Posted in Short Blurbs 24. Mar, 2011
same stuff, new place
Posted in Short Blurbs 24. Mar, 2011
same stuff, new place
Posted in Suggestions 22. Feb, 2011
Posted in Long Blurbs 22. Feb, 2011
The following is a journal I kept of a very life changing week for me. Please visit the website on my suggested pages to donate to my Relay for Life cause after you have finished reading.
February 7, 2011
I wake up this morning and the sun is shining. I’m not sure if I like that yet. I haven’t seen it for quite a while, and I have to squint my eyes a lot because I’m not quite used to it. I spread out my toes and stretch my arms up above my head, and finally convince myself to get up and out of my cozy bed. Shower, brush my teeth, dry my hair… I’m going through the motions.
I start pouring myself a bowl of cereal and I get a text from Reid. Our conversation is as follows…
REID: I don’t feel good; I’ve had a stomach ache all day. Are you feeling anything like that?
LYSH: No… what did you eat so far today?
REID: PB and J, banana bread, cheerios, walnuts, granola bar, milk and water
LYSH: Is your milk bad? I don’t know, I don’t feel sick
REID: It is good for another few days. I had it when I got up and thought it would be better once I ate but it’s getting worse.
LYSH: Do you have Pepto Bismol? Or a thermometer?
REID: I have Pepto, but I still have to go to chem. I’m on campus so it will be at least another 2 hours.
LYSH: Is it achey or nauseous
REID: Achey. Very uncomfortable.
LYSH: You should see a doctor if it isn’t gone by tomorrow. Cramps happen for a reason. Call me after chem. I love you.
REID: I love you too.
Reid calls me around 4:30pm, and I make it over to his place after yoga around 9:00pm. I brought with me a body warmer (my favorite thing to use to keep warm while skiing, thank you Aunty Susan for sharing). I tell him to peel it off and stick it on the front or back of his shirt. I remember reading somewhere that warmth can help cramps. He says he feels a little better, but I only half believe him. I kiss him goodnight and head back to my apartment to finish some homework.
February 8, 2011
I wake up Tuesday morning, head to class and then back to my apartment. I text Reid after class to check in and see if he is feeling better at all. Maybe the heating patch helped a little.
LYSH: How are you feeling?
REID: It still hurts, just less bad, and its only low stomach instead of the whole thing.
LYSH: Eat a banana or oatmeal. Go to hall health if it isn’t gone by this afternoon.
REID: One of my boys kind of hurts (left) too. The internet said sometimes this happens and goes away.
LYSH: Just get it looked at please. I’m serious
REID: I’m going to hall health tomorrow if the pain doesn’t go away.
LYSH: Why not today
REID: Because if it’s nothing it’ll go away sometime today. Maybe I will call the nurse hotline at Hall Health
LYSH: At least do that. Pain and cramps are caused by something, and this isn’t the first time.
I’m finished with class for the day and I’m cleaning through my apartment. I found an old disposable camera from Nepal that I never got developed. I get dressed for yoga and decide that I will drop off the camera at Bartell’s on the way to yoga class. As I’m leaving my apartment I get a text from Reid.
REID: I’m in hall health right now, waiting to see a doctor. I figured sooner rather than later.
LYSH: Good, call me when you’re done if you can.
I spend about 10 minutes at the counter trying to explain to this Russian lady that I didn’t want double prints of the photos. I scurry back into my car after dropping off the camera and I get another text from Reid.
REID: Could you drive me to a TBA emergency room?
LYSH: Where are you? I’m in my car near U Village because I was going to go to yoga. I’ll just stay here until you are ready to be picked up.
REID: I have to go to Roosevelt branch at 12:30, and may have to go to the ER after that.
LYSH: When and where do you want me to get you? I can come now.
REID: I can just walk to Roosevelt; I may have to find someone to work for me.
LYSH: If you’re not in Hall Health anymore you need to call me right now.
Reid calls, and I convince him to stop being stubborn and let me drive him to the Roosevelt clinic. I pick him up at 11, but his appointment isn’t until 1:00pm. I hold his hand as I’m driving and asked what the doctors said. He explains that they suspect it is Testicular Torsion. I don’t understand exactly what it is as I am not a male, but it sounds painful. They said he had to go to the Roosevelt clinic to get an ultrasound to confirm. If it is confirmed, he has to get to the ER as soon as possible. I ask if he wants to call his parents, and he says he’ll wait until after the ultrasound, no point in worrying them if nothing is there. I can tell he is scared; he’s never had any serious medical problems. I hug him tight and tell him it will be okay, “Let’s not worry about it until you get the ultrasound done,” I reason, “maybe it’s nothing. If it is something, people go to the ER every day. They will make you better again.”
