Dating Advice

I don't have real dating advice.  I'm not sure how seriously I'm taking it.  It's company that feels better than being alone and that hasn't happened yet.  Actually, I spent the weekend taking Kid3 on dates, and even with his tantrums and meltdowns, he's a better date than most of what I found online.  And I paid! I'm still wading through the messiness and I'm just sharing gold nuggets from some of the men in my life that are not interested in me because they know me too well, or their orientation means we share an interest in the same men. I'm out of practice and very impulsive in some ways. The men in my life are straight shooters and when I'm comfortable, you'll get that from me too.  They love me.  They know me.  They don't want me. What am I looking for? So far he's monogamous, physically attractive, well groomed, intelligent, cultured, patient with children (he may be a gay man), and only has eyes for me.

You need someone on your level.

Yes! I'm well read, relatively sharp (how much sleep are we talking?) and I can take care of myself and my boys.  I'm generally happy and I don't need attention as much as I want it.  I'm looking for a match that I won't have to make up for.  Well, looking is a strong word that I keep using for the meandering I actually do.

Some things should only be admired from a distance.

But sometimes they are so pretty and shiny.  I want to touch and obsess and learn every detail.  Then I remind myself I'm not a puppy and I can put the toy down.  But I don't want to. Call it sweet.  It may be a touch stalkerish.

Don't date at work.

You can't shit where you eat.  (Crude, yes, but the exact way it was said to me.) I tend to look for someone doing just as well as I am, or better, and it's hard to shut my eyes when the men parade so innocently past me when they don't know I was looking through my lust colored lenses.

Set your rules and don't break them.

I had stiff rules when I was online dating.  No delivery drivers but that is more about me than anyone else. I have issues.  They end up here where I can be followed and shared and bookmarked. No one younger than me, but that one is flexible in relation to how much drool we're dealing with.  He has to be smart enough that I'm constantly in awe of his huge ideas and observations.  He has to look better than I do.  I'm looking for beautiful but I'm shallow.  I own it.

Don't lead anyone on.

I have this tendency to start flirting when I get comfortable.  That doesn't mean I'm into anyone outside of the reactions I get.  A simple lunch can mean much more to the man in front of me than it will ever mean to me.  I won't do it on purpose.  I go from purely polite and slightly indifferent to lioness on the prowl, looking for a chew toy. It's not good, but it's rarely intentional.

You're such a dude.  Not everyone you conquer needs to be femme.

Gender normative isn't a dirty word in the dating world.  I'm supposed to soften my ability to be dominant in my home and with my sexuality.  I had never seen the men I date as femme, but coming from a gay man, I have to believe there is truth in the way I portray them when I go into juicy detail.

Don't you know spooning leads to forking?

Flirting is never innocent.  Don't do it unless you mean it and are willing to follow through.  Craptastic because that is my way of being.

Walk away and let him come to you. Keep giving signals that you're interested but don't pursue.

This is too twisted.  I don't get it.  I haven't played this game in decades. I was interested and all over it, or not interested and polite with an edge.  I often ended a mean streak with, "I'm just messing with you."  I never said I was nice and the men I dated were never high on emotional intelligence or otherwise.

Baby steps, Ma.

When I am into someone I can get a bit carried away.  I'm not planning a wedding and moving in and puppies together. It's more like I'm free, let's go out. Some boys need to take it slower than that.

Forget to text him on some days. Send generic messages that don't show an interest in his life or that you're expecting conversation.

Have a great weekend! Enjoy your day! Happy 4th of July!

I'm here.  Think of me so we can keep playing this game that really secretly annoys me.

Poop already, because there are other people waiting for the pot.

(I think I was trying to go for being the Shit, but ended up as a toilet. Don't flush!)


You want owners, not the help. If he ain't the highest up on the totem you're not interested. This is no longer high school.

This should matter more because I'm frequently told to think ahead, but I'm not there yet.

A woman with ink is hardcore to a guy without ink. Honey, your level of pain is more than his.  He knows you're a freak and knowing that makes him wonder if he's sexually adequate.

I've given birth.  Many times. All of my ink is meaningful design that hurt less than a crowning child and the contractions that helped me kick 7 babies out.  It was easier than the angry uterus that had no problem with beating up an infant on the way out of my womb.

Where to go: church groups, book readings, events at parks, lounges, community service, the humane society needs volunteers.  Library, museum, coffee houses, cafe's.

For fun: the grocery store produce section.

"Hey, how ripe is that peach? I bet it's juicy."

"Are these melons ripe?"

"How do you pick your papayas?"

