Monday, August 31, 2009

I'm so sleepy!

We had a long night last night because Paul's back has gotten worse and he was barely able to sleep at all. Thankfully, he's seeing a chiropractor today. Hopefully, that will help. Because of all the pain he's in, he has decided once and for all that losing weight is the only intelligent thing to do. He realizes that his weight adds significantly to his back pain, and he feels that it's time.

Hallelujah! Okay, so I don't know how to spell that, but I'm so glad. With Paul in on the weight loss, it will be easier for me. It's so much easier to make lifestyle changes if you don't have to make them alone. It's time for exercise, healthy eating, and... a little less chocolate. Do I have to get rid of chocolate entirely? I don't know if I can!

Despite my semi-zombie state from lack of sleep, I was finally able to re-register for my two classes. The school sure made it a pain, but the good thing is that I was able to get back in without paying the $50 fee, which is good because the mistake wasn't mine in the first place. I would love to write loads more about my fascinating life, but I have Anthropology homework to do for my next class. I take my leave.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

So I'm OCD about these things.

I wanted to make a quick correction. Writer's Market has an apostrophe in the title. Yesterday when I was writing the blog, I kept wondering if it had the apostrophe or not. It does, and I wanted to make sure to correct it. :)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

My dreams and my cute sweet husband.

So yesterday was an important day for me.... *Ahem.* I went to the local Books a Million and bought my very first copy of Writers Market, 2010 edition. It's so pretty! (It's green and brown, and very classy-looking.) For those of you who don't know, Writers Market is a huge fat book that lists book, newspaper, and magazine publishers and how they want work submitted to them. It gives all kinds of useful information from who specifically to contact to how much money you can expect to get paid. It's VERY helpful, and I'm so excited to have one.

I spent several hours last night reading about writing contests across the country. Some of the novel writing contests pay thousands of dollars in cash prizes for the winner, as well as publication of the novel. Wouldn't that be so exciting!? I've decided to research several of the contests and pick two of them to enter next year. It would be an amazing way to get the attention of the literary world and jumpstart my career. Okay, so I realize the odds of winning a contest like that are slim, but I've just got to try! There are also several contests for short stories, essays, and creative nonfiction that I might enter as well. These ones would be way smaller so less would be required of me than writing a novel. And I'm only entering contests with cash prizes, too, so there's always the possibility of getting paid for my work.

On a different note, Paul is doing very well in his new program. In the next few weeks, he will start doing research with his peers (collaborating on their person projects and on the projects of the professors) and then he will become way more busy.

He's been a little sad because of a recent conflict with another family member who demeaned him in just about every way possible. (This person criticized his spiritual wellbeing, his mental state, and his choice of career. It was so horrible!) I've been impressed with his ability to cope and to not hold onto bad feelings for this person. He says to me, "My heart hurts, but I'll be all right. It doesn't matter what she said." I love what a pure person he is!

And he's so cute too! His old back injury sometimes acts up and last night it was hurting him again. We went to Target and he was riding around on one of those little carts for people who can't walk (because it was much easier on his back). He's just so big that he looked hilarious zooming around so close to the ground. I laughed my head off at him!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Locked out... but still writing!

So this morning we got up a little early so we could get to the school with enough time for Paul to read an article for his class and still make it on time. Ha ha.

He walked out the door ahead of me, and when I followed, I thought he had the keys and immediately shut the door. It turns out that he had locked the door handle, but left the keys in the house, so we were locked out of our house. Not only that, but our only car key was on the key ring in the house, too... It was so ridiculous! Paul started calling people from his class to see if he could get a ride, but no one called him back. He called the land lord to see if he would come to let us in, but he didn't answer either. So we ended up just sitting around outside the house for two hours before our land lord came to let us in, and by the time we got to the school, Paul had already missed his class.

It was such a stupid situation because we SHOULD have copied that car key as soon as we got it so that things like this wouldn't happen. I want to laugh at how stupid the situation was!

But on a different note, my grandpa's funeral was yesterday, and I have not heard how it went. I hope it wasn't too sad for my family. I've tried to make life easy on myself so that I don't get so upset again. It's good to have an awareness of the fragile state that I'm in that so that I can protect myself against an overload. I think of myself as having a huge injury that needs some time to heal before I can be fully functional again.

