Sunday, November 10, 2013

Maryland Winery Tour

Black Ankle
Yesterday was a perfect day to drive out to Western Maryland. Sailing friends of ours (who we've become very close to), drove up from 'Naptown mid-morning & we piled into my car for the drive out to Frederick.  Our destinations: Black Ankle Winery http://www.blackankle.com/ & Serpent Ridge Wineryhttp://www.serpentridge.com/ . Just can't beat going to the vineyards themselves.  And I keep saying rather vociferously that Maryland wines are really quite good--I have become especially enamored of Boordy (belong to their wine club), Black Ankle (belong to their wine club now), & Serpent Ridge (no wine club to join). We arrive at Black Ankle & settle in for the wine tasting--I have to say that the tasting room was something right out of Napa/Sonoma.  The entire structure was eco-friendly & locally sourced--right from the vineyard--from the walls constructed from the clay to the tasting bars made from old vines. It was incredibly beautiful just like the wines that they produce.  Ever since I first tried their Crumbling Rock in their first vintage in 2006, I have been a huge fan.  My other fav of theirs is the Syrah.  In my wine cellar I still have 2 bottles of their award-winning '06 Syrah--so smooth & oh, so amazing. I decided that after buying so much at a wine shop at home, it was time to bite the bullet just like I had for Boordy http://www.boordy.com/ & join their wine club as well.  And I'm glad I did because after December there will now be a wait-list for Black Ankle's wine club.  Being on a wait-list sucks--I've been on Kosta Brown's wait-list for 2 years now....but that indicates just how good these wines are.  Anyway, we all sat down & had a great spread with a Syrah & their last year's vintage Passegiatta.  Everything is locally sourced so we had two beautiful cheeses: Cherry Glen's Monocacy Ash (Incredible), & from South Mountain Creamery, Mountaintop Bleu.  Olives, & great crusty bread from a nearby bakery.  YUM! And I didn't even mention the chocolates from Frederick--A-may-zing!!
We could've stopped there, but I was on a mission to also get to a new up & coming winery: Serpent Ridge.  I have fallen in love with their blend named Basilisk--blend of Cabernet Sauvignon & Cabernet Franc.  So we load up into my car & decide to make a little detour to Elk Run which is just down the street from Black Ankle.  My criticism is that Elk Run's wines try very hard but just don't cut it in my book.  I will say that the Cabernet Sauvignon Liberty Tavern Estate Reserve was quite good.  Thumbs up to that one.  It may be woth it to go give them a fresh taste first but that didn't blur for my enjoyment of the Serpent Ridge wines which we had third...so I don't know...

Serpent Ridge--for a new vineyard is producing some good stuff.  Loved the Vintner's Cabernet but the Basilisk is what I came for--so good!

All of this wine experience brings me to the end--a little chat about Boordy--pretty close to home with probably the best Cabernet Franc that I've ever had.  Maryland is just perfect for growing Cab Franc & Boordy has outdone themselves with the Cabernet Franc Reserve--only available now to wine club members so unless you've got a friend, you won't be able to try this truly outstanding wine. The others that I enjoy are the Landmark Reserve, South Mountain Red, & the Dry Rose.  

Bottom line--there are some wonderful Maryland Wineries out there--I plan to visit more--been to quite a lot but the list is growing.  I am a huge supporter of local wines & need to expand to the Eastern Shore, but so far, loving where I've visited thus far.  It certainly helps that I got to enjoy these places with great friends!   

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

My Marriage Reality

An article has been circulating around the 'net recently--dare I say it--gone viral, entitled "Marriage isn't for You".  http://sethadamsmith.com/2013/11/02/marriage-isnt-for-you/  On first blush (heh), I quite liked ALL that was said--why wouldn't I?  It implied that the man should put his girl first, & everyone else for that matter, but I'm getting away from my train of thought....I do love the sentiment though.  The basic idea came from his dad who said, " I’m going to make this really simple: marriage isn’t for you. You don’t marry to make yourself happy, you marry to make someone else happy. More than that, your marriage isn’t for yourself, you’re marrying for a family. Not just for the in-laws and all of that nonsense, but for your future children. Who do you want to help you raise them? Who do you want to influence them? Marriage isn’t for you. It’s not about you. Marriage is about the person you married.”  Nice!  Who wouldn't want your man doing all he can for you??  But it won't work.  Evah!  Not to say to be all Debbie Downer, but let's be realistic here.  What man will willingly debase himself like that & be pussy-whipped for a woman?  I don't know too many of them....bet you don't either.  Instead, I like to think that marriage, or any serious long-term, committed relationship is a 60-40 proposition--otherwise known as the 60-40 rule.  I've talked about this before--sometimes you give 60% & your SO gives the 40.  And sometimes that is reversed--just depends on the situation & the partner's need at the time.  And, what I really take from this little incredibly loving statement to his wife, is that marriage really is hard work.  As the author Seth Adam Smith says, "It (his father's advice) went against the grain of today’s “Walmart philosophy”, which is if it doesn’t make you happy, you can take it back and get a new one."   I agree 100% with that statement.  People will so easily cast aside their relationship & are unwilling often to do the hard work.  

So lo & behold, across the web comes the counter article: Why Man's 'Marriage Isn't For You' Essay Misses the Mark. http://shine.yahoo.com/love-sex/why-man-s--marriage-isn-t-for-you--essay-misses-the-mark-201042173.html  And I definitely agree with this excerpt:

According to Andrea Bonior, PhD, a Washington, D.C.-based licensed clinical psychologist, Smith's intention may be good, but his message is muddled. “People live crazy, hectic lives, so taking time to appreciate your partner and the commitment you made to each other is a positive thing,” she tells Yahoo Shine. “However, marriage is not just about one person's needs." Science substantiates that: One recent study conducted by Monmouth University found that couples who focus on their own personal growth, as opposed to their partner's, are more committed and enjoy longer marriages.

Reality check.  The rest of the article discusses what the consequences could be if the advice is taken literally--abusive spouse?  Do you bend over & take that or is there a time when enough is enough?  Mentally ill to the point of incapacitation?  Emotional abuse?  See where I'm going here?  I believe that Smith wrote the article for the marriages that face the daily slings & arrows....and being reminded of how important it is to love one another, & work through the issues is always a good thing.

In the end however, it is this little facebook thingy that I liked the most:

 An old man calls his son and says, "Listen, your mother and I are getting divorced. Forty-five years of misery is enough."

"Dad, what are you talking about?" the son screams.

“We can't stand the sight of each other any longer,” he says. "I'm sick of her face, and I'm sick of talking about this, so call your sister and tell her," and he hangs up.

Now, the son is worried. He calls his sister. She says, "Like hell they’re getting divorced!" She calls their father immediately. "You’re not getting divorced! Don't do another thing. The two of us are flying home tomorrow to talk about this. Until then, don't call a lawyer, don't file a paper. DO YOU HEAR ME?” She hangs up the phone.

The old man turns to his wife and says, "Okay, they’re both coming for Christmas and paying their own airfares.



Monday, November 4, 2013

Vote For Me!

