Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Another Bug in the Family

My youngest niece (we call her Bug) is a shutter bug just like me.

In fact there are many ways she is like me, she's impossible to get out of bed in the morning, she's a bit of a drama queen.
Unlike me, she is the most flippin' adorable teenager you've ever met!

Her parents seem to buy Bug a different camera every year - she's always clicking away.
On Christmas Eve, I let her go snap happy with my DSLR. She was teaching herself to focus and zoom with the manual controls. Apologies to my brother, he'll have to buy her a DSLR next year! She LOVES it! Sorry.

I spent some time showing Miss Bug how to control the shutter speed, ISO and F stop so that she could take photos without a flash. We practiced on the Christmas tree - and there we had the bright idea to capture our reflections in a tree ornament.
Setting the self-timer, Miss Bug toyed with a self-portrait.

Isn't she darling?

More Christmas Music Inspiration

As you know, I just spent nearly 20 hours in the car listening to Christmas music - so over my next few posts I want to share some of my favorites with you.

A few years ago my sister-in-law gave me a copy of Home Alone Christmas. I wondered what the heck she was thinking!

My copy is a burned copy - so I'm not sure if it is the movie soundtrack - or a compelation of Christmas songs from the various movies... but surprise - it's really pretty good.

Sometimes I really appreciate CDs with a variety of music rather than all one artist - and this one has a nice variety.

1. All Alone on Christmas - Darlene Love
2. A Holly Jolly Christmas - Alan Jackson
3. My Christmas Tree - The Fox Albert Choir
4. Somewhere in My Memory - John Williams
5. Silver Bells - Atlantic Starr
6. Sleigh Ride - TLC
7. Christmas All Over Again - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
8. Please Come Home For Christmas - Southside Johnny Lyon
9. Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas - John Williams
10. Carol of the Bells - John Williams
11. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - Mel Torme
12. O Come All Ye Faithful - Lisa Fischer
Click here to hear clips.

All Alone on Christmas - Hi. Can you say Single Person's Christmas Anthem? It's a peppy sing-along that helps to pass the miles.
My Christmas Tree is so sweet. It's a choir of beautiful children's voices. I sing along with this one too. "When I see, my Christmas tree, can loved ones be far? Christmas tree, I'm certain, wherever I roam, the glow from, your branches, will light my way home" Oh! My lip quivers every time!
Somewhere in My Memory - I think it's the theme to the movie, strains of the instrumental float throughout the movie. Strings, orchestra style it's very nice.
Silver Bells - this is a very well-done version of the standard. Sing-along-able.
Sleigh Ride - Not my favorite but not offensive.
Christmas All Over Again - I love Tom Petty, so this is a good song. But the words hit me funny this time around. It's sort of a song about how it's just Christmas. Again. It's not about the joy of Christmas, and certainly not about the meaning of Christmas.

The rest of the songs sort of fade into the background. They're all good.
This is the sort of CD that is great to have as background music at a party. Or while wrapping presents. Or killing time in the car.

It's definately a go-to CD for me. Some songs I would pick off to make a CD of my favorite Christmas songs. Maybe I'll actually get around to it for next Christmas, if I do, I'll let you all know.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Best Christmas Album Ever

A lot of bloggers this year were writing about how they started listening to Christmas music in October.

I'm just not that kind of girl.

I guess I feel that by isolating my Christmas music into the two weeks surrounding Christmas I can keep it a bit more precious. (the same reason I only watch It's A Wonderful Life every other year - I don't want to grow tired of it.)

Plus, I save my Christmas CDs for the car ride home. With two 10 hour trips to fill - you want the content to be as fresh as possible.

This year I treated myself to a new Christmas CD when I was ordering other gifts on &m&zon. Oh, what a treat!!!

Clearly, I'm a little late to get the memo but the best Christmas Album in the world is Selah - Rose of Bethlehem. Seriously people. This is my gift to you. If you don't already have it, order it now and tuck it away for next Christmas. (In fact, I see no reason not to play it all year round. It's that good and I can't imagine ever growing tired of it. Which is high praise coming from me.)

I first listened to Selah's music on Yo#t#be, and was mightily impressed. When I first heard their rendition of O Holy Night (my favorite Christmas song) - I was sold. It has to be the best version of the song ever recorded. They also do amazing things with Silent Night and O Come O Come Emmanuel.

I have no words that can do justice for their original compositions. How they are not already seasonal standards is beyond me!!! Amazing. Gifted. Truly their voices and talent are ordained by the Lord Himself.

I realize I'm far behind on the bandwagon - everybody probably already knows about them. But now that I know I cannot remain silent.
I'd like to share more Christmas music recommendations with you later. I'm working on a little surprise for you all!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Behind The Stable

This time of year is so difficult for me.
I realized a few years ago that part of the reason Christmas feels empty to me is because it has turned into little more than a deadline. Rushing around - trying to jam a car trip into a few days off of work.
I spent some time really thinking about why it felt like a deadline, and what would make the season feel precious to me again - and I realized I needed to share it with someone. I realized that Christmas is precious when you get to see it again through the eyes of a child. When you teach a child about the miracle.

Now, as much as a try - I can't shake the emptiness. There is this big, gaping hole in my life.

I want to set up my nativity scene with my children. The wise men stand at the far end of the credenza while Mary and Joseph wait in the stable. Little baby Jesus is hidden in the hay behind the stable until we get home from Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. That's when He is born and joins the Holy Family in the manger.

I long to delight in the wonder of a child seeing presents beneath the tree on Christmas morning. To read Bible stories as I teach my children the story of Jesus' birth. How the wonderous star guided those who believe to find the tiny Christ Child. To explain that wise men still seek Him. To share the joy in the knowledge that the destiny of the Savior - while unknown completely to young Mary - was predestined by God for all of us. And she was His willing servant.

I need to be more like Mary.

But it's so hard. I lived my entire life with the assumption that I would have a family. When I tucked away Newsweek magazines plastered with images from the start of the Gulf War, I did so with the belief that my children would find them some day, and use them to write a history report. (I remember finding newspapers with headlines of JFK's assassination that my mom had saved. I was awed by the yellowed print depicting day of reports of something I only knew as history.)

I have saved some of my favorite dresses and some amazing shoes - moved them across three states more than 7 times - with the thought of my daughter longing to try them on - wanting to be as glamorous as mommy in the faded photo.

I can't tell you how many times I have moved 'stuff' that will someday be perfect if I ever have a house that echoes with the scurry of little feet. (not mice)

Now that dream is fading, pulling away from me. And I'm a little pissed.

I went to Mass today, and the Gospel told the story of the angel that appeared to Mary. Telling her plans that she could not understand. When she questioned, the angel explained, "God will handle the details, if you only say yes."

I need to be more like Mary.

I've heard and read this story so many times. But today as I read along, God spoke to me, in the words of Mary's visitor angel.

"And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old
age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will
be impossible for God."
Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to
me according to your word." ~Luke1:26-38


This was an inspiration. That God has all the details worked out and I just need to keep saying yes.
But I go back and forth.
I want to see the plans. The assignment. A schedule.
I need to have faith and willingness like Mary.
Yeah, but He used Mary. He's not even doing anything with me.
I have to believe that God has the desires of my heart in His capable hands.

I can relate to Elizabeth. I feel barren. I feel the same pain as the many women who struggle with infertility, longing to have a family. Except, I don't even get to try.

I was so lonely and sad all weekend, and as I called my friends on Saturday to talk, to keep me company as I cleaned my house - no one answered.
I could only picture them out with their kids, picking up a present for daddy. Sledding down the big hill. Stopping for hot chocolate and singing Christmas songs in the car.

I finally called a single girlfriend who understood. She sympathized. She had emailed a bunch of friends in our social circle - asking about options for New Years Eve. Most of what she got back - were responses from one half of some couple saying they were going out with other couples. The unwritten message was clear - you're not in a couple so we're not asking you to join us. She was hurt.

Right then we realized - we work hard not to be jealous. And we're not. We just feel left out. We are sincerely happy for all of our friends when they pair off, get engaged, get married, start having babies.
But are they equally sympathetic for us the other way around? We don't think it even occurs to them.

