Friday, August 31, 2012

Signing off for the Weekend

It's my first Labor Day weekend Stateside in some time. It's a ceremonial death of summer but it's also a great weekend to be in Seattle.  The first Bumbershoot wasn’t called Bumbershoot but rather Festival ’71. The two-day event, the brainchild of Mayor Wes Uhlman.  It also includes a logging show, indoor motorcycle races in the Coliseum (now KeyArena), horseback rides for kids and ‘the world’s first electronic music instrument jam.’ … The ‘Hot Pants Contest’ was one of the biggest draws. Local rock bands and dance troupes were featured. The sun-drenched festival, held Aug. 13–15, was a hit, attracting the largest crowds to Seattle Center since the 1962-63 World’s Fair.

In '72 the Seattle Repertory Theater, Seattle Opera and One Reel Vaudeville show were added to the music lineup.  In '73 Bumbershoot was named such.  The festival grew in audience, days (now five), and programming breadth. By '75 it was up to a record eleven days.  Over it's 42 years, Bumbershoot audiences have seen the likes of Chuck Berry, Ray Charles, Fleetwood Mac, Eurythmics, Bonnie Raitt, Fats Domino, Los Lobos, BB King, Al Green, The Posies, Violent Femmes, 10,000 Maniacs, Sex Pistols, Sir Mix-a-Lot, R.E.M, Sonic Youth, Modest Mouse, Be Harper, The Black Crowes, Everclear, and hundred mores.  Bumbershoot also includes comedians, short films, live performances, skits by theater companies and much more.  There are nineteen venues that includes five stages.

My friend Danielle is coming up from Portland for Saturday and Sunday.  We're going to strategize tonight. A plan of attack for what we want to see together, what I want to see that she doesn't and vice versa, when to drive up and back.

Don't expect to hear from me until Tuesday.

A last bit of trivia:

—n. informal
An umbrella.
The word bumbershoot first appeared in the U.S. around 1915–1920. It is thought to be an alteration of the umber- part of umbrella plus a respelling of -chute (as in parachute). Bumbershoot was chosen as the Festival’s name as a metaphor for the Festival being an umbrella for all of the various arts and performers it encompasses.

Thursday, August 30, 2012


We all knew it was only a matter of time. My personality, my specific levels of mania, coupled with unemployment have quickly lead down the slick, smooth, high speed slide to addiction.
It started with just an hour or two. I told myself the lies that everyone does.  It won't be often.  It can't have that strong a pull. I can resist. I won't be like everyone else. LIES!!  They are just easy lies. 

I fell asleep planning my next fix.  I spent hours at it yesterday. A few already today. 

Drugs? Alcohol? OCD cleaning?  Place your bets. . .

I caved. I cut my cable TV months ago.  Aside from a month with rabbit ears (yes, they still make add on antennae for TV), I've been TV free.  I didn't miss it.  I was too busy.  Then my contract ended.  I have a lot of hours to fill in each day and trips out of the hour usually mean I'm spending money.  Money that doesn't currently have a replacement date.

I am still interacting with people, real life people.  I am back to going to the gym. I have also watched all of the first season of Whitney (Amazing.  Seriously.  If you are sarcastic and jaded, find it.) which was twenty two half hour episodes. I've also watched a half dozen episodes of The Simpsons (how did I go so long?), and Fairly Legal.

I know I have a problem.  I may need an intervention.  I . . . can't  . . . .I can't walk away from the freakin computer!  And I'm still on the free version of Hulu.  God forbid if I decide to pay the staggering rate of eight dollars a month or whatever it is for the unlimited, commerical limited version. 

Can someone confiscate my credit card?  (Though Groupon may then go bankrupt)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


I blogged before about the disappearing act.  Now for act two . . . the eerie reappearance.

"You're Gay right?" We had one not great first date (hey, that rhymes!) months ago.  Last week I get a text message that says , and I quote, "Hey! What r you up to? Can we hang out tonight? Call/txt me:)" Ummm, say whhaaaaaa???!?!  It's been months, MONTHS. Is it a genetic mutation that makes guys think they can be out of touch for a while and then pop up again and women will fall all over themselves to go out?

