Friday, 31 August 2012


Day 21
344 Days Remaining

You ever have one of those days when you open your eyes and you just think..."No. Can't do this today"?

Yeah.  That was me, Wednesday morning.  Three days of maybe five hours of sleep per night, looong workdays, stress about my upcoming new "career" as a student and concerns with my teen kids made for a very sleepy me.  I had even asked my work to keep my schedule light so that I could take some time to prepare for school, but I ended up with 10.5 and 9.5-hour workdays.  Add a 15-year-old who still needs his mom, a 10-year-old who wants to do everything together, and a 17-year-old who really wants to have some driving practice time into that mix, and there aren't enough hours in the day.  I'd finally manage the get the boys settled at night (they've been wanting to "pull an all-nighter" a few times as the summer draws to a close) and then I would just lie there, unable to sleep.  YouTube has some great videos for relaxation, by the way; I finally drifted to sleep around 2am a couple of times listening to one or another of them.  Check this one out (hit Play and then let it play in the background while you read the rest of the may make it to the end of my ruminations without falling asleep!):

...and then I popped awake at 7am and couldn`t get back to sleep, even if I didn`t have to work until 9:30 or later.  It was a lost cause.

So.  Back to Wednesday.  When my schedule had initially been posted on Monday, Wednesday only had a 5-hour shift (my usual evening shift at a retirement home here in town) and I was very happy that I wouldn`t have to spend my entire day running around.  However, checking the schedule on Tuesday night (as I set the Spa Channel above to send me gently off to sleep), I found that my easy 5-hour evening shift had somehow morphed into an 11-hour day, starting at 8:30am.  Great.  I am nothing if not devoted to my work, though, so I set my alarm and fell asleep (I may have cried a little.  Just a little).

Yes, I do this.  And it works. And I am NOT a lazy girl.
Wednesday my alarm started blaring at six o`clock.  I opened my eyes just enough to check the time before I slammed a hand down on the Snooze button, but eventually (eventually being nearly two hours later, after I considered just sleeping straight through my shift and ignoring any phone calls, from work or otherwise) I got myself out of bed and went through a quick wash-face-get-dressed routine before I headed out the door.

Halfway through the day, I was done.  I had been a walking zombie for the past two weeks and it suddenly hit me that my entire body was aching.  Every time I moved, something popped.  I couldn`t shoulder-check in the car without my neck making a sad little "crack -POP" sound.  My eyes wouldn't stay open despite the gas-station coffee and energy bar, and I didn't know how I would manage to keep up with the rest of my shift.

All morning I had been playing with the idea of calling in to work for the rest of the week.  I couldn't imagine how I would manage to attend my college orientation and then start full-time classes on Tuesday feeling the way that I did.  When I finally had a break between clients, I used it to feed myself and then went straight to the clinic.

The doctor took one look at me, listened to my tale of woe/pain/kids/work/sleeplessness/strain, and told me that my body pain was due to stress.  Within a few minutes he had advised me that I needed a vacation, preferably two weeks or longer.  After we both stopped laughing at the absurdity of that notion, he told me that there was no way I was going back to work that day,  and ordered me to take two weeks off from work and rest as much as possible.  He also prescribed sleeping pills - half a Zopiclone at night for four days - just to reset my sleep cycle.  He wrote me a note, gave me a pat on the back and the most concerned, caring look I've ever seen from a doctor, and sent me on my way.

I cannot describe how amazing it was to have someone tell me that I needed to take a break.  Just to have that license to STOP not have to try to fit everything in to the 24 small hours there are in a was a great feeling.  When I stopped by my office to deliver the note and tell them I would be off for two weeks, they were understanding and told me that they would make do without me for the next few weeks.  I have to admit that I struggled with that a bit; they're not supposed to be able to get along without me!  But a caregiver needs to care for his or her own self first, or they won't be any good to anyone.  I recognized it; I accepted it; and I called my mom and asked her to come get me.  She immediately came and picked me up to take care of me for a couple of days.

I've been at Mom's place since Wednesday night, taking some much-needed "me time" and not needing to make a single decision on my own, save what kind of chocolate bar I wanted to go with my tea and hot bath (for the record, I wanted a mint Aero bar.  Mom bought me three). She cooked for me, told me when I should rest, drove me to my school orientation and picked me up again, made me tea and brought me water, set me up in the recliner to snooze, gave me a Reader's Digest and a tabloid magazine to read, and just generally made my life something that I didn't have to worry about for a couple of days.  Now I'm back at home, still taking a couple more days to rest before heading out in the big bad world, and thought I would catch you all up on what`s been happening.  I`m off to lie down, but I have one more thing to say:

Thanks, Mom.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Tales from the Dating Archives: The Story of Crumbs

...and what I learned from it.

May, 2006 - January, 2007:  Crumbs (I imagine you have gathered by now that all names in this blog have been changed!) worked in the same office as I did.  He was charming; I remember the first time I met him I thought to myself that he was the kind of person you could never really trust, because he was always "on".  His voice was bright and cheery; his smile was toothy and engaging; and one never really felt that he was letting down his guard and being who he really was.  I wondered what was underneath that facade; what made Crumbs tick?
"Heyyy!  Trust me!"
We worked across the office from each other for months as my marriage was falling apart.  When it finally ended and I was newly separated, I made the biggest mistake anyone in that situation could do.

I almost immediately got involved with Crumbs. offers these six tips on whether you are ready to date after divorce (and this is after divorce, mind you - a step that can take a long time after separation, which is the place I was at when Crumbs and I started seeing each other):  

1. Have You Taken Time to Heal?
2. Do You Know the Single You?
3. Do You have a Solid Support Group?
4. Do You have a Healthy Self-Esteem?
5. Can You Stay Clear of Unhealthy Behaviors?
6. Are You Prepared?  

Having a solid support group was a no-brainer - my family and friends were always there for me to lean on - but as for the other five things, I was nowhere near being able to answer Yes.  Many websites I scoured for information on dating after divorce had the same refrain:  You should not date anyone immediately following your separation.  One book I read suggested that it would take one month for every year of the failed relationship before someone would be ready to begin a new one.  In hindsight, now that I am six years past the separation, I know that I was not ready to begin a new relationship - and certainly would not be good for anyone - until about three years after my husband and I separated.  And yet, I jumped into a relationship with Crumbs, hoping that he would take away the pain I was feeling, give me some reassurance that I was worthy of loving, and take care of me the way I longed to be taken care of.

Aside from my own unsuitability for a relationship, Crumbs had red flags coming out the wazoo (now there's a picture...).  What attracted me to him initially was the fact that he appeared so financially stable: he owned his own house and a great car; he dressed well and exhibited signs of being well-off; he advised other people on what to do with their money.  A huge part of me desperately wanted someone who was well-off and responsible, who would be able to look after me and had worked hard to get where he was.  He appeared to me, at that time - and in my admittedly extremely foggy emotional state - to be that person.

