Month: February 2012

Surgery Change

Real quick update- so I’ve been having a problem with my ribcage and been exploring it with my doctor.  Had blood work done today and yesterday.  My pour arm looks so battered and abused. 😦

They actually think it may not be fibromyalgia after all and that it might be pleurisy or something else. It may also be chronic pain but we will know more in the next few weeks, months. After a year plus of doctors telling me I had the flu or it was exercise pain I finally have found a doctor who is taking this seriously.  I feel like if there is an answer to be found we will find it.

So with all this pain and change I’ve talked to my eye doctor today and we decided together to put off the strabismus surgery to a later date.  It will probably happen in May or this summer.  I hate to have more time to stew on it but it will be a good test of my new resolve to have a calm, happy focus in my life.

Thanks for all your help and support through all this.  Will keep you posted on everything!

 

 

 

Body Image

For those who don’t have pinterest- I really liked this. I think she’s right on (and I normally not the hugest Tina Fey fan.  I don’t think 30 Rock is funny…!). In reading my old journal it is also amazing how much I talk about losing weight and my body image.  I just assume that if I had a certain body type I would be happier.  I’ve learned it is not true.

There is always something to feel bad about yourself if you let it. I used to think that if you were skinny you’d get married and live happily ever after.  To be honest I am not sure how the happily ever after happens, especially as far as meeting the special someone is concerned, but I am positive it has nothing to do with being skinny.

I don’t think we are fated or victims in life but I am increasingly convinced most of the test of life is trying to squeeze joy out of events, good and bad, that happen to you; and in the end becoming the person you are meant to be.  I’ve spent a lot of my life stressed out over things I have no control over. I’m working on that. You live and learn!

Looking Back

So life has been a bit challenging for me lately.  Healthwise, painwise and otherwise.  I just spent most of my day today getting blood drawn and xrays done to try and determine why I am still having so much pain in my ribcage area.  Plus, there is the issue of my looming surgery on my eye and everything else.

I have decided all of the stresses in my life are out of my control.  The only thing I can control is my response.  Working on that.

I started to think about my life and particularly my teen years.  I’ve mentioned those times many times on this blog.  They were time I relate too because in like your 30s, your teens don’t have a specific job to do but get older.  Both times have brought significant health and family challenges and been introspective.

Sometimes I bet you wonder- was the teen Rachel really the girl she describes- itching to be independent and free, insecure and confident at the same time?  I was just reading over my high school journal and if anything I’ve toned it down a notch.  I was a great person!  I really believed in things and I wanted so much out of myself.  I still do. Here are some highlights:

“I wish I was more forthright.  Oh well! That’s something I can work on”  October 19,1998.  (I think I’ve worked that one out- what do you think? 🙂 )

“I love late night chats with Mom and Meg.  We talked about high school and the kids we knew with problems and why we were different.”  October 22, 1998.  (Good parenting in my book!)

“I have been accepted.  I am so excited! I started to scream and weep when I read the exciting first words ‘we are delighted to inform you…’  I have never been so thrilled, relieved and satisfied, at the same time.  For once in my life all my hard work has paid off.  I was always somehow disappointed but this time I was not to be thwarted!” Feb 16, 1999

“Maybe my brother and sister are right.  Maybe different is better.  It certainly is far less stressful…” March 1, 1999

“I’m just ready to go.  I’m sick of waiting around.  I’m ready to be on my own away from my family.  I love my family but I just want to be able to control my own life and do what I want to do when I want to do it.  I’m sick of always being tied down by little kids…” March 8, 1999

“I feel worn out and yet there is still so much to be done that I do not feel justified in my fatigue…” March 20, 1999

“I was once asked in class if I could meet anyone who would it be? My answer was decidedly sure. I’d meet Jesus.  There is no one who has done more for me and for all mankind and I am so thankful” April 2, 1999

“Today marks under one month until I go away to school.  I am so excited.  Finally my dream is coming true. Finally I have achieved something in my life that I really wanted. I never thought I would be able to go to BYU.  I always thought I was too stupid for that.  But surprise, I’m not.” May 21, 1999 (You know Sue on the Middle?  That was totally me.  I never made anything I tried out for until BYU).

