Sunday, February 21, 2010

San Diego

So this last week I (Kara) set out on an adventure with some of my grad school friends without my beloved Matthew. I went to San Diego for the National APTA (American Physical Therapy Association) Conference called CSM (Combined Sections Meeting). It is called CSM because under the APTA there are many sections represented such as Pediatrics, Neuro, Geriatrics, Orthopedic and so on and so forth and at this meeting they all come together and do one big conference for about half a week and do several different classes. Last year I also went to CSM in Las Vegas. My school is fortunate at this time to have the resident of APTA on faculty, his name is Scott Ward. For the past two years, this year and last year, CSM has fortunately taken place on the west coast. We, as students, have been told that this is not usually the case. Because of this lovely fact, and also the fact that our professors also wanted the chance to go, our classes for the week were cancelled and Scott offered that if we were members of the APTA, the school would pay for our registration fees and we could go to CSM! So, off I went.

Unfortunately, when I went to CSM last year it wasn't the best experience for me, I actually got sick while being there and was in a lot of pain and on top of it I got really homesick, needless to say I didn't have much fun and I wasn't the most fun to be around, but with the help of my classmates, this year was a different story!

The school let us know that there was an opportunity to rent some vans so a group of us could carpool down to San Diego if we wished. There were enough of us willing to do so that we took two mini vans down. We decided that because of the long drive and the fact that we wanted to have plenty of time for fun that we would leave at 5 am in the morning on Wednesday to start on our adventure, and oh what an adventure it was.

Although it was 5 am most of us, at least in the van I traveled in were pretty excited and falling back asleep didn't happen right away, but as sleep was beginning to fall upon the majority of the van, a sudden slowing of the van followed by a loud THUD startled everyone. Jill was driving and announced, "We hit a small animal, it wasn't worth the swerve." Although true we gave Jill a little bit of a hard time about it. We decided to give the rabbit she hit a name and stated, "Peter Cottontail wasn't worth the swerve." Cyndi, who was one that was in a pretty deep sleep even shouted out that she could feel it's head being cracked. I think Cyndi was sleepy! It was pretty funny. We even asked Jill what type of animal might be worth a swerve and she said that a deer would have been worth it. I agree.

On the way down we also made the occasional pit stop, for gas and toileting purposes. On the stop in Baker I got it in my head that I wanted a Gyro at the Mad Greek Restaurant that had several advertisements on the freeway leading up to it. We first stopped at an Arby's and saw that Mad Greek was just two buildings down and the weather was already so nice that Cyndi, Crystal, Katy and I decided that it would be nice to just walk and stretch our legs. This is what we found upon getting closer to the building:

All we saw was the foundation...I was so distraught, but as I turned and gazed into the distance I saw that there was hope, a new building had been erected and my Gyro dreams were still alive! Well, it took us longer than expected to get the food, so I felt bad and I felt even worse when it wasn't the "Best Gyro in the USA", but it was a funny experience!

Somewhere in a small section of the trip Crystal pulled out her Musculoskeletal notes and started to quiz us on the material. At one point in the study session Katy said, "I am pretty confident it is this, but I can't say it with my confident voice", when she said, "Confident voice " her voice got really low and deep. We all started to laugh. It was even funnier to us when it was related to a prior happening in class. About a week before we were doing case studies in class and Lloyd, one of the adjunct professors, told the class to answer confidently and then Mark lowered his voice and said, "Bone Bruise" in regards to a differential diagnosis question.

When we finally got to San Diego we decided to go and pick up our registration information and then go get some grub from one of the restaurants in what is called the GasLamp District. We had our eyes on a Mexican restaurant, but when we got there the wait was and hour, so we went to a place called Sloppy Joey's. It was a hip little pizza and pasta place. One of the cool things about it was that the restaurant right next to it was owned by the same person, so you could order food from either place. As you may have already guessed I chose to have pizza! I couldn't resist that, it's my favorite. I had the works, but after taking off some of the toppings it was more like a supreme pizza. Jill, had a Spicy Vegetarian pizza that smelled great and she let me try one of her jalapenos. I have never had such a spicy jalapeno! By the end of the meal even Jill had to start taking the off. Cyndi's dish, had Mongo Meatballs on top of her spaghetti.

