Blogger Men Tell All - 1.0

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Okay, so I'm late to the game, but that's what happens when it's exam week and you spend the entire day in a Starbucks trying to cram as much information as you possibly can about proteins, enzyme kinetics, and neurodegenerative diseases into your head. Before you know it, you're hopped up on caffeine, contemplating the likelihood that all of this studying to going to induce a neurodegenerative disease, then realize that that is probably impossible and instead go back to worrying about all of the somatic dysfunctions you're inducing by sitting hunched over your computer. Then you realize that once again, you forgot to call and make that appointment with the Department of Neuromuscular Medicine, and given how booked they usually are, it will probably be 2015 before you can get an appointment.

Did I mention the caffeine?

Anyway, Becca, Melissa, and Samantha are hosting a monthly link-up called Blogger Men Tell All and I totally forgot that it was happening until right now... hence the late-ish post. BUT, better late than never, so here we go. Take it away, Ken!

Ken's current lot in life: Supporting the kitten's oddly-placed naps.

1. If you had a blog, what would you call it, and what would it be about?
I'd finally start my Spanish cuisine - themed blog, "Arroz By Any Other Name".

2. If you could live inside any video game, which would it be?

The old school Sonic games. There's plenty to explore and an awesome soundtrack to explore it to.

3. Who is your best player on your fantasy football team this season?

Flash Gordon.   (I don't have a fantasy football team).

4. If you could play for any professional sports team, which one would it be?

The Mets, unfortunately. Baseball is my favorite professional sport and they're my team. At least they wouldn't have very high expectations for me

5. What do you typically do with an hour of free time?
Usually some Xbox or Nintendo related shenanigans.

Becoming Adorrable

So, thanks Ken, for providing me with blog content for today. And thanks to Becca, Samantha, and Melissa for hosting!

- A

The Good and the Bad

Monday, September 29, 2014

Hi, my name is Alison and last week, my brain was eaten by med school and I spent most of my waking hours studying or feeling bad for not studying. I didn't feel well, physically or mentally, and didn't have anything useful to contribute to the blogosphere, so I didn't, really. Trust me, it's better for all of us that way.

Last week and the weekend that just passed was full of... stuff. Good stuff, bad stuff, uncategorizable stuff. Let's review.

The Bad
As I mentioned, I just wasn't feeling great last week. My fatigue levels were really high, my joints were giving me all kinds of problems, and my hip bursitis was back with a vengeance. I saw my rheumatologist on Thursday and he drew blood (all normal, no surprise there), and basically said that I need to get pregnant ASAP so I can be un-pregnant ASAP so I can go back on my meds ASAP. We're both glad that my pericarditis has mostly resolved (although I probably more excited than he is, haha), mainly because he didn't want to put me back on prednisone if he didn't have to. For the same reason, we decided to not do another injection into my hip for the bursitis right away. I'm not in pain all the time, and I can manage it when it gets bad. I am going to make an appointment with the OMM clinic here and try to do a little (read: any) exercise to strengthen the muscles. Frankly, I'd like to avoid steroids as much as I can, because as good as I feel when I'm on them, I know they're screwing up the rest of my body. The life of an autoimmune disease patient.

For whatever particular reason, my mood was also pretty low this week. Maybe it was because I wasn't feeling well.  Maybe it's because my therapist was out of the office for Rosh Hashanah. Maybe it's because one of my best friends was having her first baby and I was sad that I could be there. Maybe it's because my hormones are whacked out. Who knows? All I know is that if you had left me to my own devices, I would have stayed in bed all day for the entire week, content to not talk to anyone or turn on any lights. I may have not even showered. Or eaten. I may have just slept. In any case, I made an appointment with a new psychiatrist in Philadelphia for next Friday, so we'll see what she has to say. I haven't seen a psychiatrist in a few years because my meds were being handled by my primary care doctor and nothing needed to be messed with, but I wanted to see someone now mainly because I want a professional opinion from someone who works specifically with pre/perinatal psychiatry so I can maybe feel marginally better and more informed about using SSRI's if I ever get pregnant.

I also had some down moments because, not surprisingly, I was not pregnant my first cycle off of the pill. This was not surprising, but what was surprising was how sad I was about it. Even though I hadn't consciously thought I would get pregnant right away, I didn't have any idea how much of a failure it would feel like when the thing I didn't think would happen uh, didn't happen. I know, it makes no sense. Feelings rarely do. I am moderately concerned because of my underlying health issues and having been on the pill so long that my body might forget what it's supposed to be doing here, but I have an appointment with the reproductive endocrinologist for next week because they wanted me to come in anyway, so hopefully that will help. I think there's also a fair bit of sadness around the fact that because of my health, any concept of getting pregnant without it feeling like some kind of science project is probably out. Feelings, man. They're weird and complicated.

Far more trivially, I realized that our fancy antenna that we installed doesn't pick up ABC, which is bizarre because we get CBS, NBC, Fox, PHL 17, and about 20 other channels (including two Spanish channels and at least two Jesus channels). This meant that I was all excited and ready to watch the premiere of Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder and I couldn't watch either of them. I was very upset. A Twitter friend came to my rescue and messaged me her password for her Fios, but my internet was wonky and when I finally got the streaming to work from ABC, it was in the middle of the episode and I wanted to watch from the beginning. I still couldn't get it to work for How to Get Away with Murder, but I took that as a message from the universe that I should just keep studying, so I did. Far less entertaining, but useful.

The Good
Fortunately, the week wasn't all bad! I did get a fair bit of studying done, and most of my fall TV shows came back, which meant I got to watch The Blacklist, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder (even if I had to watch the latter two on Hulu+ the next day). I also got to meet some fabulous ladies at a blogger meet-up organized by Chrystina! I was able to meet Emily, Jenn, Lisa, and Sarah, which was a lot of fun. Their blogs are all much bigger than mine, but I can't wait to see what I can learn from all of them. The most interesting part, I found, was how different all of our blogs were. It was also nice to sit outside on the patio at The Good Karma Cafe, sipping hot apple cider and knitting while laughing and chatting about all things blog. I'm excited for the next meet-up. If you're a Philly-area blogger, let me know and I'll make sure that Chrystina knows to invite you!

Friday after class, I headed to Maryland to pick up the new kitten! If you follow me on Instagram, you've already seen the flood of kitten photos, but in case you don't (and let's be honest, go remedy that!) here are a few of my favorites. Internet, meet Sinatra!

