Stronger Than You Think

I know, I know, this still isn’t about the cruise. I promise I’ll get right on it. Right now I need to prep the photos I want to share, and figure out what I want to write about. Cruise – check, but what’s the story angle? Basically, I need a weekend to get it all together. Excuses! Now those are clearly well-prepped.

You’re probably wondering why I’m posting, since really what’s the point? No cruise story? Do I think I can really string you all along? Force you to sit through another, “this one time at the gym” story? Yes. Yes, I do.  But I blame Jenn, you know Jenn, who on Tuesday said something akin to, “I’m surprised you never put that story in your blog” followed by some possibly hurtful words about how I may not have let some particular gym incident go. Pfft. I’m totally forgiving if by “forgiving” you mean “great at holding grudges.” Then by definition I’d easily be the most forgiving person you may personally know. Oh, that’s not what that means? Weird. Blame Texas public schools. This conversation just got a bit awkward.

In my defense, let me start with some mitigating circumstances. First, when I go to the gym, I’m there by around 5am-ish (an actual time). Second, I’m not a morning person. I’m a person who gets up early in the morning. There’s a difference – namely, my sunny disposition doesn’t start shining until about 9am. At 5am, there’s still four hours where my ability to ratchet up a crank-fest is on a hair trigger unless I’m left alone in my quiet bubble. That means I get to claim exactly 1/4 of the gym based on where I’m standing, and you can find something else to do somewhere else – like the elliptical or maybe the stair master or go do an early spin class. I’m magnanimous like that. File this under early morning generosity. You’re welcome. Jenn would point out here that I’m mostly cranky in my head, and that I do not and will not speak the horrible things that dance across my thought bubble. In fact, if you saw me at the gym you would likely say, “oh, that nice lady with the fluff layer seems to have a crush on the rower.” (I love you rower. If I ever win at the Oscars, I’m thanking you first.)

But here’s the thing about me – I’m stronger than I look. This is to not say I’m strong, I’m just stronger than people think I am, and that can lead to trouble especially at 5am-ish when I’m vaguely cranky. So, here’s the story – for Jenn:

Before the infamous tank with its gears (are you kidding me? gears? it’s not bad enough you have not one but TWO spots to add weights to, but gears? What kind of Machiavellian torture device… c’mon!!!) joined us at the gym there was our beloved sled with its wonky messed up carpet. On sled days, I’d add 90 lbs to the thing, then shove it up and down the basketball court (careful to not scratch the floor lest Andrew lose his mind – we once had a chat about it that basically went, “if you’re saying I can’t push the sled, I’m happy to not do that, but YOU tell Jenn you told me that.” Unfortunately, Jenn scared him way more than me scarring the floor, which never happened. Right! I digress again!) So sled, push push. That day some impossibly cute girl, the kind that doesn’t sweat, who has matching everything, came bouncing into the basketball court, and grabbed the sled from from me. Rude. Plus, I think she broke some kind of “can I work-in” etiquette/code before attempting to run the sled down the court. I watched as the wonkiness and the weight wore her down, and by mid court she was in rough shape. She clearly thought it was going to be an easy task. “I mean, the fluffy girl can do it, and I’m way stronger. Easy pease. Plus, my clothes-matching game is strong, y’all!” By the time she got it back, she was barely able to push it to the wall. I smiled on the inside. I’m stronger than you think I am. Also, I nearly high-fived the sled like some how we were in it together. Who’s my sleddy? You are. Yes, you are!

This story bubbled back up again, because yesterday I was pushing the tank (must try out spike strip idea), and discovering that there were gears. Again, gears? Are you kidding me? And another gal came over to move it (though, this one actually asked). I had been having to really dig-in in order to shove it around, and she reached out with one little hand clearly thinking she could just gently move it away. I mean it has wheels. I’m not sure if she thought I was struggling pushing the equivalent of an empty grocery cart or what, but she quickly had to give up on her initial one-handed-half-hearted maneuver, and she was forced to actually grab it with both hands and engage her legs.

I’m stronger than you think I am.

