Wednesday, March 30, 2011

When The Stars Go Blue

where do you go when you're lonely?
where do you go when you're blue?
where do you go when you're lonely?
i'll follow you
when the stars go blue

laughing with your pretty mouth
laughing with your broken eyes
laughing with your lover's tongue
in a lullabye

where do you go when you're lonely?
where do you go when you're blue?
where do you go when you're lonely?
i'll follow you
when the stars go blue.

by Ryan Adams

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Treasures & Challenges or Reality Crashes the Party

Escaping the confines of the city was a very good thing--and the best thing was that Xing Fu recognized it as well.  He thanked me for nurturing our relationship. Geocaching figured prominently & it was fun to add another activity that we enjoy together.  In fact, we found a geocoin--pretty cool--we need to find the right cache to place it in around here.  We've included some of our kids & they seem to enjoy it as well--a family activity in the making--bonus!  It will be fun to include them in putting the geocoin in the cache.  We came back rested, & reconnected which is what I wanted.  

Of course the next big hill to climb is right in front--dealing with a very anxious BF is challenging especially when his immediate reaction is to shut me out & not admit how difficult the next hurdle is for him. Patience is key & I am trying to remind him that I'm in his corner. The last lyrics post is for him--when I listen to the song (youtube embedded at the bottom of the blog) I think of what's going on with him right now.  I hope he recognizes that I am there for him & that it is not a weakness to lean on me when he has so much on his plate. When I worked for a company a while back, I used to get so caught up in being the best teacher & behavior manager that I really lost sight of the beauty of teaching & my sense of humor in general.  I essentially took myself waaaay too seriously.  What I said to Xing Fu was that sometimes not taking yourself so seriously is important.  Being wound too tightly as a result can make life difficult needlessly--loosen up & sit back for a second & take a breath.  Remind yourself about the joys & humor in life.  Following my own advice is hard but I try, I try. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Lost In My Mind

Put your dreams away for now
I won’t see you for some time
I am lost in my mind
I get lost in my mind

Momma once told me
You’re already home where you feel love
I am lost in my mind
I get lost in my mind

Oh my brother
Your wisdom is all that I need
Oh my brother
Don’t you worry ‘bout me
Don’t you worry
Don’t you worry
Don’t worry about me

How’s that bricklayin’ coming
How’s your engine running
Is that bridge getting built
Are your hands getting filled

Won’t you tell me my brother
Cause there are stars up above
We can start moving forward

from The Head & the Heart 

We saw this band when they opened for Dr. Dog.  They were very good & have since seen a lot more airplay especially on WTMD.  I highly recommend.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Getting Away

Cape Henlopen State Park
Getting ready to disappear for the weekend.  Going to the beach is a great way just to get away & recharge without taking a huge amount of time.  I think I need to do this about every 6 months or so--no pressures, no concerns, do what we like or do nothing (hard for the likes of the two of us).  My son will be with his aunt, grandfather & father in Bethesda so this is a good weekend for Xing Fu & I to get away before the sailing season ramps up & we're consumed by regattas.  I also think that it gives our relationship a little shot in the arm.  We get so caught up in the everyday of our lives & enjoying our relationship sometimes takes a back seat.  I always feel reconnected when we get home & closer to Xing Fu.  He doesn't necessarily feel the need--guess he's humoring me but I think he knows that I need it so he does treat it with care.

So perhaps some geocaching at Henlopen State Park, a walk to the beach, & maybe nothing more.  For me the beach is a way for me to clear my brain.  It calls to me...the ocean feels like home even in the dead of winter or early spring.  And I can share that with Xing Fu.  Just us.  I can't wait.


Monday, March 21, 2011

Whir, Whir, Blend

Families are a fragile thing.  As we continue to "normalize" the two families I feel like a quiet acceptance has arisen from all of the children--it's not a bad one like a sigh of resignation.  More like an, "OK, so this is what this blended family thing can be & it's ain't so bad."  All of us are participating in the March Madness bracket pool--so far Xing Fu & I are tied--damn Syracuse for losing to Marquette--I would've been in the lead!  

