Tacos Are Tasty

•October 9, 2017 • Leave a Comment

(This is an essay I had to write for my English Composition class earlier this semester. I got a 100 on it. Enjoy!!!)

 

I wonder if anyone knows in the moment that their life is about to be forever changed? I know I didn’t. Nothing could have prepared me for the journey I was about to undertake. All because of tacos. Yeah, tacos. Something so basic and banal, but for me, that night, they may as well have been plates of fated stars. I’m getting ahead of myself here, but just know, tacos are tasty and significant.

It all really started one night while I was bored at work. Working until midnight, with Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays off didn’t really help my social life. Well, that’s the excuse that I made for myself anyway. I’d been single for about two years at that point, and most of my friends and close co-workers were pressuring me to put myself out there and get back on that horse.

I’d been on a few first dates in the previous six months, but nothing to write your mom about. In fact, I had kind of wanted to forget pretty much all of those first dates. They really only served as amusing anecdotes at that point. Let me tell you, there is nothing people can commiserate about like awkward or awful first dates. Nothing.

Anyway, it was a slow night at work, and one of my colleagues had been cajoling me into joining Tinder and other various online dating sites and apps. I will confess, I joined Tinder and probably swiped left on hundreds of women in the week or so that I actually played around with the app. It really wasn’t for me.

“Come on! You’re never going to meet anyone if you don’t try it!”

“I have tried online dating before. It’s never worked out. I’m too honest for it.”

“Well, that was before. This is now. What do you really have to lose?”

What do I have to lose? Nothing really, just the energy expended in being honest in my profile, and probably a couple hundred bucks on more lousy first dates with women who aren’t honest on their profiles and just don’t intrigue me at all in person.

“Well…”

“No. No excuses. Pick a site and sign up. Now.”

“Ugh, fine. I’m not doing Tinder again. I want something more serious.”

“What about Match?”

“I tried that in my mid-twenties. It was a waste of money.”

“Well, you’re older now and so are the women you’ll be trying to match with. Do it!”

Reluctantly, I went ahead and signed up for Match. I even decided I was going to really give Match a serious try and signed up for a six-month subscription. This is the best value. When I don’t meet anyone, then they’ll have to give me another six months free. Could be worse I guess.

I spent about an hour setting up my profile. I filled out about a half dozen questionnaires, and I put a lot of thought in my long-form responses. I selected a half dozen pictures to use with the help of friends, and I went live with it. I even put the app on my phone and enabled push notifications.

At the same time, another one of my friends had been texting me, inviting me out to the city the next day to go have wings and do a trivia night. One of her friends would be joining us, and she volunteered to drive. I knew I was being set up, but I had decided I was going to say yes to any invitations for dates and give them a fair shot. I agreed and found myself actually looking forward to the evening.

I actually found myself having a lot of fun that night, and made plans to go down to the city again a few days later for an “official” first date. I wasn’t feeling butterflies or tingles or anything, but I also knew that being in a group setting is a lot different than spending time one on one with someone.

In the meantime, a few women had liked my pictures on Match, and one or two had messaged me with the prototypically canned “What’s up” messages. Again, nothing I was excited about at all. I knew this stupid site wasn’t going to get me anywhere. Oh well, I have six months to keep looking and trying to engage someone in a meaningful conversation.

I went on my solo first date and actually had a nice time. She took me to a museum I had been really wanting to check out, and we had a phenomenal dinner. The chemistry just wasn’t there in a romantic sense. For some reason, I still agreed to meet up with her the following Thursday for a second date. I guess I was hoping that maybe since we had fun with each other, maybe some chemistry would develop.

That Sunday at work, my phone alerted me to new activity on the Match app. I wonder if this is from someone who’d already messaged me, or if this is someone new? I opened up the app to find I had five notifications – all from the same person! They were mostly picture likes, but I went onto her profile to check her out and found that from what she had put into her profile, it seemed like we had a decent amount in common. What the hell, let me message her about something from her profile and say thanks for all the picture likes. Maybe she’ll get back to me sometime later in the week.

