August 2011


As I mentioned in my final installment of the dating saga with me and A, I’m learning (with some difficulty) to chill out about our relationship. I don’t need to go full-speed ahead. I’m young, there’s no rush to do or say anything before the time is right. But the struggle I’m having with liking him and wanting to be with him all the time, and telling myself to chill out is causing me some anxiety.

So please excuse me while I process this all right here…

Neither of us has ever argued about the intensity of our connection and attraction. I liked him from day one and getting to know him more has done nothing but increase that attraction. But it’s been very insightful (and terrifying) to see how I emotionally react to him liking me back. Normally I spend first dates, or even the first few months of a relationship, knowing that I’m awesome and the guy is lucky to have me, which manifests itself by me being slightly standoffish and un-invested in our budding relationship. More importantly, I know I hold all the power. I know they’re attracted to me, but I’m “still deciding.” I spent 3 months dating a guy, never truly deciding how I felt about him… well, that’s not true. I knew that he bored me to tears, but I was lonely and had nothing better to do, but it was still up to me how and when our “relationship” progressed. Yeah, it was a quality relationship.

The strange thing about my relationship with A is that I am confident in who I am, secure in what I’m looking for in a relationship, and at this point, feel like I’ve found someone who is compatible with all of that. And yet… I feel more insecure and lacking in confidence than I ever have.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been this crazy about someone. As I said before, I feel like we’re so compatible. I know it’s only been a few weeks since we started dating, but I really see potential for us… eventually

But that’s the problem.

I really like him and it kinda freaks me out. The war between my logical, rational side and my insecure, emotional side is making me nuts. I know A likes me and I am uninhibited in expressing my attraction to him. But “what if” continues to plague my thoughts. Opening up my heart to be vulnerable to someone to potentially say no, to possibly reject me, to possibly tell me he doesn’t think I’m awesome almost paralyzes me.

I don’t handle giving someone else the power very well. I don’t like not being the one in control.

And boy oh boy, do I like control.

BUT, I know he likes me as much as I like him. He even tells me so. I don’t have to try to contrive it from some obscure comment or body language. He tells me he likes me, that he is attracted to me, that he likes spending time with me, having me over to his house for hours on end. I don’t need to be worrying about the “what if’s.” I need to chill out and just enjoy the moment.

Because the moment is amazing! We can sit at dinner and chat for hours, or we can walk in the door and hardly a word is spoken 😉 We enjoy each others company and want to spend time together. I can call him when my schedule opens up on a Tuesday night and it’s not seen as intrusive or unwanted. He even encourages me to let him know when I’m available so he can see me.

But it’s all about balance. I know myself well enough to know I can (and definitely will) dive head-first into a new guy and the excitement and passion fizzle out in a few days, maybe a few weeks… instead of taking that passion and intensity and letting it fuel the dating process, the getting to know each other time, and we don’t have to hang out every waking hour just because we can/want to. It’s actually healthy if we don’t.

So I’m feeling content with where we’re at for the moment. I like him, he likes me and we can function in that place for a while. The dating process is there to teach us things, and taking it at a reasonable pace is what I’m learning here. And I’m confident that all that education will actually get me somewhere I want to be…

“Chill Out” is now written on my mirror in my room to remind myself to stop getting completely overwhelmed… it’s good to have reminders like that! Plus, it’s good to be able to breathe deeply and whisper to myself “chilllllllllll….” when I let my mind get all riled up and insecure.

This past weekend was one of the best weekends I’ve had in a long time! I went with my sister, The Roommate, and another friend of ours to the mountains for the weekend. It’s weekends like this one that remind me why living in Denver is the best place in the world to live– 30 minutes you’re in the mountains and only an hour more and you’re in the some of the most beautiful mountain towns in the world!

Three of the four of us signed up for the Warrior Dash that was held at Copper Mountain. I’ve never run a race in my life. I’ve done the Race for the Cure, but I walked/sauntered that, so it doesn’t count.

