Early Birthday Presents


“What’s this?” I asked, looking at the gift bag that Keith handed me.

“It’s an early birthday present.  I thought you might want to wear it between now and then, so I didn’t want to wait,” he said with a small smile.

Hello, what?  We had gone on one previous date.  I wasn’t expecting gifts on Date Number Two.  Was this guy for real?  Had I met—dramatic gasp—A Nice Guy?!

I opened the bag.  There was the necklace that matched the earrings that I had bought on our first date.  OMG OMG how PERFECT!!!  He had paid attention to what I bought, returned to the store later, and purchased the matching necklace.  WOW.

“See, now you know why I was late this morning.  I had left this at the house, and had to go back to pick it up,” Keith said.

I had been Very Annoyed that he showed up 15 minutes late.  He had invited me to Adventure Landing, a fun park that had batting cages, because I wanted to improve my batting average.  I’m not quite sure how those things are calculated, but in the last softball game I struck out twice.  So I’m pretty sure that my batting average is zero.

Anyhow, I had asked him to go to the batting cages with me on Saturday, and he chose the place.  He had told me, “It’s 4 minutes from my apartment.”

From my house, Adventure Landing is a 20 minute drive via the tollway or 27 minutes via the back roads (Preston Road).  I opted to avoid tolls and take the—ahem—scenic route.  Well, it’s scenic if you like looking at all the businesses.  I was happy to see a new wine place, “Sip N Savor,” which is in an old Victorian House.  Gotta try that place!

But I digress.

I drove 27 minutes and was there 5 minutes early.  He lives 4 minutes away and was 15 minutes late.  Therefore, I waited for 20 minutes for him to show up.  I was 30 seconds away from leaving and canceling the date altogether.

It didn’t help my mood, that the batting cages were flooded.  We’d have to go somewhere else.  <Insert cussword here.>

Sign at the park.  Someone has a sense of humor!

Sign at the park.  Someone has a sense of humor!

He FINALLY showed up and we drove to a park to “hike” (i.e. take a walk through the trees and mud).  The park was 13 minutes away, so I had time to fume some more.  I didn’t like the trend; he was 4 minutes late to our first date and 15 minutes late to the second.  Would he be 25 minutes late to Date Number 3, if there was one?

But now, I was standing with the necklace that matched my earrings, and I couldn’t be mad.  Well, not too mad, anyway.  We had had a lovely hike with interesting conversation.  He had said kind things when I picked up trash along the path (a Carmex tube, a water bottle, and a bottle cap; I hate litter).  At my request, he had picked up a little bitty froggy that was on the sidewalk.  Seriously, that creature was approximately .5 inch x .75 inch (1 cm x 2 cm); teeny tiny!  So cute!  We released him almost immediately to the side of the path.  Good luck, little Kermit!

Back to the Present

I thanked him for the thoughtful gift and we went to breakfast.

“What are you doing for your birthday next weekend?” he asked.

I was surprised by the question.  “Did it sneak up on me already?  I don’t have any plans; I thought I had more time.”  I consulted my phone and laughed.  “Next weekend is July 4th!  My birthday is on the 19th, not next week!”

“Oh, I was confused,” he smiled and shook his head.  “I knew that your birthday was on the 19th, but you said that your daughter was going to come into town for a party on the 10th.  For some reason, I was skipping a weekend.”

“That makes sense.  Plans have changed; Sally, her half-brother, and our friend are coming up on the 24th now.  I want to have a party with my friends on the 11th, but I haven’t figured out what.  Something unique to Dallas.  Something like, Reunion Tower.  But I’ve been there.  What I mean is, something that people will want to do, even if it isn’t my birthday,” I explained.  “But not the 3rd Floor Museum.”

That’s the famous library where a certain amateur sniper had stood to kill a president.  It’s one of Dallas’s landmarks, as much as we wish it wasn’t, so it’s someplace that I’ve been meaning to visit.  But it’s definitely not the place to have a birthday party.

“I’ll think on that,” Keith promised.  “Did you want me to come?  Or did you want to do something with me on Friday?  I’d rather do something with you separate.”

Oh, I like this!  A man who clarifies what I want and tells me what he would like.  Nice!  Lovin’ the communication skills!  “Both.  You can come to the party, and we can have dinner the night before,” I said.  Why not?

He smiled.  That was a victory: getting to see me two nights in a row, especially on my birthday weekend, was huge.  That tells him that I’m not dating anyone else.  Also, it means that he gets to meet my friends.  In the World of Dating, that is a Major Milestone: Meeting the Friends.

