Sunday, December 30, 2012

Ramblings and Musings

I had a date today.  He was nice - a good man.  And so, so, so not my man.  He was significantly heavier than in his profile pics, and he was sweet, but there was absolutely no spark whatsoever.

I am definitely holding out for a spark.

OkCupid sent me a silly message today that I'm in their top 50% of attractive users.  I'm not sure if I'm flattered or disgusted that I got this email, and I don't want to be treated like cattle (even attractive cattle), but the truth is that I wasn't feeling a zing with the connections I was receiving, so maybe now with a slightly shallower criterion added in (sigh, I'm not proud) I'll find connections with a bit of a spark.


This past week I've lived the life that was hard to live when I was with Bryan.  I went snowshoeing and sledding, I went to a big museum exhibit, I went to a wonderful place that provides wine, a canvas, and paint and had a girls' night out where I painted my first picture since the second grade (and had a blast, and even kind of like the results - I hung it in my bedroom!).  My date may not have been fantastic, but it was still nice to have a guy that was excited to meet me and listened deeply and shared his own experiences.  These things are so small - but they're also so big.  I feel a lot closer to being the person I want to be, and so hopeful that even more is coming, that with each coming day I am more myself.

I have also continued my work out path.  I can run farther now, and I feel changes in my body that I really like.  When I was snowshoeing I didn't even feel like I was exercising, and that was fantastic - I was just enjoying the snow, nothing more.  (I even tried to talk Katherine into going farther, but no dice.)

So, with the new year around the corner, I'm hopeful.  It's going to be a great year, and I can't wait.  I am sure there will be challenges....but I'm hoping none are as huge as those of 2012!

Now - back to obsessively checking OkCupid to see who has clicked on me.  It's a night without Katherine, and I'm in the living room by candlelight eating Trader Joe's food and having a glass of wine.  Yes, I know, I'm a wild child.  :-)  But tomorrow is work, and I plan to go in well rested.

Happy (almost) New Year's!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Wrapping Up

I love this time of year.

Christmas is past, and there is a whole new set of memories to go with it.  My house has once again echoed with the laughter of friends in candlelight and music, and I can feel the presence of all that love even though the party is long over.  My daughter's gift - artwork - hangs in a place of honor, where I can see it daily.  The fridge is emptied of brie en croute and smoked salmon and prime rib leftovers, and we return to spinach salads and stirfries.

Today, the presents get tucked into their new homes - drawers and toy bins - and the tree comes down.  When the needles are swept up and the furniture returned to position, the house will feel bigger than before - the clutter of nutcrackers and snow globes and stockings will be gone, and open spots remain.

It was a fabulous Christmas, better than I could have hoped for.  Mostly, I politely ignored Bryan, and he made it easy on me by doing the same in return.  We were together for most of 24 hours, and he even stayed in the basement here in the guest room at Katherine's request.  It wasn't perfect, but it was better than I worried it would be.  Friends, family, quiet time.  A blissful week off with my daughter, to celebrate the holidays in style and to do fun activities like a museum exhibit and snowshoeing.

And now, I have a weekend to myself to contemplate life and dream of what is coming in the new year.

First, I'm cleaning up the house, getting it in top shape.  Then, I'm working out - I've been getting regular exercise, running, doing yoga, and doing as much as I can to feel strong and healthy.  Then, planning for a new year.

How much travel?  Can we become a ski-family?  What house projects?  Work goals?  Writing?

And how to navigate the surreal world of dating in one's 40s?  I've received dozens of messages on OkCupid, and none of them are making my heart pitter-patter....should my heart pitter-patter for pixels?  How much time do I want to dedicate to that?

Now is the time of year to consider it all.

I've come a long way.  If I make as much progress in 2013 as I did in 2012, pretty much anything is possible.  I am filled with hope and prayers that there will be no major challenges in 2012, and that maybe some of the pain of the previous years will be balanced by unbelievable joys in the coming years.