We went to Kelly Liken’s restaurant (remember her from Top Chef? Yeah, her) for dinner the night before and spent way too much money, but thankfully the food was well worth it!

We got up early the next day and all put on our matching outfits. My sister was our sole cheerleader, and designated purse-and-all-other-random-crap holder for the morning.

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned on here that I hate running. I’ve gotten (slightly) more into it because The Roommate is an avid runner so it gave me the motivation to try it out when I started living with her. You know, that whole peer pressure thing, it’s a b*tch! I then was talked into signing up for the Warrior Dash because it’s only 3 miles and it’s just a giant obstacle course! Since I’m easily persuaded, I signed up, paid my money, and anticipated August 21 like it was the end of the world.

The funny thing is that we all signed up months ago, and I told myself that it was perfect because I would have that time to start running more and “train.” Sometimes I forget just how naive I can be… Summer hit, which is bike-to-work time of the year for me, and it also became it’s-too-damn-hot-out-to-run time… I signed up for the Dash and ran maaaaybe twice since then…

So when we drove up to Vail, I started feeling anxious about the fact that, although I’d been riding my bike pretty consistently, I was not at all in running shape. I have yet to run a full 2.5 miles without stopping (in all fairness, my knee goes all wonky and hurts like hell after about 2 miles). So this looming 3 mile “race” at over 9,000 feet started to weigh on me.

But race-day came, The Roommate got us all pumped up, and right before the fire told us to “go” (no, there was no gun– there were flames!), I had to remind The Roommate that neither me nor our friend are marathon runners and she’s welcome to run as fast as she can, but she’ll be running alone. Thankfully we all kept a similar pace– whether walking or running– throughout the whole race.

The obstacles, overall, were not that difficult. However, I have to admit that more than once I had the thought “if I were to slip and fall, I would probably crack my skull open…”

But the worst obstacle– the least physically difficult of them all– was the most difficult psychologically. THE MUD PIT. The Roommate and I had been equally dreading the experience of running through the mud since we looked up the event 6 months ago.

Mud.

On our hands.

In our faces.

On our clothes.

I don’t tend to think of myself as a girly-girl, but when it came to this, let the stereotypes fly! Ewwww! I was going to get dirty! I’m a bit ashamed to admit my resistance to the idea of being covered from head to toe in mud, but it’s true. I could barely stand the thought, let alone actually go through with the race.

So as we ran, we had that obstacle to look forward to. And as we came around a bend, we saw it. A big, giant mud pool. Not just a pit. No, no. It was a pool. Mud water. And we had to SWIM through it. There was no gingerly stepping through it or walking along the edges to get the least amount on us. There was barbed wire across the top, so you had to submerge your body in the mud and swim yourself across.

I’ve never been more grossed out in my life.

We then had to spend the remaining 2 miles covered in mud, trying to get our clothes to dry at least a little, and make it to the finish line. It then added a bit more difficulty and suspense because now, not only were you thinking about not losing your balance and cracking your skull, you had the risk of your shoes or hands slipping and falling to your death. Good times!

But I have to say, leaping over two back-to-back fire pits and sprinting towards the finish line (because The Roommate could not tolerate running at a moderate speed any longer) was extremely satisfying. If nothing else, I knew there were showers just around the corner to rinse all the disgusting mud off, and that’s what pulled me towards the finish line.

Thankfully my sister was right there at the finish line to get a superb picture of the three of us, our pink zebra-print shorts now a uniformed color of brown, holding hands across the finish line!

I probably wont be signing up for any more races or marathons any time soon, but for my first race ever, it was a pretty fun, albeit dirty, experience!

And my apologies to the cleaning crew at our hotel… the mud should come out!

AFTER

BEFORE

As I mentioned in Part 2, I spent the next day recovering from “being sick.”

When we got back to A’s house, I was so hungry I could have eaten my arm. I’d had about 1/4 of a burger at Cruisers because we (being the guys) spent too long getting ready that we ran out of time to get a real dinner and 2 burgers were shared between 6 people… We all ate pizza when we got back to A’s and then A and I went into his room. We then were up until 4am…

Our connection and attraction is/was through the roof. We spent a lot of our time just staring at each other. I never thought I’d find someone who fit my “type” so exact. I thought I had this unattainable image of someone in my head, but here he was, laying next to me, wanting to be with me!

