Friday, December 9, 2011


This weekend, a friend of mine is coming over to help me purge through my house.  Despite having seen my house, I don't think the poor guy knows what he has signed himself up for and I don't know why he is so looking forward to this project-why he even cares.  But I have known for a long time it needs to be done and it's too overwhelming when I try to tackle it alone so I'm grateful for the offer.  I feel I need to move the past out so the future can move in.  Not just my past with James, but my past period.  I have things I've been carrying around for far too long that there is simply no reason to continue to hold on to, like my very first purse which I will never use again (though it is from the 80's, so it could be in style again here shortly). 

My friend has told me he's going to be a Nazi about the purge process and I get one bye but anything else needs justification in the form of a research paper.  Knowing there's a good chance he's serious and that my puzzle collection could be a source of disagreement, I have written the following.  No, it's not the scientific research he had in mind; rather, it's research of my heart and soul:

I was five years old when my grandmother gave me my first jigsaw puzzle. As I was younger than the recommended age on the box, my mom wanted to put it away until I was older. Knowing that I was an inquisitive and determined child, however, Grandma did not see any harm in letting me try to put it together.

I wasn’t sure about this at first wondering why Grandma had given me a broken toy. Mom had to show me what this puzzle business was all about-how all the pieces were supposed to fit together to make the picture on the box. I was skeptical but I gave it a shot. Mom was skeptical as well, convinced I would never finish it.

Naturally, I finished the puzzle. And then I took it apart, turned the pieces over and put it together face down. And then I put it together again the correct way. So I was given a second puzzle. Again, I put it together correctly and then face down.

After this, puzzles were a given on my birthday and Christmas wish lists and my collection began to grow, with my preference for those picturing houses and/or boats. We had a spare room in our house in Davenport, and it was not uncommon for me to have one puzzle in progress on the floor of that room or my bedroom and several put together. I like to admire them after they are completed before I tear them apart and put them away. The back room was very cold and drafty (possibly haunted, though that’s another story), however, and my bedroom wasn’t much warmer, so Dad brought home a “puzzle board” for me so I could work on my puzzles in a more heated (but carpeted) part of the house, which I thought was the greatest thing ever. This first and subsequent puzzle boards are more commonly known as plywood-pieces big enough that I could easily fit two 1,000-piece or one 2,500-piece puzzle on-as I got older, so did the piece count of my puzzles as my dad tried to make them more challenging for me.  Despite being nothing more than plywood, we always called them puzzle boards.

As I grew older, I never outgrew my love of puzzles. To this day, I am drawn to them like a magnet. If I see one in progress, it is so incredibly hard not to go over and work on it-which not everyone appreciates! Friends and family fully support this habit. My friend and I occasionally get together and catch up while putting one together. She gives me hers when she is done with them. Her mother also picks them up at garage sales for me. It does make me easy to shop for and allows for a little mischief-a few years ago for Christmas, my brother and nephews sent me a three-pack of puzzles in which they mixed all the pieces together. They were pretty distinct and easy to sort out so for my birthday they sent me a 10-pack. Again they mixed all the pieces together, in effect giving me a puzzle with over 7,000 pieces, which I accused James of doing. To this day, I am still not 100% convinced it really was Mike and the boys who did it. This took me a bit longer to sort out. And yes, they have been a source of contention. James’ only complaint was I came with too many puzzles. When we moved back from Arizona, he told me anything that was not unpacked within 6 months was going to be given away. Knowing how he felt about the puzzles, I unpacked them first.

I don’t remember a time in which puzzles were not a part of my life. I love how finding one piece can change the entire look of what’s already been put together. I love the challenge of finding that one piece. I love the calming effect they tend to have on me. I love the sense of completion and satisfaction that comes with snapping in the last piece. I love that no matter how many I do there’s always one waiting-that I will never run out of them. I love that I have this hobby to help me when I need an escape to take my mind off of other things or when I need a distraction so my mind can quietly work out things it is trying to process.

The puzzles stay.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Changes I Wasn't Expecting

Part of the fear I had going into LASIK was I felt it would be a life changing event, though when asked I couldn't exactly say why.  I knew the simple aspects of it:  no more going to the eye doctor on an annual basis.  No more glasses, no more contacts. No more expense that goes with wearing contacts.  Being able to see when I open my eyes with no corrective lenses.  Being able to go swimming and actually see-I can take water aerobics now!  Things like that but nothing that was really earth shattering, other than it was change and I'm not a big fan of change. 

So I had it done.  And then I got sick.  It was just a cold; I'd been fighting it leading up to the procedure so it wasn't really a surprise when it hit full on a few days after.  But apparently that wasn't enough because a little over a week after I had LASIK, in addition to the cold, I came down with food poisoning.  Or so I thought.  But it wouldn't go away.  So after 36 hours of throwing up, I went to the doctor (mainly because my co-worker told me too). 

I had an instinctive feeling before I left for the doctor so I checked the item that started the throwing up (vegetarian buffalo wings and yes, they were actually pretty good-until I threw them up) and found onions buried deep in the list.  I then checked the ingredients of the noodles I'd eaten the next day and also threw up.  And found they had onions too. So I told the doctor I was no longer sure it was food poisoning but thought it might be an allergic reaction to onions.  I told him I'd had environmental allergy testing but not food and asked to have that done.  So he sent me to the lab for blood work and told me to eat bland foods, such as bread and crackers until my stomach could tolerate food again.

So I did what the doctor said but just wasn't getting any better.  It was frustrating and getting a little scary wondering why I just wasn't getting over this.  I thought that perhaps healing from eye surgery, the cold and whatever was going on with my stomach was too much for my body to handle all at once.  And then I got a call from the doctor's office.  They had the results of my blood tests:  the CBC and the hydration tests came back normal.  But something popped on the allergy test:  I'm allergic to baker's yeast. 

Naturally, the first thing I did was ask if baker's yeast and regular yeast were the same thing.  Since the advice nurse didn't know, I looked it up.  And found all kinds of contradictory information.  For one thing, there are two types of yeast:  one that is derived from a fungus and is used in baking to make bread rise.  The other is bacterial and grows naturally in our systems.  This is the yeast that causes yeast infections.  The frustration I'm running into with trying to determine what to eat or not eat with being allergic to yeast is that most sites seem to intertwine the two.  What one site says is okay to eat with a yeast allergy is not allowed on another.  The only thing that seems consistent is yeast (obviously), vinegar and anything fermented.

Another thing I have read consistently is the symptoms of a yeast allergy are not your "typical" allergy symptoms.  They include fatigue, depression, nausea, vomiting and "fog head" - feeling light headed or dizzy.  All things I have been experiencing for years and contributed to other things; mainly grief.  So now I'm on a quest to find a nutritionist who specializes in food allergies to find out what I can and cannot eat from a credible source.

I kept saying getting LASIK was going to change my life.  I never expected to go have my eyes done and come out allergic to food!  (Okay, so that's not what happened, just how it came to light).  On one hand, this is a pretty odd allergy and as I said, frustrating at this point.  On the other hand, I am looking forward to hopefully actually feeling good for the first time in years once I get it under control. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

I Can See Clearly Now...

On October 7, 1984, my dad married the woman I refer to as "the evil-ex."  The ceremony was actually held on the 6th, but they didn't file for the license in time so it was official on the 7th.  On October 27th, 1997, I started my job at the local Caterpillar dealership-my second professional job and one that lasted five years.  These were both significant events in my life for vastly different reasons:  one led to the destruction of my self-worth. The other led me to James. 

In 1989, as a freshman in high school, it became apparent I needed glasses.  Which I was told I had to pay for myself but was ultimately given as a Valentine's Day gift.  Looking back at the pictures, I definitely had the typically 1990's style glasses!  In 1995, as a junior in college, I started to wear contacts.  For the last 16 years, I have alternated between glasses and contacts, primarily wearing contacts. 

James also wore glasses.  While I was okay with it, he didn't really want to wear them anymore and looked into LASIK several times, even going as far as to having a consultation.  He learned he could have it done but would still need reading glasses so he decided not to go through with it.  He encouraged me to look into it as well but other than asking my eye doctor if he thought I'd be a candidate in passing, I never did.  I was too afraid.  I'd be the one millionth patient in which there was an earthquake that caused a bus to crash into building causing the equipment to malfunction leaving me blind. 

So it was a topic that came up but not one I had explored lately.  It sort of died when James did.  Until recently.  It came up at bunco in July-one of my bunco mates was having it done the next day.  One of my best friends was subbing for our group that night and she had it done as well.  Prior to leaving for Labor Day weekend, I had a conversation with another friend who had also had it done.  All three had gone to the same doctor.  I also received first a post card and then a voice mail message from my eye doctor that I was due for an appointment.  I kept hearing commercials on the radio for LASIK.  And, I needed to fill out a new Flex benefit form at work.

Before I knew it, I was texting my two friends mentioned above I was thinking about going in for a consultation to see if I was a candidate.  Surprisingly, it was more of the casual friend who was the most excited about this, offering to take me to the appointment if I was in fact a candidate.

