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In Which I Date…

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Friends. I went on a date with a super tall, handsome ginger who took me to a wine bar where we drank fancy blends under a heat lamp on a patio and discussed world peace.

Well, sort of. Alex and I have places. Vin 909 wasn’t one of them. Vin 909 actually belongs in the category of “my best friend places”. Ariel, Stephanie and I love a good Vin 909 date. And I kept telling myself I needed to take Alex.

Vin 909 isn’t really in downtown Annapolis which keeps the tourists away. I hate tourists. Lies. I don’t hate tourists. I just like that we have a few “secrets” that us locals can steel away to when tourist season gets out of hand.

I digress. Back to my date. Friday night Alex went all debaucherous on me and spent the night out at a bachelor party. I’m heading to bed at 1am after doing some major blogging (don’t judge, you’ve done it before, too) when I get a phone call. “Can you pick me up?” So with chattered teeth I jumped in the car wishing I had his car with its awesome heated seats and I made my way into town to pick his inebriated self up (along with a Jimmy Johns sandwich I come to find out). His friend’s apartment complex is around the corner from Vin 909. So it dawned on me.

Payback.

Hence my date to Vin 909. All because we had to go into town to pick up Alex’s car the next day. This place amazes me. Their wine list is awesome and it’s the one place I’d ever consider ordering by the glass instead of the bottle because their prices are fair and their selection is unbelievable.

As is their menu. We ordered their house salad (I’m a sucker for blue cheese) and The St. Nick pizza (appropriate, right?). The pizza was incredible. And this is coming from someone who is a craft pizza snob. I was nervous about eating pizza with honey drizzled over it but it was nothing short of perfection. Oh, and then we had ourselves a delicious french pressed dessert. We get all giddy over french pressed coffee. And the stronger the better.

I forgot to mention. My date was extremely understanding and let me practice my photography skills on an otherwise intimate occasion. :)

(after these first few courtesy of instagram!)

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(I’m getting so used to that receding hairline on him that I’m beginning to consider it sexy…)

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Jolly Ol’ Saint Nicholas…. Best pizza ever. I mean, look at Alex’s reaction.

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*sidenote: proof that I can scour through my closet and find a great outfit worthy of a great date out of clothes from season’s past. & proof that sticking to the classics and avoiding the fads is the ONLY way to go. so go thank Audrey (& J.Crew & Anthropologie… shame on my champagne taste) ;)*

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In the Dining Room

Ingrid Michaelson sang from the corner of the room.  The wine cooler kinked as Alex set the half empty bottle back in it’s place.  Baci purred, wrapped in his favorite blanket, eyes shutting slowly in a rhythm of content.  Misha slept peacefully in a tight ball next to me on the velvet of the parsons chair, head covered by her tail, uninterrupted by anything or anyone.  I bit my lip and pierced my eyes, rearranging the tiles yet again, counting points in my head.  Next to my tiles, I could see the sand falling slow and steady through the curves of the hourglass.
 
Recently, this scene has been nothing but a faint memory.  I tell you shamefully that we have found ourselves stuck in the “sitcom reruns and surfing the Internet” rut each night.  Our bodies brushed against each other, feet tangled, shoulders rubbed together, we quietly ignore one another.  There’s the occasional, subconscious “I love you” and the shuffling to the kitchen for a refill.  But, in general, the night passes like a terrible bad habit. 
 
Routines can become a curse.  We blame our horrible routine on year after year of working full time, coming home late from second jobs, taking evening classes and just needing to decompress.   It doesn’t make it any better.  New year, new excuses.  The evil of two overachievers falling in love is that they can forget to leave something for their own romance.  Accidentally, we give each other our leftover selves.
 
I placed dinner in the oven and set the timer.  “Let’s play Scrabble,” he says.  “Perfect.  I’ll set it up on the ottoman.”  “No, let’s do it in the dining room.  Otherwise I’ll just get sucked into the TV and the night will disappear.”  The honesty.  The unspoken truth.  The elephant in the room.  I agree and we move our weeknight lives to the dining room.
 
So there we are, half drunk on indie music and Tuesday night’s poison-of-choice.  We flirt and we laugh.  We can’t help but talk about Baci and Misha.  We discuss our plans.  We lie to each other, bending the rules, making up words and cursing our tiles.  We look in each others eyes and we see each other.
 
