Decency isn’t really all that complicated

I drive for Uber and Lyft a couple nights a week. I love it. I have a great time meeting new people and bonding over a variety of subjects–things I am familiar with and things I am interested in and things I had no clue about but the rider is passionate about. I have had a ton of great conversations with strangers, that, under other circumstances, could very easily be my friends.

On occasion, someone gets in my car that I bond with over shared experiences. Last night it was one of those instances.  My last rider was a gay man and his friend (friend only, straight if I am not mistaken) needing a ride after participating in a local Pride event. Unlike me, he was railing on about the guy he thought he would be taking home or going home with that night. I don’t go home with random strangers nor do I want to but that is beside the point. That ranting got us on the subject of dating and single men and all the bullshit that seems to go with it. We commiserated over the pitfalls and  problems that come with dating, single men and feelings. Talk about opening a can of worms!

“What about …………..?”

“OMG. Yes!”

“How about………….?”

“And……………?! And…………?!”

“And then………….?”

“YAASSSSSSSSS!!!!”

It kind of became a bitch fest of two “sisters” clucking about the fallibility and suckishness of men. Not a good path to go down, but when you are bonding………….

So, after last night’s discussion, I got to thinking about  how men think that we women are such complicated creatures when complication is equal on both sides of the gender fence. We are all complicated, being human and all, and chances are that each one of us has baggage associated with the bad things that have happened in our lives and every bad thing that people have done to us.  We are not so complicated as much as we desire and need certain things in our lives with regard to dating, relationships and friendships. In my experience the excuse of  “too complicated” espoused by men is really code for him being too lazy to put in any work with regard to a relationship or friendship. Relationships and friendships require work. The ones that matter do.  So, in contemplating what it is we really want, I came up with a small and very basic list.

  1. If you need something, say something. As much as men want to complain about women expecting them to be mind readers as to what they want or need, men are just as guilty.  Say something. Just say something. Speak up or we will never know.
  2. You want something from me? tell me. Be clear about it. Don’t dance around it, side step it or jump over it. Don’t hint and expect me to know.  If you do any of those things, don’t get pissed when I miss your intentions and then stop speaking to me. Recently, a man I have crushed on off and on for the last 3 years and I have been talking. He will occasionally text or call me and we have met up and talked till the wee hours of the morning. I got the impression there might be a little bit of interest on his part in doing more than just talking. Nothing serious, just physical. He is in a position where he is around beautiful, svelte, horny drunk girls throwing themselves at him all the time. What possible interest could he have in me? I am not beautiful, thin or young (I am more than 10 years older than him). While I don’t want the physical without the emotional, it would have been nice to know his exact intentions. Now whether or not his intention was to be physical, I don’t know and he has since stopped responding to texts and has not communicated in any way with me. WTF?!
  3. Actions speak louder than words so act accordingly. I am a huge believer in watching actions rather than listening to words. Thirteen years of marriage where words were used, but never backed up with corresponding actions, has made me adamant about the importance of said actions. I cannot stand empty words and recently I got caught up in a situation where the actions said the exact opposite of the words, but my feelings made me stupid. You see, the former (yes former–my brain reactivated) object of my affection, while SAYING he valued our friendship and conversations and how he did not see my interest as changing our friendship, changed his actions. Or maybe I just noticed that the actions never did match up.  I last texted him on May 30th. I have yet to hear anything back from him. At present, it has been 17 days since last communication.  Friendship was never was clearly never appreciated or reciprocated. It would seem that he was merely communicating with me to placate me. I hate that. If someone does not want to be in my life, I will be fine. Just walk. But don’t say things because you are afraid of being the bad guy. Bullshitting me only makes you look even worse and will likely incur my wrath. Or indifference. Either one is not good.
  4.  Be faithful.  I cannot stress enough the importance of this. It’s simple–don’t go dipping your wick into anyone else’s pot. Period. I don’t think one single man I have been involved with has ever been faithful. I am not sure a faithful man exists, but I would like to hope he does. I haven’t seen much evidence of it but I am a fool and I will continue to hope. Just as I hope for the existence of unicorns.

In my estrogen fueled rant session I did gain some insight as to men and how they deal with break ups and pain. In my experience and observations, when men experience pain, they seem to feel like theirs is the only pain in existence. And it is worse than any pain that may have come before. The gentleman that shared in my rant pretty much said that same thing. When men, gay or straight, deal with a break up, it destroys them. Not even figuratively.  What men don’t seem to understand is that it pretty much does the same thing to us, but thankfully we can pick up the pieces and put them back together as we move along our daily lives. We rant, we cry, we move on. Now, don’t get me wrong, we don’t always cope in healthy ways. We aren’t super human. We sometimes engage in destructive behavior as a means of coping. We certainly aren’t perfect. However, I am not sure any man wants to compare scars, bruises, bumps and boo-boos with a woman. Chances are that as well as dealing with the ouchies associated with heart break and broken relationships, most women are also coping with the scars associated with sexual assault, rape and/or sexual harassment. Men have pain. We get it. But don’t ever assume we don’t have our own or that it isn’t every bit as bad as yours. Just because you may not see it does not mean that it’s not there.

