Sunday, December 20, 2009


He brought me a pair of gloves to wear during the hockey game.


Swoon worthy, my friends.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Turn You Inside Out

An excerpt from my email to a few friends on Monday:

"I don't know if it was S in his tuxedo telling me how fantastic I looked all evening, the big glass of gin & tonic I drank, or the little goodnight smooch I got, but this morning I woke up with my pajamas on inside out."

Really, what else is there to report?

I suppose there are a few additional details.

Let's start with this little beauty, the right hand ring. When I went shopping last week, I decided to search out a little bling to jazz up my black cocktail dress. The dress has a v-neck, and I didn't have a necklace that felt fancy enough.
At the store, I started trying on a few things on, but a saleslady saw me floundering and took pity on me. Turns out she is the accessories guru at the store, and I hit a home run with her on my team.
First, she found a black v-neck dress for me to change into. Then, she started getting out the sparklies. I may have tried on every necklace in the store. Nothing was right. Other gals who were out shopping were coming over and commenting. Sales ladies were placing their votes. Accessory Guru even took off her own necklace for me to try on. Still: meh. But then she found this ring in the back of the drawer. Love! I've been wearing my precious most evenings after work, around the house. I'm actively seeking other opportunities to showcase my new lovely.
Also, I purchased hair spray for the first time in my adult life. I don't know, I plead temporary insanity and an accessory high for leading me into the Aveda store. Surely, they'd have some options other than whatever shellac was used on my actual prom hairdo? I threw myself on the mercy of the clerk again, who recommended a spray that isn't sticky or stiff and should just lightly cradle my hair into place. It did, and my hair was appropriately tossled and only slightly voluminous.
It's hard to take a picture of yourself when you're racing around the house, trying to get pretty on time. Just imagine that I looked better than ever. Modesty prevents me from repeating the shower of compliments I received throughout the evening, but I certainly felt like a million bucks.
I got a call from S when I was in the final stages of fancifying. His sister-in-law and her friend decided to attend the party, and would be meeting us for a pre-party drink. I wish I had a picture of my face when he divulged this information. As it turns out, I was glad to know a couple of additional people at the party. They were both friendly and nice to me, and I only caught S giving her a "shut up" look once or twice. I liked how she wasn't afraid to bust his chops a little bit, and he seemed to enjoy and tolerate a little good-natured ribbing. He big brothers her--she's about 10 years younger than him--even though they aren't actually related, and I thought that was pretty cute.
We'd been at the party a while when he pulled me aside, out of a conversation where I'd been nodding and smiling along to a stranger's story I didn't 100% understand. He wanted me to know that he appreciated my being a good sport, and wanted to make sure I was having fun. He also wanted to tell me that he didn't want to make any assumptions, but that he'd already bought hockey tickets for us for next weekend.

I wonder if it would be weird to wear my new ring to a hockey game?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

That Second Step Can Be a Doozy

I had an email from S on Tuesday morning, inviting me to prom.

That's right, the clever fella emailed me to let me know that he thought a six hour first date was a good thing, and that it might be a little premature, but he wanted to know if I'd go to prom with him. And by that, he meant a holiday cocktail party this weekend where he'll be wearing a tuxedo. A tuxedo that he owns.

It's like my letter to Santa was re-routed to him! Would I like to see him in a tuxedo and wear a fancy dress? Indeed I would. He joked about letting him know what color dress/outfit I'd be wearing so he could get an appropriate corsage, so I felt like I should let him know that if we were attending my actual prom, I would be wearing a hot pink dress that included both sequins and taffeta. And an enormous pile of hair. Seriously, that thing attached to the back of my head looks like a nest! If I recall correctly, the hairdresser pulled my hair into a ponytail and then curled/teased my hair out and bobby pinned it down to the back of my head. I had to wash my hair three times to be able to just get a comb through it afterwards. Good times.

He told me a little bit more about the party yesterday, and said he thinks it will probably be fun, but a little strange. Friends, "fun, but a little strange" is pretty much in the top five on a list of ways I'd describe myself. Also on that list: "slightly terrified about attending a party with 40+ strangers on a second date." At least I'll look cute. . .allegedly.

Last night, I delved into my closet to see if I had any options. I found three black cocktail dresses, one of which I'd totally forgotten about. The first one is a cute shift dress I bought years ago. I know it's from a while back because the size of the dress is two entire sizes smaller than the size of the pants I'm wearing today. A try-on attempt revealed that I am currently too bootylicious to wear it in public. Good to know. The second option is an adorable dress that I have never even worn. It's the same dress my bridesmaids wore in my wedding, from White House Black Market. It's strapless, with a scalloped hem. Very Audrey Hepburn in my mind. The bodice was tight enough that I felt indecent. I don't need to spend the evening worrying that anything is about to bust out, if you know what I mean. Option three might be a winner: I bought it to wear to a black tie wedding, and it fits like a dream. I do wish the skirt part were a little shorter--it hits along the bottom of my knee. Lucky for me, the internet has been very helpful in recommending accessories, so I think I can jazz up what would otherwise be a little bit boring.

Of course, if my letter to Santa was actually involved in the planning of this evening, I'd be wearing a smokin' hot red dress bought on super sale and have the body to match. A gal can dream, right?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Yeah, That Happened

Yesterday was my first date in a loooong time.

S and I decided to meet (for the first time in person) at the Draught House, and I rolled through the parking lot right at 4 o'clock on the dot. The tiny parking lot was full, and I noticed a guy from work standing outside and drinking a beer with a few other people. The guy, who I'll call Chuck, didn't see me roll throught the lot, and I didn't see S, so I went ahead and found a parking space on the street. I texted S to let him know I'd arrived and was on my way in, as I was then three minutes late.

I rounded the corner into the parking lot, and saw S standing in the doorway. Chuck's group was between us, and Chuck hollered "Hi Guava!" as I approached. I waved at S, and yelled hello to Chuck. Chuck followed up with a rowdy"What are you up to?" I yelled back "I'm on a date!" and pointed at S, who was now walking towards me.

And then it happened.

Chuck yelled "Where's your hubby??"

That's right. I'm meeting a dude for the first time, on my first date in over ten years, and some jackass is hollering at me across a freakin' parking lot about the whereabouts of a husband belonging to me.

I'm surprised I survived the wave of shock and embarrassment that consumed me.

I tried to play it cool, as I gave S an awkward hug and made some sort of not-very-snappy comeback for Chuck. Inside, I tried to overcome the horror by making fun of the situation, and I think I handled it okay. At least S didn't suck down his beer, make an excuse, and leave me sitting in the Draught House.

Instead, we spent the next six (!!) hours together. The first 3 and a half hours were spent drinking, and talking, and laughing. I wasn't drunk, and I don't think S was, either, but after we each finished our third pint, I felt like a fourth may have put me past my first date comfort zone of sobriety. We decided to adjourn to a sushi place in the Triangle, and met up there. I managed not to drop any soy sauce or sushi down the front of my sweater, which I consider a personal triumph.

At the end of the evening, he walked me to my car, and asked me to text him when I arrived home so he knew I made it safely. He gave me a hug, and I hit the road. My follow-up text thanked him again for a fun evening, and told him I enjoyed spending six hours with him. He responded that a long date equaled a good date in this case. Awww!

Yet, I have no idea if I'll hear from him again. Don't guys usually say something like "Let's do this again!" or "I'll call/email/text you next week"? He's a little hard for me to read. Several times throughout the evening, he made comments about how I seemed to have all the right answers or it was like I was reading his mind. Yet, there were also a few mildly uncomfortable pauses where I wondered if he wished he could figure out a way to wrap up the date.

On the other hand, I didn't say anything about getting together a second time, either. I felt like I had already been a little more forward than normal to get to the date; after he and I emailed several times, and I didn't hear from him for a week, I called him. At the end of that call, he said he'd email me to find a time to get together, and I didn't really think I'd hear from him again. But, sure enough, he emailed me the next morning, and out we went. The waiting game is back on!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Fun Five for Friday

I woke up this morning in a toasty cocoon of electric blanket goodness. I slept better last night than I have all week!

Morning traffic was light, I think due to "Blizzard" 2009 warnings. It's a good thing, too, because I didn't exactly get out of bed in a timely manner today. (See above.)

The cute kid at work brought me a delicious chai latte from Starbucks. He was wearing a scarf. I swooned a little.

I am making a list (of Christmas gifts to buy) and checking it twice. Shopping starts this weekend, and I'm excited about it.

I may have a date this weekend.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Lucky Ones

Many years ago, I won a happy hour and show tickets for myself and 9 of my friends at a comedy club downtown that had just opened and was trying to generate business. I can't even remember the name of the place--only that it ended up closing pretty quickly--but I found a show I wanted to see and invited my friends.

Sadly, the act we saw that evening has long since disbanded. Our entertainment for the evening was The Impromptones, a group of three or four fellas who did improv comedy in song. Prior to the comedy portion of the evening, we indulged ourselves in the happy hour portion of the evening; the club had given me 20 drink tickets--two each for the group. Except that a couple of my friends ended up not being able to make it at the last minute, so we redistributed their tickets. As I recall, I was all too willing to take one (or three) for the team, and by the time the show started, I was quite happy indeed.