And it all reminds me of one time where I was picking up a package and having to walk it to another building. I’d asked the delivery people how heavy it was, and it was something I knew I could manage. I was fine. I mean, it wasn’t great, but completely doable. A chivalrous colleague asked if he could help. Sure! I passed it over. He made an audible “oof” sound as he accepted the weight, and then for the next half block I got to hear about how heavy it was. I had carried it further and up a slight incline, and you’re the one carrying on? Again I’m not saying I’m strong – just stronger than you think. I don’t want to get into a thumb wrestling match with most people at my gym, much less try to out bench, curl, pull, press, stare or really anything against them. But that said, it does please me when the light goes off and a person realizes “oh… that’s kind of heavy – the fluffy girl wasn’t messing around.”

I can row two hours without stopping. I climbed Mayan ruins without getting winded. I can get on a stair master and nearly stand upright for whole minutes.

See, I’m stronger than you thought I was, too.

Navigating a Mine Field

A few words before I start. This post is for my nearest and dearest. Those who continuously put up with my insanity, and yet some how still hang around. It’s also a quick note to say that this was the post I meant to write at the beginning of the year. I also meant to send out Christmas cards, and well you all see how that went. Actually, you didn’t, because… well… I just blew it. Love you!

The Mine Field

I want to acknowledge that over the past year and a half navigating my emotions can be a bit like tip-toeing through a mercurial mine field. Without warning I can go from sunshine (and lollipops, of course :)) to wanting to crush all the things… with a sledge hammer… across someone’s head as Carmina Burana: O Fortuna plays loudly in the background. (Wait, you don’t have a soundtrack to your life, too? Oh, I’m the weird one. Mm hmm.) So, I thought I’d help you negotiate the path, by asking for your help in return especially as we edge closer to Jay’s birthday, our anniversary, and of course the anniversary.

One of the things I’ve learned is that sometimes I need to be direct about expressing my needs. Apparently, wishing people understood doesn’t go as far as one would hope, so here they are:

I need your unconditional support. Before you agree to it, hear me out as I break it down. Cue the sweet-sweet beat-box sounds.

The Gym

Support my goals. Whether you think I’m working too hard, or that I’m not working hard enough. Whether you believe I go too often, or merely wonder why I can’t go seven days a week if I’m going six. I need you to support me. “Why must you get up at 4?” That’s ok to wonder, but what I need from you is to merely say, “way to go!” It’s simple. I’ll worry about the other stuff. That’s my job.

My Weight/My Dietary Stuff

You may not agree with it or understand it, and that’s ok, too. Trust that I can also read, that I also have used the internet once, and that I’m quite capable of researching information. My choices are not up for debate. I’m actually an adult human being, so you’re going to have to trust me. Don’t call me out. Don’t suggest, “one glass of wine won’t hurt.” It’s great that you can eat baskets of chips and buckets of yeast rolls. You do you. Know that only three people are truly invested in my health. One of them is me, and the other two aren’t you, and that’s ok, too. Those guys will worry about that stuff.


I love you guys. I love that you think I’m great, and you want to circle the wagons when it comes to dating especially if it involves rejection. You guys are awesome! A couple of things: I will always do my best to be safe. Please don’t send me a photograph of my car while I’m on a date to show you’re lurking nearby. It’s a little weird, and by “a little” I mean “a lot.” Thank you for giving me a story, but it’s a strange little story, right? Thank you for caring enough to stalk me. When I get security cameras installed, it might be partially to keep an eye out for you.

When I get rejected, and that’s just going to happen, guys – probably a lot – brace yourselves – that’s ok. It’s not because the guy in question is a bad person. We just weren’t the right people for each other. It’s also ok if I’m a little heartbroken, and I mourn a bit. You have to understand I’m mourning more than this person, I’m also mourning the loss of Jay, and how much I wish I wasn’t finding myself in a dating situation at all. It’s not as big or as overwhelming as it once was, but it’s always under the surface.

