Grown-Up Weekend Plans

Friday, April 17, 2015

I remember a time when Friday meant that I'd be doing a hell of a lot of nothing. Those were the days. Now, I'm looking down the barrel of an extremely busy weekend and week that will be filled with studying and being up to my elbows in cadavers. Fun! (Not really fun.) So, here are 5 things that I cannot wait to do next weekend, when I'm not studying my face off!

1 | Clean the closet

You know you're a grown-up when you can't wait to have some time off so you can do housework. A couple of weeks ago, I went to Victoria's and she tried on every piece of clothing she owned so she could get rid of some things. Last night, it was my turn.

Goodbye, pile of ill-fitting, worn, and dated clothing! (Kitten not included.)
Now, my project for next weekend is to organize what's left in my closet. Here are some "before" photos!

Hopefully, I won't lose my motivation.

2 | Reorganize the bookshelf

This is my current bookcase:

As you can see, not super-organized. The space on the bottom two shelves is being taken up needlessly by binders from the first year of med school thus far. I have piles of books upstairs that need a home, and the binders certainly don't need to be downstairs. That means that next weekend, massive book reorganization is happening!

3 | Spend time with Ken

The last few weeks have been so busy with visitors and life that I feel like Ken and I haven't spent any really good, quality time together. He's been amazing, as far as cleaning and doing laundry and cooking, but we need some "us" time. I don't know what we'll do yet, but I'm excited anyway. If it's nice, maybe we'll hit up a local winery or two for some tastings!

4 | Read

I am currently reading The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson, and I am loving it! I actually need to finish it tonight because I borrowed it from Amazon (three cheers for Kindle!) and it's going away tonight. Next week though, I will be starting The Girl on the Train, which I'm reading for an online book club, and also because it's gotten rave reviews. Until then, I'll only be reading these and my giant pile of notes:

5| Vegetate on my couch with Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu+, and HBOGo

I've kind of been keeping up on my shows, (much to the detriment of my studies, haha), but I'd like to catch up with Downton Abbey with Colleen, maybe finish House of Cards (2 episodes to go!), and figure out how to watch The Returned sans cable. Any ideas?

PS: I'm thinking about watching all of Grey's Anatomy this summer. I loved the first two seasons and then started to hate it, but I think it would be fun. My brother and I recently started watching the X-Files from the beginning in preparation for it to be rebooted in 2016. Have you ever rewatched a TV show from the beginning? Anyone out there watch the X-Files when it was on the first time?

And with that, I'm heading out. If you need me, I'll be in a studying cave with my neuro and anatomy notes. 5 weeks to go!


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Welcome to Wednesday, folks. It's been almost a week since my last post, and since then, I have accomplished very little in the realm of academics. In fact, I am more far behind with this block than I have ever been previously. I did absolutely nothing school-related over spring break, then the first week back, I did pretty much nothing, and then last week I did almost-nothing. This week has been only marginally better. This is especially bad because I have a neuroscience practical on Wednesday, an anatomy practical (on which there are over 300 structures that may be tagged) on Thursday, and a our neuroscience block exam on Friday (which is covering the first half of neuroscience, the back and limbs for anatomy, and some random microbio and histo stuff). 

To be honest, I'm having a rough go of it. Yesterday, my Timehop app told me that I posted this a year ago:

Yes, but most of the time that works in my favor.  Right now everything is cloudy and I’m exhausted and I think I might be depressed but also I think maybe I’m not depressed and that life is just shitty.  But it isn’t shitty so I must be depressed.  I wish someone would invent one of those things they used on Star Trek that you could just run over your body and it would be like, “Hey, you’ve got the flu” or “Your endorphins are all fucked up” or “Your body is fine but your head is all shitty and it’s not your fault so just wait it out and it’ll get better.”  Why don’t you invent that? - The Bloggess

Maybe it's the time of year, but I'm feeling very similarly now. I am feeling quite mired in all the of emotions happening. And then I have feelings about my feelings, and when I told my therapist that, she advised that I should "probably skip that because it's exhausting." I know that she's right, but I can't quite explain that to my brain. (Once again, brains are stupid sometimes.) It is getting to the point where I am sick of hearing myself, because all I seem to think or talk about is my uterus (and associated things) or school. I feel myself pulling out of social circles because I feel like I have very little to offer in the way of engaging conversation, and if I do choose to be social, I am even more exhausted than usual.

