The way things are

Life is a really hard game. The pieces keep falling out of those teeny little cars!

Monday, November 27, 2006

In the market for a new neck

When I was about 13 years old, I tweaked my neck at swim practice. Not exactly sure how, but it hurt pretty bad and I couldn't turn my head to the right for about a week.

When I was 15, I developed what my friends lovingly dubbed an "abscess" on the right side of my neck. It was more like a swelling, and it was stiff and hurt badly enough that I had to do only kicking at swim practice and couldn't participate in the meet against Napa High. The doctor couldn't figure out why the right side of my neck randomly swelled up. He postulated that my lymph nodes were swollen for some unknown reason, and gave me antibiotics (which my friends dubbed "horse pills"--again, lovingly...NOT) which took care of the problem within a week or two.

Since then, I've never had any neck problems.

Until today. I was stretching out my arms this morning, and as I tensed, there was this awful scratchy crack in the right side of my neck. Then pain and stiffness. Disgusted by the noise and feeling, I was somewhat dizzy and sat down on the floor. I sat there until I thought I could stand again, and proceeded to get ready for the day, despite the pain whenever I bent over or tried to turn my head to the right.

I was late to class for the first time this semester. Blast.

Right now it hurts a bit less, and if I go real slowly I can turn it to the right about 60 degrees. No problems turning left. I will consult Father Bear and see if he has a diagnosis for me. We'll see if medical attention is needed.

In the mean time, I will eat spaghetti and hope that someday I will be able to turn right again.

Friday, November 24, 2006

California love

For some reason I thought that going to California would somehow make everything better--that I would be able to leave everything behind and just enjoy a week of seeing people I love and doing whatever I want.

I was right.

It was a fabulous week. Having my entire immediate family at home made showering and sleeping arrangements a tad awkward, but no one cared. We continually played games and watched movies, as is the routine in the Ped household when there is family visiting.

I tried to maintain a balance between spending time with my family and spending time with friends...I ended up at the Native's until way late every night. So much fun.

Thanksgiving was a great day. I slept in, played games, then helped my youngest brother, E, build a lego house thing. My sister and I carved the turkey (successfully, I might add) and then went to pick up Happy Butt.

Happy Butt is an old widow that my dad home-teaches. Anyone that has ever met her knows that she's a stubborn, gossipy woman, but that she is hilarious. Apparently she told my dad that when she was younger her friends called her "Happy Butt." Why? Her name is Gladys--or Glad Ass. People are odd.

Anywho, we all enjoyed a lovely Thanksgiving feast, complete with odd questions/comments from Happy Butt. All the food was amazing, and the pie/treats were even MORE amazing.

Things I am grateful for:

1. My fam. They are crazy but so much fun and I love them to death. It was soooo nice to see them all and play games with them all. My mom is an amazing cook and an amazing person in general. It is such a compliment to me when people tell me I am like her. My brothers are hilarious, my sister is too, and her hubby is so much fun. Pops is generally laid back and unobtrusive, but he too is absolutely hilarious. I love them all.

2. California in general. The weird people who dress and act how they like without caring what others think. The general good taste and style. The nicer roads and more aggressive drivers. The ghetto-ness. I know this is so cliche, but California really does know how to party, yo. Utah isn't all that bad, and there are some things here that are wonderful, but it was such a relief to be HOME. If I could live in Cali the rest of my life, I would be happy.

3. My friends. Roommate A for being crazy, fun, sweet, entertaining, and ever considerate. The Jerman for cramming into my car with us and coming all the way out to California to hang with us. And for being ticklish and always right about everything. Masta P for being is normal old self and making me laugh all the time. Sister Dawg for being fun and happy even though she is recovering from a major surgery. The Native for being one of the best friends I've ever had--for spending his week with me, for always knowing how to make me laugh, and for declaring the date of the "anniversary" of our friendship. And for all my other wonderful friends--both those who I got to see, and those who I didn't. For everyone that has ever said anything nice to me, or who has just been a quiet participant in the scenes of my life, I am grateful.

