Archive for the ‘Only you’ Category

Psycho Killer, Qu’est-ce que c’est

I went on a first date tonight. I was convinced he was a psycho killer. I went anyways.

I don’t waste a lot of time online. If I write to someone and they write back using proper grammar, spellcheck, and capitalization, then I suggest we meet for coffee or a drink. I don’t want to spend all my time writing back and forth just to realize that there is no chemistry when we meet.

At the bottom of his profile, in the “You should message me if” section, he’d added

Do not message me if:

You don’t believe we ever landed on the moon.
You don’t believe we are related to monkeys.
You vote Republican.
You watch Fox news.
You go to church more than twice a year.
You take yourself too seriously.

And as you all know, those are some of my exact same pet peeves. So I had to write him. I told him that my siblings could also recite all the lyrics to the score of Rent, so they would get along. I asked him where his favorite place to travel has been. I’d sent the email in November of 2010. He responded on Thursday. Then he closed that account and wrote again from a new account.

Today we decided to meet for wine this evening in downtown Palo Alto. He said he was having dinner with his parents there and we could meet after. I almost joked that I should meet them for dinner and get the awkward part over before we even began.

We arranged where and when to meet. And he asked me if I could meet him by his car and help him with his crutches. I said sure.

Then I made whoopie pies. Today is the Whoopie Pie Festival in my hometown in Maine. In honor of it, I made some at home. While I was baking, I was watching Brokedown Palace and I got to thinking. What if I’m being manipulated like the Australian guy in the movie. Here is a guy who responded to me four years later. He’s forty-something and having dinner with his parents. And he wants me to meet him by his car to “help” him. What if he is lying about the spinal cord injury and is just trying to get me to his car before anyone sees us together so he can kidnap me? What if he deleted his old account because he’d killed the last girl and needed to cover his tracks?

I freaked. I’d stopped by The Bean Scene to get coffee earlier today and had been singing along to the Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer” while sipping my latte and unable to move off the couch after a 17-mile bike ride this morning. We’d climbed the hill to IBM’s Almaden Research Center. I hadn’t been there since Houda had been an intern there. That was a lifetime ago.

I told him I wouldn’t be able to help and if he couldn’t make it we could reschedule for something that would be easier for him. He said he could be “beaten to a pulp by an 80-year-old with one leg.” What if he is just trying to guilt me into a trap! What if I was the nameless girl in the beginning of the horror flick. You know it is a horror flick as you are watching, so when you see all the signs, you yell at her and tell her how stupid she is for not seeing them herself. Then she dies.

Then he says, “Don’t stand me up please…we’ll have fun”.  Is that “we” will have fun or “he” will have fun dismembering me? O. M. G. He has a medical degree according to his profile—that I am now taking not just with a grain of salt but with a whole shaker. I can probably avoid going to his car, but what if he drugs me? Then he’ll claim he is a doctor and that I have some crazy medical condition and he’ll take me from the restaurant when he can’t get me to come directly to his car.

I am reminded that I have a very active imagination.

I get to the restaurant and am freaked out. But I’ve convinced myself that there are two outcomes. Either he really is who his profile says he is and this will all be a romantic comedy, or he is a serial killer and I’ll avoid being alone with him or taking my eyes off my wine. Then I can write a book about him after he is caught and talk about how charismatic and charming he was as we sipped wine and I narrowly avoided being one of his victims.

I walked inside. There was a guy sitting at the bar. I didn’t see any crutches, but maybe they were on the other side. I asked if he was who I was looking for. He said, “No, but you are welcome to join me.”

“Thanks, but I need to keep looking.” What if he is the guy? Now he knows I am here and what I look like. He can follow me home and kill me there. And no one will ever connect us.

I walked through to the back where the live music was playing. A waitress asked if she could help me. I told her I was looking for a guy that I was supposed to be meeting. She said she didn’t think there was anyone there, but we could walk through and look.

They were all couples. No single people. She asked what he looked like. I said it was a blind date, so I didn’t know. She just kept apologizing. I told her it wasn’t her fault. I could have cut the pity with a knife. A butter knife. I don’t need to provide any weapons here.

I walked back out to the front and sat outside on the porch of the little restaurant house. I sent him a message that I didn’t see him and he must have decided to stand me up instead.

