Saturday, March 3, 2012

Day 18 - Mauren & Justin L.

**Fair warning – tonight’s post has a lot of pictures – and our adventure totally warranted them!**

Tonight’s date was with Justin, a guy I know from church, and can I just say – I had a genuinely fantastic time!

It was my first Saturday date for this project so I figured it’d probably be a little longer than an average weekday one. As a result I decided that I wanted to pick someone for tonight that I knew that I would have fun with. Though Justin has a reputation for being “shallow” (his words, not mine), I had two experiences with him last year that taught me otherwise. Both allowed me to see the real guy behind the mask and I had an inkling of who he was at the core. Add tonight’s date to those positive experiences and make it three because I can say in all sincerity that Justin’s really a great guy!

The plan for tonight was to go to a horse auction in Magnolia, about 25 minutes north of Tomball. Though I know nothing about horses, I’ve had this strange desire to go for quite some time. Maybe it’s just because I’m nosey, but I’ve always wanted to see what it’s all about. The auction takes place every Saturday at 6 p.m. so the plan was to go there first and then head to my favorite restaurant, Rancho Grande, which is located nearby. But this afternoon I started to look up information to check if there was an entrance fee and instead found a plethora of bad reviews. Plus, I learned that you couldn’t take pictures there, which was going to be a major problem for this project. It was time to find a backup!

I didn’t know a lot about Justin, but there was one thing I knew for sure – the man LOVES chocolate. Loves. Like he’d probably eat it everyday if he could. ;) I’d heard of a place a few years ago near Rice University called The Chocolate Bar, but I’d never been. I’d heard good things though and figured if there were ever a guy to test it out with, it was Justin!

Justin picked me up around 5:30 and was a gentleman from the start. He opened my car door and we headed off to Rice Village in his sporty little car. I’d never been in his car (a phrase he hates to hear girls say – don’t worry, I didn’t) but it was a fun ride! Along the way, I learned that Justin’s a bit of a car enthusiast, but thankfully, he’s not the kind of guy that wants to talk cars all night either. He’s smart enough to know better. ;)

When we arrived, we scouted out some dinner options and opted for a lighter meal at the nearby Jason’s Deli since we knew dessert at The Chocolate Bar had the potential to be deadly (Kim may have cautioned me on the potential for chocolate comas at that place).

Justin graciously paid (for both dinner and later dessert) and we sat down to chat while we ate. We talked nonstop about our hobbies and I learned that Justin, like so many of the other guys I’ve met of late, really enjoys cooking. Maybe I was just oblivious before, but I had no idea how many guys liked to cook! It’s awesome!

Justin’s favorite foods are all breakfast foods, including Swedish pancakes (kind of like crepes) and a breakfast loaf that sounds AMAZING! It’s basically a breakfast casserole of eggs, meat, vegetables, etc. cooked inside a hollowed 12” round sourdough bread loaf/bun that has been lined with various cheeses. Once filled, the bread is topped off with the roof of it, wrapped in foil and baked in the oven until the insides are cooked. The bread to make it in however is a bit harder to find in Houston than it is in the San Francisco area where his family lives. So I need the help of all you readers out there. If you know of a place in Houston where you can buy sourdough as described above, please let me know. I’ve gotta try this thing! :)

After dinner we headed over to The Chocolate Bar where were found – well, just about everything – dipped in chocolate. From nuts to fruit and cereal to chips – this place has got it all! I think we probably spent about 30 minutes just looking at everything they had to offer. It was incredible and we took a lot of pictures to share (see the end of the post).

Going in we knew that we wanted to try some unique concoctions and we weren’t disappointed. There are a few things The Chocolate Bar is known for – chocolate covered Twinkies, amazing cakes (nearly $10 for a slice!) and their Texas Brittle, which is a mixture of pretzels, pecans and Fritos (yep, you read that right) drizzled with chocolate. Something tells me it’s pretty amazing.

