29 January 2013

99 things

I can account for 51 of the 99. What about you?

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band

4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain

9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo

11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightening storm
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch

15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning

17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France

20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort

25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping 

27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset

31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community

36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt

43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant

44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance 

47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling

52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater

55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma

65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar

72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades

75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been a passenger on a motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person

80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car

83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Kissed a stranger at midnight on New Year’s Eve
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating (presuming a fish counts)

88. Had chickenpox

89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous

92. Joined a book club
93. Got a tattoo
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

28 January 2013

traveling into uncharted waters

As February is rapidly approaching and my schedule has been nutty, I decided to purchase The Southern Gentleman's birthday and Valentine's Day cards over the weekend. Much time was spent wandering Hallmark trying to find the appropriate sentiments. 

There is a fine line between "you're the love of my life!" and "glad we're friends". I read millions of  cards but finally came across the right one for each occasion. I made a conscious effort to select cards that were outside my safety zone. Ringing true with more emotion and a lot more vulnerability than I am accustom to. 

Vulnerable is my new middle name. Deep down I know I need to wade in the pool of exposing myself. I need to reassure The Southern Gentleman of everything we discussed during his visit. The time has come for me to be brave and that bravery demands I leap outside my comfort zone. With The Southern Gentleman, I have learned gentle encouragement is key as opposed to a full-on assault. 

Next step in Operation Vulnerability & Bravery, signing and dropping in the post. 

24 January 2013

deep blue

This week I was fortunate to work in the southeast. Ah, the view from my hotel room is amazing as is the view from the office. I look out the window and see nothing but water. It is beautiful. I have always wanted to live by the sea. Always.

Even though Austin is land locked, the Colorado River runs through the middle of town, so I constantly received my fix of moving water. I loved that it was so accessible. I truly do miss not having that option so close.

Needless to say I planted myself by the window so I could soak in the endless blue. While the mountain view of home is nice, my soul resonates with the lapping of water.

18 January 2013

swimming against the abyss

Much to my surprise, The Southern Gentleman has been keeping in touch weekly via text message. While he has never really employed text messages in the past as he has always been a phone call guy, I think it is movement in the right direction.

Normally at this stage of post-trip, he would be completely, utterly silent. But The Southern Gentleman appears to have heard what I said, "you're the one who always goes into deep hiding after our encounters." I truly feel sending texts is his way of showing me that he is not disappearing into the abyss this time. Baby steps, kids, baby steps.

I continue repeating my mantra: patience. I am giving him his space to sort this all out, over-analyze every inch of our time together last month and over the past million years. I will not push him or bully him; I will continue encouraging him in small ways.

06 January 2013

crossing thank yous

Yesterday was all sorts of Southern Gentleman interaction.

First, I wrote my thank you card to him. After a few drafts and few conversations with my girls, I transformed my traditional Emily Post thank you to a more suggestive thank you. Upon completion, I promptly dropped it in the post box so there would be no turning back.

Mid-afternoon I received a text message from The Southern Gentleman. I was surprised and delighted. I quickly responded and he replied. Very exciting. The messages weren't steamy or thrilling; it is simply that he is maintaining contact.

In the evening, I went to the post box and there on top was a postcard. Clearly, The Southern Gentleman wasted no time in getting it in the mail. Here it is:

Pats, Thanks so much for the great time in CO. I needed a vacation and you made a fine host. I enjoyed the meals, tea tour, Django movie, and talks. I hope you had a great time too! That last meal with your neighbors was fun, but almost made me miss my flight!! It was also fun to visit so many [specific] stores and get your thoughts on some of the styles and pieces. One day my dream of a showroom will come true!! You take good care and I hope you have a wonderful new year. You are a true friend and I cherish our relationship. Take care and be safe.
- The Southern Gentleman  :)

I am highly amused that both of our final sentences contain the verb "cherish".

And there you have the latest.

04 January 2013

weekend holiday recap part three

Sunday morning was the appointed time for us to make the pilgrimage to view Django Unchained. The Southern Gentleman was very excited to see this film. (I purposely wore a dress as this is important later). He paid for the tickets, I picked up the popcorn and soda. Unlike previous times when we have seen movies together, I noticed he sat very close to me. The film wasn't painful as I had anticipated and I actually found myself immersed in the story line.

Since the film was so long, a mid-movie pee break was required. As I sat in the stall, I reminded myself that I needed to find the right time today to speak with The Southern Gentleman about our weird relationship. Post film, we ran a quick errand to pick up some wine that was on deep discount and from there were headed home.

