Saturday, July 14, 2018

I Built Her Myself

Some days it feels like a lot of work to pull myself together. Friday was one of those days. After Oz picked up the kids for an overnight visit at his place, I took a look at myself. I had recently gotten back from a 17 hour road trip alone with 3 children.  And what was left of me was a shell of myself. And SHE was just sitting there. Not moving. Like a lump on the couch.

I reminded her that her friends were going out to see a band that she likes and that there would be dancing and that she should get herself together and start getting ready.

But, she had a lot of excuses.  She felt like she was too tired, too old and too drained of life force energy from everything she endured over the last few years. She felt sadness because she thought about the reality that her dad died and is still dead 4 years later. She thinks MS makes her tired. She gained 4 pounds but feels like it's 100. Her ex-husband is getting remarried in 3 weeks. And she feels like she is going to die alone.

She wanted to wallow in despair and pay bills and sweep the crud off the kitchen floor. She wanted to stay home on her couch and eat the fudge brownie ice cream the kids hadn't found yet while she finished binging another season of Shadow Hunters and take off her bra and put on her romper.

That was IT! Enough! I had to intervene! I could not let her her put that damn onesie on and sit around feeding her friggin' face junk food while her friends were dancing somewhere. NO!

So I pulled her off of the couch and forced her into the bathroom.  I blasted her favorite songs from her phone and threw her into the shower and strongly encouraged her to shave every inch of her Italian fur off.  She tried to get away with a quick once over with the razor, but nope! All of it!  How does it grow so freakin' fast?

I almost felt bad for her and let her put the onesie on and go back to the couch after all the effort the shaving took.  Then I remembered the dancing and my Old Self that wasn't a haggard shell and I pushed forward with my mission.

Next I worked on her hair. She protested of course and wanted to just leave it wet and put it in a messy bun like she had been doing all summer so far. But- nope! Not having it.

She complained it was dried out from the chlorine and salt water from vacation, it was in need of coloring. It was out of control.  And she was right.

 So, I took out all of my tools and turned them to the highest heat settings they had. I used the super strength oil and smoothing creme and I used the salon quality hair dryer I had splurged on for situations such as this. I sectioned the ratty hair into sections. And slowly I dried it. One section at a time.

She tried to convince me to not let her out of the house until her hair color appointment later this week. But, nope! I persisted.

Next, I slathered more oil on the hair. Then I used the flat iron. Again sectioning it. She wanted me to just run it over chunks of hair to quickly flatten it a bit.

Section by small freaking section I smoothed and flat ironed that straw back into silk.

Not too bad!

While the curling iron heated up we worked on her face.

Oh Self, what the hell happened here??

I tried not to be angry, but seriously she hadn't used her face soap and exfoliator in so long that she couldn't even find it. WTF?!

Luckily, I dug it out from the dark hole in the closet and gave her face a good scrubbing.
The old, dead, dried out skin went away. But, the underneath layer was sunburned and reddish and had some blemishes.

 I knew she would use these as excuses to put that darn onesie on and watch tv.

SO- I convinced her it was part of looking like summer!

Before she could register that this isn't a thing- I started dabbing foundation on to blend her face a bit.  I had to admit there was no hiding the pimple on her forehead or the sunburned nose.

I decided instead to use a cream blush to highlight her cheeks and lips and leave the blemishes and "naturalness."

Hmmm....ok she was starting to perk up.

Next were the eyes.  I smudged some eyeshadow on with my finger because she couldn't find a brush and was too lazy to dig out q-tips.  SO I made due.

Not bad!
Now for the eyeliner....inside edge of the bottom lid first.

OMG! She started to look alive.  So I kept going.

Outer edge of top lids.
And one slight wing at each edge.

Ohhhhhh my!

And finally my most favorite of all make-up....Mascara!
I had saved the best for last. I knew that lash by lash I could uncover my True Self.
I still had belief she was in there.

And as I swept that black wonder across those lashes, I saw her. Her eyes sparkled. She was awake now.

Before she lost the sparkle I added a touch of brown brow pencil and BAM!!!! She was alive in there!

It was HER- the woman that likes to listen to music and go out with friends and dance!

Oh, but the outfit, her eyes dulled at the thought.

I reminded her about the black dress hanging on the hook in her room.
She protested that it wasn't actually a dress, but a beach cover up.

I had already anticipated this reaction, so I was ready with a necklace and earrings
it's a dress!

