Lots Happening Over Here

Much has happened this last week...

S and I were denied on our co-housing bid! On very short notice, we heard of this co-housing development, toured the construction at an open house, and put our hats in the ring. Honestly, it was an awkward and challenging process, and S and I learned as much about each other and working as team as we did about the community and their requirements and opportunities. The super enticing part of this co-housing development for me was - well, of course living in co-housing, in which you have your own separate unit, as well as share a large common kitchen, common space, and community meals and activities - but also that we could buy in at 2% and work our way up to 5-10% ownership in the LLC. For S and I, who don't have huge savings, this was an exciting avenue for ownership and increased security.

But it was not to be... I found the four people who were current members and "in charge" of the process to be woefully inadequate at group facilitation, as well as just generally not very warm and welcoming. To make it worse, the head guy who started the project and secured the financing, thought he was a *great* facilitator and just generally had a very high opinion of himself.

Additional factors included S and I having a couple of drinks at an event before the first group meeting and S talking a bit too much (which could easily have been managed by a skilled facilitator). It wasn't some drunken tirade or anything, just a little too verbose, which the head guy actually brought up to him at a separate meeting with us (!) and S responded non-defensively and positively. Also, they wanted people of color, as all four of them are white and they want to represent the diversity of the neighborhood. This is positive but also difficult, as the starting group is not diverse.

In any case, I think it's for the best it didn't work out and am hopeful we will find a better situation for us. Part of moving forward with that is clarifying what type of place we want and where we want to be located... complicated by the fact that I may find a part or full-time counseling job in a number of cities in the B@y Area. My business is growing, but I am not yet ready to completely rely on it financially. Overall, an exciting planning process, actually! But some stress, too.

Also, since I mentioned my birthday in the last post, I wanted to share that it was a great day and night! Mani-Pedi was lovely and relaxing, I did a bit of Xmas shopping, as well, and then met S for appetizers and drinks at a fun and surprisingly tasty upscale vegan restaurant, then moved down the street to another cozy restaurant with a lovely ambiance and waitstaff for dinner. Chocolate Pot for dessert - yummm.

I am doing very well with Christmas preparations for Oregon but suddenly here we are - leaving tomorrow morning! Ack! I still have some shopping to do, Zoey needs a bath, and I need to pack! What I have done is make banana bread and cookies, do all the laundry, including Zoey's, and do much of the shopping. So. many. people. to shop for, and I'm once again thinking longingly of the families that pick one person out of a hat or just buy presents for the kids. Ah well, it will be nice on Christmas. Speaking of which, I better get going on my long list for today! I hope you have a wonderful Christmas! I will check in again from Oregon...

p.s. S seems to have wrapped his head around being a Dad and a Grandpa (his young daughter - early 20s - had a baby this year), and we have been talking about possibilities... Of course, we need to get through the next phase of his treatment.


Holiday Hustle

December is clipping along... I can't believe my birthday is next week. I made my Christmas shopping list for family, though on reflection, I should probably lower the budget, as my income is uncertain starting in late January. I will get one more full paycheck from the college on January 10th, then will be working a four-day counseling gig in mid-January as part of a math support intersession program. I also will begin receiving unemployment in January, though it will obviously be much less than my regular paycheck.

Good news on the business front: I now have five clients! Yay! I just signed another one on Friday for a two month package. My goal is to increase that number to 10 in the next two months; wish me luck!

I still need to figure out how to plan for dramatic monthly income variations, due to some clients paying for counseling packages up front, then not paying anything for the next couple of months. I imagine part of strategy for managing this is figuring out your average monthly income, then budgeting for that amount. But I also want to have a way to calculate the necessary rate of new clients I need to sign each month to maintain my desired level of income. I can see that will vary depending on whether I am signing clients for four sessions, six, or eight. If I have 10 clients, theoretically I am bringing in 2200+ a month, but most clients thus far are not paying monthly. I'd actually prefer they pay monthly, as I think it through, though of course it's exciting and fun to get large payment sums up front (at least for me who is still new at this). For now, I think I will aim for the number 10 and seek to maintain it. Does this make sense to you business-minded folks out there?

In "holiday event" news, S and I went out to my pre-birthday dinner last night and then to a beautiful and inspiring men's choir concert. S knows one of the choir members from work, and he had a solo, which was fun. The music spanned continents, cultures, and centuries, and many of the songs were in different languages. I found this interesting because when you don't know the words, you appreciate the musicality of the song, aside from meaning - a different perspective for word-oriented folks like me. S liked the Latin songs, and I did, too, but I also enjoyed the German songs. Part of the concert was a sing-a-long with traditional Chr1stmas songs, so we were given a fun chance to do some caroling. The restaurant was okay... took forever to seat us and the atmosphere was loud, but the Spanish tapas food was super yummy.

Lots more events this week: Repub debate on Tuesday with kids xmas shopping beforehand (S is very political and likes to watch all the debates, even though he's a dem, and we like watching them at this cool local theatre with food and drink); my official bday on Wednesday, for which we're meeting for happy hour drinks and appetizers, one of my favorite things to do; and finally S's holiday work party on Thursday at what looks to be quite a nice location in downtown SF. Monday, I have an alternative networking event with a more conscious bent to it... I generally dislike networking events but I'm giving this one a chance and am attending with two friends from my business program. I hope my Introvert can survive all the socializing! ha

My saving grace will be having daytime off on Monday and Wednesday, so I can get some down time. I'm going to get an inexpensive pedicure on Wednesday for my birthday, which will be a nice pampering experience; plus, my shoes for Thursday are open-toes and no one wants to see my feet, as they are!

I hope you are enjoying the holiday festivities and finding down times to rest and escape the hustle and bustle. 


Finances, Fellowship, and Festivity

First of all, I'm happy to report that I am getting some traction with my business! I had my first month of bringing in over $1000 (around $1500) and sold my first 6-session career counseling package. I admit I did the happy dance on that one. If you're willing, please send positive thoughts to keep the flow going.

Then yesterday, S offered to contribute his marketing expertise to help me generate more leads through social media, blog posts, and newsletters. He wants to create a business providing these services to clients, so I am his guinea pig. It's a definite win-win!

In other financial news - hope this isn't too boring - I spoke with my financial advisor friend yesterday, and she is setting me up to manage my money on Quicken, which also has reporting features to help with planning and decision making around how many clients I need to maintain and bring in per month for relative financial stability. This is all new and I'm so grateful for the support.

I still plan to apply to any open part-time counseling positions I find, as well. In fact, I have a lead for the college in Napa where my friend and former colleague works, which I will apply for today.

On the relationship front, S and I did some shopping over the weekend, and he bought me an early birthday present of a fancy, sequined dress and matching sparkly shoes for two upcoming parties: his work Christmas party next week and the NYE party at my family's athletic club in Oregon. We also bought him a very nice lavender dress shirt to wear. I'm excited to attend his work party, as work is an area he has compartmentalized during all of our previous time together. I have never met his co-workers or attended any work functions and am looking forward to seeing that side of him.

We also had a counseling appointment over a week ago, shortly after Thanksgiving. It went okay, though we didn't yet create agreements for how we will handle communication when one or both of us are triggered and tension starts to escalate. I made sure to request that be forefront on the agenda for our next meeting. We did, however, have a vulnerable exchange in which I said I didn't want our relationship to be threatened by these type of conflicts. I want our commitment to be stronger than that, and a bit later (I felt very vulnerable in the meanwhile!), he said he wanted that, too.

Then, last night, after a little bickering where I felt criticized and unwanted, he reassured me that he wants me, that despite things he might prefer were different, he loves me and specifically wants "me." I'm not sure if this is coming across very clearly, but it was a significant moment. He has hesitated in reassuring me during these moments in the past.

Oh, and we bought and decorated a little Christmas tree last Thursday. It's so cute and festive and is bringing good cheer during this darker, colder month of December. S is coming over tonight, so we will have the chance to enjoy it more together. :)


Start... and Stop

So. As you guys know, I am not currently ttc, and the possibility of ever doing that again in a realistic way is uncertain. At my age, the way that would look would involve donor eggs. Right now, the priority is S getting through treatment and recovering from his illness. He is done with the first round and surgery will likely be at the end of January or beginning of February. It will be nice to have a respite over the holidays.

Despite all this, and somewhat remarkably I think, during the last couple months, we have been sexually active and consciously not preventing any sort of miraculous conception that might have an ever so slight chance of occurring. Basically, both of us would be happy if this miracle should transpire. This last cycle, I feel something happened along those lines and then stopped. Here are the main signs below... what do you think?

1. The main sign was light spotting and cramping at around 8 dpo for just a half a day or so, which then totally stopped.

2. I was unusually moody for a significantly longer and more intense period.

3. I experienced sinus headaches the days prior and then a huge tension headache on Thanksgiving, along with slight nausea.

4. My period came in really weird with light spotting and no cramping after sex, which then totally stopped for another day before my period slowly began.

I know how low the odds are, but part of me still can't help hoping. And I am giving that part of me a little bit of room to have fun, but this month I got a little too attached and was bummed when it ended. :-(


The Debbie Downer Report with a dash of hope

Quick request for regular readers - if you're willing, will you become a member of my blog? :) My number has been stuck at 29 for ages... Thank you!

