Point System

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“Date someone a point below you,” Carol said.

We were at Seaport Village in San Diego, enjoying wine and the beautiful view, in early November.  Mary was beside me; Carol’s handsome lawyer husband and cute fireman brother were at her table.

I laughed.  “I feel like I tried that,” I said.  “I dated a series of guys who were short.  One actually fell asleep and took micro-naps when there were pauses in the conversation.”  I closed my eyes and pretended to nod off.

“Oh no, we don’t put up with that!” Carol said.  “Unacceptable!  But seriously, you need to date someone a point below you, so that they will appreciate you.”

******

At my next happy hour in Dallas, I brought this up to my friends.  They had a lot to say on the subject, but more questions than anything else.

“Which point system?” Lana Lollipop asked.  “I think of it as more of a spreadsheet: intelligence, appearance, charisma…probably more…all play a role.  There’s not just one rating.”

“I think she means hotness,” I answered.  “I consider myself a 6, maybe a 7.  I mean, I need to lose a little weight, and I’m not tall or young.  I’m working on it, but I need a serious diet and more hours working out if I’m going to get back to the 8 that I used to be.”

“But you’re so intelligent!”  Elizabeth said, “You have a master’s degree.  To some guys, that will matter more than whether you have an extra pound or two.”

“Punctuality means a lot to you, too,” said Lana.

“You know me so well!” I said.  We talked about Bad Keith for a while.  Ah, good times (not!).

We debated the meaning of the Point System for a while longer, getting nowhere.

******

And so, I went back to the source.  “Carol, explain the Point System to me, and what you meant when you said that the guy should be a point below me,” I said. 

Carol’s Explanation

Ok Love, the point system isn’t as easy as, “I’m and 8 he’s a 7 on a hotness scale and now we are going to be the perfect couple.”  Not even close.  First and foremost, you have to be very realistic with yourself before you give yourself a number. Don’t do this with your nice friends that sugar coat the world for you.  Don’t let your friends excuse something that you consider important to you with a compliment on your intelligence.  Elisabeth and Lana both mentioned two amazing attributes about intelligence and punctuality and if you’re going to offer those as pros, you have to be looking for someone who is also forgoing the gym and diet to be on time and smart and you have to find that sexy. 

There is someone for everyone you just have to be realistic about what you want and what you’re giving. Think of it as an exchange.  For example, you wouldn’t want to exchange a sports car for a minivan. Here is the fun part: with every statement like that, there are plenty of families that very much enjoy having a sports car and a minivan.  There are always so many factors.  For example, I’m fit, I work out at 5 a.m. a few times a week, I take care of my body.  But, I personally couldn’t care less when I was single if I dated a man that was 400 lbs. and I have. I find intelligence and business sense and family values so much more important. I’m actually turned on by quick wit, confidence and amazing personalities.  So, like I said, there’s someone for everyone.  Just be realistic with what your giving and what you are wanting in return.

Always remember NICE ISN’T NICE!!!  That is the motto I live by. I enjoy honesty and if you are looking to get better or grow as a person, telling yourself nice little lies won’t get you there.   Please don’t read this to think I’m shallow or a bitch.  It’s just a fact that we all are looking to attract a mate.  It is a game and it’s competitive and all you’re risking by sugar coating facts is not finding a partner that you will LOVE to be with.

If you’re a mess you’re only going to attract a mess. If you KEEP attracting a certain type of man it is absolutely your fault. Something you’re doing, looking for or putting out there is drawing that to you.   Like attracts like kind or total opposites and in that case, you have a different set of issues.  I would be happy to discuss my opinions on opposites at a later date.  I will break myself down so you can see how work my point system or more my sliding scale. 

First let’s out the 5th grade girl in us and let’s write down our pros and cons list. Do this for yourself also write down one for your perfect mate. Write down everything your perfect mate would be, do, have, and achieved. Write down the things you must have and then on the other side things he can’t have, absolute deal breakers.  If you hesitate or are unsure don’t write it down these have to almost be things you have strong convictions for. If you don’t have any strong feelings or convictions and your list isn’t at least 10 plus bullet points then we need to address personal issues on why you don’t have the strongest self-worth or simply you haven’t spent the time thinking about the topic. It seems nowadays so many of us worry about our weight, careers, kids, pets, whatever but we give no thought to what we want so we settle for what lands at our feet.  We set goals for everything in life this is no different.

My perfect guy (also this was my match.com guide that I followed to get my husband)

1.            Blue eyes (I wanted light-eyed babies)

2.            Catholic/Jewish

3.            5’8-6’2 (best heights that match my height for dancing, sex…etc the shorter the better on that scale)

4.            Owns his own home

5.            Close to his family = good relationships

6.            friends I can get along with

7.            makes over a certain income

8.            Masters or better degree

9.            Lives in my area (don’t want to relocate)

10.          spontaneous- free spirit- funny- good personality (this you have to go on a few dates to see)

11.          No bad debt = good credit score

12.          loves to travel

13.          Wants kids

14.          can get along with a variety of people – good at networking

 My Cons: Absolute deal breakers these I keep to myself and check off as they come up in conversation. Don’t be quick to judge. Take your time to ask follow up questions make sure they have a chance to explain. There are always exceptions to all rules. 

