Monday, January 30, 2012

Rockies Fantasy Camp

Dad's helmet had to be special ordered, size 8.

 I was in sunny Arizona for a few days, getting some vitamin D, watching a little Rockies Fantasy Camp baseball, and introducing Arthur to his new adoring fans (everywhere we go everyone says, “Hi, Arthur!”  I’m pretty sure they don’t know my name).

I took Arthur on his first plane ride.  He did awesome!  I did awesome, too, and since I’m not a great flyer, that’s really sayin’ somethin’.  He helped a lot.  I didn’t have to take any drugs.  I’m so thankful for my little fella.

I had "sunflower seed cheeks" from all the seeds I ate.  
On day two, a foul ball almost hit me.  I was walking back into the clubhouse to go to the bathroom, and I had my back to the field.  I heard someone yell, “Heads up!” and just ducked, since I couldn’t see the ball.  It hit about 3 feet from me.  Since I was the closest one, I had to get it back to the dugout.  I picked it up and started running it in.  The guy standing there held out his hands for me to toss it to him, and I shook my head.  “Uh, uh.  I throw like a girl.”  He said, “Like a pretty girl.”  Aww.  Sweet.  When I repeated this story later to my sister, she asked if he was cute.  It’s hard to say, all boys are cute in a baseball uniform, but also they all look the same and I’m really not clear on which boy it was.

I got to watch some fun baseball, and got to meet some former players.  One night Larry Walker came up to pet Arthur.  Arthur would have none of it.  He was spooked already, for some reason, and didn’t want anyone to pet him, he didn’t care if you were going to be in the Hall of Fame or not.

Mom chatting up Larry Walker

Later the same night, my dad had baseballs to be autographed, and so he asked me to get Vinny Castilla and Larry Walker.  I offered both men my signature in exchange for theirs, and can you believe that both of them declined?

Vinny Castilla, chillaxin' in the training room.

On the bus the next day, I sat behind Dante Bichette.  As I walked back into the clubhouse after my dad’s game later that afternoon, George Frasier and Bob Apodacka were talking, and Bob stopped politely to hold the door for me.

Dad calling pitches for Dante Bichette in the campers vs. coaches scrimmage.

It’s got me thinking about fame.  They’re just regular guys.  Well, they’re regular very talented guys, but regular guys just the same.  They’re not more special than, well, say, me for instance.  So, I’m not quite sure why they don’t want my autograph.  I’m Arthur’s handler, after all, plus, I’m really cool.

Arthur in his rally cap, cheering.

I got back on Saturday and it was so good to be in my own bed.  I think Arthur felt the same way, he has pretty much been sleeping ever since we got back, except for a quick trip to the dog park yesterday.  It was the first time that coming back to my little house really felt like coming home, and that was a treat.  Home sweet home.

Here are photos of some of the highlights:

Dad in his catching gear, where he mostly played, but he also played a little outfield, a little infield, and pitched one inning (with one strike-out,  yay, Dad!).

The whole group

In our rally caps.  "Come on, Dad's Team!"

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Dating Confusion: Part Two

With the response that I got from the last post, I thought I might post an update.

By the time I posted “part one” I had already gone out with him and decided it was a “no go.”  I also knew that he hadn’t cyber stalked me and found my blog, so I felt safe to go ahead and post what I had written the previous week, knowing that I was talking about him behind his back..  I’ll go ahead and post the rest of the story now.

Looking back, I should have given up at the point where I asked him to call instead of texting and he basically said, “no thanks.”

I didn’t.  Lesson learned.  I shouldn’t have to beg someone to want to get to know me.

On Sunday, after a week of light communication, he asked me if I wanted to grab lunch.  I said yes even though I read The Rules and know that they say you should always act busy/push the date out a few days/play games and manipulate (not the woman I want to be).  I wanted to get it over with, to find out sooner than later, since I had a sneaking suspicion that I wasn’t going to like this guy after I actually met him.  Actually, I didn’t say, “yes” to lunch, but to coffee (that is my hard and fast first on-line date rule.  No meals for a first date, just coffee or cocktails so you can bail pretty quickly if you want to.).

I walked up and he looked nothing like his photos.  Here’s a little tip for any men who might be reading this that are on-line dating:  Be honest about how tall you say you are.  I know how tall I am.  So I know that 5’6” should be taller than me.  When you claim to be taller than you are you change my first impression of you from being, “Hmm.  He’s kinda short,” to, “Hmm, this guy is a liar.”  That’s not a good way to start out.

He had spent all morning making me a mixed CD.  How sweet.  (Side note:  It’s actually really good.  And he didn’t drive a Trans Am, after all, it was a Pontiac Vibe.)  He’s recovering.

Then he let me buy my own coffee.  Oooh.  Yikes.

