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April 10, 2014 / RA

How I decided to reach out

Last November, I went to Columbus for a professional society conference. In order to accommodate the sessions I wanted to attend but avoid another night at the hotel, I took a pretty late flight home on a Friday. I had already checked out of my room that morning, so when I had the chance to grab an earlier shuttle to the airport, I took it. I would always rather wait at the airport (bar) than in a hotel lobby. I ended up being one of three passengers in the airport shuttle; we were all women, all on the same flight to Philadelphia, all attendees at the same conference. Mentally, I cringed. I hate that awkward re-meeting of people in the airport. No sooner have I wished someone a good trip at the curb than, oh, hello. There’s that person at check-in. We shuffle through security together. We both choose the same awful eatery for one last meal. And then again at the gate. We’re in the same boarding zone! It never ends. Ugh. At least in this case, I knew that we would be in the same current from the beginning.

We waited in line together to check baggage, and I had already decided that when I was done at the counter, I was going to trundle off on my own, avoid eye contact for the rest of the night, and read/nap as much as I pleased. I had earned it! I had just been through 3 straight days of schmoozing in an event full of introverts. Do you have any idea how awkward that is for everyone?

But then one of my shuttle companions got stuck behind a couple who had just missed their flight. The husband was annoyed, the wife was frantic, and the attendant was trying to reroute them in a way that did not force them to drive to the US-Canada border. It was not pretty, and it was clear that it was going to be a long wait. I still had 3 more hours until boarding. I could walk straight to my gate and tune out the world. Or I could reach out.

All right, fine.

So I turned around, stuck out my hand, and said, “By the way, I’m RA.”

She was Anya, a post-doc in Connecticut. “Oh, I grew up in Connecticut!” I said. We made small talk to pass the time while the late couple figured out their new plan, and I waited while Anya got her bag checked, because she was connecting through Philadelphia to La Guardia. Finally, Anya and I walked away and rounded the corner, where we met the third woman from the shuttle. She’d been waiting for us the whole time. Her name was Melissa.

The three of us threw our lots together and crammed into the corner of some terrible sports bar, where we drank beer and ate chicken fingers for the next 2 hours. We exchanged medical writing war stories, which are completely boring to anyone not in this field, and they assured me that of course I passed my certification exam! (I did.) I told them how I my checked luggage was full of beer for my husband, and I was carrying on all my clothing. It was … actually fun. The time flew by, and all of a sudden, we were watching each other’s bags while we took turns filling our water bottles and going to the restroom. I didn’t have to schlep my carry-ons with me into the bathroom stall, and my neck wasn’t all out of shape from falling asleep on a headrest-less airport seat. We all exchanged business cards in a completely non-slimy way, and it was such a pleasant, natural way to end the conference. I might have felt like I was doing something nice by waiting for Anya in that line, but really, Anya and Melissa rescued me.

In the following weeks, I reflected on how consciously rejecting my inclination toward solitude had turned out way, way better than I could have hoped. When I noticed Anya being trapped behind that couple at the check-in counter, I absolutely could have folded up inside myself and hidden for the rest of the night. I think it would have even been understandable. But in the spirit of reaching out and trying something uncomfortable, I pivoted on that point and chose not to, and it was the right choice. As it turned out, I got my alone time anyway. I had a few hours to sleep on the plane, plus another hour in the car on the way home from the airport. I realized that I didn’t have to trade alone time for time with friends. I didn’t have to substitute refreshing solitude with exhausting socializing. I just had to be wise about how I use my time and open to the opportunity to make a connection. Next year, I decided, I’m going to reach out.

April 8, 2014 / RA

4 actions for 2014: Q1

4 actions for 2014I framed my new year’s resolutions as 4 actions for 2014, and here’s my first quarterly progress report.

Reach out
My subgoals under this action are to follow my instincts to communicate and ask for support when I feel overwhelmed. I think I’m doing okay on the former and not great on the latter.

On the first item, I am still overly, stupidly squeamish and hesitant about stupid crap like late birthday wishes on Facebook or texts I fear are insignificant. I’m not nearly as outgoing as I want to be when I walk the dog around town, and I’ve been really delinquent about commenting on blogs. On the second item, well, I’ve just continued to be overwhelmed. Not a lot of what I’m doing can be alleviated, and I don’t think it’s a hero complex or whatever. I have been better about asking others for prayer and not just grinning and saying that I’m fine. But I think I am in a sort of saturated time of life. It’s finite, and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, so I’m doing my best to gut through it.

