Quick Check-In

I'm doing pretty well, following my mom's passing.  I have cried several times, as I remember things she said or that we did together; gifts she gave me or just things she enjoyed.  Life is not fair in that she was taken away from grandkids who loved her, especially the oldest, J, had a sweet connection with her and I'm so sad for that loss.  I will be going up to Oregon again in a couple weeks for my mom's service on the 10th. 

But life continues on here in California, and I have been able to work and teach and mostly continue with my activities.  I had my second big client attraction (business coaching) program weekend last weekend and had some good insights around how my own blocks and perceptions around money and success are getting in the way of encouraging clients to make an investment in working with me.  I realized that part of me still believed in a "Fairy Tale" that prince charming or someone would come and rescue me and lift me up into the life I was meant to be living.  Or something like that.  So, I am trying to shift my perspective to knowing that "I" am the Hero of my own story and "I" need to fiercely pursue my goals and dreams and basically save myself.  It's a process.

Also, I have decided to not say that I will help my clients transition into well-paying work until I am a bit farther down that path myself.  I AM completely confident in my ability to hold space for exploration, ask powerful questions and provide powerful assessments and tools for my clients to focus on their purpose and passions and to connect these with a unique, meaningful career path in the world.  I can help with job search/resume stuff, of course, as well.  But until I'm a step further down the road, I don't think I will include "transition to a well-pay career."  I want to share all the business tools I'm learning in my program, but it's only been two months, so perhaps in a few months I can add some business/entrepreneurial focus as well - something I'm also interested in.

Next week is Spring break and I'm looking forward to some extra time to devote to my business and to figuring out my next steps with housing.  I am thinking of looking for a temporary living situation that would allow me to save some money and give me time to look for a great situation that would support my adoption goals.  Possibly living with a friend or in a small, inexpensive place, and putting most of my furniture in storage. 

That's it for now... oh, also, not sure if I shared that SB and I are done?  I might have shared that, but I feel okay about that.  I really liked him but I've come to the conclusion I need to date someone who is and "F" or Feeling personality type so that we share a desire to go deep emotionally and with ideas.  For SB, this was hard and uncomfortable.


I Love You, Mom, Rest in Peace

My Mom passed away on Tuesday early morning.  Didn't go to work that day after I got the tearful call from my brother and, after picking up some groceries, spent most of the day at home, hibernating and processing.

Went in to work Wednesday, which was pretty tough, but okay.  Was planning to go in yesterday, then my car broke down, and I had to take it into the shop for a repair.  My air conditioner will have to be non-functional for now (versus a $900 replacement), but it's running well.

SB was helpful and comforting on Tuesday night.  We are still seeing each other, and the other guy has gone by the wayside.  He was too unavailable and unresponsive.

Anyway, I'm making it through okay - it's so strange how you can see evidence of how alive they were not long ago, like in texts and on Facebook, but now they are gone and that's hard to reconcile.   But would appreciate your prayers and thoughts for my family, especially my Dad.  They were married for almost 40 years.


Why Blog?

I really enjoy blogging and get a lot out of it as far as expressing and clarifying my feelings and thoughts.  Also, I like knowing you are reading and following along.  

With regard to the second statement, I am having one of those moments I have had before, and have seen others have, in which I'm wondering who the majority of "you" are... Is what I'm saying landing with you?  I know the vast majority of people just skim through blogs, reading when they can in the midst of busy lives.  

It's kind of vulnerable to say, but I will admit that comments mean something to me.  In case you were wondering, they matter to me.  Even if I only get two or three responses, which seems to be the norm (out of supposedly, according to my stats tracker, around 50 page views per day).  
* Thank you to my few regular commenters and friends!

It looks like lots of folks come over from the blog, "Life and Love in the Petri Dish," who I know has a lot larger audience.  So, if it's true that comments indicate connection, maybe this blog is passing entertainment for many, and there is less of a connection to my posts.  I don't fault this or think it is bad... but I do like to have a sense that someone is out there, and that my words are landing.  Personally, there are maybe a dozen blogs I read regularly and comment on - not every time, but on a regular basis.

So, I am not sure what to do, if anything.  Maybe I'm feeling a little lost, like I'm writing in a void.  Maybe I need to be more focused and write more for my audience.  I started writing on January 9, 2011 and spoke about my journey of trying to conceive a child, as well as recently losing my job and seeking another one that had more of what I wanted.  I talked about making choices that didn't fit my family norm (that they actively disapproved of) and, through the title of this blog, wanting to claim my life as my own.  I have ended up sharing a lot about dating and, for a couple years, about trying to conceive with my partner.  Personal growth and self-improvement have also been big themes in my life and writing; since I'm an introvert, it's been very helpful to get out of my head! 

