Month: February 2012

Valentines Swimfest

In Utah we are so lucky to have a great group of US Masters Swimmers.  I know it sounds corny but they really are a family, that has never been anything but supportive, kind and most importantly FUN!

I’ve got great friends including my swim friends.  In December I wanted to do something to thank my swim friends for all their support, so I came up with the idea of a Christmas Swimfest.  This was just a fun get-together where we could swim, play games, get to know one another and have fun.  It was a great success.  So much so that I decided to do it again:

A Valentines Swimfest!

Team Photo after saltines relay!

It was without a doubt the best valentines I’ve ever had!  We had a good turn out and all the trimmings of a great Swimfest (yes, I’ve invented a whole new term- one life goal checked off my list!) including matching swim caps (King and Queen of Hearts caps got for .99 each- thank you swimoutlet.com), workout planned by Josh and then fun relays!

Esther, Me and Renee

I have always loved playing games and even more- orchestrating games. Naturally I love relays!  We did 4 different relays.  Each relay had 2 teams.

First, we did a t-shirt relay (red shirt for the holiday, of course!).  In this relay you have 2 over-sized t-shirts and after 25m’s you must give the t-shirt to the next swimmer.  It was harder than you’d think.  You have to tread water and take the shirt off and put the shirt on.  One group got out of the water.  That was a smart!

Goody and I before the t-shirt relay
Renee and Esther trading the t-shirt. It was hard!

Second, was a kickboard relay where each swimmer kicks 50 meters and passes his or her board to the next person and they must add it to their own, so with 4 on each team, the final swimmer has 4 kickboards.

kickboard relay
Team 1 before the kickboard relay. Esther, Kate, Goody and Josh

Third, we did a saltine relay.  For this relay each person swims a 50 meters, gets out of the pool, eats a saltine cracker and then whistles.  Once they’ve done this the next swimmer can go.  It was really hard! The chlorine makes your mouth dry and then the saltine cracker makes it worse.  It was fun!  I had to basically hoot my whistle.

Chris with the dreaded saltines!

Fourth, was a ‘race car’ relay.  The idea is you have to dive under water and run a matchbox car along the line at the bottom of the pool.  Once you are out of air you go to the top and the next member of your team (who has been following you) must take a turn until you complete a lap.  First team done wins.

After the relays we cleaned up and went to a diner that was close, Left Fork Grill.  It was a great find!  A terrific bargain and good food.  A place I would never have gone to without my friend Josh’s suggestion (he had never been there but saw that it was close).   How fun to have a greasy spoon type place close by.  Delicious! I broke a few rules and had buttermilk pancakes, eggs and sausage…yum!

At the Left Fork Grill. Yum (and open 24 hours a day. This could get me in trouble!)

I had such a good time!  It was exactly what I needed- just fun with friends.  Plus, we had 2 new swimmers come which is always great.  Welcoming others into our little swimming family is my way of paying it forward because I felt so welcome back in August at my first clinic.  I really feel the Swimfests is an inspired notion because it is an easy way to introduce people to swimming without the intensity of a meet or open water swim.  Not everyone is as gutsy as me (Can I say that without sounding cocky?) and coming to a party is low pressure.   One girl, Esther, came this time who has only had 3 lessons and she was awesome!

You know the saying ‘no man is an island’?  Well, if he is I will swim out to him!  I need friends.  I need support.  I don’t want you to think I have great success with all my parties.  I have had get-togethers where no one, zero people, came. As discouraging as that can be (and I shed a tear or two!) you just have to push through it and keep trying.

Companionship is worth the price.  Having a little fun is worth the price of a few failures. Believe me, this week, it was so worth the price. Don’t give up! If you don’t click with one group, try another, keep going.  Like anything in life, it takes effort and sacrifice to make friends (and no, the ‘ah ha’, ‘meant to be’ friend has only happened to me once- thanks Emily!) but if you are open and honest and work at it, somewhere you will find  kindred spirits- even if it just one great friend.   I promise!

I am now looking forward to the next Swimfest- they have St.  Patrick’s Day caps after all!  (It makes sucky holidays so much more fun!). We had a great idea to do an Easter Egg hunt in April! You’d have to think of a way to weigh down the eggs but how fun!  I love a project!

