Monday, April 26, 2010

Extra Credit

Practically the first words out of his mouth were, "You look great!" It's hard to beat that, and (to be perfectly honest) he looked pretty great, too.

Eventually he proceeded to tell me about his two previous eHarmony dates--both of which were with very nice women, who (he sheepishly admitted) seemed to have engaged in "false advertising." This is something my dad spoke of often when he was in the online dating scene. Women would not only post pictures that no longer represented their current level of fitness--but seemed to be off on their age as well (sometimes by as much as a decade).

These stories, combined with his previous tales of women with a "thing for men in uniform" and another one who was preparing to go on trial for the attempted murder of her ex-husband (via running him over), while completely entertaining, made me feel like an amateur when it came to dating horror stories. However, it is refreshing to hear about the mortification of "mid-life" dating from the male perspective...although it did cross my mind a couple of times about what his apparent bad taste (judgement, luck?) in women said about me...

We talked and laughed so much that we neglected much of our yummy food--and the drinks even went down slowly. He brought up a few times that he was "having a blast" and I think I heard the word "gorgeous" once (I'm such a sucker!)--but it wasn't in that charming danger zone where I become the one with really bad taste (judgement, luck?) in men...honestly, it wasn't (Terri)!

The restaurant was ready to throw us out, so we drove (I told him we totally could have walked, and I was right!) across the street to a lounge for a final drink and some more lively banter. I don't know if my years of fascination with true crime and the criminal justice system had any influence on how interesting I found his stories, but I think it probably did. This guy has GREAT stories!! And they all happened in Utah, which is even more amazing!

Finally, we knew it was time to call it a nite--I had my girlies waiting for me to get home and he had to get up for work around 4am. He drove me back across the street and then proceeded to walk me to my car from his car. (He also opened doors and did other gentlemanly things that were endearing, even if bordering on the ridiculous.) Once again, we said goodnite with a friendly hug, a smile and an admonishment to "drive safely." No goodnite kiss--although I don't think I would have balked.

As intangible and inexplicable as it is, sometimes you have to grant a little extra credit for some natural chemistry that makes every story a little more intriguing, every smile a little more pleasing and every thought of seeing them again a little more eager.

Bachelor #2: Date #1

Tonite is my second eHarmony date.

I am strangely optimistic after the success of the first date. Tonite is the first date with another match--that's two down!

This guy will make for an entertaining story regardless of how the actual date goes, because I already know some horrendous online dating stories from the past that he has shared with me. It's kinda fun to see the freaky from the guy's perspective!

Even after his visits to the Twilight Zone during past dates, he still offered to pick me up--at my house--before I'd ever met him. He still has some things to learn about this online dating thing. ALWAYS meet up somewhere public first. This guy's an officer of the law--he should know these things!

But, his modern dating naivety and the fact that he met the cop psych profile aside, I have really enjoyed my conversations with Bachelor #2 and hope that tonite will be a lot of fun!

So, off to make myself pretty (wish me luck!) and I will fill you in later!


Sunday, April 25, 2010

You Can't Stop Progress

This morning I dropped my youngest-born off at her second day of work. Later, after buying groceries, I addressed my first-born child's graduation announcements.

Life has a way of overtaking you like a snowball in The Simpsons that gains speed and girth and levels the whole town.

It's hilarious and frightening and entirely out of our control.

I've tried so hard to avoid the reality of Savannah's departure into her own life, that now--just around the bend from the culminating moment (high school graduation)--I feel what may be a very false sense of calm, mingled with pride, gratitude and lots of deep breaths.

I haven't even begun to avoid thinking about my baby girl having her first job; being responsible for things like showing up on time, managing money and bringing in the rubes (she's running games at Lagoon).

Last nite I made jambalaya and Savannah and I watched Gladiator at Terri's. Terri was shocked that Savannah had never seen the movie (which is one of my absolute favorites--I had goosebumps throughout and I've seen it a million times!). But on closer reflection, she realized that when the movie had originally come out, my kids were about the age that her kids are now.

