September 27, 2010

Autumn On My Mind...

Give me a thick layer of dark clouds and a crisp breeze;
Give me a breeze that brings pink to my cheeks.
Give me sweater weather with a scarf;
Give me a scarf and gloves, matching set.
Give me a warm mug of apple cider;
Give me apple cider by the fire.
Give me autumn.
Give me the trees' rustle of fire-flavored leaves;
Give me the leaves that crunch beneath my feet.
Give me the taste, the smell, of pumpkin;
Give me the pumpkins, smiling in rows.
Give me the drizzle that promises snow;
Give me snow that tastes like comfy cold.
Give me autumn.

These are the words in my heart right now.  Mom told me they had a fire in the fireplace last night.  Friends on facebook are sporting those fall clothes I love so much: sweaters, hats, gloves, scarves, jackets... and in their hands are steaming cups of apple cider and pumpkin lattes.  Somewhere in the north leaves are changing to beautiful, vibrant colors.  Soon, there will be pumpkin pie, turkey, and snowfall.

Here, the leaves are getting... dead.  There is now a cool breeze as relief from the still-suppressing heat.  Halloween decorations deck everyone's halls, but a pumpkin left outside in these conditions turns moldy all too quickly.

This is my home now, but I'm not ready to give up my dreams of autumn.  I just love it and miss it too much.  Florida, that is my one complaint.  Could you please have a real autumn?  I'll buy you a caramel apple cider and a pumpkin muffin, I promise. :)

September 16, 2010

Give Me a Break...

I know it's time to take a break from blogging when I feel guilty for not blogging and search my brain for something to blog about.  The fact of the matter is, I'm feeling a little emotionally frazzled at the moment, like the end of a piece of ribbon that's begun to fray.  SO... I'm taking a little blog break.  When the blogs start rolling into my brain again, I'll start rolling them out onto the keyboard again.  For now,  I'm just working on trust and trying to fixed my frayed ends. :)  I don't think it will be TOO long...

September 11, 2010

A Staycation for Sisters...

I was going to blog about my memories of 9.11.01 today, but instead, I thought a better way to honor the heroes would be to blog instead about the joys in my life today, joys that I wouldn't have without those who have been and are willing to sacrifice themselves for my freedom and safety.  And so, I give you "A Staycation for Sisters"...

With the good fortune of a long weekend, a discounted hotel, and two sisters in the vicinity, I packed up and headed to Orlando.  Here's how we knew we were set: we had an iPod of great music, and 2 bags of different kinds of Goldfish each, plus milk and Oreos.  Here's how we knew we were getting old: we also had milk because one of us had acid reflux.


Let me introduce you to the main characters of this adventure.  It's been said that simply looking at our wardrobes will show you our personalities.  You decide:

This is Bestie (classic):
                                 This is Bestie Jr. (trendy)  Bestie Jr., don't be mad... it's just because you're younger. :):
                                                                                                                                          This is me (girly):

Our first dinner on our budget staycation was at Chipotle.  We cackled in the car as our conversations ranged from the ridiculous to the insane.  Let me give you some snippets:

"It drives me nuts when people sing 'Lord of heavend and earth' instead of 'Lord of heaven and earth.'  Heaven doesn't have a 'd' sound.  It is so annoying.  Are they just anticipating enunciating the 'and,' so they accidentally tack on a 'd' to the end of heaven?"

"You definitely are a maneater.  You have more boy experience than any of us.  Remember how many little dates you went on in college?  And how you dated Josh just but didn't like him at all?"
"I tried to make myself like him.  Is it considered a date if he pays?"
"Well then, I dated the whole brother floor.  I don't think I paid for a single Starbucks drink my entire first semester!"
"I only went on one date."