"Coincidence" keeps popping back up.  I don't hear from him for a week and a half and then it's Thursday night and he wants to get together on Friday.  Methinks someone doesn't want to be alone on Friday night.

There was "Babe" who was at the friend's wedding I was in.  I should probably be ashamed to admit this, but since I didn't sleep with him, I'm not.  It took about three minutes of conversation before I placed him, and then another couple hours before I remembered his name.  Now, granted, it was just before the ceremony. I was in the wedding and worried about making sure things were going right. He was in a suit, so very different from the jeans and t shirt on our date.  Saved by the ceremony, I only had to slog through five minutes of small talk.

Does this strike anyone else as creepy?  One of the features of these dating sites is that you can see who looked at your profile.  There are a couple guys that regularly check my online dating profiles. One of them emails me about twice a month with a riveting "hello" and rarely has more than one or two words to say, which is why I gave up on him. "Man Up!" does it too.  He blew me off and now checks my profile weekly.  WTF?  Is there a train of logic here that I'm not seeing?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Da da daaaaa. . . . Unemployed!

It's official, I'm unemployed. 

I just filed for unemployment benefits for the first time EVER. As a contractor, I knew my contract was finite. The end came slightly more abruptly and in a less courteous manner than I'd have hoped for, but I knew it was coming.  The nice thing about being a contractor is that you do know it's going to end.  When I was let go/downsized from a job before it was a surprise and upsetting.  This time it was a good thing.  Being without a paycheck isn't a good thing but getting a final answer was.  VMC was being mysterious about what they were going to do with me (end my contract, move me to another department) and that made me more anxious than having a decision. 

I'm working with several contracting firms and recruiters.  I'm applying to everything in the field and can interview any time.  It looks like there will be several projects starting in October and I should be well placed to take a position on one of them.  Lots of options too: local, travel, longer term, very short term. Hmmmm, what will be next on my agenda?

I am in that old catch 22.  I wanted to travel but didn't have any time to do so with work and no vacation days.  Now I have the time but since I don't know when the next paycheck will come in, I shouldn't spend hundreds (or thousands) of dollars on a trip just yet.  When I lock in a new job, then maybe. Although, Portland and California are so close they don't really count as travel, right?

With that, I'm off to a phone interview. Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Man with No Feet

I was having a whiney, whingy day yesterday.  I was frustrated that work wasn't making a decision about my contract and as a result I sat around for ten and a half hours trying to look busy while in actuality having nothing to do.  Absolutely nothing.  There's only so much crap you can look at on the internet before you get to or

The problem was I couldn't go do something.  I didn't have anything to learn or prepare.  No meetings, no emails to respond to, nothing.  I hate sitting and waiting.

By the end of the day I was in a pretty foul mood.  The fact that I had overdosed on both caffeine and sugar by four o'clock didn't help either.  I wisely cancelled my dinner plans and headed home as not to inflict my grumpy spell on anyone else.

When I got home my neighbor's son was pulling up.  He came over and asked for a ride to the shopping complex.  His mom had collapsed again and was at the hospital.  He'd come by to pick up something she needed and wanted to get the car.  I was eager to oblige.  She's always been a lovely person and great neighbor.  The medical issues have been recurrent and severe lately.  This was the fourth such fainting spell that led to hospitalization in recent months. 

As we made the three minute drive to get his mom's car, the son also told me that his son was in hospital with a 103 degree temperature and abdominal pain. He had gone from one hospital to another. I offered any help I could, which would include caring for his mom's cat that night, and wished him well when I dropped him off.

When I got back I took the dog for a walk.  On a path near our neighborhood park I walked toward a man who seemed a little twitchy.  He made a signal to look at him, then a stop action.  We both stayed on our path towards the other.  He asked "Who is behind me?" to which I replied "no one" which was true.  "Good, that's how I like it" he said with some relief. I was left wondering.

I got home and realized that I really couldn't complain.  There's a saying "I felt sorry for myself because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet".  We all fight our own battles and demons.  As much as I didn't like my day yesterday, it couldn't been a lot worse. I didn't fight my frustration but I did feel some appreciation that mine were molehills, not mountains yesterday.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Home? Home!