Hi all out there in the blogosphere!  It's that time of year again when I ask my readers to give back a little by going & voting for my blog daily.  Yep, it's time for the Mobbies (Maryland's Outstanding Blogs) 2013.  Last year I made it to the top 5 in Best Personal--I'd love to make it higher this year.  So I am asking for all of you readers to step up & cast your vote!  And, you don't have to live in Charm City to spread the love....

As it stands, having been nominated again has helped me move past some of the old writer's block & show a little motivation to write more.  Always a good thing because allowing all that jumble of my brain to fester without an outlet just is not good..

I thank you for your support--just click on the badge top right to log on to vote--just that easy!

 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

"L" on my Forehead

I am a LOSER!  I missed my blogoversary again!!  Am I that much of a domestic diva that I forget my humble beginnings?  In 2008 I started recording all of my mind-numbing antics dating out there in divorced-single-parent land & I guess I've come 180 from there...in a new house, with my "soul-mate" & an instant family (aside from my own son) & a stepmother of 2 1/2 kiddos (the 1/2 is the one in college)....certainly enough blog-fodder to continue this running dialogue to be sure.  I have thought about changing the name & the direction, essentially starting a new blog altogether but the name really does still fit.  Why?  Well, I haven't gotten remarried & I don't see a rock on my finger in the near future so technically Xing Fu is still my boyfriend. And will be for the yet unseeable, unknowable future....but lucky me I've found my kissable frog & maybe, because I haven't been writing too terribly much this past blog year, it has something to do with "near-wedded" bliss.  Yeah, lots has happened but do I want to bore the blogosphere with information about which laundry soap works best on cat blood?  Well, maybe you do want to know...actually, I have no clue. 

So I imagine that another reason why I've been missing writing is because of sailing--all-consuming, all engrossing & a bit of a niche community, sailing.  I should really get an apartment in Annapolis--I practically live there during the summer.  And, honestly, it is the only place where I've had a really decent Dark 'n' Stormy.  (Annapolis: A drinking town with a sailing problem.)  I know a lot of my sailing friends check this blog on occasion but aside from them, who the hell knows the difference between a gybe & a tack???  So, I've laid off the sailing posts a bit too--except for the last one--oh boy was that a doozy!  But I can tell you that my sailing season is essentially over & I probably won't be writing too much more about it until April...*sniff*.  I still have this huge knot over my elbow & pretty horrific bruising that is fading, but that's all that is left of my sailing for the season. 

I sit here now thinking about the future of this blog. What will be the turn?  Xing Fu & I trying to figure out what to do when we aren't sailing?  Or what it means to find that supposed "soul mate" & what to do with him once you do....day in & day out we take for granted where we came from--we need to make sure that we remember what it was so we can appreciate what it is now.  So many women of my age bracket are out there looking--all I can say is, keep going!  Keep fighting the good fight! Mebbe I can have some helpful tidbits to dole out now & then about finding that prince among the frogs.   Reflecting back to 2008 when I started this thing--it has been one heck of a ride!

Oh, Happy Halloween everyone!  Be safe!
Bat Halloween Nightmares

  

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

One For The Record Book


Yup, been mostly missing here for a while....just not too terribly much to pontificate on currently....living day-to-day, doing the family 'thang.  You know, the big *SNORE*...well, not entirely.  There were some really good times out racing thrown in for good measure.  Case in point, the fall Oxford race was just awesome!  Good crew, good wind, really in sync--probably some of the best racing I've ever done...it was really nice to finally feel the exhilaration that comes when you know that the boat & all on board knocked it out of the park.  

But I digress.  Saturday looked to be a fun day on the water--nice breeze, fun crew, etc., etc.  Time for the Annapolis Yacht Club's Fall Series race--2 days of windward-leewards & I was trimming spin...I couldn't be much happier....the previous week had been the distance race & it was good fun--& again, I got my trim on so I was in a good place.  

So here's my story:  We all have them--those crazy sailing adventure stories...

We were ready for the final race of the day & had gotten a terrific start. We were getting ready to turn the windward mark & I was thinking about getting set up for trimming the kite--making sure the sheets & guys were in place--the sheet wrapped around the winch on the cabin top so I could get the kite trimmed in after the hoist, etc. And then it happened.  As another crew member & I were flying across the cabin top during the tack, I reached for the handrail at the same time & place she did & somehow never grabbed hold of it.  I just kept on going--as in right off the boat!  She told me later that I flew horizontally under the lower lifeline! Well, the first thought I had after I was under water was, "Wow! The bay is green this time of year!"  The next thought was, "Oh Shit!  I'm in the water!"

OK, don't panic!  Here I am, fully dressed, foulies, in mid/late October, in the Chesapeake Bay treading water while the 2-3 foot chop splashed over my head & I still have my sunglasses & hat attached to me!  Immediately, the folks on board yell "MAN OVERBOARD!" & throw me a life jacket--I swim to it as they tack around to try to get closer to me.  Headsail dropped of course.  However, I think they got just a little to close--if I hadn't backed out of the way, I would've gotten beaned and/or run over by the boat! Now to figure out how to get back on the boat--drowned rat that I am. It just wasn't gonna happen...there was no emergency swim ladder on board & at this point I was too heavy & too fatigued to even try to help pull myself up or even swing a leg over the gunwale.  So maybe a makeshift ladder of bowlines?  Nah.  I was starting to get cold & fatigue was setting in.  Thankfully, since we were close to the turn mark, the race committee wasn't too far away.  They were hailed & came over.  They had a swim platform & a ladder but I had to get over to them--the sea was just too choppy to get close to the boat I just flew off of & they had to take care that they didn't run me over either.  Finally, a ring buoy with a line attached was thrown to me--but wouldn't you have it--Murphy's Law in action!  The wind kept blowing the buoy back to the boat--ACK!  Eventually, I was able to grab hold & be pulled to the RC boat.  I climbed slowly out of the water to be rushed on board. All told, I spent 30 minutes in the water...if it had been a little later in the season & the water a little colder.....well, I think you get it.  

Yeah, I can be pretty dense, or I was in shock because I kept telling the folks on the RC boat that they had to get me back on board so I could finish the race & get my stuff.  This tiny woman looked at me like I was nutso & yelled at me, "You get your ass on this boat!  You are NOT going back on that boat!"  Meekly, I climbed under the canvas top & sat down.  They didn't have much in the way of emergency equipment like a blanket or even spare jackets but there was an extra t-shirt that I wrapped around myself as best I could as the crew on board the RC boat raced back towards Annapolis & the yacht club.  I must say that my "mother hen" was simply wonderful.  She took care of me with the utmost concern.  Found me a change of clothes, made sure I had something hot to drink, had a doctor, or three, including one oral surgeon, check me out (I have a huge goose-egg on my arm & some serious bruising), gave me a blanket, towels, & some really good cream of crab soup, and stayed with me until someone from my boat picked me up.  She is my angel!

This situation, amusing now, could have been a lot worse when I look at it in retrospect.  As I said, had it been colder, windier, choppier....had I hit my head instead of my arm on the way into the water...had the RC boat been farther away....anyway.

