6.5 years in the making, one of us got a PhD. (Hint: It wasn't me).
So this time around for our annual date we did it up real good. I even put a dress on and tossed on the pearls, real classy-like. We hopped in a cab for one of the more colorful rides I've had, and began our night on the town.
Four stops we made:
1. Knee High Stocking Co. - A very cool speakeasy nestled in lower Capitol Hill. Besides killer drinks, two words: tater tots. Go ahead and add some "Crack corn" (aka caramel corn) and you've got a dangerously delicious way to kick off the night. (my favorite stop of the night)
2. Dahlia Lounge - Just drinks, saving room for dinner and letting the aforementioned tots settle
3. Matt's in the Market (personal favorite Seattle restaurant) - Cheese platter that was savory and smooth, olive selection, bread selection and we shared the chicken and dumplings that was melt-in-your-mouth moist and delicious.
4. Cyclops - Met up with some of his old buddies for drinks as not another morsel could fit in my tummy.
We strolled and took in Market decked with holiday cheer. We laughed, a lot. Mostly at each other...it's just what we do.
Look, he can't even believe he did it! Believe it, Doctor, you did it.
(This would be adorable, but it was freezing and my hands were shaking. C'mon, it was the best I could do.)
At a church on top of the hill here stands a tree. This time of year instead of leaves adorning the branches, paper ornaments dangle, blowing in the wind. During my get-out-of-the- house-for-at-least-30 minutes-for-fresh-air walk while I was really sick last week, I took a stroll past this church and stopped to look at what was dangling. This is what I found.
Scene Set: Ding Dong, Ding Dong, Ding Dong (I have a VERY loud doorbell) Awake from Dayquil induced nap. Tumble down stairs. See mailman.
Mailman: (rapid fire, emphatic, loud)You live here? You have a key to your mailbox? How long you lived here?
Me: Uhhh, couple months Blahblahblah (small talk)
Mailman: You single?
Me: Uh, Yeah.
Mailman: You dating anybody?
Me: Uhhhhhhhhhhhh, ummmm, yes, no, sort of a few...uhhh...yeah (notice how gracefully I maneuvered through that).
Mailman: Can I call you some time?
Me: Uh, no.
Mailman: Alright, well, I'll just leave your mail under your mat.
Me: Thanks! (wave)
Somewhere between my birthday, fall coming and leaving, winter arriving and today, Thanksgiving happened. Time sure does fly when you spend 3 months working 50 -70 hours a week. But thanks to a computer totally crapping out over the Thanksgiving holiday break I was forced to take a break from working and enjoy a life beyond work.
I got up early that very frigid morning and did the 5k Turkey Trot to benefit the Ballard Food Bank. We clocked a wicked good time thanks to the mostly downhill course and you bet it was a lot easier to eat that extra scoop of mashed potatoes that was about to happen. Also, note who is not 5' 2" tall...I'm the one with bent knees slouching on the end. I've got to remember to pack my tall friends wherever I go.
Anyhow, Thanksgiving was never particularlly high on the list of favorite holidays because my family couldn't all get together and cook and stay sober and not fight at the same time. So that usually resulted on over cooked every thing and the Norweign culture left little be desired when the plate of pickled herring, bowl of seafood stew and minced meat pie passed by. Plus by the time dinner was actually served, the uncles were each a bottle in and politics were the topic of discussion. This is the recipe for complete holiday disaster.
So in the past few years we've taken the C family over to the K's family home for a quite and traditional thanksgiving. It is simply splendid. It's quiet, delicious, and the mashed potatoes are to die for. Literally, they might kill you but its a good way to go in my book.
Can't you feel your arteries clogging just looking at it?
This is Dad smiling.
This is Dad tired of me taking pictures. He was a good sport.
And of course, Thanksgiving allows us the time to reflect on the things we are grateful that we have or don't have in our lives. You bet I spent extra time on my gratitude list that night.
After a weekend in AZ visiting the sister and baby in their new home, I arrived at Sea-Tac having not arranged for anyone to pick me up. I had decided to take the lightrail home. I felt good about it being a good steward of resources while simultaneously exercising self-reliance. It’s a fierce duo. Go. Me!
I was on my walk to the train when I was overcome with a realization and then a feeling. The realization was that this was the first time I had arrived home and there was no one to meet me. No one waiting to see me, no one anticipating my arrival. The realization was soon followed by an overwhelming and palpable feeling of loneliness. Not a woe-is-me-pity-party loneliness but a very real sense of singleness and solitude (trust me, there's a difference).
