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Posts Tagged ‘divorced’

So this was a fascinating read over at HuffPo, “The Likely Cause of Addiction Has Been Discovered, and It Is Not What You Think” by Johann Hari, who’s authored a book called Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs. She spent over three years and traveled 30,000 miles researching her book, and ran across a rather mind-blowing notion:

The opposite of addiction is not sobriety. It is human connection.

There’s a lot of good stuff in her HuffPo article so I definitely recommend reading it, but I’ll hit on some high lights from what she wrote below, along with my own thoughts.   (more…)

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Sweetie pie SillyG suggested that I do another “She’d Love my iPod” to provide some music suggestions for summer jams, and since I haven’t done that in a while and my iTunes collection has grown, seemed like a good time to do so!  Yeah, I know the summer’s almost over but still…

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The vast majority of Valentine’s Days in my life as an adult have been spent single, and yet I’ve always loved the holiday.  If you’re a regular reader – and if you are, I apologize for being mostly absent these past months (more on that later) – you know I’m a hopeless romantic.  If I’m with someone, I like to give her little mini-Valentines throughout the year (just goofy “I love ya” stuff), but on Valentine’s Day it’s time to make a special effort, and I love it.  The years when I’m not with someone, I usually spend Valentine’s Day thinking about past loves and daydreaming about some future love yet to have walked into my life.  Whatever loneliness I feel is typically drowned out by the eternal optimism that is my modus operandi.

This time around… I’m not feeling it.  At.  All.  In fact, all the shiny happy couples that I’m constantly bouncing against throughout each day and night, in person and on social media, have become oppressively irritating, rubbing away my optimism smile by smile.  Valentine’s Day this year just takes that irritation I’ve been feeling and turns it up to 11.

I think the shift in feelings is due to the realization that being alone is something I’ve got to live with for at least 3-4 more years due needing to work full and part-time jobs to take care of my kids and maintain my house (once the kids are in high school my financial obligations ease a bit).  So between working and the time I get to visit with my kids, that usually leaves one day or evening a week that I’m free to be social.  How am I supposed to meet and court someone special one weekend day/evening a week?  I tried and it doesn’t work.

So add that on top of the 4 years since my ex and I split, and the 4-5 years of being emotionally alone while married, and that’s a long fucking time.

I think my “glass half-full” optimism has always been driven by the hope that things are going to get better soon.  And while life is full of ups and downs, in general I do think things generally improve.  I’m happy with a lot of different parts of my life.  But recently I’ve had to admit to myself that romance, love, partnership is just not in the cards—that desolate stretch of emptiness goes  on for the foreseeable future.  And that fucking sucks.  It pisses me off, and makes it tough to maintain the smiles and optimism that I’m known for.

I started this blog when my ex and I separated as a way to mentally keep me from becoming that bitter divorcé that so many people fall into after breaking up with their spouse.  I used it to document and reflect on past loves, and to ponder what future love might bring.  Well, after three and a half years of writing the well of actual real life love experiences is tapped out (not that it was very deep to being with).  And except for one all too brief exception, there has been no new love experiences to write about… and it’s become hard to even imagine when or if future love will come around.  I would write “My Ideal Woman…” posts as an ode to a future love I knew would come around eventually.  Now, I’m pretty sure she’s not.  Not for a long, long time.

This blog was born out of optimism towards women, love and relationships.  That optimism is gone now.  That’s why I haven’t really been feeling up to writing.  Well actually, I’ve still wanted to write, but each time I sat down to write something it’s always been negative.  People don’t want to read negative shit, especially not from me—I’ve always felt that my positivity is what drew people to read my blog.  But I felt that I owed you guys some sort of explanation since I know from my own experiences following blogs it kinda sucks when they just… stop.

I don’t want things to stop here… I’ll do my best to think of interesting and positive things to write about going forward… but the source material for most of what I’ve written here so far is a dried up well, so let’s keep our fingers crossed I can find something else worth writing about.

