Girl’s Night Out

Yeah, so this happened a while back. Before Christmas. I always meant to blog about it, it never happened. Then I was going to include the photo on my 2013 Love List, it didn’t happen. Somehow it got lost in the shuffle. Then, Elena asked me to send her the photo this weekend and I realized, it never got blogged.

The brief recap is that Elena and I started working for my friend Amy and her friend Amy this summer. The four of us grew much closer and we decided to do girl’s night out. We went to a bar in MPLS, Tracy’s Saloon. It was fine, not an extraordinary place. Seemed like a neighborhood bar, which can be fun. The food was pretty good, I think. I don’t really recall, maybe I didn’t eat?

Anyway, we had a great time, and we played Tasks, a game Elena and I made up. It was pretty awesome. I made lots of friends that night. Including a beautiful boy named Cas. God, he was gorgeous.

The best part of the night was this memento the waitress helped us get:

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The girls, wearing lipstick, drinking cocktails, and out on the town. It was a fun night and I often thank God for blessing me with so many amazing friends.

Thanks to you too, Ladies! But I wanted to get this posted, also to assure everyone that I won’t ONLY be doing Lent Letters this season…

Let’s do another girl’s night soon!

Things I Love -2013 Edition

Last year, to celebrate Valentine’s day, I posted my first Things I Love list. This is a tradition I want to continue. What is better than taking a moment to reflect on all the good in life?

Here we go (in no particular order):

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Camden (yeah, okay, he gets to be first)

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Sneaking kisses

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Breathtakingly beautiful winter mornings

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Laughter
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My dad
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My mom. And happiness.

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Mickey Mouse

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French braids

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Baby hair

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Play time (and cousins)
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Big families
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Little families

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Crazy Uncle Zack

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New red shoes

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Lanie

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Christian Kane
Christmas 2012

Friends

Oversized chocolate (and Valentine’s gifts)
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Inspiration

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Simon

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Arionna

It’s so easy to let the little moments slide past, today I choose to acknowledge that I am living a life filled with love and family, friendship and fun. I’m fortunate in my life and lucky in those that I love.

Happy Valentine’s Day

 

Lucky the Leprechaun

There are moments in life when we learn lessons, even if we don’t realize it at the time.

When I was 15, I sat behind this girl in choir. She was quiet, only talked to certain people, and never to me. I was loud and talked to anyone. But she never talked to me. She never even looked in my direction. I decided, with all the wisdom of a teenager, that she must be stuck-up, therefore, I hated her.

We had choir together. We had French together. We had English together. I saw this girl all the time. Then, one day, in our English class, we got assigned a group project. I ended up in the same group as this girl. There were four of us total. Me, her, AJ Montpetit and another girl whose name I cannot recall. We set up a time to work after school and ended up going to “her” house.

As we sat in her living room, we were discussing ideas for the project. She kept making these dry remarks. I remember wondering if she was being serious or not. If not, she was pretty funny. Finally, after one of the remarks. I laughed. I have no idea what she said, but I laughed. The other two didn’t get it, but I did and it was funny. The girl looked at me and said something else and before long, we were laughing together.

We have the same sense of humor.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that she was not at all what I had assumed. She was just quiet. Shy. Reserved. She didn’t talk to me because she doesn’t do that. But, once we started talking, we didn’t stop. We became fast friends. We became movie buddies. We used to pretend we were British and make up outlandish stories when people asked about our accents.

We went to college and stayed in touch.

We moved to different parts of the country and stayed in touch. I moved home from DC and a few weeks later, she moved to DC. Then somehow we ended up at home, both of us, at the same time. We bought homes and live about 15 minutes from each other. We’re still movie buddies.

And tv buddies.

And book buddies.

And drinking buddies.

And just plain buddies.

For 18 years she has been my friend, my best friend. We’re more honest with each other than anyone else. We talk about things with each other that no one else understands. We still think each other is so funny. She’s my very best girlfriend. She might still be awkward and shy at times. I might still judge too harshly at times. But every day, we still laugh with each other and that holds us together as it once brought us together.

When we were in high school, I used to rub her head and tell her she brought me luck. My very own lucky leprechaun. She still brings me luck to this day.

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Today is her birthday.