However, the best feeling came when Xing Fu told me that his youngest wanted him to call me to see what I was up to on Saturday evening & invite me over---words cannot begin to describe how that makes me feel. It has been a tough year for his kids in particular & to begin to feel a part of their normal weekend is huge.  I remember describing how I felt like I was the man behind the curtain like in The Wizard of Oz. I am glad that I no longer feel that way & I hope his kids are becoming much more comfortable with my presence as well as my son's.  My son joined me on Saturday over at Xing Fu's for dinner.  Last night I had everyone over for Navarin d'agneau (Spring Lamb Stew).  His kids said that eating at my house was an adventure because they will always have something they've never eaten before--their horizons are being expanded.  I like that they see that--that I'm contributing to their lives in some way that they hadn't had before.  I also enjoyed watching the interaction between Xing Fu & his kids--they crack me up--Dad is so NOT cool!  Funny....

Friday, March 18, 2011

Free and Reduced Meals

Apparently lunch was on me on Thursday.  Went with my co-workers to lunch at Chipotle & as usual I slung my purse on the back of my chair.  And as my head was deep in it, I left it there.  Stoopid, stoopid me--my first mistake. We had just pulled into the parking lot of our school when I discovered the very important missing item.  I quickly called the restaurant, but I guess there was a language barrier or something as I was left on hold for so long that we arrived back to Chipotle's before anyone ever picked up--actually I ran inside & there the person was holding the phone as if there was nothing at all wrong...No one helped me--they all stood there looking at me as if I'd sprouted 10 heads.  I was very appalled by the lack of response.  So I ran back out to where we'd eaten & asked two ladies who'd been sitting there when we'd left if they saw anything.  Nope, Nada.  By this time I was in a huge panic because we'd noticed a homeless man hanging out in front of the restaurant when we'd left the first time & he was no longer there.  I ran back inside & started asking patrons if they'd turned in a purse.  As I was looking around wildly, I noticed a professionally-dressed woman walking from the direction of the restroom & lo & behold she was holding my purse!  Perfect!!  I called out, "Thank you! Thank you! You found my purse."  She said she just saw it sitting & didn't want to pick it up at first because she didn't want anyone to think she'd stolen it.  For a split second I thought about offering her a little reward for retrieving it but decided against it because I wouldn't have expected it if I'd found a purse & I didn't want to embarrass her.  That was mistake number two.  If I had bothered to open the purse there & then I'd have seen that my wallet was laying open & all my cash was gone.  All $85 including my little secret $20 stash.  Instead, I trusted that people are good & blithely bounced back to the car where my co-worker was waiting for me.  It was there where I discovered my violation.  Thankfully, thankfully she did not take my license, credit cards, or social security card.  So I guess lunch really was on me...and the brand new silk blouse she picked up at Nordstrom's Rack.  

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Book Club

As I am often waiting for my kid at certain times: guitar lesson, math tutoring, soccer games, etc., I have been reading books.  I am a vociferous reader but don't always have large blocks of time anymore to enjoy a good book.  So those little snippets of time have been nice & now, as the weather gets warmer, & the sunlight is longer, it will be especially wonderful to get outside & read.  But this really isn't a post about my enjoying a good book, it's really about how these books have called to me recently in some of the passages--how they are so appropriate in parallel to parts of my own life.  Right now I am reading a book entitled Between Here and April by Deborah Copaken Kogan. I was struck by the following truth found in this passage:

"Marriage is the one institution I know that doesn't require preparation for matriculation. There are no essays asking us to predict the number of children we will have, if any, and who will take them to the hospital if they bleed.  There are no multiple-choice tests forcing us to envisage how our financial partnership might look, or late-night field trips to love's inner sanctums (which from syntax alone--master bedroom--reveals a lot) to witness sexual politics in action.  There are no textbooks offering tips on what to do when the baby is sick, the sitter's on vacation, and both spouses are on deadline; no four-page syllabi containing his-and-her primary source material.
 In fact, the only primary source material we're given comes from the most unreliable of sources possible: our own parents.  No wonder half of us flunk out."