She wasn't too sure, but she didn't have time to think as I shoved her fat little feet into her peacock print shoes that she loves.

That distracted her enough to forget she was wearing a beach cover-up as a dress because it was the only thing clean that actually fit her.

Finally dressed ...  I used a giant-barreled curling iron to add some OOOMPH to her hair.
Just a few well placed curls because at this point I'm lucky she even has any patience left at all.

One very important last step- the root spray.  I shook that can up and sprayed that dark brown paint over as much of her gray hairs as I could.  Took practically the whole can but I covered most of it!

And then...she looks in the mirror and seems to approve. Or at least not head back to the couch.

So she goes to the bar and meets up with her friends and they talk and laugh and she is awake and happy and then the band plays and she loves every song and can't sit in her seat because she needs to stand up and dance!

And she knows every word to Jesse's Girl and Livin' on A Prayer so she sings it with her friends and laughs and laughs.

And I know she will be ok...because I built her myself.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Clumps of Wisdom

I needed a hobby to put on my Dating Profile, besides binge watching Netflix and reading, so I decided to branch out and try something new and I know! But, hey at least it's not needlepoint or something really boring.'s relaxing AND I have met some interesting new people to ponder life with as we throw clay at a potter's wheel.

This week's gem of a life lesson was...if a project is too far gone, just let it go. Stop trying to fix it. It won't get better. If it doesn't have a strong base, it will just flop over.  And no one likes flopping. (Nope!)

When is enough enough? When do you throw it into the messy, wet clump of a pile with the other clay that will never be a vase?

When it starts to get holes, let it go. Start over. Let something new grow. Don't even think about it again.  Move forward to the next project.

Makes sense.

It's sad to let go of something you have put effort into and hoped would turn out the way you imagined. But, sometimes it feels good to take that uneven mess and stuff it into the scrap bin.

I also learned,  it takes incredible strength to move and shape clay into something other than a clump.  Who would have thought??
 But, I think I can count my wheel throwing time as my workout for the week!!

Bit by bit, week by week I am starting to shape something.
My bowls sometimes look like coasters, my vases are the size of small tea cups, but my clumps are taking shape.  My circle of friends is widening.

And I have a hobby!

~Abba, you are the potter and I am the clay~

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Relationships: The Dead Cow Analogy

I was mortified when my children lectured me about relationship choices and it basically turned into an intervention. The evening had started off normally enough, watching some tv shows together.  We were watching Full House and it was the episode where the father goes on a date. During the commercial break, The Goofballs added their own commentary and related the episode to my life.

Goofball #1 began the Mom, we noticed The Wild One has been around again.

I had been mindlessly zoning out, so I snapped to attention and was like "Huh?"

He continued...
So you said you were done and you were moving on.  But, now he's around again.
It reminds me of a cow standing in a field. You promise us you won't shoot the cow, then a month later we go back and the cow is dead.

Wait, what? Am I the cow??

The he said, Well, if that happened we would feel sad for the cow.  And I feel sad for you. Because we know how it ends when he is around.  It's like when we watch the same Full House episodes over and over even though we have seen it. We just can't help it. And you can't help it, even though you know what happens. 

Goofball #2 pipes in at this point...Yea we know how this ends. Breaking up again. Every time.  So don't go back to being around him, then you won't have to break it off again. 

This lecture was starting to sound a lot like the Dua Lipa song, New Rules 
"don't let him in
You'll have to kick him out again, 
 don't be his friend
 ...if you're under him
You ain't getting over him"

I was REALLY hoping we were not going THERE. 

Oh but we were...

Goofball #2 says
It's ok if you want to be friends with him.  Just don't be "FRIEND Friends."  Don't be "Kissing Friends."

Omg, did my Little Bear just say Kissing Friends??

And my Baby Doll had the last word...
Don't be friends.  Be DONE.

Thankfully at that point the commercial break ended and Full House returned. 

I was speechless through most of the conversation, but I recovered enough to thank them all for their honesty and valuable opinions. 

 I also let them know we are no longer using Hulu. We are going back to Netflix because there are no commercial breaks. 

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Tat Tales

Every tattoo has a story to tell.  What's yours? I love to hear why someone chose their tattoos. Is there a special meaning? Did you choose it just because you just felt like it in the moment? Had you planned it for a while first? How old were you? Who were you with? Would you go back and change anything about it?

