Monday, March 1, 2010

28x1x1 - A Requiem

Dates: February 1-28, 2010

Friends: Emily, Anne, Daddy, Evan, Katie, Candi, Julie, Kacie, Barb, Mimi, Traci, Charlie, Bryan, Marjorie, Becky, Lora, Scott, Danelle, Amanda, Laura, Kelly, Kevin and Jenny

Activities: coffee, movies, mall walking, hiking, free samples, Super Bowl party, lunch, cupcakes, Science Cafe, gallery tours, dinner, knitting, opera, museums, and olympics

Locations: Starbucks, Village Pointe, Westroads Mall, Fontenelle Forest, Whole Foods, friends' homes, Qdoba, Cupcake Island, Slow Down, Wendy's, Oakview Mall, Dundee Gallery, Pitch, AMC movies, Wal-Mart, Bemis, Sullivan's, Scout, Hobby Lobby, Orpheum Theatre, Joslyn Art Museum, Applebee's, Mimi's Cafe, 120 Blondes

Total $ Spent: $16.00

Score for participation: 93%

Savings: $12

When I became unemployed, I was determined to make the best of the abysmal situation. I have the tendancy to mope and lounge and I couldn't help but assume that I would fall into that pattern while job hunting. I knew I needed to stay occupied and connected. Thus, the "28x1x1 Project" was born. The goal: to socialize in my community every day in the month of February and spend no more than $1 per day. The result: success!

My friends and family jumped on board as soon as I announced my plan. My first two weeks filled with $1 dates almost immediately. The third and fourth weeks provided a few more last minute challenges of cancelled dates and rescheduling issues. Overall, there were a total of 2 days during which I did not have a $1 date. I did, however, get out of the house and socialize, and I call these participants my honorable mentions.

On February 21, my original date needed to be rescheduled due to weather. But I was able to get out of the house and interact with my friends Chrissy and Shawn at Old Chicago. We are all on the planning commitee for the Autism Society of Nebraska's Puzzle Walk (May 1st at Chalco Hills!). We held a media committee meeting that night, and not only made progress with our to-do lists but we shared some healthy venting about our relatives on the spectrum. I drowned my sorrows in fried mozzarella sticks dipped in Ranch.

On Febraury 23, my original date was cancelled due to a miscommunication. Instead, I grabbed a cheap dinner (though over $1) at Taco John's with Evan, who was featured on date #4 at Fontenelle Forest. After stuffing my face with a cold burrito and waaaaaayyy too many potato oles for a person of my size, I burned off some calories by playing 3 hours of Wii Fit with my step-mom, Chris. We kept trying to beat each other's scores at Rhythm Kung-Fu and hula hooping. That is seriously a good work out! One word of advice - don't try downward facing dog on the yoga game. It's not pretty for anyone involved.

The past month has provided me with stimulating conversation, relaxing movies, being in nature, out of control laughter, and much-needed support from friends and loved ones. More than anything, it gave me something to do. Places to go. A reason to get up, get dressed, and get out. If not for my project, most days in the past four weeks would have been spent with nothing to look forward to. Nothing to do. No where to go. I would have been ashamed of being unemployed rather than finding the potential in myself.

Each night, I would upload my pictures, write, and hope that I had paid proper tribute to my date of the day. I didn't try to write with sophistication or elitism. I just tried to not try too hard. I hoped that I was having a conversation with whomever might be reading my ramblings and communicating in a way that makes you go, "I totally know what you mean by that." Every morning, I would eagerly anticipate feedback from the previous day's entry. And then I could look forward to my next date and start the process all over again.

So now what?

Well, I'm so glad you asked! I am excited to report that I will start a new project today, March 1, 2010. Want to learn more about it? You'll have to check out the new blog at: I hope you enjoy it.

Thank you from the bottom of my not-so-mushy heart for your feedback, interest, and above all else, your friendship. My cup runneth over.

I'll be seeing you.....