Am I ready for that?  I started to hyperventilate and overanalyze, but I stopped myself.  Breathe.  Just, breathe.  Either they’ll like him, or they won’t.  From what I’ve seen, he’s a pretty terrific guy.  My friends should like him just fine.  Heck, any guy who buys such a thoughtful gift and communicates so well, has to be pretty darn awesome.

To which Nadia says, “He wants something.  Any guy who buys you presents, expects something in return.”  She winked at me.  “And a birthday dinner means birthday sex!”

I smiled back at her.  “More presents?!  Oh, goody!”

Burlesque (In Other News)

I signed up for a burlesque class.  Oh, yes, that is happening!  Starting July 11, I’ll be taking class for 2 hours every Saturday, with a big finale on August 21.  I love Lisa Carmen, the teacher.  She teaches so much more than just body movements; she teaches students how to love themselves.  I know because I’ve been following her on Facebook for over a year.  We met at a party and I fell in love with her bon vivance (love of life) and positive energy.  I’ll be interviewing her before the class (tentatively scheduled for July 9th) so that you can get to know her better.  I predict that you’ll love her just as much as I do.

And, of course, I’ll post tidbits from each class.  Anyone want pics of me in a corset and boa?

Speaking of classes, a coworker invited me to swing dancing lessons on Wednesday.  You know what that means?!  I’m going to be a swinger!!  I’m taking applications for partners now.

Just to clarify, that’s for a dancing partner.


New haircut.  I nixed the bangs and am definitely back to my natural brown hair.  Hey, Baby, How you doin?  ;-)

New haircut. I nixed the bangs and am definitely back to my natural brown hair. Hey, Baby, How you doin? 😉

Amazing Seattle Road Trip Part III: Pinky Promise


“Hold up your pinky,” I told Sally Ann.

She regarded me suspiciously.  She knew that I had something in mind.

“Just do it,” I said.  “Show the world which finger I’m wrapped around!”  After years of accusing her father of being wrapped around it, I finally had to admit that I was there, too.

Sally laughed and held up her little finger with a big smile.

“Now we need to have a serious conversation.  I know that you’ve been dating Penny for over a year, and you probably want to start taking vacations with her.  Don’t answer until you think about it, but I’d really like to continue our annual road trips.  We’ve gone every year since—well, since you were 13, right?” I said.

“Since before that.  We used to go, with Jack, to the Johnson Space Center every year.  And one year, we visited Aunt Sharon in Kansas.  So, just about every year of my life,” she added.

I was a little surprised.  She was right.  Despite being a single mom and struggling financially, despite going to college for an engineering degree from age 28 to 32, I had made my kids a high priority.  We had taken trips every year.

I continued, “You’re right.  So, I understand if you don’t want to take vacations with me anymore.  But if you do, I’d like you to pinky swear that we’ll take vacays every year for the rest of our lives.”

Without hesitation, she held up her pinky.  “And we get to vote if we want other people to come.  And it has to be unanimous,” she said.

I smiled and my eyes teared up.  She didn’t even think about it!  I offered her my pinky.  “But that means that I can vote Penny off the island!  Or, at least, off the vacay!”

“And I can vote your boyfriend off, too!” she said.  “So you’d better be good!”

I laughed.  She could give it as good as she could take it!


When we visited Mount St. Helens, what used to be acres of trees was now populated by stumps.  The historical markers said that the blast from the volcano broke them off.

“That must have been some eruption,” Sally said.

“I imagine it was like the pressure wave off the space shuttle when it takes off,” I said.  In 2010, we had attended one of the last space shuttle launches in Orlando, Florida.  On that trip, Sally had experienced a lot of firsts: first plane trip, first time at an ocean, and first space shuttle launch.  For the record, it was my first shuttle launch, too.

I stopped in my tracks.  “How cool is it that we can say that?  That we attended a space shuttle, and now we can talk about the pressure wave like it’s no big deal?”

“Ya!” she said.

“We’re badasses.  Oh ya,” I said.  “How do you think Seattle compares to San Francisco?”
“I don’t know.  We haven’t seen as much of Seattle as we did SF.  Still, I think I like SF better,” she answered.

“Me, too.  I think it has more local color, more parks, and more to do.  But then, we may just have to come back to Seattle and spend more time here to be sure,” I said.