Then he called. I tried to answer, but I heard nothing. Not even breathing on the other end of the line. I’d regretted giving him my phone number. What if he started sending harassing phone calls?

I tried hanging up the phone, but my phone was hung. I had to reboot. Comedy of errors is all this is, right? Romantic comedy, not horror.

When the phone finally rebooted, there was a text message saying he was in the white SUV across the street and that he was just grabbing his crutches. Another trick to lure me away and throw me in a creepy white van to take me away and tie me up and steal my kidneys!

But the text message showed me an email address. So I googled the name. And sure enough, there was a picture of him on a page for the website for his employer. And it looked like the photos that were on OKCupid. It was looking promising.

He waved to me. I tentatively walked across the street to the parking lot. It was still daylight out, but that might not be enough to stop him. I walked in a wide circle around his Mercedes SUV. Not a creepy white van. His face matched the photos I’d seen. And he really did have crutches and was having difficulty using them.

Romantic comedy. Not horror.

We sat in the backyard of the restaurant house in the glow of miniature lights, warmed by a fire pit, listening to live music, sipping wine (once the waitress realized we were there), and laughed about the ridiculous story I had invented in my head. We talked about traveling and languages and freak accidents. The evening ended with the sounds of fireworks in the distance. I walked him back to his car and helped put his crutches away.

Not a serial killer. At least not yet.

Halloween Costume

Last year when my dog had her ACL surgery and wore a cone of shame for two weeks, I thought to myself, “That would make a fantastic Halloween costume.” So I stored it away in the closet and hoped I’d remember when October rolled around.

A few days before a Halloween party on Friday, I remembered. I dressed in all black to look like my dog and put on the cone of shame.

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It was a great hit! People couldn’t stop laughing at me trying to eat and drink. It was pretty difficult. I feel bad for my dog having to deal with this for as long as she did. I barely survived a couple hours.

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Full Circle

This morning, I walked the dog and fed the pets like always. Then, I called the hospital in New Hampshire, where my mom is staying after her hip replacement, to order flowers to be sent to her room. I know she said no flowers, but I think it is fun to send them anyways. Hospital rooms need some decorations, guests need cheering up, and it is the least I can do since I can’t be there.

The woman at the gift shop who took my information was having a hard time hearing because of all the background noise. I should have made her repeat the full credit card number since after she repeated the first four digits, one of them was wrong. But I didn’t. I should trust my instincts.

I showered and headed to my eye doctor appointment. The office is located in San Jose, and I’ve been enough times that I didn’t ask Siri how to get there. I got lucky and didn’t hit traffic on 280. At the doctor’s office, between the assistant asking me all the good questions about my drinking (yes), smoking (no), and family history (I don’t remember), I was alone in the room for a few minutes when my phone rang. It was a number I didn’t recognize from Vermont.

I answered. I hate those people who do that while in a doctor’s office, but the doctor wasn’t in the room yet. As soon as I started talking, the doctor walked in. Sure enough, the woman at the gift shop had gotten the credit card number wrong. I told her the correct number, hung up, and profusely apologized to the doctor. He said he knows I’m not the kind of person who does that normally, so he figured it was something. I was just trying to be a good daughter.

The doctor went to put drops in my eyes. We had the normal conversation about not dilating my eyes. The last time I had that done was years ago and I came very close to passing out. Sounds got really far away, I had tunnel vision, and I had to lay on the floor with my feet in the air for half an hour. He says that some people have that reaction to it and that they are always good about mentioning it. But these drops were numbing drops so they could touch my eye. I hated the feeling, but I didn’t pass out. 

I got to work in time to watch some live blogs about something. Afterwards, there was cake and champagne before lunch. I failed at my diet today. When I start the day with cake and champagne, all bets are off. So being Tuesday, I went for a (veggie) burger with the boys at the normal Tuesday lunch haunt. I do miss hanging with them, but my wallet, my diet, and my liver keep it from being a regular thing. But I was already down the path of no return today, so I might as well enjoy it.

In the afternoon, in an effort to counterbalance earlier mischievousness, I had a half-caf, non-fat, extra ice, iced latte. Just enough caffeine that I suddenly felt ridiculously productive and even figured out the solution to a coding problem I’d been staring at on and off for days. Next thing I knew, it was after 6 pm and I was already late to dinner.

