Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Where did April go?

When life gets tough, I just need to remind myself: I climbed this!

I can't believe it's almost May. This month has been a blur. It probably seems like I've gone MIA, but I've just been really, really busy with melanoma-related activities. Earlier this month, I traveled to Utah for a meeting with SolSurvivors, a patient advocacy organization based in Salt Lake City. (This is the group I'm working with on the PCORI-funded project.) Then today, I had a chance to meet with this guy in Seattle. Everyone I've met since I began working on this project has been incredibly receptive to the idea of involving patients in the design of cancer research and outreach projects. There's still lots of details up in the air and lots to figure out, but I'm feeling very confident about being able to engage more laypeople in the melanoma research process going forward--and that's incredibly, incredibly exciting to me.

Meanwhile, it's crunch time as we prepare for the Northwest Melanoma Walk on May 31. I've connected with several new partners for the the walk this year, so it'll be interesting to see how the event evolves from last year.

Protecting my skin from the hot Cabo sun.

On a slightly unrelated note, this month I also accomplished something I never thought would be possible: I turned off my iPhone for five full days while I was in Mexico.

Coming from someone who checks her email at least 50 times a day and practically cuddles her phone when she goes to sleep, I was expecting to go through withdrawals. But, surprisingly, the company I kept while I was vacationing was enough to distract me from that constant nagging feeling that I needed to check my email. I suppose the margaritas and shrimp tacos didn't hurt either.

Disconnecting during an incredibly busy time--both at work and for my patient advocacy activities--was oddly liberating. I embraced relaxation to the point where I barely felt like myself anymore. I danced until 4 a.m. and climbed a huge mountain of rocks (see photo above), even though I'm ordinarily scared of heights. I heard people talk about their tans and sunburns, and I barely batted an eye.

My amigas!

I think one of my strengths as a human being is my ability to be empathetic and compassionate to others. But let's be real: caring is exhausting. It was nice to know that I could almost "turn it off" for a few days, just so that I could get a little down time.

Coming back to work on Monday was a bit of a rude wake up call. My inbox was full and I had several major deadlines to meet. Regardless, Cabo '14 will go down as one of the best trips ever. Crazy adventures with great friends--and I was finally able to chill out enough to enjoy it. Definitely just what I needed to get me through my busy season.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

7 things that drive me absolutely crazy

While I'm typically the kind of gal whose glass is half full, there are a handful of things that drive me completely and totally batty. I pre-apologize if your pet peeves list includes bloggers' pet peeves lists. Mine includes:

1. Anything (or anyone) that stands in my way of being on time
I absolutely hate being late for meetings, appointments, events, etc. Even worse, I hate when being late is completely out of my control. For example, if I'm getting a ride from a friend to a birthday party and she shows up late, making both of us late to the party... %&#$@ Beware, you will feel my wrath.

2. People who are rude to bus drivers
This morning, I witnessed a man yell profanities at my bus driver for no apparent reason. I don't care if your wife just left you, if you just went bankrupt, or your March Madness bracket is busted--don't take it out on people who are simply doing their job.

3. These absurd "Got Vitamin D?" ads
These ads are in virtually every ladies room at every bar in downtown Portland. It's also currently on the billboard I have to walk past in order to get to the gym.

Stop trying to tell me that tanning is healthy. Because it's not. Just stop.

4. The words "We'll find out...... After the break."
I'm looking at you Chris Harrison. I cancelled my cable recently, so I missed the bulk of the most recent season of The Bachelor, but is it REALLY necessary to have that show go on for TWO HOURS?! No. Stop dragging it out. Just send the girl home.


5. #hashtags
Sorry folks. I don't like them. #sorryimnotsorry

6. Blogs that have so many ads on the sidebar that it takes 20 minutes to load
I came here to read your content, but now I can't, so I'll catch you later (or not).

7. When people cancel at the last minute
Saving the best for last. I think my all-time biggest pet peeve is when people cancel on me at the last minute. I'm like the dentist - I need 24 hours notice or I'm still going to send you the bill.

What drives you crazy?