0

The Day I Met Rory (and Jenny Lawson)

20151012_182750

I know, I know. You are all insanely jealous that I met Rory. And by “met” I mean struck a pose in the middle of public DC while my husband tried to suppress his mortification. (Mi dispiace, Topino mio. Keep loving me anyway.) The whole meeting was really a debacle and started with a frantic arrangement of work hours, possible transportation alternatives, and ultimately ended up with us standing outside of Politics and Prose in Washington, DC starvinGardettos-2014g because the cafe was sold out of food. (Disclaimer: Grilled cheese was available but it was $6. I could buy a loaf of bread with half a pound of cheese at those prices.) The only other source of nourishment was CVS, which meant our “dinner” consisted of Gardettos. For those of you that don’t know what Gardettos are….this is a bag of the deliciously addictive snack –>

I’m going to apologize in advance because that one small bag is approximately 1,000 calories. I wish I was joking. Those buggers are responsible for an entire pant size.

So, with dinner in hand, we ventured into the extremely crowded bookshop and purchased a copy of Jenny Lawson’s second novel, Furiously Happy. I’ve been to to a number of readings over the last few years, but I can honestly say that I’ve never been to a reading where there was such camaraderie between an author and her readers. There was fangirling and stories shared, but it felt less like a Q&A and far more like an organic conversation amongst friends. I’m going to chalk this up to Lawson’s incredible personality and the relationships she has developed over the years through her blog, The Bloggess. Even though I had never met her, I felt like I’d spoken with her before through her posts and responses. Which is why my husband stood with me (okay, he stood while I sat on the floor) waiting to meet her in person for approximately 3 hours on a work night. We were in line when we’d normally be in bed.

While waiting to get our book signed we observed an incredible feat by a gentleman that we call the Line Ninja. It’s so impressive that I simply have to share it. He arrived during the Q&A and managed to socialize his way to the middle of the room by the end of the session. Please understand how impressive this feat is. People at the front of the room arrived hours before the reading and the entire store was packed all the way to the exit. An hour before the event my husband and I managed to claim a spot in the middle. This lolligagger mingled his way through other eagerly waiting readers armed only with his charm. By the end of the night he was about a dozen people ahead of me. What do you call that? Talent.

Since we had some time on our hands, my husband and I discussed what I might share with the Bloggess. Eventually I decided on humoring her with the fact that my anxiety companion dog, Maverick, has anxiety. Confident with this little anecdote I approached the table only to say “Hi” and smile. Twas not my finest moment, but a firm nudge from Matt pushed me forward and eventually the words came out in some kind of order. I’m pretty sure I called Maverick a “she,” which would have probably made him duck his little furry nose in shame. However, I did manage to take this awesome picture:

20151012_222750On our way out my husband told me that if he had stood around for over 4 hours only to have me stand there and smile he would have lost his mind. And that, my friends, is true love.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

Enjoy what you read? 
Follow me on Twitter @KeepStride

Popular Posts:

Who Am I?– The painful name change experience

Giving a Voice to Invisible Illness– A short poem read by a number of incredible bloggers

If Anything Else Breaks– Some days at the office are super special

Other Sites I Recommend:

Abby Has Issues: I have issues, she has issues, and it’s fantastic.

The Bloggess: Great for a laugh and also thoughtful.

Scary Mommy: I’m not a mom yet but that doesn’t even matter.

Spoon Shares: Sometimes our issues are more serious and impact the way we live day-to-day. Spoon shares is a great place to share, connect, and learn tips and tricks from others with a variety of maladies.

Advertisements
1

Reading on the Go!

I started this post a few weeks after my wedding. I thought that I might share a couple of my pre-wedding reads (none of them had anything to do with weddings) and then 4 months passed. Even though that whole concept doesn’t make sense anymore I’m doing it anyway. I’ve also started graduate school (while working full time- my classmate from Germany says I’m crazy), and  I’ve managed to cram a few books in. Basically, everything I read was worth the time. Saying that, I didn’t want to just brush them off and just list them on the 2015 Bookshelf. Here are some short reflections on my reads.

