Thursday, July 30, 2009

The cute boy and the widow

The cute boy rang the bell around 6:00. The widow was watching a ball game and thinking that the Florida Marlins have really annoying announcers. Pausing the game (gotta love TIVO!), the widow corralled the dogs on the stairs and stepped outside into 108 degree weather to see what the cute boy was trying to sell.

The widow listened impatiently to the cute boy. "Doesn't he know I am trying to watch the game?" she thought. She watched the bees (all three of them) swarming around and then disappear into the eaves of the house and thought she really should knock down the nests before they become full blown hives. She continued to listen to the cute boy's sales pitch, hoping he would hurry it up because damn, it was hot outside (record-breaking heat, in fact).

And then he smiled. And he had dimples. And the next thing she knew, the widow had an appointment set up for Saturday morning with the pest control people and a contract for the next year (insect-not to be confused with the already existing pest control-mouse contract).

At least someone else will be killing the spiders for a change. After many years of having to be the conqueror of the arachnids, that will be a nice change of pace.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


I saw a plaque today with the following quote by Martin Luther King, Jr.:

"Faith is taking that first step, even when you can't see the entire staircase."

I almost bought the plaque and I kind of wish I would have. I am trying to cut back on impulse spending and if I decide it is something I really need to have, it is at a store I can easily return to.

After I read the quote I thought that even when I can see the entire staircase, I still fall down the stairs, thinking back to 4th of July weekend when I did just that trying to be quiet so I wouldn't wake my godson who was sleeping on my couch.

So much of life is about faith, and right now that is in short supply for me. I am not even sure what to have faith in. A happy ending? I would like that, but at times I just shake my head and ask myself who the hell I think I am kidding. The truth is I still believe in happily ever after. I want that for myself; I just don't have faith that anyone other than James will take a chance on me.

I know part of this is stemming from my little experiment with eHarmony, in which I have had close to 70 matches and only 1 express interest. He didn't strike my fancy for a variety of reasons, the biggest being that he is not a pet person and my profile clearly states that my dogs and I are a package deal. All I can hear in my head is my dad asking me what is wrong with me that I can't attract a man. I know I shouldn't let it get to me but it's getting really hard not to-it is bringing back too many bad memories of my pre-James attempts at online dating, and all I want to do is shut down and run away and live alone with my memories of James. Although I paid for 3 months, I am seriously thinking about cancelling my subscription. It's not worth it for me to do something that is making me feel so, well, worthless and unattractive.

I also know a huge part of this is due to hormones. I swear if I could, I would just cut out my ovaries and sell them on eBay. It's not like I need them for anything. The 6th is next week, meaning that almost a year and a half has passed since the night James died. How the hell did that happen? This is the first time the calendar has worked out that the "blessed time" is not on the 6th so I am seeing for the first time how much of an "influence" hormones have on my grieving process. It is considerable.

I will bounce back. I will find a way to restore my faith that everything will work out the way it is intended to and it will be good. I deserve good-I want good-I need good. For today, however, I took a step without seeing the entire staircase and I fell down the stairs.

Monday, July 27, 2009

When I grow up, I want to be a rebel

My last photography class is tonight. I really don't want to go. It's 100 degrees outside and even though I have AC in my car, the sun will still beat down on me as I drive to class. The classroom is not air-conditioned-at least it didn't seem to be last week and it was not nearly this hot out. I believe we are just going over editing software and the one we have in class is not the one I have at home. I'm tired, cranky, don't tolerate the heat well and just want to stay home and watch "Castle," which I am now hooked on thanks to my co-worker and my cousin.

This is a class I am taking for fun. It's not being graded. No one cares if I show up or not. They already got their money. For all the Evergreen School District cares, I could spend tonight selling Sno-Cones on my front porch. And yet, I feel guilty for not wanting to go just like I did when I was in high school and college. I am 35, and I still feel guilty about the thought of skipping class-how sad is that? It is because I am a good girl. Good girls don't skip class. They go and they take good notes just in case the cute boy isn't there or later needs help understanding something. (Cute boy apparently forgot to sign up for this class). Good girls do their homework and teachers love them.

Rebels don't care if they skip class. Rebels pay good girls to do their homework because they know good girls (not so) secretly have a thing for their bad boy ways but will never admit to it. (Side note: I have never done homework for a rebel or anyone else for that matter. I did have a (not so) secret thing for their bad boy ways however. That I outgrew). Rebels don't care what others think and only go to class to scope out which good girl to get to do their homework. Rebels have more fun. I want to have more fun.

I know that I am going to end up going to class. I may have to stop and get a pina colada Fruitista Freeze from Taco Bell on the way. (Rebels drink real pina coladas. Of course, they aren't allergic to alcohol). It's the last class, and good girls never skip-not even the last day.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


November 11, 2004: Dad dies at age 53 due to complications from adult onset diabetes. It was expected.

March 3, 2005: My father-in-law dies at age 67 due to liver failure the day after being told that with some lifestyle changes, he would have another year or two to live.

July 16, 2006: My cousin dies from massive head injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident. He was 22.

March 30, 2007: Grandma dies from heart failure at the age of 86.

September 8, 2007: James' aunt dies after slowly declining following almost dying in 2005. I am not sure the official cause of death; we just think she lost her will to live. I'm not sure how old she was-in her 60's, I believe.

February 6, 2008: James dies of a heart attack while driving home from work. He was 41.

March 17, 2008: James' aunt dies after a 3-year battle with lung cancer that spread to her brain shortly after being told she was thisclose to being in remission. She was 58 or 59.

The family members that I have a good, strong relationship with now consist of my mother, my brother, my mother-in-law and James' cousin.

I am afraid that I will let a good thing slip through my fingers because I will keep someone at arms' length out of fear that as soon as I let my guard down and allow myself to get close and allow someone to get close to me, he will just up and die too. I am hoping that being aware of this possibility will help me work through it when the time comes.

And the winner is...

The first to produce ripened tomatoes is Cherry with not 1 but 3! I suspect she is going to be the overachiever of the bunch.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


I'm doing two posts tonight because 2 of my 5 faithful readers have already heard the Charlie story. By the way, thank you to my faithful readers. You inspire me to keep doing this, especially you Supreme Goddess #1. :o)

Over Memorial Day weekend, I posted about planting a small tomato garden. I have also mentioned that my attempts at gardening consist of me putting things in the ground and them dying. I am thrilled that it has been 8 weeks and I have technically not killed any of the plants (it seriously doesn't take much to make me happy)! Yea! Roma is not making a strong showing, but she's hanging on and this afternoon I noticed she has a tomato sprouting, or blooming, or whatever it is they do. Right now, Early Girl and Cherry seem to be in a race for who is going to ripen first, but Cherry has a lot more fruit. Beef Steak is currently in 3rd place. This is actually Beef Steak II since Sammy killed the first one right after I planted it, so he was about a week behind right out of the gate. Yes, I have decided my tomato plants are having a contest. I really am that easily amused, which made life pretty dang easy for James and will make life pretty dang easy for Mystery Husband #2 as well.

