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Well…. sorta.

It was a mixed bag… but then most of life is. LoL

I set out with no real ‘issue’ that I needed to deal with. No major trauma that I wanted to release. No intense healing that I was going through. Usually I would then set my prayers, to each direction, to coincide with what ever that was. This time it was just ordinary life. So with that in mind, I set out an intention with wanting to be a better person.

“Help me to remember where I came from. Why I’m here. How I got here.

Help me to surrender, so that I can enter the cave of Bear, to that place of introspection.

The grace to go in. Fill me with Strength and Courage, to stand, in that space. To find the Beauty of the Truth.

And with Love in my whole being, let me Trust in the Truth. And the Clarity to see it.”

Sometimes we don’t know what we are looking for. We don’t have a particular path that we are climbing over. We don’t have a goal in mind, that we want help in achieving. We are just walking on our path, doing our thing; and living our life. Culling out the things, people, and places that no longer help us, or need us. Gathering to us those that bring joy into our lives.

I spent time with this prayer in the course of tying my 452 prayer ties. (*No, I’m not going through all of that again… find link here*) Vision Quest Process link As in years past, it was pulling me into that “Bubble” or “Head space” that Vision Quest can become. Only unlike, in years past, I ended up doing them literally at the last hours. I have been so busy with things at the restaurant, that I haven’t had much time to myself. Not to journal, as the many empty dates will show. Not to hang out with my friends, which I’ve already planned to ‘dates’ this week. Not to settle myself and prepare for Vision Quest.

I have only ever tied them all in 1 day… that was a humbling experience. I have only ever tied them a few months in advance… that was a weak experience. I have usually done it in the course of a weekend, giving myself some time in between sections, or directions. This time I did it in 2 days, so to speak: Thursday night and Friday afternoon. Then I did a really ill-planned thing… which I give gratitude that I survived.

I drove the car.

LoL

It was like being drunk. That is the only analogy that I could possibly come up with, to explain what being in my “Bubble” is like. I’ve never had a conscious out-of-body experience, but I imagine this is what people talk about. Its like flying, while also stuck inside of your body. The world is a whole new place. Everything is brighter. Crisper. Cleaner. Better. Hell, even my glasses work better.

So you would think that being inside of my Bubble, when I get to the property, that Vision Quest is held on, would mean I was already on Vision Quest when I got there. Not so much.

Unfortunately, the hour-long drive does begin to break through that Bubble. Even with the phone turned off. The radio off, because the music was just irritating to my system. Once you get there, you’ve got to do ordinary things, like: find the space you’re going to camp in / set-up the tent / donate your items to the fire-tender / help with setting up the Sweat Lodge / and socialize.

I love the socializing that happens when my sisters and I get together. My cheeks always ache a bit when I have to drive home, after a visit with them. Yes, there’s that much smiling and laughing. I learn so much, just being in their company. From mothering and food tips, to healing and health tips. New recipes for things. Places to find things that we need… and want. Joyously celebrating accomplishments… their’s and their family members’.

I must say though that I wish there was less ‘chatter’ when we are in ceremony. I’ve noticed it more and more in the last year, or two. I appreciate that as a group of women, we are like centipede, who keeps growing new legs, and thus having to regain his balance between the older ones who know what to do, and the newer ones who are just beginning. We reclaim more and more sisters each year. Some older sisters, spinning off and creating even more circles of sisters in other places. Newer sisters taking their place, in the circle and asking questions. Their curiosity is a beautiful thing. There has to be a balance in the times to “teach” about ceremony, and the times to just “be” in ceremony.

Between the socializing, which I could have done less of, by hiding away in my area… taking a walk… and choosing not to participate; and the chatter while we are in ceremony; it felt more like we were all out there for a great big camping trip. I found it hard to find my Bubble.

I searched and searched for it all weekend. I tried all of the tricks that I knew to do. The things that have worked in the past. The things that never worked in the past, but I tried them any ways. I couldn’t find my way back into my Bubble.