But as for 2012 - it's a wrap.  I can't wait to see what is next!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Gut checks

So my online flirtation has continued with phone calls, emails, and online chatting.

So much fun to flirt!  A few suggestive comments, and I can practically see him trying to crawl through the wires to get to me.  It's a sensation of power and fun and desire and plain old lust, and given that I'd practically forgotten that I had all that in me (by necessity), it was a fabulous reminder that I am still a sensual being, and that I've still got it.

But of course, there's a problem.  Oops.

I have no idea what the heck I'm doing, and that is clear.  I'm making this up as I go, learning along the way.  I didn't go too far down the innuendo path, but I went far enough.  And it was super fun.


I am just not into sexual innuendo with a stranger on the internet.  It's a persona that I was trying on, and it is just not me at this phase of my life.

But it's worse than that.

He really likes me.  He's got a hunch that this is something special.

And he uses the word "to" when he should say "too" and this is a small and ridiculous thing but it makes me insane.  (Ex English teacher here.)  I can't decide if I'm physically attracted to his pictures, but I'm starting to lean to 'no.'  I think he might be more of a party boy than I ever will be, even though he's also a dad, business professional, etc.  Something's off - I think he's a great person, deserving of great love....but he's not for me.

And then it came out that he's a "fiscal Republican."  This is better than if he was a social republican, but it's not great for me.  I have Republican friends and family, and I love them, but there are always places we can't go in discussion, things we have to dance around, and I really don't want that in a partner.  I don't think I can date a Romney supporter, even though I have Romney-voting friends.  (Fewer in number than my lefty-liberal friends, but still...)

I'm looking for a guy who will sit around with my uber educated, lefty liberal friends, and fit right in.

He's right.  We were clicking...

Except that I was getting swept up in it all, instead of listening to my gut that it isn't quite right.  I have a talent for it, and back in the day when I was dating, I had a number of men who were convinced that I was the one for them, and when they told me so I was shocked they thought it was a good match.  This isn't my guy.  He's a good guy, a breath of fresh air after Bryan, but he's not for me.

So, I've got to get out of this awkward situation.  I've agreed to a date, and I'm not going to go.  And I feel bad, because I've lead him on, except that I wasn't leading him on, I was just trying to find my way, and I thought it was all good, except then I got sudden clarity.

I wish I'd listened to my gut a few conversations ago, but better now than in the wedding dress.  (Yes, that is how it went with Bryan.)  I think that this gentleman will not be thrilled with my rejection, and it may catch him off guard, and I feel bad for that....but better now than later, because it won't get any easier.

Shoot.  I have to put on my big girl panties and end it before it started.  I'm learning - but not all of the learning is fun!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

An Online Flirtation

As I've mentioned here, I signed up before with an online dating service, and then realized I wasn't ready.  What I didn't mention before is that my profile hadn't garnered much interest; as my confidence is generally pretty high, I just blew it off as the crazy online world, and I didn't think much of it.

Well, the times they are a'changin'.

I'm in a good place.  My life is going well, and I'm proud of myself and my accomplishments.  I think I really AM ready to date, and that I know what I want.  This must have come through, because oh-my-goodness I am getting a lot of attention!  Seriously, this is the best ego boost ever.  Multiple gentlemen contact me every day, and more "favorite" me, and my email is abuzz with new messages from OkCupid.

It is really fun.  I won't lie, I am absolutely lapping it up.  My friend said that I was like Scarlett O'Hara at the picnic, with gentlemen all around me, and I could point to them and say, "And YOU may get my dessert..." and though I am as un-Scarlett-like as they come, I giggle at the image.

Most of the gentlemen are a very, very, very bad fit for me.  Some must be cruising for green cards (Sri Lanka?  Saudi Arabia?  No thank you.), some are cruising for casual sex, some are looking for cougars (23 years old means you were born when I was 20!!!).

