1/15/2018

Wrapping Up and Moving Forward

Sometimes I can't believe how time flies by! I'm ready to be done talking about the holidays, but I do want to write a brief record of RC and my final days of holiday break here where I live, and also share a couple more recent happenings...

After Christmas-time in Oregon, it felt good to get here and relax more and make our own schedule. We walked around downtown, as we like to do, and one afternoon, we went to the sanctuary/recreation area where he had spread his families ashes. It was much different this time, with lots of folks walking around the long, scenic circular pathway, so we - RC, Zoey, and I -  joined in and began walking and talking.

After a while, we got into some deeper conversation about the prospect of my adopting a child. Every time this comes up, I feel him lean into it and really seem interested and "with" me in the journey. This feels wonderful. Although I was and am prepared to move forward alone, I've always felt I would do better as a parent with a partner. Partly because of being introverted and partly because I'm not a super organized, decisive person. I think I would benefit from collaborative decision making and sharing the logistics. In any case, so far, I feel good about our conversations.

He asked about what would be required of him as far as background check, finger printing, etc., and I said I would ask my social worker. I did ask her later and forwarded the information and forms for finger printing, TB and health checkup to him. He has a doctor's appointment scheduled for a week or two and has taken the next steps to complete the background check, as well.

The last holiday experience I want to share is New Year's Eve... We went shopping, watched some TV, and took a nap, then got ready and headed down to an oyster bar we had been wanting to try. We ordered this delicious fresh seafood tray, with four types of oysters, uber-fresh shrimp, salmon, and a couple other types of raw or smoked fish. So good! Accompanied by some yummy Pinot. It felt romantic, too, as we sat at the bar and held hands under the counter.

Afterwards, we went home and spent some meaningful time on a NYE ritual of releasing the old and welcoming in the new. We did some writing and discussed these things in-depth, especially our goals for the new year. We even made some goal cards and set the intention to read them every night and chip away at them, creating new goals when these are complete. We also drank a glass of super expensive Cab -  not so great! That was the only disappointing part of the evening. Price often leads to most yummy with wine, but not always. We ended the evening listening to bands on TV and watching the ball drop.

In the big picture, everything is not perfect, but so far, I'm feeling really good about moving forward. Occasionally, I seem to hit an "intimacy wall," where I feel overwhelmed. This has happened two or three times now, and he has been able to hear me and talk through it, without escalating or withdrawing, like what used to happen with my ex. Having someone new in my space, with all that entails, can feel overwhelming to the senses. I'm sure this is partly due to the fact that I'm an HSP (highly sensitive person), which means being extra sensitive to lights, smells, sounds, energy, etc. So, having lots of "foreign" sensory input from someone other than myself can feel scary sometimes. I think fear of intimacy because of my past can at times heighten these sensitivities. So far, we've been able to navigate this well. I'm strongly attracted to him and being physically playful is fun!

Since he left, we have resumed our daily texting and talking on the phone a couple times a week, sometimes more. A new development is that when something significant happens, he is the first person I want to call. When I call, he's usually available and I appreciate the support and being able to talk through things. He has especially been there for me through one particular ongoing development...

As some of you know, I had a bleeding event over the holidays; basically bleeding off an on for a month. He was my partner through that, including a short time when we even considered we might be pregnant (it was not rational, as those who have gone through infertility know about), and when I went to the doctor and had an upsetting experience with an attempted non-medicated uterine biopsy, he was there to support me.

As an update, I have an ultrasound scheduled for the 23rd to check on my lining (and see if I had a cyst) and a phone call with the doctor calendared soon after. I'm taking progesterone for three weeks to hopefully "reboot" my body, fingers crossed. If the doctor - MY doctor not the one I scheduled through Kaiser online - affirms I need a uterine biopsy, you can bet I'm getting all the good drugs I can. A friend said they won't prescribe drugs for those in her state. WTF?! Not okay. I won't get started, but my strong belief is that if we can prevent or mediate pain, we absolutely should, unless there is a compelling reason the patient chooses not to.

There are some developments with work and plans that RC and I are considering, including upcoming trips, but I'll share more about those in another post. For today, I am appreciating this three-day weekend and catching up on laundry and sleep.

1/06/2018

Holiday Time - at home and in Oregon - with RC

It's been a while since I posted! Happy New Year!

