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Friday, 25 May 2012

The Luck of the Draw...

I’ve written before about how fortunate I am to have the life I do.  I started this blog from a place of loss.  I’d been through the death of my beloved father, followed two weeks later by a pretty crappy break up, and I felt like a worthless old raisin as a result. 
I was unaware how profoundly things can change in an instant.  Funny, how sometimes you don’t realize how cold you’ve been until you come into the warmth.  CG has brought that warmth to my life.  His kids, my kids, our simple life of going to the dog park, raising teenagers, Sunday dinners at home, walks in the evening and trips to Costco… all of it brings me great joy, and makes it really hard for that little devil sitting on my shoulder to really get going.  It may sound boring as Hell to you, but when you’re with someone who can make you laugh like nobody else, and just “gets” you, it’s a great place to be.
One of the things we “get” about each other is our inherent personality differences.  He’s far more direct and extroverted than I am…  He likes to be the center of attention and he often is.  I prefer to hang back, preferring to be his support, although I do like to be noticed.
His confidence is something I wish I had.  He sees something he’d like to do and he doesn’t question his ability, he goes for it, and he’s good at whatever he tries.  He will drive to affect change wherever he thinks it’s needed.  I am far more likely to have my little inner voice telling me “I can’t do that, it might inconvenience someone…”  I am all about people.  He is more task oriented, although he takes developing people's strengths to be one of his key goals.  He is organized and disciplined, and I am a magpie, easily distra….

OOOOH look at that butterfly!......
I recently planned and pulled off a surprise party for him, with the help of Pinterest, his parents, sisters and most of all, our kids.  His friends came together from near and far to help this man celebrate his 50th birthday.  Before the party I even had people calling to ask why they hadn’t made the invite list.  Many of them I met in person for the first time that night, and it’s clear he’s had a positive impact on many lives around him. 
We both have amazing friends who support us, laugh with us and make our lives that much richer.  I’d like to tell you a bit about one particular couple, because they've been dealt some difficult cards, but deal with that hand with a great deal of positive energy, and hard work.  They inspire me to better appreciate how lucky I am.
CG’s friends, K and JD are just amazing people.  The moment they walk in a room you feel their presence.  They’re as beautiful as any Hollywood couple, as smart and kind as they are gorgeous.  
They met, fell in love and married, much like any other drop dead gorgeous power couple.  After a few years of marriage, they decided to have children together.  All the signs pointed to their creating super-model children who would grow up strong and smart, having the world by the tail.
A perfect little boy was born to them, and all seemed bright in their charmed world… but when their son was a few months old, they noticed their little boy wasn’t doing what other babies of that age were doing. 
He was unable to hold his head up, roll over or grasp things the way other babies did…  They were told their child had inherited a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy… this was caused by two recessive genes, one from each parent.  Devastating to be sure. 
Surely this was a random act of chance..... When their sweet daughter was born 3 years ago, however, the story repeated itself. 
Neither of these beautiful children can stand or walk unaided.  They will likely never be on the rugby team or take part in ballet class… they attend physio therapy daily to deal with the atrophy of their muscles, and they live in a world not built for people with physical challenges.
K and JD could’ve retreated into their private hell, watching their children struggle with their disability, but they have decided, instead, to fight this disease tooth and nail, head on, for the world to watch, driving positive change for their kids, and for others with the same challenges. 

They work to give their kids as normal a childhood as they possibly can, filled with activities they can do, and focussing on the positive, rather than dwelling on the negative.  Both kids have a real zest for life, and are every bit as bright as their parents.
I’m amazed at how much this couple loves each other, and how committed they are to making the world better for their kids.  Most marriages that result in children with disabilities much less severe than this don’t survive, let alone thrive.   K and JD celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary this weekend with some much deserved alone time.
Yes, these two could rival Jenifer Anniston and Brad Pitt, but it isn’t just their looks that catch your attention.  They have what CG calls a “Great Shine”.   Ok I know Jen and Brad aren't together any more, but Jennifer just seems sweeter and more like K...