I'm actually excited, though, that I'm only in school part time this semester. I have big plans for my writing. It will be less stressful to do my blogs now, and I will also have time for my novel! I feel much more confident in my writing ability these days, now that I write thousands of words every day for my job. The words come easily and the insights are not hard to find. I was surprised to find recently that I'm actually much more talented at writing non-fiction than I am at fiction. When I write about real life, I can tell it how it is. I'm not afraid to talk about life exactly as I experience it, and my advice in the blogs is realistic and practical. I tell people to quit worrying about what everyone else thinks and make good health choices because they're good choices to make-- not because people expect them to look or be a certain way. I'm sure the people who hired me didn't intend for me to get political, either, but I find myself talking about the complex issues of health and the economy, and I just can't help myself. I've always wanted to use my writing to make a difference in the world, and I'll do that however I can!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A lesson in emotional endurance.

Wow! Who knew that as soon as I decided to come here, my life would break apart so ridiculously!? I had a breakdown today, and I realized that I have been stretched beyond my emotional capacity to deal. It's no piece of cake to move across the country away from all of your friends. And to lose my grandfather, and now to have another family relationship shattered completely...! It has all taken it's toll, and this morning I just started to cry in my Spanish class. I was trying to get the financial aid error worked out so that I could stay in my classes, but I came to the realization that I would not be able to deal with being in five demanding classes on top of all my emotional drama. I left my class and went to hide in a bathroom stall so that no one would see me crying.

Paul's class got out early and he felt prompted to call me right at that moment. I'm so glad he was able to have the Spirit with him, because I needed him right at that moment. He agreed to meet me at the car and he took me home. I don't know if I've ever had a time in my life that I felt more broken apart than I did at that moment. It was total and complete overwhelm.

But Paul worked me through it and helped to concentrate on breathing, and eventually I was able to calm down. He held me and soothed me and spoke very calmly to me until I gradually started to feel better. He talked me through what had happened and helped me come to the decision to stay in school, but only in two classes so that I will not have too much to do and get overwhelmed again. I will never forget how he set aside all the things he needed to do to care for me in such a loving, compassionate way. He has definitely chosen the right path for his life, going into psychology. He understands people at such a deep level, and he is full of compassion.

I have never felt closer to the Lord than I do today. I understand a little bit deeper than ever before the pain that was suffered by Jesus Christ. All the deep, painful complexities that come from this convoluted mortal existence will eventually end. If I can learn to depend more fully on my Savior and make my life ever more in alignment with Him, I will have all the pain and stress and unhappiness taken away as if it never was. It's good for us to have great sorrow so that we can have great happiness and a deeper peace.

Oh, so now I'm only in my Communications class and my Anthropology class. I think I can handle those, and I feel such a sense of relief! Things are going to be just fine.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

When does life stop throwing things at you?

My life is spinning so far out of control right now that I feel sick to my stomach! Ugh. Well, my Grandpa has died, and everyone in the family is so sad about it. It has been hard blow for me to be so far away from everyone. I guess emotions are running a bit too high, and this has caused a conflict that has severed one of the most important relationships in my life. There are things that even I won't talk about on a public blog. Let's just say I have had my heart completely broken and I have had to say cruel things to try to come to a point of clarity. I don't like to be mean to other people and I hate hurting them. This fear that I have of hurting other people runs so deep that I cannot usually defend myself in any situation or say anything negative to other people. So I have the classic pressurization problem in which I don't let anything out until it gets to the point that I can't possibly hold it in anymore.

But there's more. I've just found out that I was dropped from all of my classes. Apparently there has been an issue with my transfer credits. I'm a sophomore according to my transfer credits (I have an associates degree), but the computer shows that I have no credits because my transcripts have not been processed. I thought I was getting student aid according to a sophomore status (which is more money), but when it actually came in, I had only recieved enough for a freshman's status. The difference is $1500, which of course I don't have in my pocket. It may be able to be straightened out, but there is a huge beaurocratic procress, and it might just not happen. So as of right now, I'm out of my classes and just waiting for the red tape people to get back to me. There's nothing I can do yet.

So it looks like I may be out of school this semester, after all. I didn't even do anything wrong. It's time to find a job here in Augusta.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

So, I'm one of those Type 2's.

