Monday, February 28, 2011


Trust is an interesting thing.  It's vital to any successful relationship, be it a parent/child, friendship or romantic partnership.  It often takes time to build and can easily be crushed in a heartbeat.  For me, I lost the ability to trust in life the moment Dr. Way Too Chipper told me James was gone.  How do you trust again when everything you knew to be true was gone in the blink of an eye?

I wasn't a very trusting person before.  I'm slow to trust but very loyal once I do trust someone.  I am finding it so hard to trust an anything now, however, even three years after James' death.  I'm trying but I'm still afraid this new life I have built for myself will also be gone in a blink of an eye and I'm just not sure I can handle that happening again.  But living in fear is no way to live either.

Lately though, something strange has been happening.  I let Guy Pal drive James' car (with me in it, of course).  Actually, it isn't so much me letting him as much as it is he somehow manages to commandeer it and I don't stop him.  I don't know that I'd let him drive my Lancer, however, but I wouldn't even let James drive it and I was going to marry him.  (His driving scared the crap out of me.  I once asked if he had a death wish, it was so bad.  Kind of ironic he had his heart attack while driving home).  Last weekend, Guy Pal hosted a fundraising dinner for another friend of ours at my house.  I had a volunteer project so I just gave him the garage code so he could start cooking.  I gave him access to my house with me not home and didn't think twice about it.  Saturday evening, we made plans to go see a matinee on Sunday.  I woke up yesterday and realized I didn't know what we were seeing-we'd talked about a couple of movies we both wanted to see and he just picked one.

I trust him.  It's scary but also a good thing.  It's good to know I still have that capability-that maybe I'm not completely broken after all.  But at the same time, there is a part of me that wants to push him away-to keep him at an arm's length.  I was telling my widower friend about this and how fragile it feels.  But it's also encouraging.  Maybe if I can get to the point of trusting someone new in my life with my (larger) material possessions, one day I will be able to trust someone with my heart. 


Last spring (April 24th to be exact), I met he who is now known as No Longer New Guy (NLNG for short).  I then proceeded to drive everyone nuts for 6 months until I walked away for good.  I knew it wasn't going anywhere early on but I was afraid no one would ever be interested in me again and even more illogical than that, every time I asked for a sign as to what was meant to be, he'd pop up in some way, shape or form.  It could have been a couple of months since I last heard from or saw him, I'd ask for a sign and a couple of hours later literally run into him at a crowded concert in the park.  Or he'd call me to see if I was free the next day.  My co-worker was starting to wonder if he had me microchipped as it happened every single time without fail.

Finally in September, I realized just how much I would be settling if I kept this up when I realized my male friends treated me better than he ever did.  This has become my new standard dating measurement should I ever date again.  I decided it would be better to be alone for the rest of my life-a fear I have long had-than settle for someone who quite frankly pissed me off more than anything.  I've had moments of doubt-mainly wondering if someone else was going to come along, but when I saw him across the room in December and the sight of him made me want to throw up (and not in the good "the captain of the football team just asked me to prom" sort of way-my other standard dating measurement), I knew I was better off with him not in my life.

I don't know if I was dreaming about something difficult or what the deal was but I woke up teary on Friday morning.  I'd gotten into a disagreement with Guy Pal earlier in the week, which I'm not used to, and hadn't really been in contact with him since then.  (I spent most of the weekend hanging out with him).  I was also going to see the guy I am attracted to with the girl he's dating (I have now confirmed that is still on) at an event later that night and while I knew I needed to see them together to get it through my thick skull he's not interested in me, part of me was dreading it at the same time (it was fine).

So on my way to work I was crying.  I prayed that my friendship with Guy Pal wasn't over (I really need to get over my fear that every bump in the road means that person has decided to walk out of my life!).  I prayed that I would be able to stop crying before the event that night as it was supposed to be a fun thing (it was).  And I prayed to please, please, please let there be someone out there for me. 

When I got to work and pulled up Rhapsody, the first song to come on was "Don't Give Up on Love" by Tommy Page.  I thought that was interesting-the songs by Tommy Page have been erroring out for the last several months and not playing.  But I also took it as a sign that maybe there is still reason to hope. 

