Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Graduate

This week has been Josh's special week. On Monday he finished his last day working at the worst call center on the face of the planet (well, that was my opinion when I worked there). We celebrated by opening his graduation present from my parents. Dad had asked me to pick up a Dremel tool for him at Home Depot. I had no idea what it was or what it looked like. I had to call Dad up and ask him what color the box was. He picked out the tool with the most "stuff" and asked if I thought Josh would like it. I had no idea. All I could say was, "Well, I wouldn't like it."
But from Josh's reactions, I think it's pretty obvious that he's very excited about owning his first power tool. He really likes revving up the motor.

On Tuesday we took our last final. We'd taken Human Biology together this semester. Josh rocked it and I...survived. After the test, we celebrated the last day of school by going to get milkshakes at the Malt Shoppe with Grant and Jill.

Wednesday morning Josh's parents came down from Midway to pick out a graduation gift with him. The poor boy had been pining over a mountain bike for months. He went to several local bike shops, spent hours online researching what he wanted out of a bike, and frequently called his biking buddy back home to get his opinion. I feel it's safe to say that the boy personified "lust" and "covetous". But Josh didn't know that his parents had already purchased a bike for him two months ago. They'd ordered a nicer bike than the ones he'd been drooling over. So when the four of us drove over to Mad Dog Cycles and they wheeled out his bike, Josh was confused and shocked. And then confused. And then really excited. Then ecstatic. And then shocked again.

Should I bother to share that he's been in a bad mood most of the week because it's been cold and rainy out here? Or should I admit that he's kept the bike next to his bed and greets it every time he walks in the room? I probably shouldn't. But I can say that I have a very relieved, satisfied, happy man now that he has his dream bike.

On Thursday, Josh and I grabbed a treat at the mall and then saw the movie "Oceans" to celebrate Earth Day. The movie was beautiful! Josh kept wiggling in his seat, getting excited over all the incredible animals we were watching. My favorite parts involved the crab war, the Spanish Dancer slug (no, it was beautiful and really cool), and the blanket octopus. Josh liked the bird missiles, the dolphins, and the whales. He said that the movie made him more excited for his marine biology research trip on the Oregon Coast. Having the opportunity to study marine biology is fulfilling a childhood dream for that boy. I'm so happy that he'll get to go for seven weeks this summer.

After the movie we threw on our nice clothes and drove to the Marriott Center for BYU's Commencement ceremony. I may or may not have gotten a little teary-eyed when he proudly walked into the arena in his cap and gown. That morning he'd given me the "I couldn't have done this without you" speech. "Yeah yeah...", I thought but he said, "No really. If we hadn't gotten married and you hadn't quit school and worked full time I would not have been able to dedicate so much time to my studies and gotten straight A's this semester, and done so well these past few semesters." Well, nothing like those kinds of words to ruin a girl's fresh makeup.

Elder Todd Christofferson was the Commencement speaker. My favorite piece of advice that he gave was: "If you have the Holy Ghost with you, you won't make a wrong choice without first being warned." Sound advice for a large group of graduates who have a million choices to make in the next few months.
The Relieved Couple

The Original Haycock Family

Pa and Lucia Lee

Pa and Mayma Haycock

The Fishermen

Friday marked the final day of long graduation ceremonies. The Convocation ceremony was in the Marriott Center again (and boy was it loooong). We cheered loud and hard for our boy as he walked across the stage. CONGRATULATIONS, JOSH! You did it!

McKell finding Pa with her handy binoculars

Despite the rain after the ceremony, we celebrated with a family barbecue at the cabin in Midway. The highlight of the dinner was Josh's cake. It was a happy, happy day!

From Provo to Midway and back

We're lucky to be able to visit family in Midway as often as we do. The drive through Provo Canyon and into Heber Valley is spectacular.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Desire, Procrastination, Dedication, Frustration, Exhaustion

Ever since Josh won a BYU Intramural Championship t-shirt, I wanted one. I wanted one bad. I had hopes with each team I joined: kickball, volleyball, even inner tube water polo. But no luck. Then I learned that you could earn a shirt by logging in 150 miles of running in a semester. (In the rules, running one mile could also be substituted with three miles of biking.) With my new goal of completing a half-marathon in June, I thought this would be very do-able.

While Josh went to his raquetball class every Monday and Wednesday mornings, I would run laps on the indoor track. Well, it started as prancing and eventually advanced to trotting and jogging. But my outer hips would hurt and my calves would be tight and it was hard to breathe. So Josh helped me pick out a good pair of running shoes and I had renewed motivation to work through the expected aches and pains. But then it got too cold or I didn't feel well or I was too busy/sleepy/grumpy/dopey...