4. Those teeny little blessings the God sends to show his love. Like laughter, music, nature, health, and haircuts. Like a hug from a friend, or an encouraging text, or just peace and comfort that everything will be okay. And for weeks like this one--a break from life and all of its problems. A week with family and friends at a place I can truly call home.

Last Tuesday was so awful--I was a complete mess. I'm not exactly happy to be back in Uta (no 'h' on purpose), and I already miss my home, my family, and my friends. But I'm not a mess anymore. I have the same problems, but it doesn't matter. I'll make it. Only a few more weeks until I can go home again. I feel refreshed and strengthened.

Tired nonetheless, and badly in need of a shower.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I'm getting the heck out of here

I'm leaving for California in about an hour and a half.

Good riddance, utah.

The past few days have been........awful. There were some good things that happened, but for the most part, I have felt horrible.

There is so much more than utah that I hope to leave behind.

You may not hear from me for a bit. I need a break. I'll come back when I'm ready.

This week is going to be amazing. Nothing will stand in my way.

Sunday, November 19, 2006


Many of you may know that I'm a member of the Utah Valley Handbell Choir. Check out our amazing website:

Yeah so I'm really nerdy, I know. But don't scoff at handbells too soon. You'd be surprised at what kind of tight-sauce music a good bell choir can produce. And we're good. So this is a list of our free concerts in December. There are some other (not-free) ones, but I don't have a nifty flyer thing for those, so you're out of luck. Also, we are performing tonight in Provo...

The Utah Baroque Ensemble and our group is giving a joint concert tonight. Each group will do a bit of its own repertoire, and we will also do some songs together. Free admission. 7:00 pm (it is approximately an hour and a half--usually the concerts aren't that long because it's just us, but with the choir doing its stuff, the concert is a bit longer). The concert will be at: Sharon East Stake Chapel 1060 E. 2400 N. Provo

So yeah. Feel free to bring friends and stuff. And please clap after each song. Last time our audience was reluctant to clap because we were in a church...

In other news, I'm in an odd mood. Slightly sad, slightly happy, with a side of hashbrowns. The instigator of this mood? Lack of sleep. Don't even ask me what I did last night...

PS-I know the picture is lame and doesn't show up but hopefully you can click on it and it will magically appear. Too lazy to fix it.

Friday, November 17, 2006

What happened?

MustacheBoy pointed out that Roommate E's OCD might be a different kind. I'm willing to accept that.

But somehow, rather than having a clean kitchen, it's worse than ever.

So confused.

Good thing there is a cleaning check tomorrow so we will be forced to have a clean apartment, if only for a day.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Chocolate covered strawberries and a muffin

Roommate B and I went to Albertsons, bought the best strawberries we could find, and dipped them in chocolate. They are in the fridge right now...succulent fruity flesh with a coating of rich chocolate almond bark.

Stop drooling.

PS--Our kitchen is so NOT clean. And I was all excited too.

A lot of confusion, but no complaints

Background: Roommates D and E are not the cleanliest of creatures you could meet. In fact, I hardly eat in the kitchen at all anymore. For someone who has an obsession with cleaning up dishes/messes (ahem, ME), a kitchen like ours is a nightmare. And although we all contribute to the mess, some contribute more than others (namely, Roommates D and E).

Fast-forward to about an hour ago: I come home, and our kitchen has been taken apart. Roommate E declares that she decided to clean the ENTIRE kitchen. Why? Where did this sudden motivation come from? Apparently she decided to wash the dishes (which is a big deal in itself), but that required unloading the dish drainer, and then as she put a pan away, noticed the enormous pan drawer was dirty, so she emptied it, took it out, and proceeded to wash it. Then the space where the drawer had been needed mopping so she began to mop, and then apparently said, what the heck, why don't I just clean the entire kitchen.

Her claim is that she gets OCD about things like that sometimes. Not possible. I was so picky about cleanliness in this house the first couple weeks living here. I eventually stifled it and resorted to eating in my room and staying out of the kitchen as much as I could. Even then, my obsessive cleaning habits have been made manifest on various occasions when I just can't take it anymore.

If she has OCD, then I am in serious need of rehab.

I am grateful though. I can't wait for a clean kitchen. Just incredibly confused on why she didn't decide to do this earlier.