After sending a vague “not feeling well” text to my boss, I was able to get a few hours of sleep. We all finally got up around 10am and ate breakfast. I was invited to go to Water World with all the guys, and since sunshine and water are good things for health, it was just what the doctor ordered!

We spent the day at Water World, the guys talking me into going down scary slides (I’m pathetic when it comes to resisting peer pressure), and getting just enough sun to not be noticeably different the next day at work– the last thing I needed was a really good tan to give my “sick day” away.

I couldn’t keep my hands off A all day. I just couldn’t help myself! He was all wet and tan and toned—how could I not want to touch him constantly?

Over the next few days, A and I texted and called non-stop. The weekend came and we spent a majority of it together. His friends were still in town, so I got to know them more as well. They’ve all been friends since high school, so the commitment level and loyalty among that group of men is pretty admirable.

Speaking of that loyalty, A was still feeling uneasy about Mr. Dad not knowing the full extent of what was going on between us. He finally called Mr. Dad and told him about us– apparently it was no surprise to Mr. Dad that A was pursuing me since he was pretty up front/obvious about his attraction to me.

Since then we’ve been texting every day and hanging out at least once a week. I have a difficult time pacing myself when I like someone, so I’m having to refrain from calling him at every free moment to see if he’s available.

Not only do I think he’s drop-dead gorgeous, I also feel like A and I are so compatible. We have the same tastes in music, in food, similar backgrounds, almost identical views on life and how life should be lived. But there’s enough of a difference (age difference being a big one… did I mention he’s 36?) in our lives that we can talk and teach and expose each other to so many new and different things. He makes me laugh and we can carry a conversation with complete ease. So far, I’m really into him (as if I needed to clarify that).

I like him, he likes me. It’s that simple. I don’t need to know where this is headed (at least not today), and I don’t need to stress myself out about the content of a text message. I can enjoy the time I spend with A, and feel secure in the fact that I see him taking time out of his life to spend time with me, and I fit him in when I can. I need to just let myself enjoy the now and not worry so much about the future. It’s been just about a month, so right now all I need to do is enjoy the time we spend together and the intensity of his kisses.

I’m still trying to navigate the don’t-dive-head-first-but-don’t-be-stand-off-ish waters, but I feel like I’m doing an okay job so far. I just need to tell myself to chill the f*ck out and enjoy myself!

And enjoy myself I do!

When the crush on A started, I realized it was a mutual attraction (it doesn’t hurt that guys don’t tend to be very hard to read…). He was always so attentive when I came over, even if Mr. Dad was there, and would always put on my favorite band, 30 Seconds to Mars. Never heard of them? Oh my gosh, check them out! He was always complimenting me and engaging me in conversation. Even the texts I would send him when I got home safely from Cruisers would result in about a half-dozen texts back and forth saying goodnight…

After I broke things off with Mr. Dad, I had the awkward task of trying to maneuver a friendship with A and him potentially having to stick to the “Bro-Code” and have nothing to do with me. I didn’t want to blow my chances with A, but I also wanted to respect the fact that Mr. Dad and A have been friends for 20 years.

Thankfully I realized my anxiety was unfounded when I got a text from A to come pick up my bike so I wouldn’t have to ride it home by myself after Denver Cruisers that night. He showed up at my house to pick up my bike, and even in his ratty shorts and a t-shirt, I wanted to pounce him. But I refrained… barely….

I then drove to his house and met up with him and his friends. We all went to Cruisers, me being the only female in a group of 5 guys. We had a blast and when we got to The Circle of Death (yes, it’s that awesome!), A and I went to find some food. As we were walking, I told him about ending it with Mr. Dad. He told me he wasn’t surprised but reiterated that Mr. Dad was a great guy (not that I ever said he wasn’t). I was just thankful he didn’t respond with any sort of “well, we can’t hang out any more,” or “Mr. Dad asked that I not see you any more,” which is what I was afraid of.