Ken and I are totally obsessed with the new baby, but I can't say as much for Gershwin and Luna. As you can see, Luna is really not impressed with this tiny furball encroaching on her scratching post, and takes any opportunity that she can to hiss at him. Sinatra either was unphased by this or really not bright, as he kept trying to get closer to her, and every time, was rewarded with a smack in the face. Gershwin is hissing less and less every time he sees Sinatra, and now seems more curious than anything else. We've been trying to keep Sinatra sequestered in our bedroom so as to not upset the delicate cat balance in the house all at once, but the little guy is insistent on being with us and loves being around Gershwin and Luna as much as possible. I'm hopeful that we'll be able to leave Sinatra out with the big guys soon so he won't be so lonely during the day. Pray for peace, people.

Other good news includes that one of my best friends, Sarah (AKA: Little Friend, LF) had her first baby on Saturday night! Patrick Michael entered the world at 10:28 pm on September 27th and was quite the peanut at 6 lbs, 3 oz. He is so sweet and adorable, and I can't wait to meet him. I miss Sarah all the time, but I missed her especially hard this weekend because I wanted so badly to be with her to celebrate this exciting milestone. We've been friends since 2004, and I can't believe all of the life stuff we've been through together.

So yes, that was the week and the weekend. This morning, I woke up with Ken at 6 and was at school by 7 so I could do some last minute studying before our first OMM exam this morning. I am waiting around in the library until 2:00 or so when I have to head to the lab for my practical, which should be over by 2:30, and then I'm going home to... study more. Our second block exam is on Friday and covers biochem (amino acids, proteins, enzyme kinetics, hemoglobin, hemoglobinopathies, and neurodegenerative diseases due to protein misfolding), genetics (a random smattering of diseases, genetic counseling, and clinical cytogenetics), and all of immunology (yes, like, all of the entire course I took last year over 15 weeks). Then it's back to the grind for another 3 weeks before our final Fundamentals block before we dive into cardio and gross anatomy. I don't even want to think about it. In fact, I can't at this point; I just have to get through Friday. I've already promised myself that if I study every day this week and get through my exam without dying, I am going to get a manicure and pedicure this weekend.

This weekend should be pretty excellent in general, as it will include the aforementioned mani-pedi, seeing "Gone Girl" with Jenn, furniture and decor shopping with my mom, and vegetating with Colleen. And plenty of kitten snuggles.

And on that note, I'm going to go get something to eat and study for a couple of hours. Life of a med student...

- A

Consider it Handled

Thursday, September 25, 2014

From Scandal's Facebook page
Popcorn? Check.
Red wine? Check.

I think we're ready.

I didn't start watching Scandal until I went to visit Emily in Wisconsin, but I very quickly became a complete and total addict. The kind of addiction where you spend the entire weekend watching 14 episodes of Scandal while wearing my fanciest pajamas. (Hint: They aren't that fancy. I am not Olivia Pope.) I've been rationing the episodes of the third season throughout the summer so I didn't have to go for too long without Scandal in my life. Yes, I am aware that I have a problem.

Scandal is not the first Shonda Rhimes show I've watched. Grey's Anatomy was my first love of hers, although I gave up after 2 seasons because it got entirely to soap-y for me. That's partially why I had avoided watching Scandal for so long, but I can admit when I am wrong. I was so wrong. Even if Scandal does get a bit soapy at times... I love it. As I was watching Scandal, I jotted down some thoughts that I've had while watching this drama unfold, so I thought I'd share them with you. While no overt spoilers are here, there are definite references to things that happen! Consider yourselves warned!

If someone made 2 attempts on my life, I don't care if you're the President, I'm breaking up with you.

Holy crap, what just happened?

Yikes, at least my dad isn't Olivia Pope's dad.

Why aren't my clothes that fabulous?

Why aren't my PAJAMAS that fabulous??

See, red wine and popcorn can totally be a meal.

I think 90% of Olivia's wardrobe is black and white.

Can someone teach me how to style my hair like Quinn?

Cyrus with a beard looks like a homeless guy.

Ugh, Mellie is evil.

Ugh, poor Melliw.

Note to self: Don't date super spies.

Aw, Huck and Quinn are kind of cute.

No, wait. They're creepy.

Oh, and now HUck is realllllly disturbing. My teeth hurt.

Jake really needs to stop watching the video of himself getting it on with Olivia.

Fitz is creepy and if a man ever talked to me like that, I'd punch him. Even if he was the President.

There are a lot of lines in this show that are dangerously close to, "You don't get to call me a whore!" from Gray's.

Kerry Washington needs a few more facial expressions in her arsenal. Incredulous/confused and disgusted/infuriated are about all I'm getting here.

I don't think Fitz is all that handsome. Jake is way cuter.

Cyrus, I can't feel bad for you. You did this to yourself.

Olivia Pope needs 17 kinds of therapy. In fact, so does everyone on this show. Man.

Mellie's hair is so big because it's full of secrets.

Can all of these men stop saying that they created or made or own Olivia?

Every freakin' person on this show is a sociopath.

Yikes. At least my mom isn't Olivia's mom.

With the kind of parents Olivia has, it's no surprise she's wound so tight.

Cyrus and James need a bigger bed.

Oh Mellie, not you too! And in front of Jackie O!

Sally Langston is a nutball.

You know, for as often as they have to cover up their affair, you'd think Olivia and Fitz would stop making out in front of windows.

I feel like Cyrus is going to lose it and kill himself. It would totally not surprise me.

I feel like Mellie has bras to match every dress she owns.

Huck and Quinn, it seriously took you long enough.

This Charlie guy is creepy.

Jake is still way cuter than Fitz.

Ugh, Fitz. I am so done with you.

Oh, Mellie.

Ha, Quinn just told Charlie and Huck to either go make out or punch either other. I love her.

Cyrus!!! REALLY????


Oh... Quinn and Huck.

What is her obsession with jam??

My heart is breaking for Mellie. 

Whoever picks the music for Shonda Rhimes' shows wins.*

Um... that's probably bad.


Yeah, how did you get like this, Olivia? That's an excellent question.

Oh Huck, you're crazy again. You need help.

Abby, calm down.

Okay, Abby, you might be right.

I don't know what it is, but I love Olivia's haircut in this episode.

I'm kind of over the reused dialogue. Shonda, you're better than this.

I don't believe that she's dead...

Of course he got reinstated. This was never about doing the right thing.  

PAPA POPE, YOU ARE A JERK. I never should have trusted him!!


I am 99% sure that meningitis wouldn't kill someone that quickly... 

Jake, you get 10 points.

Aw, Huck. 



