Life by Numbers

Monday, June 30, 2014

Today I'm taking a virtual page from Becca's blog (which, by the way, is awesome and you should totally check it out). I present to you, my life by numbers.

How many tattoos I have (or will ever have)
Sibling (not counting step-siblings or inlaws)
Times I've been a "best man" in a wedding
Years I've kept a Betta alive (RIP, Frank)
Cars I've owned
5  How many surgeries I've had
5.5  My shoe size
Books I've read so far in 2014 (better step it up!)
The number of hours it took my stylist to color correct my hair in college  
People I know having babies before the end of the year
The number of hours I've been on a plane at one time (New York City to Geneva)
10  Browser tabs currently open
14 Medications that I take every day
16 Books I read in 2013 (that's depressing)
17  Work days left until I leave my job
19 Days until we close on our house!
23  Full days left until I leave my job
27 Days until we move!
28  How old I am
29  Episodes of Scandal left on Netflix (what am I going to do AFTER IT'S OVER!?!)
35  Days until I get my white coat!
42  Favorite number
106 Guests at our wedding
127 Blogs I subscribe to on Feedly
180  Blog posts (including this one) 
183  Projects in my "Favorites" on Ravelry 
194 Days until my 29th birthday
224  Emails in my inbox
625  Days Ken and I have been married
1,515  Photos on Facebook
1,226 Miles we drove on our honeymoon
1,464 Days until I start my residency (God willing)
1,921  Days Ken and I have been together
2,656 Pins on Pinterest (300 of which? Are cats.)
8,539  Tweets posted
10,400 Days I've been alive

What are some important numbers in your life? I'm pretty much feeling like this kitten today... hope you're all hanging in there. Monday is almost over!
Passed out kitten at Rittenhouse Pet Supply on 19th Street
(AKA: My favorite street to park!)

- A

'Til the Love Runs Out

Friday, June 27, 2014

So, I love One Republic, but I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that I am totally, completely, 100% over "Counting Stars". I think the radio station that I listen to the most plays it at least 3 times an hour. Give it a rest, guys. However, I still really love the rest of their latest album, Native, especially these songs:

Love Runs Out by OneRepublic on Grooveshark

Something I Need by OneRepublic on Grooveshark

They just make me feel good and if they come on in my car, I am undoubtedly singing along. Really, the whole album is quite good, so you should check it out. The reason I thought to share these songs, particularly the first one, is because this first week of "pre-med school" classes has reminded me that this is what I really want. This is what I've wanted for as long as I can remember, and I will, in fact, "I'll be doing this, if you ever doubt, 'til the love runs out." The love just won't run out.

I had planned on doing a Five on Friday post, but the ladies who host that link-up are on summer hiatus, so instead, I've decided to do a "Currently" post. If you're ever stuck as to what to put in your own "Currently" blog post, Chrystina has an awesome list of verbs that you can use! I picked some of my favorites and used some old standards as well.

The current view from the lounge area at the end of my floor. Not super captivating, but there it is.

Reading - A book that I got for free from NetGalley! I don't know how I discovered NetGalley,but they provide digital review copies to people (like booksellers, librarians, bloggers, etc) for review. In return, you have to share your review/feedback, which I thought would be fun to do as a blog post once in awhile. Plus, I'm always looking for something new to read (despite the fact that my Goodreads list is... excessive, I am still adding to it!) The first book I was sent is called Jennifer, Gwyneth & Me: The Pursuit of Happiness One Celebrity at a Time by Rachel Bertsche. I requested it because one of the descriptions included a nod to The Year of Living Biblically by AJ Jacobs, which is one of my favorite books. I'm not very far into this yet, but I like the humor and the writing style, so I'm looking forward to reading more.

Listening to - Native (One Republic), Lights Out (Ingrid Michaelson), and a ton of comedy on my XM radio

Anticipating - Oh so much. Closing on and moving into our new house, finishing work on the 23rd of July, starting med school for real in August

Contemplating - The future in general. More specifically, med school and how it will affect my relationships (with others, as well as myself), my health, and babies.

Ordering - A lot of new clothes online. Well, a lot for me, anyway. Yesterday LOFT had 50% off everything on their site, so I picked out a black pencil skirt (since mine is 4 sizes too big now), two oxfords, a tie neck blouse, a sweater, and a dress. Apparently, the sale is still going on and it's also happening at Ann Taylor, too. Hurrah!

Watching - Scandal, Scandal, Scandal! Oh, and a few other things. Next Food Network Star, Black Box, and a lot of random movies on Netflix that no one has ever heard of, probably because they're terrible horror movies/thrillers, but... what can I say? I love them. Currently still NOT watching American Hustle, a DVD I've had from Netflix since April. This is stupid. I'm sending that thing back.

Wishing - That someone would come and pack our entire condo for us so we didn't have to worry about it, and also that there was a Starbucks in this building... but it's probably better that the latter wish hasn't materialized. Ooh, also wishing for pizza. Mmm pizza.

Trying - To "adultify" my wardrobe and style (in a classy way, not like, an adult-film-star way), worry less, smile more, read more, get 8+ hours of sleep, drink more water, and get back into the swing of studying for real.

Loving - That Ken is finished with the school year, that our mortgage is almost out of underwriting, that my brother is such an awesome human being, that I have the world's snuggliest cats

Hating - That Pam is moving to CT on Monday, that our mortgage is still in underwriting, that my dad won't stop talking about his stupid 3 week trip to Europe that I can't imagine how he's affording, that this office is freezing, that the fellow on service this week is ignoring my pages, and that Ken still has to work a lot of nights for Lowe's

Excited for - My after work plans with Patricia! I'm picking up a new bra that I ordered a few weeks ago, hitting up Loop to get some yarn wound into cakes, and then we're grabbing a drink and probably food...? Who knows where the evening will take us. I'm also excited for the fact that Ken and I are no longer going to Long Island on Saturday and instead we're going to the much closer, more fun party with people I actually like. WHOO!