On October 7th, I found out that I was in fact, a candidate.  There was a part of me that honestly didn't think I would be and I don't know what outcome I actually wanted.  I spent the next couple of weeks alternating between numbness, shock and fear.  I'm a single woman, living alone with no family in the area, in a two-story house with two dogs that are fully dependent on me.  What the HELL was I thinking?? I was planning to do something that could potentially leave me blind-and why wasn't anyone stopping me?? And how could I do this without the one person who was supposed to be by my side for these things?

I realized the fear went deeper than that.  I had to have faith.  I'm a control freak.  I don't do faith.  And yet I had to have faith not only that the doctor knew what he was doing, but that the machine wasn't going to fail leaving my blind.  And I realized that no, James was not here to hold my hand but someone else had stepped up to be there for me.  Someone I didn't ask-he volunteered.  And that was perhaps the scariest thing of all:  I had to have faith in someone I didn't know if I could trust. 

On October 27th, I had LASIK.  There were definitely a few moments when I seriously considered not going through with it. To say I was scared is an understatement!  I threw up three times that morning.  My friend came through for me and was by my side the whole time other than when they wouldn't let him be.  He did later confess that he was sure I was going to change my mind, right up until the time they were finished with the procedure.  He wasn't the only one-a week later I still can't believe I went through it!

And now I can see without glasses or contacts.  The machine didn't fail.  There were no earthquakes or bus crashes.  There were several friends rooting for me.  I could not have done this without their support, especially since when I called my mom to tell her it went well when I didn't hear from her, I learned she forgot about it.  Seriously?  I don't care how old I am.  What parent forgets their child is having a procedure that can potentially leave them blind?  Thanks for the support, Mom.  But whatever.

The irony of the dates did not escape my notice.  I didn't choose them intentionally-it's just the way it worked out.  I'm glad I went through with it-that I faced that fear.  I'm hoping that doing so will help me find a way to rebuild my confidence.  Conquering fear is a pretty amazing thing. So is being able to see a little better than 20/20 without corrective lenses.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Things to Come?

For the last few months, I have felt like I am on a path of change.  I feel good things are coming but at the same time I've been wondering if I am in fact on the correct path.  I know that only time will tell what is in store for me. But after hearing about a friend's experience with a reiki master/psychic, I decided to make an appointment to see her as well.

I had Friday off to recover from LASIK so I made the appointment for that afternoon.  I was a little early for the appointment so I had time to wonder whether or not I really wanted to know what she was going to say.  Perhaps I was better off not knowing.  But on the other hand, even if it was something "bad" - meaning something I didn't want to hear, maybe it would be good to know so I could adjust my hopes accordingly.

The first thing she did was take my hands to read my energy.  She asked for guidance and than began to sing a song, which she said was my spirit song.  The song seemed sad yet somehow soothing at the same time.  It brought to mind the image of a young Native American woman sitting on a horse on a ridge overlooking a valley, perhaps in the southwest or the Old West. 

When she was finished she told me I had "beautiful energy."  She then told me she was seeing an old ox cart pulled by an Asian ox (I didn't know there was a difference, but okay).  I was a young Asian girl, approaching a village walking beside the ox down a narrow ("one-lane") road, with rice fields on the side.  She got the sense it was Vietnam, pre-war.  I wasn't poor, but rather part of the working class.  Behind the cart, which was filled with produce, was my father who walked with a slight limp.  There was a definite father/daughter bond-the young woman definitely took care of her father. 

She said that I had some deep wounds/sores in my heart-that I was carrying a lot of grief.  She said there was a hole in my heart-that part of it was blank, like a vaccuum-and that I don't love myself; that I don't feel lovable.  She said I am almost at a phase where I will be able to open up and attract a man.  She then said there is a strain with my mother.  And that I am suited for what I do for a living (accounting) because it is orderly and my life has not always been like that. 

She said that my heart doesn't want to be social, so she was surprised to find out how active my life is.  My inclination is to stay in, which is true, but at the same time I want to draw someone to me.  She then switched gears and said that she doesn't see my job changing in the respect she sees me staying in the field of accounting.

Next she pulled out her Tarot cards.  The first card she turned over was the "Burden" card.  She said I was not releasing my burdens but was carrying them around with me.  That my burdens were emotional rather than mental.  She said that it's a good thing I am a realist because anyone I bring in won't be facing the ghost of James.  That I can bring in someone new who will also be a soul mate/love of my life and that he will be in my life for a long time.

The next card was "Success."  She said I am on the top of my world and riding out my fears.  The card shows a man on a tiger; she said the tiger represents fear.  I am harnessing being able to sit on my fear and ride it to success and let go of my fear.  She said to let go of the fear and to travel the world; that she sees me going to Europe.  Incidentally, in Chinese astrology, I am a tiger.

Third was the "Stress" card.  She said I'm carrying a great deal of stress and I still feel stressful.  She said it could be the residual effects of my eye surgery or it could be that I am afraid that due to James' death, I'm going to crash, but I shouldn't worry because I have "Success" as my anchor.

After "Stress" came "Understanding."  This shows birds flying out of a cage.  She said it is time to eliminate the cage and understand why I'm free and flying.  I need to understand the cage can be either a mental or heart attitude.  I also need to understand that the cage to the door is open.  The door is always open and I'm on the brink of flying out.  Once others see me fly, they will follow and fly with me. 

Next was "Celebration."  She said this card means that I need to celebrate life with every little bit of life.  It means to be alive, don't be afraid and enjoy life to the fullest.  She said she could sense that I have been trying to live in the now and it is important to do so.  She said not to waste the now with regret and guilt but rather now is the time to move forward.

"Courage" came up next.  She said that I've been learning what courage really means.  It's about blooming when I shouldn't be and finding light when everything else is dark.

Then came the "Traveling" card.  She said this card only comes up when someone is getting ready to go on a trip.  My upcoming trip will be a time to let loose and really be me.  But, at the same time, it will still be planned and not spontaneous.  I will also have the opportunity to take an unexpected trip-either to England, Italy or Greece and I shouldn't be afraid to go on this trip. 

After this came the "Possibilities" card.  Simply stated, I need to look at things from different viewpoints and not miss out on any possibilities.  Following "Possibilities" was "Compromise."  Again, simply stated, I don't need to compromise because I can have exactly what I want. 

"Politics" is a warning card.  I need to stay away from liars.  There will be someone in my life with whom not everything is what it seems but I will catch on quickly.  The "Guilt" card came up next; I will feel guilty for not believing in the person the "Politics" card pertains to but I shouldn't as they will try to play on that guilt to get their way. 

Next up was "Innocence."  The counterpart to "Guilt."  I need to believe in the innocence of a new relationship and let love in. Then came "Postponement."  She said this means I have been postponing life and it is time to move on.  My upcoming vacation will be a great way of getting out. 

The last card was "Lovers."  She said this is about loving myself and finding a lover who loves me.  I will have vowed to love myself exclusively and will draw in someone who has done the same.  He will also come to me to love himself (although I may not have written that down correctly).  He will be the mirror to myself.  He's on the way-could be as soon as 2012 but as far out as five years from now.  The five year part was a little discouraging!

I'm not sure how I feel about this experience overall.  I really do feel change is on the way and I do feel it is positive.  I'm not patient and I do wish I had the crystal ball that shows me this all turns out okay.  I just have to have faith, which is scary.  And I need to keep just focusing on the positive and letting the rest go.  And mostly I just need to keep focusing on reminding myself I am a good person who is deserving of the best life has to offer. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Turning Point

August 6th marked 3 1/2 years since James passed away.  I knew it was coming but it still seemed oddly abstract. How has this much time passed so quickly and at the same time feel like an entire lifetime?  I guess the good thing is time is no longer standing still and seems again to be marching forward, as it should. 

Something else seemed to happen around this time:  I just wanted to be done.  I know it doesn't work like that-I can't just say "okay, that's it," and never feel sadness or miss James again.  Those days still come though not as frequently as they once did and when they do come, they don't seem to last as long as they did. I've wanted to be done for a long time but this is different.  I don't feel that pull to look back like I once did.  In fact, I feel the opposite.  It sounds heartless but I just want James to be gone. 

I don't mean I want the memories or the love or the lessons I learned about myself from being with him and after his death to go away.  Far from it.  I want the physical reminders to be gone.  The things I kept when I first went through his things because they were important to him but that have no real meaning to me.  Like his books, which I thought I'd read some day to honor him.  The truth is I'm never going to.  I'm not a fan of fantasy and I barely make the time to read the books I do enjoy.  He is not the things that are still here.  He is the memories and the lessons and the love I still keep inside.

I posted the paperbacks that were in good shape on  It was hard to mail the first couple but it is getting easier.  With each book I mail, I am getting a credit to use to request a book I will read.  I found I couldn't break up the hardbacks written by his favorite author and found friends to take them.  It was important to me they went to a home that would appreciate them.  That's all that has mattered when it comes to donating his things:  that they go to someone who appreciates them.

