on living with a significant other

Many people regard moving in with a significant other to be a really huge step. Because of that, I found that some people weren’t the most encouraging when I told them J and I were moving in together (especially when you factor in the whole moving to a different state thing.) I can’t deny that it’s not a big deal but for us, but it seemed like the right thing to do. This big step has been the easiest decision that we’ve both made and agree that it’s also been the best. And let’s be honest, I think that after three years together it seems logical that it would be.

For some people, they would’ve made the decision sooner while others would’ve waited longer. It’s different for everyone and we’ve found that living together is definitely a learning experience that varies from couple to couple. I’ve been warned that we would fight and that we would get on each others’ nerves and all that so even though I wanted to make this move, I’ll admit that I was a little worried. Luckily for us, there hasn’t been a bit of that at all. I know it’s only been a month and a half, but the biggest issues that we’ve has so far are our difference in opinion on how to fold shirts and the fact that I don’t like the toilet lid to be open while he doesn’t care either way. Neither is worth fighting about and we end up laughing about it all. It’s really not that hard for me to fold his clothes one way and mine another and for him to try to remember to close the toilet lid…which he might only do after he almost dropped his toothbrush in there one day. If those kinds of things are the biggest issues we have, I think I can deal with that.

Moving in with anyone always requires some adjustments, but I hope for couples that choose to take that step that they find it to be as natural as I have. Even if you’re thing is fighting (in a good way, not in the break up or kill each other kind of way) I hope that it’s as exciting and fun of an experience as it has been for us.

Moving: Finale.

Jessica M

Moving day finally came, faster than we were expecting as most important events seem to.  Lets recount the events of that day together….

8:00am: wake up, coffee/eat/shower/etc., get ready for the day

10:00am: call the building manager to see if she’s ready for us to come by and sign the lease (keep in mind, we decided on our move in date weeks previously).  She doesn’t answer, so we leave a voicemail.

11:00am: still no call back (continue relaxing on the couch)

12:00pm: still no call back (more relaxation, but tension has definitely built up considerably), decided I’d give her until 12:30 to call us back before I called again (it seems passive now, but for some reason I didn’t want to be too pushy)

12:30pm: okay, maybe I’ll wait until 12:45

12:35pm: finally got a call back from our building manager.  She wanted to see if we were free at 4:00pm to move into our apartment.

photo via buzzfeed

photo via buzzfeed

12:40pm: 4:00PM?! WHO THE HELL WANTS TO MOVE IN FLIPPING THE DARK.  Would it really have been that big of a hassle for her to give us the keys so we could start moving in, and then come sign the lease when she was ready?  We literally wasted an entire day off together waiting around.  Coordinating a full day off with someone who doesn’t have a job with consistent hours is a real pain.  Not mention, trying to combine two apartments with only one person available is an even bigger pain.

12:45pm: Lets get frozen yogurt.

1:30pm: (back at home) My boyfriend looks at me while we’re sitting in silence and says “you’re handling this a lot better than I expected” (I’m not known for patience, but I’ve been practicing).  We turn on the TV and settle in to wait until we can head over.

3:45pm: finally time to head to the building.  We load up our cars with stuff from my apartment so we can start unloading as soon as the lease is signed and we have the keys.

3:55pm: we arrive at the building, and walk into the building manager’s office.  She looks surprised to see us, and mentions something about us being early.  She still has to print out copies of the lease and any other paperwork we need to look over and sign.  Once again, we made plans to move in on this date weeks ago; it didn’t occur to us that arriving five minutes early for a 4:00pm move in would throw her off that much.

4:00pm – 4:45pm: Spent going over the lease, monitoring the gradual increase in sweat on my palms.  LETS GET THIS GOING ALREADY.

5:00pm – 11:00pm:  Spent taking trips to and from our apartments (alternating apartments with each trip seemed the most fair way to tackle the job).  As the sun was going down, rather than getting more frustrated we started seeing the humor in the situation.  It’s hard to be mad when our luck consistently proves to be.. non-existent.  Of course something like this would happen to us, and laughing at ourselves and the situation, made the move easier (moving is so damn terrible to begin with).

At around 11:00 we decided to call it quits.  I can’t imagine how sketchy we must have looked, moving in the middle of the night like people skipping out on rent, and we were starved.

