The GGA Project -- Day #140 "To the Moon!'"

Hoping to find another great place to take the kiddies, Nicole and I happened upon

Today's New Activity: Visiting the Chabot Space & Science Center

which is in Oakland.

I was pretty excited to check this place out after reading online that admission (which is free for kids 3 and under.  Score!) gets you tickets to one planetarium and one live action show.  One of the live action show choices was about dinosaurs, and since Chupi's been showing interest in dinosaurs lately (he even holds out the plastic ones that came in his Easter basket and goes "Raaaarrhh!"), I thought he'd probably enjoy that show and might even sit still!

The drive up to the museum was beautiful.  It's an observatory, so it was high up in the scenic Oakland hills, and it was the perfect day for that drive too.  Crazy winds last night left the skies clear and cloud free.

We got there just in time to see the planetarium show, which was about two little kids who build a cardboard rocket that manages to take off and fly around the entire solar system in the course of a night.  Pretty amazing feat.

They bring along a library book about astronomy, and this book happens to come with a talking professor, who broke it down for us about the planets, sun and moon.

I personally thought he was a little frightening, as was the trip to the sun:

but Monkey seemed to take it in stride.  He got a little squirrelly toward the end, so we left about 40 minutes into the 45 minute show, but I thought that was a decent run for an 18-month old.

When Nicole and girls joined us, we went to the dinosaur show.  I'm not sure why it was called live action, because it was just another dome movie (like IMAX), but it was pretty cool.  Both munchkins did well there too, and to my shock neither one of them got scared when two giant, very realistic CGI dinosaurs began battling on screen.  I think they may actually be too young to be scared by stuff like that yet.  The show was mostly about archaeologists' discoveries with some recreations of what they speculate happened in the days of the dinosaurs.  

Chupi and his little girlfriend Sureya (5 months older than him) took turns looking at each other and pointing to the screen throughout the show, as if trying to make sure each other was having the same amazing experience.  It's so cute to see how they communicate with each other.  Sureya is always saying "Chupi, Chupi," (she actually says this, his nickname.  I'm not even sure if she knows his real name) and showing him things or sharing her food.  I hope they will always be good friends like their Mamas are.

When that was done and we'd had lunch at the museum cafe, we went to a giant play room full of fun stations for the kids to have at.  I'm pretty sure they  would have been happy to stay in that room the whole time,

painting on rocks (I like to think he's drawing her a heart here),

playing with the computers,

and playing astronaut/gardener dress up.

The point is that they were playing, getting along and having a good time.  What more could their Mamas want?  Well I wanted to see the rest of the museum, so we dragged them out to take in more space-related exhibits, including a whole room about space travel.  This was perfect because Chupi's Nana is always joking that the two of them are going to go to the moon together one day.  It was nice he could get a look at what was in store for them.

For example, see this crazy little pod of a shuttle the Russians have used for 50 years to fling their cosmonauts back to space?  (and I do mean fling...the three flight members who are squished into the capsule for the 2-3 day trip home have absolutely no control over where the craft lands, and it usually crashes into the earth).

The Russians have lost 46 cosmonauts through the years this way, and a docent at the museum was telling me that when the Space Shuttle program is officially retired this June, The USA will begin using similar pods for our astronauts' space travels.  CRAZY!

So I'm guessing my Mom may want to rethink her space travel plans after she learns this little bit of trivia  ;)

Upstairs was a giant room all about climate change (the theory of, anyway), which was very educational in showing kids how their actions affect the climate, etc.  It was way over Monkey's head but good for the older children.

Though the museum didn't seem all that big, what I've discussed took the better part of the late morning through afternoon, and the kids were totally wiped out by the end of it...wiped out in the good, ready-for-nap time way that we parents love :)

Along with the Children's Discovery Museum in San Jose, which I've written about before, I highly recommend this one to parents of the little ones.  There was enough there to keep the interest of the toddler-types, but there were a ton of great exhibits for girls Maya's age (8) and even older.  It works well for the whole family.


The GGA Project -- Day #139 "Caught in the Fervor"

Up until now, I was definitely the kind of person who would poo poo the idea of watching a royal wedding, and I would think that only somebody with a deeply thrill-deprived life would waste any time thinking about, watching, or talking about these types of events, which had no impact whatsoever on their own lives.

Man, getting older sure does change your perspective.

Today's New Activity: Giving a Royal Sh!te

I was fully planning on staying awake to watch the Prince William's wedding to Kate Middleton early this morning, but that's when I thought the wedding was at 1am.  Coverage started at 1am, but the actual wedding wasn't to happen until about 3am.  So I woke up at my normal time and devoted a full hour in the morning to watching the recorded event...the run up anyway.

When I came home my parents were hosting some friends from Colorado, and of course the wedding came up as a topic of conversation.  In fact, I was the one who brought it up.  And what followed was a good 45-minute conversation about the royals, replete with all kinds of juicy tidbits I'd never heard.  To show how big the rock I was living under: I didn't even know that Diana or Charles had affairs or that Harry's legitimacy was in question (though I had marveled at the lack of resemblance between him and William).  I didn't know anything of Camilla's role or of the near-arranged nature of Charles and Diana's marriage.

After dinner we sat down and watched about 1 1/2 of the wedding coverage and talked more about it.  And then I couldn't resist another dose via Entertainment Tonight, which is the absolute silliest show to watch but the very best one for this sort of thing.  How's this for cornball coverage: "coming up, footage of the kiss felt around the world."  Haha.

But it was fun, tuning into this ultra girlie side of myself and not feeling a smidge bit guilty or unsophisticated for actually caring about these people I'll never  meet.  I'm happy for them, as they seem so very happy themselves.  And I wish them many many years of joy and all the privacy they can manage to enjoy.


The GGA Project -- Day #138 "Toddler Paradise"

Ok, obviously, when you become a Mom, your priorities and interests take a radical veer off into a netherworld of things you didn't even imagine a person could care about, let alone care deeply about.

My girlfriends and I have been on the hunt for the perfect park.  At this point, the perfect park would be a place where all the toys were safe and age appropriate and didn't require the Moms' constant participation.  This perfect park would also be a place where Moms could hang and talk with 1-2 eyes on their babes instead of 2-4 appendages.

Nicole *almost* found this ideal park.  In fact, for most all intents and purposes I would say she did.  The other day we went with our little pals to Lincoln Glen Park, where a rod iron fence surrounds an area designed just for toddlers, complete with low playground toys, a sandbox, grassy areas, and toddler swings.  The only problem was that lots of other kids were there, many of whom left their sandbox toys, scooters, and other tempting things lying around while they played elsewhere.  We still had to constantly pull the kids away from these toys, make sure they weren't burning their little feet on an asphalt area that got really hot, and keep them from trying to escape every time a bigger kid left the gate open.  Still, it was pretty great as far as kid parks went.

