Monday, January 28, 2013

"Really, Universe?"

I thought I might give you guys a glimpse into the hilarity that is my love life.

Sometimes, the Universe gets it right.

The night before I left for Seattle, a girlfriend of mine arranged a Happy Hour with three suitable men that she thought I might like to go out with.  It felt a little like an episode of the Bachelorette, in the best possible way.  Three adoring men, all vying for my affection. 

There was Bachelor Number One, extremely attractive, with full sleeve tattoos, dark hair and light eyes.  Mmm Hmm.  He was easy on the eyes.

Bachelor Number Two would possibly win the prize for the World’s Nicest Guy.  And he could completely remodel my house.  Excellent option, but I didn’t really find him attractive.

Then there was Bachelor Number Three.  He was attractive, had a big boy job, and matched me in wit and intellect.  Plus, he loved baseball (the Rockies, no less), and was talking about the trip he had planned with his dad for Spring Training.  He seemed like my best option.

They bought the beer, and walked me to my car, but it was left as a “see you around.”  They all live in my neighborhood, and they’re either going to have to ask my friend for my number or I’ll really have to “see them around.”

It was a fun evening.

A week later, after my trip, I got sick (this seems to always happen when I travel).  I spent days in bed.

So, on Monday, after having literally been sick for a week and in bed all weekend, I began to feel like the walls were closing in on me.  I was feeling quite a bit better, knew I had to head back to work the next day and didn’t have a crumb of groceries in my house.  I thought a trip to the store was in order, to solve two problems at once:  the grocery problem and the cabin fever.

I got up, put on a pair of sweat pants and a hat.  No make up.  (As a natural blonde, my eyelashes are blonde, too, so with no makeup on I look weird and people always ask me "What's wrong?")  As I was driving to the store, I thought, “It’d be just your luck that you’d run into Bachelor Number Three at the store.”  I kept my head down as I walked in, then quickly did my grocery shopping without making eye contact and checked out.

As I finished putting the groceries in the back seat I thought, “Phew.  You made it.  Home free.”  I started to load Arthur into the car when I hear, “Hey.”

I didn’t even recognize the voice, I just thought, “Oh. No.”

I turned, and it was the man I dated all summer, I guess we’ll call him my “ex-boyfriend,” whom I haven’t seen in two and a half months.  I said “Hey,” back, then briefly raised my head to the heavens to ask, “Really?!  Really, Universe?”

We had a conversation which was…fine.  Awkward.  I would like to have looked amazing when I saw him, just because, I feel like it’s “winning” and I want to win every encounter (and this time I have to admit defeat).  But, I guess I would way rather it have been the ex-boyfriend then the new prospect. 

It’s just that sometimes the Universe gets it wrong, and much laughter ensues.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

I heart Seattle

I was in Seattle for less than 48 hours.  The wedding was the purpose of the trip, but, while I was there I got to spend the morning before the wedding just enjoying a bit of the culture and rare time with my girlfriend, Sara (with no need for an “h”).

Fabulous hats we found at the market.

Latte & Chocolate.  Breakfast of champions.
We had an amazing cup of coffee and pan au chocolate at Le Panier right across from Pike Place Market.  This place was recommended to me by Cori, my oldest sister, the world traveler, who can remember the name of every coffee shop that had an amazing cup of coffee and pastry in every city she’s been in all over the world (that’s quite a feat when you know how many cities she’s been to).  It’s a gift.  Or a superpower.

At the market, we watched the guys throw fish.  I thought about asking them to let me catch one but then I got sicked out by the fish eyeballs that were sitting there on ice at the booth and thought better of it.

The famous piggy bank.  Arthur was scared of it.
It was a chilly morning, but totally sunny (something rare for Seattle, I’m told) and so I needed more coffee to warm up.  I walked into a Starbucks and it happened to be the first Starbucks ever.  I guiltily admit that Starbucks is one of my favorite things (I feel bad for passionately loving a corporation) so it was fun to see where it all began, especially by accident!

Arthur and I had to head back to Denver the day after the wedding, but we had just enough time before our flight the next day to walk the four blocks from our hotel to the flagship of another of my guilty pleasures…the first Nordstrom store.  Two of my favorite things began in the same city!

The traveling dog at the airport.
After our whirlwind weekend, or probably more from recycled air on the airplane, we both have been a little under the weather.  I swear I can’t get on an airplane without getting sick anymore.  But, we had fun and it was worth it.

Monday, January 14, 2013

More Thoughts on Weddings

As a widow, I regularly experience a place where extreme joy and extreme pain live in the same moment side by side.  Where the same tears streaming down my face contain molecules of tears of happiness and molecules of tears of sadness.

I went to another wedding this weekend.  This may have been my hardest one to date.  The man who was getting married has been such a good friend to me for so many years.  I call him “Broth.”  He calls me “Sis.”  I had prayed for this day to come for him for over a decade. 

When Sawan died, there were so few phone calls that I would take in those first hours, but someone handed me the phone and said, “It’s Rick.”  So I answered it.  I don’t remember much about the conversation except the emotion in his voice and him promising, “I’ll be right there.”  And then he was. 

When I spoke at Sawan’s funeral, there are a few faces that I remember focusing on in the crowd.  Rick’s was one of them.  So there was some weirdo juxtaposition for me, seeing him up front this time, but happy.  Praying that it would never be reversed for him, that he wouldn’t be up there speaking at his bride’s funeral.  These are the dark thoughts that live in my head every day.

When they speak their vows, I know, more than almost everyone in that room, what they’re really promising.  That one of them is vowing to do this, what I’ve been doing for the last three years, for the other.  I spend most of the ceremony praying that they’re very old when that happens.

I think that when there are people that you love so much, you want them to experience a life without pain.  So there is an incredible amount of fear for me in these situations.  Fear that they will have to live with what I’m living with.  But I remind myself that while I wouldn’t choose this, amazing things are happening, and struggle is good.  Struggle will be good for them, too, in whatever form it comes.

And so, I joyfully look forward with them to all of the struggle that marriage will bring, in every form, and have great hope that they will have the strength to face it.  What an adventure they are on.

My friend Sara and me with the Bride and Groom, Rebecca and Rick!
I see great beauty in this place inside me.  Its like a mountainside after a forest fire, where the charred earth finds a way to grow new baby evergreen trees, and the wildflowers make a multicolored blanket, that’s the joy and the pain that live side by side.