Here's my take on this:  I think every racing boat should be equipped with an emergency swim ladder--they don't weigh much (very important), they roll up & can be stored easily.  I also think that if a crew has not done a man overboard drill at least once per season, it really needs to be done asap.  I also think that every RC boat should be equipped with blankets, towels, etc., in case this happens again and it will--not everyone who races is a he-man jock.  And I don't think too many folk can just easily hoist themselves back on a boat in full gear after treading water in the cold...maybe they can but I really don't think so...

I also think that I'm one tough broad!

I'm ready to race this weekend, bruising & all! 



Friday, August 16, 2013

Loneliness & Social Media

So I was sitting here on Monday scratching my head for a new blog post to share with the world & it kinda fell in my lap via my son.  He has recently joined the blogging fray--he writes about his religious views or rather, his lack of religion.  Which is ok--we are not a religious family by any stretch of the imagination but I would say that we ascribe to a "culturally Jewish" mindset & I think my son would agree with that statement.  But his blog or his religious views are not the point of this post but rather a video that he posted on his blog.  If any are interested here is a link to his blog: http://reasonoverdogma.blogspot.com/

Anyway, my son posted this video from vimeo regarding the new "loneliness" that has been brought about by all of our electronics & social media addictions. Here is a link:  http://vimeo.com/70534716
To some degree I agree with the video but I also dissent.  I happen to love social media & utilize it readily--blogging anyone?  I have found that while yes, 320 of my nearest & dearest are my friends on facebook, it doesn't stop me from having real social interactions with those who count the most (I just insulted half of my friends on FB).  In some ways I feel that social media enhances my relationships. For example, if I posted some beach pics from instagram on facebook, checked in on foursquare at Surf Bagel, etc., invariably when I see a friend they say something like, "I saw your vacay pics on facebook & it looks like you guys had a good time.  I've been meaning to go to Surf Bagel when I'm in Lewes. Is it really that good?"  (btw, Surf Bagel really IS that good) So, a lot of times my posts help create a face-to-face conversation. Additionally, social media has brought me back in touch with some folk that I haven't seen in years--just recently a visit from one of my college friends from Michigan--inspiring a real conversation & interaction. We went to Boordy Vineyards to enjoy a wine tasting of great Maryland Wines, & yeah, I checked in on foursquare, & took a pic for instagram, but again, without my electronics, all of that may not have happened. And, truth be told, I tend to use facebook as picture storage & organization--it is a great place to put pictures & they are organized in a handy-dandy timeline!  Honestly, like everything else, I feel there is a middle ground.  

Very good points are to be made in the video.  Sometimes, during the course of our vacation at the beach, I would look around & EVERYONE was on some sort of electronic device.  People may have been sitting next to one another on the couch, but each person was in their own little world: I was watching old Merry Melodies on my ipad, my kid was playing a video game on his laptop across from me, his best friend was reading a book on his kindle, & one of my stepdaughters was watching netflix on her iphone.  It didn't happen often, & at one point all 10 of us crammed around the cocktail table in the living room to play Cards Against Humanity--very interactive, as well as Snorta!, & Cranium, so it wasn't ALL isolation....like I said--a happy medium.  

One final thought--as the video points out, texts, tweets, emails, blog posts, etc., can most definitely be edited before posting them while a real conversation cannot.  I think that online dating suffers from this phenomenon. (Yup, gotta bring this back to the overarching theme of this blog) Your online profile is not the real you & while I think online dating has helped so many people connect that probably would not have, I am very happy that Xing Fu & I actually connected the old fashioned way--he knew the real me & not some hyped up profile of what I wanted others to believe was me.  My advice to online daters is this: Be wary of the profiles that you see--don't allow ongoing back & forth emails, insist on having that real conversation in person very quickly--it really is like meeting someone in a bar for the first time--you never emailed or texted for hours before you met that dude at the grocery store--it was a totally random occurrence. If the guy is willing to meet you very soon after a few emails or a phone conversation at a Starbucks for a "mini-date", then that is a good thing.  Do it!  I did a lot of that for my 50 first dates.  I recently read that what I encountered as an online dater is not as rare as had I thought--many people have 1 or 2 first dates & move on--social media & online dating sites can eventually help you to find the right guy. But don't allow the search or the long drawn out online courtship that eventually goes nowhere create the loneliness & isolation that the video discusses.  Go out & live! I'm also very interested in what others think of the video--comments please!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Vaycay? You Decide!

Last week we all went to the beach for a week.  I mean we ALL went to the beach....all 10 of us!  I have come to appreciate my mom & dad for all the work they did when we were growing up or when, as grown-ups, all of the sisters & their families descended on the house in Lewes for a "few days."  YIKES!!  Here's the break-down: me, Xing Fu, 2 of his daughters, my son, my BFF(J) and her kids (my son's best friend & her daughter), and 2 friends of my stepdaughter's.  I needed a vaycay from my vaycay...just sayin'.  
Top 10 Reasons I Need A Vaycay From My Vacation:
10. Getting up at dawn to make lunch for 10
9. Making 10 wraps with various innards
8. Organizing towels, books, frisbees, sunscreen
7. Packing coolers
6.  Packing car with coolers, beach chairs, bags, books, hats, etc., etc.
5. Apres beach: unpacking coolers, chairs, bags, hats, etc., etc.
4. Grocery shopping!  Everyday!
3. Preparing dinner & cleaning up dinner after the clean-up crew has finished (you know what I mean)
2. Drying towels, bathing suits
1. Evening entertainment: driving to ice cream, boardwalk, shopping, movies, etc., etc.
Additional requirements: cleaning up house after 10 people, making sure nothing is broken, doing laundry: sheets, towels, all dishes clean, putting all bikes, chairs, kayaks, etc. back in storage, locking up, leaving.

Did I say that being on the beach at Cape Henlopen was beautiful?  Absolutely!  Was it great fun?  Indeed!  But when I came home I felt like I'd been working much of the week-whew! I have to say though it was fun to see everyone hanging out, just spending time together.  I enjoyed having the time with my BFF(J), & now, with all of our collective kids being older, not having to be concerned with having to entertain them too much.  We provide the opportunities, but they do the rest.  If we'd done this 7-10 years ago, I think it would have been MUCH harder to do. I'm not complaining, I did have times of relaxation but I'm looking forward to when Xing Fu & I go on vacation--alone!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Teamwork

So the last post was about what NOT to do.  This one is inspired by long term commitment. I read a lot of stuff out there on the 'net having to do with relationship advice.  Some is good but most is very superficial.  And of course I've joined the fray...but I often write this stuff to look at my own relationship & remind myself of what we do right & what we need to improve. Sometimes I come across an article that is really good.  The one that I'm going to write about today stands out.  It talks about longevity in a relationship.  How the successful ones last.  It also starts with a quote from a philosopher I've run into before, Paul Tillich.  He says, "Any deep relationship to another human being requires watchfulness and nourishment."  Simple but oh, so hard to do! Here is the link to the full article by Victor M. Parachin--read it & tell me what you think, if you dare! I will add what stood out for me below.  http://www.yourtango.com/2013188786/10-secrets-successful-couples 