Ah, I've just been reading about ketoacidosis for one of my blog posts. It's the condition that I had when I was finally diagnosed with diabetes last year. Reading about it was slightly traumatic for me, because it makes me realize that I could very easily have died. I had the symptoms for months before I finally went in to see a doctor.

So, I was very, very ill for a long time. I believed that I was a hypochondriac, that my symptoms weren't real, and that a doctor would just tell me to lose weight and send me on my way. After all, that was how doctors had treated me since I was a young teenager and first had symptoms of diabetes. Every single symptom was there, including nerve pain and numbness in my hands and wrists and highs and lows in blood sugar. I know now what was happening, but back then, I had no idea why I felt so sick sometimes after eating and why I couldn't fast for church without becoming sick.

From time to time, Mom would take me to doctors, but frankly, none of them cared at all to find out what was actually going on. They were all quick to judge me for my weight and dismiss me without so much as asking in-depth questions. The only helpful doctor I saw sent me to physical therapy for the pain in my wrists, and this helped me in one way. The therapist told me I had to get out on walks every day. This singular piece of advice saved me for years. I immediately incorporated daily walks into my life and have always done so since. As soon as I started walking every day, the nerve pain faded and I only occasionally have it these days. That's one symptom that's basically gone.

I hate that I have to think about my health every day. And I hate, too, all the articles I read about diabetes online that blame the patients for their disease. Supposedly, type 2 diabetes is a disease that people get because they allow themselves to get overweight in later life and they have a terrible diet. This is a disease for peope who have made bad choices and who have not taken care of themselves. Many health care professionals acts like the disease is something that people deserve.

But I was thirteen when I first had the symptoms. I wasn't overweight. I was very active, hiking with my family regularly, playing basketball and roller blading and biking. Sure, I ate whatever my mom made for me, but I don't think I was drinking the grease from the pan, or anything like that. I want to take responsibility for my health, but seriously. How could I have brought this on myself?

If you want to read about ketoacidosis, look it up Wikipedia. It's pretty scary.

Friday, August 21, 2009

This professor is a power house!

Today I feel more positive about my life. I've just come from my American Government class, and I swear that woman speaks my language! I watched my professor open up the minds of every student in that class. She reasoned with them, introduced new ideas, and watched their comprehension budding. I loved it! She talked about people's myths about the government and how they do not actually base their beliefs on knowledge. I feel like I don't have any right to an opinion if I don't get out there and learn all the realities of what's actually happening. This woman is such a good teacher in the way she lights a fire inside your mind. I'm no longer put out about taking this particular GE. It's amazing!

I say she speaks my language because I have seen this same problem in so many people. They get heated, emotional, and highly confrontational over issues. But when you ask them about the issues, they can't tell you a thing. That's because they don't have any actual knowledge, and it's frustrating. For example, you can be for or against the war in Iraq, but you need to have actual reasons for your position. I get so tired of hearing general vague statements about righteousness or patriotism. I want to shake people and say, "No! Being patriotic isn't enough! What is your reasoning?" And that's what this teacher is requiring of the students. We must learn all we can so that our positions are based in reality.

It's time for me to get learning, then, isn't it?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I need a fortress.

So I finally learned last night about what's happening with my Grandpa Wall. I can hardly believe it! His femur is broken badly, and the surgery to fix it may be fatal. But without the surgery, he will probably not make it. My mom was so emotional when she told me about it all, and I imagine it must be that much harder for my Grandma.

I cannot imagine losing Paul! The very possibility of losing her mate must be so painful and sad for Grandma! I hate even thinking about it. And I'm feeling distinctly depressed about living so far away at this time. I can't go back to Utah to be with the family! There's no way we could possibly afford it.


I guess I'll just have to try to be there over the phone as much as I can and keep trudging on with my new classes. All this change is a little hard to handle right now! I see myself becoming increasing fragile, but I'm not sure what to do about it. I need a fortress to huddle down in for a while...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I'm still in Junior high.

Sometimes I think I have never gotten out of junior high school. It's ridiculous, but I never seem to be able to feel confident. It's like I expect everyone I meet to not like me. I hate that! How do I make that go away?

