hollyslowly: 30 Rock; Liz and Jenna hug. (We did have really good luck that year.)
My plan was to be in bed by 10:30 last night, but instead I stayed over at my friends' house, where we collectively drank seven (7) bottles of wine, ate so much, and had an impromptu dance party at midnight. And then this morning we made pancakes. Protip: butterscotch pancakes. You're welcome.

Something I realized while I was doing that end of year meme yesterday was that if I don't write down the moments that make me happy, I struggle to remember them. So I had a lovely evening and a delicious breakfast, and today is the day for my favorite joke: this is the happiest I've been all year!
hollyslowly: Miranda; Miranda commits double facepalm. (I'M IN THAILAND GARY)
So I have unlocked the secret to finding shirts that cloak my freakishly long arms and torso, and that secret is Target-brand men's shirts, size small. At last, my wrists are warm and my belly covered.
hollyslowly: Dark Angel; Max passed out on Logan in a hospital bed. (I did. I did. I do.)
Well, since my last melodramatic update, I am the same/okay/mildly better, for those of you hanging in suspense. The professional conference was actually much better than last year’s and my boss and I both had a very productive day. The keynote speaker was Alex Sheen of Because I Said I Would, an Ohio-based nonprofit/social movement that, in essence, allows people means to be accountable to themselves about the commitments they’ve made. I was somewhat skeptical of it at first – why do you need a “promise card” to do what you said you’d do; just do it – but I’m trying to be more open and understanding in my old age, so I stayed with it. I’m not sure if the story is on their website in video form, but I very nearly cried at one point.

About thirty minutes into the 90 minute drive home, Heather got a call letting her know her older brother had dropped dead of a heart attack. It was a very sad car ride.

Lymph nodes have been mysteriously swollen since mid-August and I’ve had the energy of a wet paper sack, which I imagine has contributed to my general sense of malaise. Haven't been able to concentrate enough to read a book in a while, so my Goodreads count has held steady at 45/52. I went to my primary care doctor twice and got two different 10-day antibiotics and a daily antihistamine, then to an ENT specialist after finishing the antibiotics and still being swollen, got a 6-day steroid pack. ENT seemed quite patronizing, but I was also quite upset, as I had been ill for three weeks at that point and was pretty well convinced it was cancer. Felt mostly better for a while, then flared back up after the first laser treatment (more on this below). Only slightly swollen today. Woke up this morning so dizzy I had to sit with my eyes closed on the side of the tub for about 10 minutes. Pretty sure it’s the fault of the antihistamine, because I took it for the first time last night and that is the primary side effect.

At this point I’ve decided, “Fuck it.” I’ve accepted that I need to take an anti-depressant every day because my brain, if left unattended, will try to kill me, but my allergies are not so bad that I need to take a pill for them every day. I don't want to be on 10 different medications. One reason I was so upset at the ENT's office (aside from the cancer fear) was that I didn't want another pill to treat my symptoms; I wanted to address the root cause of whatever was making me sick. If the swelling isn’t completely gone by Friday, I’ll go back to the ENT, because he said it wasn’t urgent/anything to worry about until the 6 week mark, which is coming right up. One of those rare situations where I would honestly be thrilled to be wrong.

I got a shitty tattoo in January that has been bumming me out hardcore for eight months now, and after talking to multiple different artists about the likelihood of being able to cover it, had my first laser removal Saturday.


Based on everything I'd read, I wasn't expecting to see any improvement after the first session, but about 50% of the shitty shading is already gone. On reflection, I think this means that it was even worse quality than I initially thought, because it's supposed to be a lot harder to get rid of newer tattoos.

I went to the artist who did my thigh piece, which I love, because she had done such a good job and I trusted her to do this one. An artist friend of mine later pointed out that they are very different styles: the thigh piece is very artistic, with lots of bold lines, whereas the new one was supposed to be fairly simple and understated. The line work looked like she had done it on day two of heroin withdraw. She put in a shit-ton of dark shading that we hadn't talked about to try to cover up the bad lines. It was devastating. I'm not even exaggerating; I was devastated. I've been wearing button-up shirts since January so I don't have to look at it.