However, Crumbs was not someone I could count on, and I discovered that very shortly after the relationship began.  Soon after we started dating, I found myself waiting and waiting for him to come by when he had said he would.  We would have huge screaming fights on the phone because he was hours late and I had been just sitting there hoping he would show up.  He began to miss work, and I would drive over to his house on my lunch hour and find him in bed, exhausted and depressed.  For whatever reason, I decided to move in to his spare room - crazy, yes; and absolutely nonsensical, but at the time I could not think straight.  I thought that maybe we could be together like a "normal" couple, and I could help him with his problems (he was obviously depressed - the house was in a state of disaster and he could barely get up in the mornings to get to work), and maybe he would straighten up and be the man I needed.

It did not happen. Eventually I realized that he was gambling online.  He took a leave of absence from work and took out a second mortgage on his house.  Some nights he would say he was going out to walk the dog and wouldn't come home at all, all night.  I was so desperate to help him that I would remove all the gambling programs from the computer, set child safety blocks on the Internet, whatever I could to stop him from wasting his life more.  Soon it became obvious that he was also heavily alcoholic. 

I was devastated.  What in the world had caused me to put all my eggs in this crumbling basket?  I knew that I had wasted much of the very important first year after separation on a man who was not willing to accept my help.  I recognized that I was spending all my time trying to save him when my children were grieving the end of their family as they knew it, and I hadn't done any work on myself to get through my emotions surrounding the separation.  I put all my focus on a man who I had thought would be my "savior", and I ended up being caretaker to a man who didn't even want it.

After eight months in tumultuous relationship with Crumbs (two of them spent living in his home), I finally decided to move out and ended it with him.  I later discovered that he was severely addicted to cocaine and alcohol.  Crumbs has since lost his house, his job, his vehicle, and his relationships with everyone but his mother.  Looking back, it's difficult to believe that I was in a space where I allowed his problems to completely overshadow my own.  I did absolutely no work on myself and was hardly any help to my babies during those first important months after separation.  Talk about a recipe for disaster.

What I learned:  After any relationship ending, a grieving period is necessary.  After a marriage ends, the first priority is the children - get over yourself for whatever time it takes to be there for can cry and wail when you are alone, but be strong for your kids.  Don't get into a relationship with someone thinking that they can support you financially - make a living and support yourselfNever move in with someone you hardly know.  Never try to be in relationship with someone for their own good and ignore what you need; you can't help someone who doesn't want to be helped.  And lastly - and these two things took me a lot longer to learn, but I got my first inkling of it here - no man can help you get over another man, and PAY ATTENTION TO THE WARNING SIGNS.  Don't just think that those little niggly things will just go away, or that you can overcome the negative things about the man or the relationship.  With some things, you can't.

I look back on my relationship with Crumbs and I'm regretful and sad.  However, I need to remind myself that even in our mistakes, we learn valuable lessons.  That's why I've determined to take what I can from each of the "stupid" things I've done, in order to make a better future for myself and my kids.


Sunday, 26 August 2012

Jacob and Sons

Day 16
349 Days Remaining 

So...I had a lovely weekend away with my sis (well, not really a weekend; we left Saturday afternoon and got back Sunday early evening, but for us it felt like an eternity).  We had a blast just sharing sister time, laughing our fool heads off and enjoying not having any responsibilities.  Having someone else do all the cooking is the best feeling in the world.

Talking with my sister is, for me, like writing - it always helps clarify things.  A few things stood out to me this weekend and made me realize that there are things I need to add to my list of things I want to accomplish this year.  We talked about travel and my need to get away for some time on my own.  The Bed & Breakfast that we stayed at in Lake Cowichan was lovely and they treated us wonderfully, and prior to heading up there I had thought that if it was nice and we liked staying there, that might be an idea for where I might like to go and stay for a week or so with my thoughts.  Once we were there, however, I realized that the town is really too small for that kind of thing, and all the things that you can do there are outdoorsy-type things.  If I manage to get away, it will be during the winter, so I'd basically be stuck there for a week with not much to do but sit in a room and think.  As much as I know I need that time to be just with myself, I need to be able to get out and stretch my legs and explore my surroundings.  I have to admit that their wonderful soaker tub and complimentary aromatherapy bath salts are a nice way to spend some time, but even I wouldn't be able to do that for an entire week. 

Okay, maybe I could manage to do it for a week...

Anyway, I had asked them about a winter rate, and they informed me that they are only open seasonally, so that idea was out the window anyway.  (Another "problem" was that we got along so well with our friendly hosts that I am afraid I would spend more time gabbing with them and less time getting to know me, which is of course the whole point!)

It was good to take this day away to recognize what kind of place I want to choose for my little getaway, and now I know that Cowichan is definitely out of the question - lovely as it is in the summer.  I still need to figure out where I want to go for my alone-with-myself getaway, but Jasper is an idea.  Sitting in the hot springs with snow all around me sounds lovely.  Time to research.

Today we headed up to Chemainus, which is such a pretty town, and caught an afternoon performance of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.  Being in that theater and getting all caught up in the emotion of the actors and the music and dance and singing just made me throb with the need to perform again.  I tried to remember the last time I actually performed in a play onstage, and I was surprised to realize that it has been over 12 years - I believe that last play I was in was The Workhouse Ward in Three Hills in 1999 or 2000.  I`ve shied away from theater since then because I`ve been so busy with the kids, and film & television acting can be so much less time-consuming (if you only get small parts and the occasional commercial, like I do) than having a role in a theater production, where rehearsals end up taking up many of your evenings and then the actual house performance eats up your every waking moment for however long it runs.  But that rush, that feeling of being on stage and giving every ounce of yourself to a character...that chance to feel connected to an audience in a way you can only imagine when you are in front of a camera...I miss that.  I want to emote again...I want to have a character I can be involved with.  I want the camaraderie with other actors and stage crew.  And if there is singing - even better!  A musical with singing and dancing...I wonder if there is a way that I can do something like that, sometime soon.   

Mission One: try to audition for a show and see if I can possibly work it into my schedule.

How could I not want to be a part of something so fun?

Speaking of dancing, that's another thing I really want to do this year.  I know I already had it on my 43Things list (see previous post: What to Do, What to Do) but I really felt it when I watched the play today.  All that energy!  I want my body to work the way it's supposed to work; right now it just hurts a lot and I know that it's not in anywhere as good shape as it was this time last year when I was working out every day.  (Putting on my bathing suit and glancing over my shoulder at the mirror today made the resolution to work out as firm as my thighs aren't.  Ah, cellulite, why do you torture me so?)  Our bodies are so amazing a creation, and I felt it when I was healthy and strong.  I want to be back in that good shape, and I want to dance and have fun, so why not combine the two? 