With all these tomatoes in the works, it looks like I might need to find (or invent) a good salsa recipe!

Early Girl


Beef Steak

"But he is black and white"

I should probably put this on the photography blog because it is related to class, but oh well. The beauty of it being my blog is I can do whatever I want with it. (Yeah, I'm feeling a bit sassy at the moment).

Monday night, after we went over the last concept the instructor wanted to teach us, he gave us an introduction to photo editing software. I have mixed feelings on this. On one hand, I can see cleaning photos up but on the other, it changes what has been captured and I kind of think it is cheating in a way. Finally, at 8:30. we were allowed to start playing with pictures of our own. I was pretty ticked at this point because we were supposed to get to start playing at 8:00 and this only gave us a 1/2 hour before class ended. I have Photoshop CS2 at home. In class, we are using Adobe Elements, which seems so much easier to use. I need a book for CS2, I think. James had one that he borrowed from the library at work and I gave it back after he died. They were pretty anxious that I do so and were very accommodating by agreeing to meet me halfway, which was very nice. They also brought the stuff from his desk at the same time so I wouldn't have to go and pack it up myself or have his best friend, who works in the same building, do it for me.

Anyway, back to class. I was playing with the following photo of Charlie:

The first time Mr. S. came around, I had managed to make the ball a darker shade of red to closer match what it looks like to my eyes. He asked if I had cropped the picture already or if it was great composition to start with. I pulled up the original so he could see I had only changed the ball and he said that it was a great picture to begin with (I have to agree since I am still feeling sassy). Later, when he made his second pass, I had figured out how to put "before" and "after" pictures side-by-side to see the changes. I was messing with the colors and saturation and made the ball lime green and the couch purple. He seemed impressed with my changes, and made the comment that I had almost succeeded in making the dog black and white. He was referring to a technique, but I just looked at him confused and said "But he is black and white." He looked at me, laughed and said it was much easier to achieve the effect when the subject was black and white to begin with.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


I am hosting bunco tonight. I have played with this group since before I met James, although most of the faces have changed over the years.

I should be downstairs frantically straightening the house and getting the snacks ready. But I'm not. I am sitting here at the computer instead feeling I have all the time in the world. It's a strange feeling for me to not be stressed out about it. Maybe I am learning to go with the flow, or maybe I am just too tired to care. I wonder if I can call Starbucks now and place my order for tomorrow morning?

Maybe part of it has to do with James not being here to take orders from me on how to properly slice veggies and present the snacks (I'm all about the presentation) and get slightly impatient as I am not ready to give him his next task when he is ready for it. Last year when I hosted bunco for the first time since his death, I had 2 friends magically appear to help me and to keep me calm. This year, I am on my own. And I am surprisingly calm about it. There is a puzzle and a cross stitch on the card table that need to not be there. There is crap all over the dining table and island. There are dishes on the counter to put away. Salami and cheese and bread need to be sliced. Artichoke dip may or may not need to be heated. Chips need to go in a bowl. Cream puffs need to be thawed, etc, etc, etc. And I find that I just don't care. Actually, the cream puffs sound good.

I have two hours to pull all this together. I work well under pressure, luckily as I am sure there is much more to be done than I am thinking of off the top of my head. I guess I'll go get started-not because I feel I need to, but because I want to watch as much of the Braves' game as I can before my guests arrive, which I will do while I am working.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

It is what it is. But does it have to be?

I have a couple of lines of thought going through my little brain and I am not sure how they relate or if they even do at all.

For several months now, I have been sick of the phrase "it is what it is." At first, I thought it was simply because of how overused it is. Every time I turn around, someone else is saying it, or so it seems. But about a month or so ago, I realized it wasn't just the overuse of it that was annoying me-it is the resigned acceptance that goes with it. Why just accept things as they are? Why not try to change them?

I realize that some things cannot be changed and therefore have to be dealt with as they are. James has died. It is what it is-I cannot do a damn thing about that. I have accepted that (most days), but it is a resigned acceptance. I was talking to a widowed friend on Sunday and he made the comment that people keep telling him "it will get better" and he wanted these people who are not in his shoes to tell him when exactly that is going to be. I told him that I don't think it gets better. It just gets more tolerable; that for me anyway, it is not better-it's more of a resigned acceptance. He liked that way of putting it; it made sense to him.

So here is where my lines of thinking come together. I have two different examples of resigned acceptance: the defeatist feeling of things being what they are and having to just live with it instead of trying to change it and how the passage of time has affected me when it comes to my grief.

As I said, some things cannot be changed. I cannot change the fact that James is gone. If I could, I would have done that a long time ago. As a result of that, I live with the resigned acceptance that my life is not going the way I thought it would and well, it is what it is: just going through the motions of getting through yet another day-day after day after day without him by my side. But here's the thing: this is not working for me. The acceptance of "it is what it is" in this case is simply not good enough for me. I am better than this-I deserve my life to be so much better than resigned acceptance. And I can take steps to make that happen. And maybe that is when grieving "gets better"-when you get to this point and start doing more to give happiness a chance to start creeping back in.

I keep thinking the winds of change are in the air. I can't say why exactly I keep thinking that. It just keeps whispering through my mind at odd times-when I see certain vehicles, or when certain songs come on the radio, for example-"the winds of change are in the air." I don't know if it is an intuitive feeling or just plain wishful thinking or something I heard as background noise that is just stuck on my mind. I don't know if these winds are blowing in more heartache or something good for a change but whatever this is feels positive. And if positive changes are heading my way, I say bring it on.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Letters from Dad

When my brother was here last month, he brought me some things that he had put in storage after Dad died. It is a mixture of childhood items of mine that Dad was storing for me as well as some of Dad's things that my brother decided I might wish to or should have.

The boxes have been sitting in my entryway for a little over a month now and Thursday night, I decided to start going through one of them. In it, I found a something Dad had entitled "Letter to Myself." It was basically a short journal that he wrote not long after my mom left him. There were two more of these-another journal for himself and a letter he wrote my ex-step-monster after they separated.

As I realized what they were, I thought maybe I shouldn't read them, but let's face it. I am one of the nosiest people on the planet. So, of course I read them and I am glad that I did, especially the ones about my mother.

Ever since James died, more than anything, I have just wanted my daddy to make it all better-after all, that is what daddy's do, right? I just want him to talk to-to tell me what to do now and how to do it. I have wondered how he would have reacted-would he have been comforting, or would he have basically told me to "walk it off" or both-comforting at first but now that it has been over a year, be telling me I should be over it?

