Monday, February 17, 2014

Why I Will Not Be Competing in the 2018 Olympics

We all have different talents. Some people are good at music. Others super smart. Olympic athletes are pretty good at sports. Me? Well somehow I didn't get the athletic gene. In fact, I may have got the unathletic gene. Example: During my freshman year of high school we were supposed to run two laps as a warm-up. In order to run as little as possible, I hugged the inside of the track with my feet. Unfortunately, I got distracted by my untied shoe and looked down. The result. I tripped over myself and ended up with the track in my knee. Despite my unintentional somersault, it didn't look horrible. Just a little blood mashed with asphalt. In fact, when I completed lap one and showed off my injuries, instead of granting my request to go and clean up, I was asked if I could handle another lap. Being a bit of a people pleaser, I obliged. 

At first, my accident didn't appear to be a big deal. But then I started feeling nauseous and dizzy. It wasn't long before my vision went blurry. I remember that my body didn't quite listen to my brain. This time, when I asked if I could sit out for the rest of class, my teacher agreed, telling me I looked very pale. In the moment, my brain wasn't working well. Plus, it was the last class of the day. However, my mom quickly put together what had happened to me. Any ideas? I'll include a link with hints if your not sure. 


The point of this funny/pathetic story is that I am not very coordinated. We will not be discussing physical education faculties judgement on kids that fall during class. Or how they just let you leave when it appears you might pass out... 

Basically, I am not very good at sports. The only sport that I excel in is water-sliding and unfortunately, that sport hasn't quite made it to the competitive level yet. (Note, when it does, I will be the person wearing the gold medal.)

 While many "non-athletes" dislike sports, I am not one of them. I enjoyed a variety of intramurals in college. They included flag-football, soccer, basketball, and my favorite, inter tube water polo.  However, what I really like is cheering for a team. Hence, the reason I was on so many teams in college. And I AM really good a supporting/cheering for teams. 

 Below is a picture of me giving high-fives to all the BYU football players. The opportunity was awarded to me because the event staff was impressed with my cheering. They may have called me the "fan of the game." 

The Olympics gives me the ultimate chance to get behind a team. I mean, what American doesn't want the chance to cheer for their country? So, Saturday morning I was up at 6 am, watching the America verse Russia hockey game. I was in my pjs, surrounded by kleenex (I had a cold), with my laptop.

After the USA got its first goal, I started moving my arm and whispering, "USA, USA, USA" over and over again. I had to be quite; my roommates were still asleep. As the game became more intense, I could hear the Russians cheering over my speakers. Again, my USA chant came out in a whisper. When American one, I couldn't contain my excitement. Shrieks started to come out. Luckily, it was no longer 6 am. 

Feeling full of USA spirit, I wished I could do more to support my country. Knowing that I couldn't do anything except cheer, I decided to look up clips from other Olympic events. That is when I found luge and I had an epiphany. 

The same skill set that would have made me a champion water-slider is used in the luge!!! I got really excited to go to South Korea to compete in the 2018 Olympics. But then I realized, that I couldn't train for the Olympics and continue with grad school. I had a decisions to make. Would I spend my time training on water-slides or continue with my education? In the end, I decided that for me, getting my masters degree will provide more long-term success. Therefore, I must wish the athletes the best of luck and I will continue to pursue my athletic endeavors on a recreational level. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Acupuncture...sure I will try that

I love trying new things! Sometimes, this results in great experiences (ie. inter-tube water polo, sliding through ice caves, and eating escargot). Other times, it results in kind of awkward experiences that have good stories (ie doing a cannon ball into mountain water so cold that my muscles froze up, being a mascot for inter-mural sports, and taking a clogging class). This week, I had another new experience, you can decide if it was great, or awkward good.

On Wednesday, they offered free acupuncture at work. A new experience! Of course I wanted to go-although I knew about it was they poked needles in you, and there is evidence that it is some kind of treatment. I think I heard that it was supposed to be relaxing. 

Excited to be poked by needles, I hurried to the conference room, where the needle sticking was occurring. After checking in, and stating that I had never that this before, I was sent to a station, where I sat in a chair with pillows and propped up my feed on another chair. 