I had a great time making goodie bags for the swim.  Something fun to focus on after a hard couple of weeks.  I even made my own valentine, which was designed by my super talented friend Joan.  Go to her website!

How fun to design your own valentine! Happy Valentines Day Everyone!

It was just a great time and I have a big smile on my face today!  Thanks friends for the great swim!

Here are some more photos of the day:

Our new friend Esther!
A great picture of Renee taken by my friend Kate
Gords and Josh. They both led the clinic at my first open water swim. You might call them Swimming Ambassadors!

Empathy vs Sympathy

Empathy is understood as the ability to mutually experience the thoughts, emotions, and direct experience of others without them being directly communicated intentionally.

Sympathy is a feeling of care and understanding for suffering beings.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this.

Recently I’ve had some trials which I can’t get into but which have been tough for me to absorb.  Being single I have leaned more on my friends than ever before.  What has amazed me the most is the empathy I’ve felt.  Not just sympathy (a feeling of caring) but empathy, someone truly experiencing my thoughts, emotions and experiences.  Is there a greater gift we can give than empathy?  The hard times in life are almost always made harder by their accompanying loneliness.

What’s really impressed me is people that I thought for sure would not understand how I feel, have been amazingly empathetic. Having empathy allows you to focus on the feelings of others and less on the situation at hand. You could in fact think the person is quite wrong and behaving incorrectly but with empathy you are focusing on how they feel, what thoughts are in their heart.   Seeing all the empathy given me of late, makes me want to improve that virtue in my own life. Not just be sympathetic but empathetic as well.

When you are single I think it is easier than ever to feel lonely and that nobody understands.   You have no ready companion to share your thoughts with and this can be lonely.  Thank goodness God has given me great friends who never let me feel alone that long.

I remember when I was so unhappy at my old job.  Every day I would come home angry, resentful, depressed, and frustrated and it felt like there was a dark cloud over my life.   Some people would have a hard time even sympathizing with my situation let alone empathizing with it.  I had a good job in a tough economy.  I worked with some nice people.  I made enough money to support myself and go to school.  I was healthy, had great friends, and a faith to lean on.  Indeed there were plenty of things to be happy about and I did my best to feel those things.

But still the problem persisted.  The sadness persisted. The anger persisted. I held it all inside (didn’t have a blog back then… 🙂 )

There were many people who showed true empathy during this time but one person sticks out.  At the time I was working at the Mt.  Timpanogas temple.  Working at the temple met so much to me and gave me such relief, but I felt conflicted.  How could I work at the temple when everyday I felt anger and resentment towards this boss.  Each day I thought I’d forgiven her and then she would find a way to rewound me.   Her disdain and criticism were unyielding- almost never giving me a chance to see her in a kinder way.

Anyway, I felt guilty for serving in the temple and feeling this way.  I decided I would have to quit because I wasn’t worthy enough.  I made an appointment with the Temple Matron (kind of the lead woman in the temple) and we chatted.  I told her how I was feeling.  She gave me some wise advice:

“The temple is not for perfect people.  The temple is for perfecting the people”.

I’ve thought about that a lot over the years.  That life is not for perfect people, its for perfecting people.  Trials are not for perfect people, its for perfecting people.  Change is not for perfect people, its for perfecting people.

The knowledge that I can work through trials and sins in my own imperfect way is so comforting.  That working through feelings and forgiveness did not make me unworthy.  It meant I was trying and that’s all we can do.  There may be instances where nobody in the world can empathize with how I really feel.  That is when I turn to Jesus Christ and He can perfectly empathize because he has felt it and believes in me perfectly.

I’m so grateful for all those that have empathized or sympathized with me.  I am so not perfect and I wish I responded perfectly to every challenge but God knows the intent of my heart.  He knows that I want to do the right thing.  He also knows the pain of my heart and even as with hating my job it might not make any sense to the world, it makes sense to him.  I started a relationship with God as my father when I was 14 and He has never abandoned me.  He has taught me, answered my questions and led me through every trial.

I like this definition of empathy by Marvin J.  Ashton, especially the last part.  I’m working on this:

“empathy is the ability to understand someone else’s feelings and to feel what he feels. Meaningful help can never be given without empathy for the recipient. This requires gaining the confidence of the person; listening with eyes, ears, and heart; trying to comprehend how this person feels; and then letting him know by your personal performance that you really understand. One who really understands and practices empathy doesn’t solve another’s problems, doesn’t argue, doesn’t top his story, make accusations, or take away free agency. He merely helps the person build his self-reliance and self-image so he can try to find his own solutions.”

