Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Not my favorite Christmas

The first full day of my vacation to The Homeland was spent almost entirely in my pajamas, until I finally showered and dressed in normal clothes sometime after 5 PM.


Sounds divine, non?

Non. Not even a little bit. I didn't stay in my pajamas all day by choice. It just so happens that my arrival home the day before coincided with my father's arrival home from a 3.5 day hospital stay, and the next day it was my duty to be his primary caretaker.

Now, it was a scheduled surgery, not an accident, and he's going to be just fine or even more than in a few months. Yes, it was scheduled for the time I'd be home since Mom and One of My Siblings (the other missed Christmas with us this year) both work and the doctors said that it was either have someone available for him 24/7 for the first week or he was to go to a rehab hospital for post-op care.

Yay.

The idea was that we'd trade off shifts and no one person would have to shoulder most of the responsibility. Unfortunately, it didn't work out that way, and I took point with my mother close behind and Sibling a helpful, but a little more removed third.

That first day alone was awful. Dad needed something constantly, whether it was a machine adjusted, a urinal emptied (luckily, I stopped gagging about this the third time), food, meds, drinks, physical therapy assistance, and so on. He was finally okay on his own for my brief shower, but I cried before, during, and after said shower, partly because the whole thing was wearing me out and partly because I was so mad at myself for feeling so worn out and selfish, and it was only Day 1.

The good news is that it got better. Dad got stronger and gained more independence each day, and we sort of fell into a somewhat predictable routine. Despite everything, it was still mostly refreshing to be home. There's also something to be said about fighting and going through hellish ordeals with someone you're in a committed relationship with, something I don't often experience. You know that no matter what you say and do, you still love each other and WILL work it out. Of course, that makes some things sting more, but it still gives you hope.

Of course, I do wish that my dad had not once, but three times, not used his lucid moments to get after me and my lack of dating life. The last time was actually during Christmas breakfast and found me 1) swearing in front of my parents for the first time in my life (it was only "damn" and used for emphasis, but still) 2)storming off and 3)crying on the bathroom floor for an hour.

Not really a Christmas memory I wish to keep, but only one of the three of us in that conversation was on heavy medication at the time. He'll remember it happened, but he won't really remember all the details.

But like I said, it did get better. Even if neither my mom nor I had a full night's sleep (there were meds to given in the middle of the night) and taking care of a middle-aged post-op man is surprisingly like unto taking care of an infant, at least I was with my family. I did get out of the house a few times, and I showered, at some point, every day. Christmas itself didn't suck entirely and by the end of the week, there was far more laughter than tears. Plus, I never actually had to watch my dad relieve himself or bathe him, which would just have been embarrassing for both of us.

It was just a MAJOR adjustment to go from my solitary life to taking care of my father full-time, and not the vacation I was hoping for. I am most certainly glad I was able to be home for and with my family. If I had to, I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

I feel for those who have to take care of a parent or spouse full-time for more than a week. I don't know how you do it. I hope this experience helps me less self-centered the next time I have an opportunity to serve in a major capacity, or even a minor one. I know I learned quite a bit about communication and patience this week, I just hope I can keep those lessons with me.

I also wish my dad a very speedy recovery, and Mom and Sibling the patience to carry on without me.

How was your Christmas?

Friday, December 17, 2010

You're sweet and all...

...But please don't set me up with anyone. This is a universal statement to everyone in my world right now: Please Don't Set Me Up With Anyone. Period.

I'm not quite sure why I'm balking at this so hard all of a sudden. Maybe it's because the last time someone offered to set me up I freaked out a little. Another friend just asked what my dating range was, and I almost told her to shut up and leave me alone. I just can't do it right now. At all. The mere THOUGHT of going on a blind date makes me almost gag or cry.

As Jinxie and Roxie have said, just because you're both single doesn't mean you actually have anything in common, and I'm tired of people assuming things about my personality. I'm tired of thinking about dating. I just want to be left alone to live my life, do my job, enjoy my hobbies, and help my family (there's a confession coming about helping my family, but I'm not sure just yet if I should talk about it here or not) without worrying about living up to some standard on a blind date.

So, please. If you want me to meet someone, invite me over for dinner or a game night or a movie with other friends and don't you DARE call it a set-up or a blind date. Just let me get to know people on my own terms.

And, please, as shallow as this is, don't even suggest anyone who is shorter than me. It will just be awkward for both of us.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Grown up nightmares

I don't remember the nightmares I had as a kid. I'm sure I had them, since every child does. They probably had something to do with people or monsters coming to get me, but I'd always wake up in the safety of my own bed and the dream would be over.


Even now, I don't really have bad dreams all that often. I do sometimes have to fight bad guys in my dreams, and I can never seem to land a punch or kick, which is frustrating as hell, but there are no bad guys when I wake.

Last night, however, I had an absolutely terrible, emotional dream. I'd gone to bed a little upset, slept not so well, and then had this awful dream, so when I woke up this morning, I was in a supremely cranky/sad mood. I even cried a little before I got out of bed. It's not the way I'd choose to start my day again.

In my dream, I was on a group date with some friends from church, probably two or three other couples. I don't recall what we were doing, or even who my date was, but all seemed well and good. The second half of our date was a dinner at the home of one of my ward friends. His parents, who I actually work with in a church capacity in real life, had set up lovely tables for two all over the house.

For some reason, I had traveled there alone and my date was meeting me there. I was the first of the couples to show, and I thought about moving my car. When I commented on this aloud, my friend's father actually called me a terrible thing that I don't even want to repeat here. Then, as I waited for my date to show, couple after couple arrived and found a table. Our group grew to about 10 or so couples, and my date was still a no show.

That's when my dream truly became my current version of a nightmare. As an introvert, being the odd one out in a group is one of my absolute least favorite things, and here I was in a large group, practically the 21st wheel - even our hosts were cold towards me. I wandered through the house, peered out windows, and felt incredibly out of place. It was becoming increasingly apparent that my date was not going to be coming at all.

I was all alone in a group of people that continued to grow in size. I'd been bailed on mid-date. And there was nothing I could do.

It's no surprise I cried upon waking.

I haven't been in best of moods today (it being Fast Sunday and not eating until 8 PM did NOT help), but at least it wasn't a total crap day overall. Church was nice, I decorated my tree, and as soon as I publish this, I'm going to have a brownie.

But heaven help me if tonight is anything like the last.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Wrapping Up?

Well, I'm the last one to post for NaBloPoMo, so I suppose it's up to me to wrap up. Or not. Sometimes I'm contrary. :)

One of the things I've noticed about participating in NaBloPoMo, and this blog in general, is that I often don't feel as though I have anything relevant to say. But what am I expected to say? What is relevant to being single that isn't also relevant to being married? I worry about dying alone, but doesn't everyone? As far as I can see, the only appreciable difference between a single person and a married person is relationship status. We both worry about family, money, housing, cars, jobs, church callings, the world around us. I don't have my own children, but I worry about and love my nieces and nephews, my cousins' and friends' children, and the children in my ward. I am one of four "breadwinners" in my household and worry about bills, who will pay what, and what's going to be overdue if we pay another bill on time. I have to clean, I have to put gas in my car, I have to take care of my clothes and health (and, often, the health of those around me), I have to shop and organize finances.

Just because I'm single doesn't mean I have no idea what others go through. I have an idea; whether or not I've gone through that experience has no bearing on how I feel about it or how I can help, right? That's obviously a broad statement that doesn't apply to everyone, but I feel like I am valuable and, because I can't exactly relate, can often offer help or perspective that people who CAN relate don't necessarily have because they're too close to what's happening.

Maybe I AM different. I decided years ago to not turn into one of those "no one understands poor little me" people. It has proven a blessing, even though it is occasionally a struggle to remember to not be one of those people. I credit my change in attitude, and a LOT of faith, with my overall happiness about my life. My life is far from ideal, but I realized the other day, as I was going to bed, that if this is as good as my life will be, it's a pretty great life. I don't have a lot of money, I don't have the best job, I'm in a couple of weird situations, but I have a pretty great life.

Funny how perspective changes things. Thanks for reading us in November. Happy December!