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Day 28: Silver Lining

Date: February 28, 2010
Friend: Jenny (Lemmerman) Reeser
Activity: Cheese and hockey
Location: Jenny's house
Total $ Spent: $0

My final date of my social experiment was with another member of the "pretty girls" from the botanical gardens. If you have been reading this blog, you would have seen me refer to the "pretty girls" in date #1 (Emily) and date #20 (Danelle). I used to be really intimidated by Jenny because she had perfect hair, the perfect wardrobe, a charming smile, and a super cute red car. Looking back at it now, what was I thinking??? Not only is she one of the most down to earth people you can imagine, she would collapse with laughter at hearing that someone was intimidated by her. I can her saying it now, "That! Is! Heeeeeee-larious!"

She got me into Jazzercise and we used to try to go to classes together. The only problem is that we are both total goofballs and we make each other laugh when we're supposed to be "5,6,7,8 and reach, and pull" ing. It was motivating to exercise with a friend and I was selfishly disappointed when she told me she was moving. We would have long talks in the parking lot after class even though we were all sweaty and stanky. Of course Jenny's hair still looked perfect but I stopped holding that against her once I found out that she is a former Miss Nebraska. They are required to have perfect all of the time. It's in the rulebooks, I'm sure.

For our $1 date, I drove to her house in Lincoln (about 60 miles west of Omaha). She's actually lived there for a couple years but it was the first time I'd had the opportunity to visit her. The house is spacious and cozy with clean and contemporary decor. Her husband Josh finished the basement, complete with a huge flat screen that even I covetted.

It was on the tour of the basement that I discovered Jenny's deepest, darkest secret. Her stunning wedding dress is hanging - unprotected - in the middle of the storage room!! Gasp!

We lounged in the upstairs livingroom and talked for over 4 hours! Jenny served cheese and Jones Soda (can I get a YUM??) while the USA vs. Canada Olympic Hockey game was on. I had just told her that I've decided March is my month to get fit and I'm going to cut out all sugary drinks and go down to one serving of cheese per day. (yeah right, like this will actually happen) So I allowed myself to eat as much of the cheese as possible and drank a full soda. De-lish.

Her cat, Punky, doesn't usually take to strangers. I guess she hasn't even fully accepted Jenny's husband. When she first saw me, she ran away and hid under the guest bed. After a few minutes, she crept downstairs and decided I was safe enough to stare at.....from a distance.

With a few moves from my "cat whisperer" back of tricks, she slowly but surely warmed up to me. Before long, we were besties and she gave me the belly flop. Jenny was super proud of her little girl, even though she decided to have a hair ball at my feet (Punky, not Jenny). I just figured that meant she accepted me as part of her family.

In the past 2 years, Jenny has gone through some of life's biggest changes: marriage, new job, new home, new city, becoming a step-mom. She reflected on how complicated and challenging it has been but she seemed to realize (perhaps for the first time) that the transitions had actually been fairly smoothe. I admire her ability to keep her cool under so much pressure. Of course she probably thinks she's a hot mess, and whether or not that's accurate she never shows it.

Jenny now works for the President's Office at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. She still comes to Omaha every now and then for a girls night or work meeting. We actually had a chance to see grab lunch together a few months back when she had a meeting at Joslyn. We also went to a dance show together and got to see my good friend Kevin tap dance our faces off. She has a bit of a theatre background so she "gets" my crazy animated face and gestures.

We (I) kept getting distracted by the hockey game. Just as the USA was losing 2-1 at the end of the 3rd period and I was bemoaning that I jinxed the game by watching it live, USA SCORED IN THE LAST 24 SECONDS!! They tied the game! At the gold medal game of the Olympics! What???? Jenny and I both screamed and jumped and high fived each other like true sports fans. It was way exciting! I think it was the first time I stopped shoving cheese in my mouth all afternoon. I figured that Canada would win, which they did, but it was still a very exciting game.

