"In all of living have much fun and laughter. Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured!"
~ Gordon B. Hinckley

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Once Upon a Lake of Swans...

There are definitely too many memories of Swan Lake from this past weekend for me to write them all out and do them justice, so here's a simplified list for the sake of remembering.

Remember when...
- Thomas got injured the week before the show and couldn't dance so Sam had to learn all of the prince's part last-minute and we had to get a new guy to replace Sam 
- we showed up Saturday morning for the first show and the Odette and Odile costumes weren't finished, and our princess dresses weren't sewn
- the CD stopped working randomly and we had to stop the show for like 20 minutes while they got new music
- like pretty much everything went wrong with the first show
- we were watching the end of the 3rd act in the dressing room while changing costumes after feeling like the whole show was pretty much a disaster so far, and Jocelyn and Sam did AWESOME for the black swan and we were cheering and screaming at the screen like the whole time and counting fouettes and were just so happy that finally something went so right!!
- Phyllis lifted up her dress so she wouldn't trip walking up the stairs like she did for the first show, and didn't realize she was lifting it up several inches above her knee and flashing her queenly thighs to the entire audience
- we were all doing the pointe shoe I-hate-my-feet waddle from dancing and not taking our pointe shoes off literally all day
- we all sat around and tried to make those feathery headpieces look pretty, and most of us just made a gluey feathery mess. and I got feather bits all over my black leg warmers. 
- I bought BYU ice cream barf buckets to put in the wings on both sides
- me and Sam discussed how much our feet hurt and how cute all the little girls' dances were while we stood around onstage in pain for most of the 3rd act every show
- there was all that awesome dry ice fog on the stage for the end of all the shows...oh wait...I mean, remember how there was supposed to be, but wasn't
- I got confused when we switched to the second cast and did like half of the poses wrong, and everyone on my side had to just follow along because I was in front
- April drank a bunch of that chocolate milk that had sat out all day right from the gallon in the wings
- I was super freaking out and feeling sick before act II and Anne came over to pray with me in the wings before we went onstage
- the pas de trois became a duet
- at least one little girl dropped a prop (flute, flower, etc) during act 3 scene 1 in all 4 shows and Brianna ran and picked it up every time
- the shows kept taking too long and there was only like a 5-10 minute break between when one ended and the next one started so we couldn't take off our shoes or take a break to eat or anything
- April made us awesome sparkly underwear
- we all wanted to chop our feet off and die becuase we were so tired and our feet hurt so bad...and we still had 2 more shows to go!
- the maypole came down from the ceiling for the second show and the ribbons were still all tied up, but they danced with it anyway
- like 3 headpieces fell off during the maypole dance
- Bridget's tendonitis was crazy bad and she iced her feet in a lunch cooler
- during the dress rehearsal we couldn't find the crossbow, so we brought out a feather duster to give to the prince instead. and a hanger.
- suddenly there was a scrim on stage for 'angry birds' and no one knew what to do so we ran around and looked stupid and were really late, and my side didn't even come on for part of it
- I went to help Sam the dark with his 10 second Rothbart costume change, and each show I tried to help by getting him his black feathery mask, but he couldn't ever get it on in time so he would just hand it back to me and go on without it. and I was useless.
- Sam the dark was practicing his pirouettes and creeper Rothbart faces and his broken heart mime in the wings with us
- the wrong song came on...like 5 times...each show
- we had to stand around awkwardly doing nothing while the wrong songs kept playing
- Sam and David came up with some awesome improve to make the most of the wrong song
- our feet were dying and hurt so bad we all layed down in the wings and put our feet up while we waited for the curtain call after the third show
- Brianna and her mom took a ton of pictures of everything
- Sophia's shoes were like the deadest thing anyone had ever seen
- April saved the day and gave Sophia an old pair of her pointe shoes to wear for the last show since hers were basically socks
- I had to wear that horrible nightgownish costume for 1st act because my dress was still just un-sewn pieces of cloth even after the show had started. and it still hadn't been finished by the last show
- we started lining up for Act 3 scene 2 for the fourth and final show and I saw Sam in the wings and we both realized that we were just 5 minutes or so away from being DONE and we started freaking out we were so excited!
- me and Ammon talked in British accents while we waited around onstage during the 1st act
- we took pictures with that random creepy mannequin girl in a cowboy hat with a white arm and black hand and face, holding an energy drink
- the curtain went down after bows for the last show and everyone started bawling their eyes out...except for me and Whitney
- I realized after the last show ended that I had forgotten to take off my sparkly underwear from April that I put on over my costume to take pictures, and I accidentally wore it onstage for angry birds
- we all made it through 4 shows of Swan Lake in 1 day and lived to tell the tale?!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

My Magic Truck and the Good Samaritan

I have a magical truck that has a way of forcing me into getting what I want, in a way I didn't expect. And teaching me about selfless service at the same time. You may recall my post Be Careful What You Wish For / How to Get All the Boys. I wanted to go on a walk since the weather was so perfect, but I knew I probably wouldn't get around to it, and then my truck broke down about a mile away from home and I had to walk the rest of the way. So I got my walk in after all! Just not under the circumstances I expected. 

