Monday, December 12, 2011

Why Everyone Needs a Recharge Retreat

As you all may have guessed from my lack of attention here, I hit a BIG wall for the better part of November. While I thought October was the month to just "get through" with midterms and projects and commitments (oh my!), November was a much bigger monster than I imagined.

I felt like this semester was progressing much quicker, with much more work and with little time to stop and take a breath let alone sit down. In addition to all of the school commitments, did I mention I was training for and completed my second half marathon?

Completing this last committment, which had been so time consuming and physically draining, may have been just the catalyst I needed to slow down for a bit. If I had to put my finger on it, I'd say my "recharge retreat" began at about 10:00am post-race with this giant mimosa:
In the weeks that followed I played the "I just ran a half marathon" card for everything it was worth. While my body may have paid the price, I realized how time consuming filling every hour of my day had been. I experienced what a luxury it was to go home after work or school instead of schlepping it to the gym or feeling guilty about not doing so (which is equally exhausting).

I became a human again. I went home for Thanksgiving and played with my nieces.

I ate. I drank. I was merry. I sat on the couch and watched TV before 10:00pm.

And soon, twas the season to be decorated. So I decorated:

And decorated:

And decorated (ok, so I indulged in the holiday spirit, sue me):

And filled the apartment with holiday smells:

Yes, my waist line may have suffered these last 3 weeks, and my 3 mile run yesterday may have felt like 6 7 8 5. But more importantly, I finally felt rested, charged and like the relaxed version of myself that I knew existed deep down.

So when time is short and the to-do list is not, try to remember to treat yourself to a recharge retreat. Doing things because you want to and not because you have to will make you more of a joy to live with (I believe I have someone who can attest to this).

Just know, when all is said and done, you may have to pull out the stretchy pants..

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Are You That Girl?

As my time at school comes to a close, I'm filled on a day to day basis with even more anxiety talk of my pending post-school plans. For someone who likes to have it all planned out, it turns out having a plan will only get you so far; reality, I've learned, has a mind of its own.

With the end of the semester, and my school life in general, looming, I've had a few opportunities recently to dive head first into my career "development"; getting out there in the world and preparing myself for the inevitable. In these last few weeks, I've had the opportunity to talk to some great industry professionals, alumni and leaders in my intended field and the one thing that scares me to death is something I've heard up and down, inside and out from every, single one of them. To be succesful, in our industry, you must be relocatable.

At first, this freaked me out. Mostly because, right now, at this point in my life I'm simply non-relocatable. My boyfriend made the decision to move to Philadelphia to be with me and begin his new life, and I certainly do not plan on being one half of another long distance relationship, ever again. I've championed the distance and made it out alive on the other side, but simply put that will never be the "only" option again. The problem, however, is when you say this out loud you're immediately that girl. The girl who won't think for herself, or won't do something without her boyfriend. And guess what, no one likes that girl.

After much soul searching, I've been able to see it differently. For me, being that girl is a testament in character. People's work life and relatioships are not one size fits all. Values are different, personal goals vary. In my relationship we don't keep score, but we have both made enormous sacrifices on the others' behalf. I was in Philadelphia continuing school, so he moved here. He's here now, so this is where I'll stay until he is done. If the right opportunity came along, I know a move wouldn't be out of the question, however, it'd be together.

For me, being that girl speaks to who I am, which may be different than you, or you or you. For me its knowing that my work and my personal life are two sepearte entities, two which must both be fuffilled for me to be the best, happiest verison of myself. For me, if push came to shove, I know where my sacrifices would lie.

Hopefully I'm forunate enough to find a great job locally, Lord knows I'm trying. But if not, I'm confident in my decisions, however popular or unpopular they are in the big, bad industry world.

Because if being that girl is really my biggest problem, things aren't looking so bad.  

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Bloggy Blues

How has it been almost a month since I've been here? My apologies, I truly feel as though I'm wiping away the dust on my keyboard as I type away.

My plan was to sit down and spew out my diarrhea of the keyboard (too much?) about why I haven't been here; I've been overworked, overtired, exhausted, grouchy, grumpy, sleepy, dopey, get the idea. As I put on my best depressing monotone, I took a look back at my most recent posts: "What Goes Down Must Come Up", "Lacking and Slacking", "A Chilling Anniversary." I know what you're all thinking, someone get this girl a Prozac! 

While it has been a challenging semester to say the least, I thought that it was time to break the Bloggy Blues and put my time to better use. So instead, since its been nearly a month since we've last talked (never again, I promise), I decided to recap the not-so bluesy events that have occupied the last three weeks:

With one semester left to go (but whose counting right?) I have been a hot mess thinking about my job search that is still a solid 6 months away (does this really surprise you after the apartment search of 2011)? Anyways, I am proud to say I recently secured an internship for the spring at a company I'm very excited to work for. Consider it job radar material, you know because everyone is lining up for my resume. 

October has come and gone (good riddance), and to think I left you all high and dry when I'm sure you were all checking your computers anxiously for a Halloween post! C'mon, humor me. Personally, I hate Halloween. I'm cheap and not creative. But this year, I'm proud to say, a group of girls and I were a big hit as dominoes.  

And yes, we did the falling quite well:
October also marked another trip to NYC! Remember last time? While this one included slightly less food and rooftop bars (although no shortage of mooched bottle service), the best part was that I got to see all of my college roommates and one of my best friends from home. It was a much needed good time. I mean, they say a pictures is worth a thousand words, right?

 The mimosas didn't hurt either:
(Yes, that is a mason jar...just sayin'..)

Lastly, and arguably the biggest mood lifter, I was home last weekend and got to see not one, not two, but all of my siblings and my two nieces. Relaxing, eating and drinking like a queen and playing with was hard coming back. But the good news is all I have to do is wait two weeks to do it all again at Thanksgiving:
Although some I can't wait to see more than others, sorry guys:

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Productive Proscrastination

Oxymoron? Sounds like it. But recently, I've come to find that I am quite the productive procrastinator. And there is only one time of the year to find this out: midterms.