The next day, Thursday, I went to three different classes. First I went to a class with Cyndi about PT interventions in children with neurologic diagnoses. Unfortunately I didn't feel like I learned anything new, but on the upside that says a lot for the program I am in. If nothing else coming to CSM has given me a new respect for the work my professors do to ensure that I am learning the latest and greatest stuff out there. The second class I went to was called "Balance Assessment in Different Settings" and the question the presenters were trying to answer for us was whether or not we can use the same outcome measurements in all of the different clinical settings we are in. The answer is yes, but no. Yes, because based on appropriateness, reliability, validity, interpretability, and acceptability and feasibility the setting the test is performed in does not matter because truly it is the patient, evidence and outcome that we are measuring that matters more. The answer is also no because of the responsiveness a outcome may have or in other words how sensitive an out come is to change. This can be a problem because depending on how low or how high a patient is functioning there can be a ceiling or floor effect which will determine whether or not an outcome measure is feasible to use in a specific setting. Needless to say it was a very good class. On my way to the last class of the day I ran into one of my 3rd years friends, Silvanna. She has been very encouraging and helpful to me over the past year and a half. I have missed her this last semester because she is out on her last two internships so I don't see her at the school anymore. It was nice to catch up with her and discuss what I feel to be the most important things in life. She invited me to join her and a couple of others to go to the San Diego Temple after our last class, but alas, I left my Temple recommend at home. The last class I went to was about using video games such as the Wii as an adjunct in rehabilitation in patients with stroke. This class taught me so many creative tools and strategies that are possible in this field.

That evening a group of us went out to a sushi restaurant called Ra for dinner in celebration of our classmate Mark's birthday. It was really good food and what made it even more spectacular was that we made it just in time for Happy Hour which meant 1/2 off Sushi!! There were several first timers so we kept the menu simple with edamame and cheese wontons as appetizers and with salmon, tuna, yellowtail, Las Vegas and California rolls as our main course. It was really yummy food and because of the 1/2 off deal we each only spent ~$10 including tip! After sushi we went back to our hotel and hung out for a little bit, then went out to a club to do a little dancing. It was a fun and interesting evening. I had the opportunity to see some of my classmates in a different light. It was an interesting time of reflection for me. Earlier that morning I woke up and went out into the hall to spend some time reading my scriptures and feeling the spirit. I would not say that what I felt that evening was in the same arena, but I did gain an understanding of what the Lord truly wants for us and what happiness really entails. I have gained a greater love for my classmates, I think it;s the kind of love that the Lord has for us. I can understand why the Lord is saddened, here are his precious children whom he loves so much, and they are lost. I want to reach out to them and share with them the joy I have found, but it is hard. I don't want to step on toes or offend. I want to be sincere. So I guess that is something I will have to better learn.

On Friday I went to a morning class and then Cyndi, Crystal and I decided to meet up with Caitlyn and Sarah at Coronado Island to spend some time at the beach! To get to the Island we had to take a ferry and then when we got to the Island we had to walk across it to get to the beach. On the walk over to the beach my sister called me and insisted that I call her back as soon as possible. She said she had some news for me. Immediately I knew what the news was, but I called my sister anyway. I wasn't sure if she was pulling a trick on me because she has a tendency to do so. When she answered the phone she was giggling and them told me that she was engaged to Alex. Because of the laughter I was sure that she was pulling a trick on me...although she tries to pull them often she can't help but laugh, but this time there was no trickery, indeed my little sister is engaged! I am excited for her and Alex. I think he will take good care of her and will fit in rather well with the fam. For the trip to the beach I had decided to wear flip flops, unfortunately for me I did not realize how much walking this trip would require and because of the poor condition of my footwear my feet began to ache. It wasn't too bad until we got off the ferry and started to walk back to our hotel, and by the time we got back it hurt to put weight through my right foot, but I persisted and still went to a gathering that Scott Ward was having for us and then even went out and enjoyed wonderful seafood and Extraordinary Desserts with my former boss from Performance Rehab, Dan Mills, his wife Kathy, a former co-worker Brian Cragun and his wife Jaime and one of my professors, Misha Bradford. Dan took us to a fancy restaurant called Blue Point Coastal Cuisine and the food was wonderful and at 30 to 60 dollars per plate it better be right?! Luckily for me I didn't have to pay for that meal. Over the years Dan has truly been a blessing to me. He was great to work for, has had confidence in me, wrote me a letter of recommendation to get into grad school, has given me many opportunities to learn and grow, and has helped me financially by treating me (and other co-workers) to wonderful dinners and fun such as go carts. He has also helped me and Matthew by giving us grocery gift cards. I do not know if he fully knows how much he has blessed my life, all of the staff from Performance Rehab have. I am grateful to know each of them. After the wonderful seafood, Misha said there was a dessert place that we had to try, it is called Extraordinary Desserts and extraordinary they were! All in all it was a great evening and a wonderful opportunity to catch up with old friends and get to know Misha a little better.

