A Conversation with Myself

Time to empty out my head so I (MC) will be interviewing myself (ME) about my recent dating app experiences.  Is it wrong to meet and tell?  Maybe, but I won’t use any names.

MC:  So how does this online dating app experience feel over all?

ME:  Kind of disappointing and certainly stressful.  I felt like I swiped right a fair amount but got very few matches.

MC: Why do you think that is?

ME:  Cause I am middle-aged?

MC:  Right, well let’s talk about the people you did match with.  How many have you actually gotten to know a bit thru texting?

ME:  Four so far.  

MC:  Only four?  That’s not much of a sample size.

ME: There were a few more matches, two didn’t respond at all and two more I have only exchanged a few lines with. One disappointment was B.  He is the one I texted during the night when we both had insomnia and then he deleted his account.  😞 He showed up again so I swiped right and saw that he had already matched with me.  I was kinda excited and sent him a text asking if we had talked before…and he never responded. 

MC: That is rather disappointing.  But what about the other four.  Let’s start with the first guy.

ME:  We texted quite a bit and then talked on the phone a few times but didn’t meet.

MC: What happened?

ME: Had rather a lot of drama in his life.  Last girlfriend called the cops on him and he seemed to spend a lot of time at his ex-wife’s place who he “Still loved with all his heart”.

MC: Sounds like a good call to move on.  Okay, how about number 2.

ME:  He was a really bad texter, I actually thought he was drunk our first exchange which I ended after just a few texts.  Then two days later I asked him how drunk he was that night and he said he didn’t drink.  He was just a really bad texter which never changed. Incomplete sentences, tons of typos, very short answers. Turns out he was really shy.

MC: Did you meet him in person? 

ME: I did. Probably not the best choice for a first meet since we were both really nervous.  I tried to make him feel at ease but it just wasn’t happening.

MC: So how did things end?

ME: Badly. He sent me a text asking if he could see me again and I had to say I didn’t think I was a good fit for him.  I felt terrible because I can only imagine how hard it was for him to meet me. His only reply was “ok” and then he unmatched me.

MC: That sounds rough. Let’s move onto number three.

ME:  We seemed to have a lot in common but we also have a lot of differences. I didn’t always get his sense of humor. We did talk on the phone and then agreed to meet.

MC: How did that go?

ME: While I had been hopeful there really wasn’t any chemistry between us.  And our differences seemed magnified in person.

MC: That’s too bad. No hope at all there?

ME: I don’t think so.  He was really COVID sensitive but at the same time he was straight up about how he didn’t need another “friend” (translation he just wanted to have sex) and then asked questions like “When did you end your work with the Census?  and When was the last time you kissed someone?”  Obviously worried about being “contaminated” and concerned over my lack of concern.

MC: So how did it end?

ME:  We said good-bye and haven’t contacted each other since.

MC: Hmm.  Do you expect to hear from him again?

ME: Kind of hope so because I loaned him a movie.

MC: Do you really think you are going to get that movie back?

ME: No. 

MC: So, we are down to one final candidate. Tell me about number four.

ME: Well, he is the one I feel the most connected with, at least via text. He wanted to meet last weekend but I chickened out.

MC:  Chickened out?

ME: I hadn’t met anybody in person yet and I wasn’t sure I was ready.

MC: Are you ready now?

ME: I think so.  We have had some fun exchanges, no serious conversations though. I am not sure I am ready for another in person non-connection. I am really enjoying talking to him and would hate to lose that already.

MC: So what are you going to do?  

ME: Maybe talk to him tonight, get a feel for what he thinks and I am curious as to how this dating app stuff has been working for him.  And maybe set up a meeting?

MC: That’s a lot of maybes. 

ME: Well he might not be available to talk tonight.

MC: That’s true. But let’s face it, at some point you are going to need to gather your courage and move the potential relationship along. He has already said he would like to meet you in person.  The ball is in your court.

ME: I know, I know.

MC: So I guess that is everything. Any final words?

ME: I really miss all the chemistry I had with M* and how easy it all was. 

