Success!  And Netflix and Chill



Post-Final Drink to celebrate the end of the semester with my fellow students


I DID IT!  I completed my master degree in Material Science and Engineering.  I wrote and defended my thesis successfully (on the first try!), I completed the required classes, and took my last final.

Well, I think I did it.  Grades haven’t posted for this semester, and that last final (my final Final, I like to call it) was a doozy.

As in, an evil SOB exam.  Ya know, the one where the teacher says, “Study these things.  You won’t have to know how to assign a point group—don’t even try to memorize them all—but you will need to know how to interpret them if given one.”  And then there are shapes on the exam and I’m expected to add rotational symbols AND identify the point group.

In my world, that is beyond mean.  That’s EVIL.  Cruel!  I studied all day Sunday with two of the smartest students in the class, in addition to all the hours that I studied on my own.  I had visions of going out with a bang!  With getting a 100% on the final Final Exam of my Graduate School Career and wowing the professor, so that he swooned at my great intelligence and asked me out.

So much for that day dream.

Howevs, I do have a B without the final, so HOPEFULLY I passed the class anyway.  <Fingers crossed>  I’m checking grades on the website several times a day.  I know it’s the weekend, but I have this fantasy that the Prof is busy grading final exams and posting grades hourly.

Ya, I have a healthy fantasy life, I know.

Post-Exam Drink

I went out with friends (fellow students) after the exam.

“Boobs!” Sheldon Cooper said.

Ok, he’s the guy that I call Sheldon Cooper.  In reality, he’s a really cool PhD student who has been my study buddy this semester.  But now, at the bar, he was tipsy and letting loose.

He continued, “If I was a girl, I’d just touch my boobs all day.  I mean, I haven’t gotten tired of what I’ve got, if you know what I mean!”

We laughed, and the girls tried to tell him that he’d get tired of breasts if he were a girl and had them.  I just sat back and laughed.  The whole convo was too much.

One of the other guys—let’s call him Fitz, because Fitz is a fun name and he’s a fun guy—was kinda flirty and said, “I’m older than you think.”

I answered, “I think you’re 22, based on the fact that you said, Such and such happened three years ago, when I was 19.

He looked surprised and said, “I’m 21, will be 22 soon.”

I smiled and looked directly in his eyes when I said, “My son is 21.  I’m about twice his age.”

The cliché, “His jaw dropped,” is over-used, but very appropriate.

I pulled up a pic on my phone of me and Jack and passed it around.

“I swear, you look 30,” I heard mumbled under someone’s breath.

I love it!

I talked to another student about her hobbies, and she answered, “Mice!  I caught a mouse and made it my pet.  Her name is Fugitive.  I made Halloween costumes for her.  Look!  She’s sushi here (that’s last year) and here she’s in Super Mario World.”  The background was, indeed, the game and was the perfect scale for the little mouse.  It was super adorable!!

It is now one of my missions to think up Halloween costumes for my new friend’s little pet.  So far, I’ve only thought of obvious ones: Ratatouille, Jerry (of Tom and Jerry) and Fifel (from The American Tale).  Is there a book where a mouse is a ballerina?  Hmmm, need to get more creative with this.  I can do better.

Wow, did I have a 20 minutes convo about mouse costumes?!

Later, when we hugged goodbye, Fitz said, “So that’s it?  We won’t ever see you again?”

That was so sweet!  Fitz and I didn’t have any classes together.  We had gotten to know each other between classes in the hallway, and sitting next to each other at the department’s weekly visiting lecture series (aka Seminar).  To think that I, a non-traditional student, had made a real friend, touched me very deeply.

Netflix and Chill

I’ve been flirting with this cute guy up at school, and since my school career is officially (hopefully!) over, I went ahead and asked him to hang out.  I was super sly about it; I brought him cookies.  Then I said that we should get together some time.  He agreed.  I gave him my number; he gave me his.  He said, “Let me know when you’re free.”

I answered, “Hiking Saturday morning?  Or dancing Saturday night?”