Cons:

Bad Debt,

baby mamma drama,

unstable career,

lack of focus and drive or motivation,

sloppy or messy,

don’t want to talk about kids or have more. 

All of these are 99% deal breakers for me. I won’t even waste my time. Most of these are fundamental personality issues or types that will simple hate life with me and I will hate them. We can be friends but that’s probably all. 

Know what you want and know exactly what you won’t put up with. Do yourself the favor and don’t waste your time trying to fix anyone. No one changes we can adapt and grow but we don’t change easily so don’t bother trying. You want a project pick up a hobby. 

One warning: think through what you really want in a man because you just might get it. I have always wanted a man that was close to his mother.  I once ended up with the worst momma’s boy! So be very specific.   Make this list super specific. If 6-pack abs and tan skin are on your list, I am sorry my dears, but you need to make sure you can keep up with that guy and you’re being realistic about wanting that. What I mean to say is have like goals and interests, don’t get caught up in looks. Looks will always fade and you and your partner can work out and get that 6 pack together if that’s really a desire of yours.   

Pros: (positive things about me that I can use in my favor depending on my type.)

Self Employed,

successful,

28 years old (at the time). 

I have good education,

great family,

great friends,

networking circle,

I’m focused,

I know what I want,

I can be wild and fun but also enjoy quiet nights,

I’m loyal to my loved ones,

I’m 120 lbs, 5’5.

With this list for my type of guy, I’m could safely say I am an 8. Let me say this again, I am an 8 for MY type of guy. Many men might find me sexually attractive and I would rank higher with them, but those guys don’t do it for me. Also and probably more prevalent many men might find me too outspoken and opinionated so I would rank as a 4 to these types of men.  Some issues really drop your score.

Cons:

I’m opinionated,

demanding,

honest and straight forward to a fault,

I can be crass,

I have a tendency to emasculate,

I can be a bit controlling and competitive.

Also recently divorced with 2 daughters under 4 years old. 

So as you can see some of these gems bring me down a point. So safely I say I am an 8. 

Now here is the fun part where you start to rack up a man’s points. Let’s do this point system for my husband. (He is going to hate this!)

Pros (for me):

6’2,

athletic build,

practices same religion,

Lawyer,

good family,

no bad debt,

owns his own home,

owns his own business,

has similar goals,

good family.

Sweet,

kind,

super cute and

smart,

easy to get along with.

My guy was almost too good to be true but this is where you have to look deep and read between the lines and ask some probing questions and the first couple dates.  I found out his cons (to me): He was way too attached to his mother, he still relied on his family for a lot of his support and direction, He is so nice he had a hard time standing up for himself, he knew what he wanted but lacked the push to get him there. So if you would look superficially he would be a 9 maybe 10. I mean a sexy. Partner in a large law firm, that likes me with good family, smart, fun to be with, easy going what’s not a 10 about that? Although at the beginning, I rated him as a 6.

To add to this:

             He had gone through a bad relationship.

             He had these mommy issue.

 These so easily drop him to the 6 rating. Emotional baggage is most times a huge deal breaker. Good thing I am a smart girl and saw this man is perfect for me he just needed to rebuild that confidence his ex kicked out of him and let him see that  his mother has been enabling him and I will have myself my own real life prince charming. I wasn’t changing him.  I was just showing him that he had negative influences and once removed he raised back to an appropriate score of 9 or 10.

 We always need to have a scale system in place when the bad outweighs the good RUN!  Lucky for me he saw his Ex was very abusive and mother was enabling negative behaviors. So with support from friends and other family members it was easy to make him happy again.

Let me tell you my negative attributes of being bossy are attributes he enjoys: He is very passive. So we balance each other out, which is a win-win for us.

So now together as a team I feel comfortable saying I’m a 9 because he balances me out and makes me the best me. My husband appreciates my drive and how much further that has gotten us and he loves my girls so truly he should be a point higher than me but he is just a humble personality and he keeps himself at an 8, so that works. He gets the fun of chasing and being with a girl he believes to be a 9 and I get to love a man that is on a lot of girls scale a 10 but keeps himself at an 8 my diamond in the rough. 

In this case, he is the same as me but because of his personality he tries very hard to always work on our relationship he is always chasing me. I enjoy being wanted makes me feel special and sexy.  In return I respect him and all he does so I work equally as hard to make him feel loved and honored. It’s a balance once you find a mate. If you think you’re going to find a guy, be super happy then you get to relax.  Watch out and hope no one has their eye on your man because you will lose him.  If you find a catch don’t be complacent and think he can’t do better it’s always going to be a give and a take. This way you also keep the sex fun and vibrant. There are more and more girls becoming women that can easily gain interest in your man if he’s a catch give him a reason to keep you. The benefit to this is if you’re trying he will follow suit. If your man doesn’t there you have some serious relationship issues. 

