Monthly Archives: May 2008

The Power Suit

I survived my first holiday weekend solo. Another milestone in this journey. But it wasn’t without hardship. I mean, I had a great weekend, don’t get me wrong. But at the end of the day, I’m still getting divorced, ending a relationship that I thought would last forever and readjusting to life by myself. And that’s sad.

On Monday afternoon, I decided I wanted to see a movie. These are books I poured over as a child. My dad read me the first book when I was 9 and I was hooked. I have no problems doing things alone. So I figured a movie would be no different. I walked to the nearest theater (I love that I can walk there!) I bought my ticket, my popcorn and found my seat. No problem. The movie was great. There are so many levels to this story. (Stop here if you don’t want a spoiler.) At the end of the movie, the two oldest siblings are told they won’t be returning to Narnia, a place they love and hold dear. Their time in Narnia is over and there is no more they can learn there. They must return home and live their lives. I could draw so many obvious parallels to my life right now. I loved my marriage. Loved him. But now, it’s over and I must move on and live my life. So I cried. I told myself I was crying in the movie because I always cry in movies, but something in me knew it was more.

After the movie, I went to the ladies room. And suddenly the weight of the world hit me. Oh my god there is no one waiting for me out in the lobby. I am all alone. The floodgates were released. Which was really bad timing because I knew there was a line.

After I regained my composure, I went out into the beautiful sunshine, in my beautiful city. And then I bought a suit. A black skirt suit that fits amazing. (To my credit, this little bit of retail therapy was part of the plan because I knew I had a business trip next week and I needed a new suit that fit.)

I love wearing suits. They are crisp, classic and powerful. And they are always stylish. But I think I will always see this suit as my ultimate power suit because symbolically, it represents my strength. My ability to rise from the ashes despite it all. So whenever I’m feeling a little bit weak. A little bit like I might not make it, I think I’ll put on my suit and remind myself that I can and I will.

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100 Things About Me (Part I)

  1. If I want something bad enough, I will make it happen
  2. I am stubborn
  3. I’d skip dessert, but never cheese.
  4. Every night I take Gertie’s bed and drag it into my room by my bed so we can sleep next to each other.
  5. I can’t live without coffee.
  6. I want to be a roller derby girl, but I bruise easily and I’m vain.
  7. I will sometimes go see a movie just because I’m craving popcorn.
  8. And I never skip the butter.
  9. I have no poker face. Therefore, I’m an awful liar.
  10. I wear my heart on my sleeve, even when I’m not aware of it.
  11. Lately, memoirs before fiction
  12. In high school, I could have been Mandy Moore’s character in Saved!
  13. I like Mandy Moore a lot.
  14. In Jr. High, I ran track, but I came in dead last in every 400 race I ran. One time I got third place, but it was still last and I was so proud of myself.
  15. My first road race was the Trolley Run in Kansas City in 1995.
  16. In college I made all my friends read Bridget Jones’ Diary before the book was a hit and way before the movie.
  17. I hosted Morning Edition for an NPR station in Indiana.
  18. I loved working in radio.
  19. I want Terry Gross’ job and her radio voice.
  20. Sometimes I wish I went to a college big enough that I wouldn’t have to explain to people where it is and how small it is.
  21. I latch onto a song and will overplay it to insane levels.
  22. I am overprotective of Gertie.
  23. I like a firm mattress.
  24. And sheets with high thread count.
  25. I am light sensitive and sleep with a mask.
  26. I have a crown on my front right tooth.
  27. I worry about it popping off at inopportune times.
  28. When is a good time for your tooth to come off?
  29. I like spontaneous road trips.
  30. Especially if there is a lake and a boat involved. If not, shopping and fine dining will do.
  31. But I will not swim in water where snakes have been sighted.
  32. Or alligators. (Florida)
  33. One of my favorite places is the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
  34. I can’t dance.
  35. I’ve tried.
  36. I still try.
  37. When I was a newspaper reporter, I once wrote a lawn & garden story about yard ornaments.
  38. And I went door to door to interview people about their gnomes and flamingos.
  39. Where is my Pulitzer?
  40. I don’t like having my toes painted bright colors.
  41. I’d eat seafood everyday if I could.
  42. But if I eat shrimp and run or work out, I break out into hives and end up in the E.R.
  43. If I’m honest, I shouldn’t eat shell fish ever. But I do.
  44. I hate my chin.
  45. But I love my nose.
  46. The best compliment I’ve ever received is that I’m quirky.
  47. I don’t think cilantro tastes like soap.
  48. I’ve never waited tables or bar tended.
  49. Because I know I’d be awful at both.
  50. But my first job was at Baskin Robbins and I made a great ice cream server.