I suspect that he is hungry so we grab lunch nearby at Portage Bay. He gets a Rueben (his favorite), and I get a bowl of soup. The Roosevelt clinic is less than a block away. I drive over there and park in their garage. I can tell Reid is uncomfortable walking. We arrive at the clinic, check in, and sit in the waiting room. We’re flipping through the magazines, laughing and making fun of the dumb advertisements. We get called back and the Radiologist Technician introduces herself. I don’t remember her name. She had blonde hair and sunken in cheeks. This is where I start to see a flaw in medicine that I dislike. These people are making decisions that could change our lives forever. They’re performing tests and analyzing them. They’re nameless to us. They walk into our lives for a very brief moment, change them forever, and they’re never to be seen again. Just another face in the crowd. She’s not particularly personable. She performed the ultrasound, and I sat in the corner watching the screen, wondering what exactly it was I was seeing. I couldn’t make out much of anything.
She leaves and tells us someone will be in shortly to discuss the results. Reid sits up and we both can’t help but giggle a little bit. Our mood is mostly happy, just waiting to hear the results so we can take the necessary actions to make him feel better again. A tall man with dark hair comes in. he introduces himself to both of us, shaking our hands. I don’t remember his name. Just another face in the crowd.
He’s looking down at the ground. “So, the doctors at Hall Health thought you had Testicular Torsion.” He explains. (Okay “thought”, this could be good, maybe he doesn’t have it). “But when we did the ultrasound and measured blood flow, the flow was perfectly normal, indicating that you do not have it. However, what we did find were…”
He pauses again and swallows, glancing away at the corner of the room and trying to bring his gaze back to Reid. I’d think he’d be used to telling people this kind of stuff but maybe not. Maybe he wasn’t expecting this either. “We found what essentially appear to be two ‘masses’ within your left testicle.” He finishes.
My heart stops. A lump forms in my throat, and my stomach tightens.
“Okay, so what does that mean?” Reid jumps in.
“Well, most often times. When a mass is found within the testicle, it usually means that it’s cancer.”
For a brief moment, that two syllable world that this name-less doctor spoke made the world stop turning. I couldn’t breathe. This had to be a dream.
“Okay,” said Reid. Everything else is a blur. No-name doctor left the room and I hated myself for not being able to stop my tears for Reid. I wanted to be nothing but strong for him, but I just couldn’t believe it. This shouldn’t have happened. It can’t be happening. There’s no way this was real. I hugged him tight, trying to pull myself together. He kisses my ear and whispers something inside it, “It’s okay, it will only make me stronger.”
I wish he wouldn’t say that, because I don’t want any of this to be true.
I convince Reid to call in a sub for work so he can have the night off. We go back to Hall Health so he can get his blood redrawn. We end up back to my apartment, both of us completely drained. It’s 4:00pm, and we collapse onto my bed. It’s 8:30pm when we wake up, our tummies growling. I decide to run to Whole Foods since I have a gift card there, and grab some groceries to make burritos. Plus a little box of oatmeal cookies for Reid.
Come back, chop the veggies, cook the meat, and assemble burritos. Reid devours three of them. It’s almost 10:30 by the time we’re finished. We have to get to Romio’s because the waitress there doesn’t know how to close the restaurant. Drive to Romio’s, wait for Ivo to finish mopping the floors, close out the computers and cash register, lock the doors, drive back, and pass out.
Wednesday: February 9, 2011
I have one class today. This is good because I spend a lot of the day driving Reid around. I drop him off at drama class at 11:00, and return at noon to take him to UWMC. He has an appointment with Dr. Bruce Dalton to further evaluate the “mass” that was found yesterday.
I’m not sure what to expect. Reid’s dad, Guy, called about 20 times yesterday to keep trying to convince Reid that it was an infection, not cancer. After all, his blood tests came back indicating he had a high WBC (white blood cell) count. I’m expecting cancer, but hoping it’s just an infection. After filling out extensive paper work, we’re called back to meet with the doctor. He comes in to shake our hands, and asks Reid to sit in the chair closest to his desk. I sit beside him.
He talks with his eyes wide open; he looks like someone who’s had about 8 cups of coffee. He’s smiling. I’m not sure if that is reassuring or not. He jumps right into business. First, Dr. Dalton starts by recapping the news we found out yesterday. He then continues to explain that there are two possibilities that it is either cancer or an infection; he is quick to remind us that masses found within a testicle are most often cancerous. Once he does an examination, and we get more blood results back, we will know for sure. I leave the room with Guy (Reid’s dad) while he does the examination. We’re filed back in, and he explains his hypothesis that he’s pretty sure it’s cancer. He jumps right into the next steps.
1. We will schedule a surgery for an oriechtomy on Monday, the 14th
2. Reid can stay on antibiotics over the weekend to see if the pain gets better at all – if it does it is possible that it may be an infection
3. When the rest of the blood tests come back, if certain “markers” are elevated, that means that the tumor is cancerous
4. Prosthetics are available
5. Fertility is not affected
6. Within the next few days if it is confirmed that it is cancer, a CT scan will have to be done to see if the cancer has spread to any other areas of the body
7. After the surgery, we will have to have another consultation to see what the following treatment options are depending on the type of cancer.
