Saturday, March 24, 2012

Day 38 - Kim & JJ

When 2012 started, I wrote a bucket list for the year of 30 things (in homage to 30 years of life) that I wanted to accomplish by the end of the year. And I quote...

"Go on at least 10 dates. (If I don't get asked...I have to ask.)"

Little did I know that in less than two months time, I'd be checking that seemingly impossible item off my list! Turns out this little dating project was quite providential for me. (Thanks, Mauren!) So dear blog readers, let it be known...I've officially gone out on 10, not average, but fantastic dates! Check, check, and double check! :) It's going to be a good year.

First, I must give a shout out to our self-proclaimed "blog stalker," Christi, who on short notice worked her magic and not only scored me a great date, but gave me the date activity as well! dating miracle worker you! Thank you!

JJ, the cute, curly-haired guy I'd seen at various activities, agreed last minute to be date #10. Christi informed me that he would be up for anything, but suggested the Bayou City Art Festival that was going on in the big park downtown. I looked it up and was from 300 different artists, live music and performances, food, and not a cloud on the radar. JJ and I met up at a nearby mall that had a free shuttle to the park. I might have been a little late due to traffic and found JJ wandering around the biggest antiques mall I'd ever seen. (I'll have to go back there!) Anyways, we hugged hello and off we went.

In our short time on the bus, I found out that JJ is going to be my go to man for whenever I need adventurous ideas. He's extremely well traveled and has done a lot of random, but awesome things like training dolphins in Hawaii and spending a few months in Ghana. I've gone to...uh...well...looks like it's finally time to get a passport! The art festival only confirmed this fact.

We spent a couple hours strolling from booth to booth, checking out art of varying styles and mediums. JJ warned me that he was spoiled when it came to art...he's been to lots of art museums in Europe and has seen a lot of the subjects in person. (So unfair...) We saw beautiful photographs and paintings of places that I need to go's gone way past just wanting. :) It was so fun chit chatting with the artists and listening to JJ enthusiastically ask the blue iceberg photographer if he still had the contact info for the research crew in Antartica, where he shot the picture. He'd so go...quite the adventurous spirit this one. Along with the photography and canvases, we saw a lot of really unique art as well. I will give you some samples below.
Large plate. Look closely....
Thousands of beads

Spunky junky art is what I will call this!

                             Photo in the center...frame is a painting...husband/wife duo...Awesome!

Awww...pretty girls...and...skeletons? Ha!

Yep...that's Andre the Giant

Photo? Painting? Guess again!

Embroidery...what the heck???

Embroidered too! I want this one!

Hopefully the video works, but we saw these awesome instruments that are like guitars, but have two sections of strings that you just tap...a mix between a piano and a guitar. Sweet! JJ and I had a ton of fun seeing all the random things that art festivals can bring. Including the tree man. There we were strolling along when we look up and see a humongous tree man taking pics with people. Yes, please! Nothing like feeling a strong pair of limbs around you! Best costume ever! JJ is now looking to find it for Halloween. Can we say contest winner? He started practicing his Treebeard voice. :)

JJ and I started getting real hungry after our rather warm, art-filled stroll around the park. We found The Art of Food booths and settled on Greek for him and French for me in the form of Greek salad and a Chicken Basil crepe. I waited for mine for a bit, but enjoyed watching the entirely deaf staff work together making the crepes and communicating with the customers. We sat and ate next to the stage where there was a less than youthful choir singing songs through the decades...ending with songs like Hey, Soul Sister...we might have laughed a little more than we should have, but they were just so darn enthusiastic and...old. :) Then we stayed and watched a "modern" dance group...there is a reason why I dropped my modern dance class at BYU after the first class...I could never take myself seriously doing yoga moves to music. To each his own...

During our time at the festival we got a little winded...those videos will be somewhere on facebook evidently...should be real attractive!


We also saw random people "artistically" getting dressed and then dancing around the street...and yes in the 2nd picture, that's them again walking around with galoshes in the mud "artistically." What the...???


All in all, it was an artistically wonderful day! I even got my first little sunburn of 2012! JJ is a super fun, well-rounded, easy to talk to guy. (He's from of course he's cool.) He was perfect company for this little artsy adventure in the park! Thanks, JJ for being a great ending to this project! 