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It’s all about the journey

I never thought I’d be here. But now that I am, I can’t help but want to write about some of the obsurd happenings in the world of online dating. Thanks for the inspiration to share…

There is no moral to these stories because as my friend Justin likes to say, it is not an instinctive move for us to move to the Internet when looking for a match. If we could find someone in other ways, we would. So therefore, anyone out there in online dating land has some sort of flaw, issue or quirk whether it be minor or major. I’m learning to take it all with a grain of salt and to enjoy the journey…but damn if I don’t want to laugh about some of it!!!

So for those (like I was) who have no idea how Match works, here is a synopsis:
You sign up with an account and try to pick a clever name. (No, I’m not sharing mine. It’s lame.)
Then you answer questions about your lifestyle, preferences, ideals and how you hope your match will answer the same questions. You write a clever headline (not sharing that either) and finally, you write a few paragraphs of introduction. Slap on a few photos and up you go!

My tactic was post and wait to see what happened. But you could take a more aggressive approach. If you see someone that looks promising, you can either no holds bar and send them a message via your personal Match e-mail account, or you can “wink” at them. Winking is just a way to say, hey I’m interested and maybe you are too.

Mr. Self-Deprecating
My first experience on Match occurred about five minutes after I signed up. I was sitting there, watching TV and suddenly I saw I had an instant message. (This is another way you can use Match.) So I start to talk to this guy. I could tell I wasn’t that attracted to him, but I thought I’d give him a chance, so we talked for a while. Then he wanted to meet up. Woah…I wasn’t sure I was ready for all of that yet. So I told him I’d like to talk some more before I went to that step. I started to notice he was very self-deprecating. I’m all for dry humor and the ability to find your own flaws, but this guy was such a hater that I think he may have needed Prozac more than he needed a date. A few days later, I sent him a message saying I wasn’t ready for the online dating scene, hoping he’d just go quietly away. Of course, that was a stupid move because obviously, I was still active on Match. (Lesson number one learned: don’t lie. It will bite you! But come on, I was so new to this whole world of weird.) He sends me an e-mail, “In other words, I’ve met hotter guys than you, you fugley loser.” Well, I guess he was kind of right. I just wouldn’t have put it that way. Two weeks later he starts sending me one word messages “ha.” CREEPY! Moving on.

Bowling Boy…
This guy had some promise. A nice job. Loved his dog. My age, but divorced. Funny. Kind of cute in pictures. We shared some interests and our phone conversations were easy. I was actually looking forward to meeting him. One of the things that happens when you start online dating is you tend to break the awkward ice by sharing “war stories” of bad first dates. He told me a doozey. He had taken this girl to a local bowling establishment that doubles as a martini bar. She had a few martinis and then started egging him on with shots. Suddenly the bowling match date turned into a drinking match as she was challenging him with shots for each time pins were left standing. After a while of heavy drinking, she disappears into the bathroom. A significantly long time goes by for a girl to be in the bathroom on a first date. A staff member comes to tell him that his date is sick in the bathroom. He proceeds to share with me that she was all sorts of sick. He told me, despite that, she pulled herself together and she insisted on driving home. (Despite his offer to call her a cab to help her out.) The next day she had the audacity to text him what a great time she had and she hoped to see him again. He said he let her know he wasn’t interested, and with that story, who can blame him? In the days following him sharing this story with me, she became bowling girl and all references to our future first date were jokingly measured by how much better it would have to be than that date.

So enter week of our scheduled Friday night date. I’m having happy hour with a friend. I’m telling her about my plans and want her opinion if he’s cute. So I pull up Match on my Blackberry and show her his photos. “OH NO!,” she blurts out. “YOU CAN’T GO OUT WITH HIM!” Obviously alarmed, I ask why not. She tells me she had been talking to him on e-harmony and then her roommate started talking to him. (By the way, he presented himself as just recently signing up for Match and it was his first time with online dating.) Then she says all I need to hear, “He took her to [name of bowling/martini establishment]…”

No way. No way.

Your roommate is bowling girl?! This can’t be happening. Kansas City is a small town, but really?!

