First Date Planning

I just have to take a moment to talk about a mild annoyance of mine in regards to dating and that is when someone (in my case a guy) asks you on a FIRST date, but then expects or relies on you to plan it.

So ok, I get that the guy is trying to make sure that whatever the two of you do is something that you’ll like, but at the same time, I’m not so difficult to please that I’ll turn my nose up at any suggestion he has. To me, if we’ve talked enough to one another for the topic of going on a date to come up, I feel like at that point, he would know enough surface things about me to kind of run with an idea.

Like hey, she likes college basketball, pizza and breweries…Perhaps we could start with a a local college basketball game (relatively cheap if the team sucks) and then I can take her to this really cool brewery a few blocks away that’s known for having the best pizza in the city (yes, a place like this actually exists in my city).

BOOM. Done. Date planned.

Chris-Pratt-Mind-Blown

I don’t know, maybe it’s more complex than that. Perhaps everything is these days, but I’d rather have the guy spend less time placing the owness on me (for first dates) and more time just suggesting an outing that’s to the point so we can continue to get to know one another. And yes, I have asked a guy on a date and I have suggested something for us to do based on our shared interests. And yes, the times I have done that have gone well.

Let me be clear, this mostly annoys me with FIRST dates. I’m all about sharing the planning responsibility after that date (even grabbing the tab–yes, I will grab the time from time to time). I just feel like if you’re asked out and you agree, maybe the person should have an idea of what they’d like to do WITH you?

Maybe I’m just being ungrateful, but it’s just a pet peeve of mine (or maybe I was just REALLY spoiled with that). I like it when a guy takes initiative and doesn’t allow you to stress out over coming up with something for the two of you to do. I like that he asks your preferences (or through conversation REMEMBERS things you’ve said) and takes those into consideration with planning the date. That’s hugely attractive to me.

I’ve had to “plan” 1.5 dates for this upcoming weekend. I say 1.5, because with one guy I had to literally pick the day, time and restaurant after he asked me if I was free to go out later on this week, but wanted me to put together the details so it would be, “something that I like”.

 

Ok…?

wine

The other guy took a little more initiative and suggested we go out Saturday and framed our date activity as being a museum and dinner after, but kind of left it up to me to pick WHICH museum (we have at least a dozen in the surrounding area) and WHAT dinner place (there are too many to count in this area). I feel like we’ve spoken enough to where he could have probably gone a step further and fleshed out those details, but whatevs. I tried information gathering on his favorite types of cuisine last night via text, but all I got from that is that he doesn’t like mayo based salads (but who does?).  At least he did more than the other guy I guess. I won’t talk about the third guy, because I’m not sure if I want to go on a date with him right now.

Anyway, I suppose part of the frustration is that I dated a guy once that would NEVER make any decision as to what we did or where we would go (he would also rarely drive if it required us to take one car some place if we decided to go that route instead of meeting one another there). He would just ask for us to “get together” and that was it. And, on top of that, he had the nerve to be slightly picky. It became super annoying towards the end because I felt like he wasn’t even trying and it was exhausting to constantly plan out dates that he asked me to go on. But then on the other end of the spectrum, my ex almost always took initiative with these things (almost to a fault at times–like to itinerary levels–which could be a different kind of annoyance for another post). On our first date he literally just needed to know if I was free on a certain day and time and he ran with it. Even tossed in some “in the moment” additions to the date that worked. He actually never asked me “out” unless he had an idea of what we were doing already in  his head. Also, gotta make sure things are going well on the initial “planned” part of your date before assuming you’re about to hop around town to continue it. He should teach a class to these street urchins.

All of this rambling about dates is making sleepy and annoyed. Where is my emotional support peacock?!! I need him.

peacock

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Vegan(ism) Day 2

Eating a vegan diet today seemed fairly easy. I found myself mostly eating produce as I have it ingrained in my mind to never overdo it on refined carbs, regardless of WHAT diet I’m on.

I ate many of the same things I ate yesterday, which allowed my mind to focus in on other things. Here is what I ate today:

Day 2’s meals see Day 1’s meals.

One thing I HAVE noticed in the past two days is that I’m hungry much quicker between meals than I used to be. Usually from lunch to dinner I’m fine (unless I have plans after work or I’m working late). I think part of my mistake has been not eating a ton of protein in my meal choices. I’ve been too lazy to think that far ahead.

