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Friday, April 8, 2016

Winding down

It's been an interesting season of life the past few months.  Practically every facet of my life has undergone some version of "re-invention."  In the moment of these "re-inventions" I have been forced to come to terms with who I was, who I wanted to be, and what my future might look like.  My health, my career, my relationship, my home, my intellectual pursuits, my creative pursuits, all of is not what it used to be or what I thought it would be.

This part of the internet has been a liberating space to share life's funny moments, challenging thoughts, and creative process. Given all the life changes recently, and the evolution that life has taken, I feel compelled to wind down writing in this space and keep pursuing my writing on another neglected space Cara Straight Trippin' where I'll now start to capture my thoughts, travels, musing, life's pathway and alike.   You'll get more of the same, but better (ok, no promises on the "better" front.)

Hop on over to Cara Straight Trippin' and follow along!

Thank you for the space and privilege of writing in this space.  It has been so good for me.


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Young, Unmarried, Graduate-School Professional: Writing.

There’s a lot to be done.  At the end of the day I’ve spent more time writing at a desk than not.  If I’m not writing emails, developing amendments, building grants and milestones, directing processes or catching up with colleagues, then I’m at my desk writing papers about regulatory pathways for vaccine development or citing examples of risk-based approached to clinical trial monitoring or defining the importance of why Good Clinical Practice is fundamentally important in pharmaceutical product development.  When I’m not doing those I’m gchatting with the bestie, catching up on personal messages, paying bills and organizing my life.  This is the writing life of a young, unmarried, graduate school professional.    

Moreover, when I’m not doing those things, I’m at the gym, physical therapist, massage therapist, head therapist, so I can be better, stronger and healthy do all those aforementioned activities.  I’m therapy-ing all over this place.

What I WANT to write about is me, my life, my thoughts and my comings and goings.  What I WANT to delve into are my successes, aspirations, struggles, realities, and life approaches.  I want to do this because it’s therapeutic for me and as much as I can spew onto this page, the less it swirls in my head.  I’m talking about big ideas like how to tackle life to the little ideas like why and I’m obsessed currently with Halsey version of Justin Bieber’s Love Yourself, Amazon Prime’s Mozart in the Jungle, and bittersweet chocolate chips (no relation to each other).  Or how I’ve planned a trip to Big Sur which is currently only includes a reservation at an inn in Carmel and nothing else (who has ideas?!).   

What I want is to see the world, eat fresh bruschetta with olives and almonds and drink smooth and crisp wine under Tuscan summer afternoons, and sail the Grecian Islands.  I want to create art, do something with my hands, hike to expansive views, ride long bike trails and laugh with the ones I love.  I've got a long bucket list of "want to dos" and this year I'm focusing on those.   

So you see, there’s a lot.  To do, to be done. But there are only 24 hours in a day and I am but one person. 

xo, c 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Hello? Is this thing on?

It has come to my attention that I’ve neglected this space for over a year now.  As of now I spend my days working and my evenings as a student.  Before being a student again it was summer in the northwest which is no time to be indoors.  Before that, I have no idea.  I can barely remember what I had for dinner last night (oh, wait, cereal.)

A lot has happened in the last year.  It’s been the usual eating great food, traveling, falling face first into love (yeah! And ugh!), pushing on my career, visiting family, turned 30-something again, and in general kept my shit together enough to function as a “adult” – whatever that means.

So let’s just pretend it’s only been a few weeks since my last post and we’re just picking up where we left off. 

The cycling studio I go to now offers Dynamax Medball class that consists of throwing 6-8 pound balls at a wall.  This has been incredibly therapeutic since throwing things at people is generally frowned upon.  I’ve been going to this studio now for about 6 months, 5 – 6 days a week, now and I’ve got some triceps and shoulders to show for it.  That’s exciting.  My abs are still hidden under some impermeable layer of insulation, but whatever. More importantly it keeps the crazy in check.