This holiday is all about family and it's so empty without one. Last year, at least I had hope that I might soon start a family. This year, it just sucks.

I am trying hard to get this sadness out of my head and heart - before I put myself in a car for 10 hours - stuck with my own thoughts. Maybe if I leave the thoughts here, they won't follow me to Nebraska.

Maybe there are bloggy angels who will carry my thoughts in their prayers.
I'm counting on that.


Merry Christmas. Have a most blessed celebration. May all the joy and peace of that first Christmas be with you all - always.
I probably won't have computer access for a week - but I expect you all to be away from the computer too!
Check in with you later!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Rest Not

My house is an embarrassing mess. Has been for a while now. Seriously. I am ashamed. I haven't allowed anyone inside for longer than I care to admit.

Today is the day. The laundry is going. I've vaccummed the rug. Now here I am on the internet again... a great source of my timewasting.

The other great timewaster is my couch.
Since my Christmas gifts have all yet to be wrapped - I stacked them all on the sofa so that I have no choice but to keep moving!

The most brilliant thing I've done all week!

Also learned: if the kitchen floor ought to be washed, but it's not bad enough to compell me to actually get down on my hands and knees - inevitably, I'll break something made of glass.
For me, the only way to ensure that my perpetually barefoot self doesn't end up with a bloody shard a few days later when I've blissfully forgotten the risk... is a wet cloth.
Sometimes I think that's God's way of saying, "Seriously. Wash the floor."

Thursday, December 18, 2008

My Dad the Non-Consumer

My dad doesn't shop.
He doesn't want anything. He doesn't need anything. He doesn't buy anything.

Window shopping. A foreign concept.

It's no stretch to think that us kids are adopted so that he would have someone to help him buy mom's Christmas gift.
Because that is exactly what happens.

My sister and I were usually enlisted to help him find a gift for Mom.
When my sister died, the job fell to me and my sister-in-law. We used to alternate the task each year.

One year, we forced an embargo. Dad, you've known the woman for 35 years. Man up and buy a gift.
That ended in disaster. Poor mom was nearly heartbroken.


A couple of years ago, I was totally on top of things. I had finished my shopping three weeks before Christmas. Everything was wrapped.
Then, the week before Christmas Dad called and asked me to help.

Oh man! Dad, I'm done shopping. I am NOT going back to the stores!
But I couldn't let him down. I told him I'd call him when I figured out what to get her.

The next day he called again, wanting to know what I decided.

"You're getting her a new watch. The watch she has is more than 20 years old. It's a quality watch but it's starting to come apart."

Okay, dad says. Why don't you go to W*lM*rt and... ?

I interuppted -

"NO! Dad. Seriously. You can't afford the finders fee I would charge if I had to go to W*lM*rt the week before Christmas! Besides. She has a Se!ko. We're not replacing that with a T!mex from W*lM*rt!"

He was worried. He just hates spending money and he knows my taste so he knew he wasn't going to get off cheap.

I shopped and shopped for the right watch. Finally, I told him the damage.
A heavy sigh on his end of the line, even though I'd done really well. Frugal but quality.

Then came Christmas Eve.
When my sister-in-law saw that Mom was about to open a gift from Dad, she panicked. Leaning over she whispered, "I didn't help him. Are we okay?"

"Yeah. I took care of it."
"OhthankGod!"

Mom was thrilled!
After we cleaned up all the damaged wrapping paper, she sat next to me admiring her new watch.
"I just love it." she said, "It's so pretty."

and then
"Has Dad seen it?"

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I Made Something Yummy

I don't enjoy cooking and I'm horrible at grocery shopping. The two sort of go hand in hand.
But I've found when I do cook... it's really yummy.

Last night I was bored of eating frozen Lean Cuisine's... so I stared at the guts of my fridge for a while. Hmmm yellow squash. If I don't eat it today or tomorrow it's bound to go bad. Ah hah... yellow potatoes too.
I chopped them up and put them in the steamer 'til they were nice and soft - then tossed them into a bowl and drizzled basalmic vinegar and grapeseed oil over everything.

Can I say... DeLish!

In other news... did you know that Tootsie Pops have a new flavor? Pomegranate. Serious yum. And that's really important because I only eat red Tootsie Pops - and now there is another red flavor.
Wow. Everything's going my way!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I Always Wanted a Cat

Today was the coldest day I've encountered so far since the start of my relationship with Sylvia.
Sylvia is my car - we were joined in a civil union in August.

She started right up like a champ - but when I backed out of my parking space and turned to manuveur out of the alley - I swear I heard a faint 'Mew'.

As I turned onto the street (a right turn) she Mew'ed again.
Oh, it's too cold for her! I felt so bad - but I didn't really have time to let her warm up.

I spent a few hours out - and when I started her again to go home - more Meows.

It's kind of cute. I always wanted a cat but I'm allergic. This car is such a blessing.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Here Comes Santa Claus

Can't remember when I started playing Santa. Was it during college? Or after?
I don't know but I've been doing it for years now... but only for my mom and dad!

You see, as I explained in my last post - when I was a kid we opened family gifts on Christmas Eve, then dove into Santa's gifts on Christmas morning.
So once we were all grown up - under the tree was bare on Christmas mornings.

I think I needed the satisfaction of playing Santa despite the fact that I don't have kids.

I decided to leave something under the tree for mom and dad. The first time, I think it was a cute pair of earrings for mom, some funky camping gear for dad.

On Christmas morning I asked mom if Santa had come.
"I don't know." she said, always the type to play along.
"You better check your stocking."

She did, and fished out a pair of darling earrings.

Now I do this every year. It's just mom and dad and me at their house and since I'm the night owl in the family, I wait 'til they are snug in bed and I set out little trinket gifts like slippers, a cool little tool or flashlight, peanuts and something warm for dad - fun jewelry for mom.

I don't know if they expect it now or not. Sometimes they don't even notice until noon or so that Santa left his calling card. Usually, mom is tickled to death. Dad just hates to see me spend money. (more on my non-consumer dad in another post!)

But I love to do it. I love that I've reversed roles with my parents in this little way.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Christmas Plan

I've made it pretty clear here on my bloggity blog that I'm not crazy about the way my family celebrates Christmas these days.

Part of it is resentment that I have to be the one travel every year - even though I live in a really cool city adjacent to mountains. Why on earth would they not want to come here? I can't figure it out either.

The resentment continues with the fact that my brother runs his own business and doesn't exactly have to work out vacation time for the holidays.
Unlike me.
And my friends who point out that we never get to take real vacations because all our time off and disposable savings is spent on just going 'home' every year.
Grr.

Whatever.

As children, our family tradition on Christmas Eve was a special meal before opening family gifts. (the extra 20 -30 minutes it took to do the dishes - no dishwasher - was pure torture cuz we were so hyped up for presents!!)

Firm rules only one person could open at a time - everyone savoring the sweet gifts. Then we'd revel in our loot, clean up the torn wrapping paper and get a little shut eye before mom woke us to go to Midnight Mass.

After Midnight Mass, Mom and Dad would have to sedate three hyper kids to get us back into bed so Santa could visit. In the morning - Santa's gifts under the tree! Then we spent the day with my favorite Aunt & Uncle and their kids - having a big meal, playing in the snow and checking out all the new toys!

Now, my brother invites another family (who I barely know - but they have three wild noisy little boys) to open gifts with us on Christmas eve.
I hate to complain about that, because it started when the husband was away in Iraq - and we welcomed mom and her boys to join us for Christmas eve. That was nice - and the right thing to do and I enjoyed it the first two years, but now it's just a loud mess and it's not about family at all. Oh - and my nephew (our deceased sister's son) isn't invited to anything at my brother's house so that just emphasizes my point.

My parents don't like it either. I think that's the only reason they still want me to get married and have kids so that together we can reclaim Christmas!

Now everyone rips through wrapping paper like it's a race. We don't even get to see the expression on the face of the recipient of our gifts - cuz everyone is tearing through the boxes with no order!

The worst part is, we go to the children's Mass at 5:00pm on Christmas eve. The youth choir puts on a sort of pageant - singing the same explicative songs I sang when I was in the youth choir 20 explicative years ago!

