Milestones

Every relationship has milestones: first date, first kiss, first sleepover, first “I love you.” Those are the cute ones, the ones people talk about, the ones you look forward to and tell your friends about the minute they happen. There are also different milestones, ones you don’t think about, as I found out on the recently-achieved First Vacation Together with A. For most of August we traveled around Norway, a trip ambitiously booked four months in advance of leaving, and without either of us realizing it, there was a lot riding on this trip. Neither of us knew what to expect, and as we eventually discussed, we were both quite nervous about it. It turns out there are a lot of milestones when you’re on vacation with someone for 10 days traveling around a foreign country, more than I ever expected or could ever plan for. They’re kind of cute, in a weird, gross, super-real and also wonderful kind of way.

There are the weird milestones, that honestly are mostly about pooping. Like, it’s one thing to spend a few days at apartments in New York City, but 10 straight days in foreign apartments together is a whole separate level from your comfortable apartments. You get really close, really quickly, and that kind of closeness is the silly kind of thing that has the ability to tear your relationship apart or make it stronger. There are the scary milestones that happen when you spend 10 days straight with someone too. Chronic pain is something that A and I deal with as the third wheel in our relationship; usually it’s one of his injuries but this time one of mine got in the way. We had to cancel our first planned hike because of A’s back; we had to cancel our remaining hike on the morning of because of my knee. I thought he would be mad, maybe sad, maybe even disappointed, but instead he just let me cry out my own disappointment and then we planned an amazing day in Stavanger anyway. We adapt together well; I didn’t know that before this trip.

There were a lot of things I didn’t know before this trip. I didn’t know that he likes to get to airports early like I do, and I didn’t know how many Roots t-shirts he actually owns, which is a lot (maybe too many?). I didn’t know how we would live together for that long, because we talked about living together like its a given without any reason to think so positively, and I didn’t know if 10 days together would solidify what I’ve been feeling since the day I met him or if we would kill each other by the plane ride home. And there are a lot of things I learned on the vacation. I learned that my boyfriend is a 10 year old and likes to chase me around foreign apartments calling me Poopface while I’m simultaneously mortified and hysterically laughing. I learned that breaking the only razor on day 7 means I shouldn’t wear a sleeveless top and cropped leggings on a crowded plane for day 10. I learned that a lot of relationship milestones have to do with pooping, really, and I learned that I’m also a 10 year old because I think that nickname is adorable and high-fiving A over shared bowel stories is gross but also really awesome.

I also learned it’s possible to enjoy every single second of 10 days with someone who makes you laugh and cry and frustrates you before making it all okay again. I learned that 10 days with someone can completely transform a relationship without changing a goddamn thing. I learned more about the idea of forever. I spent a lot of time in the realm of thinking about forever. I learned what it’s like to consider 48 hours without someone after 10 days of constantly being with him and before that even happened I learned it made me cry too much, because those 48 hours felt like the kind of forever I want to avoid. I learned a lot this vacation. I learned a lot in the week since. Mostly I learned that I’m the luckiest girl in the whole damn world, and my forever these days is the best mix of Nows.

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Is it too late now to say sorry?

Sometimes I like to think I’m like Donald Trump. I mean okay, I don’t agree with his personal politics nor campaign platform, nor pretty much anything that comes out of his mouth. Also I’m not an orange leather man-purse whose best accomplishment is hiding tax returns and tweeting at haters and my hair actually moves when prompted. Plus I’m not a demagogue racist pandering fear to an already-fearful electorate in an effort to get access to nuclear codes, and I definitely can’t match his duckface, he’s at like Kardashian level. So basically, we’re not alike at all, except for one thing: I love words. I have the best words.

I really do love vocabulary though. I love learning new words, finding obscure phrases with words that roll off the tongue like a song; if I can work “lackadaisical” or “diaphanous” or “nefarious” or “entranced” into a conversation you bet your sweet ass I will. I’m the nerd that would actually love a word of the day calendar (HINT HINT MY BIRTHDAY IS IN A MONTH) and I love that I work in an industry that’s heavy on writing and communication with top scientists and researchers who teach me new words with a single email. Yet with all of this – despite loving words and definitely having the best words – a conversation with a friend recently led me to realize that the word I say most often is “sorry!”