I got my first tattoo when I was 18 and graduating high school. My mom took me. It's a rose on my ankle.  I had always wanted a rose because I admired my Aunt's rose tattoo.  She is classy and elegant, but the small rose that can only be seen in the summer at the beach, let's the world know that she is a little bit of a badass.  I thought I would get the rose on my hip like she did. But, when I got to the tattoo studio I wanted it on my ankle so I could actually see it.

I don't remember that first tattoo hurting very much, but that was 24 years ago so it might have.
I do remember taking care of it like that was my most important job that summer. I put sunscreen on it and stayed out of chlorine and and the sun so that my fuscia rose wouldn't fade.

Over the years, it has faded a bit.  It's been there so long, I don't even remember I have it, unless someone points it out. It is a mark of my age because so many women of my generation have a very similar tattoo in the same exact spot.

My next tattoo was when I was 20.  I had a fake tattoo that I loved of a Moon and a shooting star.
One night I was just finishing my waitressing shift and a coworker and I were talking about tattoos.
We both had one and wanted another one.  She had heard of a new place that opened and so we stopped by after work.  Should have been my first red flag when it was open late at night.
But, we were 20.  I showed the guy the picture of what I wanted and he then he redrew it with his own spin on things. SO the yellow moon with a sweet face that I wanted turned out to be a blue moon with a wicked grin and a shooting start that looked like the head of a snail.
It was on my hip and it burned!!

I couldn't really see it because of my fat roll from my stomach.  So for the next 20 years I only saw it when I was at the beach or reminded by someone noticing it.  I disliked it greatly and waited patiently for it to fade.  It never did.

So when I turned 40 I finally went to get it redone.
I had the moon joined by a sun and the shooting star covered.
It's better, but still not like the first picture I had of it.

At 41 I got my next one.  My Feather on my foot.  I LOVE my feather.
It is perfectly proportioned on my foot and looks amazing when I wear heels.
I was very drawn to getting a feather. Everywhere I went, I saw feathers.  I ended up reading an article about feathers being signs from Heaven and how Native Americans believe that feathers symbolize the spirit of those that passed.  I am sure it is no coincidence that the feather idea came into my mind shortly after my father passed away.

Last year, I turned 42 and went on "Spring Break" to visit the Wild One when he was living in Atlanta.  We had a fantastic time sightseeing and hanging out.  We had dinner across the street from a Tattoo Shop.  I had been "Pinning" wrist tattoos for months. I knew exactly what I wanted - a Phoenix.

So we took a walk over the the shop and decided to get new tattoos.
Mine turned out exactly how I wanted it to be drawn, a Phoenix with butterfly elements. Curvy Wings. It was slightly larger than I had originally planned, but when they put the mock up on I loved it so much I decided to go with the larger size. It's also a little lower on my wrist than I originally wanted.

It's more of an inner-arm tattoo, which I have since realized, is some sort of game-changer when it comes to tattoos for women. After I got it, I started to notice wrist and inner arm tats everywhere I went.  I really like them. But, I also noticed this was my first tattoo that had some negative feedback from others -  loved ones and strangers alike.

It seems like maybe hip, ankle or foot tattoos are more socially acceptable for women or maybe just easier to cover up. But, the wrist or inner forearm seems to make a different sort of statement. I am not really sure what statement people think it makes, but something that is markedly different than other placements.

I was surprised at the negative response in some instances when I first got it. It seems to be a love/hate tattoo.  People either really hate it and say something rude about it or they love it and comment on the artwork or the meaning.   One person said it looked "disgusting." Maybe because it's more visible that my others and has a darker ink? Or maybe the association of the Spring Break connection?  One person said it was "completely badass."

The comments have faded as the ink has faded a bit. With bracelets on it's barely visible.  Anyway, I find it to be beautiful and I've learned over the years that I care less and less what other people think in general.   The people that get it-  are My People.

When I look at my Phoenix I am reminded of the challenges I moved past in these few years.  Challenges with my babies' births, miscarriages, divorce, my dad dying, MS diagnosis, break ups.
Rise up from the flames. Learn life lessons. Move on. Be Better than Before.

Last summer, I went back to Atlanta. The Wild One and I were hanging out.  I had not been thinking of a another tattoo.  But, that day I had an image come to my mind of 2 butterflies facing each other.   So we decided to go back to the Tattoo Shop. I tried to find something similar on Pinterest. When I told the artist about the butterflies,  he drew it exactly like the image I saw in my mind.

