Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Think natural.

So I've been compiling a list of healthy meals that we can incorporate into our diet and then I plan to make a trip to Sam's Club to get cases of everything from the list that isn't perishable. "Healthy" to me has come to mean some very specific things. Here are some general guidelines:

-1/2 of every meal has to be vegetables and fruits

-the vegetables can be canned, but not the fruits; they have to be either fresh or frozen

-the vegetables have to be non-starchy

-the carbs have to be as unrefined as possible

If I follow these guidelines, I usually have no problems with my blood sugar getting high. Of course there's more to it than this, such as being somewhat careful with portion sizes, but this is a great start. Then I don't have to worry so much about the fact that Paul wants to fill every stirfry with tons of meat. The quantity of vegetables will far outweigh the protein and exercising frequently will take care of the excess fat. It works out great!

Why write about this? It's because I have to think about my health every day or I will get very sick very fast. My biggest problem seems to not be high blood sugar but low. I still haven't found a way to keep my blood sugar up while I do any kind of physical activity. Whether I am running or doing my dishes, my blood sugar plummets ridiculously fast. I don't know how to stop that from happening yet, though. I suppose it's all trial and error.

But the whole point of my guidelines is that returning to the natural is the best way to eat. Your body doesn't know what to do with refined things or sugar substitutes or fat subsitutes. Foods in their natural state are the best for you. Your body knows how to digest them and so eating in this way should improve overall health. It makes a HUGE difference to me!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A glimpse into the geeky-ness.

I have a week before school starts again and I finally decided that I just have to actually get something done. Since Christmas Break started, I have become a Final Fantasy VI fiend. (American Final Fantasy III, if you must know.) Anyone who has become deeply involved in a Final Fantasy game understands the complexities of building characters' levels. They just can't learn their spells if they don't get into enough battles! I have become so obsessed that Paul just sighs and shakes his head- his characters are at about half the strength of mine because I've been playing so much...

But today, I was a good girl. I got out all my papers and folders and three boxes of letters and organized it all! My entire bed was covered and it took all day, (except for that one interval of getting groceries) but I DID IT!

I was wading through letters and cards that I haven't laid eyes in years, little sticky notes that I have no idea who wrote and in-class notes I passed with my junior high friends. I kept finding packets of letters written in my old friend Chelsea's handwriting (with responses in my handwriting) and so I had to take a closer look. Turns out we were writing to each other from the perspectives of Lord of the Rings characters, Legolas and Pippin trying to one-up each other on whether things were rougher at Isengard or Helm's Deep. It was so hilarious! Every letter from Legolas would end with something like, "Sorry, but I have to go cut off some more orc limbs now. Have fun with the ents..."

I have got to be one of the geekiest human beings on the planet!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Ah, games.

Last night, we were at our friend's house. They have an adorable little girl whose almost two named Calista. We were playing a board game and I just happened to be winning. I say that because my style of playing board games is not the most competitive. I tend to just keep to myself and do random things that strike my fancy as being advantageous. When the other characters are picking on each other and sabotaging each other, I get more or less forgotten and that's how I win.

Well, I was sitting there and Calista was across the table from me. She pointed to one of the game pieces on the table and I immitated her, pointing to a matching piece on my side of the table. She caught on quickly to the game and pointed to another and we were having a good time immitating each other across the table. I looked up suddenly and saw that Paul and Calista's parents were watching me as if I was insane. They saw what I was doing but hadn't noticed Calista at all.

Paul asked slowly, "What are you doing?"

I had to just laugh. Calista was still waiting expectantly for me to point to one of the little colored cubes and I had to explain to the adults at the table how our game worked. They didn't seem to think it sounded all that fun but Calista sure liked it a lot!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Chorus of the City in Winter.

I went for a walk today in the nice upperclass neighborhood that is not far from my house. I decided to try to be completely present while I walked. It is one of the things I am working on. Being present means focusing on when and where you are rather than on the past or too much on the future. I tried to do this as I trekked along.

Normally I don't listen to the world around me. I am so internally focused that there are probably many sounds that I am not aware of. So I tried to become aware and I loved what I heard!

It was the first sunny day after a series of storms and so the snow was melting, dripping and falling and plopping down from roofs and tree branches and cars. The sound was beautiful like a chorus, the little pops and tinkles complementing each other as if part of a symphony. Sometimes a door would open and shut somewhere. A child would call out or laugh. Those were important parts of the chorus.

It was wonderful to experience the walk and listen to the sounds of a city in winter.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Considering death.

I've been thinking about dying young. My American Literature anthology had little boigraphies at the beginning of each selection about the author. I swear that at least half of them died from complications of diabetes and several of them were in their forties or fifties. I've also read several accounts online of people who were doing all they could to control their diabetes but died unexpectantly in their mid-forties from heart attacks.

So on my birthday a couple weeks ago, I was wondering if I would die at 46. Since I was turning 23, that would mean that my life would be half-way over at this point. And that was really strange to consider...

The last 23 years seem to me to be a long time and so it doesn't seem like I would be all that young if I died at 46. That's a lot of years to read good books and experience quite a few happy moments. That would over 25 years of marriage with my lovely Paul. And let's speak of the hypothetical children that could possibly be born between now and then. Hopefully I could raise at least one child to adulthood in that time. It does seem depressing to leave them partway through growing up, though...

It is surreal to think about dying. It changes the perspective that you have on living- because it becomes obvious that dying is what happens at the end of living and there really is no separating the two. I am so afraid of wasting the span of life that I am given, however long or short it may be. I want to really live and savor my time on this planet! How sad otherwise.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

My words.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a paper for my American Literature class. It was supposed to be about "Neighbor Rosicky" by Willa Cather, but I found myself tying in Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller and was surprised by the result. What I ended up with was a long narrative about my decision to be an English Major and the pressures and challenges I have had to face for making that choice.

I turned the paper in the next day and was unaware of what followed until later. My teacher, Deb, read the paper immediately and then went to meet with a student. The student was a young freshman girl who wanted to be an English Major and was not sure that the people in her life would support her. This was why she wanted to meet with Deb, to seek counsel and advice. Deb handed the girl my paper and she read it right there in the office.

Deb told me later that it was exactly what that girl needed at that moment and because of my words she found the strength to dedicate her life to her best personal path. It was almost as if I had been aware of that girl's life and had written just for her. I was so amazed by the experience and through it, I have learned some interesting things.

I didn't write the paper for that girl who I have never met. I wrote it because I felt that I needed to and I was surprised by how my original idea had morphed into its own creation. I can see clearly now that the Lord was directing my work, steering and prompting me to write the things that I did- because even though I could have no idea who would be reading my paper, the Lord knew that there was someone I could reach. He loved the freshman girl and wanted her to find comfort and reassurance at a time of turmoil in her life.

I begin to understand that whatever I choose to do, I can reach out to the people in my life through my words. The Lord is not so concerned with one's choice of occupation; where ever we place ourselves in life, he can make us instruments in that capacity.

So I decided I have to start writing again because... who knows? Someone might need my words and even if I never learn who I have impacted and how, I want to be a useful instrument in the hands of the one who knows better than I do.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Wisdom from Beowulf.

