Sunday, September 22, 2013

My Adventures in Internet Dating- A Relationship?

At some point we’ve discussed when it’s okay to have sex.  For me there are a number of factors, but the prime one here is that if I’m going to have sex it’s within a relationship that is by agreement, exclusive. 

Our next date is a Monday evening.  I go to his house for supper.  He makes a fabulous meal.  And we end up in his bedroom…

He is every bit the gentleman one would hope.  He assures himself that I am fully on board.  We agree that we are falling for each other.

After I tell him that I know it’s crazy to ask him not to see other people at this point, but that I don’t want to know about them.  He says “If that’s important to you”. 

We see each other almost every day that week.  On Saturday I will not be seeing him as he has his child coming for the weekend.  And I have plans.  Weeks before I had begged friends to set me up.  One of them came through about two weeks ago and dinner at their house for me and a male friend.  I’m not going to cancel, partly because I begged for this introduction.  And partly because as far as I know, and I don’t want confirmation of this, PysicallyAffectionateGuy is seeing other people.  As long as he’s doing it, I’m doing it too.  And he hasn’t asked to not know about them, and I won’t lie.  So when he asks what I’m up to for the weekend, I tell him.  He tells me to have fun and be safe.

Dinner is fun.  I enjoy hanging out with my friends and SetUpGuy is nice.  He’s interesting and he’s brought veggies for dinner, which are quite good.  I enjoy hanging out with him.  I’ve never really considered dating more than one guy at a time before, but I begin to wonder if I could do it.  The friends leave us alone and SetUpGuy and I talk for hours.  I would totally date this guy.  Eventually we end up leaving the friends’ house and heading to a larger town to find food at 11:30 at night.  Sitting on the trunk of his car at midnight, eating gyros in the ghetto, I want SetUpGuy to kiss me.  It’s not the first time the thought has crossed my mind in the last few hours.  He doesn’t and instead invites me to get coffee either at his house or at a nearby Denny’s.  I opt for the Denny’s and we continue to talk until well into the morning.  When we say goodbye I once more am hoping for a kiss, but I don’t get one.  Driving home I’m convinced that he wasn’t interested, although it seems weird that he stayed out that late if he wasn’t.

In the morning I get several texts.  SetUpGuy and I are texting a rehash of the previous evening.  He tells me that he wanted to kiss me, but was nervous.  We agree that we should see each other, but very casually as he hasn’t dated in awhile.  A little later PhysicallyAffectionateGuy texts asking about last night’s date.  Somehow as a result of this he and I agree to see only each other.  Crap.  Awkward text conversation alert!  SetUpguy is very nice about it when I tell him of the change of situation.  I’m not sure I would be so nice.  He and I agree to continue talking as friends.  PhysicallyAffectionateGuy is upgraded to The Boyfriend and I am somehow in a relationship.  This was not actually the plan for internet dating.

Friday, September 20, 2013

My Adventures in Internet Dating- Second date?

PhysicallyAffectionateGuy and I have exchanged numbers.  And we text.  We met on Wedneday and on Friday I realize we’ve exchanged over a hundred texts.  Plus over two hundred messages when we were using the internet to talk.  We’re texting during work (big no-no, but I’m doing it anyway).  He’s already asked me on a second date.  He wants to take me to a movie next week.  While we’re texting I mention that I have to go out for lunch because I’ve forgotten to bring one and somehow we end up agreeing to meet for lunch.  He’s leaving work early for the weekend to do so and driving…an hour? to do so.  I’m suddenly both excited to see him again and nervous because I’m not looking as cute as I’d like. 

When we meet at the deli I’ve suggested I’m clearly looking just fine as neither one of eats anything because we use the entire forty minutes or so that I have for lunch, kissing.  Reluctantly we separate when my alarm goes off, warning that I need to head back to work.  I’m pretty enthusiastic about this guy.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

My Adventures in Internet Dating- Another Coffee Date

I’ve enjoyed my messages with PhysicallyAffectionateGuy.  He’s fun and funny.  He asks good questions and he made rules for a game of truth we’ve been playing.  Every question has to have weight (no “what’s your favorite color?”).  No asking a question that’s already been asked.  And be truthful.  His questions are possibly more enlightening than his answers even, and I’m having fun. After a few days of truth he asks if I want to meet for a cup of coffee.  Once again it takes a little finagling to get the schedules to mesh, but we get it figured out.  I’m pretty excited as I was really hoping he would ask to meet me and I have a little pre-meeting crush.

I get there, as always, a few minutes late and he’s already there.  He’s sitting outside with a cup of coffee and when I return with my own cup I discover that he too is drinking plain black.  A point in his favor.

At no point does the conversation lag.  He’s funny.  I like him.  I’m pretty sure he likes me.  The chemistry between us, I discover, is palpable several tables away.  I get up to use the washroom and two things happen.  One, I realize that despite the fact that we’ve just met, I’m not afraid to leave my half drunk coffee alone with him.  This is a major no-no, but I do it anyway.  Two, as I walk by another table I hear them talking about us.  They’re trying to figure out if we’re on a first date or if we’re long lost lovers reunited for one brief evening.  One of the ladies is trying to get the others to bet her that we’ll be making out before they leave.  I smile because of course I’m not going to kiss PhysicallyAffectionateGuy.  We’ve just met.

At some point in the evening he says he would like to touch my hand but he doesn’t want to cross any boundaries.  I tell him he can touch my hand.  And for a few seconds it feels like awkward silence has descended as I’m so busy being aware of the literal sparks I feel when he covers my hand with his own, that I’m unable to make conversation.  The betting woman is gone, but if she’d stuck around she would have won her bet.  I can’t remember who made the first move although I’m pretty sure he asked for permission, but suddenly we’re kissing.  And it’s pretty fantastic.  Starbucks is long closed before either of us becomes aware of the time and we reluctantly say goodnight (or I suppose good morning as it is well past midnight before this happens).