That Bubble is an amazing place to be. I’ve been blessed to be in that place, while in vision quests of the past, and had the most amazing things happen to me. Shown to me. Given to me. Such beauty, that to begin to describe would never do it justice with mere words. Yet I will never ever begin to forget about.

I felt disconnected this year, in a way that I haven’t felt before. As if I had been forgotten somehow. I know that I wasn’t. I am sure that my sisters thought of me, as much as I thought of them. I know that I am never truly alone in the world. Not any more. I have the full backing of my sisters, no matter where I am in the world. Even if I’m the furthest tent away from the house, I’m just as close as everyone else.

I learned a great number of things, don’t get me wrong. I just miss being in my Bubble, that’s all.

I was blessed to have time to think… to gather my thoughts about different issues… make lists about them… and get it all down on paper! That is a blessing – in and of, itself. But I didn’t need my Bubble, or a Vision Quest to make it happen. I just needed time. Time away from the world, my boss, the phone and all of my friends. I needed time away from FaceBook! LoL

I did get something from my prayer that I set forth, in my Prayer ties. I wanted to be shown the Truth, I didn’t indicate about what though. I forgot to BE Specific… duh! I had a Blue Heron fly over me. Low. Like he was trying to get into my space. I’ve seen them on the ground. Never had one fly over me though. This was just after I was journaling about a text message I received from a friend, on Friday.

“you have such a sweet, genuine spirit about you that seems to make people feel special and important when they are in your presence. I know I did… and it felt good. One of the things that impressed me most about your personality was when we were at Crackle Barrel. As I was coming back from the restroom, you had engaged a couple sitting at the next table with their children in conversation. and I could see how proud they were to talk about their family to a perfect stranger. There is a kindness in that, and it made me puff up a little with pride that you were were there, and I was with you.”

I realized that people say things like that to me: You’re kind. You’re sweet. You’re giving. You’re talented. and my favorite, You’re the most Christian person I know!. That one always makes me cringe and laugh, at the same time. If they only knew. brouhaha

I in turn, will quickly point out each and every bad fault that I have. I argue that they simply don’t know me well enough. That they haven’t seen my ugly side yet. Instead of just accepting the truth about myself – and walking that truth. Being the Kindness, the Sweetness, the Generous, the Talented, the Christian person that I am.

The medicine of the Blue Heron is to remind us to look at our selves, though Self-Reflection. To see ourselves clearly, without the cloudyness of self-pity, low self-worth. To understand our place in the world. To accept ALL of the parts of ourselves without denying any emotion or thought.

A pretty big truth to accept and digest.

I also was blessed to know that I can survive a thunderstorm, in a tent. It didn’t just rain – it was a Frog choker, of a storm. It poured. There was rain and rain, and more rain. There was thunder. Rolling bands of it. Singing song after song, after song to me. The lightening showing off the night’s clouds in new and beauteous ways. And the wind. We cannot forget about the wind, that tried its best to take my tent out from, under me. So glad that I decided to stake it down this time. I usually don’t bother with the stakes. Hahahaha

But I survived. I chanted – a lot. I sang – a lot. I prayed – a lot. I mentally and emotionally called out to those around me. I even pictured Nina in my head, laying her head down in my lap, and keeping me company. I stayed in my circle. I was safe if I did… and I did. The lightening which seemed to be hitting everything close by, based on the amount of light it was throwing off. Never touched anything inside of my circle.

Not my first time in a tent, in a thunderstorm. Nor will it be my last. But it was my first one that I couldn’t leave my tent and find shelter in my car. Or had to look after my children and calm their fears, to take my mind off of my own.

