The Blahs, the Blues and the Bling

Oh February, February, you fickle bitch you.  Teasing us with the promise of spring - love seeing those crocuses coming up and even a few zings of sunshine - and then whomping our butts with SNOW and COLD as we're about ready to dive into March!  Yep, we had a few inches of snow, icy winds and temperatures down the in the teens at night.  UGH, my power bill is going to be out of control yet again this month.  The snow is beautiful...but no thanks so late in winter.
So how do you banish the blahs?  You get out of the house and downtown for a change of scenery and some down & dirty live blues! 

Exhibit A:  the Highway 99 Blues Bar in Seattle.  Gotta hand it to my friends D & B who invite a group of us out several times a year for different kinds of live music and dancing.  A couple months ago it was live disco - now, the Blues!  And I'm a suburban girl who needs to get my city fix on more and more, plus I LOVE checking out new venues.  Great friends, great music and a big ol' dance floor - sounds good to me!

So ironically a few hours before hearing the Blues, I got smacked with the Blues myself.  Totally came out of nowhere. 

Let me back up here a little.  And come with me on this tangent. I'd invited G to come along with me to this a few weeks ago, even before he left on his trip to Australia.  And I was sooo excited he said yes.  This was going to be the first time introducing him to a few of my friends and I was so over the top giddy!  Weeee! 

But the reality is he came down with a really bad bug a few days after coming back home.  And who wouldn't after flying in a tube with hundreds of people halfway around the planet sharing god knows what icky germs for hours and hours, plus the shock of weather change from Australian summer to our freakazoidal cold snap here right?  Yuck. We jokingly called it the Australian Wallaby Flu.

So he laid low for a few days and I had a couple of girls nights out earlier in the week, just keeping myself busy meanwhile.  By Friday I was missing him so bad!  And he came by to take me to dinner.  We thought a margarita at the Mexican place walking distance from my house would kill off the germs but no dice.  He was still hacking away.  But you know I was so happy to see him, it didn't matter that by 8pm he was pretty much toast.  Dang, this was a bad bug already, not leftover jeg lag!  And ahhh, kisses and walking back home.  I took his arm as we walked.  You know, I really love that feeling.  Nice and strong.  A little stargazing too - LOVE that.

Now it's Saturday, and he's still feeling like crap.  And he calls me and says he's really sorry but he's gonna have to bail on going out to the club with me.

Oh no oh no oh no. My heart sank.  And I mentally started to topple over into a shitty thought place I'd thought I'd left behind over a decade ago. Being flaked out on.  Being let down at the last minute.  Guys who say they'll be there for me and change on a dime with no rational reason and don't show up.  Fuck!

But screechy record sound already.  The dude is sick!  He doesn't flake out on me!!  And it's not 2000 or 2001!!  And oh dear lord this mental yin and yang was gonging in my head and I choked up. The rational vs. the emotional.  My voice wobbled on the phone I'm sure.  I don't recall all of what I said but I told him I felt totally bummed and now didn't feel like going either.

Meanwhile, the Bling.  Yes, I got this call about a half hour before I was expecting some girlfriends (and my Mom!) at my house for an informal jewelry show and open house. Had my dining table decked out in beautiful scarves (nice alternative to a tablecloth) and trays of gorgeous jewelry ready to be touched and tried on.  A little wine, sparkling water and some munchies.  Weee!  And now I'm feeling like a deflated balloon.  But I gotta dig deep, shake it off and be the happy Hostess here!

And I did and was.  We had a wonderful afternoon - this was a mix of friends who had not yet met eachother, nor had anyone met my Mom yet either!  We had a great time.  And you know, girl talk helps too.  B (of D & B) came by too and when I told her G couldn't make it after all she was all oh man that's too bad, but next time.  Just hearing those words made me realize that my old residue feelings from many, many years ago, have no place here.  It's the PAST. No room!  It has nothing to do with G and me. And my feelings, while, yes, they are my feelings, aren't the point here.  Meaning, G is sick, end of story.  He'll be back to normal in a day or two.

HUHHHHHHH.  So that was my mental workout and I was glad to have friends with me, B's keepin' it real advice, and time to sell a little bling.  In fact, the party sales put me past the goal I'd set for myself when I started this side business!!  Woo hooooooo!