Dog walked, and pets fed again, I headed to dinner in San Jose. I let Siri tell me how to get there and she directed me away from the highway traffic and over surface roads instead. After parking the car, I rang the door bell, but no one answered, so I walked into the house. I figured the hosts are the kind of people who would find this acceptable. They hadn’t heard the doorbell because everyone was hanging out in the backyard enjoying the lovely evening. I was greeted by the most gigantic, gentlest dog I’ve ever met. He decided I was allowed to enter and let me through.

I was asked often how I know the hosts. The answer is always that we met through Mountain Man from Colorado (we are wondering when Mountain Man will be in town next). He’s a common friend in another state, but no, I have never lived in Colorado, I live here. The hosts are known for picking up strays like myself, so it wasn’t too much of a surprise.

At one point, the men separated from the women, and as seems to be a common theme this week, the conversation turned to breasts. Not mine this time, but another woman who had just been diagnosed with breast cancer. So I remind you again, if you are a woman you should get mammograms, and if you are a guy, make sure the women in your life get their mammograms.

Mastectomies, breast replacements, enlargements, and reductions eventually faded away, but somehow dinner conversation evolved into talking about vasectomies and manscaping. It wasn’t me, I swear, since I have no personal knowledge of these things.

Our table of fantastic foods and desserts attracted three female bees, one of which took a nose dive into my wine. She was rescued, but I was on to tea by then anyways, so it wasn’t a problem. I was watching the bees, and one kept falling over as it walked. I asked, “Is it the drunk one that keeps tipping over?” just as one of the women’s chair legs sunk into soft ground and she spilled out of it. “I meant the bee! The bee!” The timing couldn’t have been more perfect and the table erupted in laughter.

Before leaving, I did my best to get Murphy to sit still for a selfie. He’s about as good at getting his photo taken as Perl is. This is the best I got.

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That is not a camera trick. I do not have a tiny head. That really is Murphy’s head. He is enormous!

After tea and dessert, I headed home. I could have found my way, but I like to listen to Siri, since she is usually the only guest I have in my car. She took me past the house, down a different road than the one I’d come in on. We turned a corner and suddenly I recognized the street.

I passed my eye doctor’s office and the day had come full circle.

Halfway through the August 5!

We are halfway through the August 5 pound challenge. As of this morning, I hit the 2.5 pound mark, so I’m right on target. It is going to be a difficult next 16 days, but I believe I can do it if I set my mind to it. And so can you!

How are you all doing?

No one expects the Spanish Inquisition

This has been a completely unexpected weekend. I might just need a vacation from it, but I’m out of vacation days. I did say a little while ago that I miss my crazy life. Well, it is back with a vengeance.

Friday night after work, I met up with some former coworkers for a little ego boost. I completely miscalculated and kept up with them on drinks. Three very strong gin and tonics later, I stood up and realized my mistake. I immediately got a ride home.

I ate leftover pizza, drank water, made myself some popcorn on the stove (with Greek olive oil and Hawaiian sea salt)” and watched tv in a desperate attempt to sober up before sleeping. I also drunk texted, which was not in the plan. None of it was in the plan. Last week, I had nothing scheduled from Wednesday-Sunday. Oh how that changes.

Saturday morning, I woke around 5 am and laid in bed pretending to sleep until 6 am. Five hours of sleep was not enough. I finally got up, walked the dog in the cold, cloudy, silent morning, showered and hailed a cab so I could retrieve my abandoned car. I felt like an idiot. I’m only telling you so you will learn from my mistakes. Of course, if I had been my grandfather, The Grump, I would have forgotten where the car was and sent one or a few of my six children to walk down the streets until they found it. Luckily, I am not The Grump.

I drove my car to my 9 am hair appointment. Wilson has been bored with my long haircut and normal color, required for wedding photos, so today I let him color outside the lines to his heart’s content. Two dying sessions, two shampoos, a cut and style later, my hair is so red, I think it glows in the dark. No fewer than three strangers approached me in the farmer’s market to tell me how much they loved it. That is why I let Wilson do it.

I am dog sitting this weekend, so I showed up to pick up Pascal and was greeted with two Jell-O shots. Hair of the dog, be damned. The pink was better than the blue. I haven’t had a Jell-O shot since either the afternoon I spent in the gay district in Dallas, Texas in 2010, or a 4th of July BBQ with a pink Jell-O shot mold of Darth Vader. Either way, I wasn’t sure if I was winning or losing.

