Monday, June 26, 2006

How I Almost Died

And other News:

Well, it certianly feels great to be D-O-N-E done! Last week was AMAZING and I loved it. Too bad I don't have any photos or I'd post some. I have a few stories to tell so I'll start with the least interesting and go to the most interesting (obviously the story of how I almost died is the most interesting.)

First, let me just say that packing is the pits! I used to think we didn't own very much because it's just the two of us and we've been living in this tiny apartment only a year so we hadn't had time to accumulate things. I forgot my expert ability to organize and pack everything away. We've had to go back a buy boxes three times now because we underestimated. On the plus side though, Dan's mom is here and she is an absolute angel! Without her I think I would have gone insane and decided that all we really need is a place setting each and a fry pan and I'd probably have given everything else away. (We have taken about four bags to the Goodwill total. Sorry Heather (Dan's sister) the shirt is already in Goodwill or the garbage, whichever one Dan thought was the most appropriate.) Perhaps the Whiting family inability to throw things away can come in handy when balanced with the Timothy (or is it Laird?) family ability to throw just about everything away. I'm pretty much fed up with packing. Also, it stinks because I know we'll just be doing the same thing in a couple months anyway. Man I wish we only had to do this thing once a year (well, I wish less moving than that, but at this point I'd take it.)

Secondly, Ashland was AWESOME! I think this may have been the best vacation ever and I'll tell you all why:
  1. John (Dan's Father) likes to be in charge and plan things. This makes it easy for the rest of us who then don't have to make any decisions. We can just follow along and enjoy. It really is glorious.
  2. The financial burden wasn't carried by us. We would NEVER be able to afford this trip on our own. We are blessed to have parents who will do nice things like this for us!
  3. I bought a mandolin. Not only that I got to take a lesson where the teacher just showed me the basics. She also set me up with stuff to practice so I'll be able to play just about anything if I work hard at it. I'm SO EXCITED! Now I just have to get used to thinking about chords instead of melodies.
  4. All the plays we saw were great! We saw Merry Wives of Windsor, A Winter's Tale, Cirano de Bergeraque (sp?), and Two Gentlemen of Verona. All were exceptional. I think I love going to plays and that will probably be the thing that Dan will have to get used to in our marriage. Hopefully we'll be able to find ones that he likes too. He seemed to really like Cirano so maybe that will work out well.
  5. I also go a new pair of summer shoes and a new dress both of which are beautiful. I wore my dress to church on Sunday and got lots of compliments on it.
Also in Ashland we stayed at a little B&B which was tons of fun! Each room had its own bathroom so I was happy and a small TV, so Dan still got to be updated on the World Cup events. One downside to the whole thing was the egg surprise we had every morning. All the other dishes of the breakfast meals were great, but I didn't like a single egg surprise dish. It was like they tried to see just how many things they could put in the eggs. Oh well, all the other food we had was amazing (eating was a HUGE part of the trip and probably one of my favorites as well.)

Finally, how I almost died.