I apologize for everything. Sorry to the stranger who gets in my way on the subway, sorry to my coworker when we’re in the kitchen and I’m trying to sneak out of the way, sorry to my boyfriend when I laughed too hard after he mixed up chili powder and cayenne pepper in chili recently (that last one may have been okay though, he was in pain and I couldn’t even get him water for laughing so hard). I apologize to EVERYONE, for everything. Some of it is a cultural thing. Every time I travel abroad I’ll inevitably meet someone who will hear me apologize for looking at a building or sneezing or something else innocuous and they’ll laugh. “Americans apologize for everything! Why are you always so apologetic?” But even for an American I apologize a lot, and that conversation with a friend recently had me wondering why.

The conversation was after a yoga class in June. I had just decided to switch jobs after a wildly busy spring, I hadn’t spent time in my own apartment for longer than 24 hours since April, and basically I was a mess. The studio was too tiny and oddly set up for the class, and I hadn’t had time to practice it. As the class started and I fell into the easy rhythm of teaching, there were a few moments where I stumbled – as any new teacher does. But it wasn’t until after the class, walking back to the subway with a beautiful soul from my yoga training class, where she turned to me with a sheepish look on her face. “Can I give you one critique about your class?” she asked gently, to which I enthusiastically agreed, as she is a role model of mine for yoga. “Your class was beautiful – so STOP APOLOGIZING!! I was ready to get up and shake you at the last ‘Sorry!’ in there because you have nothing to apologize for!”

You have nothing to apologize for.

What a novel concept.

I’ve taken those words with me everywhere since then. Instead of apologizing for walking into the kitchen at the office when someone else is in the doorway I just say ‘Hi!’ Rather than apologizing to A when it takes me a while to get back to his text, I’ll just answer his question. I’ve stopped apologizing for things where I’m not actually sorry, and it was the most difficult and amazing transformation in my attitude and my day. I feel more confident. I speak more confidently, because I’m confident in my words rather than apologetic. I’d encourage each of you to consider how often you apologize for things and make that same change if you need to. Because you also have nothing to apologize for.

Unless, of course, you’re Donald Trump. Because frankly, anyone with the “best words” should know better than to use them for hate. And hate, in all forms, is absolutely something to be sorry for.

Friendly Conversations: To

Welcome to another edition of Friendly Conversations, where I screenshot how embarrassing my mother is and how absurd my relationship is. Sadly no cameos from T in this edition, but believe me, she’s got a full post coming up real soon.

This week’s theme is “Advice from my loved ones on switching jobs.” Enjoy!

On how to act in interviews:
Mama convo_july 2

On pre-resignation professional obligations:
A convo_july 7.png

On resigning
Mama convo_july 1.png

On what to do with some extra cash
M convo_july 1.png

On what I’ll actually do with the extra cash
A convo_july 5.png

 

 

Seemingly Random Specific Occurrences

I don’t believe in coincidence all the time. Sometimes sure, things are just so wonky you chalk it up to coincidence, but a lot of the time I find something that feels like a coincidence is just a precursor before everything else falls into place.

Like today, for instance. This morning was a calm morning like any other, I was checking the news before the day’s tasks picked up. I reached for the coffee I’d brought from home and warmed (excessively) in the microwave without looking (how hard is it for an adult to pick up a cup, right?) and I watched the next ten seconds in slow motion: a loud CLINK of ceramic on fake wood desk, the coffee loping over the fallen edge and all over my sweater and jeans before I could even say “Uh oh.” Barely 9am and not only am I pretty sure I’m burned from my stomach to the top of my thigh, but I’m now facing a full day of sitting in coffee-stained clothing, or popping to Anthropologie at the Market to spend way too much on clothing I don’t need. Great choices, right? As I took a deep breath and tried to figure out next steps, I realized last week I left a bag of clothes here, the infamous bag that had my keys at one point too. A dress and a denim jacket that miraculously match the shoes I put on this morning. Problem solved.

