26 August 2013

Grad School Woes

I should be working on my review of Pride & Prejudice to post for my blogger Jane Austen Book Club. But the words just aren't coming.

I think I need more wine.

The blog post ideas have been coming in fast and then get stopped up like a clogged drain when it comes time for me to actually start writing. I blame grad school. I just can't function as I normally would when I have all these future plans up in the air.

Oh yes, grad school is up in the air. This may, or may not, have been the reason I demolished half a bottle of wine and found myself sobbing over the Keira Knightly Pride & Prejudice last Thursday. Not something I normally find myself doing, but ya know. Stress buster right there. Let's all be grateful I didn't eat my emotions by consuming a Domino's Pizza, then spend the next week complaining about my dairy issues, my face looking like I rubbed it in the pizza and...just ew. (PULL yourself together woman. There is NO need for that kind of behavior.)
This is how I feel right now. I wanna curl up in a blanket and hide. With my wine and my shitty pizza and Jane Austen movies. Oh wait...CHECK. Did it.

Funny thing about going to grad school in the UK. You can't just go on a visitor's visa...even though a visitor can be in the UK for up to six months and technically my first term is only two and a half months. I'll be back in the US in time for Christmas. But you can't go over and study on a visitor's visa (and would people please stop suggesting I "just try it"? How 'bout I try smacking you? That'd be more fun than me breaking the law. So stfu. <----look br="" i="" m="" stress="" swearing=""> Here's the deal. I need a student visa to go over, regardless that the school wants me. In order to apply for said visa I only need TWO things. 1-Proof that I can pay for school. Check. I have a letter from my loan company (bless you Sallie Mae) that they sent over right quick when I asked, that says I have the money. Love that that qualifies instead of having to have the money actually in my bank account. Thank you, UK government. No seriously...that does make things easier.

Number 2-I need a CAS-Confirmation of Acceptance to the school. That's not the email the school sent me saying "OMG we totes love you, come join our hippy ways in drama. Let us show you the way to a life of happiness and thriftiness. You won't even miss food. Too expensive, let's improv our emotions instead." (I wish they said that.) A CAS is not the really nice letter and packet they sent my way a few months ago. Loads of lovely, heart-palpitation inducing, information about my new school. Nope.

The school has it's hands on my super official, special, one-of-a-kind CAS letter. And they won't give it to me until I've given them my first payment. A payment of $5,000.

Okay, no worries. That's what my lovely loan is for and I want to pay with the loan. I don't have the money and while my parents may, I'd rather not ask them as I'll need help with cheaper things...like plane tickets, visa fees and maybe, possibly, some lovely apartment decorations and new school clothes. But really just the plane tickets and visa fees. Cause ya know....savings? What savings? I used to work in theatre, as a dog walker, gym desk attendant and waitress. Also I love wine. So, seriously...what savings?

I checked with my loan company, who's being so unbelievably helpful and understanding that it's a little mind blowing. They explained that my loan disbursement dates (the two dates that were chosen for the loan money to be sent to the school and then to me) were set by the school itself. And oh look...the first disbursement date is for October 15th....so that's only a week and a half AFTER my first day of school.

And you can't enter the country to go to school without a visa damnit. (Stress swearing.... #sorrynotsorry)

I emailed the financial director, who chose those dates. First she asked me to call the loan company because she didn't think that changing the dates (or picking the dates) was something she did (then WHO pray tell?!). So I did and the loan company said that she did and she can and no they won't give me a number/email for financial director lady to contact as she should already have that info....because she accepted the loan and chose the dates.

Emailed financial director again. Response: "Oh okay. I'll change those."


That was over a week ago.

I was going to call her today. And boy will she not like that conversation. I get all "super perky, uber helpful, sunshine-y, customer service-y" when I'm pissed about something. Not many people know how to handle that (think over-caffeinated squirrel) and it's gotten me through a lot of bad customer situations. People will bend to my will because nobody knows what to do with all the freaking sunshine and positivity. However, she's lucky cause today is a bank holiday.
Nobody wants to mess with someone this perky. Because she just might be a murderer. I'll admit to nothing.

Ergo...tomorrow I will be calling and explaining to her why I need that loan money last week, in order to get that CAS emailed to me, in order to apply for my visa which could take as long as eight weeks to get approved for and if I don't get that visa before the start of school, then I can't go to school and then I cancel my loan, and oh no...then the school won't get that money. (Run-on sentence FTW! My undergrad English professors will be so happy that I'm using my degree well...and not continuing on in the field, as I'm quite inadequate to do so.)

