8/23/2014

Finally: Good News!

So, I have not found my new place yet, BUT:

I have found two possible places in Al@meda, which is not further North, as I'd hoped, but is an awesome community in which I do already know a couple people.  And it's not much more of a drive than what I have now, which is about 20-25 minutes (without traffic).  It's interesting to me that they are both in Al@meda... I've been looking there periodically but was finding most places in Berke1ey.

I am in the process of setting a time - hopefully this weekend - to see the first option: a large, furnished room in an historic house with a huge backyard and hardwood floors.  I would be living with an accomplished 60-year-old puppeteer (she has Disney credits) and holistic health teacher.  She had great energy on the phone and called me "honey," which was endearing.

The second place, which I am going to see Monday evening after work, would be living with my InterPl@y teacher, J, in a place that also has a great doggie-friendly yard.  Actually, he would not be there consistently because he often stays at his boyfriend's.  On the one hand, this is great, but on the other hand, it mirrors my current situation in many ways, and I would like to have more connection time spent with my housemate(s).  I think he and his boyfriend would likely move in together within a few months to a year, however, at which point I could find another housemate.  J is a great guy - fun and kind and communicative - yet, he is an extravert and an actor who brings a lot of energy to the table.  As I have shared, I am an introvert, and so I appreciate low-key, quiet time, as well as space to share back and forth in a mutual way.  Who knows, though?  I've only known him in one context, plus he would be gone a lot.

Both places are in my extended higher range of rent at about $1000.  But remember how I said maybe I could earn more money through my c@reer counseling?  Well, in a bolt of synchronicity, I received free website assistance from an awesome community organization that gives technical work experience/internships to young people and, as part of that process, was prompted to create a business page on FB.  A couple of you already saw this because you "friended" my new page - thank you!  It's under "N@vigating Tr@nsitions C@reer Counse1ing" spelled normally, if you want to check it out.  So, maybe my business is about to increase!  May it be so!  Anyway, I am sure I will know a lot more about the two housing options once I see them, and I will keep you posted!

In yet more good news, my housemate and I had a difficult but good conversation, and we negotiated my move-out date to the end of September!  Yay!  This takes a lot of the pressure off and, fingers crossed, I won't need to stay with my friend.  My housemate's packing and transition to living in his new wife's (now "their") house in S@cramento is taking longer than he thought it might.  And he still has a lot of work to do on this house, some of which they will be doing over Memorial Day weekend.  So, once I reassured him that I had options and could stay with a friend if need be, he felt more comfortable agreeing to a longer transition time.  What an awesome guy, right!  Though I may end up moving sooner if the first house works out, because she really wants someone in there at the beginning of September.

This post is becoming super long, but I did want to give the final piece of good news that my class started off very well!  And guess what?  All my students are over 18-years-old!  And my class size is 18 versus 28!  Hallelujah!  I imagine I'll need to teach the youngsters again in the future, but this semester, to my surprise, I was not given the section with mostly high school freshmen.  I. am. so. grateful.

Off to see the movie, "B@yhood" with Ew@n Mcgregor and P@tricia Arquette.  Such an interesting concept - have you seen it?  Hope your weekends are happy ones!

8/16/2014

Transition Time

Sorry for the downer posts lately... it's a "transition time" for me, as they say.  Moving for me right now seems to be a big deal.  On multiple levels, it means my life is shifting and changing, and much of the landscape where I will end up is unknown.

As an introvert, my home is my refuge.  I need to have a safe and private place to recharge and relax.  I don't know if I can find that with the friend with whom I was recently looking for housing.  She is a kind and good person, but also an extravert and seems to "spin out" with anxiety and frenetic talking regularly.  I am somewhat of an anxious person myself, and I think this might interfere with me finding the calm relaxation I need at home.

As an aside: the two places I mentioned before were a big disappointment.  The "urban treehouse" was rundown and dark and the backyard would be a hazard for the dog, in addition to me and the owner and potential housemate not clicking well.  With regard to the other one in Alb@ny, the woman was a semi-hoarder and the place had piles everywhere, was not clean, and had a large, albeit nice, dog lying all over the furniture. :(

I'm going to two open-houses tomorrow; one would involve living with three other people, and the other, seven people.  Even three other people feels like a stretch.  Ideally, I would like to live with one or maybe two other people.  But I don't have all the time in the world to find a place.  "All the time in the world" meaning more than two weeks!  And my girl, Zoey, adds to the challenge of finding a place, as apartment living without a yard would be a much lower quality of life for her.

