In Which I Reminisce About Recent Adventures

Today, I finally caved to the harsh reality of life and turned the heat on in the bird nest.

Thanks to newly replaced windows, eclipse curtains, and a downstairs neighbor who keeps things toasty, I was able to coast along the edges of winter for a while; but now that 30 has become the consistently highest high and snow has begun to gather on the front lawn, it is time to resign myself to the need for more than a fuzzy blanket and a hot cup of coffee.

These cooler temperatures have me feeling nostalgic and longing for the warmth of far away places–places like Florida and the Bahamas– both of which I had the joy of visiting last month.

It was the most incredible adventure– and It actually began on this blog two years ago. (But that’s another story for another time.)

In May, a Facebook status shared an invitation to partake of an amazingly-priced cruise to the Bahamas. Having never been on a cruise, and staring down 30 like the barrel of a gun, I decided, “Why not?” The likelihood of having either the free time available, the money, or the price point all together at the same time ‘someday’ in the future seemed pretty slim–and this was, after all, my year of living dangerously. On a whim, I booked an October vacation; and it was definitely one of the better of the impulsive decisions to which I tend to be prone.

Impulsive or not, the whole waiting for life to happen hasn’t been working out, so

I WENT TO THE BAHAMAS! ON A BOAT!

And Oh, my friends, it was both grand AND glorious!

It all hinged on the company–which was FABULOUS (especially considering I only knew one of the 3 people I was meeting up with)–and that turned the decadence, adventure, fantastic food, epic exploration opportunities, and delicious warmth into a dazzling cocktail of wonderfulness that I really have no idea how to put into words. Without compromising the anonymity of the delightful peeps with whom I cruised, here are some of the highlights:
Continue reading “In Which I Reminisce About Recent Adventures”

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In Which I Drink Coffee With A Celebrity

Did that really just happen?

It did.

My ordinary life took an extraordinary turn this week!

I can hear your skepticism now: “You mean OTHER than quitting your full-time job, packing all your earthly possessions into boxes (that remain only half unpacked), establishing residence in a dungeon-esque basement replete with warrior arachnid foes, and pursuing the world of network marketing in all it’s crazy chaos while sharpening your customer service skills in the hospitality industry?”

Ok. Touche. Life has been rather extraordinary in general lately–but engaging day by day in all of life’s mini routines and practical monotonies, it’s easy to lose sight of just how amazing life has been– how amazing life IS– how much opportunity lies ahead, and how many open doors are waiting to be walked through! It’s easy to trap myself in my own mental cages with my own lack of belief in the potential for wonder that each day holds.

Until a stranger messages me to remark that he enjoys when I pop up in his newsfeed.

[And not just ANY stranger, but a stranger who is the closest thing to a celebrity I’ve ever encountered! ^_^]

YOU GUUUUUUUYS!!!!!!
MICK LUNZER (AKA “Bald Guy”) of THE DANGER COMMITTEE sent ME a  message!!! 

(If you’ve never been to the Minnesota Renaissance Festival, The Danger Committee is one of the best reasons why you should go this year! ^_^ Pick a weekend in September, drive to Shakopee, and catch as many of their performances at the Bakery Stage as possible–or just catch a performance at the Brave New Workshop.)

I’ve been a Danger Committee facebook stalker fan since I saw one of their shows at the Ren Fair in 2013, but always with the acknowledgment that I was merely one of thousands who had clicked the little thumbs-up button on their fan page. Actual interaction was not even on the radar, much less HOPED for.  Mick and I became Facebook friends when I posted a video to Facebook of a super cool flaming knife stunt, and he requested the ability to share it. But that was it– Permission to share video–you know, legal stuff. I never expected anything further. I mean, come on, in what universe would a well-known performer have any reason to take interest in anything I post about, much less message ME? (And we all know from my days of online dating that  I am NOT the type to send the first message.)

But message me he DID (for reasons I still can’t fathom), and a compliment turned into a randomly fun conversation which became plans to meet for coffee when I came home to visit my family for Mother’s Day.

