Get by with a Little Help from My Friends!

It was late.  Very late. Too late. I knew it would be a horrifically zombied-out drive back to school in the morning. Sitting in front of my half-scribbled out notes, I tried in vain to deny the fact that it was really Sunday night, that awful Sunday night that comes right before the dreaded Monday morning, where upon I have to wake at an unruly hour to say goodbye to my hubby! It was going to be a long week…

Thursday afternoon, I sat by my self in an empty group room, pulling out my laptop to start delving into my seemingly mountainous amounts of work. Weakened, was how I felt; drained of all energy, down to the core. I wanted to want to do this work, but I couldn’t find the gusto within me. “Is all this work even going help me pass the tests? Am I really even making progress? I am I even learning … absorbing all of this new information?” and the worst part was the fact that I was alone with such depressive thoughts…

In less than an hour, after texting all of my bestest  friends as quickly as I could, , I did some more internal wining and finally got my computer up, put some good tunes on Pandora, ready to study. I had already half-committed to running over to the Academic Resource Center (ARC) to get a good-ol-stress-revealing-energy-boosting-latte. Ten minutes or so later, Kara, one of my fellow classmates wandered into the room; she was looking to get some work done before meeting up with her group there in a bit. “How have you been?” I prompted, kind of realizing how much I wanted conversation. “Doing good,” she said, “how bout you?” “Oh man, I’m so stressed!” I answered, not wanting to pretend things were good when really I felt like I’d rather throw my computer into a wall then do my homework. We got to chatting a bit, and after a while, Patrick, another fellow classmate wondered in (for the same reason Kara had). After a few minutes, I felt like I had maybe picked up a small dash of ambition, though I still felt like I was dragging; so I decided to go to the ARC to get that latte and finish up some studying before class…

After class, another classmate, Emmy, needed a ride home. So my roommate, Emily, and I swung over to the north side of Athens to drop her off. On the way to drop her off, I mentioned how Sonic was right in that area – oh and BY the way, they also had a new pretzel-dog out on the market. “Wanna go to Sonic and get pretzel dogs????” Emily asked ever so innocently after dropping Emmy off. “YES!!” I readily replied – to an offer I would normally second guess and most likely turn down, I just blurted out an agreeable answer – I could go for a bite of some good old greasy quick n’ easy n’ cheap food -‘twould be my second time getting Sonic ever! (YOLO) We ate it out on the porch both trying to talk some motivation up between us to get something done before our OMM review session.

So what I am getting at here with this rant, I’m not exactly sure if I am depicting well enough in my story. Let me finish it up, so I can get on a soap box here about friendship..

That night Emmy, the friend we had dropped off earlier, came over, a growler of some deliciously dark beer in one hand, and a sack full of books and her computer in the other. Her and Emily had arranged for a viewing session for Grey’s Anatomy’s Season Premier; simultaneously we were all going to tryyyy to do homework…

It was a splendiferous night of laughter, unanimously exaggerated complaints about our homework, some drama (I’ve never watched a full episode of Grey’s – so I’m not totally certain how typical this is, but I think there may have been some tears at one point near the end…) and finally, grand company. Not only were Emmy and Emily there with computers open, trying – at least a little – to get some school things done, but later that night, a really sweet prospective student who ended up getting accepted the very next day) came to spend the night before her interview. By the time she joined our homework party, it was a flurry of activity, all excitatory neurons firing at once! Before I knew it, I had my homework all done and it was time to go to bed. Yes I may have had to stay up until 1AM, but something had happened to completely change my perspective on the homework and on school that night. What I had been missing before, was joy that comes from embracing companionship throughout the tough struggles; I had been convinced that I had to go through the homework and long lists of tasks alone, forgetting the power that comes from just taking a moment to open up and spend a little time with friends. Combine that with some supportive fellow students, and not even medical school seems daunting! Feeling very blessed…

I hope that in life, the power of friendship is not underestimated or undervalued. I read recently (and all my friends are prolly tired of hearing me say it…) that the best thing a man can do to enhance his own longevity is get married, and the best thing a woman can do is stay close with her friends. It’s so true that friendship is so important!

