Thursday, April 30, 2009

Home again

Well, I'm back and attempting to catch up on things at home. I was doing very well with no jet lag. I suffered none while in Europe either but I'm going to assume it was because we stayed up til 4 a.m. the first night.

But alas, Grace woke me up at 3:00 a.m. - which happens to be 10:00 a.m. in Germany - so I couldn't go back to sleep. Then it was storming and both kids crawled into the bed.

So, ugh. Yeah. Now I'm tired.

It probably didn't help that my diet was vastly different in Europe than it is here at home. Daily I was consuming some sort of fresh bread like French bread, fresh croissants, danishes or some variety of pretzel.



We also had more meat and potatoes than I'm usually eating. The kids and I mainly eat pastas, rice, fruits and vegetables with the occasional chicken or pork. I'm not sure my digestive system knows what to think of me.



Salad for dinner sounds good.

And maybe I'll get in a good ride on the bike to crank my system back into gear and acclimate me to Central time again.

---

The Monkey

Many of you have asked about the "monkey" the Magic Buddha may have been referring to when I asked the question, "Will I have sex while in Europe?"

Well, the monkey seemed to be a recurring theme during the trip.

  • First I noticed the monkey on Lou Lou's phone cover. She loves Paul Frank who apparently uses Julius the Monkey as his icon.
  • Then while in the Red Light District, we saw stuffed monkeys with male genitalia. (Oh yeah, I can say penis here.)
  • Lou Lou also had monkeys on her pajama pants. She apparently loves monkeys.
  • During the live sex show, we were joined on stage by someone dressed as a gorilla with - yes of course - a hard on. And the girl we were dancing with did something very interesting with a banana... which I ended up deep throating... but anyway...

There also seemed to be a banana thing happenin' too.

  • We ate banana bread on the ride out to Amsterdam.
  • Bananas on the pancakes in Amsterdam were fantastic.
  • I had the most unusual combination while dining at Hooters in Neunkirchen, Germany. Banana juice and hefeweizen beer. It was the best beer I have ever tasted.



The Magic Buddha's answer was: Look for my monkey.

I interpreted the answer to mean that no, definitely no sex for T while in Europe.

And I was wrong.

But I will say this:

A good friend really steps up to help when you need her to.

------

I've uploaded brief videos from the trip. Check out my youtube channel.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The FOOD

The food here has been WONDERFUL.

Unfortunately, I seem to forget to take a photo of the food before I eat it. I'm usually famished and don't think of it until halfway through it. But... I did document it for my own pleasure.

---

When I arrived on Friday morning, Lou Lou and I went to her house to unpack. Then we headed out for a bratwurst lunch. The bratwurst was served with dijon mustard and sauerkraut.

As it should be.

And with french fries or pommes frites.... which come from Belgium by the way.

---



The first night we were in Amsterdam, we found a little hole in the wall tapas restaurant right off the main square in Leidensplein. The Leidensplein was a big main square with lots of restaurants, banks and shops. The tapas restaurant was FABULOUS. We ate so quickly that we must have looked like a pack of wolves. I documented that night in a post a few days ago.... including the plates of yummy tapas.

In my opinion, you can never go wrong with tapas.

---

We had heard that the pancakes in Amsterdam were the thing to do. So, after staying up til the wee hours, we slept in on Saturday before venturing out to the Pancake Bakery.



The pancakes in Amsterdam are more like crepes than pancakes. There are tons of options to choose from.



There were both sweet and savory options but since I hadn't had breakfast yet, I couldn't resist something sweet. I chose a pancake with honey, nuts, mandarin oranges and whipped cream. Lou Lou had one with cheese, ham and pineapple. We all decided that hers was the yummiest pancake of all.



---



We visited to the Van Gogh museum (pronounced Van Gock in Dutch), where I saw my most favorite painting of all.



Then, since we were all pretty worn out from the night before, we decided to chill out in an Irish pub and watch a Manchester United footie (soccer to the U.S.) game. I enjoyed some fish and chips. Of course.



---



There was a moment as we ventured along the spring flowers at the tulip festival that I stopped and simply inhaled the moment.

The scents were delicious. Floral. After the rain. And waffles. Oh my goodness, the fresh baked waffles were to. die. for.



---

Back in Germany, Lou Lou and her hubby decided to take me out for some schnitzel. I had no idea what schnitzel was. I still don't, really.

But delicious. Wow.



I chose the schnitzel covered in cream with spaetzle. Being from the south, the taste was similar to chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes. The meal was wonderful with a good German hefeweizen beer too. Perfection.

---

Today, Lou Lou and I ventured into the nearby village for fresh baked pretzels. We also visited a chocolate factory where we spent 50 euro on truffles and other chocolates. Then her husband came home after his brief trip into France today with... you guessed it, fresh baked French bread.

Yeah. This doesn't suck.

Whew! I've got to get back into that triathlon training when I get home!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Cause we're silly like that

During the course of our weekend in Amsterdam, we had several one liners that we're still repeating. I had to document them for posterity's sake.

And yes, I realize they are mostly "you had to be there" type lines. But yeah. You had to be there.


---



Arriving in Amsterdam, the first thing we noticed were the canals. And houseboats. LOTS of houseboats. Some houseboats appeared to be permanent structures.

"He had a Brick....Houseboat."

---



Our hotel had a great marketing scheme. Everything used the word "to".

For instance: "ToStay"

"ToPark your car" - on the parking garage

"ToDine" - on the door to the restaurant

"ToShower" - on the shower cap

"ToEscape" - on the fire escape

"ToWatch over you" - under the mounted video camera outside the hotel

We enjoyed that so much we kept up the marketing all weekend. There were TooMany one liners ToMention. Heh.

---




That night in the Red Light district, after much alcohol, one of the guys decided to approach a Red Light girl in her doorway. He asked how much. Her reply:

"50 Euro."

His response:

"What do you get for that?"

She looked annoyed and answered:

"Sex."

Like duh.

