Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Technological Red Tape

Today, I:

1. Tried to budget for the coming semester by accessing Jacob's student account to see his financial aid information. The site refused to load the financial aid awards page.

2. Tried to plan for the coming semester by checking my student schedule on MY student account. The page refused to load.

3. Decided to give up and clean the house, and went to Netflix online to put on a documentary to watch/listen to while I cleaned. And for some reason, the account has been put on hold.

4. Thought to call/text my sister about the Netflix account, before realizing that my cell phone is in a box on its way to Oregon to be swapped for a new one. 

I was going to go make myself some food to comfort my frustrated soul, but I fear none of the kitchen appliances will cooperate.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Speaking of things being worth it...

Remember this post?

Well, today I got my copy of Irreantum. That's a literary magazine published by the Association of Mormon letters. You can buy a copy online, but mine was complimentary. Why, you ask? BECAUSE THEY PUBLISHED ONE OF MY POEMS IN IT! =)

Jacob and I happened to have a bottle of sparkling cider handy, so out it came in celebration. Jacob drank his entire glass at once, which caused his eyes to water and his voice to crack as he grinned and attempted to yell "Good for you!" afterwards. Which was hilarious and made us laugh for a good two minutes. Maybe you had to be there. But for the record, laughing hysterically after drinking a lot of sparkling cider is a sort of uncomfortable experience.

But it was worth it.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Rexburg is warmer than California?!

That's true. It is. At least it was during the week we were in the Bay Area. But we're back! It was a wonderful trip, and it FLEW by...I think it was the busiest, most packed trip to California I've ever experienced.

Here are some of my favorite moments (in no particular order):

- Driving out to Bodega Dunes with Beckah and Jacob, listening to the Punch Brothers and Regina Spektor (and of course, the B-52's...classic Whittaker road trip music)
- Hiking to the beach (which took forever) with Beckah and Jacob after setting up camp (which included running down sand dunes) at Bodega Dunes (which also, incidentally, took forever to get to)
- Beckah and Jacob attempting to roll a log into the ocean, which task Jacob took up with more life-endangering fervor after Beckah had moved on to something else
- "Stalking" mom at the beach, which included sneaking behind logs and driftwood and drawing strategy maps in the sand, and ended with us storming her with war-like yells as she serenely looked over the ocean
- Watching the "French" monkeys (they're called francois somethings) at the SF zoo...playful and acrobatic things
- Beckah eating a See's peanut butter truffle after I had dropped it on the dirty downtown San Francisco sidewalk, despite my warnings that she would probably get a disease and die
- Kissing Jacob while standing inside a giant redwood in Muir Woods
- Hiking our butts off in Muir Woods (we bought new butts later)
- Jacob and I jamming Beatles and oldies with Ray and Mom (Jacob - guitar, Ray - bass, Mom and me - percussion and vocals)
- Eating wurst (brats) outside and listening to the Wolff family talk (and occasionally argue) in English and German
- Playing (and watching family play) frisbee on the beach
- Wandering downtown SF with Jacob and Beckah after the zoo, even though everything was closed and it was sort of freezing

And here are some of my favorite pictures (in no particular order):

(Have I mentioned how much I love our camera? There are also some wonderful ones of Mom and Beckah and I, but I'm going to edit 'em before sharing 'em.) Anyway, until next time, CA. Now I'm off to sleep for a week and have my wisdom teeth extracted.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Flowers in our hair

To Pack:

- Camping tent
- Sleeping bags
- Clothes for a week (don't forget pajamas...I always forget pajamas)
- Good book or two
- Chargers (cell phone, gps, ipod)
- Beatles sheet music
- Wallet
- Plane tickets
- Cell phone
- iPod
- Camera
- Toiletries/meds
- Tanning oil
- Swimsuit
- Towel
- Snacks
- Sunglasses
- A sense of adventure

See you in a week! 

Friday, August 12, 2011

He will always be a summer love

I'm in love with summer. And with Jacob. We've been spending a lot of time outdoors lately, because in the summer, anything that CAN be done outdoors SHOULD be.

This is us at Beaverdick Park (I know), on the 4th of July. We're looking at the water right beneath the dock. That's one of the things I love about Jacob. He shares my curiosity about the world, and is willing to look slightly ridiculous to figure things out. I'm grateful to spend several dozen more summers with this man.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Twenty six years is a lotta livin

It's my birthday in one month. I was going to post my "birthday wish list" on here for friends and family to see, and it had things like this one skirt I've wanted and a book of paintings. But I had to think long and hard to come up with those things, and they're things I can definitely live without. So here's what I want instead. A weekend with some of my dearest friends.

I have been blessed with an incredible group of friends, friends who are more like family than anything else. I've known some of them for a good five or six or seven years now, and we've been through everything from car accidents to weddings together. Our individual journeys have taken us from Idaho to Oregon to England to California and back again. We don't see each other as often as we used to, but we're close enough to be able to pick up where we left off.

One of these friends had an idea that's been percolating for a while now...spending a weekend together at the Oregon Coast at the end of the summer. And although it, like the skirt and book of art, is something I could probably live without, it's all I want for my birthday.