Some are men who are likely very nice guys, genuine and kind, but just not a fit for me.  I reply to those ones: the ones who actually read the profile, responded to something that caught their attention, and then tell me a bit about themselves.  If they took the trouble to reach out to me and compliment me, the least I can do is respond. I thank them, and then tell them it's not a match, and wish them well.

(Thank you to Marni Battista at Dating With Dignity for advice on how to handle this stuff with integrity.  I'm not associated with their website at any level, and I've never paid for their services, but I think that Marni's advice is spot on and I'm following it.  See the link on the side under links I like... )

But then there are the interesting guys.  Enough of a physical spark from the pictures (I don't need a supermodel, but a little "oh, he's cute" is a good start), and then a deep interest in the profile.  A little cruise of the questions to see if our values align....and a conversation begins.

I've been invited out on multiple dates.  After chatting a bit, one guy inadvertantly revealed a bit of a temper, and I quickly bowed out.  I'm moving slowly with a couple more - it's easy to buy myself a bit of time over the holidays, because I'm booked with holiday events with my daughter, and I'm not lying when I say it has to wait until January.

So, I'd say it's going swimmingly.  I'm putting myself out there, and the Universe seems to be saying "I approve.  Keep going!"

But there's this one guy.  Twinkles in his eyes.  Active.  Professional.  Dedicated father.  Playful.  Intriguing.  And totally into me!  We have a date and location on the calendar, and I'm looking forward to it, and actually wishing I wasn't so busy so that we could do it sooner.  We've graduated to the telephone, and I like him more, not less, as a result.

I Googled him, too.  He is who he says he is, and I like that.  I like it a lot.

It feels a bit like having an imaginary friend, conversing with someone I've never met.  I could get really into this guy, in theory, but I'm taking it reeeeaalllly slow, following my own sense of timing and such, listening to my gut.

Merry Christmas to me.  2013 is going to be a great year!

Monday, December 17, 2012


My divorce will be final in less than a month - all that is left to do is get the judge's signature (and then go to the trouble to change my name on every account).

So, last night I decided it was time to window shop a bit on a dating site.  OkCupid is free, and that felt very low risk, so I created a profile, and then sat back.

Messages have been coming in all night and morning, and it's very flattering.  Of course, I'm not interstested in a love relationship with a 29 year old living in Sri Lanka, and I'm not likely to change my views on contraception, homosexuality, and politics the way one kind man hoped.

But mixed in with the crazies are a couple of genuinely interesting guys.  I chatted online with one last night for perhaps 20 minutes, and it was....lovely.  Normal.  Slightly flirtatious, but not over the top.  He seems like an all around good guy, a great dad, an interesting person.  (I ended it to go to bed at a reasonable hour.  Look at how I've grown!)

My twenty year old self would be planning the wedding.  My more-than-forty year old self merely wonders if we will chat again.  (I think we will.)  He asked me to meet some time soon, and I said not until after the holidays, because that is what I'd written on my profile (I said I was window shopping until then), and because that is what works for me.

It's almost time.  And I'm excited.  I "have" to do this to find the life I want....and you know what?  It might actually be fun.  Last night was a good start, anyway, and I'm glad for that.

We'll see!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Merry Christmas from the Family

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We are deep in the heart of holiday season: Thanksgiving is behind us, Christmas is just around the corner.  Katherine and I have decked the halls, and she spent one lovely night sleeping next to the Christmas tree, snuggled under a snowman blanket.  We have seen a Christmas concert, and we've done our holiday tradition of the carousel downtown and a horse drawn carriage ride at night around the city.

Though Bryan only moved out in July, this is our second "separated" Christmas.  Last year, he lived downstairs, and I lived upstairs, with an awful lot of overlap.  I won't lie, that was an incredibly difficult Christmas for me.  I didn't send out holiday cards because I didn't know what to say on them, or even who to sign them from: we lived in the same house, but surely we couldn't send out a "family" card?  Christmas last year, Bryan left in the middle of dinner and locked himself in his bedroom while our house was full of guests.  Nothing provoked this; while I'm sure he found it all as surreal as I did, there was nothing that went wrong or no awkward moment that sent him storming downstairs.  When I knocked on his door and asked whether he was going to join us for dessert (we were all waiting), he yelled at me to go away.  To say that it was unpleasant wouldn't even touch on it.