We keep hiking.  We have too much that we want to see and too many places to go, to return to anywhere that we’ve already been.  I admired the Indian Paintbrush plants (red flowers) and bluebonnets (blue-purple flowers) that lined the trail.  They reminded me of home, of Texas.  As much as I love to travel, I love returning to Dallas.

“Where are we going next?  If I can afford to bring you, I’ll take you with me to Lilly’s wedding in Hawaii.  If not, where do you want to go?” I asked.

“I’d like to go to Ireland.  Maybe for my 21st birthday?  That would be GREAT!” Sally said.

PUDDING!  This isn’t the end, just a pause in the adventure.




Amazing Seattle Road Trip Part II: Historic Downtown and The Tavern


Historic Downtown

Mount Rainier was drizzly, cold, and foggy.  We could have braved the first two, but not the last: we didn’t want to hike off the mountain because we couldn’t see the trail.  So after driving 3 hours to get there, we turned around and drove back toward Seattle.

That’s when we saw the sign for Historic Downtown.  I told Sally, “I need to stretch my legs.  Let’s go see what this small town has to offer.”

“PUDDING!” was her answer, though it came out like a grouchy mumble.  “I wanted to hike Rainier!” she sneered under her breath.

“Oh, sweetheart, I did, too.  But now we have more time to see Seattle.  A Historic Downtown may just be an added adventure!” I said.

“Like Bateaux Cellars?” she asked dubiously.

I shuddered.  “Who knew that they’d be closed on a week day?”

“And that there would be that creepy barn advertising Red Blood!” she added.

“Next to Walker Road and the Dead End!” I said.  We had made that detour in broad daylight, but it still gave us the heeby geebies!  It was like strolling onto the set of a horror movie and realizing that as soon as the sun set, someone would die.  Maybe no one did, and maybe the NICEST people live there, but we sped back to the interstate as fast as that Yaris could carry us.

Unfortunately, that rental car Yaris could go only slightly faster than we could run.  I missed my Civic.

Historic Downtown consisted of a bar, another bar, a Man Cave (bar), beauty parlor, restaurant—no, wait, that’s a bar, a pawn shop, and a book store.  We meandered through the last two.  The Book Store had a bottle of wine on one shelf, which was “50 Shade of Grey wine sold across the street.”  Of course, it was placed next to a stack of the books.  A few steps away was the children’s area, with toys, puzzles, and bright-colored books.  Mommy can skim the soft porn and watch little Johnny at the same time.  How convenient!

The Pawn Shop was lackluster.  It was small and the lady behind the desk was making her monthly calls.  We walked around and left quickly.

“Well, that’s Historic Downtown!” I said.

“Let’s go,” Sally answered.

Mount Rainier (that's Rainy-er)

Mount Rainier (that’s Rainy-er)

The Tavern

About an hour later, we were hungry.  We had planned to hike for a couple of hours, then eat reconstituted freeze dried gumbo.  But it seemed kinda silly to pull over to the side of the road and eat out of our hiking kits.

A sign on the side of road advertised the St Helen’s Tavern.  “Why not?” I asked.

“Whatever you want to do,” Sally said.  She’s smart enough to know that whatever was going to happen, she didn’t want to be responsible for it.  “Looks like another Historic Downtown to me!”

“Pudding!” I said, with slightly more glee than I felt.  I hoped that we weren’t going to stumble on a Sweeney Todd horror movie set.  I prefer my meat to be non-human.

The tavern was dimly lit, with wooden walls and floors.  Old tin signs advertised different types of ale, alongside neon counterparts.  The few patrons looked like they were fixtures.  I expect the same people would be there the next day, and the day after that.

We ordered our meal and I asked for the wine list.

“We only serve Bateaux wines,” the waitress told me.

Great.  I could drink water, or take a chance on the wine harvested on the horror movie set.  “Bring me a Cabernet,” I said.  A girl’s gotta stay hydrated.

While we waited for our food, Sally and I watched the people.  The owner was drinking with the patrons.  He might not turn a profit with that kind of business plan.  A working man in his company’s work shirt sat on the bar near us, hunched over his cell phone.

“He’s had a bad day,” Sally said.  “Poor guy.”

So I called over the waiter and said, “I want to buy him a beer.  Cheer him up.”

“Of course,” the waiter said.

The man turned and smiled at me when he got his beer.  “Cheers!” he said.

“I hope your day goes better!” I said, lifting my glass in response.

