Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pillow Nation~

So I know that I said I wasn’t going to be sneaking anything into Jack’s house, but I think I may have to break that promise. Ok, not break it exactly – but bend it. I am not going to sneak anything in – I am going to brazenly walk it in the front door. And I am not doing it to improve anything in his house – I am doing it purely for my own comfort. This is all about me.

Jack doesn’t believe in pillows. I have no idea why. He has a fantastic, monster sized bed with one lonely little, flat pillow on it. My bed is probably half the size of his and at last count I had seven pillows on it. I love my pillows. When I get into bed at night I arrange them all so I am cocooned in pillows. (and dogs of course) When my allergies are awful I arrange them into a pretty little pillow chair to sleep against so I can breathe all night – at least somewhat. In the morning I wake up and they are everywhere – usually the dogs have commandeered one or two and a few get knocked to the floor or wind up over my head. And then I wake up and move to the living room where I have an entire new set of ‘living room’ pillows for tv watching and afternoon naps. I have my very own tiny pillow nation.

So it seems only natural that I expand my nation to Jack’s house. Kind of like Europe sent out explorers looking for the New World – I am preparing to send out my little goose down army to create a comfy spot for me at Jack’s. His poor, weary, flat little pillow has no idea what it is in for.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Watch Me Stereotype~

If I had to choose between dating a man that has never been married and a divorced man at this point in my life….the divorced guy always wins. Ok, maybe not always. Not if the divorce is obviously mainly his fault or if he did something awful or if he hasn’t learned a damn thing from it….but otherwise – he wins.

This is not merely because I am trying to rationalize to myself that divorced does not mean broken. On the contrary, I do think divorce means somewhat broken and I want to date someone that understands that without my having to explain it. (Or make him read my blog from start to finish) I can tell amusing stories about my divorce and casually discuss the crazy parts of my marriage and a divorced man can read between the lines and see the reality. I will not need to spell out all the awful. I will not need to bare my soul like he is my own personal therapist – he gets it. If he has been cheated on...even better. Not only does he get that I am broken, but he knows exactly how. If my theory holds water, then we are automatically on the same page from the start.

I also like divorced men for practical reasons. By definition, divorced men have at one time been married – and lived with a woman. I am not going to say that this means they understand women – let’s not go overboard here – but they have realistic expectations of women. They know that our legs are not naturally smooth and silky and that we don’t wake up with perfectly applied makeup. (I usually wake up with raccoon eyes actually, from not washing off mascara at night. I know it is bad and I will regret it one day soon) They appreciate it when you spend the time to make sure your underwear match. They can usually cook and clean to some extent. They know that relationships are mostly work with a little romance instead of lots of romance and very little effort. They listen much more patiently than single men to stories about shopping, hair salons, and fashion. They do not expect you to watch the game and are not overly surprised or annoyed when you gossip through parts of it.

Of course, I am sure that there are exceptions to this rule – like any other rule. There are probably single men out there that are good at the above mentioned things as well. And I am sure there are divorced men out there that suck at the above mentioned things. I don’t blindly follow this rule to the exclusion of good sense. But if I were looking at identical twins that had uttered the exact same words and had the exact same background except one was divorced – and I had to pick one to play with, I would pick the one that was divorced. Should this situation ever occur….I will let you know how my theory holds up.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Guest Blogger Alert: Julia, Part One~

I love guest bloggers for many reasons. One, I love other people's stories. Two, I love when my friends and family get involved in my stories. And three, sometimes I am lazy and it is nice to just write this little intro paragraph and be done. This guest blogger is Julia, who is a friend of mine that is a few years younger than me. We had very similar kinds of stories except I married my high school sweetheart and then got divorced while she was spared that final part. But we have similar backgrounds and viewpoints and I kind of feel like she could be one of my little sisters. She just told me that she is trying out online dating and I peer pressured her into guest blogging about it because it is funny and relevent and, as previously mentioned, sometimes I am lazy. Enjoy!