After a while, the crowd started to break up and head to the final bar of the night. The guys, now well on their way to being drunk, convinced me to call in sick and come out with them. Because I was feeling so ill (*wink*), I decided that was a fun idea.

I rode with them to the bar where A and I started flirting hard-core. He finally professed his attraction to me, but he was feeling reluctant to do anything because of his friendship with Mr. Dad.

After a few minutes, he leaned over and kissed me! It was a small, short kiss, but enough to give my adrenaline a jolt.

He sure got over that reluctance pretty quickly…

We then spent the rest of the evening flirting, kissing, and being nauseatingly PDA-ful. Thankfully his friends were too drunk to care one way or the other.

It’s been heartbreaking how many guys are atrociously terrible at kissing, but that was not the case with A. A’s kisses were perfect. As I kissed him, I couldn’t get enough of him. I didn’t want them to stop!

I mentioned before that I haven’t dated guys who are my “type.” While kissing A, I realized just how stupid that was. Until that moment, I never realized how important it is to be completely attracted to the person you are with. It adds another layer to the attraction that cannot be contrived or even faked. I wanted to wring my fingers through his curly hair and never let go. I didn’t want the night to end. I’ve never felt that level of attraction before!

We all finally rode back to A’s house where I didn’t get to sleep until 4am… because I was so sick, of course 😉

The final installment and how I spent the day recovering coming up…

On my first date with Mr. Dad, we did a group-date thing. At first I wondered why he didn’t have the guts to go out with me just one-on-one, but after we got there, I realized it was a genius idea! It takes the pressure off trying to find something to talk about just the two of you, and it’s more of a group conversation. So if it’s ever an option, I’d highly recommend it as a first-date technique!

I brought my friend, D, and he brought his friend, A. Now, I should tell you, the reason I agreed to give Mr. Dad my number was because he was hott. Yes, I’m that shallow. However, when we walked up, I noticed that his friend, A, was even hotter!

I have a very consistent “type” that I am always attracted to (although I’ve dated only one other person who even remotely fit my “type” so I’m also not discriminating…). I go weak at the knees for a guy who has dark skin/complexion, dark hair, and extra bonus-points if his hair is curly. Think Alcide from True Blood… rowr!

I tell you this because A fit that description to a T. Needless to say, no matter how the date turned out, D and I were going to enjoy the eye-candy at the table with us! The date went well, but only after the fact did I realize the “group conversation” was mostly between me and A, not me and Mr. Dad. I let it slide because I was interested to see where things were going to go with Mr. Dad (little did I know what his nickname would turn out to be…).

Because of my budding relationship with Mr. Dad, I began to hang out with his friends (including A) even when Mr. Dad wasn’t in town. I went to Denver Cruisers with his friends every Wednesday and spent those evenings chatting with A, getting to know him on a strictly friends-only basis.

A small crush started to develop for A. I told D (who had absolutely no interest in him from the date) and The Roommate about the crush, but brushed it off as nothing. But the next weekend, when Mr. Dad was in town and we all went out to a club, I realized I wished I was dancing with A, not with Mr. Dad…

That weekend was when Mr. Dad’s secret was revealed. I ended things with him (obviously!), I continued to hang out with his friends. They all live here in Denver, and I really enjoyed going to Cruisers with them… and was hoping something would develop with A… but I didn’t want to get my hopes up.

But little did I know, A was praying I wouldn’t stop hanging out with them either 🙂

More to come…

I realized I’m half way though the month and I should let you know how my 30-day challenge is going. Well, if you read the title of this post, you can probably guess.

Oh my gosh- Not eating meat is really hard!

I eat it without even thinking about it. Laugh all you want, but it’s totally true! Just as The Roommate!