Do we really need to go there with bananas?  I think you get it.



Look for Blessings and They Will Find You

I expected blessings yesterday and I was blessed. My day started with helping my Dad around his house.  I’m starting to enjoy moments when he underestimates me and I surprise him with my strength and ability.  His local Albertson’s is like his Cheer’s bar.  Everyone knows his name and they are full of bright smiles for him.  He kept introducing me as his daughter, then pointed out to his favorite butcher that I am single.  My response? "Seriously.  You really just did that?" We had fun shopping together.  He wanted to fill my fridge and I introduced him to goat’s cheese with water crackers and fig preserves. He’s a fan.  He filled my gas tank and funded a manicure.

I got groceries home and spent "me time" in a nail salon.  From there I headed to Will Rogers State Beach where I caught the sunset and picked out a few rocks.  I love quiet beaches and sat in my car for a bit to watch the waves in comfort.  As the last families headed home, I went to Santa Monica where there is more light and patrolling officers.  I wanted to thank the photographer that brightened my Wednesday.  He thought I was kind, and offered more coffee and tea.  I declined, and walked around the pier, checking out the night fishing. A few anglers were just setting their bait and hadn’t had a chance to catch anything. I used to fish with my Dad off of that pier and laughed a little at all of the couples leaning on the rails, oblivious to the fish guts they romanced in.

I walked around and approached the police officers that stood in conversation across from Bubba Gump. I thanked them for their service and wished them well in safety.  They thanked me and as I walked away I could hear their conversation shift into the gratitude I offered and their gratitude that it came from someone who looked like me.  That made me smile.

I wandered to the other side of the pier, and enjoyed a few moments as a shameless cougar, watching young shirtless men play beach volleyball under the stars. I left when I felt like I was being creepy enough.

I found myself watching the surf alongside a single mother.  She understood my desire to stay out when I know there's an empty home waiting for me. Her children were fully dressed, running in and out of the ocean as if it weren’t freezing.  They kept running to her for hugs and praising her for being a terrific mom. They’re on a similar plan where she also has stretches of days to decide what she wants to do now that she can do whatever strikes her as fun. They had spent a day at Disneyland and she was tiring them out so she could have a quiet drive back to San Jose with dry clothes and blankets in the car.  We talked spousal and child support. We talked love. In all of my anger, I still held back from trying to hurt my ex with every bit of fire in me.  She helped me see that with those I love, even when they’ve hurt or upset me, I would never try to cause them pain or make them feel insecure.  The love I looked for in him looks a lot like power and domination. We talked dating.  She dates, but she doesn’t get too close to anyone.  The natural progression of a relationship means having someone to sleep by your side every night.  She has young children and cannot sleep with one eye open.  She ends her relationships before they get to that point. That never occurred to me.  In all of my dating thoughts, I just assumed I’d get to be a fun grown up when I didn’t have my kids and both worlds could remain separate.  I never considered dating for keeps and just thought about dating and being married again.  The in between phase and the practical aspects of it never crossed my mind. She reminded me that I need to deal with my codependent tendencies so I don't bring them into my next relationship.

We talked tattoos and how she covered hers. She used a hamsa, because a hand of protection used in many cultures must mean several religious folks have placed their values in something meaningful. (Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Shamanism, Jain beliefs and Anatolia, but we didn't talk cultural appropriation.) She made a suggestion for mine.  I have a bee and my ex’s name on my shoulder.  My nickname for him was Honeybee.  For so long he would’ve done everything in his power to make me feel like a queen.  The name is going to be covered, not altered. I don’t know if I want to keep the bee because I like bees and I have longer than I've known the ex, and it ties into the life that brought me my kids.  I don’t know if I want something to devour the bee, but that thought makes me laugh.  I love California Poppies and like the idea of flowers on my shoulder. She suggested a honeypot.  Bees eat honey.  Bees need honey.  Without the queen, the hive dies.  I don’t know what I’m going to do, but I really liked her suggestion. At the same time, my days on movie sets make it impossible to not think of a honey wagon and that's not an image I am fond of. Besides, I've had his name on me for long enough that covering it should be all about me.

For today, I’m overflowing. That means I’m able to give and that looks like helping out with my niece and kid brother’s 11th birthday party.  I’m not a party planning mom and lucked out in my kid’s sensory integration dysfunction.  I don’t like to throw parties and they don’t like to be at parties.  Usually they want Mountain Dew, Doritos, Gummy Worms, and a fast Wifi connection. Today I got in a tug of war with a bounce house and didn’t freak out over ruining my new manicure.  I have polish at home and I may play with my own nails later. Depending on how this day makes me feel, I may decide to hit the beach again tonight.  Whatever my day brings, I will look for the blessings and see the grace that covers me.