I am running out of bandwidth, so it seems. This isn't something about which I would usually be concerned, but I can't account for where it's currently be used. It certainly isn't school, because I am so far behind that I feel like I may never catch up. It isn't a social life, because even though I am staying in touch, I'm not really doing a ton with people. We have had a few weekends in a row of people visiting and I did spend half of my break traveling, but that doesn't account for all of it. I'm not feeling particularly ill, although right now I think I'm either getting sick or my allergies are so bad that they are refusing to be tamed by my usual Zyrtec. Apparently, just existing at the most basic level of functionality is exhausting me. That, in a word, is annoying.

I'm not quite sure how to fix it, which is my other go-to solution for when I have a problem. First, I feel things about it, then I usually feel feelings about those feelings, and then I try and solve whatever problem it is. Sometimes, though, there isn't anything to be done. I just have to live here in this space of weirdness until it passes. As The Bloggess said, "Your body is fine but your head is all shitty and it's not your fault so just wait it out and it'll get better." So that's my confession for this week. I'm mired in feelings, behind in school, and unsure about where to go, what to do, or how to fix it. Go team?

Making Melissa

2015 Word Check-In

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Happy Almost-Friday! For those of you who didn't know, the days of the week are Monday, not Monday, Almost Thursday, Almost Friday, Friday, and of course Saturday and Sunday. There, you learned something. Don't say you never learned anything from reading a blog.

Anyway, back in Februrary (which feels like it was approximately 300 years ago), I wrote a letter to 2015 and in it, I chose my word for the year: Brave. As you may recall, the beginning of 2015 was absolutely horrendous, but we survived, and I thought it would be nice to do a check-in to see how well I was living my intended word. In fact, I thought that this was such a good idea that I've decided that at the end of every month, I will post about what I did (or didn't do) to embody BRAVE for that month.

Brave is a noun, an adjective, and a verb. It can be made into a gerund, which is one of my favorite parts of speech. Essentially, the definition is "endure or face (unpleasant conditions or behavior) without showing fear," but I don't think that last part is necessarily part of my definition. My definition includes my favorite mantra, "You can be afraid and you can do it anyway." Obviously, some fear is good. Fear keeps us alive. It's good to be afraid of things like uncontrolled fire and falling off of cliffs and bears. It's when fear gets in the way of doing normal life that it's not so great. (See also: My entire existence.) I don't aim to eliminate fear or anxiety from my life; I aim to control it and let it out in reasonable doses when it makes sense.

I think we can all agree that January and February were trial by fire, as far as bravery was concerned. After the miscarriage, the subsequent D&C, the extended recovery period, the mental anguish of dealing with the loss of our baby, a second D&C because my body just couldn't get it together, and even more angst... I think I had brave covered pretty well. In fact, even if I wasn't particularly brave, the fact that I survived and didn't fail out of school or land myself in the hospital were small triumphs unto themselves. March was lightyears better, simply by virtue of not being January or February. I even did a few legitimately brave (to me) things!

On March 15th, I headed up to NYC to visit two friends. I have traveled to the city on multiple occasions, but never by myself. Usually. I am with Ken, who grew up on Long Island and is very familiar with trains and subways and not getting run over by people or cars. Even when I am with Ken, Penn Station gives me hives and I spend the entire time thinking about how death might befall me at any given moment. However, this time, I was on my own! I drove to the train station, got on the train to the city, and when I arrived in Penn Station, I didn't spontaneously combust! (Trust me, this was surprising.) I even managed to buy a MetroCard, get on the subway without dying, and walk from the subway station to Katie's apartment. I wanted to throw a parade! Instead, I snuggled Katie's twin girls and ate pizza and relaxed. 

Then, when I finished up at Katie's, I got back on the subway and took it to Battery Park (where I have never been) to see my friend, Steph. Fortunately, Steph gives amazing directions, so even when I got off the train and had no idea where I was, I was able to find her apartment without having to ask for help. I didn't leave Steph's until after 8, so it was dark, but I still found my way back to the subway and got back to Penn Station. The only hiccup was that when I exited the train at Penn, I somehow didn't stay underground to get back to the NJTransit part of the station, so I ended up outside and thought I was going to die and then miss my train because there were so many people. Neither of those things happened, and I returned safely to my suburban bubble, no worse for wear. I know it sounds stupid, but this was such a big achievement for me. Not a single meltdown, no getting lost. 

A couple of weeks later, I got on a plane in Philalpdehia and headed off on my whirlwind tour of the midwest! This initial part wasn't that exciting; I've flown by myself before dozens of times, and flying doesn't freak me out (most of the time). After my time in Lexington though, I rented a car and drove to Ohio and then Indiana, both states where I have never driven. Yes, I had a GPS and could have called multiple people to direct me in case I somehow got irreparably lost, but I did it! I also met and stayed with someone I had never met in person, which had the potential to be super awkward (but it wasn't!) Both trips, as different as they were, made me feel so empowered to do life on my own. It made me feel like a "real grown-up". It was weird! But cool. I definitely want to do more traveling on my own in the future, and I never thought I'd ever say something like that.

