Romance is full of velvet roses,
Champagne, dancing, moony lust.
Those things are transitory,
Soon left to crumble into dust.
I’d rather have a loyal friend,
Someone I can fully trust,
True companions till the end…
I thought I’d turn Fandango’s Provocative Question today into a pointless meander. He asks if I’ve ever had to make what turned out to be a life-changing decision and, if so, do I wish I could go back in time and change it, blah blah, what and why. There have been a few…
Generally, I begin with my foolish decision not to go to Northwestern U. I had no idea about “prestigious” colleges back then apart from the obvious Harvard, Yale, etc. I knew it was good I’d gotten accepted, but the gravitas of the decision was foreign to me. I behaved impulsively as a teen and things that went wrong were easily fixed. Everything felt inconsequential at the time. My parents didn’t seem to care, and after an argument with my mom, she decided she didn’t want to pay for NU, so I ended up at the University of Illinois in Champaign. It was a horrible experience, I dropped out, moved back home, and ended up in a series of dead-end, low-paying jobs.
Next, I moved from Chicago to Southern California with my parents at age 22. I’m not sure this was a great decision, though it would have been hard to stay in the city alone given my crappy jobs. But from the minute I stumbled off the plane to right now, I’ve had one giant migraine that never seems to disappear for good. I know I’d probably suffer from them wherever I lived, but it soured the whole experience for me. I remember being bombarded with the dazzling sunshine when we landed and feeling like I was going to pass out from the brightness and the pain.
Finally, I returned to college to finish my degree. But again, doh, I eschewed UCLA for Cal State because the freaking parking was easier. It seemed like an okay decision at the time, but it was yet another folly. Not that I had a bad experience at Northridge ~ I actually loved it all and appreciated my classes and the professors there. But until I had my own children I did not realize the importance of the name of a school. Whatever, at least I finished and that led me to the job I have now, which is good. But I got a late start at a career and retirement savings…
All the while this school/moving stuff was going on, I was also dating. Ugh, what a nightmare. I can’t blame online dating and culture such as it is now for my relationship issues, since I’ve had them all along. I am attracted to the wrong men, and that’s just the common denominator of the whole mess. I regret spending/wasting time with a lot of these guys, but I can’t regret my second marriage because my two wonderful daughters are my prize for sticking with it. I should have ended it sooner however. I definitely regret all the years I thought the marriage could be fixed and floated in limbo, taking no action to help myself move on.
I like to imagine that if I’d been single in my 40s I would have had a great romance and met my life partner, though that’s probably false. I would have simply made stupid dating decisions all that time too. Ugh, thinking about all this is an emotional drain… plus it’s all fantasy. I did what I did and here I am. The only thing to do is to slog on…
Fandango’s Dog Days prompt today is asking for our favorite season. Well… here is a pic of me from the beach yesterday. I had so much fun! But first let’s talk about the other seasons because each has good qualities.
I used to love autumn best, mainly because of Halloween. But I’m not so into it now. It’s hard for me to get excited about costumes when my eyes are too sensitive for wearing makeup. There are other good things about fall, of course… I am a fan of pumpkin. Pie, coffee, muffins, etc. Noms. Thanksgiving with my family… great! My daughter’s birthday. 💝 Hurtling toward the end of yet another year though… meh. I think about all the stuff I haven’t done, books unwritten, fitness plans abandoned, and my big failure to find a life partner. Not so great.
Winter is yuck. Cold dark depressing days. Wearing layers of sweaters and scarves and boots and corduroys and still freezing everywhere. Yes, in Southern California. There’s just nothing good about it. Except cute sweaters and boots, okay. And the fun NYE party I generally attend (dunno about this year). One bright spot is my youngest daughter’s birthday in March. But I have to deal with Valentine’s Day, which didn’t use to bother me, but kinda does now… 🥶
Spring seems like yayness… flowers, pretty sunsets, Reese’s peanut butter eggs. But it’s also a time of bad memories. My mother died in April. I have to pass through the ghost anniversary of my last marriage. My ex left us in the spring too. Then there’s the crash and burn of my last “relationship,” which shouldn’t bother me because it was so short and stupid, but yet I still find the memories upsetting. He dumped me on Thanksgiving (boo fall). Then I was super down for months (boo winter). And he popped back up in the spring to further torment me via text and email. 💔
But summer? Wheee wonderful! ☀️ Both my grandchildren were born in summer. 💖💙 Long warm days, lovely produce, ice cream, the beach, light clothing, sandals, super fun times with friends. All good! Well, except for the onslaught of migraines at the end. September is my worst month with them. But whatever, summer wins!