I sent the message, and within twenty minutes, I had another app notification on my phone. No way that’s her. Crap, it’s her! Oh, she actually responded with full paragraphs…this could be interesting. I spent the next couple of hours messaging back and forth with her. At one point, she just decided that messaging through the app wasn’t good enough, and she just gave me her cell phone number to text her while I was at work. She’s bold. Should I? I mean, she did give her number to me without my even asking. Oh hell, what do I have to lose?

Less than 30 minutes later, I had a first date set up with her for Tuesday. She basically invited herself to my weekly Taco Tuesday outing. I didn’t mind. Am I really doing this? I have a first date on Tuesday and a second date on Thursday. Who am I? Do I tell them?

Tuesday came. I got to my normal spot for tacos early and snagged us a table outside on the patio. I was kind of nervous, and the staff there picked up on it.

“You alright? You seem really pale, even for you!”

“Yeah, I’m, ah, meeting someone.”

“Oh! Is this a date?”

“Yeah…a first date.”

“Say no more! Listen, if you need to get out of it because she lied or isn’t cool or something, just let me know and we’ll handle it.”

“Thanks, but I’m sure I’ll be fine.”

I got a text message, “I just parked. I’ll see you outside in a minute.”

I watched the patio door like a hawk for her to come in. When she did, I hopped off my stool and gave her a hug hello. She smelled good. She felt good in my arms. I smiled. She smiled. I walked her over to the table and we started talking.

“So, you like it here?”

“It’s my favorite place to hang out. The owner and staff treat me like family.”

“Nice. That must be nice.”

“It has its perks.”

We smiled. We ordered drinks and some tacos. I felt drawn closer and closer to her. The conversation was easy. She was attractive, and being around her calmed my nerves. We both barely ate. We had a few drinks. Standard first date stuff.

I’m not sure how it came up, but at one point she said something about being too short to reach the giant margarita we were sharing, and I said something about “just come to sit next to me then.” The next thing I knew, we were sharing our first kiss.

Wow. Butterflies. Sparks. Fireworks. A ninety-nine piece marching band. All of the clichés.

“Check please!” We both said, and then immediately laughed.

I paid the bill and we walked out to the parking lot. We sat in her SUV talking and kissing for a while. I want to tell her I want to see her again, but I also have to tell her that I’m sort of seeing someone else. How I wish that wasn’t true right now! I really want to cancel my Thursday date and just focus on her. AHHHHHHHH! Why did I do this to myself?

I took a deep breath and explained everything. I told her I just wanted to be honest with her, and that I hoped I didn’t hurt her feelings, but that she wasn’t the only person I was going on dates with. I told her I was going to cancel my other date that week because I would rather focus on her. She thanked me and said she needed to go home. I asked her to please let me know she got home safe. She promised she would.

You idiot! You shouldn’t have been so honest with her, and you should have just kept your Thursday date to yourself. Now you’ve really gone and done it!

I canceled my Thursday date. I just told that woman that I didn’t think going back and forth to the city was feasible, and that I hoped we could remain friends. She seemed hurt, but she agreed. Then my date texted me. “I’m home safe. I had a great time. I want to see you again. How about Thursday?”

Had my friends been right? Was online dating and Match going to work? Could I have done the impossible and actually found someone amazing online? Was I wrong to have been such a skeptic?

Fast forward over a year later, and we are still going strong. She’s now my fiancé, and we are planning for our wedding in 2019. She’s my best friend and I love her to the ends of the Earth.

People joke around all the time that we should be on one of those Match commercials that show success stories. I’ve told this story to all of my single friends who have struggled to meet quality people. I tell them I was on Match for two weeks, and she was only on Match for two hours when she found my profile. She tells the story of how she decided she wanted to meet someone real, and she saw my profile pretty much right away. My whole opinion of online dating has completely changed, and I encourage people I know who are serious about meeting someone to join Match.

All because I love tacos and she invited herself to join me.

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In Omnia Paratus – Or, How I Aced Public Speaking

•October 2, 2017 • Leave a Comment

I decided that I am going to post up some of my already graded assignments from classes that I have aced…

This is one from my Public Speaking course I took over the summer…enjoy!

