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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Anger and Resentment?

I feel like I’m being attacked from somebody that I thought understood me. Not everyone gets what I’ve been through. I have a lot of baggage to carry. Being widowed at 20 years old is one of them. Of course, I wasn’t married, but in my heart I am a widow. We were living together; in love. And his death was such a shock that it changed me forever. How can I be blamed for that? How can someone tell me that I shouldn’t still have resentments and anger and guilt, even though it’s been 8 years since his death?
I do have a hand in Josh’s death. And I don’t mean to say that I caused it. Technically, the doctors don’t even know the original cause. But there’s a theory I came up with long ago. Josh had Grave’s Disease. And a possible outcome of not taking your medication is having ‘heart conditions’. Josh died of a heart attack; the direct cause being a 70% blockage in the artery that feeds blood to the heart. So you know, it’s not a direct correlation, and I’m by no means a doctor, but this is where my anger resides. I feel a little guilty for forgetting that Josh even had Grave’s Disease, but we never discussed it. Out of sight, out of mind. But I am angry that he stopped taking his pills (before we met). I feel as though if he’d kept taking them, he would still be alive today. There’s no proof of course, but that’s what I think.
My hand in his death was the hand of unknowing ignorance. He was ill. Severely ill. And yet I did not take him to the hospital. We didn’t have any medical insurance, and we were barely scraping by financially. Unfortunately, that defective logic caused a delay in his treatment. I blame myself for it. He could have been saved had I acted sooner. Even if what he was going through was just food poisoning, which was my original assumption, getting him seen would have been better than waiting to see if it would resolve on its own. I was stupid.
Anyway, I’m getting a little off topic here. This guilt and blame that I feel does not eat me alive. It has been eight years. What happened has happened; there is nothing I can do to change it now. Yet I’m being told that I need to let this “anger and resentment go” over Josh’s death.
Of course this traumatic event has changed me fundamentally.  It would for anyone. I’ve always been a worrier, and after Josh died, I began to get a heck of a lot more scared when someone close to me was sick. You could say I might freak out a bit, nagging them about going to get seen for their problem, or just sitting there and worrying about them in general. Thanks to my lack of a response to Josh’s illness, I never want to have that happen again. I refuse.  It’s not as bad as I make it sound, though. I don’t nag people to be seen when they cough or sneeze. I’m not that horrible. But his death did change me in that way.
Yet that’s not his argument. He seems to think I’m holding onto all this. Wrapping it tightly within myself and releasing it in bursts of unexpected moments as if it’s some kind of bomb. He believes that some of the anger I feel in recent situations is caused by resentments of my past with Josh. Where he comes up with this shit, I haven’t a clue. He’s not a psychologist. He can’t psychoanalyze me. He goes to AA, ffs. Fine, yes, I guess AA teaches you not just how to cope without alcohol, but to cope with life in general. I don’t know. But I am not sitting here seething over my past with Josh. I am not screaming at the heavens about why he didn’t take his pills, or why I didn’t take him to the hospital sooner. I am not angry anymore that he was taken from me. Do I still blame myself a little? Sure. Because it is a simple fact that I contributed to his death, intentional or not. That’s just how it is. I have to live with that, and I do.
I’m not a psychologist either, but I do believe that I am progressing normally for such a traumatic event at such a young age. I have a friend whose mother’s husband died over 15 years ago. She still clings to his memory like a static lint sheet. I don’t know the specifics because I haven’t seen my friend’s mother in a while. Basically ever since she told my friend that I deserved what I got for sinning and “being with” Josh before we were married. So everything I know is second hand knowledge. But I do know that I’m not like her. I have my sentimental items of his: his keyboard, an outfit, a small piece of the huge knife/sword/weapon collection he owned, a very cool oriental coffee table, and pictures of course. And I remember him fondly now. It still hurts a little. The hole in my heart will never fully heal. But I have let go. I’ve accepted what has happened. That’s really all I can do.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Acme Bowling (No Relation to Wile E. Coyote)

A year after one of the worst birthdays of my life (Although I have to say, last year only paled in comparison to turning 21 just two months after my fiancee's death.) I had one of the best. I agonized over where to have my party, which followers of this blog know. I decided on bowling, since we couldn't really party at anyone's house. I've been bowling since I was about 4 years old. My parents were leaguers for over 20 years, and I have my own ball and shoes. I don't bowl often, but I do have a lot of fun when I get the chance to go.

