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Because I like making lists:

  1. Joe. He was my first kiss. He’s now engaged to be married. With marriage, he will become a stepfather to a boy. He’s as handsome, silly and courteous as the day I met him. I’m happy to know him and call him a friend.
  2. Jeff. When we dated, he was known to my family as The Tow-Truck Driver. He’s still driving for his job, but not tow trucks. As far as I know, he’s single. We plan to have coffee together soon to catch up.
  3. Cliff. He was my best friend while in J-School. I hate that I hurt him. He’s married now and has a son. We’re Facebook friends, but that’s about it.
  4. Stephen. He was my first boyfriend. He didn’t treat me well, so we don’t talk. However, he does reach out to me through the internet every 2-3 years. He’s asked me to give him a second chance, or go to a concert or whatever. I’m not interested.
  5. Alex. He was the first man I ever loved. I don’t see much of him anymore, but we’re both happy to know each other. He continues to impress me with his intelligence, creativity and sense of adventure. He’s in a committed relationship.
  6. Aaron. I had a crush on him for a long time before we started dating. Apparently, he had had a crush on me, too. Funny how that works out. As far as I know, he’s single. We’ve met up a few times in Seattle over the years to catch up. He can never make it to my parties because the bus system from Seattle to Everett is crap.
  7. Steven. My sister set me up with him. Oh, how my mom loved Steven! He’s very handsome and his family is wonderful. We tried to be friends after the breakup, but it didn’t work out. He’s married now.
  8. Amir. He was the first man I dated where we weren’t exclusive. It wasn’t any fun. Even though we realized we weren’t meant to be together, we agreed that our friendship was meaningful. He’s married now. We’re still good friends.
  9. Tyler. I’ll admit, I was falling in love with him when he broke it off with me. He moved to Virginia not too long after that. Before he left for the East Coast, we had one last day together. He also invited me to his going-away party. As far as I know, he’s single. We’re still friends on Facebook.
  10. Jim. At 6 feet 5 inches tall, he is the tallest man I’ve ever dated. Ours was a mutual breakup. He was my best friend for the better part of a year, even after we were no longer a couple. He’s single now. We don’t see much of each other, but we’re still friends. I met up with him in Edmonds not too long ago.
  11. Doug. Though he was my fifth boyfriend, ours was my first relationship where I loved and was loved in return. We broke up because I wanted to have kids and he didn’t want to have any more. He’s married now. As far as I know, he and his second wife have a child together. He doesn’t talk to me.
  12. Ivan. We have a fun how-we-met story. Though we dated for a short time, it was serious. He’s in a relationship now. We’re still good friends.
  13. Yoshi. After he broke up with me, I swore to myself I’d never date another 25-year-old again. We’ll see how that goes. I thought he was perfect for me. He told me he’d still like to be friends. So far, that just means Facebook friends.

This list is my way of reflecting on the men I’ve dated over the last 11 years. Sort of a where-are-we-now blog. Of note, there’s a difference between “dates” and “dating” to me. I dated these 13 men for at least a month. Joe may be the one exception because our dating timeline wasn’t clear.

Haiku for Adam Bly, the artist with a capital A:

All of the books were
a peculiar shade of blue.
This room is for Lou.

Rainmaker or no,
it poured before our first kiss –
Benjamin style.

At half past midnight,
I left for the mainland on
the ferry of shame.

 

I was dumped on Oct. 12.

That was the day before I left for this year’s Washington Newspaper Publishers Association convention in Wenatchee.

He decided it was better to break up with me before my trip rather than after I got back. The day I got back, on Oct. 15, I found out that my grandpa was on his deathbed. He died on Oct. 17.

But this blog isn’t about the timing of the breakup – it’s about how he dumped me. I didn’t realize it until now, but he was practically quoting the movie “He’s Just Not That Into You.”

I saw the movie when it was new in 2009. It’s about how men and women can and do misinterpret each other’s words and actions while in or pursuing a relationship.

I was telling my cousin about the breakup yesterday, after my grandpa’s funeral, when she interrupted me with: “That’s ‘He’s Just Not That Into You.'”

“What?”

“That’s a line straight from the movie ‘He’s Just Not That Into You.'”

The following is the movie scene she – or he – was referring to in regards to our breakup. I have bolded the lines the heartbreaker gave me. They were almost quoted word for word back to me.

Woman 1: I used to think that I had never been dumped.

Woman 2: Yeah, and then we started comparing notes, and then we realized – wait a second – we’ve both been dumped by every man we’ve ever been with.

Woman 1: Every. One.

Woman 2: Yeah!

Woman 1: They do it so skillfully.

Woman 2: Mmm-hmm!

Woman 1: So sneaky. That you think that it was your idea.

Woman 2: Yeah, yeah, yeah. You know. You’re sitting back, and you’re like, “Oh, oh, oh, yeah, this is my idea, but then, wait a second. Why am I alone?”

Woman 1: “Why am I unhappy? Why have I gained 20 pounds?”