He was nice.  There was absolutely no spark.  After the texting debacle, he actually didn’t even know what kind of a hole he had to climb out of.  So, he probably would have had to be Ryan Gosling to recover. 

He wasn’t.  Ryan Gosling, that is.

All of that, though, is a set up for this:

I’m really bad at letting a guy down in person.  I wait until I can do it the cowardly way, over the phone.  Since that hadn’t been the m.o. with this guy, I had no idea what to do.  Should I text him?  That seemed too low to stoop.  I opted for email.

Sunday night I sent him an email saying, as sweetly as I could, but also very clearly, that I wasn’t interested.

Remember how I have the world’s dumbest smart phone?  Tuesday night, I was at work.  I had to make a brief phone call to my sister to make sure I had the plan straight for our early morning flight the next day.  While I’m calling her, my phone does something that it’s never done before.  It makes a weird little vibrate and then powers itself down.  Hmmm.  It starts powering itself back up, but I don’t have time to wait for it, I only have two seconds while my client’s color is processing.  No problem, her number is one of the four that I have memorized.  I call her from the landline.  When I get off work two hours later, my phone has powered itself back up, and I have a text.  From Mr. Heavy Metal.  What?  Why is he texting me?  It says, “but good?”  Ok, that’s about the strangest text ever…oh, no.  No, no, no.   I look back at the text log and when my phone powered back up it had sent him a text saying, “but good.”

I have no idea why.  Maybe it was in there from previous texting, and I hadn’t sent it.  That happens sometimes, I’ll abandon a text when the person I’m texting with has moved on to the next thing and I can’t keep up.  But, usually my phone tells me that I have a “draft” still pending, and that hadn’t shown up.

Oh, man.  Of all people.  Of all of my contacts to randomly text, it chooses him?  Really?

Either way, I didn’t know what to do.  Ignore it?  Text back?  I finally decided that I had karmically earned this from talking trash about him on my blog, and that I should text him back a quick one.  I said, “My phone that I hate randomly texted you.  So sorry to bother you.” 

Unfortunately, he read that as an opening, and texted me a couple more times last night.  “oh, I was thinking that you still wanted to kick it.”  And “If not that’s cool, I’d still love to hang sometime.”

I didn’t text back.  I thought about it.  “Nope.”  Would have been sufficient.  But, I’m not that girl.  I felt that I had been clear in my email and there was no need to reject him twice.

So, that’s the whole story, folks.  I will say one thing about these on-line dates:  they’re definitely getting incrementally better.  I figure by date 50 I should be about there.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Dating Confusion

He didn’t call.

What the hell am I doing?

Is this really my life?


A guy I have no idea if I’m interested in hasn’t called.

We met on eHarmony.  We emailed.  He gave me his number.  Typically, I would tell him to call me, first.  But, I’m learning.  I write a blog.  There’s info and obituary stuff everywhere if you Google me (which everyone does these days) and my first and last name are on my voicemail, so it makes it too easy (I need it to be that way for work, or I’d change it.  I might just change it anyway).  I went ahead and called him first, so I could drop the “widow bomb” in conversation, rather than letting him call me, find out my first and last name, Google me, and then having me wondering why I got a voicemail and then never heard from the guy again (Yep.  That’s happened.).

Now I haven’t talked to him for several days.  In the new age of smart phones, all he wants to do is text.  I hate my own particular smart phone (actually, it’s the “world’s dumbest” smart phone) as texting can take 20 minutes per.  After a frustrating “conversation” via text on Monday, I said, “This is ridiculous.  Wanna just call me?”  He responded by saying “I just wanted to say hi that was all.  Maybe call you in a little bit?”  Um, don’t do me any favors.  (He didn’t.)

More texting the next day.  And the next.  This guy, by the way, is the drummer for a heavy metal band and from his profile photos looks suspiciously like he drives a Trans-Am.  On day four after our phone conversation, I sweetly tell him, after he’s asked if I want to chat later, that that would work much better for me, I love the occasional flirty text but actually don’t think texting is a great option for “getting to know you”.  But, I am headed into class and then book club after.  Then I hear nothing from him the next day, (he had texted multiple times the previous days since our phone conversation) then it’s back to texting the following day.  What?  I haven’t even met this guy, yet, to know if I’m interested.

The rules have seriously changed since I was out there last, this is completely frustrating, and I have no idea what I’m doing.  Here’s what hasn’t changed:  I’m still the woman.  I still want him to be the man.  I want to feel pursued.  There’s just new ways to make this whole thing so damn confusing.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Missing My Cowboy

Tonight, I’m going to the stockshow.  I love stuff like this.  I used to sit at home by myself, watching PBR (Pro Bull Riding, not Pabst Blue Ribbon) on TV.  I loved how tough the boys were.  I loved the chaps that they wore.  Sawan and I went to see them live, and I haven’t watched it since he died.  It just makes me too sad.