They say you can't go home again.  I don't know who they are, and I don't know why they say that.

I'm home.  I'm in the house I grew up in actually. It was a matter of coincidence and happenstance that lead me to be the sole inhabitant (aside from my pooch Skeeter).  I moved back from Asia and my mom left for California.  Since the "ole homestead" is convenient for work I decided to stay there rather than moving to Seattle. It works out for mom because I'm paying the mortgage and this isn't exactly the best time to sell.

I've spent the better part of the last week going through the house. See, mom and I have slightly divergent opinions about stuff.  I like to have less stuff and keep it super duper organized.  Mom has. . .her own kind of organization system. On those grounds, I have a charity truck coming on Thursday to pick up ten bags of donations. 

The house is beyond orderly; it's nearly exactly as I want it.  Well, almost.  It's 92.4% there (minus the stuff in the garage pending pick up).

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Wedding Learning Curve

What I've learned from weddings for when I'm plotting planning my own:

KISS.  Not during the ceremony but Keep It Short & Simple. My own take on the acronym. The ceremony bit for last Sunday's wedding was fifteen minutes.  It was brilliant. Not a lot of speaking by the officiant, nice succinct vows by the couple and then everyone is released to mingle and eat.

Good food is a must.  Whether it's appetizers, a potluck or served courses, if the food is good everyone walks away with a smile on their face. Simple dishes but high quality.  Don't over feed people because most have a propensity to keep eating as long as the food is there. It seems that the food is one of the first things that people comment on or ask about after.

You never need as much cake as you think you do.  I've never been at a wedding where there wasn't cake left over. Again, go simple. Small slices but lots of them. A few even smaller kid-friendly/dieter-friendly plates too. Absolutely no smashing cake in each others faces for the bride and grooms.

While signature drinks seems like a good idea, I haven't had one I like at a wedding.  Sure, it seemed like a nice drink when the bartender had you try a bourbon-gin-fizz-foo foo-whatever. The odds that most other folks are going to like it are slim to none.  Open bar with a few beers/ciders, and options are the way to go.  I'll take a simple gin and tonic or rum and coke over a foo-foo whatsy any day. Just keep it coming.

Champagne is overrated.  This is a totally personal opinion partially based on the fact that champagne and I have a hate-hate relationship.  I don't love the taste.  It also seems to rush to my brain and start banging around with a hammer. If I have a toast (and that's a very big IF), it's going to be with the bevvie of one's choice.

No kids or animals in the wedding.  Johnny Carson made the wise oberservation that one should never perform with children or animals let they upstage you.  There is no surer way for things to not go as planned.

Take season and temperature into account.  No one enjoys swealtering or freezing. If it's unavoidable, chose a venue with appropriate accomodations.

Less stuff makes life easier.  Fewer acitvities on the wedding day. Less stuff to schlep around.  Fewer people involved.  Of course, I subscribe to those policies in my every day life. 

I may not have a wedding, ever.  I may not get married.  The first time around I managed to end up married without a shower, a party, a wedding, an invitation, an anything.  If I feel the need to say "I do" again, it will probably be with a small ceremony.  I have friends from all over the place, living all over the place.  I think that makes for the prefect opportunity for a destination wedding because even if I held it locally, people would have to fly in for it. Luckily I'm selective about my peeps, just like I am about my beer.

Most people have similar reactions to weddings as they do with babies.  They ooohhh and ahhhhh and coo over them, the pictures, the process.  I don't get it.  I just don't.  It a lot of time, a lot more money, stress, chaos, aggravation.  I might meet Mr. Amazing and want all of that baloney, but I will never, NEVER spend thirty, forty, fifty thousand on a one day event. That's craziness people.

Family, friends, a beach somewhere. . . .Oh and Mr. Amazing! If it weren't for that bit, I'd be ready to schedule a wedding now.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Date Fail #11 - The Combo

He was one part yesterday's 1812 : After three dates we hadn't had a kiss though he sort of held hands.

He was one part "Man up": He was happy to go out as long as I set the date, time, place and of course, asked him.

He was one part "disappearing act": Three dates is his limit, apparently . He's now into the wind with most of the others.

