Firsts Series – Part 3

In honor of this blog turning one in a few days, I’ve decided to revisit some of my other firsts…

First Series – The First One Who Got Away (and the tale of my most romantic, non-romantic night)

After my first epic heartbreak, I was well, obviously heartbroken – I moped, listened to sad songs, wrote in a journal, and turned to my small circle of friends in my study abroad program in Vienna.

I had three close guy friends (there’s a long and involved story on why I never really made friends with any of the girls.  Let’s just summarize and say I was different from many of them).  Anyway, let’s call my three guy friends – Maine, Seattle, and California.

Maine was my roommate and I traveled a good amount around Europe with Seattle.  Both were great guys and lovely friends.  But this isn’t a post about them.  This is a post about California (let’s call him Cal for short).

Like nearly everyone else in the program, Cal was a Junior and a full year older than me.  He, as well as Seattle and Maine, were like big brothers to me.  But the more I hung out with Cal, the more my feelings moved out of the realm of friendship and into the world of “something more.”

But Cal had a girlfriend back home and I have a solid rule that I’ve never broken – I do not go after a taken man.  So, no matter how my heart pounded when we hung out together, traveled together, sat next to each other in class, or studied for tests, I was determined never to let him know how my feelings had changed.  And I never did.

 

 The most romantic, non-romantic night

Well, I only studied abroad for one semester and it seemed like after November, the weeks flew by.  It wasn’t long before it was Cal’s last night in Vienna.  Cal, Seattle, their roommates, and I went out to dinner to celebrate his last night.  (Side note – one of my proudest moments was when our waiter asked me if I was from Germany when I spoke German. :) yay!  Though sadly, my abilities have lapsed since then.)

After dinner, we went back to Cal and Seattle’s apartment.  Seattle and the others went to bed around midnight.  Cal and I talked through the night about so many things – relationships, our homes, future plans, the terror of picking a major (this one was all me), regrets (I grinned and said I had none, but hey, I was still young), traveling, and how much we loved our semester in Europe.  We sat close together on the small sofa and I knew that despite what simmered below the surface, nothing would happen that night, as he was a good man and I was determined to be noble.  We poured our hearts out, tried to convince each other to move to the other’s respective coast (California is a West Coast boy and I’m an East Coast girl), and laughed until we couldn’t keep our eyes open any more.  When it was finally time to say goodnight, he asked to have one the barrettes I always wore in my hair and I didn’t hesitate to give it to him (as I am and will always be a hopeless romantic).

He went to his bed and I slept on the sofa.  He woke me when he left for the airport and I gave him one last hug before stumbling into the bed he vacated, snuggling into the sheets that were still warm.  That was the last time I saw him.  And so ended the most romantic, non-romantic night of my life (but obviously not the most romantic night of my life. :p).

We tried to stay in touch for a little while.  But life took over, as it tends to do.  We flew back to our respective coasts.  We rejoined our regular friends from college and talked a few times over the summer (he drunk-called me the night of his 21st birthday and I sadly missed the call).  Then we slowly lost track of each other.  We started new relationships, fell in love with new people, he graduated, I graduated, he started a life, I started mine, and our friendship faded to memories.

But don’t be sad…I wouldn’t be able call him the one who got away, if he hadn’t actually gotten away. ;)  Besides, loving someone is never something to regret or be sad over.  As Tennyson said – “tis better to have love and lost than never to have loved at all.”

I’ve recently loved and lost again, though the taste in my mouth is more sad this time than sweet.  Alas, I suppose that’s what happens when something you thought would last forever suddenly breaks (that’s a story for another day and one I probably won’t want to share for quite some time).  But it’s made me think back to the first time I really loved and lost, and of Cal.

So I raise my glass to Cal – I hope he has a great life, a lovely wife, the white picket fence, at least 2 cute kids, and a loyal dog.  :)

How about you – who was your first one who got away?  What’s your sweetest loved and lost story?

First Series – Part 2

Firsts Series 

In honor of the coming one year anniversary of this blog, I’m detailing some of my firsts. :)

First Epic Heartbreak

Sigh.  Yes, it was bound to happen at some point, especially with how easily I fell for people back in the day.   But I digress, let’s set the stage, shall we?

It was fall semester of my sophomore year in college, and I was studying abroad in Vienna, Austria.  There were so many firsts that year (including first international flight and first European adventure), but one of the biggest was my first epic heartbreak.

I remember the first time I saw him – he seemed to stand out among the large group of American students at the Vienna train station.  He was tall, confident (chicks really do dig confidence, just like the South Park movie says :p ), and seemed to be cool while I was sweating like a pig after lugging suitcases into the train station.  And of course, he didn’t notice me at all.