After a text discussion over what “morning” meant (7 a.m. to me, much later to him), we decided on Saturday night.  We continued texting and had a nice chat about our children (he has a daughter) and such.

Tonight he texted me, “I’m a little short on cash, need to reschedule.”

Damn it.  My first date in forever (or maybe a couple of months; it seems like forever, though) and he’s broke?!

I debated my options.  Most obviously, I could say, “Ok” and maybe one day we’d go out.  (Probably not though.)  Or, I could offer to pick up the tab.  After all, I am an Independent Career Woman with My Own Fortune.  If the situation was reversed and the woman was broke, no one would think twice about the man paying.

However, I still live in Texas where a woman offering to pay could hurt a man’s pride.  Furthermore, it would set a precedent that might mean that I am always expected to pay.  Would that bother me?  Should it?  Well, I’ve dated poor guys before, and I’m told that I deserve more.  But then again, I’d REALLY like to go out and have a good time.

“Maybe I’ll just invite him for some wine and Netflix,” I told Jack.

“You know that Netflix and Chill is a thing, right?” he answered.

“Oh, that sounds nice,” I answered.  “I’ll say that.”

“MOM!  That means you’re inviting him over for SEX!” Jack said.

“WHAT?!  Netflix and chill means sex?!” I answered.

“Yes.  Yes it does.  My Facebook feed is blown up with my friends upset about the Hook Up Culture of my generation.  Like the 70’s and Free Love didn’t happen.  It’s silly for my generation to think they’re the first to have casual sex.  And it’s silly for the people to be having casual sex.  Everyone in this situation is silly,” Jack sagely said.

“I almost invited the guy over for Netflix and Chill.  I had no idea.  I’m glad we had this talk,” I answered.

The child had become the master.  My son was schooling me on DATING, of all topics.

I’m stressed out worrying about grades (even though I probably don’t need to stress).  Anyone want to come over for Netflix and Chill?

Um, I mean wine.  Lots of wine.


Let’s Be Friends

View at Dinner

View at Dinner

“I’m not interested in you romantically,” I said into the phone.  I had postponed this conversation for as long as possible, so I was having it at 9 a.m. on Wednesday morning.

“I understand.  Any reason?” The Professor asked.

“No, you’re great!” I said.  “There’s no reason, just like there’s no reason that I hate the color orange.”  I was being incredibly sincere.  I hated having this conversation; I had been anxious about it for two days.  I had slept poorly the night before.

“I’ve been on both ends of that: giving and receiving.  Do you want to meet for a drink tonight?” he asked.

“Yes!  I would love that,” I answered immediately.  I was relieved that he was taking this so well, and thrilled that he wanted to be friends.

He texted a couple of hours later, “I have a proposal due today.  Can you meet at 5:15 or reschedule for next week?”  Translation, “Do you really want to meet me or would you rather blow me off?”

Now, before you tell me that I’m over-thinking this [Reggie!], let me just add that The Professor told me this hidden meaning later.

I texted, “I can meet you later.  I can study in the library.  Don’t worry, I can entertain myself.”  I wanted to see him.  One, because he’s an interesting man, and two, because meeting a friend for a burger and a glass of wine sounded divine.

As it turned out, he was able to meet me at the original time of 4:30 p.m.  He got a bit snippy.  For example, “I’d have another beer and stay another hour, if you wanted to make out in the parking lot for 30 minutes.  But, nooooo!”  He tried to laugh it off.  “I get two more of those, then I’ll quit.  But I’m saving them.”

I gave him the pained, I’m-so-sorry face.  I am sorry on one level, but not sorry on another.  I won’t apologize for how I feel—it’s involuntary and I’m not ashamed.  I feel how I feel.  Period.  Neither of us would benefit from me trying to fake being into him.  But I am sorry that his feelings are hurt.  I reminded myself that I would be just as hurt, if the tables were turned.