That park, however, is in San Jose.  I wanted something closer.

Then, on my way home from work today, I remembered that the one Mom I know in my city told me there was a great toddler play area at a nearby mall (which is a total dud, ghost town of a mall that I would never go to for any other reason).  I decided the Monkey and I would take a little drive over there and scope it out.

Today's New Activity: Tunneling at Bayfair Mall

From the moment we stepped foot in this (padded) walled-in play area, I was grateful to my friend for the hot tip.  Every single structure in there was so low to the ground that I felt totally comfortable letting Monkey climb around at will, but each was fun enough that they kept his interest.

For a while he was content to just crawl and creep through and under stuff.

Then he discovered these wheel-go-round things

And then, he decided these girls had let him in on their game of hide and seek

These girls had totally not let him in on their game of hide and seek, but I was so proud to watch his attempts at being social.

I was so proud of his attempts at everything.  At one point I nearly wept out of simple joy at watching him explore, watching him smile.  And I've noticed that certain qualities of his take me right back to my own childhood.  He's friendly and curious about other kids like I was, but a little timid, even shy at times like I was as well, and always ready to defer to any kid even the slightest bit more assertive/aggressive than him.  It makes me happy to see that he waits his turn and doesn't fight with other kids or insist on hogging toys, but I also worry a bit that he'll let the other kids take advantage of him (of course I had to find something in all this fun to worry about, right?).

At one point a kid who was too old and too big to be in this play area was sitting near Monkey with his two bright red toy cars on the ground next to him.  Monkey moved to pick up one of the cars and the kid snaps, "HEY!"  I told my son that those were the other kids' toys and mumbled that the kid didn't want to share them (even though he wasn't playing with them--pooper).

It's funny, feeling this protective Mama bear come out, because later that same kid was spinning tiles on a wall-mounted toy that was definitely big enough to be played with by two kids at once.  Monkey walked over and tried to play by the kid's side and the kid was like, "No!"

I said, "Monkey, he wants to play by himself right now," and then, under my breath, "little loser."

I couldn't help myself.  Of course, being his Mama, I want every person to welcome Monkey the way I would.  I never want to see him being rejected, especially when he is so young and reaching out in curiosity.  But as his Mama, I also know that trying to protect him from the hurt feelings that result from these interactions will only hurt him more in the long run.  I have to let him experience life, hurt and all.

Anyway he's too young to really feel the sting just yet.  He rolls with it and moves on.  And that's a quality I hope he'll retain for the most part.  Not that I want him to put up with mistreatment, but I hope he'll be adaptable, flexible, and able to find alternate sources of happiness and entertainment when his Plan A goes bust.

But that's all just ruminations.  Today was fun.  And I couldn't believe that we spent 45 minutes in that little area and Monkey never got bored.  Still, he wore himself out well enough that when I said it was time to go he didn't put up any kind of a fight.

This one is definitely going on the list for repeat visits!


The GGA Project -- Day #137 "A Lot of Thanks for a Thankless Job"

I've written a bit about my job here before, and I think mostly it was to say little things about how it doesn't exactly inspire me.  I'm not sure my job would inspire anybody, as it's tough to see room for that in it.  I'm a bank teller.  My job is to process transactions and--though there are slight variations in the contexts and applications--I basically either receive or distribute money in cash or check form, all day, customer after customer.

I had no reservations about taking the job when I did.  I guess Monkey was so young and I was so thrilled to be a new Mom that I didn't really care what I was doing during the time I was away from him.  I just wanted to get there and get it done and get back home as quickly as possible.

And the job was a great opportunity.  I was looking for something that would provide health care for myself and my dependent, even working part-time hours.  The banking industry seems to be one of few where this coverage is offered without the employee first having to be employed for at least a year.  Also, in working at a bank I was guaranteed to have evenings and Sundays off.  It was a good fit.

And I think I was also fine with the less-than-thrilling, far-out-of-my-area-of-interest job--not that I don't like money, but I never dreamed of cash handling as a career (Ok, that's not exactly true.  When I was young I thought cash handling jobs like cashiering were incredibly glamorous and appealing, but that was when I was 8 or so.)--because I thought of it as a temporary thing to get us through a short-term period of our lives, my family and me.

When it became clear to me that this job was a good idea to hang onto for the time being, not only because it's great to have a job, and a benefited one at that, I started to think more seriously and critically about it.  It was like a dream in which you suddenly become aware of some embarrassing condition you have or are in and are all-at-once frantic about correcting it.  I've pledged on this blog to find a new job ASAP, and I've been very hard on myself in my own mind for still--8 years after graduating from college--not having found a satisfying career in my field of interest and education.

Then today happened.

Today's New Activity: Finding True Appreciation for My Job

On the most basic level, I have always had appreciation for my job.  I see dozens of unemployment checks every week (though significantly fewer, I must say, in my new location.  Though it's just a few miles down the road from the former one, the demographic is dramatically different), and I was grateful to have a paycheck and the medical benefits I've mentioned.

But lately I've gone nearly crazy trying to ward off boredom at the slowish branch where I now work.  I've felt that my brain was melting from such long periods of inactivity (and ok, I'm not saying you don't have to use your brain to be a bank teller.  But while I can say you have to be a lot of things to do the job--you have to be patient, you have to listen and respond well, you have to have an incredible eye for detail (my Achilles heel for a while there), and you have to be able to stand all damned day--you don't really have to do much critical thinking or problem solving.  The rules are very much set and you are to follow them.  That's it).  I have asked myself, 'What am I doing here?!  This is not challenging.  This is not fulfilling!'  I've been ashamed that at my age and with my education, I'm not doing more with my career.

But today a little light was thrown into the dark cavern of my thoughts on the subject.  In the early afternoon, an elderly couple I knew from my former branch dropped in to make a payment.  The couple is super fun because the man always gives the tellers a hard time and they both have cute, playful senses of humor.  I found I was genuinely happy to see them, and made that much more so when they told me they'd come to the branch just to see me.

While I try hard to always be polite and even make connections with customers when I'm not tired of talking for the day, it was a pleasant surprise to learn that these people would go out of their way to say hi.  When they were leaving, the husband said, "See dear, now we've made her day.  Watch, now she's gonna be smiling for the rest of the day just because she saw us."

And he was right.

