Thursday, January 4, 2018

Why You Should Eat Your Frozen Yogurt While You Still Can

Disclaimer- non-gory, but including excessively large amounts of maternity, labor, delivery, and baby information.

Baby Wide Awake at 3 am

When you’re going to have a baby, you hear many times about your “birthing plan”. This mystical plan is something cooked up by labor and delivery specialists who want to laugh at you thinking there’s anything about birthing a human that can be planned. My magical plan involved things like “no epidural” and “use of a tub in active labor”, which are hilarious now that I look back at the weirdest, most stressful, painful, and beautiful week of my life.

On Monday, I suddenly developed a thunder-clap headache, and after Tylenol and 5 hours, it hadn't budged. Fortunately, my mom was already in town and took my blood pressure with an old cuff I've inherited, and found that it was way too high. We were unsure of how accurate that old thing was, so we went to the Sanpete hospital to double check ("hospital" is a generous description). My blood pressure readings throughout the pregnancy and young adult life have always been impeccable, so it's a particular a point of pride. We get there, they put us in a maternity suite, and grab my vitals. Not only were they as high as the reading at home- they're worse. After monitoring me for a while, the on-call OB thought it would be prudent to get my levels down through an IV medication. After a while, my numbers looked great again, and they sent me home

Two hours later, my headache came back, we checked my pressure and called my dr in Provo who said to come up to the hospital there to be checked out overnight. Once at the hospital, they monitor me and order a battery of tests that decide I don't have preeclampsia. I'm told to essentially go home on bed rest and follow up at my appointment in 2 days. We leave on Wednesday for my Dr appointment with Jarom who was going to work right after. My mom and I had to kill a few hours in Provo afterwards, so we had a show time of Coco picked out to see, frozen yogurt, and non-active sitting in the plans for our day. We go into the office, the MA starts my vitals, then runs to get the dr. They're even worse than they were on Monday. The Dr checks it manually several times and finds that it's still high. We have a talk- my body was not ready for labor yet, but if we didn't induce, there was a small chance for seizure and possibly fatal risk to me and the baby. He said the labor would be long and terrible, and that I would have about a 1 in 5 chance for a c-section, but that it was safest for the baby.

Back at the maternity ward in Provo, at 10 in the morning, I settle in for the long haul. After 3 failed attempts to get the IV in (and lovely bruised forearms), I’m hooked up and ready to party. Good news is that because I’m still at least 12 hours away from the Pitocin, they’ll let me eat whatever I want, whenever I want. That gets old surprisingly fast, as I’m tied down to the monitors and IV line. Every time I get up to go to the restroom (which is often, I’m still 9 months pregnant after all), someone comes in later and comments on how long I was in there. Because they’re watching it on their little monitors. As the evening progresses, the contractions become increasingly more painful. By 6 pm, I was curled in a ball with my trays and trays of food surrounding me crying about missing Coco, my frozen yogurt, and my birthing tub. I WANTED THE TUB. But, because I was induced, no tub, no Coco, and no yogurt. The night crawled on, with time moving more slowly as things were more painful. The most fun thing about those little monitors is watching the contraction building, and knowing things were going to get terrible within seconds. Even before the Pitocin, I’d go through stretches where I’d barely have 30 seconds before another contraction would begin. At this point, the nurse, my mom, and Jarom would all be yelling some nonsense about breathing. How in the heck am I supposed to breathe when my body has turned into hot lava?? My Dr stopped by and reminds me to hold off on an epidural as long as possible to which I chuckle. “Epidural? Has he read my birth plan? I’m not getting an epidural, please”.

6 hours later, we start the Pitocin. Holy heaven, the Pitocin. Within 30 minutes, most of the contents of my trays and trays of food have been regurgitated because of the pain, and I can hardly string two words together. I ask for some pain killers and they give me some fentanyl, which works for about 20 minutes. I hold out for another 90 minutes. I get another dose. Another hour later, and another. It does nothing. By 4 am, my mom and Jarom told me I was getting an epidural, and I was getting the mother effing epidural. The needle didn’t freak me out, but trying to stay still through the contractions did. Once it was in, I felt a gradual increase in relief until I felt nothing at all. Loopy from the pain killers, and blissfully out of pain, I floated away on a cloud waking only to try to help my lower body be flipped every hour. By noon, I was semi-awake, watching the hypnotic waves of my contractions on the screen and thinking about how awful that would have felt if I could feel anything at all. Someone told me I was in transition, and I yawned and said “ok” and took another nap. I was awoken by a… weird feeling. I told my mom that I felt… odd. She flags down the nurse who lets me know that it’s go time. They try to flag down my dr (who’s at a Christmas party, and not hearing his phone ringing). Everyone in the room is nearing panic, and I’m just trying not to go back to sleep. I doze off anyway… Suddenly, the dr and about 40 other people are in the room simultaneously yelling at me to push. The whole scene was so hilarious to me that I burst out laughing. I try my best to push, which is surprisingly hard when you have no idea where your abdomen even is, and feel nothing but absolute exhaustion. I’d been going at this for over 27 hours after all. I give it my biggest effort of my life, and within 3-4 contractions, the baby is out of me!