If I hear Happy Birthday Baby Jesus one more time I'll spit - from the choir loft! I'm not kidding.

I miss Midnight Mass.
Last year, I stayed here and had Christmas with Mr. Burns. We went to the Cathedral for Midnight Mass and I was moved to tears. It was amazing.

I'm learning that what I really want is my own Christmas Traditions. Rather than be forced into what is convenient for my brother. And I'm not going to wait until I have kids to do it. I figure I'll bring them on one by one.

This year, I've decided that the first step in incorporating my own traditions is to forgo the annoying Children's Mass on Christmas eve. I'm going to go to Midnight Mass if I have to go all by myself.

I'm going to tell my nieces and nephews that I'll be attending Midnight Mass and if they want to get up and go with me - I'd be the happiest Auntie in Nebraska. I'm pretty sure my nieces will want to join me. I'm betting my little nephew will too.

And that will make me such a happy Auntie.

Even (or especially) if it ticks my Sister-in-law off.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Well, Less Commercial Anyway

Because you sometimes have to get off your lazy butt to find God's message.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Loser?

I'm still working at the portrait studio on weekends... at least through Christmas.
So I was there today - and got to photograph a fun family - Mom, Dad, their 3 grown daughters and their significant others and their kids.

I like to know how to group people, so as I'm getting to know a family of this size I like to ask who belongs to whom. (is that the right grammar?)

They pointed out: "Al is Abby's husband and both kids are theirs. Sarah is dating Sam, and Elly is the only single one."

I smiled at her and said, "Good for you!" sort of to squelch the sting of her dad pointing out her glaring difference in the family.
As Elly and I exchanged a little high five, her dad leaned in and joked, "Loser!"

"Hey hey HEY!" I said, "That only means she hasn't made any big mistakes!"

She smiled at my support, and the jabs the family was gearing up - petered out.

Man, people are so freakin' dense!!!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Party Girl

My Condo building is having a little Holiday Mixer tomorrow night. Isn't that nice?

To help out, I went to my party closet and got... wait, you don't know this term 'party closet'? Seriously?

Well, friends. A party closet is where you store all the goodies you keep on hand to throw any last minute party with very little shopping or preparation. A really good party closet is magic. Mmm hmmm. Magic. The magic of a party closet is its reproductive quality. You always put in more than you take out. For example, right now I have a half liter of Bacardi Rum in the party closet. By the end of my next party, it's safe to say there will be at least one unopened bottle of rum in it's place. It's a special kind of magic.

Okay. Now that you know what a party closet is (I'll wait here while you go organize a shelf to make room for your own party closet) I can tell you that I pulled out two pretty bins with which to ice drinks - a couple tablecloths - stacks of glass dessert plates to accommodate appetizers (I hate using paper plates - we should toss them in the landfill cuz I'm too lazy to wash?) - and a flat of wine glasses to contribute to this little party.

While digging around in there, I also reacquainted myself with BBQ skewers - birthday candles - clip-on tablecloth weights for outdoor dining - wine glass stakes for lawn-level entertaining - various decorations and a variety of other party goodies.

Suddenly I realized that I am more than prepared to throw a party at a moments notice. I remembered how I've done it before.

One summer I hosted a party that fell on my birthday - I had been traveling for months for work - neglecting my social life - and thought, since I would be home on my birthday I might as well get everyone in one place so I could see them. During the party, everyone speculated about what to do on July 4th... just a few weeks away... and I said, if you all come back I'll have the party here. Ta da... everyone was happy to return! No planning involved!

I also realized that I did not throw a party not once while I was dating Mr. Burns. That may have more to do with the fact that I was unemployed for most of our relationship, and unwilling to spend money on party food and drinks -- but it does have something do to with the fact that I mentioned a number of times that we should throw a party together -- and he never wanted to go out on that limb.

I sort of regret that he never got to see my fabulous hostess side.


I have been planning though - that once I got a job I was going to throw a party! Once I replenish my bank account with a paycheck or two... that's just what I'm going to do.

Lonely Christmas

I love Christmas but I still find it difficult to look forward to it.

Every year I think it would be more meaningful if only I had a child or two to teach about our Savior's birth - slowly revealing the wonder of the great gift as the kids get older - watching the wonder in their faces as they experience the magic of Christmas. The wonder of new fallen snow. The beautiful grace of wishes granted, either by Christ or by Santa or by a generous stranger. Oh how I long for a Christmas like that.

Instead, Christmas is little more than a deadline for me. And I hate that.
I hate that I can't experience the joy, peace and wonder of Christmas because I'm stuck in a car by myself (trapped with my own thoughts) driving 10 hours to get 'home'... and then another 10 hours to get back to MY home before I have to be back at work.

People with families have absolutely no idea how lonely it is.

Last night I was checking out a few purchases at L!nens&Th!ngs. (stuff for myself of course -I've barely started Christmas shopping!)
The friendly sales clerk asked if I was ready for Christmas.
Oh heavens no, I joked.

"I am." she said, "I love Christmas, I can't wait."
Oh. I thought you meant am I done putting up the tree and wrapping gifts. That's a big fat no!

We bantered back and forth and somehow it fell out of my mouth.

"When you're the only one in your family without kids, Christmas is just a deadline."

The woman behind me in line nodded in agreement. She knew just what I was talking about.

I continued, "You rush around to get gifts that nobody really even wants, they do the same for you, you pack them in a car, drive across a state and a half to people that don't even seem to appreciate that you bothered to make the trip - but would surely gripe, and call you selfish if you DIDN'T make the trip. I miss all the joy of Christmas, and I hate that."

The woman behind the counter, a grandmotherly type - just stared at me like I told her that I eat kittens for dessert.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Never Believe Grownups.

It was snowing very lightly as I drove to work this morning.
When I stopped at a light, I could see perfect little individual snowflakes gracing my car's windows. Each one perfectly, artistically formed. So beautiful! I wished so badly to have my camera with me.

For proof.

Because I remember when I was a kid, the teachers told us that every single snowflake is different. Which I believe. They also told us you couldn't see individual snowflakes (the same thing they said about germs.) But I know that I saw many individual flakes. They were stunning! Miraculous!

Maybe the teachers meant that you couldn't pick one snowflake out of a pile of snow. Okay, I'll give them that. It's possible I was a very literal child.

Or maybe they were talking about Nebraska snowflakes - which are so wet they don't even fall down one by one. It more or less snows in globs there.
But here in Colorado, the air is dry and snowflakes make solo journeys straight to the tip of your nose.

I just want so desparately to photograph a single snowflake.
Maybe one day this winter. If I do, I'll definately post it!

Monday, December 01, 2008

With Ma in Her Kercheif

I, the queen of bargain shopping, have been having a heck of a time finding a simple winter nightgown! I've scoured the racks at many a TJMaxx and Ross and I can't find anything that doesn't look like it should belong to my mom... the grandma!

Ugh.

There are tons of top and bottom sets - but I don't want pants to sleep in because the legs always climb up and twist around my legs in my sleep.
I just want something with long sleeves - that comes down to my knees.... that doesn't have embroidery or ruffles or flowers or lace.

I found two night gowns that were ideal in structure - but were made with prints that were so loud and busy I feared they'd keep me awake at night!

Finally, I searched the web for current listings... ah yes... this is what I want:
from Land's End.

But $36 bucks seems like a lot to spend on a stupid night gown - doesn't it? I mean, I have silk dresses that I spent less on. I've spent less on designer shoes!

It's hard being cheap.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Footloose

I asked a friend to come over and help me with a problem in my Photoshop program.
A friend who -yes - is a guy - and who -yes- I once dated briefly. (isn't that everybody?) And -yes- a friend who another friend is still rooting for me to marry (whatever) even though we (he and I) both know that isn't going to happen. At least not until we're say, 60.
Nonetheless we are still friends because we really do enjoy one another's company, share a similar sense of humor, several creative interests and most of the same morals and values. It is always a joy to see him.

