My fam came to visit me Saturday, which put a serious kink in my plans, but when real life comes knocking, it's okay to defer. After getting about 20% of my day done, my mother called from downstairs with my sisters to finally go to that restaurant we've been anxious to visit for months. We get there and it's packed. By an act of God on this Easter weekend, there were four seats at the bar. People were in a good mood and scooted down and over so we could sit together. Later, I figured it was the fantastic food that had the patrons in such great spirits. Immediately after sitting, Greg, our server, handed us simply chic menus and some of their house made bread, butter, chips and smoked onion dip. Something about learning the food was made that morning less than ten yards from where you are currently sitting makes things taste thatmuch more delicious. Seriously though... that good. Similarity, my glass of Virginian Pinot Gris, my mothers kettle of peach blossom tea, and my sisters' special strawberry basil sodas awakened our palettes and had us ready for our entrees.

I thought my sisters were playing it safe by getting burgers, but they smelled outrageously good! Premium local beef makes a world of difference. My mother ordered fried local oysters and fries and I broke a covenant a day early by testing one. Worth it. My spelt noodles were a symphony of flavors, with a pork belly ragout and a beautiful yolk perched atop like a cherry on a savory sundae. Mixing in the yolk allowed the flavors in the ragout to linger longer on my taste buds end even though the pasta itself was a little clunky, I appreciated the fact they were freshly made. My sister and I capped off the meal with a cookie, even though it was unlike any cookie I had ever had. It was more cakey and light with small morsels of dark chocolate melting throughout. Yum.

My family also told me about myself. I could see the concern for my weight, well being, and work in my mother's face constantly. She wanted to know if I'm clothing and feeding myself well. She misses the old me, a me that was more effortless and carefree. I miss that me too. I don't like to see that worry. My mother, who turns 50 in two months but doesn't look a day over 35, has never had to worry about me and I find it unsettling. She dropped me back home with promises to visit more and take me shoe shopping, with advising to get back to church and yoga, with hugs and kisses.

Back in my apartment, with 80% of my to-do list left unchecked, a DVR that's 60% full, and live jazz wafting into my bedroom from the park below, I felt so satisfied with my day. I wonder... how can I make this feeling last? And why does any other day where I do less than half of what I intended not feel as good?!
even though it's been spring for like a while now, you wouldn't really know it by the weather, or my mood. although my emotions have somewhat been on the upswing and the extra hours of the day has in fact equaled extra smiles in my day, i still have a ways to go and i really ought to clean shop.

as i was telling a good friend of mine, twelve hour days in the lab six days a week doesn't really afford me the time or energy to want to cook or clean. i realize how trifling that may sound but it's the truth. however, on my off day, there should be just enough in me to want to do better. granted, my last off day was in fact a sick day; i coughed up something that moved... i did manage to do juuust enough laundry to get by for a week or so, but that was only the tip of the iceberg.

i'm giving myself today, my off day, to git 'er dunn. i've got laundry, a messy and empty kitchen, and a rainy day to lock me up. i got plans to clean up and restock. i'm gonna hit my TJs, since it'll be too rainy and out of my budget to drive to Wegmans, then come home and clean out my fridge, wipe down my appliances, and give a good scrubbing to some dishes and counters. later, i shall gather all my laundry and while it's washing, de-clutter my apt. it might be a good idea to vacuum as well.

don't panic; i only hang about 20% of my wardrobe. the rest gets folded.

in other news, my closet/wardrobe needs an overhaul. being a chemistry student affords me the chance to be an unkempt mess über casual. but i would like to inject some much needed updates in my life. i read about a spring cleaning challenge on one of my favorite blogs and decided to discreetly take part. there are plenty of items in my closet that i just don't ever wear and would be best served to someone who will use it. i've donated clothes in the past and i believe it's time to give again. what's also missing in the picture are shoes, more that likely because they are strewn about the room. but i mostly wear sneaks. i've been seeing some lovely sandals this upcoming season though, so i'm using this spring cleaning as an opportunity to revamp my entire wardrobe. nothing to big and fancy and it's not really practical to wear $120 jeans to lab, but i can spice up my usual uniform of a v-neck tee and jeans easily, and hopefully cheap; being a grad student isn't that glamorous.
speaking of jeans, i gave them up for Lent. i seriously wear jeans 365 days a year, to the point wear they serve no real fashion purpose anymore. usually, if i can't find an outfit to wear, i just give up and throw on some jeans. i based (one of) my Lenten sacrifices on this. i challenged myself to really think about what i am wearing and coordinating my clothes. it was a success. my other sacrifices were much more mind bending, which is a surprise based on how absent-mindedly i throw on a pair of jeans. but tomorrow i get to fall into my favorite pair of jeans and i really can't wait.


