Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Twelve Days of Date Night

The last couple of posts have been kind of downers. Way too many feelings. I'm going to avoid that this time.

Last September Boyfriend, who is amazing, started date night. He text me one day and said, "Do you have plans for this day (random day in September)?" When I said, "No." He said... "OK. We're going on a date." 

Thus, date night was born! We had so much fun on his impromptu date that we decided to make it "a thing". In this post, I'm going to list the dates we've done and my feelings on them. No! Not feelings, thoughts. The things I think. Some of these things were just passing one-time goes, but others are still around! So, maybe this post will come in handy on those days when you can't think of anything else to do with your special someone and give you some great date night ideas. 

September (Inaugural DATE NIGHT!)
  • Paint Nite
  • Cedars of Lebanon 
    • This was one of my favorite Date Nights. It went so well! Paint Nite is incredibly fun and I recommend it to anyone. Frequently, there are Groupons for this that are two-for-one. You should get one! 
    • Dinner this night was great too, if you haven't been to Cedars of Lebanon, you should check it out. It's a little pricey, but worth it. 
  • After we made date night a thing, we decided we would switch months and that each month must include, 1) a new place to eat and 2) an activity neither one of us has done before. 
    • I can't remember what we ate this time ... I'm kind of sad about it. We did a terrible job keeping track of all of our dates night ideas. I do remember our activity though, we went to Color Me Mine on 25th street to paint ceramics. This worked out doubly well for me, since I forgot to pick up our pieces until December, so I gave them to Boyfriend as a Christmas present. 
  • In November, Boyfriend was in charge and he decided to combine dinner AND our activity.
    • Brewvies in South Salt Lake. While I had a lot of fun and enjoyed the movie and the idea of being able to enjoy a meal and a drink in the theater, it is poorly executed. The food is waaaay overpriced. We paid $9 for a gross salad for me and $11 for chicken fingers for Boyfriend. Neither one of us finished our meal. I hear the Movie Grill in Ogden does a better job -- roomier seats, better environment, etc. So, we may check that out. 
    • Zoolights and Blue Iguana
      • I loved Zoolights! This is an annual thing, go this year if you get the chance! The animals were much more active in the evening, we heard the lions roaring and ...other stuff. It was cold but fun! And, the night ended with a bang! I was running around and turned and almost ran right into my ex-brother in-law and parents in-law. It was terrifying. I don't recommend that part.
      • After Zoolights we went to Blue Iguana. I broke the rules here. Blue Iguana was already one of our favorite places to eat. We hadn't been there in awhile and I thought it would be fun to go. We love their food and they have good vegetarian and vegan options, though I mostly pig out on the chips and salsa. 
      • I'm pretty sure after dinner we went to the Christmas lights in Temple Square and I tricked Boyfriend into going to City Creek so I could try on dresses for his cousin's wedding. 
      • This time Boyfriend piggy backed off the fact that we were already in SLC for Comic Con. 
        • For dinner we went to some fancy Mexican place. I really wish I could remember the name, but I can't. They had great rice and I ate cheese for the first time in a long time because I was sick of Boyfriend complaining about it all the time. 
        • After dinner we went ice skating at the Gallivan Center. Initially, I thought this was a great idea and would be so much fun! But, it turns out that Boyfriend is a really, really bad ice skater. It was still fun. We made it around the rink least once. Probably. 
        • I, um, can't remember where we ate this time. Sometimes, I suck.
          • For our activity we went and saw a documentary about Humpback Whales at the Clark Planetarium. Now, you may be thinking this sounds really lame, but .. it wasn't. It was awesome. Boyfriend and I are both nature nerds though, so we are biased to like nature-nerd documentaries. 
          • I wrote about March before when I got my tattoo.
            • For lunch we went to Zest in downtown Salt Lake. It was good but not great. I'm not sure I would recommend it. It was a little too hip for me. I'm not that hip.
            • For the activity, I got a tattoo. I don't recommend repeating this either. I love my tattoo, but if you plan a secret date ... maybe don't plan it around the other person permanently marking their flesh unless you know them really well ;)
            • I had been planning something else for awhile, but when I heard that Cirque du Soleil  was coming to Salt Lake, I jumped on it.
              • For dinner we went to Eva's Bakery, a little shop with some really good food. We discovered them at the farmer's market, where they sell their bread, and decided to visit their location. 
              • After dinner we went to the show, it was called Varekai and about Icarus.  
            • This is the month where things started to go downhill. 
              • Dinner was at a place called Stoneground. Someone that Boyfriend works with recommended it. It seemed OK in the beginning, but it was awful. We got pasta, which cost about $20 a plate and was nothing special. And, the service was bad. The waiters were cold, distant and rude. In the hour or so we were there, no one even came back to refill our water. 
              • After dinner we went to Off-Broadway Theater in Salt Lake. I'll admit, I had wanted to see a play here, but five minutes after the Revengers started, a spoof on the Avengers, I wanted to leave or gouge my eyes out. It wasn't funny. The characters over acted and the jokes were dull. I hated it. 
            • June was another bomb. I wrote about this in La-la-la-goooon
              • Boyfriend got sick, we ate at Arby's. That is really all I need to say. 
            • July wasn't exactly bad, it just wasn't great. The food was good, we went to a Mediterranean restaurant that  was fast casual. then we went to Shakespeare in the park. The acting was actually pretty good for community theater, but we couldn't hear anything because they had no sound equipment. We left at intermission. 
            • After three months of crappy-ass dates, I knew that we needed to pull out of this rut. I bugged asked everyone at work for good ideas. I had tossed a few things around, when Kent pulled up the aviary. He wanted to take his daughters, 6 and 2, to see the birds. I thought this was a great idea and so I based date night on plans that a toddler had. 
              • It turns out, the aviary is awesome. We both loved it. Like I said earlier, we are both nature lovers, but I don't think you have to be to love it here. We saw itty-bitty baby quail and heard some swans having a rap battle. 
              • For lunch, we went to Even Stevens sandwiches. The food was awesome! We are planning on going back later this week! There are so many things to try here and they have sandwich and beer pairings, my favorite things combined. 