Monday, November 29, 2010

The songs make sense

This weekend we watched a previous episode of the TV show Castle. There is a spot in the episode where, prompted by a conversation with his teenage daughter about love songs and poems, Richard Castle asks Kate Beckett how you know when you are in love. Her short, off the cuff, said in passing response was, "The songs made sense."

Now in context it is quite the funny line. But I've been thinking about it. And there might actually be some truth to it.

I've always liked music. There is a real power to music. Music and poetry can speak to the heart and soul. But they generally get their message across better when you've been in that place they are describing, when you've felt whatever it is they are expressing.

And as I thought about it, it just made sense. When I realized I was in love with HP and he was in love with me, my taste in music actually changed slightly (it's a constantly evolving taste anyway, but this was a direction change I could pinpoint rather than a slow evolution). Songs about lost love or longing didn't have the same effect on me as they had before. Songs about love gone wrong really stopped appealing to me. But songs about real love, not summer love, or lustful longing, really started striking a chord in my chest. It was as if they were speaking to me, or perhaps for me.

Those songs just made a lot more sense.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Is there a problem officer?

I've been watching a lot of How I Met Your Mother lately, thanks to the reruns being in syndication on cable. The whole premise of this show is this father is telling his kids the story of how he met their mother. Naturally, there is a lot of talk of relationships as the characters move in and out of them fairly consistently.

I don't usually get anything incredibly insightful out of it, though it's an interesting take on modern relationships and it really is pretty funny.

Tonight, however, I watched an episode where Ted (the main character) runs into an old girlfriend, Stella. At the end of the episode, Stella tells Ted a story of how she once talked her way out of a speeding ticket. The cop pulled her over and walked up to her car and said "Young lady, I have been waiting for you all day." Stella looked up at him and said "I'm sorry, officer, I got here as fast as I could." When Ted asks if that really happened, she says no, it's just an old joke. Then she says that "the one" for Ted is coming "just as fast as she can".

That really struck me.

To my future husband, I say:

Baby, I'm coming, just as fast as I can, and I know you are too. I can't wait to see you and get started on the rest of our lives together! I know you're worth the wait! I love you!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Shaving my legs

I've heard of women who, after getting married, kind of let themselves go. They don't shower and get dressed up as often. They stop shaving their legs. Their actions basically say that now that they've snagged a man they don't need to put forth that kind of effort any more.

I was thinking about that recently when I spent one morning exfoliating and making my legs smooth (I use an epilator not a razor) and doing my toe nails and curling my hair. Maybe I just haven't been married long enough so I'm still taking care of those things. Or maybe it's because I rarely did those things for a guy to begin with and my relationship with me hasn't changed. I'm going to go with the latter. (Mostly because the "you'll see" people drive me batty and because I know me.)

Yes when I was going to be on a date or spending time with a guy I would make sure I was looking my best. But it's not like I only shaved my legs when I had a date. If that were the case there would've been several years where my legs would've been au nautural. You've got to have more than just a date as a reason to take care of yourself.

I paint my toenails because I think it's pretty (and because nail polish never lasts more than a day on my hands so I think it's pointless there but it will last two weeks easy on my toes). I shave my legs not because some guy might be feeling them but because I really love how my legs feel when they are silky smooth. HP claims that my legs are always smooth even when I tell him I need to shave them. I've asked him and it's mostly because he's expecting stubble like he gets on his face and with an epilator I never get stubble like that. So if I waited for him to notice I could probably stretch it out for a month. But I'm cleaning up my legs a lot more often than that because I want to do it for me. Because I like it.

My relationship with me hasn't changed because I got married. I still like smooth legs and pretty toes. If my husband also enjoys them, then that's just a bonus.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Triggers

I caught myself whining today, feeling sorry for myself and starting down a mental and emotional path that could potentially trigger some self-destructive behavior. I've been down that road before, and it's hard not to give in some days, but I know I'll be happier if I don't shut down and spend days in my room...especially this time of year.


It's not easy to be alone for the holidays, even when you're surrounded by family. It's not easy to want a relationship with a particular person but never see it happen. It's not easy to be responsible for everything and have no one with whom to share the burden. It's not easy to be happy for others all the time.


However. All these things CAN be done, and they can be done without pulling those triggers that lead down unwanted and unpleasant paths. It's a lot more pleasant to have a quiet Christmas with your parents than to wake up one morning and realize that you haven't been happy or social for days because you're feeling sorry for yourself.


Here's what I think:


If I can't get motivated, start doing SOMETHING.
If looking at the world around me is hard, look more.
If the internet is too tempting, stand up and walk away.
If I'm feeling trapped, move furniture.
If I'm feeling sad, find reasons to be happy.
If I can't seem to get anything done, complete one simple thing.
If I wander around at night because I don't want to sleep, take some melatonin and leave a light on if I have to.
If getting up is hard, get up anyway and do some squats.
If eating is unappetizing, find something appetizing and eat it.
Read your scriptures.
Exercise.
Take care of yourself.
Watch Christmas movies.
Call your grandmother.
Do something creative.
Remember who you are.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

So Very Thankful

I spent Thanksgiving today with friends. It wasn't what I originally wanted to do for the holiday. First, I wanted to do what I did last year - road trip to an aunt's house - but I had to stay in town because of commitments this weekend. Then, I wanted to host, but my current living situation does not lend itself to large dinner parties or even the ability to cook a whole turkey. I needed a co-host, but the potential co-hosts I considered and I seem to be going through a rough patch and I didn't know what to do.

So, I was immensely grateful when another friend stepped up and opened her home to anyone in need of a place to go. I was still able to cook something, which I really enjoy and part of why I wanted to host in the first place. Mostly, I still able to share a meal and spend time with people whose company I enjoy, even if they're friends I've only known for a relatively short time and some I only just met today.

It's the people in my life that make it worth living. Even when family is far away and my long time my friends are being weird, there are newer friends, truly good people, who I can call on to be there for me and I for them. Even if they come and go, there is always someone there. New friends. Old friends. Near friends. Far friends. Someone.

And even when no one seems to be there, no matter how hard you try, we all have the ultimate friend in Jesus Christ.

I am not alone. And neither are you.

For that, I am truly thankful.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Not home for the holidays

The last time I had Thanksgiving with my parents at their home was my senior year of high school. I've been with my parents twice on Thanksgiving since but one time was at my sister's and one time was at my uncle's. It was hard and strange at first, but it's just how it is now. I had two Thanksgivings on my mission (neither in this country). And the rest were with various extended family members, mostly an uncle on my dad's side. They were all good Thanksgivings.

Eventually we'll just have us for Thanksgiving at our home. But for now we're still celebrating with others. Last year it was friends of mine. This year it's his family. And this might be one of the stranger ones I've had yet. In a way I'm glad I'm used to being with others for the holiday. It's going to make this one easier. I get along great with my in-laws, but I still feel like I'm not quite integrated. I've only been part of the group for a very short time. We're all still adjusting.

I am not someone who likes a lot of small talk and I also do not like feeling like I am in the way. And I know that the kitchen is small enough that if I go in there to help I'll just make it more crowded, and I won't know where anything in the kitchen is so I'll need someone to basically show me where/how to do things, and at that point it's just easier to let them do it. And I'll most likely have to do a lot of small talk. The women do small talk. The men tell stories and talk about deeper things. The women talk about that stuff too when they are with the men. But when it is just the women their conversations are different. I'm more comfortable with the men, probably in large part because I'm more comfortable with my husband than I am with any of them. I don't want to appear ungrateful or a free-loader. So I'll offer to help. I always do. I guess we'll just see what happens.

At least I know we won't be sitting at the children's table. (Although honestly, that might actually be more fun. Some of my nieces and nephews on that side are college age and they're quite fun to be with.)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Giggler

I was at a gathering a few weeks ago with some old and new friends. While it was really fun (and the food was really good), there was one thing that bothered me: The Giggler. Sounds like a Batman villain, doesn't she? Quite honestly, I would have been relieved if the Caped Crusader had flown in through a window, snatched her up, and run away with her again. Ugh. It was that bad.