Those are just a couple fit for print.  There were also wookie noises, but no one knows why.  So we made our way to Chipotle, where we proceeded to cackle like three middle-aged women who had been let loose from the daily confines of their households.  There were some skater kids who probably thought we were 35, so I guess that fits.  Also, there was a man who looked like Keanu Reeves, but balding.  Next on our adventure was Redbox, for a chick flick.  At this point it was raining quite hard, and we were driving through a less-than-savory portion of Orlando.  We ended up at a 7-11 with a weird overhang and some creepy guys with bulletproof vests and motorcycles.

Our hotel room was as cold as a meat locker, or maybe colder.  Which would have been fine, if I hadn't stepped in water in the bathroom, making my socks wet and therefore having to go sockless in a meat locker.  Also, there was what may or may not have been a booger on the nightstand in an otherwise very clean room.  I "killed" it, as I am always the designated bug killer/apparently now booger grabber and throw away-er.  In the two nights we stayed there, that room held its share of laughter.  If we weren't laughing at the two movies we rented, we were laughing at each other.  If we weren't laughing at each other, we were laughing at the grotesque faces we were making for the camera.  And if we weren't laughing at that, we were laughing at the ridiculous videos we were making.

We laughed so loudly, in fact, that not only did my voice start to go hoarse, but the neighbors actually pounded on the wall for us to stop.  I felt guilty, like I used to feel when I was an RA at Moody and would  break quiet hours with my sisters, and a girl would poke her sleepy head out of her room and inform me that it was after quiet hours.  So I sheepishly stopped cackling and as we turned out the light, Bestie must have been thinking the same thing, because she mumbled something to me about "breaking quiet hours."

In the light of day, we found ourselves poolside, each armed with our own copy of "Glamour."  That way, we could point out who looked freakish, or what color nail polish we wanted, or what item of clothing for which we'd be on the prowl.  And then we followed our fancies to the mall, where the three of us, all broke, still managed to find amazing deals that we simply couldn't pass up.  The next day became an outlet mall excursion where we spent far too much time rifling through underwear that was only $2.50 and ghetto brand-name t-shirts.  Don't ask.

While the three of us have remained quite close despite all the changes of the last year or so, I was reminded of how life is different these days when this happened:

I guess that's what happens when you have a husband. :)

But a good thing about being the single one was I got a "heavenly bed" all to myself because hey, they're used to sharing.  Until the second night, when Bestie uber-creeped-out Bestie Jr. and therefore Bestie Jr. bounded into my bed for the night.

Our second meal-on-the-cheap was a "splurge" at the Olive Garden.  We were hyped about this because Bestie Jr. is married to a chef who cries inside at the thought of the the Olive Garden.  We fairly leaped with joy at the thought of unlimited soup, salad, and breadsticks with a never-ending pasta bowl.  Who wouldn't leap with joy at that thought?!  But see, the longer we sat there, the crazier the pictures became, and the harder we laughed.

You never can tell what will happen when you buy nerd glasses, either.

So the retreat ended, and I'm back in my apartment alone, typing away on the computer as usual.    But it's okay.  Bestie and her husband are two buildings away.  And Bestie Jr. and her husband are just across the pond.  And even though we're back to real life, I am refreshed and reminded of how much I love my sisters.  As I told them in the parking lot of the mall,

"Guys, I never get tired of spending time with you."

And it's true.  They are two very, very big joys in my life.  Here's to sisters!

September 5, 2010

Excuse Me For My Girly-ness For Just a Moment...

For some reason, many of the cable channels I frequently watch have taken Labor Day weekend to mean Rom-Com weekend.  Which is fine; I just don't understand the parallel.  So as I sat in my apartment crafting away, watching one delightfully cheesy romantic comedy after another, I began to think about the ones I love.  There is a handful of rom-coms that I enjoy more than others, mainly because I had always hoped in that irrational, girly section of my brain/heart that one day I would have a romance just like that.  Hey, a girl can dream.  Though I am quite aware that life isn't the movies and men don't have scripts, here is a list of rom-coms of which I am particularly fond, and find particularly... rom. :)  Sorry this is so sappy-- I'm not always so girly.  I simply got inspired.  Hey, I'm a single girl-- isn't this accepted, if not expected of me?