Mission Two:  Find a Zumba class, or try Jazzercise again.  Note to self:  You should probably start running stairs and doing lunges again for a couple of weeks before you try squeezing into workout gear.

Funny how you can plan for one thing (ie: tubing down the Cowichan River today) and when circumstances conspire against you (ie: the weather sucked) end up doing something completely different, and the thing you end up doing instead (ie: heading up to Chemainus and watching a musical) affects you in some minor yet seemingly hugely important way.  For me, seeing Joseph today brought up all kinds of desires I had sort of forgotten about.  Dancing was one; acting and singing onstage was another; and unfortunately, other kinds of desires started peeking up at me as well.  Do you know, there are an awful lot of partially clothed men in this particular musical.  Partially clothed meaning...half unclothed.  At one point I remember that the only thing I was really aware of was the fact that Jacob's sons were a darn good-looking lot.  Quite a lot of lovely eye candy.  Which brings me to the realization that...uh oh.  This next year (no, it's only 349 days now, not a full year!) could be very difficult for me.  Men are off-limits, including just paying too much attention to their pecs and abs (oh yes, some lovely abs today).  I suppose learning to deal with those types of desires is really part of what this year is all about.  I'm used to abstinence, but I tend to turn on that "singles radar" when I don`t have a boyfriend, and I`m supposed to stow it.  There isn`t going to be any way I can completely avoid nice-looking men, so I have to learn to just not look.  Hmm.  That will be difficult. 

Mission Three:  Forget men exist. 

I`ve failed at Mission Three already.  349 more days of do-overs coming up.


Saturday, 25 August 2012

What to Do, What to Do...

Day 15
350 Days Remaining

So now that I've done some reflecting on what goals I have managed to accomplish within the last five years (without even really meaning to), it's time to start really thinking about what I want to do with the remainder of this year.  It's silly in a way, I suppose, because it's not like not dating and not flirting and not doing any of these things I have vowed not to do this year will actually free up any time for me to do all these new things I hope to fact, my year will probably be more busy regardless...but I still want to have goals, and things to occupy my mind on those days when I am bound to get a bit lonely.

Incidentally, I have already had some of those days.  That doesn't really have to do with not dating, per se, but it is still part and parcel of this business of getting over my last boyfriend.  A few days this week I have found myself really missing HB, and it's been hard.  On days like that, sometimes there's nothing to do but just let yourself feel what you're feeling, have a bit of a cry, maybe lie down and close your eyes and pretend that he's there holding you - okay, yes, I did that and maybe it's stupid, but it helped! - and then move on.  Maybe having an idea of some things I want to accomplish will also give me somewhere to focus on those days when I feel alone and things get tough.

So, let`s take a look at my 43Things list and see what`s on there that I still haven`t gotten to, and what I want to add to my list of things to do this year:

#1. Learn to dance.  I can dance.  I mean, I can do the white man's overbite and the shuffle step with the best of them, and when I'm out with my girlfriends at a club I can toss my hair and utilize my hips to the best of their ability.  However, here I am not talking about simple high-school-prom dancing - I would like to really learn how to dance.  When I was married, my husband finally agreed to take a dance class with me, because I had wanted it for so long, and when we got there, I sucked!  I mean, I couldn`t follow direction; I lacked grace and ability; I tripped over my own feet and my husband`s...I was a mess.  It was a huge disappointment for me.  I would still very much like to take a proper dance class and try to vindicate myself.  Ballroom, swing, jive...something.  Maybe I`ll look for a class sometime this year.
Harry demonstrates the "White Man's Overbite" for Sally
#2. Go to Ireland and #5. Visit California.  Now wouldn't it be nice if I could do one of these for my little winter getaway this year?  HB and I had planned to go to Mexico together, but now that we are not talking to one another (and now that I'm in a non-dating year and going to Mexico with your ex-boyfriend is clearly on the "Don't" list), I have decided to take a trip on my own instead.  I looked it up - flights to Ireland are absolutely out of my price range.  California is still a possibility, though; let's keep that one on the list.

#3. Improve my singing voice.  Okay, so maybe singing lessons on top of dance lessons.  On top of school and work and kids and keeping house and homework and blogging...How about just more practicing in the shower?

#6. Pierce my bellybutton again.  This is one I would definitely like to do this year.  My bellybutton was pierced, once upon a time.  It is currently unadorned and I think I might like to have it pierced again.  This time, however, I think I will go to a place that actually specializes in piercing.  The first time involved my then-husband, a match, a potato, an ice cube, and a large sewing needle.  It worked - believe it or not - and I had a cute little ring in my navel for a couple of weeks.  Then I took it out to clean it properly and could never get it back in.

Oooh yes, I want one of these!
#7. Skydive. I don't know where or how to do this, but if the opportunity comes up, I would like to take it.  It scares the absolute crap out of me (and if you ever told my kids that I want to skydive, they would burst out laughing - at least the boys would, considering that I panicked when they wanted to jump off a rather low bank into the lake, and started screaming and crying for them to get away from the edge!) but also sounds so amazing.  What better way to get over a fear of heights?  Big talker, yeah yeah yeah...get me up in a plane and then see how well I handle it.

#8. Go on a cruise.  This won't happen this year.  But, I have promised myself a cruise for my 45th birthday.  I have a few years to go before this one will get crossed off the list.

#13. Read "Wuthering Heights" by Emily Bronte.  Easy peasy.  I'll reserve it from the library.

#14. Treat myself to something special every paycheque. It's really a difficult thing for me to do this.  I spent a lot of years being told how selfish I was, so it's still hard for me to do anything for myself without worrying and wondering whether I am being selfish or not.  I have to keep reminding myself that taking care of myself is necessary, and that I work hard and I do deserve something nice every once in a while.  This paycheque, my sister and I are taking a mini-vacation to Lake Cowichan and tubing down the Cowichan River.  In fact, as soon as I finish up this blog, I'm going to quickly pack a bag and go pick her up.  Next paycheque I guess my something special will be paying my school tuition.

#15. Foster a child and  #16. Learn Spanish are both doable, if I find myself with enough time and money.   #17. Become financially independent and  #20. Buy a house will not happen this year or anytime until long after I am finished my degree, four years from now, so I can't count on them as distractions.

#21. Get my book published. This is also highly unlikely, but I suppose I could spend a little more time and effort on trying to get it published, rather than just let it sit there doing nothing.  I wrote this novel years ago; it took me less than a year to get it written, and less than five rejections to scare me off of submitting it to anyone ever again. I have let a few people read it, and have received favorable reviews, but writing a book is like having a baby - you have a tremendous amount of pride when people compliment it, and fierce protectiveness when they criticize it.  If it's really important to me to get this novel published, I need to develop a thicker skin and just start sending out more proposals.  Would that be amazing if I actually managed to get it published?  It would be a dream come true.