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This weekend I had the kids with me.  Saturday we ran by Kroger’s to pick up some stuff to make “breakfast for dinner” — something both me and the kids love.  While we were there my son Aaron stopped in front of the sushi bin and saw one of his favorite sushi rolls was there (apparently they don’t make too many and they sell out quick).  Anyway, he pleaded with me to get it for him, and I said we could pick it up and he could have it for lunch on Sunday.  After finishing the groceries, we put the bags in the hatch and head home, unload the groceries and I start on dinner.

Today — Sunday — we’re out running a few errands and Aaron’s in the back seat.  “Oh crap,” he says.  I glance in the rear view mirror and he’s holding up a plastic grocery bag.  “I left the sushi back here since yesterday.  Is it bad now?”

“Yeah, probably.  We’ll need to throw it away.”

“Awww…” He’s disappointed.  Then he adds, “Sorry Dad” after realizing that basically we just threw $8 in the trash.

I can tell he feels bad, so I just say “Well, we all make mistakes.”  I try to think if there’s some sort of lesson to be taught here, but he knows he screwed up.  I mean, I suppose I should have caught that the sushi didn’t make it into the fridge the night before, but the kids were helping me put the groceries away and I was busy fixing dinner, so I didn’t even really notice.  I just assumed the sushi was in the fridge and put it out of my mind.  I wasn’t thrilled to have thrown $8 in the trash, but shit happens.

It occurred to me as I pondered how to respond to the incident that some parents would have screamed their head off at the kid for it.  I’ve seen other parents do it out in public.  My own father might have very well made me feel like total shit if I’d done that.  And it was a strange feeling that I had in that moment, where I was grateful that my son had me as a Dad rather than someone who would have screamed at him over something like that.  Imagining an alternate-universe Aaron having to deal with that sort of reaction… just made me both sad and relieved.

At the very least I suppose the lesson there is something that’s important in how I live my life– don’t sweat the small stuff.  There’s no point in getting upset and angry over small bumps in the road that’s just a part of living.  Save that energy for the things that truly warrant it.

I did make a mental note to myself that, one day, when Aaron’s a grown man and maybe we’ll meet somewhere for lunch I’ll order the sushi and remind him he owes me one.  Hopefully we’ll have a laugh over that.

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Two Words

Today a friend posted a fun little meme on her Facebook page, it had a picture of a blank piece of notebook paper and under it the question:

If you could write a note to your younger self, in two words, what would you say?

That was actually quite tough… just two words?  Three words came pretty easy, but this was a challenge!  I thought for a while, and then finally figured out what I would write to Bennie the Younger…

KISS HER

If you could write a note to your younger self, in two words, what would you say?

Thinking back to so many times in my life, if I would have heeded these words rather than the self-doubt that always seemed to plague my thoughts… well, I’ve no doubt life would’ve been a lot more fun 🙂

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Earlier this year I wrote a blogpost mentioning that one of the obstacles I foresaw to me actually being able to date someone is the fact that I didn’t have a decent car I’d not be embarrassed to pick up a date in.  First impressions matter, and when you meet someone and they see you’re driving a wore-out old car they probably make at least a minor judgment or two about you.

But having an wore-out old car wasn’t just a problem for potential dating… it also impacted all sorts of things.  I mean, just picking up anyone — not just a date, but a friend or co-worker — was embarrassing.  And having to constantly put it in the shop to get fixed, worrying about rides to and from the mechanic… and then the fear of breaking down on the side of the road with my kids in the car, not just for their sake but also the ration of shit I’d likely have to hear from their mother when she heard about it.  Not to mention how limiting it is when you can’t take a road trip to something fun or a family function or what have you because you’re worried about your car not making it…

Anyway, about a month ago another mechanical issue arose in my car and it was the last straw.  I’d already begun doing the research and what I wanted in a car and had narrowed my choices to a Ford Focus or a Kia Soul.

All it took was sitting in the Kia Soul to make my mind.

Yes, I am a Kia Soul hamster too

I totally fell for this thing.  I have to admit the funky box-style of some of the modern cars appeal to me, and the Soul is one of the funkier, boxier ones out there.

