Monday, October 29, 2007

Challenge Redux

I’m on my way to Hawaii for a few days and won’t be able to check in very often. In the meantime, I do hope you will take me up on my challenge. Here are the details:

Pick an age between 55 and 70 and in 250 words or less create a character for a novel or short story, and I want details about them - not just physical details either. Give me a character who stands on their own physically, emotionally, mentally and intellectually and one who defies stereotypes of age.

Put your descriptions in the comments section of this post or the previous one, but think carefully before you post. Stereotypes of any type should be avoided.


As of this post, there are 2 good entries from Ello and Church Lady.

The person who develops the most realistic, least stereotypical character will receive a $20 Amazon.com gift certificate to be awarded on November 6th when I return from Hawaii.

Aloha and Pomaika`i!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A challenge with a reward

So, my post on Baby Boomers Revolt didn't create the reaction I hoped for. Although I really appreciate all the great comments about how I look, that was not my intention. I wanted to spur some dialogue on stereotyping people 50 and older.

Comments on stereotyping by race, hair color, occupation, nationality, IQ, disability, etc. are everywhere, but agism doesn't have such a wide reach.

Consider this; baby boomers are those born between 1945 and 1957 and 'shadow' boomers from 1958 to 1964. We comprise nearly 28% of the adult US population and have way more than our share of the disposable income. Unlike the youth of today, we were brought up reading. TV was just coming onto the scene when we were born, so we didn't grow up with endless entertainment choices. We read!

I've read - or started to read - several articles, books and stories lately with baby boomers as minor or secondary characters. Nothing irritates me more or causes me to stop reading faster than the grinning sweet little granny or poor lonely Mr. or Ms. Whosit in their 50's, 60's and 70's whose only purpose is to serve as a source of fluff or pity. And why do they all have ample laps or walk with canes and have to wear glasses?

When I asked you to describe the person in the picture I didn't want you to think about me, I wanted you to think against the stereotype of a 59 year old woman and find a new way to describe the baby boomers. If you hope to sell books to us - and you should because we're a huge market and we read - you need to write to us.

So here's a challenge for you. Pick an age between 55 and 70 and in 250 words or less create a character for your novel or short story, and I want details about them - not just physical details either. Put your descriptions in the comments section of this post. Think carefully before you post. Stereotypes of any type should be avoided.

The person who develops the most realistic character will receive a $20 Amazon.com gift certificate to be awarded on November 6th when I return from Hawaii.

Good luck and feel free to tell your fellow bloggers.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The perfect lawnmower

When I first bought my house I had to buy a lawn mower. I actually wrote a story about that experience. Here’s how I described what happened.

Saturday morning – 9 a.m. There was that horrible sound again. All my neighbors were starting their lawnmowers. The steady hum of all their machines gliding effortlessly over all those beautifully manicured lawns was just too much for me on that particular morning. My conscience finally got the best of me and I resolved that the time had come to break down and buy a lawnmower.

It may not sound like a big deal, but I managed to blow it totally out of proportion. It had become a task as intimidating as purchasing a new car from a slick salesman. Being a single woman that was truly frightening! I jumped in my car, opened the garage door, pulled out and got away before any of my neighbors had a chance to yell at me about the height of my grass and their falling property values.

I drove into the parking lot of the local home and garden superstore and summoned all my courage as I prepared to face my fate. “Please, God, let the perfect lawnmower be here for me,” I pleaded silently. I walked into the gigantic warehouse and the first thing I saw was a lawnmower. A chill went up my spine.

It was a brand name. That was good - I assumed. It offered features that were on my wish list. It was electric (no gas, gas cans, fires, explosions, etc.). It was cordless (no running over the extension cord every time I used it like my mom always did). It mulched (no stopping every few feet to haul heavy bags of clippings). It would go for an hour before needing to be charged so it should do most of my lawn on one charge. It could adjust to even jungle high grass (I could quickly tame my lawn before my neighbors got a petition together to have me evicted). Whoa! Could this be true? It was affordable. Fully assembled, it would only set me back $180, plus tax of course.