In addition to our uneasy living situation, last year I wasn't working, I didn't have a solid plan, and our finances were a mess.

So, this year, by comparison, feels like a piece of cake.  Chocolate cake with buttercream frosting and a drizzle of raspberry, actually.  Decadent and beautiful.

This year, with Bryan in his own apartment, decorating the tree had no awkward moments.  He did not complain about the size (too big!) or the location (why do you have to put it there?) or the ornaments (why do you have so many?) or the needles (why even bother if it's just going to die?).  He did not complain about our listening to Christmas carols (don't they get on your nerves?) and he did not complain about how long it took.  Katherine and I had a grand time doing it, and it was absolutely stress free.  I was a bit worried about how I'd do it without another adult to help (we like trees that touch the ceiling!), but somehow, we managed.  She climbed on my shoulders to place the angel on top, and it was magical.  (It involved a lot of giggling.  We both felt like we were going to topple, and somehow that was hysterical.  The angel is a little crooked, but I love her all the more for it.)

This year, I can buy my own gifts for people with my own money.  I don't need to negotiate with him, and I don't need to see him buying himself things he doesn't need and telling me that there is no money for our nieces and nephews.

This year, there is a beautiful picture of Katherine and I, taken by a friend, that goes on our holiday card.  It is beautiful, the best photo we've ever had together, and it makes me happy just to see it.  We will sign them together, and it feels natural and wonderful.

To say I'm relieved by my divorce isn't putting it lightly - my life is a thousand times better this year than it was last year.

But I haven't forgotten that it's not all about me, and that Katherine's feelings matter more than ever, and that she likely still longs for her intact nuclear family, not the two-residences version.  And I haven't forgotten my vow to make her life as great as I can.

So, when Katherine said, "Mama, can Daddy spend the night on Christmas Eve?" I only verifed that she meant in the guest room, and then when she said "yes" I smiled and said "Of course!  Let's invite him."  I reached out to Bryan, explained that it was important to our daughter to have both of her parents there for breakfast and presents, and he accepted the invitation.

I was pleased as can be.  THIS is the divorce I hoped for, where we set aside our differences and come together for our beautiful child.

I was pleased for a few hours before I thought "OH NO!  HE'S GOING TO SPEND THE NIGHT IN MY HOUSE!"  For a moment, I thought "I can't do this!  No, no, no!"  But I can, and I will.  One night out of 365 is not such a big deal, and if it brings joy to our daughter, then so be it.

I will have to serve him breakfast.  And clean it up.  He will not offer to help, and if I offer sausage he'll say, "What?  No bacon?" and he may criticize my variety of coffee (strong and dark).  He will either inform me that I bought way too many presents for Katherine, or not enough.  He will belch and not say "excuse me."  He will not acknowledge my hospitality, and he will not thank me for including him.

It is what it is.  He has not changed because we are getting divorced; sometimes he's even worse.

But it doesn't matter.  I can set it aside for Christmas, and I can ignore his bad behavior.  What my daughter will witness is her mom making every effort to give her a great holiday.  Katherine will see me being pleasant and kind and compassionate.  I will not rise to his bait, and I will not snap at him.  (What I think is another matter, but as long as it doesn't come out, no problem!)

Katherine gets both of her parents at the holiday table, and I get the peace of knowing that I'm doing a good thing.

I also get the peace of knowing it's only one night a year, and that counts for a lot!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Two posts in one day....that's been a while!

I do not often feel lonely these days.  Maybe it's because I'm too busy to feel lonely - when would I carve out time for loneliness?  Or maybe it's because I'm so often surrounded by people, rarely alone at work, busy with Katherine at home, busy with Katherine's social commitments, squeezing in a couple of my own social engagements here and there.