Oh, and I thought about food. I mean food was on my brain, almost every time I turned around. I dreamed of food, in some fashion, every time I fell asleep. I dreamed of sneaking sugar cookies at a conference event. I thought about the yummy food that Coyote was preparing for us for Sunday. I thought about the food that I had made for Turtle, and willed her to eat some of it. Especially the chocolate. I was actually hungry. A completely new experience for me. I have never even so much as given food a second thought when I’ve been on a Vision Quest. Not had a single tummy grumble moment. I had lots of those moments. Lots of them. I even dreamed of pizza being delivered, but realized when I woke up, that my phone was in the car.

I know that I am judging my experience — and not giving it enough credit. I am trying to point out a balance of wonderful with the ‘eh’. I feel like there was this amazing Bubble that I created in making those Prayer Ties, and in a short expanse of time. I mean there was some power in those ties. I could feel it, even as I laid them out on the ground around my tent area.

Powerful energy that I somehow, wasted.

So I found out last night, and I confirmed it today; I am a bad hostess.  😦

I’m shocked, as much as hurt.

In recent months I have been trying to have more social engagements. Trying to expand my circle of friends. I lost so many in the divorce this past year. So I’ve been trying to push my own comfort zones, by meeting new people, and having the courage to call them up and invite them over. I even threw my first successful party, last month. At least I thought it was successful.

Turns out that I was wrong.

I had a bonfire and served up a “Make your own Chili” bar. I offered two kinds of chili, and was grateful when two of my guests each offered to make a dessert, while two others offered to bring corn muffins. I had Hot spiced cider, to compliment the event. I invited seven couples; of which five accepted. A huge success in my mind already. People showed up. I made sure that everyone had enough food. Dessert. Cider.

I thought that I had done well, by making sure that everyone was introduced. There were several couples that I had only met once, and wasn’t sure if they would know any of the other people there. Three of the couples, all knew each other due to our daughters all being friends, and such. I made sure to talk with each couple at some point during the night. To spend some one-on-one time with them. Make sure that they each had someone to talk too.

At the end of the evening, I had the kids’ friends all helping me to clean up. Taking things into the house. Picking up the yard. Settling the furniture. Tending to the fire. I had a very easy ‘mess’ the next morning.

I thought it was a hit.

Until I was talking with Jody last night. She was telling me how Barnett, and she were going out to dinner tonight with Bert and Manny. I love that the four of them are socializing. Making friends. This doesn’t bother me at all. They are both couples who like to socialize with other couples, and I understand this. It was one thing when Bert and Manny thought that I was with Carlos, and found out that I wasn’t. But we are not (*he’s actually got a steady girlfriend now, and that is so great*) Yet, I am not a couple, therefore I am not invited out to dinner.

I had the best time at their dinner party, and invited them to my party. I thought that they had a good time. Until I heard Jody talking about how Barnett was a bit miffed at her for taking two (2) bottles of wine over to their home, AND flowers; when they went over for Wine and Tapas; last week. She said: “Manny is just the pillar of social graces. They sent the most lovely thank you card for coming over to their house even.”

Oh.

I don’t think that she meant to upset me. And she didn’t. But the idea that these guys had such a nice time with her, to send her a thank you card, when she went to their house — but such a lousy time at mine, that I didn’t rate one.

I did send them a thank you card when I went to their house… I wouldn’t have expected them to send me a thank you card for coming over. Maybe I had it backwards. Maybe I owe them a thank you card for them showing up?

I asked Jody about this morning, when I called her up to communicate with her about my change of plans. Originally, she was going to watch out for the kids, while I met a friend for an early dinner; then I would be home by the time that they were heading out for dinner with Bert and Manny. My date backed out. Oh well.

I asked her: “Honestly, just a quick yes / no sort of answer… Do you think I’m a bad hostess?”

“Yes.”

😦

me: “Oh. I was wondering since you had said something about a thank you card from Bert and Manny, and I didn’t get anything from them when I had them over. It was just something that made me wonder.”

Jody: “Well, you are extremely opinionated. Most people don’t like it. You come off as pushy and strong. It puts people off. Its just your personality, that’s all. But sure you welcome everyone over. It was a great mix of people. All kinds. You’re very accepting. We wouldn’t have met them otherwise.”