The Sound of Music

I suppose this is not so much a rom-com as it is a musical, but I have always thought that the story of a woman capturing the hardened heart of a widower with children was just sigh-inducing.  I love the internal war Maria has with her feelings, and how she runs from them, only to later muster up the courage to confront them head-on.  I also love that the straight-laced Captain finds himself in love with the free-spirited Maria.  So sweet.

The Quiet Man

John Wayne's character thinks he's seeing a dream when he spots Maureen O'Hara's red head in an Irish pasture.  It's a bit of a Taming of the Shrew story, and I love those.  She's got a fire in her, and he tames her with tough love.  It's so romantic, but not in a shmaltzy way.  I feel the same about this movie:

But for the record I do not advocate domestic violence.  Haha.  But I've always known I'd need a man who could calm me down.  Just maybe not drag me around.

27 Dresses

I think that whole "we hate each other so much but wait, we're starting to realize that we actually are falling in love, and yep look at that, our anger was actually love all along" thing in movies like this is fascinating and there's a part of me that has always wanted it, but maybe not really.  I love this one more than others like it because I relate to Jane more than any other rom-com heroine (over-committed, over-planning, over-controlling, overlooked, and taken-advantage-of), and I also love the way he pursues her relentlessly and tells her what her problem is, straight up.  But loves her anyway.  And also that he has a sweet heart under a rough exterior.  Cute and irresistible.

You've Got Mail 

I suppose this is another hate-each-other-then-love-each-other movie, but I think the way their friendship grows is sweet.  I love how he has fallen for her, but wants to really hook her for real before he tells her it's been him emailing her all along.  I enjoy their believably funny conversations (especially about his handle-- 152 something...):
"Mr. 152 insights into my soul!"
"Maybe he had 152 moles removed and now has 152 pock marks on his face."
"152 people who think he looks like Clark Gable."
"152 people who think he looks like a Clark Bar!"

They're longtime friends, something I've never had in a guy but have always thought is wonderful (though not often possible).  He chastises her for poor behavior.  She makes him want to be a better man.  Together, they improve each other.  Their love is deeper than passion.  It has a foundation of friendship, which is why I think Mr. Knightley's proposal is the sweetest ever:
"Maybe it is our imperfections which make us so perfect for one another.  Marry me?  Marry me, my wonderful, darling friend."

Return to Me
This is a unique instance where it is not the leading man and woman that I find so wonderful.  In this movie, Bonnie Hunt and Jim Belushi are a couple who have been married a while, with several kids.  I think they are hilarious, as they obviously still love each other and find each other hilarious, even thought they fight.  Both are so drastically imperfect, but so perfect for each other.  Every time I watch the movie, I maintain that I would rather have that than the hyper-romantic relationship of the leading man and woman.

It Happened One Night
This is one of the most hilarious, romantic movies ever.  They are opposites who hate each other (of course) but are thrown together nonetheless.  The dialogue is quick-witted and fast-paced, and again, he doesn't take any of her crap.  Instead he is the strong one she needs, and she softens his manly heart.  Love it so much.  It made me want to get on a bus, fall asleep on a stranger's shoulder, pick a fight, get lost together, and make him admit he loves me against his better judgment.

Win a Date With Tad Hamilton
While completely cheesy, I love that these two were friends for years and years, and Topher Grace's character has been in love with her for a long time.  His jealousy is super cute, though it rarely is in real life, I guess.  But who wouldn't agree that the fact that he knew all 7 of her smiles and what they meant was really adorable?  I always wanted a guy to know and love me that well.

While You Were Sleeping
I adore the friendship that develops between these two as they wait for her "fiance" to awake from his coma.  They share a lot with each other, including a hilarious/romantic scene in which they fall on the ice and he rips his pants.  This led to my friends insisting that we've always wanted a "Bill Pullman moment" with a guy.  And when he tells his comatose brother that he's jealous of him because he has Lucy?  Adorable.

