight for Valentine's Day, I also wanted to include this as part of another link-up:
I am reminded on a regular daily, sometimes hourly, basis how lucky I am to have Ken in my life.  
We work because I am a gigantic spaz and he is calm, cool, and collected. 
We work because he thinks I'm pretty first thing in the morning, and because he has the most beautiful eyes I've ever seen. 
We work because he cooks and I clean. Or I cook and he cleans. Or we cook and clean together. 
We work because he appreciates when I wear make up, and he doesn't think I'm a big weirdo when I can't stop touching his cleanly shaven face (okay, maybe he does a little, but come on!)
We work because he listens to me rant and rave and says he understands, even when he doesn't, but he doesn't make me feel crazy. We work because when I think I'm acting crazy (which is often), he tells me that I'm not. 
We work because he understands that I'm the introvert's introvert, and that spending time with his gigantic, loud (albeit, very nice), Italian family is exhausting to me. We work because he doesn't have to "ask my permission" to go to NY to visit the guys, and because when the guys come here to visit, I don't care that they stay up until 2 am playing Xbox.
We work because he puts on shoes to help bring in the groceries (even when it's cold or raining or snowing). We work because I'm there to help him sort out his feelings and make sure he feels safe to express them. We work because I can teach him things and because he teaches me something nearly every day.
We work because he explains economics and politics and finance to me, and I help him understand how health insurance works.
We work because he takes care of me when I have an RA flare, and I remind him to get a physical every year.
We work because he doesn't get upset when I tell him that he should floss, and because I get up at 5 am when Gershwin is yowling for food.
We work because we take pictures like this on our anniversary.
We work because even when his school is closed for the snow, he gets up in the morning anyway to shovel my car out. We work because I bake his favorite desserts.
We work because we have crazy inside jokes, the origins of which are sometimes lost to time and because we laugh together every day. Mostly at each other.
We work because even though we don't have a lot of common interests, we're interested in learning more about the stuff the other likes. 
We work because we can spend over 10 hours in a car together, assemble IKEA furniture, later disassemble the same IKEA furniture upon learning that it does not, in fact, fit our bed, and hang pictures without murdering each other. In fact, we usually have a pretty good time. We work because he supports my dream of becoming a physician, even though I feel like it's crazy, and because I am there to cheer him on after a hard day at work molding the young minds of America. (And there are plenty of hard days. Teaching high school, man. You could not pay me enough.) We work because he always puts the laundry away when he folds it, and because I don't care when he puts my tank tops in the wrong drawer. We work because he knows which sweaters don't go in the dryer. We work because I can tell him that he can't wear those shoes with that pair of pants and he doesn't grumble when I ask him to change.
We work because we choose to, every day. In our vows, we talked about how marriage is a conscious choice, every day, to love the person you married, whoever they happen to be that day. They might not always be at their best, but you are committed to loving them through the good times, the bad times, the "oh my God, how did you forget to tell me that we didn't have eggs" times, the "did you really just throw an entire Key Lime pie on the floor?" times, and the "holy crap, our stove is on fire" times. We work because we can't imagine a life without the other, and we can't wait to see what the future has in store. We work because we're silly, because we're determined, because we are smart, and because we know that sometimes, it will definitely feel like work. We work because we know that it will always be worth it.
If you'd like to join either of the link-ups in the post, you still have time! Head over to The Life of Bon or Venus Trapped in Mars and add your post! Even if you're not a huge fan of Valentine's Day, I hope that you have something sweet in your life today. It's Friday, after all, and that's pretty sweet in and of itself. Sending lots of love to all of you, my lovely readers, and I hope that you have a great weekend!  - A Follow my blog with Bloglovin

I Blame Mercury

Thursday, February 13, 2014

I'm prefacing this with the statement that I actually don't buy into astrology. However, some people say that when Mercury is in retrograde, which it current is, that you shouldn't make any serious decisions, travel, sign contracts, and then you should definitely expect nothing but frustrating setbacks and logistical insanity. Thus, when things start to go sideways in my life, I jokingly will say, "Is Mercury in retrograde or something?" It turns out that this time, it actually is and because I need something to blame for the terrible weather, the horrible week I've been having, and the horrible weeks that my friends have been having... I'm going to blame Mercury.