Clean kitchens make me so happy.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Things that make today amazing thus far...

1. Slept so deeply that any noise I heard I thought was my alarm...Apparently I was pounding and yelling at my alarm clock when my cell phone was ringing (none of which I remember, by the way)...
2. I had time to grab a bagel before running out of the house.
3. The lecture in HEPE was interesting enough to keep me awake. I actually listened to the whole thing.
4. Church History was especially entertaining. Brother Baugh always makes odd comments, but today they were more frequent.
5. Because the highest score on our Church History midterm was a 62/100, my 58/100 became an A. Huzzah!
6. Although I was wearing virtually no makeup and my unclean hair was tossed up not very cutely, I was told I looked cute (I didn't quite believe it, but it made me smile nonetheless).
7. We started the unit on musical instruments in physics, which I have been looking forward to the entire semester. (Yes, I know I'm a nerd. You don't have to point it out. I'm aware.)
8. Weird Haircut Kid sat next to me AND actually spoke to me, which hasn't happened for a while. He even wished me luck on my test.
9. My gaydar is improving by the minute.
10. The last of the midterms is finally over.
11. I bought a small bag of Sour Patch Kids and they were mostly red and green.

And best of all, I will be in California in a week.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Cool people, festivities, and general contentedness

I suddenly realized today how lucky I am to be friends with such cool people as...
...Naked Native--who has changed my life in more ways than he could know, and who always knows how to make me laugh when I'm sad.
...AtP--BFF's for E and E and E...
...The Jerman--who is subtly hilarious, very deep, and more mischievous than he would ever let on.
...Klo-Bizzle or whatever you wish to be called--who can't tie water balloons, but I adopted him as my second big brother.
...Roommates A, B, and C--who I can talk to for hours about nothing and everything, and who just decorated our apartment with me...

Christmas came a little early. We're not finished yet--it's a work in progress. But it's cozy thus far, and Roommate B cooked amazing food for us.

Despite missing California friends, how freezing Utah is, and the fact that I still have homework that I'm putting off, I am content.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Coldhanditis, fatigue, and some graham crackers

Suddenly tired. I had determined this would be a productive day.

Thus far I've accomplished nothing.

My scarf left bunches of fuzz on my shirt. My whole house is freezing. But I won't delve into that mess.

I feel like things are accumulating, but I don't have the energy to catch up. I just need more self-motivation. Where can I get some?

Oh how I long for Thanksgiving break. And warm California.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Experience #2

I don't know why I suddenly wanted to write about this. It's really long, and I really don't expect anyone to understand it at all. But it's nice for me to reflect.

I had my first swim lesson when I was three years old. There was a wonderful lady named Nancy who used to come to our house and give swim lessons during the summers. We all loved Nancy--she was so funny and nice, and she was an amazing swimmer. My older brother and sister both started on the city swim team. A few years later, when I was six or seven, I did too.

My brother didn't last long...Swimming just wasn't his thing. But my sister and I continued. I still remember my first day at practice--I was a bit confused because I didn't know any of the swimmer lingo, but it wasn't a problem because Coach Stacy was really nice.

Nancy continued to give us lessons during the summers--they were helpful because she taught us technique now that we were proficient swimmers. She new all the coaches on the city team, so we had fun talking to her about them. She was only with us for a few more summers though; she ended up getting married and moving away. I'm not really sure what happened to her after that, but I think my sister has her address...

So I moved up in the "groups" of the city team. Group 2 and 3 coached by Jason after Stacy moved away. Group 4 was taught by Marvin, but he soon left as well and was replaced by Anthony. I stayed in Group 4 for 2 years I think...I was 10? Something like that. It was during that time that I started getting good. One meet, I had several very successful races--my first three "'A' Times" in one meet--and Anthony commented that I had "torn it up like a Big Dog." The name stuck. My old swimmer friends call me that to this day.

I moved up to the "Jr. Group" probably when I was 11 or 12...Anthony also coached that group. It started getting pretty hard core. We went on travel meets and started practicing on Saturday mornings. It was so much fun. I had so many good friends, and I absolutely loved it.