Yeah–that REALLY happened.
Never underestimate the potential for extraordinary things to occur.

I’ve always assumed that I wouldn’t like spending time with an entertainer after having formed any kind of attachment to the character they represent. After all, if the guy who stirred my heart as an adolescent with a soulful rendition of “Santa Fe” is reported to be a jerk and a horrible person to work with, what point is there in shattering the illusion? Isn’t it easier to continue enjoying great performances if you don’t have to acknowledge that the person who projects that persona may not be even half as awesome as the character being played?

Don’t get me wrong, Mick was perfectly charming in the online dialogue we exchanged preceding our meeting. But online dating teaches a gal pretty quickly that the ability to write a charming chat message doesn’t always equate with adequate social skills.

Thankfully, the world isn’t always as disappointing as I might expect it to be. It even occasionally surprises me with awesomeness. And though “Bald Guy” is a fun persona, Mick Lunzer was even better as a three-dimensional human. (Seriously, y’all, If you ever have the opportunity to meet up with him for coffee–DO IT.)

The whole scenario was just completely –I don’t even know–Had you told me a week ago that this would happen, I would have scoffed.

REALLY scoffed.

I mean, come on–An invitation to go dancing fell through while I was visiting home because my would-be dance partner didn’t consider my company worth a 13-minute drive to pick me up; but I’m supposed to believe that a guy with thousands of fans considers meeting ME for coffee significant enough that he’s willing to plan a place along my route home to make it more convenient for ME to meet with HIM? Inconceivable. But it happened. And the whole scenario challenged me to re-evaluate the mental framework I had created regarding value in the first place.

There are few things as crushing to one’s vanity as feeling undervalued, few things as soothing to one’s ego as being made to feel significant by someone you admire, and few things as liberating as realizing at the end of it all that your own value is determined neither by the man who didn’t find your company worth the inconvenience of a short drive NOR by the man who made a conscientious effort to work you into his busy schedule.  I’ve always placed an inordinate amount of weight on OTHER people’s perspective; and let me just tell you, it’s an exhausting way to live–constantly walking on the egg-shells of imagined perception and the endless quest for affirmation.

But there comes a point where someone remarks, “Why would I give someone else that kind of power over me?” And though the comment is made in a context addressing anger, a dim light bulb flares to life and illuminates a host of self-constructed mental cages.

Our coffee chat was an experience of inspiration that provided a new friend (I knew I had found a kindred spirit when in answer to one of my questions, he drew a Venn diagram ^_^), a fresh perspective of possibilities,  and a host of ideas for growth and personal development. Landmark Forum, Fish philosophy, the difference between what happens and the story we construct about what happens– it was a fascinating conversation that ended far too quickly since we both had other things to get to.

I am now back to the chaos of the normal. The mundane. The day – to – day. But I bring to it a fresh perspective of possibility and renewed awareness that the extraordinary lurks in unexpected places, disguised as ordinary doors just waiting to be opened.

May you find a few of your own to walk through.

mick

In Which My Socks Need Marriage Counseling

When I was in 6th grade, my English teacher (Mr. Harris-such a great teacher that I STILL remember his name over a dozen years later [which is rather epic considering I can’t remember the names of one or two people I roomed with in college]) gave an assignment in which each student was given a word that he had made up, and we had to come up with an extended definition.

My word was Zigleporph.

According to my sixth grade mind , a Zigleporph is a tiny creature who lives in the coat closet hangars.
When the hangars fall,  zigleporphs sneak out and feast on shoe laces and then creep into the dryer to eat socks. Just one sock is enough to fill them, which is why my socks have a higher divorce rate than Most Hollywood couples.

So there you go, Claudette, now you know where socks go when they disappear.

zero-to-hero Assignment 12

 

In Which I Discover that Life is Not a Musical

The physicist and I have been having some great fun lately,
It’s a happy day when you find yourself saying “Thank you for being weird with me in public” to someone.