“Good morning. I am here today to talk about one of my favorite expressions of physical art, tattoos.

How many of you have a tattoo, or have thought about getting one? How many of you have a friend or family member with a tattoo? How many of you simply admire the artwork on people who have tattoos?

Tattoos are becoming an increasingly popular and accepted form of artistic expression, with an estimated 45 million Americans having at least one tattoo (Pew). As you can see, I am a walking canvas, with many tattoos. Today I want to talk about just one of my most meaningful tattoos, which is the Latin phrase, “In Omnia Paratus”, across my chest.

Today I’m going to discuss the translation of “In Omnia Paratus”, and 3 reasons why I chose to get this specific tattoo.

Even though tattoos aren’t for everyone, I hope that you’ll come away with a better understanding of how meaningful this particular tattoo is for me, as well as knowing a new Latin phrase.

“In Omnia Paratus” is a Latin phrase which translates to “Ready for anything”, or “Prepared for all things”, depending on which scholar you ask.

I got this tattoo three years ago, after a period of personal upheaval. I chose to get this tattoo on my chest specifically so that when I look in the mirror, I am reminded that I am ready for anything and everything that comes my way.

This tattoo is also a nod to both one of my all-time favorite TV shows, Gilmore Girls, and the strong military heritage of both of my parents and my extended family.

“In Omnia Paratus” is a well-known phrase to Gilmore Girls fans.

If you aren’t familiar with the show, it follows the lives of a mother and daughter who are basically best friends, as they navigate school, love, and careers.

In Gilmore Girls, “In Omnia Paratus” serves as the motto for a fictional Yale secret society called “The Life and Death Brigade”.

Brigade members believe that life is meant for living and experiencing new things that might scare you, but it’s ok because you’re ready for anything.

This is most clearly exhibited in my favorite episode. The Season 5, Episode 7 is entitled, “You Jump, I Jump Jack!” (IMDB). Main character Rory Gilmore is taken to a secret LDB function by Logan Huntzberger, who convinces her to jump off of a scary looking six-story scaffold in a blue dress, scarf, and safety belt, all while holding an umbrella.

He does this by telling Rory, “People can live a hundred years without really living for a minute. You climb up here with me, it’s one less minute you haven’t lived.” (IMDB)

The entire LDB looks up at the participants in the stunt, champagne flutes raised high, shouting “In Omnia Paratus!” in encouragement.

Rory grabs Logan by the hand and jumps, landing safely, much to everyone’s collective relief. She realizes in the process that she had been living a safe life, and that she should take more chances because she too, is “ready for anything”. This marks a major turning point in her character development, and always made me want to be more daring in my life as well.

“In Omnia Paratus” is also familiar to numerous military units, across all US branches and globally. This includes the highly decorated 18th Infantry Regiment of the United States Army.

The 18th Infantry Regiment uses “In Omnia Paratus” on their Distinctive Unit Insignia. The Distinctive Unit Insignia incorporates the authorized Coat of Arms for the Unit. These Distinctive Unit Insignia are typically worn on the shoulder loops of the Dress Uniform.

While not all units have one, the 18th also use “In Omnia Paratus” as their Regimental motto. (Wikipedia, pentagon.mil)

The 18th Infantry Regiment dates back to the Civil War, with continual battle service in every major conflict, through the present day in Iraq and Afghanistan.

They have served with honor and distinction through many theaters around the globe, truly exemplifying the meaning of being “prepared for all things”.

My parents actually met in the Army, and family members on my father’s side have served in the 18th Infantry Regiment, so I am proud to wear this phrase on my chest in honor of their service.

Now that I have revealed myself as a Gilmore Girls fan, a military brat, and discussed the main reasons why I chose to get the Latin phrase “In Omnia Paratus” tattooed on my chest, I hope that you have a better understanding of why a tattoo can be a deeply personal artistic expression.

It is also interesting to think of all the differences that may exist between the 45 Million people in the United States that have at least one tattoo, and the reasons they may have behind each one.

