Saturday, September 19, 2015

Major FOMO

For those of you not of the internet slang generation, FOMO is Feeling Of Missing Out. It is the worst acronym, I hate how it sounds, and I never use it... but I am using it now, because there is no better way to describe what I am feeling right now.

Here I sit, on a cloudy (yet surprisingly mild) Florida morning, on the floor with my dog and my laptop. The only humans I have interacted with in person in the past two days are my "work family," and two of them are less than five years old... one only communicates by laughing and crying. Normally, for an introvert such as myself, this would be a good thing, especially after ten days of non-stop SEEING people. I loved seeing everyone, but that is the most exhausting thing ever. I need time to myself to recharge my battery. But now, I am going stir-crazy without Eric, and I have serious FOMO thinking about what everyone is doing right now.

Eric is back in NJ (yes, three days after leaving... we need VIP passes at PBI, for real) for the wedding of our friends Meg and Carolyn. A little background: Eric and Meg met long before I knew Eric, and they lived together basically ever since, up until shortly before Eric and I moved to Florida. I went to high school with Carolyn, and we did chorus together. All of them worked together after high school. Then, I met Eric, and Meg and Carolyn were together, and we spent many happy times all basically living together in Eric and Meg's townhome with lots of alcohol, good cooking, Ketchup the beta fish, and Footfoot the snake. No matter how long goes by without talking or seeing each other, when we are all together, hilarious times ensue.

Today, Meg and Carolyn are finally tying the knot, but with so many weddings in September and October, Eric and I had to do some serious thinking about how we could make this work with all the flying around necessary. It's not like I can work remotely, and Eric doesn't have unlimited vacation days. Ultimately, we decided that we needed to split up for the weddings, with the exception of the one on our one-year anniversary, which we combined with our annual trip home. He is at Meg and Carolyn's today, and I will go to Becca's without him in a few weeks. I am missing the #biggaypumpkinspicedwedding :(

Missing out on big life events is by far the shittiest thing about living so far away. Weddings, holidays, birthdays, engagement parties, even bachelorette parties. I had to miss Nicole's last year, and I missed Becca's last weekend (which was in MIAMI, of all places) while I was home. It is the worst. Not only do I feel like the shittiest friend, but I sit there thinking about all the fun everyone is having and how I wish I could be there. And now that Eric with people, and I am not, I feel EXTRA shitty. I love Nym, don't get me wrong, but she sleeps a lot, and she has a healing paw at the moment (another story for another day... this dog is wreck). I can't even take her to the dog park or for long walks.

I normally love to be alone... but right now, instead of feeling alone, I just feel lonely.

So, I've been trying to keep myself busy. I worked until 11pm last night, and surprisingly, nothing could've made me happier than reading bedtime stories and cleaning up baby food prunes. I got all my fall decorations out (RAVENS EVERYWHERE!!!) to keep me happy when I'm home. I played with Nym and all her new toys, and now I'm cuddling with her lazy ass on the floor.

I also drank a lot of tea this morning, because caffeine is an upper, and drowning my sorrows in alcohol at 9:00am will be no good for anyone. Self-medicating at its smartest, yes?

So... sorry for that downer of a post. I know things can be way worse in life, obviously. I am still grateful for the warmth and palm trees and Floridian way of life. Nothing beats it. I am just not the type of person who pretends everything is fine when I don't feel like I am fine.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Jersey in Photos