Stressful day at work because people are being stupid? Blame Mercury.

Printer broke? Not your fault, it's Mercury's fault.

RA flare? Blame Mercury (and the goddamn weather).

Oh, and the weather? Mercury.

I know it doesn't actually make sense and that it doesn't change anything, but it makes me feel better to hate on a planet, so... I will. #BlameMercury

Anyway, as you can probably guess, this week has not been stellar. Overnight, we got somewhere between 8 and 12 inches of snow and it was still coming down this morning as I drove to work. Yes, I am actually at work. Yes, it's incredibly stupid. Apparently, everyone at this hospital is considered "essential personnel," but they don't seem to specify whether said essential personnel arrive at work in one piece. At 7:30 this morning, I was less than pleased to bundle up to clear off my car as ice pellets fell out of the sky. Fortunately, my husband is amazing and did all of the shoveling so I could get out of our parking lot. Driving here was a total disaster and basically, I should have taken a luge or a dog sled team instead of my car. The only saving grace was that there were approximately 3 people on the highway, so as I slipped and slid all over the place, I wasn't really in danger of hitting anything. I think my favorite part of the commute was when I paid my toll and the toll worker looked completely shocked to see someone in his lane. Sorry, dude. Essential personnel here. ::eye roll::

Now that I'm here, it appears that I am the only person crazy enough to have made it in here who isn't a nurse or a doctor... and even most of the doctors don't seem to be here. Thanks for making such a point to tell me how important it was to be here, guys.


I was saying yesterday that I seriously needed a SAD lamp to combat the fact that we haven't seen the sun in so long. I googled "SAD lamp" and the first result was this:

Sad lamp is sad.
Thanks, Google. Not quite what I was looking for... but the sentiment holds. I'm only partially kidding about needing a lamp. I've never been diagnosed officially with SAD, but I have regular depression and anxiety, and I can tell you that it definitely is worse in the winter. Everyone I talk to is pretty much losing it over the weather. We just can't take it anymore! Someone, anyone, please send spring. This post on Jezebel pretty much sums it up.

So far today at work, I've done nothing really useful. There isn't a lot going on, seeing as there aren't many people here. I got Comcast to remove a service fee from our account and lower our monthly bill by a $5 (and somehow double our internet speed), guaranteed for a whole year. Every once in awhile (read: whenever our bill goes up, which is often, because Comcast is a huge pain in my ass), I contemplate giving up our cable and just keeping the internet. We already have Netflix discs and streaming, and I would subscribe to Hulu+ and probably get a ChromeCast so I could stream stuff from my laptop or Kindle to the bedroom TV. It would certainly be less expensive... but I would miss The Food Network. And having a DVR. And being able to turn on the TV and watch a Law and Order: SVU marathon whenever I wanted, because seriously, that show is always on. If it came down to it and we needed to trim our budget, then I would give up cable, but it is one of the only mindless things I do when I get home, so I would be sad to see it go.

Although... it would probably cut down on my TV watching in general. I was trying to count the shows I watch on a regular basis and came up with The Blacklist, The Following, Face Off, Criminal Minds, Law and Order: SVU, American Horror Story, The Americans, and Helix. AHS is done for the season, but The Americans is coming back on the 26th. Ken and I also watch Top Chef and we were watching The Walking Dead, but we didn't even start watching the current season and the entire thing is sitting on our DVR. Also thrown in randomly are episodes of Cutthroat Kitchen, Restaurant Impossible, and SNL. That's kind of a lot of TV.  Hm. Whatever, we all have our vices right? One of mine just happens to be television, apparently.

So, in typical "Alison" fashion, things continue to be complicated in the med school/life arena. Once again, I blame Mercury. I am supposed to find out whether I've been accepted to Rowan School of Osteopathic Medicine on February 21st. February 21st also happens to be the absolute last day you can drop a class at Penn and not have a dreaded "W" on your transcript (and perhaps more importantly, get half of your money back!) Because it's considered a "late drop" you have to fill out some special form, and since the class I would theoretically be dropping meets on Thursday nights, I'll have to have it signed by the professor before I know if I'm actually dropping the course. That shouldn't be awkward at all...