---




Everywhere around Amsterdam, people were cycling. One of the guys found it funny to see two guys sharing a bike. Remembering the horrible porn snippet with two girls... and um, one cup. We found this especially funny:

"Two dudes. One bike."


---







After visiting Keukenhof and enjoying all the different types of tulips, we drove past a restaurant called the Golden Tulip. Lou Lou and I found it especially funny. Her husband replied:

"All girls have golden tulips. Ok, not all girls. Every now and then, one has a shreddie."

---





We toured the Heineken Experience while in Amsterdam. Lou Lou and I are not really beer drinkers so while in the tasting room, the beer girl was teaching us how to learn to appreciate the taste of beer. It has become the one liner I enjoy the most.

"You're supposed to hold it in your mouth before you swallow."

Yeah, that one's still good.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

My thoughts so far...



"Sure, I’ll take those 3 empty middle seats since no one else will. They’ll be perfect for sleeping on this 9 hour flight."

"Seriously dude. Your shoes should stay on. Phew!"

"My tailbone hurts so bad. Does first class get to lie all the way down? That’s totally worth the money."

"All of the airport signs are in German and English. Hooray!"

"Oh my goodness! There are sooooo many soldiers! *sigh* I LOVE soldiers. Wow…"

"Suitcase… check!"

"Lou Lou! Yay!"

"Note to self: personal space is much smaller here."

"What a gorgeous drive! The trees are all so tall and alpine. The crisp air wakes me up too!"

"I need a military id to get on base. I get that. But you have to take my picture now? After being on a plane for 9 hours?"







"Lou lou, you have the best view ever. Makes me wanna sing 'the hills are alive… with the sound of music…'"

"Hi Lou Lou’s husband and friend! Back in the car for a 4 hour drive to Amsterdam."



"We’re eating dinner at 10 o’clock at night in Amsterdam. The restaurant is bustling!"

"Ohhhhhh, the restaurants are bustling at 10 at night in Amsterdam because everyone’s stoned! I get it now!"



"There’s the Hemp Museum! We’re in the Red Light District!"

"These red light girls are very well maintained."

"Oh there’s the monkey!"



"That guy just came out of one of the rooms! He looks spent! Ha!"

"Not everyone can say they saw a live sex show in Amsterdam. Much less participated in one. Heh."

"We’re wandering aimlessly through the streets and canals of Amsterdam at 4 a.m. Yeah, we’re safe."

"Oh my goodness I love my boots. They are SO comfy."

"It appears that my interpretation of the Magic Buddha’s answer was wrong? I’m just sayin’."

Friday, April 24, 2009

I'm here!



I made it safely!

I'm sitting on my friend, Lou Lou's couch with her Weimaraner dog, Alex (SOOOOO sweet). I've already been on Ramstein Air Force Base and had a temporary military id made. We drove on the Autobahn at 90 mph (and everyone was passing us!).

Now, I'm going to shower off the airplane funk and we're heading out to have some schnitzel for lunch!

Erzenhausen is the tiny little village where Lou Lou lives... in a UBER cool modern house. The weather is gorgeous, a beautiful crisp blue sky day!

Hooray!

We're off to Amsterdam where we'll be checking out the Red Light District tonight, museums tomorrow and tulips in Holland on Sunday.

Will be checking in with everyone later!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Brain dump before I go

When I was programming in college and even into my days as a system administrator, there were times when I would have to analyze core dumps or memory dumps. This is basically all of the data that was processing when a computer crashed or froze up. As a programmer, it gives you a better idea what caused the problem in the first place.

I am leaving for my very first European vacation and I am stressed.

So, I figured the best way to get rid of the stress is to dump everything from my brain.

Heh. I may do these more often.

---

I have to make a will.

I'm sad to say that the last will I created was right after Rose was born and the ex and I were headed off to Australia for 2 weeks.

Um... it might be time for an update.

---

I'm doubting I'll be having any sex while I'm in Europe.

Everyone is giving me raised eyebrows when I tell them that I am going to Amsterdam. I have been told for YEARS that I should visit there because "its SO you!"

But I asked the Magic Buddha and he said no nookie for me!




I bought this handy little guy for my friend De who owns a yoga studio. He's kinda like the old Magic 8 Ball, from back in the day?

I've asked him 3 questions so far and he's been accurate:

Question #1: Will Soldier and I be able to be friends? (I asked this during the last week of communication with Soldier.)
Buddha's answer: Resist evil.

Question #2: Will I get lucky on my date? (A date I was looking forward to shortly after cutting ties with Soldier.)
Buddha's answer: You are not ready.

Question #3: Will I have sex while I'm in Europe?
Buddha's answer: Look for my monkey.

Hmmm... guess I'll be *ahem* looking for a "monkey" while in Amsterdam...

---

I'm gonna miss my girls while I'm gone.

We've started a new thing at bedtime. Well, it's sort of an old thing that J started with them and we just picked it back up this week.

One of us will begin a story and then pass the story to the next person. Each of us continues the story and passes it on to the next person.

I'm sure there's a name for this. I actually remember doing this same thing in my creative writing class in high school.

Last night's story was about a girl whose wishes always come true. Rose seems to come up with great beginnings and then I try to do what I can to make sure there's an end to the story somewhere. Grace is awesome at making us laugh when she adds silly moments to the story that don't make much sense... but they're funny just the same.

I like it. I also know it's building their imaginations and it's good quality time for all of us.

Yeah, I'm gonna miss them.

But I won't miss every single sentence beginning with the word, "Mommy."

That gets really old.

---

It's time to hide the porn.

Soldier had sent back all of the DVD's that I made him while he was deployed to Iraq. They're still sitting on the desk in my office.

The ex is going to be staying in my house while I'm gone. He still lives with his brother a half an hour away and my house is barely a mile or two from my kids' schools.

It'll be a little weird, yes, but then again, the last time he kept the kids here he re-caulked my bathtub. Maybe he'll take care of things and Muffin the hamster too.

But I'm thinking that I really don't want him popping in a homemade DVD just to see what's on there. Yeah, that could make things a little weirder.

