As the ‘unofficial’ end to summer has rolled around, I thought I would do a ‘backwards’ bucket list since I never got around to posting my summer bucket list in the first place, and also because reviewing the summer that was makes me smile.Β  Though it wasn’t the summer I thought it was in some ways, it made up for it in others, and it’s the first summer I’ve felt that I have truly, 100% enjoyed the living shit out of summer. Yep, that’s right, enjoyed the living shit out of it….how do you like them apples?! (puppies and rainbows…puppies and rainbows!)

So, some of the moments I’ll remember most of sun-drenched days and starlit nights?

  • Bloggers in Sin City! Though this was in May, it still “counts” and was an amazing experience. I’ve met so many bloggers, I met some of my favorites (Shannon, Akirah, Erika and BB) with one of my favorites (TiWID)
  • Meeting INRIS and C!
  • The Cathe Road Trip, sweating like whoa, and meeting Heather!
  • Maine, Maine, Maine, Maine, Maine, and oh, Maine!
  • Rockclimbing! <–bucket list item!
  • Some fanfrickintastic times at the beach, most recently in particular (today was another amazing beach day with another kick friend, Jacqui. Gorgeous weather!)
  • Running, running and more running – 3 weeks til the Wicked Half. Rocked another 10 miles today and it feels so much more real now <–bucket list item!
  • Lots of cookouts, beach time, lake time and enjoying a lot of moments with friends, sisters, family and kitties.
  • Listening to the waves lap at the shore, bonfire on the lake, watching the sparking water glisten on an early morning run, and lots and lots of laughs, wine, and food. What more could a girl ask for?

Some other moments I will never forget?

  • When Nala fell ill, turned a corner, and when she finally was off her medication – she’s now over 8.5 lbs. I feel blessed.
  • A tragedy in my hometown that once again reminds me how much I love my sisters…we spent some special moments together this summer, in part, because of that, I think.
  • Feeling my soon-to-be-niece kick, and looking so forward to loving her and continuing auntie throwdown like whoa!

What’s missing from this list? Dating, for the most part. I didn’t date much this summer, though I hoped to, and I also hoped to find love and/or at least find someone worth dating or entering a relationship with, but I’ve realized you can’t rush it, it’ll come when it’s meant to, and I can hope like hell it will happen, but I know I just need to keep faith that it will, and in the process, have a little fun.

So…fall, whatdya got for me?! Beyond my niece being born, which is rightaroundthecorner, moving (next weekend) and my trip to wine country at the end of the month, the sky’s the limit and I can’t wait to enjoy the shit out of fall and winter too. Bring it!

Bliss

Wow, what an amazing finish to a fantastic week off! Literally the last three days have been filled with nothing but the beach, good friends, and relaxation. Some of the moments from this weekend are by far, in my top 10 of the summer.

A couple of moments I want to capture:

…heading to my friend Steph’s private beach on Friday for a couple of hours with our other Kick friend Jacqui. Crystal clear water, not a soul around except for us, and a glass of prosseco.

…girls night at my place on Friday, with a few of my friends, capped off with a drink at one of my fave summer bars.

…one of my best runs to date on Saturday morning, again with Steph and Jess and Scott. It was only 60 degrees at 7 am, the air was crisp, the sun was shining and my shins didn’t cramp once. Made it 10 miles in 1:52…slow to most, but my fastest as well! *pats self on back*

…Beach day #2 again at Steph’s beach, with Jess and Scott as well. Another perfect day of weather, more prosseco, capped off with an awesome cookout at their place, with a few other friends (and Steph’s cute brother Josh…hehe), a bonfire, and tiki torches. And wine. πŸ˜‰

…sleeping in a bit, eating breakfast on the patio this morning, complete silence. Much needed and enjoyed.

…beach day #3 with my friend Jess. Took awhile to find a beach with parking that hadn’t filled and damn, was it a scorcher (in the 90s today), so we only lasted a couple hours, however, it ended with a yummy ice cream twist down the street from her house. Yum, like whoa.