It’s the middle of football season which is hard for born, raised, and educated in Washingtonians.  The Huskies are struggling, the Seahawks are struggling, the games are generally in outdoor stadiums in miserable weather, your rival teams are generally a lot better than you, we “coug” it more often than not, and yet, we’re still here, loud and proud. 

My cleaning lady comes tomorrow.  Yes, I have a cleaning lady for my 600 square foot apartment because some people pay for therapy, and I pay for someone to clean my house as an anxiety-reducing methods. Even I have my limits of living in my own filth. I also keep a healthy dose of chocolate in the freezer as medicine for real-time anxiety needs. 

I miss writing for me and channeling my thoughts and observations.  I have writing assignments due Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays which is what absorbs my writing/staring at a computer capacity.  I write about 4-6 pages a week on laws, regulations, guidelines, and ethics governing the pharmaceutical industry and the FDA. It is really interesting but I cannot be as hilarious in those forums as I can here.   

Hmmmm, what else….

The  Mr. travels quite a bit for work and I’m pretty absorbed with work and school, but on the rare occasion we have night in my favorite thing to do it get Thai food for the corner place, settle in for the night, and watch Blacklist.  It’s so good and so problematic but it doesn’t stop us from watching it.  Does anyone else struggle with the time/space continuum they chose to employ?  It makes no freakin sense. 

I get a massage once a week which I cannot emphasize enough how amazing it is.  I have problematic hips and shoulders, mostly because I sit like Quasimodo at my desk for 10-12 hours a day (or curled up in a ball on my couch on Pinterest- same same). Let’s just all get massages and stop killing each other.  The secret to world peace is being kind to yourself so you can be kind to others. Let’s do that.

I discovered my second grey hair this weekend.  That ruin everything.  Just kidding – it just killed my youthful spirit, that’s all. 

Big news here in Seattle.  The gum wall is gone.  That shit is disgusting.  So gross.  Let’s stop. 

Well, off to that massage in which she will flatten me into a pancake and I will be technology-free, if only for an hour. 

I’ll be back soon. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014


It's quiet.

At 5:30 am I can only hear the percolating of my baseboard heaters and the occasional vehicle drive by outside.  It's a balmy 26 degrees this morning as we're in the midst of a cold streak here in Seattle. I finally caved and turned on the heat.

5:30 am has been the status quo this week as a side effect of serious jetlag.  I'm just back from 2.5 weeks in South Africa, quite literally on the other side of the world.  

It was a week ago I was standing in Kruger National Park sipping roobios tea with a wild white rhino nibbling on grass not 100 yards away. It was just a week ago I end up flying home with only my wallet and passport after a mix up at the hotel that made all our belongings disappear (This is a story for a later date).  It was a week ago I touched down at Sea-Tac airport and thanked that good Lord that I'm lucky enough to call here my home.

With more to come, for now I'll sit here, drink my tea, watch the sunrise and be full.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Non-verbal Queues

I've got the full story of the rendezvous in Rome with the Italian Stallion almost ready for you but just a teaser here's how it's evolved since I've been back.  We started with emojis and pet names. *He's light blue

We've upgraded to song lyrics from the songs we sang walking through the streets of Rome.

Ya know, these songs: Diamonds and Use Somebody

BIG STEPS people. This is the most un-me like thing happening in my life right now and it makes me smile.

Monday, June 9, 2014

So Good

I've spent the last few mornings, gently waking up and shuffling out to my kitchen.  This isn't unusual but the recent mornings have been courtesy of jetlag and mind wandering. I put the coffee on, scramble 2 eggs, clean and chop some fresh strawberries and sit down at my eating table and savor the morning. The sun has been shining in, warming the place and the soul.

For the first time in four months I had the weekend to myself, home, here in Seattle.  The last 2 weeks I've been traipsing around Italy and Switzerland which is an entirely different series of posts that I'll get to soon.

I'm compelled to write this morning by an overwhelming sense of completeness, contentment and fulfillment. I have found such a great peace in the last few days that transcends vacation high the burrows deep.  It nestles within me. The completeness is comforting and enveloping.