---

I can't wait to wear my new boots!

It is spring in Europe but I know it will also be chilly in the evenings. These boots reminded me of the boots Rachel wore when I visited her in San Fransisco. I couldn't resist.

Plus they're Naturalizer (so comfy) and they were on sale!

Aren't they fun?



They kind of remind me of Edward Scissorhands. Ya know, they call him that because his hands are, um, scissors.

---

I'm also going to miss the snuggles. But NOT the grouchies!

Grace is so affectionate. Rose likes a quick snuggle but then she's over it. Grace? She could hug for DAYS!

When she feels a hug coming on, she pounces. It's so cute. I'll just be talking to her and she'll suddenly pounce on me with her little arms wrapped around me and she won't let go.

I've started calling it "a case of the snuggles."

Believe me, it is so much nicer than when she gets "a case of the grouchies."

---

I'm not sure if I'll be blogging.

Hopefully I'll be having so much fun that I won't miss it! Then again, I feel so close to many of you that I will want to document it to share with you. I will miss reading all of my favorite blogs and hearing what happens in your lives!

If I can't get back to you all before I return, check out some fun links and some posts that you may not have seen:


Jason Mraz sends his love to the troops!

Bono writes about Easter: Do you know where your soul is? (I'll be seeing U2 in concert this October! Woohoo!)

Blog post: Husbands and Sex

Blog post: An insight on love

Where I'll see my favorite painting of all time!

Where I'll see my favorite flowers of all time!

---

A little Dutch:

Doei! (goodbye)
Vaarwel (Fairwell)
Gauw tot ziens! (See you soon)

---

Oh! One more thing...


Your love.

I can't thank you all enough for listening, commenting, following, emailing and all that you do to let me know that somehow, this little blog is making a difference in your day or your week... gosh, some have said even their lives!

Really?

That means so much to me that even typing it brings tears to my eyes.

You all truly inspire me to keep going and keep writing.

Like any relationship, trust has to be established. And with every compliment and validation, I want to open up even more.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

T

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Wonder Woman



Dara Torres is an inspiration to me, especially as a new swimmer.

When I received an email from the got milk? campaign that she is the latest celebrity sporting the milk mustache, I had to write a post about it!

Dara is also launching a new fitness initiative for women to show milk's benefits to women's health and fitness. I know several athletes and triathlon competitors who swear by chocolate milk after their workouts. Go check out her Muscle and Bone workout on the whymilk.com website.

Dara, obviously, has an entire team of people helping her to stay fit and trim... and to have that body!! But at age 42, she is also the first U.S. swimmer to compete in five Olympic games: 1984, 1988, 1992, 2000 and 2008, winning twelve medals (four gold, four silver, four bronze). In the 2008 Olympics, she was twice the age of her competitors! She's also considering a bid to the 2012 Olympics to compete at age 45! Wow!



Dara's also the mother of a three year old daughter, Tessa. Apparently, her Olympic comeback began when she swam during her pregnancy to stay in shape. I love that motherhood is such an important part of her life and that she, like the rest of us, has to find balance between motherhood and her career.



She is on the cover of the latest More magazine which has an interview and an excerpt from her new memoir, Age Is Just a Number. I will definitely be reading that on my trip to Europe!

I may not ever have that body but when I'm struggling in the water, on the road or on my bike, it does help me to know that age is just a number. I remember my mantra:

I am healthy, fit and strong.


And then I feel a little more like Wonder Woman myself!

Who inspires you?

Monday, April 20, 2009

The need to defend

I can still remember how angry he was. And how I felt so weak, so tired of fighting, so... completely spent from clinging to what I thought was a marriage worth saving.

He saw things differently.

His words were like blades chunking out parts of my heart. He never attacked me. No, it was the relationship that he insulted and beat within an inch of it's life. I held on to those powerfully painful words for months after, wondering how he could have seen something that I saw so beautiful... as dreadful and ugly.

That's when it hit me:

He will never see anything the same as I will. No amount of convincing on my part will change his mind.

There was something so liberating in one little word: Perception

---

A Course in Miracles lesson 135 says:

"If I defend myself I am attacked."

But we do it, don't we? ALL THE TIME we feel attacked by something. We feel the need to cling to something that we think is our truth!

I am right and you are wrong.


I am the victim and you are the victimizer.

We defend based on fear that we are threatened. The very fact that we are defending says that our belief in who we are or what we believe could possibly be wrong.

If it was the truth, it could never be threatened.

Would you argue with someone about whether or not the sky was blue?

---

I can remember feeling very much the victim when the ex and I separated. I wanted to tell everyone we knew. I wanted to be the victim.

The funny thing was, I noticed when others saw me as the victim, they saw him as the victimizer. And they began attacking him in my defense!

That was the last thing I wanted!

I knew that he never meant to hurt me. Yes, it hurt terribly at times to recall his words. I allowed myself to be angry and hurt. Then I also found myself defending him to our friends and family. I knew that he simply saw things differently than I did.

He felt attacked and in his defense, he said cruel things.


I felt attacked and in my defense, I rallied my support network and played the victim.

I suppose I did the same thing when things ended with Soldier...

---

All of us can only act or react based on what we know or what we're going through at the time.


Our actions or reactions are all based on what we've been through in our past, how we were raised, and our PERCEPTION of every situation.

But our perception is exactly that... OURS.

It is experienced, not taught.

We can't convince someone that they are wrong when they believe they are right... unless they have the experience that challenges their beliefs to change.

We can't say to someone "you are not a victim of this attack" when the pain seems so real in that moment... unless they experience that perhaps their victimizer also felt very much the victim as well.

This is why I try to see both sides of any situation, disagreement or argument between me and someone else. Or between friends and other people in my life.

Maybe my neutrality seems wishy-washy to some. All I know is that it has helped me through so much in my life to realize that perhaps I could be wrong, perhaps I don't understand, perhaps I'm not the victim after all.

Because really, who I think I am is not the real truth of who I am.