Tiffany and Me, circa 2008
Before she moved 750 miles away

Tiffany. The yin to my yang; my college buddy. I miss my best friend. As a matter of fact, I miss having good friends around me in general. But I don't necessarily have the time to visit. She and I made plans to see the final Harry Potter (don't judge me) premiere together; I would travel to her this time around. YES! Time off! Meeting in Atlanta would be ideal and fun; I love ATL. I've made the trip by train before and it's not bad. But she suggested Nashville, as I guess it's closer to her and she frequents the city. I wouldn't mind going to Nashville... it's on my list of Cities to See. But there is no train to Nashville. And I could feel her aggravation.

"Sarah, you should just get on a plane... it would be so much easier."

And for a fleeting second, I considered it. The short travel time and comparable fares... and then my stomach knotted up and I got a bit dizzy.

I really have no desire to ever get on a plane. It's not my goal. I think a lot of people make a big deal of facing my their fears. And that's beautiful. But the beautiful struggle for me is to acknowledge it, rise against it, and be determined to not let it hold me back. Letting my fear be my motivator, I will be itinerant, I will see the world, it will not hold me back as long as I know it won't be easy either. I'll get there, even if I have to walk... which would take 10 days according to Google Maps.
hooray! check this baby out...

yeah, you can see the reflection of my shitty old phone taking this subpar picture



now, i know it's not all that cutting edge or whatever, and i am late to the party, mostly because i am a contrarian. but, i am now in the realm of smart phoners. effective immediately, and per an agreement made with a certain friend, i shall be more social and also join The Twitter.

you can also expect my photo resolution to be a whoooole lot better. and i am thankful for that alone, aside from having the world at my fingertips ;)

sometimes i feel as if i have no focus and that i am just rambling on and on and on... and i don't know why. at least, i didn't know why. until a date on the calendar reminded me. the road trip. my life trip. it was supposed to start today.

i can't even begin to explain how disappointed i am. i mean, i know why i can't go and i know that it doesn't mean that i won't ever go, but i felt as if this was my only chance. i rarely ever take the bull by the horns like this. i am a planner and a stickler for details and i also like a bit of randomness in my life, but this was to be the grandest undertaking. a planned random meandering across the country. and it makes me sad.

the list of places i want to visit are ever expanding, and i'm also afraid of being too late to see and touch and taste the things i really want to. it was right in my grasp and everything got fucked up. and i don't know what to do now, besides just keep on keeping on, but the stagnation of my current situation is suffocating me. light at the end of the tunnel my ass!

i was offered a reprieve. once all of the shit is over, in three years time, we will upgrade on the road trip and do a three week Mediterranean cruise instead. mega upgrade indeed. it seems so far away, it seems so worth it. all i have to do is be the model student and get the hell out of grad school in one piece with my doctorate in my back pocket. it's happening.

in the mean time, for the wonder, i'll have little spurts of adventure... just to keep me sane.
being in grad school doesn't really afford me too many luxuries. in fact, my like of all cotton everything (sheets, shirts, skivvies) means that my idea of luxury is quite far removed from reality, right down to dating. the average woman might go to happy hour once or twice a week and then go clubbing with their girls on the weekend. i remember when i had a job job, ahh memories, i would party about 4 nights a week and still go to work as fresh as a daisy. all of this allowed the opportunity to meet single and eligible men. during this stint at the job job, i also keep a rotating Rolodex of dates. you do the math: 4 nights out a week in DC full of attractive and capable young men... in short, i became a serial first dater.

before i get nostalgic and whatnot, let's just say that's the past. and my present is not as rosy. i spend 10-12 hours a day in lab, i barely make it home lucid enough to throw together a gourmet meal for myself and veg out in front of the tube before passing out and doing it all over again in 8 hours. long story short, i don't really have the time to go out and meet anyone. most days, the only time i spend outside is getting on and off the shuttle. and also, i kinda just hate the club. it's dark and loud and musty and i imagine that's what hell must be like.