There's that butterfly again...
Ok... So, shine refers to how you feel when you first encounter someone… The vibe they emit in just a nanosecond (akin to “Blink” , which is a book by Malcolm Gladwell…and if you haven’t read that, you should) ... the initial gut impression of these two is they’re good people. 
That just gets magnified as you get to know them.  They’re not just good people, they’re GREAT people.  JD is CG’s right hand man at work.  He manages operations for a large company, so has a lot of business acumen. 
Because he was unimpressed with the local Muscular Dystrophy board in the past, CG encouraged him to run for a position on the National Board.  That way, he can help to drive change across the country.  JD has recently won a national board position.  He’ll be the only board member who has a child afflicted by the disease, so he’ll bring his unique perspective forward! I have no doubt at all, his placement will mean a REAL difference in how monies are spent to make a difference in the lives of people struggling with MD.
Life is full of inspiration.  It’s all around us if we choose to quit wallowing in our own bullshit, and realize we have it pretty good.  Yes, there will always be those who have an easier road than we do.  We should also recognize there’s always someone who struggles with much harder situations than our own, and make it look easy.  We can either learn from their shining example, or we can continue to be myopic and whine.  I heard once that if God were to throw everyone's troubles into a pile, when you saw some of the difficulties faced by others, you'd be in a hurry to grab yours back.  Amen.
This weekend, CG and I  will be participating in a walk to raise funds to support those who suffer from Neuromuscular Disorders.  We've joined a team started by K and JD...  Our team is in first place in our city for fundraising.  Not a surprise, and also not surprising, is the fact that JD is the top individual fundraiser, closely followed by his wife, who is in second place, but closing fast!

Because I, too, have amazing friends, willing to open their pocket books to support my efforts, I’ve managed to raise over $1000 in sponsorship.  I know that isn’t much. Not world changing to be sure, but it’s something. 
Of course I could be completely missing the point.  My friends might feel  the teeniest bit OBLIGATED to support me because I’ve bought about a billion Girl Guide cookies, magazine subscriptions, chocolate covered almonds and whatever else their little darlings were selling over the years…

I'm KIDDING... My friends are wonderful, caring and kind, and were touched as much as I was when they heard about K and JD's wonderful children...
Later…

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Ok – now here’s one for Ripley’s Believe it or Not….

Because I firmly believe in the adage “Treat others the way you would like to be treated” I tend to be rather trusting.  I don’t screw people around, I treat people as fairly as I know how to do, and I trust people will do the same for me.  I can have strong opinions, and will express them here, but don’t generally get impolite or rude in daily conversation.  Even with idiots.  I heard the saying “Karma is only a bitch if you are” the other day, and thought it was pretty true actually.
Anyone who knows me well, knows a couple of things about me.  I like my house to be clean, but am NOT enamored with picking up after other people… sometimes not even myself.  I like things to be put away, but I’m not organized… thankfully, I make a good enough living, I can hire someone ELSE to come in, put things away and clean the toilets every other week or so…. To me, that’s money well spent.  Especially being the mom of two boys, who sometimes don’t have the world’s greatest AIM.
A few months ago, the cleaning woman I hired got a really good full time opportunity, so quit her cleaning business.  I was really happy for her, but was disappointed I was going to have to look for someone else.  I placed an online ad, and immediately had several responses.  Because they were all pretty similar, I decided to interview the first person who responded.  She turned out to be a young mom, building up a business to help supplement her husband’s income, in order to raise their adorable little 10 month old girl.  She seemed to be pretty professional, but over time, the cleaning became really sloppy, and she was not really all that warm and fuzzy to deal with. 
I had checked a couple of the references she gave me at the start, had interviewed her and given her plenty of time and slack when her daughter was ill, so finally, upon seeing that she wasn’t going to EVER clean behind my bathroom door, or move anything on the counter before wiping it down, I decided to let her go. 
I figured I would rather send an email than text her letting her know I had to stop doing business with her, but realized I didn’t have her email address.  She’d told me she was setting up a website, so I Googled her name to see if her site was up and running, and if her email address might be attached…
 Instead of her cleaning business, I was SHOCKED to see her name and photo come up in a news article about how she and another woman had spent a year in jail for assaulting a 90 year old woman in a mall parking lot.  I was polite when I let her go, but was certainly relieved to change the combination on the door lock.  After the relief wore off, I realized I had to get back to finding someone to trust in my home.
While that’s weird enough, this story just gets better and better… I am not kidding, the following is absolutely, 100% true…
I completely believe God has a sense of humor, and sits up on a cloud laughing his ass off at us sometimes.  Not only did he give me a little shocker with the housekeeper I was letting go, he decided to continue the fun.  When I went into my email to start going through responses to my new ad, lo and behold, there was a response from an old friend of mine… If you don't remember "Smell Your Underwear Guy, read about him here...
Honest to Christ, you-know-who responded to my ad, telling me he would come and clean for free if I was a “Type ‘A’ Dominant”… good LORD!  To each his own I guess, but I can’t think of many things less enticing than a guy I could order around!  I don’t like an aggressive man, but I do need my man to be… well… MANLY. 
I forwarded the creepy email he sent to CG with the message “Clearly his efforts on the dating site aren’t going so well….”  His response was “Or it’s working REALLY, REALLY well and he’s branching out.”  … eeeeeeew!
Later...