Number one is to enjoy each other--HUGE!  The fact that both Xing Fu & I love to sail & see live music brings us together quite a bit.  And we enjoy talking to each other--finding out what each other thinks, what drives one another.  Even discussing articles such as this one--if I come across advice that I like, I send it on.  I think that it is very good to be able to reflect on what you do well as a couple & what needs improvement--the mere fact that Xing Fu is willing to discuss this stuff brings me to the next piece of advice that I liked:
Being in it for the long haul.  Yep, my last post was all about those folks who may be deluding themselves into thinking that they had a lasting relationship & starting to recognize why they do not.  This one is about what being in it for the long haul is all about.  Some folk out there make a commitment when they marry but in the back of their minds they think things like, "well, if it doesn't work, we can always get a divorce."  The irony of course is that both Xing Fu & I come from unsuccessful marriages.  But I think that our approach is very different this time around--we talk about it.  We don't run away.  We look for ways to improve & we reflect on what we do well & need to do better as I've stated above.  We try to follow the advice of the article on fighting skillfully, & learning to seek & offer forgiveness (very hard for both of us--we are quite hardheaded). 
I hope that we continue to work to try to fix things and grow together as we go.

The last pieces of advice that I want to remark on are the first, & what you might think is obvious, but is oftentimes forgotten--never stop dating each other.  Keep the romance in--I like that we go to hear music & make it into a "date night" with dinner too.  Or that every once in a while we take a weekend just for ourselves--when we went to Front Royal, Va to pick up the writing desk where I'm currently sitting & stayed at a lovely & very romantic B&B.  

And the last is called the 60/40 rule.  I'll allow the article to speak for itself.  This one is new to me & when I shared it with Xing Fu, we both thought that it was something to try in the future:

Successful couples adhere to the 60/40 rule. Boggs and Miller also discovered that "marriage masters" have a high level of selflessness. "Walter" whom they interviewed, told them, "I'll never forget what my mentor told my wife and me before we got married 42 years ago. He looked at us and said, 'Most people think marriage is 50/50. It's not. It's 60/40. You give 60. You take 40. And that goes for both of you." It was a principle Walter and his wife adhered to faithfully.

Xing Fu's interpretation is this, "When you think that you're giving 50% but things aren't resolving, you may need to give a little more." And be willing to do so when necessary.  We have a partnership & sometimes one partner needs to give more than the other--it will balance out in the end & it will also allow for growing together & deepening the intimacy rather than the sometimes adversarial face-off that can occur. This skill ain't easy but we're working on it--we never had a name for what we do, but this one makes sense.

There are other "secrets" in the article but I'll allow you to discover the rest.  I'm interested in any other thoughts people may have.  Let me know.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Maturity

Recently, I've had a lot of time to think--simply because it's the summer, my kid's been in Israel for a month, & I only work 2 days a week.  There just ain't a lot to do--especially while swimming laps at the pool--thinking just creeps in, ya' know?  Anyhow, I digress & I haven't even started.  But I've been thinking about all of my past relationships & how they compare to my current one.  I hate to say it but I think this one is my first really mature relationship.  Here I am, 46 years old & up until this point I've been floundering in a morass of immature, often, destructive relationships...sigh. I've been thinking about this because of some of the folks around me & their current situations.  Comparisons abound & when I look at what these people are going through, I wince because at some point that was me & like them, I never recognized the toxicity of the relationship.  And now, observing my current situation, & no it ain't perfect by any stretch, but I can definitely say that it is mature.  Can you step back & look at what is going on? Signs that your romantic relationship is immature:

1. You keep breaking up & then reuniting.  This could be due to the fact that your guy keeps cheating on you or asks for space or isn't able to discuss anything that causes issues in the relationship....

2. You argue constantly.  OK, everyone has disagreements & sometimes they get a bit heated, but is it everyday?  Are you able to even discuss a problem with respect & without disintegrating into name-calling? You get my point--conflict happens, but how you deal with the process is what's telling.

3. You feel disconnected.  Emotionally, physically, proximity--as in he's never available by phone, email, or even for a date....and when you bring it up, he gets defensive and/or secretive.  You're sick, you need a ride to the doctor, your car broke down & you need a ride to the mechanic but he can't help--evah. A man who is emotionally unavailable is very immature about your relationship--if he's unwilling to talk about what bothers you...ever, run, don't walk to the nearest exit!  

4. You are always suspicious.  What is he doing? With whom? Why didn't he text, call, email?  Why didn't he tell me he loves me?  Why didn't he take me out? Why haven't I met his friends, family yet & we've been together ____ months? Get it?

5. You feel like it's just game-playing.  See all of the above--this is player behavior!

6. You haven't developed a real friendship.  A mature relationship is based on an underlying friendship that grows deeper over time. Sex & attraction is important, but do you enjoy each other as companions?  'nuff said!

7. You don't show affection.  This could be in public--I'm not saying an all-out make-out session a la middle school--I'm just saying hand holding, a kiss in the parking lot of the Giant, or a shoulder rub as you sit at Merriweather watching a concert.  That kind of thing.  A mature guy is not afraid of a little PDA.  

8. You never look beyond the current interaction.  In other words, you have no future plans--for another date if it is a relatively new relationship, or for a trip somewhere together, if you've been with this person for a while.  Or even, you don't see him, or you, intertwining your futures--

9. You are supplementing them. If you are giving money, "therapy", a place to live, etc., and not getting anything in return.  Yes, couples need to be there for each other but not provide a place to live without a prior agreement of living together, and/or giving money to that person because they're short every month, or providing "therapy" instead of support emotionally.  This is over-the-top. Mature relationships do not have this kind of one-sidedness.  It is very shared.  Yes, emergencies do come up but it not quite such a land-slide in one direction.

10. You believe that it will get better.  If all of the above circumstances apply to you & your sig other....It won't!  End it!

I'm no therapist myself, but the old adage, "been there, done that" applies.  I'd rather throw in my two cents than to sit idly by & watch the destruction.  Good luck, & I hope I can help even a little bit.  And everyone who wants a good, loving relationship deserves to have one!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Back From the Territories


Yup, I'm back. I'd "flipped" into the Territories. I took an extended leave of absence to kinda figure out where I was going, what I was doing, & decide whether or not I wanted to continue.  And obviously, I do since I've turned back on the all or nothing button for readers. I unintentionally caused a bit of grief for some folk & even though I was honest & tried to tread carefully, I was hurtful to one person in particular that I wish I hadn't upset.  Insert apology here..... The other person in the drama was just out to cause unnecessary pain & to that person I will NOT apologize.  Anyway, 'nuff said, it is in the past.

So why am I back?  Well I'll tell 'ya.  I enjoyed writing this blog--for the most part it was cathartic & fun--especially those misguided moments in life that you just gotta say, WTF?  I think I lost track of that somewhere so I now attempt to get back on board & perhaps curtail the stepmom stuff for someplace else.  Where exactly?  I don't know just yet--perhaps another blog which will be by invite only.  We'll see--as it stands, the stepfamily stuff is kinda' just rolling along & yeah, there are bumps but there ain't no mountains currently--a very good thing. "So now (cheesy grin) I'm back, from outer space..."

