Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A Mildly Amusing Story

Monday morning I went to my legalized torture appointment (physical therapy) and something happened that shocked me and made my husband laugh hysterically. Here's the story:

My physical therapy office shares equipment with Golds Gym. So I was out in the gym lifting some weights listening to Billy Joel on my ipod, when a semi-attractive man walks up to me, and starts talking. Somewhat annoyed I pulled out one of my ear-buds.

NOTE TO ALL THOSE WHO GO TO THE GYM REGULARLY: when you start talking to someone and they pull out only 1 of their ear buds, it means that they really don't want to talk to you and are just being nice. Unless the ipod is turned off, or both ear buds are removed keep your comments short, because we're really not listening anyway, and are hoping you'll just shut-up.

Back to my story. So this semi-attractive man is talking, and talking, and talking, and talking. Finally I have to turn off my ipod because he starts asking me questions. He finally asked a question that pretty much stopped the entire conversation dead in its tracks. Can I get your number? To say that I was shocked would be the understatement of the century. I had just "celebrated" my 34th birthday the week before (the term celebrate is used loosely). I hadn't done my hair or put on any make-up. I wasn't wearing nice clothes. I was wearing my glasses. And finally, I'm a person who feels like she never really grew out of the "ugly duckling" stage that we all must endure.

SIDE NOTE: If you don't believe in the ugly duckling stage, go look at pictures of Chelsea Clinton 15 years ago, then we'll talk.

When I told the man that I didn't think my husband and kids would appreciate me giving out my number, the gentleman apologized and told me to have a nice day. As he walked away, I was wondering, "did that really happen"? I debated with myself about whether or not it did happen for the next hour. When I finally decided that it did happen I was feeling pretty dang good!! So guess what I did? I did what most "normal" (again, the term is used loosely) woman would do and told a girlfriend and called my husband!!!

My friend said: Wow!! That's so cool! When that used to happen to me, it would sure make me feel good about my self. When I replied that I felt great, she said, well it also gave me a big head. That took the wind out of my sails a bit.

And then I called Greg, and you know what he did? He laughed. Hysterically. I personally don't see what's so funny about the situation. I would categorize it as a mildly amusing story, not down right hysterical. When Greg finally got himself together I reminded him, in no uncertain terms that, "...he should feel lucky that the woman that he's been with for 16 YEARS could have an experience like that." Then I hung up the phone. It's now Wednesday, and he started laughing again when I told him I had another appointment for legalized torture. He even told me to tell my boyfriend hi. He's funny, very, very funny. I went to my appointment early so that I wouldn't see the guy. I didn't and I'm so glad.

I've been told by single friends that the gym is a great place to meet somebody. Personally, I don't see how. When I go to the gym, I generally haven't showered before, I'm not wearing anything nice, in fact I'm usually wearing my ugliest, oldest clothes. I also wear my glasses, and I think that you'd have to be David Beckham or Carrie Underwood to even be considered "looking good" while you work out. But like I said, I'm 34 and have been with my husband for 16 years, so what do I know?

NOTE TO ALL MEN WHO GO TO THE GYM REGULARLY: The only time that a speedo is appropriate is if your qualifying for or participating in the Olympics. Unless you are going to participate in those events, please wear NORMAL swim trunks. Two overweight men came out of the sauna while I was in the pool, and I'm still sick to my stomach!!! So on behalf of people everywhere: YOU ARE MAKING A FOOL OF YOURSELF, AND MAKING EVERYONE ELSE SICK!!!!!!!!!! SO WEAR NORMAL SWIM TRUCKS! PLEASE!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Pope visits the United States

Let me say at the beginning of this post: I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints aka: I'm a Mormon. I believe in the Gospel of my church, with everything that I am, and my faith sustains me, and carries me through the struggles of my life. That being said, I feel that I need to say something about the Pope's visit to the United States.

I spent part of my day watching the coverage of the Pope's visit over the last week. I must say, I was very moved. When I listened to the Pope's homily, and speech to the U.N. the 11th Article of Faith kept coming to my mind. It basically says that we as Mormons will worship God according to our own conscience, and allow others the same privilege. It seems to me, that basic respect is forgotten far too often by members of my own faith as well as other faiths around the world. Watching, and listening to the Pope this week reminded me of that, and I felt sad.

