Thursday, February 19, 2009

Late V-Day Post

Who needs a boyfriend to enjoy Valentines Day? Not me!

I had a pretty nice, albeit lazy and/or relaxing, Valentines Day. Last Friday (the 13th - oooh!), I drove north to spend the weekend with my cousins for one of our cousins weekends. We stayed up too late, of course, finally getting to sleep around 5am. We took our time getting up and getting ready so didn't leave Aly's house 'til around 4pm - not bad, considering. We stopped at Kohl's to do some shopping. I bought three necklaces; they were on sale so I got three for the price I had planned on spending for one! Aly bought sunglasses and Cassie bought a pair of earrings and a few rings. We had decided to go low-budget for this weekend, so we went grocery shopping and bought items for two quick yet delicious meals. It was a good idea, because we saved money, ate good food that was a lot better for us, and had fun cooking together. We made herbed chicken with feta cheese and roma tomatoes for Saturday night and chicken, spinach, and cheese pizza for Sunday's lunch. Mmmm. They were good. We spent the evening watching romantic movies - Memoirs of a Geisha (an odd romance, but still a romance) and Only You (cheesy, but fun). It was nice hanging out with the girls; talking, laughing, sharing secrets, solving the world's problems, bonding.

When I arrived home Sunday evening, I discovered this surprise left for me by my roommates:

The big heart reads "Happy Valentines Day!". Isn't it sweet? They had thought about putting hearts all over the front door (this is my bedroom door), but were afraid that the weather wouldn't be kind to the hearts. They didn't want me to know who had done it, but since whoever had done it had access to my bedroom door, I knew it was them. They are so great!

Monday night, I went to my Dad's house for a little while. When my parents were married, he used to give me a single flower every year for Valentines Day. This year, he restarted the tradition and threw in a few other presents for fun. He gave me a red rose, a teddy bear, and a movie:

(Yeah, yeah, I know it's not a quality picture. I should have closed the blinds but I didn't. Sorry!)

My step-sister was there with her son - he's a cutie! It was good to sit and visit with my dad and everyone. My dad is different from how he was a few years ago; he's more like the man I remember as my dad while growing up. I can tell that he's happy and that makes me happy. My little sister is growing up to be a smart, beautiful, young lady. We have a lot in common and are both BIG daddy's girls. She loaned me a book that I'm really enjoying. In fact, all the books she has loaned me have been fabulous (if you haven't read Fablehaven, try it! The second and third books in the series are even better than the first).

After Dad's, I went to my brother's house because his kids had valentines to give me. Brooke gave me a tweetie bird valentine and Porter's was a snake skin valentine. We played a couple games on their Wii then played one of my favorite games, Foul Play, which I have nicknamed Chickens and Wolves. It's such a simple game, but I love it! Brooke even let me have a piece of chocolate. She told her mom before I came that I can't have food any more so they'd better put away all the sweets. We can't convince her that that rule was only for the 10 days before my surgery and I can now eat food again. She's such a nurturer, it's cute!

All in all, it was a good Valentines - day and weekend!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Green Shirt, Purple Eye Shadow, Orange Necklace

I would never have worn a combination like that when I was in high school. I was a very matchy-matchy girl.

I couldn't wear a brown belt with black shoes or a gold bracelet with a silver necklace. Oh wait, I still can't do either of those! Ahem. Moving on.

Back then, if I wore a green shirt, I'd be wearing green earrings (I didn't wear necklaces back then), and green eye shadow (how embarrassing!). Or at the very least, a neutral eye shadow and diamond earrings. Must...not...mix...colors.

I thank my sister-in-law for showing me that you can wear jewelry that doesn't "match" what you're wearing. She would wear a green necklace with a pink shirt or a orange necklace with a blue dress, and it would look wonderful. So, I started to play around.

Playing around is fun!

She also convinced me to try purple eye shadow, saying it would bring out the blue in my eyes. From the comments I get on my eyes, I don't think the blue needs any help, but I eventually gave in, deciding that playing around with my makeup might be as fun as playing around with my jewelry...and it is!

Someday, I may look back on pictures of myself and cringe at the green shirt, orange necklace, and purple eye shadow combination, but until that day, I'm going to continue to mix it up. And, quite honestly, I'm hoping I'll be cringing at my current weight because I'll be so much skinnier then and won't even notice my color combinations!

What a silly topic.