In the meanwhile, my new guy, RC, and I survived, and dare I say, pretty much thrived through two weeks straight together. We spent a few days together before leaving to drive up to Oregon, and also spent three days here together at the end, over New Years, before he left. Highlights of our time prior to Christmas in Oregon included:
  • Shopping together is so much more fun than doing all the shopping alone.
  • Help with wrapping presents!
  • I tried a healthy gluten-free zucchini bread recipe, and it was gratifying because he gobbled it up. He doesn't eat much bread, so I felt like I really gave him a treat.
  • My birthday celebration! We went out to a yummy surf and turf and shrimp and grits dinner with some great Pinot to go with it. My favorite thing, as you know. I also got my hair foiled with lots of blonde which has been fun and made me feel pampered.
Then we packed and hit the road with Zoey in her backseat perch behind us. RC accidentally took the scenic coastal route, and I was too spacey to catch it. It took a couple hours more but at least we had a beautiful view. We had to rush when we arrived, though, to check into our hotel and get to my family business' Christmas party. We made it in time to have a few drinks and nosh on some hors d'oeuvres, catch up with my brother and sister and their spouses, and have some funny conversations with intoxicated employees, as well. That's what a company Christmas party should be, I guess!

The next day, after a slightly hungover breakfast at the nearby pancake house, we unpacked and organized our room and went shopping at the mall for some last Christmas items. Other trip adventures and highlights included:
  • Making the sugar cookie dough with my little nieces at my brother's house Friday night, while RC and my brother got to know one another. I'm glad they seemed to connect and get along well! Then, we finished the cookies and frosted them with all the nieces and my nephew there Christmas Eve. RC was super helpful and made and colored all the frosting bowls. I will say that my second to youngest niece has matured in her attention span and, most surprising, my nephew was actually helpful and fairly calm during the process. Quite a difference! The littlest one kept wanting to lick the frosting off the cookies. lol
  • RC driving me, my oldest niece and nephew around to look at Christmas lights and sing some carols after we all got hot chocolate and cookies at Starbucks. It was super sweet of RC to drive - though I could tell it was stressful at times since he doesn't know the area - so that I could interact and talk more with J and E.
  • Christmas at my sister's house, formerly my mom and dad's house. We opened presents and it was really nice having RC there. He was able to be supportive and engage where appropriate but also fall back a bit when appropriate in a way that S never was able to do. I got some really nice earrings from both Rich and my dad and M, as well as a pretty dress (my first item of clothing with shoulder cut-outs) and cool short leather boots I love. Everyone seemed to like my gifts: my niece V loved the breathing dog I got her, which was awesome because she's learning how not to be afraid of dogs; and RC loved the leather bag I got him and immediately put his computer, notebook, books, etc. in it when we returned to the hotel later. :) My sister's family all received bathrobes, which they tried on, and I did the honor of catching that funny cuteness on camera. Breakfast frittata and fruit was yummy! And a bonus was that, after others had left, RC and I went to my oldest nieces room and my nephew's room to see the changes they had made and just chat a little more. I wish I could  have had more time with them but we made the most of it.
  • Since my sister's family was leaving the next morning and needed to pack, and my brother left with his family to head up to Portland to spend time with his wife's family, RC and I had no where to go for Christmas dinner. We hadn't really thought it through and of course nothing was open - except for Chinese restaurants which had an hour or two wait times. So, hilariously, we went to 7-11 and loaded up on stuff we could eat from there and made a dent in our Christmas wine gifts, while watching a movie.
  • Visiting my Aunt and Uncle's house and giving the little cousin's gifts and zucchini bread to the grown-ups, introducing RC, and spending time talking, eating cookies, and just enjoying ourselves and laughing. As I get older, I really value my Aunt and Uncle and their kids... having the love and connection with my birth mom's side of the family. It's definitely a feeling of warmth and acceptance. At one point, my Aunt pulled me to the side and said, "I really like him!" Yay!
  • Sharing a lunch and nice dinner with my Dad and his partner, M. On his own, versus with the whole family, my Dad can seem to connect and have more meaningful conversation with us. We talked a little about politics at dinner, and I was shocked to realize that my Dad and I have a very similar view of Trump! (he's a Republican). M was nice and made an effort to get to know Rich, which I appreciated.
  • We went to my older cousin on my dad's side's house, as I often do, but she talked even more than usual, it seemed. This cousin of mine can talk a blue streak, especially when she's been drinking. It was good to see her son, though, who she adopted from China and give him a little gift I brought.
  • The night before we left, we went to the athletic club restaurant (my family developed and runs an athletic club in downtown Eugene) to have drinks with a few friends and acquantances of mine from high school. It was pretty fun but somewhat exhausting at that point, especially for this introvert. RC hung in like a champ.
I think I will need to finish out this holiday report in a "Part 2" over the next few days. I was really glad to have the few days on our own after we returned, and we had some meaningful conversation and experiences. Hope your holiday time was loving and fun!