Usually, it's because I simply don't feel lonely.  I have cultivated friendships that are rich and full, and I work hard at them.  I have beliefs, passions, hobbies that keep me from loneliness.  There are invitations given and received, and too often I can't join because of scheduling but the invitations still give me comfort.

But in the past twenty-four hours, I've felt lonely.

First, the fall.  And coming home to laundry, a child needing tending, a dog anxious to walk, a naughty cat (she is definitely receiving coal this year)....and hurting deeply, bloody hands, a throbbing arm, and nobody to care for me.  In this case, I knew that I could NOT do it all, that I had no choice....and it was lonely.  I didn't feel powerful and strong and capable, I felt small and hurting.  Lonely.  Deeply wishing that someone would hold me and tell me that it was okay and take care of me....but nobody showed up.

Then, today at the hospital.  The rush of feeling lonely that came back to me, remembering my treatment there and how I often did it alone, how Bryan would be particularly snappish with me, pointing out that it was hard on him.  I always felt that somehow I was putting him out having to drive me to and from surgeries or appointments (when I often couldn't drive because of the drugs they'd give me); he was cold to me and made it clear that he did not enjoy my company and that I should be thankful he showed up.  (He did that by refusing to talk to me, by not listening to the instructions the doctors gave, by snapping at me if I made requests.)

Being in the hospital made me remember the loneliness of my marriage.  It made me feel lonely today, too, because I watched a man fight his anxiety - the woman he loved on a surgical table, him waiting, powerless - and I watched the relief in his eyes, the return of the light in his eyes, when the doctor came to tell him that all was well; this made me feel lonely because I don't have someone like that in my life.  My jealousy (which was mixed with admiration for him, and joy for my friend) was brought about by my loneliness, my comparison of their experience to my own.

And it appears that loneliness is a hole in the dike, because the little crack that came through caused a big flood of feelings.

I haven't felt lonely at all in my divorce until now.  I've been sort of proud of it, not grasping at men to keep me afloat, doing it on my own, making my own life. But today that started to feel hollow.

I am lonely. I hope the feeling goes away, but today, I'm lonely.  This is a hole no girlfriend can fill.  The hard truth is that at the end fo teh day, when I'm worn out and tired and still hurting from the lymphedema and my fall, there is no one to bring me a cup of tea, to wrap his arm around me, to say "let me take care of the dishes."  There is no-one to whisper "tell me what you are thinking" or to bring me silly jokes to make me smile.  There is no shared warmth under a quilt, and there is nobody to say "Wow I'm proud of the life you're making for yourself."

Mostly, I dream of higher relationships, bringing out the best in one another, creating something grand.  But today, hurting, I wish there was someone who didn't mind that I just want to curl up in my flannel PJs with snowflakes on them, and have someone say "let me take care of you."  Not very feminist of me, not very enlightened, not very creative.  But today, it's the truth.

Hoping that as the pain goes away, the loneliness does, too.  I like feeling strong and powerful much more than I like feeling lonely.


It seems to come in waves.

The current wave:  A dear friend was diagnosed with breast cancer.  I had a lymphedema flare up due to overexercising.  The cat is peeing where she is not supposed to because I changed her litter.  (This morning I woke up, went to the bathroom....and saw my cat peeing in the sink.  Ugh.)  My daughter cried her eyes out last night because she got a small (very small - sigh) part in the school play that she hoped for a big part in.  Work is crazy busy.  My ex is usually unavailable, and....well, he deserves its own post here.  (An unflattering one.  I'm trying to hold back, though.)

But last night, as I left a parent meeting at school, rushing to get home so I could stop accuring the babysitter's bill, my heel stuck in an uneven part of the sidewalk and faster than it seemed possible I found myself crashing to the ground.


I fell on my knee - which scraped.  I fell on my right hand, which got gravel embedded into it and a mark that looks ridiculously like a stigmata on my palm.