Monday, 30 April 2012

Beauty or the Beast?

What people find “attractive” is really interesting to me.  My son, “Lyle” is in a band.  As part of his persona he's adopted the “grunge” look complete with small plugs in his earlobes and tattoos.  He has ink on both arms, but so far just one full sleeve.  He’s a very good looking guy, so I just don’t “get it”. 
I guess there’s a market out there, because CG’s gorgeous daughter, “Jasmine” has a thing for tattooed “band guys”, and is planning a few tats herself.  I don't have a problem with tattoos per-se, I have one myself, but it's hidden during my regular day to day life. I guess I just grew up when they weren't part of the professional landscape.  Thankfully the stigma attached to wearing that sort of embellishment has lifted somewhat. 
Recently, Lyle joined a dating site.  I don’t get that either.  I mean, when you’re in your early 20’s everyone in that age bracket is naturally looking to hook up.  For a raisin like me, internet dating makes sense because you work at the same place, you see the same friends, and you just don’t have the chance to meet “fresh” people.  When you’re 21, even driving down the street is an opportunity to meet someone new.
I must admit, I find it amusing hearing my kid discuss the pitfalls and advantages of internet dating.  For CG and me, admitting we met online seems to get more validity with kids than people our age.    They still seem to see internet dating as a place for losers and freaks, unless of course, they're single too…
Ok, I totally admit, it IS a place for losers and freaks, because both CG and I met our fair share...(remember "Smell your underwear" guy?) but it's also an avenue for people like him and me.  Average people, who don’t have other opportunities to meet people. 
It’s interesting to hear the difference between dating online at 48 and my son’s experiences at 21.  I was looking for someone who was ready to welcome a partner into his life.  Not just a sex partner.  For my son, I’m not sure the goal is quite the same.  Listening to him talk, I guess dating is pretty much like it was when I was 21, just with different “tools”… and that word can be taken any way you like! 
Lyle’s criteria for approaching or responding to someone online are a little different than mine were too.  I admit, I looked at the photos attached to the messages I received, and weeded out the “OMG that is SO not happening in this lifetime” guys, but as long as he wasn’t a complete troll I read the profile to see if there was any common ground there.    Lyle's process is pretty simple.   “I just look for all the “hot girls” and then I message them.  I don’t even READ the profile.”  
CG and I were amused to hear Lyle outline his experiences.  He was telling us he’d had responses from women as old as 35.  His response, "Eeew!"  CG told him he should expand his horizons and just flag those women as "Not long term" prospects, but told him there could be some real advantages to that scenario.  I think Lyle was astounded to hear guys of 35 had approached ME several times online, and shocked to hear women of 67 had approached CG!  Those scenarios don't happen to be our thing.  You know?  There are some really good things that come with age.  Yes, you have to deal with saggy skin, and the loss of your close vision, but you also get a pretty clear picture of yourself and what you want. 
For example, I know no matter how smokin’ hot he was, things could never work with a guy who doesn’t know the difference between “then” and “than”.  I need a guy who knows how to use his brain.  Dumb and pretty just becomes dumb to me after a while.    
Conversely, there has to be something physically attractive enough about a person to make you want to go past being buddies, and trust me, a man doesn't have to be 35 to pull that off.  I have been very fortunate to have found someone I find incredibly attractive both ways.
Later…