There is nothing like the incredible moment your baby is born. I can’t even put it in words. Just, trust me.

As amazing as the epidural is, coming off the epidural is… less amazing. I had horrific shaking and suddenly everything hurt. The shaking was so bad that I couldn’t even hold the baby. They then ship you off out of the delivery room and into recovery- on another floor- and sitting in a wheelchair is about the worst thing ever. Once in recovery, the nurses pump you full of pain killers, and keep you happy and pampered.

Upon discharge, I was terrified and excited to take our new bundle home, but was warned we’d need to take her in for testing her bilirubin (baby girl was jaundiced as all getup). We got her tested- she needed the bili blanket. We put her under some tanning lights at home, she’s still jaundiced. They test her again, and her numbers are even higher and we have to take her back up to the hospital in Provo- the day after being discharged. We spend the night in the hospital again, and are able to go home the next afternoon. Two days later, she got very very lethargic, and more jaundiced. We take her into the ER in Sanpete, who calls Primary Children’s Hospital and orders some tests. They come back as abnormal and suddenly I was in an ambulance for 3 hours taking my baby up to Primary Children’s Hospital in the middle of a snowstorm being told there may be some heart defects. Fortunately, after a long night, everything was ruled out, the tests were reinterpreted and determined to be normal, and baby girl begins to clear the bilirubin on her own. At that point, we’d spend 6 out of the last 8 nights in hospitals for me and the baby and Jarom and I were done with it.


Having a new human is hard. It’s terrifying. It’s the most incredible thing I’ve ever been able to do.

Baby Finally Asleep around 4:30 am

Friday, January 27, 2017

Return of the Gypsy Curse, Or Why Cuisinart is an Agent of Satan

Friends,

As some of you may remember, in the town of Alcala de Henares on a cold March morning in 2007, I was literally cursed by a gypsy when I muttered in Spanish that I didn't have any cash on me (I really didn't). Since that day, a number of bizarre, yet oddly fitting curse-like things have happened to me... there's an entire blog post for reference if you're in need of a good laugh. Recently, I had erroneously believed the curse had been lifted after I had a demon thorn surgically excised from my finger. Shortly thereafter I went on the second first date with my now husband (shoutout to my wonderful spouse!). Suddenly things seemed to be going my way again. I even won a raffle for a book in class!! I actually won something! There have been a few incidents including a 2nd degree burn across 3 fingers and a rapid succession of cars dying right after I bought new windshield wipers, but I was certain it had passed.

I know now I've never been more wrong. If you regularly check my snapchat stories, you'll know what is coming.

To fully explain this story, I need to take you to December 13th, 2016. On this day it was announced that Cuisinart was initiating a voluntary recall on faulty food processor blades that could fall apart (which is slightly worrisome). Ever the dutiful spouse, my husband jumped on the website and ordered replacements. In order to do so though, he had to take the covering off to read the serial number. Soon, our replacement blades arrived, and again he was quick to switch in the brand new, insanely sharp blades. Unfortunately, this was undertaken at the height of the Christmas/Birthday season, and he couldn't find the covering. Soon after, we took a week-long trip to California, and he was contacted about a new job. The food processor was forgotten. But it did not forget about us.

On the night of January 20th, we were beginning to pack our apartment to move to Fairview. We were filling a giant blue bin with various "baking implements" around the kitchen. I noticed a great spot I could squeeze in my Christmas china. I wanted to wrap it in one of my new Christmas hand towels I had acquired in order to keep it protected in the bin. Whilst my husband was rustling through our post-Christmas piles, I casually reached toward the china to pick it up. Suddenly I felt a sharp tug on the back of my hand. I look down, and saw a huge gash with blood quickly seeping out. A number of profanities left my mouth, as I was too busy making sure my tendons still worked to remember how to ask for help in English. This is all according to my husband at least, because I was running off pure adrenaline and my memory is fuzzy at best. At first, my husband just called out to ask if I need anything. I start repeating the profanities more urgently. He finally comes running into the kitchen with a hand-towel from the Christmas pile in hand. This is essentially how the ensuing conversation went down... Husband: "What's wrong?" Me: "Profanity!!" Husband: "Oh my gosh, what should I do??" Me: "Profanity... [frantic pointing toward towel!]".

(I will include a picture of the setting, but not a picture of the large gash)

This was taken after returning home for context for family and friends I retold the story to later. Uncovered blade in the foreground, china in the background. Miscellaneous other clutter around it. 


With the towel firmly in place around my hand, we rushed over to the urgent care (my husband was sweet enough to braid my hair for me, because it was more wild than medusa's and my bloody-gash hand couldn't do anything). I was chatty and pleasant with the nurse and the doctor, and they had it cleaned out and stitched up in a jiffy. I was too concerned about getting out of there to mention that I have an insy sensitivity to latex. The warm and fuzzy nurse let me pick out the color of the bandage, and they wrapped it up with firm instructions not to remove or change the bandage for at least 3 days.