#22. Take vitamins daily.  It takes twenty-one days to make a habit.  This is one that I have yet to cultivate.

#23. Survive my divorce.  Yes, as strange as it may seem, after six years of being apart from my husband, we are still not divorced.  How sad it is to see that on the 43Things list and have to still work toward it, five years later!  I think we are getting closer now, though; we have a hearing in September to work out some more custody details (this is not fun stuff, so I am not going to go into the fine print of it all), and then after that I believe we can actually move on to the second stage of the divorce and proceed to get it complete.  It will still be difficult, even all these years later, but it needs to be done.

I have a few more ideas of things I want to accomplish this year, but I have a suitcase to pack and a river to float down!  Comments are always welcome; ideas are appreciated; and your readership is an encouragement!  Thanks, everyone.


Tuesday, 21 August 2012

28 Things

Day 12
353 Days Remaining

I have been thinking about what kinds of things I would like to do with this long year that is stretching ahead of me.  While I was running through ideas in my mind, I remembered that, a long time ago, I logged into a website called "43 Things", where people list specific things that they want to do with their life.  It's a sort of Bucket List, I suppose.  I could only remember one thing that I had put on my list - "Be with Black Luke", which is what I've decided to call the boyfriend I had just lost at the time.  Apparently my goals were lofty.  See - always relationship-oriented!  This is why this year off is important.

Black Luke has moved on and is now (happily, I hope) married, so even if that were still on the list, I'd have to cross it off.  I decided to try to find the website and sign back in, to see which (if any) of the 43 Things I had completed...and which I am still interested in trying out this year.

Surprise, surprise, my go-to username and password worked (I know we're not supposed to use the same one all over the Internet!  Don't remind me!) and I was face-to-face with my list.  Twenty-eight things that, back in 2007, I wanted to accomplish ("Be with Black Luke" was no longer there - apparently I smartened up enough to know that was not going to happen).  I was very happy to see that I have actually accomplished quite a few of the things that are on my list in the five years since I wrote it:

#3. reconnect with my daughter.  My daughter and I have had a strained relationship since I left her dad.  It's gotten much better, although definitely we are not as close as I would like us to be.  However, when I think back on how bad it was five years ago, I know we have come a long way.  We're going to a concert together in Vancouver in September, and we're both really looking forward to a mother/daughter mini-shopping-spree getaway.

#9. spend a day at a spa.  I've done this!  It was wonderful!  I need to do it again. Today would be good.

#10. smile everyday.  I definitely do this.  It makes a huge difference, both to me and to people on the street - people really respond to a smile, and it always makes you feel better, too.  Funny how I never consciously have this in my head, but it must have stuck since I originally wrote it down.  I always make a point to smile at everyone I see.

#11. be there for the miracle of birth.  This was amazing.  My friends Tats and LeeMo have both had babies since then, and I was able to be the doula for each of them.  My sister also has had two babies, and I was there for the duration of her labor with her first.  Both LeeMo and my sister ended up having C-sections, so I couldn't be in the delivery room with them, but when Tats had her beautiful little baby boy, I was there with her, coaching her through it.  It was an amazing moment and I will always feel close to him because of it.  It definitely cemented in my head that I want to be in Labor & Delivery.

#12. be happy with myself without needing someone else to tell me I am important.  Much better at this now than I was.  It still can be a struggle some days, but I would say I have come a long way.

#13. get into healthcare and out of insurance.  I got started on this right away, and I am very proud of how far I've come.  I enrolled in a six-month Health Care Assistant program and, once I graduated, I began working with seniors in care facilities.  Now I do Home Care, and I love it.  I don't miss insurance at all (though, from time to time, I do miss the paycheques.  I was getting pretty high up in the insurance world and I haven't quite yet gotten to the point where I make as much as I was making back then.  Still, it's worth it.)

#18. lose weight/exercise/be healthier. Last year I decided that I was going to try to do my nursing degree through the Armed Forces, so it was time to really get in shape and be stronger.  I asked a good friend of mine, who is a trainer, if she could come up with a good program for me.  She did, I worked hard, and I got much healthier.  I don't stick to the exercise routine as much these days, but I know it's there.  I'm kind of feeling I need to implement it. Still, the little things like always taking the stairs at work rather than the elevator really make a difference (one night I decided to count how many flights of stairs I did during the course of one shift; it was 61), and I am much more conscious of what I eat.

#19. enjoy the moment. Do you ever just stop wherever you are and think, wow; this is amazing...? Make a point to do that on occasion.  Whether you're hanging out with your family; driving down a particularly beautiful stretch of road; eating a delicious meal; or just waking up and seeing the sun stream in through your window, take a moment to appreciate where you are and where your life has brought you.  I had a moment like this in church on Sunday as the congregation was singing a worship song - I just felt so much joy in the moment of celebration that I wanted to burst with it.  Noticing the little things can make even a difficult day more tolerable, because even when there are hard days, there's always something beautiful that can lift you up.

#24. dance in the rain.  I decided not to be afraid of getting wet.  It`s another one of those moments where you have to just go for it.  And it really felt like I was in a movie!  It was awesome!

#25. see the thing that is genuinely beautiful about every person.  This is another thing that I have - perhaps unconsciously - put into action every day.  I call it my "Value Village" theory: you can walk into any thrift store and the first thing you notice is probably the smell.  It's a musty, dusky, unused- and unwanted-things smell.  Then you see all the tacky stuff: the ancient stereos; the old shoes; the wigs that you would slap your kids' hands for trying on because you're just sure that they're full of lice.  You don't even really want to be there in that store, but you walk the aisles and wander through the old sheets and racks and racks of extinct kitchen implements...and then you find it.  That beautiful, perfect PartyLites candleholder that would cost you $45 brand new but is marked for sale at $3.95.  Or that signed canvas print by your favorite artist.  Or that beautiful solid wood turntable unit that reminds you of the one your dad used to play his Elvis records on.  There's always something worthy and amazing in every thrift store, if you look hard enough.  It's the same with people.  Take the time to look a little harder and see them through God's eyes.

#28. make a difference.  Fortunately, through my work, I have the opportunity to do this almost every day.  Sometimes it's just the little things, like the fact that I'm able to be there for the people who are unable to care for themselves properly, and other times there are bigger events that happen and I need to go a little further or work a little harder.  I know that moving into healthcare was exactly the right thing for me, because I'm making a difference in the lives of these people, and they have made just as huge an impact on me.