But my primary blogging connections have always been through the TTC and SMC communities.  At 46, I think I am done with ttc, though I am actively taking steps towards adoption.  I am continuing to date and am on the cusp of possibly getting into another relationship.  I only post every 10 days to two weeks so maybe that's not enough to stay on people's radar.  Maybe it's time to reach out to other communities, as well, so that more women might read and relate to what I am sharing.  Perhaps one of these new communities for me will be adoption or foster adoption.  

I know I want to stay connected to the few folks who I have come to know and consider friends.  Even though most now have kids, I love hearing about their lives, and hope to join them in the next year or two.  My brother's wife just had their second child, so my extended family is very kid-focused.

If you blog and have feedback, I welcome hearing it. And if you are following and would like to continue reading my blog, would you please comment and say "hi"?  What do you connect with in my posts or what would you like to hear more about?  Do you have any questions?  I would love to hear from you.


The Tale of Two Men...

Well, maybe not a complete tale, but the start of one...

First of all, I want to thank those of you that responded to my last post about my mom; it really meant a lot to me.  Thanks for continuing to hold her and my family in your thoughts and prayers.

Onward with the tale...

This seemed an appropriate picture somehow...

I think I have had a couple more dates with SB since the last time I posted.  We went to brunch and a book art exhibit, which was pretty fun.  My type of day!  Of course, I love brunch!  And art seems to be a great bonding activity for SB and I.  Then, before I left to Oregon, he came to my theater group, which was having a newbie night.  It was just okay (continuing our up and down theme).  I know I was tired - I think both of us were - and one exercise he and I did together during the class was actually disconnecting.  I shared something about myself in an exercise and his response was sort of flippant, I think.  I had already been judging him physically, especially in comparison to my beefy landlord/housemate, J, who leads the class.  Afterwards, we went out for a glass of wine and loosened up a little but it wasn't a great night overall.

Then I went to Oregon, then I had my weekend workshop, so it was kind of non-stop busy.  We reconnected Friday on the phone as he headed out of town to visit his daughter in Santa Barbara and made plans to get together tomorrow night.  But we had another emotional disconnect on the phone when I shared a vulnerable exercise from my weekend workshop and he started relating it to a story about Mitt Romney.  WTF!  Ridiculous.

But.  We talked through it and I was very direct in saying I need empathy.  I need to be able to share emotional things and feel like he is "with" me, cares, and is at least trying to understand.  He said that everyone wants that, which is probably true, and nice of him to say.  He said he sees that he has a pattern of disconnecting at these times and that it is something he wants to change.  Something about fear of disappointment or not being able to handle it or something.  Anyway, we came up with a "safe word" (kinda funny) where I will say, "Stay with me now," when he does this and he will try to stay connected, hopefully without getting triggered into his fear of disappointing me.  Good to have a game plan anyway, and we will see how it goes.

I have said several times that maybe he needs to be with someone who is more cerebral and less sensitive, but he doesn't seem to want that?  Underneath, I am also thinking that maybe I need to be with someone who is more feeling-oriented and sensitive, but I do like a lot of things about our connection, not the least of which that I generally feel comfortable and like I can be myself with him.

The other guy in the picture, C, is the guy I went to the live music and dancing event with three weeks ago.  It was a great night!  He hasn't had a lot of dance lessons, but he has good natural ability and was playful and fun to dance with.  He is cute and has an athletic build I find sexy.  I would say, though, that he's kind of inward-focused and quirky... definitely smart - he's pursuing his PhD in public policy and working as a public transportation union leader - but the emotional intimacy piece I'm not sure about.  It's too soon to tell.  We had a nice physical connection and the hugging at the end felt great, but the kissing was, well, not so great.  It was a little weird, like his technique is off or he was holding back.

He suggested three last minute dates over the last three weeks, all of which I declined and said I was unavailable.  Not loving the last minute invitations, and my brother and I agreed that it likely indicates ambivalence.  Yesterday, when he made his third last minute proposal, and we had a couple rounds of lackluster emails, I said in my direct way that it seemed like he was less than excited to see me again, and was this true?  He said no, definitely not, that he has some reservations about dating in general, but that after seeing me before, he was "charged" for several days.  Hmm, interesting.  So, we have plans now for wine this Thursday and possibly the next one, as well, for swing dancing.  I hope to learn more about his dating reservations and see if we have enough connection to continue getting to know each other.

