Friday, November 20, 2009

Things That Matter

I'm not very good at living in the moment. This is something I didn't notice about myself until it was pointed out to me and now, it's very apparent. No matter where I am or what I'm doing, my mind is always somewhere else. Usually, it's in Afghanistan...but not always. Sometimes, while I'm doing one thing, I'm thinking about what I need to do next, where I need to go, when I need to be there. This has been one of my obstacles regarding clients. I have the hardest time being present in the room and really focusing on what they have to say. I do an alright job at first, until someone says something that triggers a thought and away I go. Is this typical of all grad students, students in this program, or just something I'm struggling with personally? I haven't really talked to anyone else about my situation so I can't answer that question. I think one problem is that we all have 10 things that need to be done and are high priority at any given time of the day. I was once very good about writing things, by the time I get the pen and paper, I've already forgotten what I was going to write. This, of course, makes me feel even more out of control because I'm constantly remembering things (at the last minute) that need to be done but there's not enough time in which to do them. I think back to the good 'ole days, when I was prepared and organized. Ha. Those days are least until May 2010. I've gone on a tangent. My point was that I don't live in the moment. I think about the past and the future...what happened yesterday and what will happen tomorrow. It really isn't a healthy way to live - that's something I've learned. I've probably missed a lot of good moments because I didn't allow myself to enjoy them. I'm always worried that, instead, I'm missing something somewhere else. It's as if, no matter where I am, I'm ready to leave...literally sitting on the edge of my chair, ready to flee at the first opportunity. I'm not sure how this came about. Maybe it's my hectic schedule and I'm always worried about being late to my next appointment. Maybe it started when James left...I'm usually concerned about missing a communication opportunity with him. But that makes sense, right? It's not as if I can just call him up when I'm finished with whatever I'm doing. I think the reasons for my wandering mind are legitimate but that doesn't change the fact that living the way I do isn't beneficial. How do I change this though? Maybe I've always been this way and just never noticed. Or perhaps it coincided with the start of grad school. Either way, it's a bad habit that's going to be difficult to break. And that's what is on my mind this evening.

I haven't written in so long that it would take me days to form a complete update. So, in short... My next-to-last semester of grad school is nearly over. Only a few assignments are separating me from the "freedom" of Christmas break. A vacation is welcome. I can hardly believe that 2009 is coming to an end. I remember thinking how excited I would be on January 1, 2010...knowing that I will graduate later that year. And it's nearly upon us. The new year will be exciting for that reason and another... James is coming home for two weeks of leave starting January 3rd. I keep picturing how it will be to stand face-to-face with him again. Right now, I'm just grateful to see his face via Skype. It's funny how much an e-mail or online chat can make your day when your boyfriend is in Afghanistan. Right now, in fact, I keep checking the time, hoping he'll get online tonight. I imagine that it will be surreal to have him here again, to walk into a room and see him standing there. I think I might just look at him for a while. It'll be nice to hear his voice too. He hasn't called in a while and we're never able to actually talk on Skype because he's in a public place. I remember what it sounds like though. I'm taking off the first week of classes to spend time with him and I'm beyond caring what anybody has to say about it. My priorities have really been solidified in the last few months. For the first time in my life, grades are not the most important.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

It's Never Boring Around Here

I can't sleep. My sleep schedule is all thrown off because I didn't work this past week. And some days, I was very lazy. Also, this day has been something else. What happened today was not on the week's agenda.

I was in yet another car accident. Except, this time, I cannot take the credit. Here's the story... I overslept this morning and, therefore, didn't make it to the gym. Because I wanted to start the week off well (ha...irony), I decided to go this afternoon (I usually don't like to go in the afternoons because it's so much more crowded). I knew traffic would probably be bad because it was right after lunchtime but I didn't feel like waiting around. So, off I went. Now, I HATE Greenville Blvd. but, as it is, it is the quickest way to get to several places from my new apartment...including the gym. I'm always extra nervous when driving on Greenville Blvd. because it's packed and people are stupid. Well...that point was proven today. I had just merged into the turn lane when I see (briefly) a white SUV merging as well...right into my car. Everything happened really quickly after that. I was knocked onto two wheels (temporarily) and when the car came to a stop, I was in a turn lane for oncoming traffic. Thank God (literally) that no one was trying to turn at that moment. I was completely freaked out but had enough sense to grab my phone and call 911. By the time the call was finished, I was crying. Two men walked over to my car and said, "You don't need to wasn't your fault." You bet it wasn't. There was no way I was taking blame for this one. So, to make a long story short...I was hit by a 17 year old girl who, fortunately, was fully insured and was issued a ticket. I tried to contact her insurance company today in hopes of getting a rental (this couldn't happen during the week I was off?) but with no luck. Maybe tomorrow. I complained a lot and was angry about what happened but, truth be told, it could have been A LOT worse. I still can't believe that, until July, I'd never been in a single accident while, I've been in two. My car was towed, needless to say, and my parents are thinking it's probably not worth fixing. Not sure what I'm going to do about that. However, I am VERY grateful to be okay and that no one else was hurt either. I am also grateful that it wasn't my fault because that meant a lot less yelling from my parents. I didn't escape completely unscathed though. After getting home, I realized that my neck and back were hurting. I didn't want to make a big deal of it but Sam ended up taking me to Urgent Care tonight. The doctor just suggested over the counter pain meds and a heating pad and said I should be feeling better by Thursday or Friday. Again, could have been much worse. I am blessed.

In other news... I'm officially moved into my new apartment with Sam. My bedroom is in order but most everything else is not yet. Even though I was off for a full week, I don't feel like I got much done. I'm sure it will come together in time though. Aside from a few problems starting out, we're liking our new place. I really like my room, probably because I spent more time on it than I did the last one. I figure I'll be in this one more often anyway. It's very comfortable. I never realized how many picture frames I had until I tried to shove them all into one room.
Notice James's "Ranger Challenge" shirt on my bed...and the massive amount of picture frames.

Sam and I have also acquired a new puppy, a Chihuahua, recently named Ruby. Sam is her actual mommy but I get to enjoy her while Sam and I are roommates. She is very much a baby (just born June 1st) and is still getting used to her new surroundings. She cries quite a bit at night but that has improved since the first night we had her. We are also trying to house break her and that is proving to be a slow process (she doesn't really like the feel of grass). She's adorable though and hard not to love.Don't let her fool you...she only LOOKS innocent ;-).

Today marks 21 days since James left for Afghanistan and it's been...okay, so far. We've had much more communication than I would have anticipated. Of course, there is no guarantee that it will stay that way (there goes my pessimism). He's been moving around a lot and still isn't at his permanent location. I'm sure that's been difficult for him and it has been for me as well because I really want to send him stuff...sort of hard to do when you don't exactly have an address. He seems to be doing well, or as well as can be expected. I've been missing him like crazy though, of course. He was the first person I wanted to call when I had that accident today, especially since he came to be at my side the last time. Instead, I had to settle for telling him about it through Facebook chat. I shouldn't complain least I WAS able to tell him, on the day it happened even. I just get so overwhelmed when I think about the remainder of this year, especially with the last year of grad school also looming over my head. James really helped me get through the end of 2nd semester and it's going to be tough not having that support in person. Speaking of support, I've had a lot of it from my loved ones, in regards to James being away. Molly has, of course, been wonderful because she knows what I'm going through. Sam has been great too. And my other friends try to understand and comfort me. It's also been nice communicating with James's mom through e-mails. We can talk to each other about our concerns and how much we miss him. It's also helpful to know when they've heard from him if I haven't. And I've been praying. A LOT. And I will continue to do so. It helps me feel a bit more secure and I have faith that God really is hearing my prayers.

Tomorrow, it's back to reality...i.e. my "vacation" is over. I have clients. And I return to my internship on Wednesday. Classes start next Tuesday, believe it or not, and I'm dreading them. I don't miss last semester one bit and I'm afraid this one is going to be worse (from what I've heard). I am, however, excited to meet my mentee (the 1st year MFT student I've been paired with). She seems very sweet and I think we'll have a lot in common.

Ok, I'm going to try this sleep thing again. Perhaps the melatonin will have kicked in. ;)

Monday, August 3, 2009

First Weekend

This was to be my first weekend since James left and the last thing I wanted to do was sit in my apartment and mope...which is exactly what I would have done if I stayed in Greenville. So it was off to Raleigh for some time with the girls.