“Oh, it’s great!  It’s Friday!” he said.  The sly smile, the way that he glanced at his phone – he wasn’t sad, he was sexting!  He was arranging a bootie call!

“Damn it, Sally!  Why did you tell me that he was sad?” I said.

“Why did you buy him a beer?” she asked.

My salad was lacking something, but I couldn’t say what.  It was lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, and barbeque chicken.  The ranch dressing was on the side.  I helped myself to some of Sally’s fries and dipped them in the ranch.  I was working on my second glass of wine when the waiter came back by.

“What’s this sauce?” Sally inquired.

The waiter lit up.  “That’s the most basic sauce there is: mayo and ketchup.   Now when I make sauce at home, I add a dollop—not much, just a bit—of mustard.  I also like to add Johnny’s.  You know Johnny’s seasoning salt?  Well, Johnny also makes a salad topping, which is crunchy.  Add that in, and use only Best Foods—not the generic restaurant stuff that they use here.  That’s what I make at home.”

Sally and I looked at each other.  The Sauce Speech, as it has come to be known, seemed to take 10 minutes.  OMG that man was into that sauce!  I wanted to invite myself to his house just to try it.  But then, no.

“Sir, what state are we in?” I asked.  I was quite serious.  Sally and I had been to Portland and back to Seattle, and now we were somewhere in between.  Were we in Oregon or Washington?

He looked like I had asked what year it was.  “You’re in Wisconsin!”

Ok, that was obvious sarcasm.  I gave him A Look.

“You’re in Toledo,” he answered.

I’m pretty sure that isn’t a state.  “Not Toledo, Ohio,” I said, slightly confused and muddled by the wine.

“Toledo, Washington.  And not DC either!” he said.  “Women drivers.”

That night, Sally and I were both sick.  So much for his Special Sauce!

Other News

Tomorrow night, I’ll meet Phoenix for the first time.  He runs half-marathons and works in the finance department.  On Saturday, I’ll go hiking with Keith.  Yay!

My boss was a little concerned about my new “tattoo.”  I assured him that it would fade in a couple of weeks.  I’m pretty sure that he didn’t believe me.

He said, “A souvenir from your wild week, huh?”

I laughed.  Historic Downtowns and Taverns are now the stuff that “wild weeks” are made of!  Snort!


This is Part II of the Amazing Seattle Road Trip.  Part I is here.  Fav Road Trip moments are here.  More Seattle pics are on my Facebook page.  Thanks for stopping by!  Y’all come back now, ya hear!

Sally loves Sushi in Seattle!  (Not Historic Downtown)

Sally loves Sushi in Seattle! (Not Historic Downtown)

Amazing Seattle Road Trip Part I

Sally, Multnomah Falls, June 17, 2015

Sally, Multnomah Falls, June 17, 2015


Gorgeous Weather + Excellent Company + Amazing Scenery = One Priceless, Perfect Vacation.

Where do I begin?  I could just upload 300 photos, but that wouldn’t tell the whole story.  So on the airplane on the way home, Sally and I made a couple of lists to summarize our road trip.

First, I questioned whether we could call it a “road trip.”  We did take an airplane to Seattle, after all.  But then we rented a car and put about a thousand miles on it; so I’m pretty confident calling it a “road trip.”

Multnomah Falls, June 17, 2015

Multnomah Falls, June 17, 2015

Our agenda was:

June 16: Land in Seattle, rent a car, drive to Portland.  (Flying from DFW to Seattle is half the price of landing in Portland.)  Meet Devin Pace for dinner.  Take pictures on the walk to and from the restaurant like the crazy tourists we are.

June 17: Hike Multnomah Falls, drive to Seattle while singing along to the radio.  Look at each other often and say, “Pudding!”

June 18: Hike Mount St. Helens.  Have hysterical laughing fit in hotel bar, which stems in part from exhaustion and in part from elation.

June 19: Hike Mount Rainier.  Well, that was the plan, anyway.  Fog and drizzle made for poor visibility, so we canceled the hike for safety’s sake.  That is, we were cold and wet and miserable the second that we stepped out of the car, so we did the sensible thing and got back in it.

Then we went to Seattle to walk around Pike’s Place Market, the Space Needle, and everything in between.

June 20: Duck tour!  That is, we toured the city in an amphibious vehicle: part on land, part on the water.  Quack quack!


Henna “Tattoo,” June 20, 2015

Sally and I with matching henna designs.

Sally and I with matching henna designs. “Wonder Twin Powers, Activate!”