Thursday, 12 April 2012

No means No. Period.

Well, I have been very lax about keeping things up here.  Life has just gotten in the way, and I’ve found when I’m happy, it’s hard to find something to spout about, but today I found something. 

Before I go on, I want to say I am the happiest I've been in my adult life, ever, and I couldn't be more grateful.  I am in love with the right man.  He makes my good life great.  I wouldn't be who I am, though, without going through the trials and hardships I've had in my life.
Lately, the news has been full of teen suicides brought on by bullying, and today I read a particularly poignant story of a girl who took her own life after being raped.  The reaction of her peers was extremely negative... and I mean toward her, not her rapist.  Really.  I found I could relate to her story, and caught myself thinking "There but for the grace of God..."
I try to avoid bitterness in my real life.  I try not to ask “why me?” in most instances, and I sincerely try to embrace challenges as a life lesson.  Things rarely bug me once I've taken the time and thought them through, but I'm not perfect.  One of the few times I feel my heart twist with jealousy or bitterness, is when someone shares the story of what it was like to experience sex for the first time.  Usually it’s a cute story about their first love, and how awkward it was, but sweet too...  Everyone’s first time should be like that.  My story is vastly different.  You know I'm a middle aged woman... but when you read the following, I'd like you to imagine it happening to any one of the cute young girls in your life. Your daughter, neice, cousin, friend, or yourself.....  
For me, things went something like this…
For most of my teen years.  I was at a small, all girls boarding school in Italy, where I had a large circle of friends and felt very secure.  There were only 80 high school girls living at the school, and about 30 more who came as day students.  The boys I had contact with, were at an all boys boarding school across town, and our interactions were limited to after school and weekends, and were mostly chaperoned. 

Life changed for me in 1979, when my dad was offered a job back here.  I was uprooted at the end of 11th grade, and had to start all over finding friends and trying to fit in for my senior year. 

I know, right?  That would be a bitch for any girl of 17, but to add to the awkwardness, the school I went to senior year was co-ed and HUGE.  I went from having very close friends and an active social life, to being 'that weirdo' who grew up in Europe. 
Most of the kids who were in my new school were in the same cliques they’d been in for years.  Some were still hanging out with the people who had been in their first grade class.  That makes it hard to break in to any social circle, especially if you’re shy.  I felt alone, awkward and out of place… I made a couple of friends, but my social life was limited.
I'm a people person, so being isolated like that isn’t comfortable for me… and at 17, being dateless was not a natural state either.  I ended up meeting a boy from another area of the city I live in, and I fell hard.   I thought he was that “someone special”.  He was tall and handsome.  He was muscular had a great smile,  big blue eyes and shoulder length feathered blonde hair.  He was the bomb for me in 1979...

He was older than me by about two years, so he was working, and he was a little bit dangerous having grown up in a blue-collar area of the city.  That was like catnip to me.  We began dating, and in retrospect, I cared much more for him than he did for me. 