Boom, boom, boom. He sat there writing out all of this information on a piece of paper, front and back. Writing out fancy medical terms we’d never heard before, drawing diagrams, and trying to explain everything. We walk out overwhelmed, but at least satisfied that we have a plan of action.
Get in the car, drive Reid back to campus (he has chemistry lecture at 3:30 and a lab from 6:30 to 9:30). I return to my apartment and try to work on my homework, but fail. My mind is refusing to think about anything else but what’s going on right now. Reid texts me between his classes.
REID: I have a CT scan Friday at an unknown time. My blood markers are slightly elevated, so the Monday surgery is a go for sure.
LYSH: Okay, I love you. We can talk about it when I see you after lab. I’m here to be with you every step of the way.
I drive over to Reid’s apartment at 6; Will is there to let me in thankfully. I walk into Reid’s room and start cleaning. To really appreciate this, you just need to see his room at some point. The ground is buried under… stuff. Random crumpled papers, clothes, socks, his long board, books, shoes, ankle weights, granola bars, water bottles, pencils, pens, and many other surprises. It is also an ice box in there, he got shafted with the smallest room in the apartment, I call it the Harry Potter closet. I am in there until about 7:30 until it is sparkling clean. I have a plastic bag full of garbage, and a cardboard box full of granola wrappers. I take them out front to dump them in the trash. I gather all his clothes that I believe are dirty (it is hard to distinguish when everything is on the floor); he at least has a hamper full of some stuff too. I grab the hamper and tear the sheets off his bed and trump down to the laundry room below. Will and Tony (Reid’s roommates) probably think I am acting insane. Insert quarters, start the laundry. The room is spotless; I’m thoroughly impressed with myself. I turn on his space heater so the room won’t freeze his socks off when he gets back.
It’s 8:00 and I’m assuming I’ll have to be back on campus around 9:00 or so to pick up Reid. I run to the store again quickly to get some Tylenol, cinnamon rolls and bananas. Reid calls as I am leaving, and I run back to pick him up. We arrive at the apartment and I start cooking the rice that I brought with me from my apartment. He has leftover chicken and veggies, so I decide to combine those with the rice. The boys don’t share their food usually, they write the first letter of their name on whatever food items they bought. I write an “R” on the bananas, and on the box of cinnamon rolls “To Share”. I figured it would make a nice breakfast.
Reid still hasn’t gone into his room. Sometimes he’s embarrassed to open the door when I’m there because it is usually such a mess. I tell him to take a couple Tylenol for the pain and put the rest in his room, he opens the door and lets out a “What the heck!?” Clearly surprised.
I finish drying his laundry, make the bed, and kiss him good night. It’s 10:00. Time to (try to) do my homework. I end up pulling an all-nighter but somehow end up getting virtually nothing done. I think I work about 30 times slower when my mind is wandering other places. Plus I end up writing these unnecessarily long journal entries… anything to make the time go by I suppose.
February 10, 2011
No doctor appointments today. It is somewhat of a relief. The past two days felt like a week. I do not sleep at all. It is 6:30am when I start to realize that I’ve just pulled an all-nighter. It’s too late now to go to sleep. I walk to the bakery, grab some coffee, and head to class.
Back to the apartment, hop in the car. I pick up Reid at 10:15 to take him to class. Walking is really uncomfortable. He has his long board with him and says he can ride back since its all downhill on the Burke Gillman.
I skip my class at 1:00 later that day. I’m exhausted and I still feel like I have so much to catch up on. I can’t focus or do anything. I drive to the bank to deposit some money and call Reid. He asks if I can come over. My bank is less than a quarter mile from where he lives, so I drive over thinking I might just say Hi. We end up falling asleep (again), both of us exhausted.
Its 4:00 and I decide to leave for work. Reid was planning on visiting a friend, Andy, who lives on Greek Row at about 8:00. I tell him to come with me to work and one of the pizza drivers could probably give him a ride, he could work on his homework until then. He agrees and off we go.
Work is super slow. I don’t really want to be there. Reid leaves at 7:45 and I ask Orinna if she can close for me that night. She knows what’s going on and agrees, so I’m off by 9:00. Go back to the apartment, try to keep my eyes open while “reading” my textbook. Reid calls at 10 and I go to pick him up from Greek Row.
He has a CT scan scheduled for tomorrow at 9:30am. I have a psychology quiz section. Nothing terribly exciting. I tell him I’ll be there.
February 11, 2011
I fall asleep at about 1:30am. At 4:00am, my phone rings, Gordon Savage. I don’t pick up, he’s probably drunk. It wouldn’t be the first time he’s called me asking for a ride or just to scream in my ear. I can’t fall back asleep, 4 is pretty late… he usually calls at like 1 or 2.
