Saturday, December 31, 2011

So Long 2011

Where did 2011 go???  It seemed to go by in a flicker & again like 2010, it was a good one--more laughter less tears & all that stuff.  And it reconfirms my opinion about Karma.  

Yesterday, Xing Fu & I took his kids to the American Visionary Arts Museum--awesome museum if you haven't gone.
One of the exhibits was about all things round--which includes karma. Which got me thinking--I used to write quite a bit about karma & ridding myself of my history of negative karma especially with men. I have always been very conscious of my past decisions & all the time I was dating the 50 firsts I always wondered when that karmic wheel would turn in my favor. And now, on the precipice of our second year together, I can say that good karma is following me & Xing Fu as we plan our very important next step together.  It is at the end of another good year, that I remind myself to give thanks to the universe for all the positive karma that has continued to flow in my direction.  It has been a very good year full of great friends, family, & historic moments out on the bay & I'm looking forward to the next chapter in 2012.

I hope everyone has a very happy & safe New Year!  See you in 2012!


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Missed Posts

Been crazy-busy the past few days & just haven't had time to post.  I suppose that is a good thing.  In fact I've missed my annual December 23rd post with the horoscope, my annual lunch with Xing Fu, & what happened over Christmas.  So instead I am posting today's horoscope:

Today's Cancer Horoscope from Cafe Astrology
December 28, 2011
Interactions with others can be intense today and early tomorrow, dear Cancer, but consider whether you are unwittingly stimulating these reactions in others by denying your own role in power plays or other complicated interplays. You may feel you are the innocent party, but are you instigating without realizing it? Consider all angles because today, the power of projection is strong. It can be all too easy to see in others what you are trying to avoid knowing about yourself. With self-honesty, this can be a strong day for taking a relationship to a new level, and for insight into finances.
Interesting tidbit about insight into finances--I happen to be working on financial aid for my kiddo's school...go figure.  The other stuff--not so sure about--as I am sitting here filling out forms & reviewing tax docs there really isn't much interplay with others currently.  

But Xing Fu & I did go to lunch on the 23rd & we did take my son to see Tin Tin in 3-D (and no, this doesn't count as dinner & a movie date because we took my son) on Xmas & then we had dinner at a Chinese restaurant--Ah, Jewish Christmas at its very best--And oy, was it crowded!  Looking back on previous years' posts for these dates, my life certainly has changed and increasingly for the better. So onward we march to the end of 2011--the next few days will be interesting: my kid is visiting with his father until New Year's Eve day, & Xing Fu's kids will be with him (and me) for a few days--hopefully we will have time to again work on blending our families like this past summer when we were at the beach.  To that end, we had a very nice dinner on the 23rd with all of the children & did a gift exchange--we both felt that it was a big success.  Always a chance to test how all the children are doing with each other & with us as we meld.  Check-in for the end of the year: pretty damn good!


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Intelligent Dating

Yesterday a friend of mine posted a link to this article on facebook entitled: 
If A Man Wants You by Salma Rumman.

Such truisms were never said better. In fact the first statement really says it all: "If a man wants you, nothing can keep him away".
How true.  I've read that all over the dating advice sites, books like He's Just Not That Into You, & Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man, & just about any guy friend I quizzed.  The advice also applies beyond the man having finally decided that he wants you--it's also how he treats you & how you allow him to treat you.

As I looked at these statements & reviewed my dating life before Xing Fu & cringed a bit because I so recognized my behavior.  I allowed so many ill-mannered behaviors, but I think as one of my friends said, "Those guys were part of your transition team."  Yes, they were--because now I know & expect to be treated with respect & not make the excuses, & concessions for poor behavior.  I really hope that my friend who originally posted this article to facebook follows the advice & prepares herself for the great guy I know is out there for her & only her. And, I absolutely agree with the article that dating is fun--it most certainly can be, if you relax & let it.   I think I'll label this advice "Intelligent Dating".

I also loved this article for recognizing & reminding me about the great guy I have now--he sometimes infuriates me, confounds & confuses me, but he does seem to encompass most of what I am looking for--almost two years out, in my partner. And as the article states, "Don't fully commit to a man who doesn't give you everything you need."  So not an issue--woohoo!

But the best statement for the already committed (heh, committed=crazy?) is, "You should not be doing all the bending...compromise is a two-way street."  Compromise, Communication, & Cuddling--the 3 C's.  YUP.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Gold Stars

Recently I came across an article about kids & their sense of entitlement--I thought it rather a timely concept as the holidays approach & a cacophony of little petulant voices start whining for this toy or that game or that iphone.  I thought I'd work it up into a blog post but just hadn't found the right moment until I heard this story at lunch today & it just knocked my socks off.  I reference this article where I first gained my inspiration for this post:

One of my co-workers read me an email sent to her husband who is an assistant coach on a travel league.  Recently they had their awards dinner & recognition for a good season.  Sounds pretty good, right?  Kids playing team sports should be recognized for demonstrating good sportsmanship, courage, being a team leader, & most improved player, etc.  This isn't handing out gold stars, just basic positive reinforcement--nothing over-the-top.  This email basically said that the mom couldn't understand why Johnny, who has been coached by the husband for two years was passed over yet again for an award.  She went on to say how much her son deserved the specific award (apparently the most vaunted one) & that this coach was very short-sighted for not seeing what a brilliant player Johnny was & how pissed off she was that he wasn't recognized, even for something small like, "great job this season," publicly. How dare Coach___ for not seeing this.  She went on to say that Johnny will never be coached again by this manOMG!!  This woman probably didn't read this out loud or to her husband before she pressed the send button & maybe she didn't want to, but if this is her typical behavior where Johnny is concerned, I fear for his future.  No wonder Gen Yers are so difficult to work with--they expect to be praised for everything they do, including farting well.  And now they are passing this trait onto their children. I'm sure that this mom doesn't realize what she is doing to her boy--by expecting to receive praise at every turn in his life, Johnny will not understand the harsh reality of the future that "Life Really Isn't Fair" sometimes. Ah, the wonders of Helicopter Parents.  Hovering so close so as to make sure that Johnny never gets hurt, disappointed, embarrassed, or ever feel sad. ever.

But I have to say that with the onset of Helicopter parenting there is a positive.  Believe it or not.  When I was a child parents really never considered the kids' feelings about big lifetime changes like divorce.  Parents just did what they wanted--move in with a new guy?  Ok. Never mind that he was an alcoholic, or hated kids, if mom wanted to live with him, so be it.  Thankfully, that seems to have come to an end (at least in my circles)--I know that when I was thinking about divorce I very carefully considered my kid's feelings.  And when I started dating again?  You best believe that he didn't meet the guy until it was fairly serious.  And if my son didn't like Xing Fu?  Probably a deal-breaker (Glad I don't need to even think about that--they have a great relationship).  I think a lot of this parent concern has come from the over-protective trend--sorta the plus side of it--twisted, but it is a positive outcome. 

Yup, this parent behavior just makes me cringe--especially around the holidays--so my statement to this woman?  Lady, you are doing your kid a huge disservice.  Teach him that when you are successful at your job as an adult, you usually get recognized by the boss by giving you more work.  There are no gold stars for farting in the real world.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Brrr...Sailing In December

Had an awesome opportunity to sail in the Annapolis Yacht Club's Frostbite series today on a J/80.  I had sailed on J/80s before when I did the J-World Spinnaker Racing Course earlier in the summer & I'd forgotten how much fun these little boats are--very much like a dinghy on steroids.  

I have been very loathe to do frostbite because Xing Fu always talks about how the last time he went out in 1988!, he froze & they had to crack the ice off of the lifelines.  So not what I want to do, but when the opportunity arose did I say no?  Of COURSE not!  Earlier in the week Xing Fu had sent me an email saying that a friend of his needed crew on his J/80 for this Sunday & did I want to go?  So for about a half an hour, while I looked at various weather predictions, decided if I had enough cold weather gear, & generally fretted, I stalled before responding, "Absolutely!  Sounds like fun!"  And then for the rest of the week worried that I'd freeze my ass off & be stuck out in a cold, wet, rainy day--especially as the temps plummeted & snow was predicted for mid-week. As I pulled out my sailing gear which had been lovingly packed away for what I thought was at least until April, I decided that even if it was pretty hella-cold out there, I was just excited to be back on the water.

But I couldn't have been more wrong.  What an absolutely gorgeous sailing day--mebbe a bit more wind would've been nice, but I ain't complaining too loudly 'cuz it was just great fun, even when we had to spin twice for a collision around the mark (really, not our fault), & it was very exciting!  There were at least 50 boats out there--a few different fleets, & the J/80 fleet is pretty competitive.  

So, how'd we do?  The first race was our collision race so obviously not as well since we had to take our 720. And despite the fact that half the J/80 fleet was late trying to get to the start on time--no motor, we did pretty well--4th. Last year my last sailing day of the year was in November & this year it may be December--mebbe I can fill in the rest of the months--my pops would be proud!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Slings and Arrows

Wow.  I feel beaten up.  The other day I was reading a little blurb somewhere on the 'net about divorce.  I think it was a statement like, "Remember to take care of your spouse & help them to remember to take care of you.  I lost sight of that early on in my marriage."  That statement is full of regret & loss & it makes me think as I often look at some aspect of divorce (prolly because I am divorced), & reflect back on my own & wonder, still, to this day, whether I should have worked harder to make the marriage last.  (I invariably come to the conclusion that no, I most definitely did the right thing by divorcing my ex.)  But as I reviewed this idea I was really struck--Does having children cause divorce or increase the likelihood of beginning the process of divorce? And, as I've looked around the WWW, it seems that there is a definite correlation. 