When we finished with my little project he was bundling up to leave, and as I had asked him to leave his shoes at the door - was in his stocking feet.
He did a little turn on my wood floors, enjoying the slick contact between cotton and well-worn wood. Whoo-hoo. You know, that sort of thing.

"Wait," I said. "If you like that, you have to do this..." then I moved my bike from the hallway that leads to my the back of my condo, returned to the front end of the hall - got my running start and slid down the remainder of the hallway.
He smiled broadly... took his running start and did the same thing.

And then we said our goodbyes.

I love a friend who takes joy in simple pleasures.

So, if you're 'almost 40', married and have kids, do you have to stop sliding down the hall in stocking feet?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

What I've Learned

I know some truly kind and amazing people.

When Mr. Burns and I broke up - one friend sent me a handwritten card, expressing her sympathy, her support and her concern for me.

Another friend, who had encouraged me to break up months before, upon hearing the news said, "I'm so sorry. I know you had a lot of hope in that relationship."

Many many others said, in some way "I'm sorry for your loss."

Because that is what the end of a love/ romantic relationship is. It is the end of a certain kind of hope. It is the death of an anticipated future.

Now I am embarrassed that I wasn't as kind and thoughtful to my friends who went through break ups before me.

I didn't know.
Because I had never been through a break up of this magnitude, I thought that went couples broke up it was because it was the best decision. I didn't understand how painful and heartwrenching it is... even if it is the right thing to do.

Now I vow to do better by my friends. A break up is a great loss.
I mean really, I've been more sympathetic to a friend with a cold than to a friend suffering a break up!

I saw another friend who didn't know about the break up until I told her today - and she expressed genuine compassion. I thanked her and shared what I have learned. She agreed and told me that she's gone through break ups and she's gone through a divorce and to be honest, the divorce was easier. We discussed it and agreed that the end of a relationship is hard because it ends your idea of a future. A divorce is a relationship that is already over, there is no future (or there wouldn't be a divorce) and there is more relief than grief.

Now I know. And I promise to treat my friend's breakups with the tender concern and sympathy that they deserve.

I wish I had understood this years ago.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Things I'm Thankful for...

I am thankful for an abundance of friends... I am incredibly blessed with so many great people in my life. I often wonder how I deserve them all.

I am thankful for my family... who, this year, graciously didn't beg me to drive 10 hours to be home for today's traditional meal.

I am thankful for my car... really I am, and thankful for the man who sold it to me for he provided me a very nice, reliable vehicle that I could afford, without dickering around on the cost.


I am thankful for my job... finally!

I am thankful for the amazing community that women bloggers have created... who could have known?

I am thankful for God's grace and blessings in my life... every time I am overburdened and fling myself to my knees He is there, embracing me with ever-loving arms. He never gives up on me. He gives me more strength than I know I can manage.

Happy Thanksgiving!



Photo info: I took this photo at the cemetery where my maternal grandparents are buried. Engraved on the cross are the words, "To Thy Cross ____ I Cling." (I can't make out the word/s on the left side of the cross, and can't recall right now - but it's poignant even without the missing adjective don't you think?)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Giver

That jazzy little tune lit up my cell phone again. It was Mr. Burns calling from an airport in middle America on his way home for Thanksgiving.

He just called to tell me that he was reading Luke Chapter 6, in which as Mr. Burns puts it, giving of oneself to others is discussed. (I just read it and I don't see the exact same thing he did... but I guess that doesn't matter) what matters is the message he received by reading it this time through.

He had to tell me that it made him realize that I really gave myself in our relationship. That I just gave and gave and gave. And that, in that realization, he realized too that he didn't give. That he held back, that he didn't even think about giving.

"So I just wanted to thank you for showing me that. You showed me what it's like when someone gives you everything. And I am ashamed now, that I didn't see it at the time, and mostly for not knowing how to give back."

I almost cried. It means a lot to have someone realize just how much you love them. And hurts a little to know they didn't know what to do with it.

And I hated to say it, but he's right. It occurred to me a few days earlier that I gave everything in that relationship and that he didn't make much effort.
I'm not saying that to puff myself up. Just that I realized it. And if that is going on in your relationship, recognize it and fix it.

He continued, "It hurts me to tell you that I failed. But it's the truth."


I guess that's one more thing to be grateful for this Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sorry if This is Boring - But You Asked!

And men, if you can bear to read it, you might learn something about relationships.

When I left work on Saturday afternoon, I had a message from Mr. Burns. Still wanting to talk.

He told me he was headed out to watch his college football game with a crowd of fellow alumni. By the time I got the message I was fairly certain he was already watching the game in a noisy bar - and that my call would go to Voicemail.

He answered.
I was cold. I didn't mean to be, but my responses were short and without emotion. He said he had just arrived at the bar for the game. I asked if it was a good time to talk. He wavered for a while, possibly torn. Ultimately, he said he'd call me back later.

I hung up and chuckled a little. Figures, I thought. Yet again something else comes before me.
I went out on my errands. More shopping. Had to pick up all my pre-sale items at Macy's!!

Twice in the noisy mall I didn't hear my cell ring. He had to call twice. I finally called him back Saturday evening. The conversation started easily. It was so good to hear his voice. He has a really nice voice. Coming from my career in television, that's a compliment.

I told him about my new job and he was genuinely happy for me. He noted that it took our relationship ending for me to be in the right place for the right job.

Then he wanted to know what I thought when he called. I told him that mainly I made note of how long it took to call. But also that I knew he would eventually.
He agreed. We were best friends after all. He can't imagine never talking to me again.

Then we moved on to how he feels now. He is still confused. He said that the fact that we are broken up and he still doesn't have a feeling of certainty about whether we belong together or not - tells him that his confusion is valid.

He said a part of him just wants to go ahead and bring me home for Thanksgiving. Go home with me for Christmas. (these are hurdles he was not willing to clear before. He had to know that we had a certain future before introducing me to his family - so what he is talking about is progress) But then, we're not together now, so he can't really bring me home. (besides, I have plans)

I told him that our time apart has given me clarity. That I can see clearly now, the many ways he doesn't love me. He wanted to know what they were.

  • Never making time to travel for the important events in MY life. Dad's birthday party, weddings, holidays.
  • Never being at my house with any frequency to be a staple there. He barely knows where to find silverware at my place.
  • That he was always expecting me to disappoint him. (he disputes this vehemently)
  • That despite his vow to never make assumptions about what others want/need - that's exactly what he did regarding me.
  • Simply not making time or an effort for me.
  • He's inflexible.
I told him that the most hurtful thing he ever did, was in front of his sister.
She was visiting from their home state. I discovered we had our interest in photography in common so I pulled up the web album of the shoot I did earlier that week, in my friends' home. They were maternity pictures, her belly exposed, husband and wife together anticipating this baby.
I showed his sister one shot in particular, the wife looking lovingly and laughingly into her husband's eyes... the quintessential pregnancy photo. Mr. Burns' sister loved the picture - saying I really captured the moment, that you could see the love between them.

Now this is a couple Mr. Burns knows... and we both respect their marriage. They are so obviously in love, it's a beautiful thing!
Then, Mr. Burns came to the computer, looked over our shoulders and pointed out what a great couple they are and how in love they are... and said to his sister while pointing to the screen, "That's what I want!"

I told Mr. Burns, "I was right there! You ripped my heart out with those words. We both want the same thing and you couldn't acknowledge that with me in your life, you were THIS close."

~~~
Another point I made was that he never once - in all of the last winter - asked me to go skiing with him. I was working only a handful of hours at the portrait studio and I had to work weekends. He said since he knew I was struggling financially, that he thought it would be inconsiderate to suggest that I drop a shift and give up the little income that I had coming in.

He emphasized that this was one of the ways that he was always considering my point of view. He thought making that suggestion would get him an earful - ie - "What do you mean, give up a shift? I'm struggling to pay my mortgage here and you want me to give up the few hours I have to make money?"
I interrupted, and said, "Why would you think that? When have I ever gone off and given you an earful about anything?! I don't do that."

He clarified, saying that he knows I wouldn't go off - but that - that's what he would think if he were in my shoes. He emphasized again that he was always ALWAYS, in all cases, putting himself in my position, thinking of my feelings. And he thinks I don't know that he was.

I finally got it.

I said, "I really appreciate that you tried to think of my perspective. But in doing that you forgot one very important thing. How I would feel. I just really needed to be asked. I needed to know that my boyfriend thought it would be really fun to spend the day skiing with me. We don't have the same feelings, B. We're two different people."

"Oh." He said, then with a hint of laughter in his voice, "If you put it that way.... "
He realized how flawed his thinking was in that case. Lightbulb went on!

We laughed together.
Then I explained that I didn't want him assuming or deciding for me. Or for us. That it would mean so much to know that was something he looked forward to. And that if he would have asked we would have discussed who would pay for lift tickets, if I could give up the measly $30 I would make in a Saturday afternoon. That we should decide TOGETHER. But to never discuss it - only left me hurt.