In the first letter, his pain and devastation is so apparent. Parts of it were heartbreaking to read-this is a side of my dad I never saw. And then it dawned on me, when Mom left, Dad was only 2 years younger than I was when James died. It's funny that intellectually, I have always known that Dad was in his 30's at some point, but I have never thought about what my parents' lives were like at certain ages compared to my life at the same time frame.

I saw a lot of myself in these letters. The raw emotion, the pen not being able to keep up with the thoughts, the random tangents. I feel like I learned a few things about my dad that explained things about myself. Emotionally, I am more like my dad than I ever would have guessed. This both comforts and scares me. It comforts me because some of the things he wrote really spoke to me and I now know where some of my traits and habits come from. It scares me because after Mom, he married the first person that came along. And after that marriage ended, he did the same thing again. I have been afraid for awhile now that I will settle for the first person that comes along and convince myself that I am happy when deep down I know I am not (I can't say this is what Dad experienced; it is what I fear for myself).

The first letter states it had been 3 weeks and he should be over it-that getting over the death of a close friend or loved one takes less time, so I think I would have gotten the "walk it off" attitude, which is actually how I felt all along. After all, this is the man who asked me about a year before I met James what was wrong with me that I couldn't attract a man. My response to that was "you and Mom should have made me better looking." Tenderness was not exactly his style. But there was also some good advice among his words, some of which I have heard from others, but that I needed to hear from my dad. And I do feel I have a better understanding as to why I have felt he is the parent that can better give me the emotional support I need.

For months, I have just wanted to be able to talk all this over with him and now, in a small way, I feel that I have. I'm still trying to process how I feel about it-it was kind of overwhelming.

Friday, July 17, 2009

A favorite picture

The first time I saw one of my favorite pictures of James and I was after his funeral. And technically, it isn't even a picture of us-we are in the background. Although thanks to Photoshop, I have cropped out the person the picture is of, and made us bigger and blurrier. Photoshop is apparently not idiot-proof, sadly for me.

After James' funeral, our friend gave me copies of the pictures that were taken one summer day in 2006 when a group of us went to Wild Waves, a water and theme park up near Seattle. For the longest time, these were the only photos I could look at-this group of photos he never got to see. One in particular caught my eye because of what we are doing:

I am one seriously white white girl. I wear a watch at all times as my tan line is the only way I can prove I really do have some color. My tan is most people's white. James was naturally darker than I and whenever he would get some color, I would hold up my arm next to his and say "you're getting there. You're almost as dark as me." It became one of our running jokes, and I never tired of it, though I suspect he may have. I don't spend much time in the sun so there was no chance I was ever going to get as dark as him, although one time, my arms did get as dark as the inside of his upper leg which I was thrilled about.

I cherish this picture that we weren't even the focal point of more than some which were deliberately taken of us. To others, we are doing a simple silly thing in the background, but when I look at it, I see James and I being "us."

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Sad day

I wanted to post something happy today but this is a sad day for my family.

My ex-stepfather would have turned 71 today, had he not been killed instantly when a car traveling at a high rate of speed ran a stop sign and crashed into the car he was a passenger in back in February. He has not been a part of my life for many years now, and we didn't really get along when I was growing up, but I have never forgotten that today is his birthday. And for his new wife and his children and grandchildren, this is the first birthday without him.

Today is also my aunt's birthday. She should be 60 or 61 today, but she passed away unexpectedly in December 2000, ironically while visiting my grandmother in the hospital. I never have been told the exact cause, but I believe it was heart failure.

And today is the 3rd anniversary of the death of my youngest cousin on my dad's side; nephew to the aunt mentioned above, who was only 22 at the time of his passing due to injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident. I feel so bad for my aunt who I know carries so much pain, and that I can't do anything to ease it especially on these significant days.

I am so sick of death.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Soulmate vs. Love of my life

The other day I was talking to my co-worker/dear friend about reuniting with loved ones when we die. She asked if I ever thought about what would happen if I do re-marry and outlive him too. Would I go to James or Mystery Husband #2? (She didn't actually call him Mystery Husband #2, but I have to call him something).

I pictured a scene from an old episode of "General Hospital" in which there had been an explosion and when Brenda Barrett emerged from the rubble, both Jasper (Jax) Jacks and Sonny Corinthos were waiting for her. They filmed it from the perspective of the man she was running to so until she jumped into Jax's arms (yea!), the audience didn't know who she was running to. With this in mind, I asked my co-worker "You mean if they are both standing there, which one do I run to?" She said that was what she meant-which one do I choose to walk into the Pearly Gates with? At this point, my answer would be James, but at this point Mystery Husband #2 doesn't exist in my world (well, at least not that I am aware of anyway) so it's kind of a no brainer. I told my co-worker that I read that we travel throughout time with the same soul group so I would imagine they would both be there waiting to escort me in.

This is something that has been on my mind off and on since James died-the concept of soulmates and someone being the love of your life. More specifically, I have been wondering if they have to be the same person. I first started thinking about this because Mom has said (several times) various versions of "the love of your life died," and "he was your soulmate." I wonder if Mom thinks of them as one and the same, but I am almost afraid to ask. Mom has already made it clear that no matter how great he is, Mystery Husband #2 is not going to come close to filling James' size 7 shoes. Mom is going to have to get over that.

Anyway, one of the results of James' sudden death is that my whole belief system was shaken and with a few exceptions, I don't know what I believe anymore. I do believe that James and I were meant to be together-I have no doubts about that. I don't know why he was taken so soon, but I sometimes think his purpose was to get me to a point where I would be able to carry out my purpose, whatever that is supposed to be. (If this is the case, I wish I wasn't such a fast learner!) I do believe that James was my soulmate; I don't know that he was the love of my life.

This doesn't mean I didn't and don't love him with all my heart because I did and still do. It doesn't mean I feel I wasted those years with him because even if I knew the outcome, I would do it again in a heartbeat. I think it comes more from a place of wanting my soulmate and the love of my life to be two different people. I believe you only have one love of your life and I hate to think that I lost him when I was 34 and that's it, end of story. There is no hope in that and I have high hopes of one day marrying Mystery Husband #2 (which needs to be in the next 5 years if we are going to dance at our 25th wedding anniversary party in 30 years-just in case the "universe" missed that the first time I mentioned it).

Maybe James was the love of my life-the life I had from the time I was two weeks shy of turning 26 until less than a month after I turned 34. I was the love of his life; he told me that, in a round about way. Maybe Mystery Husband #2 is the love of my new life. It's a different life now-I am not the same person I was when I woke up the morning of February 6, 2008 and while parts of that Heather do surface from time to time, I won't ever fully be that person again.

