Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Eve of a New Year

Under normal circumstances I can think of 100 things I love to celebrate, but New Year's Eve is usually not one of them. Yet, for some reason this year I am excited to say good-bye to 2010 and welcome with open arms the possibilities 2011.

Perhaps its the anxious energy about the New Year or maybe just the wide array of opportunity, but I will truly be embracing this holiday. You know the more I come to think about it the more I should love this holiday. It is antiquated and based in tradition. It marks the beginning of something new. I mean who would have thought that a sparkly ball falling from the sky would be so exhilarating. In all honesty I need a good year, so I am going to be as welcoming and kind to 2011 as I possibly can.

New Year's Eve has always been a holiday that I have dreamt about since I was a little girl. I remember my parents going to these Holiday Gala's to celebrate the New Year. I would watch my mom put on her make -up and slide into the most beautiful dress she owned. She looked so radiant. Ever since that time I guess I have always wanted the same thing for myself - a night to be radiant, a night to remember. In my dreams I imagine dressing up in one of my finer dresses prepared to usher in a New Year. I would have a large stock pile of champagne to share with friends and guests. There would be dancing and music. The sounds of laughter, the clinking of champagne flutes, and those annoying noise blowers would be reverberating throughout the room. I would want to watch Dick Clark as we counted down to the beginning of a New Year- the beginning of something wonderful, something special. When that ball drops I would hope that as Auld Langs Syne began to play that there would be someone there, handsome of course, who was ushering me into the New Year with a kiss. Perhaps it is childish to want these things, or maybe even unfathomable. Yet, this is what the New Year is about- making your wildest dreams realities.

I recognize this as a year of change for myself, yet instead of dwelling in this fact I am going to make the resolution of living in the moment. I believe that time is too precious. I have watched my life change within a matter of moments this past year. I don't want to be one of those people who plans there life, every milestone, down to the minute. I believe much of the beauty of life is in its spontaneity, the unexpected turn or the breath of fresh air you never saw coming. It is all about possibilities, and what I have learned over the years is that I can't wait for opportunity to knock on my door, I just have to go introduce myself to it. Thus my hope for you this year is that you are fruitful, I hope that love finds you and changes you, I hope that you find joy, and most of all I hope you make memories this year that last a lifetime. Happy New Year! XOXO

Monday, December 27, 2010

Repeat the Sounding Joy

I spent one summer during college working at Mass General Hospital. I was a research assistant investigating the riveting world of probiotic yeast and its role in prevention of infection with Shigella. In short I crushed up cells and ran Western blots all day, not really my idea of fun. Yet, all in all I loved Boston. It was absolutely beautiful, young, and breath taking. I walked to work everyday taking in the picturesque window scenes and stared at that gorgeous golden dome every night on my way home. I would get up every morning at 5 AM, but the streets were not desolate, but filled with other running enthusiasts. I had a route that took me down by the Charles River and then by the hospital. I then would head home by running up my favorite street in Beacon Hill -Joy St. The thing you should know about Joy street is that its name is an oxymoron. Joy Street is one of the steepest hills you can find in Beacon Hill. I would huff and puff as I ascended the hill. My legs burned as they cried out in pain with each step I took. Yet as I reached the top I truly was left with a feeling of completion. Sweat dripping down my brow- I realized that Joy St was appropriately named, because the only emotion I was feeling at the top of the hill was joy.

Yet, I have a really hard time describing the word joy. I usually just recognize it when I see it. Perhaps this is why I love the holidays so much; because joy is all around. People are so stinkin' happy. We have time off to spend with people we love. We sing Christmas carols like Joy to the world. We give without the expectation of receiving. We watch kids run and play in the winter wonderland around us. Yet, in just a couple of days we will start to see the joy fade like fog over the lake. It will dissipate as we begin our busy lives. The school work returns the demands of work knock on the door. I am one of the biggest culprits of losing my joy. I have been so mopey over the last couple of days complaining and whining about how I need to work out more, no one loves me, and my future is pretty much a grab bag. How do we repeat the sounding joy? Where does it live and how do I channel it.