Both daughters got married in the summer too. This is from my eldest’s venue. ❤️❤️
Time slid by like reflections smeared by the rain. Each moment seemed compelling until it was replaced by the next one, like a picture inside a kaleidoscope. She felt as if she were a mere park bench in a painting, observing her own life but not participating in it, still having trouble transitioning to this new way of living, working, being. There were smiles, of course, such as last weekend when she saw her friends again. They watched a movie outdoors, and it was L.A. Story with Steve Martin, which she thought she should like, but it was vaguely disappointing. Her instinctsprotested against all the grabbiness by the various characters, even though it was done in the name of comedy. That’s supposed to excuse a lot of unacceptable behaviors, isn’t it?
Maybe it was her, her habit of craving stability and sameness in a world gone mad. Perhaps it was time to fling off her fears and dive into the chaos, as she had done when younger. But that was a road to nothing ultimately, and while she didn’t have an overwhelming sense of regret for her choices, they hadn’t led to anything great either. But maybe greatness wasn’t the point… maybe a better method would be to appreciate each moment fully before it was washed away in the rains of time bla bla bla. As her favorite quote went: life is short; eat dessert first.
That thought reminded her of one of her favorite books: The Unbearable Lightness of Being. She had read it several times, and it was such a great study in the intricate differences of perspectives. When they cast Daniel Day Lewis as the lead, she’d been pleased. He so perfectly matched the image in her mind of the philandering doctor in the book. The movie itself was good, but it couldn’t live up to the book’s greatness because there was no way to bring in all the crucial nuances of the narrative.
The Glass Castle, on the other hand, had disappointed her with the lead. This was one of her favorite books and yet Brie Larson as Jeannette didn’t feel right at all. There was something off about her voice, tone, and looks. She’d never envisioned J as an adult Manhattan snob the way she was portrayed by Brie. There was a strong undercurrent of angst and loss in the book’s Jeannette, not this smoothly perfect adult. However, Woody Harrelson as the raging alcoholic father was a perfect fit. She decided that casting was an onerous task and she would certainly find it tough. There were so many factors to consider.
In any case, she had a family beach day to look forward to tomorrow, which would probably end up as next week’s smile. But how was it possible that over half a year had passed in this strange limbo? She didn’t want to spout cliches, but she had the eerie sense that the ending was rushing toward her like an out of control semi-truck on a slippery downhill slope. Or perhaps it would be a warm gentle fog of nothingness as the colors all blended into one…
Getting the brush-off of olde has many synonyms in modern (internet) dating. There’s ghosted, of course (which is also the title of my soon to be completed novel), and this means abruptly disappearing, when someone vanishes like a ghost. 👻 It can even happen in the middle of a chat!
Sometimes you get benched. That’s when you believe Mr. Potential could still be interested because he occasionally texts and/or “likes” your social media posts, but he is never actually able to make plans to meet (also a red flag for a married person who is just flirting to waste your time). This is also known as breadcrumbing.
Next we have orbiting and haunting. This is when someone hovers around but isn’t interested in getting together. They don’t text, but you know they’re reading your posts. If this happens before you’ve met, it’s orbiting. If it happens after they’ve ghosted you, it’s haunting.
You’ve probably heard of catfishing, which is when someone assumes a new identity to start a relationship. They may have a specific target in mind, or simply hope to reel in any good catch. Obviously, they will come up with a raft of excuses why they can’t meet in person. Sometimes they’ll also refuse to speak on the phone ~ maybe because they aren’t the gender they have presented.