I discovered two days ago that life is not a musical. We went to look at ice sculptures in 4 degree weather (Which I will probably NEVER do again when it is that cold because. Well. COLD.), and as we were concluding our tour of the park, a band started playing. (We had missed the ice festival parade but made it just in time for live music. AWESOME!) It was a bouncy, swingy song that I remarked would make a good swing dancing song.

“Shall We?”

Never one to pass up an opportunity to embarrass myself in public, I took his hand; and in our boot-shod feet we clomped as light-footedly as possible through the song. I only know a few basic moves, so much laughter ensued as I followed his lead (sometimes succeeding, other times failing miserably). All in all, it was utterly delightful.

But I learned two things:

First: Even if it’s easier to follow without wearing gloves, KEEP YOUR HAND COATS ON when it’s only four degrees outside. Your hands will thank you.

Second: Contrary to everything suggested by some of my favorite movies, crowds of people are not inclined to spontaneously start dancing (Even when there’s music playing and other people start it). Seriously, it wasn’t even music that the crowds of people had to start making themselves. No singing along required.

Ah well, it was still great fun.

The Writer and the Physicist

A high school hockey game

At least a hundred emails

A high school musical

Home made stir-fry

A cheesy movie or four

A night of card games

Drive through Christmas lights on the 10th of January

Vlog brothers and punny jokes

Another high school hockey game

Hot cocoa, toasty fireplaces, long conversations, and subtitled movies (seriously, if you haven’t seen “3 Idiots”, go watch it NOW. You can stream it for free online)

A question

An answer

A new adventure to embark upon

Preparing Your Family for Online Dating

If you have a tight-knit relationship with your family (as I do), or, if one or more of your parental units happens to work in the field of safety (as one of mine does), it would be a good idea to prepare them for the fact that you have decided to explore the world of online dating.

How does online dating look to deeply concerned family members? Let’s just say that a conversation I had with mom/sis on the night I was preparing for my first date went something like this:

Me: I’ve got a date tonight.

Mother/Sister: Oh! You’ve met someone?

Me: I’m meeting him tonight.

Mother/Sister: You don’t even know him? Where are you meeting? Someplace public?

Me: Nah, I asked him to meet me in a poorly lit, deserted alley…. >_<
We’re meeting at Starbucks.

Mother/Sister: What’s his name?

Me: P*******

Mother/Sister: What’s his last name?

Me: I don’t know.

Mother/Sister: You’re meeting with a guy whose full name you don’t even know?

Me:
Well, I didn’t give him my last name. And I figured I would wait until after our first date to ask for his banking information and social security number.

Mother/Sister:
What are you wearing?

Me: Jeans and a sweater with that cute new scarf Laura gave me.

Mother/Sister: Isn’t a scarf dangerous? I mean, what if he tries to strangle you with it?

Me: I’m pretty sure I’ll be ok. The barista at Starbucks will probably call the police if she notices a guy choking me with my scarf.

Mother/Sister: Don’t get into a car with him.

Me: I have my own, so I’m sure that won’t be necessary–

Mother/Sister: –Unless there’s a few other people riding as well.

Me: Yeah, gang-raped is definitely preferable to being kidnapped and stuffed in a trunk….

(Needless to say, that particular bit of snarky humor didn’t go over too well with family members deeply concerned for my well-being and only gave them MORE to worry about.)

Is meeting up with strangers encountered through the internet risky? Sure it is. But it would be equally risky to meet up with someone who hit on me in  grocery store (not that this has ever actually happened–which is one of the many reasons why I have found online dating an acceptable alternative to an ever-deepening relationship with Netflix).

But to the safety-conscious individual, online dating is pretty much equated with CSI/Criminal Minds fodder.

After successfully meeting six strangers (and surviving unharmed) I had thought my family was adjusting remarkably well to the idea. My mom no longer demanded to be texted a picture before each date (to hand to the police in case they ever needed to know what I had last been seen wearing), and my sister no longer evaluated my outfits for choking hazards.

But once a concerned parent, always a concerned parent.

Apparently, they aren’t as comfortable as they attempt to convince me they are.
For Christmas I was gifted with a stun gun.

Potential dates, beware: Going out with me might be a shocking experience!