Monday, September 16, 2013

My Adventures in Internet Dating- Back to the Message Board

I get right back into things.  I have several other conversations going on.  One of which I’m actually really interested.  He’s a linguist who speaks Latin and ancient Greek.  He writes poetry.  He participated in National Novel Writing Month.  He’s the first guy I message.  I tell him I participated as well.  We chat about our writing and eventually move onto more personal matters.  I tell him about my job search and that I’m hoping for a position in my local library.  He’s rooting for me as librarians are super cool.  I end up thinking he’s pretty interesting and when people ask who I’m talking to on the internet he’s who I refer to.

Meanwhile I’ve found another interesting profile.  He talks about the fact that he’s great at hugs.  That physical affection, not sex but physical affection, is important to him.  He also mentions looking for someone who has the stamina to keep up and see every exhibit at the zoo.  I love the zoo.  And, as I’ve mentioned before, physical affection is something I’ve learned I need in a relationship.  It can’t just be a prelude to sex, I need physical affection to just be a regular thing.  He’s the second guy I message.  He’s also the second guy I met.

My Adventures in Internet Dating- First Date

About a week into internet dating I have several conversations going on with several guys.  One of them, TediousGuy (name changed to protect the boring) asks if I want to meet.  Our schedules aren’t a great match, but we decide to meet over coffee during my lunch break the next day.  I tell a coworker that if I don’t come back by my habitual (ten-minutes late) time, she should call the police and I go to meet TediousGuy.

He’s let me pick the place, and since I don’t have much time I’ve chosen a small cafĂ© in my downtown.  It’s ten minutes from my work and Starbucks is much farther, so although I don’t love the coffee here, it works.

My first hint that this will never work? It should have been when he messaged me that he’s glad I’m not too tall and I realize he’s three inches shorter than me (according to the height on his profile).  But I’m determined not to let that get in the way.  No.  My first hint this won’t work is when I order myself a nice black coffee and he grabs a bottle of Coke.  He doesn’t like coffee.

We chat for almost an hour, during which time I’m itching to check the time on my phone basically every three minutes.  I’m bored.  I could get over the height thing.  And the coffee thing.  The fact that he lives with family because he can’t afford to live on his own.  The lack of any education after high school, or interest in intellectual pursuits (I don’t need a college education, but I’m a reader and I’ve learned that I need someone who can make me think).  I can’t get over the combination.  Plus I’m bored.

And then.  Forty minutes into our forty-five minute date.  He says that he’s older than me and he can probably teach me a lot “when we get that far”.  No.  It’s time for me to go.  Thank goodness, the alarm on my phone picks that moment to go off and tell me I have to get back to work.  I make polite noises and go to leave, but he walks me the block to my car.  I definitely get the idea that I could have  goodbye kiss if I wanted.  I shake his hand instead.
I don't talk to him again, but I hear from him every so often for the next couple of weeks.  Once he even asks how I'm doing and tells me that he hopes everything is okay.  That "even though we've only known each other a little while [he] cares about [me]."  I don't respond.  Because what I do I say?  I'm sorry you care about me, but I'm just not that into you?  Probably not.  He gets the message and I don't hear from him again either.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

My Adventures in Internet Dating- Messaging

Oh! Fun!  My profile has been posted for five minutes and I already have a message.  I exchange messages for a while with “GuitarGuy”.  We even end up using our site’s version of chat.  He tells me that he’s not looking to hook up, that he wants to meet his “special someone” and he seems like he’s in a hurry to do so because he asks me to text him so we can hang out the next day.  Well.  That seems fast.  But I have a rule, so I agree. 

And then I never hear from him again.
Until a few weeks later when he once again messages me out of the blue as if we’ve never talked.  He again tells me that he’s looking for his “special someone” and asks what I’m looking for.  I break rule number two (respond to every message) and don’t respond.
I remind myself that I was looking for good stories and figure this is a pretty decent one.  But hopefully all the effort writing a profile, and all the time spend answering multiple choice questions, viewing stranger's profiles and responding to every message I get will result in a better story next time.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

My Adventures in Internet Dating- Rules

When I decided to internet date, I got a lot of advice from a lot of people.  Some of it I ignored, some of it I listened to, but the most important thing I heard was that I should decide on a set of rules on how to deal with what I would find.  Here’s what I came up with

1.       Expect to have fun, that every date will result in a good story and nothing more.  Keep your expectations on the relationship-finding thing very low.

2.       Respond to every message.  It doesn’t matter if all you get is  “Hey.”  Respond in kind.  If it’s obvious the guy in question read your profile, read his.  If he asks questions answer them, and ask some back.  Have fun!

3.       If a profile is interesting, write a message.  The worst case scenario is that the guy writes back something mean.  In which case, refer to rule one- at least you’ll get a good story out of it.

4.       If someone asks to meet, agree.  Obviously meet in public and be smart, but agree to every meeting.  Refer to rule one- at least you’ll get a good story
I bet you cant' wait to see if all those rules made internet dating fun or not huh?

My Adventures in Internet Dating- Profiling

I don’t really know what put me over the edge and helped me decide that I should internet date.  It’s kind of like a few years ago when I decided to embark on a weight loss journey that continues to this day, one day I just knew that I had to try.  Now for me the hold back has never been internet dating in and of itself, it’s not a fear of meeting creeps, or some leftover stigma from back when internet dating had never resulted in anything good.  No.  For me, it’s always been about the fact that I knew I couldn’t write myself a decent profile.