And it gets worse (which you knew it would.)

Turns out that he was egging her on with the shots. Then she did get sick in the bathroom, but what transpired after was not the same story I was told. Let’s just say he didn’t offer to call her a cab, but he was more than willing to help her if she could get in her car and follow him to his house…. Then he continued to text her for weeks before eventually breaking it off because he felt bad because he slept with her!!!

Later that night when he called to chat, I said, “Maybe you shouldn’t have told me about bowling girl, but I’m super glad you did.” He, of course, denied that my friend’s roommate was bowling girl. “That wasn’t her name. No. It didn’t happen that way. I told you what happen. This must be some sort of mix up.”

Needless to say, I never met him. Recently he e-mailed that he was really bummed and that it was unfortunate that some mix-up kept us from meeting. I’m not bummed at all.

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Remembering

Today is his Nana’s funeral. And for obvious reasons, I’m not going to attend her memorial service. But attending a service isn’t the only way to remember someone. I can’t say I fully knew Nana, but for seven years she, like all of my in-laws, was an important part of my life. They loved me and I love them. Nana was a strong woman with amazing stories to tell. Out of respect to the family who prefers to keep things private, I won’t share any, but if you had the privilege of knowing Nana, you know what I’m talking about. I will say that she will be missed and his family will be in my thoughts today. Thank you Nana for teaching me how to knit and for loving me. And thank you for the role you played in his life.

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laughter

I snort when I laugh really hard. It just happens. That’s stage one. In stage two I enter the “no breathing zone.” This is where I’m laughing so hard I can’t breathe. By stage three, I start to lean and fall. So if it’s a really, really funny occasion, then you can almost bet I’ll be silently convulsing near the floor with occasional snorts (gasps) for air. Tears are optional.

Last night I had many reasons to laugh. Surrounded by a group of friends in a zany setting. Uninhibited by social norms or rules, just having fun.

When I came home, I called my friend Molly. There are moments in this whole divorscapade (I made that word up so booyah spellchecker!) that I need to talk to my girlfriends. Even if I’ve just had a night to remember — it’s sometimes a little lonely in my fun. If I’m honest, at the end of the day I want to share my fun with someone.

Molly:”OhmygoshI’msuchabadfriendI’vebeenneglectingyou!!!!”

No, she really hasn’t. We’ve all been busy.

Me: “I’m kind of sad tonight.”

20 minutes later I have an invite for dinner tonight with her entire family and I am reminded that I am really not alone in any of this.

When you spend seven years of your life with someone who loves you and is there for you unconditionally, someone who you treasured having fun with, it’s hard to find that strength within to know that you don’t need that. You are ok alone. You don’t have to share your fun with anyone else. It can be yours. You can own it.

But when you just need a little nudge toward independence…

A listening ear at 11 p.m. after a Thursday night out with the gay boys…

An invite for dinner on a Friday night…

To dump some honest feelings on someone…

It’s nice to have good friends.

And Molly has the most amazing laugh you’ve ever heard.

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Adding to Gertie’s growing list of fears…

Since moving back into the city, Gertie has found a laundry list of items that are terrifying. Namely:

The iron gates at my apartment

Garbage trucks

Buses

Any vehicle blasting sirens

Bikes (this is not a new fear, but she has encountered them more frequently than in her suburban life.)

Homeless people on park benches

And yesterday she discovered the frightening world of….

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Famous people know me

So, I’ve been reading her blog for a while and think she’s pretty awesome. I outed myself as a fan yesterday and she wrote me back! Eek. I was very excited. So she promised me some great match.com stories, and oh boy, did she live up to her promise. Thanks, Erin!

As if that wasn’t enough excitement for your average Tuesday morning, I decided to take my stalking e-mails to a new level and sent a message to this super cool author with a super cool name. I’m reading her memoir on divorce at age 29, and let me tell you, if you are in your late twenties to early thirties and going through a divorce, break-up or just a rough road, you won’t regret spending time in these pages. My e-mail was something short and sort of gushy about how much I’m loving the book (haven’t even finished it yet and I’m still recommending it!) and think it’s cool that we have the same name. Within FIVE minutes, people, she’s written me back. And. She. Called. Me. A Doll. I now have a girl crush on Stephanie.

So here’s a plug for her new book which comes out on Tuesday (which is what you do for people you like.) Go buy it!

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