On Friday, Jamie had invited me to join her, some family, and the female half of the wedding party at the spa and for lunch. I had a pedicure reservation waiting for me when I arrived and that was SO what I needed. This was better, and longer, than any pedicure I've had before. It was so lovely that I think I could have sat there all day. The spa was extremely nice and I wish I could have afforded to have more done (i.e. a massage). Afterward, we went to The Twisted Fork for lunch and it was delicious. I had an amazing Thai chicken salad. I was debating on whether or not to get dessert (they have incredible desserts at this place - I've tried the creme brulee before and it made me want to slap my mama) but the waitress brought our checks before I could act on my urges. It was probably for the best though, honestly, since I am trying to eat a bit better (of course, my eating was crap the rest of the weekend). As I was leaving the restaurant, my mom called to tell me she was talking to James on Facebook chat. I was a little miffed at this because I was clearly no where near a computer. So I passed on a few messages to him through her before getting over the phone. Everything happened sort of quickly then. I had already been feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the wedding talk at lunch (probably wouldn't have bothered me any other time) and hearing that James was online but I couldn't talk to him upset me all the more. At that moment, Beyonce's "Halo" came on the radio (I was in my car and, for some reason, this song gets to me) AND it started raining. I broke down. It passed quickly but I didn't like feeling weak like that. I've been trying to keep that under control. I know I won't be able to all the time but that didn't feel like the day to lose it. I pulled it together and drove to Hillary's house.

Hillary and I didn't do too much that afternoon - browsed around Quail Ridge Books and Whole Foods and then just hung out at her house for a bit. We did end up seeing The Hangover that night. I have to be was a hilarious movie. The humor reminded me of Wedding Crashers which I could watch over and over. After liking it so much, I felt sort of bad. James had tried convincing me to see it with him but, because I didn't think it was much my style, I didn't go with him. He was right though. Really funny movie.

On Saturday, I went boating with Sara, her mom Ellen, her uncle Buddy, and her aunt Pam in Oxford. I didn't think I'd ever been on a boat but when I remembered a brief trip I took on Ben's grandparents' boat years ago. That hardly counts though, right? We were on the lake for about 3 hours and it was so relaxing. Spending time with Sara was great too. She's been in Europe this summer and I had not seen her since May. Even before she left, we were rarely able to spend one on one time together because of our crazy schedules. I loved catching up and cruising around on the boat with my Lil Sis.After boating, I met up with Ashley, who had just gotten into town, and Hillary for dinner at Moe's. We then got ready to go downtown, with Travis as our driver. Our first destination was the Hibernian Pub. I was a little wary about this. The Hibernian is where James and I met and I hadn't been there since that weekend. I was worried I might get upset, especially if alcoholic beverages were involved. When we first arrived, my eye definitely fell on the table where James, Kendall, and Tadd were sitting that night. I think I may have wanted to sit there had it not been filled with women. We found a place in the corner and I felt like I was handling it pretty well. We ordered a few drinks but ended up leaving after a short while because it was so HOT. The night was very humid and it felt as if the air conditioning wasn't even on. Just sitting, we were covered in sweat (gross, I know, but true). So much for trying to look good. Our next destination was the Red Room. Fortunately, we knew one of the hostesses and she let us in for free. Perk. This was the kind of place I had been wanting to go all along because there was dancing. All I wanted to do was let my hair down a bit. So we danced. We danced until we were was everyone else because it was also very hot in there. What was up with the air in these places? One guy attempted to dance with me and Ashley told him we were all married. It worked. I was sorry for the night to isn't often that I'm able to see my Meredith girls. I hate that I took all that time in the past for granted.
So I survived my first post-deployment weekend, thanks to my friends. I've had pretty good communication with James thus far...via e-mail and Facebook chat mostly. Surprisingly, he gave me a call today. I was at Snow Hill and had just stepped in the room with a patient when he called. He left a message saying he'd arrived in Afghanistan safely, that it was the ugliest place he'd ever seen, and that he would call again soon. Standing in the bathroom, I bawled like a baby. Just hearing his voice made me emotional (yes, I realize it's only been a week) but I was especially upset that I'd missed his call. Fortunately, he called back a couple minutes later and we were able to talk. How GOOD it was to actually talk to him. I plan to get my hands on an international calling card so I can speak with him, especially if he ends up not having much internet access. I can't believe it's only been a week. Not to be pessimistic but...this year is going to suck. Thank God I have good people to depend on.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Every Day We're Apart Brings Us One Day Closer to Being Together

How to even begin this one? I returned from Fayetteville a few hours ago after spending the weekend at Carolina Beach with James and then seeing him off yesterday as he prepared to deploy. It's been a roller coaster couple of days.

Last Thursday (I can't believe it's nearly been a week), I left for Fayetteville after team. I was feeling surprisingly calm as I embarked on the weekend that I had been dreading for several months. After arriving, I gave James a letter I had written to him on July 15th, just talking about the things that were going through my head at the moment...a few parting words before he deployed. It wasn't much - just something else he could carry with him that I hoped would remind him of me. We turned in shortly after that as he had to be up for work at 4am. Around 1 or 2, we were awoken by a HUGE thunderstorm...definitely one of the worst I've seen in a while. And I DON'T like thunderstorms. I mean, a small one here and there is alright but I really hate ones in the middle of the night...who wants to wake up to that? Of course, it did give me a reason to cuddle even closer to James and he was sweet about my being such a scaredy cat.

The next morning, James was off to work and back before I had barely realized where he was. Unfortunately, he had to return to work after another hour of sleep, where he stayed for several hours. There wasn't much for me to do while he was away so I pretty much made a bum of myself until he got off and we headed for Carolina Beach. We hit another big thunderstorm on the way and didn't arrive until about 8:30. James's parents were already at his brother Jason's house when we got there. We were all in the mood to just sort of relax so the boys played pool a bit while James's mom, June, and I sat on the couch to watch. It was quite entertaining. James's idea of "breaking" was sending the ball off the table and across the room. I'm not sure if he did it intentionally or not but, either way, it was funny (and a little dangerous). After James's parents left for their hotel, James, Jason, and two of Jason's roommate, Kenny and Daniel, had the idea to watch Willow, mainly because I hadn't seen it and they thought it was amazing. After Hot Rod the weekend before, I wasn't sure what I was in for. Willow ended up being a bit more my speed though (fairies and whatnot) and it was fun to just hang out with the boys, seeing as how I don't get too much time with that sex. James and I ended up falling asleep on a chair. At some point overnight, James moved onto the couch - not realizing that Jason was also on the couch. When daybreak came, I found Jason shoved to the top of the couch and James shoved to the bottom. If I had been at all coherent when I saw this scene, I would have grabbed my camera. At the time though, all I wanted was a bed - not bamboo under my butt. Jason was kind enough to wake and usher us to his bed, thank goodness.

Saturday, it was time to hit the beach. James's parents, Jason, Michael (younger brother), Buford (Michael's beagle), James and I walked down the street to the beach (how nice it would be to live that close). James and his dad wanted to do some fishing on the pier but the rest of us wanted to relax so we headed for the beach below. Jason and I ended up talking quite a bit while we were out there and it was nice to get to know him a little bit better. I feel so comfortable with James's family...more so than I've felt with any other boyfriend's family. I'm completely myself with them and it's refreshing. James and his dad weren't able to catch anything that day and, after a few hours on the beach, we headed back to Jason's house. Everyone was pretty pooped. We had Chinese take-out for dinner and turned in pretty early.

