Coffee & GChat: “J’accepte la grande aventure d’être moi.”
1.) Clamare Therapy
In 9 days I get to start my Calmare Therapy!! I know the process will be exhausting but I can’t wait to not be in any pain anymore. Chronic pain really drives a person fucking insane and I’m fatigued all the damn time. It’s going to be nice when I don’t feel like I have to take a nap in my car on my breaks during work just to get through the day.
2.) New Stickers on Chuck
The first thing I did when I bought my MINI back in February, I put a Lothlorien sticker on the back window. And when I registered her, I made sure she got nerdy license plates (SSRPC = Strategic Scientific Reserve Peggy Carter). However, I’ve been feeling like Chuck could be showing off her side a little bit more. So I found Rebel Alliance and SSR decals off of Etsy from FineCraftsman and I couldn’t be more pleased with them!
I’m just really in love with my car, which is news to no one ^_^
3.) Adventuring Last Sunday
Last Sunday started out simple enough: Steve woke me up at an ungodly hour to get coffee and breakfast. As we sat at the Summit Diner (once frequented by Ernest Hemingway), Steve’s friend Andrew texted us asking if we wanted to go to the Englishtown Flea Market. We agreed.
The flea market turned out to be a bust but I did find some trashy pirate novels from the 80s!
Afterwards we figured we should just stop by Six Flags Great Adventure because our friend Dave had gotten us all season passes for Christmas. We ended up staying there until 11 o’clock #exhausted.
I love roller coasters but going to theme parks always makes me feel like I’m covered in 5 layers of sweat and dirt by the end of the day. Also, RIP Steve’s phone that fell out of his pocket on El Toro. A worthwhile way to leave this world, iPhone 5.
4.) Full Moon Cafe
Being the astronomy nerd and moon appreciatist that I am, I totally freaked out when I read about Full Moon Cafe online. It normally only serves breakfast and lunch but on full moons they serve a special dinner! Steve got the Jerk Chicken with Banana Sriracha Sauce and I ordered the Eggplant, Red Onion, Yellow Squash, Mushroom, Tomato Sautée with Curry Aioli. You can check out the full menu here! It was such a magical evening and worth driving an hour to Lambertville to check it out.
Steve took this lovely photo of the Delaware River dividing NJ and PA.
So, that’s life lately. Just working and counting down the days until the Calmare Therapy so that I can hopefully feel like a human being again.
And I’m off to spend another Sunday with my love, getting a late breakfast, picking up the Sunday paper, and reading it with a splendid cup of coffee. I hope your day is as cozy as mine<3
7 Things of Late
Things have been full of busy life things lately, and I since I’m feeling under the weather & couch bound, I thought I’d give you guys an update!
1.) My new year’s resolution this year was to simple take care of myself. The last couple of years I hadn’t been doing that and I was not where I wanted to be mentally or physically. So I bit the bullet and went out on a quest to find doctors that I liked. Thankfully a friend referred me to an amazing psychiatrist (which is incredibly hard to find), who diagnosed me with an anxiety disorder (no surprise there). She put me on the correct cocktail of medications that actually lets me function like a normal person, such as sleep without nightmares & not have daily panic attacks. Most importantly, the nausea I had been feeling for over a year was due to stress and once I was not having attacks everyday, I stopped feeling sick all the time. Between that and the ability to not stress over every single detail in my life made an incredible difference. I’m able to focus on eating healthy and not just to curb my nauseousness.
Plus I’ve always had bad headaches, but they’ve increased in the past year so I saw a chiropractor, which did not help. However I did see an ENT who asked for a CAT scan of my sinuses and low and behold!- I have a severely deviated septum, a bone spur, and turbinate dysfunction. Meaning my nose is all crocked and the glands surrounding them are so swollen that they are putting a ridiculous amount of pressure on my face thus, sinus these migraines so bad I can’t see out of my right eye. I’m having surgery this Wednesday to correct all that nonsense which means weeks of recovery but years of no more migraines ahead of me.