Pre-Wedding Reads:

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony DoerrAll the Light

I’m making my husband read it. He’s going to read it and he is going to love it. This book was beautiful to read. I’m a huge fan of World War II novels and Doerr did not disappoint. He crafts his book just as the locksmith crafted the neighborhoods for his daughter, with care and attention. While the novel starts off at a leisurely pace, the lives of these strangers begin to collide and the reader will be completely engrossed until the end. Yes, some parts read slow but push through because it really is worth it.

Boss

Bossypants by Tina Fey

This book really helped me get my head on straight before the big day. Tina made me laugh, cry (from laughing), and think (while laughing). The book isn’t so much a continuous memoir as it is a collection of stories. Tina’s thoughts and experiences presented me with a new lens to view my own accomplishments and goals through. Afterwards, I felt a lot more confident about where I am and where I’m heading. Sometimes, you just have to do it.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy KalingMindy

Mindy is as big of a Tina Fey fan as I am. She hilariously compares the two of them throughout her book, but reading them side by side unveiled how different they truly are. Both women are very humorous, resourceful, and intelligent. Mindy’s memoir, however, has a lot more pause for her analysis of a situation. It’s more organized and thoughtfully conceived. While still funny, Mindy has an undertone that makes you take everything with a grain of, what I call, serious salt.

BloggessLet’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

I’m going to see her and it’s going to be incredible. Jokingly, I refer to Jenny Lawson as my spirit animal. Throughout the novel I’d wake up my husband to read him sections. He would nod, respond with, “She’s you!” and promptly return to dreamland. Her perspective is one of a kind. I particularly recommend this to my friends battling chronic illness. It’s not too hard on the brain but is incredibly inspiring and funny. Lawson is a well-known blogger who has her own health struggles. Her humor inspires me to wake up and start fresh. Her second book, Furiously Happy just hit the shelves, so if you love her there’s more to read.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret AtwoodHandmaid

This is one of those books that I never had assigned in high school and also never came across in college (but should have read independently at some point). Basically, it needed to be checked off my list. After my reading I can definitely see how this would have caused a stir when it was published, and some parts of the story still call forth foreboding feelings. It’s well written and I don’t think it could have ended any other way. The ending was just right and I do recommend taking this novel for a spin. It wasn’t my favorite but it was valuable.

Everything Else:

In the Woods (Dublin Murder Squad, book 1) by Tana French

237209

My mind was blown. Not only was the case complex and challenging but the perspective was raw with characters and their relationships evolving radically throughout the novel. Part of the stark perspective stemmed from the personality of the first-person narrator who filters the entire experience. Be warned, this novel is very murky and very realistic. The language is also dense and incredibly well-crafted. French’s style is unable to be replicated. It’s not to be picked up for a bit of light reading.

Would you like a summary of my Macroeconomics textbook? Because it’s ruling my life right now and that’s what else I’ve read.

Okay, I lied, I did manage to get in Bardach’s 8 Steps (which I do highly recommend if you’re interested in public policy).

________________________________________________________________________________

Enjoy what you read? 
Follow me on Twitter @KeepStride

Popular Posts:

Who Am I?– The painful name change experience

Giving a Voice to Invisible Illness– A short poem read by a number of incredible bloggers

If Anything Else Breaks– Some days at the office are super special

Other Sites I Recommend:

Abby Has Issues: I have issues, she has issues, and it’s fantastic.

The Bloggess: Great for a laugh and also thoughtful.

Scary Mommy: I’m not a mom yet but that doesn’t even matter.

Spoon Shares: Sometimes our issues are more serious and impact the way we live day-to-day. Spoon shares is a great place to share, connect, and learn tips and tricks from others with a variety of maladies.

