Do you embrace change?  Or run screaming away from it?  Or perhaps somewhere in between?

Change definitely stirs up flutters (or sometimes earthquakes) within me.  And as the years roll by it's immensely easier for me to accept and embrace whatever it is rather than dig in my heels and bitch.  After all, what's the worst that could happen?  I've jumped through lots of firestorms in my life and I always land on my feet, albeit a bit bruised or burned sometimes.  But always wiser and stronger.

I'm spinning in a whirlwind web of change that's inserted itself into my life since the calendar flipped to 2011.  And not complaining, just trying to digest it all.  Like I've said before, it's already been a hell of a year.

3 weeks ago I had a (first) coffee date that turned into 5 hours of conversation, laughter and a short walk to go get a beer and nachos.  How can it be that I feel so happy and comfortable (and excited/nervous too) with someone I've known just a few weeks?  Someone who dare I say it I might not have ever met were it not for an internet connection?  I was thisclose to closing out my online dating membership thingy when it was up but got a "wait, we'll give you 'x' more months half price."  And I caved.  And wow am I ever glad I did.

There's a connection for sure.  Great chemistry, great comfort.  This is a warm wash of happiness I haven't felt in, well, perhaps ever. 

Nope, not ever like this before. 

The fun discovery of getting to know someone - all of someone.  And I'm still relishing the memory of last weekend's supper club gathering at his place.  Although a teeny part of me felt like an alien who was suddenly teleported into a group where everyone's known eachother for years (hence a tad nervous but hey it was people, food, conversation and most of you know how important that is to me), moreso and much moreover it was a joy.

Making plans in advance?  Wow.  Yep, he's asked me to join him at the next supper club gathering.  Which is in early March.  I don't know if he knows how much that gesture means to me.  Hmmm...if he doesn't know now he soon will. 

Now, let's talk hair.  As in haircuts and hairdressers.  Relationships with hairdressers are uniquely intimate.  OK, that might not be true for guys, but I think most women will agree with me here.  This is someone who touches you in ways most people don't.  Not trying to be flip, funny or kinky here, people.  Seriously, how many people do you let touch your hair?  See what I mean about it being so intimate?  And trusting someone to cut and style it - this is something intensely personal.  Yet we wear our hair out in public every day. I read somewhere in a beauty book years ago to invest your money in a great haircut (and color).  Because, yes, "...you wear your hair every day."  Makes sense!

And after getting your hair cut every six to eight weeks by the same incredibly talented person for 20+ years, well, you get to know them.  Not in a "let's go shopping someday or go on a girls' weekend in Vegas" way - at least not in our case - but still, there's a friendship of sorts there.  20+ years is half a lifetime after all.

I guess it was time for a change.  I love her haircuts and her company.  But I got so goddamned tired of hearing how life for her was spiraling downward into dark, uncomfortable places the past 2-3 years.  Foreclosure on her townhome.  Bankruptcy.  A relationship that was peppered with restraining orders, drug abuse and the tense struggle to maintain their sobrieties.  Death of a parent after a long illness.  Is it wrong to cut things off (no pun intended)?  Am I being disloyal for not sticking by her while she loses her (non haircutting) job and struggles financially?  Calls me to tell me she has a new phone number because her other one got cut off?  And then when I call her to make a haircut appointment a few weeks later she doesn't return my call - and doesn't have email?  I can't even send a freaking postcard - no idea where she now lives.  So yeah, I might be making too big a deal out of making that change, but as you can see I put some thought into it! 

Yep, I think I'm breaking up...with my hairdresser.

So now there's H - a recommendation from the salon where I get my highlights done.  I'd forgotten what it was like to get my hair cut in a salon (R'd been cutting my hair at my house for a decade) with someone who's happy and sparkling!  I wasn't nervous at all - I guess I'd thought I would be as I told her she's the first new person to cut my hair in years.  And I laughed thinking that, yep, when I first met R, H (the new hairdresser) was in preschool - she's 27 I found out.  Dayum.