I call him back. He’s totally panicked and out of breath. He’s with one of his other fraternity brothers.
GORDY: I’m with my friend right now. He’s been having a really rough night, his parents are in the middle of getting a divorce. He started running away so I chased after him. I don’t want to leave him because I’m afraid he’s going to do something stupid, he wants to walk back home – to Issaquah. He’s heading for the 520 Bridge and I don’t know what to do
ALYSHA: Do you need me to come get you guys?
GORDY: No, I don’t know! I just don’t know what to do!
ALYSHA: Why else would you have called me? Do you need me to pick you up?
GORDY: You’re right. If you can, can you? I’m sorry. We’re on Montlake nearing the freeway, I don’t know what to do to make him stop.
ALYSHA: Hold him till I get there. Do not let him get on the freeway. Tell him you have a friend coming and that I’ll drive him to Issaquah.
GORDY: But you’re not going to actually drive to Issaquah, right?!
ALYSHA: No, but if you tell him otherwise I don’t think he’ll get in my car. Just do what I said, I’ll be there in 5 minutes
I put on my boots, my puffy jacket, glasses, jump in my car and drive toward the bridge. I let out a sigh when I look at the clock to see its 4:45am. I call as I turn onto Montalke.
ALYSHA: Where are you?
GORDY: We’re on the freaking freeway. I couldn’t stop him.
ALYSHA: Are you on the bridge yet?
GORDY: No, we’re getting really close, I don’t know what to do
ALYSHA: Just look for my car. Tell him to stop and turn around and look for me.
I am in disbelief. I turn onto the freeway, looking for two people. I don’t see them anywhere. I pull over to the shoulder just before the bridge. Finally, two people running toward the car. I unlock the doors and they jump in.
Of course there are now no exits to get off 520 so I drive all the way across the bridge before turning around to come back. I meet this kid, I don’t remember his name. He looks beyond depressed. I try to talk to him a little about his parents. I feel comfortable since I know how it feels. He starts sobbing in the back of my car. They don’t even seem drunk – even scarier.
I’m silent the rest of the way as I think about what I’m going to say to this guy. I get off the Montalke exit, take the 45th street ramp up to Greek row, and park outside the fraternity. I turn around and grab this kid by the shoulder, looking him in the eyes.
“Look, I know you don’t even know me, but let me tell you something. I left my apartment at 4:00 this morning after not sleeping the past 2 days because my boyfriend of 3 and a half years was just diagnosed with cancer. I understand what you’re going through is painful, and that’s why I came. If you need someone to talk to, you be sure to let me know. But you also need to know that you have control over this situation. Don’t let it get the best of you. I’m serious. Don’t let something like this happen again. You have people here who obviously really care about you, okay?”
He looks up at me still with tears in his eyes. “Thank you so much,” he chokes. Gordy helps him out of the car and asks me to wait to make sure he doesn’t run off again. They’re in safe and I drive away. Back to the apartment by 5:30am, try to sleep and fail. I’ve gotten about 4 hours of sleep in the past 36 hours.
We leave at 8:30am, and it’s a good thing. Reid has to chug about 1.5 liters of this chemical solution so the CT scan can see better… or something. We have to wait 45 minutes after he finishes to get checked in. I’d say of this entire process, waiting and not knowing is by far the worst part of the whole thing. Hearing you have cancer is bad, hearing you have to have surgery is bad, but waiting to see if you MIGHT hear those things is about a million times harder. We’re in the waiting room for almost an hour.
I have to sit and wait on a couch while the scan is done which takes about 15 minutes. We don’t get the results, nobody talks to us. We’re sent away and told we’ll be contacted “within 24 hours” with the results. More nameless faces. More waiting.
Reid’s hungry but we don’t have a lot of time, his next class is at 11:30. I drive to University Village and we grab some breakfast sandwiches at a bakery. Back in the car. Drive up to campus and kiss goodbye.
I go back to my apartment and my eyes are heavier than ever. I can’t fall asleep because I have too much to do. It’s a vicious cycle, not sleeping and then trying to catch up on what I’ve missed. I seem to just take so much longer trying to catch up, and as a result I end up losing more sleep. 4:00 rolls around and I run to the nearby Starbucks to grab myself a white mocha, I pick up Reid a soy late. Drive through the insane foot traffic on camps, pick up Reid from chemistry, and we’re off to work. The night seemed to drag on forever; it was slow for a Friday. When I was ready to leave, our boss (Slavian) sits down with our head chef (Eugenio), and they share a couple beers. Then a couple beers lead to a couple more beers, and we didn’t leave the restaurant until almost 1:30am. It was nice to share a few good laughs with them after a long week, but I was ready for my pillow when I returned to my cozy apartment.