So that's what's going on over here these days and this weekend. Oh, and somewhere in there, I have to study for my summer courses and take a medical terminology exam online. ::twirls finger in air::

What are you up to currently? Am I totally missing out by sending American Hustle back before having watched it? What drink should I order when I go out tonight? So many important questions. See you all back here next week... enjoy your weekend!

- A

Biblical Plagues for a Modern Age

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Yesterday on Twitter, I'm 99% sure that I saw one of the people I follow post something along the lines of "I have a hard time believing that humidity was not one of the biblical plagues." I say "99%" because I also am pretty sure that I clicked "Favorite" on that tweet, but it's nowhere to be found in my favorites list or my Twitter feed. SO, if you're reading this and you were the clever person who tweeted that, please make yourself known. Also, this might be the weirdest problem I have ever had. Yes, even weirder than that that time I ended up with a weird guy's fan in my back seat.

Okay, that requires some explanation, I suppose. In college, this TA in the chem department had invited me to watch a movie after some meeting with a bunch of people in his office, which was air conditioned, and since he seemed cool, I decided that hanging out and watching a movie with a bunch of nerds could be fun. Somehow, this turned into him stealing an oscillating fan from his office because he needed to go home to his unairconditioned (that is a weird word) apartment, and now he wanted me to come back to his apartment with him. This was complicated by the fact that I had a car and he had to take his bike, so he gave me the fan and told me to meet him as his apartment. I decided that this guy was creepy and that I didn't feel like fending off advances all evening, so I made up some excuse about needing to go home. Instead, I drove to Victoria's apartment and left the fan at her place because it seemed stupid to go home to NJ with this guy's fan in my car, and she ended up keeping it because it was a pretty good fan and I had no desire to see the creepy guy again to return the fan to him anyway.

And that's how I ended up with a weirdo's fan in my back seat. This exercise of trying to remember weird problems from my life has generated a lot of amusing memories that may end up as another blog post entirely, because apparently, my life is a bizarre tornado of weirdness. (This is not really news.)

Anyway... I'm pretty sure possibly hallucinating a tweet is weirder than the fan story, but I'm not sure. Back to what I was originally talking about though.

So, this mystery tweet got me thinking about plagues in general, and how humidity definitely deserved to be up there with locusts and dead livestock and frogs. Here are some things I think would be terrible (or great?) ideas for plagues in our modern era.

 1. Plague of Humidity
Whoever it was that tweeted this was absolutely right, so good job, whoever you are. I hate humidity, my hair hates humidity, my joints hate the humidity... it's just no fun. When the air feels like soup, I just want to cancel my life plans and stay indoors in the air conditioning for my entire life.

2. Plague of Hold Music
I know that this might be different for everyone, but I think we can all agree that most hold music is absolutely horrible. The worst for me is that incessant smooth jazz that doesn't really go anywhere or do anything, and second to that is overused classical music. Once I had bizarre salsa music on hold for TWENTY MINUTES. I nearly shot myself.

3. Plague of Phantom Phone Vibrations
I hate when I think my phone is vibrating and it isn't, because then I'm incessantly checking to see what's going on, and when it finally DOES vibrate for a real reason, I usually ignore it. Then my mom ends up calling me 93 times to make sure I'm not dead (or missing, if you're Kate's mom).

4. Plague of Bad Internet Signals
I'll admit it, wherever I go, I try to find a free wifi signal so I don't eat up my data plan. Even though I share 10 GB with my dad and step-family, I would rather be on the free wifi if possible. If there's no wifi, I'll deal and either use the data or shut it off and make my phone just a phone, but if there's spotty wifi, I lose my mind. My phone will spend all of its time trying to connect to wifi, and won't use the 4G because it has some obsession with not doing both at the same time. Also, when I'm somewhere without wifi and my data connection gets wonky, I also get irrationally upset. If this happened all the time, everywhere, I think I'd have a nervous breakdown. (This probably says something about my dependence on my phone.)

5. Plague of Anti-Vaxxers (led by Jenny McCarthy)
I argue that this may already be happening. Fortunately, those crazies just took a hit because a judge in NYC upheld the policy that prevents unvaccinated children from attending school during times of illness. There's a reason that measles, mumps, and other vaccine-preventable diseases are having a resurgence, and it's because crazy people have decided not to vaccinate themselves or their children. While the illnesses and deaths from these diseases are the bigger problem, the people who shout their completely inaccurate rhetoric from their proverbial rooftops are almost as bad. (For those interested in the public health perspective of this ruling, this article is also pretty good.)

6. Plague of the Invisible Hair
Have you ever been able to feel a hair on your face but not been able to find it to remove the damn thing? That. That for hours on end. ::shudder::

7. Plague of Jughandles
If you live in NJ, you know what I'm talking about. At least in southern NJ, it's nearly impossible to just make a left turn. There are very few left turn lanes and even fewer lights/arrows specifically for making left turns. Someone a long time ago decided that it was a better idea to force people to make 3 right turns instead, and so the the jughandle was invented to theoretically improve traffic flow. Instead, it just baffles people from out of state and angers people who live in NJ who have to hear the incessant whining about how you can't make a left turn. Imagine if all of a sudden, your precious left turn lanes blipped out of existence and were replaced with these monstrosities. This is what you normally want to do, right?

NOT IN NEW JERSEY! Sorry, folks. You get to do this:


So yes. A plague of those. EVERYWHERE. (NB: The roads in NJ don't actually look like that... they have more potholes. They usually don't have street signs though, so that's accurate.) A sub-plague (because those exist, obviously) of the plague of jughandles would be the confused people who have no idea what just happened to their lives.

8. Plague of Comcast
For you lucky folks that can have FIOS or U-verse or whatever the hell you can have for your high speed internet and cable needs, count your lucky stars because Comcast makes me want to murder someone on a semi-regular basis. So much so that I, a true lover of TV and the DVR, have considered giving it up and switching to Hulu+ and Netflix only, simply to avoid dealing with these people. Imagine if it were your only option! I shudder to think about such a world.