Then, it was time for the Blues.  G called while I was just about at the club and it was so good to hear his voice.  I was feeling a lot better about everything and even about ready to laugh at myself for how I'd reacted earlier.  And when I was still not sure exactly where this club was, he looked it up on his laptop and helped me find it over the phone.  Which was awesome, by the way.  

I met up with D, B and a couple other couples (wow, good thing they got there early and got a table - the place was packed!).  LOVED the music.  There were two bands that night - first was the Karen Lovely band (she's in the pic up top).  If Janis Joplin had a niece, this woman would be her.  Freaking killer pipes.  I was totally blown away - she far outshone the second act.

Then, I suddenly felt tired.  And feverish. And then chills and my throat was sore. What was going on here? Did I catch something from G? Or was it the combo of a fun, sweaty basement bar and talking loudly, combined with a pulled pork sandwich and a couple of Stellas?  

Nope.  I was coming down with a cold.  Who knows where it came from.  But how ironic.  B even said she's been battling one over a week now.  Yes, it's February alright.  

As we left the bar later and walked back to our cars, the cold air blasted right into my lungs.  Cold, icy wind off the water.  When I got to my car, I looked up and smiled.  For I'd parked just steps from the steam plant where my Dad was CEO for many years before he retired.  Something about seeing that building that literally put food on the table for my family and so much more, where Dad invested years in his career and turned the company from a bump on a log to a thriving operation made me do a big mental full circle.  The plant chugs along 24/7 as it has for over 100 years.  My past.  And my emotional loopy doop was the last gasp (let's hope please!) of an old head rhythm whose tune is long past its prime.  



Does Sex Cure Jet Lag?

...asking this question in my best Carrie Bradshaw-esque narrative/musing style.  If you're a Sex and the City fan like me (HBO Series a few years ago for those who have been living under a rock) you know what I'm talking about.

But even if you don't you might be intrigued by this post's title perhaps?  And are there scientific studies out there?

My answer is who cares about scientific studies!!  There's no better way to welcome your man back home from a long 2-week overseas vacation.  Halfway across the planet mind you.  And the bitch of the international date line when returning.  20+ hours of flying plus what the hell day/time is it anyway?

I literally bounced out of bed on Saturday morning - far earlier than my usual snoozefest.  I knew G's flight was scheduled to arrive early afternoon but who knows with flight delays how it would really turn up.  Well, turns out his flights were pretty much on time.  I fell back into bed in a blissful doze, enjoying the unexpected sunshine pouring through my bedroom window blinds.  The sun felt SO warm and glorious inside, but damn it was cold outside! 

After some morning coffee and a quick shower I blasted down to the airport, my heart pounding and fluttering.  Had it really been a whole two weeks since G was away?  I'd gotten emails from him nearly every day - very unexpected given he wasn't sure how much online time he would have, plus the texting/calling fees are outrageous.  No worries there.

I won't ever forget seeing him walk up to my car at the airport in the sunshine...big smile, great shades and looking incredibly hot in his travel gear.  And bringing him back to his apartment so we could just crash out and spend some wonderful time together...so very missed.  And oh - did we forget to eat? Does he feel like eating?  Yes!  Time for a late lunch.

I was perfectly OK with just letting him sleep given I had no idea how exhausted he would be, but was glad he wanted to hang out for awhile before going back home to sleep.  So we grabbed a couple burgers + manhattan for him/beer for me, with more of that incredible winter sunshine streaming through the restaurant windows.

And then while hearing all about his trip, suddenly there was a long, black jewelry box on the table.

He bought me the most incredibly gorgeous Opal bracelet...a double row of oval-shaped, turquoise blue opals set in sterling silver.  AHHH, this is so incredibly gorgeous it took my breath away and I about burst into tears.  Turquoise blue is probably one of my favorite colors of all time and I LOVE all things sterling silver.  This beautiful bracelet, now on my wrist thanks to his help and a big kiss too makes me so happy.  And you know, I'm not really in general a huge gifts-oriented person...I'm more of a quality time type girl when it comes to Love Languages [see my post on our weekend at Discovery Park and elsewhere], but I'm blown away by his generosity.