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Happy birthday to you, old friend. (Even though you don’t like celebrating…I do! And besides, I’m sure writing this will bring me luck!)

 

Totally Random Tuesday-ness

I had to stop at Walgreens this morning to pick up a wedding gift. (What? You don’t shop at Walgreens for wedding gifts?) Since I was late getting out of work last night, I couldn’t hit Target-as needed-so I was out of several supplies.

I wanted to grab something quick for breakfast while I was there. Turns out, Walgreens is NOT the place for that. I did, however, stumble across this:
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Nice! is the brand, which is pretty awesome in and of itself. However, I’d never heard of this before-still, the options were that or…nothing, so I bought it.

Turns out, it might be the best sweet cake I’ve ever consumed. It was freaking delicious. I don’t know if it was the yogurt or what, but it was so moist it practically fell apart in my hands, but it didn’t, which is key. Deeelish.

A woman I work with calls me Liv. I spoke about random work nicknames here. However, from the first time I met her she started calling me that and the first time she did I said, “did you just call me Liv?” and she said she did. I asked why, figuring maybe she knew an Olivia and was used to calling her Liv. She said, “I don’t know, you don’t seem like an Olivia to me, you definitely seem like a Liv”. And since that’s actually true, I didn’t argue and she continues (for more than a year) to call me Liv. She is the ONLY one who does. I’m fine with that. Today, she brought her daughter in to meet me. Her daughter has her personality EXACTLY, so she was very likable. Mom introduced me as Liv. I said, “it’s Olivia” because that’s how everyone knows me. The daughter inquired as to the difference and I explained. Mom chimed in, “what do you think?”

The daughter responded by saying, “Can I draw on your whiteboard?” I said sure, noting she didn’t answer the question.

Then, when they left, I flipped the white board around to see what she had drawn.
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And I guess she answered us after all. Cool kid.
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Dashboard of my car….after it stopped dropping down from 114°. It wasn’t actually that hot outside, I think it just felt that hot outside.

The AC is broken at the LEPL building. So I’m working in a stuffy office.

My phone has been acting up lately. Not as responsive. I was getting very nervous because I can’t afford a new one and am not yet eligible for a discount to get a new one. And I can’t live without it. Then, this morning, whilst blog hopping, I stumbled across this post.

And now I have added him to my reader, because if he’s going to be that helpful…

I tried his suggestions and BAM! my phone works like new. Go figure.

I was given a free package of hot dog buns today.

This next one goes out to the Lovely Lisa:

My hair is HUGE today. Actually, I’m going to stop and take a picture.
Big hair...

See what I mean? My face looks tiny because my hair is so big and frizzy.

I used anti-frizz crap in it and everything, but I didn’t want to wear it up because I was going to be on tv, so I wanted it down to look like me. But humidity wreaks havoc on curls. My hair grows. Like a science experiment.

Elena called me about two hours ago. My phone rang. I saw it was her. I picked it up and said “hello?” I could hear loud music…it sounded like she was in a bar. Then, I can hear her singing the song “Carry On My Wayward Son” by Kansas (the link takes you to a video of the music, set to clips from the show…my return gift to her)

. Then, when it was over, she hung up. Didn’t even say a word. Or as she put it, “the song was enough, no need for superfluous chatter”. That song is a theme from Supernatural. I’ve created a monster and I love every minute of it. Not many people are strange enough to call and sing to me over the phone…just because. I’m still chuckling. Highlight of my day.

And I was on tv!

My mini-vacation starts as soon as I finish up here (about an hour). And by mini, I mean I am only working 1 of my 3 jobs until next Monday. Hallelujah.

I just got an email from someone on the library board who DID see me on tv, she said I was terrific, very professional and friendly. Her words. So I guess that’s two accounts of how it went.

Tomorrow is the 4th of July and I am off to get a pedicure with the girls, then swim and grill and chill.

Happy Independence Day to you all!

Twin-terrific

Well, I promised, so here’s your update of the Twins game. First, let’s get the suspense out of the way. They lost. Final score, 6-2.

As my mother put it, “you’re not going to be able to go to too many Twins games this year where they win.” Ouch.

But, here’s the fun.

