Seize the Date

This blog’s list of accomplishments will include:

  • Accepting a date in an awkward situation – asked out while wearing cotton and Saran Wrap works!
  • Online dating
  • Asking out a guy – randomly taking a chance

One thing we can probably all agree on is that dating can be awkward.  No matter where you are in your current relationship (single, married, divorced, taking a break, etc.) you have probably been on an unforgettable bad date.  At my age, most of my friends are either married or in a serious relationship, but there are a few of us rare birds that are still single, but it doesn’t get us down!  I receive advice from my hitched friends often:  Take your time!  Your life will never be the same.

I often get the question:  I don’t understand – why are you single?  It always reminds me of the infamous line: I’m single by choice.  Just not my choice.

The dating world has seemed to dramatically change in the last 5 years.  Finding a date is easy…finding a good guy worth dating is ridiculously challening.  In my 20’s I was never without a boyfriend or “talking” talk to a guy, but it was always a tumultuous relationship, riddled with emotional disagreements and earth-shattering breakups.  I was self-absorbed, immature and very insecure.  I did not really find myself until I turned 30.  When I realized that, at some point, dating could be fun, non-dramatic and…may end in marriage, which looking back in my 20’s I never really believed was for me.

I’m not the kind of girl that invests a lot of money in shoes, purses or designer dresses, but when it comes to hair I always like to make sure I’d never set a new trend with a bad cut.  I sat comfortablely  in a chair waiting for the color to work its magic: sitting Indian style, wearing my workout clothes, my hair sporting a mess of cotton and saran wrap while playing my favorite mindless pastime:  Candy crush (ugh…crushing jellies is a stressful nightmare).

My stylist walks in and spins the chair around, where I come face to face with a handsome guy, standing in front of me, nervously smiling and shifting his baseball cap between his hands.  Why the hell is this happening?  I look at the ground, avoiding eye contact and his shake hand as he introduces himself.  This is the guy my stylist has been trying to set me up with for a couple of years.  Here I was, face to face, my hair looks as if it’s a stuffed turkey, waiting for the oven on Thanksgiving Day and my makeup-less face not ready for the day, shielded slightly by my hands.

We end up grabbing a few beers but near the end of the date I realize this guy is not for me.  He’s 35, very ambitious, handsome, graduated from a high-ranking college and possesses all of the qualities any woman would be attracted to, but I’m just not feeling the chemistry.  I can hear it now – my friends:  UGH!!!  What is wrong with you!?  As he told me of an extremely, crazy drunken night he had that ended with him walking home in the rain, I lost immediate interest.  I’m all for a fun night out on the town, but if you forget your name at point in the night…there’s a bigger problem.

Me:  When was this?  Thinking this was back in his college days.

Date: Oh, just a few weeks ago.

11:30 PM rolls and around and, I think: time to do something off the Against Migraines list.  Bcycles!  We drive to the nearest station and hop on the bikes and ride around the area.  We shared a few texts when he returned from a trip and it eventually just fizzled.

Census Bureau’s Public Information Office released in 2010 that there were 92 million singles in the US (this is unmarried Americans that were 18 or older in 2010), and in September 2012, CBS stated that Houston happened to be one of the best places to meet singles and published a list of popular places to find a special mate:

Starbucks, sporting events, nightclubs and gyms

I have met plenty of guys at bars and a few at the gym so the obvious place to date to turn to, as a last resort: the Internet.  A handful of people have turned up their  up nose in disgust and shake their head with raised eyebrows when I’ve mentioned the words DATING and INTERNET in the same sentence:  I could never do that.  I commend you, they say, but secretly, they’re interested in what’s out there.

Personally, I don’t understand the foolishness behind the negative reactions.  I have seen the same people I work with on these sites and they’re decent people – I just now know they’re single.

I’m not saying the Internet is for everyone, of course, and it has proven not the greatest resource for me (at times).  Shirtless, toned, tanned, beer bellied, tattooed, hairy, hairless, bald, curly, straight haired men litter the selection.  Their broken record pastimes never set them apart from the crowd: drinking, lifting weights, going out, baseball, basketball, golf, football….blahblahblah.  The things they “can’t live without”: iPhone, good beer, A/C, Family Guy, Super Bowl, meat, great mexican food, margaritas, computers, caffeine…the list goes on.  Really?

My dates off these two particular websites have always reminded me of a simple fact:  there are a lot of turds in the punchbowl.

Synopsis of a few dates:

#1 – Mr. Greedy Weedy  

One guy gets drunk off a bottle of wine he shares with himself, almost offering me a drop but realizes he drank it all, “Damn!  How did that happen,” he looked at me with a puzzled face.  He barfs from his drunken stupor at my friend’s house (did I forget to mention he smoked an illegal substance?), laid in it and my friend’s dog played cleanup as I recorded the entire episode with my camera.  Let me note that I do NOT, have not, will not smoke anything: cigarettes, cigars, illegal substances…even meat.

#2 – Assly Cooper

I met up with one guy in a popular coffee hangout in town.  I think I’ve been asked on a dozen dates to this location.  I could already tell that this actor and I were not going to ever see each other again five minutes into the date.

“I’m different from other guys.  I see something, I go after it, I get it,” he bragged.  He was/is a local actor (an actor…in Houston…Texas….no) – I tried it once, and unless Hollywood, brash comments, constant let downs, waiting tables and never being perfect top your list of things to achieve in your life, this may not be your calling.  I noticed a guy in the coffeehouse that had been my waiter a handful of times at my favorite, local restaurant – he is also a local actor, but with much more character and charisma than this guy.  He makes his way over to our table to say hi (let’s call him Adam) and is surprised to see that Mr. Date bares the mug of a famous actor.