On first glance I guess it looks a bit depressing, but I think it just points out that keeping a relationship positive & moving in the right direction takes work.  That we need to be aware of the pitfalls & try to remember why we fell in love in the first place. And the fervent wish that there was a manual to make it work.  And perhaps the recognition that it can work & be wonderful--even if it takes another attempt, or two, or three...  *I always add the caveat that it needn't be a marriage--any LTR or relationship for that matter counts here.  

Anyway, the book has far more to it than the main character's marriage--there's a bit of a murder mystery as well & an exploration of postpartum depression & pms before such things existed--women's health issues.  It is a good book thus far.

"Life's full of irony, bubelah.  Haven't you learned that by now?"

Monday, March 14, 2011

Chicken Soup for My Soul

I spent the entire weekend sick in bed with a nasty stomach bug.  Seems that I inherited it from my kid but mine is far worse than his was.  Certainly not one of my greatest moments--I think I spent most of Saturday pretty much unconscious & a good portion of Sunday unable to do much more.  I hate when weekends are wasted; especially weekends that are the ones Xing Fu & I spend together--he spent the weekend caring for me & by extension my son.  I guess that can be considered a true test of a relationship--seeing someone in their not so attractive state.  And getting up with them at 2AM to hold their hair & the garbage can.  I think at one point I asked him why he was here--he could be off doing a million other things but he said that he needed to be there for me & that I'd do the same for him (which is very true).  That was very nice to hear because I really couldn't do much more than lie in bed & moan.  At least there was a lot of basketball this weekend--so I didn't feel entirely guilty since there were at least 3 games that kept Xing Fu close by my HD TV.  Plus the NCAA selection for March Madness last night.  

But ultimately what was so wonderful was that he was there for me--pushed liquids, brought me ice which has been about the only thing I've been able to keep down, brushed my hair back to see if I was running a fever, brought me flowers & helped me take care of my kid (making dinner on both Saturday & Sunday evenings).  And I still beat him at Scrabble!!  

I remember writing in the past about being sick & miserable, contemplating my navel--but what I didn't ever talk about was the alone part--of no one checking in on me.  It was comforting not to be alone & knowing that there was someone watching over me when I was probably not at my best & certainly not at my most romantic. And to top it all off--I haven't been the nicest recently--he's been working a lot of extra hours & that's been hard for me to deal with--so the fact that he has stuck by me when I haven't been such a great & understanding GF is a big deal--one that won't get lost on me.  I will do better.  Maybe I am contemplating my navel after all--can't seem to get past being sick without spending some time poking around down there....

Friday, March 11, 2011

On-line Dating Trials & Tribulations

Someone asked me recently (I think it was Xing Fu--probably was..), if I remembered all of my 50 first dates.  I thought about a little bit--and I think I remember most of them--I have a certain fondness for them all...a slight nostalgia if you will.  Do I miss it?  Mebbe a teensy, tinesy, little bit.  But so little that I hardly miss it.  It was a hugely interesting time in my life--not always all that fun, mind you, but most definitely, interesting.  In fact, a guy I think I went out with way, way, back circa 2006 or 2007, tried to friend me on Facebook recently.  Ewww. Most of the dudes were nice--I think out of all of the dates I've been on there were only a few total bombs.  Not a bad track record. And most of those dates were from on-line dating sites.  

I remember way back when in my college days reading the ISO adds & how anyone who did the on-line dating thing was desperate.  How that perspective has shifted.  I think I never would have met the breadth of guys that I did if not for the computer--never would have happened prior to the popularity of the online sites--I think I hit it at the right time--seemed to start to be a very acceptable vehicle to meet guys around the time of my divorce--2005. Quite sure I wouldn't have gone out as much either.  So that certainly is one positive for the online thing--perhaps the distance has skewed my perspective...