We watched the medals ceremony and noticed that the Americans looked severely mad. just won the a smile too much to ask? Maybe it's a dude thing, or an American thing, or just a team thing. They honestly looked like they didn't even want their medals. I was disappointed in them and wondered how they were representing American hockey to the rest of the world. As Jenny pointed out, they weren't seeing the silver lining. (wink wink)

I'm so thrilled that Jenny volunteered to be one of my $1 dates. We haven't hung out in so long and we are usually limited by time. I think she had been wanting to invite me to her house for a while but maybe felt a little guilty about living so far away from Omaha. I hope now she realizes that she is totally worth the drive. And I intend to make that drive even beyond my social project.

I'll be seeing you...........

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Day 27: Plan B

Date: February 27, 2010
Friend: Kevin Hendrix
Activity: Apps and Music
Location: Mimi's Cafe and 120 Blondes
Total $ Spent: $0

I met Kevin about a year ago at a non-profit fundraising professionals round table meeting. In the fall, I shamelessly begged him for Inida.Arie/John Legend tickets after my original ticket connection fell through. I barely even knew him, but I sensed that he might be willing to help. Much to my delight, he was able to get me and my sister tickets and I was eternally grateful. We started getting together for lunch and taking the opportunity to share battle wounds of non-profit work. Turns out Kevin is all too familiar with downsizing and restructuring, which he was victim to while working at the Durham Museum.

Kevin was going to take me on a behind-the-scenes tour of the Museum for our $1 date. I had been looking forward to the visit for weeks. I had only been to the Durham for meetings and once in high school during a show choir concert. We were going to meet at 2pm and I was considering cheating on my spending limit for a shake at the old time fountain. And then.....(insert dramatic music).......I got scheduled at Loft. A day shift! Gasp! Aaack! At once I began making frantic phone calls to the other associates. Surely someone would take my shift! How could I cancel on my Durham dollar date with Kevin? I called and called. I left messages all over town, some pathetic, some breezy. No one could take my shift. I was doomed. I had to give Kevin the devastating news. Our Durham date would need to be rescheduled.

Instead, we went to Mimi's Cafe with Kevin's free appetizer coupon. Kevin is one of "those" Omaha people who rarely goes farther west than 90th Street. I felt bad for his 30+ minute drive to my house (in South Dakota....not really.....but basically). We were suprised that Mimi's had a wait since it was 7:30 on a Friday, but then again, what do people in West Omaha do really well? Go out to eat. Once we were seated, we were pleasantly surprised when our waiter brought us a free basket of bread. Cha ching!

We perused the appetizer list and decided on the fried zucchini with cheese. You can't really judge us for ordering something fried since it was a vegetable, right? Right. As we chomped on our fried goodness and free bread, we had a stimulating conversation about religion. As I referenced in Day 26, I don't want to give away too much because of the topic of my next blog project. But I do want to give props to Kevin for being open minded and willing to have controversial discussions.

We left for 120 Blondes to catch Bryan's band, Midtown Method ( I don't care where you are or who you're with, it still feels cool telling the door guy "I'm with the band," and watching him let you through without paying a cover. I mean come on, who doesn't want to be with the band?

As soon as I walked through the door, I saw my friend Greg (see date #7)! He is also in a band so I thought maybe they were playing after Midtown Method He was actually running sound for the bands which meant I got to make funny faces at him throughout the night.

Kevin and I grabbed some seats near the Ed Hardy dream team table. Seriously, every person at the table was wearing bedazzled graphic tees that were at least one size too small. I wanted to take espionage pictures, but I actually think they might know some of my family. Speaking of family, my other brother-in-law Ben was at the table next to us, sitting with the lead singer's girl friend, Pam. Ben isn't really my brother-in-law, he's my brother-in-law's brother but who's counting.