I argue that joy does not change, it is just our ability to recognize or accept it. I find joy in the silliest of places. The sunrise, the elderly couple sharing hot cocoa, and the children building a snowman outside. Joy is here to stay, I just put on my rose tinted glasses which distorts the image. I sat down to write this blog yesterday night, after being down about my current state of affairs in the love department. I fell asleep and woke up this morning to finish it. I usually have a Dove promise with my coffee after breakfast( trust me this brings lots of joy). So here I am drinking coffee and I open up my little morsel of goodness. As I unwrap the chocolate I read the dove promise message inside and smile. It reads Joy Thus, this is my wish for you as you continue through the long months ahead. Joy to you....then repeat.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

30 before 30

So as many of you know I turned 27 approximately 2 weeks ago. It was monumental as my mother explains that I am closer to 30 than I am to 20, which is absolutely fine with me. I truly am one of those people who think we get better with age, perhaps this is why I love the elderly so much. My biggest beef with people getting older is that people become complacent with the lives they lead. I personally have vowed to make my life an ever evolving masterpiece. Thus I have created the 30 before 30 list full of goals (at times lofty) to achieve before Dec 9th 2014. So follow me as I attempt to accomplish and blog about them all.

30 before 30

1. Write a book- This is a lifelong goal. I believe everyone has a story, whether it is published or not we have a story to share.
2. Fall in Love- Every woman wants this .....she's lying if she tells you otherwise
3. Take painting classes- I dabble in oils, but I want to create Picassos
4. Travel to France- I don't know why but I have this hunger to explore france perhaps its because it is the birthplace of champagne
5. South Africa- I don't know why but I just have this feeling that I need to go here for culture and safari
6. Buy a camera- I don't own a camera and I don't take pictures- I need to capture some memories
7. Make wine- I am constantly in awe of things that are cultivated by hand. I love wine and want to smash grapes.
8. Grow something from seedling without killing it- My mom says plants are like children, thus if I want the babes I should probably be able to keep an orchid alive
9. Write letters/ cards to friends and family telling them how much they mean to me- Letter writing is a lost art and I love all things antiquated
10.Be an activist/fundraiser for a cause
11. Host a five course dinner party from scratch- On my ongoing quest to become a domestic diva
12. Invest my money and save
13. Speak a foreign language fluently- I was a Spanish major, how sad is this....
14. Climb a mountain- It doesn't matter which mountain, just a mountain
15. Eat, drink, and be merry without guilt
16. Run a marathon a year- only requirement is that they are in amazing places!
17. Learn how to change a tire- supposedly a man's job.....bah humbug
18. Complete the entire NY times Sunday crossword
19. Frequent Farmer's markets and buy produce there- I mean I have to have some easy ones on here
20. Join a book club- I love to read. I love to discuss books and how they are relevant to our lives.
21. Live in a city- a real one.....There is something special about a city with its own pulse. It truly is a place that emanates life
22. Learn to swim- That's right I can't swim. Personally I just hate getting my hair wet.
23. Buy someone a Starbucks behind me in the drive-thru- I would do this at a fast food restaurant but I don't eat at them.
24. Give my number to the most gorgeous guy at the bar- I don't know why but it is one of those things I think all women should do. Come on Confidence.
25. Got to the Kentucky Derby and wear and ostentatiously big hat.- this defines me
26. Wear a bikini in public without being self -conscious- I haven't worn a bikini since high school....Embrace my body
27. Go on a vacation to Maine with my parents- Because my parents need to see the lush beauty which is Maine
28. Be able to do the crow pose in Yoga- I don't know why this is so darn hard. .... It requires tons of upper body strength so come on bulging biceps
29. Walk into my favorite store, Anthropologie, and buy something I love without looking at the pricetag
30. Leave footprints of joy and happiness wherever I go- My parents often talk about the legacy we want to leave and the way we want people to remember us....This is what I want to leave- joy and happiness.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Missed Moments

I had my emergency medicine rotation last month. The thing that is nice about the rotation is that you see the same things over and over, chest pain, SOB, and ETOH abuse. Yet there was one patient where I knocked on the door entered and came out changed for life.

I looked down at my nursing notes and saw that the nurse had written the chief complaint down as 27 y/o female headache and vomiting x 2 days. Yet, as I walked through the door I instantly knew that this was more than just a headache. The woman I met I will call, Cynthia, for the sake of privacy. She was a 27 y/o female who told me quite blatantly she has metastatic breast cancer with brain mets and a two year-old child waiting for her at home. I just stood there looking at her radiant smile, her right eye that twitched every 30 sec, her right sided facial droop that was only evident when she smiled, and the look in her eye that I recognized as sheer fear. Her little bald head from rounds of chemotherapy reminded of fresh grass in the spring with sprouts sporadically popping up. Yet, as I began to talk to her I realized that she was sick, and worse of all she was dying.

