Sex or Making Love? Who Is Confused?

947907_76218223 Oh, my!  ‘Tis the snuggle season that’s for sure and several of my bloggy friends out there are bringing up the topic on everyone’s mind (or, at least, theirs)…sex. But is it really sex that is on people’s minds or is it romance, is it relationship, is it something else altogether? This post is a response to several other posts posted in the blogosphere earlier this week as well as my own personal convoluted thought path travelled in response to these various posts. 

A Tale of 4 Blog Posts

The first post found here at Big Little Wolf’s Daily Plate of Crazy, talks about the confusion that can arise between the terms “sex” and “lovemaking”. Go there read it and return more informed about some of the thinking that gave rise (no pun intended) to my own post (also no pun intended) here.  In a nutshell she poses a great many good questions on the topic with the ultimate being what is the difference between love-making and sex.

Add to that, this new blog friend  at To Be Determined who is traveling down the post-divorce single path with me, though at a much earlier stage in her life. Like me, she’s often wished there were some sort of dating rulebook.  Unlike me she still has her 30’s ahead of her and because of this her dating options are much greater than are mine though, admittedly, I am more fortunate in this regard than many. She also, as far as I can tell, doesn’t have the added complexity of trying to be a great mommy and trying to carve out time with another adult even if that time is merely coffee or a movie. Even so, my new friend at To Be Determined has dealt with the difficult issues and challenges divorce creates and I do wish I’d had her courage to blog more seriously and more intelligently about my own journey.  Kudos in a big way to her for doing that!

The third post, and one that rather struck a bit of a nerve with me is the one that jassnight at The Critical Path wrote today.  He talks about the nature of sex with older men, from the man’s perspective and he uses the really nice metaphor of running in the Master’s Division when competing in a marathon. He deals with how sex is viewed by men and how that view changes as men age.

And then, after all these ideas were simmering on the back burner of my mind, and as I was trying to find a quick easy recipe for those red potatoes I have in the fridge to go with the roast I’m attempting to destroy in the slow cooker (because, yes, once again, I am here with you and not watching the stove like I should be) I came across this most depressing thing. Of course, all the mom’s there are like, what, 35 and under, if that, but never mind.  This last site only served to make me ask myself these questions:

  • What defines hot?
  • Who’s deciding?
  • Do I qualify?
  • Do I care?

I won’t be answering those particular questions here in depth, other than to say: 

  • I have no clue what men think is hot. What I’ve heard from my male friends is all over the board.  This confuses me.
  • I don’t know who’s deciding.  I think I am.  I think I’m more interested in just being comfortable with me in my own skin.
  • I don’t know if I qualify as hot.  It always makes me feel a bit uncomfortable to hear those words in reference to me.  (I’m sure if I was totally in love with someone and he were saying that about me I’d have no problem, at least, I hope not!)
  • Yeah, sadly, if I were to be honest, I think I do.  I also think I care less and less with each passing day, not in a give up sort of way, but because I’m finding so much more of value to care about. 

Things Are Different Over Here

j0400322 It is tough being female, over 40 and single in our youth oriented culture, even if you look great. If you look good, or average or worse than average (however you would define that and most women are much harder on themselves than they ought to be) things get tougher, that is, if male companionship of a physical nature matters to them.  It is tougher being female, over 40, single and wanting to experience a fantastic relationship someday before you die…or before you check in at the retirement home.  There’s just so much of life to share with another person and having another adult around, if the relationship is healthy,it is energizing and motivating.  Two people in a good relationship with each other can provide strength, encouragement, affection, intimacy.  They can spot each other when one needs a break or is facing stresses. They can encourage each other to be better than either of them could be alone. They can challenge each other toward optimum growth in all areas of life. They can be there to stave off loneliness and support each other during the rough spots of life.  They can build something together that is bigger than the both of them.  Something that connects to the people and world around them and which makes a positive difference to all. This experience, while rare, is still a good thing.  But how does it happen?  For the woman suddenly single in her mid-40’s, the struggle with self-esteem issues that naturally accompany divorce can be exacerbated by the fact that if her 40’s are nearly over her opportunities for love seem to be diminishing and the rumor is, well, 50 is a big number. Besides, when a man of the same age can effectively court, woo, seduce or whatever a woman half his age and many of them do, how’s she to feel about what she’s got to bring to the table?  Likely she’s got kids, responsibilities, a house payment, yard work, laundry and a job.   Sadly in our culture the chipped nails due to weeding and the dry, cracked dishwasher hands just don’t shout “Hottie!” to most passersby. Younger women often come with half this amount of “baggage” and much tighter firmer (or, at least smaller) bottoms too boot. 

