feeling better

I don’t have much time to write, but wanted to provide a quick update:  After beginning my week in the fetal position with intense cramping and hot / cold flashes, I’m starting to feel better. My hope is that this little detox program I’m on will have lasting results, and that I won’t have to feel the intensity of PMS symptoms again!

It’s a crazy week at work — I’m not sure how much more I can fit into my head! That said, the rest of the week will surely race by and my weekend is already booked up with plans — including dates.

Found this gem online today. It’s a fun read, and I might have to personalize it and put it to the test with some of these guys.

Check back for updates — I’m sure I’ll be dying to dish!

getting rid of the poison

I wrote in my last post that I felt as though there were a poison inside of me, and some pretty intense and ugly feelings emanate from it for a couple of days each month. I began to notice a major difference in how I was feeling in February of this year — and the symptoms may have begun even earlier.

I’ve had some other challenging health news recently — and I have to admit, I’ve been a little fearful. I’ve heard from girlfriends my age battling breast cancer, following up a double mastectomy with a full hysterectomy to prevent their hormones from creating further havoc. My own mother had a hysterectomy in her thirties and breast cancer in her sixties. I want to see the benefits of the healthy lifestyle I lead. I want health naturally — without knives removing the very body parts that make me a woman.

With all this in mind, I saw my kinesiologist late last week. Sure enough, there is a poison — a toxic heavy metal — in my uterus. I am on an intense 12-day detox to release it from my system.

I have high hopes that, with the release of the toxin, the intensity of my monthly moods will subside, so that I can more steadily cultivate the gratitude and joy that I am able to experience much of the time. Remember, I vowed earlier this year to be love, abundance and sweetness, and I have to admit that it’s sometimes a struggle. Even more so when my hormones seem to work so determinedly against me.

Whatever health effects result from ridding my body of this poison will benefit me enormously, I’m sure. But I’ve already received a tremendous gift as a result of the process. In fact, I’ve experienced this more and more recently:  When I am frustrated enough to verbalize as succinctly and clearly as I did about feeling poison spread from my gut, my intuition about my body and emotional healing is increasingly spot on. I described what I felt happening, and what I was feeling was validated. And has been validated more and more consistently in the past several months.

That tells me that I know myself. I know what’s good for me. I know what I need. And it feels wonderful to know I can trust myself more and more all the time.

battle of the bads

Today is the sort of day that keeps me humble, where nothing happens quickly enough (especially traffic) and where I find I have to resist an urge to yell out the window at the kid crossing the street with a hand clutched at his waist to hold up his pants, “Pull up your #%*&^@ pants, you #%$&*#@ idiot!”

So let’s rewind to this morning and see if we can identify where or when this mood began…

At work I had the opportunity to sign up for a health coach. I’m always vaguely curious about this coaching business, so I signed up. Today was my first call. And it went something like this:

I explain my predicament of sudden weight gain despite a mostly organic and healthy diet, and my desire to be more active.

Coach:  So you’d like to lose 15 pounds…

Me:  Hell, I’d like to drop twice that.

Coach:  What are the steps you’re going to take to get there?

Me:  I get up, get my children out the door, spend an hour and a half per day in my car, eight hours a day at a sedentary job, rush to pick up my children and make dinner and then collapse from sheer exhaustion. Winning the lotto or being able to bike to work would help — that’s all I got!

Coach:  Can you get some activity on your breaks?

Me:  What breaks?! Salaried people don’t get breaks. We squeeze as much as humanly possible into the time we spend at our desks — and then still have to take the work home with us.

We continued to dialogue about the possibilities or, from my perspective, the lack thereof and it became more and more clear to me that a) I sound like a broken record and b) I am extremely resistant to taking responsibility for this mess that my mid-section and thighs have become.

