Monthly Archives: January 2013

Romance is in the Air

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Click here to check out a post on my other blog, culturenuts about three romantic destinations in Virginia that are perfect for a Valentine’s getaway or hosting a wedding.

 

Vive la romance!

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Batting a thousand: Part of “You Just Can’t Make This Shit Up” Series

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“Now is the winter of our discontent…”.  These are the opening words to William Shakespeare’s Richard III and using the “royal” use of “our”, describes my mood this time of year.  It is mid winter here in Virginia.  The end of January.  My Birthday approaches, the days are short, usually cloudy and cold.  I, who must have descended from hibernating animals, want to stay ensconced in my cave and sleep until spring, grumpy, unfit and unwanting of company for the most part.  And as recent events would dictate, that is probably what I should do.

You see, I am having trouble with the men I am meeting who have never been married.  They seem to have a total lack of understanding that as a single mother, my time for dating is very limited and that planning is key to successful dating in my world right now.  I guess that when you make it to mid-life being the sole consideration for how you spend your time, the concept of planning ahead is so foreign that it is difficult if not impossible to fathom.

Case in Point:

I have a friend who has been trying to set me up with a very good- looking, never-been-married, straight man.  I met this man recently and we took a shine to each other.  I knew from the start that he was not long-term material but I wanted to get to know him better anyway.  This is against everything I have been saying on this blog about not waisting time with men you already know are unsuitable for you but it has now been over a year since I have had sex with a living thing and I am beginning to reconsider the concept of having a lover for the sake of simply having one- an old habit I should drop, I know, but very tempting at this juncture nonetheless. And this man is nice looking and showed some interest in me so there you have it.

At any rate…

He starts texting and flirting and we talk on the phone etc. We have dinner one night and he seems quite keen on seeing me again.  I explain that as a single mom, I must plan things out because my grown-up playtime is limited and he asks me to let him know when we might get together next.  He works out of town during the week which limits dates to weekends.  On a Sunday he asks about the following weekend.  I check my calendar and on Monday tell him I am open for the coming weekend and if he is available I would take him to see a show I am reviewing on Sat. night.  He says he would like to get together.  On Tuesday we chat, he remembers a boys golf trip the coming weekend that has been in the planning stages for months but maybe he can change his plans and he will let me know if he is available. Wednesday a few texts nothing special. I have failed to get a friend to go with me to the show so I change my plans to attend an event with friends instead. I do not communicate this information to MR. NBM.  Thursday nothing from Mr. NBM. Friday he is supposed to be leaving for his guys trip.  I get an obscure text from him,  “Yeah. With my folks.”  I am unsure what this means but there is no follow up so I assume he means his buddies BECAUSE if his plans changed he would have let me know as per our agreement.  Saturday night. Event begins at 8:00pm.  Mr. NBM texts at 8:02pm, “On my way to ES (“ES” denotes the letters standing for the name of the venue at which the event was being held.) .  What are you up to?”.  This is hilarious because if I had gone to the theatre, which was the plan he and I discussed, the show would be starting and my phone turned off and not receiving texts.  It is also hilarious because there has been zero previous discussion about his being in town or about the event so for all he knew I had no knowledge of the event therefore would have no plan to go. In fact this begs the question: How would I possibly know what the heck he was talking about when I was unaware even of what state he was in? (Apologies for ending a sentence with a preposition.) 8:15pm I spot Mr. NBM at event.  8:20pm: I walk up to Mr. NBM and say, “How is the golf trip going? It is too bad that you decided to ignore our agreement to communicate a change in plans because I  was really looking forward to having sex with you but now that is NEVER EVER going to happen.  And that is a damn shame.”   His response, said in a half apologetic half joking manner, “I texted you that I was coming here tonight.”

Seriously?!  Two minutes after the event start time he texts me something without any reference to his even being in town?

Nope, dear readers, you cannot make this shit up.  This is real life. Fact is stranger than fiction.

All I can say is that I am grateful to be reminded of my quest and put back on track for finding the right man rather than a right now man.