This is one that actually did surprise me.  Our first date was lunch, a baseball game, then ice cream in the park. Second date was dinner and a movie. On the third date we were both on the verge of collapse because we'd each been busy but I still enjoyed his company. After that one we'd made tentative plans to get together the following Friday but there were never plans made/set. There's been no contact since!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Not mine thankfully.

While I was out of the country, most of my friends and high school classmates got married and had kids.  I, as you know, didn't.  The best part about that first sentence? I was out of the country so I missed the bridal showers, weddings, baby showers, etc. Because God (if there is one, post on that coming. . . probably never) has a sense of humor, I've had two weddings, a bridal shower, a bachelorette party and a baby shower to attend in the last five months.

Hahahahah           haha                   ha.

Amber is probably the only person I knew in junior high and high school that I'm still friends with.  We reconnected between Spain and Indonesia and have been hanging out ever since.  When I came back into town I was invited to be in her wedding.  If I'd have known what I was in for, I may have given her a resounding NO.

The dress debacle started a couple months ago.  Amber found cute dresses that were reasonably priced online.  The three of us (her maid of honor sister, myself and another bridesmaid) all bought them.  The problem came when the dressed showed up.  The were made in China, very clearly by someone making less than minimum wage and it showed.  The dresses looked very different and all required between 140 and 250 dollars worth of tailoring. In the end they looked pretty good but being long and fully lined, we roasted in them the day of the festivities.

The bridal shower was weeks ago.  It was at a cute little wine and cheese bar.  The food was for the most part, very good.  The hang up there was that I didn't know most of the ladies there.  Not inherently a hang up except that they are all married, some with kids and inevitably the conversations turn to husbands/children/ blah/blah and I glaze over. I brought a gift and left with chocolate. Not too shabby.

The bachelorette party was two weekends ago.  I won't go into all the gory detail but suffice to say, it set the standard pretty high for any bachelorette parties to come.  The six of us were a great group and had a fantastic time.  I like that there were fewer of us which meant less time rounding everyone up and losing people. Smash wine bar was a good, if accidental, choice.  Nectar was fun either because of or in spite of the 80's cover band.  I'm still not sure which. Getting hit on never hurts the ego and I didn't even care that I never heard from the guys after. My only complaint really was paying the piper the next day for my total lack of sleep.  NOTE TO SELF: do not plan anything the day after a bachelorette party!

The wedding was this past Sunday.  Amber is a bit like myself in that she sees a situation that needs organizing and goes to it.  I was emailed a timeline prior to the wedding that covered "day of" events.  It spanned roughly fourteen hours.  Meet up, hair, make up, change venue, get dressed, change venue, photos, change venue, wedding, reception, done. I did have a good time but man, was I beat by the end of it.  I can't even imagine how the happy couple was feeling. The ceremony was brilliantly short, the food a good choice of snackables that didn't require awkwardly sitting at the singles table, the cake was fantastic and looked good to boot. Daniel and Lacey kept me occupied and endured my witty/snarky remarks all night. The groomsmen were all well supplied with their own flasks that helped all of us endure photos while we sweltered. All around, a long day but a good one.

I hope the Zieglers are enjoying Mexico and I wish them all the happiness one could ask for.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Is it 1812?

I admit, I'd been out of the dating arena for a while.  Dating overseas, as an expat, is very different business.  I was in a long term relationship that ended not long before I left the States which means I was last actively dating and living the US in about 2003. I think dating has changed while I was away.  Consider the following:

Many guys seem to be waiting to be invited/asked out.  They are not longer the ones asking and making plans.  They seems to heem and haw around until I ask, and then they want me to set all the details.

There are many guys who are content with weeks (and weeks) of texting or emailing before ever meeting. On top of that, few of them ever pick up the phone to call. Texting is not a replacement for a spoken conversation!

First date attempts are at an all time low.  Less than a quarter of my recent dates have ended in a kiss.  For the dates that did, few of them were the ones I would have wanted to kiss me (isn't that always the way??). No more arm around shoulder, a kiss or any physical contact. **I do like the idea of getting to know someone but how long should it really take before you want to make a move?

