Tuesday, July 8, 2014


We all have those moments in our lives.  One person makes a comment and it rolls off the back.  Then the next day, something along the same topic happens.  When this goes on for a couple weeks, it really makes a person think. 

It started so simply.  The conversation started out innocently enough.  A few of us at a church function talking about whether we were stubborn or easy-going in regards to life in general.  In a completely honest moment, I acknowledged my severe stubbornness once I have made a plan.  I even made a joke that it takes a brick from heaven to make me think that something other than what I want is a viable option.  Over the last two weeks, it hasn’t been a brick, but there have been brick-lets maybe.  There was a couple brick-lets that came right during this two weeks of existential crisis.  I was denied financial aid at the community college because I have too many credits.  Then two days later, I was told I had to change my major because you need to graduate already, so choose something else.  The messages all made me arrive at the same conclusion, time to redirect.

I have been straddling two loves for a while now, never really making a decision between the two while secretly hoping for both.  I have gone back and forth between the medical field and English.  Even while working to get into the radiologic technology program I still worked on my English BA.  I even thought that after I started work, I could still finish my English degree.  I have had near constant anxiety about reapplying to the program since I did not get in last march.  What would happen if I did not get in again?  I can’t afford to waste another year.  My kids have become accustomed to eating, sometimes multiple times a day.  They expect clothes, beds, and they expect those things to be in a house.  Selfish brats. The idea that I could spend the next year getting ready for something that might not happen is paralyzing. 

I met with an advisor in the health sciences department and discussed back-up plans.  None of the plans would ever provide me enough income to take care of my family.  Nor was I remotely interested in those programs, I think that’s kind of important.  Everywhere I looked seemed to lead to dead ends.

Today, I met with an advisor at the U to discuss finishing my English degree.  We spoke about how quickly I could finish and then actually start working.  I came away feeling pretty awesome.  The best part is that I have been anxiety free for a couple days now.  The second best part is being on track to graduate in August of 2015, four semesters from now.  Almost two years earlier than I thought I would be working. 

So, that is that.  It is time for me to give up on something so I can focus on something else.  Someone told me to keep trying and not give up on my dreams.  It is not about that.  The truth of the matter is this: I need to take care of my family.  Nothing matters more to me than that.    
And hey! Let's hear it for the University of Utah Class of 2015!

Monday, April 22, 2013

New Definitions

I have a new understanding of two words these days.  Luxury and deserve.  They don’t seem very connected, but they are. 


I never truly understood how many things I stressed over, worried about, or lost my temper over were, in fact, luxuries.  The amount of time I would spend on things, so they would be “just right.”  Towels, I used to have multiple categories of towels with each one having a specific way that they had to be folded.  I’m talking serious parameters here.  The size of the fold, the placement of the fold when it was on the shelf and this was for every single type of towel from bath towel to kitchen washcloth.  Today, I have two categories of towels, clean and dirty.  I brought this level of intensity to pretty much everything in my life.  You can’t just lay out crackers and cheese, it must look pretty.  My 200 or so CDs, all in alphabetical order by group name and then within the group: albums in chronological order.  Yes, I’m serious.  DVD collection? Please, by genre.  There is more to how I arranged those, but I think my point has been made.  Hopefully, before everyone realizes how totally sick I am. 

So much time, so much energy spent on these things.  The ability to waste time on proper towel folding procedures, that is luxury.  Luxury isn’t the fancy car and clothes.  It is a state of being.  A freedom to be a crazy as you desire, since you have the time.  Today, my moment of luxury was making the kids load the dishwasher so I could get back to studying.  Luxury is a full night’s sleep, I had that one a couple days ago.  Thanks to my migraine and excellent meds.  Luxury is those moments when I feel normal.  My organization fetish is not gone, I just can’t indulge it anymore.  Between folding laundry or spending a little free time with my kids, OCD loses.  Between finally organizes the bookshelf in the boys’ room or doing that assignment that is due tomorrow, OCD loses.  I know that I don’t really have OCD, since I have the luxury to ignore it.  I am grateful for my luxuries now, I never was before.


This word is poison.  Before, if I had a busy day, then I would deserve a break.  I deserved the right to not make dinner, to not help the kids with this or that.  I think of all the times I used the word.  I deserve new shoes.  I deserve to be treated better by that cashier.  Now, I hear it often by people talking to me, “You didn’t deserve this.  You deserve to have… You deserve to be…”   It is all poison in my ear.  So what I am supposed to do when I deserve something and then don’t get it?  I can get angry, bitter, depressed, or I can acknowledge that crap happens.  It’s not about whether or not I deserved it.  It happened and I have to deal with it.  We all have to deal with something that is a result of something someone else did.  Sometimes you might have to deal with something that just happened.  An accident or an illness.  Would it do me any good to dwell on the issue of whether or not it was deserved?  Regardless of how much I try to ignore it, there really is so little of my own life that I control.  Tomorrow, the kids might not eat breakfast before they go to school (since I am gone before them, I can’t make them).  My youngest might throw up.  My oldest might give me attitude.  I might get trapped in an endless spiral of what I deserve.  I can’t live my life in terms of deserving or not.  That’s not living at all.  And I think I might be ready to live my life.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Plan C

The first week of the semester hit me like a ton of bricks.  One of the first things I started doing was looking for a back-up plan.  I was filled with self-doubt.  The work load was intense and challenging, to say the least.  I recently got back the result back from my first round of mid-terms.  I did better than I had expected.  In my Biology class, I got a 92.5 (my worst score, class average 62).  In Chemistry, I got a 98 (one question wrong, class average 69).  In Math, I got a 100 (I did miss the bonus extra credit question).  This filled me with relief and confidence.  It was an answer to my prayers, a little whisper to me that I can do this and handle this all on my own.

