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...

6/19/2014

Another dating wave...

Dating Report:

I am having another wave of dating at the moment... went out for dinner and wine Monday night with a very nice high school acting teacher.  He looked cute in his profile but the pictures were angled such that I couldn't see his build.  I may have mentioned I prefer conscious, intelligent lumberjack types - partly because I'm a solid gal myself.  :)  Anyway, when we met, I noticed he had a smaller build, which lessened the attraction. * Sidenote: As anyone who had online dated can attest, these small disappointments are commonplace, as of course we are all going to put our most flattering photos online or perhaps have photos that don't fully show how we look, and human nature is to project what we want to see.

But he was really nice and warm and interesting, so we had a lovely conversation with good connection, laughing, and some flirting, as well.  It's one of those situation where I could talk myself into pushing forward, even though the attraction is not quite there, but I don't want to put myself or him through the place where that strategy has led me in the past.  Sooo, even though we indicated we would see each other again, and I know I would have a good time if a did, I'm thinking probably no.  What do you think?

There are a couple other men I have been communicating with and will likely meet with soon.  One guy seems really interesting in terms of his art and activism work in SF, but initially I did not see much depth in his profile.  Strangely, a few months later, his profile now seems to have more depth.  I think when I initially read his profile, he had recently ended a relationship and was in a not-so-great place so maybe he is more open now.  In any case, I'm more excited to meet him now and will probably have a coffee date in the next week or so if all goes well.

Related to my dating attitude: During a recent coaching session (a guy from my leadership program and I are continuing to co-coach each other), he said something like, "What if there is someone out there who will love you just the way you are, right now."  I think this was in response to me sharing how I feel not-so-attractive right now and like I need to lose a few pounds, etc.  When he said that, however, it really landed with me and I have been thinking of it periodically ever since.  There are people out there like me - skinnier, heavier, more attractive, less attractive - who find people and fall in love.  So why not me?  Am I so hideous that no one could love me?  There are men out there who would love me just as I am.  This is very comforting to recognize and sit with.

I guess that's about all for now.  I found a possible roommate, so this has expanded my housing search possibilities.  More on that later...  xo

6/02/2014

Trip to Oregon

Happy Summer!  I'm in the second week of two weeks off from work.  Next week starts with that new one-day Orientation class I'm teaching on Monday the 9th, then general counseling on Tuesday/Thursday.  Still not clear exactly what I'm going to do for the class but have been thinking about it.  Must. Figure. It. Out. This. Week.

I managed to grade all my Final exams and enter final grades just before the deadline last Tuesday night.  I just couldn't motivate to work on them when I was in Oregon.  My family visit over Memorial Weekend was fun.  The highlights include:

  • Time Friday with my Aunt and Cousin - even though my Aunt's a bit crazy, I love her and am glad to maintain connection with my birth Mom's family. 
  • Friday night pizza with siblings and their partners/kids and taking J and E on the carousel.
  • Saturday pool hang out time with sister's family.  Throwing the rings in the pool for E - so cute!  And J finally venturing in, after she wandered around worrying about it for most of the time, (but also seeming to have fun).  I think J might have a higher-than-average anxiety level, which I can relate to!
  • Saturday dinner with Mom and Dad.  The restaurant dinner wasn't great, but it was good to have my parents to myself and catch up with things.  We talked a little about my Mom's upcoming surgery, and I advised them to have someone stay with her all that day, versus dropping her off, based on my own surgery experience (general anesthesia and pain meds are no joke); more on her surgery below.
  • Sunday breakfast at our favorite brunch place: Jo Fowler's House of Pancakes.  If you're ever in Eugene, check it out.  Had my normal Swedish pancakes with lingonberry butter - yum!  More time with Mom and Dad.  As a sidenote, I felt closer to my Mom this trip than I've felt before.  I guess someone getting sick has a way of breaking down defenses on both sides.  It's not that she was all that different, but whether it was from me or her or both, I felt more love between us.
  • Sunday afternoon I spent at my sister's with J and E.  One of the BIGGEST highlights for sure!  I did art with Jayne, threw a nerf baseball for E, and had SO much fun jumping around, chasing each other and playing games on the trampoline they have in their backyard.  I haven't laughed that much in a long time!  At one point we collapsed in a puppy pile and looked up at the clouds; a moment I'll treasure.
  • Then came the wild-and-crazy family barbeque on Sunday night at my brother's house with all my immediate family and their families, as well as my cousin, Jen, who moved to Oregon from Nebraska last year.  There is often one night of drinking when the family all gets together and this was it.  It started out mellow with the kids playing outside.  V, my youngest 1-year-old niece, loves playing with her older cousins, J and E.  E is very loving and protective towards her, and I love that he gets to experience a "big brother" relationship and she a "little sister" relationship, which neither of them would experience otherwise.  The adults played with the kids and sipped wine or beer.  After V went to bed, we ate the delicious food that had been collaboratively prepared - steaks, prawn salad, mushroom rice pilaf, and fabulous berry cobbler for dessert.  A secret about my Dad - he smokes when he drinks and sometimes when he's not drinking.  He tries to compartmentalize it.  Anyway, I was bad and joined him a couple of times during the night.  Whoops.  Unhealthy father/daughter bonding time.  Oh well.  My brother and I had a nice talk at the end of the night after everyone had left.  Fun night overall.
  • Then Monday morning, I chilled at my parent's house (stayed at my bro's house the first two nights and their house the last two) and took Zoey on an out-of-control walk.  Poor Zoey.  I think she liked meeting everyone and had fun playing at times but moving locations and SO many new people was a lot to digest for an already-highly-excited dog.  Then, we met others briefly for a lunch - it's clear from this post that my family tends to gather around meals! - and Zoey and I hit the road.