Also, Fitz can totally stay on the floor all night. I've done it. I guess the President can do it, too. He's the President.

Don't answer that. Good girl.

Where in the world IS Olivia Pope??

Sidenote, in case any of you Scandal-watchers love the "Olivia and Fitz" theme as much as I do, I actually looked it up and here it is. It's called "The Light" and it's by The Album Leaf.

So, now that Olivia is on a plane to some undisclosed location, I'm intrigued to find out how they're going to bring her BACK to DC, because clearly, she can't just decide she's not Olivia Pope. Where are my fellow Gladiators/Scandal-watchers out there? What are your thoughts about the next season?

Sadly, as much as I would like to sit here and continue Netflix-ing my afternoon away with my knitting and my cats, I can't just decide that I'm not a med student, so it's off to study until 8 or so tonight, at which point, the pajamas, the red wine, and popcorn are ON. Until then, this exam? 
- A

PS: I linked this post up with Kristin for Stuff and Things! Want to share your stuff and things? Go forth!

The Best You Can Do

Monday, September 22, 2014

Sometimes, you cook meals that have 38 ingredients and require every pan in the house. Sometimes, though, you eat lunch at a weird time in the middle of the afternoon and by the time you realize you never ate dinner, it's 11 pm and you end up sitting on the sofa eating plain, dry Cheerios, wondering where exactly you went wrong with your life.

That was me last night.

I think I am going to spend the rest of the next 4 years of my life feeling like I am failing at something. If I'm a  good wife, I'm a crappy med student, and if I'm a good med student, I'm a crappy friend (and probably a crappy wife), and if I'm a good friend, then I'm a crappy wife (and probably a crappy med student). If the house is clean, then something else didn't get done. If we have groceries, I didn't study, but if I studied, then I have no clean underwear and Ken doesn't even know if I live at home anymore. I just can't seem to get it right.

I know this isn't a new plight for med students, or even non-med-students who work full-time or are full-time stay-at-home parents. I guess I just had it "easy" before when I worked full time because I didn't have a job that came home with me and when I wasn't taking classes, all I had to do when I came home was make sure the house was clean and cook and do laundry and whatever. I actually enjoy cleaning, and Ken also cleans and cooks, so it was never a real chore for either of us. And no, we're not living in total squalor here, but I get home and the last thing I want to do is... well, anything. I've been saying that I needed to scrub the tub and shower in our master bath for at least a week now and is it clean? No. That's happening today, for real though, because it's gross. Seriously gross.

On top of that, what even is a "good wife" or a "good friend"? I'm pretty sure a "good med student" is someone who studies all the time and gets A's or B's in their classes, who also manages to be in a few extracurricular activity and runs a productive study group, who is also fun to be around. This person also wears clean and stylish clothes, wears make-up/does their hair, and packs their lunch.

See also: This person cannot possibly exist in real life.

Med school is a jealous and demanding bitch, basically. It wants all of your time during the day and if you let it, it will steal your sleep. I refuse to give up sleep on a routine basis, which makes me feel like a "bad med student" but I will crash and burn faster than you can say "glycolysis" if I sleep for less than 6 hours a night. Sorry, med school. You lose there.

I guess this lends itself to the larger issue I have of "being a good human" or "being a good adult". There are endless lists about the things you need to do by the time you're 30 or whatever, and most of them are complete and utter bullshit, but I still feel pressure from life to be a better "adult". And by "pressure from life" I mean "pressure from myself" because I have yet to have anyone, not even my therapist, say, "Wow, Alison, you suck at being a grown-up." In my head, a good adult doesn't throw out receipts and drinks 64 ounces of water per day and eats 3-5 servings of fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. A good adult irons and doesn't leave Target returns in her trunk for 93 years, and doesn't leave the 5 bags of clothes for Goodwill languishing in her garage for 3 months. A good adult does let junk mail take over her kitchen table and doesn't just close the door to the third bedroom that has yet to be unpacked and gives her agita when she looks at it. A good adult exercises and remembers to refill her prescriptions and doesn't eat random things for lunch that she found in her purse.

I have no idea how to be a good adult. Yes, I'm married and yes, my husband and I own a house, and yeah, we're even trying to have a baby (which, in light of all the crap I can't handle, I am not entirely sure is a smart idea...) but I am not sure I'm a grown up. I just read a  post on A Practical Wedding called Adulthood is a Myth and it was pretty perfect. Everyone I talk to in my age bracket seems to feel similarly, so I don't know why I'm over here in a corner freaking out like I am the only person to ever experience these emotions, but... here I am. If you want to hang out, you know where to find me.

Sometimes, cereal at 11 pm on the sofa is the best I can do. Sometimes, I have to just accept that I can't buy clothes that I have to iron because it won't get done and paying a dry cleaner to press a few shirts seems absurd. I'm not quite sure how to accept the fact that I will never be a great adult, a great wife, and a great friend simultaneously. I don't know if I should accept that. Perhaps I just need to adjust my expectations and be okay with being pretty good at all three things. Or maybe I have to understand that I can't do all three at once, and that my friends and husband will understand if I disappear into a studying cave and when I come out, I might be babbling incoherently. Just guide me to the shower and a glass of wine or a giant mug of coffee and I promise, I'll be back to normal soon.

I'm sure that a lot of this is the depression talking. The good (?) news is that I do know that depression lies and that eventually, the pendulum will swing and I'll start to climb out of this hole. Fortunately, this hole isn't the deepest it could be; not even close. These two things, however, don't make the slogging through the depression any easier or any more fun. This is also harder because today is the first day of fall and there is something about the change in the seasons that hits my brain especially hard. (Dooce puts it really well here and here.)

Now we know, and I thought that the knowing would make it easier. And it has in that September will turn into October and October will merge with November, and I won’t be sitting at my desk feeling sad for no goddamn reason. But it’s knowing that there is no reason that makes it even more unbearable. Because as much as a person with depression is sad, we are the same measure of angry that we can’t just stop feeling this way.

I want so badly to be better, but sometimes, this is the best I can do and I have to be more gentle with myself. This is the best I can do right now.

- A

The Firstest of First World Problems

Friday, September 19, 2014

You guys, a horrible thing happened this week. I don't know how we survived. It's why I haven't posted since Monday. It's made class extremely difficult. In fact, it's made life difficult.

The internet stopped working at school. Gmail, Google Talk, and Blogger wouldn't load. GOOGLE wouldn't even load. I had to go to Bing to find out if Google was broken! It was horrible.