And Who I Really Am needs no defense.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Call me a cougar or call me romantic

I saw the movie 17 Again with the kids this weekend. After the movie, I tweeted, "Zac Efron is hot!" (Goodness, isn't he?)




Last weekend, we saw the movie Twilight. Robert Pattinson, who plays the character Edward, channeled James Dean all through the movie. *swoon*


















Now normally, I don't give a second look or thought to either of these actors but their movie characters had me swooning or close to tears.

Does that make me a cougar?

While watching the vampire movie, Twilight, with my niece, I observed this character Edward. I have a thing for vampires already so it didn't take much for him to suck me in.

Ahem, pardon the pun.


Edward goes hot and cold with the female lead Bella and it looked awfully familiar. I recognized the temperament from my previous relationship. I understood her frustration at trying to figure him out. But what moved me the most was how protective of her he was.

My kids love Zac Efron. Both of my daughters love "Troy and Gabriella" from High School Musical. I also knew that Matthew Perry was in the movie. The movie seemed to have great reviews too. I thought, "Why not?"

I was in tears at the end of the movie.

Maybe I'm a sappy romantic. I love the good old fashioned boy-would-do-anything-to-get-the-girl movies. Sure, they're predictable. Sure, they're not made with much depth.

I feel like I have enough drama in my life already. A movie should be entertainment for me.


Besides, I'm always left filled with hope that a man would do anything to get me one day.

I guess those movies remind me that I still believe in fairy tales. I enjoy seeing love between two people (like in these photos) that capture the beautiful expression of "You mean the world to me..."

Maybe it seems a little silly for a 39 year old woman to get wistful at Zac Efron's romantic gestures or a vampire's uncontrollable need to protect the girl he loves.

But quite frankly, with all that I've known in my life, I'm very happy to still be that girl who believes in love.

I hope to meet a man who feels the same way.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Husbands and Sex

If any of you have been reading here for a while, you would probably assume that I am a very sexual person.

And you'd be assuming correctly!

So, it shouldn't come as too much of a surprise to learn that it was I who usually did the sexual instigating in my marriage. When the ex and I were dating, we had sex every single time we saw each other. If there was a rare instance that we didn't have sex, I would go into a deep dramatic withdrawal.

I suppose I was equating sex with love and quality time.

The ex traveled ALL THE TIME so quality time was very important to me. Perhaps it is my primary love language?

---

After reading Canadian Bald Guy's comment on my previous post, I had to pose this question to the men.

What was your sex life like when you were married?

CBG is not the first single man who has admitted to me that his sex life was nearly or completely non-existent during marriage. Soldier even told me that he was frightened of marriage because he has so many male friends who say they don't have sex anymore either.

Is this true?

I mean sure, after having my children, I was too tired to instigate anymore but I NEVER turned down sex. The ex had to step up to ask for it... and *sigh*, it wasn't as often as I would have preferred.

While I was pregnant, I was a HORN-DOG. I masturbated daily, sometimes many times a day. The ex would never have sex with me while I was pregnant.

I also completely understand the "I just don't feel sexy anymore" thing with not being tone and trim and having kids crawl on you all day. It does help to have a partner who still finds you desirable and reminds you that motherhood is sexy.

I didn't have that either.

And ladies, since we're talking about this, what's your take?

Did you enjoy having sex while you were married?

---

Maybe it's just me. Maybe it's my age and being at my peak or something?

Though that would mean that I'd been "peaking" for well over two decades now.

I know many women who love sex like I do. And these women don't regularly want to have sex with their husbands.

Maybe it's just me they're talking sex with?

Is it a first marriage thing? Maybe it's different in a second marriage when you're older and the kids aren't so small anymore?

Your thoughts?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The "Getting Over" Part

I have been feeling much better with regards to moving on from my last relationship.

However, there are moments, memories and reminders that occasionally sneak up on me to conjure up pain, confusion, anger and sadness.

I'm learning to be thankful for them.

I recall doing this same thing when the ex and I separated. For months I would see things or be struck with a memory of things he said or did and it would leave me reeling.

I now recognize that this is my way of clearing those things.

In my spiritual study group, we talk about "crap bubbling to the surface". When the crap bubbles up, it is not an enjoyable experience. We feel frustrated with ourselves. Disappointed that we're "still doing that". Angry that the pain is still there. Ashamed that we are not who we think we should be.

I feel ALL of these things and more.

For instance, I have many military girlfriend or mil-spouse blogs that I still follow. Do you know how envious I am to hear about a happy R&R or return-from-war reunion... remembering the one I suffered through?

Do you know how ashamed I feel for being even a little upset?

I am happy for them... SO VERY HAPPY and THANKFUL...

...as I'm crying HUGE tears on my keyboard.

And this song... oh the depths of pain I feel when she sings:

May he turned 21 on the base at Fort Bliss
"Just a day," he said down to the flask in his fist,
"Ain't been sober, since maybe October of last year."
And here in town you can tell he's been down for a while,
But, my God, it's so beautiful when the boy smiles,
Wanna hold him. maybe I'll just sing about it.





It is then that I have to remind myself:
  • If you don't recognize the connections, you will never be able to clear them.

    • So I learn to look at them, feel the intensity of whatever it brings up, allow it to hurt and then... let it go.

  • I am only remembering who I wanted him to be and not who he really was.

    • It is not my responsibility to change him or fix him in some way. He is exactly who he's supposed to be right now. I have to change my idea about him.

  • My anger and sadness are how I choose to react to him. My anger comes from wanting to be right about who I thought he was. My sadness comes from thinking he is or I am a victim.

    • This is why it is better to move on. My reaction to him was not fair to him or myself.


So, no, the "crap bubbling to the surface" isn't fun. It isn't pretty. It isn't pleasant.

But it is what I'm going through right now.


I'm hoping that by allowing myself to feel, to process, to truly do this "getting over" part, without judging myself too harshly for the ugliness, that it'll pass faster. If it never bubbled up, it might rear its head later on as something else.

I can't change who I am. I can only be me. Right now.

