Hi, I know, I’m sorry, I miss you too, I’m the worst.
Summer semester is kind of intense, y’all. I still have three classes and 12 credits and it’s all in 10 weeks instead of 16, complete with those pesky little 9-hour clinical days and tons of exams. Starting tomorrow I have an exam every single week until August 7th. Sad, right?
And, woe is me, I have the ridiculous “problem” of trying to balance grades with sleep and eating right and trying to exercise and also see SOMEONE. Someone and school? There isn’t room for them both. I’m trying to stay afloat but I’m kind of struggling over here.
I spent the weekend (and by weekend, I mean two very short days) at the shore. It was worth the 8-hour round-trip drive to spend time with the best Dad ever and see the family and the goldens, but I feel a little behind for my weeks of stress ahead. That’s some first-world problems, right there.
It was great to sit on the beach for a few hours on Saturday, sleep 12 hours on Friday night, and eat Mama’s delicious food.
And, let’s see. What else should I tell you?
Someone and I have made it official: Boyfriend and girlfriend.
(Did you just fall out of your chair?)
To be fair, he made it official, on my 28th birthday.
him: i’m going to ask.
me: don’t ask.
him: are you sure?
me: yes. it’s too 7th grade. but we are?
him: we are. now come here, i want to kiss my girlfriend.
Welp, I’m 28.
What does 28 look like? If the last evening of my 27th birthday was any indication, it looks like mature phone calls with the parents, doing laundry, avoiding the gym for once (TREAT YOSELF 2013) and sipping wine, doing homework, writing study guides, baking cookies, making dinner, and trying to keep it all together in nursing school for just one more day.
Last week I was paging through a journal I share with my Dad when a piece of paper fluttered from the back section and to the floor. That piece of paper was very interesting, indeed. I hung it on my wall.
It was something that I had apparently jotted down on my last birthday; probably while I was bored in the philosophy class I reminded future Laura of at the time. It was a snapshot of where I was, where I had been on each birthday, and where I planned to be this next year in my life: entering 28 with a fresh slate and a new start.
Is it significant? Well, it’s really just a collection of nouns. But the most interesting thing is what I ascribed at the bottom: not happy, happier, and happiest. It was a premonition that ended up being true. I am happy. I am happiest.
Are all of the things on the list accurate? Um, kinda. Weirdly, yes. My clinical was spent at the Psychiatric Institute of Washington, I have a pseudo-boyfriend who—even if it goes nowhere else and becomes nothing else—is fun to spend time with, and will be with me at the celebration tonight.
I am learning, every day, more than I ever knew. I am in class for hours upon hours, it exhausts me, and it is changing my life with every moment in the clinical setting and every patient I get to see and touch and heal. This is my life, and I am so lucky. I am so blessed, so at peace with myself. I am just in love. With my life.
And the most important thing is that my life is NOT perfect. And yet it’s perfect enough.
This birthday feels different because it’s one I didn’t full-on dread; one in which getting older didn’t mean being one year further away from what I once thought were the best days of my life, and one year closer to being unhappy at a career and job that I wasn’t in love with. This birthday is a celebration for me, a deeply personal celebration, of my life and what 28 years looks like. What it feels like and what it means. What it means to change your life at 27 and hope it all works out for the best.
So this year, as part of my new tradition, I will take this same piece of paper and write where I am and where I think I’ll be at 29. Let’s just hope I can think of a word that means “even happier than I am now and ever thought I could be.” Because that is the goal, right?
I like it. I WISH I HATED IT.
WOULD that I hated it.
Another weekend draws to a close, and again I sit here in front of my screen wondering where time has vanished off too. After a weekend of sun and sweating, part of me dreads hitting the books and settling back into another week of lectures, immunizations, therapeutic communication, and healthcare delivery systems. Woof.
But then again, the other part always squeals with delight when it’s time to get back into the practice of a profession I love so much.
Someone and I went to the Vintage Virginia Wine Festival on by far the hottest day of 2013 so far (car thermometer boasted a cool 95 on the way home). The humidity was an unfortunate complicating factor that, coupled with a lack of breeze and a strong stillness in the air, made us more uncomfortable than we should have been while doing something so supposedly scintillating. Long lines prohibited pretty much any of the tastings, so we ended up buying a few bottles to
sip chug in an effort to cool down. I would have gone skinny dipping in a pool of ice water, gladly—it was that bad. Everyone was pretty miserable. We made it about 4 hours before giving up and heading home to the air-conditioned beauty of reclining on leather couches watching The Departed in the dark.
(My dress was secretly like 100 shades of blue lighter than that…)
$40 Sunhat? Totally worth it. (The old one was destroyed by Sandy, anyway.)
Then Someone came over this afternoon for an early dinner and our Sunday ritual of crossword puzzling while drinking wine. What a horrible way to spend time, right?
(The theme of today’s puzzle, as well as this blog post, was “Ss.” Could you tell?)
And here I go, starting my last few days as someone in her mid-twenties, before passing reluctantly into the “late-20s” bracket. Woe is me, yes?
My brilliant friend CJK came up with a great idea a few weeks ago: She invited us all to join an exercise club of sorts, one that meets together tri-weekly or monthly to try out a new “fad” fitness in a new location, all with friends. Cycling, barre, dance, pilates, core fusion — anything is on the table. She is awesome, so she researches the best studios and times and deals for us, and we make it happen. I highly recommend it as a way to rejuvenate your fitness routines (or your friendships!).
