Monday, November 29, 2010

In Her Grace

Erik's wife passed away one year ago today.  We began dating twelve days later.  I never really looked at it like hours until today. Maybe I deserve the harsh criticism and judgement that I have endured. Maybe it was "too soon".  Maybe the heart has no rules for mourning.

It's not as if I was waiting in the wings.  Nothing of the sort.  Twenty four years ago I was Erik's first date.  We went out once and saw each other perhaps a dozen times over the years.  September of last year he friended me on facebook and I accepted.  I admit to stalking his profile and pictures, remembering the sweet boy who barely had the courage to hold my hand at the movies.  I noted that he was married and that some of the messages on his wall spoke of tragedy.  We occasionally commented on each other's status updates.  Life went on.

One night, in early December I messaged him on facebook and we struck up a quick and easy conversation.  He told me of his wifes death.  Perhaps he mentioned when.  I don't know.  All I can recall is thinking "recent".

We began texting and chatting everyday.  All day and night. We made a date for December 11.  I knew that I should cancel.  I knew that if I went there would be no turning back.  My soul wanted him.  My heart needed him.  The red string of fate pulling us closely together, regardless of place, time or circumstance.  My true soul-mate.

In a few days it will be our one year anniversary.    And every year I will be extremely grateful to a much loved woman for having the grace to send him to me. For knowing that he would be destructive alone.  For wanting him to be loved. For giving him a free heart.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

"Felicia's Not Your DAAAAAD!!!"

Being new to the area and far from family it has been important to us to create holiday traditions for the kids.  Under the advice of locals we decided to take the little kids to Seattle to do all the festivities at the Seattle Center and the Christmas Tree Lighting in Westlake Center

Maybe a little overly excited we left the house around eleven.  With surprisingly little traffic we were in Seattle by noon.  We started at the Seattle Center which was being heralded as a "winter Wonderland".  Ummmm...not so much.  The kids rode some carnival rides.  We watched a giant toy train.  That was it for the Seattle Center.  So we hopped the monorail (Seattles "nontransportation") and headed to Westlake.  Which we were horrified to find out was a MALL.  ON BLACK FRIDAY.  Luckily the lighting was outside but we had HOURS to kill.

So the kids rode the giant carousel. And we headed of in search of reasonably priced food suitable for children. Luckily just as we were about to get sucked into the hour plus wait at the Cheesecake Factory a kind homeless gent pointed us in a better direction for a small tip.  And let me tell you he was not wrong.  The Taphouse with 160 beers on tap, Wikki Stix's instead of crayons and food for every taste and appetite.  The true pleasure though was not the delicious salmon burger or cold ale....but the fact that my children were pure angels.  *sigh*

When we could no longer amuse the kids with Wikki Stix's and wit we headed out into the rain.  With my mad shopping skills we managed to purchase Peyton and Cade winter coats that met all of their criteria in record time and at cheapie prices.  Feeling successful we headed over to the lighting to get a seat, a wet seat. Erik and Peyton suffered the nearly 40 minute Starbucks line for warm drinks.  The rest of us watched homeless people get escorted off.

The tree lighting was slated for 5:00.  After an hour of waiting in the cold and rain we were ready.  Ahhhh. Trickery.  The TALK started at 5:00.  The Mayor was there, he got booed.  Music was played.  Carols were sung.  There was some dancing in the streets.  5:45 tree lighting.  Followed by giant Macy's star lighting.  And then fireworks!!!!  (Actually 2 minutes of flares being shot into the foggy night.)

We swam through the huge crowd to the bulk candy store where everyone got a scoop of their choice.  Back on the monorail-standing this time which was highly impressive. And home to bed.  All pleased.  And warm.

Maybe the Terrorists did act up.  Maybe they did whine.  Or name call.  Or complain.  But to me the memory of today is something out of The Sound of Music.  Where my children can pronounce and sing Feliz Navidad in harmony.  It's my memory.  I can make it what I want.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Tough Turkey Day

This was my first holiday away from home.  Ever. This was also the first holiday ever that I had to cook.  I'd like to say that all went well.....

Andrea and I decided to join our families together for one giant holiday festivity.  This had been of great debate as there is NO love loss between Andrea's daughter, her boyfriend and I.  I was assigned desserts and bread.  No problem right? Except I have a baking complex.  My mom is THE BEST baker and I was pretty certain nothing I could make would compare.  So I agonized over my menu and came up with a spread that I felt could please everyone.

Thanksgiving day I woke up extremely homesick and incredibly unsure of myself.  I began baking.  In my usual way....making a huge mess, misreading recipes, tossing stuff out, starting over, fighting back tears.  But I managed to keep it some what together and success seemed possible.

Then my "friends arrived".  I remained completely silent.  But the general unpleasantness sent me to the basement in tears.  I spent the remainder of the afternoon watching discovery and moving things in and out of the oven.  By dinner they had left...but so had my appetite.

I tried to make my mom's sweet potatoes and they were an epic fail.  Nothing tasted or looked the same.  My family wasn't there. Apparently my food was adequate though and nobody died from accidental poisoning.

We ended our evening by taking the kids to see Harry Potter.  For the first time that day I didn't feel alone.  There in a huge theater surrounded by my bickering, seat kicking, complaining kids....I felt loved.  And I think that maybe next year...if I have to.....I can do it again.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Rollin on the Metro

Parking in Seattle is a bitch.  This is especially true since 1) I can't parallel park 2) I'm not independently wealthy and 3) I don't have a car.  Luckily my job pays for a fair majority of a bus pass. 

Since my arrival here I have shunned the bus, largely from fear. Not of the people or of getting stabbed, but of getting totally lost. Not having any sense of directionality makes public transit extremely difficult when every street name is followed by a NW, SW, NE ect.  I literally need a compass. But it's the bus or poverty.

So I set my fear aside and braved it.  I didn’t die.  I didn’t get stabbed or rolled for my beat up blackberry.  I got lots of free entertainment and only got on one wrong bus.  Pretty sweet for my first time.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Working Girl

Today was the first day of my new job.  To call it painful would be an understatement at the very least.
Luckily, Erik drove me so at least I didn't have to figure out the bus route and cry in front of strangers on the way home.

Blazing the maze to my cubicle I was panicked that I would be late.But even after wandering around the bowels of the building for 20 minutes I arrived before everyone else.  So I stood.  And waited.

Honestly, I wasn't sure what to expect.  But it certainly wasn't what I received.  As people began to arrive no one acknowledged my existence.  Not a hello, a nod, not even eye contact. Coffee plans being made all around me.  And I stood.  Finally our administrative assistant arrived and showed me to my cubby.
Eventually someone returned from their Starbucks mission and introduced them self as my supervisor.  At this point I assumed I would be sent off to some sort of orientation period.  Nope.  There was no outline.  No training. No handbook. 

I spent the remainder of the day following someone around.  No introductions.  No pleasantries.  Just trailing like some pathetic lost dog.

I left 10 hours later with more questions about the secret dress code than anything else.  And a firm understanding of how Seattle won the 5th most unfriendly city award.

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