Iceland I love you, but you’re bringing me down

I woke up this morning from a dream where I was talking along the field outside my parents’ house in NJ with my best friend (who actually lives in California). I was annoyed because the neighbor was blaring country music since it was warm enough for them to be lazing about outside, and their giant dog, who was unleashed, came barreling towards my friend and me.

This is the last time I deal with their shit, I thought to myself and began to storm towards their property.

Right about then my alarm went off. I was awake, but not really, and the sounds of the birds outside and the rain on the window were familiar enough to let me believe a little longer I was home. As I re-oriented, I began to remember where I was, which in turn made me realize how far away I was from the things that just felt so close. And suddenly I found myself dealing with the thing I’ve managed to stave off pretty well up until now: homesickness.

I’ve now been in Iceland about 12 days–a little less than halfway through my trip. I won’t say that I haven’t missed home before this point, but I think I was able to suspend the realities of the two enough where I did not allow the feelings about one to affect the experience of the other. It’s essentially the same backwards logic I used the other day when visiting the Víðgelmir Cave during my road trip to West Iceland. One of the other girls from the residency and I decided to go explore the western part of the island, and saw info for this trek into the largest known cave in the country (the guide informed us that because of the porous nature of the lava rock that has formed this place, there are most likely thousands more yet to be discovered). When we agreed we should check it out, I wasn’t really considering the potential triggers for panic that this excursion might cause–being that I am very claustrophobic and not really great with heights, either.

When we got there, I asked the guide if the claustrophobia would be a problem. He assured me that beyond one area where you had to duck your head to get in, it was very open and you could stand with no problem.

“OK, I can do that,” I thought. Continue reading

I Ain’t Down Yet.

The stages of Alzheimer’s are so difficult and complex to try to explain to someone. I know hearing someone say “you just wouldn’t understand” almost sounds aloof, but it’s not even like that. It’s more just like–where do you begin? It would be like trying to explain something like city trash pick up to someone–it’s shit that’s so commonplace background noise that you don’t even know how to dissect it from what the rest of “normal” life is supposed to look like.

I never really know what to say when people ask about my mom. I don’t know how much detail is fair to give, or really necessary. It’s a kind gesture on their behalf to acknowledge that they care and recognize this thing happening in your life, but it also makes you feel like you’re always exposed and vulnerable to this fact, especially on the days you’re feeling particularly exposed and vulnerable about it.

It’s funny because I always think that I’ve gotten over it to a certain point–that this shit has been reality so long that there’s no reverting to complete sadness about it anymore because how can you legit cry over something that you’ve been carrying around that long? But then something happens–I smell her perfume while I’m out running errands, or for a brief second, some brain glitch makes me think that she’s just at work or reminds me of what it felt like to sit in the passenger seat while she drove to the mall. Suddenly I actually remember that these things were once real and happened. I used to have a mother. She used to know who I was.

These moments are easily the hardest to deal with because for a second there is so much happiness and hope and then suddenly everything snaps back into place, like some shitty reality rubber band, and it’s back to remembering that point and time is Over. Continue reading

When they love you and they will, tell them all, they’ll love in my shadow…And if they try to slow you down, tell them all, to go to hell

The past couple of months have been such a crazy whirlwind, and although I’d like to believe that will slow down soon, with the holidaze almost upon us, so I’m finding that hard to believe. Continue reading

Leaving on a jet plane, don’t know when I’ll be back again…

I’m more than a little embarrassed to admit that I just spent $20 for sort of mediocre Internet service while on my flight to San Fran–but I weighed my options carefully beforehand: It was between this and an overpriced movie and overpriced Bloody Mary. Although one would argue 2 is better than one, it’s been my finding that inflight cocktails usually taste pretty terrible, and the only way to really make them enjoyable is generally by downing a couple. Plus, I’d get more hours of entertainment from the Internet than I would from the movie/booze combined… look at me, with all my practical, adult decisions! Continue reading

Our feelings were caught and stopped that ring; dulls the fire, works ’til they stop singing

Being sick the past few days meant that I’ve pretty much been homebound, which then bled into my normal work-from-home days, which means I’ve spent more time at home the past few days than I probably have in months. It’s been weird, but oddly welcomed, although I could have done without the feverish hell that was Friday through Monday. I’m feeling more or less better now. I think a lot of times illness coincides with life things, and it just seemed that perhaps my body was telling me it was time to rid my body/my life of a lot of different toxins. It was good to be forced to completely stop everything, and just recharge and heal.