But that didn’t last long. ;) Of course, it helped that there weren’t a lot of students in the program, that we had a class together, and oh lucky me, that he ended up living next door.

I even remember when we made the leap from friends to dating… It was oh so swoon-worthy. ;) We were studying with a group of friends – the two of us were sitting together, reading on my bed – when he reached out and barely brushed my leg with his fingertip. My heart stopped.  Two minutes later, his thumb gently slid across the side of my leg again.  I peaked at him from the corner of my eye, but he didn’t look up from reading.  Then his thumb started tracing circles on my thigh…and I reread the same word in my text-book about six times.  A slight smile tugged at his lips and I had to remind myself to breathe.  When our friends finally left the room, I may have tackled him. ;)

And of course, I remember the breakup. That bullshit line that everyone hears at one point, about how they need to work on themselves or how they need to find themselves (when, let’s face it, they really mean that they need to find themselves with someone else).   It wasn’t long before it was clear that he was with someone else and of course, I was heartbroken.

Looking back, it wasn’t all bad and I’ve certainly been through worse since. But that heartbreak helped me return to writing – I discovered a cafe close to our school that I went to everyday, where I filled a journal up with nonsense (and some sense).  I traveled, read, saw a lot of opera (hmmm, not sure all the operatic drama really helped, but at least it counts as “cultured”), made friends, and learned how to deal with a broken heart.

Most importantly, that heartbreak led me to my favorite of my Vienna stories – the first one that got away and the tale of the most romantic, non-romantic experience of my life (obviously not with the same guy)….but that is a story for next time. ;)

How about you? When was your first heartbreak?

Review “Playing for keeps”

Ebook Review “Playing for keeps (A Neighbor from Hell Series Book 1),” by R.L. Mathewson

imageYay! I’ve found another good and cheap book series.  The “Neighbor from Hell” series is fun and most of the books are on Amazon for $0.99 each (the only thing better than good smut, is bargain priced smut). :)

The first in this series is “Playing for keeps.” Haley and Jason start on the wrong foot – his drunken party guests have tried to skinny dip in her pool, his exes have had screaming fits on his front lawn, and he hardly takes care of the place…

But, an amusing confrontation over flowers causes a swarm of bees to erupt from an underground hive, and Haley and Jason are forced to spend an afternoon together waiting for the exterminator (surprisingly enough, this is hardly the weirdest event that has caused a hero and heroine to get to know each other in romance novel).   Anyway, during the afternoon, the two bond over baseball and Jason decides to take the timid Haley under his wing.

But Jason’s feelings are anything but brotherly, though it does take him a little while to realize it, and Haley is hardly unaware of Jason’s charms. Can Jason and Haley survive taking it to the next level?

Playing for keeps” is a fun start to  R.L. Mathewson’s Neighbor from Hell series. It’s a fast read, with plenty of steam and quite a few giggles as well. Can’t wait to read the rest. 4 out of 5 stars! :)

Firsts Series – Part 1

In honor of my upcoming 1 year blog anniversary, I’ve decided to do a series of posts on my firsts…

First thing to be tackled?  Well, in case you didn’t notice, I love romance novels.  So, it’s only fitting that we start with my first proper kiss.  And by proper, I of course mean some guy shoving his tongue down my throat.  :p

When did this blessed event occur?  Let’s see, it was freshman year in high school and the lucky young stud was…hmmm, let’s change names to protect the innocent, shall we?  Let’s call him, “Sal.”

Sal for saliva.  Heeheehee.  Yep, Sal’s kisses were overflowing with passion…and saliva.  So much so, that I remember quite a bit of it dribbling down our faces.

But one thing I will say for Sal, is that he was quite masterful at giving me another first (oh, calm down) – my first hickey.  I didn’t even know what he was up to, but I remember thinking – oh my, that is nice.  Later when I left the dark movie theater (hey, don’t judge), I saw my neck in the mirror and had a minor panic attack.  In addition to having overprotective parents, I was also a swimmer and in lifeguard training – do you know how hard it is to hide a hickey when you’re only wearing a Speedo? And in the water?

Ah yes, high school problems.  So, cheers to my first french kiss with Sal.  :p

 

How was your first kiss?  Any mechanical (or saliva) difficulties?

Arguments for eating at the table, by Bella

Musings on life by Bella, the cat-dog (so named for the snark to go with the tail wagging)

I do have to warn you, this post is in fact, very, very, silly…I blame the three-day weekend.  :p

Arguments on eating at the table, by Bella:

People, it is extremely wrong (not to mention rude), the way you eat at tables and fail to invite your four-legged friends.