If You Ain’t Hot, What Have You Got?

j0436490 In our youth oriented culture, we worship the exterior. This leads us to assess each other on the external factors in our lives.  We consider the quality of the cars we drive, the addresses of our homes, how neatly manicured the lawns are and whether or not the person has good job.  Others even make assessments based on what kind of job the person has. While we are greatly privileged with many choices in this country and the ability to chose possessions that we like and which reflect our perceptions of ourselves, does this mean that in every case the vehicle reflects the person?  Does this mean in every case that the job reflects the woman or man?  Does this mean that I am somehow inadequate, because my yard is not perfectly edged and my walkway needs repair? Am I my job?  Am I my wardrobe?

Let’s take this one step further, and address physical beauty.  What is beautiful?  What is sexy?  What is hot?  It’s a pretty common understanding that women’s standards of beauty are different than men’s.  This is where I believe the confusion, if there is confusion, arises.  Women and men see this topic differently and our image oriented society with the help of airbrushed and digitized perfect bodies doesn’t help do anything except further the notion that in order to have a great relationship you’ve got to look great first.

Does physical beauty impact the quality of the sexual relationship?  If so, how and in what ways? 

j0444284 I mean, really.  Let’s think about that logic.  If physical beauty were the pre-requisite for an incredibly mind-blowing sexual experience then how come people don’t just jump into the sack on this basis alone.  (Well, okay, maybe some do, but for the rest of us?) On the other hand, being attracted to someone is important too because there is that thing we like to refer to as “chemistry”. It doesn’t make sense.  Just look around.  We see couples every day in our daily pass through this life that are not extraordinarily good looking but who enjoy a good connection with a partner.

Or is the question more like what exactly determines attractiveness? And doesn’t that question have as many individual answers as people asking it?

Might I suggest, that physical beauty is a nice thing but, it is not the most important thing.

In the end, I think it boils down to what the individual is seeking in terms of relationship with another.  I think those individual priorities determine the level of attraction to another person and the quality of any sexual encounter if a mutual interest were to exist.

So, to go back to my To Be Determined friend’s questions as to where is the Dating Rule Book, I have to respond with there isn’t one because the dating situation is as specific as the two different individuals involved. There might be some broad brush rules of thumb but beyond that it really is up to the individuals to chart their own course and navigate their own way.

As for jassnight’s assessments at The Critical Path of men and what they hope for and expect as they age, I can only hope some of that is true. But, truth be told, I think what people look for, what people consider important and what people value is as individual as the individual’s themselves.  The difficulty is more a matter of coming up with a good fit between two people.

j0444035Regarding my friend, BLW’s post, about Sex vs. Lovemaking the same holds true.  I know she is not confused.  I know she is just posing the questions to begin dialogue.  Many, though, do seem to be confused. I don’t think any of us really are confused.  I think we all know the difference.  Sometimes we let good sex convince us there is more to the relationship than really exists.  Sometimes the lack of instantaneously mind blowing sex dissuades us from pursuing what might turn out to be a very loving, nurturing and lasting relationship. 

We all know when we’ve just “had sex”.  Even when it is “mind-blowing” sex, it is still “just sex” and we know it. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out. When we make love there’s an added ingredient or two or three, that can’t be orchestrated as the result of putting two good-looking people in a room and telling them to have at it.  It isn’t any of it based on what either partner is individually, but rather, on what the two of them are together, what they share and what they’ve created between them, personally, privately, intimately. When they make love the core of their union as people is expressed physically.  This doesn’t happen overnight. 

This doesn’t happen instantaneously.

It doesn’t happen with a revolving door of partners, at least, not from what most people who’ve told me they’ve had a revolving door of partners say.

It doesn’t happen outside the context of something important and meaningful and loving.

It takes time to build something of value and anything of value costs something in terms of time, dedication, commitment, devotion and caring.

Making love happens in the context of a loving, healthy, relationship where trust and commitment are key ingredients.

The rest of it is just great sex.

Where’s the confusion?

Edgar Just Didn’t Get Me There

There’s a little known place in my area, not far from where I live, that is a boon to any avid reader or book lover in the area.  It’s a place where I can get books for free!  Nice books in good condition too!  It’s the local book exchange and it is a wonderful thing for me. Since there’s no established flame in my life at the moment taking up my waking moments, since I’m not exactly one who can stand watching TV all the time, since I’ve definitely decided to stay away from the online dating thing and since my daily life (other than trips to the grocery store) don’t provide much opportunity to meet qualified candidates for a suitable significant other, I’m going to be doing a bunch of reading over the holiday break.  The existence of a book exchange only minutes away from my home while wonderful can be a downer in some respects, especially if you live in a very small home. Generally, I like to keep my books, but lately I’ve picked up and read a few, I don’t think I’ll be hanging on to.