I couldn’t have asked for a better vacation to (somewhat) end the summer. It’s been an amazing summer and I’m totally planning my top 10 summer memories post for this week or next. And my “dad” series as well. Happy Sunday funday! πŸ™‚

Jess, Steph and me

It’s been a funky week so far, getting back into routine, and work, and working out, all while trying to combat the cold-from-hell, but as the week is coming to a close, and the long weekend is upon us, I’ve been randomly collecting a few of my favorite things at the moment, and I figure they’re worth sharing, because they scream happiness, inspiration, hope, and fun…and since I’m all ‘puppies and rainbows,’ they’re itching to be blogged about πŸ˜‰

On the plane to Vegas, I ripped out a few articles I was reading and tucked them away. One of them was an interview with Sarah Silverman and “7 things worth repeating.” A couple of my favorites:

Sweat a little every day. Organize your apartment, do your laundry, play basketball or nuzzle with another person (me: does a kitty nuzzle count? Cuz that’s all I got right now. Heh.

Sarah’s mom’s advice on heartbreak: ‘it hurts, but don’t put up a wall…take a risk and fall in love – it’s worth the pain.” (me: YES, YES, YES! Completely agree)

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Another article I was reading was from Marie Claire, and it was on “the science of sex” and it focused in part on a book called “For Better: The Science of a Good Marriage,” which focused on what qualities comprise lasting love.

It talked about chemistry, literally, whether chemical connections play into dating, love and marriage, and validated that a little more for me, both literally (chemical balances, hormones etc) and also noted that chemistry does play a role in whether there is a love connection, and while I didn’t need to read that to know that for me, personally, but it still validated it even more for me. Chemistry doesn’t mean sexual or romantic feelings solely, either, it’s the whole package. It’s there, somewhere, I know it. Where, when, how and who? That remains to be seen…but it’s out there somewhere.

It also talked about expectations and whether setting them too high in love and marriage is the kiss of death. Research from UNC notes that it’s actually the opposite…when you set expectations too low, that’s when relationships and marriage fail. AMEN.

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Winning bets that yield fun things like this – is that a cute magnet or what? Seriously, it makes me smile every time I open the fridge. Thanks my bloggy friend!

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Quotes like these. Can you read them? This is also on my fridge, and I read them every single day. (told ya this post was random, or if I didn’t, you can probably figure that out by now!)

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DOMS. Or, delayed onset muscle soreness. After 4 days of NOT working out (yes, I know, this is *crazy* for me…) while in Vegas at BISC, I was desperate to get back to that particular part of my routine. Despite my better judgement, I did a couple of crazy back-to-back weight workouts (upper and lower body) that I am completely paying the price for today, 2 1/2 days later. I’m limping, I’m aching, and I’m having trouble standing up after sitting for awhile.

So, why is this one of my favorite things, you ask?! Because it means I’m back to my workout routine, of course, and DOMS scream (no pun intended…) that the workouts are working. Told you I’m a little bit crazy, right? And that I have the cold from hell? Yea, in hindsight, probably not the best idea, but I’m embracing it, mmk?

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Long weekends!!

I am stoked for this weekend, truly. I have a weekend packed with fun plans, with my Group Kick “family” tomorrow night (celebration is in order, if I do say so myself!), my brother-in-law’s annual birthday bash on Saturday, and the beach on Sunday and/or Monday, likely. Life’s pretty damn good, no?

So, there you have it…some of the things I’m digging at this very moment. There are some more potentials brewing, but for now, I think this list is plenty long. I hope you all got a laugh out of this, perhaps share some of these favorites, and all have a fantastic long weekend welcoming the official start to summer, my most favorite season ever.

A hot summer weekend. In May.

A fantastic bar crawl with fabulous friends and cute boys.

Catching a few rays of sun while catching up on magazine- and blog-reading.

Grabbing the first ice cream of the season (to be had this evening with my sis and bro in law…soft serve twist, my absolute fave!)

