Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Poll

In many ways yesterday's post was premature and assumptious.  The reason I posted it was so that my words were written and I could go back to them.  Whether I was right or wrong or just a plain fool, it is nice to be able to go back to old posts to make comparisons and connections and even if it is just to put a foot in my mouth and a dope slap to the head.  Today I am going back to an old post 500 Days of Summer as both a reminder and as a connection to yesterday's post, "Be Careful What You Wish For."

Last month, actually a day or so after my date, I added a poll to my blog.  I didn't announce it or explain it in any way, I just put it up to see what would happen.  Thank you to the 3 people (lol) who took the poll, but I was hoping for a few more voters.  The original poll is very similar to the new updated version that you now see, except I aimed my question towards moving to a new location rather than dating a particular man.  I was just curious to see how the answers would vary... (even though there would be no way of me knowing if one would vote the same way for both or not) I asked a guy friend both versions of this question.  He chose Choice B when I asked him about location.  He had a more difficult time answering when I posed it as a relationship.  He was leaning towards A, which actually surprised me.  My hypothesis would be that we are looking for a particular desired outcome or feeling.  Interesting!

That poll was actually inspired by my date.  That gut feeling that I mentioned yesterday, that gut feeling is described by Choice A.  Like I said, it's not necessarily a bad thing.  It could very well be a great thing.  If I were to vote, it would be so very tempting for me to choose Choice A.  Although I have to admit that I would think that I would find my amazing in Choice B.  Choice A reminds me of what I wrote about in "500 Days of Summer" and that frightens me.  And that is why I chose the title that I did for yesterday's post. 

I am very well aware of what I truly need and want in a man and in a relationship.  I am also very open to tweaking that list as I go.  However, there are some core values and expectations that I won't compromise with.  So while I am I am aware of all of this, I am also aware of how alluring this man is.  That would be his word.  I hope it is for the right reasons though.  Since it has only been one date, I think it's okay to have got stuck in the moment with him and if that happens again tomorrow, I am okay with that too.  It is fun and it is exciting and I very much need and want that.  Should this however continue on, I have to be careful to not remain stuck in the moment. 

Does this mean that I am not going to give this a genuine and true shot, no way!  That is part of the fun and the excitement, the rewards and the risks in forming a relationship.  And who knows, maybe it will just end with a second date. But for now, I have something great to look forward to tomorrow night.  Yay!!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Be Careful What You Wish For

I have encountered either in person or through some form of communication (texting/e-mailing) a wide variety of men in the past year+ since I got back out there.  Living in NYC, when I say wide variety, I mean wide variety.  However, there was one type of guy that I really wanted to go out with.  I came somewhat close once, but the date never happened.  What type of guy is this?  My version of a NYC "stereotypical" guy...
  • Lives in Manhattan
  • Well Educated/Intelligent
  • Wealthy (atleast well off)
  • White Collar Business Type Man
  • Fashionably Put Together
  • The Whip Cream:  Marathon Runner (Who doesn't run in the city?)
  • The Cherry:  Foreign (Preferably from England, because I lovee the accent so much!)
Now I know this list sounds completely shallow.  However, if I am open enough to go out and try it with all of those other men who ranged from an unemployed lawyer to an aspiring artist, why can't I hope to meet someone like my list above?  This list is not a list of what I need and want in a man, it's just one that I am curious about and interested in experiencing along with all of the others. 

Guess what?  I met him.  We even went out on a date a month ago, just before I left for my vacation.  We've stayed in contact throughout my vacation and finally meshed up our schedules for our second date on Friday! 