83dac060ada0ba3d7cafa110_L The first of these is The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, by David Wroblewski.  It is beautifully written, very moving and I found myself in tears throughout much of it.  It is a story of a boy, his dog and a relationship.  It is a beautifully crafted and moving story. If descriptive and figurative language is the key to an excellent book, this author definitely has his game on.  It is an excellent book and it even made Oprah’s Book Club in 2008.  (Yes, I know, I’m late to that game too!)

So, if the book is so great, why am I not keeping it on my shelves?  First off, have you seen the size of the book?  The hardbound edition, which is the one I have, takes up nearly three inches of space on my very limited shelf space.  When I was dating the Beau, he told me I needed to get rid of some books. His perfectly minimalist home inspired much of the cleaning out, painting and re-decorating projects I conducted throughout  this year.  Even so, these words come from a man who, I think, has a sum total of 8 books in his house. (That’s not a bad thing, it’s just not me.)  Words which were said to a woman, who if she could, would have an entire room filled floor to ceiling with bookshelves and good books, except for the part of the walls where the windows and the fireplace existed.  The Beau was partly right though.  I don’t need to keep EVERY book I read, just for the sake of keeping it.  To this end, Edgar Sawtelle must move on.  Instead, it will become a gift for my oldest daughter, who turned me onto it in the first place.  She’s not read it yet, so she should enjoy it.

The other reason, Edgar Sawtelle, doesn’t get to stay around, is because as beautifully written and crafted as it is, it is a downer for me. He just didn’t get me to my happy place.  (If you haven’t read the book and you want to, you won’t want to read much further because it might be a spoiler for you.)   I just kept reading, hoping things in the story would get better and it just didn’t.  It was truly a modern day tragedy.  Given that my life of late has been filled with enough of its own tragedy, I prefer to read things that help me focus on hopeful outcomes rather than dire and distressing ones.  I got done reading this late one evening in front of the fire, tears streaming down my face (thank God the kids weren’t home) and I wondered, “What if things don’t ever get better? What if they keep getting worse?”   No.  Definitely not a good place for me to go…and the tears?  No, definitely not a good look.

the-time-travelers-wife Another book that won’t be taking up permanent residence here at The Wild Mind household is The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. You can read a review that I pretty much agree with here if you want a fully blown synopsis. (And by the way, check 10Thirty’s blog…she can cook…makes me sick…but she’s a fun read!)  I agree with 10Thirty’s conclusions about the book, though I could never have articulated them quite as well.  I simply don’t care to spend the time!  Like Edgar Sawtelle, while I was intrigued and kept reading on to find out what would happen next, I simply couldn’t stand the ending.  It left me wanting.  Never a good thing to do to The Wild Mind, as Ex #2 can attest!  He looks like this now, because he made that fatal error:

San Francisco 2009 039

Like, Edgar, The Time Traveler’s Wife left me feeling down and dismal.  I think I’m just at the place right now, where over the last three years, and especially this year, I’ve had enough of my own unhappy endings that I really don’t care to read about any more unhappy and tragic endings.  Part of the reason I read is to escape some of my present reality.  These books somehow didn’t quite reach the Calgon level of taking me away from all that, so they don’t stay on my shelves.

And, now I’m wondering…

Are you a reader and a book lover? 

If so, what do you read and what are your purposes for reading?

If not, what do you do when you need a momentary escape from the less than happy realities you might be facing?

Old Maids and Fairy Tales

This post originally appeared on my MySpace blog in 2007 back in the day when I actually maintained a MySpace page.  That was in the pre-FB days.  My, how things have changed!  I migrated this piece over to CABsPlace when I originally started blogging.  I’m moving it here now, because it is vintage Wild Mind thinking…with some minor updates. Let me know what you think. 

cinderella-stories-with-the-disney-princesses-8236784-800-600I was one of those misguided people who grew up with the idea that somehow the right way, or the good way or the proper way to do the "fairy tale" was to go to college, meet Mr.. Prince Charming, upon graduation get married and then begin doing life.  I was also under the misguided impression that if I wasn’t engaged by the time I graduated, my odds of ever getting married were rapidly declining and I was running the risk of dying an "old maid". 

Now, I have no idea where I came up with these absolutely ludicrous ideas.  I mean, my mother certainly didn’t instill those into me.  In fact, she was the one who constantly admonished me to spend time figuring out who I was, what I wanted and what I was about before even entering into marriage.  It was her voice that encouraged me to spend a few years after college being single and on my own so I could learn whatever I needed to learn to be able to stand on my own two feet.  My father agreed with my mother on that score and together they actually taught me to reason logically, value education and intelligence and to stand my ground in the face of adversity. 

