Friday, August 31, 2012

Onward and Upward

I've been paying attention to my instincts lately. And it has been paying off.

And, some strange things have been going on in my life and I'm not sure what the Universe has in mind. But, I will be stronger for it.

In the past three weeks, three different people from my past have contacted me from out of nowhere. These are people I haven't heard from in a while, one going back to 2008! With two of them, I had made repeated attempts to maintain contact, maybe too many attempts. Eventually, I decided to write them off.

The third person is in a slightly different category. He is my ex-husband. Because of certain circumstances surrounding our divorce, I cannot be friends with him. Plus, I have found it very difficult to be friends with someone I loved who has gone on to hurt me whether deliberately or not doesn't matter, and the depth to which my ex hurt me has created a wall between us that may never come down. Yet, we share custody of our dog so he must remain in my life. Per our agreement, he is to take our dog one weekend a month. However, he has not been able to live up to our agreement since April. He had seemingly valid reasons each month and I chose not to argue the points, as it would be unfair to my dog to put him in an unfamiliar, uncomfortable and perhaps, dangerous situation. And yet, the ex is ready to take him once again. Were I to deny him after so long, he could haul me into court. Would his arguments stand against mine? Who knows, and I don't have the money to find out. It's best to resume visitations and see what the future holds.

I find the timing of these contacts interesting. I am facing a very difficult month at work, I will soon be working on final preparations for the upcoming release of my first novel, I may be finally closing on a loan to refinance my mortgage. So, my life is moving in a very different direction than the past two years. It will be interesting to see how these new contacts play into my journey.

I am also curious as to why now. Is there some energy I am putting out there into the Universe attracting these people back into my life?

Only time will tell.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

More Questions, Fewer Answers

As we go through life, we often want or need the answers to questions that come up.

Sometimes, the answers are not what we want to hear. For years after my parents' divorce and my mother's remarriage, I held a torch for my father. I was not going to allow the new stepfather to move in and take that revered place my father held in my heart. Yet, over time, that pedestal became cracked as more and more years went by and I heard less and less from dear old dad. Even after I moved to Los Angeles in 1976 to go to college, we seemed to play the cat and mouse game. We'd wait to see who would make the next move. Eventually I asked why he would take so long in contacting my brother and me when we moved around. I had begun to feel he didn't love us, he didn't care, all the typical abandoned-child responses. No, it was that my mother didn't always immediately report our new address to the court or to him directly, so he couldn't contact us.  (Let go of the anger, Jeff.) And, incidentally, it was part of the divorce agreement that we not be taken out of California, he quickly added. (By the time I left for college in 1976, we had lived in a total of four states, and my brother went on to live in another three before age 21.)

What's this? My sainted mother, who instilled in me the fear of the gods if I broke the rules, didn't obey a court agreement? Okay, the world didn't end. She is only human after all, and was doing what she felt best for herself and her two sons, I rationalized.

Sometimes, it's best not to ask the questions at all, since you might not get the answer you are expecting. I recently believed a man was sending me signals, trying to catch my attention. When he succeeded, and I fell for him, he backpedaled. I never confronted him on his sending me mixed signals, because I knew he would do what he needed in order to save face and would just not admit it. So, in my mind he was sending signals, but something scared him. And I just need to take it at that. Oh, well. On to a better man, who will send me signals and be man enough to admit it.

Wouldn't you agree?

So, why did I take this picture? Why not?

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Vive la libération!

The French Tricolor on a church, in Koreatown. How Los Angeles.
July 14 is called Bastille Day in most of the world, but in France it is La Fête Nationale. It is the National Holiday of France, commemorating the day in 1789 when the Bastille, a fortress-prison was stormed and the anti-royalist prisoners inside were liberated, all seven of them. That moment is also seen as the forming of the modern nation, the France of today.

I have my own Bastille; the fortress of my mind. I sometimes allow my fears to imprison me from stepping out of my house or my comfort zone. My biggest fear now is the fear of the unknown. It could be the fear of the unknown where dating is concerned, or just the fear of meeting new people. It cold also be the fear of driving and will my car break down, or the fear of financial risk.

Fear is a normal emotion. Yet, allowing my fears to imprison me isn't normal nor even healthy, it is crippling. It hurts.

I didn't used to be like this. I'm not sure why I've changed. Age, maybe? It didn't necessarily start with the divorce, I sense that it began before, and may have played a part in actually precipitating it. I don't know, and may not necessarily ever know.

But, I do know I have to liberate myself. How do I do that? Just by doing it. But, it's a vicious circle. I have to get out and meet people, but I bring up the finances again. Indeed, there are low-cost options. Even getting together over coffee can add up. True, it doesn't have to be expensive, but over time it will still accumulate. Then, there's fuel. Costs are going down and in California we are switching to our less expensive winter formula. Yes, we have different formulas depending on the season. It has to do with the smog and the heat of summer, I believe. They say, the economy is on an upswing. It's too soon for me to feel it, but in time I will.

I began this post around July 14, as it had a special meaning for me, and always will though over the years it will diminish. But, I am not going to relive that here, as I already have.

