life != bar graphs

I like line graphs better than bar graphs. Bar graphs are just so blocky and ugly. They remind me of ugly city-scapes. Line graphs have so many more options. The lines can be pointy and sharp or smooth and flowy. Displaying more than one set of data not only looks cool and pretty, but the information is easy to follow along a given timeline. I don't know, I just like line graphs.

Life would make an awesome line graph. More than a few times, I've considered trying it but have always forgotten about the idea. Tracking the ups and downs of a person's life over the span of a year (realistically) or 10 years (unrealistically) would be neat. Sure, it would probably be difficult to consistently and accurately rate your life. And sure, you probably couldn't compare your specific graph to someone else's graph (which removes one of the cool factors of line graphs, as mentioned above) since their view of life would probably not be on the same scale as your own. But still... I think the end result would be interesting.

I think it's fair to say that this year would have made an interesting graph.

My grandmother passed away this past week. Unlike last year when my grandfather died, Jason and I were able to go to both the wake and the funeral. The wake was held at the same funeral home, something I felt was a bit... uncomfortable. If Papa's funeral had been more distant instead of just being a year ago, I don't think I would have thought much about it. But since that wasn't the case, having it in the same location just made me think of both deaths instead of just the one. Unpleasant. On the flipside, the ceremony (is that what it's called?) was held at the same church as one of my cousin's weddings.

The past 2 days have been a little odd, I feel like. I fluctuated between pushing down any feelings of sadness and just feeling... neutral. She'd lived a good, pretty full life, and she had been in a nursing home for the last few years as well. Really, I felt the most emotion for my mom and my aunt. Losing both parents so close together has to be hard. I guess I also briefly entertained the guilt that comes with not having seen my grandmother in such a long time, the same going for my grandfather last year. Luckily, when Amber died in April, I didn't have that issue. In fact, I remember being happy that we'd gotten to see each other much more up here in Delaware than we ever did while we all lived in Tulsa (for whatever reasons). It was nice that amidst all the terribly sad thoughts, there was a happy one.

I don't know. Sadness came and went the past couple of days. I honestly tried not to think about or dwell on the sad stuff for too long since I really didn't feel up to crying. Is that terrible? I greatly dislike crying and try to prevent it whenever possible. Unfortunately, I think I'm a sympathetic crier. I don't always have to have an emotional connection to something for me to cry about it as long as several others are crying about it. Yes, there's a chance that it also has to do with the fact that I'm emotionally involved with the person(s) crying and that that's what triggers the welling up and such... But still, whatever the reason, it's the most disconcerting characteristic ever. I feel like there wasn't as much crying this time around anyway. I might be wrong. I think Papa's passing away was so much more unexpected than Nana's, which made it harder to accept. Anyway...

Line graphs. I like the idea of plotting one's life on a graph. I will probably never get around to doing so, but I like the idea. I would average a day's ups and downs and give an overall number between -25 and +25. I think the resulting graph of a given year would inevitably have multiple negative bumps along the neutral baseline, and probably 2 or 3 seemingly-mountainous negative hills, but anyone looking at the entire graph as a whole would immediately know my life is an incredibly blessed and happy one. I have the best husband I could have ever asked for (seriously, how did so much good get packed into one man?), I have an incredible family (consisting of both Millards and Vermettes), and I can honestly say I have no dreams or desires that are out of reach. God is good.

On another note, Jarred drove home with us from New Jersey yesterday and stayed with us overnight. It was an entertaining 3ish hour ride (tip: the non-toll-road route from NJ to DE during traffic time is not advisable) to say the least.

Oh yes, and the Starke-Stark wedding is coming up next weekend. We are trying to figure out our travelling plans.  Sometimes I'm just terrible at plans...

After being out of town overnight for the funeral, Puma was quite a happy little fellow come bedtime last night. The happiness seen below is not the actual happiness but merely an example:



Well, the summer soccer season is coming to a close. We have 2 more games left. How should I summarize my experiences on this team?

Most of the time I don't mind that our team loses every game. Yeah, sometimes it's frustrating, but I do get to feel good about myself for being one of the better players, and I also play on this team because I actually like the other players. Really none of us are jerks and we're all just playing for fun. We have to be, since obviously we're not playing to win. Most of the teams we play against have a few (or many) jerks on their team, and I don't think I'd rather play on their team and win a few, because that'd be even more frustrating.

Besides, at times I think as a team we're not so bad, and we really could have won 3 or 4 games this year. There were 4 games within 2 points. I think we had a chance at each of those games, but we just couldn't keep it together the whole hour (the summer games are only an hour, both because of the heat and because they have to fit a lot of games into a small amount of time). We were even ahead for a while in two of those games, over half the game in one case.

As it turns out, I think (at least for this season) I enjoy more the games where we have no chance to win, the games where we lose by 4 or more. I'm sure that makes no sense. But maybe I can explain a bit. I mostly play defense, so for one thing there's a lot of action and challenge in the games against teams that are far better than us. I can really push myself to the limit and improve when we play a team whose offense is really good. That's the small reason I prefer the games where we have no chance. The main reason, though, at least I think it's the main reason, is that when we have a chance at winning, when we're actually ahead for some of the game, it's a lot more stressful for me. Our team struggles a lot to put together a strong attack, and in a game where we actually have a chance, that's really frustrating. To play really good defense the whole game and only let two goals past the whole time, and then to have our team only score 1, or none at all, is tough. I don't like getting upset at the forwards, because I know their job is hard, but it stresses me out a lot more when people make mistakes in a game that we could win if we'd just play our best for more than a third of the game than in a game where it really doesn't matter anyway, because we're going to get creamed no matter what. That goes for me and the defense, too, but I think most of the team would agree that our defense tends to be a little stronger than our offense. That may be just because our defense gets a lot more practice, since we have to spend much more than half the game being attacked, which means our offense is spending much less than half the game attacking. Plus we tend to have our experienced players play defense and let the new people play up front where it's not as critical if they make a mistake.