For our first trick, we tried barre: a ballet-inspired workout that uses the ballet barre to help you tone your legs (and arms?) into beastly, Beyonce stems.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have the best experience. The studio we tried in Logan Circle, DC (which, incidentally, had excellent Yelp reviews), was cramped and crowded. (And dirty: I had gobs of dusty hair on my feet from time to time.) The hardwood floors HURT on knees and tailbones through the thin, squishy (and wet from the previous class, eww) mats. The “studio” room is about the size of a studio apartment, and it did NOT hold the 18 of us comfortably. [This is also just silly, since you have to sign up and reserve a spot in the class online in advance. If the class has reserved spots, why isn't it limited so that the price of the class is even worth it?]
Out of the 18 barre students, 9 were beginners/new to the workout and the studio, but our instructor offered zero modifications, nor did she provide effective verbal descriptions/physical demos of the moves. (At one point, she kept telling us to “tuck, tuck, tuck.” We burst into a fit of giggles after class when we all admitted we had not a clue what we were supposed to be tucking.)
Overcrowded, under-air-conditioned room aside, it was…still just OK. The moves I liked the best were stolen straight from Joseph Pilates, and the barre routine was too painful (and far too cramped) to be at all enjoyable. I don’t mean “painful” in the way that you’re like, OooO! That plié squat is really working! Look how graceful I am!—because believe me, I love painful, burning, conditioning exercises. I mean “Hm, this is hurting my knee and weird ligaments and muscles, is that normal? Should I stop? Am I going to have plantar fasciitis tomorrow?”
The “arm toning” section was a joke, and not just because I’m a BodyPump pro. There weren’t enough mid-weight free-weights to go around, so I was stuck with 2-pounders, and I might as well have simply dragged my own arms through the air. The class felt disorganized; we would go from the barre to the floor back to the barre, and then it would seem like she forgot something and we’d return to standing or kneeling. There was a lot of sweaty shuffling going on, and for $22, it was not even remotely worth my money.
Barre just wasn’t for me. I know that others enjoy it, but this was just a disappointment. (I also fully acknowledge that a different studio and instructor might change my tune, so I am willing to go once more.)
So, what do you think? Have you tried barre?
There’s a someone.
I know he’s someone because a nursing colleague asked me today, “Are you seeing someone?” And I said, “Actually, I am.”
So, Someone exists. He’s all four of the big four, in a big way: he’s attractive, he’s intelligent, he’s witty, he’s kind.
Someone (who shall not be named, but who bears absolutely no resemblance to He Who Shall Not Be Named) and I are spending a lot of time together. Since that fateful second date (during which I learned my Someone wasn’t just anyone), we’ve exchanged countless emails, frequent texts, and enjoyed several “dates that would not end.” Hours upon hours of smiley, innocent flirtation that lends itself to “would you rather…” and “have you ever” questions. Contended, “when do I get to see him again?” easy-ness. And that’s what we want, right? Easy, uncomplicated fun.
I can say one thing: I’m eating like a princess. Enchiladas. Gourmet pizza. Wine. Olives. Mussels. Martinis. Risotto. Custard. Speciality cheese. Wine. Oysters. More martinis. Mahi. More mahi, elsewhere. Grape leaves and Greek deliciousness. Scallops. (Ok, we eat a lot of seafood.)
I know enough to know that my writing about Someone won’t jinx his existence or presence in my life, but still, I won’t write of him significantly until I have his permission and until we’re past that awkward “are you my boyfriend yet?” place. We’re about to hit our 10th date (after which I promise to stop enumerating them), but you never know. One just never knows; stranger things, certainly, have happened to me in my dating life so far.
Readers: just know that someone exists, and that I’ll share stories soon. And in the meantime, know that everything feels very, very right.
And that Someone has me quite smitten, indeed.
There’s a little house finch that lives with his wife in the courtyard that my window faces. And I hate his little birdie guts. 5:15 a.m.: That’s when he starts singing like a madman. I am thisclose to ordering a BB gun, Mister. Thisclose.
I thought I’d share some photos of the weekend with you; we went to a new bar with tons of games (at which, of course, I beat all male challengers multiple times in Hoops Fever), Hill Country BBQ in the yard of the National Building Museum (but honestly, skip the museum and just go to Hill Country itself), a Nats/Phils game (the most crowded I’ve ever seen Natstown!), and a “cool” bar in the District where my friends got pretty drunk and I ate pork cheek nachos (better than that sounds).
It was a wonderful, wild, and beachless start to a fun-filled summer.
This is a Wegmans’ recipe, and it’s a delight. Perfect to make on a Thursday evening to enjoy all weekend long — as a snack, side dish for barbecued goodness, or served with chips. All good.
- Scant 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
- 1.5 cups canned corn
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1 cup celery, diced
- 1 cup Vidalia onion, diced
- 2 jalapenos, minced (and seeded)
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can black eyed peas, drained and rinsed
- Salt to taste
- Lemon juice to taste
- Cilantro for topping
Combine sugar and vinegar in a large glass (microwave safe) bowl, microwave for about 1 minute or until the sugar dissolves with stirring. Add corn and oil, stir to combine. Add remaining ingredients, and season to taste with salt, lemon juice, and cilantro.
And now I can’t get enough of this song.
But at first: I HATED ITS GUTS. My mother can attest to a physical reaction of detestation the third time I heard it: I almost started to cry in the car I hated it so much.
And now I’m obsessed.