Adam: You look like someone, like an actor…who is it?  Who is it??

Mr. Date smiles, an assertive, jackass grin, because he knows it’s on the tip of Adam’s tongue, and I know who it is because Mr. Date told me at least 5 times that everyone thinks he looks like Bradley Cooper.

“Bradley Cooper,” Adam smiles and clasps his hands together, congratulating himself.

Holy crap, I’m thinking…this may launch Mr. Date into a 45 minute conversation.  I drink my latte as fast as I possibly can without burning my mouth.  Adam says his goodbyes and Mr. Date is overjoyed that someone affirmed that he is Bradley Cooper’s doppelgänger, looks at me and smiles, shrugs, “You can’t make this stuff up,” his coy smile seems to last for hours.

Conversation went on and, as if all his bragging made playing in heavy traffic sound more appealing, he started asking me my stance on abortion, religion and politics.  No.

#3 – French Twisted

Generally I like to talk to a guy before I meet him, but I went against tradition, swapped a few emails with a guy that seemed short on words, but thought I’d give it a try.  As I drove up to a popular wine bar I saw a guy leaning against a post, dressed in a light grey suit, power tie, perfect hair, perfect tan, perfect nose, perfect, perfect and even more perfect than perfect.  I walked toward him and I could tell he was judging my every move.  When he greeted me I could tell he had a strong accent.  When we sat down and he ordered a bottle of wine I could tell it was more than just an accent.  This guy literally just moved to Houston from FRANCE two weeks from the date!  His broken english made any type of conversation completely impossible.  He scrolled through emails on his Blackberry and scanned the bar, looking bored.

“I have to go,” he said in his French accent as he stood up abruptly.  He went to the bar, gave them his card and as they ran it I looked uncomfortably around the crowded bar: am I on candid camera, I thought.

No.  I was being ditched.  The wine hadn’t even made its way to our table.  He gave me a half wave and left.  The waitress set two glasses on the table before me.  I snapped back into reality, “Just cork it, please.”

#4 – DW-Bye

I meet this guy at a wine bar (reluctantly, but trying to keep an open mind), when I walk in I text him asking him where he is inside the bar.  He tells me he’s at the end of the bar and I spot a guy staring at his phone sitting in the back.  He hops off the stool and I immediately take notice that he’s a few inches shorter than his profile stated (this never happens…).  This is why I never wear high heels on a date…no, who the hell am I kidding?  I never wear high heels.

The bartender comes over to take our order as he scans the drink menu.  He starts spouting off various beers and the bartender crushes his alcoholic desires almost immediately as she says, “No, we don’t have that, or that…nope…not that either.  What’s on the menu is what we have,” she reiterates, annoyingly drumming her fingernails on the bar.

My date sighs in frustration and orders a very generic American beer.  He closes the menu, pushes it toward her and looks at me, “So what’s up?”

The bartender sits there for a few seconds and my date looks back at her, “Yes?”

Bartender:  Ma’am, would you like something?

I’m so appalled my date didn’t even realize I didn’t order that I’m ready to go, “I’ll take a water, thanks.”

Date: Water?  That’s all?  We came to a bar and you’re going to drink water?

Two women sitting next to us look over in our direction, my date shaking his head in disagreement with my choice of beverage.  Usually I’m a pretty good date.  Not to toot my own horn but there’s only been a couple of times when I have not scored a second date.  I’m attentive, polite, always have something to talk about, offer to pay my own bill, etc.  When I run into someone that is obviously rude and self-centered, though, my mind tends to wander.  I looked around the bar, surveying the clientele which I thought was bizarre for the time of night.

Date: Hello?  You there?

Me:  I’m sorry, what were you saying?

Date:  I said, where did you just come from?

Me:  Oh, my friend had a baby shower

Date:  Ugh.  Babies.  I don’t know if I’ll ever get to that point

Me: That’s unfortunate.  You’re a little rude.

My date looked totally stunned.  I excused myself and went to the bathroom and when I returned he was scrolling through his address book on his cell phone.  He didn’t even look up from his phone, careful not to break his concentration, “I didn’t think you were going to come back,” he said.  I was beginning to think that sounded like a good idea and I should have taken the opportunity.

He input a number and held the phone to his ear, “Yeah, man…can you come get me?  Thanks, see you in 10.”

Date:  Well, you’re free to go.

Me:  You didn’t drive here yourself?

Date:  No…I don’t drink and drive, do you?

I got up from the bar and left.  Later when I Googled the guy I read that he was arrested for driving while intoxicated and convicted and lost his chance to practice in Houston.  He continued to text me throughout the night, telling me he couldn’t let me have the last word.

#5 Lettuce Not Forget…

Aaron* was a brillant intellect – traveling the world as a professional speaker.  He was dedicated to his job and inspired by the young minds of American college kids.  As a motivational speaker he seized every opportunity – dramatizing every single thing.  On our date he touched upon every controversial subject you could possibly think of – religion, politics, divorce and third world countries.  As Aaron spoke, he ate his sandwich, pausing every few moments to make a point…of something…anything.  He was 6’7″ and used his “tower power” to win over the masses.