Lane and I drove down, chattering the whole way. We parked and started our trek to the game. Our seats were about as high up as one can go, which is pretty darn high. Because we read the signs a little TOO carefully, we ended up walking up the ramp to get to the top. It was the world’s longest, neverending, ramp. It was absurd. We finally got to the top…winded…and found we still had to walk up a flight of stairs to get to our seats. So we grabbed food.

Elena went to get nachos. I went to get a hot dog. However, I was in the wrong line and didn’t get the “normal” hot dog, they only had the special one, for $6. Fine. When we got up to our seats and wiped our bleeding noses, I learned that Lane forgot the jalapeños for my nachos. They are kind of the point. Which sucks; but it wouldn’t kill me to eat them without. Plus it was a long way back down and a long line I’d have to wait in…didn’t seem worth it. So I ate them, except the cheese was cold. Pretty much the worst nachos I’ve ever had. For $5.

We were hanging out for a bit and then she looked at me and said, “aren’t you going to take some pictures?” Well, of course!
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The view from our seats and proof that it was a gorgeous night in early May.
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The fight that wasn’t. Fighting is few and far between in baseball, but usually a doozy when it happens. This was close, but no cigar.

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Sun sinking over the field. Beautiful. Note the kid in the white cap that says “Browns” on it. He comes up later.
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Lane’s new Twins cap. And the shot we text in during the game.
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Our attempt at a cute photo. But she doesn’t like it. I think it’s cute. We tried again.

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And we were cracking each other up so hard, we’re laughing hysterically in this photo. Thus, it becomes one of my all time favorites of us.

And, for her, one where we are not attempting to smile. In fact, quite the opposite.
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I know…but what else are you going to do up there?

At this point, the game is not going well. We’ve analyzed the plate music of each Twin (too much rap) and debated the relative cuteness of each player. The “kids” in front of us were being annoying and we decided to go get some ice cream. After a battle in the line over who would pay (I won, because I wrapped her in a stranglehold and jerked her out of the way–true story) we headed back to our seats.

Of course, being adorable, we bought mini-helmets to eat our ice cream from–which is obviously a photo op.
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I know, it’s too cute for words. Notice, though, how there is no longer anyone behind us. People were either leaving or setting out for better seats below.

Then, Elena started in on the bugs. Apparently, she’s  kind of a wimpy girl who doesn’t like bugs. I said I’d protect her. The thing was, there were A LOT of bugs. We were so high up, we were directly below the field lights. The bugs were congregating right above our heads.

One of them found his way down her shirt…
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Yep, couldn’t resist.

I’ll admit, it was a swarm of bugs. I tried to get a picture of them, they were so thick it looked like it was snowing. The picture didn’t turn out, but while I was aiming my camera at seemingly nothing (the night sky), the boys from the row in front of us had moved up to sit next to us. I felt a presence and looked over and saw white cap…who will henceforth be known as “23”… scrunched down in his chair, peering up at my phone, trying to see what I was taking a picture of. It probably looked odd.

I looked at him and said, “what? are you trying to get in my picture?” and he laughed and said, “yep, I’d love to take a picture with you!”
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There you go. Me and 23.

Now, his buddies, all of whom were sitting up by us said, “hey will you take our picture?” Which, I am always happy to do. Until they are staring at MY phone.

I said:

“You want me to take a picture of YOU on MY phone?

Yes.

That was their response.

Yes.

It was so bizarre I didn’t even know what to say. What a completely absurd request. Yet, for some reason, I did it.

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There they are. 23, Hardaway, and “I’m not allowed to speak to strangers”. I showed them the photo and Hardaway (middle–because of his jersey) said, “that’s the best picture of us there is! Me and my best friends! Thank you so much”.

Okay, that’s actually kind of sweet. Then he says, “would you mind texting that photo to me?” Seriously?

Luckily, by this point, it was clear that he was a harmless doof and not the obnoxious punk I had earlier deduced him to be. So, I asked for his number and text him the photo. He thanked me probably 8-10 times.

Then, to continue being nice, 23 said, “do you want me to take your photo?” and gestures at us. Like a true comedy of errors, I said yes and Lane said no, practically in sync. I, however, won, and turned over MY phone to this kid. I did NOT ask him to use his own phone.

As I turned to her to tell her to smile, I looked back and he’s staring at my phone, holding it up in front of his face, and he has the most puzzled expression. I say, “what’s wrong?” and he said, “I don’t know how to use this thing.”

