Thursday, July 17, 2014


I have naturally curly hair.  I wasn't born with it.  When I was little, I had hair as straight as anyone else's.  And then, back in the 80s when perms were all the rage, I jumped on that particular bandwagon and had the Annie hairstyle (I haven't burned the pictures yet).  As the weeks and months passed, the curls just never went away.  Now, 30 years later, I still have that same perm.

Since I didn't inherit my curls via DNA, nobody in my family knew how to handle my ... hair.  For decades, I struggled with how to manage the unruly mess of corkscrews, soft curls, and waves which fell as they wanted.  Hundreds of dollars were spent on products with the hope that something would make my tangles turn into something that was remotely un-horrible.

Along the way, I learned some important lessons: Don't wash your hair more than once every other day (curly hair is naturally dry, and washing it only aggravates the problem).  Just because a product didn't work as you expected, don't give up on it.  Try more or less, try wet or dry.  And for the love of all that is good and holy DON'T brush your hair when it's dry.  Combine this with washing your hair every other day, and you're looking at brushing your hair once every other day.  I've come to terms with this, and I don't brush my hair anymore.  On the mornings when I wash my hair, I slide a comb through my wet mop just to get the few knots out and that's it.

Last night, my boyfriend said he wanted to brush my hair.  The terror instantly filled me.  "NO-O-O-O-O!" I wanted to scream in the primal way of a bad actress in a B-Horror flick.  "I don't brush my hair," I replied to him as calmly as I could muster amidst the fear running through my veins. 

"Please?" he simply requested.

How could I refuse that?  "I think I have a brush," I lamely said as I walked to the bathroom.  Ratting through the drawer which housed unused items like that hair removal system I bought at the Christmas festival four years back and the tub of lotion my mother bought but never used so she gave to me, I found my brush which had antiquated lint and ancient strands of hair woven through the thick plastic bristles.  With visions of a thoroughly tugged scalp (I had driven with my car windows down all day) and of hair too wide to make it through the door, I walked the paddle brush down the hall into my impending doom.

In a very intimate way, he instructed me to sit with my back to him on the bed, his legs nestling beside mine.  I worked really hard to not let my body language reflect the trepidation I was experiencing.  Nobody had brushed my dry hair since I was a small girl.  No man had ever brushed my hair.  I didn't know how to react to what was about to happen.

Carefully, lovingly, he took the first stroke. When he reached the first tangle, he removed the brush instead of ripping through it as my mother had done when I was young.  With time, patience, and tenderness, he worked his way through all of the knots, leaving a silky smooth feel as he lowered the brush over and over down the length of my hair.

As he did so, I found myself in a blissful, other-worldly state.  I understood what cats feel like as they purr.  The sheer physical pleasure I took from that small action was comparable to a really good massage.  This man, who loves me, was spoiling me in a way no man had ever done, and it was exquisite!

Was it because I allowed it?  Was it because I trust him?  Was it because he enjoys sharing intimate moments with me?  Was it because he wanted to spoil me?

Whatever the reason, I hope it happens again.

I was careful to not look in a mirror after the experience.  That would have just ruined it for me!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Last First Kiss

Every girl wants that first kiss to be magical.  The moon is full, the stars are aligned, and Prince Charming is standing in front of you.  A light breeze blows your hair softly back from your face as he reaches up to hold your cheek lovingly in his hand.  His lips touch yours - just a touch - before he pulls back to look into your eyes.  Seeing the stars within, he closes his eyes and dips his head again to press his lips with slightly more pressure against yours, your body being drawn to his magnetically.  When he pulls back, being the gentleman that he is, he smiles tenderly at you and gently says, "Good night."  He waits on the stoop as you unlock your front door and let yourself in, waving slowly to you before you close the door.  The wings on your feet carry you upstairs to your bed where you know you will dream about that life-changing kiss.

Unfortunately, the reality is nothing like the fantasy.  Most men aren't Prince Charming.  Heck, most men aren't even Duke Tolerable.  They are fumbling, bumbling idiots.  Romantic gestures and tender moments are lost on them.

Some will just rush in and try to force a kiss on you, whether you want them to or not.  With one of my dates, I just kept backing up until I was pinned against my car door.  I had hoped he would take the hint that I didn't want him to kiss me. 

Some men will try to kiss you at the wrong time.  I had one date who tried to kiss me 10 minutes after meeting him.  He wanted to kick the tires, so to speak, and see if there was any reason to continue.  After 10 minutes, it's just not there for me, so it won't be in my kiss, y'know? 

There are men who will ask if you want them to kiss you.  Mood killer, anyone?

And then there are the men who are such pansies that they won't even kiss you at all.  I went out with one guy who asked beforehand (online) if he could kiss me on our date.  I told him I would probably like that (we had great rapport online).  When the date ended and it came time - nothing!

And then I had my last first kiss.  I still get a bit emotional, just thinking about it.  We met online and hit it off right away.  Since he was so amazing (and interested in me) I was sure he was a scammer.  I just knew he was going to cancel on me.  When he actually showed up, I was quite surprised!  And it only got better from there.

We played mini-golf, having a fabulous time through the entire course.  When we arrived at the 18th hole, he asked if I was ready to call it a night or if I wanted to play another round.  Since I was enjoying his company so much, I agreed to another round.  After completing the course again, we found that neither of us wanted the evening to end, so we agreed to dinner.  Dinner was spectacular, and the food was pretty good, too.  Still not ready to part at the end of the meal, we went to the nearby chocolate shop for some truffles and hot cocoa.  When we finally looked away from each other for a moment, we realized that the young women behind the counter were trying to close up for the night, so we quickly left, thanking them for being patient with us.