Ah, yes. Just like the movies. All-nighters, late nights fueled with coffee, cram sessions into the wee hours of the morning. 

Looks about right, right? But if you're me, this Fall you look a bit more like this: 

Ok, well minus the apron and the clean kitchen and that portable red phone from 1999, plus the sweats, yes this is me. These last two weeks I have been in serious midterm denial and instead of studying away as a good student should, I have resorted to cooking and baking food. Food we don't even need!

Case in point: last week while making an entire birthday cake for one person (I now think cupcakes would have been much more appropriate) and enchiladas for a certain birthday dinner, I decided why not make TWO PANS of chicken casserole to freeze. I mean, I've got 35 minutes until this cake is done. Did I mention this was the night before my finance midterm?

Cut to Sunday, which may have been my weakest moment. Although I tried with everything I had to buckle down for my Monday midterm, this seemed like a much better use of time: 

Yes folks, that is approximately 45 stuffed shells. That just had to get done so we had something to eat in, well you know, three or four weeks (or whenever they get pulled out of the freezer).

This weekend was a wake up call: I am officially 23 going on 53. So maybe I clean bathrooms, and do laundry and make excessive amounts of food when I'm procrastinating (which I'm sure my boyfriend just hates)...

..but you can't say I'm not productive!

And, I don't think Martha Stewart did all that and passed her finance midterm. Just sayin'..

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Happy Birthday To...

Happy Birthday cover-stealer, bed sprawler, sleep talker.

Happy Birthday breakfast chef, handyman, do-it-aller.

Happy Birthday therapist, confidant, resassure-er.

Happy Birthday believer, acheiver, dreamer. 

Happy Birthday adventurer, enthusiast, ready to see the world-er.  

Happy Birthday boyfriend, roomie, best friend.

Happy Birthday! Each and every single part of you I love.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

What Goes Down...Must Go Up

Yes, you're reading this right. But don't panic, I don't mean this in the traditional sense--Newton, the apple, all that bologna (can you tell science was never my strong suit).
That being said, this past weekend I was schooled in gravity, and learned that maybe Newtown left something out.

As we all learned, last week was a bit rough. I was tired. Drained. Emotional. Moody. Very, very moody. Last week I had two mornings that ended in tears before I even stepped out the door for work and more arguments disagreements with my boyfriend than in our entire relationship. I was in a serious funk and didn't know how the funk to get over it. 

But thankfully, I've recovered (insert violins) and learned that thank GOD moods are cyclical. Unfortunately they go down. Down, down. Way down. Funky down. But my friends, what Mr. Newton left out (because he clearly didn't know anyone with PMS) was that what goes down must also come up. And mine came up in a big way this weekend. Let me explain.

While it was another crazy weekend, I was home for a wedding. I wasn't attending in the traditional sense, however, I was rather trying out my J. Lo skills helping out my friend with all the last minute details on the big wedding day: 

(Shout out to the beautiful bride)!

While I spent the majority of the reception running around, collecting this that and the other, when I left that evening I could tell that I'd really helped out. I saw a weight lifted off my friend's shoulders and it just made me feel good. As corny as it sounds, I felt good that I could help someone else enjoy not just their day, but the day of all days.  And before I knew it, my mood started to defy gravity.

In addition to wedding-palooza, my boyfriend and I were also home visiting his Dad who was recovering from emergency surgery last weekend. While I sat in the hospital room, looking at someone who not only defied the odds and survived a major surgery, but was on a road to recovery, gravity took its toll and my mood slowly began to vanish. 

I looked around at my boyfriend, who I knew was thankful I was there, even if I wasn't doing anything. I looked around at a family that has let me become part of its own; that has not only allowed me in but welcomed me with open arms.

I felt good for the first time in days. Lucky. Privileged. To be able to do things for others, to be present, to be healthy, to have answered prayers and to just be back to normal. 

So when the going gets tough, forget what you learned in school. What goes down will always come up, even if it takes awhile.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Lacking and Slacking

Ever get in a funk and realize, maybe you're just not all there today? I think if you opened up my head today you'd find absolutely nothing.

When I wrote about our big adventure, I joked that things would slow down eventually, maybe around Christmas time. But after these last few weeks, I'm beginning to think I may be eating my words.

So little time, so much to do. Is it lacking or slacking? I couldn't tell you, but lately it seems like a everything is falling into one of these piles:

Mornings fueled by coffee, afternoons by Red Bull and weekends scheduled here there and everywhere; a lack of sleep. 

Papers, projects and chapters finished at the 11th hour that take just as long to complete, yet only contain about half the effort; a slack of motivation. 

A half marathon exactly two months away, yet a schedule and routine that are continuously interrupted; a slack of exercise (also see, "slack of motivation.")

A light at the end of the tunnel, so dimly lit its almost completely disappeared; a lack of attention to school. 

Two overdrawn bank accounts in one day and a pre-work meltdown filled with tears and bad words; a lack of money (also see, "a lack of sleep.")

A blog that sits unloved, unattended and nearly forgotten for 10 days; a slack of attention.

Here's to a lack-less and slack-less tomorrow..

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Chilling Anniversary

I remember where I was; 2nd period Spanish class, just a week into 8th grade.

Few days in our lives can we reflect and remember each year exactly where we were, what we were doing, what we were wearing--the most minimal details of a day that otherwise could have passed as just another day. Except as we all learned in the early hours of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, this would not be just another day.

Today as we remember, mourn, give thanks, I remember that sunny day ten years ago. 

I remember knowing what had happened, but not really knowing as our school chose to operate normally without TV coverage so as not to cause "a distraction" for the remainder of the day.