And here’s some of what I don’t need. I don’t need you to deride the person out of a sense of loyalty to me. I don’t need you to quantify that person’s place in my life or try to divine its meaning. Only I can do that. Unless you’re a renowned clairvoyant with a 99% accuracy rate, I don’t need you to tell me, “there’s someone out there, you just haven’t met them yet.” Many things could happen – I could be hit by a bus tomorrow. I could win the lottery tonight if I find the right store. I could take up tight rope walking or even or be discovered by a Romanian ballet troupe. There are an infinite number possibilities of things that happen to people all the time – things that could happen to me tomorrow. Unless you’ve got someone very specific in mind, you don’t know. That’s just something you say when you don’t know what to say – in an attempt to lift someone’s spirits. In an attempt to life my spirits. That’s incredibly nice. I don’t need my spirits lifted. I need you to listen.

A good friend of mine and I were talking about this, and she expressed that it’s oftentimes hard to know what to say in those situations. Here’s my best advice. You don’t have to say anything more than to acknowledge the person’s feelings. “I know that must hurt.” “I know you were hopeful.” And maybe then you can offer advice or offer help. Sometimes what I need is a sounding board, a movie to watch, and a girl date to go clothes shopping. Or maybe I need a pedicure and a final decision on that phoenix tattoo. Or maybe I just need to mourn the loss of a boy, a dollhouse, and staying up late laughing in a garage without anyone telling me that the experience didn’t matter in the bigger scheme of things.

In return, I’ll try to be more present. Though it’s still often more challenging than not. I’ll try to be a better friend who remembers there are other people in the world with their own significant struggles. I’ll try to tread a little more gently.

And still you’ll need to sweep the field for mines, and understand that sometimes you’re just not going to see them before you hear that sickening “click” sound (just stand very still). Know the field is less littered, and each day the path gets clearer. Thank you for continuing to walk it with me.

The Day I Turned Off the Phone

Back in the day, when the only season was Spring, rains were always gentle, puddles demanded splashing, hills were always “down,” and my friends were all impossibly attractive and incredibly intelligent (oh wait, that still holds true), I had my very first network account. This was a time long before the internet as we know it now, but still younger than ARPANET. Mosaic was someone’s pipe dream, there was no Netscape, and the world had yet to discover the joys of creating art from the million and a half AOL installation discs we’d eventually receive weekly. Meg Ryan wasn’t trained to wrinkle her nose adorably at the sound “you’ve got mail” and neither were we for that matter. I was a beth@ then, because there were no other Beth’s out there, and I tunneled around using “telnet” occasionally FTPing a bit so I could “get” and “put” things. I sent notes using something called “Elm” although “Pine” worked, too. And I knew the very basics of Unix – well, enough to occasionally (and sometimes accidentally) open the vi editor, and would promptly get stuck for long moments of irritating, swear-fest fun. My MMO’s were on things called MUDs  (LP, not Diku, of course) or MUshes. It was new, wholly consuming, and exciting.

I was addicted to what would become my personal slippery network slope.

My roommates would roll their eyes as I’d make weekly runs to Taylor Hall just to check-in with this new and strange emerging world. I’d peek into my mailbox and immediately thrilled if, on the off chance, I received one of these virtual mail gems. It was fantastic! The world was quickly becoming smaller, more accessible, and I was able to chat up my fellow nerds (all around my age) who sat somewhere around the globe – likely on their own campuses. It was new, exciting, and quite honestly one I’ve been indulging in for all of these long decades since.

It took awhile, years in fact, but eventually friends and family members discovered it, too and the world became even smaller.

Then came cell phones, and we were even more connected than before. I should mention here that I gave up talking on the phone years ago. While I had my own line in high school, and would talk for hours (10 was my high school record) telemarketing for several years broke me of that need to speak to people on the cursed thing. (FYI, if you speak for 10 hours then try to convince your parents you’re “too sick” to go to your summer job, you “may” get a lesson both responsibility and accountability, and a ride to work.)  I remember that first cell phone. It was chunky with a ridiculous looking antennae, and I’d practically hold it away from me with two fingers as if it was offensive. Really, the only good thing about it is it allowed me to talk to Jay. Then there was the Nokia lollipop in hot pink, and the electric Motorola Razr (also hot pink), and the best thing I could say about them were “they’re hot pink” or “hey, I’ve made the Pink Panther my ring tone.”  I used those early phones as tools – things only in my life to contact emergency vehicles should my car break down. Even texting back then was a special nightmare as I mashed keys multiple times hoping I could eventually work out “hello” or something close enough that I could just stop typing on it. You know the infinite monkey theorem was probably blown apart here, because there’s no way any works by Shakespeare would ever be produced. I just couldn’t think of a good reason to have one (save the emergency vehicle thing).