Their relationship, at least from my perspective, didn’t look at all like the fairy tale I envisioned.  They got married after being divorced twice in front of the justice of the peace, for crying out loud!  No, white horse drawn glittery carriage for them.  Though, I have to admit that my dad, who was an amateur rock hound and who cut and polished his own semi-precious stones as a hobby, did all right where the ring came into play.  He cut, polished and had set the most beautiful blue sapphire I have to this date ever seen.  It was huge.  It was sparkly. It was some serious bling! It was gorgeous and it had fairy tale written all over it.  Come to think of it, it was probably as big as Cinderella’s carriage…but I digress.

My parents were practical, responsible, intelligent people.  They’d lived long enough to have the fairy tale beaten out of them. Or maybe they had learned along the way that the fairy tale exists, it just doesn’t always look the way the storybooks and Disney portray it.  Hmmm.

But…being young, headstrong and unwilling to consider (at least at that age) that my parents even had a clue about how to do life, much less that they actually made good choices in the romance department, I did not listen.  Instead, I forged ahead, dreaming of the day when my own fairy tale would be realized. 

Anyone who spoke to me of enjoying being single and seeking my own life independent of any man was received by me with the same response most folks would give Dracula.  I didn’t exactly pay them any heed.  In fact, I smiled nicely and avoided them like the plague.

Fast forward, two marriages, four children, and a quarter of a century later and I’m thinking my parents and all those well intentioned advisors may have had it right all along.  No, not may have, they did have it right all along.  Instead of seriously considering spending my 20’s discovering me and learning to be comfortable with me, which would have then later helped me to recognize Mr.. Prince Charming and make a more informed marital decision, I jumped into marriage.  I didn’t know him, I didn’t know me, I had no experience with which to make decisions and I was very miserable for many many years and it spiraled out of control less than 20 years in.  When I self-destructed as the result of my own self designed disaster, my "fairy tale" self-destructed.  You’d think I’d have learned from my mistake.  You’d think. But no, I tried to fix the first wrong, by committing a second one.  I married a second time only a brief two months after the ink was dry on my first divorce.  As you might imagine, thus began the nightmare from which I couldn’t awaken and it lasted for six long and terrifying years.

My parents had it mostly right all along. I should have taken my twenties to just get to know me as I am.  I should have taken the time, as my mother advised, to figure out what my likes and dislikes are…apart from parental admonitions.  Apart from a significant other’s overbearing demands.  Apart. Alone.  Me.  Unedited.

Now, today, here I am, a lifetime later (it seems), taking their advice.  I am, at 40+,  doing what I should have done 25 years ago.  I am a slow learner.  In the education world we call that the student who needs more time.  I guess, that’s me.  I needed more time…and now I’m taking it.  But, to be honest, it’s really not easy at this stage of the game. 

You see, when I was twenty, I had better odds of having more time.  In my mid-40’s, it’s likely, I don’t have that kind of time left.  There is the sense, in some ways, that time is running out, and, to be honest that worries me occasionally.  But it only worries me sometimes, not all the time.  I don’t dwell on it ever.  In fact, I have reached the point where I mostly don’t care.  I am no longer afraid of being the "old maid", because simply stated, the old maid doesn’t exist, and even if she does and even if I were her, after what I’ve been through, I can confidently say there are fates worse than that.  I’ve lived one of them already.  I’m not soon going to sign up for it again.

Young people today are waiting longer to get married and that, in my mind is wise.  Some, no many, are choosing never to marry, even though they could.  People are living longer, women even older than me are far more active for far many years than in past generations.  I look around and see many women who are single, divorced, widowed and I don’t see a single old maid among them.  I see people choosing life, enjoying life and making choices that work for them, because they know themselves well enough to say yes to the options that they know they can live with and enjoy.  They easily and without apology say no to the options or choices that would be unhealthy or damaging for them.  They do this because they know who they are and what their limits are.  This is a very good thing.

So, as the mother of three daughters and one son, I’ve worked hard to debunk the Old Maid myth and rewrite the fairy tale.  I’ve worked hard to encourage my children to be themselves and get to know themselves.  This requires some detachment at times as a parent.  It also requires skill in listening, accepting and keeping lines of communication open.  Critical, judgmental and harsh evaluations cannot be entertained.