February 14, 2011
Reid spent the weekend at his parent’s place in Sammamish. Monday morning I had a test and shortly after I headed over to the hospital at around 1:00pm. Reid was scheduled for surgery at 2:00. It’s Valentine’s Day; I don’t think either of us ever could have predicted spending a Valentine’s Day in this fashion. I show up and find him sitting in the waiting room dressed in pajama bottoms, a running shirt, and a fancy button up jacket… typical Reid. He said he didn’t know what people were supposed to wear to surgery, so he just put on a little bit of everything.
I try my best to smile when I’m with him, but it breaks my heart to see him in pain. I wish it was me instead. Reid’s mom, Becky, his Aunt Tracy and Cousin Adam are all there to support him. Adam has had several cancer related surgeries over the past year. Reid leaves for the surgery room with his mom, and the waiting begins.
I play Sudoku for a while, then Angry Birds, then Gin with his aunt Tracy, I had a little piece of Becky’s left over slice of carrot cake that Tracy brought. We chat for a while and I get up and pace back and forth across the hospital. We wait almost 5 hours before we’re let back to see Reid waking up from surgery. I walk back with a smile, but again my heart is sinking. I never wanted to see him like this. In a hospital bed with IV’s, a hospital gown, and hospital bracelets tagged all over his wrists. He’s holding a cup of ice water in his left hand so I touch his shoulder and give him my best smile. He doesn’t look happy at all, he’s in so much pain and I hate it.
Adam helps Reid get dressed, and they wheel chair him out to Becky’s car, I give him one more kiss before shutting his door and getting back in my own car to drive to my apartment. It’s dumping rain outside. I arrive back home and plop onto my bed. I peek outside and see couples with umbrellas walking to restaurants. My heart sinks a little more. I lay there for 20 minutes before I call Reid, he didn’t pick up. I lay for 5 more minutes before I call Becky. She lets me talk to Reid and I ask him how he’s doing.
“Are you really sleepy? Do you think you’re just going to want to sleep when you get back? Or, do you think I could stop by for a little bit?” I couldn’t hold it in any longer, the tears were pouring out this time and I hated myself again for not being strong for him.
He calms me down and tells me to come over whenever I can. Traffic is horrible in the weather but I get there around 7:30pm. We watch The Proposal with Sandra Bullock with the rest of Reid’s family, and I spend time running back and forth refilling his ice bag. 12:30am rolls around, and I have to leave. I have an 8:30 class the next morning. I give him a kiss, and whisper a “Happy Valentine’s Day.”
Posted in Long Blurbs 06. Feb, 2011
1. The opportunnity to go to one of the top public universities in the country
2. My job. I have the nicest boss in the world, and I work with great people. I learn new things every day when I go to work.
3. Knowledge. I know sometimes I make the argument that ignorance is bliss, but I am happy to be learning. I am happy that I have the ability to think for myself.
4. Being able to laugh, especially at myself. Life would be far too boring and serious without this key quality.
5. Weather. Even though it can be yucky in Seattle sometimes, when that sunshine comes out (you Seattleites know what I’m talking about)… you can’t fight back a smile even if you wanted to. It’s so beautiful.
6. Yoga. It’s changed my life, and taught me a lot of valuable things. Especially learning how to let go of what I cannot control, and learning to be in control my own positive energy.
7. Good books. They get me thinking… fiction or non-fiction!
8. Hot showers. I think of this every day when I shower. How lucky am I to have the luxury of a warm shower with clean water and yummy-smelling soaps? (Living in Nepal for a month especially made me value this luxury) Even when I’m having a bad day, I feel like a new person when I get out of the shower; squeaky clean, and ready for better things to come.
9. Lakes. They are endless fun, and not only that… they’re beautiful! Many views just wouldn’t be the same without all of the peaceful bodies of water floating on earth’s surface.
10. Mountains. You saw this one coming. Some may not think of them as fun, but if you are into skiing and/or hiking and climbing… they are a paradise. The mountain views in Seattle make me feel a part of nature, even though I’m far into the city.
11. The ability to use my legs. I was walking home from campus after a rough day a few weeks ago. My head was hanging down and I was staring at my feet as I plopped one foot in front of the other, and I thought, “How lucky am I, that I have the power no matter what to always put one foot in front of the other.”
12. Music. I dance to it when nobody’s watching (or when I don’t think anyone is watching). All kinds of music. It has the power to change my mood instantly. It creates memories, and then brings them back years later when the same tune comes own. How magical!
13. The piano. I remember being so mad at my mom when I was about 12 years old and she refused to let me join a junior girl’s cheerleading team. She said it was one of the very few things she just couldn’t support me doing. Looking back I don’t mind, and I am thankful she made me spend more of my time learning piano. I always thought it was cheesy when people talked about “expressing themselves through art”, but when I got better and better, I could feel myself doing that very thing through the piano.
14. Teachers. Okay, so there are a few that I have had that were living nightmares. There was also the handful that changed my life.
15. Cameras. I’ve always thought that pictures became more enchanting with age. I’m so thankful that someone out there came up with this idea, now we can record our lives for future generations to remember us forever.