I met him online and I initiated contact.  When I did, I had no idea that he was so much like the man described above.  What hooked me was that in the section that asked what do people notice about him, he answered hands.  I took that to mean that he did not have sausage fingers and put my own fingers to work in saying hello.  The only other thing that I knew was that he was handsome and put together, atleast that's the impression I got from the one picture that he posted.  What I learned was that he is in fact very well educated.  Not only does he have a PhD, but he also teaches at one of the most prestigious colleges in the world (no exaggeration, I just Goggled it!).  As if that is not enough, he's moving on from that to "bigger and better?" things.  He does live in Manhattan.  He is a marathon runner.  And this was a surprise that I only learned when he opened his mouth to say hello... an accent.  Not a British accent, but an accent nonetheless.  He's lived in the US for quite some time, but he is in fact from another country.  Wow... He hit them all. 

Now this is the point where I feel bad writing this post because in many ways I feel that it is unfair to him.  And it makes me feel even shallower than it was in having that little list to begin with.  But let me tell you about the date in hopes of redeeming myself...

I was nervous and excited.  I had not felt that way in such a long, long time, and it felt great to feel something again.  He threw me off a bit when he surprised me with his accent and when he used it to tell me about what he did. I have to admit that I was a bit intimidated because I didn't really understand all that he was saying.  But it didn't take long for that to fade.  I found him to be charming, engaging, funny, quirky, and down to earth.  I had a great time and the time flew by.  Going into this date, I knew that he hit most of the marks on that list, but by the end of the date that list meant nothing really.  And... I didn't even check out his hands!  Sausage or not, the one date wonder wanted a second.  :)

So why did I title this post "Be Careful What You Wish For?" I had a great time with him and I did find him both intellectually and physically attractive enough to want to see him again.  The vibe was great, but it wasn't the vibe I was hoping for.  I hate that I am referring back to him, but when I met Jesse, I immediately felt a connection.  My word for him was warm and I had a comfortable feeling of home with him.  I'm not comparing this new guy to him, but the feeling that I want to have wasn't there.  I know it's only been one date and I could very well feel this way on Friday.  But I trust my gut and my gut was telling me something entirely different.  That's not necessarily a bad thing, but just different and something that I need to be a bit careful with...

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Makeup Makeover

So after reading quite a bit about dating and all that jazz I have come to the conclusion that I need want to improve my appearance.  Not so long ago, I posted An Acquired Taste and Outer Shell and at the end of July I had a makeup consultation (unfortunately not with the friend I had mentioned) at Sephora's.  The woman was great and I was with her for 2 hours!  Lol... not sure if that is a good thing, did I need that much help!?!  The sad thing is, I kinda did.  I'm 34 years old, I have been wearing makeup for 20? years and have never really learned how best to apply it, best colors, etc.  I've read magazines and have watched plenty of episodes of "What Not to Wear," but I was in need of a more hands on approach.

It was lots of fun!  And it was amazing how (nearly) flawless my skin can actually look.  Even the dark circles under my eyes were diminished to the point where I felt pretty and confident.  All it took was a few tricks and a couple of new products and viola! 

I think what I like best is that I have three looks to go to.  I have a color palette that is more neutral and simple and one that I wear when I am out and about doing errands, etc. and will wear when I go back to work.  I have another color palette that is actually my favorite... I feel like it makes my eyes pop, but that too is simple but one that I will wear when I go out for dinner and even dates.  And finally, I "learned" the smokey eye (I'm still practicing, lol) but I will leave that for a more sultry type of night.  The best part is that in all of these looks, it is still just me.  I am not wearing any more makeup than I already was, I am just using it smarter. 

I am so happy that I did this!  I do feel so much prettier with my same old, but updated face.  So after my appointment I strutted around the city with my sunglasses in my bag (had to show off my eyes! lol) and felt fantastic!  As I was doing this, I ran into a man who was doing a promotion for a salon.  It was a great deal and I did something I never ever do... I bought the promotion off the street.  This promotion gives me two sessions at a Manhattan salon.  The first session is an image consultation, conditioning treatment, haircut, color consultation and highlights. The second session is a skin analysis and facial along with a neck and shoulder massage.  It was a great deal and just what I was looking for.  Because what's next on my list... you got it... my hair!  Ugh....

Saturday, August 24, 2013

What Do I Title This?