Day 2 proved to be about on par with day 1.  We only had a half day with both of us available, and the weather was a trusty rain/snow combo.  Once again there was nothing we could do but laugh.

We’ll probably laugh our way right into the loony bin, but until then – at least we have a roof over our heads that is ours.

anigif_enhanced-buzz-3425-1389650115-20

photo via buzzfeed

 

He can’t sit with us!

Jessica M

I hate one of my best friends’ boyfriend.

Well maybe not hate, hate is a strong word.  But I really really REALLY dislike him – to the point where I prefer to not be in the same room as him, and if I am I’d rather gouge my eyes out with a fork than make eye contact with him. I didn’t get a good first impression of him.  He was drunk, and so was she, so I didn’t really hold it against him.  The second

Seriously, stuff stays on the internet FOREVER (photo cred: flickr, Marcelle Grizzelle)

Seriously, stuff stays on the internet FOREVER (photo cred: flickr, Marcelle Grizzelle)

time meeting was less than impressive as well.  And each time afterwards, it continued getting worse and worse.  I won’t go into detail here, no one wants his/her dirty laundry aired on the internet (this shit never goes away), but I do think my smart, beautiful, kind, strong friend is settling.  Big time.

So where do I go from here?  I’m sure talking shit on him with my other girlfriends is counterproductive, but it’s the only way we’ve been able to deal with the situation so far.  A group of us tried telling her how we felt about him (one at a time, in separate conversations) but it was to no avail.  I think for the most part we all told her we’d give him another chance, but I’ve had enough.  Now I’m faced with the question of, should I tell her I hate her boyfriend, or just keep my mouth shut and go with the flow?  She seems happy, but I can feel our friendship unraveling a little more every time I make another excuse to get out of hanging out (when I know he’ll be around).  I’ve been so torn about what to do, I took to trusty ol’ Google to try and figure out what I should do next.  Much to my surprise (or maybe not to surprising) my search string of “should I tell my friend I don’t like her boyfriend” came back with results from places like friendship.com, and gurl.com.  Now both of these website were MY JAM when I was a preteen, but they aren’t really cutting it now.  Is this the proof I needed that my concerns are below my age level?  My friend is a grown ass woman capable of making her own decisions, so should I just let her be?

I know it’s possible to find someone that gets along with your friends.  I’ve never been willing to sacrifice my female friends for my romantic life(seriously, one previous terrible relationship ended after he called my friends “nobodys” – rather than due to one of the many times he cheated on me.  It’s F’ed, I know).  Maybe I’m being too critical or hold my standards too high for friends’ boyfriends?  But I think he should do his damn best to try and impress us ladies, we were here before him, we’ll be here when he isn’t, and like it or not – we’re part of the deal.  Ladies, lady companionship is important!

I’m lucky that I date someone that is so easy to get along and goof with.  Sometimes I worry my friends like my boyfriend more than they like me (we’re all so similar, if I’m crazy about him, I should expect them to love him too).  Just kidding.  Sort of.

photo cred: buzzfeed, NBC

photo cred: buzzfeed, NBC

Making moves pt. 2

Jessica M

Growing up can sure be discouraging.

I mentioned before about getting ready to make a move into a new apartment. The boyfriend and I decided we’re ready for this step (my first time ever living with a boyfriend).  Above all, we were overly excited to get going and start a little life together of our own.

Until it came time to actually find a place.  Because of lease constraints, we planned our move out date for April 1st, and figured we’d start looking for places at the beginning of March.  How hard could it be?  We both have good, full-time jobs.  We both have good anigif_enhanced-buzz-20333-1389972916-1credit.  Neither of us have ever been evicted from an apartment.

We started on Craigslist.  There were apartments galore, all in our budget and desirable locations (for the most part).  I made a spreadsheet.  Organization is a key to finding an ideal apartment.  And then I started calling.  And emailing.  And waiting.  Ten unanswered phone calls later and I’m starting to feel discouraged.  But that’s okay, Craigslist is full of scam artists and would I really want to rent from someone who doesn’t pick up the phone, or return phone calls?

So we tried the newspaper.  Same deal.  Add another 5 unanswered phone calls, with no call back.  Now I’m starting to worry, is it something in my voice?  Am I not giving the right information in my voicemails?  In a last-ditch effort, we called a place named “Canterbury Square” that has actual office hours for calling.  They answered and set up a time for us to look.  When I hear the word “Canterbury” I immediately think Chaucer, and Old English charm.  What we found was less Chaucer more… Palahniuk.  Next.