And these moments are just clouds shielding my view of the bright sunshine that is always there.

Thankfully, I'm seeing a lot more sun lately.

---

There's a light at each end of this tunnel,
You shout 'cause you're just as far in as you'll ever be out
And these mistakes you've made, you'll just make them again
If you only try turning around.

2 AM and I'm still awake, writing a song
If I get it all down on paper, it's no longer inside of me,
Threatening the life it belongs to
And I feel like I'm naked in front of the crowd
Cause these words are my diary, screaming out loud
And I know that you'll use them, however you want to

But you can't jump the track, we're like cars on a cable,
And life's like an hourglass, glued to the table
No one can find the rewind button now
Sing it if you understand.
And breathe, just breathe

~Anna Nalick, Breathe

What's my type?

It was during a playful and innocent (*adjusts halo*) flirtation with a fellow blogger that I learned something about myself:

I don't know what "type" of guy I am attracted to.

Or what type of guy would be attracted to me!

Beyond the qualities I listed when I wrote about my perfect guy, and yes athleticism is one quality I admire, I didn't think I had a particular type of guy I went for.

---

Let's see... if I really look back over the men I've been attracted to or in a relationship with, I can only see a few things in common:
  • Usually Latin/Italian
  • Usually dark hair (though bald is damn sexy to me)
  • Usually has brown eyes (with the exception of a few who had blue-green eyes.... *sigh*)
  • Generally average build, no six-pack abs but no belly, strong shoulders
  • Height from about 5' 10" to 6' 2"

Even still, I can't generalize what I'm attracted to, physically. I never thought I'd be attracted to a bald man until I was. I've also had crushes on men with blonde hair but there's something about dark hair that makes me swoon.

The men in my life have all done some sort of exercise to stay healthy. I do appreciate a man who takes care of himself but by no means am I looking for a hard body.

Though I certainly wouldn't push one away either!!

---

Yesterday, a female co-worker was describing her husband to me.

"He's a big goofball."

See?

I love goofballs!

One of my most favorite personality attributes of my ex was his ability to make me laugh. I'm a very deep thinker so I enjoy someone who can remind me not to take life so seriously.

She also went on to describe him as a typical IT guy. I've been working in IT for over 13 years now so I had a good idea of what she was describing. The guys I've worked with are intelligent, genuine, kind-hearted people. They're problem-solvers. I love that too.

Lovable and sort of nerdy.

I guess that's how I see myself sometimes so... I do find that attractive too.

---

One night last week, as I picked up the kids from their after-school, I stopped to tell Gem about the corporate fund-raising event I was attending that evening.

"Apparently there will be lots of people there. I was told to expect doctors, lawyers and firemen (oh my!)."

She laughed at me and said, "Firemen. Yeah. That's the type of guy I go for. I don't really like doctors or lawyers."

Hmmm.... I hadn't thought about this distinction. I would think I'd be interested in dating men from any of those fields.

I suppose, as with my stereotyping IT guys, other jobs have stereotypes as well.

Then I wonder... perhaps I do find the brains more intriguing than the brawn.

---

While at the fundraiser that night, I spent half the evening flirting with the singer/songwriter who was being paid to entertain us.

Musicians are definitely my type.

But struggling musicians? Not so much.

I do like a man who can pay his bills AND has a job that he enjoys. Yep, that's more like it.

I do love a creative, deep thinking man too. Financial security, however, is pretty important to me at this stage of my life.

---

So, what exactly is my type?

I'm not sure that I have a type other than do-I-feel-any-connection-to-you.

This fellow blogger made the assumption that "six-foot-something jakked-up soldier-types" were guys that hit on me all the time.

Nope. Never.

What type of guy did you all assume would be my type?

And what type of guy would you assume I would attract?

I'm really curious.

Oh and for the record, can I, just one more time, say that bald guys do it for me?

Yum.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Well, hello there!

For new readers, allow me to introduce myself.

My friends call me T.

I have kept journals and/or diaries since I was 7 years old. I've also written poems, song lyrics and fiction stories to keep the words flowing.

I met my ex-husband when I was 19 years old and fell in love pretty much at first sight. After a few struggles, we had 2 amazing little girls. Shortly thereafter, we stopped connecting. Stopped working things out. Decided to move on...

I have been a single mother since the ex and I separated amicably in March 2006. After a few years of living in financial limbo, we finally filed and completed our divorce in June 2008. We continue to have a great co-parenting relationship and friendship.

In August 2007, I reconnected with an old high school friend after our 20 year reunion and we went on our first date. He is a career Army man and was deploying to Iraq for 15 months. We fell for each other and he deployed.

The deployment was difficult, for obvious reasons, but the not-so-obvious reason is why I began this blog. I didn't feel supported in my decision to wait for the return of Soldier from war. Thus I needed a place to vent, cry, brag and finally mourn as he returned from Iraq suffering post-traumatic-stress-disorder. We were no longer healthy for each other and I finally broke off contact with him in March 2009.



I lean on my faith and spirituality heavily in times of need. I study and facilitate a study group on the spiritual text A Course in Miracles. These and other spiritual lessons lead me to write posts like this one and this one and this one.

I have learned much about myself sexually as well. I continue to push my boundaries and enjoy exploring the depths of sex and intimacy. This exploration leads to posts like this one and this one and this one.

I am also in training for my first sprint triathlon. Being athletic is a new venture for me. I document my progress on the blog as well, hoping to inspire others to try something they've never tried before. You can follow my progress here and here.



I am moving forward, dating again and very aware of lessons to be learned in these relationships in my life.

My daughters are the greatest blessing and they save my life over and over again. Occasionally, I blog about the silly things they do and how they brighten my life.

But mostly, this blog is a quest to find out Who I Really Am amongst the chaos/order and drama/perfection of being a single mom.

I am wordy, introspective, in-your-face, a little crazy, moody, painfully honest, weak, strong, positive, negative and everything in between.