Do you know what cuffing season is? No, not BSDM! It’s when it’s cold outside, baby, and people need someone to snuggle. They’ll drop their dating requirements and take anyone available. But beware when it warms up! April showers may lead to haunted flowers…
Finally, we have paperclipping. This is when an ex pops up to say hi and mess with your head. Go away and stay away!
This week in Truthful Tuesday, PCGuyIV asks the following:
Is there something that you like or love now that you used to dislike, hate, or at the very least, have no opinion of before? Or perhaps there is something you now dislike, hate, or maybe even loathe that before you liked, loved, adored, or at least had no opinion of? In either case, or both cases if you so choose, what changed your mind?
Ooh interesting to ponder! Okay, so for the first part, here are some things I used to hate and now love…
1. Peanut butter! Yes, I hated PB as a little kid and refused to eat it. I had lunchmeat sandwiches at school. Around age 12, my tastes simply changed and PB is now one of my favorite foods. Lunchmeat on the other hand… 🤮
2. I used to dislike the fantasy genre of books and movies ~ though paradoxically I always enjoyed the original Star Trek and things like The Twilight Zone. But dragons and magic and stuff? No! Game of Thrones changed my mind about that. 🐉
3. Rituals/occasions. It used to annoy me to feel obligated to celebrate holidays the same way every year. Like if I’ve seen great fireworks once, why do I need to go again? The gluttony of Thanksgiving annoyed the crap out of me. Why must we do this? Etc. But I’ve totally mellowed about this and now look forward to certain ritualistic type occasions. I think part of my problem was having to deal with my parents’ constant arguing ~ it simply made everything sad and stressful for me (though it didn’t affect THEM much!). As I aged, I saw that some holidays could actually be enjoyable when people weren’t all mad at each other.
Now, for the second half of the switcharoo, here are some things I used to love and now hate…
1. DRIVING. I was so happy when I first got my license, and I loved to drive hour after hour. We were carless in Chicago for 4 years, and then I got a car when we moved to SoCal. I still enjoyed it, but less and less over the years until it became something I actively despise. It’s effing scary to be on the roads. I guess being older and knowing how many crazy and reckless people are out there, plus all the annoying traffic and construction detours here, spoiled it for me. 🚙
2. Being in a romantic relationship. How I used to love and crave this. It was partly due to my steady diet of romance novels; I thought that romantic love was the only thing that really mattered in life. Now I find it all too stressful and irritating to contemplate. I’ve been happier these last several years without dating AT ALL. I never would have predicted this. 💔
3. Going on rides. Omg, I loved rides at the fair or at an amusement park. My friends and I regularly went on the craziest ones. Now they make me ill and terrified, plus with my neck issues I can’t deal with them at all. Not to mention the fact that people get hurt on them ALL THE TIME. Again, the data on injuries changed my mind, along with not feeling well physically.
I’m combining the prompts for Fandango’s Dog Days of August 7 and 8 today. Hope that is okay! Do not want to break any RULES.
Something I found was an in-person game group in 2012. Now, I’d been on Meetup and played Scrabble with a bunch of nice folks, plus there were some larger groups that played all the board games, but I never felt a strong connection (read: they were mostly young dudes). Besides connecting over game playing, I needed to be able to chat with peeps because I was lonely after my divorce and my breakup with TMWBMH. This new group consisted of many people closer to my age and a bunch of women too. Yay! Some of us became friends outside of the group and saw movies and had vegetarian restaurant nights, etc. Man, I miss seeing friends for real ~ Zoom just doesn’t cut it, ya know. It’s better than nothing, sure, but I hope it won’t be years before in-person events are safe again.
