Where I am at these days…

I have had way, way too many thoughts about way, way too many things recently. I have been feeling very scattered although now I am feeling a lot more grounded again which is why I’m finally posting. I kept trying to journal as that usually centers me but I got distracted and the task of sitting down and writing out all my feelings at the time just felt really overwhelming. A lot of those feelings are about what I am doing with my life and what do I want for my future and I will share that soon but I think that will just have to be it’s own blog post.

I didn’t see R last weekend, we decided we just needed a weekend to ourselves – him for work and me to just recenter my life and spend some time with friends outdoors now that the tree pollen allergen levels have finally dropped. I have seriously been mostly avoiding the outdoors since like late April because of how bad it was. And for those who tell me to just pop an allergy pill, I pop several but my allergies are so severe they require me to avoid the allergen aka not go outside or else I’m a not stop river of snot, sneezing, and teary eyes.

I went out Thursday to the Better Man Distilling Co. in Patchogue with some of my friends who are graduating and moving on. I’m definitely feeling the sads of all the people I know moving on to bigger and better things, hopefully I will be following shortly. Anyway, they had an amazing lavender gin. I love all things lavender! Especially lattes! I got their Lust cocktail which is their Elysian Fields lavender gin, lemon, simple syrup, creme de cacao and cointreau and it was absolutely delicious. Would 100% go back and go again. They have great outdoor seating and little outdoor propane heaters. Also they happened to have stand up comedy while we were there. It was a lot of fun. And it has been a lot of fun somewhat returning to normal and going out(side).

Loki being a good boy (for 1 whole minute) at the distellery

Saturday, Margaret and I went for a nice 5 mile hike at Cold Spring Harbor Hills. We haven’t gone in so long because of my outdoor boycott but I’m hoping we get back to doing this more regularly. After we grabbed breakfast at Kerber’s Farm, our usual post hills hike stop. Alex met up with us to try their amazing egg on cheddar biscuit sandwiches and then we all went out and spent two hours helping Margaret weed her garden plot at Cold Spring Harbor Labs.

Kerber’s Farm
Chickens at Kerber’s Farm (I love chickens but R told me I couldn’t bring any home)
Margaret’s giant garden plot post weeding (you should have seen the before)

Sunday, Mikaela and Ali and I went to Sag Harbor. We checked out the Linda Gronlund Memorial State Forest. It was weird to get to, we had to go through a golf course. Literally through a golf course. But it was super cute, absolutely no one was there (my favorite)-but so many bugs. And so many ticks. Like I am pretty sure I had over 10 on me and it was a combination of deer ticks, regular ticks (?), and lonestar ticks. We then walked around Sag Harbor and shared lunch and got cocktails at Page at 63 Main.

Little beach at Linda Gronlund

Then we stopped by the National Elizabeth A. Morton Wildlife Refuge where the songbirds will eat from your hands. It was magical! I felt like Snow White.

Elizabeth A. Morton Refuge
Elizabeth A. Morton Refuge

Sunday night, I came home to roommate drama. Our one roommate, V has been trying to move out to live with her boyfriend. We knew this and we are happy for her. Well it turns out she found a place and will need a replacement for July 1. Not a lot of time. But that was not the issue. The issue was she didn’t message our group chat to even tell any of us. She messaged one roommate and asked her to show the room to someone we will call S. I don’t know S. But all my roommates are in the same dental program as S and they don’t like her, except V who is best friends with her. My other roommates find S very annoying as she is up in everyone’s business and also apparently is a messy roommate which we don’t need. And they were all very, very unhappy about it. I get that V doesn’t want to be responsible for July’s rent, it had been clearly communicated to her many times that for her replacement they didn’t want another student in the dental program and that I would find a grad student. You know, just for better work-life balance for them. Who wants to come home everyday to their coworkers? Anyway, I was not thrilled to come home from a nice day to find my roommates upset and understandably so. And I also wasn’t thrilled to get such little notice I needed to find someone when I have already been freaking out about so much lately. And some people were like but hey it’s not your responsibility to find a new roommate, it’s V’s which I get but at the same time me and the other roommates staying are the ones who will have to live with them so it’s not simple. But whatever, it is resolved. Luckily enough, Mikaela ended up deciding to leave her housing (she was hoping to stay until graduation next May but her landlord got married last year and the vibe of living with a married couple is no longer fun so an opening in a decent housing situation aka our house was enough to make her pull the trigger to leave) is going to move in and I am really excited about that.

Tuesday I found a deer ticked attached to the back of my knee. Ugh! Maybe from Sunday but maybe from all the other grass I walk in around campus or my own yard. It hadn’t started feeding yet though and I don’t think it was there Monday so I’m not too worried about Lyme disease but I also I put a note in my calendar for when the 30 days of monitoring symptoms is up.