We had parked side by side in the mall parking garage, so we walked back to our vehicles together.  I stood at the end of my silver-blue sedan while he leaned against the end of his white Jeep, the conversation still working it's magic between us. 

Amidst the chatter, my inner monologue was going crazy.  Is he going to kiss me?  Is he not?  I really want him to kiss me.  Do I tell him?  Is he going to?  He's so amazing - I've never wanted a man to kiss me this badly before.  Should I walk over there to make it easier for him?

As if he had read my thoughts, he strode toward me, silently, purposefully.  The masculinity with which he had approached me was exciting and sexy.  A small electric thrill raced up my spine, knowing that he was going to kiss me.  When he reached me, he slowed, giving me time to tip my head to allow him to reach down to touch my lips with his own.  The contact brought a mixture of relief and excitement.  He was gentle and romantic, slow and sweet.

To my utter horror and complete elation, he stepped back after three innocent kisses, saying that he wanted to stop there before we reached a point where we couldn't stop.  By doing so, he let me know that he did want more from me (which was flattering) but that he didn't want to rush things (which proved to me that he's the kind of man I want).

This was a few weeks ago.  Since then, we've shared a number of kisses.  In fact, we're planning on spending the rest of our lives together.  I am exquisitely pleased that I will forever have the memory of that moment as my last first kiss.

Saturday, April 26, 2014


I love being single.  Almost everything about it brings peace and joy to my world.  Not only can I stretch out in bed, but I don’t have to worry about any nocturnal sound which may emit from my body as I sleep.  I can use the entire closet and both dressers.  I can come and go as I please without worrying about anyone else’s wishes.  And I’ve finally learned how to enjoy dating.  Yes, being single is an amazing way to live.

And yet, I do miss parts of being in a relationship.

When he yearns for me so much that he interrupts our walk downtown to press me against the rough outside wall of a building to surprise me with an eager kiss.  Having him find me in the kitchen to greet me after a long day, whispering urgently in my ear, “I thought of you today,” and feeling exactly how much he wanted me, the preparation of dinner interrupted for a while.  Feeling skilled hands slide up and down me in the shower, our bodies wet and hungry.

Waking to find a strong arm wrapped around my waist, his long, naked body curved against mine.  Snuggling on the couch to watch some horrible move, laughing at it together.  Holding hands as we walk through the fair.  Sneaking kisses in the condiments aisle at the grocery store.  Sitting in his lap, wrapping my arms around his neck, and crying on his shoulder when I found out a loved one has died.

Sharing our troubles in the quiet of our room as the evening grows late and our eyes grow tired.  
Discussing our dreams and goals while on a Sunday drive to the mountain.  Enjoying private jokes that mean so much to us and nothing to anyone else.  Rejoicing in each other’s victories, and supporting and encouraging each other through our defeats.

Knowing he is always there for me.  Having someone I can count on.  Being loved by someone.

I have never experienced any of these things, yet I somehow miss them.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Rainy Morning

It wakes me from a deep sleep - rain tapping its fingers insistently against my window and the outside wall of my house.  It's not unexpected - I live in the Seattle area.  Rain is nothing new to us.  Actually, growing up in this area, it is a soothing sound to me.  There are rainless nights when I set my sound machine onto the Rain setting.  The sound of the steady drops on a roof added to the methodical drip, drip, drip from a over-stuffed gutter lulls me to sleep.

When I wake, the rain is still drumming on the house, making me thankful for a quiet day to myself.  Grey light fights it's way through my closed blinds, letting me know the sun has risen, but won't be seen on this day.  Passing the thermostat, I turn on the heat and make my way to the shower, letting the warmth of it fill me through and through.  After drying, I shrug on my fluffy, pink robe and slide into my slippers before going to the kitchen.  I set the tea kettle on the stove and turn the burner on high.  Beyond the rain-spattered window, the sodden trees in my neighbors' yard hang heavy, spraying their heavy load each time they are flung about by the invisible hand of the storm.  Puddles form in the gravel area in front of my house and the grass eagerly soaks up the moisture, looking greener and thicker already.

The kettle whistles, bringing me back to the moment.  After pouring the steaming water over my self-filled tea bag, it steeps as I go to the living room and ignite the tinder which sat, patiently waiting in my fireplace.  After setting a couple of logs on top, I watch the dry wood catch and hear the crackle of flames which dance before my eyes.  Remembering that I had forgotten to open the flu, I do so quickly before stepping back to make sure the fire was going well enough for me to set the screen in place and walk away.  Going to my bedroom, I grab the book which slept on my nightstand, along with my favorite cozy blanket.  After setting them on the couch, I return the to kitchen for my aromatic chai tea.  I stir in two sugar cubes and a pre-portioned miniature cup of French Vanilla creamer.  Settling into the couch with my tea, my fire, my blanket, and my book I'm ready for an ideal morning.

Oh wait.  I'm sitting at work, waiting for another boring day.