Well, all...that's date #10! Can you believe it?? Voting time begins on Monday...second dates on Wednesday...and then...who knows???  


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Date 37 - Mauren & Adison

Wow, this is it...the last of our first dates (for the project anyway)! I've heard some of our readers express concern about what they'll start to do with their lives after we finish and they don't have our blog to read each morning. Imagine the possibilities!! :) 

We’ve had a lot of fun going out, but the blogging part has been tough. However, I’ll admit that it’s been nice to have an insta-conversation topic everywhere I go. Perhaps I’ll have to find a new adventure instead. :) Back to the current date!

Tonight I went out with Adison, who I’ve know for…well, forever. Ok, not really forever, but it seems like it. Our families have been friends for at least the last 10 years. We spend every holiday together for at least dessert, if not dinner, we have game nights together when out-of-town siblings come home for a visit and our families have even gone on vacation and camping trips together. I even cut his hair from time to time. Yep, we go way back.

Because of that history, I knew I could be guaranteed a good and comfortable evening with Adison. We met up and headed to dinner at Pappasito’s. Adison had never been and I had a gift card so it worked out well! We were seated out on the patio, which was great since the weather was so nice, and we began scouring the menu for food. I recommended the fajitas, which are phenomenal there, but one thing I learned about Adison tonight that I didn’t know before – he doesn’t like to share, especially when it comes to food. Perhaps it’s because he’s the youngest and the only boy in his family, but he doesn’t share. Haha! Needless to say, we ordered our own meals and neither one was fajitas. :)

As we ate, we exchanged stories about our experiences as missionaries for the LDS church. He served for two years in Argentina and I spent 18 months in southern California (Spanish-speaking) so we talked about common foods, cultural differences between the two locations, people we’d met, memories we made and companions we’d spent time with 24/7 in each area where we were assigned to work. It was clear as we talked that Adison was a good missionary – no, excellent missionary. We wrote each other the entire time he was gone, but I feel like I learned more about his mission tonight than I ever knew before and I really enjoyed it.

We also talked during the night about what he wants to do with his life. Adison’s in school and still trying to figure out what to major in, but he claims that his dream job is to become a water park designer. He says he’s going to build them all over the world! So, if you have special requests for designs or features, get them in to Adison. ;) Honestly, I think he just loves water. He’s already anxiously awaiting the next boating trip with my family and despite the cold temperatures of the lake at this time of year, he’d go today if he could.

After dinner we had planned to do an activity at the mall that his sister and one of my best friends, Charlie, had prepared for us, but since we were at a hidden table and the waitress had trouble ringing up the bill, we didn’t get out of there until about 15 minutes before the mall closed. After evaluating two other activities, neither of which panned out, we decided instead to break a rule and go back to my house after dinner for our activity.

I know, I shouldn’t have, but it’s Adison and it’s hard to find something to do at 9:30 p.m. on a weekday in this part of town because I honestly think we considered them all. Now let me assure you, if it had been anyone else, we would have just called dinner good and avoided the whole house-breaking rule, but I’ve known Adison forever, so I decided for this date it would be ok to make an exception.

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I love to play just about any video game involving Mario. As my brother Garen once said, you can ask me to play a game and I’ll usually join you. But ask me to play something that involves Mario and my confidence goes up 100 percent like I’m invincible. I grew up on an old school NES. Mario’s kinda my thing.
I recently learned that Adison shares a love of Mario games, too, so we went back to my house where we played (and soundly beat) the first world of the new Super Mario for Wii and we made a great team. Though you work together on the game to beat the levels, Adison kind of schooled me (impressive!) and taught me a lot of tricks I never even knew about (thank you, Randi!). Overall, we had a great time!

Thanks for coming along with me tonight, Adison. I had a blast and was grateful to discover a Mario equal/superior in the process! :)

Well, that’s all folks. That wraps up date number 10 for me in the “first date” round. Voting goes up Monday morning so be sure to visit the blog for details on how to vote for your favorites to help us decide who to go out with again.