9. Plague of Unidentifiable Baked Goods
We've all been there. 

"Ooh, is that a chocolate chip cookie? I bet it's chocolate chip. I would love a chocolate chip cookie. UGH OH GOD, IT'S OATMEAL RAISIN."

Or something similar. Imagine if you could never tell what was in your baked good? Sometimes, it might just be a harmless chocolate chip muffin, but sometimes, when you least expect it? RAISINS. Or prunes. Or something else weird and decidedly not chocolate. 

*Pam is exempt from this plague because she doesn't like chocolate anyway.

10. Plague of Lost Mail and Packages
I was just discussing with Victoria the weirdness that is online ordering. Sometimes, your order gets shipped the next day, sometimes it takes a damn week. Until everything can be available via 2-day shipping from Amazon Prime, I suspect that neither she nor I will be completely happy. But imagine if you just LOST random crap in the mail!? Tracking numbers would be rendered useless. (Actually, this is kind of the case now. Maybe it's not so far off! ::cue dramatic music::

The horror.... THE HORROR!

So, if you're having a bad day, at least none of these plagues have actually come to pass. What would you add as a modern day plague? Does your state have jughandles? (If so, I feel your pain.)

See you tomorrow for Five on Friday! (Where one of my favorite things is definitely NOT jughandles!)

- A

Tell Me Your Secrets!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Happy Wednesday, everyone! I hope the rest of the week is a nice, easy, downhill slide towards Friday, don't you? I am not nearly as excited for this weekend as I was for last weekend, mainly because this one involves having plans that require me to leave the house, but... what can you do? I'd still like the weekend to be here ASAP, so at least I don't have to be in this office anymore.

Anyway, since it's Wednesday, it's time once again to link up with Kathy over at Vodka & Soda for some confessions!

Vodka and Soda

- Yesterday, I was so angry that no one had refilled the 25 mL glass pipettes in the tissue culture lab that I just opened a new bag... without realizing that they weren't individually wrapped and as such, had just contaminated all of them. So I threw them out. Whoops. Resource stewardship: You're doing it wrong.

- I was cleaning up my documents folder on this computer today in preparation for leaving my job, and I found a PDF for grant rates for Penn for 2012 that I could not remember downloading, nor did I have any idea why I had it in the first place. So I deleted it. Hope that wasn't important.

- I am paranoid about being better friends with someone than they are with me. That sentence barely makes sense. But I have this horrible fear that I'm annoying the crap out of someone who I really like to hang out with because she actually doesn't want to hang out with me and is too nice to say anything. But I can't very well ask her if she wants me to go away, because chances are, she wouldn't tell me because she's too nice. But I have a feeling that if I never contacted her again, she'd be okay with that, and that makes me sad. And also extremely neurotic, right? Right.

- I printed out the first week's worth of notes for my summer pre-matriculation courses for med school using my office's color printer. I'm not sorry.

- ... but I am slightly terrified because this is just the first week's worth of stuff. And yes, I know, I've done the med school thing before and it's like drinking from a fire hose and it's only going to get worse... but I'm still kind of shocked by the volume of paper here. But I do love organizing things like this, so maybe I'll just focus on that aspect for now.

- I have to go to Long Island on Saturday for my husband's family BBQ/picnic and I cannot possibly think of something I would like to do less. I hate driving up there, I have no desire to sit in a park/on a beach or wherever because I break out in a rash when I'm out in the sun for too long (thanks, autoimmune disease!), and I have to drive back by myself b/c Ken is staying up in NY that night for a friend's party. On top of that, because we're going to this thing, we're missing another family party for the other side of his family, and I like those people a lot better and it's closer. The things we do for marriage, I suppose.

- The only thing I want to do tonight is go home, plant myself on the sofa, and watch the rest of the second season of Scandal. Forget, for a moment, that there are 12 episodes left in the season. And then there's season 3! (I might have a problem.)

- I am incredibly sad that my friend Pam is moving to Connecticut on Monday to take a job at Yale. I'm also super proud of her, but if I could, I'd keep her here in Philly. Sorry, Pam.

- I have plans after work to go to Center City Sips for Pam's going away festivities, and then I was also invited to go out with some of the med students (also for Center City Sips), and then Ken asked if I wanted to go out with all of his teacher friends after graduation tonight. I don't really want to do any of this (except see Pam), mainly because it's interfering with my ability to go home and watch Scandal in my pajamas.

- I have way too much yarn and my new project is rewinding all of the weirdly wound balls of yarn into center-pull "yarn cakes". It's quite the task, and it's very exciting to my cats.
Left: Wily yarn ball of disasters
Right: Organized yarn cake of lovlieness
- I have seen so many bloggers recently asking people to "bare with them" and I want to comment, "I don't care how much I love your blog, I will not get naked with you. Please edit this."

- I'm in weird life-limbo right now and it's driving me crazy.

- I stopped taking my methotrexate 2 weeks ago (under the guidance of my rheumatologist!) and I'm hyper-aware of any aches or pains I've been feeling since then. I hate feeling like at any minute, I might start falling apart. It's one of the few times in my life I've wished to be less aware of things.

- As much as I love therapy and think that my therapist is amazing, sometimes it feels really stupid and pointless and I have to remind myself that I'm not just throwing $75 out the window.

- I bought not one, but TWO pints of Ben & Jerry's "Coffee, Coffee, Buzz Buzz Buzz" ice cream on Monday night because I never find it in the stores and I'm kind of really addicted.

- Sometimes when I'm hungry and I don't know what I want, I just won't eat anything. I know this isn't the right response to hunger, but... oh well.

- I was so grossed out by a giant cicada on the outside of my window the other day that I shut the curtains so I wouldn't have to look at it.

- As excited as I am for medical school, I am really not looking forward to dissecting another cadaver. I did that once already, it was cool, and now I'm over it. I'm not morally opposed or grossed out, I just... don't feel like putting in all that time and effort AGAIN. Too bad for me, I guess.