Aren’t the people who treat you that way just the best? Doesn’t it mean everything just to feel that someone understands?  I know when I was sad with my job it meant everything that someone would try to see things from my perspective. This was much better than any advice I got. Being understood by God is great but being understood by the world is also wonderful.

Anyway, I hope I can try to be more empathetic with those around me.  To see things as they see them.  To listen more and be more observant of their needs.   To experience the thoughts, emotions, and direct experience of others.  That is my new goal.

Perception

Have you ever noticed how 2 people can tell the same story and yet it doesn’t seem like the same story? I’ve particularly seen this with couples, especially after a break up.  It would seem like they couldn’t have been in the same marriage.  I think only in time does the nuances of memories cement in our brain.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about this lately, as life has been a bit stressful.  My reality has not always been what others see.  I came across this quote and it really rings true.

“Maybe each human being lives in a unique world, a private world different from those inhabited and experienced by all other humans. . . . If reality differs from person to person, can we speak of reality singular, or shouldn’t we really be talking about plural realities? And if there are plural realities, are some more true (more real) than others? What about the world of a schizophrenic? Maybe it’s as real as our world. Maybe we cannot say that we are in touch with reality and he is not, but should instead say, His reality is so different from ours that he can’t explain his to us, and we can’t explain ours to him. The problem, then, is that if subjective worlds are experienced too differently, there occurs a breakdown in communication … and there is the real illness.”
Philip K. Dick

Don’t you think understanding another person’s reality is the hardest thing? Its especially true when you think you know and it turns out to be more ‘unique’ than you thought.  As he says, the worlds collide and there is the real illness…

Its strange because I am an open book.  Its hard for me to think of a single thing that would surprise any of my friends. That is my reality and that’s how I communicate but I know it isn’t everyone’s. Still, seeing through their glasses at their reality is super hard- sometimes in extreme cases impossible but most of the time the act of trying expands our views, our realities, and makes us better people.

I’m trying to expand my view, look at others realities instead of just my own.  I don’t know if this will make any sense to anyone else but it makes sense to me.

However, at the end of the day you must also be willing to stand alone.  Jesus set the example, standing alone, being spit upon and dragged through the street, nailed to a cross.  Through it all He never stopped looking at others realities and having compassion for them.  He had compassion for Peter and Thomas who doubted, the Roman guard who chopped off His ear, the fellow prisoners who hung with Him, and even for Judas.

He saw through their reality and yet stood alone.  We all have our moments where we must stand alone (even if it is just a perception of standing alone, which again perception is reality).  My prophet President Monson spoke about this and it gave me great comfort recently:

“As we go about living from day to day, it is almost inevitable that our faith will be challenged. We may at times find ourselves surrounded by others and yet standing in the minority or even standing alone concerning what is acceptable and what is not. Do we have the moral courage to stand firm for our beliefs, even if by so doing we must stand alone?”

I hope I have the courage to look at the world through other’s eyes, but also to stand alone when necessary.  I know I have the faith to stand alone because the Savior understands ALL perfectly.  He loves Me and my world perfectly.  What a comfort that is.  In truth, we are never really standing alone because He is always with us, even when we don’t feel Him near.

Wilde Wisdom

Today I have had a lot on my mind.  Trying to decide to have surgery, getting immersed in a new ward (which went great btw.  More on that to come)etc.  Where did I turn?- yes to the scriptures, prayer and friends but also to Mr.  Oscar Wilde and his play An Ideal Husband.  Who would have thought that a gay man from the late 19th century would have so much to to teach a Mormon girl in 2012.

The play is about a politician who has a past unbeknownst to all of his friends including the silly Lord Goring. Unfortunately this past is used as blackmail and all pandemonium breaks free.  Well, here are some quotes that made me laugh and some that made me think:

Lord Arthur Goring: Fashion is what one wears oneself. What is unfashionable is what other people wear. Other people are quite dreadful. The only possible society is oneself.

Lord Caversham: I don’t know how you stand society. A lot of damned nobodies talking about nothing.
Lord Arthur Goring: I love talking about nothing, Father. It’s the only thing I know anything about.