Now, I know that people have a good time and laugh about silly things. I've been one of those people. But I think I have matured to a point where I can notice when what I'm doing is getting out of hand, tell myself to knock it off, and maybe excuse myself from the festivities for a few minutes to get a grip. This woman did not. Something set her off (possibly the potential beau sitting next to her, possibly something one of us said, possibly the sugar in the soda) and she just giggled and giggled and giggled. Loudly. Turning red. Uncontrollably. That kind of thing is not attractive in a super-cute 20-year-old, and this woman was over 40 and giggling so much she couldn't breathe. I was embarrassed for her.

Don't get me wrong--laughter is awesome, and can be an effective flirting tool, but not when you have lost control and end up looking like a fool in front of everyone. I think that if I catch myself acting like a 16-year-old surrounded by cute boys, it's time to reevalute the situation and determine if my actions are making me look stupid. If they are, it's time to stop. It's a matter of personal dignity. To me, seeing that (and its effect on the man sitting next to her) is just as bad as watching an attractive man clumsily try to hard to impress me. It decreases his attractiveness just as surely as finding out he's committed fraud or has left the church. I'd much rather be with someone who is confident, smart, gracious, and who knows when to stop what he's doing because it's immature and annoying. I'd much rather be with someone who is comfortable in his own skin.

I try to be that person, too, and I think it makes me more attractive than dissolving into uncontrollable giggles for 20 minutes, although I could be wrong...

Monday, November 22, 2010

Personal Progress

I completed the Personal Progress program when I was a Young Woman. Actually I finished it half a life-time and two modifications of the theme ago. With the new Personal Progress book being released there has been a lot of encouragement for not-so-young women to go back and do it if they never did or do it again if they already did it. The Young Women's president in my ward recently completed it even.

Now I'm all about goals. I set many for myself. And I think a lot of the goals in Personal Progress are real good things. In fact I've even thought several times, especially when I was single and not dating much, about getting a book and going through it again. I thought that improving myself in the way that would happen by working on those goals would be very attractive (people who are metaphorically sitting on their backside twiddling their thumbs are never attractive). I would've had my friends and visiting teachers sign me off on them. The only thing is, I'm not a big jewelry person (I wear my wedding rings and that's it). So I don't want someone to feel like they have to give me the new medallion if I do it.

But still, I think I might want to do it. And since you can now keep track of all of it online, I don't even need to get a physical book. Care to join me?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Somebody

I love the song Somebody by Depeche Mode. It's such a wonderful list of things a lover/spouse/best friend should be, and I want all of it.

I also want to add to it.

I want somebody who will call when they say will, and even just because.

I want somebody who can make me laugh.

I want somebody who will dance with me in the kitchen.

I want somebody who I can kiss anytime I want.

I want somebody who will paint my toenails when I can't reach them anymore.

I want somebody who knows me better than anyone.

And most of all, I want somebody who leaves me absolutely no doubt about how he feels about me.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Four old guys

In several movies I like there is almost what could amount to a Greek chorus. This chorus of minor characters is made up of four older guys who serve to provide guidance for the main characters and comic relief for the plot. Several years ago, after watching these movies (The Rookie & Return to Me specifically) a few times, I decided I wanted my own group of "four old guys." So I thought about who I could invite and then formally asked them if they would be one of my "four old guys" or "FOG" as they called themselves. The membership changed a bit over the years, but it's roughly remained the same. They took exception to being called old until I explained that it simply meant "older than me."

Earlier this year I read a story on NPR - "Life-Changing Health Scare Leads to 'Council of Dads'". A father, faced with a possible life threatening illness, together with his wife, picked out men in their lives who could step in and fill certain roles in the life of their child. They created a council of dads to help step in if he was not there. It was a very touching story.

I love my dad very much and nobody can take his place. My four old guys in no way took the place of my dad. But if companies can have a board of directors, there's nothing to say that a person can't either. My four old guys and my women provide talents and expertise that I don't have.

Friday, November 19, 2010

I'll never be like her

I keep a list on my phone of things I want to blog about in the future. Lacking inspiration recently, I was studying the list, hoping that something there would spark and I would remember what I meant by "timing" or "blind date."


One thing on my list reads "Comparing myself to others - vicious cycle." I had a vague idea about what I was thinking when I wrote that, but try as I might, nothing was coming to mind. Honestly, I've been feeling pretty good about myself lately, so I didn't feel like fleshing that idea out was necessary.

Then yesterday, I went blogsurfing, and I immediately remembered what I'd be thinking when I wrote myself that note.

You see, this girl whose blog I was perusing is an acquaintance, someone I've actually known for more than six years now. We've never been friends and probably never will be, but that's fine.

What's not fine is me reading her blog and then letting my jealousy get the best of me. As I kept clicking "Older Post" and reading more, I kept thinking things like,

"Ugh. She's so skinny. I'll never be that skinny. No wonder that ensemble looks so good on her."

"She has a weekly dinner party? I wish I had friends I could set that up with. Wait, they meet more than once a week!?"

"I wish people commented on every single one of my posts too."

"I wish I traveled as much as she does."

"She's so popular. I'll never be that popular."

It's sick. Fortunately, my rational brain starts piping in a little bit too.

"But you're not super fat. Do you have to lifted from your house by crane? No. Do people still say you're pretty? Yes. Right. Then shush, go to the gym a little more and stop worrying about it."

"You'd hate the stress of entertaining friends three times a week. Introvert, remember? Maybe if it were a rotating thing at different houses. And, besides, she has roommates who can help and make up of half the dinner party anyway. She might not even be the official hostess. So shut it!"

"People do comment on your blog. All of your blogs. And it increases the more often you write. So write more consistently and stop worrying."

"You do travel. Remember? Remember how you were just in that same country she's posting pictures of? Yeah. Shush."

"No, no you're not popular, but you do have friends who like you a lot."

"She doesn't have a boyfriend either, so it's not like being her solves that problem." (Okay, so that one is bordering back on mean.)

"WHY ARE YOU STILL SKIMMING HER BLOG!?"

And then I close the tab and move on with my life.

Until I happen upon another blog that gives me cause to think such things.

Such is life. On the plus side, there are blogs I read whose authors I am a wee bit jealous of, but I use them as inspiration. Like this super cute married couple who do super cute married things? Someday I will be married, employ some of their successful marriage techniques, and we'll be nauseatingly adorable ourselves.

My life really is pretty darn great, and it suits me. My clothes, my friends, my adventures, my job - all suitable to me. The things I don't like? I can change, because I am me. And I am okay.

I am Me. In all the world, there is no one else exactly like me. Everything that comes out of me is authentically mine, because I alone chose it – I own everything about me: my body, my feelings, my mouth, my voice, all my actions, whether they be to others or myself.

I own my fantasies, my dreams, my hopes, my fears. I own my triumphs and successes, all my failures and mistakes. Because I own all of me, I can become intimately acquainted with me. By so doing, I can love me and be friendly with all my parts.

I know there are aspects about myself that puzzle me, and other aspects that I do not know – but as long as I am friendly and loving to myself, I can courageously and hopefully look for solutions to the puzzles and ways to find out more about me.

However I look and sound, whatever I say and do, and whatever I think and feel at a given moment in time is authentically me. If later some parts of how I looked, sounded, thought, and felt turn out to be unfitting, I can discard that which is unfitting, keep the rest, and invent something new for that which I discarded.

I can see, hear, feel, think, say, and do. I have the tools to survive, to be close to others, to be productive, and to make sense and order out of the world of people and things outside of me. I own me, and therefore, I can engineer me.

I am me, and I am Okay.

From Self Esteem by Virginia Satir

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Rules?

After hearing that some women I know (none that I'm friends with) were faithfully reading the book The Rules to learn how to trap a guy into marrying them, I flipped through it one afternoon we were spending at the bookstore (bookstores make fun dates). And it was laughable. The ones that made sense could've been classified as common decency, and the rest were bordering on manipulation. One was to maintain a sense of mystery. I turned to HP and asked him if I was still mysterious to him. Without missing a beat he came back with, "Yes. I still haven't seen your breasts." (We weren't married yet.) And that was that. I've never heard of The Game but I imagine it's similar.



My rules?
1. Be yourself
2. Practice common decency.