I also have been spending allot of time listening and reading speeches of President Gordon B. Hinkley, the prophet of my church, until his death this past January. The one thing that I can take away from Pres. Hinkley's words, is tolerance and acceptance. I am not naive enough to think that people of faith are always working for the common good. We are all aware that people have caused pain and suffering of innocent people in the name of faith and god since the beginning of time. When I learn of these events I shake my head and wonder how people can believe that God would condone this behavior. The God that I believe in loves his children, and that behavior, I feel, saddens God.

Religion has been in the news this month in other respects as well. The raid on the FLDS ranch in Texas. And the circus that ensued in our Court system was a result. I truly believe that people should be given the freedom to worship and live as they chose. However, I do have a problem when innocent people, particularly children, are harmed. I am not an expert, or claim to know everything about the raid, and the events that followed, but I do think that ANY claim of abuse must be investigated.

While listening to the Pope, the theme of his visit, it seemed to me, was that "faith strengthens you." In his speech to the U.N. he talked about peace, and basic human rights that are not being given to many people all over the world. He talked about the sexual abuse charges against many priests in the United States, and he did not just brush the issue under the carpet. He said that he prays for the victims and that behavior is unacceptable.

I feel that when it comes to religious differences, we only focus on the differences. I feel that we have more similarities than differences. When we focus on being different, we allow intolerance and even hatred. If we were to focus on similarities we invite peace and happiness.

The Pope leads a church of 64 million. If a person that leads that many people, can speak of faith, and happiness. Of being joyful, of allow faith to strengthen us, and how faith makes us better people, better families, better communities, and even a better and safer world we all should listen. That message said to me: strengthen your faith, become closer to God the best way you know how. And for me, that's becoming a better wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, neighbor, friend, student and Mormon.

Faith means so many things to so many people. What does the Pope's message say to you?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I've Been Tagged

a. write 6 habits/facts about yourself

b. tag 6 new people.

1.My given name is Gillian. It's pronounced with a hard G, so no, it's not Jillian. My Dad got the name from a Jimmie Stewart movie call Bell Book and Candle (it's next of my Netflix Q). Kim Novak plays Gillian a modern day witch living in Greenwich Village. Yeah, go ahead and tease me, I've heard it all before. It's a GREAT MOVIE!!

2.I love to read. I read allot of adult fiction, but my favorite is Young Adult Fiction. I love to read books by: Meg Cabot, Jodi Picoult, and many, many others. If I am not in the middle of a book, I don't feel right. My husband makes fun of me, but some of my best friends I met in books. For example: Elizabeth Bennett, Lizzy Nichols, Heather Wells, and Bridget Jones.

3.I love most sports, but baseball is my favorite!!! I love baseball!!! I love the skill of the players, but the strategy of the game is what really makes me love it!!! My girlfriends all think I'm nuts!! I don't understand how you can not appreciate what it means to have a southpaw pitching to a right handed batter. Or a low ball hitter, with a guy on first that isn't very fast, and how that changes the game. My favorite is watching a big league game with a guy on first that is a threat to steal second. I love watching him try to steal that base. I know, I'm a nerd!

4.I am unorganized!! This is something that I hate about myself!! My house is so unorganized!!! My house is messy and I hate it!! I just don't have time to clean!! There are so many other things that need to be done!

5.I love my ipod. Greg and the kids gave me an ipod for Christmas (I was mad at how much money they spent on me)! I love that ipod!! I have the Book of Mormon, all of April Conference, a Dave Ramsey Book, daily podcasts, and of course music. Greg teases me: he says I'm the only person that can hear about getting out of debt, the Armies of Heleman, Listen to Mike and Mike podcasts, hear the prophet speak, and then listen to Justin Timberlake. My response: I always download the clean versions of the songs on my ipod!

6.I have the worlds most amazing children. Chris, Kate and Kolbie are about the coolest kids anywhere, if you ask me. Chris has the kindest heart (unless your asking him to do chores or finish his homework) and the funniest sense of humor. Katie, is the most beautiful determined loving child I have ever met. She sets goals, and is always worried about everyone else, she loves to serve the people she loves. Kolbie's nick name is: Bear of Love, and it fits her completely!! Kolbie loves people, but she really, loves her family. She is always giving us hugs and kisses, and her smile can light up a room! I am so blessed to have these amazing human beings as my children! I have learned more from them, then they could ever learn from me.