There are times in medicine where we step back and have to collect ourselves because the emotion is just too strong. I left the room and staffed this patient with the attending physician and promptly excused myself to the bathroom. I remember going to the dingy bathroom with the dim lighting and turning on the faucet. I remember I just stood there looking at myself in the mirror tears streaming down my face. I just felt so helpless, like a child, staring at myself in the mirror. I just kept thinking how that woman lying in that bed could be me. I wondered how many times Cynthia had told herself I will do that when I have more time or more money. I just wanted to ask her about all the things she wanted to do with her life. The experiences she was going to miss. I thought about all the things I put off. The opportunities I just let slip through my fingers because like most 27 year olds I feel like I will always have more time.

I think missed moments and opportunities are the single greatest regrets of my life. The truth is I read this book over my travels last week called Extremely Close and Incredibly Loud by Jonathan Froer. It truly is an artistic masterpiece, looking at the life of a 9 year-old boy after his father is killed in 911. It truly speaks to the things we wish we would have said but did not. It moved me so much that I was the lone girl crying on the airplane to Portland,OR. The stewardess came up to me and asked me if I was alright. I just responded I am just really moved.
I look at myself and I will never forget walking into my grandmother's room after she had returned from the hospital. It was late and I had just stopped by the house after one of my friend's mother's funeral. I will remember everything about this night for as long as I live. My grandmother looked so peaceful sleeping in her old antique bed. Her make-up was off giving her a porcelain like look, but of course, her hair looked perfect due to the fact she was wearing her wig in bed. I remember gently shaking her and saying. "Hey Grams. " She smiled and said, " Hey sweetie." I just remember I told her I didn't want to bother her. I kissed her on the head, and said the last words I ever said to my grandmother, "Love ya." I play this night over and over in my head. If I would have known that this would have been the last time I would have seen my grandmother alive I would have done so many things differently. I would have sat on her bed all night telling her how much she meant to me, reliving our many adventures, and listening to the stories of her life.

Yet this sort of stuff happens everyday. We all sit around and say you know when I have more money, more stability, and more time I will do this. Yet I argue that the opportunities are all around us. It is the guy that you met that was different than the others, but you were to afraid to ask for his number. It is the financial venture you didn't take. It is the family you love to avoid. Missed moments happen all the time and quite frankly second chances are rarities in life. Thus I encourage you this holiday and into the New Year to seize the opportunity and say the things you want to say. Do the things you have always wanted to do. And most of all don't be afraid to live the life you have always wanted. Time is a fair weather friend and who knows what tomorrow may bring.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Speed Dating

Did you know that it takes 10 seconds to make a first impression? That doesn't even seem like enough time for me to even introduce myself. Yet, much of the American mindset revolves around time and efficiency. Thus, speed dating has taken a role in the busy American's dating life. Perhaps popularized more in larger cities, I of course have searched far and wide and have found a company that caters to the needs of the greater Indianapolis area.

So I would like to start with the disclaimer that speed dating to me was more of a way to meet multiple people at one time. I did not expect to find my new boyfriend, nor did I really expect to get a date. Much of my focus was placed on the experience. Thus, I convinced one of my friends to join me for this little escapade. We arrived to the bar and checked in quickly finding ourselves sitting at the bar with libation in hand. Quite frankly, even the speed daters know alcohol is the ultimate ice breaker. It is nerve racking, 8 mins to convince the person across the table from you that you are worth their time. My friend I began chatting with people around us trying to figure out who was there for the event. When one of the coordinators tapped us on the shoulders, and with a frown of concern on her face said " I have some bad news, only one guy of 6 has shown up." My friend and I laugh so hard we almost were crying. So 7 eligible ladies had 8 min interviews with one lucky guy.

So let me tell you a couple things about the 8 min date, if you make an impression within the first 10 seconds, much of the opinion is based on appearance and the way you carry yourself. Thus, if the guy didn't like brunettes and unruly curly hair I automatically was out. When I approached the table the guy was cute, in a take him home to meet your mother sort of way. The only initial red flag was the bright lavender shirt he was wearing. Now don't get me wrong I know many guys who pull off lavender fabulously, but it is a no no on a first encounter as it gives me question about what side of the field you are playing on. Regardless within 2 mins I could have told you it was not going to work out between me and the speedster. He talked about his astrology sign and physics within that first 2 mins, which is somewhat comical because the only thing worse to me than physics is a broken bone. This therefore ended my speed dating experience.