Also my body has been feeling lousy lately. I have been having an IBS flare up for like the last two weeks. My intestines are just not happy, some days are worse than others. I must have eaten something I shouldn’t have. But the worst was I was really bloated which is super uncomfortable although it seems that I am on the up and up of this flare and it is finally tapering down. And because tree pollen has finally calmed down a bit I stopped taking my cetirizine (off brand Zyrtec) which was fine until the last few days when I have just been incredibly itchy. Apparently this is a known withdrawal symptom. But for real, it’s a thing (peer reviewed journal article on it here). This has happened to me in the past so I’m not surprised but I also was a little bit surprised because I tried tapering a bit like cutting down to every other day and the itching didn’t happen until like a week afterwards. But then again who knows, maybe it is not related. I take cetirizine because it works well to actually help my symptoms which are bad. Peak allergy season I actually take it every 12 hours, use flonase daily, often supplement with benadryl, avoid the outside, don’t wear outside clothes in my room, etc. It’s bad. But I can’t really do much more and back when I took loratidine (off brand Claritin) I would start to feel manic and cracked out after a month of taking it. And there was that time I slept walked out of my NYC apartment naked after being on it so no thanks…

So something I don’t talk about much is my labmate. Like my actually labmate, not my lab-space-mates who I hang out with regularly. Anyway, my labmate is (was?) supposed to graduate this year. Their paper was published a few months ago and all they had left was to submit their dissertation and defend. But instead they just disappeared. I haven’t seen them since early April. And I am worried. And my lab-space-mate is worried. And sometimes it feels like we are the only ones that are worried. I have emailed. I have texted. I have called. Their voicemail is full. I have had others reach out. My lab-space-mate even did a drive by of their place but they weren’t there. I am not even sure if they still live there anymore. I don’t want to get into details but my labmate is not well mentally. I have asked the department what is going on and everyone just seems to have washed their hands of the situation. And while I get that we can’t make them finish or respond or whatever, we can still try and at least check on them. And I find the lack of concern, concerning… And part of why I don’t normally talk about this is privacy for my labmate and also I don’t want anyone to think poorly of my PI as he has done so much for this labmate. But this situation just really, really bothers me. Anyway, I recently talked to a mutual friend who apparently talked to them very briefly on the phone May 3rd which makes me feel a little bit better. And they are also really concerned which makes me feel a little less crazy about being concerned. But this whole situation sucks. I know my PI is unhappy about it and didn’t want it to end this way. And I am still hopeful that my labmate will come back and finish. But I am also legitimately concerned they might not be alive. I know their ex but I don’t really want to reach out to them and drag them into this. But I’m tempted. And I just don’t know what more to do. I don’t think I can do anything more. And it is just upsetting. And the way our society treats those mentally ill in general by just ignoring them is also upsetting.

I’m also stressed out about all the little chores I need to make time for like getting my windshield chip filled, getting my eyes checked for the DMV so I don’t lose my license – they let me renew while they were closed but now I need to get my eyes checked and half the pharmacies on their list nearby that supposedly do so have shut down permanently and the DMV still doesn’t do in person so I need to expand my radius and go farther for my eyes to get checked and I better not have to pay a fee. Also my laptop screen is messed up, it’s still functional but the middle panel pixels have a bad connection and are off so I’m not thrilled about having to spend money on that or make time to fix that. I also am worried about budgeting my AAUW fellowship lump sum appropriately and my boss leaving in a month in a half. How is it already halfway through June?! *SCREAMS* So that is that.

But to leave on a high note, I am really excited I get to see R tomorrow and I cannot wait! We are planning on just laying in bed and watching his animated Hans Solo films Sunday morning, then getting lunch with his dad for Father’s day where I will meet his grandma (I didn’t even know he had a grandma until last night – I am at the age where I just assume most grandparents are dead :/), and then venturing to Central Park to see my friends.

Also Monday, the U.S. Phase III results for the NovaVax trial came out and it is pretty great news: Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine Demonstrates 90% Overall Efficacy and 100% Protection Against Moderate and Severe Disease in PREVENT-19 Phase 3 Trial

“There are people who put their dreams in a little box and say,
‘Yes, I’ve got dreams, of course I’ve got dreams.’
Then they put the box away and bring it out
once in awhile to look in it, and yep, they’re still there.
These are great dreams, but they never even get out of the box.
It takes an uncommon amount of guts to put your dreams on the line,
to hold them up and say, ‘How good or how bad am I?’
That’s where courage comes in.”
– Erma Bombeck