The spot that looked perfect for it was on my lower back. I had always avoided the Tramp Stamp Trend, but that particular tattoo just fit in that spot so perfectly.  Hurt like HELLLLLLLL though. I kept asking if he was almost done. He said, nope and it doesn't make it go any faster when you ask.

Butterflies are New Life and I feel like I am always starting over, again and again. Each new chapter of life is a new beginning.

Not many people see that one.  I can't even really see it, so I forget it's there most of the time.
But, my daughter saw it one day right after I got it.  She loved it! She promised not to tell my mother because even at 43 I still hear flack from her, especially about "inking up" my body.
So Bella thinks it's special that she knows about it.

She told me that when she turns 18 she wants us to get matching Unicorns!
I am definitely up for that!

In the meantime, I have been contemplating a tiny behind the ear tattoo next.
Pinterest pinning time!

"No RAGRETS!  Not Even One Letter??"

Thursday, February 1, 2018

The Secret to a Happy Marriage

I got home tonight and my Ex-Husband, Oz, was at my house with the kids and a salesman from a roofing company.  And that is not even the weirdest part of the story.  Over the weekend Oz and Dorothy were at a Wedding Expo and they entered to win home improvement services.  They don't own a home, but they know I do and that my home has a hole in the roof that squirrels have been moving into.   So, they entered to win me a new roof. Or at least an estimate on one that I can finance (still not the most awkward part of the story.)

So Roof Sales Man arrives while I was out with my friend and Oz was here with the kids.  Roof Sales Man goes through his speech on roof stuff with Oz.  Then I arrive.  He assumes that I am Oz's wife because that makes sense. But, I don't realize it at first.

After, he looks around he comes back inside to meet with us and says he needs to schedule another appointment and when are we available etc. etc.

As he tries to talk about the pros of going with a more expensive shingle, he starts using all his sales tactics... he wonders how long do we expect them to last?
He is looking at me and wants to know how long will we plan to be in the house.
Well...who knows?? It was a starter home ...but here we are 14 years later.  So...

Then he says, so how long have you known each other?  Well...about 16 years.

"WOW!" he says, "so what's the secret to a happy marriage?"


Sunday, January 21, 2018

The Way We Woo- Amended Version

 When you write about the people you've had a relationship with, there is always another side to consider.  Sometimes those Exes have a thing or two to add to the story.  Sometimes they have a perspective of their own. Only once before did I have an Ex ask for me to amend a post.  That was the whole Skinny Jeans Debacle with Oz. But,  I recently wrote a post called the Art of Wooing.  And The Wild One had a few things to add.  And so here goes....

The back story is:
I had been "on again/off again" with - The Wild One-  for the majority of the last 3 years.  We have broken up 15 times.  I would love to say that is an exaggeration. But, it's not. is what it is.  Months ago was the break up that felt like the most final of all the break ups.


 I have been struggling with a Squirrel problem for what feels like years. EVERY damn winter the squirrels move into my attic.

Oz has helped me keep it under control with setting traps each winter.

But, the pesky bastards have gotten more brazen.  They dug a bigger hole into the roof of my back porch. They invited their friends to join them.

I found handling the situation professionally was expensive and beyond my single mom budget.  So my nephew helped me and patched up the hole with some boards.  Temporarily fixed!

This winter when the squirrels moved in,  a friend suggested a guy he knows that could patch the hole in the roof.

So, Carpenter Guy shows up and says he will get back to me with an estimate. And...nothing.  Didn't hear from him. In the meantime it snows. A lot. Finally, he texts and says he will stop by.  He doesn't.

It snows more. Lots more.
The squirrels get louder, a lot louder.

This past week I was doing laundry in my basement and heard the squirrels scurrying loudly through the walls.  I FREAKED OUT!!!

Oz said he would get some more traps.  But, stated that obviously the hole needs repairing.  I needed someone that could legit help repair it.

I was desperate and panicking.  The exterminators were hundreds of dollars. Carpenters charge hundreds and then some. Two weeks after Christmas- the most expensive holiday in the life of any parent - is NOT the time for this type of issue.
Also, no one was immediately available to run over to rescue my family from the Squirrel Invasion.

I knew it was time to ask for help so... I called The Wild One.

Thankfully he called back.

As soon as I heard his voice,  I knew it would be ok.
He assured me he would take a look at it and repair it enough to keep squirrels out until I can get someone to fix it permanently in the warmer weather.