Things on my CRPS nerve disorder front are not going nearly as well. I’ve tried a few new pain management doctors since moving back to Jersey and none of them offer treatment I’ve agreed with. They want invasive procedures such as spinal cord stimulators and monthly epidurals to curb my nerve pain, which are not happening in my lifetime. They also refuse to refill my narcotics prescription, which I understand from a legal & medical conservative point of view. But now I’m currently on nothing for my nerve pain and sometimes it’s quite unbearable. But I have to get my nose surgery done before I can actually get anywhere for my nerves so blah blah blah. My health isn’t perfect but I’m much better than where I was five months ago!
2.) I love driving! Never in a million years did I ever think I would love driving! I’ve had my license for 2 months and 2 days now and I absolutely love it. I love my yellow mini cooper, Chuck, with my entire heart. When I told my mom this last month she replied with, “Good, then that car will take care of you.” I love that car and I love driving and I love how badass driving a manual transmission makes me feel. Sure, driving a stick shift is still frustrating at times, but I have to remind myself I have ONLY been driving for two months! And a stick nonetheless! Nobody masters a skill overnight. But I do love shifting gears and the sound of a revved up engine. And when random guys at gas stations and supermarkets remark on how badass I am for driving a manual coop, it does wonders for my confidence. I always thought I was too clumsy to learn how to drive (and had multiple people in my life tell me this for the last ten years) so being able to prove myself and them wrong feels amazing. Plus my car is way too cute for me to handle. <3
3.) I turned 25 on April 25th, 2015! (gotta love numbers). I have had notoriously bad birthdays in my life, it kinda of felt like a curse. But Steve made sure I had the most wonderful of days. We drove into Manhattan to go to my favorite spots including breakfast at Zabar’s and a walk through Riverside Park.
We also stopped at Tatyana Boutique, which has 40s & 50s inspired bombshell clothing for women of ALL SIZES. I walked in, told the gorgeous salesgirl (dressed as a pin up Little Mermaid) what I was looking for: a dress that covered my upper arms but showed off my ample cleavage and gave off a bombshell look. The girl’s eyes lit up and told me to wait in a dressing room. She brought me the most GORGEOUS dress and I looked like such a bombshell in it. It’s quite revealing so for my own sanity I won’t post a picture of the whole thing. But Steve certainly loved it <3
He took me out to dinner to this stunning restaurant called 90 Acres. Even though we had dinner reservations, I asked to sit at the bar. My reasoning is that as soon as we walked into the place, I realized “Sabrina” with Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart was playing behind the bar, a movie I love. Plus, the bartenders were super nerdy and awesome and we all had great conversation. By the time we were supposed to go to our table we just asked to stay where we were, and everything was perfect.
4.) The day after my birthday we went to Six Flags Great Adventure to activate our season passes (kindly given to us by Steve’s best friend Dave for Christmas) and we rode all the best roller coasters. Steve hadn’t gone in a long time and I was able to tell him which ones were the best (Kingda Ka and El Toro) and though he questioned how I could have good taste in high thrill rides, afterwards he admitted I knew my shit. After all, I’ve gone skydiving before: I’m actually an adrenaline junkie, which not many would guess.
5.) That Monday my sister Maya and I saw “The Age of Adaline” starring Blake Lively. (even though I want to hate her for breaking up ScarJo’s marriage to Ryan Reynolds, my Gossip Girl heart will always adore Ms. Lively.) The movie was amazing!!!! A complete fairy tale with elements of magic, romance, tragicness, and overall wonderfulness. Maya and I cried buckets and I can’t wait to buy it when it comes out.
6.) I updated my Big Dipper tattoo! I didn’t like how the yellow originally healed; it was more of a brown than yellow. As much coworker Sarah described, it looked like a coffee stain hahaha. So I went back to Amanda to EvolvInk and told her I wanted some more color, and boy did she add some! Amanda is a wonderful artist and a great person to talk to while she tortures you slightly. I’m defiantly going back to her for all my future tattoos.
7.) For my birthday Steve gave me a new lens for my DSLR, a 35 mm that’s supposed to be the best for taking astrophotography. He also gave me an astronomy laser pointer, which I really really wanted! *heart eyes*
The past few nights the skies have been clear so here are the results of our efforts!