Anyway, the laser place is 1.5 hours from me and it costs $199 a pop, but (a) fortunately you are required to have at least two months between sessions, so you can heal and (b) my mental health/not dissociating from my body is worth putting back $50 a paycheck to save up for it. (Look at me, all grown up and prioritizing my needs.)

The funny part (to me, at least) is that once I get this removed, I might try the design again with a different artist on a different part of my body. I still want a Star Trek tattoo; I just haven’t figured out what. If I could ever be bothered to do weight lifting and actually develop arm muscles, I’d get a watercolor of the poster for The Search for Spock.

By the way, last week in my spare time I painstakingly painted a wooden pallet and mod podged magazine cut-outs from the 50th anniversary stuff to make a Star Trek collage, which is now displayed next to my TV. I am who I am.
hollyslowly: Dark Angel; Max passed out on Logan in a hospital bed. (I did. I did. I do.)
On my walk last Sunday morning, I listened to an episode of This American Life called "Return to the Scene of the Crime," where a few luminaries revisited consequential moments of their lives and dissected them. One was a comedian, talking about getting hit by a drunk driver and coming around to the idea of marriage; one was Joss Whedon, who sang a song about how much he hates doing DVD commentaries but loves getting paid for them (sigh); and one was Dan Savage, who talked about the death of his mother. I didn't quite finish the podcast on the walk, so I finished listening to it on my way back and had one of those awesome "try not to cry at a stoplight" moments while thinking about my grandmother, who died two years ago today.

She died of lung cancer, less than a month after being diagnosed with it. All that summer she had a cough that kept getting worse, and each of us individually begged her to let us take her to a doctor, but I think she knew what it was, and she refused to go. And then she refused chemotherapy, because the cancer had metastasized to every organ and bone in her body. After reading the report, I don't know how she lasted the twenty-eight days after diagnosis that she did. Being with her and taking care of her as she was dying is the most adult thing I've done in my life. For a year after she died, I took flowers to her every Friday after work, a thirty minute drive to the church and a thirty minute drive back on narrow country roads that I would not recommend driving while gritting your teeth through grief and anger.

Saturday, my mom sent my sister and me over to my grandpa's to go through my grandmother's jewelry; he had been asking her to do it for about a year, probably, but she just couldn't. So now I have one of her rings and a bracelet with her name on it. I thought I would have to have the ring sized up to accommodate my giant hands, because my grandmother was a small woman with skinny little fingers, but I tried it yesterday on my right ring finger and it fit.

Man, today is not a day for mascara.
hollyslowly: (World's best dog.)
Whoa, Ray Stevenson is on Black Sails! Anyone watch that? Right now, the only shows I'm watching are Bones (ugh) and The Mindy Project.

Sara and I threw a boss-ass baby shower for Kathren today with cute as hell decorations. Several little old ladies said it was the nicest shower they'd ever been to (!). I'm going to tattoo the recipe for that cheese ball on my arm so I can make it again at a moment's notice.

Also, I paid off my student loans on Friday. At last, I will buy new sneakers.
hollyslowly: Spartacus; Naevia. (Multa quoque et bello pass(a).)
Last night instead of working out and eating dinner, I instead decided to watch Netflix for a few hours, then that HBO documentary about Scientology. I couldn't make myself do anything. Retroactively declaring it a rest day, I guess. What I have learned from my Parks and Rec binge watch is that I would be an awful sitcom character, because I would just yell angrily whenever dumb hi jinks happened.

Heather and Chris were both out of the office today, so I got caught up on some administrative work. I transferred the old applications to our new process, then scanned 2013's scholarship applications. Now we've got everything from 2004 to now online. Key Accomplishments: oversaw the transition of my organization from pen and paper to the current century.

