Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Daily Dose of Gratitude #44

1. Fire-colored poppies, springing up all along the side of the road.

2. Yoga class NOT getting moved to 6am from 6:30.

3. I love the new color of my bedroom, even if the trim did end up a little wonky.

4. A vase full of unruly lilacs, the smell wafting through my entire house.

5. February gas bill, which includes heat: $36. (The Midwesterner in me is astonished that this is even possible!)

6. Tarragon.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Dear Dude #3

Dear Dude,

I am a friendly kinda girl. Really, I am. And I'm doing this whole online dating thing because I want to meet people. But, honestly, you're kinda freaking me out with this whole over-eagerness thing.

Emailing me once and then responding to any emails I send you = perfectly appropriate. Emailing me 7 times to my one email to you = woah -- back off, buddy! Also, if I don't respond 3 times in a row when you try to chat request me on Match, and then follow-up by actually turning off chat, so that you can't request me anymore, that is NOT an invitation for you to email me with your yahoo chat address, phone number, and facebook name at least 3 times.

So, to review: some excitement about my profile and eagerness to meet me = charming. A 12-1 ratio of your attempts to contact me to my responses = stalker.



(And, BTW, the folks at Match really need to get on this issue. I've set it so that this guy can't contact me at all through Match, which is easy enough, and he doesn't have my personal email or phone number or anything. But there's no way to set it on Match so that he can't see my profile anymore. And, honestly, it kinda creeps me out that he continues to look at my profile often enough that he's usually near the top of the first page of "whose viewed me" when I log in. Ewww. )

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Daily dose of gratitude #43

1. Hiking plus beer plus cupcakes plus excellent company on a sunshiny California day.

2. That slightly swoony feeling you get when you're excited about someone new in your life.

3. Finishing painting the bedroom, finally, even if I can't put the room back together yet, since one set of bookshelves died a horrible death during the painting process.

4. Getting to read young adult lit for work.

5. My lovely new mid-century modern fabric cabinet, just $10 at the thrift store. (Pictures soon)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

5 Surefire Ways to Make a Girl Uncomfortable on Your First Date

1. Ask her to meet you in a hotel. There's just something a little "pretty woman" about meeting a stranger in a hotel lobby.

2. Order an frou-frou girly drink from the bar and actually call it a "cocktail." Also, have a fluffy little dog, talk about how you almost wore a pink shirt today, and tell your date about how this older european man once cruised you and then tried to pick you up at a museum. Because every girl wants to worry that her date just might be batting for the other team.

3. Take her to a ridiculously expensive restaurant for dinner. Write this down: taking a girl you've never met to a place where she can't even offer to pay half the bill -- not cool. Because, well, a $40 entree is a crapload of money for those of us who work in education. (Or am I the only girl in the world who actually offers to pay on the first date?)

4. Lunge across the table in the middle of dinner at very fancy restaurant and try to shove your tongue down your date's throat. Yes, I know you are buying me a very nice dinner, but can I at least eat it before you expect me to make out with you?

5. When your date drops you off at home afterwards, introduce her to the above-mentioned little fluffy dog and then try to kiss her, again, with the dog in your arms trying to lick her face. Mmm. Dog slobber. Sexy.

(I should say that this guy was actually very nice, despite the awkwardness. But, c'mon, what's the fun in online dating if you can't make poke a little good-natured fun at your dates for the whole internet to read? :-P )

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Dear Dude #2

Dear Dude,

I would like you better if you didn't come from the same (very small) town as my ex-boyfriend. I know YOU can't help that, but WTF, universe -- are you trying to mess with my head?



Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Dear Dude

Dear Dude,

If you don't want to date women who live outside of the city limits of San Francisco because "it's like a whole other world up there," don't put in your online dating profile that you are looking for women who live within 55 miles of San Francisco. mmmmkay? All of us lovely ladies who live in that "whole other world" thank you for not wasting our time. (And, BTW, you seem kinda full of yourself, anyway).