I was also prompted by some past articles I've happened across about relationships, etc. & wanted to share them & had nowhere to go. Anyhoo, here goes!

Do you have the perfect boyfriend/partner?  And no, it ain't a body like the new Superman or humor a la Fred Armisen (who is leaving SNL incidentally).  I really liked this article from Match.com by Amy Spencer because it does point out some of the enduring qualities that a partner has that makes them "perfect".  http://yahoo.match.com/y/article.aspx?articleid=12759&TrackingID=526103&BannerID=876307 

The entire article is a good one--not so sure about the frequency notes, but in general, I agree with what she has to say.  And, after reading the article, I don't have to train Xing Fu too much to achieve a lot of what is written.  Lucky me!  And no, he ain't perfect, believe me, but in this area, he does come close (the roses last week for no reason, e.g.).  I was especially touched by the first entry:

"Gives Us Butterflies in the Beginning"--yup--we all like those new romance stomach flip-flops but it was the end of the entry that really caught my eye:
 ...those fluttery feelings in the beginning of a new romance are important. Relationships can be hard at times, and one way to endure the rough patches is having that little spark of high-school variety puppy love to fall back on. The perfect guy provides his partner with that feeling.

Xing Fu always accuses me of being very nostalgic--guilty as charged!  But one of the things that I reflect on, are those first feelings of realization that I was falling for him & that the feeling was mutual. Even a few years later.  In fact, I was reading some old FB messages this morning & there it was!  The funny tickle in my tummy--nice that it still happens & I sent him an email just to tell him that I had those fuzzies--we all need to tell our significant others when those feelings come--makes you appreciate the relationship that much more.  

OK--now I'm done & hopefully there will be more soon.  Happy Summer!  

Maybe some sailing stories too....don't tempt me!

 

 


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Wednesday Night Racing....Again(Nostalgia Post)

Today would have been my grandfather's 103rd birthday. My amazing Pops who loved nothing more than to be out on a sailboat. He is my hero--and I hope I've done him proud over these past 5 years, obsessively racing on a bunch of sailboats.  Last night was the opening race of the Wednesday Night Series on the West River. So glad to be back out there.  As I looked around at the scenery (rare when so focused on getting the boat to go faster), I also recognized in me that same feeling:  There is no other place I'd rather be than sailing. 

Four years ago almost to the date, I met Xing Fu for the first time down on the West River.  My son & I used to drive down every other Wednesday to race & I remember the first time we went down there (also because I mention the time in a blog post) & I saw Xing Fu--it was cold & wet & he had on his foulies with a knit cap--too cute. Granted, never thought too much beyond that for that season but look where we are now.  And last night we sailed together again down there & I also realized that there is no other person that I'd rather be sailing/racing with. So a tribute to my Pops & a tribute to the West River where I found my passion renewed.  I also recently revisited past posts about sailing--I have learned a TON from that first post & the first race back out--reading about my Miles River experience on the Catalina 27 & how handling the kite was really baffling at the time & how the set & douse were beyond me.  Even my vocabulary has changed as well as my knowledge of the tweaks in the sail trim. I love how I've grown into the sport again & I love that I have a partner who loves it at least as much as me.  Yup, being a nostalgic sop but someone's gotta do it!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The MRS Degree

I'm very bummed that I'm not sailing today & Xing Fu is--couldn't catch a ride for NASS so I'm relegated to a day at home wishing I were sailing...*SIGH*.  Needless to say, I am quite jealous & even the boats that I do sail with aren't even going out to practice so I'm land-locked.  Bleh.  So I've decided that a little blog post is in order, having very little to do with sailing other than the fact that Xing Fu & I met sailing.  And when we did, it was a very long time after we'd both left college.  OK--what am I getting to you may wonder.  Well, I'll tell ya'.  

A few weeks ago I came across an article in Slate magazine about a Princeton mom Susan Patton admonishing girls in college about "hooking up" & not seeking a husband.  When I first read it I was hit viscerally by the thought that we are returning to my mom's generation--go to college to pick up the MRS, not the BA or BS.  'Cuz that's what women back then did.  And my thought was--wow, glad my generation isn't like that, although there were plenty of my sorority sisters back in '89 who did--with huge ceremonies after our meetings when they were pinned, lavaliered, etc. Such still giving huge credence to the MRS culture in college.  But, even so, most of us left college without a husband or a prospect of one & went off to our "adult" lives to eventually marry someone.  And now, 24 years after I graduated from college, the "hook up" culture is where it's at.  And Ms. Patton feels that these college women are missing out on the good guys by not looking for a husband amongst the eligible men of Princeton.  And you know something?  I think she's spot on...sorta.  A lot of the advice was pretty offensive but I do think she has a point.  

Here's what I believe.  Yes, she's a snob because she is assuming that the elite intellectuals are only available at these schools.  Technically, although I didn't go to an Ivy League school, I did happen to go to one of the US News & World Report's top 15 schools so I do think that my alma mater counts. And, is everyone out there searching for the smart guys?  What's your first criteria for a potential keeper?  Actually, one of my top 10's was being smart.  So yeah, truth be told--I was looking for someone who could keep up with me intellectually.  There are a lot of other quite nearsighted statements on her part that I'm sure you can find out in the ether but I contend, looking back almost 25 years that mebbe I should have been a little more serious about who I dated in college than just playing around for 4 years because frankly, it took me almost 20 years to actually find the right guy. Some of you may find this just as offensive as Ms. Patton's statements, but in some ways I wasted a lot of time, caused my self some real hardships (divorce, eg.), & some serious heartache.  And, by my senior year of college I was living with a doozy.  Stoopid.  Inappropriate. And he was not my intellectual equal, plain & simple.  And I allowed him to make me less intellectual as a result.  Because, he was older & thereby an "adult" & I was not & I was easily influenced back then. So here's one flaw in Ms. Patton's logic--I was nowhere ready to be married at 23 right out of school.  But who says that you have to marry the guy you're dating right out of college?  You don't. But mebbe you can marry him a few years down the road.  That's more realistic.  And you met him in school.  Because really, the men at my college really were the most appropriate for me. There's a laundry list of qualifications that I could list but know, two of the biggest (in retrospect) were a certain level of intelligence & similar interests.  And what's wrong with that?  But here's the rub, I didn't understand that then. So Patton has motherly advice with 30+ years' worth of experience:

           " Here’s what nobody is telling you: Find a husband on campus before you graduate. Yes, I    went there.
I am the mother of two sons who are both Princetonians. My older son had the good judgment and great fortune to marry a classmate of his, but he could have married anyone. My younger son is a junior and the universe of women he can marry is limitless. Men regularly marry women who are younger, less intelligent, less educated. It’s amazing how forgiving men can be about a woman’s lack of erudition, if she is exceptionally pretty. Smart women can’t (shouldn’t) marry men who aren’t at least their intellectual equal. As Princeton women, we have almost priced ourselves out of the market. Simply put, there is a very limited population of men who are as smart or smarter than we are. And I say again—you will never again be surrounded by this concentration of men who are worthy of you."

