a little glimpse into the mind of me

As if those of you who follow or find me here don’t get enough drivel, I thought I’d share a story about how I managed to welcome into my yard one of my favorite things…but let’s not get ahead of ourselves; this story begins with a watch:

I got one of those emails, you know the ones, where they send you the fabulous shopping deal once a day and you have to pounce immediately or someone’s already bought the designer handbag calling your name…in any case, among the fab finds for this particular day were watches.

The fact that my computer and my mobile phone and all manner of other devices seem to remind me of the time ad nauseam notwithstanding, something inside my head thought, “My, now this is a handsome watch! And on sale for just $245! Now this is for me! I would actually wear a watch if I had this one!”

I went so far as to share the link with a friend, with whom I happened to be on the phone, so that he could view, admire and share my appreciation of this fine specimen of Swiss engineering. He concurred that it was, indeed, a stellar timepiece.

And then, even as we talked, I realized: This watch is not going to make me happy, lovely accessory though it might be! I get enough of the time…it’s there on my computer screen, there on my phone. I am regularly reminded of the time already…too often, in fact! Do you know what would make me happy? A hammock! Now that — which at the time struck me as a fair opposite to a watch — will make me happy!

Moments later I was on another website, perusing styles and happily adding a hammock, stand and hardware to my shopping cart. Days later, my backyard was in bidness!

So you see, if you find me occasionally off on tangents or difficult to follow, just imagine what it’s like being inside this head! It can be whack, but it’s an awfully fun ride.

p.s. In case you were wondering, a hammock does equal happiness!

…and I thought this was going to be funny!

So…when I began writing about all this divorce and dating garbage a few months ago, I somehow imagined that I would be having all kinds of interesting relationship experiences that I could write about, and that I would encounter lots of different men and have countless hilarious tales to tell about these meetings…

And that has not happened.


Well, it’s dawning on me, as it may have also on you, that working full-time and parenting the other full-time consumes a hella chunk o’ time. And there’s not much left for dating or meeting people or romantic or ridiculous encounters of any time. And, frankly, the filtering part of online dating eats up so much time that I’d just as soon spend some QT with my gals.

So, aside from the whole Chi-guy situation, which is funny on general principle alone, and the humor in which has very little to do with the way I tell the story, I have to face facts:  I am just not that funny! Not that funny anymore, at any rate. Sure, the bright side is that I’m blessed with a full range of emotions and that, overall, writing about all this stuff has been rather cathartic.

Yet all this makes me think back to more frivolous times, when I was light-hearted and delightful and embodied all manner of other characterizations inclusive of lightness, frivolity, fun and laughter…and I wonder, am I not there? What has happened to the witty, vivacious me?

I realize that, at home each night with grammar school-aged children, it’s easy to be silly. Silly is one thing; funny is quite another. And I used to be funny!

Of course, I am thinking about all this because I’ve discovered The Blogess who, as you might have already guessed, is Funny with a capital f! She does, naturally, have a relationship to write about…so no end to the potential for humorous fodder.

Oh, I know that I’m in there (here) all right. The irreverent, playful ol’ gal comes out to play at least every other weekend and sometimes more often. In recalling her (me), I am reminded of how much fun it was to come home to another playful adult during the times things were grand and we were, indeed, mirthful together.

Funny comes much more naturally when it has someone to bounce off of.

(And, yes, I’m fully aware that I should not be ending my sentences with a preposition, Bitch!)

is the “instant relationship” real?

What sometimes happens for women when they begin to see someone is what dating expert Chris Carter calls the “instant relationship.” Women will begin to fantasize early on about what this new fellow might become in their lives. They see themselves holding hands, walking along the beach, kissing with this guy…

Sometimes women allow themselves to take the fantasy and run with it, getting ahead of themselves. Apparently men can sense this mental leap a woman has made, and it scares the daylights out of them. So they turn around and run.