I'm in such an incredibly good mood today and part of that is because I feel pretty. I love this green shirt - it's taken the place of my favorite, but almost-too-big, blue shirt. And the purple really does make my eyes look more blue (blue-er???). And, what can I say? I totally ♥ this orange necklace - it's one of my rewards for losing 50 lbs.

Sigh. It's a good day.

I hope you're having a good day, too!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Past Dates II

Homecoming Dance 1994
I had had an on-again-off-again crush on Keith since the summer after my sophomore year when we had held hands on his cousin’s porch one evening, so I was ecstatic when we finally started dating…and kissing…a few weeks before the Homecoming Dance. When he asked me to the dance, I was thrilled – it was my first dance date with a bona fide boyfriend. We were going with a few of his (our) friends and their dates (including Missy!). Have I mentioned how excited I was? Well, I was.

The morning of the date, I met Melissa (who sadly was going to the dance in another group) at McDonald’s for hot chocolate. Melissa, do you remember why we did this? I don’t any more; in fact, I just now remembered that we did! Anyhoo, I then returned home to prepare for the activity portion of the date: bowling.

Keith picked me up in his old green car, and one of the other couples, Ben (not Missy’s current husband) and Stacy, were with him. He gave me an arrangement of six red roses that were gorgeous and wonderfully fragrant. I love getting flowers. At some point we must have met up with the other two couples, Bryan and Missy and Matt and Brooke (wow, it took me a bit to remember who the last couple was – it was so long ago!), because I remember following Bryan’s car out to the bowling alley. At least…we followed them for a little while. A few miles from the bowling alley, Keith’s car ran out of gas and died! He pulled over and was not a happy camper. He hit the dashboard in frustration, breaking it. That made it worse. It probably didn’t help that I wasn’t being very successful at holding back my giggles. Ben and Stacy hopped out of the car and went somewhere – to this day I don’t know where they went – so we were alone. I had to work hard, but eventually I lightened Keith’s mood. We decided to hitchhike to the nearest gas station, so we got out of the car and crossed the road so we’d be on the same side as the cars traveling the way we wanted to go. It started to snow. Neither of us wore coats. I giggled. He didn’t.

Rather quickly, a small, white truck pulled over and we explained our dilemma to the driver. He offered us a ride and we hopped in, first arranging the numerous grocery bags filled with heaven-only-knows-what so we could fit. At the gas station, Keith bought a red, plastic gas can-thingy and started putting gas in it. I insisted on staying with him despite the cold and snow and his bad mood, so I witnessed him overfilling the can and gas spraying all over him. I was far enough away to avoid getting splashed, but it totally got him. You can probably guess that his mood didn’t improve and that I found it all absolutely hilarious. Poor Keith, he wasn’t having much luck. He put up with me surprisingly well, though, which, looking back, I can now really appreciate.

Oh, when we first arrived at the gas station, we had called the bowling alley (remember, this is before cell phones) and had told our friends what had happened, and Bryan left to come get us. He showed up shortly after the can was (over)filled and took us to Keith’s car. We arrived at the bowling alley just in time to leave. At some point, Ben and Stacy found us, either at the car or the bowling alley, I don’t remember now. We headed to the college’s science building, where Bryan’s dad worked, and watched a movie in his dad’s room on a big screen. It was a good show, nice and romantic, and I cuddled up to Keith despite the reek of gas coming from his clothes. He slowly started to be happier and by the end of the movie, he was fine. We must have eaten at some point, but I don’t remember when or what. I’m sure it was yummy and fun. How’s that?

Keith took me home to get ready for the dance. Two of my friends who weren’t going to the dance were there to do my hair for me. They did a really good job – it looked really nice, if I do say so myself. It was kind of a French twist, but with a tweak, and they incorporated some baby’s breath from the roses Keith had given me. When I walked down the stairs, Keith was there, looking stunning in his tux. I’ll always cherish the look on his face when he saw me. I have never ever felt so beautiful, and it was because I could tell he thought I was.

The rest of the night was absolutely perfect. He treated me like a princess, while we danced he whispered sweet things; telling me how much he loved me, how beautiful I was, how lucky he felt to be there with me. A lot of the time, we didn’t talk; we just gazed into each others' eyes, smiling. Us being us, we also kidded around a lot, laughing a lot. An acquaintance later told me that she had watched us dancing and had gotten a kick out of how much fun we were having and how totally into each other we were. I remember wishing that the night would never end. Being with him, dancing with him, being held by him was heaven and I didn’t want to ever leave.