I tried to be interested in Aaron’s conversations but he wanted to debate about every subject on earth.  He took a bite into his sandwich and a glop of mayonnaise and small piece of lettuce stuck to his cheek. Now, I have learned from my friends that it is proper etiquette to let the victim know they have something stuck in their teeth…but what about on their cheek?  I brushed my right cheek with the back of my hand, hoping Aaron would get my subtle hint.  No.  The mayo acted like glue, keeping the lettuce on his face.  I had a choice: I could interrupt his amazing story and tell him, let nature take its course and let him find out on his own.  Of course I chose the latter.  Aaron excused himself to go to the bathroom and when he returned he looked perturbed.

Aaron:  I had food on my face!

Me:  Oh, yeah…(a laughed a little)

Aaron: You could have told me…biotch.

Biotch? Really?

Later I would email Aaron to apologize, but not without sending a picture of a man who had painted his entire face and shaped his hair, spray painting it green to resemble a head of iceberg lettuce (actual picture sent):


I can’t say that all my online dates were all so bad and these were the ABSOLUTE worst.  I met some amazing, caring, thoughtful, sweet, dependable, honest, humorous and humble guys that just didn’t work out for some reason or another…and a couple that got away.  Since September 2012, I really started looking at my life differently – revaluing friendships, desires and goals, pushing dating to the side, and casually taking it as it comes.  When I started my blog, however, I made a promise to myself that I would go outside my comfort zone.

The Eledate:

On a particularly bad day this past May, nothing seemed to be going right.  I started out the morning spilling coffee on my blouse and changing four times before leaving for work, only to get caught in a rainstorm later.  As I came back from lunch with my mom, I  fiddled with my phone in the lobby of our building, waiting for the elevator to come. I was so consumed in a text message that I didn’t realize someone was holding the door for me, “You going up?”  I looked up to find a handsome, smiling face and thought: Yes, I am.

We talked on the way up and I felt that this was my chance to take hold of a situation and ask this dude out .

I gave him my card and he emailed me that day.  Our first meeting I asked if he would want to come with me to my (in my opinion…I know any Crossfit junkie would disagree) most challenging workout classes.  He didn’t let me down – he showed – ready to go!  He was in amazing shape and I briefly doubted myself.

We powered through the Pilates and ballet style techniques during the sixty minute arm toning, butt tightening, inner/outer thigh strengthening and ab ripping workout.  Through pirouettes, ront de jambes and burning chair poses on our tiptoes, we exchanged smiles while sweat rolled down our faces.  I think it was mid-class during our squats routine that I thought: hey, this person may turn out to be cool.  I didn’t want to get my hopes up, though.

We grabbed dinner after and as he talked I learned that he was this enthusiastic, young, smart guy.  Eight years my junior, he seemed completely mature and ahead of his time.  He was just what I needed in that moment: a unwavering, energetic optimist.  Mark* was different – he had reshaped his life, turning to God for answers to the life’s burning questions, but there was only one answer to everything:  God.  I started feeling a little unholy as he went on about scripture and the meaning of everything.  I decided not shut him down, though.  I believe, I can dig it…

It seemed his religious beliefs came with a lot of restrictions, though (little did I know).  No stranger to the religious scene, but not fully up to speed on all the rules I asked ridiculous questions:  Are you allowed to dance, can you drink, etc.

The following day I received a text message video from a shirtless Mark, dancing wildly (while driving), fist-pumping to what sounded like a religious rock band, who was mentally preparing himself for his exciting weekend at the river.  Well, that answers that…dancing isn’t against the rules.  I went to my friends for advice but they were of little help: Dude…no…don’t go out with this guy, and what he is doing is dangerous anyway.  It didn’t matter to them that Mark was cute, seemed to have a great personality and could introduce me to this Biblical world, they saw a red flag and they thought he was off.

Me: Do you always drive shirtless?

Mark:  Clothes are optional in the car.

Maybe he’s edgy, I thought…where’s God in all this, I wondered.

We went on a few “dates” after that, I met his parents and some of his friends in the very short weeks that we knew each other.  While I drove through his neighborhood, a sedan was behind me, aggressively riding my ass.  Nothing is worse when you’re trying to have Siri guide you through a war zone of traffic, and it makes matters worse when an impatient driver is on your tail.  I weaved through the neighborhood and pulled up, the car zooming around me and speeding into the driveway.  Mark came out to greet me and introduced me to the Ass Pirate that had been trailing me, who never looked up to acknowledge my presence.  I couldn’t say my feelings were hurt.

Mark:  You in a hurry?

Ass Pirate: Yes

Mark apologized on his behalf told me he met the guy at church (it’s one of his roommates)…it’s amazing to me who people turn into when they’re driving.  I try not to pass judgement but I’m pretty disappointed that this church-goer was so rude.

I heard music streaming out of the front door, and when I came in Mark’s roommates were in the living room singing and strumming their guitars.  They were actually really good – praise band, Mark told me.  His room was modest – no TV, no computer…all material was religious in nature.  I felt completely out of place.  Sitting on Mark’s bed even made me uncomfortable.  Ass Pirate later apologized for his peculiar behavior, his bland mannered girlfriend stuck to his side, saying nothing.  His other roommate was glued to the TV, playing games.  What was this?  Who are these kids that proclaim to be these great church goers, teaching people about the Bible?  Their normal lives and quirky attitudes convinced me that it wasn’t a place where I wanted to belong.

