Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

A Solid for my Single Girlfriends

Friday, May 19th, 2017


I began this blog thinking the title might be “What I Love About Being Single” but realized I wouldn’t be entirely honest in saying I LOVE being single. Like almost everyone, I always hoped to find lasting love in a partner—but here I am, over 50 with no partner! WTF?! How did this happen? I was supposed to be celebrating my 30-year wedding anniversary surrounded by our loving children, looking forward to the annual summer trip to Europe with my hubby… NOT SO! Instead, I’m divorced, coming up for air after two post-divorce, crash-and-burn, long-term love affairs (the last one was a doozie, let me tell you!), one daughter who still doesn’t speak to me 10 years after I left an unhappy marriage with her dad, and no time for a vacation because I work for myself.

Now, I will be entirely honest. This whole “relationship” thing pretty much sucks! Obviously, the first few months are awesome: the sparkle of new romance, the flattery and attention, butterflies-in-the-stomach feeling, and of course…amazing sex (my memory is getting foggy on this last one). Red flags? Please! Doesn’t every single person have “red flags”? Someone who doesn’t have any…well, isn’t this, in itself, a red flag?

Okay, so I didn’t believe the guy who told me upfront he was an alcoholic… And certainly, I was shocked by the one who secretly released a fire extinguisher all over my car because I pissed him off (I saw telltale footprints from him and his little chihuahua Uma in the powder). And then there was the one who was seeing several other women behind my back (and doing strange things with them involving coffee grounds. Don’t ask!). Looking back, it’s feasible that I’ve had some challenges in the picking area. What can I say? All the above “eligible” bachelors were damn cute, charming, sexy, and fun. What’s a girl gotta do to be with a non-insane, honest guy who isn’t extremely homely, boring, ignorant, and/or pot-bellied?

Since it’s probably too late for me anyway, I figure the least I can do is pass on the wisdom from my years of fun-but-futile frolicking:

  1. Watch out for guys who don’t answer your text messages for, like, a day or two. Talk about being near the bottom of their priority list!
  2. If someone says they drink (or smoke, or eat, or gamble, etc.) too much, but that they’re “trying to stop,” this stuff generally gets far worse before it gets better, if it ever does.
  3. If someone likes to be alone more than they like to be with you, start making really good friends with yourself.
  4. If someone avoids (at all costs) talking about your future together, you’re likely dealing with one of the zillions of commitment-phobes out there. They can be really clever and drop little “hints” to keep stringing you along, or silently nod their heads as YOU talk about your future together. The truth is in the action (or lack thereof).
  5. To highlight that last point, if a person says one thing and does another, believe what they DO.
  6. Beware adult males who live with their parent(s) in the name of “taking care of them.”
  7. Beware loner types. There’s always a reason they’re loners, and it’s usually not a good one. Let’s not forget the Unabomber…
  8. If the only time you hear anything about a guy’s inner thoughts and feelings is when you’re in bed together, he may be a maestro at sex, but have real problems with intimacy.
  9. If someone you’re with digs porn magazines – “soft”, “hard”, whatever – or porn websites, don’t be naïve (like me) thinking, Don’t all men read “Playboy”?
  10. If there’s “another woman” in his life, and she happens to be his spoiled, grown daughter who doesn’t think you’re good enough for her daddy, get out fast!

These are just some of the things I’ve learned…love is a battlefield, as the song says. Believe what I say, though—I chill on my bed with my bichon, Oscar, and my kitty, Turnip, and we hash these things out. Fur is very absorptive, by the way. Thankfully, these two besties of mine are the only ones in my life right now who have excessive facial hair.

Well, My 50th Birthday Sucked, But Thanks For Asking

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

What’s that, you didn’t ask? It’s alright – you probably knew it wouldn’t exactly be a highlight of my life.  But truthfully, even I was unable to fathom how bad it could be.

Allow me to preface this account by telling you something about myself in relation to health and aging. I’m generally pretty disciplined in taking care of my body – not psychotically so, mind you, but I do run well over 20 miles per week, take vitamins and herbal supplements, keep an eye on what I eat so my weight stays roughly the same, even use Swiss botanical skin formulations on my face and neck. Oh, and as long as I’m being honest, get regular Botox treatments (not to mention I’ve tried wrinkle fillers a couple times and use an off-shoot of Miracle Grow for my thinning eyelashes).

So perhaps I’m a bit fixated on staying young, or at least looking young… It’s all healthy stuff, right?

I don’t know who let it slip to my boobs that I was about to turn 50, but low and behold, almost to the day of this egregious event, they decided to develop “symptoms” noticeable on my yearly mammogram. Uh-oh, what was up? Of course, one is dragged over this particular bed of nails via an agonizing, drawn-out process: first the routine mammogram, then a “call-back” for a closer look at the offending breast; another mammogram, followed by a week of internet-research-fueled obsession before finding out I have to have a “needle biopsy.” Just one of these words – “needle” and “biopsy” – is ominous enough, but put them together in relation to your boob, and obsession turns into contemplation of impending death.

How irritating that I couldn’t be allowed even a few months, much less a few years, of being “over the hill” before my aged and decrepit body started its downward spiral! Shouldn’t there be some grace period wherein I can get used to my new senior citizen status? But nooo, I’m practically having my 50th birthday party in a doctor’s office! This is the thanks my body bestows on me for trying to be health-conscious? So glad I bothered – not.