What I am going to write about is where I am headed. In the previous post, I talked about my instincts. I stand by them. I need to begin thinking of the long term versus the short term. Two years ago this week I received a certain email from a certain someone asking to end our fifteen year relationship, the last year and ten months of which we were legally married.

I have come a long way in the two years since. Yet, in some ways I have stagnated. Coming home from work and sitting on the couch playing with my cat, dog and iPad until bedtime is not a life I want to live. Yet, that is all I can afford for now. But I need to live my new single life. And in order to do that, I need to have a life to live.  I may need to take some drastic steps to increase the quality of the life I want to live. And such an opportunity has fallen into my lap. But, I mustn't let the fears of "What if?" cloud my instinct. My instincts tell me to swallow the bitter pill for the cure is worth it in the long run. My instincts tell me to trust and let go. It will be fine.

Am I scared? Yes. Will I survive? Yes. I have survived these two years on my own, and will always survive.

Now, I need to live.

I need to be like Nike and just do it.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


My little mantis friend follows natural instincts to eat. He, or she, chose this particular plant in my yard to call home because s/he saw abundant prey opportunities. Here a fly is in grave danger.

Many of us humans get in trouble because we may fight our instincts. I have only recently begun truly trusting mine.

A while back I needed to go to my bank, an institution I adore! I have always felt welcome, they know me by name, the staff have remembered personal details that may have come up in conversation. Every person I have come in contact with at that branch has been very supportive in handling the banking details surrounding my same-sex divorce. But, I digress.

I stopped in to make a transaction with a teller, not at the ATM. She was pleasant, and as part of her job offered me a line of credit/overdraft application which I declined. She suggested, very politely, that perhaps the bank could help with my mortgage, and also work with me to help get a better overall sense of my finances as I was newly single. At that moment, I was filled with such an overwhelming sense of gratitude, I knew that the Universe was telling me, "Listen to her." And I left, knowing I would be back. I would call, perhaps over the summer.

Life got in the way, and I never made the call. However, I did receive a call from a gentleman from the bank, but a different branch. He wanted twenty-minutes of my time to see if the bank could help me with my mortgage. I stopped in to see him, and the loan is approved pending the closing costs can be included. My instincts were right! My bank would be the one to help!

When I found myself alone in my four bedroom, two and a half bath, 1,750 square foot home two years ago, I wondered what was I going to do with all this space. I spent some time alone, first grieving the loss of my marriage. Next, I celebrated my freedom. Then, I got rid of a lot of unnecessary clutter as I contemplated a roommate, first for financial assistance, and secondly, for company hoping we could be friends as well. Nothing seemed to pan out. I listed my house with three different agencies, and nothing, nada, zero, zilch. The Universe was telling me something! The time, or I, wasn't ready.

And yet, just this week and opportunity came up.  I was having a discussion with a guy I've come to respect for his views, and when it became apparent he might be needing a place soon, I offered my house. It felt instinctive, it felt the right thing for me to do. Whether it's the right thing for him to accept, that's for him to decide. Only time will tell.

As for the recent guy I was seeing. My instincts again were right. It wasn't meant to be. And that was one of my lessons here. Trust. Trust not only that the Universe will provide and take care of me, but trust in my own instincts.

And my last one; a friend shared with me that she feels it is not an online app or a social event or speed dating that will lead me to a relationship, but my writing ultimately will. And when she said it, it felt right. I shared this story with a mutual friend, and it felt even better.

I feel like these (the loan, the roommate, the writing) are all pieces of a puzzle and they are all falling into place and the picture is getting clearer.

It is a door.

I am on the threshold and am about to step through into a new adventure.

Just a hunch.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The More I See...

Mufasa, at the park ~age 8

...of men the more I like dogs.  ~Madame de Staël 

Xena, always proper etiquette ~age 15

...and cats. ~Jeffrey Ballam

Not really. 

But, dating is difficult.

Or, maybe it's the new dating/chatting/texting protocol I'm not used to.

I was brought up to finish a conversation, to indicate it's over, to say goodbye. 

I have been chatting online with a few men. I will reply to their question, and wait...

and wait...

and wait...

for a reply.

Eventually I go to bed. 

I do understand extenuating circumstances come up. Okay, no big deal. But, why not acknowledge the last message as soon as it is convenient? I mean the trail of messages between us is there. It shows you were the last recipient, the ball is in your court. And most men go online at least every other day.

One man, who initiated a meeting with me, and then postponed when his temporary job was extended through the week, hasn't replied to my last message in three days.

Another man, whom I wanted to meet and he agreed to meet me, hasn't replied in over a week. With him, I get the hint.

Conversation is like a tennis match or a good volleyball game. It goes back and forth and back and forth. And my feeling is this, if I return the volley and you don't, you're out.

Unless, you have extenuating circumstances.

But, how much time do I wait before throwing the other conversant out saying, "You've missed your chance. Sorry. I waited________ for you to reply." A day? Two? A Week? I went through this when I was younger and dating, and I don't want to go through it again when I'm old(er) and dating.