I took Pascal home and he and I and Perl went for a walk. Doesn’t matter because he still pooed on my freshly shampooed carpet. My dog dug holes in their backyard, so all is fair in love and war.

I took out my contacts and put on my silk pajamas at 1 pm and took a nap. I was exhausted. I’m getting too old for my own life. At 4 pm, I threw on some clothes, tussled my glowing locks and went down to my favorite pub, Lily Macs, for a ladies’ afternoon beer pong game.

In an effort to ward off {^+~€~*} breast cancer, we drank the afternoon away. My partner and I won and then whooped the other team at a round of flip cup. We are amazing.

I told them about how, at the age of four, my father recognized my beer pong skills. By age six, I was training competitively. My first international competition was at age 13. I got my balls handed to me by a couple of Germans. I was not prepared to play with Bavarian stout. By age 18, I was ranked in the top ten in the world, however, because of drinking age laws, I was never allowed to play in the United States. My skills at swiping the ball away after a bounce were cat like and I became known as The Pussy. I was feared and revered far and wide. Two days before my 21st birthday, I was playing against the Russians since the Cold War was over. You don’t know beer pong skills until you see me sink a ping pong ball into a shot glass of vodka from twenty paces. Just as I threw the winning ball, I screamed in sheer agony as I threw out my shooting arm. The doctor said I had the worst case of beer pong elbow he’d ever seen and I would never play professionally again. The Pussy was no more. She now plays in seedy bars and hustles the college crowd, scowling at the Coors Light on the table and reliving her glory days through tales the kids don’t believe. What a waste.

Next, back in reality, we went to our favorite Mexican restaurant, Roberto’s, for a little tequila and fajitas. I always forget that Saturday evenings in the summer on Murphy Street is a jazz festival. We enjoyed the music and some of my table danced with Das Deutschman.

I begged out as soon as the sun was setting, so I could go walk the dogs. I laid in the backyard in the hammock as they ran around the yard. Then I went to bed early. I’m talking 9:30. I slept until 6 am. It was glorious.

This morning, I walked the dogs and returned the little one to his house. He is a snuggler and Pablo, who is about the same size, was jealous. I got some laundry done while waiting for a text about hiking.

At 11 am, The Lawyer and I headed off for a hike at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park in Felton. We did not buy a map, instead, we went to look at the ridiculously old redwoods and then picked a random trail. We hiked for two and a half hours without getting lost. We did make one half-hearted attempt at crossing the river where there was no bridge, but eventually, after a couple prickly bushes, gave up on the idea.

Six and a half miles later, we went to Santa Cruz for a late lunch at 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall. After burning 800 calories, we figured that burgers, fries and a beer were in order. I was good and left some burger and fries on the plate. I still can’t manage to leave beer. I blame The Lawyer for us being carded, although the woman next to us claimed everyone is carded. She was soon replaced by three people and a big, white, fluffy, year-and-a-half old, friendly golden retriever. Adorable!

Before going back to the car, The Lawyer came up with the Evil Detour Plan which took us to The Penny Ice Creamery. How have I never found this place before? I tried the fennel ice cream, but couldn’t quite convince myself to get a cone of it, so I went with the chocolate and salted caramel. I didn’t need the ice cream, but since when has anything I’ve really wanted been good for me?

Back on the other side of the hill, I headed home to quickly walk the dog and shower before heading up to SFO. There, I picked up TOK and Cabana Boy. I was so excited to see them! I don’t think I’ve seen them since their wedding in 2010.

We went into Burlingame where the street we tried to visit was under construction and they wondered what kind of place I was taking them to. We chose to eat at Olea Mediterranean Cuisine, which I swear was a different name and decor the last time I was there. The food was good and the company was even better. I miss hanging out with TOK and Cabana Boy in upstate NY. Well, I don’t miss upstate NY, but I do miss them.

Everything was closed on the street, including the street, when we finished dinner, so we went back to the hotel lounge for coffee and dessert. The mini desserts were just the right size. We had, as the menu pointed out, “The trio of three.” Perfect for the trio of three of us.

Sadly, it was time to leave. They have an early flight and I have work in the morning. Overall, it was a fantastically typical, atypical weekend. I’m happy to have my crazy life* back!