The acupuncturist, asked what I came in for. My response, "...umm, I've never had this before, and just wondered what is was like, what kind of things can you use acupuncture for?"  

Acupuncturist: "Well do you have trouble sleeping?

Me: "Normally not, but this last week I did have some trouble."

Acupuncturist: "Were you feeling stressed?"

Me: "A little"

Acupuncturist: "What about headaches?"

Me: "I don't get them a lot, but I did have one last week."

Acupuncturist: "You must have been stressed"

She continued to ask me a few more questions, feel my pulse on both arms, and then pinched my feet and asked what foot felt more tender. She then proceeded to place a small needle in the foot that I said felt tender. (The opposite of what I thought she would do.)

Actually, the needles going in really did not hurt. I don't even know if I could say everywhere that I had needles in me. I know I had 2 in each foot, at least on in my forehead, multiple needles in my ears, and a few in my fingers.

After the needles were placed, she left me to "count my breathing." Luckily, I had taken a yoga class at the hospital, and knew exactly what that meant. Believe it or not, it was super relaxing, sitting here with silver bits of metal sticking out of my skin. Although I did notice that my feet were starting to get really cold. I was slightly jealous of those with blankets, but I really didn't want a blanket over the needles.

Eventually, it was time to remove the needles. They came out easily, and there wan't much blood (maybe a drop). However, after the acupuncturist went to help someone else, I realized my feet were asleep!!!!  This wasn't like, "my feet area little tingly, but this funny," it was, "I don't know if I can get my feet back into my adorable yellow shoes." 

With a little bit of patience, and a lot of using my hands, I was able to get my feet in their shoes. They felt funny, but I thought I could hold my weight-WRONG. A few minutes later, I tried again and with a lot of concentration (left, right, left, right) was able to get my feet to take me out of the room. Then, they stopped again. I wish I could have seen myself, hugging the wall and giving my legs a pep talk.

"Come on legs, You can do it! Left, Right, Left, Right. I'll even let you take the elevator if you can get that far." Eventually, they listened. However, they listened too well. It was like my legs became weightless. It would fly up super high, yet it was able to hold my weight when it hit the ground. Then, suddenly, they were back to normal. I didn't even have to take the elevator.

The ironic thing is, that I did not sleep well last night. And, I had a slight headache at work-which may have been due to the awesome, hot pink, headband I wore to promote fitness at a meeting at work. However, I felt extremely tired all day, so maybe the acupuncture takes a day to work.

Overall, I am glad that I did it. In fact, if given the chance, (for free), I would do it again. 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Shakespeare, you're wrong

Picture a lovely Saturday morning. You wake up, slowly move around, and finally flush your toilet. Then you hear the tinkle... downstairs, near your washing machine (in your living room=gross). This sound might make you panic, but it happened less than a month ago. You know, that the pipes outside are backed up (or frozen) and that any water you use will join you in the living room. There go your plans of showering, laundry, and doing your dishes.

If you are anything like me, you might have felt frustrated. While it is nice to have a valid excuse to put off being productive and turn to a day in your pjs, it doesn't help you prep for the upcoming week. However, there is a flip side, It's almost like being rich. Rich people have on-demand waterfalls in their entry way, right?

I know it is ridiculous, but thinking of my nasty toilet geyser as a waterfall helped me to enjoy the day. I wasn't someone not using water to stop a mess, but something with the option to turn on a waterfall, but choosing not to. Changing names matters. We don't name kids, Annoying, Over-rated, or Animal, because it affects our psyche. Ideas get in our subconscious. Instead, we can choose to use this power for good.
For instance changing asparagus to  "Volcanic Asparagus" makes it more appetizing. Who doesn't want to increase the vegetable consumption of the world?

As I pondered names, I realized how often I rename things to make them more exciting. In high school, every Friday was "National Elizabeth Day." My friends submitted theme songs and the winning song was sung every Friday for almost 4 years! While Friday is a cool day, "National Elizabeth Day" is even better. The real difference, the NAME. Besides singing and the occasional cookie, it was just a Friday.

