Monday, September 22, 2014

The Best You Can Do

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

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Firstest of First World Problems

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

Monday, September 15, 2014

This Weekend I Learned...

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

Friday, September 12, 2014

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

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

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Back on the Horse

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

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Insert Confessions Here

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, September 8, 2014

Monday Goodies

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