I don't really have a lot of his belongings left and I feel this step is leading me down a path to something-something I can't identify yet but that I feel is good.  But at the same time I feel like I am letting go of my security blanket and I don't know what happens when that blanket is gone.  When I'm left to truly stand on my own two feet for the first time since I was 25. 

I can do this.  More importantly, I want to do this.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

History Repeating Itself?

Shortly after I moved here, I joined a bowling league.  I like to bowl and thought it would help me to get out of the apartment and would help me to meet people.  In other words, the Culligan water delivery guy at work was cute and needed a girl to round out his team.  Shortly after that, he hurt his back, couldn't bowl and I never saw him again.  I ended up bowling with the league for two seasons. 

The second season ended in the spring of 1998.  The teams were supposed to have four members but our team was short by two for most of the season.  There was another girl in the league who was loosing her team and we decided we'd team up for the next season.  I agreed to go out with her one Friday night right after that second season ended.  I didn't really want to go; I'm not a bar person, but I thought it was a good idea to get to know the girl that was supposed to be on my bowling team the next year a little better.  It was on this night that I met R1.  (I didn't bowl the next season-never heard from the other girl again).

By the time that night was over, I was very much the smitten kitten.  Our first date was two days later-it lasted for eight hours.  We ended up dating for a couple of months but it wasn't smooth sailing.  I liked him a lot more than he liked me; ultimately, he decided that he missed being a step-father to his ex-wife's kids so much he was going to try to win her back despite the fact she was living with her new boyfriend.  He'd agreed to help me move into my new apartment, however, and since I had no one else to turn to, I did call him on it.  The last time I saw him was in November of 1998-six months after we first met.

After that, I became addicted to AOL chat rooms-basically, the 1998 equivalent of online dating.  I did go out on a few dates as a result of this but nothing ever went past the first date.  I eventually gave up on this when the last date didn't happen-the guy met me, went out "to get his coat" and I never saw or heard from him again.  This, of course, was around the time my dad asked what was so wrong with me I couldn't attract a man. I was convinced I'd never meet anyone-that I was destined to be alone for my entire life.  Not happy here, I decided to rejoin my college friends and move back to Idaho.

Thirteen months after I last saw R1, I was in the process of moving back to Idaho when I met James in December of 1999, who was in the process of moving back to Sacramento.  He was nothing like what I thought I was looking for but neither of us moved.  Instead, we had 8 years, 1 month and 6 days together and were planning for many, many more when he died of a heart attack while driving home from work on February 6, 2008.

In April of 2010, I went out on a Friday night that I didn't want to go out on.  I'm not a bar person but a couple of my friends were going to be there and I hadn't seen them in a while and I wanted to see them.  And I met R2 (aka No Longer New Guy).  By the end of the night, he asked for my number and I hoped he'd call.  He did the requisite wait three days to call thing; our first date was 9 days after we first met.  It wasn't an easy road-I really shouldn't have gone out on a third date with him, let alone let it drag on (and off) for as long as it did.  The last time I (purposely) saw R2 was five months after we first met.  (The last time I saw him was Friday.  Definitely not on purpose).

Since then, I've become addicted to online dating.  I've been on eHarmony, Match twice and Ok Cupid twice.  All my "dates" have been with male friends.  Having no luck, I'm having a hard time not believing James was my one shot and I'm done.  That I'll be alone for the rest of my life.  I don't plan to move this time, however; my life is here.

The last time I (purposely) saw R2 was a year ago last Sunday.  I've always thought it was interesting the last guy I dated before and the first guy after James were both named R and I dated them for about the same amount of time and that I had no luck with dating after both of them.  Maybe this is why I keep feeling like there is something good coming and it's right around the corner.  If history is repeating itself, my first date with MH #2 will be right around Halloween.  Fitting it would be around a holiday.  My first date with James was New Year's Eve.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Progress, Interrupted

I have moments when I feel I am making pretty good strides with moving forward with my life.  I've made some really good friends, my bad days are few and far between and I'm trying new things I never would have tried before, like kayaking.  (Kayaking was kind of a "f*** you" move, I admit.  I'd always wanted to try it and James was always sure if I did I'd drown.  Well, I did it and I'm still alive, so there.  Although I do have to admit, it can't be a coincidence that even the guide was amazed by how calm the water was and how perfect it was for beginners).  Most of the time these days I can find myself thinking "Life is good."

During these strong times, I think "Hey, I can do this.  I'm in a good place.  I'd like to date now."  And then it happens.  I get a reminder of what I had that makes me feel I'm not supposed to date-that while it wasn't done in a church (well, garden patio) in front of our family and closest friends who joined us for our destination wedding in Folsom, California (no, not at the prison), I vowed to love James for as long as we both shall live.  And I still live.

After swearing it off again, which we all knew wouldn't last, I ventured back into the world of online dating, or not dating in my case.  This time I decided to experiment with free vs paid.  (Results, or rather non-results, still pending.  I have until 10/4 on the paid site).  I was contacted by a guy on OK Cupid and we e-mailed back and forth for a bit.  I have to admit it really wasn't much of a conversation-one sentence answers from him each time which made it hard for me to know how to proceed with the conversation.  So when he wanted to take it to the "next level" and talk on the phone, I was hesitant.  I just wasn't feeling it but I had vowed that I'd really give it a chance this time and not freak out and close my account the minute someone expressed interest.  This was also during a time when I was super busy and I just didn't want to make time to squeeze in a conversation with a stranger.  But I was trying to talk myself into it because, as several people pointed out, maybe he was better on the phone than online.

And then I got the e-mail from Trip Advisor congratulating me for my review "helping" five people.  My first thought was "Huh?  What review?"  I had no clue what in the world they were talking about!  So I pulled up my account on Trip Advisor, which I forgot I even had and found the only review I have ever written:  the experience of buying my engagement ring at Diamonds International in Cozumel, written in January of 2007.

Ok Cupid Guy did not get my number.  I told him that when I signed up, I had more time but now found myself really busy and I didn't think it would be fair to say "Here's my number.  I'm free to talk a week from Tuesday."  And that was the end of that.  This was in July.

Fast forward to last week.  I was getting ready to go see a movie with a guy friend.  I met him almost a year ago, ran into him again about 6 months ago, and then again a few times in July and August at various events which led to us starting to hang out on our own.  While I've definitely felt stronger connections with other guys I've met since James died, I kept feeling like there could possibly be something simmering underneath all the mixed signals.  (Inner Heather says that's because there is.  Given that he's currently blatantly ignoring me, I think Inner Heather either got hit in the head or is smoking crack).  And then the phone rang.  It was my mother-in-law.  This was the second time she'd called within a couple of days and since I didn't call her back the first time, I figured I really should answer it.  So I did.

She was calling to tell me she has an abdominal aortic aneurism.  It's considered to be fast growing and there's a couple of options but both boil down to surgery to remove it.  Because if it bursts she probably won't survive. However, even her doctor said if anyone were to survive this, it would be her.  She's pretty much a medical marvel at this point.  But that's not entirely why she was calling.  She was calling to tell me these things are typically genetic and occur more frequently in men than in women so that may have been a factor in what caused James to die.

I'm not really sure what vibe I put out at the movie, but given the above mentioned silent treatment that has followed it, I'm gonna guess it wasn't "Come to Heather." 

I don't feel guilty for wanting to fall in love again like I did before.  I want to share my life with someone.  I feel I deserve a second chance.  But every time I try to move towards that, I feel like I'm being told "NO!"  That that is not the path my life is supposed to take.  That I had my shot at love, and it was great, but now it's game over.  It's just going to be me from here on out.  Me, trying to hold on to a love I shared with a man who is no longer here to reciprocate.  Or now that I think about it, maybe it's that I'm being told I'm just not yet on the right path.  It sure would be nice if I could be put on the right path.  While I'm still young enough to enjoy it.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Blurb on Friends

This year's Flicks on the Bricks ended with "Stand By Me," which is one of my favorite movies.  It ends with a grown-up Gordie finishing the story he's writing with "I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?"

I've been thinking about this a lot in the last week and the friends I have now.  I'm pretty lucky in the friend department.  But are they better than the ones I had when I was twelve? Well, that's how old we all act most of the time, so it's really hard to tell.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Observations from Aisle 8

There's a long-standing saying, joke, I'm not sure what to call it, about meeting the love of your life in the produce aisle at the grocery store.  (Although according to a recent Question of the Day on the morning news, 40% of single people say that Starbucks is the place to meet someone.  I either go to the wrong Starbucks or go at the wrong time.  Or the men in this town didn't get the memo.  Or they just plain don't exist, which is a strong possibility).  This poses a problem for me.  As I've pretty much stopped cooking, I don't spend a lot of time at the grocery store these days.