The Big Dipper
Another shot of The Big Dipper
If you click on the image to make it bigger, you can see we captured a satellite moving across the sky
So that’s basically what’s going on in my life recently. All this plus working at the animal hospital, which I love tremendously however emotionally draining at times. Life is good my friends. Life is so good.
Coffee & Gchat: “Striking All the Right Keys”
An admirable quality I look for when reading other blogger’s work is the idea of “”transparency”. One of my favorite blogs to read, Authentically Emmie, has an ongoing theme where every week she writes a #TransparentTuesday post about things going on in her life that are not necessarily pleasant. Bloggers have a habit of only letting people see the amazing parts of their life, giving off a false sense of a perfect life. I try not to do the whole “look at me my life is perfect” bullshit, but just in case I’ll be extra transparent today since it’s a Tuesday.
Life lately has been fun albeit quiet due to having time off before I start my new job and my health being a pain in the ass. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but having CRPS sucks. I look 100% percent normal but most of the time it feels like my hands are broken. Plus my anxiety has been kicking in serious high mode due to my hands hurting so bad and having a job I had begun to despise. But tomorrow I’m seeing a new pain management doctor and on Friday I’m seeing a new psychiatrist so whoohoo! Plus today I went to a regular physician because I have a sinus infection. Health insurance, I’m using the fuck out of you!
Also, a major part of my life finally came to a close last week. In short this has been going on for over a year and now it’s finally ended. The reason I have a wrecked nervous system is because of them and now I have at least have some sort of closer over the ordeal. I’m hoarding what I was given tightly, saving for the life I want ,but I’m also allowing myself a few treats. Like buying a car and going on a small getaway with Steve, which you’ll undoubtedly hear about in the upcoming weeks.
I was really lucky, not many people get super fucked over and then get compensated for it.
So far I only have ‘Whiplash’ to see and then I’ll have seen all 10 Best Picture nominations! It’s been such a great year for movies, all of them unique and well told stories. Yesterday I took myself out on a date to see ‘Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)’ and I loved it. I have always been a movie nerd and I get such a lady boner over tracking shots. For those of you not well versed in movie terms, a tracking shot “is when a camera follows a person or an object physically moving with the subject- This can be done using tracks, handheld, ropes, Steady-cam etc.” You can see some great examples of tracking shots here. Anyway, ‘Birdman’ was FULL of tracking shots and I was salivating the whole time over how fucking brilliant the acting, writing, directing, soundtrack, and overall quality of the film was. The Oscars are going to be so good this year, I can’t wait to see who takes home awards.
I have been reading a lot lately. I finished up re-reading volumes 5 and 6 of ‘The Princess Diaries’ books by Meg Cabot. I also read Kelly Link’s collection of short stories “Get in Trouble” which is fucking AMAZING. I cannot recommend it enough. Her writing is complex and odd and like a fairy tale. Right now I’m reading “The Group” by Mary McCarthy, which is about young woman in the 1940s aka Zoë Porn.
Since I have been off of work and feeling under the weather, I’ve had time to watch a new show on Netflix. I chose the period BBC drama “The Forsyte Saga” which I loved immensely. It’s all about family and true love and politics and money, all elements of a great drama. I was addicted the whole time. Last night I also watched “Populairé” a French romantic comedy from 2012 about a girl in the 50s whose boss trains her to become the fastest typist in the world. It’s colorful and silly and fun and oh, so many gorgeous typewriters. I was in heaven!
From the Internet
I recently bought a subscription to Sky & Telescope magazine and I got my first issue in the mail over the weekend! The pages are glossy, full of great articles and a pull out of what to look for in the sky during the month of February. If you’re an amateur astronomy like I’m learning to be, you should definitely check their website and perhaps even the magazine as well!
As always, I hope things are well with all of you<3
Ten Things Tuesdays #1
One of my favorite bloggers, Jenni from The Story of my Life, used to do a series of blog posts called “Ten Things Tuesdays” where she would list ten random things on her mind that week. I love the idea so much, so I’m going to carry the tradition on to over here!