And you know what else?  All these characters had chemistry.  That je ne sais quoi that I can't put my finger on.  Anyway.  I know my life will not play out like any of these movies.  But my one-day romance will be my own story, something written just for me, and I look forward to it.  Excuse the girly-ness.  I just couldn't help myself.  I blame cable TV.

September 4, 2010

The Backup Plan...

I had an interesting conversation with Bestie the other day.  We were discussing backup plans.  She thought perhaps a girl we knew was sad because her backup plan was getting married.  Interesting, I thought.  She went on to tell me that she had had a backup plan years ago.  Really interesting.

"I don't think I've ever had a backup plan," I stated, a little shocked that I, Planning personified, had never had a backup plan.  And apparently I'm the one who needs one, as Bestie certainly didn't need hers.

See, a backup plan, for those of you who are male or uninformed, is that guy you have always known from way back-- the one who may or may not have had a crush on you, and you may or may not have had a crush on him.  In the back of your mind, he was always the backup in case you couldn't find somebody else-- he'd be decent marriage material.  Maybe he's not your ideal, but he'd be stable, friendly, and true.  And he'd be that peace of mind when your relationships failed, because you knew you wouldn't end up an old maid.  He's the backup plan.

But I didn't/don't have one of those.  Probably because I didn't have guy friends until high school, and even then they were always dating others, so I never really thought about them as potential.  And in college, there were several who had potential, but we were never close enough or... foolish enough to make that kind of pact.  I always wanted a backup plan, because in my twisted, rom-com mind I thought it would be romantic to make a spoken or unspoken pact with a guy friend that if you're not married by a certain age, you'd marry each other.  You know, like if My Best Friend's Wedding had turned out completely differently.  Suddenly you realize your backup plan is the one you've wanted all along.  How romantic.  *gag*

But now I realize, I don't want that at all.  It's settling for second best, and it kind of treats that guy like crap.  I'd rather have nothing if my other option is second best, I think.  I mean, how awkward to think, well, I didn't really want you, but you're all that's left, and I guess you're better than nothing at all.  And if it's more of a "we're best friends who love each other but not that way, and we've made a pact that if we're not married by thirty, we're getting married to each other" kind of pact, then why not just get married before you get to be thirty, since your minds are obviously inclined in that direction, and yes, you do love each other that way?  I don't know, just a thought. 

Don't get me wrong-- I'm not looking down on those who have had/ have backup plans.  Sometimes they're a little unconscious and that guy is just always in the back of your mind as a security blanket.  I get it.  I know Bestie wouldn't have ever really married her backup plan-- she's too wise for that.  And I probably would have made a mental backup plan if I had had that particular guy in my past to fall back on.  But since I didn't and don't, I won't.

I don't want a backup plan because I don't need one.  My life is the life God ordained for me-- not a second-best scenario that I'll need to settle for.  Whether or not my life includes a husband, that will be my life, plain and simple.  No backup plan needed.

Just remind me of this when I turn thirty, okay?

September 3, 2010

Singles' Regret...

I have two questions for you:

1.  Is it only natural for a woman who has been single for a long time to look back at past "options" and wonder if she's made the right choices?
2.  Have you ever had a really bad idea but went through with it because your curiosity got the best of you?

These questions intersected last night.

I have no idea why, but I decided to sift through my emails and find the correspondences between me and "Roberto" (this is the man I met from "" two years ago during the month-long subscription a friend signed me up for).  I don't know what possessed me, but my curiosity wouldn't be sated until I re-read those emails.  As I read, I started to think, this guy wasn't so bad.  He was smart, funny, and passionate about the Lord.  He was a very attractive man of Cuban descent with striking eyes and a nice smile.  And wow... he was really into me.  I started to doubt myself.  Why did I run from this one?  What if I'd made a mistake?

