drum roll, please

I have submitted my grant application!  This has been my big summer project and it is officially completed – except for the reference letters, which I could have sworn I was supposed to upload but it turns out that has to be done by the reviewers, so I am really hoping they are checking their email this week.

I’m leaving tomorrow (wait, it’s today now) for a week in Home State. It’s going to be a quick visit but I’m looking forward to it. Somehow, when I fly, much more coordination is required while I’m there, so I’ve been organizing like crazy over the last few days to get everything in: time with Newest Niece to celebrate her 7th birthday; movie with Niece #3; visiting and dinner with the family; out with Oldest Friend; out with my two high school guy friends (so glad we’ve reconnected); and lots of things with Cool Friend since I’m staying with her.

CF told me today that they had dinner with TA recently; she mentioned that I would be visiting her soon. She said he appeared quite interested, acted affronted that he didn’t know and asked what my schedule was going to be.  She gave him a general sense and then sat back.  Don’t worry, I’m not falling for it.  He knows how to put on a good show but there’s not much backing it up.  If I happen to run into him – and she thinks he’ll try to manage a casual encounter – that’s fine but I’m not going to seek him out.

Because I’ve got things going on here – and more importantly, I have enough self-respect not to allow someone undeserving to steal my time, energy or head space.  Hindsight offers clarity and I am perpetually stunned by how stupid I was with TA.  I know I was his rebound; I’m beginning to think he was mine.  He brought me out of the wreckage of SG departing, so that’s good, but he also ensured that I would tighten the bolts on my heart.  I have no wish, and no intention, to deal with heartache again – I’m not even sure I’m capable at this point – so maybe he did me a favor there, too.  He’s definitely responsible for me finding the courage to date!

So, that’s all going pretty well. In a nutshell: I did meet the new gentleman for coffee Sunday afternoon and we had a lovely time. Elsewhere is not local, unfortunately, and he has an awful schedule but perhaps we’ll see each other again.  I hope so, frankly; he’s a very interesting guy, we have a lot in common and I think we’d have fun together.  The Gentleman has been under the weather since I got back so no interaction beyond texting this week.  He told me he missed my face last night (c’mon, that’s kind of cute) so I suspect we’ll get together again when I’m back in town.

I had Date #3 with IT Guy this evening: early dinner at a local place.  I had to work (and pack) this evening and he had other things later tonight, too, but he wanted to see me before I left for a week.  I looked quite nice this evening, since I didn’t bother to change after a meeting on campus today: fitted sleeveless above-the-knee sheath dress in pink, salmon, white, black and blue (trust me, it looked good).  Lucky him!  And he was definitely impressed, given his reaction when he saw me – as well as his response when we parted.  Yes, we will be seeing each other again next week.  If he has his way, we’ll be seeing quite a lot of each other…ahem. I find myself not opposed to the idea.

For now, however, I need to catch a few hours of sleep before I head to the airport.  Cool Friend and I are going to have a hell of a time while I’m there; she’s taken the week off and we’re going to live it up. Cue the wine and laughter!

the business side of things

I’m with my professional organization for the entire weekend.  A weekend of meetings.  All-day meetings. With meals catered in.  I’m all for service but this is going to be a long weekend.

In general, I don’t mind being here, of course.  I want to support the organization or I wouldn’t be involved in the first place.  When we’re making progress on different issues, I am right in the thick of things.  It’s the “sit and listen” portion of the meetings that puts me into a fugue state.  Really, I’ll read the memo.  I promise.  You can even quiz me about it afterward.  Just don’t talk at me for longer than 10 minutes and expect me to retain my focus.

Tomorrow is even longer than today: starting at 7am, finishing with dinner. I have my laptop, with the intention to attempt some work when we’re done for the day.  I think that attempt is likely to be somewhat half-hearted.

and in today’s dating news

I met someone for coffee a few days ago, in between errand running and other meetings.  About 20 minutes in, I had the horrifying realization that he was the ex-husband of someone I know.  Ack!  Damn different last names!  I did not run screaming but I did extricate myself soon thereafter and politely turn down a later request for a future meeting.  Let’s file that one away in the “never going to happen” file.