"It feels like yesterday," Terri said.

No matter how hard we try to run from it, getting older and repeating the lame-ass words of grown-ups before us seems to be a treadmill that none of us can turn off.

When your children are on the brink of adulthood it is strange to remember that not too long ago they were in grammar school and the thought of exposing them to the brutal (but totally awesome) violence of Russell Crowe in a dress and sandals was akin to allowing them to cut their own hair...tempting, but completely irresponsible.

I bought some centerpieces for Savannah's graduation party yesterday. I got her a frame for her Associate's Degree. Much to my own dismay, it seems that I have raised the white flag of surrender. My girls are growing up--and so must I. I've taken my head out of the sand and I'm ready to plan one hell of a graduation party (prominently featuring onions, I think...why else would there be tears in my eyes?).

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Solid "A"

It was about as good as a first date can get.

He brought me flowers (see pic).

He brought a very nice bottle of wine for us to share. (He even made sure the waitress always filled my glass first--major points!)

Conversation flowed easily, laughs came readily and there weren't really any awkward silences.

He forgave my (very slight) tardiness and my drowned-rat appearance.

He was an eHarmony virgin, too--we were each other's first!

He was nicely dressed, sufficiently sarcastic and saw a respectable sampling of "new wave" bands back in the day (even though now he considers himself a country music guy).

We teetered on the tightrope of potentially polarizing political talk, but easily navigated into the open waters of tolerance.

He grew up in Utah, but never in the predominant religion.

When he asked me what would be an instant deal-breaker with a match sent to me on eHarmony I answered, "If they wanted kids and if they didn't drink." His answer: "I'll drink to that!" followed by the clinky-clinky of our our wine glasses, the sparkle in our eyes and the laugh in my throat.

He didn't ask me to pay (I didn't even feel the need to offer!).

He walked me to my car.

He asked me to let him know I made it home safely and gave me a very nice hug goodbye. No awkward "do we kiss now or what?" moment.

It was nice.

Score one for eHarmony...or, rather, Terri! (Damn you both!)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Losing It

Tonite's the nite.

I'm going to lose my eHarmony virginity.

I am mere minutes away from meeting my first eHarmony match in person for a dinner date. The excitement! The anticipation! The dread...

Actually, I'm not really dreading it at all (except that it's one more nite playing instead of working on my upcoming move--but maybe that means I'm just dreading all the extra work that will be waiting for me tomorrow rather than dreading the date itself).

You might be wondering, "Is this lucky fella one of those aforementioned gun enthusiasts?" I think you know the answer to that! He is a business owner, a little older than me and a passionate golfer. He has no kids (bonus!) and he doesn't want any kids (double bonus!!). (People often think it is hypocritical of me to prefer dating men without children, but my lovely blessings are nearly grown and I do NOT want to start over. In addition, I am not looking for someone to complete my family, and I don't really want to fill that role for anyone else.)

I must admit that, overall, eHarmony is much improved over my first venture in 2005. I only got four (4!!!) matches in three months and by the time I could actually email the only one that was even a remote possibility, I had already lost interest due to the slow and cumbersome "guided communication" that was meant to identify if we were soul mates based on the "29 dimensions of compatibility" that would miraculously reveal themselves through the insightful questions we were forced to use to communicate, such as "What is your greatest fear about marriage?"

This time I have received many matches, and those that aren't gun-toting psychopaths or obviously still damaged from their last heartbreak (The one thing Rex can't live without is HONESTY, FAITHFULNESS and LOYALTY or The one thing Stewie is looking for in a partner is NO MEDICATIONS) are actually pretty appealing. I have made contact outside of eHarmony (believe me, that is an IMPORTANT distinction) with about five guys.

And now I am, miraculously, on the verge of finding out if there is, indeed, life out there.