I was hesitant to give up on Mark – he was the first guy I had asked out since high school and he was smart, he had a ton of energy, he was young, cute, but his faith ruled everything in his world.  His mixed signals were more than I could handle, too.  The hand holding, texts, invites and phone calls felt like flirtatious behavior that implied interest, but I didn’t want to jump the gun like I had in the past.  It was four in the morning, we had dinner with my friends, shared a bottle of wine and left the bar around 1:30, and we had talked for almost three hours in an empty high school baseball field.  I felt like a teenager breaking curfew.  He walked me to my car and we exchanged a very long hug, letting go and bringing his face to mine I asked:  Are you ever going to kiss me?

He looked at me, smiled – this was the moment, I thought, “On the mouth,” he asked, looking at the ground and back at me.  My smile quickly faded as a what-in-the-hell moment ran through my mind – it was the first time in my life, on any date, that I a) had to ask b) it didn’t happen.  I got into my car and he squatted down to come level with my face.  There was nothing I could say.

I envied Mark – not because he was young and adventurous, but because he could easily let go…because he had the strongest safety net breaking his fall…saving him from grief, failure, loss and loneliness:  his faith. I envied him because he found it at 25 years old -the parachute that would never fail him.  His faith rescued him, gave him sweet relief, fulfillment…I wondered if he ever found himself in his bed, laying awake at night thinking…what if…?  Probably not.  His faith gives me hope, though.

In a text to Mark I told him it would be best if we didn’t see each other again.  I didn’t feel any humiliation…I lost to Deity and respected his beliefs…and it was geniuine.  Mark apologized -saying it was wrong and he got caught up in a moment of weakness.  Whatever it was or wasn’t would probably not cross his mind again.  What’s more tragic for people like Mark (at least to me) is the moments of weakness I have experienced in my life have been moments of pure exhilaration, resulting in a lesson learned that I wouldn’t take back.  That sometimes I don’t want a safety net to come between me and experiences when I fall from my tightrope.

Actual matches:


What do the Holocaust, Beer and Flowers have in common? ( #2)


Here I am in the second weekend of my quest.  Remember that I’m starting out slow and doing the easier things on my list at first.

(PS…listening to Yo-Yo Ma Plays Ennio Marricone makes this blog so much more intense…)

This weekend’s shenanigans included:

  • Visit a museum alone
  • Have a meal (out) solo
  • Discover something quirky
  • Give back

I figured since WWII is one my strongest interests I’d visit the Holocaust museum.  I’ve been to the one in DC and also in London – both of which were terrifying and heartbreaking.  Houston’s done a wonderful job of preserving the memory of such a horrific tragedy in such a tasteful way.  If you haven’t visited this gem you must carve out a few hours on a weekend.  There was a sweet, little man who greeted me at the door, wearing his Holocaust survivor pin.  When I exited the tour he was there behind his podium to collect my headphones, “You look stunned – I’m 91 years young,” he smiled, took my phones and scurried off.  I really wanted to grab him and give him a hug, but I didn’t feel that would be appropriate, and my openness sometimes seems to a little too much for others.

On Sunday I headed to Brasil (the cafe, not the country) to have brunch…alone.  A place I’ve been a lot with friends.  When I walked in I noticed a few people at tables by themselves, busy with their iPhones/iPads.  For some reason, when I’m doing all my alone things recently I’ve become less aware of myself, and more aware of what the hell is going on around me.  It’s a great feeling not questioning if my pants are too tight, out of season or if my purse matches my outfit.  I ordered my food and walked confidently around the cafe, looking for a place to sit – careful not to choose a tabletop with 5 chairs.  Dining alone allowed me to eavesdrop (the loud guy across from me wasn’t making it hard) on random conversations.

I got my food and wrote in my journal and left.  It was nice to eat solo – I don’t recommend it if you have nothing to do, though.  Staring at people in a room while they eat is shady.


This girl was on a date with her husband and his cell phone.



Someone’s first time using a toilet, I guess.

After that I headed to the Beer Can House.  At first glance you’d think you walked into a glorified frat house – aluminum cans flattened in long sheets, empty, rusted bottles, placed strategically inside fences and walls, marbles embedded into the concrete yard, lengthened lips of cans hanging like streamers, tops of beer cans looped together, swaying in the wind.  This man’s passion for beer took hobbies to a whole new level.  John Milkovisch and his wife Mary lived in Rice Military – his house  (today and even then, I’m sure) sticks out like a sore, shiny thumb (not in a bad way) among renovated houses and upscale town-homes in a posh area of the city.  Over 30,000 beer cans/bottles, manipulated into a work of art was more than just a project to me.  Apparently John wasn’t sure why anyone even cared about his masterpiece; he said he wouldn’t have even bother to walk a block to see it.  A quote on the wall read: I don’t consider this art.  It’s just a pastime…but sometimes I lie awake at night, trying to figure out why I do it.

I know that feeling all too well…as I’m sure you do or have.  His words resonated in my head as I walked through his house – almost identical as the way it was back in the ’60’s.

2nd Weekend
John and his wife Mary who said he believed beer cured everything.




His son’s footprint


This ladder was taken from his dad’s house and John set it up in the front yard, saying that each step represented a stage in life and when you got past the black step you were home-free.



Lips from the cans (lengthened)




My favorite part of this weekend was today.  Maybe I’m a little emotional and over-the-top at times, but this was especially touching for me.  I wrote down 30 quotes (encouraging words from Harriet Beecher Stowe, Winston Churchill, Dr. Seuss and Einstein). I purchased yellow flowers and some carnations.  Hermes and I went to a local cafe, punched holes in the pieces of paper and attached them with blue ribbon to the flowers. 30 small bunches later, we got in the car and tried to decided on an appropriate location to distribute the tokens.  I started to immediately regret my idea as Hermes steered us down various streets:

Me:  Oh, there’s Whole Foods – should we go there?