Ladies lets always remember this…. men need to be loved, women need to be wanted. I don’t try to be sexist and consider myself a feminist. I can with a straight face tell you “I can do anything a man can do, and sometimes 5X better,” but there are just so many things that I don’t want to do that are better left to men or women that would enjoy the task.   I love my husband for what he does, how he handles life’s stresses, the man that he is, and he wants me, finds my drive sexy, fears me at times…hahaha but it keeps both of us chasing each other and trying. So, by being a 9 and marrying an 8 (in my mind a 10) he always tries to keep me happy and I love what. We meet each other’s needs. Find someone who fills your needs and then look for his needs and fill those. As a woman, it’s better to be chased then to chase. Find your balance and respect yourself.

****

Ok, Carol, I’ll try it your way. 

Last night, I reactivated my Match.com account.  Within 24 hours, I had 93 views and 17 likes.  I stuck to Carol’s plan: be picky.  I rejected the guys who were more than 5 years older than me (they had other flaws, too) and the guy who was 19 (still a teenager!).  I thought hard about the guy who seemed ok, but a little older.  After all, he was mostly awesome.  But no, Carol said to set narrow standards and not to settle.

So I emailed one of the guys, and we have a date on Saturday!  Yay!

If this works out, I’ll owe Carol, big time. 

“I think you’re hot,” the guy from Match texted me.

 Uh oh.  He’s testing the waters. 

“I think you’re handsome,” I responded, using a classier word than hot.  “Just take it slow, ok?  I’m a good girl (mostly).  (Sometimes.)” 

I was going for “Good Girl with a Bad Girl Side, but don’t move too fast.”  How did I do?  Damn it.  Maybe I shouldn’t have said anything at all.  Urgh.

Geesh, dating is hard!  Wish me luck!

Cheers!

Your California Dream Girl

P.S. San Diego is amazing!  Check out my Instagram (@jules_strawberry_rules) or Facebook (Jules Strawberry) if you want to see more pics.    I’m also on twitter, but I don’t tweet much (@JulesSberry).

P.S.S. Next time, I’ll share my lists.  Again.  I know, I’ve shared ‘em before, but get ready for some *updated* Jules Rules!

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Poinsettia Tree in Little Italy

 

 

 

 

Cali or Bust! Married in a Year!

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“I can have you married in a year!” Carol Courgette told me, assessing me with her serious gaze.

Shocked by her confidence and her words, I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or run.  “I don’t want to get married!  Been there, done that!” I said.

“Oh, you just want to get laid,” she said, putting down her wine glass.

We sat on the deck of a wine shop in Seaport Village, San Diego, California, overlooking the water.  The weather was a perfect 65F and I was buzzed from the wine that I’d already imbibed.  Mary and I were in San Diego on a house hunting trip, and Carol was sitting next to us.  She had jumped into the conversation when she heard us talking about neighborhoods, and as usual with me, the conversation had turned to dating.

That’s right, I was in San Diego to look for a condo.  I’m moving to Cali!  On Facebook I joked about moving to become an actress; that’s not strictly true, I’m moving for my day job.  If I get discovered one day while looking fabulous in a coffee shop, well, who am I to question fate?

Until then, I’ll see if Carol knows some magic tricks that I don’t know.

“Um, no.  I would like a boyfriend,” I answered.  “What’s your formula for getting me hitched?”

Carol Courgette’s Rules for Snagging a Husband

  1. Don’t put out for a while. Make him wait for it.  Ok, we’ve heard this one before; The Bitch’s Guide to Dating stated, “Don’t give away the jujubes; make him want the candy store.”  Or was it, “Men Love Bitches”?  You know, I get those two books mixed up.  Anyhow, I’m sure that rule has been around for a while; it’s just not very fun, so people choose to ignore it.  Hey, I didn’t say that I ignore it, I said   You know, in general.
  2. Let him pay for the meals. “Wait a minute,” I said, “I like to pay, so that I don’t feel obligated.”  Carol snorted and said, “Guys like the old fashioned shit.  Trust me.”
  3. Create a very specific Match.com profile. Ok, I feel like I’ve been there & done that, then widened the search because the guy I wanted, didn’t exist.  “Trust me,” Carol said.  “I wanted a guy over 6’ tall, blue eyes, professional.  Here sits my husband, the lawyer.”  Can’t argue with that evidence, counselor!
  4. Join clubs, so that you can meet people. Ok, so I feel like I’ve done this before.  Maybe all the engineering clubs are full of men, but they’re either too young, too married, or too…well, not my type.  I need a cool engineer, like me.
  5. Wear sandals; you get used to them. Hey, Mary and I walked all over the city, and through several condos, so I wore sneakers with my dress.  I wasn’t there to pick up guys.  So what if I looked like a tourist – I was one!