These are just a few of the things that are making me happy right now. I read a great tip in a magazine I read today that said to capture the moments that made you happy during the day to boost your mood, gain perspective, or just to realize those little things do make you happy. I’m going to try and write a post a week (or so) on my happy moments, because when I read the article and asked myself “when am I happy?” it was, in a way, hard to put them into words. I am primarily a happy person, of course, and try to be as often as I can, but lately, little things have been getting me down, or I’ve read too much into certain situations, dates, boys, Kick, life, etc. and just get myself all jumbled up and frustrated.

This is my attempt to get out of my own brain a little bit. We’ll see if it works.

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On another note – during the “epic” bar crawl yesterday, which was, indeed epic (what a blast – the weather was amazing, the group of people duly amazing, including a few cute boys as well, which is never a bad thing, in my book, and no hangover today…wow, I even impress myself hehe), I had an interesting conversation with one of my single friends. She has no particular interest in dating right now, or being in a relationship and is intrigued by why I want to meet someone, after being in a relationship/marriage for 10 years.

Her: “well, you haven’t really been alone/on your own for that long. Why the rush?” (I’m paraphrasing)

Me: *thinking* “well, I have been single for a year and a half, that is long. I miss having someone.”

Her: “But you were with someone for 10 years, you should theoretically be by yourself for half the time you were in a relationship to get over them.” (again, paraphrasing, but that’s the gist)

The convo gave me a few things to ponder:

1) I don’t want to be single for 5 years (half of my relationship/marriage to Pete), no way, Jose. I just don’t, and I hope that doesn’t happen.

2) I don’t necessarily agree with that rule of thumb, though I do agree with not rushing into something serious too soon after such a long relationship, but I think the length of time I have been on my own is a healthy distance from my marriage, and it’s not like I am going to rush into things (clearly!) with the first guy that I end up dating longer term and/or becomes my boyfriend.

3) I don’t date just “to” date, but sometimes it is a means to an end. And sometimes I think back to wishing it could happen organically…who knows, that may happen, and I would embrace it if it did, but the letting go of the control thing (in terms of dating and using dating sites to “aid” in my dating affairs!) is still a little scary to me, but I may go that route one of these days…maybe. πŸ˜‰

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Re-reading this post, these two topics could potentially be two different posts, but this is the way my brain operates these days…clearly I can’t get out of my own brain and it’s going in a few different directions, but, you get the gist, right?

Onward…

As I draft this post, in the airport, waiting to head home, I’m feeling really good.

Positive.

Optimistic.

Happy.

Relaxed.

A little tan.

A little tired.

But most of all?

Very fortunate and grateful to have such a fabulous friend in BDF (well, I guess we can just call her Amy now, since, in a couple of months, she will be married, no longer “divorced”).

The trip couldn’t have come at a better time, as I stand at the cusp of what to do about CBE (stay tuned for a full post on that tomorrow), as a much-needed break from the everyday grind, and at a time where I just plain ole needed to get away from it all to think, enjoy, and just release myself from it all.

And, it was exactly what I had hoped for, and more. Amy and I had a blast! And, her fiancee, Eric, is just so awesome, I can’t put it into words…I am so happy she’s found her perfect fit, because he truly, truly is, and he’s just an all-around great guy. I like him a lot, we get along great, he’s genuinely interested in my life as well, and I just think that’s awesome. (I even joked to Amy – just clone Eric for me, and I’d be a happy camper! ha).

So, what did we do? Here’s a quick recap for ya (see the trip in pics in part I of this post)

On Thursday, when I arrived in Tampa, we grabbed an early bite at Ocean Prime, which was delicious, and much-needed as I’m already ravenous after a flight, for some reason. The conversation of course flowed easily, and the topic of CBE came up pretty quickly, and well, at that point, I think I’d already decided what I wanted to do, but hadn’t explicitly said it, but Amy could just tell by the tone of my voice when chatting about the latest (again, I’ll rehash it all in another post) and it was sort of the validation I needed – her reaction to what I was saying, my body language, and tone.

