Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Thrown off schedules

Leaving the little white dog at the vet is first on the list of my least favorite things to do. Mica and I walked out feeling sad and worried. The next several hours dragged until the vet called Mica and reported all had gone well and she could pick him up at 6 p.m. I went with her. He came into the room all wagging tail and excited to see us, but he looked like he’d spent six months on the road sleeping rough. I stayed at Mica’s as long as I could before I had to get back to Izzy.

Her schedule was completely thrown off today. I didn’t go to work and got up earlier than usual, then was in and out all day. By this evening, she was a handful. I decided to try walking her again. She did much better but we didn’t get far before something I didn’t hear or see spooked her, and she headed for home. She needs a way to get good exercise. I don’t know if I want to try the dog park with her. I wish I could take her to Mica’s and let her run in the big back yard, but that can’t happen until the little white dog heals.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

No bother

Right after lunch Blaine sent a text asking if I felt like going for another walk tonight. It’s 60 degrees here today. After the very cold and recently very icy weather we’ve had this winter, this kind of day gives everyone spring fever.

After work, I picked up a couple of chicken caesar salads from a restaurant we both like, and we ate after the walk. Blaine stayed a while longer. We put on our jackets and sat on the deck while Izzy nosed around the tiered flower beds.

Blaine promised he wouldn’t bother me every night that I’m staying here. I told him he wasn’t bothering me. I let it go in case what he meant was he needed a break. I wouldn’t mind the company, frankly. Even though Izzy requires a lot of playtime, I get bored when I’m here. I didn’t tell him that, though. I go back and forth on how to handle this thing. Sometimes I have a lurch of confidence and will do something I usually feel awkward about later. More often I pull back or stay frozen where I am. I’m really not cut out for dating.

I’m especially tired tonight. Izzy tried to sleep on the bed last night. We negotiated for space and covers, and I had to defend my territory every time she repositioned because she’d push up against me until she was half on top, then she’d slide down my back and wiggle to settle in the groove where I met the mattress. She couldn’t get comfortable. She had been hot most of the evening and was still panting so I got up to flip the switch to turn on the ceiling fan. She jumped down. I heard her moving from spot to spot all night long.

She and I will have an early morning. I want to be at Mica’s before sunup. The little white dog is going in for surgery, and she asked me to go with her to drop him off. I would have wanted to see him anyway.

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Monday, February 26, 2018

Bad walk, good walk

This evening Izzy and I went for a short walk. If you can call what we did walking. Drug induced interpretive dance is closer. Lurching, spinning, dog-gone-wild is closer still.

All was fine when we stepped out of the house. But then Izzy spotted a spaniel at the corner and she pulled for all she was worth, performing double salchows as she went across the yard toward it. The spaniel stopped to watch the spectacle, probably giving her a low technical score but a high artistic one. The dogs said hello, perfectly civil toward one another. I greeted the woman walking the perfectly controlled spaniel. She observed, “Still a puppy, huh?” Which was friendlier than asking the obvious: Does insanity run in the family?

The woman and her spaniel moved on toward a busy street. Izzy wanted to follow. I wanted her to go the other way. She started spinning, and I was glad I had spent some time watching the fishing channel Saturday because I had to use the technique of letting the line out, reeling back, letting it out, reeling back until I could finally grab her around the middle, talk to her a bit and finally redirect her attention.

You know what’s great about small dogs? Portability.

We headed in the other direction. It didn’t go any better. She darted ahead and if I tried to shorten the leash to control her better, she’d spin like a croc in a death roll. Still, I wasn’t going to give up. We walked past another couple of houses without problem. She stopped at a yard to sniff. The dog inside the house saw her and unleashed a big dog angry bark that, judging by her reaction, would get it arrested for making terroristic threats if anyone could find a law enforcement officer who speaks guttural bark and snarl.

Izzy ran for home, and I was happy to follow. My phone rang as we were walking up the driveway. I pulled it from my pocket, saw Blaine’s name and managed to answer it with one hand while the other side of my body was being pulled toward the trunk of a tree.

“Hello.” Izzy was trying to circle the tree but the leash was too short. “Izz. Stop. Wait a second. Blaine?”


“Wait, please.”

He chuckled. “Sure.”

“Izzy, let’s go inside. Inside!” I keep thinking she knows the same words as the little white dog. “Home!” I tried. She seemed to get that one and started along the sidewalk toward the door. Once I got her inside, I dropped the leash. She sat obediently so I could unclip it. While she waited for a treat, I stepped over her and sunk onto the couch. “Blaine?”

“I’m here. You OK?”

“Oh sure.” Izzy trotted up to my knee and barked. She wanted the treat she had coming to her for sitting and being patient while I removed the leash. I looked at her, “Your treat is that I didn’t trade you for that spaniel.” I filled Blaine in on the adventure. “No more walks this week,” I stated.

“That’s too bad. I was calling to ask if you wanted to do just that.”

Perhaps I was being hasty. A little ice on my elbow and shoulder, some ibuprofen, perhaps a nice session of memory-blocking hypnosis and I’d be right as rain.

“Let’s do that. Let’s go for a walk tonight.” Izzy’s ears perked at The Word. I mouthed not you at her.

When Blaine arrived, he let himself in through the garage. Izzy met him in the hallway ready to do that between the legs figure eight thing he showed her. Serves him right. He entertained her while I filled her food and water and set everything inside her pen, where she stays when she’s left alone.