This post will mainly be a downer report of recent events but also include some excitement and hope for the future.

First downer event: I was informed on Thursday that I will not receive counseling assignments at my college for Spring semester. WTF?! Complete shock and awe. Commence disbelief, questioning, hurt, and tears. Talked it over with a couple of other part-time counselors, and they were in shock, as well. In retrospect, I think there was a policy change that initiated at the beginning of this semester. The only clues about this change were part-timers not being inviting to the annual retreat and there being a couple of meetings to which part-timers were not invited. Just prior to learning about this development, I realized that our important orientation/education planning classes were only assigned to full-timers for the Spring, and all the other classes were only assigned to full-timers, as well.

I have worked at the college for several years and increased my responsibility over that time. When CTE counseling was shut down two and half years ago, I was really concerned about my job, but since then, I've worked hard to integrate into general counseling and feel proud of my efforts to serve students and teach several college success and orientation courses. I *never* have empty appointments, and my understanding was that we need more counselors, not less. To my knowledge, I have made no big mistakes or pissed any key people off. So WTF?! Again, my only guess is that it's policy regarding part-time/full-time that I don't fully understand yet, and something with the budget (errors in planning made at a higher level).

Since finding out this news, I have basically come to terms with the reality of what this means and have shifted into coping with it and planning how to replace that income - at least to the extent that I can get by - for Spring. Two hopeful possibilities in this regard: an interview for a full-time position at another local college on December first. I think I have shared how much competition there is for these positions but fingers crossed. The other possibility, which is the one I would prefer, is signing on several new clients. I have already signed on two more, for a total of three. I would like to find four or five more in the next two months. Will you envision that for me?

Positive actions so far include hosting a great career transition Meetup group last Tuesday during which four women signed up for consultations! I am realizing I need to actually get them in the calendar if at all possible before leaving because now we are playing tag to set them up. But signing one or two clients from that group would be wonderful! I am also following up with close friends and colleagues to generate more referrals, which is the best source of potential clients. Lastly, I am taking steps to increase my online presence and find opportunities to speak to introverts who are seeking meaningful career change and want to make a difference doing work that feels like play.

I have support through my business program, which is great. If you or someone you know needs career counseling support, will you please let me know in the comments or by sending a message? You can also contact me through my website (and receive a free gift of a Career Clarity Questionnaire) on my website at www.helpnavigatingtransitions.com  And all good thoughts very welcome. This could be the shove I need to expand my business...

The other downer news is that I was late to the adoption orientation and they had locked the doors and were turning people away. I was sad and disappointed, but I also see that the timing was likely not right for me. My intention is to attend the orientation in December, knowing that once I start the process it will likely be a minimum of several months before I complete the home study and am offered a placement.

Okay, I'm going to end on the excitement and hope! I'm excited to go to S's dad's house for Thanksgiving this week. We are staying in a dog-friendly hotel that night, and I'm looking forward to time away. Also, though it's more in the future, I continue to look forward to Christmas in Oregon. And in the weeks before that, I will also celebrate my birthday and attend S's company Christmas party, which will be festive and fun! S is buying me a special dress for my birthday, and we plan to shop for our niece and nephew's gifts together.

Finally, though S and I have had some difficult conversations lately and our old dynamic has reared it's head, we have also managed to talk through it so far and experience a new level of intimacy. We will be meeting with our counselor next weekend for help with healing more of our underlying "stuff" around this dynamic and developing communication agreements for when it comes up. I am feeling hopeful!


WDYD and other happenings

Sorry if this post is all over the place... feeling like writing a blog post but not feeling very focused.

One topic I wanted to follow up on is how I articulate the type of clients I help and the problem I solve for them.  Would you please let me know how this lands with you? When you read it, does it bring to mind specific people in your life?

You know how talented introverts who have outgrown their careers can distract and isolate themselves, actually hiding from the power of their greatest gifts?
Well, I help them recognize and focus these unique talents in a powerful career that feels like play and makes a huge difference in the world.

Any feedback welcome! :) I made myself go to a conscious networking event for women, and it wasn't awful - another business plus this week. Oh, and I got one more client!

In less positive news, my crazy housemate, M, has struck again. S stayed over and slept on the couch (because I have a single bed right now). M and I agreed on him staying over on nights she's not here. Unfortunately, I set an extra blanket on her couch for him to use in case he got cold and forgot to put it away the next morning. So of course, she assumed the worst as is her way and completely freaked out on me again, insisting someone had sat and slept on her couch. She called me a liar and a thief (I guess I am technically a thief as ONE time I borrowed a small amount of almond milk but in normal roommate situations this might be okay? Clearly not this one) and said I'm a bad dog owner and she should report me (!). This latter accusation is because I leave Zoey in her crate until 10am because I don't go to bed until midnight or one and she's out until then and goes for a last pee then. She sleeps soundly in her crate until I let her out. Anyway, M also called me a f-ing b-word again, as well. 

This all feels so Jerry Springer, and I know I need to just not react but it's challenging when she's directly attacking me like that. I'm not sure there are any legal/material actions to take, other than perhaps talking to the landlord if it happens again. Since day-to-day it tends to be civil/tolerable, my current plan is still to wait until after the holidays and hope for a change - perhaps even helping her move if that makes a difference. Thanks for listening to me vent. It's stressful when these blow-ups happen and if I'd known what she was like, I would not have chosen to live with her. I guess that's the risk with moving in with people you don't know or that your friends don't know.

Speaking of the holidays (in a happier light), it looks like S and I will be traveling to Oregon for Christmas.  Yay! I'm so excited. I can't wait to see the kids - and everyone else, too - and I think it will be good to be home on this first Christmas without my Mom. I'm sure it will be difficult at times, but I'm really glad I will be able to be there.

Okay, off to clean the house and do some shopping. S is coming up here for a mellow evening tonight, which will be nice.


Halloween 2015

I posted a few pictures on FB of me in my calaca costume (a leftover from my time spent in Code P!nk), S in a hilarious - to me anyway - slinky crypt creature costume with pirate/cop accessories, and Zoey in her Taco costume.  All the comments were about Zoey!  Taco wins the day! :)

We had fun handing out candy to the cute little - and not so little - kids in the neighborhood.  *Side note - I don't quite get the point of taking a baby trick-or-treating to stranger's houses.  I guess it's to show off the cute costume and thinking they might enjoy it?  They can't eat the candy, right?*  My favorite costume was this darling little girl, with calaca face paint somewhat similar to mine and a sparkly witch outfit with hat.  It was so cute.  I really think the Ninja Turtle costumes are cute on little kids, too.  The older kids had some seriously creepy masks! lol  Zoey adjusted after a while and didn't bark.  She is so smart.

Then, S and I went out to get a drink and something to eat.  We had some good talks, and he reached out and offered me care and sympathy at one point, which melted me into showing sadness and brought us closer.  He realized he had unconsciously been pulling back some because he wasn't feeling well and that was how his family handled sickness.  He said he would try and work against that impulse.  He has two-and-a-half more weeks of treatment, then the holidays off and surgery likely at the end of January.  He's tolerated treatment very well so far, but is starting to have a couple of uncomfortable side effects.

Good news on my cousin's husband:  He made it through surgery well, and is awake and, though initially there was some paralysis in his left side, movement began returning.  Also, he was interacting with his children.  I am quite sure my cousin misspoke when she said he is having his entire frontal lobe removed.  Maybe all of the tumor there.  Anyway, I'm relieved that it seems he will have a much better quality of life than I initially thought.


Rough Week

The day before Halloween... no big plans this year, except dressing Zoey in a taco costume (hehe), handing out some candy, and going out in our small downtown for a drink.  This will likely take place with S, but honestly, we have had a bit of a rough week.  We tried contacting our previous couple's counselor for support around communication in conflict, and some stuff came up about how S saw her over a year ago to deal with the anger that came up in his relationship at the time (which he shared with me and said was part of what made him work on it and realize how badly he had treated me those last couple months we were together).

That's not the issue, however.  The issue is that apparently he tapped into a really vulnerable place, then abruptly ended his work with her and didn't show up for his next appointment.  So, before she was willing to work with us again, she said she needed to see him individually a final time to have closure and talk about what happened to make him stop so suddenly.  Initially, we both thought that was a little weird - like she wanted to work out her own feelings on his dime.  But after talking to her a bit more, we both felt okay with it and an appointment was scheduled for yesterday.

Shortly after that, though, he had feelings come about something I said about a past lover.  When I said it, we were both sharing in a lighthearted way, and after my share, he told me something about one of his exes, as well.  So, it seemed like his jealousy pattern surfacing, which made me nervous.  We talked about it but it wasn't completely resolved, then we had a difficult phone conversation where I wanted him to be more present and he was frustrated that, in his view, I was trying to script the conversation.  He did have a point, but the way he spoke to me sucked.  Instead of just saying what he thought, he started trying to make a case how no one he had been with before had ever acted like this and asking me if anyone I had known had done this, etc.  Blech.  You don't need to try and make me feel messed up to make your point.  I already know I'm messed up!  lol  And so are you!

