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Hampton Roads

I can’t remember where I read it, but apparently Wednesday and Thursday are the perfect days to set your weekend plans, whether making reservations, confirming a date, etc. And that makes total sense–I can’t even count the number of times I’ve had all these great ideas for the weekend that never happened because I failed to turn them into concrete plans. I’m trying to be more proactive these days. So, what are YOU planning??

There are some great things happening in or near the Hampton Roads area–and all of them would make really awesome dates, if you’re searching for ideas!

  • Busch Gardens! The Williamsburg theme park is kicking off its 36th season this Saturday!And who doesn’t love a theme park?  This is definitely on my list of upcoming to-do’s. I haven’t been since 2002. I’m really interested to see if the 9 years will have made me terrified to go on roller coasters–I used to LOVE them!
  • Picasso is in Richmond till May 15th. Go pay him a visit! That is, his art. You know what I mean. The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond is the only stop on the East Coast (and one of only THREE in the U.S.!) for the worldwide tour of the exhibit “Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris”. Apparently ticket sales have been breaking records in Richmond for this rare chance to see the nearly 200 pieces of artwork. Trust me, I don’t plan on missing it!
  • Visit a local farmer’s market. The 5 Points Community Farm Market always has tons of seasonal produce for all your fresh-food desires. Plus, this Sunday is the deadline if you’re interested in subscribing to their Community Supported Agriculture program to get fresh produce every week.
  • Catch a show. There are tons of musicals and theatrical productions playing right now – great if you’re looking for something indoorsy and classy!

I know it’s only Thursday, but it sure feels like Friday to me.  Reason enough to plan my Saturday/Sunday. Happy almost weekend!!

P.S. It’s SPRING! Can I just say how happy I am to see this warmer weather after our dreary/unpredictable winter?! Even if you decide to totally be lazy, at least be lazy OUTDOORS!

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One of the perks of being married (or cohabitating) MUST be the not-living-alone thing.

I’m sorry if this makes me sound un-independent, foolish, or silly, but: I hate living a-l-o-n-e.

Now, I’m not talking about having someone to share bills with {or mooch off of} or to otherwise rely on through thick and thin. Or the whole not-just-talking-to-yourself aspect. Those things are, I’m sure, really cool. Right now I’m just talking about how truly, utterly scared out of my wits I can get from being all alone in a big place at night…whether city or suburb.

Even when I lived alone in my studio apartment in Hampton (until a month ago, when a burglary in the complex put two bullets through my car windows), I made it OK but it wasn’t ideal. I had taken precautions. It was, after all, studio-ized. There was just one big room, so I could take in the entire square footage and watch out for potential big bad wolves lurking in one fell swoop. Still, if I’d been wearing boots at night, there’d have been some quaking in them.

Anyway, the situation right now is that I’m “in between” quasi-permanent residences so to speak, and I’m living with my parents until I figure some stuff out. (Hence the massive, ongoing purge of childhood belongings I keep talking about–you didn’t think I declutter for fun, did you?) Living with your parents post-college, no matter how temporary, has a price all its own…still, as much as I look forward to having my own place again sometime in the near future, I am relishing knowing that  it’s not just me in there.

So who’s afraid of the big bad wolf? That’s right, I am, at times. Just another perk to look forward to in the “someday” category I suppose. True love? Pshhh. The real awesomeness of commitment will be having someone to face the scary, creaking sounds and unidentifiable shadows on the wall with (and, er, the world too of course). Kidding! Sort of.

NOT my bedroom...yet.{source: sheknows.com}

Is it just me, or does the recent 70-degree weather need to stay? Just in time, too, because February has been dragging on and there’s only so much spring fever I can take!

I’m sure you’ve probably heard of feng shui. Oh you know, that “ancient Chinese system of aesthetics believed to use the laws of both Heaven (astronomy) and Earth (geography) to help one improve life by receiving positive chi” (courtesy: Wikipedia).

I.e., a fancy way of saying spring cleaning.

Sometimes the best way to shift from negative energy to positive, or to shake up things that have gone stale, is to clear out the ghosts, in whatever form they might take. I’ve recently moved (temporarily) back to live at my parents’ house, so lucky me, I have many ghosts. (I tell you, it’s quite something to wake up in the room you slept in as a high school freshman.) While I figure out where to go next, I’ve been tossing out waaaaay old school papers, bon-firing photos of past loves that for some reason I held onto, and trashing lots of medals and plaques from high school and college.  (Who wants to remember past glory? Not me! Talk about depressing!)

So, while researching the feng shui idea just for kicks, I came across some interesting notes on how to use the concept to jumpstart or resuscitate your love life:

  • The bedroom must “support romance“–and it’s important to focus on a few specific areas. Such as  the wall across from the foot of your bed and what you see when you first enter the room: they should be filled with romantic-symbol-ific stuff, like hearts or roses or fat little cherubs. (Um, can I just dig up my Dirty Dancing poster? I’ll take someone like Patrick Swayze in a heartbeat.)
  • Pair up lone objects. A single candle or figurine flying solo on your dresser is a big DON’T, apparently.
  • Create space. Whether you’re looking for new romance or just wanting to improve a current one, that’s the feng shui key. Make space in your living quarters, everything from your closets to your bookshelves and cabinets. The idea is that all your STUFF represents your energy, and there’s no room for someone else’s energy in your life if they can’t fit their Macbook on your too-cluttered desk.

Hmm, does that mean if I do too good a job with cleaning my childhood bedroom, Mr. Love-of-My-Life’s energy will find me lightning fast and decide to move in with my parents too? Better tone it down…

Have you ever used the principles of feng shui to re-balance the energies of your (love) life?