To conclude: William Shakespeare's character was wrong. If roses were called trash, they might smell ok, but it would taint our perception. However, if you call trash a treasure hunt, going through your neighbors stuff might be fun. With this in mind, I am going to pay more attention to what I "name" things.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Life in the Postcard

I live in a beautiful place. There are majestic trees, stars that shine bright and clear, and I even have a swimming hole in the summer. As I was taking out the trash tonight, it dawned on me that I live in a postcard!

I love postcards!! It is away to capture a place you or a friend have been, or dreaming of visiting. I have postcards from trips that I have been on that capture a moment. I can almost feel the hot humid air (which is nice in subzero weather) when I look at a postcard from Savannah.

However, postcards never capture the whole story. Imagine that I started selling postcards of my house. While they would sell well and make me millions, few people would imagine that the very violent (yet deserved) execution of the two spiders that tried to sneak in my shower the other morning. Nobody could comprehend the awesomeness of my "clean the kitchen" dance.

On the other hand, I think that is what makes postcards magical. They hold imagination. As I was thinking about "postcard" moments, I thought about a very awkward moment on a wintry day.


 When I was college, I worked at a cafeteria, ~ 2 miles away from where I lived. For 3 out of 4 years, I didn't have a car, and this was a great chance to "stretch" my legs. While I typically worked the breakfast shift, I worked a lunch/dinner shift every 3rd Sunday.

One particular Sunday, my friend, who was working the same shift, invited me to her ward, since they held their Sunday morning early. After church, we would drive to the cafeteria.

I could tell that this was going to be a good day, so I got ready with a "skip" in my step. I got dressed in a cute skirt/top combo and some adorable shoes that used to belong to my grandma. My backpack was loaded with my work clothes and a blanket to nap with during the break in between lunch and dinner. Luckily, my backpack was big and could hold a lot off stuff, even if it stuck out a foot.

Prepared to face the day, I bundled up and started for campus (where her church was held). For anyone that has never been to BYU, campus is on top of a hill. I took a short cut through the duck pond. As I started to reach the first incline, I noticed that it was a little icy. However, there was a handrail that I could "pull" myself up with.*

This worked well, until the "shortcut" ended, and I reached the sidewalk. As I took my first step, I noticed that the incline was steeper. I also noticed that my grandma's shoes had NO TRACTION. Finally, I noticed that I had not moved up the hill, although my feel were moving, as if I was walking.

Unsure of what to do, I kept moving my feet, as if I was gaining ground. This only resulted in my falling to my knees, scrambling to get up-while wearing a skirt-and being very aware of how large my backpack was. Finally, I made it back to my feet, only to go no where and fall back down. At this point, I did not know what to do. Should I sit and slide to the bottom of this hill? Stay until the ice melts? Keep doing the same thing and hope that something changes?

While pondering my predicament on all fours, I noticed a group of ~ 5 guys, in suits and ties, watching me. It was kind of awkward, but all I could do was pull myself back onto 2 legs. There I continued to "walk in place." Finally, one young man came to me and asked if I needed a hand. It was obvious that YES, I needed "a hand." The very chivalrous young man grabbed my hand and we walked up the hill. I tried to make small talk, to make him feel more comfortable, but that did not seem to work. For a moment, I wondered if he thought something was wrong with me. Then, I remembered that the only thing he knew about me was...I could not walk up a hill.  As soon as we made it to the top, he dropped my hand and left with superman speed. I wonder if he was on the track team...

Luckily, I made it to church and to work. Unfortunately, it is difficult to capture the full awkwardness of the situation. I wish I had a postcard of it. While it would not capture the whole story, I can guarantee it would make me smile :)

*Note, if you ever notice that you are having difficulty making it uphill due to ice, TURN AROUND. Handrails do not last forever. Take the stairs!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Operation Ward Project

Life goal: Met. 