Anyway, I wish I/we could have had humor at that moment, but the call ended badly.  He's been distant and unavailable the last couple days, now he says he's clear and wants to reconnect and talk tonight.  But why should he get to call all the shots like that?  Is this setting a precedent for his behavior?  I am feeling the need more than ever for ground rules and accountability around communication, whatever that may look like.  We were generally communicating really well until this week, so I did joke that contacting our past counselor unleashed something evil and unholy.  Wish us luck.

In other news, through a lot of hard work and talking to several people in my business program, I made headway on defining the types of clients I want to work with through my career counseling business.  I'm refining my wording and maybe I'll share the finished product in my next post.  The idea is you want your ideal client to be crystal clear to people, so they can think of clients to refer you.

I'm still not sure when I'll be visiting Oregon, but I am missing them and especially my nieces and nephew.  My sister sent an email this morning giving an update about our cousin's husband who is having brain surgery today; his second one in five years.  She said he is having his entire frontal lobe removed.  I'm wondering how he will function?  I am sad and have been sending prayers all day for the best possible outcome.  Makes you realize how precious life is, and I think that is making me want to see my family more. 


Gaining Momentum

I am recovering from my three-day business marketing workshop intensive this weekend.  Whew!  All the information coming into my brain plus hugs and high fives and pairs activities, plus networking on breaks and lunch equals a LOT of energy drainage for an introvert.  I like the group and am excited to "get back on the train" as they say, and start connecting with possible clients again and being of service to men or women seeking a career transition to more meaningful work, aligned with their energy and personality.  My goal is to give 10 free career clarity consultations in the next month.  If you or someone you know might benefit from a 30-minute phone consultation looking at where you are now and where you want to be, and receiving key resources to help you get there, let me know.  No pressure or expectation to sign up for career counseling.

My event was about an hour and a half south, so Friday night, I stayed at S's house, which is much closer to the location.  That was nice.  It was my first time staying at his place.  I met his two roommates - an older woman and man, both single.  They were nice and the place is okay; better than I thought is would be from what S said.  The woman is a bit of a clutter collector but it's generally clean and his room and bathroom are nice enough.  Makes a huge difference for me to try and sleep in a Queen bed versus single with him.  At my house, one of us, me so far this time around, has always ended up on the couch.  But this weekend, he is bringing a queen-size bed he owns out of storage and transporting it to my house.  It has a wood frame, which sounds nice, and it should work much better.

On the family front, my adoption orientation is coming up on Tuesday, November 10th, and I look forward to getting the ball rolling again.  I imagine my next steps will be filling out more paperwork and connecting with a caseworker and setting up a meeting.  On a parallel track, I am talking to a friend of mine about tools to better manage my finances and save some money.  I might be able to get by with very little savings (other than retirement savings through my employer, which I pay into monthly) on my own, but not with a child.  I need to step it up and either earn more in the next few months or tighten my belt, or both. 

That's all for now... Wishing you a Happy Autumn!  


Moving Forward in Fits and Starts

Everything was moved in on Saturday, and now I have the daunting task of unpacking or storing all the boxes.  It's interesting to me that I survived the last several months without any of these items, which shows they are not vital to my life.  Useful in many cases, yes.  Aesthetically pleasing sometimes, yes, but not necessary.  I will admit after all the protests from my housemate about using "her stuff," it does feel good to move all "my stuff" into the dining room and kitchen.  I am back to having an abundance of cups and bowls, versus just the few I bought at the dollar store.

At the moment, housemate and I are getting along in a civil fashion.  Major drama erupted last Thursday, though, when I let her know late night that S might stay over and leave early in the morning for work.  He was wrapping up a conference and had been out with colleagues and I, admittedly after having a glass of wine, thought it would be nice to cuddle, especially since we have been talking about staying over but haven't crossed that line yet.  I texted her as a courtesy but realize now it was something we needed to talk about first.  I was thinking it would be unobtrusive and they wouldn't even see each other, but we do have a shared bathroom.

I think a reasonable response from her might have been saying that she felt it was something that needed to be discussed first and didn't want to be informed right before something was going to happen.  Then, asking me if I could change plans because she really wasn't comfortable with it.  Instead what happened is she turned into a toddler or teenage, I'm not sure which, and started cussing me out and yelling at me.  It was pretty crazy, and I felt really overwhelmed.  I knew if S came over, things would escalate further, so I got a hold of him and cancelled.  I made it very clear to her later that the name calling/cussing at me was unacceptable, and I did not want it to happen again.  I also apologized for not discussing it with her first.  We have since negotiated a couple things, including sharing the living room and S coming over perhaps one night a week on a night she is not there (she stays at her daughter's house two nights a week).  Feeling okay about it right now, but admit I questioned my choice to stay here after she blew up.

S has a couple of key appointments with doctors today, so please send good thoughts.  He hopes to start this round of treatment as soon as possible, so it - and I think the surgery, as well - will be done by Christmas break.  We have been talking about diet and supplements that will support his treatments and healing.  This article was interesting to me, in that it doesn't talk a lot about diet.  It says the most important factors are stress, exercise, staying away from mold, helping others, and levels of Vitamin D.  What do you think?  Apparently, this doc has studied these factors for over 30 years.  I did find a good cookbook along these lines, as well, and plan to use that.

We had a great time Saturday night after he helped me move in.  A friend of mine from the EOL leadership program I did - ironically right after we broke up - was having a 70th birthday party, replete with an Indian feast.  So, we had a drink ahead of time and caught up on our weeks, which was really nice, then headed over and had a lovely evening connecting with conscious, compassionate people and participating in sharing memories and recognizing my friend.  I usually get very nervous to give speeches, even informal ones in front of nice people, but I had some liquid courage at that point, and I think I did pretty well. :)

Tonight, we are going to the Gi@nts game with one of S's work friends and his girlfriend.  S said she's a little odd, so we'll see how things go.  It would be nice to have "couple" friends to do things with.  We've never had that before, other than with our siblings.


House! Relationship! Family!

Sitting in Starbuck's passing time while my new house is cleaned.  That's right, my new house!  My stuff was delivered a couple of days ago.  S and I moved some boxes and bedroom furniture in yesterday and will move the rest in next weekend, likely with an hour of help from T@sk Rabbit or another type service. 

My housemate has softened a bit, so that we are not exactly friendly but respectful and civil.  It's a step in the right direction, anyway.  Of course, I am counting on her moving out in a few months to a year, as she said she planned to.  We will see how that unfolds... she is financially struggling and, as I well know, it is difficult to make a move from that position.  Hopefully, things will pick up for her with her business and re-starting a part-time therapy practice.

Once I get my stuff settled in, I plan to contact social service folks in my new county and take the next step with paperwork and meeting with an adoption caseworker.

S and I have been continuing to communicate daily and see each other once a week.  I think I mentioned he is going through a health challenge right now.  He has the type of illness that many men his age have to worry about.  He caught it relatively early but will need to go through a round of treatment for the next several weeks, then surgery, then another round of treatment.  The doctors prognosis is that, if he completes all that, he should have a full recovery.  I am praying this is so.  When I first heard the extent of necessary medical intervention, I felt scared and had a moment of asking, "Am I up for this?"  After all, S and I are newly reconnecting and still talking through issues and concerns.  But things continue to be encouraging and grow closer between us.  I love him and want to be of support. 

One of the issues we started talking more in-depth about this last weekend is family and parenting.  As I have mentioned, S has a lovely adult daughter and step-son and does not feel the longing I do.  Plus, he is almost a decade older than me and worries whether it is responsible for him to become a father at this age.  He has also not wrapped his head around the various aspects and potential challenges of adoption to the level I have at this point.  But I have a sense he will "come around" should we stay together long-term.  In the meanwhile, I know he will be supportive of me in my present adoption efforts.

A parallel concern is whether his fertility will be affected by treatments because, although this path is not something we are pursuing or are ready to pursue, if a door is closing, I would like to know that and discuss it together.  Of course, his health is paramount and takes priority over anything regarding fertility.

So I guess we are in a complicated and multi-layered relationship right now!  I am feeling pretty hopeful and upbeat today, though, for what that is worth. :)


Labor Day Progress

Happy Labor Day!

I am feeling excited for Mo at Life and Love in the Petri Dish because she is now getting clearly positive HPTs!  A lot of resources and emotion have gone into her journey, and I am happy that her little one may get a sibling!

After I finish this post, I will get ready and head out to meet S at a park to watch a free production of King Lear.  I don't love Shakespeare, to be honest, though I can recognize it's worth, but it's outdoors and we will be sipping wine and relaxing, so I think overall it will be a good time.  Then, we will stroll over to have dinner in the neighborhood near the park.  I thought about bringing Zoey, but neither of us have been to this park, so I don't know whether there will be trees or posts to tie her to, which is key to a lengthy event like this.