List of Firsts

This is our list of all the things that we did for the first time on this trip.  PUDDING!

  • Professional henna tattoos. These “tattoos” last for two weeks max.  They’re made with a paste mixed with oils, so it’s completely painless.  That’s my kind of tat!  Sally and I got matching patterns on our hands.
  • Irish coffee. Actually, it was Bailey’s coffee (coffee and Bailey’s Irish cream) that I let Sally sample.  We liked it so much, that we had four total over the course of two days.  After all, we’re Irish and we were in the Coffee Capital; why not drink Irish Coffee?
  • Duck Tour! Quack!
  • Sally had a calamari taco for the first time. She and her girlfriend do not like fish tacos, but the calamari got high marks.  That’s right, the girls don’t like fish tacos.
  • Washington.  It was our first time to visit this state.
  • Oregon.  Two states in one vacay!  Woot!
  • Oops, I left the Taser and multi-tool in the backpack.  (Gotta protect our lovely selves on the trail, you know, and be prepared for anything.)  The TSA agent was very nice and polite; he helped me mail them home.  STILL, I’d rather not be pulled out of line by TSA again.
  • 1st time leaving a sweater on the plane.   After a 4-hour flight and almost 2 hours of waiting for the airline reps to return the sentimental Stanford hoodie, we were hungry and delirious. I almost kissed the ground in thanks when I found a coffee kiosk a few feet away.  Now, we can tease each other to, “Check for personal belongings!”  ‘Cause you KNOW that I tried to leave my sunglasses someplace else later that day.  Private jokes are the best!  Especially after you survive a traumatic event, like the airport!
  • Leaving a mountain not hiked. We were loath to leave Mount Rainer without hiking, but I was loathe to blindly hike off the side in the fog. Super Fail!  The silver lining is, we had more time to explore the city.  Bonus!
  • 1st time traveling with my ADULT daughter. We were tempted to pass her off as 15 for discounts, but we were good.    That’s our story and we’re sticking to it!
  • I didn’t buy a t-shirt for myself on vacay. I did buy two coffee mugs, but this is the first time that I’ve resisted buying a t-shirt as well.  Why did I do it?  I have about 200 t-shirts at home already.  Ok, so maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but I seriously have three drawers dedicated to t-shirts: nice, workout, and long-sleeve t-shirts.  Oh, yes, they’re sorted and organized.  No, I don’t have OCD, why do you ask?
  • Sally had swordfish for the first time. “It has the texture of salmon, but a different taste.  Good, but different.”  I think it’s similar to orange roughy, but she doesn’t know what that tastes like.  Maybe the next trip she’ll get to try it!
  • Sally’s first time driving over a drawbridge. “That’s it?  We’re over it?  It’s like a regular bridge,” she said.    Like most things that sound super cool, the reality is a little disappointing.  It’s like meeting guys from Match.
  • Sally didn’t drive at all, for the first time in four years.  She did stomp on an imaginary brake pedal and hold an air guitar, uh, steering wheel.
  • 1st time we saw weed sold on the street and it was legal. The dealer wore a shirt that read, “I sell the good shit.”
  • This was almost the 1st time I ran out of gas. We rolled into the gas station on fumes!  The Yaris didn’t beep warnings at me like my fancy-by-comparison Honda Civic.  Yep, my Civic is fancier.  Never thought that I’d get to say that!!

Not Our First:

  • This wasn’t the first time that TSA pulled me aside. Let’s see, they wanted to look at some cables that I had in my purse for a prototype, they took my peanut butter (it’s an illegal gel that may be an explosive in disguise), they wanted to look at my child’s safety scissors (which looked much bigger on the x-ray machine, apparently), they looked at the butter knife I brought with my hiking kit (and thought it was plastic, even though it was light weight metal, but who am I to argue?), etc.  The good news is that I have yet to be strip searched.  The bad news is, the cute TSA agent at gate C14 didn’t strip search me.
  • Wasn’t our 1st time hiking on an active volcano. We stopped and hiked one once before, which was covered in snow.  That made it doubly exciting – slipping and sliding!
  • This was not the 1st time that Sally had her hands wiped and checked for explosives.  Must be because she’s smoking hot!  Lol

Other notes:

  • We did not hit coffee overload levels, despite trying really hard. With 143 Starbucks in town, we had ample opportunity!
  • Don’t stop for Bateaux Wine Cellars. It’s adjacent to Walker road, a dead end, and a creepy barn which advertises, “Increases Red Blood in Women!  Doctor Pierce’s Tonic!”  It was broad daylight, but Sally and I thought we may have been caught in a horror movie.  We hightailed it outta there!
  • Regarding the cute guys: I bought a beer for one.  Blew a kiss to another.  That’s it.  After being physically picked up at the Grand Canyon and ComiCon, I was a bit disappointed. Of course, I could have actually talked to one of those guys instead of waving across the bar.  Nah, I was with my girl!  I’m sure that she was more interesting than both of those hunks put together!