Setting Goals and Conquering Mountains

When I was in my late teens I didn't have major goals.  I think my only goal was to have enough disposable income to have someone come to my house and clean up after me. We married and had two kids and I said if he wanted another child I wanted another bedroom in our home and a dishwasher. All three of our kids were surprises, or we were being really irresponsible. I got the bedroom.  Not the dishwasher.  I would love a dishwasher, they look like saved time and fewer broken nails.

My goals are shifting.

I still want to hire a housekeeper and get a dishwasher.  Some dreams will never die.

I also want to travel.  I had imagined it, but never thought of it as practical or worth it for my kids. My boys don't like long trips and usually prefer to stay in a hotel room. We used to spend long summers in a tent along the river.  We loved Camp James in Kernville because they offered electricity. My husband has all of our camping things, and as long as it took me to pick out all of the things I wanted, I don't see myself wanting to start over any time soon.  At the end of the day, vacationing as a travelling mom required a vacation from my vacation.  Now I have days long stretches of being alone and I would love to travel.  I'm even applying for jobs and saying I'd be willing to travel because travelling alone sounds amazing.

I have more practical goals as well.  I want to buy pre-need memorial policies for my children.  My Mom did it for all of us.  When my husband's uncle passed away 2 years ago, I was looking into making arrangements for him.  He didn't have anyone else willing to make the calls and finalize his existence.  There were plenty of friends to go through his things. Once I had brought his things out of his home, there were family members that were indifferent yet curious. His remains were left to his family, and he ended up in the care of his nephew's wife who had interacted with him a handful of times in the first few months of our marriage around the year 2000.

In going over my Mom's pre-need policies, I could see that she originally covered every single possibility when she bought it all through Rose Hills.  She had four plots for her four daughters. She transferred everything except the plots to Forest Lawn as our family grew.  She is from Thailand and through legal channels, brought most of my relatives here, starting in 1984 with my grandmother.  She took years to petition and prove that she could financially support new immigrants.  Then she adopted six of my siblings. I get it from my Momma and she is one woman to be proud of. When I was going over her contracts, I could see that a lot of goods and services didn't transfer.  It was over a year of visits, letters, and calls, but in the end I was able to get her policies transferred back to Rose Hills without penalties from Forest Lawn and they're willing to honor the original contracts.  Forest Lawn didn't penalize her because I pointed out the areas their insurance agent willfully ignored his fiduciary duties to his client. This was after meeting with a couple of insurance agents, their records clerk, and even the President at Forest Lawn.  I admired her.  With the amount of policies my Mom had and the services she would have had to purchase again, I saved her over $10,000.  The insane part is how much you save when you purchase your policies early.  The longer you wait, the more funeral costs climb. I believe they share the same trajectory as college tuition. Doing this for my children is important to me.

Once I build my savings into a comfortable place where I have a 6 month emergency fund, I want to invest.  I hear good things about stock mutual funds.  I want to focus on index funds, but experiment in international funds.  It's all still terrifying, but I like the idea of a challenge and doing something new.

Then there's the house.  I love my little house, which is really my Mom's house, but I want to move one day.  I love the little winding roads and city views, but I don't love living on a tiny one way street with only street parking.  I want a place to grow things because I love to grow things.  I want space for a pond, because the little koi that could is coming with me, and I want space for my kids to slam a door that is just their door.  And a dishwasher, which means I will also have a garbage disposal.  I miss that.

Once I buy my house, I want to set up a power of attorney and living trust.  Without major assets, it doesn't seem important, but I'll also have to set up a will for my smaller trinkets and emotional belongings.  Then there's figuring out what happens with the kids should something also happen to the husband.  It seems far less likely we'll die together if we consistently choose to not be around each other.

My last goal is more about me.  I want to be okay. I can recognize that a divorce that hasn't started and unstable employment are a lot to handle.  I understand that sometimes a surprise can shift my day because I had spent it on a tightrope anyway.  I want to not be thrown by it.  I can see that light at the end of the tunnel. I'm getting better. Last night my son called me to ask a question, and my response to hearing my husband's girlfriend playing house with my kids and hers was to answer his question and excuse myself from the call.  I didn't lose it.  I'm not bashing her.  I didn't stay up all night, but for about an hour, I let that situation bother me.