I was looking for affirmation from someone in my age group so I did all the classically stupid things a teenager would do, such as making myself available to him any time he felt like seeing me.  Paying for movies or dinner dates even though I was only working part time and he had a full time job.  I even forgave him when he stood me up without so much as a phone call the night of my graduation.  His excuse for humiliating me?  He "forgot".   
We dated at his convenience for about a year.  Because we didn’t have cell phones or texting plans back then, I didn’t always know where he was or what he was doing, but rumors spread that he’d become involved with the little sister of a friend.  It made sense, because I was a lily white virgin, still holding him off from home base, and she was a girl from his ‘hood.  Younger than me by almost two years, but WAY more experienced in “street smarts” as it were.  She was just 16, but had lied about her age, and was already a stripper making thousands….

 I elected to believe his BS when he told me I shouldn't believe the "lies", but when we showed up at a party at the house he and a couple of friends were renting, and she was there, their behavior convinced me the rumors were true.
I was upset watching her grab his butt, and giggling with him right in front of me.  He began to get drunk, and was ignoring me rather effectively so I decided it was time to go home.  I quietly went to leave, but before I got out the door, he said we should go have a talk. 

His bedroom was not unfamiliar to me, we’d necked in there a million times, so when he suggested we get away from the crowd and have our conversation there, it didn’t cause any alarms to go off for me.  Not even when he locked the door, so the people just outside the door wouldn’t “come in and interrupt us”.  Remember, I was only just turned 18 at the time.

He told me he had gone out with “little sister” a couple of times, but they were just friends.  He said he had no interest in her, and  I had no reason to be insecure.  When I told him I was upset that he went out with her behind my back, he tried to placate me by kissing me and telling me to lie down with him for a bit. I wanted to believe he was telling the truth.  As I said, this wasn’t unfamiliar territory.  We’d necked several times before, without things getting too heated.   This night would be very different. 

I remember exactly what I was wearing, where I bought it and how I felt when I was getting ready that night.  It's seared in my memory as clearly as though it happened yesterday. I’d bought a new outfit to wear over that night.  A pair of high waist, yellow jeans with slash pockets, and a cute little yellow peasant blouse with cap sleeves and little pink roses embroidered on the collar.  Certainly not suggestive clothing in any way.

When he became a little insistent with me, trying to get his hands in my shirt, I fended him off.  He continued to pull my shirt out of my waistband.  I told him I wasn’t comfortable, and started to move away.  That’s when things turned.  In a fraction of a second, he held me down, pulled my shirt over my arms by the tail and then leaned on my hands with one forearm.   The shirt was covering my face, and effectively curtailed my being able to lower my arms. 

With his other hand, he pulled my bra, up over my breasts without undoing it, and bit me.  Then he proceeded to undo my pants and rip them and my underwear off just ONE leg.  He used his hip to pry my legs apart, with me saying “No” louder and louder.  That didn’t even slow him down.  Keep in mind, he was about 185 pounds of drunk young muscle, and I was about 118 pounds of female, with no upper body strength.  What was I to do?
He proceeded to rape me.  He didn’t care what he was tearing or bruising.  I screamed for him to stop, but nobody outside the door even heard me because the music was so loud.  I became so numb, that when he lifted me on top of him I couldn’t even fight him any longer.  Once he was spent, he fell asleep, leaving me to pull on my other pant leg, and try to clean myself up before going out to walk the gauntlet of people at the party to get to my car.    

I struggled to unlock the door, so when he heard the door open, he followed me out to the party, and put his arm around me.  Because I was in shock, I stood there like a zombie for about 15 minutes before I found an opportunity to escape when he went to the bathroom. 
I drove to my sister’s house because I’d arranged to stay there that night.  The moment she saw me, she knew something wasn’t right.  My face was puffy, my makeup and hair a mess, and where the collar of my shirt had rubbed, my neck was raw.  I basically stood there, stiff and shaking while she put two and two together and demanded I take my pants down.  When I was standing there in my panties, with my pants around my ankles, she could see the angry bruises starting to show.  You could see where each of his fingers had bitten deep into the flesh of my arms and legs. 