I remembered a place called Acme up north of where I live. Last time I was there was back around 2008, when I worked for a company who had semi-annual meetings with sales reps. They'd all come up from their respective states and we went bowling there one year. This place is not your typical, run down bowling alley, which is why I chose it. It's fairly new, huge, and "hip", for lack of a better word. They have good food, a full lounge bar, several pool tables and even a small game room. It was definitely built for the 20-somethings.

Anyway, I invited my two long time friends, Mary and Monica, and my friend David. I picked up Mary first since she lives very close by. We picked up Monica and met up with David, and I drove us all up there. Mary likes to bowl but has no experience at it. Monica used to bowl years ago and was even in a kid's league back in the day. David said he hadn't bowled for about 4 years or more. I figured I had this made. Easy win. But my parent's had warned me that David was probably going to beat me lol. And honestly, my average only rests at about 120, since I only have a decent, straight plastic ball. (Straight meaning no off-center weight in the middle to aid in curving).

You don't have to eat up at the bar! Already 10x better than your average alley

First game, David did win. Was I a little bitter? ...Maybe lol. But I was having a good time. I got a 110 and he got 122. Monica and Mary were vying for 3rd and 4th place, poor girls lol. Mary was giving me 'L' for loser signals when they all got strikes in the same frame except for me lol. David was teasing me - he was relentless! lol I kept telling him my second game is always my best, but as the frames progressed and I got further behind, he just kept teasing me lol. But in the end I pulled ahead and just baaaareeely beat him with a 132. He was letting me win, he kept saying, because it was my birthday and all. Suuuure. heh. My 3rd game was looking quite crappy. At one point I had a 57 and he had a 94 in the same frame. All looked lost. But in the last 3 frames I began to edge my way up to his level. I got a spare, and then a strike, and then came the clincher in the 10th frame. David was already finished with a 127. I got a 9 in the 10th, and I had to pick up this spare in order to tie. David was trying to sike me out lol but I wasn't havin' it. I picked up the spare and we tied. But my game wasn't over yet. Since it was the 10th frame I had one more ball. All I had to do was not get a gutter and it was in the bag. Being a bowler I rarely, if ever, get gutter balls. But I'd already had twice that night (hey, I did have a Sex on the Beach drink in me too!) and I choke under pressure. Luckily, I did not choke, and edged him out with a decent 134.

During the games, M&M split some nachos and David bought some mozzarella cheese sticks. I just wasn't that hungry. I'd only had some cereal and a mocha earlier that day but when I had one of his cheese sticks I almost couldn't even eat it. When the waitress came I'd told her everyone was separate, but she put David's check and mine together and handed it to him (oops!) he gracefully paid for my one drink :)

We headed to the bar where I promptly ordered a Black Opal with Blue Curacao instead of Chambord (that stuff is nasty). It's my staple drink. People who follow my blog know I order one where ever I go to try to find the best version of it. But she said "So an Adios?" (An AMF) I shrugged and I was like "Yeah, sure." I knew they were similar. (And David was like "and you're driving?" lol) Mary ordered a Flamingo, which had sprite and watermelon liquor and it was NASTY lol. I got bored just sitting at the bar, though. We'd discussed pool, but they wanted $13 an hr/per table. I finally just broke down and bought us an hour. None of us ever play, so it was perfect lol we were all similarly pathetic.

David and I were a team, and M&M were a team. The innuendos were flying off the handle. Both David and Monica were thick with it. I couldn't say a word about pool without it becoming a sex joke lol. I tried talking about how I can't snap the cue, or hit the balls hard and the jokes kept coming lol. David and I won the first game, and M&M won the second. We managed 2 games only in that hour because we couldn't hit these balls to save our lives (shut up lol).

I managed to not fail a self-sobriety test, but after having to wait for Mary to finish her drink, I wasn't feeling up to snuff. I probably could have drove had I been in a more familiar area close by, but we weren't. I had David drive since he was the only other person with a license lol (I think Mary has one, but doesn't really drive). Besides, I've been in his car while he drives and he's perfectly suitable. I trusted him ;) We dropped Mon off at her place and David drove back to his car. After that it was up not me not to kill Mary on the drive back to her place ha. I did fine. I was already nursing a headache by the time I got home, though lol.