The short list of wants and/or needs for a woman is probably very similar to a man’s. I think that it would be helpful if we could all figure out a way to communicate openly and honestly with each other and stop assuming things about the other (something I am horribly guilty of. I always assume the worst–relationships have taught me that).  Human nature and fear of rejection and any number of other things keeps us from doing so. We really need to stop using each other, stop hurting each other, start talking to each other and start taking care of each other. Just think of how much better relationships, in whatever form they take, would be if we could just figure those things out.

 

Impulsivity and Irrational Responses

Even with 48 years under my belt, I find that I still make some of my decisions out of an emotional place rather than anything remotely resembling a rational, well thought out place. You might think that with all this life experience, all this relationship experience and some decent level of intelligence, I might think twice or even three times before making a choice, but somehow, there are some choices that are simply responses to being hurt.

Very recently, the object of my affection made it very clear that I am firmly cemented in the friend zone behind what feels like a steel wall  and bound in barbed wire. I am not moving any time soon. He was very honest with me but very kind in what he said. However, rejection is rejection and it’s nearly always painful. So while he made clear it wasn’t me, it was him, that somehow does not keep my brain and heart from telling me otherwise.  Having faced a lifetime of rejection after rejection, I have been conditioned to believe that it IS me. Every single time.  My internal dialogue goes over every flaw, every shortcoming, every single possible reason it could be me. My looks, my weight, my laugh, my eccentric personality, my crazy pink hair and my unfiltered mouth. I convince myself that there is something so wrong with me that it makes me unlovable and unwanted.

So, in response to that, I did something I swore I would never do again–I stepped back into the world of online dating by getting an account on Match.com. After the breakup with the last boyfriend, I wasn’t interested in meeting anyone, but then I met him, caught feelings and realized I really missed having a companion or love interest. His rejection caused me to make an irrational choice, one that I immediately regretted. But, since I had already made the stupid decision and paid for said account,  I thought I would just go with it and see what happened. Can I just insert a huge eyeroll here? OMG. I am not sure what I was thinking, or if I was even thinking at all. I had decided a while back that if I was to date again, it would be an organic process not something forced or fished. Dating sites are not organic, but I am finding that letting things happen naturally isn’t any easier because there is a rather pronounced shortage of good men, unicorns, if you will, anywhere in my vicinity.

So, I started browsing the site and the profiles and guess what—It kind of sucked. Big surprise, right? Yeah–I don’t think so either. Not one single unicorn so far, but I am really not interested so I am not seeing the potential if, in fact, there is any. I wish I had a switch that turned any potential for feelings off. I have found that my feelings always end up getting me hurt.  I have often joked that I would prefer a lobotomy to feelings, but let’s be honest, those feelings are intoxicating and I think we are all looking for that and looking to have them reciprocated.

So after going through the business of being hurt, angry, frustrated and whatever emotion happened to be mixed into the seething pot of feelings, I picked myself up and decided to do what I should have done in the first place. I prayed about it.  I was on my way to a Christian seminar today and told God I was simply looking for someone to go on adventures with.  My children won’t be in my charge for too much longer and I would love to see the world and go on a million adventures with someone.  I told no one about this prayer for someone to adventure with, so no one would have any reason to know.  When the seminar progressed into prophetic prayer, I began praying for God to give me some little sign that there was something to be hopeful for, some way to know he heard me.  Then the pastor looked and me and said that God wanted me to know that he had many adventures planned for me in my future, but that I had to wait on His timing.  He specifically used the word “adventures” so how could anyone know that if it wasn’t His doing? Now, the last time there was a prophetic prayer answer for me, the pastor told me that God wanted me to know that what He had in store for me was more wonderful than anything I had ever known. It took a while and a considerable amount of discomfort and pain, but I am seeing that promised “wonderful” happening every day of my life. It just keeps getting better. The only thing missing at this point is love, but there are now promises of that too. I don’t know where I will find it, but it will come.

So, while I wait for God’s timing, I will continue to work on me. I will take better care of myself and establish a workout routine because my goal for June of next year is to run the Spartan race and finish it. Right now, my boys and I are planning adventures of our own, both local and outside the state of Idaho.  I will relax, have fun, play and just enjoy the present and try not to think so much about the future and what I don’t have right this minute.

Overwhelmed and Happy

My life is weird. I am sure everyone can say that to a certain extent, but mine is just weird, unpredictable, uncomfortable, amazing, fun and sometimes overwhelming. Often all those things occur in one 24 hour span.  Lately my life has felt awesome and overwhelming and wonderful and scary.  There are some things that I want to happen, things that I would love to happen, some things I would like to avoid and some things that unexpectedly jump into my path that I am not sure what to do with. My current situation is that they are all kind of going at once.

So here is what’s going on—

In one post I stated that I was taking the option of finding love off the table. Wasn’t even going to entertain the possibility. But I am an idiot. I should have known better  than to swear something like that off, because as soon as I do, I meet someone.  Now, don’t get ahead of me. The “L” word isn’t even close to the table at the moment, but I did meet someone. And Let me just say that I have absolutely horrible timing. I seriously didn’t mean to catch feelings. That is the last thing I need. My interest is probably the last thing he needs or even wants.  And yet, foolishly, I stepped in it and here I am. And it’s not like I could help it. This person is just a good human being, which is incredibly rare. He is creative and smart and funny. Beautiful inside and out (is it okay to call a man beautiful?). Of course, none of this matters because I think I somehow ruined any chance of reciprocated interest. Not sure exactly what happened, but he is no longer texting me and has all but disappeared from my existence. He is not ready and I am. Timing.  I realize I am a lot to handle and maybe I just scared the hell out of him. Maybe I am not his type. Maybe he prefers waif-like skinny girls (head’s up, I am not). Maybe he prefers submissive and demure (again, I am not). If his social media posts are anything to go by, he is facing the idea of getting into a relationship with a fair amount of trepidation. I am more of the “dive right in, fear be damned” sort.  Regardless, I made him run. And it is a shame.  My kids really like him too. Anywhoo…..

