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1) Are your parents married or divorced?
They just celebrated their 53rd anniversary. Dang.

2) Are you a vegetarian?
I am! Have been since I was 8.

There is no #3.

4) Have you ever come close to dying?
Probably. My appendix ruptured when I was 17 and my parents were out of town. Luckily we were renting the MIL apartment part of the house and the guy came home from work and found me delirious and rushed me to the hospital, where I had emergency surgery. That was probably the closest?

5) What jewelry do you wear?
A set of topaz and aquamarine stacked rings that Toby gave me on my left ring finger, a silver puzzle ring on the middle finger next to that, and usually my great-aunt's spoon ring on my right ring finger, but lately I've been wearing the new topaz ring Toby got for me in Scotland. I switch up the rings on this hand more often, but these are the most frequently worn. I wear a citizen watch on my left wrist all the time. On my right wrist, I'm usually wearing a purple fitbit and a black and red chain maille bracelet that my friend Amy made. I wear silver square hoop earrings in the second hole in my ears all the time, and I rarely have earrings in the first hole unless I'm dressing up for something. I wear a necklace all the time, but I change it sorta frequently. Right now it's a dichroic glass pendant I got at Falcon Ridge. And I have my tongue ring in all the time.

6) Favorite time of day?
Nap time. Which is usually 2 or 3pm.

7) Do you eat the stems of broccoli?

8) Do you wear makeup?
Almost never.

9) Ever had plastic surgery?

10) Do you color your hair?
Yep. I've had it purple since 2012, but in July I put turquoise manic panic in it over the purple, and it looks awesome! It hasn't faded much, but my roots are like 2 inches now, so it's time to go back to my stylist. I'm not sure if I'll go back to purple or be more experimental now that I've broken the mold.

11) What do you wear to bed?
Either nothing or really soft pj's.

12) Have you ever done anything illegal?
Of course I have ;)

13) Can you roll your tongue?

14) Do you tweeze your eyebrows?
Sometimes, out of boredom. Not to achieve any kind of "look."

15) What kind of sneakers?

16) Do you believe in abortions?
Yep, they exist! Also I believe they should be available to anyone who wants one. I had one when I was 25. No regrets.

17) What is your natural hair color?
Black, with more and more white.

18) Do you have any children?

19) Do you snore?

20) If you could go anywhere in the world where would it be?
ALL OF THE PLACES. Seriously don't make me choose, but highest on my bucket list is like Greece and Croatia.

21) Do you sleep with stuffed animals?
No, just real ones.

22) If you ever won the lottery, what would you do first?
Pay off all debts and invest in real estate.

23) Gold or silver?

24) Hamburger or hot dog?

25) If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Saag paneer.

26) City, beach, or country?
All have their appeals. For living? City.

27) What was the last thing you touched?
Other than my computer, a DDP bottle.

28) Where did you eat last?
Sara Lee Sandwich Shop at Denver Airport. It was surprisingly yummy but now I have the most rancid farts and I'm about to get on a 4-hour flight. Doh.

29) When's the last time you cried?
Couple days ago probably.

30) Do you read blogs?

31) Would you ever go out dressed like the opposite sex?

32) Ever been involved with the police?
Not for more than a traffic stop.

33) What's your favorite shampoo?

34) Do you talk in your sleep?
Not much. Toby does!

35) Ocean or pool?
I like both. I guess I have a slight preference for the ocean.

36) What's your favorite song at the moment?
Tough call. I've been listening to a lot of Wallflowers lately. One Headlight.

38) Window seat or aisle?
I like the window but I need the aisle on long flights because I stress too much about the logistics of getting up to use the can.

39) Have you ever met anyone famous?
Yes, lots of them play bridge.

40) Do you feel that you've had a truly successful life?
I get to do a lot of really awesome stuff. But I don't know how much of that I've earned for myself.

41) Do you twirl your spaghetti or cut it?
Twirl. Pretty unsuccessfully. I'm so sloppy.

42) Ricki Lake or Oprah?
I briefly watched Ricki Lake when I was like 12. Never watched Oprah.

43) Basketball or Football?

44) How long do your showers last?
5-10 minutes.

45) Cake or ice cream?
Both please.

47) Are you self-conscious?
Oh yes.

48) Have you ever drank so much you threw up?
One time only. Falcon Ridge 2006.

49) Have you ever given money to a tramp?
I assume the definition of tramp here is beggar? I have.

50) Have you been in love?
Yes. More times than I've been married.

51) Where do you wish you were?
A comfortable bed with Toby and kittens.

52) Are you wearing socks?
Not today.

53) Have you ever ridden in an ambulance?
Yes, on a backboard after my car accident in 2014 when that kid rear-ended me.