However! I have done a better job of connecting with people. I have my weekly breakfast with a girl from my small group, and I asked a super smart woman from church to mentor me, especially regarding my career. I’ve also tried to go to a local event at least once a month where I feel comfortable inviting any local girl I know. Usually, it’s a First Friday art stroll, but recently, I had a blind girl date at a Jenny & Tyler concert, and it was completely fine and fun. I’ve also sent some e-mails when I had the sense that there was a larger issue at hand, and those messages have, indeed, turned into deeper conversations. I feel like I’m more connected and less twitchy during in-person interactions, so, I think I’m making good-but-slow progress.

Make space
I want to make physical space, preserve my pauses, and read fewer books. So far, I’ve bagged up tons of clothes (but have not donated them), done a good job protecting Monday and Tuesday evenings at home, and successfully (although begrudgingly) read fewer books. So, yay?

The books thing is still kind of a pain. I can feel eyes flying over the words just so I can turn the page, and my habit of calculating how much of the book I’ve covered so far will die hard (if at all). But I’m so glad that I decided to make a point of re-reading books this year. It’s helping me remember why I’ve loved to read for my whole life.

And I confess that my life is still very, very full. Like I said, I’m in this saturated, albeit finite, time right now, so I don’t feel like there is much margin. I hope that this will change in the next quarter, and I think it’s likely. In the meantime, I hate that the space I’ve had to make has resulted in much less writing around here, but that’s how it has to be for the time being. I do miss the regularity I built up at the end of last year, but I’m giving myself grace in this arena.

Cultivate
I aim to cultivate my relationships (marriage and friendships) and a healthy lifestyle (diet and exercise), and I actually feel like these are both in good standing. If I sound surprised, it’s because I kind of am.

All of my goals/actions are related, you know? So I would assume that being overwhelmed and having no margin would make my relationships suffer. But somehow, I feel like my marriage is the strongest it’s been. JG and I are doing a lot of thinking and talking and working through difficult ideas together, and I love that. We’ve finally figured out that we don’t have to resolve every topic we approach. We can get to a certain point in a conversation, call it a night, and pick it up later once it’s mulled a little longer. That’s not to say that we agree all the time — HA — but at we are more able to pause/unpause in a constructive way.

As for friendships, it appears that reaching out helps cultivate those. So, uh, who knew? Pro tip: ask your friends out to sip wine as you chat, and you become better friends! I am a gehnius (pronounced like Franck Eggelhoffer, of course)! Secondary pro tip: when your friends ask you out for a glass of wine, say yes. Life-changing ROCKET SCIENCE over here!

The exercise bribery is marching along steadily. As of the end of the quarter, I had earned $31, so I’m on track for my minimum goal of $120 for the year. However, The Longest Winter Of All Time put a real cramp in my style, so I am making up for lost time with as many long walks as I can manage now. My most-frequent mode of exercise this quarter has been Level 1 of the 30 Day Shred, mostly because it is indoor and fast, but I need to do more Pilates because I still feel way more squishy than I’d like.

Create
This last action was my most ambitious and least defined; therefore, it was the scariest one for me to put out there in the universe. I want to write more and be brave with new things, and I think I am doing both of those things!

Okay, I know, I’m not writing more here. Bluh. But I am writing in other venues, and it is such a good exercise for my brain. I’m gallivanting around town and writing about it in a local events blog, which has led me to try new things and meet new people (reach out!). I’m sure that the local blog has helped my feeling of connection. And I’m working on a big project at church that has resulted in a ton of strategic writing and communication — see: being overwhelmed and saturated. Even though I’m doing most of that early in the morning and late and night, I really like it. As always, I’m still figuring out my balance, but I feel very challenged and stimulated in my current projects. I wake up thinking about them, and not in a freaked-out way. It’s more like, LET’S DO THIS.

And, hoo boy, new things. I am standing at the precipice of a new work-related thing, and it is requiring me to be very brave, indeed. When the opportunity came to light, I told JG, “This almost makes me regret making that goal about being brave.” But, too late! Time to follow through and be freaking brave. I’m re-reading Walking on Water, by Madeleine L’Engle, right now, and this line rang in my heart:

“We have to be braver than we think we can be, because God is constantly calling us to be more than we are, to see through plastic sham to living, breathing reality, and to break down our defenses of self-protection in order to be free to receive and give love.”

Oof. Yes.

I’m sorry to be all blog-vague. I promise to disclose all once things are final and I get my feet under me (again). For now, I could use your good thoughts and fist pumps as I try to be better and more courageous than I think I can be.