I had bruises all over my arms, the bite on my breast, and to add to the injuries, he had torn my peritoneum open which allowed for an infection to set in just as my bruises were fading, days later. I went to the doctor when I realized I wasn't healing, under the auspices of having my first "real" check up.  When he saw the damage to me, he knew exactly what had happened. 

My doctor urged me not to press charges because the victim is often the one who pays the price.  I agreed because it would be hard to keep from my parents if I did.  In collusion with my doctor I went through months of torture trying to deal with the physical damage because the treatment was to have a large q-tip soaked with silver nitrate solution inserted inside me to burn away the damaged tissue.  I suffered this without alerting my parents, because they'd warned me about my rapist months earlier.  They hadn’t liked him right from the first seconds of meeting him…


Because I wasn’t able to talk with my mother about this situation, I talked to a few of my new "friends".  Many of them asked me why I would talk about it at all.  It should be something I locked away.  I was told it wasn't a "big deal" and I should just "get over it".  Many asked what I was wearing that night.   Everyone offered an opinion on how it could never have happened to them if they'd been in the situation.  They'd have kneed him in the balls, or screamed louder, or bitten or scratched.  They acted as though I hadn't tried to defend myself.  Some even accused me of “blaming” my rapist because I’d “allowed” him to deflower me and then regretted losing my virginity. That was the one that hurt most, and caused me the most damage.

I didn’t seek any sort of therapy, and so my behavior was not healthy afterward.  I spent years wondering what I had done to “invite” him to rape me.  Maybe people were right.  Maybe I didn't fight hard enough....  

I began to believe I didn’t deserve to be treated any better than he'd treated me..  That I had asked for it because, after all, I had gone into his bedroom alone with him…  I MUST'VE let him go past the point of return, and then just let it happen. 

Even my wonderful, strong mother’s reaction was way off base. I didn’t tell her what had happened until my infection became so bad I had to be hospitalized to treat it.  Her initial response was that it was my fault for seeing “that boy” after she and dad had told me they didn’t like him. 

My physical problems continued for years, culminating in surgery to repair the damage when I was 24.  When I was put under, I wasn't sure I'd have a uterus when I awoke.  That was devastating, because I always wanted to be a mother more than anything in the world. 

The emotional damage was insurmountable.  I had self esteem issues for years afterward.  I convinced myself I had brought this on myself, and that I was being punished.  I honestly believe I sought out men I thought would mistreat me because THAT’S what I deserved.  I allowed behavior no woman should allow.
My mom later admitted many times over that she reacted badly.  She became an outspoken advocate for women whenever she got the chance to change someone’s view.  I remember several years ago, when my uncle, her brother in law, was pontificating about how women invited rape by dressing provocatively.  He was an ordained minister, and was discussing the topic of his next sermon.  He stated his case, not knowing what had happened to me, and ended his point with the question “What do women EXPECT when they dress the way they do?” 
My mother calmly let him finish, and then said “Listen.  I will bet you a million dollars, you could walk down the street stark naked and you wouldn’t have to worry for one second that some woman couldn't control her urges enough to keep herself from having sex with you!”  The look on his face was priceless. 

Why do we continually blame the victim? 
Happily, I can say I turned a corner some time ago.  I still struggle with insecurity and self worth, but most of the time I can overcome my negative self talk with a little reflection.  The man I spend my time with now, is the man I deserve to have in my life.  And he deserves me.  How lucky is HE?
Wait.  Don’t answer that!  ;-D
Later…

Thursday, 8 March 2012

What a difference a few months can make!

So today I received a beautiful note from a friend I made in South America while I was dating “The Bachelor” long distance.  Getting her cute little note this morning sure got me thinking how different life can be in such a short time…. 

The last time we saw one another was in the airport in Rio de Janeiro.  She was with her family, getting ready to hop a plane to Florida for a vacation in Disney World. 