Hopefully common decency is part of who you are, but just in case it isn't I thought I'd add the second rule.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I Have Found My Limit

The other day, as I was shopping for jeans (an impossible task), I got a call from an older friend of mine. She had approached me weeks ago about the possibility of being set up by her and I had said that I was open to it. Mostly. When most people offer to set me up, they don't realize exactly how old I am; I have caught several off-guard when I say with forthrightness that I am almost 36 because I am invariably mistaken for being much younger. Many people are thinking of their sons or nephews or friends who are in their mid-twenties when they offer to set me up. It's kind of funny and a little endearing that they think I'm still 25. In any case, this sweet friend called and told me about an unattached man in her ward who has three boys. As she was telling me about him, I thought, "Ok, this could work, I've been out with guys with young kids before, no big deal." She kept talking, though, and I could feel my willingness just shut down completely when she said, "He's 49 and his oldest son is 17 and lives with his ex-wife."

Turns out I have really found my official age and situation limit. 49 is just too old for me right now, and a 17-year-old son is too much. Give me five years, though, and it might all be fine, but not now. Not at all. I have to break it to her gently and kindly and gratefully, and I always hate doing that because I DO feel bad.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Is common courtesy dead?

I think common courtesy is dead, or, at least, very ill and possibly terminal.

I don't understand why it's so difficult for some people to respond to emails just to them asking direct questions (but respond to the silly emails about the latest updates about Angry Birds).

I don't understand why it's so difficult for some people to make plans with people they supposedly care about, or even respond to invitations at all.

I don't understand why it's so difficult for some people to not leave other people hanging.

I don't understand why instead of answering the question "Where is the stuff I left with you when I moved away from The Homeland?", some people will not only not respond, but actually defriend you from Facebook.

I don't understand why it's so difficult for some people to say "I'm sorry" when they have to bail on plans you've made together.

Now, I'm not perfect, but I at least try and do these things. It's just polite.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Just Because I'm Single Doesn't Mean I'm Not Busy

Perhaps I sometimes overreact to things, especially when I've been under stress and haven't eaten in more than three hours, but it irks me when it seems as though people assume I have a lot of time just because I'm single.


Examples:

I don't answer my cell phone at work unless it's family or I feel strongly that I should. In fact, I rarely check my voicemail until after I get home from work. I have gotten surprised reactions from people when I tell them that I was at work when they called, as if they didn't expect me to be holding down a full-time job. One of them even said, "Oh, so you're a nine-to-fiver, then." Well, yes. I have been for a while now, and sometimes it's even eight to six! Someone has to pay my bills.

Sometimes people corner me at church and act surprised when I tell them that I can't go to their book club or help with a funeral or meetings at assisted living facilities on weekends because I take some classes or sub in the temple or have family obligations.

Other times, someone will ask me to put something together for a ward party and is slightly confused when I say I don't really have the time to do so.

Once, and I think I may have referred to this in a much earlier blog, a woman I grew up with was visiting the ward and said, when I told her I was tired and busy in response to her asking how I was, "It's all that partying!" No. It isn't. Believe me.

Sure, I'm not as relatively busy as a women with five small children or toddler twins, or someone who works full-time and then comes home to her kids, but I still have a schedule. There are days I don't get home until 14 hours or more after I leave in the morning. There are days when I have to be in two places at once and put a lot of miles on my car. I have previous obligations and things to do at home, and just because I'm single doesn't mean I'm irresponsible.

Like I said, maybe I overreact (I need to watch myself and work on that), so it's nice when people understand that when I say no, it's not just out of stubbornness or unwillingness. Most often, when I say no, I mean that I really, truly can't. The flesh is willing, but the calendar is full. Besides, if I sat at home all the time feeling sorry for myself, that wouldn't be very attractive or productive, right? :)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition

Here's just a simple list of a lot of the things I never expected for our first year of marriage while I'm off celebrating our anniversary.

It's been an incredible ride and I've loved every minute of it. He still makes me all fluttery inside. But then, technically, we're still newlyweds for another six months.

  • I never expected I would have already broken a glass. And that it would make me cry.

  • I never expected I wouldn't have a large "I'm married!" moment. It's been rather a whole bunch of little things adding together.

  • I never expected that I would like cooking so much.

  • I never expected I wouldn't be pregnant by now, and that it would make me feel so broken.

  • I should have, but didn't, expect how close not getting pregnant, or any other struggle, would make us.

  • I never expected that I would so quickly start to think I couldn't live alone again. I successfully lived alone, and enjoyed it, for 7+ years. What's happened to me?

  • I never expected I would go to bed so early and get up so early so consistently. My dad tried my entire life to make me sleep like a normal person. My normal 8 hours of sleep were 4am to noon.

  • I never expected it would be so easy to get used to sleeping in the same bed with someone else. I think it helped that we got married when it was cold and he's real warm.

  • I should have, but didn't, expect to be this happy. I didn't know there was this level of happiness.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Want to know who I love?

I love me.

I love my intelligence.

I love what I have accomplished in my life thus far.

I love my ambitions and dreams and things I have yet to accomplish.

I love spending time with me.

I love my humor.

I love the way I move.

I love knowing myself well and still learning things about me all the time.

I love my hair.

I love my complexion.

I love my talents.

I love being alive!

With all this talk of singlehood and occasional lamenting of that fact, it's good to remember sometimes that we do love ourselves and being in our own company. We're going to be with ourselves for an awfully long time!

--Posted wirelessly by Jinxie

Friday, November 12, 2010

Preparation?

I have nothing deep or profound to say about being single today, so I'll just say this:

Maybe my dissatisfaction with my job, current career path into a brick wall, and longing to stay home and can things/scrub floors/paint/weed/chase children is all just God's way of telling me not to get so caught up in work and further education that I can't (or won't) make the adjustment to wife and mother when I get married. Maybe it's His way of reminding me where my priorities should ultimately be: raising children and being a good wife and mother when the time comes.

Hm. Maybe that IS deep and profound, after all.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

That Girl

Earlier this week I overheard someone (a very attractive man, if you must know) wax poetic about a girl he saw at Borders one day. She was browsing in the non-fiction section and caught his eye, totally oblivious to the effect she had on him. He was describing a simple gesture she did, tucking her hair behind her ear or biting her lip in concentration, and how it really struck him as beautiful in that moment. He told his friend he wanted to thank that woman for just being obliviously, unselfconsciously beautiful in that moment.

Another friend told me about how his friend has a blog that is just letters to his future wife, and how the letters were touching and real and full of hope and love for the woman he hasn't even met yet.

The interesting thing to me in both those instances is that neither woman (the fictional nor the real) was described as a Victoria's Secret model or a movie star: they are ordinary women who are somehow imbued with an aura of extraordinary. What was it about the woman at Borders? Was it her hair color, facial features, figure, stance, posture? Or was it something that combined all of that, along with an unnameable attractiveness? Would someone call it her aura or her energy that struck with such memorable force?

What about the man looking for his future wife in every female face he passes? How will he know when he sees her?

I can recall a few times when something a man did almost stopped me in my path because it was so endearing or funny or touching, and it's always something simple: seeing a man playing with his nephew, walking his dog, buying a gift, smiling at a baby. Simple things with a big impact, and I couldnt' tell you the exact combination of gestures, clothing, lighting, hairstyle, or complexion.

I often wonder if I'm That Girl--the one who quietly goes about her business at the grocery store, the mall, the gas station, the office, the one who has unconsciously struck someone dumb with a thoughtless gesture. I wonder if I'll ever know. I wonder if I should assume that it happens with me and be more careful about what I say and do. I wonder if, some day many years from now, I'll be sitting on the porch with my husband and he'll describe such a moment or a gesture that still catches him off guard and makes him wonder how he was so blessed to marry me.

I wonder if I'll tell him how the same thing happened to me, or if I'll just squeeze his hand and remember...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Do you make the first move?

If you're an American woman, chances are that you don't. If you're a Spanish woman, you do! A new study by an international dating site found that Spanish women are twice as likely as American women to initiate contact. Only Ecuadorian women are less outgoing.

Well. That's disheartening.