~~~
Anyway, he talked more of not knowing whether we belong together. That a big part of him thinks maybe we do.
I told him, if we ever got back together - He's got a lot of convincing to do. Because now I know what was wrong in our relationship and I what I won't accept.

He said that he knows I (trs) didn't do anything wrong. That I was nothing but supportive and always building the relationship. The fact that he doesn't know - is all on him. That I couldn't have been a better girlfriend.

I hate for him to take all the blame. I can't say he's wrong, but I still hate to hear it.
We did acknowledge that our communication problems were on both of us.

In all, we talked for an hour and a half. Reminiscing. Telling each other the little funny stories that we've been dying to share, knowing only the other would appreciate them!

I really don't know what to think about the fact that he still doesn't know how he feels. On one hand it seems like such a cop-out. On the other hand, the poor guy. Can you imagine being so confused about love? If he can't get past this, he really will end up alone.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

An Addiction? No. I Can Stop Any Time I Want!

I just don't want to.
Since I got the word of my new job - I've made two trips to Ross (like TJMaxx) one to Macy's and another to The Gap.
I guess I feel that I deserve a little splurge after 14 months of frugal living while unemployed.

I found the cutest scarf ever. I'm amazed I haven't received a compliment on it yet. Is that vain?












Two awesome belts. I can never find belts that I like so this was a coup.













Two cute sundresses one for 5.99 and one for 8.99. I eagerly await the month of May.

An adorable, cheerful yellow top, perfect for summer, but I'm trying to find a way to wear it this winter. Which lead me to The Gap.

Now I know why they call it the Gap - because their clearance rack helps fill the gaps in your wardrobe! When you find something and think that would be perfect with a _____ if I could find one... go to Gap's clearance rack.

That's where I found the long sleeve tee (11.99) that I'm hoping to layer with the yellow top for fall. What do you think? Is that cute or dorky? Remember I'm 38 years old! I think it's cute but I feel a bit like a kindergarten kid in it. What say you, internets?
There, I also found an irresistible top that I got 20% off due to the make-up smudge.










But I am most excited about the amazing BCBG sweater I found at Macy's! I very rarely spend full price on clothes... and even at 40% off the sweater was still $82. I had to walk away from it to listen to the voice of reason. I don't know whether it was reason that won out or not - but I bought it. The cashier offered to ring it up pre-sale for the event they're having on Saturday. So it came to $52 - which was easier to take. For BCBG - A STINKIN' STEAL!!!!

Sorry, I can't show it to you because Macy's is holding it hostage until Nov 22nd. As per the pre-sale.

So yes... I admit I have a bit of a shopping addiction. But I CAN stop when I want/need to. When money is tight and there's none coming in, I can buckle down.

Honestly, I had so much shopping pent up inside me - it had to come out. Did I NEED any of it? No. But who cares? It doesn't hurt to celebrate a little.

Under $200 - hardly constitutes a splurge. I'll start a budget with my new job, and work to plan my purchases better. But I admit I love a good bargain scrounge!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Two Things

Today is my sister's birthday.
She died in 1985 just a month shy of her 23rd birthday.
Today she has been dead for as long as she was alive.

I wish I could feel her presence.
It's to the point where I don't even miss her anymore, because as I said, she's been gone as long as she lived. After 23 years you sort of get used to not seeing - or even expecting to see someone.
But I think she sent me some gifts today.

One, when I went to my new job for orientation and to negotiate my salary.
See, I've never been great at negotiating. I prayed about it, and tried to prepare to stand my ground. But when their first offer is the figure that you were hoping for - I don't see the need to dicker any further!
I say - leave well enough alone!!
That is God at work. Maybe my sister handled the negotiation before I got there.

Oh. How about the fact that when I arrived and approached the receptionist/admin assistant she turned to me and said, "Oh good! You got the job!"
I smiled and replied, "Yes. Thanks."
"I was hoping you would get it. When you came for the interview you were just so nice and fun."

Wow. Talk about a first impression! (For the record, I liked her instantly too.)

She told me that she asked the manager who he hired but then couldn't remember which face went with which name - (they interviewed 16 candidates!) - so seeing me confirmed that the dark horse she was backing was indeed the winner.
How sweet is that?!

The other gift - or at least surprise - was Mr. Burns calling out of the blue.
I can choose to believe that my sister knew that I'm waiting for some answers, to know how he is doing - and really - just to know that he wanted to call.

Quite possible she arranged that too.
Isn't that what big sisters are for?

You Shoulda Put A Ring On It

I'm rather indifferent to Beyonce's music, mainly because I don't typically seek out music. I just listen to what comes to me.

But because of the spoofy skit on SNL this weekend - and a dancer imitating her new video on The Bonnie Hunt show this morning (LOVE Bonnie Hunt BTW) I found myself singing her new song this morning.

Single Ladies

The 'refrain' if you will, goes "If you liked it then you should have put a ring on it" It's bouncy and catchy and where I am in my life right now.

So I'm getting dressed to go to the office of my new job. Today I fill out employment paperwork. And as I'm looping my belt through my pants, I'm singing "if you liked it then you shoulda put a ring on it!" and I hear a familiar ring.

It's my cell phone with Mr. Burns' personalized ring tone. It's a happy little ditty that always made me smile - I used to call it my Pavlovian signal!

I freeze. Okay, it's been a month and a half (but who's counting) and I haven't heard from him. Suddenly. Today. He calls.

I let it go to voicemail. It took a long time.

He said he's been having a really hard time with this (our breakup) and he would like to just get in touch, maybe get together and talk.

Truth be told, I would like that too.

He said he would respect it if I didn't want him to contact me again. So he's totally playing it right.

So anyway - since I have a busy day today I'm going to wait to return the call.
Right now, my gut tells me that I do want to talk to him.
I'll probably wait until tomorrow afternoon (after work) to call him back. Make him sweat it a little more.

What would you do?

Oh oh ooh oh oh ooh

Monday, November 17, 2008

Making Sense of the World

Or... How I got hit on by a 5 year old.

Last week I was talking with my friend Kelly about the post I was writing for Rocks In My Dryer. I suggested that one of the points I would like to get across to married people is that they don't have to abandon their single friends. In fact, they'd be helping their children by providing role models of all kinds.

To emphasize my point I said, "Because we both know it's only a matter of time until your son (the insanely brilliant and adorable 3 year old) asks me, "TRS, where is your husband?"

"No he won't!"
Oh yes he will. Not that I would be offended. That's just how kids try to make sense of the world. Especially if they are only exposed to married couples.

While I wouldn't be offended - I will admit it's a bit rattling when it happens for the first time. (standby for adorable nephew story at the end of this post.)

Last night I was working at the portrait studio. A woman brought her nephew in for a photo session. He was a very cute and polite kid - and I have never seen such a little kid with so much patience. He followed my posing instructions as if he were listening to the Pope! It was an awesome session.

His name was Theo. He told me that himself, and he asked me my name. I told him, and then he asked, "Did you know that I'm going to be 5?"

"Wow! 5 years old! You are such a big boy." I enthused.
During the session he said. "Did you know I can speak Portuguese?"
"Really Theo? You must be so smart."

Later as his aunt and I were finishing up the order he quietly said, "TRS, I have a question for you."

"What is it Theo?"
"Do you have a husband?"