Day 36 - Becca & Oscar


Oh heck! Can I just tell you how much fun I had yesterday? Ok, I will. I had so much fun. My date for the night? Oscar. Our plans? Salsa dancing. I've always wanted to learn how to salsa dance and actually went dancing almost every Friday up at school, but I would usually chicken out when it came to asking the guys to dance. This resulted in me dancing with a group of girls every weekend. Was it fun? Oh yeah! Did it teach me how to let a guy lead? Not at all. Oscar had his work cut out for him.

As with a few of the other dates, my anxiety level increased as the date got closer. This was basically a blind date.  I heard he was a great dancer, funny, and super competitive. (Winner of the pie eating contest three years running). Knowing that my "dancing skills" were somewhat lacking, I hoped that we could add patient to that list too. (FYI, you can). As he drove up to the house I tried to figure out how I was going to greet this complete stranger. Should we shake hands? Just wave? Hug? Lucky for me Oscar got out of the car and gave me a big hug as I was saying, "Hi! I'm Becca!" Problem solved. His easy going and friendly nature set the tone for the rest of the date.

I had tried to find a place that did salsa on Wednesday nights, but I guess the salsa dancers of North Houston take that day off. We were gonna have to make a small road trip downtown. It took no time at all to find something to talk about. Within the first five minutes I was actually kinda bummed that we hadn't become friends earlier. We both like dancing (hey, I don't have to be good at it to like it), Latin music (I like that I don't understand the words so it's always wholesome),  karaoke, and eating contests. (I'm basically a champ watermelon eater. . . it's a fact.)

I relaxed in the passenger seat as Oscar drove me around Houston, eventually stopping at a little El Salvadorian buffet. It was there that I experienced my first pupusa. I don't know if it's just because I was so hungry, but they were amazing! I could eat there once a week for the rest of my life and be a happy camper. It was during dinner that we started talking about the details of who we are. He's from L.A. and is a bio chemical engineer. So not only was he cute and funny, but smart too. Holy night!

After dinner we headed to Sulivan's to get our salsa on. This was one classy joint. Not at all what I expected. The first room we walked into  had a guy rockin' some jazz on the piano. So cool. I could have pulled up a chair, ordered some Shirley Temples and listened to him all night, but we had other plans. The mood changed as we entered the next room. There was a live band on stage and a dance floor full of people. I pulled Oscar aside and made sure he knew that I didn't know what I was doing. He just smiled, took my hands, and we were off. I wish I could report that I magically transformed into Shakira, twirling and gliding across the floor, but that was not the case. I think my arm only hit him in the head a few times, but that's about as violent as it got. It was tough for me to "let go" and just let him "be the man", but once I did I instantly became better. This kid knew what he was doing. He lead me around the dance floor, spinning me around and teaching me dance moves I'd never attempted. I showed him a few moves of my own, don't you worry, and with some practice I think he'll get them down just fine. :)

The next thing I knew it was 11:15. Pumpkin time. We headed back to the car, took some sweaty pictures, and drove home. ( I totally spaced taking the pictures when my hair was not matted to my forehead. I promise I looked better at the beginning of the date.) Once home Oscar walked me to my door where we were  met by my pit bull. Oscar game me a quick hug and headed back to his car. I was so happy that I got to meet him. I had so much fun. Date # 9 was awesome for sure.

Adois Blog!


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Day 35 - Mauren & Jeremy

Two dates in a row? Hope you’re not tired of hearing from me yet…there’s more to come on Thursday!

Tonight I was rescued by Jeremy, who was a last minute substitute for my previously scheduled date who had some things come up he needed to take care of instead. Thank goodness for his willingness to participate in some strange project he knew nothing about. :)

We took it easy tonight and met up for frozen yogurt, which I was glad Jeremy agreed to since I’ve been under the weather for the last few days and needed something fairly low key.

Jeremy had never been to Menchie’s, which is a favorite of Kim and Becca’s. I personally prefer Red Mango, but I must say, Menchie’s peanut butter sauce is divinely inspired, I swear (see picture at the end of the post for proof).

When Jeremy arrived he had…a new piece of jewelry in his nose that I’d never seen before…let’s just say it reminded me of…a bull. As I instructed him on the process of preparing an order at Menchie’s I couldn’t help but think about how on earth I was going to explain this date selection to my friends and family. Seriously, I was a little freaked out.