Before I remembered that all-important fact that I really can't make a mistake because God is in control and won't let me miss the right man, I read the rest of the emails.  And then I remembered why I ran from that one.  He was far too intense, far too fast.  I was reluctant to meet him, but after I finally agreed, he insisted that we meet in this old-fashioned, legalistic manner that I was completely uncomfortable with.  When I explained that all I was thinking about was maybe coffee, he replied,

"Trust me, part of me wants to say, yeah sure.  I'll meet you wherever...whatever it takes, I just wanna meet you.   But you are a girl, a beautiful one might I add, what if....what if this turns into a romance and you end up  (getting tricked into, j/k) becoming my wife.  And then...some time later we have four kids.  Just pretend with me here, I know this is far fetched.  Then these kids grow up and want to have boyfriends and girlfriends, and all this kind of crazy stuff.  I want to set a precedent, now, so that when that time comes, and they ask you and me how this came about, I can say.  Well kids, it turns out that mommy and I met at a Christian dating site because finding a good solid Christian guy or girl was very difficult during those times.  ...When the time came when mommy and I wanted to meet, mommy wanted to bring daddy by the house to show her parents, especially grandpa--since guys can be very deceiving some times.  Actually, this was a bit different since mommy had already exchanged about 17 emails with daddy by this time, so she was quite confident that he was a true Christian and wouldn't harm her or disrespect her.  But it turns out that she could not do that since grandpa lived a thousand miles away.  So she decided to have me come by the house of an older couple who cared about mommy and could have true discernment about what kind of man I was. (change in narrator)  So daddy came by and met with me and this couple, which approved of him, and then I felt even more confident that daddy would show me the respect and honor that was due to me.  We went for a drive around town and and walked on the beach, and daddy was very respectful. (change in narrator)   Thats right, daddy got to see mommy's beautiful red hair against a background of waves and a setting sun, and I took her home safely."

I cringed when I re-read this.  WAY too intense, way too fast.  And more than a little creepy, right (we had sent a lot of emails, but they were very platonic on my end, as usual.  But even for all our emails, this was creepy.)?  I remember being weirded out by this, and having many sessions with Bestie and her then BF.  Why I agreed to meet him, I'll never know.  But we met, and he was nice, but super intense.  Only, you would think that with that much intensity, there would also be chemistry.  But there was really no chemistry.  I can't explain chemistry-- I've asked many people and tried to define it but it escapes me.  It's just that nebulous, inexplicable mutual attraction that is either there... or not.  And it wasn't, even when he kept inching his arm closer and closer until we touched.  Weird.

I remembered my method of running away from this friendship.  He called me, and I didn't pick up.  He called again, days later, and I didn't pick up.  I purposely dodged his calls until he stopped calling.  At the time, I thought that would be a better way to let him down.  What I realize now is that I took the cowardly way out to avoid feeling awkward.  Even though he was too intense and made me feel uncomfortable, he was a good guy and deserved better.  And now I find myself filled with regret, not because I wish I'd been in a relationship with him, but because I wish I'd been less rude.

So... I probably shouldn't have let myself read those old emails.  Even though they satisfied my curiosity about whether or not I should have run from him, they filled me with regret.  I'm sure he doesn't even think of me anymore, but he was my one-and-only-date, so I think of him now and then.  I guess I've learned several things since then:

1.  I know my tendency is to run from men... but I think by now I can trust my instincts and discernment.
2.  If I expect honesty and respect, I should give honesty and respect, even when rejecting.
3.  I can't mess up God's plan for my life.  I haven't missed him and I won't miss him.
4.  Meeting someone from online is not something I am comfortable with... and probably won't ever be comfortable with.
5.  When I am in a relationship someday, I will be very slow to proceed.  And if he's not cool with that, he's not the one for me.

Word of advice: don't mix nostalgia, curiosity, and old emails.  It's a recipe for regret.  Am I alone in this?  Does anyone else have "singles' regret" about how you've ended friendships/relationships?

Sorry, "Roberto;" my bad.