Often, improv comedy takes suggestions from the audience, or asks the audience to participate in some way. So when The Impromptones asked where the beautiful people were sitting that night, the vodka in my veins directed me to point at our group with both hands in the air. One of the guys came over with a microphone and asked me if I had any good luck charms. I must have looked confused (actually, I was just drunk) because he rephrased the question: if I had a job interview, what would I be sure to take with me for good luck?

My good luck underwear, of course.

Of course! Of course I would choose that moment to reveal the secret of my good luck underwear to seven of my friends and the entire comedy club. Thank you, vodka.

Sensing a comedy goldmine--or possibly just realizing that I had imbibed in some truth serum--the comedy dude pursued his line of questioning to it's natural conclusions. If I had good luck underwear, did I also have bad luck underwear?

Yes, yes I did.

I thought one of my friends was going to puke from laughing so hard. I tried to just stop talking, but as it turns out, drunken Guava sitting in a spotlight faced with a man with a microphone is a recipe for no-holds-barred personal revalations. He asked another question: if some of my underwear was bad luck, why did I keep it?

Well, because I want to give it another chance. Another chance to become good luck underwear.

That's right, friends. Not only am I a weirdo who has good and bad luck underwear, I like to give my bad luck underwear another chance. And I was helpless to stop myself from telling what seemed like the entire world right then.

The Impromptones went on to sing a hilarious song about good luck underwear and bad luck underwear, and I admit I laughed until I cried. Sure, my face was beet red throughout the song, but at least we all had fun, right? If the number of people who yelled "good luck underwear" at me on my way out of the club that evening is any indication, then we certainly did all have fun.

So why would I choose to bring up this secret shame today? As it turns out, I should've done laundry last night. Instead, I was out on the town. . .well, out in another town. . .meeting some awesome fun ladies and having a few drinks. I didn't get drunk, and I don't think I spilled any shameful secrets, but I definitely did not attend to my chore list for the evening.

Let's just say I've got my fingers crossed today. Just in case.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Green Light Girl

I've given the green light for set-ups.

The last time I was out in the dating world, I was pretty much surrounded by guys. Guys in class (college), guys in bars (drunk), guys on the bus (UT shuttle). It was rainin' men, and I took it for granted.

Now, even though I still leave the house pretty much every day, I'm surrounded by the same people most of the time. At work, I do work with mostly men, though not anyone whose friends I'd want to date. Okay, there IS a really cute fella at work. He's five years younger than my fake age (which gets further away from my actual age at every birthday, ha!) and even though I'm not technically his boss, we're on the same team and work together every day. But he's tall, and handsome, and easy to talk to. We like a lot of the same things. Early one morning, he texted me to see if I could give him a ride to work because his truck wasn't running. When he hopped into my car that morning, fresh out of the shower in his freshly pressed white dress shirt, I have to admit that I was a little speechless. The kid was looking goooood.

Then I remembered that the kid has a really bad habit of constantly adjusting his, uhh. . .personal business. Evidently, he has some sort of issue or at the very least is unable to purchase appropriately-fitted underwear. And there was that one time when I mentioned Shelley Long, and he didn't know who she was, so I referenced her character on Cheers and he thought that must have been before he was born. Reasons eleventy billion and elevently billion and one that the kid is not for me.

I digress. When I'm out in public, I'm generally with married friends, and we're not hanging out in bars lookin' for dudes. If I'm at someone's house for some sort of group event, it's me and the marrieds. Occasionally, one of the husbands will include a single friend, but I've known them long enough to know those single friends are not for me. Y'all can keep your Dupree.

Besides: for the last many years, I didn't want to scope out or figure out how to meet single dudes. And now I realize that my many trips to Home Depot over the last several months aren't exactly like the college days. Not to mention that I am not always looking my best when picking out paint.

So, I'm putting the word out on the street. I realized I need to be specific, because apparently there are things that I assumed would go without saying. . .and evidently, they do not. That is, a random guy you see getting into a jaguar at the grocery store does not automatically equal my future husband, MOM. (Disclaimer: neither of my parents are reading this blog as far as I know.)

My future husband is tall. I know that many ladies want a fella who is taller than they are, and I am no exception. But, I am also 5'10" barefoot. And I have a propensity for 2 inch heels. I briefly dated a guy in college who was 5'11", and I felt really self-conscious. I like a fella who makes me feel normal-sized, and so that fella must be a minimum of six feet tall. In an ideal world, my future husband is 6'4". People making an effort to set me up have come to expect that my first question will be "how tall is he?"

He's a good person, which encompasses a lot of key traits and values that may be hard to define for some people. Basically, I consider a good person to be the kind of guy you'd feel comfortable setting up with your sister. He is respectful, and kind. He has a big heart. He is honest, and he cares. He will be an excellent husband and father.

My future husband is ambitious and hard-working. Also: employed. I know the economy is tough, but I think that if he is looking for work, he is not in a mental place to be dating me. I want someone who knows what he wants in life, and is willing to work hard for it. I do not want the guy who said one of the five things he could not live without is a maid. My future husband is smart, and has goals in his career and his life.

He is easy-going and knows how to have fun. He may even be young at heart, but not younger than 30 in years. (If he's in his mid-thirties, all the better.) My ideal relationship only has room for one Type A personality, and I pretty much have got that covered. I would love for him to make me laugh, or at least laugh along with me when I'm laughing at myself.

I would really like for my future husband to have similar political views as I do. At the very least, it will make things a lot easier for him when he's spending time with my family. I don't care if he isn't very passionate about politics--heck, my ex voted for Perot and only registered to vote in Williamson County after I badgered him into it. But I think if my future husband has similar political views as me, he is likely to have similar values to mine. And if he's the same religion I am, even better. If he isn't religious, okay, but I want him to at least consider and be open to my religious views.

My future husband list gets pretty picky after these few major items. But I think I can figure out how much of the rest of the "must have" list is negotiable after a date or two, right?

Monday, October 26, 2009


My 730 days have ended, and I've decided to call for a do-over.

But, instead of making a big ol' list of "Must DO," I'm thinking about keeping a list of good things I'm doing. I mean, who has time to keep track of how many times per week they're cooking a full meal? Not I, said the fly.

Besides, at least 300 of my last 730 days were pretty much the opposite of what I expected. Instead of devoting my time to improving myself, I devoted my time to keeping myself from unraveling. Since I'm feeling pretty good on the "holding it together" front, I'm ready to get to the good stuff.

Introducing: Good Stuff for Bettering.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Sometimes, my Dad randomly mentions things that are on his mind.

Dad: You know, a first date is a lot like a job interview. You may not necessarily want the job, but it's good to get more information before you decide.

Me: So Mom mentioned the guy with the crazy ex who may have asked me on a lunch date?

Dad: It might be good to get more information.

Me: Dad, let's just say this is a "job" I know I don't want.

Dad: But. . .free lunch, right?

Me: A wise person once told me nothing in life is free, DAD.


I emailed James on Sunday evening:


You're right, (noting the cheesey joke I'd made about lunch place.) haha!

I actually don't get over to (lunch place) very often. I'm one of those lame people who brings their lunch and works through at their desk. . .anything I can do to try and wrap things up before dark. You know how it is in today's economic times: more work for fewer folks.

Anyway, I'm keeping an eye on the MRSG calendar--hopefully I get out to another event soon.



In retrospect, I see that I have not been up front enough about not wanting to spend time with him on a one-on-one basis. Why did I throw in the part about the single group calendar and going to another event? And since when do I talk about the economy with people I barely know?

He responded the next morning:


Good to hear from you! (More kidding around about an item at the lunch place.)

So, no (lunch place) dining for you? Well, if you change your mind, give me a call. here's my work number (work phone number).



I picked up lunch to go from (lunch place) yesterday. Yeah, I was in a hurry yesterday morning to get to work for an early meeting and didn't have time to put together my own lunch at home. I was totally paranoid the entire time that he'd be there. I was fast.

I'm not going to respond to his email. If I go to another event, and he's there. . .well, I'll just jump off that bridge when I come to it.

Friday, October 2, 2009


I have five non-work email addresses. Yes, I'm aware that's more than the average person might use, but here's the break-down:

1 email address linked to my former (married) nest name

1 email address linked to my new (now divorced) nest name

1 email address from when I first started gmail , which includes my real first name and my real maiden name (and where I get a lot of email for other ladies with that name--I call us Valerie Jones)

1 email address that I switched to when I got married, and includes my married last name

1 email address that is similar to my real first name & maiden name, which I use for facebook and when meeting new people (i.e. the group I recently dined with)

Perhaps you see where this is going?

James (with the crazy ex) from the dinner party emailed me yesterday.

Let me back up a little bit: at the dinner party, everyone talked a little bit about where they work. Turns out James and I work within a couple of blocks of each other. So during dinner, he mentioned that he often eats at a place close to our offices, and I made a lame joke about the place because I go there sometimes, too.

So his email mentioned the lame joke I made & suggested we meet there for lunch sometime since we both work so close. (sigh) I don't want to have lunch with him! Sure, he could just be suggesting a friendly non-date-like lunch. But. . .I don't really see myself being friends with the dude. And, I always eat lunch at my desk and work through--that way, I get out of the office a little earlier in the evenings than I would otherwise. UGH!