However, I do need the occasional loaf of bread and quart of milk (so I can make Chai Tea lattes at home, further diminishing my hopes of meeting MH #2 at any of the three Starbucks found along my 4.5 mile commute to work).  And I have made some observations:

1) Seemingly single men (meaning no wedding ring) do actually go to the grocery store and they prefer WinCo.
2) The best time to find seemingly single men at the grocery store seems to be around 4:00 on Tuesdays or Thursdays.  (Which makes me wonder-don't these guys have jobs? Or do they just get off work early like I do?)
3) There is a fine line between looking like you are shopping for the same things as someone and outright following them around the store.
4)  There is a direct correlation between the number of cute seemingly single men shopping and how bad of a hair day I am having.  It is not positive.
5) There are a lot of things at WinCo priced at $1.29.
6) They do in fact have guacamole.  It's just in a really stupid, illogical place.  Kind of like graham crackers and canned mushrooms in other stores. 
7) The produce at WinCo is hit and miss.  I mean the fruits and vegetables-although this can also apply to the seemingly single men.
8) Seemingly single men being friends with Produce Aisle Store Employee is not a good thing.  Especially if Produce Aisle Store Employee is chatty.
9) People can take an amazingly long time to open the door, pick up a carton of milk, inspect the expiration date, put it in their carts, close the door and move.  Seriously, this is not rocket science.  I think three seemingly single men got away in the time it took the two women in front of me to get their milk.
10) Seemingly single men do not seem to buy ice cream, so the only "men" I end up going home with are my good pals Ben and Jerry.  If I ever build a store, the ice cream and the produce are so totally going to live closer together.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Letter to my Therapist

Not long after James died, I was put in touch with a therapist who was also widowed young.  I saw her faithfully for about two years until she had to go and retire on me-right before the holidays.  She is seeing patients again sporadically once a month on a Saturday to wrap things up and I decided to make an appointment with her for this coming Saturday.  Since it's been 6 months since I've seen her, I decided to bring her up to speed before then. (Names have been changed to keep with my blog practices.  I also edited out some details I don't wish to publicize).

Hi Therapist,
I’ve been thinking the last few days about how I am going to cover the last six months and still have time to discuss it in an hour long visit and decided to just e-mail you a summary.  I hope this is okay.  I write the way I talk but will try to make this the Cliff Notes version.
The Holidays
My friend Guy Pal was instrumental in getting me through the holidays.  We co-hosted a Christmas potluck at my house for the New in Town Meetup group so those who didn’t/couldn’t go home had somewhere to go.  There ended up being about 9 of us in attendance.  For New Year’s Eve (also my and James’ dating anniversary-this would have been 11 years), he and I and another friend went to dinner and to hear a band play.  My birthday is in January; he put together a birthday dinner for me although I did have control over the guest list.  For the anniversary of James’ death on 2/6 (Superbowl Sunday-James’ fave team played), Guy Pal didn’t want me to be alone so we went to see a movie and to dinner.  I also “commemorated” this day by purchasing a new leather couch and love seat.  My old couches were hauled off on Valentine’s Day with the new ones delivered on the 15th.  The Sunday before Valentine’s Day, I held an “Anti-Valentine’s” Day potluck and movie night at my house, again for the New in Town group, with about 12 or so attending.  Guy Pal has become such a great friend, though we’ve had some ups and downs lately. 
Dating (or not)
In December, I signed up for one of the free sites-OK Cupid.  That lasted for about a month.  I didn’t meet anyone from the site nor did I really generate much interest, other than to have someone tell me he didn’t think we’d be a good match but wondered if I wanted to be “friends with benefits.” Um, no.  I decided that when I was replying to e-mails from guys I wasn’t interested in by telling them about James in hopes it would scare them off, maybe I shouldn’t be on the site.  In April, inspired by a few friends having various levels of luck with them, I tried despite having been rejected by them before.  Again, I gave it a month; again it went nowhere.  The biggest mistake I made there was comparing myself to my friend who is much better looking than I am in terms of not getting any results (her profile was viewed over 900 times in a month, compared to about 240 for mine).  Online dating definitely takes a very thick skin, which I don’t possess but at the same time keep feeling the urge to try.
In March, I met a guy named Cute Joe at a Meetup event.  Prior to meeting James, the thing I heard most was “You’re the type of woman I can see myself with” or “I want to meet someone just like you someday.”  That always annoyed the hell out of me because you know who’s just like me-ME.  And now I get it.  Cute Joe is the type of guy I can see myself with.  We have very similar senses of humor, he’s a genuinely nice guy, we like to do a lot of the same things, he’s really cute, he likes dogs, etc.  But, there’s just no spark there.  We run into each other quite a bit at Meetup events.  We get along great but it’s pretty clear he’s not interested and deep down, I don’t think he’s the “one” either-there’s a Spidey sense thing going on that I can’t put my finger on, but every time I see him, I can’t help but think “Man, I wish I could meet someone like you.”  It’s just as frustrating to think it as it is to hear it. 
I realized I am holding on to James because I’m not having any luck elsewhere and I don’t think there’s another chance for me so I’m holding on to the one that did want me and who can’t possibly hurt me anymore than he already has.  I keep hearing Dad “what’s so wrong with you that you can’t attract a man?” and I wish I knew the answer to that. 
I keep telling people I want a relationship, just not the commitment.  Right now, I’d be happy just to go out on a date!
In December, I had a sinus infection.  I had a bad reaction to Amoxicillin and had to be taken off of it after three days.  Nothing was prescribed to take its place so it never really went away.  In February, I tried acupuncture for it and had a bad reaction to that as well.  It went dormant but came back with my allergies, so I went back to the doctor and got an antibiotic I can actually take and I think it’s finally gone.  However, the timing of the Amoxicillin making me so sick I couldn’t keep anything down coincided with Guy Pal challenging me to eat vegetarian for a week.  On July 4th, it will be 7 months since I stopped eating meat.  Along with that, I stopped eating a lot of processed crap as well as pasta (though I do still have that on occasion).  I do feel healthier.  I have also started to exercise more: walking the dogs around the ‘hood, walks/hikes with the Meetup groups, and my co-worker and I have been taking a zumba class since April, but it’s not in an air conditioned building so it’s getting too hot for us to continue for the time being.  I really enjoy that class-for the first time in my life, I actually look forward to exercising.  Physically and mentally, I do feel better, even though I still don’t sleep.  Emotionally, however, I am a wreck.  I am much more irritable and crankier in general and cry at the drop of a hat, so I can’t help but wonder if I am releasing some feelings I buried by not taking proper care of myself after James died?  I also have reason to believe my hormones are out of whack so when I see the doctor next month I want to have some blood tests done.
Out and About
I’m still keeping myself busy with Meetup events and volunteering-probably a little too busy.  I was in Sacramento over the weekend to see James’ mom and cousin and while I was bummed about the cool events I was missing up here, it was so nice to not  have to be anywhere at any specific time.  I love the social life but at the same time, it is hard to keep up the always on the go pace.  I’ve been trying to have more gatherings with friends at my house too as I have a great setup for entertaining and love to do it.  I’m pretty much just running into the same people at this point, but it’s nice to walk into a room knowing at least one friend will be there.
But, even surrounded by awesome people I love, the bottom line is I’m still so very much alone and I just don’t feel like I belong anywhere.  I found myself thinking this weekend that I have a lot of relatives but I really don’t have much in the way of family.  And even with this active social life I have, I can still go for days without the phone ringing.
The Bottom Line
I’ve been trying to figure out how it is I have rebuilt a pretty damn good life for myself but it just doesn’t seem to be enough.  I keep telling myself that I need to just focus on the things that make me happy, which are my dogs, volunteering and having friends over and the rest will just fall into place.  Then I decided to analyze why are those the things that make me happiest?  I realized it’s because with volunteering and entertaining, I am in some small way taking care of someone else and making them happy and that is what makes me happy.  I’m at my best when I feel needed or when I feel I am contributing to someone else’s happiness-even if it’s just making sure they have plenty to eat and a good time for a couple of hours.
My life is good.  There’s hiccups (like the A/C going out and BMW having a hard time figuring out what’s wrong with the car) along the way and I do need to find someone I can vent those hiccups too so I don’t let them build up.  But in general, I have a good life.  I just don’t know how to make it so only taking care of me is enough.
So there you have it.

Monday, June 27, 2011

So this guy winks at me on Match...

So this guy winks at me on Match...if that sounds like the beginnings of a bad joke and the punchline is my attempts at online dating, well it is.

When you unsubscribe from Match, your profile is kept on file for a year.  I don't know if it is viewable that entire time or not but it is definitely viewable at first.  I keep getting e-mails alerting me that X-number of men viewed my profile this week; resubscribe to see who is interested!  Umm, if they are just looking at my profile and moving on, they aren't really interested, now are they?  So I didn't take the bait and rush right online to see who these men who aren't really interested are.  I thought "Let me know when someone winks or e-mails me.  Then I'll consider it."

And then I got an e-mail that Mister X. winked at me.  The e-mail showed his main profile picture but if I wanted to check out his profile I had to pony up the $36.99 for another month.  He's not bad looking but one wink didn't really justify the expense in my book though I did feel bad I couldn't contact him to tell him my account is expired.  I figured that would be the end of it.  But no.  Match kept sending me e-mails that I'd received a wink, even going so far as to offer me a discounted price to resubscribe.  Again, I did not take the bait.  Instead, I bought my own.