But I went along like nothing had happened, with the express plan to ask him about his latest accessory as soon as we sat down to eat. Jeremy paid for our frozen yogurt and since we were headed outside to eat, I asked one of the cashiers if she could take our picture for us. She snapped one and I asked for a second one, just in case, when Jeremy removed the large gold loop hanging from his nose and said he had to dispel any rumors with a serious picture, too. THANK GOODNESS!! That thing was totally fake! Seriously, I was stunned when I saw it and RELIEVED when it wasn’t real. Haha!

I’ve known Jeremy for several years through church, but haven’t ever really had a one-on-one conversation with him. I was glad to see that things flowed really well and we enjoyed one another’s company as we sat outside the little frozen yogurt shop for a couple hours to catch up on life.

Like myself, Jeremy comes from a large family. But while I’m the oldest of 7 kids, Jeremy’s the youngest of 10. He’s also the father of a 3-year-old from a previous marriage and speaks of her with such love and admiration. He doesn’t have to tell you how he feels about her (though he will if you ask!), you can just see it in his eyes and smile when he mentions her name.

Something else I learned about Jeremy tonight was that he’s very smart and has a great vocabulary. He might not have a college degree to show for it, but I found myself throughout the night wondering where he picked up some of those words and trying to garner their meaning using context clues. It actually became somewhat of a game and I learned it was something he inherited from his mom, the English teacher. :)

Jeremy’s also a bit of a jack of all trades. Earlier this year he and one of his friends started hosting an online YouTube newscast 5 days a week. It covers everything from local news to other pieces of information they found interesting. You can check out their channel at

In addition to “The Extraordinary Times” project, Jeremy also plays guitar and says his dream would involve something related to music and YouTube. I guess that’s probably why he has his own channel for that, too – Man, I’m just putting plugs in here left and right! haha

Overall it was nice to sit back and enjoy an evening with Jeremy. Minus his little prank at the beginning of the evening, we had a great time! :)

Well, that wraps up date number 9. Beginning Thursday, each of us will go on our last first date of the project and I can’t believe the end is already here! In some ways it feels like a long time in the making and in others it feels like the time has flown by.

Until next time!

Remember: The peanut butter sauce at Menchie's is a MUST. As our gummy bears...wherever you go. And the fudge isn't too bad either. :)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Day 34 - Mauren & Alex

Hi all! I’m back from Florida and on the docket for several dates this week so stick around for what’s sure to be an adventure. Tonight’s date was with Alex and has been a while in the making.

Last month, my dad told me about a guy that had expressed interest in participating in our dating project. He didn’t have his contact information, but suggested I reach out to him on Facebook. That person was Alex and as I read through his online profile, it all began to sound very familiar…

As it turns out, Alex had sent me a message a few weeks earlier on an LDS dating website I joined late last year. We had sent a couple of brief messages back and forth, but nothing more. Unbeknownst to him (since my Facebook page is private and I didn’t post anything about this project on the dating website), the dating project he heard about involved the same girl he had sent a message to a few weeks earlier. Small world!

He responded back and said he’d love to go out. But as we began looking at date options we soon learned that we both live crazy lives with ridiculous schedules and that the first time that either of us could get together (as part of this project or not) was several weeks down the road at the end of March. And so it was that we went out tonight.

Alex had suggested meeting at Cavatore’s, a quaint little Italian restaurant just inside the 610 loop. I’d heard the name but didn’t know anything about it beyond that and I was in for a treat!

As I walked into the restaurant, I caught a glimpse of an adorable mid-age Italian woman who was clearly one of the owners. I watched as she greeted customers, managed a party reservation and oversaw the wait staff, all to the soft sounds of gentle Italian music being played at the nearby piano. It was like something out of a movie and the fact that she reminded me of Minnie Driver in Return to Me may have played a role in that, too. It was adorable.

Alex arrived and from the start was friendly and pleasant. After being seated, we each placed our order for lasagna – everyone’s favorite (literally, it said so on the menu) and an order of the Caesar salad that made them famous. Now this is no ordinary Caesar salad mind you. It’s the BEST! Literally, it was incredible.

