“Our hurts unite us. They define us. They make us not only human, but a family.” Billy Coffey
54 bags of mulch spread. 22 more waiting in the garage. Long date with my backyard yesterday.
Met another Greek – the irritating “dermatitis!” (aka: poison ivy).
I prefer George. But I’m addicted to flowers. Guess I’ll just keep scratching the itch.
Ace of Cakes, Cupcake Wars, Just Desserts – none of them have anything over George and his LaBaguette Bakery. Right next to his International Market George daily bakes up delectable desserts and crusty breads and then sells them at some of the most reasonable bakery prices you’ll find in the Northeast Indiana corridor.
You gotta go. Heck, throw an impromptu party just so you’ll have a reason to go in and try all kinds of things. Treat your co-workers. Host the neighbors in your backyard. Whatever excuse you need. Just do it.
As excited as I was, I felt a bit awkward and a little nervous entering George’s place. He has an “international” appeal that is reflected in the diversity of those I met coming and going. The entrance to George’s is actually a bit small and a hangout for the practical tools of his trade, shopping carts. I had to pause for earlier visitors to make their way out the door before continuing.
Once inside it was easy to relax. My olfactory system kicked in identifying scents of lime, tomatoes, and onions. The aroma of meat cooking and something deep-frying made me glad I’d planned to dine with George. But first I’d look around a bit – take in the surroundings.
Even though I knew George was Greek, the first thing I began to notice was his obvious love of Mexican fare. A stack of cactus leaves. A wall full of hot sauces.
(I’ve recently learned that whole cactus leaves are called nopales and nopalitos when they are chopped. They’re a great source of calcium, fiber, vitamins A, C, K and magnesium. They can be served chopped in salads. Another serving idea is to saute or stir-fry them with onions and chili peppers and sprinkle with cheese.)
Near the hot sauces was a full rack of spices containing every imaginable dried or powdered ingredient one might need to create an array of tantalizing flavors. Across the aisle freshly made salsa and tortillas. Mexican vanilla and hot chocolate blends. My taste buds were aching.
Then, just as suddenly I was transported across the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean isle of Greece. Colorful Olives and fresh feta cheeses beckoned to me along with fresh pita bread.
Teas from Sri Lanka and London tempted me and won, but I successfully resisted the many displays of cookies and sweets from around the world.
I could stand it no more. I needed to eat. George’s own Mexican Cafe was just the place. Fresh salsa, homemade guacamole, freshly made tortilla chips, and a cheese-filled quesadilla. The freshly made meat tacos were tempting even to my preference for most things vegetarian. An assortment of bottled drinks, including orange soda, were available along with freshly made lemonade. Sitting in a booth by the window, I enjoyed watching the diverse clientele come and go, dipping and munching and people watching. Life is good.
And there’s still dessert and the bakery to explore.
Ponder & Chat: Have a favorite market spot you like to visit? What makes it unique to you?
The melding of sites, smells, sounds, activity, and languages captured my present and ignited my memories as I stepped in to meet George.
A sudden silly thought: “Well, Dorothy, we’re not in Kansas anymore.”
I wasn’t even sure I was still in Indiana.
“Just keep walking. It’s an adventure, and you love adventures. That’s why you came.”
Don’t want to tell my neighbor boy, however. Just the other day his baseball rolled across the street toward my driveway. I thought I’d be nice and help him out, so I ran over, picked it up, and proceeded to throw it to him.
Okay! Yes, I’m being generous with the word “throw.”
He’s still quite young, though. I tell myself it’s possible he just saw my “throw” a bit like his own.
Don’t think his handsome Daddy thought that. He looked like he couldn’t believe I was going to try to throw him a ball overhand. I could tell, too, that he didn’t expect me to make it across the street.
Nevertheless, He smiled broadly – probably his way of stifling a belly laugh. He may have just been protecting his son, but he lunged sideways as if he meant it when I hurled the ball low and to his right. He even pretended not to mind when he had to go into the woods to retrieve it. Taking advantage of a teachable moment, he told his son to say, “Thank you.”
“Seriously,” I thought. No wonder kids learn so quickly not to trust adults. Embarrassed, I tried soothing my bruised ego by reminding myself that he’s a fireman, a natural rescuer.
So, I suppose a “throwing” date could prove quite interesting. As the anticipation builds, I’m kinda wishing I could take a handsome fireman with me just in case there arises a need for a rescuer in this upcoming date with myself . Maybe that can be next year’s project.
Ponder & Chat: What’s your best “throwing” story?
I couldn’t believe I was about to miss my date for the night! I’d kept “Joe” waiting all day. He was flexible and didn’t mind that I’d not been able to set a definite time. His schedule was open until 9 p.m.
But where did the afternoon and the evening go? How did 1:30 turn into 8:15?