And then I received my first smartphone. On that day the heavens opened up and the angels sang (true story). I had a mini-tablet with me all the time – one with a keyboard – one with unlimited texts. GLORY BE!!! I finally understood the micraculousness of this electronic wizardry! I know the weather ALL THE TIME!!! Why go outside? What does outside know anyway? All of my music! (err… I went too far – just put in “a lot” there) is right there! (Not ABBA though; I’m not sure what happened there.)  All of my contacts! My calendar! It’s electronic magic! Notifications tell me of people’s birthdays, so in theory I can’t forget. Who knew they were even born? I do now! And having it gave me that old familiar thrill as if I were typing > /telnet > open 2000 for the first time. You see that, right? You had that same experience?

Screw being present any more. I had access to the most useless information (and some useful, sure) 24/7. What happened last season on the Expanse? I have no clue, but if you need information on Jason Statham’s latest movie projects, I got that! I have a babysitter to hold my hand through awkward situations. Why worry about not knowing anyone at a gathering, when I can ensure it by starting a text exchange with a known friend? And I finally get all of those friends who have made me insane over the years as they’ve checked out while we were doing things. No longer do I try to announce myself by being right there – in person saying, “Hello! Oh no? Ok, I’ll wait until you’re done.” We can now spend time together without all that bothersome spending time together.

The thing I’ve tried not to be. Well, here I am!

Thursday I realized I’d become more than a little obsessive about my phone, and particularly about waiting for texts, so I stopped. I turned it off.  I chunked it into my purse, and decided not to worry about it (which I’ve been fairly successful at). And you know what? Its been ok. I’ve somehow managed. I went to a meeting and remained attentive the entire time – on a Saturday, no less. I navigated to a new location by looking at a map. I actually wrote out a list for the grocery store, and I’ve talked on my land line. People actually called here to just check-in, which was awesome. Now granted, I have been informed that I’m quite old fashioned and a bit quaint for having a land line, but hey I’ll take that.

Tomorrow I’ll flip the thing back on, and we’ll see if I missed anything. I strongly suspect I haven’t. I also strongly suspect, I’ll dive back into my co-dependent relationship (see that, I’ve kind of anthropomorphized the phone to make it share a small bit of the blame – authors can do that – it’s the magic of words), but I do see more days like this in my future – days when I may just shut the thing off and re-engage with the world a little more – and it will be ok then, too.

Coffee or Tea? A Ridiculous Dating Update

I’m going to take a moment to horrify my friends.  Guys, I don’t love coffee. I’m sorry. I know. I’ve been pretending for you for years in order to be accepted, but there it is – a simple truth.  Don’t get me wrong, not loving it doesn’t mean I hate coffee, it’s just… well, we’re frien-emy’s. Coffee is ok with our relationship. Coffee understands that for us to get along, it has to be dressed up before we go out together. Mind you, not quite Gingerbread Latte dressed up, because I’m not that fancy, but definitely a little cream or milk will be joining us.

Unfortunately, “would you like to grab coffee?” seems to be the current online go-to choice for those who want to meet for the first time. Where is Mr. Microphone to break the ice? And while my response is usually, “yes,” the between the lines is, “no, not really – I’d much rather sit around in my fleecey pants, my favorite t-shirt and Homer Simpson slippers while catching up on Star Trek Discovery and sipping iced tea,” but no one ever asks if that’s what I’d like to do. Weird. I’d also be game for almost anything else – like a walk around Town Lake would be great – something that doesn’t seem like the world’s worst interview where we’re across a table grilling each other about hobbies and political tastes. I’m not sure what I’ve written in my bio, but it draws people who get incredibly nervous when speaking to me, and I’m just thinking coffee is not going to help calm the nerves. Perhaps a nice chamomile? Warm milk?