The day I had wasn't an excuse for that lost hour.  Every day presents challenges.  Every moment is a chosen reaction. I was blessed with a late birthday breakfast, pedicure, and shopping date with a woman who has always had my back, even when I stabbed hers.  We talked about life and she helped point out some of the ways my husband was controlling me.  She saw more than I could, but she's right. He manipulated me into avoiding her friendship because he didn't like her.  He wanted me to go to bed at the same time as him, even if I couldn't sleep.  That was about control and even if he wasn't violent, walking on eggshells because I was afraid of my actions affecting his mood wasn't okay. We joked about how blessed we were to live as we did in our 20's without a pregnancy scare or STI.  We're also grateful we grew out of that.  She helped me see that I got bored of dating when I felt men were easy because of the men I was making myself available to.  She also pointed out that I could raise my standards and it would change things.  Then she told me that online dating was a waste for her as well.  She married a man with patience, fire, and a large brain.  He is everything perfect for her as she gives what she gets and they respond in love. We talked pre-nuptials.  I've never been asked to sign one.  I think it puts doubt into a relationship, but at the end of the day, I'm not necessarily against shacking up either. I'm not against it, but I'm also not thinking that far ahead. I'm trying to take care of my heart and healing, and I haven't considered finding someone to take care of me. My values as a wife are so solid in my mind. What I did as a single person was so different and I'm not sure how I want to address that now that I have a second chance to be single, and not a trollop.  That may change. I'm still figuring it all out. I did a lot I never dreamed I would as a wife. I accepted more than I thought I could in the name of being a good wife.  Who knows what will happen next time, or when next time will happen.  I still haven't started looking for my next husband or even a first date. I love visiting with her, because her perspective leaves me joyful and optimistic.  The past with her is lighter than it is in my memories.

I returned my Dad's call and had family emergencies that required about an hour of my time and frustration enough that my silence was to try to remember the happy place I had just been in.  I got home feeling chills and was hit with a fever.  I was thankful that I could be sick without being Mom too. This morning I told him I'm staying in bed and being sick, so he invited himself over.  I told him I wasn't up to it, and now I think I have to put clothes on just in case he pops over anyway. Boundaries!

I slept for a few hours before hearing from the husband then kid3.  He's contacted me twice in three days, and I preferred the radio silence. I miss my kids but for now I'm okay not hearing their voices if I have to hear their pseudo mom too.  I'm not calling her a stepmom yet. She still has her husband and she gets what she needs from hers and mine. One day my husband will be my ex.  I'm not sure if that'll happen once I file, or once it's final.  A couple of loved ones want me to let him file, and remain single for the rest of my life.  That doesn't appeal to me. I want to hire an attorney and it's not to get all he's worth, but I want someone else to do the heavy lifting so I can do the emotional healing. When he becomes my ex husband, I'll have his name covered on my arm, and I already have a best friend planning to be with me when I do.

I Won't Be Ashamed

11817160_1079269022107019_8513885618522013396_n You won't find shame in my home.  We deter modesty as well because we know we're all superstars here. My kids like the feel of skin unencumbered by clothing . When I'm alone I do too, but have consideration enough to want to lower therapy costs and diminish growing mommy issues. I'm not against grandbabies. We sing off key and not well, but with as much fire as we can conjure in the echoes of laminate  and tile flooring and walls that have seen us and forgiven us for all we are. I wear a bikini at beaches and in rivers and lakes because I love the tender kisses of the sun on my bare flesh and nothing anyone thinks can steal that from me. I don't care how comfortable my skin makes other people feel as I don't have to live in their heads with them. The ink of my flesh paints memories many are not entitled to know and I'm not bothered by curiosity because curiosity didn't kill the cat, brazen independence did. I know when to ask for help. My body has given life and carried me through so much good and so much bad.  Each year of my life has been marked by great joys and tremendous sorrows but those years are mine and I hold them and examine them with longing and the softened eyes of time and there is no name calling.  There is no shame in what we look like or the choices we've made. I don't worry about my c-section scar because I can't see it from where I stand and the scar is in the place where I was marked to save two lives on the verge of loss.  Walking through abandonment has given me a voice that I'm no longer running from and words that unfold in my mind before my eyes open each morning.  These words tumble out of me, leaving a Cheshire Cat smile in their wake.  Wordgasms explode and at the end of my posts there is satisfaction in the fullness of sensation pulling me to the precipice as I gaze into the abyss of all I can't deny and I launch into the dark with bravery because the light being sought after is within me, and in that there is no shame. There is healing in the reality of existence beneath my flesh and outside of the shadow of someone else's insecurities and there's no shame in the bite and swallow that has devoured my yesterdays.  You won't find shame here.