Saturday was the day we returned back to freezing Salt Lake City. The van I traveled in left around noon. I had the opportunity of sitting next to Mark Stephens. He is a classmate that upon first meeting, frankly, intimidated me, but in sitting next to him and getting to know him a little better during this trip I have learned what a good, genuinely decent guy he is. He is confident and I think that is what intimidates me about him, not that it is a bad trait at all, but I think it is more because confidence it sometimes my weakness. In the latter part of the trip Mark drove and I was his co-pilot. We talked about family and where we grew up, school, and we jammed to some good music. It was great getting to know him a little better. One thing that he taught me was that in oder to become better in our weaknesses we should spend time with people who have our weaknesses as their strengths, in doing so we can become stronger. Well, that is a little bit of my fun adventure. I will try and get Matthew to write about what he did while I was gone. Until next time!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A LOVEly Week

So as far as school goes this past week has been much better. It's not that the pressures have lightened up it is more that I have been able to handle it a little better. As we have repeated many times over Matthew has been student teaching at Jordan Seminary. He has been enjoying it, but he has also been nervous so it has been hard for him to really be himself and have fun with the students. Every morning I have reminded him to have fun, but it hasn't quite sunk in, that is until this last week. Matthew and I both fasted last Sunday and among the other reasons for fasting we fasted that he would continue to progress and be able to connect and have fun with his students. Monday morning came along and Matthew woke me up to kiss be goodbye and when he did he said, "Kara, today I am going to have fun." When he said it I knew that he finally meant it. It was an interesting moment...a surge of happiness went through my body and it affected my whole day. I think that moment helped my attitude about school this week. Later that morning while on a brake from class I checked my phone and I had a text message from Matthew that said, "I had fun". That was a really nice way to start off the week.

On Tuesday I had the wonderful opportunity to eat at a restaurant called Charlie Chows. It was really good food and for many men out there that can eat loads, it is only about $8 for all you can eat! Another cool thing about the restaurant is that with the all you can eat, you create your own dishes. I definitely recommend trying it! After lunch and a little work on a group project I went with some of my grad friends to the school gym (called the Field House) to play some racquet ball. Trevor has invited me to come play a couple of times and I finally went last week and although I am not very good I had a lot of fun. I even took Matthew to play with me and we enjoyed ourselves.

On Thursday I went to the Friendship Manor to do a visit with Sister Sams and Sister Thompson. We went to visit a new sister that just moved into the branch. Her name is Sandy Terry. She is a wonderful women. It was so fun to hear about her life. She has four children each of whom has a very interesting name. She spent some time in Hawaii and some of the Tongan Islands and so many of her children have names from that area. She also, within the last few years, decided to become a vegan and says that not eating meat and dairy has helped her body overcome many things. She tried to convince me that Matthew and I could easily make the transition to vegan after hearing that we love sushi, but I don't know if I am ready to give up chicken, fish or cheese just yet! What was so wonderful about this visit was how interactive Sister Terry was. She not only had an amazing life story, but she was so interested in us. She asked me to tell her about myself and I told stories of playing tackle football when I was in elementary school and making a funny zucchini infomercial with my husband when we were given a gigantic zucchini. It was such an enjoyable visit I didn't want to leave. After the visit, Matthew came and picked me up and we went and got a quick bite to eat them came home and cleaned. It is so nice to have our home just a little more organized.