Hermes:  (not an advocate of overpriced produce and hippies) No way, f that.

Me: This is a bad idea

Hermes:  This is a great idea

I began to get nervous:

Me:  Why is everyone out walking around?  What if I get beat up?

We decided on Memorial Park – I’d like nothing better than a greasy hamburger after a good workout (something I’ve never done – need to get that on the list), but a flower is just as fun.  I hopped out of the car, Hermes creeping slowly behind me (I’m sure onlookers thought he was a rapist out on the prowl) – I ran past the cars, placing the flowers on door handles and windshields.  One girl happened to be in her vehicle…it took me a second to affix the flower on the handle.  She looked through the window and I gave her a quick smile and a wave.  I’m sure I scared the hell out of her.

Random girl that I didn’t see called out:  Well, isn’t that sweet!!

I ran up to her, saying nothing, handed her the gift and got back into the car.

On the back of each quote was a Gmail account I made up in the event someone wanted to leave a message:

2:03 2:16, 2:28, 2:30, and so on…messages started coming into the account – I added a few below.  One guy snapped a picture and sent it back and another asked me about my ministry.  The last couple of messages caught me by surprise – that there had to be something behind this, and maybe it seems unnatural for a selfless random to try to change the world one carnation at a time.

Anyway, as I read the messages I got goosebumps and felt excited.  If you can change someone’s mood (for the better) even for a moment, it makes all the difference.  One of my favorite quotes I used from Dr. Seuss: A person is a person no matter how small.

This weekend meant to me that you don’t have to be “anyone” in this world to be someone’s somebody for one second.  When I walked through that exhibit at the museum the faces in the pictures were about courage, resilience, despair and hope.  A reminder that one person can make an impact.

No matter how big or small…we all make a difference; we all make some sort of impact, and I wanted to choose wisely.

A collage of the quotes and flowers.


A few emails I got:

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Heels on Wheels (#1)

Houston had a population of over 2.1 million people within a land area of 599.6 square miles according to a census in 2011 and sadly only 2.7% of professionals ride the Metro.  I know what you’re thinking – how the hell could this be on the list?  It’s sad that I have never utilized our public transportation system in all the years I’ve lived in this city.  I’ve spoken to quite a few people, though, and they’ve never set foot on a bus here.

Houstonians primarily use cars to get around town; we are the leader  of the losers with the lowest participants using mass transit.  Growing up in a suburb I was clueless where the hell the bus went let alone where to catch the dang thing.  So I figured this would be the best introduction in going against the grain.

Mission for weekend #1:

  • Ride the Metro
  • Ride the rail
  • See movie solo

I asked my good friend (let’s call him Hermes – Greek God of travelers, the underground, border crossings and much more) numerous questions about the bus.  He’s no stranger to the Metro, completely depending on it to shuttle him around to auditions, concerts, church, to run errands, etc.  He promised to help me through this journey, giving me his Q-Card (my ticket to the city for the day) and 5 lines of instructions on how to get around.  This is no phenomena to 50% of of the people I know – they have been riding busses, bikes, trains or subways for half their lives.  Being a kid of the suburbs, though, this was new to me.  I’d been on my fair share of busses and subways domestically and internationally, but never in my hometown.

The last time I travelled alone was when I decided to visit Westminster Abbey on a work trip in London.  I had a taxi drop me off, enjoyed the guided tour and then couldn’t get back because the majority of the taxis didn’t take credit cards.  I was screwed and felt very alone.

Anyway, back to Saturday at the bus stop with Hermes.

Me:  It’s hot as hell out here.

Hermes: Yup.

Me: Do I have time to run over to that Starbucks to grab a snack?

Hermes:  Nope

Hermes could already tell it was going to be a long trip.  He was going to ride a few stops with me, helping me get the hang of things.  When we got on the bus I instantly felt out-of-place.  I hugged my backpack close to my chest and thought: I wonder if you can get any type of weird diseases from a bus seat?

Me: Can you get any weird diseases from a bus seat?

Hermes: <shakes his head and cracks a smile>

I took in my surroundings.  Now, I had changed about five times before leaving my house – skirts, sundresses…I decided on a pair of jeans, a summery blouse and my cloth Toms (an ensemble I’d regret later).

Hermes told me he’d be getting off soon and that we’d meet up later at our favorite fro-yo joint.  As he exited the bus, my hands felt clammy and there was a rush of anxiety.  There were two fun homeless men sitting behind me.  I couldn’t make out half of what they were saying but they were really enjoying themselves.  I learned that this was a place for them to escape the heat of the summer; a community where they could congregate and talk.

The woman who was once a man, that I had noticed earlier, pulled the cord to alert the driver we were approaching her stop.

Homeless man #1:  That girl’s kinda odd

Homeless man #2: Yeah…

More banter back and forth that I couldn’t make out.  I looked out the window.  It was nice not having to stress about driving – am I going too fast, too slow, guy behind me is on my ass, person next to me is going too slow/fast, driving too close.  The burden was now all on the bus driver and I could sit back and…relax.

Homeless man #1: It don’t matter where ya goin’, it’s what ya see.

I scribbled his words in my journal which was an array of jargon, incomplete sentences and random thoughts.