I was travelling home after having been unceremoniously dumped the night before by a man I trusted.  I managed to keep it together until his name came up… then I dissolved.  Not the Demi Moore, single tear, beautiful cry, but that ugly cry where you end up as nothing but a big ball of tears and snot ….The hugs she and her husband gave me in that airport, were a welcome kindness, even though I'm sure they had to change their jackets afterward.
14 months ago, I seriously thought I would never survive the pain from the loss of my dad, let alone losing the support of the man I thought had my back, just two weeks later, but the best thing he ever did for me was to leave me.
The slow realization he had been cheating on me when he announced his engagement to a woman from the country he'd been working in just a few months after dumping me, put icing on the cake.  Thing is, I don’t regret the time I spent in that relationship. I grew a lot during those years.
On the positive side, the Bachelor is very patient and has a gift for making people see their potential.  It’s a talent that makes him a great boss.  He helped me see what I was capable of achieving both professionally and personally.  He helped me see myself in a different light, and I am a far more confident woman because of the time I spent with him and alone during the 3 years we spent in a long distance romance. 
His gift to me is that I am now the happiest I’ve ever been in a relationship. Bar none.
While we have no doubt crossed paths a million times I know I never actually MET CG until that first internet date.  Even though we hung out at the same bars, and later lived in the same area of our city, I know, because if we had, there’s no doubt I would have fallen for him. 

I’m a sucker for that amazing combination of thick dark hair and blue/grey eyes, great smile and dimples.  His sense of humor would’ve sealed the deal.  We couldn’t have lasted though.  The younger version of me would have driven him nuts with my insecurities, and I would’ve eventually mistaken his self confidence for arrogance. 
I told him once I wouldn’t have appreciated the man he is if I’d met him when I was younger.  His response was “I wasn’t ME back then.”   I thought that was an astute point.  He has obviously changed and grown over the years as well.  He's gone through the breakup of a marriage, and raising children alone which has no doubt helped him grow as a person.

  Our 23 year old selves may not have fit together, but our 49 year old selves sure seem to fit like two puzzle pieces.  We GET each other.  We have spoken almost every day in the past 11 months, and have never run out of things to say.  He is the first person I want to share good news with, the one I need a hug from when things are tough, the best person to seek advice from, and is the only person I want to see naked.
I've heard him tell his daughter and son many times, "Don't marry a person you can see yourself growing old with, marry a person you can't picture living without."  I would change that a little because to me, it has a little desperation to it.  I would say "marry a person you don't WANT to live your life without." That implies a confidence and a choice to be together.  I would prefer to be with someone who WANTS to be with me to someone who can't be without me. 
I count myself lucky to walk beside a man who is generous, self confident and strong.  He has a good moral compass, and I would bet my left arm he woudn't cheat.  He is professionally successful, and personally comfortable in his own skin.  He strives to be a “good man”. 
Does that mean he’s perfect?  NO.  I don’t want perfect.  Perfect is boring.  I’ve said before, he’s just enough “bad boy” to keep me entertained, and our kids perpetually disgusted by the fact their parents are still… um… “active”…. And nothing could be more fun than making them squirm a little.
I don't WANT to live my life without him, and don't WANT to picture my life without him in it, but if he chose to leave me, or if I decided I needed a committment he wasn't able to give, I COULD, albeit unhappily. 
Am I perfect?  No… I just try to be grateful for all the lessons I’ve learned over the course of my life… and I try to be as charitable as possible…

I truly hope the now-reformed Bachelor gets everything he’s wished for in his new marriage… yup, all that, and THEN some… See, NOT perfect …
LATER…

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Fat and Happy!

Had a really interesting chat with a friend on Facebook this morning.  Yes, I'm supposed to be at work, but I have a presentation to do, and I'm having trouble with it... so... as you might surmise, I'm pulling my usual "Magpie" act and procrastinating.  Avoiding the inevitable because I have to do charts and graphs and spreadsheets and all that shit I have zero talent for or interest in.

My friend "Big I"... the same guy who asked me for a letter of reference I posted a while ago, is trying to rearrange his life so he can devote more time to writing.  He is extremely smart, funny and talented.  He is one of the smartest people I know, and I don't say that lightly. 