"This concentration of men who are worthy of you".  Indeed.  Her message is to support these young women's futures--to help them realize that they are worth more than a "hook-up" or the "bad-boy", or "the cool-hipster dudes".  Flawed, because not everyone wants to marry, or for that matter, even marry a man. So she is speaking to a specific population--my younger self.   I spent how many years with unworthy men.  Of course I am happy to have a wonderful child with my ex-husband, but he was unworthy. It took me 20 some-odd years to find Xing Fu after the fact & when I review his worth--he is really my match and having gone to another top 15 school--well, there it is--chances are, we might have met had we gone to the same schools.  He is very bright & intellectually stimulating, we definitely have much in common with interests (sailing anyone?), & our values & backgrounds are very much the same.  That is what Ms. Patton means.  And she is right. In this day & age, the ability to meet men gets harder & harder as you age--at least the appropriate ones.  I think about my friend who has been struggling for years--she is a couple years younger than I am & keeps getting involved with the most inappropriate guysAll she wants is the guy for the rest of her life. As women age, the pool of eligible men diminishes.  Reference to Sex And The City: 

 "And, as you move from age box to age box and the contestants get fewer and fewer, are your chances of finding your soul mate less and less?"

 Yeah, it sucks & yeah, the pool gets smaller.  And yes, Ms. Patton is a snob--but you know what?  So am I & I make no apologies.  It is who I am & where I came from (elitist private girls' school) and there are lots of us snobs around--including where my son goes to high school.  And you know what?  Wouldn't change a thing because he will go to an elite school & get a top-notch education too.  Would I have written to The Princetonian?  No frickin' way!  But the girl's got balls....In fact, here's a good article that says just what I think too: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/hard-get/201304/what-susan-patton-princeton-snob-gets-right

So, full circle.  It took me a really long time to find the right guy--Xing Fu.  And he is sailing--something that I desperately want to be doing right now instead of writing this post.  But just imagine if I'd met him when we were younger--he probably would have been the right guy for me then too.  But I'm one of the lucky ones--I did eventually find him.


Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Secret

I keep seeing this piece of advice & I know that I've talked about it before.  Relationships rarely work when one or the other person involved doesn't feel like their needs are met emotionally.  This key need goes way back to childhood-- believe it or not when you were sitting on the kitchen floor in a fit of crying rage as a 5 or 6 year old, calling out for mommy or daddy & they didn't come running to make it all better, whatever it was.  Whatever the need was, it gets echoed as an adult when you feel like your significant other isn't hearing you, respecting you, or appreciating you & that big empty chasm of emotional need opens its yawning mouth in your chest. Sucks if that's where you are in a relationship & usually the outcome is eventually a break-up or divorce, if the couple doesn't try to get things back on track.  I remember reading the book entitled The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman & talking with Xing Fu about it very early on in our relationship & we both took the quiz to find out what ours were. Here's a link to an online version: http://www.5lovelanguages.com/  I think it's important to revisit stuff like that every once in a while--good to spark a discussion & a check-in to see how we're doing.  If needs are met--great!  A relationship can then build great intimacy, trust, and ultimately a wonderful commitment. I know that when I feel like we've connected well, my inner anxious child ( who just loves to taunt me) quiets a bit, & lessens her strangle-hold on my often inability to trust. Overall calm prevails & harmony in the household (cue little chirping birds & friendly bunnies). 

I think this emotional need is especially important when you are in the middle of a blended family.  There are just too many opportunities to feel unappreciated, resentful, & anxious.  Maybe that's why so many "step-families" don't make it.  The primary couple loses track of what they need from one another & then the children find the chinks in the armor to create discord.  It may not be so intentional on the children's part (or maybe it is), but deep in the dark reaches of children of divorce, who wouldn't want mom & dad reunited? I know that both Xing Fu & I work hard at our relationship & try to stem the insurgencies, whatever they are.  One of the hardest things to do is to remain a solid unit & we work on this a lot--because when it breaks down, I know that's when the trigger is pulled on my emotional needs.  I feel that anxiety & resentfulness climb up my throat.  And then my trust is shaken....vicious circle to be sure.

All of this is advice for an established relationship--and if you are feeling disconnected & unloved--start a discussion--not accusatory like "YOU DON'T LOVE ME!" But suggest that you want to re-kindle the spark or go look at the link to take the quiz.  Sometimes this stuff seems silly, but ultimately, I don't think so--if your partner really is vested, at least they will try....

I began thinking about all of this because an acquaintance of mine just doesn't seem to get it--I've been watching her on again, off again, rather abusive relationship unfold on FB for about 8 months now.  It reminds me a little bit about my ill-fated relationship with the Bull.  She tends to run head-long into what she terms as "in a relationship" with guys who just never meet her emotional needs--and it's one after another--2 weeks on, then done, & then another dude.  All the while she keeps claiming that all she wants is someone who will be with her at night & watch TV, etc., etc.  You know--grow old with me kinda thing.  These guys are just so inappropriate--but I guess they meet an initial need--the rush & flush one gets at the beginning of a relationship.  And even after this dude cheats on her, borrows money & doesn't give it back, cheats on her again, buys her roses, & then disappears, she still wants him back. I really hope that she takes a real look at herself & figures out what she needs from herself first & also what she needs from a mature man as none of these guys is very mature. Then & only then will she be able to find her "grow old with me guy" I think.  Yeah, some schadenfreude, but also my wish for her to eventually figure it out--everyone deserves to feel loved don'tcha think?

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Aged Wine


 "Relish love in our old age! Aged love is like aged wine; it becomes more satisfying, more refreshing, more valuable, more appreciated and more intoxicating!" --Leo Buscaglia


A couple of weekends ago, Xing Fu's dad & stepmother came for a visit from Texas.  They are both is their 80's & are in great shape--I hope I'm that well off when I'm that age.  But I digress--what struck me the most was how touchy-feely, romantic they were.  Maybe it was over-the-top a bit (he knelt to help her put on her shoes at one point), but I was smitten myself at how devoted they seemed to one another. I remarked to Xing Fu about how they were after they left & he agreed.  He said that his dad wasn't like that when he was growing up, & wondered if it was the woman who made him a different man or just the time in his life.  I guess the romantic in me hopes that it had something to do with the woman--probably because it's his father's second marriage, and it has lasted for quite some time.  Of course it is my desire that we might be the same way & that we both have brought out the best in one another.  Either way, it was wonderful to see such devotion & visual examples of commitment. And I hope that both my son & Xing Fu's daughters saw what I saw as well--that love can last into older age & be just as romantic as when one is in one's youth.  To that end, Xing Fu left me a little note one morning this week as I'm on vaycay from work & he drove my son to school for me.  When I sent him an email later that day to thank him he wrote back that he wants "wants to be all lovey-dovey in 30 years like my parents."  And I think he's worked towards that as have I--last night I satisfied my bet from last year's NCAA tournament by taking Xing Fu to Woodberry Kitchen for dinner.  (Every year we bet on our brackets--loser takes the winner out to a really nice restaurant--I've won only once--boo!).  Very romantic of course but nothing too extraordinary except this morning after I'd posted last night on FB the following, "Lovely dinner with Xing Fu at Woodberry Kitchen & the food was pretty awesome too!" His response (very rare as he's hardly ever on FB), "Yes, lovely dinner with a lovely woman. What more could I ask?"   I hope we continue like this in 30 years too.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Girls Juxtaposed


Hannah: Please don't tell anyone this, but I wanna be happy.