I disagree with the “just two more” quips comment.  I prefer to set a time limit, like, we went out twice, so he can be snippy for two days.  Or two weeks if he wants to pout that long.  But I don’t want to hear passive-aggressive comments 6 months from now.  That could be awkward, especially if we’re with other people at the time.

6 Months From Now in the Hypothetical Future

“Hey, Prof, you want another glass of wine?” I’d say.

“Do you want to make out in the parking lot?” he’d say.

Our dates would look confused.

“No.  The answer is no.  That’s all you had to say,” I’d reply.

“Uh, is there something I should know?” my date would say, confused.

“I want to make out,” his date would volunteer.

At least, I hope his date would say that.  I’m rooting for my friend in this scenario.

Back to Wednesday

He picked a great restaurant.  The food was delicious; I had the Dixie Chick-en: grilled chicken breast with white cheddar cheese.  I added bacon (nom nom nom), ate some of the Professor’s fries, and drank a glass of Cabernet.  Look at what an awesome view we had!  Good food; good company (well, except for the snippy bits), and a patio with a view—that’s my idea of heaven!

At the end of our dinner, he walked me to the corner.  He said, “Do you want to be Facebook friends?”

I felt like I had won the lottery.  Sure, it would have been great if we had worked out as a couple.  But to have such an awesome guy as a friend?  Bonus!  We’ll go hiking sometime in May and possibly June, as we both get in shape for our separate hiking trips.  So this isn’t the last that I’ll see of Professor Papaya.  YAY

Now back to the Baseball Challenge.  Who’s the next player?  Bachelor #2 is still in the lineup; he’s been texting me.  There’s a new guy who emailed me on Match today.  Batter up!


Dad and Me - Do you think the Professor resembles him a little?  Is that why I'm not interested in him?

Dad and Me – Do you think the Professor resembles him a little? Is that why I’m not interested in him?

The Professor and Julianne, Part 2, Jazz Fest


Poo Live Crew, a parody of Too Live Crew, was hilarious!

“It kinda weirds me out that you found my blog,” I admitted.

“It kinda weirds me out, too!” Professor Ryan Papaya admitted.  “You gave me your email address to send you directions, and I found your Google+ Profile with a link to your blog.  There are writers in my family, so I’m a character in two books already.  I’m used to the fact that what I remember and what is printed, are sometimes a little different.  For example, I said that there were tap dancers on the side stages, and the blog quotes me as saying tap dancers and baton twirlers.  Your version is actually better; adding the baton twirlers makes sense.”

I blushed a little.  “I don’t like misquoting people, but my memory isn’t perfect, and so I take poetic license.  I’m glad you think that was an improvement,” I said.

“Oh yes!  And I have to remember—whether in your blog or in my sister-in-law’s books—that the character Ryan said this or that.  The real Ryan—me, the person—may have said something different.  The writer has the freedom to change things,” he agreed.

I hadn’t yet told him that he shared my brother’s first name.  That fact seemed insignificant at the time.  Besides, I liked calling him The Professor.  Later when I found out that he was named after his grandfather, I told him that I have a grandfather by the same name.  The conversation made a turn and I didn’t add that my brother was named after our grandfather, too.  I think it’s a cool coincidence, just one more thing that we have in common.

JazzFest_Singer_April 2015

Bonnie and Nick Norris – She had a powerful voice and sang awesome covers of old songs.

“What kind of music do you like?” The Professor asked.

“I like a variety, from country to pop rock.  I listen to the Eagles, Rascal Flatts, and Evanescence, just to name a few,” I said.

“I like the Eagles.  Have you seen them in concert?  No?  I have.  I also have an Evanescence CD,” he said.

“I can kill Bring Me to Life in karaoke,” I said, referencing an Evanescence song.  I was a little surprised that we like the same music.  We discussed concerts and discovered that he’s been to a lot more than I have!  Which isn’t hard, since I avoid crowds in general.

His phone beeped.  “Look!” he said.  “I have a message from a woman on Match!  Doesn’t she know that she’s not supposed to contact a guy at 8 p.m. on Saturday night?!  She must not have read the rules!”