- I'm horribly nervous to meet my classmates, speaking of med school. What if none of them like me? What if they all think I'm a big weirdo for having left med school once already? What if they all make me want to punch them in the face because they're all gunners? What if some of them already read this blog because they've seen it on Facebook!?

- I still haven't picked up the copy of our marriage license (which was issued in 2012, whoops) because I have to go to City Hall between 8 and 4, except on Wednesday, when they're open until 7:30. So maybe I'll make myself go tonight. Maybe.

- Now I'm worried that this is way too many confessions and no one will read them because it's too long. I clearly need to stop blogging right now and go back to work.

Anyway, there are my (many) confessions for this week. Don't forget to head over to the link-up to check out some other bloggers' confessions or to link up your own! Happy Wednesday, all!

- A

Listed Tuesdays: Get Me Out of Here

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Erica Jacquline

So, I don't mean to be a huge buzzkill, but seriously, today I am so counting every last minute until I can walk out of this office for the last time. Twenty-one (21) work days until I am OUT of here, 30 actual days. Annnd a couple of those days might be subtracted because I have jury duty on July 16th. Womp womp, indeed.

In honor of Listed Tuesdays with Erica, today I will talk about the things I absolutely will NOT miss when I leave this job.

1. The commute
$5 toll every day, stupid traffic for usually no discernible reason, gas prices, and spending more time than should be humanly allowed in a vehicle.

2. Paying for parking
2a. Taking the parking lot shuttle.
I know, I know, I could take the train! But then I'd have to drive 20 minutes to the train, pay to park, take the train, get off the train, walk a few blocks, switch to the subway or a bus, get on another shuttle, and then walk to my office. No thanks. Instead, I found the cheapest parking option available, which is great, but it still costs me almost $100 a month (it would be more but CHOP pays $30 of it). And it requires that I take a shuttle to and from the parking lot. Annoying.

3. Lab work
When I was hired, lab work was not part of the job description at all. And honestly, it still isn't! (Whoops, someone dropped the ball on that one. Or we just didn't want to tell the incoming person what they were really in for. Six of one, half dozen of the other, really.) Somehow, I got roped into doing it. I did it in college and discovered that I hate bench work. This is why I am not a lab tech. Don't ask me why I'm doing the lab work... the agita I'd get trying to explain it to you isn't worth it.

4. Having two phones
I am a devout Android phone user. I love my Samsung Galaxy S4. In fact, I'm probably definitely slightly addicted to it. However, as much as I love my phone, more is not merrier. I also carry an iPhone 5C for work. I know how to make and receive calls, how to get my email, and how to text. That is it. I can do nothing else with this tiny, expensive, paperweight. Make it go away.

5. Freezing my ass off in my arctic tundra office
I could store bodies in here. (And if I have to keep doing lab work, that may become a viable reality. Just kidding. I swear.) I have a space heater under my desk and a heating pad at the ready. Tea and soup in June is a reality here.

6. Dealing with cranky people
98% of the people I work with here are absolutely lovely and truthfully, I will miss them. However, it's the other 2% of people who ruin it and make me consider actually storing bodies in my arctic tundra office. I can't wait until these people are removed from my daily life. (Sadly, I'm sure they'll be replaced by others, but at least they'll be new cranky people.)

7. Playing schedule Tetris
The hardest part of my job is undoubtedly trying to herd multiple physician-scientists into a room for 30 minutes for a meeting. Outlook calendar is my friend (and worst enemy). The worst part? I'll finally succeed and send out the meeting invite, only to get a reply that so-and-so forgot to update his calendar and will actually be out of the country at that time. At this point, I usually give up.

8. The IRB
I'm sure that some day, I will run into the IRB again when I have to do research at some point in my life. However, I will avoid that day like the plague, or at the very least, make sure that I have some poor sucker an extremely competent coordinator to handle the regulatory aspects of the project for me. I hate dealing with the IRB. It's tedious and they're arbitrarily picky about weird things and they give me a headache.

9. Liquid nitrogen and dry ice
BRRRR. And yes, it is possible to burn yourself on both of these substances. I don't recommend it. (Related: I also do not recommend sitting on the floor of the walk-in fridge. SUCH A COLD BUTT.)

10. Never being able to really be "off"
The last time I was truly "off" was when we took our honeymoon last August, and I'm pretty sure I checked my work email at least once on that trip. The last sick day I took was at the end of January when I simultaneously had a stomach virus and influenza, which was totally awesome. The other days I've had "off" were for doctors' appointments or family stuff, and even then, I was "on call" via phone and email. I'm looking forward to not having to be attached to my Outlook inbox at all times.

And on that note, I have to go back into the lab to finish some things up before I head home for the evening. This is my unhappy research coordinator face.

Don't forget to head over to Jacquline's blog to check out her list (it's funny and useful today!) and to link up your own for Listed Tuesdays!

- A

Silver Linings

Monday, June 23, 2014

Mondays are always hard, but I think they're really hard after an especially nice weekend. Also, why are the nicest weekends always the ones that fly by the fastest? I vote we put a day in between Saturday and Sunday. Who's with me?

My perfectly lovely weekend began on Friday after work, when I met up with Pam and Patricia for some adult beverages. Pam always picks the best places for us to grab a drink, so once again, we left it up to her to do the planning. After an extensive parking adventure, Patricia and I met up with Pam at Charlie was a sinner., and yes, that's how it's spelled on the sign. It's a vegan bar owned by the same person who opened HipCityVeg in Philly, and since Patricia is a vegetarian, we figured it would be a nice change of pace. The atmosphere was really fun, even though the space was small and kind of loud, but I'm pretty sure that is the norm for a bar at happy hour on a Friday. The cocktails were... expensive, but interesting. I had a Singapore Sling, which you don't find on many menus, and this was the drink that made me discover that I can, in fact, ingest gin... when I can't taste it. (I think it tastes like Christmas trees. Gross. This drink, however, was lovely.) Pam had some crazy beverage called Escape Velocity, involving tobacco infused Johnny Walker, and Patricia had something called Purity of Essence, which featured aloe vera and cucumber.

