Friday, November 21, 2014

Coffee Date

Grab yourself a mug of something and let's chat!

A "Nutty Irishman" from Lucie Monroe Coffee Company, and Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle

I'm still looking for a job in Virginia, and the other day, I saw a job listing that required a two-minutes-or-less video resume. Now, when I think video resume, I tend to think over-the-top and ridiculous, a la How I Met Your Mother. But the job sounded like it would be a really good fit for me, so I went about filming and editing and uploading my own resume. It was kind of fun, and I remembered how much I enjoy video editing, which then spiraled into me thinking I should do more vlogs. So maybe, if I remember, there will be more vlogs in EA's future.

Last week, I invited Matt to come with me to a percussion concert at one of the local universities. Apparently a famous-ish percussion guy was guest-performing, but I didn't know that until we got there and Matt was all, "You didn't tell me Michael Burritt was going to be here!" and I was like "Who?" But that's not what I was going to talk about, because the concert was good but did not inspire any crazy stories. Instead, while we were looking for a place to park, we drove past a pizza place that sold "pizza cones." And so for the rest of the night, we kept giggling about pizza cones. What IS a pizza cone? A slice of pizza rolled into a cone? A cone of dough with pizza toppings poured into it? An ice cream cone with pizza inside? We may never know.

You know how different identities tend to suit us better in different times and places? In Texas, despite the state having a reputation for big hair, I flat-ironed the crap out of mine every day. But since I got here? I haven't busted out the Chi even once. Instead, I feel like curly hair suits me better right now. And it must be true, because I just got my Virginia driver's license, and damn I look fierce in the photo.
I've been having a lot of good adventures with book friends lately. Unexpected book friends. That book up at the top of this post? Totally not the kind of book I would have expected to like, but after a little bit of a slow start, it got REALLY GOOD. And I'm listening to the audiobook of Nick Hornby's Juliet, Naked, which is also really good (and well-narrated), and also something I might not have expected to like, since I'm not particularly musically inclined, and don't really follow any one artist or band obsessively.

Except Taylor Swift. I'm a little bit obsessed with "1989" right now. Have you seen the video for "Blank Space"? I kind of love crazy-eyes Taylor. Actually, I love all versions of Taylor, but it's especially fun to see her poke fun at her own reputation. (Also, if you haven't seen it, you should watch Saturday Night Live's "Swiftamine" commercial.)

Matt and I have made some friends! We met a couple that's our age when we went to a mini-golf meetup when I first got to town, and now I go and work out with the girl every once in a while, and they had us over for dinner a couple weeks ago. We reciprocated, and I prepared a proper Tex-Mex feast for them last weekend. They're semi-vegetarian too, so I did homemade salsa, mushroom-spinach enchiladas, and vegetarian tortilla soup, and it was amazing. (We've yet to try any Mexican restaurants in Virginia; this far from the border, is it even possible to do great Mexican food?)

HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART ONE is out today! Are you going to go see it? We used to do midnight premieres with friends, but since Matt has a job to go to — and we're old fogies — we probably will wait until a normal time of day. But I. can't. wait.

What's going on in your world? What's going on with your hair? (It looks fabulous by the way.) How's work going? What are you reading? What are you super excited about this month?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Life List: Once Upon a Time in North Carolina

It all started with a dresser.

A long, long time ago, in a land far, far away (Texas), Prince Matt owned this brown dresser that lived in his walk-in closet. It had begun to rebel, expelling undershirts and matched gold-toe socks every time a drawer was opened, as each drawer-bottom had partially capsized into the drawer below.

He put up with this dragon of a dresser until soon after his wedding to Princess Allie, at which point they figured, they had a walk-in closet, Princess Allie had a dresser big enough to allow him half the drawers, so they didn't really need this broken-down dresser anymore. It was valliantly slain and laid to rest at Goodwill.

And they lived happily ever after, until they moved to Virginia.

Now, their new castle did not have walk-in closets, and it would have been awkward to share such small spaces. Princess Allie took the master closet and still needed every drawer in her dresser, while Prince Matt took the guest room closet.