“I am grateful for My Savior and the sacrifice He made for me.  I am thankful that he was born on Christmas morning with the sole purpose to save my soul.  Christ is the light and moral compass of my life and I love Him with all my heart.  I pray that I will always look to Him for everything.” December 25, 1999

“I hope when I’m reading this 30 years from now I will be able to say ‘Rachel goes into any situation undaunted and unafraid of the unpaved way that lies before her”  (Still got like 16 years to work on that)

More quotes to come but got to work tonight!

Random Thoughts Feb 2012

Wrote this last night-

So I’ve been posting a lot lately for 2 reasons- I’ve had a lot of pain lately and a lot of insomnia.  Here I am with both of those conditions. Here’s some random thoughts

Pain-

Quick note- I’ve gotten a lot of feedback on the fibromyalgia facebook wall but those in the blogosphere do you normally have localized pain or is it all over?  I actually don’t have pain all over.  It is specific unless I’ve particularly exercised another part that day.  I ALWAYS have pain in my ribcage- all over the ribcage, sternum, side.  It is tender to the touch.  Hurts to wear a bra or any clothing. Swimming is oddly fine but it is sore no matter what I do.  I live with a minimal level of pain but some days like today it was so sore and when I touched it the muscle feels puffy and swollen…I’m going to the doctor Monday but I’m just curious if anyone has heard of anything like this? The odd thing is my doctor gave me muscle relaxants to take in an emergency and they seem to do nothing.  Its like the bones hurt.

Friends-

However, I pushed forward and had a good day anyway.  My friends have kept me really busy lately which has been a HUGE blessing in so many levels.  I will never be a girl who complains about not having enough friends- at least I shouldn’t.  I have my swim friends, my church friends, my long-time friends, my friends who live away from me who I chat with via facebook, my siblings and family.  My cousins are my friends. Even my Grandma is one of my best friends. I just think of all the sad people I used to meet on my mission who would let us in just so that I spoke to someone during the day and I remember how lucky I am. I work really hard at my friendships but still I am very blessed.

Food-

Ok.  Lately I have been struggling with food.  All food looks gross to me. I have no energy to cook and especially clean. I love having people over for the company but also because it forces me to cook! I’ve had mixed luck with the crockpot of late. I think it works great for roasts and bbq pork but other dishes have been mixed at best.  I usually end up eating out or at Harmons. Sometimes I wonder if this saves me money.  I was thinking about that yesterday when I got a salad at Harmons and for me to buy portabello mushrooms, chicken, mixed greens, bell pepper etc would have been a lot more than the $7  I spent on my salad.  Plus, I would have had ingredients left over I wouldn’t use and it would take me forever to cook, chop up all those ingredients.  Thoughts?

Oscars-

So the Oscars are tomorrow and I could really care less about Hollywood and its awards (Is there a more self-congratulatory group in the world than Hollywood?  There is an awards show every day).  I do like the fashion.  This year is fun because I have actually seen 5 of the 9 movies nominated for best picture- Tree of Life, The Artist, The Help, Hugo and Midnight in Paris. If it was just me picking I would give the prize to The Help and I would have nominated Harry Potter for best picture, but I loved The Artist and Midnight in Paris also.

Also, if Tree of Life doesn’t win for best cinematography than the category has no meaning.  I wish that the documentaries would come to the theaters.  They sound pretty interesting.

I think The Artist and The Help will win most everything and they are great movies and deserve it.

(Also, I think Jean Dujardin should win for best actor and tired of everyone comparing him to Roberto Begnini.  What you can only give an Oscar to a foreigner every 20 years? Plus, their movies are totally different).