MC:  Too bad it was all lies and he bruised your heart.

ME: I know, I know.

No water at all going over the dam. 😦 Just as dry as me attempting a dating life.

This was a fun format to write. Please tell me it was more funny then pathetic. I know, I know…..

Patience

“With patience comes choice and with choice comes power.”

Another quote from Louise Penny”s “All the Devils are Here”

And the patience and perseverance have paid off. I have picked up the pieces of my life again.


Yesterday I went to lunch with a friend and then to Trader Joe’s. We all know I love me some Trader Joe’s. I bought a few snacks for football this weekend, stocked the freezer with a few ‘I don’t feel like cooking meals’ and the milk that was my justification for stopping there in the first place.
And on the drive home I cranked up the radio and found myself smiling for no real reason at all.

Here is my haunted house from Trader Joe’s. My son didn’t want to decorate it so I did! And yes I am totally getting the little turkey’s this year and using them as place cards.


Yes the yoga and meditation and walking have helped. And my word for the year “Embrace Today”. Funny how you pick a word (or two) at the beginning of the year and it really resonates at some point. I was finally able to shut up the voice in my head that kept imagining what I would say to M* if he ever tried to contact me:

There was the icy stare or cold silence option.
The puzzled “who is this” question?
The breezy “hey (cause you never meant anything to me at all) how’s it going” in a cheery voice.
The neutrally voiced “why are you talking to me, we are not friends,” statement of fact.

Once I started focusing on just today the voices in my head retreated. I wake up and think about what do I want to do TODAY? I typically pick one household type chore and then see what else appeals to me. And I do it.

It is a relief to climb into bed at night and feel good about the day and not dread tomorrow. It is good to stop the endless loop of the past and rumination on the future. To be back in the present moment. To sleep through the night again.

My gut is telling me this is a time for waiting. Change is coming but I need to be patient. Not one of my strong suits but the need to pause and be still is very strong at the moment. I need to heed it while at the same time living my life as it is right now. I can do this!

Lovely fall color in my Susan Branch bird vase.

Step after Step

I have to admit that yoga, meditation and now walking every evening have turned out to be very healing. I am enjoying exploring Sabino Canyon more fully and last week I finished my walks under the very bright moon which I loved more that I thought I would.

My son has returned to in person school four days a week providing me with some badly needed solitude. And a chance to have the kitchen stay cleaned up for more than 5 seconds.

I think I may have fell in love just a little with Ethan Hawke after watching his short TED talk:

Once again my “word” of the year is proving to be quite beneficial:

Life is so much easier when you live in the moment and not worry or plan so much for the future or keep reflecting on the past.

The only thing I am wishing for right now is cooler temps. We are back to the 90’s and I had to turn the a/c back on. 🥵 Despite the heat I am enjoying crock-pot meals, pumpkin chocolate chip pancakes and watching football.

I am not liking all this new WordPress crap. Some of my photos won’t upload “for security reasons”. Does someone think I have some sort of code embedded in my Trader Joe’s haunted house? And now there are blogs that I cannot comment or like anymore. (Sorry L.A.!) I admit to being a little weary of trying to keep up with technology. 🙁

Anthems

I am not a huge music person. I listen sometimes and like a variety of genres. But I seldom know titles or group names or lyrics.

As luck would have it one day I heard two songs in a row that I had never heard before on one of the SiriusXM stations. And those have become my temporary theme songs. I feel better every time I try to sing along. 😎

“Lover, Lover” by Jerrod Niemann

And I love this one:

Forest Gumping it

I finally figured out what makes me feel better. Walking. Outside. With no destination and no time limit (except darkness).

I have begun taking an evening sabbatical. I leave the house between 4:00p and 4:30p once the sun has retreated enough to be bearable. I go over to Sabino Canyon and walk. It is not too crowded at that time and I have plenty of solitude. Sometimes I find a quiet spot to sit for awhile. Yesterday I sat near the oh so dry creek bed and listened to the wind in the cottonwood trees. The rustling of the leaves was incredibly soothing.