On Sunday, Michael returned to Raleigh and James's parents left for home. Jason, James, and I went to Fort Fisher where we could drive onto the beach (with James's 4-wheel drive, of course) and the fishing was supposed to be good. The weather was great and so was Fort wasn't crowded at all - very relaxing. James waded into the ocean with his fishing pole and ended up catching 7 fish. He was quite proud and had a BLAST. It was exactly how he wanted to spend his day. He's in his element doing that sort of thing. Earlier, we had seen what we thought was a shark's fin but, nonetheless, I hung out in the water with James a bit. Shark or not, I didn't want to spend too much time away from him. It didn't escape my attention that, for a few days, we were under the impression that he would be deploying on this day. Nor did it escape my attention that he actually was deploying in two. While at Fort Fisher, James and Jason discussed the idea of watching The Graduate when we returned, which is a favorite movie of theirs and one I'd never seen (imagine that). So watch it we did. Afterward, James and I were starving but the only places open were bars. Even so, we ended up having some delicious quesadillas and pretzel bread at the Black Horn and it was more than satisfying. We then took a walk out to the beach and just sat in the sand for a while. I know our minds were probably on the same thing as we starred up at the stars and watched the lightning over the ocean. We hardly spoke a word to each other while we were out there. I was praying. It seemed like a good place to do it and, being outside, I felt a bit closer to God. I wanted to ask if he was okay but I avoided saying too much...I figured he needed some quiet time. Things got interesting when we got back to Jason's house that night. He was in bed because he had to be up at 3:30 to get ready for work. His roommates and their friends, however, were in the living room (where James and I were planning to sleep) behaving quite childishly (i.e. some guy was passed out drunk on the couch so they were putting shaving cream in his hand and tickling his nose...original). So where did we end up sleeping until Jason woke up and gave us his bed? On a couch in the garage. And James, sweetheart that he is, let me lie down while he slept sitting up. Oh, it was fun. Thank goodness Jason was leaving early. After a few hours of sleep, we started getting ready to head back to Fayetteville. It was depressing but I was trying to stay upbeat so James wouldn't think about it too much. I could tell he really didn't want to leave though. On the way, we stopped by Bojangles for breakfast. While we were sitting in the drive-thru, we feel a little nudge. I didn't even realize we'd been hit but that is exactly what had happened. James pulled out of the line and the woman behind us followed. The first words out of her mouth? "Did you back up?" Yes, he backed a drive-thru...with someone behind him. Fortunately, there was no damage to his truck and she seemed to be cool with the little crack in her car so we moved on. When we arrived back at his apartment, James knew he had to get busy. His deployment bags weren't totally packed, neither was the stuff he was sending home with his parents, and we were meeting Molly and Kendall for dinner that evening. By the time we left for the Olive Garden, he'd made some progress but there was still a lot to be done. Dinner was fun though. It occurred to me that we had sort of come full circle. The first weekend we were together was spent with Molly and Kendall and so was the last (for a while). On the way to the restaurant, I realized that, not only did we go to the Olive Garden together that first weekend as we were then, we were sitting in the same spots in the car. Maybe it sounds trivial but it was interesting to me (and Molly too when I explained it to her later). As enjoyable as dinner was, I didn't much like all the Army talk. It reminded me too much of what was taking place the next day.Getting back to James's apartment, there was A LOT left to do and it didn't all get finished that night. I cleaned the kitchen but then he insisted I sit down and watch Meet Joe Black, which we'd picked up that day because he knew I would like it. And I did...what I saw of it. Before the end, James and I decided enough had been done that evening and it was time for bed. This was a tough time for me. It was the last time I'd be able to sleep beside him for a long time. But we were both exhausted so I didn't have much of a chance to dwell on that fact.

The next day, Tuesday, was D-Day...or deployment day. I felt strange waking up that morning. He had gone to post (a.k.a. Fort Bragg) to tie up a few lose ends - I remembered him telling me goodbye. And when I woke up, it felt like just another day. The sun was out, I played around on Facebook...just a normal morning. Except that it was far from normal. Getting ready for the day became a bit more difficult when the electricity was cut off (they didn't play around after he told them he was moving the 28th). He soon returned from work and, shortly after, his parents arrived. The four of us ran a few errands, worked on the apartment a bit more, and then it was time to go to post. We had no idea how this day would play out because James had been given so little information. We went to a field where James was to check in and drop off his things. Then, we just stood beneath a tree, trying to stay in the shade because it was HOT. Soon, Jason's roommate, Kenny, and his dad arrived. Kenny used to be in the Army as well and they wanted to see James off. Next, James had to retrieve his weapon. Kenny and I went with him to do this. It was really difficult for me when he walked out with a gun strapped across his chest. This wasn't how I pictured James at all. Things were starting to become more real. He couldn't be in Kenny's truck with his weapon so he walked back to the field while Kenny and I rode over. I didn't break down until James had walked away and, fortunately, had gotten control over myself by the time we rejoined his parents. Then, there was nothing to do but wait. In total, we were there for 4 hours and, though it was hot and we were standing the whole time, I was grateful for a little extra time with James. But then it was THE time. It happened so quickly and our goodbyes were so rushed...not at all how I'd wanted it to go. I didn't get to say what I wanted to say. We kissed, said I love you and he was gone...he disappeared into the crowd of others dressed just as he was. We remained there, the 5 of us, while the soldiers gathered themselves. His mom and I were bawling. They were going down a roster and we heard his name called...then saw him walking toward the bus headed for the Pope Air Force Base. He waved at us as he went and I completely lost it. So did his mom. That was the hardest part. We headed for the car after that. His dad was driving James's truck and I was riding with his mom in the car. Before she could leave, she needed to have a good, hard cry. For a couple minutes, we just hugged and cried. After we had gotten ourselves together, I knew I couldn't cry in front of her again. Before, I was trying to be strong for James, now, I was trying to be strong for his mom. We were on our way back to his apartment when I felt my phone was him. He'd accidentally kept his cell phone which, for me, was a stroke of good luck. It meant I was able to correspond with him for a little longer. His first text said that he loved me and wished he could have given me the goodbye I deserved. That meant the absolute world to me. I received the last text at 3:30am this morning but missed it because I was sleeping. He was in Maine. And, this afternoon, his mom forwarded me an e-mail he had sent after arriving in Germany. He asked her to pass it on because he didn't have mine or his brother's e-mail addresses on him. It was sent at 11:40am today (our time). He was departing from Germany in half an hour and on to a couple other destinations. It may be a week before he's a Camp Stone, where he'll probably be for a month or so. How good it was to hear from him that early.
My soldier - please pray for him.

Thank goodness for Molly and Kendall. Kendall let me stay at his house last night so I didn't have to drive home and I was so glad not to be alone. Molly and I went to IHOP (I was in need of some french toast) and she helped to keep my mind off things until bed. I slept well (thank goodness I was exhausted) and was actually grateful when my mind wandered to school as I fell asleep instead of other things...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Harry Potter and a Weekend at the Fine's

I'm so ready to move out of this apartment. As we speak, I can hear my neighbor's television as if it were in the next room. And my TV is on too. Frustrating. This is why I had to camp out in the library all last semester. I pray that my new apartment will be quieter. I can't wait. Anyway, that's not really what I intended to write is just driving me nuts right now.

There aren't too many events to report since the last time I've written. Last Tuesday, I went to the midnight showing of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. For the first time, I hadn't been counting down to the movie nor was I all that excited about seeing it. That had nothing to do with the movie, per se...I've just had SO much on my mind that has overshadowed any excitement I might have felt. And I ended up having mixed feelings about the film. I wasn't fond of some of the scenes they added that weren't in the book (i.e. the Weasley's house being set on fire - I'm pretty darn sure that wasn't in the book). I also felt that they left out some essential scenes, such as the last battle at Hogwarts and Dumbledore's funeral. Having that said, it was probably the funniest of the six movies. I don't think I've laughed so hard at any of the others. When Ron was intoxicated by the love potion, he was hilarious. And I liked how his and Hermione's romantic relationship was starting to develop in this one. Overall, I can say I enjoyed the movie and would likely see it just isn't my favorite. From most of the other reviews I've heard, it appears that the majority of people either love it or hate it. I'm more on the fence though. Maybe it's because I can hardly bring myself to insult anything Harry Potter related. I'm too loyal.
This past weekend was my next-to-last with James. It was nearly our last full weekend but, on Friday, he found out that his leave date had been changed yet again...this time to the 28th of July. So he gets two extra days in America. I had to also rearrange my schedule again so I could be with him but I didn't mind. At this point, I don't care too much about inconveniencing my work sites. They can deal. I have other priorities.

I left for Fayetteville on Thursday night, just to get in a little extra time with him. I was SO excited to give him the scrapbook I fact, I was downright giddy. I'm not sure if I've mentioned the scrapbook before. It was a complilation of pictures...of us, his family, his friends, his home. I wanted to include everything he might miss while away...everything that's most important to him. I was really pleased with how it turned out. I've been looking at it everyday - it was almost tough to give it up because I'll miss being able to look at those pictures. He seemed to love it though, which made me very happy. He could tell that a lot of work went into it. Not that I didn't enjoy it...I was sad when it was done. We stayed up late talking that night, which was really nice. I was worried that we'd be feeling down, especially since we'd both been in low moods throughout the week but, sitting there with him, it was as if he wasn't deploying at all. We were just a boyfriend and girlfriend spending the evening together.

