Tangled Up in Flynn

Lunch with FlynnI ran into Flynn at the office today. And last week. And the week before. We’ve been seeing each other a lot, completely unplanned and unanticipated. 

Last week, I walked with Jo Ann to pick up her diaper bag from our on-site lactation room, and we bumped into him while waiting in line to walk through the building’s revolving doors. As I have recently befriended Patricia, Flynn’s ex who was his girlfriend during our period of mutual interest, my feelings for him have faded somewhat, but my stomach still flip-flopped when I saw him in the office cafeteria this afternoon. He had already spotted me and was watching my winding path through the tables as I walked with my tray.

I was supposed to meet Jo Ann and Farah for lunch, but I didn’t see them yet, so I made my way toward Flynn, who was sitting alone for once. “You’re eating alone?!” I asked in a teasing voice as I got closer. He is normally a social butterfly.

He shrugged with a smile, “I have no friends!”

I raised an eyebrow. “I know that’s not true. I’m waiting for some girlfriends. Can I keep you company until they show up?”

“Sure, pull up a chair!” he gestured to the empty seat beside him.

“So how’s your lady friend?” I asked as I sat down, referencing the full-figured blonde I’ve seen in his Facebook photos lately. I wanted him to know that my joining him was not an attempt to pick him up; I knew he was taken.

“I don’t have one,” he said between bites of sandwich.

My surprise showed on my face. “What about that girl in all of your pictures?”

“Oh, you mean Josie?” He waved his hand and made an it’s-no-big-deal face. “We broke up. It was never really anything serious.”

“Oh… so who’s next on the docket?” I asked without missing a beat. Flynn is never without a girlfriend for long.

“I’m looking at her,” he said with a devilish grin that instantly changed into an embarrassed smile. “Sorry–”

“You’re such a player!” I laughed, making light of the comment. He hasn’t changed a bit.

We just looked at each other for a moment; then I added, “It might be good for you to have a season of singleness. You tend to go from one relationship right into another.”

“I know,” he said, head down. His expression told me that he really did know. “I don’t know how to be single. I tend to go from one intense relationship to another. It would be nice to have something casual and low-pressure. That’s what Josie was supposed to be, but she got really intense really fast. She was asking all of these questions…” he paused; then went on, “That’s actually why I backed off from you after Patricia.”

He grinned in fond recollection. “We would have gone on one date and been done.” And by the way he raised one eyebrow with the word done, I could tell that he meant we had ridiculous chemistry and would have mutually gone off the deep end in utter infatuation and intensity if we had even gone on one date together.

“I know.” I smiled back at him. There was a natural break in the conversation, so I pushed back from the table and said, “Well, I’d better go find those girls I’m supposed to be lunching with.”

As I stood, Flynn laughed and said, “See? Casual conversation?” he gestured low with his right hand. “Intense conversation.” He gestured high with his left hand; then whistled as he arched his right hand up the imaginary curve to intense conversation. 

I just laughed. “See you later.”

When I got back to my desk half an hour later, I had a text message from Flynn:

“So if you think we can curb the intensity for one night, you want to be my date tonight to Newsies?”

I would love to see that musical, and I would love to be Flynn’s date, but I already have a date planned tonight with Jared. He’s making me dinner at his place; then he wants to snuggle and watch a movie.

“Ha! I think we can try to curb the intensity! …but I already have plans tonight. That said, if you ever find yourself in need of a +1, I’m game.”

I wanted him to know I wasn’t completely uninterested, but I also wasn’t about to cancel on Jared.

I could see the “…” indicating Flynn was typing a reply; then he stopped and erased it. Then the “…” started again; then stopped. Finally he simply wrote, “Duly noted!”

It’s probably for the best that we’re not going out. It wouldn’t be very good for my budding friendship with Patricia. Also… we could probably both do with a season of singleness.

Authentically Aurora

Telephone Pictionary

Girls NightIf it’s been too long since you’ve laughed so hard you cried, it might be time for a round of Telephone Pictionary.

For the uninitiated, Telephone Pictionary is a game with no objective (which I usually hate), no winners (or everyone is a winner – lame) and very flexible rules (something that normally results in eye twitching for me). But it’s a pretty fantastic game with the right group of people. And this weekend, we had the RIGHT GROUP OF PEOPLE!