It's funny that this has weighed down on my mind so much as I have always been one who doesn't really like to label things. My mom once asked how I referred to James because it seemed silly to call him my boyfriend at our ages and given that we had been together for over 5 years (at the time). My response to that was "I refer to him as James." I'm not expecting to get any answers out of this-this is something no one can tell me the answer to; it's just one more thing I have to figure out as I go.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Bike Tag

As the days of summer go by, more and more the neighborhood kids are out and about on their bikes. I watch as they go up and down the street without the freedom to really go any further than that without their parents.

This makes me think of summer days when I was a child. For the most part, I grew up in a very small farming town. We lived there from the time I was 5 until I was fifteen. It was one of those towns were everyone knew everyone else's business, no matter how hard you tried to hide it. It was one of those towns where "bad" things did not happen. It was one of those towns where you didn't lock your car or house doors at night because there was no need. Blocks were 3 houses long and 2 houses wide and you called your neighbors "Mr." and Mrs." no matter how young or old they were.

Summers were the best. Surprisingly, even though we didn't have to be there, a lot of time was spent at the school grounds. (It was also one of those towns were there weren't a lot of places to hang out). The pool was another popular place. And the way we got there was on our bikes. We were always on our bikes. Most of the time, my brother and I just left a note for Dad saying "Out riding bikes." That was all he knew of our whereabouts when he came home from work, but he also knew which parents to call if we didn't return from bike riding in a timely fashion. He wasn't an irresponsible father, as he would be seen to be by today's standards. It was just that safe of a time period and that safe of a place that we were able to have that much freedom. I wouldn't trade it for the world and feel bad for my friends who grew up in big cities.

One summer, a bunch of us were bored. We were riding our bikes around aimlessly and somehow we came up with the idea we should play tag. On our bikes. It was a basic principle: one person was "It" and the rest of us scattered. The "It" person would have to ride around and the first person they came across was then "It". The game was basically tag meets hide and seek meets bike riding. Most of the time, we would pass each other calling out "who's it?" only to get an "I don't know!" in response. The best was if you were "It" getting to respond "You are!" and laugh as you rode away. Even better was coming across someone that wasn't playing and informing them they were "It," thereby forcing them into the game too since it was too hard to keep track of who was actually playing. The assumption became if you were a friend and on your bike, you were playing.

We played bike tag all summer with more friends joining in as the days went by. We played it the next summer too. We moved after that. I wonder if anyone kept it going? I sure hope so-I hope a new generation of kids are now playing a simple game that will one day be a cherished memory. I know if I lived there now with kids of my own, I would be very tempted to be out there playing with them.

This made me giggle

I know that I have a warped sense of humor, but this really struck me as funny.

When I got home today, I was shuffling around some papers on the counter while the dogs were eating their dinner. I came across one of those information sheets that come with prescriptions and saw that it was for Sammy's latest prescription. I had to get it filled at the "people pharmacy," as Dr. S. called it because the vet's office was out. Since I talked it over with the vet, I didn't read the information sheet. So, today when I came across it and saw that it can lessen the effects of birth control pills I couldn't help but burst out laughing.

I know they have to put that on there by law, but I am going to have bigger issues than a potential reaction if my neutered male dog is on the Pill!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Flamin' James

I don't know how it is we never got kicked out of Goodwill. And by "we" I really mean James and his best friend as the main culprits and the rest of us who happened to be there as innocent (ha, ha) bystanders. Actually, there are several places I am surprised that James and his best friend never got kicked out of, but I guess that is what happens when you are incredibly charismatic, even if you are acting incredibly obnoxious.

For years, our best friends' held a Halloween party. In 2005, she decided to make it a costume party and guests HAD to have a costume to attend. Our costumes were pretty lame that year. We had just moved back from Arizona and did not have a lot of time to plan. On top of that, James didn't want to dress up. We went over to the Halloween Store and settled for James going as "Dr. Seymour Bush" and myself as a pregnant nun, which was actually kind of amusing as several people asked if I was really pregnant.

The next year, James was more in the Halloween spirit and decided that he was going to go as a redneck-complete with a mullet, bad teeth and a sheep. I'm just going to leave it at that for now. We decided to meet up with our friends' at Goodwill to shop for costumes. When we walked into the store, we found them easily-we could hear James' best friend laughing. When we walked over to them, he was half wearing something red and told James it didn't fit him but would fit James so he had to try it on. So, of course, he did. I swore I would never make this photo public, but he swore he wasn't going anywhere so I would say all bets are off.

He still went as the redneck, although I don't know how this didn't change his mind.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Is this what it boils down to?

I am a 35-year-old woman who just spent part of her Friday night taking pictures of weeds because I had nothing better to do. Is this really what my life has become? Yes, I know. It won't always be this way (hopefully-because if it is just shoot me now).

On the plus side, in the unlikely event I actually get a life between now and Monday and don't have time to take any other pictures, I can use some of these as my homework for this week. Some of them are actually not that bad (in my amateur and of course, unbiased opinion).

As much as I cherish the wonderful friends I have, I really need some that are single.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

My thermostat is broken

About two weeks ago (6/28 to be exact), I met up with a friend for walk with a meetup group we both belong to. After the walk, we decided to grab lunch. While we were eating, he was telling me about sharing an office at work with a menopausal woman. He asked if I had any idea how frustrating it was to have to spend several hours a day with someone who only has a couple of degrees differential in temperature before being too hot or too cold and who feels 79 is the perfect temperature. I could feel I was looking at him like he had two heads. I quietly told him that I did not, but James could have commiserated with him since he just described me-except for the menopause aspect of course.

I am always cold. I keep a sweater at my desk at all times. When my co-workers are walking around in their cute capris and sleeveless summer tops, I am still in jeans and shirts with sleeves. Most days, I have to put my sweater on because while everyone else is comfortable, I am freezing. I am cold at 76 and below, okay at 78, and too hot at 80 and above. James used to shake his head and tell me "Honeybunch, your thermostat is broken."

Shortly before James died, I started breaking out in hives. They weren't bad, and we figured it was from the stress of planning an out-of-state wedding. After he died, they got really bad. Several trips to the doctor yielded the same results: I had hives and was told to stop stressing out and they might or might not go away. (So glad I shelled out co-pays for that sage advice). I had no reason to be so stressed out. James was just my fiance-it's not like my husband died after all. During one of my appointments, I convinced my doctor to refer me to the allergist. I have had allergies all my life and at 34, I finally decided I wanted to know what exactly I am allergic to and if by some chance an allergic reaction was causing the hives. (Novel concept, I know).

