31 08 2007

This morning I wished that I was a religious person. I think it would be nice to believe in God, to believe in an afterlife, to have faith, to have peace.

My grandmother died yesterday. She was one of the most amazing people I have ever known. She lived 97 years, 10 months and 15 days.

She took care of me a lot when I was a child. I loved to go over to her house and spend time with her. She loved children. She created various card games to play with me (Four on the Board was a personal favorite of mine – though the rules long ago succumbed to senile dementia). She was always up for anything.

Over the past five years, her mind slipped away. It killed me to see her like that. I left her house bawling this past Christmas (she didn’t know it was Christmas and probably couldn’t fathom the meaning of Christmas at that time). I perhaps only saw her 5-10 times between Christmas and now. Days, weeks flew by and I hadn’t seen her. Then it was too late… I am really struggling with this. I loved her so much and I feel like I may have let her down because I wanted to remember her as she was. She was always there for me, and I was busy with my own life…

So, I ask myself – what happens after we die? I wish I had faith, I wish I had an answer. Nobody in my family has died since I was 14. Nobody this close to me has ever died. Is she out there? If she is, at what stage in her life is her soul at? Is she young and carefree or is she old and confused? Is she with her husband and loved ones or do they all cease to exist?

To me, she will remain my grandma who really loved me. But, she was so much more, she was young like me, she was a girl, a sweetheart, a new wife, a mother…

Why can’t I just believe? It would be such a comfort.

I am crying at the computer. I am a mess.


The Stuff That Nightmares are Made From

27 08 2007

Don’t let the title fool you, we had an overall great time on the SCUBA trip.

There were 11 people on the trip. I knew two of them (myself and my husband). There were two other men around our age (30) and 7 men in the 50+ range. Demographically daunting for me at first, but everyone was very nice. They all had a story to tell and I was interested to hear them all…

When we were first travelling to Bull Shoals, I was a bit apprehensive. The dive instructor was reading Harry Potter 7. Another person saw this and commented on how he would never buy an HP book because he saw JK Rowling on Larry King and she made some disturbing comments during the interview. He quoted her as saying that she donates 10% of her earnings to the Church of Satan and that all of the spells in her book were real spells with one or two words changed. I don’t know how I kept my mouth shut, but I managed to do so. Surprisingly as the weekend wore on this person turned out to be rather intelligent, which makes the above HP comments even more disturbing. I did a quick Google search for the comment and found nothing even close…

Anyway, we are now certified Open Water SCUBA divers, meaning we can now go SCUBA diving without an instructor anywhere in the world, up to 60 feet deep. We are going to be planning a trip to the FL Keys at the end of November…

All 11 of us stayed on a 50-foot long house boat. This was way out of my comfort zone. It was very cramped and extremely lacking in the commodity of privacy. After the first day I got used to it and had a good time. I went to bed with my ipod a little early each night and vegged out listening to some audio books.

We went night diving last night. This entails going SCUBA diving in the dark using an underwater flashlight. It made the terrain look extremely creepy. There was an underwater forest there. The humongous Bull Shoals lake was created by the implementation of a dam. The trees had no leaves and the limbs were covered in algae. It looked like something straight out of The Nightmare Before Christmas. An unforgettable sight…

Tales From the Kitchen

23 08 2007

Flashback to May 2007. the blog author and her friend Jennifer are packing for the big move to suburbia. The blog author finds directions for stove and puts them in a safe place for the next owners of the house.

Three days later husband goes to cook chicken nuggets in said stove. Wife smells smoke and insists the house in on fire. Husband thinks that a piece of chicken fell into the bowels of the stove and will soon extinguish itself as it burns to a crisp. The house starts to fill with smoke and the fire alarm goes off.

Husband further researches the situation as there is no apparent fire. He discovers a concoction of melting plastic and smoldering ashy paper.

Husband to Wife – “Did you put some papers in the stove?”
W to H – “No,”
H to W – “Are you sure?”
W to H – “Yes, why would I do that?”
H to W – “Somebody put some papers in the stove and they are on fire.”
W to H – “Maybe Jennifer did it. I don’t use the stove.”
H to W – “It’s the directions for the stove.”
W to H – “Oh. I put them in the storage drawer for the people that buy our house. It would be good for them to have the directions. Maybe Jennifer moved them.”
H to W – “That’s the broiler. You cook things in there.”
W to H – “Oh.”