So what does a girl who can’t think of anything good to say about herself do when faced with the blank questions on an internet dating site?  In my case I asked around.  I posted the question on Facebook.  And most importantly, I sat down and I thought.  And I thought.  And I thought.  I just started listing things I like about myself.  Nothing was off limits.  There were no wrong answers.  And eventually I wound up with a pretty good list of things I could write.
Now.  I don't want to get myself sued somehow so I won't say what site I decided to use.  What I will say is that I sat down to write my profile and as I sat there staring blankly at the questions my roommate, who has successfully internet dated for both us (her current boyfriend and my most recent ex are both her internet finds), came in.  She asked what site I was using and when I told her she mentioned that the site I picked (solely because I knew the name and it was free) is the site you use if you're just looking for sex.  Then she sent me to another free site.  Where I continued to stare blankly at the questions for awhile before writing a fairly decent profile. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

My Adventures in Internet Dating- a New Series of Posts I'm Going to Write

So as I mentioned before, I'm internet dating now.  the day after I wrote my previous post I realized that I was not in fact honest with my blog or myself.  I don't want to date that friend again.  I can be his friend again, still, some more.  But I don't want to date him.  I want to meet someone new.  I've thought about what I want in a relationship and I'm going to seek it out.

1.       I’m physically affectionate and I need that to be okay.  I’ve had a relationship where touching was only used as a prelude to sex and I hated it.  I’ve had a relationship where touching was tolerated but never instigated by the boyfriend and I craved it.  I’m going to learn my lesson.

2.       I need someone who can be an intellectual challenge.

3.       I need to date grownups.  I’ve dated boys.  I’ve dated guys.  I want to date men.  There’s a difference an although I’m not sure how that’s going to work out, I want to date grown ass men.
So.  Onward and upward.

Monday, July 22, 2013

So here's a fun new thing I'm doing (can you hear the sarcasm and doubt?)

So...about three months ago I told a friend of mine that I found him attractive and I didn't really want to be just his friend.  After several long, emotionally draining discussions of why I feel that way and that, although he was attracted to me, he didn't feel it was appropriate for a variety of reasons, eventually I kissed him in a parking lot.  I'm not a hundred percent sure at what point we were dating, but after a few weeks we had the talk about only seeing each other, so we were definitely dating.  And I liked him.   A lot.  I was having a great time because he was my friend and I could talk to him about stuff, but there was this like extra thing there.  I was a little blindsided about three weeks ago when he decided he was done.
All of that is really just background, because now we get to the fun new thing.  I liked dating when I tried it (for the first time in years) last fall.  I really liked it when I tried it this year.  So I decided to keep doing it.  And now I'm online dating.  Like I made a dating profile, and am now exchanging slightly flirty messages with strangers.  I won't lie, I'd prefer hanging out with the friend who was more, but... this is fun too.  I think.  I'm not a hundred percent sure yet.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Hey look- someone else wrote poetry for me, and it's much better than when I try to do it myself!

I've loved this song for awhile, but it took until today for me to realize that the poetry is basically everything I've tried to say for months, perhaps years. 

In case you can't watch the video-

I've been believing in something so distant
As if I was human
And I've been denying this feeling of hopelessness
In me, in me

All the promises I made
Just to let you down
You believed in me, but I'm broken

I have nothing left
And all I feel is this cruel wanting

We've been falling for all this time
And now I'm lost in paradise

As much as I'd like the past not to exist
It still does
And as much as I'd like to feel like I belong here
I'm just as scared as you

I have nothing left
And all I feel is this cruel wanting

We've been falling for all this time
And now I'm lost in paradise

Run away, run away
One day we won't feel this pain anymore

Take it all away
Shadows of you
Cause they won't let me go

Until I have nothing left
And all I feel is this cruel wanting

We've been falling for all this time
And now I'm lost in paradise

Friday, July 19, 2013

I have amazing friends

So I have this list of things I want to do.  Sometimes I call it a bucket list, like every other person in the world.  I prefer to call it my life list.  And on my list are a million things I want.  But now there's one less because my friends surprised me.  They took me zip lining for my birthday this month.  And it was awesome!
I was told we were going hiking and then we would get lunch in a nearby small town on a small lake.  It took three cars to fit everyone and when we got there I noticed the zip lining place and mentioned to the friends I was with that I want to go zip lining.  And my friend was all "I don't want to do that."  And I laughed and said that I didn't mean today, I knew our plan was to go hiking.  So we get out of the car and I was distracted, searching for bug spray, and someone said "Hey, let's go zip lining" and I laughed again, because I thought it was a joke because, obviously, we were going hiking.  I should mention that very few of my friends are into hiking, and I was confused about why so many of us were doing this, but I'm not really a hiker myself, so I figured it was just a case of everyone doing something for the company of it. 
And then everyone laughed at me.  And we went zip lining.  And it was awesome.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

And also, even more crappy poetry

Says he thinks I’m beautiful
He makes me feel like it’s true
Lose my inhibitions, constraints, and walls when he’s around
I forget all that haunts me
Ghosts stop chasing me and I’m left with just me in my head
I would have guessed that I always was
But the voices that tell me I’m nothing,
They aren’t my voice
They fade away and let me hear myself
I’m not perfect,
But I’m good enough
My insecurities, my fears
Poisoning my hopes
Staining my dreams
The cause of my downfall

If I had known the night we shared
Would be our only morning
I would have savored it
Snuggled in your arms
Cuddled up against your body
Dozed a little longer
Enjoyed a little more

Instead I felt things
And only knew how to show you with my body
You said we don't mesh
Because I prioritize sex
You didn't want a relationship
Didn't want me to be serious
But you didn't want me to want you
I don't know what you wanted
Don't understand what this should have been
Could have been
Would have been

Not looking for anything serious,
I'll take what the world throws me
But now I'm hating that the world threw me nothing but confusion
Left me missing what I didn't think I wanted
Left me wishing that I understood


I was frozen, running away
Scared of how I felt
Of what I wanted
It took me months to learn to say it
And when I finally admitted my attraction,
You said you felt it too
But that we couldn't
That you wouldn't

But drunk on attraction and whiskey
I made you anyway
Begged you to try
Kissed you in the parking lot at five am
After hours of talking about why you said no

And for awhile it was all okay
You watched out for my health
Asked me to be safe
Made me think you cared about me
It took me months to learn to say it
Only took you weeks to say no
Walk away
Decide that we should just be friends
Sex only got in the way
You didn’t know I never cared about sex
I wanted you
Mind and body