On 5/21, I met with the allergist and learned that I am severely allergic to birch trees. I am also allergic to grass. And despite getting a scratchy throat and eyes, running nose and sneezing my head off when I am around them, I am not actually allergic to cats. There was nothing definitive to explain the hives so the allergist ordered a complete blood workup. After telling me that certain rare cancers can cause hives, he sent me on my merry way to wait the two weeks for the results. James had died almost 4 months prior and my first thought was "who is going to take care of me if I have cancer?" I was a sobbing mess when I got back to the office. And then I did the worst thing possible. I Googled cancers with hives as a symptom. Sometimes, knowledge can be a dangerous thing. I found several, but didn't really seem to have the symptoms of any except for the hives. (I should probably mention that James and I both come from small families. He was the 6th person to die in just over 4 years and his aunt was terminal with lung cancer. She died a month after he did. After the 3rd funeral in 3 years, I couldn't help but start to wonder who was next after each one).

When I finally went in for my follow-up appointment, my hives were not much better. The allergist asked how I was and I told him I was nervous about the possibility of having a rare cancer. He said he didn't really think that was the case, and it wasn't, and he was sorry he put the idea in my head. He then started to go over the results of the blood workup with me. I tried to pay attention but most of it was medicalese I didn't understand. I saw numbers; I saw they were normal. I didn't care about what they meant.

And then he turned to page 2. And I saw that there were two numbers that were off the charts. Both had a normal range of 0 - 60. My levels were 202 and 714. As he was explaining all the normal "stuff," I just stared at those numbers. I wanted to grab him by the neck and tell him to just get to those! When he finally did, he explained they were my thyroid proteins and that most people's are off but they don't know it because it is not something normally tested for and he only tested for them as they could be contributing to the hives. He then explained that the thyroid regulates body temperature and said a bunch of other medical stuff that my grief-induced fog-shrouded brain could not grasp. He concluded by saying my thyroid hormone was fine and that is the one that really matters. When he finished talking, I looked at him and said, "so, what you are telling me then, is that my thermostat is broken?" He responded that was pretty much the gist of it. I started to laugh and then I burst into tears. I told him I was laughing because my fiance had said that for years and crying because I couldn't call him and tell him he was right. The allergist didn't know for sure what was causing the hives, and eventually they just went away.

When I left the clinic that day, I wanted so much to be able to call James and tell him he was right all those years. But since he was only wrong like 5 times in his life (okay, Honey, 3), I am sure he knows.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The dress he never saw

There are two threads on the widow/er board that have me feeling a little down. The subject of the first one is "do you still have your wedding dress?" The other is a thread in which the original poster asked fellow members to post either their engagement or wedding pictures.

Obviously, because James died 8 months before the wedding, I do not have wedding pictures. I don't have engagement pictures either. He died 3 days before those were to be taken. In fact, at the time we should have been on the campus of the University of Portland having those pictures taken, I was on the phone with Not Really Megan, the funeral director (there's a story behind the name). I wish I had those pictures, but it is probably a blessing that I don't as it would be very hard to look at them now.

I don't have my wedding dress either. I had ordered it and it was due to arrive in May. My dear friend, and bridal peep, called the bridal shop for me and found out what my options were. I had the choice of keeping the dress and the accessories, keeping just the dress or canceling the order. I toyed with keeping the dress, but ultimately decided that there was no point in keeping a dress I would never wear. So, with my mom, my best friend and a death certificate in tow, I went to the shop and cancelled the order for my beautiful Maggie Sottero "Vienna" style dress.

James never saw my dress, and that is one regret that I have. He felt weddings were really about the bride and while I did consult him on the venue, officiant and vendor choices before making any final decisions, he just wanted me to have my dream wedding. But the one request he had was he did not want to see my dress-he wanted the element of surprise when I walked down the aisle.

Like most brides, I "knew" what dress I wanted when I walked into the bridal shop with my 4 friends on 11/10/07. I wanted the Maggie Sottero "Suzanne Vidal." I told this to my consultant, Amber, and she said that I should pick out some dresses in other styles as well. Since this was going to be my only wedding, I agreed but said not to grab any mermaid style dresses as I do not have the body type for them and that would just be a waste of time.

After trying on the first several dresses, we quickly discovered that I wanted a strapless dress, which I knew, and that I preferred lace dresses to the plain fabric ones. This was actually kind of ironic since I am so not a girly-girly lace person, but they seemed more feminine to me, and I felt that a bride should be feminine. By the time we got to the last dress, the Suzanne Vidal, I knew I wasn't going to like it and I was disappointed when I didn't.

Amber went and got a several more dresses for me and I was beginning to think I wasn't going to find a dress that day. The 2nd to last dress she had selected for me was the "Vienna" and as I was trying it on, I reminded her that I had said no mermaid style and this seemed to be mermaid-ish. She said it was "mermaid style for people with hips." I told her I wasn't going to like it. She had me stand with my back to the mirror and then turn around. When I turned around, I said "Oh wow. I think I am going to cry." And then I burst into tears. She had me try on my other favorite up to that point just to be sure, but there was no doubt I had found my dress. It was a little more than I had planned to spend ($1200!) and when I told James I had found one and it was a liittle more than I planned to spend, he asked if it was $3,000. I said "Uh, no." He asked if it was more or less, and when I said it was less he said that all was well then.

I had my best friend take pictures since my mom was not able to be there for the shopping trip. It's funny-about a week or so before James died, I could no longer picture myself wearing the dress. I sometimes wonder if on some level I knew what was coming. The one thing I do know for sure is I would have loved to see his face when he saw me walking down the aisle towards him in this dress:

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I have closure!

I have always had gaps in my bottom teeth-one on each side between my front teeth and my molars. Part of the process of realigning my jaw is to close these gaps. I was not thrilled about this; I like my gaps-they are part of my smile and have been for a very long time. It just felt like too much change all at once with getting braces coming on the heals of James' death, which still has me questioning who exactly I am.

When I had my last appointment in May, the gap on the left side had pretty much closed but the gap on the right had not moved at all. This was my last visit with my old orthodontist, who had been let go in April due to the economy, but still had to work the last 90 days of her contract cycle. She told me she would leave a note for my new orthodontist that if the gap on the right side had not closed by my next appointment, x-rays were needed to see if there is an underlying structural problem that is not allowing the teeth to move. I didn't ask what that could mean-I didn't want to know.

Since I always just assume the worst, when I got back to work, I thought that if there was an underlying structural problem, I could end up needing reconstructive jaw surgery to correct it. I wondered who would take me to the dentist, who would drive me home and who would go in to the store to get my pain meds and come out with my favorite Ben and Jerry's like James did when I had exploratory surgery in December 2000. He went in to get my prescription and asked if I wanted anything else. I said no. As he was walking across the parking lot, I thought "I should have asked for some Ben & Jerry's chocolate fudge brownie ice cream." When he got back to the car, he handed me a bag and said, "Here, I got you something." Inside was a pint of Ben & Jerry's chocolate fudge brownie ice cream. This is when I truly realized that we really were connected. Anyway, thinking about the possibility of having to have reconstructive jaw surgery on my own caused the tears to start falling and of course, they wouldn't stop. Later, I was "yelled" at by my friend and co-worker for thinking that way because of course, they would take care of me. The thing is though, that I don't want to have to rely on others-I am so not good at asking for help. I am alone and I feel that because of that, I have to and should be able to deal with everything on my own.