I know this is a longer post than usual, so I`m going to stop the "43 Things" dissertation for now and save the things I have yet to accomplish for another post.  What really struck me about revisiting this list is that apparently, making a list or just writing things down somehow cements them in your head, even if you're not aware of it.  The things that are really important from my 43Things became a part of my psyche.  I feel like this year of not dating is a great time to implement the other things that I need to make sure are a part of my life, especially life in relationship with another person.

Until next time,


Saturday, 18 August 2012

Reunited, and it feels so...dangerous?

Day Nine
356 Days Remaining

My 20-year high school reunion was this weekend.

They dreamed about their reunion, too.
When I decided to go a full year without dating, I have to admit that the upcoming high school reunion did cross my mind.  I suppose, in the back of my mind, little ol' romantic me had the idea that - as in so many TV shows and movies - a great love would materialize at my reunion, and I would find that elusive partner I've been searching (under rocks) for.  Be aware: I didn't have anyone in particular in mind, as my "great love" during high school had already graduated, and we dated for the entire two years I was enrolled.  It didn't leave much room in my heart for me to develop a crush on anyone else, so I haven't spent the past twenty years mourning the possibility of a relationship from my high school and waiting with bated breath for the chance to see him again.  Still, there was the thought that I might rekindle something...or "kindle" something new, I suppose, would be a better way of putting it.  So, knowing that I was heading for that admittedly far-fetched possibility, I had a few thoughts that maybe I shouldn't actually commit to this dating hiatus.  Or, perhaps, that I should wait until after the reunion, on the off chance that someone special would be there. 

However, my reasons for the sabbatical (see Word to the Whys) still stood, and before I even had them set in stone (ie: written here for all the world to see) I knew that this was necessary and that it was time.  So I went ahead and committed, and I remain committed.

But yeah, it was a little tough last night.  Because you see, I didn't meet someone new, and I didn't rediscover an ancient crush, but I did reconnect with someone that I always really thought was a great guy way-back-when.  I have to admit that seeing him all grown up (and single) started those gears in my head turning.  I really enjoyed talking with him, felt incredibly comfortable with him, found that we shared a similar sense of humor and had experienced a few similar struggles, and found him attractive.  I liked him and I am fairly sure that he liked me.  Others seemed to notice it as well; we got a couple of little hints from people who wanted to point us out to each other ("Oh, so you're single?  Well, I know someone who's single and perfect for you...and she's sitting right beside you!") or gave us knowing glances when they saw us talking animatedly together. 

So what would I have done if this had happened prior to my decision to give up dating (and flirting and kissing and that darned "singles antenna")?  I probably would have pushed a bit (gently, of course!) to see if there was a possibility for this to go further.  I might have allowed our arms to touch accidentally-on-purpose while we were seated next to one another.  I quite possibly would have passed up the ride my lovely friend LeeMo offered me in order to linger longer at the venue and perhaps go dance a bit with this kind man and our mutual friends.  But I didn`t.  At the back of my mind was always that reminder...and if there was a devil on one shoulder, she was sure a lot smaller than the angel on the other one, constantly whispering in my ear, Listen here, chickie: you're on a dating hiatus.  Antenna down, woman!  (This particular angel is fairly modern and cool.  She has tattoos and I'm pretty sure her bellybutton is pierced.)  I had already told him I had given up dating for a time, so I felt fairly secure that he wouldn't flirt with me, but I also was aware that if I acted as though I might be willing to give my vow a little wiggle room it wouldn't say much for the type of person I am.  I want to be that strong person who stays true to my word - even when I've only given it to myself.  I probably did let down my guard a bit, but I would like to think that I was not overtly flirtatious.  I just enjoyed the time we spent chatting.

I like this guy.  I hope I get to see him again soon - not in a dating capacity, yet, but to chat more and to get to know a little more about each other and what we've been up to in the past twenty years.  I've always thought he was a good and kind person - I am not just attracted to him; I like him and who he is.  But...finally...I like myself more. 

I know that I deserve a man who will treat me properly and love me like crazy.  I don't know if anyone I've met yet in my life fits the bill for that future, but there is time for me to figure it out.  I'm not ruling out the possibility that this great guy who I "re"met last night is someone who will eventually be incredibly important in my life, but hey, if we have already waited 7,300 days (that's 20 years, if you were about to reach for your calculator) to get to the point that we got to yesterday, and if he is as great a guy as I suspect he is, then another 356 days is nothing.  Maybe he will be there at the end of this journey; maybe he won't.

For the first time in my life, I'm actually excited about the wait.

- - - -
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." - Jeremiah 29:11   

Monday, 13 August 2012

Day 4
361 days remaining

Last night, as advised (see post "The Guidelines"), I went through my phone and deleted the men I no longer see.  With the exception of HB...that will probably take a little longer.  I`m not texting him, though.  And then I went to delete my Plenty of Fish online profile, and as it had been quite some time since I'd checked it, I found some goodies in my Inbox waiting to give me a bit of a laugh before I signed out for good.  I thought - since now that I don`t have to take them seriously, and can actually laugh at them rather than smash my head down on the keyboard) I would share them with you:

Inbox Message #1: "You are absolutely gorgeous. My name is Fard Smellie, i'm 36, live in Victoria and i'm the owner of Flim Flam Flattery.  I have 2 very cute girls. I recently have been seperated with my wife (she's been having an affair with her African/Italian Chiropractor [oh, I'm glad he told me this, because I am sure it's important to our potential future relationship]). I'm an attractive, healthy, active, funny, very fun, sexy, romantic, outdoorsy guy. I love to cook and i'm very good at it so i may be able to impress you with my cooking skills. I really like your profile and was hoping we could get to know each other? I'm on facebook too (I'm SMELLIE FARD), my name backwards. I go to the gym twice a week and keep in shape. I'm almost vegetarian ["almost" vegetarian?  Is there a point to that?] but eat meat about 1-2 times every 1-2 weeks. I'm also on skype if you want to have a video chat, i'm at fard.smellie
I really hope to hear from you soon! Have an awesome day!
Big hugs, Fard"

The weirdest thing was that when - out of curiosity as to whether his name was real (it wasn`t Fard Smellie, but ridiculous enough that it made me wonder) - I checked for him on Facebook, we had three mutual friends.  All of whom were in completely different circles from each other.

Inbox Message #2: "hey hows it goin well my hobbys let me see well motorcross,camping,hiken,golf,football,baseball,rugby,my goals to win the lotto and pay off my bills and buy a house lol what makes me differant i luv to cuddle im a cuddle bug.kiss at all red lights.go thr mcdonalds drive thru backwards i love all types of music country rock rnb rap etc not picky"

Apparently his hobbies have never included taking an English class.  However, I am sure I would love to go "hiken" with him while listening to "rnb".

