Idea Bank

Idea Bank #60: My earliest memory of food is..

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Hmm…Well, my earliest memory of food is actually one of my earliest memories period. This is what I “see” in my memory:

“I’m sitting on a wooden office desk that’s one of a row of office desks running down the center of a room. At the far end is a HUGE button making machine (even though the actual button making portion is quite small) Around me are presses of various shapes and sizes. Someone has handed me a Frosty that’s literally as big as I am. I am happy.”

My dad tells me that this is me at one of the various print shops he worked at (or just hung out at, I’m not sure). This one specialized in making novelty items (buttons and personalized pencils are the two things I remember making with the help of the older kids). He’s not sure what’s up with the row of wooden desks, but I suppose that it could have been a bunch of work tables (but he’s pretty sure I probably was sitting on someones actual desk). The frosty was given to me a few times when a mom would bring her kids frostys, but I doubt they were giving me one that would have been extra large.

The button machine wasn’t as huge as I want to remember. It was tall because the base would have held some kind of motor and it probably wasn’t that tall since I was tiny and had to get picked up to play with it. It was probably made of cast iron.

My only other memory of this shop was being at the receptionist’s desk which was where the pencil embosser was. Or so my memory says, I’ll have to ask my dad if this was true.

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Idea Bank #29: Fictional Loves

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Since I haven’t finished a book yet this week (I’m only in the middle of 3 right now), I’ve decided to prove I still exist with another installment of the Idea Bank:

In a fantasy world, forget about spouses and loves, if you could fall in love with a movie or tv character, name 5 you would choose. Not the actors but the movie characters.

First of all, I’m going to expand this a bit to include a few book characters.

Number 1 on my list: The Doctor

No, I’m not really picky. (The War Doctor is by himself simply because I couldn’t find a proper image of all 13).

Number 2 on my list: Is a toss-up between Acheron or Styxx. Right now Styxx might have a slight upperhand because he got a slightly shorter end of the stick. But definitely if you’re going to read ONLY these two books in the Dark-Hunter series, read Acheron’s first. But if you like not-your-typical-vampires/Greek mythology fantasy romance novels, these are totally right up your alley and I say start with Night Pleasures so you can learn all the nuances of these characters! Rated M for Mature, though.

Number 3: Darling Cruel from Born of Silence part of The League series. It’s pretty standard that the males in a Sherrilyn Kenyon book will be beat down physically and emotionally so that they can be saved by the woman they would never have believed to exist. Darling takes that premise to a WHOLE new level. I think I started crying while reading this book 2 or 3 times because his case was so awful. I’d suggest starting with Born of Night so that, again, you can learn his backstory before you reach this book. The hints you learn early on will increase the experience when you finally get to read his story.

Okay…I promise that I won’t choose any more of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s characters for this post. Though…I think there’s only 4 that immediately jump out at me (all from the Dark-Hunter Series): Vane, Fang, Zarek and Valerius. (Links go to their books via Amazon).

Number 4: Malone from Catch of the Day by Kristan Higgins. Strong and silent yet happily smitten with a klutzy, talkative town sweetheart. Oddly enough, Malone here is probably the closest we’ll come to my actual boyfriend. Though…BF does have his issues that align him more closely with the first “3” listed here. Anyway. Higgins is my go to when I need a quick and happy read. There’s just enough drama to keep things interesting, but not so much as to make me worry that a happy ending won’t happen.

And finally Number 5: Once again I have a toss up between Morpheus of the Splintered series and Harry Dresden of The Dresden Files. These would be the guys that would be hella interesting to be with, but based on their characterization in their respective series, would be prone to dramatics and not just because of the danger involved in their lives. While my earlier choices have had their share of personal issues affecting their relationships, they’re all open to the possibility of finding “The One” (yes, even The Doctor). Morpheus, however, tends to be a bit too much on the selfish side and Harry is currently stuck in a holding pattern of poor decision making in the romance department. Both can be redeemed, but in my opinion, it’d be more the work of the woman than them.

My own experience with a guy who had been in a “holding pattern of poor decision making in the romance department” (i.e. my current boyfriend), the fact that he met me and THEN decided to dump the dead-weight girlfriend, then took another 2 years to ask me out gave him plenty of time to work a few things out about relationships for himself before he started one with me.