Hannah: I realize I'm not different. I want what everyone wants. I want what they all want. I want all the things. I just want to be happy.
--Girls "One Man's Trash" Season 2, Episode 5

Strange how things just hit you at the right time. I've been watching the HBO show Girls--which I LOVE, btw. But what I was so fascinated with was how lives change--I remember watching this episode rather transfixed & rather uncomfortable because here was Hannah, all of 24 years old hanging out (OK, fucking) with Joshua, a middle-aged (albeit very hot) guy of 42.  It was like holding up a mirror to my former self & my current self. So un-grown-up back then.  How did I ever get from where Hannah is to where I am now?  Because really Hannah's character doesn't like to admit that she "wants what everyone wants."  She prides herself on being outside the norm--and when I was that age, well, so did I.  I was a real "hippie chick" & I very much flaunted that.  Yeah, there's still a lot of crunchy left in me now, but here I am--kinda like Joshua, with a nice house, nice art, stuff, etc., comfortable.  Not on the edge like Hannah--not the way I used to be--very unsettled--not a grown-up.  I look back I try to figure out where becoming comfortable happened along the way.  Because, honestly, that coulda' been me back in the day--having the fantasy of a settled life, of domesticity, but trying hard not to admit that I really wanted it. And now, after watching that episode, I'm really happy to be where I am now. Perhaps the point at which one becomes a "grown-up" is when the kids arrive--I do remember having to give up my old habits & suck it up for my kid--and I did grieve the freedom at one point.  But, I had to change. And rolling forward almost 20 years--here I am now.

The other part of this particular episode reminds me of an old blog post--
http://boyfriendplease-sailorgrl.blogspot.com/2009/12/emotionally-unavailable.html  where I describe my various "men" and specifically talk about my "Music Buddy" aka, Xing Fu.  What did Hannah represent to Joshua?  His marriage had just broken up, & perhaps what had been missing is just what I wrote in the blog post back then, "I think he's attracted to me because I may represent some piece of his life that he wishes he had--a certain exoticism perhaps...I don't know."  I think for Joshua, Hannah was just that--his break from reality into what used to be--the complete opposite of domestic bliss.  Which reminds me--I do not want to fall into the old trap of "been there, done that."  I hope that we maintain our "exoticism" along with our domestic bliss. But that's for another blog post....

I also really love the last shot of the that show--Hannah waking up, making the bed,  & making breakfast, & then taking out the trash (the episode starts with trash & ends with trash--lots of cool imagery/ideas/themes)--still in the future--still domestic & then watching Hannah walk down the street--back to her real life--back to the years before she can claim that she's ready for "all the things."  Cool episode.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Snowkidding!

Remember this?

3 years ago in early February there was a snowmageddon or a snowpocalypse, depending on your preference (yup, using those stoopid weather cliches as best I can) & Xing Fu & I spent our first weekend together as a couple holed up in his condo with my dog Buddy (*sniff*, *sniff*, R.I.P. big guy) & painted his daughters' bedroom along with watching Hedwig & the Angry Inch for the first time.  Certainly a test of initial compatibility. I know neither of us could imagine back then where we are now--buying a house together, blending our families, essentially a married couple. What a difference three years makes.  So sitting at home together while the snow (ha!) comes down three years later is kinda an anniversary of sorts--at least of a dubious distinction....I will never forget our drive to his condo that evening of the storm--I think we were both crazy to attempt it--shoulda stayed at my house but 2 crazy, stubborn people by will alone forced the car up that snowy hill to the condo. And it was the beginning of it all.  Here's the post from back then if anyone's interested: http://boyfriendplease-sailorgrl.blogspot.com/2010/02/snowbound-test.html

Days like today are good ones for reflection--what have we done well together, what can we work on, & what can we plan for our future together.  Also, this kind of day is good to be grateful for the companionship & love that we've found in each other.  Bashert to be sure. And we don't need a ring to show it.  Below is a little advice infographic that  came across that seems to sum up a lot of what I try to do--especially number 5, which is what this post is about:
 Keeping The Passion And Romance In Your Relationship After Marriage [Infographic]

Friday, February 22, 2013

Marriage Variations



I have a subscription to More magazine--yep, the 40+ rag for woman who've "outgrown" Cosmo & Glamour (I still read them even if it isn't targeted for my demographic) & I recently came across a very good article about the "9 Ways to be Married" by Doren Allen.  I often get questioned by well-meaning folk about when Xing Fu & I will get married or if we are getting married.  Let me set the record straight--we're not.  Ever.   And yes, sometimes a little niggle of doubt creeps in--since we aren't married, what does that mean in the long run? It is still considered the ultimate commitment. And even to this day, after statistics show that the institution of marriage is lessening, people overwhelmingly feel that marriage is still the way to go to demonstrate your undying love.  Even if you buy a house together, write wills that lay out specifically that you are together & deserve all of those rights of marriage, etc., etc., there are still difficulties with NOT being married.  So I was gratified to see that More had this article highlighting 9 different "marriages" & that our choice was number 2: Living Together, No License. Here are the statistics from the article: The US Census Bureau says that 15.3 million heterosexual Americans co-habitate.  47% are 35+ & 13% are over 55.  And really, after both of us failed at being married the first time, mebbe, just mebbe, it is better without it.  It's not like the expectations are any different--we are just as committed to each other as if we were married so why do we need a piece of paper to prove it? The naysayers like to indicate that it is easier to call it quits & walk away instead of working at our partnership.  Yes, on the surface it might appear that way, but we own property together, along with a host of other things that make it very difficult for either one of us to "just walk away." And frankly, I work hard at this & resent anyone who tells me that our relationship doesn't matter as much or mean as much because we aren't married.  The rest of the article has many other forms of "marriages" including gay marriages, open marriages, & modern traditionals.  Read it--it is very interesting.

My second part of this post has to do with a Your Tango article entitled "5 Marriage Mistakes That Lead to Divorce". http://www.yourtango.com/experts/kim-olver/5-marriage-mistakes-lead-divorce  They all made a lot of sense.  I was especially taken with the 5th one:

Major changes in priorities – major changes in priorities can cause an end in a marriage. People grow and change; sometimes they grow together in the same direction and other times they grow apart. There are other people who never change and are the same person fifty years into the marriage. What can be problematic and end relationships is when one or both partners change their priorities in ways that are unacceptable to their spouse. Some people mentioned a major change in religious beliefs and practices could strain the relationship, some people talked about putting jobs or children before the marriage and yet others complained of drastic changes in friendships or relationships with in-laws. Again, I think it comes down to trust and consistency.