12/02/2017

My new love - Part 3

Before resuming the story of my new love, RC, and me, I have to say that I am so excited that we have reached December! I am loving the T.J.'s peppermint bark and super excited to decorate a Christmas  tree on my birthday week and travel up to Oregon for Christmas. Hello Holidays!

Back to the story...So during RC's visit, we were already thinking ahead to when we would see each other again, and in passing, I mentioned Thanksgiving and my birthday on December 16th. We also had a conversation over the phone about what makes a long-distance relationship sustainable, and one of the main aspects we both mentioned was seeing each other regularly. The last day before he left, we talked a little more about the idea of Thanksgiving. He seemed less than enthusiastic, but as we continued to discuss it, I realized it was because he was worried about trying to put together a full traditional Thanksgiving meal.

One thing I haven't mentioned yet is that he has a thyroid disorder and is on quite a few food restrictions: no dairy, no gluten, etc. It's a little frustrating sometimes, but usually there is something on the menu he can order or adapt to work for him. Once we agreed we would have a "non-traditional" meal, however, I think he relaxed. He definitely wanted me to come see him, and we both were excited as we made plans and the time grew closer.

After I got over the hurdle of doing laundry, packing, etc. and got on the road with my co-pilot, Zoey, it took a little over four hours to get to his house. Arriving and getting settled was the worst part of the trip (I'm noticing a pattern here with me - I think I have anxiety during these kind of transitions). He was finishing cleaning the bathroom when I arrived (!) so was all sweaty and grimy when I arrived. He came out to the car and tried to kiss me through the window - back up, sweaty boy! lol Also, his apartment was very underwhelming. He does know this. He moved there under pressure to find something quickly and considered it "temporary," though he's now been there for two-and-a-half years. It's old with a capital O and run-down looking.  The carpet, floors, and fixtures are worn and unattractive. It has an unpleasant smell sometimes in the kitchen and bathroom because he said the plumbing is really old or something. Yeah, it's not good. But what was I going to do? I was a guest and had to make the best of it, so I did. The two dozen roses he gave me did help a little!

Later, after I arrived home, I had feelings come up about it that I had pushed down while I was there, so I talked to him about it. Though it wasn't the most comfortable conversation, he listened and took it in, and then did some self-reflection about why he had settled for a "sub-standard" (his word) home environment for so long. It was a relief for me to express my feelings about it, as well as my thoughts that it didn't fit him or his level of consciousness, so to speak. I am clear within myself that I would be reluctant to visit him again in that place, though I might, and would definitely not ever live there.

Anyway, moving on, the activities and time we spent during my visit were a little affected by the environment but not too much. I arrived on Thanksgiving, so after getting settled, we had a glass of wine and made dinner. It was delicious! He cooked a thick piece of  salmon to perfection and made delicious mashed sweet potatoes with ghee (clarified butter). I prepared and roasted some brussel sprouts, and we had gourmet chocolate for dessert. Yum! We watched the movie, "Pets," which was cute, while cuddling and giving each other massage, which seems to be becoming one of our things.

The second day, we went out and walked around downtown Paso Robles, a nearby  town, walked through a community craft/art fair that was happening in the town square, and visited a couple of interesting art galleries. When we got back to his house, we had a really deep and meaningful talk that meant the world to me. I shared that I was afraid that my "issues" that come up at times might sabotage our relationship, and he assured me that he was "not going anywhere" and wanted to see where things go with us. It reminded me of the book, "Motherless Daughters," which talks about how someone can come along who is willing to stick it out and get through the triggers that come up around intimacy for women who have lost their mothers. I thought it was interesting the section of that book popped up in my mind.

We sort of "partied" one of the days I was there, but in a somewhat conscious way. We made plans for meaningful activities to do together while we were "feeling good" and did them all, I think. We played a lot of music and made a soundtrack for ourselves. We read a relationship book we had picked up the day before in town and discussed a ritual that would mark our commitment to one another. One ritual, changing our FB status, we completed that evening, and another ritual, getting corresponding tattoos, we may do in the near future. That's definitely a big commitment. A lot of the evening, we sat on the couch drinking red wine and talking and asking each other questions. :)

The next day, we were feeling a little tired but not too bad and went out to a fun brunch. He was being a little "clingy" about me leaving later, but it was cute. After brunch, we came back to the house and took a nap and made love a last time. We are learning more about each other in that area. It's great to experience pleasure, and I think it's an important part of a relationship to share with someone; one that my last relationship did not consistently include. It definitely didn't include all the affection, cuddling, and massage that RC and I share.