My first major slip-up was at a friend’s housewarming party the first weekend I started the challenge. They had all your typical finger-food and appetizer-type food– dips, veggie trays, etc. One thing they also had was ribs. When I was making my way though the line of food, I grabbed a couple. I was actually excited to try them since my friend and I have an ongoing rib-cooking debate (rub vs. sauce, bake vs. grill vs. smoke…). I ate everything on my plate, wiped my mouth from the ribs and as I set my napkin down, I realized what I had just done. dun dun dun I shook my head in disbelief and laughed to myself! I hadn’t even thought about that I couldn’t have them. I just ate them. And come to find out, this wouldn’t be the last time I did it either.

I ate shrimp at my sister’s house– I’d even showed coworkers the recipe she was making, never clueing into the fact that I was talking about seafood…

I ate lunch consisting of Costco samples the other day and ate a steak burrito and a chicken taquito, never blinking at the ingredients…

I think I’ve managed to consciously NOT eat meat, like, 4 times since I’ve started this challenge. Some things are easy– cheese pizza (I’m boring like that), cheese ravioli, etc.

But I did try tofu for the first time. YUCK! You guys, it’s all spongy and squishy and weird-colored. I got a giant bowl of green curry from a street cart by my office and I took one bite of tofu and meticulously ate a few more bites of the curry, deliberately avoiding any more tofu.

This challenge has been hard (when I remember I’m doing a challenge)! But it has opened my eyes to how not vegetarian-friendly most menus and restaurants are. If I were to become a vegetarian for whatever reason (hahahahaha), I would have a really hard time going out to eat and finding something other than a salad to eat for lunch or dinner.

But I’m trekking on. I’ll continue to try to do this challenge and eat new things and try new recipes. But I think I’ll be really tired of pizza and pasta by the end of this… I’m already kinda tired of pizza, which is saying a lot because I LOVE pizza!

What about you? Have any of you tried to do something and the effort was not worth the sacrifice? Or even better, done something challenging and it turned out amazing? Do tell!

My roommate watched this video and then convinced me to embark on a 30-day challenge journey… we then thought, why not do this EVERY month? Oh my gosh, we are not good for each other some times!

August is the start of our first 30-day challenge. We both chose something that would be challenging, but not a form of punishment. When discussing ideas, my roommate had to remind me constantly that “this isn’t lent! It’s a challenge, not torture!” So I finally decided, hey, why not try being a vegetarian for 30 days?

You guys, it’s only the third day and I can’t stop thinking about a big juicy burger… Okay, technically it’s only the second day because I totally had chicken on my pizza two days ago and it never occurred to me that it was “forbidden.” So it’s been just over 48 hours and I’m already faltering. I’m thinking my definition of torture needs to change…

I eat a ton of meat, though, so it’s a good exercise in seeing what other foods are out there. And not all meat– I love me some beef and pork. (Can I just point out that those two sentences are ripe for “that’s what she said” jokes? Okay, moving on.) Chicken is boring as hell and I’ll eat fish every now and then (sushi = yummy!), but I’ll ALWAYS choose beef– more specifically, burgers– over almost all other foods.

Instead of realizing just how many meals I eat on a regular basis that just so happen to not contain any meat (ie pizza, most pastas, etc), I instead gaze fondly at the lists of food that have piles of meat and fish!

But this will be a good exercise in discipline. If nothing else, it will show me just how yummy other foods are and to branch outside of my normal eating and food-ordering habits. For example, I plan on going to Chipotle in the next few days to try their veggie burrito– I ALWAYS get their steak burrito (big surprise!), so it’ll be an interesting change of pace to try something else on their menu. You mean they have something other than steak or chicken as an option? Who knew!

Wish me luck on this weird, self-induced journey I’m embarking on.

Is it August 31 yet? 🙂

I’m going to step out of my shell a little bit and be extra-vulnerable today. I was inspired to share this after reading this post by Larissa at thoughts simply arise. My thoughts and feelings about my divorce 2 years ago were pretty hidden from people not related to me. I talked with my counselor and my mom pretty openly, but otherwise, the grief and anxiety and hurt was kept to myself. I have about two dozen “private” posts on this blog that I wrote before I made it public that I’ve never shared with anyone. So today, I’m sharing one of those posts with you.