After three and a half years of being single, and having the ability to view my ex’s recent wedding pictures on facebook, I have taken a giant step in the direction of romance, dating, and dare I say it…love. I have joined an online dating site. I have never done anything of the sort before, so I was a little apprehensive at first, but during the past few weeks, it has definitely proven to be – exciting, to say the least.

The first day I joined, I chatted online with a guy for over four hours. I am not usually one to spend very much time on the net, especially during the daylight hours, but this guy was really funny, witty and charming, so I said ‘What the heck, I don’t have anything better to do!’ (and, he was really good-looking). We had what I thought was a really nice, intellectual conversation…and I never heard from him again. Slightly bummed, I logged in the next day, to find about ten messages from various men residing within 50 miles of my small town in the South. One guy was 29, really good looking, sweet, and lives four hours away from me, in S.C. (Oh, and he has a temporarily gimp leg with a titanium rod in it from a wakeboarding accident the beginning of August). I liked him though, so I decided to message him back. He and I e-mailed and IMed for the next four days, and later exchanged phone numbers. He had taken to calling me every evening for the next week and a half. Enter two weeks later, and he has had what he called a ‘bad’ weekend, and was acting stand-offish and weird. I was a little perturbed by this, but thought ‘Oh well, just a bad couple of days.’ During the next week, we talked less and less, but since he lives about an hour away from Charlotte and I was heading there that weekend to get a girlfriend, he and I made plans to meet up. Saturday evening before I got comfy, I sent him a simple text asking what we would do the following morning, and he responds that he hasn’t any ideas. I tell him to get back with me when he has a plan, and that I am up for anything. So, I don’t hear from him all night, and I’m on my way to Charlotte the next morning and I get another text that says ‘Sorry, I went to bed early. We’ll just have to hang out another time.’ Now, I am a pretty understanding gal, but I was irritated at this, so several hours later (so to not text and drive), I message him back saying that this clearly isn’t the right timing for us and we should just be friends for now. He gets upset and responds ‘Ok, goodbye Julia.’ I laugh it off and pick up my girlfriend and drive three hours back home.

As I am settling in that night, I receive an e-mail from this guy saying that he is sorry he failed me and he thought we had a real future, but he felt really pressured to meet me, and it made him very uncomfortable since we’ve only known each other for three weeks. I was like WTF!?! I responded far more nicely than I believe he deserved, but the ending result is that I am “deleted” from his life.

And, all because I was honest. Let me say this, I refuse to date or become romantically involved with a BIG baby...and I will repeat it for you, I REFUSE to DATE or BECOME ROMANTICALLY INVOLVED with a BIG BABY! To Jeff, in S.C., grow up! On a happier note, I found a guy who is my own age, is living in Raleigh, and is originally from Grand Rapids. He and I met just last weekend and although I am not physically attracted to him (yet?), we had an awesome time, and we are going to hang out again. And we had only just met the weekend before via e-mail correspondence. I’ve also talked with a few other potentials, and plan to meet as many non-creepy, non-stalker, non-overbearing, established, sexy, grown-up men as I can.

I had decided shortly after my last birthday (in June) that I was going to take advantage of any and all opportunities that present themselves to me, and I think this is one of those times. So, I’m not sure if this online thing is going to work out for me, but it’s worth a shot, right? And thanks Steph, for letting me be a guest-blogger!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Not Too Late~

“If I had only…
Forgotten future greatness
And looked at the green things and the buildings
And reached out to those around me
And smelled the air
And ignored the forms and the self-styled obligations
And heard the rain on the roof
And put my arms around my wife
…and it’s not too late.”
-Hugh Prather

I like thoughtful books; books of ideology and self help theories and different ways of looking at things. I rarely agree with everything that is written, but I frequently find quotes or different passages that make me think a bit differently or appreciate another view, even if it isn’t the same as mine. I found the above passage in a book that I bought at this little monastery outside of Aspen, CO. On a side note, the monastery was amazing. It was maybe one of the most peaceful places I have ever been…sitting in this valley, ringed by mountains. Gorgeous.