I have really got to be more careful when & where I put out the Single Lady vibe.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Letters, Unsent

Dear NCIS: LA,

I've been watching your premier season with interest, since original-flavor NCIS is one of my favorites. However, your first two episodes have disappointed and concerned me.

The plot "twist" in the first episode was obvious, and the reveal that G doesn't know what his own first name is was ridiculous. He's supposed to be a well-trained NCIS Agent, and he's never done the research to figure out his real first name? What, is the boss lady going to figure it out and surprise him with it? It would probably take her less than an hour of research. But I would consider the hour of my life I spend watching an episode with that sort of first name reveal an hour totally wasted, and go ahead and bill you for my time.

In the second episode, I noticed that G and LL spend several scenes walking along the beach. The weather there looks lovely, and I couldn't help but notice that most of the background extras are dressed appropriately for the beach--shorts, short-sleeved shirts, etc. However, both G and LL are wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts. It's not like their job has a dress code--I recall the techie guy wearing board shorts in the office. Would it be a big deal to put LL in a short-sleeved shirt? I don't care what G wears; let's be honest, Chris O'Donnell isn't exactly known for his physique. But I think you're missing some excellent opportunities for LL to show off his buff. Seriously, in one scene, he's boxing a heavy bag. While wearing a long-sleeved shirt. If that scene doesn't scream "shirtless LL," I don't know what would.

Don't try to tell me that LL Cool J is trying to be taken more seriously as an actor by keeping his shirt on, either. I'd believe that as easily as I believe that an experienced NCIS agent hasn't figured out the big mystery of his own first name.

Shape up, NCIS: LA. You've got one more episode to prove yourself before I free up that valuable space on my DVR.

Sincerely (I would totally forgive crappy plots if LL never wore a shirt),


Dear New Friend on Facebook:

Yes, it HAS been a while! When you moved away in elementary school, I never thought I'd see you again. Imagine my surprise when I ran across your posting of our second grade class photo on another friend's page. I doubt you could ever begin to imagine my even greater surprise when you told me you've thought of me often over the last twenty(ish) years and that your mother is "just going to cry" when she finds out that we've connected via the world wide web. I don't have any idea why she thought I was "such an angel" back in the day, since we weren't exactly friends then. My most vivid memory of you in the second grade days is when you pushed me down on the concrete basketball court during recess, and I sported a twin set of scabby kneecaps for a week.

I will be sending a pleasant, but vague, response to your email. When you email me again, I will let that email languish in my IN box for weeks. I just don't know what to say to you, dude. And frankly, you're kind of giving me the creeps. This "beautiful lady" is glad you live outside Texas.

Take care (to just go ahead and pretend we're still not actually friends),


Dear Drive-Thru Starbucks Within Walking Distance of my House + On My Way to Work:

Is this love, that I'm feeling? Is this the love, that I've been searcing for? Is this love, or am I dreaming? This must be love, 'cuz it's really got a hold on me. A hold on me!

Love (it's got a hold on me!),

Monday, September 28, 2009

Let's Just Say

I ended the evening by telling a blind man "it was nice to see you!"

Gah. I should not be allowed in public.

I arrived at the dinner location 15 minutes late. I don't know what happened; I think sometimes there is a time warp surrounding my house, and I just fell in it. I called on the way, though, so it's not like they were waiting on me (and my delicious salad) to eat.

The cast of dinner characters included:

Cathy, the hostess. She was very nice, but I couldn't really get any sense of her personality because she was fairly quiet.

Mike, the old guy. One of the people I found on facebook, whose birthday was listed as 12.5 years prior to mine. Yet, during a conversation about Austin-area high schools, he mentioned something about graduating in a year that was 7 years prior to the year I graduated. Ummm? Perhaps I mis-heard him when he mentioned his year of graduation. Also, I think he mentioned it on purpose to determine my year of high school graduation, and therefore my age.

Sarah & Matt, the married couple. Yeah, so there was a married couple at the singles group get-together. Apparently, if you meet your husband/wife in the group, the people in charge aren't too picky about whether you still attend events. This couple has been married for 3 years. Matt was really into sports, and an Aggie. Sarah was very nice, but a little odd. She mentioned that the group's last happy hour was at the Flying Saucer, but not well-publicized because some people felt the location was inappropriate. Evidently, the waitresses wear really short shorts? I've never noticed that about the place, so my response to her description was non-committal. Plus, I think she was trying to gauge my reaction to see which side of the fence I'd land on in the "debate." I suspect she was voting with the "inappropriates," although I couldn't tell exactly from her description. I'm in the "who cares" camp.

James, who has a crazy ex and sat just a liiiitle to close to me at dinner. I think I may have actually strained my back a little from leaning slightly away from him for that hour and a half dining experience. His crazy ex came to light when he received a phone call on his cell phone just as we'd all sat down. He looked at the caller ID, and excused himself to take the call. He was gone 10 - 15 minutes. When he returned, he apologized and said he would have to leave right after dinner and catch up with us all again at the after party. He said his daughter's mother had something come up that she needed to take care of, so he needed to go watch his (nine year old) daughter for a while. He took another call about 30 minutes later, which I assume was her again. It's a good thing James is not at all my tall, kind, handsome, funny, un-selfish, non-smoking, employed future husband, because those were some serious red flags going up on what his personal life might be like. He did leave dinner early and showed up again at the after-party a couple of hours later.

Two people on the list didn't show up. One lady hadn't responded to any of the emails, so I wasn't surprised that she wasn't there. The other lady had a family medical emergency, so she had to go out of town.

The dinner was pleasant, and my salad was delicious. Everyone but James and I had known each other for a while, so it was a little strange to be both new and the youngest person at dinner. (Okay, the married couple was probably only a couple of years older than me, but everyone else was at least 40.) I enjoyed the conversation, but didn't feel like I'd be developing friendships with anyone.

I did get a slight vibe from James that he was diggin' my chili, what with the close-sitting and attention-focusing. Right, did I mention that he seemed a little TOO interested in where I live? Dinner conversation turned to what part of town everyone lived in, and I talked about my new pink house. He asked what street I live on. Hey, stalker, thanks for stalking! Did I mention my fancy security alarm?? Luckily, I did not have to bust out a Sorry, But No type of speech for him. Probably, my spanx were cutting off some critical circulation and I mis-read the situation. It's only been, like, 10 years since I've been in the dating world, after all.

At nine o'clock, everyone left their dinners and converged at another member's house for dessert. I was so sad to see people busting out pre-packaged desserts. I mean, I love me some HEB sugar cookies with neon frosting, but if I'd been quicker on the email, I could've had an excuse to bake! Oh well.

When I arrived, there were only a few people at the house who weren't my fellow diners. I introduced myself around, and immediately got stuck with a fella I'll call Busy Bee. He was wearing a black and yellow-striped shirt, and he had stored up words for days to unleash on me. Seriously, I barely said Hello and My Name Is before he launched into a story that encompassed not only his day (doing yard work for the host and the week wacker broke but he didn't have the right tools and he strained his shoulder trying to take it apart but he eventually borrowed a tool from the neighbor and wasn't it hot out that day also be sure to never buy a certain brand of tool because they suck) but also his resume (WalMart for 28 days and also some state agency but more recently hauling stone all over Texas and did you know you can use your own car because some people do but it's a lot of wear and tear also there is some water based blah blah you can hook up to your car to make more fuel efficient but be sure you use a regulator because if you don't you'll flood your engine and when you open the hood the engine sure will be clean hahahaha). If I'd had anything to eat or drink--I hadn't even made it that far yet!--I would've pretended to choke to get away from him. I was intent on excusing myself as soon as he took a breather. . .but he never did.

At one point, a lady saw us talking and came over to introduce herself. Perhaps she noticed a slightly panicked look about me. Busy Bee shook hands with her, but never stopped talking. He barely even looked at her! (And she was wearing a fairly low-cut dress, too.) She stood there for a minute, looking back and forth between us. I kept nodding at her slightly, trying to use my eyebrows to telegraph that she should take my hand and lead me to safety, but she evidently didn't speak unruly eyebrow because she gave a little shrug and walked away.

So what seemed like elevently billion minutes later, when Busy Bee FINALLY took a breath, I told him I was going to get a drink and asked if he wanted anything. I. . .don't know why I even offered. What if he had followed me over there? Instead, he started talking about the desserts. And I walked away. I didn't even look back. And, I didn't see him for the rest of the evening. I'm going to assume he either cornered some other newbie or some of the veteran members--who I saw walking past while he was talking at me, giving me the ol' HAha look--were able to entertain him.