On Friday, Elisa came over with her new boyfriend Alex. This was our first time meeting him and it was a fun night. We (I mean Matthew and Alex) went and got some pizza and then we ate and enjoyed talking with one another. I learned the reason behind Alex not eating sugar for the next year and learned how caring he is, not only to my sister, but also to those he is around. After talking for awhile we debated on whether we should play a game or watch a movie. After seeing our game selection Alex switched over to the movie team and we decided to watch Dan in Real Life. About half way through the movie Elisa's friend Shaley, her husband Howard and their baby Chloe came over and we had fun catching up and looking at some photos of Elisa and I. I also enjoyed holding Chloe, she is such a cutie.

Saturday Matthew and I spent the day at home. He was pretty productive, he got our finances, taxes and laundry done, as well as reading for some of the lessons he will be teaching this next week. On the other hand I just played around on my computer organizing pictures and music. Later in the evening we went to the Saturday Night Session of Stake Conference. At the end the leaders showed a movie about John Tanner, who was a member in the early days of the church who gave all he had. He was an amazing man who was full of faith and love. After conference Tiffany and Jason (TJ) came over with their baby Benjamin. Almost immediately Matthew and Jason started to talk about budgeting and finances and went into our office to look at our program. Tiffany and I were able to talk and enjoy one another and Benny. It is so good to have such great friends. Even though we don't live as close together as we have in the past it is always refreshing to be able to get together and feel like we can just pick up where we left off. It is always nice to be able to have friends who are there for you to talk with, get advice from, be lifted up, laugh and even cry with. It is always nice to know that we are not alone.

Today as we all know is the day our nation celebrates love! Don't we all love love? Or at least we all love being in love. For Valentines day this year Matthew and I had sushi, well technically we didn't have it today we had it yesterday and it wasn't the fancy stuff from any restaurant, we just got two small things of sushi from Smith's Marketplace when we went grocery shopping, nevertheless it was still yummy. This morning when I woke up Matthew was on his way out the door to get to a Stake Priesthood Meeting. I went into the living room to continue to work on the gift I was making him when I saw a small bag on the table and it had a little sticky note on it that said I should open it before going to church. Before I opened it I decided to finish the gift I was making Matthew (I know that surprises some of you, especially Matthew because you know how much I love to open gifts, but this proves I have some restraint!). When I finally opened the gift it was 4 pairs of earrings. They are very pretty and I decided to wear the red hoops today! Matthew came home from his meeting and I showed him the gift I got him. While we were engaged Matthew made two CDs for me with love songs and songs that we both liked. I have been wanting to create a couple more CDs with additional songs that we played at our wedding and as I was organizing them when I decided that I would also make a CD for Matthew. So, after getting the rest of our wedding songs on Matt and Kara Volumes 3 and 4, I created Matt and Kara Volume 5 for Matthew for Valentines day! I'm pretty sure he loves it! Unfortunately, I don't know how to make the cd covers so Matthew has to help me finish that part, but I had the music and pictures picked out already. While I finished getting ready for church Matthew made me breakfast...a toasted honey wheat bagel with cream cheese and raspberry jam on it with a cup of apple juice...yum! Now Matthew is starting to make the dessert we are bringing to Iron Chef SLC tonight for the Chinese food and Chocolate Edition so I should go help him, but don't worry I will post on the wonderful food and fun we have tonight real soon (with pics...I promise this time!)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Making New Friends and a Meeting with the Past

I told Matthew that we need to make sure we start bringing the camera with us more so we can take fun pictures of the places we go and people we meet, well for this entry we have again failed to do so, except for a couple of a flower Matthew gave me this past Thursday. So I have been pretty overwhelmed with school and this past week has probably been the peak of my emotional stress level. On Thursday I cracked and broke down in class crying. Luckily it wasn't one of those scream out loud moments so not too many people noticed. There are just times that I feel like I can't possibly remember everything I am learning and when it comes to treating individuals' injuries I don't feel very creative. Anyway, needless to say it had been a pretty hard day. Lately I have been calling Matthew most everyday to get a report on how his teaching went that day. Thursday I called to talk so that I could just calm down before going to work. Unfortunately, Matthew had already gotten to his second job and was unable to answer the phone, so I just left him a message and before I knew it (as usually happens) I was making up a song and singing it to his voicemail. Now for any of you who have heard my made up songs you know they are usually ridiculous, random and usually rhyme. I don't know why, but I love to rhyme. Oh and I can ever remember exactly how my songs go, so each time I try and repeat the same song it always turns out different, this reason along with the fact that many times my songs don't make sense, are why I am not a song writer. This song in particular had something to do with me missing Matthew and wishing we were closer and how I love him so. I know it sounds good, but you didn't hear it! Due to the fact that I was unable to talk to Matthew he did not know I was having a horrible day and yet when he got home he had a flower in hand with a little love note attached. It was a wonderful blessing to me that lifted me up when I was feeling down. Matthew's note was sweet. He also told me that he just felt like he needed to stop and get me a little something. He thought at the time it was just because he had an overwhelming feeling of love for me, but I know that it was also because Heavenly Father knew I needed something.