Left to right: Patricia, Pam, me
We also grabbed a bite to eat and I realized that I do not do well at vegan restaurants. I can't eat tofu, fake meat scares me, and I'm allergic to nuts (and many fresh fruits/veggies). I ended up eating a "detox salad" (whatever that is) that was pretty good. After finishing up here, we walked around for a bit and landed at Caribou Cafe, a French-inspired bar/restaurant. Because I am totally a grown-up, I ate an apple tarte with ice cream for dinner... and had a glass of wine. (I think I need to work on my adulting...)

On Saturday, I spent most of the day in bed, which was absolutely lovely. Ken had to work at Lowe's, so I brought him a Chipotle burrito for lunch and I spent his lunch hour with him. I also ordered a grill for Victoria and Vinny, since we get 10% off everything at Lowe's (thanks, Ken!) I think I totally confused the guy selling the grills because I didn't know my (Victoria's) phone number or address off the top of my head, and I had to make a phone call to decide if I wanted an extended warranty, haha. Fortunately, it all worked out and we were able to save them close to $100! It's going to be pretty interesting when Ken and I go in to buy our own grill in a month or two, haha. Let's hope we don't have the same salesperson.

Saturday night, I met up with Victoria for dinner and then we watched Somm, a documentary about 4 guys studying to take the master sommelier exam. Seeing footage of the vineyards and the wine making process instantly made me want to be back in Napa on our honeymoon again! The science of oenology is absolutely fascinating, and in another life, perhaps I will be a winemaker. One thing I will never do, however, is take the master sommelier exam. There is a crazy amount of information you need to know. And yes, I know I'm going to medical school and I'm going to be a doctor, but the ability to taste a wine and tell you not only where it is from and the fact that it has notes of "freshly opened tennis balls, decaying violets, and white florals" but what YEAR it was made? Totally beyond me.

I really did enjoy the documentary though, because I love and appreciate when people have an absolute passion for something the way that I do for medicine. You could tell by listening to these guys study and talk about the exam and their hopes and dreams of becoming a master sommelier that this was something that was a part of their souls. I realized recently that unquenchable passion is something that will automatically draw me to people, and I love finding people who exhibit that personality trait. It's an intensity that is rarely matched, and I find it absolutely stunning. After the documentary, we drank some more wine, ate brownies, and talked about life. It was so lovely to catch up with her in person. Even though we live about ten minutes apart and talk almost every day online, our real life interactions had been brief and limited to dropping things off to one another, so it was really great to just sit on the sofa and laugh. More of that, please.

Sunday was another lovely day. I slept in and then spent a few hours deep cleaning the bathroom and the bedroom. Luna was either really disturbed or really excited by my use of bleach in the bathroom, because she wouldn't stop meowing and trying to get into the shower. I finally organized the piles of clutter that had started to take over every flat surface in our room, so that was nice, too. I also did something amazing.

That, my friends, is the bottom of the hamper. We may never see it again.
I found the bottom of the hamper! It's empty! Well... it was. For a whole night. Like, 8 hours! Then we woke up and threw our pajamas in it. I even managed to fold and put everything away before the cats could lay on it (and trust me, they tried.) I even remembered to hang up the wrinkle-prone items right when they came out of the dryer. It was a momentous laundry night in our house.

Also, I probably need to get out more because I am this excited about laundry accomplishments.

During all of this excitement, Levi stopped by for a bit. After Ken finished grading, he joined us in the living room and I learned how to play Mario Kart on the WiiU. I haven't played Mario Kart since my brother had a Nintendo 64, so as you can imagine, it did not go very well, haha. It was really fun though, so I'm sure I'll be playing some more in the future. At 6, we turned on the US-Portugal game, and I watched my first ever soccer game on TV. I spent most of the time being confused, but Levi used to play soccer so he was able to explain most of the rules and what was going on. I made dinner and after the game, we watched Iron Man, because I somehow missed seeing that (and the rest of the Marvel universe movies) and Levi and Ken decided that I needed to get on that train. I really liked Iron Man (shocking no one) and I'm pretty excited to see the rest of the movies. According to Levi, the next one up is The Incredible Hulk, so I'll have to get it through Netflix.

That was my lovely weekend. And even though today is Monday, it's a full work week, I have a ton of stuff to wrap up in the next 22 days in the office, and I now have to add keeping up with my summer med school assignments to that... there are good things. Here are some things that are totally making my life right now:

1. Rimmel Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation

I got this foundation in an Influenster box a couple of months ago and was afraid to try it because most foundations are 93 shades too dark for my freakishly pale skin. On a whim, I decided to try it and thanks to the Influenster people having sent me the lightest shade possible, it actually worked! It's provides better coverage than the Maybelline FitMe powder I had been wearing, but it's much lighter than the FitMe liquid foundation that I had used before. Plus, it's not that expensive, which is great. I am in love with the Tarte Amazonian Clay foundation, but $38 for a tiny bottle really isn't what I'm up for right now. I'll definitely keep my powder around, but this is a nice alternative for heavier coverage.

2. Polishing my own nails.

I am usually WAY too much of a spaz to polish my own nails, but I'm way too cheap to get a manicure because I inevitably screw it up on the way to my car, so I try and do it myself anyway. More than half of the time, it's a total disaster and I end up taking the polish off and spending the rest of the night cleaning up nail polish from various places it isn't supposed to be. Like on the cat. ANYWAY, I saw this polish in "Mint Mojito"  at Target (my happy place) and for $4, I decided to give it a try. Shockingly, I didn't cover my entire living room in mint green polish and I even managed to get it on my nails! More shockingly, I didn't wreck my manicure 28 seconds after applying it. Feeling proud of myself, I polished my toes too, but that isn't nearly as exciting. I will definitely be picking up this brand of polish again, because as much as I love Essie and OPI, $8 for nail color is a bit steep.

(Side note: I buy my beauty products based on a few things. As you can tell, price is one of them.)