Yet, this past week I had a flash back to speed dating. I actually was in an interview for residency. There are two types of interviews; one where you talk and one where they talk. Thus this interview was being given by a general surgeon who was somewhat quiet and made poor eye contact, and thus I was trying to entertain myself. I just remember I felt like I was talking to a brick wall about how I loved farmer's markets and the riveting aspects of organic grocery stores, when the man looked up at me and said with all seriousness " Have you ever read the blog "Stuff white people Like." I just busted out laughing and said, " yes, I am very familiar and yes, you have just nailed me to a T." So perhaps it is possible to get to know someone in a short time span. I mean this guy just understood me on a level that many men never will. It was actually pretty phenomenal restoring my faith in the interview system and crushing my skepticism about speed dating forever.

Thus in conclusion I encourage you to satisfy your need for speed. Give it a try. I mean seriously what do you have to lose.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Spirit of the Season

I am a firm believer of listening Christmas music in October. I believe that there is something almost magical about the Holiday season. Yet, I will have to say that ever since the real identity of that man with a bushy beard of snow and a suit of red was revealed to me, it just hasn't been the same. I remember it like yesterday, I was on the school bus and just in a blink of an eye my entire belief in Santa was crushed. Tears streaming down my face, I can vividly see my mother try to do damage control after Santa's true identity had been revealed.

Yet, today as I visited the Fashion Mall, my favorite mall, something superiorly special occurred. To be honest I was watching the dynamics between a 3 year-old boy and his mother who was trying to convince him to stop crying and to sit on Santa Claus's lap. I laughed because I could see myself some 5-10 years in the future doing the same thing. Bribing my child with finger painting or macaroni necklaces for the next month if he would just be quiet for 30 seconds so we can get this one picture for Nana Pasko's mantel.

Yet, I also was taking in the scene. The rich warm colors, the glistening golds, and the happy little elves were like something out of a fairy tale. Then my focus fell on the man with the robust waist and the ruddiest cheeks I have ever seen. He had this authentic red suit embedded with real fur. He was polished and refined. He had boots that were black and shiny and laced up to his mid calf. However, the thing that got me most was how real he was to everything I imagined from my childhood about the Santa Claus. I am sure onlookers thought I was rude as I just stood in the center of the mall watching this poor woman's fiasco play out like cinematography, but then it happened. My eyes met the sparkling blue eyes of Santa and we stared at each other for what seemed like an eternity, and then all of the sudden he winked at me. I first looked around to make sure that wink was meant for me, and not some lurking Ms. Claus or some grubby little children. Yet when my gazed returned to the man in red he was laughing so hard, I couldn't help but smile.

It silly really, but this whole incident today reminded me of why I love the season so much- it's magical. Our imagination is free to roam and we believe that anything is possible. Thus, I have vowed to let my creative juices flow, to give with an open heart, and to celebrate as if its the last Christmas I might ever experience. I hope you will do the same. So go be merry and bright-and may all our wishes come true.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The art of eating alone

So there are many things in life I think we should all be capable of doing on our own, and one of them is mastering the art of eating alone. Perhaps it is the fact that I am an only child or maybe just the fact that I am very independent, but this is a task that doesn't bring trepidation to my soul, but only contentment.

Thus last night I bundled up and headed to my favorite neighborhood pizza locale, Napolese. If you have never been to Napolese it has this rich, dark atmosphere with an aristocrat like ambience. A small bar overlooking the large adobe like oven gives added warmth to the room. I enter the bubbling full of life building to begin my personal experiment " Table for 1 please?" I almost laughed when the host said, " I' m sorry what did you say?" The host blushed as I repeated "just one" and he kindly placed me at the bar. Within minutes I was promptly enjoying the bold smoky undertones of the house chianti. The thing I love most about eating alone is the fact that you observe everyone around you and are forced to appreciate the moment.
The clink and clank of glasses raising for a toast, the laughter, the intensity of the gaze of the two lovebirds knuddling in the corner, all of this I just take in like a gasp for air after being submerged in water. It is life, love, and the connections that bind us all.

My meal arrived and as I began conquering my vegetarian chop salad, while at the same time catching up on the NY times for the past week. Contently, I downed the dregs of my wine determined to enjoy every last drop. I gaze up and to my surprise two of my close friends were entering the door to be seated for dinner. Who are you here with? I smile and say with confidence "myself." As I sign my receipt stub, I join them for some much needed catching up.

I guess my point is that I have always been one of those independent people, I am not scared of being alone nor do I want to be dependent on anyone else. We all know people who have never been alone a moment in their life, whether it is a relationship or daily living. I guess as I turn another year older this week I have been thinking a lot about age and what I learn along the way. I realized it has taken me a long time to be comfortable being the lone woman at the table and trust me I have never felt better.