So that's what I'm asking for. Because we can't afford it on our own, unless we sell something like our car, in which case, we won't have a way to get there. Or back. So there's a button up on my blog. It says "DONATE." And if you can't donate, or if you don't care, or if you feel weird, don't do it. I'll still love you, and will still write blogs to make you smile. =) But if you were planning on getting me a birthday present, take that money and send it to my paypal account instead.

I've never done anything like this before, and ethically, with my new readership, I'm not sure how I feel about it. But it's worth it to me to give it a go.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

"If you can't drive with a broken back, at least you can polish the fenders." --Billy Joel

My back has been killing me off and on for about four months. This was disheartening, because I've always been blessed with a good back...never "thrown it out," never had spine problems. It's never been a very flexible back, but it's always been strong. I worked in the warehouse at Walmart with no problems, lifting all sorts of heavy things.

Anyway, my back started hurting again earlier this week, a steady dull ache that neither massage nor heat nor Aleve would lessen. The ache increased until it was worse than I'd ever experienced in my back...sudden movements brought tears to my eyes and sneezing made me swear in pain. This morning, I decided something had to be done.

I've never been to a chiropractor before. In the first place, I've never really needed one, and in the second place, that thing they do, when they swing your head around backwards to fix your neck or something? That scares me.

But I was willing to brave the skeletal torture if it would bring some sort of relief. I found a chiropractor in town with a great initial exam fee and good student rates (Align Your Health Chiropractic...good deal) and made an appointment.

When I went in, the nice lady took my paperwork and led me into a room with a long cushioned table. We shall call this table The Great Obscene Undulator. There were a few knobs and switches on the side, and I felt like Frankenstein's monster for a moment as I laid down. The lady explained that the table would massage and loosen up my back a little bit, so I could just relax. Then she threw the switch and left.

Now, the machine I was laying on "massaged and loosened up my back" by forcing me to do MTV-esque body rolls. It would move up and down my back, from my neck to my bum. (I'm trying to figure out a way to make this clear without being able to demonstrate it...words are failing me. If what I'm saying doesn't make sense, watch this. This is what the machine was making me do.) But it wasn't one long body roll over and over...it was lots of small ones as the machine moved up and down my back. So I was doing "body rolls" with my shoulders, and then my stomach, and then my pelvis, and then my stomach, and shoulders, etc. I felt ridiculous. But it really did loosen me up a little bit. (If they had a disco ball and alcohol, who knows how loosened up their patients would get...)

Anyway, the doctor came in and took me to another table. I mentioned that I'd never been to a chiropractor before and I wasn't quite sure what to expect, and he said there was nothing to be nervous about and had me lay on my stomach. He began pressing on various spots on my back in a medical, investigative way, asking me about the nature and duration of my pain. Our conversation went something like this:

Dr: So you've been having this pain since May?
Me: Yeah, off and on. But it's been at its worst the last couple of days.
Dr: Have you had any trauma...a fall or banging your back into something?
Me: No, not really. Back in May I was in a play where I put a lot of strain on my back, falling and carrying heavy luggage.
Dr: Because it feels like you've popped a rib out of your spine, and you've got a lot of tension in the--
Me: Excuse me, what did you say I've done?
Dr: Popped a rib out of your spine.
(long pause)
Me: That sounds...terrifying. Do ribs normally...do that?
Dr: (laughing) They can. It's really not terrifying. We've just got to pop it back into place.

And then he did. And it was painful. But not as painful as sitting around with the pain has been. He massaged my neck a little, and re-aligned that, and then had me sit up while he, with a life-size spine replica, explained exactly what was going on in my aching back. And now I'm going to explain it to you, because 1) I want your pity and 2) the human body is crazy and interesting.

Apparently, your ribs aren't somehow deeply inserted into your spinal cord like I'd always assumed. They're held in place by muscles and ligaments. Occasionally, sudden strain or a fall can cause a rib to sort of "come loose" from its mooring. It doesn't necessarily pop OUT of your back like I was originally envisioning (I haven't been wandering around with a stray bone poking out of my flesh or something). It falls "down," sort of against the rib below it, smooshing the muscles and nerves that are supposed to separate the two ribs. The popped out rib also causes a lot of strain on the muscle that was holding it up before, and the muscle starts spasming in an effort to "pull" the rib back into place. But the muscle isn't quite strong enough, so the rib stays in its fallen position until someone manually pops it back into place.

But here's the other thing. The doctor explained that if you go in to get it fixed within a week or two of it happening, the muscles are still pretty strong and able to "hold" the rib in place again. But if it happened a while ago, the muscle that has been trying to hold the rib up and pull it back into place just gives up, and starts to atrophy. So you can pop the rib back into place, but it will probably pop back out in the next few days, and you have to go back. And then it will pop out again, and you have to go back. And so forth, until the muscle is strong enough to hold the rib up on its own.

And given the fact that this injury originally came about in MAY, that latter situation is MY situation. I'm pretty impressed with myself for having gone three months with a RIB POPPED OUT OF PLACE, though. Hooray for a few more weeks of pain.

Anyway, I was told not to do anything that would twist my back in any way and to come back on Friday.

You never realize how much you twist your back in an average day until you're told not to.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Speaking of facing fears...

I received my first two rejection slips from poetry publishers today. Funny they should come on the same day. I ran into the spare room and opened them by myself, and after reading them, allowed myself one full minute to relish the sweet bitterness of rejection.

And then I threw both slips in the recycling and got back to writing.

I'm officially a REAL writer now.