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.

rising through the ranks

I must have done something right last weekend, because my guy said I improved my BCS standings with him. (BCS, for those of you who don’t watch college football — like myself — stands for Bowl Championship Series, which is the cockamamie way in which the NCAA determines a national champion team. Don’t ask.)

It all began with a small gesture:  an early Christmas gift with which I presented him, thinking we could enjoy it together while relaxing around the house. It was one of those conversation-starter card sets for couples that you get at fancy gift stores for what you know is an outrageous profit based on the bit of acrylic and printed paper that goes in to these suckers. At any rate, it was well worth the quality time shared talking over questions and hypothetical scenarios because it allowed us to do his favorite thing — talk and share and listen.

We got to know each other a bit better — and I guess it scored me some points, too!

a different tune

It’s interesting how completely different the messages I’m getting from my current beau are from the ones I received from my ex.

I hear:  “You’re a really good communicator” and “You’ve got to tell me what you want, Lady!”

This sort of feedback is so completely refreshing after a few years of tension, silence and walking on eggshells! So…is it me who’s different? Or is it that these men are so completely different? Or is it that we create each other in relationships?

am I over-analyzing all of this?

It was recently suggested to me (by an attractive man) that I might be over-analyzing all of this relationship stuff… I suppose that could be a fair supposition for a reader to make. Here, I’ll share part of my response…

“Indulge me as I share a story:

When I was pregnant with my daughter and began (around the 7th month) to feel the sheer panic that comes with the realization that this lovely little floaty bubble of bliss would, at some point burst, and then a head the size of a cantaloupe was going to come out of (and would likely tear to shreds) a much smaller hole / passageway…I went to the birthing classes and watched the reality birth stories on TLC. One thing I observed was that so many women would, in a moment of contraction agony, utter:  “I can’t do this.” And I remember thinking they were ridiculous! I mean, we’re women, our bodies are MADE for this! I had my doula, my (drug-free) natural birthing plan, my body had been in the best shape of my entire life when I got pregnant, and — even though I was occasionally visited by the sheer terror I mentioned earlier — I was confident that I would be champ at labor and birth.

Fast forward to several hours into labor, when the pain got ahead of me and I could no longer ride it like a wave, and I could no longer relax or rest between contractions…this is the thought that came into my head:  “I can’t do this.” And I thought it for a bit, meanwhile putting on my brave face and trying not to clamp my jaws together on the nearest arm and finally I, too, like those women on the shows, uttered those words, “I can’t do this.” Predictably, everyone around me jumped in with, “Yes you can!”s and other encouragement…but words or encouragement weren’t what I needed. What I needed was to speak my doubt aloud, release it of its power and move on…

I guess my blog is kind of like that. I don’t over-analyze everything…I think it, write it, release it and move on. Yes, there are areas of my life in which I’ve tried to be intentional…and then released those thoughts out into the universe. I’m probably more introspective and self-aware than many, likely more honest and bare…and that’s what I needed to do with this — I needed to explore being honest with myself, being completely vulnerable and to commit to writing all the time. (Frankly, I’ve had enough of this failed relationship introspection already — I’m ready to get out and live again!) Meanwhile, this space is also a great venue in which to cop a bit of a diva attitude that I rarely display in real life. So…if you’re going to read it, please try not to read too much into the very limited view it might offer…

While there are certain things that I’ve shared here that remain true — e.g. I do, at some point…maybe a few years in the future… want to be in a life-affirming, committed relationship — what I think I’m ready for has changed constantly since I began writing about it. One day, I think it would be peachy to find a lover who is willing to explore and share new heights of pleasure, and who might also be a confidante. Another day, I find I’m holding back my natural sensuality because I don’t want to lead with physical attraction, I want to find an emotional connection. And at another time, I think the most lovely thing in the world would be to enjoy a conversation, maybe hold hands, maybe smooch a little (okay, not gonna lie, a make-out session sounds spectacular!). I want adventure! Or a little candlelight and some romance! I’m making peace with all of the different aspects of myself and integrating my energy. I feel lighthearted and playful and whole in way that I can’t claim to have felt in years. It’s wonderful…I’m living in the present moment. And I feel amazing!

My entire adult life has been lived in shades of gray, sometimes with too few guard rails… After being pretty lost for a bit, grasping for anything that seemed solid, while being conscious about what I’m trying to create, I am wide open to allowing things to unfold, to “let go to the mystery”…in fact, I’d prefer to be surprised. At this moment, I have no pre-conceived notions about what my next relationship might be like or how long it will last…I can only suspect (given my parenting schedule), that it’s likely to unfold slowly. And that’s okay with me. I’m navigating moment to moment… Whatever I think I might want in the long run, the only way to move forward is to take small steps — meeting people, going out, having fun…”

Then I wrote that I have fun with him…and to please not mistake reading the blog for experiencing / knowing the woman who writes it.

What do you think of that, my kind readers?

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…?


can an online app help couples stay connected?

News of the recent launch of Tokii, an online community designed to help busy couples stay connected, has me fascinated. Can anything online help couples maintain healthy relationships in the real world? Isn’t the fact that we spend too much time interacting with technology and not even relating to one another as humans part of the problem?

Of course I contemplate my own failed relationship and whether anything could have saved us. We tried counseling, I went on a self-improvement binge and, in the end, when we had ultimately stopped rehashing our problems, we stopped communicating about anything. Sure, there were moments of brightness, during which we might share a laugh, but we couldn’t sustain it.

And that’s why I look at this concept and think it’s positively genius! Two people already in a relationship connect on Tokii (it’s not an online dating site) and use simple tools to help them communicate:

  • LoveZones is where you can complete a quiz that helps you and your partner understand how you like to receive love. While I haven’t joined and tried it (because I’m not part of a couple), this sounds a lot like Gary Chapman’s approach in his brilliant book The Five Love Languages, and I cannot say enough about how enlightening this could be for couples! Merely understanding how you and your partner innately prefer to give and receive love could solve many communication challenges for those not feeling loved in their relationship.
  • MoodMeter simply allows users to update their moods, letting their partner know how their day is going (and perhaps what challenges one may encounter when one gets home).
  • Finally, the TradingPost allows couples to make a playful game of negotiating for what they want, whether those wants involve chores, activities (think getting him to take ballroom dancing lessons with you) or sexual fantasies.

I believe there could be tremendous value in Tokii for one simple reason:  Sometimes it’s easier to be honest with an intermediary, even if the intermediary is technology.

Having been in a number of long-distance relationships, I can attest that it can sometimes be easier to be completely honest over the phone or via email than face-to-face. And how many stories have we all heard of people who drag a spouse to a counselor’s office only to notify them (in a safe environment, with an intermediary) that their relationship is over? I can readily see how, during those times when it seemed impossible to communicate with my husband, we might have maintained some small thread of connection if we’d already been playfully sharing our moods and expressing our desires via an online “trading post.”

I don’t know that this tool or anything else can save a relationship that’s abusive or otherwise truly doomed, but I genuinely envision Tokii as a giant leap forward in our collective relationship consciousness. There are computer programs, websites, and online and mobile applications for nearly everything these days — it’s about time our primary relationships, which most of us would say are a top priority, have an app of their own!