Inbox Message #3: "First Date? Laugh out log a lot!"
"Laugh out log"???  I might be tempted, just to find out what in the world that means.

Inbox Message #4: "Ok so i must be ugly as f@#k cause iam not getting any dates of here, What i really want is to find someone and fall in love blah blah blah but thats not working so now i would be happy with some company, you know hang out go for a ride on my motorcycle go to movies and maybe even get laid "gasp" hows that for honesty eh"
Oh, please: go on.  You're really selling yourself.  I had to remind myself that I was on Dating Hiatus just to keep from throwing myself at this guy.
Inbox Message #5:  "Hi to you, I am not described me as average. I have a strong personality and core, yet I am not aggressive in getting what I want. People say I am interesting and do I have many talents, a brain for being authentic and i am honest(to a fault). What I like to do most is paint and sculpt/build things and infuse this work with my philosophy and feelings. I can be quite intense. If you like to talk about theories and ideas we might get along well. 
 I am artistic, open minded, liberal, socialistic, spiritual, empathetic, compassionate, caring, creative and a little kinky." 
Inbox Message #6, from a guy who calls himself "buffnrich", who had never messaged me or spoken with me prior to sending this gem:  "TAKE A CHANCE YOUR LOOKS ARE NOT EVERYTHING Single woman look at us as cheaters well maybe step into our shoes for a day, you dont know me so dont judge. Take a chance with someone attached. Yes i am MARRIED and bored!!! Hi i am a fit and attractive male who has a shaved head and goatee. I love working out and fitness. I also love music and varied taste from hard rock and heavy metal to hip hop and r&b to hindi music. Im in sales and i thrive on sales and my career is very busy. Im not looking for anything serious or long term but searching for someone to become friends with and hang out and see where it goes. If your attached and looking for a friend well thats cool too. I am canadian born and raised. OH BTW LOOKS ARE NOT EVERYTHING SO IF YOU CARRY SOME EXTRA POUNDS THATS COOL, LOOKS ONLY GO SO FAR, BUT AN OPENMIND, HONESTY, ARE WHAT IM LOOKING FOR."  
Buff, rich, a married cheater, condescending and offensive...all the things I've been looking for in a guy!
Inbox Message #7: 
"I have various hobbies, guitar, bondage, BDSM, motorcycle,
I am interested in a discreet relationship.
I work out almost everyday."
I just want to know what about the profile I had up attracts guys like this.  You would think that the rather stark all-caps line screaming "If you are not a Christian, DO NOT MESSAGE ME. If you are looking for sex or a one-night-stand, DO NOT MESSAGE ME.  If you are married or otherwise attached, DO NOT MESSAGE ME" would be a clue that I am not going to reply.

Inbox Message #8:  "So...First Date:  Something random. I just had an epiphany! Why not Speed Date together? Think about it. Not only do we get to date each other, if after 4 minutes, one of us is not feeling it, we don't have to select the option to see each other again. PLUS, You actually get to go on 20 dates in one night. If we do click, then, at the end, we can continue the date together and compare date stories from the evening! Sounds like fun, No? I'm totally in!"
Sorry, I'm not dating for a year, otherwise the idea of 20 dates in one night while I am actually on a date with someone might be appealing.
Let`s get meditative with Inbox Message #9, shall we?"as we all enter in and out of lives, some for mere moments that last forever, others forever, connected throughout time, do we still let ourselves just be? true to ourselves, our core the moment, each and every one moment.
happy, sad, angry, nothing....
its all nothing without each other, as we are nothing without each other
So what am I supposed to do with that?  Does this guy want to meet me?  Or does he want to lecture me?  Or encourage me?  I'm not sure.
I am fairly sure that Inbox Messager #10, a "gentleman" whom I had (firmly but, I thought, kindly) messaged after his initial email to tell him I was sorry, but I wasn't interested, intended intimidation rather than encouragement when he blasted me with:  "You either CHOOSE me or you LOSE me Because I'm not a second option. If you are in search of a relationship-next! It may happen, it may not-so relax, lets chill, play it by ear, have fun and see what happens next...Are you more than just another pretty face? I could go on and give you facts about myself but I have a feeling that most men give facts about themselves in the hopes that you might see something you like. I believe that the proof is in the pudding, but I will say this, I’ve partied from Canada to the US to India; I've chilled out with some of the most amazing people in every walk of life. I can blend in anywhere, Suit or Tie, shirts and flip flops it's all good. Now if any of what I have writen has touch you like it has touched me eveytime I read it, then respond back! [His own message thrills him so much, you'd think he'd be happy with his own company rather than searching on this website]
    "If you a typical mainland BC woman, don't waste your time. I'm far too good for you! As for the type of girl I want? Athletic, attractive on the inside, laid back, funny, goofy, ambitious, with honesty, trust and respect. Those are the keys to my time.
Apparently, honesty is definitely the key to his time, because I was honest enough to tell him I didn't want to have anything to do with him, and he popped up again like a bad penny. 

Delete.  Delete, delete, delete...then "Remove profile".  I am gone from PoF...for the last time, I hope.  If this is what Victoria has to offer these days, then staying away from dating for 365 days will be preferable to wading through that pond.

Hope you had a few giggles like I did.  'Til next time,



Sunday, 12 August 2012

The Guidelines

hi·a·tus  (h-ts) 
n. pl. hi·a·tus·es or hiatus  
1. A gap or interruption in space, time, or continuity; a break

My Personal Guidelines for My 365 Day Hiatus from Dating

From "How To Take a Dating Sabbatical" (

Define the timeline:  My timeline is one full year from the date I made the decision.  Thus, the last day of my dating hiatus will be August 9, 2013.

Create a mission statement"I am taking a break from dating because I recognize that I need to focus on other things in my life.  I have thoroughly examined all my reasons and know that moving through this year will be a healthy and wise thing for me to do.  I intend to finish out the year knowing what I need and want in a relationship, whether it is my relationship with myself, with God, or with a man.  I will be better for the break."

Send mind games packing:  This was so good a reminder that I am just quoting the entire paragraph from the above noted link: Do not entertain thoughts like: "I will never meet anybody" or "Dating is so hard for me; I must be unlovable" or "Why am I still single when all my friends get to be happily married?" Remember, you are taking time off from dating, which includes worrying about dating. When troublesome thoughts arise, ask your mind to give you a break and not return until your dating sabbatical has concluded.