See - this is why I need to write.  I need to be able to support myself with my writing so I can have the mornings of my choosing instead of rushing around to get ready and dodging puddles to make it into the office.  Later, I'll have to find my way through a massive puddle to fetch the mail.  I really need to get busy with my manuscript!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


Despite the fact that it was a first date, I found myself amazingly calm.  Maybe I've had enough first dates that they are no longer terrifying for me.  Maybe I've had enough first dates that have lead nowhere that I no longer feel any pressure on a first date.  Maybe there was something about him which calmed me.  Whatever it was, it was nice.

We stood by the lake's edge, allowing the dogs to play and wrestle, in and out of the water.  They chased the water fowl, growled, ran after and nipped at one another, sometimes almost taking me down in their battles.  It was fun to watch them interact with each other.  I did find myself stepping back so I wouldn't get sprayed with frigid droplets when they emerged from the lake, shaking themselves free of the majority of water from their coats.

Talking with him was easy.  He talked a little too much, which seemed to be more from nerves than from anything else.  We talked so long, a park employee hunted us down to let us know we needed to exit the park so he could lock the gate.  We quickly agreed that we weren't ready to call an end to our date, so we agreed to meet at the nearby dog park.

Upon arriving, he clipped the leashes back onto all of the dogs, giving me the handle end of Chloe's leash.  Together, we dodged puddles and sodden ground from all of the recent rains.  Luckily, I had worn heavy boots and two pairs of socks, so my feet were still dry, despite stepping on ground which felt more like a giant soaked sponge than dirt.  The uneven ground was difficult to navigate, but we made our way, the dogs dragging us along as fast as we would let them.

Nodding at other dog owners as we trudged along, we continued chatting, enjoying each other's company.  Finally, we made our way up a hill where the ground wasn't as saturated, which made the walking easier.  Allowing the dogs to pull us a little faster, it happened.  I felt my foot step in an unseen hole, my ankle strong enough to balance me.  I heard a pop and found myself quickly falling toward the wet earth beneath me.  I tried to find a way to catch myself, but was on all fours before I was able to do anything about it.  Somehow, I had managed to keep enough of my mental faculties to still hold on to the leash.

Like a gentleman, he offered his hand out to help me up.  Remembering it was our first date and that I night not want physical contact quite yet, he withdrew it slightly.  I held my hand out to him to allow him to help me up.  I stood for a moment, terrified to put any weight on it.  When I finally did, I found that it was sore, but I was able to support myself on it.  Sadly, my clumsiness put an end to our date.  We headed back to our cars to say goodnight.

To my surprise, that didn't seem to turn him off.  We chatted into the evening, which was nice.  As I sat with my foot elevated and my ankle iced, we got to know each other via electronic chat.

At bedtime, I hobbled back to my room and quickly fell asleep.  I woke in the middle of the night and found that my ankle was much, much worse.  As I tentatively stepped on it, the pain seared through my ankle and foot, letting me know that I wouldn't be able to make it to the bathroom on my own.  Using any nearby furniture and the walls, I very slowly, very painfully worked my way to the bathroom.  I was relieved that my son was with his father because each step made me cry out in pain and/or curse.  On my way back to bed, I took a couple of Advil and was able to go back to sleep.

Thank heavens, it's much better today.  It still looks like I shoved an orange into my ankle, and walking hurts, but the wrap I found in the health and beauty cupboard is helping, as is the 2nd dose of Advil.  I hope my boss can magically pull a cane or crutches out of the depths of her garage for me to borrow.

I just feel like I can't do anything now.  Can't go shopping, can't go to my writer's group, can't go for a hike this weekend.  :(  I feel like, other than going to work, I'm house ridden and I really don't like that feeling.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Critique Group

I'm painfully shy.  Painfully!  I don't like that about myself, so I've been trying to force myself to get out of my comfort zone.  My hope is that by doing these things, I might overcome my shyness.

I go to a monthly thing with women.  It's a guided-meditation-Girls'-Night-Out thing.  It's been great, but the women who go vary from month to month, so I still feel shy each time I go.  Plus, they are in the habit of talking over each other, and I was taught to wait until there's a break in the conversation, so my voice is rarely heard, even if I do have something I want to say.  I still go because I think it's a good exercise for me.

I started going to a writers' group back in November (a NaNoWriMo kick-off party).  I've gone twice since then, but there have only been two of us, so I'm not sure how much good it's doing me.

Today, I went to a writer's critique group.  Not knowing what to expect, I went, hoping for the best. 

OH MY GOODNESS!  IT WAS AMAZING!  I felt shy, but not as much as I normally do.  More than anything, I felt unprepared, but since this was my first critique group, they understood (I'll do better next time!)

The part that was amazing was the fact that I was sitting around a table with authors, having intelligent conversations about writing, and we all share the same goal of working toward being published.  I think it was the most stimulating thing I've ever done.  I've always been afraid of doing something like this because I was afraid I couldn't keep up.  Or I'd sound like an idiot.  Or... any number of other fears. 

This wasn't like that at all!  I felt like I was on-par with them.  Like they appreciated my input and like they will be able to give me some really good feedback for my manuscript.  I feel like I found a group that will be a really good fit for me.  YAY!!!!!

I'm kinda sad that we're not meeting for another two weeks, but I'm sure I'll survive.  I'm kind of on a high right now.  They have runner's highs - do they have writer's highs?  This is exactly what I've been looking for.  I'm so glad I found them!

Thursday, February 6, 2014


It's cold outside.  No, it's stinkin' cold outside.  I don't deal well with the cold.  I lived in North Dakota for 4 years and Eastern Washington for 7 years, yet I'm still not a fan of the cold.