So that was my brave inventory for last month. I'll check-in again at the end of April to see what I did or didn't do this month, as far as bravery is concerned. What do you think? Did you pick a word for 2015? How do you define brave? Have you done anything recently that you never thought you'd do?

Spring Break 2015: Exotic Midwest Edition

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Hi there! First things first. You may have noticed that Simply A has gotten a bit a majorly needed facelift, and I am so excited about it! I'm working with Jenn of Hello Brio, which has been nothing short of fantastic. There are a few things left to be done, but I am already in love with it. I hope that you are, too! Spring cleaning: Not just for closets anymore.

I finally have a few minutes to sit down and write about my spring break! I also inadvertently took a break from blogging, but it was kind of lovely. I didn't have to think about whether my experiences were "bloggable" and I could really just experience the trip. I highly recommend that you do that every once in awhile. Of course, I did take a bunch of pictures, so I thought I'd share them with you!

My trip started off on Friday morning, after I was up way too late packing, as per usual. (When will I learn? Apparently, never.) Not only was I tired, it was snowing, because why wouldn't it be snowing on the first day of my spring break? Thanks, New Jersey. I was scheduled to fly from Philadelphia to Atlanta and then on to Lexington, but as luck would have it, the plane that was supposed to take me to Atlanta was having mechanical problems and so the flight kept getting more and more delayed. Delta Airlines was awesome though, and they offered to rebook me on a flight connecting through Detroit that was leaving from the gate next to ours. I decided sure, why not, the airport in Detroit was pretty nice, and headed off on my exotic tour of the midwest. However, I did take a picture of this before I left, because it made me giggle:

Moray eels are so weird and creepy.
After a brief layover in Detroit, I was on my way to Lexington. Sarah picked me up at the airport and I think we probably scared all of the surrounding travelers with our squeals of straight up glee at seeing each other again. I hadn't seen her since her baby shower last May, and even though we talk frequently, I miss her all the time. She's pretty much one of my favorite people ever. It was my first time visiting since they had moved to Kentucky a few years ago for Sarah's residency, so I was so excited to see their beautiful house and to meet their cat, Bob and their son, Patrick!

This is obviously Bob, not Patrick.
We had a relaxing weekend with wine, pedicures, shopping at Ulta for make-up, and lots of baby snuggles. We spent a ton of time in our pajamas, which was awesome. Of course, we also went out to dinner and looked like real people, so that required photographic documentation.

My beautiful LF!
(Reminder: Sarah and I met during freshman orientation at Wittenberg University in 2004, and because we're both wee, we started calling each other Little Friend, which obviously got shortened to LF. I can't remember the last time I actually called her by her given name, haha.)

Of course, I was absolutely over the moon to finally meet Patrick, who just turned six months old at the end of March. He is one of the cutest babies I've ever seen, and I am completely in love with him. Seriously, how can you not love this face?!

I have a framed print of this in my house because it just makes me happy!
After a relaxing weekend that was all too short, Sarah took me to the airport, we got lost trying to find the Enterprise rental car counter, and then eventually, I was on my way to Cincinnati to see my college roommate, Emily, for the next leg of my journey. I was supposed to be renting an economy car, but apparently, they were all out of those, so I got this:

Hi, this is my enormous Camaro.
Not going to lie, it was pretty fun to drive! I made it to Emily's without incidence and we hugged for about an hour because I hadn't seen her in what felt like an eternity. Emily and I were roommates at Wittenberg for the second semester, after we both spent first semester with the world's worst rommates. She is the roommate against which I judge all other roommates, Ken included. It was a total fluke that she was in Cincy the weekend that I was traveling, as she is currently working on her doctorate in Madison at The University of Wisconsin. We grabbed dinner with her mom at Tom + Chee, which as you can probably guess, is a grilled cheese restaurant!

Happy to be with my roomie!
After grilled cheese, we went to Graeter's, which is one of my favorite ice cream places on the face of this planet. Even though I somehow managed to throw ice cream on myself not once, but twice, it was a delicious trip.

Not pictured: Me, throwing ice cream all over myself.
We spent the rest of the evening just chatting and catching up, and it was so nice to spend time with her. The next morning, we were up and on our ways; Emily to the airport to head back to Madison, me in my gigantic car to head to Indianapolis for the last part of my tour of the midwest.