And now, the guidelines I have written for myself: Dating Hiatus Dos and Don'ts:

The "Don't"s:

- No online dating. This means I must remove my profile from Plenty of Fish,,,, and any other website I may have wandered across and signed up for during my bored-and-lonely-by-myself evenings at home.  Truthfully, I don't use these sites (with the exception of an occasional coffee date through PoF), but there are lingering profiles that need to be removed.
- No sex. Pretty sure this is a given. 
- No getting together with an ex.  This might be a difficult one for me, seeing as HB living on the mainland but having family here means he occasionally pops over for a visit.  He still has possession of much of my heart, so not seeing him will be incredibly difficult for me.  I will add the disclaimer that if I have a good friend in my life who is "technically" an ex, but with whom enough time and water under the bridge have passed that we have actually become good friends (and I am able to discern this well), I am allowed to "get together" - meaning hang out with ABSOLUTELY NO romantic intentions. 
- No physical dating.  I am not allowed to go "out on a date" with anyone.  I am, however, allowed to meet a male friend for coffee or go to dinner, as long as I am absolutely 100% sure of their intentions toward me (and mine toward them).
- No booty calls.  Again, a given.  Never really has been an issue.
- No kissing!  This is an edit...I can't believe I forgot to include this in my list of Don'ts, because it does seem like it's a given as well, but if I'm spelling things out so thoroughly I had better include this very obvious point.  No lip service for a year.
- No flirting or second glances.  I was voted Most Outrageous Flirt in high school.  Granted, I've changed a lot and toned it down a TON, but even slight or surreptitious flirting is not allowed.  No prolonged eye contact or "double-takes", no gestures designed to show off any part of my anything, no high-pitched giggles (oh, you have permission to slap me if I've ever done that in your presence - it's revolting) or anything else that would signal interest in the opposite sex.  Just NO.
- DON'T accept dates.  Not that it happens often, but if I am invited out for a date, I am to (politely) decline.  I can offer the reason of my dating hiatus, but it's probably best in most cases not to.  If the person asking is someone who meets my List requirements (as far as I can tell), then I think it's fair to explain about the dating hiatus.  Y'know, in case he wants to come back when the time is up. :-P
- DON'T give out your phone number.  Okay.  I won't.

The "Do"s:

- DO try new places, with friends or on your own - use this as an opportunity to watch for red flags that you usually miss
- DO find a new hobby - try something that you've always wanted to do (Actually, I always try to find time to work on the novel I've been writing for five hundred years...perhaps this is my chance.  Or I could always try ballroom dancing!)
- DO delete numbers of guys that you no longer see.  Now, I want to know why this one is so difficult!  I don`t see them, but I guess in the back of my mind I worry that they might text and I won`t know who they are.  I`ve got to stop stressing that it might appear rude and just recognize that it`s pointless to have numbers in my phone of people who are not important to me.
- DO tell guys who try to slip back into your life that you're not interested.  That will be easy.  IF I`m actually not interested.  If it`s HB, it might be tough.
- DO surround yourself with good friends - and rid your life of enablers.  Fortunately, I am incredibly blessed in this department.  I have great friends who will be there for me no matter what.  "Stoney", in particular, one of my best friends, is incredibly vocal when I've asked her to keep me accountable for something.  She will likely be my staunchest ally and most vocal supporter during this year.  (Love ya, Stoney!)


And, to round out my guidelines, a few more words of wisdom from those who have been there:

"When you do get approached by guys, make a mental note of the situation and surroundings and ask yourself if there is some sort of pattern." -

When out with girlfriends: "Avoid telling stories about all of your dating woes and start talking about more interesting things. Your friends will soon catch on that you really have taken a break from the dating scene." -

"Take the hours and hours you used to spend online at the dating sites and invest them into yourself instead." -

Well, not really hours and hours...but definitely enough wasted time.

From the same reference as above: "Pull in the "singles antenna."  Remember what I said about always being "on" and feeling like I was on the lookout for a boyfriend possibility at all times? Yeah.  That antenna.  Folded and stowed.  Yesterday I was at a red light and two guys (shirtless) were in a pickup truck next to me.  They were smiling and looking at me when I glanced over.  Boy, did it feel good not to give a second look or to wonder how I was looking!

Green light: GO.


Saturday, 11 August 2012

Word to the Whys

So as I was working on figuring out my own guidelines for this self-imposed dating ban, I realized that it is important to not just figure out the "hows" of not dating for 365 days, but also to address the "whys".  I am sure there will be days when I see a couple walking hand-in-hand and I will wistfully dream of having that for myself, and maybe it will tempt me to do something that I shouldn't do.  In that case, I would hope that I would refer myself back to this post, where I can see in black and white the reasons why a year without men is a good idea for me.

Reason #1:  I'm not over my last boyfriend yet. How can I hope to be any good to anyone I might try to be in relationship with when so much of my heart is still invested in someone I'm no longer with?  (Let's call him "HB".) I have heard the oft-quoted adage "The best way to get over someone is to get under someone else" (and Mom, I'm sure you're reading this, and that you haven't heard it, and that you don't necessarily agree with it!) but I really don't think that's true.  The best way to complicate your life more, sure; the best way to open yourself to the possibility of a sexually transmitted disease, possibly; the best way to end up crying about your ex to someone you hardly know, definitely.  I just don't want to go there.  I'm a romantic, but not in the fairy-tale way that as soon as you kiss someone, you're immediately in love forever and forget about everyone else.  No, I spent nearly three years in love with HB, and I know that I need to move past him, but I want to do it gracefully and give myself the time I need to move through it rather than over it.  When I can look back on our relationship with fondness and gratefulness outweighing the longing, then I might be ready to have another relationship.

Reason #2:  I am starting a four-year degree in September and have to focus on school.  Granted, the first year purports to be the easiest of the four, so perhaps my timing isn`t so good if I`m planning on trying dating again as I`m heading into Year Two, but that`s the least of my worries right now.  Either way, it`s my first time back to school in a long while (aside from upgrading high school courses), and with that, work and kids, I`m not liable to have a lot of time on my hands anyway.  I don`t want to waste valuable studying time trying to find a boyfriend.

Reason #3:  My kids need me more right now than any guy does.  I am a single mom and, although their dad is most definitely in their lives, my kids have not outgrown their need for Mom.  One of my kids is going through a really difficult time right now, and I need to make sure that I can really pay attention to and deal with any crises that may come up.  I do tend to get distracted when I'm in love (not to say that dating would necessarily lead to my being in love, or infatuated, or obsessed, or any of the other things that I have been in my life...) and that won't do when I have a child who needs me.  We only have a few short years with them, after all, and I will never regret the time I invest in them.  Whereas, looking back on a couple of my relationships, all I can see is wasted investment and time.  I'll never feel that about my children.