54) Can you tango?
I've never been taught, but I'm sure I *could*

55) Last gift you received?
The ring Toby gave me from Scotland.

56) Last sport you played?
Basketball, but it's been a while.

57) Things you spend a lot of money on?
Travel, eating out, clothes

58) Where do you live?
Beaverton, an awesome suburb of the awesome city of Portland.

59) Where were you born?
Charlottesville, VA

60) Last wedding attended?
I'm on my way to a wedding right now! But before this one, I was at Toby's brother Theo's wedding three weeks ago.

61) Favorite fast food restaurant?
Noodles and Company.

63) Most hated food?
Bananas. Get away from me.

64) What's your least favorite chore?
Any of them. I'm the worst.

65) Can you sing?
I do all the time, but I'm pretty tone deaf.

66) Last person you instant messaged?

67) Last place you went on holiday?
Well, I'm on the plane right now headed to CT by way of NY. But before this it was Alaska.

68) Favorite regular drink?
Diet Dr. Peppet

69) Current crush?
I guess Peter the bartender kinda?

70) Do you want people to do this meme?
Yeah this shit's fun.
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I still need to write a long post about my month of travels, but first, a quick wtf.

I just saw a Facebook friend post a gofundme link for her daughter to treat her dog's cancer. That Facebook friend is a LITERAL GODDAMN BILLIONAIRE. Literally, she has billions of dollars. But she wants strangers to give their money to her daughter for a $3000 surgery for her dog. That would literally be like withdrawing one penny from the bank for this person, but there's a gofundme.

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I have SO MUCH to write about from the last month. I'm finally home after Falcon Ridge, Scotland, and Alaska. It's good to be back and I look forward to sharing lots of stories. But first:

1. What was the last thing you put in your mouth?
A Toothbrush

2. Where was your profile picture taken?
Facebook profile was taken in Vancouver at Emily's house.

3. Worst pain you've ever experienced?
D&C abortion

4. Who was the last person to make you laugh?

5. How late did you stay up last night?

6. If you could move somewhere else, where would it be?

7. Ever been kissed under fireworks?

8. Which of your Facebook friends lives closest to you?
Melisa, my neighbor

9. How do you feel about turkey burgers?
I feel like they are probably a healthy alternative to beef patties, but I'm still a vegetarian.

10. When was the last time you cried?
A few minutes ago.

11. Who took your profile photo?
Emily or Toby, can't remember

12. Who was the last person you took a picture with?
Toby. We were being silly with Cleopatrick.

13. What's your favourite season?

14. If you could have any career, what would it be?
Something that puts me in close contact with the Blazers, but not where I'm their bitch. Maybe NBA commentator.

15. Do you think relationships are ever worth it?
Yes, in my case.

16. If you could talk to ANYONE right now who would it be?
CJ McCollum.

17. Are you a good influence?

18. Does pineapple belong on pizza?
If you've ordered that.

19. You have the remote, what channel are you watching?
I don't have a television, but when I have access to one, my first stop is ESPN or TNT if it's a basketball night. Watched a lot of Cartoon Network last week because it was the only thing worthwhile on the cruise TV.

20. Who do you think will fill this out?
I'm really not sure if anyone is reading this at all and those who are have not been active on DW, so I'm going with no one. Prove me wrong, yo!
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Me: I had some really awful farts on the plane. I'm surprised you didn't react.
Toby: Oh that was YOU?
Me: Yeah.
Toby: Well that makes me feel a little better.
Me: That's weird. Why?
Toby: To know that it wasn't some asshole stranger attacking my nose... But it also makes me feel a little worse to know that you are capable of such odors.
Me: Fair.
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I always knew that Em & Chris's residency in Vancouver was temporary. They had just applied for permanent residency as a just-in-case measure, but I knew they had plans B and C and D and were going to keep looking for other opportunities. I'd hoped the best ones they'd find would still be in the PNW (or SW, from Canada's perspective), but alas, I knew that was also unlikely.

It's not official yet, but Em said today they've decided to accept a job offer for Chris in North Carolina. (They haven't told their families yet, so if anyone here happens to be connected, shh.) I am super bummed they're leaving the driving distance zone, but I understand. Truthfully, we didn't visit each other in each other's homes very often anyway. We see each other back in Virginia almost as often as we do out here. Still, though, the possibility of planning these visits is just so much simpler with them here. Oh well. Planes are a thing. I like flying. It's doable. I'll still see them lots. And the opportunity sounds really good for them. I mourn for my nephew to grow up in the south, but he's got good hippie parents, and Canadian citizenship, so he should be alright.