When the bus stopped we spilled into the sidewalks of downtown Houston – its streets vacant, with the exception of a few stragglers.  It was clean, quiet and the shadows from the tall buildings offered more than enough shade.  I walked to the rail, as instructed.  A man wearing a baseball cap two sizes too small for his head, a bright, neon orange t-shirt and filthy jeans stood behind a newspaper stand – leaning on it like a pulpit, only letting go to point to the sky:  God’s a’watchin’.  Yes, He is!

The platform was littered with various types of people: young, old, dirty, clean…

I swiped my Q-Card.  Hermes told me the rail ran on the honor system.  Neon t-shirt started singing – his voice filling the air.  Onlookers texted on their phones or fiddled with their belongings.  The guy’s voice took me by surprise.

“I thank ya, Jesus…” he started singing.  I couldn’t believe more people weren’t crowded around to witness this lyrical wonder, but maybe I had just been missing out on something normal – living in my car world.  I took a video of him.

The rail rolled up and we all piled in, no spare seats.  Guys on the rail do not offer up their seats for women…even if they’re with children or pregnant.  A short guy stood three inches behind me, wearing an oversized Rockets t-shirt and baggy jean shorts, sporting dirty Nikes, gripping the pole we shared to steady ourselves.  His phone rang, an annoying rap tune.

“Yeah, man.  What’s up?  Haha!  Yeah!  No, it’s slick – it runs all the way down here and then by the campus.  You don’t even gotta pay!”  I rolled my eyes, upset that he cheated the honor code.  Maybe he didn’t know, though; I’d give him the benefit of the doubt.  He was probably a rail virgin too.

He continued on, in a loud voice, all I could see were his white knuckles, holding on to the pole, “I don’t drink a lot, but last night I had a 12 pack of Dos Equis (he pronounced it Dos E-queeze) – yeah, man…I think it’s Spanish for toothpaste. (Whaaaaat the hell, I thought)

Dos E-queeze continued on: Bud light?  I can make that by just letting water sit out in the sun for a day.

I tried to enjoy the ride with this clown yelling into his phone.

The train stopped and spit me out into an area of town that was pretty undesirable and known for a rough street.  My mom had once taken the bus in this same area over 30 years ago, pregnant with my brother.  Walking around the slum to make it to her job at Southwestern Bell where she’d scale ladders to twist wires in her stockings and tweed skirts.

I crossed over to my bus station.  The only girl waiting, scribbling in my journal until a man on his cell phone came up and stood just inches away.  I quickly flipped over the page and pretended to draw a bird that looked more like a dysfunctional duck.  I can barely handle stick figures so there was no convincing a poor onlooker that I was a street artist.  I definitely did not fit in at this bus stop and got quite a few stares.

Four men sat on the bench talking about their “bitches” and how they weren’t worth a damn.  A short guy in his house slippers spewed the f-word religiously, and hurled a sandwich into the road.  I saw the bologna peeking out over the crust.  A few birds pecked at the bread and I quickly snapped a few shots of them and also the sign that read not to feed pigeons.

Feeling nervous and completely out of place, I felt like I needed to make a new “friend” at my stop. The bus didn’t appear to be coming anytime soon and my fellow bus riders looked like they were just taking advantage of the shade.  I noticed a man on the other side of the plexiglass shelter finishing up his lunch, his bike thoughtfully propped up against the station.

I peered around the glass, and he took notice and said hello.

Me: Hey, that’s a nice bike.

Bike Guy: Thanks.

He patted the seat of his cruiser.

Me: So it’s easy to get that thing on and off the front of the bus?

Bike Guy: Yeah, you just snap it in.  It’s nice to have a good, comfortable seat.  You don’t wanna tear up your ass, ya know?  ‘Cause tearin’ yo ass up is bad.

Me: No…yeah, that’s the worst (I laughed and smiled).  This is my first time riding the bus.  What do you enjoy about it?

Bike Guy: You get to see all sorts of things, and you don’t get all stressed about driving.  You get to meet people.  If you weren’t doing this today, we would never be talkin’.

He was right.  Any other day, I would walk right past this guy and not think twice.  I felt a pang of guilt, talking to him to lessen my chances of  getting my throat slashed trying while trying to complete such a “simple” task on my list.

We chatted for a bit longer.  The bus came and I grabbed a seat in the front.  A skinny, averaged sized guy entered the empty bus and pointed to the vacant seat next to me, “Do you mind?”

I moved my bag over and he sat down.  I asked him where he was from (Seattle) – he was a music producer back home and has lived here for quite a while; coming here to chase a musical dream that never quite panned out.  He’s happy, though, and he and his partner live in the Montrose area.  Today he was on his way to get his hair cut in Bellaire.  We had something in common: our passion for music- playing the guitar and the piano by ear.  He had been quite the athlete and showed me his withered left leg – he had been in an accident as a kid and seven surgeries reconstructed his limb that was significantly smaller than his right.  We talked about George Jones and he sang his favorite song by the artist – a pleasing voice.

I shook his hand as I exited the bus, I shouted: I’m writing a blog – Againstmigraines on WordPress – check it out if you remember.

Also coming off was my bike friend from earlier.  He walked his bike over to me, “You ride this line often?”

Me: No, I’m just doing a project…

Bike man:  You’re a good person.  I can tell it in here (he pounded his heart with his fist) and then gave me “dibs”.  I would like to have dinner and smoke a cigar with you!

Me:  Haha!  Thanks, I appreciate that!  Maybe one day.

Bike man:  Hey, it’s a small world.

He turned to leave, but I stopped him.

Me: Can I take your picture?

Lewis:  Sure!