Tuesday I was scrolling through old entries. I came across A Story, One Year Later, and read through it a few times for a few reasons. Tuesday was two years since a day that was supposed to be a date turned into a Saturday Funday, as Facebook reminded me via a picture I still remember C taking of me, R and H at Boat Basin on a beautiful May afternoon. I reminisced about reading magazines over and over on the subway and realized I haven’t been reading the same way since I stopped getting those magazines, and then I tried to remember the last time I went anywhere without my headphones, and honestly, I can’t. I chalked it up to a weird coincidence, that I would find that entry on that exact day, and moved on with my day, hoping to get out a few minutes early to rush through a Whole Foods run before finally, blissfully, heading home alone.

It’s exhausting to think about signs everywhere, that nothing is a coincidence because “everything happens for a reason” and all that. Sometimes it’s really nice to think something is a coincidence because coincidences are easy to comprehend, they’re just random things that happen and make you go “huh” and then you move on. Sometimes I drive myself crazy trying to understand random things that happen, like how I can feel the shift of energy as the new moon approaches this weekend, and there’s a planet of healing turning retrograde this month that’s making me think about starting over. A thinks I’m crazy when I start going on about the planetary movements, and okay, I definitely am. Sometimes things are really just coincidences. Other times it feels like there’s more behind the random coincidences, and I need a reason to pay attention to them, especially when they pile up like they have been the past few weeks.

Back to Tuesday, it was a late night in the office, which I haven’t had in quite a long time. I tried to let myself skip grocery shopping but I’m sick of buying lunch and coffee every day, so I sucked up my last bit of energy and made my way to the Whole Foods by Columbus Circle, a pit stop on the way back to the Heights. I realized while shopping around that I didn’t have pockets for my phone, so as I checked out I tucked my phone and headphones into my backpack, a foreign motion for me. As I walked out the glass doors and towards the subway, I thought that moment, sans headphones, would be a funny moment to run into someone I knew. And not ten seconds later, I saw R walking towards me about 10 feet away. I was so shocked that I just stared at her for a minute with a huge smile, and then shouted her name like a crazy person. She looked equally as shocked to see me – turns out she’d seen one of the “If you see something, say something” signs a few minutes before, and nearly sent me a note. We could chalk all that up to a big coincidence – and there’s of course no denying it was! But in a moment where I was missing a friend and in need of a good way to end a long evening, I may have to chalk that up to a little push from the universe. Everything does happen for a reason, after all.

Thursday Night: A Review

6:02pm: Check in with my boss at the end of the day and start to pack up. Stare at the large and cumbersome bag of clothes from spending the previous night in Queens and decide to leave the clothes in the office for the night, since it’s just my dress from the day before and I don’t need anything in there till the next day anyway.

6:11pm: Leave the office. Thrilled to be out on time for a night to hang out with my YTT BFF working on her first class and sipping chilled wine in the summer air.

6:24pm: Meet YTT BFF on the same corner we spent so many weeks in leggings and hug for days. God I miss that energy sometimes, a room full of yogis practicing and learning and just being together. We walk to the A train catching up about everything till we’re back in the Heights, the commute we took together the first night that led to this amazing friendship.

7:44pm: We exit the subway one stop early and walk by the George Washington Bridge as the sun is setting; it’s still humid and hot and I’m really wishing I’d changed into my spare yoga clothes because a strapless bra is awful when it isn’t sweaty and gross outside.

7:50pm: I go to change into my yoga clothes at YTT BFF’s apartment and come to the terrible realization that in leaving my bag of clothes at the office I also left my FREAKING KEYS WITH IT.

7:51pm: I have a flashback to that morning as I was getting dressed where I saw my keys and thought “I should really put those in my purse.”

7:52pm: DAMMIT 7AM LB THIS IS WHY WE DRINK COFFEE BEFORE MAKING ANY DECISIONS LIKE WHERE TO LEAVE YOUR KEYS.

7:55pm: YTT BFF and I leave to go 3 stops down on the subway to 145th, where there is a Key Me kiosk. I thank all the things that I’ve used this kiosk before.

8:01pm: New key secured. I triumphantly send a Snapchat about how awesome I am and how my night was NOT ruined.

8:35pm: Make it home. Wait outside for someone to let me in the front door so I can go pack for the weekend at Twinster’s with A.

8:41pm: Make it inside and climb my 5 flights. God I can’t wait to take this freaking bra off.