I was worried to tell the kids about The Wild One arriving, I was worried to tell Oz who was also on his way over.  But, they all agreed...It was the right call because The Wild One can fix anything.

When The Wild One arrived, I felt like my entire body exhaled.
All of the fear I had about the squirrels coming into the house, the worry over what mold might be growing in the hole they made on my back porch, the snow piled on the roof and water damage, the stress over how to fix it, how much it would cost, all of it...just lifted.

I hadn't realized how much stress I felt until I let it go.

And so knee deep in snow, The Wild One dug out the ladder from under a snowpile in my yard and got on the roof to assess the situation.

Then he began cutting into the ceiling on the porch and out came large squirrel nests.  So much gross insulation, feathers, sticks and shit poured out onto him.

He turned and looked at me, and said...  I hope you will remember this the next time you decide to trash talk me.

And there it was..

Having to face reality. Nothing happens in a bubble.

I have said things. Things that were true. Things I was angry and hurt about. Things that I would say to his face. Some of those things I chose to tell someone that knows him.


The old saying - don't burn your bridges-  is true.  You never know when you break up with someone when your paths might cross again. Or when you might need them to hunt squirrels for you.

As he continued patching up the squirrels' destruction with sheets of metal, he mentioned having read my blog post.


Which one do you mean??  (because depending on the answer the conversation can go from discussion to shit-show in about a minute!)

He says...The Wooing one.

Oh! Ok good. Not confrontational at all. Right?!

Well... it definitely opened up an interesting discussion..and gave me a new perspective.

The point of that post was that Wooing comes in different forms.  He says he thinks that post needs an Amendment added because he felt like I glossed over Wooing that didn't involve flowers or jewelry and only briefly mentioned any other kind of Wooing.

Actions and service are forms of Wooing that are very powerful and valuable, but he didn't feel like I understood that type of Wooing.    When I asked him why he thinks Actions are a great way to Woo, he said he feels that acts of service are long lasting and unique to the needs of the individual.  He said that the things he does to help with projects are longer lasting that flowers.  And that he chooses to do those things to make me happy and make life easier.

I really do value those efforts! I used to joke that doing House Projects was the #2 Reason I loved him.  (Reason #1 isn't really printable)
But, it wasn't a joke.  Those projects made me feel safe and cared for.

He didn't just clean out the garage, but also built a bike rack that helps keep it clean and organized on regular basis.

There were times he cleaned my kids' bedrooms and built a bed for my daughter. It was an amazing difference!

He taught me how to organize my kitchen cabinets and bedroom drawers and closets.  And keep my bill piles straight, something I really struggled with.

And one of the times he Wooed me (and my neighbor) was when he chainsawed trees down in the backyard for me.

Over the years, he has fixed cars for me, my mom, and my nephew.  He vented my dryer to the outside to make the house safer.
He taught my boys how to put new tires and brakes on their bikes.

When I was first diagnosed with MS he drove me to doctor appointments and helped me navigate IVs and injections.

So I guess when it comes to writing about Exes, it is not something that is always summed up in short sentence, or a funny paragraph.

I am very fortunate that I also have Oz. He helps with so many things for me and for the kids!

Recently, it was VERY entertaining to see OZ and The Wild One team up to hunt squirrels together.
The Wild One tried handle the squirrel issue with sling shots, pellet guns and tools.  Oz tried to handle it with traps and peanut butter because he has had success with it in the past.

But, it is about more than which method will eventually rid the attic of squirrels.

 It is about these two people that my life has intertwined with.  Two people that are so important to me in very different ways.  They are exact opposites in everything,  including the ways they Woo.
But, when it comes down to it, they are there for me in immeasurable ways.  And I appreciate it SO much, even when it seems like I don't!

I hope this story ends up with less squirrels soon!! To be continued...

Monday, January 1, 2018

Meeting My Match

When my dating profile needed a makeover, who did I ask for help? Ummm...My Exes and their girlfriends.  2017 was a Year of Lessons for me. And one thing I learned is that if I want to meet a King, I can't keep playing with the Jesters.  So if I am going to get serious about meeting Mr. Right I need some reinforcements.

I'm not a major fan of online dating, but it seems a
likely way to meet potential Mr. Right(s), so I have dabbled with it over the past few years.  I have met some doozies. One guy wore shoes that looked like gloves, but for your feet. Another had a sketchy Italian accent that came and went depending on his mood.