In mid-March I started my new job working for an airline as a reservation agent. It is a job that I will eventually be able to do from home.  I love the company I am now working for. It is unlike any other place I have worked. A great company full of great people and I have yet to see any drama.  As much as I love my new job and as much as I am looking forward to being at home, I am feeling rather overwhelmed at the moment.  And I am not the only one. Most of my class is near tears from being overwhelmed almost every day.  Thankfully, the instructors/supervisors assure us this is normal.  There is a lot of information to try and learn and process and keep straight in a very short amount of time. After 3 weeks in the classroom, we were put on the phones to put what we learned into practice.  Our supervisors warned us that our first phone call would result in forgetting everything including our name.  I forgot everything but my name.  I still have that going for me. I did forget everything else though. A little bit at a time, I am learning to utilize my resources more and my instructors for help, less and less. Still I am overwhelmed and will be for some time I am sure. But, I got this. Or I will get this. Eventually. In the meantime, I need to learn to cope with all the information being thrown at me everyday without going completely whackadoodle. This job, when it becomes second nature as most jobs eventually do, will be awesome. The benefits are amazing too. Not only do I get great medical, dental and vision coverage,   I get travel benefits that I get to share with my children and my parents and, at some point, a spouse, should my life be blessed with one, and his kids when I find him. My life, hopefully, is going to be one adventure after another. I was sleepwalking my way through my life for the last two decades, but getting this job made me wake up. I realize how much I have been missing out on for such a long time. I do not intend to let that continue. I am planning trips and adventures with my kids. Big and small ones. They don’t have to be major, they just have to happen. And they will.  Lunch in Seattle, a day at the Portland zoo, a visit to my brother and new friend (long lost sister?) in Utah, the aquarium in Monterey. Eventually, I plan on going to Italy to see all the art and architecture I studied in college.  That is my dream vacation.

When I got my now totalled Fiat, I started driving for Uber to make money for my car payments. I worked 40+ hours a week at Walmart, drove for Uber several nights a week and made custom jewelry and painted glass orders in my “spare” time. That did not leave a whole lot of time to give to my children. My accident forced me to take a break. I didn’t like the idea of taking a much needed break, but I really didn’t have a choice. After I left Walmart, I had about 3 weeks of vacation before starting my new job, during which I did just about nothing. I unpacked some boxes that had been sitting in my mud room since I moved into this house last May and I cleared out garbage bag after garbage bag of outgrown clothes. I built a new bed, took my kids on a couple of small trips, but mostly I slept. I couldn’t believe how tired I was and how much sleeping I accomplished, but I guess my body and my brain needed the break. Now, I should go back to driving for Uber, but I am finding that I like having time for myself and time for the gym and time for creative endeavors that make me happy and time to just take my kids on drives or to the park or window shopping at the mall. I am resisting going back to driving, but I really need to get back on a schedule and drive again. The money to make car payments would be nice so that it doesn’t have to come out of the rest of my budgeted money.  Once I am at home working, expenses related to driving to work everyday will be gone and that will save us some money, but getting to that point is the trick. Financially, I need to do it, but mentally, that is another story. I am happy having time.

One of the most overwhelming, scary and wonderful aspects of my life at the moment is parenthood. Some people are blessed with compliant children who never really challenge them or smart off or roll their eyes. I am not that parent.  My fourteen-year-old does all of those things and more. He is neither Easy nor even-tempered. He is a child that feels whatever feeling he has 110%. If he is happy, he is the most joyful, happy kid you will see. When he is angry, he is on fire pissed off. And his feelings turn on a dime. I have never seen such a thing. One sentence can reduce him to tears.  It is annoying because sometimes I really want to yell and scream back because my frustration gets the better of me. It is really hard to maintain my cool with him because he knows every single “piss mom off” button and he usually smashes all of them in rapid succession. And as crazy as he makes me and as frustrating as he is, he is also funny and goofy and ambitious and smart and compassionate. He has a love of life and a passion for tearing things apart to see how they work. He is in such a hurry to grow up and I am just not ready. Somehow this emotionally volatile teenager also has a knack of finding something good and pointing it out when my day sucks dog excrement and I am falling apart. That kid makes me crazy, but he is often the restorer of my sanity.

So, I have been slightly overwhelmed by feelings I shouldn’t have, work that I haven’t quite “gotten”, finances that are not a thing yet but will be soon and the emotional battleground of raising a hormonal teenage boy. But as overwhelming as those things are, they are also wonderful, exciting and scary. And such is my life.

Ultimate Wish List–The Search for a Unicorn

I have talked a lot about what I don’t want when it comes to the opposite sex. I have gone over a lot of the bad or negative things about dating and a plethora of pitfalls as it relates to the men I have dated or gone out with. I honestly don’t believe that all the good men are gone or married. Or gay for that matter. I mean, seriously, there has to  be at least a few of them left and maybe, just maybe, I will be fortunate enough to find just one of them. So, instead of listing all the bad things about the men I have come across, perhaps it would be nice to address what I do want, because I have been thinking about that a lot lately.