Lord Caversham: Do you always understand everything you say?
Lord Arthur Goring: Yes… if I listen attentively.

Lord Arthur Goring: I’m sorry, Father, but the truth is, this is not my day for talking seriously.
Lord Caversham: Well, what do you mean, sir?
Lord Arthur Goring: I mean that I only talk seriously on the first Tuesday of every month. Between noon and three.

Mabel: Lord Goring, I gather you’re to be congratulated.
Lord Arthur Goring: Well, there’s nothing I like more than to be congratulated, though invariably I find the pleasure immeasurably increased when I know what for.
Lord Arthur Goring: There’s somebody I want to you talk to.
Lord Caversham: What about?
Lord Arthur Goring: About me, sir.
Lord Caversham: Not a subject on which much eloquence is possible.

Lord Arthur Goring: Rather than risk losing your love, he would do anything. Has he not been punished enough?
Gertrude: We’ve both been punished. I set him up too high.
Lord Arthur Goring: Do not set him down now too low.

(I like this one when thinking of couples I know after a break up.  Someone once too high, suddenly becomes too low.)

Lord Arthur Goring: Gertrude, it is not the perfect, but rather the imperfect who have need of love.
Gertrude: You seem to know a great deal about it all of a sudden.
Lord Arthur Goring: Oh, I hope not. All I know, Gertrude, is that it takes great courage to see the world in all its tainted glory, and still to love it. And even more courage to see it in the one you love. Gertrude, you have more courage than any woman I have ever known. Do not be afraid now to use it.

I think that last one is true of yourself.  Don’t you have those moments where you see yourself in all its tainted glory? I do.  Have had those moments lately (something about turning 31. You must face your own mortality, your own value to the world).  I feel closer to God and Jesus Christ than ever before.  In fact, I haven’t felt their presence as palpably in my life since my mission.

It is certainly true that ‘it is not the perfect, but rather the imperfect who have need of love.’ I’m proof of that!  We all are.  (Unless the perfect man really is out there and if so please show yourself to me at once!)

It reminds me of one of my favorite speeches The Solitude of Self by Elizabeth Cady Stanton:

“To guide our own craft, we must be captain, pilot, engineer; with chart and compass to stand at the wheel; to watch the winds and waves, and know when to take in the sail, and to read the signs in the firmament over all. It matters not whether the solitary voyager is man or woman; nature, having endowed them equally, leaves them to their own skill and judgment in the hour of danger, and, if not equal to the occasion, alike they perish.”

There are moments in life when you get to know yourself- Aren’t those tough? but we need them to see our true potential.  Working on that right now, the solitude of self…

At Last

So as I’ve mentioned several times on this blog I take voice lessons.  I have for 6 years.  Recently I have run the gambit of Broadway songs I am interested in singing (in fact, most of them I’ve done 2 or more times).  I have 7 anthologies from Hal Leonard and have gone through most of them thoroughly.

With the death of Etta James I decided to shake things up and sing a jazzy song- At Last.  While I am no Etta, Ella or Beyonce…I did my best and have learned a lot from the song.  Its fun to do something different every now and then.

Here I am in my mediocre version.  I know its not great so I really don’t need constructive criticism (My one soft spot is my voice. I don’t take criticism of it very well). Also the recording isn’t great and the backtrack I found is cheesy and electronic.  Oh well! Just tell me if you like parts:

What are some other songs from this era that might be fun? I was thinking like a Billie Holiday, or maybe Ella Fitzgerald.  Like I said, I’ve drained the Broadway cannon and am looking for other genres and styles that might be a challenge, that would be fun.

I usually don’t think of myself having a pop or rock vibe in my voice but it might be fun to try a few things.

I’ve done some country- Dixie Chicks are a particular favorite as Natalie sings right in my range. (I’ve done Wide Open Spaces and Travelin Soldier).

I also love Sara Barielles and did Gravity for a recital.  Soulful girl music is my favorite from any era.  I’ve done Carol King, Linda Ronstadt. The only ‘opera’ I’ve ever done is Think of Me but if there is a song in English I might be willing to give it a go.

I’m up for anything.  I’m so grateful for my lessons.  The other day my teacher said ‘I’m really glad I know you’ and I feel the same way.   Its a blessing in my life to have a creative outlet and a chance to bond with a dear friend.