Now, I've done the online dating thing in the past. I made first contact sometimes, if a guy really caught my interest. Obviously, the online dating thing hasn't worked for me, and I don't actively participate in it at this time.

But what about in person? I was just talking on Monday about how I could benefit from opening my mouth more. Apparently, this is a theme for me this month.

What I really need to do is stop talking about it, and actually do something. Time to find me a wingwoman and go to the Institute dance this weekend!

How are you doing on making the first move?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Distance makes the heart...

There are two possible conclusions to that phase. Distance either makes the heart "grow fonder" or "go yonder." And a lot plays in to determining which direction it goes.

My experience ended the best way possible, but there are a lot of reasons why that happened. People used to ask me how I handled being 800 miles away. But that was how we met, we didn't know any different the first 2 years we knew each other. And that helped. If we'd started closer and then been that far apart our story probably would've had a much different ending. The heart would've gone yonder. But that's not to say that the distance made the heart grow fonder initially. Because it didn't do that either.

Long distance relationships have several challenges in common with regular at-hand relationships, but they also have their own set of problems. And at the same time they also have some of their own advantages.

Here's just a few of those challenges and advantages from my own experience.

Advantage
- The relationship is based on communication, because that's all you have. I've been in relationships that were based on the physical, and that always implodes. I've been in relationships that had no base, and those fall quite fast. But learning how each other communicates can be huge.

Challenge
- Some people develop multiple personalities when they communicate through technology. Who you think you are communicating with might not be the person you'd communicate with in real life. That's not so much a problem with the distance as it is with the person. I'm actually very wary of people who act one way on-line and a completely different way in real life. It feels like a lie to me. If someone says "but I'm real nice in person" I don't want to be friends with them.

Advantage
- Speed. There generally isn't any in a long-distance relationship. You get time to think and for things to develop. Leaping before looking is much less likely (as long as you aren't psycho and up and move right after meeting).

Challenge
- Speed. There isn't any. There are so many things about a relationship that develop through the day-to-day of life and they just can't happen over a distance. Distance allows you to not see each other at the end of a bad day at work. It means that when you are together you are at your best, your house is clean, and you put on your first-date behavior each time.

Advantage
- Depending on just how you communicate, your entire relationship can be documented in writing. We used email and instant messenger mostly and it is real fun at this point to go back and read those.

Challenge
- It is real easy for one person to make more out of the relationship than the other. While this is true of any relationship, when you have more time to think between interactions, when you don't have the intricacies of body language to help you interpret what is being said, it is very easy to misunderstand each other.

You can develop good friendships over a distance. But if you want more out of the relationship, you just have to be closer. The distance part of our relationship gave us a solid friendship built on communication, but when my life brought me closer we still had to build our friendship all over again, this time based on life.

I'd eat lunch with you, Charlie Brown

You'll be getting two posts from us today, since Roxie has something great for later. But! For all I've been discussing lately - being an introvert and opening your mouth, I thought today's Peanuts was especially poignant, so I just had to share.











That pretty much sums it up for me.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Open your mouth!

In contrast to Trixie's excellent post yesterday, sometimes I could use a reminder to open my dang mouth. But, since I'm an introvert, it's not always easy.

Want to meet that guy? Open your mouth!

Want to flirt with that guy? Open your mouth!

Want to learn that guy's last name? Open your mouth!

Want to spend time with that friend, guy or girl? Open your mouth!

I'm not a supermodel, so I'm not going to catch a guy with looks alone. I'm going to have to also use my wit, charm, and sparkling personality. To do that, I'm going to have to open my mouth.

Plus, there's this:

Never mind those last 10 pounds. According to a new study, men care more about a woman’s face than they do about her body when seeking a long-term relationship.
More on that here.

Part of that face is my mouth, and I shouldn't be shy about using it, because if I can use it for the smiling and then for the talking, soon I'll get to use it again for the kissing.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

"I can't believe you don't shut up!"

The title of this post is one of my favorite Simpsons quotes ever from Apu Nahasapeemapetilon and one that frequently goes through my head, as, no doubt, it does for so many other people.

The other night I was at a gathering with some friends and acquaintances, and there came a moment when that phrase went SCREAMING through my head. I ended up sitting by Doug (name has, of course, been changed) because I got there late and these things happen to me. I've given this man the benefit of the doubt in the past because he's been through a tough time recently. I understand that and have been willing to find a way to talk with him and disguise or suppress my irritation with his personality enough to listen when he needs to talk. I do try my best, but I wanted to throw something at him most of the night. As I walked into my house, I said aloud, "thank GOODNESS that wasn't a date. I'd never go out with him again after that." Oh, it was awful.

Now, I don't mind if people are better at something than me. That happens. What bothers me is when people have to top everyone else in the room. I have played my share of oneupsmanship, much to my chagrin, but I do my best to avoid it myself (I have made vast improvements because I don't want to turn into a Diane or a Doug), and dislike that streak in others. Especially when they have to be better at EVERYTHING I do, especially when I've put years, sometimes decades, into developing a talent or learning a skill. I appreciate different viewpoints, too. I find them valuable and enjoy good conversation where both parties learn something. I've learned that I don't know as much as I think I do and I enjoy a challenge and a different perspective. There are very few cases in which I insist on being totally right, and they are usually cases in which I AM totally right because I have done the research and study and paid my dues. However, I really try to be kind and sensitive instead of defensive and combative (that's a lot of "ives") and I find that people actually want to talk to me and value my opinion if I value theirs! I also find that I don't have to speak loudly to whomever happens to be within earshot in order to be heard or liked.

Read that paragraph again, and imagine being stuck at a table next to someone who does all the bad things. ALL of them. Not to mention being a sloppy eater and having a seeming disregard for personal hygiene habits like shaving* or trimming his fingernails. At one point, even though the people around him were in different conversations and not talking to him anymore, he kept talking, just waiting for someone to come close to making eye contact. It was so hard to smile and be polite when all I wanted to do was say "hey, you're not that smart. You don't know as much as you think you do. You've never done military service/craft/job/education and no one really appreciates an armchair coach. Knock it off." I don't know if I should be proud of it, but I did manage to get a subtle dig in when I mentioned (in the course of a conversation with much pleasanter people) how my degree taught me that I don't know as much as I think I do and that other people's viewpoints and experiences are just as valuable as mine even if I can't relate.

Let this be a lesson: If you are constantly trying to prove how much better you are than others, if you can't accept someone else's opinion for what it is, if you dismiss someone's education and training, if you talk just to hear yourself use your AP English vocabulary words from 20 years ago, if you can't bear the thought that someone might just be better than you at something, and if you can't be bothered with social niceties like not interrupting, it's time to take a good, hard look at yourself (man OR woman!) and figure out why no one wants to date you. And then, just maybe, be willing to change if change is needed. I mean, sure, maybe there's someone out there who will jump you if you're like that, but there are no guarantees and if it hasn't happened yet, it's not likely to. Get over yourself and learn to maneuver in society with a little more grace and courtesy.

*I don't mind facial hair or stubble, but when a man admits that he's too lazy to shave more than once a week, I have a problem with that. Especially when such a man would be grossed out by the mere suggestion of stubble on a woman's ankles or, heaven forbid! her underarms. Doug seems like that kind of guy and it makes me want to scream. Long fingernails on a man quite literally nauseate me, even though I understand that classical guitarists and the like need to keep them longish in order to play their instruments. Growing them out to be weird or because you're plain lazy is NOT attractive in any way.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

When I was a child

I am a life long comic addict. I don't buy comic books, not that kind of comic. But I love the funny pages in the newspaper. I have stacks of comics I cut from the paper growing up. And since they've all started being available on-line, I have folders of them on my computer. You never know when you might need one some day for some project. I love how they can capture some little bit of truth about life in three frames or so. They are just brilliant.

Peanuts

Honestly, which of us didn't do that growing up, or even now? Even if you've since decided that you will not be changing your name, you probably thought about that at some point. I know a few couples with some rather unusual names and I have to think that she must have really loved him to try that name on and then keep it. But of course love is about more than a name. Even though when you are young it can often seem like that is very important.

Young love is certainly a strange beast. It's highly romantic and idyllic.