3. YARN!

So, I have this problem. I own a lot of yarn. I have an issue where if I go into a yarn store, I can basically guarantee that I'll be leaving with something, even if I have no earthly idea what I'm going to do with it at that moment in time. As such, I have a large, underbed storage container FILLED with nothing but yarn. And knitting needles. But mostly yarn. A lot of it is craft store yarn, but there is some extra-special nice yarn in there as well that I love dearly. Last night, I was trying to organize the stash and it was extremely overwhelming. I would like to get it done before we move so the yarn is less cumbersome but... we'll see how well that goes. Also, I'm trying to decide between two patterns for a baby blanket for Sarah and Josh's little boy, who will be making an appearance at the end of September.

via Classic Elite Yarns


both images via The Purl Bee

I love them both, but I am leaning towards the chunkier one b/c it just looks so COZY. I had really wanted to learn to crochet, but I can't seem to get myself in the same room with my crocheting friend, Julie, and plus the last time I tried to learn, I totally sucked at it, so I think I'll stick with knitting. What do you think, blanket 1 or blanket 2? Also, not sure what color I'll be doing it in. The nursery is Winnie the Pooh themed, so something bright and cheery, for sure. Regardless, yarn makes me happy, and knitting makes me happy (when it isn't making me want to pull my hair out) and I can't wait to start this blanket (and also finish that shawl... finally!) I have plans to go to Loop later this week to get two 4 hanks of gorgeous yarn wound into center-pull cakes, too. I'll have to try my hardest not to add to my ever-growing yarn stash... but I make no promises.

And other things that are nice about today, even though it's Monday:

- It's not raining.
- It's not 90 degrees.
- I'm getting a massage at 5:30.
- I have no plans tonight, other than that massage.
-  Ken and I are booking our tickets for Jen and Mike's wedding tonight!
- I remembered to pay the $7 bill I had left at the dentist's office... finally.
- I received a book for free to review from NetGalley. I'm already pretty excited, and I can't wait to share the review here.
- Best news of all? It's time to go home!

I hope everyone else had an easy Monday. We're almost done this one for the week!

- A

High Five for Friday!

Friday, June 20, 2014

The fire alarm is going off in our office... again. It's the most obnoxious thing in the world and it kind of makes me want to jump through one of the plate glass windows in our building. Interestingly, we are told to remain in our present locations and await further instructions, and to not enter the stairwells or the elevators. Apparently, research professionals are best when toasted. What they should also add to the (insanely annoying) announcement is that while you're remaining in your present location, you have to listen to the screechy siren for what seems to be an infinite amount of time and slowly lose your mind. Oh, and you might get a migraine and/or have a seizure from the flashing fire alarm light. But yes, stay in your current location.

::goes insane::


Color me STOKED that it's Friday, not 900 degrees or raining, and that my weekend plans are so amorphous that they don't even exist yet. Yesterday's post was kind of hard to write and felt incoherent at times, but I'm glad I wrote it. It was definitely one of those where I was nervous to hit the "publish" button, but as I try to say, "You can be afraid and you can do it anyway." So I did.

I've spent most of my day running around like a crazy person, playing in liquid nitrogen (not literally, because BRR), running meetings, fielding questions, having a vent session about how horrible, crazy-making, and demoralizing the process of applying to med school actually is, and making phone calls to doctors' offices (because that's my other full time job, apparently).

Today, I'm linking up with Lauren for High Five on Friday! I love her blog, and not only because her tagline is "Style, Beauty, Cats". High Five for Friday is a weekly link-up for bloggers to share 5 of their favorite things from the past week. I like it because it makes me recall some of the good things about the week, even if the week itself was kind of crappy. Feel free to head over to Lauren's blog and link up!

 photo H54Fbutton_zps973d26e1.png

1. Call me a nerd, but I'm still pretty excited that I found that $10 gift card to Barnes and Noble. I can't wait to go out this weekend and browse! I almost never buy books because as a child, we were library-only people. And I love the library, I do. But I love books that I can keep. I love the the way they smell and the way really nice paper feels. I have a problem buying books frequently, because I don't tend to reread things, but it's a lot easier to buy a book when $10 of it isn't coming out of your own pocket. To the bookstore, I say!

No no, random gift card. Thank YOU.
2. Last night was definitely one of the highlights of my week because I got to see Constance! She's in town for the weekend for Wizard World in Philly, and since she's not actually working the convention this weekend, she gets to hang out and have fun! Her husband Paul is getting into town later tonight, and there's a very high probability that we'll be seeing both of them again this weekend. Last night, I picked Constance up from the airport, we went to dinner, and then met up with her friend Matt (who is a comic book artist!) to wander and hang out some more. Even though we ended the night by getting yelled at by a crazy homeless person, the evening itself was quite lovely and full of laughs. I am so thankful for friends that I can sit in a bar with and laugh my face off no matter how long it's been since the last time I saw them. Being able to slip right back into our friendship without missing a beat is such a blessing. <3

3. Speaking of great friends, on Wednesday night, I went out with Pam for a happy hour drink. Pam is soon leaving the Philly area to take on the wilds of Yale! Her job is taking her up there for a year, and after that, she's going to take over the world. Or at the very least, she's going (to continue) to be a total bad-ass, whether that's at work or in grad school. I am so sad that she's leaving, but at least we'll always have G-chat. The lounge at The Continental has giant chairs shaped like... bears? I don't really know. We were calling them giant gummy bears, so of course, we had to take pictures with them. It was really dark, so the pictures aren't the best, but I love them anyway. Also, I may try and stow away in Pam's suitcase because I don't accept the fact that she's leaving me. At the very least, I plan to cram in as much Pam-time as I can before June 30th. :)

4. Also on Wednesday night, I met up with my brother at Nifty Fifties for dinner and milkshakes. Unfortunately, he broke up with his girlfriend on Tuesday night, but as the big sister that I am, I immediately went into crisis management mode and knew that the situation required comfort food. To me, there are few things in life more comforting than a thick, delicious, milkshake, and Levi agreed. So while the circumstances for our dinner date were sad, the outcome was great. I love hanging out with my brother and I love being able to be there for him when he's going through a tough time. He always makes me laugh, even when he's upset, and he really is growing up to be a great man. (He's also single now, ladies, haha!)