I laughed, both happy and shocked that he had read the Online Dating Advice on my blog.  On one hand, it’s cool that he knows what I expect.  On the other hand, it’s a little odd to have my rules quoted.

“I can follow the rules, if I know them,” he said.  “I have a few rules of my own, too.”  He told me a couple of his rules, which you can read on his blog here.  Oh yes, he started a blog.  Isn’t that FUN?!  I found that out the next day (today).  He even has a big pic of papayas, so that you know that you’re in the right place.

I said, “You know would be cool?  I write a blog on today’s date, and you write a blog on today’s date, then we compare notes.”

“I was thinking that that would fun,” he said.

That made me happy.  Ryan wasn’t going to freak out over my blog (well, not enough to do damage, anyway) and was actually going to support it!  And play along!  YAY!

Then he asked me to dance.  I was temporarily in shock.  I usually date nerdy white boys that refuse to step foot on a dance floor.  Here Ryan was asking me—HE was asking ME—to go dance?  “Yes!  Just, not to this song,” I said.  Poo Live Crew was playing something unfamiliar.  Once the band moved on to something that I recognized, we got up to shake our groove things.

The ground was muddy from the torrential downpour the previous night.  Our shoes were muddy from traversing the festival grounds, but dancing covered us in another level of mud.  At one point, I showed him my mud-spattered legs, and he bent down and wiped off the worst of it.

“I didn’t mean for you to do that,” I said.  “I was just showing the dirt to you.”

He smiled.  “Maybe I knew that, and I was just using it as an excuse to touch your legs.”

I smiled back.  The man knows how to flirt!  Bonus!

BTW, Poo Live Crew was hilarious.  They started out by saying, “We’re going to play some really hard rock!  Hope you’re ready for this!”  And then they played New Kids On the Block, “The Right Stuff.”  NKOTB were one of the 90’s boy bands.  Their music is as fluffy and light as pop rock gets.  Poo played some other songs, acting all tough between, then launching into a Top Gun medley of songs that were mostly sung by female singers originally.  It was awesome to see a band decked out like hard core rappers, singing, “Watching I keep waiting, still anticipating love…Take my breath away!”

That was a great way to end the festival.  Professor Papaya walked me to my car and said, “I like your in-person persona better than your blogger persona.  The blogger seems a bit cynical.”

“Oh no!  My cynical is showing!”  I said, using my hands to cover myself as if I were naked.  “It’s quite embarrassing when that shows through.  I try to hide it as much as possible.”

We laughed, kissed, and he said, “When can I see you again?  How about Friday?  Oh, you’re busy.  You’ll be back on this side of town for school on Monday and Wednesday, right?”

Once more I was pleasantly surprised.  I’m used to ending a date, then analyzing it on the drive home.  Does he like me?  Will he call?  Is he going to be disappointed that I won’t go sailing with him?  To have a guy ask me out before I leave is—awesome.  I don’t have to do all the guess work.  I don’t have to wonder.  I can just relax.

“Monday night I’m committed, but Wednesday works.  I think that I’m busy on Friday night, I’m just not sure what.  I’ll have to check my schedule,” I said.  Turns out that I have plans with a girlfriend on Friday.  As a matter of fact, that girlfriend’s husband is named Ryan, too.

“Wednesday is great, we’ll go to this restaurant I like and sit on the rooftop patio.  I’ll text you the details.  Good night!”  Ryan said.

When I got in the car and turned on the radio, Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” was playing.  I smiled.  It had been on when I pulled up, too.

Sure, I’m weirded out that he reads my blog.  That gives him an unfair advantage: he knows a lot about me, and what I expect.  However, if he can read about all the times that I fell on my face romantically, and all my rules, and still like who I am, then this relationship could go somewhere.

“Hopeless Romantics, here we go again…” The Eagles, New Kid in Town.

Scratch that.  That song is too damn depressing.

“People fall in love in mysterious ways, maybe just the touch of a hand…” Ed Sheeran.


PS.  The Professor posted his version on his page.  It’s so sweet!