And that's how I was left with 22 miles to finish in one day. Less than one day. By 4pm. Ideally 3pm.

Tuesday, March 13th, was a dreaded day. I went to bed the night before nervous and mad. I was mad that I had to run/bike 22 miles. I'd never even logged 10 miles before. And I was really nervous that I wouldn't make it. What if I gave up or died from exhaustion on the treadmill? What if I worked really hard but still missed the cut-off time, the time that the intramural office closed? And I was mad all over again because, well, I don't particularly like running. To me it's like eating bananas or beans--you do it because it's good for you.

I parked at the campus gym at 7:45am on Tuesday. My goal was to log in three to four miles every hour. It seemed like a plausible goal. My strategy was to run a mile on the treadmill and bike three miles on the stationary and switch back and forth. I felt like I would get decent rest by switching machines often and that the change in exercises would keep me fresh. But I didn't take into account that there would still be weight training classes and we'd get kicked out, that the other gym room's only stationary bike would be broken and frustrating to ride on, or that intermittently there would be a line waiting to get on a treadmill or a bike. So when the indoor track or the gym rooms weren't available, I would eat or take a nap. My motivation was waning. Josh stopped by the indoor track to cheer me on and bring me a peanut butter and honey sandwich. By then I was half-way through and grumpy. really grumpy. I knew I couldn't give up but I was also rather confident that I wouldn't finish in time. I certainly wasn't able to finish by 3pm so I could drive up to the Salt Lake Center with Josh and enjoy a nice, rejuvenating experience in Anthropologie. Eleven miles was still a long way to go. Josh left me to wallow in the consequences of my procrastination.

I went back to the gym, found an open treadmill, and started pounding away. I turned up the constant music in my i-pod and tried to drown out the sounds of my labored breathing. I ran and calculated the miles. I biked and calculated the miles. And after awhile the miles were shaving off. Eight. Then five. Then three miles. I knew I could do three miles. But that meant I would have already logged nineteen miles. Would my body still be able to keep up?

I biked four and a half miles and planned on running a mile and a half and finishing the remaining mileage on the bike. I thought about finishing it on the treadmill as a triumphant way to end the endurance but I was afraid of being tired. When I had reached 1.49 miles trotting on the treadmill, a guy sat down on the only bike in the gym room. I was devastated. I couldn't do another mile and a half. I hadn't mentally prepared myself to run the last three miles. I started getting emotional.

On my i-pod playlist is a large group of high-energy aerobic songs. One of them came on that I had never heard before. In an annoying sequence in any other situation the lyrics repeated, "Give it all you got! Give it all you got! Give it all you got!" I choked up a little. I sincerely felt that I was receiving help by someone greater than me. I couldn't understand why He would care about me killing myself for a t-shirt but I knew that He knew it was important to me. And of course, by then, it wasn't about the t-shirt. Okay. It was still like 75% about the shirt. It was really about accomplishing such a big goal...and the really big goal of 22 miles in one day, excuse me, less than one day.

After the song had ended I could imagine Dad rooting for me. He was standing beside the treadmill hollerin', "You go girl! Yeah! You've got it! You're lookin' good, girl...You're lookin' good!" It reminded me of the times that we would run on the tractor trails through the soybean fields in Alabama or when he'd cheer for me at my track meets or rub out my calves after hard practices or any other time where I'd put effort into something. And then tears were swelling up and it was getting even harder to breathe. I had a half-mile left.

A half-mile would have been five minutes at the pace I'd been going. And the clock said I had ten minutes before the intramural office closed. So I sped up from a 5.2 pace on the treadmill to a 7. I was tired. I was emotional from the strong desire to finish and the help I felt I was receiving. And I wanted it to be over. I wanted that t-shirt in my hands. With the last 30 seconds, the i-pod played "Jump Jump" by Kriss-Kross. It's mine and Josh's favorite song. Actually, it kind of marked the beginning of our relationship. I knew that I wanted to be with a boy who loved that song as much as I did. And right then I felt that it was Josh cheering me on at the very end. And then I started crying--an ugly mix of gasping and sobbing.
I finished the three miles, shuffled to the intramural office, told the girl I'd finished my miles (even though I hadn't officially calculated them), and after an unceremonious, "Oh good job. Way to finish it." she handed me the shirt. The shirt that was not as cool as Josh's shirt from last year. The shirt that looked more like a white "ThankYouThankYouThankYou" grocery bag. But the shirt that I had earned.
I plopped onto the bench and plugged in my miles on the calculator. 150.06666667 miles. I'd made it-- just barely but I'd completed it. And that day I had logged the equivalence of running a half marathon and biking a full marathon. What really scared me was that I felt like I could have done more if I'd had to. My legs could have kept going. I didn't have shin splits or cramps or snapped tendons/ligaments. My lungs were still working and my heart hadn't failed. I did it and could have done some more.