Prince Matt figured out really quickly that it was kind of a pain to walk from the en-suite to the guest room closet every time he needed clean intimates, so the royal family decided to make a trip to that glorious Swedish palace — IKEA — to find the prince a new dresser.

Except Virginia once again foiled their plans. The only IKEA in all the land was a grueling 4-hour carriage ride away, near Washington D.C., so instead, they decided to leave their kingdom to go to the only other IKEA nearby, which happened to be in Charlotte, North Carolina. They decided to make a day trip of it, and see some other local attractions while they were there.

And thus, Princess Allie got to cross another state off her Life List.

Friday, November 7, 2014

What I Whisper In The Dark

There are just some things that you can't say to someone's face.

I could give examples, but I'm sure you can come up with your own. Insert it here.

In my case, I try so hard, so much of the time, to be happy. To make the most of every situation. And it's hard for me to say that I'm not okay, because I desperately want to be okay, and to be content with what I've got.

I've never really had to start my life from scratch before. In the fifth grade, my family moved from one side of Dallas to the other, but I still had my friends and my extra curricular activities in our old city. When I went off to college, my roommate was a friend from high school, and another of our friends lived directly across the dorm hallway. When I graduated and moved to College Station, Matt had already lived there for four years, and had a solid network of friends we'd hang out with, and I made friends with their girlfriends, who eventually became their wives.

Moving to Virginia has been really hard. I got here and knew no one. Matt had only been here a few weeks longer than I had, and really only knew a few co-workers, most of whom were just acquaintances, not yet friends.

And then Matt's work schedule blew up, and he was working from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m., midnight, 2 a.m., 3 a.m. And I've done my best to get out of the house, go do things, keep myself occupied, but without a job yet, without knowing anyone very well, I am alone a lot.

In those few snatched moments together, he asks me if I'm okay. And I say yes, I am fine. I am happy you're here.

But things break. I was getting frustrated, and bored, and you know I don't do bored. On Sunday, he came home from work right before midnight, and I was busy screaming at him in my head so I wouldn't have to do it out loud, because I know it's not something he can control. I just wanted to go to sleep, for him to go away because it'd be easier than being honest. Because what I was yelling in my head was that I was ready to go back to Texas, that I'd be happy to leave everything here and just take myself home, where I belonged.

God, I miss home.

We were lying there, me with my eyes closed, when he asked if he could take me on a date. I cracked open one eye, and said the same thing I did when he asked me to marry him. "Really?"

It felt weird. Awkward, in a way that we never have been, even at the beginning. It was like there was a valley between us filled with all the things we weren't saying, all the things I couldn't bring myself to say to him. Things like, I am not doing very well here so far. That I would never actually go anywhere without you, that it's not your fault, but that I am hurting a lot right now, and don't know how to make things better for us here.

So I waited until the light went out after our date. Until the breathing quiet. And I told him in my quietest whisper, not even sure if he'd be able to hear me. And he already knew. But it was a relief to say it.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Camping With Yogi

OK, so this happened back in September and I just never got around to talking about it, plus for some reason I only ended up with one or two photos, which is just awful considering I was meeting with fellow bloggers. Blog card revoked!

Anyway, you may remember last fall, a lot of the Weddingbee bloggers converged in Austin for a giant Bee meetup, which was awesome and also really convenient since it wasn't that far from home. This fall, the Bee Bloggers planned to meet in Boston, and unfortunately, due to our household's lack of adult jobs (at the time), I couldn't make that one work. That really bummed me out, because I love how those meetups explore a ton of local attractions.

As I was looking through the sign-up sheet, I noticed that NONE of the other Texas bees had signed up to go to Boston. (Several of them have new babies, so I understand not wanting to travel with newborns, plus all the expenses that tiny velociraptors incur.) So, because I love opportunities to see blog friends (and maybe have a little bit of #FOMO…) I suggested that we have our own meetup.

So after a little bit of discussion about what the Texas Bees could swing, we settled on going camping at Jellystone Park in Waller, Texas (right outside Houston). Super excited, I booked a tent site, since Matt likes camping outdoors, and he could make sure everything was set up properly. (Most everyone else booked cabins.)