At this point, our discouragement was rising.  We were down to two weeks left, and no new place in sight.  I just don’t understand, why list a place if you aren’t eager to enough to rent that you can’t even be bothered to answer the phone?  Or is Erie really in a high demand time for apartment rentals?

I found another rental website, this one through the NWPA apartment rental association.

(photo via buzzfeed)

(photo via buzzfeed)

At least I wouldn’t be worried about scam artists…  We found the perfect apartment!  Right size!  Right price!  Right location!   Oh wait, what’s that?  Does that say, no shower?  At this point we were feeling desperate enough that  we actually debated the logistics of being able to get on without a shower (there was a bathtub so we wouldn’t have been totally scummy – if you can call regularly cleaning yourself in a basin of your own filth not scummy).  Anyways we decided to pass, and went about making a new list of potential headaches apartments to look in to.

Sometime that evening, we remembered an apartment complex that is located downtown.  It used to be a factory, and we’ve heard the apartments have high ceilings and trendiness for days, so we started looking into it.  The website was nice enough, the building had all the perks that apartment buildings usually have (24 hour maintenance, secure building, onsite laundry) and several perks that are more rare (a gym in the basement! gated parking!), plus an ideal location to boot.  We eventually stumbled upon the apartment building’s Facebook page and wouldn’t you know, there’s a posting from only a few hours

(photo via buzzfeed)

(photo via buzzfeed)

earlier advertising their openings in brand new apartments!  No lingering smells!  No stains on the carpet!  I’ve never been a fan of apartment buildings, but at least these places would have someone we could get a hold of…

We went to look at the place (well we looked at three different places actually) and fell in love.  They were trendy.  The building is full of other young professionals!  There is a gym!  We applied for the biggest apartment available the next day, and found out we were approved that night.  Despite our troubles at the beginning of the search, it worked out okay in the end.  The apartment is much smaller than we were originally looking for, but it’s about time to start purging myself of all that clutter anyways.  From a full-sized home to a studio apartment.. this should be interesting.

Now on to more pressing issues… Scouring Pinterest to figure out just how the heck am I going to pack and move all these books?!

on: the ups and downs of my moving week

I feel like I’ve been looking forward to this move for so long, and could feel the weight of the old apartment lifting and the excitement of new opportunities…and then the clouds opened up and it down-poured all over. The last two weeks or so before moving were entirely too stressful, so let me just give you a little rundown.

My old roommate and I had been dealing with insanely high electric bills for the entire two years of living in that apartment. We finally got the landlord to do something about the heating issues that we felt were causing the majority of that this past February. We knew that the timing would still mean we would have one more high bill, but figured the last few would be nice and low. We were wrong. They continued to go up. I called the electric company and checked all of our rates. They concluded that the readings were correct and basically we were just stuck with this bill. Add money issues to the stress list.

Five days before moving (Monday), I received a text message informing me that a good friend and coworker of mine unexpectedly passed away in his sleep. Cue the crying and worrying about whether or not I’d be able to make the funeral on top of losing a friend who still had so much life ahead of him.

Four days before moving, I received the news that my best friend’s Great Aunt had passed away. She was like my own extended family and I’d known her since I was a kid. That same day my roommate’s mother, who had just beat pancreatic cancer and was healing a shattered femur, was admitted to the ICU for a number of reasons (it’s going slowly, but she’s getting better and better.) So far, this adds up to several days worth of crying.

Three days before moving, I helped my roommate clean her new place. We then had a long talk about everything that was going on and about all the things we’ve helped each other deal with in the last two years. Cue more crying.

Two days before moving, We packed pretty much everything else that we could minus the last minute stuff that I would be needing for those two days. So that actually helped a bit with the stress.

One day before moving, we ran errands and did some last minute things. That night, we met with friends for happy hour at my old workplace and it was actually wonderful. It was a little hard knowing that my friend who was supposed to be there wasn’t but it really ended my last full day in Pittsburgh on a really great note.

On moving day, we woke up entirely too early so we were a little sluggish and cranky all day. Moving everything out of that place with just the three of us (J, myself and my old roommate) was rather annoying, but it made me really glad I had parted with so much stuff. The last thing that I had to do before we left town was go to my friend’s viewing. It was really hard to go and acknowledge that he was really gone, but I would’ve hated myself if I hadn’t been there. I got to meet his mother and sisters whom I’d all heard so much about. It was certainly a day of mixed emotions.