Me: Excuse me, professor, can you sign this?
Professor: Are you dropping the course?
Me: Yes. No. Maybe.
Professor: ...?
Me: If I get into medical school tomorrow, you'll never see me again. If I show up next week, you'll know I've been rejected. This is getting depressing, can you please just sign this?
Professor: Well, if you drop the course, maybe we'll have slightly more space in this godforsaken classroom that is the size of a bathroom stall.  ::signs::

*For the best effect, imagine the professor speaking in a super deep, heavily German-accented voice.*

Then, if I do find out that I've been accepted, I have to haul ass up to the Liberal & Professional Studies office before 5 pm to throw the drop form at them. Hopefully, Rowan will call me and give me the good news before 4:30, otherwise, I may be sprinting the 5 blocks to the office, and given our recent weather patterns, it would probably be snowing. For about 3 seconds, I thought they might accept a scanned and emailed copy, but who am I kidding? I'm adorable, thinking that the university would be reasonable.

On top of that, because classes are canceled tonight, we had to reschedule the midterm from 3/6 to 3/20, and 3/20 happens to be the day I will be interviewing at Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine... in Davie, FL. I have already purchased the plane tickets and I will be in The Sunshine State from 3/19 to 3/25... clearly unable to be at the midterm in Philadelphia on March 20th. So now I'm that girl that has to take the midterm some other time, and of course the professor doesn't teach full time at Penn (he has some other, more meaningful job than teaching a bunch of pre-med hopefuls the ins and outs of infectious diseases), so that will complicate things. The best course of action would be that on March 21st, my phone rings at noon, I am accepted to Rowan, I take a long lunch and leisurely stroll up to the LPS office in the sunshine to gleefully drop my class. That would solve all of my problems and I also would be getting $1500 back, which certainly isn't a bad way to celebrate being accepted into med school. I guess we'll see what happens, but I'm taking bets that it won't be that simple. You can guess who I'm going to blame. That's right... Mercury.

So, what are you blaming Mercury for this week? If anything goes wrong between now and February 28th, feel free to blame it on Mercury. All the cool kids are doing it, and come on, Mercury won't even know!

- A


Monday, February 10, 2014

This lovely piece of art is available from Melyssa at The Nectar Collective!

There are some days that I feel like I can take on the world. Most of the time, when problems present themselves, I am ready to tackle them, can't wait to solve them, and usually think that I'm the best person to do the solving. I enjoy challenges; rather, I enjoy triumphing over the challenges. I derive a lot of my self-worth from being able to achieve and do things, especially things that other people find difficult. 

Today is not one of those days.

Last night, it snowed. Again. Before you start in on me, yes, I am aware that it is winter and that I live in the northeast, so what else would I expect? I understand that winter is a season and eventually it will end (even though right now, that end is nowhere in sight). I also know that there is nothing we can do about the weather and logically, it doesn't make any sense to complain about it because it's going to do whatever it wants to do. But oh my God, if I see one more snowflake, I am going to go postal. I am sick and tired of being cold and wearing 385 layers and never having good hair. I am tired of my fingers and toes being so frozen that they hurt. I am tired of my car being covered in salt, of shoddily plowed roads, of icy patches in the parking lot that make me think I should train to be an Olympic skater, and of feeling like it hurts to breathe the air. Yes, I know that there are places far colder than where I reside, but damn it, this winter is making life miserable.

Today, I woke up, remembered that it had snowed, and wanted to stay in bed. I didn't feel well because I didn't get enough sleep, and that always messes with me. My joints were especially stiff this morning, and unbending my elbows took way longer than it ever should. I had to get up at 6 am (instead of my normal 7 or 7:30) because I needed to drive Ken to work so I could take his car for the day, as mine is still in the shop having it's power steering fixed. It's been there since Friday morning, but apparently, the extended warranty company that I use takes its sweet time determining whether they'll pay for something, so here we are. It also looks like it won't be done until tomorrow, because now there are two things wrong with the power steering. 