I made Emily promise me that she will use some of the extra flexibility this opportunity affords her to take a trip with me in 2018 to Yellowstone National Park. She's a geologist and she's never been! I think it'll be a great trip for us to do together. I'll show her a part of the country she's never seen, and she'll teach me all the cool science-y stuff that I won't learn from just walking around the park on my own. Details tbd, but this is happening.

Speaking of not official yet...

Toby knows I'd really like a proposal. I mentioned to him when we first moved in together that I had never really had a proposal, and it's something I want, when he's ready, and I didn't want to talk too much about marriage until then. I want it to be a surprise, and I don't want to just be de facto engaged. But here's the thing -- being a responsible adult means planning for the future, and we've done a lot of talking about 'when we're married' and how we'll budget things and it turns out we've gotten ourselves de facto engaged. We've agreed we should get married before the end of 2017 so I can get on his sweet, sweet health insurance before the ACA goes away (although maybe it won't?! but still, his work insurance is way better and way cheaper than the silver plan I pay $375/mo for!). We've even done a little wedding planning.

But there hasn't been a proposal yet. He knows I still want one, even if it's already a foregone conclusion. He has all the information he needs regarding what I want in a ring (nothing outrageous or very expensive), and he recently verified my ring size. So.

Some have theorized I should expect a proposal on this trip. Maybe while we're in Scotland? It does make sense, but here's why I'm not sure that would happen:
1. Toby's kinda slow to get shit done that's not for work, so even if he fully intended this, I'd honestly be surprised if he'd gotten the ring already.
2. We'll be in Scotland for his brother's wedding. Not sure if he'd feel uncomfortable about thunder-stealing or whatever.
3. However he does it, I really don't expect a big thing. He's too introverted to make a production of it, so I almost expect him to just ask me at home once he's got the ring or something. That way he also doesn't have to worry about hiding it in the luggage without me accidentally noticing before I'm supposed to or something.
4. I need to temper my own expectations, because if I go into this trip convinced it's gonna happen and it doesn't, I might be bummed or impatient or something. I'll be thrilled if he does propose soon, but honestly I really don't expect it. I think he will surprise me with the timing if not with the question itself ;)

So, y'know, maybe. But I won't hold my breath. And I do recognize how silly it is for me to want this ritual when we are already basically planning the wedding/marriage.

About those plans...we do want a small, informal ceremony, but that's not gonna happen this year. Maybe we'll do a thing on our birthday next year? (We have the same birthday.) But we do need to do the official business of it before the end of 2017, so we'll see what happens. Also I need to decide what to do about my last name. I'm more than ready to ditch Myers -- but it's on all my professional stuff. My website and my business cards and logo and all that are under Myers. I could keep using it just for work I guess. Or I'll get a new site and redirect it? Whatever, this is not a big deal. Just something else we've both been talking about a lot already for people who aren't actually "engaged." Pffft.
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It is so much easier to be there for friends when I can have the conversation, "what does your therapist say about this?"

I am not a trained professional, and I'm predisposed to take your side even when you're wrong af, so you should not trust me to bear the entire weight of your emotional baggage.

People who boohoo about how difficult their life is, but blow off the idea of therapy because they tried it once and it "didn't work" or any other excuse, are assholes who put unfair burdens on their friends.

I have sympathy for the barrier to entry for therapy. Finding a therapist you can afford and who has openings for you is not easy. Summoning the motivation to make the calls is like climbing a mountain. But refusing to try is shitty. I have a million times more patience for my friends' issues when they're actively working on them. I'm happy to talk through anything with the people I love, provided I am not the sole counselor.

I've been talking a lot with a friend who is going through some really difficult stuff right now. She keeps apologizing to me and thanking me for listening and talking. And honestly, it feels GOOD to be there for her. And I'm so relieved every time I see her suffering that she'll be able to talk it over with a professional within the week. I can hold the bandaids on between sessions.

I'm also so grateful for all my friends who act as my bandaids, too. It's no surprise the people I leaned on heavily before therapy are no longer in my life.
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All year long, I've been saying "I can't believe it's [today's date] already!" But here we are, July 20th, the year more than half gone, and a whole bunch of awesome stuff I've been looking forward to forever is just around the corner. Here's my schedule:

Aug 1 -- fly to NY for Falcon Ridge
Aug 7 -- fly to Dublin
Aug 9 -- fly to Edinburgh
Aug 17 -- fly to Dublin, leaving Toby in Edinburgh
Aug 18 -- fly to NY
Aug 20 -- fly home (parents will already be here)
Aug 21 -- solar eclipse
Aug 22 -- drive to Seattle, get on cruise
Aug 22-29 -- cruise to Alaska with the Massie family
Aug 29 -- drive home, spend a few more days in Portland with my folks, and Toby will be back by then
Sep 7 -- fly to New York
Sep 8 -- drive to CT with ChrisChin
Sep 9 -- KraBs wedding
Sep 10 -- drive back to NY
Sep 11 -- fly home
Oct 1-7 -- Seaside Regional
Nov -- not yet booked, but will be in Philadelphia for Friendsgiving 2, then VA for Thanksgiving
Dec -- Edinburgh again for Xmas then the last week of the year in Virginia, hopefully?