I have a friend who has an active subscription on Match.  One of the (many, in my opinion) minuses to that site is you can't search by username.  Which means if that is all you know, you can end up with a lot of profiles to sort through to try to find a specific user.  Using my mad research skillz (research, cyber stalking-it's a fine line), I was able to determine Mister X's age and location which my friend and I used as our search parameters.  A sort of the results by username and voila! here we have Mister X.

His profile didn't raise any red flags other than he may have a reddish tint to his hair when the light hits it a certain way and did show we like to do a lot of the same things.  So my friend e-mailed him for me.  (Have I mentioned how much my life resembles high school?  "Do you like my friend? Check yes or no."  Okay, that would actually win me over).  She started by saying this was going to seem odd but you winked at my friend.  She told him my subscription was expired but I got an e-mail he winked at me so we pulled up his profile on her account (Hello, Stalker) and this was my way of winking back.  She gave him my username and my e-mail address so he can contact me if he's still interested. 

The next day she got a response.  He thanked her for the nice e-mail and said that he went back through the winks he sent and could not find my profile among them but if it popped up again he'd check it out.  So we searched for my profile and had no problems finding it.  I was surprised to see it showed I had been active on the site within 24 hours; I guess if you read their e-mails, it shows your profile as active?  (Note to self: check credit card statement to make sure you aren't being charged). 

Really?  So now I have sunk to the level of getting rejected via third party by someone who expressed interest in me first?  Awesome.  I'm not sure it gets anymore pathetic than that.  (I could renew my subscription and find out...).  As if this wasn't insulting enough, two days later I got another e-mail from Match letting me know Mister X winked at me. 

This morning I got an e-mail that I "sparked someone's interest."  From what I gather, that means someone clicked "yes" when I popped up as one of their Daily 5.  Of course, in order to find out who it is, I have to resubscribe.  Wouldn't it be funny if it was Mister X (assuming he's real and that isn't a fake profile used to get women to resubscribe, that is)?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Someone Like You

In my pre-James dating days, such that they were, I often was told that the guy just wanted to be friends but he hoped to meet someone just like me someday; that I was the type of woman he could see being with.  It was always said in a way that somehow tried to convey there was a compliment in there somehow.  I always found it frustrating, however, because here's a newsflash:  you did meet someone just like me.  ME.  It doesn't get anymore me-like than yours truly.

After James died, the first guy I had a connection with, my dear widower friend, also told me he could see himself with someone like me someday.  Being that he was grief-stricken, I didn't smack him or point out the obvious.  If I remember correctly, and those early days are more than slightly hazy, when he said that I had to fight the urge to flee the room.  However, the next time I talked to him, I did tell him I felt the same way-I do remember that.  Now that the grief blinders aren't on nearly as tightly, I think we both know there's someone else out there for the both of us.  I did have someone recently tell me when she met him (here for game night) she thought we were a couple because it was clear we had a deep appreciation for each other.  I thought that was really sweet-and definitely true.

Back at the beginning of March, I met a guy at a Meetup event.  I was talking to some woman and looked across the room and thought "oohh..who's that?"  We ended up sitting next to each other for the event (comedy show) and then saw each other again a couple of days later at another event.  We were having dinner and chatting and one second everything was fine but literally the next second my Spidey sense was on full alert.  I never did figure out why but I know myself well enough to know if Spidey is activated, I need to listen!

Not long after that he started dating someone which did not work out.  I was surprised (and leery) to get a random text from him one night at the end of April saying he would see me at an event the next day and that he was looking forward to the event.  I had deleted him from my phone so I was mostly surprised he still had my number. (He was added back a couple of weeks after this happened.  And then almost deleted again-twice).

The event ended up being a lot of fun but I didn't know at the time that he and the girl were no longer together though I kind of had a feeling that was the case based on something I partially overheard.  It was confirmed the next weekend when we once again found ourselves at the same event and it came up in a conversation about dating.

Over the last couple of months, we have found ourselves signing up for a lot of the same events-we have several groups in common-to the point I gave him a hard time a couple of weeks ago for knowing my schedule better than I do.  We haven't both made it to all the events we've signed up for-things come up, but we have been to quite a few.  We did an event this past weekend that he suggested and I set up.  We get along great-we have similar senses of humor so he definitely makes me laugh.  He seems to enjoy being around me-and I do enjoy his company.  He's a genuinely nice guy and as indicated by us signing up for the same events, we have similar interests.  He's smart.  He has dogs.  And he's cute (damn-is he cute!).  And he has a great voice.  He called about an event the other night and listening to his message I found myself thinking how much I liked the tone of his voice.  (It has not escaped my attention that the last guy whose voice I fell in love with I was planning to spend my life with).  But he's made it pretty clear he's not interested and there just doesn't seem to be a spark there (which I think is what the Spidey sense was trying to say).

The last couple of times I've seen him, I have found myself thinking "I wish could meet someone just like him." (Oh, the irony).  Which is followed up with: "Um, yeah, you kinda have."  (Really?  Spell check lets "kinda" slip but flags "colonoscopy"-which has nothing to do with this post-as spelled wrong?).  So that is followed up with "Fine.  I wish I could meet someone just like him but who's interested in me."  Inner Heather can be such a pain at times. 

I finally get it.  And it's just as frustrating to be the one thinking it as it is to be the one hearing it.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


Tween:  A child between the ages of 9 and 12.  A tween is no longer a little child, but not a teenager.

Tweens are those young people in a transition stage.  They are starting to become too cool for toys but aren't quite ready to give them up but they no longer fit in with the little kids.  But they aren't grown-up enough for the big kids either so they don't fit in with them either.  They don't really fit in anywhere except in their little tween world.

Recently, I was trying (unsuccessfully) to explain to one of my friends that I don't really feel like I fit in with the other members of one of the Meetup groups we both belong to.  The group is for singles over 35 and at 37, I am usually the youngest one at our events-although I don't do much with this group.  I was telling him I felt too young for that group.  I also told him I keep telling people I'm 34 because I apparently don't remember how old I am.  Of course, thirty-four is the age I was when my world came to an abrupt stop so I guess on some level I'm just trying to pick up where I left off.  I went on to tell him that on the contrary to that group, I feel too old for the 20's and 30's group I am in as most of the members in that group are around 25. 

I was having a hard time getting across what I was trying to say.  It was a couple of days later that it dawned on me that it isn't so much a matter of age as it is circumstance.  With the group of people over 35 (or the "singles pushing 50" as I like to call it), most of the members who regularly attend events are closer to 50 than 40, have ex-spouses to deal with as well as kids and in some cases grandkids.  I feel too young for this group because I have none of these things.  I have a dead guy on the dresser and two dogs.  I don't have those grown-up responsibilities like they do-I'm not grown-up enough for the big kids.

On the other side, I'm past the "just graduated but holding on to my college ways" stage.  I've done the first grown-up job thing.  I've done the first long-term relationship and marriage thing they haven't.  I'm well past the days of staying out until the wee hours of the morning and somehow managing to be awake for work at 8:00-and stay awake all day.  (Not that I don't stay out too late on a school night more than I should, but I've really cut back on that).  I'm too old to play with the little kids. 

It dawned on me that at 37, I'm a tween.  I still like to play but how I like to play has changed.  But I don't have all the responsibilities of the big kids either.  I'm stuck in the middle.  I keep referring to this phase of my life as High School 2.0.  Apparently, it's only Jr. High.  Damn.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

More of the Same

Lately it seems I am having the same conversation over and over with different friends.  No matter how it starts it always turns to dating and the same thing keeps becoming apparent:  of all my single friends, I'm the only one who can't get a date.  I wish I knew what I was doing wrong-or better yet, what is wrong with me.  Because it is to the point where I really believe that is the case.  I have read that when you are around someone you are attracted to, your pupils automatically dilate.  So, I've been paying attention to the pupils of guys when I am around them.  And what I have been noticing is if their pupils got any smaller, they wouldn't have them.  Wow.  I know I'm not a supermodel but I didn't think I was that hideous.  I'm tired of feeling so damn ugly.

This sucks.  I don't want to do this anymore.  I just want it to be my turn.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Unwritten-Natasha Bedingfield

My latest theme song:

I am unwritten, can't read my mind, I'm undefined
I'm just beginning, the pen's in my hand, ending unplanned

Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find

Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten

Oh, oh, oh

I break tradition, sometimes my tries, are outside the lines
We've been conditioned to not make mistakes, but I can't live that way

Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find

Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins

Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten

Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find

Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins

Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten
The rest is still unwritten
The rest is still unwritten

Oh, yeah, yeah 

I'm anxiously awaiting to see how my next chapter is meant to be written.


A few months after James died, I started a Meetup group for young widows and widowers.  Around the same time, I joined Facebook.  I did that because my Canadian friend "made" me.  He did it in the form of a riddle-if I wanted to know what he looked like, that's what I had to do.  Ironically, he's not a Facebook fan. 