I gots me a new 'do.  And I love it.  

And then there's the work ecosystem.  We've had a few recent splashes and white caps in the proverbial pond here.  I am taking over a project from someone who left our group recently and am scrambling to find puzzle pieces where I'm not sure what they look like.  Or they may have fallen off the table onto the floor.  So I feel good that I'm being entrusted to grab the baton and run, but a little nervous too.  And a few of us in our immediate team realm have had changes in their roles and titles.  It's fascinating to see how this change affects each of them.  We've got no change, we've got some attitude that needs to be put in check, to, well, behavior changes that reek of passive aggressiveness (major ewwwww)  which disrupt what we've worked so hard to build for months in good rapport and in very close workspace quarters.  I guess things are bound to flare up occasionally, but I'm one to talk things out and clear the air in the moment, not let it linger over a weekend. GUH.  This is an unfinished story as I write these words and I honestly don't know how much detail I want to share here.  For the words make it seem stupid and petty.  Which it is and isn't.  How's that for cryptic?  Let me put it this way - when buttons get pushed and boundaries get crossed, watch out.

And this, my friends, is my one hundredth post.  100!!  Please raise your glasses and join me in a (glass of water) toast!  After all, it's only lunchtime here.   


Yummy Weekend

"...so how was your weekend, fivenineteen?"  Not rushing things at all here for the weekend ain't over yet - still some good stuff coming up, including maybe a nap, some laundry, watching hockey (Canucks vs. Wild) and playing hockey later tonight. 

Great food, drink, laughter and conversation are huge cornerstone essentials for me.  And I can't blog enough about that, really - it's just so how I am I don't promise to ever stop.  Hmmm...that last sentence was a little clunky but let's move on.

So when I got invited to be the Host's guest at a dinner party for 10, I swooned.  Didn't matter that I would only know him and would be meeting everyone else for the first time.  I shed shyness long ago.  And did I mention the Host is a guy I've been on just a few dates with over the last couple weeks?  OK, a few = four, including this dinner party.  This is a group of incredible foodies - his incredible friends.  I felt so honored he'd asked me to join.  And I pinch myself to remind me that yes, it's only been a couple weeks...exciting with a healthy dose of mutual nervous.  Didn't I put it out to the Universe late in December that I was tired of being single and really wanting to meet someone special? [Answering my own question...YES, I sure as hell did.]  I've only turned a few pages in this story so far.  No need to rush and skip ahead.  Like a great meal, I'm savoring it.

And this was a dinner experience like none I'd ever had before - BONUS for I love new adventures in food.  This was a potluck meal planned backwards and eaten forwards.  This Supper Club meets a few times a year for a dinner like this and rotates who hosts...and there's always a different Theme each time. 

Last night's Theme was Rustic French.  I was blown out of the water impressed with not only the food choices, but how they were plated - simply gorgeous and heavenly. 

Check out our menu!

Appetizer 1:  frog legs on a bed of Arugula (yep, Host butchered himself), venison pate on toasted bread, and venison sausage with cherry-cranberry mustard.  Did I mention the venison was from a deer Host hunted himself?  Impressive.  Check out the photo up top.  OK, I sheepishly admit I was a tad squeamish about trying frogs legs (first time for everything eh?) but they seriously do taste like chicken.

Appetizer 2:  Artichoke with a Dijon vinaigrette and mushrooms a la Grecque.

Salad:  Arugula with sliced pear, walnuts, roquefort and mustard-walnut oil dressing.

Ready for more?

Entree #1:  Coq au vin.  By now the taste buds were in high gear - and each course had its own unique wine pairing as well.  Love the mmms and yummms heard 'round the table...that au jus was so to die for flavorful that if it came as a lipgloss flavor I'd buy it.

Entree #2:  a trio of confit on mini baguette.  Olive oil poached fennel and garlic paired with fromage blanc, one with duck and the 3rd with pork.  Did I mention the baguette was made from scratch too?  3 fabulous mini sandwiches.