Woman 2: Mmm-hmm!

Woman 1: They genuinely mind trick you.

Woman 2: Yes, they do!

Woman 1: You know what I’m saying?

Woman 2: Yeah! And they got those lines that they like to tell you.

Woman 1: Yeah, like, “Oh, I don’t want to stand in your way.”

Woman 2: Oh, or, “You’re perfect. It’s just I have to work on myself.”

Woman 1: Or, “I’m just thinking of your happiness.”

Woman 2: “Oh, I don’t deserve you.” That’s my favorite.

Woman 1: You know what line that I don’t like?

Woman 2: Hmm?

Woman 1: “I’m so jealous of the guy that gets to marry you.” Well, that could’ve been you.

Woman 2: Yeah!

Woman 1: That’s what I was leaning toward.

Woman 2: Yeah! And let me tell you something. The second that you hear that, you just run to the store, get yourself some roms and a tub of ice cream, because you have been dumped.

Well, shit. I guess he just wasn’t that into me.

My last words to my grandpa were: “I love you.”

My dad and I visited him in the hospital on Oct. 28. That was day 2 of 21. He was obviously very sick, but still in good spirits.

He had asked the nurse to turn up the thermostat in his room, but 45 minutes later, she still hadn’t done it. He was cold – and annoyed – and planning to give the nurse a hard time about it when she finally showed up.

He wouldn’t let us remind any of the nurses.

The nurse had told him it would be “just a minute,” so he planned to pretend he had been holding his breath until she arrived. He would exhale and then say: “Oh, has it been a minute already?”

When we left, we said our goodbyes as we had done for years:

“I love you, Grandpa.”

“I love you, too, Sara.”

He is my greatest loss. He was the best grandpa we could have ever asked for. I am thankful to have called him mine for 30 years – so very thankful.

He hugged us and kissed us. When he would tell us that he loved us, it was often followed by the story of how his grandfather didn’t even know who he was, much less tell him that he loved him. Then he would tell us how fortunate he was to have granddaughters like us.

He played with us. He had this game we’d play called “Frankenstein.” The best way I can describe it is a mix of don’t-wake-daddy meets hide-and-seek. He would lay down and pretend to sleep. Then Kelsey and I would mess with him until whatever we did finally woke him up.

One time we put M&Ms in his hand. He didn’t wake up. He ate them, but he didn’t wake up.

We wanted him to wake up, but we didn’t want him to wake up. The anticipation was crazy. When he finally woke up, that’s when we had awaken the monster. He had mastered Frankenstein’s zombie shuffle and throaty moan. It would make us scream! Then Kelsey and I would run upstairs to hide from him. When he found us, we’d go back downstairs and do it again. It was scary, exciting and tons of fun.

(He even played “Frankenstein” with his two border collies, after we had outgrown the game. The dogs loved it, too!)

Grandpa also included us in his day-to-day activities. If the green beans needed picking, we were the ones he assigned to pick them. If he was preparing dinner, he would have us wash, slice or chop for him.

He was tough on us when we shared the kitchen, though. When I was younger, I didn’t know how grip a paring knife while trimming or peeling fruits and vegetables. Heck, I still don’t. It annoyed him. He exclaimed: “Haven’t you ever used a knife before?!” and sent me out. That was Grandpa. Although, he softened with age. He was easiest on Kevin, Sofia and Yashar.

He taught us how to play classical guitar. He picked up the guitar as a hobby in retirement. After he learned the basics, he decided he would teach all of his grandchildren how to play. He even bought Kelsey and I our own guitar. I was in high school, Kelsey was in middle school. We took three months of lessons with him, but we were too busy with school to continue after summer vacation. We were not allowed to teach ourselves chords. He also kept a close eye on the position of our left thumbs on the neck. He wasn’t supposed to see it.

He would have deep conversations with me. It wasn’t very often, but he would. I remember one talk we had (with Grandma) about the religions of the world. When I said I wasn’t sure if there was a God, he responded: “Don’t say that! Of course there is a God.” Then Grandma added: “If there is a God, she’s a black woman.”

He shared books with me that he enjoyed reading. Most recently, he was reading books by Erik Larson. He had me read “The Devil in the White City” and “Isaac’s Storm.” I finished “Isaac’s Storm” about two weeks before he was admitted into the hospital. When I returned it to him, we chatted about hurricanes in Texas and Erik Larson’s writing style. It was like we had our own book club, just me and him.

He would tell us how fortunate he was to have granddaughters like us, but we were just as fortunate – if not more – to have him as our grandpa.

After I returned to work from bereavement leave, I received a call from a reverend at a local church. She told me: “As your grandfather’s granddaughter, you will always carry him with you, and you will pass him on to your children, his great-grandchildren. He lives within you.”

She’s right. Grandpa isn’t gone because he’s right here, with me. In my heart.

Joel McHale is my best friend.

Let me explain.

I attended “An Evening with Joel McHale” at the University Temple United Methodist Church tonight. The event promoted the comedian, actor, writer, television producer and television host’s new book and TV show.

