Wednesday, July 31, 2013

My Heart will Always Belong to Idaho.

I wish I could put into words what Idaho means to me.  I wish I could capture with pictures the beauty that it creates.  But alas........ I guess only memories.....

I had the most wonderful week in Idaho/Wyoming/Montana. It was so fun to have my dad, all my brothers, and Jason there.  They spent a day floating down the Hoback, a section of the Snake River outside of Jackson.  My dad has probably floated that part of the river over 100 times and he said it was one of the best rides ever.  That night they spend the night in Island Park then when on the notorious fishing trip down the grand canyon of Yellowstone.  The hike is insane and the fishing is even crazier.  Jason, who has only fished once previously, caught 35 fish in 3 hours.  Can you even imagine??? The expert fishermen of the trip caught around 70 fish.  They had a blast.

I spent some much needed time hanging out with Erica, my cousin and best friend.  I don't know what it is about Idaho sunsets but every time I see one I long for heaven.  

 Then one morning to avoid any farm dogs.... I hate running around dogs not on chains.... I ran on the highway towards the Grand Tetons.  It was such a beautiful morning.
 I only picked one of those baskets but there were so many raspberries I couldn't believe it!
 Speaking of Raspberries.... Erica and I went on a mountain bike ride following Warm River in Island Park.  It was spectacular and we found wild raspberries!!!  I was pretty scared that we would find a bear ticked off we were eating his berries.... but don't worry Erica had Bear Mace.
 
A view from our ride
 After our ride Erica and I headed to West Yellowstone.  Although we only lived there for 2 months 12 years ago, the memories there are endless.  The nostalgia was incredible.

 Then we met up with the fisherman before we headed to Beauty and the Beast at Playmill.


 The next morning after an eventful church meeting at Mack's Inn in Island Park I hoped in my car to make my first ever trip through the entire Yellowstone Park to Cooke City, Montana to spend a day with my friend Joanie at her family cabin.
All you need: Gummy Candy, Water, Lotion, and a Map.
 It was really fun to see a whole part of the park that I have never seen.  It was a beautiful not crowded Sunday in the park.  Through the trip I saw a huge bull moose, antelope, deer, elk, swans, geese, a coyote, and of course my least favorite lots and lots of buffalo.

I was so excited to travel to Cooke City hoping to see a bear.... but this is the closest thing I saw to a bear.
 Joanie's family took me to the top of Daisy's and LuLu's Pass to see some of the most spectacular views of the Beartooth Mountains.




 Then we went to an old mine building.... I think we should name it the Leaning Tower of Montana.  They all climbed to the top.......... but I was happy to stay on firm ground.

 I went back to Teton and spend some more time with Erica and her parents.  My run that morning started pretty crappy.... sometimes I just hate running but then I decided to make a detour into the middle of a farmers field.  I had a great time running through potatoes and wheat fields.  Oh how I love Idaho.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Perks of Being an Early Bird.

I hate it.  I've always hated it.  As a poor little girl it made me dread sleep overs.  As an adult it makes me dread social gatherings.

Why?

Because no matter what, without caffeine, my body wants to go to bed at 9 and wake up at 6.

Doesn't sound too bad right?  Until you are the poor little girl at the sleepover who falls asleep long before anyone else goes to bed and has to sit and wait for hours upon hours to someone else to wake up in the morning.  Then you hear about all the cool stuff you missed out on like toilet papering your crushes house but you weren't there to do it because you were asleep.

I feel like by being a morning person I have missed out on all the coolest things in life.  Bottom line is it's cool to be a night owl and pretty lame to be an early bird.

Even now.  It's 6:27 in the morning when I don't have a single pressing appointment for the day.  Why in the world am I awake?  Because I have no choice.

Often times I don't think people realize that I really don't have a choice in this matter.  Even if I stay up until wee hours of the morning, usually thanks to caffeine, come 6 am I am bright eyed and bushy tailed.  (Until it hits me that I only got 3 hours of sleep and my day is miserable there after)

So I felt a bit of satisfactions when I saw this article from Forbes Magazine on the benefits of being a morning person.  My favorite benefits:

- More Optimistic Various studies have shown that morning people exhibit character traits like optimism, being agreeable, satisfaction and conscientiousness. Night owls, while linked with creativity and intelligence, are more likely to exhibit traits like depression, pessimism and being neurotic.  