Dessert:  dulce de leche-topped cheesecake, served with shortbread and 3 apple slices.

Whew.  And thanks to D, fellow guest (and food blogger extraordinaire), for documenting this amazing experience and for the pic above - yep, I'm shamelessly perma-borrowing it plus some details I'd missed about our food.

And while there's much more that happened after the last bite was savored, the last bit of wine enjoyed and the last guests had gone home, I'm gonna play the discreet card.  Let's just say there was a lot of lingering 1:1 over coffee this morning. 

"...so when can I see you again?"  Words that make me smile and melt my heart.  The answer is Tuesday and there will be some (hopefully fantastic) chowder from one of my favorite recipes - potatoes, fennel, a little cayenne pepper sauce and...bacon. 

My turn to host - and I can't wait.


Emotional Tilt

Hoo doggy, 2011, you blew in fast and furious.  It's already been a hell of a year...and we're only 9 days into it. 

Ever have really cool AND really tragic things happen right on top of eachother?  At the same time?  Enough to where you kinda feel guilty about feeling the good feelings while processing a tragedy?  My brain's been doing 180 degree flip flops and I'm exhausted.  I don't even know if it's a good exhausted or a bad one. It just is.

We lost a family member this past Tuesday...my cousin's ex wife to be specific.  P was a beautiful blue-eyed blonde with the kindest heart imaginable.  A loving mother of two incredible daughters, 14 and 11.  Alcoholism caught up with her and she was rushed to the hospital on Christmas Day.  We thought she'd somehow pull through - God, we prayed and prayed...but after a few days her liver failed and she passed away. At 41. I still can't believe it - writing these words feels so strange.  Even Facebook went silent for me and family members...it just felt wrong writing about other things in life while we mourn.

I had a very, very vivid dream about P the night I found out she'd been hospitalized.  She and I were kind of floating around in the air from our shoulders up while having a conversation - sounds really weird but it's one of those dream-y things that's perfectly normal in your dream.  I wonder if that was her way of saying goodbye.  I hope - know - she is at peace.  P, we miss you.

A chilly and gloriously sunny New Years Day, topped off with brunch with my friend J, her boyfriend and her folks here visiting from Calgary for the holidays!  Somehow I was able to curb my emotions (P was still alive) and enjoy the afternoon, even sneaking away a couple times to make some phone calls to my family while J, J and her parents and I were strolling around outside shopping.  I told J what was happening later...still in disbelief about it all.

Sunday night hockey...great way to greet the New Year and restart the Engines of Routine.  Know how things get all wonky and off schedule during the holidays?  For us at work it's a slow period, and with Christmas gatherings and all it's its own bubble of Unique in late December.  Felt really good to get back on the ice again and start blasting away at the 5 lbs I probably gained with all that holiday food eating and not much exercise.

January 3rd was a holiday - a delicious Bonus, really.  So nice sleeping in after a late night of hockey. 

OK, everyone, have you ever met someone new and ended up talking for about 5 hours...when time just kinda stops and you just fall into your own world?  Guhhh...I think I made some pseudo-sorta-pact with myself that I would avoid writing about my dating life, but I've slipped up in prior posts and guess I have now here too. 

I'm not even sure.  Not sure how much to write about here or just keep to myself.  Not sure what's going to happen.  Just sure that Discovery is a red hot aphrodisiac...with a nice slice of Anticipation on the side.  Hmmm.

And while I take in the lows and the highs I sailed through the weekend - birthday celebration / Happy Hour with my great friend P who is freshly back from a couple weeks travel in Belize (heavenly...I could feel the sun and warmth radiating from her and her amazing pictures too!)  And yesterday with new and old friends - first jewelry show of the year and it was a huge success - lots of fun and about $1100 in sales for ol' fivenineteen here. 

Tonight's hockey and hopefully a sound sleep.  This week's gonna be a busy one at work but I have lots to look forward to otherwise.

And I just peeked at our work holiday calendar - it's gonna be a long haul till Memorial Day.

Happy New Year!