Curious what your feelings are about both situations, when you hear about them?  Any questions you have about either situation?  Obviously I know SB a lot better at this point and am seeing patterns emerge.  I like him a lot but also have doubts.  C is still, to a large extent, an unknown quantity.  Physically, I find him very appealing, and I know he can match me intellectually but am not sure about other levels.  That brings us to the end of this chapter in the Tale of Two Men. :)

As a last bombshell to throw in here, my housemate told me on Friday that he will definitely be selling the house this summer and would like me to move out in two months.  Ohhhkay.  I admit this was not as shocking as it would have been had we - he, I, and his partner - not had a conversation a few weeks ago about money in which it was clear they felt I had been paying far under the market rate, and that he was looking to make more money and at least break even on the mortgage and expenses, etc. (at the time the options we were discussing is me moving into the other bedroom and paying a bit more rent and getting a new roommate as soon as possible).  Of course, I understand that, it's just strange when we agreed on the rent amount and he seemed good with it - and planned to share the house with me - and then everything changed and it seems he now feels he did me a huge favor and is not happy with the amount.  He feels part of the favor is "letting" me live here by myself, but that was never my choice, so it's hard for me to see that as a favor.

I think a lot of the "shifting sands" feeling I have is because he is in a huge time of change himself, and is also needing to now make decisions with his new partner.  So, he really HAS changed his tune over the time I've been living here.  Hard to believe it has been five months already.  I feel a little sick thinking of moving again, but somehow I'm not freaking out and actually feel it could be "meant to be," as this is not a good house for a small child.  I'm trying to roll with it and just keep making big efforts with my business.  These efforts are starting to take hold!  No new clients yet, but am getting the word out there and generating lots of possibilities.  Please think good thoughts for me, as this business taking off is going to be a huge piece of making this transition work.


Sad and Grateful

Drove back from Oregon yesterday and heading to work at the college soon. 

As I have shared, my mom is really sick and I needed to get home to see her.  Her doctors and hospice team had recommended that people come soon to assure that she would be coherent enough to communicate and connect with us.  My two aunts (her sisters) were there, too, so there was a lot of group family time spent talking, eating, watching tv.  My mom has a set-up on the living room couch where she stays and dozes off/rests as needed.  I didn't have the courage - or the space with family always around - to broach a meaningful conversation with her until yesterday before I left.  I knew I needed to take the opportunity. 

So, I bought a card and wrote a couple things I really wanted to tell her... basically, that I was sorry I wasn't more open as a pre-teen/teen when she tried to communicate with me (there are times I remember her trying and becoming upset when I refused to talk), and that I really appreciated her support at emotional times or times of crisis when she stayed calm and helped me figure things out or just plain helped get something done.  This includes when I was upset at my Dad and she stayed calm and helped mediate or talked to him behind the scenes to help him manage his anger.  Also, practical support like when I was a teenager and cut the hem of my skirt all wrong the night before a big trip, and she calmed me down and fixed it for me.  I also brought her a couple of magazines and ice cream. 

After she read the card, she thanked me and we hugged and held hands and cried a little bit.  I told her it wasn't fair and I was so sorry this was happening.  She said quietly, "these things happen," or something, which fits her practical Nebraskan character.  I was able to make her a simple breakfast before I left and we shared a long hug good-bye.

I am very sad, and also grateful to have shared that connection with her before I left.


So mad at myself! And some positive news...

Starting with the negative, I am so angry at myself right now!  And super sad, too.  I freaking left my traveling/teaching suitcase in front of the house yesterday, and it was stolen.  I remember being on my way in and stopping to pick up an extra coffee cup from the back seat.  I must have set the bag down by the car... either that or on the front porch.  Unfortunately, my street gets a lot of foot traffic, and apparently some loser thief walked by and snatched it up.  I left for my foster/adopt meeting a couple hours later and didn't realize it was gone until I got back around 9:30pm.  When I didn't see it where it normally sits, I started looking all over the house, then checked the car three or four times with gradually rising panic.  Pretty soon, the reality was clear that it was gone.  :(

I called the police and filed a report, checked the nearby market dumpster with the help of a kind young man, called all the nearby pawn shops and asked them to look for it, and posted flyers outside my house.  I even offered $100 for it's return on the flyer.  But nothing yet, and I know the odds are very low that I would get it back.  There was nothing valuable to anyone else in the bag - my class textbook, handouts, student papers - but the bag itself is worth several hundred dollars.  It. so. sucks.

I was so wound up and upset, I drank a stiff drink, then stayed up almost all night working on stuff for my business.  Several people received emails sent at 4 or 5 a.m.  lol  It made me feel slightly better, I think, to be working towards building an income after just having lost something valuable.