One day of the trip someone (probably John as he did make most of the decisions) decided that we needed to do an activity especially for Dan. We had eaten at a lot of good places (which didn't serve ice with any of their drinks and Dan thought that was silly). We had done a lot of good shopping (which is hard for Dan because he doesn't usually spend his money unless its something he has spent a while deciding he needs). We had gone to a couple of really great plays (which didn't really seem to excite him as much as anyone else). Dan had commented on a flier that he had seen at the B&B about a rafting trip and it was decided that we would go. Now I think I need to make a small confession, I really don't like anything that has the potential or percieved potential to be dangerous. I try to relax, but I get this feeling in my stomach that feels like I'm constipated. That sounds gross, but that's the exact feeling. Anyway, I decided to suck it up and go since Dan had done a lot of things that he doesn't really like to do. We were rafting down the water and all was calm for a while. I even played a game on a calm part. Someone stands on the front of the raft while everyone paddles in a circle to try and make them fall. I did it with Dan and he pushed me in. Anyway, we had gone over a couple of, I don't know what to call them so I'm going to call them rapids. Whenever there was a big one that we were going to go over our guide would tell us to put on our helmets so our brains didn't get bashed in. Well, he didn't say it quite like that, but I knew that's what they were for. Our guide had said that most up until the end were "class 2" with a couple of "class 3's." We had gone through them without a hitch so my nerves calmed down quite a bit. I think one of the ones we went right through was a class 4, but I'm not sure. Anyway, we got really splashed, but it was all exhilirating. The last part of the Rogue we were going down before the take out point was a class 4 with a couple of class 3's directly behind it. A mile after those rapids was the take out point. We were told to put on our helmets so I knew we were going into something big. There were two boats in our group going down the river and the first boat made it through the rapids just fine. Then we went. Somehow we got going sideways just before the first drop and immediately I was on high aleart. I forgot all about rowing and grabbed onto the raft in my terror. By the time we hit the drop we were completely sideways and I knew we were going over. I was on the higher side of the boat that flipped over and I have a clear snapshot in my mind of me looking down at everyone on the boat. Because of my death grip on the boat I was not dragged far under (like my mom, LeAnn, and Dan were) I was however directly under the boat. My dad pushed me out from under the boat and then he went out too. Keep in mind we are amid class 3 rapids at this point. So once he pushed me out I grabbed onto the outside of the raft. Then I called to him and he grabbed my hand and pulled to the raft. The fear I saw in his eyes was terrifying. We were both hanging onto the raft and it was bashing us against the rocks on the side of the river. Somehow our guide appeared on top of the overturned raft. He told me that I had to calm down, that my life vest would hold me up and that I had to let go of the raft. Since it was overturned we had to go down the river and make it to the other raft. This was not a claming message and at first I didn't do it. The raft was keeping me afloat. But he knew what was best and I let go. That that moment I hit a rock that nearly knocked the air out of me because I was not in "swimmer's position" with my feet forward. I struggled to get air and to get my feet ahead of me. I thought for sure I was going to drown. Then, when I got in swimmer's position I realized that when the raft had flipped I had somehow lost my helmet. I was going down class three rapids without my helmet! Now I really had to be careful. Just when the next rock came I bounced off it with my feet. Then I saw Dan and LeAnn floating down the river. I clung onto the back of them so that the other raft could come get us. Dan kept us from hitting some big rocks (by gettting hit with them himself, he kept saying ouch or something like that). Then the raft dragged us in and I felt like a fish flopping on the boat because I couldn't get up no matter how hard I tried. John had swam to the other shore of the river where it was shallow. The raft that had saved all of us had to get over to that shore. Once we got there we were much past John so we had to cling to the grasses on the other side as hard as we could. My arms were burning with the effort, but I could see that Dan's were shaking so I didn't let go. When we finally got out of the water our guide found out that we had broken one of the big oars they use for steering. Remember when I said that the rapids were a mile from the take out point? By the time we got everyone out of the water we were at the take out point. The other guide told us that there were "hydraulics" in the water right where we flipped that can pull rafters under really very far (which is probably what happened to the three that were under for so long they had to actually swim to the surface). We were really lucky because there were no serious injuries. On the other hand my sinuses were FULL of water. I was blowing water out my nose for two days after! Also on the ride home I looked down at my arms and found a very itchy rash had developed from holding on to the grasses. When I got home I realized that before I had thought about anything I had brushed water out of my eyes with the hands that had been clinging onto the grass. My eyes itched and then my eyelids started to swell and get that nasty rash. At least we were all alive.

You should really hear everyone's story, but I have to get back to packing before Dan and LeAnn wonder where I am.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

"Mom Clean"

Well, since I've been done with finals I have decided that it is very VERY important to have my apartment clean for when my sister, mom, and mother in law come. I don't know why, because if my apartment was dirty they would still love me. Actually I bet that if my apartment were dirty when my mom came not only would she help clean it up, she would probably chip in painting the walls too (just because that's the kind of mom I have). Anyway, I spent yesterday helping my husband purge all the clothing he's been keeping for no aparent reason for the last, oh, eight years. The conversation was SO FUNNY. It went a little like this.