One guy was HOT, like super duper H.O.T.  He smelled so good. Like if Heaven smelled Sexy and you could bottle it, that would be his scent.  He had a French accent and was tall.
He said all the right things.  Too right.  I was skeptical.  He was too well dressed and too damn sexy. He had to be up to something.  The more I got to know him, I started to notice his smooth talk included some red flags.  He started to use the language of one of my infamous Exes. He said he had "side jobs" that kept him busy.  Hmmm...I knew from past experiences that "side job" is double talk for "side bitch."  And then there was the excuse of "my phone broke."
Classic Fuckboy line.  So I stopped responding to texts and then his true colors flared.
First, he was persistent, then angry, then insulting.
Then he contacted me from one of his THREE other profiles!!! So Charlie, Pierre and Mr. Sincere
were blocked.

But, online dating isn't all things made of nightmares.  A few years ago, when I had first tried online dating, I did meet one nice guy, R.  We dated for while and he was awesome! The relationship didn't last, but our friendship has.  He is someone that I trust with the most important people in my life - my children.  Thankfully, he has become part of our village and often babysits for my Goofballs.  They have come to really care about and respect him.  We all value his opinion, which is always dead honest - even if you don't like it!  So of course, when I was thinking of revamping my dating profile I asked for his advice.  His girlfriend is a good friend of mine and I introduced them! Turns out I am an amazing matchmaker!! They're a great couple!  Now I just need to show good judgment in finding my own match.

As expected, R. was honest and said the picture I chose for my profile wasn't flattering, He said it didn't look like my face somehow.

A professional Dating Advice Giver/Matchmaker had said the same thing. She has said it needed to appeal more to men.  R. agreed.

So, it seemed I maybe needed to show more cleavage.  And somehow fix my face to look like my face.

Basically,  I needed a new photo.

So...I spoke with an expert. My Ex-Husband, Oz. He's an Artist and a Photographer.  Turns out, he and his Fiance had some time to spare and they helped me with a photo session.

Nope...nothin' weird about that.

Anyhoo - I figured over the past 15 years Oz has captured me at my Best and Worst. He's documented my happiest of times like my Wedding Day, me seeing my babies faces for the first time, me celebrating a decade of holidays.  He's captured my saddest days of miscarriages and losing my father. He has caught the candid, off-guard moments that are truly me in my every day life.  And he has been witness to my ugliest moments that I try to never let the world see and has thankfully not photographed them.

So who better to try to help me get my face to look like my face?

But, in the end it was actually Oz's fiancé Dorothy that took the picture that felt most like the Me that I see.

She was gracious enough to help Oz with the photo shoot.  And she helped with artistic suggestions like lighting, poses etc.

We tried shots of me sitting, standing, smiling, not smiling.  Far away, close up. It was quite the process.  Nothing felt right.

We even staged of few of me trying to make reading somehow look sexy since it's one of my only hobbies!!

When the kids needed tending too, Oz went to help.  Dorothy shot a few pictures that ended up being the best of the bunch. They had an angle that showed me looking my best.

Oz captured a few great ones too, like me laughing! I don't know how many dates it would get me, but he voted for the laughing shot as my main profile picture.  Not sure if the King that I plan to meet would click on that though! SO I had to overrule him.

As we start 2018, I am reflecting on how very important my family is. And how friends have become family to me.  Anyone that is truly the right Match for me will need to know and care about these people that have become my village. Might as well let them all help me find him!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

The Art of Wooing

Wooing.  Everyone has a different definition of what counts as romance.  So Wooing is not a "one type fits all" kind of thing. Over the years I have learned that romance is as unique as each person. It is often a reflection of personality and symbolic of the relationship itself.

My first example of Wooing was from my parents.  My Dad loved to surprise my mom with flowers, jewelry etc.  He was a bit over the top to say the least! He never bought just one dozen of roses - nope, he would buy 4! Once, he arrived home with an entire pick up truck filled with mums! It was hilarious and crazy and SO him!! My mom however likes simple and would have been happy with a single hand-picked rose, so it it made it even funnier to see how their extremely opposite personalities interacted. It worked for them! During the 40 years of their marriage, he continued to Woo her!