On my way to work, I started feeling really nauseated. I got to work and made peppermint tea to settle my stomach and started going through the nonsense I missed when I was out on Friday. Fortunately, my stomach mostly settled down and I decided it was time for coffee. I discovered that, yet again, some (insert unsavory, negative, explicit, not-for-the-ears-of-children noun here) used my creamer and left the all-but-empty container in the fridge. I'm not quite sure who doesn't understand not to touch something that isn't yours, considering most 3 year old children can understand this concept. I'm also not sure which grown adult would want to mess with someone's coffee ritual at any point during the week, let alone on a Monday morning, the day after it snowed (once again). These kinds of people must have some kind of death wish, right? I mean, really. The next time I buy creamer to bring to the office, this is the flowchart that's going on the bottle: 

If you're playing the home game, Kristin is my friend/office mate/authorized creamer user.
Fortunately, we don't have any other people named Alison or Kristin on our floor.

I was so angry at the entire event that I didn't even want to go downstairs to the small cafeteria in our building to acquire creamer, but I begrudgingly did that simply so my lack of coffee wouldn't compound a rapidly declining day. Then I sat down to deal with the incompetence from Friday. The long and the short of it is that I basically can't take a day off or else the project I manage completely tanks and goes up in flames, largely due to one person being an uncommunicative (insert unsavory, negative, explicit, not-for-the-ears-of-children noun here) who makes life far more complicated and difficult for everyone. I'm not sure how that person's behavior is my fault or my problem to solve, seeing as I don't manage her (and neither do any of my supervisors), but somehow, it remains my issue. The entire thing is infuriating because I have exactly zero power over this person and an equal lack of power to solve the problem in other ways (like hiring/firing etc). It is, hands down, the most frustrating part of my job and it makes me hate the rest of my job (which normally isn't so rage-inducing).

After dealing with that, or at the very least, quelling my homicidal rage at the sheer level of stupidity in my immediate environs, I actually got some work done. Then I ate lunch and my stomach rebelled and I thought I was going to vomit all over my desk and/or die. It was spectacular. I don't know what my problem is lately, but for the last 2 weeks or so, solid food has generally upset my stomach in strange ways. It doesn't seem to matter what I put in my mouth, protein, vegetable, fruit, carbs... everything makes me feel gross. At least at this point, I've stopped actually throwing up on a routine basis, but I could really live without the nausea, too. It seems like it's getting better, but just when I think I'm fine, I eat something and end up doubled over in bed or lying on the bathroom floor.  The good (?) news is that I've lost 9.5 pounds...?

And then I got a migraine.

On top of all of that nonsense, my RA has been acting up and everything hurts, so I'm generally a cranky person who isn't very fun to be around. Sorry, internet. Sorry, real-life friends and family. Sorry, cats.

Basically, I have just had enough today and I'd like to go home and crawl into bed, take a muscle relaxant and/or a pain killer, turn on the heating blanket, and watch a mindless TV or Netflix. I am incredibly discouraged by my reaction to life, as I am usually more resilient than this, but right now, I want to wave the white flag and call it quits. Call me when winter is over, when the sun returns, and when I can go outdoors without fearing that my fingers may freeze. Enough is enough, man.

Unfortunately, since people don't hibernate, life must go on. As such, it's time for Weekly Wishes!

The Nectar Collective

Last week, I basically failed at the goals I had listed. I did accomplish some of my work goals, but those are always works in progress, as things are constantly in flux. I did do my homework last week, but my textbooks didn't arrive until the weekend, so now I'm stuck reading for the next couple of days. I also did not fall asleep during class, but I still haven't managed to truly care about it in any real way. I am very hopeful that I will hear positively from the school where I interviewed on Friday and that I can drop the class entirely, but I also have a feeling that if I don't hear positively and know I can't drop the class that I will suddenly care about the class a lot more. Fortunately, I haven't done anything to trash my grade, so at least if I have to start caring, it won't be a completely uphill battle.

As far as the home/life goals, I... did none of them. I was productive over the weekend in that I did all of the grocery/Target shopping and did a bunch of laundry, but nothing was organized or decluttered, the library books have been renewed because they're due tomorrow (so at least I was adult enough to manage not having late fees), and I most definitely did not go to the gym. This week:

1. Catch up on reading and do the homework for Thursday's class.
This is important because we're having our first quiz for the semester and I'd like to not suck at it.

2. Organize and declutter the bedroom.
I'm not sure what my mental block is on this because I love organizing and cleaning things. I think part of the problem is that I walk into our bedroom and it's all very overwhelming, so I just crawl into bed instead. One corner/shelf at a time is going to be my plan of attack, I think. I know I'll feel better once I can see flat surfaces and can dust again. Thank God Ken isn't a neat freak or else he probably would have left me by now, haha.

