Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Breaking and The Blending of Hearts

I broke someone's heart today. And it sucked.

Someone else had her heart warmed, cherished and captured today. For life. Hopefully. And it's wonderful.

It wasn't working out with the guy I've been seeing. He went away for a week and I didn't miss him. At all. I picked him up from the airport today and we were mid-way into "the talk" by the time I pulled into his driveway. He retrieved his suitcase, dried his eyes, and pulled out several gifts from his trip. For Ben and for me. He became increasingly choked up as I admired the pendant necklace he picked out for me. He loved me. He loved the idea of his future with me. He loved my home, my predictability, my religion. I think he was starting to love my son. I feel awful.

My sister's boyfriend of one year proposed to her today. She is elated. The phone rang non-stop this evening as my mom excitedly relayed the news to her friends and family. I am thrilled for my sister. She's waited 36 years for this and has had some dark moments where she questioned God as she watched her friends marry and wondered when her time would come. It did, one year ago, via, no less.

Congratulations, Alisa and Alec. May you always have hearts full of love and a lifetime of blessings. I am so happy for you both.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

What Men Want, Or Better: Why I'm Still Single

This month's issue of KidAround had me completely captivated. And a little disgusted.

First, the good: There was a great article on "Sex and the Single Mama" with a caption that is so near-and-dear to me, that I had to post it as part of my navigation bar on my blog. Check it out.

Next, the editors provided a round-up of the hottest dads in the Sacramento region. Oh boy, are they HOT. The only problem, in my opinion, is that they are are super happily married which actually makes them even hotter, if that's even possible. The issue is worth picking up for the eye candy alone. One word: yum.

Now, the not-so-good. "Keeping the Ball and Chain Happy" was the title of one of the issue's articles. The writer provided laundry lists of what men want versus what women want. I think the title of the article alone is enough to cast a negative light on the subject matter. Anyway, I decided to provide the Men's list, just because I think that their requests (demands?) are much more unrealistic than the women's. When I read stuff like this, I'm glad, even momentarily, to be single and I think: "You gotta be effing kidding me." You be the judge:

What Men Want

1. For her to be in a good mood, inferred through her positive behaviors: smiles, laughter, warm tone of voice, etc.

2. For her to treat him like a hero. Giving praise, compliments, respect, admiration, being agreeable, acting sexy and flirty, deferring to him, and other acts to show he's desired and appreciated.

3. For her to do activities with him that he likes and for her to be a good sport about it. Think sex, camping, car shows, sports, video games.

4. For him to like and be proud of his woman's looks. For her to wear flattering clothing, keep hair, nails and make-up attractive, stay in good shape.

5. For him to be supported in having "guy time." Doing projects in the garage, playing video games, relaxing in silence, hanging out with the guys.

6. Good food and drink - and plenty of it.

7. Long, restful sleep - including naps- without guilt or remorse.

8. Other various stimulating or relaxing activities with minimal hassles.

Is it just me or have we gone back 40 years in time? Again, I could provide the women's list but it seems so trite in comparison. Really, is there anything that we want more than the trash taken out, the kids entertained occasionally and a little romantic and insightful conversation now and then? That's about what it amounts to, guys.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A Divine Connection

Last Sunday, my mom and I went to church together. We went to what I call, "the late late late service or the "Episcopal Light" service.

At my church, we have four services on Sunday morning. The services run the gamut from traditional to not-so-traditional to quasi-traditional. It's easy to find your niche at my church. We have a Saturday service as well which is very casual and geared toward families. Anyway. The final service on Sunday morning is a quickie. No music, straight liturgy, quick sermon and a fast-paced communion. If you want the express route to God, this is the service for you.

So my mom and I joined about 12 other people last Sunday. The Reverend was a visiting chaplain from a local hospital; a man I'd never seen before in our church. He was older (70-ish) and verrrrryyyyyyyy gay. We're a pretty liberal lot so this wasn't surprising, in the least.

The Reverend left the podium early on in the service and delivered his message straight from the aisle in between the pews and to quote Renee Zellweger from Jerry Maguire: "He had me at hello."

This man was not only brilliant in his knowledge of the Bible, but in the way that he wove together modern day sadness and struggles, profoundly and with raw emotion. I don't recall blinking. I was riveted.

I won't bore you with the details of his sermon, but here is the point that stayed with me: There is always strength in surrender. I needed to hear this, because lately, I've felt that surrender is a little too closely tied to despair.

The time came in the service to "pass the peace," that is, turn to your neighbor and shake their hand. The Reverend came right to me and took my hands in his. "Thank you for your eyes," he said. (I guess I didn't blink, after all!) Later in the service, he paused as he blessed my wafer during communion. He took my hand again and squeezed it. And at last, when we filed out of the cathedral, he asked me my name. I told him and then I thanked him for being with us. Then we (my mom and I) went to the Co-Op and grabbed lunch, all the while talking about what a blessing the visiting reverend was.

I've never had anything like this happen to me. I'm usually the one in church who is pretending to pray while "resting" my eyes or glazing over completely during the lengthy Prayers of the People (love the Episcopal Church dearly but that liturgy can be oh-so-boring, at times!).

During my week, I found myself drifting back to that connection from Sunday and being thankful, and perhaps even reverent, for such a deep and meaningful connection.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I Have Arrived

After months of writing this little blog and convincing myself that yes, there are at least four people who DO read it, I've finally had the big pay-off.

I received an email from "Jason" on Sunday night, thanking me for writing the post on "How To Date A Single Mom." I have no idea where Jason lives, what his age is, whether he's the boy-next-door or the next Ted Bundy. You gotta love the anonymity of the Internet.