Another significant aspect of the trip I want to mention is the interactions of our two beloved pets: his kitty cat, Calvin, and my girl, Zoey. Their initial meeting did not at all go as planned. RC thought that Calvin would be shy and go hide somewhere. Nope. Calvin was very curious! He wanted to see who was this strange creature invading his territory and running around with all this energy? The whole time we were there, he kept an eye on Zoey, wanting to know where she was and what she was doing. A few times, they did come together for a butt sniff or to touch noses, but for the most part, if Zoey tried to come right up to Calvin, he would make a swatting motion with one paw (though I don't think he ever actually scratched her) and she would retreat yelping as though she had been mortally wounded. lol

Whenever I or RC would try and pay attention to Calvin, Zoey would come up and try and be part of the action. Does anyone know what that is? Is she jealous or curious or feeling protective or? It was a little frustrating because I wanted to get to know Calvin better, but for the most part, we were pleased with this first introduction, and they did seem more relaxed as the weekend progressed. We were even able to leave them alone together and they were fine. We noticed they tended to pick up  on our energy and if we were super relaxed, like doing a guided meditation together or just relaxed and talking, they would follow suit and plop down all chilled out. lol

We have had some great and progressively deepening conversations since Thanksgiving weekend, and yesterday, we finalized our hotel booking for Christmas in Eugene! Yep, he's coming with me to Oregon, and I'm looking forward to it. Calvin will have a cat sitter but Zoey is coming with us. He's driving up to my house on my birthday, and we are going to decorate a little Christmas tree and drive around looking at lights, two of my favorite activities. Then, we will drive up to Oregon together on Thursday morning before Christmas and return the following Thursday. We will spend about two straight weeks together - including several days with family - which I'm thinking will be a big leap forward for our relationship, assuming we survive. ha

Thus ends my three-part "new love" series, but I will post again for my birthday and our holiday travels. Wishing you all a festive and fun start to the holiday season!

11/28/2017

My new love interest - Part 2

Now, I have a "Part 3" to add, so I am behind on blogging! To finish my thoughts on RC's visit to see me...After we scattered the ashes, we came back to my house and rested then had a really nice dinner - I had sautéed scallops, yum! -  and came back to relax, share some massage and watch television.

I'm so glad he stayed the extra day because our conversation and connection deepened through the activities of the last day in which we had brunch and drove around to different places where his parents had lived back in the day. I enjoyed the car ride, listening to music and having meaningful conversation about past relationship patterns. I shared about how I can become anxious at times and generously share this anxiety lol by becoming critical or almost picking a fight. He shared more about his first wife who had a pattern of always having some kind of physical ailment that required him to act as a caregiver.

The last night, we slept in the same bed, which was nice. I feel physically comfortable with him and very much enjoy cuddling with him, which my ex, S, and I were never able to do well for various reasons. It's like I'm rediscovering physical closeness and cuddling; I missed it!

The next day, I had to get ready for work but had coffee with him and shared sweet little conversations throughout the morning. As a side note, he really likes Zoey and Zoey loves him, which makes our time easier and more comfortable, as well.

From when he left until before Thanksgiving, we shared several texts throughout the day filled with lovey dovey language and expressions of romance and care. He has consistently written a long, thoughtful text in the morning and in the evening, before bed. I love receiving these! And appreciate his way with words and openness in expressing his feelings. Our texts also end with lots of emoji hearts and kisses - it's that mushy stuff that's annoying unless you're the one doing it. lol 

We also had several authentic conversations, helping to know each other more deeply. I shared that I wanted his full attention at times when I am sharing something meaningful, versus how sometimes he multi-tasks, talking with me and cooking or doing dishes, etc., and that I like questions to help me express myself more fully. When we have had tension come up a couple times or one of us feels a little triggered, we have been able to share vulnerably and talk through it. So important and welcome to me!

I'll end Part 2 there, and return later for Part 3...

11/19/2017

My new love interest - Part 1

As you can probably tell by the title, my time with the old friend went even better than imagined.  After a bit of a bumpy start when he first arrived, brought his stuff in, and got settled, we progressed into feeling quite comfortable with one another.

The first afternoon/evening, we got something to eat, then I left him to relax as I headed off to my chalice circle group. When I returned, we chatted and caught up then headed to bed. He brought a queen-sized air mattress which we installed in the nursery after moving the changing table to my room to make space. I came in and cuddled some with him in the morning - initially felt a little funny as we had been friends for years when I lived on the central coast but then it was really nice.