I took some time today while things were quiet at work to look up some vegan recipes to get an idea of how to incorporate a little more protein in my diet and I stumbled across the: It doesn’t taste like chicken website, which has TONS of really great ideas. One thing I’m struggling with understanding is how to make Tofu taste like anything other than soggy rubber. I remember eating it several years ago and it tasting horrible. Perhaps this was because of the way that it was cooked (or not cooked), but it definitely left me unsatisfied, so I’m hesitant to give this a go again, which is why I haven’t purchased any.

Another thing I’m hesitant about trying are vegan cheeses. I tried some sort of vegan cheese a few years back and it tasted like shredded Styrofoam, but I’ve heard vegan cheese has come a long way since then.  I believe the kind I had was soy based and I already have a love hate relationship with soy (soy milk makes my throat swell up). In my research, I came across several articles like this one, which explains and rates certain vegan cheeses that are out right now. I foolishly didn’t know you could make cheese out of nuts. Sounds intriguing. Perhaps I’ll make a little trip down the street to Whole Foods this week to pick up some vegan cheese of my own.

Anyway, hopefully tomorrow I get it together with this hunger issue. The last thing I want to do is to eat more than I typically would while NOT being vegan.

 

“Fight Club”

Within the last month or so, I’ve slightly entertained dating again. I’m in a good place now and I feel like I’m realistically ready to venture back in. I’ve kept a pretty open mind about it and have made sure to meet people (guys) in a variety of ways (in person, through friends, over shared hobbies, online, etc). I’ve also made it a point to not seriously devote more than a fourth of my life to “actively seek” love or companionship, because I don’t “need it”. I’m happy enough with myself that I’m ok with being by myself. Those things are nice (when they’re meaningful and have substance), but I’ve learned that having someone in your life should only enhance your happiness, not exclusively bring happiness into your life. I also haven’t been super serious about committing to any one guy, because I don’t need to right now. I’m not interested in hopping right back into a relationship. I’m good on that.  I’m ok with being single, doing my own thing and spending time with friends. As I mentioned some time back, dating helps you identify if someone is a good match for you. It’s silly to dive head first into the first person that has a shared interest with you.

Ok, enough of the reflection introduction…

As I mentioned, I’m entertaining multiple avenues of meeting guys. Of course, one of the avenues is online dating. Ha. It seems so taboo to me (even in 2018), but everyone is busy and it’s just another means to put yourself out there. While I’ve spoken to a few guys up there, I haven’t taken it extremely seriously just yet (more on this in a future post)…So imagine my shock when I get a message last night from a guy I know IRL.

So here’s the thing, I’ve seen several guys online that I know IRL (mostly as acquaintances), but my rule of thumb is to not interact with them online. Hell, I even saw a mild crush of mine online, but it’s pointless to communicate there. I mean, if we know each other IRL, and there isn’t enough spark to entertain dating or “getting to know one another”, why interact online? It seems counterproductive, ha.

 

fight club

 

So of course, you can imagine my shock when I login and read the message from a guy I already know.

Hey–how are you doing? Do you remember me? We went to college together and worked together, ha. Small world. How are you doing??

At first, I wasn’t quite sure how to even respond to this because it was awkward. Eventually I wrote back to let him know I was fine and hoped he was doing well too. I didn’t ask any questions as to intentionally dead end the conversation.  I’m not sure what his point in messaging me was, to be honest. Perhaps he was on a Walter Mitty mission?

walter mitty

I’m not going to explain each specific detail, but in a nutshell, Walter discovers his crush has a somewhat active dating profile and wants to date her before someone else does. He realizes in reading her profile, that she’s looking for someone full of adventure and realizes he hasn’t done a lot of adventurous things in his life…so he sets out to change that and goes on a weird self discovery quest of sorts. It’s a cute movie.

Anyway, hopefully that’s the end of our interaction really. I wasn’t his biggest fan when we worked together (and went to college together), so unless he’s done a 180, I’m not interested in entertaining anything with him IRL.

We’ll see.

Wheel O’ Moods

Part of my goals for the new year was to focus on self care and part of that is recognizing my moods and what triggers them. Obviously, I haven’t been myself the past few months, but sometimes taking time to step back and understand the root of why and what triggers these moods is instrumental.

About three weeks ago, I downloaded this app called, “self checkout“. It’s this cool app that allows you to “check in” regarding your mood. If you fail to check in, the app reminds you and also suggests a self care tip.

When I first downloaded the app, my moods were all over the place (so much so that you can barely see them all on the wheel below) . I’m pretty sure I hit every mood on the spectrum .

 

 

I’m starting to notice that my moods are leveling out and as that happens, I’m feeling more like myself again for the first time in months:

 

 

Seeing a visual of this progress is rewarding because not only do I feel better, but I can also see a visual representation of just how much better I’m feeling. It shows that I’m starting to lean more towards being “ok” and “content” and less “down”. This lets me know I’m almost out of the woods and I can see the clearing.