The next night, I had my monthly widowed people dinner and told my friend about the appointment, but just that my teeth had 6 weeks to close and I was willing that to happen. I then tried to change the subject but he stopped me so we could discuss it further. I really appreciated that because I really did want to talk about it to someone but I didn't tell him how freaked out I had made myself over it. I admitted to that a few days later.

Over the past couple of weeks, I noticed in my totally unprofessional opinion, my gap was closing. I had my appointment with the new orthodntist today and sure enough, there has been major movement and the gap is mostly closed. I am not sure about this new doctor. Like everything else, there is more than one way to fix misaligned jaws and her approach is not like my old doctor's was. I do not like having to start over with a whole new ortho team halfway through-I do not like change, and I especially do not like knowing what this means for my course of treatment. Hopefully, she's more aggressive and I can get these off sooner. Today, she decided that I no longer have to wear the retainer at night and to start me with the rubber bands (I am so bringing sexy back with this look), which was supposed to be the last step, but she plans to remove and reposition two brackets next time, so apparently, this last step is going to take awhile. At my next appointment 5 weeks from now, she should be able to give me a better timetable of what we are looking at.

For now, as much as I didn't want to lose my gaps, I am doing a major happy dance that they are closed.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Funny how that works

This morning when I checked my e-mail, I had a message from eHarmony that Alonzo wanted to start communications. I thought that was interesting. So, I logged into the site and was surprised, and pleased, to see that I had 14 matches. Of course, now that the free weekend is over, they were able to find matches for me. It's funny how that works. But, on the plus side, I don't feel like the world's biggest reject anymore.

Apparently, you can see some information on your matches for free. I was able to find out that a few of my matches "closed" the match. Two listed "other" as the reason; the third was because I didn't have a picture posted. (They said I had no matches-what was the point?) I read through the matches-no pictures unless you pay-and closed two-Alonzo and one other. First, they were 5 years older than the upper age limit I set and both referenced their kids. I specifically said no kids. And if they had kids in their early 20's, I would be closer in age to the children than I would be to my matches. That's just creepy. It's not that I don't want kids. I love children. It's just that at this stage of my life, I don't want to raise someone else's-unless he is widowed. I don't want to deal with baby mama drama and having to arrange my schedule around his custody schedule in order to spend time together.

Since it was free, I posted a recent picture and updated a little more of my profile information. I am not sure about this whole thing. I am not sure how ready I really am for all of this-for the rejection part of it. Having matches kind of scared me. And there is someone I already know that I would not object to dating, but we are firmly entrenched in the friend zone. Which is fine-I would much rather have him as a friend than not in my life at all. Time will tell what role we are meant to have in each others' lives. In the meantime, however, I am not getting any younger and I can't keep using the "maybe my friend and I will someday be more" excuse to avoid putting myself out there, which is what I have been doing for the past few months. There is also another someone I know who recently ended a relationship that I have never thought about romantically-until the other night when I had a romantic dream about him, which had me very intrigued when I woke up. However, right now, he is not an option either. His heartbreak is too fresh.

There will never be another James. I don't want an exact duplicate anyway-that would be unfair to him, me and James. There are some of his qualities that are must-haves, however. My friend has a lot of the qualities that I do want, and if we are meant to be just friends, I hope to be lucky enough to find someone a lot like him.

Am I really ready for this? There's only one way to find out and I'm kind of excited about it.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Strike 2!

Last year, eHarmony had a free weekend over the 4th of July. It had only been 5 months since James died and even though I knew I was not ready to date, I wanted to meet new people. So, even though I felt guilty about it, I filled out their application. When I got to the end, I got the message that I was one of the 25% of people they cannot match.

In October, I decided to sign up for one of the free dating sites. So, I created a profile at Plenty of Fish. You can see who viewed your profile, assuming they have not selected the option that allows you to view profiles without it letting the person whose profile you are viewing know. In about a month and a half, I had over 50 people view my profile that I know of. Not a single one responded to it. I ended up hiding my profile after getting upset over a thread on the message board in which the prevailing thought was that the death of a fiance(e) was the same as a bad break up and those of us who lost a fiance(e) needed to get over it and stop looking for attention. That attitude is not going to work for me.

I decided that I needed to focus on other things, namely figuring out who I am now and what I want in a partner. Now that some time has passed, I don't know that I have a better idea of who I am, but I have a better idea of what I want in a partner.

I read that eHarmony was having another free weekend so last night, when I was sitting here bored to tears and lonely as Hell, I decided to try it again. I went through the application again and at the end, got the message that there are no available matches for me. I wonder if there would have been if I had signed up for the $50/month subscription? On their website, they boast that every day, on average 236 single people marry a match they met on eHarmony. That means on average, they successfully marry off 86,140 people in a year. And those are just the ones who match up and marry and tell them-it doesn't include the ones who just match up and live together without tying the knot. That's an awful lot of people for there not to be a single match for me.

I sent my friend a text that I had tried again with the same result. She replied that just meant there was no one good enough for me out there. I replied "damn straight!" and tried to laugh it off. I am trying not to let it get to me and I know there are many other avenues out there and that I do have a lot to offer, but right now I am having a hard time not feeling thoroughly rejected and am wondering what the point is of even trying?

New blog!

I have created a separate photography blog in hopes that by doing so I will stay inspired to keep taking pictures after my class is finished. I have posted pictures from my second class assignment there. The blog can be accessed from my profile, or directly at

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Project #2-the upstairs hallway

The hallway before painting. The boys are supervising.

After my friend and I painted the bathroom, I decided I needed to paint the hallway too. I decided I wanted something in the brown family and was going to go with a neutral shade of brown. I like light colors. I needed to go with something that would look okay with the yellow side wall I was not about to attempt to paint. I am really bad at these things, so I had my friend come over and help me pick out the color. The final choice was "Tender Twig" by Valspar. It was a much bolder color than I would have picked!

"Tender Twig" is the one in the middle.

I am not impressed with the paint itself, but I do like the color. Painting the hallway proved to be more emotional than I expected though. I got partway through it and was thinking about how I was proud of myself for stepping outside my comfort zone and how James would have been proud of me for that too. And I thought about how much James would have hated the color. He liked a very clean look. If it had been up to him, our walls would have been white and we would have had stainless steel appliances. I informed him that I was not living in an institution until I had to. So we compromised-pale, neutral wall colors and black appliances.