I asked a couple of bankers what they thought of these rules (ok, not the last one—that one’s solid).  Yes, bankers—they were nice, we were having a good time, and so I asked ‘em what they thought.  They were married, so they had no vested interest in whether I used the rules or not.  The convo went something like this:

Banker #2 said, “I’m sure it’ll get you married, but it might get you divorced.  You should be yourself.”

Wait, I should be myself and put out as soon as possible?  What kind of a slut does he think I am?  And does he expect a guy to divorce me because I love sex?  Or does he think that I’ll get married and go back to wearing sneakers with dresses?

“Well, uh, I’m not going to comment on whether you should or should not put out.  I do think you should join clubs, so that you can meet people who share your interests.  And then, if you hit it off, great!” the first banker said.

The second banker said, “No, don’t join groups just to meet people!  Join them because you want to be there and want to be doing those things.  If you meet someone, they don’t have to love all the same things as you; you should share some interests and have some things that you do, that he doesn’t, and the other way around.”

“That’s what I said,” Banker #1 (the hot one) said.  Too bad he’s married!  “Join a running club, meet some people, and if you find a guy there to date, then you know that you have running in common.”

“No!  Don’t do that!  If you like running, then join the group, fine.  But don’t do it expecting to meet someone!” Banker #2 (the funny one) said.

“Um, I think you’re saying the same thing, in different words,” I finally said.

Banker #2 wasn’t sure, but he quit arguing.  “So, do you know anyone in San Diego?” he asked.

“No, I don’t,” I answered honestly.  “I’m going for a new job.  It’s exciting and scary and OMG I can’t believe I’m leaving TEXAS!!!”

“Have you visited yet?” Banker #2 asked.

“Yes, my friend and I went house hunting,” I said.

“Ah ha!” he said.  “So you DO have a friend there!”

I just looked at him.  Then I explained verrrrry slowwwwwly, “My friend and I bought tickets and boarded an airplane, so for the short time that we were in San Diego, yes, I had a friend there.  However, since we are now back in Texas, having returned from our trip, I no longer have a friend in that city.”  Like, DUH!  I imported a friend for the weekend!

Ok, that sounds a tiny bit pathetic.  Stay with me here.

“And who is your friend?” he asked, voice dripping with suspicion, leaning forward and glancing slyly at Banker #1, as though saying, We’ve got her now!  She has to confess!

I wonder what I was supposed to be guilty of.  Having a friend?  Having a lover?  Did he think that I was hiding a hot guy in my closet?  Well, sorry to disappoint!

I answered, quite honestly, “My friend Mary.  She’s a 65-year-old grandma, who is a dear friend of mine.  I was very grateful that she agreed to house hunt with me.”

Sigh.  I wish my travel partner had been a hot guy!  (No offense, Mary.  I’m sure you wish that I was a hot guy, too.)

The movers will be here on Monday and I’ll drive into the sunset on Tuesday.  Ok, I’m driving west, so technically, I’ll be driving into the sunrise.  At any rate, I’ll be leaving my beloved Texas, friends, and family behind to start a new life on the west coast.  As much as they’re sorry to see me go, several have promised to come visit.  It warms my heart to have such great friends.  Ah, who am I kidding—they’ll be visiting San Diego, not me!!

And who can blame them?!  The city is gorgeous, the weather is fabulous, and there’s so much to do!  Legoland, the zoo, Balboa Park (which is 140% the size of New York’s Central Park and boasts 17 museums PLUS gardens, and more!), Little Italy, the Gaslamp District, Old Towne, and…what else? Hmmm, what did I leave out?

THE OCEAN!!

Jack told me, “Mom, I don’t like the ocean.”

I answered, “Sweetheart, you’ve never seen the ocean.”

“Yes, I have,” he answered, “I’ve been to Galveston and Port Aransas.”

I stared at him in silence for a moment.  Oh, no, the boy was serious!!  “Um, Jack?  Those are Texan cities on the Gulf of Mexico.  Comparing the Gulf to the ocean is like comparing a bathtub to a swimming pool: they both have water, but they’re verrrrrrrry different.”

He said, “I reserve judgment until I see it.”

His sister first saw an ocean in 2010, on the east coast: she ran to it, jumped up and down like a child (she was a mature 12 years old at the time), and insisted that I splash in the waves with her.  Then we had to build a sand castle—YES WE HAD TO!  It’s MANDATORY when visiting a REAL BEACH for the first time.  At least, that’s what Sally I-Love-the-Ocean-And-I’m-Never-Going-Home Strawberry told me!

So now you know why I haven’t posted in a while.  And now you know that you have much to look forward to: stories of my adventure in a new state with foreign customs!  Ok, so California isn’t really “foreign,” per se, but Trust Me when I say it’s a different culture!  Who knew that you’re not supposed to wear sneakers with a dress!