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“Wars are not fought by single soldiers. Armies are sent to win the victory. So you, too, must call on you army of helpers, both heavenly and earthly, to come to your aid”- A Gentle Spirit, Devotions for Women

No matter how thick the stresses or difficult the tasks – it’s so easy to forget but wonderful to remember, I get by with a little help from my friends.

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Two Worlds, One Day, Road Trip!

So a few weeks ago, I quit working as an associate at Panera in hopes to get some frivolous adventure time in before I start my long laborious hike to Nicaragua, which according to google maps will take about 1,055 hours (going an average of 4.9 km/hr) and therefore according to my calculations would take 150.7 days (hiking 7 hours/day)…

OK, I’m not really hiking to Nicaragua, at least not any time soon, maybe someday (never say never). It’s just that this sort of endeavor seems about as difficult in my mind, currently, as embarking on a journey through medical school, which is what I am ACTUALLY going to do here in just three little weeks from now!!!! … OK, so I wont be facing blistering desert winds and heats, wont have to figure out how to set up a tent in the wilderness and live off of dehydrated meals and a water filter for weeks and weeks and WEEKS and wont have to fend off tropical diseases and wild carnivorous animals..and I have no idea really what hiking to Nicaragua will be like – but I also have no idea what this medical school business will be about and they both seem kind of difficult, so, for story telling purposes,I figured the two are pretty much interchangeable. I …digress?

As I was saying, I wanted to take some time off to venture out and frolic before having to hike to Nicaragua. The very first thing I did … with my glorious free time, with my marvelous and suddenly abundant free time, time which is by FAR one of the world’s richest, most powerful, and dwindling resources … , was wake up, roll out of bed, go to church, have brunch with the fam during which I was half-zombied-out due to lack of sleep and missing my Mr. Darcy (aka, mwa fiance, James who went to UTAH?! … for work) , and then I spent the entire day building a website! I know that was really climatic, right!? Well, after I did that, I hopped in my car and drove 9 hours to visit my darling Kristen in Pennsylvania. HA! Now we’re talking! As I drove and through the first 6 hours of that drive, I couldn’t stop thinking how grand it was that I was doing it, I was seizing the adventure, breaking out of my comfort zone, bolting into new frontiers, one small step for man, but one giant leap…

Ok so I was sitting in an air conditioned Buick through a clear sunny summery day. But hey it was a 9 hour trek all on my own – I gave myself a little back-pat. By the time I got there it was late evening. I didn’t leave till around noon thirty: I kept finding things to do (as I so often do)! The rest of the trip was marvelous history, I had thoroughly transported myself to an entirely new world! I was immediately wooed by Pennsylvania, blanketed in misty mountains, thick green woods, and rolling open spaces. I drove up a narrow winding well paved road, about a third of the way up a mountainside to get to Kristen’s lovely cabin-esque home. Kristen and I, after a couple tight embraces, hurried words of excitement at our reunion, and a brief night’s sleep, took the early morning bus from Scranton to NYC – and we pranced all across town together like two unleashed hyperactive kiddlets at the zoo.

Couple of things we did still stand out in my memory:

The bus ride in was almost 2.5 hours long. During that time, of course, Kristen and I could do nothing but talk! After all, it had been a month or so since I watched her graduate and seven months since she watched me graduate – thus marking the ending of our glorious school attendance together! Thus, as we were chatting, we carried on in a perfectly blissful manor, oblivious to the world around us until we stopped to watch the bus driver turn around and send some words our way. He motioned with his hand to “lower” something – “the window shade?” we offered, unsure of his meaning. He shook his head, this time we could make out his words, “could you two quiet down?” OOoOOooOhhhh we both blushed a bit to ourselves, looked at each other, and with one look we lost it, both laughing at the ridiculousness of our situation! I haven’t been told to quiet down by a bus driver since…. high school? After some examination of the situation, we determined that it was the layout of the bus seats that allowed our voices to travel directly to the drivers ears, not the annoying, loud, and rambunctious nature of our conversation.