so, i decided, if i am ever to get married in this lifetime, i have to make a move, a smart move. and that is why i chose online dating.

the next step was to choose my platform. which site to choose. i could pick Match1 or eHarmony; their commercials are catchy and convincing. but a student's stipend just would not support that. so, free platforms it is. i tried out a few but settled on one that had high traffic. i figured i trusted my own instincts when it came to judging character, but boy was i wrong. i'm not going to put the name of the dating site, but let's just say the people who frequent it are plenty offish.

i though i could handle myself to weed out the crazies and undesirables, but the difference between the club and online services is opportunity. men online have time, space, and opportunity to market themselves in a more effective fashion. it's the difference between trying out a new sample right in the aisles of Costco and watching an effective commercial for the same product on TV and going to get 12 cases of that product from Costco, whether the product is good or not.

but, i will not be fooled again. besides, i'd rather feel that spark, that connection one only gets in real time.

1i have, in fact, paid for services from in the past, but was displeased with their delivery. you can sign up for free and just receive winks, but you can't receive messages. while in this trial phase, i received numerous winks, messages, and profile views, enough to make me think it was worth the moolah to splurge for a 3 month package. after forking over my money, however, my communications mysteriously went down about 85%. they got me. and my money.

further reading: Three Possible Reasons Why Online Dating’s Just Not That Into Black People

update: even further reading - The 10 Men You Should Never, Ever, Ever Consider Dating
the dawning of something new begins in darkness

and with the days getting longer, i feel as if i am ready to spring from my cocoon and spread my wings. my funk is over… for now. and i am ready to partake in all that spring has to offer. i wouldn’t say spring is my favorite season; that belongs to autumn. but, i do appreciate the spoils of spring and the metaphors it allows. the budding of something new…

i started out by attending the inaugural Sunday of the Baltimore Farmer’s Market, the largest in Maryland. i was a little sad when it ended last autumn, mostly because my SADs had already kicked in and i missed the last month of it… right in the heart of cabbage season. so, last Sunday, i hit the ground running. nice and early, just like the blooms of the dogwood trees that overtake Baltimore in April. i love it… it’s warm but not hot. you need a light jacket, but you can put away the heavy socks and shoes. the dogwoods are in full bloom, but the buds on every other tree are still straining to release. the air is thick with anticipation of green leaves and flower blossoms. but for now, just the dogwoods and daffodils.

the market is only 66% complete, with mostly meal stands, but it’s the first day back and the hoards of people make up for it. i decided to do a loop first and score the best deal on basil, but the mushroom stand stops me in my tracks and eats up most of my Sunday budget. then, i keep walking and see the most delectable kale. bonus: it’s already triple washed for me! and since i’m here, i might as well get some spinach (hello old friend), spring onions (a staple), and some parsley.

i was left with just enough for a crêpe and a promise to get more on my next trip, but i was more than satisfied to leave and enjoy the rest of the day ahead of me. i went to lab, then yoga, then came home and made mushroom pasta with my bounty from earlier. it was so good i didn’t have time to snap a picture.

and i wonder, what else does spring have in store for me…
so, i thought i wasn't really updating because i had nothing to write, but that's not really true... i'm lazy. i'm a lazy bitch.

and i also though i wasn't cooking in my kitchen because my kitchen sink was clogged (which it was; you try putting 2lbs of bad kale down a garbage disposal and NOT to end up with a swamp in your sink), but once it was fixed i still haven't done much cooking. i'm lazy.

and i haven't been to yoga in almost 2 weeks. i could blame it on school and being too tired, but again... tired = lazy in this equation.

i can blame it on a number of things... it April but still 45°, i'm in school 10 hours a day, i'm tired, i'm not that hungry, my knee hurts, i miss him, i don't feel like it, i have other plans, i have enough money, i don't have enough money, blah blah blah lazy, lazy, LAZY!

in case you're wondering, lazy is not my favorite word. my mother used to lord that word over my head when i was under her rule in order to trigger my guilt and self-loathing. it didn't work very often, as my pride often provided me with examples of when i was passionate enough to be motivated. but after 27 years of life, i guess i am. i guess being lazy is a part of who i am. it's a hard pill to swallow, but i'm kinda too tired to care ;-)