I spent my Saturday helping D with her graduation party, buying and making tacos to celebrate her graduation AND Cinco de Mayo! She’s now Dr. D with her PhD in physical therapy! CONGRATS, D 🙂

As I was sitting chatting with her various friends and family at the party, I started chatting with D’s sister and her husband. He is from Loveland, Colorado (not to be confused with the ski resort), which is only a few miles south of Fort Collins, and he was telling me about a scandal that happened at his high school with the football team.

Apparently the football players would spray their jerseys with PAM so no one could grip them to tackle them. As he was talking, I realized I’d heard that story before– straight from the source of one of the players who had done that… my ex, Voldemort.

Whenever I ask people if they know someone just because they went to the same high school, I hold little hope because I’m useless when it comes to other people asking me to play the the “do you know ___” game. I casually asked him if he knew “Voldemort” and his reply was “he was one of my best friends in high school!”

I then replied that he’s my ex!

He then told me “I friended him on facebook and found out he was getting divorced that week because he posted about having to go pick up the papers.” “Yup, that was me!” I exclaimed. I couldn’t believe it– someone else who knew Voldemort from a different time. Of course, they didn’t stay actual friends, but that didn’t surprise me in the least– Voldemort dumps friends faster than you can say “friends.” There was ONE person at our wedding that he invited who wasn’t related to him– because he didn’t have any friends from his past. (Major red flag #738 ignored!)

I then found out that he recently got married, which didn’t bother me at all. I’ve known Voldemort was engaged (and has been for a long time), so it was pretty inevitable that he would finally tie the knot. Now the clock has started to tick down until he does the exact same thing to this girl that he did to me. It’s his nature– it’s the way it continues to be modeled for him by his mom, so there’s no hope for redemption. I already pity the woman he just married…

It was quite the eventful graduation party! It also says a lot that finding out my ex got remarried didn’t bother me and I didn’t give it a second thought– except to tell all of you about it, of course. I’m always relieved that my heart has moved far past the hurt and pain that he caused me almost 3 years ago.

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Zak graciously let me steal this idea from him, and I wanted to share it with you all. I’m not a huge fan of New Year’s resolutions, because they all seem cliche and I forget all about them in about 3 days. However, when it comes to my birthday, I seem to have no trouble contemplating my future.

I want this next year, my 26th year, to be one of the best ever! I want to do and see things that either A) I’ve never done before or B) should do more often. I live in one of the best outdoor-activity states and I rarely take advantage of having the mountains less than 30 minutes from my house.

So, without further ado, here are my 26 to-do’s for my 26th year:

  1. Hike a 14er
  2. Canoe/kayak Dillon Reservoir
  3. Go to the Sundance Film Festival
  4. Snowshoe in RMNP
  5. Fall in love
  6. Get the full bonus amounts at work each quarter
  7. Go to Cheyanne Mountain Zoo
  8. Have brunch at the Broadmoore
  9. Grow a lush garden
  10. Learn to roast a chicken
  11. Travel somewhere that requires my passport
  12. Travel somewhere outside of the state
  13. Eat at least one thing a week from our CSA bag
  14. Learn to grill the perfect steak
  15. Throw at least one party/get-together a month
  16. Have a reason to wear each of my three LBD’s
  17. Go on a full-moon snowshoe hike
  18. Treat myself to a shopping-spree for new clothes for work
  19. Go to at least one concert
  20. See fireworks in DC
  21. Go hiking with my parents at least once this summer
  22. Jump in a pile of freshly-raked leaves
  23. Ride my bike every day to work in the summer
  24. Make limoncello
  25. Go to a game for each of the Denver professional sports teams (except the Nuggets– I hate basketball)
  26. Write my 3rd NaNoWriMo novel in November

Come February 28 (ONE WEEK!!!), let the games begin 🙂 I’d love it if I could cross off every single one of these– wish me luck!

Summer is officially over in Colorado… We went from 95 degrees and sunny for the high to 70 and overcast in one day. But I’m not complaining!

I love Colorado autumns. I know that the midwest and northeast have more colors in their trees than I can even imagine, but we don’t have the humidity they do, so I still think Colorado’s the best 🙂

I rest my case.

With the end of summer being signaled by Labor Day, I (of course) planned a party. Have I mentioned here that I completely LOVE planning parties? Well, if I haven’t, let me tell you now: oh my gosh do I love me some party-planning! I bombard The Roommate with about a dozen emails a day about what we want to serve, who is invited, what time, what day, new ideas on decorations, new ideas for food… she abhors planning parties, so it’s a good thing we’re roommates– I love planning and she loves hostessing!

It has been my goal this summer to perfect the art of cooking ribs, something I had never even tried before this summer. But we got a normal-sized grill when we moved in, so now it is actually possible for me to make them instead of trying to make them on a tailgate-sized grill. And because Costco ribs come 3 to a pack, it’s the perfect excuse to invite a bunch of people over to help us eat them!