I did get to hit the Steeping Room this last go around by claiming I couldn’t think of a single coffee place nearby.  This put me more at ease thanks to a lovely Moroccan gun powder mint tea. Thank you, Jers for introducing us decades ago. And once again I found I made another human being a bit twitchy. He should have found his own zen calm by placing an order for his favorite hot drink, too. The only downside to this meeting was I’d honestly managed to forget his name multiple times during the day. “What’s the guy’s name you’re meeting?” “Ummm… yeah… I should check that before going.” I’m kind of going through a phase where I think all online dates are named, “Todd.” It’s embarrassing but true. I did double-check before exiting my car. I felt a little terrible about that.  Anyway, he was smart, a server developer/designer, and another runner. The only real notable thing that stood out from our conversation was me trying to convince him that people on the opposite political side could actually be intelligent. We parted with the mutual understanding that it was ok that the other existed in the world. My aunt will not have to send him a note suggesting we be friends.

Speaking of, I did send the other runner a note in an attempt to convince him we should at least be friends. I figured I’d take the burden off my very willing aunt. The last time I tried to convince a stranger to be my friend was in 3rd grade at my day care center where I had a habit of walking up to new kids and declaring, “I’m Beth!” then following with a subtle, “Want to be friends?” This almost always worked, since I was somewhat obnoxious, and they quickly realized they’d be stuck with me every day after school for a year. Might as well give in! It turns out I’ve lost that skill set along with the advantage of having another person locked in the same space. In my sad attempt to convince him I tried a cocktail of, “I think you’re great” added with an, “I think you should allow yourself to be swept into a new group,” and finally, after he’d said no one had ever described him in a particular way,  “I’m neither family nor friend. I’m not obligated to flatter you or build you up – this is how I see you – this is why you should believe me. Plus, I’m not actually this nice to strangers.” Ok fine, I realize I did not miss my calling in sales or debate, but personally I wanted to be MY friend after hitting send. 🙂 Apparently, I was very much alone in this. A good friend tried to convince me it’s ok that the runner will not be added into my menagerie. I suppose.

What’s next? Well, I’ve discovered that on this dating journey, I’ve gotten more blunt – as in the “be my friend” example above. So, while I had the potential to meet up with a musician/librarian (librarian???) this week, and tell even more ridiculous stories, I may have insulted him. He’d sent a note about how his band is auditioning a singer. I asked some questions and wished his band luck, to which his response was, “Yeah. This will work. Are you free next week?” And yours truly may have responded, “Did you just type out your thought bubble?” I haven’t heard back from him. Weird.

Finally, I am supposed to meet up with another new person later this week.

I’m sure I’ll have more stories. You’re welcome Tori.

Please let it not actually be over coffee.

A Simple Wish

May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself. –Neil Gaiman

At the beginning of 2017 I was given a box that held 260 colorful envelopes filled with notes/quotes/questions/advice from my friends and family. These lunchbox notes were to accompany me each day of work and were to be opened at lunch (thus, the name).  There were instructions directing me to open one first, and it ended up containing the quote above.  These, in turn, became the things I wanted to achieve – a list of what I wanted to accomplish throughout the year – a road map – a bucket list.

So, I wrote a little more. Maybe not sketches, as I’d planned. It turns out that in this political climate my attempts at satire have too sharp an edge to them. I started turning off NPR more (sorry guys, I still love you) and sang more, replacing the news with singing – each time I got into the car.  I even made it out to karaoke, something I hadn’t done in years, and belted out a little Lady Gaga, ABBA, and Kansas. I now have a baby stereo system in the house where I repeat the show daily. (To the delight of my neighbors, Elle King’s America’s Sweetheart is my current go-to.) I made some art, and sent cards off to friends and family. To surprise myself, I entered the Warrior Dash, and I can say I was in fact surprised in the end. This one set me back a bit, causing all of the things to stop, and me to momentarily forget the list.

As I grew stronger, I was able to dive back in – writing, singing, reading, laughing, and creating.  The only one left to tackle was “kiss someone who thinks [I’m] wonderful.” So, a month ago I decided “screw it” and I re-entered the online dating world to give it a more serious try.  I went on three dates over five days. André, of the infamous meltdown, was the first. See below for a recap.