For women who are emotionally healthier and more mature, this habit of visualization is more like a filtration process. If we can’t envision holding hands with or kissing a man, we’re not likely to want to go out with him again. It’s difficult to get excited about the possibility.

What do you think? Is this phenomenon real?

are my feelings finally growing up?

There are things I don’t reveal here …and maybe shouldn’t ever reveal. Not every entry lends itself to complete and full-on truth. It’s not a journal I’m writing here; it’s a blog. And I want to shape each entry, to create form, something like a chapter. So I give about 95% and keep just a little sliver to myself, to enjoy, to revel in knowing a secret — my own secrets.

But here’s something I want to be straight about that I wasn’t really before. I was really attached to the idea of Chi-guy for a long time. And then I met more-like-it. In one 75-minute meeting, all of that attachment to a man in Chicago was snapped completely.

Don’t get me wrong, the love is still there. It’s a deep, true, generous and heartfelt concern for a truly wonderful human. But I’m detached about it now. I’m in a more mature place with it; I have a more objective perspective. Sometimes when Chi-guy and I talk now, we joke about the naughty things we’re going to do to one another when we see each other… but we make no plans to see each other. And if we did see each other, I’m fairly confident that we’re both going to live in the moment and do whatever feels right with acceptance, compassion, presence and love, whether that’s talking or touching or crying or laughing or gettin’ jiggy.

So the thought has crossed my mind more than once that more-like-it is someone who came into my life solely for the purposes of breaking the Chi-guy spell, proving there are more options, reminding me that really awesome guys live in this city and — this is my girlfriends’ summation — reminding me what type of man is “in my league.” Maybe that’s it, yet…

All this talk about more-like-it could easily lead one to believe that I’m hung up on him. But it’s not really like that. What I’ve felt all along is more like intrigue, a general interest in spending more time (which I’ve enjoyed) to see if I like him. I mean, I like him…yet I don’t know whether I like him. I’m not sure yet…I’m simply drawn in, curious. There’s been no instant infatuation, just an undercurrent of desire to see what might be around the next corner.

And, maybe because it doesn’t feel urgent or intense, my own feelings seem more mature. It’s not the kind of thing that Elizabeth Gilbert so eloquently wrote in Committed, “puts me through the wood chipper.” Maybe that’s why I want to feel more of it, and why I’m open to noticing and experiencing that feeling, from whatever direction it may come.

someone thinks I’m in a pretty good place

Two weeks ago…

The other night, I went out for a cocktail with…drumroll, please…more-like-it, a man who genuinely interests me:  I mean he interests me as a human, he interests me as a potential date, I am intrigued by the thought of spending time with him, getting to know him a little better and determining whether we share relationship potential …and I am interested in wild, randy, raunchy, dirty bedroom sorts of things with him. Wildly interested.

We started at a networking event, running in to people he knew before we’d even reached the bar. They looked me up and down while asking him about his divorce. And then we found my people, who gave him pretty much the equivalent treatment. And when the requisite connections were made, we found our way to another bar, sitting side by side, laughing and flirting. We shared stories and he touched my knee. We talked, confessed and went off on tangents. Every cell in my body felt awake, present and ready for whatever might happen. There was no intense or burning passion, no urgency, what I felt when with him was more like a rhythm bass, a low thrumming, or  the deep, throaty idle of a powerful engine. Finally, we walked back to my car and he kissed me goodnight.

He seems not ready, in my estimation, for the things that I might be interested in doing with him. Or, if he is, he doesn’t appear to be interested in me, particularly. We came about this cocktail in a sort of very roundabout way, and he has not directly asked me out. Nor has he ever paid me any compliments about my appearance. He initiates communication with me sometimes, which suggests some level of desire to stay connected, but… Oh well, I’m not going to analyze. My ways of understanding a man’s interest are 1) that he finds a way to let me know that he finds me attractive and 2) he asks me out. So, unless or until these items are met, I have little to work with.