3. Get 7-8+ hours of sleep per night.
My body had decided that it will basically go on strike with less than 7 hours of sleep, so I know I will feel better if I just give it what it wants. (In this regard, giving it what it wants is a good thing. In the regards where my body wants an endless supply of chocolate, this argument does not hold.)

4. Drink more water.
You would think that being in medicine/science I would totally be on top of the staying hydrated thing, but no. I am constantly dehydrated. It's stupid. I know I'd feel better if I drank more water, so I need to just DO it.

5. Send some cards/packages.
I've been meaning to send some things to various people for awhile now, so I need to carve out time this week to write out the cards, package up the goodies, and get them off to the post office. Perhaps sending some cheer will make me feel better, too.

Bonus: Try not to go completely and totally ballistic if/when the potential nor'easter hits on Wednesday night. Eastern PA Weather Authority had this to say:


The European model just came in with another "nuke" and we have enough confidence in that model's consistency as well as being deadlocked with the other foreign model guidance to expect a crippling snowfall somewhere in the vicinity of I-95 and points NW... It is becoming apparent that snowfall will need to be measured with a yardstick instead of a ruler for some places within in our coverage area. We still have to narrow down exact track over the next 48 hours or so, but someone is getting hit and hit hard. That means don't ask us how much for Scranton, Harrisburg, Allentown, Philadelphia... etc. Probability increases in east central PA, SE PA and interior New Jersey.

So... that sounds fun. I will try my best to not have a complete meltdown, but... I make no promises.

That's about it for life at Simply A. If you feel so inclined, head over to Facebook and "like" the page for the blog and click over to Bloglovin' and add me there, too! I've been picking up some really interesting blogs from various link ups and I love getting to read everyone's stories. And thank you, all of you who have been reading and commenting. It really does make my day.

I hope that you all have a lovely day, and if you are in a place where it gets cold, stay warm!

- A

Wonderful Stuff Wednesday: True Confessions and Creativity

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Hello, there.
True Confession #1: This photo has nothing to do with this post, but I needed to share this month's "Men with Cats" calendar image. Colleen gave me this calendar as a random "I stopped at Target and thought you needed this in your life" present, so it sits on my desk at work, occasionally threatening to be semi-NSFW. Also, I guess the real confession here is that I am that obsessed with cats that I would openly display a Men with Cats calendar at my office.

How the hell do you expect me to be ready when the Keurig can't even get it's shit together?

True Confession #2: I am terrible at drinking coffee. I like coffee. I frequent Starbucks to obtain mochas and other froofy coffee drinks to which I add and subtract 27 different things to because I like to complicate the barista's life am a pain in the ass. But... I make a cup of coffee every day at work and I almost never finish it. Sometimes, I forget to empty my mug and gross, 3-day old coffee greets me on Monday morning. (As if Monday needed help being disgusting.)

True Confession #3:
I really love Facebook. Yes, it occasionally  frequently reminds us of just how low society can go, but for my own purposes, I really enjoy it. For the most part, the drama llama (everyone's least favorite llama) blissfully stays far away from my little internet farmland, and it is a great place to keep up with people. I've reconnected with people and even made new friends. Sometimes, I even find out legitimate news, haha. I especially enjoyed the "look back" videos that Facebook put together for everyone. Some of the pictures that were chosen for mine are random (a pile of light fixtures... a giant calzone...?) but overall, it was a sweet stroll down memory lane. Side note: For those of you who are interested in downloading your look back video, I used this really great tutorial on Youtube. If I can do it, anyone can, trust me.

True Confession #4: I am terrible at being a girl. This is a great approximation of how I look and feel when attempting to use a round brush. I only recently learned how to apply eyeliner, and 98% of the time, I screw it up and have to remove all of my make up and start over entirely. I have no clue how to do a smoky eye, despite being shown at least a dozen times by various professionals. I have the hardest time in the world shopping by myself and if someone isn't with me to give me an opinion, I end up sending texts to 5 of my girlfriends asking whether something looks okay. (When I was suit shopping recently, it took the help of 3 of my friends and about 900 text messages before I finally was able to get something reasonable.) I also really don't like shopping and would prefer if someone would just magically make clothes and shoes that fit appear in my closet on a semi-regular basis. I also don't really like romantic comedies. (Except "Crazy, Stupid, Love" and "Love, Actually". They get a pass.)