Alright, don't be expecting professional photographer quality photos. That's Eric's area of expertise. I'm just over here snapping quick pictures with my phone, and chances are I'm intoxicated while doing it.
Ben drove Eric and I to the airport on his way to work at 6:45am  Friday morning (what a good guy!). We had dropped Nym off the night before, and I was pretty sad about it, but we were pumped to be heading home for the first time in a year.
First stop: Geno's Steaks for lunch. Yes, I know there are better in the city. But no place takes me back in time like Geno's. I ate the entire thing in ten minutes and didn't eat again til the next morning because I was so full/sick. Always worth it!
We arrived at my house, and I promptly ran out of the car barefoot to feel the soft grass between my toes and admire Mom's flowers.
Kelly always decorates our chalkboard for the month. September's drawing: an anniversary surprise for Eric and I! These lyrics were our wedding cake topper. :)
My back yard. It smelled like pine trees.
Goon #1: Diego
Goon #2: Binx
Our first night, we saw some of Eric's family. We went to Uncle Adam and Aunt Jen's and looked at pictures from their Disney vacation that we were supposed to join them on, but sadly missed, due to tropical storm Erika's "cone of uncertainty"... AND DRANK MY FIRST PUMPKIN BEER OF THE SEASON! Hate away, haters. This was delicious.
This was also delicious. Tasted like a milkshake. Mmmmm Florida beer.
Saturday morning, I had my first Wawa of the trip, which was also my first pumpkin spice latte of the season. Basic.
It was our one year anniversary, so we got to eat our wedding cake, which was still amazing.
And it also happened to be the wedding day of our good friends, Dave and Rachel!
Couldn't think of a better way to spend our first anniversary. Beautiful scenery, great friends, unlimited drinks... Here I am posing with my "anniversary flowers" from Eric, aka the table centerpiece hahaha.
Sunday was spent at Eric's family's Labor Day party. My parents came, too, so it was really nice. I was having way too much fun seeing people and playing cops and robbers with the kids to take pictures, but here is a snap of a cake that Linny got for us from her bakery for dessert. DELICIOUS.
We met Nym's cousin, Zeus! Look, he has a huge tongue, too. They are definitely related!
Monday. Starbucks PSL and Philly soft pretzels. Still basic. Still delicious.
Monday, my Uncle Al came over for a Labor Day cookout. We made s'mores at my request. :) 

Peg, Ray, Sean, and Kelly joined us as well. We spent the night drinking wine, eating s'mores, and having a guitar jam sesh on the deck.
Tuesday was spent recovering from a busy few days. We went to Uncle Al's briefly to discuss Italy and see my cousin Adam and his daughter Annamarie! She babbled the whole time. So cute. But Wednesday was SHORE DAY! We visited Sean in Ventnor and had the beach all to ourselves since the season was over. It was incredible. I missed this view of AC.
Eric and I stopped at the OC boardwalk for lunch. Here is the Wonderland Pier ferris wheel. Such great childhood memories.
The boardwalk is a ghost town out of season. So peaceful. I spent a lot of time thinking about Aunt Joyce, my cousins, and how lucky we were to spend our lives here.
Ocean City Music Pier
PIZZA PIZZA PIZZA.
GOOD pizza. REAL pizza. MY pizza.
Couldn't leave the boardwalk without getting some mango Polish water ice. Can Florida please get some good junk food? Please?
After lunch, we headed down to the Cape May house to hang out with Erin and Aunt Sean! Eric spent his childhood here, and I spent Cape May Vacays here. Aunt Sean's flowers are ridiculous this year. She had these all around the yard!
Watching the sun go down in Cape May with good company.
Thursday morning, we all took a nice walk. Love walking by the bay.
The weather quickly turned to shit, because it knew we had to drive a lot today. Of course. But it was the only shitty weather day on our whole trip!
We made it down to Delaware despite the rain to see Dave and Sunny and finally meet Arya! She is the chillest baby. Eric wasn't even scared to hold her! We got dinner and margaritas, then ate brownies and played Exploding Kittens. The only thing harmed during the game was Eric's ego, I promise. ;)
Friday. How did a week go by already? Eating a mint icing Andes brownie from Linny's bakery. Do you sense a theme of eating a lot during this trip?
After a week of being a PSL-loving basic bitch, I decided to get real and go to Endgrain Coffee in Pitman. The benefits of a small town include shop owners who will actually spend time with you. Joe, the owner, gave me some insight about why I love basic bitch coffee and how to start loving real, good coffee. He gave me a real latte, made with real, high-quality coffee beans... it was incredible. No sugar necessary.
We headed on over from Endgrain to the Speak residence for a giant party with most of our Jersey friends. Mr. and Mrs. Speak have graciously hosted our alcohol-fueled nerd hangouts for as long as anyone can remember, and it never gets old. We ate a ton and played yard games. Sean's girlfriend, Lauren, and I won at bocce ball! I never win things! It was the power of the Laurens.
Mrs. Speak got candy corn just for me! Thank you, Mrs. Speak! My first candy corn of the season. It was the highlight of my night. :D
... but also, THIS happened. Jager shots with Shot Buddy trumps all. Love ya, Linds!
We ended the night in true nerd form: Dean created his own Mario levels, which we played til 4am. Yes. 
Saturday we were hurting pretty bad. Bella helped me feel better though. :)
Saturday night, our last night home, we went out to dinner at Manino's in Pitman with both our families together. Good Italian food is like drugs to me. I got an instant high when I ate this penne alla vodka. Also, I don't know why these pictures are flipped the wrong way, but I don't care enough to fix it.
The cognac pumpkin cheesecake was BOMB. Great food, wine, and family. This is why we love NJ!
Sunday morning. This morning. Our trip ended, and I drowned my sorrows in an Auntie Anne's pretzel in the airport, like usual.
We arrived safely with NJ goodies for Kristin and ourselves, including Philly soft pretzels, boardwalk fudge, and salt water taffy. Kristin picked us up from the airport and informed us that we had not missed a lot during our ten days away. I don't think she realizes that being away from her and Ben and Chloe for ten days IS missing a lot.
... AND being away from Nym. Reunited with my baby and it feels so good. Speaking of which, Nym had quite a good vacation...
We boarded her at a really great place. Lauren, the woman whose house she was at, runs a doggy daycare and boards dogs of all sizes. Nym even had her own room. She sent us updates throughout the week and said Nym did really well. In fact...
She became best friends with another dog there! 
Buddies!