You know, there are so many studies out there about the effects of divorce on the kiddos but it's kinda a new thought about the kids' effect on the marriage... Many researchers attribute the trend of unhappy marriages after children to the type of society we've become--the need instant gratification & if we can't make it work we get out without trying to put the real effort into the relationship.  Committed relationships take WORK!!  Or, women don't need to be married anymore--roles have changed & women can very easily take care of themselves without benefit of a man, or marriage expectations have changed as people are waiting to find their one true love.  (I certainly can relate to that)In fact, people are entering into marriage with the expectation that this man or woman will be their everything: lover, confidante, BFF, exercise partner, etc., etc.  So, with all that energy being put into the relationship with that one soul mate & all of a sudden a new critter is bawling its eyes out wanting its diaper changed, it's no wonder that that kind of relationship gets a little fragmented especially if one or both parents really wasn't ready to be a parent in the first place.  See this great article by Vicki Glembocki in Philly Mag:

And, according to the research, marital satisfaction drops a whopping 70% after the kids are born!  YIKES!  But I believe it & we change after the kids are born (at least some of us do...).  I had to grow up & actually become responsible--go figure!  Dr. Mark Goulston asked his couples therapy clients what they were like before marriage & here was the response: "most will say that it was happier. They were more carefree, playful, happy and most importantly and poignantly they remember putting a smile on each others' face.  Very quickly they will catch themselves and say something like: 'Now don't get me wrong, we love our children, but we did get along better before we had kids.'" Reference:

Now don't go thinking that children cause divorce--I think what studies have shown is that if the marriage is a little rocky to start, adding kids may send it over the edge--or if the couple doesn't take stock of the situation early enough & seek to fix it then perhaps that relationship may not last.

So what do I take from this?  Because, am I a hypocrite spouting this nonsense after the fact, as both Xing Fu & I have played the divorce dance?  No, I am learning from my mistakes.  Being in a LTR & planning for the long haul I will re-state what brought me to write this post in the first place: Take care of your SO, and he/she will take care of you.  Don't lose sight of this connection when the slings & arrows of life muddy the waters so much that you forget why you were together in the first place.  Love each other.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Relationship Trends 2011

So this time last year I wrote about trending break up days--apparently December 3rd-6th are big ones for those non-committers out there.  You know who you are--too cheap to buy a present which reads "LTR" all over it, too shallow too handle the parties where you have to introduce this person as your "girlfriend" or "boyfriend".  Yup, been there, done that.  So hurry up--if it's gonna happen, now's the week to do it!

I read a little meme on on MSN-glo about the relationship trends of 2011 by Natasha Burton.  See here:

In particular I was reading that the trend for marriages is way down for the first time in America.  People are either waiting longer to wed or just deciding that marriage just isn't in the cards for them.  According to the glo article: "...the formality of marriage appears to be taking a backseat to simply creating a happy, stable relationship."  Interesting for me to read as a lot of people ask me whether or not Xing Fu & I will tie that knot.  Well, I think both of us would say, "Been there, done that" & that we follow the trend of "creating that happy, stable relationship."  

Further findings have been the effects of fatherhood.  In fact scientists have found this year how much becoming a father does change the man.  Funny, when my ex & I had my kid, I really didn't see too much change--he was just as irresponsible as he was before kid.  One of the qualities that draws me to Xing Fu is his responsibility to his children & just how great a father he is.  

The other interesting "trends" are lower divorce rates but increased use of cheating sites like AshleyMadison--so because of the economic downturn more folk are staying together but then more folk are looking for satisfaction outside of their marriages to compensate for their lack of marital bliss.  I get it, in fact one of my old "beaus" has in fact decided that he can't afford to divorce & he & his wife are co-habitating.  And perhaps all of these unhappily marrieds are sexting their hook-ups--yes, another trend that has seen an uptick.

As 2011 moves into the history books remember the last trend: that if you missed getting married on 11-11-11, you can become the new trend for 12-12-12.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Relationship Checklist

One of the blogs that I follow is written by Alisa Bowman entitled: Project Happily Ever AfterHere's the link to the post that I'm referencing:

She's written a book with the same title that I've read.  Today's post I've found quite applicable to my current thread here.  Even a bit of the 3 Cs--compromise too.  It is about happily married folk but in all honestly as I've said previously--it is just as important for LTRs too. I really like the list that she provides & much of it rings quite true. One part of the list talks about accepting defeat.  Being able to say, "Ok, you win this one."  Not necessarily out loud but being able to back down is important--a compromise of sorts if you will.  Along with that is what Bowman says about being able to say "I'm sorry."  She says it is easier & more gratifying to say sorry than to defend your actions.  I've even said to Xing Fu that if he simple says I'm sorry, chances are that I'll let a lot of what was bothering me go--

Realizing of course that there will be arguments--how you deal with them is key--in fact I think that arguing shows a healthy relationship--not ever arguing indicates that one or both people aren't vested anymore--that the passion is gone. If you spend your life in a house where you never talk to one another--watch out!  If you get to a point where it is better to just ignore your problems & hope that they fade, then that's where resentments build up--I'm the opposite--I tend to deal with issues right away--I hate having things drag--I want it done & over with so I can move on.  I was the exact opposite when I was married so perhaps I've learned from my mistakes.   Hopefully, we both have.