She’s going to China for 2 weeks so I will miss my lessons but hopefully I will have a bunch  of new songs picked out when she returns.  Suggestions please.

Hopeful Poetry

I haven’t done a poetry post in a long time.  The concept of hope has been on my mind lately.  We all have our little disappointments in life, where things don’t turn out as we had wished. Experiences where people disappoint us or even God seemingly lets us down.  We have to remember that He knows the path and knows what will purify us the most.  He loves all of us more than we can understand.  Hope and trust in His mercy is what gets us through it. I liked how these poems express both the disappointment and hope that we often feel.

I wish I was more of a poet but at least I can enjoy and be uplifted by the gifts of others. I was particularly thinking about this with some challenges of late but especially with my friend who has a very little one in the NICU (1.8 lbs!).  To hope and pray is sometimes all you have, and that’s a lot.  God be with little Sara Elizabeth.

Hope by Emily Dickinson (who has a lot of poems on hope!)

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune–without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

———————————-

Hope is a strange invention — by Emily Dickinson
Hope is a strange invention —
A Patent of the Heart —
In unremitting action
Yet never wearing out –Of this electric Adjunct
Not anything is known
But its unique momentum
Embellish all we own —
———————————-
The Hope Of My Heart by John McCrae
I left, to earth, a little maiden fair,
With locks of gold, and eyes that shamed the light;
I prayed that God might have her in His care
And sight.Earth’s love was false; her voice, a siren’s song;
(Sweet mother-earth was but a lying name)
The path she showed was but the path of wrong
And shame.”Cast her not out!” I cry. God’s kind words come —
“Her future is with Me, as was her past;
It shall be My good will to bring her home
At last.”
——————————-
Perfection Eluded
This morning I woke up,
Bursting with confidence,
Overflowing with excitement,
I was convinced I’d done it,
Convinced I had succeeded
When I heard the news,
I was crushed,
Feeling empty and broken,
But somehow I managed,
To pull myself together,
Determined not to cry
Determined to be fine.
Disappointment can be bitter
You feel as if you have lost your worth
But without disappointment
We have nowhere left to go
Hope can be amazing
You feel lit ready to face a better future
Because without hope,
We are forever lost
This morning I woke up,
Grasping for perfection,
Tonight I fall asleep-
Perfection eluding me,
But hope residing in my heart.
———————————-
The Disappointment by Jane Taylor
In tears to her mother poor Harriet came,
Let us listen to hear what she says:
“O see, dear mamma, it is pouring with rain,
We cannot go out in the chaise
All week I have longed for this holiday so,
And fancied the minutes were hours:
And now that I’m dressed and all ready to go,
Do look at these terrible showers!”
“I’m sorry, my dear,” her kind mother replied,
The rain disappoints us today;
But sorrow still more that you fret for a ride,
In such an extravagant way.
These slight disappointments are sent to prepare
For what may hereafter befall;
For seasons of real disappointment and care,
Which commonly happen to all.
For just like today with its holiday lost,
Is life and its comforts at best:
Our pleasures are blighted, our purposes crossed
To teach us it is not our rest
And when those distresses and crosses appear,
With which you shortly be tried,
You’ll wonder that ever you wasted a tear
On merely the loss of a ride
But though the world’s pleasures are fleeting and vain
Religion is lasting and true;
Real pleasure and peace in her paths you may gain,
Nor will disappointment ensue.
—————————————–

I Am a Mormon

I know this may seem redundant as the name of my blog is smilingldsgirl but I just wanted to say that I AM A MORMON.  I have a testimony of the Mormon church (or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).  I gained this through much prayer and study.  I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet.  I know that the Book of Mormon is revealed scripture.  I know this with all that I am.

Does that mean I can answer every question or satisfy every inquiry about the church?- no.  I don’t know anyone that can do that with their faith.  Still, I have gained a witness for myself that Jesus is my Savior, and that He has given me His truth. I know that families can be together forever through the covenants of the temple and that this life has a purifying purpose.  Our Heavenly Father gives us trials to test our faith and force us to let go of pride.  The more we turn to Him, the happier we will be.