Television-

So today on lifetime (I was resting before my busy day) they had 4 movies in a row (no I did not watch them) about abducted children.  There’s a laugh riot for your Saturday morning…

Fun times-

So today was really fun. My friend Tennille asked me if I wanted to go to the show at Hale Theater West Valley-  Zorro: The Musical.  It was the US Premiere!  I love Hale Theater and jumped at the chance to go.  Before the show we went to my favorite sushi place- Nagoya Sushi in Midvale (this random little place in a strip mall but it is so good. We had 2 kinds of sushi, tempura vegetables and gyoza for $26. There’s no way I could have made all that for $26.).

Anyway, the show was great!  So fun to see a show in development.  I am sure by the time it makes it to broadway they will work out some of the kinks.  The performances were all very good, as is almost always the case with Hale (the last one I saw was a rare miss so nice to see them back on track).  It was fun to see a show that I didn’t know the music for, made it a surprise.

Here’s an article on it from Deseret News-  Broadway-bound ‘Zorro’ a sizzling sensation at Hale West Valley’

Teen Lit

So I’m resting this morning. My fibro pain has been so bad lately.  My ribcage is so swollen.  Tender to the touch.  I already made one QVC purchase and figured better get on my blog before I did anything I’d seriously regret!

I’ve been thinking about teen literature lately.  First off, is it just me or did this genre invent itself in the last 10 years? I can’ think of a single series that was popular when I was in high school 94-98.  I can think of things like Baby Sitters Club, Sweet Valley High or even RL Stine which was popular when I was in middle school but nothing in high school.  The only books I remember reading in high school were the one’s assigned to me at school.  I remember liking Arthur Miller plays, Silas Marner, Shakespeare (especially the sonnets) and To Kill a Mockingbird. Those were all books I read during school.

Surely I must have read something during summer break but I can’t think of anything? What are the 90’s teen lit books I’m forgetting? I didn’t really become excited about reading until college and then I veraciously ate up Jane Austen, Harry Potter, and other books.  I read the 4 major Jane Austen books (Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion and Emma) in a 6 week break I had in the winter of 99.

So, that’s my first thought.  Second, I wonder how helpful the teen lit genre is for actual teens.  Here are a few concerns.

1.  Even the best teen lit books, Harry Potter, Lightning Thief, Hunger Games, all portray characters who basically act like adults and are required to make adult decisions.  I like these books so quiet down but don’t you think this is true?  In the Twilight books Bella basically has to decide by the time she is 18 what she wants to do with her life in immortality.

A few weeks ago I saw a sign at the library saying “Teens: Do You Hate Cupid?  Are you down on Love?”.  I seem to be alone in finding this sign amazing.  Should teens really be worried about love, let alone be down on it?  If you think about Twilight and Harry Potter and Hunger Games all of the major female characters basically have to decide on their true loves as teenagers.  Plus, they all have to save their families, and in Harry’s case the whole world from ultimate evil.

Shouldn’t teens just be worried about getting a date to prom or learning to drive?  I have 2 teenage siblings and I think there is a lot of pressure on them to ‘succeed’ and to already know who you are.  I didn’t figure that out until college.  (It also doesn’t help that most teens are played by 30 year olds- ie Glee).

If you look at something from my generation for teens- Clueless.  Obviously the wealth and characters are over the top for comedy-sake but at the core its about making friends, fashion, crushes, learning to drive, dealing with teachers, parents and cliques, and trying to mature.  Even at the end Cher doesn’t fall in love for all time.  She says ” I am only 16, and this is California, not Kentucky.” (I love that movie btw)

2.  All of the books mentioned above feature characters that have a specific magical destiny.  Most of us just lead normal lives.  I think there is a lot of pressure to live some amazing dream life.  Then when you don’t know what you want to do or aren’t supremely talented at something you feel depressed.

Not all of us can be Michael Phelps and have a solo vision in life.  I think in the past the vision of teens was to have a family, live in nice house and be happy.  Now you have to do something impactful or at least be famous.