This was too much for me. There had to be a mistake. I wasn’t 20 feet from the entrance and here was the perfect lawnmower. Unbelieving, I walked past this machine and approached the section with all the lawn and garden equipment. There they were – at least 50 different lawnmowers of all shapes and sizes just waiting to cut me down to size. They mulched, bagged, blew, raked, aerated, thatched, tilled, dug, edged and chewed and spit out grass in all manners imaginable. Some you could ride on, some propelled themselves and some required person power. The prices ranged from ouch to aargh.

I could feel the pain in my pocketbook, my head started to throb and my knees were getting weak. A salesman approached. Oh, no. I’m doomed. “I need a lawnmower and I don’t have much money, and I don’t want to have to deal with gas or bags or extension cords or clippings or any of that stuff”, I gushed before he could say a word.

The salesman smiled knowingly and took me gently by the arm. “I think we have just what you’re looking for,” he said reassuringly. “Why don’t you come over here and let me show you what I recommend.” In a daze, I followed him to a spot about 20 feet from the front door of the store where the salesman pointed to that lawnmower I spotted when I first came in to the store

I was stunned and stood in disbelief while he told me why this was the perfect lawnmower for me. Fate, I thought. I requested assistance from heaven, it was provided, and as usual, I ignored it. The salesman helped me wheel the fully assembled beauty to the checkout stand, made sure they charged me the correct price, and then helped me put it into my car.

I drove home with an incredible feeling of relief, suddenly noticing that the sun was shining, birds were singing and people were happy and smiling. I pulled into my driveway, hopped out of the car, threw open the back of my car, and called to the man across the street (in my loudest voice so all my neighbors could hear) to come help me get my new lawnmower out of the car.

A crowd gathered round as we pulled it out and put it on the ground. I could hear the murmurs of approval and oohs and aahs as it started flawlessly and began to mow through the calf high grass that would soon, once again, be my lawn.

It’s been a while now since that first wonderful day of mowing madness overtook me. Gradually I lowered the wheels until the lawn reached the perfect height, cut by the perfect lawnmower. I am the envy of every woman in the neighborhood (and secretly many of the men) - me and my cordless, electric beauty.

We rock!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Titles and Names

We often hear how important titles are for books. A great title can make a book stand out on a crowded bookstore shelf and initiate a buying process that might otherwise not have occurred.

When I open the book, character and place names can also keep me moving forward or distract me to the point of frustration. If most of them have highly unpronouncable names of great length, my chance of reading more than a couple of chapters drops exponentially with every additional syllable or hyphen. I personally think you can name your characters just about anything simple as long as you're telling a great story.

One thing I really appreciate is clever and descriptive names for stores and shops. I'm not talking about the ones that describe the place in detail, but short evocative names that make me take notice and nod in approval and agreement.

This post was inspired by a name change at my favorite drive-thru coffee stand. It was recently sold and renamed 'Brewed Awakenings'. Now that is a very clever and descriptive name!

What names have you created that would make me smile and nod?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Baby Boomers Revolt!


Check out this picture. When you look at it, what’re your thoughts? How would you describe this person – not just physically but emotionally, spiritually and intellectually? Think about it for a minute.

Are you thinking?


This person is a baby boomer – 59 years young.

Does that surprise you? If so, why?

Lately, several things I’ve read have lead me to believe I should:

· Have grey hair – perhaps dyed,
· Walk with a cane or walker,
· Wear oversized housedresses or slacks with only elastic waistbands,
· Wear orthopedic shoes,
· Go to bed at 8:30 or 9:00 every night – including weekends,
· Have a lifetime supply of batteries for my hearing aids,
· Have an extra cabinet devoted to all my medications,
· Say, “Oh dear” incessantly,
· Run around patting people on the back, head or pinching their cheeks,
· Wear bottle bottom glasses,
· Be overweight and out of shape,
· Sit around knitting and watching TV while I’m babysitting my grandchildren,
· Never think about sex,
· And, well, shall I go on and on ad infinitum?