Recently I am making a change from young single adult ward to a family ward.  I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t difficult but it has no affect on my testimony.  I am not in the church for social benefits.  I could be spit on everyday at church and it wouldn’t matter.  All that matters to me is what God wants me to do.  I will be obedient in every way I can and repent when I fall.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is the most happy message there is.  Life has purpose.  Families are forever. Friendships and knowledge gained in this life matter. We matter.  God doesn’t care just about the people in Jerusalem but has shared His message with the entire world.

My favorite scripture is Mosiah 2:41- “And moreover, I would desire  that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God.  For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness.  O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it.”

I will hold out faithful to the end.

Just so there is no doubt I will not be publishing any comments to this entry that are negative in nature.  Sorry, find another blog to post those thoughts on. This is my blog and my religion is the biggest part of me and my character.  If you have found anything insightful or interesting on this blog it was founded on my faith and the happiness it gives me.  I am not in the mood at the moment to argue theology or to debate my views.  They are not changing and believe me- I’ve heard it all!  The church is true.  I love it with all my heart.

To get a free copy of the Book of Mormon go to http://mormon.org/missionaries/. Read it.  Pray about it and God will confirm to you its truthfulness.  I’ve seen it 100’s of times and feel the strength of my own convictions renewed each time I read it.

People often think that Mormon’s are all the same (I think its because the missionaries dress the same) but it isn’t true.  We differ wildly in tastes, hobbies, and interests but we share a deep and abiding faith in Jesus Christ and His plan:

Some Achievments

So this week has been super stressful but I’ve learned and achieved a lot.

I haven’t decided on the surgery.  Still ruminating on it.  Luckily I can do it any time so it is entirely up to me.

I realized this week that I can only handle 1 non-work activity a day unless it is a weekend.  If I have other activities I almost never work out.  I just don’t have the time.  This week with 2 doctors appointments- eye and dentist, and vocal lesson/master class, I have only worked out twice (including tomorrow).   Perhaps I can do better on these crowded days but I may also have to accept that some weeks will be less intense workout wise.  I honestly don’t know how anyone exercises with all the distractions of kids.  I can hardly manage with my own distractions!

My trainer has been pushing me very hard lately and I’ve been eating well- ta da!  I lost 7 lbs since before Christmas!  I now weigh 257!  That’s 56 lbs lost in 3 years of working day in and day out.  As I told my friends ‘its a marathon not a sprint’.  I fully expect it will take another 3 years to lose the next 50.  Maybe others can lose faster but not me.

I have also signed up for the QUAC meet on the Feb 18th- I elected to go for the 50 free, 50 fly, and 500 free.  I think that will be a good amount- enough to push myself but not so much that I can’t have a little fun.  The meets aren’t quite as much fun as the open water swims but still I enjoy them. If you’ve never entered a master’s meet give it a try.  Anyone can do a 50 free.  Go for it!

I had another breakthrough today.  I went into TJ Max.  They had a sale on athletic wear which is my nemesis.  Low and behold I fit into a pair of athletic pants- regular sizes!  Victory! (Little things like that mean a lot!)

The other accomplishments is I have sprung free from the prison of my little food journal.  The sugar fast worked as a shock and awe of my system.  I feel good and very rarely want a sweet.  With that settled and my glucometer broken I was turning to my little book I’ve kept tedious notes in for the last year and change.  And you know what- it feels great!

I’ve always been a very independent person so it feels great to finally in a spot where I can trust myself.  I’ve actually developed this as my lifestyle.  Towards the end I realized I kept writing basically the same thing down everyday so why write at all.  I’ve always been an extremely independent woman and would rather just figure things out myself.  The journal was a tool to get me to this state and I feel for the moment it has served its useful course.

Without the journals I feel less like a test subject and more like an adult who doesn’t have to be monitored every moment.  I can make my own choices and make the right ones.  IF I go off track, my trainer will know and than back the journal will come!

I have it right by my TV staring me in the face.  I’m the same way with the sugar fast.  It motivates me by its potential resurgence.  Nooo! I can’t do that again so I better stick with the plan!

So, in a small way leaving that journal on the shelf is an accomplishment.

The journal is gone. Freedom!

Btw- never is there a more boring journal in the world.  Anyone hoping to find a drippy diary would be sorely disappointment (but that would be the case for all of my journals! That’s why I’m so awful when playing truth or dare.  Nothing dishy to tell!)

Next week trying a new endocrinologist.  Hopefully they will be better than my last 2 (I’ve had such rotten luck in that field).  I am sure he will take my A1C and I hope it is much lower than in July (5.3).  We will see!

