Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Respect for the BRAIN!

As a dancer, I have a lot of respect for bodies. They are capable of so much! This has been helpful since I'm learning probably more than I ever thought I could know about body function in physiology class. We recently started learning about the central nervous system - just in time for me to finish reading the book Siezed by Eve Laplante.

Siezed was recommended to me by my mother. We've enjoyed sharing thoughts on books this year. The brain has always been something I've had at least a vague interest in. My father works remarkably hard- doing brain research. He's conducted this research my whole life, and even won research awards from the Epilepsy Society and years worth of grants from the NIH (National Institute of Health). You can imagine how terrified he was to hear that my mother had a grand mal seizure last year at work - he knows the implications of something like that.

I like to think I have a broader knowledge of epilepsy and all that it entails thanks to my father's research and my mother's health. But I learned so much from reading this book- another book that I truly believe all should read. The book discussed how so often those with epilepsy try to hide it because they think those who know they have the disease will think less of them for it. How terrible to have an illness and feel the need to hide it from the world when it has such a great affect on your quality of life.

Siezed focuses primarily on those with Temporal Lobe Epilepsy (TLE), a kind of disease I think most have never even heard of. People with TLE don't always have the typical seizure that the general public pictures when they hear the word. They don't physically seize- but their brain does. Some of these most would not even recognize as a seizure (my mother didn't even with a brain researcher for a husband.) Ever had deja vu? The deja vu feeling is brought on by activity in your brain that resembles a seizure. Don't worry - having deja vu doesn't mean you have epilepsy... The sensation of "jamais vu" is a form of seizure. It is like deja vu in reverse- you are in a familiar place- a street you drive everyday for example- but can't figure out which way to go. A strong smell - known as an aura - can be a form of seizure or a sign a seizure is coming. Not being able to speak, when you know you should - seizure. A feeling of doom- seizure. Obsessiveness - could be a seizure... and worst of all - the altering of your personality - seizure, and symptom of TLE. This disease is so life altering- and so difficult to treat (anticonvulsants have little affect on most).

Other interesting facts I gained from this book? Chubby brown-eyed babies tend to be quite gregarious while skinny blue-eyed babies are often shy (explains my occasional shyness- I was a very skinny, very blue-eyed baby...). Most people we now consider geniuses most likely had TLE- or at least displayed many of its symptoms. Hypergraphia (a symptom of TLE where you write endlessly) is believed to be the reason we have such works as Crime and Punishment or Notes from the Underground. Van Gogh's personality quirks as a result of TLE could have been why he cut off his own ear... and the list goes on and on. Similarly, many people incarcerated for violent crimes could be victims of TLE... A tiny scar on your brain from a head bump, a fever, even deprivation of oxygen at birth, all could lead to TLE... There is just so much that is unknown about the brain and it manages to be terrifying and fascinating at the same time.

So anyway... read this book - it helps with your world awareness - always a good thing. You might even learn something about your own brain! Mostly I learned that there is still a lot that we have left to learn... No one can claim they complete understand the workings of the brain... It is our body's last frontier...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Perfect Fall Evening

Last night I met up with my friend Brittney and some of her friends for the perfect fall evening- what a blast. We packed a picnic and drove down to Provo (ick, home of the team down south- amongst BYU fans fresh off a win over Colorado State- oh no!) and headed up Provo Canyon for a night hike. After dark, at around 8:30 we headed up Diamond Fork Trail and an hour later arrived at the Fifth Water Hot Springs! We were thinking we might be the only ones up there so late, but the place was packed!!! To avoid the crowds we headed to the springs that were a bit hotter a little further up near a beautiful waterfall and encountered a few skinny dippers with their dog. We eventually figured out our perfect peaceful place - away from the crowds - just near the waterfall where the cold water met up with the hot. It was a balancing act, and we had to keep the water moving to avoid being scalded on one side and frozen on the other... but ultimately our private waterfall grotto was worth it. After opening some wine and fresh fruit- we turned off the headlamps and flashlights and admired the stars for hours until our fingers got pruney.

I didn't get any pictures, because it was so dark (what- Sara without pictures???), but this is what the springs look like in the daylight. This is a hike I am definitely going back to- very very soon. Such a fantastic night!!!