I remember going home scared, yet naive, about the details of what had unfolded while I continued on with English, Algebra and History.

I remember no one questioning that we would attend church on a Tuesday evening, a special mass for all of us to make sense of what had just happened that morning.

I remember the deafening silence as we filtered into church, the looks of fellow parishioners hoping to find solace that night.  

I remember praying. For those lost, for those missing, for those who would never return home. For friends and for families, my own and all of those strangers whose images and faces had been burned in my brain from endless coverage on TV screens.

I remember trying to have faith, but hoping at the same time that the world wasn't falling apart. That tomorrow another building, and another plane wouldn't see the same fate. I remember being very scared.

Ten years later, on this chilling anniversary, I still pray. Maybe not in a crowded church, but silently on an overcast Sunday lost in thought.  

I pray for those who sacrificed and those who continue to sacrifice today. 

I pray for a war, that ten years later, still rages. For casualties that still mount.

I pray to never again remember another day so vividly.

I pray that today we all remember, and never forget.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

To Routine Or Not To Routine

What a busy week (which you can probably tell from my lack of sharing here...sorry!), but back to school is tough whether you're 8th grade or 18th grade. I finally feel like the storm has passed and after weeks of a trip across America, non stop moving and car bonding time, I'm back on a regular schedule. 

In the last few days of the great adventure, which also happened to be the last weeks of my summer, you think I'd be reveling in the lack of routine. But, I'd hope that at this point we know each other well enough to know that's not how I operate. I remember telling a friend of mine,  while the impending school year was making me want to crawl into bed and not get out, I was looking forward to getting back into a routine and a schedule. Her response? "You're so weird.." If only she knew I'd accepted that a lonnnng time ago.

For one whole week now, I've been doing the routine. And naturally it has its pros and cons. All of this begs the question; to routine or not to routine?


Back to work and school means back to working solid hours during the day and having classes in the evening. I have forced myself to work out everyday this week because I'm suppose to be training for another half marathon. A two hour break between work and class means I know exactly where I'll be. Gross. 

No more car trips. My love affair with the 5-10 hour car rides that have filled our time these last few weeks is officially over. RIP hours of my life I'll never get back, you're surely missed. Don't' think I'm not counting every weekend until I have to hop back in that thing. September 23rd is the next journey home, I have hope I'll be cured by then.

While getting back to school should most likely be on the con list, I can count on two fingers the number of semesters I have left. Funny how you enter grad school in an effort to put off joining the real world, then you're one year down and wish you could drop everything and join right now. However, I know the circus will still be there in May..


Night classes for both my boyfriend and I have resulted in very little relaxing time upon returning home. While coming home is a great relief post-class, I don't think we've eaten dinner before 9:30pm one night this week. Eat, make an effort to clean up the apartment, TV, bed, repeat until Thursday.

Speaking of TV, my poor housewives and Teen Moms have suffered greatly. Between the big trip and then another week without cable I'm scrambling to catch up on all my favorites. Now with school starting I'm falling further and further behind. Rest assured ugly cry Farrah, Maci, Bint-ley and the New Jersey gang (housewives and shore, c'mon now-- I don't discriminate).  You all have not been forgotten..

Now that I'm sharing an apartment, there are two routines. Mine begins at 7:00am, his around 11:00am or later. Damn college kids..

So what have we learned here? Well the grass is always greener I guess. The routine I craved is now here. Womp, womp. 

So when is Thanksgiving break again?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Big Move: Part 2

Part two has arrived--better late than never! Where did we leave off? Oh yeah.. here:
If this isn't the most ideal "welcome home" one could ask for, I don't know what is. Somehow I imagined it running a little smoother than this. Following the unloading of all my boyfriends shit aquired goods, and a VERY helpful 2 extra bodies to unload (shout out to my Dad and brother), this is what we were left with. We were done unloading by about 4:00pm, had been up since 5:00am, driven 6+ hours that day, literally hadn't eaten a thing all day and were unshowered (ok maybe that was just me).

I don't know if I've ever felt that exhausted. Physically, yes. But mentally and emotionally? Even more. Needless to say, nothing moved that first day. Climbing over the sofa to go up the stairs would just have to do.

Once things did start moving, it was slow to say the least. Not to mention the fact that we still had some very big items to move. Lets just say I haven't been staying on top of my push-ups. It was actually very close to this scenario:

My boyfriend and I joked throughout our trip that we just can't escape doing anything half-assed. We couldn't just do a long distance relationship, we had to do a cross-country relationship. This couldn't just be any move, it had to be a 5 day move. We couldn't just catch up with one another slowly, we had to catch up trapped in a truck cab for multiple days. We couldn't just drive home, we had to drive home in a 16 foot truck with car in tow. So in similar fashion, we couldn't just unpack and move in like normal people. No way.

What do I mean by this? Once we realized nothing was happening Wednesday,Thursday was the new goal. However, as these things tend to go, my boyfriend had orientation for the better part of the day, and we were both too pooped to make a serious dent in unpacking. And wouldn't you know, Friday we were back on the road. First to New Jersey to weigh and return our truck, and then back to upstate New York to see family and friends. Sunday again left little time to unpack, with Monday being my boyfriend's first day of school and my first day back at work after a 10 day hiatus.

I wish I could say it slows down, but it doesn't. This weekend, off to Pittsburgh for my niece's christening, next week a visit from my boyfriends Mom. As I stare at our mess of an apartment, my dreams of wall hangings and clean floors and an unblocked stairway stattered, I realize its fine. Because its been a crazy adventure, and somethings are just most important than empty boxes:

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Big Move: Part 1

What do you get when you take two people, one six hour flight, one 16 foot truck, one trailer hitch (plus car), 10,000 lbs of furniture and goods, 5 days, 11 states and 3,000  miles?