School has started and my first class is a British Lit class. I just read half of the epic poem Beowulf today. It's one of the oldest literary works written in the English language (although English was a very different language in the year 800, I've heard), so I thought even with a modern translation, it would be incomprehensible. But it's actually quite cool and there seems to be a major theme running through the story. This quote articulates it nicely:

"For every one of us, living in this world/ means waiting for our end." (Lines 1386-87)

This can be a depressing sentiment, considering that all we really know is living in this world in this mortal state. It is disheartening to think of life ending. But I think we need to keep the fact that it will end somewhere in the back of our minds or we will forget to cherish the time we have while it lasts.

Don't get me wrong. I'm a big believer in heaven and many wonderful things in the eternities, even though those things are beyond my comprehension. But there is just something about the first time you experience a thing that makes it special and definite in your mind. This life we're in right now is a one-time thing and we don't get to decide when the end will come. To live fully is to understand the temperary nature of life and take advantage of every small moment.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Now a new Robbins!

So I'm an aunt all over again!!! Last night Paul's family recieved a new boy as well. Paul's brother Craig has a new son. His wife Jenny gave birth to little Cyrus Rulon Robbins late last night!

Both little Cyrus and Ryan James were the first grandchildren to be born in our families. Isn't it crazy that the boys were born just a few days apart? And now our parents are all grandparents!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

An additional Madsen!

Hey, guess what? I'm an aunt now! My sister in law Tammy gave birth yesterday to a little boy! James and Tammy have named him Ryan James Madsen and it is great news! Hopefully we can go out to Vernal soon and meet the little nephew. It's so exciting!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Alvar and Taya.

Today I'm going to rewrite the outline for my novel. I've been carefully thinking over a better way to tell my story and now I think I might just be able to pull it off!

See, I have the first twelve chapters written and they are fairly close to the way I want them. But all the things I have planned thereafter turned out to be all wrong. I had planned on jumping about four years and I realized what a mistake that would be. My hero, Alvar, is seventeen years old and he would be twenty-one. I think the years between seventeen and twenty-one are vital years in a person's life and (from a writer's point of view) offer a lot of possibility to show change and growth. I know I changed considerably in those years as I gradually began to understand what was important to me as an individual. So I really want to explore those vital growing years in my book (or books if there happens to be a sequal).

Oh, and I just want to mention that I have just as many female characters in my book as I do males. My main girl character is named Taya and she is twelve years old. By not skipping the four years, I will have the opportunity to show her blossom from a skinny awkward twelve-year-old to a tall gorgeous sixteen-year-old. I remember the painful process well and I hope to draw on my own experiences enough to portray the time realistically.

I will save more details for a later entry. :)

Monday, August 18, 2008

"... there's no telling where you'll be swept off to."

Life in our basement is now all about the GRE. Paul is taking it in October and he's studying a great deal. He has done extremely well on the small practice segments in the GRE book, but he keeps looking online at the kinds of scores graduate programs expect. I'm just glad I don't have to think about the stupid exam for at least two more years. It's a much easier thing to get into undergraduate programs.

Paul is worried because he will only have one semester of being involved with a research team before he applies, but he has a major plus of now having worked in three different areas of his field. I hope that counts for a lot.

Right now it seems like we will just end up going where the wind takes us. . . . Oregon, Colorado, somewhere in the east? I think it's exciting to speculate and imagine a new city and a new house (that will definitely NOT be a basement this time). It's sort of how I felt as a high school student, except that now it is much more real and seems much more possible. We could go anywhere!

Friday, August 8, 2008

So I'm a fat chunk. So what?

I think it's interesting being in my position sometimes. I tend to be an overly emotional hypersensitive person who cries at the drop of a hat. But when I can separate from my feelings and look at things objectively (even clinically, you might say) I think it is interesting to see a certain view of humanity.

But let's be more specific here. I'm refering to being overweight. In the last few weeks, I have talked to SEVEN different people who have all said the same thing to me. "It would be healthy for you to at least go on walks."

Some of these people were my coworkers who were all horrified when I said that I lived close to the library but still took the bus to work and back. Walking to work is so healthy, they insisted, and it would do me good to get the exercise.

Others were neighbors, close friends, and even inlaws of mine, who all love me and want to help me to be healthy and to overcome my health problems. In their minds, they are being kind and trying to nudge me to actually take care of myself because everyone knows its bad to be overweight.

But really they were being cruel and making assumptions without checking facts and generalizing all people into certain rules that should apply to everyone.

My reactions were not the same in all of these encounters. Sometimes I tried explaining about the complexities of trying to keep my blood sugar high enough to feel good at work. Sometimes I rebuttled that I had actually stopped taking one of my medicines completely because I was doing such an amazing job controlling my diabetes that I didn't need it. The truth that I have been exercising faithfully at least five times a week (sometimes three or four miles in a day) just seemed pointless to tell people who clearly believed that they already knew about my habits. The fact that I have dropped my caloric intake to less than 900 calories a day and that I eat fresh fruits and vegetables as more than half of my diet now also seemed pointless to say. Obviously with a body like mine, it is easy for everyone else to jump to conclusions.

But own intense personal struggle doesn't seem to pay off, does it? The Law of the Harvest says that what you sow, you shall reap. But I find myself sowing all day long the habits of good health and still weighing over 200 pounds and dealing daily with the judgements of almost everyone around me. Why is it human nature to do this? Why do people see others and decide that they know things about them? Why?

I understand, at least in some degree, why I am overweight. It has absolutely nothing to do with being lazy or eating too much fat or not taking care of myself. It has everything to do with the fact that I had untreated diabetes for years. Without getting technical on you, a Type 2 diabetic's cells do not recieve the nutrients that they need throughout their entire body. This throws the body into a panic state in which it believes that it is starving to death. Through chemical signals and whatnot, the body is determined to hold onto and store everything it possibly can. So I got fat. And even though I know the crisis is over-- my medicine helps my cells to take in the sugar they need-- my body isn't so sure of that yet. What if this is a fluke and I will be starving again soon, my body thinks; it is safer to store the fat than risk it.

So, this is what I'm thinking. When we judge people for any reason, we really may not know the whole story. And let's face it that we can't know if we don't ask. It might seem mean to ask an overweight person about their weight, but from personal experience, I can say that it is much meaner to assume that you already know. And it just might be a relief for the overweight person to talk about their health rather than having everyone else tell them. And this principle goes for anyone we might be tempted to judge, for any reason.

Ask. It can't hurt.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Flames in the canyon. (And the ones in my heart.)

So Paul and I went on a drive down Provo Canyon, expecting a leisurely trek. When we got there, ABC News vans arrived and we saw the awesome touring flames of a forest fire right in the canyon! It was really cool. There were a lot of people pouring into the canyon apparently for the singular purpose of watching the firefighting. That was a surprise!

We passed the action and turned into Vivian Park. We drove by the park and found a trailhead tucked back away from the more popular areas. There it was very quiet and we just sat and soaked in the calm for a while.

Paul and I like to get to know each other better by reading our old journals together. It is quite fun to journey back into each other's experiences and learn about each other, although sometimes it can be embarressing too. (High school crushes are hilarious!) We read a little from one of my 2004 journals while in the canyon.