April 3, 2014 / RA

Book report: 2014, Q1

In the last 3 months, I finished 12 books (plus 2 re-reads), so I’d say that I’m doing just fine on my goal to read fewer books this year in order to remove self-imposed pressure. Occasionally, I feel frustrated by this resolution because  I want to read all the books! But you know, I want to get some sleep, too. So, I’m still adjusting to this new, slower pace. Even though I rigorously recommend only 2 of the books I read this quarter, it was a strong, steady time of reading with almost no negative reviews, so I’m fine with that. Here are the books from January-March, arranged by my response to the question, “Would you recommend this book?“, and then (mostly) alphabetically by author. Asterisks denote audio books (6).

YES
Favorite books: Q1

  • Every Good Endeavor, by Timothy Keller: This is classic Keller: straight-forward, solid theology, thought-provoking, comprehensive. I’m doing a lot of soul-searching and critical thinking about my work, vocation, and career, so this book was really appropriate for this time in my life. I copied down a lot of lines as I read, but these two are favorites:

“Just because you cannot realize your highest aspirations in work does not mean you have chosen wrongly, or are not called to your profession, or that you should spend your life looking for the perfect career that is devoid of frustration. That would be a fruitless search for anyone. You should expect to be regularly frustrated in your work even though you may be in exactly the right vocation.”

“You may think you have been given little because you are always striving for more, but you have been given much, and God has called you to put it into play.”

  • Multi-Careering, by Bob Goff and Barna Group: (Yes, I’m counting all of the FRAMES books separately.) I started with this one because I had just finished Every Good Endeavor, we are about to start a work-focused series at Bible study, I’m going through a sort of work transition, and I love both infographics and Bob Goff. So, this mini book was exactly tuned to me. The infographics have so much useful data, and the structure is really thought-provoking. I read it in one sitting, but I got a ton out of it. I will definitely come back to this book for reference, and I’m looking forward to digging in to the rest of the books in the set.

Yes

  • Jesus Feminist, by Sarah Bessey: So, hmm. I liked this well enough. I felt like the book wasn’t that focused on how being a Christian led her to being a feminist. Which I thought was kind of the point? The concept was there, sure, but the whole thing was somewhat scattered to me. It was thought-provoking, sure; one of my biggest takeaways was that thinking critically does not mean having a critical spirit. I think the disconnect comes from a difference in styles. This is the emotional sister of Half the Church, which I loved, but it might be way too theological and thinky for some people. So, read both, I guess? This is a “Yes, but” recommendation.
  • Mycophilia, by Eugenia Bone: Right, so, it goes without saying, but this book is super nerdy. I love mushrooms and science, so it was perfect for this Kennett Square resident. The author goes back and forth between history, biology (really, mycology), and crazy people in the mushroom world. I loved that there was a whole chapter on Kennett Square and our festival.
  • Ender in Exile, by Orson Scott Card*: Listening to this latest about Ender’s trip to the new colony made me miss Ender all over again. As usual, I got sucked in immediately. The audio productions are so great and add a lot to the story. It was gratifying to learn more about what happens to Valentine, Peter, Bean, Petra, and Graff, and Ender is really intriguing as always.
  • The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg*: This book is a pretty typical social science/observational book, but I really appreciated the explanation of how memory and habit reside in two totally different areas of the brain. I also liked the description of the role of weak ties in changing habits. Very thought-provoking.
  •  Stray, by Monica Hesse: This futuristic YA book was surprisingly good! And I had basically washed my hands of the genre. The dystopian elements were unique and have broad implications. I can definitely see the problem they were trying to address going off the rails like this. I’m grateful that even though there was a romantic element, it didn’t drive the plot. Thanks to Janet for such an awesome birthday surprise!
  • Why I Read, by Wendy Lesser: This book was much more academic than I expected. I adjusted eventually, but it took me a long time to get through this short book. Unfortunately, the tone struck me as a lot of literary name-dropping, and I felt like a dummy for much of the time because I didn’t know the authors or hadn’t read the books. I ended up liking the book, but it was not exactly the high-fiving love fest I expected. I recommend this, yes, but really only for nerdy, academic types.
  • The Forgotten Garden, by Kate Morton*: I liked this one more than The Distant Hours but less than The Secret Keeper. Maybe I’m just getting the hang of this author’s books, but I detected the twist so early on that it was practically happenstance when it was revealed. And I am never intuitive like that, so I’m not sure what’s going on. I enjoyed the book very much, though.