But I also landed hard on my lef shoulder, and scraped a deep cut and smaller abrasions on my palm.  Which is a problem, because that is the lymphedema side.  So now my arm is in such pain that reaching for a coffee cup made me cry this morning.

That is a new kind of ouch.  A deeply painful one that is making it next to impossible to think (or work, or parent, or cook).  I have to wear a compression glove and sleeve (oh, I know, so sexy) to prevent my arm swelling to football size.


And I spent the afternoon at the hospital as my friend had a part of her breast removed.


And I remembered being at the same hospital.  15 times for surgery.  My breasts resemble Frankenstein, and being in that building reminded me how I got there.  Watching her husband sit in the waiting room, an extra hour, squirming, hurting for his wife, made me hurt, too.  I hurt for him, for her, and for myself, remembering how lonley I felt through treatment.


It's been a hurting day.  I left work early to be with my friend at the hospital, and to come home to sulk.

But I got one little gift.

As I was leaving the hospital, down in the lobby there was a group of very pregnant women, all taking the same hospital tour I took ten years ago.  I had a rush of memories, of being pregnant, of entering that hospital a pregnant woman, and of entering as a mother, my beautiful daughter in my arms.

From great pain can come great joy.  Childbirth - ouch.  Motherhood - brilliantly beautiful.  Lymphedema?  Ouch.  Still looking for something beautiful.

But my friend might be okay - clean margins, looks like clean nodes.  Now that is beautiful.


Good thoughts and prayers still appreciated.  I'm in real pain, can't lift my arm.  I need PT and can't take the time.  Thanks for your good wishes.

Saturday, December 8, 2012


Burning the candle at both ends made me crabby.

But it's 10am, and I'm still in my (Christmas) PJs.  Katherine is just starting to stir in her bed.  Sure, I've done a load of laundry and put away things left in the sink last night, but I'm also on my third cup of coffee and I spent a half hour on the phone talking to one of my best friends.


It is amazing how a bit of rest can change one's perspective.


Today's agenda includes getting, and setting up, our Christmas tree, just Katherine and I.  Though I'm a bit worried about my ability to do it without adult help, I think that Katherine is just old enough to be of some real assistance, and it will be just fine.  We will have hot apple cider, we will play carols (my favorite Christmas album is Wintersong by Sarah McLachlan; this year I also purchased the James Taylor Christmas CD; and no Christmas is complete without some Charlie Brown Christmas and some rat pack Christmas songs).  We will chide our crazy kitten (who is over a year old now but rather energetic) that trees are not for climbing, and we will keep the more delicate ornaments up high and out of her reach.

We will get the biggest Frasier fir in our budget.  If the angel on top touches the (nine foot) ceiling that's just perfect.

And then tonight, some friends are coming over, and we're walking to the beach a mile from my house, where we will watch the Christmas Ships.  The ships will be all lit up, and they play Christmas carols, and those of us on the beach will sing along - it's a northwest tradition.  Then, we'll walk back to my place, open some wine, and order Thai food.  (My Martha Stewart self is horrified - no winter traditional stew, or maybe a lasagna?  But my working-mama self is delighted not to spend the day shopping and then cooking.)  Tonight Katherine will watch Charlie Brown Christmas with her friends, while my friends and I listen to Diana Krall crooning Christmas songs while we drink wine by candle and Christmas-tree light.


I have no anxiety about this, none at all.  I used to feel anxious about events like this, because the walk made Bryan crabby, because he thought the tree was too much of a hassle, because Bryan's bad mood would rub off on the guests, because I never understood how something so lovely as setting up a Christmas tree could be cause for anger and snappishness.  Sure, it will be cold on the beach, but that is what sweaters and down coats and gloves and hats are for!

It is easier to be single than it was to be married to Bryan.  I am alone, but I am no longer lonely.  It will be easier to put up an eight foot tree by myself (well, with a child's help) than it was to have a "big strong man" who helped but also complained and snapped.