Not really sure why he's making this face, haha.
5. Not that this is limited to just this week, but the kitties have been so snuggly and I think it's the cutest thing in the world. Semi-related, Ken said that it might be okay for us to foster kittens in the new house! (Not that I have to ask permission to do things from my husband, but I do like to make sure that he's on board with things before I do them... for example, bringing 3 tiny kittens to live in our spare bedroom for a bit.) I want to work with PAWS because they seem to get a ridiculous number of kittens during "kitten season" but I will also look into the local animal shelters where I've adopted my fur-kids from. Has anyone out there fostered kittens before? I'm nervous that I won't want to give them back, but I'm trying to tell myself that this way, I get to have perpetual kittens and I'm helping them all find homes. And just for good measure, here are my furballs:

My boys. <3

And my little girl! So fluffy.

All in all, not a bad week... once it stopped monsooning and being 900 degrees, of course. I'm off to go spend some time with Pam and Patricia at one of our fine city's drinking establishments, and then I'm heading home to enjoy my SUPERBLY EMPTY WEEKEND! Have a good one, all!

- A

Not the Ringmaster

Thursday, June 19, 2014

I should be working on the revisions to the IRB amendment that was returned to me yesterday, but I can't bring myself to open the requisite 294 documents that are required for me to do that. Also, I've read the request letter from the IRB about 5 times now, and I seriously feel like it must be in some other language because every time I read it, I get confused. I just can't even focus.

Life has been like that a lot, recently.

I feel like lately, I've been blogging a lot of very "surface" topics, excluding the posts about finding help for mental health issues and my own mental health journey. I feel like I have way too much packed into my brain right now. As my good friend said, "My brain. Just... so many monkeys in this zoo."

Of course, then there's my new favorite saying.

Polish proverb
The problem is... I am running a lot of circuses right now, and the bigger problem is that I want to run all of the circuses. There are the circuses over which I have control, and the ones over which I have exactly zero control. I am somehow orchestrating the circus of starting med school, buying a house and all the things that entails, managing my health (and my husband's health), and wrapping things up at work. While I can control certain parts of each of those tasks, there is a large proportion that I have to just let go. If you can't already tell, I am the worst at that. The. Worst.

This isn't a new situation for me; in fact, I thrive on busy. If I'm not doing 623 things, I'm probably bored. I like for my brain to be fully occupied as much as possible. The only bad part is that this eventually leads to burnout, and ladies and gents, we are dangerously close to burnout. The kind of burnout where you can't comprehend simple IRB revision instructions. The type of burnout where you can't decide what to eat for dinner, so you eat cereal. Or nothing. The type of burnout where you're too tired to shower. The kind of burnout where you don't want to talk to anyone because you don't feel like telling the same story over again to someone else. The kind of burnout that makes you wish you could put your brain in a jar in the top of the dark closet for about 3 months and just take a damn break.

My therapist mentioned that while I do tend to run at very high levels of brain-saturation, that this is the most saturated she's ever seen me. (She's been seeing me as a patient for... 7 years now, so that's saying something.) I'm having trouble caring about the things I'm supposed to care about, like wrapping things up at this job, and I make plans with friends and immediately wish I could cancel them so I could lay in bed and mindlessly watch Netflix, or better yet, sleep. There are so many things I would like to do for fun, like knit or read, but I get home and the most I can muster is to melt into the sofa for awhile before possibly doing some house chores and then peeling myself off of the sofa so I can shower and then collapse into bed. I'm feeling amorphous, body and soul.

The truth is, I'm fighting a fair bit of depression and a decent amount of anxiety. I'm also coming to terms with the fact that I am, in fact, a "lifer" when it comes to antidepressant medication, and that even when I'm optimally medicated, I still will never feel "not depressed". There is a part of my personality, my innate temperament, that is depression. Recently, I've spent a lot of time talking about this in therapy, because to say "Well, I'm just depressed and that's part of who I am" seems so much like giving up. Since my diagnosis at 13, I've been "fighting" this demon. Medication, therapy, more medication, multiple medications, psychiatrists, psychologists, massage, EMDR/bilateral sound, mindfulness, EFT, meditation, hypnosis. The focus was to eradicate the depression, and in 15 years, it hasn't worked. Not a single time. Sure, it's gotten better. No, I'm no longer lying in bed in a dark apartment, contemplating ending my life and no, I don't actively contemplate jumping from the overpass on the way to my car. Those are good things. But there isn't going to be a magic bullet that makes me NOT depressed. Not for me.

And you know what? I'm learning that it's totally okay for it to be that way.

Accepting that the depression is there, in the room, if you will, is not giving up on ever feeling better. At least, that's what I'm working on internalizing. Most days, it does still feel kind of crappy and sad to think about that as a fact of my life, but hey, that's why I'm in therapy. I don't actually feel bad about having to take medication, at least, not as bad as I used to. I guess taking 15 other pills a day helped me realize that a pill is just a pill. Better living through chemistry, right?

I'm not saying that I'm going to go balls to the wall and make depression my only personality trait. That's a recipe for disaster. What I'm going to try to do is to learn to live civilly with my depression. I don't plan on inviting it in for tea, but it can hang out. I don't have to listen to it, it can just be there, but I definitely don't have to expend every ounce of my free energy trying to get it to leave. Some may say that I'm letting it win, but I say that I'm calling a truce. There will be days that are worse than others, and I'm sure if I ever have to stop taking my meds (you know, to grow a baby or something) that shit might go sideways for awhile. I'll have to see what happens when I get there.