We decide though that trying all 3 of those things would be an overload so we went with a chocolate covered Twinkie (one of the most popular items), a chocolate covered Pringle (one of the strangest items) and a slice of Uncle Darryl’s Chocolate Cake. Now let me assure you that Uncle Darryl’s Chocolate Cake is no ordinary chocolate cake. It’s a 10-inch tall dream made up of “4 layers of moist, dark chocolate cake with heaps of chocolate mousse, toffee bits and chocolate chips between each layer, garnished with ‘melt in your mouth’ chocolate ganache.” If your mouth is watering now, just know it’s warranted. This cake was AMAZING! It was super sweet and we didn’t even come close to finishing the slice, which was about 5 inches thick, but it was incredible. We both agreed that the Twinkie was actually pretty astounding itself and the Pringle wasn’t too shabby either.

As I had suspected would be the case with Justin, conversation flowed all night. I never found myself bored with him, but instead was completely engaged in everything we talked about. I may have even grilled him quite a bit on some tough topics (don’t worry future dates, I haven’t done that to anyone else) and he was open, honest and vulnerable about it all. I really appreciated that about him. We had a real, true and sincere conversation about a number of things and the more I got to know him, the more I came to appreciate him for who he really is. He’s not the “shallow or superficial” person he appears to be on the outside. No, the real Justin loves chocolate, cooking and cars, is a complete gentleman, and like us all, he’s a bowl of mush in the middle. :)

At the end of the evening, Justin walked me to the door to say goodnight. As I imagine is the case with a number of guys we’ve approached about this project, he told me he had been hesitant to participate in a date that would result in a blog post, but I assured him he had nothing to worry about. I genuinely had nothing but glowing remarks to share about our outing and about him as a person. If you have the opportunity to get to know him, do, because behind the façade he’s a real gentleman and quite the catch!

** As you look through these pictures of some of our favorite items we found at The Chocolate Bar, keep in mind that they're all SOLID chocolate.**

They have kits for just about every profession around...
Cake topper anyone?
What would chocolate in Texas be without cowboys, boots and cows? :)

Some other tasty treats...

Just plain fun...

Some of that famous Texas Brittle I was telling you about...Fritos and all!
Though it's tough to tell in the picture, this bottle's about 16 inches tall and yep, it's SOLID. It's also $75...
Baked goodies - though I forgot to get a picture of all the different cheesecakes, too. Plenty of those to choose from, as well.

The non-chocolate portion of the store provided plenty of teeth rotting choices, too. :)

Day 17 - Kim & Josh G.

My cheeks hurt and my abs will probably be sore tomorrow, but laughing this much in one night is a sure sign of a successful date, no? It's my favorite way to burn calories! Just throwing that out there now...

Awkward date faces!
So, when Mauren said that Josh was game to participate in our little project, I decided that I wanted to take him out as one of my dates. I had heard such great things about him from Mauren that I knew he'd be fun. I was right...go me! Turns out, though, that classy, attractive, old-fashioned guys do the asking and planning, so I didn't end up asking Josh. Josh asked me. Turns out I'm a fan...lots less stress! :)

Josh asked to pick me up at 6pm and was even so on top of things as to give me a heads up on appropriate date attire, which I appreciated. Our activity was kept a surprise, but to be honest...I like not knowing. I love surprises...even the " date's 20 minutes early and he gets to meet me for the first time with wet hair!" (In his defense, he texted me to let me know he was early, which I may have misunderstood to mean that he would be in I still had a little time. Oops! Imagine my surprise when I heard the door bell ring.) I was real proud of myself when I did my hair in less than 10 minutes, though. :)

It became obvious to me that before I even met Josh, he was a gentleman to the core. He proved it even more throughout the evening. Here is a small list of his qualifiers...

1. He called me and asked me out.
2. He picked me up.
3. He complimented me on looking nice (even if a guy is's real nice to hear)
4. He opened doors.
5. He walked on the street side.
6. He said please, thank you, etc...his mom should be proud.
7. He was super friendly to everyone we met...he knows how to make everyone feel important. 
8. He offered his hand to help me over things...that was new for me, hence why it was one of my awkward   
    moments because I didn't realize he was offering until it was too late. My bad!
9. He always let me walk first in tight areas.
10. He planned and paid for it all. 

I could keep going, but you get the idea. So we were off to a destination unknown to me. As we drove, we got to know each other better and I felt comfortable right away...perhaps a little too comfortable...He pulled out a sillier side of me that usually wouldn't come out so soon. I felt a little bad for him. :) Turns out we have a lot in common though. We like the same books, we both love music, we like to laugh, etc., etc. 

