Saturday, September 30, 2006

Short Stories and Nightmares

As Mr. Match and I start to talk again about what each of us wants and how to achieve our individual goals while treating each other with respect, I am doing a lot of self-examination to try to figure out what sent me careening off the mountaintop a week ago.

This self-examination takes me back to the period from 1988 through 1990. And another story for you. I'm not sure how much humor I can find in this story, but I'll try.
When I met and started dating John, he told me he had been having an affair with a woman who was married but determined not to break up her marriage because of her learning-disabled five-year-old son. He loved the woman, but was convinced they would never be together, and was tired of waiting. He wanted a life; he met me; he wanted a life with me.

We moved in together and began our lovely life. But this woman, EW, never went away. They would see each other every Monday night at chorus rehearsal. We would do things socially with EW and her husband. I would occasionally babysit the child when EW and her husband had social engagements and couldn't find a sitter.

Then EW had a conference to attend in Virginia Beach and asked John to go with her. I sat by, thinking he would get it out of his system, get her out of his system. But he didn't. She didn't really want him for herself, but she darned sure didn't want me to have him. She made promises to him, she enticed him. I would go on business trips and his routine would suddenly change. I'd call to say 'good morning' at a time when I knew he would be getting up and getting ready for work and he wouldn't be home. He would be late coming home from the Pentagon, and I would later find a parking ticket for illegal parking on P Street in front of her house at that time. The final stroke was around Valentine's Day of 1990. I was reviewing the credit card bill to pay, and found a large purchase at a leather goods store - a purchase I knew was not for him and not a gift for his children.

I'll remember the moment until the day I die. He was sitting at the end of the dining table. I walked up to him with the credit card bill in hand. I asked - not at all confrontationally - "What is this purchase?" He said it was a handbag for EW. He paused, then continued, "I cannot deny my love for her. I want to be with her."

I was thirty-nine years old. I had, at his suggestion and with his encouragement, left a secure position with a secure salary and eight years' tenure at IBM to be able to take some classes in law school that were only offered during the day. I had, one month earlier, gotten custody of 14yo Tyler — a very bright, musically gifted young man whom I absolutely could not place in D.C. public schools. I had a small part-time job as an editor for a legal publisher. I was almost completely financially dependent on John. And I loved him deeply and unconditionally, despite the nonsense with EW.

In that moment, with that sentence, my life fell apart.
When Mr. Match and I were talking on Thursday night, we were sharing our views and trying to understand each other's position. He asked why I'm threatened when he goes out with someone else. And to my astonishment, I heard myself say, "I'm afraid you'll find someone else who you like better than me. I want to be good enough."

With those words, I realized it's the bag marked "Little Adoptee" that is determing my thoughts and actions right now.

John and I used to love the movie, "Babe". It was the last movie we watched together before his death. At one point the farmer says to Babe, "That'll do, Pig. That'll do." It was the highest praise he could or needed to offer.

And that's all I want, all I need. I need someone for whom I'm good enough, for whom my presence in his life is sufficient. "That'll do."

Friday, September 29, 2006


We both agree that I deserve better than I'm getting.

<Personal note on>
To my kids: You may just have to trust me on this.
<Personal note off>

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Seeing Everything in Perspective

My heart is breaking today. A "prince of a fellow" is very ill.

My DIL and son have a best friend. When Jaci was tending bar in The Cooker in Boardman, Ohio, and met Tyler for the first time, she called her best friend and asked if he knew Tyler. He responded, "Jaci, you live across the street from him!" This friend has been an ever-present and wonderful part of their life ever since.

This man is the kind of guy who has an immediate impact on everyone who meets him. If you're a woman, you fall madly and passionately in love with him. If you're a man, you have instantly found your best friend. He has a heart for his community, for removing the darkness in Youngstown's history and restoring it to a wonderful place to live. He's an activist, dedicated to making things happen. He is a gifted and talented musician, an inspiring teacher. He's just a helluva nice guy.

On my refrigerator is a button that says "Cancer Sucks". I hate this horrible disease. But most of all, I don't understand why the good guys go early and the SOBs live so long.

My wish is that medical science can pull a rabbit out of the hat and give our dear friend more time to grace our lives.
Thanks . . .

to all the friends who have e-mailed me this week with encouragement and support and love and reinforcement that I've done the right thing. I'm still feeling sad, but a little better today, and hopefully better tomorrow and tomorrow.

I miss Mr. Match horribly, and cannot fathom that he hasn't called or tried to contact me.

BTW, my therapist e-mailed me this week and stated that Mr. Match is a player. I had to look up the definition of player, but when I read it, it fit.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Why People Over Fifty Shouldn't Live Alone

This morning Tyler noticed the enormous bandage on my hand and wondered what I had done this time. I told him I got up from the couch in a hurry and tripped over a cord, then sliding across the living room carpet, which resulted in a bad rug burn on the heel of my hand.

My kids had better be hoping I find a Significant Other so they don't have to take me in and protect me from myself.
Signs from the Universe

I drove up to Tyler's office in a rental car this morning. When he asked about my car, I explained that the first time I was going to Mr. Match's apartment, after entering the gate code to enter the complex, I scraped the whole side of my car on the concrete posts that are positioned in front of the keypad.

His response: haven't you had enough signs about this guy?

P.S. It is to laugh: USAA called to ask me if the posts had any scrapes on them. Honey, if they did, I wasn't the only one to put them there. The person who positioned those posts is a freaking idiot! And I'm out-of-pocket $500. Oh well.

P.P.S. But my Contintal Ranch house is rented, so a little bit of pressure is relieved.
More Dreams of a Disturbed Mind

I just woke up from a dream where I had a date with Vint Cerf.

Now we know that ain't gonna happen, so I guess we've gotta assume that the "blind hysteria" dream ain't gonna happen either.

Oh well.

(I wonder if we could get a count of the number of women in the world who have dreamed of dating Vint Cerf. Somehow I think that isn't a real large number. Truly disturbed!)

(But he's definitely brilliant.)
Moving Along On a New Road?

I've been thinking about how to avoid getting in this position again.

Do I want to just give up on dating, on finding a man to be part of my life? I don't think that's the answer. I am happier when I'm part of a couple, when I have an emotional connection.

Maybe I should try just going out with men I'm not physically attracted to. Maybe I just want to date men who are very intelligent, who will keep me on my toes mentally. But I'm such a romantic — somehow I think that wouldn't work. (No, I'm not intimating that looks and brains cannot be found in the same body.)