8:42pm: THE GODDAMN NEW KEY DOESN’T WORK.

8:45pm: Still sitting outside my door contemplating crying or laughing or also crying.

8:47pm: Reluctantly hop into a cab to the Upper East Side to get my spare keys from D&D. Super tired and hungry and cranky.

8:48pm: Cab driver attempts to engage in friendly conversation and I pretend not to hear him.

9:04pm: Texting C from the cab. She becomes my LORD GODDESS AND SAVIOR by informing me Uber is half price all weekend in NYC. This is my third cab of the day so the news is *slightly* welcome.

9:17pm: Arrive at D&Ds. Walk in to two pups who are beside themselves happy to see me and plop on the floor to hang out with two of my favorite people. Snuggle with the pitbull and realize maybe everything’s okay.

9:34pm: Uber home. My driver used to live literally around the corner from my apartment so we trade stories about Washington Heights. He recently moved and misses it so much. I tell him about M&N and realize this time next year it could be me too.

9:55pm: Walk the five flights of stairs and even though I know they’re going to work I am PRAYING these keys don’t let me down.

9:57pm: The keys work. THE KEYS WORK!!!

9:59pm: The Uber was less than $10. C is officially my actual savior.

10:01pm: Text A the whole story. We laugh and plan our road trip the next day. I can’t wait for a weekend with him and Twinster and maybe some bonus time with my nephews too.

10:04pm: I go to grab an apple and find beer in my fridge. Realize it’s bedtime buuuuut….

10:07pm: Take a sip of a beer that was well-deserved by doing not a damn thing and settle in a few episodes of Sunny on Netflix before bedtime beckons.

10:11pm: Realize I’m missing the most important part of my day and forcibly remove my bra. God, it’s good to be home.

Moral of the story: don’t be an idiot. Happy long weekend, everyone!!

Friendly Conversations: Ett

It took me until APRIL to post one of these! That’s insane. Decided to give the countdown Norwegian numbers this year, for reasons that will become more apparent later this summer. And for the first time ever, T isn’t featured at all. She and I are going to have to step it up. Don’t worry though, per usual there’s a fantastic showing from Mama B, and a slow realization through texting A that I may have a problem with sugar.

Now for tales from my texting history!

On chocolate (pt. one)
A Chocolate

On life after food poisoning (pt one)
Mama chili

On chocolate (pt two)
A cookies

On freezer surprises
A hot pockets

On life after food poisoning (pt two)
A MBS

And just in case anyone thought I was lying when I said my flight to Austin earlier this month was delayed for five hours:
United

 

Getting Tattooed with Food Poisoning and Other Tales from Austin

Greetings from my home sweet home here in New York City, after a week that can only be described as “eventful.” I’m referring to my grand Austin adventure, originally planned as a way to start sowing seeds for a new life and instead becoming a grand ol’ vacation in Texas with my lovely G; and I’m referring to what it’s like to say goodbye to people that irrevocably changed your life just by being in it. I talk a lot about how crazy it is to realize how things change over the course of a year, or two years, or five, but this week I learned it’s crazy how things can change in just an hour – or five. But in the spirit of keeping this under 12 pages, let’s start with Austin Adventures:

We start our weekend last Friday at 4am, as I leave A’s place for a 5:45 flight from LaGuardia, stopping in Houston to switch planes before ATX, baby. The plan was to take the earliest flight out so I’d have the whole afternoon to bask in the Texas sun, go to a yoga studio, and generally enjoy my time in my second-favorite US city. Things felt *slightly* weird after boarding the plane and then not moving or hearing anything from the flight attendants for over an hour, but you know, flights can be weird. By the second hour that passed on the plane, I was getting pretty cranky. I should mention I avoid coffee before long flights and was not super thrilled with anything at that point, especially as I’d already missed my connecting flight. By 8:15 we finally had an update: everyone off the plane and maybe we’ll leave this morning. After a HUGE coffee and some airport yoga, I had a smile on my face – I wasn’t going to let a delay ruin my Austin weekend – but starting the weekend with a 5-hour delay should have been a clue that I may love Texas, but it was not about to love me back.