Monday, March 16, 2009

On Diving Back Into the Dating Pool

So last week I decided that it was time for me to dive back into the dating pool. And since I'm beyond the point of believing that Mr. Right is just suddenly going to show up on my doorstep one day (though wouldn't it be lovely if he did), I'm doing online dating.

Now, I've done this whole online dating thing before. I was really reluctant to try it, but my friend Laura finally convinced me a couple years ago that the worst thing that could happen was that I'd have some funny stories with which to amuse my office mates. (Isn't it odd how the non-single folks are always looking to laugh at their single friends' dating foibles?) And she was mostly right. I haven't ended up on any dates with major assholes or crazy dudes. Mostly, the men I've met have been perfectly nice guys, even when there was obviously no chemistry. Some of them have been blindingly boring, but that particular trait certainly isn't restricted to men you meet online. And, in fact, last time I did online dating, my first date was actually with my ex, D, who I ended up dating for well over a year. Beginners luck? Maybe.

Anyway, I think getting back into dating is a lot like getting into an icy cold swimming pool. If you try to ease yourself in, it only prolongs the agony. You're better off just diving in all at once. So that's what I've been trying to do. I signed up for Match again last week, and I've been emailing with WAY too many people. (I think I need get better at being not-so-nice - unless someone is blatantly out of the range of what I'm looking for, I feel this pressure to respond even if my initial reaction is . . . eh). Had 2 dates this weekend, one of which was a dud, one of which was second-date worthy, I think. We'll see if he calls. The whole thing is a little overwhelming, frankly. There's like this whole other language you have to learn-- winking and daily matches and (argh) even instant messaging when you're logged into the site now (because it's not awkward enough to have to ignore an email from someone who's a lousy match, now you have to ALSO ignore his IMs). I have a hard time keeping up with it all. So, a big I'm sorry to all the men whose emails I've ignored in the past week -- it's not you, it's me. Well, actually, in some cases, it totally IS you -- you're creepy. And with that in mind, here are some tidbits of advice for the men on online dating sites, confidential from me to you. You can thank me later:

1. If you are my father's age, I am NOT going to date you. Do you see where 40 is my top-end cutoff? Yeah, I mean it. I am sure you are a very nice man, but I don't have any daddy issues, thank you very much. Plus, shouldn't you really be looking for someone far blonder and bustier than me to take along on your cruise through midlife crisis-ville?

2. If you don't post a picture, I assume that you are married, and I don't do married men. Oh, and if you really ARE married, SAYING in your profile that you are looking for a "woman on the side" because your marriage sucks? Probably NOT a good way to pick up chicks. I'm just sayin' is all.

3. Do not fill your add with pictures of you 10 years ago and 15 pounds lighter. If we ever do meet, I'm going to FIGURE OUT that you don't actually look like your photos. And then I'll just be pissed. Dishonesty falls near the bottom of my list of traits I look for in a guy - somewhere between reeking of B.O. and spending the whole date talking about your ex and how great she was.

4. Also don't post pictures in your profile of you with girls hanging all over you. I get it, you're popular. And I'm sure that some of these ladies are just friends. But I'm equally sure that you have TOTALLY made out with some of them. And when I'm just beginning to date someone, I'd prefer to blithely pretend that he's never swapped spit with anyone else, ever, in his life.

5. Finally, when you email me, don't say "Hi, how are you?" and nothing else. My profile is full of things I like to do, pictures of me in cool places, and interesting tidbits about my life. Ask me about one of them. Or tell me something interesting about you. It's this thing people do called con-ver-sa-tion. Y'heard of it? Seriously, boys, if you can't manage that basic human interaction over email, it makes me fear that a coffee date with you would end with me excusing myself to the ladies room halfway through and never returning.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Occasional Dose of Gratitude #42

Ah, yes. Slackin' on the gratitude over here. Actually, I'm not slacking on the gratitude at all, just on the posting of it.

1. Making a commitment to myself and keeping it.

2. The physical and emotional high I get after yoga class. (I seriously feel like I could fly! Who needs drugs?)

3. Letting myself have an occasional soy latte from Starbucks, even though I kind of think they're the devil (Starbucks, not soy lattes).