Going along with that theme is someone I admire: she’s a member of the above-mentioned game group. I really think she’s the coolest person. She’s super-smart first of all and funny too. Next, she’s athletic and musical ~ she has a gorgeous voice. Third, she works in science, which is what I wanted to do way back when but ended up not because too hard. Waaah. I like things to be easy. Well, except for puzzles; they can be difficult. Back to person I admire (let’s call her Pia)… Pia got divorced around the same time I did, but instead of having a series of disasters on dating sites, each one worse than the last, Pia dated for a bit and then found her soul mate on a site. It can happen! This inspired me to keep trying, but alas I am not Pia, so my disasters continued unabated. Anyway, I’ll be happy to see Pia and her hubby again (also a smart and funny person) when it’s okay to get together in person.
Kidding! (It was Miss February.) I have lots of great memories of my pets, starting with my little dog, Peppy, who came into my life when I was 9 years old. She was a sweet little pupper, but we never really trained her, so she was not that well behaved. I loved her though and was distraught when we lost her 9 years later. That’s too sad of a story to tell and I’ll leave it in the past. I want to remember all the cute things about her.
When I was 24, I took in a homeless kitty and tried to find its owner. No luck, so kitty stayed with us. My boyfriend at the time was into horse racing, so he wanted to name the kitty after a famous racehorse, John Henry. Since I didn’t know who that was, we added the name Banana after it. John Henry Banana. We called him Henry and he was a sweetheart.
After a while, we decided Henry was lonely, so we brought home a little tawny kitten to keep him company. We named her Tasha Banana. They got along fine. Later that year Henry got sick and went over the rainbow bridge, which was really sad because he wasn’t that old. The vet speculated that he had eaten some poison when he was out wandering before we met him. We then brought home a little sister for Tasha and named her Cyndi, like the singer. Naturally she was also a Banana. The sister cats were good together, but the boyfriend became my first ex-husband. These things happen.
I just remembered that prior to Peppy’s arrival, we had fish. They were very pretty, but you don’t really bond with a fish, mermaids excepted. 🐠
Anyway, while I was married to my second ex-husband, I impulsively adopted a new homeless kitty at a cat show (remember, we already had two). In retrospect, this was a very thoughtless thing to do without asking my second ex-husband first, but it all worked out. The cat, not the marriage. We named this kitten Oscar and he did his own thing but was occasionally affectionate. Cyndi, however, was always sick and no amount of care could ever fix her. She never grew past kitten size and only lasted until she was 3 years old. (Yes, I did a lot in 3 years, but I was an energetic 20-something.)
I had to find a new home for Tasha and Oscar a few years later. Long story, also too sad to go into. I know this can be a contentious topic, with some people believing you are committed to a pet forever once you take them in, and I too believe this on principle, but life happens. I did my best to find the cats a safe place, but who knows. For many years afterward, I had no pets, only children.
Cocoa wandered into my life when I needed her, simple as that. It was 2004, I was depressed, and I’d been scheduled for a “minor” surgery. Along came this wonderful blue-eyed fluffy kitty to brighten up my days. My daughters were thrilled to have a pet and we soon adopted another kitty, Tiki. Cocoa took some time to adjust to Tiki, but then they were friends. Tiki looked up to Cocoa, like a little sister to a big one, following her all around and trying to do everything Cocoa did. So adorable!
When my marriage ended, I took Cocoa and my second ex-husband took Tiki. They totally bonded and it was cute. Cocoa, however, began failing. Her arthritis kept getting worse until she couldn’t walk much at all. She lost interest in food, became skinny, and finally we had to say goodbye. It was heartbreaking. She was such a great cat.
Before Cocoa passed on, I thought I would not get another pet because the man I was dating at the time (remember TMWBMH? ~ yep, him) did not like pets. Silly me, I had this fantasy we’d stay together, but that was not to be. A few months before Cocoa died, we had broken up, so a new kitty was on my mind. My daughter went to the Orange County Animal Shelter with me, and we chose Gatsby (she did really). She also chose his name because I’d been inclined to go with Ringo. He’s obviously a Gatsby though.
Long time readers are familiar with G’s cuteness and antics. Suffice to say, he has comforted me during many down cycles and I owe him a lot. He can be super annoying, but he’s my Little Lion Man and I adore him. We’re now sharing a place with a kitty named Tiger and her person, and the cats are slowly getting used to each other. Tiger is an absolute doll.