His book “Thanks for the Money: How to Use My Life Story to Become the Best Joel McHale You Can Be” is part tell-all memoir (that’s not all fact) and part how-to guide (that’s actually a joke) filled with Hollywood gossip, get-rich tips, and lots of illustrations and charts.

Joel also stars in CBS’s newest show, “The Great Indoors,” a comedy about a Gen X reporter who must adapt to the times when he becomes the boss of millennials in the digital department of a magazine. It’s a timely and insightful show about the clash of the two generations.

(Interestingly, the theme for this season of “Survivor” is Millennials vs. Gen X, which separated castaways into tribes by their generation.)

The evening featured an on-stage interview with Joel McHale about his television career. Although he is most known for hosting “The Soup” and starring in “Community,” he also was in the cast of KING 5’s “Almost Live!” It was a Seattle-style “Saturday Night Live” that aired from 1984 to 1999.

In the interview, Joel mentioned how “The Great Indoors” received a lot of media attention because a reporter at a press conference about the premiere of the show was offended because millennials were portrayed as too sensitive in the pilot. Yeah, I know. The irony.

After the interview followed a Q&A with Joel’s fans, including a back-and-forth with yours truly.

Here’s what I can remember of our convo:

Me: Hi. I’m a millennial journalist. I haven’t saw “The Great Indoors” yet…

Joel: You haven’t saw my show?

(laughter)

Me: I mean, I haven’t seen “The Great Indoors” yet…

Joel: You say you’re a journalist? Aren’t you supposed to have good grammar?

(laughter)

Me: I’m sorry, I’m just a little nervous. I can’t talk none good.

(laughter)

I haven’t seen your show yet, but I promise I won’t get offended by it.

Joel: How can you be offended by a show you haven’t saw yet?

(laughter)

Me: Oh my gosh…

Joel: Which newspaper do you write for?

Me: The Mukilteo Beacon.

Joel: The Mukilteo Beacon? The Mukilteo Beacon. What’s the news in Mukilteo?

Me: Well, a junior at Kamiak High School just found out he aced the computer science AP exam. He’s one of only 10 in the world to do so.

Joel: Wow.

Me: Yeah. My question is, since you’re playing a journalist in the show – you do play a journalist, right? – did you prepare for the role?

(My fellow journos: I know, I know. I realize I didn’t ask an open-ended question. I think I was just nervous.)

His short answer to my question was no. While I don’t remember all of what followed here, at one point Joel likened preparation for his role as a magazine reporter to Ted Danson’s role in “Cheers.”

Joel: “Just like Ted Danson didn’t need to learn how to bar tend to play a bartender on TV, I didn’t need to job shadow a reporter to prepare for my role.”

Then he genuinely apologized for saying so.

Joel: “I’m sorry, that was offensive to journalists.”

Although his apology can read as very tongue-in-cheek – after all,  I initiated our conversation based on his story about an overly sensitive reporter – it was genuine.

When I met Joel while in line for the book signing and photo op, he asked me if the friend with me was my husband. I told him no, he’s my best friend. He then asked which one of us was gay.

The questions didn’t stop: He asked how long we have been friends. “Since 2004. That’s when I graduated.” From where? “From high school.” Did you go to college? “Yes.” Where did you go to college? “The University of Washington.” Oh, I’ve heard of that place.

That was a joke. Joel also attended the University of Washington. The church where we were is practically across the street from the university.

Then I saw what he wrote in my book: “Sara – I’m your best friend. (heart) Joel McHale”

I had the best time.

Update: I posted the following on Joel’s official Facebook page today: “I tried to open my question at “An Evening with Joel McHale” last night with a joke, failed miserably, and enjoyed every minute of our back-and-forth at the church. Thank you for making fun of me. If you ever want to job shadow a journalist or humor me with an interview for the Mukilteo Beacon, look me up.”

I lost my grandpa, Ken Bruestle, to pneumonia yesterday. He was 77.

He was in the hospital for 21 days; most of them were in the ICU. His body, as strong and healthy as it was, couldn’t fight the infection.

My heart is broken. I go through bouts of normalcy, but then I’m crying and yelling “Grandpa!” over and over. He was so special to me.

I am proud to be his granddaughter and to carry his last name.

Grandpa, I love you all to crazy. I miss you more than I can bear.

A tweet of mine: I’m even sexier now than when we met.

According to a recent survey by the TV shopping channel QVC, women reach their prime when they are 31 years old.

It noted that the average 31-year-old still has youthful beauty, but she also has more confidence and a better sense of style than her teenage and 20-something counterparts.

The survey carried out by the American television network polled over 2,000 men and women in the United States.

Of those polled, 70 percent cited confidence as the main factor in contributing to a woman’s attractiveness. Sixty-seven percent marked that good looks mattered most, while 47 percent equated stylishness with beauty.

Next year I will hit the big 3-1, the magic number when women are deemed to be at their most attractive.

Apparently, I’m in my prime. Hmm.

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