Reason #4:  I need to get to know myself better and like my own company.  I have, actually, managed to get a pretty good handle on who I am and what I want within the past six years since my marriage broke up.  It's amazing that I have accomplished as much as I have emotionally and mentally when you consider that for most of the past six years, I was entangled in some form of romantic relationship that took away a great deal of my focus.  Again with the wasted time!  What if I had instead spent much of that time on my own?  I'd like to think I'd be much more in tune with myself.  I don't mind my own company so much but I want to be able to look myself in the mirror and say, "You know, girl: you're really actually pretty great on your own!"  My sense of self-worth should never be dependent on external validation.  For too long, it was.

Reason #5:  I'm just not good at picking guys.  A bit tongue-in-cheek there, but sadly, also true to life.  Although my first boyfriend was pretty amazing, I didn't appreciate him the way I should have, instead moving on to bad boy after bad boy.  Tell me, please: what is it with us girls thinking that the bad boy will be a good boy for us, if we only love him enough??  What is in our heads?  I've known a lot of great guys, but when I start a relationship, I always manage to latch on to the one I shouldn't.  I will not address my marriage, but after we split up, there was the one who turned out to be a cocaine and gambling addict.  The one who thought I was amazing and wonderful (and who wrote the most beautiful emails with the perfect flowery words) but who couldn't deal with the facts that I had three children and an ex-husband...or with the aforementioned cocaine addict camping on my doorstep in order to "prove" his love for me after our breakup.   The one who yelled in my face that I was crazy (and I believed him).  The commitment-phobe. The one who had carved out too much of a bachelor's life that I couldn't fit anywhere into it.  And those are just the ones I dated or considered seriously.  Just imagine who I met when I joined Plenty of Fish - that's a whole other story!  No, this time I want to let God choose a man for me.  For the first time in my life, I don't want to rush anything or push anything.

Is this him, Lord?  Is he the one for me?

Reason #6:  I want to get a concrete idea in my head of what I will and won't accept in a man.  I have a list.  I wrote a list after HB and I broke up, and on this list is everything that I want in my husband (yes, I want a husband, eventually). The problem is, when I meet a nice (-looking or -seeming) guy, I tend to get swept up in the moment and forget the list.  Then I start to overlook things because so many of the other things are nice.  I need to make a list of Dealbreakers, too, and I need to be able to recognize them and make sure I toss out guys who don`t meet my criteria.  It`s hard for me to do, but I hope I will get to the point that I see myself as a top prize who won`t settle for less.

And, finally, Reason #7:  I just don't want to always be "on" anymore.  You know how you get up in the morning and get dressed, and you're thinking about how you look to everyone else?  Or when you're walking to Starbucks or in the grocery store and you're sucking your gut in just in case you happen to run into a cute guy?  I just don't want to do that anymore.  It's not that I don't want to care about my appearance; I just don't want to care about it for the wrong reasons.  And I don't want to look at every man I see as a "possibility" or a prospective dating partner.  I just want to live my life and be happy.  If someone shows up (after this next 363 days, of course) and wants to be happy with me (and meets all the qualities on my list, of course, with no Dealbreakers!) then maybe I'll be ready for him.  For now, though, I just want to not care if my tummy is pooching out a little or if my butt is triple the size of my boobs.

I am sure there are many other good reasons for going without a date for a year.  What I'm most certain of, though, is that I will discover them as I go along.  Right now all I've got is a mission and some optimism.



Thursday, 9 August 2012

Time to Say Goodbye - This is Where It Begins

I am a romantic at heart.  A die-hard one.

I'm that person that believes that if you love hard enough, you can work everything out.  That love can last forever.  That no matter the obstacle, love will prevail.  And that every pot has its lid.

And now I want to know: where's my freakin' lid?

I have been in love - really in love - twice in my life.  I finally experienced what I had been dreaming of for so many years, and had it torn away.  Okay...I can handle that; it will be a life lesson for me.  At least I know that I can feel that way, and that someone can feel that way about me.  I took the lesson and moved on.

But here I am, in my late thirties, with three (beautiful, amazing) children who are on their way to adulthood.  I know that means that soon enough I will really be on my own, perhaps without anyone to share my life with.  That should be okay...but I really hope it isn't that way.  I want my lid.

So, I plunged into the dating pool.  Plenty of Fish worked for me (I found my second love there), but those gems are few and far between.  I'm thirty-seven but look younger, so most of the guys who attempt to contact me are younger, and often only want one thing.  They don't try very hard after they find out that I'm ancient and have three kids.  Plus, I want someone with emotional maturity.  Haven't found him yet (even in the "older" guys).

Suffice it to say I am discouraged.  I have been for a while, but today, I have reached my limit.  It's bad enough that I received multiple messages filled with photographs from a would-be suitor's genitals (at full mast, lined up next to a Coke can for size comparison), or that I went on a date with someone who felt compelled to tell me that he only had one testicle, or that one gentleman with whom I had a succession of dates still managed to get my name wrong by the end of the fourth one.  Any one of those scenarios might be discouraging (and amusing, especially when I shared all the photographs with my girlfriends at work), but my date today took the cake.

He was a nice guy.  I met him in the conventional way, which I was excited about; I`ve really been complaining about not meeting guys anywhere but online, and finally I met someone out in the real world who found me interesting enough to ask for my phone number!  Hurrah!  A few days passed and he didn`t call, and I decided that if it was meant to be, he would...and finally, on Day Four, he did (is that some kind of guy rule?).  We arranged to meet for coffee today, and it was nice.  I thought he seemed like a good guy and was enjoying his company.  Until I Googled him and discovered that he confessed to murder over a decade ago.

Yes, you read that right: MURDER.  As in someone is no longer living and my coffee date admitted to having been the one who made that happen.  This is not some guy with only one testicle or someone forgetting my name.  This is a sign to me that it's time to stop.  There may or may not be someone out there for me, but I'm going to stop looking, at least for now.  And I know that there could be extenuating circumstances and that leopards can change their spots - I mean, obviously he didn't get sent to jail, because he has a successful company that's been running for five years now - but I am just not comfortable, as a Christian single mother, bringing that into our lives.  He also made it clear to me that he is not interested in a relationship, and tried to kiss me several times, despite my stating clearly that "I will not be a booty call" and "I will not kiss you on the first date".  I want a relationship.  I also don't want to have to get whiplash angling away from overly persistent lips or have to literally bend over backward to extricate myself from overly amorous arms.  So I'm done.  For now.

It's time to take a break.  Let my heart heal from my last breakup (yup, that recent love that I mentioned, who could possibly take more than a few dates with other guys to move past), focus on school and the kids, enjoy being single and not dealing with "txty"-type messages ("U r hot lets hookup") or being judged for how I look.  Maybe after 365 days without a date I will find I am content without a partner.  Maybe I'll be so frustrated I'll jump on the first guy who comes along.  Or maybe, somewhere along the way, I'll find that guy who will really be my perfect partner.  If he can wait out the year for me, that is...

Fasten your could be a bumpy ride.