When I was 13, Anthony suggested I move up to the "Nationals" group. This was as high as you could get on the city team. My sister was in this group, along with all of the older swimmers. I started going to their practices a couple of times a week, and in December I officially moved up.

My first day of practice was December 26. We had had a five day Christmas break. Unfortunately for me, my first day was the first day of the period that had affectionately been dubbed "Hell Week." Hell Week was actually two weeks--the hardest two of the year. Two practices a day, including Saturdays. If you went to at least 22 of 24 practices there were two prizes: 1) Coach would take you out to dinner, and 2) Coach wouldn't yell at you. (Oh, "Coach" means the head coach of the city team--Coach Wedamen. Oooo I get chills when I think of his wrath).

So lucky me, I had to start off my experience in Nationals during Hell Week. And it was hell. Every day I lamented my lost Christmas break. Every day I wondered why I had handed my life over to the swimming gods. I do remember that I swam my first 50-yard no-breather this week though. My sister was so proud. I almost died it was so hard. Didn't do many of those after that. Only on really really really good days...

So now I was in Nationals. I had to go to morning practice once a week. Because they were "dry-land" practices (not in the pool), they were the most painful practices I have ever endured. The day after my first one, I laid in pain on the couch all day. But I kept going. I kept swimming. We went to faster meets. I was getting really good. Coach told me that I could get onto a college team no problem at the rate I was going.

Spring Break. Two practices a day, one on Saturday. A mini Hell Week. I did not enjoy getting up at 5:30 am every day of Spring Break. My friends made it somewhat fun, but I began to realize how sick of swimming I was beginning to get. I began to have thoughts about quitting. I didn't want to swim in college. I was tired. Get up. Go to practice. Go to school. Go to practice. Do homework. Sleep. Every day. I wasn't happy. And I had sort of reached a plateau--I wasn't improving as quickly as I had been a few months earlier.

It took me two months to quit. I mapped it out over and over. Pro's and con's. Who I would affect. How I would deal with such a drastic change in my life. I prayed and prayed. I was scared I would regret it later. I was scared to tell everyone. My coaches, my swimming friends, my sister, my parents...This was such a huge part of my life. I was going places. And I was about to throw it all away.

I broke down one day in the car and told my mom. She told my sister and dad for me. No one else knew. There was a meet on Saturday, and I decided it would be my last. Thursday, I told Coach. I had planned out a huge speech for him, fearing an explosion. But when I finally told him, I stammered and couldn't remember what I had planned on saying. I somehow got it out, and to my surprise, there was no yelling. He just looked at me, said he was sorry I wasn't happy with swimming, and told me that if I ever wanted to come back I was welcome. Wow.

On the way back to the locker room, I ran into one of my best friends. I told him what I had decided. He didn't believe me at first--apparently I was "full of it"--but then he understood. We talked about it the rest of practice. I broke it to all the girls in the locker room. Everyone was pretty much shocked. I had been the last person they expected to quit the team.

I finished out the meet on Saturday, with a bit of sadness, but a lot of relief. I swam for our varsity high school team all four years, which gave me an opportunity to see all my old buddies again. I admit that I did get sad when I saw them moving up and getting better, as I progressively got slower each year. I was sad when I thought about all the fun times I missed out on.

But it wasn't for me. Even if I had stayed with swimming, I'm sure I would have had fun. I don't think there was necessarily a right choice--just a best choice. If I had stayed, I would not have many of the friends I have now; I wouldn't have a lot of the memories and traditions that I have now. I would never have done Sylvan Singers (a whole other story in itself). I probably wouldn't have spent as much time with the harp as I did.

I still consider myself a swimmer at heart. And for people that have swam with me--they know that deep down I'm still good ol' Big Dog.

Because I feel like it

I felt like writing something. Nothing in particular. Just something.

I have a psychology paper to write. It's about my life--how nature vs. nurture, parenting styles, peers, school, etc. have shaped me. I'm kind of afraid of what I'll find. Or that I won't find anything.

The dryer I used didn't dry my clothes very well. My clothes are draped all over my side of the room. And it doesn't bother me. You know I'm in an odd mood when messiness doesn't bother me.

My head kind of hurts.