When I reflect on my failed marriage, I think this one was it.  Neither of us cheated--the number one reason (and one that I would end a relationship on--reference to the Bull).  We really did grow apart & by the time we figured that out, it couldn't be fixed.  This time, I think Xing Fu & I realize that communication is the key--check in, make sure we're moving forward & if we're not, deal with it immediately & make our relationship the priority.  So, we may not be happily married but in my mind we are happily married.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Habits

OK--obligatory Valentine's Day post---the love of my life & all that rot!  Funny, when I look back, I was truly, madly, deeply, head over heels.  Perhaps not so giddy 3 years out but I am still truly, madly deeply & that's a very good thing. I came across a little article about good habits to keep married couples strong.  Yeah, Xing Fu & I aren't married but in a lot of ways it feels like we are so I tend towards these kinds of articles. I really liked what this one had to say in particular.  These are really simple things--nothing extraordinary. 

Like not trying to change one another--yeah, I really wish Xing Fu would do some things differently but I fell for him the way he is so why would I want to change him now?  (OK, I admit, I'd like to try sometimes & I have to pinch myself occasionally not to).  

Or saying out loud why you appreciate him---men need to be stroked (get those minds out if the gutter--YEESH!)  Tell him what a great dinner he made the other night--remember the old saying you need 5 positives to 1 negative comment--how locked into the negative nit-picky stuff do most couples get?  Make it a new habit--send an email of appreciation, a text, a squeeze...you get it.  Keep the positive in the relationship--appreciation goes hand in hand with that.

Make sure that you are an ally--don't side with the enemy.  This was a big mistake that I made with my first marriage--I allowed my mother's negative crap get in the way of my relationship with my ex.  I should have looked to someone else to vent about him--not someone who already wanted him out of my life.  I have Xing Fu's back  & he has mine--we can vent about whatever we need to without the other criticizing.  Very important I think.

Don't get too comfortable--some things should just remain a mystery--'nuff said!  Along side of that--don't stop trying--don't get so complacent that you don't date each other anymore--date nights are important!  I never thought that until now--I alays thought it was hokey--it ain't!!

And my favorite:  Reminisce.  Re-visit those giddy days of first love.  Xing Fu & I have a ritual (another habit of strong couples).  Every year we re-watch Hedwig & the Angry Inch.  It was early on in our relationship when I tested him to see how open he was to movies of that ilk & how much he saw the love story as well.  He passed with flying colors & now, right around Valentine's Day or thereabouts, we watch it again.  I am nostalgic by nature so I love this suggestion.  

There are a few more & here is the link for everyone to see it--from MSN: http://living.msn.com/love-relationships/year-of-happiness/slideshow?cp-documentid=254478230#1

Enjoy & Happy Valentine's Day! 





 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Hold It In

Jump into that water and see for yourself
Take a deep breath and hold it in
Hold it in

She's got a secret
And she wants to tell
But I made a promise to hold it in
Hold it in


Hold It In--Jukebox The Ghost

It has been a while since my last post--mebbe that's a good thing--it means that I've been living my life with its ups & downs & generally having more ups than downs.  There have been a few--downs--like the continuing struggle with the youngest skid who really makes it hard to like her.  And instead of venting my spleen here, I went to a step mother discussion board sponsored by StepMom Magazine http://www.stepmommag.com/ & got some good advice. Like the song from above--I do a lot of holding it in as a step mom.  I find it hard to admit that there are many times that when the SDs don't come over for whatever reason, I'm way happier.  It makes life much easier.  Saying that made me feel that I was a bad person--also being done with them on Sunday mornings--wishing that the weekend was over & they were going home.  It's not that I don't want them around or that I don't like them, it's just that it is very hard to maintain an unruffled & pleasant appearance--very stressful.  They cannot seem to handle that I have emotions too--that sometimes I get angry & slam a door or yell.  So every other weekend I'm on eggshells.  And the youngest doesn't make it easy as I said--the whole one step forward, two steps back kinda' thing, so that's why I sought advice because I was really at my wit's end.  Here's what one woman had to say:
 
I think a lot of times "I don't like her" really means "I don't like that my life is changing and my dad is changing so I am going to try to change it back to the way it used to be." Unfortunately, this usually plays out as an issue with the woman who walked into the situation, wondering what she possibly got herself into. It's easier to blame the new person because "those issues were not there before."
Give space and take space. There is no rush. You do not have to like each other, just treat each other with common courtesy. At some point your BF will have to take your side and stand up for you. It is not easy for them to do.

That was very helpful because it reminded me that it does take time & we're still new at this--and there will be setbacks.  Another woman had this to say:

I think one thing to remember is all that you are feeling is normal. The fact that you enjoy your time without the stress of having the girls there. That's normal! The fact you want to send them back to their BM when you've had enough -- normal! And it's also normal for the kids to have wishful thinking that their parents will get back together or that they will have their father to themselves when they choose to be around him. All normal.

Reading the responses on the forum really helped me--I have come to realize that sometimes I must have "a grin & bear it, slap a smile on my face" attitude when I am being pushed around & hope that I can contain my own emotions without losing it & saying what I'm really thinking.  I do that a lot when the skids are around.  This step parent gig really is one of the hardest things I've ever done.  I know Xing Fu is worth the effort but sometimes it ain't easy being green.  

But I end on a positive note--a good encounter--this past weekend my "M-I-L" was in town with the stepdaughters here too.  Never easy but I decided to do my thing with my besties & go wine tasting--definitely needed--I took some space for myself--something else that was recommended by other step moms.  And then I took my DS (Dear Son) & the middle SD to a sold out  Jukebox The Ghost concert at the OttobarThe three of us had a great time--all of the bands were great--first was the Lighthouse and the Whaler, then Matt Pond, & then JBTG.  I was happy to take them & I think it went a long way in building a positive relationship with the middle SD. So I know it can happen--at some point mebbe I can have a positive relationship with the youngest SD like that.  I don't know, but I keep working at it--like going to a basketball game when I'd much prefer to be out with the BFFs more, etc.  Time, Time, Time.....

Friday, January 18, 2013

My Facebook Date

This blog was dedicated originally to my dating life and every once in a while I return to its roots.  Recently I've become really into infographics--what a convenient way to put out information into the ether of the WWW.  And so I've researched a bunch of topics starting with being a blended family.  Crickets..... 

Well, what about Facebook? There is a treasure trove of stuff about social media & dating. So I let the infographic speak for itself.  Cool Stuff!


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Sailing Into Year Three

When I stop & think about where I am from three years ago, I almost can't believe it. At that time I went from being a single mom with a crazy dating life to being for all intents & purposes married with a stepfamily.  Yikes!  Did it happen really fast or is it just my impression of it? On the left is the card that I gave to Xing Fu--so representative of who we are as a couple(except I ask, where is the pole for that kite??)  Inside it says, "The adventure continues..." That too is representative of us.  It has definitely been quite the adventure from when we first sailed together down on the West River to now--sailing off into the uncharted waters of being a "blended family". It hasn't always been smooth waters (to continue this sailing/water metaphor), choppy to be sure & occasionally gale force winds--to be quite honest, this relationship has been one of the hardest things that I've worked at in my life.  I think that is a good thing though--my commitment to what we're building together is what drives me & the thought of sailing off into the sunset together at some point in the future.... This post is dedicated to Xing Fu--I feel so lucky to have met you & that you have chosen me to spend your life with.  I wouldn't trade it.  143