Friday, March 16, 2012

Day 30 - Becca & Brad

What's up, Blog?!

I know you weren't planning on hearing from me today because I have a date tomorrow, but Mauren is still in Orlando and offered me Thursday's date night! YES! So you have the blessed opportunity to hear from me TWO nights in a row. Be excited! This is a first in Becca History. Not only do I have more than one date in a week, but they are in a row. Life is good!

Because this was a little unexpected I didn't have a date or a plan. I started thinking about men who would be up for a fun night on the town, and remembered that Brad had mentioned that he wanted to participate. Score! When I finally tracked him down he not only said yes, but he wanted to plan it. Yea!

Brad showed up with a dozen roses in hand. I finally had a reason to use my cute owl vase. I put the flowers in water and we headed off to my favorite mini golf course. Now this isn't just your typical hole in the wall golf course, no, it comes complete with go-carts, bumper boats, a sign that says "BAM! IT'S PARTY TIME!", and even batting cages for when you've just gotta hit something. This is a contender for my next birthday party location. . . I digress. . . back to the date.

The playing field was pretty level as Brad and I walked up to our first hole. Brad hadn't played in a while and my golfing abilities were based 50% on the weather and 50% on luck. This was gonna be good. The rules suggested that if you don't make it in 6 strokes, just write a "6" and move on to the next hole. That suggestion was heeded more than once. :) As we walked around the course we talked and got to know each other a little more. I have known Brad form church and he's always been a soft spoken, good hearted guy. Little did I know that he was also a fan of 90's music. Me too! But who DOESN'T like *NSYNC? Come on?! My personal highlight from the game was hole #13 where I putted a hole in one! (I told you it was all about luck.) We ended the game with very similar scores. On paper I beat him by a few points, but I didn't count the re-dos. . .we'll call it a tie.

We turned in our clubs and headed to a little mom and pop's Italian restaurant by the course. The bread sticks were amazing! I learned a lot about Brad in our few hours together. There is a lot to this guy. He is the baby of the family, likes rocks, and paints. All cool things. After dinner he took me to Barnes and Noble where we showed each other our favorite books. Of course I headed over to the children's section and read him one of my favorite children's books. Afterwards he took me to the   sci-fi section to introduce me to some new authors. It was fun learning what he was interested in and add some "must reads" to my endless list of books to read.

At 10:00 the books store closed and we headed home. Brad was a real gentleman. I didn't have to open one door the entire night. His mother should be proud. I had a great time.

Well Blog. . .I guess I'll talk to you tomorrow!:)


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Day 29 - Jessica & Adam

Adam was the first boy (man? Please excuse my tangent, but when exactly will I feel comfortable calling my peers men and women??) that I asked to be my date back when all this craziness was in the works. He didn't wait to hear the explanations about the project, all I got out was, "Adam, will you go on a date with me for..." and he cut in with, "Yes!" I then explained the project and he was still enthusiastic and willing. He wanted to wait to be one of the last dates, which worked out really well since I've been feeling a little burnt out. It was so nice to know that date #8 was already locked and loaded.

I've known Adam for about eight months now. We work together, and actually started at our company on the same day. It took a little while for us to become friends, but thank goodness we made it happen because Adam makes every day that I work a little brighter and better. I've been looking forward to spending time together outside of work, and Adam didn't disappoint.

While I was waiting for Adam to arrive tonight, (he insisted on picking me up from my house instead of meeting at the office, the first of MANY kind and thoughtful things from tonight!) I got a flash of nervousness. I think I know Adam pretty well, but the first time you see someone in an unfamiliar setting can be nerve-wracking. I shouldn't have worried. This was one of the best of the bunch as far as the dating project dates go.

Adam rang my doorbell and I answered to see him holding a beautiful bouquet of cheerful, long-stemmed sunflowers for me.
(My mom cut the stems before she transferred them to a vase.) I hear there are girls out there that don't like getting flowers, and I'd just like to say to them, I DON'T GET YOU! Flowers just seem so thoughtful and my heart sings a little each and every time I get any, be it a single flower picked from a field or an elaborate store-bought bouquet.