S and I had some more conversation in the last few days about the possibility of dating again.  We have talked about different lifestyle choices and taken action to get more on the same page.  It's so strange when I take a step back and consider where we are right now.  I would have NEVER thought we would get back together.  I was truly and surely finished, which is why I ignored his first two attempts over the last year to communicate with me.

But I do believe he has "woken up" to a couple of the key issues that painfully destroyed the love we had for each other and finally broke us apart two years ago this November.  His acknowledgement of his "stirring the pot" around exes and shift in his view of what loyalty and commitment look like is huge.  Then, his work on getting control of his anger and, from a cognitive-behavioral lens, changing his viewpoint when he is emotionally triggered by my actions, is also a giant change.  So far, knock on wood, we have been able to talk through anything that has come up for either of us in a mature way, like two adults.  Imagine that!  It does feel very grown up, here at our ripe old ages of 55 and 46.  ha!

Also, I don't want to go into it today, but S has recently had a health scare and I am helping him with a couple of things.  This brought up fear of losing him and also a true desire to help him the way he helped me with my fibroid surgery, even after we had broken up.  So that has been a factor in bringing us closer, I think.

More shall be revealed, but I'm feeling some optimism today and look forward to spending time together this afternoon and evening.

Oh, even though my housemate has continued to be caustic at times, we did have another talk on Friday that released some tension, and, considering the landlord now says he has no plans to sell anytime in the foreseeable future, I may end up moving into this house on a more long-term basis.  I will likely decide when I hear back from him on a couple questions, including the lease, in the next day or two. 


More Time with S

I met with S for the third time yesterday, after having a couple great phone conversations this week.  The way we are talking through things if one of us has feelings come up feels really, well, "mature"! So far, fingers crossed, we are able to keep connection and humor throughout our dialogue.  This is quite different than before.

Things are beginning to move into romance, and we crossed the kissing threshold yesterday.  I feel mostly positive about this, with a little anxiety mixed in.  Would I be a fool to try again with him?  As you all know, I have dated and been open to meeting other guys in this last year and a half - as well as when we were broken up before - but I can say that no one thus far has come close to his level of willingness to grow and talk about things. 

And obviously we have a lot of history together, which is both good and bad, but mostly good I think, in terms of knowing each other and getting to a deeper level of communication.  The trust has been rebuilt somewhat in the last few weeks but would have a ways to go.

I do know that both of our issues would come up more strongly as we grew closer.  We have been talking about using H@rville Hendricks "Im@go Ther@py" work and even practiced one of his communication exercises yesterday.  I read all HH's books a decade or more ago and really see the potential for healing childhood wounds.  In brief, he believes we choose partners because they possess both the positive and the negative traits of our caregivers and within this reality is the potential to heal what happened to us - what we lacked in childhood - with our partner.  S has indicated he would be on board with doing this work with me.

A last positive development is that he owned his passive-aggressive behavior of being late to our meeting.  He admitted he felt okay in the moment about changing plans to him coming up to me again, versus me driving down to him (based on some logistical factors and me feeling overwhelmed), but then felt some resistance/resentment that resulted in him dragging his feet to start the drive.  Awesome!  Not the feet dragging, but the fact he acknowledged his feelings and how they had driven his behavior. 

More shall be revealed, but today I'm feeling some hope.


Further Healing

I had a second meeting with S yesterday and had another big release of emotion - both anger and sadness/grief - and we talked about what verbal abuse means and how our interactions did end up in that area.  We did a couple of structured exercises, including an "im@ge theatre" one in which we sculpted each other into images of how we saw each other in conflict and also into images of our feelings during this conflict.  It was good.  I felt lighter at the end, but S seemed to feel heavier and said he was understanding more of what I went through.  I'm sorry he is feeling down, but I do appreciate him "going there" and remembering and empathizing with my side of what happened.

Also, I think he was sad that we didn't end up closer physically.  He hoped that working through this stuff might automatically lead to us feeling amorous towards one another.  I felt affectionate and caring but not romantic.  I think switching gears from the intense processing and grief, especially since it involved remembering pain and anger from the worst time in our relationship, to romantic feelings would have been difficult.  We have talked about that possibility prior to yesterday, because both of our minds had strayed into that possibility, and I brought up that I sometimes feel strongly passionate towards him and other times not, and would that even be okay with him.  He indicated yes, but maybe he's really not, after reflecting further.

Anyway, regardless of what happens, I'm deeply grateful for our conversations, and for him holding space for me to express buried grief and heal further from the traumatic end of our relationship.


Housing and Healing with update

The month-to-month house I've been living in for the last two weeks has been great in many ways - the kitchen is fantastic and Zoey loves the room and playing with me in the side yard.  My housemate was gone all last week so that was nice.  I did figure something out about her yesterday... so she's been kind of cold and seems annoyed much of the time I'm around her.  Acting put-off when I ask her something and just generally not seeming warm and conversational, like she did when I came to first check out the house.  I was feeling anxiety about this and also taking it on myself, questioning if I had done something wrong and trying to be a "perfect" housemate to make her happy.

Weeell, that is ending today.  I pay the same amount of rent as she does.  Yes, my furniture is in storage and I'm using "her stuff," but that was the agreement we made when we all talked about it and signed the lease with the landlord.  She knew I was not going to take my furniture out of storage for just a month or two.  I may go to target or even the dollar store and buy a few cups/bowls/dishes.  I think that might help some, but overall I'm not going to stress about that.

What I realized yesterday is that she does not want me living here and is not happy about it, and that's just the way it is.  She wanted to live with me IF we were both living here long-term and IF I was coming with all my stuff and furniture.  She may have preferred, in a way, to live alone, but she was prepared for that scenario.  What she did not want was what she got which was that the landlord said everything was uncertain because his wife had Parkinson's and they may move into the house in two or three months, thus everything about this situation has been tenuous.  She did not want me "camping" here basically - I think she used those words once - without my stuff and without a long-term commitment.

If it was going to be short-term, she wanted to live here by herself and work on her writing.  Well, sorry housemate, this is a two-bedroom house and the landlord is not going to choose to have it half-empty if someone is prepared to pay rent.  And if she was unwilling to have me move in without my stuff, she could have said so.  But she didn't.  And here we are, and I'm not going to feel guilty or tip-toe around her.  This is my house as much as hers right now.  I will respect her stuff and her needs for the space of course.

To throw a further twist in things, two factors have changed with regard to our situation here:  one, the landlord's wife accused him of carer abuse and he was actually arrested.  I think he's out now but I'm not sure, and I'm not sure what the "truth" of the situation is.  In any case, he is now moving in by himself to the cottage that he also owns, next door to our house.  Sooo, I guess that means potentially we could rent the house long-term now?  I don't know if I want to, now that I've seen this kind of cold, closed-off side of my housemate.  When I move in somewhere, with all my stuff, I want it to be long-term.  The second factor, though, is that she said she will likely be moving to Hawaii in a few months to a year.  At which time, maybe I could take over the house.  That is tempting and could work out great with adopting.

Which brings me to another big piece of news to report, which is that I have been emailing with my ex, S, for the purposes of healing still-existing hurt from the past.  We met yesterday and I had a HUGE grief outpouring about our Fourth of July Tahoe trip - you know the kind where the sobbing and wailing just pours out of you interspersed with words coming from your deepest feelings - and it did feel healing.  S held a container for me around that, and it was really good.

We talked about other things, as well, like the work he's done around his anger issues, which he now fully acknowledges.  He told me about that work and also shared his current awareness of the source of this anger (some of which I knew but it was more specific) from less than adequate parenting in his early childhood, as well as teen years with a jerk of a step-dad.

I can tell he is thinking about the possibility of us getting back together, but I am only thinking of healing and friendship.  I will not ever again stay in a relationship that has so much fighting and criticism without the love.  Five positives for every negative experience - that's what a relationship needs to thrive.  That's what we all need and what I intend to have.  It is interesting that he is in a temporary solo living situation for a few more weeks and needs to find a new place.  It's just weird that I need a place right now, too.  But I'm not going to let a coincidence determine my choices.  For now, I'm really happy to have released so much stored-up grief yesterday and to feel the start of forgiveness.

*Update:  My housemate and I talked yesterday and I was right about much of what I wrote above.  Also, she shared about the financial stress she is under, which is almost causing panic attacks.  Good news is that we worked out a couple compromises - I'll buy a few dishes and Zoey can stay in my room when housemate needs focused privacy.  We will see how it goes.  In other news, we had an earthquake last night, and I was awake for it!  It wasn't as scary for me as past earthquakes for some reason - felt more like rolling than jolting - but we were further from the epicenter than my ex who lives in Oakl@nd.


Short (ish) Post on New Place and Someone from the Past

Short post this morning to share that I am moved into the house I mentioned last time.  It feels great to be in "my" space - it's shared but I'm paying rent versus being a guest in another's home - and to know I have the option of staying another month or longer if needed.  This situation IS quite perfect for me, I must say.  Thank you, God.

My friend is driving over in her truck this morning to drop off my bed.  I have been sleeping on an air mattress the past few nights, which was fine, but a bed will be nice.  Zoey is in dog heaven to have the run of a full house after being confined to single rooms the past months.  We are learning the neighborhood and have been enjoying walking around a lovely nearby park.