The crowd was kind of subdued. They were definitely enjoying the music, but they weren't dancing or overly animated. Except that one guy who screams too loud after every song and shouts "you guys rock!" Even the Ed Hardy table was on their best behavior. It's hard for me to sit still during a Midtown Method show because they are so good! They play a huge variety of covers and normally I would be dancing with my sister or some of the drunk girls who think they are really good dancers but really they just look drunk and sloppy. But between my aching Loft feet and the "too cool" vibe in the room, I was content to sit.

I have to admit I kept getting distracted by the Olympic figure skating showcase that was playing on the TV right above us. That must be how dudes feel when they are on a date at a restaurant or sports bar and they are supposed to be paying attention to their date but they just can't stop watching TV.

Midtown Method played for about an hour and Kevin and I had already decided we weren't going to stay for much longer after their set. We listened to a couple songs by the closing band and then headed out. I'm sure Kevin and I will still get to Durham, and I have no doubt I will enjoy it. That's the good thing about this project - even when things haven't gone exactly according to plan, it forces me to think creatively and cheaply. Thankfully, friends like Kevin are willing to go with the flow.

On deck for day 28: Jenny. I'll be seeing you.....

Friday, February 26, 2010

Day 25-26: Roomies

Date: February 25 1/2 and 26
Friend: Kelly (Milligan) Mayhew
Activity: Chips and queso, Mom visit, lunch, chips and queso, art, hair
Location: Home, Target, Applebee's, Joslyn Art Museum, Becky and Bryan's house
Total $ Spent: $1

About a week ago, one of my best friends from college asked if I had any $1 dates still open. Since she lives in Des Moines (that's in Iowa for those of you don't know these parts), I considered taking a day trip out to visit her and her family. But she was asking because she wanted to come and visit me in Omaha! We determined that Thursday and Friday would work out the best and that our date would be a 2-fer. Around 7:45pm, Kelly drove up to the house fully prepared with chips and queso.
Kelly and I were roommates in college, technically for only 2 years. But with a bond like ours and a school as small as Coe, it wasn't like we were ever far away from each other. We were both theatre majors and desperately loved nacho-flavored Cheez-Its. Aside from her ridiculously luscious hair, I was drawn to her boisterous laugh and outgoing spirit. During our freshman year, Kelly puppeteered for the "The Plant" and I was the "Clock" in the musical Little Shop of Horrors. Before you go making judgements, I can assure you that the Clock is a critically essential role. Remember, there are no small parts. Only small actors with small parts. Anywho, we spent every hour of every day together during those weeks. To this day, we still laugh at inside jokes and sing songs from that show. I even named my cats for characters in the play. Dear Lord, that was 14 years ago. It was a formative year for both of us. I had just ended my relationship with my high-school boyfriend, and she was developing a friendship with the man who would become her husband.

Once she arrived at the house and the queso was heated up, we sat down for a marathon of looking through my college photo albums. I was so good about documenting my life in those years. What happened to me? Oh yeah. I got lazy. And digital pictures took the place of printed photos. This was the first part of our 2-fer $1 date. We are such a good complement to each other's memories. She remembers things that have long since left the filing cabinets of my memory, and I remember details that have faded from her mind. We laughed so hard about the piece of paper that mysteriously appeared in my dress while we watched Oliver in London. "But how did it get there?!" "I have no idea!"

In the years since college, we have visited each other's hometowns, shared holidays with each other's families, and felt guilty for not staying in better touch. Kelly has a 4-year old daughter, and yet I didn't meet her until recently. I will always feel bad for not making more of an effort to meet her little family sooner. But as Kelly and I discussed over breakfast this morning, we have to accept that we can't change the past. She has always been an incredibly supportive and caring friend, especially surrounding the issue of my mom. We were having a fascinating conversation about religion (the details of which I'm saving for another possible blog project....), when the conversation turned toward my mom. She asked me, "what really happened.... when your mom left? Did she just leave?"

Deep breath.