The only person that I know that hasn't been tagged is Greg. So Greg: TAG!! YOUR IT!

Monday, April 14, 2008

"A Gift"

When I decided to start this blog, I did not want it to become a forum of my religious beliefs. Those are very personal to me, but as I look back over my posts, I can see that there is a religious theme to many posts. So, to carry on with that theme:

Today I got up and went to a doctors appointment, and to my physical therapy appointment (physical therapy is just a form of legalized torture in my opinion). I came home, and decided to check my email. I had received an email from my wonderful, amazing sister about the Savior. It was a slide show of the life of Christ, set to the hymn "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing", which happens to be one of my favorite hymns. Needless to say watching the slide show, made a little teary, and it gave me that "warm and fuzzy feeling" we Mormons have labeled: feeling The Spirit.

It was really no accident that my sister, Stephanie sent me this email. These kinds of things is just a part of who she is. My sister is a truly amazing person. SHE IS NOT PERFECT!!!!!!! I don't want her thinking that I think she is perfect, because that just upsets her, but she is amazing. I wish that I could put into words the feelings that I have about her, to me, she is a gift. My sister has an inner strength that is astounding.

With her first 2 pregnancies both of her boys were born very, very sick. When she got pregnant with Jack (her 2 month old) I, of course, was very worried. But she was amazing. Her baby was born healthy and happy. She even got to take him home when she went home from the hospital. I remember holding Jack, and I kept seeing, in my minds eye, my sister. She was praying. I know that she prayed for the health of that baby more than she's prayed for anything in her life. In fact, she jokes about it now, she says that God got tired of hearing from her, so he just gave in. I don't see it that way.

Last night, we went to Steph's house. She was having a birthday party for her 3 year old. We went to celebrate for a few minutes I was amazed by my sister. She was calm and collected, when I have people over, I need tranquilizers!!! When we went to leave I told her that we had to go because we hadn't eaten dinner yet. Her response: "We haven't eaten dinner either. Hey Mike, you might want to get on that!!" She makes me smile.

Sometimes I do try to avoid my sister. But that has nothing to do with her. My sister the who I want to be when I grow up, and sometimes, I try to avoid her so I'm not reminded of how far I have to go. Steph has so many of the qualities that I wish I had, mainly her faith. When ever I hear something about having faith to move mountains, I think of my sister. If I could have a tenth of her faith I would be so much better off. Stephanie definitely has her struggles, but her faith helps her through most of them. In matters of faith, Steph is a Rock-Star! Questions and problems that seem so difficult to me, to her are a matter of faith. I think if Steph got a dollar for every time she told me to "have faith", she could live next door to Donald Trump.

Anyway, like I said in the beginning about that email she sent me about the Savior, "those types of things are just a part of who she is". Steph is many things: she's a wife, mother, daughter, friend, student, teacher, neighbor, and a million other things but I have the blessing of calling her "my kid sister". I will gladly take that gift, and treasure it forever. I love you Steph.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Saying Goodbye?

My husbands Grandmother passed away early on the third of April. So we've spent the last several days going to viewing, the funeral, the family luncheon and all the other things that go along with a death in the family. I loved her as my husband grandmother but having distance gave me the opportunity to observe the things going on around me.

The day after grandma's death Greg and I stopped by his parents house to see if his mom was okay. She wasn't okay -- but I must say she was doing remarkable well considering her mother just passed away. We walked in and we each gave her a hug and let her cry. After a few minutes she turned to me and said: "I just don't understand this Jill. I'm a grown woman with children, and grandchildren, but I'm sure missing my Mom right now. I didn't talk to my Mom everyday, and we haven't even lived in the same city of the last 5 years, but oh I'm missing my Mom." None of this surprised me. I'd spent the day thinking about how I would feel if my parents weren't around anymore.

I'm of the belief that death usually brings the worst out in people. And the death of grandma wasn't an exception. There were arguments and hurt feelings. Suddenly everything was a competion. "I talked to Grandma and Grandpa three times last week!" "I took Grandpa and Grandma to their last five doctor appointments." "My kids saw Grandma and Grandpa more than any of the other grandchildren." I really wish someone would give me some insight to this line of thinking. Who really cares? So someone in the family talked to grandma and grandpa and someone else took them to their doctor appointments, and the grandkids came to visit. Isn't that what a family does? Aren't we supposed to help each other?