After setting the flowers in a safe place, Adam and I officially began our evening together. Long ago, Adam indicated that he wanted to be the one to take charge and plan our date together, and I was happy to give him the reins. He told me in the car that he wanted to eat at a good sushi place he knew of. Honestly, I felt apprehensive about the idea, but I put a smile on my face and told him I was game! I'm so glad I did, even though Adam told me later he had a back up plan if I had said no (Do girls really do that? Say no to an idea when a boy suggests it for a date and has obviously put some thought into it?) The restaurant we went to had a great atmosphere and the food was really delicious. Adam was kind enough to share his spicy tuna and california rolls with me, and I'm a little surprised to be able to say that I really liked both of them. Enough that I plan to go back and order the full servings of them myself. Thank you Adam for FINALLY inducting me into the cool kids' club of sushi lovers. I've been on the outside sadly looking in for many years now.

Adam revealed that he wanted to eat sushi for irony's sake, because the second part of the evening he had planned was a trip to the Aquarium in downtown Houston! The aquarium is home to several interesting fish, reptiles, birds and even tigers. Adam and I were fascinated by the sheer number of sea creatures, and how different and beautiful all of the fish and various other creatures were. We got to pet sting rays, small sharks and star fish. We went through the whole aquarium once then felt compelled to go backwards and see everything again. Whoever's heavenly assignment it is to design colors, patterns and shapes of fish must love their job. They're sure an amazing artist! ;-)

(Please excuse what my closest friends refer to as my "Crazy Eyes" in this picture. It's bad, I know, but I feel like I had to include the picture anyway)

Now to rave about Adam himself for just a little while. I just really enjoy his company SO much. He is smart, witty, thoughtful (as in kind and also as in contemplative) and complimentary. I was happy to see that those qualities that he displays on a daily basis translated and were even magnified outside of work. It's obvious in his mannerisms and conversation that he appreciates and respects women, and I noticed and greatly appreciated how "present" he was for this date. It was more than just helping me with my project, he put real thought and attention into our time together, which was evident both in his planning and during the date. Being around Adam helps me to feel confident, interesting, funny, smart, and valuable. There are people out there that when you spend time with them, your own best qualities are amplified naturally. He is one of those people.

As for our conversations tonight, we couldn't avoid talking about work a little, but we caught ourselves and quickly moved on to bigger and better topics. Adam asked several thought provoking questions, and gave equally thought provoking answers when I was the one asking questions. He (of course) has a brother and no sisters. (p.s. did I mention Gary from the other night also only has a brother?The trend continues...) The nice thing about going on a first date with someone you already know and have established a relationship with is that you have a foundation to dig in to the nitty gritty parts of each others' lives. Adam and I have good conversations almost daily at work, but in this setting I especially enjoyed getting to know him on a deeper level.

Adam recently accepted a job offer in another state. While I am so happy for him to move into a new and exciting phase of his life, I am sad to see him leave. I'll miss working with him and talking to him on a regular basis. And now that I know how great he is outside of work, the loss is felt even more. Adam, if you're reading this, thank you for being a great coworker and WAY more importantly, my friend. And thank you so much for this wonderful evening together. You are just plain good people, and an exceptional man (Typing that instead of boy felt slightly less weird than I thought it would, lol), and I will miss you. K.I.T., okay? Okay!

So there you have it folks, Date Eight was most definitely a smashing success and I had a great time. Do you have it in you to read about two more? I sure hope so! Goodnight!

Why pay for pictures when you can just take a picture of them with your own camera!

Day 28 - Kim & Scott S.

Date 8...check!
Last minute save...check!
Super fun...check and check!

Much like Jessica, I was a little behind in finding a date for Tuesday night. In fact, I was on the verge of using a little photoshop action and fabricating an amazing date with, I don't know, Jude Law. I had sent out Facebook messages and texts to several guys that I had never even met with no luck. (Side note- I sent Facebook messages and texts to random guys...the Kim from 27 days ago wouldn't be caught dead doing that! This project may have created a monster!) 

Back to the story...
Luckily, Gavin (Date #1 of this project) saved the day! I sent him a Facebook message early in the morning pleading for a little help in finding someone and  around 5 p.m., when all hope seemed lost, I got a call. "I have good news! A buddy of mine, who is a med student, is ready and willing to go!" "Yes!" So I got Scott's info and gave him a call. After talking to Scott, the stress of trying to find someone and figure out last minute where to go, disappeared. He was so nice and laid back. I knew we'd have a good time doing whatever. He lives downtown near the medical center, so we decided to meet in the middle at Dave and Buster's...where an adult can be a kid! This is like the grown up version of Chuck E Cheese! Neither of us had been and I've been dying to play a little ski ball, so it seemed the perfect option. 