His aunt was mortified but I answered earnestly, "No. I don't have a husband. But I'd really like to have one. Do you know someone who could be my husband?"
"Yes."
"Really? Who?"
"Let me think."

His aunt and I finished the transaction - and she shared, in her thick Portuguese accent that he asks her the same thing. She was trying to apologize for him, although an apology wasn't needed.

Then Theo piped up again.
"I know someone who could be your husband."
"Really Theo? Who?
"Um. My dad."

His aunt tried not to laugh, and quietly told me that his dad has issues. Bad idea.
I stifled my own laughter.
"Theo, does your dad already have a wife?"
"No. But he lives in Brazil."
"Hmm. See if you can find a husband for me who lives in Denver. Okay?"

"Okay. What's your phone number?"

And that's how I was ever so subtly hit upon by a boy who is 4 and 3 quarters!

-
You know... it's the smartest kids who ask these intriguing questions. They begin to notice the world around them and start to make sense of things. That is, until someone throws a wrench into their thoughts. You know, like a single adult!

When my youngest nephew was 4 or 5 years old we were playing a game at Grandma's kitchen table when I saw the gears turning in his head.

"TRS, do u live by uself?"
"Yes. I have an apartment in Omaha and I live there alone."

I watched his gears turn some more as he struggled to make sense of that.
"Don't u have a mom?"

Oh my stars! He didn't even expect me to have a husband! But everybody in his world lives with SOMEBODY! He lives with his mom. TRS must too!

"Your grandma is my mom. She is your dad's mom too. When you're a grown up, you don't live with your parents anymore." I explained - only to watch his face crumble with the onset of tears.

The little guy couldn't imagine never needing his mommy as he needed her then.
I panicked. I tried to think of a way to explain it that wouldn't crush his image of security.

Then his big sister piped in, "You'll understand when you're older."
I panicked still, thinking "That's not going to work!"
But a big sister knows. His face returned to it's normal color as he accepted her knowledge.
And we went back to our game.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

God's Timing

I have been so frustrated the past two weeks. A potential employer informed that I’m one of the top two candidates (which I’ve heard more than once before – big whoop!) and then two weeks went by without an answer.

I decided that it was out of my hands. I gave it to God. Clearly I am as qualified as I need to be. I’m in the top two. Not much I can do beyond that.

Dear Lord, You know that I just want to find work that satisfies me. Work that I can do well, to satisfy my employer. If I can make a difference in the lives of others so much the better, but I’m not pushing my luck. God, only You know if this is the right job for me. Since it appears to be such a tight race, I trust that that the outcome will be Your Will.

While awaiting the answer, my unemployment benefits ran out. I can’t complain, because they were supposed to run out two months ago, and I got an extension. Yay me.

Every time my phone rang this week, I prepared to hear whether or not I got the job. Instead I got many other calls. The landline that only rang with messages from the presidential campaign for the past 4 months has been ringing off the hook! (so to speak – it’s a base these days.) No one calls me on that line.

So when the phone rang at the stroke of 5:00pm on Friday I was nonchalant.

It was the call I’ve been waiting for.

Guess who was offered a job???!!?!?!?!?!?

Whoo hoo.

For the rest of the evening I’ve been in an odd state of confusion.
After 14 months of worry and stress over looking for jobs to apply to I can’t shake the feeling of dread. Then I remind myself… I have a job. I can stop looking. I’m going to have an income!

Yeah, and the fact that my unemployment benefits just ran out, and I just broke up with Mr. Burns… God’s timing. Totally. Don’t you think?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Humbled

Wow! I am so blown away by the response to my Guest Post over at Rocks In My Dryer yesterday.

I feel so humbled that so many women said that I had provided words for their thoughts.
That to me is an amazing thing - because when I have come across writings that speak what I have been unable to put into words - I feel a kindred spirit and recognize the blessing. I am overwhelmed.

I want to stress that of course I am not speaking for ALL single adults - but I do know there are plenty who feel the same pains and struggles.

In fact, there were about 100 comments between Shannon's blog and mine - and only one dissenting comment. I addressed her on Rocks - but I wanted to share it here.
Happy Woman said:


I think I could have married just about anyone!

Now maybe I am saying this from the position of having lucked into a really great guy. Or maybe I settled. Personally I think everyone "settles". To me "settling" for someone means giving up some fairy tale images and working with the real person I am and the real person my partner is.

Looking back on how miserable I was being single and looking back on all the boyfriends that for one reason or another didn't work out....I think any one of those boyfriends would have been better than missing out on partnership. I think whatever the problems, working through those problems with somebody would be way better, for me, than staying alone.

If I were still single I would say to myself: You have tried being single. Now, go out and get married. To just about anyone. Work it out. And if it doesn't work out, then you will be divorced which is better than never having been married.

from, a now very very happy 41 year old woman who was married at 38 and became mother to twins at 39

I understand her point of view. I really do. In my entire life of dating, I have been frustrated by the fact that I've dated some really great guys. Nary a loser in the bunch!
How is that frustrating?

Because when every guy you date is a really wonderful person, but not 'The One' - you feel terrible rejecting them.... because after all there was nothing really bad or wrong with the person. It's just not 100% right. And that's when you second guess whether you are being 'picky' or if settling is 'settling'.

On the upside I have always felt, if God is providing me good men who are not my husband - imagine how wonderful the man He does have for me must be!

Here is my response to Happy Woman:

While I appreciate your point of view - I think we come from very different places. I (and many women like me) don't view marriage as casual as furniture placement. ie. you've had the sofa against the wall for years, try it someplace else.

Marriage is a lifelong commitment and to say that one would be better off divorced than never married is exactly the attitude that I wrote this article to dissuade.

There is a difference between settling and 'settling down'. Settling down is giving up the fairytale - and accepting life in it's real and imperfect form. Settling - would be marrying someone who doesn't love you as you need to be loved, someone who doesn't take joy in seeing your face when you arrive.

That would not be a marriage - that would be a roommate with legal ties!

I just let go of a man who I loved very much. I was willing to accept that he didn't love me fully - we would still have a satisfactory marriage - but God showed me that He has more for me. God wants me to be with someone who delights in me --- and if that is not a husband -- that is why I have a great circle of friends who do light up when I enter a room or their home.

It's okay to expect the same reaction from a man. In fact - it's worth waiting for - God has assured me of that.


That's why I was convinced that Mr. Burns was the one for me for so long. For once, there was a man who shared my faith, expressed his faith. Got my sense of humor. Understood the sort of patience I need. Shared my commitment to abstinence. And had so many other great qualities.

But looking back, he didn't love me completely. And that is no place to start a marriage.

Now Mr. Burns and I are both jokers and occasionally he would tease me (I wish I could remember an exact example) that if we were going to do something, he might expect me to do this or that. That's a lousy description, I know, but basically he expected me to disappoint him.
On those occasions, I would laugh and say, "You think so little of me."
Finally, one day he said, "I don't know what you mean when you say that."

I explained, that I felt he was saying he didn't think very highly of me, because he expected me to disappoint him. Basically, he was just waiting for me to be a pain in the tush.

When he understood what I meant, he laughed and admitted in his joking way that yes, he was sort of expecting me to be a pain in the tush.

But that's when I realized that he didn't appreciate me. A man who truly loved me would have said, "Is that how I make you feel? I am so sorry."

From the beginning of our relationship I told him that I would not be the stereotypical woman that men complain about. I do not nag. I don't expect you to read my mind. I communicate what I want and expect you to do the same.

A few months into our relationship he asked, "Are you real? I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. You're so cool. I'm waiting for you to be like all the other women."
Fill in the blank with "all the other women who disappointed me."

In the end... he was so expecting to be disappointed that he couldn't relax and realize that I wasn't like the other women. It's as if he wanted to be proven right so badly that he couldn't appreciate the gold standard right there in his arms.

The worst part was that he didn't know if loved me. I waited a year and a half for him to figure it out and all he had was doubt. I finally had enough. I realized that this man did not delight in me. Instead he was guarded. Expecting me to be a disappointment.

I still believe that if we had gotten married, we might have been okay. But I would always know deep in my heart that he didn't love me as Christ loves His bride, the Church. There would always be an emptiness.