This morning I took extra care getting ready--making sure to employ (or is it deploy) every weapon in my arsenal of beautification: push-up bra (who knew how handy these things could be?), eyelash curler, blush, blow dryer, flatiron and (the Rebecca twist on nearly every outfit) boots. I left the house looking fresh, flirty and fabulous!

The weather didn't realize I had a date.

I have been (in no particular order) windblown, rained on and pelleted with hail. I now look like a haggard, drowned rat that has really cool boots.

I guess if it really is all about those 29 dimensions of compatibility, it won't matter...I'll know in about 30 minutes.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Nite in the Life...

Three drinks (Utah pours),a full meal and a brisk walk in the ecstatically warm spring air.

A tearful teenage daughter on the phone, waving me away with an "I'll tell you later" and "I'm really okay" half-hearted laugh.

Whiny kitties looking for their midnite snack.

Law & Order: Criminal Intent rises again after the departure of Detectives Goren & Eames (so sad!). Jeff Goldblum must make up for the loss. Such a heavy burden!

Grinding teeth and tapping keyboard.

Velvety red wine making its soft, slow journey from glass to lip to tongue to throat to chest.

Boxes and piles beckoning, mocking...demanding attention.

Empty fridge. Groceries must be purchased. Tomorrow.

Forgiveness requested.

For lame blog entry.

Contest prep taking precedence.

Patience begged.

Better narratives to come...

Monday, April 12, 2010

The (abridged) Story of Me...or Please, Please Help Me (read below to find out how!)

Once upon a time a baby girl (who bore a striking resemblance to her maternal grandfather, who was, by the way, a very handsome man, but an unfortunate-looking female baby) was born. This baby girl would later say that she was born with pen in hand and words (never-ending words) in both mouth and mind.

In first grade the little girl would write (and cast and direct and perform) her first play. Over the years, this girl would fill up journal after journal with copious words, thoughts, stories, poems, rants and raves. She would enter (and win) an alarmingly large number of writing contests and competitions.

When it came time to pick an elective class for her sophomore year of high school, she (for some strange and to-this-day inexplicable reason) selected Journalism over Creative Writing. That lucky accident would give her the opportunity to win local, state and national competitions, to become editor-in-chief of her high school's nationally-ranked newspaper, work for the local paper as a correspondent during her junior and senior years, and eventually cover a national murder trial for the Associated Press.

Life, love and the birth of another baby girl led this now grown-up girl to take a hiatus from the world of professional writing, although even on hiatus she found her skills and passion sneaking their way into her alternative career path in education and business management--even helping to launch (ever-so-briefly) a national trade magazine.

One divorce, one successful career and yet another baby girl later the girl found herself antsy and longing to get back in the writing game. Her own baby girls were now teenagers ready to venture out ever further on their own, her career was no longer suitable nor satisfying, and her eventual downsizing (compliments of the economy), left writing loudly knocking (once again) on her door.

Blessings and connections and many happy accidents have kept the girl flush with writing and editing opportunities for nearly two years. All the while; however, this cowardly girl (oh, yes, it's true!) has hovered in the shade--resting where it's comfortable and easy--all the while pointing to that spot in the sun where she could be.

Next month this cowardly girl will be attempting to leave the shade and soak in some of that sun. It is the Writer's Digest annual competition. This girl has, previously, submitted a paltry one or two entries into a single category and hoped for the best. However, regardless of how brilliant the girl (sometimes) thinks she is (and how easily she won nearly every writing competition she ever entered in her prolific youth) one stinking entry in one stinking category has not a winner made.

So, the heroine of this little tale is seeking your assistance (her devoted readers and supporters and fabulous friends) to help her mix it up this year. Since the blog is the main depository of my literary aspirations, most entries will likely come from this (and my other blog at, which has some posts that were not posted here) blog.

Please peruse your memory (and the blog archives if you have the time) and let me know which pieces have been your favorites. I have mine, but I do not have the discerning ear, eye or heart of the reader. Please let me know up to 10 of your favorites.

I will be primarily entering the creative non-fiction and personal essay/memoir categories.