Not in a bad mood though. Like I said, I feel like writing.

Monday, November 06, 2006

A long and much-needed gripe.

Yes, I know I shouldn't complain. I know my life is blessed. But it's time to vent. I can't continue studying until I unleash some of my irritation.

Proceed at your own risk. This isn't a happy blog.

The first thing that went wrong today was that it was a Monday. That in itself is worth complaining about. Swimming was good, and Church history was good too. Then physics. Normally my favorite class. Not today. The guy with the weird haircut doesn't want to be my friend. He sat by me a few times, and we chatted and I thought he was nice. He doesn't sit by me anymore, or even say hello. My only guesses why are 1) we're at BYU and guys think the only reason girls want to be friends with them is to get married, or 2) I'm a freshman and he's too cool for me. Yeah--the kid with the weird haircut is too cool for me.

So I'm sitting there, and the girl sitting next to me keeps swinging her leg back and forth. Because our seats are connected, my seat is doing a lot of moving. Sooooo obnoxious. I try harshly shifting positions, hoping she will take the hint. She doesn't. Then, the philosophical idiot loud-talker girl who ALWAYS sits behind me and talks too much about things she doesn't understand decides to put her feet up on the back of my arm rest. Not only does she have the gall to put her feet up on a chair that is in use, but of course she can't hold still and continuously bumps my arm and lower back with her orange gym shoes. Each time, I glance backward, thoroughly annoyed, hoping she will realize she is ticking me off. She also does not take the hint.

After physics, I go to take the HEPE test. I actually paid attention in class this unit. Before taking the test, I skimmed the chapters as a review. But no--I still got an 80%. I would like to declare that I am not stupid. I've been told I'm rather smart. What's stupid was the test. Questions about things that weren't emphasized in class; awkwardly worded questions; questions in which there were more than one right answer and it was unclear which one was the "best" answer. Argh. I cannot win.

I come home, and there is an odd smell in our house. I have yet to figure out what it is.

I read for Book of Mormon (that calmed me for a bit), then go to sleep. I get up and realize I had missed two IM's from people I enjoy talking to. I then spend two hours at a review session for the O Chem test I have tomorrow.

I come home, feeling bad that I skipped out on FHE because they were planning our video tonight, and now words like "hydroquinone" and "ethoxy methane" are flying around meaninglessly in my brain like a song that won't get out of my head.

On top of all this, and the impending tests/assignments of the week, I spoke to my mother yesterday. Don't get me wrong--I love my mom very much. But sometimes...AAAAAAAHHHH. Conversation paraphrased as follows:

Mom: So have you decided on a major yet?
Stephalumpagus: No...thinking about sound recording.
M: You sure you don't just want to do nursing? Why did you decide against it?
S: I can't stick a needle in someone's arm, Mom. I can't deal with that. Plus I hate classes like O Chem...And with nursing, it's only going to get worse.
M: You'll get used to the needles. Plus you won't even have to use chemistry.
S: Umm...I don't want to get used to the needles. And I don't want to do something I'm going to hate. I'd like to have a career that at least slightly interests me.
M: Well, you need to be able to make some money too. [As if nursing is the only way to make money in life]
S: I know! I'm trying to choose a good major!
M: You want to graduate in four years too...You're probably going to get married and you're not going to want to be in school forever.
S, rolling her eyes: Mom, a lot of people take five years to graduate. You realize it would take me almost five years if I major in nursing.
M: Why? I graduated in four years.
S: You're not a nurse, Mom. The nursing major is 9 and 1/2 semesters.
M: Well, I'm telling you, you want to be graduated in four years. You should talk to a counselor before you register for classes.
S, deciding to end this before she explodes: Okay Mom. I need to go study now.

My thoughts:
1) My sister has taken five years to graduate, and that doesn't seem to be a problem.
2) My sister is also married and in school, which isn't a problem.
3) My sister is a PE major. Like she's EVER going to make good money.

And yet, my mom is ok with that. What the crap?