I'm just so grateful to have Paul! I had good reason to doubt in the past that I would ever get to have a husband, and now I do! He is the greatest friend I have ever had and I appreciate him so much. He is the only person who sees me completely, all the way through. So many people (even people that I have loved) have been unable to see past my weight and my timidity and whatever else to the person inside. I think of Paul as God's special present to me.

He is mine, but I'll share him just a little if you want. :)

Friday, July 25, 2008

I need ideas, people!

So, I've been seriously thinking about the advantages of writing an LDS novel. I've always been rather opposed to the idea for several reasons, but now I think it might be a good idea. And the reason I think that is because I see how the LDS books get checked out at the library. I know, because I'm always putting them away and all they all are marked on the spine. They are very popular here.

I think there is a definite audience in the LDS populace, especially in Utah. A lot of the LDS books are romances, which I'm not not willing to write, but a lot are in other genres as well. So, here is a question for everyone.

What sort of LDS book should I write?

I keep toying with the idea, but I don't seem to get any real story concepts. . . . Please feed me some ideas about what kind of LDS novel you, yourself, would enjoy. Yes, I would appreciate that. Thanks.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

"We are the champions, my friends. And we'll keep on fighting to the end!"

I went to see my doctor yesterday, and it was a great appointment! I don't know if any of my readers know about A1C (I don't know much about it myself!) but it is basically a percentage of blood sugar levels over the past two months. A healthy person without diabetes will generally have an A1C of 5% and a diabetic strives to maintain about a 6%. When I last saw Dr. Day in February, mine was at 14%, which is highly dangerous. But when I went back yesterday, I had dropped my A1C to 5.5%!

The nurses and the doctor were all very excited and so was I! They said they don't normally see any patients who are managing their blood sugar so well. And the doctor suggested a change in my meds that should help me to not have low blood sugar problems anymore.

It was awesome to have people applauding me for an achievement that has been so difficult for me. I have struggled so much to get this thing under control and I am really succeeding! It is the best feeling, as if all the months since my diagnosis are now completely worth the miseries. The doctor even congratulated me on my small weight loss, which made me feel good.

Now I feel like I can face the rest of my life with this disease. Yay!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Sharing the Hobbit Hole

Last weekend, we had Paul's brother and his wife staying with us for two nights. Their names are Craig and Jenny, and they were up in Provo to attend a medieval wedding. They were decked out in Wal-mart halloween costumes from another year, which was really funny.

But the thing is, they called us on Friday morning when they were in Vegas to "remind" us that they were on their way and would be here in the evening. I say "remind" because Paul had known for several days that they were coming and had never told me. Of course, the house was a black hole of clutter and dirty laundry and who-knows-what-else and I had to go to work almost up until the time they would be arriving. I was furious at Paul and vowed in the future to tell everyone in his family that they have to come to ME whenever they're going to visit. Paul said he just forgot to tell me. Ha!

So Paul promised to pick up the house while I was at work since he wasn't working that day. He would make it presentable, he said. Naturally, he barely did anything and when I got home we had to have this mad rush of sweeping and vacuuming and stacking dirty dishes in the most aesthetically pleasing way possible. And then our guests arrived.

When they came down the stairs into the basement, Craig said, "You live in a Hobbit hole!" Because he's two inches taller than Paul, the low ceiling was almost brushing against the top of his head. And the place always seems to tiny when there are people other than just Paul and me. In our living room, we pushed back our couch and moved a bookcase and their air mattress still had to be crammed into the small space we could provide. It did fit, although it took up the entire room.

Despite everything, it was really fun sharing our Hobbit hole. We had dinner with Craig and Jenny and our dear friends the Camera's across the street. After watching their beautiful and hilarious sixteen-month-old, Calista, Craig said, "Now I want a girl!" His wife Jenny is about a month from having her own baby, although they're almost certain it is a boy.

The next night we watched a movie and then stayed up very late talking. Well, Jenny and I were talking. Paul was helping Craig beat an original Nintendo game called Shadowgate. Craig had seen his brothers beat it when he was little, but had never been able to beat it himself. Now that the opportunity was presented to him, he was absolutely determined to beat it before he would go to bed. He did, too, after 1:00 am. (And they left before 6:30. . .)

Well, now we have the Hobbit hole back to ourselves again. It never seems so small when it's just us.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Glorious quiet.

So, today I embarked on a marvelous and life-threatening adventure: I organized all my papers that have accumulated since I got married! Ah, what a brazen thing to do. I was attacked by the viscious school papers of two semesters and ambushed by random writings that were hardly readable. But rest assured, my dear friends. I came out of those encounters alive, if barely. I am currently bracing myself against the horrors I am sure lurk in my fridge. . . It's been a bit too long since I cleaned in there and you just never know what you're going to find on an expedition into the nethermost corners of the fridge!

Seriously, though, I feel like I'm starting to wake up from some kind of deep sleep. What do you call it? A trance? Pretty much I stopped doing EVERYTHING and my gears have finally started moving again. I looked around my house and saw the sad effects of doing NOTHING and got right to work. It's miraculous how fast a tiny basement apartment can become clean when someone actually cleans it! Amazing, I know.

When I was organizing, I came across a journal I kept for a hiking class my freshman year in college. I was required to go on three hikes a week for the class and record things that I saw and noticed. Since I didn't have a car, I took all my hikes with my friend Eryn right around the campus. After almost every hike, I got out my notebook. And what a cherished little notebook it is! When I first started, I was a little mundane with my entries, but over time I got more comfortable and started writing long entries about what I was thinking about as I walked. One of my favorite entries talks about walking in the snow. Here it is for you:

Date: February 1, 2005

Location: Buena Vista [Virginia]

Time: 2:00-2:50

Distance: ??

Weather: Very cold and snowy. There were at least six or eight inches of snow on the ground.

Othere hikers: Are you kidding? Who else would be crazy enough to be out in weather like that?

Interesting sights: The sidewalks hadn't been scraped, so it was one hard little walk. Eryn and I normally do it in 25 minutes! With all the truding and sliding, it took twice that time. The snow was coming down steadily at that time, piling up on our hoods. Aside from the sound of cars, the snow brings with it a glorious quiet, a testament that God is real. It amazes me that people can walk out into a snow storm and not know. The tiny crystaline flakes embrace warm skin and melt. The world is a swirl of white. My heart cries out, "Take me away! Take me away!" I want to get lost in an eternity of white. Spring can wait.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

An empty kitchen. Filled!

Well, the long long silence from my blog is about to be broken! I really wasn't trying to lose all of my readership. I have had other things on my mind and that is the best excuse I can give. But I promise to re-establish my blogging habit from this point on.

I've changed.

This might all sound weird and without a lot of background about all that has been happening, I hope it somehow still makes sense. Paul and I have had the several times in the past months when our kitchen was almost empty and when I reflected on this yesterday, I had a sort of comprehension come to me about life.

I realized that I had become an empty kitchen. Since February, I have gradually lost almost all of my dreams. Almost all the ideas that I had for the way I wanted my life to be were methodically stripped away from me. (Of course, thank the Lord for Paul. He's the only dream I've managed to hold onto!) But suddenly I could see that my plans for myself were simply not going to happen and not the way that I wanted.

This was hard.