Generosity with a huge helping of quality time too.  Today we met up for a long walk around my neighborhood, loved hearing more about his trip and then went off to see friends at their house for dinner.  Soft tacos and delicious southwest-style homemade soup with pork, green chilies, cilantro, hominy and spices. Bliss.  These are some of the people from his supper club which I was very honored to join for the first time back in January.  And we'll be meeting up again here in early March.  

His family.  And how humbled, welcomed and happy I feel to be a part of this group.     



Scratchy throat on a Sunday morning - ugh.  As I am waking up and continuing my weekend ritual of drinking lots of (plain, still) water, I am hoping this is just my voice being tired and not me coming down with something. 

And as I was looking for a picture for today's post, I realized my title is the same as one of the Psychedelic Furs' albums from the early 80s.  Not done on purpose here, but love the Psych Furs as an aside!

Yep, I burned up the phone lines something fierce yesterday!

But before all that I shook up my routine and watched a tennis tourney on Friday after work.  My co-worker/office mate (the one I had the 'emergency girls night in' with last Monday) asked if I'd like to see her play in a womens doubles tourney after work.  Why not?  I know she's a great player and I hadn't ever seen her play before.  Come to think of it, I probably hadn't watched any tennis live and in person in decades!  And the tennis club was right on my commute home.  Sold!

I remember watching my parents and other relatives play tennis when I was a kid.  There were some courts at the park right near our house growing up and also on the school playground near our summer beach house.  And I remember taking a few lessons when I was probably in 6th or 7th grade with a friend of mine - something through the parks department.  I sucked.  But it was fun!

So yep, it's been a few years since I've watched a tennis match.  How cool they were playing on the court closest to the viewing area too!  And my co-worker and her doubles partner won!  Nice.

Saturday was pretty much spent in my jammies and on the phone, save for a brief break to come up for air and get a mid afternoon shower and make a short trek to the grocery store. 

One of my neighbors in our HOA (who is also a good friend) is in the process of renting out her townhouse here and at the same time is buying a house with her longtime boyfriend.  So exciting!  And so...well...the old saying 'it ain't over till it's over' couldn't be more true.  For she ran into a snag here just two weeks from closing that has caused our HOA Board to spring into really quick action to tweak a few things.  And we're likely not done yet.  I had another (long) chat with our Treasurer later on, who had a new, creative idea to fix things short term and avoid having to kick our HOA anthill unnecessarily.  We have an annual HOA meeting coming up next month, but the snags for my neighbor's situation need to be fixed by end of this month.  Ah, the joys of homeownership, right?  One way or another, we'll get this resolved.

And then there's more on the newsflash last week about my (adopted) brother getting a letter from a court intermediary that he has a sister out there who wants to meet him!  My brother forwarded on a letter to our family - a letter written by his sister.  She's his half sister - they have the same mother.  She would be willing to travel to see my brother if he wants to meet her.   She's married....two daughters - and has a grandson!  Wow.  Keep in mind my brother is almost 39 and his biological mom was 16 when she had him, so his sister is younger than he. This was one of the most heartfelt, sincere and genuine letters I have ever read.  I read it 5 or 10 times, with tears of joy in my eyes.

So I was talking with Mom about this on the phone yesterday and she said OH have you seen the pictures??  Huh?  Nope I hadn't seen any - his sister mentioned pictures but I figured my brother didn't forward them for some reason - no biggy.  But then.  DUH.  I forgot to scroll!

I about fell out of my chair.  She looks SO much like my brother it's amazing. No doubt she truly is his half sister!  I really, really hope he wants to meet her.  This is all beyond incredible!

So I am a little mentally fried and plan to spend today relaxing, reading and giving myself a manicure.  No hockey tonight; this two-week bye is odd and I can't wait to get back on the ice!  And a trip to the gym couldn't hurt.  Need to get my butt in gear and get training again for a 5K this spring...and there's an 8K I want to do with a team later in mid May!