I busied myself at the dessert table (apple pie from Costco, ehh--but there was ice cream!) and grabbed the last seat at one of the card tables the host had set up to accomodate the 30 or so folks in attendance. I can't eat pie with ice cream standing up. The people sitting there looked nice, and they were. Kate was very energetic and outgoing, though I nearly managed to call her old. Again, it was a where did you grow up/go to high school conversation, and she mentioned that she attended the high school which my high school (senior year) boyfriend attended. I told her I knew a few people who went to that school, and she asked who they were. Somehow I managed to keep my foot out of my mouth and NOT tell her I was sure she didn't know them because they are my age, not hers. Instead, I dutifully named off a few people, who it turns out she didn't know. But I enjoyed talking to her about The Good HEB, shoe shopping, and how margaritas are made in MN. (Allegedly they add hazelnuts?!? News to me, and requiring of further investigation on my part.) I may have busted into her trying to make a love connection with Andrew, who was pleasant enough, and also slightly drunk. Here's hoping they see each other again sometime.

Speaking of seeing. . . At one point, one of the group members escorted over a blind man. She introduced him around, and got him a chair to sit with us. It was very loud in the room, and it made for a couple of awkward moments when he couldn't tell who was talking to who and thought someone might be asking him a question. Perfectly understandable, though, given the situation, and he seemed to enjoy talking to us regardless.

Close to 11, people started leaving all at once. I met a few more folks who I hadn't met during the party. (Yes, I totally plopped myself down equidistant from the wine and desserts and didn't move around at all to mingle.) The blind gentleman's ride came by, and he was saying goodbye to everyone. And there it was, my "It was nice to see you!"

ARGH! Like I couldn't have gone with "nice to meet you" or "nice to visit with you" or "have a nice rest of the weekend" or ANYTHING else, REALLY? It's a good thing he couldn't see the shade of beet red I turned after that idiotic remark. Luckily, I was pretty much out the door into the dark at that point. Maybe I can volunteer to bring a dessert and a big slice of Shut The Heck Up to the next party. I'll split my slice with Busy Bee.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Things You Do

I accidentally signed up to have dinner with seven strangers on Saturday night.

Let me back up: a few weeks ago, I emailed the membership coordinator and asked to join. . .let's call it My Religion Singles Group. . .at the church I grew up attending. The group volunteers for several charities the church supports (meals on wheels type groups, Capital Area Food Bank, etc.) and has regular social activities. The MRSG is one of two groups for non-married people at the church; the other is for an age group I'm a couple of years beyond. I thought it might be an opportunity to meet people and have a little bit more of a social life. (Let's make that A social life instead of Practically None.) Okay, who am I kidding? I thought perhaps there might be a tall, kind, handsome, funny fella near my age in the group who wants to marry me and have children, so I should probably go ahead and open myself up to meeting him.

Since I joined, MRSG has had two events that I've skipped. One was a housewarming party at a member's new house. It seemed weird to me to show up and meet people for the first time at someone's housewarming party. The next event was a planning meeting for future MRSG events. I debated about attending that one--I am quite the planner, both personally and professionally, so it seemed like I might fit right in. But. . .I thought it would be weird to show up to plan future events for a group where I don't know anyone and that I don't even know if I really want to belong. This would be where "seems weird" equals "feels uncomfortable" because I am actually quite shy and also holy crap could this lead to dating which is nice in theory but also means that some dude might see me naked eventually. And only one dude has seen me naked in the last, ohhh, ten(ish) years. (Of course that guy hasn't seen me naked in, like, at least eight months because he divorced me.)

Naturally, the next step was facebook searching. I checked around to see if I could find any of the members who were listed in the weekly newsletters, and I found three--all men. One of them is 12.5 years older than I am, and I am not exactly a young 'un. One of them looks 15 years older than I am, but congratulations to him for buying a new house! The third guy looks like he also might be in the 10 - 15 years older range, but he stood out to me because I had a tiny moment of panic when I saw his profession and thought he might work for the same company that employs me. Luckily, he wasn't in the company address book.

So maybe I don't want to belong to the group if they're all. . .old. Not that someone who is 10 years older than me is so over the hill, but is my tall, kind, handsome, funny, unselfish future husband ten years older than me? No, he isn't. Are any of my friends 10 to 15 years older than me? No, none of them. My best girlfriends are all pretty much my age. Even among their husbands, the oldest is only 7 or 8 years older than me. I think of it like this: let's say I'm 29. (Especially since that is the age I like to tell people I am, although it is not exactly true, ha!) Would I want to befriend/spend time with/date a 19 year old? I would not.

But back to the accidental dinner. The MRSG newsletter made several mentions of "Dinners for 8" starting up. In my head, this meant that they have a season (several months, maybe until next summer?) of monthly dinners. When you sign up to join the Dinners for 8 group, you get a list of months/dates and decide which month you are able to attend and if you would like to host. Everyone in the group is invited to an after-party, where dessert is served. Hosts volunteer, and if you aren't able to host, you can volunteer to co-host (provide food for a non-cooking host). I thought this would be a good way to get to know some people. My house is undergoing renovations, so I volunteered to co-host if anyone needed one. I was looking forward to seeing the list of dates available, and picking one that would give me some time to get a little more mentally and physically ready to meet a whole bunch of new people, including my possible future tall, kind, handsome, funny, unselfish, employed husband.

Yesterday, I received an email letting me know that I would be attending dinner at "Cathy's" house on Saturday night, with these six other guests, and I would hear from her soon to find out the details.

What. . .the. . .what??

I started reading back through the newsletter, and realized that I apparently skimmed over the actual information on the dinners in favor of inventing what I thought would be the process. Doh! Thank goodness the host wasn't expecting me to provide a meal for everyone.

Evidently, I have until Saturday night to put on my big girl panties and realize that meeting new people can be fun and totally not weird or scary. I can probably cowgirl up enough to not be totally shy and spend the evening sucking down wine and desserts instead of talking to strangers, right? Having such a short amount of time until the dinner will actually cut down on the time I have to worry about what I'll wear, or how my brow waxing appointment isn't for another week and a half, oh yeah and that's the same week I have my highlights appointment, but thank goodness I have a hair cut appointment tonight already, and am I getting a PMS zit right in the middle of my chin, oh dang it I didn't respond to the email in time and now I have to bring a stupid salad so I don't have my dessert-making charms to fall back on, plus where are my spanx because I totally haven't lost that extra 15 (or 20) pounds, and am I actually asking the internet for a SALAD recipe like I've never been to a potluck before?

Bring on the wine and desserts.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

23: New Things + Other Things

I don't think all of my "new things" will be restaurants I've never tried, but it's working out that way so far.

Two of my best girlfriends and their families live in NW Austin, and suggested Shandeez for an impromptu girls dinner last friday night. I didn't know what to expect, and was a little unsure about finding something I'd want to order. When I think "Persian Cuisine" I imagine a lot of lamb, which I don't eat. But I was pleasantly surprised that they had a lot of different options, and my chicken & beef plate was delicious. The meat was very tender and tasty. One of the gals did order a leg of lamb, and she enjoyed it. We were one of only two tables full of diners that evening (of course, it was 8pm when we arrived), so I'm hoping the place starts to attract more customers. I suspect you have to live in the neighborhood to know about it, because it's a little bit hidden in a strip center. Another great thing about Shandeez: it's BYOB. One of my friends had been out running errands before we met, so she was easily able to bring along one of the bottles of wine she'd picked up. I'd definitely go back.


You know you're busy when your "to do" list has more than one item reading "make list of. . ." Wow, buying a house takes a lot of coordinating! I am hoping to close on Monday. Really, really hoping to close on Monday, since that's the date on my contract. Evidently, the bank (lender) is taking their own sweet time on the process right now. I've rescheduled a fridge delivery twice, and I have floor guys on stand-by. Hopefully, those floor guys will also be understanding about standing by to charge my credit card so that big ol' charge doesn't pop up and derail the closing process. Not that it would, necessarily. Still. Another test of my patience and desire to control everything. Life is a learning process.


I've thought of a lot more things to swap out on my currently list o' 73, I just need to have a few minutes to finish revising. I saw another blog that had a "Life List." Similar idea, but no deadline. I think my next list might be something similar. I've seen other folks who list monthly goals on their blog, and I love that idea to stay on track.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

23: New Things

Last week I has plans to meet a girlfriend for dinner, and she suggested Santa Rita Tex-Mex Cantina. Time to try something new!

I think the restaurant is fairly new itself, and owned by the same people responsible for a couple of my favorites: 34th Street Cafe and Blue Star Cafeteria.

Anyway, I liked it. Service and food were good, and my pear margarita was not only very tasty but surprisingly pink. I'd have to try their queso to determine Santa Rita's ranking on my favorite Austin Tex-Mex spots list, and I hear their Tres Leches cake is divine, so I think a second trip there is in my future. On a day when I'm reaaaally hungry. Or, perhaps on a day when I feel like queso and cake for dinner. ha!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Counter-Counter

During the last installment of my real estate roller coaster ride, the seller was considering my offer and the other remaining offer. My agent called to let me know the seller had a counter offer proposal for me. Allegedly, the other offer was higher than mine, but they liked my offer better because I was putting down more of a down payment. So the owner (her son-in-law, actually) suggested I pay $1000 more and pay for the appraisal (which I'd asked them to pay for).

Well, $1000 more than my offer is ALL my money. Meaning, I have none left to replace their 1985 original dark salmon-colored carpet because I am not touching my tiny emergency fund. Ugly old carpet is not an emergency! And they're not offering an allowance for flooring. I said no. I said I'd pay for the appraisal, but not offer any more money. (Background: the appraisal would be about $400. If I offered $1000 more on the total house price, my down payment would be higher, and likely so would my monthly payment. Paying for the appraisal let me keep more $ in my pocket.) My agent called the owner's agent. The owner's agent called the owner. I felt like a hardball-playing pro!