At first, I only accepted friend requests on Facebook from people I've known for a long time-close friends, family, classmates, etc.  Facebook, for me, was a place where not everyone knew my story.  For most people, I was just Heather.  I was the girl they remembered from grade school, high school, college, our time in Arizona, etc.  I was me again.  And I liked it. 

And then my widower friend sent me a friend request.  I didn't know what to do about that; it would be an intersection of two parts of my life I was keeping separate-that I was compartmentalizing.  I accepted the friend request; I then allowed other members of my widow/ers group become my Facebook friends as well.  As I became close to the members of the fun Meetup group, I slowly started to "friend" them on Facebook as well.  I let those two parts of my world collide.  It's handy if I want to plan an event for just my friends instead of posting the event through Meetup.  I have them all in the same place.

My widowed peeps group knows about my fun Meetup group; most of my friends in the fun group know about the other group.  But they've always been two separate entities.  Until now.  At our last dinner, my widower friend, another member of the group and I decided we should have a karaoke night.  We decided it should be posted for our group but also through Facebook to open it up to our other friends as well.  We set it up for Friday night.  I didn't know how this would turn out.  Not everyone is comfortable hanging out with a group of grieving people.  (They don't know our group!)  On Facebook, I just said it was a night for friends. 

The turnout consisted of myself and three others from the widowed peeps group, two friends of my widower friend and six friends from the fun Meetup group.  We had a great time; I was happily surrounded by some of my favorite people.

I told my friend who helped create the fun group I never thought my Meetup worlds would collide.  We've discussed my compartmentalizing my life.  He gave me a kiss and said he didn't think he'd see it either.  I'm glad it did.  After all, we're all just people.  Awesome ones at that.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


Hello. My name is Heather and I'm addicted to online dating.  Or, rather, not dating.  I think I'm really just addicted to hope and when I see others around me have some measure of success, whether it leads to happily ever after or not, I think "well, hey, that can happen for me too."  Except it never does.

Last month, I decided to try  I tried them about this time last year and my profile was rejected.  But a couple of friends have been getting dates/girlfriends this way so I thought "hey, me too!" and signed up for a month.  I figured having to pay for it would make it better.  I was ready to be done after three days.

As the month went on, I continued to become more and more discouraged.  My low number of profile views once again brought Dad back to the surface: "What's so wrong with you that you can't attract a man?"  I don't know, Dad, wish I did.

In one month's time, my profile was viewed 222 times by 148 men.  I know one of them viewed it about 5 times.  One thing I don't like about Match is it shows you who viewed your profile but not when.  And while it shows you who viewed you, it doesn't show you who you viewed.  I know I viewed a couple more than once because I couldn't remember if I viewed them already or just made a mental note to view them.  So, I don't know how many profiles I viewed but I know I didn't view all 148 who viewed me.  Pretty much everyone said the same thing anyway.  Almost everyone is athletic and toned, loves to work out and does so at least 5 times a week, doesn't smoke, is a social drinker, loves kids and the outdoors, doesn't watch TV and has at least one picture in which they are holding a fish.  The good thing is they all like dogs.  The weird thing is how many people from Meetup I recognized.

Of the 148 men who viewed me, 4 winked at me.  The first was a 47-year-old whose profile says he's interested in someone who is 45-58.  I am 37.  At my co-worker's urging, I winked back.  The next day his profile was no longer available.

The second was from a 49-year-old in the UK.  My profile says I am looking for someone aged 30-44 within 50 miles of where I live.  Which is not the UK or anywhere remotely close to it.

The third one I did email back and forth with a couple of times but his responses didn't really move conversation forward and it died out.  He did "favorite" me but later unfavorited me.

The last was from someone who kind of creeped me out.  I thanked him for the wink but said I didn't think we'd be a good match.

I sent 28 winks.  Six of them viewed my profile.  One sent me the generic "thanks, but no thanks" message.  Two others sent the "thanks, but no thanks" message without viewing my profile. 

Other than Wink #3, I did not receive e-mails from anyone but sent 14.  Again, six members viewed my profile.  One sent a "thanks, but no thanks."  I e-mailed back and forth a couple of times with two others, but again, conversation died out.  A fourth e-mailed me thanking me for sending a message of substance but said he was so discouraged with online dating that he was done pursuing it.  He did not view my profile.

I don't know what normal is in terms of response, but I feel this isn't it.  I was thinking about paying for a second month and putting up an identical profile of Plenty of Fish so I could compare the experience of a free vs a paid site but I don't think I am going to do this.  Over the weekend, I stayed away from Match and didn't miss it.  Instead I went out and had fun with my friends.  A lot of fun.  And that is what I need to be doing.  The rest will come.  If it's meant to.  I snapped my fingers and willed someone to fall in love with me.  He's cute, nice, he makes me laugh and he loves dogs; he has two.  Wouldn't it be funny if of all things that actually worked?

He's Just Not That Into You

He's just not that into you online:
He's just not that into you if he's not viewing your profile.
He's just not that into you if he's not winking at you after reading your profile.
He's just not that into you if he's not e-mailing you after reading your profile.
He's just not that into you if he doesn't view your profile after you wink at or email him after reading his profile.
He's just not that into you if he views your profile after you wink at or e-mail him but doesn't respond.
He's just not that into you if he views your profile after you wink at or e-mail him and he sends the generic "thanks, but no thanks" message.
He's just not that into you if you e-mail back and forth a few times and he lets it die out.

He's just not that into you offline:
He's just not that into you if he's not texting, calling, e-mailing, sending carrier pigeons, smoke signals, etc.
He's just not that into you if he's not responding to texts, calls, e-mails, carrier pigeons, smoke signals, etc.
He's just not that into you if he's engaging in playful banter but does not ask you out after a couple of days of said banter (especially true if he's already asked you out once and then cancelled.  Not rescheduled.  Outright cancelled).
He's just not that into you if he asks you out in a way that makes you feel he doesn't really want you to say "yes." (See above item.  Still wondering what the point of that is).
He's just not that into you if he does initiate and/or respond to the above-mentioned forms of communication but never asks you on a date.  (Even if he does hug and/or kiss you hello and good-bye at Meetup events.  Especially a bummer if he's a good kisser).
He's just not that into you if he's dating someone else.  
He's just not that into you if he's in love with someone else, even if she doesn't feel the same way.
He's just not that into you if you are sitting at home watching baseball (Go Braves!) while composing "he's just not that into you" lists.

It doesn't matter who "he" is.  He's just not that into you if you are me.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

How to Take One Half Hour to Light a Candle

I have a lot of candles.  I have a lot of candles because I buy them and then never burn them.  I'm working on that.  As I'm having a few friends over later, I decided this would be a really good day to burn my yummy blueberry muffin candle.  It turns out last time I burned it, I burned it out.  So I decided to light a different one.  Half hour later, the new candle was lit.  Here's how to take a half hour to light a candle:

*Take candle jar for old candle into kitchen to throw it away.
*Realize you still haven't had lunch and throw something in the microwave.
*Start putting away the dishes that are washed by hand.
*Stir frozen lunch concoction and put it back in microwave.
*Finish putting away dishes and towels they were drying on.
*Decide to re-purpose the candle jar and take it upstairs.
*Take out the recycling.
*Decide to go get sweater because running the ceiling fan to dry the shampooed carpet faster has made the living room cold.
*While upstairs, decide to change out of clothes worn to volunteer project.
*Throw clothes in the washer.
*Go down to car to get item of clothing to add to laundry in washer.
*Start the laundry.
*Find sweater.
*Eat lunch while watching "Rules of Engagement" (or other 1/2 hour show of choice).
*Pause TIVO'd show of choice to answer phone call from Guy Pal (or other friend).
*Start putting away dishes in dishwasher while on phone.
*Hang up and realize Lean Cuisines are more of a snack than a meal.  Put bagel in toaster.
*Finish unloading dishwasher and reload if necessary.
*Eat bagel while finishing show.
*Realize you were going to light a candle.
*Light candle. (Bath and Body Works' Pomegranate Lemonade is today's choice).

And women wonder why we never get anything done!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Girl vs Qwest

On the evening of April 4th, I was sitting here minding my own business, just watching "Celebrity Apprentice" and wondering what Lil Jon looks like without his sunglasses and why no one has smacked LaToya Jackson into next week when the doorbell rang.  Normally, I don't answer it because it is most likely someone trying to sell me something I don't want or particularly need.  But every now and then I think "What if it is a lost or hurt child and I don't answer?"  So, I answered the door to find Cute Young Qwest Guy (CYQG) on my doorstep, who was here to convince me to bundle my services.  (Dear Universe:  Thank you for depositing a cute, single guy on my doorstep.  I know beggars can't be choosers but next time if you could just make him about a decade older or at least old enough to rent a car, that would be awesome.  Seriously.  What am I supposed to do with a 23 year old?)