          1. Go do both of these things on your next date night. August was a win. So, the pressure is on next month for Boyfriend and the official start of Date Night: Year Two. 

          2. Thursday, August 13, 2015

            Sometimes, I'm a butt head

            Lately, I've been a bit of a butt head. Shocking!!! Because usually I'm so calm. Some of it is probably due to stress and being over-tired from work and school. Some of it has started to come up as Boyfriend and I move forward. I'm going to write about some of it here so I don't keep it bottled up, it's called "processing."

            So, what does being a butt head involve?? Mostly, a lot of jealousy, snippishness and insecurities poking into my daily life, causing a ruckus. Some of these fears are leftover from my past and my horrendous marriage.

            When I was younger, I never worried about people or families accepting me. Of course I didn't get along with everyone, but for the most part I assumed it was a given that people should be nice. My ex-in-laws and ex-husband destroyed this notion pretty quickly. My ex-mother in-law makes Professor Umbridge look like a doll and my ex-husband makes Sauron seem saintly.

            In the short year I was married, I had never struggled with myself so much. It felt like nothing I did was ever right, I was constantly apologizing for offenses my mother in-law engineered, beating myself up and comparing myself to others.

            During my marriage, when things were bad, my ex-husband used to tell me no one else would love me or know how to "deal" with me. He would ask rhetorical questions like, "Do you honestly think if you divorce me your family will still love you? If they know what you're really like?" I believed him. I was so scared and embarrassed. He had turned a marriage, where everything is shared, into a blackmail, hostage situation.

            Believing him for a second was a second too long, but this went on for months until in December 2013 I realized I didn't care what he did anymore. I was exhausted. Even if no one loved me, I was still moving back to Utah. To be alone, to be whatever. An old boss had offered me a job so I knew I wouldn't starve.

            Of course things turned out much better than this. After I left my ex made good on his "threats" and constantly messaged my family and friends to tell them how I awful I was. He mostly showed them what a jerk he really was.  My family supported me. They were thrilled and my mom said she's never been so happy as when I left him.

            And, for the most part, I'm fine and moving on.

            An example of a Boyfriend joke,
             drawing dinosaurs on the dressing room doors while I shop.
            He is both funny and cute.
            But, every once in awhile, and with stress more now than before, I find my old insecurities and gun-shy tendencies creeping up -- what if Boyfriend's family doesn't like me? What if I can't do anything right? What if he wishes I was someone else? What if I mess everything up?

            During these times I again find myself apologizing for everything and beating myself up for being too fat, too ugly, too dumb, too silly, too clumsy, too much of everything awful. And it isn't just with Boyfriend. It hurts my relationships with friends and my own family.

            Boyfriend is really great, but not perfect. He does his best to help me, but after awhile my insecurities start to affect us and chip away. Instead of laughing at his jokes and spending the day snuggling on the couch, I snap because of little things and start a fight or apologize and start crying.

            I want to let us, be us without the past rearing its ugly head. I want to be able to learn from my marriage and let it make me stronger. To be fair, in a lot of ways it has. My friend Kent says that I could write my own relationship book based on the good things I have learned from the bad things I went through, and maybe he's right. I just need to implement what I've learned instead of reverting.

            My goals are going to be focus on the small, good things that are going on right now. Take time to rest and not be overrun by school and work, when I get tired I'm more likely to do poorly (I think this is universal, right? Tired = grumpy).

            Counseling isn't out of the question but it isn't an option I want to pursue right now. I had some really good help during and after the divorce and I don't think I need to go back right now. I'm going to be more mindful and maybe download an app or something, and of course listen to Katy Perry.

            I'm a firm believer that there isn't anything Katy Perry can't fix, so I'm going to listen to her songs on repeat, especially Love Me, from her Prism album. Because, duh.

            Eventually I want to be as happy in life, as Kitty is in this ray of sunshine!