Well, today at the end of rehearsal someone asked me what I was going to do tonight. I responded that I was going to go home, eat leftover spaghetti, make lemon cupcakes, and watch Drop Dead Diva on Netflix. And I fully intended to. But despite my practical side telling me leftovers should be on the menu for tonight, I was really craving Subway, and have been for a couple days now; and I was really hoping for some more interesting Friday night plans than watching TV alone in the basement. Aaaand cue the magic wish-granting truck...

All I had eaten all day was a half slice of bread, like 7 fresh strawberries, half of a blueberry crisp Clif bar, and like 3 crackers, and I had finished eating all that by about 1:30, and our 4-hour Swan Lake rehearsal didn't end until 8:30, and I was SOOO HUNGRY! Like that weak starving empty low blood sugar type of hungry where you just don't even know if you can keep standing much longer without passing out or something. Some food needed to happen soon! So I packed up fast and headed out to my truck to drive home fast and get some food back in me!

But first I noticed one of my tires was going pretty flat. I knew it was going to be time to replace it soon, so I debated dropping it off at a tire place before heading home, but decided against it because I was just waaay too hungry. Instead of taking the highway home (the faster route) I chose the longer route. In retrospect, I'm not entirely sure why. But it was definitely a good move. Less than 2 miles later I could hear my tire making a weird tapping noise. I pulled over and looked at it to find this!

Bad news! This tire situation was more serious than I thought! And you can't see it in the photo, but there was a crack about 3/4 inch running down one side of the hole. Good thing I didn't take the high way or my tire very well may have blown out before I had anywhere to pull over!

I called my uncle and he said there was a spare, so to just change it. Easy fix! ...Except not...I've never changed a tire in my life. Plus I was wearing shorts and my ballet stuff, and getting down on the ground in your tights is really not a good idea. So I called up my cousin, who happened to be free. All the while I was getting hungrier and hungrier and wilting more and more...and there was a Subway just a couple blocks away taunting me! I could see it from where I was parked! I debated just walking there and back while I waited for my cousin to show up, but I was just so weak I didn't know if I could do it. Plus I'd have to run across 4 lanes of traffic. Twice. So I decided to brave my nearly-blown-out tire and drive to Subway! And so I did! Just like I wanted! And I made it safely, and I bought myself a nice $5 footlong (oven-roasted chicken on toasted Italian with lettuce, tomato, peppers, onion, and honeymustard :), and I was just 2 glorious bites into it my cousin pulled up.

Unfortunately, changing the tire proved to be far more of a challenge than any of us anticipated. We couldn't figure out how to get the spare to drop from the bottom of the truck bed, and were in the middle of trying to figure it out when another car pulled up. A man and his wife, also heading to Subway for dinner. I never asked for help from them. I didn't have to. The man just popped open his trunk and brought over a tool kit, lug nut thing (I think?), LED flashlights, and set to work on my truck. It took awhile, but he got that tire free. And then he got this thing out of his car to pump it up some more. And then he went over to the dumpster and got out a collapsed cardboard box to lay on, and started jacking up my truck and changing my tire. It was incredible. And I felt so useless just standing there while he was grunting and sweating and swearing and doing exactly what needed to be done. I don't know how we would have done it without him.

Then once the spare tire was finally on and all the stuff was put away, the hood wouldn't latch all the way. I thought it was probably good enough, but he said he had been driving the same model and make once and the hood did the same thing, and it flew up and shattered the windshield and completely obstructed his view, and he refused to leave until he had fixed it for me. He willingly spent an hour and a half of his personal time to help a complete stranger without being asked, and went far above and beyond the call of duty. And went home with grimy dirty clothes and hands, and was so busy helping me that he almost didn't make it inside Subway to order before they closed. I couldn't believe it. I don't even know his name.