“Thanks. I think.”

Guess that explains a lot.

Today’s Horoscope:

Be extravagant and bold today — now is not the time to hide your light under a bushel! Get back in touch with your more outgoing nature and stop worrying about what people might think of you. Who cares what others think, anyway? You need to feel good about yourself — and the best way to make that happen is to speak up and make that joke that’s on the tip of your tongue. So what if it annoys someone? As long as you’re not insulting, you are free to spout off.

Well I don’t know how bold I’m going to be. Definitely not extravagant financially. I have kids to think of.

I have been quite the hermit these last few days. The only real outing was going to dinner at my friends’ home, on Saturday. I haven’t even been on FaceBook much. Or searching out rides on the biker website. I have been focusing a lot of attentions on my kids. But this weekend is the Blue October concert.

They are coming to The House of Blues, on Saturday night. I found out, and bought a ticket. In my haste, I bought 2. I didn’t realize it would be so hard to find a companion for the show. I would take Carlos, but he has other plans. I would take Rhonda, but has just disappeared. I would take my Tim, but to fly 3,000 miles for a concert seems a bit much. Even Christopher declined to come down and hang out with me. I can’t get my Ex to agree to let me have one of the kids, cause “its his weekend”. Hmmmmm…. So I put up a post on a couple of websites, Craig’s List, a Friends site, the Biker site, and even FaceBook.

One of the people that I’ve been communicating with through emails, said that he would come. I’ve been trying to make more ‘post divorce’ friends. I’m putting myself out there and taking chances. Like Carlos and our bike rides. It lead to meeting his brother, and Bert and Mandy; who were just incredible people to hang out with on Saturday night. With plans for future dinners. Since I haven’t actually met him face, to face, yet, we are going to go out tonight for some coffee. Just to make sure that that the other person isn’t a serial killer. I don’t know what all to make of him, and I’m not looking for some serious romance, and want to be clear on that point. I am just looking for a companion for the rock concert.

But I might open my mouth a bit more. Who knows.

I met this wonderful couple, a couple of months ago, at a BBQ, that Carlos took me too, at his brother’s house. A few weeks later I ran into Bert, at Target of all places. We exchanged numbers and week, or so later, I received a call from Mandy. They wondered if I would grace them with my presence at a small dinner. “Nothing all that fancy my dear. Just some good food, wine, and company.”

Well when I got there, last night, I was glad that I wore a dress. I wore my white dress with the black lace overlay. Both Danny and Steven, and Bert and Mandy were dressed nicely. The only one wearing jeans was Carlos. But they were his very clean ones. lol 🙂

I was asked what happened with my ankle, when I showed up with the cane… but after a small brief explanation that I harmed my ankle, they didn’t keep calling attention to it. Which was so very nice of them. I just stashed my cane to the side, and put my phone on a low ring, incase the girls called.

I got there a few minutes after 7:00 – due to Daphne suddenly needing me to drop her off at her friend’s home for a last minute sleep over… and then I forgot the invitation which had the apartment # on it.
So I had to call them from the parking lot and ask. I felt foolish.

They made nothing of it.

I wanted to stop and get, but with Daphne’s delay there wasn’t time. So I decided to forgo them.
I wish that I had stopped anyways. I’m sending a nice thank you note instead.

Mandy had really thought ahead to planning, and took the time to ask me if there were any dietary restrictions, while I RSVP’d. I told him that I would eat around any beef or pork; he said that they were planning an evening of seafood anyhow. Then he asked how I took my martini’s – when I asked what was in a martini, I let him know that I would pick up bottle of white wine, since I couldn’t stomach vodka. Mandy said that I would do no such thing, and that they would find me just the thing.

So I felt very honored that once I was seated, he brought me a blue martini glass, and said: “We tasted the most delicious cocktail last weekend, its rum, not vodka; just for you my dear.” 🙂

I liked how they took the time and consideration for things that I like. They wanted to make it special for me. To be accommodating.