When I was younger, I wanted to become an astronaut. Then I realized I’d have to be stuck in a spaceship for months at a time and I’m very claustrophobic so I switched my career plan to Astronomer. But then I realized you have to be good at math, and that is not my area of expertise. Instead I poured over books about constellations and the stories behind them all. My favorite has always been the Big Dipper since it’s directly over my house in the winter months. This summer Andromeda has been added to my list of favorites as well. I have a really funny story about this one time I traumatized a room full of kids with my glow in the dark constellation shirt, but it’s best told in person. Remind me when we hang out.
Modcloth, one of my favorite places to shop, just released a Ursa Major necklace yesterday!! They also have this Undeniably Star Quality bracelet I’ve been lusting after. I’ve also been toying with the idea of getting a constellation tattoo or painting constellations on my ceiling or everything else I can do to incorporate them into my life
2.) The Lady and the Fox
I’m currently reading “What My True Love Gave to Me”, a collection of short stories centered around romance between young adults and 20 somethings during the holidays. Aka, exactly the kind of guilty pleasure I’ve been needing! The second story in the collection is called “The Lady and the Fox” by Kelly Link. It’s about a girl who sees a man on Christmas outside of her aunt’s house, but only when it snows. It’s an incredibly magical and whimsical story. Teh funny thing is, nearly every review I’ve read of this book online, including Twitter, readers did not get this story. They thought it was weird, didn’t understand it, didn’t connect with the characters. Not me, it spoke directly to my heart and now I want a fox necklace.
3.) Christmas Cards!
Every year I send out Christmas cards to all my friends and this year is no different! I started back in 2010 when I printed 100 postcards with a custom design and sent them to any of my Twitter followers who asked for me. And I sent every last one of those cards. I’ve met most of my best friends off of Twitter, so the majority of them live scattered across the country. Getting snail mail is one of the very best pleasures in life and I like to indulge often. Last year’s card had an adorable picture of a painting of two children flying over the Chrysler Building, appropriate since I was living in Manhattan. This year I found a simple yet perfect card with a black cat on the cover from Etsy.
4.) Moleskine Planners
Something else I’ve done for the past several years is buy a Moleskine Daily Planner use the hell out of it. On top of keep track of all my appointments and bills to pay, I also try to write down one thing I did that day that made it different than other days. I also tape in little pieces of paper or etc that pertained to my day. I love looking back on the years and seeing all the things I forgot I did. The color for 2014 was purple and the one I just bought off of Amazon (here) is magenta. I’m a sucker for moleskine products because they’re beautiful and made well and the paper is perfectly smooth and most importantly: the lines aren’t spaced too far apart which is a major pet peeve of mine.
If you’re new to my blog and/or my twitter feed, I have a nerve disorder called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. It was a result of falling down an escalator last year and long story short, my hands sort of always feel like they’re broken. The pain gets worse when the weather is bad, so the nor’easter that’s currently hitting the tri-state area is driving me INSANE. So much of having chronic pain is about mind over matter. When I get anxious (which is all the time) the pain gets increasing worse. The phrase “my nerves are shot” is quite literal. So I spend a lot of time breathing and telling myself not to get upset over how much my hands hurt or else I’m going to lose my mind.
6.) Coconut Oil in My Hair
I’m currently writing this while sitting in on my bed. My hair is soaking in coconut oil under a shower cap and my hairdryer strategically hung over my mirror to apply heat to my head. I use coconut oil for everything! Especially as a body lotion after showering- it makes my skin incredibly soft. My hair is damaged after years of dying it different colors and blow drying it, so it feels much softer after a letting some coconut oil soak in it. I highly recommend it for these dry winter months.
Tomorrow I’m going to start up yoga classes again! When I lived in the city I was going 4 times a week as part of my physical therapy and I miss it like mad. My limbs ache too much these days for me not to do it, plus it does WONDERS for my anxiety. Merry Christmas to me!