This has become by far my favorite part of the day. The only negative is it gets dark in a hurry here, full dark at 6:00p right now. I try to be out of the park by 5:45p because I don’t want to get eaten by a mountain lion (even though that would be an unique way to go!) and there are not any street lights anywhere.

Last night I dawdled watching an amazing sunset and found the end of my journey to be in total darkness. I did not encounter any mountain lions but there were two rather fierce looking bunnies in my path. I tried to make myself look big and scary and they scampered off, ha!

Once back in my own ‘hood I had to pause for some javelinas in the wash across the street from me. I think it will be a good idea to carry a flashlight in my pocket tonight, cause I am sure that would keep a mountain lion away 🙄.

The Great Toilet Paper Caper

April 7, 2020

This week has sucked. Not because of COVID-19 but because of the full moon. My hot flashes have been ferocious and the insomnia insane. As usual my first thought is that this will be the last month of suffering. The hot flashes are doing one last push and then my body will succumb gracefully into aging. This is an insane thought and at 1:00a I am googling away re-learning that it is highly likely that I will have to deal with hot flashes for nine to ten years total which means perhaps six more years. I can’t bear the thought.

I find myself wondering why my hot flashes seem worse right now. The weather hasn’t turned abysmally hot yet. And then it hits me, stress. While on the surface I don’t think I am freaking out over our current pandemic there are thready undercurrents flowing beneath.

Mostly I am unhappy because so much is unknown. I can’t visualize the future. The lack of control has me stressed. Problem identified. Now what to do about it?

I come up with two plans. I still have almost 90 days worth of a low-dose anti-depressant shown to help some women with hot flashes. I only took it a few days because it made me very nauseous. I decide to try again, this time eating a few crackers when I take it and going a whole week (at least) to see if my body adapts.

And the second plan? Our stores are pretty well stocked. I have enough allergy meds and such that I am not worried about running out. The only item I am worried about is toilet paper. Back in mid-March I bought our usual 12 pack right before the insanity started. Before I knew anything was really going on, just my normal purchase. And when the toilet paper disappeared from shelves I wasn’t worried. I thought that by the time I needed to buy more the world would be back to normal.

But it is almost a month later and I haven’t seen a roll of toilet paper on the shelves in the last three weeks. Now, I am not the type of person who wants to start going from store to store on a tp hunt. My observation is if you find toilet paper (or paper towels etc) it is pure luck. You just happen to be in the store when they bring out a batch. I find myself wondering if I am willing to chance it and simply wait and hope the stores are re-supplied by the time we are down to our last roll or two.

It seems risky. I mean the shelves are empty all across the country. We have no idea if or when a total lockdown may start. What if my spouse brings the virus home from work and we have to self-quarantine for two weeks? I can picture life without toilet paper and it isn’t pretty. Is there anything I can do about this? Maybe.

I read an article on-line about the toilet paper shortage and they recommend checking restaurant supply stores. Hmmm. Makes sense. Restaurants are probably buying less toilet paper with no inside dining. So I go on-line to a place in Tennessee. It says toilet paper is in-stock. I can buy a case of 96 rolls. I try and visualize 96 rolls of toilet paper and my imagination fails me. Where would we store it all?

Most of me says just buy it before it disappears but a small section of my mind says let’s just think about this for a minute. And I do. And 96 rolls wins out over zero rolls easily. I can share, I can donate, I can store it in the empty suitcases in the garage. (It’s not like we are going anywhere this summer!) I place the order, and then I wait.

I get the confirmation e-mail but 24 hours later I still don’t have a processing or shipping e-mail. Uh-oh. I check the website, standard toilet paper is no longer in-stock. Was I too late?

I tell myself to be patient and give it a few days, they were probably inundated with orders. And so I wait.

April 13, 2020

First the good news. I am able to take the anti-depressant with a few crackers and it seems to be working. My hot flashes are fewer and much, much less intense. But this being the post full moon period of the month the hot flashes are usually on the wane anyway. The real test will be the first week of May right before the full moon. But at least I have hope.