Bert brought out a “just a little something while we wait on Carlos.” We chatted so easily about so many things, that I was surprised when Carlos finally arrived, he was almost an hour late. They knew that he would be late, due to getting off from work. But not that late. I think it was a bit embarrassing. But again, nobody made a big deal out of it.

Carlos was dressed up – so to speak. Sort of the way that Barry would attempt it… by wearing a nicer button up shirt, with some color in it. And during the salad made a point of asking me: “Did you notice my shirt?”
me: “Yes. I was going to say something to you later. Privately.”

Then included his brother, Steven in the conversation. “He only has 4 shirts. This one is the 4th one I’ve seen him in. He keeps wearing the same shirt, on all of our get togethers. I tease him about it.” Steven thought it was funny.

I will give Carlos credit though – his shirt fit him well. He was cleaned up. Hair cut. Shaven. Standing up straight. Smelled good. He wore what he had, with grace and confidence. Unlike Barry – who would look slovenly even in a 3 piece tailored suit. Put the 2 of them together – and I would have chosen Carlos in his nice print shirt and jeans – over Barry in a tux. It wasn’t the clothing – but how he wore them.

Carlos arrives – we make more small talk – then I head to the bathroom. You can tell I’m the only girl there – I’m the only one using the small towel for drying my hands – and putting down the toilet seat fully. I will give them credit though for having the initial part of the seat down. After all 5 men – I’m thinking I’m going to find it up… and both times I had to relieve myself – I’m finding it down and waiting for my ass. 🙂

They had a beautiful apartment: It was a standard attached place. This one was on the end, so it had more windows, with the extra outside wall. But the inside was nothing like a normal apartment. It was beautiful. They completely redecorated the entire place. Hardwood floors. Chair railings. Crown molding. Granite countertops. Bathroom vanity. Low flush toilet. Lighting fixtures. Larger w/ ice fridge. Glass top stove. Wooden slatted window treatments. Freshly painted door. Large urns out front with palms.

They had even rented out a nice round table/ with 6 chairs for the occasion. All of the china / stemwear / silver – down to tea lights on the table. Vases full of dark pink orchids everywhere. Which makes me feel good that I didn’t bring flowers after all. Mine would have paled in comparison. It was amazing and I haven’t even gotten to the food yet.

China was theirs. They got to pull it out of storage… and were happy to have the occasion to use it. While we chatted, Bert, who loves to cook, made up some chicken croquettes. They were so light and fluffy. Melted in your mouth. When they would vacation in Europe, mainly Paris, Bert would take a couple of classes at their favorite restaurant; while Mandy would shop for things for their decorating business. It really showed. The food was amazing. There was a 5 course meal + dessert.

Our beautifully appointed table.  The orchids were so perfect, and the candles set just the sweetest mood.

Our beautifully appointed table. The orchids were so perfect, and the candles set just the sweetest mood.

I got to bring my place card, complete with my name on it, and the menu spelled out, home.
I’m telling you I should have thought to take photos of each course. It was like eating at a 5start restaurant. I work at one, and we don’t even match up to this quality. Bert is an amazing cook.

The 1st course: The Amusse Bouche (or little bite) was a scallop that had been lightly seared, coated in panko bread crumbs; and topped with a creamy Mango sauce.

2nd course: The Aperitif was Escargot Scampi, served in filo dough cups; cooked to perfection! Most have a hard time, and accidently over cook them. These were fork tender. They just melted in my mouth.

Mandy and I discussed the use of garlic, and thought that it needed more. I told him that most people use too much garlic, which just overshadows the taste of the snail. Which is a shame. So I felt that Bert did a perfect job.