16. Invitations. I like being invited to things. Even if sometimes I can’t go, it’s nice to know that someone was thinking of me.
17. Apples to apples. One of my favorite games of all time. It never fails to make me laugh, even if I’m the only one laughing.
18. Gardens. I love when people not only take care of their yard, but they go the extra mile. There’s a community garden right outside my apartment building, and in the summer I love to walk through it and see all of the little things people do to personalize their patch. It’s beautiful to see the mix of color, size, and shape. Not to mention the smells!
19. Art. Sometimes art makes no sense to me. Occasionally Reid and I (sometimes just myself) go into the Henry Art Gallery on campus which is free to students. Some of the stuff in there is so weird. But I’m glad that people make it. It gives us something to look at, think about, or talk about.
20. Snow days. Okay, what kind of kid isn’t thankful for snow days??!!
21. Warm laundry. Especially when I wash my sheets. When I’m especially chilly, I put them in the dryer for just a tad bit longer. Then as fast as I can I throw them onto my bed and cover them with my comforter. I bury myself in my homemade oven. If you haven’t already, you must try this.
22. Sunrises and Sunsets. They’re pretty to look at, and they help me remember which is way East and West!
23. My work ethic. Because it takes me places I never saw myself going.
24. Frozen Grapes. The one food I cannot and will not ever live without.
25. Independence. My independence has taught me to be my own person. I’m comfortable with myself and being alone, something a lot of people struggle with.
26. Dependence. Despite how much I would like to say I am 100% independent of other people, I know far too well this will never be true. I am thankful that I am dependant on other people because it makes me realize the importance of friends and family in my life.
27. Volunteering. I’m so lucky I became an active volunteer early in life. Being so involved has taught me how valuable giving to others is. Not of money, but of time. It’s irreplaceable.
28. Coffee and tea. If only I could count how many times I’ve said “I could really use a cup of coffee”… sometimes it’s all I need.
29. Facebook. I never that that would make it onto this list. Despite the highly addicting and distracting features of facebook, it’s kept me connected with high school friends that I may have otherwise never seen or talked to again.
30. Writing. The ability for me to transcribe my thoughts in ink at this very moment, that’s powerful to me.
31. Travel. This should have been higher up on the list. I am so lucky that I have been able to travel so much already at such a young age. Seeing the world makes me constantly crave to see and learn more. It’s incredible how much there is to learn out there from other cultures.
32. Hugs. The friendliest gesture. When given properly, they can be oh so powerful!
33. Internet. Endless knowledge! Accessible at the click of a button. WOW.
34. Libraries. When the internet isn’t enough. I remember my junior and senior year of high school I practically lived at the library. Not only was it a nice quiet place to do my homework, but when I finished I could read and learn about anything I wanted to. I never bothered searching for things on the computer; I would just roam the rows of shelves up and down and walk back to an open table with a big stack of books. My favorite was when a book I liked referenced another book. More to read!!
35. News. Even though sometimes the news is not “fairly” reported, I am happy there is news on Seattle, Washington, the United States, and the rest of the world that I can read, listen to, and watch 24/7.
36. Being an American. It may not be perfect, but what place is?
37. My dog(s). I’ve had a few dogs growing up. Tucker, Coco, Mocha, and Nala. Each has a special place in my heart. I am still working on Nala… she can be evil sometimes.
38. Community events. Concerts, festivals, random things that make no sense, sporting events, whatever it may be… it’s fun to see (and be a part of) a large group of people coming together to just have a good time.
39. Family events. Because mine are filled with constant entertainment.
40. Quality conversations. I love being able to sit down with a friend or two, and have a genuinely good conversation. No holding back, no arguing. Just talking, sharing ideas, and providing opinions.
41. People that care. This sounds weird, but I don’t know how else to put it. I’m thankful that there are people out there who care about the environment. There are people who care about taking care of the sick. There are people out there who care about domestic violence. There are people out there who care about the safety of our country. The list goes on and on, and without these people we’d be living in a pretty gloomy place.
42. My pillow. Because at the end of the day when I’m worn out and ready for nothing else but a good night’s sleep, my pillow is waiting for me. It soaks up my tears when I’ve had a bad day, and it even lets me drool on it sometimes!
43. My car. Sometimes going for a drive just helps clear my mind. It’s a brief moment where I can get away and take a deep breath.
44. Nice strangers. It’s humbling when someone you don’t even know goes out of their way to do something for you.
45. Being on top of the clouds in an airplane. It’s the only part of flying that I like. When the sun is still up just enough for me to see the tops of the clouds and the open sky. I’ve always said I thought it was heaven.
46. My eye doctor. I’d be having a lot of troubles if nobody out there decided that our eyes were important!
47. My phone. Even though I seem to have a difficult time keeping track of mine, phones are also another extraordinary piece of technology. I can call my best friend who lives hundreds of miles away in a mere 5 seconds to tell her exciting (or just pointless and dumb) news.