* Although I could do without mistakes like Friday night. We live and we learn. Hopefully I learned not to keep up with the boys.

Illogical Butterflies

I occasionally forget what it feels like to have butterflies in my stomach. At times I’ve gone for years without feeling them. If you’ve ever had them, you know the kind I’m talking about. It’s the feeling you get when you are thinking about, or are with someone you find attractive, not just physically, but mentally. I’m not talking lust, or desire. Butterflies.

The butterflies make me laugh a little too hard and a little too loud at jokes. They bring out the secret smile that most people never see. They flutter at the sound of text messages in anticipation. They make me go out of my way to ensure that it was all more than just one chance meeting. I heart butterflies.

I also hate them. They come out of nowhere, blindsiding me. One minute everything is normal, and the next, POW! I’m suddenly acting like a teenager, all giggly and silly, needing reassurance when I never have before. It’s like I’m not in control of my own body. There are constant cravings that suddenly need fulfillment. Stat! I have to find a way to see him again. To see him smile, to hear his laugh, to get a text message, or just tell him how my day went and ask about his. How? What can I say, what can I do to make it happen?! All these things are racing through my head at all hours of the day and night. All while the other side of my brain is asking, “WTF is your problem? Why him? Why now? Really? You were perfectly fine just hours ago.  What happened?”

Most of the time, butterflies for me are within hours of meeting a person. But occasionally, I don’t notice them at first. They sneak up on me. It starts by noticing his absence and wondering where he is. Then the slight twinge when I hope he will happen to show up to wherever I am. Next, I start manufacturing reasons for us to meet. The butterflies are like a drug and I just keep needing more.

However, if the butterflies aren’t reciprocated, they become an annoyance. There is the constant distraction every time my phone makes a noise and I jump to respond like a Pavlovian dog. There are the wandering day dreams that interfere with my concentration. Then there’s the constant desire to just make some sort of contact, which I have to learn to ignore. Not to mention the general frustration of not understanding why the feelings aren’t reciprocated—the logical side of me knows that it doesn’t matter why, so why don’t the butterflies understand that?*

I wish emotions were black and white. I want to turn them off and go back to what I was doing. I want to go back to the status quo. I want to ignore the desires and delusions. I want to be in control.

But at the same time, I’m grateful. I’m grateful for the reminder that butterflies exist, that I’m not completely broken, that I still have a heart. I’m grateful for experiencing the feeling, and being reminded that it is worth the wait. Some people have to break off all contact to get rid of the butterflies, but I prefer them to just fly away over time. It can be hard in the beginning as I’m breaking myself of some bad habits, but I like that one or two butterflies always remain. I enjoy literally laughing out loud when reading a Facebook post or tweet. Or the secret smile that appears when we run into each other. Or the warmth that comes from hearing a familiar voice. It all reassures me that some day it will be the right person at the right time. And for those who weren’t the right person at the right time, I hate to quote Garth Brooks, but, “Our lives are better left to chance—I could have missed the pain—But I’d of had to miss the dance.”


* The reason I don’t want to know why someone isn’t interested is something I’ve learned over the years. There are three reasons why someone isn’t interested:

  1. It is something about me I can’t change.
  2. It is something about me I can change.
  3. It is something about themselves.

In case 1, why torture myself with something I can do nothing about? In case 2, I should never change myself to please someone else. And as such, case 3 is covered by the same principles.

Stood up

I don’t like to blog about my dates because most guys are genuinely nice, just not the right guy for me. For this guy, I will make an exception.

He contacted me. There were early warning signs. The first was that he still typed as though the world had never invented predictive typing. Use of letters like U, R, and M instead of full words indicate to me an inherent laziness and lack of interest in details. Not a good first impression, but people tell me I’m too picky about that, and so I let it pass. For note, I will ignore those people’s advice in the future as it is a good predictive indicator of failure.

Next, one of his first questions was whether I had a problem with the age difference. Nine years. I don’t, but that was evidence that he has issues with it right off the bat or else he wouldn’t have brought it up. Immaturity warning.

Then he asked what kind of guys I normally date. Red alert flags went up. He already wants to compare himself to my past. When guys ask questions like this, I like to respond with, “they are all rich, successful, and have huge dicks.” This was an immediate insecurity flag.