I know it won't last forever.  It shouldn't. But right now, it just feels so good.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


Today will be one of those days that goes into the history books as one of those days that just threw the hits and the hits kept coming.

While on my beautiful walk I get a text message for the guy I’ve been dating saying he doesn’t think we should continue to see each other.  A TEXT MESSAGE. From the guy who is “in a relationship” according to his facebook, but couldn’t tell me to my face. A guy who I was supposed to introduce to my mom tonight before going away for the weekend.  A guy who I’d spent the last couple months sleeping over Saturday nights and waking up Sunday and going for our walks to get coffee. Ya know, that guy. A TEXT MESSAGE.  Wham.

I haven’t even had my coffee yet and the universe threw a solid punch to the heart. 

 Oh but no, we were just warming up.

**Overshare warning** I get home from my walk a little nauseous and disoriented from what had just happened.  So much so I walked past my trusty café (a trusty café that would never break up with me via text message) and still didn’t get my cup of coffee. In the course of the morning my monthly visitor shows up 6 days late, on the exact same day I’m scheduled for my pre-vacation bikini wax. And because my lady books 6 weeks out and I leave in a week on my Swiss Adventure I can’t reschedule.  So, if you can imagine having your hair in your bikini region removed from the roots while your uterus, mere inches below churns in turmoil, for about 30 min is about as comfortable as it sounds.  Thanks universe for aligning oh so imperfectly on this day.

On these types of days, I’m so grateful for my friends and family.  My girlfriends who rally behind me, remind me of my value and worth, make me laugh, give me bars of real imported milk chocolate.  My guy friends know how exactly how to empathize and get into the pit of despair with me and hangout, validating that its ok to be hurt and that it is super shitty.

I’m so grateful for the work I’ve done to more easily let go, find the silver lining and move on.  There is so much goodness on the horizon that days like these slow me down a little and momentarily, but it’s full speed ahead to the next great steps.  
But today, I call "Uncle!"

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Playing Along

When I went for my routine annual physical exam I figured it’d be in spick-n-span shape, ready to carry on with my happy healthy little life.  Besides been told I need to lose 10-12 lbs to be considered in the “healthy” weight range, everything first looked fine.  Specimen of health.

Oh no, that was far too optimistic.  Blood results came back with elevated liver enzymes and all of sudden I can’t drink, take birth control, Tylenol, or vitamins/supplements.  (wheel screeching….S’cuse me?) Well, that’s shitty.  Add to the list of other things I shouldn’t have like dairy or wheat, I’m not sure what the point of living is anymore.  At least I had booze and sex as other ways to self-medicate instead of cake and ice cream.   But now this!? Totally unimpressed over here. 

So after a few rounds of blood tests and more inconclusive results, the doctor requested an ultrasound.  Sure, whatever, rub some jelly on my belly and take some blurry pictures. So in a waiting room of a lot of preggers and one homeless man, I played along and waited patiently for my ultrasound.

Do you know where your liver is?  It’s behind your ribcage, all protected from injury. I suspect that it’s because the Great Designer figured we’d destroy our livers from the inside, we should probably add extra efforts to protect from the outside. So when they want to do an ultrasound of your liver they get up into your ribcage and go poking around while telling you to hold your breath.  You know what else is there….YOUR LUNGS! You know what doesn’t feel good: trying to hold your breath when someone is jabbing at your ribcage. But fine, I kept playing along. 

But you know what, more inconclusive results, and I am not playing along anymore. Next step is a biopsy of the liver when/if the next ELEVEN blood results come back inconclusive.

My hot date tomorrow night has promised not to tell my doctor about that glass of wine I’m going to have.  That’s how I like to roll, living in a world of lies. 



Friday, March 21, 2014

Yesterday - Debt Free-dom

Today I paid off my student loan.  It was very unceremonious, a mere transaction between myself and a digitized operator.  I entered my checking account number. She said the payment would be processed in 3-5 business days and instructed me to press 9 to return to the main menu.  Just like that I was debt free.  No confetti, no streamers, no marching band. I just kept getting ready to go to my grown up job.