I may be overreacting. A tad. But seriously, it was bad. I'm not sure entirely what was going on, but we got approximately 937 emails about how the school's ISP wasn't talking to the rest of the world or something. I don't understand how the internet works, all I knew is that it was broken and I couldn't blog or read blogs or get my Gmail and it was bad. Now, the internet is running like molasses in January, which is making me more and more frustrated, especially because my phone isn't connecting to the internet for reasons unknown. Technology is just hating on me this week. The machines are rising against us. Skynet is online. Et cetera, et cetera.

But really, I guess it's not that bad. I actually had to pay attention in biochem (the horror!) and I actually talked to some of my classmates during lecture breaks instead of just sticking my head into my laptop and ignoring the masses. Also, I'm apparently really addicted to having the internet, and I don't care what anyone says, Google >>>> Bing. The end.

Anyway, as we struggle along with our gimpy internet over here, it's still Friday so let's celebrate! I don't know about you, but this week was about as slow as the internet for me, so I am extremely glad that I not only made it to Friday, but did so without punching anyone in the face. Trust me, it was difficult at times. But, since it is Friday, it's time for One Down, One Up and Oh Hey, Friday!


One Down

Besides the internet being crappy this week, I had a rough therapy session yesterday. It was good because a lot of things came up that I needed to talk about and I finally admitted (mostly to myself, because Danna clearly already knew) that my anxiety has cycled to depression. I have this issue where if I'm not actively contemplating self-harm, I don't classify myself as depressed. Just because you're experiencing a slightly less severe depression than the worst one you've ever had (See: Winter 2008-2009) doesn't mean you're not depressed and that things don't need addressing, though. Also, having anxiety is a weirdly functional state. It's not a great state to be in, but when I'm anxious, I get stuff done because I'm so worried about failing or falling apart that it drives productivity. Of course, I'm a neurotic disaster while I'm doing whatever I'm doing, but hey, I'm doing things, so I mark it as a win. When I'm depressed, everything feels empty and stupid, and even though I've been forcing myself to go to class and clean and do laundry and see people, it all feels dumb and I don't enjoy it. I have been having a really rough time over the last couple of weeks, and I was just blaming it on "getting used to med school" and "life changes" and "hormones", all of which are definitely playing a part... but underneath it all is the depression that colors... everything. There's a post brewing in my brain about depression and mental health (as there usually is) and I had wanted to post it this week, but the internet conspired against me, so... perhaps next week. But yes, this was definitely a downer.

One Up

On Monday after class, I got my hair blown out, bought gorgeous yarn on sale from Loop, walked around in the sunshine, and had a blast taking photos with Chrystina! She is building her photography portfolio (among doing a lot of other REALLY cool things, like starting an Etsy shop) and I have wanted some photos to use on the blog, so it worked out. I also had planned on buying her dinner, but settled for a glass of wine because she had other plans that evening. ANYWAY, I had the best time hanging out and absolutely love the results. I'll be doing a reveal of my favorite shots (and maybe some outtakes, haha) next week, so keep an eye out for them! Also, if you want to be the first to know when Chrystina opens her Etsy shop, head over to her blog and sign up for her newsletter! Trust me, you totally want to do that. 

But yes, Monday was oddly my favorite day this week. WEIRD. If you want to link up your own best and worst moments, do so at Chrystina Noel, and check out everyone else's weeks too! 

Since I'm fighting against the pull to stay in bed all day, I'm trying to focus on positive things and reasons to get out of bed. So, here are 5 things that I'm thankful for and that make me happy to be alive, even if they are simple or small.

1 | Heated Seats

This morning wasn't cold by any sense of the world, but it was 55 degrees and there was a definite chill in the air. My hips have really been bothering me (thanks, lupus/RA/whatever the hell autoimmune disease this is), and moving around this morning was definitely a challenge. However, as I got into my car and switched on my heated seats, I felt like my entire body sighed with relief. For my 25 minute ride to school, I was blissfully enveloped by warm leather and my butt/back/hips, while not entirely better, were way more mobile by the time I got out of the car. I'm sure as we get further into fall and eventually winter, I'll be even more excited and thankful for heated seats.
2 | Tarte 12 Hour Amazonian Clay Foundation

This is really not the week for me to be taking pictures of my face because my skin has decided to rebel entirely, but when it calms down (and it better, or I'm making an emergent dermatologist appointment because this shit is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S) I will certainly post a photo to show you the amazing-ness of this make up. I am not usually one to spend any kind of serious money on make-up, and 95% of the stuff I own is from Target. This is totally worth the $38 price tag, though. It's light, but still provides amazing coverage and it really does last 12 hours. It's life-altering, I tell you. However, if anyone has a good recommendation for a concealer... leave it in the comments because this girl needs a new one, for real.

3 | Starbucks

I know, this is really dumb and I should be frequenting non-chain coffee shops and supporting local businesses and whatever, but I like their coffee and their froofy coffee drinks, and I get most of my studying done at Starbucks. It is a great environment for me to get work done for some reason. There is just enough background noise and activity that my brain stays engaged and I don't end up on Pinterest for 45 minutes when I should be studying for micro, and the smell of coffee just makes me happy. Also, I usually make my own coffee at home, so when I go out and get a Starbucks "treat" it makes studying less painful. I also associate Starbucks with hanging out with good friends and relaxing. There's something comforting about being able to find a Starbucks pretty much anywhere you go, too, and I you know how sameness and routines sooth my addled brain.

4 | My tutor

Not only does Frances help me understand crazy things like enzyme kinetics and oxygen dissociation curves, she makes me feel like a normal human being. She gives up her time, which is at a serious premium because she is a second year med student, to help me learn, and she is really encouraging. She makes me feel like I can totally do this, and she has a lot of useful information about what to focus on and what to ignore if I run out of time. She is one of the best people I've met thus far in med school, and I feel really fortunate that I not only have a good tutor, but have made a good friend.

5 | Yarn

I don't know what it is, but yarn shops make me happy. The organization, the pretty colors, the feel of squishy, soft yarn, it's a great sensory experience. Also, the people in my favorite yarn shops (Loop and Hooked) have the nicest owners and staff who are always willing to help, and they are also total yarn junkies who completely understand when I come in and get really excited about new products or patterns. I wish that I had more time to knit and that I could join in on the knit-a-long at Hooked on Friday mornings, but alas, class happens then and I need to be studying. The other thing? Some of my favorite people are knitters, and knitting has brought me closer to a lot of people, which is never a bad thing. :)

What are some things that make you glad to be alive? What are the little things in your life that make you smile? 