5

Giving a Voice to Invisible Illness

I participated in this incredible project where a group of individuals across the United States and Canada read a poem. We tried to shed a little light on the invisible illnesses, diagnosed and undiagnosed, that we deal with every day. You can learn a little more about each of us here. Many thanks to Leah Holstein (who has a second blog about all things Disney because she’s awesome) and Catherine Richardson for crafting the poem and bringing us all together.

3

Protect the Herd!

It’s the season for sneezing, puking, and coughing, aka flu season. I, like everyone else in my family, got my flu vaccine early and have so far managed to avoid the plague that is going around my office. Vaccination has been a hot topic this year, and the fact that we guessed the wrong flu strain has certainly not helped the public outcry (Pipe down, Buster, you try predicting an ever-evolving virus!). But the fact is I don’t get vaccinated for me. Yes, with my chronic illness it is intelligent for me to get vaccinated. Yes, my immune system has significantly improved since introducing the yearly flu vaccine into my life. And yet, it is not the reason I’m so diligent about getting my yearly flu shot.

65d9b4d9641c03a3090c95b0578e8615

credit: somethingofthatilk.com

Here’s a fun fact about me: I am much better at taking care of others than taking care of myself. As a caregiver, I give myself a B+ (I don’t hold back hair well). As a self-regulator I’m more in the C range. Luckily, my incredible fiance tends to keep my ass in line. But the fact remains that in stressful or busy times I may let my own health slip while trying to ensure that everyone else is running at optimal efficiency. I’m working on it.

Let’s put aside the flu shot for a moment and look at the more standard array of preventatives. Vaccines, in general, create antibodies and help reduce the number of infections for a particular illness. During childhood I was stabbed with a million of them and received oh-so-many wonderful boosters when I went off to college. There is no proof that vaccines cause autism or other mental disabilities. Andrew Wakefield’s study people are always quoting? It can’t be replicated. That’s right. And the patients’ data? It may have been tampered with.  It’s not fun having a needle (or three) poked in your arm, but it will not irreparably harm a child (allergies excluded).

73ecba791f86cad04424fb86ebebcbca

When my sister was born, she was extremely ill and had to be sheltered from as many diabolical ailments as humanly possible. A cold could send her straight to Children’s Hospital for days or weeks. If she had been exposed to the measles or mumps she could have died. Interestingly, our school district required vaccination except in the cases of medical conditions. For example, a child who has cancer may not be able to handle the vaccine being introduced to their body, but that’s when something magical happens. It’s called herd immunity. This means that so many people are vaccinated and the illness is so rare that exposure almost never occurs. So despite the fact that the child cannot directly be protected, they are guarded by the diligence of their peers. It’s brilliant! And, best of all, even if you’re not ill, it protects other vulnerable populations, such as the elderly. And, hopefully, we’ll all get old and benefit. I know that’s my plan.

Vaccination is a personal decision and should be discussed with your trusted medical professional, but perhaps keep in mind that your decision doesn’t just effect you. Your decision impacts your neighbors and community at large. Stay healthy!

__________________________________________________________________________
Enjoy what you read? 
Follow me on Twitter @KeepStride

Popular Posts:

In Spite of the Day

If Anything Else Breaks– Some days at the office are super special

Tis the Season for Withdrawal– Where we get a little serious and talk about chronic illness around the holidays

Other Sites I Recommend:

The Magical World Of: For the Disney fan in your life. She’s funny, sassy, and you don’t want to miss her March Madness series in the spring.

Abby Has Issues: I have issues, she has issues, and it’s fantastic.

Spoon Shares: Sometimes our issues are more serious and impact the way we live day-to-day. Spoon shares is a great place to share, connect, and learn tips and tricks from others with a variety of maladies.

3

Tis The Season For Withdrawal

Fa la la la laaaaa la la la laaaa

Happy New Years Eve! As the holiday season comes to a close, I wanted to touch on something rather important. As hectic as the holidays are for the everyday person (A fever? Why, you shouldn’t have!) and the amount of time spent with family is often cited as the reason for madness (Grandma got run over by a reindeer…or a chevy), individuals with chronic illness face unique challenges that mean the holiday season is filled with both joy and pain.