Idea Bank #50: The first time I felt jealousy…

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Hehe…this was actually very recently–like 2 weeks ago.

We’d just gotten back from our trip and BF was out running a mess of tows when someone knocked on the door. Usually the only people that knock on his door are Jehovah’s Witnesses, so that’s what I was expecting when I opened it. Standing there was a relatively tall, nicely dressed, pretty Asian lady. I figured she was a JW, but then her spiel didn’t make any sense. Her accent was thick and even though I’m pretty good at deciphering what people are trying to say, I wasn’t prepared to change gears, so I was only catching every 3rd word. Here’s my understanding of the conversation as it took place:

She wanted to speak with BF about doing some electrical work.

  • I told her he doesn’t really do electrical (he’ll dabble in the basics, but no more).
  • She mentioned talking with him awhile ago and him telling her that he could help her on her electrical.
  • I repeated that he doesn’t do electrical (and started wondering when he’d talked to her and why he’d said such a thing).
  • Finally she mentioned something and I realized that she was talking about some other guy in the neighborhood who does electrical (this guy lives next door to her) and that BF had been there when she’d talked to that guy. (This is when it occurred to me that I was feeling jealous of this woman for no good reason, so I put a smile on my face and finally realized what she was talking about).
  • A few weeks before we went on vacation, BF built a shed in the backyard. He knew a guy in the neighborhood is an electrician, so he went over to talk to him about what it’d take to put real electricity in it instead of just an extension cord. This is when the lady on the doorstep met both of them and electrical guy gave her his card, but it’d been a month and she couldn’t get ahold of him. She was wondering if BF could help her locate him because she’d lost electricity in 2 rooms of the house.
  • Once we cleared that up, she mentioned BF telling her about his wonderful “wife”. She complemented me a few times with this name (no he’s never introduced me as such) then told me that if I ever needed to borrow an egg or sugar or something not to hesitate to stop by.

I realize that I haven’t described my feelings of jealousy very well, but that’s because I didn’t recognize them as such at the time. At first it was simple annoyance at having to answer the door just to tell someone yet again that we’re not interested in becoming JW. Then it was annoyance at not knowing why this woman was wanting to contact BF for something he doesn’t do. Her being so smartly dressed while I was lounging around in my PJs after 12pm on a Friday made me feel inadequate especially since she looked like the type to assume I’m BF’s daughter. She looked like someone who might find him attractive and was interested in a date. Who knows what I was thinking. Like I said, I only later realized that I was feeling jealous of her and thinking that she’d better think twice about seeking out a date with BF.

Here’s the thing: BF flirts with everyone! Male, female, it doesn’t matter. Well, I characterize this incorrectly as flirting–let me give you an example. We’re at a restaurant and BF complains about something that was nothing more than human error. He’s not mean about it, but he’s very firm about “the customer being right” even when it doesn’t really matter. As a rule, I don’t complain simply because it’s usually not worth it. There have been times when I’ve been certain that the waitress is going to spit in his food because he can get somewhat annoying and then he’ll say something somewhat charming and suddenly the waitress is offering him free dessert. Not because she’s afraid he’ll complain to corporate and she’s trying to begrudgingly save her job, but there is legitimate friendliness on her face. All I can do is shake my head and laugh. There was a misunderstanding at our favorite sub shop that got way out of hand, so far that I thought the sub maker was going to come across the counter and punch BF and then BAM (not a punch), BF says something and suddenly the sub maker was offering him free chips, shaking his hand, and being all BFF with it feeling 100% authentic.

Heck, before we started dating, I thought he had a thing for my aunt that bowls with us because he’d changed the faucet on her kitchen sink and knew things about her that I didn’t know. Then I thought he was interested in another woman we bowl with. This was all while he was actually very much interested in me, which I had zero clue about. He still doesn’t flirt with me like he does with waitresses, etc. Huh….gotta get on him about this.

Anyway. I’ve never been jealous about his “flirting”. Ever since we started dating, my dad has mostly kept his opinion to himself except for a few times that he’s slipped. One time (early on) was how he flirts with all the ladies. I told my dad that I was well aware of this and explained about the waitresses. BF appreciates my lack of jealousness because his first ex-wife frequently accused him of cheating on her and generally showed a lack of self-esteem whenever he mentioned another woman in any way (a lot of snide remarks about “well, if her cooking’s so good, why don’t you marry her”…stuff like that). Given that he found out that she’d been cheating on him for much of the marriage, yeah.