We were pretty lazy for most of Friday and it was lovely. He didn't have to work so we slept in and then he fixed breakfast. I've been really restless lately and sleeping badly but I slept like a baby Thursday night...I think it's because he was beside me. That afternoon, we set out for his parents' house in Denton. Both of his brothers were coming into town as well but we were the first to arrive. The plan was to cook out by the pond but just as we were able to head down there, it began to pour. Still hoping to dine outside though, we just moved the grill to the porch. Before too long, Jason (James's older brother) showed up with one of his roommates. Then Michael (his younger brother) arrived. Just when I thought all the guests were accounted for, another friend of Jason's came over. The male to female ratio was now 6:2. I'm not used to be around so many guys but I was actually much more comfortable than I expected to be. And I guess his mom is accustomed to all men. I think she enjoyed having another lady in the house though :). Dinner was great. I'd never had a venison (a.k.a. deer meat) burger but it was delish and didn't taste too different from beef. I was able to talk to Jason a bit, which was nice since I had barely met him before. After dinner, a few of us (me and the boys) sat around a fire by the pond. It was relaxing and, again, I forgot about my worries. The evening ended with a late-night fourwheeler ride through the woods. It doesn't get much better than that.

Saturday, I woke at 10am, freaking out. I figured I had to be the last person up and couldn't believe James hadn't woken me. I had a bit of a reputation with Ben's family for sleeping in late and I didn't want to start that again with James's family. So I jumped up and rushed into the bathroom to take a shower. Little did I know that, actually, James and his brothers were still sleeping at 11am. Whew. Hadn't made a bad impression yet. I met James's grandmother and thought for sure that she'd interrogate me (James had given me a heads up about this) but she didn't. She really didn't say too much to me at all...not sure if that's a good or bad thing.

Saturday afternoon, James, Jason, and I went to a one-year-old's birthday party. You're probably thinking, "Ooh, what an exciting way to spend a Saturday". But this was unlike any child's birthday party I've ever been to. This party was half child-half adult. There was beer, for goodness sakes. At one point, the birthday boy's grandfather literally felt down the patio stairs and landed on his butt because he was so drunk. I only saw the aftermath (i.e. him on his behind and beer spilled everywhere) but I do wish I'd seen the whole thing (come on, you would have too). Nevertheless, after he cleaned up his scraped knees, he starting sipping (or guzzling) another beer. I guess some people never learn. The rest of the day wasn't quite so eventful. I watched a movie with James and his brothers (Hot Rod - sorry James, but you know it wasn't my cup of tea) and took another nighttime fourwheeler ride. Neither of us wanted to go to bed because we dread Sundays...this one especially.

But, of course, Sunday eventually came. Michael left early for Raleigh but the rest of us had a nice dinner, compliments of his mom. Then it was back to Fayetteville. I was definitely in no hurry to get back so we finished watching a movie we've been trying to watch for weeks, Forgetting Sarah Marshall. I liked this one better than Hot Rod and it was good to laugh, especially since I knew that our time to say goodbye was approaching. And it was difficult, just as I knew it would be. I held it together until he thanked me for going home with him and I couldn't do it anymore. I'm quite proud of myself though...I pulled it together fairly quickly. So, no worries, I wasn't bawling as I went down the road, placing myself and others in danger.

Next weekend is our last for a good while. I plan to spend Thursday through Tuesday with him and I'm just hoping to make the very best of it.

Monday, July 6, 2009

What a Weekend

My 4th of July weekend took a few unexpected turns (literally). I will explain...

Friday was actually a really good day. I woke up early to go to the gym with Sam, which I was pretty proud of myself for, especially since it was 7am on a day I didn't have to work. Afterward, I came home to finish packing and then ran a few errands around Greenville before heading out. Before going to my parents house, I was making a stop in Denton to spend time with James and his parents (seeing as how I had only seen them for 20 minutes previously). It was so nice to be at his house, to just see where he comes from. I was finally able to see the bedroom he grew up in, for instance. There were pictures of him as a kid and he was the CUTEST thing! Those were the first pictures I had seen from his childhood. Adorable. I wanted James to introduce me to some of the things he liked to do when home so we went on the four-wheeler. I was a little scared at first, especially when I realized that we were going through the woods (I was even slapped in the face with a branch, but it didn't really hurt) but it ended up being a lot of fun once I relaxed. I think James was gentle with me because he knew I was nervous. Afterward, James and I went to a little restaurant in Denton for cookin' to be exact. And that night, he took me down to the pond on their property to make a fire. I know that sitting by the fire is one of his favorite things to do so it was nice to be able to do it with him. Being there made it really feel like summer. I wish I could sit by the fire with James every night.

The next day was Independence Day and my dad's birthday. I was feeling a bit down most of the day. It had been very tough to leave James the night before. He was planning to come to my parents' house that day but he was unsure of how long he could stay. His parents were planning to see a fireworks show and he wanted to go with them. I know it's selfish but I just want to spend as much time with him as possible right now. Anyway, I was in a pretty low mood until he arrived. Then I perked up a bit. We grilled out for dinner and my grandmother joined us as well. Right afterward though, James and I left for the fireworks show (he had also invited me but I wasn't sure if my dad would be okay with me leaving on his birthday). We were running a bit behind and actually ended up seeing the fireworks (the whole 15 minutes of them) from the road. Just as we were almost there, the finale began and James's parents were calling to tell us we'd missed it. Oh well. We can't say we didn't see some fireworks for the 4th. We headed back to his house to talk to his parents for a bit, then it was back to the pond. We sat beside the fire, enjoying the time with each other, and talking. It was almost romantic even. :) I'm certainly going to miss nights like that.

Sunday morning and afternoon were uneventful. I had dinner at home and then got on my way back to Greenville around 5pm. That's when things became interesting. I was nearly home (about 5 minutes or so from my apartment) and had just gotten off the exit when I lost control of my car and ran into some bushes, placing my car at a nice little slant. I was hysterical. I've never had an accident before. My first thought was to call James, which I did. He couldn't even understand what I was saying through my sobs. I was on the phone with him when I looked behind me to see a man approaching my car. He was with three women and they had stopped to make sure I was okay. As soon as I got out of the car, the flood gates broke loose. I couldn't stop crying. James was still on the phone as I was trying to talk to this man. He asked if I wanted him to pray for me and when I said yes, he did it right then and there. I was just crying and clutching the phone. I can't even remember if I closed my eyes. The oldest of the three women came over and held me for a bit before I returned to James on the phone. He offered to come to Greenville and, of course, I said I wanted him to. By this point, 911 had been called and before I knew it, 3 highway patrolmen had shown up. One of them called someone to tow my car out of this small ditch and, fortunately, didn't give me a ticket. I still have no idea what happened...I wasn't texting, on the phone, changing the radio station, and I don't think I was speeding. I really can't explain it. They weren't sure if I'd be able to drive my car so I started going down the list of people to pick me up. Jodi was the first to answer her phone and she graciously agreed to come rescue me. Though I was able to drive my car after all, she had to take me to the ATM to obtain $225 (yes, that's right...I was taken complete advantage of) to pay for my car to be towed a couple feet. Both James and my parents were pretty heated about the price. The only damage to my car was a cracked panel on the passenger side. As far as I know, it's good to drive. I can't believe how blessed I was. I walked away without a scratch and, after looking at the scene, realized that I came VERY close to hitting a sign. I don't know how I missed it. James was there by the time Jodi and I returned from the ATM and he followed me home. His coming to Greenville very much improved my bad night. Though the circumstances weren't good, I was so glad to have another, unexpected night with him. As a little reward, I gave him part 1 of his two-part pre-deployment surprise. I had ordered him a stuffed animal (a beagle because he loves them) from Build-a-Bear, dressed in an Army uniform, complete with a little hat and everything. I was worried that he might think it too childish but he actually really liked it. It makes me so happy to give gifts...probably more than it does to receive them.

Today, James and I met Sam for lunch at East Coast Wings (I think I deserved a cookie skillet after last night). Then, we went to the barber shop so James could get a haircut. He has to report to duty tomorrow after 17 days of leave. It was strange to see him again with no beard and much shorter hair. I like his scruffy look. As usual, it was so difficult to see him drive away.

Needless to say, this is not how I expected my 4th of July weekend to turn out. I'm praying that this week will be a little less eventful so I can take a breath.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Aside from New York...

While visiting New York was, by far, the most interesting thing to happen to me over the last couple weeks, there are a few other things that have occurred...