What really sold it was how affordable the one was that I looked at.  It’s a 2010 with some miles on it, and there’s a few scratches to the paint in the front, which all seemed to knock the price down quite a bit.  But the previous owner kept the oil changed and performed regular maintenance (thanks, Carfax!), and this was even the Kia Soul Exclaim (or Kia Soul ! ), which had some nice extra features like a sunroof and a killer stereo system.

So I bought it.

It's not neon green, it's "alien"

It’s not neon green, it’s “alien”

So I’m going to share some pics from my baby…

<3

Approaching this every morning makes me smile…

IMG_1003[1]I just love the back of this car, it’s so weird looking and cool

My iPod has a little bit of everything

My iPod has a little bit of everything

The stereo is freaking amazing.  One night after work not long after I got the car I went out into the driveway and sat in my car and just cranked the stereo.  It made me realize how much I love music, but that I really don’t have much opportunity to just kick out the jams anywhere except when I’m in my car driving, so having the option to really turn up the volume and feel the music is awesome.

The stereo can also communicate with my iPhone via Bluetooth so I can make hands-free calls and hear the other person through my speakers and there’s a mic in the roof that picks up what I say.  To activate, I hit a button on the steering wheel and say “dial” and then either a number or a person’s name that’s in my contacts list.  I realize that this technology isn’t exactly new– this is a 2010 model after all — but it’s new to me!

The other weekend a friend came into town on business and needed someone local to drive him around the city, and it pleased me to no end to be able to do that for him.  To pick him up in a nice ride that I didn’t have to worry about breaking down at an inconvenient time.  And I’m stoked to be able to take the kids on the road to visit with family during the upcoming holidays and not even think twice about it!

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The last post I wrote about my first date in forever, how much we clicked and how much I enjoyed meeting her.  Since then, there’s been some good developments and a not-so-good development.

On the good developments, we had our first kiss the second time we got together and it was wonderful.  She’s a great kisser, and it had been so long since I’d really kissed someone that I floated home that night.  Did I mention it was wonderful?  The third time we got together, we shared another goodnight kiss that left me feeling all warm and tingly.  Yeah, yeah– maybe it’s not macho gushing about kissing, but I’ve made no secret how much I love kissing (…She’d Savor Smooching, 3 First Kisses).  I even lamented one time being bummed by the thought that if I got run over by a bus one day that my ex would be my Last Kiss.  Thankfully, that concern has been erased.

Our fourth get-together was cancelled because she was not feeling well, and unfortunately for the next ten days my insane schedule left few opportunities for us to see each other, and on those days she had prior commitments.  So our next date was going to be this Friday, and I was really looking forward to seeing her again.  I considered some options and wracked my brain for something particularly fun to do to make up for the time we’d spent apart.

Unfortunately, that’s where the not-so-good development comes in.  Over the course of a few emails back and forth we converse a bit about what we’re looking for in a relationship, and she tells me that we’re not really working out for her.  She’s looking for someone who can go and do many of the things she likes to go and do, but my time constraints make that difficult.  I work two jobs to support my kids and have visitation with them as often as I can.  Her kids are grown and on their own, and she’s fully enjoying the empty-nest phase of her life.

It totally bummed me out to hear but I could totally understand.  She’s a great woman and deserves to have a partner who can spend more time with her than I can.  I appreciated her honesty, and was glad she was bold enough to speak up about it sooner rather than later, and not just let linger, building up resentment along the way.  She said she still enjoyed my company and hoped that we could still get together as friends, and I was glad to hear that because I really liked chatting with her about a wide variety of things we both enjoyed talking about.  I proposed we still get together Friday, meeting at this cool Mexican restaurant that makes this incredible fresh guacamole right at your table, to share guac over margaritas, and she agreed.  You can never have too many friends, and she’s a friend who likes to go and do, which are particularly good to find in this stage of my life.

So what now?  I don’t know.  One worry I had about getting back into dating was concern about my time constraints, and that was the very thing that sank this relationship before it really got going.  She mentioned that dating me was like having a long-distance relationship, which seems like a pretty good analogy.  Maybe that sort of thing will be appealing to someone down the road, someone who might have similar time constraints as me.  At least we wouldn’t have the travel expense of a long-distance relationship!