The salad is made on a cart at your table, where you watch as the maître d minces a tooth of garlic with merely a fork and spoon, tosses in various oils and other ingredients, and then add in freshly chopped romaine lettuce and crispy croutons before beautifully placing the masterpiece on cool glass plates. Seriously, it’s like watching an artist work. Whether it was a result of the entertainment or just the perfect match of ingredients, the salad was really incredible. Of course, I forgot to take a picture of the salad being created, but I did catch the maître d at someone else’s table so now you can see his back. Just use your imagination. :)

During dinner, Alex told me about his conversion to the LDS church just 3 months earlier and about the incredible journey he had been on to reach that point after years of interaction with members of the church. It was clear that he had experienced a life-changing transformation that has really impacted him for the better, and he’s passionate about sharing it with others.

I also learned that Alex really enjoys traveling. His job as an attorney has taken him to various parts of the world, but when asked about his favorite place, he said without hesitation it would have to be Hawaii. He even visited six of the islands in just eight days because he couldn’t get enough of it all. He enjoys studying about and visiting old war forts, loves trains and airplanes, and is really just a big kid at heart. :) As if that weren’t enough, he’s half Swedish and comes from a family of linguists, where he himself speaks English, Swedish, French and even some Spanish!

After dinner, we ordered what had to be the best desserts on the planet -- he enjoyed a slice of pecan cheesecake while I indulged in a cup of chocolate mousse (it may be my favorite dessert now). I mean, look at it! And believe it or not, it tasted about ten times better than it looks, if that’s even possible.

At the end of the night, Alex graciously paid for our superb meal, walked me to my car and gave me a kiss on the cheek as we parted. He even thoughtfully sent me a text at the end of the night to make sure I had made it home safe despite the wet and rainy roads. Overall my time with Alex was nice and I enjoyed getting to know this former stranger, now friend. Thanks, Alex, for a wonderful time!

Day 33 - Jessica & Doug

**Note: It is September 9th now, and I just discovered today that somehow all of the pictures I posted on every blog entry got deleted. I salvaged most of them, but unfortunately the pictures from my date with Doug were on my old phone and I can't retrieve them.You'll just have to trust me, Doug is a handsome, tall drink of water!**

I've known Doug for about a year. He's Nathan's younger brother. (the infamous Nathan who started off Kim's dating adventures, setting a pretty high bar!) Let's just say that it wasn't love at first sight between Doug and me. It took some time for him to get used to my vivacious (he might have said obnoxious), and at times loud personality. After some time getting to know each other better and one awesome road trip to Austin, Doug saw that there was more to me than LOUD; I came to appreciate his sarcastic sense of humor, and I'm happy to say I've been able to call Doug my friend for several months now.

True to form, I waited until the last minute to ask Doug to go out with me. True to form for him, he teasingly gave me a hard time about it (well deserved, I admit), and then because he is a stand up guy he graciously agreed to be my date. After tossing around some ideas, we agreed to go to Houston for a concert and then maybe get dessert afterwards. I didn't get off of work until 8:00pm, so Doug picked me up at work and we raced downtown, hoping to only miss part of the opening band.

Much to my surprise, the concert wasn't even scheduled to start until 9:00, so it turned out we had some time to kill before rocking out to the sweet sounds of Good Old War. Some of our friend that were there recommended a Cajun joint across the street that apparently had good food. Doug and I agreed that a late dinner was in order and headed over to BB's. We both ordered Po Boy sandwiches, and oh my gosh. They. Were. Delicious. According to Doug, who is a life-long Texan, the art of a sandwich hold is essential for anyone who wants to be labled a True Texan. He bragged that he can eat even a sloppy Joe without dripping any sandwich innards everywhere. He tried to teach me the magic grip during our dinner, but the sauce all over my hands, face and plate made it evident that it will be a good long while before I can call myself a Texan. Luckily for Doug, I (barely) managed to stop myself from actually licking that delicious sauce off of my hands and instead used half a roll of paper towels to keep myself somewhat clean and presentable.

(Tangent: On my first ever date when I was 16, we went out to ice cream and my date and the couple that we were doubling with all got shakes or ice cream in a dish they could eat with a spoon. Not me though, I got a double-decker waffle cone. And then spent the next 30 minutes desperately trying not to wipe off ALL of my makeup along with the ice cream I was getting ALL OVER my face. You'd think I would have learned my lesson and started ordering better "date" food after that, but here I am 12 years later, still ordering food on dates that no man wants to watch a proper lady eat. But what can I say? I just can't sacrifice taste for propriety!)