And dang, I miss G so much. He's having so much fun in Australia, and I've been getting almost daily emails from him which is fabulous, but definitely not expected.  He's staying with friends who have dial up, and the cost to call/text overseas is super expensive.  Plus, the timezone difference is nuts.  Anyway, my heart flutters every time I hear from him.  His friends had a beautiful little girl a few days ago, and how awesome for him to be there for the birth!  And they've asked him to be her Godfather, too. 

They could not have picked a better man.  And I can't wait to be back in that man's arms on Saturday.


Weekend Clumps - and the Catapult

It was a wee bit of a wine-soaked week...great nights out and a catapult into a jam-packed Saturday.

Monday:  "emergency" girls night in with a co-worker at her house, bottle of wine and fresh cut tulips in my hand.  We needed to decompress after a shitty Monday.  Hmmm...the honeymoon in our respective job assignments is long over apparently (we each started the same day last May).  Remember all my pissing and moaning about my job hunt over the last year and a half?  Guess it took 8-9 months back on a real job to get a good bitch/gripe session under our belts.  Healthy and bonding vent session.  And tulips seemed to soothe our stressed souls...so delicate yet so strong...with the promise of Spring tucked deep within.

Tuesday:  monthly Silpada (jewelry) team meeting.  Gosh this past month flew.  Felt good to relax with the girls again around L's dining room table decked out in our silver, munch on some crackers and hummus and toast with a nice glass of wine.  At last month's meeting I was still trying to process the news of my cousin's ex wife passing away that same day so I'd arrived in a confused daze, yet grateful for the women there surrounding me.  And last Tuesday night I walked off with a recognition trophy our team passes around every month.  Well shucks, I'm not *yet* in superstar jewelry sales mode, but hoping enough seeds are planted to accelerate into March!

Wednesday:  his and her pedicures! G had a great idea for us to get pedis together. Woo hoo I love how this guy thinks!  He really wanted to get one before leaving on his vacation to Australia (after all, it's hot and sunny summertime there right now) and, well, I was overdue for one as it hadn't been since pre company Christmas party in December.  Ahhh...relaxing pedis, sipping on wine, and holding hands side by side with him the whole time.  Sushi later...and a little weepiness on my part realizing he was going to be gone for TWO entire WEEKS.  So many intense, sputtering emotions going through my head...excited for him and his trip, sad knowing we'll be apart for awhile and a little surprised how someone I didn't know even existed 6 weeks ago has this much impact on my feelings. 

My heart aches when we're apart. What IS this?  What's going on here?

Thursday:  G asked me to swing by his place after work to help him finish packing and just hang out; we were both a little stressed that night before but it was all good; that's life, it happens and we roll and get through it.  Does he know how much this all means to me?  He's very organized - case in point with his clothes, documents and things all laid out and folded - but it felt good to have a few ideas bounced off me on what to take and what to leave behind.  And a text as I was in my car en route...."stop by and pick up some wine?"  Well, heck yeah.  An Australian Shiraz/Cabernet blend, of course!  Salute!

Friday:  met up with A, the newest homeowner in our small HOA (10 townhomes) at Brix, a wine bar a short drive from our complex for some girl talk and unwinding.  In fact, a 2nd (large) glass apiece was in order.  TGIF!  Lots of good stories to share - jobs, men, dating, life...she is awesome and I'm looking forward to growing our friendship. This was a great distraction for me, as G was kicking off his longass journey halfway around the world that night so I was both happy and sad.

Saturday:  here's the clump/catapult!  I got my hair highlights touched up (a necessity, especially now that my dark roots are more shot through with greys, yuck) and headed off to two parties.  First, a birthday party for a good friend of a friend, and THEN off to China Clipper - a great spot for northern Chinese cuisine in Woodinville.  After all, we needed a good Chinese New Year celebration!  Year of the Rabbit!  Gung Hei Fat Choy!!

Major laughs with this table of 8.  And I savored the connections here...for some people I know through hockey, others I know through networking connections with the job search and one of the couples was part of that infamous river rafting adventure last summer (check out my late July '10 posts for scoop on that).  Too funny how all these months later we can still bond and laugh/reminisce about those completely hysterical few hours down the Wenatchee River and all the fun afterwards.  I'm ready to do another raft tour this year. [and G, if you're reading this, we did a toast to you for your adventurous travels.]