I call it my "curse." I've been getting this since I was about fifteen years old. I meet someone, they look at me and immediately dismiss me as if I don't matter at all. I have seen a lot of popular well-liked people in school or church talk to others very charismatically and then treat me like I don't exist at all. It can be maddening, especially if the person was someone I initially admired. And the thing is, I understand the phenomenon intellectually. It makes sense.

I'm overweight with kind of a strange body type, and because of this, I can't find clothes that will fit me that are attractive. Everything I own hangs or catches in some way so that nothing ever quite looks good, and nothing in my wardrobe reflects my personality at all. I consider having clothes that match who you are to be a luxury of the thin. And on top of this, I hate makeup and can't force myself to put it on. So my self-presentation is not great; I think it turns people off to me at a first glance.

And since people have always treated me like a piece of furniture, I find it hard to assert myself, to say, "Hello. I'm a person too, and I matter, even if you find me unattractive." I withdraw deep inside and don't even try.

It's stupid. This whole rant is because a girl at church on Sunday gave me the quick dismiss, and I've been trying to convince myself ever since that it didn't make me feel bad at all. Paul met this girl and her husband before I came up, and he really liked them. But as soon as I appeared, the girl looked at me, dismissed me, and turned away. I should have picked up my scriptures and smacked her! Right in the face. Everyone would know who I was in the ward after that!

So I've never really gotten past junior high yet. Isn't there supposed to be some point at which, you know, you grow up and stop feeling vulnerable and self-conscious? Isn't there a time at which you don't need your peers to like you?

I want some chocolate.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Humans and non-humans.

Grrrr... So I just went to my last class... or at least I thought I was going to my last class. I walked in, sat down, and asked the person next to me if I was in Anthropology. She said, "No. Sorry, but this is philosophy." I was so confused. I had to go to another building to find a computer to get online because I thought I had just written down the wrong room number. It turns out that I wrote down the wrong day! My anthropology class is actually Monday/Wednesday, and I had thought it was Tuesday/Thursday. So I managed to miss my first class yesterday....

I emailed the professor right away to explain what I had done, but I don't know if this professor is actually human or not. I say that because I've had both kinds. The human teachers actually care, try to help you out, and listen to what you have to say. As in, if you make a mistake like that, you don't have to be punished. The non-human teachers are the ones who don't believe a word that comes out of a student's mouth and don't care at all about specific situations or personal difficulties. (When I was so sick with diabetes, I was nearly flunked out of math because my teacher was non-human and would not believe that my illness was real.) I tend to favor the human teachers, but you never know before you sign up for a class which kind you're going to get. It's hit and miss.

I'm really like our neighbors. They knocked on our door to let us know that some woman was looking into our car this morning. I don't know if the woman had any bad intentions or not, but I was glad to have neighbors who would let us know that sort of thing.

Last night when I went to do laundry at the laundromat, I ran out of quarters and an African American man gave me another quarter to finish drying my shirts. It was so nice, and such a relief! I'm glad the people here are so nice! They're the human kind of people.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Land of the Cockroaches and Ants

It really is! Two nights ago, I got up in the night to get a drink of water. When I stepped up to the kitchen sink, my big toe crushed something soft. I ran to turn on the light and found a cockroach still alive and twitching... It was NASTY!

I can't believe all the bugs here! Our house is way clean, too. It's not like there's a bunch of trash just sitting around or food left uncovered. I've seen four different kinds of ants within five feet of our house. There are the huge black ones that are all over the trees, the fast scary red ones that feast on dead cockroaches, the little brown ones that infested our car our first night in Georgia, and the tiny ones that you can barely see that seem to like the porches. Who knew so many kinds of ants could live in the same place?

Did I mention the hornets just outside our window, about twice as big as the ones in Utah. There are also the cicadas that keep up a constant cadence. It's a loud throbbing hum that rises and falls all night long. (It's a little hard to describe, but it's not unpleasant.)

We've had a busy week, spending a lot of time at Augusta State University. Paul had an orientation with everyone from his master's program, and he is one of three men. All the rest are women! He made friends with a girl from Colombia who invited us to come to a fiesta tomorrow. I'll let you know how the Colombian food is. I was happy that everyone was nice to him and he feels excited and welcomed into the program. We love Settlers of Catan, and he found some girls who would like to play with us with their husbands.