We headed to their place, in Lakeland, which is about 45 mins away and spent the rest of the evening, well, drinking wine. Lots and lots of wine. It was delish, but well, the three of us polished off two bottles of wine (and Eric really only had two glasses), so you do the math πŸ˜‰ So yeah, I may have woken up slightly hungover (whoops!) πŸ˜‰

Friday, Amy and I spent the day together. We had an awesome run around the lake by her place, only a 3 miler, which was perfect because I was suffering from major shin splints for some reason. But, the scenery was beautiful, the palm trees gave me serenity, the air was warm, the sun was shining and I was feeling happy. We spent much of the rest of the day shopping for her wedding dress. Something simple. Something fairly casual. Something a little harder to find than you’d think, right? πŸ˜‰ Well, I am thrilled to say we found “the” dress, after just a handful of stores, and it was perfect. She looks great in it and she’ll be stunning as she gets married in June at a winery in Oregon (which, by the way, is my idea of a perfect way to get married!). We had a delicious Amy-prepared dinner, including a tasty app of some gourmet cheeses, edamame and yummy sangria (hence the sangria pics!).

And, today (Saturday), we took a long walk around their neighborhood, with the dog, and that too, as simple as it sounds, was great. It was nice to get some activity in, enjoy the outdoors, and a near-perfect day, weather wise (sunny, not too humid, perfect temps). We spent the rest of the day on the deck, in the sun (getting a little much needed-color! woo!), relaxing, chatting, laughing.

So, all in all, it was the perfect getaway for me, mentally, and physically as well, and seeing Amy and her financee interact, fit so well together, and just be so damn happy…well, it’s inspired me. It’s inspired me to know that “that” kind of love is out there for me, it will happen, and it will happen when it’s meant to. I deserve to find that just-right fit, with a man that digs me as much as I dig him, that shares the same views (more or less), that is driven, fun, honest, and genuine. He’s out there. Somewhere.

And finally, I realize how very special true and honest friendship is.

Amy and I have that, and it’s something we’ve developed most heavily since our respective divorces, even though we’ve always been good friends since middle school. She’s devoted, honest, and truly cares for me, as do I for her. I’m lucky to have her as a friend, as with my small circle of friends…the ones that are there for you, getting through the bad times, and enjoying the good times!

And, in closing, a few super funny (and some of which make no sense except to Amy and her financee and me, but I just have to capture them because they are a riot!):

  • Calorically adventurous
  • Fart particles
  • Are you sure?
  • Giving birth to felines (what a toast that was!)
  • I think you’re making it up, if it’s made in Pennsylvania, you can eat it
  • I don’t think there’s lactose in that (cabo wabo)
  • Living like a balla!
  • I was blushing
  • Jonila…isn’t that your last name?!
  • Creepy yellow haired guy
  • That’s like me saying I’m a descendant of Malcolm X
  • Nobody ever talks about Davy Crockett anymore..is he real or fake?!

Uh, where did the weekend go?! Seriously, not only did this weekend fly by, as it was jam-packed with super-fun activities, but my time with CBE flew by extraordinarily fast, faster than normal, which is a bit of a bummer (and, feeling as I was rushing between one activity and the next all weekend, didn’t help matters!).

But before I go on about complaining about time flying, how about I share some details about my weekend time with CBE? πŸ˜‰

We had a great time – we were both really looking forward to getting together, and it was evident when I walked into his place that he (and I!) was happy our time had finally come. He told me he was really glad to see me, gave me a hug, and well, quite the kiss. It was beyond nice, and exactly what I was hoping for! The comfort level was there from the get-go, too, which I think is just another sign that we’re going in the right direction. I just feel comfortable with him, natural, fun, and normal.

