Heartbreaking July

Hello to anyone who may be reading this. On July 11, I was at my father’s side as he passed away. His passing was sudden, unexpected, and heartbreaking. This has been an incredibly difficult time for my mother, sister, and I, but I think we are doing pretty darn well and keeping things together. We have all been trying to keep busy this month (my sister has gone back for her last year of her graduate degree and my mom has been seeing friends and working). I went back to work the day after the interment, primarily because being in my parent’s house was painful. I am very thankful to my Aunt Nancy, cousin Lauren, Uncle Mark, and Uncle Buddy for being there for us this entire month (my cousin and Uncle Mark, for example, drove overnight to Quincy to pick my sister up from school so that she would be able to say goodbye to my father). An incredibly special thank you to my love, Matt, who was there with me through the whole process and helped out as much as he could. We have received so many cards, prayers, positive thoughts, masses, meals, flowers, and support from those the family is close to and those we have not talked to in quite sometime…it has been overwhelming and we are grateful.

Because of all of this sadness, I made it a point to continue seeing friends and getting out of the house. I have seen myself going through the stages of grief (and have obviously been assigning my own dx, duh…social worker problems).

So how did I fill my time? First, I made sure to attend the Naperville Ale Fest with Sara, Rob, Sabrina and Mike. It was a great time, but I did not take any pictures! This will definitely be a trip I take next year, next time with Matt when he is no longer studying for the bar.

After this fest, I took an entire week off of work. It was much needed and my brain has enjoyed the break! I go back tomorrow and am feeling super refreshed and ready to go! On my first day off, I went to an event in Sussex, WI with my “church” group of friends, Alec, Emily, Andy, Laura, Alex, Matt, Seth, and Joe. Alec’s uncle Crusher hosts this event at his home and themes it. Essentially, it is a day of deep fried food (whatever you want to fry!) and merriment outdoors. I think my favorite things this year were deep fried butter, always a classic, deep fried White Castle Sliders, and deep fried Potica (the dessert of my people).

Here is the table full of food. It is consistently replenished throughout the day as more food is fried:

food

We brought Potica, pot stickers, and bacon (and a jar of homemade buttermilk ranch for dipping) to try deep frying. Here is a picture of the bacon:

Deep fried baconFinally, here is a picture of the shirts that all those in attendance sign:

Deep Fried Saturday Shirt

The next stop on my vacation week was Shipshewana! I’ve written about this in the past, so I won’t go into too much detail, but basically it is the trip the women in my family take each year (mom, Sarah, Aunt Nancy, and boot) to visit the Amish, eat a ton of amazing breakfast and dinner food, buy a bunch of meat and cheese, and go to the largest Midwestern flea market. Here is an example of what the flea market looks like:

Flea Market

This year, we bought a few too many things it seems…it’s a good thing I am good at Tetris.

image_6Finally, to remember my father, my sister and I each chose a handmade quilt. These will last a lifetime (maybe longer). I had a…problem…in my apartment, and I will not be putting my new gorgeous quilt on my bed until I am SURE this problem is resolved, but here is a picture of what it looks like:

QuiltWhile I was gone, Matt took the Illinois Bar–he will find out if he passed and is an attorney in October. Either way, it was time to celebrate after months of studying (and dealing with all of the craziness in MY life directly before the exam!).

Bar dinnerThe month ended with my birthday. I have not been in the celebrating mood, but can never turn down a trip to Taco Joint in Lincoln Park. We had delicious food and a tequila flight that was to die for:

Tequila Flight

Matt definitely won on thoughtfulness for my birthday present too. He got me an external hard drive with all of the Simpson’s Treehouse of Horror episodes, all of the Mel Brooks famous films, and a bunch of Christmas Classics. It was brilliant!

I am trying to stay positive in the midst of the craziness. Thank you for reading, if you were able to get this far! I hope you’re having a great summer and that my next post will not have such grave news.

-Amanda

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