**************************
Updated: September 25, 2009



After writing this, I finally got past my funk and declared myself happily single. Then I was suddenly and unexpectedly connecting with yet another high school classmate, thanks to Facebook.

I've nicknamed him Gentleman Jack after a particularly interesting phone conversation we had. He has been a wonderful surprise in my life. He is a single parent to two sons and a true Southern gentleman. He's charming, sweet, loving, and I get a little mushy sometimes when I write about him.

There is one catch though.

Isn't there always?

He lives 3 1/2 hours away.

The good news is that he lives in the Louisiana town where I grew up. I still have some family there so now I'm suddenly driving back to visit more.

I did go on to complete in 3 triathlons over the course of the summer. First an indoor triathlon, then an all women's triathlon and finally the big one in Gentleman Jack's town.

I plan on continuing to challenge myself, not only athletically, but spiritually as well.

Welcome to my life.

The story keeps getting more and more interesting... 


Well, to me at least.


**************************

My links:
Facebook
Twitter

Featured series of blog posts about me on SinceMyDivorce.com:

Part 1: Divorce isn't a failure
Part 2: Discovering your spirituality after divorce
Part 3: Learning to forgive after divorce
Part 4: Seeing your ex blossom after divorce
Part 5: Kids handle divorce the way you do
Part 6: Introducing your kids to your boyfriend after divorce
Part 7: Being who you are after divorce
Part 8: Discovering your sexuality after divorce

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

An insight on love

On the drive to work this morning, I was listening to Ram Dass. Ram Dass is a spiritual teacher who was also a therapist and psychology professor at Harvard University in the 1960's.

The cd was given to me by one of my A Course in Miracles students. It was exactly what I needed today.

Of course.

---

Allow me to share one of his insights:


When we are growing up, we learn very early that we have to do the right thing to acquire love. Sure, our parents (and we, as parents) offer the guise of unconditional love but we still have to be socialized and taught right from wrong.

We learn to equate love as reward for doing or acting a certain way. Our actions gain approval and love. All of us seek that validation. If we don't act accordingly, we don't get that validation from our parents or others.

Then our hearts begin to harden a little.

This is why therapy goes back to our childhoods to study our personality flaws and defects. We all have them. Our children will have them too.

As we get older, we seek out someone to help us feel that release again, who can break through the armor of our hardened hearts. Suddenly, we find that someone in particular, who softens us. They, in fact, seem to hold some sort of key that allows our heart to open up a bit more.

We experience a feeling of being "in love."


Now in our state of deprivation, for that is a constant state we live in (always needing something: air, food, money, time), we cling to the person who cultivated that feeling inside of our hearts. We begin to say, "I am in love with you."

What we fail to recognize, however, is that the feeling WAS INSIDE US ALL ALONG.

The other person was simply a stimuli that brought our awareness to something that had never left us.

We become addicted to the "in love" feeling and decide that the only way to feel it is with that other person. In our state of deprivation, we feel that we have to possess that stimuli. We become addicted to it..... much like we do with alcohol, sex, our favorite foods or the very air that we breathe.

---

This was so very profound to me because I do recall, back when I last felt those "in love" feelings, it frightened me so. I felt such a state of both fear and ecstasy. I didn't want to cling but was so scared of losing that feeling that... I sucked right into the stimuli.

So deeply that I lost myself.


Back then, my always insightful friend D, said to me, "T, I'm happy that you are feeling those feelings. But the love that you feel comes from you, not him."

I had no idea what he meant.

I was so afraid of my vulnerability because my heart was softer, more open, more likely to be broken.

But openness is our natural state! It is the armor that doesn't suit us.

I believe that we fear the loss of that love because we think there is a limit on love. I know that I tend to forget that love has no bounds. Love is. Always.

Being "in love" means being in the middle of the awareness of love that is around me all of the time.

---

I suppose if I can cultivate this love feeling inside of me, stay in tune with it, then I will feel those feelings about everything and everyone. If I can remember to let go of my idea of the deprivation of love, then I won't feel the need to collect the people I love. I can allow them to simply be and send love to them whether they are physically present with me or not.

I have had moments of this. I can remember feeling the love all around me, inside me, spinning in my life so colorfully and sparkling! I remember noticing the essence in everyone, no matter their perceived "beauty" or "ugliness".

I could see beyond the veil of these bodies and personalities and who we think we are, into the true spirit of the person that I encountered.

It filled me up and I felt no lack. I never felt alone.

It does take practice. Like a garden, it always needs awareness, gentleness and tending.

---

If I can remain aware of that love and the source of that love, I can bring so much more to my next relationship. Can you even imagine the state of bliss and comfort in knowing that no matter the day or the person, you feel so alive and fulfilled that you're simply a joy to be around?!

Then you are loving from truth and not fear.

You are together because of love, not lack.

You choose that person every day over and over again not because you lack anything, but simply because they are a reminder of what you already have.



"Being in love, rather than giving or taking love, is the only thing that provides stability. Being in love means seeing the Beloved all around me."
~ Ram Dass

Monday, April 13, 2009

What's getting me through the day


A Course in Miracles


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Yoga helps me so much. Yoga on the beach is even better.


---



Homeopathic Ignatia Amara - this remedy treats the effects of grief, homesickness, anger, trauma or ‘overload’; fainting, sleeplessness and nightmares. Much sighing, lump in the throat sensation.


---



Dreams of tulip fields. I am still going to Europe but I cut the trip in half.


---



Heal the Past, Release the Pain: A Meditation on Forgiveness by Michael Moran


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Bach Flower Remedies (more specifically):
  • Willow: helps you to forgive past injustices and move on when you feel resentful and bitter
  • Gorse: encourages a brighter, more positive perspective when you feel there is no hope left
  • Cherry Plum: helps you to act rationally and think clearly with a calm and balanced mind when you fear losing control
  • Sweet Chestnut: brings optimisum and peace of mind when anguish overwhelms you and you can find no way out
  • Wild Rose: helps you feel interest and joy in life when you feel apathetic and resigned to the situation you are in
  • Mustard: brings back joy and cheerfulness when gloom descneds for no obvious reason
  • White Chestnut: encourages a peaceful and calm mind when thoughts and worries go round and round in your head



---


My favorite toys...