Him: "So you're going to throw all my clothes away?"
Me: "No, you're either giong to throw the clothes that you no longer wear away, or give them to the Goodwill."
Him: "But there aren't any."
Me: "What about this shirt?"
Him: "That one has memories."
Me: "It also has an enormous hole in the armpit. Look I can fit my fist through it. Also its stained and I've never seen you wear it."
Him: "Ok, but I got it for wrestling my junior year in high school."
Me: "And what a wonderful year it was. I'm not taking that away. Just the old dirty shirt."
Him: "I guess you're right."

By the end he was throwing things away all on his own! He had 15 work shirts! 15! I told him to get rid of 5. I consider 10 "work shirts" is plenty. After actually looking at the shirts and thinking abuot if he will wear them or not, he ended up throwing away 6 of the shirts he calls his "dirty work shirts" all on his own. I case you were wondering a dirty work shirt is one that is permanently stained and thus gets used for dirty jobs. I do think you need these, I just don't think you need 10 of them. (He is keeping some) I also didn't make him throw away his SEVEN pairs of work jeans. I think that seven pairs is a little excessive, but I already had a little victory over the dirty work shirt situation and I thought I shouldn't push my luck. Just so everyone knows, I'm also getting rid of my old clothing that I no longer wear. Only I didn't wear it out to having holes and stains so I'm giving my old clothing to the Goodwill.

Anyway, back to my insane cleaning. My husband had no idea why I was doing it. I was talking yesterday about the list of things I wanted to have clean by the end of the day today (bathroom scrubbed top to bottom, vacuuming, washing windows, mopping floors, etc) and he said, "We have the whole week after vacation that's free that you can get all our stuff orgainzed and cleaned. You don't have to do it all now." And I said, "But I want it done before everyone gets here." To which he said, "I'm beginning to see that. I guess I'll take the kitchen." What an amazing man! Even in my insanity he offers to pitch in and help out! I love him so much!

I guess this post was more about my husband than cleaning my apartment, but let me assure everyone, my apartment will be "Mom clean." That's the highest level of clean. (Well, maybe Grandma clean is higher, I'm not sure anymore.)

Monday, June 12, 2006

No More School!

I just realized today that even if I get a zero on my finals I will still graduate with C's! Nothing can keep me from graduating now! Not that I'm aiming for C's, but it certainly does take the stress off the whole "finals" thing. (I only have one comprehensive final, the other two are just midterms for the last two weeks of class.) Anyway, I think I'll spend my time tonight cleaning and getting ready for my family to come see our apartment instead of studying. It's so funny that the last week I actually live in the place is the first time my sister and my in-laws will actually see it. Luckily my mom came in and helped me decorate at the beginning of the year so its not new to everyone. Anyway, did I mention that I'm so excited for my family to come?!?! Cause I am.

On another note it was rainy off and on all day today. Not very great weather for the middle of June, but at least we're not looking at a tropical storm. I watched the local news this morning and they said it'll probably be raining on Sunday. With that in mind I wonder if we're really going to have to sit through commencement. They don't actually read anyone's name we walk across the stage en mass and then a speaker will talk for an hour or so after everyone has gone through. Also they don't actually give the diplomas then anyway. So I'm wondering how the attendance will be at graduation on Sunday if its raining.

To Be Sure

Well I've decided something and nobody can convince me otherwise. There are times when people may say to me, "You'd better be sure about what you're doing." And to that I say to myself, "Well, no I'm not sure." So I fret and I worry. I cry and I pace. What if I make a huge mistake? What if I'm doing something wrong? Or not even that, what if I'm doing something good, but not the best thing? It was last night that I came to my decision. Sometimes life isn't about being sure. Sometimes it's about being totally scared out of your mind, being worried about making a big mistake or simply not knowing what it is you want to do. It is at times like these when I pray and get my answer and then come hell or high water I'm in it for the long haul. Even if I'm not sure about the outcome, about my ability to succeed or about what I'm doing.