Do I always enjoy hearing about my daughter’s latest agony with a guy she likes, a catty girlfriend who just betrayed her, or the relational stresses any of them might at any time be experiencing? Hmmm, no, sometimes it’s just too much information, but I’d rather she discuss it with me than not.  It also gives us the opportunity to practice taking a look at who she is, what she’s about, what her personal goals are and how all the noise around her fits into that.  In the end, I can’t walk with her into her fairy tale, but I can give her the tools to write it for herself in whatever manner she chooses. And, I can help free her from the Disney image of what that fairy tale must look like.  This is what I am doing with her and each of her siblings in turn.

As for me?

Well…sigh. 

I often think my chance at love, romance and enjoying life with Prince Charming may be well past.  I hope not.  As a realist, I have to entertain the idea that this just might be my reality.  I have to move on. I have to deal with me.

cameron_diaz_mike_myers_shrek_001If he does appear…my Prince Charming doesn’t have to fight any dragons or wake me with a kiss from an endless, enchanted sleep.  In fact, he doesn’t have to do anything. He just has to be honestly, to the core, himself.  No apologies.  I imagine when he finally rides onto the scene, I will be busy ruling my kingdom, he will be busy ruling his, and we will know ourselves well enough to recognize that what we have together has all the makings of a very fine fairy tail. It won’t look like Disney.  At this point, it might not even look as good as my parents’ fairy tale, but, then, it might look a whole lot better too. It won’t matter, with any luck we’ll recognize each other when we cross paths and we’ll know the fairy tale we want to create and we won’t hesitate to set about making it happen.

Until then, I’m defeating the scary dragons that threaten on occasion to consume my castle and my kingdom on my own, doing quite well at it and enjoying, well, almost every minute of it.

After reading that, I realize, it is probably geared mostly toward my female audience.  I’ve been doing some thinking though lately and my hunch is that men aren’t so “undesirous” of the fairy tale as we might be led to believe.  It might look different to a guy.  I don’t know. It’d be nice to hear what some men out there think about the fairy tale.  I think maybe we are all closer to being on the same page than we think about what we want and hope for in relationship.  What do you think?

If Life Were A Supermarket, Where Would I Find You?

Copyright CABrasseur, 2009

Some of you might know that I have another blog titled Welcome To CABsPlace. I’ve kind of let that dangle a bit as I try to clarify really what my own vision is for each of my blogs.  For now, I think I’ve decided to make CABsPlace more of my personal or family blog and have it deal more with parenting, home improvement, and single mommy stuff, while this one will address more adult themes of mid-life singles, divorce, relationships, dating, self-improvement and personal growth, as well as parenting.  To that end, I am going to start moving some of the CABsPlace Posts over here in cases where the content is more suitable for this blog.  This is the first of such posts.  You’ll know the original post content because the font will appear (hopefully) in a different color.  And, yes, I am taking liberties, at times to edit and enhance (this does not mean re-write) the posts when necessary.

I hope you enjoy these.  Some of them are my earlier works and it is interesting to see how much I’ve changed in my thinking and my writing in the last couple of years. Do, please, let me know what you think.  The feedback is incredibly valuable to me.  

The email comment read, “If life were a supermarket, I bet I’d find you in the desserts and treats aisle”. I pondered this statement momentarily, thinking, well that’s a pretty creative way of putting yourself out there.  However, I thought to myself as I gazed at the digital text, I’m not so sure that’s entirely accurate. I mean, desserts and treats?  Fun?  Yes.  Sweet and yummy? I like to think so in the right circumstances with the right kind of guy.  Complete fluff and no real relational nutrition?  Not so much.

I decided to rewrite myself as if my life were a supermarket. Where would one find me? Here’s my start to that creative question. 

Check out the decadent phallic symbols in this picture!

If life were a supermarket, I’d be in the desserts and treats section because I am fun, sweet, yummy, tasty and gooey and, at times, in the appropriate context with a suitable member of the opposite sex, very decadent.  I’d also be in the fine wines section because I am aging well and I deserve to be savored rather than gulped and tossed aside.  You’d find me in the the tri-tip steak section because I am tender, flavorful, tasteful and authentically real unlike the hot dogs or bologna slices you find in the processed lunch meats aisle.  You’ll  find me in the produce aisle especially near the dark green leafy vegetables, the mushrooms and the zucchini because I am really down to earth, health conscious, but not fanatical. You’d find me in the coffee aisle because the smell of fresh brewed coffees is more about ambiance that caffeine and mood is so important to a satisfying relationship.  You’d find me in the cleansers and detergent aisle because while I’m not OCD, I am definitely a bit of a neat freak and I like my home and my things and my children to be clean…as well as myself and my own clothing. Of course, you’d find me in the toiletries aisle, at some point, because like all good moms, I take care of the details and I’m prepared for any emergency. You would not find me in the fast food or chips and dip section, because I have a bit more substance than that. However, even I have been known on occasion to indulge in popcorn or cotton candy and even I, on occasion drink a beer. But I don’t frequent those aisles often and if you caught me there it would be a chance meeting indeed. You might find me in the section with wild jalapeno peppers because I can be hot and spicy.  You’d find me in the International Foods section because I love the world, it’s peoples and hope to travel to meet them someday in their own countries, at their own tables, in their own settings. In short, you’d find me in any aisle with food that authentic food goes well with fine wine, friends, good music, good times and the making of cherished memories…that is…if my life were a supermarket.