Probably 20 minutes later, my agent called back to let me know they'd accepted my offer. Whooo!

The inspection was Friday morning. I was really nervous--I could tell the owner had taken good care of the house, but she was the original owner of 24 years. That's a long time, especially if things like the A/C were also original. Luckily, the inspection went really well. I got there about 30 minutes earlier than my agent, while the inspector was still. . .inspecting, so that I could take pictures and measurements. There were a bunch of tiny repairs needed, like caulking here and there, and three somewhat more major things that needed attention. I talked things over with my agent (and my mom, who is like a home improvement guru) and decided to ask the owner to take care of two of the items: treatment for the beginning of a carpenter ant invasion, and fixing a slow leak visible on the foundation along the outside of the house at the laundry room.

We presented the requests to the owner, and I had to wait until Saturday night to find out that they accepted and agreed. Whoooo!

It's starting to look like I'm going to be the proud owner of a Pink House in two to three weeks. I should be officially under contract by midnight on Thursday. Fingers crossed that everything goes smoothly from there--I took a wildly optimistic (for me) step of buying a refrigerator on Monday (tax free weekend for home appliances that are energy star rated). Sure, I could always cancel the order, but I'm trying to think positive. And think Pink!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Get Your Tickets

I am riding a real estate rollercoaster!
So the Pink House offer went in (competing with two other offers) on Monday morning. The home owner is an elderly lady (who has owned the home since it was built), and she's moved on to California to live with family there. Her agent had to call her Monday evening so that one of her family members would be home to help explain the offers to her.
This morning, I found out she chose a different offer. Allegedly, the offer she selected was more attractive than mine because they were suggesting an earlier closing date that I chose. I don't know whether I believe that, or not. My agent and I chose a closing date that's quick, but allowed time for my fantastic mortgage guy to get everything in order on the finance side. Anyway, I heard the news, felt a little down, but started thinking about moving forward and the next steps I'd take.
Then my agent called back a few hours later. The person whose offer was accepted changed their mind. Now, the home owner's agent is going to talk to her again this evening and ask her to pick between my offer and the other remaining offer.
Interesting tidbit: my paternal grandmother lived in a pink house. Grandmother B loved pink. The exterior of her house was light pink, with darker pink trim. Inside her pink house, there were pink rugs and pink wallpaper (with gold accents). Some of the wood furniture even had a pink glow. Grandfather B was a very understanding, accomodating, and wonderful man. If his sweetie wanted a pink house, by golly, he'd live there and not say a word about it.
If I end up owning the Pink House, I won't be keeping the pink, but I'll always know there's pink underneath. And that will make me smile.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Pink Houses for You and Me

I'm making an offer on a pink house today. It's not PINK like the picture, but there's no mistaking the current owner's favorite color.

Especially considering the color of the carpet I'll be ripping out if I end up getting the house. Yep, dark pink.

There are two other offers, but I'm not feeling anxious about it. If this is The House, I'll get it. If not, I'll keep looking. (And hoping something comes up SOON.)

Friday, May 15, 2009

More List Edits

A few more edits to the Big List:

16. Clean out closet & donate to Goodwill at least twice a year. (2/4 times)
I'm keeping this item, since I definitely have more to clean out.

17. Photograph & document all belongings for insurance, print photos & keep in safe.
I'm thinking about getting a safe deposit box, since my safe is small (and easy to pick up and steal). But, this item will be completed when I move, safe deposit box or not.

18. Sell car.
19. Buy new car.
It doesn't look like a new car purchase will be in my financial plan before the end of this year, so instead I'm going to change these to work-related items:
18. Consistently arrive at the office (butt in office chair) by :45.
19. Then, make arriving at the office by :30 a new habit.

20. Clean out car (including trunk!) and keep in guest-passenger-worthy shape for six months.
My car has been guest-passenger-worthy for a while now, but the trunk is still full of random crap. Time to clean that out and cross this off the list!

21. Clean out and organize pantry, maintain organization for 730 days.
Already done.

22. Select, print, and frame photos for decoration.
Done, when staging the house for sale.

23. Wear false eyelashes.
I already wanted to change this one, since I realized I actually have fairly long eyelashes anyway. The new #23 will be: Try six new things. (0/6) I am a total creature of habit, so I want to push my comfort zone. These six might be new places to eat, new places to shop, or anything new. I'm pretty excited about this one.

24. Go to the gun range.
I initially added this to the list because the XH always said I never wanted to go to the range w/ him. My recollection is not being invited. We won't be going to the range together now, but I'd like to go at least once with my mom.

25. Buy red shoes.
Love my red shoes, want more.

26. Replace all old bras and panties.
Work in progress, still want to complete.

27. Learn Photoshop Elements.
Bought a book, need to do more hands-on tinkering.

28. Create vacation photo albums.
29. Create wedding/engagement photo album.
I think instead, I'll:
28. Select favorite vacation photos, copy and save for future framing.
29. Take family photos. (Either I'll take them, or find someone to take pics of me with my parents, brother and his family.)

30. Submit a photo to Cute Overload.
Done! Even though the powers that be at C.O. didn't think my kitty was publication worthy, he is still willing to be one of my favorite models. ha!

Friday, May 8, 2009

#31: Reading

Wow, I've already read 13 books I haven't mentioned!

I've been keeping my list up to date on Goodreads, but for the sake of posterity, here's the list and a very very brief review of each:

1. Called Out of Darkness: Started sloooow. Ann Rice's interesting perspective as she goes from a strict Catholic to a non-believer then back to the Church.

2. Living Dead in Dallas: I like this Southern Vampire Series enough to check it out from the library when it's available, read it quickly, and check for the next one on my next library trip.

3. Death in a Strange Country: Commissario Guido Brunetti detective series. Some of this series I like more than others, but overall enjoyable.

4. The Last Queen: Book Club Selection. Interesting & well-written, though violent parts were unpleasant to read.

5. Dressed for Death: More Commissario Brunetti. I wonder if people who have been to Venice recognize the locales described?

6. The Ladies of Grace Adieu: Collection of fairy tales. Liked some more than others, but none enough to read again.

7. Outlander: The first book of the series has me hooked. Stayed up WAY past my bedtime reading this one.

8. The Grift: Book Club Selection. Liked, would read other books by this author.

9. Club Dead: Another Sookie Stackhouse book. Pretty good.

10. Up in Honey's Room: Elmore Leonard is one of my favorite authors. That man can really turn a phrase. This isn't my favorite book of his, but it was pretty good all the same.

11. Death and Judgment: Commissario Brunetti. Half of a 2 books for $1 score at Half Price Books.

12. Acqua Alta: Commissario Brunetti. Second half of aforementiond HPB score.

13. One Thousand White Women: Book Club Selection. Enjoyed, did not love.

And now I'm about 50 pages into Dragonfly In Amber. I'm going to try not to stay up into the wee hours reading it this weekend!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Wanted: New Home (#15)

It isn't always easy for me to remeber this important life lesson: ask for what you want.

I want a new (to me) house. So I'm going to put this out into the universe--or at least out into the internet--and continue to work on remaining patient that my house is out there, and I'll find it soon enough.

I want a new house in one of my four favorite zip codes. Honestly, my first choice of neighborhoods far surpasses the rest, and it's only become my favorite neighborhood in the last month or so. The fourth choice zip code doesn't wow me, but I'm trying to keep an open mind.

I want a new house that I can afford. I've analyzed my budget, I've worked with the mortgage guy, and I know my absolute max. I won't go over that amount. I can't go over that amount!

I want a new house with at least three bedrooms and two bathrooms. Would I love an extra half bath if it works with the floor plan? Sure. If the house has a tiny fourth bedroom, fine. I just don't want a small master bedroom. I'll be moving a brand new king-sized bed into that room, and I need some space.

I want a new house with an open kitchen and at least average-sized living room. I've finally accepted that the kitchen where I live now is a place most people only dream about, especially anywhere near that price range. My current kitchen is easily twice the size of the kitchens of most people I know. My pantry is a walk-in closet under the stairs. I love it all. But it's closed off to the small living room. In my new house, I'm willing to accept an average-sized kitchen (just not a really tiny one, like a few I've seen) and hope it's more open. I think a good trade-off for a non-enormous kitchen is an average-sized living room. Someday I'll have more than just the couch from my college apartment and my t.v., and I want some extra space for those things.

I want a new house that's at least the size (square footage and lot size) of the place where I live now. It's not huge, and a small yard will be more managable for me and my total lack of gardening skills.

I want a new house where the master bedroom is not on the front of the house. A few of the places I've looked at are laid out so that the master is off to one side of the front door. Maybe it's just a weird personal preference or I'm being paranoid about my safety, but I don't like it. If the master was upstairs and facing the street, I might consider it. The room I'm sleeping in now is upstairs and faces the street. It's also right above the garage and not so pleasant when the garage door is opened while I'm sleeping. I'd have to otherwise love my new house to accept an upstairs front-of-house master bedroom.