Warning, picture of stitches ahead:

Contrary to popular belief, that's my hand.. not my arm. 

That night, I could tell that the numbing shot was beginning to wear off, but I figured I should tough it out. I woke up at 3:00 am to a burning sensation in my hand. It hurt SO. BAD. It felt like it was on fire. Now, I've walked 10 miles in the snow on a torn MCL. I'm not one to usually let pain get the better of me. I went out to the couch and just sat there cradling my hand for 45 minutes. Finally, I couldn't stand it anymore. I ripped off the bandage and saw angry, red, inflamed skin all around where the bandage had been sitting. The gash had swollen and I had little welts everywhere. I woke up my husband, and we rummaged through our medicine drawer looking for latex free bandaging with no success. The snowstorm just hit as he went stumbling out the door towards our Walgreens at 4 in the morning for supplies. Needless to say, our packing got off to a rough start.

So, what are the morals of this story? First, if a scary gypsy lady asks you for money, find an ATM. Second, never move. Third, just throw away your food processors, there is no need for anything that sharp on anything that doesn't belong to a ninja. And, Fourth, always disclose a latex sensitivity.


Thursday, October 13, 2016

On Assault and the Evil Orange Monster

I thought a lot about posting this. It’s a deeply personal thing not many people know about, but in light of recent events, I hope my experiences can at least give some depth to current rhetoric. I have never been raped, but I have been sexually assaulted*. To be honest, it feels weird to write that, and I don't ever label myself as being a victim of assault, but I was assaulted. It was never by anyone I was dating (for the record, all very respectful, wonderful men) or was particularly close to, but by men (boys) who thought they had the right to do so merely because I was there and they wanted to.

I wasn’t ever in a “compromising situation”; one occurrence was at work (at BYU) another was at a (BYU) school function (NOT that it matters). I was “modestly” dressed (NOT that it matters), and did nothing to invite their attention, having no idea that the assault was about to occur. When it happened I was so stunned, I didn’t even fight back like I always thought I would. In each of these circumstances, even when reported, I was made to think I had somehow overreacted or that I should feel guilty for “making them” do something that they'd have to talk to their bishop about. I felt ashamed, embarrassed, and weak. I blamed myself for letting it happen. I didn’t even realize until frighteningly recently that I was never the one at fault, and not only did I not overreact, I didn’t react nearly enough. This happens to women far too often, even at a place I loved so much like BYU. We deserve better, our daughters deserve better. We cannot continue to dismiss or turn a blind eye towards actions by a rare group of terrible men who can do so much to diminish a woman's self worth. 


There is nothing that disgusts me more than hearing people defend the low life scum of the earth that made such abhorrent comments about women. It is not excusable. It is not ok. And it causes real hurt and pain. It is comments like that- and their easy dismissal- that enable some men to see women as things and abuse them. Those men are the exception, not the rule, but they are emboldened by those words. I will not tolerate defense of that behavior. I hope that none of the women I know have experienced anything like it, but I know that if I have it is possible that there are others who similarly keep those traumas to themselves. I hope this empowers you to know you are not alone, and what happened to you was wrong. Please, in this election do not vote for someone truly deplorable who degrades women, Hispanics, Muslims, African Americans, the LGBTQI community, the disabled, or any one of God’s precious children. Do not vote for anyone who dismisses assault as “locker room talk”. 

Most of the men I have known would never say, think, or do those things. I am lucky to be married to the living embodiment of kindness, gentleness, and respect. Do not let that disgusting man or his attitudes into our lives anymore. I do not want anyone to feel sorry for me, or to view me as a victim. I don't. I had some great college experiences and met a lot of really good people. What happened to me could have happened to anyone. We need to change the narrative towards women now.



(*Both of these events occurred several years ago. Clearly they do not define who I am or how I see myself. They did not leave me with any physical damage or marks, but they were violations. At the time, I didn't see myself as spiritually or morally culpable for any sort of  'chastity' issue, and tried to forget about it happening.)

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Chalice of Destiny, Or My 2014 Bucket List.

Friends, when you get engaged, things get weird. I was driving to school the other morning, and that horrifically cheesy song Marry Me  came on the radio. Not only did I not change the station, but I found myself unwillingly enjoying Patrick Monahan's crooning. It was scary.

That being said, I am finding myself alternating from floating around in a love-bubble, to avoiding wedding planning of any kind, to sneaking onto Pinterest during my cognition class, to remembering that I'm a grad student taking over 17 credits in a professional program this semester. It's a crazy time.

To begin, it turns out that as school gets more difficult, the less I can write. I would like to follow-up on The Great 2014 bucket list.  Let's just day I got 3/5 done. Which is a 60 percent, and would still be passing if I were in an undergrad program.

As a general rule, I try to avoid any sort of direct reference to my dating relationships. I feel like those relationships were private and that it would be crazy/disrespectful to discuss them overtly in any public forum... But baby-girl is engaged now.