Now, if your life were a supermarket, where would I find you???

Have fun with this!  I look forward to your comments.

Kicking Off The Holiday Season

j0422837 I have a friend who firmly believes that Halloween is the holiday that officially kicks off “The Holiday Season”.  Being a person who really knows how to entertain and, yes, even cook very fine meals, she is all about celebrating.  And she is good at it.  Whether you agree with my friend or not, by the time Thanksgiving rolls around, followed immediately by the day now known as “Black Friday”  (only in America and when did that happen anyway?), it is clear The Holiday Season is well underway. 

The Problem

In years past, I was all about Christmas and decorating and making everything festive and, like my friend, I enjoyed celebrating in the company of family and friends.  But somewhere along the line things went horribly wrong and suddenly, The Holidays, have lost their appeal to me.  Or maybe I’ve just become very, very confused about does and does not matter when creating those memorable holiday moments.

Okay, things didn’t really go “horribly wrong”, at least, not all in one big life changing moment.  It was more like a gradual decline and I think I did it to myself.  Too much pressure, expectations for myself and those of others (mostly in-laws), the demands of being a new mom, starting a new demanding career at the same time (oh, yes, I do wish I’d played Solitudethat card differently), and the gradual erosion and decline of a marriage.  Along the way, The Holidays lost their charm.  They became something to be endured; a source of pain, frustration and immense exhaustion.

After the second divorce, I tried the best I could to make Christmas memorable for my children.  This wasn’t easy, since I was now in the place so many people find themselves in after divorce:  broke…if not bankrupt. I was definitely the former, scrambling to avoid the latter.  Looking back, I don’t even know how I survived that first Christmas because child support hadn’t even kicked in.  The second Christmas was also pulled off with meager finances and the third Christmas, last year, was the first Christmas my children spent away from me.  That was tough! 

  Yes, I am fully aware that in spite of the pretty lights, the happy smiles on people’s faces, the advertisements that boast loving couples, happy families, and joyous, grateful children with lavishly decorated homes where trees are standing amidst a treasure trove of gifts, the cost of which might easily feed a small third world nation somewhere for a year, The Holiday Season for many, is a season of pain, regret, disappointment, sadness and deep loneliness. Many of us, especially those of us who are Singles in a World of Couples dread the advent of the holidays because it means we will be attending yet another office party alone, waking up Christmas morning alone while the kids wake up and open presents elsewhere, eating alone with no one to greet us in the morning or drink a toast with us in the evening.  That awareness can gnaw at us and deprive us of joy, energy, and contentment.

A Solution:

Now, if I let it, that could depress me.  I could spend my time regretting the misused past.  I could spend my time fretting that I am now unable to provide my children with what I’d always wanted and hoped to be able to provide them materially. I could feel badly that I don’t have significant other to share the joys and sorrows (or my hot tub!) with.  I could get weepy that things are not exactly what I wanted or how I planned or imagined.  I could despair that things are not better than they are.  Sometimes I do.  Not for long.  Maybe only about two hours a month…if that.

Solution:  I don’t let it.  I’ve learned to enjoy what I have and be grateful that I have it.  I’ve also learned that things can always be worse.  After all, as one friend recently said to me, “You have a roof over your head, a good job, you are paying your bills haven’t had to foreclose on your home or file bankruptcy, you and your kids are healthy and you have food on the table.  It could be so much worse, so chin up!”

I’ve learned over the last three years to think differently about many things.  I now think differently about my holidays.  I think very differently about the holidays on those years when my kids will be away for Christmas Day.  I’m not so hesitant anymore to ask out that guy friend to my office Christmas Party.  I just make sure it is someone who understands that this is not a Friends With Benefits situation or that I have any illusions about us as a couple.j0444098  I’ve given myself permission to be single and to enjoy it.  I’ve given myself permission to take full advantage of the times when the kids are away.  I’ve met enough people and have plenty of friends that if I want a date to an event I can have one.  If I’m sitting home alone on a weekend night it is because I have chosen it, not because I have no other choice.  I’ve learned to be at peace with myself.