Today I'm counting my blessings.  I worked very hard all week, but today is a day of my choosing, and I choose to embrace the holiday season, to deck my halls, and to love every minute of it.

I've gotta run - the girl is up now, and it's time to have some fun.  Here we go!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Crabby PollyAnna

No sewer floods.  No health crises.  No financial catastrophes.

But I am CRABBY today.

I'm exhausted.  And my Christmas tree isn't up, and I haven't written out my Christmas lists, let alone purchased much.  And this morning I yelled at my beautiful daughter because she was moving slower than molasses AGAIN and we were going to be late AGAIN and then I felt like complete and utter poop beacuse she's the best kid in the world, although also possibly the slowest in the morning, and it's my job to come up with creative solutions and not to just snap at her and complain that I'm sick of being late in the morning etc. etc. etc.

Deep breath.

I am relieved that it is Friday in a way that is unusual for me.  I work hard at loving my life, imperfections and all, and enjoying my job, enjoying the busy-ness, etc.  I like every day, and while I love weekends, I don't always feel the desperate need for the weekend.  I feel that level of desperation today, though.

What I want right now is to be utterly still.  To have time to think.  To sit and stare at nothingness (which, come to think of it, is what Katherine was doing this morning and I snapped at her for it....hmmm).  To simply be.

I hate it when I'm crabby.  Life is really too short to be crabby.

Slowing down my breathing.  Reminding myself that it IS, indeed, Friday, and that tonight I get to hang out with friends who will really let me be myself and want nothing more than to sip wine on their sofas.  That tomorrow I will sleep in, will not wake Katherine up before she is ready, and will have a chance to stare out the window.  That the tree will go up tomorrow, and the house will feel festive, and we will not be operating on a frantic "hurry, hurry, hurry!" schedule, the one that has been making me so crazy and crabby.

Maybe I can even blog some funny soon-to-be-ex co-parenting stories this weekend.  With a little perspective, they're funny.  (I may not quite have perspective yet, but I'm working on it.  This was an interesting week between the two of us.  I didn't kill him, yell at him, or otherwise go crazy, but if I had, I don't think you would have blamed me.)

Happy Friday, everyone. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Whatever it takes...

I continue to wake up at 4:45am to work out from 5-6am, in the hopes that I will find myself filled with energy throughout the day as a result.

But let's be honest, I'd rather look like this:
 or this:
or this (but brunette):

than like this:

So, that's got something to do with it.

But today it occurred to me that spring is really just around the corner, and with it, I intend to get out into the dating world.

When I walk into the restaurant/bar/coffee shop to meet someone for the first time, I want to have a spring in my step that can only come with confidence.  I want to wonder what I will think of him, rather than wondering what he will think of his first impression of me.  I want to feel good (cue Nina Simone).

But to take it one step farther...

One day, I'm going to have sex again.  (Oh dear God I hope so, anyway.)  And that, my friends, is incentive for me to get up at 4:45am to have a woman in yoga pants torture me, or to head out in pouring rain with my dog.

It's hard enough to be a single mom on the dating scene - when will I have time for a coffee, let alone tangling the sheets?  It's hard enough to be facing first time sex (e.g. not with someone who has known me, and my body, for years) when I'm in my forties.  It's pretty complicated because I've had double mastectomies and reconstruction, and I'm going to have to be sassy and sexy despite scars and silicone.  I can at least make sure things aren't jiggly, that I feel strong.

Whatever it takes.  I'd love to say it's all about health and energy and feeling great, but let's be honest.  The idea of getting naked in front of a man is a very good incentive to whip my butt into shape.   And if that is incentive at that ridiculous hour of the morning, I will take it!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Thriving and Exhaustion

Okay, dear readers, I need some help.

With some crises firmly behind me, I'm working hard at thriving.  I'm trying to live my best life, fully aware as I am that I only get one life, and that there is only the present.  "Tomorrow" is not time to be happy, or to get things done.  Today is the only day.