I was already thinking about bundling, but being the master procrastinator I am, I had just never gotten around to it.  So this was very convenient for me.  After convincing CYQG he could do much better than the girl he has a crush on and all the drama that comes with her, I agreed to bundle my services.  Being that I already have Qwest for my home phone and DirecTV for my cable, the only thing I really agreed to was switching my Internet.  Piece of cake, right?

Due to my schedule, I set it up to have them come out and switch over my Internet on 4/15.  I made arrangements to work from home that morning so I could wait for the tech to arrive sometime between 8:00 and noon.  I was lucky-the tech arrived around 10:00.  It turns out he was unable to do the work-I was using a cable modem with Comcast and Qwest needed a phone jack.  It turns out that my office is the only room in the house that did not have one.  So I had to reschedule the install.  The tech said he would take care of that.

On Tuesday, the 19th, I hadn't heard anything about rescheduling, so I called to do it myself.  I was told the appointment had been rescheduled on Friday and was scheduled for 8:00 - noon on Thursday the 21st.  Um, okay.  And you were going to tell me this when?  So I explained I had to work on the 21st but had the 22nd off and asked if it could be switched.  After a brief wait, I was assured the appointment had been changed. 

When I got home on Wednesday after a belated birthday dinner with a dear friend and her family, I had a message waiting for me on my voicemail.  It was from Qwest calling to confirm my appointment for Thursday the 21st.  Of course, at 10:00 at night, I couldn't exactly do anything about this, but my hope was that it just didn't get changed in their system as to when the automatic reminder was supposed to go out.  Yeah, not so much.

I called bright and early Thursday morning and explained that I had called Tuesday to change the appointment but got an automatic reminder on Wednesday and just wanted to confirm I was on the schedule for Friday.  I was cheerfully informed I was on the schedule for Thursday.  I explained that didn't work for me and needed to know if I could move the appointment to Friday.  She was able to do that for me and then asked if she could help me with anything else.  I told her no and that I wasn't happy.  I said that they had come out on the 15th like they were supposed to and I appreciated him being on time.  I said that I understood that it's not Qwest's fault and they had no control over where the builder did or did not put phone jacks in my house.  But what I couldn't understand was why when the appointment was rescheduled no one from Qwest thought it was necessary or could be bothered to call and let me know and when I did call to reschedule how the change did not make it to their system.  I ended by saying that not one but two failures to communicate in one week was simply unacceptable.  She said she'd make notes to my account as to what had been going on.

I came home around 1:00 for lunch and to let the dogs out and lo and behold, had a notice on the door saying I had missed the Qwest technician.  The number on the notice was not one I had called before so when I got back to work I called to verify I was on the schedule for Friday.  She looked up my account and said it showed I called that morning to change it.  I corrected her that I had actually called Tuesday and had to call back that morning because I was at work and could not be at home to wait for them.  She verified I was on the schedule for Friday.  Then she said there was a note that the tech was going to try to swing back by Thursday afternoon to see if he could just get the job done that day if that would work for me.  Big sigh.  "I.  Am.  At.  Work.  I cannot be at home today.  So no. That will not work for me."  She took me out of the rotation for Thursday.

Friday morning, I got a call around 8:30 that I was first on the list and the tech would be at my house in about 20 minutes.  "Great!" I thought, "they are making up for pissing me off."  And then the tech arrived.  He said he was here to install my Internet for me.  "You're installing a phone jack, right?" 

"If you need me to.  Do you need me to install one?"

"Yes.  That is why the work couldn't be done last week."

"Someone was here to do this last week?"

Sigh.  The good news is the install went quickly and efficiently and I now have wireless Internet in my house. (Yea!)  Yesterday, I was able to do something I have not been able to do for 5 1/2 years:  watch a ball game and do genealogy research at the same time.  I love that!  (Other than the whole pain in the ass ancestors who don't want to be found part).  I don't have to choose between my hobbies anymore.  It almost makes up for the frustration of all the miscommunication of my teleCOMMUNICATIONs company.  Almost.  But not quite.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Last Thursday morning my good friend called me first thing in the morning.  She'd had a dream she wanted to tell me about.  It was about James. 

She and I were at a rental place hanging out with some of our friends.  My friend noticed that James was there and pointed him out to me.  I told her that every year about a week before the anniversary of his death, he came back.  She asked if I told him what happens.  I told her I tell him to go to the doctor.  She said "you know, you can fix this."  My response was that he's gone again on the 6th and then I have to wait a year before I get another chance to tell him.

The scene shifted and we were in a parking lot.  I was looking for my car and taking my time because there were a lot of spiders and spiderwebs in the parking lot.  My friend was with James, who was dancing around acting like the life of the party that he was.  He was happy, had his hair short and was wearing the overalls he had used for his redneck Halloween costume in 2006.  She told him to go to the doctor.  James told her I already made him go.  She said he needed to have an angiogram; he said he didn't need that because he was healthy but agreed to an EKG.  She told him that wasn't enough; there was something wrong with his heart and he needed more tests.  She told him he was going to think she was insane but he died from a heart attack and had been coming back every year the week before the anniversary of his death but he could go and get it fixed so the cycle stopped happening.  He looked at her like she was crazy and asked "I died and I come back every year?"  She repeated he needed to go get it fixed and if he couldn't do that then he needed to do a better job of giving us signs and he needed to talk to me. 

She was talking quickly because I was coming back over to where they were.  I told them I couldn't find the car.  My friend told me that if he got it fixed everything would be gone.  I asked her what she meant by that.  She told me that the new life I have built for myself, all the things I've done, all the new friends I made would no longer exist-that it never would have.  "Huh" was all I said and she woke up.

Huh, indeed.

To the Left

In 2006, right after I turned 32 I told James I needed something to change.  He thought I was talking marriage and children, but I wasn't.  It felt like I was hearing story after story about all my friends' travel adventures and all we ever used our vacation time for was to move/settle in or to visit sick family members or attend their funerals.  I wanted us to start having real vacations too.  I wanted my own travel stories and adventures.

We did some research and decided to take a cruise in January 2007.  We decided January would be a good time to go somewhere tropical to escape the dreariness of the Northwest.  At the time, I was working for a company with a fiscal year end so there was no rush of work to prepare for the auditors like there tends to be with companies with a calendar year end so getting time off then wouldn't be a problem for me.  (I ended up changing jobs in September and going to a company that has a 12/31 year end and participates in CES, so no more early-January vacations for me.  So worth it to have to pick one of the other 11 months to no longer be miserable at the office!)  We decided on a cruise as it would allow us to see a few places instead of just one and decide if there were any of them we liked well enough to go back to for a full on vacation at a later date (kind of like on-location vacation research). 

One of the stops on our cruise was Ochoa Rios, Jamaica.  We had been doing one of the excursions offered at each stop and then exploring on our own.  We decided to swim with dolphins for our Jamaican excursion.  We were in a small group made up of passengers from a few different cruises.  Two of the others in the group were from our ship:  a woman about my age and her mother.  The daughter ended up standing/floating next to James when we all got in the water.  After we were all lined up (the best we could be given that it's really hard to form a straight line in water) we were told to move a little to the left.  At the time, Beyonce's "Irreplaceable" was still popular and being told to move to the left caused James and the daughter to both start singing "to the left, to the left"-the opening lyrics to the song.

Ocho Rios was at the beginning of the cruise.  From then on, whenever we saw the mother and daughter from the excursion on the ship, we would exclaim "Dolphin Buddies!!"  and James and/or the daughter would sing "to the left, to the left."  I heard this song the other day and was taken back to the only real vacation we ever got to have.  It's funny the lasting impression people can have on your life even if they only pass through it.  Wherever they are now, I hope our dolphin buddies are happily loving life. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Meeting My Match

During my last attempt at online dating, I had a match I recognized from Meetup.  Though we have a group in common, I had never met him.  Guy Pal knows him though and thought we should meet.  The match agreed and then immediately blocked my profile.  When the subject came up again between the two of them and he said he'd meet me, Guy Pal asked why he blocked me and was told Match didn't think we'd be a good fit.  So I told Guy Pal I didn't want to meet him-that I didn't want to waste my time with someone whose actions indicated he wasn't interested when I could do something else with that time and potentially meet someone who did think I was awesome.  I told Guy Pal that if I was meant to meet the match, I would eventually run into him at a Meetup event.  What I didn't tell him was how much this had hurt.  Guy Pal really didn't do a good job of selling him to me!

A week ago Friday, there was a comedy club event for our mutual group.  I don't do much with this group-there are other groups I feel I am a better fit with-but I love stand up comedy, and I especially love it when the ticket is free.  I was in a funk, so while I didn't really want to drive downtown, I didn't want to stay home either.  So I decided to put myself on the waiting list and let fate decide my plans for the evening.  When I logged in to the site, I saw that my match had added himself to the wait list about an hour before.  "Great," I thought.  "Now it is going to look like I only added myself because he did."  So I waited a couple of hours before adding myself as well.  Around 4:00, I got the e-mail that a spot had opened up and I was in. 