In other news, two guys on Match with the same name emailed me.  I had to politely tell them both that I couldn’t date them, because their names were the same as my ex-husband Alan.

Rick said, “See past the name.”

Nope.  Not gonna happen.

To be fair, they weren’t really my type otherwise.  If one of them had seemed perfect, I still don’t think that I could date him.  It was weird enough to date another Michael; another Alan just isn’t going to happen.  There are enough other names in the world, that I’m SURE that I can find someone else to date.

Speaking of, Keith is ready for a second date; we’ve been texting.  I’ve emailed a couple of other guys on Match, too.  Yay!  It’s going to be a good summer, I can feel it!

Next time, I’ll explain why Sally and I joke about visiting Historic Downtown.  And why I bought that beer for the guy in the bar.  And why all of this makes Sally and I laugh hysterically!


Check Facebook for more pictures.  I’ll also share a few each day this week. 



I will be in Seattle and Portland this week, on vacation with Sally Ann Strawberry.  I’ll be back on Sunday with pictures, stories, and inside jokes – guaranteed!  We’re going hiking at Multanomah Falls, Mount Rainer, and Mount St. Helens. We’ll visit Pike Place Market, the Seattle Space Needle, and plenty of coffee shops.  I’m taking two cameras plus our cell phones, so we’re DEFINITELY taking plenty of pictures!

Reggie has renewed my fear of flying, and reminded me that we’ll be hiking on an active volcano (Mount St. Helens).  Big Brothers and best friends: one part love, one part annoying.  If they aren’t teasing you, they want something.

So if the worst should happen, I want to tell Jack, “I love you dearly.  And you were right: flying isn’t natural and we should have just stayed home.”

Raise your glass in a toast: to having a good vacation, getting some fresh air, and drinking some good coffee!

And wine!

Cheers!  PUDDING!!

I will be on vacation until Sunday, June 21.  I will post pics nightly on Facebook. Have a great week!

Medieval Times, Good Times

The King and his Knights

The King and his Knights

“Go for his spleen!” Jack shouted the knights battling in the middle of the area.

I laughed.  Most people just cheer or yell, “Yellow Knight!”

Allie Apple and her niece, Rick Raspberries and his lady, Michael, Daniel & Elizabeth & their three darling children, Jack and I were at Medieval Times in Dallas, where visitors attend a feast and witness a king’s tournament.

I thought that the wine was too expensive, so I said that I’d drink after I went home.  Michael bought us a bottle anyway.  Well, I won’t turn down a glass of wine when a handsome man tries to put it my hand.  Cheers!

“Michael.  Which one is he?” asked Rick, meaning, which of the guys that I’ve dated.  Apparently I have so many that my friends can’t keep track.

Which is why I started a blog.

“Michael is the guy from the Baseball Challenge.  He had said that he wasn’t interested, but we kept in touch via text anyway, so he’s here,” I answered.  I shrugged.  I’m trying not to overanalyze things; instead, I’m just having some fun and doing what I want to do.  I wanted to invite friends, so I did.

Rick seemed to get that; he nodded with a thoughtful look in his eye.

I explained to my wench (waitress), “An evil witch cast a spell upon me!  I cannot partake of bread or bread substances.  A second evil witch cursed me as well!  Soy causes evil mischief in my belly.”

She was properly shocked over these curses, and understood my plight.  She served me a special gluten free, soy free meal: dragon’s fire soup (tomato bisque), chicken, dragon’s eggs (roasted potatoes), and king’s gold (corn on the cob).  Hurrah!  And, BURN THE WITCHES!

Wait, I don’t need any more curses.  I mean, lovely, sweet witches!  Thank you for not turning me into a frog!

The hostess asked if Dan Strawberry was part of our group.  He had made reservations on the same day at the same time.  I laughed.  “No, but is he cute?  Is he single?  Feel free to point him my way; might be one of my cousins!”