I am a domestic goddess. What a lucky man. Good thing he can cook his own nuggets!

Fox Trotting at a Family Friendly Gay Bar

21 08 2007

Prior to our wedding, my husband and I took dance lessons at the Universalist Unitarian Church. Two couples that we are friends with also partook in the fun.

This was important because one is expected to dance at their wedding.

Being an extremely uncoordinated person, I was bad – extremely bad. I got lots of attention from the teachers during the three lessons we attended. It saddened me to see my husband paired up with other partners and cutting a rug while I danced with the male instructor and got nowhere.

After a few weeks of lessons and living room practice, I “mastered” the fox trot (read: got the box step down).

One weekend we decided that it would be a grand time to go out dancing with the aforementioned other couples. And it was. Mind you we couldn’t find a dance floor in the downtown Peoria area that was large and uncrowded enough for trotting ministrations. We went several places. Finally we tried a gay bar called Diesel. They had a dance floor and a seating area nearby with a giant shoe.

We trotted our hearts out on that dance floor (trotted as well as once can to techno music). The other patrons seemed to be not only accepting of us, but intrigued by us. I offered to teach them to trot, but there were no takers…

That was a memorable night, I want to do it again… Any takers?

Happy Anniversary

19 08 2007

Today is our 1 year wedding anniversary. It has been a good day and a good year.

A lot of things have occurred in the past year, but we made it with no relationship snafus along the way. We travelled to Hawaii and Washington DC. Craig got a new job. I had surgery for gall bladder disease, that did not go as expected and left me with a 12 inch scar and a 6 week recovery. Our house was hit by bullets and we moved to a new area. Things have went well between us and I am glad that we are together.

We are going to gain some new skills in year two, skills that we can do together. The first is cooking. The second is camping. I would like to try camping, but I don’t like the idea of going to the bathroom on the ground. I tried it once and it was an unsuccessful endeavor.

Label me domestically challenged. I have used the stove in this house twice since we moved in on 5/25/07. We are going to learn to be culinary achievers – people that don’t forage for meals at restaurants and in the frozen food section of the supermarket. Don’t expect anything fancy. These are the things we aspire to make first: grilled garlicky shrimp and chicken fettuccine Alfredo. More to follow on this topic.

I must stop typing and finish the day with my husband. We went on a long bike ride on the Rock Island Trail. We had ice cream at Jane’s Ice Box in Dunlap. It is a nice restaurant and stop along the trail. I hope it stays in business for a long time. Then we did a little shopping. We are going to finish watching Zodiac now. It is long, but very watchable. I am very interested in finding out more about the true events.

We went to Borders. I bought the last copy of the book we selected for the book club. They are going to order five more so that others can get it as well. I have read the first chapter and I can’t wait to finish it. It seems like it will be a book to devour in one sitting. I haven’t had one of those in a while, so I am really looking forward to reading more later.

Mouring the Passing of my Third Decade

9 08 2007

It is the eve of my fourth decade. I have always looked upon birthdays as a way to reflect upon and evaluate my life. There is so much to think about. What do I want my thirties to be like? What do I want to accomplish over the next ten years? What directions do I want my relationships, hobbies, career and general life to go in?

The most important thing will be to continue to develop better relationships with my husband, family and friends. I need to spend more quality time with all of the people that are special to me. I need to make time to see my family, especially my grandparents. I have not been a very good grandchild and I need to rectify that and make some more memories with them.

Another goal (and one I thus far been unable to achieve) is to create and maintain an overall healthy lifestyle. I am either very dedicated or very unfocused. There is no in between. It never seems to be okay to toe the line in either direction. I need to work on this for sure, and eventually get to a point where I can do it without effort.

Aside from these two things, I will continue to add things and complete things on my life goal list.

A wise man once told me to cease worrying. I have only lived a small portion of my life and there is so much more to come that I couldn’t begin to imagine. Here’s to the next 2/3 of my life!

All of My Friends Used to be Anorexic

6 08 2007

An opinion piece in the local newspaper caught my attention today.

Recent research has shown that friends of the same gender tend to become obese when a friend becomes obese.

My weight tends to go in cycles from obese on the BMI to overweight on the BMI and back again. Friends, I feel sorry for you. I would understand if you got rid of me and went back to the binge and purge method of weight loss.