Friday, September 25, 2009

3 Weddings down... 1 (or 2) to go...?

My best friend, Diana Neal, got married last week to Tyler Timothy... finally. Haha, I say this jokingly because they have been dating for almost 7 years! They are high school sweethearts and since all us dancers just graduated from college, it was the perfect time to finally tie the knot.

KJ - the playa- look at all those lovely ladies!

The ladies!!!

I was a witness on their marriage license!!!

Bride and Bridesmaids!

Diana and Tyler's first dance!!!

The ceremony took place in the Old Meeting House in Salt Lake City, UT. Both their families were there and everyone looked fabulous! It was a beautiful, small ceremony, followed by a fantastic reception filled with good friends and dancing to a jazz band! Beautiful evening! They are in Mexico right now- having a blast on their honeymoon- and I can't wait till they come back and start their new lives together as husband and wife! (Last time Diana was out of town, it was with me in Greece... so I can't wait for her to come home!)

Next wedding(s) - Rachel and Nate in Washington on October 10th... Gina and Teaguer ALSO get married on the 10th... I'm excited to see Rachel, but sad to miss Gina's ... weddings, weddings, weddings!!!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Girls Getting into Trouble- the Bachelorette Party of Diana Neal

Several members of the class of 09 reunited to celebrate Diana's last night out!!! It was so so so nice to all get together again! Nothing like seeing a pack of girls together having a ball!

After meeting downtown and decorating my dad's car with "hot chick outta control" stickers, the night officially began with dinner at Cafe Trio - a Salt Lake favorite. Good food and good company! We got several stares from the other restaurant goers - 8 great girls laughing and having a good time- we may have dominated the restaurant a little.

Next... well... I can check going to a strip club off my to do list. Yes we did. Good times. We even learned how to make it rain dolla billz on the dancers. Although, I must admit, you have to have skillz to get our dolla billz - our BFA's make us a tough audience.

Next stop: Cisero's on Main Street in Park City. It was rather deserted since none of the skiiers have arrived yet, but that only worked to our advantage. The few guys that were there were only too happy to have us arrive and paid for our drinks the rest of the night. The bartender got dolla billz rained on him as well... had to put our new skill to good use.

Our adventure then took us to Destiny's family cabin in the mountains outside of Heber. We had a bit of trouble finding it on the crazy dark dirt road at 2 in the morning... but the cabin was worth the search complete with hot tub, pool table, home theater (and recliners), and the 6 or so bedrooms. After our epic sleepover we sadly had to return home for class/work/life. Too bad... Great Night! Much love to the class of 09 and congrats to Diana! MY BEST FRIEND GETS MARRIED TOMORROW!!! YAAAAAAAY!!!!!

2 weddings down 2 to go!

Camille and Cameron got married last weekend! Yes, I am doing homework on a Friday night, and of course taking a break to document the fun that was had! Camille was a fabulous bride... the zipper on her dress split right before the ceremony... I would have cried - but Camille handled it with complete grace. If she had any nervousness, she didn't show it - she had so much poise.
Highlight of the wedding... the bride joined the kids in the blow up jumpy castle thing. Then was joined by her husband- then of course joined by her dance friends. We didn't let our pretty dresses keep us from having some good barefooted fun.

Camille and Cameron met skiing at Snowbird a few years back. For those that know Camille, this is not surprising. These two are going to have so many skiing, river rafting, mountain climbing adventures - I can't wait to see all the fun they have! Much love!

Silly dancers fighting over the bouquet!

Diana and Tyler get married tomorrow! Can't wait!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Can't believe it's been 8 years!

I am home watching footage of September 11, 2001 - a day that changed the lives of so many people in this country and the world. I was so young when this happened - watching the old footage still brings tears and I watch with dread knowing they will fall. When the first plane hit I was home doing my hair, getting ready for school. There was radio footage on the drive to school - it sounded like a big deal, but they wouldn't say what happened ... we thought it was a radio host getting worked up about a Denver Bronco's broken leg. By the time I got to class I laughed when someone told me a plane had crashed into a building in New York. It sounded so ridiculous - what a silly mistake. We watched the news instead of class and a little while later watched the towers fall on live TV. Watching something like this happen in front of you changes you and your thoughts about the world. How heartbreaking that something so dreadful could happen in the world we live in.

In memory of all who died that day... sending love out into the world.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


9/9/9 is shaping up to be a BIG NIGHT! If I could be 4 places at once tonight, I would...