There is the option of living with my friend for a month, which I may do but would mean more chaos and stress in terms of transitioning.  Better to do that though, I think, than move into a place that doesn't feel good enough to live in long term.  I do NOT want to end up needing to move again in a few months - been there, done that, when I talked myself into a situation that didn't feel right in the past.

So, I'm trying to hang in there and continue to take it one step at a time, having faith that something will fall into place.  I also notice that my maximum rent level seems to be inching up two or three hundred dollars, as most places I'm seeing that sound great are in a higher range.  I may regret not standing firm in my upper limit, but then again, it may push me to earn more money - maybe get my career counseling business going.

The other major change is in terms of social structure.  As I said, I have met a lot of my needs for connection and meaningful conversation through time over meals with my housemate.  That's all of a sudden gone now, and I guess I'm hoping that my next living situation will include someone with whom I feel comfortable and can have these kinds of conversations.

Meanwhile, I'm binge-watching "Or@nge is the New Bl@ck," which is sooo good.  And so distracting.  Right now, I MUST begin working on my syllabus for the class that starts next week.  So. hard. to. motivate.

Part of my stuck-ness is emotion around my mom's illness, as well.  My brother delivered bad news a few days ago that the cancer is now confirmed in her lungs, much lowering hope of recovery.  This punctured the bubble of hope I was maintaining.  I have cried once, but a kind of heavy sadness seems to be hanging over me.  I don't know what I should do, if anything.  They live too far away to help in practical ways.  I need to call but am kind of dreading that, as it will make it more real.  The whole situation bring up a lot of existential questioning for me, which doesn't seem very productive.

Thanks for listening.  Hopefully, my next post will bring better news and a new outlook.

8/02/2014

I am c-r-a-b-b-y


I am crabby and irritable right now.  My fuse is shorter than usual.  I always have a little grump in my nature that can come out when I am over-extended or experiencing anxiety.  But then, at certain times, I'm more reactive and feel more intense anger when things don't go my way or I feel stuck or unfairly treated.  I am aware that my cycle is due to start soon, so I'm sure that's part of it.

This morning, I had zero tolerance for an idiot I was messaging with on a dating site.  He wasn't listening to my responses - was being self-absorbed - and then went off on me when I had to get off chat abruptly to answer a phone call.  Just before I got off the chat, I had expressed confusion and mirrored back what I was hearing - that I guessed he wasn't open to adoption or I-V-F.

I should explain how the conversation went down:  After asking me about my hopes for becoming a mother and hearing my answer that it was unlikely I would conceive naturally (without intervention) but might become a parent through the previously-mentioned avenues, he said he regretted not becoming a parent.  I asked him why couldn't he now?  And he said well, he did think he'd have enough energy (he was around 50), but he would need to date women the age of a daughter.  So I, logically I think, questioned him about not being open to what I had mentioned.  Then I got a call about a possible housing opportunity and told him I needed to leave chat and take it.

When I got back on the site, he had written me a vitriolic email about how rude and high maintenance I was and how could I be a counselor and of course he was open to these things.  What?  Right after I had suggested them he acted as though the opportunity had passed him by and that he would need to date someone much younger to become a parent.

What's funny is he said in his profile he wanted someone who was "baggage free."  I am no longer going to correspond with guys that say that because inevitably it ends up that they have the most difficult baggage of all.  As I should know by now, the hardest issues to deal with are those that are unconscious.  When people say they have no baggage, you can bet they have as much "baggage" or wounds/issues as any of us, but they haven't figured out what they are and therefore don't moderate them or take responsibility for the outburst that happens when one of these issues gets triggered.

He was very uncool, but I recognize I was irritable from the start.  I am definitely hormonal but also could use some TLC like sitting quietly in nature and doing some drawing or art.  I'm stressed about moving and STILL not having found a place (following some new leads), and I'm lonely too.  Zoey helps but some human companionship would be nice.  My housemate is on his honeymoon for another couple weeks.  It's crazy that shortly after he gets back, everything is going to change.  We will never live together again, and we will never have the conversations over meals on a regular basis like we did for so long.  It's like three years of this and then "poof!" it's over.  Very strange.