We made the three hour drive to Oberlin and unloaded everything in about an hour. I was really glad that that part went quickly. We unpacked a little that night, but were so tired we decided to do the majority the next day. We got plenty of rest and had a really beautiful Sunday of unpacking and grilling out for dinner. Things were looking up. This was the light at the end of the tunnel that I was looking forward to all week.

Then, Monday ruined the good mood. J went to work, I got up and showered then made coffee (after sleeping in a little.) Just as I was sitting down with my coffee, I heard a loud knock. It was a firefighter who yelled at me for not evacuating. Apparently, the first time someone knocked, I was in the shower. Great. I grabbed a few things and went out the door. With all of my clothing in boxes, I didn’t know where any acceptable clothing to wear in public would be, so I was stuck in my lounging clothes:short shorts that I would never wear in public because they don’t even cover my rear and an oversize tshirt. I wandered down the street and called J to see if he could pick me up. Luckily, he could. Not so luckily, I then got to go to work with him looking my finest. His office is about a landscaping company, so he continued to tease me about how much the guys downstairs would get a kick out of me being there, especially in that state.

The rest of this week has been full of cleaning, unpacking and organizing so it’s looking much better again. Next week, I start looking for jobs on foot as online searching isn’t getting me anywhere. Hopefully, it’s less like a roller coaster.

Making moves

Jessica M

The time has come for me to take a step so many girls have made before me – moving in with my boyfriend.  I’ve had several living situations since turning 18.  First there was the dorm room with my best friend from high school.  We were lucky, and rather than have our friendship torn apart by the confines of that mini-room, it only made our friendship stronger (even with the occasional screaming match or two).  After that, the dorm roommate and I moved into a small three bedroom apartment with another girl from our dorm.  Things started out strong, but we eventually starting drifting apart and the third roommate moved out early, in the middle of the night (or was it morning? the concept of time in college was so fuzzy), leaving behind only a drawer full of underwear (seriously) and a few perishables

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times... (photos from my Facebook)

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times… (photos from my Facebook)

in the cupboards.  After that apartment, the original roomie and I moved into a large house with six bedrooms.  The roommates in this house came and went and were swapped out several times (including a year that involved a 19 year old boy moving in, and adopting his five 21 year old roommates as pseudo mothers.  Only four of us stayed the full two years in that madhouse, and I’m still not sure what kind of effect that had on our psyches.  After college, I spent about a year living with my parents before my brother and I moved into our grandma’s apartment after she passed (no it wasn’t creepy, yes sometimes I think I can “feel” her presence – but it’s probably more likely a caffeine buzz peaking and/or wearing off).  This takes us to present day, and the next step of my journey into “adulthood.”

I’ve lived with guys before.  My brother and my pseudo-son Phil who I mentioned before.

We should probably discuss rules about full frontal nudity and eating (photo from thoughtcatalog)

We should probably discuss rules about full frontal nudity and eating (photo from thoughtcatalog)

Plus countless former roommates boyfriends who would camp out in our place more often than their own (we were pretty fun).  And I’ve fallen into K-holes with previous boyfriends where it seemed like we were spending every possible second together and it felt like we might have been living together.  But shared bills, income dependency, and close quarters with no separate place to flee too are all going to be new concepts.  Don’t boys have cooties???

There are a lot of things I’m concerned about, some more serious than others.  What if he can hear me making #2s through the bathroom wall?  What if he doesn’t like watching Gossip Girl marathons when I’m feeling sick (it’s literally the only way to feel better, sans doctor)?  What if I forget how awesome alone time is?  What if we get bored (gasp!)?   What if he forgets to switch to his Netflix account and messes up all my recommendations? What if he loses his job, and I have support us both financially?  What if we break up?