I had that idealized concept of love when I was a child. It gave me a place to start from. But I'm so glad it changed. Real love, adult love, is so much better than just liking the same song, or having a good sounding name. Love is rough and raw. It is work and wonderful.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Dating as an Introvert

Since Trixie outed Roxie and me as introverts yesterday, I think now is good time to discuss how it affects my dating life, because, let me tell you, it totally does.


First, a definition or two. An introvert is someone who recharges by being alone and find other people tiring. Extroverts, on the other hand, are recharged by other people and fade when alone. Introversion to extroversion is a spectrum, and most people fall somewhere in the middle, rather than on the extreme ends. Introverts are not necessarily shy or misanthropic, we're just misunderstood.

For me specifically, I am definitely not shy, I have excellent social skills, and I do love having long and meaningful conversations.

However, as an introvert:

I loathe small talk.

Exchanging pleasantries and meaningless conversation is difficult for me, especially it's just done to fill space or time. Unfortunately, first meetings and first dates are often completely made of small talk and it feels like a waste of time and words. I recognize it has its place and does help you to get to know someone, and I will engage in it, but it's still hard for me. Therefore, I probably come across as, at best, quiet or, at worst, arrogant when I first meet someone. Those are not first impressions that are erased easily.

Large gatherings are killer.

Linger longers, house parties, bars etc. There are too many social interactions going on at once for me. It's incredibly draining as I feel I have to circulate and find people to talk to. I'm fine when I find one or two people to talk to as I drown out the madness around me, but, as I mentioned, I hate small talk, so getting into that is hard. Unfortunately, it's one of the best ways to meet new people, but as I'm out of my element, I'm probably throwing out that uncomfortable vibe, and that's not helpful.

New groups are hard.

I do great with small groups, particularly of good friends. On the other hand, if I'm the new person in a group that already knows each other, I have a difficult time breaking in. Somehow, I feel like anything I have to include isn't really worth saying, or I won't be heard, or something. It's tricky to explain. But if you see or are in a small group of people laughing and talking and one or two people quietly smiling and nodding and only saying something occasionally, that/those person(s) is/are probably an introvert. It doesn't mean I'm not enjoying myself, just that I'm waiting to say something I feel is worth saying. It's why in high school I could watch my friends laugh and play video games for hours while I just sat there. Didn't need to play or engage in the conversation to have a good time.

As an example of the last two points:

When I first moved to my city, my roommates took me out the very next night for a friend's birthday. The first activity was bowling with a select group of friends, maybe 8 people tops, divided into 4 people at each lane. I was just fine talking and getting to know these new people as each interaction was one at a time, but after bowling was cake and ice cream back at someone's house, with seemingly every young single adult in the whole area invited. There were at least 80-100 people there. Within an hour, I was perched in a corner, spent and ready to go home whenever my roommates were. I had reached my new people quotient for the evening and was overwhelmed by everything going on. I wasn't quite fetal and rocking back and forth in my discomfort, but I was most definitely done. Usually, in such situations, I make sure to drive myself, so that I can retreat as soon as I'm ready. I often tell myself that if I'm not having a good time or feeling drained after a certain period of time at a party, I am free to go home. A lot of the time, I stay longer than I first intended and have a great time, but at least I have the option.

I truly am content to spend a week's worth of evenings at home before I start thinking "Oh, I think I need some face time with someone." I live alone for a reason (having people I am not committed to loving in my personal, intimate, home space is akin to hell, I have decided). I love other people, and I really am interesting, engaging, fun person to be around, and I need to have people in my life. But, I also need my solitude, so I don't go bats*** crazy and cranky and send killer death rays with my eyes just because someone asked me a polite question and invaded my personal space. If I've had enough recharge time, all of those things are tempered. Balancing my need for people and love with my need for time alone is an ongoing challenge, but I'm getting better at it.

Are any of you introverts or in a relationship with one? I'd love to hear your experiences!

In the meantime, some mandatory reading for introverts and those who love us:

Caring For Your Introvert - An excellent introduction to introversion and what it means


The Introvert Advantage - I own this and will make my future husband read it. It's like my owner's manual.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

I Can't Say

Once again, I'm at a loss for words on this blogging as a single girl thing. I haven't had many adventures lately, or at least I haven't had any adventures I can write about without compromising my anonymity, so this is hard.

Frankly, I have more angst about my job lately than I do about being single. Go figure.

This is one of those weeks when I feel like I have too much on my plate and don't feel like doing the things I need to do. I've had a couple of events pop up suddenly that have put a wrench in my free time (which, lately, is housework time) and things have gotten behind. Earlier today I realized that an event I'd mostly been looking forward to is now an event I don't want to think about. It's tonight, though, and it's for church, and I have hit a point of overwhelm so aggravating that the thought of dressing up, going anywhere, and being social is making me anxious. I'd much rather stay home and do laundry, sweep, vacuum, and sing along with my MP3 player.

The weird part of the anxiety and overwhelm is that I'm more naturally extraverted than Roxie and Jinxie, but there are days (weeks?) where I just can't bring myself to face society and I need to not do anything that involves anyone else. Today happens to be, unexpectedly, one of those days. See what I mean about wrenches?

I don't really feel like fielding any questions about work, or hobbies, or dating, or my family. I don't really feel like putting on mascara just to wash it off two hours later. I don't really feel like putting on nylons and heels and sitting at a table with people with whom I have little in common.

This is one of those days I'm feeling a little bit the burden of being single with no kids to talk about. It would be easier to do Relief Society things, I sometimes think, if it was easier to find common ground with the sisters in my ward.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

At least once

It seems like there is a list of dating experiences that everyone has to go through at least once. Some good, some bad, and all at least leave you with a story.

With regards to dating that list could include:

  • a bad blind date
  • a good blind date
  • a date who is more interested in you than you are in him
  • a date who's less interested in you than you are in him
  • a rebound
  • a date who dumps you
  • a date you dump
  • and a date that you really should've listened to what everyone was saying and left alone

And yup, I can cross all of those off my list, at least once.

With regards to that last one, I don't even think a bad-ex tracking system would work.



Because it seems like even if we did get a warning that specific, we wouldn't listen. I've had guys that I got plenty of warning about, either from friends or even my own gut. Luckily I did manage to listen before too long. But if they ever do start up that tracking system, let me know, I have a few to add.

What other types of "dates" would you add to the list? The Art of Manliness had a list a while back of The Taxonomy of Lousy Male Friends. We could probably add those guys to the list as well. And I dated a few of them too.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

When We're Helping, We're Happy?

Let me start off by saying that I wouldn't go back to a singles ward. Ever. MAYBE if you paid me, but it would have to be quite a sum; as in, enough to pay off my parents' house and buy my own 100 acre property in Montana with cash on the barrel head.

In any case, when I left the singles ward scene for good, I left behind three official callings: Relief Society teacher, ward organist, and choir accompanist. I was fine doing all three, even when I occasionally ended up doing all three on the same Sunday, because the ward was pretty small by Utah singles ward standards. I figured they needed someone to do it, and it was fine that it was me.

When I moved into a family ward again, I thought for sure the bishop would put me in Primary, because it seems that's what happened to so many of my single friends. He didn't, however. He actually said that he didn't want to just shunt me into Primary by default like so many bishops seemed to do, and he proceeded to call me as the ward music coordinator. I did not do a very good job in that calling, and to this day I have the urge to apologize to the other people who were involved. I eventually got released and didn't have a calling for a couple of months.

I wasn't too surprised when I got called to be a ward organist (one of two, so we always have an alternate in case something happens) again. I was glad for the chance--I like being up there playing a big instrument that intimidates so many people. I enjoy the hymns. I'm not at all concerned that people are Looking At Me (or Not). Ok, I'm concerned enough that I try to look nice, but I'm not terribly self-conscious about it.

I wasn't even too surprised when they added a second calling: Primary pianist. I guess the woman who had previously had that calling got called into Young Women and couldn't do both at the same time. This wasn't too big a deal--I'd substituted for her several times already and liked the kids. Unfortunately, because I was also a ward organist and had to stay in the chapel playing postlude music every other Sunday, I couldn't do both hours of Primary. Fortunately, they were able to call another woman to trade off with me.