My therapist said once that she was shocked I spent any face-to-face time at all with EEFFH. She said that appearances are so important to me, that art and beauty are such core factors to my life, that she couldn't even imagine that I could be around him, with his slovenliness and his morbid obesity.

Given that knowledge, I'm not sure about going out with someone I'm not physically attracted to. Do all gorgeous men have such enormous egos that they're unwilling and unable to settle for one good woman? That can't be. I know plenty of handsome men who are happy being monogamous, committed, loyal. (My younger son is a prime example. Yesterday was Tyler and Jaci's eighth anniversary. If I had hand-picked this woman, I could not have done as good a job as he did. They have a wonderful, happy marriage that I have no doubt will last "until death do them part".)

How do I adjust my thinking, my hopes and dreams, or my search techniques so I don't end up yet again with this horrible ache in my heart?
My Aching Heart

I'm feeling overwhelming sadness tonight. It's not the feeling of rejection — I know that feeling well. Usually when I feel rejection, I have a physical pain that radiates down my right arm from my shoulder to my fingertips. This is not that feeling.

This is a sadness that feels like a heavy cloak around my heart. I've had such wonderful happiness for the past three months, even with the nonsense of the ex-fiancé and the everpresent Match profile. He said things to me like, "I predict we'll be married a year from now." "I'm in love with you." "You're spectacular." Who wouldn't find happiness with that, and with long conversations, and with fun times together?

I thought I had met Mr. Right. I thought the loneliness and the sadness of my life was over. I thought finally I could have a life.

My intense sadness is for the death of that dream.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Dream of a Disturbed Mind

So last night I dreamed that Mr. Match called me to apologize and make things right. He said, "it was blind hysteria that made me make that date."

Blind hysteria? Who dreams phrases like blind hysteria?!
Moving Through Mourning

I've discovered a new stage of mourning. It's not one that's in any of the self-help books. My new stage? Disgust.

I'm disgusted with my long history of men who didn't treat me right. And I'm disgusted with my long track record of just lying down so they could walk all over me.

But I'm not so disgusted that I would hang up if Mr. Match called me tonight and said, "Oh, Janet, I've been a fool." What a sad sack I am! (Yeah, he calls me Janet. He thinks it's a prettier name than Jan. Does anyone want to tell me what statement that makes???)

But he doesn't read this blog, so he doesn't know how easily the door would open. And judging by his behavior (or lack thereof) since Saturday morning, I would place a large wager on not hearing from him for a very long time.

I know I'll hear from him, because he left some books over here that are collector's items and very precious to him. But I doubt he'll ask me out again.

Shall we discuss all the collector's items in my possession? I got an e-mail from the Lemonade Tycoon last night. He's back in town and wants to see me. But trust me, he wants to see me as a friend, nothing more. I guess it's better than enemies.

Maybe I'll experiment with dating a variety of men and getting attached to none of them. That would be a new experience. The only problem with that is my brain is too old to keep all the facts straight.

Y'know how I made a statement the other day about men past 50 who have never been married. Well, the benefit of that is there are fewer facts to keep straight -- no exes, no kids (well, one hopes . . .).

Maybe if I work on having male friends who are not "boyfriends", I'll more easily retain a backbone. Worth a try??
He said once

. . . as I was reading a couple of blog posts to him in the midst of a conversation, "I can see that if I read your blog regularly, I'd really get to know you well."

Yeah, you would have.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Attraction : Rejection

And here's a scary thought: Am I only attracted to the bad boys, the ones who only know how to think about themselves, who are destined to break your heart? Am I trying to find the man who will reinforce the message of my mother: "you'll never get a man, you're not good enough". Where is the man who can say what he means and mean what he says?!
The Bigger Question

Where is the man who will fight for you, who can put his ego aside and say, "You're what I want. You're who I want."
Can I Have a Little Cheese to Go With My Whine?

Where is the man who recognizes quality? Where is the man who is content enough within his own skin to be content with one (and only one) fine woman putting him first?

Yesterday was a long and tough day. I am so spoiled by the intensity of the relationship with Mr. Match. I have absolutely thrived on this relationship. I keep expecting to hear the phone ring — that jazzy ringtone that I have associated with his phone number. But it doesn't ring. And I look online at Match and there he is, looking around. And I bang my head against the wall and say, again, "it's not about me." But that's hard to say, and hard to feel.

I hate this whole dating thing of having to sell myself. I want someone who can look at me and say, "Wow, that's quality. I want that in my life." I analogize it to walking into Nordstrom. (Okay, so I'm prejudiced. Ten years of "making beautiful music to shop by" left me with the belief that Nordstrom is the gold standard in shopping.) When a shopper walks into Nordstrom, he knows he is surrounded by quality: quality fabrics and materials; quality construction; quality sales associates; quality customer service. It's all around.

I think that's me. Yeah, I've got my baggage. But I've got nametags on all the bags, and I know what's in every one. And I know how to occasionally open up the bag and take everything out and refold it so it can be put away again. That's good knowledge, right?

I just heard the first bird of the day singing outside my window. Wake up. Maybe the perfect man exists only in movies.

Thanks for letting me whine a little more.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

In Mourning

I'm feeling incredibly sad this morning. Dinner with Mr. Match was on my calendar last night, but I never heard from him. After our initial phone conversation yesterday morning when I told him he needed to figure out what he wanted and let me know, I called him back and told him he deserved for us to talk about the issues face-to-face rather than just on the phone. He said he wasn't ready to do that at that time. That was 7:30 yesterday morning. Is that the last I'll ever hear from him?!

I've gotten so spoiled by the level of activity and connectedness in this relationship: phone calls the first thing every morning; a mid-day call to ask how my day was going; a 9:00 p.m. drink together or at the least a phone call recapping the day; lovely dinners and drinks and musical evenings; exquisite intimate evenings. There are so very many things about this man that I like — I could see in the relationship with him so many of the aspects that made the relationship with John so perfect. I could envisage finally having a happy life.

But my therapist said I was taking a big risk with him, given his track record. I countered that he told me he didn't like his extracurricular activities of the past and didn't want to behave that way again. My DIL (and others) didn't like that he left his profile active after having met me and professing his love for me. I gave all the excuses and rationales of his having been in relationships his entire life and wanting to experience being a bachelor.