For years, I have made it a goal to become a "ward/church project." Someone who people at church that people have on their radar (free food, free friends, great life). Before you judge this goal, I will solidly state that I know it is a bad goal.. As a Christian, my goal is to act like Christ would if here were. This means looking for ways to serve others, and not thinking about ways to get myself served. Can you imagine Mother Teresa sitting around, plotting how to get someone to bring her dinner?

Regardless, I have ALWAYS joked about being a project. I was probably 12 or 14 when I first came up with the idea. I was probably sitting in a meeting, discussing activities that _____  would like, when I thought/-I want people to plan activities for me. (I know this is selfish.) As I got older, it got worse. There is a distinct possibility that I started a "Liz for ward project" campaign in college. Somewhere in the joking the desire started to become real. 

In life, I have been really blessed. I have a great family with longevity in my jeans. I was able to go to college, have friends, and mostly succeed in life. My "mountains to climb" are probably little ant hills to many people. While this is great, it does make becoming the ward project difficult. 

Answer: Move somewhere where you are the odd one out.  End result, I decided to move near Sun Valley, Idaho-far away from all family and friends. I knew that I would be "the single girl." This had to equal ward project! I would be guaranteed the best home and visiting teachers. People would invite me over for dinner, plan activities for me. etc. Logical? 

In reality, my main objective in moving to the Wood River Valley was not to become a project. However, I told myself that it would be an exciting plus. In fact, when I talked to my friends at BYU before moving, the "project" benefit was mentioned repeatedly. See the following example:

Liz: Well, I got the job in Ketchum, Idaho. I guess I am moving there.
Friend: Congrats, How do you feel about it?
Liz: I am a little nervous, but I feel good about it. Plus, the nearest singles ward is about one hour away. I guess going to a family ward will help me finally become the project. I will be the only young single adult.

Notice, the lack of talk about the actual job (which turned out to be great)

Truthfully, people took me under their wings and I was a "mini project." For a while, I was at my stake president's house more than he was. I did have a great home teacher. But, I wasn't "the project." Like I said, I have been really blessed in life, and many other people have BIG problems. And, I can actually be pretty independent (shocker!). End result: People were nice, but I wasn't on THE LIST. On a side note, I do have some awesome stories I should blog about in the future-involving demon deacons.

However, after all the years spent on this goal, I was not willing to completely give up. I had some high points that gave me hope for my goal. (Eg. When the Twin Falls singles ward talked about me in ward council, the Bishop of the Sun Valley ward inviting me to dinner every Sunday for a couple of months straight-I was in a Hailey ward- having people tell me that they would pray for me to meet a nice boy). Eventually, I gave up on being at the top of the project list and decided to drive the hour to be part of a singles branch again.

And then it happened. I did not suddenly move to the top of the list, but a real "ward project" moment occurred  Today, the young men and women came caroling to my house and they brought a HUGE gift basket. There were even some of my demon deacons there. It warmed my soul. And then it hit me, this was a project moment. I have been in on enough meetings to know that they go to people's houses who need

What a glorious moment!!!! 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Games I Play

Have you ever had something that you really did not want to do? I have. For the past month, I have been "studying" for the GRE. I take the test in 3 weeks, and my practice tests are not looking good. Studying is actually starting to depress me. 

As a result, even though I reserve days for studying, other very important things tend to creep up. For example, I had to plan my own carnival today. Actually, the words  "had to plan" should be replaced with, "got distracted by planning." You will not believe how easy it is to entertain yourself with floss, a safety pin, tiny post-it notes, magnets and a retainer case. Let me explain how fun these items can be.

Step 1: Tie a long string of floss to the safety pin. This will make it easy to retrieve the safety pin for all further steps. 

Game 1: Plinko Board: Did you know that in my 2 story house there is a vent that connects the upstairs and the down stairs? It happens to be just above my garbage can. So the idea is to see if you can get the safety pin to land in the garbage despite hitting the different grates. Truthfully, this is the game that I need the most practice in. Luckily, you can just pull the floss and it comes back up.

Game 2: Go Fish: Place magnets over your floor. Throw the safety pin and try to "reel in" a good one.