- Get Better Sleep Sleep experts say that if you go to bed earlier and wake up earlier, your body will be more in tune with the earth's circadian rhythms, which offers more restorative sleep.

- Healthier Many successful businesspeople get up early to exercise. Regular exercise boosts mood and fitness, provides energy on the job and helps create deeper sleep cycles.

- More Proactive Harvard biologist Christoph Randler discovered in 2008 that early risers are more proactive. They were more likely to agree with statements like "I spend time identifying long-range goals for myself" and "I feel in charge of making things happen."

-  Earn Better Grades In a 2008 Texas University study, college students who identified themselves as "morning people" earned a full point higher on their GPAs than those who were "night owls" (3.5 vs. 2.5). Good grades help students secure better career opportunities.

So sure we aren't as cool... sure we miss out on a lot of cool stuff... but us early birds... at least we have something going for us!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Rainbow Seers

Last Sunday Jason and I were driving home from a trip to California. We drove through the desert in the middle of the afternoon. You can imagine my excitement when I saw big thunder clouds rolling in as we came out of the Gorge. There is nothing in this world that I love more than rain in the hot months in the desert. The smell of wet sand, sage brush, or Joshua trees rocks my world. I rolled down my window and squealed with delight as the rain pelted my hand at our high speed.

As we kept driving north I looked over to my right and was even more excited as I saw rainbows start to form. Not just one but two or three. It felt like everywhere I looked to the east and it was covered in rainbows as the sun was starting to set. I finally couldn't take it in any more without bursting! "Jason can you believe it! It's amazing!!! It's like nothing I've ever seen!!!" Jason, still concentrating on the swervey road through the Gorge, said, "Yeah rain is pretty cool." I said,"No, the rainbows!!!" He looked around a little confused, "What rainbows?" I was even more confused as I point out each one. Then I pulled off my sunglasses. The vibrant colorful rainbows that I saw across the sky that I had been seeing were just faintly there without my glasses. They were still there but barely. So faintly that I probably wouldn't even noticed them without my glasses. At first I was so bummed. Those beautiful colorful rainbows!!! They are gone! All these other drivers didn't get to see them! (Yes, I fully recognize I get way too dramatic about rainbows) But then I put my sun glasses back on and with a smile on my face I counted 4 beautiful rainbows across the desert of southern Utah. 

I started thinking about these Rainbow Seers...wondering how many times I've missed out on beautiful rainbows because I wasn't wearing them.  How much more beautiful the world is with them.  I feel like these sunglasses were just like how everyone was after Elder Bednar's Tender Mercy speech.  It seemed like every testimony meeting, every relief society lesson, and even casual conversations after that talk included this phrase tender mercy.  Clearly little blessings or little special moments occurred just as much before his speech, but it wasn't until we were made aware of them that we noticed them.  Just like the faint rainbows that were made brighter by the Rainbow Seers I wonder how often I miss out on beauty or blessings or kindness or goodness because I'm not looking.

This is clearly later on in the drive when the rainbows were spectacular even without the Rainbow Seers.

These are the Rainbow Seers... Vintage Sunglasses from an Azusa thrift store. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Beauty.

Friday was as perfect of a summer day as I could have dreamed of.

Woke up early, rode bikes up City Creek Canyon, ate the most delicious waffles ever, headed straight to 7 Peaks, Halukia Shaved Ice, a bullet bike ride up Provo Canyon, Cafe Rio, and 2 or 3 episodes of Grey's Anatomy.  It doesn't get much better than that!

As we were riding up City Creek, a fantastic little climb if you've never done it, it was absolutely beautiful.  Who knew that two minutes out of downtown Salt Lake was such a beautiful canyon with a darling little stream.  My friend and I were talking.  We've both struggled with/been very conscience of our weight our whole lives.  We've often talked about the challenges associated with that.  She is my hero having gone over a year without eating processed sugar.

But  I digressed.  As we were riding up this spectacular canyon with the wild flowers and the birds and of course my favorite the signs warning of bears it hit me.  Sure it sucks not being stick skinny.  It sucks waking up before 6 every morning to hit the road or treadmill or gym.  But we started talking about all the beauty we have got to see along the way.  The beauty of watching the sunrise at the end of a long run or the trails on a road bike that we never would have seen.

We've learned so much and seen so much and felt like we have accomplished so much.  In the height of the moment with the cool mountain breeze and the smell of the outdoors I said, "I'm so grateful that I've always had to workout so hard to work towards a body that I want."