I want a new house that isn't the nicest house on the street. I'm probably going to be selling my new house in a few/several years, and I don't want to have a hard time because the rest of the houses on the street don't measure up. I also don't want shady neighbors. One of the houses on the street where I live now is totally bringing the market down with her yard full of crappy decorations. Seriously: fake flowers in pots + dirty "flags" on little sticks are just the beginning in her yard.

I want a new house that doesn't need a ton of renovations. I'm willing, able, and experienced in things like painting or removing wallpaper. But my budget and lack of handyman skills lead me to seek a house where I can do small renovations over time. I don't want a new house where I have to rip out and replace the tubs and toilets just to be able to live there. (Yep: been there, seen that, left sadly.)

Doesn't seem like too much to ask, does it?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Time for a New List!

Looks like it only took me about half of my 25 songs/things list to get bored with it and start ignoring it. Oh well!

Now it's time for a new list! I'm revising my 73 goals list, and plan to start an entirely new list on my anticipated "finish" date on mid-October 2009. I have a feeling the current list may be a little bit of a work in progress, but that seems to be a theme for my life right now, so I'm going to go with it! I'll be working on the list a bit at a time, so I won't be changing all of it, or even all of it at once. Here's what I've got so far:

1. Go on a date.
I haven't been on a date with someone new since the end of 1997. At the very least, this item should yield an interesting story.

2. Invest for retirement beyond 401K.
I still hope to do this, although it will have to be a very small investment for a while.

3. Create a master list with all “in case of emergency” information (including vehicle & bank account info) to keep in safe.
I'm thinking about getting a safe deposit box, since my safe is small and easy to carry off.

4. Spend quality time with nephews at least once a month.
This item is going great, and I'm definitely planning to continue.

5. Finish wedding CD for M before April 08.
FAIL! I need to figure out if any of the participants are still wanting to do this. I have one hold-out who may never turn in her materials.

6. Finish baby M gift before Sept. 08.
FAIL! Since baby M is going to have a baby sister in the next week or so, I need to figure out if the other participants in this mind if I complete it a little differently than planned.

7. Buy cloth grocery sacks to eliminate plastic sack use.

8. Buy cute lunch bag (see above).

9. Cook dinner (and sides!) at least four times a month (0/22).
I stopped keeping track on my previous goal once I got behind, so I've scaled this back a bit to compensate for the fact that I'm not interested in doing a lot of cooking right now. But it's good to stay in practice, and hopefully make it a habit once I'm living on my own.

10. Organize all loose recipes.
Still want to do this.

11. Bake a loaf of bread or other goodie using yeast.
Still want to do this.

12. Revise 5 grill recipes for the stove top. (0/5)
Once I move, I won't have access to a grill. It's just not at the top of my "need to purchase" list. I am hoping some favorite recipes can be translated.

13. Meet with mortgage broker.
Done! My mortgage guy is awesome.

14. Put house on market in spring 2008.
Well, the house went on the market at the end of January, so I'm crossing this off my list.

15. Buy new home that I love.
A huge priority right now. I refuse to settle for just any house; I think it's important for me to find a place that I really like and won't regret buying. I made an offer on a house a couple of weeks ago that I ended up having to withdraw (potential structural issues with the roof), but I'm still looking all the time. Homes in my price range in my preferred areas are somewhat scarce, but if I find that I no longer can live where I do now, I have a back-up temporary living option that will be fine while I continue to look. In the meantime, I'm just wishing and hoping the right place gets listed soon!

Monday, April 13, 2009

14 of 25

Song 14: Ramble On/Somewhere Over the Rainbow (Lisa Tingle, Hidden Track on Live at the Lucky Lounge)

Somewhere Over the Rainbow reminds me of the Wizard of Oz, which I was obsessed with as a little girl. I don't know if it was those wonderful red sparkly shoes, or the Good Fairy, or what, but I thought it was magical. My junior high school did a production of the play in theatre arts class, and I played Glenda. . .the part of Dorothy went to a gal who could actually sing. My mom made my costume, which was pink and fluffy and shimmery, and more than made up for the fact that I didn't get to wear ruby red slippers.
But the first thing I think about when I think about the Wizard of Oz is my imaginary dog. When I was 5 or 6, I wanted a dog just like Toto. So I pretended to have a dog named Toto. Until one day, when I came home from school, and there was a real live Toto dog in my backyard. (Toto was a stray who ran over to my mom in the grocery store parking lot, and she decided to bring him home until our family could decide what to do with him.) I was always a pretty happy kid, but the day I came home to find my imaginary dog come to life? Best. Day. Ever!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

13 of 25

Song 13: Elephant Tears (Ian Moore, Got the Green Grass)

When I first started dating K, he had nearly shoulder-length hair. His favorite hobbies (obsessions, really) were and still are singing, songwriting and guitar-playing.

My BFF's little brother started calling K "Ian Moore" when they first met, and the nickname stuck in that group of friends. K cut his hair short not long after we got engaged--the first time I'd ever seen him in person with shorter than chin-length hair. Through the years, he would grow it out and shave it off to donate. The last time he went short will also be the last time I cut his hair: I cut and trimmed him near our fourth anniversary. (We'd done the same thing on our third anniversary.) In February of this year, a few weeks after he told me he wanted a divorce, he shaved his own head.

Elephant tears tracking
softly down his face
All the pain he couldn't place
someone had to take the fall
Didn't look close enough to see
that this elephant was me

Looks like Ian Moore is keeping his hair short these days, too. He and K look even more alike now that they have nearly the same haircut. Although K doesn't have dimples.

Monday, April 6, 2009

12 of 25

Almost halfway done, hooray! I'm really dragging this out, eh?

Song 12: Coast of Malabar (Chieftans, The Long Black Veil)

My dad loves the Chieftans. I don't know if it's his interest in string instruments, folksy music, or all things Ireland, but the Chieftans are at the top of his list. I've gone to see them with him twice, and both times they put on a great show. I always enjoy their guest artists, too--especially the tap dancers. Now, I'm not talking about the kids who do irish dancing, or any Lord of The Dance business. I've seen some superb tap dancers on their tour, and thinking about them has definitely inspired me to consider dusting off my (ancient, rusty) tap skills and take a class. Maybe this is my year!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

11 of 25

Song 11: One Way or Another (Blondie, Greatest Hits)

"One way, or another, I'm gonna find ya
I'm gonna getcha, getcha, getcha, getcha. . ."

Quite a little stalker song, eh? So I joined facebook a couple of weeks ago, and naturally one of the first things I did was look up old boyfriends or fellas I had a crush on back in the day. Here's how it went:

P: Fourth grade crush. Went to school with him from elementary through high school. He's now a single doctor living in Colorado who regularly participates in triathalons and adventure races in places like Indonesia. Wow. Considering adding him as a friend even though his status updates are probably like: "P ran 30 miles this morning before saving 2 lives" and mine are like "is thinking about buying a new vacuum."

Other P: Sixth through Tenth grade crush. Not on FB. But his sister is, and she's friends with my SIL (who finally stopped ignoring me and accepted my friend request. Allegedly, she just hadn't been on FB in a while. Suuuuure.).

C: Senior year of high school boyfriend. We broke up to go to different colleges, and he became best friends with a guy I went to high school with so I've randomly seen him a few times over the years. (Including one very memorable time when neither of us was dating anyone and we totally made out.) He's living in Austin and seems to have a girlfriend but I don't think they're married. If there was anyone on this list who I was considering contacting with the idea of dating, it would be him. He is just as cute as ever. Don't know if I'll contact him or not. Also, there is one thing that isn't so stellar about C that I'm a little ashamed to admit: if I did contact him and he was single and we started dating and fell in love and got married, I would feel bad about having to seriously consider changing my last name to his because his last name is awful.

D: Apparently, his name is more common that I though. He's on page 11 of dudes with his name. Wow. Freshman year of college boyfriend. I wouldn't recognize him if he walked past me on the street, he looks so different. I only knew it was him for sure because I remembered his sister's name. She's in Austin, he doesn't list a city. Probably won't get in touch with him, unless I get a really wild hair.

R: Sophmore year of college boyfriend. Not on FB, probably in jail.

K: Sophmore year of college crush. Doesn't seem to be married, but does seem to be dating the girl he was dating in college when I had a crush on him. Although, he has a type, so it could just be some other blonde. Lives in Dallas, likely won't get in touch.

S: Junior year of college boyfriend. Can't find him, possibly because of a somewhat common name. I know his sister's name, too, but that didn't help. Won't contact him--he thought it would be okay to ask me for one of my friend's numbers after he dumped me and that is just not cool. (I am not bitter, though I was at the time.)

T: Senior year of college crush. Couldn't remember his last name until I recognized him on the friend list of an old friend's little brother who I am not FB or real life friends with (and that is a whole 'nuther story, actually). T lives in Georgia and looks exactly like Luke Wilson now. I didn't know it would be possible for him to be hotter than he was in college, but hubba hubba. He seems to be single. He was a little mean to me when he found out I had a crush on him, so I won't be getting in touch with him. (He'd probably be like, "Who??")
K: Fella I married, and who is divorcing me a little over 4 years later. In fact, our divorce is final on Thursday. I knew he was on FB, he doesn't know that I am. I doubt he would look for me under my maiden name, or even at all. If he did find me and ask to be FB friends (since he keeps telling me he wants to be friends in real life), I would say no.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

10 of 25

Song 10: Again (Lenny Kravitz, Greatest Hits)

Lately, I've been thinking about someone I will never see again.