As I neared the train platform I thought, "I'm about to start crying in public. Don't be the crazy person that cries in public!" Which obviously just freaked me out more. My while I held back tears the pep talk continued with, "You're not really alone; you have great friends and family and people who care about you. And even though you're alone now, you won't always be and least you're not in a miserable relationship that where you would be dreading to come home." (My memory paraphrase). I texted a friend familiar with this feeling and of which we've had multiple conversations about. His response was empathetic which is probably the best I could hope for.
Sitting on the train waiting for it to depart the station, I sat continuing a pep talk in the same vein but mostly the "don't be the crazy person that cries in public." But my resolved was failing, I could feel it. Tears welling up and I was pulling out every trick in the book to stop them. At that same moment my resolve began to fail, a tiny blessing graced my life. I received an email with an enthusiastic invitation of a favorite couple friend of mine to join them for dinner. The email contained the following sentences: "We miss you. We want more of you. Say yes and make us the happiest couple on the planet." (You'd have to know them for that not to sound weird.)
What began as moment in time of isolating loneliness turned instantly to a moment of the complete opposite. Warmth and love. A simple invitation had never meant so much to me or reminded me that I am not alone, but in fact quite the opposite; surrounded by the best people who show up and participate in my life and give me more that I could ever have hoped for.
So cheers to the best of friends, train rides, not crying in public and perfectly timed invitations.
Let's talk about Halloween. It's maybe the worst day of the year. I won't go into my lengthy argument why but let's just say my heart my have turned a corner thanks to an oversized costume and a baby's first halloween. Gramma C bought baby A's costume before he was born and due to the extenuating circumstances of his birth he joined us a little early and a little on the small size. He's taking his sweet time catch up in size which lended itself to one oversized costume and mom, dad and auntie on the floor laughing.so.hard.
There were tears. Aching stomaches. Gasping for breath. Rolling on the floor laughter.
We laughed so hard the episode deserves it own post from the trip. No words really do it justice, not even photos do it justice, but you'll get the point.
I can't be the only one at work whose highlights of the day comes through gchatting with various friends also "working". PB and I chat on a regular basis which probably saves us hours of battery-life and allows us to have ridiculous conversations like this:
Me: how do we feel about men with cats?
PB: men with cats=gross
Me: what if he's incredibly ripped? And tan and builds his own sailboats?
PB: but ok fine, sailboats. who can argue with that? we'll take the cat and raise you a sailboat
PB: btw, spaghetti squash=new obsession. how genius is this vegetable?
Me: omg, It's a fave. I'm not sure if I can speak to the genius of it though
PB: Well its genius in that its just something totally unexpected. Like, "hi, you're a squash but wait. inside you are a whole different kind of fabulous."
Me: lol, I've had that exact conversation with my squash
PB: I know you have, I took the words right out of your mouth
These are the things we talk about folks, dating and vegetables.
I've started dating. I know, look of shock just graced your face. And I've had moderate success. Now, let's define success:
1.) Have not met any crazies
Ok, so that's a short list and also it makes the dating stories a little boring. But I have met some really great characters running the gamut from lawyers, mechanics, contractors, financial analysts, real estate brokers, and those working in retail. Tall, short, medium. Mostly Caucasian with a sprinkle of Asian, but that's Seattle for you. I've met people from Alaska, Texas, Michigan, and all over Washington. And for the most part I've had a pretty good time. A few meals, lots of walks, a couple hot beverages, ice cream cones, and interesting conversations.
I think I've actually made a legitimate friend out of one of them: the uber conservative, tall, blonde-hair, blue-eyed Texan who we agreed early on that it would never work. Him being conservative and all and me not being that (conservative) so much was problematic. But we've spent some good amount of time together, not dating.
Let me give you examples of us not dating:
1.) We cook together: I have a world-renowned chili recipe that I brag about regularly. He suggested we have it and I told him that on the condition he was to provide the chips and salsa. When I showed up to make the chili he was just finishing roasting the peppers and tomotios (that he had been to 4 grocery stores to find) for his salsa from scratch. He then pulled out a bag of chips that he had brought back from Texas a few days before. This was legit. We dined on made from scratch chili and salsa over candlelight and had good conversation. He proceeded to clean up and jar some extra salsa for me to take home. Like friends do.