Pretty shortly after they left, I went to lunch at the nearby Costco (talk about glamorous!), where I recognized the man checking memberships at the door as a customer at my current branch.  He smiled the nicest smile and said, "Hey, it's the friendly teller!"

I am telling you that these two pretty small (in the grand scheme) events really did make my day and give me a whole new outlook on my job.

I've sort of always thought of mine as a thankless job.  But it's not true.  People thank me all day long.  Many people are disproportionately appreciative of the relatively easy work I do to assist them.  It was me who was not appreciating the fact that having somebody do this job with a smile does make a difference for people.  And I do believe that you get back what you put out there.  Every single time I've caught myself thinking customers were in a bad moods on any given day, I've come to realize that it was actually me projecting the rotten vibe--they were just reflecting it.

Today I resolved anew that I would keep gratitude in my heart for my employment, and strive to work such that any customer would be happy--not disappointed or even ambivalent--about seeing me out of the confines of my teller station, and me them.

As cornball as it is to say, I truly am striving to adopt the stance that if I'm going to be a bank teller, I'm going to be the best darned bank teller I can be. (I feel like that sentence deserves a "dangnabbit" in there somewhere.)

I don't know if that attitude will necessarily guarantee the long hours pass more pleasantly, but I believe it will, and it's worth a try.


The GGA Project -- Day #136 "Guilty Pleasure (?)"

After leaving Monkey at his Dad's this evening, I headed to University Avenue in Palo Alto for a date-with-self, and one of the places I was most excited to go to was Borders.  Man, talk about cheap thrills.  The thing is, I used to work at Barnes & Noble forever.  I left and went back to work there three times!  A part of me really loved that workplace, despite the fact that it was retail.  If you're gonna work in retail, I can scarcely imagine a better venue than the bookstore.

Since leaving work there permanently, I've gotten a little bit sad whenever I go into bookstores.  For a time there, the subjects I was browsing were less-than-fun (having to do with relationships and divorce and whatnot), and since then I've been spending most of any time I browse books in the children's section at the library.

But this evening I felt the strong pull to re-live the feeling of my youthful, exploratory jaunts to Borders...the very first Borders that opened near the mall just before I graduated from high school in Phoenix, Arizona.  I remember walking into that place for the first time with my parents, brother, and grandpa, and thinking it was the most magical store I could conceive of (not that I'd conceived of this one, but I'd be hard-pressed to conceive of one more awesome).  I mean, really.  Books, music, and a coffee shop, all rolled into one?!  Kids these days take such places for granted, but back then it was a true novelty.

And even though I liked working at Barnes & Noble, once you work at a place like that 40 hours/week, you don't exactly enjoy hanging out in one.  Tonight was the first time in years I'd felt free to just browse all the displays without feeling the overwhelming urge to straighten anything that was out of line or in the wrong spot. Nevermind that I never worked at a Borders, I still would have felt the desire before: 'There are books out of alignment nearby; I must so what I can to remedy this!'

I wanted to splurge on a book I could abuse and dog ear, since the library is all up tight about that, it would seem.  But what to buy?

In thinking about The GGA, it occurred to me that it was a good opportunity to buy some guilty pleasure genre fiction.  What was the biggest departure from something I would normally choose?  I very briefly entertained the idea of buying a romance novel.  But this project is supposed to be fun, not torturous.  Nix that.

Then I thought of sci-fi or fantasy, an option I've actually considered once before, in the very early days of the project, but I decided I'm still not quite ready for that.

Perfect solution: mystery.  I used to admit to being (internally at least, and outwardly to some) something of a literature snob.  Anyone who studied literature as a major will tell you it's nearly sacrilegious (why is that word spelled like that?  The "i" and the "e" seem backward) to admit to reading, and god forbid enjoying, any genre fiction.  Mystery, sci-fi, and especially romance were for the lower-minded species of readers.  In my growing and expanding, however, I've come to realize that this attitude was simple prejudice, judgement, and close-mindedness.  While I might not be drawn to choose books in any of these genres, I had absolutely no grounds on which to snub them, especially since I'd never even read books in any of these genres! (Unless you count the Nancy Drew mysteries I read as a little girl).

So it was I ended up in the mystery aisle.

Today's New Activity: Mystery Genre Purchase

Once in the aisle I had a new decision to make.  Which of the mystery superstar authors would I choose?

First I thought the good thing to do would be to choose the very last thing I would have typically gone for.  First on that list would probably be one of the books in the ever-expanding mystery + cats or mystery + food sub-categories.  But I'm not there yet.  Then there was the author J.D. Robb, who is immensely popular because he's really the romance novelist Nora Roberts disguised as "J.D. Robb"--a la George Eliot, only not at ALL like that, since it tells you right on the book cover that J.D. Robb is really Nora Roberts.  Seriously, what is the point?  Anyway, I wasn't burning to try that option either.

In the end, Steig Larsson caught my attention.

I feel like choosing The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is cheating in a way, if the goal was to explore genre fiction.  The book was critically acclaimed in a way that books shelved in these aisles typically are not.  But hey, we're taking baby steps here.  Next time I may just be willing to pick up one of Janet Evanovich's numerical series or Sue Grafton's alphabetical one.  I doubt it, but you never know.

Oh, and so far I've only read the prologue to my new book, but I can tell it's gonna be a page-turner.  And though page-turners aren't typically my thing, I am excited about this guilty pleasure, and maybe not even all that guilty.


The GGA Project -- Day #135 "Not a Cookie, Not a Muffin"

Since I've already admitted to having the palate of a 5-year-old, I may as well make it worse here by admitting that I'm a raisin picker outer.  Whether or not a cinnamon roll has raisins in it is what decides if I'll be ordering one, even if it looks like the absolute best, gooiest, yummiest cinnamon roll ever.

I like fruit.  I like it a lot.  I just don't like warm fruit, or even if the fruit-induced pastry isn't warm, I don't like dried fruit--and once it's been baked all the yummy sweetness of the original fruit is just gone.  Well, it seems that way to me, anyway.  About the only exception in my mind are blueberries.  I don't know how it is that they're special, but they are.

Still, as I've mentioned before, I've found that a lot of my food tastes have changed and that many things I thought I didn't like have grown on me.  So when I went to Panera on my break today, I decided to choose something that was a departure from all the things I know I like.

Today's New Activity: Taking a Gamble on Warm Fruit

Turns out Panera sells Strawberries and Cream scones.  It may sound good to you.  It even sounded good to me at first read, until I remembered that all fruit changes texture and flavor--and not for the better--when baked.  But still, I thought 'what the hell, I'm trying new things.'

And that scone, which I warmed up when I got back to the branch, was one of the best scones I've ever eaten.  A little butter and it might have actually been divine, if I used words like divine.