What I do know is that Jason is dating a single mom. Has been for a few months. I also know that he did a search on Google to find tips on how to date a single mother. Lo and behold, he found me. Well, he found my blog.

Now I can really appreciate the connectivity of the blogging world.

And Jason, best of luck to you with your single mom gal!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Why We Go Camping

My first camping trip was with my ex-husband. We were dating at the time and he convinced me that it would be a fabulous three day stint of relaxation in a gorgeous setting. He was right about the setting - we had, perhaps, the most beautiful campsite in all of California, overlooking the Pacific with lots of marine life to watch. Relaxing? Not so much. After the four plus hour drive from Sacramento, he realized that he had forgotten the tent AND the stove. We slept under the stars which might seem very romantic, but really, it was just cold cold cold. We ate from a deli in Big Sur. I think we may have come home a day early.

That was my last camping trip. Until last week.

In the past, my excuses for avoiding camping were:

1. I don't have any gear

2. My ex takes Ben a lot, so it's not like he's missing out

3. I'm not a good sleeper in my own bed, let alone in a tent with a thrashing child and a deflated air mattress

4. The bathroom factor is huge. I get grossed out easily. And I really like my twice-a-day shower habit. Yes, I am a bit high maintenance (but only when it comes to hygiene).

5. I don't eat "camp" food. No hot dogs, no smores, no cheap booze, none of that stuff.

I could go on and on.

My friends, Shelley and Linda, are very seasoned campers and they camped together last year with their kids who are also Ben's age. I was supposed to go last year but I chickened out had a very important meeting/medical procedure/root canal...well, you get the point.

No excuses this year! My ex came through with much of the gear and the girls (Shelley and Linda) promised to bring the heavy duty stuff.

I could tell you about the highlights and lowlights: Ben nearly scraping off the entire side of his face within just a couple of hours of being there of our trip but pictures will tell the whole story, I think...

Ben and Aidan, post scooter crash, devouring hot dogs. I think Ben would have had a third, had there been another available. The moms had organic hamburgers. Oh, and I had two wine coolers which is not exactly on par with Cakebread but they tasted pretty darn good!

Ben experiences a very rare moment of silence. Perhaps quiet reflection and gratitude for not splitting his skull open?

The kids went from the dinner table to the shores of the TV, no video games, just good old fashioned, natural play time! (And the moms got to eat with relatively few interruptions!)

And then on to roasting marshmallows for Smores, which as you can see, is very serious business! The end result...nothing short of divine! I admit, Shelley's addition of Ghiradelli Dark Chocolate made it impossible to say no! I take back everything I said about camping food.

The lake was a major source of entertainment for the kids. Does the stick look like a really bad idea? The kids fought over it, briefly, but no one got hurt!

Shelley's daughter, Lauren, is just two weeks younger than Ben yet remarkably more mature (it's the girl/boy maturity thing). I'm crazy about Lauren (and her mom's OK too!). Ben calls her his "best girl friend." I would put her in the "seasoned camper" category.

Ben fit right in with some of the "riff raff" clientele at the campground. Actually, give the kid a wife beater and with those missing teeth and that face, he could be a poster child for Wal-Mart in any of the Southern states. Seriously! What did this camping trip do to my cute boy???

Good friends who will help you put up your tent AND who will lug firewood AND who will make sure that there is coffee on the stove for the morning AND who won't laugh at you when you inquire as to how to find the bathroom in the middle of the night are worth keeping for life (or at least for another camping trip!).

And lastly, I loved the fact that there were no distractions for me except for my phone, which Shelley dubbed a "Crackberry" while we were camping. It was so nice to not have to leave our spot for two days and to know that everything we needed was just a few steps away, at any given time except for a flush toilet, a shower, and a strapping man to make fires and bring me coffee in the tent.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Wordless Sunday

I've had zero motivation to blog lately. None, whatsoever.

So I decided to borrow Kirsten and Kari's title of "Wordless" to share an incident from my day.

This afternoon, Ben and I returned from two days in Modesto. It was kinda like camping because all we did was play in the pool and eat. We didn't shower, my make-up bag was never opened and the only time a hairbrush touched my hair was in response to Ben telling me, "Mommy, your hair looks like a MOP!" (Might I add here, a "yellow" mop, given the high level of chlorine that my body was immersed in for two days straight).

We picked up McDonald's in Elk Grove. Ben handed the rest of his french fries to me at our exit in Sacramento and I was cramming several into my mouth as I turned onto our street and noticed a bright yellow mini Cooper in our driveway. Gulp. There was my ex. Double gulp. There was my ex's new girlfriend.

I didn't even have time to wipe the salt off my lips or try to arrange my yellow mop. Oh no, none of that.

I composed myself quickly and noted that she had a great body (highly augmented, I might add), a nice tan and many, many more wrinkles than I have.

As I opened the car door, my ex said, "Janeen, this is Donna." "Donna?" I wondered aloud. "I thought you were dating a Dana." "Oh right," he stammered. "I mean, Dana."


How's that for wordless?

P.S. It was awkwardly quiet on the driveway, so I jumped in and asked the following questions:

Where are you from?
What do you do?
Do you have any kids?
How long have you lived here?
Where else have you lived?
Do you like camping?
Is that your natural color? (Not as bad as it sounds...I was trying to explain the condition of my own hair)
Do you want to come in the house?
Have you tried Pilates?
Do you know what a reformer is?
Do you like dogs?
Did your dogs freak out last night over the fireworks?

Then I started to sound like my mother and I backed off to see if she could come up with a question or two of her own, which she didn't, but she did say that it was nice to meet me and that she had heard a lot about me from Ben. So I reached out and gave her a hug since I was trying to be "wordless" and then they packed off and drove off. I am still a bit wordless.