We headed over to his neighbor/friend’s house for a birthday party, and it was fun to meet a few of his friends, and they were very nice, but actually a bit younger than me, and for some reason, I felt young (and CBE is older than me, and he doesn’t feel that way at all, which I guess is a good thing!), but I think part of it was that my shy ways started to resurface a bit when it got crowded as I didn’t know anyone there but CBE, and he was socializing, but also coming over to make sure I was having fun etc. What I think was what was bothering me more was that I just wanted to spend time with him, not spend the whole night at a party…which I guess is just something that comes with the territory of a long-distance relationship, and though we had fun, I was getting tired and just wanted to see him…alone.

I think he figured that out as we left around 10 and went back to his place and got to spend some more time together, and that was just so nice. And, it was just nice to be able to fall into bed and cuddle up, relax, and sleep soundly. It was really nice, and nice to wake up next to him, rested and ready to spend the day together. We went forΒ  a walk at a really nice lake near his house, with the dogs, and though it was sprinkling a little bit (he gave me his super-warm hoodie to keep warm!), we had a good time, talking, joking and watching the dogs scamper around. We went back to his place and I started to get nostalgic, as I had to leave around 2:30 (to make it back home for a fab cookout with my Group Kick team!) SO FUN tonight!), but he made a delicious lunch of salmon, basmati rice and red pepper stir-fry…it was so good, and I have alwaysalwaysalways wanted a man to cook me dinner, so though it was lunch, it was just so great to watch him cook, help out a bit and experience what it feels like to have a man cook me a meal (Pete used to make dinner and stuff, but never a “romantic” dinner, per se, so it was something I always wanted). So, though our time felt extremely abbreviated this weekend, I am already looking forward to next weekend as we’ll have more time together.

So, all in all, we had a very, very good time together, but I was bummed out a little bit about how short it felt, but we were able to cram in enough activities, fun, and chatter, to make it worthwhile and I am really liking where things are going, the pace at which they are going and well, just him. He’s really great.

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…the issue will be trying not to “can’t wait” my way until next weekend and just enjoy the week ahead for what it is, and embrace it. I have a lot to look forward to – including a fab mid-week girls night fun for dinner for Restaurant Week – so I just need to work at making sure I take it one day at a time and not rush till the weekend.

Well, today certainly wasn’t the way I figured Monday would shape up.

I had another date with boy #9 tonight (I think that makes it #5, right?!), sort of unexpectedly. We talked about it as a possibility last night, since it’s been a week since we last met up, and I told him I’d let him know today, depending on how much energy I felt I’d have, considering this weekend’s events pretty much wiped me out!

But, I woke up without pain or aches, and was pretty energetic, and I DID want to see him again (sooner than Friday, which is when we are getting together, anyway), so we met up for dinner. It was supposed to be a later dinner – around 8 – because he volunteers at a local shelter on Mondays and plays with the kids, to keep them occupied. How great is that? Anyway, it got canceled (water leak at the center, apparently), so we were able to get together earlier, which was nice (since my caveat to him was that it had to be an early night, since the last few were 2 am’ers, WAY past my bedtime! LOL!). Well, it’s after 11 now, so while it’s earlier, it’s not that early πŸ˜‰ But, no complaints from me…I’m really enjoying spending time with him and getting to know him more.

For example, he’s adopted. So is one of his brothers. A tidbit I didn’t know before (or, that his mother is one of TWELVE children! Quite the large family!).

Another – he’s gone sky-diving.

He’s just very interesting, has a lot of “layers” and I am enjoying peeling back the layers and figuring him out.

But I can’t quite figure him out…a *smidge* frustrating, but only because it’s hard for me to NOT know someone’s quirks right away, or figure out their moods, or truly know where I “stand’ with them. I know it’s still early, and there’s plenty of time for that, and that’s a huge part of dating (and/or the start of relationships – figuring them out), but I still wonder “what’s around the corner” or “what’s next.”

…but that also makes it fun and exhilerating.

I’m having fun. I’m glad we’re continuing to go out on dates. I’m not going to go as far as to say we’re “officially” dating – because I’m not really even sure what that label means – yes, we are going on dates, but beyond that, nothing is defined, and that’s okay for now. I’m good with that. We’ll see what happens.

One day at a time.