I had become just like my kitchen. But when I was empty inside, something strange began to happen. I had a beautiful dream that showed me something wonderful in my future. It was not the future I had been planning, but it was wonderful. Clearly my plans had been wrong. I was also called as a relief society teacher, which was intimidating because I had never taught a lesson in my life. But as soon as I began preparing my first lesson, I could feel the power of God in my life. I felt that my emptiness was being replaced by something better than what had been there before. Suddenly I knew that I have great capacity to be a teacher and that I have not realized it until now.


People have been saying it to me for years when they heard that I was an English major, but I never once really considered going into teaching. Who wants to put up with snotty kids? But I knew without a doubt all at once that this was what I was meant to do. I was meant to be a teacher.

Talk about a change in plans! I have always focused on Paul's education and his career and suddenly I'm gearing up for my own. I'm nervous, but very excited about my new course. I'm going to be a professor in English!

So my understanding yesterday was this: I was an empty kitchen. I had given up all of my ideas of what my life was supposed to be like until I was completely empty inside. Then the Lord said, "Good! Finally I can fill you with what I want you to have."

Matthew 16: 25 says, "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it." I've always thought losing your life for Christ meant being martyered, but now I see that what it really means is emptying your entire kitchen and allowing Christ to refill it. Then you will find a life full of so much more meaning and purpose as you become an instrument in his hands!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Sister memories.

My cousin Betsy lost a baby a week ago and I was not able to go to the funeral because I had to work. It was so sad! I have had cause to think about my little sister Sheridan a lot since then and I keep wondering what she would be like if she had lived.

I would like to hope that we would be friends and have the kind of close sisterly relationship that I see on movies. I am reminded of some of the lovely days when Sara was about eight years old and couldn't get enough of my stories. Sometimes I would read to her and sometimes (especially at night) I would tell her tales of the adventures of characters Elizabeth and Jack. We would beg Mom to let us sleep out on the tramp all summer long, but then we'd usually get too cold or too scared and end up coming in at some point during the night anyway. I really miss the days of the past!

Anyway, I have to go visiting teaching now.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

So, what is life about?

So, it has been a while since I got on, but now I'm back. I can sometimes lean toward the dramatic, I know. My imagination takes me to ridiculous places sometimes. It's funny because I am generally happy, believe it or not. I have a lot of really good things in my life and especially a beloved husband.

On the day that I last blogged, I had been reading all of these articles about young women with type 2 and all of the problems they had with pregnancy and childbirth. All of it was ruthlessly hopeless and depressing, written very clinically with percentages and statistics and- worst of all- implications. When you're reading about horrible birth defects and miscarriages, it drains all of the hope right out of you. Why even try?

I've thought a lot about the possibility of never having a baby and the thought is a difficult one. I used to be so convinced (before I met Paul) that I would never get married. I went for years without a date and never had anyone show interest in me. And I mean no one. It still amazes me every day that someone actually thinks I'm cute, that it's even possible! But before Paul, I had accepted the possibility of not getting married. I wrote in my journal that although I was certain I would be just fine being single all my life, I would be terribly sad to never have children. It was children I couldn't live without.

And here are all these articles telling me it might never happen.

Of course, I was wrong about a husband. I did get married and now I think how sad and empty and lonely my life would have always been without Paul. I am so much better with him than I could ever be by myself.

So, what is life about? Is it about deciding the things you want and doing all you can to get them? Is it really about having the things you want? If you never get what you want, then is life somehow wasted? Will I somehow learn to only want the things that I have? Is that what happiness is or is it having what you want?

Alas, I ask questions without simply answers!

Nothing is really simple, though. Despite all of my gloom and doom, I am actually doing very well with my diabetes. I think my stomach must have shrunk because I no longer even want more food than my strict portion sizes. I take long walks each night and this has started paying off! Since the beginning of May, I have lost 8 pounds, which is a good healthy amount of weight. If I could keep dropping pounds at a steady rate, I could be to my target weight (which is pretty important if I want to keep my appendages and all that) by roughly March. No one would recognize me, though, since I haven't been that weight since I was thirteen. . . It's a little hard to imagine, isn't it?

Who knows what the future will bring? But that matters less than what I decide to do with that future. It may not be the way I would have planned, but it can still be good. I just have to make it that way.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Screaming to be heard.

Do you ever feel like you are the only person in the world?

I remember a dream I had once in which I was standing next to a massive divide in the earth. It was so huge that I could barely see the other side and looking down I could see no bottom to the chasm below me. The Grand Canyon would be quite small by comparison. I remember seeing that there were people on the other side, so so far away. I yelled as loudly as I could, trying to get their attention, to get them to see me. But my small voice was lost in the immensity of space and they took no notice of me at all. I was the only person on my side.

That's how I feel sometimes as I try to talk to my loved ones about my illness. Everyone has a lot of encouragement, saying that they know such-and-such a person who cracked down on their diabetes and conquered it through their eating and exercise, as if it is so simple. With a prelude like that, how can I talk about how complicated it actually is for me and how I am trying so hard and failing for no reason that I can figure out?

It's unfortunate that those grandparents and older aunts got diabetes, of course, but it seems unfair to me that most of them got to fly through youth with a healthy body weight and bear several children before the disease struck. I, on the other hand, have had symptoms since I was twelve, have been unable to maintain a body weight below 200 pounds no matter how hard I worked and deprived myself of every food I loved, and any pregnancies I have will be extremely risky and will most likely end in miscarriage if all the articles I've read online are true.

So it's wonderful that everyone knows someone who's conquered diabetes, but at least they got to live first. I feel like my entire future will just be a battle to maintain "healthy" blood sugar levels, which right now feels impossible. I try everything I'm supposed to and I'm not anywhere near being in control of this thing. I'm 22 and I get to look forward to losing my vision, having my feet amputated and having heart attacks. What a bright horizon!

Do you think there's a way to get my voice all the way across the chasm so that someone will hear me? It's gets lonely over here.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Good news!

Let us rejoice! My cute husband has gotten a great job! It's pretty much doing the same sort of stuff that he has done before, working at a group home, and that's good because he finds that line of work fulfilling. He starts tomorrow, and that is exciting! Paul has been applying at millions of places (it has seemed like millions) and now it has finally happened.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


So I'm back at the library again as a page. Four days after my temporary job at the bookstore ended, my old boss called and asked me to come back to the library. So I jumped at the chance, and it's like a blast from the past. The only sad thing is that almost all of my old friends from before are now gone. I guess it isn't too great of a job, really, if you want to make real money, but it's the most that I could possibly handle right now. Life is all about money no matter how sick you feel.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The garden.

Paul and I have been growing our first garden, and it is so fun to see all the plants finally sprouting. They took three times longer than the seed packets said they would, so we were beginning to feel like failures. Outside, the turnips were the first up and we thought they were clover that suspiciously grew in a straight line. Within a week after, the beets, radishes, and peas showed their little faces. We have yet to see the parsnips and carrots, but we hope they decide to come around as well. Inside, in plastic cups, we were excited when the first of the broccoli seeds sprouted and it has been followed by several more. That first one is almost four inches long now and too skinny to hold itself up. Until today, the other indoor ones had remained hidden. This morning, I found that the yellow crooked neck squash and the tomato had both sprouted and this was very exciting. Now we're only waiting on the zucchini and the peppers. It will be really cool when we get to harvest all this stuff and feast on its bounties. Gardening more enjoyable than I thought it would be!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

My miracles.