To end on a positive note, I have been working out at the Y doing cardio and Zumba classes the past couple of weeks.  I'm so happy to have found the motivation for this!  It feels sooo good and my body feels different already.  I think it will give me greater confidence with dating, even though I do know that there are men out there that would love me just as I am.  Maybe, as mentioned in this post, I will even get to change my description from "average" to "athletic" some time in the future.  :-)

7/20/2014

Moving moving moving...

The countdown has started and I'm behind the ball!

First some wedding news (related because I need to be packed and moving when they come back from the 3-week honeymoon!):  Theatre friends and I went to my housemate, K's, wedding last night, and it was meaningful and poignant.  I think it was especially poignant to me because I have known K for several years, and his long-held dreams are finally coming true.

As I might have mentioned, his first marriage broke up because he became crystal clear he wanted children and she became crystal clear she did not.  It ended shortly before I first met him online and went on a couple of dates.  Obviously it didn't lead anywhere, but we became friends and I became his housemate when I moved to this area over three years ago.  And during these last three years, he has been a dating fiend, uber-focused on finding a wife and the mother of his children.

He's now 50-years-old and has found a wonderful partner in T, who I really like.  They have an ease and stability in their relationship that is confidence-inspiring for their future.  And she's 35 and really wants to have kids!  Watching the ceremony last night, he was clearly so happy and ready to make the leap into this commitment.  Watching him tear up at times during the ceremony and hearing the emotion in his voice as he said his vows and exchanged rings was just very moving.

It was nice being there with other close friends from our Tuesday group.  The food was great and they had an excellent and most entertaining DJ, who got the dancing going, as well.   I finally was able to meet two of his brothers and their kids, including his darling god-daughter, after seeing many Christmas card photos of them over the years.

So all that was wonderful... and now, reality is hitting about the huge changes coming down the pike in my own life.  I have two possible places I'm looking at to move at this point.  The first one is in Albany (a great location) with an older woman who rents two rooms in her house.  The house has a backyard and is located not far from friends of mine, which is great.  She said the other woman works and is out a lot, but that she does not work (but goes out often).  She wants to have a sense of community in the house, but of course that means different things to different people.  She seems very nice, if a bit reserved, on the phone.  I'll likely go see the place on Tuesday.

The second option is in a good location in Berkel@y, in a duplex that sounds really awesome and has an enclosed backyard.  She initially described it as an "urban treehouse," with three floors, one bedroom on each floor.  The living room and kitchen is on the first floor, along with the room that I would live in, at least initially.  The only bathroom is on the second floor.  From what she says, she and the other woman living there have been very low impact on the house, as both of them work full-time and are out doing other things, as well.  They don't watch TV, so maybe this could be what I need to reduce my watching time, keeping it to later in the evening in my room.

So, here comes the kicker - not sure if it's completely positive though it could be - she is pregnant, as an SMC!  I had no idea until a couple days ago, assuming from her ad that she was part of a couple.  She's a friend of a friend and seems really cool, if a little tense.  She is due in October, I think, at which time her current roommate will be moving to the front part of the duplex and her parents will be coming to stay for a few weeks to help with the baby.  Things could get chaotic for a while, especially considering her mom is afraid of dogs.  But it could be really nice to have a baby in my life and live in a house with an SMC.  Eventually, after her parents leave, I could likely have the middle-level room, which is larger and has a nicer view.  I am either going to see the place today or later in the week.

So what to do you guys think of the options, so far?  I should have more to report soon.  Meanwhile, I better start packing!  At least I was finally able to get to U-h@ul and pick up a bunch of boxes and packing materials.  I plan to throw out or give away a bunch of clothes and other stuff in the process.

7/07/2014

Family Fourth of July 2014

I feel like maybe my last post was TMI - sorry about that, if so.  Dating is an adventure for sure!

Fourth of July with family was an adventure, as well.  Lake T@hoe was gorgeous and the weather was perfect.  My mom was doing pretty well, except she got tired more quickly and needed to rest more.  I made a full bacon, pancake, potatoes, and cantaloupe breakfast for the family Saturday morning, which was fun to do.  I think I'll make that a tradition.

A couple other highlights were going out on the boat to watch fireworks with my mom, sister, her husband, and my niece and nephew, J and E.  It was chilly on the boat, so J and I got some good cuddle time.  We sang some songs and the fireworks were great, including J's favorite - butterfly shapes - and smiley faces and hearts accompanied by the song, "Happy." 

