Monday, July 27, 2009

Vote please!

The School of Family Life Student Association (SFLSA)is having a t-shirt design contest for next year's shirts. I have come up with 2 designs and am finding the people I ask split on what they like. If you have any preference what so ever please let me know which one you like more. Email me, call me, text me, comment.. what ever works. I am stuck. By the way... there really is no prize for this, I just enjoy doing it.
I have a picture of how the layout will look on the shirts, and then close ups of the designs.

These are supposed to be unisex shirts but probably 90-95% of the people in SFLSA are women. I was thinking for the shirt above, for the men we could make it black with white words. Maybe? I don't know...

Thank you!!!

Utah State Hospital

Ok,so I promised some stories about my volunteer experience at the Utah State Hospital for the mentally ill. I just finished a paper with some of my favorite stories, so I thought I would just put some of them there. In a lot of ways, working at the hospital has been life changing. It is such a good environment for the mentally ill, and I've learned more about dealing with people of any situation, diagnosed or otherwise. I volunteered in the physical therapy department, which means that I helped patients one on one with their workouts. Names have been changed for confidentiality.

1. On my first day at the hospital I worked with the children, and was assigned to be with a young boy I will call “Luke”. Luke was talkative, would tell jokes to the staff, and generally very easy going. I was informed that he was only about a month away from being discharged. As Luke and I talked he told me that his favorite sport was basketball. After we were finished the work out, we went outside to shoot some hoops. Luke had informed me that he was really good at basketball, but once out on the court, it was clear he enjoyed it, but probably wasn’t the best of his peers. I asked him if he could do a lay-up. He asked me what that was. I, who is not very athletically coordinated, taught Luke how to do a lay up. I then taught him a couple of the other things that I knew about basketball, and he practiced what he had learned. At the end of the day I was still thinking about my experience with Luke. How, at eleven or twelve years old, when your favorite sport is basketball, do you not know what a lay up is? I thought to myself that at the very least, when Luke begins attending school again, and he makes friends, he will know how to do a lay up when they play basketball. It might not be much, but perhaps it can be one small step toward a normal childhood.

Two patients stand out my in my mind in lessons about mental illness. One is a boy youth I will call “Steve”. When working with Steve I found him to be more like a child than a youth, he was antsy and talkative. He was always trying to pull tricks on the people around him. He couldn’t walk straight on the treadmill for what seemed to be more than two minutes at a time. He followed no particular order with his work out, and he took a lot of encouragement to be on task and complete his work outs. While we do not see the diagnoses of the patients, at the very least I feel it is safe to assume he had severe attention deficit disorder. It was plain to see why Steve could not attend regular school at this time in his young life. Working with him opened my eyes to how debilitating something as common as ADD can be. Another patient who comes to mind is a young woman I will call “Linda”. Simply put, I have never met anyone like Linda in my entire life. The simplest term to describe her is “spacey”. She was in the adult unit, but was probably no older than thirty. She needed constant reminders to be productive. While walking to a new workout, she would simply stop. Or while on the bike, she would stop pedaling. I would need to tell Linda to continue doing her task, almost every minute or so. Once again, this experience showed me how very real these illnesses are and how they over take an individuals life. I believe in Linda’s particular situation, one explanation for her behavior could be medication as they try to stabilize her disorder. While I am sure the medication will help her in the long run, they are so strong it is hard to believe she could live a normal life while taking medication that intensive. I believe that Linda and Steve are currently in situations where they could not lead normal lives outside of the hospital, and their mental illnesses are in need of serious treatment.
3. Lastly, working with a senior patient I will call “Janet” was very informative. Janet seemed to be having a particularly difficult day, and started to get very tense when the song “Thriller” was playing. She asked for it to be turned off. At one point she shouted at me to “just leave [her] alone”, and mumbled to herself incessantly. When an intern came to help me, Janet kept asking her why she was wearing a red shirt, and kept saying that the familiar intern was “the devil”. After Janet went back to her unit early, the intern invited me to look at her file. Janet was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and is a prime example of some symptoms that disorder contains.

I am so glad I got the opportunity to volunteer at USH, it is such a good facility, it gives you hope for those with severe mental illness.

Monday, July 20, 2009

approx. 3000 miles

Best Road Trip Ever.
August 14th - August 30th

View Larger Map

We leave the day after summer term ends.
Spend a few days in: Seattle and San Francisco
Visit: the Winchester mansion and the Mystery Spot
Check out potential schools: Washington University, San Francisco State University, and Cal Poly San Louis Obispo
Home: for one week
Wedding: In Vegas on our way back to school
Return: the day before fall semester begins

Hotels are booked.
Car has been tuned up.
Arrangements have been made with multiple family members to bum at their homes.
And we are counting down the days.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Hiking Rock Canyon

On Saturday Jon and I took a break from studying and hiked Rock Canyon. It is beautiful here in Utah during the summer. The evenings are the warmest time of day, so this was around sunset:

This is a natural spring / drinking fountain. It is the most delicious and coldest water ever! The heat and the hike might make it seem even better, but seriously, it is so refreshing:

This week will be a crazy one for me. I have all of my normal course-work and studying, volunteering and work, AND a presentation and a mid-term. But get this: Only 4 more weeks! Amazing! These will be the last grades that will be sent to grad school, for me, so I am just trying to keep up my momentum.

I would also like to let everyone know that Jon has requested that we watch Mama Mia TWICE this weekend. I think the Tate's have successfully converted Jon to musicals. He keeps singing the Abba songs, it is hilarious.

Tonight we went to the park and soaked up some rays, I got ahead on some of my studying, and now we just plan on taking it easy for the rest of the night. We talk about how great our vacation is going to be, but truth be told, life is pretty great right now.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy Ever After in Your Eyes

we danced to this song at our wedding... it is still a favorite of mine.

interesting fact I found out today: Ben Harper wrote this song by request of Heath Ledger. Heath Ledger called him and asked him to write a lullaby for his new baby girl. This is the song he composed in response. Beautiful.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Hike to Y Mountain

The Destination: Y Mountain- see the little Y in the picture?

The view of Provo from the parking lot, at the start of the hike:
Happy Hikers:
Jon waving at me while on the "Y"
Sunburnt. Of Course.

In other news. This happened the other night:
that big branch had already been pulled off of their truck in the morning. We used to park right behind them. Good thing we stopped!

Last night we had a mini-BBQ with Ruth and Devin, since they recently got back from their trip to the Phillipines.
We found a fun dog:
and cooked some delicious burgers:
We like Ruth and Devin.

Summer term has started.
Spring was a success:
Jon, A- in econ and A in functional anatomy
Me, B+ in race and diversity, A in marital relationships

This term Jon is taking: organizational effectiveness and physics
he also landed a sweet volunteer position in the ER of the local hospital, go Jon!

I am taking: abnormal psychology and geological field studies (6 hours of hiking a week, wahoo!) I am also taking a GRE prep class, and will be volunteering at the Utah State Hospital (psychiatric hospital) in the physical therapy department. I am basically doing what Jon has actually been trained to do, but with mentally ill people, instead of only physically ill.

We cannot wait to share our stories from volunteering. I am hoping for some good ones!

Thank you for accepting this rushed post as a sufficient update. Love you all.