Thursday, November 26, 2009

43 Things I'm Thankful For

I've got this tradition which I started a few years ago at Thanksgiving where I take stock in the past year and list the things I'm thankful for, and this year in particular I feel like I've got a lot.

In no particular order, a list of some of the things I'm thankful for:
  1. Summer Shandys
  2. Polar Plunges on New Years.
  3. The shit show that is The Russia House.
  4. Portland in April. And August.
  5. Babies. In particular, the ones had by friends this year (there have been a lot).
  6. What's Up with That? on SNL.
  7. Ohio St. Beach in the Summertime.
  8. The way the clock tower at Healy Hall lights up at night.
  9. My study partners - Aaron and Brooke - from Stats class this Spring. The only good things to come from that experience.
  10. The thinning of the trees along Q St.
  11. Movieoke.
  12. Wendel G, my bike.
  13. Edmund, my car.
  14. Boston in April.
  15. Toronto in February.
  16. The way the Chicago River smells like salt and chocolate in the Fall.
  17. The way that "Endothelin, a potent vasoconstrictor" rolls off the tongue.
  18. 4/13/09 at 2:49 pm
  19. Breakfasts at Nookies.
  20. Patho transcriptions.
  21. Kate & Dave's wedding in Boston in April, and seeing good friends there.
  22. About 40 hours on a bike to/from school this semester and only 2 flat tires and one wipe-out.
  23. Smith's Night at Danny's.
  24. Taco Easter.
  25. The bathroom at the Pie Hole in Chicago (this sounds dirty, but it isn't. Someday I will explain.)
  26. My Hoya Saxa, Bitches t-shirt.
  27. Cafe St. Ex.
  28. DCAC.
  29. The 7-11 donut, Corn Nuts and Big Gulp diet from January-May.
  30. The turkey chili at Epicurian.
  31. The 24-hour Starbucks at North & Wells.
  32. My mom, dad and brother.
  33. Late winter/early spring walks up Clark St. in Lakeview.
  34. My friends in SanFran, Portland, Seattle, Denver, Chicago, Indy, New York, and London. I love and miss you all.
  35. Happy hour at J. Paul's.
  36. Weanamins!
  37. My cohort - I love these people - and in particular a handful of those that have already become lifelong friends.
  38. Chicago. Especially this past summer.
  39. Georgetown.
  40. The buffalo statues on Dumbarton Bridge.
  41. The salty sweet chocolate chip cookies from Sticky Fingers.
  42. Crushes (that make you feel like you're 15).
  43. Rowing class at the Lincoln Park lagoon.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone, and here's to a sweet Holiday Season.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hunting the Rhino

I've been Hunting the Rhino all this week, and will likely be hunting it until school ends in a month.

"Hunting the Rhino" is a term we (me and my friend Kelley) created which means staying focused on a single task and not thinking about anything else until that task is complete. It is the opposite of multi-tasking.

It's basic human biology: back in the day, women had lots of jobs - cook the food, keep the cave clean, raise the cave babies; men had only one job - hunt the rhino (or lion, or bear, etc.; we use rhino because it sounds best).

These days I am incapable of multi-tasking. I can't work on my Core Concepts paper or start studying for Patho at the same time as study for today's Health Promo exam. I have to focus on one thing and one thing only - study for the Health Promo exam. I'm Hunting the Rhino*.

Just trying to get through work this week before you make plans for the weekend? You're Hunting the Rhino. One of those people who eats each thing on the plate before starting onto the next? You're a Rhino Hunter.

Hunting the Rhino also sounds like it could be something dirty. Which is another reason I like it.
Just like the Cobra Secret Handshake and the Weanamin, I am determined to get this phrase into the day-to-day existence of my cohort. And hopefully beyond. Start passing it along.

* Please note, I am not endorsing the hunting or killing of animals. I am totally against it. It is just an expression.

Monday, November 16, 2009

This morning my heart feels swollen and sore. It has been another long and sleepless night.

I started Giant Butters as a way to document my life in nursing school, which is a different approach from my other blog, which was generally less personal and more funny. I don't want it to be a platform to complain - that's boring and nobody (all 5 people that read this) wants to read about that - but at the same time I'm trying to be true to myself so that I'm presenting a real picture of what's going on in my life.

Yesterday my dog died. And I'm feeling incredibly sad about it. A lot of people don't know that I had a dog, and the truth is I haven't been with her for about 4 years. I kind-of "lost her in the divorce" when I broke up with my ex and moved back to Chicago. Although I loved her and we had a great connection, it was the best decision, despite the fact that it caused me a lot of pain. I still remember the last time I saw her, when I said goodbye to her and cried when the car drove away, her in the backseat looking at me.

I keep a photo of her near my bed and think about her everyday. Back then I never thought I'd never see her again, because I thought at some point when my life was more stable that I'd get her back. Even when she got sick a few months ago, I thought that maybe with a surgery and some medications we could keep the cancer at bay at least long enough for me to somehow get back into her life, but that didn't happen.