One thing that's hard about blogging is that I struggle to organize my thoughts into just one topic to write about. Maybe I should make a list: my job, my plans, my husband and his plans, our garden, my novel, my nebulous idea that might just become a novel, my endless blood sugar roller coaster, my new church calling, the quirky but great movie I saw last night, and on and on. And there's just so much to life. I used to write for several hours a day and I always felt there was never enough time or paper or words to do justice to all that is out there (or in my head, whichever the case may be).

So how can I update you on what has happened since I last wrote? I think I have never had so much worry in all of my life, but I have also have never felt so strongly the Lord's love for his children. "Love for his children" sounds like a generic statement, but it isn't really. It's such a specific thing.

There was a day last week when I had to go fill one of my presciptions and we had to make the choice between getting the medicine and paying our car insurance. Our policy had expired and if we didn't renew it, we simply wouldn't be able to drive our car anymore. Not that it would be the end of the world, but it was a hard decision to make. I felt like I was being selfish, worrying about myself more than "us," but we made our minds and went to Rite Aid.

When I went to pick up my medicine, the woman behind the counter scanned the paper envelope with the medicine in it and said, "That will be eight dollars."

I looked up in surprise, half-irritated that she had scanned the wrong thing. My medicine cost more than ten times that amount. I said, "What? Really?"

"Um, yes," she said, looking at me curiously, "eight dollars. You are Jessica Robbins?"

I nodded, but didn't believe. "Eight?" I said incredulously, "Are you sure? That's metformin?"

"Yes." she said, "Another pharmacy is having a sale and this is a price match. . . You do want it, don't you?"

I almost started crying right there on the spot. I just laughed and pulled out eight dollars. "Of course I want it!"

So I went running out into the parking lot and we went straight to the car insurance place to renew our policy.

I don't know if it all sounds as miraculous as it was, but I had been so stressed about all my stupid expenses, up all night sick with worry so many nights in a row, trying to figure out some way to make it happen. And just like that, the Lord took it right out of my hands.

And that's just one miracle of so many I've seen these past weeks. It hasn't been a picnic trying to hold down a job when my blood sugar skyrockets and plummets several times a day regardless of how I eat. One day, I was afraid to move because my blood sugar was so low that I was seeing flashes of white. I was at work being trained and right in that desperate moment, some woman showed up and walked right up to me with a plate in her hand. On the plate were samples of highly sugary energy bars. The sample shot my blood sugar up to where it needed to be for me to get through the shift. I knew without a doubt that someone was watching over me.

It just amazes me how aware of my life my Savior is. I don't think there's any part of it that He doesn't care about.

Well, lest I worry anyone, the semester has just ended for Paul and me, my job ends tomorrow, and Paul's job starts as soon as possible. My dear love has pulled off lovely straight A's in spite of all the stress and he's been applying for jobs like crazy. He's got to find something that will give him enough hours and a high enough wage to support me because I'm not working again until I can get my condition under control. (Frankly, I'm a useless worker these days.) We made a killing at the textbook buyback and between that and a yard sale, we will happily be able to pay our rent for May! I'm sure something good will happen between now and my next metformin refill so we'll be able to get that too.

After all, we're not in this thing alone.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Honest for once.

So, here is another day of the Chronicles of Jessio. A blog with that title makes me want to write about exciting, interesting, silly, or hilarious things. It seems that all my stress has made my mind become very serious and when I open the laptop, I can't think of anything that would entertain anyone. It has all become almost a blur of frustrations and days stacked upon days in which nothing particulary improves.

Do I sound like a pessimist? Well, for once I just want to be honest! I am sick and each day is difficult and I can never stop worrying about how we'll pay for my meds, for my doctor visits, for my test strips when we have no insurance and no way to get it. But no matter how many times I have considered stopping my treatment (which is almost every day) I come back to the conclusion that I am too afraid of what will happen if I do. I am terrified of those high blood sugar levels and endless nausea and feeling like I'm starving to death. I don't want it all back, but I feel like it has all been a trade for different miseries.

But I always have Paul and he is more nurturing and sweet than I could have dreamed. He loves me so much and is patient every day with me. We only have about two weeks now to the end of school and then he will start working again. Cross your fingers that he will be able to get medical insurance. There are a few different jobs he's applying for and he's still looking for others too so he can find something really good. He has done very well this semester and has shining A's to prove it. I'm proud of him for working hard in school and improving his chances of being accepted to graduate schools this coming fall. Won't life be swell when he has a PhD and medical insurance is no longer an issue?

I am strained and frustrated and exhausted, but I'm sure that things will somehow work out. I still remember what I learned in Primary.

"Why did we come to earth, children?"

"To be tried and tested!"

"And why is that important?"

"To see if we really love Heavenly Father."

Well, I do love him and I hope all this will somehow show him that I do. I don't know if honesty in blogging will make for a very popular blog. (People generally seem to like a lot pictures and humor.) But I don't care. This is my life right now and while I'm living it, I wanted to write about it.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

A Conference Thought.

Well, Conference is over! I looked forward to it with excitement and now it has passed so quickly. One of the last talks, by M. Russell Ballard, was about young mothers and ways that we can all help them. It was a really good talk and I was struck by one thing he said. I didn't write down the exact quote, but it was something along these lines: A woman who is not being nourished herself has much less to give to her children. He talked about mothers finding time alone to cultivate talents and grow.

I'm not a mother yet. That's one adventure that hasn't hit me yet, but I like the principle. Giving to others is wonderful and service undoubtedly builds love. But when your personal needs are not being met, you cannot be your best self to give to others. It's hard for a starving person to think about anything but getting the food they need. Similarly, if your life does not fulfill all of your personal and emotional needs and dreams, you will not be able to give your full attention to the people in your own life. You won't be the best version of yourself.

So, of course, this all applies rather directly to me. There are things I love to do that I NEVER do. Why don't I draw anymore? Why don't I sing? Those things I love and they refresh me and help me face life in a more relaxed way. It's stupid to not set aside a little time each day to do these fulfilling things. Then I can be a better happier me and it will be easier for me to care about others and feel satisfied. How can you spread happiness if you don't have it?

Saturday, April 5, 2008

The power of one life.

Yesterday, I went to the funeral of a little cousin of mine. Her name was Hunter Watkins and the funeral was quite an emotional event. She had been ill for a very long time and I didn't expect to be as affected as I was by the funeral.

As I walked into the viewing, I was reminded forcefully of my own sister's funeral fourteen years ago. I was eight years old at the time. The thing that stands out in my memory of that day was how cold her fingers felt as she lay in the casket. I reached in to touch her and I had the distinct impression that the cold body I was touching was not her. The body was a thing and she was separate from it. I understood that at the time, but it was not until later that I began to comprehend the significance of it.

I looked down at Hunter's body and she looked beautiful in a white dress. Her hair was curled and placed perfectly and she looked just like a sleeping princess. I was surprised how much she reminded me of her sister Lacey. I hugged her parents and didn't know what to say to them. I sat down and gazed at the casket in wonder. In my mind, it was easy to see her sitting up and looking around, beautiful and completely whole. No more wheel chair. No more disease and suffering. I felt so strongly the power of the atonement in that moment and I thought back.