At this point I think I’ll get back to checking in on OKCupid, maybe modify my profile a bit to emphasize my time-constraints to make it clear what I can and cannot offer at this stage in my life.  Sure, interest in my profile will likely shrink further, but it’s only fair to potential partners who run across me.

I’ll also keep trying to expand my social circles, find people who want to go and do stuff when I have the time to go and do.  And I’ll focus on my health, exercise and healthy eating.  Who knows what the future may bring?

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Father’s Day weekend my daughter was at the beach with a friend, so I got to have some good father/son time with my 10-year-old Aaron.  We had a great time hanging out, playing video games, catching up on Iron Man and Iron Man 2 and eating manly food.  I took him to Outback Steakhouse for the first time, and he loved it!  My daughter did call me Sunday to wish me Happy Father’s Day, and we talked for quite a long time as she told me all the fun stuff she was doing with her friend.

Aaron will be 11 in a little over a month, and he’s got a serious crush on a gal at school and was lamenting not being able to see her all summer.  When school was winding down a few weeks back I told him that the yearbooks they got at the end of the year offered the perfect opportunity to try and stay in touch– when they exchanged books to sign, he could ask for her phone number or give her his number so they could call over the summer.  He flushed red at the suggestion, and said he just couldn’t do that.  Not that I was in any moral high ground there– being too bashful or shy when it came to girls pretty much defined my adolescence and early adulthood.  But quite a few girls I pined for from a distance and never made a move years later would tell me that they always wondered why I didn’t ask them out on a date.  I told Aaron that regrets can really pile up if you let bashfulness rule your life.

Of course, he’s only 10, but still… as a dad I want my son to have much more success with girls and women that I did, and if I can lay some groundwork now before puberty hits and all those hormones and awkward body changes surge through him maybe I can help make things a bit easier for him.

Anyway, this weekend being filled with so much good father/son time, I mentioned to Aaron that part of my job as a father is teach him and impart what wisdom I’ve gained through the years.  “If you have any questions about boys and girls, men and women and their bodies, sex or anything like that, I want you to feel free to ask me anything and I will do my best to give you a good answer.”

He nodded and thought for a few seconds.  “I actually do have a question, Dad,” he said.

My mind raced, wondering what in the world he’d ask me.

“Why do girls try to control you so much?”

I had to laugh… my ten-year-old son, asking such a question?  What sort of girls do they have at his elementary school?  Of course, this is the sort of “mysteries of the universe” question that if I had a real good answer to I could probably write some books and retire a wealthy man.  Aaron is a very bright and perceptive young man, but he’s still only 11 years old, so how to answer him?

“Well,” I said, “perhaps some try to control boys because they don’t feel strong in other areas, maybe they don’t feel physically as strong, or maybe their don’t feel like they have much say in what goes on at home, so trying to exert control over boys gives them that feeling of strength they’re missing.”

“Hmm…”

I thought a few moments more.  “Also, I think sweet guys like you and me, we enjoy making other people happy, and sometimes people will take advantage of that, so whatever girl you like, make sure that she wants to make you happy too, and that you’re not just giving and she’s not just taking.  Does that make sense?”

“Yes, I think so,” he said.  “Thanks, Dad!”

Later, I mentioned this conversation to my roommate, who’s got the experience of having three ex-wives and numerous girlfriends over the years, and he laughed and laughed mightily.  Of course, as grown-up divorced men we could certainly get cynical and dark when it comes to pondering why women try to exert such control over their men, but my son is just starting to tip-toe towards the wonders that the opposite sex hold out to us.  It’s a helluva bumpy ride that lasts a lifetime full of ups and downs, and I want to do my best to give him the tools he needs to hopefully enjoy the trip.  I hope he’ll ask me a lot of these sorts of questions in the coming years.