Teen movies show this.  I recently watched the movie Monte Carlo with teen queen Selena Gomez.  In the movie the Gomez character graduates from high school and goes to visit Paris with her 2 sisters.  The first 25 minutes are actually pretty good with a teen trying to get along with her 2 sisters and adjust post-high school while experiencing a new country.   Then they have to go make her switch identities with a socialite who looks just like her and live as this queen, pop star for the rest of the movie.  You see what I mean?  Just being a normal teen isn’t good enough. She had to be famous, amazing, rich, noticed to be happy.

3.  Most of these teen books are amazingly dark.  I think of Judy Blume, a teen lit of my era, her books trite as they might be involved teens and dealing with friendship, family, school troubles, parental divorce, girls dealing with their periods, and other real teen concerns.  Regardless, there is a lightness to her books that is appealing.

The Hunger Games is especially dark with brutal, violent, children-on-children combat.  Compellingly written as it may be, shouldn’t we a bit concerned that all this darkness is going to lead to dark, brooding teens?  A teen I know just said ‘I am depressed’.  With all this reading I don’t blame her!

I was not a big fan of Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli but at least it was light, positive and fun.  My friend and I were talking and agreed even the Goose Girl series by Shannon Hale is pretty dark.

I know you can make the argument that all fairy tales are dark but usually those were stories, not huge books (let alone series), and there was always a happy ending at the end.  Hunger Games didn’t even really give you that.

It’s like I said to my friend Forest Hartman on his review of Monte Carlo

“I don’t understand movies like Monte Carlo. Isn’t it enough of an adventure for a girl to go to Europe without her having to become a star at the same time? It sounds just like the dreaded Lizzie Mcguire movie of years ago that my little sister begged me to take her to.
I think you could make a very good movie about a teen experiencing Paris or Monte Carlo and maturing through art, music, fashion. Would that script be so much harder to write or so much less marketable? I dont think so”

He said:

“I think there’s also a lot of pressure on screenwriters to turn out formulaic material. Something inventive is often seen as risky and many producers are afraid to take risks. It’s simpler to take a star and put them in a rehashing of something that’s already been done because the project is seen as safe. Of course, that’s not always true because most Hollywood films lose money at the box office.”

Isn’t it funny that what is seen as inventive is a story about a normal girl, experiencing normal things?  Ever since Harry Potter everyone has been trying to be the next Harry Potter.  I get that.

How about we make the next big thing- the anti- Harry Potter?  Maybe I will just have to write a book about the kind of teen I was.  I’ve never read a book like that.  Hmmmm

Anyway, I must admit at the end of this that I am not a huge fantasy fan, never have been, so maybe I am biased to begin with but what do you think of my 3 points on teen lit?  I’m sure my sister will have something to say because she is much more well read in the genre than I am.

Finally, can we agree no more books on werewolves or vampires? I was looking at audible teen and it seemed like every book was about one or the other.

Secret Super Powers

straight haired rachel
I love this photo.

(One of my super powers is changing my hair from curly to straight at a 2 hour notice).

So I just wanted to write a quick bit before I head off to work.  Do you ever have a talent that you don’t use very much but you are actually quite good at it.  It’s like the 2nd choice in career choices.  You could have gone there but for whatever reasons you picked something else.  I sometimes feel like I stumbled into my career rather than chose it. I took one accounting job after my mission and that’s it my whole life but its worked out pretty well.

Still, its fun to have other things that only the best friends end up finding out.  For instance, my Mom is a way good painter.  My friend Camille, a guidance counselor, is super good at statistics (she saved my but in statistics class for my MBA).  My friend Megan, the teacher, makes really good rolls and breadsticks.

Well, here’s my secret super power- I’m a really good editor.  Its so funny because I stunk at writing and grammar in my younger years.  School in general was a struggle.  I kept okay grades but Ben and Megan were the scholastic achievers of the family.  I had a really hard time crafting the thought in my head.  I remember being so frustrated that nobody got what I was trying to say.