Here are some facts for you.

· I just started turning grey in the last couple of years. My hair isn’t dyed. What you see is my natural color.
· I don’t use anything to assist me in walking. In fact, I normally walk about 2 miles every day after work and I work out with weights. How about you?
· I wear very stylish clothes that are in excellent condition.
· I wear stylish shoes including some with 3” heels and my ankles don’t wobble or my feet suffer from doing so.
· I go to bed between 10 and 10:30 on weekdays because I get up at 6 am to get ready for work. Sometimes I stay up until midnight or later. Ooooooooo!
· My hearing is excellent - better than some much younger people who have ruined theirs with booming music from I-pods or standing too close to speakers at rock concerts.
· I only take one regular medication.
· I’m more likely to say “Oh shit” than “Oh dear”.
· If you’re a hot man, I’m more likely to pat your behind than your back – surreptitiously of course!
· I had lasik surgery, although I still need reading glasses.
· I’m neither overweight or out of shape.
· I have a fixer house and have done most of the work myself, so sitting around knitting just won’t work for me and I don’t babysit.
· I think about sex – a lot!

My point is; we’re baby boomers – not dead. Don’t depict us all as cute little grannies or poor lonely souls.

I would put myself up against any of you intellectually, emotionally and mentally and I could probably physically kick most of your asses.
We have buying power. Most of us have disposable incomes and time to read your books - or not read them if you piss us off.

QUIT STEREOTYPING US!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Friday Fluff!

It's Friday and I worked hard all week, so here's a little silliness to take you into the weekend!

Religious healing program

Grandma and grandpa were watching a religious healing program on TV.
The evangelist called to all who wanted to be healed, to put one hand on the TV and the other on the body part they wanted healed.

Grandma hobbled to the TV and put one hand on the TV and the other on her arthritic hip.

Grandpa made his way to the set and put one hand on the TV and the other on his crotch.

Grandma looked at him with disgust. "You just don't understand, you old coot. The purpose of this program is to heal the sick, not raise the dead.”

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Priorities and time, time time!

I’m overwhelmed right now. There are too many things nagging at me for attention and I don’t feel like I’m giving anything the quality time it needs.

I have 6 books in my to-be-read pile right now. I’m half way through Evermore by Lynn Viehl and really like it, but am having difficulty finding time to read it. Next up is Look Me in the Eye by John Elder Robison and I can’t wait to read it. I’m not one of those people who can read more than one book at a time, so lack of time to do this is very frustrating. I can’t go to a regular or an online bookstore right now even though there are many more books I want to buy because I don’t want to put myself even farther behind.

I started a new list of items that need to be accomplished around my house. Right now there are 22 things on it of varying size and difficulty – and cost.

I have several cross stitch projects to finish for a dear friend and need to have them done by next August. I’m not sure I’m going to make it and that makes me crazy. (I will probably make it, but it will still drive me crazy.)

I’m about ¾ of the way through my de-cluttering process and want to finish.

My body keeps falling apart piece by piece and the stress of the last couple of months with my dog Rosie, my sewer, my work environment and all the health issues is taking its toll.

I want to take a couple of online writing classes but don’t have the time right now. I don’t have time to write and I really want to write. I barely have time to blog on a regular basis and I love blogging. I especially love reading other blogs because there are some amazing people out there in blogland.

I’m incredibly busy at work and there are things going on that will cause some changes for others that will be surprising. It will be a good thing, but definitely unexpected. I’m one of only a couple of people who know about this. I hate secrets and yet I have to keep them and am very good at it.

I’m taking control and setting some priorities. This weekend I’m going to make a master list of all the things I want and need to do and decide where to start. I have too many balls in the air and need to complete some things so I can move on to others.

What do you do when you get overwhelmed?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Staying Put!