Speaking of my moods stabilizing, I’ve been quite the social butterfly lately (with friends) and I’ve able to entertain dating a little more seriously. I’ve somehow managed to have three dates planned for later on this week with guys that aren’t seamlessly the scum of the earth. Nothing is promised yet, but this is definitely a step in the right direction from where I came from a few months ago.

Vegan(ism) Dia Uno

When we last left, our faithful hero was contemplating taking the 7 day vegan challenge. I’m happy to report that I made a shopping list and got the “goods” for the week. Some of the staples I bought were:

  • Jackfruit
  • Vegan Butter
  • (Unsweetened) Coconut Milk
  • Almond milk coffee creamer
  • “Chick’n” Tenders
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Vegetable stock
  • A Gang of Produce

Aside from the jackfruit, vegan butter, almond milk creamer and the “Chick’n” Tenders, I typically buy and incorporate the other items in my diet on a regular basis.

Day one doing the vegan challenge is done and I don’t feel super deprived right now. This is what I ate today:

Breakfast: 1 small green apple, 1 medium banana, 1 TBSP of no-sugar added, natural almond butter, water

Lunch: Red pepper and tomato bisque (made with unsweetened coconut milk) with chopped roasted peppers, mushrooms and celery folded in, unsweetened natural apple sauce, water

Snack:1 orange, half a cup of cucumbers, water

Dinner: Jackfruit BBQ sandwich (vegan appropriate BBQ sauce), 1 small sweet potato with vegan butter , sparkling strawberry pineapple water

In a nutshell, it wasn’t difficult to stick to a vegan diet today (based on what I brought to work). What was difficult was taking the added few seconds here and there to consider if something was truly vegan or not. This came into play this morning when I started to make coffee. After realizing that I didn’t bring my almond milk creamer, I started to grab a “non dairy creamer” at work only to realize it still contained “traces of milk”. A product called, “milk derivative” is in the powdered “non dairy creamer”. Apparently there is a difference between “non dairy creamer” and “dairy FREE creamer” (i.e. the almond milk creamer). Noted.

noted

Anyway, I anticipate this week being doable, but mostly because I’m intentionally scaling back on being overly social (which helps in regards to eating a vegan diet I assume–especially if you don’t frequent places that have vegan/vegetarian friendly menus). I’m curious to see how I feel about this 7 days from now.

Jaded & Empathic

Well, it’s another sunny day in my world—being most sarcastic of course, but it was a mildly interesting day to say the least. We got pizza at work and I ended up explaining my ex’s vasectomy to my mom (don’t ask).

Today, I received a peculiar response from a guy that I had been messaging on an app. He seemed “shocked” that “someone like me” would have been interested enough to respond to him *clutch to pearls and stop the press right now*. He eagerly wanted to know why I responded.

Like…is that earth shattering? I mean, up until now you seemed normal?

I told him in reading his profile he seemed nice and down to earth. He asked me if that was rare, to which I replied, “yes, a lot of guys up here seem to be really jaded and bitter.” Well, I must have touched a sore spot because he sent me a novel in response. I’m not even going to write everything he said because it was stupid. I’ll just summarize:

He basically said a lot of guys have been hurt really bad by women and they were tired and didn’t believe in love anymore. They were so hurt in fact, that they just couldn’t take it anymore and I should feel empathy for them…because poor them. He also went on a tangent about how he knows guys are “sleazy” and he *tries* to take that into consideration with women and tries to make up for the “sleazy” guys they’ve dealt with.

WHAT?!

Y’all exhaust the fuck out of me, I swear. I had to read his message back twice.

In the grand scheme of things, I understood what he meant, but it still didn’t explain or excuse these same hurt men referring to all women as, “spineless, backstabbing bitches”, which I explained to him. He back pedaled a bit, but still advised me to understand, assuring me that HE was not one of these guys.

Omg, go away.

He concluded his soapbox speech asking me how I was doing and how work was going for me today. Well, deputy dog, I’m doing just dandy now that you mansplained who and what i should feel empathy for.

Moral of the story, if you ever read or see a guy in extreme distress calling all women, “spineless, backstabbing bitches”, open up your heart and empathize with him. He’s had a hard life.

Fin.

 

Weight Loss & Such

So for the past year or so, I’ve done pretty well with losing/maintaining weight. When I went for my physical a few months ago (right before I had lunch with this goofball–bad idea), my doctor was amazed that I had lost 50 lbs between February and November. She was also amazed to see that it seemed like my anxiety/depression was starting to level out thanks to proper medical management (little did she know I was faking the mental health aspect of my “progress” at the appointment).