I mostly want to talk about the last item on my bucket list, #5. Which, to be completely fair did not come true. I didn't find Mr. Right. He was there all along. #IKnowICanBarelyStandMyselfRightNow

Ok kids, let me take you on a journey of love.

The year was 2011. I was limping around because of a knee injury and struggling to put in my contacts. The ward (congregation, if you will) of young single adults I was in was beginning this thing called "The Chalice of Destiny". This was a desperate attempt to get us to all start dating each other. This Harry Potter-like goblet of fire was intended to set up dates with people whose names have been entered in. I put in my name to go with one guy. My friends put in my name to be with the one guy. And I was actually starting to date the one guy. But, weirdly enough, I was instead setup with this other person, the Now-Fiance. At the time I was highly suspicious, because Now-Fiance's roommate was in charge of the setting up. I knew. We went on our Chalice of Destiny date and had a blast.

Unfortunately, because of various reasons (we can just say that because of other guy) the timing was... off.

Now-Fiance went his way, I went mine, but we stayed friendly. Especially when it came to wishing each other happy birthday on Facebook. Because of school and such, we were in different states for 2 years up until August of this last year.

Fast-forward to this last September. One day I receive a Facebook message (yes, a Facebook message) asking me out to a football game. The rest is history.

Except for the engagement story. I have to tell you the engagement story. To start it off, I've never wanted a proposal surprise-attack (meaning I've never wanted someone to ask me without discussing it first. It happens.). To ensure this, I made a list of very specific places I could be proposed to. Mostly these are places from Northern California, which is over 800 miles from my current location. This was about 78% a joke, and as Now-Fiance and I became more serious I amended that list to be more reasonable. But, Now-Fiance wanted to make sure my conditions were completely met. So, he bought a secret flight out to Northern California to make sure we hit every place on my list. Ending it all on a proposal on a misty beach where we were alone with the waves crashing in. It was unreal. To end the night, I got to celebrate my engagement with my parents. Pretty much anything and everything I'd always wanted.

I have been amazed at how things worked out better than I could have ever imagined. And I had no idea that such a perfect person was there all along.

Me with a seconds after being proposed to beach crying face

#ImSorryIStillCanBarelyStandMyselfRightNowButBeingEngagedBringsOutThisWeirdSideOfYou

Monday, August 18, 2014

Thorn-ado


When I was 22, I can still remember coming out of wrist surgery and looking over at a clock in the recovery room, realizing with a sense of dread how late it was. It had turned out to be the worst scenario that the doctor had warned me was a possibility. Still, in the haze that follows being under general anesthesia for hours and being on the strongest pain medications available, my first fully-formed thought accompanied by a burst of tears was "how can I ever take engagement pictures with this horrible scar on my left hand?". It was very rational.

I, like every person who has ever walked outdoors, have plenty of scars. There's my wrist surgery "stigmata" as my brother so lovingly calls it (It's a long line from the open surgery, then several ports from the scope, which make it look like a cross). Among others, there's the coral gash scar on my leg from when I was snorkeling in Hawaii at age 7. The scar on my elbow from rollerblading when I was 9. My knee surgery scar. The line on my forehead which looks like a weird part line that I got after falling off the table that I was dancing on when I was 2. And, the 2cm long fingernail-shaped scar on my right hand from a fight with my sister when I was 10. Typically, when we trip on the steps of the Jefferson Memorial, slide into 2nd base wrong, or kick a soccer ball into our face, the marks will only last a few weeks or months. But occasionally, they stay with you forever.

My newest acquisition came from an ethereal night in Virginia, where I found myself surrounded by dark mysterious woods, a thick rising mist, and more lightning bugs than I had ever seen in my in life. It was magic. I found a perfect hiding spot during a game in a large, seemingly flawless shrub. I could still tell you its exact location. After jumping into this bush for cover, I quickly discovered its hidden barbs. In total, I got 4 thorns in my hand that night. I half-heartedly tried to get them out, then abandoned my attempts, figuring I would take care of them later. An important part of this story is mentioning that it was Friday the 13th. Two months later, I have a large incision following the length of my knuckle and 6 sutures closing up the surgery required to remove one of the thorns which had taken residence on my tendon.

So seemingly beautiful.

To be honest, I haven't always been in the happiest of moods concerning this sequence of events. Sometimes, I find it hilarious and will laugh out loud thinking about it. Other times I feel frustrated and get overwhelmed with the injustice of it all. Yeah, I'll always have a mark now on my finger. Currently, with the sutures still in, and the discomfort of it being over a joint, it's hard not to notice. Over time, it won't hurt, but will become only a reminder of my thorny mistake. Some scars are worth it, and accompany amazing experiences and events. Sometimes, it can just seem arbitrary and unmerited. The key is to make peace with it. If I walked around the rest of my life angry at the thorn bush, it wouldn't get me anywhere. It's a thorn bush. It always has been, it always will be. I maybe didn't see that at first, but that doesn't change what it is. Hanging onto feelings of righteous indignation won't make the scar go away, it won't take away my discomfort, and it certainly won't stop the thorn bush from snagging other unsuspecting game participants. All I can do is wish that shrub the best of luck with its barbed existence and never play outside again. Or wear gloves at all times. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

On Arby's and Regret.