Anyway, I was inspired to write this post because I was reading a Facebook friend's own online trials via her wall posts & she posted this afternoon "Call me old school, but when a guy is trying to date me, I still like to talk on phone before a first date, not just texting! WTF LOL"  I think a phone conversation can be a good thing--gives an opportunity to see what you're getting into so to speak, but I got to the point that if all the dude did was talk or text & never actually asked me out, then that was a supreme waste of my time.  So cutting back on the phone or texting chatter made a lot of sense to me--just cut to the chase, dammit!!  I got to the point where I would say in an online correspondence, "Not much into chatting on the phone, more interested in meeting face-to-face & seeing if there's a connection."  Most guys appreciated that--if you ain't a good fit, better to find out real quick then to have planned your entire life together out via texts & emails & phone convos--that happened to me a few times--eventually I got smart about it.  Cus once you met & there was no connection, well, what are you left with?  Hours & hours of wasted time--being in my 40's --not interested in wasting that kind of time.   I wanna get to the good stuff!  Unfortunately for my online life there wasn't much beyond the first meeting.  Ah well. 

But I still insist that online is a great way to meet folk.  I certainly had those highs (Amsterdam) & lows (car break-down after Cirque de Soleil).  But in my case it was really "old school"--actually away from my puter--that was ultimately successful for me.  Xing Fu once said that this online dating thing was kinda scary--this was after I sent him the email from a dude on who let me know how much he liked my earrings.  Yeah, scary but also other-worldly.  I look back on it now & it's surreal.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Time Isn't Kind or Unkind

Time isn't kind or unkind, you liked to say.
But I wonder to who and
what it is you're saying today.

Mary Anne, do you remember

the tree by the river
when we were seventeen?

Dark canyon road, I was coy in the half-moon;

happy just to be with you,
and you were happy for me.

Tree By The River-By Iron & Wine

At home with my sick boy today & have been thinking about this song a lot recently.  The imagery catches me most of all--I love Iron & Wine--have for a while & I especially love the cover of Such Great Heights which I've written about on this blog quite a few times.  I am especially taken by the the line, "Time isn't kind or or unkind."  I think that is especially true.  People like to say that "time heals all wounds," to use a well-worn phrase, but does it?  For me, time sometimes is unkind.  If I'm in the middle of a conflict, and it can't be resolved right away, or if there's something that I need to talk to someone about that's serious & I can't speak to them until much, much later, well time is my enemy.  I tend to sit & overthink whatever is going on & that is. not. good.  System overload.  But the flip-side to that is that time is kind--& yes, that hackneyed phrase works--kids learn to deal with their parents' divorces & accept change, for example--that takes time. Time isn't kind or unkind--it is both.

But the entire song paints a beautiful picture of young love & looking back on it years down the road & possibly after many other relationships as well.  I know I wonder about my first true love & what he's like & doing today.  Not enough to actively find out--but I'm curious to know what kind of person he is now from when we were 17.

Yup, feeling a bit nostalgic today--whatcha' gonna do but embrace it.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

deep down true

"I did good," Morgan said, "up till the vows.  Up till the  'death do us part' part.  And I thought, 'He said this same thing to Mom, and he didn't mean it.  How come anyone believes him now?'"
   "He did mean it."
   "Yeah, right," she snorted.  "And look where that got us."
   "Morgan, I'm not going to start defending your father," Dana said quietly. "But I was there 15 years ago when he said it the first time, and I know he meant it.  He had every intention, and so did I.  But sometimes the best of intentions just don't work out.  A lot of times they do, but sometimes they don't."