I came across this YouTube video this week [via Glamour magazine’s Smitten blog]. Ah, Facebook chat! (Not to mention Gchat, MSN Messenger, Yahoo, etc.) Makes it so easy to hide…

Sadly, this totally rings true these days for much communication between the sexes, don’t you think?

It’s not just the perpetual second-guessing and searching for the perfectly detached responses (i.e. furious backspacing) that typifies potential and existing romantic relationships during the lovely uber-social mediafied age we live in. Sometimes even the most innocent remarks can be misconstrued. Reading between the lines can be exhausting…and despite your best efforts, you still might guess wrong.(Yep, speaking from experience!)

Although face to face talk is ideal, it’s not always possible. (Especially for all you Hampton Roads residents with loved ones deployed overseas!) I keep in touch with lots of people transcontinental style. The funnest is with my relatives. Not only do I not get the added plus of visual cues, we communicate in person in Bengali but on Gchat/Facebook in English, which feels completely unnatural and stunted. Imagine the room for misinterpretation there! Luckily, family is family. But when there is a level of attraction between you and the person on the other side of the interwebs, well, a bit of careful attention to detail is a must!

So to that, I say err on the side of TOO much info. Don’t let’s go the way of Jane and James, shall we? And if in doubt about how your quipping remark will be received, well, inserting a wink never hurt anyone! 😉

Have you ever gotten into a misunderstanding  (or hit backspace a gazillion times to totally change your response) when chatting online?

Steer clear of your ex, and do it in style.

I’ll be entering Ex Territory this weekend when I go shopping with my fellow HRM Sensational Single Wendy Walker for our auction next Thursday. And not a little timidly. Because no matter what they tell you, you cannot be friends with an exYou should avoid your ex as much as possible. If one person still wants to rekindle the fire, contact MUST be avoided.

I learned this the hard way. Post-breakup last fall, after polling the idea on Facebook (and getting a resounding NO), the optimist in me tried the friendship thing anyway. Dinner with the Ex. At a cozy restaurant we’d been to last when his family was in town. A few weeks before Christmas. (I swear I wasn’t trying to get back together. I’m just apparently really good at evil, cruel plots when I’m not trying.)

It was disastrous and awkward in all the ways it could’ve been. I was 10 minutes early; he was 20 minutes late, without explanation or apology. And (ironically) he was way too happy to see me; I had to shrink from an attempted kiss (really, Ex?)! He’d brought a nice, personal gift. I’d brought a nice, impersonal gift. He was expecting to get back together; I was expecting friendly catch-up conversation. The shortest dinner in our history later, he choked a goodbye and left (in tears).

Yeah, I got out of the try-and-be-friends business. But every few months since then, there’s always a call or text. I ignore, but I am really careful whenever I am nearing Ex Territory, as I’m never sure if there could be another scene or totally inappropriate attempt at PDA.

Luckily, Hampton Roads is PERFECT for avoiding your jilted lover or your soulless dumper (that would be me):

1. LOVE THY TUNNELS

Yeah, I know it can be a pain. As someone who’s lived, worked or otherwise heavily frequented Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Hampton, Newport News, Portsmouth, Isle of Wight/Franklin, and Williamsburg, I know. But really, guess what? The HRBT, Monitor Merrimac, Downtown Tunnel, Chesapeake Bay Bridge, and Midtown Tunnel are your greatest post-breakup allies. Learn to LOVE your nearest tunnel and you are a rare creature— 90% chance your ex isn’t thinking the same thing! If you don’t have a problem putting some distance between your most frequented locales, it can be the best manmade barrier between you and dreadful ex-encounters.

Also, think of it as free therapy! (At least an hour’s worth.) Because dumper or dumpee, you might need some time with your thoughts to let the breakup dust settle.

2. FIND A NEW FAVORITE RESTAURANT

Yeah, probably not a good idea to go into you and your former-beloved’s favorite spot—at least not yet. Painful memories aside, there’s nothing that puts a more bitter taste in your mouth than an unexpected run-in. Stay away! Luckily, there are plenty of restaurants that are worthy candidates for being a new favorite. Check out HRM’s 50-50 deals on awesome local spots. I’d tell you my own local faves, but I’ve gotta be protective…just in case!

3. CHANGE YOUR WARDROBE: GO INCOGNITO

Winters that start late and snowfall in March? “Hurricanes” more timid than your last toilet overflow? Hello, Hampton Roads weather! What we lack in predictability, we make up for in intensity. Whenever fall-like weather actually begins this year, we know it’ll get cold very suddenly. So, take advantage of the region’s well-defined seasons. Hopefully you were proactive and your breakup occurred at the end of a season, so necessary wardrobe changes can be tied in with the need to look totally out of character.

There’s also no overarching fashion rule governing Hampton Roads; we dress metro, hip, grunge, conservative, sporty, sophisticated. Anything goes. I’m not saying you should change your entire look just to avoid your ex. But hey, if you’re gonna cut your hair or buy new clothes for the changes in season anyway, the opportunity is there!

4. HAVE A LOT OF FRIENDS

Hampton Roads is very friendly to the social. And, it’s an awesome place to live, so people stick around for awhile. So, if you don’t have a lot of friends (maybe because you somewhat neglected them by being sucked into your relationship? It happens), reconnect or MAKE SOME.

Try not to venture into EX-VILLE without them. Because a scene is much less likely in numbers. And it’s much easier to duck behind a person than to find an appropriate you-sized object. Don’t risk it!

Do you go out of your way to avoid an ex? Does anyone have a non-psycho ex? How do you handle the unexpected encounter?