Saturday was a great day overall because the whole family ended up down on our dock talking, sipping drinks, and playing in the water.  There's a perfect little person-made swimming area, protected from the waves on the lake by large rocks.  E and I had a squirt gun fight with lots of laughter and my sister and I had our first meaningful conversation while hanging out on the dock.  She can be tough for me to connect with, so that was nice.  Then, several of us took turns trying out the paddle board - I found it harder than it looks to keep afloat! but they got a good pic of me paddling on it that they thought I should put on my dating profile.  I'm not sure about that, but maybe...

Stemming from the paddle board picture, my sister and I had an interesting conversation later in the evening, too, about the definition of "athletic" as a body type on profiles.  I used to put athletic but now put "average." I think if you list athletic, then the guy will think that you are thin and super fit, which I'm not.  My sister thinks I'm athletic because of my genes - my natural build and athleticism.  It's true I'm pretty strong and coordinated and did gymnastics and track for many years, then dancing.  But I'm probably 15 pounds or more overweight now, so I think it would be false advertising.  Thoughts?

Anyway, after our time at the dock, we headed in for more hanging out and talking, then a delicious smoked ribs and veggie/chicken/noodles with peanut sauce dinner (my tummy was a bit upset later, though!) and laughing a lot talking about all the famous people we each had encountered.  Dinner morphed into music and a dance party, which we always have to make happen at some point, as it's become a tradition with the kids.

Overall, I would say it was the best trip in recent times that I have had with family, and definitely the best Fourth of July trip.  That said, my parents are still very shut down emotionally and don't make much of an effort to reach out and connect.  It kind of wears on me, I think more than it does on my sister (well she's a bit like that herself) and my brother who both have spouses and kid(s).  And my sister is clearly the "favorite" child, who my parents want to please.  When her family left Sunday morning, it was a huge fanfare, and when I left later in the day, it's like, "Make sure and shut the garage door on your way out."  lol 

I tried to make allowances with my Mom being sick, and to be caring and make sure she was comfortable whenever possible.  The feelings of sadness and hurt came up strongly at the end, however, against my will (writing this, I am actually wondering if some of the sadness was ABOUT my mom's illness).  It didn't help that I was really tired after our late dinner/dance night the evening before.  I held it together, though, to say goodbye to my parents and that I had a really good time, did a little crying walking out, and then had a good talk out by the garage with my brother, who normalized a lot of what I was feeling.  He said our dad only talks to him about business, or maybe politics when he's been drinking.  And he said, which he's said before, that he doesn't think our parents will ever be capable of meeting my need for connection/love/acceptance; that he's basically given up on that. 

I think I had "given up" more, but then the leadership program I was in sort of encouraged trying to heal things with people - plus my mom getting sick made me feel softer towards her, as I've shared here.  I don't know, I think maybe there's a line to walk in-between, where I still am authentic and available to connect where possible, but I recognize their limitations and faults and try not to take them personally.  It's a tough one.

After a good night's sleep and getting grounded in my own life again, I guess I'm feeling better and more of a sense of gratitude that I had more connection with them than I've had in a while.  No, it wasn't even close to ideal, but it was a small shift, and feeling softer towards my mom is a good thing.  Plus, I had a great time with everyone (I have a cool SIL and BIL, too) talking, boating, playing in the water, and so much fun being with my nieces and nephew.  So I think gratitude wins the day.

7/01/2014

Sayonara and onward...

Well, it was nice to feel some chemistry, but, yeah, I stopped that train in it's tracks.  On the second date, in the midst of participating in a labyrinth walk and attending an improv show in SF, the pattern of tension and lack of connection leading to a confrontation and "talking it out" continued.  He seemed to be just generally disengaged and fairly arrogant until I called him on it, at which time he woke up and responded pretty well, but who wants to go through that on a regular basis.  Pas moi.

Oh, and btw, he was into "Domin@nt/$ubmissive" sexual relationships, including $&M.  Yes, it's true.  I am open-minded but that would be for a little spice within a committed relationship, not the main agenda from the starting gate.  No thank you.