I have compiled a list to convince my person, who is so far un-swayed, which I’m sure you will find to be quite logical…

image

1.  There are three extra chairs:

Look at these lonely, wasted chairs!  No one else is using them, so why not me?

I promise to listen intently to your dinner conversation if I can sit on one of the chairs…  No?  Hmmm..

 

image 2.  If you refuse to invite me to your dinner, I will be forced to make sad eyes at you from the floor.

Look, look at these sad eyes!

Wait…don’t turn away…

 

 

image

3.  Due to your post-college, bargain purchase of a glass dinner table (perhaps not the wisest decision you’ve ever made), I can make the sad eyes at you from under the table.

Ha!  Good luck ignoring me now!

 

 

image4.  The fact that you put a table-cloth over your glass table will not stop me from making my presence known.

Allow me to demonstrate a trick favored by my people – the cold, wet nose on your foot or ankle – when you least expect it.

I think you will find me a formidable opponent in this war, person.

 

image5.  I have excellent table manners, I’ve been practicing while you were at work.  Let me demonstrate:  “please, pass the steak.”

Still no?  Unfair!  You’ll have to deal with more sad eyes from the floor…and perhaps sad, puppy whining.

 

 

 

I did warn you…a very silly post.  I’d like to point out that despite her best arguments, Bella is still not allowed to sit that the table.  Though she does periodically get to taste yummy people food – a compromise, me thinks. :)

Do you re-read?

Do you ever re-read?

I’ve decided to re-read all of the Harry Potter series.  (Don’t be surprised I read more than just smutty smut.  It’s important to be well-rounded, dears.)

I’ve wanted to do this for a while, because unlike other novel series, it was clear at the end that J.K. Rowling planned everything from the start and left clues throughout the earlier books.  So, you see, I have to go back to appreciate all of those clues. :)  And also because, well, who doesn’t love the series and all of those excellent Dumbledore quotes?  (He really does have all of the best lines, except of course, for my favorite line of Snape’s.  Sigh, that was a lovely line.)

Most books, though enjoyable, don’t warrant a second or third reading.  But every once in a while, you find that special one…and once is never enough. ;)

So, how about you?  Do you re-read?

Also, I just signed up with Bloglovin!  Woohoo!  Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Thoughts on Hygiene, By Bella

Musings on life by Bella (the cat-dog, so nicknamed for her doggie nature and cat-like snark)

Sunday was traumatic, as it was marked by the inconsistently timed ritual known as grooming.  If my human were better at planning, perhaps I would be able to prepare or foil her attempts at grooming me.  But sadly, the randomness allows her to catch me unaware.  So sneaky.

image

First, there is the bath.  This, my friends, this is the place of terror.

I once escaped the bonds of the plastic prison and led my person on a jolly (and wet) chase around the living room…only to be lured back to the tub by treats.  Alas, the treats, they are my greatest weakness.

Sometimes the grooming ends there and I am rewarded with treats.  But I was not that fortunate on Sunday, as my person decided that I was in need of a haircut.

I did go to PetSmart once to get a haircut.  But they tied me up and muzzled me, which I did not appreciate at all…apparently I gave them a “hard time.”  So now, my enterprising person has (for better or for worse) taken over my grooming.  There are no muzzles or leashes.  However, there are rules:

1) No talking – It is my understanding that people generally converse with their hairdresser.  However, my person greatly frowns upon any attempt at conversation or diversion during haircuts….really people, a growl could mean so many things.

2) No biting – Not that I would ever bite.  Sometimes, I think about it.  I open my mouth just a little – testing to see if my person notices.  When she gives me that look (that look that says that she controls my treats), I masterfully turn my open mouth into a yawn.  We do this several times throughout the haircut and by the end it is terribly amusing.  I would laugh if I could, but see rule #1.

3) Treats are given during the grooming process and…at the end!  This is what makes it all worthwhile.  My person tells me I’m a pretty girl (duh), puts my collar back on (a sign that the trauma is over), and gives me more treats.

Let us hope that this is my last bath  and haircut of the year…

Conversations in Transit

This week, I was a bad blogger.  :(  But this was because of a last-minute business trip and a crazy week (I know – excuses, excuses).  I often travel for business and I’ve found that sometimes, I have pretty good conversations with strangers that sit next to me on planes.  So, I decided to catalogue one of them.  Perhaps I’ll write more of them…though I must warn you, some of it has been fictionalized to protect the innocent and of course, to amuse me.  So let’s just call this creatively fictionalized non-fiction. ;)

 

To Dallas I Go

I sit in the middle seat of a cramped back row on an airplane bound for Dallas. My body is sandwiched between a prim southern belle and a man who looks in desperate need of a shower.