Later that afternoon, I decided to see if there had been any changes to who had RSVP'd for that evening's festivities.  I logged on to Meetup five minutes after someone with the same name as NLNG joined one of the Meetup groups I belong to.  The profile picture is that of a cat.  I told myself it's a common name and he doesn't have a cat.  My instincts were screaming "Oh, HELL no."  I pulled up the profile.  His hobbies (or rather hobby) is the same as NLNG, as his is birth month.  I clicked on pictures, already knowing what I was going to find. 

Why does he always pop up like this?  I don't believe in coincidence and I am NOT amused.  The good news is I don't do a lot with this group so it should be pretty easy to avoid him if I decide I really don't want to see him-a decision I've already made.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

This moment brought to you by Young MC

"This here's a tale for all the fellows, trying to do what those ladies tell us.  Get shot down if your overzealous, play hard to get females get jealous..."

I could go on.  Really I could.  But I won't.  Well, I'll probably have that song stuck in my head again so it's a good thing I like it.

A couple of weeks ago, my sorority sister and former roommate posted a note on her Facebook page and tagged me in it.  It was a 30-day song challenge in which you post a YouTube video of a different song every day.  There's a "theme" for each day so there's some structure to it.  I decided to play along; quite frankly, I needed something fun and (sort of) challenging to do, and I am having fun with this so far. 

The theme for Day 8 was "a song I know all the words to."  So I posted the video for Young MC's "Bust a Move."  I had already used my fave song (Day 1 "Glory of Love" by Peter Cetera) and this was a fun song choice that I thought would be unexpected coming from me.  It was, as one of my widow friends posted a comment questioning whether or not I really know all the words and saying she thought I should bust it out at dinner the next night.  That would be the monthly dinner for my widow/ers Meetup group. 

I have a really hard time turning down a challenge (case in point:  my week long challenge of not eating meat has now lasted for almost 3 months).  And you only live once.  So after dinner, I queued up the song on my cell phone (turns out I have a YouTube app) and handed her the phone.  I could hear the music but not Young MC rapping it.  Five innocent children and one widower were traumatized by my performance.  (I'm pretty sure the children will bounce back.  Not so sure about my poor widower friend).  Word on the street is there's video of part of it.  What happens at widow/er dinners...

And people think all we do at these dinners is sit around and cry. 

More on Dating

I've had dating on my mind a lot lately.  (And the understatement of the year award goes to...).  It's a frustrating process and one where it is very easy to get dejected, especially if that is your tendency to begin with.  The bottom line, however, is that I want to find love again someday and I'd like an engagement that ends with a wedding instead of a funeral (novel concept, I know).  I like to think that's what James would want for me too, but to be honest, I have days when I'm not so sure that even in Heaven where everything is supposed to be different, that won't break his already broken heart.  And I'm sure that on some level I allow that to hold me back.

While this hasn't been fun by any means, it hasn't been all bad either.  I'm learning what it is I'm looking for, for one thing.  And the kicker is it's the last thing I was expecting.  I spent the last couple of years saying I don't think I could date someone else that was like James.  But as I've met people and have done the mental processing of whether or not they would be dating potential, I have come to realize I want a dorky man's man with a kick-ass sense of humor.  I want a geek who makes me laugh like no other and will take me to the occasional ball game.  In short, I want someone like James.  I mentioned this to a widower friend the other day and he said it made sense.  Inherently, we have a type and for he and I, our types are James and his late wife.  The person I find myself drawn to these days is a very interesting dynamic for me.  He couldn't be any more different from James, yet any more like him at the same time.  I'm like a moth to a flame when it comes to him.  So it's probably a good thing he's currently dating someone.  I think.  I'm a little unclear on that.  I just know there's a girl he really likes and it isn't me.

I'm also realizing that I still have boundaries set up.  A fellow widow recently made the comment that she wants a relationship, but not the commitment.  I get that.  I want the companionship and the physical aspects but I'm just getting used to my new life and I'm not ready to upset that apple cart just yet.  As I told Guy Pal recently, I want a relationship someday but I'm going to have to be drug kicking and screaming into it.  Sadly, I really don't see that happening twice in one lifetime, but then again, stranger things have happened.  Of course, in order for that to happen, I would at least have to have a date first so it doesn't look like I am in any danger of having to drag my heels any time soon.  (Too bad.  I just bought some really cute heels.  I never buy heels).