As we were assembling for dinner, the men helping to pull out the table from the corner. There was a big discussion it seems, while I was in the bathroom; over staging. Due to the size of the apartment; they had to rotate things around to make room. (*Staging is a term for setting things up. To ‘stage’ something is to purposefully put items out, and then rotate them around for various purposes. You can ‘stage’ a set on the theatre stage. Or ‘stage’ a room for a real-estate sale.*)

3rd course: The Soup was Carrot. With the Carrot soup, was a small portion of vermoth. Mandy had set out tall slender shot glasses on the table, at the start of the meal, while he was setting the candles. I didn’t know what was in the glasses, as I watched him pour. But as Bert served the soup, we were instructed to pour the vermouth through the soup, to add to the flavor.

OMG!!! I only stirred half of my bowl. So as to try the soup without the vermouth. Some with it mixed in. Then the last portion, with a strong flavor of it against the soup. It made the flavor of the carrot – POP!!!

4th course: The Salad, was Hearts of Palm on a bed of mixed greens with a Raspberry n Honey vinaigrette.
May sound plain – but the flavor was intense. Its there just to clear the palate. Not to fill you up.

5th course: Main dish of Creole seasoned and Seared Colossal Fresh Water Prawns, on a bed of jasmine scented rice. Which were so big, that I got 4 good sized bites from each one.

I wish that I had thought to take photos prior to this.  I wish that you could have smelled this dish!!!

I wish that I had thought to take photos prior to this. I wish that you could have smelled this dish!!!

Dessert was a Classical take on Crème Brule, with Champagne, and a Cuban coffee.

My first Cuban coffee – which looked like espresso, in its presentation. Since they didn’t put any sweetener out, I didn’t know how it was suppose to be taken. I had been listening to a story by Steven, when he remembered watching his parents, back in the 60’s experiencing their first Cuban coffees. They downed them. Which everyone laughed at. So I knew that this was a sipping thing.

But still it was darker than coffee. There was no sweetener, so I thought it must be like Turkish coffee. Which is similar in looks, but poured from a long spout, and unlike the story, was chugged down in one swallow. I’ve done this, and then was shaking my head afterwards as the strong bitterness. So I thought, hell. Why not just ask.

So I did. Nobody thought I was wrong for asking. They seemed happy that I would be humbled enough to ask about something I was unfamiliar with. Bert even brought down his coffee maker, which is done on the stove, and is done upside down from American coffee. Its not brewed like American coffee, but steamed through like Espresso. And then to make it Cuban – sugar is added while its hot. A bunch of sugar. To make it very sweet, then poured into the cups; and served.

It was amazing. I want to have Cuban coffee EVERYDAY!!!

The perfect ending to the night... :)

The perfect ending to the night… 🙂

The champagne was a perfectly dry, sparkling wine from New Mexico. As we all discussed the fact that unless the grapes are grown from the Rien area of France, and the wine produced from the region there, it can not be rightfully called champagne. :p

I was heading home at around 11:00 – and in my bed by 11:30… fully sated, with a happy tummy, and sore cheek muscles from smiling and laughing so much. The food was the star, but the company is what made it shine.

Last night I took Carlos up on his offer to get out of the house, and do some socializing with adults. The City of Leesburg, was having its monthly “Food Truck and Film” night, in the local downtown park area. We could walk around, sample foods, listen to some live music, and if the film was any good, throw down a blanket on the lawn. This sounded like a great night out, and so I said: Yes.

Well, then the weather happened. As is typical here in central Florida, we have daily thunderstorms. This time neither of us was up for walking around in the rain. So he offered to hang out at his house, or we could go to a BBQ that some of his close friends’ were throwing. While hanging out at his house has been fun in the past, the idea of meeting new people appealed to me more. So I picked the latter.

I met up at his house, with a bottle of wine. He said that there was nothing I needed to bring, but I was taught to never go empty handed to a dinner party. It’s my old-fashioned upbringing. He laughed, and said that he too had picked out a bottle of wine to bring, since it was Danny’s birthday they were celebrating.