One thing that happened as a result of Grandma's death was that my children started asking real questions about why we're here and where we're going. My kids reacted to the death of their Great-Grandmother allot harder than I thought they would. There were tears, and ALLOT of questions. Where is grandma now? What is she doing? Why would God take her away from Grandpa, he needs her? That last one stopped me cold in my tracks. How do you answer that so that a child would understand? What do you tell a child to make them understand that death is not the end? What do you say to make everything okay again?

One of the hardest things I've had to deal with as a parent is having to answer questions that there aren't easy answers to. Questions about death definatley fall into that category. Our religion helps us answer these questions, but that doesn't make it easy to understand.

Last night I asked Greg if he thinks that being married to someone as long as Grandma and Grandpa were, if they makes you into one person. He said yes. Grandma and Grandpa were married for 62 years when Grandma died. I personally think that's amazing. Last night as I was trying to sleep I thought about that. Greg and I have been married for 15 and a half years and I can't imagine losing him. How would that feel if you added 47 years? I can only imagine that it feels like you'd lost half of yourself. How can you wake up every morning after that?

In the end, death creates more questions than it answers even if it's expected or even prayed for. But I don't think that dealing with the death of a loved one is much different than any other struggles we deal with in our lives. One moment you feel like everything has fallen apart and you can't go on. The next moment you find your self slowly picking up the pieces.

I personally have had to deal with the death of people that I have loved very much. And sometimes I look back and wonder how I've made it this far without them. But then I think, I haven't really been without them. My Aunt Michelle doesn't put up with anymore crap than my Aunt Cheryl did. My Dad argues politics with me and when I win (which is not very often) still calls me a dumb-shit. Just like my Grandma Kate. My Mom still loves me no matter what, and never gives up on any of her children. Just like my Grandma Culp.

I'd like to believe that the death of a loved one doesn't take them as far away as we think sometimes. When Greg's mom told us that she was missing her Mom last Thursday night made me realize that knowing someone was there for you if you needed them does make a big difference. Most of the time I think we all take advantage of the fact that someone is just a phone call, an email, or a text message away. I persoanlly don't think that Grandma was too far away from Greg's mom that night, but she wasn't a phone call away anymore.

Maybe we didn't say good-bye. Maybe we just said see you later.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

"April Fools Day?"

I normally don't post two days in a row but I have to talk about April Fools Day. So here goes:

April Fools Day, who the hell thought up this brilliant idea? My husband, the fool that he is, loves April First. Why? Because he finds joy in making himself look like an idiot after pulling some stupid prank and then yelling "APRIL FOOLS"!!!

This morning we had to deal with Kool-Aid in the bathtub faucet and in the shower head. My son thought he was dying. We also had green and pink milk. The sight of the green milk sent my son running to the sink gaging. Funny, very, very, funny. Now thanks to him, paranoia has come right on into my house and is staying for the day. The kids won't eat anything until they have smelled everything. And I do mean everything. They've spent half of their time this morning running around the house shouting things like: "If Dad did anything to my favorite shoes....". So thank you my darling husband, thanks allot.

But I suppose this was the point. Greg (my husband) says that April Fools Day is his favorite holiday. Excuse me? What? Since when has April Fools Day become a holiday? To be considered an actual holiday, State and Federal Government offices must be closed, at the very least. We have two calenders and "All Fools Day" is only on one calender. To be considered a holiday, the day must be recognized on all American Calenders!!!

I don't know whose idea "April Fools Day" was, but what the heck were they thinking? It seems to me that the fun of pulling pranks is the element of surprise. So why, I ask, is there one day specified for pulling pranks? Wouldn't it be funnier to just pull pranks any old time. I know my husband probably thinks I'm giving him permission to pull this crap all the time, but I'M NOT!!!!!!!!!!! I'm just asking a simple question.

I don't know how April Fools Day/All Fools Day even started (probably some weird European thing). So maybe someone should set me straight about April Fools Day. NOT MY HUSBAND --- I ALREADY KNOW HOW HE FEELS ABOUT THIS NON-HOLIDAY.

Oh, yeah Greg. When you get home tonight, NOTHING IS SACRED!!!! So BE PREPARED!!!