(Ok, so I knew that.  I was just throwing out a convenient example.)

And I may just have to try Match.com again, with Carol’s pinpoint precision instructions.  Who knows – maybe I’ll actually meet a guy.  And maybe—just maybe—I’ll want to marry him.

Hey, I’m a dreamer!

Cheers!

P.S.  “All my exes live in Texas.  That’s why I hang my hat in San Diego!!”

P.S.S. It’s not strictly true, but I’m going to say it anyway.  Sorry, King George, for misquoting you!

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My sad face when I had to get on the plane leaving San Diego.

Hello, Handsome – Part II

 

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My first real cowboy hat!  2006

“Have you ever been to San Antonio?” Harry asked me on Tuesday during our nightly conversation.

“Why, yes.  Back in 2002 my friend Edward—the gorgeous black bodybuilder—took me to San Antonio to check out a club.  Turns out it was a swinger’s club.  I danced on a pole and chatted with a really cute, nice couple.  Edward sprang for a hotel room (for just the two of us; I don’t get into the swinger thing).”  That would have been the most honest answer, but may have been a little too much honesty, so I opted for a shorter answer.  “I’ve been there a couple of times, but haven’t been there for years.”

“Let’s go.  I’ll drive and get the hotel rooms.  What do you say?”

“Separate hotel rooms?” I was just seeking clarification; didn’t want him to think I was scared of him, but I didn’t want to make assumptions, either.

“Of course.  We can go this weekend if you like,” Harry said.

“Sounds great!” I answered.

I called Portia to let her know.  She was excited for me.  “If ya’ll are still dating in February,” She joked, “You’ll need to send candy to Dawn to say, ‘Happy Valentine’s Day and Thank you!’  What am I saying—ya’ll don’t need to send candy, Harry will!”

We giggled.

“I’ll be in Austin this weekend, too.  Ok if I stay at your house?”  Portia’s ex-husband still lived in Austin (she had just moved to San Angelo the year before) and so Portia dropped their son off every other weekend for visitation.  I had given Portia a key to my house long ago and told her that she was free to come and go as she pleased.

“Of course you’re welcome.  Mi casa es su casa,” I told her.

So Portia was there when Harry arrived.  I had her take pictures of us in front of Harry’s truck and the grin on my face was so goofy in love that it was my favorite picture for a long time after.

My house is about 1.5 hours from San Antonio, on the north side of Austin, which means that Harry and I had plenty of time to talk along the way.  I’ve never been shy, so I came right out with what was on my mind.

“What’s your definition of a girlfriend?  I mean, when can you call someone your girlfriend?”  I asked.

“I don’t know, I hadn’t really thought about it.”  He replied, pensively.  “What do you think?  Clearly you’ve had time to think about it.”

“Well, there are three main criteria,” I said.  “First, a couple has to agree to be exclusive, which means they aren’t dating anyone else.”

“Ok, I can agree to that.  I’m not dating anyone else; are you?”

“Nope,” I said, a little surprised that he was applying the list to us immediately.

“Ok, what else you got?”

“You’ve got to date a certain period of time.  I’m not sure how long—my friends and I talked about at least 2 dates, or at least a month, but we couldn’t really agree.  What do you think?”

“Well I think that if you like someone, it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been dating,” Harry said, with conviction.  “What’s your third criteria?”

“That both people agree to use the titles.  I say that because I’ve known guys that just hate to be called ‘boyfriend.’ It scares them off, or they just don’t like titles.  What do you think?”

“I think,” Harry said, taking my hand while watching the road, and observing me with little glances to gage my mood, “That I know that I like you, I’m not dating anyone else, and I’m fine with calling you my girlfriend, if that’s what you want.”

I was a little surprised.  “Yes, of course!” I said.  Wow, what a great guy!

“Good.  Now that we’ve got that taken care of,” he said, “Do you want to stop at Cabella’s?”

Cabella’s is a new store located in Buda, just south of Austin.  It is a huge sports/hunting/fishing store featuring an indoor waterfall, stuffed animals (real ones, not the kids’ toys), and all the equipment a sports nut could dream up.  It was so huge that it had become a tourist attraction; the signs on the highway announced the exit.

“Sure,” I said.  Though not a hunter myself, I was curious to see this colossal superstore.  And it was everything that I expected it to be.  From the outside, it looked like a mall.  On the inside, it still reminded me of a mall; only, instead of stores, it had departments:   Fishing department, Gun department, Clothing department: different camouflage patterns, shirts with deer heads printed on them, hip waders, rubber boots, etc.  As we toured the testament to man’s love of nature, we chatted some more and held hands.

“Help me out here—I’m a little hazy on the dates.  When did you marry Jamie?” I asked.

“I knew this would come up,” Harry said, visibly nervous.  He looked around, trying to decide how to word his answer and said, “We got married in April 2003.  We were married just over two years.”