Blaine and I took a long walk through the neighborhood. Talked a lot about work, the nitty gritty things that cause a person to like or hate their job. We talked about Paul and Eve’s trip and then traveling in general. I peeked into the homes of those who left their curtains open, and he pretended it wasn’t a ridiculous thing to do.

When we got back I asked if he wanted to stay for some TV. “I shouldn’t,” he said. He didn’t make an effort to leave.

“You sure?” I coaxed.

He held out his hand. “C’mon.” We went to the loft and watched something on the PBS app about Glenn Miller’s disappearance. We noticed that Izzy stopped doing whatever she was doing and watched the TV every time a snippet of music played. I like her taste.
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Sunday, February 25, 2018

Never do the math

Paul and Eve’s flight left on time yesterday. Of everything that was supposed to happen yesterday, that’s the only thing that went as planned. Freezing rain started about daybreak, changed to sleet at lunchtime and snow mid-afternoon. As a result, Mica and I decided not to go to our favorite event of the year—dog expo—and Blaine and I cancelled our plans. So, Izzy and I played a marathon session of tug-of-war with a stuffed bunny (survived, barely), a tie-dyed monkey (gutted) and a Kong brand pink elephant so rugged it laughed at the puppy teeth. (Izzy will be starting a blog to review squeaky toys and freeze dried treats.) When she wore out and napped, I watched the fishing channel (hey, the lake was blue and the skies sunny) and then a pre-season baseball game. It was a big day.

This morning the sun came out and the temperatures quickly rose to melting levels. I was able to go home for clothes and the iPad (relief!). There was enough time to pick up Mica and the liittle white dog and make a quick visit to the second day of expo. Izzy isn’t used to crowds so I didn’t want to try it with her. I did grab a free tennis ball and Frisbee for her.

When I got back Izzy and I settled in the loft. There wasn’t anything good on TCM so I was watching “Blue Bloods” reruns. When the doorbell rang I expected it to be the neighbor who had told Paul he would take care of the sidewalks while I was here. It wasn’t going to be Blaine because he had plans to help his son-in-law. From the top of the stairs I could see through the window in the door. A pleasant feeling corkscrewed through me. “Izzy!” She was standing beside me. “Look who it is.” She held her enthusiasm until I opened the door.

Blaine held up two giant glasses. “Hi!I couldn’t break tradition.” He stepped inside. “What are we watching today?”

I followed him into the kitchen where he put the drinks down and turned around to me. Izzy wanted in on the hello in the worst way, all long nose, big paws and ear piercing whines. As soon as Blaine reached for her she flopped onto her side for the whole body rubs she likes. She was blissed out. I asked, “Can you come back at bedtime and do that? She revs up for me.”

“I’m sure I’ll still be here then. I’ll be glad to help you any way I can.”

Well, OK.

Blaine insisted we pop a crazy amount of popcorn for our afternoon of TV watching (he truly loves the stuff). It’s the only food Izzy isn’t interested in so we were able to set it on the table between the recliners. We continued with “Blue Bloods,” taking many pauses to play with the demanding puppy. She likes to walk between legs now. Blaine is tall enough that she can thread through in a figure eight. He guided her with a toy at first then she figured it out and took it to the next level by going faster and faster until she was racing throughout the upstairs. “You are a bad influence,” I told him, but I loved watching him with her. It spoke to my dog loving heart.

When she needed to go outside, we both went downstairs and then stayed. She fell asleep on her blanket, and we settled on the loveseat. Blaine had read the book I loaned him last week. We talked about it and some other WWII things. It has become a pet subject.

It struck me how similar this was to last time and yet very different. When I did the math I was actually surprised that it has only been two months since he showed up here out of the blue, and less than that since we’ve been dating. That doesn’t seem possible. It’s too comfortable for that little amount of time.

Izzy is dead to the world. The problem I’m going to have is getting her to wake enough to walk down the hallway.

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Friday, February 23, 2018

Phoning it in

Another ice and snow storm is supposed to move in overnight. Since Paul and Eve are  flying out of an airport an hour away was they decided to make the drive tonight and stay at a hotel by the airport. I came over  right after work so I could be here with Izzy when they left. All I had with me was an overnight bag with a change of clothes and a few toiletries. I've kept it in the car all week in case I needed to spend the night at Mica's (it's much easier to get from her house to work when it's icy). I hope to get home tomorrow. Until then all I have is my cell phone, which makes posting a pain.

Izzy has doubled in size since I last saw her. I would post a photo but blogger and my phone aren't playing well together. She's still all puppy but she's better about entertaining herself. She's no longer sleeping in a crate at night and sometimes chooses to sleep on the bed. That could be interesting.
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Thursday, February 22, 2018

Try again tomorrow

Let’s see. What’s going on that I can write about? It’s either going to be the layer of oil topped by a couple inches of snow fell overnight (at least that’s how it felt to drive on it this morning), or it’s going to be the city’s announcement that corrugated cardboard will no longer be allowed in the landfill beginning April 1.

Can we agree to scrap today and meet back here tomorrow? Yes, OK.
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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Break some rules

I’ve been putting off updating my resume because I don’t want to think about needing to. Tonight I sucked it up and got to it but quickly sunk into a self-doubt funk. I’ll go back to it another day.

Blaine called to talk about the weekend. He still asks if I’d like to get together, which I find sweet if silly since I always do. Except tonight I told him I couldn’t do anything because I’ll be dogsitting Izzy. Paul and Eve are leaving town Saturday morning and I’ll have to leave Izzy alone for a few hours in the afternoon, so I’ll need to be there in the evening.