As for me, I'm going to go study for an hour before our immuno review... and then my afternoon will consist of taking Gershwin to the vet for blood work (oh joy) and studying. Have a great weekend, all. 

- A

This Weekend I Learned...

Monday, September 15, 2014

I know that I am not the first person to ever say this, but there really needs to be another day between Sunday and Monday. Who do we talk to about that? If you find out, get back to me. I'll totally sign up to be on that committee.

Whether we like it or not, it's Monday. So far, my day is pretty good. I slept in until 7:30 (since when is that sleeping in???) and then met with my biochem professor to talk about the unmitigated disaster that was my biochem exam. Now I'm parked at my favorite Starbucks, sipping a black and white mocha with an extra shot of espresso that I for free because I have an addiction to caffeinated, froofy coffee beverages and caramel apple cider am a Gold Rewards member. I am chatting with Marcie, who I'm convinced is going to be one of my best friends for life (thanks, Internet, for being a strange and wonderful place where I find kindred spirits all over the damn country), and I have 2 hours until I have to be in my biochem lecture. Then this afternoon, I'm heading into Philly to get a blowout before meeting up with Chrystina for a photoshoot and dinner! Monday, maybe you aren't so bad...

Also, I had a pretty fabulous weekend. Here's what I learned.

1. You shouldn't be 20 minutes late to dinner reservations because the restaurant will think you're not coming and give your table away. 

However, you can take this opportunity to sit outside in the lovely fall-ish weather with your handsome husband and talk about rugs and babies while waiting for a table. Then you can eat way too much bread and a ton of delicious, homemade pasta, and then eat tiny cannolis and take cute pictures like this:

Happy 29th birthday, Ken!

2. Sometimes, party decor involves putting googly eyes on things.

Seriously, how cute are these? Also, that watermelon is kind of freaking out, but I love him. 

3. Babies can take selfies.

Happy 1st birthday, Fiora!
This is my "niece," Fiora, and Ken and I went to her 1st birthday party on Saturday. She was a little cranky because she had slept for approximately 30 minutes and having 40 people in her house was totally freaking her out, but still adorable. It blew her mind when I turned on the front-facing camera on my phone, and this was the result. She somehow turned on the back camera as well, which is why there's that weird postage stamp-looking thing above her head with a picture of my hair in it. Kids, man. They're the future... or something.

4. It's kind of weird to walk into a restaurant where your friend is having a drink at the bar, talk for a few minutes, not order anything, and then turn around and leave when she's done...

...but it can be done if you totally own it, which is exactly what Ken and I did when we met up with Pam on Saturday night. She has a policy where if she uses the bathroom or something in a restaurant or store, she has to buy something, no matter how small. This is how I got a pair of kitty socks from Urban Outfitters, and why she was drinking a sake at this bar. We decided to not stay there for dinner though, because the menu was heavily sea creature-based, and I don't partake in the sea creatures. We ended up at Continental, which was perfect because I didn't want to eat a lot (having eaten at the birthday party). We snapped this (blurry) photo, but I'm sharing it because it makes me happy. I have such beautiful friends, right?

Reunited and it feels so good! <3
5. I will never get used to the weirdo looks I get when I travel with my harp.

On Saturday, I played a cocktail hour at a fancy-shmancy venue in Voorhees and I think I totally freaked out the valet when I popped my trunk and pulled a harp out. Also, when I was putting my harp in the car, the neighborhood kids were outside riding their bikes and one yelled, "WHOA! THAT IS A HARP!" It made me laugh. I was reminded of the time that I took my harp to the Teen Arts Festival in high school and carried it around the campus of a local college. People were staring constantly. Related: Taking a harp on a school bus is nerve-wracking. The cocktail hour playing went well, even though I'm 99% sure that after everyone was in the room talking and eating, no one could hear me. Three people did come over and tell me that they really enjoyed it, so... thanks, three random people. Glad to be of service. I've decided to call a woman in Brooklyn who regulates lever harps, which means I'll be driving my harp to NY... but it needs to be done. (Regulating a harp is like tuning a piano, kind of.) I really enjoyed getting back into playing, and I'd like to keep it up. The harp was a gift for my 16th birthday from my mom, aunts, and Mom-Mom, and it was handmade in Haddonfield, so I would like to keep it and make it more playable. 

Harping it up!
Oh, hey, there's me in the mirror there. Whoops.
6. I am a sucker for kittens.

Ok, this isn't something I really learned this weekend specifically, but my mom adopted a new kitten on Sunday and I went to meet her. She doesn't have a name yet, but she is a sweetie!

Not pictured: Her adorable extra toes on her front paws.
My mom was thinking about naming her Polly, since she's a polydactyl kitty, but it seems so contrived, haha. I voted for Thumbelina, because she is quite wee (she's apparently a year old and only weighs 7 lbs!) and she has "thumbs" on her front paws. We'll see what name wins out. But really, I was just so happy to snuggle a kitten, even if she wasn't really a kitten, being a year old. Cats just make me really happy. I went home and snuggled my own later that night:

How many cats can we fit in this bed? 

13 years old and still handsome!
We also took this video of Gershwin playing in the curtains:

I said to Ken that I love our cats so much that I can't imagine how it will feel when we have kids one day, because apparently, we'll love them even more. Craziness. And speaking of crazy, we're going to meet this little dude on Sunday:

7. Sometimes, it's better to just start over.

This is the (very) humble beginning of a baby blanket for Sarah and Josh's little man, who is set to arrive on the 26th! This is the THIRD time I had to cast on, because apparently, I am challenged. The first time, I didn't leave enough of a tail to do a long-tail cast-on, so I had to take it off and start over. The second time, I left WAY too much of a tail (like... 3 feet... whoops), so once I was ready to start the project, I needed to trim the giant tail. Of course, I accidentally cut the whole ball off of the project instead of the tail, so instead of rejoining the ball and having 93 loose ends, I ripped the entire thing again and cast it on for a third time. Now we're on our way! Of course, the blanket won't be finished before the baby arrives, but like I said before, baby blankets don't expire!

So what did you learn this weekend? As for me, I'm off to learn some enzyme kinetics. I have to see if I can remember the story I made up at one point to remember the difference between competitive and non-competitive inhibition. It involved a guy at a bar trying to pick up girls... I'll let you know if I figure it out.