From deep down true by Juliette Fay

Just finished reading this book & I was quite taken by the above excerpt.  It made me think about when my own folks got divorced. One minute we were this intact family & the next minute, that was blown to bits.  It was pretty tough especially when both my parents were with different people & not each other--children have a hard time with having to give up the idea that their parents won't be "happily ever after."  So when I read this--I was transported back to the day when my dad got remarried & how hard that was for me.  I'm on the other side of that now & I guess I'd kinda forgotten what that was like.  And even though my kid has had a few years to adjust to the idea of mom & dad not together (and thankfully he wasn't at my ex's wedding), I know that it was hard for him to accept someone not his mom at times & not his dad with me.  So why am I talking about all of this?  Well, recently I've been writing about how Xing Fu & I are blending our families together more & more and how well it's been going.  And it has.  I spent Friday evening with him & his kids (my own kid was at his best friend's house) and we had a very nice evening.  

But I guess my message here is to our kids:  I know what it's like to all of a sudden see your parents kiss another person who is not your mom or dad, even if you rarely or ever saw your parents kiss in the first place (extreme unhappiness in a marriage tends to kill those things & kids don't necessarily see the whole picture).  I remember thinking similar thoughts about my dad like the excerpt above.  And the mom's response from the story above is very true--sometimes it is happily ever after & when moms & dads say it the first time they really do mean it.  I know I had the best of intentions when my ex & I first said "I do."  I fought to hold on to our marriage tooth & nail because I didn't want to end up like my parents--but I couldn't anymore & still be me--I hated who I was in my marriage & I knew that I couldn't be in it anymore.  I think if you asked my son if he wishes his mom & dad were back together his initial response would be yes, because everyone wants their parents together.  But very quickly after he thought a minute he'd probably say "No Way!" And then proceed to tell how much easier it is to live with one very happy parent then two who appear to hate each other & never spoke a positive or happy word to each other in his presence anyway--what kind of modeling for positive adult relationships is that?  Now what he sees are two adults who obviously care very deeply for & are very happy with one another--and that's the kind of relationship I want him to model when he gets married.  So yeah, I do have some regret & now it's very fleeting, but I think that the choice I made was definitely for the best, even if at first it is harder on the kids.  Deep down true.*

*Here's a link if you want to buy the book--I highly recommend it:

Thursday, March 3, 2011

9 Words Women Use

Xing Fu sent this to me yesterday--I wonder if it was in response to the little argument we had on Sunday....all I know is that after reading it I had to laugh--and forward it to others because....IT IS SO TRUE!   Also, I recognized a few from our little tiff--pretty sure I said, fine, whatever, followed by a loud sigh.  Xing Fu also informed me that he was going to shrink it to wallet size & make copies for himself & my son....So here goes....opinions are always welcomed.

(1) Fine: This is the word women use to end an argument when they are right and you need to shut up.
(2) Five Minutes: If she is getting dressed, this means a half an hour. Five minutes is only five minutes if you have just been given five more minutes to watch the game before helping around the house.
(3)Nothing: This is the calm before the storm. This means something, and you should be on your toes. Arguments that begin with nothing usually end in fine.
(4) Go Ahead: This is a dare, not permission. Don't Do It!
(5) Loud Sigh: This is actually a word, but is a non-verbal statement often misunderstood by men. A loud sigh means she thinks you are an idiot and wonders why she is wasting her time standing here and arguing with you about nothing. (Refer back to # 3 for the meaning of nothing.)
(6) That's Okay: This is one of the most dangerous statements a women can make to a man. That's okay means she wants to think long and hard before deciding how and when you will pay for your mistake.
(7) Thanks: A woman is thanking you, do not question, or faint. Just say you're welcome. (I want to add in a clause here - This is true, unless she says 'Thanks a lot' - that is PURE sarcasm and she is not thanking you at all. DO NOT say 'you're welcome' . that will bring on a 'whatever')
(8) Whatever: Is a woman's way of saying GO TO HELL
(9) Don't worry about it, I got it: Another dangerous statement, meaning this is something that a woman has told a man to do several times, but is now doing it herself. This will later result in a man asking 'What's wrong?' For the woman's response refer to # 3.
* Send this to the men you know, to warn them about arguments they can avoid if they remember the terminology.