I have shared the sentiments of this trip on more than one posting.  It truly was sentimental to me and even poetic in a way.  It was a trip that prior to taking I would have liked to have experienced with someone, but now that it's been said and done, I know that it was a trip that I was meant to take alone.  It was for me and for me alone to experience and not once during my entire trip did I feel alone.  And perhaps I wasn't...

I flew out on August 3rd, the day that I was married eleven years prior.  I had a connection in Cleveland before arriving in Portland and just before we were getting ready to board, I heard our wedding song playing in the terminal.  It's an older song and a rather uncommon song and I don't know when the last time I heard it because it's just one of those songs that you rarely ever hear (Runaway by The Coors).  I couldn't believe my ears when I heard it because I didn't know if I wanted to listen to it or cover my ears... It's a hard day for me.  I couldn't help but to hear and I tried to remain composed and succumbed to just teary eyes.  Shortly thereafter I boarded the plane.  This was the plane ride that I saw the rainbow!

I hate flying, but I love the window seat and that day was the perfect day for flying.  I could see the landscape below and there were just enough clouds to make it romantic in a sense.  Since my head was glued to the window (I think I'm that nervous passenger that makes everyone else nervous, lol) I could see this large and unique looking cloud approaching.  It curved almost inside of itself which almost made it seem like there was something inside (I don't know how to explain it and my pictures didn't capture it).  I couldn't help but to think... Heaven? and that is honestly what made me reach down for my camera. I had just never seen anything like it.  As I waited for what seemed like forever for my phone to turn on, I continued to watch the cloud and then became a bit frightened that perhaps it wasn't heaven but a tornado forming.  When it never turned into a twister I breathed a sigh of relief and began to take a few photos.  It wasn't until I looked back at the cloud after we had already passed it that I saw the rainbow.  It was more than just seeing a rainbow to me though (although that in and of itself was amazing), it was that I saw a rainbow on that particular day and after hearing our song.  I couldn't help but to well up on the plane and that feeling stayed with me for most of the remainder of that flight.  It was a feeling of sadness yes, but I also felt that I was exactly where I was meant to be and what a feeling that was.  And just what if... what if that was my gift.  A rainbow.  On my wedding day.  That made me feel both a peace and a comfort in where I was in that moment.  And in that moment I was on my way to a place that I was led to by following the pieces of my life that I had to put back together.  And that rainbow was beautiful and majestic.  What ifs don't always have to hold negative connotations, they can be equally positive... and that was a what if I wanted to believe in.  I want to believe that there is something greater out there.  Something greater than us.  And I couldn't help but to. 

When I was in Portland I wandered and I happened upon a bridge that looked quite pretty and one that had great views.  As I ventured out onto the bridge I noticed chalk writings on the bridge with sayings such as "You are a beautiful soul." and "Life is worth living."  I knew what they meant when I saw them and I immediately had a pang in my heart.  This beautiful view was no longer beautiful but eerie and sad.  This bridge that I now know is named Vista Bridge, is one of the top suicide bridges in the country.  When I was there, there were two ladies standing at one end underneath a suicide prevention banner.  I went to talk to them and they happened to be volunteers on watch.  There were 3 jumpers in the past 6 months and barriers were being put on it.  But since it was a historical landmark it was a tricky process so in the meantime people were volunteering to stand guard.  After talking to them for a bit, I shared that I lost my husband to suicide and although the situation helped to make it easier for me to share, it was the first time that I have shared publicly.  And when I did, it came out just as if I had told them my husband died of cancer.  It wasn't shameful, it wasn't a dark secret I had to hide, it just was and I have to admit that it felt good to be able to say it out loud like that.  Just before I left there was a teenaged boy who rode up on his bike and stopped across the street from us.  We all turned to him and he quickly took his backpack off.  I say he did it quickly and he did, but to me it was in slow motion.  I think my heart stopped and I think that the other ladies' hearts did too.  He did not jump.  And I don't know if I could have volunteered to do that job.  I think I would have felt that same way with anyone and everyone that crossed the bridge.  Stumbling upon this bridge did not take anything away from me on this trip, it just simply reminded my of why I was actually here to begin with.