After fro-yo, Hermes and I decided to take the bus together to do some shopping nearby.

Unfortunately, my attire, as earlier noted, was not suitable for walking around in 90-degree heat, so I had to stop and buy an entirely new outfit.

I had survived my first bus excursion.  I felt a little closer to society and a little sad that it took 32 years.  I talked to people who I would have never met, and taking myself outside of my comfort zone relaxed me.  There was a whole world I was missing because I was so busy being caught behind the steering wheel of my car, darting in and out of traffic, 5 minutes late, low on gas and frustrated by our busy highways.


Today I scratched another thing off my list: seeing a movie solo.  I couldn’t believe it was the first time I was going to the movies alone.  I just always have had someone to go with but that’s no excuse.  I found the most gigantic purse I own so I could take a coat (which I would usually steal from my movie-going buddy), a bag of 98% taste free, salt free popcorn and a bottled water.

Gatsby in 3D.  I’d heard it had gotten terrible reviews but I’m a softie when it comes to Leonardo DiCaprio and convince myself that if it sucks at least I get to stare at a handsome face.

The theatre was pretty packed to my surprise and I choose a middle row, middle seat and set up shop.  I’m sure I looked very trendy in my disposable 3D glasses that were covering my eyeglasses.  About an hour into the movie I realized I had to pee, and also realized that I’d either have to trust everyone around me not to steal my things and go pee, or pack up everything and run to the bathroom.  I didn’t know what to do so I resisted the urge and told myself I could make it another hour and 22 minutes and I did.  The music in the movie was great and it was beautiful.

The most confusing, frustrating and time-consuming event was me trying to find my damn car in the parking garage – walking up stairs, back down the stairs and up and down rows of cars.  I should have just taken the bus…

Pictures from my day in no particular order:

At the movies - my 3D Gatsby experience.

At the movies – my 3D Gatsby experience.

All the crap I loaded into my purse.

All the crap I loaded into my purse.


Waiting at one of the stops

One of the stops

Not even sammiches

The sandwich that was tossed in the road.

The sandwich that was tossed in the road.

Another stop

This lady kindly thanked the security guard and gave him a hug.

This lady kindly thanked the security guard and gave him a hug.

House Slippers

Another stop

This guy totally invaded my space

This guy totally invaded my space

My guide

My guide

My guide

My guide



The most beautiful stop of the day

The most beautiful stop of the day

This mother with her beautiful girls

This mother with her beautiful girls

A woman actually asked if this stop was the closest to the Galleria.

A woman actually asked if this stop was the closest to the Galleria.



Fatxiety – How it alllll began…

Things you probably don’t know about me which you will learn from this opener:

  • Yes, I was really fat growing up
  • I get migraines and have to take medicine for them
  • I suffered from ridiculous panic attacks
  • I’m going to do everything I thought I never could
  • This blog is about doing the things that go against my grain

The Migraine Research Foundation stated that every 10 seconds, someone in the United States goes to the emergency room with a headache or migraine.

At 10 years old, laid up on the couch, the closest I got to a doctor was Doogie Howser banging out his sorrows, triumphs and hopes in his electronic journal.  My debilitating headaches have followed me into my teens, twenties and now my early 30’s.  Thankfully, I’ve found a medicinal solution, but sometimes they can’t compete with the stabbing ice pick feeling driving itself into my right temple.  It seems to be the only long minutes, hours, days in my life that I absolutely have to be patient and wait something out, which for me is a big deal.

Cool rags, dim-lit rooms and complete silence do little to ease the intense pain.  To help cope with the lost time I experience during these escapades I’ve made a list of “I’d rather…”  The alternative is a bargain with myself that when it’s all over, I’ll attempt whatever simple, ridiculous or irrational thought I have proposed.  Since I have never really followed through on any of these ideas, I figured the time is now.

In order to understand, though, you must have a little background on me.  I grew up in upper middle class suburbia – nice house, hardworking parents and an older brother.  My childhood was anything but normal and being overweight helped me develop a nasty insecurity, which stifled my ability to ever challenge myself.

This insecurity about my weight hindered me from ever really doing anything that I wanted.  I was the little, fat kid in P.E. on scoliosis check day (which also included an endurance test in front of the entire class – how many pull ups can you do…ridiculous), bent over with the other kids, the “coach” walking behind each of us, running her fingers down our spines checking for any abnormalities.

“Can you bend over more?  Touch your toes,” Coach P. instructed.

“Sure,” I thought…no problem, touching my knees was already a task.

“Nope, still can’t feel your spine,” Coach P sighed annoyingly and moved on to the next kid.

“Dear God, what if I have scoliosis?  I’ll never know because I’m so fat,” I thought.  Oh, did I mention jumping to ridiculous conclusions was also an amazing talent I have?  This never deterred me from eating Luby’s Luann platter of chicken fried steak, corn, mashed potatoes and a buttered roll after church on Sunday mornings.  My very average sized parents constantly argued about my weight, too.  At dinner I was always racing for seconds (only in competition with myself), my dad taking immediate notice, “Why do you let her eat seconds,” he scolded my mom.

I started to develop red lines that spanned like spider webs across my stomach.  My parents scratched their heads, puzzled.  Looking back, though, any moron that’s ever been pregnant or has known someone pregnant would realize these were stretch marks.  My parents, I think, were just too embarrassed to tell me, “Hey, fatty, it’s because you’ve consumed too many Twinkies and cheese tots.”  My skin was trying desperately to grow at the same speed of my appetite.