He fidgets in his seat and my eyes spot the signs of a person that does not like to travel. What makes it so easy? Like senses like. I don’t like to travel, but by some great joke of the universe, I’ve landed a good job that requires me to travel. Unlike the man beside me, I’ve travelled enough to lose the fidgeting, though clearly not enough to land me glorious upgradable status. My boss is in the front of the plane right now and oh, how I dream of the day when my ass will grace a wide seat of first class. The promised land, where I can sip anything from a champagne flute and carelessly laugh as the unwashed masses (my seat-mate smells) of economy class wait for their beverage service. But, I digress.

The fidgeting beside me stops and a string of curses erupt from my seat-mate’s mustache framed mouth. I glance at him, just as he reaches to the ground beneath the seat in front of him.

“Damn drink,” he mutters. “Sorry ma’am.” As he reaches further to clean his spilled drink, he leans down and toward me, his head only inches from my lap. The book in my hands has no chance of being read now as several sly comments spin in my mind. I usually don’t try to make conversation with a man whose head is in my lap, but hey, rules are made to be broken.

“Do you need help?” I ask, not able to withhold the laugh that bubbles from my mouth. I can see the Southern belle from the corner of my eye as she shakes her head in disdain.

“No, I almost got it.” He pops up mere seconds later, face red and drink firmly in hand.

“Great,” I say and watch as he returns to fidgeting. “Are you nervous?”

“Yeah. I, uh, don’t like to fly much.”

“Not many people do.”

“Well, this is my third flight. Just coming back from overseas.”

I nod my head, “Is Dallas home for you?”

“Yep. Texas born and bred.”

I can’t suppress a grin. I’ve only heard that in cheesy movies and TV shows. “Well, you’re nearly there.” By then the flight crew has begun making their announcements.

I turn to my routine for takeoff. I close my eyes and breathe, feeling the rush of the plane’s wheels against the runway and the nose of the plan tipping up. I try to pinpoint the moment the rear wheels leave the ground and join the others in the air. The engine roars in my ear, I am after all in the status-lacking seats, and I try not to think of the phantom mechanical noises beneath my feet. I open my eyes when I feel the plane level off, just shortly before the ding that signals your ability to get up and use the bathroom.

Then, I pull out my book. To the people who don’t travel very often: this is the universal sign of “I don’t want to talk.” Please, don’t take this as a personal affront. It’s not you, I’m sure you’re lovely. It’s me – the book I’m reading may be very good, or I like to occupy my brain while not disturbing others, or I want some down time during my trip. It could be any or all of the above. I’m told by more seasoned business travelers that this is a truth universally acknowledged in first class. But, it’s a crapshoot in coach. My seat-mates have paperback novels, so for almost an hour I’m in the clear. Then the fidgeting begins again.

“What kind of book is that?” The unshaven man asks.

I turn the book around to glance at the cover. There’s just a little title on the cover, not two people on the brink of orgasm as most romance novels love to portray.

“Mystery novel.” Blatant lie, but to tell a strange man on a plane that you read smut is akin to poking a bear. A bear that you’re then stuck next to for what will feel like an eternity.

He nods his head. “Western,” he shows me the cover of his book – a sunset on landscape populated by cacti and hazy mountains in the distance.

“Cool,” my fingers reopen my book to the page is was reading, the juicy part is unfolding. The dangerously sexy hero hooks his finger under the chin of the innocent damsel and is bringing his lips to hers when -

“Why are you going to Dallas?” He asks.

“Business trip.” Just the words spring up anxiety about the day ahead.

“All by yourself?”

I explain to him that my boss is also aboard, but several rows up in first class.

“How old are you?”

Some women are offended by this question, but I’m not one of them. At least, not yet. I tell him my age and his face brightens, “I have two daughters about your age. I’ve got pictures in here somewhere.” He pulls out an older cellphone, “but I forget how this damn thing works.”

He hands it to me. I had a phone like this a little while ago and after a bit of memory jogging, I access his pictures.

“There they are,” he points to a picture of two young women smiling back at us. Their faces are pressed close together, as they tried to fit into the phone’s small viewfinder, Their smiles are deep and reach their matching brown eyes.

“They’re beautiful,” I smile and hand the phone back to him. He leans over me to show the Southern belle.

“Charming,” she says and bares a grin that consists of perfectly rounded teeth. “I just had a baby girl.”

Regardless of a fairly recent birthing experience, her stomach shows no bulge over the pink fitted shirt she wears. I eye my own pre-children muffin top, which has begun to sprout slightly over my dress pants.