The second was Todd. I have to admit that over the past three weeks I became a 16 year-old girl when it came to all things Todd – a distracted girly mess. One of my male friends joked, “hell, I’m starting to have a crush on Todd” thanks to all of my incessant Todd talk, usually followed by, “do you want to see his picture?” It was terrible, and kind of fun, and it reminded me of staying on the phone for hours in high school, of passing notes, of having my girlfriends spend the night, of listening to music in the darkness of my room, and of daydreaming. He was a reminder that I was still alive, and still able to be reduced to a blushy, giddy little girl mess.

I met Todd a day or two after the André-no-I-don’t-want-to-drive-to-Costco-for-the-great-gas-don’t-put-your-face-near-my-face incident. I went to his place, knowing my adopted big brothers would not be pleased for safety reasons, and watched him put together a doll house for his granddaughter. He was just as beautiful in person, and also very simple in ways I won’t be able to quite convey here.

A few highlights from that evening: He told me, “I’d totally mack with you, but I’ve had a lot of coffee, and I don’t like to kiss with coffee breath.” Wow, umm… I don’t think anyone has ever said they’d “mack” with me. I’m not sure I’ve “macked” with anyone. Maybe I’m not a macker? If we “macked” would this count towards my “…kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful?” Gaiman didn’t say anything about “macking with someone.” Then Todd professed his love of the phrase “that’s what she said” and probably used it 15-20 different times. Apparently, she says a lot. Todd expressed with certainty that a whole comedy routine based on that line would quite possibly be the best stand-up comedy routine ever.  I’m not so sure. I threw in a few “that’s what she said” lines to make him happy, and he giggled gleefully (alliteration also makes him happy) while continuing to work on this dollhouse (a bit of a structural mess, but it also made him happy). I then turned the conversation to why he loved the town we’re in, because frankly it’s a sea of HOA’s to me, and I hoped he might have some insight that would make me see it differently. His response: “I’m near three strip clubs.” Oh… “Yeah, I love strip clubs and I would totally pay for you to get a lap dance.” At this I had to say, “That actually wouldn’t do anything for me, but thank you.” He smiled and offered up, “well, it would do something for me.” Ohhhh kay… (For any of you thinking a strip club birthday gift card might make the perfect gift, you should give that to someone else.) I got a tour of his apartment and the multiple 8″x10″ prom pictures proudly displayed on the walls. I have to confess, my prom pictures are still in the “vintage” envelope they came in. (Sorry David! I did put one in a photo album and used it for a #TBT thing on FB.)

We ended with a side hug, and I sighed… so pretty. There goes my 16 year old girl, and a 49 year old woman drove home – music blaring, while singing at the top of her lungs.

Two days later, I had coffee with the runner post my half marathon (where I did surprise myself). He was absolutely brilliant. Smart, engaging, a fantastic storyteller (and we all know how I love good stories), and I was none of those things in return. And while I recognize I’m not his type physically, he’s the kind of person who absolutely should be one of my friends. I was lamenting this to my aunt yesterday, and she kindly offered to call him up and explain how great I was.  “You know if you want me to, I’d do it,” which made me laugh. All I could picture was a call that might sound like, “Hi, this is Beth’s aunt. She’s really great; you’d really like her. I’m so proud of her. Anyway, she thinks you’re really neat. She has a lot of really neat friends, so if she thinks you’re neat, then there’s probably something special about you. You should really be her friend. I’m going to have a get together at Easter, and she knows she’s always welcome. You could come, too.” While I loved this idea, and it made my heart smile, I can only imagine how that would sound to a stranger. “Please reconsider being my niece’s friend. We love her.” I love my aunt, and I love that she was serious. Also, a side note to my friends: she really does think you guys are neat. Also, damnit, he was really cool.

So Neil, I failed a little when it came to living up to your New Year’s wishes.

While the year continued to hold a few more hardship, it was also one that was filled with magic, and dreams, and good madness. I read some fine books. I made some art – I wrote, I drew a little, I sang loudly and often, I laughed, and I surprised myself (half marathon!!).  I was surrounded with the best people. Old friends, new friends, and family… and though there were tears, there was more joy.

I plan to do more of that next year.  And maybe… just maybe… I’ll “mack” with someone who thinks I’m wonderful.

Dedication: This was for Tori who suggested I had another blog piece in me before the end of the year. Hears to you, kid!