---



Swimming is actually relaxing to me now.


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It's Called a Breakup Because It's Broken, Greg Behrendt and Amiira Ruotola-Behrendt


---



I could ride my bike for hours...


---


My Rose and my Grace... who save my life over and over again.


---


And the reminders of love with every phone call, email, tweet, comment, and message from friends, family and the universe...

"Never put a question mark where God has put a period."
~Joel Olsteen

"Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened."
~Dr. Seuss

"Sadness and Unhappiness are not the same thing.... Sadness cleanses the heart."
~Neale Donald Walsch

"On this day of your life, dear friend, I believe God wants you to know...

...that life is rarely as difficult as you think it is,
and hardly ever as aggravating as humans are able to make it.

Consider the possibility that the little obstacles in life are not obstacles at all,
but stepping stones. Look to see what they offer you in terms of growth,
and you'll see their treasure."
~ Neale Donald Walsch

Sunday, April 12, 2009

I need a vacation (Help please)

I'm not feeling very articulate right now. Just tired... overwhelmed... frustrated... anxious.

---

Yesterday was good. Easter with family since it's rainy today. Kids looked beautiful. Great photos.

---

Mad at my brother. First he said he would help me with my girls' new Easter gift, a swingset. But then he decided to go see some friend who was dirt bike racing instead. I only found out because I called to see where he was.

I'm so tired of thinking I can lean on someone... only to find that ONCE AGAIN, I'm supposed to do everything myself. So very tired....

Then when I finally did see him yesterday, he was bugging me about getting him in touch with Soldier.

And this, after I've told him that I no longer want to be in contact with Soldier.

But my brother insisted because... he's saying he wants to join the Army.

You guys don't know my brother but he doesn't stick with anything and in fact, was kicked out of basic training (if you can believe that) back right after high school. He also makes NO decisions unless a woman's involved. He's telling me about some girl he's never met, whom he's texting through his iPhone, who says she's going to join the Army too and they can be buddies.

WTF?

Then he says, because he's heard all the stories about Soldier and realized how alike they are in relation to women, "That'll be cool to be in touch with him. We can be boyz together."

Seriously? Without even considering that I don't want this man in my life right now?

So, I texted Soldier to see if he would mind contact with my brother who, at age 29, wants to join the Army. My first contact in almost 3 weeks.

He never responded.

And I can't tell if I'm pissed that he's blowing me off. Or if I'm happy because he's honoring me by not responding. But I do know that, once again, I feel sick to my stomach with every text message or phone call that has happened since.

And that pisses me off.

---

I'm supposed to be going to Europe next week for 10 days.

I'm traveling alone for the first time to Europe to visit with a friend that I met through another friend last summer. We hit it off and she insisted I come visit her when she and her husband were stationed in Germany.

I had enough airmiles to fly for free so I booked the trip months ago.

Now... I'm stressed out about it and I just might cancel it because:
  • I'm using the rest of my work vacation days at once. One of the guys at work has to take on some of my duties while I'm gone and he's pissed about it.
  • I don't want to spend too much money because I'd rather spend it on my house.
  • I have so much that I want to accomplish around the house and I can't get it done in one weekend.
  • I'd rather see the Mediterranean area of Europe than Germany. However we are discussing a trip to Amsterdam. The tulips are in bloom and they are my favorite flower.
  • My triathlon training will be cut short. I'll only have 3 more weeks to train before the big event.
  • The ex is keeping the kids for me but I can tell that it might be a bit much for him. And he'll be staying at my house. That feels just a little awkward for some reason.
  • I know that when I get home I'll be exhausted and I have to go right back to work again. The house mess and the work will all be waiting for me... to overwhelm me once more.

And the biggest upset of all:
  • My girlfriend, whom I'll be staying with, is so "over it". She's lived in Europe for a little while now and frankly... has seen it all. She just doesn't seem that excited. We'll be talking today or tomorrow on the phone.

It seems like my trip is a pain in everyone's ass.

Since I bought the tickets with airmiles, I know that I can change the dates and go another time. Or pay a fee and have my miles reinstated. At least I'm fairly certain...

I always dreamed about going to Europe with a partner, planning a general itinerary and then playing it by ear..... traveling to different cities.... doing what the locals do....

This isn't what I thought I'd be doing for my first trip and I'm just not sure. If I don't go to Europe, I will definitely go somewhere for a few days and take some days off to get house stuff done. I can't think straight with a to-do list hanging over my head.


I just don't know what to do.

And I also still feel so very sad.

There's so much more to blog about but my fingers are out of juice.

Thoughts? Opinions? Ideas?

Help please.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A typical morning...

Opening scene: I'm still groggy but more awake after a hot shower. I'm standing in my bathrobe brushing my teeth.

T: *thinking* Ok, I have got to go to bed earlier. I should know better than to try to squeeze in a work event last night that involved alcohol. I should be training for my triathlon...

Grace, age 4, enters the room with sleepy hair and rubbing her eyes.

Grace: "Mommy."

She wraps her arms around my leg and gives a little snuggle.

G: "Can you get my clothes?"

I finish my teeth and pull Grace's clothes out of the closet.

T: *thinking* Now... where was I? Ok, I need to remember that I rescheduled my swim lesson for Saturday morning, then Rose's soccer game...

Rose: "Mommy!! Mommy!! Mommy!! Mommy!!"

I run to the other room to find Rose, age 7, on the toilet.

R: "Can you get me some toilet paper?"

Back in my bathroom, I'm trying to plug in my hair dryer. The outlet is not working. Perhaps it blew out yesterday when my curling iron nearly caught fire in my hair.

T: *thinking* Great. I wonder how much that will...

G: "Mommy! I picked out my shoes!"

T: "That's great honey." *thinking* Oh I need to remember to pay my CPA for helping...

R: "Mommy! I can't find my Scooby Doo shorts!"