We hiked from Time Square to the Rockefeller Center – a tall fortified building in whose ground floor we found an amazing large DELICIOUS vanilla chocolate ganache filled macaroon. Next, we took ourselves over to The Ritz-Carlton, a most luxurious and elaborate hotel! We walked in up the front steps, totally incognito, with our slightly sweaty toristy tops, back-sacks, complete with hiking shorts and shoes. Not sure if what Kristen found by calling the hotel faculty was true, but according to her, just to get a tour of the place would have been several hundred dollars?! We found an exciting food court on the floor beneath all the fanciness. Artisan breads, gourmet cookie samples, and even Stumptown coffee (YAY Portland!) could be found! We ate the tuna fish that we packed on a whole grain role and mini olive loaf baguette! Of course I just haaaave to comment on the food!

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We toured around Central Park, where, to my delight, I found Balto and to our surprise, a bunch of really odd looking sheep.

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After getting only a little lost, we explored a little Italy – mamma mia, did I want to buy armfuls of scarves and earrings and my mouth watered for a taste of the three course meals advertised by both sign and the waiter-looking-gentlemen standing by them! Next: Chinatown-which was slightly sketchy feeling to me, comparatively… Next we took to ferry (fo freeeee!) to Stanton Island and NEXT we had dindin at this awesome little pub – where I got a delish grilled chicken Greek salad. It was just her and I – on our own, going according to our own fleeting fancies! I felt so free to run around and around and then… I was pooped.

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With tired legs, sweat-salty shirts and shorts, we finally resigned to depart from the bustling city. We thought we had left ourselves with more than enough time to get back to the bus station, but had trouble finding the right subway line to get there… This subline happened to be called the “one” line. I couldn’t help but pun it up, thinking to myself, oh how troublesome it can be to find THE ONE…especially the RIGHT ONE…he he he…everywhere we look, us girls just can’t find THE ONE! I nearly lost it when Kristen ran up to this random guy, “excuse me sir, we are really having trouble finding the one, do you think you could point us in the right direction?” One wantingly helpful gentleman pointed us towards what ended up being a closed entrance to the “one” – line. I snapped a quick pic of Kristen standing under the sign pointing, dismayed at our failure to get to the one, oh the pun, I just canNOT help myself!

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Well we finally did get to the one, which got us to our bus with only three minutes to spare! Still feeling pretty chatty, we sat closer towards the back of the bus on the ride home.

Race Weekend Extravaganza!

So today is the day! The big race day!! Thank goodness I’m not running!!! … Wahhahaha I’m not running *sniff*… As you can tell I’m slightly conflicted about how I feel about this…

At least I had my consolation bagel! If I wasn’t going to have to run, I was going to get my consolation delicious breakfast. Panera has their new season line out-that season line includes the pumpkin bagel, an all time favorite!! I swear I could gain endless weight eating an endless supply of Panera pumpkin bagels! I got to nab this bagel just before getting the ding dong song of wedding bells chiming out of my phone. It was my new-as of 3 weeks now-hubby, Jamesie. “Hey!” he rang in, “so this traffic for the race is really bad – could you drop us off?” Next thing I know, I’m packing up my medical homework, which i had only half heartedly started before his call, refilling my water bottle, and before I could top off my coffee mug, my phone is ringing again, he was there. I hopped in my car and sped off towards the base with my brother and James in tow, zooming past the miles of backed up traffic to get them as close to the start as possible. For a glimmering moment there, as I watched them scamper off towards the start line, I felt that twinge of jealousy, and I could almost feel my adrenaline rushing for them…

Where was I? Oh yes today’s the day-the big race day! I’ll be on the sidelines with my two beautiful sisters-I practiced my screaming cheering holler last night so I should be good to go!