I no longer feel that I’m missing life if I stay home…alone…curled up on my couch in my lounge pants and t-shirt…in front of the fire.  Would it be fun to be using my couch differently?  Of course, but I’m not desperately hoping that will happen or thinking that it must happen in order for me to feel validated and alive.

Mostly, I’ve learned that the off times, those times when the kids are away at their other homes is a great time for me to work on the many home improvement tasks I have lined up.  I don’t have to worry about kids wanting to help with the painting or spreading the mess throughout the house. I don’t have to stop mid project to fix a meal and clean it up.  It’s also a wonderful opportunity to catch up with some j0438433of my adult friends that I have a more difficult time connecting with when the kids are around. It’s a great opportunity to get caught up on laundry and if all else fails…

…it is a wonderful time to try to learn to cook a new dish! 

Yeah, like that’ll happen anytime soon!

I do have questions though for those of you out there who, like me, have a shared custody or a parenting plan that means your children will be away from you some or all of the holiday season. 

How do you handle the holiday season when you don’t have your children with you to celebrate?

How has divorce changed how you celebrate the holidays?

 

 

“The Last Hose Supplier You’ll Ever Need” Responds to My Inquiries

Well, take a look at this!  I’ve received a response from that Online Hose Supplier that I mentioned a post or two back.  To see the earlier correspondences you will have to just scroll through the earlier posts.  I’m too tired and lazy to link them, sorry.  Here’s what that overseas supplier responded with:

Once again I thank you for your inquiry about the range of hoses that may suit your somewhat unique requirements.

Unfortunately I am unable to provide you with pictures of the hose and fittings I referred to in my last correspondance but I can assure you it is unlike any of the previously used hoses you’ve described. I don’t mean to be critical but I think that ,in the past, you have chosen lesser quality and much less reliable equipment than your quite specific requirements deserve.

As a sign of good faith, and to sate your curiosity, I have taken the liberty of arranging for a free 2 week trial of a second hand sample of the product and its associated attachements. Once I have received Customs clearance I will endeavour to ship these to your home address.

As the items mentioned are not new I trust you will handle all items with care.

Please do not hesitate to contact the writer should you require anything further.

He is, it seems, being honest and straightforward about the condition of the hose.  At least he admits the hose is not new.  That’s okay, since new hoses are incompatible with my pump.  My pump is an older model, still in excellent condition, requires little mechanical maintenace, and performs better than many of the newer models, however, the newer hoses just don’t seem to have the staying power my pump requires.  THS is also willing to provide a two week free trial.  He must be confident of his product or his salesmanship, or maybe both.

This brings up a few questions though.  Like, how free is free?  What is the small print?  Better yet, is there anything written in invisible ink I should be aware of?  What I’m most curious about is the “associated attachments”.  Sounds like there might be more to the bargain than a mere hose.

Grocery Store Get Togethers

Grocery cartFunny things happen in grocery stores.  One time I was checking out and bagging my groceries. Right behind me was a guy that had contacted me on that Online Dating Site that I am on-again-off-again about. He contacted me, didn’t interest me, I responded politely, but not encouragingly. Plus, he kept asking me, “Having any luck on here?”  Seriously?  That’s not his business.  So, it was weird to meet him in the grocery store.  He recognized me, mentioned our brief correspondence and well, I got out of the store fast that trip.

This last week, I had another interesting encounter in the grocery store.  I ran into a friend I knew while I was married to Ex #2.  In fact, we were kind of in a disastrous marriage support group thing together.  She happens to work in this store, but since she works days and I usually shop late afternoons or early evenings we never see each other. During the time that I knew her, she was just starting this relationship that, well, didn’t look that promising to me.  I mean, it seemed the guy ran hot and cold on her.  It also seemed he left her with the lion’s share of doing the work of “relating”.  I remember thinking that I hoped it worked out for her, since she was really into this guy, but also thinking that I was very skeptical that it would.

My friend, didn’t recognize me at first.  Seriously.  She had to do that double take thing, then the triple take.  “Wow!” she exclaimed, “You look great!  How are you?!” ( I love it when that happens and it is happening a lot lately! LOL!)  We did the girl hug thing that women do when they meet and haven’t seen each other for a long time.  We spent a few minutes getting caught up.  In fact, she ended up going through the checkout line with me.  I told her that Ex #2 and I were divorced.  She told me she thought that was a great decision, obviously, since I look so good now (her words).  I asked her about the relationship she was starting way back when we were hanging out in that disastrous marriage group thing. Sure enough, three years later, she’s telling me how he proposed, then got cold feet and backed out.  She finally ended it with him.  I mean, seriously, she hung out with that hot and cold behavior for three whole years? 

Women, why do we do this????