When we first talked about what I wanted you said you wanted it too
Yet only wanted to be friends at the same time
But I can’t live like that
Knowing that what I want is just out of reach
A phone call away

I live in a simple world, no shades, no halfways
I can’t want you and ignore it
Can’t pretend I don’t want to touch
Look away
I’d rather have nothing at all
Than the halfway thing you offered me
And somehow you accepted that
Gave in to me
Made me think it’d be okay

Now I’m back to watching friends slip off to be alone together
Husbands and boyfriends who check in
See if everything’s okay
Stop and give a kiss before they leave
Wives and girlfriends who hurry home to say goodnight to someone special
While I’m sitting alone, late at night, wishing for what I’ve never found
Lost your friendship
Lost your interest
Still don’t really know how

Sunday, July 14, 2013

So...I write crappy poetry

I've been away awhile.  I spend one night a week at the local library, all settled in a corner, writing to my heart's content.  And yet, I've been ignoring my blog in favor of a novel I'm working on.  I do have a little something to share here.  In addition to my novel (which will remain super secret and no one but me will ever read it), I've been poet-ing.

3.6.13 (Insomnia)
Lying in bed
Moment by moment
Unable to sleep
Able only to dream
Mind so busy whirring,
Same things over and over again
"What if... and then... but no...
"But what if...?"
Wishing, dreaming
Can't stop thinking
My body so warm, cozy in my bed
Soft fuzzy blankets tucked tight around me
Purring in my ear, loud enough my body is shaking with it
The cat tucked beneath my cheek a pillow meant to help me sleep
My mind so far away
Not far enough
Focused on things I can't have
Whirring, buzzing, spinning around
Interesting enough I can't make it stop.


Every dream I’ve ever had is turned to ashes in my mouth
Woman built to love, never loved
Lying about my dreams because they’ve turned bitter                                                        
Half-truths and untruths told to strangers, family, friends
Until no one knows the truth anymore
Not even I know what’s hidden deep inside my heart
Under the ashes of dreams and hopes burnt by a life unlived,
Unwanted, and unknown


Every day that passes I learn a little more
It’s time to let my dreams go
Can’t be a child anymore, it’s time to embrace adulthood
This isn’t a fairy tale
No one every promised a happily ever after.
Yet letting go of every dream is too much to ask of one woman
I sit, wearied at the thought, trying to let go
Trying to hold on
Trying to find the strength to fight either way instead of laying stagnate
Afraid of change
I need to grow up and embrace reality
I’m alone and will be alone

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A realization I've had thanks to talking to a friend late at night

I've suffered mild insomnia the last few weeks.  I'm laying in bed unable to sleep thinking about the dreams that I need to let go of.
I dreamed of being a teacher my whole life.  I wanted to share my passion for history with a new generation.  I remember being taught history as this stagnate boring thing that I had to search to for the fun in.  I want to do better for the new high schoolers.  I want to show them history's importance   to current events.  Instead I teach two year olds to use the potty and walk in lines.  And while I see the importance in what I do, it's not the same.  It's not the passion.  But it's something when I can't find a job that would fulfill my passion.  So I need to learn to let it go.  Accept the choices that I've made that have led me here.
I'm alone in the world.  I have no family, no one I can rely in case of emergency.  I don't even have a go-to person to write in the In Case of Emergency line on paperwork.  I always wanted family.  I've cut most of my family out of my life, and for good reason.  I don't regret it most of the time.  But I always dreamed that girl would meet boy, girl and boy would fall in love, and I would have my own family.  I'm thirty years old.  Girl has never met boy.  It's time to let it go and plan accordingly.
I never planned on being in the place I'm in.  Thirty years old.  Alone.  Living off the kindness of other and a paycheck that barely stretches to all the corners.  Nothing and no one to call my own.  Maybe I should have.  But now it's hitting me.  And I'm trying to learn to embrace the place I'm in rather than the place I dreamed I would find.  But it's hard.  And it's keeping me up nights.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Coming to terms


Every day that passes I learn a little more

It’s time to let my dreams go

Can’t be a child anymore, it’s time to embrace adulthood

This isn’t a fairy tale

No one every promised a happily ever after.

Yet letting go of every dream is too much to ask of one woman

I sit, wearied at the thought, trying to let go

Trying to hold on

Trying to find the strength to fight either way instead of laying stagnate

Afraid of change

I need to grow up and embrace reality

I’m alone and will be alone

Sunday, April 7, 2013

The story of how I'm accidentally rearing caffeine addicts, or Did you know caffeine is an inhale-able substance?

I have a pretty well thought out schedule with my kids at work.  After breakfast, unless my boss has something we have to do, they play in the gym while I drink my coffee.  The plan is they can burn energy while I wake up enough to have energy so that when we get to our classroom we're all at about the same level of awake. 
Well early last week four of my kids were playing near me and started talking to me...
"Is that your coffee Ms. Tina?" says the tiniest three year old you will ever meet.
"Yup." Ms. Tina has only had a few sips and is therefore slightly less conversant than she would like to admit.
"Is it yummy?" says the biggest three year old you will ever meet.
"Well I like it."  I've had another sip, so I'm waking up a bit.
"So does Ms. Debbie."  A third child adds.  "And Ms. Tina is cranky style without it.  It must be yummy." she adds.  The other children look at her and nod as if she's said something very wise and very profound.
"Me smell!" a fourth child starts pulling at my arm to bring my coffee cup down to his reach.
I think, "eh, the smell won't hurt anything and there's hardly anything left anyway".  So I let him smell my coffee.
"Yuck!" he exclaims and runs away, his attention now focused on something far more desirable than morning coffee- our "cool" ball with Spider-man printed on it.  The little girls still want a smell, so I give everyone a chance.  They all think it smells "weird" and go about their morning.  I nearly forget this ever happened.
Except the next morning all three little girls are at my side,
"Can I smell your coffee?" they ask, shyly for some reason.  So I let them.  What's it going to hurt, it's not like I'm letting them drink the coffee!  I'm not crazy.
But it happens again the next day.
And the next day.
Friday I drank my first cup at home, so I don't have any when they ask.  Everyone goes to play, and eventually I get another cup and survey the room.  I have one yawning under the climber, one whining about not having the cool ball (which is laying on the ground just out of her reach, but quicly attainable), and another one reaching out to smack another kid.  Everyone is cranky on Friday morning.  I sort out my little catastrophes, wake up the sleeper and finally take a drink of my coffee.  Suddenly I realize I have three tiny shadows looking up at me.  I let them have their sniff of coffee and everyone goes about their day.  Except ten minutes later I realize my sleeper is now wide awake playing a game of monster, my whiner is laughing her head off, and my smacker is giving out hugs to all her friends.
I think caffeine is inhale-able.  Should I have told their parents?