I must say, however, I am blessed indeed to have three beautiful children – two of whom are even out of the house – and the world’s greatest boyfriend. Knowing I would be having a celebratory dinner with these loved ones, I was completely content to spend the evening of “my real birthday” with my 12-year-old daughter. Of course, this little plan was upended when she got a better offer from one of her middle school friends. The mere fact of my reaching a half-century milestone was an obvious no-contender for an overnight with Melissa. This was still fine, though, especially since I managed to make last-minute dinner plans with a close girlfriend. I was really in the mood for prime rib anyway, so perfecto – we would meet at a place down the street where they had it on special.

After confirming with my friend, my little one’s overnight fell through, as so often happens when 12-year-olds commandeer their own social events. In the end, I guiltily left her by herself for a couple hours so I wouldn’t disappoint my girlfriend, who seemed very excited herself about the prospect of dinner out. My prime rib turned into a chicken salad, however, when the waiter told us they had already run out of the special (probably I had been beaten to the punch by those early-dining old people who would be in bed by eight!) I resolved to arrive before five next time. At least, though, it was an occasion for that ever-precious girl talk. After a light-hearted run-down of my breast issues and upcoming biopsy, I listened as she confided about her current marital difficulties. Since I had been in her position not that long ago and a veteran of divorce, I could understand her feelings. We parted after dinner, me wishing her luck with her lazy, selfish husband, and her wishing me luck with dodging breast cancer. Oh, and Happy 50th!

I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, really. Who can deny all the birthday perks? For me at 50, they included all of the above, plus some little extras… A pathological ex-boyfriend, who had ransacked my condo four years ago when I broke up with him, decided to text me a friendly “Happy Birthday,” making the little hairs on the back of my neck stand up as I realized that sociopathic stalkers, like elephants, never forget. Oh, and my $10 birthday coupon from Victoria’s Secret – I’m still trying to figure out how I managed to drop $50 on one bra even with their special “gift” – and so many solicitations from the AARP that I’m going to join just to make it stop!

At this point, I maintain that the number one best thing about turning 50 is when it is over. Thank heavens that I can return to my normal life of successes and problems without having them backlit by the gloriously blinding glare of my mortality. I am positive big ol’ 60 will be much better, especially since I have vowed to book a cruise to Cabo for that one. Of course, I’ll have to look into the onboard food poisoning situation beforehand.

The Cross

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

A local boy was killed – suddenly, instantly, and tragically – when his car was broadsided by another vehicle at a rural intersection near where I live. That was almost a year ago. November. It seems to me that this cold, dark month always brings some heartbreak or another. I’ve often thought about this. It’s the time of dying. The brightness of January’s new year has diminished like the last bit of a fire expiring. Just remove the “v,” and the month could more accurately be named No-ember.

Anyway, the father of this unfortunate boy, taken from life before even reaching 30 years of age, is someone I know, indirectly. Friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend type of situation. I feel utter compassion for him, not even daring to try to imagine what I would be going through if this were one of my daughters. Some things are just too horrible to ponder.

Soon after the accident, a large, flower-embellished cross was erected at the intersection, directly in view of all motorists making that same turn. A warning: be careful driving right now! It was a lovely cross at first, a bright display of beauty; but at that spot on the embankment, it was doomed to evoke only visions of catastrophe, and emotions of sadness and loss.

Stories of the accident swirled about the community for a short time, the flowered cross an ever-present reminder. But naturally, as the weeks passed, the flowers adorning the cross wilted, faded, and browned. Within a couple months, the cross itself appeared extinguished, like death compounding death. It took on a macabre aspect in its pronounced display of lifelessness.

And I began to be somewhat distracted at that intersection as my imagination – I suppose – conjured a sense that the young man’s restless spirit remained at that spot, incensed at being forced to flee his earthly body so soon. One black night, I was stopped there with my car headlights directly illuminating the cross. Mesmerized by the heavy aura, I myself almost made the turn too soon in front of an oncoming vehicle. My heart pounded and I could feel the lightening rush of adrenalin shoot up my forearms as I clutched the steering wheel. Did the fitful spirit of the dead boy wish for me a similar fate, so to have company in its anguish?

From then on, I dreaded passing that intersection. I had no choice – it lay between me and a destination I visited frequently. A joyful destination: the house of my lover. But even after six months, seven months, eight months, more – that decrepit cross remained standing, drawing my unwilling attention. I became angry: why was it still there? After all, it was too homely and had been there too long to serve any further as a decent symbol of grief and reverence. It was beginning to look like a sacrilege, a desecration of its intended connotation of Holy sacrifice.

My mind began to plot a sabotage of the heinous object. I would sneak there after dark – with my lover along for moral support, of course – and push the cross into the carved-out stream bed behind it. After all, banishing it from its reign at that intersection could only be doing the unfortunate soul of the dead boy, as well as travelers who had to look upon it regularly, a big service. With it gone, the restless spirit would be free to “cross over” to heavenly peace, instead of being bound to earth by this disrespectful and withered image.

Unfortunately, though – well, perhaps fortunately – my lover was not agreeable to my plan for disposing of the cross. Granting respect to the victim’s family, and avoiding bad karma were two strong points he made about this issue. I admit that the spiritual implications of hurling that cross into the stream bed had already crossed my mind. Would I be eternally haunted by an apparition from the Netherworld – and an infuriated one, no less? Perhaps this was not somewhere I or any human, besides the deceased’s loved ones, of course, should tread.

And so I’ve relented. The cross remains at that spot in all its wasted, skeletal glory; and I try to ignore it as I drive by. It still bothers me, though. Maybe God will send a great storm of wind and rain to lay it down. But its fall won’t be by my hand. Leave the spirits to the spiritual, I suppose. As a mere mortal, perhaps the only thing I should be concerned with is looking carefully for oncoming traffic before I make that turn. Amen.