“Has Eve forbidden you from having company over?” he asked with a distinct tease in his voice.

“She said no boys, no alcohol and no loud music,” I lied. He chuckled and said that did not sound like her at all. “Maybe it was Paul.”

“Now that could be.” There was a bit of silence. “What do you say we break some rules Saturday night?”

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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The second cut

Except for waking to a thick covering of sleet, today was an improvement over yesterday.

The guy with the video file that I’ve been having trouble with offered to send just the clips I needed. He uploaded them overnight, and this morning I was ecstatic to discover that both would import into the editing program. I was able to put together the video Henry originally wanted. I had time to improve the title graphics and add the appropriate logo and identification at the end. It isn’t going to win any awards, but it looks a lot less like the equivalent of a summer-camp ashtray. Henry was pleased. What can I say, it pays to lower expectations first.

With that project squared away I felt I could stretch the lunch hour by a little bit to attend a luncheon hosted by a professional group I belong to. I tend to avoid these things because the idea of networking awakens every rebellious molecule in my body. The speaker, though, was too good to pass up.

He’s an engineer who specializes in robotics and has developed micro surgical instruments. He spoke at another luncheon I attended several years ago. I was instantly captivated and have wanted to hear more from him.

Today he spoke about creativity (“Never measure; cut twice. Creativity exists in the second cut.”) and how failures are the best way make progress (“When I go home and am in a really good mood, my wife will ask, ‘What did you fail at today?’”)

Failures, he said, are small wins because you learn something. It might be what not to do next time but it’s as likely you’ll learn what you want to try next time. That next time is a little bet -- a small risk that won’t cause too much damage or set you too far back if it doesn’t work. When a little bet works, it’s a little win. You can’t get discouraged when you keep winning. Eventually all those wins amount to a big freakin’ win.

It was a good message at the right time. If only he could stop by my office every day to keep me inspired.

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Monday, February 19, 2018

Fire and ice

My alarm is set to go off in time to hear the local news. “A lot to tell you about this morning,” the news guy began.

Freezing rain had moved in a few hours before, and a three-alarm fire was being fought downtown. Both were going to affect my commute, so I hurried to get ready for work and out the door before the worst of rush hour traffic hit.

It was a rough workday. I received the new video file mid morning but it wouldn’t import either. I spent the better part of the day cobbling together what I could from the files that did work. The footage required a lot of manipulation to get clips to match. Then the title slide caused a lot of trouble. I was rendering the messy masterpiece when Henry called to find out how it was going. He requested a set of just-in-case jpgs, too. Sent everything to him at 4:30.

It is just 8:00 p.m. and I’m in bed because I can’t get warm. I also discovered I have four evenly spaced scratches, all about three inches long on my lower back. No idea what happened. I think I would have noticed if I had a wolverine in bed.
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Sunday, February 18, 2018


I went into work for awhile. Henry needs video clips edited and one of the files won't import into the editing program. I tried everything I could think of and everything Google could think of, then I sent an email to the person who has the original and asked him to send it again. I hope he's in the office tomorrow and has time to upload it right away.

After I left work, I stopped to get the car washed. Me and the rest of humanity. Fortunately, I had a full tank of gas and no where to be.

It was while I was being conveyed through the wash that I acted on a whim. I sent Blaine a text inviting him to meet me at a park for a walk. I was surprised when he replied that he could be there in a half hour. It took me slightly longer. He was waiting on some bleachers by the ball diamond we agreed to meet at.

The wind was out of control. I'm guessing it sustained 30 mph all day, and the gusts must have easily hit 50 mph. It wasn't the best day for a walk, especially once we reached the top of the dam by the lake where there was nothing to slow down the gusts. Even though the temperatures were in the high 50s, the wind kept it on the verge of cold. I actually like wind and chilly temperatures, and I'd had enough. I felt bad for suggesting we do this. If Blaine was bothered, he didn't let on.

"Maybe during the next blizzard we can meet back here and go swimming," I said back at the cars.

"I'll bring the grease."

Not long after I got home, the electricity went out. I used my cell phone to report it, then did the only thing I could do without electricity—took a nap. I woke up two hours later when the lights turned on again. The Facebook page for the power company said a large limb had pulled down some lines in my area. In another part of the city "a small animal" (squirrel!) got into a transformer.

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Saturday, February 17, 2018


Blaine and I started out at a winery. He chose this one because it has a large sunroom with a western view, perfect for watching the sunset.

I asked Blaine if wine had been an acquired taste for him. I have doubts that I’ll ever learn to like it. “I started out with high quality wines which makes a difference. I’ve dropped the ball on introducing you to wine.”

“How did you know where to start?” He told me he took a four-week wine appreciation class offered by a well-respected wine shop. He went backwards, then, telling me he had read a magazine article about a vintner using traditional methods to produce small batches. Curious about wine making before modern technology, he read a memoir of a French winemaker that was written in the ‘50s, and then he read a book that focused on the the science and was more technical. He said he became interested in the process first and eventually became curious about the product.

As the sky became streaky with color, Blaine moved his chair to my side of the table so he could see the sunset too. We continued to talk about the books he’d read, and we talked about instinct and science, experience and process.

Over the years I’ve been friends with a few guys who liked conversations that explored different topics from multiple angles. I’ve never dated anyone like that, though. Thinking back, I’ve always chosen—actually been chosen by and then accepted—men who were all wrong for me. Thank goodness someone else chose Blaine for me. As all this played in my mind, I was looking at him, absently wondering whether he could possibly be all he seemed and if I’d be able to tell by studying his face. “What?” he asked. I blinked, realizing I’d been staring—giving him The Blaine Move.