**I swear to you, this is a completely true story that happened to me this week.  In case you were wondering :-)

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Black Chuckles taste like an afternoon running errands with my dad

When I was younger the only hardware store my dad ever went to was Ace Hardware.  It was close to our house, at least closer than the nearest box store, and my dad liked that it's locally owned instead of being an MNC like the box stores.  Except I think the thing he liked best was found in the checkout lane.  My dad loved black liquorice.  But his favorite was the black piece inside a package of Chuckles. 
So my dad would be at home and decide to work on whatever was broken.  He would come get me from wherever I was playing and he would ask if I wanted to go to Ace with him.  I always said yes, because Ace was the one store where I knew my dad would buy candy.  So we'd go to the store and I would be all antsy while my dad took his time.  At the time I thought he was babbling, talking to himself, about whatever it was we were there to buy.  Most of the time I didn't know most of the words he used.  Then would come the good part.  We'd get in line and I would start eyeing the candy.  Usually my dad would pretend that he didn't see the candy, or the fact that I was literally dancing around waiting for his permission to pick one.  Sometimes he would tell me right away,
"Hey grab me some chuckles okay?  And get yourself something too."  And I would pick two packages of Chuckles.  Sometimes he would wait until after the cashier had started ringing up whatever we were buying.  Once or twice he managed to surprise me, not saying anything, but when we got to the car he produced two packages of Chuckles out of the bag.  See, I always picked Chuckles too.  Because my dad loved them.  And even though I thought the black one tasted gross, I wanted to be like my dad, so I picked Chuckles.  And even though he would try and trade me his green one for my black one I usually refused the trade.  Because I wanted to be like my daddy.
So, after we got in the car my dad and I would have to eat our Chuckles before we got home because my mom would get cranky that my dad got me candy and didn't get candy for everyone (by which I think she meant her).  Or she'd complain about the liquorice (because she hated it) and steal the green ones (because they were her favorite).  We'd eat the Chuckles in the car on the way home and my dad would talk about whatever home repair thing needed done.  I usually tuned him out.  Because home repair.  But then when we got home he would usually tell me that he needed help with his project, and I would have to hand him tools, or be a third hand, or whatever he needed.  I never minded because, hey I got candy.
As a kid I just enjoyed hanging out with my dad and getting candy that no one else got.  Now that I'm an adult I realize that my dad assumed my brother would pick up how to use tools and take care of his business, but I'm a girl.  My dad wanted to make sure that I would be prepared to deal with life, and this was his way.  He wasn't talking to himself, he was talking to me.

So yesterday Leah and I ran errands and had to stop at Ace.  And Leah bought me a package of Chuckles.  And I enjoyed my black one most of all.

Friday, March 29, 2013

The past haunts me.  There are things I should have done differently, that I wish I had done differently.  How often I’ve thought to myself if only I could have back five minutes of my life.  Any five minutes.  The five minutes when I forgot to watch my drink at a party.  The five minutes where I didn’t tell my dad I loved him before he went to visit a friend the day he didn’t come back.  The five minutes where I could have...  Or the five minutes where I shouldn’t have… 

Some of my ghosts are more substantial than your average ghost, bold enough to try to talk to me even in the light of day.  Some of them are vague things that shouldn’t be able to bother me.  Things I barely remember, but that I can’t forget either.  Things that haunt me most late at night when I’m alone and trying to still my mind.  It’s been these that have weighed on my mind and burdened my heart the most lately. 
From the first call, months ago, that my uncle had only months left to live, I’ve been haunted more and more.  Nibbles at the back of my mind have grown into being almost all I think of.  Although I barely remember it, it’s enough to know that it happened.  I’ve thought before that it had no impact on my life.  That ultimately there were no consequences because I don’t remember it.  Now I wonder how true that is.  I don’t talk to my family.  I ruin everything I touch. 

And then I turn around and it’s almost disappeared.  So insubstantial as to be nearly nonexistent.  My life is flowers and hope.  I’m stronger for standing away from my family.  I have friends that more dear to me than anything else.  I’m not broken; I’m strong enough to stand.

Ultimately, I can't change the past.  Everything that has happened, is exactly that, something that has happened.  There's no magical way to have five minutes back, I can't pick and choose which parts of my life I want to keep.  It's all helped make me into who I am, so I have to learn to embrace it and carry on.  I might never be rid of those ghosts haunting my every step, but I can decide how much attention to pay them.  I might not be able to make them disappear or to change the past, but I can decide how much I let them impact today.  I can decide how much I let them influence tomorrow. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Once upon a time

Once upon a time there was a girl wandering through life alone, buffeted along the way by the stresses of life, seeking shelter from the storm.

But there’s no fairy tale.  No girl met boy, no wicked step-mother to be defeated, no happily ever after.  Only, once upon a time.
For every Cinderella rescued by the prince, there’s a not-so-wicked step-sister.  Maybe she didn’t start out so bad, but it’s not her story and every story is better with a good villain.  Maybe she wanted to love her step-sister but circumstance and story-telling won’t let her.  Maybe the heroine always had those talking mice casting a spell around her that made everyone else look worse in comparison.  There’s no way to know the true story, too much time has passed since once upon a time, and the story looks away before the end.