I love many things about this quote. I love that it is a prettier, clever way of basically saying to stop and smell the roses. I love that there is a line about reaching out to people around us. I love that it thumbs its nose at future legacies and social rules and all the other responsibilities that we, as humans, drape ourselves in every day. I love that it cuts through all of that and then ends with the phrase “…and it’s not too late.” It ends hopeful.

Two years ago I made fairly major changes in my life. More accurately, I started big major changes in my life and over the last two years I have fine tuned and grown them, building a kind of life that I think is more suited to me than the one I previously inhabited. I was fresh on the heels of serious mistakes, serious failures – in my personal life, my career, my faith life. I was doing an awful job of managing all of my priorities and being everything to everyone. Even though I had the best intentions, I was letting my life run me instead of the other way around. Now that I have most things, not everything but most, in the right place and my life simplified to the things that are truly important to me…I am a herald of the idea of starting fresh because I truly believe that it is never too late to make your life what you want it to be.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

By Candlelight~

Slightly amusing story for longterm readers that know how I introduced candles into Chet's apartment-

I have snuck nothing into Jack's house. And I won't be, circumstances are very different. Also, Jack's house doesn't really require me to un-bachelor it. So there will be no gateway candle here. However...

We spend a decent amount of time when we are together in his living room which has the options of no light at all or a bright lamp that is likely the least romantic object ever. Ok, maybe not ever...but it is not sexy. Last time I was over at his house I told him that his coffee table was begging for a nice, big candle to hang out there. It was an off hand comment, that I gave zero thought to once it was said and done. I wasn't angling for a candle or preparing to bombard his house with was just a passing thought while we were cuddling and watching tv.

Last night we had movie night. (We watched Date Night, which exceeded my expectations by the way. Cute, funny movie) When I showed up at his house there was a pretty, new candle living on the coffee table. And not just any candle, but the grandaddy of all candles...a big, cozy three wick candle on a pretty stand. Such a clever man.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Conversations with God~

Here is how I talk to God eighty percent of the time:

What the hell, God? What am I supposed to do with this?


God, that was awesome! Do it again!

You have got to be kidding me…do I REALLY need to do that?

God and I are buddies. I say formal prayers on Sunday in church. Some nights before I go to sleep I say the prayers that my parents taught me when I was a child going to sleep. When I am really stressed or conflicted I pull out my rosary and take comfort in the parade of Hail Marys. But mostly….I just have this streaming real life conversation where I randomly say things to God in the heat of the moment in whatever language I happen to have floating around in my brain. Sometimes…..sometimes, I even swear. And I picture God rolling his eyes at me, hopefully somewhat amused at how feisty I am. Hopefully.

In return for my being an awesome friend, God always comes through for me. Always. Now, this does not always happen in the way that I would like. But it happens. Whenever I truly am in need, somewhere there is an answer for me. And this isn’t just in abstract ways. There have been times in the past where I was stressed about paying an important bill, and I got an unexpected bonus check. Times where I had been home by myself feeling lonely and had an unexpected visitor to bring me back around. There have been real and tangible instances where God has seen exactly what I needed and loved me enough to provide it. This week I was awash in self doubt about if I could financially afford to continue the path that I am on – and I immediately received communications asking for my help, reassuring me that I am doing exactly what I am meant to do. And that is why frequently I end my conversations with God like this:

Thank you.

Friday, September 3, 2010


So I am dating Jack. On one hand, I am determined to not have regrets. I don’t want to look back down the road and wish that I had done more or done differently. On the other hand, being burned in the past has obviously made me much more cautious and I can already see how that makes my behavior different in this situation. The end result is that I am giving a ton of thought into how this progresses. Which is very, very new for me.