I shook my head and said softly, “I just like you.” Instantly, I wished I hadn’t said it and was whipping up a quip to cover it up.

Blaine leaned forward, pressing against me. He covered my hand with his, brought his other hand up to wrap mine from the other side. “I like you, too.”

Sure, it wasn’t news to either of us, but there’s something about actual words.

Once the last of the sunset disappeared, we left. We went to dinner at a pretty little place that has a lot of woodwork and starched white cloths over the tables. It’s divided into several small dining rooms. No matter how busy it is, it feels like it’s just you and a few other tables of people. I’ve learned that Blaine likes quiet places. We have that in common.

It seems like Blaine is always asking for my stories, and I don’t get to hear many of his. Tonight I wanted to keep the focus on him. Thinking back to our first conversation, the day he brought Diet Coke over to Paul and Eve’s, I remember it came up that our dads fought in Europe during WWII. It’s unusual for me to meet someone near my age whose parents are/were the same age as mine. I was born very late in their lives. Age wise they could have been my grandparents. I was always a little bit different in my thinking from others my age, because I'd been raised by parents of a different generation.

I asked about where he grew up and his family. The more he told me, the clearer it became that we were raised with very similar values but somewhat different sensibilities. Blaine is more conservative than I am, more traditional. I had already figured that out. I’m sure he’s figured it out too. Time will sort out if it matters.

We went to my house after dinner. I pulled a book for him to take home. It’s the one I’d told him about the day he came to Eve’s when I was taking care of Izzy. He held it up. “The book that made me think we might have enough in common to interest you in going out with me.”

Thinking back, I remember wanting to talk to him again. “I was interested.”

“I didn't pick that up. You didn’t show any interest until our third date.” He smirked, “Uh, that is your second date, my third date.” I’ll never live it down.

What was our second/third date? The symphony? How was I different that night, I wondered. “Well, I show interest now,” I stated.

He wobbled his head. “You have your moments.” He smiled.

“Moments?” I pretended to be wounded.

“If you would like to practice—add to your repertoire of moments—I’ll be glad to offer encouragement, recommendations…”

I laughed. “I’ve already presented you with a book tonight. Don’t be greedy.”

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Friday, February 16, 2018

Two (not quite) couples

Eve ordered some zero calorie pop (soda, soft drink, other-regional-designation) online and shared a can with me. It’s a liquid that contains caffeine and carbonation, essentially. No sugar, sodium, etc.

“It tastes like 7-UP.” Eve said and not as a compliment.

I poured it over the remaining ice in my Yeti knockoff. I squinted upon swallowing. “Oh. That’s different.” I regretted spoiling perfectly good ice.

“7-Up, right?”

“Eucalyptus cough drop.”

While we sipped and then shook our heads like we were taking shots of Old West rotgut whiskey, she asked how things are going with Blaine. “Still good,” I told her.

She smiled and nodded. “Paul and I think you make a good couple.”

I don’t think we’ve achieved couple status, but I’m still getting grief about the date/not date thing so I didn’t challenge her.

She works flex hours and leaves at 3:30. Before leaving for the day, she stuck her head in my office and proposed getting a drink at 5:00 “with the men.”

The four of us met at what has become my favorite place for Friday gatherings. It has a large menu of craft beers and good appetizers. Also, the booths are cozy. Tonight, sadly, the booths were taken. Eve nd Paul were at a high top on the far side of the bar. When Blaine arrived he said a general hello to the table, then leaned toward me. “Hello. You look nice.” I checked to see what I was wearing, as you I do. A basic black suit with a filmy crinkly top. Very basic. He always leaves his suit jacket and tie in his car and rolls up his sleeves, so I’m spared suit induced butterflies. His shirt tonight was medium blue, which did nice things for his eyes.

“Should we leave the table,” Eve asked dryly, “so you two can go ahead and smooch for awhile?”

“Would you?” Blaine slid onto his chair. 

“No, Blaine.”

Over drinks and dinner, the conversation was like a lightning round where everyone had seconds to put in their two cents before the topic changed. It has become more relaxed and fun as I’ve become comfortable around Paul and Blaine, and all of us have become accustomed to us forming two couples.

Even though Blaine and I aren’t quite an official couple.

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Thursday, February 15, 2018

Recipe for sadness

 1 quart fancy chocolate chip ice cream

  1. Remove ice cream from freezer
  2. Open and remove plastic film
  3. Discover ice cream is too hard to scoop
  4. Place ice cream inside microwave
  5. Set timer for 20 seconds
  6. Hear dryer timer go off
  7. Press "Start" on microwave
  8. Retrieve laundry and immediately hang those pieces in danger of wrinkling
  9. 48 hours later, fill bowl with soup and open microwave
  10. Find the forgotten chocolate chip ice cream
  11. Google "listeria"
  12. Consider pros and cons of listeria
  13. With great sadness, remove ice cream to the outside trash can
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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Over socialized

Late yesterday I was asked if I wanted to attend a five-hour Google Analytics workshop today. That sure is an offer that gets the juices flowing. Actually, I’m glad the opportunity came up since I find parsing data from GA frustrating and time consuming.