Continue reading

we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies

Well, friends–we are back after some time away on adventure. It was good to see some dear friends, take in some new sights, and revisit some places (and food joints) we love. Our flight got in pretty late last night and I still have not learned the importance of taking off the day after vacation, so I am doing my best to get through this workday and catch up after being gone.

But, I’m also excited to hit the ground running. I have a lot of projects I’m excited about, a lot of things I want to blog about, and a lot of personal goals I’m still working towards. This week will be a busy one, but I’m looking forward to the next round of adventure here on home turf!

 

I guess the winter makes you laugh a little slower, makes you talk a little lower about the things you could not show her…

The past couple of weeks, I have naively thought that spring would be right around the corner, almost sure the “worst” of winter had already come. But as I type this, I am watching heavy snowflakes fall outside my 12 ft windows, accumulating into what the local news weathermen can now confidently call a blizzard. Apparently, Old Man Winter, things are not over between us quite yet… Continue reading

Naše lomenice je mezi lomenicemi ta nejlomenicovatější.

Not a whole lot going on right now, aside from the fact that it’s once again snowing… (Oh snow, how I’ve come to loathe you, especially since relying on public transportation 5 days a week…). Trying to get back into a “normal” routine post-holidays isn’t easy, especially when dealing with the mounting fatigue from the past few months, the snow days, and the still-new, considerably earlier weekday morning routine finally taking its toll.

The biggest excitement to report is that I finally bought my plane ticket for my Eastern European adventure this March!! I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to pull it off this paycheck, especially since rent was due, but I was able to *just* scrape by with enough to get me to next week. SO excited! And happy too, since I got a better deal than the prices I saw this summer when we first started looking (looks like Kate and her article were right: you should wait until about 8 weeks out before buying your ticket). Now that the dates/airfare are settled, it’s just a matter of determining hostels/transportation between cities. So much to do, so little time!

So, that’s really it for now… aside from that, D and I have been watching the last season of Reno 911 on Netflix and I’ve been trying to ignore the fact that the Christmas Tree and decorations are still patiently waiting to be put away. I love how I’m justifying not actually physically taking the tree down by not plugging it in anymore… “Well, at least it’s a step…” Sigh. Who said I could be an adult?

Anyway, I should really get to bed…actually, I should have really gotten to bed 3 hours ago. Even though the chances are high I’ll be working from home tomorrow, I still need to be up and ready to work at 8:30 a.m…although I am admittedly tempted to take a PTO day and take advantage of free mimosas at PYT. Oh work, won’t you call it a snow day? For me?

‘Til next time… Goodnight, dear readers!

The Recipe for Christmas Spirit: More lights, less milk.

As Norris and I made our way back to his car late Saturday night, bundled against the dropping temperatures, watching our breath expel in billowy tufts, I admired the block on Tasker where we parked: every house had been decorated differently, with strings of white, colored, and blue lights, blinking reindeer, light-up snowflakes, lights even hung clothesline-style from one side of the street to the next. Albeit hodgepodged, this spectacle transformed the small strip of street into a magical wonderland.

And in that moment, I fully embraced the Christmas spirit.

Christmas lights are always the thing that get me this time of year. I guess that’s the point: take the darkest time of the year and brighten it by adding twinkling lights to just about everything. It doesn’t just make the short days and cold temperatures prettier; it makes them bearable.

But beyond the twinkle lights, the many festivities of the past weekend helped get into that nostalgic, excited mindset, first starting with our Christmas office party Friday night. Continue reading

park that car; drop that phone; sleep on the floor; dream about me.