He was decent looking, makes a good salary, is well travelled and I was curious about his Spanish/Indian heritage since I’m headed to Spain soon. So I was willing to look past my self-invented warning signs. People keep telling me I’m too picky.

His next question was about where I worked. I ignored it as I often do. He pressed on. Finally I answered. Turns out, he is a software architect at the New Evil Empire. Sigh. This should have been a last straw. I should have read the writing on the wall. But I could hear voices of my friends with spouses at the New Evil Empire say I should give the guy a chance, they aren’t all bad.

So I arranged to meet for coffee on Saturday afternoon. I asked if I could bring my dog. I figured Perl might as well get a good walk out of the deal.

He sent me a poorly lit and poorly composed photo of himself in his cubicle at work and wanted me to reciprocate. I sent him the photo of me stealing the corner at Lily Macs on St. Patrick’s Day. His next request was for a full body shot.

Seriously? There is one on the dating site. Go there. He said, “Don’t u wanna know how your guy look like physically ?”

I responded with, “I will find out at 2pm. Patience.” It was 10:45 am Saturday morning.

Fifteen minutes later, he said something had come up, could we meet tomorrow? Sure, Sunday would be fine.

That was the last I heard from him.

Sunday afternoon, Perl and I walked to downtown Sunnyvale. I tied her to a table outside the Palace Cafe. I got myself a latte and her a bowl of water. It was a gorgeous day. I sipped my latte and watched the people on the street. One guy opened up his car windows and cranked some slow jam for us all to enjoy.

He never showed. No text, no email, no nothing. Maybe he saw me and decided he didn’t like the full body view. Maybe he just never thought of me again. Maybe he was just gathering data about me so he could sell it to advertisers. I wasn’t particularly surprised that the date planning never made it out of beta before being cancelled without warning. Typical. Asshole.

Regardless, Perl and I had a lovely walk. I brought her back home then returned to Murphy Street to meet friends at Roberto’s, the New Mexican place. I highly recommend the margaritas.

On to the next guy! And this time, I’ll listen to my own instincts!

Valentine’s Day

For the last few weeks, I’ve been taking the SNAP Training classes through the Sunnyvale Public Safety department. The classes teach us how to set up an incident command center, do light search and rescue, perform triage and basic medical, and put out small fires. Tonight, I spent the evening with the awesome firemen at Station 2 learning how to use a fire extinguisher and when to decide to run away. It turns out, I’m good at running away from things.

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The Universe is Against Me

L and I, (I can’t remember L’s name, or if she has one, which means she needs a new one) went to lunch yesterday. In an effort to lose weight, I’ve been insisting that my lunch partners and I walk up to a mile to eat. Yesterday, the possibility of rain was strong, so we still walked, but went someplace fairly close.

Another coworker had stopped by my office earlier to ask if I had tried Islands yet. I hadn’t, and the seed was planted, so I suggested it to L. It is a SoCal chain, so she’d been before, just not the new Cupertino location.

As part of my diet plan, I check the menu online before I go out to eat. I found that they have grilled veggie tacos with a cole slaw for less than 500 calories. Perfect! I could definitely use 500 calories.

We were seated quickly at a large table next to two cute guys, so I had a nice view. L watched shirtless surfers on the big screen behind me. I ordered the veggie tacos, L ordered the soup and salad. The food was good and filling. We said no to dessert. The check came. We were satisfied with our lunch experience.

But, before we could pay the check and leave, The Manager arrived with Chocolate Lava—a warmed brownie topped with ice cream, whipped cream, almonds, chocolate, and a cherry on top. He sat it on our table and said, “You both were so good with your lunches, so I brought you a surprise.”

“No, we can’t.”

“Sure you can,” he said as he walked away. How could he possibly know that I was craving chocolate at that exact moment. Was I sending out chocolate pheromones? Why weren’t the cute guys at the table next to us picking up on it?

We couldn’t say no. It was impossible. I stuck a spoon into the cool ice cream and slid it through the gooey brownie. I added a little whipped cream and jumped down the rabbit hole. It was soooo good.

While I was falling, I decided that the guys worked on some utility crew, that they made a lot less money than me, that we couldn’t afford to travel to the places I wanted to go and that they had no interest in going anywhere exotic. I broke up with them and sunk my spoon into the devilish dessert again to get over the breakup.