I should probably learn how to drive. I’m 24, I no longer live in Manhattan, and my driver’s test is in a month. I guess it’s high time to learn how to operate a vechinle. I guess. I just never got around to it when I was high school (did I mention I’m a very anxious person?) and then I was living in the city so I never needed to learn. But I’m back in the suburbs so a license will probably come in handy. Any 17 year olds out there than wanna teach me??
9.) I Don’t Want to Jinx It,
But I Might Be Getting My Boyfriend to Watch Star Wars This Weekend!
I know, I’m dating a non-nerd and he’s never seen Star Wars but his friends and I have planned a Star Wars watching party this weekend marathoning all 3 movies with lots of food and booze and all around AMAZINGNESS. I just hope I can get Steve to show up.
10.) Next to Me – Sleeping at Last
“Honestly, nothing’s ever made sense til you were next to me, next to me
If time is money, then I’ll spend it all for you
I will buy you flowers with the minutes we outgrew
I’ll turn hours into gardens, planted just for us to take
I’ll be reckless with my days, building castles in your name.”
Thank God for a Fucked Up Year
There are two things on my mind at any given point: my chronic illness and how ridiculously in love I am. These two are directly correlated to each other, by more than just the fact that both are simultaneously weaving through my nervous system every minute of the day.
I am in a constant state of fighting with myself when it comes to my disorder. My first instinct is to put up barriers between myself and the world, hiding my weakness because the only thing worse than showing flaws is having someone pity you. At every doctor’s visit, every family gathering when I’m asked how I am, I respond with a wrily “fine, the same”. (I then remember that I’m supposed to go into great detail with my doctors how I’m feeling because why else am I paying them a $50 co pay every time?)
At the same time, having Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (isn’t that the most fucking vague term you’ve ever heard? It might as well be called “I have no fucking idea what this is, but its all over the place and it sucks”) is something that has taken over my life and the only way I know how to deal with my life is to write about it. I’m torn between keeping this horrible thing to myself and the ever nagging need to dissect it to understand it.
CRPS, in short, is a nerve disorder that is a result of a traumatic injury. In my case, I slipped on an escalator on a rainy Friday, landing on my left wrist. When I fell, the pain signals in my brain turned on because my arm thought it was broken. But because my arm wasn’t actually broken, it never healed, thus the pain signals never turned off- and never will. There is no cure for CRPS and it will almost inevitably spread to the rest of my body during the upcoming years of my life. Actually, there’s a really good chance I’ll reach a point in my life that every bone in my body will feel broken. The statistics of people who have this disorder that commit suicide is astronomical, because there is nothing doctors can do to make this pain stop.
When it comes to my online profiles, especially Twitter, I’m all over the place with movie facts and song lyrics and ramblings but scarce in the details of my personal life. For most of you reading this, you probably have no idea that I moved back to New Jersey after living in Manhattan for a couple of years. After getting hurt in June 2013, living in the city became increasingly difficult. I had countless doctors visits and medical procedures I went to alone. I worked 11 hour shifts at a veterinary hospital. I was on a slew of narcotics whose side effects made me viciously sick on top of the physical pain from my disorder. I was also in a toxic relationship.
My doctor told me I had to see a shrink to treat my obvious depression, or else he would no longer treat me. I begrudgingly looked for someone that I wouldn’t hate and found a woman who looked just like Walter White’s wife in Breaking Bad. She was sweet and helped me deal with all the shit in my head. I had to come to terms with the anger that my nerves were fucked and that there was nothing I could do about it. I had to deal with not meeting my self-inflicted expectations of greatness. And most of all, I had to accept the fact that I had to break up with New York City.
If you have been following me on Twitter for the last couple of years (or since the beginning in 2009), you are aware that I spent years and years writing about New York. Manhattan was the love of my life. Men would come and go, but the city would forever hold my heart and I was never going to move from the Upper West Side for as long as I lived.
For months everyone tried telling me I should move back to Jersey to be with my family: doctors, lawyers, friends, my shrink. Everything else was negotiable, I tried to say, but I would never leave Manhattan. “If I moved back to New Jersey I would kill myself,” I told my shrink. “I may be miserable here, but I would be empty and feel nothing back there. I’d rather die.”