Me and my cousin both thanked him profusely during and after his huge act of service, but the man simply shrugged it off and said he just did what he hopes someone else would do if the girl in trouble were his sister or his mom. And then he asked us to pass it along. He said right now he was going through the hardest times of his life, and his father told him to help other people. So for the past week he had been looking for opportunities to hold doors, help people carry groceries, and whatever he could, and that it has really been making all the difference in his life.

Well it made a difference in my life too! And I can't wait to pass it along!! I want to be more like him. I just think it is so cool that he was so willing to drop everything and put all that he had into helping me and making my situation better. It wasn't easy either, and it took a sizeable chunk of time. And I guess part of what makes it even more poignant for me is that he wasn't some nice clean-cut Mormon guy like you would expect. You could tell he was pretty rough around the edges. If it weren't for our car encounter and instead I had just seen him and his wife in line behind me ordering at Subway, I honestly probably would have written them off as kind of white trash. And yet, he was so completely Christ-like. The moral of this part of the story: don't judge others.  I've been learning an arrangement of A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief on the piano, so the words have been more fresh in my mind this week than normal. Especially those last 2 lines, "These deeds shall thy memorial be; Fear not, thou didst them unto me."

So anyways, now that the motivational, learning, inspiring part of my story is done, here's the humorous shorter version of the rest of the story...

Brief recap followed by the story: I was starving and wanted Subway, and my tire broke and I coincidentally ended up in a Subway parking lot! This was around 8:30 p.m. Then I waited for my cousin to come help my change my tire, and a random stranger helped us. I wasn't a ton of help because I know nothing about cars (or trucks in this case) and I was wearing my ballet tights so I couldn't really get down and dirty. It took forever, and was confusing and hard work, but we finally got it changed in the end. And then the hood wouldn't latch. Finally like an hour and a half later, it was fixed and the tire was changed, but the spare tire was kind of flat. So I drove to a gas station to pump it up and my cousin followed. We pumped it up only to find that there was an air leak in the spare even worse than in the first tire. Soooo I drove it and parked it by someone's house. It looked like it was doing ok though, so I decided to try to make it home to deal with the next day. Maybe a mile or two further I could hear this wump wump wump wump, and knew I was done for. So I parked by a random person's house, and left my poor little truck. Ben was the rescue car and started driving me home when his car started to break down. There was this awful burning smell almost like tupperware melting on a stove, and the car kept lurching and bucking. He drove the rest of the way to his apartment in first gear, and then we called my uncle to come pick me up and drop me off at home. I didn't walk in the door until after 11:00. Apparently I'm bad luck for cars. But all's well that ends well right? And now I'm home safe and sound and I'm falling asleep as we speak/read, so I'm off to bed!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Awesomely Dairy-free Day #2

Today was one of those days. The kind you look back on and think "dang, today was awesome!!!" Sooo many good things to write about I don't even know if I'll remember them all! But I shall try :)

First, I slept in nice and late. It felt WONDERFUL! I finally did the dishes that I've been procrastinating, and decided to skip breakfast since it was lunchtime anyway, and ate a deliciously healthy dairy-free lunch in my newly-clean kitchen :) A mesquite marinated chicken breast on a hamburger bun (our leftover ones in the freezer happened to be dairy-free!) with lettuce, tons of thick juicy especially good tomato, onions, and thousand island dressing. Mmmmmmm! I felt a little sick after eating, but not too bad. Then I got to spend a good long time practicing the piano for a musical number I decided to do this Sunday! I haven't exactly chosen a song yet...but I sure have been having a good time playing like every hymn arrangement I can get my hands on trying to find the perfect one!

Then, off to observe ballet classes! I'm going to start teaching in the Fall, so the director said to observe a few little girl classes to get some ideas. Most of the class time was spent going over their dances for the performance next week. During the last class I watched, the teacher realized she had forgotten to choreograph the end of the dance so the kids had no clue what to do. Her solution: "Karin, do you have any ideas?"...so I got to choreograph the end of their dance! And it looks super cute and the director liked it :) I'm so proud of myself! And now I'm excited to see them perform!

I ate a bit of a snack and then went to the Tuesday adult ballet class like usual, but with one exception...I didn't feel sick. I actually felt pretty great! Nothing super momentous happened in class, but it was WONDERFUL to be able to just dance and not be thinking about my upset stomach!

And then I went to social dance club for the first time in about a year and it was so so so fun!!! I was really worried that I wouldn't get asked to dance much. Being married and not knowing many people there kind of tends to have that effect. But my worrying was in vain! It was great! And so I have compiled this list of criteria.