Contrarily, there are few compliments and door holding. There is also a decidedly casual style of dress.  It used to be that a gentleman would at least put on khaki's and a polo to show you that he was trying.  Now, or maybe specifically in Seattle, flip flops and a t-shirt is close enough.  I know Seattleites are decidedly caa-sshhh, but trade in the fleece for something first impression worthy. If you can't make the effort on the first date, when will you?

There fore I am left in a state of confusing, not knowing where we should be sitting on a chaperoned date in my mother's parlor, or if the dating scene has changed so drastically that I am no longer adapted to it.

If anyone has insight, an explanation or advice, send it my way would ya?

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Managing Expectations

There are lots of ways I manage expectations. 

Growing up I expected, without consciously knowing it, that I would grow up, meet Mr. Right, have kids, a house, a dog.  I think many women mature under the notion that there is someone for every one.  I no longer expect there is.

I fight the expectations that society sets. I suppose I could say I ignore those expectations, but fight makes it sound intentional  The romantic comedy routine, the way books and stories tell us we'll fall for each other and it will be magical from the beginning.  The societal expectations that we all pair up, procreate and live mildly miserably ever after. Most of you can guess I eschewed that assupmtion about the time I left the country.

I realize that all relationships are a bit of reconciling the ideal with the close enough. It's part of the dating beast. What I want and what's out there to be had aren't a matching file. My list consists of a few "deal breakers", some "strongly advised to have" and lots of "this would be nice as bonus".  The older I get the less willing I am to settle with a guy who isn't close enough to right for me.  The less willing I am to take crap.  And I have reconciled myself to the fact that it might mean I'm single a long while longer.

I no longer expect a call.  This is a tricky one because on the one hand I think know that I'm a great catch. I'm intelligent, well-traveled, blah, blah, blah.  That being the case, I have come to expect a lot of lousy dates to get to the few good ones.  Yet, even after a great date, I doubt there will be a call or a second date.  Why?  Because expecting there will be leads to disappointment, and that makes for a sad panda. Am I cold and jaded? Maybe.  Am I less upset than I used to be? Maybe.

There is a tiny sliver of my conscious, on the border of the subconscious, that has forseen my life without a partner in it.  An expectation of sorts really.  I'm not quite ready to give in to that one but I know it there and don't feel haunted by it.

When I'm on a date I make sure I am not giving signals that would allow him to assume (expect) that he's going to get laid, that I'm a doormat for him to trod on, that I am looking for happily ever after or that I am less than awesome.  One can only do so much about another persons expectations though. Mine are more than enough to juggle.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Date Fail #10 - When is it not just Coincidence?

I moved from a city of 22 million (Jakarta) to one of 4 million (for the greater Seattle area). I didn't think that would mean I see the same folks regularly.

There are the average occurrance when you find out after the fact that you were at an event and someone else was also at the event. Or in the same city, or part of the city.

Recently I had a date cancel (I hear you thinking "which one?" I realize it's happened umm, less than a lot but more than average lately). I was also able to pick up a date on the fly that night.  His plans fell through, my plans fell through so let's have a drink. Off to a bar midway between his place and mine. The date went well enough that I thought a second date was in order for further inspection. He seemed to agree and we were texting the next night talking about plans.  The hang up was that he was supposed to be out of town for ten days for a wedding and work.  Ok, plans after are fine.

The first date was Wednesday.  He was meant to be away Friday night for ten days.  Let see if you count as well as me.

On Tuesday I had a girlfriend date at a restaurant in Seattle. I arrived first, as I nearly always do, and went to the bar for a drink.  While I watching for Diane to come in, I see a guy who looks like my date from Wednesday.  Surely it can't be him because he's out of town. He's about ten feet away and I try to get a good look without staring.  After maybe fifteen minutes he comes over with a "heeeeeeyyyyyy, I thought that was you".  Not impressed.  He gives me a schpeal; about work cancelling his trip. Everyone gets the benefit of the doubt once.  Sure, work canceled your trip.  The "I was going to text you to tell you" is laying it on a little thick but whatever.