I had a blast. David's relentless teasing actually made the game more fun. Neither one of us are competitive, but it was fun to tease each other about our shitty throws lol. I had a wonderful time and I'm glad to be able to replace a bad memory with a good one.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

What I'm __________ April Edition

I kind of skipped March because I made Feburary's post on March 1st and I really am just a creature of habit so not much has changed lol.

EATING: Sourdough bread. I don't need to make a sandwich with it. Butter'll do just as well. Especially sweet cream organic butter given to me by a friend of mine that I completely forgot I had until now and is probably way past its prime but I didn't want to waste it so I'm using it now *takes a breath*. Also, sourdough bread from Tacoma Boys is mighty good - nice and sour. I sometimes make my own using this simple recipe from Alton Brown but I was feeling lazy. Too lazy to let something sit for 19 hours, lazy lol.

DRINKING: More tea. Trying out a new flavor called Coconut Chai (black tea). I don't know... maybe I'm just used to Bigalow's bagged Vanilla Chai, but the flavor of this stuff is... interesting. When I go back to my tea place I think I'll switch back to my Coconut Cream (black tea). I still have my staples: Green Mountain green tea and Coconut Oolong tea, though. Yum.
Oh also, an occasional glass of Barefoot Moscato, which oddly enough, is sweet enough by itself for me to drink! (it's a miracle).

WATCHING: I just finished watching Firefly. Yes, the 10 year old TV series that only lasted one season. I remembered learning about it long ago but never started watching it. It was recommended to me from one sci-fi fan to another, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The whole idea of it was interesting and strange. Half the time I wasn't sure if I was watching sci-fi or a gorram western (see what I did there? *grin*), and I hate westerns. But Nathan Fillon was adorable, and the series was freaking hilarious. I read how Fox really screwed the show over by not showing the pilot as the pilot, and choosing not to air 2-3 episodes of the only 14 episode season. I think if it had started on Syfy, it would have had a much higher success, which is really a shame because the show was very good.

LISTENING TO: Devin Townsend. Well, just one song actually. Over and over again. He's not necessarily my kind of musician. If you look on his wiki page, he's classified under all types of genres, most of which I wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole (Extreme metal, thrash metal, industrial metal, death metal, grindcore, progressive metal) But this one song, again recommended to me by my friend, I really like because it's on the other end of his spectrum (progressive rock, ambient, new age, electronic, country, classical).

READING: Almost done with the first book of a series from a new author called Nightshade. It's not about werewolves exactly. They're people that can turn into wolves on a whim. The ideas in it are unique and interesting, but it also seems too convenient at times. A lot of it is well written and some of it isn't. It's an odd combination. I'll probably read the rest of the series, but I'll go back to Kelley Armstrong and CC Hunter for a bit in between.

WRITING: Trying to write a story that's going no where. I'm just not in the mood for it again. It's hard for me to concentrate on writing a well-rounded story when I've got so much emotional turmoil in my life at the moment. I'm hoping it will get better soon, because I really enjoy writing!

PS - I think my friend knows me better than I know myself :P

Monday, April 22, 2013

The "Continent's Best Carrot Cake" vs Alton Brown

I was truly excited for this challenge, even though I was the one that created it and the only one participating it (see how sad and lonely my life is?)

It all started when Mom decided to bake dad a cake for his birthday. Since his favorite is carrot cake, mom found a recipe online called "The Continent's Best Carrot Cake". She had briefly looked at Alton Brown's recipe but decided against it because it looked like too much work (WAT, more than one spice? Uncalled for!) Well, I couldn't let this go down with such indignity! Actually, the reason I decided to challenge this was because mom's and Alton's recipe were so drastically different that I really wanted to bake a cake too and taste the difference. However, I was still convinced that Alton's would be better. (I had made this cake before for dad's birthday, which of course neither of them seem to remember, and they liked it!)

So, here are the contenders:

2 c. sugar
3 tsp. cinnamon
3 tsp. vanilla
3 c. grated carrots
1 c. vegetable oil
2 tsp. baking soda
2 c. flour
4 eggs
1 tsp. salt

Combine all ingredients except carrots. Beat for 2 minutes. Mix in carrots. Pour into two 8 inch round cake pans which have been greased and floured. Bake 35-45 minutes at 350 degrees.