The Gentleman and I had our third date earlier this week: dinner and a movie at his place.  He’s a good cook, he has good taste in movies and he has a very comfortable sofa.  It was a lovely evening, really, but I haven’t failed to notice how quickly it’s become rather comfortable.  When I arrived, I walked straight into the kitchen, found a dish for the fruit I’d brought, found the glasses, opened the wine, then sat by the bar, talking, while he finished up – and then it occurred to me that could have been a little strange.  Well, no stranger than accepting an invitation to stay the night, I suppose…  If all goes well, we’ll see each other next week.

IT Guy and I had a second date yesterday, and it also went quite well.  He’s a fair bit older than me but you wouldn’t really know it.  We met for drinks, walked a bit, and then had dinner, with good conversation the entire time.  Turns out, I am more than ready to spend time with men my age or older.  We speak the same language, if you will, and after the initial nerves are over, it’s just easy.  So, it was a good few hours and I spent more time laughing than I would have expected. I suspected he was somewhat smitten, and he confirmed that when we parted: here’s to kissing guys in parking lots, it seems!  He definitely wants to see me again, and I’m certainly not opposed, so we’ll likely meet up again next week.

And, if you can believe it, I have a date Sunday afternoon with the gentleman who lives elsewhere.  I will admit to being rather interested in meeting this guy; he’s intriguing.

Today, however, I’m off to a professional meeting.  I get back Sunday early afternoon, with all day meetings in between (yay…) . Luckily, I’m driving, so I can turn up the tunes and enjoy not having to fly this time.  I’m only back for a few days next week, though, since I’m flying to Home State next Wed for a week’s visit – which could make for an interesting three days…

I CAN cook

I’m proud to say that I had friends over for a lovely dinner this evening.  The regular girl crew showed up; the extras were a couple that are expecting their first child in a few weeks.  Not that I expect them to become recluses after the little one is born, but I know that their social lives are going to change in a big way, so I wanted to take advantage of their two-ness while I still could.

I have joked in the past about fixing a real Southern dinner for my friends – for some reason, they think this is exotic food – so I did just that. Today’s theme was Southern summer; I went to the farmers market this weekend and loaded up on veggies, fruit and meat.  The menu: sausage with roasted potatoes and carrots, stewed squash, sliced tomatoes, deviled eggs and cornbread.  The piece de resistance: blueberry cobbler with vanilla ice cream. And it was all good!

It’s very affirming to cook for my friends and have them really enjoy it.  It’s not that I fix particularly exciting foods or particularly complicated dishes.  I can follow a recipe and I have some good cookbooks; if the mood strikes, I can do fancy.  I prefer homestyle, for lack of better word, food that leaves you feeling comfortable and satisfied in equal measure. I’m lucky that people seem to appreciate that style, too.

weekend of not much

While my week was promising, my weekend was decidedly dull, I’m afraid.  Maybe dull isn’t the right word, though: ordinary?  For some reason, it felt much more like a semester weekend than a summer weekend, which I suppose speaks to my efforts at actual academic work.

I spent Friday working at the cafe before going to the gym after much too long a hiatus.  Note to self: If you haven’t been on the treadmill in several weeks, don’t try to run on the treadmill when you start back.  I almost killed myself.  That evening, one of my friends was hosting a product party – not quite my thing but nice to spend time with some friends.

Saturday was very quiet.  I went to the farmers market in the morning, had lunch with friends and then came home to take a very long nap on my sofa.  I had offered to have people over for dinner that night but it didn’t suit (we’ll do that tomorrow instead) so I ended up going to a movie and late dinner with the girls.