For every happily ever after, there’s more to the story.  Maybe Prince Charming isn’t really charming.  Maybe he charms for a moment but gets easily distracted.  He’s a prince after all; he can have anything, why focus on what he already has?  Maybe happily ever after doesn’t really mean happy.  Or ever.
Once upon a time there was a girl wandering through life alone, buffeted along the way by the stresses of life, seeking shelter from the storm.  But this girl isn’t protected by a fairy god-mother.  Nature itself doesn’t bow down to her beauty.  So she wanders on, alone.  Surrounded by friends, yet all alone.

Fairy tales poison little girls’ minds.  We grow up expecting that someday the magic will just touch us.  That if we’re good enough, pretty enough, sweet enough, our life will erupt in song, everything will fall in place, and we’ll get our happily ever after.  But what happens to the girls who aren’t good enough, pretty enough, sweet enough?  What happens to the girls who bite back when life grows teeth? 
Fuck you Aurora, and Belle, and Cinderella.  Fuck you, you stupid princess trying to sleep on twenty mattresses, tossing and turning because of some damn pea.  For all the things you teach us to expect, and the lessons you don’t know to teach.  For all the little girls out there alone in the dangerous world, thinking there’s a prince in white waiting, who don’t know about the prince all in black.

Once upon a time there was a girl wandering through life alone, buffeted along the way by the stresses of life, seeking shelter from the storm.  She wandered through the vicious woods every fairy tale girl has to brave at some point.  But when she got to the other side she was still alone.  Pricked by thorns along the way, her clothes ragged and her hair styled by the wind and the rain and the journey.  She’s not so perfect as she’d been on the other side, and there are no birds fluttering around her head, fixing and cheering until she picks up her head and sweeps aside her hardship like so much dust on her hem.  But she’s stronger for her hardships.  She won’t bow down, won’t break just because it’s hard.  This would-be princess is too firm to be a pampered girl now. 
Once upon a time there was a girl set in her ways and knowing that she would have to be her own rescue and hope.  She couldn’t sit down and wait for magic to interfere in her life.  She wouldn't.  She knew if she wanted things done, she would have to do them herself.  So she relied on herself.  She protected herself as best as a girl in the world can.  She stopped wandering, she walked with purpose towards her goals. She set her shoulders, got her hands dirty, and made her own life.

Monday, March 18, 2013

I went to the funeral

"What do you do now?  Oh, you teach preschool?  Didn't you want to be a real teacher?"
or, looking pointedly at my sister-in-law beside me
"When will it be your turn Tina? When are you going to have your own kids?"
I ignore the first set of questions.  Or I answer them as civilly as possible, ignoring the judgemental overtones.  The second set of questions gets a very pointed answer I've honed well.  In my family most of the women have dropped out of high school to have children.  I'm not sure any of them went to college except me.  So I've faced this question in some form for the last fifteen years.  I know what to say and I can sell it pretty well by now.
"I don't want children." I lie to near strangers who think my reproductive choices are their business.  When they continue to press, as they always do, I give them my patented "You're an ass" smile, laugh just a bit, and say "Well I get plenty of cuddles at work and from my niece and nephews, so I don't miss that.  And when I get home after a rough day, I can enjoy a bottle of wine.  And go to the bathroom by myself."  Everyone laughs and I slip away to be attacked again by another well meaning family member hoping to entertain herself until the funeral service starts. 
Lather.  Rinse.  Repeat until the funeral service starts.

Presentation Matters Update

So I've finished six works days of arriving on time instead of a late.  Of putting some thought into what I wear to work.  Of wearing a little makeup and styling my hair.
My attitude has started to change for the better.   I don't struggle near as much to maintain my zen.  My kids are picking up on the difference, they comment on it and they react differently.  My parents are starting to treat me like a fellow adult instead of like an over size kid.  Even my boss noticed and is treating me differently.  I took a look around my class and decided a radical overhaul is in order because I want to be a better teacher.
So I guess the update is- it works.  At least for now, and I know all about things that work only in the short term, it works.  Awesome!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Lessons to learn

For a very long time I had very little interest in dating.  Sure I noticed guys, but I almost specifically and exclusively noticed guys that I would never have to seriously consider dating- my best friend’s little brother, a guy friend I only talk to once a month or so and who cycles through girls so fast it makes my head spin, the guy who teaches PE at my school…  Sure dating has its benefits, but it has its negatives too and as far as I was concerned the cons far outweighed the pros.  I got farther and farther away from even the slightest consideration of dating.

And then I met Dan.  And in one evening I went from completely uninterested in the whole idea of dating, to completely focused on the pros.  While it didn’t work out with him, I do have to appreciate him for helping me grow.  I learned important lessons-
1.  Dating doesn’t have to suck

2. There’s difference between men and boys
After I stopped seeing Dan I went a little crazy about wanting to date again, because hey that was fun and what if I could learn even more?  But given my past as a dating hater it was a poor fit for me.  And hanging out with a few of my guy friends has helped me remember who I am.  I’m less lost and more my own self, but without the hatred, even fear, that has held me back in the past.  And so I’ve learned one more lesson