Turning 50

I’m torn between two stories – two equally half-baked ideas, and neither of them quite fit to warrant a blog entry, but here I am.  That’s right, this month you get not one, not two, but three blog pieces, or two official ones plus this one where I spew words to fill up space and technically call it an additional blog piece. I can do that. I’m the author.

The two stories: I turned 50! I feel the exclamation point here is a bit much on the one hand, but on the other, the period seems a little too little. Maybe just the pipe thing is a better choice? I turned 50| – hrmm… clearly a punctuation work in progress.

I heralded the day by going to the movies, where two of my friends immediately fell asleep, and then in a show of solidarity, I promptly went home myself and took a three hour nap.  This might be a bad sign considering that I worked in a couple of extra naps today. 50 makes me a tad sleepy.

To help celebrate this auspicious occasion of being half a century old I decided to take this week off. I haven’t had a week off since right before Jay died – not even when I wrecked my knee; I’m a little trooper! (A little trooper who had a great boss who let them telework for a week. Otherwise, I really would have taken the week, because ow… knee.)  I started this vacation off strong with the aforementioned three hour birthday nap on day #1, and now on day #2 (today) I’m officially stir crazy to the point that I felt compelled to text a friend pleading that they get me out of the house tomorrow before I end up watching all the sad movies, or listening to every piece of moody music I own, while downing the one wine cooler. Yes, I’m kicking it old school with my drink options… err option. I guess I do actually have tequila, but I haven’t quite reached the “sad drunk” phase of my life, yet. We won’t mention the very dry red wine that’s currently “aging.”

But this song y’all…

(This really met both my movie AND song criteria. And who wouldn’t want to play it 20 times in a day? Am I right? At least I limited myself to 20.)

Ok, in all fairness I did also purchase the following, and have played it nearly as much as the above (like 5 times, which we all know is exactly like 20):

I’ve also managed to watch Once; Sex, Lies & Videotape; and Me Before You over the past two daysWithout intervention, I see Sense and Sensibility in my Day #3 future.

So, there’s that story… the other half-baked story is that over the month of December I’ve devolved into an overly dramatic 16 year old girl again (see music above). I suspect my girlfriends are either going to stage an intervention or murder me if I continue, but I don’t see an end in sight to this. Sorry guys! I know it’s absolutely absurd. I really need a parent to come in to tell me to shut it down or for Julie to magically appear from New Zealand and we go on a long walk around Town Lake.  But boys y’all… that’s all I’ve got to say. Ok, maybe I’d add some words about my ego, and some other words about how I’m an awkward goon. This is where it’s a shame I don’t have any long rows coming up, I could use one. (I think tomorrow I’ll end up rowing 9 minutes tops, and walking approximately 16 minutes if I am guesstimating my workout calendar correctly – hardly enough to shut down a brain for any significant amount of time.)

So there you have it.  Two near-stories that show I’m not only 50, but am still 16 – all in one goofy package that’s unable to land a date. Woo! Go me!

I think I’ll go take another nap.

A Date

I went on a date.  Ok sure, it wasn’t necessarily the person I wanted to go out with, but hey I figured what the hell.  That guy isn’t free, I had some free time, and should the other date actually happen, maybe I won’t act like a new born fawn in some perverse Benny Hill sketch. Maybe, if it happened, I could pass as cool?  Ok fine, this from the girl who once kept dropping cow bells repeatedly every time she walked past a work crush when I was in my early 20’s. (No seriously, I dropped them at least three times – COW BELLS – it’s not like that goes unnoticed. He’d smile, my eyes would get big, and those ridiculous things would fall out of my hands – MULTIPLE TIMES. No amount of, “play it cool, Beth” could make up for the loud clanging on the concrete floor as I blushed profusely, trying to grab them up, then I’d go back for more and repeat that whole scene, because apparently I don’t learn. I may have mentioned I live in a long running I Love Lucy episode. It’s horrifying.) Maybe I should just go ahead give up on this idea that I could ever come off as cool.