Now, we are home with Nym, watching football and drinking Funky Buddha Sweet Potato Casserole beer. Fall is upon us! It feels like our time home was just a dream. It was too short. It always takes me about a week to adjust to being away from my family and friends, so I am feeling pretty down right now. But the more I think about it, the more Florida is feeling like home to me. I have a good life here. I have a feeling my heart is going to be torn between Florida and NJ from now on. When I am here in Florida, it feels like a piece of me is missing. But now, when I am in NJ, it also feels like a piece of me is missing. My Nym, my Florida fam, the palm trees, the water...

It's a pretty good problem to have when your life is TOO good no matter where you are.

Friday, September 11, 2015

9/11 Ramblings

Every year on this day, social media is flooded with 9/11 remembrance posts, or people using the opportunity to spout their political opinions. This year, I woke up and immediately remembered what day it was and kind of didn't want to think about it anymore.

When I see all those posts, I feel glad that the world is still remembering those attacks, but I also feel like the majority of those people don't give it a second thought the rest of the year. After 9/11, everyone came together, cried together, supported each other. Now, half the people who post remembrance posts are complete jerks to others (if you reading this are one of those people: I'm not sorry). It makes me angry.

9/11 changed my family's life, and I am sure anyone who had family at the attack sites will say the same. I don't think about it once a year. I think it about it throughout the year. I think about it every time I travel, and pretty much every time I say goodbye to the people I love. It is definitely a source of anxiety for me, because I am constantly thinking about how you never know when you will lose someone. It has made me a more compassionate person and less afraid to say "I love you" to people who I may not have said it to before. So if I seem like a weirdo spouting my love randomly to friends... that's why.

I always say how lucky we are that my uncle went down a few floors for a muffin that day, but is it really luck? I don't think so. Was it fate? I don't know. I have a weird view of spirituality. I am not religious, and I am still trying to figure out what, exactly, I believe. But when I think about 9/11, I can't help but feel like there is something greater than ourselves watching over us. I don't know why bad things happen. I don't know why some people were saved and some were not. Good people died that day. What I do know is that, from looking at my family and some others, I see that this horrible situation did change some people for the better.