So there’s me, probably in the friend zone again, because I am understanding and accepting of others and I genuinely believe it’s okay to be where you are. And if not ready is where he is…well, then, there’s not a lot I can do about that. No matter how freakin’ fabulous I am — and regardless of how fun that naughtiness I have in mind is gonna be!

I think the “current state” thing about me that excites me most is a little incident that occurred at a party last weekend. I was out with friends I rarely see, all of whom went to college together. (We do not share this alma mater.) I sat next to the usual guy, whose wife was otherwise engaged, and we caught up while chatting with another couple. After it had been established that we were not “together” (no funny business here, folks), we chatted about the last year of my life — divorce, turning forty, quitting my job.

After a while, the wife (of the other couple) observed, “You seem like you’re in a very good place. You’re not completely healed, there’s still a little bit of something there…but you’re doing well.”

Why a complete stranger would say something like this to me, and why it would mean something, is a mystery. Yet it was a gift. I needed to hear that, yeah, I’m still a bit of a freak show (or hot mess, however you prefer to put it), but healing is a journey and it’s nice to hear that, at least by appearance, I’m nearly there.

And I guess maybe that it’s because I’m not fully, completely ready to meet someone special that I can be okay with an intriguing guy being unready and just leave things alone. As much as I’d like to go out and play, I don’t want to mess things up. And if he gets ready and still has no interest in me…well, I’ll have to get okay with that, too. But I’m strong enough to manage. After all, I’m nearly healed.

book report: Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert

I’ve been trying for a long time to review or comment on or find some way to share with you the delightful gooey yumminess that is Elizabeth Gilbert’s Committed:  A Love Story. It’s been out for a while now and, having appreciated Eat, Pray, Love and had my own reservations and struggles with the whole concept of marriage, I was really eager to dig in.

And yet I cannot make sense of this book for you. I mean, I can tell you that it’s a study of the history and issues around marriage from the perspective of a reluctant bride. Yet there is no way for me to boil it down into a condensed and sensible takeaway because, frankly, there is just too much amazingly juicy history, research, revelation and personal drama — and that’s just in Chapter 4, Marriage and Infatuation. I’m kidding; there are many great chapters. But, in the paperback copy I bought at the local discount retailer (you know the one with the big red bullseye), pages 96 through 134 cover so much — from enlightenment to infatuation, chemistry to philosophy, addiction to personal revelation, vasopressin receptor genes, walls and windows, prenuptial agreement and confessions.

Here are just a few of the highlights:

  • Aristophanes mythical story of why humans so long for union with one another.
  • “I can no longer do infatuation. It kills me. In the end, it always puts me through the wood chipper.” Who wouldn’t appreciate this oblique reference to the Coen brothers’ Fargo?
  • Oh, the wisdom and revelations of the older and wiser on her second time around! The maturity with which the (very necessary, in my opinion) prenuptial agreement is discussed!
  • The listing of her own most deplorable faults, which she shared with her fiancée (as if he didn’t know) to ensure he knew what he was getting in to. I may attempt to do this myself here in this blog.
There is so much more in this book that makes it worth the read, particularly if you’ve tried and failed, particularly if you’ve struggled with the very notion or institution of marriage, particularly if you’ve ever felt bare, broken or vulnerable.

am I being judgmental?

Two things, really:

One. It was recently suggested to me that I was being judgmental. Okay, so if I’m completely honest, it’s not the very first time the word has been used to describe me. Yet I’ve never identified with the description. Certainly I’m opinionated (and vocal). Certainly I’m pretty convinced about what’s right for me (which can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on the moment or situation). Certainly I know what I like. But I would never describe myself as judgmental. (In fact, my Myers-Briggs type includes P for perceiving, not J for judging.) Also, I think most who know me would agree that I befriend all kinds of people. Rather than hanging in cliques, I’ve most often been a part of groups of misfits, a motley bunch of mates of all sizes, shapes, colors and personalities. While there’s a very distinct physical and psychographic “type” of guy to whom I’m attracted, I have literally dated every imaginable sort of fellow:  tall, short, thin, obese, bald, hairy, intellectual, dull, artsy, rich, poor, fulfilled, empty, solid, neurotic…and I’ve been drawn to each one by some unique quality. So I don’t think the description of me as judgmental can stick, even if it appears to fit for a moment or more. Ultimately, it’s not a description that sees the full picture. But I suppose it might describe a momentary mood or short-lived behavior.