The other realization I've come to is I'm not trying to date on my time line-I'm trying to date on everyone else's.  Not time lines they have set for me, but the time lines they have for themselves.  All my single friends are doing it so I want to do it too (aka "Me Too Syndrome").  This has possibly been the biggest source of frustration for me and it took a long time to realize it.  For whatever reason, it's just not my turn.  I'm supposed to be doing something else right now (like creating a spreadsheet so my friends can keep my fictional love life straight and listening to Howie Day's "Collide" repeatedly on YouTube).  I don't know what that is right now-lately I've been staying home not doing anything.  After four straight months of just bracing myself to get through the next significant day (literally-10 of them in 4 months.  Only thing missing was James' birthday), I'm at a loss of what to do now that I don't have to be in that mode anymore.  So right now I'm decompressing and gearing up for whatever comes next.  Which isn't focusing on dating.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

"Kiss Me"

The other day I was reading the blog of a fellow widow who takes awesome to a whole new level.  She totally rocks.  In her post, she was talking about how she, a former disco queen, grew up and married a former punk rocker-two people who would have clashed when younger but connected through a shared love of alternative music.

Her story made me smile, as they often do, and got me thinking about the music in my and James' life.  We had different tastes, his leaning more to the classic rock side and mine to the soft rock side but we had enough common ground (Nickelback being at the top of the shared list) that we could listen to music together without arguing over it.  We never really had "our" song, however, which made it a bit of a challenge when it came time to plan the wedding.  He wanted our first song to be "There is Love (the Wedding Song)" by Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul and Mary.  It had been his aunt and uncle's song and he really liked it.  We probably would have gone with it; it was on the short list.

There were a couple of songs that were definitely going to be in the wedding or played at the reception which are the songs I now consider to be our songs.  The first one, "You're Still the One," by Orleans I had decided was going to be the song that played when everyone joined in for the second song played at the reception.  By the time of our wedding, we would have been together for almost 9 years and we were pretty much the "newest" couple among all the people who would have been at our wedding so it seemed fitting as it would have applied to everyone.  (I would have been an equal opportunity bride.  I'm cool like that). 

The other song that I think of us ours is the one we both agreed would be in the wedding (I totally would have gotten my way on "Still the One" when it came down to it).  We agreed that our recessional song would be "Kiss Me" by Sixpence None the Richer.  It's a song we both liked and the only part of the ceremony we finalized. 

But there's more to the story than us both liking the song.  We also liked to watch stupid comedy movies, such as those starring Rob Schneider.  (We saw "Deuce Bigalow" on our second date, which was 8 hours after the first one ended).  One of the movies James particularly liked was "The Hot Chick."  In the movie, the main character, Jessica, has a friend named Ling Ling.  Her mother is pretty over the top and at one point says the line "Ling Ling, you forgot your bling bling."  There is a part of "Kiss Me" in which the lyrics are "bring bring bring your flowered hat, we'll take the trail marked on your father's map."  Every time James heard that part of the song, he would say "Ling Ling you forgot your bling bling" and we would crack up.

I picture us walking up the aisle having just been pronounced man and wife and him leaning over and whispering "Ling Ling you forgot your bling bling" with "Kiss Me" playing in the background and me totally cracking up with the loud cackle laugh I get when I really mean it.  I picture the guests looking quizzically at each other wondering what that was all about.  And I smile every time.  And then I listen to the song-our song-again.

Yet another online dating update.

I have made no secret of the fact I am not a fan of online dating.  Mainly because I suck at it due to the fact I have no patience and am not really that thick-skinned, which they don't tell you is a requirement when you fill out the profile.  Every time I create a profile, I end up taking it down a short time later because I get discouraged and I beat myself up over it.  I do have to say this attempt has gone slightly better than the others.

It turns out Guy Pal does indeed know MG #2, as I figured he would.  He thinks MG #2 is a great guy but not someone I would find attractive.  But Guy Pal decided he, MG #2, another friend of his and I should get together and hang out.  I agreed.  MG #2 agreed.  We submitted our schedules to Guy Pal so he could coordinate this.  And then MG #2 blocked my profile.  (Seriously?!)  And then he wanted to know when we were going to meet.  So Guy Pal asked why he blocked my profile and was told MG #2 did not think we'd be a good fit.  So I decided I didn't want to meet him.  (I have so not evolved past the age of 12).  I don't want to waste my time meeting someone who has already indicated he isn't really that interested in meeting me when I could be using that time to put myself in a position to meet someone who looks across the room and says "Who's THAT?!?!"  (It happened once.  It can happen again).