10888510_10203506115877759_1336063370743715650_n

For example, Maverick is joyous over the attention and yet almost painfully afraid of Santa.

The insane switch from Thanksgiving to Christmas leaves even the most sugar-rushed individual feeling tired and in need of a drink or 3. When your own body is fighting against you and 7-8 hours of sleep a night are non-negotiable, those 4 weeks become a marathon. In spite of proper rest, monkey wrenches might just throw themselves in ones path as well. You wanted mom’s homemade kielbasa? Here’s a flare instead. Until you can’t eat, you don’t necessarily realize how much socialization is centered around food. When one can’t partake it can leave a bereft feeling. Especially if it’s a tradition that holds value to the individual unable to participate.

This year, my own holiday hurricane came in the form of a medicinal withdrawal. I’ve been weaning off of an old medication for weeks but 2 days before Christmas Eve was day zero. I was completely unprepared for the symptoms that were to follow. At work I was dizzy and nauseous with a rather annoying headache. When the symptoms first appeared, I thought that I must be hungry or suffering from one of my awesome migraines. And then came the strange disjointed vision. Followed by an inability to regulate my body temperature. I called my doctor, but alas they were already closed for the holiday.

Despite my fiance’s wise advise, we drove 3 hours to see my side with the assistance of Dramamine. After product-detail-dramamine-drowsy-packagea visit from ole Saint Nick and taking pictures where I look abnormally large due to bloating, the night ended with frequent sprints out of bed and uncontrollable shaking. But I’m what many people would possibly describe as stubborn, and I was determined to have a great Christmas. Desperate, I thought, perhaps it was a weird stomach bug, but the symptoms didn’t cease. Things were temporarily easier upon waking but any attempts to eat or drink ended in miserable failure. Luckily, God said let there be Zofran and that shit is good (This is the Bible according to Sam). But, sadly, even Zofran can only do so much. On the verge of needing ER care the day after Christmas, my doctor was able to contact me and wanted me to alternate my med for another week to lessen the symptoms. To clarify, that would be my terminated med that was innocently sitting at home 3 hours away.

With the patience of a saint, my fiance drove with me in a ball huddled beside him in the passengers seat in day-after-Christmas traffic for almost 5 hours. I was then instructed to sit on the couch and stay. Considering I felt like a zombie, this wasn’t really a hard command to follow. It took over 2 days, and therefore 2 doses, for me to be able to eat without a nausea aid or intense abdominal cramping. The shaking ceased slowly over time and eventually I was able to remain awake for an entire day without severe consequences.

The point of my story isn’t to inflict guilt on the healthy individuals of the world, but simply to raise awareness. Chronic illness is a ripple, a difficult, uncommunicative, wave that touches family, friends, and even acquaintances. The strain from being sick is felt, for me, most poignantly during this time of year, and I know I couldn’t have made it through Christmas alone. Without my family and fiance I probably would have landed my pale, shaking ass in the hospital, but in spite the pain I was able to remain home for Christmas.

There are amazing resources and support structures popping up every day for individuals dealing with a vast array of illnesses, visible and invisible. Some of my favorites are Spoon Shares and Just Mildly Medicated. You may notice, I prefer a heaping of humor along with any advice. Have a safe and happy remainder of the year, and cheers to whatever 2015 may bring!

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Enjoy what you read? Check out More!

Malevolent Maladies:

Tips for the Anxious

Being a Young Professional with a Chronic Illness

More Fun:

I’m Tired and I Don’t Want to Cook!

The Night Before Puppy’s First Christmas

Other Sites I Recommend:

The Magical World Of: For the Disney fan in your life. She’s funny, sassy, and you don’t want to miss her March Madness series in the spring.

Abby Has Issues: I have issues, she has issues, and it’s fantastic.