And I hate that that never happened and I have a lot of guilt over it. I hate the fact that I wasn't in her life these last few years, and that I wasn't there in the end. But she's had a good life since we said goodbye, living with a great caring dad and another dog to keep her company up until the moment she died.

For the last 15 hours it has been hard to think of anything else. I tried studying last night, but couldn't focus. I took a shower (and sobbed) and didn't want to be in my apartment so went for a walk. I felt somewhat hungry so I went to Target (of all places), thinking I could get something to buy for dinner. I thought the bright lights and people would at least provide a distraction for awhile (I broke down a but in there, too). I walked through the aisles in a daze, staring at the food and Christmas decorations before deciding I needed to go somewhere else and clear my head.

It was a beautiful and unusually warm night so I walked all the way down to DuPont Circle. I sat down on a bench and started crying again. I wanted to call people but also knew I couldn't have a good conversation with anyone in the state I was in, so I put the phone away.

I came home around 10, feeling exhausted. I did manage to study a bit, but in the end watched a movie just to stay distracted. I fell asleep around midnight, but woke back up around 2:30 then again around 4:30, so I just got up around 5 and came to school, which is where I am now, sitting in the cafeteria drinking coffee.

It's hard to write about how much I loved and miss my dog without sounding trite, so I won't try. I know she was happy, and didn't suffer she when passed and I guess there's comfort in that.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Things Are Out of Whack (Or: Tears on the Metro Pt. II)

Life is out of whack right now. No joke. School's fer real now. I feel like I'm about a week behind in my coursework and studies. It might have something to do with the 8 hours I've spent in the last three days transcribing a Patho lecture (it was my turn). Not to put too fine a point on it, but those 8 hours could have been used for so many other more important things.

I'm not sleeping well, and my sleep pattern is all wonkee. Last week I had a dream everyone in my cohort was pissed at me. Last night I had that prototypical dream where I was nearly naked in my Research class. Why? Because I was hot and needed to cool off, as I told my professor. I'm falling asleep at 7 pm (Monday night I fell asleep while eating dinner for fuck sake), only to wake up around 9pm and do schoolwork until about midnight, just to wake back up at 4 am to start it all over again.

This morning I took the Metro to school because it was raining and I - wait for it - can't find my rain pants. They're nowhere to be found. How, I ask you, can I lose pants??

Anyway, I'm standing on the platform at Gallery Place waiting for the Red Line and I started feeling all anxious and sad, and started thinking about all the things I'm not getting done. And not just school work - stuff beyond that -- things like: I have friends who have recently had babies and I'm not even in contact with them and all these friends and people I have in my life and it is all just slipping by. I'm missing the birthdays and anniversaries of my friends. I haven't talked to my brother in weeks.

So what starts happening? Yep, I start crying just a little bit. It sucks. But hey, it isn't like this is the first time I've cried in public. Or heck, even the first time at the Metro.

As I type this I am cracking open a can of something I never ever thought I'd drink again (at least not without vodka) to stay awake - a fucking Red Bull. Christ. Just get me to Thanksgiving, where I have almost 6 days off to catch up on schoolwork. And sleep. And wine drinking.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

You're Already in the Pool, Princess

Last week while surfing local DC blogs I came across Nutgraf, and this entry. And it pretty much made my day, and I wanted to share it.

The author recalls a story of a time she was lounging by a pool, and witnessed a conversation where a child went up to the mother and whined, "Mooom, Peter splashed meee!"

To which the mom replied, "You're already in the pool, princess."

And like Nutgraf, I also think it is a great response to life. We're all already in the pool, so let's just get on with it...

Monday, November 2, 2009

Extra Halloween Points for Not Being Original

So I decided (weeks and weeks ago, like back in August) to be Max (of "Where the Wild Things Are fame) for Halloween this year.

And based on a random sampling of revelers in the Foggy Bottom/Georgetown/Glover Park area, just like roughly 10% of the male population on Halloween night.

So sue me.

Despite the fact that the costume was popular and
dinged by Gawker last week as being too cliche (too late, I already bought the outfit) and that I thought my outfit was pretty good/authentic (I mean: I had the white one-sy pajamas, a tail, crown, hoodie with ears on it; some people wore pants, blue or gray pajamas, Burger King crowns. C'mon, people...), I still had a shitload of people ask me, "So, like, who are you supposed to be?"

And when I answered, there was a staggeringly high percentage of people who still didn't know what the hell I was referring to. Said one of the more militant Maxes I ran into that night, "
What, do you people not know how to read? Get out of my faces, you fucking illiterates!" (Note: while I love Max and WTWTA, I'm not quite as passionate.)

I was asked if I was a Cat. Or a Bunny. Or the Little Prince. Or one of my favorites, "Burger King Boy" (does such a thing exist? What would that be, exactly?)

As I was walking late at night from my first party in Foggy Bottom, to DuPont Circle, I got perhaps the best proposition I've received in a long time: "Whoo-wee boy, you can be my king anytime!"