This crazy schedule reminds me of how my life used to be all the time. I'm glad I'm in Portland most of the time now. This is a great place to hang one's hat. But I do still love to travel, and I'm glad I get to do so much of that, too. I'm hoping to add in another regional with Zac if we can find one that works for us both, and also more visits with Emily, Chris, and Trevor either hosting them here or going up to Vancouver. There's neither time enough in the year nor money enough in the bank to do all the things I want to do, but I'm pretty happy with what's in front of me right now.

The owner of my favorite restaurant asked me yesterday if I could help him find a space downtown for a new location. He's keeping his restaurant in Beaverton, just wants to expand downtown. I'm working on it. Shouldn't be too hard to find something; there's a lot of new construction downtown and those buildings all need retail tenants on the ground floor. The question is, will it be better economically for me to take my regular commission, or negotiate free Indian food for a few years? Honestly, the free food would probably be a better deal! But saag paneer don't pay the bills -- except the credit card bill, which is mostly saag paneer.
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Gwen asked Mary the other day if Uncle Dopey has a penis.

My favorite part of this story, though, is Mary's (honest) answer: "I'm not sure."
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Last weekend, Toby and I went up to Vancouver to visit Emily, Chris, and Trevor. We agreed to babysit Trevor for the day on Saturday so the parents could go to a beer festival -- their first real time away from the baby together. I was honored to do the babysitting for such an occasion, and it was Toby's first time meeting Trevor. We were psyched.

We arrived on Friday night, and Emily informed us that Trevor had not taken a shit since Sunday. I did the mental math...JESUS CHRIST! She'd taken him to the doctor and the doc said that since he didn't appear to be in any discomfort, just to wait it out. They gave him prune juice a few times and stopped with the solid foods for a few days, but no luck.

Saturday rolled around, and I just *knew* it would happen on our watch. When Lucy was a baby, she'd get constipated a lot, but whenever I'd hold her, nature would call, and press 2. It's just this power that I have. Perhaps my voice is the brown noise. Anyway.

We fed him a bottle, and spit up all over me, which I declared less desirable than dealing with his shit. Something about the look and the smell of baby spit up is just SO GROSS to me, but I handled it without too much hacking of my own, and we went about our day. Toby and I got lunch, and put Trev down in a bouncy seat while we ate. Em warned us that he'd only be content there for a few minutes at most, so we ate quickly, and I gave Toby the choice after lunch of dealing with the dishes or entertaining the baby. He chose dishes, and what a serendipitous choice it was!

When I went to lift Trevor out of his chair, my hands reached into a lake of shit. I called for backup as I ran to the changing pad to begin to deal with the situation. It was EVERYWHERE. As I worked to unsnap his onesie, he kicked and squirmed and smeared his own poo around with his feet. When I removed his clothes to assess the damage at ground zero, his entire backside was covered. That turdpedo had erupted from all possible diaper exits and had reached the back of his head. Toby ran for the diaper genie, and I gently wiped the crying, shit-smeared baby, now half his previous body weight, until I was satisfied that he was clean enough for a new diaper. This process lasted at least 15 minutes, and I'm very lucky that he did not pee while he was undiapered in that time, because I was dealing with the most I could possibly handle.

Once I had him in a new diaper, he was much less cranky. I had gone through at least 20 [cloth, reusable!] wipes, but there was still the matter of his hair. I held him at the sink while Toby used the spray faucet to return his hair color from brown to its original blond. After I fully dressed him in a clean new outfit, I kept noticing more outposts of shit that I'd missed on my first ten passes. Baby fat can hide some horrible secrets! Finally clean, both of us were exhausted from the experience, and we went to nap together. I lazily browsed the internet on my laptop while Trevor snoozed happily on my chest for the next hour and a half. His naps until that point had been about 20-30 minutes at best, according to Em and Chris. I felt a huge sense of accomplishment, both for having dealt admirably with the six day poobomb, and for getting him to sleep his best nap in weeks. I'm sure the two were related.

Achievement (and bowels) unlocked! Platinum level aunting. 10,000XP.

Toby, on the other hand...

Well, Toby helped where I needed him. But it was the first time in all the time I've known him that I was calmer than he was. While I worked through wiping the poo to end all poos, with Trevor wailing in dissatisfaction, Toby mostly hid in the other room, shouting at me "THIS IS WHY YOU ALWAYS WEAR A CONDOM!"