Oh! And don't forget! Today is your last day to sign up to win $125 in PayPal cash from Becca over at Becoming Adorrable. :)

- A

One Down, One Up // Oh Hey, Friday!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Congratulations, we've made it to Friday! It was a heck of a week here. We started our second block of fundamentals, so it's been an onslaught of immunology and biochem, and Ken and I are trying to figure out how to feed ourselves and keep the house clean while he's working and I'm in school. So far, no one has gone hungry (cats included) and while things are a little more dusty than I'd like, we're not living in squalor. Even the plant and the fish are still alive, so I think we'll call that a win. I am super ready for the weekend, though, and not just because it means I can clean the bathrooms. (I live a thrilling life, I know.)

Before we get there, though, it's time for some link-ups!

It's the second week of One Down, One Up with Chrystina! If you'd like to link up the best and worst moments of your week, head over to her blog and check it out.

One Down

Well, this moment definitely belongs to finding out that I failed my biochem exam. To be perfectly honest, I wasn't entirely surprised... even though when I walked out of the exam, I felt like I had passed... barely. Like I said yesterday, I can't let this setback totally devastate me, but it was still pretty upsetting. I also didn't do as well as I thought I had done on my physio exam, but I passed, so I'm going to try to stop beating myself up about that. 

Related: I'm apparently really mean to myself. Like, way meaner to myself than I would ever be to anyone else in my situation. I am trying really hard to retrain my brain, but it's hard. And that's why Alison will continue going to therapy, folks.

One Up

The best part of my week was getting to see my Mom-Mom's piano!

My Mom-Mom passed away in 2004, right after I graduated from high school. She bought this piano for $100... sometime in the 80's, and it was the first piano I ever played. When I was 3 or 4, she started teaching me to read music and I spent many happy hours plinking away on the keys. Without this piano, I probably wouldn't have started taking lessons and fallen in love with music. Also, I found out that it was hand-built in 1922! It looks like a mess here, but that's because our piano tuner is taking it apart to refinish it and repair the action (the piece that has the hammers that hit the strings inside the piano). It has real ivory keys (sorry, elephants... I didn't do it!) that are absolutely beautiful and it has the most lovely tone. I know that the piano isn't worth what I'm putting into it to have it restored, but the instrument is so special to me that I can't imagine just putting it out on the curb or giving it away. It should be finished at the end of October, and I can't wait to put it in our house!


So, now it's time for Oh Hey, Friday with Karli and Amy! Want to link up your 5 things? Head over to either of their blogs! This week, I've decided to talk about the five things I am lusting after for the house:

1. Rugs

Our house has gorgeous hardwood floors, which I love. However, this means EVERYTHING echoes. We seriously need some rugs to absorb some of that sound, plus, rugs just make a room look more finished. I wish I had a reason to spend $1000 on an octopus rug:

Since I don't think I can rationalize putting a $1000 octopus rug in our dining room, I'm thinking about some of these:

What do you think? I think it's really hard to pick out a rug on the internet. I also think rugs are stupidly expensive. Anyone have good sources for inexpensive rugs?

2. Art

We have an awesome accent wall in our living room:

The wall above the sofa needs something. I can't decide if I want to do a landscape photo, or a macro photo... or something abstract entirely. I am 99% sure that I want to do something in the yellow-orange-gold family so it really pops on the dark blue, but... who knows. I do like these, though...


3. Octopus Decor

If you follow me on Pinterest, you've probably seen that I have an entire board dedicated to one of my favorite animals, the octopus. I'm obsessed. I plan to decorate our downstairs half-bath in octopodes decor, and here are some of my favorites:

4. Bookshelves

When we moved, we bought new bedroom furniture, but also got rid of the biggest bookcase that we had because it was part of my old bedroom set. Now all of my wonderful books are living in cardboard boxes, so that needs to be remedied. I am trying to decide what kind of bookcase to get for our third bedroom that will house all of our books. I'm really digging the IKEA hack that turns some regular old bookshelves into shelves that look like built-ins:

From Centsational Girl

But I don't know if I have the time or energy to make that happen. I also like these:

5. Light fixtures

We have a strange preponderance of lamps in our house now because prior to living here, we didn't have any overhead lighting in our condo. Now, our house has lots of recessed lighting and ceiling lighting, which is great... except that we have all of these lamps now. They're currently hanging out in our third bedroom, and it looks like there's some kind of weird lamp convention going on in there. However, the one place we don't have a lamp is in our entryway. For some reason, the sellers took the light fixture with them, so now we need to replace it.

Also, if anyone wants to help me decorate our house, let me know. I am basically useless, and can take all the help I can get!

On that note, I'm out. Don't forget to enter to win $125 in PayPal cash, and have a great weekend!
I know what I would do with $125... what would you do? If you're at a loss, you can always share it with me! 

- A

Back on the Horse

Thursday, September 11, 2014

My first best friend's name was Kristen, and she and I met in preschool. In fact, for the first couple years of our friendship, I didn't call her "Kristen" or "Kris," as she preferred. I consistently referred to her as "my best friend Kristen". (This is something that my family will never let me forget.) Kristen has always been an animal lover, but her favorite animal by far? Horses. The girl was horse-obsessed. Still is, in fact! Anyway, when we were in elementary school, we somehow got enrolled in summer camp, despite the fact that I am the least outdoorsy person known to man, woman, and child. The second week of camp was regular day camp, but the first week was horseback riding camp. I guess someone thought this was a good idea. 

Turns out, I am terrified of horses. Whoops.

I spent the entire week being terrified that I was going to get run over by a horse. I have very few memories of that week, except for the time one of the horses took off in a flat-out run with a camper on his back. I did not want to get on my horse, but I did.

I'm still terrified of horses, by the way. Kristen has been kicked in the face by her own horses, and  a few years ago, my mom (who used to ride all the time in her 20's) fell off of a horse and broke her clavicle. I am just not meant to mess around with horses.

Contrary to what you may think, this post isn't about horses though. Not actual horses. 

Today I got my exam scores back for 3 of the 4 exams we took last Friday. It was... good, bad, and ugly, as expected. Actually, I did way better on the genetics exam than I thought I would, and about as well as I expected on histology, but biochem was an unmitigated disaster. We haven't gotten our physio grades yet, but I will be absolutely floored if I didn't do well. Regardless, this sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach won't go away until I know for sure. 

Anyway, 22-year-old Alison, the one who went to med school 6 years ago, would have been wrecked by this news. In fact, I was completely nonfunctional after I found out that I had failed my first physio exam at NSU. I basically gave up, crawled into bed, and ate crappy food, ignoring the fact that none of that was going to help me not fail the next exam. It sounds stupid, but it was all I could do. If you've read around these parts before, you know that I eventually crashed and burned, and the ghost of that experience still haunts me. (See also: Why Alison believes wholeheartedly in therapy.) 