Friends, regret is one of the strongest emotions we can experience. I have been meaning to relate this experience for several weeks, but haven't gotten around to it. Before you judge me, understand my position. I was in the midst of studying for finals when suddenly my stomach started growling. With a ravenous fury, I knew I needed food, and I needed it now. I dashed downstairs and all I had in my cupboard were the remnants of the clearance Easter candy from Walgreens. Which I did eat. However, I still needed more. I suddenly craved curly fries with a vengeance and could only think of one place from whence to get some. Arby's.

So, I hopped in my car and sped off in search of that ridiculous Pharrell-hat restaurant. I pulled into the drive thru, and there was a picture of an Arby's roast melt staring tantalizingly at me. That temptress somehow put in me in a hunger-trance and I found myself ordering not one, but two. Once I pulled away from the pick-up window, I instantly wondered what I had done. I knew I had made a mistake, but it was too late. I had to follow through. That Bathsheba of a sandwich called to me from the bag, and I found myself eating it while still on the road home. Half a sandwich in, I knew this would only end in pain. But, I continued. Once it began, I couldn't pull away. I knew the sandwich was going to hurt me, but it was just too appealing.

Like being a fan of the Kings, you know beforehand that Arby's will end with disappointment and crushed dreams. Yet, somehow this restaurant is still in business, and the drive thru queue extended several cars. It is the line of shame, where we all know what we're getting ourselves into and no one can really look each other in the eye. Before you start defending it for its shakes or salads (really. you're going to Arby's for a salad?), think about your last horrible Arby's experience. We all have one.

Sometimes we do stupid things. We find ourselves in clearly a harmful situation. How did we get here? Haven't we learned from the past?? Stay away from Arby's. Or more specifically, Arby melts. Learn from my fallacies and choose wiser. Sometimes the most immediate or attractive option is not the best one. Would I have been much happier going somewhere with fresh food, or making something myself? Yes. Never trust an Arby's sandwich; its seemingly charming and humble exterior is custom-built to snag you and leave you in misery. You are better than that!

Never settle for a nasty Arby's sandwich again, no matter how strong its siren call may be. The same goes for Taco Time.You deserve quality and dependability.

Monday, June 2, 2014

On Karl Marx, Insomnia, and Poinsettias

Let me tell you friends. The best and worst thing about Sundays are the naps. They are so gloriously wonderful in the moment, but you later find yourself awake at midnight wondering why you chose instant gratification. In an entirely unrelated subject, I've been pondering lately on one of my early Sociological friends, Karl Marx.

Now, Herr Marx has been known to get a bad rap, but there are many rudimentary aspects of his theory we can all agree with. Essentially, from my memory of foundational Sociological theory, Marx championed an idea of the importance of "Praxis", which in a watered down explanation is the idea of planning and creation. He posited that individuals working in factories will begin to feel alienated from the human condition when they lose the ability to plan and create products themselves. I am probably leaving out huge chunks of information and theory, but that is the aspect that has lingered with me. With occupational therapy, we use occupation (meaning activity or functions) as therapy and in order to help sustain and create meaningful activities for those who have lost the ability to or would like to gain it in the first place. In other words, we help people become active participants in their daily lives. In my creative occupations class, we learned all sorts of new activities and analyzed the motor, emotional, social, and sensory aspects of them. One of the new tasks I learned is knitting.

I'm the one in the back left, looking lost, scared, and confused.
You must understand. I am not a "crafter". Despite what my mother insists, I have never been of the artistic persuasion. I was always the little girl in the corner staring blankly at the project waiting for someone to come over and do it for me. I am also intrigued by challenges, however and will stick with it until I have mastered it or I die.

Weird trapezoid-shaped beginnings
I took this approach with knitting. Within several hours while in class, passing any disasters up to my friend in the row in front of me to fix, I finally got it down. I took it home, and my knitting project somehow turned into a hot mess again. I endured however, and 4 days later, it's still blobby, but undeniably a knitted object.
My blobby knitted success
It feels so ridiculously good to successfully make something.To know that the world is now one blobby piece of knitted fabric stronger because of me. But for serious, the amount of pride and accomplishment I feel is immeasurable. I used to feel this immense sense of gratification when I would spend my days planting flowers and bulbs working on grounds, only to see them blossom months later. I harnessed a similar emotion in having plants in my house which grow larger and stay alive with my (and my roommate's, let's be honest) efforts. Especially my beloved poinsettia.

I can only imagine what it feels like as a parent to know you have created a human being. A whole world of potential is now here because of you. But, even if you're not of a current child-creating situation there is so much you can bring into the world. If you aren't crafty or artsy like me, you can still create. Go out and plant something. If you're musical, compose a song, record an album. If you're good with words, get out and write. Heaven knows we need better authors out there (cough *Stephanie Meyers* cough). Doggone it, put together a puzzle, paint a poinsettia, water color the moon. Change the world. #Marxwouldbeproud

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

On Failure, Resilience, and Ulysses S. Grant.