I actually laughed.

“How old are you?”

“23” (thus the nickname)

I said, “23, doesn’t that automatically mean you’re born with the technology gene?” and he laughed. He said he’d never used an iPhone before. I thought that was kind of quaint. I showed him how it worked and he took one, frowned at Lane and said, “we’re taking another.” I swear, this kid was adorable. So he takes the second, makes a face and hands me my phone. I said, “they turn out” and he said, “she’s looking at you, um, weird.”

Take 1:
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Um yeah, that’s just bad all around.

Take 2:

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Kind of weird? I think she looks like a serial killer in this photo…and I’m her next victim. No wonder 23 was concerned.

Then Lane wanted to take a picture of me, to prove that she, who has never used an iPhone, can best the skills of a 23 year old.
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IDK how this happened, but I was trying to make a face, and then she was trying to make me laugh, so she grabbed my head. And now I am immortalized thusly. Lucky me.

Shortly thereafter, we decided to head out early. It was 9:30 on a work night, after all! As we were leaving, the boys said, “what? you’re leaving? the game’s not even over!” I said we knew, but we had to get going. They all stood up and thanked us AGAIN for the photo of them as we were headed out.

I guess that’ll teach me to make rash assessments, as they were very nice boys with good manners. One more stop before leaving as I wanted a photo of us in front of the field. Lane would not stand up and turn around for me to do this from our seats, so we waited until we hit ground level.
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I took that with the rear facing camera. Then, this nice lady offered to do it for us. It took her three tries to get this:

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Which is a little dark, but still a cute photo.

As we were driving down the street, headed for home, I snapped this from the moving car.
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A lovely capper to a fun and festive evening. There’s really nothing like outdoor baseball, laughter and friendship, is there?

All About Elena

Let’s talk about Elena. Shall we? Of course we shall, it’s my blog.

Elena is my best friend. We’ve known each other since high school. We were 15 when we met. And we’ve stayed friends for all these years, even through both of us moving away and now, well now we both own our own homes, about 15 minutes from each other.

We talk every day. Not necessarily physically. Sometimes just email. Or text. But something…every day. Lately, we’ve been hanging out a ton, which is awesome, because she is awesome and so much fun.

Here’s a quick recap of what we’ve been up to lately:

We started a new job. Together. All these years and it is the first time we’ve worked together. We both got hired by my friend Amy to work for her wedding planning business. The past couple Saturdays we’ve worked at organizing the storage room and creating an inventory.

She bought a new bench for her house. What is amazing about this is that a couple DAYS earlier, I got a Bed, Bath, and Beyond catalog in the mail. I randomly flipped through it and saw this bench. I fell for it completely. I love that bench. LOVE IT. So much so, that for the first time in my (adult) life, I tore a picture out of a catalog and hung it up on my fridge. Then, two days later I visit her and she had bought the exact same bench! Isn’t that nuts. So we had a comedic experience assembling it. It was almost a disaster, but we pulled it back from the very brink.

We went on a movie date in the middle of the day. We saw Mirror, Mirror. L-O-V-E-D it. Can’t say enough good things about this movie. I had hardly ever heard of it but she wanted to see it and I was game. It was awesome. Funny and charming and complex. So much better than expected. Also, the girl who plays Snow White? Lily Collins. I found this out after the fact and have told a couple people and they were all surprised. She is the daughter of none other than Phil Collins. If you’re my age you definitely know who that is. We also hit lunch at Noodles and Co. and did an impromptu visit to the dollar store. If you know me, you know how much I love the dollar store. It is an endless source of amusement for my dad how much I love this store. Turns out, Lane had never been there and didn’t really know what it was about. I gave her the grand tour. Literally. I walked her down every aisle and told her what stuff I buy in that aisle.

We went on an impromptu date to Ikea. I bought like 6 things and somehow only spent $9. I love Ikea. She bought a ton of stuff, but we were so happy that we got to go shopping for “house stuff” together. Even though we’ve done it many times, that little thing just pleases us both so much. After shopping, we headed to the MOA for dinner at this Mexican restaurant we’ve eaten at before. We remembered it being good. It was NOT good this time. Service and food were terrible. However, the pomegranate mojito was out of this world.