We met for coffee, and let me just say here: Starbucks’ Gingerbread Latte is an appalling abomination. No amount of toothpaste or breath mints can rid you of the taste or aftertaste or after-after taste.  This is a public service announcement. You’re welcome. Me being me – I went to the wrong place, because whoopsy, who pays attention? Especially, when given landmarks like “near Walgreens and Wal-Mart”. That’s all my town is. I think I can find three nearby Starbucks that meet that criteria. It took me about 10 minutes to get to the right spot, and my goof was greeted by chastising and a whole lot of words that really amounted to 1) huge control freak, and 2) EJECT!  If he had been the least bit empathetic, we would have seen this goof from my side, which was that while he was momentarily inconvenienced by having to loiter a bit, I had to actually double-back AND update several people who would reign hell fire on him in the event I texted them with “911”. They too had to mentally re-map their routes, dude – not like it was just you who were inconvenienced; it created a small logistical issue. So, self-centered.

We drank coffee, and chatted, which was fine. My only real observations here were: 1) How can so many words fall out of one face? SO MANY MANY WORDS. For the love of all things Holy, please stop making them. No seriously, I need your face to stop moving. 2) Why are you so concerned about where I live? (I made a mental note to ask the security guys how to install cameras) If I changed the subject away from my neighborhood, he’d get back to “no, where do you live. You haven’t answered me. I’ve asked you now a few times.” Will Robinson didn’t even need a robot to be warned – anyone with half a brain cell would have been concerned, and 3) Personal space, observe it.

There’s a running joke about me and hugs, and the fact is that a lot of people can actually hug me. A lot of people can’t. I just keep everyone on their toes by never updating the people who formerly couldn’t that their hug status has been upgraded. And there’s some people I’ve met for the first time that they better hug me, which also surprises older friends who still are in the “no hug” zone. I’m complicated. 🙂 So, back to the date: This guy tried to kiss me, and I presented him with my forehead, because NOPE. Do not get your face near my face, thank you. He made a joke that he kissed my forehead for good luck while I was internally blaspheming up such a storm that I was in danger of multiple lightning strikes. Simultaneously, I tried to work out how to get a whole ton of lye, and pondered whether it might be caustic enough to clean my forehead properly. In hindsight, I’m actually surprised he stopped speaking long enough to attempt such an action, but there you go.

He then invited me to get gas with him at Costco. I have no words. Not that the gas isn’t fine there; it’s just approximately 12-15 miles from where we were. No, I’m not getting in your car. No, I don’t think gas is so amazeballs at Costco that I’d ever be willing to pass 15 other gas stations along the way for your special gas run. And with that I waved good bye, and actually closely watched the cars behind me as I headed home. One followed me into the neighborhood, so I drove a more circuitous route until they were no longer in my site. He’s THAT guy – the kind that gives you that vibe.

We broke up the next day. Well… at least that’s what the texts tell me. I was busy at work, then later ran out with friends to dinner only to find this really long one-sided text conversation which amounted to “Do you like me? Yes? or No? Well, clearly you don’t. You realize I’m quite a great catch. Why don’t you like me? Could you send me a note so I can improve? You’re missing out.” This conversation apparently went on over some period of time. (I should mention, I’m bad with phones and really bad about answering or responding.) So, by the time I got home our relationship had run some course and it was over. YAY!!!!! When I read the entire thing late last night, I nearly burst out laughing. So much drama. You know, someone needs to create a “Do you like me?” app. There could be a push notification, you could decide then and there, and if it’s “no” then the app should go in and delete/block that person. Maybe an obnoxious slamming sound with the word “NO!” could appear on their screen in return.  Whereas, a “yes” could generate date options or some such. This is a work in progress.

All of this to say that I did go on a date. It was meh and drama filled (granted, one-sided drama – which, by the way ladies, he’s free AND he claims to be quite the catch should you all want to have your shot.)

And while this wasn’t particularly great, it added a few new stories to my repertoire. And let’s face it, I’m not dating anyone I don’t think Jay would approve of (and he would definitely not have approved), nor will I date anyone that I feel needs the protective pack of men in my life to explain to him why it would be in his interest to never think of me again. (Thanks guys!)

But hey, date. There will be another this Sunday with a runner who seems much more my speed (well, not running speed – a ton faster there, I strongly suspect).

The things I do for you guys. You’re welcome.