I'll say all that way nicer. I think.

Here's hoping I can send in for my visa before the end of the week.

Lindsay xx

P.S. So I have a contingency plan if I end up canceling the grad school plan...I'm going to go on a spa bender. Oh yes. I've gotten a massage three times in my life now, and even on this last trip for just reflexology on my hands and feet, they still want me naked. I feel you. I want to be naked too. Did shit just get weird? Have some wine, you'll get over it.
Obligatory "Oh My God, I'm naked underneath this robe!" shot. You must do it.

15 August 2013

Crohn's Girl Running

There has been so much goodness and delight and sunshiny happiness going on in my world of running that I have had no time to update anyone on it. I haven't even filled in my parents on all the gory details of everything I've done and I live with them.

I just wanted to revel in all I've done this summer. It's gone by too, too fast. And isn't that said every summer?

Funny how most adults, majority who aren't even teachers, speak like summer time is break time and it's NOT. I still go to work every day (until grad school in OCTOBER!! *Pending Visa*). Just for some reason, summer is the time of "The Trips to Every Place I Can Think Of". Here, stupid airlines that give me no snack, take my money. Take me places!

For a good part of this year, I had taken on the challenge of participating in Team Challenge. I've never done anything like that before and let me tell you....I am so glad I did. Team Challenge is an organization that runs/walks in races and raises money for CCFA, Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America. Amazing group raising money for my people. How could I not get involved after training for my first race ever, the Disney Princess Half Marathon, and finding that I so absolutely love training for a half. (Yes, 14 yr-old Lindsay, I did go insane. Who'da thunk?)

Also, joining Team Challenge and being on the National Team (I had no local running team near me, since I live in the middle of nowhere) I got to meet amazingly cool runners who like arts and crafts as much as I do:

From my mentor, Abbe. Totally still have this, as it is AWESOME. She gets additional awesome points for spelling my name correctly. Even relatives, who leave comments on my FACEBOOK wall spell my name incorrectly. 
 The whole National Team met for the first time at the Napa to Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon weekend, though some have been doing Team Challenge for a few years and know each other well. After just a weekend together, I'm certain I'll want to do Napa again...if only to kick the boys butts in time. I can shave an hour off my time in a year right? Totally sane goal...uh-huh yes. Watch me. I do love a challenge that involves more than "let's see how fast I can get my iron levels up, decrease my roughage, and reduce flare-ups so my GI doctor doesn't put me on any scary drugs." Oh the life of a Crohnie, you have no idea how fun. Surprise stool samples required.

Are you eating right now, I really hope you're eating right now. I mean, at my dinner table, we only talk about bowel habits when we're eating. So much sharing right now! How EXCITED are you?

Fun fact: when I first signed on to the National Team, my amazingly awesome and perky team leader, Adina, was excited to hear I had Crohn's as that meant we had the most amount of people with the disease on the National Team then they had had in a long time. Surprise, surprise, (at least to me) most people running for Team Challenge don't have Crohn's or Colitis but are running for others who do. That almost made me cry right there. And trust me, if you do Team Challenge, you cannot make it out of the Pasta Dinner without shedding some tears. Seriously. So many inspirational stories from people and it was truly inspiring to see how many people were running in honor of someone. I was really glad to be a part of it and actually able to run, unlike so many others who have Crohn's and Colitis worse than I do.

Fun fact #2: Until last October when I went to my very first CCFA support group meeting, I had never met anyone with Crohn's or Colitis. In all my 14 years with the disease. I only ever heard that some one's friend of a friend had it. So when I was actually at the half and met tons of people my age with it, it was a little more mind blowing than I expected.

Other than partying it up with a whole lot of other people with bathroom issues (guess what? we know ALL the poop jokes. Yes. All of them.), I loved this half marathon because it was in WINE COUNTRY. If you know me, you know I love my wine.
We celebrate long runs with WINE. I'm sure that's a total recovery rule. In my book. "Can't feel my knees! I know, I'll drink wine! BEST IDEA. I win."
 I ran a good race, better than my first half, not in terms of time, but the fact that I ran longer. I ran 12 miles before my digestive system woke up and alerted me to the fact that if I did not start walking soon, there would be some impolite issues to deal with soon. My first half, I made it just 10 miles. (Full race recap of the Napa Half coming soon. With more runner-friendly details other than how much wine I was drinking...although that is a fun detail in my book.)