I'm the first to wake up in my household.  We turn out heater off when we go to bed, our house being so old and drafty that it would run all night if we even turned it down, instead of turning it off.  So, the house is freezing when I wake up.  Quickly, I run to the thermostat before jumping back into bed to give it a few minutes to remove the arctic chill from my home.

When I walk outside, the crisp air reminds me to zip up my coat and dig my gloves out of my pockets, a chill working it's way into my core.  A few steps further and I regret not grabbing a scarf, my face suddenly devoid of all heat.  The cold seeps into me, making everything seem more difficult, less fun. 

I find myself rushing around when I'm outside so I can get into a heated shelter quickly, which makes me sad.  I am one to stop and enjoy the scenery.  I actually occasionally stop and smell the roses, or whatever other flower is nearby and making a nice fragrance.  When it's slightly cold, I enjoy looking at the mountain and admiring the snow-covered beauty of it.  When it's not frigid outside, I enjoy going for walks and appreciating the nippy air.  The stars have even caught my attention from time to time, getting me to stop and admire their celestial beauty.  This blood-chilling, frost-bite inducing cold just takes all of the fun out of winter.

When I arrive at work, regret that I work there fills me.  Heaven forbid my boss should turn the heat on above 65 degrees.  The small space heater at my feet does little to warm me.  I dress in layers.  Lots and lots of layers.  This can be challenging, though, because I have a certain dress code, and I don't think my boss would appreciate my long johns peeking out of my shirt top or my super warm, cozy sweats making an appearance.

The only thing that seems to help warm me at work is my daily cup of tea.  Wrapping my hands around the hot cup, I let the hot porcelain almost burn my skin before I bend my fingers so the cup can heat the back of my fingers, as well.  Being the wimp I am, I have to wait until the tea cools slightly so I don't burn my mouth when I drink it.  When I finally take a sip, I can feel the liquid warmth slide into my system, heating me from the inside, finally cutting the chill.

However, the cold does make me appreciate warmth all that much more.  When I finally arrive home, the first thing I do is turn up my thermostat.  It has been off all day, allowing the cold to leak into my drafty home, filling it with its almost painful bite.  As I hear the heater click on, I brave the cold and strip out of my work clothes so I can jump into my warmer clothes, shivers wracking my body as my skin is bared to the cold.  Luckily, I produce a lot of heat, so I quickly warm my layers and layers of super warm clothes.  By the time my fluffy socks are on, I am almost on my way to being warm.

Of course, one of my favorite ways to warm myself is in the shower.  I do have to make it past the seconds between when I strip and when the warm water hits me, but it's worth it.  Turning the water as hot as I can bear, I pivot to and fro, letting the steamy water warm all of my parts.  I make sure the shower curtain is sealed all around, trapping the warm mist in with me.  It is usually with great regret that I step out of the shower, which has warmed the bathroom to a tolerable temperature.

My newest way to warm up is my electric blanket.  I turn it on half an hour before I climb into bed so the warm can envelop my frozen toes.  I also have 8 blankets on top of my bed, the layers and weight trapping the heat in with me.  Finally warm, after hours and hours of fighting the cold, I drift off to a peaceful, relaxing slumber.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


It was a wonderful night.  He seemed like such an amazing man.  Of course, I was going into it with eyes open, so I was able to spot his flaws.  Knowing he wasn't perfect somehow made him seem more perfect.

As the evening progressed, I found myself falling for the qualities he possessed - charm, charisma, intelligence, openness, and a sheer lack of superficiality.  We met for coffee, agreeing that if we clicked, it could turn into something more.  When the to-go cups were empty, we both agreed that we didn't want to say goodnight just yet.  There wasn't a whole lot to do in the area where we were, so we walked a bit, talking companionably the entire time.  There was innocent touching (holding hands, etc.) which made the cold night seem warmer.  Finally, we ended up back in his car where we talked for hours, laughing and sharing.  It was the best first date I'd had in a year and a half.

He spoke of the future - a future together.  He told me that he moved quickly and that he only dates one woman at a time, implying that it would be me, at least until something went wrong (I can't remember his exact words).  He kissed me.  Passionately.  He told me that he had gotten a hotel room nearby (he lives far away) and invited me to go back to it with him.  I was so tempted - I was attracted to him on so many levels.  It was hard for me to say no, but being raised the way I was, I couldn't bring myself to have sex with someone on the first date.

I sent him an e-mail that night to which he responded positively.  Through the next day, I sent a total of two more e-mails.

I received no response.  At all.  I waited.  I didn't want to be that girl and send any other messages.  Why isn't he responding?  The site we're on clearly says that he read both messages.  All day, I thought of him, wondering what could be happening.  What did I do wrong?  Trying to figure it out, I started dissecting things.  Maybe it was when I said that one thing.  Maybe it was that I didn't take his cues correctly.  Maybe I misunderstood him when he spoke of the future.  Maybe it was because I hadn't put out.  All day, I couldn't get it off my mind.

Finally, I thought, "Screw it!"  Obviously, he's just not that into me.  Okay.  Cool.  So, detached, I e-mailed him, telling him that I just wanted to know what I had done wrong.  Not so I could fix it with him, but so that I could decide if it was something I needed to fix about me for the future.

He responded, saying that he doesn't go on that site unless he's expecting communication.

Ah!  So that's what I did wrong!  I believed him.  He's a liar.  Which makes me wonder if anything he said to me was true.  All of that crap he said was just to get me to go back to his room with him.