Oh, hey there! Yep, we're back! All in one piece and with more miles under our belt than I ever thought could be accomplished in five days. I have to say at times (I'm looking at you Montana and South Dakota), I didn't think we'd make it. But we did, and as with any road trip there were a few bumps along the way. 

But every bump tells a story, right? Here's a little of what I learned along the way:

First, I may have missed my calling as a professional truck driver. While for first half few hours of the trip this thing scared me senseless, I eventually got used to it (yes there was a car on that trailer): 
After awhile I even felt comfortable enough to participate in some snapshots. But always hands at 10 and 2, naturally.
Hours upon hours of driving will teach you a lot about comfort as well. In a seat that doesn't recline you start to miss the simple pleasures of being low to the ground. Another lesson I picked up: vinyl is hot. Real hot, sweaty hot. And sometimes, you need to improvise (those paper towels were very absorbent, by the way):
As it always turns out, things don't always go as planned. If this trip was a life lesson it would be something like "from now on, plan to be about a half hour late anywhere." Because you can very easily get lost here:
And here:
And if you're me, even here: 

Sounds simple enough, but always have enough gas. You never know when you, and your gas guzzling truck, will end up lost and with a dangerously low tank in South Dakota at 2:00am in a location you're pretty sure they filmed the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

While we tried our best to stretch every dollar, our packed food ran low around day 4. Unfortunately, I learned the hard way that eating Burger King and Taco Bell in the same day is not always a good idea. 

Have you ever gone 12 mph up a hill? Well just imagine what its like going down a hill that steep carrying thousands of pounds of goods. Lesson #2390439084: brake fluid is important and sometimes needs to be replaced. Like say, when you're descending Mount Rushmore and your brake light begins flashing and dinging. 

Smile, you just dodged a bullet
Despite the bumps, we survived and show no sign of killing one another yet. But the biggest reality check was waiting for me at home: maybe the hard part wasn't really over:
Welcome home! 

To be continued...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Slow Down, You Crazy Child

So its here! The big adventerous road trip is upon us and at this time tommorrow I'll be anxiously awaiting my last flight to Seattle. So how am I preparing for it? In a nutshell, I'm trying not to crack (no pun intended).

You see my friends, I am experiencing a bit of an emotional overload.  And I know what you're thinking, for the love of God Meghan, stop crying!! But no, when I say emotional overload I don't mean just one emotion. I mean ALL the emotions. I'm excited, I'm nervous, I'm stressed, I'm frustrated, I'm flustered, I'm beyond happy, I'm anxious, I'm releived. I'm... a hot mess.

I really, REALLY, don't like to admit when I'm wrong. But lets just say I might have underestimated how much change was going to be happening at once. Don't get me wrong, the biggest change of all still has me smiling from ear to ear. Him coming here, the move, moving in, him being a permananet fixture in my life and not a visitnig suitcase every 6-8 weks. But in reality, its much more than that.

Its a move from one apartment to another. In three days. Up 3 flights of stairs. In a city, with very little loading and unloading space. Its never ending details. About cross country routes, stop points, navigating a 16+ ft. truck across America, and getting home with enough time to spare. Its about release dates and details I know nothing about, an hour by hour plan that I can't control. Its about unloading 5 days worth of shit stuff in 2-3 days time. Its about how do we make this place instantly look like a home. Its about where to store this stuff until it has a place to go. Its about seeing you and you and you and making sure we don't miss you. Its about a lot more than I thought.

I won't go as far as to say men are from Mars and women are from Venus,  but I've learned not only thorough my relationship with my boyfriend, brothers and father, but also through communication with other women, that men and women just plain handle things differently. Don't worry women, I'm not lumping you all together as basket cases like myself, but I think its safe to say that we're more emotional. More vocal, verbally or non-verbally, about our worries, concerns and fears. And believe me, I've been vocal! But in the midst of my emotional rollercoaster from stressed to frustrated to who knows what was next on the merry-go-round (don't I just sound like a dream to live with?), I've learned that my boyfriend is stressed too. And overloaded. And he's experiencing just as much change as I am. And he's flustered, and frustrated and nervous too. Just not as outwardly as I, and maybe this is the first time I've realized it. Or even, aknowledged it.                

Slowing down may not be an option right now, but taking a moment is. Taking a moment to just breathe and realize that tomorrow is the day I've been waiting for forever. Tomorrow is 129 days in the making. That its good to be mindful and plan ahead, but as of tomorrow I could care less if we get lost in Montana for 18 hours. I could care less when we get back, or where we stop, or if we're living in a bedroom with an extra bed, TV and kitchen set. Because I've been waiting SO long just to get here. And everything else will get done eventually. And I really believe that. Just seeing him is what I need to prevent this emotional crash. To take things as they come because we're FINALLY together.

I'm sure deep, deep, deep down, my desire and want to take the world on before I realize I'm about to crash is a small tiny miniscule part of what he loves about me. But I'm sure he's happier yet to know that as of tomorrow we'll figure it out together, one mile at at a time..

Friday, August 5, 2011

Coming Soon..

I know myself, and personally, I don't think many people would describe me as "spontaneous." I have a plan, remember? The one that never unfolds quite as I imagined? Ahh, yes. 

Anyways, while I was waiting on this side of the world for my boyfriend to arrive back in the states (today, by the way.. yayyyy), I thought I had all the specifics of our move accounted for. You see, with him having to fly back to Seattle first, but eventually having to end up back here in Philadelphia with his things and wanting to see family and friends back home, we had a lot of bases to cover. All before the start of school for both of us, him a week before me. Doesn't this sound like one of those word problems? If Jimmy is sitting next to Susie, who is the right of Sandy who is not sitting next to Billy, then where is Joey? Could give you a headache just thinking about it! It may have given me a few..

So the plan was he would fly out of Seattle arrive here in Philadelphia, we'd skip back to our apartment hand in hand and his stuff would be delivered soon after. And what happened? Well, long story short, not that. 