We reached our destination, called the City Center, a place I had never been, but want to go back to. There were stores and restaurants galore, live music everywhere, and lots of people to watch. We went to eat at a place called Cyclone Anayas. It's a fancy Mexican food place with some amazing flautas. The restaurant was low lit and a little noisy, which made us a little concerned for our ability to communicate, but we did just fine. The people next to us might have heard our whole conversation, but I was still able to learn things about him, like...he's had Malaria, he's traveled to various places around the world on mission trips for his church, he loves to cook, and he likes seafood, especially sushi (his one major flaw). 

After dinner we went to Comedy Sportz, a small, improv comedy club where two teams of comedians go head to head in various improv challenges to earn points...kind of like the show Who's Line is it Anyways. Josh scored us front row seats and we prepared ourselves for a night of hilarity. They ask for a lot of audience participation and Josh was quick to throw out random ideas. I think I threw out one suggestion that got used... vacuum cleaner...guess you had to be there. :) The best part about the whole club was that it was hilarious and clean! If anyone, including audience members, says anything crude or uses profanity, they have to wear a paper bag over their heads for the rest of the night! I love when people can just be funny without being inappropriate. And they were! I haven't laughed so hard in a really long time! Josh kept grabbing his cheeks and saying how much they hurt. He warned me, he might not be able to talk to me on the way home to avoid any more smiling or laughing. (I tried to get out a few more laughs in the end for extra torture, though.) 

So when we got to half time, they did a little spiel about promotions, parties, etc. Then they pulled out some yellow cards that we could fill out with our info and what not to be put into a drawing for two free passes to the club. We decided to do it. One more spam email couldn't hurt, right? So I showed Josh my magic fold, which has been handed down to me from an amazing friend. (Thanks, Marianne!) There is a certain way to fold a paper that will increase its' chances of being drawn from a prize bucket. I'd share it with you, but then I'd have to kill you...I don't want that on my conscience. :) Since I have mastered the technique it has worked for me several times. I was confident in my fold, but Josh was a little skeptical. "You just have to have faith in the fold," I told him. So in our magically folded papers went and when they mixed them up, Josh thought for sure they wouldn't be picked. Then they drew the name...drum roll, please...(I tried to type a drum roll, but I'm at a complete loss.)...Kim..........La...Lar...Well, when they paused on my last name, I knew it was me! People have a rough time with that, but who cares! I won!!!! Woot, woot!! The magic fold prevails again and Josh has been converted to the ways of the fold! They brought me up on stage and pretended to take pictures of me. It was grand!

We finished out the night trying to hold our cheeks down to prevent further pain. I do have to mention my one other awkward moment in the parking lot...this is for you Josh... :) So there we were walking to the car and I may have forgot which car was his and I may have walked to the passenger side of the car next to us. As I took my walk of shame back around the other side of the car that wasn't his, Josh was standing there looking befuddled as he held open my door. We both got another laugh out of that one. :) When he drove me home, I was just happy to have had such a fabulous night with such an awesome guy! Our night ended with thank you's and a big hug at the garage...I don't use the front door. :) I got a thank you text a little later that said he'd contracted a laughter headache...that indicates success...I can handle that! :) Thanks, Josh!!

So I'm half way through this project and I can only hope my next 5 dates are as amazing as my first 5!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Day 16 - Becca & Gary

This next post is in memory of my friend, the former Amy Davies. (She isn't dead. . .just married) She taught me everything I know about disc golf and inspired this date. Thanks Amy! I will never forget you. (Again, she's not dead.) люблю тебя! :)

Hey Blog~

I know you're wondering how I spent my evening, and I'm gonna tell you. . . because I have to. Ha ha! Oh Blog, you know I'm kidding. :) Tonight. Was. Awesome! Disc Golf was meant to happen.

I was a little apprehensive to plan an outdoor activity because Houston weather is ridiculous. I woke up this morning and checked the weather report an was saddened to find that it was supposed to be rainy all day. Noooo! I continued to check it every few hours hoping it would change, but nothing did. I felt like I should just plan on the weather working out for me even though the forecast called for rain all day with a high of 85 degrees. Yuck! Then a miracle happened, just as I was getting my things together the clouds parted and the sun appeared. This was gonna be a good date. Yea!