Anyway, she asked how I did it and I simply told her I just paid more attention to what/how much I ate and *tried* to incorporate some sort of exercise into a few days of my week. Walking, running, dancing (badly), sex at one point…you know, things of that nature.

Of course, some recent events in my life have kind of derailed my focus in this area of my life and my focus at one pointed needed to be, “Did you eat something today? You need to eat.” or “Why are you eating that junk? Can’t you eat something non-processed“. Understandably, I needed to focus on taking care of my heart and mental/emotional health before even attempting to take on anything else of this consistent magnitude..so I sort of gave myself a pass through the holidays so as long as ate “something” everyday, because a few months back, I didn’t have much of an appetite at all.

Well, I weighed myself the other day for the first time since November and somehow, I’ve managed to maintain my weight even though I’ve completely come off of my health kick routine. Before I dated my ex, I had reduced my sugar intake, alcohol and coffee consumptions and most processed food (In fact…funny story, on our first date after he took me for beer and dinner, he also treated me to ice cream. The sugar content in the ice cream was so heavy that I got physically sick off of two spoonfuls).  I felt better during that time period than I ever had in my entire life and I’d like to get back there. I had more energy, I slept better and I was genuinely content. It also helped my anxiety and depression (which seemed to go dormant at the time).

I have no idea how I’ve even managed to maintain weight, let alone not gain any, but I guess lately even though I’ve been eating terribly, I’ve really only been basically eating one meal a day, just divided over different periods of the day. Take for instance the brunch I attended last Saturday… The sandwich and sweet potato fries I ordered was my first meal of the day. I consumed half of it there, walked around the perimeter of the art museum for 3 hours and ate the other half before heading out to game night later that evening, where I walked around a lot downtown. The day before that, I nibbled on produce at work (instead of eating lunch), because we had a two hour delay and I wanted to actually save room to savor the BBQ I planned to have later with the guys later (which I still didn’t finish) and last night, I went out for gourmet burgers and fries with my family, but again, I ate half of it and outside of an apple, it was basically the only thing I ate that day. So I guess the “give and take” method might be saving me right now.

Regardless, I still don’t feel “well” though and I’d like to. I need some sort of shock to my system. Like a reset of sorts. Ideally, I’d like to lose an additional 15-20 lbs and I think that’s possible if I get back on track.

While being super lazy on Sunday, I watched some youtube videos from bed. One of my more recent favorite youtube channels is the “TheOdd1sout“. He’s a super funny guy who uses animation to tell everyday stories from his life (the sooubway one is one of my favorites). Anyway, in one of his videos he describes the, “7 Day Vegan Challenge Baby (solves all your problems)”. In the video, he discusses how he took the challenge to eat a vegan diet for 7 days. See the video below:

While I found the video to be funny, I’ve been seriously thinking that challenge is something I’d like to do just to see if I can do it. I feel like it would be difficult, but it would help me to be more creative with food choices in situations where I’m attempting to eat a more plant based diet. Plus, it’s only a week, so by the time I got tired of it, It would be over.

I think I’m going to give this a shot as soon as my paycheck hits later this week–because I know some of this food may be pricey. I’ll have to write about it when I start and finish.

Making Lady Friends After 29ish.

Let me tell you. You get to a certain age in life and making friends becomes a little more tricky.

I’ve been going into social butterfly overdrive lately and the introvert in me is a bit worn down. By Saturday night, I was having an internal melt down because I hadn’t been truly “alone” in three days and I was starting to feel overwhelmed.

At first, I made it a point to get out and be more social to get my mind off of this, but then it became more of way to expand my social circle(s) and now I find myself on this quest of, “yes, I’ll do that”, almost every single night of the week. My bank account is NOT happy with me, but I will admit since it happened, I’ve met so many wonderful people and become closer to friends of mine I had sort of neglected.

Part of my quest to expand my social circles lately is to make more female friends. I’ve always been more of, “hang with the guys”, kind of girl, but mostly because I’ve always been a little more tomboyish (I like cars, sports, sneakers, etc) and calm-natured. Yes, I doll up, wear makeup, carry a purse, care about my appearance, etc, I’ve just always felt more relaxed around guys I guess. There are just sometimes though where you want a female perspective or want to vent/rant about things that only other women could relate to…like periods…or how terrible some of our dating choices have been…or why some of us can seem to fully get over our exes, because…the feels.