Last night I talked to Blaine—our weekly phone call to discuss plans for the weekend—and mentioned the workshop to him. Since it was being held at a hotel not far from his office and was going to span the lunch hour, he asked if I wanted to meet for lunch. “Not for Valentine’s Day, just to capitalize on an excellent opportunity,” he specified. Last weekend we’d agreed to ignore Valentine’s Day. Perhaps I came down harder against it than he.

I found Blaine waiting in the lobby when I got away a few minutes before noon. I saw him several seconds before he noticed my approach. That gave me time to have a private he’s-wearing-a-suit moment before he noticed. Navy suit, white, starched shirt, navy and gray tie. Cuff links. Damn.

When he looked up, I had a giant, stupid smile on my face. It was definitely because he looked good and I was glad to see him, but the bigger reason was I know I’m a goof and was laughing at myself. I saw a twitch along his jaw as if he was working to hold back a smile. He stepped close to me, put his mouth against my ear and whispered, “Be my valentine?” He’s such a rule breaker.

We walked across the street to a farm-to-table restaurant that has become known for its burgers. I noticed on the menu that some of the beef and cheeses are provided by a farm owned by a friend of my brother. I don’t plant a garden or even make time for farmers markets but I really love the idea of locally sourced food.

After the workshop, I went back to the office and was able to clear email by 5:00. I had to leave then so I’d have time to go home, change into nicer clothes and go back downtown to another hotel for the dog rescue fundraiser.

Mica and Sophie were running behind. By the time they arrived I had already checked in, bought a glow stick for a raffle game, and looked at the silent auction items. I was downloading the app needed for bidding when they found me in the ballroom. Eventually, I bid on a dinner for two at a sushi restaurant (won it), and two tickets to a musical (didn’t win, and just as well). My final “donation” was a wine grab bag (each contained a bottle with a value between $15 and $150). The bag I chose held an Alfa Crux malbec that Google says is valued around $50. I’m anxious to see if my designated wine drinker likes it.

The benefiting rescues brought some of their dogs and introduced them on a runway. The handlers wore tuxedos or evening dresses. One thing became obvious early: Super short, tight dresses and heels do not work well with excited dogs that may require you to bend and reach for them.

One dog, a pit bull mix, was in her element on the stage. She darted from one side of the runway to the other, gathering as many pats as she could. When her handler tried to lead her away, she collapsed her legs, rolled onto her back and stretched to expose her belly for rubs. Several people at nearby tables were eager to provide them. I get a kick out of hanging out with dog people. Most of them are nuts in a good way.

After dinner, just as the dessert auction was starting, Mica, Sophie and I left the table for a little while and sneaked to a back hallway lined with small meeting rooms. That’s where the dogs were. I spotted the person who had contacted me about buying tickets to the fundraiser, and she waved us in. The pit bull that everyone fell in love with is being called Bluebelle. Not sure I’d keep that name, but it does fit her. I went straight for the beagle, a senior who is gray around the muzzle and as big hearted and sweet as all beagles. There were two chihuahuas, a bonded pair, and a dog they’re calling a schnauzer mix but I think is an all-around all-terrier mix. I miss fostering (which means it has been long enough that I’ve forgotten how much work it is to introduce a dog to a new environment and to rules). I stopped when I switched jobs and needed to work long hours.

Sophie and Mica decided to leave without going back to the table. I went back only to pick up the wine I’d bought. Most of the tables were still full and people looked like they were enjoying themselves. I’m glad. I remember the first fundraiser one of the dog rescues held. It was in the gym of a church and involved a lot of Crock-Pots. Rescues and other animal charities have taken off around here over the last ten years. The rescues benefiting from tonight should end up with a nice bit of money to help cover vet bills this year.

I’m socialized out.
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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The plan

If I don’t lose my job this year, I’m going to Chicago to see Kris Bryant (left) and Anthony Rizzo play at Wrigley. Bryant signed a one-year contract so this could be the last year they’re teammates.

I do lose my job, I’ll try to figure out why Blogger is awkwardly splitting words at the end of the lines.

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Monday, February 12, 2018


On the way home tonight I was behind a car that tried to sneak around the corner of the pickup ahead of it and didn’t make it. A low-speed crunch. They decided to call the police, and I stayed as a witness. I’m getting tired of witnessing car accidents. This is twice in three weeks

It took place on a busy arterial. I turned on my flashers right away but still had a lot of people come up so close to my bumper that they had to back up in order to pull around my car. Twenty-five minutes later, a police car pulled up behind me. The officer spoke to me first. He didn’t need my contact information or for me to stay while he spoke to the drivers, so he halted traffic and I pulled away.

Before that, the rest of the day was normal. Henry took three of us out to lunch to thank us for helping him pull together the proposal. Prior to working on this project, I only knew the other two by name. I like both but it’s unlikely we’ll cross paths again.

Prior to going to lunch, I had another meeting with Henry and someone who is a key player in another project. They need a document written by the end of March. They promised it won’t be long, which is good news, but I’ve never heard of this kind of document, have no idea what needs to go into it. Henry promised they would outline something for me. Another outline. Swell.

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Sunday, February 11, 2018

[Title goes here...maybe tomorrow]

Another night, another inch of snow. This one I ignored. The sun came out, it warmed to 23, melting occurred. What didn't melt will be ice in the morning. I don't care anymore.

I went with Mica to take little white dog to the vet for a booster shot. Before, though, we took him to one of the new dog parks so he could have some fun. The only dog in the small dog side was leaving when we were arrived, so we let him in with the big dogs. He loves the bigger space and ran through the snow in giant circles, occasionally turning on a dime to kick up snow. Funny how snow is fun at dog park but it's something he abhors in his own back yard.