I met up with Gary at the Disc Golf course at TC Jester park. This course was legit! Complete with 21 holes and N.D.G.A. approved. Neither of us had any real experience playing, so we "warmed up" for a few minutes and then decided that we would blame any poor shots on the wind. Boy oh boy was it windy!

I didn't know a lot about Gary before meeting him today. I had seen him at a few church functions, but we go to different congregations so any type of meeting is completely random. Basically I knew that he was from Oregon and looked cute with facial hair. Apparently that's enough for me to ask you out. I am sure happy I did. :)

As we attempted to get the discs into the baskets, without hitting any runners or cars, we got to know the basics about one another. He works IT for an oil company and has been in Houston for 4 years. We agreed that we both miss mountains, but that Houston has a lot of perks. Being with Gary was just fun. By the time we had reached the second basket I had almost forgotten that we didn't know each other 20 minutes earlier.

Now it's story time. So there we were at hole #4. . . I had read about this hole on the web site and everyone said it was the one they looked forward to playing. As we approached the starting platform I noticed that the basket was on the other side of a bayou. Gary and I looked at each other. "Maybe we should skip this one." he said. In my head I knew he was right. Our skill level was well below what was necessary to clear that bayou, especially with the wind factor, but my pride kicked in. "We can do it!" I replied. I was wrong. I grabbed my disc, got in position and threw it as hard as I could. Alas, that blasted wind caught it and my disc went crashing into the water.

Gary had better luck and his first attempt landed on the concrete. We headed down the steep slope to retrieve his frisbee and find mine.Unfortunately mine was on the other side of the creek. So Gary threw his disc across the water and we headed to the other side of the bayou. Once there, Gary threw his disc up the hill and I plunged into the nasty bayou after my blue frisbee. I found it! I didn't mean to get as wet as I did. The sides were just so slippery. Gary helped me out of the water and we set off to find his disc that he had just thrown into the tall grass. Easier said than done. One would think that a bright pink frisbee would stand out in green grass, but it didn't. After we had been looking for about 10 minutes Gary said, "would now be a good time to tell you I'm color blind?" I almost started crying I was laughing so hard. Needless to say, the grass won. The pink frisbee is lost and gone forever... Or till the city decides to mow that area.

We played 9 holes and called it a game. As punishment for loosing his driver, Gary had to use his putter the rest of the time. That ended up being a blessing. He was way more accurate with it. Ha! As we walked back to the car we talked about life in general. I had a lot of fun getting to know Gary. Tonight was quite the adventure.

The end! :)

Good Night Blog!


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Day 15 - Mauren & Guy

Tonight I had my first official blind date! I had never met, talked to or seen “Guy” as he asked to be called, so this was a new adventure to me.

Guy works with Josh, a guy I dated in high school and who you’ll soon meet as Kim’s date this Friday night. I went to lunch with Josh last week and asked if he knew anyone I could go out with for this little project. Josh and I had of course been out before so he didn’t qualify to be one of my dates, but there’s no reason he couldn’t provide a referral! He mentioned his co-worker, Guy, and after a few emails back and forth explaining why I was a random girl contacting him for a date, he agreed to participate.

We had decided to go bowling for the evening and met at a local alley just a few minutes from my office. As I pulled into the AMC Woodlands Lanes I noticed a guy walking across the parking lot in a blue striped polo. I thought to myself “hey, he’s cute, maybe that could be him!” But I was pretty sure that wasn’t the case. I mean I didn’t know anything about the person I was meeting, but I knew he was shy and that I was the first girl to ever ask him out, so I was pretty sure it couldn’t be the confident, good looking guy I’d seen in the parking lot.

I was pleasantly surprised however to find parking lot man standing in the center aisle of the bowling alley waiting for ME! You can be sure I made a mental note to thank Josh. :)

After exchanging a quick greeting we headed to the main desk to rent a lane…except for the fact that it was league night so every lane in the place had been reserved. Awesome, I thought. I knew they had league night on Mondays, Wednesdays, too??