Got the tingly text from him too last night - made it to his destination after God knows many hours in flight.  YAY. 

So I'd bookmarked today for cleaning and doing some overdue laundry. No hockey tonight.  This is a tradtional bye as no one would likely show up given it's Super Bowl Sunday and those who would would not likely be sober, ha ha. 

I slept in till nearly 10am and really didn't feel guilty. One of those washout days where no one expects anyone to be the slightest bit productive.

So what in hell are these two whammos from out of nowhere??

First, an email late last night from a guy I dated six (yes, six had to check) years ago. " [fivenineteen] are you still out there? If so I'd like to apologize if you will let me." Ummmm...nope. Puke.  Nice guy at first but wayyy too needy and creepy. Lived (lives?) 50+ miles from here and ugh, just not worth rambling about.  Except that when I broke up with him he said back then after a couple weeks that he wanted to meet me at 'x' restaurant super close to my house at 'y' time, I opted to stay that night at a friend's house (at her insistence.).  Was that overkill?  I don't know but I suppose it was good peace of mind.  I am not going to respond to his email.  Scab has long since healed.

And then, one of my brothers.

My Mom called and asked if I'd seen my brother's Facebook updates lately (I hadn't). [I have two younger brothers...the middle one is adopted (as a newborn) and the youngest one, well, was a surprise, LOL.]

My middle bro (who is turning 39 in May) got a letter on Friday from a court intermediary informing him he apparently has a biological sister out there and she wants to meet him. OMG!! He was born in the early 70s and his bio parents were 16 and 18. Records were sealed; my folks never met his birth parents and there has been zero contact by design - this is an older era mind you. So now...whammo. How exciting! And a lil' scary too, no?

Not sure what my bro is going to do yet but our family will be behind him 10000% no matter what he decides. 

I think he should go for it.


The Neighborhood that Sings to Me

The weekend couldn't come fast enough.  Even a leisurely and what would be a normally relaxing Friday night dragged on and ON.  Restless. I couldn't find any good reruns on TV or even any good hockey as it was the break for the All Star Game.  A co-worker gave me an old DVD that she'd received from another co-worker (one of those long story/inside joke things that would take too long to explain)...10 Things I Hate About You.  And I'd thought I'd kill time watching it Friday night but I didn't. Nope - didn't have it in me to plop in a movie.  I'm a little weird in that I'm movie challenged.  That's fodder for another post perhaps.

All I could think about was spending the next two days with G.

So after a giddy night's sleep and some blissful sleeping in, he picked me up and we were on our way.  Some things we'd planned and some (well, most) other things were up in the air by design.  This is my idea of wonderful - have a couple ideas planned but be ready to improvise.  And so we did.

First, a surprise.  I got a Valentines Day gift - a pair of gorgeous, red high-heeled pumps that fit like a dream.  And HUH???  A Valentines Day gift - in late January?  Trust me, people, Valentines Day to me is usually totally meh.  So the fact I got this wonderful gift from a wonderful guy a couple weeks ahead of time is pretty dang amazing.  [He's going to be out of the country on the actual day turns out].

We headed out to Discovery Park in Seattle.  Good Lord I cannot explain how near and dear this Park and the surrounding Magnolia neighborhood is to me.  A quiet, delicious neighborhood tucked a few miles outside of Seattle proper.  Glorious in its beauty; pain in the ass for commutes.  And this time of year the weather is grey and rainy.  But when you live in the Great Northwest you don't let the unpredictable weather stop you from having fun.  We could have easily just slacked around and watched movies in our jammies all day, but we headed straight into the rain decked out in polar fleece, windbreakers, hats and all.

I'm sure I talked a blue streak the whole time and G was a good sport and great listener as I reminisced.  For this neighborhood does, literally, Sing. To. Me.  The happy vibes are so strong it's indescribable.  I lived in a crappy apartment a short walk from the ship canal and Ballard Locks back around 1992 to 1997, so when I wax nostalgic about my time in this neighborhood I have to check myself, realizing I'm blabbing about stuff from nearly 20 years ago.  I'm too young to sound old...right?  Hopefully G can both appreciate it and laugh along with my quirks here with random-ass storytelling. My gut tells me he does.

