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. :)