I met M in 1996, in class at UT. It was a small class, and the first night we went around the room introducing ourselves. During his introduction, he mentioned his "partner," who was living and working out of state. Later, a few folks from the class--strangers until that evening--decided to get drinks at nearby bar. I went, and M was part of the group. Someone in the group mentioned that they thought it must be difficult for M to have a long-distance relationship, and what did his partner do? How long had he lived out of state? Would M be joining him there after graduation at the end of the semester? Turns out M's partner was a woman with a man's name, and we all laughed and laughed over our assumptions.

I got to know a few people in the class, and our small group of 5 or so became close. We'd regularly go drinking on Wednesday nights after class, and end up hanging out most other nights of the week, too. Slowly, through conversations about everything from math (his major, my lack of advanced skills) to roommates (my crazy one, his cute one I was crushing on), we became best friends.

Of course we flirted a little, sometimes. He liked to announce that he was certain we'd been married in another life, and I liked to tease him about how all the girls in our class were jealous that he wasn't spending time with them. I almost never thought about being attracted to him in a romantic way--not that he wasn't handsome. He was exactly my height, with flaming red hair that he liked to rake his hands through when he was tired or exasperated. But he had his on/off girlfriend living out of state, and I was dazzled by his roommate who was tall and ignored me.

Our small group started celebrating the end of the semester early. Actually, since we were out of class, we just started drinking before the sun went down. One night, we'd been drinking mint juleps for a couple of hours and decided we needed to put our feet in the ocean. Our buddy S was the most sober of the crew, and he volunteered to drive. Four of us piled into his car with bottles of wine and a cooler of beer and set off into the night. I sat in the back with C, my only girlfriend in the group, and we giggled and gossiped while the boys up front had their own conversation. It was dark by then, and the windows were down. I had no idea where we were going, or what time we'd get there. The world beyond the car didn't exist for me. We passed the bottles of wine around, with only S abstaining. M asked C to switch seats with him; he told her that he wanted to talk with me for a while.

The car was loud with the wind streaming in off the highway. M and I sat with our heads close together, laughing about our crazy adventure. We were probably telling jokes and refusing to hand the wine bottle up to the front seat. C kept turning around to try and join in our conversation, but we refused to shout so she could hear us. Eventually, we ignored her and she gave up.

M got quiet not long after that. He stared at me like he was trying to see through me. I started to ask him what was wrong, but he cut me off with a kiss. I kissed him back without thinking--a long, passionate kiss. When our faces broke apart, my shocked look must have mirrored his own. He started quietly apologizing and we scooted apart to seperate corners of the back seat.

My mind was reeling. M was my best friend! Holy crap the kiss was amazing! But. . .the girlfriend? And how very drunk am I! Was our friendship over? What was he thinking? What was he thinking NOW?

We stopped at a gas station to fill up, and C and I went to the ladies room. She quizzed me about what was going on in the back seat--she'd seen us kiss. She asked many of the same questions I'd asked myself, finally realizing neither of us had answers. When we went back to the car, M was already sitting in the front seat. So that's how it is now, I thought. I began to consider that I may have lost him.

But not long after we got back on the highway, M asked C to switch again. She told him she'd switch for a kiss. He looked at me, turned to her, and kissed her on cheek. They climbed over the seats again, and he settled in next to me just like before. I wanted to talk to him about what had happened, but all I could manage was "hey."

And then he was kissing me again. We kissed the rest of the way to the beach. We kissed standing in the pitch black ocean, stumbling in the uneven sand as we tried to find our way in the dark back to the car. We kissed in the car until we passed out just before sunrise. We only ever kissed.

Back in the real world, we never talked about what happened. We started to drift apart and talk less now that we didn't see each other in class. The girlfriend was on again, and moving back to Austin. Eventually, we didn't talk at all.

I saw him a couple of times over the next few years. I was friends with his brother, who was with me the night I met my future husband. I heard that M married the girlfriend and moved back to where she'd lived on her own for a year. I kept up with our mutual friends, meeting up for drinks occasionally. I heard that M and the wife moved back to Austin, and I saw and talked to him a couple of times when we accidentally ended up in the same places.

Then M died in 2001. By then, I'd fallen out of touch with the entire group from class. Except S, whose name I'd run across a few months earlier. We'd emailed a few times and met for drinks a once or twice. We never really talked about that semester, though. S was the one who told me. He'd left me a couple of voicemails one day while I was at work, asking me to call him as soon as I could. He told me that M killed himself. I didn't believe him, and he didn't believe it, either. He thought that M may have accidentally OD'd. I never knew M to take anything stronger than asprin. The M I knew loved his life.

I didn't attend the funeral, or the wake. I never heard from S again, and I didn't pursue contact with him, either. I'd called C after S told me the news, because he asked me to. I hadn't talked to her in at least a year and we simply didn't talk again after the call.

Earlier this week, I was in the cafeteria of the building next door pouring my usual afternoon iced tea. On my way out, a fella in a brown suit caught the door in front of me and held it open. As I looked up to say "thanks" I recognized S. But I just kept walking.

9 of 25

Song 9: King of the Road (Roger Miller, Swingers Soundtrack)

This song gets stuck in my head really easily. I just have to see the title, and there it goes. Same thing for certain other songs--I don't know how or why, but if I even see the name of a certain dry cleaner in Austin, or a particular sub shop with an annoying special, there goes their song in my head. Sometimes it lasts for days.

I like to share whatever song is stuck in my head with my co-workers. Not by singing it, of course, but I like to spread ear-worm misery like that. They get me back, though. One guy periodically asks me to guess where he's headed after work. The cleaners with the head-sticking jingle, of course. Argh!!

Monday, March 23, 2009

8 of 25

Song 8: The Waiting (Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Greatest Hits)

"The waiting is the hardest part. . ."

Seriously, this could be my personal motto right now. I'm in a period of transition in my life, and part of that transition is finding a house to buy. I've been looking since the end of January, and I've looked at every house in the area I'd like to live (a 3 - 4 zip code zone in north Austin/south Round Rock) with no luck. There have been a couple of houses that I've been initially excited about, but then they ended up not being The House for one reason or another. For example, I'd like a house with a master bathroom large enough where I don't have to stand in the shower to close the bathroom door. And I don't think it's too much to ask to want a kitchen with more cabinets than my last college apartment.

According to my very patient and helpful realtor, in the next six weeks there will be tons of houses listed that might work for me. I am SO ready to move on, and I'm sick of waiting. Meanwhile, I'm stalking all the house listings I can find. There is a house that I saw last week that I'm going to have to seek out in person--the address isn't included in the listing. Looks like I'll be driving around my favorite neighborhood (which is HUGE) to see if the mystery house is in an area I'd like. Sure, the house is $3000 higher than the high part of the range I've been looking in, but we're in a recession, right? (And why not ask my realtor to find an address? I want to find out on my own what the street is like and how the house appraises before I waste time with a showing. Might as well not get my hopes up if the houses all around it are crappy.)

But! I'm also trying to use this process as a learning experience. Too often, I settle for something that's almost right or not quite right just because I get irritated or frustrated with the wait/search. (The contents of my closet are an excellent example of that problem.) Also, as a person who loves to plan and know what's next, this is a good opportunity for me to try and relax a little bit and not stress out about knowing where I'm going to live next. If my current house sells before I find a new one, I'll deal with it; I have options. Personal growth. . .it's like I'm an actual adult or something.

Friday, March 20, 2009

7 of 25

Song 7: Blame (Doyle Bramhall II & Smokestack, Welcome)

I decided to use Lent as a time to try and not blame someone in my life--and to try and forgive them--so I can't really go where this song leads me.

Instead, I'll say that at about 5'8"ish, Doyle Bramhall II is short, compared to me. I'm 5'10" barefoot, and I tend to enjoy wearing heels. Today's heels, for example, are a pair of 3-inch Nine West Mary Janes I bought a few years ago. They're actually quite comfortable, especially since I'm wearing a pair of pants I need hemmed. . .which would otherwise be totally dragging the ground.

Is it any wonder that "tall" is close to the top of my "Perfect Guy" list? The shortest fella I ever dated was in college, and he was 5''11". I just generally don't find men who are shorter than six feet tall attractive. They make me feel like a giant, and I prefer someone with whom I can feel like a normal-sized human.

Monday, March 16, 2009

6 of 25

Song 6: Jungle Love (Steve Miller Band, Greatest Hits 1974 - 78)

". . .it's drivin' me mad; it's makin' me crazy. . ."

In honor of song number six, I'll list six things that are currently annoying the beejezus out of me:

1. Someone I work with makes popcorn every day about 3pm. Our entire office area (30 offices + 20ish cubicles) smells like popcorn, and people who come in for meetings actually comment on how strong the smell is. I appreciate the desire for a healthy snack, but how about taking into consideration the smell your snack is releasing?