So, drum roll please....
WE'RE DRIVING CROSS COUNTRY! One week from yesterday, I am flying to Seattle to begin the long journey home. One week from today we'll be on the road and enjoying all the majestic scenery, beauty and rest stops that this great country of ours has to offer.

Part of the plan? Hell, No! Something different? An adventure? YES! We've got each other and a GPS. I mean really, what the worst that could happen driving across the country in a U-Haul with a car attached to it..?

To be continued.. 

Monday, August 1, 2011

A Series of Fortunate Events

Right now, on the other side of the world, someone is closing a chapter in his life. Eight hours in a land far far away, my boyfriend is completing his last official day of military service. At what second on the clock, I don't know, but this will trigger a domino effect. A change in his life, and a change in mine. A new chapter, a fresh start and a real chance. Our life starts now. 

This journey, documented here frequently over the last seven months, has been my biggest struggle. My challenge. And as with any challenge, mental, physical, emotional, you always know it could be worse. However, that does little to quell the emotional roller coaster you've just voluntarily signed up and buckled in for. The last year and a half, mine has run the gamut of emotions; happiness, frustration, sadness, hope, desperation, love. Even now, as the seconds tick off the clock, almost shouting at times "one minute closer", I struggle to find the right words to express how I feel about all of it.

What I do know is this; that someway, somehow, a series of fortunate events have gotten me to this new chapter. A series of fortunate events helped me find someone amazing, and gave me the sense to hang on when the road got bumpy and the miles seemed infinite. A series of fortunate events presented me with an unconventional relationship that was worth a try, one that's payoff turned out to be more than I ever imagined back then. A series of fortunate events made it tougher just when I thought we'd seen it all, but gave me faith, patience and the ultimate gift in return.

This series of fortunate events turned me into someone, who two years ago, I may not have known. One part of a long-distance relationship, a military girlfriend, someone who tries to puts faith in even what she can't control. 

Someone who has conquered her greatest challenge (for now). Someone ready for that next chapter.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Baby Love

If your eyes have ever wandered over to my "about me" section, recent events have made me notice I've left one great big descriptor out. I'm also an aunt! And last Friday my family was graced with another beautiful gift making me an aunt two times over. Another beautiful little girl to call my niece.

You know how people say that "love makes the world go 'round?" Well, last Friday my bumper sticker would have read "babies make the world go 'round." There is just this overwhelming sense of elation, happiness and love when you get your first glimpse of that little peanut and realize that she is just starting off this tiny little life of hers. Bet you can't even read it without the slightest trace of a smile emerging.

And then of course there is the realization, more present with my brother's first daughter I must admit, that this isn't just any baby--this is my brother's baby. I've always had a very special relationship with my brother; while we're opposite ends of the age spectrum, him the oldest and I the youngest, I've always felt immensely close to him. For most of our lives we couldn't have been in more different places, and with him now a father of two I guess you could really say things haven't changed.  However, we've always gravitated towards similar music, had similar interests and I've even been told similar dispositions. He is, and always has been, just as much a best friend as a brother. And now, he has these two little girls, my nieces. 

While I do live four hours away, I try to take every opportunity I can to see his family. One baby has already turned into a little girl right before my eyes, and I can't bear to miss any more. I grew up with more aunts and uncles than I could count on fingers and toes (my dad is one of 8, my mom one of 11), spread all over the Northeast. I have some that I am very close with, very present in my life, and some...well, its a crap shoot with a family that big. But these little babies have just two aunts and two uncles, and the baby love that warms my heart is just one more reminder to myself that they'll always know me as more than just a face at holidays or a signature on a  birthday card.

My new niece, also my god daughter, already holds an indescribably special place in my heart.  Until we meet, I keep up in pictures and I can't help thinking how fast this little baby will grow up. I look at her tiny face and I lose myself thinking about the little girl she'll become, the personality she'll make her own and the beautiful life she'll live with my brother and his family. 

But even after we meet, and in years to come, it will always be a case of baby love.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Welcome Distractions

I have become so fearful of changes to the "plan" that I can honestly say part of me refuses to believe that at this time next month (most likely a little sooner) he'll be back! In true, is this really happening, form we will not know for sure when this oh-so-magical date will be until months end (also known as what what could be days, or hours, before he heads home). But really, at this point who cares. Its so close I can feel it; I feel it in the speed the weeks pass by, I feel it when I'm scrounging for boxes to pack my apartment up, I feel it in the quiet night that turns into a new day, I feel it in the ever so slight well of tears I feel when I just think about him coming through that door. 

 Its coming.

So, naturally, my response is to do everything I can to not think about it. Staying busy is what keeps the days moving; the rhythm of days which keeps that calendar advancing. Its what keeps me from not exploding in anger or melting down in tears when I think about the phone calls I can count on one hand and the Skype (singular) session in the last three months. Staying busy so I don't have time to think about how twisted this new routine is. Staying busy to focus on the inevitable, and only the inevitable. The final outcome.

Knowing me, I can't just do anything half-assed. I can't just be busy, I have to be consumed. So what's helping me stay so preoccupied?

A trip to Connecticut this weekend is next, to spend some much needed time at the beach to catch some rays and see my sister and extended family. We used to see my Mom's family three times a year; Thanksgiving, Fourth of July and this beach getaway, the last week in July. As we've grown older its been narrowed down to just Thanksgiving, so its extra special that I get to spend four glorious days there.

Oh, hey--I'm moving! I've been keeping my boyfriend posted on the status of our move and I'm sure he thinks I'm a bigger neurotic pot of crazy than I ever have been before. Not only am I collecting boxes, attempting to pack things I won't use in the next two weeks (aka nothing) and trying to purge everything in my apartment that won't make the cut for the move, but I have also taken the word "details" to a freakish new height. I've so far set up all of our utilities, completed all of the change of address documents, set up turn-on appointments for gas, electric and cable and carefully outlined every document and step necessary for new license plates and ID. Oh, hello anal. But the way I look at it, the more I get out of the way the less to worry about during the actual move.