With the bad, there is always good.  I can’t wait to have someone to share breakfast with

I can't wait to have someone to help me realize I'm making poor choices, before it's too late (photo from tumblr)

I can’t wait to have someone to help me realize I’m making poor choices, before it’s too late (photo from tumblr)

every morning.  I can’t wait to have someone with an obligation to plunge the toilet or tub when they’re clogged.  I can’t wait to have someone to watch Gossip Girl marathons with me (Chuck and Blair, your shitty relationship is like crack to me).  I can’t wait to be able to spend time together on weeks when my schedule changes, and I get stuck working 8:00-4:30 while he’s working 3:00-11:00 (we don’t have weeks like that often, and I do enjoy the random alone time, but by the time the week ends, I’m glad).  I can’t wait to have someone to come home to every single night.  I can’t wait to have someone by my side, that loves me more than I love myself.

Am I ready?  Who knows.  What I do know is I’ll never know until I make the leap, and I’m ready to skydive.

V-day D-day

Jessica M

Before I met my current boyfriend, I spent 25 years of my life perpetually single, hopping from short fling to dysfunctional fling, to “what the heck is going on here?!” fling, and back again.  And it was fine.  I LOVED being single.  LUURRVED might actually be a better word because I don’t think loved quite cuts it, I enjoyed single life that tremendously (don’t be confused, I LURVE my boyfriend and my new life as part of a duo as well).  That being said, I like to think of myself as a “connoisseur” of single life.  A concierge, a maven, a master, someone who knows what single gal life is really life.  I spent a lot of time hanging out with myself, and it was pretty awesome.  Most days I still consider myself a single gal, even if only in spirit (I am a one man lady).

This time of year is a dreaded time of year for single ladies.  It’s February, the month of

photo via buzzfeed

photo via buzzfeed

love, which means Valentine’s Day is coming up.  I for one have never been a fan of the holiday.  I love hearts, and pink, and chocolate, and puppies, and all other cute things that come along with Valentine’s day.  I loved the fling I had with a waiter around Valentine’s Day 2009 (finally, a college guy that had enough money to buy all my drinks at the bar – because obviously that was important in a partner then, oh the priorities of a 21 year old).  I s  However, I do not love waiting 45 minutes to get a table at a restaurant.  I do not love sitting elbow to elbow in a movie theater.  I do not love hearing about animals that end up in shelters because they were a Valentine’s Day gift that the receiver wasn’t ready for.  I do not love being taken out and spoiled because someone felt OBLIGATED to.  I think that’s most people’s complaint with Valentine’s Day.  You shouldn’t be told to do something nice for your partner, you should just do it.

Anyhow, I digress.  I started this entry with the intention of giving a few pointers on how single gals can enjoy this day (or any day they’re feeling a little lonely, we all get there), despite being surrounded by throngs of cutsie wootsie couples doing cutsie wootsie things.  You can take my advice, I am a single gal maven after all…

1.  Spend it with your pals!  I have some really fond memories of anti-valentine parties with my closest friends (some of whom were in relationships at the time).  Throw a party, go out to dinner, laugh at the couples that are putting so much pressure on having a perfect

photo via HBO/buzzfeed

photo via HBO/buzzfeed

night, have one too many drinks, and celebrate the importance and power of friendship – it is a relationship after all.  I spent several years celebrating Valentine’s Day with one of my best girlfriends, despite our relationship statuses.  The only reason we stopped is it’s now a two hour commute to see each other.

2.  Watch anti-valentine movies.  My recommendations include Annie Hall, 500 Days of Summer, Blue Valentine, Broken Flowers, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Sleepwalk with Me.  Few things will make you feel better on Valentine’s Day than a movie marathon of failed relationships.  Or any horror flick (if that’s more your thing).

3.  Treat yourself girl!  Stuck with a bunch of friends that are going on dates for Valentine’s

photo via Cartoon Network/buzzfeed

photo via Cartoon Network/buzzfeed

Day?  No worries.  This is the perfect opportunity for you to grab the current issue of your favorite magazine/load up your favorite blog/pull out a much loved book, fill up the bathtub, turn on your favorite (soothing) Pandora station, light some candles, and kick back.  It may sound cliche (single girl having a bathtub pampering session on Valentine’s Day) but trust me, cliche or not – it’s awesome.

4. Stay up until midnight (or get up early the 15th) then go to the grocery store and buy the discounted candy.  Chocolate on sale… does this really need justified?