I didn't realize how much happened, until writing it all out in this post.  So, my Mom's surgery was this last Wednesday and the doctor said it went very well, and he thought he got it all.  We are waiting to hear back on the pathology report, which should be coming soon.  Please say a prayer for her, if you can.

Guess that's about all I have to share.  I sent an email out to my circles about what I was looking for in a new place and have since heard about several possibilities, and many people wrote sending their support and good wishes, but nothing solid yet.  I would like to be moving in with my new boyfriend... do you think that might happen in two months?  jk  I do hope to find a shared situation with a person or people who are kind and conscious and easy to get along with.  Fingers crossed!

Hope you all are having some fun times in the sun. :-)

p.s. Thank you to those of you who left supportive comments on my last post - it meant a lot and helped lift my mood.  I wanted to give a quick update on that situation: After all that, and after I had reviewed her report and made my own comments, she suggested we bag the whole thing and start again in the Fall, bringing in an additional reviewer for balance.  Maybe she recognized she didn't really know my abilities and couldn't give a fair evaluation based on one half-hour observation.  Even though I'll have to go through the process again, I'm relieved and glad to have another opportunity.  And the other reviewer will likely be a woman I know to be kind and who initially worked as a CTE Counselor, like me.

5/21/2014

A No-Good Very Bad Day

Today was a no-good, very bad day.

It started with being 15 minutes late to work, then two of my appointments didn't show up... which wasn't that big of deal, but then my last appointment the department chair sat in and, unfortunately, it was nerve-wracking with lots of different issues thrown in, and I made a couple of mistakes.  She was, in my opinion, mean and overly harsh with how she communicated with me about my shortcomings right after the appointment, and I ended up crying.  I know I should not have taken it so hard but it really hurt my feelings.  I (and other adjunct counselors I know) try really hard with the students in individual appointments and teaching, and put in lots of extra hours planning for class, and really get no recognition or appreciation for it.  I get paid well, so there is that.  But anyway, it made me feel bad about myself and just really sad.

I will fully admit that I do not receive criticism well.  I'm trying to develop a thicker skin and I think I've made a little headway, but today I was not so tough.  We talked again later, after my class, and I apologized to her for getting so upset.  She admitted she tends to be a harsh critic and that she should not have led with the comments she did.  I said that there is definitely more I need to learn, but that the appointment was not representative of my typical work.  I have seen several students a day,  two days a week all school year and I've done well and become increasingly confident.  Different issues come up in general counseling than came up working in Career Technical Education, such as more transfer issues and processes such as TAG, where students apply and are automatically admitted to a UC.  Anyway, as mentioned, I have more to learn, but she could have communicated the criticism in a much more constructive way.  :(

Going forward, I really want to work on this sensitivity, and also my fear of criticism.  I really hate it.  I'd rather be slapped in the face.  It somehow feels like when I'm being criticized, they are saying I'm a bad person and there's something very wrong with me.  It's like I can't separate my "performance" from my true self at these times.  I know this goes back to my Dad and how he communicated... he had a way of showing anger or frustration with something I did that he didn't like in an intense, controlled way that made me feel in those moment like he hated me and was disgusted with me.  Yuck.  Not a good feeling, especially when I did depend on my Dad a lot, as my one parent (there was my step-mom but as mentioned, we never had a true parental bond or closeness), for approval and love.

The fact is (I'm saying this to myself - so listen self!) that I am an adult now and I have innate value and worth outside anything anyone could say or think about me.  I KNOW I care about students and have worked very hard to answer their questions and support, advise, and teach them.  I wish I performed better under pressure but I love myself anyway and forgive myself for not doing as well as I would have liked today.  I hope over time, the department chair and other powers that be will come to know and value my work.  If this doesn't happen over time, then likely this college is not the best place for me to work.  I'm hopeful it will, but I'm going to continue to look for and apply to other positions, both full and part-time, at other colleges.

Thanks for listening!  Tomorrow is another day... and I have my trip to Oregon this weekend to look forward to.