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Okay, so my new healthy eating plan has been going really well, and I’ve got a pretty good routine going with foods that I like… but most of it are things that are easy to prepare and things I can prepare ahead of time and warm up later in the microwave.  And that’s all fine and good…

…But sometimes you’re in the grocery store and see a package of scallops and your mouth starts salivating and your heart speeds up a little faster.  It probably didn’t help that I was a rather hungry at the time (rule of thumb – never go to the grocery store hungry).

I love seafood… I mean really love it.  Shrimp is probably my all-time favorite, but scallops are right up there too, and since they’re a bit more expensive I rarely have scallops.  It’s been so long I can’t even recall when the last time I had scallops was.

Suddenly, I found a package of scallops in my basket.  I recalled that I had some rainbow Swiss chard and broccoli at home (ingredients for my Green Smoothies) that were getting a little wilted, and figured I could toss them in my big fry pan as I saute the scallops.  I then ran across a package of sliced mushrooms, “exotic blend” which had Shiitake, Oyster, and Porcini mushrooms… and I knew my dish was complete.

I would dub thee… Scallops Delight!

So I added a little olive oil to my fry pan, tossed in the mushrooms, broccoli and chard to get them started, added the scallops, tossed in a little garlic powder, pepper, and Italian seasonings, and after about 10-15 minutes it was ready for my plate.  I added a sweet potato and looked at my dinner.

I just had to take a picture…

Yep, I made this

Yep, I made this

Looks good, huh?  I plugged the recipe into Calorie Count and it wasn’t bad at all, just 560 calories and fit right in with my plan.

I could have easily split this in two and had a side salad to round out the meal.  I had a brief moment of thinking “damn shame I don’t have a special lady to share this with!”  But then I dug in and just delighted in satisfying my seafood craving.

Do you like seafood?  It was easy to make, go indulge yourself 🙂

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A couple months back an old friend had gotten in touch, saying she was going to be in town visiting some friends and wanted to know if I could meet up with her so we could catch up.  I met J.L. many years ago when she was the freshman roommate with my sister, and instantly liked her.  She was brainy, quiet, a bit shy, and totally adorable and attractive without even realizing it.  My sister– who was a bit of a wild child at the time — kinda brought her out of her shell, and a few weekends a year I visited my sister we all would party and have a great time.  J.L. and I struck up a friendship and wrote letters to each other for a little while.  I even still have a picture catching us on a quick midnight kiss for New Years.

Eventually J.L. and my sis took different paths and didn’t hang out so much, and I lost touch with J.L. (though my sister kept in touch).  Fast forward a couple decades and now we have Facebook, wonderfully getting us all back in touch with friends we lost track of over the years.  When I saw J.L. post something on my sister’s wall, I sent her a friends request, hoping that she’d friend me back, and was thrilled when she did.  I was curious to see where life had taken her.

Well, turns out that J.L. is still brainy — she just got her doctorate — and is still totally adorable and attractive.  We love lots of the same books (and sent each other book recommendations), have the same politics, share a similar sense of humor… in short, just a really awesome woman.  So I was really looking forward to meeting up with her before — not for possible romance (for those of you wondering), she has a boyfriend — but just because, as I talked about before (Paradigm Shift) I want to expand my circle of friends and JL is Good People!  Not only will it be great getting reacquainted, but who knows who I might meet through her?

Unfortunately our meet-up falls through… I had wanted to take the kids to see The Hobbit, and it turned out the best time for them ran right into the meet-up time with JL… I texted her when we were done, but she was winding down and wouldn’t be up too much longer.  “We can try again another time,” she said.

So it looks like next time will be… this Saturday!  We’ll be meeting for dinner to talk and catch up — for me it’s Splurge Saturday, so we’ll be going to Plaza Azteca for yummy Mexican food and maybe a margarita– and then later I’m going to meet her at a bar to watch her boyfriend’s band perform (he actually lives nearby).  I love watching live music — and occasionally performing it!

And to make things extra intriguing, she recently left this in the comments of one of my Facebook status updates:

I need to mosey over to your blog. BTW, I’ve a gal you might wanna meet. *GRIN* We’ll talk … I’ll be good.

My response, naturally…

Hee hee, the plot thickens….

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