I love this guy. I'm so glad he shares my life goals of never having children.

Some friends expressed astonishment at my handling of the shituation, but honestly, what was I gonna do? It's not like it could be ignored. And now, Trevor will be in my debt for the rest of my life ;)
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Just got back from dinner with Katy and Cindy. Cindy told me that McKenzie is engaged. I knew he was in a serious relationship and this news is not surprising. I did expect it to affect me emotionally...but it hasn't yet. I mean I've only known for like an hour so who knows if an emotional tidal wave is building, but it doesn't feel like it. Here's what I do feel:

I hope they don't move back to the PNW.
I do not wish them happiness, but I don't wish them anything else, either.
I'm amused that he got engaged before I did, because he was a real asshole when we broke up about how I was just going to move onto my next marriage "like you always do." (Yup, all one time I've remarried. Which he begged me for a year to do even though I didn't want to at first. Okay.)

I'm still really angry about the way McKenzie treated me in our marriage, and as we navigated our post-marriage interactions. I was no angel to him, but no one deserves the disrespect he gave me.

My happiness with Toby puts a lot of things in perspective. It makes me realize how McKenzie SHOULD'VE treated me, and how horrible his choices were in a lot of circumstances, but also it keeps me from dwelling much on that anger, because I'm happy now. So why bother? Things are good.

Cindy told me the wedding is scheduled for April 2019, because "they" want time to plan a big wedding. I'm sure "they" are very excited about their huge event. (Our jailhouse April Fool's elopement was almost too fancy for McKenzie at the time, so I really wonder how excited he is about a wedding that takes two years to plan.)

I told Toby what I'd learned, and said "this is not a call to action! Just news I have." Heh :)

I won't be surprised if more emotions find their way to the surface, but this isn't something I'm planning to dwell on. Shrug.
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Back from Vegas as of last night, and lots on my to-do list for the day, but first...

1. How quickly does it take your phone to die?
I try to leave it plugged in all the time, but on days when I'm out and about all day, it's usually critical by the end of the day.

2. Do you remember the first YouTube video you ever watched?
No, I don't, but the earliest one I remember is Drinking Out of Cups. Which may have been my first YouTube video ever.

3. How many cities do you have saved in your weather app? What are they?
My phone just automatically gives me the weather where I am, and that's all I care about.

4. Are you happy?
Not totally. How can anyone be happy with what Trump is doing to our country and our world? And not just Trump, because it's not like he's that powerful, but the people who support him and for some reason agree with him.

5. What colour is your soap? Shampoo?
I use Dr. Bronner's soap, which is the color of apple juice. My shampoo is a metallic brown color.

6. What do they smell like?
Peppermint soap, shea butter shampoo

7. Have you ever had a run in with the police?
Nothing more serious than a traffic stop. The kind that happens when you're white, anyway, which is not serious.

8. Who inspires you the most?
My friends. People who are active and intelligent and fun.

9. How often do you dye your hair?
A few times a year. Whenever the top layers are no longer purple.

10. Do you have any friends with benefits?
Yeah. I have one friend I sleep with about once a year (because that's as frequently as I see him), and another friend who comes over to my house once a week to nap and cuddle together. That's my version of polyamory right now :)

11. Does your ex miss you?
Maybe, but I don't think he misses our relationship.

12. Have you ever been on a horse? How was it?
Yes. I was nervous about the horse losing its balance on the side of this steep mountain, but I guess that's not a thing that happens much. Then when it was over, my crotch was sore for a while.

13. What is your favourite fruit?

14. Is the last male you spoke to attractive?

15. Do people often tell you that you're pretty?
Yeah, bridge players say so all the time.

16. What was your worst subject in school? What about your best?
Physics probably was my worst? I always got A's, but it was the one that was the least easy for me, I guess. Spanish was best.

17. How many different towns have you lived in?
Six, officially, but only 3 "metro" areas.

18. Are you kinky?
I am probably the most vanilla polyamorous person that ever walked the face of the earth. But polyamory itself is kinky to some. Shrug.

19. What is in your refrigerator right now?
A bunch of sauces, some salad that has gone bad, DDP, cheese, whatever my roommate has in there, tofurkey, and vodka.

20. Are you sexy?
I don't feel like I am these days, but Toby thinks so.

21. How far away does a destination have to be before you consider it a road trip?
It's a road trip if I drive there and spend the night away from home.

22. Do you believe that people can change?
I know that I've changed a LOT (thanks, antidepressants and therapy!), and I've seen others change for the worse, which maybe just betrays that they were kinda shitty all along. But yeah I believe it.

23. Do you always have the TV on for background noise?
I don't own a TV but I do turn Netflix on when I'm going to sleep.