We took just his truck, since there didn’t seem to be any reason to both drive north of where his place. And since I’ve already trusted him with my life, on the back of his bike, I wasn’t risking anything new. He is just as careful of a driver of his truck, as he is of his bike. He even let me pick the radio station, and we had fun, trying to get a very annoyed fly to leave, by rolling down all of the windows; which just got us both wet from the road splash.

On the drive over, he tried to “prepare me” by telling me that Danny was married to Steve. They are a gay couple, that he and I would probably be the only straight people there. I assured him that homosexuality was not a new concept to me, nor was it something that gave me the heebee-jeebees. I reminded him of my past experience with surrogacy, and how I was so comfortable with the nature of human sexuality, that I had purposefully gotten pregnant with a child for a gay couple.

Steve it turns out is Carlos’ brother – by another mother. They are a lot like Christopher and Andrew. They grew up together. Shared everything. Are very close. And even have the same red hair, and beards. Although they are both sporting heads more silver than red, these days. Steve even joked with Carlos over it. 🙂

Danny and Steve couldn’t have made me feel more welcome in their, haven from the world. A yard full of lush plants, and quiet niches. A home with overstuffed seating that just begs you to sit back and relax. The table had plenty of food to feed the 9 of us, and 9 more. Manny’s husband, likes to bake, so he brought a tiramisu, to go along with the raspberry delight cake. Both were delightful, as were they. They are warm and full of humor. My kind of humor. The Monte Python sort of humor, mixed with Steve Martin slapstick comedy.

Their friends were just as wonderful. Besides, our hosts for the evening, I met Manny and his husband, from Miami area. They were “retiring” after 30+ years in the interior design business. They picked Eustis of all places, because it was so different, and besides as Manny put it, “If we hate it, its all of a 5 hour drive back to civilization.” There was Matt, and Brenda, who have about 10 part-time jobs between them, and she is even a member of the biker website that I met Carlos on. She’s promised to come and find me, so I will have at least 1 female friend. He was clearly gay, and she struck me as being bi, but I could be mistaken, and she’s just a lesbian. LoL The last man, rounding out our party, was Byron, who owns and runs the Mason Jar.

It was nice to have the restaurant business start relating to some of them. Brenda had even worked for Vic, at Dead River for a time. They all had the same opinion that I’ve heard before, about Vic. There was talk of my being so at easy with all of them, and my personal story of my own god-parents’ homosexuality. Which Danny thought was just the most interesting, and wonderful thing about me. He was such a warm and open guy, taking time to even explain to me how he was able to construct their outdoor shower, by running the water lines from the laundry room. I may have to actually do this myself.

The time passed quickly, much too quickly for me, with everyone telling stories, and sharing bits of their life experiences. Each one contributing, and no one trying to “out do the other” with lots of male superiority. It was such a welcome relief to sit and just laugh and smile, and share an evening with great people.

They have all promised that I must come back. There is even an open invitation to Manny’s apartment in Eustis, to “come have a look through”. Manny’s husband says, warn him, I’m coming, and he’ll make another tiramisu. 🙂

Or in this case, boys of the last century, who think that they’re oh so cool, because they “allow” the woman to pick up the check.

I went to dinner last night, with a friend from college. He seems to be a nice man, grown up with a daughter of his own now. He works as telephone repair man. Yep, they still exist. His wife is a college professor, and seems very sweet. He was down in Orlando for a training seminar, on more current stuff for his job. Its always changing, and so he’s always having to come down for a week, nearly every year. But he’s got lots of family in the area, and out near Tampa, so he told me: Yeah, the moment people get wind that I’m coming down, my social calendar fills right up.

Dinner was good. I love the Catfish Place. And not just for their catfish, which is what we ate last night. But they have the world’s best key lime pie. I mean THE Best. I had asked Lester if he had ever had it before, and he said, that he had tried it Sunday night, at Bahama Breeze. He hadn’t been all that thrilled with it. I frowned, and told him: Well, then you haven’t really had good key lime pie yet. After trying a bite, he had nearly half the slice.