After dinner, Doug and I headed back across the street and listened to the last couple of songs from the opening band. During the break between bands, we got to meet up with some friends and had a great time socializing with them and each other. Then the lights dimmed and Good Old War started. If you haven't heard of this band, I highly recommend them. I discovered them last year, and they have a folksy-rock vibe that reminds me of Guster and Simon & Garfunkle. Their music is full of great harmonies and toe-tapping beats, and I couldn't help but dance along while the band played, although I tried to contain myself a little so Doug wouldn't be forced to leave my side and deny that he was my date for the evening. ;-)

The night ended with a ride back to my work, where Doug kindly walked me to my car and made sure I was able to leave safe and sound.

So now a little about Doug himself. I really had such a good time with him. Despite our rocky start last year, I've learned over time that he has such a soft heart and is turning into a genuinely good man. He is a really hard worker and motivated to be successful at work and in school. He's intrinsically motivated, which is getting harder to find these days. He naturally looks out for troubled or lonely souls and has a way of making sure they feel loved and valuable, and it's always genuine. On our date, Doug was funny and engaging, really easy to talk to, and a true gentleman throughout the night. He's a tall drink of water with a great smile, and I am so happy we got to go out.

Oh, last thing (I know this is a long post, thanks for sticking it out), my streak has officially come to an end. While Doug has 3 brothers, he also has 2 sisters. It was an impressive run while it lasted.

One more date and then all this madness (and fun) ends!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Day 32 - Kim & Mark

Alright blogging world, I'm back and for the remainder of this blog post, I want you to refer to me (in your head or out loud) as Dates with Wolves. You'll get it in a minute. :)

So Mark is friends with my brother's wife's sister's husband (or sister-in-law's brother-in-law) through church. Ha! I'll give you a second to process it? Good!. So, this project was used again as a means for family to set me up. I got Mark's info from the in-laws and called him a couple weeks ago. We had originally planned to go a couple Saturday's ago, but, due to weather and scheduling, plans changed. Thank goodness Mark was patient with all the changes. I knew our activity would be worth it though. 

While searching for date ideas, I happened upon a place I thought only existed in my dreams! St. Francis' Wolf Sanctuary!! I love wolves!!! (Here's where you can really start thinking of me as Dates with Wolves.) I knew that this had to be one of my dates and when I asked Mark how he felt about wolves...he said he liked them. Good answer, Mark! Second question for do you feel about pie? "Pie is always good." He was two for two and our date was officially planned. 

Mark and I drove up to Magnolia, which is quite a little drive from Houston, but was totally worth it. The weather was perfect and the wildflowers were blooming. We got to know each other on the way up. Mark graduated with a history degree, thought about teaching, but decided against it (smart guy) and now works I.T. for a company here in Houston. He works with the young men at church and gets to go to things like scout camp. Good thing he was brushed up on his scouting skills. They came in handy when we were trying to find the Sanctuary...his handy dandy GPS led the way when my paper directions refused to redirect me after I missed a turn. What would we do without technology! We wound through the countryside until we at last came to Wolf Paradise. 

We were directed down a path and then all of a sudden, there they were...8-10 wolf enclosures. Each enclosure had a couple of wolves inside and I was immediately entranced with the place. We walked to where the crowd of senior citizens was listening to the history of the park and each wolf. The worker greeted us and then had us sign our lives away in case of a wolf attack. It was so worth the risk. We listened about each wolf and what percentage of wolf they were, how they got there, etc. Some of them were more dog than wolf, but if paperwork says they have any wolf, they bring them to the sanctuary. After she talked, they brought out the "Ambassadors" to meet and greet the enthusiastic crowd. I got to pet some awesome wolves (even though the Ambassadors were mostly dog...I'm going to think of them as wolves)! Mark and I walked around and snapped pictures of the wolves, the people, and the gorgeous 200 acres of land that the sanctuary rests on. 

As we were walking around, this cute, white-haired, British woman came up to us and I instantly knew she was the owner. She gave me a big smile and an even bigger hug. Mark was not left out...she hugged him too. I told her how much I loved her place and the wolves. Her response? "Isn't it magical?" That was the perfect word to describe it! I want to be her someday! 