This was all going rather well up until July. July, I was approached by the second counselor in the bishopric and asked to pick up a third calling. I kind of knew what was going to happen, and I had hoped for a teaching calling of some kind, but something told me it would be in music again. They couldn't have made me the conductor in Sacrament Meeting, and the Relief Society pianist had just been called. I thought, as I waited for the bomb to drop, "oh, please, not choir director."

Guess what? I'm now the choir director. And an organist, and a Primary pianist. It has been an interesting ride so far. So interesting, in fact, that when the second counselor (he's over music callings) called me several weeks ago to talk about how things were going, I blurted out, "well, you can't give me a fourth calling!" He replied, "well, yes we can! (TERROR) But we're not! (RELIEF)"

The arrangement seems to be working out (despite my trepidation toward and intimidation of leading the choir) but there are a couple of glitches: First, and less important, the other Primary pianist is going on a mission in a few months and, like I said, it seems that every other musically inclined person in a large ward is already in a demanding calling. I'm totally willing to cut postlude short and book it to Primary. I don't know how much the Primary presidency would appreciate that, but I'd give it a good shot.

Second, and more important, I sometimes feel like I'm showing off and it's the Sister Trixie One-Woman Talent Show. This last Sunday, the other organist was out of town so I played for her. I also led the choir. The two events just happened to coincide awkwardly with her being gone. Then, after Sunday School, I played for the second hour of Primary.

I hope the new members in the ward, or those who seem to have it in for me for some reason, know that I DON'T do this on purpose. I didn't ask for all these callings, but I long ago made peace with the idea that I'll probably always be doing something musical in every ward I'm in. I have a bit of musical talent but nothing profound or brilliant. I just believe that you accept the callings issued, and you don't ask to be released except in extreme circumstances. I mean, I had a stake president once who contracted cancer and didn't ask to be released--he soldiered on in pain and the faith that this was where Heavenly Father wanted him. I believe that sometimes callings are issued out of need AND out of inspiration. If this is where Heavenly Father wants me, I'll do the best I can.

I suppose, if someone doesn't like it, at least they don't have to do it.

I have faith that this is where Heavenly Father wants me to serve, and I hope I can be faithful enough that I wouldn't ask to be released...even if I had cancer.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Have some from Column A, try all of Column B

I see a lot of reference to Plan A being "get married, have kids" and Plan B being "have a career until Plan A kicks in."


I don't know that I've ever really thought that way. Yes, I've always wanted to get married and have kids, but I've also always wanted to get an education and have a career. If we're really talking about the dichotomy of Plans A and B, I'm on Plan WhoKnowsWhat, because when I was younger I wanted to be an astronaut. And a wife and mom. Then I wanted to be a teacher. And a wife and mom. Then I wanted to do something sort of related to teaching that turned into what I actually do, love, and have a Masters degree in, and be a wife and mom.

Obviously, the wife and mom thing has yet to start, but I have faith that it will.

So, I'm living my life how I want to - working, playing, traveling, getting an education, and doing all this according to my personal, moral, and religious beliefs and things I just plain enjoy.

Is there a problem with that?

Not at all! I'd much rather be with someone who also lives life to the fullest, so to attract that kind of person, I will be that kind of person.

And now I have a name for it, thanks to a comment made by Stephanie on a post from Miss Nemesis.

Plan Kick@$$!

Here's what she said:
Frankly, I'm tired of the world-creating a false dichotomy- you either want Plan A or Plan B. I always wanted both plans. I didn't see my education/career as something that got in the way of marriage/children. I don't see marriage/children as something that eliminates my need for education/career.
My Plan A works together with my Plan B. Right now, I am working. Maybe someday I will be a SAHM. Maybe someday I will be whatever acronym we apply to working mothers. Maybe someday I will go back to school. Who knows?
I guess what I am not-so-clearly saying is that I never really had a Plan A (get married, have kids) or a Plan B (get a degree, have career.)
I had a Plan Kick@$$. Degrees! Jobs! Relationships! Potential for spit-up and barf! What is not to love about Plan Kick@$$?
That's it exactly! It's what my mom did, and it's worked out well for her. She, too, had a Masters by 25, which is when she got married and started having kids, and was a SAHM until the youngest was in school. Until starting a full-time job this year now that she's an empty nester, she always worked part-time so she could be home for us kids. I always cite my mother as my example for the framework of my life plans, because she kicked @$$ and I will too.

Who's with me?

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Confession: I'm a heathen

I have a confession to make. I did not attend the Relief Society General Broadcast on Saturday. I do watch it every year, even the Young Women's broadcast. But I'll watch it on the internet at home rather than with everyone else. And now that I'm married, I watch it while my husband goes to Priesthood the following week. But back to the big reason I didn't go this year.

The big reason - it would've utterly exhausted me and I would've been wound so tight that I wouldn't have been able to enjoy it or feel the Spirit.

I'm an introvert. Large crowds of people take a lot of energy out of me. I came home from our Visiting Teaching Conference earlier this month in such a fowl mood because I'd gone straight there form work/school and I was already exhausted. And then I had to be sociable for over an hour and it was far too much for me.

Visiting teaching I'm generally okay with once the appointment starts. That's only three people total. But I much prefer a half hour appointment to an hour long one. And getting me to set up the appointments is like pulling teeth since I sincerely hate the telephone. I set up appointments with one of my sisters through emails and I love her for that.

So when our stake planned a five hour day for the broadcast, I knew immediately that it wasn't something I'd put on my calendar. They did a three hour service project where they sewed aprons for women's and children's shelters before a light dinner and then the broadcast. FIVE HOURS!!! That would have me as emotionally exhausted as I am physically exhausted at the end of a five hour marathon. Especially since it was a stake wide activity. That's just way too many people.

One nice thing about being married is that my husband acts as a buffer for me at church now (he's an introvert too, we get along great). There aren't as many random people sitting right next to me as much any more (I've never attended church to socialize). And in Relief Society I've learned that if I sit on the aisle and put my bag on the chair next to me, I still get my breathing room and can enjoy the lesson. I've always known I was not someone who needed someone to sit next to them all the time to make me feel welcome.

Thinking about that recently I finally realized why I supremely struggled with Relief Society three years ago to the point where I walked out of the lesson a few times. The new president was a huge extrovert and wanted everyone to sit right next to everyone else and be shoulder to shoulder and all hunky-dory like that. She did that by only setting up enough chairs for the number of women she counted in Sacrament meeting (meaning half the room was empty space). And that just makes me far too uncomfortable to enjoy the meeting. Throw that in with the already amazingly tough time I was having then, and it was too much for me.

So there we have it. I'm a heathen. I didn't attend the Relief Society Broadcast with my stake. And I don't attend church to socialize.

Installing lightning pole now.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Oh Deer

Oh deer in deed. I saw this comic this morning while I was eating breakfast and I could relate all too well.

I remember different times in college when they had girl's choice activities and I looked around at the different guys in my life and there really wasn't anyone at that time that interested me. Which led to some interesting events that resulted in my roommate and I taking imaginary guys. Which in turn led to a bunch of girls who also didn't have dates deciding they didn't necessarily need a date to have fun and joining my roommate and I (although they didn't take imaginary dates like we did) and having a blast. Although my dad admitted that he was seriously worried about me when he found out what I'd done. However, so far that is the only time I've ridden in a limo (it was one of the dorm dances at BYU, the limo was part of the event).

B.C.

Slim pickings in deed.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Ew! Get a room!

As a general rule, I have no problem with PDA. (Public Displays of Affection) I have engaged in it myself, and sometimes I even enjoy observing it. Ew, not like that. Weirdo.

But this week? It's getting on my nerves.

This first example doesn't exactly count as PDA, but it's close enough. A girlfriend of mine recently started dating a new young man. I've met him, and I like him, and I'm happy for both of them. But she could tone down the "I'm in love! I'm in love! I'm in love!" Today, it went something like this "Oh man, I just haven't had any time to myself, since Boyfriend takes so much of my time, but I don't mind because I love him." "He's making me a bookcase for my birthday! I love him!" All that, and I haven't seen her in weeks, because of all the time she's been spending with said boyfriend. Oy!