And then! And then, Matt got a job and moved to Virginia. And I was left with this campsite and no idea how to pitch a tent, and I sure as hell wasn't planning to sleep outside in a tent alone in the dark.

I asked literally every friend in College Station and Houston to come camping with me, and no one could make it, so I ended up begging my aunt to come, and she had her first-ever camping experience. (I came home with more than 70 mosquito bites, so I imagine she had a blast. How did all of us forget bug spray?!)

Beautiful sunrise, though.

But it was really awesome to see a few friends I hadn't seen since last year. All of them have adorable children, and we all got to splash around in the shallow splash-and-spray pool together. Because Jellystone? Totally not the same as regular camping.  It's all Yogi Bear-themed, and there's a mini-waterpark, and multiple pools, and movie nights, and a giant playground, and it is basically the perfect way to take young kids camping without having to come up with your own entertainment every minute of the day.

Apparently not a lot of people want to pitch tents in September, since there was only like one other tent the whole time.

And we all got to cook out together, and one of the husbands brought really delicious homemade cookies, and then us girls sat around and chatted and ate marshmallows while the husbands took care of putting the kiddos to bed, and it was awesome. (We couldn't get a fire started since it had rained for a few days beforehand, so no s'mores.) And then in the middle of the night, something (I assumed it was a giant bear — Yogi? — but it was probably a racoon or something) stole my bag of Veggie Straws and ripped apart a loaf of bread, which I had mistakenly left on the picnic table, and so that was scary to come across the next morning.

I'm glad I got to see my Texas blog friends one more time before I had to leave.

When was the last time you went camping? Do you prefer roughing it, or more family-friendly-with-amenities sites like this one?

Monday, November 3, 2014

Tap Makes Me Feel Like a Little Kid. Maybe I Need a New Simile.

I was pretty psyched to find out a few weeks ago about an adult tap class in our new city. It just popped up on one of the community calendars I was perusing! The class was listed to take place at a children's studio, which isn't uncommon. Kids take dance classes way more often than adults.

The lobby was decorated like a big pink castle. That should have tipped me off, but I sat and waited for the children's jazz class before it to wrap up, along with several other adults that did not have tap shoes with them. (Parents.) When the jazz class was over, and tap was about to start, I introduced myself to the tap teacher, and he informed me that some of the kids participate in the class.

He said I was the only adult who had ever showed up.

I was already there, and already had my shoes on, so I joined in with the kids for my first tap class in Virginia. I'm awful at gauging kids' ages, for serious, but based on the fact that all the little girls in that class were pretty tall for kids, though still pre-pubescent, and that they were doing some steps that I didn't learn until high school, I'd guess they were probably around age 10 or 11. I have been taking tap classes longer than they have been alive.

Actually, my shoes might even be older than they are.

By the way? Tapping with kids is TOTALLY different than tapping with adults. There was a lot less structure than I am used to, because little girls like running around and shouting the tap moves they want to do, and showing off by doing the steps as fast as humanly possible. Which I can't really fault them for, because I did the same thing when I was a kid.

Also? They love it when other people show off stuff they can't do yet. So they basically told me that when I come back next time I need to show them all the tricks I know. I kind of like being adored.

I haven't decided yet if I'm going back or not though. Because is that weird, to be the only adult in what is basically a kids' class that's called "adult tap"? I don't want to take tap for the sole purpose of showing off; I want to take it because I love it, and even after 16+ years of classes, I still want to learn new things and get better.

However, I was surprised that, in a class full of kids, I still learned some new things on my first day, things that I am not yet capable of doing and that I need to practice. (I think the teacher was trying to gauge what I knew and what I didn't, because one move in particular was extremely difficult-looking, and I don't know how he defied gravity long enough to get that many sounds in.)

If you were in my Capezios, would you continue with classes even if you didn't fit in so well? (There are a couple other studios in town that offer adult classes, but I'm not sure yet if tap is available at any of them. I plan on making some calls today.)