One boyfriend from my teen years was a Woo-er.  His Wooing strategies ranged from showing off his BMX bike tricks to filling my room with roses and balloons to surprise me on my birthday.  He wrote me cards and gave me his class ring (which he got in trouble for from his mom and she came to my house and took it back!)  But, I was young. Though I liked the Wooing, he wasn't The One.   Years later we reconnected and he still had his Wooing down to a science with flowers and cards and candy and stuffed animals to brighten my day and he loved to cook me meals and show off his culinary skills.   It was fun! But, he was STILL not The One. So I moved on.  Even more years later, after I was married and had children, he tried to reconnect with me and sent poems... from prison. Still wasn't The One.

I've always loved Grand Gestures. Probably because I grew up watching General Hospital and too many 80s Rom-Coms.  But, the Grand Gestures make the romance feel alive for me!  I like the Wooing.

My ex-husband was a Master of Grand Gestures and Wooing.  When we were dating he brought flowers, painted pictures for me, wrote me a song, brought me to see the Lion King with front row seats and took me on an impromptu Road Trip to Disney.  Romance was alive and fun! Even through almost a decade of marriage he marked every anniversary with flowers and jewelry or other fun and thoughtful surprises.  The letters and cards were always my favorite. They meant the most in the end.  Words of love.

Dating since Divorce has been a whole new adventure in Wooing.

I am not sure if it is because it is different decade now, or because I am older, or if it is that I am meeting people that are not my "typical type," but how I perceive romance has changed.

At first, when I began dating again, I gravitated towards more of the same- traditional yet artsy men. Woo-ers.  One taught my class a song and serenaded me. Swoon!!!
Another one spent time getting to know my BFFs - the way to my heart!
One showed up with Orchids and planned fun dates because he liked my energy!

Then there were the Non-Traditional Woo-ers I've met along the way.  That's when my idea of romance evolved.  I used to think romance had to do only with pretty things like flowers, perfume, candles or teddy bears.

But, I started to see that men Woo in all different ways.  Some might build a shelf for my classroom, clean out my garage, put new brakes on my car, plunge a clogged toilet or sit in a hospital bed holding me for days.

Others might make really great egg sandwiches.

Then there are ones that try to Woo in a more... hands on way.  One person I briefly dated offered to lick parts that never occurred to me might be lickable.  I politely declined the offer, but kudos for going all in for the Wooing!

One gave me a gift that was so ridiculous it made me realize how ridiculous our whole relationship had gotten.

Wooing can really be symbolic of the type of relationship two people are developing.  Maybe it's Traditional with dinners, flowers, candlelight.  Maybe it's Extreme with bungee jumping and home makeover projects. Maybe it's Adventurous with Road Trips and exploring everything in all kinds of ways. Or maybe it is just fun and ridiculous and a distraction that you eventually outgrow.  Or maybe it is a mix of it all and you grow old together enjoying life.

"In the end, the love you take ~ is equal to the love you make."

Monday, October 30, 2017

Happiness Is Like A Brick

According to my BFF/Guru, happiness is like a brick. One evening at Happy Hour, we talked about how the flat part of the brick is like the shit pile of real life and happiness is the teeny-tiny space of stuff holding it together. But, that didn't sound NEARLY as inspirational as we needed it to be. So, over wine and apps, we had a further discussion about how when you are used to the highs and lows of life's ups and downs, you can easily get so desensitized to the chaos and noise. When it is finally quiet you don't know what to do. Happiness can be like a brick because life can be flat for a while before getting to the little blips in between that brings excitement.   In the content moments of life there can be confusion. Quiet can quickly be perceived as boring.  But, when you let yourself sit, and take in the quiet you start to realize it is actually contentment and that quiet life can be quite enjoyable.  When you start to take out the negative energy of toxic people and start to say no to things that used to feel like obligations, you start to have time to just BE.  Day to day life can feel monotonous, routine can seem like it's stifling- it can seem flat...until you start to see the possibility it brings.  When life is predictable you can be in a better place to make decisions.  When you are not constantly in survival or crisis mode, you can calmly assess situations and discern which path to take.  That brings a whole new level of opportunities.  You can start choose a new hobby, read a new book, visit a new place, meet new people, have new relationships, truly explore all of your options.  Quiet brings time to discern.  And every once in a while on the path there is a blip of excitement.  If you keep going long enough you will get to it, you will.  Every brick ends and a new one begins. Happiness is there, in the small spaces in between. In what holds it all together. Sometimes you just have to get through the shit piles to get to it.