You know what is probably the greatest accomplishment- I have become this new person.  I love the old person.  She is awesome but there is no denying my life is fundamentally different and I have changed.  My life story is fundamentally different because of the new layers I’ve added to it.   It’s like after my mission. I was still the same person in many ways but there was this new layer. There is something exciting about achieving a new version of yourself.

I’ve become a healthy person…Imagine that? 🙂

I love this photo. It was after one of the hardest workouts I've ever done. To me it looks like contentment. Contentment from a job well done, from a red face well deserved and a satisfaction of doing your very best at something very hard.

To Operate or Not?

That is the question.

So, last May I had surgery on my eye to correct a strabismus problem. This is a problem where the eyes are misalligned and point in different directions. Usually one eye looks ahead and the other looks outward.  This causes double vision, poor depth perception and a difficulty focusing.

There is no cure for a strabismus defect because it is neurological in its origins. In surgery they try to move the eye muscles and realign the eyes despite the problem signals in the brain.  In 80% of cases the surgery works and the brain starts sending the right signals.

Unfortunately, I’m not in the 80%.  Already after a mere 8 months my problem has regressed. (Before the surgery my alignment was off by 20 degrees, then it went down to 6, now it is back up to 14).

This leaves me with 2 choices-

I can try the surgery again.  It is no more less or more likely to work a second time.  Still 20% regress. 80% don’t and have success… This women has had the surgery 4 times http://hardluckasthma.blogspot.com/2010/06/strabismus-case-of-wandering-eye.html.  A nurse at the doctors office has had it 7. These are unusual cases but there is that possibility.  Each time 20% risk of it not working.  Most surgeries don’t have that high a risk.

or I can get prism glasses- these are special lenses that bend light and help with the double vision.  They do not correct eye alignment.  As soon as the glasses are off the problem remains.

There are no long-term problems like loss of eye sight or something associated with the condition.  It’s definitely a condition I could live with (I have for 31 years).

So now I must decide is it better to take a risk and have a potentially problem solved or do I go with a maintenance approach with the glasses? I don’t know if I will like glasses? Its like looking through your world through boxes and its hard to find frames that fit my huge head- most of them squeeze and cause headaches.  This may sound silly but I also know I will have problems keeping track of my glasses.

On the other hand, surgery was a hard experience.  It took me 2 days just to recover from the anesthesia. 4 days before I could drive and it was painful.

What would you do- would you take the risk?

It is covered by insurance multiple times as it is not viewed as a cosmetic surgery.

I knew bad news was coming at the doctor but I was still bummed to hear it. Darn it all!

Part of it is I just feel like I look weird.  Maybe nobody else would notice but to me it was glaringly obvious in recent photos.  This one was especially clear:

I knew as soon as I saw this photo. Call the doctors. Do you see how one eyes is looking straight and the other is off to the side?

Although, this could be a way to get my mother to come visit just me again…Strabismus surgery every year! 😉 JK.

Hey, I just found out Abraham Lincoln had a strabismsus problem.  Makes me feel like less of a freak show!  At least

Ah, Young Love…

So I posted this on facebook yesterday and nobody else seemed to think it was funny, so now I will try my blog (I had just gotten bad news so maybe I was searching for a laugh. More to come on that later).

It cracked me up that this event is even necessary…

This was at our local library and I found it amazing.  Are there really so many teens jaded and ‘down on love’?  Clearly there are.

When I was a teen I had no confidence of finding true love (or even being liked a boy- it still kind of boggles my mind that anyone would go all ga-ga for me).  My main problem was not getting asked to school dances (there were only a few a year and so they were big deals.)  Most of the time I would just ask someone and have a good time. Even if I felt sad about not getting asked I’d hardly call that ‘hating cupid’ or being ‘down with love’.  These are problems that I see for 20’s not teens, but clearly I am wrong, and I find that amazing.

I don’t know if I would want my teenager to find true love.  Are they really at an age where they are ready for it?  Sometimes but boy can it cause a lot of problems too. I wouldn’t want my kid to be ‘down with love’ or ‘up with love’.  I’d want them to just focus on their education and enjoying that time of life.

Teens out there- there is plenty of time to be sad about romance.  Save it for later and enjoy your life!