As if on autopilot, I relived November 1992, explaining how it was filled simultaneously with conflict and resolution. I realized that I have no memory of being told my parents were actually getting a divorce or the day my mom moved into my sister's old bedroom. I described the coffee grounds that spilled on the kitchen floor, my parents circled around the mess as if the tiny grains of caffeine were the cause for all of their marital woes. Kelly listened intently, with my cat Audrey softly purring on her lap. "Did you clean up the coffee grounds?" she asked. I admitted that I cleaned up the spill, pretending to be invisible. Within a few weeks, my mom had left. And that was that.

Since this blog isn't the outlet for my traumatized inner child, I will encourage you to visit my article detailing my childhood at if you would like to learn more. But, assuming everyone already knows the story, I will jump ahead to present day. I knew that my mom would totally freak out if she knew Kelly was in town and we didn't make an effort to see her. So the first stop on the second day of my 2-fer $1 date with Kelly was to visit my mom at Target. Since she was painfully specific about her break times, we knew to arrive exactly at 11:45am or we'd risk the bevy of obsessive phone calls. We got there right on time.

My mom came out of the breakroom with no less than 75 things in her hands. She had her lunch bag, her slice of free cake, a muffin in her mouth, an open bottle of juice, her phone, and who knows what else was dripping off her body. Speaking of dripping, she spilled her juice all over each of the aforementioned 75 items. The entire 15 minutes of her break was spent cleaning up her mess, with Kelly talking patiently through it all. Clearly I was far more traumatized than Kelly.

After Target, we went to Applebee's for lunch because Kelly had a $25 gift card! Our server, Anttwjuan (yes, it was really spelled that way) was just about the best darn server in town. He was insistant upon us ordering a mango-strawberry margarita and kept checking on us throughout the meal to make sure we really didn't want to order one. Instead, we went for more chips and queso (there's never too much), I ordered a veggie pizza and Kelly ordered a chicken wrap thing. We had a lovely time, complete with a handful of dance breaks. The bill came to almost exactly $25 so I contributed my $1 toward the tip.

We swung by Warren Buffett's house (because that's what you do when you live in Omaha and a friend comes to visit) and then made our way to Joslyn Art Museum. JOSLYN ART MUSEUM? What?? The very museum at which I used to work but then got laid off and so I started a social experiment in order to not freak out about being laid off and I blog about it everyday and shamelessly plug the link on Facebook? THAT Joslyn? Yes, the very one. I mean, why not? I love art and I'm a member.

Kelly and I visited Joslyn together once before in 1998. This time, we paid special attention to the Michael Foresberg exhibition. If you are a fan of nature and photography, this show will blow your mind ( We could have easily spent all day gazing at each image. I made a point to say hello to some of my former co-workers and even braved walking by my old office. You know what it felt like? Visiting school after you've already graduated. You feel a bittersweet mixture of happy memories and immeasurable stress. And how appropriate that I made this observation with my college roommate.

For the conclusion of our 2-fer $1 date, we got our hair did! Bryan colored my hair - notice I was blonder earlier in the day?? - and gave Kelly a quick trim.

Of course Charlie was there to assist and entertain. It was the first time Kelly has met my sweet nephew and he's at the perfect age to charm her socks off.

Kelly and I would both like to write. Wait, let me clarify. Kelly and I would both like to write and get published. She would like to conquer non-fiction and obviously I enjoy writing about myself. Roommates for life, even if we live in differenct cities.

On deck for day 27: Kevin H. I'll be seeing you.....

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Day 24: Amadeus, Amadeus

Date: February 24, 2010
Friend: Laura Huntimer
Activity: The Marriage of Figaro Final Dress Rehearsal
Location: Orpheum Theatre
Total $ Spent: $0

Did you know that not everyone from South Dakota knows each other? Did you know that South Dakota is a huge state? These little reminders were brought to my attention the first time I met Laura Huntimer at Joslyn. When I first announced my 28x1x1 project, Laura was among the first to respond with a slew of ideas for possible activities. Resourceful and clever, I knew she had to be one of my $1 dates.