Meanwhile, as she probed about how I could re-prioritize and take care of myself, I watched the fit, stay-at-home soccer moms out the window and became more and more emotional. And I realized that a) I still have lingering anger and resentment for the situation in which I find myself, namely cash flow negative, single parenting with extremely little support (time or money) from the children’s father and exhausted, and b) my overwhelm comes from feeling powerless to change my circumstances.

So I am being coached to take baby steps to “take care of myself” from someone who has no idea how pissed off I am that I no longer get at least two professional massages per month, no longer have an hour of yoga per day, and children who won’t eat more vegetables. I am being asked to make choices by someone who has no idea how few there are. I am being told that I can let go — of what?! — the few things that keep me going? Like writing this blog? By now, I am in full-blown tantrum mode. So let’s not stop with where I’m at physically when I can leverage this opportunity to ruminate on my piece-of shit-house, wardrobe, car and more. As you all know by now, it’s — come on and say it with me — all my ex’s fault.

And then, while at the office, I proceed to make a complete liar of myself by eating one of the chocolate cupcakes someone has brought to the office…et cetera, et cetera. And then, on the way home, traffic is beyond terrible and I’m late to pick up my children. And it’s as though there’s a poison growing deep in the pit of my stomach from which all this anger and negativity emanates.

And I realize how far I have yet to go on this journey of healing, how much resentment I have yet to release, that good and evil are having an all-out brawl in my psyche.

And, finally, I am thankful this sort of mood / attitude comes around just once a month and quickly passes, so that I can get back to feeling grateful for my beautiful life and the choices I’ve made to get here.

p.s. So, for the record, I suppose I should express that I’d be perfectly happy to have just one professional massage per month. It’s not like I’m a total princess!

four dudes in four days

So today I enjoyed lunch at an ethnic bistro tucked away in a part of town I don’t normally get to. “Why?”

Because I was on my fourth first date in as many days.

Here’s a summary:

  • At least three of these four gents were better company than the two I met on my last footloose and fancy-free weekend.
  • Two of four share the sun sign Aquarius (who are supposed to make a good match for this Libra); the others were a Scorpio and Virgo (not so likely to be good mates for me).
  • In no particular order:  lawyer, artist, IT, civil service.
  • I enjoyed coffee (iced tea, actually) and a (very hot and humid) walk; musical theatre and sushi; upscale fusion bistro (small plates with sparkling wine); and today’s ethnic lunch.
  • One of the gentlemen arrived with a gift — a book related to the subject of a conversation we’d had. He later complimented me on my hair and my engaging conversation.
  • One guy was from out-of-town. He was traveling for some creative work and proved far cuter and far more engaging than his profile might have suggested. Glad I took a chance to meet him, but didn’t get too caught up, as he leaves town later this week. Still, nice lips.
  • One of the fellows confessed to having listed his $60k income because, he explained, “since it’s not very much, I want to be really up front about it.” Admirable reasoning, I thought. And he seems genuinely passionate about his work for the greater good.
  • One of the fellows was more stifled that the others, and I couldn’t figure out whether his obscure interests were a merely result of having worked hard at being different from everyone else or if they had somehow (how?!) evolved more naturally.
  • I can’t figure out if one of them is merely looking for a beard…

At any rate, here are some self observations:

  • I must be relaxing and getting good at this, because everyone I meet seems to want to see me again.
  • I’m attracting men who are within the range of what I’d call “intellectual equals.” (Thank heavens, after so many conversations that went nowhere last summer.)
  • Most are even better looking than their profile pictures — a pleasant discovery.
  • I’m having fun!
  • I’m not feeling raging chemistry for any of them, but could rank them if pressed. I’m willing to give it time and see if something develops (but I know that, for one at least, it won’t).
  • It’s sort of exhausting.

In any case, I’d better rest up (and save my pocket change for the sitter) — on my next available weekend, I’m going to be dripping in dates!

my new dating philosophy

I never got a chance to discuss my new dating philosophy last autumn, because I went straight from not seeing anyone to seeing someone exclusively. Which was kind of against my new philosophy, really. But it’s not always easy to implement a philosophy into action when it’s new, right?