Eh

  • The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches, by Alan Bradley*: The 5th book in the Flavia de Luce series (Speaking from Among the Bones) had me on tenterhooks for the next one, and I was kind of disappointed with what I got. Flavia is still her awesome self, but the plot was so lacking. I feel like it’s gone downhill since the beginning, but Flavia is such an awesome character (and Jayne Entwhistle is such a good reader on audio) that I couldn’t stop myself. I didn’t know this going in, but this 6th installment is the last one, and it was very much a “that’s it?” kind of ending. Ah, well. At least there was a decent amount of chemistry (the science, I mean, not romantic shenanigans).
  • Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, by Jamie Ford*: I liked this book well enough, but it didn’t blow me away. I always appreciate stories that tackle the Japanese internment, which I think is an aspect of WWII that doesn’t get explored nearly enough.
  • Lost and Found, by Chris Van Hakes: What can I say, I’m not a romance person! It was fun to read a book written by a friend and start what I hope will be a book-passing chain.

Re-read

  • Peace Like a River, by Leif Enger: This was my third read of this book, and oh, I still love it. It’s such a great winter book, and the characters are so good. Let this book never be desecrated by a movie version, amen.
  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone, by Laini Taylor*: I’m re-reading/listening to this series in advance of the release of the third book (next week!), and this is the third time I’ve gone through this first one. It’s so good. I really think this series is an exceptional piece of fantasy YA. The world is so complete, and the plot is complex but not overwrought. I have the second book on hold on audio, and I keep stalking my library catalog to snatch the newest installment as soon as a record hits the system.

 

April 1, 2014 / RA

This is the story of how I met How I Met Your Mother

It was November 14, 2005. JG and I were 22. We’d been married for less than 5 months, and friends helped us move into our house 2 weeks earlier. The walls of the family room were were mint green, and we sat on a navy blue, plaid couch handed down from my in-laws. We couldn’t afford cable, so we surfed around the handful of basic network channels until we stopped short at the sight of two dudes having a sword fight.

JG identified with the guys immediately; they were exactly like him and his childhood friend/college roommate/beer sensei. He kept saying, “This is me and SB! That is so us!” Then Marshall ran Lily through with the sword, and I said, “And that is so me.”

We’ve been hooked on HIMYM ever since, and we’ve hung on for all nine years of the series. Even when people decried Ted as the worst character, even when Robin and Ted got together and broke up again, even when Ted dated another girl whom we knew could never be The Mother, even when the writers took a whole season to write about an unrealistically long wedding weekend — we stayed true. There was so much to love! The long running gags, the wordplay, the complicated chronology, and of course, the characters. The mysterious plot only intrigued us; JG and I soaked up as much HIMYM conspiracy as possible by listening to the production podcast, following cast and crew on Twitter, and reading recaps, theories, and Reddit AMAs. Oh, we were in it deep. One friend has noted that we have an “encycloPAYdic memory of the show,” which tends to happen when you are basically watching episodes constantly and exchanging intel.

So, it will come as no surprise that when the series finale aired last night (my thoughts and spoilers after the jump, and perhaps in the comments), we had a proper sendoff.

HIMYM farewell

JG and I knew that we would do something special for the series finale. At one point, I thought JG’s 30th birthday party would be HIMYM-themed, and I have had this last episode in mind for a while, so I already had a Google doc in the works of possible food/drink/decor tie-ins we could use. We incorporated as many references to the show as possible (on a limited budget, on a school night) and invited long-suffering friends over for dinner with the caveat that we would be in full nerd form. They were up for it, and here’s what we did to say farewell:

(I would have liked to have had Crazy/Hot wings, Judge Fudge sundaes, Buttercup cupcakes, and so many other things, but well, you can’t have it all.)

Our friends humored our obsessive theorizing and quoting during dinner, and at one point, the conversation turned introspective. I said that I felt a little silly that I was so invested in the show, but I think that dedication came from the timing of it all.

HIMYM has been on the air for as long as JG and I have been married and owned a house. I feel like we have grown up with the characters and experienced this 20s-to-30s shift with them. When I watch episodes from the first season, I think, “Holy cow, the actors look so young.” And when I look at pictures from our first year of marriage, I think, “Holy cow, JG and I look so young.” The show has done such a great job of illustrating the changes, conflicts, and unexpected turns that come in this time of life. I love that it’s a comedy that wasn’t afraid of sorrow or frustration, and the peaks and valleys feel true. I love that JG and I have shared a love of HIMYM for nine years. The show came alongside JG and me when we held the building blocks of the life that we’ve built together. It’s a symbol of being on our own, on a team, and together. I think that’s why I was simultaneously excited to see the finale and so, so sad to see the show end.