Jumping in my car, I quickly calculated that if I hit all the lights just right, I could maybe get 30 minutes with him. Those 30 minutes would be wonderful. I’d take them and enjoy every moment.
Like me, “Joe” loves good food. Though he’s a year younger than me, he seems so much wiser in the “ways of the world.”
Like me, “Joe” loves variety. Though his house is not that big, he has “mementoes” from many lands.
Like me, “Joe” likes good wine. Though he might choose something expensive, his “signature” bottles are, well, cheap.
Like me, “Joe” loves to have fun. Though he’s quite serious about business, he always looks like he’s going to a luau.
Like me, “Joe” loves communication. Though he’s not one for sitting down too long, he’ll “ring my bell” when something needs said.
Like me, “Joe” can be full of surprises. Though he’s often sure and steady, he’s always got something new and different for me to try.
Ah, “Joe,” forgive me for being late and thanks for unlocking the door when it was time for me to leave at 9:30.
Can’t wait to do it again soon!!!
I suppose it just makes sense that one of the challenges of 52 Dates with Myself is figuring out how to incorporate the element of surprise.
Those of you who despise being caught unawares are no doubt cheering this dilemma. While my surprise-embracing allies empathize with the difficulty of delivering the unexpected.
So how does a gal plan a surprise date for herself?
Ponder & Chat: What ideas and thoughts come to mind about this challenge? Come on, surprise me!
“The troupe has become a favorite on the Washington social circuit. Its political satire brings chuckles…rave reviews…guffaws…and bipartisan grins all around. The satire hits the mark.”
The Wall Street Journal
What’s better than laughing till your sides hurt? Getting in free to a great show that gives you the chance for that laughter! That’s the gift I found for last week’s date in my journey of 52 Dates with Myself. IPFW’s Omnibus Lecture Series celebrated its 100th Lecture since 1995 with free tickets to a hysterical performance by The Capitol Steps.
Their musical political satire had the 1,600 members of the crowd in a constant uproarious state. Saturday Night Live on political steroids. Check out some samples of the fun here at their website.
Just as exciting and fun as the show was discovering the wealth of great events IPFW brings me. Over 1,500 free events annually. There’s lectures, comedians, cookouts, theater, visual arts, concerts. Many of them free, many of them very affordable. Looking forward to more date nights to come.
Ponder & Chat: What great free or very affordable date opportunities have you found your local colleges and universities provide?
For about a year now, my inbox has been flooded with daily offers from coupon companies like Groupon, Living Social, and Moolala. Usually deals from local establishments, they can sometimes be a bit tricky if you’ve never done business with the company before.
Like the two-hour housecleaning I purchased for $35. That was a great buy! Except for the fact that they called me the morning I was expecting them, which just happened to be the same evening that I was expecting to entertain my Mom for the weekend.
Now, every woman alive knows you always clean your house before your Mother comes! But if you’re working that day and the cleaning company suddenly calls to say they aren’t coming – well, your Mother feels like a failure, you feel like a failure, the dust on the bookshelf feels like a failure….
It’s just a dirty shame!
Groupon deals can often overwhelm the company who offers them. They get lots of buyers but aren’t prepared to handle all the business the offer brings. The discounted price can make delivery tricky, too. Ah, but I digress. For this post is really about my experience this past Saturday with a massage and facial at Hair International Salon and Spa. A purchase I bought from Groupon.
Hair International Salon and Spa markets itself as H.I. Salon and Spa. (I have a friend, Elizabeth, who is a communication coach. She hates acronyms for names like this, says they hinder understanding. She probably has a good point here. She often does. In honor of her, I’m going to refer to H.I. as Hair International throughout the rest of the post.)
Hair International is housed in what seems to be a large white house turned into multiple businesses. It’s not easily spotted, though once you know it’s there, you can’t help but notice the building against the stark fields surrounding it. A lone figure, seeming like a holdout to the expansion preparations for new construction going on all around it. The result of a close proximity to the new Parkview Regional Medical Center.
Coming from the West side of town, it’s tricky making your way to the business. The newly widened road sports a concrete barrier preventing a left hand turn into the driveway. I maneuvered into the westbound lane back toward the white house and made my way to the door. Inside, I was immediately greeted by owner Jessica McKean and esthetician Brigette Mckinnon, with whom I had my appointment.
Representing its name, Hair International‘s decor felt more salon than spa. Nevertheless, I was excited to begin.
The next hour was truly wonderful as Brigette worked her massage and facial magic. I wanted the clock to stop and the kneading, probing, warm towels and soothing music to continue forever. I’ve had several massages and paid much more for some, but this was one of the best. In 30 minutes, the knots in my shoulders were softened and in 30 minutes more, my face felt nourished and replenished.
Hair International wasn’t anything fancy. Without Groupon, I might never have ventured to it. I’m glad I did.
Simple, understated, and delivering great service! Can’t ask for more than that for one of 52 Dates with Myself.