Who doesn't love some help moving? My parents have so generously offered to help me move that first weekend in August which should hopefully be my last weekend sans-boyfriend. While moving will be a pain in the ass, its a great excuse to see them and show off my new digs. 

And my newest distraction? (Insert shameless self plug), I've entered my boyfriend and I in a contest to send us to the Caribbean for 5 days. Long shot? Yes. Distraction, yes. Why not? Originally a friend sent me the link because it was a "beach blogger" opportunity; what could be a better way to marry my two favorite past times? Sign me up! When I read the requirements it was actually a beach blogger for a "retreat to romance" package for a deserving couple. After careful consideration I decided, yes, we still fit the requirements. I mean, is this blog not evidence of what we've been through this past year?  Hopefully my blog entry can get us all the way to paradise. 20% of my final score to move onto the top ten depends on votes, so if you haven't please visit and vote for us here: Talk about a great distraction, but lets not get ahead of ourselves! 

I know that all of this mind trickery will only suffice for so long, but I hope by then I will have a new distraction. A distraction that will put an end to this strange routine I now know as normal. Caribbean vacation or not, I can't think of a more romantic way to spend the rest of my days.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Worry Wart

Have you ever looked up "worry" in the dictionary? Worry is defined as thoughts and images of a negative nature in which mental attempts are made to avoid anticipated potential threats. Well if that's true, my world is filled with "anticipated potential threats", real and imagined. 

I guess most people can put two and two together; often times when you strive for control in every most situations, you are by default also a worrier. Hello world, my name is Meghan and I'm a worry wart. Its funny, if you ask some of my childhood friends they'll tell you I was probably the first 13 year old they knew with shiny slivers of gray hairs (coincidence? I think not...). 
Most times I wish I had a better mindset. I wish I didn't over-think, obsess, plan for contingencies, re-plan for new contingencies, plan for contingencies on top of contingencies (I think you get the idea here). Has it helped me be fully prepared in some situations? Yes. Has it, just as many times, given me unnecessary stress and anxiety that could have been avoided if I just didn't worry so much? Yes. 

I've really used this blog as my forum. I worry about my career. I worry about my relationships. I worry about doing the right thing. I worry about my boyfriend, I worry about his safety. But I also waste so much time worrying about the unnecessary. The weather, traffic, decoding emails and text messages. 

Perfect example, yesterday after my internship boss sent me a text letting me know she "needed to talk to me" before I arrived at work, I immediately began to worry. I knew it, I was fired. I was being fired from my fake, unpaid, internship (that to be quite honest I don't love). I spent 15 long awaited, heart in my throat minutes thinking of how embarrassed I was going to be after I was fired from an unpaid internship. To be fair, I had for some time been feeling very guilty; like I hadn't been devoting enough time to this position on top of my regularly paid job. I concluded that she must have had enough, and I would now be fired. Turns out she was calling to tell me not to come in today or tomorrow because her wireless Internet was down. She let me know that it would be pointless for me to show up until it was running again later in the week.

I'm counting the gray hairs as we speak...

It got me thinking about my gray haired vice. Why is this worry so persistent? Why do I let it consume so much of my time and energy? Does it denote a lack of confidence? Is it self doubt disguised in worry?

I was once told that worrying is a lack of faith. While I've had my embarrassing bouts of over-thinking (who, me?), I don't think this should label me faithless. I think it really boils down to one question; can you be a realist and an optimist at the same time? Sometimes, yes, but for me, sometimes no too. Sometimes reality wins, and you find yourself standing guard for those "anticipated potential threats", warranted or not.

And somewhere, a new gray hair shows up..

What do you think?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Home Sweet Home

This past weekend I returned home to upstate New York to spend a much needed weekend at home. Until this last visit it had been about three months since I'd been home last, which I noticed was pretty much my longest stretch to date, minus my time abroad. 

Not too long ago I had a conversation with a friend and said that living here in Philadelphia is really the first time I feel like I've moved. School always had a timeline, plus I knew I wasn't going to stay in Syracuse following graduation. Internships, semesters abroad, they were also the same; a measurable time away from home, but I was far from planting somewhere permanently. While my school time in Philadelphia has a timeline too, I know that I will be here well past my graduation next May. Honestly, I have no real plans to move in the next 2-3 years. I guess you could consider me semi-permanently planted in Philadelphia; I may have thought I was just scoping it out, but I find myself getting comfortable.

All of this got me thinking about home. Neither of my parents grew up in my hometown, so not surprisingly we don't have any extended family in the area. As I mentioned before, all of my siblings are scattered around the northeast. Some of them have established homes, some are  in the process of finding new ones, but the bottom line is most of us have new homes. New places, routines and lives that aren't shared together in the house with the front porch swing across from the park. While I know its natural (and healthy) to want to start your own life separate from your childhood home (whether that means moving or staying close to home), its a weird concept if you ask me. It reminds me of that part in Garden State where Zach Braff's character asks Natalie Portman's character about that point in your life when you realize the house you grew up in isn't really your home anymore? Yeah, when does that happen?

I guess its different for everyone, but for me there are certain things that will always make that house home, no matter where I go. Like the front porch swing that I am always slightly nervous will collapse on me any day.  Or the lilac tree and rhubarb plant, also known as 1st and 3rd base respectively, for wiffle ball games that I more than likely "observed" (lets be real here). Like the creek that tells you exactly which stair on the stairway someone is on,  or the sound of the bathroom fan being left on hours after someone's shower. 