Men to Avoid: The Wafflers

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Henley Street Theatre Company in Richmond, Virginia has an annual tradition of performing a Bootleg version of a Shakespearean play.  (To learn more about the concept click here to link to an article I wrote about this years production.)  I love this event for it’s irreverence and raw energy so in late October I took a road trip to my  town of origin to see a Bootleg version of Hamlet.  The show delivered all the mayhem I could possibly want including gay sailors as messengers, a pot smoking, video- game playing Rosencrantz and Guildenstern,  on- stage head shaving and a dual fought with foam floaty noodles. The Bootleg forces one to see a play with fresh eyes and so I did.  For the first time I really understood why Ophelia goes mad;  because Hamlet is inconsistent with his affections – which, if you have ever been involved with a person like this, you know, is enough to drive one completely bonkers.

Shakespeare is teaching us an important relationship lesson: Avoid the person who waffles because they are ultimately incapable of having a mature relationship.  Now I am not talking about the normal ebbs and flows of relationship growth here.  They are like two steps forward and one step back kinds of things, a dance with an ultimate forward momentum.  I am referring to the person who is all about you one moment then falls off the face of the earth for a couple of weeks then returns with the force of a tsunami, all flowers and expensive dinners, etc.  They practically propose marriage and when you respond with equal enthusiasm they freak and ask to cool things a bit -which turns out to actually be a lot. You’re on, you’re off.  You don’t know whether to make plans even a couple of weeks in the future because your relationship seems to be constantly on shifting sands.

This particular brand of “Crazy Maker” people can be overly emotional or overly emotionally committed somewhere else causing their dramatic emotional shape-shifting.

In the January 2012 issue of Psychology  Today article titled: Are You With The Right Mate?, the author offers the following as character traits that inhibit  the likelihood of a  functional relationship:

” chronic lying; chronic worrying or neuroticism; emotional overreactivity; proneness to anger; propensity to harbor grudges; low self-esteem; poor impulse control; tendency to aggression; self-orientation rather than an other-orientation.”

(Addicts are deemed as incapable of functioning relationships earlier in the article.)

The article also notes that persistent stress factors outside of the relationship sabotage the likelihood of a durable bond. All of these are part of the hyper emotional situation. These stresses could be caused by health issues, dealing with aging parents, career dissatisfaction, problematic family members or a hundred other things.

Back to the Hamlet reference:

The Danish Prince yo-yo’s Ophelia to distraction. For example: At one point, he has got his head in Ophelia’s lap and is lovey and smiley. A few minutes later  he yells at her to “get the to a nunnery”.  He is all wrapped up in other emotional stuff  like grieving for his dead father, seeking to avenge his father’s murder and anger at his mom for her quick marriage to his uncle, the murderer.  Even though he loves her, it is impossible for him to accept Ophelia’s love and commit to her. Until he can work out how to balance his need for intimacy with his fear of it (With his family background who would be comfortable with a romance?), he is blocked – emotionally unavailable.

Ophelia, who has been led to believe by Hamlet that he intends to marry her, is caught in a whirlpool of mixed messages causing her to mistrust her instincts. Ultimately she ends up so delusional she drowns in a few feet of water.

If you come across a person who emotionally waffles, RUN in the opposite direction otherwise you may find yourself forfeiting your personal power and drowning in a pond of  neurosis -which is a huge waste of your time and totally un-fun. Even Shakespeare knew that.

A Study in the Disconnect Between Men and Women

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This is just a short note on a big subject.  My friend Candace sent me these “prayers” in an email and it made me laugh so hard I just had to share it.  I fail to know the actual origin of this so apologies for omitting the credit.  Suffice it to say that neither I nor my friend Candace created this but some clever person nailed the difference in how men and women think about relationships in this amusing little blurb.

Here ya go:

                                                                            A WOMAN’S POEM:

Before I lay me down to sleep,
I pray for a man who’s not a creep,
One who’s handsome, smart and strong.
One who loves to listen long,
One who thinks before he speaks,
One who’ll call, not wait for weeks.
I pray he’s rich and self-employed,
And when I spend, won’t be annoyed.
Pull out my chair and hold my hand..
Massage my feet and help me stand.
Oh send a king to make me queen.
A man who loves to cook and clean.
I pray this man will love no other.
And relish visits with my mother.