He did get a good laugh when I told him about being jealous of his “Asian admirer” and took it as a compliment (which he should when it’s an infrequent gut reaction). I took it as a complement a few weeks ago when he made a joke about TJ of some form and I said “the only TJ i like is in Charlottesville” and he got jealous about who this TJ may be. Thomas Jefferson, of course, haha.

Idea Bank #48: My worst blind date story…

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Yeah…this one is a doozie.

Background story: Up until I was 24, no guy (or girl, which is good since I’m straight) had ever asked me out. In fact, the first guy to ask me out on a date is my current boyfriend and it took him a good 8 months to ask me out! I have no idea why guys didn’t ask me. BF says I’m gorgeous. I say I’m a solid cute. The one guy who I legitimately asked out said that he simply didn’t find me attractive, which at least is honest. In middle school I’m pretty sure I heard a guy say that I was a “butter face” as in “her body’s hot, but her face isn’t”.

In high school and in college my closest girl friends all said that they were going to set me up on blind dates, but as I pressed for them to throw some guy my way (I was and probably am very shy in this department) they said that they were waiting until they found “Mr. Perfect” for me. I told them that I didn’t care if he was chopped liver, I wanted a date! They never came through for me, which is okay because I know that they were serious about only setting me up with the best even though all I wanted was practice.

You’re probably wondering how I can have a blind date story when none of my friends have set me up on a blind date. Well, it took me a few years, but eventually I realized that I had indeed set myself up on my own blind date my first year of college.

It was my first semester and I was taking Statistics (Intro to) for the first time because I thought I might want to go to business school. Turns out that Statistics is definitely not my thing. I was working my butt off trying to figure out the content and getting horrible grades for my trouble. Early in the semester I found myself chatting with the random guy who sat in front of me (we didn’t have assigned seats, but most of us got into the habit of having a certain spot). I’d often ask him to explain stuff before class and I thought we could be pretty good study partners so I asked him if we could get together to go over the content before one of our tests. He said sure and while deciding where to meet, he was insistent that he take me to a restaurant. While I didn’t really want to spend the money on lunch while I had a meal plan and/or there were plenty of library spots we could use, I agreed.

Well, lunch was lovely. It was my first trip to a real Japanese restaurant, though I was encouraged to eat the teriyaki salmon since I wasn’t sure what I’d like. I wanted to get straight to the books, but he said to wait until after we ate. Okay…fine, I thought (I hated this subject, but I was impatient to get the actual studying out of the way so that I could go back to my dorm room and do more enjoyable things, like watch TV). We did finally open the textbook and talked about the subject for about 20 minutes when I realized that he was not doing a very good job at explaining the subject to me and I started to lie about it totally making sense. We left the restaurant shortly thereafter with me insisting on paying my share.

I was kind of mad at him for the rest of the semester for how unbelievably unhelpful and awkward that lunch ended up being. All I wanted to do was study and he’d thought it a social outing. I kind of avoided him from thereon in–not so much as moving seats or not talking to him, but more like keeping all interactions to the bare minimum.

Like I said, it took me a few years to realize that this counted as a date because it’s obvious that he thought I was asking him out! No, there was no attraction felt on my end–I really did just want someone to explain Statistics to me! I think I went on the ultimate blind date: I was the one who set it up and had no idea that it was a date!

For the record, I’ve been on a total of 3 dates in my pre-BF life: that one, one where I asked out a friend under the guise of it being a group trip to the movies where no one agreed to come (I’d only asked him, though a couple of girl friends knew about it–we ended the night still as friends), and when I told a guy I met via OKCupid that I wanted to meet in person (he’s the one who didn’t think me attractive). I’d also had a total of 2 chaste kisses–both from the 4th of July 2010 when my summer camp coworkers decided to play a silly drinking game (for lack of a better name) where you pass a card from person to person via suction and if it drops you have to kiss the one you dropped it with. My kisses were with the guy who’d kiss anyone/anything and the other the hot fitness counselor–woot woot on that second one. Both British, of course, haha.