Game 3: Very Poor Man's Skee-Ball/Basketball: Retainer cases have different sections (well a top and bottom). Throw the safety pin in the case. To make it more difficult, back up.

Game 4: Darts: Use the little post it notes to create rings on your wall. Throw the safety-pin, aiming for the tiniest section. If you really want to check your accuracy, cover the safety pin in some kind of washable dye. Then you can see where the safety pin hit the first time. 

I guess the conclusion is, that if I don't do well on the GRE, I probably have a future in...entertaining myself with little money? I could write a book on this subject, but truthfully people that's budget only includes my supplies probably can't afford my book. Maybe, I can call the book "Partying for One" and I will include highlights of my Halloween. (Spoiler Alert: It involved a costume party, dance, and movie).  

Thursday, October 25, 2012

When relaxation meets assassin in Number 12 Grimmauld place

When I was in college, I participated in some "extra-curriculars" that I thought had no practical application. In real "grown-up" I am surprised at how often I use these...skills..? Today, these two of the strangest talents combined at a unique place.

Skill 1: Relaxation/Mediation

When I was at BYU, I went to the biofeedback lab, once. For those of you who don't know what this is, it is a lab where they have you listen to a relaxing tape while hooked up to all sorts of wires/monitors to see how you relax. Note, this is different from when I got paid to have my brain studied by the psychology dept.

Since I learned so much in my 20 minute session, I wanted to share what I learned with EVERYONE. So, like the rational person I am, I would frequently offer "mediation" sessions to friends in my apartment complex when tests/relationships/life got stressful. My sessions were intense, as my friends closed their eyes, breathed deep, and listened as I talked about sticks floating down rivers and hot air balloons rising high. I didn't even flinch when a women's group at church invited me to teach these relaxation techniques. Of course, 20 minutes in the biofeedback lab equipped me to help stressed out students!

As a "grown-up," I teach weight loss classes that take a mind, body, spirit approach. In each class, we have a 5-15 minute stress management section. I teach about half of these. I have used google to add to tool belt,but balloons and and sticks have floated their way into more than one class.

Skill 2: Assassin

During my last year at BYU, I participated in a massive game of assassin. In assassin, you are given the name of one individual that you are assigned to "kill" by stabbing lightly with a fork. However, there is one person who has been assigned to "kill" you. If you "kill" your target, you are now trying to "kill" the target of the person you assassinated. If you do not kill the person you are assigned to kill within one week, you are out of the game and your target is given to somebody else. The game continues until there is only one person left. Confused?

Turns out, I may have taken this game a little too seriously. I may or may not have sat in the bushes for over an hour hoping that my target would walk by. I also may have drastically altered my schedule of when I went on and left campus. I continually watched my backed and did not trust my friends playing the game until they "died." I even kept my fork strapped to my wrist, just in case I ran across my target randomly.

The end was result was that I was one of the last 3 participants. This really meant that I spent almost 2 months  suspicious of everyone and may have developed some trust issues. Even walking around campus was stressful Eventually, my roommate got my name, and let my soul "rest." We even held a funeral.

Believe it or not, I have actually used many of the skills gained in this game at work and home. For example, when the neighbor kids played "spy school" and had complicated obstacles, well yarn placed all over,  I had no problems moving around. Also, I have caught two "kidnappers" in drills at work, because I have learned to be suspicious of everybody.

The Meeting at Number 12

Today, we had an emergency drill at work. We practiced, what would happen if someone came into the ER with a weapon. This drill was planned months in advance and the police, fire dept, etc. were all involved. Of course, this drill started just before my weight loss class started, on the day we were doing yoga. What are the odds?

Since we were still holding class, our room was declared, "not in play." However, everyone would still need to walk through the hospital to get to my class. As I was putting away chairs/tables, I realized that I felt like Sirius Black in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Part of me wanted to be involved in the drill and I was very curious as to what was happening outside. However, it was necessary that I stay in the "safe house" ie. Number 12 Grimmuld Place and prepare it for my class, just like Sirius spent his days cleaning Number 12. Don't worry, everyone made it in safely, and we all relaxed despite the assassin like experience.