I tried to do the math in my head and it just didn’t sound right.  “That means you got divorced—when?”

“In May.”

“This past May?”  He nodded.  My mind was having trouble digesting this info.  That meant that he was married in April when we met.  Was he wearing a ring?  I couldn’t remember.  But it wouldn’t matter; lots of married people had bare hands.  The engineers that I worked with called rings a safety hazard.

Harry saw the confused look on my face and said, “I know you have a rule against dating guys within a year of their divorce,” Harry said, tensely, carefully, “That’s why I didn’t mention it before.”  Damn right, I have a rule, and for good reasons!  I’ve been bitten by this one before.  I struggled against the urge to run, scream, or both.  I took a deep breath.  I decided that given the opportunity to go home and wonder “What if” or spend the weekend in picturesque San Antonio with the handsome Mr. Handsome, I’d take the latter.

I smiled at him and said, “Well, we’re here now, I’ll take my chances.”  He let out the breath he’d been holding and smiled back at me.  We walked around for a while talking about the various equipment.  He carried around some ammo for a while, but then thought better of having to transport it all the way back to San Angelo, and put it back.

We were walking through the clothes—thermal underwear for the cold mornings tracking deer—when I asked Harry, “Where would you live if you could live anywhere?”

“My sister is in Tennessee, so maybe there,” he began.  “Or Fort Worth.  I’ve done some job shopping online—nothing serious, just seeing what’s out there—and FW has some ME jobs in the medical manufacturing industry; I could live there.  San Antonio’s nice, too.  I’m vested at J&J; if I stay two more years, then I’ll be fully vested.  So I’m going to try to stick around until then.  What about you?” he countered.

“I love Texas and I want my kids to be around family, where are here.  If I could have any job, it would be working for NASA.  But the jobs I wants are in California or Colorado.  Since I don’t want to leave the state, I’d rather live in Austin, San Antonio, or Fort Worth.  San Angelo is nice, too.”  I smiled at him.

“Did they tell you when you’d find out if you have the job?” Harry had insider knowledge yet pretended that he didn’t.  I respected his strong ethics; a lesser man would have told me what the interviewers decided.

“The HR rep said two weeks,” I replied, “Which was over last week. I sent an email to Kathy and she responded that I should hear back from them next week.”

Harry shook his head.  “That human resources department is so slow.”

We had walked around most the store (though not seen everything, I’m sure, since it is so huge), so Harry asked, “Ready to go?”

From there we went to San Marcos, which is the next major city on I-35.  San Marcos is known for its outlet malls.  Buses of Mexicans arrive every weekend, since the border is only a couple of hours away, and Texans drive for miles for the chance to get a name brand outfit for a good price.  Harry and I decided to look around.  I wanted some cute tops and Harry wanted some sunglasses.

Harry bought me three different tops from three different stores.  He’s a very patient shopper.  Maybe because has four sisters.  He pointed out shirts that he thought were cute.  We stopped in the Sunglasses Hut to get shades.  He tried on one wrap around pair and said, “Look!  McFly!”  He would have been happy to shop longer, but I felt like I was taking advantage as it were.  So we stopped for lunch.  I had seen a Schlotski’s Deli on the way in and suggested that, but when we started driving to it, we realized that it was on the other side of the interstate.  “Never mind,” I said, “We can eat at Applebee’s, right here.”

“If you want to eat at Schlotski’s, I don’t mind driving over there,” my ultra-sweet Boyfriend (!!) offered.  He was sincere in wanting to make me happy; there was no spite or frustration in his voice or eyes.  I didn’t really care; I could eat at either restaurant (they’re both franchises).  So we went to Applebee’s.

While we were sitting at the table, Harry said, “There’s this girl that I like…”  I stiffened up.  Was he dating someone else?  No, he told me in the car that he wasn’t.  “I’m taking her to San Antonio.”  OH he was talking about ME!  Duh.  In third person, how cute!

“Yes?”  I encouraged him to continue.

“How do I know that she likes me?”  He asked.

I laughed.  I couldn’t help it!  Here I was, all goofy over this guy, and he wasn’t sure that I liked him?!  I began in a Socratic way.

“She agreed to go with you to San Antonio?”

“Yes,” he responded.

“Does she ever hold your hand?” like in Cabella’s, surrounded by stuffed dead things, while pretending to enjoy the scenery?

“Yes.”

“Then she likes you,” I concluded.  Maybe not the best or well-thought out argument, but it worked.  Harry beamed a pleased, slightly embarrassed smile.  He looked so boyish and young, he was just too adorable!

“What about you?  You seeing anyone?”  He prompted.

“Sure, I’m dating this guy,” I responded.  “But I’m not sure about when we should—you know—be physically intimate.  In my experience, guys quit liking a girl afterward.”

He looked confused.  “I think physical intimacy should bring two people closer together,” he said.