I hung out at Mica's for a few hours. We watched a couple more episodes of Longmire. I can't wait to get to the end and put the show behind me. I liked it early on but Walt became too broody and annoying. I'm happy to stick to the books. They have the humor and characterization that the TV show lacks.

I arrived home in time to stuff come clothes into the washing machine before going to Eve and Paul's. They asked Blaine and me over for chili and to watch the Olympics. Blaine brought dessert—last night's cake. I had forgotten how far that cake goes. We split it at the end of the night.

Izzy has gotten so big since I last saw her. She was 18 pounds then and 36 now. I didn't think she would remember me but when we went to the loft she went to her toy box and brought me "blue dog," the plush toy we played with the most when I was there. Eve said she hadn't had it out in a while, so I'm hopeful she remembers me a bit. I'm going to take care of her again at the end of the month.

I didn't stay late. I needed to get a second load of laundry done before bed, and I'm so tired tonight.

Here's hoping words come easier tomorrow.

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Saturday, February 10, 2018

Turning right

I woke to find that a couple inches of new snow had fallen and the air temperature was six degrees. Since I hate summer so much, I try not to complain about winter but this kind of cold and every-other-day snow is getting old.

I went straight from bed into double layers -- leggings under jeans, long sleeves under a t-shirt and two pairs of socks. I’d have worn more socks if the snow boots with good traction were roomier. The coat I wear for shoveling adds two sizes to my frame but is warm enough to protect against this cold, and a fleece slip-over hood adds extra protection from wind. I layered gloves, too, but my fingertips went ice cold within minutes, then went numb. I kept reminding myself the cold meant a dry, light snow, which is so much easier to throw. Still, the internal monologue I maintained throughout was expletive rich. Forty minutes after I walked out the front door, where I began, I walked through the back door, finished.

On the way to the bedroom to change into comforting fleece, I passed the phone charger and saw I’d received a text. It was from Blaine saying he and Paul were going to come by and blow the snow. That is going above and beyond the level of our...whatever it is. Not exactly friendship, not in the strictest sense, and not a relationship yet. Anyway, the offer had a warming effect, partly from its kindness and partly from sudden panic that they would show up and find me with combo bed head and static head from the fleece hood, no makeup, unshowered and dressed like a seven-year-old about to camp out in front of the television to eat a bowl of cereal and watch cartoons. I called Blaine to be sure I’d catch him, and I let him know I’d already finished. He was at Paul’s. They were about to load the new electric snowblower that Eve bought last week while Paul was working out of town. I sensed Paul felt about the snowblower as she had felt about his loft barricade: a huge mistake.

“Fill me in tonight?” I asked Blaine.

“I will do that. Looking forward to it.”

“Hey, do you like white chocolate, coconut and pecans?”

“Yes,” he sounded intrigued. “Is this going to be dessert?”

“It is.”

“Can’t wait. Come early if you want.” There was a pause. “Come now if you want.” I kind of did. Again, though, bed head and static hair wasn’t the look I planned to go for. We agreed to move the arrival time up an hour.

When we had talked earlier this week, Blaine invited me to his house for dinner. “Nothing fancy,” he said. “I’ll grill steaks.” How that was going to work in this cold, I didn’t know but men understand the relationship between meat and open flame better than I, so I didn’t question it. I offered to bring dessert.

The only from scratch dessert I make well is a dense, not overly sweet three layer white chocolate, coconut, pecan cake. It’s time consuming to put together so I rarely make it, but I felt like showing off. By mid afternoon it was baked, cooled, frosted, adorned with toasted coconut and pecans and on a cake plate, ready to go into the carrier. I was ready a couple of hours later.

Blaine and I live off the same arterial street but are separated by several miles and a tax bracket or two. His directions said to go to the last street in the city and turn right. At the last street within the city limits there’s a street light; beyond, darkness. Maybe dragons too. Certainly, cranky racoons.

He lives in a pretty brick townhouse on a golf course. I don’t think I audibly gasped when he opened the door to me and I stepped inside, but I felt it when I saw that the entire back of the house is windows. The light of the day was weakening but with the lights dimmed in the living room and the landscaping lights on the golf course reflecting off the snow I could see enough to be impressed. I live in a 1920s bungalow in an old, crowded neighborhood. My view is of houses. I miss seeing sky when I look outside, something I had growing up.

While Blaine was hanging up my coat, I took in the rest of the open floor plan. The entrance flowed into the living room, which flowed into the dining room, and a breakfast bar kept the kitchen both open and isolated. I love houses, love seeing interior layouts so for a few moments I indulged in the details -- high tray ceilings, wood and wrought iron railing leading to the basement, and built-in bookcases on one side of the fireplace.

The fireplace was on. Above it on the mantle were a row of mixed-height flameless wax candles, all flickering. He’s full of surprises, this one, I thought.

He prepared drinks for us, and we went to the couch in the living room. We sat facing the fireplace. The flickering candle “flames” reflected off the black screen of the television mounted above the mantle. “Those candles are very pretty,” I said.

“My daughter’s idea. I wasn’t sure about having a bunch of candles. She told me they came with a ‘manly remote control’ so…”

“They are the manliest candles I’ve ever seen,” I confirmed.

“Thank you. I am feeling more virile lately.” Before I could laugh, I felt embarrassment start to radiate off him. “That wasn’t--. I didn’t mean--.”