So here goes:

I’m meeting people and I’m enjoying every experience. I’m learning more about my likes and dislikes and myself in relation to experiences with others. Liken it to being in a chocolate boutique, trying a small amount of that which looks good to me and continuing to circle the store, checking out the options, sampling as I go, believing that I’ll know when I find the flavor that’s a perfect fit for my palate. Except that I’m engaging more than my senses of taste and smell, but also my feelings and intellect.

As I woman, my natural tendency is to become too easily drawn in to the notion that the one I’m seeing could be the one — and developing those kinds of hopeful, yearning, attached feelings too early on can be unhealthy. It’s when we get caught in that place that we allow ourselves to be treated as “less than,” to get too physical before we’re emotionally prepared or on the same page as a man, or stand on unequal footing from our male counterpart who is “just dating.” In other words, I’m trying to view dating more like a man does — as a fun process of getting to meet people, get to know them and take my time determining whether they’re someone I’d like in my life.

I’m not alone in this approach. In fact, I’ve been clued in by the teachings of Mama Gena and by learning about what Rori Raye calls “circular dating.”

As such, I’ve become better at being direct about certain things while suspending judgement about others. And I’m having fun! I’ll write more about the dates I’ve had this weekend a little later.

spring status

It’s been a while since I’ve dropped in for a simple status update, so here it is:

  • I mentioned earlier that I’m getting a bit of attention since going back online. I’ve got two or three dates lined up for this weekend. Should be fun! There are actually a couple of the guys with whom I’m really enjoying communicating, and I’m looking forward to meeting them.
  • While I don’t listen to him exclusively / obsessively anymore, I’m still mad about Bob Schneider, the man who got me through the worst days of my divorce — and I think you should check out his tunage when you can.
  • I am so happy and I love my life so much! The children are at a spectacular age, I’m enjoying time outdoors and I am so fulfilled with the richness and blessings in my life. Gratitude!
  • I go to work each day happy for the challenges I face and the rewarding work I get to do. And today was an incredibly productive day — yay!
  • I get the weekend off! Which is great, because I actually have studying to do and I can’t wait to dig in and learn something new.
  • The berries are becoming ripe and the rhubarb is ready for harvest (again) — I love the fecundity of my little patch of soil. And I can’t wait to make a rhubarb crisp to share with my work colleagues.
  • My daughter’s teacher was a real hard ass about “may” vs. “can.” As a result, my daughter uses “may I…” — hooray for proper grammar!

You see? It really is the simple things that bring so much joy.

What else have I brought up that I need to close the loop? Let me know if there’s something you’re dying to hear about.

all my best

Nearly a year ago I attempted to capture what I felt were my worst, most appallingly bad qualities as if to warn a potential partner of what he might be getting in to. I suspect, at the time, many of the things I wrote were still rather reactionary. For example, I wrote about needing a lot of attention…which I probably don’t compared to others, but which I definitely do compared to what I received in my last relationship. You see what I’m getting at…

Here, if for no other reason than to illustrate that I have a few good characteristics, too, I’ll explore the finer things about yours truly. This should not be so difficult in theory…yet it’s taken me months…