We started chatting about a writing project he's working on.  He’s compiling his Twitter posts about what it’s like to take public transit here.  It’s irreverent and funny as hell.  The perfect writing project to cut your teeth on. 

 We were discussing how hard it is to write when life is good… His comment about me,was "When you're happy you lose your “edge.”"  That led to discussing the fact that I've been super lazy about getting on here and…well…writing.  I find it extremely hard to write anything compelling when I'm happy.  I'm a far better writer when I'm miserable.  I told him not to worry too much, because “sooner or later I’ll find a way to fuck things up”.     

Life is pretty great for me right now.  I have a job I enjoy most days, love my friends and kids, and am really happy in my current relationship.  There is one thing I'm not completely happy about though…

While I don't feel a need to write as often, I am a prolific EATER when I'm happy. I've managed to put on about 10 ugly pounds since CG and I started our relationship 8 months ago!  Up until Christmas I was fat and happy... but we've booked a holiday in Mexico in early February, which is only about 5 weeks from now.  That means I have to drop the 10 bonus pounds, and could stand to lose an extra 5 for good measure.  That means another diet.  UGH!  Why couldn't I just be a genetic anomaly who stays naturally skinny, or a functional crack head or something?

When the dates of our vaycay were finalised I decided I'd better spend an evening trying on my summer clothes and bathing suits.... Um... Most of them were a LOT tighter than I remember, so I bit the bullet and decided to join that giant cult for weight loss.  The one that has everyone looking at food labels with their handy dandy calculator to determine just how much tasteless crap they can stuff in before they hit their limit.  CG is doing the program as well, which in some respects makes things easier, but I'm totally choked because he gets a lot more food than I'm allowed in a day.  I know he’s a man, and his metabolism is faster, and he’s bigger than me, blah, blah, blah.

On this diet, you're allowed to eat as many fruits and vegetables as you want per day, in addition to the limited real food you choose to eat.  I spent this morning chowing down on about half a pound of baby carrots, which is great, except that coupled with the banana, peaches and apples I had this morning has left me with enough methane build up to heat a small town. 

They don't warn you about this when you start a "healthy lifestyle"... It's healthy alright, unless someone lights a freaking match in my vicinity.  Thank GOD smoking isn't as popular as it used to be, or I'd be worried about taking out a city block. 

When I told you CG gets more real food than I do in a day, I didn't mention that because he's a guy, he needs to be grazing on way more fruits and veggies too... and double the raw food in, means he isn't immune to producing his own "noxious gas emissions".

We've discussed this side effect, but we're both modest enough that we don't like to run the risk of crapping ourselves in front of one another.  I've learned a whole new side of muscle control, because in his house, his en-suite bathroom door doesn't work properly.  The toilet is positioned so you could sit on it and make constant eye contact while your partner lies in bed if you wanted to.  The acoustics also allows for optimum sound transfer.  Can you say SEXY?

There has to be some cardinal law of Feng-shui that’s being violated by THAT little design detail.  I don't know if you've ever tried to pee sitting down without allowing any gas to escape your other orifice, but it requires some talent.

I love the guy, but I don’t think couples need to know every intimate detail about one another that way.  I’d love to maintain the aura that I don’t actually fart.  Ever.  Most women would I’m thinking.  We decided, when we started this plan, that we’d use a pill you’re supposed to eat with your first bite of veggies, and you won’t actually produce gas.  To be honest, I think this stuff, which is about 9 bucks a bottle, is selling a load of BS. 

The plan recommends exercise to help you get your metabolism up.  Sounds great, but I'm really worried if I were to start doing squats or anything else that requires exertion I'm gonna have trouble recognizing if I'm about to pass wind or actually shit myself....

Dieting is one thing that really doesn't make me blissfully happy, so I'm thinking I might be posting more often... this might just be the sort of boost I need... let's just pray the methane production settles down a bit once our systems are used to the increased fibre intake, but for now, I’ve got about a half pound of carrots to finish…

Later…