3. Balance is key to everything

Monday, March 11, 2013

It appears a violent storm's passed through me recently

I spent all weekend debating, discussing, and delaying.  I had been warned I had only days left if I wanted to say my goodbyes to my uncle, and I could not decide if I wanted to go.  Whatever I decided, knowing I had to make this decision, explaining my reasons for and against to my trusted friends, and even a few friends who aren't that trusted, brought up some stuff I have spent most of my life ignoring.  I didn't want to think about it.  I didn't want to spend one single second of my life on it.  And now it's here, in my head.  Not just that even.  Everything.  The reasons I don't spend much time with my mom's family.  Or with my dad's family.  The consequences of actions that weren't mine.  The consequences of my actions, things that I can't change now even if I wanted to.  It all tore through my head like a tornado.  And it left as much of a mess behind.
It was Thursday when I was first told that I should go if I wanted to go.  But I couldn't go Thursday, I had unchangable plans.  Friday wasn't so great either, I hadn't decided yet.  Saturday I was pretty sure I wasn't going to go.  Sunday I had definately decided not to go.  Suddenly, Monday I got off work a half hour early and I knew I had to go.  Even as I drove to the hospital I debated.  I finally called my siste-in-law wondering if my brother had gone, and if so how it had been.  He'd gone in the morning, it was good, but if I wanted she would come with me.  So I picked her up and we went.  The woman at the visitor's entrance looked up the room number for me, but when we walked in the room, no one was there.  We walked to the desk at the front of the oncology unit and asked.
"Hang on, I'll call and ask" the woman said to us.  She looked younger than me.  I noticed that I thought she might be in high school and I wondered if she was even old enough to work in the hospital.
"I have the niece of room 349 here." she said into the phone.  A few noises that acknowledged what the person on the other end said.  She looked back up at us,
"I'm sorry, I have to tell you he expired this afternoon."  She explained that they thought the family had all been informed.  That he had been left in the room for awhile for everyone to say their goodbyes but that he had just gone down to the morgue.
We turned around and left.  I texted my mom saying I had gone to the hospital and how was she.  Only after she said her head was a little messed up did I tell her I knew.  She had forgotten to tell me. Or my brother.
So.  do I regret that I didn't make it in time?  I said I wouldn't regret not going, but I might regret it if I did.  I'm still processing a little.  Deciding how I feel about missing my chance.  I'm a believer that things happen the way they're supposed to happen.  Maybe I wasn't supposed to say goodbye.  Maybe I wouldn't have offered any comfort in those last few days.  But maybe I would have.  And that's what I have to deal with.  I could have offered comfort to a sick man who couldn't have hurt me, and I denied both him and myself that chance.  I don't think I regret it though.

High fives?

I still, after almost two years of frequent exercise, battle my inherent laziness.  When I was growing up children were basically there to run errands and do chores my mom didn't want to do.  I was washing dishes before I could reach the sink without the aid of a step stool (to be fair that step stool also aided me in raiding the spice cabinet and mixing "concotions" and I never got in trouble).  Well the problem is that now I'm an adult who works with fetching age kids and I'm frequently tempted to make them do my work.  The level of sedentariness at my job is entirely up to me.  It can be all about sitting on my bum, or it can be all about moving constantly, and if I don't watch it I tend towards the lazy.  That coupled with my insatiable M&M habit more than explains those last thirty pounds I've been trying to shed.  So, now I've figured that out, I know what to do.  Except when I don't want to give my kids candy I convince them a high five is even better than a piece of candy.  I probably won't fall for that myself though, huh?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Presentation matters

I wrote recently about my moment of clarity.  Before I fell asleep I had seen, laid out for me, was the plan of how to become the person I want to be.  When I woke I didn't remember every single detail, but I still had the highlights.  One of those highlights was this, presentation matters.
In my line of work pretty much any attire is considered appropriate.  I have a coworker who wears oversize sweats and t-shirts every day and I have a coworker who wears nice jeans and blouses every day, so I have always figured "ehh, I'm walking between the two, I'm probably fine".  Except what I mean is that I wake up five minutes before I have to leave for work.  When I get there (inevitably late) I'm wearing jeans that are two or three sizes to big and/or stained with t-shirts that are either normally reserved for workout gear or I bought twenty pounds ago.  Which means I don't look very professional. 
Yet I know the difference in how I feel and how my kids (and parents) treat me when I present a more professional image.  First of all my kids think of me as more of an authority figure when I'm dressed like one (which is true of my parents too).  Second, and more important, I maintain my work-zen better when I'm more conscious of my presentation.  The image I present to the world absolutely affects the way I feel about myself and thus about my job.  And if I'm better able to maintain my zen my kids react to that.  It's a snowball.  I go into work more zen, which combined with my more professional presentation makes my kids react differently to me, which allows me to maintain my zen.  But I only know all of that from the five or six days a year I have to present a professional image.
So tomorrow I'm skipping the snooze button.  I'm putting on jeans that fit, a cute top, and my trademark "under a minute" makeup; and I'm leaving the house ten minutes earlier than normal.  Because tomorrow is the first day on the path to the new me.

Low carb "potato" salad

I love potato salad. Like LOVE it.  But I haven't had more than a bite or two at a time in the last eighteen months because it's terrible for me.  But this week I discovered the miracle to dropping it down to almost zero carb and boosting the protein level, simple substitutes.  I won't record a full recipe, because everyone has their own version that they love, but here's the two biggies.  You know the scoop (or two or three) of mayonaise?  Switch it for plain Greek yogurt.  If you're adding mustard and/or relish no one else will ever know, and I doubt they'll know even if you don't add anything else.  That's the protein, but what about all the carbs?  Cut bite size (as in the size you'd cut your potatoes normally) pieces of cauliflower.  Lightly steam and then cool the cauliflower.  Use that instead of potatoes.  My own veggie-phobic brother didn't catch that substitute!  I'm so happy now :-)


Have you ever had a moment of perfect clarity, where everything crystalizes and you can see yourself with all your flaws and all your highlights?  I did last night as I lay in bed waiting, as I frequently do, for sleep to find me.  I didn’t love everything I saw, but I also saw plenty to love that had gone unnoticed for a very long time.  I saw the differences between who I am and who I want to be and I saw how to be more the Tina I want to be.  I’m not saying it will be easy, or that I won’t relapse, but a plan was laid out before me in perfect detail so that I can work towards that better me.  It was amazing.

Friday, March 8, 2013

More crappy poetry!


Lying in bed
Moment by moment
Unable to sleep
Able only to dream
Mind so busy whirring,
Same things over and over again
"What if... and then... but no...
"But what if...?"
Wishing, dreaming
Can't stop thinking
My body so warm, cozy in my bed
Soft fuzzy blankets tucked tight around me
Purring in my ear, loud enough my body is shaking with it
The cat tucked beneath my cheek a pillow meant to help me sleep
My mind so far away
Not far enough
Focused on things I can't have
Whirring, buzzing, spinning around
Interesting enough I can't make it stop.