49. My love, Reid.
Posted in Long Blurbs 02. Feb, 2011
I just recently read an article announcing that a study shows that stress levels in college freshman have set an all-time new record high. Not surprising. I (clearly) also am a huge stress-ball (note the recent pattern of all of my blogs). In an attempt to squash the little stress-ball inside of me, I have decided to take a moment of my day to write an extensive list of all stressful things a college student may be feeling at this very moment.
1. Economic Situations
This may deserve its’ own blog. Clearly people are all over the map in this department. Some students are paying their own way through college. Some students have the luxury of parents who can afford to help. Regardless, we are all in college – and for what? For most of us, we want to have jobs that pay more than minimum wage. Good jobs that allow us to grow, be promoted, and earn more as we become more educated. Money isn’t everything, but it sure doesn’t hurt. Will we even be that much more valuable upon graduation from college? The news is telling us, maybe not.
2. Supporting Ourselves.
Some of us may or may not be responsible for tuition, but what about beyond that? What about food, groceries, or just the fun things like going to the movies? Most of us cannot afford to do these “fun things” that often times help relieve daily stress. The average college student cannot afford it all unless…
3. Working while in college.
Some of us have jobs. Yippee (?). I am blessed to have a wonderful job as a waitress. I generally make great tips, and enjoy most of the people I work with. That’s not to say work is happy wonder-land all the time. It’s stressful; trying to please people constantly in a busy environment where my attention is demanded in multiple places at once, dealing with people who complain unnecessarily, dealing with other employees who are cranky, and all at the same time… thinking about my next midterm the entire shift which (for me) doesn’t end until almost midnight most nights.
4. Meeting everyone else’s expectations
“Students know their generation is likely to be less successful than their parents’, so they feel more pressure to succeed than in the past,” said Jason Ebbeling, director of residential education at Southern Oregon University. “These days, students worry that even with a college degree they won’t find a job that pays more than minimum wage, so even at 15 or 16 they’re thinking they’ll need to get into an M.B.A. program or Ph.D. program.” This clip from an article in the New York Times explains only a part of the issue. College is becoming more and more of a common thing among American students. How are we supposed to stand out?
5. Meeting our own expectations
For those of us that made it into college, it is likely that we have high expectations for ourselves. We expect we will graduate. We expect we will graduate with high marks. We expect we will never fail (hah!). Nothing is worse than failing to meet your own expectations. But nobody is willing to lower their own bar!
6. College is a game
Not necessarily the fun kind, the competitive kind. We are in constant competition with each other. For me this can be fun sometimes (yes, for those of you who do not know me… a slight competitive edge runs in my family). But the fun can only last so long before the competition drives you into the ground. I’m up at 3am with zombie eyes and coffee breath. I stop and think… “Is this even worth it!?” Then I become angry with myself for wanting to give up. The point is sometimes no matter how much work you put in, sometimes it just won’t be enough when you are matched up against 40,000 other students. There is always a little genius out there waiting to humiliate you.
7. Aren’t we supposed to be having fun?
So depending on if you live the Greek system, and if you live by yourself… partying lifestyles can greatly differ (this may be an understatement). Regardless, I’m sick of people always telling me “College is supposed to be the time of your life!” WTF! Do I look like I have time to sit around and twiddle my thumbs while I down a few beers and kill my brain cells that I’m supposed to be using to study for my neuroanatomy test the next weekend? I realize some people have the brain power to put down the textbooks and relax a little… more power to them. I am not “one of them”. As a result of my inability to put down the books… I am labeled. Since I reject 90% of the party invites I get, I am told 1 or more of the following: “You suck. You are lame. You have no life.” And my favorite “Are you serious?”… Do I look like I’m kidding?
8. Professors who enjoy the Hard-Ass approach
Yes, you people add to the stress in our lives. Congratulations! I am happy that you are able to outsmart all of your students by creating a test that barely half of your 700 person class can pass. We are not thrilled.
9. Foreseeing the future
I know my Grandma says she has “a gift” and can predict certain things. Despite what she says, I do not. I have no clue where I will be in 15 years. I spend over half of my time (no exaggeration here) thinking about my future. Thinking about what I want to do, what I should do, what I could do. Am I wasting my time here? Am I taking the wrong classes? Am I focusing on the wrong major? I’m sick of everyone saying “you have time”… because time is ticking way faster than they think! I have no room for mistakes!!
10. Looking cute
Okay, I know this is minor. But the moral of the story is… the little things add up! We are in college here (in case you didn’t get that already). Some people are searching for their soul mates. Most of us don’t want to just roll out of bed after getting 4 hours of sleep and head to class looking like a slime ball. It’s hard enough to squeeze into our jeans from sophomore year in high school… let alone look in the mirror to find a stress pimple forming right between our eyebrows!