Then something happened my freshmen year of of college that all of these things clicked in my brain.  I think it was the first time in my life that I felt smart, and feeling smart told my brain to be smart.  I just became excited about life and learning.  Believe it or not I was not a veracious reader and that first year of college I couldn’t get enough reading.  (It’s amazing I was able to fit in with my schooling and all the fun I had).

I even taught a lesson on grammar and became  teaching assistant my senior year (the best experience of my life, I’m not even kidding).  Dr.  Bohn even left me to teach his classes for an entire day.  After freaking out I did it and did a good job.  It was one of the best days of my life for sure.

That’s why I love BYU so much.  It taught me that I had all of these super powers, that I was super.

My Grandpa Richards also taught me that I had super powers. He believed everyone was super.

Anyway, my friend asked me to review her paper for her PHD department’s presentation and I was confidently nervous (can there be such a thing? Yes, I experienced it when reading this paper.).

I turned it back to her and her response was great!

“Wow! You way exceeded my expectations. I knew you would be good, but you were stunning! Have you ever thought about having a job of being a copy editor? I can’t believe how many mistakes and places we were too wordy that you found. I owe you a billion swim lessons for this.”

Now, doesn’t that put a smile on a girl’s face! It made my day.

I’m feeling good about life. I have super grammar powers.  How can you not feel good about that! 🙂

What are your secret super powers and talents?

Well, have a great weekend friends.  Love you all!

Privacy is Overrated

So I should be eating but food is blah…so I think I will answer the question why I blog and blog so personally.

I read this quote today and it totally rang true. “I think it is part of the ancient wisdom that releasing your thoughts makes you feel lighter and at peace with yourself. It is therapy. Privacy is overrated anyway (more on this idea soon). We are social animals and we like to understand our world. I am not sure where we’ve got this thing with protecting our privacy in the first place. It doesn’t make sense unless you have something to hide. And hiding something is like holding a weight on your shoulders.

The feeling of lightness and relief that come with the knowledge that you do not have to hide anything is amazing. So much energy saved for better, constructive purposes!”

That my friends is why I blog.  I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I almost never mention other people in my blog, except a passing glance or a positive profile on a birthday.  It is all about ME.   It is the one place where I can say what I want, when I want, because it is mine. It is a creation of mine and nobody else.  There is power in that.  For once the thrill of authorship is available to everyone who can type.  Its great! And as wonderful as being a team player is, sometimes it is equally empowering to just be you alone, and have your voice heard. (not only that but I’ve learned to craft, defend and fine tune my voice.  I’ve learned a ton from my blog).

My blog makes me feel like Oprah every time I write.  Like I have a forum and the 100-200 daily hits are my audience.  Just as Oprah had shows on movies, religion, music and other topics, my blog jumps around from here to there.  And honestly who doesn’t want to be Oprah?

I just want to make a difference and be understood  by the world.  I think my blog let’s me do that.  Thanks for reading friends and making comments (and please make more!).

It’s like Emerson says, “A chief event of life is the day in which we have encountered a mind that startled us.” I hope I do that for someone and I certainly get that from myself and others in the blogosphere. There are startling minds all over the place!

The two cousins who are closest to me in age have already passed on, so I know life is too short to hide what you are and believe.  Be bold with the world!

The great thing is the post where I have been the most brave about my weight or anxiety are the one’s that get the most hits and positive feedback.  It is amazing.  I had nearly 400 hits in 2 days on my anxiety piece because it was honest and people need to hear that they are not alone in the world.  I need to hear that.  I need to feel it from writing. Its like Emerson says ‘“Nothing can bring you peace but yourself”.  Its really true.  Blogging myself is what brings me peace.

Without my blog I’d just be a little girl who lives alone in Utah.  With it, I can touch the world. Be brave.  Make your voice heard.  We need your perspective.  I need your perspective.

Anyway, that’s my explanation of why I blog, and why I am as personal as I am on my blog.  Its the only way I know how to live.

Emerson- ““To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”

Amen to that!

Ok.  Now I better find something to eat…blah.