  1. A gentleman. A true gentleman, not just one that likes to say he is and then forget his manners as soon as he gets comfortable with me. I want a man to open my doors, go out of his way to treat me like I matter to him, speak with kindness, not just to me, but everyone he comes across, even when he doesn’t necessarily like them. He should have at least some basic understanding of manners and etiquette and be good to my kids and my family.
  2. A man who is proud to be with me. I am not a super model. In fact, I am about the farthest thing from that, but I want whoever I am with to be okay with that and to be proud of who he is with, because in spite of my physical shortcomings, he thinks I am still an awesome person and a great catch.
  3. A man that isn’t afraid of feelings. Oh my gosh, it would be nice to be with someone who is not only okay with my feelings but doesn’t mock or belittle others who have them. It would be nice if he shows and shares his with me because he cares about and trusts me that much.
  4. Someone who realizes and is okay with the fact that I fuck up. Because I do. Monumentally sometimes. I want someone to push back when I push and fight when it’s necessary. I want him to not puss out when I mess up and talk to me about why he is angry with me when he is angry with me. He should be able to engage in conversation when things go wrong and not just walk away. A good man sticks around when things get difficult. A good man will get that I am worth it even when my insecurities and baggage get the best of me.
  5. Someone with a good work ethic. Maybe that sounds a bit trite, but I want him to work hard. I also want him to play hard. Lazy is good at the right time, but I really want to be with someone who not just says he likes to hike and swim and go to the gym. I want someone who actually does and encourages it in me when I am too damn tired to move. I want someone who says “let’s go!” and grabs me by the hand and drags me to the car to go do something active when everything in me says “no. Let’s just watch Netflix”.
  6. Lazy at the right time. Yes, I realize that I just said I wanted someone active, but there are times when I really need to relax and just chill. I need to recharge my batteries and I want someone who can honestly tell when I need that and help make that happen. Sometimes I really just need a day when I can sit on the porch, wrapped up in a blanket or a hoodie, drinking hot cocoa, either enjoying a good book or watching the rain fall. Some days I really need to just breathe and little else. The right man will know this and enjoy the quiet with me.
  7. A good sense of humor. I love to laugh. If a man can make me laugh so hard I snort, he just might be a keeper. I love all kinds of humor–jokes, sarcasm, off color humor, dry humor, nerdy humor, geeky humor and  (gasp!) dirty humor. If he can make me laugh, he is ahead in the game already.
  8. Someone with a past. This might sound strange, but I want someone with a past. I am not so sure that someone will accept mine if they don’t have their own. All those flaws I sport, the baggage I carry and all my scars are a part of who I am. They have built my character, made me strong, given me compassion and taught me things a clean and trial-free life could’ve never done. Someone with a past will understand this. They will see mine and not be afraid to share theirs.
  9. Someone who encourages me. I have always been able to take care of my self, but it would be nice to have someone who is willing to be my cheerleader. In relationships, I do my best to encourage and cheer my partner on, but rarely is my effort reciprocated
  10. Someone willing to be gluten free. This may be the hardest one to find. If one doesn’t have to be gluten free, why do it? I mean, who knows if this is something I could do if I didn’t absolutely have to. I would like to think I would, but it was hard enough doing it out of medical necessity, but when it’s not? Good luck. A man willing to give up his beer, bread and anything else gluten filled may be a unicorn indeed.
  11. Someone who wants to live. I am tired of men that want to be comfortable staying at home all the frickin time. I want to go camping and fishing and out to movies and for walks. I want to travel and see the world. I want to hang out with other people and go dancing and play. I want to have fun and I want to be with someone who wants to do those same things. I don’t want to spend my life working and then coming home to cook and clean for someone else and then watch Netflix until bedtime. I want to be with someone that isn’t happy in a bubble of comfort. I want to do things that scare me or challenge me or change me.
  12. Someone intelligent. I have always been kind of a nerd so I value intelligence in a partner. Maybe I need to ease up on that though because often when I find a super intelligent one, they kind of turn out to be, how shall I say this? Less than fun. Lacking anything resembling exciting.
  13. Someone that is good to my family and kids. If a man can’t get along with my family, there is really no point in pursuing a relationship because, while I don’t see them as often as I would like or I should, they are very important to me. The last man I dated and the only one I have introduced to my children or family since I dated my ex-husband, did a bang up job of completely pissing off my entire family, save my dad. “J” was absolutely rude as shit to my sister and you just can’t be rude to her. “M” (my sis) is a genuinely nice person and does her best to make people feel at ease and engage them in conversation. You can’t treat my family like crap on the bottom of your shoe and be in my life.
  14. Someone creative–I don’t care how he is creative (unless he is out creating new STD pools and offspring with a bevy of other women), I just dig creative–woodworking, drawing, painting, putting things together, building things. A man that works with his hands is a huge turn on. Watching a man work with his hands, however/whatever he does, can be mesmerizing. And actually kind of therapeutic.
  15. Someone adventurous and young at heart–If a man can turn even the most mundane of activities, such as grocery shopping or errand running, into an adventure, that is someone I want to spend my time with. I want him to see the world through the eyes of a child and be just as giddy as I am over things others take for granted. I want to watch the clouds float by, count the stars, wonder at the beauty found in seemingly ugly and dirty things.