As I walked the mile from campus back to our apartment I called Josh and Dad and Mom and Darcy. I collapsed on my neighbor's floor, proudly showing Kate the shirt that I had earned. And she cheered for me.
That night I showered long and good. I scrubbed out the gray streaks of salt that caked throughout my hair. I think I washed off enough salt to sufficiently satisfy a tank of tropical fish. I melted onto the couch and struggled to stay awake watching rerun TV shows on Hulu. Josh came home from his last class and treated me like a queen. We picked up fast food and I devoured it like I've never eaten before. There was an element of ecstasy in that chicken gyro from Burger Supreme. Right before bed, Josh massaged my very tight muscles and I fell into a deep sleep.

The next day I had to practice a series of quick breathing techniques whenever I bent or folded my legs and other than sitting down or trying to stand up, I wasn't overwhelmingly sore. In fact, my muscles have only felt tight and strong since that workout. Three days later I went on a six mile jog with Jill up to the Provo temple and back.

It has been fabulous! I'm disappointed that I don't have a chiseled bod after all that work but I feel great! I'm happy! And go ahead and ask to see my BYU Intramural Championship t-shirt. I might even let you touch it.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

In April...

We drove out to Heber to watch John receive his Eagle Scout award. Dana did a wonderful job of putting it all together. The ceremony was really neat. I liked watching all the younger boys pick up badge after badge that they'd earned. It made me a little excited to have my own boy scouts. I was especially proud to watch Josh sit in the Eagle's Nest with the other Eagle Scouts. Scouts are cool!

During part of John's ceremony, a man came in with a local bald eagle named Liberty. He told all about the habitat she came from, what she did for food, and why bald eagles were so majestic. It wasn't difficult to see why when you saw her so close...especially when she stared you in the eye. At the end, John had a chance to help hold her up in the air. His face is classic!

Spring Break brought a closing to the after-school classes I was teaching at a local elementary school. Despite my lack of experience with kids, the cooking and photography classes turned out great! Once rules were laid down and consequences were applied, I had a lot of fun helping the kids learn new things. In 1st-3rd and 4th-6th grade cooking classes we made things like cheese balls and flower pot cakes and ratatouille. They were messy but really fun.
In photography class, I worked with the 4th-6th graders on the macro setting, finding the alphabet in the architecture around the school, and building and using a light box. They did such a great job! At the end of the semester we held an art gallery where a few of my artistic friends came in to judge their photographs. The kids worked hard and were really excited. I was so proud of them! I've included a few of their photos below.
Last week I attended the school play that several of my students were in. The school put on a Willy Wonka musical. The kids were so awkward and nervous and fabulous! They made for adorable ompa loompas!

This was our first get together with the female Abersold cousins. Rachel, Christina, and Liz came down from Salt Lake and Darcy walked the two blocks over to my house. The only one missing was Grandma Lila! We stacked plates high with delectables and caught up on what was going on in each others' lives. Short and sweet and really funny.

Last Wednesday we gathered with our ward for an endowment session in the Provo temple. We had at least three-fourths of our married-student ward members there (it helps that they all come in pairs). On our way up to the temple doors we ran into a group of missionaries. One of them was wearing my name tag. "Sister Whetten? Umm...I used to be a Sister Whetten. We must be cousins!" I didn't know her grandfather and didn't know there were Whettens in Lindon but it was exciting to meet family. Finding cousins and other family members is easy to do when your family tree explodes from the base of the trunk.

The temple session was wonderful. We met in a small room to listen to the temple president, President Bateman, give us counsel and direction. He reminded us that people on the other side of the veil were with us and hearing the words of the covenants for the first time and that we should represent them well. You never know but you always like to hope that the people of the names you're holding are accepting the work done for them. Josh and I were able to hand out over 20 of my mom's family names. There was one parent and at least nine of her children that were represented by our ward friends. It was neat--a good day at the temple!

Last Tuesday marked the last day of BYU's winter semester. We celebrated at J-Dawg's with money from selling back our books. Josh has worked really hard this semester to get straight A's in his classes. I haven't worked nearly as hard but I've really enjoyed my human biology class with Josh!

Eating Provo's best hot dogs on the lawn with Ashley on a gorgeous afternoon is a happy way of ending the school year.