I started crying and panicked that I couldn't finish painting the walls a color a James would hate. I needed to stop and put it back the way it was. It did not help that I was listening to a compilation CD of hits from the '70's and these thoughts occurred while "If You Leave Me Now," by Chicago was playing. (A smart person would have changed CDs). So, I sent my friend a text message that it was making me cry knowing I was painting the hall a color James would hate. She responded with the following:

"James is more than likely laughing at seeing you upset at what you think would bother him, on the other side everything is good and seen in a different light."

I replied that James was probably laughing at me for falling down the stairs when I was trying to hard to be quiet. (My friends' son is staying with me and I was trying to go downstairs to let the dogs out quietly so I wouldn't wake him up. I slipped and fell down three steps. I'm okay-raspberry on my knee and a bruised big toe is the extent of the damage).

So, I finished painting the hallway. I really am proud of myself for stepping out of my comfort zone and I do like the new color. It's a little weird to step out of my bedroom and see brown instead of yellow and I need to do some touch-up work as there are quite a few places where I pulled up the paint with the tape. Next up is going to be the office, which is going to be blue. This was not part of the original plan, but I am trying to learn to be more flexible. I am still planning to paint the bedroom purple. Eventually, I will get tired of painting-either that or I will run out of things to paint.

The end result

And, unlike light green paint, brown paint does actually resemble the paint chip when applied to the dog.

Four weeks, Four projects

At the beginning of June, I set a personal challenge to do a volunteer project every week in June. At the time, I already had projects scheduled for June 6th and 20th, so I only needed two more. Piece of cake, right? Luckily for me, I volunteer through Hands on Greater Portland, which is part of the nationwide Hands On Network of volunteers. They work with a number of organizations in this area finding volunteers for either one-time events or ongoing projects. I typically sign up to volunteer at Schoolhouse Supplies, but I love the variety that Hands On offers should I want to do something else.

Last year, I went through the project leader training so I could take over the ongoing Schoolhouse Supplies project that is typically the 2nd Thursday of the month during the school year. I can also be called upon to lead other projects. This was the case for June 6th. A project leader was needed for Project Ethiopia and I agreed to do it. Project Ethiopia is an organization that has been collecting donated new and used athletic shoes for about two years with the intent to send them to Ethiopia. Our task was to work with them to clean up the shoes that needed it and sort them by style (athletic, performance and sport), men's, women's or children and size. Once they were sorted accordingly, we also had to count how many pairs were in each box. This was actually a lot of fun. My good friend came out for it with two of her three foster sons, and it was nice to spend the afternoon with them. And they provided us with lunch, which was an added bonus. I got a call Thursday afternoon asking if I would lead this project again in August. I need to double check my calendar, but if I am available that day, I would love to do this again.

Since I didn't have a project lined up for the 13th, I looked over the calendar and decided that Paint it up at Faubion Elementary looked like fun. Plus, I had a chiropractor appointment first thing that morning and this one started late enough that I could go get adjusted and still be on-time. And I would have been too, if the line at Starbucks hadn't been so dang long! For this project, we painted one of the main sections of the hallway a nice light blue-it was a dingy grey beforehand. While I stayed back with the project leader to clean the brushes, the rest of the crew repainted the lines on the basketball court. It looked awesome when they were finished! We only had 3 hours for this project and the school was kind of hard to find. Only about 1/2 of the volunteers that signed up were there but we really kicked butt and got a lot done in a short amount of time.

On the 20th, I was at Schoolhouse Supplies for the monthly book sort. A local bookstore donates about 5,000 books a month during the school year and our job is to go through and select the books that are appropriate for school aged kids (K-12) and shelve them so the teachers can take them for classroom libraries for free reading periods, etc. I have pretty much taken over the shelving aspect of it. I have been doing this project for a few years now, so I feel I have a good idea of what books the teachers will and will not take, especially in the high school range. So, the other shelvers and I make the final determination as to what books make it on the shelves and if they have been sorted properly. Inevitably, every month there is someone that sorts by age instead of grade level. This month, we were low on shelf space and sent a lot of books back. Any books we don't use, volunteers can take home, and there are a couple of other organizations that come in and take the leftover books when we are finished. My friend and her oldest foster son came for this one, so again, I got to spend time with them.

The 27th proved to be a challenge. There weren't a lot of projects on the calendar and most of them were about 45 minutes or so away. I am not opposed to going that far, but I also had a BBQ to work around. I finally chose "Rosemont Bluff Restoration." This involved pulling "invasive species" from a small natural area in NE Portland. Unfortunately, one of the "side effects" of grief is that I don't have the attention span I once did, so the lesson on what was invasive vs. native pretty much went in one ear and out the other. Luckily, there was a big patch of plants and weeds that were all invasive so I just worked on that. Again, my friend and her oldest foster son were there. She decided that he really needed to go on a doughnut run, which was a nice treat. I did find it amusing that I am willing to go and pull weeds for Portland Parks and Rec, but there is now a weed in my own yard that is taller than I am!

I am not sure what I am going to do for a personal challenge for July. I am approaching the 1 1/2 year mark since James died so right now, I really just want to get through it without going through another huge backslide like I did at 15 months.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The cure for insomnia?

I once read that traditionally, your 100th blog post is supposed to be 100 things about you. Seeing that this is my 100th post, I Googled that to see if there was any truth to it. Apparently there is. So, here are 100 things about me. Or quite possibly, the cure for insomnia. That would actually be cool-and definitely a contribution to the world although I am not so sure I really want to be known as the girl whose life puts everyone to sleep.

1. I was born in Henderson, NV on 1/15/1974.

2. I am so definitely a Capricorn.

3. I have green eyes. They are my favorite feature.

4. My primary heritage is Scottish, Italian and English.

5. I have a quick temper.

6. I have an often mispronounced German last name. I have not yet researched my tree back far enough to figure that one out.

7. My favorite color is purple.

8. My favorite number is 8. This was also the name of my imaginary friend when I was a child. He was African-American.

9. I am left-handed and right-footed.

10. I almost got held back in kindergarten because I couldn't learn how to skip. When my teacher realized I was right-footed and had me try to skip with my right foot first, I became one of the best skippers in the class.

11. I still cannot skip off my left foot. I tried it the other day.

12. I love jigsaw puzzles.

13. I love M&M's, but not the peanut ones.

14. I have a scar on my left knee from flipping a motorcycle when I was about 12. I have not ridden a motorcycle since that day.

15. My favorite pop is Dr. Pepper. I have not had pop, however, since 1/4/1998. It is the only resolution I have ever kept.

16. I hate the snow and the heat.

17. I am disproportionate. My chest, waist and hips are all different sizes and have been since I was a senior in high school. Makes clothes shopping a real hoot.