To celebrate my birthday, all of my closest girl friends got together for dinner and game night. Jo Ann was sweet enough to host at her house, and instead of baking me a cake, she baked cupcakes and sugar cookies for us to decorate, catering to my artistic nature (so sweet)!

Melanie, Bethany and Ashley were all there, too, along with several other friends from various parts of my life. It’s always interesting when different circles collide. In this instance, the results were absolutely hilarious.

Telephone Pictionary Rules: Essentially, everyone starts with a stack of paper and a pen. Each person writes a word or phrase on their stop sheet of paper; then the group will simultaneously pass their stack clockwise. The next person reads the word or phrase on the stack of paper, moves the top sheet to the back, and draws a picture that represents the initial word or phrase. The group will continue this pattern, alternating words and pictures, until the stack gets back to the original owner, who will then share (with uproarious laughter) the way the message got derailed as it made its way around the circle.

With friends from work and church, engineers and artists, thirty-something moms and girls in their early twenties, the communication breakdown in nearly every round of Telephone Pictionary made us laugh so hard we cried. Enjoy my personal favorite:




Bonus: During our final round, someone wrote about my upcoming sailing trip with Bryan. This might be the best picture ever:


Hopefully it doesn’t come true. Becoming shark bait isn’t on my bucket list of thirty things to do before I turn thirty. ❤

Authentically Aurora

Look On Up

Relient KIt’s a good thing I have become resolute in my decision not to date musicians, because last week I was surrounded by them. My friend Jo Ann is the cousin of one of the band members of Relient K, and he hooked us up with backstage passes to watch the show from the wings and hang out with the band before they performed.

I’ve had backstage passes before. This summer, I went behind the scenes at an Eric Paslay concert, got to meet him, and even got my photo with the 6’4″ country artist. I was on the front row that night, singing harmony at the top of my lungs to “Friday Night” and “Less Than Whole“.

But this time with Jo Ann was different. The fact that she knew one of the band members personally – he was literally family – added a whole new layer to the experience. Instead of waiting in line for a five second photo op, we all went out to dinner together a few hours before showtime and shared a bottle of wine. We talked music for sure – his songwriting style and what a day in the life of a touring musician looks like – but we also talked about his love of golf, what his kids wore for Halloween this year and his hopes, dreams and aspirations for the future.

Then we got a tour of the bus. Jo Ann’s cousin is a good guy, so when he used the classic rockstar pick up line, “Want to see the inside of the tour bus?”, he did so with a twinkle in his eye. It was neat to see their living space – bunk beds, TVs and a PS2. It was somehow more chill and down-to-earth than I expected.

All of the band members were really mellow and friendly. The bass guitarist offered me a beer, and the lead singer gathered everyone for a group photo. Even five minutes before they went on stage, all the guys were really relaxed and personable. Kind. Humble. Sweet. They were just regular thirty-something guys hanging out and living life. I felt blessed to get a glimpse into their world.

Before he went on, Jo Ann’s cousin rolled some trunks together on Stage Right for me to sit on with Jo Ann and Melanie, another friend who came along that night. This was our view of the stage:

Relient K 02From our vantage point, I got to see a lot that I never would have from the audience: Matt Thiessen’s wink to his guitar tech as they traded out guitars, an “oops” face when he missed some lyrics, and his drawing of an upward arch over his mouth with his index finger, reminding the guys to smile. I also got to see two different stage dives from the perspective of the stage, and all I can say is: Wow, those guys are fearless!

Jo Ann sang along to nearly every song, and Melanie and I were constantly grinning from ear to ear. Our cheeks hurt from smiling by the end of the evening. It was a blast. The Relient K guys are talented performers and absolutely great guys, just as fun and charming off stage as they are on stage.

They sang two of my favorites from my high school days: “Be My Escape” and “Sadie Hawkins Dance“. But their second-to-last song was my favorite. It’s a new one that they haven’t even recorded yet, but it was simply stunning both musically and lyrically. Here are the first lines:

“I remember when a photograph was worth a thousand words.

Now a thousand pictures come my way every day.

And I like them all the same but they can’t take my breath away… Look on up.”

Relient K 05Authentically Aurora