Friday, June 09, 2006

And The End

Well I just attended my last class before graduation! Now all I have to do is my finals. (That's not a big deal since I know I'll do well on them.) It feels like a huge weight has been lifted and I am joyous to have all my family come.

Here's something odd that has happened to me this week. I'm taking this women's study course and one of the projects was to do a financial analysis of a dream of ours. I decided that my dream would be to be able to have my husband get through his first year of medical school debt free. Since we have a lag year between now and him starting medical school I figured it would be a good idea to set up a savings plan and budget for the coming year. (After submitting the assignment I realized I negelected to put on a few expenditures that we will have so I'm going to have to redo it now.) Anyway, we also had to submit a write up talking about our dream and how we are going to succeed in our dream. Part of the grading was on our description of the dream. For that I included a small description of our situation and of the financial situation of medical students in general. When I recieved the grade back my professor had said, "__0/2__Detailed description of the dream is not included. I want to know about YOUR dream, not your husband's. I suppose your "dream" is to be debt free, but that's more of a practicality rather than a personal dream. What do YOU want to do with YOUR life? Are you going to medical school, too? I'll score the rest of this assuming you are." Like my dream isn't valid so I don't get the points. Like having a practical dream that is tied to my life with my husband is ridiculous. Anyway, I reacted like you would expect a redhead and had a complete scorched earth meltdown. I wrote an email to her, but decided to send it to my mom and sister for review before I sent it to my professor. (I find its always better if I give myself a little time to cool off before I let the heads roll.) Well, my professor didn't really appreciate my email, but she did give me the chance to explain myself and then did regrade my assignment so all is well.

The really odd thing about this whole situation is that today I recieved an email from her to a director or something nominating my paper I wrote earlier in the term for a Culture of Writing prize. I must not have pissed her off as much as I thought!

I think that's all the drama for the week!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Foto Fun

I love being in love with my Sweetie! Yesterday we went out on a date that I had been thinking about all week. My mom had mentioned that I failed to inform all my family about my upcoming graduation. My sister had sent out announcements when she graduated and I hadn't and not everyone in my family knew. I realized that this was probably pretty inconsiderate not to at least let people know. Because my husband and I both thought that spending at least $250 on official announcements we decided to make our own. My sister gave me the idea that for photos we could go to the Foto booths in the mall and get our photos taken all silly to put in our announcements. I thought this was a good idea so that's what we did for our date. I couldn't believe how much fun it was! We drove out to the mall (since there isn't one in Corvallis), but my husband drove on the back roads with the windows open and the radio up. We sung off tune the whole way out to the mall. Then we had dinner at the mall (very romantic I know). I can't think of anything better to eat for dinner at the mall than a corn dog, which is what I had. Then we spent about an hour in the little booth (which was WAY too small for two adults to sit in) taking photos of the two of us. None of them are really any good, but it was really fun! He was making jokes and being funny the whole time. Then we walked around Target looking at the things we would buy for each other if we had the money. After we drove back to Corvallis to go see X-men 3, but the line was SO LONG! I hate to stand in lines and my Sweetie hates to watch movies in a packed auditorium so we opted to rent a video. It was Rumor Has It and we both thought it was lame. I don't care if you don't know how you are, you still don't sleep with some you just met when you're engaged to someone else.

None of what I said above comes close to describing how awesome and romantic yesterday was, but it was. I love to spend time with my best friend!