I bumped his shoulder to interrupt him. “That’s a very manly blush you have going on there.”

Gruffly, he said, “I don’t blush.” He rubbed his hands over his face.

I offered him my glass of Diet Coke and Bacardi Black. “Do you need this?” He took the glass and a healthy swallow, then winked at me. Playful Blaine was back.

I would have liked to be inside his head during that.

Over an excellent dinner, Blaine told me Paul thought Eve was crazy for buying a battery operated snowblower, but he was impressed that she had put it together on her own. It handled this light, small amount of snow OK.

While we were cleaning up afterward, I was suddenly struck by where I was and who I was with and how comfortable it was. How had I ended up here? I tried to remember what my first impression of Blaine had been. I remember I had become flustered when I arrived at the restaurant bar and found more people than Eve and Paul, and when Blaine and I were introduced and I realized this was the guy Eve was wanting to set me up with, I went quiet and self-conscious. A short time later, though, I remember thinking This will be OK. He’s one of the good ones. I certainly never thought I would go out with him even once. It absolutely never entered my mind that two months later, on impulse, I would walk up to him in his kitchen, go up onto my tiptoes, slip my arms around his neck and kiss him, or that his response would be as welcoming and enthusiastic as it was.

In more ways than one I got here by going to the edge of darkness and turning right.

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Friday, February 9, 2018

Tarp and lime

“Can you point me in the direction of hatchets? I asked an employee at a big box DIY store. I was shopping for my brother’s birthday, which is today, and didn’t have time to wander looking for it.

“Well, first I need to know what you’re planning to do with it.” I looked up at his smirk and smiled.

“Oh who knows. My brother wants it.”

He made a thing of giving me a sizing-up look, then motioned for me to follow him. Part way across the store I said, “I’ll also need a plastic tarp and garbage bags.”

“We’ll get you a bag of lime, too”

The best shopping experience ever.
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Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Ahloom oil

All of a sudden I’m a huge hit with kids in shopping carts. I frequently get chatted up by those in the 4-7 age range. I’m not kid oriented, having never been around many and not having any of my own, so either they all think I’m a kindly old lady or they have enough cat in them to gravitate toward those who have no idea what to do with them. Over my lunch hour I went to Target. A kid was parked in a cart along the main aisle while his mom looked at jewelry. I didn’t notice them until the kid shouted a “hi” at me.

Brightly, I returned, “Hi!” I picked up my pace.

“I’m shopping with my mom!”

I paused and looked back. “Yeah? You must be a really good shopper.” His mom looked up and gave me a small smile, then went back to what she was looking at.

He nodded and I could tell in his little-kid mind “good shopper” was written in primary colored capital letters. “We’re going to the toys in a minute.”

“Toys?” I exaggerated the question. “That doesn’t sound like fun. You know where you should go instead?”

He looked as if he was processing the idea that toys didn’t sound like fun. “Where?” He shouted it, not quite like a challenge but close enough that I had to suppress a smile.

“The paper plate aisle.” I said it softly so other shoppers wouldn’t hear. His mom smiled but kept spinning the earring display.

“No!” he scoffed.

I shrugged. “OK. You’re the shopper. You know best. Have fun!” And with that I walked away.

I went to the back of the store to pick up an HDMI cable for my brother. His birthday is at the end of the week, and I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel for ideas. I figure he can connect his laptop to the TV and watch all the crazy stuff he finds on YouTube on the larger screen. On my way back to the front of the store I passed the same kid, this time parked at the greeting cards. “Toys!” he shouted.

“Aluminum foil!” I countered, still walking.

I heard his mom tell him not to yell, and him ask her what “ahloom oil” is.

Kids can be kinda fun.

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Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Bad sharer

Mid morning, I let Henry know I hoped to take a long lunch hour if he had no objections. Although my part is probably finished (little things keep getting added or changed), there’s a lot left to do and Henry has been calling frequently.

“Oh. Well. Let me see…” he said, sounding concerned. “Do you think lunch is necessary?” This is Henry in teasing mode.

I pulled the trump card. “We’re celebrating Susannah’s birthday.”

“If it’s for Susannah, by all means go!”

“I could tell her you would rather I remained here.” My teasing mode.

He gave a dad sort of guffaw. “I don’t want on Susannah’s bad side. Go. Make sure she has fun.”

She chose a wings and burger place. Well, first she chose Italian, then a quirky place across town, and finally a wings and burger place that opened not long ago. It has been a long time since the three of us have had lunch and been able to talk openly. We filled each other in on some work related items: why I’ve been working behind closed doors for a month, latest gossip about budget cuts, who to avoid because they aren’t completely over the flu. The little stuff that makes a workplace turn.

Once we had ordered and our drinks arrived, Susannah waved her hands around to halt the existing conversation. “You.” She leveled a pointing finger at me. “You cannot start dating someone, the first man in your life since I’ve known you, and not talk about him. Give me details. I have waited long enough.”

She already knew the basics -- who it is, that Eve introduced us, roughly when we started dating. She met him at my birthday dinner, for that matter. I didn’t know what else to add. “I like him. He doesn’t mind that I like him. He seems to like me.”

She laughed. “You are really bad at sharing.”

It’s true. I don’t mean to be. I never know what to say.

Eve didn’t ride with us because she had to go home after lunch to let Izzy out. On the way back to the office, Susannah asked me if I thought Blaine was going to be someone special. “I don’t know how it will go, but at the moment I hope he will be.”

“Gotcha,” she said. “Is he a good kisser?”