So, with that in mind, I'm exercising again, hoping that it will give me an extra boost.  I'm getting up at 4:45am most days in order to exercise from 5am-6am, because there really isn't any other time of the day except bedtime, and by then my motivation is shot AND I really want to wind down, not amp up.  From 6am to 9pm, my minutes are booked with mothering and working and basics like making dinner, so 5am it is.

I feel great.  And I feel awful.  It hurts to laugh, which makes me laugh.  I'm pleased that I've made the commitment, and that I'm following through.  I roped two girlfriends into joining me - which wasn't difficult, because I said "here's what I plan to do" and they asked if they could join me - so in the morning when I'm lying in bed hearing the alarm, there's no chance that I will turn it off and go back to sleep, because they show up at my house 15 minutes after the alarm goes off.  We either work out in my basement or go for walks around the neighborhood; I don't feel comfortable driving to the gym because that would mean leaving Katherine alone in the house.  (For some reason I am okay with the walks around the neighborhood, because I'm closer and on foot...  Katherine knows when I'm doing a walk, and I always have my phone with me, and she's fine with she's sound asleep at the time.  She's nearly 10 and very responsible, but I still only feel kind-of okay with it.  In any case, I've decided that I must make peace with it, or never work out, and since I really want to be my best self, I must move this body of mine.)

But here is the dilemma.

My day is now booked from 4:45am to 9pm when Katherine has lights out and I fall into my own bed and am asleep the second my eyes close.  That would be fine, except that I don't know when I have time to do the deep living that I desire so much.  When can I write?  When can I sit on the sofa holding a hot mug of tea and staring at the trees outside?  When can I go to a play, a movie, or dinner with a friend?  When can I deliver a meal to a sick friend?  When can I put up the Christmas tree, go holiday shopping, or create holiday cards and send them?

I do not want to hear that I just have to let it all go.  It is all well and fine to work out, get homework done, eat decently, and pay the bills with my job, but I want, deserve, and NEED more.

How on earth will I date with a schedule like this?  My divorce is final in mid-January, and by spring I'd like to put myself out there, meet some interesting people, have some adult conversation (ranging from politics and art to the other kind of "adult" conversation, eventually), and take some steps towards meeting someone that I could spend the rest of my life with.  But how can I fit it in?  By 9pm I just want to sleep!

Last night I saw the movie "Lincoln" - a beautiful film that had me on the edge of my seat, holding my breath, hoping and hurting when it looked grim, even though I knew the outcome.  (Slavery is ended in American forever - hurrah!  Lincoln is shot, nooooo!)  It was something I'd been hearing people rave about, and I was excited to go, and to spend time with an old friend.  But the problem is that it's a two and a half hour film, so I didn't get home until close to midnight, and so today I feel like I have the flu and I just ran a marathon and my head doesn't work properly and I feel clumsy and out of sorts....and I'm at work today (and blogging here, but not feeling too guilty because I'm salaried and putting in extra time) because I'm trying to catch up since Katherine is at her dad's and this is our busy season.

It shouldn't make me feel like this to simply push myself to go to a movie and sit in a chair staring at a screen.  It really shouldn't.

So, dear readers, please tell me how you do it.  Encourage me, please.  Is this feeling because I'm just waiting for the exercise high to kick in, and it's still too new and my body hasn't adjusted?  I am not the only single working mom who exercises, and surely the others out there find time for girlfriends and dates and movies.... sometimes?  I have a ton of creative energy right now, ideas flying through my head left and right, but I honestly do not know when to sit down for long enough to sort them out.  Where is the "living" time, where I get to thrive and pursue dreams, and not just make it from day to day with relatively clean laundry?

Suggestions?  Ideas?  Encouragement?  I refuse to merely survive.  I just refuse it.  I intend to thrive, all the way.  I know if it was easy, everyone would be doing it, and the world would be a different place.  But I am convinced I can do better, that I can keep tweaking my life to give it the shape I dream of.

Advice?  Ideas?  I can't wait to hear from you!