First of all, I took my kitten to the animal shelter (my original plan was the Humane Society but they were closed on my day off). It was slightly heartbreaking because I was worried she wouldn't end up in a good home. However, I can't say I was too terribly broken up about it. Before leaving her with Kristy while I was out of state, I was only with her for 3 days. And I spent most of those 3 days being very irritated with her. I soon realized that what I needed was an older, more mature, lazy sort of cat...not a wild kitten. She really tested my patience. James jokingly asked if that was what I was going to do with my kids - take them off to the orphanage when they frustrated me (I didn't find this joke all that funny) but that's really not what it was. I think at a different time (i.e. not in grad school) and a different place (i.e. not my itty bitty apartment) it may have worked. But right now, I just don't have time to devote to fighting a kitten. Of course, it didn't help when I found out she had fleas. Three days this cat had been in my apartment and I now needed to treat the place for fleas (is it just a coincidence that my head has been crazy itchy the past few days?). Great. I guess that's what I get for impulsively rushing into something. Oh well. Moving on.

Molly returned from Iceland on Sunday and I was SO glad to see her. Molly is an incredible friend (there's every possibility that she'll read this and I hope she does). When she found out my mom had lost her job last week, she called me...from ICELAND. She also sent James a message, asking him to be extra sweet to me because I was going through a hard time. For these reasons and more (we just have a great time together), I love having her around. I drove to Raleigh on Monday to pick her up from Hillary with whom she had stayed the night before. We'd planned on doing Papa John's that night (Molly had a whole list of restaurants she wanted to enjoy after she returned) but ended up at the Olive Garden instead. Our waiter was awkwardly friendly. He was one of those who lingers after you thank him for whatever he just did. I felt like he was trying to hear our conversation. Anyway, we had a nice dinner and it was good to catch up. This was the first time we had really talked since I learned of James's deployment date and I had been needing to process that with someone who fully understands, as Molly does. It really is a bit of a blessing that she is also dating an Army man...otherwise, I would feel quite alone.

Tuesday night, we dined at Chico's which has become a favorite of Molly's since visiting Greenville. Afterward, Molly had told me she had a surprise and was going to drive us to it. Her plan was to treat me to a pedicure but, unfortunately, every place we went to was already closed. Of course, that didn't stop us from going on Wednesday and it was LOVELY. I'd had a really long day and exactly what I needed was a strange man rubbing my feet :). Last night, Molly and I hung out at my apartment with Sam for a bit and, for a moment, it felt like my days back at Meredith (having friends in my room, laughing and eating Papa John's). Kendall came to retrieve her this afternoon (it's been at least a month since they've seen each other) and I'm quite sad that she's gone.

I'm hoping that the rest of the week will be pretty smooth sailing. I have team tonight (but I have no clients myself - woo hoo!), dinner with Jamie, supervision tomorrow (which I enjoy for some reason), lots of errands, and I'm heading home for July 4th weekend. I'm excited to see James, his family, and my parents. :)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

We're Not in North Carolina Anymore, Ya'll

I have returned from my trip to the Big Apple and, if you've perused my pictures, you already know much of what we did. However, this will be the written version :). There is much that the pictures did not capture.

On Thursday, I was on the edge of my seat waiting for 4:30pm to come...that was the start of my weekend. Around 6pm, James and I got on the road out of Greenville (after a phone call from my mother telling me that Michael Jackson had died - what?!). It was later than we had planned to leave but we had already come to terms with the fact that we'd be getting to NYC late. The trip itself was pretty uneventful. James and I "fought" over who would be the navigator, each of us thinking that our directions were the right ones. I thought it was only fair that I navigate since he was driving (and I refused to drive) AND his iphone kept freezing when we needed it the most. Regardless, we made it without getting lost even once.

Entering the city was a bit of a laugh...mostly because we were delirious with exhaustion as it was nearly 5:30am when we arrived. For the last hour or so, we had been unsure if we were even going in the right direction. There were no signs indicating which highway we were on and nothing even mentioned New York. My worst fear was that we were badly lost somewhere in New Jersey and would have to spend the night there somewhere. I literally would have cried. But, to our surprise, we were suddenly driving right into NYC. It hit us like a ton of bricks. James and I are not city people. The lights, people walking down the sidewalk as if it were noon, and trying to navigate the one-way streets was almost too much for us country folk to handle. We found our hotel...just in time to pass it and, obviously, we couldn't just turn around. Eventually, after rounding the block a couple times, we stopped in front to inquire about the parking situation. We were directed to a parking garage around the corner that, as it turned out, charged $42 per night to park. After learning that the hotel charged $50, $42 didn't sound so bad. When we were parked and the keys had been turned over to the attendant, we made our way down a sketchy back alley carrying all of our stuff. That's right. We ventured down a New York alley at 5:30am with all of our belongings. Unfortunately, there was really no other choice. Finally, it was time to check in. James and I loaded all of our luggage onto a cart and he went to retrieve the keys. Twenty or so minutes passed before he returned (which we later realized was a relatively short amount of time to check in), and he informed me that the only way we could take a cart upstairs was if someone accompanied us. Whatever...not even worth it. So up we went with our things. Probably the funniest part of our arrival occurred once we got to our hotel room. James, who had really been looking forward to our magnificent view of New York, zealously threw back the curtains...just to see that our room was actually wedged between 2 walls and a building front. We just collapsed in was all we could manage at that point. It was 7am before we finally fell asleep.We slept a few hours before getting ready for our first day in the city. By that time, we were starving and had lunch at a healthy little place called the Pita Grill. Afterward, we wanted to visit the Museum of Sex. I just knew this would be entertaining and it didn't disappoint. The first gallery, however, was a bit deceiving. It was all about the sex lives of animals. Sure, it was interesting...just not what I expected. I learned things about animals that I really never wanted to know. I also took an amusing picture of James with a statue of white-tailed deer who, apparently, engage in threesomes (see below). Again, something I never wanted to know. The next gallery was devoted to sex in movies and television. There were different screens covering the walls, showing clips of movies from various time periods, commercials, and even an instructional video :-P. It was an interesting experience to be seeing these things with tons of other people around. I have to admit that I probably blushed on more than one occasion. The third gallery was a hodge podge of different items related to can more or less use your imagination on this one...or just go visit it for yourself. I'm too sheepish to divuldge details. :)After leaving the Museum of Sex, we took a quick walk through Madison Square Park, grabbed a smoothie, snapped a few pictures of the Empire State Building (actually, we didn't even notice the Empire State Building until we saw a large tourist group across the street with cameras in hand, turned around, and there it was), and headed back for a nap (we were still pretty tuckered out). Feeling refreshed, we met up with James's high school friend, Eric, in the lobby of our hotel and he took us to Times Square, which we didn't even realize was so close to where we were staying. He and his wife, Mandy, just recently moved to New York but it was quickly obvious that he knew much more about the city than us. We grabbed a slice of pizza for dinner and began to explore Times Square. It absolutely blew me away. I couldn't even walk for looking around! The lights were mesmerizing...that's the only way I can describe it. I couldn't stop thinking about the many New Year's Eves when I watched the ball drop in Times Square and there I was. There was just so much to see. I noticed a few places that I wanted to return to later (i.e. the Hershey's store and M&M store - hey, I like chocolate) as we made our way to Rockefellar Center. It was very cool to see the place where the ice skating rink is in the many movies have featured that spot? Eventually, we felt it was time to get a drink, relax, and catch up (well, they would be catching up) and found ourselves at the Pig and Whistle Pub. I promise it was better than it sounds. Eric and James were able to really talk for the first time in a while and I was able to get to know Eric a little better. It was also fun to hear stories from their high school days. The day ended on such a positive note but we were so worn out when we returned to the hotel. I went to bed still in disbelief that I had finally been to Times Square.On Saturday, we once again met up with Eric and, this time, his wife Mandy was able to join us as well. We braved the New York subway (not too different from the London Underground) and our first destination was Ground Zero. Like Times Square, this was another surreal experience...probably even more so. I had to really stop and think about how that area looked on 9/11, how it must have felt to be there then. Because I had not been to New York when the World Trade Center was still standing, it was harder for me to appreciate the void that was left. But it was still a very somber moment for me. James and I toured the WTC Gallery and it was definitely worth the time. There was a history of the WTC, pictures of "missing" loved ones, written accounts from people who were there as well as family and friends, remnants of the building and belongings of those who worked there, pictures of those who died, children's artwork...there was just so much to take in. No one was really talking, just looking and absorbing. For me, it made the event so much more real. It also gave James's deployment a bit more meaning. I'm so glad that we made Ground Zero a stop on our trip.I was in the mood for something a bit more cheery after the WTC Gallery so we headed for Little Italy. Though we didn't stop, it was fun to observe. Next was Central Park, another essential when visiting NYC. I had never realized, though, how big it was. We definitely didn't cover much ground but how cool it was to just be there. After taking the subway back to our hotel, it was time to part ways with Eric and Mandy. Without them that day, I have no idea how we would have made it around the city. James and I were, again, very sleepy so we took a quick nap before getting ready for dinner. We didn't have any particular place in mind so we just ventured off for Times Square again and knew that we'd be sure to find something there. We also took a bit more time to browse some of the stores, both before and after dinner. The restaurant we chose was one I had noticed the night before (actually, it was right across from the Pig and Whistle) called Langan's. It ended up being just the right choice. The service was great, the food was delicious, and there was even a jazz band. Even more, the quiet atmosphere was a nice break from the chaos outside. After dinner, we just strolled through the city (avoiding stampedes of people, of course), enjoying our time. I was quite sad to go to bed that night because I knew our trip was coming to an end and I definitely didn't want to head back to Greenville the next day.Our trip home was also fairly uneventful, aside from traffic, toll booths, and taking a wrong turn at one point. We arrived in Greenville around 1:30am and practically collapsed into bed. Pure exhaustion = a great trip. :-)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