25. Are you more mentally or physically strong?
I guess mentally.

26. What is something weird that turns you on?
Awkward nerds.

27. Do you easily pick up on innuendos?
I pick up on innuendo that isn't even there.

28. Do you avoid confrontation?
No, but I don't seek it out, either.

29. With whom was your last kiss and where?
Kissed Toby in the car as I dropped him off at the train today.

30. Have you ever been offered drugs? Did you accept?
Yeah, I know a lot of people who do a lot of different drugs, and I've been offered plenty, but never accepted anything more than a toke. I've never in my life felt pressured to participate.

31. Have you ever tried online dating?

32. What perfume do you wear?
Just my own natural stank.

33. What three countries would you LEAST like to visit?
North Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Syria (tried to think of different answers from P-Fred, from whom I ganked this, but hers were spot on).

34. What have been the top 3 moments of your year so far?
Winning the KO with Toby this weekend, meeting Trevor for the first time, and meeting Trevor for the second time, probably :)

35. Does virginity matter to you?

36. What is on your floor right now?

37. Do you take nudes?
No. SHOCKINGLY, the ones I allowed to be taken got shared with others without my consent. WHO COULD'VE GUESSED THAT WOULD HAPPEN?! So yeah, I don't do this anymore.

38. Do you like reptiles?

39. Do you swear a lot?
Do you know me but at all?

40. Does it bother you when guys wear pink?
It bothers me when a guy won't wear pink.

41. Do you watch porn?

42. What is an unpopular opinion that you have?
I don't believe most people should have children.

43. Do you watch any reality shows?

44. Do you skip breakfast?
I often sleep through it.

45. Do you work out every week?

46. Did you grow up in a small town or big city?
Small town.

47. How many roses did you get on Valentine’s day?
0. Idgaf about this sort of thing.

48. Are you belligerent?

49. What are you looking forward to?
More relaxation this week, then all the travel I have coming up. Vancouver, FRFF, Scotland, Alaska...

50. Have you ever been lost in the woods?
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My alarm is set for 5 hours from now and I really should be trying to sleep, but I'm just not that tired, and there are some bits from today that I want to write down.

I had lunch with Rafal's mom and stepdad (but, really, his only dad) today. I was so nervous beforehand, but seeing them was wonderful. In a really hard way. I had to come home and sob for a little while afterwards.

They both acknowledge what Rafal did, but don't know any of the details. They've been largely shut out by Whitney's family. All they know is what they've heard from police (the investigation is still open) and Rafal's friends, who are all just as stunned as anyone. No one saw it coming and no one knows why it happened. It couldn't have been premeditated. It sounds like Whitney's mom knew there was a reason to be worried on the day it happened, but whatever she knew is not public yet. The neighbor just said she sped into the driveway and raced into the house in a frenzy, like she knew something had happened. She gave a newspaper interview, though, where she just mentioned she'd been on the phone with Whitney shortly before and that she was planning to pick her up. Seems like there was more to it than that. Anyway. The point of this all is that while his parents don't know any details, they don't deny that Rafal committed the murder-suicide. But his dad kept calling it "the accident." Maybe it's just easier to talk about using that word.

They told me that Whitney kept hating me her whole life. That made me feel sad. I used to hate her, too, just the way that young, jealous girls do. But it had been 16 years. Jesus. But they said that Rafal always spoke kindly about me, and that he had even spoken to his mother about me the last time they talked, three days before he died. He said something to the effect of how he never thought he and I would break up, and he's not really sure why we didn't end up together. Not like he wished we did, just that he didn't know why we didn't. He's the kind of guy who would've made it work if I could've. It was my decision to end it, but he would've thrown his whole being into saving the relationship if I'd cooperated. I just knew I was done when I was. And the next girl he dated was the one he stayed with. He wasn't one to play the field. We talked some about the possibility that maybe he and Whitney were headed for divorce (he had assured them that she wanted to stay together and that they were fine, but maybe she changed her mind? Maybe he was misleading them intentionally? I don't think it's the latter -- he really didn't ever lie), and how that would've wrecked his world, even if he wasn't happy in the marriage. Just the idea of starting over for him would've been so daunting. I was surprised when his mom said she'd never thought of that possibility. She said a few of the things I'd mentioned to her (theories about how he might have been feeling, mostly) were things she hadn't considered. Hearing about him from the perspective of someone he dated, I guess, was new.

They also told me a really funny story about their immigration. When they came to the US, they had two suitcases, and Rafal, age 10, had a backpack. One suitcase was clothes, the other was a few blankets, and Rafal's backpack, the only thing he brought with him when they moved from Europe, was full of Legos. That makes me smile.