And yet, things kept getting worse. I spend all my time working and trying to sleep. I took long walks between Columbus Circle and 100th street, between Riverside Park and Central Park. I cried on the benches outside of the Museum of Natural History in the middle of the night, trying to figure out how I had let my life get to this point. Not the promenade in Central Park, not the 91st street Garden in Riverside Park, not a pumpernickel bagel from Zabar’s could save me from drowning anymore.
And so, I dropped my massive book collection off at the post office to zip code 08854, sincerely 10023. The beautiful April morning I officially moved home, I was waiting in Penn Station for my train when a huge light fell from the ceiling, nearly impaling a few college students next to me. I took it as a sign.
My parents were glad to have me back under their wing and didn’t argue when I spent weeks in bed, finally sleeping for the first time in months. I didn’t mourn the end of my relationship, it had been over for months. But I mourned losing New York and the daunting task of trying to figure out what my new dream would be.
I told myself and others that I would stay home for a few months, regroup, find another job in the city, and then move back. But I realized that I missed my family more than I thought I did. My siblings are amazing people: JonErik is 21, a senior at an arts college majoring in photography and soon to be guitar tech. Maya is 16 and has more sass and balls than I will ever have in my entire life. We stopped talking a lot when I moved to the city, which is a shame because they are spectacular people and nobody makes me laugh harder than they do. When you grow up in the same chaotic, weird as fuck environment we did, it’s hard not to have the same warped sense of humor.
Now we have nightly “family meetings” consisting of three of us sitting at the table bitching about life and have the funniest ongoing group chat. JonErik admitted that after I moved out, him and Maya didn’t talk much. I was a crucial missing piece in the family dynamic, plus I got my best friends back.
And so, life in Jersey went on and proved to not be so terrible. I still had unavoidable bouts of sadness where I felt trapped and hated living in the suburbs and missed Manhattan with my whole heart. But then something quite unexpected happened, although everything in my life was unknowingly leading me up to this point.
I read an article on how Tinder was “actually bad for women”, I downloaded Tinder, spent two days being absolutely horrified at the dating scene, deleted Tinder. Then re-downloaded Tinder while watching Jaws instead of going to see fireworks on the 4th of July and swiped right on a face that I would soon not be able to live without.
Hours of phone calls, thousands and thousands of text messages, long car rides, Starbucks runs, whispered proclamations of adoration, drunken confessions, love letters, falling asleep on FaceTime, lingering goodbyes. Simply put, I am in love. For the first time in my life, I am purely in love. I could write hundreds of pages about him, but those I will keep for myself. You’ll have to keep an eye out for my mushy tweets, Instagram pictures, and Tumblr poem reblogs to get an insight of this relationship, but oh, how in love I am.
Out of all the things this relationship made me realize about myself, the most important one was that New York was not the great love of my life I thought it was. I will forever love the excitement, the fancy hotels, the brownstone lined streets, the adventures waiting around every corner. But by god, I would give it up all over again for the Sundays I’ve spent, and all the Sundays I will spend, with him.
And so, that is what my life is these days. The bipolar combination of having this horrible pain circulating in my arm knowing it won’t ever go away, mixed with feeling blissfully happy and in love. I realized as soon as I met him that if I hadn’t gotten hurt, I never would have found this incredible guy. Even my mother brought it up the other day: my being diagnosed with this disorder was the only thing in the entire world that would have brought me back to New Jersey. Then he and I never would have met, because why would I swipe right on a guy who didn’t live in Manhattan?
I often think about how I wish I could time travel back to February of this year, to a particular night. I sat crying outside of the Museum of Natural History in the freezing cold, wondering how I could have fucked up my life this bad. How I felt so alone and scared and unloved and broken. I daydream about going to that poor girl, giving her gloves for her freezing hands and telling her, “Just hang in there. You’ll get through this. Just a couple more months. On May 20th he’ll be exactly 45 days from you. Hold onto that date. You are going to love him so much, and more importantly, he’s going to love you for exactly who you are. You are so close. You are so close. You are so close.”