Cooked raisins are still a no-no, but maybe we'll get there eventually.


The GGA Project -- Day #134 "The Hunt'"

Easter time last year was a little rough.  There was a lot of tension in the house, this being just two months before my separation, and I don't remember being able to enjoy the secular fun that could otherwise be eeked out of the holiday.  My parents hid a few eggs and gave a basket to the baby, but I didn't do anything for him.  I rationalized that he was too young to understand and enjoy (and in a way he was....he wasn't even walking yet, showed little reaction to any toy, and every egg had to be shown and handed to him), but really I just was no longer comfortable celebrating holidays together with both my parents and my ex.  I'm pretty sure this sentiment was also echoed by everyone else in the house.  It's hard to explain this dynamic, but that's where I was at this time last year.

This year was totally different.  Though I'm not religious and don't celebrate Easter in the Christian sense, I appreciate it for all its secular traditions in the same way I do Christmas.

This year I perused the seasonal aisles at Target at least three times and was super excited to pick out the toys for Monkey's basket that I thought he'd like.

Today's New Activity: Playing Easter Bunny

I don't think it can be overstated: the extent to which a person's outlook on a holiday changes when she becomes a parent.  Though it's always felt good to give gifts, no gift given in my past has compared to the feeling of joy associated with preparing to give gifts to my son.  Last Friday night I got his basket all filled up and wrapped in cellophane, and I found myself smiling this super-cheesed smile the entire time, just anticipating his reactions.

Here are *both* of his baskets, one from Mama Bunny and one from Nana & Poppy (which was actually filled with stuff for both him and me--I love that my parents still give me little gifts for these occasion...it's so sweet and just shows that you really never stop being parents and enjoying these moments as such).  Lucky both of us!

After he'd opened the easy stuff, he went on a little hunt for eggs in the living room, some of which were filled with sweet treats, some with Hot Wheels.

Found one!

And he was such a little boy with the cars!  I just can't believe how big he's getting, and how much he is like a boy and not a baby any more.  He was zooming those cars all around and making the zooming sound effects too.  As much as it's hard to watch him outgrow all the baby stuff, I'm ridiculously proud of his development and the thoughtful little boy he's becoming.

After the fun at our house, we joined Kelsi and family for an outdoor egg hunt at their house, where Monkey found a bunch of eggs and ate every single cracker or cookie in each as he went, as if he hadn't eaten in weeks.

I'm very happy about his robust appetite lately as I think we're through the teething/not eating phase completely.  I also think it means he's going through another growth spurt.  Watch out!

And finally, when all the hunting and nomming was through, he had his first crack at t-ball.

Seriously!  Where did my baby go?!?!

Don't worry about me.  I'll get over it ;)

I'm so pleased to have had this beautiful day to celebrate with friends and family, and to watch my son smile and squeal with joy.  That was the real Easter blessing, in my book.

The GGA Project -- Day #133 "Falafel Misfire"

**Unintended first for the day**  For the past 133 days, I have been carefully, sometimes obsessively taking measures to ensure there's a post up here for every single day.  Sometimes it means putting a placeholder up just to make it so the eventual post has a timestamp for the day the new activity occurred.  As I left my house this evening, I told myself to remember to do this from my phone at some point, some point before midnight.  And I guess I was having too much fun cuz that didn't happen.  Whoops!  So, there will be no post for April 23rd, though the activity for Day #133 did happen on the 23rd.  So now that it's happened and there were no terrible consequences apart from my own annoyance with myself for having forgotten, I'll stop worrying about it so much...

So then.

Today was my gal Nicole's birthday.  Or more accurately, it's the day we chose to celebrate her birthday, since her birthday is actually tomorrow--Easter.  We wanted to get some pearl tea in downtown San Jose, but lunch first.  Nicole wasn't hungry, or she didn't think she was when we were deciding where to go, so she left the decision on where to go up to me.

My first instinct was to head to La Victoria.  But then I remembered the complex feelings I have about La Vic's, which I've shared before here, and I decided it was a good idea to try a new restaurant.

Nicole had just received a flyer for a new Mediterranean joint downtown, so went to check it out.

Today's New Activity: Lunch at the Kebab Shack

The Kebab Shack was a cute, unimposing place with simple decor and a pretty pared-down menu.  No matter.  A falafel pita was what I was in the mood for anyway, which they had.  And some fries.

I thought that seemed like a sound decision, until I read the description of what Nicole had ordered.  And therein lies the "misfire" part of the falafel.  How much more awesome the experience would have been if I'd read the whole menu first and realized I could have my fries inside the sandwich, along with hummus.  That's what one menu item (the "Aprodite" was it?) gets you!

Just genius.  I'll remember it for next time.  This wasn't the best falafel I've eaten, but it was good and I'd be back, especially because the service was super friendly and the place clean with outside seating available.

The only bummer to the otherwise nice outing was that Kelsi (who also came to join in honoring Nicole's day) and I both managed to get parking tickets just 3 minutes before we returned to our cars.  Ugh.  They've upped the fee to $40 per violation!  So I suppose that was some pretty expensive falafel, but nothing could get me down today, so it's all good.

Aww, just lookit that birthday cutie!  :)  Oh Happy Day, Nika.  I'm so glad you're here on this planet!


The GGA Project -- Day #132 "A Life in an 8' by 12' "

The star atop the tree that was this week's big room switcheroo was taking stuff I didn't need, along with some great furniture donations from my parents, to my storage space down the street from the house.  I've probably been there 10 times already since first moving my things there about 6 months ago.  It's on the second floor, and though there's a lift and all, getting all my things in there during the multiple trips involved has been no small (or fun) task.

Thankfully my Dad has been along on most of these trips, helping me organize, maximize the space, and, well, carry stuff.  Today was no exception, and he handily rearranged the mounds of stuff already there to make room for its new friends.

I have to say I wasn't much help today.  I never mentioned this to my Dad at the time (I saved this 'help me!' sentiment for my Mom when we returned home), but I was a little distracted trying to reconcile the sight of my whole life's worth of things, contained in this smallish storage unit.

Today's New Activity: Pausing to Reflect, Mourn

In the beginning of my separation, I cried all the time.  Sometimes it was sadness, often it was pure confusion, and sometimes it was just plain pain.  It was difficult to be focused on parenting tasks during that first, raw period, and thankfully I had both my parents and my dear friends Kelsi and Nicole to help fill in any gaps.  There was definitely a period of feeling simply dazed.