Which, unfortunately has irrevocably changed me.  I can feel the alteration within me and I don't know that I will ever go back to how I was before.  I already had a protective layer around my heart - abuse has been a part of every single romantic relationship I've ever had.  I've learned to stay wary around men so they don't have the power to hurt me.  Now, I can feel how hard my heart has become.  Over the period of one weekend, a thick layer of ice has encased my heart so it will never be hurt again.

I'll still date, but I'll do it for a completely different reason.  I'll allow men to think I believe their bullshit, I'll let them bed me and think they had won some game, and then I'll walk away, having gotten from them the only think I could possibly want from a man.  No harm, no foul.  We both get exactly what we want.

I've thought about blocking him from contacting me, but then I thought better of it.  If he does happen to get in touch, I'll pretend as if nothing is wrong, let him have his way with him, and then walk away, my heart still whole and protected.  I know from experience that I am quite adept at separating sex from emotions, so it will be a breeze with him.

I have done very well as a single woman for 10 years and I only see it being easier from here on out.  At least I can thank him for that.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Go Hawks!

Today is the big game, and all of Seattle and its surrounding areas are decked out in Blue and Green.

Of course, you've got the Space Needle, painted all pretty for the occasion.  Earlier this week, the 12th man flag few over it, waving proudly.  However, the flag came down a few days ago and was taken to the Seattle Center where tens of thousands of fans waited in line for hours in the pouring rain for a chance to it.  They knew that the flag would be taken to the game, so even if they wouldn't be able to be there, their signature and best wishes would be there in their stead.
The Space Needle wasn't the only building donned in Hawks' colors.  12th Man flags flew proudly in front of houses, buildings sent up flags or pasted them on their fronts.  One house was even painted in blue and green and a school temporarily changed its name in support of the game.  

Seattle isn't the only place supporting our team.  We've also got our colors on the Empire State Building and even up in space.

Cars have been decorated in Blue and green, some better than others.  I saw one yesterday that was so gaudy, I couldn't help but laugh.  Of course, I was driving, so I couldn't get a picture, but it was really, really bad with a cut-out of Richard Sherman tacked to the front, and... well, it was too amazing to try to explain.  Other cars simply have "12th Man" or "Go Hawks" written in their back window with shoe polish.  Many of them have 12th man flags flying from the front, side windows.

Even an airplane was decked out in support of the hawks.
Stores are selling cupcakes and donuts decorated with blue and green frosting, some of them sporting a flag proudly flying the number 12.  Of course, there are massive bins of Skittles near the front door.
Even children are getting their 15 minutes of fame due to the Seahawks Extravaganza in a video made especially for the team with a video spin off of New York, New York.

And the fans are all decked out in blue and green.  Not just those going to the game, but everyone.  When I stopped at the grocery store on Friday, I didn't see one person who wasn't wearing something to support the Seahaws - whether it was a jersey, a t-shirt or even a homemade hat or scarf - we were all wearing them.  Yes, even I, the one who cares least about the upcoming game, was wearing a long-sleeved t-shirt in support (my boss bought it for me and expected me to wear it - whatcha gonna do?)  Entire offices snapped pics to show their support (I think I should have loaned my t-shirt to my sister!)

All of a sudden, everyone cares about the Hawks.  I've never seen this much enthusiasm before.  Is it because now we have something giving us hope?  Is it because now we all have something in common?  Because, never has there been such fervor before.  In my humble opinion, it's gotten a little bit ridiculous.  Don't get me wrong - it's fun, but it's also a tad over the top.  I mean - my son and I are avoiding going to the grocery store until 3:00 today.  We know everyone will be there, stocking up for the big game and we hate crowds, so we're not even going to bother until after the game starts.

Although, I have to admit, even I have been tempted to watch the game.  I don't have TV, so it would be a challenge, but I've been tempted.  I mean - this could be the first Superbowl the Seahawks have ever won.  It'd be fun to be able to watch it, just to say that I saw it.

And then I remember that I really couldn't care less.  I think I'll clean my oven instead.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Dance Partners

I've had three dance partners in my life, each so very different.

The first was my father.  When I was twelve, our church held a Daddy Daughter Dance in which the leaders called out dances the fathers were supposed to teach their daughters.  Thank heavens my father could already dance before we got there!  Instead of the my dad being taught by the helpful people walking around, he could spend his time teaching me.  Skillfully, patiently, he taught me the steps to first the Swing, then the Foxtrot, and finally the Waltz.  Instead of looking at our feet, my father taught me to look up and follow his lead.  He danced me around the church's gymnasium floor, where other shoes were squeaking on the waxed floor and stumbling over each other.  He led me under the raised basketball hoops and past the stage where the little children held their plays.  With his guidance, I felt graceful and elegant in my most awkward stage of life.  It helped that I had had many years of dance and had even learned a bit of the Waltz prior to that evening, but I felt like a shining star that night.  Not only could I dance, but my father looked in control and skilled at it.  It is one of the few good memories I have in which my father is included.

My next partner was... wait... am I allowed to use real names?  We'll call him.... Brad Dutch (anyone who knows the man about whom I'm typing is probably giggling right now).  Shortly after the Daddy Daughter Dance, the church decided to put on a massive show with the youth being the performers.  It was to be held in the Tacoma Dome and churches from around the area were all being taught the same dances so we could perform together.  We learned all sorts of dances - an all girls dance which was choreographed and included cheerleader skirts and pompoms, the swing, and... I'm sure there were others, but I don't remember them at all.  I know we had hand-made costumes - I still have the red and black flapper costume which was dripping with red fringe.  In all honesty, the Swing was the only one that mattered.