I love that I live in a town that still hosts a stockshow and rodeo for two weeks out of the year, that they have a whole set of buildings for this event.  That part of Denver tradition means that you leave your Christmas lights up on the outside of your house until the stockshow is over.

I’ve been waffling back and forth today over weather I should wear my cuter vintage red cowboy boots or the more comfy brown pair.  I have a belt with my name stamped in it, and a couple of really cool belt buckles to choose from.  I just bought a really cool pair of boot-cut jeans that have flowers embroidered on them ($200 jeans at the consignment store next door to the salon, new with tags, for $50- yes, please!).  I’m excited to wear them tonight.

I’m embracing my half-redneck-ness, getting my redneck on, listening to George Strait and Pure Prairie league.  I’m looking forward to steak dinner at LoHi before I hit the rodeo tonight.

But I’ve cried a little today.  I’m trying, unsuccessfully, to not think about this:

With my "cowboy."  Stockshow, January, 2009

Monday, January 16, 2012


How’s everyone doing on those New Year’s Resolutions? 

I’m going to brag for a moment:  I only really made the one that I wanted to take some classes to make my blog better.  I started last Wednesday.  Suckers!

I just started taking a writing class.  I’m slightly overwhelmed by the amount of work that it is, but I’m super excited!  I really, really loved it when I went last week.  It is my first non-hair related class that I’ve taken since I took Russian as a second language the year after highschool.  I felt tempted to cover my “text book” in brown grocery bags and have someone take my picture since it was the first day of school. 

Doing prep for this class looked slightly different then the last time that I took a class, though, I enjoyed lots of coffee in my French press.  It kept me company while I read other’s essays to give feedback on and wrote all day on Wednesday.

That's right.  I brought them all up to my nightstand so I could read and write in bed.  And, I am so high maintenance that I require two kinds of cream for my coffee.  Mostly plain Coffeemate, but a tiny bit of the flavored kind.  

I’m thinking I might forgo the photography class.  I’ve been doing some research and don’t like any of the options that I’ve seen.  I think what I need to do is some practice before I take a class.  Plus, I’ve been doing some reading about the actual photography and think that I can improve with just some suggestions that I’ve read, without actually taking a class yet.  So, that’s on hold.  I’ll keep you posted.

I hope your “resolution keeping” is right on track.  I hope you’ve let go what you need to (be gentle and kind to yourselves!) and decided to do what you need to, not because it’s New Year’s, but because it’s what you need.  

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Welcome Home

He’s home!

I got to talk to him yesterday for just a minute, and my emotion took me by surprise.

Gabe:  Hi, Noey.
Noel:  (trying to talk) *sob*

I was just so relieved.  I got emotional when I got the word he was back in the states and safe, so it surprised me that I cried again when I talked to him.  It made me feel embarrassed, like a wuss.

This was his third time over there.  It was his first time, though, since I was a widow, since I knew exactly what his risk would mean for my sister in law if he didn’t come back.  I was scared out of my mind this time.

But, he did come back.  He’s safe.  He’s home.  He’s a hero (and so is she).

I'm breathing much easier.

Welcome home, Bubba.

Monday, January 9, 2012

"It's trying to make out every word, when you should simply hum along."

This is my favorite song these days.  It’s been playing on the XM station at work for months, and the guy sounds so much like Jackson Brown that it’s uncanny.  I finally went and looked it up a few weeks ago, and I think I’m in love.  It’s that perfect combination of sweet voice, beautiful melody and great lyrics.

I played it for my dad the other day, and he said that it was just so sad.  I told him, “No, the first verse you think is gonna be sad, but there’s a rescue.  The second is sad.  The third is really happy.  It’s ‘A little bit of everything,’ and it gives me hope, that there’s gonna be some more happy in my life, too, not just sad.”  He thought that was great, and reminded me that there will probably be more sad things that I’ll have to deal with, too.

I know he’s right.  I told him I didn’t want to talk about it. 

I give you…Dawes.  A Little Bit of Everything.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Suck it in.

Anyone ever wear Spanx?

Holy Cow, I had my first experience with them the other night.

I was invited to a friend’s fancy Christmas party (at the Art Museum…cool, right?) so I went to my closet and found that I had gotten rid of every cocktail dress that I had ever owned.  Hmm.  No problem.  I have a black belt in shopping.  Actually, it’s more like my super power.  I had exactly one evening to get my shopping done.  Evil voice…“Ha, ha, ha, I laugh in the face of one stop shopping!”

 I headed to Nordstrom Rack.  I found a dress and shoes in record time, but their hosiery department was sadly lacking.  So, looking around, the only pair of black tights/hose that they had were made by Spanx.  I had heard of these, but had never actually owned a pair.  I thought they were more of a fat girl thing.  Well, that’s not what I mean.  I mean a “fatter than me” girl thing.  But, lacking options, and not wanting to make another stop, I bought them. 