The months that followed were very different.  My new and necessary focus was on logistics: the logistics of work and supporting myself and the Monkey while working out temporary and permanent custody issues, the logistics of filing for divorce, gathering the paperwork, the daily grind of doctor's appointments, grocery shopping, gym-going, baby bathing, clothes washing and the like, and the logistics of carving out time for friends and recreation (which I hadn't prioritized for some time and was happy to make time to do now).  

The past 6 months have been such a whirlwind that I think I didn't even allow myself much time to feel--to give space to the emotions surrounding my divorce.

Today I guess the powers that be decided I no longer had a choice in the matter.

Standing in that little rectangle, looking at the various things I've collected over the years, furniture and odds and ends, my bicycle, and all of Monkey's baby things that I haven't been able to let go of yet, I felt immense sadness.  What it all brought home for me was that I have absolutely no idea when I'll be in the place to let these things out of that little storage unit, when my life will begin to resemble something that feels respectable of a person my age, and a mother at that (meaning, basically, when I'll be in the position to move out of my parents' home).  It was a very sobering moment that made me wonder where on earth my life is headed.

I hate feeling that way when I have a young child who I'm responsible for.  I wish it were the case that I had it all together, that I'd established a permanent place for him to grow up in, preferably one with a yard and nice neighbor kids.  I wish I'd made better choices, all along the way.  I wish that wherever this is all going, it would get started.

And then, of course, I remember that it's already well on its way.  That there is no wish I have that it's not within my realm and not, indeed, my *responsibility* to make happen.  I remember that these are the moments that test a person's character and humility, and that give their loved ones the chance to show just how much they care, the chance to lift them up in their time of need.  My brain knows all that.

And still, in that moment today, my heart ached.  The reality of divorce hit me, anew.  The reality of starting over hit me, anew.  The reality of failure and wasted potential and concern for the future all hit me, anew.

What to do but stand in the hallway and hug my Mama and let that be the little (big) thing to start me feeling better?  These emotions are necessary to allow in, and out.  If I didn't have moments like these I'd be concerned for myself and wondering when, exactly, I'd turned into a robot.  But still, they are painful and then the feeling itself is followed by guilt for not trusting the process (the whole life process) more, for not giving myself a break, for not thinking positively. What a vicious cycle!

Thankfully I didn't spend all day looping around in it.  After all there were deposits and withdrawals to be processed at work this afternoon, and errands to be run, and always the laundry, ready to distract.

And after the day's earlier emotional heaviness, I'm thankful for all that.


The GGA Project -- Day #131 "Natural Disaster"

Some time last year--or maybe it was two years ago--my brother Kris sent me one of his signature CD care packages.  He is an absolute nut for music of many kinds, and one of the most thoughtful ways he shows his love is to seek out music he thinks you will dig and send it to you.  He sends MP3 CDs, so there could be hundreds of songs on a single disk and he might give you up to a dozen disks at a time, and not even for any special occasion.

So one of the times when Kris sent a music gift along these lines, he included a CD by a group called Natural Disaster.  In telling me about the music he'd sent, he mentioned that ND, as they are called for short, is the name he and his friend Patrick have for the two-man group they form when jamming in Patrick's apartment.  He thought this group of recording was at least mildly entertaining, so he'd included it in the care package.

At the time, for reasons I'll save for another time, the only place I listened to music was in my car.  Even at that I hardly ever listened to it because I often opted for NPR instead.  It took weeks before I even got around to giving the shortest listen to ND.

I don't know if I just wasn't in the mood for a jam session, or I wasn't taking it very seriously, or it had partially to do with whatever else was going on in my life at the time, but I ejected the CD after a few songs and tucked it away among the other things in my console.

At some point my brother asked me about it.  And I told him I didn't really listen to the whole thing.  And to my genuine surprise, this genuinely hurt his feelings.  Like, we had a major talk about it and everything, and I felt horrible.  I guess the way he'd kind of downplayed it when he first mentioned it, I didn't think he was all that invested in it, especially since they'd just been goofy around and making up songs as they went.  When I realized that I'd been a rotten sis, I wanted to listen to it in earnest.

Except then I couldn't find it!

We talked about it again at some point, and he sent me another copy of the CD.  And then I moved out of my apartment and I lost track of that copy.  I felt like such a shitty family member at that point that I didn't even want to ever talk about it again to Kris.

Imagine my joy when, in the midst of the room move still going on this week (well, the rooms are moved, but I'm still finding places for everything), I came across the CD.

Today's New Activity: Sitting in on a Jam Session

This wasn't the first jam session I'd sat in on...I'm not even sure you can call what I did sitting in on a jam session anyway, given that it was recorded.  But having these guys' voices keep me company through the mundane tasks I was doing was a real joy, and it did feel like I was right there in the same room with them.  Maybe that was because most of the time when you listen to music, you don't hear the band members laughing.

Mostly, they were just goofing around, but a few of the lines made me laugh out loud and they also looped around in my brain for the better part of the afternoon.  What I loved about listening to my brother play guitar and sing and make up lyrics like this was that it reminded me so much of the childhood hours and hours we'd spent doing exactly the same thing the year we got a "Star Studio" recording device/radio for Christmas.  When I think about it, my Mom must have been thrilled with the success of that gift.  We'd start one of our little recording sessions and she wouldn't see us again until some sort of food was found to be necessary in order for us to carry on.

There was one tape we made that we kept and revisited for years after.  I even remember bringing it along on a nerd herd, er, church youth group bus ride from Arizona to Colorado when we were in high school.  We must have lost it on that trip because I don't remember ever seeing or hearing it again, but it doesn't really matter because Kris and I can still sing every lyric to our two favorite songs from that recording (a modified version of Eye of the Tiger I'd performed--including a Russion-accented speaking interlude (Rocky IV had just come out and we'd seen it in the theater that week), and the #1 hit Oh Man, I Love to Burp, which was all Kris).

Natural Disaster was halfway composed of that brother I'd adored and emulated and laughed with and best-friended my entire childhood and adolescence, but he was all grown up.  In the midst of my listening I had to text him one of the lyrics I knew he'd recognize, just to let him know I was listening to it and thinking about him.

One of the saddest outcomes of the way I'd chosen to live these past six years is that my relationship with my brother became pretty strained.  Though Kris had been one of my closest friends my whole life, I found it increasingly difficult to relate to and talk to him.  There was part of me that wanted to believe it was just a normal part of growing up--growing apart--but part of me always knew there'd been a change in me that I didn't know how to recover from.  Most of the time I wouldn't answer the phone or call him unless I was alone, but even during those times I found myself searching to find that connection we'd once held so easily, and I just couldn't seem to.