At any rate, it's been a pretty enjoyable season, which is saying a lot considering our record. I hope the team stays together long enough to really mesh together and improve, because I still would like to win a game sometime.


bullet time!

So, I realize we never posted the blogs for the last 2 days of our vacation, but really, who wants to read about end-of-vacation blues? Anyway...

I feel like bullet-point writing tonight in a not-at-all chronological order. And to spice it up, I think I'll add an occasional picture if it helps with the topic. And... Commence!

  • Colleen came to visit us. This made me happy for many reasons, not the least of which was that we baked a ridiculously splendid pie. Peach pie, to be exact. I suppose if I'm honest, Colleen actually did all of the baking. She did the majority of the shopping, the preparing, the mixing, the rolling, and the tasting. She even did 100% of the removing of inappropriate ingredients. (I still don't see why that one tiny piece of peach wasn't allowed in the dough/crust bowl. I guess it's one of those things that falls under the "Life's unfair" category.) I did all washing, peeling, and chopping of the peaches (and it turns out that nearly 10 pounds of peaches is only 1 pie worth of peaches), and I got to pour unmeasured (my favorite kind of pouring) spices into the bowl of chopped peaches. So, I suppose the "Colleen and I baked a pie!" would be more appropriately described as "Colleen baked a pie using my food-processor-less kitchen!" I don't care though, it was an awesome pie. As soon as it was cooked and cooled, we ate the pie and played Phase 10 (a game that Colleen valiantly dominated against all odds).

    I like Colleen. I am afraid to think of what will happen if she goes to work in South Korea and comes back more asian than I have ever managed to be. Perhaps she will be able to steal a cute little korean baby for me (you know, just in case my kids come out too white). Or perhaps she will teach me to become more korean! Oh the possibilities...
  • My cousin got married at the beginning of the month. The wedding was up in Stroudsburg, PA, which was a really pretty area, and only a few hours away from here. My family, of course, came up for the wedding, so Jason and I got to hang out with Jarred and Tamara for a day at Dorney Park. It was a lot of fun. The weather was pretty much perfect and we spent the entire day at the park without suffering any negative consequences (unlike spending all day in the middle of summer at Six Flags in Texas...). We rode nearly every ride that looked either 1) exciting, 2) dizzying, or 3) not that fun, but most definitely nauseating. Luckily, we all got a bit queasy at the same time, so no one had to seem like a wuss. I think Jarred was a bit apprehensive about how much "adventure" Jason could tolerate. Not surprisingly, Jason fared admirably. However, it turns out that Jarred's and Tamara's "adventurous" spirits can be easily quenched by 1) the loading/unloading of the Ferris Wheel and 2) the suggestion of riding the "swings." 

    I believe the left picture accurately captures Tamara's true feelings about Ferris Wheels, and the one on the right is an equally accurate representation of Jarred overcompensating for his uneasiness (which was definitively confirmed by the puddle of sweat in his shoes after stepping off this frightening ride). Lesson learned? Don't rock the gondola. Anyway, it was a lot of fun hanging out with them. :)
  • While we were on vacation and had access to live television (Sidenote: It was nice to find out that having regular television actually held very little appeal to me... I guess Netflix is able to sufficiently satisfy all of my staring-at-a-screen desires. Hooray.), we watched a couple episodes of a show called Cats 101 on Animal Planet. On one of the episodes, they introduced a breed of cat known as a Ragamuffin. Oh.My. As soon as we saw the cat, we just knew that Puma was part Ragamuffin. Ok, so I guess we can't know anything for sure since we adopted him from a shelter, but I would bet anything that he has a good bit of Ragamuffin somewhere in his lineage. To make my point, I shall use further indented bullet points. (Clever, no?)
    • Traits/Characteristics that indicate Puma's Ragamuffin Pedigree:
      • Kitten-like until four years of age.
      • Incessantly vocal.
      • Medium-length coat that increases in length toward the stomach.
      • Longer fur around the neck and face, creating the appearance of a "ruff."
      • Fully furred tail, similar in look to a plume.
      • Large, round paws with tufts between and beneath the paws.
      • The appearance of a wispy frill on the hindquarters. (I think "fluffy pantaloons" would also be an accurate description.)
      • Tends to "grumble."
      • Likes to fetch toys.
    I could go on, but my bullet points might get out of hand. I don't care that there's no way to prove he's part Ragamuffin. He not only has spot on physical characteristics but his personality fits perfectly. There are more than enough similarities to convince even my logical side. I officially declare Puma part Ragamuffin!
  • Today I tackled an 8 minute long endoscopy report. Is it terrible that I found it rather entertaining? Today was also the day of a 13:26 minute long report. However, despite the audio quality being infuriating (imagine someone dictating with the recorder in their back pocket, while they're in a wind tunnel, while breathing heavily into a stethoscope), the doctor spoke in complete sentences and didn't stumble over herself. Such a relief. I am slowly making my way through this last section of miserable reports. I'm so lucky to have Jason. He's beyond encouraging and makes me laugh. Sometimes on a particularly frustrating report, I'll ask him to come listen to the file so we can have a good laugh. He's so good for me. :) Anyway, despite the increasing frequency of frustrating moments (read: hours), I can't help but still enjoy myself. I have a good life.
Ok, so I think that's the end of my bullet pointing. It's late and I think it's time to call it a day. Feel free to chew on this* until our next blog:

*(if only you could hear my squeals upon viewing this photo)