18. Due to childhood trauma, I am afraid to take the bus. I will take the commuter train though. You don't have to tell it to stop. It automatically stops at every station.

19. I only have one cavity, which I did not get until I was 24.

20. Every time I have eaten a salad from McDonald's, I have thrown it up.

21. I am a chocoholic. My mom once said my first word was "chocolate." It was actually "da-da."

22. I hate bananas but love banana bread.

23. I love vanilla scented candles.

24. I am terrified of bats.

25. I am also afraid of Keifer Sutherland. The first two movies I saw him in were "Lost Boys" and "Stand by Me." Do I really need to say more?

26. I believe in ghosts.

27. I hate getting dirt under my nails.

28. My favorite singer is Peter Cetera. My favorite song is "Glory of Love," from the Karate Kid II Soundtrack.

29. I have never seen "E.T." I am actually proud of this.

30. According to some random quiz, my celebrity match is John Cusack. I'm down with that.

31. In 1994, I almost choked to death on a Jelly Belly while on a layover at O'Hare Airport in Chicago. It took me a really long time before I ate another one.

32. Skinny people intimidate me.

33. I love to make lists. And I really like to cross things off of them.

34. I love to watch and read crime drama.

35. I love lilacs, but I am allergic to them.

36. I am also allergic to alcohol. This works out great for my friends as I am always the designated driver.

37. I don't like fish, except tuna fish. And I always call it tuna fish, not just tuna.

38. My first car was a Pinto. We don't talk about it.

39. I am a member of Alpha Gamma Delta.

40. I love to have my hair played with.

41. People always tell me I am really funny.

42. I am so not funny when I try to be.

43. Despite what he says, I never hit my brother in the head with a cast iron frying pan when we were children.

44. I did however tell the neighbor boy to throw rocks at him, but I didn't mean for him to get hit in the head with one.

45. For most of my life, I planned to be a teacher. I ended up an accountant.

46. I have a degree in accounting and one in Information Systems. That was pretty much obsolete as soon as I walked off the stage.

47. I graduated college 3 classes short of a history minor.

48. In college, my favorite breakfast was a bagel with cream cheese and a can of Dr. Pepper. That would probably still be my favorite breakfast if I still drank pop.

49. I am tone deaf.

50. People tend to think I am standoffish when I first meet them. The truth is that I am just really shy and they scare me.

51. I have always wanted to be a writer.

52. I have a horrible tendency to procrastinate.

53. I have never smoked a cigarette, or anything else for that matter.

54. There are times I wish I had been more rebellious when I was younger.

55. I was not a dog person before I met James. Don't tell the boys.

56. I once flew to Las Vegas to spend the weekend with a group of women I "knew" from a message board but had never met in person. I wouldn't have done it if James hadn't encouraged me and I am so glad I went.

57. I love Las Vegas, even though I don't gamble.

58. The first concert I ever went to was a free concert on Jones Beach (Long Island, NY). It was Ben E. King. I went with my grandma, aunts, brother and cousins.

59. The first paid concert I went to was Def Leppard at Martin Stadium at WSU my freshman year of college. Turns out one of my current co-workers was there too. (WSU is on the other side of the state).

60. I am a big fan of '80's hair bands.

61. My dream car is the 1969 Corvette Stingray. I would settle for a '57 Chevy.

62. I always automatically assume the worst case scenario.

63. I have been stung by a bee twice: once when I was 7 and once when I was 27.

64. My biggest fear is ending up alone.

65. When I was 18, I was walking down the street when a group of guys drove by and barked at me.

66. Prior to meeting James, I tried online dating. I made several good connections, until they saw my picture or met me in person. Then I never heard from them again. The last one met me, went out "to get his coat" and didn't even finish the date.

67. Several months before I met James, my dad asked what was wrong with me that I couldn't attract a man. He was not joking.

68. My friends don't understand why I don't think men are attracted to me. In hindsight, it's not that I need a bag over my head-they just weren't the "one." The "one" wanted to know who I was the first time he saw me but figured there was no way I was single.

69. I did not meet James until about 3 weeks before I turned 26. He was 32. I swore I would never date anyone more than 4 years older than me. I'm so glad I didn't stick to that!

70. Last July, I was one of the 25% of people rejected by eHarmony. Here we go again.

71. I have swam with dolphins twice-once in Jamaica and once in Mexico.

72. I have been in 3 bowling leagues: once as a child and twice as an adult. I am a lousy bowler.

73. I played Little League baseball for one year and softball for 3. I suck at that too.

74. The last time I played volleyball was at my best friend's 16th birthday party. I sprained my left thumb.

75. I am not the least bit athletic, in case that isn't obvious.

76. I hate to exercise.

77. I do like to play frisbee golf. I don't completely suck at that.

78. My sorority sister and I were named the Women's Doubles Badmitten Champions my senior year of college. The fact that we were the only ones to register is completely irrelevant.

79. I had a 2 Live Crew cassette tape in high school. It was in a Michael Damian tape case.

80. I started getting grey hair when I was 21.

81. I hate rides that go upside down.

82. I am not against gay marriage. If you can find love-go for it. It is not up to me to judge.

83. I cannot parallel park.

84. I think people that abuse children and animals should have the same abuse inflicted upon them.

85. When I was little, I wanted to be a ballerina. Apparently, you have to be cordinated for that.

86. About 10 years ago, I took tap dance lessons through the Parks and Rec program. I forgot it all though. I should do that again. I still have the shoes.

87. I tend to think of the speed limit as more of a recommendation than actual law.

88. In 2005, I got two speeding tickets 10 days apart. Photo radar is not my friend. 2005 wasn't really my friend either.

89. The only thing I have ever been pulled over for is not having a front license plate on my car. It was in the back seat. It is now on the front of the car.

90. I don't like talking on the phone when I am driving.

91. I am the first to admit I am a bad driver.

92. It disturbs me that I like a lot of songs about adultry but I am opposed to the act itself. However, I once went on a date with a married man-turned out we had different definitions of "ex-wife."

93. I have no sense of style.

94. My senior year of high school I wanted out of French III because my teacher hit menopause and became a raving lunatic. (At least we think that's what happened). My dad said no college would accept me if I dropped out of a class after getting straight A's in French I, II and the first semester of French III. I believed him. Oh, and I kind of, sort of, but not really speak French.

95. I am not afraid to try new things-within reason, of course. Bungee jumping is not within reason. Parasailing, however, is.

96. I believe you can't help who you fall in love with.

97. I believe love happens when you least expect it.

98. 30 years from now, I want to dance with my husband at our 25th wedding anniversary party (note to self: you have 5 years to meet, fall in love with and marry someone for this to happen. Crap).

99. I have no clue what the meaning of life is.

100. I may be predictable, but I sure as hell am not boring!