Today was me + computer at home.  I’m ashamed of how long some tasks have been waiting for my attention, so today was the concerted effort to get them off my plate.  I was relatively successful, and I’m not quite ready for bed yet, so I should plow through a few more.

dating is just odd

I find it most odd that Junior wanted to see me again.  He gave no indication that he had any interest in me (in himself, yes) and I can’t imagine he inferred any interest on my part (although he probably just assumed that) but he did, indeed, want to know when we could meet again.  I tried to be nice in my “I don’t think that’s going to happen” but he didn’t take it too well.  It must have been stunning to think someone wasn’t as enamored of him as he is of himself.

In direct contrast, I had a very nice lunch Thursday with IT Guy.  He’s older, quite attractive and, most important, knows how to have a conversation.  We covered lots of different subjects and left with the intention to do it again sometime.  I haven’t contacted him yet – not sure why, really, other than my natural reticence to put myself out there – but I will if he doesn’t make a move in the next few days.

The gentleman who lives farther afield is still there.  Our schedules aren’t very conducive to a meeting at the moment, although I really hope we can manage something soon.  I enjoyed our conversation last week, and I’d like to know if he’s as interesting in person as he is on the phone.  There may be a possibility to meet this coming weekend: fingers crossed.

The Gentleman and I had dinner on Thursday, that morphed into drinks after, that flowed into conversation at my place, that ended in him leaving the next morning.  Surprising to both of us, I think!  The nice thing is that I’m not smitten.  He’s a lovely person; I enjoy his company – and if his attentions the other night are any indication, he enjoys mine – and we have much in common.  I’m not ready to ride off into the sunset, though; I’m just enjoying the amble around the town square.

It’s an odd experience, though, this dating thing.  Spending time with more than one guy? Agreeing to see someone after having dinner with someone else? Appreciating physical attention without reading anything more than current attraction into it? I realize this is what people do, it’s just that I’ve never done it, so it’s a little strange.  And I’m sure the strangeness is only beginning.

funny because it’s true

I don’t even know where to start with Junior.  Last night was like watching a train wreck.  While on the train.  I’ve had my friends rolling this morning in my accounting of the evening.

Okay, a few highlights:

I was late (somewhat intentionally) which he did not like, because he’s never late.  Of course he’s not.  Because he’s good at everything.

He informed me (somewhat jokingly) I was rude when I ignored him to watch something on tv.  Granted, that was rude…as was his nonstop talking for 3 hours.

I mentioned the fact that he really didn’t let me get a word in edgewise.  His response? “I figure if you had something to say, you’d say it.”  Yes, that does seem like a logical conclusion if one were engaged in an actual conversation!

ESPN was on in the bar, and a few college basketball clips came through.  Sports was actually the one thing we were having some back-and-forth on, so I try to take advantage of this opening.  When he pointed out a few players in the past that he liked, I said, “You know I was in college with those guys, right?”  “Oh, I don’t care how old you are.”  “Um, I don’t care how old I am, either; I’m pointing out that I was in college during one of the best basketball eras ever.”  “Okay.”  Really?

He did calm down a bit by the third beer – or maybe I was blurry enough that I didn’t care as much – and there was some actual conversation there at the end.  He walked me to my car, which was somewhat nice, given that it was late and I’d parked a few streets over.  Much bantering as we walked, mostly me pointing out cleverly what an ass he was.  He had the grace to be a bit taken aback when I pointed out that he obviously didn’t like me very much, given his comments about my lateness and rudeness, and shruggingly say that wasn’t the case.  For reasons unknown, I gave him a hug to thank him for the evening, and then we were engaging in some serious kissing.  On the street.  Beside my car.  Why are the jackasses such good kissers?  Because he definitely qualifies as both.

He left a very frustrated man.  Some thread of reason remained to me, because I was VERY tempted… As my girlfriend pointed out this morning, though, “Then he would have won!”  We agreed that, youth aside, he is a piece of work – rather misogynistic comes to mind, actually – and I now have a great dating story.

Believe it or not, he texted this morning, in response to something said last night.  I have no words.