His parents used to spend every Thanksgiving with them at Whitney's family's house. Whitney's family no longer speaks to them, except through lawyers. They mentioned that they will probably move when they retire (next year) because they don't have any family here now that Rafal is gone, and most of their friends aren't here, either. After leaving lunch, I was thinking about Thanksgiving, and I sent them a message to say they'd be welcome at Massie Thanksgiving. Everyone there knew Rafal -- they wouldn't be strangers! They enthusiastically accepted. I'm really looking forward to including them. I feel very connected to them now, and I know it's not my responsibility to look out for them, but I still feel like I want to. That's how I'm honoring my enduring love for Rafal; by being there for his family. It feels nice.

When we said goodbye, Barbara asked to hold my hand for a while. "You give me positive energy, Meg." I hope that's true. She said Rafal is probably laughing at us right now. His mom is having lunch with Meg! Who would've thought?! And to see us both crying over him...I do hope that he somehow is aware of us, and is amused and happy and grateful that we spent this time together.
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George's memorial was today. The venue was packed so fully that it was nearly impossible to move. He had a lot of real friends. Nancy called me out right at the beginning for crying too much. Can't help it, it's what I do. I spoke and told a couple of fun stories from my childhood -- didn't entirely go with what I'd written before, because Em and Nancy were serious about it having an upbeat tone. I told about him teaching Emily and me to use softball gloves, and then going to his games and playing "throw" with each other, because we weren't good enough to play catch. I talked about having spaghetti dinners at their house, where he encouraged us to play with our food. And I mentioned that I felt like Em and I each have two sets of parents, and my biological parents can't really claim responsibility for me being such a hippie now...

George's youngest brother, Carl, lives in Maine, and I never really saw him when I was young. He came up to me after I spoke and said he had no idea what a community dad George had been, and it was so nice to hear about his brother from that perspective.

I held Trevor and introduced him around to many friends as well. He's such a sweet baby. He's a great cuddler, and it helped me push the tears back to focus on him, too. I'm so grateful that Emily got to bring him here to spend two months with her parents. Her final memories of her dad are of him enchanted by his new grandson.

Of course his death is sad, and he was too young. But I'm so glad his Alzheimer's didn't get a chance to take his personality away from him. His short term memory was gone, but he was still friendly, funny, brilliant George.
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Toby filed his divorce papers last week, and should be getting word from the state soon that it's final. He's been separated from Jill for over 4 years now, and it might be the most amicable divorce in history. They'd just been putting it off for a few financial reasons, for her benefit mostly. But she's done with school now and landed a job with benefits and so they finally made it official.

Then yesterday, Toby asked me about what kind of engagement rings I like...
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I've been judgy about a lot of stupid baby names, but I'd have to say I hit a new record when I saw "Kynzli."

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When I was married to McKenzie, I was lucky to get to "play up" a lot of the time. Riding his bridge coattails, I more often than not played with really good partners and teams -- people I would not have been able to roll with had he not carried me along in my early development. Having taken 2 years off, though, and playing more locally and less internationally, I don't have the luxury of playing with the very best of the best players every time I sit down at the table. And that's totally fine. I really like playing with the people I do play with, and I consistently outperform even my own expectations. No matter who I'm playing with, I usually beat 60% at the club, and I've had some pretty solid tournaments, too.

But I do miss what I had. Being in a circle of friends who traveled to all the big tournaments, always had top players to team up with, etc. I fully hope to be playing with Toby in a lot of tournaments in the future, but he's still got a lot of hills to climb, and it'll be awhile before our partnership is one of peers rather than mentor-mentee.

I'm going to more tournaments suddenly, and I'm super happy about it...but my teams are all kind of hodgepodge, and I miss playing with regular teammates, knowing their game and knowing what to expect. I think I need to make a point of reaching out more to other local players. Probably all I have to do is ask, and I can get games with lots of top players...
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Today I've been feeling kind of dejected. I guess it's part disappointment that what I want and what I can have regarding Diego are not the same, but it's also more of an umbrella disappointment, that there's a need or desire there that isn't really fillable at the moment. I was whining about this to Jon, and he kept suggesting very reasonable approaches to address this, but they all feel meh to me. What I want is a very specific thing and it has to grow on its own. I can't just create it or pick it out of the ether. Right now I'm more or less accepting this, but it's still a bummer. So I've done a couple of things that made me feel a little better.

I had a good workout this afternoon, talked to my brother and my mom, and also made a donation to a charity that's important to me. I do feel better for having done all these things. Now I'm going to shower off the workout stank and go meet Toby downtown for dinner before trivia night #3 of 3 this week.


May. 30th, 2017 11:16 pm
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I had a lovely day with Diego. He's a darling. I cried 40 minutes into our day, talking about relationships and parents and stuff. I warned him ahead of time that it would happen. It's all good.