"See what happens"
"Play it by ear"
"On the fly"

I am not good at that. I need plans. My plans need plans. My lists have lists, for pete's sake. But I can't see the future (as Pam pointed out), and I can't control it, either. (I'm working on that one, I promise.) At some point, I'm going to have to realize that these may be my circuses and those may be my monkeys wreaking havoc, but damn it, I am not the ring master. I'm not a spectator, but I am seriously not the one running the show for most of it. At best, I'm the lion tamer. I've got my act and most of the time, I'm pretty sure the big cat isn't going to eat me.

But I sure as hell don't need any more monkeys.

(There are a lot of metaphors happening in this post today. Not sorry about it.)

I also spend a lot of my energy trying not to assess my emotional state. For all of my talk about keeping a finger on your emotional pulse, I can be pretty terrible at it. Sure, I'm okay with realizing when an impending crash may be coming, but on a day to day basis, I'm usually kind of numb to the internal workings of my brain. Externally, I'm running in 43 directions, trying to contain the chaos. Internally, I'm pushing away the things that are truly bothering me. The inadequacy that I feel, the anxiety that plagues me, the loneliness that I feel in a life surrounded by those who love me. I box it up and once a week for 50 minutes, I spew the contents at my therapist and words come tumbling out on top of one another, making me feel half crazy and half relieved that they're finally out. Fortunately, I pay her to listen, so she doesn't run screaming from the room.

I just have a lot of feelings.

I am afraid that if I stop and actually deal with all of the feelings that I box up, I'll slowly (or, if I'm being honest, rapidly) slide into a catastrophic depressive episode that will leave me completely incapacitated.

Side note: Can one be "capacitated"? If one can be "incapacitated" I feel as though being capacitated should also be possible... unless this is an over-or-under-but-never-just-whelmed situation. Google tells me that one can, in fact, be capacitated, but apparently, no one ever says that unless they're talking about sperm. The more you know?


For what it's worth, I'm going to try to actively work on feeling my feelings, which is something I tell my friends to do so often. As Kelly Williams Brown, author of Adulting: How to Become an Adult in 468 Easy-ish Steps and writer at Adulting has said, you don't have to have feelings about your feelings. You can just have them.

This is a new concept for me, so we'll see how it goes. I also find writing all of this out to be incredibly therapeutic, and I would do so on paper except that my joint pain often ends my writing sessions before my brain is done. Typing is easier. And no, this isn't going to become Debbie Downer Central, I promise. But I would like to get deeper here. I feel like creating more meaningful content is... well... meaningful. I hope you'll come with me on what is certain to be an adventure.

Just please, leave your monkeys at home.

- A

Secrets Are For Everyone!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Vodka and Soda

I seriously look forward to this link-up every week because it allows me to be a little silly and random, which is always good. Also, I love reading everyone else's confessions! What can I say, I am nosy. Also, I love finding other people that do the same or similar random shit that do. Solidarity! So, let's get right to it.

- So apparently, we've swapped out Ian Somerholder for Ryan Gosling. True confession, I had no idea what this guy's name was and so I had to Google it. First, I thought he was the main character on White Collar, which I don't watch, so I'm not sure why I thought that. I was incorrect; the main character on White Collar is played by Matthew Bomer, who is also an attractive guy:

Then I somehow remembered that the guy's first name was Ian (HOW?) and so I literally Googled "hot guy name Ian". Surprisingly, that worked. I rock at Googling things.

- When I first saw Matt Bomer's name, I read it as "boner" and giggled because I am a 12 year old boy sometimes.

- I just got an email telling me to submit revisions to the last IRB amendment I submitted for our protocol... and I hate them so much that I am considering conveniently forgetting about it until the new guy starts. Sorry, new guy.

- On a related note, I have referred to the new guy that we're hiring as "Cheeseman" because he put "cheese enthusiast" on his resume, and now I'm really afraid that when he shows up, I'll call him that to his face. 

- I bought new pants and I am REALLY overexcited about them. I wear a lot of pants from The Limited because they seem to be one of the few places I can wear their short-length pants off the rack and they also now carry petites. I think I may have done a happy dance in my bedroom when I tried on both pairs and THEY FIT. (Bonus: They're the smallest dress pants I've worn in YEARS.)

- Everyone and their mother is enthralled by the World Cup and I'm over here like, "Sports Go Sports!"

This is also appropriate:

Yes, I'm aware this is football related and that American football and soccer (which is actually football) are not the same thing. But all sports are essentially the same to me, so... yeah.

- Today I found a $10 gift card to Barnes and Noble in my wallet and I have no idea where it came from. Thanks, gift card fairy!

- The other night, I ordered a medium pizza and ate half of it by myself. I then also ate a brownie. I was not sorry.

- I hate putting away the laundry.  A lot. I don't mind doing it at all, and folding it doesn't really bug me, but I seriously cannot stand putting it away. Don't ask me why.  Because of the above fact, I have had to tumble and refold many loads of laundry because Gershwin and Luna decide to make laundry baskets full of clean clothes their new favorite place to nap.

- I don't understand the obsession that people have with red velvet baked goods. I love chocolate, but I don't really like any red velvet thing I've ever tasted. What is the deal??

- I can't braid my own hair in any way. Not even like, a regular braid. I think I fail at being a girl, you guys.

- Our bedroom is getting to the point where the clutter drives me insane. Ken is pretty clutter-free, it's my crap that seems to take over the room. Guess what I'm doing this weekend!

-  The fact that you can "like" Facebook on Facebook is confusing to me. Isn't that kind of redundant?

- I am totally obsessed with the fact that my new car computes its own gas mileage in real time. It has become a game for me to keep it over 30 mpg.

- Random things make me irrationally angry. For example, wildly intelligent people who can't spell anything, people who pull right to turn left, people who leave their trash in the movie theater, and people who can't use self-checkout lanes and try to do so anyway. GET OUT OF MY WAY, PEOPLE.

- I spend most of my life being really excited, incredibly terrified, or both. More on that later.

So there are my confessions for this week! Make sure you head over and visit Kathy at Vodka and Soda to link up your own confessions and read everyone else's secrets, too!

Stay cool out there, my friends. As you know, you can't call in melted.

- A

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