And it was because of Brad.  He was an older man (he had a driver's license!), he was kind and intelligent, and he was the bishop's son.  **swoon**  What a catch!  Unfortunately, since he was so much older than me, I knew I didn't have a chance with him (which became ultimately funny when I eventually married a man 11 and a half years my senior).  Back to the Swing... Brad and I were paired together because... well, because we were awesome.  We were so far ahead of our peers that while they were trying to master the Slow, Slow, Quick-quick, we were practicing him tossing me over his back.  While others were desperate to not step on each others' toes, we were trying to figure out moves we'd seen but had never been taught (I never did get my feet to kick straight up in the air over his head, but not for a lack of trying).  When I danced with him, I had so much fun!  I worked hard, but it was so worth it!  Not only were we accomplishing things I'd never done before, but the way he threw me around made me feel as if my considerable size (I've never been a small girl) wasn't an issue for him.  And, of course, I adored the attention our actions garnered from those around us.

My last dance partner, however, was by far my favorite.  We'll call him Hans.  In my junior year, the senior class (my brother's class) had a foreign exchange student from Germany.  He just happened to be a professional dancer.  When the seniors realized the asset they had, a small group of them got together, found a room at a dance studio they could borrow, and organized weekly dance classes.  I don't remember how it came about, but I ended up being Hans' assistant dance teacher.  I would walk around the mirror-lined room, teaching, helping, pointing, and showing individual students how to do the dance of the evening.  I could teach the individual steps - I had even learned enough about the dances that I could show the guys how to do their part (except for the leading part - I still don't understand the magic of leading).  It was fun and again made me feel special.

But, my favorite part came after the students left.  Each night, after class, Hans would take me in his arms and make sure I knew the dance for the next week.  If I didn't know it, it was usually just a 5 minute lesson (dancing has always come easily for me).  One night, he asked if I knew how to do the Viennese Waltz.  I told him that I had done the Waltz, but never the Viennese one.  He set the music playing and took me in his arms.

Now, with my previous dance partners, my frame was never even mentioned.  Hans, however, took my frame very seriously and had enforced it during our weeks together.  I was very thankful that I had learned about my frame and had learned to use it.  I think it might have saved my life that night!  As I listened to the first few bars of the music to get a feel for it, I realized it was extremely fast.  Before I had a chance to chicken out, Hans had me moving across the floor, our frames locking me firmly in place.

I say that quite literally.  Had it not been for my frame, I can easily picture me flying across the floor and through the wall of mirrors.  Hans had me twirling about the room faster than I could have imagined.  Between my years of dancing, our two strong frames, and his knowledge and skill, I was able to stay upright on my feet with them moving gracefully to the music.  I quite literally had no control.  Had Hans let go of me, I would have flown to my death.  He wheeled me around the room as if I was a marionette on a string.  When the song was done, I was breathless and exhilarated.  I had never done anything so elegant before.  I had never experienced such a complete lack of control of my body, while being polished and lovely.  I wish it had been video taped because I wonder if it looked at all like it felt.  It felt like I looked the part of a professional dancer.  I felt like I was practically hovering on the wooden floor.  Did I look awkward, or did I look as picture-perfect as I felt?  Of course, I had nothing to do with it, but it still felt amazing!

I haven't had a decent dance partner since.  My husband only took me dancing once.  I divorced him.  My last boyfriend took me dancing a number of times, and each time I was embarrassed to be seen with him.  He didn't last very long.  Is it too much to ask that a guy know how to dance?  I guess Hans has set the dance barre pretty high.

Sunday, January 19, 2014


For those of you who missed it - my birthday was last Tuesday.  It was a fairly quiet affair.  My son and I had dinner at the local Mongolian Grill and my mother fought traffic just so she could give me a birthday hug.  I got a couple of gifts at work, but other than that, it was fairly uneventful.

Which is okay, because my family planned on celebrating my birthday on Saturday (yesterday).  We normally don't celebrate things on the correct day.  My son is frequently at his father's house for his birthday, so we celebrate early or late (once, it was months late so he could have a summer birthday).  I don't remember the last time Christmas was celebrated on December 25th.  This year, it was celebrated in January.  So, having my birthday party a few days late wasn't unexpected.

My mother had previously asked me what I want to do.  I told her I want an experience.  My life is just so mundane, right now, so boring.  I really wanted to do something different, make some memories.  We went through a list of things I would like to do: go to a live show, go to the observation deck at the Space Needle (I've lived here how long and have never done that?!), eat a meal where you watch them cook it, etc.  I told her I'd love for it to be a surprise.

A few days later, she told me to dress in business casual, but layer and bring my walking shoes.  What in the world did they have planned?!  She wouldn't even tell my son what we were doing, and he's pretty good about keeping secrets.

The morning of, she stopped by to pick my son and I up and then took us to my sister's house to pick her up.  She took the back road to Seattle. The scenery opened up and I found that we were at the Seattle Center.  And we were pulling into the Space Needle Parking!  Yay!  I get to see the observation deck!  Wait - do you get valet parking to go to the observation deck?  It quickly became apparent that we were eating there.  Oh my heavens!  I never would have expected that!