I probably would have been more disappointed in the crushing of my plan but I had already a backup in mind should we run into the issue of bowling league monopoly – we would go bowling at Main Event instead!

We headed over to our backup plan, only to find that all the lanes were taken at Main Event, too!! Seriously?? It’s Wednesday night people. What on earth are all of you doing out and about, taking up all the local bowling alleys?? We were told it would be at least an hour before a lane was ready and after a quick discussion of other possible date ideas in the area, we voted to scout out dessert at Red Robin (which shares a parking lot with Main Event) and wait out our hour enjoying one another’s company.

We quickly ordered drinks as we decided what we wanted to order, but in the end, we talked so much we never placed an order for food, despite the poor waiter’s attempts on several occasions!

One of our topics of discussion was about cooking. Last year, Guy decided to venture into the world of cooking and found that his favorite thing to do was invent new desserts. He told me about his most popular concoction that involves chocolate, peanut butter and bananas. People have actually paid him to make this dessert for them! He gave me permission to share it with all of you so for your mouth watering pleasure…here it is (pictures provided by Guy).

Guy started by making a double layer of Oreo crust using the mixes from two different Jello No-Bake boxes (Peanut Butter Cup No Bake and Oreo No Bake) and then slicing two bananas length wise and placing them on the mixture. Then, for the sake of making it “gushy,” he poured Hershey’s chocolate syrup between the bananas, topped it off with the peanut butter cup mixture (as directed on the box) and added the chocolate topping that comes with the box, as well. He put that in the fridge for about an hour so it would harden and then topped it off with Nilla wafers and banana pudding. That’s it. In his words “you can’t fit no more stuff.” He recommends letting it sit for 24 hours to turn the Nilla wafers soft and achieve the ultimate perfection. With a combination like that, it’s gotta be good! I just might have to try this one…

In addition to his newly found cooking fetish, I learned that Guy is really dedicated to his education. Though he’s slightly older than me, he’s just starting school at the local college. He didn’t really have the opportunity to do so earlier in life due to various circumstances so he’s taking advantage of it now that he has a chance and I really admire that. Good for him!

After we had filled up on water and passed the hour at Red Robin, we returned to Main Event where we finally managed to get a lane. As we put on our shoes, he admitted that he had been in a bowling league when he was younger…awesome. Now you have to understand that I’m not exactly pro when it comes to bowling. I’m not completely terrible either, but unless I’m Wii bowling, it’s kind of a big deal for me to break 100. As we started our first game, it was clear by his “bowling form” that he knew what he was doing. Needless to say, he thoroughly whooped me.

I had planned a little twist on for our 2nd game of bowling and though he wasn’t up for trying it out this time around (it may have involved some possible embarrassment in public, but fun, too!!) we had a good time – even if he did kick my trash.

All in all, I was grateful to have met someone new and enjoyed a successful first blind date. Thanks Guy for being brave enough to participate in our project and accept a strange request from some random girl who works down the street from you.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Day 14 - Jessica & Jared

Last week I was at work and a delightful patient came to my desk. We started chit chatting as she filled out various paperwork and I realized she was a member of my church. She asked me about life in the singles ward and I told her about this dating project. Then she asked me if I knew her son, and it turns out not only do I know him, but he was on my list of potential guys to ask out on a date!

So with his mom's blessing, I texted Jared on Sunday and asked him out for tonight. (Please excuse my last minute asking, I keep thinking I have plenty of time before the next date and then before I know it I'm scrambling at the last minute. Thank goodness for easy-going guys who are so willing to help me out!!) I was upfront about what I had in mind, dinner and Bingo. I gave him four choices of cuisine, and he happened to pick the one that I secretly wanted SO MUCH, so bonus points for him right off the bat!

Jared was nice enough to come pick me up from my house, which isn't a close drive from where he lives. We then drove 30 minutes to where the restaurant and Bingo hall were located. He looked nice in his button up shirt, and smelled the way boys should smell on a date. Conversation had an easy back-and-forth as we asked each other the standard questions about work, school, and family. Interestingly, Jared has only brothers. I can't remember talking about TR's siblings, but besides that all 3 of my other dates have ONLY brothers, which is especially funny because I'm one of 5 girls. What are the odds? The conversation continued to be easy breezy throughout dinner. We ate at my favorite Vietnamese restaurant (I may or may not be dealing with an addiction to Pho right now, don't judge.) Jared picked up the check without even hesitating, which was so nice and appreciated.