Who knows if they'll be the makings of my new home, wherever that may be, but if you ask me they're the things that always reminded me of home. The little things that allow the house I grew up in to always, even the smallest bit, be my home.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Very Different 4th of July

The holiday weekend has come to a close, and most of us are shaking off the long weekend of too much BBQ, booze and late nights filled with fireworks.

But this Tuesday, I am shaking off much heavier feelings. I really, really, really missed him this 4th. In the fireworks he wasn't there to see, in the extra day off, in the beautiful weather and in the laughs I shared all weekend with my friends. 

While this 4th of July wasn't unlike last, spent apart from my boyfriend, this holiday I knew he was really gone. Out there. Somewhere. Doing his job and serving our country. This 4th of July I couldn't get him off my mind; him and the countless other men and women away from their families and loved ones sacrificing themselves for our country. All too often, unless on these holidays that evoke swells of patriotism and pride, not properly thanked for the job they do everyday. 

So on this 4th of July, and everyday after, I promise to never forget. To always be mindful of these men and women, and to always say thank you.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

My Big Fat Fear

Lets face it, we all have things we're afraid of. In case you're wondering, for me its suffocation, whales and farm birds (in no particular order... scratch that, farm birds are definitely first). The thing that I've come to learn, is that fears, like dreams and aspirations, change. They evolve. Your fears aren't always the same things you thought they'd be (except for the aforementioned items, they will always be frightening). 

Think about it. Long gone are the days when you were scared of the boogey man, or checked under your bed for monsters before being able to sleep at night, but all too common are the days plagued by new fears. Realistic fears. "Big girl" problems--money, relationships, the future. For me, my big fat fear has been one tiny word: career.
The good thing is, I really don't think I'm alone. With the economy moving the way it has of late, I noticed that I'm one of the growing number of students pursuing a masters degree right out of undergrad. Translation: I've never had a real job. Yes there have been paychecks and long hours, but never a non-internship, 9-5, Monday-Friday, career; something that wasn't supplementary to school, nor did it require my undivided attention forty hours a week. And I have to tell you, it scares the bejesus out of me. 

For those of you unfamiliar with where I am, let me take a minute to give you the Readers Digest version. After graduating with a great degree from a great school, I had to face the million dollar question; whats next? I had a great experience in Philadelphia at an internship in the hospitality field and I started researching immediately. Why? Because I was petrified. I had graduated a semester early, didn't know where I wanted to be, didin't know what I wanted to be doing, but ultimately knew I was good at something; school. It was safe and familiar and a guaranteed two year delay to real life.

Not to be taken the wrong way, my current program has only given me more experiences, opportunities and connections than had I not elected to go to graduate school, but sometimes I wonder, what if I'd gone a different way? What if I hadn't been so scared? Could I be knee deep in a career right now? Or would I still be unemployed, as some of my friends still find themselves a little more than a year out of school? More importantly, would I regret it?

Million dollar questions, my friends. And maybe thats what makes them so difficult to answer. So scary to answer. The grass is always greener I guess, and no one ever got behind by getting more education. But ironically enough, my choice to further my education in order to get a great job has left me with questions that have seemed to swallow me recently. Questions that make my career fear very real. Like:

Now that there is no where to hide, whats next?

What if I still don't know what I want to do? Who I want to be? What I want to do when I grow up?

Am I really more ready for the real world than I was before? 

What if this is all I know how to do? What if I still can't find a job? Was this all a waste?

How will I know whats the right fit for me if I'm still learning what I'm good at? Will I have to settle? 

With career fears, and all of your other "big girl" fears, it all boils down to this; did I make the right choice?

The funny thing is, its the one thing they don't teach you in school.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Chosen One

Can you believe its taken me this long to follow up on my ever so stressful apartment hunt? I know you all must be dying with anticipation, because naturally these moments in my life are what keep all of your days so eventful... right? Agree to disagree, I guess.

Well, consider this the "to be continued" and the "conclusion" all in one swoop. After patient waiting, we have found ourselves the one, the only, the holy grail of apartments:
I think that this is especially fitting, the heavens shining down and all. And what a hallelujah moment it was. Right when I was beginning to think that what we were looking for simply didn't exist (drama queen, I know) this one blew all the other ones out of the water. What I wanted, where I wanted it, and more importantly, under budget! Patience, patience, patience. You think I'd be practicing what I preach by now, huh?

The only thing I do miss about the search was the distraction it provided. I didn't have time to think about how many more days I had until my "roommate" (as I'm sure my Mom would prefer I refer to him as) would be returning; I was too busy making sure we wouldn't be homeless (again, the drama... I know, I know). This search was the perfect thing for me to simultaneously bitch about while being ever so thankful that something was eating up all my idle time. Stress, my friends, is the ultimate distraction.

Now that we've found the chosen one, I have a whole other laundry list of things to think about until he arrives. Yes, the usual logistics; moving, his shit, my shit, where are we going to put all this shit, etc. But I've also found much more comforting thoughts to pass the time, to keep me occupied. 

Like that this isn't just any move, its a move in. That these aren't just logistics so two people have a place to sleep and cover their heads, this is a huge step and a commitment; something we are both so excited to do. That this new apartment will be the place where I get to see the person I love every single solitary day, morning, noon and night-- I hope he knows what he signed up for! And more importantly, that this is more than just an apartment; this is the first big step of many more, big and small, to follow.

Honestly, what could be a better way to pass the time?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Sunday, June 19, 2011

For My Dad

Happy Fathers Day, fathers! While I feel guilty that I can't be home to celebrate with my own, I've been spending all day thinking about my Dad and a few of the many, many things that make him so special. So, how fitting, a few thanks for all the fathering over the years, Dad:

Thank you Dad, for luring me out of bed morning after morning with your amazing, to die for, chocolate chip pancakes (the same ones you made for me at 4:00am when I returned from London). Whether it was the morning of a big test (brain food), or thinking of the 6 hungry girls sleeping in the attic on a given Saturday, you were always one step ahead of my stomach.
Thank you for your consistency. Prepping girls mornings when Mom was working may not have been easy, but you learned one hairstyle for us, and you stuck to it: the buffy (in layman's terms, a ponytail). Classic.
Thank you for always giving us our choice of hot dogs, waffles or spaghetti when it was Dad's night to cook dinner. You know, variety is the spice of life.