Did you know that in Death Valley, there are plants that spend the majority of their life dormant under the ground? When just enough rain falls for germination, they sprout and bloom beautiful flowers. They then return to their previous state awaiting a moment to shine again, often sustaining life for dozens of years in the most uninhabitable parts of the world. This gloriously metaphoric intro, brought to you by a documentary on the National Geographic channel, leads into what I think might have been one of the greatest comebacks of all time brought to you by a documentary on PBS:


Ulysses S. Grant. AKA the 18th president of the United States. AKA the brilliant military leader who helped turn the tide of the civil war. AKA a drunkard who got kicked out of the army who then tried and failed to start a business. Yes, before the rowdy south up and fired cannons on Fort Sumter, ol' Ulysses was just a washed up failure in his late 30s with nothing to show for his life. Having lost half of their military officers to the Confederacy, the Union was in great need of leaders. So, when Grant rejoined the army in 1861, (to be fair, he had graduated from West Point) he was promoted to general, leader of the union military forces, and was elected president twice. In doing so, he carved out a spot in history that often glides over his stint as the intoxicated loser up at Fort Humboldt.

Who doesn't like the story of an underdog? There's something so entirely inspiring in the story of someone who not only comes up from the bottom, but does so after failing so thoroughly. It gives the rest of us hope; that the Hostess®es of the world can rise again. If we don't succeed in a class, job, project, or other attempt, it never means we should give up. I'm at home, sitting next to Arthur, the dog my brother and I rescued from an animal shelter in Spanish Fork where he was less than a week away from being euthanized. Now our pampered puppy princess spends his days in the California sunshine chasing squirrels or on my bed with a feather mattress surrounded by his toys. Things can and will get better.
Pampered Puppy Princess

I personally like to believe there's no such thing as a failure, there's only setbacks and new opportunities. With a work injury my early 20s, I had to give up my grad school acceptance in one field and find a whole new career. I was told the rest of my life I'd have an impairment that would only get worse and cause chronic pain. But so far, life just continues like it normally does and my future seems bright and hopeful. So, things haven't worked out how I thought they would, but they have the way they needed to. With challenges comes resilience, and with resilience we are able to weather the storms of life. The more difficulties we overcome, the greater people and greater leaders we become. Friends, if something hasn't worked out how you'd hoped or how you'd planned, don't give up. Maybe you need to be patient. Maybe you need to try harder. Or maybe there's something else all together out there for you. I promise, one way or another, things will always work out.



Tuesday, April 8, 2014

On OW, Love, and Kindness. Or thoughts after a 14 hour day at work and in Grad School on a lingering Socio-Religious-Political issue.

Now, I rarely if ever post blogs about serious topics, much less religious/political ones, so please bear with me. Additionally, there are about a bajillion and one blog posts, Facebook posts, Google+ posts (for all 13 people using it), and the Tweets about this topic. But, it's been bothering me all day, so I'm going to throw my voice into the fray. I am not going to argue the merits or doctrinal basis of either side. I do not agree with many of the posits of OW (Ordain Women), and I do not particularly like the methods currently being employed by that group. However, I am shocked and saddened by the responses I have seen from other LDS church members towards them.

We were reminded over and over during conference that we are Christ's church, and are supposed to show his love and kindness. We take his name upon ourselves. That is to be taken literally. Christ never mocked, belittled, or treated others with scorn. These are our brothers and sisters. We are to show love and try to understand their feelings and experiences. It does not matter if we are referring to a small percentage of the population. I think I remember some story about sheep and Christ going out of his way to find a single one out of a hundred who felt unheard or abandoned. If you think you are following a single doctrinal point better than another person, great, but you are not better than them. We all make mistakes, follow the wrong path, and accidentally cause harm towards others. But, we are all equal in the sight of God. He loves all of us, regardless of the choices we make. We are happier when we choose to follow him and draw closer to him, and we will never find contentment in degrading others.

Basically, stop making fun of people's dearly held beliefs, especially if you do not agree with them. Be respectful and be loving. I apologize if I sound preachy, I don't mean to. Also, I'm super tired and not articulate, so forgive me. Beth out.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Ninth Reason the World is Ending- The Invent of the Prius

I am definitely not writing this because I ran out of things to do in order to put off studying for neuoanatomy. I would never do that. I would never lie about not doing that. I would also never lie about lying. Friends, random Kazakhstani's, it is about time I tell you of something I have loathed for years. The Prius.

Now, let me preface this. I love the environment. I recycle. I used to take big bags of used plastic bottles home on school breaks in order to recycle. I think we should all be responsible about our use and exhaustion of natural resources. I even really like Al Gore.