It’d been 9 years to the day I finished my last final, self-published my first book and walked out of the last class in which my teacher told me she was giving me the only 4.0 she was going to give that quarter.  I should have been on cloud nine.  I should have walked away with weight lifted and free.  Instead, I walked out of the building and what was my first instinct? Cry.  I cried tears of regret and fear.  I broke down and sobbed because for the first time in my life I had no idea what I was going to do next.  All I wanted to do was plow through college so I could work. I wanted to fast track life to join the rat-race work force because that’s what I was supposed to do. 

Post-college reality punched me in the gut when I walked out that door. I was in a relationship that was lovely but I knew wouldn’t really last and I wanted to be in one with someone else. My hyper-scheduled, color-coded calendar became a vast chasm of free time….but to do what?  I lived in a cute little apartment  but knew it wasn’t home and my roommate and I would go separate ways.  It was such an unknown period in life that nothing I knew felt like the right place, space or feeling.

So on that last night of college, I called my best buddy and he met me at my spot. I sat and cried while he sympathized and assured me that all would be fine.  We both knew it would, but how, we couldn’t pin point.   

The next week I researched publishing programs around the country that set me on a life path that would take me to where I am today.

I wish I could tell the scared 22 year old me that I was going to be just fine and to calm the freak down.  I wish I could tell me that I was actually going to be better than fine and that the best was yet to come. And that I couldn’t even imagine how life would exceed my expectations, throw serious curveballs, feel the highest highs and the lowest lows. I wish I could tell myself I’d see the world and fall in love with it as much as I would fall in love with my home town.  That I’d leave and come back stronger and braver. I wish I could tell myself that you can’t plan life by 15 minute increments…stop being that ridiculous and be other kinds of good ridiculous.    

Now it’s time to really do other grown up things like maybe get married, save for the future, invest, plan for retirement, have a budget, meal plan for a week’s meals, organize the closets, meet with a financial advisor, etc.  But before that, the blossoms are out and I’ll head to my spot...for old time’s sake. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Battling the Blues

We’re in the full fledges of winter and this is about the time of year where a less than desirable mood can move in so I've learned I have to actively defend myself against those wintery blues.  Here’s my random thoughts and recent activities that help keep the spirits up.

·         I think I missed my calling as a virologist.  I’m taking an online virology course and my mind is blown every time.  I’m really gearing up to highly-possibly go back to school in the summer/fall so this is a good exercise in getting my study on.   I’m also regularly practicing my Italian which I’m quite sure my neighbors loves to hear me shout “IL GATTO E SUL TELEVISORE!” (The cat is on the television) in a perfect American accent. Because that's useful.

·         I’m back at boot camp which means last week I could hardly walk and today I could hardly lift my arms over my head.  That’s the cost of getting back into shape. 

·         Thanks to the fine folks at RH2 CPAs, I only owe $4 to Uncle Sam this year.  Can’t get much more accurate than that! Best accountants around. Take that Uncle Sam….oh wait, never mind - you’ve taken your fair share.

·         If anyone would like to get me a subscription to Kinfolk, Darling or The New Yorker, that would be so appreciated and I would think of you every time I got the delivery. 

·         Action packed week coming up with a shopping night, K2 movie screening, the SAM Remix with Miro, Europhile and Travel Meet Up/Girls Night in Ballard and a few pipeline screenings.   If you want to join for any of it, let me know…more the merrier (not generally said by an introvert but I probably like you so it’s ok).  

·         Storyville coffee just opened down the street and I am in love. It’s not Italian coffee but it is the best Seattle coffee in town. Bold, but true statement.
  • I listen to this song and this song, couple times a day...maybe more than a couple times.

·         While I’ve been writing in bursts and sparingly posting, you can always follow me along on the Twitter and the Instagram (@mscsquared) (just recently released on Windows Phones so now I’m obsessed) to get the snippets.
How do you fight the winter blues?  I'm open to all tips and tricks of the trade.