2.) We grocery shop: We went grocery shopping the other night, when I jokingly asked him what he was making me for dinner. He proceeded to round up groceries, we went home, he whipped but fabulous variation of fattoush while I whipped up homemade hummus. It was a perfectly lovely Miss C-tummy friendly dinner. We then ate over candlelight. When it was time to clean up I ask what I could do and he just said, "Stand there and look pretty." I was more than happy to oblige. Like friends do.
3.) He cooks for me: I'd driven up to Vancouver for the day with a girlfriend to do a thing for work (aka shop). After a long day of driving and shopping he asked what I wanted for dinner when I was headed over. Thai sounded good so I suggested that thinking a run to the local dive Thai place would suffice. When I arrived at his place a full 3 course meal of thai salad, veggie curry and a surprise for dessert. Dishes mostly done already and candlelight lit we sat down to a perfectly lovely and Miss C-tummy-friendly dinner. We had lovely conversation and he capped of dinner by doing all the dishes. Then out of the oven he pops a pecan pie he'd made from scratched. Served with lavender ice cream he brought me a slice, joined me on the couch to watch a movie and snuggle. Like friends do.
4.) We hot tub together…what!?: - Fresh off the completion of our annual meeting I was exhausted bordering on meltdown. He called to see what I was up to that night and we made plans to get together for dinner. We picked up gyros at the local middle eastern dive place and took it to go. We dined on delicious take out. He has been trying to get me to go in the hot tub for a few weeks and I was just worn down enough to oblige. So with a full tummy we hopped into swimsuits and into the hot tub for some star-gazing. This was one of my better decision of the week. After a thorough soaking we headed back up for a movie. Like friends do.
5.) Hmmmm: Headed out of town for the weekend he picked me up to take me to the airport, carried my luggage, and dropped me off with a hug and a kiss on the forehead. Like friends do.
But we're not dating. So that's weird...I wonder what dating looks like.
Recently we celebrated my mom's 60th birthday. In preparation for the festivities we spend some time rifling through old photos looking for some real gems. I've posted some already. We found lots of pictures of my sister and I as babies, toddlers and young adults. Sister and I sat on the couch laughing our faces off at some of the pictures. (PS. Dear the 80s, what the hell?) We would look at pictures of Sara seeing the uncanny, yet obvious, similarities to her son. Their crying face, made face, happy face, content face. They were/are both adorable.
When I stumbled across my high school photos I could help but take a forced begruding walk down memory lane. It was like of like a bad YouTube cat video, you can't not watch it but giggle at the end because its kinda funny but that's 30 seconds of your life you'll never get back….anyway. Most of my high school photos were taken junior and senior year with my high school boyfriend, who seemed so much more than just that at the time. Most of the pictures were of dates, dances and family vacations together. I looked at pictures of me and hardly recognized myself or what I thought I looked like. I looked tired, unhealthy thin, sad. I had braces and bushy eye brows and speckled skin. I remember vividly the moments and thoughts/feelings when the photos were taken and today it is with mixed feelings I look at those photos.
I've got a personal favorite:
He's the one on the right. What a stud. Captain of the basketball team and the athletic physique to prove it. (I love how I'm totally objectifying him right now.) You'll note the absence of any photos of me because I don't need that kind of blackmail floating around on the interwebs.
I look at my life now and wish I could tell 16-19 year old me a few things. Such as:
1.) It will all be ok.
2.) Grades really don’t matter. Ever. At all. Please have more fun.
3.) Be nice to everyone even when you don't want to because they are probably struggling with the same shit you are. We all just manifest it differently.
4.) Not only will it be better than ok, it will be great.
5.) Let him go.
6.) You have no idea how awesome life is going to be. Trust me, it'll be better than you imagine.
7.) The cool kids really aren't that cool. Please care less and have more fun.
8.) Please do something about your eyebrows.
9.) You're not going to be married with kids by 30 so have a ridiculously great time in your 20s.
10.) No really, you're going to be just fine.
As I walked down pictoral memory lane I think about the high school boyfriend and what we had. Its mostly fond memories. I tend to believe we'd both be miserable if we were still together but I sometimes wonder what we might be like if our lives crossed paths today and our situations allowed more than friendship. I miss what we had what feels like ages ago. I look at those picture and think about how much I worried unnecessarily and how he saved my life, allowing me to be here today.
So moral of the story: don’t look at old photos when you're hormonal. You'll seep nostalgia, having flighting twinges of regret and remorse at the concept of hindsight. However, should you decide to do that, make sure your sister is next to you so you can laugh.so.hard.