When I arrived, the only other member of the group was also named Heather.  We were soon joined by a gal I will call Jane.  Others arrived and before long, the entire group was congregated in the bar area.  The match was there.  We have the same pictures for Ok Cupid and Meetup so it wasn't hard to recognize each other.  I'd glance at him and catch him glancing at me, but neither of us made an attempt to speak to the other.  I actually felt pretty awkward about the whole thing.  Here I was standing about 15 feet from someone who had agreed to meet me and rejected me in the span of an hour.  So I continued to chat with those around me.  And then I heard Jane say we were making it easy because there were two Heathers and two oh, let's just call them Joe.  She pointed out the other Heather and then me.  So I shook his hand and told him it was nice to meet him.  And then I chitchatted with the two of them for a few minutes about superficial nonsense like not being a morning person and single-handedly keeping Starbucks in business.  He laughed a couple of times, but I found the whole encounter to be anti-climatic.  I'm sure part of that was due to him having already rejected me but part of it was because as Guy Pal predicted, I really did not find him physically attractive.

After what I thought was a respectable amount of time of playing nicely, I pointed out Jane had mentioned there were two Joes and asked who the other one was.  She pointed him out and I casually nodded and said "Oh, okay."  It was nice to have a name to go with the face I'd been sneaking peeks at since he arrived.  He's pretty dang cute!  Original Joe drifted off to check his phone and I went back to the conversation I was not really a part of before deciding to be the bigger person and play nicely.
Before long, it was time to go into the theater.  Our group was large enough that we had three tables.  I was one of the first to enter the theater and after doing this twice, I have learned to sit on the side of the table facing the stage.  On the other side, you turn your chair around and it's hard to hold on to your plate to finish your dinner when you are laughing hysterically.  So I took a "smart" seat.  Cute Joe ended up sitting next to me.  (Yea!)  We talked a bit before the show started and I thought he was pretty nice.  And cute.  After the show was over, he shook my hand and said it was nice to meet me.  I found myself thinking he had "thick" hands.  I said it was nice to meet him too, and then we turned to talk to other people.

Some of the group were going out afterward.  We both had reasons we had to get up early on Saturday so we declined to go.  As I was walking toward my car, he was talking to another guy from the group.  He took a slight step forward and said again that is was nice to meet me and he'd see me at the next event.  I smiled and said "absolutely" and went on my way.  A good friend had surgery that morning and another friend had sent me a text during the show asking if I knew how it went, so I wanted to get to a spot where I could call her and let her know our friend was okay. 

When I went to rate the event on Saturday, I saw that another gal had posted a greeting for him that it was nice to meet him and that he had returned the greeting.  "Okay, whatever." I thought.  What's meant to be will happen, I decided.  I'd been thinking about e-mailing him a followup to something we'd been talking about but had decided against it.  But then on Sunday, I changed my mind and decided to send him the link after all (ironically, it was on how to receive less email from Meetup and I was sending it to him via his Meetup profile).  But before I could, a nasty storm blew through and when the power started to flicker, I decided to shut down the computer to protect it.  And when the storm was over, the computer would not come back up.  I decided to try it once more before I went to bed and this time, it decided to cooperate.  So I sent a very simple message that it was nice to meet him, the link to the discussion on how to cut back on Meetup email and said I hoped to see him again at another event.  He responded a couple of hours later that it was nice to meet me too, and that it looked like he'd be seeing me again at another event the following day (last Monday).  It was pizza and a movie and we had our choice of three movies.  He said which movie he was going to-the only one of the three he hadn't seen, which was also the only one I hadn't seen either.  He said he was going to go a bit early to grab a bite to eat and gave me his phone number in case I wanted to meet him.  He also posted the same thing to the event page, without the phone number.  I responded I would meet him and gave him my number as well.

We ended up being the only two to meet for dinner and when I saw him, I found myself thinking once again he was really cute.  I found conversation flowed easily.  He has a sense of humor, likes dogs (has a couple) and did I mention he's not hard to look at?  I was surprised when I looked down to see we were about to miss the start of the movie.  But there was something about all this that put my Spidey sense on full alert.  Nothing I can put my finger on but partway through dinner, one second everything was fine.  And then, no.  He didn't say or do anything I can recall but all of a sudden I just felt something was off.  That I needed to not walk, but run.  He was nice-he was respectful.  It was dark when the movie ended and I was parked a couple of blocks away so he walked me to my car.  He asked for a hug-he'd seen me hugging everyone else, but didn't just assume he could have one too and when he did hug me, it was just a half hug.

I saw him again on Wednesday for a night walk.  We were the first two there and ended up parking next to each other.  Again, my first thought upon seeing him was that he's really good looking.  But my guard was up.  We started the walk out talking to each other-again no problems with conversation.  We stopped to listen to a group of drummers and my taking pictures resulted in us walking with other people once we got going again.  That was fine-I have found that on these walks you end up walking with several people when all is said and done.  After the walk, we walked back to our cars and he started his while we were chitchatting.  And it died.  So I waited with him for the tow truck driver.  We sat in my car while we waited-it was cold and rainy.  He asked first to make sure I was comfortable with that and I was fine with it.  I didn't feel I was in any danger from him, so that's not it.  We passed the time looking up various things on our phones which was a lot more fun than it sounds.  When the tow truck driver arrived, I was surprised by how quickly he'd gotten there, although it was actually a little over a half hour.  I was smiling when I left, but still there was that niggle.

When I checked my e-mail on Thursday morning, I had a nice message thanking me for waiting with him.  I responded to it and got response a couple of hours later.  We exchanged a couple of emails back and forth on Thursday and Friday.  His last message contained a variation of a phrase I have only ever heard James use.  At first I thought nothing of it.  I spent 8 years hearing it, so it was normal.  And then when I re-read the message, it dawned on me that was not normal.  That was a "James thing."  That was unsettling.  Very unsettling-as in I want to grab him by the collar and ask him why, of all things, he chose that phrase.  I responded to his message (did not say anything about that) prior to leaving work on Friday.  And I have heard nothing more from him since then. 

Logically, I know this shouldn't be a big deal.  I am a big believer in Spidey sense.  I hate not knowing what sets it off but I know if it does, I need to listen.  And Spidey sense is definitely tripped.  So I should be relieved.  He and I RSVP'd for a couple of events that were posted earlier today so I know he's still alive.  (Gee, paranoid much?)  But I'm not relieved.  I'm disappointed.  I've checked my email about 15 times since I started this to see if I have a message from him (can we say "obsessive?").  I'm still bothered but there are some things I can't ignore.  He moved here on my birthday.  He's from James' hometown.  He likes dogs.  He has a great sense of humor.  He seems to like the same type of events as I do since we keep signing up for the same things.  He doesn't have baby mama drama.  He does drive a crappy company car, but that's not really his fault.  He's polite and respectful of boundaries.  And he's the right body type of the man from my glimpse-the one I didn't get to see but rather sensed, other than his hands, which were thick.  He was wearing baggy black pants the night we met, but not a light brown fishing vest jacket.

I should delete his number because I'm tempted to send him a text and ask if the car survived its "surgery."  But I made the last move; the ball is in his court and it looks like that's where it is going to stay.  Just once, I'd like for someone who turns my head to actually be interested, not just being nice.  Or at least be nice long enough so I can figure out what tripped the Spidey sense.  Just once, I want to be the one that gets to say "Um, thanks but no thanks."  Actually, what I'd really like is to just meet Mystery Husband #2 already and be done with this crap.  Because so far this trying to meet him thing is so not my idea of a good time.

Last Song

Part of why I decided to play along with the Facebook song challenge is because music was a big part of my and James' life.  He loved to sing-he lettered in choir in high school and had a great voice.  I love to sing as well.  I don't have a great voice.  I am tone deaf and have a flat voice.  But James loved me so he tolerated my occasional need to belt one out.  Charlie tolerates it as well.  Sammy usually sighs heavily and leaves the room.

When I was doing the song challenge, there were a lot of songs that reminded me of him-those I specifically chose and a few I didn't, like using "Kiss Me" for the song I want played at my wedding.  That was for the wedding I was supposed to have; not for the one I will still hopefully have some day.  And there were songs I chose that were just special to me-songs he was not a part of my life for, like my favorite song, the song from my childhood, and of course, my prom theme. 

There was one song I had a really hard time with, and that is the song I want played at my funeral.  I thought I wanted "The Dance" by Garth Brooks, but when I listened to it, I decided it didn't really fit after all.  And then I thought maybe "I Hope You Dance" by Lee Ann Womack.  I think I would like this played if I die young.  It will be my way of telling those I leave behind to choose to live life to the fullest because you don't get to know how long you get to have.  Apparently, I plan to boss people around even after I'm gone.  I actually Googled popular funeral songs for assistance, though I did ultimately come up with "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" on my own.  It got me thinking though.  What was the last song James heard?  What was on the radio as he was crossing the bridge unknowingly taking his last breath?  Just one more question I'll never know the answer to.  I hope it was one he loved.