On to the positive news... first, the date last weekend with SB started pretty rocky, as neither of us were particularly grounded (same thing happened that one night at dinner).  I know this isn't sounding very positive but bear with me... I was in a bad mood after a difficult conversation with my housemate and was being a brat, and he got mad at one point when he felt I was unfairly representing his efforts to support me as, well, unsupportive.  We turned around from the event we were heading towards and drove back to my neighborhood. 

But... once we got back, we sat in the car talking and basically worked through it.  I suggested we just be affectionate friends right now - ha - and somehow that created a sense of freedom for both of us.  This wouldn't work with some people, but with me and him, I guess it took the pressure off of things needing to be "perfect."  We happily traipsed off to watch the Sup.er Bowl and eat lunch/drink beer.  Later, we came back to my place and ended up kissing on the couch.  It was very nice!  So seventh date ended up being a good one.  Funny side note: he happened to be wearing a t-shirt that said the word "Seven" in big letters.  I have my first date with the other guy to go dancing to a live band tonight.  Feeling pretty tired but we will see how it goes.

In another bit of good news, I attended the fos.ter/adopt orientation last night and learned some helpful information:

  • Confirmation that a child 0-2 years could be placed with me in my current living situation.
  • The mandatory 4-week training in Oakland fits perfectly with my schedule.  It starts in April - after my February/March client attraction weekend intensives - and will be Tues/Thurs evenings a couple hours after finishing work at the college.
  • One of the trainers told me that once I am certified to adopt, I can register and create profiles with different counties, which expands the number of possible children I might be matched with. 
  • It is nice to have checklists of tasks and steps so as to feel like I am moving forward towards the goal.

The one piece of bad news is that they do not necessarily cover all of child care, which they used to do.  There is a limited stipend, so I need to factor the remainder into my budget.  I did hear that headstart offers quality, affordable childcare.  Do you think that is true?

That's all for now.  Mixed feelings heading into the weekend.  Hope your weekend is starting on a high note.


Business and Pleasure

I don't really have time to write this morning, but still felt the need.  Later today, I am embarking on the seventh date with the guy I spoke about, SB.  We are attending a Sup.er Bowl party at the house of one of his co-workers.  I'm looking forward to it, but also it feels like too much is happening today.  I am going to leave soon to go to my Sunday morning dance group.  I would skip it, actually, but we are doing a "newbie night" soon at my Inter.Play theatre group, and I want to cross-polinate and give invite flyers to dance friends.

Part of my busyness is that I am also moving forward with actions to reach clients and build my career counseling practice.  These actions have included attending a small (very small - like 10 people) networking event last Monday and practiced my "What do you do?" spiel about the clients I seek to attract.  People responded well!  So that was encouraging and I have a few business cards to follow up with.  I have also been racking my brain for people and places with which to network and reflecting on the "package" I will offer clients.  Those of you doing coaching/counseling might relate to this.  I do not have teleseminars/video or a book yet, so my package is just made up of services:

  • 8 hour-long career counseling sessions
  • additional email coaching between sessions
  • and either resume/cover letter editing or a personality assessment (administering and interpreting assessment and providing career guidance based on results).  

My potential clients are "amazing women who want to make a difference but are stuck in dead end jobs that don't fit them.  I help them blaze a trail to sustainable, meaningful careers that are deeply connected to their passion."  What do you think?  I hope my package offers enough juicy value that they will be excited to sign up for that level of commitment with me. 

But back to dating, the topic more likely of interest to you!  We had the fabulous date last week checking out local artist galleries and having drinks/dinner.  Overall a really fun and connected time.  Then, Friday night, we went to the Oakland museum for a food truck/music event.  It was just okay... We seem to be kind of up and down and honestly, I think it's more me that is up and down.  I do think he contributes by being more or less engaged and grounded based on his intense work schedule and being an introvert, etc.  But I am still struggling at times with thinking that he not "my type" and focusing on what is not "perfect" about him - an oh so familiar struggle, blech!

I think it is true that I would prefer he was less lanky and more stocky, and that it would be nice if he were a little more "cute" in the way I experience cute.  Looking at the positive aspects, he is fit and strong and has sweet, friendly eyes and a nice smile.  I like his hands and how they feel in mine.  The kisses are yummy.  And personality-wise, though he is more cerebral, he is also very attentive and caring, intelligent, and can roll with my "direct" nature.  Whereas my last boyfriend was a runner, SB is a stayer.  If something comes up, he becomes more engaged and tries to talk it through.  I appreciate that very much.

Well, that's all the time I have to analyze today.  :-) I will write more later after today's date.  I do have a date with another guy for next weekend, which feels right for the stage SB and I are at.  I am not ready to commit.