But I told him over two months ago that he needed to be careful not to push me over the edge about all the women-on-Match. Friday night pushed me over the edge. What I felt on Friday night was absolutely not jealousy. It was righteous indignance — "I will not be treated this way". "Up with this I will not put."

I have experienced greater happiness over the past three months than in any three consecutive months in the past ten years. I thought I had finally found Him - Mr. Right. I'm incredibly sad at the potential loss of that dream.

Emotionally I'm at a point where he could still pull this out of the toilet, but his ego may not allow him to do that. And I think that's a great loss for both of us.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Ego of Man

I'm wondering if men who are in high-profile careers — medicine, entertainment, aviation — get so used to having so many women clamor for their attention that they need to always have that activity; that they need to have lots of women wanting them, chasing them, desiring them.

Are lots of unknown and possibly mediocre women more desireable than one known and really superb woman?

Is a bird in the hand really not better than two in the bush, so to speak?

Or are we coming back to that statement that we made a month or so ago: the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.
I've Got Great Friends!

I've gotten several e-mails and phone calls from friends this morning, saluting me for standing up for what I deserve. I flip back and forth from sadness to anger, and am thankful for the support of friends who have sent a lot of virtual back pats my way.

And one man even quoted Greg Behrendt to me: "Honey, he's just not that into you."
Are all men stupid, or just this one?

I'm basically all done here. He might be able to recover from his errors of today, but it's questionable.

Mr. Match had a date tonight with someone he met on Match. Okay, so he gets maybe 100 points for answering my question honestly when I asked what he had going on tonight. But he lost thousands of points for going out on a date with someone else when he's been so very involved with me for so long. And he had the gall to tell me not to be jealous, that it didn't become me!

I feel really bad for the woman he went out with, who thinks she's getting an available man. Oh, my mistake. I guess he is an available man. How silly of me.

He said he was narrowing down his "accounts" on Match. I'm not real clear on why he has an obligation to any of the women on Match if he's been involved with me for over twelve weeks.

I looked at my calendar tonight. We've been out 47 times in 12 weeks. Do the math: that's an average of four times a week. And that includes two weeks where he was out of town all week.

I'm always so relieved when the three month point is past, because I feel like there's a foundation and I don't have to think anymore about trying to find someone to go out with. The three month point for this relationship is next Thursday, and now I guess I've gotta start all over again.

Let me tell you something. I'm a really good girlfriend. If he can't recognize that and want to grab ahold and hang on, then he doesn't deserve what I've got to offer. (And I can hear my children cheering, 15 miles away, at that statement.)

Friday, September 22, 2006

Melding Lives

I've had a couple of conversations lately with The Traveler regarding hours of work. He is at his desk most mornings at 5:00 a.m. I know where he lives (just around the corner from where my kids used to live) and it's not very convenient to anything. So I think he must get up at 3:30 or 4:00 to go to work.

As I told you, I've been insanely busy this week — up at 5:30, to bed at midnight. This morning I was up at 5:00 and out the door at 6:15 for a 7:00 meeting. I'm exhausted. But at least Rudi is the only feline or person with whom I have to deal. I can imagine that if I had a man permanently ensconced in my life and house, he would be feeling rather neglected by this time.

So how do adults who have busy lives make time and space for someone in their lives? I want a permanent man. What will I have to sacrifice if that ever occurs. And in light of the payoff, is it really a sacrifice?

I'm inclined to think slowing down for the addition of love in my life would be no sacrifice at all!

Thursday, September 21, 2006


The other day I was remembering a guy in Arlington, Virginia, whom I dated about a thousand years ago. Well, really, it was in 1990, I believe. I was living in Arlington at the time, in the condo Tyler and I bought after the original split with John. (Yes, that is how I remember things — based on men and houses and Tyler's education.)

This guy was the best friend of the lawyer/author I was working for at the time. My boss neglected to mention, when he set me up with the guy, that he measured only about 5'4" or 5'5". In fact, it turned out that the husband of one of my best friends was bar mitzvah'd with this guy in Philadelphia. When my friend told her husband, who was about 5'6", that I was going out with this guy, my friend's husband said, "Wow, he's short." When a guy who's 5'6" says somebody is short, you know you've got a problem. Especially if you're 5'8"!

But I digress. This guy was sorta interesting and I was hard up at the time. Okay, so I'm basically always hard up, but we'll let that one go. He was a ham radio operator (as was my brother and husband #2 and EEFFH and the Kayaker — wait, do I see a pattern? are there too many hams in the world?). He was an attorney with the FCC. He was nice-looking and funny.

But he was also rather quirky. He owned two cars: a classic Mercedes and a Datsun. The Mercedes slept on the curb in front of his house, always covered with a custom cover. I don't believe I ever got to ride in the Mercedes. We went everywhere in the Datsun or in my car. And he was obsessed about not eating fat. He loved pizza, but when the pizza arrived at the table, he'd pick up paper napkins and sop up all the fat pooling on the surface. Really.

So the point of my story is assumptions and expectations. Once I started sleeping with him (okay, I told you I was hard up), he would assume every date would end with that activity. He never came to my apartment without bringing his contact lens case. I was very put off by that. Maybe he was a boy scout - always prepared. I don't know.

And that leads me to the second example of assumptions. This is much more recent — within the past six months. This guy fell asleep in my bed and stayed there all night. Guys! Really! We expect you to get up and go home — that's what guys do. I hardly slept at all that night, because I kept expecting him to get up and dash out the door.

Maybe he was afraid that his motorcycle would wake my neighbors. Maybe he liked my bed better than his own.

The moral of the story: Guys, the first couple of times you are pondering staying over, how about asking if we mind. A simple "may I stay" or "do you mind if I fall asleep" would be so much nicer than leaving us lying there, waiting for you to leap up and make for the door.
- - - - -
And just to let you know I've been working since my last post, I've published the first two pages of the site for my friends in Washington.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

How to Not Obsess About Relationships

I finally figured it out. The way to not obsess about relationships is to stay so freaking busy you don't have time to even think about anything other than the particular task you're on.

Concrete examples:

  • The Washington Chorus is in crisis and asked me to set up a Website and a blog for them. Over 100 e-mails flew back and forth yesterday.

  • The Tucson Alum Club of Pi Beta Phi database lives on my computer and must be updated with personal info from 100+ members and the directory created to go to press on Friday.