My apartment back then was a 1 bedroom 1 bath with no dishwasher or washer/dryer.  Laundry meant a short drive to the do it yourself carwash to plop a few dollars in the change machine to get quarters and dash back home with the hope to snag one of the community washing machines down the hall.  No dishwasher?  Well, when you live by yourself doing the dishes by hand can be a somewhat soothing (although warped-sounding) chore.  Kind of like ironing.  It sure saved on the power bill, even though it wasn't super convenient.

The view from that apartment more than made up for lack of amenities.  Sure, the (huge) deck faced north so it was a challenge doing shade-style container gardening, but I had a kickass view of the Ballard Locks to the north and mountain ranges both to the east and west.  Total bliss.  And I took the bus into work by walking through the Locks every morning across the ship canal to catch the bus downtown on the Ballard side.  These things may seem simplistic but the memories run deep.  Not to mention my Mom grew up in this neighborhood too - well, pretty close by - so the family roots run deep too.

Just so much to remember.  My heart is full.

And so many more new memories to come. Fast forward back to 2011 here...G and I heading out on an entirely unpopular Saturday.  Rain. Grey. Fog.  Felt like being in an outdoor black and white TV set it was so grey. The Park visitor parking lot was virtually empty.  And as we trooped through woodsy, muddy trails and later through open meadows sometimes it seemed we had the entire place to ourselves.  How wonderful to steal a few moments for incredible, passionate kisses.  Hugs. In rain when it didn't seem rainy. Talking...words...sharing...things as we get legs under our burgeoning relationship (I'm stealing 'burgeoning' from G as it's spot-on)...knowing we don't know what's to become but mutually knowing THIS is something special.  And precious.

I've been to Discovery Park several times, but it felt new all over again being there with him and experiencing it in the rain...and the tide so high the waves were butting up against the rocks along the landmark lighthouse.  Slippery logs on the beach soaked in rain...with his strong arm and hand to guide me up and over the tough spots.  Watching the white caps, ducks, geese and even a seal make their way over the grey salt water...

We later headed over to In the Red, a wine bar on Phinney Ridge for some vino and puff pastry with brie while we dried out from all that rain.  So cozy.  And as we lingered over our glasses of red and white (him red, me white) we talked about what we wanted to do for dinner and all. 

Do we head back to my place, clean up and head back into the city for dinner?  Or just go a tad soggy and uber casual somewhere?  We opted for the former.  And let me just say it here that I was blown away when days before all of this he'd suggested us going for a walk and then downtown to Nordstrom to get the shoes he wanted to buy for me.  And then, thinking outloud, changed his mind saying that while that sounds fun but wouldn't it be even better to go shopping downtown when we're a little more cleaned up and not so muddy/rainy from an outdoor walk?  HELLO. I could have said these exact same words myself; that was precisely what I was thinking too. Hmmm. 

Couple showers and clothes changes later and we were back in Seattle again - Quinn's Pub had an expected long wait so we went with Capitol Hill Plan B...Via Tribunali - a fabulous authentic Neopolitan pizzeria...a former car bodyshop transformed.  Bring on the vodka martinis, munchies and a couple of fabulous pizzas.  Fun camera shots with the phones...Facebook...gotta love it.

And boy did we savor the food. 

So while our shopping trip post-dinner in Capitol Hill was deferred given the later hours, we'll definitely be back.

Umm...after a stop at Hector's back on the Eastside and one mind-blowing evening later it was time for brunch chez moi.  Coffee.  And more sexy lingering over the Sunday paper.  One of those magical timeframes where the concept of time has no fucking place in your bubble of goodness.

I made us coffee, scrambled eggs, bacon...and waffles from scratch. I was a teensy tad nervous about the waffle recipe for the one I've used for years suddenly disappeared out of my recipe box and I was frantically searching online for one that seemed decent.  Plus I hadn't busted out my Belgian waffler in a year or so, so I prayed all would work out well.  I figured Williams Sonoma online was a good place to search for a recipe.  G and I are not Bisquick people if we can help it.  

OH and yeah...as I came up for air...hockey Sunday too. 

Don't get me wrong - I love my hockey, but this dizzy, lusty weekend trumped any ice time. *blushing*