A couple days later came the big But.  I can do this, But should I?  That first week that I was researching back-up plans, I stumbled across a program here in Utah that I didn’t even know existed, but I ignored it because I already made up my mind about what I was going to do. 

I spent a couple weeks tracking my hours.  I spend 30 hours a week commuting.  There’s really nothing that can be done about that one, taking the train is free and gives me a little study time.  I spend about 16-20 hours at week at school itself.  And, on average, I’m studying about 30 hours.  That’s about 80 hours a week for school.  For the next eleven years?  I’ve only been doing this for two months.  The intensity is only going to increase, the competition more fierce, the stress more intense.  All of a sudden the idea of keeping this up for the next decade didn’t seem worth the reward at the end.  Especially when faced with the reality that my children will only be home with me for the next ten years or so. 

Time to really face reality.  Reality: I have no life.  I study, go to school, and drive my kids around in the evenings.  The phrase I say to my children is, “I don’t have time for that.”  My kids have already lost their dad, now they are losing their mom, too?  I’m exhausted all the time, yet I don’t sleep that well.  I fall asleep in class, on the train, and not at night.  I could arrive on the other side of this having accomplished what I set out to, But at what cost?  My relationship with my family, a majority of my sanity, and probably my hair.  The one thing I have come to understand during this time is how precious my kids are to me.  And how great they are.  I don’t have it in me to ask them to sacrifice any more than they already have. 

I came up with my answer: I can, But I shouldn’t.  I did a little more research into a less intense option and then discussed it with some of my siblings.  It was my brother Derrick that put it best when he said that he liked my other plan because there was life in it.  In all my considerations, I actually hadn’t thought about what it would mean to me personally.  I just thought about my workload and what it would mean for the children.  The thought of me having a life again?  Thrilling and terrifying at the same time. 

These last few days have been amazing.  I fee lighter.  I was filled with instant relief and all of my anxiety melted away.  I do not need any more confirmation than that. 

So onto Plan C.  I am going to take it down a notch.  Benefits:  I will be able to start working in 3 years or so, instead of eleven.  I will have more time for my kids.  I will not have to move.  My kids will be able to be settled and finish school where they are.  I will get to stay near my family.  I am going back to a plan from years ago when I wanted to be a Radiologic Technician.  After a few years of working or maybe after the kids are grown, I can try to become a Radiologist Assistant (the Radiologist equivalent of a Physician’s Assistant).  There are not many programs in the nation, and guess what?  There is one right here in Utah. 

I feel like I have been blessed and guided to this new course.  And should this one not pan out, there are still quite a few letters left in the alphabet.  I don't know why this came to me, but I remembered the Cookie Monster song, "C is for cookie, that's good enough for me, Hey!"  When I was a kid I used to sing, " C is for Cristtin, that's good enough for me, Hey!" 
I guess that's why this one is called Plan C.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Last week Ian received an assignment at school to make a self-propelled car out of household junk.  You know, powered by rubber band, balloon, or mousetrap.  We looked around the house and scrounged some junk: food containers, hot wheels, etc.  He went over to a friends house and they made a car that sort of worked.  He came home today to tell me that the teacher wouldn't accept his car and he had to make a new one by tomorrow.  The reasons? The aesthetics of the car were bad and he "didn't like" the engine.  The car wasn't fast, it did not go far, but it worked.  Then Ian tells me about the cars that "passed" inspection.  Of course, they were awesome looking and some of them came from car kits.  To say it got my blood boiling is an understatement. 

The assignment said nothing about the cars looking nice, it only said for them to be self-propelled and made out of household junk.  I did not take over the assignment.  I let Ian figure it out and do it himself.  I'm one of those crazy moms.  I don't do my kids science fair projects.  I don't do their reports or projects.  I do try to edit their essays, but the kids have starting printing them out without letting me see them anymore.  I can help make them better, let me help.  Anyway, I have enough to do thanks.  And I don't get any satisfaction out my kids getting grades that aren't theirs.

So, Ian and I worked together on another car.  We still tried to use junk.  He had a band concert tonight with the high school band and had to be there three hours early.  I just snapped.  I am helping him with an unfair assignment rather than doing my own homework.   And we can't make it work.  Fine, I can do this.

I took him to his function and went to the store to get rubber bands.  I had to buy stuff for this project.  I then went online and just looked up directions for a car.  Thirty minutes later, I had an awesome cardboard, duct tape, rubber band car.  That works.  Towards the end, it does turn around and come back a little, but whatever. 