While we were there, we wandered around a bit and saw the Mirror Maze. I’ve been mildly obsessed with this maze for a couple years now. I’ve asked multiple people to go with me and gotten shut down. I finally mentioned it to Lane and she said, “Great! Let’s do it.” And so we did. It was about 15 minutes before closing. It was us and these two high school boys inside.

I was immediately enamored. First of all, it was dark inside, which was not something I expected. It’s shocking how difficult it is to tell what is a mirror and what is open space. I wonder if it was daytime and it was lit up if that would make it easier? Couldn’t have been harder.

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I know it’s a bad pic, but it was really dark in there! Plus this is the front facing camera, so no flash.

But, I loved it. Lane was a bit lost. Until I shared my secret with her. I know how to get out of any maze. I’m not going to tell you here, but there is a secret to it. I actually read this in a romance novel YEARS ago and thought it was bizarre, until I really thought about it and realized it is totally logical. I’ve been waiting to practice it that whole time. It’s not like mazes are an every day thing in my life. I did do a corn maze, but I let my nephew navigate that. Plus it was different–not as true maze-like.

We went in and wandered for a bit, laughing with the boys. One of them was talking to me and I couldn’t see him. Then, suddenly I could, so I was looking right at him and talking to him. I could see several of his reflections around us, but I was looking right at him. Then, he appeared. Directly behind me. So, I guess I was NOT looking at him. So weird! They were hopelessly lost, but having fun with it, so we let them go. After a bit of wandering and laughing at how strange it is, I told Lane my secret and we tried it out. In no time, we’d found the exit. It was so easy we couldn’t believe it. And we didn’t want to be done that fast, so we used the trick to get back to the entrance. Then we went back through again, trying to remember the path without using the secret. What we did learn is that the secret works from any point in the maze, you do not need to start from the beginning for it to work.
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Awesome.

Somewhere in the middle there is this black curtain with a fireworks display on it, lit up at night. It’s in the middle somewhere. It was a good place to pose for photos.
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Liv
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Lane

It was one of my new highlights of 2012. I definitely want to do it again, during the day, to see the differences.

Last Sunday, she called me at noon and said, “want to go on an adventure?” Boy, do I! She picked me up, and when I needed to lock my house, I realized I couldn’t find my keys. After a search, I realized that they might be with my mom. I went shopping with her on Saturday. I called and my dad searched her car and couldn’t find them. Two seconds later, my mom looked and found them. Dad was boy-looking, I don’t know why I bother. Anyway, luckily Lane proposed this plan, otherwise I wouldn’t have known my keys were missing until I was leaving for work the next day. And I don’t have a spare set. Well, I do, but my parents keep them, so I would have had no way to get to work. Awkward.

We stopped to pick up the keys before our adventure. We were hunting for a home decor store Elena went to in 2009, somewhere in WI. She didn’t know the name or even where it was. We drove and kept getting off on different exits and couldn’t find it. It was a disappointing result. But we did stop in Baldwin for a lunch at The Phoenix Grill. Not great. But it was pretty affordable. Then we got off the interstate and drove the back roads through WI. We ended up in Hammond and drove right past Justin’s house. *** EDIT*** I cannot believe I forgot this. And Elena reminded me in the comments. While we were driving, we got off on an exit. It was a slightly unusual exit, not quite as straightforward as most. We were turning left. There was traffic coming from both directions–with no stop signs, so these people are traveling 50-60 mph. Suddenly, while waiting, Elena started to go. She just pulled out in the middle of traffic. She said, she was thinking they had to stop and it was our turn or something and she just went. Literally pulling out in front of oncoming cars, trucks and one SEMI!

I’m a super relaxed passenger. I never pay much attention, I’m usually chatting and so happy I’m not driving. I was telling her a story and then she started to go and suddenly I was white-knuckling it on the door and we were both screaming. It was so scary. I thought we were about to get crunched between two cars. FREAKED OUT. She was so freaked she was yelling “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry” over and over, but not to me, she was talking to the drivers we just cut off as we made it through. The lead truck we cut off…a huge 4×4 diesel thing, like all over WI, pulled up alongside of us and he looked over. He could have been pissed. We deserved (well, more Elena) to be yelled at and cussed out and at the least, flipped off. It was that bad. But he saw Elena yelling I’m sorry and panicking and apparently he can read lips, because he glanced over and saw her and started to smile. He was pleasant and charming about it. And we lived to tell the tale. But, I think she scared a couple years off my life. It was really that bad. And to think I’m planning a road trip with her. I’m so brave.