4. The steam room at the gym.

5. Light outside till 7pm! (Even if it means that it is middle-of-the-night-black when I wake up in the mornings right now)

Friday, March 6, 2009

Daily Dose of Gratitude #41

1. Girl Scout Cookies. I might be a little bit in love with Samoas. Especially after they've lived in the freezer for a few hours. Yum!

2. Finishing my handmade yoga bag. So pretty!

3. The yummy scent of fabric softener sheets.

4. This mash-up of NIN's Closer and 50-cents "In The Club"

5. Springing forward (even if it does mean that getting up in the mornings is going to be harder for a week or so, I'm SO EXCITED to have more light at the end of the day -- plenty for me to go back to my after-work bike rides)

Daily Dose of Gratitude #40

1. Overcoming your fear and doing something you never thought you'd be able to do.

2. Being able to do a couple real push-ups and more than 10 on my knees, after not being able to do even a single one just 3 weeks ago.

3. The Salsa bar at Mi Pueblo.

4. I'm done with the huge proofreading project I've been working on. D-O-N-E, done!

5. A neon-pink sunrise on my way to work.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Daily Dose of Gratitude #39

1. Tonight's episode of Lost. Oooooh, was it good. I heart Sawyer and Juliet together, and Kate better not mess it up!

2. Sunshine peeking out after days and days and days of rain.

3. Strawberry gelato.

4. Warm cat, asleep on my feet.

5. My favorite neighborhood cat greeting me at the door when I got home. I think she belongs to someone a few houses down, but she is always outside. I have no idea what her real name is, but I call her Sophie. I secretly want her to be mine, all mine.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Daily Dose of Gratitude #38

1. Another awesome yoga class this morning. I almost did a headstand all on my own. I got up, but could only hold it for about half a second. But still, getting closer.

2. Learning how to fall properly when I fail at headstands in yoga, so that I don't end up with a repeat of the badly bruised knee I got yesterday (seriously, my whole kneecap? Bright purple. Actually it's kind of cool :-)

3. Playing hooky from the laundromat because of the rain and spending that time sewing myself a new yoga bag, instead. (Of course, this means that I STILL have no clean laundry. It's a good thing I own a lot of pairs of underwear!)

4. Craving veggies and making myself a huge rice bowl full of veggie goodness for dinner.

5. A phone call from home.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Daily Dose of Gratitude #37

1. The fact that I have been to the gym 9 times in the past 10 days. Go me!

2. The fact that my go-to coping mechanism for severe stress is going to the gym, at this point in my life, rather than the far more destructive behaviors I would have turned to in the past.

3. The steam room at my new gym. I think I might be addicted. The only thing that would make it better is if it were a eucalyptus steam room, like they have at the spa at the Fairmont Sonoma.

4. Wearing bright colors on a gloomy winter day.

5. My desk at work being cleaner than it has been in months, thanks to an organizing spree I went on this afternoon.

Where I Wish I Was Right Now

Catching snowflakes, Lake Tahoe, February 2009.

A couple weeks ago, I was lucky enough to get to spend a weekend with these lovely ladies (and two of their equally lovely, but blog-less significant others) in Lake Tahoe. I've been terribly remiss in writing about it (surprise, surprise), but what a blast. We ate excessive amounts of fantastic food, drank lots of Bourbon and wine, knitted, watched a zillion episodes of How I Met Your Mother and, oh yeah, played in the snow.

Don't Kristin and Moose look all snazzy and experienced-like in their snow gear? This was the first time snowshoeing for both of them, yet somehow I was the only one who ended up falling on my ass (I'll spare you that picture). Alas, I have many talents, but graceful I ain't. (Oh, and I love that the dog actually seems to be catching some air in the above picture. A rare galumph-free moment?)

Oh yeah, and did I mention that there was a LOT of snow. Like, a lot a lot?

