Adventurous Date #2

We went on our second adventurous date…and have now added it to our weekly routine. Here is the card info:

Date Idea: Let’s take the time to go to a swing dance again! We’ll wow them with our moves! *cute picture of stick figures dancing that no one needs to see ;)*

Specifics: Anytime, Fort Worth Swing Dance Syndicate, Thursdays 8-10

Essentials: $ for the lessons,  cute swing dance outfits, dance shoes

 A little back story—My husband and I met while attending a swing dance in Longview, TX. Neither of us was really good, but we could tell right away that we moved well together. The rest is history.

Since getting married and moving away from our dancing friends, we haven’t joined another swing dance society. We’ve been talking about it for months, but we never seemed to have the time. This date idea gave us the push to visit the FWSDS.

We are woefully out of shape and my small talk needs some more work, but I think I speak for both us of when I say it feels good to get back out on the dance floor.

I have been unable to document this adventurous date with pictures. I made that rule for a reason…and I’ll get new pictures of us dancing soon…but I didn’t think it would be a good idea to spend my time glued to a camera like a photography nerd when I needed to make friends. Until then, here are some old dancing photos. (Place cursor over photos for captions.)

This date was definitely a 10! I hope February’s adventures are as fun as January’s!

 

 

Swing dance websites for those interested in a dance date:

Longview Swing Dance Association (LSDS):  http://longviewswingdance.com/

Fort Worth Swing Dance Syndicate (FWSDS):  http://www.fwsds.org/

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Invisible Connections of the Heart

First off, I’d like to apologize for my absence. I’ve been a little lax on posting over the last few weeks. I’m working on a new writing project that I hope to share with y’all sometime in the near future.

Now let’s get on to the business at hand. I’d like to talk about the universal connection that all readers feel towards each other. There’s a popular meme that has been circling the internet for years. I got this example off of Pinterest:

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I love this saying. I haven’t met anyone yet who likes exactly the same books that I do. That person doesn’t exist. Every reader is unique. If I can find just one book that I have in common with someone else, then I feel an immediate connection to that person. For instance, my sister and her husband both nerd out (forgive the phrase) over dystopian novels with me. We don’t agree on other genres, but we all enjoy modern YA dystopias. I remember many magical conversations with them about The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, Uglies, The Host, and many many more wonderful novels (and movies). That part of our relationship was an integral part of forming the bond that we share today.

I had friends in college who enjoyed reading,  but, again, our tastes didn’t match up exactly. I think that the closest I came to forming a bond over books was with a girl I met at church who loved books about mythology (i.e. Rick Riordan.) She wanted to go back in time to  Ancient Greece and Rome; I wanted to go back in time to Medival times. Magic-wielding demi-gods and dragon-slaying knights…two completely different worlds. And yet we were able to connect with each other over the fictional worlds we loved so much.

Over time, I realized that it didn’t matter so much what my friends read. Fantasy, YA, Romance, Mystery, Non-Fiction. It might have been harder to have conversations about favorite books that only one of us read, but I could lend an attentive ear to any true book lover. All I needed were friends who could expression how much they loved their books. As long as they loved reading and weren’t afraid of silence, we could spend an enjoyable afternoon reading in silence on the same couch…slowly becoming best friends.

If you read books, no matter what you read, then we can be good friends. 

Has anyone else ever noticed the truth behind this statement? That universal brother and sisterhood is what fuels our reading community. We are family.

Adventurous Date #1: Try Something New

This is going to be a non-bookish series of posts.

Some quick background information: I decided last Christmas that I didn’t want to spend every date night eating at Braum’s. I’m not talking about cost-effective dates–two for one burger specials are incredibly cost-effective–but the same date night every week. My husband and I are in a fun stage of life. We haven’t been married for very long so we’re still learning what things we can enjoy together. Some nights it’s just safer to stick with a burger and movie at home. 

Well, my brain started to spin. I wanted to create something that would allow me and my husband to enjoy adventures together–big adventures, little adventures, fun adventures, and adventures that don’t turn out so well in the end. It didn’t matter. So I decided to create some surprise dates that we could enjoy this year that would, maybe, add an extra level of spontaneity and fun to our date nights.

I took 24 note cards and wrote out 24 date ideas – 12 dates that we could do at home or somewhere nearby just some night in the week and 12 dates that involved a little more planning, travel, and/or money. The plan is to have my husband draw two cards out of an envelope every month. We might not be able to do them both, but the suspense of watching him blindly choose a date is so much fun! And he has no idea what’s going on, so that’s hilarious! I’ve created a win-win scenario for date nights.

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We forgot to take a picture of us together at the restaurant…but don’t we look excited about our adventure?

I think I stopped breathing those few seconds that I waited for my husband to pick the first set of cards. We went on our first super adventurous date this weekend. Here was the date idea:

In the spirit of trying new things, let’s try a restaurant that we haven’t tried before. And this one time, the crazier the better.

Specifics: Anytime, Anywhere, $? (nothing too expensive, dear)

Essentials: $, a camera, our appetites

You see, before I met my husband, I had what he calls “the five-year-old diet.” I had never tried sushi before our second date. He also introduced me to Greek food and Thai food, which I now love. It just takes me awhile to get used to new food. Kevin, on the other hand, is quite an adventurous foodie. I didn’t know what to expect, but, surprisingly, he chose something that I didn’t object to at all: Irish food.