A MAN’S POEM: 
I pray for a deaf-mute gymnast, nymphomaniac with
big tits who owns a bar on a golf course,
and loves to send me fishing and drinking.. This
doesn’t rhyme and I don’t give a shit.

Note:  The woman’s poem fails to reflect what I want in a man because I think it is a tad too demanding but it does exemplify the way women think and I must admit that there are quite a few things in there that would be on my list – especially the foot massage.  Oh yeah!

Carpe Diem, Everyone!

 

Spoiling Myself: The Stunning Sound of Silence

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As part of spoiling myself for the holidays, I attended a five day silent retreat at Yogaville in Buckingham County, Virginia.  Yogaville, I am told, is the largest Ashram in the United States with 200 residents and thousands of day and retreat/workshop visitors every year.  It was founded by Swami Satchidananda who was first invited to the United States from India by the artist, Peter Max and gave the opening dedication at Woodstock.

Swami Satchidananda prescribed a spiritual path called Integral Yoga which supports the idea that there is only one Truth in the Universe but there are many paths to finding that truth.  Thus Integral Yoga embraces the celebration of all religious faiths.

I decided to go on the five day silent retreat offered at New Years for several reasons:

1. The challenge of being silent.

2. To investigate how silence would affect me.

3. To live a yogic lifestyle of holistic health as a cleansing practice for mind and body.

4. As a way of preparing for the coming year and a rebirth of sorts into the second half of my life (I will have my 50th Birthday in February).

5. Because it fit into  both me and my friend, Christina’s, schedules.

Although I was not silent for the five days (we chanted, sang and I spoke out of habit a couple of times), it was a powerful experience that I will savor.  I will blogging about it more for VIRGINIA LIVING in collaboration with an article I wrote about Mindfulness in Virginia that will be published in their March/April issue. In terms of dating here is what happened:

  • In listening to only the thoughts in my own head, I realized that it felt better to clear my mind of thoughts about dating or relationships.  I am actually able to think and respond better if I think less about the whole thing. I was much more calm.
  • Avoiding men altogether was refreshing.
  • There were two men there that intrigued me.  One was wearing a wedding ring and left before we were released from silence so I never got his name or his story.  He, Christina and I went hiking one day – without talking- and then he was like our buddy the rest of the time.  I was so curious about why he was there and what his story was but I guess I must leave it up to fate and have faith that if it is important for me to know I will get the info some how. The other man was checked out by Christina before we went into silence.  He was a teacher from another state and he was single.  I worked very hard to avoid any engagement with him during the retreat as I felt it important to keep my focus on my and to be respectful of allowing him his own reflective space.  When it was over I gave him my contact info.  Turns out his relationship situation is a little more complicated than I originally thought (Ugh!) so I guess I’ve just made another friend until there is more clarity.

I found the experience of Silence to be nurturing spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically and recommend it to anyone who would like to have some space to identify and expunge things that are no longer serving them in any/all aspects of their life and maybe plan some cool things to do next.

Other things I did in preparation for the new year:

1. Set some goals and made a “vision” plan with pictures cut out from magazines and some journaling in a special note book.

2. Shared with my children that I want to nurture and grow our bond as a family and made a plan for that.

3. Started taking some action to achieve my goals for the year.

I also continued spoiling myself  through the last day of Christmas (Jan. 6) with long walks with my dog while she was visiting, sleeping in (I spent one whole day in bed – that was truly decadent), meditating longer, shopping for myself, taking my children on a ski outing, seeing some movies, dressing a little nicer, soaking in the hot tub, baking cookies and giving them away,  making time to read books, dancing and going to see the season premier of Downton Abbey on the big screen at a local theatre.

What might you do to spoil yourself a bit today?

Hari Om and Happy New Year!

Mary

Christina and me with the LOTUS Temple of All Faiths in the background.

Christina and me with the LOTUS Temple of All Faiths in the background.