The only problem with those kisses was that I’d mentioned to my coworkers that that was my first kisses and one or two of them decided to tell their 13 year old campers all about it. For whatever reason, even though I refused to talk about it with them, these girls thought this was epic because suddenly I had a fan club of like 10 of them. My campers were 11! These weren’t my girls! And yet for the rest of the summer they’d come to the ropes course (my activity), or during dinner, or whenever I was somewhere they were, and get all excited to see me. It was weird! I laugh though–they were good girls. 2 actually friended me on facebook, though I haven’t talked to them since that summer (I only worked the one summer).

Idea Bank #1: My favorite present I’ve ever received…

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Guess it’s been awhile since I mentioned the Idea Bank. Since I’m in the middle of 2 books right now, I decided that it’s as good a time as any to tackle one of these. I have no intention of going in order or even of using each idea only once, but this one seems like a good place to start.

My favorite present is the Christmas gift that my boyfriend gave me last year (2014): a walk.

I like to walk. I think it’s the best form of exercise. He on the other hand isn’t a walker especially since hot weather aggravates his heart condition as well as his vertigo (he’s falling apart). He doesn’t have much spending money and I despise thoughtless gifts, so we’ve mutually agreed to limit presents.

Anyway, since we live in southeastern Virginia, there’s about a dozen historic forts within an hours drive (probably more). While out for a drive one afternoon last summer, we saw a couple signs pointing the way to Fort Huger. We drove around a while, but just couldn’t figure out where it was and thought it might be one of those hills with a fence around it that’s only open one or two weekends a year for reenactments.

Over the months, we made our way to that area a few more times and each time we looked for the Fort with no success. Then, in late November/early December he got a tow that took him the area, but from a different direction. Low and behold, he found the Fort! I was excited to see it, but I’ll admit that working 40 hours a week has left me less than excited to walk long distances, so I didn’t push him to take me there, even though the weather wasn’t horrible.

The weekend before Christmas we hopped in the car. I expected us to be running errands so I brought my book, just in case. We weren’t far from the house when I mentioned my book for whatever reason (he might have brought it up, I’m not sure) and he said “It’ll be hard to read while walking”. Awww!! I hate surprises (which he knows), but on the grand scale of surprises, this one was wonderful!

Unfortunately, we were about halfway to the Fort when his dad called to say that he’d fallen, so we had to immediately turn around and drive to his dad’s house. I didn’t mind one bit. Walks can wait, especially since his dad had been sick for months (he ultimately passed away January 9, 2015).

I’m not sure when we tried again for our walk. It was either the weekend after Christmas or the first weekend of January (it was definitely before the 9th). The weather was beautiful–we only needed to wear jackets, which is perfect for walking. It turns out that we’d almost made it to the Fort on most of our previous excursions because there are large cement barriers blocking about 100 yards of road right before the entrance if you come in via the “Civil War Trails” signs. We’d found our way to the opposite side of the road block on at least one occasion (in which case you turn left and you’re there), but BF admitted that he wasn’t 100% positive how we got there that time (this was before he got a modern GPS). So anyway…there was mud, but we made it to the Fort :-).

The Fort itself can easily be described as cute. It’s small, but well done (I’d say well preserved, but for the most part, forts were abandoned and forgotten about until someone did some research and re-built it). It looks more like a fort than most of the ones I’ve seen.

Alas. Those cannons? Plastic.

If I had to use a few words to describe Fort Huger, it’d be “Boy Scout Camp” simply because it’s very neat and tidy with a cute walking path and neat and tidy fences to keep you away from the wilderness. Yes, this looks the most fort-like of the forts I’ve seen, but it’s also the most unrealistic I’ve ever seen. Shiny green grass (even in winter because this is Virginia), well groomed hills and nice new platforms for the plastic cannons. Whenever I visit Yorktown Battlefield, the grass is at least calf height and the hills (which would be the actual fort “walls”) are losing the battle against erosion. At the very least, when Fort Huger was in use there wouldn’t have been much grass what with men walking and sleeping all over it. It reminds me a lot of the Jamestown Settlement–Shiny! Not that that’s a bad thing! It’s just not very accurate.

Anyway, if you just want a nice pleasant (but short) walk, this fort is lovely. You can kind of see the Ghost Fleet (if the trees aren’t too thick). It’s an excellent place for a picnic.