Giddy with excitement, I made my way through the gift shop to the receptionist.  My mother gave her name and was given a card and instructions to go to the elevator.  There was a woman waiting there to answer any questions, etc.  The elevator had some windows so even the trip up had a view.  It was all just so fancy!

We arrived at the top where my mother requested a window seat.  As we stepped onto the revolving floor, I had to become adjusted to the movement.  It was quite slow, so motion sickness wasn't really an issue, but it did take a moment to adjust.  I was glad we were given a window seat - the view was astounding!  It was cloudy out, so it was like Seattle was encased in a cocoon.  I could see all of the surrounding parts of the city, but it was like we were our own little city, protected from the rest of the world.

After I sat, my sister explained what was going on.  We were having the brunch, so I was to pick one juice, one Starter, one Main Course, and one Dessert.  Looking at everything, I wondered how I could ever decide.  I'm a foodie, so just looking at the menu was a treat - seeing the combination of foods, wondering what they could taste like.  I finally decided: apple juice, shrimp with grains and red onion bacon jam (?!), wild king salmon with hazelnut sauce, and cranberry bread pudding.

As we waited, we watched Seattle go by.  As we turned, little scraps of paper we set on the wall - people leaving messages (jokes, questions, etc.) for others to enjoy.  I found it quite amusing that this would be a part of this fancy-schmancy restaurant.  According to what my sister said, this is normal, making me laugh.

A man came by with a camera, asking if we wanted our picture taken.  Now, my mother has taught me that if you have to ask the price, it's probably too expensive, so I told them I didn't need a picture.  My sister insisted that we did.  We posed for a couple of pictures and the man gave my sister some cards before walking off.

The juice and basket of breads arrived, starting our culinary adventure.  It sounds weird, and anyone who's never experienced this won't understand, but it was the best apple juice I've ever had in my life!  I'm not a fan of apple juice, but my son adores it.  He'll go through an entire jug all by himself because I simply don't care much for it.  The apple juice at this restaurant was simply the best I've ever had!  It was light and sweet and tasted of apples instead of bottled apple juice. The basket of bread was also special - slices of some sort of glazed sweet bread, scones, and biscotti.   Of course, I had the sweet bread.  Yum!  The bread was moist and dense, the tart fruit inside a bright flavor, and the sweet glaze balancing it out.  I'm not normally a fan of glaze, but it worked nicely on this bread.

The first course was served - I received a small ramekin with two shrimp floating atop some unidentifiable grains (flax was the only one I could make out) with a puddle of dark good in the middle.  Trying the grains first, I found that they were savory.  Since I was prepared for a breakfast-like grain (think "oatmeal") I was expecting sweet.  The cheesy, savory flavor of the grains was a happy surprise.  Next, I tried the red onion bacon jam.  And my world was forever changed.  Now, I'm a fan of bacon, but this was out of this world!  The onions were the predominant flavor, but the bacon and whatever it was they had used to sweeten it all combined to make a tiny bit of heaven.  Next, the shrimp.  Now, I'm a good cook, but for some reason, I have a hard time with seafood - almost always overcooking it.  This was perfectly cooked and very lightly flavored so the other tastes in the dish could compliment it.  And this was just the starter!

Our dishes were removed, giving us some time to take pictures out of the wall of windows.  Since the Seahawks are going to be in the NFC Championship game today, there was a plane flying the "12th Man" banner behind his aircraft.  I don't like football, but it still felt important to get the picture.

And then the main dish was brought to us.  My salmon perched atop some wilted greens, which were resting on some tiny potatoes which were setting helter-skelter on a hazelnut sauce.  Now, I am not one for my food to touch.  My mother bought me some divider plates a few years back and I use them all the time.  For all of my food to be touching was a little unsettling.  I carefully removed the fish and set it to the side.  Looking at the greens, I took a deep breath and tried my first bite (I am really not one for cooked greens!)  I found it to be quite tasty!  The chef is a miracle worker if he can even let me enjoy cooked greens!  I downed a lot of them before trying the potatoes.  Eh.  They're potatoes.  They were better with the sauce, but I'm not as big into carbs/starches as a lot of women seem to be.  And then the salmon.  It was perfectly cooked with a wonderful flavor that wasn't too fishy.  When I swooped it through the sauce, it took it to a whole other level.  Yum!  Our plates were removed, giving us more time to look at the city and take pictures.

And then dessert arrived.  Three of us had ordered dessert, but my mother had said we want the "special dessert."  My sister, son, and I were given our desserts, and then a dish was set in front of my mother.  It was immediately obvious what it was special.  I wasn't sure what it was, but the dish was ... special.  Before I knew what was happening, the waitress poured something into the dish and a thick fog quickly covered our table.  Grabbing my camera, I snapped a few pictures of it.

Now, I'm not one to be singled out.  Please, oh please, don't sing Happy Birthday to me in the middle of a crowded restaurant.  But, I do like some attention.  This dessert was absolutely perfect - our table was the center of attention for about 20 seconds, but all eyes weren't trained on me.  It was quite lovely!

The bread pudding was yummy.  It had pieces of fruit in it with a crusty top - like they had taken a torch to some sugar and a mound of vanilla ice cream happily sat atop that.  Yum!

I have to mention that the wait staff were all amazing!  Actually, everyone who worked there were helpful, friendly, and were very good at their jobs.  Customer service is a big part of an experience like that, and they did a great job!

When we were all done, we went to the observation deck.  We toured the whole thing, chatting, pointing out bits of Seattle, and taking pictures.