The interview went well.  Not perfect, but well.  I was a bit scattered on a couple of unexpected questions but did great on several other questions and my 10-minute presentation.  From buying a new outfit, to lengthy research, to doing a mock interview with a friend, I know I did everything possible to prepare, so now it's out of my hands.

My final juicy bit of news is that my ex, S, contacted me for the third time since our break-up, asking if he could share recent insights about our time together.  That bait was too enticing to pass up, so I responded, and he shared... well, he didn't share much of anything new, so it was kind of disappointing.  He basically validated what I already knew - that he did have anger issues he needed to work on and had shut down in the intimacy department and also was unable to get to a place when we were together where he could "hang out" with me and just be normal - work or whatever.  He said he had made progress in all these areas in a relationship he had been in since about six months after our break up, which had now "reverted to being friends."  Ah, I see why you contacted me at this time, S.

Anyway, I'm considering getting together with him to see if I can release some residual anger and hurt from the last few months we were together.  But first, I need to get clear on "how" that might be possible.  The goal would not be to get back together, but to further heal my feelings from that time, and maybe have more positive feelings towards S, allowing friendship.  I am meeting with a counselor this week (the one S and I saw when we were together and that I saw individually a few times after), so hopefully that will help.


Housing Update

I have an update to share about housing and my ongoing transition...

The friend I have been house sitting for is returning on the 30th but said I can stay until the 1st, which works out great!  At that time, I will be moving to a month-to-month rental at a town a little farther away from some of my activities but only a 20 minute commute from my work.

Initially, I had investigated this place from a long-term perspective but then the landlord bomb-shelled both me and my potential roommate by letting us know that he and his wife, who sadly has progressing Parkinson's symptoms, will be moving in to the house in three months.  I felt worse for the other woman, who has been living there a few years and was already feeling stressed with the change of roommates, etc.  She and I had talked openly about my plans to adopt, and she had been supportive about that and even suggested that in a year or so she planned to move to Hawaii, at which time I could likely take over the two-bedroom house.  She has been very supportive of her daughter, who lives not far away and is a single mom of a two-year-old, though I don't think she's an SMC.  The landlord's news put the kabosh on all that, although theoretically we could look for a house together after leaving this one.

To add complexity, when I went over there last night to talk about the option of staying there for a month or two - which would benefit the landlord, as he would receive full rent and likely not be able to find anyone else for so short a time - he informed us that, legally, his wife has to agree to selling their current house and moving into this one, and she is currently resistant and far from saying yes.  Hmm.  So, the timeframe is really unknown, but I'm not willing to roll the dice and spend the time/money/energy moving all my furniture and stuff into the house not knowing if it's just for a couple months or six.  And even if it were six, moving again in a few months sounds horrible, as well.

Sooo, the landlord is currently reviewing my credit and application and if it's okay (I told him about the identity theft and he seemed understanding), then I will move in on the first, sans furniture.  This is actually great for me, since I should know about the results of my interview - possibly interviews if I get a second interview at a college I applied for in Oak.land - within the next month and can then decide if I will be moving North or not.  If not, then I'll likely stay there a second month and continue to seek stable, long-term housing in this area.

As I write all this out, I can hear that it sounds kind of crazy, but after my last few months of uncertainty and living in three different places, all belonging to other people, this feels pretty stable and sensible to me.  Paying rent again will stress my finances, but my income will go back up mid-August when Fall semester starts, and it all should be do-able.  Fingers crossed, I'll be making a big move up North very soon! :-)


Thriving vs. Surviving

This will be a summary of the ups and downs of my recent dating/living situation with C, as well as an appeal to send me some good thoughts about an exciting upcoming event.

So, I lived with C for a couple of weeks and, let's just say, what I thought would happen, did.  Our chemistry ignited and we ended up fooling around several times.  It was fun - really wonderful actually - and I don't regret it, even though it led to hurt feelings, as I also predicted.

When I asked him about staying there, he warned me that a long-time friend - a girl - would be coming into town during that time and he was concerned about awkwardness (there's that word again).  At the time, we were not dating and, frankly, I was somewhat desperate to find a place to stay... plus, I missed him.  So, I over-optimistically reassured him I could handle it, and it would not be a big deal.

Well, when the actual event transpired, we had been hanging out and connecting physically, and I felt more attached.  Plus, I assumed she would spend time there but had no idea she would be spending the night. :-/  Also, he didn't give me enough warning so that I could have made arrangements to stay somewhere else.  Basically, it was really stressful and, yes, awkward and uncomfortable, for me at least, even though she had her 7-year-old daughter with her and I don't think anything sexual happened.  She still slept in his room.  In his bed.  With me down the hall.  Yuck.  I felt he should have done more to acknowledge the impact on me and try to alleviate it - at the least by giving me a couple days warning.

The deeper issue is that the intimacy we shared (not sex but intimacy that felt increasingly loving) didn't change his feelings about commitment and moving forward to being in a relationship.  It didn't seem to increase his attachment to me; whereas for me, it definitely did.  That was a sad and painful realization.  Thus, it was probably good timing to leave for Tahoe and from there move into my house-sitting situation.  We have had a couple of processing conversations since then, but I have decided I am done trying to break through his wall and make him realize he loves me and can't live without me. ha  I faced reality that this will not be happening any time soon, and likely not ever.  I'm moving on and putting my energy towards more productive and mutual situations.  I actually have a date tonight that I'm looking forward to (sort of - ha).

The exciting upcoming event is that I found out yesterday that I have an interview for the full-time counseling position in San.ta Rosa on the 28th!  Yay!  I actually was pumping my arms and exclaiming, "Yes! Yes! Yes!" when I got the email.  Please send me good thoughts at 3 and 4pm on the 28th.  There is a writing part of the interview at 3:15, and the actual interview is at 4... I'm sure it will be a panel interview again, but last time (I interviewed for another position a few months ago) I remember thinking these were the nicest people - and this was the most enjoyable interview - that I had ever experienced in this context.  I do plan to spend a lot of time preparing!

Both professionally and personally, I'm setting my sights on "thriving" versus just "surviving."


Family Time in Tahoe: Wonderful and Awkward

It's been so long since I posted!  In a way, I wanted to wait until something positive had happened on the housing front but nothing significant has happened yet.  The 4th of July week was spent with family in Tahoe.  We spread my Mom's ashes out on the lake and some off the dock at the house, where she loved to have coffee in the morning and sit out in the sun with my Dad.  My Dad said some nice and loving words about Mom and broke down a bit.  I tried to hug him and comfort him at one point, but he is not one to receive much comfort, at least from me.  We all shed a few tears.  For some reason, I felt very protective and loving towards the urn while it had her ashes.  No one else seemed to really feel that, so I was the "bearer of the urn" and held it while the boat was going fast and bumping around.  It did feel like more closure - for all of us I think.

Being with the older kids - J is seven now and E is five - was special and fun of course.  They, especially J, had really planned out the 4th with lots of decorations and cards and brownies sprinkled with an American flag design.  J had special outfits, and they all wore 4th of July pajamas, including little 4-month-old D, my brother's new daughter.  Her older sister, V, is three now, and is much more fun to be around.  She used to cry a lot and only want to be held by her mom and dad.  Now she adores and plays with the older kids and is very brave and acrobatic, doing jumping somersaults on the big couch.  One day, we went out and anchored the boat, then swam around, playing in the water and laying out in the sun.  Fun!  Another day, we drove over to a hotel across the lake and had lunch, then hung out on the beach for a few hours, sipping cocktails while up to our waists in cool water as the kids played and paddled little kayaks around us.

The sadder or more awkward parts of trip: realizing that I felt more of a sense of comfort and belonging with my family without my Mom there. :-( I feel grief and confusion about this.  When my Mom was there, she often responded in prickly or sarcastic ways in the context of everyone being around (except with the kids), and I was generally aware of being a lower-class family member in her eyes; less deserving of respect and love than my two siblings who were her "real" kids.  I  know I have explored this topic before on this blog... I take responsibility for my part in rejecting her attempts to communicate with me when I was a teenager, and even pushing her away more passive-aggressively when I was younger, for reasons I don't fully understand but likely have to do with unresolved grief for my birth mother and that she "wasn't my real mom."

She was definitely much different than my birth mom in terms of emotional intelligence and expressing affection and love, as well as being playful - my birth mom was a teacher and loved kids, loved playing with kids and with me.  Anyway, it must have been hard for her.  And maybe this caused much of the unrelenting awkwardness and rift between us.  I can say that when we were alone the last couple/few years, there were some really nice, comfortable times - caring for the kids, making food, catching up on stuff.  I'm grateful for those times.  But when we were with the whole family, this undercurrent of rejection that I perceived really hurt.  Perhaps I was the proverbial "scapegoat" of the family, and she took out her unhappiness with my Dad on me, to some degree.  I don't know.  My Dad has anger about things that happened between he and I in the past, so they likely bonded over their disapproval at times.  It's not a pretty thing to see or think about.  In any case, this trip there was still the family culture of drinking, and my Dad was still generally focused within and difficult to talk with, but somehow, I felt more relaxed inside and comfortable in my own skin.  I had a "place" in the family, equal to others.