Also when I was in Portland, I met up with a friend.  I use the term friend loosely because I met up with Dale's neighbor that he grew up with.  I had only met her once in my life, but her family was close with Dale's family.  It was completely coincidental that she lives in Portland and it was a last minute meeting.  I ran into her mother when I was visiting his family just days before this trip and I told her about it.  Between that and Facebook, I couldn't hide my trip.  It wasn't that I wanted to, it was just that since I don't really know her, I was worried it was going to be awkward.  But it wasn't.  Not at all.  And it was actually nice to talk to someone who knew my husband so well.   It was a very random encounter, but again just another reminder of him. 

When I was at The Olympic Peninsula, someone pointed out to me a thistle bush.  It wasn't out of place being there, but thistles are a reminder to me of Dale.  He was Scottish.  We took a trip together to Scotland.  He had picked one for me bare handed and that is something that I still have, wrapped in a tartan.  The groomsmen all wore kilts in our wedding.  I even have a thistle tattoo.  Just another reminder.

And on my last night on this trip, I had a dream.  And in this dream he spoke to me for the very first time since his death.  It was a weird dream... I had asked him to tell his mother that she needs to start chipping in for her share of the rent (We didn't live with her in real life!) and he told me that he would and he did... It wasn't a profound dream by any means, but it was something.  I think that something was that I have made it far enough along the path of healing to let parts of him back in.  I did have to shut parts out... it was too painful, too confusing, and just too much to have all at once.  Pieces slowly began to trickle back in as time moved on, and I think all of these pieces that I encountered on this trip that made me think of him were available to me only because I was open enough again to receive them.

I returned home on August 9th, just in time to have ice cream cake with my son in memory of his father's birthday.   The time between August 3-August 9 is almost like The Bermuda Triangle (without being a triangle).  I did not intentionally plan this trip to fall exactly within that time frame.  I was actually a bit weirded out by it and tried not to think about it that way.  But...

This trip was perfect.  The things that I had planned all worked out seamlessly and exceeded my expectations.  It may have been what I didn't plan and what I stumbled into that made this trip all the more... sentimental, poetic, majestic, spectacular, exquisite, and amazing. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Fitting It All In

Well over a year ago, I happened upon an article in The Smithsonian Magazine about a little town in Washington called Gig Harbor.  The Smithsonian is also where I had read about Kennebunkport, MA which ignited my trip to Maine nearly two years ago.  So when I read this article about a quaint and charming town just outside of Seattle, I had added that on to my list of to-do's when I first wanted to take this trip last fall.  However, when I made plans for this trip, fitting Gig Harbor in didn't seem doable since I had so much planned in such a short amount of time.  I fit it in!

I knew that I wanted to visit both Seattle and Portland on this trip and what I found to be most cost effective was to fly in and out of Portland and rent a car for the three days to drive to and from Seattle.  On my way up, I took the long and scenic Highway 101 from Portland to Seattle.  On my way back, since I was flying out later that night, I took the more direct Route 5 back down to Portland.  This route was just as exciting and helped me to take in every last drop of the Pacific Northwest.  On this drive south I couldn't help but to be mesmerized as I could see Mt. Rainier for a good portion of the beginning of my trip.  This route also took me close enough to Gig Harbor that I had to stop.  I only stayed for a couple of hours... enough to walk around and have lunch with a perfect view!  And my final stop en route to the Portland Airport was none other than Mt. St. Helens.  I didn't get very close, but I could certainly see it from a distance and it was grand.  It actually worked out perfectly that I did in fact have to drive back to Portland, otherwise I would have missed out on them. 