Saturday night rolls around and it took me about 20 minutes to get those suckers on.  I broke a sweat.  They came up to, ahem, about my bra line, they were so high waisted.  But, wow, did I look skinny.  I must admit:  I’m in love.

Here’s where it get’s really good: (and, Hi, Dad, if you would please stop reading here) there’s a nifty little “naughty girl hole” in the crotch.  Presumably so that you don’t have to pull them down and do a full-on Gillian Michaels-style circuit every time you have to go tinkle.  I couldn’t bring myself to do it, so every time I went to the bathroom it made me laugh out loud.  I’m in the stall of the bathrooms in the Denver Art Museum, by myself, laughing out loud and short of breath from my tights work out.  What can I say?  I’m classy.  Having shared this with a few girlfriends, apparently it takes a ballet-style “plie” but then it works like a charm.


Did I just over-share?

After my tutorial from my girlfriends, I’ll definitely be braver next time.  This way I won’t have to avoid eye contact when I leave the stall.  Other than that, I highly recommend them.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A little bit of silver lining

I pretty much never liked my birthday. 

As a kid, most of my friends had summer birthdays; so I always wanted to do something warm-weatherish for my birthday, like go to the waterslide, which is just not really possible in January unless you’re trying to join the polar bear club.

As an adult, I’d say that it’s more about the time of year.  January 3 is a rough day for a birthday, it’s hard to get people to want to party (people are burnt out from Christmas and New Years).

Plus, birthdays for me have always been a day to take stock of your life.  I’m so goal oriented.  I seldom am satisfied with what I’ve accomplished.  I’m extremely hard on myself.  So, every year on my birthday I would be sluggish, discouraged, thinking about how life hadn’t turned out the way that I thought that it would, beating myself up for not having accomplished what I’d planned for myself.

As a widow, the dark stuff spills onto almost every day of my life.  I’m faced daily with the idea that nothing is in my control.  I daily recognize that life hasn’t turned out the way that I thought it would, the way that I had planned.  In some ways, this has freed me up to not torture myself.  It’s not my fault, I did all I could.  But it’s still disappointing.  This is not the life that I dreamed of.

All of that lead-up is to say this:  widowhood has totally redeemed my birthday.  I don’t dwell on the fact that this isn’t the life that I was planning.  I have that thought every day, anyway.  I’ve already gotten used to it.  So, now, on my birthday, I can just think about all of the people that love me. People wrote me amazing notes on Facebook and via text and email.  My friends all got together and we bowled and played pool and had cupcakes and I received flowers and thoughtful cards and gifts, and there were people there, just telling me that they were glad that I was born. I feel so loved and cared for.  I can focus on that and have a kick-ass time. 

I love my birthday!  Thank God some things have gotten easier as a widow.

NO WAY could I blow out all the candles.  Doomed.

(some of the) Friends!

Pinball!  (my favorite)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The big 3-3!

Welp.  Today is my birthday.

33 big ones.  I love that it’s divisible by 11 (always my favorite multiplication table, because it was easy).

I actually want to celebrate this year (which, come to think of it, is an improvement even from my pre-widow days).

I woke up missing Sawan.  It doesn’t happen that often anymore, that I wake up crying, so I know that the answer is just to get out of bed and go downstairs and get coffee as soon as possible.  That’s what I did.

This is my 3rd birthday without him.   I sometimes still do that thing in my head:  “What would today have looked like were he still alive?”  It’s getting harder and harder to answer.  There are just too many variables.  This is really good (because I don’t make myself crazy with this question like I used to), and also hard.  It’s letting him go.  It’s more of the tug-of-war that I have been talking about lately.

But, back to the birthday.  Some people seem to use their birthday as a time to take stock of the year, sort of make resolutions.  For most people it’s New Years.  For me, they come three days apart, so it makes it easy.

It’s nice to have New Years/my birthday roll around and not have to be feeling guilty about what resolutions to make.  I took care of it in October.  I quit smoking, started exercising and eating better.

So I guess I’m thinking about other things. 

I want to be a better writer.  So I’m looking into a writing class, and also want to take a photography class so I’ll have better photos for the blog. 

I also feel like I want to focus on joy.  Not sure what that looks like.  But, I want to create a posture in myself that I can look toward that.   Not like I feel like I’ve been grieving wrong, I just feel a shift somehow, and I want to name it.

I’m filled with hope in a new way.  I love the turning of the year for the sense of renewal that it brings.  Come on 2012!  I’m ready!

Have I mentioned that I’m half redneck?  A bunch of friends are getting together tonight for barbeque, beer and bowling at a place in my new neighborhood.  I haven’t been there yet but it sounds like the perfect amount of redneck for this girl.  We’re gonna start 33 off right.