But, Priuses are the absolute, undeniable worst! Now, I'm not talking about the first generation Priui. Those are just fine. It's the pretentious hatchbacks that just make my blood boil. I have disliked them on the road for years, and 3 times out of 4, it is a Prius cutting me off on the highway. (The other 1 time is usually a completely unnecessarily over-sized truck.) You see them tootling along the road, never quite at the speed limit and fueled by pure evil, with self-righteous, mocking undertones.



Those judgy headlights, those patronizing bumpers, and the ostentatious little antenna. Every single little detail of those cars fills me with fury.

I'm not even referring to your typical hybrid or even electric car. The leaf is quaint. The SmartCar is just a little hilarious joke of a car. If I could ever afford to, I'd buy myself a little hybrid Escape. It is the Prius, and the Prius alone that inspires so much passionate, vitriolic hatred inside of me. If you don't believe me about how horrible those little monsters are, pay attention the next time you're on the freeway. You'll know what I mean.

Now that I've churned up all of your internal outrage, let's take things down with an adorable picture of a baby otter:

Sunday, January 19, 2014

2.6 Miles of Wisdom

Friends, as I was walking the 2.6 miles home from the Firestone shop the other day (this was before they left a hammer in my wheel well), I thought of some of the wisdom I've gleaned during my existence on this earth. For each .1 mile, I thought of 1 little nugget of knowledge. Some of these are a result of mistakes, some have been learned the hard way, and others through repeated observation. I hope this can help anyone in any small way. Which is why I choose to share it with you today (instead of doing the homework I've put off for 4 days).

1. Floss regularly.

2. Yes, you will regret staying up until 3 am.

3. If you think you should shower, you need to shower.

4. There is literally always something more entertaining to do instead of homework; filing taxes, watching paint dry, passing a kidney stone.

5. Don't ever say "this is the worst it could get!". It will get worse.

6. Salt makes you puffy.

7. It is extremely hazardous to try to go to the bathroom on the side of the road when there are high winds.

8. Costa Rican hot springs are riddled with parasites. Don't drink the water.

9. Otters are literally the most adorable creatures on the planet. Sorry babies, puppies, and kittens.

10. If someone says their dreams are more important than you, that's a red flag.

11. Don't ignore red flags.

12. Heavy painkillers, while occasionally necessary, can make you a crazy-person. Don't do drugs.

13. Let people merge if you're driving on the 15.

14. Always have some hand hotties within reach. You never know when temperatures will become unexpectedly freezing. Having regular hotties within reach isn't a bad thing either.

15. The worse something tastes, the better it is for you.

16. Forgiveness is more for your own sake than the other person's.

17. While occasionally irresponsible, well spaced fun trips are necessary for your mental sanity.

18. The sun is the most glorious thing. While snow and clouds are the most vile.

19. 95% of the time, school assignments will seem worthless. It's for the incredibly valuable 5% that you keep trying.

20. Ignoring a person is the cruelest thing to do.

21. Always be flexible, your life can change drastically in a few seconds.

22. Some iPhone updates will actually make your life harder.

23. Don't base your happiness on another person's choices. Especially if that person is a sports team.

24. You will never regret being kind.

25. You will always regret eating food too spicy for you to handle in order to make a point.

26. There are always people who are having a worse day than you.



Thursday, January 9, 2014

Tying Up Loose Ends (The Great 2013 Bucket List Reflection)

My dear former roommate and all around lady-idol Kellie asked me to reflect on the previous year and my bucket list. Now, I am not one to pass up an opportunity to procrastinate (and class tomorrow doesn't start until noon, Holla!). Also, looking at the insanity that is to await me these coming weeks in terms of school and work, I probably won't have any time to sleep, much less write a blog post, (which according to those schnazzy google statistics would be most likely to be enjoyed by readers in Latvia).

Also, I am highly manipulated by flattery, so here it is:

2013- THE REFLECTION

Let's take a look at those goals of mine.

#1 Eat Real Food
While Taco Bell is technically "real food", that is definitely not what I was referring to. Be it a lack of time, energy, or really desire I just never got to making much. I did stress bake a few times, but that doesn't really count. Yes, I know, I'll try to be better. Cancer, diabetes, I know.

#2 No More Casts, Braces, Crutches etc. 
Yeah, fail. Which my current roommate once inferred might be correlated with the first goal's failure. But I take daily Flintstones vitamins, so that can't possibly be it. Personally, I continue to blame the gypsy curse.

#3 No More Beyonce Nights
This is one of those titles which obnoxiously only has meaning to a small group of people. I apologize. Suffice it to say that history did not repeat itself in such a way.

#4 See The Grand Canyon
Donzies! And I have never felt more fulfilled! I can't tell you how immensely joyed I am that I didn't end up like that sad old blind lady from Paulie. If you haven't seen this movie, you need to. It shaped me into a sad little girl who was afraid of blindness and death. I consider that a clear win!

Photo Cred: Kelsi, who would probably like to be acknowledged
#5 Tube Down The Provo River
Accomplished with my ward this summer along with my sister and Traci. There was blood, there were tears, and there were also delicious Navajo tacos at the end.

#6 Get Into Grad School
Miracle of all miracles, I am in school! And now school owns my soul.