There ya have it.  It’s a made up holiday that makes single ladies feel bad about themselves.  Instead of being bummed you don’t have a lover to spend the day with, spend your time celebrating the most important relationship you’ll ever have – the one with yourself. :)

photo via NBC/buzzfeed

photo via NBC/buzzfeed

The proximety of long distance

Jessica M

There once was a time, not so long ago, when we were forced to go out and meet new people and make new friends.  A time when being in a big enough city (or, if not, making a minor relocation) was enough to get away from a bad breakup.  I can barely remember this time, but I know it used to exist.

Social networking makes it so easy to stay in touch with those far away, which is a good thing.  I have friends all over the US, from Buffalo New York, to Honolulu Hawaii (I know, lucky jerk).  I’m thankful that thanks to technology I can keep in touch with them all.  When I was a kid, I don’t remember my mom every talking about her friends from out of town, or taking weekend trips to “meet up with the girls.”  But she wasn’t a homebody.  To this day, she still meets weekly with her girlfriends for drinks, or cards, or movies, etc.  How does she do it?  Without my ever doting boyfriend, my nights would be lonelier than I like to think.  Thanks to Facebook, text messaging, Instagram, email, Gchat, and Facetime I’m able to keep in touch with all my college friends, like we’re still sharing a six bedroom house in our tiny college town. I don’t feel the need to go out and meet new people.  The women I work with are all nice enough, but I have no desire to go out to happy hour or to the Christmas party.  I have a solid group of friends, why would I need more?  Juggling relationships can be hard.  It all sounds so cynical, is this the way we live now?

Just a few days ago, I recieved a text message from a former fling.  We haven’t spoken in over a year, and we didn’t exactly end on good terms (what can I say, I get bored easily – it’s not a bad thing, it’s a sign of intelligence).  Regardless, he asked me to meet up for drinks sometime thinking I lived in his town.  I actually live two hours away, so it was easy to avoid the “well I’m in a serious relationship now, idiot” speech, but I couldn’t help but be flabbergasted.  Are we getting just as lazy with forming romantic relationships asnwe are with friendships?  It’s easier to scroll through a cell phone list of contacts and reach out to an ex (despite how it ended) than it is to get out there and meet someone new.  Facebook makes it even easier now that we can check and see if someone is in a relationship or not before sending that text (my gentleman caller conveniently doesn’t have a Facebook account).  Even Instagram has recently introduced an option for direct messaging.

This all leads me to another question, is it appropriate to keep these failed relationships (both romantic and friendships) available through technology?  Thinking about it, a text message is quite personal.  It’s a private conversation between two people.  It’s sent directly, and it gives senders time to formulate thoughts before sending.  It eliminates the risk of immediate embarassment and opens up an opportunity for more bold conversation.  Should we be blocking exfriends and exlovers from contacting us this way?  Like I mentioned earler, things like this never used to be an issue.  Without these new forms of instant and direct conversation, a two hour gap in between people would be enough to keep an ex at bay.

It’s hard to say if these forms of e-communication are a blessing or a curse.  I’ll take the ability to keep in touch with my lady soulmates (it feels like just yesterday we were still living under the same roof) if it means having to endure awkward conversation with old flames at the same time.  As I type this, I’m sitting in an airport terminal surrounded by people ending their holiday travel.  It looks like even with all these new ways of getting together without actually getting together aren’t a total deterrant for loved ones getting together in person and it’s heartwarming – even for my cold, electronic chatting, heart.

Thankful and thankful and thankful again

Jessica M

It’s that time of year again, everyone is thankful for something.  But shouldn’t we be thankful all year round?  I’ve been really impressed with my Facebook friends that have committed to putting up one thing they’re thankful for every day this month.  I keep thinking, there’s no way I could come up with that many things to be thankful for – but that’s the attitude of the discourage and while my mid twenties might not be everything I hoped they’d be, I refuse to get gloomy.  So I’ve challenged myself to come up with a list of the things I’m most thankful for.  Took make it a little more interesting to look at, I’ve decided to only use pictures from my Facebook (I’ve been scrolling through them lately and it’s helped to remind me how much I have to be thankful for).  And from now on when I’m feeling sad or gloomy I’ll have this list to refer back to – year round – and remember there’s lots to be thankful for, even if it’s not November.

What I’m thankful for (as told in pictures)

1. I’m thankful that my boyfriend is as big of a nerd as I am.  Recently, we spent an entire day (literally) playing two different versions of Final Fantasy at the same time.

1419805_979504099430_962639884_n2. I am thankful for my parents.  They’ve been together for 28 years and make me believe in soulmates.  If everyone had parents as great as mine, the world would be an incredible place.