  • I have the kind of smile that can light up the room. This is not to say that I am preternaturally bright, but that when I’m “on,” I can make anyone in the room feel good. Just because. I don’t need a motivation other than to make someone else’s day. In any given moment, I’m more likely to be smiling (even if only on the inside) than not, and my eyes sparkle.
  • I am playful and insist on laughing a lot. Life is funny. Or tragic. Either way, you’ve got to have a sense of humor to get through it!
  • I am content and happy, yet I see and find ways to grow and build on what is already a full and wonderful life.
  • I am an eternal (and usually pragmatic) optimist. I am, in fact, such an optimist that I constantly overestimate all the fun that can be packed in to a day. (Which unfortunately means that some around me occasionally feel let down. Sorry.)
  • I am conscious and willing. Why would this be a benefit to a man? Because if, like my last boyfriend, you call me out on a bad behavior, I’m likely to examine deeply what it’s about and consider making changes as appropriate.
  • I have the courage to admit when I make a mistake. And the decency to apologize.
  • I have some mechanical abilities, which is to say that I can generally understand how things fit together or work (and am able assemble furniture from IKEA, for example).
  • I prefer to be loving, to say “yes” more often than “no,” to do what’s right, to be generous, to give and to live passionately. I genuinely care, my experiences to date have earned me a fair amount of resilience and wisdom and, when I hear of couples who have spent literally decades of their lives together, I believe the willingness and ability to enjoy that kind of commitment and intimacy is in me.
  • Many of my friends have remarked on my ability for absolute acceptance. I can discern what is or is not right for myself while mostly leaving judgment to whatever our higher powers or karma may have in store for our immortal souls.
  • I enjoy reading and talking about what I read, which I suppose can be described as an intellectual curiosity and willingness to continue to grow and educate myself.
  • Add to these that I’m not a bad cook, I’m pretty and have a lovely curvy figure, can create a warm and loving home environment, teach my children proper manners and have a fairly decent sense of style.

road trip

This spring, my daughter’s class at school began studying the states. She regularly came home with various new ideas about places she’d like to visit, including Mt. Rushmore. I’ve been to see this presidential monument several times, always while driving through to destinations further west. And, while I knew people vacationed in the Black Hills, I’d thought of it as a “mini” or poor man’s vacation for those who couldn’t afford to fly to warmer destinations over the holidays or spring break or for those who didn’t have the time to go as far as the more obvious destination, Yellowstone. In my mind, it was — like Devil’s Tower — one of the stops along the way when one is going somewhere, just another dot along the “Rubber Tomahawk Circuit.”

So I was wrong folks; I admit it.

School ended on a Tuesday and childcare for the next three days was going to cost me an average of $75 per day…so, I thought, we can’t afford not to go. After all, my children want to. And this is one of the few ways in which I actually believe spoiling them is entirely okay — with experiences, especially those that can be educational.

With only a notion, we packed the car and drove to the Black Hills of South Dakota. The children were spectacular during the long hours in the car, playing games together, reading and (of course) watching movies or playing electronic games. They were patient, cooperative and even the younger one asked for little.

We drove through the old gold mining towns of Deadwood and Lead, then down through Custer National Park and, of course, to the main event — Mt. Rushmore. It was the kind of vacation where I felt as though we spent most of our time driving / in the car. But it was spectacularly memorable. Here are just a few of the highlights:

  • Needles highway in Custer State Park, where there is beautiful scenery around every switchback and through every one of the tunnels carved through stone.
  • Having an old-time photo taken…with guns, at a child’s insistence.
  • Panning for gold.
  • The pervasive and relaxing scent of pine needles.
  • The lighting ceremony at Mt. Rushmore — my first time seeing it at night.
  • Our family’s first alpine slide experience in Keystone — after a grilled cheeseburger at the summit.
  • Seeing buffalo up close and feeding asses out of the palms of our hands.
  • A walk along the shore of beautiful Lake Sylvan.
  • Driving back home, at night, hearing the children talk about how many stars they can see — and then turning on the StarWalk app to learn the names of new constellations.
  • The children also insisted on seeing Reptile Gardens, on which I could have easily taken a pass, but the alligator show was at least a little amusing.

Things we missed:  the hiking, kayaking, rock climbing and other experiences one might enjoy if staying at the park for a longer period of time, the mammoth site / dig further south of Custer  (which I’ve heard is fantastic!), caves and horseback rides. In other words, we definitely plan to go back!