That's the view out the sliding glass door of the house we stayed in. See those big, fluffy snowflakes? Pretty. Of course, they're much nicer when you're inside in your flannel PJs, knitting in hand, sitting in front of a fragrantly smoking fireplace than they are when you're stuck in the car for 7 hours on the drive up. 7 hours! To drive 180 miles! That's an average speed of just 25 mph. And keep in mind, the first 100 miles of the trip were before I had even hit any snow. In October, the same trip took me barely 3. Anyway, see that grayish smudge behind the house below ours? That's Lake Tahoe. It's, like, less than a mile away but you can't even see a hint of it in this picture. So, yeah, lots of snow. Yay, snow!

This trip was, for me, also another lesson in being brave and diving into the things that scare me. I'd made it to Tahoe a couple times in warmer months, but this was my first time going in the winter. It's shameful, really, that I waited until my third winter here to get up there. But I was terrified of having to put chains on my tires. I grew up in Michigan, so I am no stranger to snow. In fact, I secretly kind of like driving in the snow. But out here, there are chain requirements in the winter. Basically, you always have to carry tire chains, and whenever it starts snowing heavily, you have to put them on unless you drive a 4 wheel drive vehicle with special traction tires. I think this is, at least in part, an over-reaction on California's part. Even in the worst of the snow, I never really felt like I needed the chains, though they did help a bit. But on another level, it makes perfect sense to require them, since most Californians didn't learn to drive in the snow, as I did, at 15. I think the chains are meant more to counter the stupidity of people who just don't know how to drive in the snow. When you have chains on your car, you CAN'T drive fast, even if you want to. The max speed with those puppies on is maybe 30-35 mph.

So anyway, I'd never put chains on my car before. I didn't even own chains. I was terrified of putting the damn things on wrong and completely screwing up my car. (You hear horror stories all the time of people improperly installing chains and ending up with thousands of dollars in damage when they come loose and wrap around the axle, etc.) But I've also been desperately missing snow -- playing in the powder on Mt. Hood over Christmas gave me a real taste for it.

And then I got this very generous last-minute invite to Tahoe for the weekend. And how much would I regret it if I didn't dive in and take advantage of a great chance? So it was really, really, REALLY time to just suck it up and deal with the tire chains.

And, as so often happens, all that anxiety was basically for naught. First, the chains only cost me $35, half of what I expected, and it was remarkably easy to get the right ones. I just wrote down all the numbers printed on my tires and the guy at Kragen Auto Parts gave me exactly what I needed. Second, I got the cable-style chains, since the wheels on my car are too close to the wheel wells for big fat chains. And as it turns out, cables are not actually all that hard to install. I practiced in the Trader Joes Parking lot before I ever got on the road. You basically just drape the cables over your front tires, tucking one end under the back of the tire, then drive a few inches in reverse to get them under the tires. Then you hook both ends together with a fairly simple hook-and-eye mechanism. It was a bit trickier installing them on the side of the road in the dark, with sleet pouring down. But still do-able. Next time I'll make sure I've packed my camping headlamp so I can see better.

Anyway, I got the chains installed properly, and made it to Tahoe safely. Though did I mention that it took me 7 hours? 7 hours ! Ugh. But you know what, 7 hours doesn't seem like so long when you finally arrive, to a beautiful house on the lake to a crackling fire, a big bowl of hot soup, and huge glass of wine waiting for you. Not to mention some lovely friends.

Anyway, I think Tahoe in winter suits me just fine and I can't wait to get back up there.

Lesson learned, universe. Being brave and diving in can lead to some pretty damn cool stuff.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Daily Dose of Gratitude #36

1. An amazing 90-minute yoga class this morning that has left me feeling spectacular all day.

2. The fantastic new fleece I got at the Nike outlet today for only $20, thanks to fortuitous timing. (It had been in the hold bin for weeks, apparently, as the price dropped lower and lower, and I got there just as they put it back out on the shelves.)

3. Long-sleeve workout shirts with thumbholes so you can keep the sleeves from riding up in the cold.

4. Buffalo Chicken Chili with blue cheese sprinkled over the top. (Rachael Ray annoys me, and I often find her recipes too cutesy, but this one is dee-licious).

5. All my laundry, sorted and ready to go to the laundromat tomorrow.