I wrote the following letter after reading about an exercise about letting your hopes and dreams from your relationship go so you can move on. Letting go of “what was to come” was one of the hardest parts about starting over– I was starting from square one, no longer having those same “goals” to work towards.

Now those dreams I had are distant memories, and my new experiences and goals and dreams are what I’m looking towards. My personal dreams are now more likely to be fulfilled without my ex in my life than they were with him.

This is from July 30, 2009:

The Loser, [his nickname before it became Voldemort]

Goodbye to the life we were trying to create. Goodbye to the hours dreaming and fantasizing about what our lives might be like, the places we will go, the people we will meet. Goodbye to the house we will never buy, the cars we will never drive, and the children we will never have.

Goodbye to making new traditions that are just our own. I will not be able to wake up next to you on Christmas morning in our own bed, sit across from you at our own table, and open presents meant just for us.

Goodbye to the friends we were making. They will no longer be our friends the way they used to be. They will feel like they will have to choose sides, feel uncomfortable by our decisions, and it will be uncomfortable to be around them all for long periods of time. I know you never really cared about them– you only were interested in what was in it for you, not what you could give them.

Goodbye to our dreams of growing old together and watching our lives pass before our eyes, each day a new adventure.

Goodbye to having someone beside me, holding me and loving me through the ups and the downs. I know I will feel that way again, but I have to say goodbye to trusting people easily. Thanks to you, I will now have a nearly impossible time trusting anyone again because everyone might have the potential to do to me what you did. I can’t bear to go through that again. My heart cannot handle any more betrayal.

Goodbye to your empty promises and “I’ll take care of it.” Tomorrow always became tomorrow’s tomorrow. I can’t believe I put up with you never following through with the small things that you “promised” to do– like the laundry, picking up the house, running an errand, making a phone call… I got tired of hearing you say you’ll do something, all the while knowing that it will not get done because you’ll find something better to do with your time.

Goodbye to the suspicion that you were cheating on me. I don’t believe you did, but the fact that I even thought you were capable of doing something so horrendous is heartbreaking. You’re not trustworthy or loyal. You text girls while I sit on your lap, and yet think nothing of it. Why would I trust you when cheating was the way you ended your last relationship?

Goodbye to the stress of where the money’s coming from. Goodbye to having to persuade you that whatever shiny new toy you found is too much money. Goodbye to being your financial support. Goodbye to feeling obligated to buy things. Goodbye to sharing and splitting money you have no right to spend.

Goodbye to all of your jobs. Every. Single. One. Goodbye to trying to make you understand that staying in a job, even when it’s not fun, is the responsible, adult thing to do. Goodbye to fighting with you about what stability is. Stability is not just bringing home a meager paycheck. Stability is being able to rely on you to be an adult and contribute to the household and care about my feelings. If I have no one to lean on, how is that stability?

Goodbye to your emotional reactions. Goodbye to plugging my ears to drown out your yelling and cussing. Goodbye to your disrespect. Goodbye to your temper-tantrums and your childish perspectives. We learned how to fight like adults, and yelling and screaming is not one of those ways. Neither is acting like a teenager and leaving me stranded.

Goodbye to your lack of direction in life. I’m tired of hearing about your new idea of the week that you will be tired of by next week. Goodbye to getting an education and being married to a man with any sort of degree. Goodbye to being married to a man who is no better than his alcoholic mother.

Goodbye to not standing up for myself and what I want. I know what I want and I will fight to get it. I was not brave enough to do so before, but I’m brave enough now. Goodbye to being a people-pleaser and trying everything I can think of to make you show me an ounce of love or affection.

And last, but not least, goodbye to feeling embarrassed about what has happened to our relationship. I was blinded by your lies and your sweet-talking, but now I see you for who you really are. Goodbye to any tears of regret I might shed. I do not regret my decision to end things. I deserve a better, happier, love-filled life and I was not getting that from you.

So goodbye… to you.