I'm still feeling hopeful though.  When I get back from Lake Tahoe, where Zoey and I are heading this weekend for another annual family getaway, I am going to post the new pictures I had taken on my profiles and rejoin a dating site I haven't been on in a while.  I'll continue to meet people on the current one, but it will be nice to expand the pool of bachelors. :)  Since reactivating my account, I've gotten a few responses, but won't be able to see them until a rejoin next week.

I'm not sure what it will be like on the trip, with my Mom just having begun another round of chemo treatments.  Please continue to send your good thoughts and prayers.  I'm going to look for ways to help her while I'm there.  Also looking forward to playing with my nieces and nephew and going out on the lake.  Hope you all have a fun Fourth of July with friends and/or family.

6/26/2014

Houston, We Have Chemistry

I went on two dates this week; one on Sunday, and one last night.  The first one was with a Greek guy (he grew up in Greece and, even though he's lived in the Bay Area for something like 15 years, he still has an accent).  He's attractive but not necessarily my type, and for that reason plus I was kind of smitten with another online guy - the one I went out with last night - I went into into it half-heartedly.  When I first met him, I thought he was cute (cuter than I thought), but then he had a lot of intense energy and was talking over me at times.

For example, if you know me, you know I love the Myers-Brigg$ personality asses$ment, and this came up in conversation.  He told me he took it a long time ago but that his type had changed... Well, part of the theory of this assessment is that your type doesn't change, but that you can get inaccurate results at some point in time due to extenuating circumstance.  The strength of your preference, and your comfort with the opposite preference, will change over time but your true type should not.  Anyway, I was trying to explain that, and he was arguing with me, until he learned that I was qualified to administer the assessment.

Then, we started talking about age in online profiles, and I was saying it bothered me that some men in their 40's/50's say they will date down to 25 and he was kind of arguing with that and saying some young people are mature - yeah, right, not 20 years older mature - and saying that everyone likes younger people.  I don't!  I like my age.  I know there are biological reasons people go for younger looking partners, but I think that's just one part of the equation.  I think more conscious, mature people want someone who is their equal and who are at a similar developmental stage.  Now some men, like my housemate, don't get around to having kids, for one reason or another, until they are 40's/50's and I can see why they might date down to 35, but not 25!

Anyway, that was annoying, but then that conversation led to him saying that he had thought he wanted children, but lately he was rethinking that and he wasn't so sure.  WTF!  My profile clearly communicates that I'm interested in someone who wants a family.  So that just felt like a push-away when he said that, and I became irritated and snappy.  He noticed and asked about it and I told him what he had said that bothered me and if he felt that way, then we clearly were not a match and, basically, "bye bye!"  I can be very direct sometimes!  I was saying it with some humor, but I was also irritated.  Like why would you waste my time?  But then he backtracked and said he was open to it and would like it; that he was trying to be realistic considering the age factor or something.

From then on, strangely, communication was better and our connection was better.  Kind of like it broke the ice.  I continued being direct by asking whether there was chemistry between us - like, "What do you think?  probably not?" again kind of joking.  And we basically talked about hanging out together as friends, and he said maybe I could come over and watch TV with him.  This seems a little funny now, but we had discussed how we both like really good TV series, like Breaking Bad, Downton Abbey, Enlightened, etc.

Anyway, at the end of the night, we were walking out kind of joking around a bit and we stopped in front of his car, which was parked right in front of the restaurant, to say goodbye.  I fully expected to exchange a quick hug and be off... so then, out of the blue, he asks if I would like to kiss him.  I felt strangely compelled and curious, and leaned forward and kissed him and then... we were off!  We definitely had chemistry!  It was like this feeling of melting into him, that mushy, yummy, merging feeling.  I did not expect it at all.  We ended up kissing for a while in his car and it was fun!

We have texted here and there this week and are getting together again tomorrow.  I'm not sure what to think.  He's a therapist (and has invested in real estate which he says gives him some freedom) and has a spiritual/Buddhist practice, so that's all good.  And I liked how we could be really direct with each other.  But he can be a bit bossy at times, and also was wanting me to come over to his place that night or the night after and, maybe not have sex, but be intimate, and I felt a little worried at the focus on that and moving too fast.  So I guess we'll see, but that chemistry thing is pretty rare, and I'm glad to be experiencing it!

I will write more soon about the date last night.  It was better in some ways and not as good in others... very different.  I'll also report on Date #2 with my Greek guy...