Tonight, we are off to a Twins game. She got free tix at work, so we’re off for another night of fun. I’m so excited. It will be my first game in two years. I didn’t make it at all last year. Sad. My last chance to see my Cuddy buddy and I missed it. But, it’ll be a good chance to learn some of the new players.

Then, next week we begin tv dates. We decided that we are going to get together once a week and watch a tv series together, so we can chat about it. Like book club. But with tv. And just us. We’re starting with one of my all-time favorite series, Supernatural. This show is ending its 7th season in a week, and it has been ages since I have seen the beginning, so I’m very excited. She’s never seen it.

Update and photos from the Twins game coming tomorrow. I promise!

“Many Years From Now, When I’ve Lost My Looks A Little”

This June, it will be 15 years since I graduated high school. That is not really that long. Not so very far away.

Yet, somehow, I remember almost nothing. High school, to me, comes across like a story I read. I read it, digested it, and promptly forgot about it. If you remind me of some of the plot, I may be able to dredge up memories, but mostly, there’s just nothing there.

It’s not that I hated high school or that it was particularly hard or damaging. It just didn’t matter that much to me. Maybe I felt like I never belonged there, like there was something else, something more, waiting just outside those walls. I certainly remember everything that happened since in finite detail. I’m known among my friends for my incredible detail. But when it comes to high school…

That is not to say I have no memories. Just few. The ones I have are distinct. Like a snapshot. Just a specific memory, taken completely out of context. For example, I remember quite clearly that the first time we nicknamed my high school crush (to this day, he is still referred to as Island Boy) Elena and I were on a bus.

She mentioned, in an email about us visiting the Walker. I flashed on that moment and thought we must have been taking the bus to the Walker–way back then. She said no–we were visiting the Guthrie. I don’t remember ever going to the Guthrie in school. I’ve been, several times, but don’t remember it being for school. I said, “what did we see”? She said that we saw “A Raisin in the Sun” and “A Doll’s House”, but that particular time, the time of the nickname, it was to see “A Doll’s House”.

And, as soon as she said it, I remember it perfectly. Riding the bus, it was winter [Edit** I just looked it up and “A Doll’s House opened at the Guthrie October 16, 1996 and ran through the end of the year. So it really was winter], I believe, and very cold. That, perhaps, is how we got on the subject of traveling to islands–the conversation that forever sparked the nickname. I remember that play. I still don’t remember seeing “A Raisin in the Sun”, but, if I’m not mistaken, we also saw “Playboy of the Western World” [Edit**I can’t find a listing for “A Raisin in the Sun, so either Elena is mistaken, or it wasn’t at the Guthrie, however “Playboy of the Western World was there in 1997. I also saw a listing for “She Stoops to Conquer” and I’m pretty sure I saw that, too! That’s a lot of Guthrie plays]. But, none of that was there until Elena told me about it.

She, my friend, remembers everything. She knows the names of people we went to school with. She has stories about them, or at least can describe them. At graduation this winter, a man came up to me and said hello. He recognized me when I was on stage. He checked the program, saw my name, and was confirmed. He introduced himself and told me how he knew me. We went to junior high and high school together.

I don’t remember him at all. AT ALL. His name sounded vaguely familiar, but that is it. After graduation that night, I called Elena and said, “who is Matt T___?” And she knew, right away and talked about him.

Just so we’re clear,I remember that time in my life. I remember the jobs I worked and places I traveled and friends I had and things (stupid and fun) that I did, but I don’t really remember much about high school. The people. The events. Just my few significant memories, like I’ve pushed out everything else that once existed there. Who knows? Maybe it was because a brain can hold only so much and mine is pushing the limits of its storage capabilities. But, when I hear people talk about high school, friends, family, etc. I wonder why everyone else remembers that time and I really don’t.

It’s an odd phenomenon, for sure. Maybe it might be worth my time to attend my 15 year reunion. Of course, if I go, Elena will have to go with me, or I won’t remember anyone.