I have never had any issue making new male friends. 70% of my close or best friends are male (gay and straight). I feel more like myself in those situations and surprisingly I haven’t found it difficult to look at them in a (mostly) platonic way. Not that females aren’t/can’t be any of these things (to me), but I’ve only managed to meet a handful of women in my young adult life that vibe on the same level as me. A lot of the other females I have met seem tangled up into drama and are necessarily catty.

So while over the past year or so, I’ve added a few really cool female friends to my social circle, I decided to partake in an exclusive all female brunch outing over the weekend. I wore chucks and jeans to the brunch.

chucks

Some of them dolled up and others, like me, went the more casual route. The brunch was actually through a meet up, so going in, I really only knew 1-2 of the women outside of the meet up and only on kind of an acquaintance level. But did this scare me? Not at all. Part of getting to know people is through conversation and engaging in conversation can be easy if you find relatable things to talk about. I’ve made it a goal of mine in adulthood to try to carry on engaging conversations from people of all walks of life. You would be surprised at how many grown ass people lack the basic skill of carrying on an engaging conversation (hint: if you’re interested in someone, end your sentences with questions, smile, don’t be one-worded–elaborate).

Like me, most of the ladies were newly single, worked demanding jobs and wanted to be more social in general. We discussed work, our pets, misc clothing sales, our families and so on. They were a pretty cool group of women. Everything was going swimmingly until one of them basically insinuated being disgusted by “hanging out” with guys, even on more of a mellow and casual setting within a group like we were doing. She claimed that in “co-ed” hangouts men were only interested in hooking up?

ryan gos - stressed

She went on a tangent about this for nearly twenty minutes or so. I know she talked about it long enough for me to lose interest in the conversation. I thought to myself:  Like, why are you so mad?! Who hurt you?! Maybe the guys I associate with are respectful? I mean, even in situations where a (guy) friend of mine has hinted out to having, “stronger than friendship feelings” for me, it was never aggressive or perverted.  I decided to keep my responses to her tangent abbreviated because she seemed really agitated and bitter, haha.

The rest of brunch went ok, but I feel like I would only occasionally hangout with maybe two out of the seven (not counting me) that were there. Actually, I’m not even a huge fan of “fancy brunch”. I could skip the mimosa, toss me a (craft) beer (or cider) or dump some Bailey’s in my coffee and I’m a happy camper.

Anyway, I met two or three other women out later on that evening after game night with other friends of mine (per usual, we bar hopped). I guess I’ll work on establishing closer friendships with the female friends I already have, because they’re some of the coolest chicks I know.

2017 Candle

My best friend gave this candle to me on NYE and told me to light it every time I thought of bad memories from 2017.

The candle is almost gone.

’tis all.

Brake Check.

 

rear view

I was driving to work a few hours ago after two glorious snow days at home (we got over a foot of snow in parts). My job was on a two-hour delay this morning, so I left a little later than my normal crack of dawn departure.

I was just minding my business when I noticed a car tailgating me. I was going about the speed limit (usually I go, at least bout 80″) and wasn’t in the left lane, so I wasn’t sure why this car didn’t just pass me (we were on a five lane highway with little to no traffic).

Anyway, after a few minutes of this and some passive aggressive brake checks, I merged over into another lane so that the person could pass me and that’s when I saw it. The car passing me wasn’t just any car, no, no, no…it was my Ex’s car. Of all of the one million people in the surrounding area to interact with on the highway, I would be just in the right place (or maybe wrong place?) to run into my ex (and almost literally).

Without getting into specifics, his car stands out pretty well and having spent a great deal of time with him in that car, I just knew it was his and it flew by me going about 90 mph before getting off of an exit. I’ll admit I was a bit stunned, but I guess not entirely, since he normally goes to work about the time he was riding up on my ass and we were around the area of town that he works in and we DO take the same route to work since we both work in the same city (different from the one we live in). Low and behold, it was indeed him:

brake check

We small talked for about an hour about the snow and work before the conversation died and we both lied about having to get back to work. So just like that, I killed my promise of not communicating with him in 2018….a smooth 19 days into the new year. Smh.

The one good thing about this encounter is that it didn’t trigger any warm and fuzzy feelings. After getting over being mildly annoyed by his driving, I didn’t really feel anything talking to him nor did I  *care* that much to know how he was doing. I mean, it’s great that he’s alive, but outside of that, I don’t care about the specifics.  It was nice that we small talked (I guess), but I don’t think it adds to the peace in my life right now as I said at the start of this new year.

Ok, we’re back to “days without communicating with ex”, 0…

If I ever catch him in traffic tailgating me again, I will aggressively brake check him so he rear ends me and has to buy me a new car. Ha, I’m kidding…sort of…