“Well it seems to me that beforehand, there’s romantic dinners and flowers and such, and none of that afterward.”

“I think there should be more romance after,” he said, confidently.  I hoped that he was right (despite my experience to the contrary).  I smiled flirtatiously.

The rest of the weekend was like a dream: so perfect.  We checked into the hotel, which was the Hilton on the Riverwalk.  Our rooms were on one of the high floors and were gorgeous; the hotel had recently renovated, so the paint was fresh and carpet was new.  The rooms were spacious, too.  From that and the location, I could tell that Harry had spent some cash and I appreciated it.

After checking in, we went down to the Riverwalk.  It is beautiful.  It’s below street level, with lots of trees and plants, so that its mostly cool and shady.  (Texas is hot, even in October.)  Restaurants and shops line the river and at one end there’s a mall.  The river is only four feet deep in most places.  Harry and I walked and talked and ducked into a few art shops just off the Riverwalk.

That night we had dinner at a great TexMex restaurant.  At least, I think it was great; the margarita certainly was!  Then we walked over to Howl at the Moon, a piano bar.  We had fun watching the Aggie vs. UT Fight Song war!  He’s an Aggie (graduated from Texas A&M) and I’m a Longhorn (I attend the University of Texas at Austin.)  One piano player would start playing the A&M fight song, then someone would tip the other piano player and he would play the Longhorn’s Eyes of Texas Are Upon You.  This would go back and forth, as the crowd got more worked up and the tips piled up, until finally a winner was pronounced to much cheering and booing.  This night, the Longhorns were more generous than the Aggies.

We stayed for a couple of hours watching the piano players perform, then walked back to the hotel.  Harry was a perfect gentleman.

I was not the perfect lady.  I kissed him, letting him know that I wanted more.  We really could have gotten just one hotel room; but I’m glad that it was a choice.

Cheers!

********

This was part II of the story of Harry and I dating.  We were together for another month before it ended; that story isn’t as fun.  If you missed Part I, it’s here.

Come back next week; I hope to share some life-altering good news with you.

May your dates be hot, if you want them to be 😉

Cheers!

 

Zion Vacation Summary

 

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“We hiked all the way up here, to Angel’s Landing, 1,488 feet,” Corvus tells me.  “That’s where we couldn’t walk any more, and had to use the chain to climb up the rocks.”

Standing at the Visitor Center looking at a topological map of Zion National Park, I almost fainted.  “I definitely got further than I expected, and if you had shown me this map before we went up, I wouldn’t have done it!” I tell him.  “Still, it was fun.  I put to use some of the moves that I learned rock climbing in the gym.”

Sally and I packed A LOT into our one week vacation, including:

One of my good friends has two wolves in a small town south of Dallas, so I took Sally to meet them today.  She LOVED the experience!  Personally, I think they look like big dogs.

I have about a hundred pictures, but Corvus has about a thousand.  Here are just a few.  WOW, looks like we’ve been photoshopped into post cards!  What an amazing adventure!

I managed to prank Sally, but not very well.  She had bought me a dog toy that crinkles, like it has a plastic bag inside.  “Crinkle crinkle” is an old private joke from our Grand Canyon Road Trip (2012), which I could explain but it wouldn’t make sense—it’s one of those “You Had To Be There” jokes.  Anywho, she had given me the dog toy as a gag gift about a month ago.  So I took it to Utah, put it under her pillow, and waited for her to lean back.

Instead, she picked up her pillow to move it.  Who the hell does that?!  Sheesh!  But the dog toy still had the desired effect: she looked at me with wide eyes and laughed hysterically.  We spent several minutes having our usual conversation (again, I could explain it, but…):

“CRINKLE CRINKLE!” she says.

“Yo face!” I say.

“Crinkle!” she says.

“Yo mama!” I tell her.  This makes very little sense when a mother says it to her daughter, which makes us crack up laughing.  And THIS is just one more reason that I love traveling with my little girl: we make each other laugh.

Corvus stopped trying to understand us, and just sat back and smiled.

I explained one conversation by telling him, “I’ve dated a few different guys named Mike: a workaholic, a plumber, a mayor…”

Corvus said, “You need to make this into a rhyme, like ‘This little piggy went to market, this little piggy stayed home.’  Instead, you’ve have, ‘This little Mikey was a workaholic, this little Mikey fixed toilets.  This little Mikey was a mayor, this little Mikey…’”

I DIED laughing.  I’ll finish that fine poetry and post it another day.

Cheers!

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Seeing this picture, I think, “I’m a badass!” and then follow that up with, “What the hell was I thinking?!  I could have slipped and died!!” followed by, “Damn, my ass looks GREAT!”

Zion, Days 2 & 3

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“Gilmore Girls was a TV series featuring a single mom and her daughter, who she had when she (the mom) was 15.  They were so close in age that they acted more like sisters,” I explain to Corvus.