T: "They might be in the laundry basket." *thinking* I really need to get them more clothes for the summer. Oh and Easter dresses. Argh. Where am I going to plug in...

G: "Mommy! Can I wear pretty dresses in the summer? When's it gonna be summer?"

T: "Soon enough honey." *thinking* Crap, there are not enough plugs in this house! That's what I get for buying an older home. I should really think about planting flowers...

I look at the clock. We have 10 minutes to get out the door. I am still not dressed. I have wet hair and no makeup. Meanwhile, the girls are both gorgeous and wanting breakfast. My stomach begins to growl.

G: "Mommy! We're out of muffins."

T: "Rose, can you make some toast for yourself and your sister? Ask her if toast is ok."

R: "Grace, is toast ok?"

G: "NOOOO!!!! I don't want toast!"

R: "Mommy! Grace doesn't want toast!"

T: "Grace, toast is what she's making or you don't get any breakfast."

G: "Ok..."

T: *thinking* Ok, now I have to remember to call an electrician. I also need to get some grocery shopping done. Didn't I tell Mom that I'd bring something for Easter din...

G: *screaming* "MOMMY!! I can't find my stuffed animal!" *crying* "OHHHH NOOOOOO! I can't find him!! I had him in my arms and now he's GONE!!!"

R: "Grace, if you will stop freaking out, I will get it for you."

G: *meekly* "Ok."

T: "Thank you Rose." *thinking* I'm supposed to do something for work this morning, aren't I? And I swear if I hear the word "Mommy" one more time...

G: "Mommy, I have a boo boo on my leg. Did you know that we're hunting Easter Eggs at school today?! Last year on Easter at my school, everyone else got eggs but not me. All I had was an empty basket..."

Looking at her sweet face, I can't help but scoop her up in my arms.

T: "You're such a cutie. But Mommy can't go to work naked. Go get your stuff ready to go. Rose! Rose, thank you for being such a great big sister."

R: "Mommy, you need to give us our vitamins."

I throw on some jeans and thank GOD that I work in a lenient environment. Get the vitamins in to the girls. Remember..... oh grab my work laptop... Stop to look in the mirror.

T: *thinking* Ok, I'll have to just go to work like this. Am I forgetting something? Wasn't I supposed to do something? Why does it feel like I haven't completed a single thought yet this morning?

I grab a banana and rush the kids into the car. After dropping them off at school, my brain is tired already. So tired.

"Having children is like being pecked by 10,000 chickens at the same time."
~My friend Marie, mother of two

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Romeo save me

My girls are obsessed with the new (and WAY over-played) Taylor Swift song: Love Story

They know every word and sing it at the tops of their little lungs when it's on the radio... at least twice a day.

The lyrics line up with the basic story of Romeo and Juliet:
  • Boy and girl want to be together...
  • Parents forbid it...
  • They sneak around and of course, grow closer because their love is forbidden.
  • The difference in this story is at the end of the song, the boy admits to asking her father for her hand in marriage and they live happily ever after.

I'm not cynical. I don't want to forbid my girls from believing that a man can be your prince and you'll be the princess... as the song goes. In fact, I loved the naivete of believing in the fairy tale myself. The ex and I, ironically, used to quote Romeo & Juliet to each other in our early dating days.

(Yes, I know how it sounds. We both loved Shakespeare. I still cherish a beautiful leather-bound book of Shakespeare that he gave me as a gift. And we were romantic that way.)

However, I am also aware of these lessons that I am learning at the age of 39. Lessons that I hope to instill in them now as part of who they are.

---

One of the things that the therapist pointed out to me in my session was that I should be able to lean on someone.

I rarely do that. This blog is the closest outlet that I have and even those in my real life, whom I call "best friends", don't see this much of me. I invite them to read... some do, some don't.

It doesn't matter. I just need an outlet because I won't burden my friends with my emotions and depth of feeling.

The therapist asked me why.

I told her that I want people to see me as fun, happy, giving and confident.

I do know that this is one of the reasons I'm attracted to unavailable men.

I am unavailable myself.


I'm too frightened to need someone. And what if they do not like "needy" T?

So I put on such a show of being perfect and in control when in actuality, I am human... and humans need love and validation.

"I feel like a burden if I'm needy. I don't want to lean too heavily on someone. I should be able to fulfill my own needs instead of looking to a relationship or a partner to do that for me."

"OK," the therapist agreed, "but it is a choice. You can be self-sufficient as a single person but it is also OK to have your needs met in a relationship. That is what a relationship is."

Well, it's a start.

Once I can begin with that - with allowing myself to be vulnerable, then allowing those needs to be met - I will choose someone who will want to do that for me. And I, as always, will do the same in return.

But this time, it will be MUTUAL.

---

While reading Kat Wilder's blog earlier last week, I saw a link to an article on whether or not mothers should teach their daughters to enjoy sex.

What an eye-opener!

I've expressed many times here that I think it is important for my children to have a healthy attitude about sex. I want them to have what I didn't have. (Isn't that always the case?)

But I never thought about actually teaching them to enjoy sex!

As I read the article, I thought, "why the hell not!" I mean really... I think there are certain questions and interests that will arise as they grow older.

As a start, I've taught them the proper names for their body parts. I've even noticed and educated them both on self-exploration. I do want them to understand what sex is and how society uses it. Maybe I'm a bit European in my thoughts surrounding sex... but I do not want my daughters to carry the guilt that I did.

Sex shouldn't be a shameful thing.

---

Maybe this mom will give them both vibrators for their birthdays one day.

Why not?! Why not encourage them that they, both from a physical sense and an emotional sense, can fulfill their own needs?

However, I also want to encourage them to feel comfortable enough with themselves to identify those needs and allow them to be known.

Because hopefully, then they will make damn sure those needs are met by the Romeo that one day sweeps them off their feet.

---

I just received notification that the topic for Oprah's show tomorrow (4/9) will be How to Talk to your Kids About Sex. I swear Oprah and I are on the same wave length.