We then drove to the Bingo hall. I wasn't sure what to expect, but the idea of playing Bingo has always seemed so funny to me, and this place delivered. It was hilarious, in a totally awkward, horrible, cigarette-smoke filled way! It was a big warehouse with old, mismatched tables and chairs everywhere. The people there were mostly older, with kind of sad dispositions, just randomly scattered about the tables with very little socialization happening.

There were also tables FULL of junk at the front of the hall. Stuff that I can't even imagine would fit in at most Goodwills, but it all had price tags. I was sorely tempted by the pictured doll, but Jared's fear of scary dolls kept me from making that particular purchase. It wouldn't be kind to scare the bajeezus out of my nice date, right?

Jared bought lots of Bingo cards for us and we found seats as far away from smokers as we could, then spread out the cards and were ready to go! Except we weren't. It turned out we had no idea what we were doing. We were frantically using our "dobbers" (I think that's what they're called?) and trying to keep up with the caller, only to be told that it was a warm up game and we weren't even supposed to be playing yet. Round two we were still marking everything that came up and feeling frazzled the whole time. Finally on round 3 we figured out that we only needed to mark a number if it was part of the winning formation for that round, and from that point on we settled into an easy routine

As person after person around us won, I was shocked and appalled at the lack of enthusiasm. People just casually held up their hands, don't mind that a Bingo worker would shortly come verify their win and then plunk down anywhere from $150-$750 CASH right in front of them. The winners weren't even smiling! I tried to get some enthusiastic clapping and cheering going once, but apparently Bingo is serious business and there's no place for frivolity. Jared and I agreed that if we won anything, there would be some serious dancing, shouting, and cheering happening but alas out of all of our cards not even one had a winning BINGO.

We left without winning any money, but can you really put a price on good food, great company, and another great memory for the books? Also, as a bonus, my hair and clothes have a lingering smell of cigarettes and garage sale that I consider an awesome date souvenir. ;-)

 Seriously, I had a great time tonight. I already knew Jared was a good guy, but I was so happy to get to know him even better. I really appreciate his good attitude about everything, and him being such a gentlemen, and his awesome truck. Also, he has pretty great taste in music. I'll end this post with a song that we mutually love (this one's for you Jared, to prove I watched the video, haha). This is Jessica, signing out. Good night to all of you out there!

Day 13 - Becca & Johnny

Hey Blog,

My fingers, wrists, and forearms are dying right now! Every little punch on the keyboard sends a shooting pain up my arm. OUCH! This entry may have to be short. I know, I know, I did this to myself. My bad!

Tonight's date plans changed due to weather, but I think it was meant to be. Johnny and I met up around 6:30pm and set off for our rock climbing adventure. I have known Johnny for a few years now, and knew that he had to be one of my 10 dates. He is so laid back and chill, it calms me down just being around him. The first thing that really stood out to me when I met Johnny was how kind he is. He has a knack for finding the people who really need a friend and making them feel included. That could mean sitting by them, or just asking how they are and then really listening to the answer. He's the kind of person that makes you want to be better. I knew this date was going to be great.

Finding things to talk about with Johnny required no effort at all. He is in school to be an occupational therapist. He's so patient and encouraging, this job was made for him. On the way to the rock wall we stopped by the best little taco trailer in Houston. It was so good. I am not one to eat spicy food at all, (I just can't deal with food causing pain) but this place is worth it. Johnny even got to use his mad Spanish skills to order. I don't know why he would choose chicharo when there was some perfectly good fajita meat there, but to each their own. :)

After filling up on delicioso tacos we were on our way to the rock wall. To my surprise, Johnny had never been to a rock wall before. I thought that maybe this would give me some kind of advantage, but I was wrong. He scaled those walls like a monkey. It didn't even look hard. Well. . . not till I tried. So there I was, in black spandex, my favorite tie-dye shirt, and one unflattering harness. I started to rethink the whole idea of climbing as a date activity. He would be potentially looking up at my harnessed derriere as I desperately clung to the wall. Why did that ever seem appealing? Then I remembered who I was with, and focused on conquering the wall using all colors of the rainbow.  