A little rodeo traffic and an accident delayed us a bit, but we finally met up and went in to have dinner before we played. Unlike Chuck E Cheese, Dave and Buster's has real food. There was a 20 minute wait, so we decided to sit and get to know each other. Our conversation flowed easily as we talked about our families, medical school, interests, etc. Scott is the baby of 5 kids, all of which are married with at least two kids. So he has a plentiful amount of nieces and nephews. He is in his first year of med school and from what I can tell (not that he said so), he's an extremely smart guy without the least bit of cockiness. He is dedicated to his studies and I admire him a lot for that! My mother always wanted me to be a doctor...I always laughed. :)

We finally got seated and ordered our food, which was really good by the way. Sorry, no pictures, but I was super impressed with my chicken sandwich! Our conversation continued naturally throughout dinner and I felt like Scott and I were instant friends. I learned that he's done theater and musicals and that he loves Wicked. Bonus! He even did a local commercial in Utah when he was little! He's also run a marathon...sick (and I mean that in the best way)! We continued talking for awhile after we finished eating and then decided we better go play some games before it got too late. He paid for dinner (thanks again, Scott!) and then we set off to explore. 

We got our power card and set off to find ski ball. If I ever have an excessive amount of money that I have to spend on making my home awesome, I'd get a ski ball machine. Just saying. We played a couple of rounds, both winning one and amassing our first batch of tickets. Then, we tried out a virtual roller coaster machine. It was ridiculous! I wish I had a video of us because I'm sure we sounded like little kids. You sit in the special seats, there are fans blowing on you, and the chairs are shaking and moving all over the place. We were giggling like 5 year olds! This machine might need to be next to my ski ball machine. :)

We wandered and played random games for a bit longer until our card finally ran out. It was late and I'm sure already past Scott's dedicated med student bedtime, so we went to cash in our tickets and go. Unfortunately, we stood in the wrong line and had no desire to stand in another, so we gave up on the piece of candy we might have gotten with our piddly amount of tickets. (All of the people around us had hundreds of was insane!) We decided to give our tickets to the first ticketless kid we found. He didn't want to take them at first (obviously he'd been taught not to take things from strangers...good job mom and dad!), but his older teenagers brothers convinced him otherwise. :) After our ticket contribution, we parted ways with a hug and our new friendship! What fun! Thanks, Scott for saving the project!

Well folks, I only have two first dates left, which is thrilling! Not because I want to stop dating, but I will not be sad to kiss blogging goodbye for a good, long while! Until next time!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Day 27 - Jessica & Gary D.

So, I may or may not have hit a wall right before tonight's date. Up to this point, I've been pretty enthusiastic about this whole project, but for some reason (having nothing to do with the previous 6 dates, which have all been really great) my brain just decided to stop functioning and go into denial about the fact that I still have 4 more dates to go. Which is why as of this morning I still didn't have a date planned, or anyone to go with. I know, yikes. Miraculously, I was able to conjure a date pretty much out of thin air in the 12th hour, thanks to a friend I was texting who is now officially my guardian angel, who contacted a friend of theirs named Gary. He was thankfully available and willing to go out tonight!

Gary is proof that with the right personality, very little planning is necessary to have a great time. He picked me up at my house and much to my surprise had a cheerful, bright, beautiful bouquet of flowers for me. (Not bad for just a couple of hours advanced notice, not bad at all!) I invited him in so I could find a poor-man's-vase for the flowers (aka cheap plastic water pitcher) and he quickly and easily struck up a conversation with my parents. No joke, it was as if he'd known them for a decade. I felt kind of bad tearing him away from his new found friends, but eventually I stepped in and kindly suggested maybe it was time for us to hit the town. He half jokingly suggested we make it a double date. Good thing Gary is hilarious and likable, his joke was taken in the good fun it was intended.

We headed up to The Woodlands for Main Event's Monday night deal, where you can have unlimited access to all The Fun for cheap. Unfortunately, good deal plus Spring Break meant the place was packed so we went in long enough for a bathroom break and a quick picture, then came up with a plan B. We decided to drive the short distance to the mall area, where there is a small river with a walking path along it. On our way there, Gary's phone rang and when he picked it up to silence it, he saw it was his mom calling. Being the nice boy he is, he couldn't very well ignore her call so he answered to say hello. I couldn't let him get away with befriending my parents and not return the favor, so I asked to say hi. Gary's mom and I chatted for about 10 minutes, and she gave me some great dating advice. It went something like this, "Don't go fishing in the toilet and then be upset when you catch a turd." So true. (by the by, Hi to Gary's mom if you're reading this! It was so nice to talk to you!)