Mom decided on buying a can of cream cheese frosting. She also had a heck of a time trying to find "8in cake pans".


Unsalted butter, for the pan
12 ounces, approximately 2 1/2 cups, all-purpose flour, plus extra for pan
12 ounces grated carrots, medium grate, approximately 6 medium
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 ounces sugar, approximately 1 1/3 cups
2 ounces dark brown sugar, approximately 1/4 cup firmly packed
3 large eggs
6 ounces plain yogurt
6 ounces vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter and flour a 9-inch round and 3-inch deep cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Set aside.

Put the carrots into a large mixing bowl and set aside.

Put the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and process for 5 seconds. Add this mixture to the carrots and toss until they are well-coated with the flour.

In the bowl of the food processor combine the sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and yogurt.
With the processor still running drizzle in the vegetable oil. Pour this mixture into the carrot mixture and stir until just combined. Pour into the prepared cake pan and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 45 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325 degrees F and bake for another 20 minutes or until the cake reaches 205 to 210 degrees F in the center.

Remove the pan from the oven and allow cake to cool 15 minutes in the pan. After 15 minutes, turn the cake out onto a rack and allow cake to cool completely. Frost with cream cheese frosting after cake has cooled completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

8 ounces cream cheese
2 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
9 ounces powdered sugar, sifted, approximately 2 cups

Notice how Alton's recipe is much more detailed. I love this about him. Some natural cooks may not apprciate having to read a recipe like a book but I need all the direction I can get. The only change I made was that my 3" deep cake pan is in storage, of course, so I had to settle for two 9" pans (in which I weighed the batter so they cooked evenly. I also cut that secondary cooking time by 10 minutes because of the thinner batter.)

Now, my judges for this event were Justin, his Grandma, and un-biased me (lol). And not my dad, because that would be evil and wrong to make him choose between his wife and his daughter! (Actually, he just refused to participate lol). Alton's repuation was on the line here! I had to do my best and make this right! No self-respecting Alton Brown fan would let a self-toting cake beat her! Right?


Well, technically, I'd say it was a tie. Even though dad wouldn't admit to liking one cake over the other, I can tell he enjoyed mom's better. And I thought it was pretty good too. I gave it to Justin in a blind taste test. However, it was slightly skewed because I'd mentioned how mom's frosting was sickenly sweet, and Justin picked up on that. A clear winner for frosting was defintely me. I'd always make my own over buying a can of it. Justin told me he did actually enjoy mine a bit more (and Grandma thought both were quite good), dispite the fact that it was drier than mom's. I blame the fact that even with 10 minutes less cooking time, when I checked the temp, it was already at the high end of 210 degrees. Slightly overbaked, possibly.

I'm slightly disappointed in this outcome. I was hoping, because of Alton's more intricate recipe, that there would be a clear difference in taste - whether better tasting or not. But honestly, I couldn't much tell a difference when I tried them side by side.

*Shakes fist* I'll get you next time!!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

What Do People My Age Do For Their Birthday?

The title is pretty self explanitory. I mean, I'm turning 29, so it's not a milestone or anything. But I've been having some bad luck! For the entire year just about, I was looking forward to celebrating at Chopstix for my birthday like I did the year before - just to find out they got shuttered. Bowling has always been a back-burner option for me because I like to bowl and so do my close friends. So when I couldn't think of anything else to do, I looked up Bremerton Lanes because they're a smaller, quieter alley than most. Turns out they were shuttered back in 2010. Obviously there are other alleys out there, but damn.

How do people my age generally celebrate? I'm not much of a 'bar-hopping, dance club' party girl. Nor am I a 'quiet night at home sipping wine' girl, either. Not that I have a home to celebrate in right now. That's part of the problem. Since I'm living with my parents in the short term, it's not really an option just to 'hang at my place'. Nor is it really an option to hang at any of my friend's places either lol. A couple of options have been thrown at me, like Dorky's and Dave & Busters (thanks Erik but I can't drive to Boise lol), but they don't sound fun to me.

I don't know. I feel as though people my age are past the 'drink all night' stage, and into something a little more subdued. The problem is... what is that? (And it's not as if I'm limiting myself because of my age. I know I could if I wanted to, but I just don't. Especially since I have to drive myself home).

Does anybody have any ideas?! Help me out here!!