This was my first trip to Indiana, and the drive from Cincinnati to Indianapolis was.... boring. Indiana is extremely flat, and that's really saying a lot considering that I'm from southern NJ, where hills basically do not exist. I did see a fair number of cows, and some interesting billboards including, "Don't drive naked," and "Pajama bottoms aren't pants, people." Eventually, I made it to the Indianapolis airport, where I deposited my huge car and waited for Marcie to come and fetch me.

Fun story! I "met" Marcie (who blogs here) through blogging, and we and I had not met in real life before this trip! It was the biggest "blate" ever, basically. Not going to lie, I was kind of worried that it was going to be really awkward or weird, but from the minute Marcie picked me up, it was like we were old friends. We grabbed some chicken nuggets for lunch (like adults), and then spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out and chatting. It was a seriously relaxing couple of days, during which we spent as much time as possible in our pajamas, camped out on the sofa. We also went to a local yarn store, but we just pet all of the pretty yarn and didn't buy anything. I also spent a lot of time trying to fight off advances from the extremely loving Grover:

We had an early morning on Wednesday, as I had to be at the airport around 7:30. We realized that we hadn't taken any photos at all during my visit, so we took this extremely glamorous car selfie:

So glamorous.
Fun fact: Marcie made that scarf that I'm wearing, and she gave it to me because it was too itchy for her. Bonus scarf!

And that, my friends, was my whirlwind tour of the midwest. The rest of my spring break was spent entertaining my dad and step-mom, which was alternately really fun and really obnoxious. Pro tip: Don't overschedule your spring break so much that you need a break after your spring break. Other pro-tip: Don't leave your winter coat in Lexington and your external battery in your rental car. (Sarah is sending me the coat, and the battery was mailed to me from Enterprise... but it was a pain in the neck to get it!)

If you had a spring break, how did you spend it? Have you ever been to the midwest? Have you ever had Graeter's, and if not, when do you plan to get some???

Closer to Fine

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

There's more than one answer to these questions pointing me in a crooked line.
And the less I seek my source for some definitive, the closer I am to fine.

- Indigo Girls, "Closer to Fine"
Hi. It's been two weeks (not nearly as catchy as the Barenaked Ladies Song from 1998... wow, that was a long time ago) and I'm back. In my absence from this little corner of the internet, I've been very busy doing nothing related to school. After finishing my gigantic cumulative physiology exam the Thursday before spring break, I briefly collapsed into a pile and then took an exotic tour of the midwest to see some of my favorite people. (Don't worry, a recap of that trip is forthcoming.) I also spent some time with my dad and stepmom, who came up to visit from Florida. Note to self: 5 days with your dad and step-mom, even if they're cool, is too freaking long. 3 day maximum on the house guests from here on out.

And now we're back into the swing of things. Or... at least a reasonable facsimile thereof. I'll be perfectly honest, I am already behind in studying, but I guess that's just my perpetual state of existence with regards to med school. There are 53 days left in the school year, and only 39 of those are school days. There are 7 Mondays left in the first year of my medical school experience. Someone stop the madness! (But really, don't stop the madness because this year needs to be over so I can relax a little.) It's also been 3 months since the insanity of what was eventually my miscarriage began, and between the 900 babies that were apparently born over the weekend and the pregnancy announcements flooding my Facebook wall, I'm a little sensitive right now.

In fact, pause. It's April 1st, also known as April Fools' Day, also known as the second most hated day of the year for me (second only to the day that Daylight Savings ends). I have always hated April Fools' Day and I will always hate April Fools' Day. I used to hate it just for the sheer stupidity of the day, and how it seemed to give people carte blanche to act like absolute jerks. Now I hate it even more because of the inexplicably popular April Fools' prank: The fake pregnancy announcement. I don't know who decided that creating human life was a joke, but news flash, it is not. And fake pregnancy announcements? NOT FUNNY. It's not cute. It's not funny. It's not innocent. 
It is hurtful. It is cruel. It is a heartbreaking reminder for people who can't have children, who are struggling with infertility, who have lost babies to miscarriage. Miscarriage and infertility are often silent struggles, and your "harmless prank" designed to shock your family and friends might be hurting someone that you love. So just don't do it, okay? Okay.

You might think that after 3 months, I should be able to laugh it off a little more easily. I can't. I don't think I ever will, and that's okay. But, I am, as the Indigo Girls so wisely said, closer to fine. I listen to a lot of satellite radio in my car, and I have been hearing this song a lot lately. I'm sure that's just coincidence and Sirius Channel 76 (The Coffee House) needs to mix up their playlist a little more, but every time I hear it, I sing along and try to mean it when I say, "The closer I am to fine". Real talk, I'm a control freak. An answer seeker. I love data more than I love most things. So when something happens that is seemingly without cause, like a miscarriage, I basically lose my mind. What do you mean things like this just happen? There's nothing I can do to prevent it from happening again because we don't know what caused it in the first place, and even if we did, there's a million other reasons that it could happen again.