#7 Cancel This Damn Gym Membership
Clearly patience won out. This was also my first goal accomplished in 2013, just an hour and 15 minutes later.

Thank you for reading thus far into all my self-indulgence. Make some goals for yourself. And we'll laugh about not getting them done in 2015!!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

My Last Blog Post Before School Starts Again (Or how to not feel sorry for yourself)

I recently stumbled upon my friend Ashley's blog, and found this amazing post right here: http://ashazpabyu.blogspot.com/2013/11/just-one.html. She is one of those incredible people who always has a kind or encouraging word, especially when you're not feeling so great. Like everyone else on this planet, I can feel worthless, directionless, or unimportant. Especially if I have failed at something, gone through a breakup, made a mistake, or received a parking ticket. What I liked so much about this post of hers is that it implies something proactive. Yes, we are all unique and beautiful. But we can be so much more, and that is through the impact we make on the world.

Her post posits the central question of "what would the world be like if you weren't here?". I can definitively say in the case of everyone I know, a much darker place. So, you spent the day in your snuggie onsie watching episodes of Vampire Diaries on netflix? You can go out there right now and change the world. Most of us will never be famous beyond our own little group of friends. So what? Think back on those you love the most, who have made the most impact on your life. Are their names Kim Kardashian or Kanye West? Probably not.

I've had friends ask me before why I am becoming an Occupational Therapist. Apart from the more selfish things like financial security and benefits typically associated with that career, I have always wanted to do something to genuinely improve the lives of others. Because sitting around in my snuggie onsie watching hours of netflix only feels great for about 2 hours. But that is an almost easy way out for me. It doesn't really matter what our career is. You can make a difference as a bagger at Wal Mart. You can genuinely improve the lives of others by being a good mother or a father.

At the risk of pontificating, I just want to say that we can choose to leave a positive mark at any point. It doesn't matter if you have never done a kind thing in your life or slaughtered a village of people (please, please don't do that); any living person can make the choice to make a difference in a good way at any time. What's a more hopeful thing than that?

I promise that whatever your life may be like, it is worth so much. The most incredible people I've ever known are those who lose themselves in the service of others. I am far too selfish and lazy to ever reach their standard, but I can say that the times I have felt best were the times I was helping someone. Kindness goes a long way. No matter how low you're feeling, no matter how you may have been wronged, you will always feel best when you are considerate and compassionate. Unless you are a sociopath. But, then that's not really your fault is it?

Treat others with love and over time you will love them and yourself. It's just that simple. Don't let people take advantage of you (because sometimes they will), but don't ever let yourself hate either. As we start this new year and new semester (for some of us), we can choose to be our best selves. And if we fall short, just try again.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Bucket List 2014

On New Year's Eve, I found myself in the backseat of the minivan with the rest of my family driving to the Bass Pro shop in Manteca to return a few camouflaged shirts gifted to us in the wrong size. As we were trapped for a good hour, my dad took this as an opportunity to have everyone list where they'd want their lives to be in one year. I wasn't in the best mood, so I begrudgingly thought of a couple snarky things like to "not get fired, and not fail out of school". Being the middle child, naturally we got to me last. I said my piece but my dad wasn't satisfied, unfortunately, he knows me too well. There were a few more items on my list.

Exactly one year ago I made a bucket list of things I wanted to do before the year was out. I accomplished many of those things, and made many improvements. What I found most fascinating was that almost everything from that list I actually accomplished was due to the actions and support of others. Yes, there were many difficult and sad things this last year, but I am on the right track. None of that time was a waste and I have no regrets.


So, here two days later (you're welcome dad) is my real list of goals for this next year.

1. Not Get Fired or Fail Out of School

This actually wasn't just my grumpy sarcasm. I really need to get these things accomplished. 

2. Go Scuba Diving

I've been Scuba certified since I was 12 years old. When I was younger I went on dives in all sorts of amazing places like Molokai, Maui, Kauai, Hawaii, the Bahamas, Cozumel, Playa Del Carmen, and Cancun. I haven't been since 2006. I don't need to be whisked off to some exotic location. I could even go in Utah. I just need to take the time, effort, and money and just do it. I love the water, and I love diving. It has been far, far too long.

3. See Jimmer Play for the Kings

I love Jimmer and I have loved the Sacramento Kings from birth. I slept in tents over night and waited for hours in the snow for tickets to wait for hours in the cold to see Jimmer play at BYU. But I have never seen Jimmer play for the Kings in person. I know the Kings are terrible and Jimmer never gets to play, but I have to see this happen before he's traded.

4. Read Through the Entire Book of Mormon in Spanish

I've done it in English, and once got as far as Alma 46 in Spanish. I tried listening to the audio version, but the guy that reads it has such a soothing dulcet voice that I'm always lulled into a deep slumber within minutes. If you don't know what this Book of Mormon thing is that I'm talking about, here ya go.

http://www.lds.org/topics/book-of-mormon?lang=eng

5. Find Mr. Right

2014, Baby!