The competition deadline is May 15 (I believe), so if I could get your votes before May 1st, that will give me enough time to re-work and polish as needed before throwing my little gladiators into the Colosseum.

Please feel free to post your votes in the comments, on facebook or (for those who have my address) via email.

I humbly and graciously extend to you my sincere thanks for your continued support, encouragement and laughter!!!

Thank you for helping me out as I work to take this (almost) middle-aged little girl's writing career to the next level!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Guns, Trucks and Dating

It gets more and more difficult to choke down those eHarmony commercials as they continue to send me men who, when asked "What are you most passionate about?" answer "hunting." AND who, when listing the three things they can't live without, make sure that at least two of them are guns and their truck. (Oh yes, it is possible to make more than two answers out of that, for instance: guns, my truck, and hunting in my truck OR my truck, my gun rack, my guns in my gun rack in my truck while I'm hunting OR (my favorite) my truck, my guns and the 2nd amendment.)

I think it is just fine if people are hunters who like driving around in their big, muddy trucks with guns; however, I am not (and will never be) interested in dating them.

It disturbs me that eHarmony goes on and on about their sophisticated, scientific matching profile technology and then thinks that someone who lists a glass of wine, a good book and a hot bath as the three things she can't live without would want to be dating someone from the tea party militia. Super-scientific matching mumbo jumbo be damned! I don't care if we are both Christian and extroverts. It ain't gonna happen!

These scruffy, lovable hunters also post pictures of themselves in fatigues or camouflage of some sort next to their mud-caked truck;, often holding their guns--and there's always some kind of giant, hunting hound standing off to the side.

This is what happens when you ask a microchip to go man-shopping for you. There has to be some geeky nerd out there who can program the system to take into account the personality profile AND keywords listed in the "In My Own Words" sections that you are able to fill out on your own. Because if the best they can do is put someone who says what they're looking for in another person is "good conversation and wit" with someone who says they're looking for "FAITHFULLNESS and loyilty" then I may as well just throw in the eHarmony towel right now...but it's pretty damn entertaining (if not a little bit sad) in the meantime.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Out of sight...out of mind (sort of)

I don't know exactly when my kids will be home. be perfectly honest...I don't very much care at this moment. I know they are safe. I know they will be home. I know that they are just a text or call away if I need to reassure myself of previously-stated safety and homebound status.

I like these small snatches of freedom. Eating chips and French onion dip with a glass of chardonnay for dinner. Taking a bath at 7pm. Wandering the house naked while I let myself air-dry and both my bedroom TV and the living room TV blare American Idol so that as I wander up and down, from room to room, I won't miss one stupid minute!

Unless you've known the reality (and joy! always joy) of being completely responsible for someone else's life, well-being and happiness every single day for almost 18 years, you may not get my exultation in these increasingly frequent on-my-own moments.

If I could get my cats to hit the road (and stop their incessant whining and bids for love, affection and attention) it would be a perfect evening!


Monday, April 5, 2010

It just didn't take...

I didn't get married expecting to see the end of my sex life. Seeing as I was four months pregnant when rings and vows were exchanged, sex was not the part of married life that I was worried about. I felt that we pretty much had that part handled, and we knew it worked--for both procreative and pleasurable purposes.

Throughout the remainder of my pregnancy things were still good. Very good, in fact. It's liberating to have pregnant sex--one of your biggest worries about the consequences of carnal pleasure has already played out--so ENJOY! However, so many of the things that later went wrong ended up landing squarely in this area.

It's hard to understand why your husband would (obsessively) choose magazines, videos and the Internet over his flesh-and-blood, ready and willing, pretty damn hot wife! Add dishonesty, anger, declining hygiene, perpetual unemployment and incessant nights out with the boys to the mix, and it left me feeling bewildered, defeated and defective.

I thought that if I could re-introduce a level of physical intimacy to the relationship that would help us be able to communicate, trust and deal with the myriad other demons plaguing our marriage. But it didn't take.