“We’re like the Gilmore Girls,” Sally adds, “I’m young and you’re…”

I glare at her.  She doesn’t finish her sentence.

Corvus laughs and changes the topic, “We saw some chipmunks today, but no big animals.”

“I saw a cougar!” Salty answers, looking at me.

I laugh and answer, “I do like ’em young!” Then I change the topic with, “Corvus, let’s grab a bottle of wine to drink at the hotel.  I’ll buy, to repay you for the gallons of water you picked up at the store.”

“You’re changing water into wine!” Sally jests.

Zion was awesome yesterday.  Bryce Canyon was amazing today.  We’ll return to Zion tomorrow, to splash through the narrows.

“What would you call a bad adventure? Tapioca balls?” Corvus asks, referring to the fact that we call put adventures, “Pudding.”

“Mm, tapioca!” Sally answers.  “No, what was that stuff your grandma made? Jello salad!”

“With cottage cheese and mayo!” Corvus adds.

“Ewwww!  Jello salad!  Or sour pudding.  Either way, let’s hope we never go there!” I answer.  “Then again, we had a little jello salad; the last trail was closed.”

“Just a small jello salad, like a spoon full,” Sally agreed.

Cheers!

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Zion Vaca Day 1

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“You know it’s a vacation when you can eat your drink,” Sally said happily, munching on strawberries and basil ftom her strawberry and basil lemonade at The Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas.

Walking down the Strip a little while later, we met a nice couple (fellow tourists).  “Where are y’all from?” I drawled.

“England, near the middle, Birmingham,” the lady said in her melodous accent.

“I lived in Birmingham!” I exclaimed, as the lady’s eyes lit up.  “Alabama!”

We all laughed and the lady touched my arm, saying, “Good one!”

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I bought a frozen maragarita and we walked all over Vegas, seeing all of the sights in Vegas.  I’ll post more pics next week, when I’m home.

Corvus picked us up, and we cried, “Pudding!”

He answered, “Jello!”

Cheers!

 

 

Zion Adventure

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VACATION STARTS TODAY!  Sally, Corvus Tomatillo and I are starting our journey tomorrow.  PUDDING!!

Here’s the agenda:

Tuesday

Sally & I have breakfast with my father, stepmother, and Jack (who is now living with my dad, i.e. his grandfather).  Dad is going to drive us to the airport so that I don’t have to pay $20/day to leave my car at DFW.  Or is it $40?  Anyhow, it really adds up, so I’m grateful to have family that lives nearby.  At those rates, I can buy us all breakfast and still come out ahead!  It helps that Dad likes to eat at IHOP and use his senior citizen discount.  If he preferred the Gaylord Texan, then I might be better off paying for parking.

From DFW, Sally & I will fly to Sin City.  She’s never been, so she’s keen on visiting M&M World.  Her exact words were, “Oh Mommy, can we visit the M&M store?  Please please please mommy I’ve never been.”

Since I’m wrapped about her little finger (a life-long affliction), I answered, “Sure!  Let’s fly in early enough that we can walk The Strip and you can get a feel for Vegas.”  Subsequent planning has shown that Vegas is better at night: more shows, the lights are on, the freaks are out.  Eh, so, Sally will get to see Vegas by daylight; she can come back for her bachelorette party for the night life.  Her bachelorette party in the far, far, distant future.  Now I’m freaking out!

There is a magic show at 1 p.m., but I’m not sure if we can make that and see the sights.  We only have four hours.  But then, a show in Vegas would be pretty cool.  One hotel offers free circus acts from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; we’ll stop by there if we have time.

After four hours of walking the Strip with our luggage (any advice on where we could stash it?), Corvus will pick us up and take us to Zion.  He lives in Tucson, so Vegas is on the way for him (sorta) and only an hour and a half from Zion.  We’ll stop for groceries so that we can do picnic lunches and grab wine—I’m not sure if that’s his plan, but it’s definitely mine!  The corkscrew is already packed!  After all, I’ll be earning the wine by burning all those calories hiking.

We’ll spend Wednesday hiking at Zion, Thursday hiking at Bryce Canyon (a short 1.5 hr drive away), then decide where we want to return on Friday.  Then Saturday, we’ll be coming home.  My sister (Mrs. Cherry) will pick us up from the airport and we’ll have dinner with her & her family.  Strawberries & Cherries at one meal – what a treat!

Can’t wait to share our adventures with you!  There will be a plethora of pics!  And probably more inside jokes – I have a prank planned for Sally, but SHHHH!!! Don’t tell her!

Cheers!

PS Ed, my tenant, will be at the house, so any would-be burglars can forget it.  He’s an armed and dangerous red-headed Texan – don’t even try it!  Seriously, he dresses as the Joker so often, I think he’s becoming the character.  It’s so serious, he won’t date a girl unless she looks like Harley Quinn.

PSS I’m so excited right now, I’m screaming like a 12-year-old girl!  WOOOOT!