We have come a long way in rebuilding our relationship in the past 10 months.  My brother was one of the people who shook me the hardest (figuratively) when he heard the confused things coming out of my mouth during the darkest of those confused moments, and I knew at the time he was right.  I knew that only somebody who loved and cared for me as much as he did could have been so honest.  And I will be forever grateful that he was up here visiting last July, when some pretty awful stuff was going on with me.

These days, when I talk to Kris on the phone, it feels free and easy, like it used to.  I laugh with him again.  I laugh at myself again (which is always a good trait to have when you're talking to my brother--he's the funniest person I know, and some of his jokes are always sure to come at my expense.  It's a true, brotherly, way of showing love).

I don't think Natural Disaster will be taking their act on the road any time soon, but now that I've heard it I will cherish this recording and the fact that--though it happened through less-than-ideal and even hurtful circumstances--I didn't get the chance to hear it until I was ready to appreciate it, for all the wonderful things that Kris is to me.  I'm grateful for the chance to be reminded of those today.


The GGA Project -- Day #130 "Slow-Motion Sporting"

There are a lot of good things I could say about the lower East Bay/Tri-City area (Hayward, Union City, Fremont, Newark).  That the area is a hotbed of bangin' nightlife is not one of those things.  In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to find a club at all in the area (only The Saddlerack comes to mind).  Bars are almost completely limited to those found in restaurants, and the majority of the standalone bars are dives (dive-evil, not dive-cool).  Given this, I've been wanting to drop by Mojo Lounge, which I'd read decent reviews about on Yelp.  With Monkey away for the night and my friend Kenneth free for the evening, it seemed their Wednesday karoake night was beckoning.

So we complied.

And what to my wondering eyes did appear before me when we entered the bar?  A shuffleboard.  Bam!

Today's New Activity: Cultivating Finesse a la Shuffleboard

Thankfully, Kenneth had already grasped the oh-so-complex rules of the game, so after the 3-second tutorial he gave me we were good to go.  Just a little housekeeping first:

Here's Kenneth sweeping the board of all the sand that'd gathered in clumps after the last round of play.

And here he is covering it all over again with more sand (?).  It made sense when we started though.  The little pucks slid much better and faster on the de-clumped sand cover.

So basically all you do is take turns sending your little puck down the board, trying to get it as far away as possible without having it go off the board.  The opponent tries to get his puck further than yours, because the only person to gain any points in a round is the one who gets his puck the furthest away.

Pretty simple.

This means I win this round!

And this means Kenneth wins.

Crystal clear, right?

The best part is that since we have the same initials, nobody won or lost :P  I think all games should be played in this somebody-won-but-we'll-never-know-who manner!

It was a pretty fun game, especially because it's a game that's not so much about domination or power, but more about aim and the art of developing a gentle touch.  And the clincher was playing with some very very good karaoke as background noise.

Normally I'm super annoyed by good karaoke singers, mostly because it always seems they take themselves way too seriously and it takes all the fun out of laughing at feeble warblers like myself.  But the people at this particular (non-evil) dive were good but cool and un-pretentious, and it helped that they had decent song choices, too. The only exception was the horrible-but-karaoke-required "Summer Lovin'" from Grease.  Ugh!

Anyway, it was a super fun night and I will totally be dragging people up my way to Mojo Lounge soon.  Three cheers for down-to-earth watering holes.


The GGA Project -- Day #129 "The Graduates"

Well, tonight was the last of my 6-session co-parenting class at Kids' Turn.  I have to say I was disappointed with the class on the whole.  It wasn't really much about co-parenting at all.  We spent two entire weeks covering the concept of emotional intelligence, as spelled out by Daniel Goleman and a good amount of time covering concepts as basic as how to show your child you love him.  For the first time today (aside from off-the-curriculum side-conversations peppered throughout the sessions), we actually talked about navigating the challenges and sometimes the conflict that comes with working together as two separated parents.  It was a very helpful session, and there was consensus that if the entirety of the class had been spent covering this topic, it would have been very beneficial indeed.

Nevertheless, it was my aim to get something positive out of the class, and I did.  And one of the somethings positive I got was the benefit of new friendships with people who are busily and sometimes painfully trying to weather this same stormy bit of weather, also with young kids in tow.

It seemed necessary to seal these new friendships and celebrate graduation from the program over a beer.

Like I mentioned before, it was really nice that the class took place at a neighborhood center in the North Beach area of San Francisco.  I can scarcely imagine a more lively and colorful setting, or one with better food options nearby.  One of the participants ordered a pizza tonight that was walked straight to our little meeting place.

When the last session ended tonight, some of my classmates and I headed to a microbrewery called Rogue.  I just realized in looking for that link that it's actually a large, Oregon-based company (of course...why does it seem that all the cool stuff I hear about lately is coming out of Oregon?) and we were at just one of what they call their "meeting halls" (and the only one in California).  That makes sense because I'd been wondering how that mid-sized bar managed to pull off two full chalkboards' worth of ale and cider options.

In honor of the occasion, I felt the following was in order:

Today's New Activity: A Pint of "Love and Happiness Wedding Pilsner"

Which, by the way, I ordered and consumed without a hint of sarcasm.  Really.  No, really.

One thing being in the company of my classmates has reminded me of is that we are all just a bunch of faulted humans doing the best we can, sometimes falling into love, sometimes falling out, sometimes confused and sometimes experiencing great joy, great pain, big sweeping highs, sad, floundering lows.  Love is there.  Happiness is there.  There will be dozens more weddings to celebrate in my lifetime, and I will celebrate them happily, wishing the new couple the best and holding onto every sincere belief that they will traverse the terrain just fine, and in good spirits throughout.


The GGA Project -- Day #128 "Thoughts Become Things"

Ok, I have to preface this.

I have to preface this to say that I have always been the very first person in line to poo poo anything that stunk with the stank of self-help, particularly the kind carrying the new age/self-help dual diagnosis (books, CDs, movies like The Secret come to mind).  I've rejected books and entire movements along these lines almost without exception, out of hand, and without ever even having read them or bothering to find out much about them.  That's pretty close-minded, no?

Slowly, however, I've been opening little windows of my mind to allow space for some of these voices--the voices of self-help, even the voices of new age self help--to come in.

A few months ago my cousin recommended Eckart Tolle's A New Earth to me, which I listened to on CD and which helped me begin to enjoy my days at work a little more, just by focusing on the present moment with total awareness and thereby enjoying customer interactions a whole lot more.