My sister was tormented as well by sickness and pain and surgeries. Her poor heart had to work so hard with two holes in it. She would begin crying anytime someone touched her feet because she knew that usually meant a shot. I think about the courage of these children who come to earth knowing they will suffer. Children like Sheridan and Hunter endure these things willingly because they know that they can help the rest of us. I know I have been changed forever by the experiences I had as a small child with my sister Sheridan.

Perhaps the hardest thing about the funeral was seeing Hunter's sisters weep as the casket was closed. I wondered if they felt what I felt as a little girl when my sister's casket was closed. Do they know that the body they placed in the earth is not the sister they cared for and loved? Hunter is separate and happy and will come back to her body again someday. I believe that.

I have cause to ponder on the purpose of one life. I think we sometimes forget the power that one life can have. And we all have this power in whatever our situation. No one was placed on this earth alone and it is significant to consider the people within my own sphere of influence. I feel inspired to reach out to others, to do better at thinking of them and finding ways to show love. Isn't life all about becoming like the Savior? And he didn't withold his love from anyone.

Friday, March 28, 2008


I have just a few moments before bed, so this will probably be short.

Never has it seemed more clear to me just how limited our mortal perspective is. I have had cause recently to consider choice and accountability. The burning question I tried not to ask myself for so long was this: Is it my fault all these bad things are happening in my life?

It was hard to face to this question-- maybe harder than anything else I have had to do. But the experience of shame and blame and catharsis taught me something in a very poignant way. The Lord knew things I didn't know and my choices all along were limited to the things I could see at the time. Am I responsible for the choices I've made? Yes. Should I blame myself now and punish myself for doing things I believed were the best at the time? No. All I should do now is make sure that I consult with the One who knows much more than I do from now on.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Retail rant.

So I'm starting a new job tomorrow. The UVSC bookstore needs people to help with the buyback at the end of the semester, so I've been hired as a temporary for the month of April. (Tomorrow is my first training.) Taking a temporary job kind of sucks because it requires finding something else immediately, but it seemed worth it me for the pay. I've recently decided that it just really isn't worth it to take a job that pays minimum wage or even a dollar over. If I'm going to work a ton of hours all the time, I want to make a reasonable wage. The thing that frustrates me is the fact that the only jobs that are available to me seem to be retail jobs.

Honestly, I hate, despise, and loathe retail. My experience in retail is thus: you are one of many undervalued employees who have to spend 39 and a half hours a week on your feet being yelled at and having a constantly changing schedule and being called in to work on all the days you actually plan to do something fun. And if you accidentally break the 40 hour limit, you are lectured endlessly because the store does not want to have to actually give you benefits for working for them. (They figure, "Who really likes to go to dentists and doctors anyway? We're simplifying their lives by making sure they don't have the option at all since we don't pay them enough to afford medical bills without insurance!" How very kind they are, don't you think?)

It gets old.

And so I took this temporary job with the firm resolution that I will find something better for the summer. I'm not talking glamorous or fabulous-- just something that pays reasonably that I don't hate, loathe, and despise. Why should I undervalue myself enough to take a job like that? I don't know what I'll end up doing, but it will be better than retail.

A correction to the text.

I stand corrected. Jeanne was not actually there for the imaginary cookie incident. She was only at school there with Ruth and I for the first semester and then she moved away the second. But I have lots of happy Jeanne memories that are just as fun. One of my favorites was one of the last nights before Jeanne left and there was a heavy snowstorm. It had snowed too much too fast for the street scrapers to respond, so the streets were covered in a thick layer of compacted snow that was extremely slippery. Jeanne and I went "skating" up the streets, which included much running and sliding and trying not to fall. We had been getting in shape for several weeks (with Ruth) and we got hyper and started running as fast as we could. It was really amazing to feel our legs burning with the exertion of running while we were literally trembling with cold.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Imaginary cookies!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Today I had the most random memory come to me and it really made me laugh. My sophomore year at college, my friends Ruth, Jeanne, and I did some seriously silly stuff. (Our friend Elyse was involed too, I think.) We made cookies once and had stuffed ourselves on them before putting them into a gallon baggy. I think I started the madness, but it might have been Ruth. Anyway, we took turns hiding the cookies in random places around the apartment, getting a little more creative each time. "Hide the cookies" became commonplace on warm and boring afternoons.

But it gets better. On one such afternoon, the three of us were laying in Ruth's bedroom burned out from homework and feeling utterly lethargic.

Ruth said, "Let's play Hide the Cookies."

"We don't have any." I said, "I'm too tired to make cookies right now."

"Well," Ruth responded, "I'll hide some imaginary cookies, then."

I started to laugh lazily, but she closed her eyes and said, "Wait. Wait. I'm hiding them. I have to find a good place." After a moment, she opened her eyes again. "All right. I've hidden them."

It turned out that "Hide the Imaginary Cookies" was even funner than "Hide the Cookies!" You could put them in much more interesting places than real cookies would allow. Once I hid them in the pocket of the Levi jacket in my closet and another time under the plunger in the bathroom. Ruth liked to hide them on the under side of furniture.

Anyway, it is completely ridiculous, but we had so much fun! Ah, the Ruth and Jeanne era...

Friday, March 21, 2008

Sera, Sera, whatever will be will be.

The world moves so quickly and things change constantly. Paul and I are on the job hunt again and we're obsessing over where Paul will apply to grad school. There are a lot of choices and most of them only accept a small number of applicants- we're talking five or ten individuals. But they all cost money to apply and we don't have loads of that to throw around.

There is great news, though. We recently learned that a lot of universities offer fellowship grants to their graduate students and you shouldn't go to one unless they're paying you for it. (At least that's how it is in Psychology. I can't speak for other fields of study.) So in two more semesters, we graduate and then move to WHEREVER we're going and get money for our living expenses. That really gives us something to look forward to!

So Paul's looking at a schools in New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Washington, and Oregon. We're talking constantly about what it would be like to live in all of those places, but of course we don't really know. All I know is that it sounds fun to live somewhere new and tackle experiences I have never faced. It will be exciting!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Pennies from Heaven.

I love to see spring approaching. Today it was beautiful out-- cold if we weren't in direct sunlight, but beautiful. When Paul and I went for a walk, I just really enjoyed being outside. The wind stirred up crisp leaves in the gutters and there were little shoots of bright green grass pushing out from the yellow lawns. I was skipping along, singing, "Every time rains, it rains pennies from Heaven. Don't you know each cloud contains pennies from Heaven? ... Make sure that your umbrella is upside down."

And of course, there really are "pennies from Heaven" all the time in our lives. I think if we could see all of the things that the Lord does for us, we would be surprised.

A lot of the hard times in my life have been from failed friendships or a feeling of being friendless. I don't know why that is-- maybe I have been just too much in my own head, but these times stand out in my memory as times that I was more able to see the goodness of God in my life. I know that sounds strange. But when I was the most lonely, I found joy in every smile or friendly greeting from another. I took pleasure in every small kindness that I would normally take for granted-- like the cashier who wants to chat with you when ringing up your order.

Likewise, having to deal with my health problems has taught me to enjoy fully the days that I feel good, to appreciate the body that I have. Why do women always want a different body than the one they have? Didn't we all want bodies badly enough before we came here? If we hate them, isn't that showing God that we're not grateful for this amazing gift?