That said, I talked to my Mom at times, expressing regret about how things were with us - that we weren't closer - and telling her I loved her and wished things had been different.  Also, I felt more understanding and appreciation for how much she loved Tahoe and how much effort she put into making it a beautiful place (there are three houses there - the main house, the guest house, and the apartment over the garage - all comfortable and decorated beautifully).  I felt deep sadness that she died too soon, with so much time left on the table in which she could have enjoyed the place.  Life is not fair.

The last awkward part: all my immediate family except my Dad left Sunday, which I didn't know was the plan.  I stayed until Tuesday, and my aunt (the one my Dad has "taken up with") and her son and his wife came on Monday to spend a week there.  Over the weekend, my Dad was obviously thinking about her and texting her.  And sometimes he wasn't present with our family because he was thinking of getting the place ready for them - making sure things were clean, talking about replacing the barbeque, etc.  My sister said something at one point about him being present, which is unlike her, but I'm so glad she did.  I need to tell her that.  Anyway, then they came Monday and... it wasn't as awkward as I thought it might be.  A little weird at times like when she's cooking dinner, like my Mom used to, and my Dad is sitting in his chair watching TV, as he used to.  But we got along fine - she made an effort to be nice it seems - and my cousin and his wife drank a lot, but were comfortable to be around, too.  I even surprised myself by thinking she and my Dad were kind of "cute" at times, like new couples are.  Weird, I know.  It helped that they weren't physically affectionate with one another in front of me.

So that's my Tahoe trip, the good, bad, and ugly.  I'm in the July house-sitting situation now and so far, so good.  It's "rugged" but not as rugged as where I was last month.  I have my own studio room with half bath out back, which is great.  Her neighbor is in the house but is gone a lot, as he lives nearby.  We are sharing the eco-minded house and garden chores, as well as cat care.  This cat is on his last legs for sure.  I hope he makes it until she returns. :-/  I have some stuff to report about my last days at the guy's house but maybe later.  Focusing now on house-hunting and simultaneously praying I get this job I applied for up North...


Some cliffhangers resolved, others continue...

Sorry to leave several questions hanging and not post for a while... it's been a bit of a bumpy ride.

The place with the woman I mentioned who was open to living with a child ended up going to another candidate.  She was open, but it wasn't her first choice to share a fairly small home with a child and all the necessary equipment.

For the last couple weeks I've been living with the friend I mentioned in the last post; the one I've dated.  I knew it would be challenging navigating the feelings of attraction I still have for him, and sure enough, it has been.  The first week, we ended up making out a couple times (intense! intimate! fun!), which made me feel "mushy" and more attached; not so with him.  At the end of the day, I can be sad and frustrated with him, but it is my job to protect myself.  He does not make it easy.

I leave his place in a week and head to Tahoe to be with family and spread my mother's ashes.  When I come back, I will live in the house-sitting situation... yup, the flea-ridden one, but I guess I can't be picky if I don't want to pay a large sum.  She said she will have cleaners come before I get there (I did mention being concerned about the fleas), so fingers crossed.  A neighbor of hers will be staying in the main house, and I will be in my own studio room with a half bath in the back but sharing the kitchen and full bath, as needed.  She described the neighbor as a bit "innocent" and young for his age, which I'm thinking means a bit slow?  We shall see.  This could lead to some awesome stories later...

I'm engaged in focused searching for a home for August.  I have met two times now with my potential housemate, who is actually having her IVF transfer today, the second time an overnight slumber party visit last Friday.  We ate dinner, watched a movie, and hung out the next day running some errands.  I like her and feel comfortable enough to move forward.  She's a bit more self-contained and less emotionally expressive than me, but that's okay.  We share values, not to mention our ttc journeys.  She actually asked me to give her the first PIO shot!  Crazy, right?  But it was easier than expected.

I'll share more soon, but wanted to give an update.  Some of my life seems in suspension for now, as I just have so much energy and mental space, and not a lot of room to work.  I will come back to it when I can.


Cliff Hanger

If my life was a show, it would be cliffhanger... I'm about to go meet with a woman who is open to living with an infant/child to see how we get along.  If it were a good match, then I would need to apply with the landlord, have the credit check done, etc.  If for whatever reason, we are not a match, then I may stay with another friend for two weeks OR hit the road and travel for a couple weeks.

The friend I am staying with now has been crystal clear that for her own reasons - which include wanting to get her own dog which relates to her taking a year-long road trip next year which relates to her coping and moving on from the loss of her beloved husband, and just being done with sharing her space in a cramped way with me and the nephew that lives here, which I understand but wish she could tolerate another week or two - she needs me to leave by Monday.

I'm not sure which decision above I prefer or which one is best for me.  There are pros and cons of both.  It would be great to see my family and see friends down on the Central Coast, but I would need to miss work which means losing money.  And because my job is so important to me, I don't want to jeopardize it in anyway.  I'm pretty sure I could find another Counselor to cover for the few summer shifts I would miss, but I would feel flaky.  Staying with the friend would allow me to work, but to be honest the friend is someone I have dated - we are not dating now - and I still have feelings for him.  Things have the potential to get a little bit messy, but don't necessarily have to with the right emotional boundaries.  Sooo, today is a big day, and by the end of it, I will know my fate for the next couple weeks. 

Oh, and please think good thoughts for me to find a place - the one I see today or another one - by July so I don't have to stay (or don't have to stay long) in the flea-ridden, dirty house that is my house sitting alternative for July.  I just saw it last week and was pretty disgusted.  This is a friend who is very "earthy," but I don't know how she lives that way.  I would need to get it cleaned beforehand or right away.  Poor Zoey had to have a flea treatment a few days ago after just spending an hour there. :(  I have looked for other house sitting or subletting alternatives, of course, and inquired about a couple of them, but nothing has worked out yet.  Most subletting options demand the equivalent of full rent, which would prevent me from saving more money for my down payment.

One bit of happy news, as I feel much of this is negative!  I know two fraudulent items have cleared or will be cleared very soon from my credit report, and one was the charged off C@pital 1 credit card, which was one of the worst.  I stayed on the phone with them for over a half hour the other day, but it was worth it!  Yay!


A Rough Day

After gearing up for my workshop yesterday on "Career Building as an Introvert," using information from the book, "Quiet," unfortunately no one showed up. :( Last time I did a workshop at this bookstore, I got about 9-10 people but the workshop was more general on career exploration and resumes and the bookstore was at it's old location.  Now, it's downtown, bigger and nicer, but I thought that would be a plus not a minus?  And I assumed they had the same mailing list as before, which they said they did when I asked. 

I don't think it was promoted well - I saw the poster on the outside and it was handwritten and not very clear.  There was a typed one inside but for some reason there were no pictures, when all the other promotional speaker posters had nice pictures.  Maybe that's something I'm supposed to do myself, but I don't think so because the guy who made the posters said something about the owner saying not to put a picture on it because she wanted the title bigger or something (?).  Anyway, it was very blase looking compared to the others. 

But one of my main questions is does the word "Introvert" speak to people?  Will you give me feedback on that for yourselves?  In my workshop context, it's taken from the MBTI personality assessment definition of introvert, and that's what the book is referring to, as well.  Introversion and the needs of introverts can be undervalued and sometimes we need to advocate for and take care of ourselves around work.  Also, needing to choose careers that don't completely wipe us out and to network, if we are job searching, in a way that works for us - focusing on finding like-minded people or quality connections versus a fist full of business cards.  So that's a taste of what I was going to talk about and since something like 35-40% of all people are introverts, I know there are plenty of people who could benefit.  But I need to find the language that speaks to their problems and concerns.  Is it exhaustion and overwhelm?  Do I need to say, "people who are more reflective and deep thinking/analytical and need time alone to recharge" or "more low-key, reflective, quiet types" instead of introvert?  I would love to work with this niche, so any thoughts and feedback welcome.

A couple good things did come out of the experience.  One woman came to the bookstore who didn't know about the workshop so had other plans, but she said she definitely was interested.  We had a nice conversation, and she took my card and said she would like to talk about individual career counseling.  I hope she follows up!  Also, just connecting to the space and the staff at the bookstore was good.  I have another workshop coming up on the 27th that will be more general career exploration, "do what you love" kind of focus, so it was good to talk about promoting that and realizing I need to get them some copy about it, as well.  I mentioned needing a way for them to sign up for it online, and it sounds like that might be possible.  This all feels like a big experimentation/learning process!

Yesterday was a rough day, too, because I had a conversation with C, and he basically said he is afraid of another break up and doesn't want to go through that again.  He said he is clear that he's basically not going to be ready for a relationship for a while and needs time on his own - like to go away on a solo vacation and figure some things out.  I asked if it was that he saw things with us that would not work in the long run, and we would end up breaking up and he said sort of - he wasn't a clear yes on that.  Of course, he would be willing to hang out and likes the "cuddling" (why do guys call it this?  It's basically code for fooling around), but I'm not down with that and said as much.  This all came up because as we spend more time together, attachments are naturally starting to happen and it was feeling more "serious."