11. Keeping off the dreaded “freshie fifteen”
Research tells me that all of this stress does nothing but make us want food more. We don’t have time to get energy from sleeping… but we do have time to get energy from eating. Then we are too tired to walk to the gym. Then those extra pounds creep up on us and we feel even yuckier than before. What a vicious cycle!
12. Staying in touch with family
In the end of the day, the people who provide us “unconditional love” are our family. Yet, when the stress gets to an uncontrollable level, these are the people we lash out at. It is hard to stay in touch with them constantly, keeping them updated on every step we take in our journey through college. When we call them in a time of need, we want them to be there for us, to understand what we are going through, and to give us our answers. The last two of these three things are unreasonable on our part. As a result of our frustration and resistance to simply accept our family’s love, we end up isolated. The isolation factor is its own form of stress on an entirely different level.
13. Hooray for college?
Okay, I know the emotion of this blog was a little Debbie Downer-ish, but I deserve time to vent! I’m sure a couple years from now I will read this and feel absurd for stressing over such unnecessary things. For now, I just can’t help it!
Posted in Suggestions 20. Jan, 2011
Posted in Quote 17. Jan, 2011
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
Posted in Short Blurbs 14. Jan, 2011
Okay I know, this is a weird blog. I can’t help where my mind wanders. My thoughts on this were triggered by watching the memorial ceremony on television for the six individuals who were killed in the Tucson shooting last week. I started thinking about death. It’s so rarely talked about except for at funerals, memorials, etc. Listening to the stories about the individuals stirred me.
The following is a clip from 76 year old Dorwan Stoddard’s obituary:
In retirement, Dorwan also kept himself busy by volunteering to help his family whenever needed while earning the title “Mr. Fixit”. After Arlene’s passing in 1995, Dorwan returned to Tucson where he met Mavanell McDaniel Terry (Mavy), his former sixth grade sweetheart. They rekindled their love and spent the next beautiful 15 years serving the Lord Jesus Christ and the Tucson Community.
Their love for each other and desire to explore the world was expressed through their many travels to 28 different countries and all 50 states in their RV with their dog, Tux, in tow. Dory’s final demonstration of love was demonstrated on Saturday, January 8, 2011 when he heroically sacrificed his life by throwing his body on top of Mavy in order to protect her during the tragic shooting at Congresswoman Gifford’s gathering.
I get chills. I don’t know who this man is, but just after reading this clip, I am holding him up on a pedestal. Why is that? I am by no means belittling his act of courage – but I can’t help but wonder how many other couples would have done the same. Is it an instinct inside of us? What is it that makes us lash out at the last moments on the brink of death?
This event held many different kinds of people. Some of them ran away and hid behind their cars. Some of them tried to protect those they were with. Some of them advanced on the shooter to try to stop him. Some of them attempted to administer help to those who had been wounded. What do those few brief moments say about our character?
It’s not just this event, its life. I realize (duh) people die every day. So what do they do? Some of them whisper their “last words” – how they decide those words… who knows? Some of them are paralyzed by death (ie: terminal illnesses such as cancer), they’ve been told death is coming but they refuse to believe it. Some of them are liberated by death; knowing it is coming allows them to cram in as much life as they can in the time they have left. What do these moments say about our character?
Many of us are afraid of death because it is so unknown. Is it weird that I find this fascinating? No living human knows for certain, what happens when we die. No matter how hard some people will try to understand, nobody ever will know. I’d say it is undoubtedly the world’s best kept secret.
Posted in Short Blurbs 07. Jan, 2011
It’s weird. I feel back at square 1 again.
…How did I become such an indecisive person??
Regardless of my lack of direction, school is what I need right now. I think my brain missed learning! Speaking of brains… my biopsychology professor (Anne Voorhies) is a ham. She talks fast but it is entertaining and all 300 of us are following her every step of the way. We recently learned that the prefrontal cortex (the area in our brain responsible for planning and “thinking ahead”) is the last area to develop (around age 24). Who decided to let us into college without fully developed brains anyway!?
My global geography of health professor loves to show random pictures from vacations he’s been on to various third world countries and ramble about seemingly unimportant things. The books for the class are supposed to be fascinating reads so this is what I am looking forward to. It is difficult to sit through nearly 2 hours of lecture watching him roll around his big fat tongue everytime he opens his mouth so all of us can see. A direct quote from ratemyprofessor.com about this guy… “Go to class only if you want a good laugh.”
My english teacher seems top notch. There’s no hiding behind our phones or computers here, as all 25 of us are crammed in a tiny room and sitting in a circular shape around one big table. There is a tiny whiteboard at the front of the room for her to scribble on. We spent the first hour of class yesterday brainstorming all the things we hate about writing college papers and why they’re so difficult. My #1 qualm being that if I’m not passionate about what I’m writing about… it will show in my paper.
I’m back on track. Unsure what I’m doing or where I’m going, but at least im going!!
Posted in Short Blurbs 02. Jan, 2011