After we spent a sufficient amount of time amongst the wolves, we decided we should head out for the 2nd portion of our date...Pie in the Sky Pie Company.  I found this one online too and the pictures of pie looked amazing! Yea for Mark and his GPS for getting us there. I loved the quaint atmosphere complete with doors on the ceiling! We picked our table, ordered our food and chit chatted some more. Within a few minutes, our food was in front of us and I was eating some amazing broccoli soup! Super tasty! We enjoyed the company, our lunch and...dessert. We each picked a piece of pie to try. I picked bumbleberry pie topped with a generous scoop of Bluebell vanilla and it was delicious! We finished up our pies and Mark was sweet enough to pay for our yummy lunch. As we headed back home, I was grateful that wolves and pie were such a winning combo and that Mark was such a good guy. Thanks Mark for being willing to walk on the wild side with me!  

Until date #10

Day 31 - Becca & Josh C

Dear Blog,

Say you had a fever and the only prescription, was more cowbell? Well a Houston Aeros game would be just what the doctor ordered. No joke. Turns out cowbell also cures the anxiety that comes from getting lost in Downtown Houston for 15 min.  Thank goodness I had factored in the extra 20 minutes of "driving around aimlessly" time before leaving the house. I even got to the Toyota Center in time to park, take a breather, and pick up my tickets from the box office with 3 minutes to spare. (Whoot! Whoot!)

I had just walked away from the ticket counter when I saw Josh. He was just so cute with his well trimmed beard and dark wavy hair. We greeted with a quick hug and headed through the inflated tunnel to the arena. Our seats were actually pretty decent.(Thank you Groupon!) We were right behind the goal and smack dab in the middle of the fan zone. I was so excited that Josh's first semi-pro hockey experience was going to be epic. If you have never been to an Aeros game it is an adventure, to say the least. The owners have thought of everything. Just in case a hockey game wasn't enough to get that testosterone pumping, add in some old war videos, a dog mascot, cowbells, fights, fist pumps, and some scantily clad cheerleaders. I'm not sure how all those things got trapped in the Toyota Center at the same time, but I  am happy they did.

After a very southern national anthem, the puck was dropped and the game began. Neither Josh nor I knew too much about hockey, so we made an effort to watch the crowd for cues on how to react. Here's what I learned. . . if the you hear cowbells, cheer. Easy! Also, there is a chant that is shouted  after we score a goal. It kind of gets muffled in the middle, but if you want to participate the last two words are "You Suck!".  Now you know everything you should to sit in the fan zone. It's so fun!

As great as the game was, it was easy to tune it out  and get lost in conversation. Josh was just so interesting. We had met a few months earlier through a mutual friend. I thought he was hilarious and super smart. . . almost too smart. I was a little intimidated. This kid already had his master's degree from a reputable university and seemed to have dabbled in just about everything from comedy to break dancing, and was now starting his own business. It wasn't hard finding something to talk about. The conversation was just fun and light. I was really comfortable with him, almost to a fault. We could go from talking about starting up a new business, to what we would tell our parents we did for a living if we were the Aeros cheerleaders. (I think Zamboni driver was the best answer.)

The time flew, along with the players fists. The ice got so heated that the officials would not longer let the players duke it out, but would stop the fights as they started because they were happening so often. It was funny how the fights would start with a few hits, and then end with what looked like hugging. I'm sure it was something more masculine like wrestling, but if the lights had been dimmed and a disco ball had been dropped, it could have easily passed for slow dancing.

The game ended with a final score of Aeros-4 and Ice Hogs-3. We won! Thank goodness. I did not want to see those fans upset. :) As we got up to leave I asked the people behind us to take a picture of us. When I clicked to review the pictures  a little screen popped up saying "No Memory Card." Noooo!!! All those pictures I had taken to document the date never happened. Oh well. Josh was kind enough to use his phone to snap a quick shot of us. This is all you guys are gonna get. Sorry. My bad!

 I had a lot of fun tonight. Who wouldn't?! Josh was the bee's knees. He's a laid back guy who's totally motivated. There are some things I could learn from this kid. I drove him to his car and we hugged good bye. Date #8 was a success. Wahoo! Thanks Jose!

Thanks for tuning in!