They Say That Bad Things Come in Threes...

And if that's true...I think I've just had my third one. At least I hope that's the last of it for a while. My mom found out that she lost her job today. She went to work this morning, thinking everything was business as usual, just to be called into a meeting and laid off. My dad lost his job in April of this year so I'm not entirely sure where that leaves my parents as far as finances go, not to mention morale. I just can't believe this has happened. I was under the impression that my mom's job was secure and took comfort in that fact after my dad lost his. But no one's job is secure anymore. It's easy to pretend that this economic crisis isn't happening until it comes knocking at your door.

When my mom called me, I was at the clinic waiting on my clients. While talking to her, I noticed that they were late and was beginning to assume that, thankfully, they weren't going to show. I was very upset and in no shape to see clients. At 12:15 (their appointment was for 12), they walked in the door. Super. THANK GOD Edwina (our clinic administrative assistant) was there. I walked into her office and was so visibly upset that Edwina sprung into action immediately. She explained to my clients that I had just received some personal news and would not be able to see them today. I didn't even know we could do that. Edwina rocked my socks today. And I think she should be a therapist herself. She sat with me after my clients left and just talked to me about the whole situation. I left the clinic feeling loads better than I would have had she not been there.

My last two entries have been rather melancholy...I'm hoping to provide something more sunny after my New York trip. :)

It Wasn't Long Enough

Sometimes, songs can say EXACTLY what you're feeling if you listen closely enough. I tend to pay special attention to lyrics and, yesterday, I heard this Rascal Flatts song that really spoke to how I'm going to be feeling soon.


I miss you so much
your light, your smile, your way
and everything about us
though you're gone, you're still here
in my heart, in my tears

Yeah you sure left your mark
we were just gettin’ started

It wasn’t long enough
it wasn’t long enough together
but it was long enough
yeah it was long enough
to last forever

Sometimes I get so mad
I scream, I swear at this
'cause this isn’t how we planned it
I sit here in a cold room
prayin, waitin’ on you

To run back though that door
to the way it was before you left

It wasn’t long enough
it wasn’t long enough together
but it was long enough
yeah, it was long enough to last forever

I’ve been cheated, defeated, can't believe that you're gone

It wasn’t long
it wasn’t long enough
it wasn’t long enough
it wasn’t long enough

No no no

It wasn’t long enough
it wasn’t long enough together
but it was long enough
yeah, it was long enough
to last to last to last forever

No, it wasn’t long enough.

-Rascal Flatts

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Some Much Needed Girl Time...and a New Addition

This week is passing far too slowly. On Thursday afternoon, James and I are leaving for New York and I'm very excited. However, everything between me and Thursday is moving like molasses. Tomorrow will be an especially long day with my internship and 4 clients on the agenda. Fortunately, I'm having dinner with Jamie tomorrow night so that gives me something to look forward to.

Hillary came to visit this weekend and it was really nice to spend some one-on-one time with her. This was the first chance we've had to do so in a long time. She arrived Saturday afternoon and I felt bad allowing my guest to just sit around the apartment so we went off to the mall. Now, Hillary is accustomed to Crabtree Valley Mall and our little mall hardly compares. But she was a good sport. And American Eagle was selling underwear for $1.95! After the mall, we had dinner at East Coast Wings which has become a favorite hangout of my MFT friends. I think the menu item that keeps bringing us back is the cookie skillet. You've probably had something similar - chocolate chip cookies on a skillet with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce - but you've NEVER had one like this. It's amazing. Happiness in your mouth. I could probably eat a whole one by myself but I wouldn't allow it...except maybe on my birthday. Or the day James deploys. I think Hillary enjoyed the delicious cookie skillet nearly as much as I did. Conveniently located by East Coast Wings is the movie theatre and we dropped in to see The Proposal with Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds. It was SO good! I read in a magazine that the critics only gave it 2/4 stars but it usually turns out that I love the movies hated by critics. Perhaps that says something about my taste but oh well. I was a little worried that the funniest bits of the movie were the ones shown in the trailer but that wasn't the case at all. I recommend this movie if you're feeling romantic and in need of a laugh. After Hillary and I returned to my apartment, we watched Wedding Crashers (I saw a theme forming in our film choices...) and Hillary fell asleep on my couch, bringing an end to the night.
Sunday, we had lunch at the new Hibachi Japan near my apartment before going to pick up my kitty! We brought her home and she quickly began to explore her new environment. I realized that the flimsy litterbox she came with was just not going to cut it. So Hillary and I headed off to Target where I spent exorbitant amounts of money (not only on cat stuff but other things I just HAD to have) as I usually do in that store. On the way home, we grabbed smoothies at the wonderful Tropical Smoothie Cafe. Their smoothies are expensive but worth it because they're huge and last forever! Not to mention super tasty. We were lazy for the rest of the day, lounging around and watching Hairspray and Made of Honor (another wedding movie, hmm...). I was so glad to be able to spend this weekend with my best friend. Things just haven't been the same without having her right next door.

Since then, I've just been trying to adjust to life with a pet. I have to admit that I've gotten rather frustrated with Charlotte (that's what I named her...obviously) at times. I just have to keep reminding myself that she is only a kitten and will grow out of this rambunctiousness eventually. The biggest issue I have seems to be when I try to use the computer. She is attracted to electronics like no other and loves to walk all over the keyboard when I'm trying to type! If she keeps this up, I have no idea how I'll be able to write papers next semester. Any advice on how to stop this would be much appreciated. Otherwise, she's a very sweet cat. She follows me from room to room and even sits outside the tub when I'm showering! Today, she woke me up at 7am but that was actually okay because I needed to get up anyway. And I love when she curls up next to me on the couch and goes to sleep. :)

Until next time...happy Tuesday. =)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Time is Simultaneously Passing Too Quickly and Not Quickly Enough

I just returned from Buffalo Wild Wings a little bit ago. I suppose that's one good thing about being an adult...the ability to drop everything and go out with friends. Maybe not the most responsible thing but definitely the most fun. I left the restaurant, however, in a bit of a low mood and I'm not sure why. It was good to see my MFT friends. Since the summer began and we aren't with each other for 12 hours of classes per week, I feel like we hardly ever get the chance to catch up. We all have such busy schedules with our different clients, internships, and assistantships stretching us all over Greenville (and Snow Hill). Maybe I felt low because we had been talking about school. It's pretty much inevitable when we're together as that is the most obvious thing we all have in common but, sometimes, I just want to forget that I'm even in grad school. Then again, I suppose we all need some time to vent about things and who understands better than those who are in the same boat? We didn't stay too long but I enjoyed it. Another possible source of my low mood was that we talked a little bit about the deployment. It wasn't in detail but still, just thinking about it and verbalizing it made me blah. I wanted to call James after I left the restaurant but he has staff duty tonight and is, therefore, occupied. Fortunately, I had a good phone conversation with my mom and felt much more chipper afterward.