At the end, (after years of therapy, struggle, a respectably sized library of relationship, addiction and marriage books, a million second chances, buckets of forgiveness and thousands of hours of thinking, talking, crying to my friends and gallons of wine) those are the very words my ex-husband hurled at my heart.

"I guess it didn't take."

This, at the end of our last-ditch couples counseling weekend that would reveal at its end whether or not there was anything left to work out. I took my marriage vows so seriously. Even though my parents had divorced and it had been the best thing for everyone, all I could ever hear in my mind was my mother's voice saying, "God hates divorce."

I had grown to believe that divorce was the unforgivable sin. I just couldn't give up. I couldn't fail at this. I couldn't disappoint my parents, his parents, my friends, my daughters, myself, my God. I was determined to never ask "What if" in regard to the death of my marriage.

My husband knew this. And, in what I truly believe to be his last act of love for me, he knew that unless he made it impossible for me to continue, I would never let go. And so he plunged in the knife. Deep.

He told me that when he met me I represented all the things that he wanted. He thought that if he attached himself to me maybe it would rub off on him. But, (and he said this with a shrug of the shoulders and a dismissive "you're blocking my sun" kind of sentiment) it just didn't take.

It was a nice experiment, but didn't yield the results that he desired. He didn't care to continue the charade.

Reading that right now, I know it doesn't convey the full brunt of what happened. It doesn't bring the demolition of my spirit to life. But after that final conversation all I remember is barely being able to speak (or breathe) through my sobs as I called Terri to come get me so I could escape from the demolition of everything I had been trying to build (and keep in tact) for the past eight years.

Terri was sick and in bed. Her poor (and wonderfully amazing) husband Jeff was the one stuck trying to interpret my gasping, sobbing words over the phone. I think I probably got one or two incoherent, racking wails out before I heard, "I'm coming to get you. I'll be right there."

Not only was this superman who came to my rescue my best friend's husband--but he was my husband's best friend. And he didn't even begin to hesitate with his generosity, love and protection.

There are good guys out there. When Terri and I see those cheesy commercials that talk about "good guys" and show them traipsing about in a cape, we always threaten to get Jeff one.

But I digress...this started out as a commentary on my sexless marriage. I don't know where that story really should go--this is the first time I've dared to tell it. It makes me feel more naked and vulnerable than I like. I guess I'll have to keep chipping away in order to find out...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

No Man's Land

The strangest thing has happened. Every guy I meet in real life that I'm even slightly interested in is more suited to dating one of my daughters than me. If I could meet someone over 25 that I found attractive and interesting it would be a frickin' miracle.

Conversely, I find myself longing for more airtime from the likes of Dr. Drew Pinsky, Jon Stewart and Anderson Cooper. Ooooooh, those silver foxes are irresistible!

So, I find myself sort of alone in my late 30's. I don't know if it's a Utah thing or not, but I am in a dead zone.

I have no bars.

It's a desert.

Terri (jokingly ?) offered to pay for me to go on eHarmony and give it another go. I have a fervent and abiding hatred for eHarmony. Its commercials belong on the boat with Miley Cyrus, Tyler Perry and Nicholas Sparks. The boat whose bottom I plan to drill a hole through. Far from shore. Possibly in shark-infested waters.

Unbeknownst to my beloved friend, I went ahead and took their little personality profile, posted my pic and signed up for the tedious purgatory of eHarmony. My major problem with them is that you can't freely browse the merchandise. You have basically filled out a questionaire and are now trusting some personal shopper you've never even met to pick out your summer wardrobe. How can they possibly know what will suit you?

Terri thinks I should do this because it's exactly what I don't normally do. Which, given my track record, I can't argue with. I just hate not being in control.

Only time will tell if the cheesy (and utterly exasperating) promises made in those eHarmony commercials will ring true for me. But here's hoping. (I think!)

Is it possible that somewhere in the eHarmony universe there's life out there...only time will tell.