  • The Mozart Benefit Committee for Tucson Chamber Artists, which I'm co-chairing, is meeting again tonight.

  • Next week is "hell week" for TSO Chorus, with rehearsals or performances every night.

  • I've been asked to play (and possibly sing back-up on one number) for a benefit for the Tucson Folk Festival, sponsored by the Tucson Kitchen Musicians Association. The rehearsal is Sunday, the performance is the 30th.

  • I've just been invited to sing with Tucson Chamber Artists for their Mozart C-minor Mass concert November 4th and 5th, with Sunday rehearsals beginning October 1st. This is an invitation-only professional group, and I'm highly honored to have been invited.

  • Oh, yeah. And I have a full-time job!

Mr. Match called last night and suggested he come over for a drink. I said, okay, but don't hurry. When he left at 11:30 pm, I was relieved because then I didn't have to worry about offending him when I got up and on the computer at 5:30 am.

Quite a change of mindset, huh?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A Quick Story

I'm feeling overwhelmed today with all my volunteer activities. The Washington Chorus, Tucson Chamber Artists, and Tucson Alumnae of Pi Beta Phi all need undivided attention. It's impossible! So I'm going to be lying a little low here for the duration of this week. I'll try to post each day, but it won't be as compelling as some posts in the past have been.

To keep your interest, I'll tell you a quick story about the guy on the shores of the Potomac, the first guy I dated after John's death. Oh yeah, you know him as llama guy.

We had gone out to dinner at a nice restaurant on upper Wisconsin Avenue, near the intersection with Massachusetts Avenue. The restaurant had white tablecloths, was not overly quiet but was not a noisy eatery. Got the picture?

So we're eating dinner and his cell phone rings. He answers and proceeds to give his 16yo daughter extensive instructions, not sotto voce, on how to work the television and the DVD player. After glares from me and my whispered admonitions to "take it outside", he did. But only after disturbing all the diners around us for approximately five minutes. Astonishing, the lack of consideration.

Oh yeah, this was the guy who went to the funeral of a dear friend who had been murdered, shot point blank, by her ex-husband, and neglected to turn off his cell phone.

Some breakups need no explanation!

Monday, September 18, 2006

The Care and Feeding of Children
Or: The Drivel We are Force-Fed in the Name of Religion

This post is totally and completely off-topic.

I woke up in the night and, as is my practice, looked immediately at the clock to see if I needed to get up or if I could grab another hour or two of sleep. The clock said six-something and I immediately thought, oh, I have to get up. Then I noticed it was still dark outside.

Now here are the machinations of a warped brain for you: Instead of remembering that the power went out for ten minutes last night and thinking maybe I had inadvertently reset the clock, I immediately wondered why it was still dark at 6:xx. I thought, did the second coming of Christ or the rapture or whatever you want to call it occur and I slept through it? Oh, I guess that means I'm not going to heaven. Ahhh, I don't have to make my duty call to my mother this morning, as there's no question that she went straight to heaven.

The longer I laid there, the more I started laughing at myself and musing about the religious gobbledy-gook that was crammed down my throat as a child.

In case you're wondering, by the time 6:00 really came, the sky really got light. Christ didn't return last night.

And yes, I do believe it should be a crime to raise children in religions where they are taught that nonsense is truth.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Who Knew?

I learned this morning that this is National Unmarried & Single Americans Week. Their slogan is "Celebrating the Lives and Contributions of Unmarried and Single Americans". Who would have guessed there was such a "celebration". Puhlllease. Who dreamed up this drivel?!

The Web site's fact page states that, as of March 2004, there were 89 million single adults. But they don't separate that out by sexual preference, so that's not a clear picture of how many women I'm competing with for the attention of the few available good men. They state that the proportions of American women and men, respectively, who were 15 and over and unmarried in 2000 are 48% and 44%. Is that saying that 48% of all women, 15 and over, are single? Well, really, who cares about the teenagers for this statistic? I'd much rather see the numbers for 40-and-over or 50-and-over.

The Executive Director's letter on the Website states:

During Singles Week we want the general public to know that 89 million unmarried Americans -- and we now head up more than half of the nation's households -- deserve equal rights and fairness as workers, consumers, and taxpayers.

Mr. Coleman, in what area do I not have equal rights with my married friends? I can't think of an area in which I'm not treated fairly. What is this all about?

I only learned of this "Week" this morning while watching my favorite television show, CBS Sunday Morning. Somebody affiliated with Singles Week must have lobbied hard and long at CBS to get this piece included on the program. Or it must have been a realllly slow week.

Oh, I just figured out a way I'm not treated fairly: the absence in the Safeway meat case of packages of ground beef weighing one pound or less. Beyond that, I don't get it.

I'm open to any explanation anyone wants to offer. (To my left-leaning son: have at it.)

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Breathing a Tentative Sigh of Relief

Mr. Match seems to have finally reached a point of no return with the ex. She behaved poorly one time too many. And yet my attitude is wait-and-see. We'll see if she finds some way to appeal to his compassionate side and pull him back to her. I'm hopeful that she will not. I told him the jury was still out. He said that was understandable.

What makes me mad is my own reaction to these emotional situations. I would like to be able to stay on an even keel at all times, but it's seemingly impossible for me. I live on a roller coaster. This week the highs are longer than the lows. What I'd like is to have hills on a plane — moderate highs followed by sea-level lows, rather than mountainous highs followed by cavernous lows.

For today I'm content. It's the kind of morning for which people move to Tucson. I finished "Spending" and enjoyed it greatly. I'm going to actually pull out the vacuum cleaner. My girlfriends are coming over for a silk dyeing play date and we'll talk and laugh and be messily creative. All is right in my world.
Quote of the Day

On the topic of younger women chosen by men of a certain age, this quote could be said to accurately reflect the attitude of appropriately-aged women.

What is youth except . . . a woman before it is ready or fit to be seen?
- Evelyn Waugh

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Physical Characteristics of the Unloved

I've mentioned that I'm reading Mary Gordon's "Spending". I wake up early, turn on the light, and tell myself I'll read for half an hour before I get up. But then I enjoy the book so much that I can't put it down and the clock keeps ticking and pretty soon it's 7:00 and I've got to race to get out the door.