On Friday night, Matthew and I were invited to go to a little meeting with the seminary student teaching program he is in. I was able to meet the two teachers that have been guiding Matthew as well as some of the other student teachers that are in the program now. It was a wonderful meeting where we learned the importance of likening the scriptures. I have felt the importance of this over the past several months or so. I don't remember what made me feel that this is so important for me in my life, but it has been something I have been focusing on. I think it may have started when I decided that I wanted to study the scriptures by topic for a time. After last April's General Conference I decided that I wanted to study the Young Women Values and I started by looking up faith in the Topical Guide and studying every reference presented. I did this with all of the values and as I was reading the referenced verses I started to ask how these things applied to me and the spirit has been so strong. I just finished all of the values and I am grateful for what I have learned.

After the meeting Matthew and I were hungry so we decided that we would just go and grab something to eat. As we walked out to the car Matthew got the great smirk on his face and said, "I know where we are going!" Then I said, "I love this game!" I said that because every time Matthew has an idea of what to do or where to go or a gift he got me...I love to guess what it is. I feel that I am a pretty good guesser. I think this frustrates Matthew at times, but I think he likes it at the same time. Well, this time I can't remember if I actually guessed it or if he just finally told be , but we headed toward Taco Bell...I know a little silly, but still yummy. Well, we walked in the Taco Bell and before we even got all the way up to the counter one of the workers said, "I just want to let you know that we are out of lettuce, hard shell tacos and those cinnamon things." I thought "What?! This is Taco Bell and you have run out of lettuce and shells and it is only 8:00pm." Needless to say Matthew and I looked at one another and headed out the door. This was a blessing in disguise because it led us to the restaurant that we went to on our first date. It's called The Other Place Restaurant. It is a local family owned place that serves breakfast all the time and also Greek food. Mmmmm, I love Greek food! It was funny because as we were pulling in Matthew and I were talking about our first date and trying to figure out why we had decided to go there. We still can't remember. That's what I get for not writing details down! Anyway, we enjoyed one another and the great Greek food.

On Saturday evening we were invited to go over to our beloved friend Anthony Woolf's home and have dinner with him and his friend that is a girl, Laura. Anthony had previously told us that for every minute we were late we would have to do 5 push-ups (Anthony is in the Army Reserves and knows that Matthew has a tiny tendency to be late). So we were determined not to be late, but as things happened we realized that we would indeed be late, but also as things happen, Anthony is really a big softy and didn't hold us to the push-up punishment. We enjoyed a wonderful chicken dinner and then played Blokus. It is a really fun game of strategy. I think everyone thought I was a little intense, but what can I say I really get into games. I like to trash talk and even though I am a little competitive I really just enjoy playing with my friends.

Today we went to a couple of different parties after church. Now Matthew and I don't really get in to watching sports and usually try and stay away from TV on Sundays, but I felt that it would be a good opportunity to bond more with some of my grad school friends as well as our good friends Cory and Danielle Anderson. It wasn't until we got to Cyndi and Derek's home (I go to school with Cyndi) that I realized that I didn't even know which teams had made it to the Superbowl. That was okay because while there I didn't even really watch it. I just ate some good food and chatted with some of my other classmates that were there. After about an hour Matthew and I head off to the Anderson's. Not only was this party for the Superbowl, but it was also for Cory's upcoming birthday. We love the Anderson's. We meet them in the 11th ward shortly after we got married. The ward was having a weekend camping trip in Moab and the Anderson's called us the morning of the trip and asked if we wanted to carpool. At the time we had no idea who they were, but we didn't have anyone else going with us, so we took a chance hoping they wouldn't be crazies and ending up making some really good friends. It just reminds me that taking chances can change your life!