We coached and cheered each other up the walls. It was great helping each other succeed and dodging one another when we lost our grips and came swinging down. After about 5 walls my fingers and arms were done. Of course that meant that Johnny was just getting started free climbing the boulders. This kid was a natural! He continued to climb around as I changed, and we got in the car.

I feel like we could have talked about anything. Our discussion on the drive home was a little more serious as we talked about our hang ups with dating, and what we hope to change to be better daters. He was exactly the person I needed to be with tonight. He helped bring things into perspective. What a wonderful man! Thanks Johnny! You "rock"ed my world! (Get it?. . ."rock" wall. . .oh whatever.)

Peace out, Blog!


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Day 12 - Kim & Ivan

It's Kim...again...that's right, date number 4! Do the math people...that's 4 dates in 10 days! Who does that?? Oh!

Well, as of 9pm Saturday night, I had finally figured out what I wanted to do for this rare Sunday date, but I was still dateless and our project's success was in jeopardy. I was starting to panic, but Ivan saved the day and our project! 

When I first saw Ivan at church, there was something very familiar about this cute, abnormally tall Mexican. That same familiarity struck me again when I heard the did I know him?? Then I finally caught his name and the bell was struck...he was the brother of an old friend. These brothers may sound like and have the same last name as a well known character in a movie involving a man in a black mask and a Sicilian. It's adorable! Anyways, I asked Ivan out for a Sunday morning picnic in the park and thank goodness he said yes!

I researched parks in The Woodlands and discovered the Tom Green Park, which is very close to the church where we would be heading right after our little jaunt. I had no idea that this little gem was there, even though I frequent the pavilion that it's behind. I was worried about what a park date might be like with Houston's unpredictable weather. I was hoping for the best, but was ready for a coldish, gray morning. However, when I got ready and walked!!!! The sun was out, the air was warm, and the birds were chirping...for real! This made the whole idea of a Sunday park date way more exciting.  I agree with Jessica when she said that Heavenly Father is helping us out on this project. It was quite the tender mercy!

So, I had asked Ivan if there was anything that he couldn't eat.  There were just two things...shellfish and peanut butter. That ruled out my famous peanut butter shrimp muffins, so I settled on making some cinnamon crunch and lemon poppy seed muffins. I also got some strawberries, blackberries, star fruit, and juice boxes.  We decided to meet at the church around 10am and he drove us from there to the park. 

I would describe Ivan as joyful. He's just happy and it's contagious! I love his laugh. We did a lot of that during our time together. As we drove to the park, which took a little longer because I may have confused left and right, we talked easily and merrily. How could we help it on such a gorgeous day? When we got to the park, we were impressed by the size and beauty of the park. There was a huge green field filled with soft grass you just wanted to put your feet in. We might have...and it was fantastic! We laid out our blanket in the middle of the field and ate our little breakfast. I just couldn't get over how nice it was, literally the perfect Sabbath morning. We ate, talked, laughed and contemplated what it would be like if Houston was always this nice. 

After we ate, we found one of the reasons I had picked this park. On the website, it said that there was a children's labyrinth full of giant books depicting Aesop's fables. I couldn't pass that up! We asked a couple if they knew where it was, but they were clueless, despite having come to the park for over 10 years. Turns out it was right next to us! We set out through the little labyrinth and read some very interesting tales. I think my favorite was The Farmer and the Donkey. Here is the brief synopsis...Farmer- over influenced by others, which leads to...son on donkey, farmer on donkey, donkey on farmer, donkey in river. I love good literature! 

We continued our talking and strolling along the waterway. Ivan said he'd pay me 5 dollars to jump in a catch a duck. As tempting as that was, I refrained even when he said that that was enough to buy a cheeseburger. I really had to hold myself back after that! :) We sat by the waterway and spent the last bit of our time together talking and enjoying the weather. It was such a nice way to start the Sabbath. I really loved my first ever Sunday date, especially because it happened with such a charming and funny Mexican! And although he didn't bring me flowers, he brought me to the flowers, which was just as wonderful! Thanks, Ivan!

I have a little break now, but will rejoin the dating world on Friday! See you then!