The Southern Gentleman sat on the couch and I went to the kitchen to pour him a cocktail and a wine for me. We talked about the film. I poured him a second cocktail and then he poured himself a third. Upon returning from making his drink, The Southern Gentleman takes a sip and says, "we have to talk about you and me." I was speechless as I honestly never thought I would hear those words out of his mouth, not after all this time. He went on to say that he thinks about what would happen if he and I dated and he is afraid that he would lose me if we broke up and he doesn't want to lose me from his life so we should probably stay friends. To this, I informed him that we have never been friends of a platonic sort. There has always been this undeniable spark and chemistry that "friends" don't have. He asked about any other male friends who come visit me and I told him that he is the only man that visits me besides the gays and of that group he is the only one who sleeps in bed with me because the gays always use the guest rooms. Funny enough, he reminded me that I came into his guest room the second night of his first trip. He has kept close track of all details. I took ownership that I am slow to pick up on stuff like this but that I recently figured out that back in the day (almost 13 years ago now) he liked because we used to go to exercise class together regularly... and what man goes to exercise class?! I told him that he shouldn't be afraid of losing me because by being afraid, we could be missing out on the best thing ever. I also relayed a story about a cousin that would drive the point home. He took the information in.

The Southern Gentleman also made some assertions about expectations on visits and phone calls, to which I made it clear that I was not to be lumped in with his last few girlfriends especially in light of the fact that the past 8 years I have made zero demands of him and his time. He talked about the various times we almost collided in the past and the constant theme was fear of losing me. I continued to reassure him after all we've been though in almost 13 years, if he was going to lose me, it would have been a long time ago. I told him it is up to us to determine what works for us an no one else. Also in response, I called him out on the fact that he is the one who goes into deep hiding after our little holidays together. He then told me "this is what you do to me" as he placed my hand on his crotch. He continued to say he had been remiss in telling me how nice I have looked every day, including today in the dress and boots. He went on to say that he doesn't want to have sex for the sake of having sex.  He spoke of wanting to enjoy Valentine's Day again. The conversation continued down less meaty topics like my recent non-existent sexual past (call me the born again virgin!). I spoke of the first day we met and he walked down memory lane with me. I pulled out last year's New Year's Eve dress stating "look what you're missing out on because you are leaving tomorrow at dawn." He stated "we should have had this talk a few years ago" but I assured him I wasn't ready for it until now.

We made salads for dinner. Just as we finished my neighbors showed up on my doorstep and so they checked out the kitchen and we drank wine and talked. We ended up going to their house for dinner... and honestly after that point I have swiss cheese memories. I do remember sitting very close to The Southern Gentleman on the couch. I don't remember going home but I do remember being at my front door and opening it.

Monday morning at the crack of dawn I awoke face down in bed with only my undies on. He was completely naked. We didn't have sex but he enveloped me and held me for the brief remaining time before the alarm clock was to sound. He had an early morning flight. We were both fairly quiet on the drive. Half way to the airport I reached for his hand and he held my hand for the rest of the ride. At the departure sidewalk, The Southern Gentleman got his bag, thanked me, hugged me and then bent down kissing me on the lips. And then he disappeared thought the glass doors. And my heart felt empty already missing him.

The Southern Gentleman called that night to let me know he was home; there was still some lovey-ness in his voice. On New Year's Day he sent a text message and another the following day.

Now to sit back and give him the time and space to think about our conversation and our time together.

03 January 2013

weekend holiday recap part two

After an evening cocktail, we headed down south for dinner. Luckily the restaurant was quiet and we had a secluded booth to ourselves. The Southern Gentleman was delighted when I agreed to split a bottle of sake. He was adorable pouring our little glasses and rattling off various 'cheers' phrases in various Asian languages. Midway through dinner, His father called and The Southern Gentleman spoke to him briefly. Upon hanging up, I asked him if his father questioned him about coming out to see me. In true Southern Gentleman style, he answered that his father did indeed have questions about me but not as many as his good friend did. I didn't press the issue but thought that an interesting tidbit.

Dinner was amazing. We paid and left. Once we got home, he was lying on the couch and I went downstairs to find something on Netflix that we'd discussed at dinner. He was giggly and didn't want to come downstairs at first but then did. At some point he went upstairs, I had watched the part I was interested in due to The Southern Gentleman's story and proceeded upstairs. I didn't see him so assumed he was out having a cigarette. In my room, I am getting ready for bed and I notice the bed pillows are cockeyed. Thinking nothing of it, I continue undressing and then it dawns on me... he is hiding under the covers. I creep closer to the bed and like a little kid he has ruffled the bedspread and positioned the pillows to camouflage himself complete with a small mouth air hole. I laughed and poked at him. He whispered back "let me show you my moves" from his air hole. I climbed into bed next to him and he pulled me even closer. We both fell asleep. I was awoken from my dead sleep to him pawing at me and in the blink of my sleepy mind, he had both our underwear off and was trying to get the party started. Needless to say, his alcohol consumption made the situation pointless but he was certainly determined to try.