“Only you would ask,” I laughed.

“Uh huh, and I want an answer.”

“Yes, definitely.”

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Monday, February 5, 2018

one more day

Ultra professional, unflappable Henry muttered “a martini” after someone on the team asked what he needed from them. That’s how things are going. As for me, after six straight hours on the phone today and no lunch, it has taken a lot of Bon Jovi and a little Alice Cooper through the headphones to settle me down. A session of shoveling snow off the shared driveway by myself worked out more frustration. I may need to dust off a story idea and do a little writing to smooth more edges.

One more early morning should be it. I’ll add some information suggested by the reviewers who read it over the weekend, and my part should be done. The final deadline is end of day tomorrow. With lots of luck I’ll be able to get away for a long lunch with Eve and Susannah to celebrate Susannah’s birthday. I miss lunch.
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Sunday, February 4, 2018

Snowy sleepy day

It was cold and snowy here today, and I slept for a good part of it. This is the first weekend in a while that I haven’t had to work, and I was able to relax easier. I’d also had a late night. Blaine and I didn’t do too much, just a short road trip to get dinner, but after getting back we hung out for a long time. At the moment I feel like I need a break to keep from losing all perspective.

In between naps and loads of laundry, I put together a brochure for the dog rescue I used to volunteer with. I’m still in touch with one board member, and she contacted me. They're printing a large number, and what they created in Word doesn’t meet printer specs. I redid it in a different program that is meant to create materials for printing. It didn’t take long. I created a second, more polished version in case it appeals.

Sadly, I couldn’t watch the Puppy Bowl so I made do with the Super Bowl. I can’t say I cared about it. Now I’m recovering from another emotional episode of “This is Us” so I can go to bed. It’s such a good show, but couldn’t one episode be all about happy things?
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Saturday, February 3, 2018

Take it or leave it

I knew Blaine was a sports guy from the conversations he engaged in all those times we were in the same place at the same time but weren’t yet speaking to one another. I did not know this: He loves basketball but could take it or leave it when it comes to baseball.

We were eating really good barbecue in the basement of an old building in a small town. I suppose if he was going to stab me in the heart, that was as good of a place as any to leave the body. Something told me that in the long history of that basement, mine wouldn’t be the first body left behind.

“No. You’re teasing, right?”

He gave me a half shrug. Not even a full, apologetic shrug. “It’s too slow.”

I sucked in a breath, my mouth a frozen “O” and my eyes wide. “Take that back.” He laughed. I didn’t want to strike, but he had laughed. “Basketball is monotonous. You’re confusing running with fast paced.” He laughed louder. I decided I wasn’t going to tell him he had a smear of sauce on the corner of his mouth.

“I don’t think you fully understand basketball,” he said. I don’t understand it at all.

“What’s to understand? Run one way, score. Run the other way, score. On and on until a buzzer wakes you up.” He wiped his mouth while he laughed. At least one of us was happy.

“I’ll make you a deal,” he said. “You watch a few basketball games with me and let me point out some finer points, and I’ll watch as many baseball games as you want this summer.”

“You’re on.”

We shook sticky hands on it.

Now all I have to do is get him to stick with me into baseball season.

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Friday, February 2, 2018


After drinking half of a glass of vanilla stout, I felt ready to tell the story of my day.

Eve, Paul, Blaine and I were once again in a booth at a bar/restaurant. After the fun we had last Friday, we decided to get together again tonight. I was the last person to answer the question: How was your day? Eve’s had been spent in an all-day meeting and was, therefore, mind numbing; Paul’s was typical with no surprises; Blaine’s was busy but nothing of note happened.

“No one needed you to help them with their asteroid mining plans?” Eve asked him.

Without pausing, he answered, “Attorney client privilege.” I snickered. He leaned toward me. “What am I missing?”

“She found me reading an article about space law as it applies or may need to apply to asteroid mining.”

“Space law is interesting,” he said. I gave Eve a look that said See? Blaine asked, “You read that today?”

“No. Today I was on the phone for five hours going over a proposal line by line, making changes and adding information. We finished an hour before it had to be emailed to someone who has to sign off on it, and when I checked the file after attaching it to an email, all of those changes were gone.” Their reactions were variations of speechless and mortified, all tinged with black amusement.

“How—what happened?” Eve wanted to know.

“I think I attached a cached version, which was older. The actual file was still OK and still on the hard drive, but I had to close everything before it opened.”

“Damn.” Eve said it but all agreed with the sentiment.

“Did you get it out on time?” Blaine asked. I nodded.

I hadn’t gotten lunch and offered to buy appetizers for the table. Eve and Paul had dinner waiting at home, but Blaine was willing to split something with me. After Eve and Paul left, he asked if I wanted him to move to the other side of the table.

“I really don’t.” We held hands under the table until the appetizer arrived.

When we finished, he walked me to my car. I faced him and slid my hands inside his jacket. He was warm and smelled good.

“If this is a result of a bad day, I’m going to have to hope for more calamities” he said.

“Then you’ve found the right girl.”

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Thursday, February 1, 2018

We’ll all be glad

There’s nothing happening in my life except Henry’s proposal. It needs to be in final form by noon tomorrow and there are still pieces coming together. My part of it is done except for last edits. Henry, though, is scrambling. Part of the team isn’t contributing so he’s having to finish a lot at the last minute. I can tell things aren’t going well when I don’t receive prompt replies to emails, and today I didn’t hear anything outside of a two-hour team meeting. We’ll all be glad when everything is submitted.

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