Friday, June 02, 2006

"runners" high

So when I was in high school I was introduced to the idea of a "Runner's High." The idea that people tried to sell me on was that if I ran long enough often enough I would eventually feel REALLY good while running. Despite all the evidence and anecdotes to the contrary I still don't believe that this happens. Today I decided to come up with my own runner's high. I'm going to entitle it "test-taker's high." These are the conditions to get a test-taker's high (it doesn't just happen because you take a test, or many tests for that matter)
  1. Time: Either you have to work really fast because you're pressed for time or if you have no time limit it must take a long time to take the test.
  2. Preparation: You must have prepared enough to feel not as though you know everything, but that you could figure things out while you're "in there"
  3. Difficulty: The test has to seem rather challenging to you
  4. Performance: You have to feel as though you conquered the problems set before you when you hand the test in.
If all four components to the test are there you will experience the "test-taker's high." No I do not have any neurological studies stating that endorphins are released as you do this. No, I don't have multiple personal anecdotes from people all over the country stating this has happened to them. Regardless of this lack of evidence, I declare that it happens! If runners can go around proclaiming they get a high from almost killing themselves then I can state that people get a high from almost turning my brain into mush!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

A time for Thank Yous

As I walked in the pouring down rain to class today I thought about this past year of amazing changes. Getting married, transferring school and ending school, along with many other little changes. As I reflected on that I realized that right now is a time for thank yous. I think I will be writing some more formal notes about some, but here goes the first thank yous.

Dear Academic Advisor,
You made my transfer here better than I ever thought it could be. Doing it took a ton of work and I'm really proud of myself, but I know I would never have been able to do it so successfully without your herculean efforts in my behalf. I know that there is no way I would have been able to graduate by the end of this year without your help and for that I will forever be thankful.

Dear Mike (a kid in my major)
Thank you for being able to be yourself around me, while still respecting my values and beliefs. I think it takes a really great person to be able to do that and I feel lucky to have been able to be your friend. You also taught me that sometimes it's OK to confront someone when you need to. I guess a little trial by fire actually did make me stronger. Thanks.

Dear Tahmiene (pronounced Tah-mean-a)
Thanks for being my friend even though I wont go out to the bars with you. I know we didn't get very close, but it is always nice when you know there's someone you can sit next to in class. Also thanks for teaching me more about the value of working hard for an education.

Dear Linda (the department secretary)
I know you must have spent countless hours working behind the scenes on my behalf and I thank you.

Dear Sweetie (my husband)
Thanks for being patient with me when I get stressed out or lazy. Thanks for actively loving me so I know everyday how much I mean to you. Thanks also for all the million little things you have already taught me and for those that you will yet teach me.

Dear Mom and Dad,
Thanks so much for the support you've given. I worried about how it would be to bring someone new into our family, but now I can't imagine what it would be like without him being part of us. Thanks for teaching me not only that "boys are like that sometimes," but also that the boy I chose should be and is better than "that."

Dear John and LeAnn (my husband's parents)
Thank you so SO much for the love and support you have given us this past year. I love that I feel like I'm a genuine member of the family and not just an add-in. I also love that the guest room features engagement photos of Dan and me. It's almost like the room is ours. Thanks for always defending my Sweetie. Thanks also for helping guide us through decisions about what's in the future.

PS. Also thanks for letting me call you John.

Dear Katie,
Thanks for being my big sister. Thanks for speaking your mind when you think that I'm making a mistake (even if I don't agree). Also I learned from you that sometimes things are hard and that's not necessairly a bad thing. I can work through them to get to the good part. Also thanks for being a food enthusiast (even if you're not as dorky about it as I am).

Dear Professors
I know it's your job and all, but thanks for teaching me. It is largely because of you that I can stay motivated and intrigued about the subject of food. You do a good job.

Dear the group of kids that are in all my classes with me,
Collectively you've taught me the value of standing up for something. You each have something you stand up for and through your questions and our conversations I have learned that I too have something to stand for.

Dear Julie and the Heat
Thanks for taking the time to call me this year and tell me all about what's going on. Suddenly being alone and not really knowing how to make friends when I'm married was sort of a shock. I would have been despirately lonely this year without your support.

I think that's good for now. There are so many more people I could and should thank, but time is precious right now so I should spend any more here.