Saturday morning The Southern Gentleman declared he was hungover and swore there'd be little to no drinking today. We eventually headed down to the upscale shopping district, where we wandered in and out of shops. The ease of our relationship always amazes me, especially because we don't see each other on a regular basis.I was wearing a vintage coat with a mink trim collar and of course we had to walk in front of the animal rights activists. I was afraid my collar might be assaulted so The Southern Gentleman became my human shield. Of course, my human shield ends up speaking with the ringleader about a place for lunch; all the while I am hiding behind him and refusing to make eye contact with the activists. After lunch because it was getting cold, we went into the indoor mall and checked out a few shops. Heading home, we drove around an up and coming area of town to see if anything sounded good for dinner later.

At home, his back was hurting and so he was on the couch popping ibuprofen. The pain had started at lunch and he said he didn't know what would have caused it. I politely informed him that he was bucking around in bed last night "showing me in moves" and that was most likely the cause. He asked a few questions because he didn't really remember anything from the time we got home Friday night. I got him comfortable with the heating pad, fed him beer and let him rest. Dinner was a quiet affair with a quick trip to a sandwich shop. In bed that night, he kept himself in check as did I but throughout the night he would take my hand and hold it in his as we both slept.

Sunday morning was....

02 January 2013

weekend holiday recap part one

I need to document The Southern Gentleman's holiday. Especially as I have documented all of his trips with the exception of one in May 2010.

This holiday was a doozy. He was making some sort of almost daily effort to be in touch with me the weeks prior. Whether it was an email, text, or phone call, he made a very concerted effort.

I was a crazy woman getting the house and myself ready for his Thursday evening arrival. It would be the first time he was at the Colorado cottage as all previous visits were made to Texas. Around the time of his departure, I sent him a quick "on the plane?" text to which he replied with a phone call saying he had been upgraded to first.

The flight was about 30 minutes late but my timing to pick him up was excellent. There he was on the airport sidewalk looking as handsome as ever. He got in the car, gave me a big hug and small kiss on the cheek. From the moment I saw him, the rush of emotion was back as powerful as ever; as if it hadn't been 2.5 years since we last saw each other.

We headed back toward the cottage with plans to get The Southern Gentleman a late dinner. Juju came with me and she immediately planted herself in his lap falling promptly to sleep. My front headlight had just gone out before leaving to pick him up.

We stopped at Quaker Steak and Lube, where I had a few red wines and The Southern Gentleman enjoyed a few beers and a sandwich. Then we ventured home where he put his bags in the loft and we went on the grand tour. I had no idea he was fairly drunk at the time. The Southern Gentleman pulled a clear glass Christmas tree out of his bag. The glass was hollow and filled with chocolate candies and a small pouch. I took it and thanked him. Stupid me, I didn't really zero in on the pouch to which he told me to open it. Much to my surprise, there was a beautiful pair of silver earrings in the bag from one of my favorite jewelery designers. He has given me small inconsequential presents before, but never jewelry. We packed off to bed and as anticipated, The Southern Gentleman crawled into bed with me. As I was drifting off, I was surprisingly awakened by his hand gliding down my back making stops to caress my bum and thighs. In all these years, he has never attempted anything of the sort and honestly I was quite shocked. Some touchy feely ensued and then he abruptly stopped. I asked if I was the in-between girl to which he replied "I don't know what you are, Pats."

Friday morning I got up before him. I putzed around the kitchen making coffee, briefly checking in with my best girlfriends online. We got dressed and headed up to Boulder. First stop was Celestial Seasonings. On the ride, The Southern Gentleman was rather quiet. I prattled away as a good tour guide does. He thoroughly enjoyed the Celestial Seasonings tour as he said so numerous times. From there we went into Boulder proper strolling down Pearl Street until stumbling on a place for lunch. We enjoyed a few hours of going in and out of shops. At a few shops, he did not correct the sales staff if we were referred to as married.

Ran various errands on the route home. Stopped in at the liquor store to get some beer, into Walmart for much needed windshield fluid and various food items for his visit and a dinner he wanted to make on Sunday. He promptly filled the windshield fluid when we reached the car. Amen! The magnificence of seeing out the windshield! Then on to our final stop, the auto store to pick up a headlight. Since the auto store guy told us that we needed to remove the battery to replace the light, The Southern Gentleman was nervous and I was reduced to calling my dad to come lead the charge. However when my father arrived, The Southern Gentleman made sure he did most of the work. I think he just wanted the backup in case anything car wise went wrong. However, in replacing the burn out one, the other one went out so back to the shop we ran and he easily replaced the headlight in the parking lot.

01 January 2013

that's the story of, that's the glory of love

The Southern Gentleman left early yesterday morning.

Now the cottage is quiet.

The sound of his laugh no longer fills the crisp cold air.

The crooning of his voice has ceased to envelope me.

He isn't stretched out on the couch, just a small touch away.

Nor is he next to me in bed; his hand holding mine as we slept.

His leaving is always like this.

I feel like a piece of me has been ripped out.

I miss him terribly.