This list probably sounds like a lot of demands and high expectations. It is. I am no longer willing to settle for “meh” any longer. I mean, there is a little wiggle room in there somewhere, but this really is my ultimate “wish list” for a partner. As high as my expectation is for the next, and hopefully final, man in my life, I hope his expectation is just as high for me. We should challenge each other, fight for each other, take care of each other, cheer each other on, and, God willing, go on a million adventures with each other. If that isn’t possible, and just “meh” exists, then really, what is the point?

The list of (im)possibilities

Sometimes progress can be difficult to see when you are in the middle of a slump or things are just not moving as quickly as you would like or expect. A short time ago, my boys and I were going through one of those times. They didn’t ever express such sentiments, but when every request is a “no” answer because of the lack of money, it isn’t a stretch to think they were feeling the frustration every bit as much as I was.

I am a fan of tangible evidence. Just paying bills and eliminating debt isn’t enough. I can’t put my hand on the absence of debt. I want to actually have a way to show that we are doing better and that we are making progress, so I came up with an idea for me and my boys to do just that. The idea is that we need to make a list of things–things we want to do, things we want to buy, places we want to go. These “things” should be anything we want, no matter how mundane and no matter how extravagant. It is to be a list of probable, possible and seemingly impossible things. I want my kids to shoot for the stars because you never know what circumstance is going to come your way. Items will be added as we think of them and crossed off as we buy/do/travel to each one of them. That will be the tangible evidence of progress. Like a very ambitious to-do list.

So, I gave my boys “homework”. I asked each of them to give me a list of their first 10 things they want on that list. I made a list of my first 10 as well and the following is the beginning of our dream that will hopefully keep moving and growing.

My list:

  1. Buy a house–This, to me, is the biggest representation of success. For some, it might be no big deal, but for me, it is monumental. During my marriage, when we were making a LOT more money than I am now, we were always behind on the mortgage and, quite honestly, the house was falling apart. I went from there to my Grandpa’s house where I lived for free (I wasn’t employed yet) for 3 months and then to a low income apartment. In May, I moved in to a rental house. I love having a space where I don’t have to worry about playing music loud enough to hear it, where my kids don’t have to worry about stepping too hard on the floor and disturbing the downstairs neighbor and where I can, for the most part, do and grow whatever I want. The next best thing would be ownership. The very best thing would be ownership.
  2. buy a newer car–I love the car I have now, but it is 14 years old and in dire need of numerous repairs. I would love to have a van or a pickup truck so that I can transport all of my stuff for the art and craft shows in which I am a vendor. I have only ever had used cars. Like REALLY used. My newest car has been at least 6 years old and the oldest was almost 20 at the time of purchase (1978 Mercury Zephyr–I LOVED that car). To me a car is nothing more than a means of getting from location to another, but having one that is reliable is one of the most important things on my list.
  3. Buy a toolbox–I am gradually getting basic tools that every household should have (hammer, screwdrivers, small saw, etc). The problem is that I have nowhere to keep them and therefore they get put down wherever anyone is finished using them. That means, I can’t ever find them when I need them. I buy replacements and then find the original. It would be much more convenient, not to mention financially responsible to have everything in one place and not have to keep buying the same tools over and over again.
  4. Take my kids on a trip to Monterey, CA–Monterey is my favorite place on earth, and I have been to some pretty cool places. There is so much about it to love. It is beautiful, it is by the ocean, it smells heavenly, it has amazing food and, for me, it holds some wonderful memories. Immediately after graduating from army basic training, I was sent to Monterey to study Russian at the Defense Language Institute. There, I experienced my first sense of adult freedom, my first kiss, my first real relationship, first love. I made some of the most amazing friends I have ever known.  Yeah, there is much to love about Monterey. I don’t know if it is just my slightly skewed and bias opinion, but I can’t imagine a more wonderful place. I want so badly to share that with my kids. I have been talking to them about Monterey forever. I have them convinced. I only hope  it is as heavenly to them as it is to me.
  5. Buy a fishing license–I have been telling my boys for the last two summers that we should go fishing, but never actually putting any effort into doing so. There are probably a million places in Idaho to fish, but I don’t know where they are, beyond the Boise River. Thankfully, I have a rather large number of friends from which to glean that information. My goal for summer 2018 is to go at least 5 times. Five is not a really large number so it should be doable, but life, my life, has a bad habit of getting in the way of plans. At any rate, five is the goal.
  6. Get another tattoo–I actually want to get several, but there is one that I want to get more than any other–a Phoenix. My most recent tattoo, a watercolor butterfly, has special significance for me. A butterfly is the perfect example of of transformation, the concept of something amazing, graceful and beautiful from something, well, ugly, blobby and awkward. I feel like I am, or was, that caterpillar,  some loathsome thing that no one really wanted and I felt like I really didn’t deserve happiness or love. While not quite where I want to be, I feel like I have transformed from what I used to be. My next tattoo is going to be a Phoenix because a Phoenix rises from the ashes. Rebirth from destruction. I have been through a lot of things in my life (see previous posts) and I have managed to survive all of them. Not unscathed, but I am still here. I have repeated piles of ashes from every time I have been broken, damaged or destroyed and come out stronger.
  7.  Buy A Taboret–A taboret is a wheeled, portable table or cart, used for holding and moving art supplies and functioning as a hard surface to create on. Right now I have a tiny Walmart coffee table that is overflowing with art and craft supplies. I would love to have something mobile to make painting and creating more convenient. Taborets run anywhere from about $100 to about $800 and sometimes even more. I don’t want or need anything fancy. I just need mobility. I am tired of my coffee table being unusable for its intended purpose.
  8. Take my kids to Lagoon–I haven’t been to Lagoon in about 25 years. It has changed a lot in that time. I do remember it fondly though. Growing up we went about every other year (poor family, 4 kids. You do the math). My boys have never been to a theme park. Never. We have been talking about going for years, but we have never had the money or reliable transportation. Come tax return season (spring break), I think we will be going, if we either have a newer car or we can borrow one from someone else. A trip to Utah can fulfill two things on my list–Lagoon and a new tattoo. I got my butterfly done by an artist in Orem and I would love to have him create another for me.
  9. Get a dog–I miss having a dog so much.  Dogs are amazing. They are quite possibly the greatest gift from God, right after our own offspring. They don’t judge your weight, your place in life, your beauty, your job or your mistakes. They love. That’s it. They love us when we are unlovable. They love us when we screw up. They love us without stopping to think if we deserve it. They instinctively know when our hearts are broken and we need extra love. There is just no downside to having a dog.
  10. Buy a new bed–Several reasons for this. 1. My mattress is about 16 years old and needs to be replaced. 2. I am sleeping on the same bed and mattress that I had while married. That alone is reason enough to replace it. 3. My bed frame is a lodgepole pine frame so it is really big, really heavy and tall enough that I have to climb up into it.  4. It is super squeaky. Like embarrassingly so. If I have to explain how that is problematic, you are way too young to be reading this blog. Squeakiness is not a concern now, but at some point in my future, it might become an issue. Again. Maybe.