But I have to admit this stung.  Really stung.  Guy Pal has told me some things about MG #2 that made me ask why he was pushing so hard for us to meet as he wasn't doing a good job of selling him to me.  Guy Pal has good intentions.  He wants me to be happy.  I indicated interest so he wanted me to see if there was something to it-if this was someone I would connect with.  I can't fault him for that.

In the meantime, I read a profile that cracked me up.  There were a couple of red flags-he didn't seem to be a dog person and he has red hair.  Try as I might, I just can't seem to make myself attracted to redheads.  But despite this, I e-mailed him anyway.  And he responded.  So we e-mailed back and forth a couple of times and he told me he didn't think we were a good match for long term dating, which I agreed with, but wanted to know if I would like to meet to see if there was a potential for friendship.  I agreed to that.  Then he asked if we did meet and the chemistry was there if I'd be interested in a "friends with benefits" deal.  I politely said no.  I also told him I was disabling my account because I only set it up one day because I was bored.  I gave him my e-mail address in case he still wanted to meet.  Apparently with the possibility of sex off the table, the potential for friendship went away too because I never heard from him again.

So I disabled my account.  (And literally as soon as I hit the button to do that got an e-mail for speed dating, which I found amusing).  It's not deleted; just hidden so I can go back and access it if I want to.  But I don't.  I've felt a lot lighter since disabling it.  This was taking too much of my focus and the guys I did e-mail not even checking out my profile, plus being blocked by someone who supposedly wanted to meet me and apparently only being attractive enough to the one I did have contact with to be a casual fling left me feeling like a man repellent.   And of course, that just makes me miss James and the sure thing I had. 

So I'm done with online dating.  Again.  Hopefully for good this time.  I'm pretty old-fashioned so it seems more fitting that I should meet Mystery Husband #2 the old-fashioned way.  I just need to figure out what-or rather where-that is.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Thank God for Small Favors!

A few weeks ago when I was debating whether or not to ask my Flirty Friend to MLK Day Dinner after not being able to attend Christmas dinner with him, my co-worker told me this was the year we weren't going to walk on the wild side, but rather stroll on it.  She said if I didn't hit the send button on the e-mail, she would. 

Fast forward to last week.  I had a volunteer shift at the Food Bank that I organized through the fun Meetup group.  I got held up at work so I was late getting there.  My friend took over greeting all the members of the group for me.  I did end up at a table with two of them-a gay couple who are actually the first friends I made in the group.  Also at our table were a man from India and his 9-year-old son and some guy who was unloading the food from the huge box onto the table for us to sort.  He had his back to us most of the time but I saw enough to see that he was cute and seemed vaguely familiar.  I chalked it up to him just having one of those faces.

The man from India was standing between me and the other guy and India's son was across the table from his father.  About halfway through the shift, the son decided he didn't want to sort anymore but wanted to box up the food instead.  Seeing this as my opportunity to get closer to the cute guy, I offered to switch places with him.  We had to keep the boxes at about 35 lbs so the cute guy would ask what I needed, meaning did I need canned goods or something lighter.  At one point, he turned around when he said it and I found myself looking into a pair of gorgeous green eyes.  I literally had to bite my tongue to keep from answering "what do you need?" with "your phone number."

Driving home, I was thinking about how I was going to have to confess to my co-worker what a bad "stroller" I am.  I found myself wishing I had more nerve and wasn't so afraid to put myself out there.  I thought maybe my co-worker didn't need to know how much of a wuss I am.  The next morning I confessed-it was the right thing to do after all.  And then I went to the Meetup site to edit attendance for the event.  I'm trying to keep track of the "no shows" for this event so if they keep signing up and by doing so are keeping others on the wait list from attending I can ask them to remove their RSVP.  As I was going through the list, I discovered that Green Eyes was actually part of our group.  He's got a very nice profile picture of him-and his wife. 

Sometimes being a wuss is a very good thing!