Anyway, I really do think too much. Sometimes my mind flies off on these tangents and I just follow them wherever they go. My point was something along these lines: when we pay attention, we can see the pennies from heaven stacking up. Only then do we realize how rich we really are!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Small degrees.

As I consider my life, I have cause to wonder. If my blood sugar levels had stayed too high, I could have gone into a diabetic coma. I could have died. I don’t know the likelihood of that happening, but it could have—and suddenly I would have found myself standing before God, having to make an account of my time in this life.
I wonder how I would feel then about this life that I lead, what I would say about all the things I’m doing that I shouldn’t and all the things I’m not doing that I should. Would I be comfortable in the knowledge that I did all that I could? Or would I feel ashamed that I could have tried so much harder? When I’m completely honest with myself, I know that so many times I was kind but had no kindness in my heart. If you do the right thing but your heart is not in the right place, does it really count as doing the right thing? Won’t I have to answer for the state of my heart more than for my individual actions?
But I realize also that individual actions are the things that change a person’s heart like tiny colored particles too small to see. Every tiny thing I do colors my heart one way or another, changing me by small degrees into a different creature than I now am. It strikes me as almost paradoxical that the most important decisions a person can make are all the tiny ones that add up to transform us in ways we would not imagine. Have all my small choices changed me to a better person than I once was or am I slowly drifting into a form I would like less? If I had to answer for my soul today, would I wish I had made so many more good small decisions?
Speculating, of course, gets a person nowhere all by itself. I can imagine all day and night, but until I change something in my life, it won’t do much good. The thing to do now is to set a goal to do something worthwhile today. Life can be full of so much meaning and beauty if you will choose to see it and participate in it. I can be aware of my decisions and make them more thoughtfully. I can rededicate myself to good things and fulfilling activities. I can think more about others and strive to keep genuine feelings of love in my heart.
Then, in 80 years or so, when I am called to stand before my God, I will be able to laugh with him about all the ridiculous hilarious things that happened in my life, feeling no shame and only joy. That’s what I want to happen.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Winter fur gone.

So here's the clean shaven version.


Well, that time has come again. After a cold winter, spring is on the way. Certain creatures shed their extra winter fur in the warmer weather, and my husband is no exception. That's right. Last night, Paul shaved off his beard! Two days before, he shaved off his mustache in what he called his "Brigham Young" look. I had to take pictures of the event.

This first picture is from Christmas Break. It was taken when we all singing Christmas carols as my parents' house. I put it here so that you can see what Paul looked like with his full beard. All winter he was something of a novelty in our ward since most of the ward members are BYU students. Their honor code forbids guys from growing facial hair. (Notice Paul's awesome Zelda shirt. I have a Zelda shirt too and we sometimes like to wear them on the same day just to be geeky.)

The next picture is Paul's "Brigham Young look." Then we have the chin scruff transition. A few pictures of the shaving, and then... a completely different Paul. :) The only problem is, I can't figure out how to pictures below the text instead of above it. And when I tried to add the last picture, it kept putting it at the top. I don't know how to get around that, so I'll just put the last picture in another blog. Sorry about that.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A good ride.

Today, Paul and I had so much fun! We went out in the morning to get groceries (since we don't have class on Tuesdays). It was so warm and beautiful and tantalizing hints of spring were in the air. I was actually feeling decent, so we spontaneously decided to go up Provo Canyon. It turned out to be a lot colder in the canyon than we expected, but we still wanted to do something, so we went to Sundance and took the ski lift for a round trip. We had our pack lunches on the lift as we watched the people skiing and snow boaring below. On the way up the canyon, we stopped to take pictures at Bridal Veil Falls. Here are the pictures from the adventure.

This is how I feel about Fat Free Ranch.

I took this picture today being silly and I thought it rather matched my previous blog. :)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Never eat fat free ranch.

Well, it's official. I'm a Type 2 diabetic and so I have started loading up on sugar-free snacks and most importantly sugar-free ice cream (which isn't nearly as bad as I expected). I absolutely cannot abide nasty disgusting grotesque fat free Ranch dressing. It is too horrific for words. I forced myself to eat an entire massive salad with the stuff on it and I flat out refuse to do it ever again. It is so worth counting the carbs and getting the real thing.

Anyway, I'm adjusting. I'm still losing more pounds every time I weigh, so there are advantages to every situation.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Emporer Penguin

I just got this picture from my parents, who are visiting me. This was from the exciting ice fishing trip-- my prize fish.

But it was 15 below zero and I was bundled up ridiculously so that I look just like an Emporer Penguin. (Incidentally, have you seen March of the Penguins? It is a beautiful film and I highly recommend it.)
So anyway, ice fishing was AWESOME! Paul was laughing his head off in excitement when he started pulling them in on the second trip. A lot of things are new to my soft California boy and it is sort of like taking a little boy to do things. He's adorable and his eyes light up. And you'd think seeing a mule deer was like seeing a lion. He's so excited. We have to stop the car and he goes on and on about how beautiful they are and he's so amazed. It's fun.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Bring on the needles!

I feel like I've traded lives with someone, like everything that I've experienced since yesterday afternoon isn't actually happening to me. It's weird and sureal and I can hardly believe things can change so fast.

I went into the Student Health Center at UVSC yesterday thinking I had a bladder infection. I've been peeing all the time and I thought it was just a super persistent infection. I started having bladder problems in December and I thought it was finally time to just get some medicine and get rid of it. So I told the Nurse Practitioner what I thought my problem was and she had me pee in a cup.

But I didn't have an infection. My urine was all full of sugar and ketones. (I don't know if that's how you spell ketones...) It was in such ridulous quantities that it could only mean one thing. A quick prick of the finger revealed dangerously high blood sugar levels, proving without a doubt that I have diabetes.

And so I was diagnosed and referred to a Diabetes Clinic, which I went to today. I was there for over four hours. I talked with Dr. Robert Day and had more tests done. Then I saw a man who taught me about the mechanics of the disease and how to test my blood sugar and give myself insulin shots. Then I saw a nutritionist who taught me all about how I should eat and exercise. I was put on two medications and will be back to see the doctor twice next week. In the meantime, I have to give myself insulin shots four times a day.

It's hard to say which type of diabetes I have at this point. It really could be either one. I'm very young for the typical case of Type 2-- mostly it's a 45 and older thing that's more common in minorities than white people. But I'm also a little old for the typical case of Type 1, which usually manifests in childhood and is more common in whites. The doctor will be able to tell which type I am depending on how I respond to the medications-- they'd only be effective for a Type 2. If I respond well and am Type 2, then I won't take insulin anymore after the first week and will be able to tackle this thing on oral medications alone. If I don't respond to the medication, then I'm a Type 1 and I'll have to take insulin for the rest of my life.

So it wasn't just a bladder infection or any of the other things I thought were wrong with me. See, I have been feeling sick for quite some time now, but it was hard to define what was wrong. Sometimes I would just feel so tired and of course I would feel horrible if I didn't eat. Last summer, I started to have problems with my eyes. It felt like my eyes were rejecting my contacts-- things would be blurry and it was sometimes difficult to read. I saw an eye doctor who insisted that there was nothing wrong with them, but the problems have persisted and now I know why. And all my exhaustion and sleeping in late all the time-- I know why about those things now too. I was starting to wonder if I was a hypochondriac, always thinking I was sick when I wasn't.