He had been to the Trinity Hall pub and restaurant a few years back and enjoyed it. I had never eaten at an authentic Irish restaurant. That made Trinity Hall the perfect choice for our date night!

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The Trinity Hall!

 It was a little sad that I didn’t get to try some authentic desserts–we’re trying to cut back on sugar– but that didn’t stop me from enjoying the lovely selection of potato-based dishes. That’s not a cliche. Almost every dish contained some kind of potato and a side of soda bread (so yummy!).

This restaurant has a really laid back atmosphere and the building itself was so beautiful. It’s a bit of a drive and the service is slow, but the food and music was amazing. We are definitely planning on going back sometime.

If you’re planning on visiting Trinity Hall,  you have to go on the second weekend of the month. Not only is there live traditional music, but there are Irish folk dancers willing to teach you some new moves. We didn’t get there early enough to participate in the lesson, but we sat right by the musicians. Everyone looked like they were having a blast! This would be a perfect date night option for anyone looking to experience something a little different.

Corn beef appetizer on toasted bread with a creamy horseradish sauce, pork chops with potatoes in an apple sauce, and an interesting take on shepherd’s pie with soda bread. Yum!

Here are some more photos that I took at the restaurant. I think I really embarrassed my poor husband. However, one of the rules of adventurous date nights was that we had to document all of them and he knew that! Just FYI, never agree to that clause if you don’t want me glued to my camera phone.

`The point of these dates is to have a fun adventure with my husband. I’m not rating them, but if I was, this date would rank pretty high on the scale. I can’t wait for our next adventure! Maybe one will take us to the library!

Taming the Wild Creature (aka Reading to My Cavy)

I know the saying actually goes “Taming the Savage Beast.” I just can’t bear to call my Gwenie Pig a savage beast.

You see, I’ve been wanting a guinea pig for a couple of years now and my husband decided that a baby cavy would make the perfect Christmas gift. We’ve had her for almost a week now and she’s come a long ways from the shivering little bundle of fur that we brought home. 

I can’t help but think that our Guinevere did not have an easy first six weeks. She was taken from her mother to be sent to a pet store, but along the way she was also separated from the siblings that she was supposed to be quarantined with. We adopted her the day that she got out of quarantine. Confused. Alone. Scared. Never having eaten vegetables or been handled for humans for long periods of time.

I had been researching guinea pigs for two years, so I knew the basic rules:

  1. Give them some time alone to adjust to their new cage.

2. Constantly talk to them in soothing tones, using their name a lot.

3. Try to hand feed them treats so that they associate their love of food with you.

4. Spend as much time as you can handling them, petting them, holding them, and talking to them.

5. Never pick them up with just one hand or handle them harshly.

Gwen still doesn’t like to embark on the long journey from her cage to the couch or the play pen, but she has learned to not run away every time my husband or I reach in to the cage to stroke her or give her a slice of cucumber. She settles down on our laps during cuddle time and allows us to pet her and hand feed he. She roams around her play pen, discovering new hidey areas and treats. More over, she has started coming out of her hidey corner when I come to her cage with food.

She is only six weeks old…well, seven now…so she has a long way to go. She isn’t completely tame yet, but my heart soars every time she popcorns (runs around and randomly hops) after being put back in her cage after floor time or after she discovers a new treat in her food bowl. (Seriously, it is so cute! Look up “guinea pigs popcorning” on YouTube.)

What has been the best method of success?

I’m sure the cuddling sessions in the morning and afternoon are helping her get used to human touch, and showing her that her food doesn’t just appear out of thin air is a big help. The route to a guinea pig’s heart is through their stomach. However, I think reading is a very important tool in my taming arsenal.

Reading?

Hear me out. Baby cavies aren’t used to humans talking. It’s their owners’ responsibility to help them get used to hearing sounds all day long, especially the sound of human voices. For the best results, this is supposed to hear the voices for more than ten minutes at a time. In fact, many guinea pig owners will tell you that, for best results, guinea pigs need to immediately and constantly hear human voices around their cage. The faster they get used to hearing voices, the easier it is to handle them. We tried to take at tip from a useful friend and leave a talk show on Pandora while we were out. It was a good idea…but we didn’t want to leave the TV on and our laptop only plays Pandora for so long before it shuts down. And besides, it wasn’t our voices. We wanted her to get used to our voices and associate them with pleasant things.

As much as I love Gwen, I didn’t want to spend an hour at a time on my knees next to her cage just talking. That’s when I came up with the idea of reading next to her cage. I can read for hours if I have the time. I just place a chair to the side of the cage, just outside of range of Guinevere’s line of sight, and read. That first night, I read to her for over an hour. She hid in her corner at first, but she soon realized that she wasn’t about to be plucked from her cage and she started to move around her cage. The next day, she began to explore her surroundings more. She still hid every time we opened the cage door, but she didn’t seem to mind our voices or our presence outside the cage as much.

I’ve continued to read to her every day. It’s a win win situation. She gets used to my voice and I get reading breaks. A thirty minute reading break after lunch and an hour reading break before bed seems to make everyone happy.

I’m not saying that Gwen’s progress is all do to my reading…but it definitely isn’t hurting matters.

Everybody loves a good book. 😀

Has anyone else read to their pets before? Why? What happened?

P.S. In case you were wondering, Gwen has been reading Anne of Avonlea with me and helping me finish my Old Testament bible study. .