A quick recap/brief highlight reel of this weekend:

Friday
-Partook in my Friday ritual of sushi lunch at Kabuki. I was anxious to get down to Maryland, but I was starving.
-After finishing up my “Midnight Train to Georgia’ mix CD for Parr’s fundraising efforts, I was out the door and ready for some Kingsville adventures! I made good time, despite some pockets of traffic on 676 and 95S.
-Night out with Parr and Momma P.! We made our way to the local bar, which is always our destination when we’re at Parr’s parents’ house. Although the name/ownership has changed, the sentiment is the same: cheap booze, decent eats, and a guarenteed good time. After stuffing myself silly with just about every crab dish on the menu (cream of crab soup, crab dip, crab sliders), we made our way to the bar to play some erotic photo hunt before choosing to switch to regular photo hunt (this erotic photo hunt was much more scandalous than the one from our college days!). The switch proved a good move: we ending up rocking the game and placing 1st and 3rd (so if you go to the Horseshoe Bar, look out for PaaarrrrrrrSaaaarrrrr or something to that effect). A good send off to my dear friend. Here’s hoping the wolves don’t get you in the Republic of Georgia, Parr!
-Now that the cat is out of the bag, I can announce on the internets that Parr is engaged! We spent a good portion of my time there looking at wedding dresses, planning the wedding, and determining what elements important to a Jewish ceremony I could decorate with glitter (her fiance told me I could make him a Yarmulke and I am holding him to it :))

Saturday
-Although I couldn’t stay for the goodbye/congratulations party, I was able to spend a little more quality time with the Parrs Saturday morning and even got to see Norris for a little bit. After greeting some arriving guests, setting a date to go dress shopping for when she returns (in April! :(), and getting some broccoli cheese casserole for the road, I was off.
-I hustled back to Jersey (less than an hour and a half–w00t!), unpacked and repacked my overnight bag, and burned a new batch of CDs (this time an 80s playlist), and heading down to Margate to celebrate a final “girls night out” before Jillian officially becomes ball-and-chained!
-The night started off at Steve and Cookie’s, where we had a delicious meal (I had flounder-stuffed with crabmeat, smashed potatoes, and roasted asparagus. YUM). The owners sent over a dessert sampling for the bride-to-be, so I also got to sample some of the banana cream pie, also amazing.
-After the meal, we headed back to the hotel room for the 80s-themed sleepover. There was dancing, there was blue eye shadow, there was gorging on junk food, and yes, there were rousing rounds of Never Have I Ever. A good time was had by all, and I am still amazed to have met someone who managed to truly shock me with the shit coming out of her mouth. For those who know me, you know this is no small feat. I think I finally experienced what most people claim to experience with me on a regular basis: “here’s the line, and here’s you.” I tip my hat to her!

Sunday
-After a weekend chocked full of traveling, socializing, and grazing, I was beyond exhausted. After cleaning up the miscellaneous beer bottles, balloons, and neon bracelets, we all kind of sat around and vegged until checkout. Since D had dropped me off and taken the car (he had also been down in Margate for Tim’s bach-party), I caught a ride back to Hammonton with Jill to meet up with our men.
-We decided to grab breakfast at Mary’s, one of D’s favorite haunts from our Hammonton days and we were once again reminded why we can’t live there: within the course of the meal, I must have seen/had awkward small talk with at least 4 people I knew. Don’t get me wrong, it can certainly be nice to go home “where everybody knows your name,” but I definitely appreciate the option of anonymity.
-After breakfast, we went back to Jill & Tim’s and spent the afternoon being lazy, watching football and napping. It was a nice way to spend the day after running around nonstop for the past week.
-Jill & Tim needed to head to the mall late in the afternoon to make a return, so D and I headed to my parents for a visit. The whole crew was there and we hung out for dinner and then stayed ’til late evening. As always, it was good to see my family. I miss being closer to them, especially my parents and really need to make a better effort to try to get down a couple times a month.

So, that’s about it, although I’m probably forgetting a thing or two. Monday was Monday: I was tired, but productive. Spent most of the day with my face buried in my monograph, which needs to get out to the client ASAP. I stayed ’til about 7 tonight to get that ready for my manager to review. I also got the materials together for the BELS exam. I hoping to take it in November so I can become ELS (Editor of Life Sciences) certified and then have fancy credentials after my name. Here’s hoping that I a) get the application back in time (I thought I had to go to NYC for a work trip, but ending up not having to go, so I’m kind of slapping this together last minute) b) I actually pass if I can take the test. I’ve heard mixed things about its difficulty. I took out the old AMA book tonight to start brushing up and got overwhelmed (can you blame me when it’s a 1000-page  manual??).

Interestingly enough: I took my diploma out of the paper tube I received it in 5 1/2 years ago for the first time today (I needed to send a copy of it for my BELS exam review). I’ve never actually looked at it before. It’s HUGE and completely in Latin. So weird such an important document in my life has been essentially useless all this time…