“A’s” list (age 12)

  1. A set of Prismacolor colored pencils–“A” is definitely my son. He loves to create anything and everything. He loves color and art and sees the world differently than most. Despite the fact that he already has a growing  collection of writing utensils (much like his mother), he wants more. And Prismacolors are the best. I have a set I share with him, but he wants his own. I get it. There is something about having a collection  that beautiful all your own. The color, the feel, the smell and the way it changes a white sheet of  paper into a work of art.
  2. Nintendo 3DS–Well, he is a 12 year old boy so further explanation would be redundant.
  3. Trip to Peru–This one actually surprises me. He has said a million times that he wants to move to Italy and he has talked about visiting Japan and a few other places, but I don’t ever recall Peru being one of them. I love that my kids are adventurous and willing to try and do just about anything once and I’m glad this one is on his list. This trip may be a very long way off, but that is the point of the list–to dream and plan, even if it is seemingly impossible.
  4. Get a dog–“A” is an animal lover. There isn’t an animal he doesn’t like or want in his life. Someday, he wants to be a veterinarian or an ASPCA worker that rescues animals. He has such a heart for animals. We used to be a vendor at farmers markets and “A” used to find every single dog in the market area and make friends. Not just the cute puppies or lively young ones. He loved the old ones, the “ugly” ones and the shy, skittish ones. He loves cats too, but dogs are something special.
  5. Buy a new house–As of late, we have been doing a lot of online house hunting. We aren’t quite ready yet, but that does not stop us from looking. I think that “A” might want a house for the sole purpose of being able to get a dog. Right now he shares a room with his brother and he is dying to have space of his own where he can escape his brother. What can I say? They are close in age and fight constantly.
  6. Buy a new bed–My kids are sleeping on old metal bunk beds with hand-me-down mattresses. The bunk bed is old and squeaky and uncomfortable. And the frame is such that the two beds cannot be separated. They need to be separated. My kids are just about too old for bunk beds and they are both sick of them. We bought the entire set up for $100 from a neighbor who desperately needed the money. Each had what the other needed. Now we need something else.
  7. Buy a Galaxy Note 8–Right now “A” has an inexpensive smart phone. He wants something better. He says he just really likes the galaxy phones. He hasn’t had much experience with any other kind of phone. He liked his first phone so much he wanted to keep it in the Galaxy family.
  8. Buy the book “IT” by Stephen King–He has read the book already, or several chapters of it anyway. Yes, I know he is only 12, but he can be pretty mature for his age. Sometimes. The minute the trailers for the remake of the movie “IT”  came out, he and his brother started pestering me about seeing the movie. I was a little wary because the nature of the book/movie, but he thought the movie was, in his words, “AWESOME”. The only part that made him uncomfortable was when the bully was going to kill the cat. That was the only part where he looked away from the screen. It Figures.
  9. Trip to Italy–He is fascinated by all things Italian. The food, the art, the architecture, the landmarks. I don’t blame him. My dream vacation would be Italy so I could see the art and architecture I studied in college. What’s not to love about Italy. There is so much history that happened in and around Italy. Some of the greatest artists in history are Italian and some of the most amazing architecture on the planet is located in Italy. For a kid that loves all things beautiful and artistic, Italy really is a perfect fit.
  10. Get a parrot–Not only are parrots cool, but again, the color and “A” is all about color. Parrots are intelligent, colorful, beautiful, funny and they can be affectionate creatures. Dogs are on the top of his list, but it is easy to see why a kid like “A” would want one.