How to know you had a great time at social dance club:
- you dance almost every song
- you get to Viennese Waltz with Ben
- you get to teach a beginner new stuff
- that guy that's older than everyone else that no one really knows but he always comes asks you to dance and he compliments you profusely, tells you he is making up all the steps with you as his inspiration, and tells you your spins are "sublime"
- you get to catch up with old dance friends
- you start some new friendships
- you fall on the floor at least once
- you get asked to dance so much that you can't even catch your breath between dances
- you can't figure out what to do to at least one song so you end up doing a west coast/chacha/salsa/swing mashup...or an interpretive viennese inspired waltz something-or-other
- you do the two-step to Crush by David Archuleta
- you make up like 50 million steps on the spot because you forget them or weren't led well or just totally didn't even know the step that was being led
- your feet and ballroom shoes end up reaaaaally stinky
- you go home exhausted and feeling that awesome afterglow!

Yep, that hour of my life was definitely well-spent! Then afterwards I got to catch up and chat with a friend for about an hour or so, and go grocery shopping for some produce and non-dairy snackish foods and bread to hopefully help stave off my cravings for chocolate and other delicious foods I can't eat during this elimination food trial thing. One sad thing, my Trevor went to bed before I got to talk to him, but he did let me wake him up to talk for a bit. I love him :)

And then I came home and messed around on my computer for a bit and ate some snacks. And then I realized, I actually feel good right now. I don't just not feel like I'm about to puke, I really, truly feel good. And it is like the most incredible feeling EVER!!!!!! And not only that, I actually felt pretty good for most of today! I'm only on day 2 of the no dairy diet, but...could it be that lactose intolerance is really the cause of all my misery? Part of me really hopes no because I really really want to be able to eat all my goodies and butter and cheese and sour cream and chocolate and everything that I love!! And the other part of me really hopes yes, because as hard as that would be to go without dairy...I would absolutely love love LOVE to be able to feel like this all day every day! What would that even be like?! I can't even remember, it's been so long! But I imagine it must feel like heaven. Not even kidding.

Chances are it was probably just a fluke of a feel-good day that I just haven't been lucky enough to have in a long long time, but after so much suffering and frustration and disappointment and money for expensive testing and medications and copays, I'm really hoping this is FINALLY a step in the right direction! I'm ready for some hope of having a normal life back. Not one that is controlled by my persistent bouts of nausea. Knock on wood!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Dairy-free Day #1

The doctors still don't know what's wrong with  my body and why I'm sick all the time. So...the latest idea they've had is for me to start an elimination diet. No dairy. And take it from there.

At first I was like ok, no big deal. I love cheese, but I can do without for 2 weeks, and I don't really drink milk like ever anyway, and I haven't had ice cream in forever. It won't be too hard. And then the doctor started listing other things I couldn't have...like no creamed soups, no creamy sauces, no creamy salad dressing, no butter, no milk chocolate (what?!!!!!!!!), no bread made with milk ingredients, no frosted breakfast cereals, no granola bars with dairy, no cake mixes with dry milk... and so on. Dang, now that I'm looking at labels, there are milk products in EVERYTHING! And I'm allergic to soy and almonds, so those milk alternatives are also out. So basically I have to make do without any of my comfort foods and yummy convenient snacks for the next two weeks. It's going to be a bit harder than I thought.

For breakfast today I couldn't have toast with butter because both the bread and butter have diary. No scrambled eggs with milk and cheese mixed in, no breakfast cereal, no yogurt smoothies or parfaits, no biscuits. Sad day. 

But I've been making a mental list of foods that are dairy free that I already have around though, and luckily I happen to have 2 sleeves of Bubba's Bagels and they don't have any dairy! Bread substitute! I can't put butter or cream cheese on them though, so I mixed up a mashed ripe banana, cocoa powder, coconut, peanut butter, and a touch of salt and sugar and made my own kind of chocolatey healthyish spread. Not amazing, but hey, I don't feel like I'm about to puke right now, so at least that's good!

Other foods/meals in my house that I've discovered to be dairy-free as of yet: Town House original crackers, oatmeal, Fiberone original cereal and Dulce de Leche (go figure?) cheerios and Chex Mix dry, fresh produce of course, Cliff bars (it says "may contain trace amounts of dairy" but they aren't ingredients), Tina's frozen burritos, mayonnaise and ketchup, homemade hamburgers (I have to find dairy-free buns still), chicken salad, and I'm sure I'll discover many more as hunger strikes and I start getting desperate :)

So now my quest for a happy stomach continues with this new dairy-free chapter of life!

And if it turns out dairy isn't the culprit, I'm eliminating corn syrup next.