When we had made it all the way around, we went inside and found the photo kiosk.  Oh - we did use the restrooms.  I only mention this because even the signs for the restrooms were fancy - the stick figures of the man and woman denoting which was which was much more than the normal figures. They were dressed to the nines - fancy hats, tie, etc.  It was cool!

Back to the photo kiosk.  How crazy expensive was this going to be?!  I was so pleasantly surprised to find that you could e-mail the picture to yourself at absolutely no cost!  What?!  How great!  Since I collect keyrings, I wanted the photo in a keyring.  I was surprised that it was relatively inexpensive.  I mean, I was going to get one anyway.  This way, I got a very personalized keyring at a decent price.  I was ecstatic!  I paid at the kiosk and had the receipt e-mailed to myself.  The next screen told me that I could pick up my gift in the gift shop downstairs.

Back down to Earth we went, watching the view as the ground rushed up to meet us.  I realized then that my stomach didn't feel the trip either time (you know how sometimes elevators can make you feel like you left your tummy behind?)  We stepped off and I made a beeline for my keyring.  It was great!  I signed the credit card slip and took my treasure.  We cruised through the giftshp to find my son a souvenir.  I was pleasantly surprised at the prices.  I thought things would be ridiculously expensive but they were all fairly priced.  Yay!  We picked up a few more trinkets and were on our way.

Back at my sister's house, I opened my birthday gifts (the meal would have been gift enough, but I still got to open presents!)  I received some things I needed, some things I wanted, and a special culinary treat I hadn't expected, homemade by my mother.

All in all, it was a very good day!

Sunday, January 5, 2014


I keep asking myself why he opened the door.  He knows that after I watched "Unbreakable" I don't want him opening the door to strangers.  Sure, he's 6'1", but he's still my son and I don't even open the door to strangers after watching that movie.  Why, oh why did he open the door?

The man stood there, demanding to come in.  Of course, my son didn't let him past the threshold, but it was terrifying having this man we had never seen before making such demands on him.  I picked up the cordless phone and rushed to my son's side to give him back-up, in case anything should happen.  I dialed the 9 and the 1, my finger poised over the other 1, knowing my phone would connect the moment I hit that third button (it was set to practically dial 911 on its own).

As we stood there, trying to close the door, the man putting his body in the way so we weren't able to, another man appeared in my living room from my hallway.  Shock rendered me speechless.  In his hands, he held my purse, pulling out my wallet.  Shouldering his way past my son and I, he and his partner walked into the night, their guffaws making my blood boil.  I hit the final 1 on my phone and followed them into my yard.  Another surprise met me when I saw that my garage door was open.  Out of it, my car was backing.

Without thinking, I ran and flew until my torso was on the roof of my car.  Unable to maintain my position, I slid down so that I was lying face first on my hood, looking into my car.  Behind the wheel sat Molly Shannon.  Now, I've never really been a fan of hers, but now I really hated her!  She was stealing my car!

I heard a voice coming through the phone which was still in my hand.  "Molly Shannon is stealing my car!" I screamed into the handset.  "I know it sounds like a prank, but it's not!  Molly Shannon is stealing my car!"  It sounded so absurd, even to me, and I didn't know how to make them believe me.

Finally, my brain kicked in.  I was risking my life for a car whose Blue Book value was probably around $2,000.  I slid off my only mode of transportation and watched it drive away.  To my utter glee, about half a block down, I saw a light shining down on it from the heavens.  A helicopter was spotlighting it and the squadron of police cars blocked the road so she was trapped.  My car was returned to me and Molly Shannon and her cohorts were taken away in handcuffs.  Yay!

I awoke in the middle of the night, being yanked out of bed by my hair.  Thinking quickly, I grabbed the fork which was sitting on my nightstand.  I jabbed the tines of the fork into Molly Shannon's neck, but her skin was so tough that the utensil didn't even break her skin.  I snatched my mom's steak knife from my nightstand and with one quick stroke, I severed Molly Shannon's jugular, leaving her bleeding out in my room as I dashed toward my son's room.

On the way, I grabbed my shotgun and loaded it.  Terror gripped me when I saw that my son wasn't in his room.  I raced to the living room where I saw Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum standing there, menacing looks on their faces.  Dee had my son's back pressed against his chest, a small knife at my son's jugular.  Without thinking, I quickly dispatched Dum.  I was careful not to look at him after pulling the trigger.  My peripheral vision told me that he was down and wasn't going to get up.  I didn't need to see the aftermath.

Now, what to do with Dee?  I had to get my son safely away from him.  I put my hands in front of me, palms facing each other, fingertips down.  Slowly, I raised them so they were overlapping and parallel with the floor.  I hoped my son would understand that I wanted him to drop and sit criss-cross applesauce.

Thankfully, he understood.  Quicker than I could have imagined, he thrust his hand up between Dee's arm and his own neck and then dropped to the floor, curling himself into a small ball.  The moment he did, I pulled the trigger and watched the man's body crumple to the floor.

I quickly took my son's hand and we walked out of my house.  Clearly, it was self defense, but I would always know that I had taken three lives that night.  I would have to send a cleaning crew in after the cops had done there thing.  I didn't want to deal with... any of it.  Or, we could move.  I wondered if I could ever feel secure in that house again.

When I woke, my heartbeat was racing and I was breathing as if I'd run a marathon.  It sucks to wake from a nightmare like that at 3:00 in the morning!