Thank you for being my pen pal when I left for college, staying true to your word to always email. Always giving me something to look forward to in my inbox and giving me someone to share my day with.

Thanks for dropping the crossword puzzle I know you were dying to finish and chatting with me on the front porch while I waited for my ride.

Thank you for making it work. Driving hours and hours so that I could come home for a weekend only to turn around to do it all over again a few days later.

Thank you for always worrying too much, telling me how proud you are of my adventurous endeavors, and for letting me live in an atmosphere I know you wouldn't touch with a 15 foot pole, just because you know how much it suits me

Most importantly thank you for setting a great example of what it means to be a great husband and a father, something your daughters (and sons) will carry with them forever.
Happy Fathers Day, Dad!

Monday, June 13, 2011

"A" Is for Anxiety

Today, boys and girls, a lesson in the alphabet. Today we're going to learn about things that start with "A." "A" is for anxiety, and "A" is also for apartment.

Remember when I talked about the big move, aka my boyfriend moving in with me at the end of the summer. To think, I thought talking to my parents was the difficult part. That was before I developed this ulcer searching for apartments (ok, I exaggerate..but still). 

I think someone who has read even one of my entries can figure out that I sometimes, maybe, once in awhile need to be in control. I don't leave things until the last minute, and one more thing crossed off my list is one more thing I don't have to worry about anymore. So imagine my delight when I realized that with my boyfriend gone until August, apartment hunting would be solely in my hands. Not that I wouldn't trust him to nit pick and ask questions about every specific and miniscule detail, but well.. I wouldn't. Kidding aside, while it would have been nice to have his opinion I was going to try to make the best out of it. I was ready to go so Supermarket Sweeps on this apartment search. More people living together means more money, more space, more opportunities. Looks like I didn't factor 'mo money 'mo problems into that equation.

I must preface all this talk by saying that my boyfriend and I broke the golden rule; we looked too soon. Me being the smart, overly prepared, saavy shopper that I am decided that maybe we should take a look at some places when he was here in April so that we could figure out exactly what it was we liked. What worked, what didn't, so that I wouldn't be totally blind going into this thing by myself. And what happened? We found the perfect place. Brownstone, under budget, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, beautiful neighborhood, wood floors. I could go on but I fear I may tear up. The major problem was this unit was ready to be rented four months before we were ready to move (imagine). So I tried to accept it as a good thing, a template for what we were looking for. If only it were that easy.

Since that beautiful April day, when the apartment gods opened their glorious skies, I have seen upwards of 10 apartments. Different neighborhoods, different sizes, one bedroom, two bedroom, Craigslist, realtors, called numbers on the sides of buildings, you name it. And what do I have to show for it? Nada. Ms. Prepared, Ms. Overly Ambitious has nothing to show for her hours spent hitting the pavement. Dimly lit apartments, apartments with appliances from the 1960s, apartments that reak of cat urine, apartments with kitchens smaller than my own (which I thought was impossible) have all turned me into Ms. Anxiety. I have a full blown case of apartment anxiety. 

The worst thing about this long search process is that I've lost my pizazz. I now find it a hassle to go look at a place, its not as fun. When I see something I like I immediately develop a complex that it will be gone by the first chance I get to call (for good reason, its happened three times so far). Also, every glimmer of hope turns into my new dream apartment. Basically, I get played.

First there was the spacious, trendy, two bedroom, too-good-to-be-true-below budget dream...
..snatched right from under my feet when I called on a Friday and was due to visit on a Monday. RIP dear trendy-Meghan dream house.

Then there was the cute, quaint, lets-pretend-we're-really-adults dream house. Tucked in a historic cobblestone street which had so much outdoor space I thought I might seize... 
...which was too good to be true. It was a three story row home that had about enough room for a bed, a breadbox and a roll of toilet paper. RIP historic-cutsie-grown ass woman up Meghan.

And the most recent double take, the one-bedroom-compromise-but-who-cares-its-a-condo apartment. Or as I like to call it, Melrose Place. An amazing location with great amenities, however, just about as small as dream home #2..
..did I mention it lacked a bedroom door? Something, in the end, I just couldn't part with. RIP Primetime TV Meghan. Maybe another day...

The moral of the story here is that not only has all of this searching been time consuming and disappointing, I've realized doing it on my own has added stress, not fun! If I know something makes me happy, will my boyfriend like it too? Is it big enough? Now is it too big to heat? Too much money? Close enough to get us where we need to go? 

Don't get me wrong, I know its not the end of the world if something ends up being just OK, but lets be real. Moving is awful and I'd like to only do it once (for now..its not like I plan on bearing my first child in this house). Not only do I want to find a place that's good enough and worth our money, I want to find one that we won't have to move from for the next two or three years. When I moved into my apartment in August, I turned to my Dad and let him know "alright, well looks like I'm staying here forever."  And so my apartment anxiety was born.

Will I we  find something? Yes, because we have to; we've got to live somewhere! But this anxiety, as self-induced as it is, has got me near my breaking point. Is there something deeper there? Maybe. Maybe its all the change that's on the horizon. Maybe its me wanting to do right by the one thing I can control in this whole crazy, mixed up situation I've found myself in. Maybe its me wanting to cross one thing off the list so I can feel like I've made any sort of progress in this grueling time apart. Maybe. 

All I know is right now all its giving me is a big, fat, headache. Good thing "A" is for Advil, too.

To be continued..