L and I walked back to the office. Back to work and normal life. Our failed foray into Hawaii with two cute electricians left at Islands. The walk wasn’t long enough to work off dessert.

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Seven year curse

I am hoping that today is the end of the seven year curse.

Seven years ago last night, I broke up with my last boyfriend. While I think the curse may have been self imposed, I’m hoping today is the end of it.

I met him in 1992 at convocation in college. My Resident Assistant, upon learning that I was from Maine, introduced me to another RA from Maine. He was a grad student at the time. I thought he was cute, but at that point he seemed way too old for me. And I was painfully shy.

Over the next three and a half years, we bumped into each other occasionally. We had a favorite local band, Sirsy, in common. He’d occasionally sing a song with them. We’d chat and knew of each other’s existence, but never hung out together. Senior year, I went to a party at the house he shared with a friend, not knowing he lived there.

I moved to Boston in January of 1996. I had a boyfriend. Life continued. I moved to Connecticut. I moved back to school in upstate NY to be with my boyfriend. I ran into him again at the shows for Sirsy. My boyfriend and I broke up. We got back together. We broke up again. I moved to California. We got back together. We broke up for the final time. I moved back to Connecticut. That is a story for another time. Maybe in another decade or two.

It was April Fools Day of 2005. My grandmother, Nana was dying. The doctors said she had a week to live. I hopped in the car and drove to Boston for the night. Brother K and The President and I would drive up to Portland in the morning to see her during visiting hours. The President’s mom was dying of cancer, so they were spending the evening at her house. With nothing to do for the night, I saw Sirsy was playing at Government Center, so I took the T there.

I stood on the side, drinking my Guinness, trying not to be hit on by the old men at the bar. Across the room I saw two couples. One of the guys looked really familiar. It had been 13 years since we had met at convocation, but there in the bar, things clicked.

I hung out with the four of them for the night. They were all just friends. They gave me a ride home at 2 am. We drove for an hour because the Sumner Tunnel was closed and all the detour signs just sent us in circles.

Finally in East Boston, he dropped me off and gave me his card to call him. I felt like it was fate. I’m a big believer in fate. I know it goes against my other beliefs, but I like to think the universe is connected and conspiring.

Brother K and The President got home a few minutes after me. We were standing around talking in the kitchen when the phone rang. Nana had passed. IDad said she had gone early to open the gates for Pope John Paul II who passed just hours after.

Instead of visiting Nana, we went to her funeral. Grump had died a few years earlier. Aunt K had contacted the church to schedule his funeral for that Friday. We wrote up an obituary and got it in the paper. A day later, the church called back to say they couldn’t have the funeral that day because it was a holy day of obligation. We laughed because The Grump had always known every day of holy obligation and we, along with the church secretary, did not. We had a barbecue and played our first, but not last, game of Funeral Beer Wiffle Ball. We put The Grump’s ashes in his chair and got drunk and talked to him. It’s an Irish family. We told Nana that we’d bury him and her at the same time, but not to rush. The Grump made his rounds on people’s mantles, haunting them along the way.

We had a church funeral for Nana and Grump. The priest said they were going to heaven. We all looked at each other with glances that acknowledged the priest did not know Nana and Grump. We waited for the lightening to strike us down. It never came. I lost my faith a little more that day.

I went back to Connecticut and called him up. We arranged a date. He came to Connecticut from Rhode Island where he was living. My ex’s parents had given me the tickets they weren’t using for the symphony. He and I dressed up and went out for dinner in downtown Waterbury. At the symphony, I learned they were my ex’s parent’s extra tickets, not their tickets. I had to call my ex and explain how I accidentally went on a double date with his parents. Awkward.

But he survived. Our next date was to go to Maine for a funeral. My grandmother, Meme, her sister, Loise, had passed on. She’d been cremated in the winter and we’d waited until spring for the burial. Hard to bury people in Maine when the ground is frozen.

It had been raining fiercely for days. When we got to the cemetery, the hole for Louise’s ashes was filled with water. Meme exclaimed, “Well, she always did like to go swimming!” We all laughed—awkwardly, but with great relief. Meme said that she would come back on a dry day and do it then.