Last night after dinner Mr. Match and I were watching "Mad Money" and talking about Harman-Kardon speakers and I decided to pull up the photos of the million-dollar house I used to own. (Okay, if you wanna be a voyeur . . .) (Disclaimer: that page has not been updated in three years.) I wanted to show him the entertainment system that cost around forty thousand dollars. (I shudder when I think of it now. Actually, I shuddered when I realized that sleazy salesman at Wilson Audio had convinced EEFFH to spend that kind of money on a television and speakers and receivers.)

Mr. Match was asking me what it was like to live that way, and we got to talking about how I had become engaged to EEFFH, how I had chosen to go off with someone who was such a slob. And how I could have stayed for four years with someone who was so emotionally cruel, emotionally excluding of me — so very different from me.

Codependents of the World, Unite! I felt needed. I believed I had something to give that would improve his life, fill the holes in his psyche, leave him a better person. Okay, I was wrong!

And this morning my reading included this phrase: "the woman . . . with the uncared-for feet of someone who thinks herself unloved". And I got to thinking about EEFFH who, as I've told you, went the four years we were together without ever visiting the dentist despite his nightly bloody drool; who had the worst calloused, cracked feet in the Western Hemisphere but wouldn't dream of getting a pedicure; who, when he started an affair behind my back with a woman who was a bigger slob than he, stopped styling his hair and instead just let it fly in the breeze. This was a man who told me every Yiddish curseword in his vocabulary was learned from the mouth of his mother who used those words on him and at him. In retrospect, this was a man who thought himself unloved and unlovable. And all the caring and tending and nurturing in the world, on my part, could not change that.

Mr. Match asked if I missed the money. And the answer, honestly and truthfully from the bottom of my heart, is — no. Money does not equal love. Power does not equal love. I'd rather be alone and lonely than in a relationship and lonely any day.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Just to Set the Record Straight

If you've never visited or participated in an online dating site, I want to make sure you're fully aware of the wealth of quality dating material that exists in that forum.

I've been back online in this incarnation for eleven weeks now. I think I've gotten, maybe, eight or nine e-mails during that time. Today I got one from a purportedly (no one knows you're a dog on the Internet, right?) 61yo man in Silver Spring, Maryland.

He writes:


I changed nothing in his note beyond removing his e-mail address. Now really, doesn't that make you want to run right out and buy a plane ticket to D.C.?

To Edd I'll say, your search tour is absolutely not over.

And to Mr. Match and the Kayaker and the Traveler, you guys don't even realize what miraculous finds you are!
The Power of Communication

There's something quite wonderful about being in a relationship with a man who knows how to communicate, and how to listen. After many years of communicationally-lacking relationships, I can say exactly what I think and feel heard when it's said.

Of course, there's the fact that I have to say it on the blog first and mull it over for four days before I get up the nerve to say it. But at least it's said and I'm heard.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Balance of Power

I am of the opinion that women do not have power in what I will call the administration of relationships. Yes, we have the power to terminate relationships. But I don't feel we have the power to initiate.

My friend the Kayaker will not initiate anything on Match. He waits until a woman communicates with him, and then he decides whether he wants to return the communication or not. In that manner he protects himself from the sense of rejection of receiving no response to his winks or e-mails.

I can say what I want. I can think I know what I want in a relationship, but I have no ability to make that happen. I make my desires known and then must sit back and ride in the boat while someone else paddles.

As I think about this, I'm curious if there are women — younger women, more assertive women — who feel they have power or control in relationships. Is this a Southern thing? A born-in-the middle-of-the-century thing? I'd love to hear from ten women of all different ages and religious backgrounds and geographic orientations that say either I'm right or I'm wrong.

It's a curiosity.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Five Ways to Know You Are Broken Up

The Greg Behrendt Show premiered this afternoon, and I had to laugh at how on-target his "Five Spot" was today. He says it's not always easy to know when you're broken up, so he had his top five ways. It goes like this:

5) His girlfriend asks you to stop calling.

4) He keeps setting you up on dates.

3) Movers are taking his stuff out of your house.

2) He keeps saying "We're broken up".

1) Your birthday present is a restraining order.

It's almost as if Greg's been reading along as I've been writing.

Mr. Match dropped by tonight, and the ex-fiancée called again. When he hung up the phone, he said, "she's mad about something". And again I realized that I'm not going to have to take any action or say anything, because this woman is going to shoot herself in the foot in good time.

I just have to figure out how to realign my timeline to hers.
Solace in Uplifting Words

And today I find comfort in the words in yesterday's comment posted by the Traveler. If you haven't read his comment, I encourage you to do so.
My Train of Thought Has Derailed

My thoughts are swirling today. I stepped into the shower and started wondering who invented the shower. Then I started wondering who invented this horror that is dating. Then, having been raised a strict creationist, I wondered who Adam and Eve's kids dated. Weren't they the only people on the earth? Is that an argument for Eden having been situated where West Virginia is today?

Are we placed on earth to learn something? Or to teach something? Of course, for every student there must be a teacher. I always think about what I have to give in a relationship. Maybe I need to change perspectives and think about what I have to learn so I can get it over with. Is life simply meant to be a string of three month relationships? God forbid! But when we learn what we've been sent here to learn, are we then allowed to die and get it over with?

Occasionally I love my life. When things are going well, I love my life. But all the planets have to be aligned for my assessment that things are going well. Right now my kids are good, the job is fabulous, the house is home, but the relationship is nebulous. And I'm losing hope that I'll ever have a relationship that's beyond nebulous.

That makes me want to turn into a hermit. Forget having a love life. It's an impossibility. There's not a man alive who is not so self-centered as to be able to have a lasting, committed relationship that is fulfilling to both parties.

And then I remember John. And I remember the happiness and contentment, even in the midst of his illness. And I cry. I cry for the memory of being happy and the despair of never having that again.

Life is too frigging long. My mother is 93. God forbid I live to my 90s or even my 80s. With momentary exceptions, life has not been happy. I'm not interested in continuing in this state of mind for another 40 years!

Ah, you've gotten a real treat today. The closet cynic stuck her toe out of the closet.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Why does love hurt?

Are there people for whom love doesn't hurt?

Does thick skin or total and complete self-assurance make it hurt less or not-at-all? (We all know I am not possessed of either of those traits.)

Probably the most important lesson I learned in my thirties is that you cannot set the priorities for anyone but yourself. I guess that would have to go hand-in-hand with not having the right to criticize decisions other people make that they deem to be in their best interest.