“N’s” list (age 13)

  1. A trip to New York–I am not sure what he is most looking forward to in New York. There are so many awesome things to choose from. Shopping, food, adventures to be had, the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, architecture, entertainment, except for musicals, of course. No musicals. Musicals induce much eye rolling and complaining.
  2. Lots of Airsoft guns–“N” is 13. He likes guns and these are somewhat safe for him to use with the proper safety equipment. I am not sure why the “lots” designation is necessary, but, like I said, he is 13. I am thinking I might actually enjoy engaging in battle with him. Something to think about when it comes time to purchase, if we do decide to do so.
  3. Trip to Lagoon–My kids are somewhat deprived when it comes to the entertainment aspect of their lives. Having never been to a theme park, I can see why this is so important and on the list. “N” loves a thrill and roller coasters and the like fit that bill. But more than just roller coasters, Lagoon offers,  from what I remember, much more entertainment. I have to do my research, but I believe they have added a number of rides to the park and even though I am 47 years old, I might have a good time too.
  4. Buy an iPhone X–My son is all about technology and, if given the chance, would have all the latest gizmos and gadgets. I am somewhat technologically inept so I have to rely on his knowledge and research when it comes to such things. As bad as it sounds, I need him to explain how things work on my iPhone. I am an Android girl and my recent upgrade found me walking out of T-Mobile with an iPhone instead of an Android option. I am still not sure why, but I am thankful my son can negotiate those waters for me. I don’t think I am ready to commit to a $1,000 piece of technology for a 13 year old, but perhaps I can be convinced if he becomes a bit more responsible when it comes to taking care of what he already has. One can hope.
  5. Buy a tent–The last time any of us went camping was at a craft fair in Homedale, ID about 4 years ago. The only time actually. Prior to that, I think I was about 13 (unless you count 5 months in Saudi Arabia). My boys and I slept in a borrowed tent and used blankets from home. I don’t want to be that mom that always talks a big game and does nothing. I want my boys to experience sleeping in a tent, smelling like a campfire and breathing in the fresh, clean air in the middle of nowhere. We talk about and plan, but so far nothing has come to fruition when it comes to the outdoors. Buying a tent, as well as other equipment, is my goal for the coming months.  Camping is definitely on the agenda for 2018.
  6. Get a job–“N” is only 13 right now, but he is counting down the days until he turns 14 and can get a job. In Idaho, you can work at the age of 14, but options are pretty limited. He doesn’t care. He wants to make his own money. He will happily do whatever job is available. Now, if  only I could get that kind of enthusiasm when it comes to cleaning his room.
  7. Buy a gaming PC–He has been asking me for this for a  long time. Occasionally we go to Best Buy and look at things we can’t afford and a gaming computer is one of those things. I don’t know much about them, but “N” does his research. He doesn’t always do well in school, but he is no dummy. He loves to research things. He enjoys spending hours telling me facts about things he has found on the internet and in books and magazines. He has a couple specific computers in mind and they and their components have been well researched.  We need a new computer anyway. Maybe this is the way to go to suit all of our needs.
  8. Buy a MacBook Pro–He’s 13, he’s into technology, he’s a fan of all things Apple. ‘Nuff said.
  9. Buy a house–All three of us want a house of our own. “N” is at an age where having his own space is becoming more and more important. Sharing a room with his brother is becoming more problematic. They drive each other crazy. In each other’s faces and in each others way. They are becoming way more physical with each other and could both use space away from the other. “N” also understands the importance of having something of our own, something that, with each monthly payment, we get closer to ownership.  At the present time that investment is going into someone else’s pocket.
  10. Buy a car–“N” is already talking about getting a car. Not one for the family to get around in–one for him. In Idaho, I think you only have to be 14 1/2 years old to take driver’s training and 15 to get a license. He is a very independent kid and cannot wait to drive. He is so anxious to grow up. He is an adventurer and is already planning his escape.

We all have so much to look forward to when it comes to our futures. Sure there will be bumps in the road, but that is okay. We will just keep moving forward at a pace we can handle. I can’t wait to get everything on paper and begin crossing things off.

 

 

A little grace please. And maybe some patience.

I am a lot of things. Perfect is definitely not one of them.

When you have been through some of what I have been through, I’d like to say you develop a thicker skin, great discernment skills and incredible strength, but that is not always the case. I guess in some ways I have, but I think that most of what I have developed is a plethora of coping skills, some of which are not healthy for me or anyone else. Not healthy and not fair. And then there is the baggage associated with them. Oh, the baggage.

I have encountered narcissists, assholes, selfish men, jerks, deviants, users, liars, abusers and men that make promise after promise, only to blow me off time after time. They have made me question my worth and my place. The last of these  issues was only part of the problem in my longest relationship, but it gave me the bulk of an attitude I have developed that can best be described as “Fuck the world, I will do it my damn self.”  While most men I have encountered, save my dad and my grandpa, have contributed to this attitude, not all of them have. Unfortunately, it is my immediate, knee-jerk response when something happens, whether it is a missed call or text or unforeseen circumstances that screw up my plans with someone. Fuck the world. I will do it my damn self.