It turns out that I will be going to school this semester, but my schedule is random. I'm taking most of the generals that will not be covered by my transfer credits, so that I can get them out of the way. So I'm in these classes:

-Fundamentals of Human Communication
-Spanish 1001
-American Government
-Introduction to Weather and Climate (Lab Science credit)
-Cultural Anthropology

That last class is for my minor, which I had to choose yesterday. I figured if I was required to have a minor, I might as well study human cultures. That should help me with my fiction. So now I'm an English major with an emphasis in creative writing and an Anthropology minor. I'm really excited, although I just found out that my text books will cost over $700! If that's not robbery, I don't know what is.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A big, long move across America.

I know. It has been an eternity since I last blogged... It's a little hard to do without my own working computer. With my blogging job, I have not had time on limited-use public computers to do this blog. But I have a few minutes right now, and hopefully there will be more time in the future.

Hopefully this won't be too surprising for most of you, but... we're in Georgia now! Paul did get into an Experimental Psychological graduate program here at Augusta State University, and here we are. I had three stressful weeks after we found out before we moved. We couldn't afford any moving van at all, so we ended up stuffing all we could into our car and leaving the rest. It was hard (made me cry), but we left Provo.

The journey was LONG and exhausting, but it was fun too. We stayed at my mom's house for a day and a half and then headed out for Denver. My cousin Lindsey and her husband Nick live there. (I realized just now that I don't know for sure if that's how she spells her name...) They were so nice to us! We had a bed to sleep in and great food to eat. I was sad to go. We drove from Denver all the way across the eastern part of Colorado and the broad expanse of Kansas. We loved Kansas because it was so open, green, and beautiful. The roads were almost empty, and the other drivers were polite and relaxed. I thought it would be a good place to live, although I had to laugh at all the religious billboards that said things like "I trust you, Jesus" and "Christ heals; pornography destroys." We flew through that state into Missouri. We veered from the freeway in Kansas City, Missouri, and headed north to a little town called Kidder, where a friend from Paul's mission lives.

His friend was Ammon Galbraith, and we stayed with him, his wife, and their four little boys. Ammon had taken the next day off work to spend with us, so we stayed in Missouri for a day with the Galbraith's. They took us to Liberty Jail, where the prophet Joseph Smith was imprisoned. It was a sweet heart-breaking experience to go there and see the tiny little basement where he was held. The Galbraith's, too, gave us great food and a bed to sleep on. I loved being there.

The next day was the long one. We drove from Kidder back down to Kansas City, across Missouri, into Illinois, through Kentucky, and finally through Atlanta, Georgia and we stopped for the night in Newnan. We stayed with some friends of Paul's from his old home ward, the Royle's. They were awesome, and once again, made us delicious food. (This time, it was a white chicken chili with corn bread!) The Royle's are actually an older couple whose children have all married and moved out, but their kids don't live far, and they called them home for a lunch with us. It was fun!

Newnan is about three hours from Augusta, so we had to make that last drive before we could find a house. Finally we were able to get a cute little blue house in a very quiet neighborhood. The house hadn't been lived in for months and it has required some cleaning on our part, but I love it and I'm so happy to be here. We have yet to meet a mean person here. Seriously everyone we meet is relaxed and nice, even if their accents are so strong that I can't understand half of what they say. And there are A LOT of bugs here, which is something I'm going to have to get used to.

I have had some trouble with my financial aid, and I'm not sure if I'm actually going to be able to go to school this semester. I might have to wait until next semester in order to get the financial aid that I need. That's kind of a pain in the butt, and it might just work out anyway, but in the meantime, I'm looking for another online writing job. I've spent the last hour and a half responding to Craigslist postings for writing jobs, so hopefully one or two of them will be interested in me. Please pray for me! I don't know what's going to happen, but on the bright side, Paul has his financial aid taken care of and he is registered and set to go in his program. I'm really proud of him for getting in, and I'm excited for him. We found the Psychology Department here and met another grad student who was way nice and made Paul feel good.

Well, that's enough for now. Blogs really shouldn't be this long... I'm going to re-do my blog background now, to fit the new settting. This is a different world, after all.