Today actually brought some exciting developments. Sam and I have decided to move in together for the next year and we think we found our apartment today. It has wood floors, a fireplace, a big balcony, a spacious kitchen and living room area, walk-in closets, and bedrooms that are nearly equal in size. What's even better is that I'll be paying less than I do at my current apartment for a nicer place. I'm very excited about living with Sam. I think we'll be able to help each other through the struggles that are to come in the next year. Also, with James leaving, it will be extremely helpful to come home to an apartment that isn't empty. Oh, and how good of a friend is Sam? She took off of work the day that James deploys (more on that later) so she can be with me. I don't know how I got so lucky when it comes to friends.

The other bit of exciting news is that I'm getting a kitten! Bryan's brother, Jeff, has a friend who found a kitten and is trying to get a home for her. Right now, Kristy has taken her in but can't keep her. I didn't think I'd be able to either (the pet fee at my current apartment is $350 - way too steep for me) but since I'm moving, it's perfect to get a pet! I need to figure out a name for her so suggestions are welcome. Hopefully, she will also help to alleviate my loneliness.

That was my day in a on to this past weekend...

It all began on Thursday. I arrived at my internship and actually had, what I felt to be, a very successful session with one of my clients. So, I was feeling pretty good...up until about 10am. I received a text message from James saying that he had found out when he would be deploying. He wanted to know if I'd like to hear it then or later. I thought about it. Either I learned of it then and it ruined my day or I worried about it for the next several hours and it ruined my day. It wasn't looking good. I asked to know then. As it turns out, he is in the advanced party and will be leaving July 27th, as opposed to early-mid August as we had expected. For the next 30 minutes, I just sat in my office, starring at the wall. Oh, and crying. It wasn't a proud moment for me but I didn't know what else to do. Eventually, Kasey came in (one of the counselors I work with, who also graduated from my MFT program) and the whole story came out. I was just waiting for someone to talk to. I felt a little better afterward but I still didn't think I would be useful at my internship so I left for a couple hours. It seemed too strange to just carry on with my daily activities given the recent news. For the rest of the day, I was in a bit of a daze and just grateful that I would be seeing James that night instead of having to wait for the next day.

The next day, I really just wanted to concentrate on having fun with James. We woke up very early (5am - ok, a little after...I didn't want to wake up) to get ready for his pro-ball tournament. Pro-ball is a cross between football and rugby and I'm pretty sure the Army created it. The major difference between pro-ball and those two sports is the lack of equipment - no helmets, no pads, no cup - just skin, bones, and blood (lots of blood, I came to find out). And let me tell you, they are SERIOUS about this game and they rarely play nice. I watched as a man was knocked unconscious. Others were walking around, covered in mud and blood. James was forced to bare his midrift as two of his shirts were completely ripped. Some of the other injuries we later learned of included a broken nose, broken collarbone, broken finger, and one guy is nondeployable because of this game! I asked James if he thought it was worth all of that and it didn't surprise me when he said it was, that it was fun. I have to admit that it was exciting to watch him play (he's good at it). However, every time they called for the medic, I got a little nervous, jumping up to make sure James was still on his feet. He managed to escape with some cuts and scrapes and at least two days of being very sore.

That night was the military ball. Actually, it was the SEND OFF ball. Hmm. I chose to have my hair professionally done for the night as I can never do much with it. I was a little scared about someone in Fayetteville doing my hair though, to be honest. Maybe it's wrong for me to feel that way but, I had basically closed my eyes and pointed at a place on the map. I didn't know what kind of sketchy sketch place I had to expect. I was lucky though and the woman I had did wonders with my hair. As a perk, she didn't try to make awkward conversation with me. I was almost too worn out from the tournament to be much of a conversational partner anyway.

The ball was certainly entertaining. As nice as it was to see James all dressed up, it also brought everything home for me. That feeling was intensified at the ball when the colonel spoke of the upcoming deployment and how much he appreciated the sacrifice families made watching their man go off to war. I was really glad when he just stopped talking. Overall though, I made it through the night (the ball, at least) without getting too emotional. Dinner was good and the comedian was much funnier than any of us expected. During his act, one man had to literally be thrown out because he was too drunk and couldn't keep his mouth shut. His poor wife (for more than one reason) was left in there by herself. I bet he slept on the couch that night.

It was after the ball that things got really interesting. When we got back to James's apartment, a lot was on my mind and I just couldn't hold it in anymore. I lost it. I just sat on the edge of his bed, still in my dress and shoes, and bawled into my knees. I don't think he quite knew what to do with me. I just felt ANGRY. I was angry about his leaving, about having to continue in this grad program knowing how insane I'm going to be and how I'm going to have to do it without his support, which I've gotten used to. He handled my outburst very well and even said some really wise things (though I think they just made me more angry at the time). He said that what happens to us has more to do with our attitudes than any external events. That's when I realized how bad my attitude has been (maybe his calling me out on it is what made me angry - but I needed to hear it). And so, to follow James's advice, I'm going to start being more conscious about my attitude and how it affects my day.

I think that outpouring of emotion was exactly what I needed and the rest of the weekend went well. We had dinner Saturday night at a Japanese restaurant and watched a scary movie (The Uninvited - I recommend it) and just relaxed on Sunday, watching another movie (Role Models - better than I expected). It's ALWAYS so hard to leave him but he was heading home that afternoon and I had work to do so I felt it best that I return to Greenville earlier than I might have liked.

So, there it is, friends. It's funny how things tend to turn out so differently than how we planned.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Taste of Summer

Good evening, ya'll :). I had promised to update with more regularity so here is what's on my mind tonight...

Have you ever seen Legends of the Fall? I watched it for the first time this weekend with James and it had a pretty profound effect on me...I've been thinking about it for the last couple days. It's probably one of the saddest movies I've ever seen. There's death, war, betrayal, violence, unrequited love. I think it was the war that got to me the most, especially since I was watching it with James. The movie begins in 1914 so, naturally, the war scenes were very different from what you would see today but it was still difficult to watch. In one part, Brad Pitt's character watches his little brother bombarded with bullets against a barbwire fence. After he dies, Brad Pitt cuts out his heart to take back to their family. Talk about devastating. All I kept thinking about was James's heart coming back to the States in a box. Sorry - gruesome, I know. But you can see why this scene would be upsetting to me. Just so much tragedy befell this one family. And where did it start? The war. I just have a very hard time imagining my boyfriend doing what those men were doing. Again, it was 1914, I know...but it's no less terrifying today. Maybe even more so. Anyway, if you do decide to view this movie...bring the tissues. It's powerful.

Fortunately, not my entire weekend was depressing. On Friday evening, I headed into Raleigh to meet up with James. We didn't do much but, after the week we both had, it was nice to just relax with each other. On Saturday afternoon, I left James to spend time with his brother and joined Jamie, Kristy, and Will for tailgating before the Brad Paisley concert. I had never actually tailgated before but it ended up being a really good time. I felt like I hadn't spent much time with my MFT friends lately so it was nice to catch up with a couple of them. We managed to avoid talking about school for most of the night which is usually difficult when we get together. Our seats for the concert were on the lawn and we had the opportunity to see some very interesting things while we were there...mostly drunk people behaving badly. For instance, one very drunk man practically rolled down the hill all over Jamie. She was okay and probably took it better than I would have. Later, an older woman got all huffy because she was worried that Kristy was going to spill her drink on her. Okay, look, when you get seat on the lawn, you have to keep in mind that stuff is going to happen. You will probably be stepped on, rolled over, or splashed with beer at some point. You may even be inappropriately groped on the way to the bathroom. It hasn't happened to me but it does happen. The concert was great and Brad Paisley is a very talented performer. Later that evening, I was supposed to meet up with James at his brother Michael's house. I should have known I was going to have a difficult time getting back. I somehow ended up in Garner but I suppose I'm becoming accustomed to getting lost because I set myself straight again without too much trouble. When I finally made it to Michael's house, I was able to meet his girlfriend, Janice, as well as his roommates. We sat around a fire in the backyard for a bit before calling it a night.

Sundays are always a bit depressing for James and me...for a couple reasons. First of all, neither of us particularly enjoy what we're doing right now and Sunday means that Monday is just right around the corner. Secondly, it means that another week stands between us being able to see one another again. So, we both tend to be in a lower mood on Sunday. However, we didn't have a bad day at all. On Sunday afternoon, we ended up back at Michael's house. That is where we watched the previously mentioned Legends of the Fall (and I cried my eyes out). Usually, I'm very concerned about the time and getting back to Greenville in order to organize myself for the week but this time...I just didn't CARE. I wanted to soak up as much time with James as possible. It was nice to pretend it was just the summer and I could do whatever I pleased. I knew I would probably pay for it the next day but that didn't seem to matter much. Instead, we had a cookout with Michael and his friends. For a few moments, it truly felt like summer vacation...until we had to return to reality and head home. Overall though...really good weekend.