Fortunately, data is on my side in this one, and most women who miscarry (less than 5%) have a second miscarriage. Of course, I know many people who had a second loss, but less than 1% of women have a third consecutive miscarriage. I can't even entertain the idea of a second loss at this point, because I might never get pregnant ever again if I scared myself like that every day. Instead, I am choosing to focus on being closer to fine. 
I saw my psychiatrist yesterday and talked about how I feel like I should be "better" already. As usual, she had a lot of good things to say, but this stuck with me.

"We'd all like to give people that gift of being 'okay'. But this is a major trauma that happened in your life, and you don't have to be okay yet. They don't need that gift. You are where you are, and that is okay."

So no, I'm not fine. But I'm closer to fine. And that's how it is.

It's Been One Week

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

And now I hope that song is stuck in all of your collective brains, because really, it's a good song and it's stuck in my head, so someone should share in this experience with me.

ANYWAY, hello! It's Wednesday and I haven't posted since last Wednesday, but that is what happens when you have a gigantic exam on Friday and another one the following Thursday. In fact, I should probably be studying right now, but I'm not. That being said, I have to get back to it quickly, so without further adieu, this week's installment of Humpday Confessions, a link-up hosted by Making Melissa!

I confess...

... That once again, I should be studying and I'm not.

... I'm not studying because I realized that I need a 35% on this cumulative physiology final in order to pass for the year. That made any small motivation I had remaining completely disappear. However, I don't want to be that jerk who didn't study at all and scored a 7 on the final, so... I'll study. A little.

... I recently had a nightmare that I filled out my anatomy practical sheet BACKWARDS somehow, so I failed. 

... My dad and step-mom are coming up from FL to visit next week and for some reason, my step-mom is obsessed with the idea of going to the Hershey factory. Fortunately for me, the factory itself closed in 2010, so no more factory tours exist. I'm hoping this means they'll take my suggestion of going to the Smithsonian National Zoo in DC!

... I really wish that my dad and step-mom weren't staying with us for 4 nights. It gives me agita, even though they're quite lovely, as far as relatives are concerned.

... Having my sunroof open for the first time yesterday filled me with an overabundance of glee. But today it's chilly again and I am sad.

... I ordered new glasses and I'm kind of afraid of them because they're from Warby Parker and they're bigger/more exciting than anything I've worn prior to this. I went with the "less safe" pair because there's a 30 day return/exchange policy. Don't worry, I'll be posting photos once they arrive!

... I got a massage on Monday and I was so tired/relaxed that I fell asleep. 

... I ate an entire box of Peanut Butter Patties by myself in a matter of days.

... I navigated the NYC subway by myself on Sunday and I didn't die or sit down and cry, but the main reason for not doing the latter is that the sidewalks in NYC are disgusting. 

And that's all I have for you today. Back to the physiology for me...
Making Melissa

Humpday Confessions

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Another Wednesday, another set of confessions!

I confess...

... my eating habits have totally sucked lately, and as such, I have gained a few pounds. Wah.

... the other night when Xbox Live wasn't working and we couldn't watch anything on Netflix or HBOGo or Hulu+, I was really upset. It's the first time I've really missed having cable since we moved.

... I really should be studying, but the contractors are upstairs making so much noise, it's hard to concentrate.

... I sometimes let Gershwin eat people-food. Cat-approved people-food. But people-food, still.

... There is still a load of laundry in the dryer from last week. 

... I have yet to finish my application for life insurance.

... I have no idea which company currently holds our mortgage, which is bad because I need to get a statement from them for tax purposes and... I don't know who they are. Go team home ownership.

... I would totally order one of these if it wasn't $190.00, even though I sitll probably wouldn't be able to curl my hair because I am inept.

... I am the worst at writing personal statements and statements of interest.

... I know that I should work and do something this summer, but I really don't want to.

... I have barely done anything today and I am ready to take a nap. Let's be honest, I was ready to take a nap when I woke up at 7:30.

... It is taking all of my self-control to not bake the brownies that are in my pantry. (See confession #1)

... It has taken me over an hour to write this extremely short and simple post. My brain is not on board today.

... I cannot wait for next Friday because I will be on spring break and visiting some of my favorite people and that is basically all I can think about right now, oh my God, run on sentence.

And that is all I have to say about that.

Don't forget to link up your confessions with Making Melissa!

Making Melissa

- A