Anyone who has read even a handful of my blog stories knows that I always go into everything heart first, head second. And usually that heart is straight out on my sleeve for the whole world to see. Taking time to rationalize my dating life is like the anti-me. This is not to say my heart isn’t involved of course, but my brain has kind of harnessed and muzzled it a little bit.

Jack was the first boy to break my heart. We grew up together and he is in almost all of my childhood memories. We spent countless hours running the neighborhood with a few other kids, thinking we ruled the world. Until I was about twelve, I had really never been disappointed in anything in life. I had great parents, lots of friends, and went to sleep every night worn out from playing hard all day. I was good at school, didn't get picked on, was involved in different things....anything that I really wanted or needed I pretty much had. I am sure in the back of mind I understood people could be mean or things could go the way you didn't want...but I had no real world experience with this.

Jack and I continued to grow up and at some point just ended up on opposite sides. He was a cool kid and I was an unabashed dork. This is probably still mostly true today, except today I love being a dork - I have no shame whatsoever in it. But as a tween girl...I was devastated that one of my oldest friends was suddenly too cool for me. And I didn't understand it. I had no frame of reference for typical teenage boy behavior. It made no sense to me how one day we were friends and the next day I was the object of ridicule. I will never forget crying to my mom and trying to get her to explain it to me. Looking back, it must have been hard for her as a parent to watch me learn a hard lesson about people not always being who you want them to be.

Of course, we were just kids. I don't hold any of this against him now. Everyone hits that age and tries all kinds of things to try and figure out who they are and what they want. I have done many, many things through the years that I am not proud of all in the name of self discovery. What matters is how we take the things we learn and grow from them to become the people that we are today. If Jack hadn't taught me that lesson, then someone else would have. It was just a matter of time. Nevertheless...I am going to be very careful about giving him the opportunity to break my heart again.

High Heels~

I love my high heels. I love the way they make me feel as I click-clack down the sidewalk almost like they are announcing my imminent arrival. I love the way they make me think my ass looks better, even if they really don’t. I like the extra height they give me so I can look over most of a crowd and catch the eye of the tall, dark strangers without any short girls getting in my way. They make me feel confident, sexy, and powerful.

The problem with this is that I am fairly tall to begin with at five foot eight. When I add heels, I am taller than probably more than half of the men that I run into. If I am being very honest, this typically makes them less attractive at first glance although I am not so shallow that I would write them completely off – or tell them that. But in my brain, where I keeping a running commentary to myself, tall guys definitely get bonus points. And if they look hunky enough to be able to pick me up and throw me somewhere, then they could probably have extra toes and I would still be interested. Sadly, these guys are few and far between. And now I have irritated the rest of the male population and I am probably going to get hate mail from every shorter, skinnier guy out there. Don’t be offended. It really isn’t my fault. Biology is really to blame here. Somewhere in my genetic code, passed on from ancient generations of Norwegians, Polacks, and a smattering of French women – is a survival mechanism drawing me to the biggest, toughest hunter-gatherer. And I am just not strong enough to fight it.

Thus, high heels are kind of one of my secret weapons in the dating war…err…world. Not only do they provide tactical advantages of making me stand out a bit and be able to assess a room easily, they also quickly illustrate the men that don’t make my genetic code sit up and dance. I did have one failure with this test where I thought a man was appreciating my heels, but he was actually just eyeing up my legs. I gave him a few too many chances and he ended up whining every time I wore anything taller than flats. I would have avoided some drama if I would have listened to my inner Norwegian ancestor that was telling me to go find someone that was not intimidated by my sexy shoes.

In all seriousness, that is what is really important. I would put aside biology and date someone that couldn’t throw me over his shoulder – as long as he wasn’t insecure about not being that guy. If a man can’t handle a tall, strong woman standing next to him without feeling inadequate or whiny – then he just isn’t the man for me. No matter what his height. Thankfully, at the moment this is a non-issue. Jack is tall and hunky...and he appreciates my high heels.