I have some exciting events coming up... This Friday is the military ball. I've never been to one and, honestly, I didn't think I'd have another chance to really dress up (until my wedding?) after graduating from Meredith. So I'm quite excited. The following weekend, Hillary is coming to visit me in Greenville for the first time and I'll be showing her the sights (hardy har har). And the weekend after that...I'm off to New York for the first time ever! Look for pictures in the weeks to come! =)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Better Late Than Never

I'm nearly a month overdue on when I said I would write a new entry but, as my title suggests, it's better late than never. I guess I had been under the impression that I would have loads of free time after classes ended but that has hardly been the case. My days are still filled. Not with the most interesting stuff, albeit, but still filled. When I haven't written in a while, my dilemma is trying to remember everything that has happened. And a lot has happened. Unfortunately, my blogs won't be quite as fun to read as Sara's and Molly's who are in Italy and Iceland, respectively. I'm jealous...I'll be the first to admit that. I'm in Greenville, NC, for goodness sakes. Speaking of which, over these last couple weeks, I've been absolutely itching to get out of the country. I think it's because all my friends are rendezvousing through Europe this summer. It's been far too long since I did the same. My favorite teacher from high school, Ms. Coleman (though she has recently allowed me to call her my her first name, Season) recently joined Facebook and she mentioned a trip to Spain that is coming up in summer 2010. I'm seriously considering making this trip a reality for me. I've never been to Spain and it would be a great graduation gift (that my parents don't know about yet). I long to travel the world!

Ok, so...on to my life update. I will try to be as brief as possible, for your sake. ;)

I finished my first year of grad school. It's difficult to wrap my mind around, especially since we don't have an official break for the I feel like the year is just continuing (which, technically, I suppose it is). So let me rephrase that. I completed my second semester of graduate school. And can I just tell you that second semester was, to be blunt, HELL. I've never had a more difficult semester in all my school years. On the same day, we started our internships and began seeing clients on our own. Simultaneously, we were trying to wrap up our classes (a.k.a. we had papers, exams, and presentations to make it through) and most of us were completing the last of our assistantships. Some of us (me) were also starting new assistantships with Greene County Healthcare and trying to make time to shadow MFTs at those locations. It was RIDICULOUS. We were losing sleep (I pulled on all-nighter at the clinic with Sam on my 23rd birthday...I should NOT know that the cleaning lady comes at 5am...but I do and how I found out makes for a funny story - ask me sometime), not eating well, and not getting much exercise. I can't speak for anyone else but I had really let myself go and I'm paying now for the bad habits I acquired during those weeks (i.e. eating when I get stressed, which is often, and passing on the gym for a nap - hey, you gotta do what you gotta do). Let's just say that a huge sigh of relief was heard among the MFTs on May 7th when the semester was officially over. For the first time in about a month, we didn't have 10 million tasks hanging over our heads. It was nice. And to celebrate, I headed home for the weekend.

Before I proceed to the next part of my update, I should note that I've started dating someone. His name is James and we met at the Hibernian in Raleigh during my Spring Break. It was a totally unexpected meeting, believe me. I'll explain. The night of Laura's bachelorette party, I arrived back at Meredith and Molly let me in the dorm (darn outdated CamCard). As it was, she and her friend Rasika (who I ended up liking very much) were going downtown to the Hibernian and asked if I wanted to go. I had driven to Raleigh from home that day and had been going ever since. I was exhausted and no shape to hit the bars. But it was my Spring Break and I didn't want to pass up an opportunity for fun. Well, after we arrived at the Hibernian, I began regretting my decision. The three of us were descended upon by a very drunk, very obnoxious man from Boston who was watching the basketball game and being quite vocal about which team he wanted to win. As irritating as he was, he was also entertaining...but as soon as he learned that Molly was from Boston, Rasika and I no longer existed. I was bored and my glass was empty. Crisis. To make a long story short, James and two of his friends, Tadd and Kendall, ended up rescuing us from the drunk Bostonian and inviting us to sit at their table for a bit...which we did until 2am. We saw them the next night (this time with Hillary) and the next night (with Ashley). James and I have been together ever since (though it didn't become official until April 24th). Coincidentally, Molly ended up dating James's friend, Kendall...which works out nicely for double dates and whatnot. :) So, there's the backstory.

The weekend after classes ended, James and I both went home (our homes are about 45 minutes or so from each other) and met each other's families. I got off easy on this one. I met his parents and two brothers (Jason who is older and Michael who is younger). Everyone was very nice. Well, I assume Jason is nice. He'd just woken from a nap and, like me, he isn't very conversational after just waking up. I understood though. James, however, had the pleasure of attending my Grandma's surprise 75th birthday party and met about 50 members of my family at once (that may be a bit of an exaggeration but there were lots of people). I think he had a good time and everyone seemed to like him, especially that he's a bit of a country boy. My family is big on that sort of thing. And he had the opportunity to see me dance, which is pretty rare. Below is a picture of when my Grandma realized she had just walked into her surprise party. I love her face.

The next day was Mother's Day and graduation at Meredith, which I attended with my own mother. It was absolutely surreal to be watching the Class of 2009 graduate. I could not (and still cannot) believe that a year has passed since I graduated from college. So much has happened in this last year! I was super jealous too. Class of 2009 was able to have Class Day and graduation in the gorgeous Meredith amphitheatre whereas my graduation was rained out. Meredith students dream of graduating there and I didn't get the chance to. Clearly, I'm still bitter about it. Even so, it was good to see Hillary graduate there. I'm quite proud of her.

So, what's happened since that eventful weekend? I've been seeing clients on my own for nearly 2 months now (also hard to believe) and it's had its ups and downs. I've also started doing integrated care as a Medical Family Therapist at two medical centers in Snow Hill, NC. I have to admit that integrated care has not been my favorite. However, I'm trying to have a more positive attitude about my assistantship. Being negative only makes my days longer. And if the positivity starts to fade, it will all be over July 31st. :) Team began a couple weeks ago. Team consists of watching a live therapy session through the two-way mirror. Damon is my supervisor and I have a great team - Jodi, Kristy, Sam, Jamie, and Marina. Even so, I'm nervous about having my turn in front of them. I don't have a client yet who is willing to do team but I know it's only a matter of time. When that time does come, I will surely be scared out of my mind. I don't like being watched - it makes me so nervous - but I guess it's something I will have to get past. So far, it's been an enjoyable experience. It's just funny to me because, when I first heard of team, it seemed so far away...

Molly stayed with me in Greenville until she left for Iceland last Friday. I was really excited about her visit and it ended up being a great time. It made me realize that I would like a roommate. It was refreshing to have someone to come home to, to talk to at night, to vent to when I had a bad day, and to have dinner with. I'd forgotten how nice that was because I've been living in solitude for so long! She was a great roomie...especially when she cooked dinner or baked cookies (love ya, Molly). The day she left, she woke up to tell me goodbye before I took off for the clinic and it didn't hit me until I was in the car that I was quite sad to see her go. I almost wanted to cry a little bit. But she'll only be abroad for a month and I think I can handle that.

I've been trying to spend as much time with James as possible which, unfortunately, is limited to the weekends due to our schedules. What I failed to mention earlier is that James is in the Army and will be deploying at the end of the summer. I'm sure it just became a bit clearer as to why I'm desperate to spend time with him. I won't delve too much into how unfair this all is and how we're hardly able to be together before we're ripped apart for a year. Nope, I'm just going to say that I'm taking it the best I can. I don't want to think about August. I'm a little bit in denial. I saw him in his uniform last weekend for the first time and it made everything more real for me. Anyway, enough of that for now.

Memorial Day weekend, James and I, along with Molly and Kendall and a friend of the boys', Jesse and his girlfriend, Janna, went to Carolina Beach for a mini-vacation that we all needed. We ate at some really good restaurants, spent a beautiful day in the sun, and just enjoyed being carefree with each other. It was VERY hard to return to Greenville. Summer means the beach for me and I definitely want to go back...soon.

That's the gist of my last several weeks. I will attempt to update with more regularity in the future so as not to write a novel!