Look, I know that I’m viewing the show through graduation goggles. It wasn’t perfect, but it was good, and it was earnest. I still tear up when Lily tells Marshall that his dad passed away; I still sing along to “Let’s Go to the Mall”; I still say, “Classic Schmosby” when I do something dopey; and I will never (NEVER) stop introducing our dog with, “Haaave you met Ted?

Cheers, HIMYM. You were, indeed, legendary. I give you the highest of fives!

HIMYM finale

Read more…

March 24, 2014 / RA

Insert crazed metaphor here!

Is it just me, or does life explode in your face when you turn 31?

Okay, I’m being dramatic. In truth, my life suddenly became overwhelmingly, unavoidably busy. Insert crazed metaphor here! I’m in over my head, I’ve got a bunch of irons in the fire, I’m spinning a lot of plates — regardless, maintaining many competing interests has been just about all I can handle. I’ve been in survival mode for the past 2 weeks, so blogging and keeping up with social media have fallen by the wayside, much to my dismay.

This morning, I got 2 cavities filled, and now I’m trying to converse like someone whose jaw is not sliding down her neck. As I was lying the dentist’s chair, I was wholly aware of how powerless I was. The dentist drilled and poked and prodded, and there was literally nothing I could do except take deep breaths and try not to gag. 

And it occurred to me that “take deep breaths and try not to gag” is a pretty good rule of thumb for me now as I try to keep my head above water (another metaphor!).

Anyhow, I’m just coming up for air to say hi. How are you?

March 11, 2014 / RA

Birthday highlights (hey-oh!)

Birthday highlights

Thank you for all of the lovely wishes! I had a great 31st birthday/birthday weekend:

  • I did, indeed, get a Chipotle chicken burrito bowl for lunch, but I didn’t go alone and read my book while I ate. My pesky co-workers came along and treated me! Oh, well. (Just kidding) The scoop of guac I got on my bowl was the biggest I’d ever seen, and I did not take that for granted.
  • In the afternoon, my team took a break for root beer floats, which I requested in lieu of the birthday baked goods I usually bring in for my co-workers. They got me that enormous, hilarious glass mug for my float, and I could not love it more. At the end of the day, I took home the leftover root beer and ice cream — more floats for me!
  • At home that night, I ate as much mushroom pasta as I pleased before opening a pile of presents and cards from my family. Yes, that is a cut-out of Eleanor Roosevelt, and yes, it’s from my mom.  I love a dog in a sweater, and that one’s from JG. I got lots of fun things this year! My in-laws gave me a generous gift card to Photojojo, and my parents gave me a gift card to LOFT and a cute swim coverup for my vacation this summer.
  • My sister and I love sending gifts to each other that comprise a bunch of small items; we call it a Package of Awesome Gifts from Your Sister, or POAGFYS (POHG-fiss), for short. Per the usual, she outdid herself this year with a special accessories edition. So much fun stuff! Jewelry, cute sticky notes, a new lip balm, a preppy mug, and a scarf. I’ve been on a Tour de POAGFYS ever since, wearing or using one item per day. Today is Skinny Leopard Belt Day!
  •  JG produced a stack of practical things that I would never have bought myself (piping bags, a replacement book light, stemless wine glasses), plus a fish-shaped mug made by our friend, a local ceramics artist. I’m most excited about the collection of mini-books he got me, Frames Season 1, which is about trends in the modern church. I fully intend to nerd out on those infographics soon.
  • On Saturday, I was supposed to get my hair cut in the morning, but I had to reschedule until right before JG and I had to leave for Philly. So, I got all dressed and ready (except for wet hair) so that I could fly from the salon to home and out again. I wore the clearance Old Navy sequin dress (SIX DOLLAHS) (no, I will not stop saying that) over a blousy black top to create a sleeved dress, black tights and heeled boots, new sparkly earrings from the POAGFYS, and a rhinestone bangle. The theme was black and sparkly! I added a velvet blazer and a green scarf, and I was definitely overdressed for typical downtown Kennett fare. After my haircut, I stepped out of the salon onto the sidewalk, freshly cut and styled, and a dude in a pick-up truck whistled at me! I took it as a compliment. 
  • Before dinner, JG and I met Laurel (of Sass Attack, RIP) for drinks at The Dandelion, which was insanely crowded. Nonetheless, it was awesome to see Laurel, sip yummy Pimm’s cups, and catch up.
  • We had such a good time at dinner at Butcher and Singer. The decor is so cool and immersive. Everything is cushy and dark, and the staff all wear tuxedo jackets and speak in hushed tones. JG and I ordered fancy drinks — a Manhattan for him, a dirty martini for me — and escargot to start, plus steaks and Brussels sprouts for dinner. Everything was awesome. My martini was clear and sharp, and the escargot might be one of the best things I’ve eaten in my life. The restaurant was such a fun, fancy, novel thing to try for my birthday, and I’m so glad we tried it. Dressing up and going out with JG was exactly what I wanted.
  • Halfway through the meal, it became clear that JG and I were seated between unrelated bachelorette and bachelor parties. At first, I was a little nervous, but neither party was obnoxious, and it ended up being pretty entertaining. Both groups exhibited such stereotypical behavior that we couldn’t help but laugh. For example, the bride (in white, with a pink sash, of course) sat in the middle of her table so that she could talk to everyone; the groom sat at the head of his. The girls WOO-ed with their toasts, and the guys went, “Hey-oh!” It was so amazing.
  • At one point in the evening, a waiter dropped and broke an empty glass kind of near our table. The plush carpet prevented glass from careening everywhere, and JG and I were totally fine, but a floor manager swiftly moved between JG and the point of impact. Meanwhile, a SWAT team swooped in silently to deal with the glass, and the manager asked JG three times if he was all right. I appreciated the level of service, but toward the end of the clean-up operation, it was sort of comical that the floor manager was so intense. When the floor was clean to his satisfaction, he turned to face us and asked, “Can I get you folks a complimentary round of drinks?” WOO! JG got another Manhattan, and I tried a tasty gin-based thing with lavender honey. We were both going to stick with one cocktail that night — those things are not cheap — but given the circumstances, why not get a free one? Hey-oh!
March 6, 2014 / RA

