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.