But I was sick! Dr. Day is fairly certain that I've had diabetes for at least two years. And now that I know, I can actually get better! Yay! I mean, I can't get completely better, but I can do a lot to improve my health. I think once my treatment is figured out and my cells are actually getting the nutrients they need, I should be feeling better than I have in years! And that gives me such a sense of relief! And one of my medications causes weight loss. It's kind of ironic that I get to lose the weight I wanted afterall.

Bring on the needles!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Long sleep.

Today was such a weird day! I felt too tired to get up and go to class, so I sent Paul to school without me and I was just going to sleep a little longer... Hahaha! I woke up and looked at my phone and it was 2:22 in the afternoon! I could not believe that I was sleeping for so long.

I felt like I wasted the entire day, but after I got up I did do some reading for one of my classes and then I went to a relief society activity. I really love my ward! The activity was a dessert night and I didn't see any girl without her plate filled with as many desserts as possible. It was great.

Anyway, I have no clue why I slept that long. It was so odd! I'm not even sick as far as I can tell....

Sunday, January 20, 2008

All about working out!

Paul and I have finally started our exercise program! We've talked about this forever, but now we're finally doing it! We got racquetball equipment and now we're using the college's racquetball courts and weightroom to get in shape. We also went on a hike in Provo Canyon, trudging through miles of a snowy trail.

Consequently, I am really sore in the calves today. As I was walking around church, I was trying not to cringe with every step. It's odd because that's usually the place that never gets sore while everything else is aching. I think it has something to do with trying to step lightly on the snow to not break through (it was knee-deep in places that I DID break through). Normally, I can barely walk across smooth obstacle-free surfaces without tripping and hurting myself. Stepping carefully and especially lightly are not part of my genetic makeup! I think all my concentration to not fall down yesterday took its toll on my muscles.

But in this weird twisted way, I kind of enjoy soreness. When I wake up in the morning and simply moving makes me groan because of all my sore places, it satisfies me. It's proof that I actually worked out, proof that I'm being healthy and taking care of myself. In the semester before I met Paul, I worked out like a maniac and was in a perpetual state of pain and stiffness. But it was awesome because all my muscles hardened and toned and I lost about forty-five pounds.

I wasn't very kind to myself then. I completely threw aside how I felt and pushed myself constantly to run longer and faster and to lift heavier weights. If I wasn't in agony, I figured I wasn't working hard enough. I was so determined to be thin.

After I got married, I gained most of the weight back. Not of all of it, though... I want to be thin now and I'm willing to work for it. But not like I did then. I now think I was ludicrous and I don't plan to work out quite like that again.

This time, I will take it more slowly and gently, which I think will make it easier to KEEP off. If you lose weight too fast, your body can gain it again just as quickly.

But, hey. I don't kid myself about ever being a size 2. I'll be quite happy and content if I get down to a 12. That's the size I was in seventh grade. If I take it slowly, I still probably won't be able to get to that size for at least a year. (And that's without relapses.) Bring on the next year! I am SO ready for it!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Ah, technology.

I want to add more people to my Links list, but I haven't figured out how yet. I'm kind of technology retarded, so I'm sure it will take me all year to figure out how to do all the simple things regular people figure out in a few minutes....

We can't ALL have the same strengths or the world would be boring. I would like to see anyone rival my Tetris ability! Paul can't even come close to my high score!

Girl power!

My friend Katy was just over and she showed me how to get a new background, so I did. Now it's all pink flowers. But it's good to change, especially to put different pictures up.

It was fun to spend time with Katy-- you know women just need other women. It is a fact. Guys like being together, certainly, but I don't think they need each other the way we women do. I wonder why that is? Does estrogen just like the company of other estrogen or is it something more?

Even though I never dated anyone before Paul, I spent a lot of my growing up time with boys. In middle school, I had a friend named Brett and in high school Daniel. I loved them a lot, but it was so nice my freshmen year of college to have two friends who were girls. Melanie, Eryn, and I were always together, and it was just the funnest thing. Guys just don't appreciate driving around for hours and singing-- or eating unnatural amounts of chocolate. And guys don't have the ability to analize feelings the way that girls do.

Anyway, it was fun.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Hopes of Reconnecting.

I've decided that it's time for me to reconnect to all the cousins I used to enjoy so much and to perhaps connect with some that I never got to know very well in the past. (That's mostly because of age differences.)

When I really stop to think about it, I'm quite sad that I don't do things with relatives. I don't call them or visit or write. I'm not sure how it came to be like that. When I was little, half my life was consumed with cousins. I played a lot with Andrea and Beau and Caleb. Once we all tried to sleep on the same bed-- and this when we were grown teenagers!

I really miss the past when there was nothing better to do than have an adventure in the gulch or go wandering off in the woods at a family reunion campout. I don't kid myself that things were perfect, but I do have sweet memories.

Now I want to build more! I want to get to know everyone now that we're all grown up! I'm sure we were all born into the same family for a reason. And I want to show off my cute sweet Paul too.

Friday, January 4, 2008

The ever fascinating novel-writing process. . . .

By the way, I got stuck on my Chapter 4. It's so ridiculous because I have planned EXACTLY what is going to happen and I'm still puttering around trying to figure out how to write it.

See, I had this plan to spend a few paragraphs talking about mundane things and then launch into something truly interesting-- my characters visiting an opening in a rock set high on a cliff where dozens of eagles roost. But I found, when I began writing, that the mundane things at the beginning were rather important and required attention. So, here I am on my sixth page of the mundane things and counting.

A chapter has to be a miniture story all by itself, beginning somewhere, leading somewhere else, and ending at a point that makes it worth it to the reader to go on to the next chapter. Chapters that don't do these things are boring, frustrating, and off-putting to a reader. And without readers, novelists shrivel up and die. They must have readers or they have no food. :)

So anyway, someday soon, this book will be finished and I'll have a real editor to help me make my story better. I need all the help I can get.

Home from the holidays.

Greetings. I am so happy that some of my cousins are posting comments on my blogs, but I don't know how to respond-- or what their blogspots are. Okay, I'm kind of technology illiterate or I know I would already know how to do this stuff. If anyone wants to give me a call and tell me how I can go to their blogspots, feel free. I would like to see pictures of everyone.

So we were in Vernal for two weeks, and that was a COLD experience. I don't think the temperature ever got above zero the entire trip. There was a lot of snow and ice and danger... But on the bright side, we got to go ice fishing!

That was a first for Paul, who has only fished twice in his life (once illegally on his mission). We went twice, all bundled up in Dad's extra warm clothes. The first time, I caught so many fish, and they were all big! It was so exciting to pull them out one after the other. The next time, it was Paul's turn. He picked a really good fishing hole. He was cute and excited and laughed a lot.

Mom took some really fun pictures of us, but I can't find my jump drive to put them on the computer... But I will display them soon, I promise. We got a lot of cool presents and it was a good time.

Thanks, Mom.

So it was back to school today. I might be switching my schedule around some, but I'm excited. And Paul is REALLY excited because he's graduating next December. Hopefully I can take enough classes to graduate with him. Cross your fingers.