The rain that has plagued us the last few days finally cleared up this evening, so it was a beautiful night for a walk along the water. We happened upon a hot dog stand serving a great casual dinner. We chatted away as we took in all the pretty lights and fountains. I don't know what it is about Gary, but our easy banter made this last minute date feel like I was with someone I've known for years and years. He wasn't afraid to tease or be teased, but was still a gentleman to his core, complete with opening my doors almost 100% consistently all night.

The two highlights of our casual stroll, besides the laughter and conversation, were both animal related. One, this statue of two moosen sniffing each other in some sort of mating ritual. (They might have actually been deer, but I prefer moosen, so moosen they shall be).

The second highlight was when Gary stopped in his tracks while I was obliviously blathering away. I caught a glimpse of the 6 year old boy he once was, probably with a little dirt smudged on his cheek and rubberbands and rocks in his pockets, when he yelled out, "Look, a little turtle!" Sure enough, there was the smallest turtle I've ever seen just sitting in the middle of the walking path. After taking pictures, Gary carefully set the turtle off to the side where he wouldn't get trampled. As our evening together wound down and we headed back to the car, Gary once again interrupted me to sadly say, "man, I wish I could have kept that turtle." Boys will always be boys, I guess. ;-)

My evening with Gary was just what I needed to push through to the end of the 40 Dates project. Once again, it's so good to know how many funny, smart, kind, good men are out there, even when I'm too tired and grouchy to even really be on the lookout for them. Bring on the last 3 dates, I can't wait!

Day 26 - Becca & Joe

Dear Blog,

Can I just say that this whole project has totally rocked my world?! It has. As amazing as the guys have been, I am exhausted! It's crazy to put yourself out there multiple times a week, plan a fun date, go out with people who are basically strangers, and then BLOG about the whole experience. I am out of my league.  And it's only halfway over! Thank goodness today's date was such a sweetheart!

My original plans were to go to Austin, but due to weather and the grace of God, those plans changed. :)

I decided around 10:00pm that Austin wasn't going to happen and then it hit me. . . I didn't have a date for Sunday. Oy Vey! It didn't take too long for Joe to come to my aid and save me and the dating project. My hero! :)

I knew Joe from church but had only talked to him once prior to our date. He a quiet kinda guy that could easily fly under the radar, but totally handsome with a great smile and west coast style. I was a little nervous that because of his seemingly shy nature, I was going to have to do most of the talking. That was not the case.

We met up after church and set off for the lake. The weather in Houston had been stormy all weekend, but it let up just enough for Joe and me to unload my car and head to the park's gazebo. Once there we set up the easels (music stands), the canvases, the paints, and started to let out our inner artists. I was so excited for this date and today was the perfect day for it. Once we had set up the rain started up again. The sound of the rain on the roof of the gazebo in addition to the classical music coming from the IPOD created quite the relaxed atmosphere. Perfect for getting to know someone. 

I was surprised how easy Joe was to talk to. He had some awesome and thought provoking questions, and I can honestly say I learned a bit about myself as I answered. His responses were equally interesting and I was coming to see that there was more than meets the eye with this quiet guy I'd seen around. Joe has moved around a lot, but did most of his growing up in California. I knew that he was into astronomy, (that was the topic of conversation from our one exchange prior to the date) but was happy to find out that he is getting his degree in Anthropology. How cool is that?! I love knowing what makes other cultures tick.

We continued to talk as we painted. He took a more literal approach to painting his surrounding, while I took the idea of rain drops and then added some color. . . basically polka dots was as artsy as I was gonna get today. As the rain let up the park came to life with people fishing, boys jumping in the lake, and families walking around the gazebo trying to figure out what we were up to. I almost wished I had on a black beret and a little mustache.

After we had finished our masterpieces, (I think they turned out pretty good) we packed up and headed home. Joe was completely helpful putting things away and even offered to take the chair back to the church building. I really felt like he had invested himself into the date and not just his time. It was really nice. It was my pleasure getting to know Joe today. Not only did he save the project, but he brought some new life back into it as well. The second half of the 40 days is off to a good start.