28-year-old Alison is not going to crash and burn. I am not going to give up and crawl into bed, never to be seen again. I can't. There are 4 more exams left for biochem for the year, and the biggest one is the third one. I can't let this happen again. After getting my grade, I immediately emailed the professor and I have an appointment to meet with him at 9 am on Monday. I texted my tutor and we're going to set up a time to meet next week (and I plan to schedule future sessions with her). I am going to do practice questions until I am blue in the face. 

I can do this. I am going to get back on the biochem horse. I am more afraid of failing and crashing and burning than I am of actual horses, but as I often say, "You can be afraid and you can do it anyway." I am bigger than one exam grade, I am more than one exam grade. And as my friend and classmate Julianne texted me:

"Don't worry about your biochem grade. It in no way describes how awesome of a person you are and the amazing doctor you'll be."

This is such a strange feeling for me; to not be devastated and paralyzed by failure. I spent most of my life until now quantifying my self-worth by my achievements. To be perfectly honest, I still have some of that left in my brain somewhere. I know, intellectually, that I am bigger than one exam grade and that my worth as a human cannot be distilled to numbers on a transcript or letters after my name. It's definitely easier said than done, though, to internalize that intellectual knowledge and to not feel completely defeated and useless by a setback. 

I'm not sure if it's because I'm older (and theoretically "wiser") or because this is the second time around in med school for me, but I can't let this opportunity slip away. While I was studying for my last round of exams, as much as I hated it, I found myself feeling grateful. There are so many people who never get into med school, and I've gotten in not once, but twice. Here, I am part of the 3% of applicants that were accepted to the class of 2018. I don't say that to pat myself on the back. I say this to remind myself that it is a privilege to be here. This is everything I've ever wanted, and I can't let one exam screw that up for me.

Pam makes fun of me because I am so painfully white, yet "Lose Yourself" by Eminem is on my "Get Motivated" playlist. There's a reason for this. When I was in high school, I was in the marching band (#nerdstatus) and we had a great staff of instructors to help us learn the music and the drill and keep us from dying out on the field. One of them quoted "Lose Yourself" before one of our biggest competitions

Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted. One moment,
Would you capture it, or just let it slip?

You better lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime

So, I might be afraid of horses, and I might be afraid of biochem, and I'm definitely afraid of failing and ending up like I did in 2009, scared and broken and mentally checked out. But this is my one shot, and I'm getting back on the horse.

What's the horse you need to get back on?

- A

Insert Confessions Here

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

I totally meant to post for Listed Tuesday yesterday. I really and truly did. I even started a post, then abandoned it. Yesterday was not a good day. The short and way-less-painful version of the day is:

Pericarditis, traffic, minivans, rain, biochem, lazy people, stupid people, entitled people, quiz, listening to lazy/stupid/entitled people bitching, mass chaos, and still no exam grades

Okay, now that that is out of the way... on to some confessions with Kathy of Vodka and Soda (and Ian, of course!)

Vodka and Soda

... I seriously had a rage-fest yesterday in our kitchen when I got home from school because I was so worked up about the complete lack of respect, laziness, and entitlement I witnessed during the day. Ken had to tell me to lower my voice because I was scaring the cats.

... Yesterday, I had a completely reasonable and balanced lunch (turkey sandwich! tangerines! water!) and then ruined it all with "dinner"... which was two rice cakes and then ice cream like, 4 hours later.

... I am a complete moron and have now shipped three different orders from various places to our old apartment. And no, not even our most recent "old apartment," the one we lived in in 2011-2012. The leasing office there must think I have some kind of cortical dementia. The good news is that I finally deleted all of the old addresses from my Amazon account, so at least it shouldn't happen again...?

... I woke up on Monday morning at 6:45 and made a waxing appointment for 9:45 because I thought the salon was in a completely different shopping center than where it actually is located. Then I rescheduled it for 5 pm on Tuesday and totally forgot to go. I finally made it there today. Again, the employees there probably think I have some kind of cortical dementia.

... I'm supposed to go pretend to be a doctor in 10 minutes and I haven't studied anything I'm supposed to be saying to my fake-classmate-patients. We're supposed to be practicing taking a history and chief complaint. This should be stellar.

... I am definitely not going to finish the blanket for Baby O by the 26th... considering I only cast it on on Sunday and haven't worked on it at all. Sigh. Good thing baby blankets don't expire!

... I really need to start studying the stuff we're learning this week, otherwise I am going to be SCREWED.

And with that, I'm off to go pretend to be a doctor.

- A

Monday Goodies

Monday, September 8, 2014

Well, here we are, another Monday, and the start of our next Fundamentals Block. We apparently have reached "Base Camp" for Mount Biochem according to our crazy professor (whatever that means), and we're on a break from histo for the next block, but we swapped it out for microbio/immuno, so I'm not sure if that's really a good thing. I guess we'll see...? Sure.

After I dragged myself out of our first marathon exam, I went home, ate all the things, and binge-watched "The Killing" while melting into my sofa. I then took a two hour nap with Gershwin, which wasn't really supposed to happen, but what else was I supposed to do when I had a snuggly, orange, cat in my face?

On Saturday, I slept in and it was glorious. Then, I made muffins! 

This was my first photo for #100happydays. Find me on Instagram!
And yeah, these were from a box mix, and they have no right to be as delicious as they were. We ate... many of them. I still really want to try this recipe because I will pretty much make whatever Alton Brown tells me to make... but box muffins are so much easier and when they're this good, I have a hard time justifying making things from scratch, haha. 

Post-muffin-ing, we put some stuff into the attic (and by "we," I mean Ken) and I spent the rest of the afternoon running errands. I returned about $120 worth of stuff to LOFT... and then promptly purchased another $60 worth of stuff. Whoops? At least I came out ahead, right? As Victoria said, "It would have been way worse to return $60 worth of stuff and buy $120," so I'm choosing to focus on that. (And plus, I got some really cute tops.) I also finally found a set of organizational drawers for our linen closet so I can actually put the rest of our bathroom nonsense away. I nearly threw a parade. (I also almost took out a small child with my organizational drawers. Everyone was fine.)

On Sunday, we finally made it to Ocean City for the first time this summer. We sat on the beach, watched babies, and talked. I also got sunburned because apparently, I am unable to adequately sunscreen myself at 28 years of age. Also, photosensitivity from autoimmune disease totally sucks. Regardless, it was a super relaxing day full of delicious food, laughing, and being outdoors.