And that would be settling.

God wants so much for us as His brides. God doesn't want us to settle for less than full unbridled love.
I know He doesn't.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Visit the Rock!!

Please go visit Rocks in My Dryer today! I’m guest posting in her What I’d Like for You to Know series – from the perspective of a Single Adult.

It’s not about dating – oh no – that’s a whole different post! Heck that’s why this blog began! And clearly, it’s far from ending!


Dating past the age of 35 is an adventure unlike dating in any previous decade of one’s life. Add abstinence to the mix and let me tell you… it’s slow going.

My contribution to WILFYTK is an effort to share what life is like as an adult when you don’t get what we all expect – particularly marriage and family.

Because let’s face it, the world expects me to be married by now (if not divorced) and you wouldn’t believe the many times a day I am reminded that I’m not fulfilling expectations.

On Sunday - for example - we had a young seminarian (who, I'm betting will be referred to as either Father Matthew McConaughey or Father What-A-Waste once he's ordained... I know - I'm terrible!) speak at our church, asking for contributions to the Seminary fund. He ended his presentation with, "Go home and discuss it with your spouse." I leaned over to my friend, the Deacon’s wife, and whispered, “Yeah... cuz everybody has a spouse!”

Then she felt bad and defended him, saying he’s young he doesn’t realize he’s leaving people out. I didn't mean to criticize him but that’s exactly my point. Particularly in church – they exclude people without even realizing it.

Oddly, her husband the deacon (no his name isn’t Oddly) noticed an exclusion when the young seminarian pointed out how great it is to see so many Godly families, noting there were so many children present at each mass. The deacon and his wife don’t have kids – so the deacon noticed. Guess he and his dear wife aren't Godly.

Anyway...

My writing this post for Shannon over at Rocks – was a great introspection for me. I only hope it encourages people to reach out to single adults. We’re struggling out there. Some people think we must be having all sorts of fun with no responsibilities. Ha! I’ve got no one to trade my least favorite responsibilities with! They’re all mine.

So yeah, even if I don’t have kids or a busy husband, I could use some support now and then. And if I hear you complain about your hubby – I might just feel the need to put you in your place!

Rattled

Since I broke up with Mr. Burns I’ve been grumbling to God about how He seems to give everything I pray for to everybody else. They all have husbands and babies and good jobs without – it seems to me- putting a whole lot of effort forth.

To my credit, however I’ve also been praying about how I can be as fabulous and as supportive a person as Miss Amy Beth (read her post today – it’s what ya call a GRANDSLAM!). How, Dear God, can I extend myself to someone who needs me in the way Amy Beth has for her Roomie?

Well, today God has addressed my frustrations and my questions and He really rattled my cage!

I got a call from a friend who just had a baby with her gorgeous and sweet hubby. She’s preparing for baby’s baptism and asked me to be the baby’s sponsor. I’m surprised, because this friend is an acquaintance really. We’re not that close. She explained that she wants someone who is strong in faith and active in the Catholic Church. None of their relatives fit the bill. Hmm.

Then she went on to tell me that she’s getting a divorce.
I fell off my chair!

It turns out this friend with the perfect little life that I envied – found out only after three years of dating and two years of marriage – that her beloved has serious problem that he hid from her and the rest of the world for years. He hid it very well.

For the sake of privacy, I won't go into detail.

Once she revealed all this, I realized that if I – who considered myself to be their ‘fringe friend’ if anything - am the first person out of everyone she knows that she sees fit to sponsor her child in the Sacrament of Baptism – I must accept.

If she’ll have me, I’ll even consider renting out my condo to go live with her and help with baby.

Most of all, God is showing me that sometimes rejection is protection. My Lord has not provided me a husband. My challenge of being alone is less than my friend’s challenge of leaving the man she loves and raising her baby alone.

Please pray for my friend, that the messiness of this impending divorce does not further wound her spirit. That her child might know the love of both parents and that of the friends around them all.

Edited to add: I am already Godparent/Sponsor to two! The first is my oldest niece - who graduates from High School this spring and the second is my best friend's 3-year old daughter.
In the unlikely event I were to become responsible for all of these children - I'd be pretty busy pretty fast. Maybe it's time to stop praying for babies!!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Sometimes... Nothing but First Place Counts

I'm still waiting to hear about that job.
The job I was supposed to hear about on Monday.
Called them on Tuesday and was told they are still deciding and that I'm one of the reasons it's so difficult to decide.

I got a call today saying I'm definitely in the top three - out of the 16 people they interviewed.
They had a few more questions for me. I answered. And now I wait some more.

I can't stand it.
I get that a lot. "You're in the top 2 or 3 candidates."

Well, my friend - that's nice but it really doesn't matter unless I'm Number One!
Second place in the Olympics is still an accomplishment.
Second place for a job - there isn't even a consolation prize.

Hoping to know by the end of the day Monday.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

A Society that Supports Evil

I really don't want to be political here on my blog - but some things are just too important to ignore.

My greatest concern stemming from this election is the fate of unwanted children.

Barack Obama's stance on Abortion rights is the most liberal I have seen. It's terrifying. He supports late term abortion to the degree that if the child comes out of the procedure alive, he does not support legislation for a doctor to intervene.
Horrifying! See this video Born Alive - please. It's not graphic.

With the Democrats in control of the House the Senate and now the White House, the reality of federally funded abortions is coming closer. (I don't want my tax dollars used for the murders of unborn children! Just because they are incovenient!) We are becoming a society that supports the most heinious form of evil and most of America doesn't even realize it because it's disguised in acceptable wording!

Jen over at Conversion Diary says it better than I could. Please read her post today.

Some folks are arguing about the semantics of the evils she compares. But I agree with Jen, the point is about the evils we as a society excuse.

Evil is evil - there are not varying degrees.

And a society that gives up it's moral compass has no hope. It will take America decades to recover from this evil if we don't start standing up for what is right - now!

And please don't argue with me here about whether a fetus is a person or a baby. I hold that the pro-choice stance (which is not brave enough to call themselves pro-abortion or anti-life because that sounds ugly, they like to sanitize their verbage) only calls it a fetus to cover up the ugly reality.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Really? This was a Surprise?!

An article came out yesterday that addresses an issue I've long been concerned about. It presents a study that found exposure to sex on television shows has a link to teenage sexual behavior. And perhaps a link to the high rate of teenage pregnancies.

The RAND Corp. study is the first of its kind to identify a link between teenagers’ exposure to sexual content on TV and teen pregnancies. The study, released Monday and published in the November edition of the journal Pediatrics, found that teens exposed to high levels of sexual content on television were twice as likely to be involved in a pregnancy in the following three years as teens with limited exposure.
The authors of the study are quick to point out that television exposure is not the only link. Obviously.
But I've always felt that it stands to reason that the portrayal of sexual scenarios on TV shows has to be an influence on behavior.

When I was a kid, our parents watched TV with us. They may or may not have absorbed in the show, but they were in the room and able to gauge what was going on.
When CHiPs showed bikini clad girls on the beach my brother and I covered our eyes and asked mom to tell us when we could look again. As children, we saw no need to oogle half naked people. Same thing when grownups were kissing on TV. Ewww. We covered our eyes.

As I got older I saw shows and movies in which the love interests would start kissing - and the scene would cut to them in bed together - post-coitus.

Now I'm a Catholic girl and I'll admit that as teenagers we figured out a lot of ways to occupy ourselves between smooching and intercourse! I'm not proud of it, but hey - I never got pregnant either!

When I saw these portrayals, I wondered why there was always the presumption that the couple had sex. Especially since the portrayal was usually the first date. (Ha - it's typically the first time they kissed!) That seemed so strange to me. Didn't they talk about how they hardly knew one another? Whether they were going to use protection? Whether abortion is an option for either of them - or if they both plan to keep the other in their lives until that little sperm turns 18 years old?!

Another bit of the article: The bold is mine.

“We were surprised to find this link,” said Anita Chandra, the study’s lead author and a behavioral scientist at RAND, a nonpartisan, nonprofit research organization. “But teens spend a good amount of their time watching television — an average of three hours a day — and we don’t know a lot about its impact on their health decisions …
Seriously? This is a surprise?