He even had his first, second, and tenth bites of gator. Most people eat it around here, and its one of the few meats, that doesn’t seem to upset my stomach. The people at The Catfish Place, make some of the best. They have a way of getting it ohhh-sooo tender, while not over powering the flavor of the meat, with lots of marinades. He wasn’t sure of the idea, but was a willing sport, and in the end; posted a photo of it on FaceBook. LoL

When dinner was done, and the waitress laid the check between us. It sat there. A few heartbeats. Then a few more. Then what seemed like a very long, sort of “elephant in the room” moment, grew. He got up and went to the bathroom.

I learned a very important lesson from my Momma, when I was young: Always be prepared.

Always.

I can remember my Momma always carrying around a $2.00 bill around in her wallet; and the story of how it was her “emergency bill”. She’d tell my sister, and me, about how that $2.00 kept her and daddy fed quite a few times, when they were first married, and she was learning to budget. She’d bring it down to her landlord, who would keep it as collateral, and give her 2, $1.00 bills for some bread, eggs, beans and milk. When she got paid, he exchange it back. Where she would tuck it back inside, for that “rainy day”.

That was next to the $20.00 she kept, “Because things cost more now, in the 80’s, than they did back in the 60’s.”, she’d say. Folded up. Both of them. Very neatly. Tucked away inside of her wallet. Separate from the rest of her money. To be used for that moment when, suddenly caught off guard by something in the store, or a restaurant, or someone; that you need to get out of a situation. “Don’t ever be helpless.”

I keep a $100.00. “Because things cost more in the new century.” LoL

Thank goodness that I do. Had I not had it last night, our $60.00 dinner could have become very awkward, very fast. Sort of like how a few months ago, when going out for dinner with Jon, on his birthday, he “let me” buy him dinner. Not in a grand gesture where I insisted to picking up dinner, because it was his birthday. But more in the line of: Hmmmm, I’m going to see if she will pick it up, because I’m one of those “Hip Guys”, who allows his woman to be equal.

Next week, when I get paid, I’m going to have to replace, and re-stash my emergency bill.

Secondly, I learned from my Daddy: Don’t ever assume.

Ever.

Yes, there are those men who still insist on paying for dinner, even when you’ve agreed to go “dutch”. And there are moments when I am grateful, cause it was a bad week, financially. Yes, there are those men who will never let a woman pay; because they are the man, and she is the woman. They are ‘very old school’ ones, who also insist on standing when a woman enters and leaves, and holds the door open for you. There are the ones that were raised on old school values, but are just cheap.

Guess which one my dinner partner was last night?

I couldn’t remember too much about Lester, when he found me on FaceBook. He and I went to college, for one (1) year together, at SUNY. Yes, that one year when I braved the cold tundra for upstate New York. I left in the spring, but obviously left an impression on some of the dorm mates, like him, Holly, Brian and Laurie. He hadn’t left one on me, the way that Holly and Laurie had; until last night. He was the one that was always hanging around on our end of the 2nd floor; where all of the freshman girls were. Cause girls, loved to mother people… and always had food.

He was much skinnier back in those days. I remember him mooching everything from soda and kool-aid off of us, to the chips, popcorn, and pretzels. He especially loved it when we would order hot things, like pizza. I can remember going to the local eatery as a group. He came along, but when it came time to order, said that he’d just eat off of somebody’s plate. At least he ordered his own plate last night. lol

I don’t know what the etiquette for inviting someone out to dinner is, now a days. Which adage still holds true; that the person who does the asking out, is therefore responsible for paying? That the man always pays? Or maybe its the one about out-of-town guests?

This is why I think the idea of socializing with people, is something that scares me a bit. I don’t know the current rules. Probably one of those things that I’m going to have to bone-up on.

Or worse, ask my teenaged daughters about.

PS: Yes, so irritating to me, that I’m awake at 3am to write this…. lol Now I can go to bed. G’nite.