I know I'm talking through a lot of clouds here, but I'm hurting today for a decision, a choice, that Mr. Match made last night. It's not directly about me, and it comes at a time of great stress in his life, so I'm trying to give him some latitude here. I can choose to make his decision a deal-breaker. Or not. I choose not. I may decide later on that I made a mistake, but for now I'm just going to sit on my thumbs and wait patiently to see what happens next.

I hate this part of life. I hate the uncertainty and the testing. I want to find Him, whoever He is, and start living.
It's All Relative

I'm feeling melancholy today. All weekend the television was filled with remembrances of the horrible day five years ago. And the loss humbles me.

Here I am, moaning about not being able to find the right man to stand by my side for the rest of my life, and there are children who will never know their fathers. It makes me feel rather petty and shallow.

So I will share with you the words to one of my most favorite songs, "For Good", from "Wicked". I do believe our paths cross for a reason, and I want to be open and willing to learn what I'm supposed to learn and teach what I'm supposed to teach.
- - - - -
I've heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don't know if I believe that's true
But I know I'm who I am today
Because I knew you:

Like a comet pulled from orbit
As it passes a sun
Like a stream that meets a boulder
Halfway through the wood
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you
I have been changed for good

It well may be
That we will never meet again
In this lifetime
So let me say before we part
So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you
You'll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have re-written mine
By being my friend:
Like a ship blown from its mooring
By a wind off the sea
Like a seed dropped by a skybird
In a distant wood
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you:
I have been changed for good

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Look what I just found

Getting acquainted with a sheepdog.
May 1999
Howard County Fairgrounds
West Friendship, Maryland

Getting acquainted

Get your nose outta there!

Now really — does this woman look like a llama?

Valid Break-up Reasons

I received a call last night from the East Coast guy I dated after John's death. He had a family wedding going on this weekend he wanted to tell me about, and I wanted to hear about his girlfriend. He has avoided mentioning to me any women in his life, telling me instead that I set the standard by which all women are measured, and hoping I would think I broke his heart irretrievably, take pity on him, and come back to him. (Trust me: ain't gonna happen.)

As he was telling me about this woman, who has seven children ranging in age from 30-something to 13, he said something about the "llama lady". Puzzled, I asked who the llama lady was. He said, "You".

"Don't you remember? You broke up with me because of a llama."

Well, that was seven years ago, and I don't remember anything about a llama. So he proceeded to remind me.

We had gone to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival in Howard County, Maryland, in May of 1999. It was an enjoyable event — sheep herding demonstrations, spinning, weaving, dyeing, felting, lotsa stuff of interest to me. It was a lovely cool clear-blue-sky day. We walked past a pen holding several llamas. I turned to look at him, and the wind blew my hair up. He says he looked at my windblown sandy-brown hair and the llama's windblown sandy-brown hair and said, "you look just alike." Evidently I found that offensive. He said my demeanor changed at that moment and the rest of the day was rather unpleasant.

He said the next day he was at my apartment waiting while I got ready for us to go somewhere. I came out of the shower in a big fluffy robe, drying my hair with a towel. He looked at my hair and said, teasingly, how attractive it was.

His recollection was that those two events caused me to break up with him. He recalls that I said he was very cruel.

Hmmm. My recollection is that Tyler and I had had lunch a week or so earlier and Tyler expressed grave doubts and concerns about the rightness of this man for me. Subsequent to that lunch, I asked my beloved sister-in-law in Richmond for her opinion about this man, and she replied, "he's not someone I would ever want to get to know." Again, hmmm.

So I think, in trying to remember the llama event, that I was itching for a reason to break up with this guy, and the llama and hair comments, filled with his brand of teasing, pushed me over the edge.

As a postscript, he told me he had a conversation with my stepdaughter after my move to Tucson. She reportedly told him that he didn't understand about me and teasing. She told him that my brothers had teased me mercilessly as a child, never allowing me to forget that I was adopted and not a part of the family, and that teasing was very painful to me. (I'm really astonished that she knew me well enough to say this to him. Maybe he fabricated the conversation for effect, but he hit the nail on the head.)

He also opined that people only tease those they really love. If you don't love someone, you can't be bothered to tease them. To that, my response is: hogwash.

Anyway, I guess when you feel a relationship has run its course, any excuse will do.

(And please don't look for any writing between these lines. There is none!)
- - - - -
After thinking about this post for an hour, I remember that it took three months from the llama episode for me to convince this guy that I was done with this chapter of my life.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

And further . . .

Would someone puhlllease tell me why this ostensibly grown-up woman is behaving as if we're in high school again?!
Things I'd Love to Be Able to Say
An Open Letter to the Ex-Fiancée

Cut it out! You didn't want him — you told him explicitly that you didn't want him.

You're very lucky that he's still willing to be friends with you. I've never had an ex who wanted to maintain a friendship with me (except John, but he was out-of-the-ordinary on many planes).

Lady, I didn't do anything to you. I didn't steal him away from you. I wasn't around while you were letting the relationship disintegrate. The only thing I'm guilty of is having the same good taste in men that you have.

What is your objective when you try to disrupt our evenings together, when you try to insinuate yourself into our developing relationship? I know every time he has dinner with you, every time you call him and ask him to come over to talk about some aspect of your history together. To the best of my knowledge, there's nothing about his life that he doesn't tell me.

I treat your time together with respect. I don't call him when I know he's with you — I leave him alone and work on my own life. Why on earth do you insist on calling him or sending a text message when you know he's with me? Why can't you treat me with the same amount of respect as I afford you? Is this your way of moving on with your life? If so, I don't think it's working! I think you're being a manipulative vixen, and it isn't pretty.

Do you think your actions endear you to him? Do you think your actions make him want to leave my side and run to yours? Do you think, after one of your pranks, that I'm more or less inclined to be supportive of his friendship with you? Here are the answers: no; no; less inclined.

You may not be ticking him off enough to get some action out of him, but, Lady, you're tickin' me off! Your text message at 1:00 this morning didn't phase him, but it disturbed my sleep. And I get really cranky when I don't get a good night's sleep.

Let me give you the benefit of my age and experience: when you do tick him off enough to spur him to action, the action isn't going to be positive, definitely isn't going to bring him back into your life on a permanent basis.

So just cut it out!

(Okay, so I know she'll never read this, but at least I got it off my chest.)

Friday, September 08, 2006

Things Men Will Never Say

Continuing on the theme of "what men think" . . .