Friday and Saturday went off without a hitch, a perfect two days singing in the car and hanging out with G, those rare moments where we can pretend we do this all the time instead of barely once a year. I sang her Happy Birthday and we ate some of the best desserts (“manna cotta… panne cotti? Just put more in my mouth.”). G’s roommates joined us for Saturday night and we danced on Dirty Sixth among cowboys and bachelorette parties, and in the midst of getting our hair done earlier that afternoon, we hatched a plan to continue a now-tradition the next day during our Austin adventures: somewhat-spontaneous tattoos.

I woke up on Sunday morning feeling a little foggy but overall fine – I’d stuck to beer the night before and made a point to drink water so I’d be comfortable while needles pierced my skin that day. I’m an early riser and the girls were still sleeping, so I ventured down to the hotel lobby for a small breakfast of yogurt (<– that’s important) and cereal while watching an old episode of Ink Master on my computer (*how am I so cool). Eventually G and I went out for breakfast tacos, and I noticed my stomach felt…. not right. I should mention I’m not a hungover puker. Like, ever. I mean okay there have been occasions, but for the most part after heavy drinking, I get headaches and migraines, I don’t vomit. So when I started to feel my stomach churning in the middle of a delicious breakfast taco salad, I thought it was odd, but brushed it off – it had to be a hangover, right?

We went back to the hotel to lay down for a quick nap to stave off G’s hangover before heading out for spontaneous tattoo adventures. I didn’t sleep so much as toss and turn, telling myself I wasn’t about to vomit because that’s not what I do. Turns out that was what I ended up doing for the next hour – stupid hangover! Luckily, after a particularly spirited outburst of the final remnants of my breakfast in the streets of Austin while walking around to kill time before the shop opened, I miraculously felt wonderful. We spent the next few hours in the tattoo shop where we’d been two years before, chatting with the artist, reviewing the design, the familiar buzz of the machine and then just a hint of pain as I reminded myself why, in fact, I’d sworn off any more rib tattoos after the first one. As mine is larger, I was the first victim of the machine, and I watch G get two perfect arrows on her forearm with a mix of awe and excitement. And then my stomach did the familiar churn of the morning, and while her arm was saran-wrapped and instructions for healing were offered, I projectile-lost-everything-in-my-body in the shop bathroom and a nightmare night began.

I have to say, having never had food poisoning before (*and not realizing that’s what it was for a while since I was only vomiting), there really is no introduction quite like a night by yourself in a strange AirBNB in a semi-strange city, alternately wincing as you brush a fresh wound on your ribs and throwing up so violently you can’t breathe. Sadly said violent-vomiting meant my very last day in Austin, the only bright and sunny day, the one where I had two yoga studios picked out to attend and the whole city at my beck and call, was instead spent huddled on a strange bed under the air conditioning, sipping Walgreens-brand Pedialyte and watching Netflix.

I was more than grateful to get home early on Tuesday afternoon, except I knew that meant a terrible goodbye was on its way. It wasn’t the vacation I’d had planned at all – not even a little bit. But that’s exactly how my last Austin adventure went too. And really, nothing that I ever plan for Austin turns out the way I think it will. Maybe that’s the beauty of my relationship with that city: the constant reminders that life is full of little surprises, and forever is composed of nows.

And then? Brunch.

You know how I’ve been bemoaning about how uninteresting my life has been lately? I was looking back on old entries, not just before YTT but going back to early 2015, and my word life has changed so much. All of the changes have been wonderful and positive, and I suppose most of the changes are what people refer to when they talk about growing up, but part of me missed that carefree LB. I missed reliving the ridiculous moments on the weekends, fueled by champagne and perfect weather, and I miss waking up to photos in my phone that I don’t remember taking, someone else’s selfies and kisses on cheeks as we fall down on the bar couch. I don’t want to go back to those times, but I did miss them for just a little while. And then this weekend happened. Or more specifically: and then? Brunch.