As for the toilet paper? I never did receive another e-mail as to status but I did figure out how to check the order status on-line through their website. The first time I checked it said it was on back order until 5/31. I decide I can live with this. I really want a stash for later in the year when/if a second wave hits. At the end of the week I check the status again and now it says nothing. I contact the company to make sure they didn’t cancel the order. They haven’t but now they are thinking 8 to 10 weeks before they get re-supplied. I am going to remain optimistic on the toilet paper front. What else can I do?

For now I am sticking to my normal routine as much as possible. I do my yoga, shower, meditate. I fast between 4:00p and 10:00a most days, or at least close to that window. I try and keep busy but I also try and cut myself some slack. I have promised myself that if I get to a point where I really don’t want to do anything I can have 24 hours off. The most important thing for me to remember is to just take things one day at a time.

Stay Safe!

And So it Goes

We are at the end of our second full week of being home. If I had to pick one word I would pick miserable. How can staying home make one so unhappy? Part of the problem is the time of the month, or more accurately the phase of the moon. In another week the moon will be on the wane and my coping skills returning. But in the meantime…

Home schooling is a nightmare. Screen time has been a battle for years and now to have to deal with my son being on the computer ALL DAY? Just shoot me now. The first day I set him up at the dining room table. He strategically chose a seat where I couldn’t easily see the screen. He put his headphones on. I assumed he was goofing off some but at the end of the week when I checked google classroom he had done nothing except History. And you know why he did History? Because one day I sat at the table with him to finish our taxes so he knew he needed to do real work. Apparently he spent most of the week researching a new gaming mouse and mousepad and watching youtube videos (and not the one’s from his math teacher).

So for week two I had him sitting in a different chair, banished the headphones and we went over google classroom before and after school each day. I sat at the table with him for at least part of each day and made sure I frequently checked his screen. I hated it. He hated it. I just want him to be responsible, show some integrity and give a shit about his own future. He’s only 12 so I am not sure if I am allowed to just let him fail or do I have to wait until he is older and has a better grasp of the consequences?

I am taking an on-line class on the science of well-being taught at Yale. (Auditing so it is free.) My son and I both took a test showing us our 24 strengths, from greatest to weakest. My number one: honesty. His number twenty-four: honesty. I think I see the problem. What I don’t see is how week three is going to unfold. Moving on…

I watched Collection 6 of The Great British Baking Show on Netflix. Not my favorite, too many weird challenges and way too much crying. And what was up with all the handshakes? Once Dave and Jon left I found myself wondering why I was still watching.

Frustrated with my lack of Census work. I was supposed to be done mid-April. I am afraid that by the time we resume it will be screaming hot. Please, just go on-line and do the darn thing!

Why am I the only person in the house who can refill the water pitcher?

Every day I get up around the same time, do my yoga, shower and get dressed. I have a small whiteboard where I list my tasks for the day. On Friday (today) I walked down to the ATM to get money and then ducked in the grocery store for some fresh produce. A little over two miles roundtrip. I came home and paid bills and mopped the kitchen floor. At 3:00p I found myself wondering if I could go back to bed. Well of course I could, but should I? It was tempting. But I have decided to try and hold out until dark (say 7:00p). I’ll finish this post, work on a needlepoint project or color. Watch something maybe.

I miss baseball.

Take care and stay safe!

Common Sense in Uncommon Times

I know I have said this before and used the same picture* but I really feel it can’t be said enough these days, COMMON SENSE people! It is taking me a few days to wrap my head around this new “normal”. I find myself feeling rather anxious which is atypical for me. I am trying to puzzle out why.

Maybe because I have the responsibility for a child? Part of me is happy he is home safe with me and part of me worries that we will be screaming at each other before the week is out. Putting a woman at the tail end of menopause with a boy on the cusp of puberty seems like way too many hormones in a confined space.

Since we are both on a bowling hiatus I figured we could do some Wii bowling. He kicked my butt all three games!