This is what happens, though, when you don't actually follow any training program at all. As a part of Team Challenge I was given a run plan to follow from our very cool training coach (each team has their own coach), but I still have issues wrapping my head around the fact that I'm a runner. I get intimidated by expectation and often times my "training" is just running a few times a week and seeing how long I feel like going. I think after the joy I got from doing this one, and my steel-hard reserve for doing better than the boys next year, I will actually put a little more thought and effort into working on a run plan. Like, for serious guys. I'm going to start lifting weights and swimming (ohhhh cross training! Look at me go!) and everything (intervals anyone?).

I'm kind of pumped.

A few more pictures from the run:
After a long run, bananas are the only thing my stomach can tolerate for the first 45 minutes after I'm done.

How cool am I with my water belt? Yeah...you wish you were this dorky.
 This was my first time fueling up in a hotel room before a race, so I went all out and bought my favorite Gluten Free Honey'd Corn Flakes and Almond Milk for the job, ate a banana and....some tuna straight from the can. I can't help it, it's delicious and fuel/stomach friendly. I have some weird, but fun! (sarcasm folks...), dietary issues. It's not a necessity for me to be Gluten Free all the time, but before runs I'm sensitive to it if I've been eating it the days leading up to the run. Weird right? It's like a build up or something, that affects me.
Pre-race fueling in a hotel room...when you dietary issues. Always such a good time.
 The day before the race was one of the best I've had all summer (except for my birthday). I got invited to a winery that's not usually open to the public. We got a special lunch, loads of wines to taste and were allowed to wander around the gorgeous old house and property. I hope to write a post just on that winery. It really was an amazing way to get ready for a race.

So. Much. Wine. Clearly, doing it right:
Day before a race, I always seem to wind up with a wine glass in my hand. I think it's just my process now. 
 For some reason, after my half marathon, I went into a runner's coma for three weeks and didn't run at all. Then one day I decided I wanted to just jet off to Chicago to visit my sorority sister, Carrie, and check the city out. She just happened to be running in the Zooma 10K the Saturday I would be there. So, you know, just as the recovery rules go, after a half marathon, not running for a few weeks, I decided to push myself and do the 10k.

AND THEN I PR'D! And stuffed my face, and drank my weight in bourbon and whiskey.

If I haven't said it before, I'll say it now...clearly, I make good choices.

Ooh look, jewelry!!
Zooma 10K is awesome cause you get JEWELRY!!
 I managed to beat my old 10K time of 1 hour and 17 minutes and did it in 1 hour 12 minutes. I blame it all on my friend Carrie. I didn't want to embarrass myself by slowing down and we were both kept fairly distracted by the beautiful scenery of running along the lakefront and gossiping catching up. Also...damn that sun was hot. Felt hotter than running in Florida for the Disney Half.

I was proud enough that I went ahead and ate enough dairy to cover me for the rest of the year. Normally, I keep my distance (only slightly sensitive, don't worry, no serious allergies here), but how could you go to Kuma's Too and not order the mac and cheese? We added the bacon and peas because clearly we are genius'.
I love you.
 After that I made love to a burger. Medium rare with herbed goat's cheese, fried red onions, corn salsa and a lemon vinaigrette. Screw fries. With a burger that good, it needs no accouterments.

I'm fairly certain that burger made me a woman. Thank you Kuma's.
Ohmygod. I will dream of this burger FOREVER. Goatsnake = forever love. And my beer was as dark and thick as espresso. Best stuff I've had in awhile.
So over all, my running choices have been gooooood. Who would have thought that someone with Crohn's could have such adventures? And adventures that don't involve the words "surprise stool sample day"? Definitely not 14 year old me. When I was diagnosed, I was fairly certain, as certain as an all knowing teen can be, that my life was over. No travel, no good food, no exercise (cause back then, exercise was seen as something that would cause a flare-up), no friends that would understand.

Over the last 14 years of having this horrible, no-good, very bad, super lame, disease, my life has been pretty stellar.

And oh look.....I'm going to move to LONDON, ENGLAND for grad school in October for Acting. BOO-YAH. I win.