The spectacular experience didn’t end with scenery alone:  part of the joy of the experience was in realizing that the children have become competent road trippers, and that we can just hop in the car with no reservations and wing it (my favorite way to travel!), and they’ll be fine. Another was realizing that those feelings that came up last trip — about it being “half a vacation” because my children only have half the parents — were no longer a part of the experience. The three of us had a wonderful adventure all our own.

Now, where to go next?!

…until you try

I seem to be a bit of a hot item since going back online (don’t worry — I won’t let it go to my head), and this weekend I went on not one, but two, first dates. Here’s what I have to report:

I wasn’t particularly looking forward to either meeting; I was going out to get in the habit of going out, as I said yesterday. But I managed to have a lot of fun getting to know each of the guys, even if I don’t genuinely believe there’s any real relationship potential with either of them.

My first date, drinks on an outdoor patio, got off to a somewhat slow and awkward start and ended with an even more awkward kiss — the kind of exaggerated, dry pucker you might exchange with a distant grandparent. The intervening 90 minutes or so limped along all right, but I felt as though I were entertaining, rather than it being a mutual exchange. Luckily, I am entirely capable of amusing myself — and others, it would seem. Certainly, I was hoping for someone with a little stronger personality, a little more able to hold his own when seated across from a woman he clearly found attractive. But the true kiss of death was what seemed to be a lack of intellectual curiosity…and his feeble, “Let me know if you want to go out again.”

Probably he was relieved when I sent him a note several hours later letting him know what a pleasure it was to meet a genuine, kind gentleman, but that I just didn’t feel a spark.

For coffee this morning, I met someone who had the personality to stand up to some playful banter. He seemed to have some mature relationship experience, interests of his own and a deep caring for his family. He showed substance, sincerity and kindness. We share some interests in common…yet still lacked the kind of “brain sparks” that will keep me interested in the long run. We’ve agreed to keep in touch, and may go out again with the understanding that it’s not likely to come to anything more than friendship.

I suspected the results of these two dates might be as they turned out, but I went anyway…because you never know until you try.

to shave or not to shave?

I have a date this afternoon. I’m not at all looking forward to it. I am, in fact, stalling when I might be changing my clothes, putting on make-up and other such preparations.

So why am I going?

Because I feel it’s important to shift back in to a more open attitude about meeting new people, benefit in whatever way I can from each interaction with someone new (and by that, I don’t mean a free cocktail), learn about myself and get comfortable enjoying myself interacting with men.

Put another way:  I feel as though I am headed in to some sort of self-improvement exercise…and, today, for whatever reason, I am dreading it.

Perhaps it is because there is a question on the online dating site I’m currently using as my “matchmaker” that asks:  “Do you think women have an obligation to keep their legs shaved?” and I have a differing view from the fellow I’m meeting today. I’m not sure why this particular issue has me tweaked today — surely issues of politics, religion and values are far more important — but it raises my feminist ire. How dare another say someone has an “obligation” to maintain such a thing. Fact:  hair grows. Fact:  most people I know describe their lives as “busy.” I simply think it’s fascist to proclaim that another human being should make this a higher priority than, say, …um, well, anything important.

Truth is, I tend to keep my legs shaved (about twice a week) during the summer. My hair is light and no one can tell if I haven’t shaved, unless they get close enough to feel the prickles of tiny hair sprouting. I shave regularly because it is my personal preference to do so, not because I feel “obligated.” In the winter, I sometimes let it go longer. I suspect that just about anyone who’s been married has enjoyed / endured physical closeness with a partner who may not be freshly shaven. That’s a part of what intimacy is about. And adjusting some grooming routines to meet a partner’s desires sometimes is also part of what intimacy is about. What’s more important is how such preferences, desires and behaviors are communicated and shared.

Don’t worry — I will shift my mindset in time to enjoy whatever today’s “date” brings. Curiosity alone is already putting a smile on my face…

But I won’t shave; I did that yesterday.