True Confession #5: I'm a picky eater. Yes, I'm 28 years old. Yes, I eat and love vegetables. I'm just incredibly boring. I don't like anything spicy. Even overly peppery things bother me! I don't like mayo on anything except when I make tuna salad, but I also won't eat tuna salad unless I make it myself because I am that particular about the quantity of mayo. I don't like mustard. I eat my sandwiches completely dry, usually without any kind of cheese (unless it's melted). Most of my issues aren't taste issues, though. My big qualm with most of the foods I don't eat is texture. I would love to eat quiche. It smells great. It looks amazing. But I put it in my mouth and immediately want to die. It makes no sense, because I like scrambled eggs... but again, only really when I make them. The list of foods I can't/won't eat because of how they feel ranges from fish to tomatoes to cranberry sauce (oddly, I'll eat Jello). I do try and eat a balanced diet of protein (chicken, turkey, pork, some beef, eggs, beans), veggies (I'll pretty much eat anything except squash), fruits (barring the ones that I'm allergic to, which is many), and carbs (no problem consuming enough of those... I'm a veritable carbosaurus).

One of the other big issues is that I like my food PLAIN. Most of my childhood, my lunches consisted of "turkey on a roll with nothing else", "ham in a pita pocket with nothing else", "tuna salad made by my mother, not even on bread because it makes the bread squishy", and "peanut butter, no jelly". I love Mexican food, but my fajitas consist of meat, cheese, lettuce, and sour cream (no onions, no peppers, no salsa, no guacamole... because I'm deathly allergic to avocados). Ken and I decided that for our 5 year anniversary of being together (which is in March!) we want to go to a restaurant owned by an Iron Chef. I started looking at the menus of the ones that are in Philadelphia and New York, and sadly, all of the food sounds... too exciting. There's something in every dish that I'm allergic to or don't care for, and I can't imagine that "can you put that on the side?" is a welcome request in places like Butter or The Lamb's Club. So yes, I'm a 28 year old boring, semi-picky, eater. The first step is admitting you have a problem, right?

And not really a confession, but I must say that I never participated in The Creative Collective "assignment" last month! I was supposed to pick a word to represent my 2014, and while I talked about it on the blog and thought about choosing "brave" as my word... I never did anything with regards to that. So, perhaps one day, I'll do something creative and make BRAVE my word, but for now, I figured I'd participate in this month's Creative Collective post!

The Creative Collective

This time around, we were tasked with making a playlist of new music! Oh, another confession. Two, actually. One, this music is going to count as your "Wonderful Stuff Wednesday". Consider the playlist a gift from me to you. You're welcome! Two, this isn't really new music. Some of the artists are ones that I've discovered more recently (Haim, Kina Grannis, Kate Voegele), but I'm terrible at finding new music. I'm a creature of habit. I made this playlist because the songs on it make me think warm thoughts, and given that I currently feel like I live in the Arctic tundra, I could use all the help I can get. Also, I tend to listen to not-exactly-top-40 artists, so maybe some of these will be new to you! You can check out the playlist here on Spotify and here's a track and artist list for you visual folks.
Think Warm Thoughts
Vampire Weekend
Something I Need
One Republic
Don’t Leave Me
(Ne Me Quitte Pas)
Regina Spektor
Do it Now
Ingrid Michaelson
Shake it Out
Florence + The Machine
She’s So Mean
Matchbox Twenty
Earthquake Weather
Matt Nathanson
Anything Could Happen
Ellie Goulding
Anna Kendrick
When We’re Together
Joshua Radin
Kinks Shirt
Matt Nathanson
The One You Say Goodnight To
Kina Grannis
The Fortunate Ones
My Name is You
Norah Jones
Gonna Get Over You
Sara Bareilles
Nothing to See Here
Amber Rubarth
Modern Love
Matt Nathanson
The Wire
Sunshine in my Sky
Kate Voegele

So there you have it! What are some of your confessions? Do you have any suggestions for new music for me? Let me know!

- A

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