1. Diana's bridal shower- where I will actually be and obviously the most important...

2. Physiology class - where I will regret not being come class Monday...


4. Watching Obama talk about Health Reform!

Where is the Harry Potter time-turner when you need it?!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A dance blog at the U! YESSSSS!!!

So... I was logging on to the University of Utah website yesterday and saw news about this blog- the U's Red Thread - and recognized a very familiar name. My former professor, Steve Koester, will be writing weekly about the TV show, So You Think You Can Dance! I know I will be a regular reader, and everyone else should too!

I have taken many classes with Steve - most recently a class called "contemporary views" where we discussed what makes art and what makes dance - not as much of a straight forward definition as you would think. On a particular day, SYTYCD was actually a topic we discussed. Steve has a knack for making you think about things and picking them apart in a way that you would not have done on you own... and ultimately you are more satisfied with your understanding even though the process might be frustrating. For example: One day we were asked to give a definition of what dance is. All of our definitions were similar with subtle differences. Then we were asked to define art - what is art? And finally entertainment- what is entertainment? How does it differ from art? and how is it the same? Then we watched this video. . .

REALLY WATCH IT!!! Does this fit in your definitions? Is it dance? Is it art? Is it entertainment? Does it make you want to change your definitions at all? ... excellent thoughts to ponder upon.

I myself go back and forth with my love of the show SYTYCD. It's a fun show, I love watching dance on mainstream media, and really it's just incredibly entertaining. And that's just it - it's my guilty pleasure - it's entertaining, but is it art? Not really. And my modern dance mind gets bothered by that sometimes. There was an episode a few years back that had a dance that was a little different, out of the ordinary, but still beautiful and actually a little bit thought provoking. It was completely trashed by the judges because in the words of Nigel Lythgoe, "I didn't understand it, and I don't like things I can't understand." At that moment I realized why they never have modern dance on the show. I have studied modern dance intensively for the last 4 years and I still see modern dances that I don't understand- but they make me think - and that's a good thing!!! SYTYCD is promoting dance as entertainment in a really big way which is totally awesome, but are we losing the art part of it at the same time?

Steve is the king of thought provoking. I went to see a show last year that was all his own choreography - amazing. The final piece had absolutely beautiful dancing, but ultimately I remember the meaning and feelings I got from it. It began by introducing his dancers... I-Phen Ling, this age, her marital status, weight, height, Taiwanese, NOT Chinese, and then began listing off these incredible insights about her, and down the line with every dancer. At times they were interesting little known facts, and then sometimes I felt like that fact was so private, I didn't have the right to know it. What courage for those performers to be so exposed - physically and emotionally. Later in the dance he started asking questions of the audience... Have you ever stolen something? Did you lie about it? Have you cheated? Of course answers were not expected - but it got you thinking. And you could feel the entire audience go stiff not only thinking about the times they have done those things, but now wondering about the times the person sitting next to them has. It was quite uncomfortable watching that dance, but man did you learn a lot from it!

I could summarize all the awesome things Steve says... or you could just read the blog. Do that.

Friday, September 4, 2009


Yesterday, I posted this as my facebook status: "No one should die because they cannot afford healthcare and no one should go broke because they get sick. If you agree post this as your status for the rest of the day." Many friends of mine had this posted as well... and a few commented on it... "You get what you pay for" etc. Yes- I can understand that view... you get what you pay for... STILL no one should DIE because they cannot afford healthcare and no one should go BROKE because they get sick...

Ok, I know views on healthcare can be a touchy topic. A lot of people are for universal healthcare, or a public option, and a lot of people are against it. A lot of people fear having the government run something so important- because we all know they don't always run things that well... people are worried the quality of healthcare will go down... worried that you will be put on a list and not be able to get the care you need... lots of worries. I understand these worries - change can be scary! BUT I really do think change needs to happen and this is why...