I think he does have commitment issues based on past stuff, but I think a piece of it is definitely what happened around me getting "triggered" or emotional and wanting to process at times.  He's just not down with that.  I definitely need someone who is down with that.  And who shares there own feelings, too.  Not in a critical or disrespectful way, but with some consciousness and taking responsibility for our own "stuff."  Anyway, I'm sad.  Even though I see the logic in it, I'm sad.  Because I was attracted to him, and we had a lot of playful fun when we were together.  And the dancing, don't get me started on the dancing.  It was so incredibly awesome.  But you can't build a relationship on dancing, right?  So, yeah, no way around it, I'm sad and I'm going to miss him. :(


Ongoing Trials and Transitions

Just riding along on this freaky transition train, holding on as best I can!  I met with the owner of the co-housing home again a couple days ago to introduce her to Zoey.  Everything went fine on that front.  Then, we talked for a while and she explained why she was kind of ungrounded when talking about it before.  Basically, her partner has a great job and loves living in Canada, and they have a great house up there, but she has reservations and for understandable reasons is still attached to this area.  One of her two sons works in SF and the other, as mentioned, will be attending UC Davis in the fall.  As if that wasn't enough, her mother is also living in an independent living facility in a town not far from the cohousing community (but she's not totally independent and needs some regular help). 

She is under a lot of pressure with this whole medical situation, too, and the timeline of the surgery, etc.  In our last contact, she said she has a doctor's appointment on June 2nd which may give her a better idea of her immediate future in the Bay Area and asked if she could talk to me after that.  I said okay.  For my part, I got clear in talking to friends that I would like to have the opportunity to housesit for two months, regardless if we went forward with the housesharing step after a month or so.  That would at least give some stability and time to connect with the community to see if I might find other opportunities there.  Or alternatively find another place.  So, it's a waiting game until after the 2nd. 

Meanwhile I continue to look and follow up on other places, like the Albany house.  No word on that yet, either.  I connected with a lovely single mom who has a 17-month-old little boy.  But her budget is pretty modest and there are a lot of unknowns with that scenario: how will we get along in terms of lifestyle?  Can we even find a place in that rent range (I can pay 300 or 400 more, which makes sense considering one extra room would eventually be my kid's but still doesn't give us much to work with)?  How will her little boy do with Zoey?  etc.  But I think we will still meet up later this week, as we had a really nice first phone call. 

I'm feeling worried because I am now officially over the one-month mark negotiated with my friend (unless there was a set date to move into a new place sometime in June), so I guess I need to bring that up with her.  Some good news from one of the credit agencies that one item has already been removed from my report.  Yay!  I don't know which one but each one matters in the score.  They have until about June 21st to complete their investigation though.

I also am ready to share that I am pissed off at the guy I was dating.  We did talk Tuesday and Thursday but haven't heard a word from him yesterday or today.  On Thursday I asked him to go to dinner with me (using this Amazon deal I have that I had mentioned to him before), and he immediately started scrambling and saying something to the effect that he didn't know about this weekend or he is busy this weekend or something.  Yuck.  Not the response you would like to hear when putting yourself out there and making a romantic gesture. 

We have had ups and downs the last couple weeks, basically around me wanting more reassurance and communication from him - to know what's going on with him.  He's not very communicative emotionally and definitely lives on the side of the less words needed to communicate something the better.  When we are in person, as mentioned, I have felt a lot of attention from him, chemistry, connection, ease of communication overall.  I know his job is super demanding and time consuming, but I don't think that prevents him from communicating here or there if he were truly interested, does it? 

I think he has doubts and maybe has decided he doesn't want things to go forward based on a conversation we had, after spending some intimate time together, in which he was kind of distant and matter of fact, which triggered me, and I pushed for connection and to have the chance to ask what was on my mind.  It did not go well.

So then it was touch and go, with conversations about compatibility and me wanting to "process" more than he does... then we got together last Monday and, as it always does when we're together, it felt fun and just flowed well, so we decided to keep seeing each other but take a step back and not be as intense physically.  He said he wasn't ready to "dive into" something at this point.  I asked him if he saw that potential with us, though, and he said yes and said a couple other nice things about having a family.  I wish you guys could be a fly on the wall when we are dancing or just hanging out together because to me it shows a lot of chemistry and that we like each other.  But maybe he is scared and that outweighs all that. 

So, yeah, I'm sad and hurt and confused, even though I have guesses as to what's going on.  I know two days isn't theoretically all that long to not hear from him, but I also wrote him an email about a dance class, so those two things are just sort of hanging out there and it doesn't feel good.  Thanks for listening, and I'm open to feedback. 


A Place with Potential

Knocking on wood, but I may have found a place to move with potential!  It is actually in a co-housing development, which I have explored and desired for the last 12 or more years.  I will be meeting with her again on Thursday to introduce her to Zoey, so please send good thoughts and prayers at 11am pst.  It could be a wonderful situation in which to move forward with adoption: two bedrooms, one bath, small but modern-ish, conscious community members including other families with kids, meals together twice a week, a swimming pool (!) and garden.

The woman unfortunately has to have oral surgery in a few months, so she has been staying at the place here and there when she gets her orthodontic procedures - she has to have surgery again to move her jaw forward for sleep apnea that didn't work the first time because apparently the jaw broke in the wrong place. Ack  Also, her son, who has been living there, will be attending UC Davis in the Fall and is spending the summer in Canada with her spouse.

So, basically the first month would be a "trial" housesitting type situation, leaving my stuff in storage, then, if we decide to go forward, we could share the house, but she would be there maybe a week out of the month.  Finally, after she has surgery in a few months, hopefully my income will have risen, either through jobs I'm applying for or through this business beginning to bring in revenue, and I will be adopting a little one and would rent the house on my own.  As we both said, it could be very synergistic.  But I can tell it's a little overwhelming for her at the moment, thinking of leaving next weekend and turning the house over to someone she just met.  So, I'm trying to take it a step at a time and not get my hopes up quite yet... can't help but be excited about the potential though. :)


Taking Care of Business

Noticing I am little down today.  The dating situation took another turn, which I am not yet up to going into, plus who knows it might turn again by tomorrow!  So I'll wait on that story.  I will say one thing, which is that I. am. so. tired. of being the one who wants more communication or intimacy.  Comes with being a woman maybe?  I don't know, but I'm not feeling it.

Today needs to be a productive day.  I have Finals to finish grading, then grades to enter.  Also, I want to follow up with the three women who signed up that they were interested in the career transition group.

My meetup went okay.  I did well presenting the content and the attendees seemed to like it and really enjoy connecting with each other, which was part of the goal.  But the numbers were less than I had hoped and everyone seemed to be having money problems.  This is a concern they teach us to "dance" with in my business program, but I've got two left feet in this arena. ha

It's like a chicken-egg thing - you need to invest to get the support and tools you need to successfully transition and make more money, but you need money to invest in the support and tools.  I definitely don't want to come across as pushy or sales-y, but I need to ask the powerful questions that help people who are ready commit to themselves and their success.  People come up with the money when their commitment outweighs their fear, so that's what the dance is about I guess.

I have a workshop June 6th and might also do another hour-long coffee gathering through the meetup.  Hopefully, those strategies and some continued social media promotion will help fill the group.  I will say here - I'm committed to doing the group!  If I have a few participants, I am going forward.

Now the spring semester is over, I have three weeks off.  I am going to use the time to focus on my business and finding a new home.  I have an open house Monday for a two-bedroom place quite near my college that is just barely in my price range.  It's super tiny!  But I don't care, as long as it's fairly modern, which it looks to be, and has two bedrooms as required to adopt.  Wish me luck!

There is also still the possibility of a house in Albany, two stories, sharing with an interesting lady I met through my community activism/localization groups.  Albany is a sweet place to live and has excellent schools, not that I would need to worry about that for a while.  I have other friends who live there, and it's closer to the college, too, by about 50 percent or more. 

The other big news is that I discovered several fraudulent entries on my credit report!  They were all from late 2012 through 2013, which is shortly after I had my purse stolen.  Let my story be a lesson to you to check your credit reports yearly!  I called the three credit bureaus yesterday and disputed the entries.  Now, they have a month to investigate and hopefully remove them.  There were two credit cards, a department store charge card, a cell phone account, and a cable company.  Also, there was one address on the report that did not belong to me.

I knew that my credit score was low but thought that was because of a couple mistakes I made a while back.  Turns out, my score should be significantly higher, which is the good news.  During the investigation period, my credit report will show that these items are disputed, so I plan to be up front with potential landlords and point these out.  I hope they will believe me.  I will have good landlord references and proof of income on the positive side, as well.


As the Dating World Turns

OMG, dating can be such a soap opera, or is it just me?  So, we went out again last night and, after having SO much fun dancing again, we went out for drinks/dinner and had more good conversation. 

I was able to talk to him about my feelings without blaming him.  I basically said that, though we hadn't been dating long and were still getting to know each other, we also had shared some intimate moments and that, while the current situation of texting during the week seemed to be working for him, it wasn't really working for me.  That I felt some anxiety that not everyone would feel, but it would be really helpful to have a couple phone calls during the week or a longer email to connect with each other. 