My friends tell me I have too high expectations. Okay, maybe I do. But, the last time I dated we didn't even have cell phones and the internet was still being developed and only the same computers could talk to each other. Remember Apple Talk? It originally allowed only Apple users to interface with other Apple users. And now, I'm working on a Dell laptop and someone will read this on an Apple iPhone, a Samsung cell phone, or an Android tablet. So, maybe it's the technology I need to adapt to. And then adjust my attitude.

And trying to converse between the app, cell phone, texting,'s all so overwhelming....I'm so confused.

Maybe this is my lesson, adapt to the new world of technodating.

But, I'm still very much a romantic; I like the idea of a chance encounter; maybe at the supermarket...both of us shopping for fresh produce...electricity runs through us as our hands touch reaching for the same cucumber...our eyes meet...we stand there cucumbers in hand...discussing their versatility...whether we prefer them peeled or not...which dressings we like better; French, Greek...what are our favorite toppings...what he does for a living...Cher or Bette...dogs or cats or both...whether I'm free for a cup of coffee...

That reminds me, I need to go to the market tomorrow.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday 8/5/12

Here are six sentences from another unfinished project. 

They were strangers after all; well, almost; they had signed up on a gay dating/meeting website and ended up chatting on line. Danny was attracted to Griff’s photo with his sensitive eyes, and scruffy, handsome face, while Griff was attracted to Danny's bearish face and sensual mouth. They both were recently out of relationships, looking only to expand their social circles and were adamant on their profiles, NO HOOKUPS.  They ended up sharing details of their breakups; Griff came home to find his husband in bed, not with one, but sandwiched between two men, while Danny and his ex just seemed to drift apart.  Both Griff and Danny had been older emotionally, if not just chronologically, than their partners and therefore both had been the nurturer in the relationship, and both had felt taken for granted, at least at the end.  It seems they understood each other.

Friday, August 3, 2012


I had a kind of date, maybe. No, I guess it was a date. Really. I dressed for it. I have a profile on an app, which I have blogged about, and I started chatting with someone, not 317 miles away, or 2,489 miles, but only 20 miles away! Progress, they're getting closer!! Yay!

Our initial meeting went well, he actually looked like his photos. We met for breakfast and had a very formal conversation which was to be expected at our first meeting. I left the establishment wondering if I would hear from him again, and contemplating if I should call him to at least suggest a second meeting to get to know him a little better. But, how soon is too soon to call? I didn't want to appear over-eager and frighten the poor man away, yet I didn't want to seem disinterested.

I also want to say I had some gut instincts about him. He seemed very nice, he is nice looking, bearish, but there was something I couldn't quite put my finger on. I kept my reserve up. Yet, I did want to see him again. Did he want to see me?

Three hours later I had my answer via text. Yes, he did want to see me. But, my finger was still twitching for he also said the one thing I didn't want to hear. The pictures I posted on my profile did not do me justice. I was now fighting the same old battle of my own insecurities. Was I either going to be a trophy, a conquest, or would I have to deal with his insecurities; he thinks he's not good enough for me? Or a combination of all three. So, not only was my reserve up, now my shields were as well. Yet, I still wanted to move forward and prove that maybe I was wrong on all counts and accept that he wanted to see me for me.

I want to interject here, I had been chatting on a site once before with another man I found to be very handsome and sexy and we wanted to meet. During our chats I had mentioned my blog and he seemed interested. I sent him the URL, he read it and felt I wouldn't like him because he wasn't as out of the closet as I was. I countered with some profound wisdom like "We all fight our own battles and I can't understand your perspective, and that's not for me to judge. But let's just see what we can bring to each other." I haven't heard back from him.

But, back to my story. We talked some more, and I asked him out to an art gallery showcasing a gay artist I've been following. He agreed and then asked me out to see a friend of his who was reading or singing at an open mic night the night before my event. I agreed, so we'd be seeing each other twice in one weekend. Two dates with one man in one weekend! Progress! Woo-hoo!

While I'm not going to get into any of the specific details of my dates with him, I see a lot of progress in me. Like the weather stripping away the paint on walls and doors over time, some of my old attitudes are falling away and I'm evaluating what I am finding underneath. My instincts were that he was a good man, he could be a good friend, yet it was way too soon to see if he was husband material.  Invariably, at some point, in the future, down the road, I would have to take that step and get 'comfortable', and then cross the big bridge. I was okay with taking that step with him, knowing I did not necessarily see long term potential here at this time. We would not be spending the night together and then picking out china patterns after breakfast. And I was okay with that!! Dating someone does not have to lead to marriage. And I was okay with that, too!! And whether 'it' happens with him or someone else later, I'm okay with that, as well.

Yet, all this brings up the question, if this were to be a finite dating situation, or even, GASP! a friends with benefits thing, how do you negotiate the end at the beginning? Or do you? How do you handle the "You'll do just until someone better comes along" attitude that seems to be built in to an FWB? That doesn't sound very pleasant to someone like me who wears his heart so loosely on his sleeve, sometimes it falls off. But, I was still okay with this.

It's still progress for me.

The buildings here are the carriage house and stables at Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills, California. The mansion is kept up for visitors, but as few people come down to these buildings on the grounds, they don't receive the same attention as the main park.

For more information on Greystone Mansion click here.