I subscribe to Garrison Keillor's "The Writer's Almanac", where he lists notable literary milestones for each day and ends the broadcast with a poem for the day.

In today's broadcast, the poem is Rhina P. Espaillat's "Undelivered Mail". The poem is very clever, in my opinion, and one stanza called out to be included here:

This convention is tedious beyond belief: the hotel is swarming with disgustingly overexposed women far too young to have dignity or any minds at all

Happy Friday!
The Minds of Men

My dear friend 1800 miles to the north wrote yesterday on the topic of men staying on Match after they've become involved with someone.

True confession time, and perhaps this is the answer as to why men leave availability open so long on Match. The amount of time I stare out of the window at various women walking across the parking lot is phenomenal. I can’t help wonder if this is normal, and it clearly is not something I discuss with anyone. The number of women I have become “acquainted” with just by watching them walk across the parking lot is staggering. I seem to continually develop a mental list of the attributes I find extremely desirable, and there are very few items on the undesirable list (smoking and obesity are those that come to mind immediately).

Perhaps the primary difference between me and those identified on Match, without removing their availability, is I mention my thoughts to no one other than you, and maybe you do not count, since you have been crawling around in my mind for years. You are so familiar with my thoughts, if an item occurs to me, you are already aware of it.

This man and I have been friends for 25 years. He has a solid, steady life, and has continued to be an incredibly supportive friend across the miles and years through all the vagaries of my life, perhaps doing a little vicarious living through my experiences. My friendship with him is one of my most treasured possessions.

Why is it the best ones are all taken?

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Glory of Aging

I know, that's something you've never heard me say before. Usually I say "aging sux" and that follows some occurrence like not being able to remember something I said yesterday or not being able to find my keys or not being able to uncross my legs after I've sat cross-legged in my desk chair for an hour.

Yesterday I was Googling around for something (I can't remember what!) and found a blog entitled This Fish Needs a Bicycle. I read for a couple of minutes and was quickly taken by the way this woman writes.

This morning as I was reading her writing again, I came across the post that I directed you to in the link above. And I was struck with how lucky I am that the men I meet don't say things like "can I reserve you for a make-out session" or "bring your A-game".

And besides aging, I believe there's glory to living in a city as "small-town" as Tucson. I can't even imagine dating in NYC!

Oh, the other thing I found on this woman's iVillage blog? The information that Greg Behrendt has a show beginning next Tuesday. You can bet that will be on my TiVo season pass list!

(If you don't know who Greg Behrendt is, he's the former Sex and the City writer, God bless him, who coined the phrase "he's just not that into you".) (And further to yesterday's furor, I do believe Mr. Match is into me, in his own très unique way.) (Time will tell.)

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Things a Child Shouldn't Have to Watch a Parent Do

  • Die a long, slow, painful death

  • Become debilitated to the point that the parent must be taken into the child's house for extended care

  • Date

Sorry, guys, this is not how I planned my life. Oh, wait, I didn't plan my life. That's how we've ended up here!

One of the things I love the most about my daughter-in-law is her ability (and willingness) to cut through all the b.s. and get to the core of the matter.

[If you don't know what I'm referring to, read yesterday's comments.]

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Random Thoughts on Pre-existing Conditions

1. Do all men need to be admired/desired by all women (or as many women as possible)?
2. When a man says, "I'm in love with you", isn't it safe to assume that he's going to narrow his focus to only you? And what are you supposed to think when he continues on and on with his broad focus?
3. Do men recognize the difference between truly needy and controlling/manipulative?
4. Do men understand that women can be very manipulative? Or do they translate that into neediness or interest?
5. Does the man exist who truly embraces monogamy?

And my final thought: there needs to be a legal process synonymous with divorce for people who are only engaged or in a long-term relationship. Without it, things tend to drag on and on and on, to the detriment of any developing or future relationships.

Read between those lines however you wish!

Monday, September 04, 2006

The Voices in My Head

Today I'm listening to "The Tender Bar", by J.D. Moehringer. It's a lovely memoir of a life lived as the young son of an absentee alcoholic father.

And I'm living in the silence that logically follows a marathon date. The voices in my head, as the three month milestone approaches, predict all sorts of conclusions that I do not desire. I hope not every single woman trying to build a relationship has the same fears as I. Today I'm thinking this must all be related to my Little Adoptee baggage, not simply to the chaos that is dating-after-50.

Is there anyone in the over-50 crowd who doesn't find dating chaotic — who finds it a pleasant way to spend time? Is it pleasant for men but not for women, as men are more in control of the dating logistics? My new acquaintance, the Traveler, indicates it's not any easier for men than for women.

If you're a person of age who enjoys dating and you're reading this, I'd love to hear your viewpoint.

So my challenge today is to keep the voices as quiet as possible while I focus on the sewing task I promised to finish today for a friend.

This line of thinking was prompted by a line written by Moehringer: "Life is all a matter of choosing which voices to tune in and which to tune out."

Sunday, September 03, 2006

The University of Life

I just arrived back in Tucson after an overnight in Phoenix with Mr. Match. This was our first planned overnight (as opposed to falling asleep and waking up at 5:00 a.m.). We went up to see the touring company of "Wicked". I know the soundtrack by heart, have read and listened to the book, and just adore the show. I'll see it on Broadway with Cheryl October 13th. Cheryl had taken her daughter to Wicked on Broadway in February, so I wanted to also see it before we see it together. I want to be able to savor every nuance when I'm sitting in row E! (Mr. Match and I sat in the back row of the first balcony - great for an overview, but not row E!)

To get back on topic, I had a lovely time with Mr. Match for this 24-hour date. He's very easy-going, laid-back, a great traveling companion. Smart men turn me on, and he's erudite in many subjects. I don't know if he shares his knowledge with other people in his circle of acquaintances, but I learn something every time we're together, and I love every minute of it. It works for me.

In my opinion, he and I have settled into "old shoe". (No, he hasn't hidden his profile. He's still getting winks and e-mails from a ton o' women on Match, and I don't love it when he tells me about it, but I'm trying to give him a lot of leeway.) But with "old shoe" comes a slowing down in the normal dating, trying-to-win-you-over behavior — the flirting, the compliments, the proactive behavior. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that slowing down. It's reality. The heady rush of early infatuation — that's what's not reality.