Hopefully, even though I think the 9/11 attacks are a sign of evil in our world, and it hardened some people's hearts and made them cynical, it also created some compassionate, motivated people in my generation who will work hard to make the world a better place. That could be something as big as running for president and actually making good changes for the country, or something as small as smiling at one stranger and making him feel like good people exist in the world.

So... yeah. That's what I try to do. I'm not saying you need to dwell on a horrible memory. But how about we all think about the way we supported each other and cared for each other during that time and carry that attitude with us throughout the year? Lose your pride, hug your "enemy." Ya know, all that peace, love, hippie shiz. This isn't meant to be a commentary on war. It is meant to be a commentary on everyday life. YOUR life. We can all make a positive difference in the world.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Hi September

Hi.

It's September now.

Every time I post, I say I am going to start writing more again, and then I never do. I have sat down to write so many times in the past year, stared at the screen for five minutes, and then shut my laptop and walked away.

The truth is that this year has been very difficult for me. In high school, I would have just written all about it in my Livejournal for the whole world to see. In college, I would have written cryptic Taking Back Sunday and Brand New lyric statuses referencing it on Facebook (thank you Timehop for these memories... not). In grad school, I would have talked to my therapist about it.

This time, I think I needed to just process it on my own. Writing does help me do that, but I personally don't see the point in writing if absolutely no one sees what I write. And the things I have going on, I haven't wanted anyone to see. We all know what happens on the internet stays on the internet, and I am too old and wise to let that happen now. ;)

Eric and I will be married for one year on this Saturday, September 5th. We will be celebrating it at our friends' wedding that day, so we leave tomorrow for NJ... our first time home in a whole year. It's like the entire year is coming full circle with us celebrating love at a wedding and returning home to where this whole marriage journey shiz began for us.

What everyone has seen the past year is all of the good things we have experienced: getting married, going on a honeymoon (aka "sickmoon", but damn did it make for a hilarious story!), celebrating holidays with our Florida fam (all Chloe's firsts and OUR firsts as husband and wife) (husband/wife is still weird to say), buying a house, adopting a dog, finding a job in which I actually feel happy... all of these situations have been amazing. But what a lot of people forget is that there is such a thing as a GOOD stressor. Just because something is a good thing doesn't mean it is easy. Some of the most stressful situations in life are the first year of marriage, buying a house/moving, and changing jobs. We have encountered all these things within one year, plus adopting Nym.

When my dad made his speech at our wedding, he said that life will definitely throw us some curveballs. Things have been hectic and stressful this year, and we have certainly had our ups and downs. Eric and I are both Aries. If you don't believe in astrological signs, too bad for you. This year has shown me that we are definitely both Aries: stubborn, passionate, independent, fiery, and opinionated, even if we don't seem that way to others.

Despite all of these qualities making for some very interesting debates, they also mean that we are stubborn and passionate about this relationship. We have worked hard to learn how to handle all the curveballs life has thrown at us so far, and we will keep growing and changing and learning how to handle things together. That is my favorite thing about being with Eric, and it's how I knew this relationship was "it." In every other relationship, I have felt dependent. I have felt like I need to give in, or be jealous, or change myself in some way. With Eric, I feel like I can be whoever I want, and so can he, and we will just evolve together. That is the best feeling.

And so, we have many reasons to celebrate! We have survived one year of marriage, two years of Florida, job changes, a house, and a dog who eats socks and retainers.

We are boarding Nym with a nice lady while we are in the Jerz, by the way. We dropped her off tonight. I sobbed on the way home. I love her.

Anyway, I can't wait to see as many friends and family as possible, and cuddle my cats, and eat all the cheesesteaks and pizza, and walk barefoot in the soft grass, and feel the cool(er) night air, and see my Good Charlotte poster that is still hanging on my bedroom wall. God, I miss home.

Off I go to pack. Yes, it is almost 10pm and I am still not packed. Maybe I'd be less stressed if I stopped procrastinating in every situation in life...

Let us take a moment of silence in remembrance of Eric's short hair and my long hair. My my, how times have changed ;)