I found myself wanting to tell her, “Girlfriend, you made a great choice!  He never was that into you!”  Instead, I kept my mouth shut, encouraged her and listened and wondered why we women are so willing to “put up with” and “make excuses for” men who really just aren’t into us. 

Men don’t lie.  They tell us exactly what they think, in one way or another. If they don’t call, it isn’t because they are busy or “couldn’t”.  It is because they don’t want to.  We just aren’t important enough for them to carve out a few minutes to connect.  A guy that really wants to be with a woman, doesn’t let her phone grow cold.

In the same way, when a guy runs hot and then cold, he’s not really committed or all that interested.  Most guys know instantly if they want to pursue relationship with a particular woman or not.  They are all hot about her, no cold, it’s just that simple.  He wants to call her, be with her, do stuff for her and give her things, even if those things are only small tokens of care and even if he’s working within a budget.  And, hear me, peeps.  It isn’t the gift at all here that is important, it is the behavior.

I was talking with another friend last night, and we were discussing relationship and single life and guys and she said, “I think being alone sucks and I hate dating, but it is a whole lot better than being in a bad relationship with the wrong person.”

I’d have to say I agree. 

Seriously. There are lots of really nice, handsome, terrific men out there. Contrary to popular belief.  If he’s not crazy about you (and you are worth being completely crazy about!) then don’t waste another minute or amount of emotional energy.  Okay, I give you permission to have 15 minutes of disappointment, but that’s all.  Face it, if he’s not calling, wants to be with the guys more than you, seems to have a whole lot of other priorities higher on the list than you then, well, he’s not crazy about you and you deserve better. Be a realist. Face the facts.  Move on. 

You’ll be glad you did.  I hate to say it, but he probably will be too.

The Stupidest Email I’ve Ever Received…Recently Anyway

Okay, I’ve recieved stupider and funnier ones than this one.  Like the convict who dared accuse me of stalking him just because of a stupid Facebook comment I made where I repeated verbatim something he told me.  Yeah, I’ll have to tell you about that sometime.  Tonight’s email was so much more benign…almost boring…but ridiculous in the unfounded assumptions the author made about me and my interest level toward him.  I mean, since I never really responded to his digital advances, I guess I couldn’t exactly be labled “interested” let alone a stalker.  I just don’t get it sometimes.  I just don’t get how guys think sometimes.

Online dating is such a freaking joke.

I’ve dabbled in this venue on and off for the last year, mostly off with a month or two on when I get bored and have nothing better to do…which…seriously…is not often.  This equates to me being on an online dating site, maybe, three times for a month each, in the last year and a half.

About a six months ago a fairly attractive man contacted me and we began communicating.  Okay he emailed me, I responded, we got to the first phone call, after that he went silent. 

BFD.  His loss I figured.  I was spinning about 10 online plates at the time so what did I care.  He easily slipped from my mind.

About a month and a half ago after being “offline” for about 5 months (yes, one month online can easily net me the next six months in dates, get over it!) I went back online again. 

The same go silent BFD dude contacted me again.

Hesitantly, meaning I waited about a week before responding, I responded.

He emailed me once.

I waited, he emailed me back.

I emailed him and you guessed it…he went silent again.  Never to hear from him again until tonight.  (Seriously, I missed no sleep over this.  I’ve really so changed my perspective on the go silent thing.  It is now actually a favor.  He goes silent.  I know all I need to know, I move on.  Over and out.  Next!)

That was nearly two months ago.  I haven’t contacted him.  I haven’t spent any time thinking about him.  Seriously?  I’ve been having way too much fun in my little corner of the world to wonder why the heck he doesn’t have the good sense to follow up on a good thing when he stumbles across it and…stumble he has.  His loss.  My response?  Next!  (Well, not even that…he didn’t even make it to the plate!)

Tonight, after two months of silence and no follow up from me I get the following email:

“Cat, just wanted you to know I met some one and am off the radar.”

Hahahahahaha!  The freaking arrogance of it all. 

*she rolls eyes and clicks delete while thinking, “Dodged an arrogant self-absorbed bullet there!”

Off the radar?!?  Dude, you never even created a blip on the radar, so yeah, I guess you’re right,  you are off the radar! 

I mean, really, I have to laugh, if I was stalking him, I’d understand, but this is a guy who initiated contact with me every time, spoke on the  phone with me once, and I never really made any big effort to respond or encourage him.  I mean, I just don’t get it.

Ah, well, chalk it up to comic relief.  I was, at least, able to squeeze a lame blog post out of it.

Is It True?

This weekend I watched “Sleepless In Seattle” again.  The line, “The odds are better that you will experience a terrorist attack, than that you will find romance over 40” was stated several times.

Is it true????????????????????????????????????