I pleaded with my dad to take me out of public school and home school me so I could pursue my love for acting (and escape torment of rude kids at school) – NO WAY, my dad said- there was no arguing with Dad; that was not going to happen.  He did invest a healthy amount of money toward my acting classes, though, which I thought were bringing me one step closer to Thomas Ian Nicholas.

It never occurred to me that the most popular guys in school may not have any intention of wanting to date me (I know, right?).  I seriously believed that I had as much of a chance as any rock star cheerleader at our school.  My diary entries were more delusional than Doogies’.

I no longer could shop in the juniors section for clothes.  Trips to the mall ended with me sitting pant-less on the floor of the changing room, knocking on the door, “Are you okay, honey?”

My gorgeous, perfectly sized mom had a solution, though: She found a seamstress that would make me a pair of my favorite jeans.  We picked out the most fashionable threads of the season (stonewash, of course – it was all the rave) – and this lady fashioned me a pair of pants…elastic waisted jeans.  No zipper meant I’d have to get creative changing in the girls’ locker room. I’d always wear a t-shirt that covered almost half of my body.  I’d quickly pull off my pants and roll them up tightly, being sure the elastic waist wasn’t exposed, and slide on the purple gym shorts.  Almost home free – still needed to wiggle my way out of this bra and shirt.  I’d pull my arms in the sleeves, unclasp my bra, bringing it through the sleeve, Houdini style.  Getting undressed was laborious and I always got a few stares.   I was showing up tardy to the gym because of my 10 minute changing routine, so I had to start changing in the showers, until I was told that wasn’t an option.

Elastic Jeans

Riding the bus was also a nightmare.  As I grew larger the aisle to make it to the back where the cool kids sat seemed to grow much smaller.  The first three rows were my only option.  “Hey, come back here,” my friends would yell.  “Oh, no…it’s okay!  I’m gonna stay up here and chat…with the bus driver.”  If there was a class trip that involved riding the bus, I would have my parents write a letter to excuse my absence.  Over time, I just stopped doing a lot of things that would attract any attention.

Luckily, I used my wit and personality to win friends.  I had a wonderful group of friends growing up that I’m still close to today, and they never made me feel different or left out.

I lost a lot of weight in college (my Weight Watchers support group cheering me on the whole way), became pretty and popular (as you could be in a pool among 32,000 other kids), dating the guy of my dreams, sitting in a leadership position within my sorority when on Tuesday, April 2, 2003 at 5:56 PM in my HR Management class the fear of life came crashing down.  My heart started beating out of control as I sat at my desk and my hands, arms, head and face completely went numb.  I picked up my cell phone, deserted my books and ran into the hallway, frantically dialing my mom who didn’t pick up.  Then my boyfriend who was busy at work.  I ran outside to the courtyard, amazed that the world was continuing on as normal (I’M DYING!!!), as I debated on stopping passerby’s to see if they could help me.  My phone beeped in my ear alerting me that it was low on battery, “Please come get me.  I’m dying,” I pleaded with my boyfriend as the phone went dead.  I ended up going to the hospital, my resting heart rate 144 BPM, my blood pressure reading well over normal, strapped to an EKG machine and thinking: I wish I wasn’t so scared to live…how the hell did I get here???

I had never heard of a panic attack until that day, and it ruled my life for six more months.  I dropped 20 more pounds, never hungry, chugging water from all the dehydration the medication and anxiety seemed to cause, and my mom had to sleep next to me in my bed, and sit on the toilet lid while I showered.  At 22 I was afraid to be alone.  The thought of going to school alone scared the hell out of me (what if I have an attack and people see?) and my hardworking, beautiful mom would sit outside of every class in the event I’d have an attack.  I could see the worry in her face even though she reassured me everything would turn out perfectly.  She was right, too…it just took 6 months.

Luckily I got over everything, graduated from college, started a great job, moved into trendy apartment near downtown and ignored that the event ever happened.  Then it struck again in 2006 except this time I was in the working world.  My mom would drive in from San Antonio on the weekends to comfort me.  I drew away from my friends who tried desperately to help me.  My mom would always quote FDR: You have nothing to fear but fear itself.  Curled up on the floor in a ball, my dad held me like a baby, and I was back to where I was in college.  I remember the worried look on his face: You can make it through anything.

You might be asking yourself how fear and fat are aligned.  A doctor once explained to me that being overweight could be linked to fear.  That anxiety and stress were causing me to crave carbohydrates…seeking that “comfort” within.  Really, though, was my anxiety/fear causing me to be fat?  Even though I had lost the weight the “fat kid” in me stays strong; right beside me always cheering: You can’t do that…people will be watching.  You can’t do that…you’ll have a heart attack!

I lead a very healthy lifestyle – working out 5+ times a week and practicing clean eating habits (thanks to a health nut hero of mine – who I’ll call The Pillow Snake – who has taught me so much about life).  I love my job, my family and have the greatest friends.  I never regret the fact that I grew up overweight, but people think that my life has always been perfect.  The truth is I still struggle with a few “what ifs” and doubt, and I don’t trust that I can do things I’m perfectly capable of doing.

This blog is not a bucket a list – it’s simply a blog about a girl who missed out on a lot of life because of insecurity.  I get frustrated when people immediately take one look at me and think I’ve never had it hard, I’ve never had to suffer, I always get what I want, etc…

This blog is dedicated to pushing myself outside of my comfort zone; to experience and explore everything on my Migraine To Do List from riding the Metro solo to skydiving.

Migraine Help

Sweet 16 — Size 18.