I find myself feeling a little wistful, missing the early hands-on behavior. He is exquisitely considerate, he holds my hand when we walk, he opens doors for me. There's really nothing lacking — it's just a minor mid-course correction from the first six weeks or so. And then it hit me. Am I so used to being treated poorly that I don't recognize good treatment from a mature, sensible, thoughtful man?

That brings me to a quote I heard several years ago and subsequently wrote in the front of my journal so I'd keep reading it. It's from Walter Brueggemann: "We have lived with things abnormal so long that we have gotten used to them and we think they are normal.”

If I seek learning as much as I profess to, then may I learn this lesson quickly. May I learn to recognize and respect and cherish decent, humane behavior from a kind, thoughtful man.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Different Beginnings

This morning I'm going off-topic to respond to a comment TJ made a few days ago. He asked how I met his dad, my first husband.

I was an unmotivated major in college. No, I didn't say undeclared. I said unmotivated. I went to college because everybody I knew was going to college. I majored in music because everybody said I should major in music. I didn't have a clue of the purpose of college. It was just something to be gotten through.

I attended one horrible (to me) college outside of Chattanooga for a year, dropping out two weeks before finals the second semester I was there. (Okay, I'll divulge. It was Southern Missionary College. I still shudder to say the name — I hated it that much.) I changed majors at least four times during that year. Then I enrolled in Florida Technological University (now Univ. of Central Florida) for two quarters. I was now a music major, although I didn't know what I would do with it when I completed the degree. That summer I transferred to Florida State University, thinking maybe I could find whatever I was looking for there. But when I took my auditions for placement as a piano performance major, the music department administration told me I couldn't major in piano performance. No explanation. Just "no, thanks". I had been playing piano since I was three-and-a-half. It was, truly, all I knew how to do. And to be told I couldn't major in piano performance — well, I was thrown for a loop. Midway through my third quarter at FSU, I dropped out and went back to Orlando.

My summer job from the previous summer was open again, as a permanent position, so I became the promotion and public service copy writer for the CBS affiliate television station in Orlando. I liked the job, but somewhere in the back of my head was the knowledge that I should go back to school.

Cheryl, my piano duet partner from FTU, and I kept in close touch. When the Fall quarter began, she started telling me about a new guy who had just transferred in to FTU from FSU. She went on and on about how musical he was and how she thought I would like him.

I started back at FTU the following January (1971) and on the second day of classes, met Terry Clark. I was standing in the music department (which at that time consisted of about six rooms) waiting for choir rehearsal to begin. Cheryl called me over and introduced me to a tall dark-haired guy with enormous dimples.

Terry was taking about 30 credit hours that quarter, cramming a four year course of study into three years (as opposed to me, who crammed a tough four year course into twenty years!). One of his independent study choral conducting projects was a small choral group which would perform some rarely heard works. In introducing me, Cheryl said to Terry, "You should get Jan in your group. She's really good and has perfect pitch." Terry, being the serious musician that he was, expected me to ask what works he had programmed or what periods he would focus on. Me? Nah, I only wanted to know who else was going to be in the group. When I heard Mary Lou was singing and Cheryl was accompanying, I was in.

Cheryl and I kept scheming to get Terry to ask me out. About a month later, the Orange County Fair was in town, and Cheryl suggested to Terry that he and I double-date with her and her fiancé, Larry. We went out for pizza, then went to the fair. The following week, we saw each other almost every night. The following Saturday night, he uttered that infamous statement, "I believe God would have me marry you."

We were married that year. I played the piano and he sang for Cheryl and Larry's wedding in June. Terry composed a wedding march for our October wedding that Cheryl played on the piano. I knew two weeks into the marriage that I had made the biggest mistake of my life. (Sorry, TJ and Tyler, if you've never heard me say that. All my friends have heard me say it repeatedly.) Ten years and two sons later, we divorced. Hey God, if that really was you telling him to marry me, thanks — I wouldn't trade my sons for anything!

And where's Cheryl now? In Westchester County, on her third marriage (the really good one) with her daughter having just started college in Tampa as a marine biology major and, what else, a music minor. We're still dearest friends and meet in NYC every October for a Broadway weekend. This year it's "Wicked" and "Spamalot".

Oh, and TJ, I'd love to hear your dad's response if you made the same request of him!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Explicit, Implicit

So last night Mr. Match told me what he wants for Christmas. (No, I'm not going to divulge the request here!) Whadya think? Could I infer that he's going to sign on for another three months?
Hope vs. Magic

Are all the maneuvering and attempts at placement just about being at the right place at the right time? I've said that when Mr. Match and I sat down at the bar table for that first drink, lightning struck the table. If we hadn't met on Match, would we have met someplace else — run across each other in Fry's or at the dry cleaner? (I personally doubt it. We may live just three miles apart, but we don't shop at the same stores or have any friends in common.) Was the magic just waiting to happen and the venue didn't matter?

Does "meant to be" exist? Or is it a figment in the imagination of dreamers?
Is it just all about hope?

I exchanged a couple of interesting e-mails yesterday with a gentleman on Match. He's educated, communicative, clearly a smart, analytical man. Smart is one of my favorite attributes.

That made me start thinking about the number of Mr. Rights that exist in the world for each woman who wants one. We've established here that the number is greater than one.

Each time a relationship disintegrates, I think that's it for me, I'm done, there is no man to bring happiness into the rest of my life. And then I get lonely (or lonelier). And I think, "maybe I'll try it one more time". I've said any number of times that I'm not going back to online dating, but I'm certainly not meeting Mr. Right anywhere else in my life. (It reminds me of living in Washington. The men I sang with — at least the tenors and, now that I think of it, several of the basses — were gay; the men who walked into Nordstrom when I was playing the piano were presumed to be married or gay — they sure weren't hittin' on me!) So I keep wandering back onto, hoping against hope that I can find one more man to carry me through the balance of my life. (And "carry me through" has a specific meaning here, about accompaniment and companionship, not about lifting my physical body! But you knew that, right?)

My new acquaintance suggests that men hope, too, but weigh the effort it takes to meet someone against the likelihood of finding a compatible woman and decide they'll just hunker down with the remote rather than exerting the effort.

When I see some new possibility, I start to imagine what He might be like, what a relationship with Him might be like. But then I grab ahold of my racing hope and settle back down. What I've got is good. It may not be a known quantity but, for right now, it's good.

What's the joke about not looking for Mr. Right but looking for Mr. Right Now?