I adore him. I had a very honest chat with him about exactly how much I feel that. I've enjoyed getting to know him and want to do more of that, and obviously have a crush on him, but do not want to cross any boundaries. Coming from non-monogamy and having a crush on an unavailable monogamous person, I told him I am being very cautious, but would take cues from him. At which point he pulled me into a long hug that felt amazing and I wish I was still in it.

I think I could satisfy this lust with more hugs like that. We'll see if that comes to fruition. I hope so!

But I still have this energy that wants to be spent on things like first kisses, and while I've channelled this crushlust into some amazing sex with Toby lately, and his kisses are divine, they are also familiar and not the right water for this fire. And honestly, I don't feel like putting in the energy to finding someone new to date and make out with. That's not what I want, really. I dunno what I want. Except for that which is unavailable. Hnnngh.

Jon* suggests a random hookup. I don't think that would do it, either, and furthermore no one that's crossed my path lately has struck me as someone with whom I'd like to randomly hook up, except for Diego. Dangit.

*Jon is a friend from high school. He was a power nerd back then. I didn't know him well at the time, but if you'd told high school Meg that she'd be talking sex with Jon in 20 years, that might have been the least believable thing she could've heard.
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Tomorrow is my not-date with Diego. That's bartender guy. It's not his real name, but he said if I ever wrote about him in my blog, that's what I should call him. Alright then. He wanted me to take complete control of the plans, which is nice, but also a lot of pressure. I'd decided on SUP and food carts, but then the forecast shat on me. It's been 80s and clear all weekend, and all next week will be, too, except for tomorrow, when it'll be 60 and rainy. Goddammit.

We have all day together. We're meeting at 10am. I checked the forecast for the whole area, and the rain is everywhere within driving distance, so hikes and other outdoor activities are not ideal. I picked something for us to do that I'm pretty excited about, but I'm also just really nervous having the whole day in my hands. And disappointed that it'll be chilly because the outfit I'd planned was for hot weather. I am putting way too much thought into this. But I can't help it because I am smitten and even though that's going nowhere, I still want to make the very best impression, you know?

Which leads us to music. I haven't bothered to put all my music in the same place in a long time. I've curated a decent playlist of mostly top 40 songs for trivia nights from Amazon music, but they don't have any of my really favorite stuff. I had a lot of that stuff on my Zune, but now that I no longer pay the subscription fee, they won't let me access that; even the stuff I fucking paid for. Fuck you, Microsoft. And now I'm all bummed that my playlist won't be just so. Holy shit, I need to chill.
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I've been enjoying getting to know bartender guy over text. I kind of adore him. But he's monogamous and I'm not about to get in there and fuck that shit up. Still, it's fun to have a crush and get to know the guy. I am hoping the crush subsides, though, or it could be frustrating. Toby's up to speed on all of this. He's understanding and cool. It'd be hard for me to see him crushing on someone like I am, but I'm glad things are cool as they are.

I heard my Airbnb guest say the name of my listing on the phone just now, and I'm worried she's calling in a complaint or something. I've had a couple of complaints from recent guests that struck me as total bullshit. One was pissed I didn't have a TV (the listing says I don't!) and one complained that there wasn't a lamp in the room (there are two in the closet; she just didn't look, and called Airbnb instead of just fucking asking me). Look, I charge $40 a night. You don't get the fucking Ritz-Carlton. It's a small room in a small house in an out-of-the-way neighborhood. You can use the kitchen and the laundry and everything will be clean if not tidy. I just hate when I get bad reviews based on the expectation that their $40/night is buying them some premium service. That's not how this works and those bad reviews cost me bookings :( My reviews are mostly really good, but the bad ones sting. I can't help but take it a little personally. And every time I get a new review, I'm really nervous to read it. Sigh. I really look forward to moving so I can just rent this place out long-term and have passive income. But that'll probably be a while...

I was over at Josh & Mary's house this evening. I played with Gwen and got some love and snuggles from her, then played board games for a bit. I asked them if they were going to use Dreamwidth -- both are infrequent but still active LJers. Sounded like probably not, but that's okay. It's not what it used to be. I'm not sure if anyone at all is reading me here, but it's important to me to keep going, anyway, for my own sake. We talked about how we probably wouldn't know each other if not for LJ -- it's not a nonzero chance, because we DO have mutual friends who are friends with each other (them from college, me from bridge), but certainly wouldn't know each other on the level we do now. And how different my life would be! They are my closest friends, and the two people outside of my immediate family whom I know I could count on the most should I need emergency help of any kind. They're also 90% of my platonic social life. And their kid is my niece. My life would be unrecognizable without them. Thanks, LJ.


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