Damn gluttonous body.

I lament for a minute before grabbing a little snack that I’ve stashed in my bag. Another drawback to business trips are the unreliable meals. During other trips, I’ve worked 14 hour days in remote hotel rooms in remote locations, without a rental car, and went to bed without dinner. As a result of these prior experiences, I am now part squirrel – constantly collecting snacks in case my workload deems me to be too busy to eat.

I pull a chocolate chip cookie out of my bag. The Southern belle looks away, but not before a gleam of ravenous hunger twinkles in her eye. The chocolate chips of the first bite melt on my tongue and my body sighs with happiness. Life is too short to forbid yourself treats, small muffin top or not.

“My husband wants to try for a boy,” she says as she leans over me to chat with the Texan. I decide that he looks like a Jake, with his scruff of a beard, mustache, and blue jeans. She looks like an Elizabeth, all pretty and put together.

“What do you think is harder to raise, boys or girls?” Elizabeth asks Jake.

There is a tentative pause, then Jake answers, “girls are much harder to raise.”

I barely suppress an eye roll. How many times have I heard that from other parents?  The usual response when querying them as to why girls are more difficult to raise stems from sex. Countless mothers have leered at me, “with a son you only have to worry about one boy. But with a girl, you have to worry about all the boys.” Sigh. Bitches.

As a women, I’m not going to pretend that sex isn’t a worry for parents of teenage girls. I’m also not going to deny a sense of relief after graduating college without an accident. Regardless of all this, I asked Jake why. Call me a glutton for punishment, or also chocolate chip cookies, since I shoved one in my mouth as Jake answered.

“Well,” he said, “girls are harder to raise right. I grew up with so many women that depended on their man. But when my wife and me had two little girls, I didn’t want them to have to depend on their husbands. This way they won’t get stuck with someone like me.” He let out a little snort of laughter and winked at me.

“So, I taught my girls how to fix things around the house, how to balance a checkbook and change a tire. I made them go to college to major in something useful.” His voice trailed off and smiled to himself. “They’re both nurses.”

My smile back to him is genuine. “Well, I think you raised them right.”

He laughed. “I usually don’t tell people this, but they even make more money than their husbands.”

This deepens my smile, “even better.”

Later, when we’ve landed and the line of people to disembark chokes the plane’s aisles, I turn to him to say goodbye. He grabs my hand in his and gives me a firm handshake. His hands are not like the soft, artisan hands of the men that occupy my office, they are wide and well calloused.

His crinkled blue eyes pull my gaze from his hands, as he meets me in an honest fatherly gaze. “Good luck on your business trip.”

“Thanks,” I smile when I remember the pride in his eyes as he talked about his girls, and I remind myself to call my parents when I get off the plane. “Welcome home.”

 

Thoughts on Shark Week, With Bella

On life with Bella, the cat-dog (so named for the snark to go along with the tail-wagging)

Bella on Shark Week:

The best thing we learned from “Shark Week” was that Sharks can go into tonic immobility.

What’s tonic immobility?  Here let me demonstrate:

image

I call this trick #5 (after speak, sit, down, and roll over), which I employ in treat acquisitions (as well as when begging for belly rubs).

My person uses this same pose after eating too much chocolate, debating publishing versus self-publishing, and when being lectured about her “life choices.” :)

Review “Escorted”

Ebook Review – “Escorted,” by Claire Kent

image In “Escorted,” we meet Lori, a romance novelist in her 20s with a job she needs help with – getting rid of her virginity.  She’s been unlucky in love, so she’s decided to hire Ander to take care of that one little issue for her.

Except it’s too good and once isn’t enough (sigh – isn’t that always the case?).  The more time Lori spends with Ander, the more the lines of their “professional” relationship begin to blur.  Can Lori keep her heart safe during her intense interludes with Ander?

My oh my, is this book steamy and it features a hot, brooding hero.  Yes, it’s true and I won’t apologize for it – I love brooding, yearning heroes.  I don’t know what that says about me as a reader, but there you go. :p

Anyway, Ander has a lot to brood about – a terrible relationship with his father led him to his current profession and he’s never been in a solid, loving relationship. :(  Then, Lori comes into his life and he has trouble keeping things professional…until he decides to give up all of his other clients to focus on winning Lori over (without her knowledge, of course).

Escorted,” was  a fast, sexy read.  The writing seemed a little awkward at times, but all-in-all, it was a good – with interesting characters and a fun plot.  4 out of 5 stars, highly recommended and very steamy.  :)

Happy reading. ;)