We did not, in fact, meet Dan.  Which was just as well, because there was quite enough to see!  There was a falconer, horse tricks, and a bad guy who showed up to challenge the champion.  The knights joust, sword fight, and spear the brass ring.  The show was very entertaining, and worth $33 for two hours.

The knights came out to throw flowers to the audience before the show began.  Jack shouted, “Over here!” but they ignored him.  Until the green knight came by.  They seemed to have a special connection.  Damn, that man was fine; I’d like to have a special connection with him.

Alas, it wasn’t meant to be.  Neither Jack nor I were able to get his digits.

After the show, Michael came back to my house and watched three episodes of Doctor Who season eight with me.  We had a good time.  Not sure if we’re going to be just friends or if something more will develop.  Right now, that’s ok with me.

Other News

Gary (of Skipah’s Realm) and I had a Skype lunch date yesterday.  He made the funniest faces when he ate Wasabi!  Oh my God so funny!  I made him laugh with my Cajun impersonation, and the way that I combed my hair with my fingers when I saw my picture in the video feed.  We’ve been having a good time emailing, texting, calling, and now Skyping each other.  Every now and then I ask myself where this is going; he’s not going to leave his daughter, who lives there in Indiana near him.  I’m not going to leave Texas or my awesome job.  So I’m trying to be all Zen and say, “We’re having fun.  That’s enough for now.  He’s funny, he thinks that I’m hilarious, and that’s pretty awesome.”

Plus, we have our own little set of Flashdance references.  I love private jokes!  #Pullthelever #IcanTakeOffaBraWithMyShirtOn

Oh, ya, he likes to hashtag conversations.  It’s a fun little game.  My favorite one so far, “#thatdresswouldMakeaBishopKickOutaStainedGlassWindow.”  #loveit

So, ya, not sure where that one is going, but it sure it is fun!  #HesVisitingInJulyForMyBday

Robert, a guy who had talked to me on Match in February, texted me last night.  His child is at summer camp this week, so he’s looking for something to do.  Since Michael isn’t interested in a romantic relationship (at least, I assume that’s still true) and Keith & I have only been on one date, I said, “What the heck?”  We’re meeting tonight for a bottle of wine on a patio somewhere, which is what I put on my Match profile as an ideal first date.  This guy can read; even if he did wait 4 months to follow through!

One of my ex-boyfriends (Costa Rica guy, circa 2013) accepted my Facebook friend request.  The FB friend request that I had sent a year or two ago.  Seriously, I didn’t know that friend requests would sit there that long!  I messaged him, “Hi!  Haven’t heard from you in over a year.  What’s up?”

He answered, “I’ve been laying low.  Text me if you want to catch up.”

Ok, so he wanted to switch communication channels.  That’s fine.  I texted him, “Hi there!  What’s up?”

He hasn’t answered yet.  WTF?  Why did he reach out to me on FB if he didn’t want to talk?  Some peeps be cray cray.  And I don’t understand the rest of them, either.

To recap, right now I’m talking to/dating/hanging out with Michael, Keith, Gary, and Robert.  After weeks of no guys at all, suddenly I have a list.  The drought is over!

I’m leaving soon to get Sally!  She’s staying with me tonight, hanging out with her brother Jack tomorrow, then we leave for Seattle on Tuesday!  WOOT!  I don’t know if I’ll have time to post any pictures while we’re gone or not; I’ll at least post short updates.  I’m excited to meet my fellow blogger Devin Pace in person, see Multnomah Falls, hike Mount Rainer, and visit Mount St. Helen’s.  Last year, we hiked so much that I actually lost weight on vacation – I hope to repeat that feat!



The King's Falconer

The King’s Falconer

Green Knight

Green Knight


Master of Ceremonies

Master of Ceremonies

Master of Ceremonies

Master of Ceremonies

Sword Fight

Sword Fight

Sword Fight

Sword Fight

Yellow Knight

Yellow Knight

Yellow Knight

Yellow Knight

Blue Knight

Blue Knight

Reach for the Brass Ring!

Reach for the Brass Ring!

Reach for the Brass Ring!

Reach for the Brass Ring!

Keith: First Date


“Sorry I’m late, I appreciate you waiting,” Keith told me.  “It’s four minutes after.  I’m really sorry; traffic on I-35 is terrible.”  He smiled.