And yes, I totally wore my cardigan on my face like that. Ken was super proud to be married to me that day.

After our beach day, we got cleaned up and then went out to see Guardians of the Galaxy... which I LOVED. And I totally want a dancing Baby Groot. Someone get on that.

And then today, I woke up to Gershwin chewing on my phone charger wire (WHY?) and Luna was running laps in our living room for reasons unknown. I went downstairs to feed them, since that is usually the answer to "WHY ARE YOU BEING SO DESTRUCTIVE?" and when I went into the laundry room, I was greeted with a hairball (ew) and THIS:


Okay, there was no actual screaming, but there was a string of expletives and a near heart attack, as the damn thing leaped 2 feet into the air when I almost stepped on it. Gershwin meandered in when he heard the commotion, and promptly was very interested in investigating our insect visitor. He succeeded in smacking it once or twice, and then chasing it under the dryer. THANKS, GERSHWIN. ::eye roll::

Anyway, that's basically how I spent my weekend. This week looks pretty good. Tonight, I have no plans other than to conquer Mount Laundry, dust a little, and unpack some stuff in the third bedroom. Tomorrow, it's a full day of lecture and lab, and then I get to go see my Mom-Mom's piano, which has been in our tuner's workshop for ten years (literally, ten years.) Now that we have a house that can accommodate the piano, I can finally have it repaired and refinished. I am so excited to finally get it back, because it is the first piano I ever played, and I spent many happy hours there with my Mom-Mom learning how to read music and playing. Also, once we get the piano into the house, we can finally finish setting up the house, as we've been waiting to hang things on the walls and get rugs until we can better visualize the space. On Wednesday, I only have lab from 1:45-3:00, so I'll be spending the rest of the day hopefully getting some house stuff done, and then on Wednesday night, I'm seeing "As Above, So Below" with Lindsey at the movie theater that does $5 tickets on Wednesday, so even if the movie totally sucks (which, let's be honest, it probably will) at least we'll only be spending $5 to see it. Then on Thursday, I'm getting a massage (thank God), and then it's Friday so... hurrah!

Before I go, I wanted to make sure you all knew about a giveaway! Make sure you enter below to win $125 in PayPal cash!


Whoo! Go check out some awesome blogs and win some cash! Wouldn't that make your Monday brighter?

And don't forget to come back tomorrow, because I am so excited that one of my favorite link-ups is back! Listed Tuesdays with So Much Sunshine!

- A

Looking Up

Friday, September 5, 2014

It's Friday. And it's exam day. As expected, there were things that I definitely knew and things that I definitely did not know. In fact, there was even some stuff on there that I am almost 100% positive I've never seen before in my life, so I either entered some kind of fugue state during that part of lecture, or they seriously didn't teach it. Whatever.

Either way, no one has ever died from an exam and as far as I know, all 162 of us made it out alive, so we're good. I hope. 

Now I am home and I plan to park my butt on this sofa and not move for as long as humanly possible. BUT, since it is Friday, that means it's time for "Oh Hey, Friday!" 

In honor of this being the day of my first med school exam, my 5 theme for this week is...

Five Things That Are Definitely Worse Than Taking Your First Med School Exam

1 | Being stuck in traffic on the Belt Parkway for 3 hours because a car is on fire or a truck decided to ignore the height restrictions and subsequently sheared the top of its trailer off. Yes, this happened to me. All I can say is that Ken and I seriously loved each other because we sat in a lot of ridiculous traffic over the years while we were dating.

2 | Being sick on an airplane. Traveling when you feel like crap is pretty much the worst, and airplanes are gross and uncomfortable when you feel good. While I've never had to throw up on a plane, I've definitely thrown up in airports and have spent entire flights thinking that my head was going to explode from sinus pressure. 

3 | Having your car broken into while you're taking a final... and then realizing that the jerk stole your laptop, which contained the entirety of your MPH thesis... which you were scheduled to defend the next day. Yeah, that was a bad day to be me. 

4 | Eye injuries/pain. I had surgery 2 years ago for something totally unrelated to my eyeballs, and during the procedure, my right cornea somehow became dried out. I spent the next 36 hours in excruciating pain, applying gel eye drops as frequently as I could, while my cornea repaired itself. I couldn't watch TV or read, and even I can only sleep for so long. Thank God there was nothing seriously wrong, but ugh, that pain was terrible.

5 | Sitting in the DMV. I'm pretty sure that place is a circle of Hell of which Dante wasn't even aware. It's always full of the weirdest people, and the employees are only slightly more useful than furniture. No matter what you're trying to do there, it takes about 836 times longer than it should, and there is always someone screwing something up. At least you only have to go every once in awhile, right?

So there's my five. I'm also linking up with Chrystina for her new link-up, One Down, One Up! Want to play along? Head over to her blog and add your own post about the best and worst things to happen to you all week. Easy peasy.

One Down | This week was rough, in general. I still have this weird pericarditis this and I haven't been feeling great. There were a lot of late nights filled with a lot of studying and not much else. I'm still trying to figure out what it means to be a med student and a grown-up who is married and has a house and friends and a life, but so far, the integration is throwing me for a loop. While I've started to find some more of "my people" in my my class, nothing is feeling terribly authentic and I am torn between feeling like I want to really get to know people and bond and make friends and feeling like at the end of the day, I just want to go home and spend time with Ken and the cats and the friends and family I already have and love. I know it doesn't have to be an either/or situation, but there are only so many hours in the day. Sigh.

One Up | There were a few good things that happened this week, all of which reminded me that I have lovely and awesome people in my life. Sarah sent me a 37-week "bump-date" picture, which is adorable and I can't wait until Baby O gets here! I also got to have lunch with Jen yesterday in the midst of my studying, and even though I didn't get to see her daughter (my "niece") because poor Fiora was having a teething-one-year-old-meltdown, it was nice to take a break and chat. I really am so blessed to have such supportive, wonderful friends. Leading up to the exam, I got so many text messages, emails, phone calls, and Facebook posts cheering me on. Having a support system really does make a huge difference.

And with that, I'm going to get back to doing... nothing. I plan to binge-watch more of "The Killing" this weekend, and on Sunday, Ken and I are planning to go to Ocean City to walk around and eat pizza, and then see a movie. My cats want to snuggle and I have knitting to work on and books to read and the best part? Nothing to study for the next 2 days. If you need me, I'll be here:

  Have a lovely weekend, everyone!

- A

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