Last night, I went out with a group of my friends. Turns out two of them are dating, which is news to me, and good news at that. He had his arm around her for much of the evening, and that was fine. That is, until I looked over and he was licking her. Actually licking her. Whether on her cheek or her ear I couldn't tell, but he licked her. In public. Where people could see. Where I could see. She saw me see him, and announced it to him, and I got to actually say to them both "Well now, that was awkward for me."

Tonight, I was at the store and a couple was stumbling through that I could have sworn were surgically attached to each other, much like Richandamy from Zits. I say stumbling through, because they hadn't quite perfected the two arm hug walk.

It's not even spring!

So, couples of the universe! Get a room!

Or find me a guy I can lick in front of my friends because I'm so blissed out I don't even remember they're there.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Delete

There are some things I like to be able to feel with my hands. I like to read paper books. I like to hand write my journal. It seems more real to me that way. There's something about holding it in your hand and knowing that one click of a mouse or a push of a button won't make it all go away.

However, sometimes, making all things go away that easy is rather nice.

It was about the time I was getting ready to serve a mission that I was going through my stuff from high school. I found several things associated with the guy I'd had a crush on back then. He wasn't good for me then. And he hadn't really gotten any better, although I hadn't really seen him since high school. I remember throwing that stuff away with a fulfilling finality to that part of my life.

After my mission I found the stuff from the guy I'd dated my freshman year of college. He didn't take it too well when I dumped him just before Christmas (I should tell that story some time). But it was satisfying to finally throw that stuff away too.

As I've been unpacking and arranging stuff lately (I unpack very slowly, it's not a fun thing to do), I've occasionally come across a note or card from a specific ex. Interestingly, I've mentioned him several times on this blog, but never given him a name. And I don't think I ever will. We had our good moments. That's where a lot, but not all, of the notes come from. But the bad moments have haunted me. So as I've been finding things associated with him in different places, it's been with a wonderful bit of finality to throw them away.

This week I was cleaning up the files on my computer and I found some documents, messages, and photos that were related to this guy. I paused for just a moment before doing what I should've done a long time ago.

I pushed delete.

And it felt so good.

It felt good to be at the point in my life where I could let it all go. It's gone. I don't need it back. I don't need it to remind me. I don't need those ties to the past to hold me there. I'm living in the now and I'm living for the future. The past happened. There are days when I wish it wouldn't have. But it did. But that doesn't mean I have to keep it. I can push delete. It feels good to unclutter my emotions and memories like that. A little cleaning can be a good thing.

Delete.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

If only it were this easy (click to enlarge):

[Image has disappeared, but, basically, a guy propositions a girl at a bar and she looks up his face on a date review app with her phone and he gets half a star and terrible reviews, so she leaves.]

But then again, I'm glad it's not. I wonder what kind of reviews would be left for me? I know I'm not always the kindest person who says the best of all the guys I've dated, so I suppose it's only fair that some of them may not have the best things to say about me. Sadly, I've even heard some of the more unfortunate things being said about me after the fact, and I can even understand why that person thought that about me. In reviewing my past and sharing the ups and downs of my relationships, I do try to remember that while things may have ended badly or they didn't always treat me the way I may have deserved, or I them, that it's in the past. We've both grown up since then (hopefully), and none of us are truly evil (at least from my relationship history).

What about you? Would you prefer a Yelp! for those you date?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Intimidating

I have quite a few male acquaintances, and a lucky few I even consider real friends. I get along with them well, we can spend time together separately or in groups, and our time together can often be engaging and enjoyable, at least from my perspective.

Also, I may not be a supermodel, or even a size 6, but I do think I’m at least attractive. I’m not grossly overweight and I make an effort with my appearance – exercise, makeup, dress, hair, good dental hygiene, etc. I’ve even been told I look hot/beautiful/nice.

Forget why I don’t have a boyfriend yet, why can’t I even get a date?

It must me be, right?

I asked JT if there was anything glaringly obvious in my appearance or my behavior that I was missing that would be a turn off, and he couldn’t really think of anything.

However, considering that he has only rarely seen me interact with other people, since it’s usually just us, and he doesn’t really know my other friends, though he has met some of them, I realized that, while a helpful source (e.g. my crooked nose isn’t to blame), he wasn’t able to speak for a larger population than himself.
So, I put my big girl pants on and asked another trusted male friend, Lorenzo, what he knew about why I wasn’t dating.

His qualifications:

  1. He is a member of my faith, and has the same beliefs about marriage and its importance as I do.
  2. He actually dates.
  3. We have mutual friends, most of whom he has spent significant time with and discussed such topics.
  4. Our relationship has been clearly defined as platonic.

Using qualification number 3 as our starting point, I asked him, “What do you know about why I haven’t been asked out in the year I’ve been in this ward?” I made it clear I didn’t want details about who had said exactly what, just the things I should improve upon, as I’m the only one I can change.

I was afraid it was going to come out like this:



Fortunately, I really appreciated his answer.

“You can be intimidating.”

It makes a lot of sense. When you get to know me, you know I can be thoughtful, love engaging on a meaningful level with others, and will bend over backwards for the people I care about. However, upon first introduction, I can come across as a bit of a self-absorbed know-it-all.

“Yes,” said Lorenzo, “You’ve studied many things, and accomplished quite a lot, but you can present that in a way that makes you more approachable.”

When discussing the findings with my mother, she suggested that I could still admit to knowing something about a given topic, but not being a source of authority on it unless necessary.

For example:

What NOT to do-

Other Person: I’m studying Subject X.

Me: Oh I read about book about that as part of this non-fiction kick I’ve been on lately, with my friend Roxie. It’s amazing that Aspect Q and Aspect E are so alike! And then I realized how it affected my Thing and then everything just clicked.

Other Person: Um, yeah.

What TO do:

Other Person: I’m studying Subject X.

Me: Oh I read a book about that once. I really liked learning about Aspect Q especially. What do you like about it?

Other Person: Let me tell you!

Obviously, in that scenario Other Person will, hopefully, see that I’m more interested in them and their knowledge or experience than in my own, and that can’t be bad.

It’s much easier than my father’s suggestion, from a similar conversation we had long before I ever talked to Lorenzo.

“Well, maybe you don’t tell them you’re THE Person Who Does What You Do, just A Person Who Does a Broader Version of That.”

“It’s going to come out eventually. When I tell someone I’m A Person Who Does What I Do, they almost always say, ‘Oh cool, where?’ and I say, ‘The Whole Organization’, and they say, ‘Oh, like at This Department?’ and I say, ‘No, actually I work for That Department as The Person Who Does What I Do.“

It’s much easier to start with being THE instead of A, but it’s essentially the same idea that Mom and Lorenzo suggested – be personable and engaging, without coming across as a stuffy egghead. Yes, it may seem a little like a head game, which I’m very much opposed to as a general rule, but sending the right message about ourselves is important. We can’t use a Vulcan mind meld or Jedi “mind trick” to ensure we convey our message exactly as we intended.

I know exactly why I can come across as a know-it-all, which actually helps. I was taking 8th grade courses in 6th grade. I graduated from college early at 20, knew what I wanted to do with the rest of my career at 22, and started doing it. And I have read a lot about a lot. Jack of all trades, master of a few (literally, you can legitimately call me Master Jinxie). I’m the oldest child, and therefore destined to be a little bossy. I AM a well-educated, highly motivated woman, and have been for quite some time. Unfortunately, being that awesome at 22 (which is when I got the job I have now), you have to fight some age-ism and convince people that you really do know your stuff, despite your birthdate. Confident, disciplined, and self-motivated can easily be interpreted as arrogant, inflexible, and unapproachable, and I don’t want that.

Once, I had a roommate who was working on an engineering degree. We met a young man who essentially told her “Oh, I can do all that engineering stuff, but I don’t have a degree in it. I just read a few books. I could probably get an engineering job easy.”

We were appalled at his arrogance. I don’t want to be that guy.

So, I’m working on it. It hasn’t translated into anything tangible (like a date), yet, but it can’t be hurting my chances.

And, as Lorenzo reminded me as well, it never hurts to smile.