He was open and amenable and heard me and also explained how the last couple weeks are not typical in that this campaign he has been working on has huge repercussions for labor rights and that the other candidate is funded with big money from the Koch brothers (if you are familiar with these scoundrels).  Also, I did not know he is actually the President of the rapid transit union.  Lastly, he said he, in fact, texted a couple of times wanting to spontaneously meet up but I had my adoption class - this is typical guy thing of not letting me know what he was thinking, but I was glad to find out! 

Thus, we came to understand each others' perspectives, and I feel confident we will be moving forward into more commitment and time together.  We continue to have very good and growing chemistry, which feels exciting and fun - and a relief to not be talking myself into a less-than-adequate level of attraction.

As a side note, I have my first meetup group Wednesday for women in career transition.  Please send good thoughts!  I am nervous!  I hope to present some helpful information and activities and sign a few women up for my 8-week paid group.


I don't think he's that into me

I'm going a little crazy over here.  I've never been very good at game playing or, more accurately, "playing it cool."  When C and I went out the other night (and the couple of other nights as well) it seemed like he liked me.  He was affectionate and initiated kissing.  We had all that fairly deep conversation at the bar.  But then we separate and I get very very little positive reassurance.  We texted a little last night at my initiation.  Then tonight he texts at like 9:30 and says this week will be long days for him.  Fine, thanks for letting me know.  I ask if it's because of this campaign he's working on and he said yes, that and other things like a meeting tomorrow, etc., and he asked how I was doing.  I said okay, but a little sad and I had just gotten back from my adoption class.  He asked about the sadness - whether it was a mix of thoughts and feelings, so (and this may be the part where I didn't "play the game" right) I said it might be hormonal ha, and because of the ongoing transition, and because of the feeling of intimacy between us and then separation.  I was being real.  That's the truth... I kind of miss him and think of him and when you are close with someone as far as making out, I don't think it's strange to feel some connection/attachment.  But apparently I'm not supposed to admit that or something.  I don't know because his next text *completely* ignored that part of what I had said.  He basically said sorry, and he hopes I feel better or some stupid-a$$ thing like that.  Clearly, I'm a little vulnerable and sad feeling and it's converting to anger.  Anyway, fine, so he's not that into me - maybe a little into me but seemingly not a lot.  So what do I do?  Just try and forget about him?  Ugh.  Stupid dating.


Good Stuff, Bad Stuff

I'll start with the good... I had another fun date with C last night.  I actually was a little wound up and frustrated with him for not communicating with me the day before.  Which really wasn't fair because we had communication, mainly texting, every day this week except for that day, and he apologized the next morning saying he had started a message to me but got distracted by friends dropping by. 

Part of my reaction was because I had messaged him and tried calling so I felt vulnerable, and also, because we had been communicating every day, I expected a response.  Plus, when we went out a couple times a few months ago, he had just dropped off the radar sometimes and I think not hearing from him triggered that memory.  So yeah, I was kind of irritable on the phone.  But when we got together before our dancing date, it was nice to see him, and we worked out our tension pretty quickly.  He is so. fun. to. dance. with.  He's playful and has good natural ability and cute and expressive moves, he goes along with what I initiate, and we just have a really fun time. 

After we got all hot and sweaty dancing, we headed out to get a drink at this interesting place he knew about not far away.  I guess it started as an art gallery and had all these funky costume type pieces and sculptures, animal heads on the wall (fake I hoped!) and somewhat odd paintings.  They are known for the fresh fruit and juices they put in their drinks so we had Greyhounds with delicious grapefruit juice and big slices of grapefruit on the side.  We had a lot of good conversation about everything, including what's going on in our lives now, as well as our pasts. 

Also, we somehow ended up talking about fertility and how there is a slight chance I could become pregnant with IVF but there are other options like donor egg.  He actually tried to help a lesbian friend become pregnant but it didn't work, so he's pretty open-minded.  I'm definitely continuing my adoption path, which I've shared about with him, but it strange how natural it felt to just chat for a while about all that stuff last night.  I also told him about my 12-step stuff in Seattle related to relationships, and we talked about what makes a good relationship and how to keep it healthy, including using ideas from Gottman, a famous relationship expert.  After all that, he drove me back to my car and dropped me off before first making out with me again.  ha  Pretty full night!

Okay, on to the bad news... well, I guess it's good and bad.  Good because I discovered it and it may be able to be repaired.  Bad because it happened in the first place and has dramatically affected my credit report.  Basically, several accounts were fraudulently opened in my name, including a C@pital One card, a department store card, a cell phone account, and another credit card.  Then these accounts were basically defaulted on.  So, of course this freaked me out this morning! 

I have another appointment with the credit counseling agency next Thursday, and she will advise me how to best file disputes with the credit reporting companies.  Then, they have to respond within 10 days and I'm not sure where things go from there.  If any of you have had this happen or know friends who have, I would love to hear your story.  This issue is a big one for me right now, as I will be trying to rent a home in the near future and landlords usually run credit reports.  So, hopefully I can make progress on resolving this asap!

That's it for now... just continuing to take it a day at a time!


Pushing Through

I wish I could say I was "flowing gently through," but I feel I am pushing through this transition and staying afloat as best I can.  Which includes taking mild anti-anxiety medication for the first time in my life to get through this transition.  When I saw my doctor a couple weeks ago, I said truthfully that it felt like if one more thing happened or landed on my plate, I would topple over.  I'm not meaning to whine or act like a victim - I know that many people have gone through times of loss and change equal to and way bigger than the one I'm in, but my threshold of stress management was and has been reached.  I'm not depressed, just a lot of emotion and stress flooding my life and my body.

The main events of course are being told I had to move, then my mom passing away, then being told the move date would not be adjusted due to time lost grieving and traveling to Oregon, then the actual packing and moving into my friend's house.  Which has been a great and much-appreciated place to land but it's clear that her house is a bit over-capacity with me and Zoey and her nephew and herself all living here...I always thought she was an extrovert - and that's what she tested on the MBTI - but living with her, I now feel like she might be on the line or somewhat of an introvert.  Maybe losing her husband a year ago has taken a lot out of her so that she needs more time alone, which is understandable.

In any case, I talked with her about timing and it's clear I need to move within a month, maybe a month and a half.  And I was so clear and feeling so positive about finding a place that would allow me to adopt in the next few months to a year, but one of my avenues towards that just fell apart.  Basically, the guy I had been talking to, who had a psychology background and had expressed openness and even interest in living with a little one, admitted last night on the phone that he probably wasn't ready to partner on a lease for a house with me.  He recently moved back from Canada and is rebuilding, and renting a room is more his speed at this point.  Great, guy, glad you got clear, but now I'm sort of back at square one.  I had been finding a few 3-bedroom places that were in our rent range, but there are ZERO two-bedroom places in my rent range.

There is still this one option in Albany, living with a woman I met through my Transition Town work... the people currently in the house are suddenly packing up and moving to Europe but are not sure exactly when... maybe next month, but then often the landlord takes a month to turn the place over. :( It's out of my control.  I know if there were a specific move date in late June or possibly even July 1, I could hold out that long at my friend's house but not any longer.  The other avenue is continuing to look for a two-bedroom "suite" within a shared house, which I will go back to doing.  And re-post what I'm looking for on a couple of housing boards.  Late last night, I also found myself looking at jobs at the University of Oregon and the community college in Eugene.  Maybe feeling so "out there" and untethered makes me want to run home.

Well, enough venting and kvetching... I want to share a couple positive things that are also happening:

  • My Career Transition Success Group is moving forward and will be posted on meetup on Friday.  I'm charging $247 for eight two-hour guided support sessions.  I hope to get at least 6-8 women signed up at our free workshop May 20th.  Please send good thoughts!
  • Adoption classes are great!  On the one hand, one might think these would add to my load, but actually they are buoying me up and energizing me, because I'm moving toward a deeply-desired goal.
  • I went on a third date with C, the guy I went dancing with a while back and was attracted to but then chose to focus on the other guy, S, who I ended up dating for a couple months.  Anyway, it was his birthday Saturday night, and we went to dinner and drinks and talked a lot and ended up making out in my car.  ha!  How old am I?  Anyway, it was fun.  He texted the next day, and I imagine I'll see him next weekend.  I wish he were a little more expressive - he can be hard to read - but he holds space well for sharing and for me expressing my feelings, which feels good.  And he's cute. :) He has long-ish (medium long) hair, which is unusual for me but it's nice hair - kind of blondish, thick, and wavy - and he mostly wears it pulled back, so I like it.  Now the facial hair could go or at least use some shaping/trimming but that's a minor thing that could likely be influenced later.  lol  He's very progressive and a labor leader for the local transportation system.  I have always said I need an intellectual lumberjack type, and he seems to fit that bill pretty well.  But it's early, so we will see.

That's it for now.  Today, I'm going to grade papers (two more weeks of the semester - yay), read books to prepare for my career workshop/class, and focus on finding housing.  And try to keep pushing through...