Kathren and I had Thai for lunch--I'm always surprised that place is open when I want to eat there; for like a month the first year it was open, every time we tried to go it was closed--and she told me something truly awful.

After work (got off at 2:00, yeaahhhhh), I took some flowers out to Mamaw's grave. I haven't been out there since December, but prior to that I was going every week. I think that was probably a mistake--I don't know, maybe I needed to do it. But what it amounted to was that at least once a week I felt guilty, sad, and angry. Mom wasn't home, so I put hers in water and went to see Grandma. She was so happy to see me, although she veered between knowing it was me, thinking it was my sister, and thinking I was still in school. We talked and watched her birds for an hour. I felt moody and bad when I got there, but happier when I left. She really liked her flowers.

Oh, also I had my first bath bomb tonight. I smell AMAZING.
hollyslowly: Lawrence of Arabia; Ali beseeches the heavens. (This is a real fuckin debacle here today)
I was so maudlin yesterday. The day after I have to take a Xanax is always such a struggle. I took one Tuesday night and spent most of Wednesday feeling very muted and sad. Today I feel clearheaded again, and I'm looking forward to really meeting our new staff person tomorrow. The three of us had dinner with her after her final interview in January, but it's hard to get to know someone still in interview mode in front of her prospective new boss.

I know I committed to getting my loans paid off by April, but I don't think I can wait that long. My job is extremely secure; I would have to steal something or show up drunk to get fired, and I would never do either of those things. So I'm doing something somewhat risky and raiding the rest of my emergency fund. I took $1200 out of it a few weeks ago to finish off my ACS loan, which knocked it down to $1700. I'm going to leave $1000 in it for, like, worst case scenario rent purposes, but everything else can go on my credit card (for points!). I don't know what that moves my payoff date to, but just doing something makes me feel better.

Even though I have no intentions of leaving this job for another 2-3 years, I also really want to work on my resume. It is patently terrible, and I have learned so much since I started here in 2012. I need to avail myself of both Internet resources and Heather.
hollyslowly: Dark Angel; Max looking pissed. (Black: like my mood.)
I really only miss smoking when it rains, and the entire county has been in a black cloud for two days.

LinkedIn is one of those weird media sites that feels pointless to me, and yet I have one, because I am an adult professional and sometimes you have to do things that feel pointless. I started out using it solely as a networking site within my small community, but as more of my college friends joined, I "connected" with them as well. Not Emma, though. It felt weird--after our final falling out senior year, I removed her from my LiveJournal friends list, and she removed me from Facebook. But when the Boston Marathon bombings happened, I seriously freaked out. She lives there, and her dad's a runner. So I emailed one of our mutual friends, and when she didn't respond quickly enough, I added Emma on LinkedIn and sent her a message. She replied, and that was it until yesterday.

I don't log in to LinkedIn very frequently, but Heather's out of town this week and all I'm really doing is printing for our newsletter, so I have some time to kill while the printer runs. The "Who's Been Looking At Your Profile" feature let me know that, sometime on Sunday, Emma looked at my profile. I decided I wanted to say hello, and spent approximately 24 hours stressing over what, exactly, to say. I was such a jerk to her. I wound up sending her a LinkedIn message that said, "I hope this is okay; you've been on my mind a lot lately. [After my dad, she was the first person I thought of when Leonard Nimoy passed away.] If you'd like to catch up, my email is still [x]. If not, I totally understand. Either way, hope you're doing well."

Maybe I'm exaggerating my own importance, but if I were her, I wouldn't write me back. But I hope she does. She was my best friend and the only person I've ever been in love with.

One of the few things I remember from our commencement address was the president of the college, in summing up, said, "Some of you met your life's partner here." And I remember thinking, sunburned, irritable, and mildly drunk, "Yeah, I did. Sure screwed that one up."
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