Two. I reactivated my online dating profile for a moment to take a peek at what new men might have come aboard. My intent was to pop in and then right back out if I didn’t see anything too compelling. After all, I need to focus on my new job and my children just now. But the site won’t allow me to deactivate my profile again for a week. Yikes! …so, I’ve gotten a couple of messages, including one from a fellow who might appear to be a compelling match. And he’s articulate, which has been a rather larger hurdle than you might think. (Again, one needs to be able to keep a conversation going…) And I’d normally consider meeting this fellow in person. But then I looked and saw that his annual income is half (actually less than) mine.

Again, in the past, I would not have thought twice about going out with him. What harm could it do? But now, having lived through a situation in which I supported a man (and might have been reasonably happy in said situation had certain other conditions been met), I just don’t think it’s possible. Here’s my truth now:  I live in a city, a metropolitan area. Given a mortgage and a car payment and two children, there’s a certain level of income required to live even moderately well (which is to say, to not want to tear out one’s hair at the stress of wondering how to stay afloat). And this gentleman, no matter how kind and loving and supportive he might be, is just not at a level of income that could support a family…not that I’m suggesting any man should support me and my children. I’m forty. I’m independent. And it’s no longer a matter of potential, as it was in our twenties. I’m simply no longer willing to put myself into a situation wherein I’m carrying most of the financial weight for a man. Even if he’s the greatest guy on the planet or the best possible match for me. Even if he’s the most supportive and loving human alive. Even if he’s well-balanced and does something like saving animals or teaching children with special needs. I’m simply being practical. I want a mate whose pay is something a tad closer to parity. So I’m thinking that I will likely decline his invitation to meet solely because of his income…

Is that so wrong? Or am I being judgmental?

not the usual floozy

A dozen years ago in NYC…

I was at the U.S. Open of Tennis in Flushing watching the world’s top tennis greats compete. We were joined by my date’s business partner, who was headquartered overseas. I had been warned that this gentleman would be difficult to win over.

We chatted for a few moments after my date introduced us, and I quickly noticed that he was wearing a Swatch featuring Aboriginal art from the indigenous peoples of Australia. The watch was a limited-edition gift from Qantas Airlines that he had received at an exclusive event. Just moments later this man was giving me this very watch off his wrist and remarking to my date that I was clearly “not the usual floozy.”

Apparently, I’d charmed the fellow. So that’s my positioning statement for today:  “not your usual floozy.”

what I want right now

I want to meet someone fun, who I look forward to seeing on a weekend.

I want to dress up and go out and be told I’m pretty.

I want to meet someone adventurous, who likes to be active, to cook, to eat, to talk, to enjoy life.

I want to share all the passion and intensity and laziness and closeness I can muster.

I want to discover amazing new sensations all over and inside my brain and heart and body.

the one before the one

For some reason, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the guy I almost married before my wasband. He lived in another country. He spoke halting and imperfect English. I spoke his language only slightly more fluently. Thus, we worked hard at communicating and we rarely took mutual understanding for granted. Yet the flow, the back-and-forth, the give-and-take of communication was always easy between us. It was the meaning and nuance to which we tended so carefully. We gently corrected one another, and neither of us took this personally or as criticism.

In fact, sometimes I think the reason our relationship worked so well when we were together was because we worked hard at communicating. In the end, distance, business and family obligations conspired against the plans we’d begun to discuss… but sometimes I wonder what if…?