Then, a couple of months later, my gal Kelsi began lending me CDs of the seminars by Esther and Jerry Hicks, known as the Law of Attraction movement (of which The Secret is also a part).  I have to say I was pretty resistant to listening to these CDs at first, mostly because Esther Hicks, the seminar's main speaker claims to be channeling Abraham.  Yes.  The Abraham.

But then I started listening to the CDs with an open mind, and I really, really liked what they had to say.  They are all about putting the intention out there of what you want your life to look like and living every day with the expectation that this very life you focus on is the one you will come to create.  And I have to admit that Esther Hicks, even with her hints of old-fashionedness and her somewhat goofy way of talking--is a very endearing and talented speaker.  She is funny, self-deprecating, quick-witted, and wicked sharp.

Sometimes it bums me out a little to think she had to claim to be channeling Abraham in order to get people to listen to her message, because I think her message is worth hearing no matter who it's coming from.  Of course I can't disprove that she is channeling a centuries-dead man, but she can't prove it either, so we're at an impasse there.  Wherever the message comes from, after the initial trepidation I really began to enjoy listening to those CDs and I now look forward to the chance to borrow a few more from Kelsi every couple of months.

Recently I decided I was ready to add another voice, another perspective, to all the other helpful voices swimming around in my head.  Enter Mike Dooley.  My parents told me about Mike Dooley because they've been listening to his stuff for years now, and I can say that watching the evidence of his method at work in their lives was the number one thing that opened my mind just a little ways to all this stuff in the first place.

Today's New Activity: Drive-Time Workshop on Infinite Possibilities

I know what you're thinking as you read that.  Don't think I'm not WELL aware of how very Anthony Robbins/cheesy-evil that sounds.  Don't think I wouldn't be snickering too if you were the one writing this and I were the one reading it.  Just so we're clear on that...

About a year ago my Mom introduced me to Mike Dooley's website.  She'd told me about the daily thought you could sign up to get via e-mail, which I've been receiving ever since.  It's really kind of cute because when you sign up you mention a few of your dreams and every now and then the e-mail message you receive makes specific mention of them.  It's always spaced out enough that you forgot having ever shared the info and for a second you go, 'whoah, how did this auto-message know I wanted to go to the tomato-throwing festival in Spain?!?!' (and then you remember).  Dooley's writing is very cheeky at times, and incredibly poetic at other times.  He knows exactly how much of each to employ, and when, in order to keep you reading the messages.

Anyway, for years now I have been watching my parents dream dreams, and watching those dreams come to pass.  They go all out with dream boards and visualization, but the main part of what they do is to always think of the something they want in the present tense and in the positive (so instead of saying or thinking "I hope I can shake my fear," you'd say or think, "I am fearless."  That's pretty powerful).

When I write it out like that, it seems as simple as positive thinking and the meditation on mantras.  And it is. Mike Dooley's CD, which I listened to on the way to and from work today, did not make specific mention of any groundbreaking twist on this concept, he just said it in a different way and gave lots of examples of how it's been working in his life ever since he was a young college graduate and first dreamed of traveling abroad.

The main message he aims to get across is this: thoughts become things.  And in the very first CD, he asks if you can think of any people in your life who seem to always get what they expect, either in the positive or negative sense.  And of course I can!  People with positive outlooks seem to always have good things happen in their lives, and even when bad things do happen, they don't seem so bad because those people don't focus on those events, don't exploit them, don't decide to adopt them as a way of life.  And the inverse is also true.  People who say things like, "with my luck..." always have crap luck.  Their lives are just one big revolving door of misery and its company.

Months ago I was catching up with a friend from high school, sharing where I was with my then-recent separation and decision to file for divorce.  He had been in a 12-year-long relationship that had ended perhaps two years previous, and I'd asked him how he came to terms with the end...how he accepted that this thing that he'd invested so much of his life in was over.  He responded that he'd never thought of it that way.  That is was okay for him to move on from that relationship (not that it never hurt, but that the acceptance happened) because he just always knew better things were in store for him and his life, and for that of his ex-girlfriend as well.  And I know he's always thought of his entire life that way: always expected that good things were in store.  I loved that, and it stuck with me.  This friend in very successful in his career, has traveled all over, goes to all the exciting events that strike his fancy, and just last month got engaged to a gorgeous and intelligent woman whom he loves completely.  I think he's a great example of the power of expecting good things in one's life.

And the thing is, it's not (of course) about just dreaming pipe dreams and waiting around for them to come true.  There is work involved, action needed.  But in the meantime--the meantime between the dream and its realization--you have to think about something.  You are bound to think thousands of thoughts in that meantime.  Why not allow them to be thoughts of hopefulness, of the absolute knowledge that you are worthy of your heart's desires?  Seriously...what harm could come?

The second part of Mike Dooley's message is getting out of the way.  He emphasizes that you won't always know how the thing you want will come to pass.  And that sometime you have to let go of your attachment to the how that leads to the what.  He advises focusing on the feeling you want to have and letting the details of how you get there be what they will.  That's part of the adventure.

Maybe it's the place I am in life right now...open to new methods and new outlooks; maybe it's my age and the knowledge that I don't know everything and that there are plenty of people who have lived longer and can teach a thing or two; maybe it's that I'm just more new age than I ever thought or would have been willing to admit.  I don't know, but whatever it is (or all three) that's led me down this path recently, I'm grateful for it.  I'm happy to see where it goes...


The GGA Project -- Day #127 "Room for Art"

My parents recently decided they wanted to switch the room currently used as an office with the bedroom I share with Monkey.  So with the baby out with his Dad today, we spent a full 8 hours moving a whole lot of furniture and odds and ends from one side of the house to the other.  After all that, it's still not done and there's tons of finding of proper places for things still left to be done.

But, I did manage to get the major framework of our new room set up, Monkey's crib reassembled (thanks Dad), and a place set up for me to sleep until we have the assistance needed to move the Murphy bed I sleep on, sometime later this week.

When all the big stuff was done, I had time to assemble and set up a table I'd found last week at Michael's, which I'd bought with the sole intention of making space in my room--and more space in my life--for art.  I've had a lot of fun getting together with my best gals Nicole and Kelsi lately and creating whatever comes to mind for the day.

I thought it would be wonderful to carve out time to do this in my every day life, but there wasn't really a place for it in the house.  The idea of lugging out a bunch of materials every time I got the urge to make something was not appealing, especially since it doesn't fit well with my Mom's love of keeping the house in mint condition, which I alluded to last week ;)

Luckily, the new room we'll be inhabiting is a good bit bigger than the other, which left plenty of room for my new table, which turned from this 

into this 

in the span of an hour and a half or so.  And it also left time for me to put together a table I'd bought for Monkey for the same purpose.