74583_979143556960_1501120862_n

3. I am thankful for pets.  To feel unconditional love it rare, but I’ve found it in my dogs.  Recently, I stopped by my parents house to check on my dog Kelly after she had a wart removed.  She was so high on pain pills I don’t even know if she knew I was there but I was happy to baby her for an afternoon.

kelly belly4. I am thankful for learning new things.  Last year I swallowed my nerves and learned how to ride a motorcycle.  Not only is it another super fun activity I can now do, but it gave my dad and I a unique activity to do together and that’s really the best part. 

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5. Cheese.  I’m definitely thankful for cheese.  I think the best cheese of my life was Brie with honey drizzled over it from a seafood restaurant in Wilmington NC. 

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6. I am thankful for creativity.  I have enough resources at my fingertips to start new projects and discover new passions regularly.  An outlet of creativity keeps my mind sharp now that I’m no longer in school. 

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7. I’m thankful for good books and reading.  It’s the best way to escape life and expand your thinking.

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8. I’m thankful for slumber parties.  There are few better ways to unwind and forget about all the stresses of getting older than grabbing a bunch of blankets, board games, and friends and unwinding for the night.  I’m also thankful that I have an awesome circle of friends that would agree with me.

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9. I’m thankful for Bonnaroo.  It’s the one time I year I get to let loose and be a total dirty hippie along with 80,000 other people, and it’s socially acceptable.

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10. I’m thankful for my friends.  98% of them are certified lunatics, but I love them just the same.

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11.  Most of all, I’m thankful for moments like this:

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12.  And these

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13. Last one

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14. And sushi.  Cannot forget about sushi.

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Seven: on change and keeping positive about change

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If there’s anything I’ve learned in life, it’s that a lot can change over time. A lot has changed for me in this past year alone, and a lot more will change in another six months. Luckily, I’ve seen more changes to be positive things in my life than negative.

A year ago, my current boyfriend and I were broken up and I was dealing by doing everything that I wanted and could do to keep me happy and going (traveling, seeing friends I never see, staying out late and just trying to seize every chance to do something fun or different.) A couple of months prior, I decided that I desperately wanted a big life change and had been trying to make plans to move to Nashville. I later realized that there was no way I was going to be able to have enough money saved in order to make such a huge move (it was quite a rash decision) and the boyfriend and I had started talking about seeing each other again so we went on a few casual dates. Since then, I’ve never loved Pittsburgh or my boyfriend more. We eased into dating again and the break was probably the best thing for both of us to get things straightened out. At the same time, I learned to see this city in such a positive light again, instead of looking at it as a place that I was stuck. At my museum job, a new position was created in the Spring and I started giving talks and tours and getting to actually be more hands on and creative at work, which felt wonderful. This past summer has been great for growing and continuing to find artistic inspiration. Now, last week, my boyfriend informed me that he had a potential job offer to run a business in his hometown in Ohio. On Sunday, I was told that it was happening (well, 95% sure it’s happening since all the technical things haven’t been completed) and this only means even more change, some of which will be happening very soon. Since everything hasn’t been completely worked out, we’re not sure when he’ll be going, but I know I won’t be able to follow until Spring due to my current apartment lease. There’s so much to be done, even more on his part than mine initially, but I’m almost feeling overwhelmed with the thought of it all. I know I’m going to make some lists soon and I also know that this is something he and I will have to figure out as we go along.

When it comes to my life decisions, I am so lucky to have parents that are always supportive and there to help me talk through things when I need it. After discussing details with my boyfriend, I called my mom to tell her the news. She told me that we should look at it as another adventure and enjoy the changes. I’ve thought about how positive so many changes have been for me throughout my life, especially the ones that seemed so scary at first.

Winter can be a really depressing time for me (I’m like a little plant and I don’t do well without sunlight and warmth) so once I have more details about what’s going on this Spring, I plan to start a timeline of tasks for myself to keep up with what I need to do in order to make this transition as easy as possible. I’m also planning to try to keep up with doing at least a little bit of something creative, as it is also a really hard time for me to feel creative as well. I have ideas for handmade gifts for holidays and a little project to surprise my boyfriend with for his birthday that I hope help keep me thinking creatively.

Here’s to any and all other potential changes I have coming for me.