I think the more likely cause of my anxiety is simply the unknown. How long will this last? Will we get locked-down? How many people will actually get sick? Will anyone I know get sick? Will I be able to buy toilet paper (or whatever it is I run out of first) when the time comes? How long will the repercussions last?

Ah, how long will all this last? Will school resume? When will shelves get re-stocked? Stores re-open?

Will this end up changing our lives permanently in any way? Think about how things have changed since 9/11. All the changes to security. Will the impacts from COVID-19 eventually lead to major changes concerning health issues?

As you can see I don’t have any answers, only questions. In time all these questions will be answered. And in the meantime the answer to dealing with my anxiety was staring me right in the face:

My word for the year is “EMBRACE TODAY”. Duh, I need to stop worrying about a tomorrow I can’t control and enjoy what I have today:

  • no sick family members
  • sloppy joes, french fries and peas planned for dinner
  • books to read (I just started “Olive Kitteridge”!)
  • internet access to all my blog and Facebook friends
  • lovely weather
  • a freshly washed dog
  • Netflix, TCM and “Poirot” to watch
  • a clean, comfortable bed to sleep in

My list could go on and on but you get the idea. Stay safe and encourage:

Common Sense in Uncommon Times

*Picture is from an e-mail from the Vermont Country Store

Flash Fiction: Open Road

I loved this week’s prompt of the open road from Carrot Ranch. I have to confess this is a bit of a real life fantasy, though I know I would never abandon my son. But I have thought about writing a story about a mother who simply disappears one morning. I always imagine more sinister reasons than simply taking off though!

I found myself asking a series of questions that might trigger a sudden road trip and then wondered if I could write a whole 99 word flash fiction in questions. And then I did it, except for the very deliberate last line. No answers here though.

Monday Morning

As I pulled out of the school parking lot I wondered what would happen if I turned left at the light instead of right?  If I hopped on the interstate and just kept going north?  How far away would I be before anyone realized I was gone?  Would my family really miss me? Where would I go? Who would I be if I started my life over?  What could I do if I lived my life only for myself? As I approached the light I dithered, right lane…or left lane?  I smiled to myself as I made the turn.

2020 Possibilities

This year I am going to work hard on reconciling my planning, list making, scheduling self with my living in the here and now self. I actually think this is quite doable, I just need to strengthen some mental muscles.

So, typical planning me starts jotting down what I would like to accomplish in 2020. Then I think I should come up with twelve items and schedule one for each month. But here and now me said, whoa. What if I don’t want to work on something a whole month or I need more time or I want to start and stop and resume a project later?

New combined me stepped in with the compromise. I narrowed my list down to six items I really want to do. No assigned schedule, a few of my projects will be worked on all year. One of my items has a deadline so I’ll adhere to that. But I will let here and now me decide when to do the rest.

Here are my six goals for 2020:

  • Catch up on organizing my photos. I started 2019 already so I really don’t have that much to do.
  • I am going to make a scrapbook for my son this year. One page for each month and use the extra pages for birthday and vacations.
  • Put together my own book of meditations/words of wisdom. I recently got a copy of Marcus Aurelius’ “Meditations” and was surprised to learn it was something he wrote simply for himself. I am always collecting quotes or thinking odd little things I want to remember and have them scattered in different places. I’ll put them in one book and practice my hand lettering at the same time!
  • I am going to do the A to Z blogging challenge in April. I have my topic/theme and I am already drafting blog posts.
  • Take Carla Sondheim’s collage class. It is supposed to take a full year but I probably won’t start until maybe the beginning of summer. We’ll just see how it goes.
  • I love the idea of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in November each year but November doesn’t work for me. I just have too much going on then. So I am going to make my own short term novel writing time frame. Probably a bit more than a month but my goal will be to have a first draft of the novel that I have been trying to write for the last few years done. No matter how badly it turns out!

For daily items I will continue with my yoga, meditating twice a day and keeping writing my joy/gratitude lists.

Gotta run, this day is full of possibilities to embrace. 🙂