M’s sister was in town for the weekend, my first weekend after training, and we’d decided weeks ago that Sunday would involve the three of us and A getting together for brunch at Paradou, a tiny restaurant not too far from my office in the Meatpacking that offers what else? Unlimited champagne brunch. A and I had a perfectly lazy Saturday, dumplings in Williamsburg on Saturday afternoon followed by binge watching Amazon Prime on his couch in Queens, the lovely kind of nothing you don’t realize you miss until you go without for six weeks. Like the super-cool couple we are, we were dead asleep by 10:30 on Saturday, and up early in time for a long walk through Queens before we met M and her sister for the aforementioned brunch. I had grand plans to dedicate the afternoon to cleaning my apartment, grocery shopping, and generally being a productive member of society. And then? Brunch.

A. I haven’t mentioned him yet, have I? A is the person that I never saw coming, to say the very least. My 2016 had grand plans to continue the year of LB, a year for big life changes and life lessons and learnings, but never in there did I expect, anticipate or plan for A to crash into my life and change everything. We’ve been seeing each other for a while now, and to his enormous credit I have NOT made it easy on him. A few weeks after we met I was starting a Whole30, and then a few weeks after that YTT started, plus we live quite literally on opposite ends of the city. Rather than the typical “meet for drinks” getting-to-know-you dating that’s standard for New York City singles, our relationship has been yoga dates, cooking for each other, lazy nights on someone’s couch and weekends apart while I spent time in the studio. Actually, aside from the wedding where we met a few months back, he hadn’t really experienced drunk LB in her full glory, despite our dating for a few months now. And then? Brunch.

We all woke up in a daze on Monday morning, after brunch turned into the Standard Biergarten turned into a series of ridiculous happenings, like how M and I had to climb up her downstairs neighbors’ fire escape after locking ourselves out of her apartment and I almost lost my phone and keys in an Uber I don’t remember taking. A and I had talked about hanging out last night and quickly quashed those plans in favor of going to our respective apartments and crashing immediately; I don’t even know how I made it through an entire day in the office without throwing up in or around something. When I initially woke up I felt like such ass that I almost started to berate myself, talking down on my actions and decisions like scolding a child, trying to make hungover LB feel terrible enough that drunk LB would go back into hiding forever.

But the more events from the afternoon started coming out, the funnier everything became. There are videos on my phone that show the four of us heavily-lidded and laughing hysterically, a series of photos with A and I where we start off making joke faces and end up with these perfect smiles, a little reminder of how happy I’ve been since he swooped into my life and changed everything. We were all acting like the person that I was for so long and the one I missed a little bit; the hangover reminded me that I don’t actually miss her all that much, but I love the memories I have of that time. It’s easy to see life for all the changes at times, especially when they’re chronicled so neatly in a place like this. It’s easy to think you’ve grown past making some of those poor life decisions or bemoan that you’ll never be “that” person again. And then? Brunch.

HOLIDAYS!

Harlow Christmas

From little miss and I, happiest of holidays, whether you’ve wrapped up your Hanukkah celebrations, or you’re with the family celebrating Christmas now, or you’re doing whatever December ritual makes you feel all warm and fuzzy at the end of the year. I hope everyone enjoys their holiday plans and the full moon today, and remember to lean into the crazy energy for the last time this year.

I’ll be back next week with posts, but in the meantime, I’m sending heartfelt love and appreciation for every single person that reads these words, or has read any words on this blog in the past almost-two years. May you enjoy this time with friends, family, or alone, and the happiest of weekends to you all.

Friendly Conversations: Cinco

AH! I haven’t posted nearly enough of these this year. To be totally honest, the past few months have hosted some of the best one-liners of my entire life… but I didn’t write them down. Between T/B and M/N’s weddings, general debauchery with college friends and holiday surprises, there were so many hilarious moments, but I didn’t write them down the way I used to. At the time, it felt rude to the other person or to that moment in general to waste time on my phone capturing a few sentences. Luckily, texts are forever, and mine with Twinster are some of the best. Though sorry, T – a few others snuck in there too.

So for the last time this year, I give you today’s: Friendly Conversations.

On Snapchat (pt. 1)
Twinster 4.PNG

On sibling reassurance
Twinster 2

On life after holiday parties
*Preface: I thought I lost my phone at the holiday party and threw a tantrum. Then I found it. Sooooooooo……

Text 6

On Snapchat (Pt. 2)
Twinster 3

On dating advice, from married people (pt. 1)
Twinster 5

On surviving three-party weekends
Text 5.png

On dating advice from married people (pt two)
Twinster 6