It did end, of course. At this point the plan was to go home, but no one wanted the date to be over, so we ended up going to Keith’s house to watch a movie. He and I cuddled the whole time. I love cuddling during movies. He finally took me home and we talked and kissed on my porch ‘til we finally managed to say good night and he left.

Keith certainly had his faults as a boyfriend, and I certainly had mine as his girlfriend, but I will always love him for many reasons; one being this date. So many things went wrong at the beginning (which, like I’ve mentioned, I found funny), and even though it frustrated him and he got upset, I knew then and I know now that he got upset because he wanted so much to impress me, to show me a good time. Plus, no one has ever made me feel so special or so loved as he did that night.

Wherever you are, Keith, thank you for such a great memory.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Past Dates I

My first date
My very first date was a blind date a few days after I turned 16. One of my friends, Christine, who was a senior in high school while I was a lowly sophomore, was going to the Graduation Dance with a guy from a nearby town (let's say his name is Mike) and he was bringing one of his friends to be my date. Another couple rounded out the group. The plan was to meet at the park for dinner, go to Christine's house for games, then head to the dance.

Well, Mike's car broke down on the way here. This was before the prevalence of cell phones, so when our dates didn't arrive on time, we wondered what had happened. After awhile, Christine's dad came to the park to inform us that Mike had called with an explanation of why they were late and that they should arrive in time to play games. This is when I found out that my date was a Mexican student staying with Mike's family for the summer; his name was Jorge. While we ate, the guy from the other couple kept purposefully mispronouncing my date's name. It stuck in my head. When Mike and Jorge arrived, I discovered that my date was a head shorter than me and didn't speak English hardly at all. We played games and at one point I mispronounced Jorge's name and everyone laughed. Except me, who turned bright red, and Jorge, who had no idea what was going on.

After games, I returned home to dress for the dance. Unfortunately, I only had high heels, so the height difference was even worse. The dance was miserable. I tried to talk to him, but he couldn't understand me. It was my first date, I was uncomfortable anyway, and not being able to converse with my date made me feel worse. Dancing didn't help. He was so short! His face was just at that perfect level to make me feel the maximum discomfort. I took my shoes off for pictures so I would be closer to his height - it didn't help.

When the date finally ended, I asked Mike to drop me off at my dad's since Mom and my brothers were out of town that weekend. I jumped out of the car, turned to Jorge, told him it was nice to meet him, said the same to Mike, and said good-bye to Christine in about 10 seconds flat. Then I rushed to the front door before realizing that Jorge had started to get out of the car, ostensibly to walk with me to the door. I turned around, waved, opened the door, went inside, and closed the door, thankful the date was over.

It took 14 years before I'd agree to another blind date.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Just Friends

This week, in celebration of Valentine's Day, I'm wearing red to work every day. I realized yesterday that I have enough shirts/sweaters to just pull it off, as long as I don't want to wear red on Valentine's Day. Seems a little ironic, doesn't it? Oh well. Maybe I'll wear pink instead.

In addition to wearing red (one of my favorite colors to wear, by the way), I'm trying to write love/relationship-centric posts this week. Maybe not every day, but as often as I feel like it. That's pretty much how I do things nowadays.

Today, I ask you the question, Can single men and women be friends? My boss says no. I say why not.

The debate started again today because I went to lunch with Anthony. It was a spontaneous thing. Anthony came in to buy batteries and told me he had the rest of the day off of work. He asked if I could leave work for a bit to go to lunch with him. My boss was gone (at a work lunch) and my coworker said she wouldn't mind holding down the fort, so I went with him. I figured I'd pay for myself, but Anthony insisted on paying. I had a blast. He makes me laugh and we have a lot of fun together talking and signing. And, in case you're wondering, no, I have no romantic feelings for him. None whatsoever. I like him as a friend and that is it.

When my boss found out about our lunch "date", he warned me that I need to be careful not to lead Anthony on. I told him that Anthony and I have talked about where we stand and he knows that I only see him as a friend. My boss's exact words: "Guys don't do friends, they either want to be more than friends or they don't want anything at all."

What does that mean?

I have guy friends. Single guys. According to my boss, all these guys are secretly hoping to be more than friends, but I know for a fact that isn't true with at least one of them, if not all of them.

What do you guys think? Am I wrong? Is it irrational to think that a man and a woman can be friends, can talk, can hang out, and not want anything more than friendship?

Monday, February 09, 2009


You have to walk carefully in the beginning of love;
The running across fields into your lovers arms
Can only come later when you're sure they won't
Laugh at you if you trip.

- Jonathan Carroll

That quote was on the program at church. It made me laugh.