2. Cold temperatures in the morning + very warm temperatures in the afternoon/evening = wardrobe confusion. Today I'm wearing boots, leggings, and a wrap dress but I know I'll be hot when I leave work. At least the powers that be are generous enough to keep the temp at 60, so I can just dress for cooler weather all year 'round.

3. Of course the new roof at home is being installed on my day off tomorrow. I am thrilled to park on the street since there will evidently be some sort of dumpster in the driveway. I'm excited to try and figure out the best way to exist the house to avoid falling debris. Grrr.

4. There's a radio/tv commercial for a local company that has been in heavy rotation lately, and any time I even think the name of the company, their jingle gets in my head and won't go away for days. Like, I'll try and see that annoying Five Dollar Foot-long commercial just to get it out of my head.

5. Someone removed me from their mass e-mail forward list about a month ago, and I was thrilled to have their elderly/lawyer/blonde/etc. "joke" forwards no longer clogging up my email box. Except that another person on the list has decided to forward me the forwards. . .I guess so I don't feel left out? Leave me out, person! I am no longer part of that group!

6. My brother's wife appears to be ignoring my friend request on FB. WTF, SIL? It's not like we're best friends, but seriously.

Ahhh. . .venting is a good way to dial down the stress!

Friday, March 13, 2009

5 of 25

Song 5: Love Me (Elvis Presley, 2nd to None)

I name my cars. My first car was a red Mazda 323, back before Mazda 323s were hatchback-only. His name was Sparky. Sparky lived a good life with me for a year of high school, all of college, and about a year of the real world until a speeding lady t-boned the Sparkster and me in an intersection.

My second car was a green Honda Civic, the sporty kind--I even had a (factory) spoiler on the back. I bought it on Elvis' birthday, so I decided to name that car Elvis. Elvis saved my life two days before my brother's wedding, when the driver of a huge truck got distracted and didn't notice me sitting in front of him or the stop light where I was parked. He didn't even slow down until his truck started to crush Elvis. Luckily, Elvis took the brunt of the impact and I actually walked away from the accident. Sure, my right shoulder was sprained (from the seat back slamming forward into the steering wheel) but I lived. And I can't say the same for Elvis' trunk and back seat--they were smashed flat.

My current car is a lady. Her name is Marino, because as soon as I saw the Honda color Red Marino, I knew I had to have a car that beautiful red. She's been with me for the past six and a half years, but this may be the year that I trade her in. If not, at least she's still running strong. . .at 114,000+ miles, too!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

4 of 25

Song 4: So Wrong (Patsy Cline, 12 Greatest Hits)

Oddly enough, I don't remember this song at all. So, instead, I'll have to talk about the time in my life when I got Patsy Cline's 12 Greatest Hits CD.

I was a sophmore or junior in college, and lived with a gal with whom I went to high school. Actually, I'd be in school with her since elementary, but wasn't really friends with her until high school. Her first year of college, she went to University of Michigan, hated it, and decided to transfer to UT. Her parents bought a condo/apartment on West Campus (good ol' 28th and Rio Grande) and we became roommates.

At first, everything went well. We got along, became friends (and/or girlfriends) of guys from a fraternity down the street, got to know a couple of neighbors in our small and surprisingly quiet complex. And then she went crazy. By our junior year, she barely spoke to me. I don't even remember a specific argument, I just remember her stalking off into her bedroom one day and almost never coming out. We communicated via notes on the fridge, something we'd started when we first moved in together. Our last year of college, I don't remember ever hearing a word from her, and I think I saw her once, on her way into her bedroom. Somewhere at my mom's house, there's a huge 3-inch notebook full of fridge notes. Perhaps they'd lend a clue to the roomie's behavior.

I know she even cut off contact with a mutual friend of ours who was her best friend growing up--a gal whose family lived next door to hers. Another mutual high school friend thought she graduated from UT and went to grad school in Chicago. Last I heard, roomie was a lawyer in Dallas. I'm probably going to have to stalk her on Facebook now. Just to see!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

3 of 25

Song 3: With or Without You (U2, the Best of 1980 - 1990)

This song was released in 1987. One of the remarkable things that happened in 1987 was the stock market crash known as Black Monday, which was October 19th. From the wikipedia article: "Debate as to the cause of the crash still continues many years after the event, with no firm conclusions reached."

Brace yourselves, because I'm going to solve the mystery: October 19, 1987 was my thirteenth birthday.

You heard it here, first. Is it any surprise, really, that I regularly tell people I was born in 1980?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

2 of 25

Song 2: Come What May (Nicole Kidman & Ewan McGregor, Moulin Rouge)

Hmm, this is a tough one. It's a little embarrassing that I own the Moulin Rouge soundtrack--especially since it's a two CD set. I usually hate girly or cheesy movies, but I really liked Moulin Rouge. Possibly because of that cutie-pie Ewan McGregor.

A lot of the songs from the movie are current songs sung in a different style. Like the tango version of "Roxanne" in Moulin Rouge. I've realized that many of the songs in my ipod are songs that have been covered by new performers in a different style than the original--and those are some of my favorites. The Recliners are (were?) a local band that I first heard in college, and even hired them for my wedding. They sing typical lounge-style songs like Frank Sinatra selections, but they also cover current songs in a lounge style. . .like "Back in Black" and "Fight For Your Right (to Party)." I also have a couple of CDs of hair band music covered acoustically (by the original artist). All favorites! Hmm. . .maybe I just like 80's songs re-done in different styles because I love 80's music. ha!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

1 of 25

Several friends have been doing the 25 Things About Me list that's been going around the internet from Facebook, and even though I haven't jumped on the FB bandwagon, I saw an interesting take on the idea that I am hoping will get me back into blogging.

Instead of just making a list of 25 things about me--which I imagine would be pretty easy, because who doesn't like to talk about themself?--I am going to hit up my ipod. I'll shuffle the songs, and use whatever comes up to inspire me to divulge something about myself. Like the idea? Try it! Here's my list:

Song 1: Chorus (Erasure, Pop! First 20 Hits)
Song 2: Come What May (Nicole Kidman & Ewan McGregor, Moulin Rouge)
Song 3: With or Without You (U2, the Best of 1980 - 1990)
Song 4: So Wrong (Patsy Cline, 12 Greatest Hits)
Song 5: Love Me (Elvis Presley, 2nd to None)
Song 6: Jungle Love (Steve Miller Band, Greatest Hits 1974 - 78)
Song 7: Blame (Doyle Bramhall II & Smokestack, Welcome)
Song 8: The Waiting (Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Greatest Hits)
Song 9: King of the Road (Roger Miller, Swingers Soundtrack)
Song 10: Again (Lenny Kravitz, Greatest Hits)
Song 11: One Way or Another (Blondie, Greatest Hits)
Song 12: Coast of Malabar (Chieftans, The Long Black Veil)
Song 13: Elephant Tears (Ian Moore, Got the Green Grass)
Song 14: Ramble On/Somewhere Over the Rainbow (Lisa Tingle, Hidden Track on Live at the Lucky Lounge)
Song 15: Rebel Yell (Billy Idol, 80's Hits Stripped)
Song 16: The Boxer (Simon & Garfunkel, The Concert in Central Park)
Song 17: More Than Words (Extreme, AHS Class Reunion CD)
Song 18: Joy of My Life (??, Wedding Tribute CD)
Song 19: Dance Hall Days (Wang Chung, Living in Oblivion)
Song 20: The Way You Look Tonight (Frank Sinatra, The Very Best of Frank Sinatra)
Song 21: Slow Ride (Beastie Boys, Licensed to Ill)
Song 22: 88 Lines About 44 Women (The Nails, Living in Oblivion)
Song 23: Rehab (Amy Winehouse, Back to Black)
Song 24: Ordinary World (Duran Duran, Greatest Hits)
Song 25: Shape I'm In (Arc Angels, Arc Angels)

So, Erasure. . ."Go ahead with your dreamin'. . ."
I typically remember my dreams when I wake up. So in high school, we have off-campus lunch. Once a week or so, my group of friends would go to Sonic--allegedly the only Sonic in American where you could go in, sit down, and order at the table--and I'd split a Brown Bag Special with my friend Melanie. We'd each have a burger, fries, and mints. Every night after my Sonic lunch, I'd have horrible nightmares, and of course I always remembered them. So, I did a very scientific experiment where I left out different items in my usual Sonic lunch to see what might be causing the nightmares. Turns out it was the fries + mint combo that gave me nightmares.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

#31 Reading

Wowie, I've read SIX books since I last updated my # of books read on my poor little neglected blog. I've officially made it past my goal (36) with about 9 months to go until the end of my 730 days. Hooray for me!

And thank goodness for goodreads. It's been an easy way to keep track of what I'm reading as well as see what other people are enjoying (or not).

Here's the line-up:

Queen of the Road (fun, funny, exactly what I was in the mood to read at the time)
Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Everything is Illuminated (read for book club, didn't really like)
Haroun & the Sea of Stories (another book club selection, enjoyable)
Already Dead
The Reincarnationist

A couple of nights ago, I started Lisey's Story. I've only read a chapter each night before I go to bed so far, though, so it might take me a while to get through this one.