Quiet and yet bubbly, Laura is a self-proclaimed weirdo neurotic. Clearly this is why we are friends. She has also suffered some strange medical issues and though our specific ailments are different, I can certainly sympathize. She is a midwestern girl who is close to her family, like I'm close with mine. Far more brilliant than she would ever allow herself to admit, Laura is the kind of person who knows something about everything, and if she doesn't immediately know she will find an answer. Like opera.

My $1 date with Laura was at the final dress rehearsal of Opera Omaha's upcoming production of The Marriage of Figaro ( On date #16 with Marjorie, I overheard Maggie from Film Streams mention that the Opera frequently opens the final dress to an audience - FOR FREE! Talk about the perfect date for my project! So I followed up, worked my connections and got on the list. Okay, I'm making myself sound waaaaaay cooler than I really am. I basically asked Maggie and she made it happen. Shout out to Maggie - holla!! Anyway, much to my surprise, Laura was an opera virgin! True to her character, she confessed she knew nothing of opera and therefore researched Figaro in case she got lost in translation.

I was worried about finding parking and I certainly couldn't pay to park since it was a $1 date. Luckily I found a spot on the street about 2 1/2 blocks away. Freezing my tushy off while running through the streets of downtown Omaha, I met up with Laura in the lobby. We went into the auditorium and found some great seats. Or so I thought.....

Mr. I Bite My Nails Obsessively was seated to my immediate right. Oh. My. Lord. Annoying, rude, disgusting, distracting. I relished the quiet moments in between his chomp-chomp, spit, chomp-chomp, spitting. At intermission, Laura shared her frustrations over Mr. I Have a Really Loud Cough and I'm Not Afraid to Use It, who was seated behind her. There was also a baby/toddler somewhere in the audience which is just so not what you expect to hear at the opera. After we got all the kvetching out of our systems, we stretched our legs and caught up on life.

Before you think I'm ungrateful and didn't enjoy the opera, I really, really did. But I can't help it that I'm accutely aware of my surroundings and easily distracted by the sound of my neighbor's unfortunate habit(s).

Laura filled me in on how she's been doing since I left the Museum. Although we did get some juicy gossip out of each other, she sounds like she's pretty stable and staying focused on her work. I reassured her that I'm doing well at avoiding a major meltdown. We quickly studied our plot synopsis for the second half of the show and returned to our seats near the aforementioned undesirable seat neighbors. Acts III and IV were a little slower with longer solos and more lamenting over broken hearts and mistaken identies. As my friend Kevin said, "Come on, Wolfie, pick up the pace!" But this is of course in no way a negative reflection on the cast or orchestra. The four main leads were absolutely fantastic and I always adore the Omaha Symphony ( We really do live in a cool little city....if you're not too cool to admit it.

After the show, we wandered the long halls, taking note of the intricate details in the gorgeous theatre. I saw my friend Stephen who was house managing, and we bumped into Colleen and Sarah who invited us out for a drink. Had it not been a $1 date and had I not been so exhausted, I would have loved to join them. It's important to disclose that part of my exhaustion was from playing Wii Fit with my step-mom for 3 hours last night. But that's beside the point.

We piled on our layers of fleece to prepare for the arctic blast of the Nebraska winter. It's a balmy 7 degrees tonight.......ugh. Laura and I parked in opposite directions so we said our goodbyes under the bright lights of the Orpheum marquis. This might have been our first date, but I think it will be the first of many.

On deck for day 25: ChrisMom and Aunt Kathy with a suprise cameo appearance from a special guest. I'll be seeing you......