Take for example my parents. Both are PhD educated, both have worked hard their whole lives, have jobs they are great at that contribute to the world, raised a good family, and saved for retirement. They are pretty set financially and are only a few years away from completely owning a beautiful home in Colorado where they can spend their later years. They also have fantastic health insurance - which really came in handy when my mother needed brain surgery last December... because brain surgery is expensive and unexpected and even my parents savings could not have covered it. My dad is almost 62 - in a few years he will be 65 - he could retire and be eligible for medicare. The problem here is that my mother is 10 years younger than my dad - and her job has no health insurance. If my dad were to retire at 65, he would be eligible for medicare, but my mother would not. Because she now has a pre-existing condition- it would be close to impossible to find fairly priced health insurance for her. Seizure medication, EEG's, and another brain surgery would be impossible for my family to pay for without insurance if my mother ever needed it... If something happened where my dad could no longer work and my mother's health got worse, health bills could only be paid by selling the family house... Should my parents lose their house because of bad health and healthcare policies?

I recently met a woman who just became a single mom. She has four children under the age of four! She told me that she has to make less than $700 a month to qualify for Medicaid. She gets paid $1100 a month in child support... so that option is out. The cheapest health insurance she could find for her family is $900 a month. Of course that is out of the question for them. She is currently trying to find a job with health benefits - until then... let's hope everyone stays healthy- right?

I read a TIME magazine article about a man who got fired from his job and lost his health insurance. He was working a job without health benefits for 3 years. During those 3 years he had temporary health insurance in 6 month installments... he didn't buy better health insurance because he was hoping to again find a job that covered him. 2 and a half years into those 3 years his kidneys started to fail. He was covered for the next 6 months... when he tried to get another 6 month installment of health insurance he was viewed as a new customer by that company with a previous condition and was denied further coverage. He now has no health insurance- because no one would cover him- and can't work because of his rapidly declining health... what is he to do? He always had health insurance... but it's not doing him any good now.

Yes, all those concerns about universal healthcare are legitimate. BUT the current system is not working. You don't always get what you are paying for. No one should die because they can't afford healthcare, and no one should go broke because they get sick.

Period. Exclamation point.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Sans Limites Crochet goes online!

My project for this three day weekend is to do some investigating and get my small farmer's market booth online!!! YEAH! I have been crocheting since I was 9 years old. In the beginnings, I sold some items on the Colorado State University campus just days after my 16th birthday and donated the money to the Epilepsy Foundation ( My senior year of high school, shocked like the rest of the world by the Tsunami just after Christmas, I held another sale at CSU along side UNICEF and again donated the money (

Now that I am a college student (and becoming a professional college student, so it would seem) I have been taking the little profit for myself. 3 years ago, I officially started Sans Limites Crochet and woke up at 5 AM every Saturday to drive all my stuff down to Pioneer Park and set up for the Farmer's Market. The summer after that I sold at the Farmer's Market, the Park Silly Sunday Market, and the Sugarhouse Art Fair. This year with all my travels, adventures, and weddings, keeping a regular business has been impossible. SOOO... since my stock of crocheted hats keeps growing... I am attempting to move it online! Keep an eye on Etsy- a website kind of like Ebay only it is specifically for handmade arts - an account of mine should be popping up there soon!

And in the mean time... there is now a facebook fan page. Check it!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Some Tea Tag Wisdom

I am pretty well - behaved when it comes to the liquids I consume. I don't drink soda unless I'm on an airplane and it's free. I don't drink coffee unless it is that mostly milk version from starbucks on an early morning road trip with me as the driver. And I rarely consume any alcoholic beverages, although I am currently sipping on a New Belgium Fat Tire only in honor of both the Tour de Fat AND the Rocky Mountain Showdown all going down this weekend in Colorado. Tea is my only vice. So I consume a lot of it in all sorts of varieties.

Normally I am loyal to Celestial Seasonings (another fabulous company from COLORADO!) but lately I've been drinking Yogi Tea. Since I am no longer dancing 6ish hours a day I'm trying to do at least an hour of yoga every morning in between all my studying, so I thought some Yogi tea would be fitting. By far the best part about it is the tea tag wisdom that I am greeted with each morning. I start my day with sayings such as...

"Love what is ahead by loving what has come before."
(Very fitting for a recent college grad that finds herself back in school and is trying to adjust.)

"The beauty of life is to experience yourself."

"The art of happiness is to serve all."

"Share your strengths, not your weaknesses."

"You are remembered for your goodness."

and most importantly... "Keep Up."

Thank you, Yogi Tea, for my much needed morning encouragement now that I find myself in classes where I no longer feel like the expert.

Now onto some studying ... most likely with a friendly cup of tea.