It didn’t happen over dinner downtown, sushi in the dim light of Tsunami or tiramasu in the back corner of Piccola Roma.   It didn’t happen on a vacation, away from the dust and messy piles of our home.  The wine was whatever was forgotten in the fridge months ago and the Fat Tire was leftover from the weekend.  Dinner came from the freezer, topped with barbecue sauce and ketchup.  The music was just Pandora.  It was us, surrendering to our daily lives and giving each other a chance.  And for that, I am thankful that Alex suggested the dining room last night.
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*Filed under Home Life*

Lost

In my honest attempt to get back into a workout routine, I found myself at the gym at 6pm on a Saturday.  Filling in my need for cardio, I stuck myself on an elliptical in the cardio cinema room in front of The Italian Job.  I love Venice.

In October 2010, we took a trip to Venice to see my dad’s exhibition and to support him at his conference.  We stayed in this gorgeous, super Venetian apartment, went grocery shopping on the Grand Canal, walked the streets like we owned the place and luncheoned at a palace outdoors by the Accademia bridge daily.  Life was grand.

Being that my father had practically become a local, there really wasn’t an opportunity to get lost in the city.  Granted, it’s the most difficult city in the world to navigate and maps do not help one bit.  However, the first thing he did when we arrived was to walk us to each important destination- and then ask us to show him how to get back to the apartment.  Our last night in Venice, the sense of adventure had finally worn completely on Alex and I.  Google “Top 10 Things To Do in Venice” and you always see “Get lost”.  We wanted to get lost.

So we set off.  Our plan?  Turn the opposite way than we typically did on each street (or alleyway) we encountered until we were officially lost.  How fantastic.  We didn’t have a map and we didn’t have a phone or even a watch.  It was just the two of us, lost in the City of Love.  We passed through the university neighborhood, the Jewish ghetto, and this unbelievable midnight market that must’ve stretched on for kilometers… We found ourselves in places that were out of a dream, tiny little crevaces of the city that were 2 people wide but surrounded by gelato on one side and live music on the other.

We continued to walk.  Every once in awhile we’d try and follow the obligatory signs for Rialto or San Marco on the side of a building.  They only disoriented us even more.  Three hours later we literally stumbled upon the Grand Canal in front of a row of gondolas bobbing back in forth in the water under the moonlight.  We knew, with only a few hundred feet to our right, we’d come across San Marco Piazza, from which we could easily make our way back to the apartment.  The best part about the situation was that we were convinced we’d be closer to the Rialto bridge (on the other side of the city) that to San Marco!

This is my point:  Where else in the entire world can you wander around deliberately getting lost in the middle of the night without a care in the world?  Venice is a romantic city- no arguments there.  But it’s more than gondoliers singing love songs as lovers float the canals.  It’s more than the 410 bridges and the 150 canals. I know why Venice is the City of Love.  I spent 3 hours lost in it’s romance with nothing but my purse and my fiance. 

The romance of Venice is the humming of the street vendors and the drunken slurs of the tourists as they pull their maps out (go ahead and laugh) in desperation.  The romance is in the smell of the lagoon and the way it floods during high tide, reminding us where we are in the grand scheme of the universe… and forcing us onto elevated walkways.  The romance is in the security of being only accessible by foot or boat- virtually eliminating the crime.  This is what is romantic- taking a 3 hour walk around the City of Love in the middle of the night with your best friend without worrying once about your safety or your ability to (somehow, sometime) make it back home.

To navigate through life with the same sense of faith and trust… wouldn’t that be something?  My spiritual views are underdeveloped and vaguely identifiable.  However, I know this is what we all should strive towards.  Just have faith.  With the guidance of a little bit of street smarts and your loved ones by your side, you should be able to conquer every new corner and turn.  No maps required.  No phoning friends.  Just your intuition and a little bit of patience.  We get where we need to… eventually.  It might not be where we expected to end up- in fact, it could be on the other side of the city like us.  You can’t be picky- you are one of 7 billion humans that are trying to find their way as well.  Our patience and faith took us to exactly where we needed to be to get back home.  I’m starting to realize that those virtues should get us exactly where we’ll need to be the rest of our lives.  So I’m going to start sitting back and enjoying life- regardless of how lost I might sometimes feel.

*Filed under Wanderlust Life*