Today's New Activity: Setting Up Monkey/Mama Creative Space

The baby really took to some washable markers and crayons my Mom bought after our first coloring adventures a few months ago.  But I didn't have any suitable place for him to play with those things, on his own level.  I found a good table for him at IKEA last week though, which was the last thing I set up before I went to pick him up.  So when he came home this evening, not only was the whole house different than when he left it, there was a brand new piece of furniture, all for him.

He sat down straight away and started coloring (and to my shock he was putting each crayon back into their little cup before he grabbed the next one).  Such a big boy!

My dream is that he'll sit there, just like that doing his thing, while I sit at my table next to him, doing mine.  And I'm just super happy to have made this a priority.  Now I can write my blogs at the desk once Monkey is asleep, and I can work on any other thing I want to without having to try and tune out whatever's on the t.v. (I notice my blogs rarely make much sense when I try and write them with the t.v. on, and it takes me three times as long to write the nonsensicalness).

And I'm so excited to see what both of us will make :)


The GGA Project -- Day #126 "The Setup"

Coming soon.

Well, pretty soon anyway.

Days later...One week and four days later to be exact...

Well.  It would seem I've been sitting on this post for quite some time.  I'd been almost religious in my devotion to getting blogs written within a day of the new activity's occurrence, but this one eluded me. It wasn't that I didn't have the time to write about the activity; I just wasn't sure what/how much I wanted to say.

Maybe I'm still not.

See, originally I'd had it all planned out that I'd write about checking out the dueling piano action at Los Gatos Brewing Company in downtown San Jose.  But as it turned out I wasn't even inside that restaurant long enough to say anything of substance about the experience.  So I was left with the option to write about what the real subject at hand was after all, which I'd been somewhat opposed to doing.

Today's New Activity: Being Sent (Brought) on a Blind Date

For probably two months now, my friend Kelsi, on behalf of her and my friend Jeff--her husband--has been telling me about a friend of theirs they wanted to set me up with.  They think they are somehow qualified to do this just because the last couple they set up got married last year.


At first I resisted on principle alone: I've never been set up with anybody and didn't think I liked the idea of it.

Then I resisted on more specific grounds.  I don't feel ready to start dating, and heavens-to-Betsy, though I've been separated for 10 months, my divorce is not final and that made this seem like a less-than-optimal time to start dating.

Then I resisted out of sheer nervousness at the idea of getting back out there, and doubt about the viability of this particular match.   The guy they wanted to set me up with was a few years younger than me, never married, and already dating a couple of women...not likely itching to embark on the kind of journey that dating me--at this moment in my life-- would be.  How to open this introduction?  "So, I hear you've got a not-quite-divorced, single Mom fetish.  Well buddy, you're in luck." (finishing with a wink).  Yeah.

Finally, I agreed to meet with Kelsi, Jeff, and the man-boy in question together for a night out, if mostly just to satisfy a curiosity: what kind of guy did they think was perfect for me?  They kept saying our senses of humor were good matches, and Kelsi assured me he was nerdy cute.  That's not a lot to go on, but a good start.  I like jokes.  I like nerdy cute.

The biggest downside to the whole prospect was that both parties knew our friends were attempting to set us up.  There was no way to casually pull this meeting off as a casual meeting.  It was a meeting with a very specific, pretty high-pressure purpose, and it was bound to affect the interaction all the way around.

Enter my try-new-things project.  It was time to suck it up.

Jeff and Kelsi did a fantastic job of ensuring the hangout went about as awkwardly as it could have gone while also attempting to mitigate that awkwardness as well they could.  We met at the restaurant where the dueling pianos were in full swing.  And we could have probably stayed there a while and eased into the night by mutually taking in this show of sorts.  But instead we went outside to the near-empty patio, where there was nothing to be done but to fill the space with the sounds of our own voices.  There was no buffer zone.

So Kelsi, always one to foster group conversation, took the first pregnant pause in conversation to say, "So, is this awkward enough for everybody?"  That was actually fine.  No problem stating the obvious.  It's a good idea.

But then, she took the next extended silence as her opportunity to say, "So ________, _______ is working on a project that she's blogging about.  Why don't you tell us about it, _______?"

Whoah.  Deer in the headlights.  What could I do but lean over, sideways hug her, and tell her how much I love her for her efforts.  It's tough to share personal information with a stranger on a prompt.

Jeff wasn't much better.  It happens that the date and I work for the same company.  So Jeff said, "Hey _______, ________ also works for _________."  In Jeff's defense, he definitely said this tongue-in-cheek, but it was still goofy.  "REAlly?!" I exclaimed.  "This is the very first I've heard of this."

At least we could laugh at the situation.  More opportunities arose when Jeff asked his buddy, "So _______, how old do you think _______ is?"  And then asked me, "So _________, how much do you think ________ weighs?"  You'd think all this pointing out of the awkward would have made the situation less so.

It didn't.

Eye contact was difficult to establish (from my end, it felt like too much pressure...too hard to speak directly to him when I knew K and J were watching and hoping to see sparks).  Also, we didn't seem able to land on a topic we could all connect on...not in this first meeting anyway.  There just ended up being a number of little side conversations.

All got more mellow and went more smoothly after Kelsi and Jeff left on account of needing to get their boys back from the babysitter, but that was a brief period because I had to get home in time for when my own baby would surely wake up in the middle of the night.

This about it felt good: it felt good to be able to say that to him, that I needed to get home to my baby, without any hesitation about how that truth would affect the outcome of the date...good to be comfortable in my own skin and in the skin of my life.

It also felt good to be able to walk away from that date and not give a lot of thought about how it went, what he thought of me, whether or not I'd be hearing from him.  I used to care too much about those things.  And not only can I not afford to anymore because I've got tinier fish to fry, I feel much more inclined to focus on the question of whether or not I liked him, if I focus on any part of it at all.

Still, it was a fun night and I am thankful to Kelsi and Jeff for dragging me out.  It made me feel alive to be out on a Saturday night with a young, single person, in downtown San Jose, which was teeming with Sharks fans just out of a game.

The reason I was so hesitant to write about the night was that I have never, in my 9 (!) years of blogging, written about my romantic life (apart from announcing my wedding, when it happened) and I don't plan to start now.  That is one part of my life I don't like to share.  I've never been a kiss-and-teller (maybe years later, but not in the thick of it!), and I would not want any aspect of my dating life to be affected by the idea that I may or may not write about it later.  So writing about this night was a first and a last.  It seemed a first blind date was pretty worth telling a bit about for the purpose of this project, and it's out of my system.

Happy lovin' to y'all :)