Saturday we made some breakfast then walked downtown to explore. It was Veterans Day so we ended up catching the parade from a window table at a corner restaurant, while we grabbed a snack and a drink. I got to see a side of him that is respectfully patriotic and appreciative of our veterans, which I found attractive. He spent several years in the navy so has some experience with the military. We came home and rested for a while.

Somewhere around this time, we talked about it and he decided to stay another day and drive home Monday. Also somewhere around this time we made love. I told him beforehand that if we do become intimate, he can't move to Austin and forget about me! To explain, he has three sons and several young grandkids who live in Austin and, before we reconnected, he was basically planning to move down there and live on the property of one of his sons. But interestingly he found out while he was here that the zoning did not come through as they'd hoped, so there is an indefinite delay...

When we were talking about him coming up to visit, he shared that his parents actually lived in Petaluma for the latter part of their lives. His father passed, then his mother, and since they loved it here, he wanted to spread their ashes in this area (along with his older sister who had passed away a few years ago, as well). He said he would like to have me with him, and I agreed. So on later on Saturday, we drove out to scatter the ashes at a local nature area. Well, not all the ashes because he had scattered some at another location. Anyway, it was a little weird, but also a meaningful experience to share.

To be continued...

11/09/2017

Veteran's Day Weekend 2017

Start of the three-day weekend. Sending gratitude to all the veterans out there.

I had a positive week, but today I had conversations with my department head and coworkers that kind of stressed me out. Now my neighbors are playing music and talking loudly...it's only 9:30pm, and I know it's their prerogative, but I sure wish the walls were more insulated!

Anyway, earlier my department head said that I will be getting the same assignment for spring, so that's good, but she said after that the college counseling department will not be providing counselors to my program. I had heard rumblings of this before and my program director said that counselors are necessary to run the program and they would find a way to pay for them. But what does that mean exactly? I started thinking more about possibilities and questions came up: Would we be paid at the same rate? Will the employment criteria be the same (i.e. if the high school district pays, would we need a high school counseling credential)?

I know a lot can happen in six months, but I appreciated my job in this program as the solid ground I could depend upon. If college counseling and teaching hours opened up at my campus or the other campus 20 minutes north, I might decide I prefer to work those hours and let go of the extra stress and complexity of dealing with a high school program. On the other hand, I have come to deeply care about my students and feel close to my colleagues. So I do enjoy it much more than when I started in February. I need to keep calm and find out more information before I jump to the alarmed phase. I will talk to my director when she returns from vacation next week.

My friend is coming tomorrow afternoon and I'm both excited and curious to see how I will feel spending time with him. The house is cleaned, and Zoey has had a bath. I look forward to walking around downtown, going out for meals, and helping him spread his parents ashes - that will be meaningful. I hope we get nice weather for that activity on Saturday. Even more so, I hope the winds of passion fuel a fire between us. lol

10/28/2017

Halloween-time Happenings

My new neighbors are SO LOUD. Argh, I guess this is my new reality. The man speaks incessantly and is especially loud. Two thoughts at the moment… I will likely make greater use of headphones and YouTube meditation/relaxation channels while I work, and when I'm placed with an infant and they are wailing or yelling at all hours, I will not feel guilty. My previous neighbors were young and relatively quiet, and I was a little worried when I thought about the difficult adjustment to infant/toddler noise.

In other news, I went on a date Wednesday night with a guy about my age who I met online. I had a good time, even though he talked quite a lot for a professed introvert. We had dinner, then went on a pleasant walk around the local neighborhood. We did end up kissing and holding hands, which was nice. At the end, we talked about seeing each other again, but now I'm having doubts. He's fit, but not really my type physically. I'm pretty solid for a woman, and carry a few extra pounds. I prefer a guy to be bigger and bulkier than me. He's cute but I'm not sure if there's enough chemistry there, though I did feel attraction on our walk.

A definite plus is that he seems to be, not just open, but positive about the idea of adoption and being in a parental role again (he has a 22-year-old son in college). Oh, and he "vapes;" isn't that weird?  Do any of you know people who do that? I guess it's healthier than smoking and doesn't have the smell, but it's still an addiction and not awesome to be around.

As far as I know, my friend from the central coast is still coming next weekend, as well. I haven't heard from him at all, which makes me wonder if he's positive he wants to come up. I think I'll give him a call in a little while.

No big Halloween plans. I may wear some sort of minor costume on the actual holiday. I need to find out when is the official trick-or-treat night around here so I can have some candy available. I do love to see kids costumes. It's strange thinking back to the last two Halloweens...The last one dressing up and watching a movie while handing out candy with my roommate, and the one before doing the same thing but with S. I'm pretty sure this year Zoey and I will be solo.