More thoughts:
4) I want to do something I like doing. I don't want to be miserable for the rest of my life.
5) Not entirely planning on it, but I may end up going on a mission.
6) I have a feeling (a hunch, if you will? or possible a whispering of the Spirit?) that I won't be getting married super young. Both my mom and my sister got married when they were 20. I think it will be more like 23-27 for me. Don't know why. Just a feeling.
7) I suddenly realized why I'm not very homesick for my family. I love them, but like I said....AAAAAHHHH.

I ate a lot of ice cream today.

Ok so this blog was super long and full of pessimism. I really am not unhappy with my life. In fact, Saturday night I felt more content than I had in a long time. I have tons of blessings. I really do. It's just one of those Mondays. I miss my friends. Can't wait for Thanksgiving--to be back in California...

I need a jamba and a hug. Or maybe to just lay in my bed and sleep away the angst.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


Additions to The List:

27. I chew gum way too much, and I've developed a bad habit of blowing bubbles no matter where I am.
28. I get annoyed by people in general. Especially people who try to be philosophical when they're naive, people who try to be gangster when they're white, people who are general slobs in appearance and while they eat, and people who talk like moronic surfers with empty heads.

PS--I'm in the Wilk right now with some annoying people at my table. So #28 is a little tilted. I have no patience.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The List

Personal Reflections: A list that will continue to grow as I think of things.

1. My hands are always cold. Even when the rest of me isn't.
2. I hate puns (except for that one the other night that AtP said--that was the only pun I've ever liked...although I can't even remember what it was now...)
3. I have a hard time making decisions, even about small things.
4. I'm vain about hair and makeup and am a little self-conscious about it.
5. Fun vs. Responsibility--Fun usually wins. Although somehow I'm really good at catching back up so I don't really worry about it. (I'm really bad at this college game!)
6. I'm a clean freak. I like things to have a place and be organized. Not so much that I absolutely freak out when things are cluttery, but when dirty dishes pile up and our floor is gross....Oh HECK no.
7. I'm slightly claustrophobic when smushed in a group of strangers...i.e. being packed in the Marriott Center. Really uncomfortable.
8. I think about things for a long time. I could stay on the same topic of conversation for hours discussing all facets and aspects of said topic. But not when forced.
9. I talk way too much.
10. In general I like guys better than gals. I am more likely to approach and talk to a strange guy than a strange girl. Most of my friends are guys. *
11. In general I like gay guys more than straight guys. *
12. I have a hero complex. I want to save and help everyone and I can't.
13. I don't like it when people breathe excessively loudly.
14. I don't like it when people laugh obnoxiously (namely the people in our apartment right now) e.g. ahlHLAHLAHaALAHLAHLAHL!!!!!!!!!!!! (so loud I can hear it through two closed doors and a wall)
15. I procrastinate too much.
16. I love math. I'm a complete math nerd. I used to get really excited about stuff like bases and derivatives in Calculus (no joke--my favorite class last year).
17. I wish I could do without sleep. I feel like there are better things I could be doing with my time. Alas, I never win this game.
18. I'm also a music nerd. I'm in an amazing bell choir and you are all jealous.
19. Random things make me smile--bakeries, italian soda, unexpected texts/calls/visits, perfect bananas, new car smell, tall guys, anything German or French...etc.
20. I hate it when happy moments are over and I usually try to remember them as often as I can.
21. I usually hate dejavu.
22. I'm very impatient...with driving, in classes when people ask stupid questions, when my roommates don't clean up after themselves, etc...I'm working on it though.
23. I rarely let people see me angry or depressed. I can only remember three or four occasions when I actually yelled at someone. I try not to cry in front of people because I look awful when I cry.
24. I don't like it when people are disappointed in me. I'd rather them be angry than disappointed. For me there is nothing worse than feeling like I absolutely failed someone.
25. I love talking (see #9). Hanging out with friends doesn't even require activity if we are talking. I like both casual and personal settings for talking.
26. I like feeling healthy. Can't say I absolutely love exercise, but I love how I feel afterward.

*Disclaimer: It's not that I don't have girlfriends or straight guy friends--it's just that when I meet new people I'm more inclined to show these tendencies.

I started this list during my Book of Mormon class the other day instead of paying attention. I think I realized a lot about myself. I'll add things as I think of them. This is enough for now.