When you’re commitment phobic, it’s hard to stay put.

For example, when I lived in Chicago the first 5 years, I lived in 4 different places and had 4 different jobs. The second 6 years there I lived in 4 different places and had 3 different jobs. I was improving. I was only in Vegas for 1 ½ years – 1 place, 1 job.

I’ve lived in Seattle for 21 years. In the first 13 years I had 9 jobs although 4 of them were part time second jobs. I’m in my 8th year at my current job.

In the first 8 years here, I moved 6 times. I’ve owned my home for 13 years now.

I’m definitely improving.

Commitment phobic people like me don’t like conflict and we deal with it by running from it. The dichotomy is we’re only running from ourselves. Rather than facing our problems and fixing them, we run from them and hope they don’t follow us. Inevitably, just when we believe we’ve run fast and far enough, they tap us on the shoulder and say hi.

As aware of this as I am, whenever I run into a conflict my first instinct is still to run.

Fortunately running isn’t as easy as it used to be. When you’re a renter, moving is as easy as moving out when your lease is up. Yes it can be a lot of work, but it’s easy. When you own a house that needs some work, it’s harder to walk away.

I recently made a new list of all the things that still need to be done to my house – about $20,000 worth – and then my drain collapsed and I added $6,100 to that total. My first reaction was to go on the internet and start looking at houses – new houses and condos that don’t need work. The problem with all of them was location. They weren’t in my neighborhood with my wonderful neighbors. I can’t move. I’m taking some money out of savings and finishing my house. I love where I am and can easily stay here another 13 years. By completing all my projects I can enjoy my home and focus on other things. I’m staying put.

My job has also been a center of unhappiness lately. I was so frustrated I updated my resume and started hunting through the want ads. The problems with all of them was, I really like where I work now and only have about 7 more years until I retire. I can definitely stay here for that long. They pay me well and I have great benefits. At my age, benefits are really important. So I had a long talk with my boss at lunch the other day and we resolved the problems. They like me value me and want me to stay. I’m staying put.

All the changes in my home and job won’t happen at once, but they will happen within the next 6 to 9 months. I can wait that long.

I am commitment phobic but in most areas of my life I control it now, it no longer controls me.

Sometimes staying put feels really good!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Epilogue

This was the Epilogue of my book.

This started out to be a short story about the benefits of research and development in the treatment of cancer and other diseases. My maternal grandmother and I had the same cancer, but our outcomes were very different. In the thirty years from the time she died from the disease until I contracted it, there had been enough research done to make Pap tests a part of routine physicals and early detection wasn’t only possible but probable. Also, methods of treating cervical cancer had vastly improved and there were more options for managing and even eliminating it.

Now, twenty-five years later research has led to the identification of the cause of some forms of cervical cancer and a vaccine to help prevent those forms. As a beneficiary of the research, I am most grateful to all those researchers who have worked so hard to make a difference in our lives. It takes time, and it takes money. Every minute and every dollar spent brings us that much closer to a time when we will eradicate this disease and many others.

Life can be difficult enough without adding the physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual stress that comes from having cancer or any other disease. Research and development in these areas is critical and I hope everyone will support it by giving generously of their time and money.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

October 10th!

October 10th is my birthday! This isn't a major one - just another one.

Birthdays aren't special to me. I blogged about this before on August 29th.

I'm overwhelmed with crap right now.

My dog Rosie is dying.

I have a virus in my ankle. It's very painful, has me limping and unable to walk Belle.

Things are better at work, but there are still a couple of serious unresolved issues.

Sunday, I came back downstairs after fixing my coffee and breakfast to find about an inch of water in the bathroom and laundry room. Long story short; there was a break in my sewer pipe about 5 feet from the house. 20 feet of new pipe, 2 enormous holes in my side yard (to be filled in after the city inspection on Thursday) and $6,100 later, it's fixed.