This attitude is hurtful and not at all fair and, from something I read recently, seen by others, especially men, as a weakness. Regardless, my fear of the same bullshit happening again, elicits the same response. Fuck the world. I will do it my damn self. Even though someone has proven time and time again that they are not like that,  That they are to be trusted and treated with kindness, an honest mistake will, again, result in that response. Fuck the world. I will do it my damn self. I have been let down so many times that that is the expectation when people make promises or say they will do something. I am always anticipating it. This is just a portion of the baggage I carry with me. It is something, one of the somethings that I would like to get rid of. This response can be off-putting and it pushes some people away. What would be nice is for someone to stay long enough to get past the bullshit response and help me unpack my baggage, leaving room to fill it with new memories, good memories, fun memories.

While I can be  serious pain in the ass at times, insecure, afraid, angry and hurt over dumb, sometimes irrational things, there are good things about me too. I have an awesome sense of humor, dark and twisted sometimes, and maybe even a little dirty, but well worth seeing come out. I am easy to amuse. I can find fun in just about any situation with just about any person on the planet. I am passionate about life. I want to go and do and be and meet. Life is beautiful and I want to experience it. I am kind to others, or at least I try to be, even when they are horrible to me. I forgive easily and I try to see the best in people. If I do get angry, wait 5 minutes and it will pass. When I love someone, and that love is reciprocated, there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for them. They are my world and I don’t see anyone else. I am faithful. There are a lot of good things about me that I think are worth others’ time.

I just hope all the good trumps the bad.

New year, new me? I don’t think so.

I have really come to resent this idea that with each new year, you are supposed to reinvent yourself. You see it on every magazine cover, in newspapers, on TV and in a million blogs that cover a plethora of topics.Why? Do we somehow lose value with each year that passes and must reinvent the nature of who we are to be relevant, loved, appreciated or valued?

Can improvements be made? Sure. Who couldn’t make a few improvements in their lives? Lose a little weight perhaps? Maybe eat healthier and hit the gym more? Be kinder? Love more? We all have areas where we fall short, but the essence of who we are, unless that happens to be a complete jerk, a serial killer or a total pig/pigette , shouldn’t need to be completely reworked each and every year.

The beauty of being in your forties is that you have a lifetime (or half a lifetime, as I plan on living a long time and being around for great grandchildren) of experience, both good and bad, that make you who you are and shape your perspective. You can allow the experience to break you or you can let it build you. The choice is always yours.

I have been through a lot, as a lot of people have, some of which broke me. Thank God we are resilient creatures and can rebuild from the broken pieces. We may not “look” the same when we come through the hardships, but if we are fortunate and determined, we can be better, stronger, kinder, smarter, more loving, etc.

There is a Christian recording artist, Jason Gray, that had a video, and I can’t recall the title on YouTube, but the gist of it is this: People who have been in need of grace and mercy are perhaps more capable and more willing to give those things away to others because they know what it means to need those things. I liken it to a piece of pottery. An intact piece of pottery is capable of collecting water and holding water, but until it is to the point of overflowing, the water does not spill out around it. A cracked, broken and chipped piece of pottery can collect the water, but much of what is collected spills out onto whatever is around it. Those of us that have been beaten by life and broken and damaged, have a unique perspective and vantage point. We can see the damage others are enduring and we can also see the possibility for beauty from those ashes, because we have lived it.We can “wash” them in the grace and mercy that someone once granted us. Someone who has only ever known good fortune may not be able to pour love out in the same way.

So all that heartbreak, all that hurt, all that pain that we have survived has made us who we are. So has the joy, the success, the beauty and the love. Would I change anything? Probably not. If I did, I wouldn’t be who I am today, and I fought like hell to get here. I am a better, stronger, more compassionate person today than I was when I was younger.

So, the plan this year is to be even better, stronger and kinder and do what makes me happy.

To be better, I will revise my diet to be closer to what I was doing when I first got diagnosed with Celiac disease and Hashimoto’s disease: very little processed foods, lean meats, lots of fresh fruits and veggies, yogurt, cheese and my Shakeology. I will do my best to resist the beckoning of the evil that is Funyuns and Coke. And chocolate. And (gulp) bacon.

To be stronger, the plan is to become a sort of middle aged, wannabe gym rat. I will take classes and figure out the gym equipment (for the umpteenth time) and get some sort of routine going. I will sweat away the wheat belly (thank you Celiac, you heartless witch), and hopefully shrink my the rest of my body, except my boobs, but we all know those will be the first to go.

To be kinder, I will try to look past people’s faults and flaws (including mine) and love them anyway. I will give wherever and whenever I can and give as much as I can and as often as I can. I will randomly compliment strangers and friends and people I love. I will hug my kids more, even when they try to resist and push me away because I am “so annoying.” I will tell them often that I love them and how proud of them I am. Because, despite their ability to push every single piss-mom-off button I have, I love them with everything that I am. And I am so proud of the compassionate,  kind-hearted, loving young men that they are becoming. I am also proud of the twisted sense of humor, goofy antics and endless chatter that they all have in common with me.

I will do what makes me happy. I will paint more. I will laugh more. I will see beauty in overlooked, unappreciated, mundane things. And grand, amazing things. And things that others regard as strange and weird. I will stop and smell the lilacs and jasmine, because roses do nothing for me. I will have more nerf gun battles, doodling sessions, long walks and long talks with my kids and try to make the most of the time I have with them. And I will learn to just be.

Yes, 2017 will be a year full of change, but new me? Screw that.