31 sounds about right

Hey, I turn 31 today!

On one hand, 31 sounds about right. Last year, I said, “I feel like this year is an important year for me. I’m working on my goals, and I feel tiny nudges of progress. Hooray! I hope that when I turn 31, I’ll be able to feel the difference.” And the crazy thing is that I can feel the difference. Being 30 was great. I feel much more open to possibility and confident in who I am and am not.

On the other hand, I realized at 11 last night that my credit card payment was 2 days late. Ugh, adulthood fail! Happy birthday, self, here’s a late fee! And a bunch of new alerts to ensure that this never happens again!

Anyway, I have been forgetting about my birthday all week. I think it’s a combination of a weekday birthday, not planning a party, and being a boring adult. JG would say, “Are you excited for Thursday?” and I’d be all, “What’s happening on Thursday? Oh.” Lest you think this major occasion would go uncelebrated, let me put you at ease.

Birthday, so far

Today, I’m wearing one of my favorite dresses (it’s green, of course), and I started the day with breakfast at Philter, where I changed up my usual order and got a savory bread pudding that had smoked ham, cheddar, and rosemary. My awesome co-workers gave me a card and a gift card to a local beer bar, and the administrative assistant brought supplies for a root beer float social this afternoon! I’m taking myself to lunch at Chipotle for a chicken burrito bowl, and I am splurging on the guacamole, OH YES I AM. While I eat, I’m going to start Stray, which was a lovely surprise birthday present from Janet. Yes, I am having lunch by myself, but it’s really a treat because eating + reading is one of my favorite combinations.

Tonight, JG is making my requested dinner: Ina Garten’s mushroom lasagna (but with short pasta, like a baked ziti) and roasted Brussels sprouts. When faced with the full spectrum of dishes JG would gladly make for my birthday, leave it to me to choose creamy pasta and vegetables. Party time, folks! After dinner, we’ll have lemon cake from a great local bakery, and I assume that we’ll watch our usual Thursday night television.

Then! On Saturday, JG and I are getting gussied up for a fancy schmance steak dinner at Butcher and Singer. I’m wearing a black sequin dress that I found at Old Navy in the clearance section for SIX DOLLAHS, what what! I’m getting my hair cut and styled in the morning, so I intend to be very high-class, indeed.

Why, yes, the theme of this birthday is Eat Whatever I Please, how did you guess?

Sooo, for my birthday, I would love it if you would leave a comment for me. If you have been hanging out and this would mean delurking, all the better! Thanks for reading, friends!

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