Hope you have not tired of my photos and my trip, this is the last of them (photos that is, I have a bit more to say about the trip :))

Mt. Rainier from Gig Harbor
Mt. St. Helens...  I wish that it wasn't so faint, but it was approaching sunset and there wasn't anything that I could do about the lighting.  This was the last photo taken on my trip and despite the faintness, one of my favorites. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Dale Chihuly

My hotel was located near the Space Needle and near the neighborhood known as City Center.  I was quite a bit away from downtown and at first I was bummed.  However, I ended up spending most of my time near the city center mainly because at night, I didn't want to wander too far out by myself.  So for that reason I stumbled upon the a very cool looking science center and children's theater (I didn't go into either, but this trip is one I'd like to take again with my son and I'd definitely bring him to both of those places!).  I also happened upon a very cool looking glass exhibit.  It was lit up at night and it was captivating.  So on my very last day of my trip I bought a ticket into the exhibit and I could now add exquisite to the list of adjectives to describe my NW trip.

What made this even better is that as soon as I entered the exhibit, I recognized the work (I actually have photos of it in my bathroom as decor).   Dale Chihuly's glass work is displayed on the ceiling in the Bellagio.  I took pictures of it when I was on my trip to Las Vegas... you got it, the very same trip that introduced me to landscape photography and which essentially inspired this trip.  It was all tied together!!  But enough with the words, be amazed...

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


I really liked Seattle.  It wasn't as pretty or as quint as Portland, but it was on the water.  And it was surrounded by mountains,  including Mt. Rainier, which was awesome to see!   It was a very modern looking city and it was quiet.  When I walked around the city, the traffic seemed so calm.  There weren't any horns beeping and there really wasn't much traffic at all in fact.  But there was something edgy about Seattle and I could totally see how grunge started there. I could also see myself living there too.  If it weren't for the rain and the gloom I could possibly live there year round.  But I'm from western NY, I know the gloom that is winter and much of spring.  I don't like it.  So instead, I could definitely see myself living there in the summer!!


My hotel had a 360 degree view of the city... this was my view!

Approaching Seattle from the ferry we took to and from the Olympic Peninsula

For all you sport fans out there... the stadiums that house the Mariners and Seahawks

Mt. Rainier from the ferry... It's located just to the right of the stadiums

Sunset from the top of the Space Needle... Yes, I had to be a tourist.  I even ate dinner up there.  Salmon, of course.  It was delicious!

Mt. Rainier from the top of the Space Needle at sunset

Seattle from the top of the Space Needle

Pike's Place Market

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Olympic Peninsula

Magnificent... breathtaking... beautiful... The Olympic Peninsula

The fog as we took the ferry in the early morning from Seattle to The Olympic Peninsula

I didn't see a large field of lavender, but I did see plenty!  So pretty...

Moss in a temperate forest... Just outside of Port Angeles for all of those Twilight fans out there!

Views of Dungeness, WA

The Olympic Mountains


Looking back from the ferry to Seattle
Hello Seattle!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Pacific Coast

On the third day of my trip, I rented a car and drove out to the Oregon Coast as I made my way up to Seattle.  I stopped at a cute touristy town called Cannon Beach.  I walked along the ocean, took lots of pictures, and ate lunch before heading up north along The Pacific Coast Highway towards Astoria (aka home of The Goonies! lol).

Astoria, Oregon
This one was taken for my son.  He would have loved to have seen all of these logs, so I video taped this mighty machine at work for him. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Waterfalls and Wineries

When I was in Portland, I took a tour that followed the Columbia River Gorge.  We stopped at a number of waterfalls (Maltonomah Falls included!), a couple of wineries, and even got a good glimpse of Mt. Hood. 

This trip was a lot of fun.  There were about 9 of us on this tour and our guide was great!  I met two administrators from Australia and we talked about schools and compared our education systems a bit.  There was another couple from Texas and another from England.  They were all older than I was and I was of course the only solo tourist, but that was completely fine.  I didn't feel like a ninth wheel at all! 

Maltonomah Falls