I have this relative.  When I was young he was in my life.  When I was in kindergarten my family stopped seeing him.  It was only when he was back in my life as a teenager that I was told why my family had stopped associating with him.  I have a very poor memory and no memories from before I was in about first grade.  I’ll leave it to your imagination what I was told.  When I became an adult I stopped seeing him again because I couldn’t keep that out of my mind when I was around him.

 Now I’m told he’s dying.  Has only days to live in fact.  Might even be gone by the time this posts.  This information came to me via text, complete with a hospital name and room number.  And now I’m torn.  Should I go?  Should I see this man again before he dies?  What can I say to him?  The death bed is not the place for confrontations or recriminations.  It’s not a place to ask if what I was told was true.  It’s not the place to even think about that.  It’s a place for mourning and grief.  And although it’s always sad when someone dies, I’m not sure I will properly mourn.  Yet I know I’ll go to his funeral because he’s family and his wife and children are family.  So, should I go?  Should I implicitly give my forgiveness for this thing that haunts the back of my mind, although neither of us has ever acknowledged it?  Would he even want me to go?  Or would he prefer that I stay away? 

I question not only because of the thing I was told, but because we haven’t had a relationship in a decade.  I’m not sure the death bed is the place to renew old relationships.  Growing older is complicated.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Friends in high places

At a recent get together my friends were challenged to say what they loved most about me.  I hated that game.  Then I challenged myself to tell everyone what I loved most about them, but I was still flustered from the first game and I couldn't finish and wound up just saying that all of my friends are awesome, the end.  So now I want to take a moment to be thankful for each and every one of my friends.
There's my homeowner, who once saved my life and who knows me so well and loves me anyway.  Then there's my oldest friend who's been there for me through think and thin.  the girl who can be positive and remind me it will all be okay no matter what's happening in either of our lives.  The one who challenges me to think about why I believe things and makes me smarter.  The friend who listens to my problems, gives advice, and who I trust to never divulge my secrets or judge me.  The wonderful lady who reminds me we all have stuff to deal with, we only have to decide how to deal with it.  The friend I have little contact with but who always makes me laugh.  The new friend who runs with me, and actually runs so that I have to force myself to work harder.  The guy who just doesn't care, who I don't have to think around and I can just forget everything and have fun with (even if I usually end up apologizing later).  The other friend who saved my life, and saved me from murder charges.
I'm so fortunate to have these wonderful men and women around me. What an effect each of them has had on my life, on the person I am today. 
There's nothing interesting here (unless you're busy playing the who's who game about those descriptions, then you might still be interested).  There's just me, pondering the most wonderful blessings I've been given.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Mushroom & barley goodness

So I warned you that I was going to start posting recipes.  Here's my first one.  It's not no-carb, it's all kinds of healthy carb though.

1 C quick cooking barley
2 C veggie stock
Put the veggie stock in a medium sauce pan and set to boil.  Once it's at a rolling boil, add the barley and set a timer to nine minutes.  Meanwhile-

1 T oil
1 medium onion, chopped
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 C frozen sweet peas
1/2 t steak seasoning
1/2 C each veggie stock, milk, and Greek yogurt
Put the oil in a hot frying pan and heat.  Add onion and mushrooms.  Once they're softened add everything except the Greek yogurt and simmer until the timer goes off.  Add the barley with whatever stock is left in the saucepan.  Add the yogurt.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer until thickened.  Enjoy

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

New stuff is coming!

I used to keep a second blog, but since I'm terrible at writing posts, I decided to delete my other blog and combine them into one blog in the hopes that I can be a better writer.  So there will be some changes around here (hopefully).  My other blog focused on my weight loss journey- recipes, exercises, and my stats.  I won't be posting my stats anymore, I don't think it was helping me to post my weight on the internet, but I will be posting as I pick up new exercises or try good low carb recipes.  I will try to also be a better blogger and get other posts up, but I'm not going to make promises I'm not sure I can keep.  I've made those promises before and I don't want to break them again!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Last Year's Resolutions Resolved

I like to re-evaluate last year's resolutions before I write new ones.  So here's what I resolved last year-
1. Be a better blogger- write a real post at least once a week, and update my layout by the end of the month. Failure.  Instead I had a terrible downward spiral and didn't blog for months. Sorry.
2. Get back to South Beach basics (you can check out my other blog for more details) Failure.  I ate a lot of pasta and fruit.  And then trashed the holidays.
3. Leave comfort zone/take more chances. This is what we decided all my quotes meant. I am going to seek out new ways to meet new people, spend more time with my single friends, and find new social opportunies all to step out of my comfort zone and try new things. I feel my success at this is pretty well documented here- rock climbing, roller skating, dating, running...
4. Seek spiritual satisfaction. Sarah doesn't know about this one (well now she does, she reads this blog), but we did talk for awhile about religious vs. faithful and why she believes what she believes. My resolution is to find a spiritual advisor and seek out what I believe (belief? I can never remember which is which, perhaps I should make learning that a resolution...). Failure.  But I'm still working on it
5. Exercise a minimum of 30/day 5 days/week. This is things like rock climbing (which, just wait, I have a great post planned with pictures and everything!!), take a yoga class, learn to swim, train for the fox trot... I have plans is what I'm saying. I should have said 3x/week.  Failure.
6. Be financially responsible. Pay off my credit cards (shouldn't actually be super hard as my total credit line is like $1,000), and save the extra money in my check (I just got a raise) instead of spending it. Hahahahahaha.  Failure.
7. Scratch at least three items off my bucket list. I'm thinking I can probably do at least some of the following- I managed one.
3. Visit the White House, Supreme Court, and Capitol Building
10. See Gettysburg
16. Weigh what my doctor's height/weight chart says I should weigh
18. Zipline
47. Be present at a birth (supposed to be at my new nephew's in February)

So I wasn't exactly successful at my resolutions last year.  Guess it's a good thing I have another year to try :-)