Every tattoo is unique and interesting, and as you can see from my speech, may have multiple meanings for the person wearing it.

I hope you all enjoyed my speech today, thank you for listening, and remember to always be ready for anything!”

Isn’t This Supposed To Be Hard?

•September 20, 2017 • Leave a Comment

So I’m 4 weeks into my second semester back at college…and it just seems all too easy. Isn’t this supposed to be hard? Isn’t that why I waited so fucking long to come back???

I mean, fuck, if I had known that as anything other than 17-year-old me college would feel easy, shit…

Where could I be now if I had gone back earlier? Would I be 35 and feeling like I don’t count in the business world? 

Would I have met my fiancee though? 

Who would I be???

I mean, let’s be real, I fucked up my own shit at 17 and 18. I don’t think I matured really until I hit probably 30. So, I mean, I probably wouldn’t have taken school as seriously as I do now until this point in my life.

It’s kind of funny though…I’m writing papers in a half hour and getting A’s. I’m bored to tears in my math classes. I’m flying through all of the assignments and tests in my Computer Apps class.

My law classes are fun to me, while other people in my classes groan at every assignment – even though they are clearly posted on the syllabi – and complain that “there’s too much work!” I disagree. I don’t find it to be too much work at all. I take things as they come, and try to get ahead as much as I possibly can every day.

I actually like going to classes. I feel close to what I felt like prior to having a mini-meltdown in high school. (To be fair though, I was dealing with a lot of internal strife when that happened – wanting desperately to be liked by people, but feeling like I was dying inside by hiding who I really was, plus trying to come to grips with parental infidelities and clear signs of parental alcoholism…)

Being back in school and on a new career path…ultimately I feel relief. I am so thankful for this opportunity, and I can’t wait to finish up and find a new job that actually interests me and fulfills a sense of purpose in me working there.

I just thought school would be harder…

She Liked It, So She Put A Ring On It…

•July 21, 2017 • Leave a Comment

So, uhm, news…

I’m engaged! For real!

It’s been 2 1/2 weeks, and I still can’t quite believe it to be honest. I mean, we talked about it all the time, but I thought for sure it would still be at least a few more months down the line.

Little did I know that all of our back and forth jokes included her hiding the fact that she had bought a ring for me back in February…

Hands Down

•May 19, 2017 • 1 Comment

Have you ever just felt like no matter what you do, say, think, or even feel, you’re just going to wind up making a mess of things and creating yet another epic failure?

Totally having one of those days.

The worst part is I started to cry earlier, and then I just couldn’t. Like I have no idea what the fuck is wrong with me.

Correction…I know I feel like all my old familiar demons are back to mess with me, and they’re winning.

Hands up if you’ve ever felt like no matter what, you’re just not good enough. Keep them up if you feel like that no matter what people tell you. Keep them up if it rips you apart inside because you’ve felt that way for as long as you can remember.

OK. Hands Down.

The Fundamentals of Learning…3.5

•May 2, 2017 • Leave a Comment

So, it is official. I begin school again, FOR REAL, on June 5th. Holy fucking shit Batman. I am back in school. As an actual matriculated student. With a goddamn legitimate (heinous) student ID picture and everything.

My grandfather will find it amusing that I am going to school to become…a paralegal. Yeah, no shit! After years and years of pestering from my maternal grandparents, I’m actually, finally, pursuing a career in law. Granted, it’s not as a lawyer. Yet.

Thanks to my former employer’s incredible foresight to immediately lay us off and farm our jobs overseas as soon as the ink was dry from the buyout, I get to go back to school, full time, FOR FREE, because of this nifty thing called the Trade Agreement Act. So, that’s exactly what I’m going to do for the next two years.

I’m finally getting a degree! A real one! Not just a degree in sarcasm and Lego Architecture. (see, sarcasm…told you…)

Of course, I’m kind of terrified that I’m going to repeat the mistakes I made as a 17 and 18 year old, but I’ve been assured by many people that I’ve “got this”, and that for some oddball fucking reason, I’m a role model now to some of my former coworkers. Which…uhm…thanks? I mean, I appreciate the compliments and the votes of confidence, but if you all only knew how much I fear failure…I mean, I fear failure ALMOST as much as I fear rejection…and I fear that more than I fear death.