That's all folks/Blog!


Day 25 - Mauren & Danny

*Due to an uncooperative Blogspot, all images tonight are at the bottom of the post.*

Hurray for Saturday dates! I really love the freedom that comes with them – so many more options for activities. However, I will definitely say that if there’s one thing I’ve learned from this whole experience (don’t worry, I’ve learned more), it’s that you can still go out on fun dates during the week. Saturdays are just a little easier. :)

Today I went out with Danny, another guy I know from church and had a fantastic time! We had discussed doing a lunchtime date and were settling on an activity when Danny suggested we go to a shooting range to shoot handguns. I was STOKED!!!

It’s actually something I’ve wanted to try for a long time, which probably sounds strange to most people that know me, but I blame it on Doug Hayes. His daughter, Amanda, was a roommate of mine at BYU. One weekend we planned a trip up to visit her family in Boise, where her dad introduced me to bacon-wrapped jalapenos (amazing!!), 4-wheeling and shotgun shooting. I loved it! I’ve been skeet shooting three times but had never used a handgun and I was thrilled at the chance to do so!

We planned to go out for lunch before the shooting range, so Danny picked me up and we headed to Los Cucos, a local Mexican restaurant. The conversation flowed easily and surprisingly took a spiritual turn as we talked about various aspects of the Gospel. Danny’s been a member of the LDS church for nearly 3 years now and has demonstrated a dedication and understanding of the principles taught therein that is sometimes hard to find even in a lifelong member and I really admire that. It’s something that is extremely important to me and it’s always nice to find young men who feel the same way. Though I had observed it in his behavior before, I was happy to hear that commitment in his words, too.

Danny kindly paid for lunch and we headed to a local shooting range he found online called Spring Guns and Ammo. Along the way we got to talking about something we mutually love – dogs. Danny can’t wait to own a home so he can have one and I can’t wait to someday live close enough to where I work so that I can responsibly own one. We also learned that we’re both pretty partial to the kind of dogs we grew up with – he would love to have a dachshund and I would love to own a maltapoo (maltese and poodle mix). We shared some of our fondest memories and characteristics of each, and I found it incredible how much animals influence our lives.

When we arrived at the shooting range, we put our name on the waiting list and spent the next 30 minutes or so looking around the store at various types of guns and accessories. My “gun knowledge” is pretty limited, so it was all pretty new to me.

We approached one of the counters as we waited, where an employee showed us various pistols and talked to us about their concealed handgun-licensing course (cheapest in town by the way). As we talked, the salesman learned that it was the first time either of us had visited their location and to our surprise, gave us a certificate for us to shoot during our time slot for FREE!! Now, going shooting was pretty exciting to me, but going for free was even better!!!

After receiving the certificate, we continued to wander as Danny educated me on the various gun types and uses. One of my favorite sites of our visit to the storeroom floor was the “old lady” (her words, not mine) holding a Tommy gun (think Dick Tracey). The store was full of men and an occasional young woman, but to see an older lady holding a Tommy gun like she did was a site to behold! I leaned over to Danny and said in what I thought was a quiet whisper, “Now THAT I would love to get a picture of!” She must have heard me though because she then asked if I wanted to get a picture of her holding it! Though slightly hesitant, I couldn’t resist the opportunity so, for your viewing pleasure, I present the secretary of a local church holding a gun that looks more out of place on her anyone else I could have found in the store. Enjoy, I know I did. :)

When it was our turn to shoot, Danny purchased an extra target and we went to our assigned lane to get set up. Danny was very patient as he taught me how to safely and properly load and use the gun. It gave a little more kickback than I was expecting at first, but I quickly got use to it and really enjoyed it. We took turns shooting the targets, had a few friendly competitions and overall had a fantastic time. I really had a blast and was so glad that Danny was there to experience it with me. Thanks, Danny!

Well, that wraps up date number 7 for me. I can’t believe we’re almost done! Just two weeks remain before we finish the initial dates and then we’ll open up voting for who you think we should each go out with a second time. I’m excited to see what the results are and who our readers think is the best match for each of us, so be thinking about your favorites. We hope you’ll stick with us ‘til the end!

So apparently I can't point and look at the camera at the same time, but I was supposed to be pointing to the shot near the orange dot. That was mine!
 Shooting like a pro!