Kids used to be sent out of the room when a couple on TV kissed! And now sit-com characters are doing the horizontal on the screen at 7:00pm! Yeah, society has changed!

I remember mentioning to a woman I worked with, that the show Friends (which was new and all the rage at the time) wasn't realistic because the characters sleep with every single person they date. "People don't do that." I said.
She thought for a second and remarked, that yes, she had slept with every guy she had dated.

I was stunned! But not too stunned, she was single with a 3 year old child after all. But every guy? Do you have any standards at all?
My point is, if that is what is represented as reality - how big of a stretch is it to BECOME reality?

Look what is on TV - regular TV, not cable... I don't have cable.. so what I'm referring to is prime time - free for all entertainment.

Friends - I love this show but they talk about sex a lot. They don't show it. The most they show is couples in bed under the sheets afterward. The only time consequences are addressed is after Rachel is pregnant and Ross can't understand, because they used condoms. "Yes, but condoms are only 99% effective." "What?!" Screeches Ross. "They should put that on the box!" It's in re-runs at all times of day now.

Sex and the City - it's in re-runs on regular TV now. They cut out the graphic details but, let's be real. The women are S L U T T Y. I heard a woman talking about watching SATC with her teenage daughter - how they both love the show. What?! Why is a teenager watching SATC? Sex and the City is for jaded single adults like me! Not for kids.

oh... and the worst offender of all -

Two and a Half Men - I used to think this show was funny but it's turned into the most pathetic display of skirt chasing ever to be beamed in the tube. Worst of all, the kid on the show is a witness to it all - and he says things that would have gotten my brother's mouth washed out with soap! and the adults on the show just act like it's funny.
The characters on this show are teaching the child that women are empty vessels to be used for sex. Sex has no consequences - apart from the occasional slap across the face. They make no bones about it. In the first season or two - Alan's character would try to cover for his brother Charlie's behavior - but they have long since give that up.

This show is in re-runs at 4:30 in the afternoon! Is THIS appropriate during a time of day that children are watching unsupervised?

If you think parents are sitting there adding a dose of reality to what the kids are seeing on the screen - you are sadly mistaken!
And that is the greater issue here. Parents need to monitor what goes into their kids eyes and ears and brains. I'm not saying that parents need to shelter them, but at least give them a reference for what is right and wrong. That what they see on that show is for entertainment value and sex is bigger than that.

See Meredith Viera and Dr. Nancy Snyderman discuss the study on The Today Show.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Now THAT's a Friend!

Message on my voicemail:

Hey, this is T
from the background " and S…!"
Oh and S. He’s in the car next to me. We just called to say Happy Halloween late.
We were wondering if you got that job or not. … Any word?

Cuz we think you should move back to Omaha. We think you should buy our house and
we even have a guy we want to set you up with.

So boy, talk about the whole package. If we can find you a job in Omaha it’ll be a tri-fecta!


Honestly, I'd move back just for the house. This gem is adorable! I'm so tempted.
Since it's a bad time to sell - we've discussed my renting the house until I can afford to buy. I've already pictured all my furniture in their living room!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Not So Scary

My Halloween costume:
Get it? You might not be able to tell from the photo but the dress is bright blue.

I admit I stole the idea from another blogger last year.
A certain Courtney went as The Devil in a Blue Dress. I already had the devil details, found the dress on the cheap at a Ross store! Score!
And it's cute enough to wear for other occasions.
I went out with the same group that went Salsa Dancing earlier this week. Yes, including hat guy, er Hot Guy! The bloom has left that rose! He's still smokin' hot but I'm not terribly impressed with his personality. No biggie. He just seems to be the guy who is too concerned that I'm drinking water or soda. Red flag.

In my experience, people who are overly concerned that I'm not drinking or only had two drinks are A) not concerned about my best interest and B) looking for company so they don't feel so bad about their drinking.
Not good signs.
But I will say, he walked in dressed as a surgeon... fake blood splattered all over his scrubs. And let me tell you he looked pretty McDreamy (overlooking the blood of course). But I had to laugh, here he was dressed as a doctor or surgeon - with his only prop being tongue depressors. Pretty funny. How do you get so covered in blood if all you're doing is checking for Strep Throat?!?!
Update: I shared the tongue depressor observation with the fabulous Kimberly who remarked, "What? Do you rip out kid's tonsils with your fist?!" Oh I wish I were as quick witted!!!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Have Mercy!

Oh my.

I just spent the evening learning to Salsa dance with a crazy hot guy.
No, the guy is not crazy. He is crazy hot!

I actually met him on Sunday.
My friends made sure I went to a party so that I’d get out of the house and get back in the scene. Another girlfriend learned of my new single status at the party – and invited me to Salsa lessons for Wednesday night, again – to make sure I’m OUT there.

Then, just before the party ended I got to talk with a cute guy I’d been eyeing. He was wearing an interesting hat. Not many guys can pull that off. He was kind and interesting. Then another friend pulled me away from him - in a panic about her missing leather jacket.

Wednesday morning, I got a phone call inquiring as to whether I planned to go to Salsa lessons that night. I wasn’t sure. I doubted I was in the mood. She named a handful of people who were planning to go and I told her I’d let her know.

As I hung up the phone, I thought… “Wasn’t that the name of the hat guy?”
I was going.

He wasn’t there.

Not until after the lesson.

Then, something transpired that NEVER happens to ME.

He motioned to the dance floor or the water fountain or something, and turned to go. I missed the signal. He was asking me to follow.

Now how on God’s green earth would I know that?!

Oh, by the way, did I mention he’s even cuter than he was three days ago? I mean. Ouch. Dang. And… SERIOUSLY! S E R I O U S L Y.

I was sure he was just informing the group that he was venturing out on his own for a while. And that’s what he ended up doing because I am not used to guys vying for my attention! I can't even see it. I totally left him hanging! Major flub.

Oh. And it should be noted that I’m a terrible dancer. I can’t learn steps. I can’t find a beat or identify a rhythm. I’m hopeless and I’m not graceful. But I did actually advance a little in the one hour lesson. First time for everything.

He returned to the group and we all watched some dancers. I was happy to sit out as my feet were sore from the lesson.

Then a guy came out of the crowd looking for a partner and I tried to look disinterested. Luckily, my girlfriend offered her hand and I was left alone with hat guy, er hot guy. A few seconds later he asked me to dance. And I got it that time.

Off we went.

Maybe my ignoring him at first was a good thing. Made me seem aloof, unobtainable. All that.

I warned him that I was just learning and indeed, a certifiably bad dancer. He said, “Good.”

We danced for the rest of the evening.

And I wasn’t even embarrassed when, after several efforts to spin and twirl me in which I went all. over. the. place. he declared, “You’re a spaz. I get dizzy when I spin you!”
All I could say was, “I know. I can’t do anything small.” But Mister, keep spinning me!

We tried all kinds of dance moves. He held me close sometimes, looking right into my eyes. Making eyes – that could have been come hither – or could have been hey Salsa is supposed to be sexy… try it woman!

But what I noticed was… I was pretty darn comfortable with him. As hot as he is, he didn’t make me feel less hot.

Actually, I had to realize that myself.

When he threw those eyes at me and I assumed it was acting – I had to screw up my courage to throw eyes back, and move my hips just a little more. I had to believe that maybe he finds me as attractive as I find him. I mean… I did look good tonight!

Let me be clear. He is not just incredibly good-looking, and FIT? yikes... does he look good! He made himself out to be kind, and courteous, interesting and intelligent. I'm not a shallow woman. Normally.

The more I screwed up my courage the braver I became.

Now, of course I realize this may not become anything. For all I know, the man is gay. Interesting hats and all. And he dresses like something out of GQ. Impeccable. Seriously.

The sort of guy I always imagined I’d end up with.
I dismissed that vision when I met Mr. Burns… all baseball caps and polo shirts and suits from Men's Wearhouse.

But it was fun for my first night out after the break up - - to have the attention of a man who is truly swoon-worthy.

Yowsa!

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