I graduated high school in 1999. I withdrew from college in 2000. I haven’t had to write a term paper or research essay in nearly 20 years. Somebody better call up Georgia Pacific, because I’m going to need to buy a cargo ship load of toilet paper for this wild ride!

“Alternative Facts”

•January 25, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Yep. I’m going there. You’ve been warned.

WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK IS GOING ON IN THIS COUNTRY RIGHT NOW?!?!?!

Every election cycle, roughly half the voting public are pissed off and feel screwed, but this is something else ENTIRELY.

I don’t know exactly how we got to this point, but considering the US is now an international laughing stock because of our new POTUS…I mean fuck! Facts aren’t facts if you don’t believe them? Lies aren’t lies if you believe them, they’re “alternative facts”? Ask any college student how using “alternative facts” affects their degree progression…

We have a pompous, egomaniacal, bloviating, thin-skinned toddler in the highest office in the land who has IMMEDIATE access to our nuclear arsenal and NO checks to stop him from launching at anyone who pisses him off on Twitter. What the actual fuck.

Even his own party is trying (unsuccessfully) to roll back on what he tweets and says. He forces people on his staff to completely obliterate any personal credibility by making them speak publicly on his behalf, repeating lie after lie, and if they aren’t fervent enough while doing so, he then throws a private tantrum in the Oval Office. (Multiple staffers have already confirmed this behavior, RE: Sean Spicer)

We aren’t even a full week into the new Administration, and shit has already gone topsy fucking turvy, forget sideways. I could post links to credible news articles about everything that has happened so far, but then my blog would be just a sea of blue and then purple hyperlinks.

Threats to the press that they will be denied any access to the White House if they continue to report unfavorably on POTUS or his “crowd size” (he is sooooo obsessed with fucking size…), to the point of REPEATEDLY stating and posting that certain news organizations are “fake news” and “failing”. I’m sorry bucko, but the only fake news that exists in your press corps is fucking Breitbart.

Issuing blanket gag orders on scientists in the EPA and at the Department of Health and Human Services, as well as the NIH, among others.

Obsessing over supposed mass voter fraud during his election, insisting against all evidence and rationality that between 3 to 5 million illegal immigrants voted in November. That’s right. He won the election because of the Electoral College, but because his ego is bruised and he is so butt-hurt over the popular vote not going his way, because no SANE person wanted him elected, he absolutely cannot let this go. He wants an investigation…which if there was any possible way of it not being completely biased and fabricated to please him, I’d be all for. SOMEONE needs to look into the Russia connection…and fucking soon!

WikiLeaks is even going after him now because of his blatant lies about promising to release his taxes. Now his people insist that “nobody cares to see them”. Uhm, go fuck yourselves, because yes, we do.

He claims there is no money for the Affordable Care Act, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, SNAP, the arts, the environment, and a whole slew of other things that are actually GOOD for this country, but he says there is more than enough money for a ridiculous border wall that Mexico absolutely will NOT pay for. Even better is that it will just be a massive waste of time because that is NOT going to stop crime from happening in this country. Nor will banning Muslims and Syrians from immigrating here. NEWSFLASH: not all non-white people are evil, and point of fact, LOTS of white people ARE!!! Look in the fucking mirror!!!

There are also credible reports now that he is still using his unsecured Android phone because he refuses to give it up, AND his staffers are using private email addresses and a private RNC server that has ALREADY been hacked…

…and let us not forget that he is signing Executive Orders faster than most people go through toilet paper…

…but where are all the conservatives in an uproar about this? All I see and hear are crickets. Guess it’s OK when it’s a rich white man who’s going to make you richer while destroying this country and the planet.

Conservatives, your racism, misogyny, Islamophobia, homophobia, xenophobia and general douchebaggery are showing nice and clear. By not standing up to this, by letting shit slide because you want to benefit from something he’s going to do, you’re sounding the death knell for your political ideology, and possibly this country and the world.

Shame. On. YOU.