Random interjecting thought here-when I got home last night, my dad told me to say hi to Gracey…twas splendid to pet her soft white coat, she was in moderately good spirits…

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We’re going to be streaming live – our first stop-downtown Fairborn-wherein our Mom, who is running her first marathon, at age 53, after a back surgery about 2 years go, will be crossing the 7 and 8 mile marks. She’ll be going past us first on one side of the road and again one mile later. The goals are to 1. Spot her 2. Get at least one good photo and 3. Hand off her peanutbutter cracker snack!

We just got her first passing and she’s looking strong-operation peanutbutter cracker hand off was slightly shaky but bottom line successful!

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Second passing went by with far more grace-the cracker offer was rejected but I snapped two awesome photos of Mom mid-stride, and a dude on the side lines acted quickly enough to snag up the camera as my younger sister, Mary, threw at him, and managed to get a quality photo of the three of us girls smiling next to Mom as she paused for a moment in her race. A very successful endeavor indeed! Next stop-seeing Johnny Boy and Jamesie finish the half! We have to get on base, park, and walk about a mile – I hope we don’t miss it!

We were in the car and I realized we weren’t going to make it to the finish line in time to see Jamesie! Anne, my older sister, parked the car and I said “see ya!” as I sprinted off to the finish line, trenching through the thick mud and weeds. After 8 minutes of jogging, lugging my heavy purse and jacket, I finally arrived at the final 200 yard dash of the race. I stood there wedged between other yelling fans, staring intently at the oncoming herd of runners. About 5 or 6 minutes later, THERE HE WAS!!! I saw him approaching and screamed his name. Earbuds in-he was totally oblivious. Keeping my holler up, I snapped a pic of him as he passed by, looking focused on the finish as he rounded the corner.

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I think the first words out of his mouth when I found him were, “I’m free!”

The next adventure, after meeting up with Jamesie, was to meet back up with Anne, Mary, and Dad. Dad had been at the finish for a while, having long ago completed his 10k. We were to cheer my brother, John, on, as he pulled in to his finish; this would be his first half marathon! It wasn’t too long after reuniting with the bunch of them, when Mary spied him from a distance, “I see him!” We prepared ourselves accordingly: Mary got the poster in position, Anne helped her with it, and I got my camera ready, struggling to find a better vantage point. Not finding one, I jumped on a thought, “Mary, get on my back!” Without further adieu, she was hoisted on high, mounted atop my shoulders, waving the poster.

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The camera man ran up to catch a clip of the action as we screamed and cheered John on. About two seconds into her sitting on my shoulders I started to feel the intervertebral discs scream at me… As the excitement built and John got closer I could just envision the squishing of everyone of my thoracic gelatinous nucleous pulposus discs-about to rupture and burst into the vertebral canal. This vivid imagery was NOT helping! The second our champion John ran by, I gave a final holler and then called out to James and Dad to assist in the dismount. Thankfully, I did not manage to pop any discs AND Dad some how snapped an awesome action shot of Johnny Boy on my phone!

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Johnny finished in somewhere around 2 hours and 30 minutes and James made just under 2 hours! Considering the training and likelihood of subsequent injury-they did pretty darn well! After this, we all took a moment of respite before standing once again back at the finish line, vigilant this time for mom…

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And it was Mary again to spy the runner, “THERE SHE IS!!!!” John and James angled their cameras in on the distant figure’s direction and used them to confirm: it was in fact Mom! She was joggin’ in, strong and steady. When she came across our way, bounding in past us at the 100 yard mark, we screamed and hollered at the top of our lungs, as she gave a triumphant wave! She continued her race down to the end past the finish line and there we gathered to meet up with her and revel in her victory and squeeze her in tight embrace!

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Proud of all my runners for the day, we walked/hobbled the mile back to the car as the sun began to peek out and stand out from the clouds.

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