My first attempt was for a kick-off summer bbq, and I made ribs with a Chipotle-Cherry BBQ Sauce— oh my gosh was the sauce delicious! The ribs were okay, but slightly dry. I had smoked them but they tasted yummy and smokey.

My second attempt was a 4th of July party (see? Parties all the time!). This was a family affair, and they were my worst batch yet. They were WAY overcooked but thankfully I had made the Chipotle BBQ sauce, so that sort of helped redeem them… but it was actually kind of embarrassing to serve them…

However, my latest attempt were perfectly cooked, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the sauce on them. Because I believe in first trying a recipe as-written and then make adjustments later, I used the Balsamic Glaze the recipe called for. I adored the cooking technique– fast and hot in the oven and then only a few minutes on the grill– I get impatient and kinda resent having to spend all freaking day monitoring ribs on the grill. So leaving them in the oven for 2 hours and being able to go and watch a movie on a lazy Sunday afternoon sounds way better!

(Can you believe I didn’t take ANY pictures from that party?? I must have been having too much fun!)

I made 4 racks of ribs for about 13 people. We ended up having one serving’s worth leftover, which is perfect! And the party with the 13 people? The BEST party we’ve had yet! I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time! People left the house saying “my face hurts from laughing.” To me, that is perfection. I’ve been throwing parties (not the “let’s all get drunk” kind that are popular with the college-age crowd) since college and every time, I wish and hope for a party like the one we had on Labor Day. Everyone got along, there were the people in the group who kept the jokes coming and everyone let the conversation flow easily and naturally, only pausing to catch our breath between jokes.

I hope to have many more parties that result in so many comment and compliments about a fun evening. I love bringing the people I like most together to intermingle and the fact that they actually all got along is amazing!

I love parties and I can’t wait to plan the next one…

I always forget that during Memorial Day weekend I’m supposed to be remembering and honoring fallen soldiers. It’s not that I’m not patriotic or that I don’t appreciate what the United States armed forces have done and sacrificed. It’s because Memorial Day was hijacked by my ex a few years ago, and I can’t help but spend my time and energy keeping those memories at bay. It wasn’t until last night, while reading through Facebook statuses of people thanking the military that I said to myself “oh yeah…”

Two years ago, while at a cemetery honoring the fallen military personnel buried there, my marriage fell apart in the blink of an eye. I use Memorial Day as my “anniversary” date of the end of my marriage because the following two weeks were a pathetic attempt to deny the obvious. Memorial Day was when things really ended, not June 12 when he moved out.

Last year, the one-year anniversary of the shit-storm, I spent an entire therapy session dealing with the memories of what had happened. It had finally been enough time that I could actually face and deal with everything that had happened. I try to joke about it now, playing it off as no big deal, when in fact it still traumatizes me. I don’t know if I have ever expressed to anyone just how completely life-shattering that day was. The only person who probably has any idea is my mom who had to come rescue me from the cemetery in the pouring rain.

On Memorial Day of 2009, my marriage ended. My husband proved to me that he did not love me or care about my well-being. The details of everything that happened that day become unimportant compared to the truth that was brought to light. It became infuriating, however, when I would tell people that me and Voldemort (how he is referred to now) were splitting and everyone was still convinced that he was a great guy, based on his charismatic, life-of-the-party personality he showed to everyone else. I wanted to scream at those people “HE FUCKING LEFT ME IN THE RAIN AT A CEMETERY WHILE HE STAYED AT A RESTAURANT TO EAT BREAKFAST! HOW IS THAT OKAY?!?!” I wanted to tell the world what a horrible, deceiving, narcissistic man he is– but all they could see were his jokes, his position as a worship pastor at our church, and the optimism that maybe… just maybe, he’ll change.

The frustration around the fact that no one saw the real Voldemort was probably the worst part about our breakup. I know some people were trying to be encouraging, but their attempts at talking about the possibility of change and his “good” qualities just made me want to yell and scream!

So every Memorial Day, I fight the images, emotional scars, and feelings of dread that come along with the recollection of what happened two years ago. It always takes me by surprise, too– I hardly ever think about Voldemort, but my subconscious finds a way to bring him forward in the weeks leading up to Memorial Day. And then I have to face the reality that something that sad and terrible– my marriage disintegrating before my eyes and the person I loved and had committed my life to showed me that I was not loved or valued by him– happened to me.

I know as more Memorial Days come and go, the less I’ll think about him, and the less I’ll have to deal with the lingering emotions that come with that day. When I “reclaim” the day by doing something amazing and awesome, in the back of my mind is the reality of why that day needs to be reclaimed in the first place.

I hope the Memorial Day comes soon that I don’t need to think about reclaiming it, that I don’t think about what happened on that day, and I can just enjoy the extra day off work and have the thankfulness of the sacrifice of military personnel at the forefront of my mind.