I smiled back.  I’d been waiting 19 minutes, because I believe in being early.  That is, Google predicted an hour-long drive, so I gave myself an hour and 15 minutes to get there, in case there was traffic.  I had time to get gas for the car and still be early, because I drove down the tollway instead of I-35.  At any rate, 4 minutes is close enough, and I appreciated him apologizing anyway.

Then he added, “Hello, Sweetie!”

That’s another Doctor Who reference.  Swoon!


Keith's friend painted this commissioned graffiti art.

Keith’s friend painted this commissioned graffiti art.

We had dinner at a Bolsa, an artsy restaurant in the Bishop Arts District of Dallas.  I ate a spinach salad, which came with pureed pecans, goat cheese, apples, and a vinaigrette dressing.  He had the yellowfin tuna, which was covered in stuff and tasted amazing.

I love the Bishops Art District!  It used to be a Spanish barrio, and still has resale shops and taquerias.  But it also has antique shops and boutiques.  The art galleries are so eclectic!  We saw welded sculptures next to oil paintings, alongside ceramic shapes.  I bought some gear (steam punk) earrings from a store that sells only sustainable, fair trade, US-made goods.  I just like the earrings.

“These are wooden earrings, made by a company that used to make wooden baseball bats.  There was a factory fire and they lost everything.  Then the business went overseas, so they had to reinvent themselves.  After a night at the bar—so the rumor goes, not sure if it’s true—they decided to start making jewelry,” the saleswoman told me.

That’s a solid business plan: get drunk and decide the future of the company.  I support that.

Keith and I talked about our favorite authors, ComiCons, and vacation destinations.

“I double-dipped on my vacation to Mexico.  I was paid to be a tour guide, showing people around to places that I’d been before.  Then I took pictures, and sold those to a travel magazine,” he said.


He was also cuter than his pics.  BONUS!

I explained to him how I’m getting my masters degree and how much I love materials science.  “I can explain why steel rusts, but stainless steel doesn’t.  I can tell you why metal feels cold.  And I can tell you why plastic is stringy when you pull it.”

He asked me to explain that last one, so I did.  “The polymers—many “mers,” or strings of plastic—are like spaghetti in the solid.  When you pull it, the mers line up parallel.  Pull more, and some of the strings break.”

He smiled.  “There, I learned something today!  Thank you!”

It’s cute that he asked.

He led me to the Pie Emporium, which had a line out the door.  He left me in line and ran in to ask if they had any gluten free options.  They do, if you call 24 hours in advance.  Uh, about that…didn’t happen.  So we left.  He didn’t complain about having to miss out on some major pie goodness.  I like that.

We walked around and ended up at The Local Oak, which is a bar with a lot of character.  And wine.  I like wine.  He ordered an old fashioned.

Then he started talking about the vacation that he took last week with his mom and stepdad.  “My stepdad is partially paralyzed on his left side, so Mom needed help getting him around.  I was happy to help; I told her, ‘Just say the word, and I’ll be there.’  Here, see my Instagram pictures.  You can look at any of them; I have nothing to hide.”

He is a talented photographer.  There were pics of him in costume as Doctor Doom for a ComiCon, pics from Mexico and Montana, and pics of his tattoo.

“It says, Don’t let the bastards get you down.  My other tattoo, on the other shoulder, says, Mind Word Action.  It’s to remind me that there’s the thought (goal), the verbal plan, then actually doing what you say,” he said.

I love it!


He commented on the mason jar glasses with handles, “Only in Texas!”

I took a pic of them, arranging them artistically.  Ha!  I’m not a photographer, but I try.  He moved to my side of the table to show me a trick, and I forced him to take a selfie with me.  He was a willing victim.

“If you’re good, I’ll text this to you later,” I said with a smile.

Three hours passed quickly; I had only planned to spend a couple with him.  He walked me to my car, then did something that I haven’t seen another go at the end of the date: he checked my backseat for bad guys, then knelt down to check under the car, too.

“I’m not looking up your skirt, I promise,” he said.  “I always do this at the end of a date.  Please text me when you get home, to let me know that you got there safely.”

He’s so cute!  I was touched by his concern.  And his dorky promise.  A peck on the lips and I was gone.

When I got home, I texted him the picture and thanked him for a fantastic evening.

He answered, “Haha.  I was good enough to get the picture.  I’ll have to rectify that next time ; – )”

“Spoilers!” I said (another Doctor Who reference).  “Lol, I hope so ; – )”

“And my pleasure.  I learned about science, drank with a kindred spirit, and shared a kiss with a gorgeous woman,” he added.

So, yes, there will be a second date.