The problem was when he was much more interested in talking to Diane, my 35 yo blonde, thin friend than to me.  The guy she's seeing was on his way to meet us, but that was unbeknownst to my "date". He introduced us to his co-worker who was a nice guy then situated himself across from Diane and continued to talk to her. At one point he asked be a question, then walked away to get a drink after I said about five words throwing a "hang on, I'll be right back" over his shoulder.

He and his mate went and played table top shuffleboard while Diane and I ate. Eventually he wandered back. He then had the cojones to say he was going to get something to eat, did I want to get a drink after.  I gave him a non-committal answer and enjoyed the rest of my night there talking to Diane, her date and his friend.  I got a text from my "date" as I was leaving the bar asking if I wanted to get a drink.  By then it was after ten and I had early work the next day.  I left him hanging until I got home and then a "oh, I already left" text.

Needless to say, we haven't spoken since. How does that happen in a city of four million, that I run into a guy I had a first date with a week later in a totally different part of the city, randomly at a bar I've never been to before?

Thursday, August 09, 2012

The All or Nothing Hex

When it rains it pours.

It was raining men (hallelujah). Now it's a drought.

I've come to believe that life is all about ebbs and flows. Dating is one big example of this.  In the months since I returned to Seattle my dating life has been all or nothing.  First there was nothing, then I had a rush of a few dates, then nothing.  Lately has been busier than an elf in November.  I was getting emails from guys on the dating site, several had switched over to texting, I was out on several dates a week for a couple weeks.  Since I was also still busy with friends and other commitments, every day of my agenda was booked. 

Now the downhill side of the mountain. I've finally taken a couple nights off. . .from life.  I came home from work last night and was just at home.  I needed to recoup.  That was my choice.  The bit that's not my choice is my dating life also tapering off.

A couple of the guys that I was texting have dropped off (remember online dating is a filtering process), but none that I was too upset to lose.  A couple I've been texting haven't taken the initiative to ask for a date.  One or two that I've seen once haven't asked for a second date but continue to text.  One guy I've seen three times now but I can't tell what's happening with him. In three dates he hasn't even tried to kiss me, but we did hold hands, sooooo . . . ????

I know the ebb is inevitable after the flow, but it's still always a bummer. The "bum" will wear off in a couple days and I'll be back to a neutral realm of not dating but not caring too much about it. 

I have no upcoming dates scheduled, but a wedding to be in.  I'd rather reverse that  I think.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Date Fail #9 - Aye, aye Captain.

If you live on a boat, you should tell people you live on a boat.  That is an important bit of information for someone who is considering dating you.  Having a boat is not the same as having a boat that is also your house. I'm not talking about a house boat either.  I'm talking about a motor boat that you live on.

A couple of weeks ago I had a first date with "Union". We'd talked a couple times on the phone the week before the date.  He was pleasant, interesting, he got points for putting some thought into where we were going to eat.

He picked me up and looked nothing like his profile photos.  That wasn't entirely bad since those photos were a bit cryptic but it wasn't good either.  Anyone who knows me has probably heard my homeless lumberjack beard rant.  Union didn't have a beard  that qualified but he did have a beard.  I am not a beard girl.

He also showed up in cowboy boots.  (eyebrow raised).  Not an immediate disqualifier but something to note.  As we drove to Seattle I couldn't help but notice that he looks like a Norwegian Fishing boat captain. Well, at least what I thought a stereotypical one would look like. He had a deep side part, a full but tidy beard, short teeth with little spaces between them and was in need of a navy coat.  Sort of a cross between this:

and this:

but blonde and mid-thirties which also needs some of  this:

The date was fine.  Good conversation, great Indian food. We scaled Queen Anne hill to go to a cool bar.  After the bar I was ready to go home but he insisted on showing me his boat.  Now there had been mentions of the boat before, but what he failed to mention is that it was where he is living and by taking me to the boat he was essentially taking me to his place. 

We didn't spark like I would want and the presumption to take me home to a non-house home in a sneaky way so I didn't realize that was what was happening?  Not cool.  I demonstrated my exhaustion, which wasn't feigned, and finally got him to take me home.

One half-assed text three days later from him and my reply a day after that means we can add him to the list of first dates.