Lesson learned?  I think I did, but not so much Ian.  Now it's late, the concert was two hours long, my homework for tomorrow is not done, and I'm exhausted (what's new about that?).  I still have twenty pages on Discourse in the Novel to read before I can even do my written response to it.  Oh, and it is academic intellectual babble, complete nonsense.  But, that car is awesome, bet I get a good grade on it, too.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Back to school

I started at the University of Utah last week.  I can honestly say that it was one of the hardest weeks of my life.  On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I have four classes.  All back to back with a fifteen minute break in-between each class.  The other day, I needed to use the facilities sometime during my first class; I finally got my chance on my way to my fourth class.  Those three days, I am gone from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.  On Tuesday and Thursday, I have two classes.  The first is at 7:30 a.m., so I am on the 6:00 a.m. train to get to class on time.  I get home around noon.  I just figured this one out, those two days I am gone six hours for 1 hour and 50 minutes of lecture time.  This is the most grueling schedule I have ever done.  My commute is about 90 minutes one-way.  I try to study as much as possible on the train both ways.  Most of my homework is done online, so I can only read on the train.  When I get home, I still have to: study, do my homework, clean the house, make dinner, take kids to whatever activity it is that day, spend time with the kids, and errands.  What else?  Help kids with their homework, read the scriptures as a family, hold family prayer, family home evening once a week, have “me” time, have hobbies, do my calling, volunteer, I think you get the point.  I am drowning.  By the end of the first week of school, Carter was sick, Dayna had some sort of headache that would not go away, and we had a huge snow storm that turned campus into a hazardous mess.  All I could think was that I was failing at everything, and this was only the first week. 

Why was I doing this? 

My life has just fallen apart and I choose to pursue one of the hardest career options out there?  I could get a job (maybe, I’m not trained for anything) and just survive, couldn’t I?  Or I could just finish school with the quickest degree available to me and then try to get a job.  What is wrong with me that this is what I have chosen for myself?  I look around my classes and I am surrounded by babies.  I am on average 14 years older than these kids.  These kids are just a few years older than my son.  My professor for my statistics class handed out a personal survey to everyone on the first day of class.  The next time we met she used some of our information to teach about graphs and outliers.  I am the oldest in that class by five years, but the majority of the class is 18-20 years old.  It’s just ridiculous that I think I can compete with them.  All they have is time: time to study, time to get their volunteer hours up, time to TA for professors, time for research.  I don’t have the time to get Ian new church shoes, man I really need to get him to the store. 

Why am I doing this?

I’ll tell you why.  When I look back on my life, I know that I will see the huge crossroads that I am standing at right now.  I see the two paths clearly as if they were marked with huge neon signs.  One reads “survive” and the other reads “thrive.”  I refuse to just survive.  I refuse to settle for anything less than the best that I can do and be.  My children will know that there are no excuses they can tell me that I will ever accept.  Ten years from now, I can be one of two things: proud or sorry.  I may fail, this past two weeks have opened my eyes, it is a real possibility.  I may not get into Medical School, but it will not be because I gave up or stopped trying.  I will succeed or fall spectacularly on my face in the attempt.
But, I have already learned one very important thing.  Never take a 7:30 a.m. class.  I am sure it doesn't surprise anyone who knows me that I am not a morning person.  And 5:30 a.m. is obscene.  I am handling it better than I thought I would.  Just another one of those thing you do when you have no choice.   

Monday, November 19, 2012

REpurposing the blog

I have been "maintaining" another blog for a few years.  In light of the recent tragically pathetic turn my life has taken, I didn't want to keep that one.  The name of the blog alone was a bad memory.  I made this blog last year as an assignment for an English class.  On a whim, I checked the availability of my first name.  Because it is so weirdly spelled, it was available.  While I was trying to figure out what to do with the whole blog situation, the existence of this one came to me.  And what could be more perfect than the simplicity of my name?

So new life, new blog. 

I will never cease to be amazed at the way life can turn out so differently from what was originally thought.  But, this year has really driven that home to me.  This year began with high expectations for me.  I was really enjoying my life and the direction it was going.  I lived a very comfortable life. 

This year will end with most things completely different.  The truly important things remain the same.  I am still a mother to some incredible kids.  They have had to take on a heavy thing these past few months.  But, we still laugh, we still have fun, and they still are good to each other.  My kids are the sole reason I have kept it together.  They keep me "normal."  As normal as I ever can be.

Also, this change in my life has opened up to me previously unattainable dreams.  Very early on, I realized that I was all of a sudden the master of my fate.  Being a military wife for the past eleven years has meant that my life has not truly been my own, even down to what I chose to major in.  I had to choose something that I could change schools with every two years.  The world of possibilities was suddenly opened up to me and I knew I had the chance to do what I wanted to do but gave up.

In January, I will start school at the University of Utah as an English major with a Pre-med focus.  I know that I have chosen one of the hardest things to do, but it fills me with excitement and anticipation.  It will be a long slog, but I know that I have made the right choice for me.  That will be enough to get me through the next few years of stress and uncertainty.