It also made me think. I'm very cautious in relationships. I try so hard to be perfect.

Must not get mad. Must not make mistakes. Must not be illogical...ever. Must look nice. Must be nice always. Must smile...a lot. No tripping!

Seriously, for ages I've believed that if I let a guy see me being what I think is less-than-perfect, he wouldn't like me any more. So, I try to hide all my negative emotions as much as possible and pretend that everything is okay, always.

It's exhausting. And, it's unfair - to him and to me. I need to be able to be myself. He needs to see that I have bad days. I should be able to tell him when he's being an insensitive jerk. He needs to see that sometimes I'm a bossy, insensitive jerk.

Slowly, I'm getting better, thanks mostly to my relationship with Anthony. The first time I got mad at him, I thought our relationship was over. Instead, he actually apologized and promised not to do it again, and he didn't. Despite his hearing loss, we were able to communicate better than any other boyfriend I'd had. I could be totally open with him because I trusted how he felt about me and that it wouldn't change because of one bad mood. I realized that I had never really given my past boyfriends a chance to show me they could be trusted the same way.

It gives me a new "criteria" for the guy that I'll someday marry (cross my fingers): he'll be someone who I trust enough to show all my imperfections to. I'll know that he won't leave just because I'm in a bad mood. He won't hate me because I get upset at him. He'll think I'm pretty even without makeup and with curlers in my hair. When I cry, he'll hold me. In short, I can be 100% me and he'll love me for being me.

I want to be able to trip and know that he won't laugh.

Okay, he can laugh...once he helps me up, makes sure I'm ok, and kisses my scraped knees and elbows.

I guess, really, I want a man who doesn't walk away when I trip.

Of course, that means that I'll actually have to let him see me trip. Scary!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Itching for Something to Learn

I consider myself pretty happy living where I do.
  • I love my house.
  • I have a great view from my porch and from my bed.
  • Family close by.
  • Good friends.
  • The annual Shakespeare Festival.
  • Nearby national parks (which sadly got ignored by me last year).
The list could go on. It's a nice place to live and I'm mostly content that I'm here.

Mostly. There are several disadvantages, but for the most part, I can deal with them. However, one thing that I wish we had here that I can't seem to find is Community Classes. (Oh, and the diversity of eating establishments is seriously lacking, but that's a subject for another post.)

I've looked around and I can't find what I want, even though we have an Applied Technology College and a full-scale (ish) University. The Applied Tech school actually has a couple classes I'm considering (Marketing, Web Design), but the University doesn't. And, if it did, it'd cost an arm and a leg to take one 3-credit class.

No, what I'm talking about is the community classes you hear about in big cities. Classes like Acting for the Untalented, Painting for the Non-Creative, How to Buy/Sell on eBay - all classes, by the way, that I'd love to take! Classes held in the evening to accommodate people like me who work full-time during the day. Classes that don't cost so much you have to promise away your first born child (though that may be a bargain for me - no kids and no immediate prospects of getting any!).

In addition to the classes I already mentioned, here are some classes I'd like to take:
  • French. Yes, I already know it, but I'd love to practice. The two people I talk to regularly and who speak French refuse to practice with me. Meanies.
  • Cooking. How fun would it be to try new recipes and learn new cooking techniques!?!? I'd be in h-e-a-v-e-n!
  • Pottery. I think I'd fare better with pottery than painting (though I'd still like to try the latter someday). Plus, I would like to have a collection of vases, bowls, mugs, etc. that I made myself.
  • Automotive Repair. This should probably be the first class I sign up for, since I know next to nothing about vehicles and yet I drive a big truck and trailer (that likes to blow tires). It probably wouldn't be the first, though. Maybe the second.
  • Guitar for the chubby-fingered. Okay, they wouldn't have to call it that, but the teacher would have to be patient with my awkward appendages. Heck, I already have the instrument - why not learn how to play it?
  • Creative Writing. For two reasons: 1) so I could learn how to write better and maybe bring out some of my dormant creativity and 2) to hear other people's stories.
  • Sewing. My mom tried to teach me when I was younger but it bored me and I was horrible. Couldn't sew a straight hem to save my life. I'm not saying I'd be any better now, but it would be fun to try.
If you happen to live where I live and you know something I don't - like there actually being community classes - please clue me in!

In the meantime, maybe I'll have Cassie teach me how to sew, ask Warnser or Tearese for drawing lessons, take guitar lessons from Adam, read French novels (alone), start a cooking "class" with friends, and have Dad show me (again) how to change a tire.