Monday, February 22, 2010

Day 22: Chick Flicks

Date: February 22, 2010
Friend: Amanda (Miller) Doty
Activity: Returns and a Movie
Location: Oakview Mall
Total $ Spent: $1.07

Way back when in the summer of '07, I moved to Omaha and started a new job. Having never visited the administrative buildings of my new job, I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know how to dress or what to bring for lunch. Should I blow dry my hair or pull it back? Optimistic for my new start, I was determined to make it a great day, even though I quickly realized I was dressed too casually. I was shown to my a run-down former biker bar......adjacent to the administrative offices. I had a desk but no chair and a window that I wasn't allowed to open. My family had sent me a bouquet of "congratulations on your new job" balloons which greeted me upon my arrival. With a half-smile reflecting back at me from the silver mylar, I forced myself to subscribe to the idea that I didn't need nice things. I was here to serve the organization's mission and to advance my career. And at least I would have an office mate. I just hoped she liked me. Her name was Amanda and she was the nicest thing that could have happened, although the balloon bouquet was quite thoughtful. Props to my fam.

Amanda would become my closest confidant and wisest ally during that difficult summer. And I'm not afraid to disclose that many-a-time we would sing our faces off in our little Rinky Dink office. We would tease each other by throwing our squishy toys on the other's desk and have ramp rolling races in our chairs (once I finally had a chair, which I stole from the volunteer's work space). I talked her into sneaking out for lunch at Subway and she never judged me for being late every morning. We tried to redecorate so that we wouldn't notice the spider webs and remnant bullet holes in the ceiling and walls. Sadly, our design scheme wasn't approved, but we found ways of making our office livable. These are the ways we passed the days and coped with a a disfunctional working environment. When I resigned, Amanda was the first person to call me. She was in tears yet supportive of my decision.

Our $1 date fell the day after Amanda's 30th birthday which was totally appropriate since she was my only friend in attendance at my "Nerdy Thirty" birthday party. We hadn't seen each other in over three months so we squealed and jumped up and down when we met up at the Food Court. She is now super blonde and my hair is longer since last time she saw me, with trashy 1-inch roots growing out. That's just how I roll.

She received a gorgeous opal ring from her husband but unfortunately it was cracked and needed to be exchanged. So the first stop on our date was to Helzberg's. I don't think I've been in an actual diamond store No, I'm sure I went once in high school to get one of those "I Am Loved" buttons. That was probably the last time. The associates weren't overly friendly toward us and they certainly didn't apologize for the damaged stone. But since I've just admitted that I don't frequent diamond stores, it doesn't really do me any good to threaten to take my business elsewhere.

We swung by Starbucks where I utilized my gift card to buy a tall iced green tea lemonade. It was so good I finished half of it by the time we reached the escalator. After convincing Amanda that she wasn't limited to spending only $1, we headed to the food court so she could grab some dinner. She ordered from Arby's and guess what??? They have a $1 menu! Pow! I ordered some curly fries and had a bite (or 3) of Amanda's jalepeno poppers. Muy Caliente.

In addition to catching up on the usual topics such as work, family, love life, etc, I told her that we must never ever go this long without seeing each other. She has even gotten married since the last time I saw her! Check out the bling.

We finished our deliciously greasy food and travelled over to the movie theatre to see Valentine's Day. I was on the fence about seeing this movie because I'm not really what you might call a "romantic." Sure, I have watched The Notebook 1,812 times, I own the extended collector's edition of Twilight, and Gone with the Wind is my all-time favorite movie. But otherwise I'm totally dead inside when it comes to schmoopy-doop romance movies. This is why I need Amanda, because she will go see chick flicks with me. And I secretly like them.

I bought our movie tickets with the remainder of my AMC gift card (and because it was part of my birthday gift to her) and she bought the popcorn and candy. Did you know that AMC will give you as many Dixie cups of ice water as you want, for free? I carried two of those bad boys into the theatre and had my thirst sufficiently quenched. Amanda barely ate any popcorn but I ate enough to regret it later. Oy.

Me and Amanda....I mean Amanda and me....or is it Amanda and I.....whatever.......we truly enjoy each other's company. With trust and respect, we provide a supportive ear when needed. We like chick flicks and hate Nickelback. Yep, she's a keeper.

On deck for day 23: Nick. I'll be seeing you.