And then I thought about it.

Nah... sleeping in would sure be nice.

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Diagnosis

His name was Dameon.  He was a 14 year old black boy with darling spring like curls.  But honestly, I thought this kid was going to be the death of me.  I had Dameon in my second year of teaching.  Having already taught at an alternative high school, a correctional facility, and a regular high school I thought I had seen it all.  (Ha. Ha.)  When Dameon's parents came to back to school two days before school started and warned me that their son had ADHD I just smiled and said, "Thanks for letting me know."  but really I was thinking, "What 14 year old boy doesn't?"  Oh boy was I in for a treat.  He was the sweetest kid and he tried so so hard but no matter what he couldn't sit still!  I tried everything!  The best solution to this kid's ADHD I could find was to have him walk circles around the classroom as we had lectures or discussions.  As long as he could be moving AND he took his meds, he did pretty well.  But you can imagine my concern when I was told he would be in my class when the whole school traveled up to Hale Theater to watch some random never heard of play.

I did everything I could think of to make sure this kid and everyone else would survive this play.  I brought snacks, I made him run around the building 3 times before we were seated, and I bribed him with a free homework pass if he sat still.  And of course I made him sit right next me.

The play was long.  The play was so so so boring.  But I'll never forget the comment Dameon said to me as we were FINALLY walking out of that building,

"Miss Parson, not to be rude, but I think you have ADHD worse than I do!"

It was then and there that I realized I have ADHD.

Now there is no questionable that I am completely functional.  I got through 19 years of education and have held down a full time job for 8.  I have found great techniques to help me cope with my ADHD. Working out every day, I chewed a pack of gum through every 3 hour class of grad school, and of course most importantly caffeine.  For ADHD caffeine actually slows down the brain so I found before I had to sit through anything  of length like church, school, or even sadly a movie if I drank a diet coke I'd usually survive.... but then if you remember 13 weeks ago... I gave up caffeine.   And I hate to say it, it makes my life miserable.  So I decided it was time to find a solution.

I visited my family practice doctor and he referred me to a specialist.  I filled out the questionnaire beforehand that was a lot like an ADHD test my mom made my dad and I take years ago that concluded we both had ADHD.

One question the I found very interesting is, "Do you find yourself finishing people's sentences for them."  (Sorry to everyone that I do that to) (How annoying)

When I met with the Dr. one question that she asked about that I thought was very interesting was about how I take test.  ADHD students I have had tend to be aloof and take a long time to take tests.  So when I told the Dr. that I am always the first one to be done with any test, and I have never ran out of time taking a test, even the ACT or GRE I excepted her to say that clearly I don't have ADHD.

She had follow up questions to this that led her to describe my ADHD is like my mind is a motor and it just keeps going.  I have to always be going.  I go crazy when I can't keep going.  When she said this it was like music to my ears.  I had never described it like that but it is exactly what I have always felt!

When she finally said, "Yes, you definitely have ADHD, now we need to figure out how to make your life a little less miserable."  It was such a relief.  It was like finally I could accept the fact that it's not normal to struggle like I have.  It's not normal to look at the clock in Sacrament Meeting every 30 seconds or have to go to the bathroom at least once in every movie in order to not get yelled at by the person in front of you for kicking their chair.  Later my friend Joanie said, "So how do you feel about the diagnosis?  Are you bummed it's now real?"  Of course my answer was no.

I'm in love with my diagnosis because now I feel like I understand myself better.  And what a relief.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Independence Day

This morning on my run I got really emotional when I started thinking about what Independence means to me. I instantly thought of my two grandpas who were willing to sacrifice their lives fighting for a country that they believed in. Nowadays there isn't much I believe in in this country of ours... Probably not even the fights that many of the American soldiers have died in. But today what I am so proud of is the men and women of today and our past that have been willing to fight and sacrifice so much for this country. I'm so grateful for this country and the freedom it's given my forefathers to make the American Dream a reality. To take a poor uneducated sheepherder and make him a pilot and eventually a rocket scientist. Or a homeless fruit picker and help him fulfill his dreams to be a artist and professor. Without their belief in this country and their willingness to fight for her, their dreams never would have come true. It is the dreams that America creates that I am grateful for this 4th of July. It is the hope of a better tomorrow that makes me proud to be an American. So today and always God bless America.

1945: Wesley Bartholomew: Army Air Corps:South Pacific                        1944: H. Oliver Parson: Army: France