Back at the house, we played Funeral Asshole. This is the Swedish/British side of the family. The is how The President got her name. She is always The President. I was often the Asshole. But on this day, he ended up being Asshole because he was the new guy. And Asshole always gets trashed. Poor guy went off to the bathroom, and not knowing the house, walked into Meme’s room by accident. Luckily, she was awake and watching TV and directed him to the next door.

He survived the first two dates, so we kept dating. Before we’d started dating, I’d already gotten a job back in California and was moving. He started talking about moving out with me. He flew out with me. He even took one of the cats on the plane with him. At the airport, the TSA made us take the cats out of the bag to go through the metal detectors. I didn’t know which one to give him. I showed him how to hold them by their belly and the scruff of their neck. Do not let them get a foothold or they may run! Hold their spine against your chest, feet out. And hold on for dear life.

Luckily, both cats played possum and ran back into their airline carriers as soon as they had the chance. Neither said a peep the whole flight. We had a few hours to ourselves in California in my temporary housing before Meine Schwester, who’d been driving cross country to move to San Diego, decided that San Diego was too hilly and moved in with me. Two people, two cats, two dogs, in a one bedroom apartment for a month. He left two days later. I was amazed he was able to put up with the crazy that is my life.

He really is an amazing guy. One of those guys who would never forget a birthday or an anniversary. He’d be a fabulous husband and father. Stable and secure and all around amazing. He started talking about his grandmother’s wedding ring.

That is when the phantom ring started happening. I’d be walking the dog and suddenly freak out because I’d lost the ring. I’d be at work and freak out about it missing. It was my own Tell Tale Heart. It was weighing me down. I was freaking out and he hadn’t even proposed yet.

I tried to help him find a job in California. Turns out, women’s hockey is not popular out here, and he is a women’s hockey coach. I started feeling guilty because it would be the end of his career if he followed me out here.

Then a job was offered to one of his coworker’s but she didn’t want it. I told him to take it. How often does the opportunity to be the head coach of a national women’s hockey team come around? So he went off to China for nine months. Harbin, China. Known for their winter ice festival. They are the Bangor, Maine of China, except there are nine million people and they are located just below Russia and north of North Korea.

I helped him set up a blog because I wanted to hear about life in China, things he learned, experiences he had. To help play tech support, I started this blog. His blog petered off, mine continued to today.

He was miserable. Life there was terrible. But I was jealous. It was nine months to learn a language, explore a culture, see a part of the world and have stories to tell. He didn’t see it the same way. We had a different view on life experiences.

The team spent the month of November in Finland so that they could play women’s teams. In China, they only had men’s teams to play. I spent the week of Thanksgiving in Vierumäki with them. I learned more Chinese than Finnish. We got in trouble by the Chinese Government Spies for going into Helsinki alone. He reminded them we are Americans and they can’t tell us where we can or can’t go. The sun didn’t even come over the treeline at noon. I am miserable without sun. And I was freaking out about the relationship. I wanted to convince myself otherwise. I wanted to make it work. He is fabulous and I wanted desperately to love him.

We saw each other again for Christmas. We spent the week with his family and mine. I was sick as a dog and miserable. I was still trying to convince myself that he was the one, but I couldn’t and I hated that and I made myself sick over it. I tried all week to convince myself otherwise. I couldn’t.

It was New Years Eve. We went to the fireworks in Boston. It should have been perfect, but I was barely holding it together. We got back to East Boston and I couldn’t take it any longer. I told him it was over. I couldn’t wait a few more months until he was back in the states and I needed to do it in person. I felt miserable about it, but I knew he would feel a hundred times worse. And I felt horrible about that.

To him, it was out of left field. But I just couldn’t do it any longer. He wasn’t the one and I just had to rip the bandaid off. I flew back to California and he went back to China. I tortured myself for a few years because I deserved it. I had ruined the holiday for him. I’d broken his heart. I didn’t deserve love. I was a monster.

Now it is seven years later. I’ve had no relationships I can speak of. I’ve met a handful of guys that I wanted to date but it was never the right time for them. I’ll admit I’ve had a few one night stands that just made me feel lonely, so I stopped. I’ve had lots of first dates, but rarely any second dates, and just about no one gets to a third. I jokingly considered joining my friend in the convent in NYC.

But this is it. No more excuses. I’m releasing myself of the curse I self-imposed. This is my year.

Bring it, 2013! I’m ready!

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