I can probably come up with a couple more things, but I think that's enough for now.
Maybe next year I'll feel more like celebrating.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Another Chapter

This was the final chapter of my book. It's a favorite of mine. I'll be interested to know what you think of it.

As a very wise woman once told me, “You can change.” I changed. It’s harder than hell but it can be done. The most difficult part is convincing people who have known you for years that you have actually changed. Many people don’t like change and don’t deal with it very well. They cling to the past as if to a lifebuoy, afraid of what’s ahead even if what’s behind was worse.
People try to keep you in the past, or continue to make references to how you were instead of letting you move forward. They don’t necessarily do it maliciously. They may not even realize that what they’re saying or how they’re acting is hurtful. They haven’t come to terms with their past experiences and allowing you to move forward would force them to deal with their own issues. I understand this and am happy to have found a way out of the maze. I try to live in the present, not the past or the future. I try to live every day as if it’s the only day that matters because it just may be.

Changing is a constant struggle and requires unwavering attention and introspection. Sometimes to accomplish it, you have to distance yourself from your past. You have to put space between yourself and the memories of who you were. Sometimes that space requires a physical move – far away where you can start fresh without all the people around to remind you of how completely you screwed up your life. It can be emotionally isolating but also very liberating. It requires making a decision about what’s most important – placating other people, or making yourself happy.

I don’t blame anyone for my bad choices. That’s the easy thing to do and it shifts responsibility for my decisions to others. Once I left home the decisions I made were all mine. No one forced me to do anything. Some people influenced me more than others but no one controlled my mind. I accept full responsibility for everything that happened to me. I live every day with the knowledge of my past mistakes but I don’t suffer from them anymore. I learned from them and moved on to a much happier life.

I don’t see myself as selling out for not taking my family and others to task for what they did or said to me years ago. I see it more as me taking back control of my life. They no longer have the ability to make me feel bad or inadequate because I won’t let them. They have no more power over me and what I do or how I feel. My choices in life are no longer dictated by what they might think or feel about me.

People who aren’t content with themselves will never be content with another person. Dragging another person into my issues isn’t going to solve them. It’s just going to make two people miserable.

I haven’t forgotten anything from my past. That’s both a problem and an advantage of having a good memory. I remember everything – good and bad, funny and sad. No matter what emotion or circumstance, except for a few hours in Haiti, I remember it all. I remember the situations, the emotions that accompanied them and the pain they caused. However, I no longer feel the pain nor do I suffer from the memories. I learned how to put the pain away and have replaced it with the comfort of knowing I not only survived it, I grew and prospered.

I’ll never forget. I don’t want to. It keeps me humble and in touch with what’s important. I’m not just a survivor. I’m a thriver. I made a conscious choice to live my life being happy. I may be temporarily affected by what people say or do but I have no intention of allowing anyone to permanently change my choice to enjoy my life.

I did some pretty stupid things in my past but I don’t do them anymore and I don’t allow others to make me wallow in them either. Holding on to memories of how you were wronged is not going to make things right again. Forgiving (or at least forgetting) will. We have to move forward and leave the wrongdoers in our past where they belong.

Choices can be proactive or reactive. You can live life from the outside in, always focusing on external things to provide you with stimulus and meaning, or you can live life from the inside out by giving external things stimulus and meaning. You can live by your own decisions or you can live based on the decisions of others. You can live your dreams or you can live the dreams of others. It’s your choice. You have to define yourself not allow others to do it for you.

I haven’t resolved all the issues in my life, but I have arrived at a place where most of the things that were so important and urgent 25 years ago are now either non-issues or under control. I have a true sense of appreciation of life. I have something a lot of people who’ve had cancer or any serious disease will never have. I have the opportunity to continue working on my issues and looking for solutions.

I have hope for the future and a present full of good friends, a wonderful job, several “families” and two darling dogs who think I am the greatest – especially when I give them treats. And best of all, I no longer aspire to be a drama queen. In fact, I’ve grown very fond of my easy, comfortable, low trauma way of life. If I wasn’t me, I might just envy me!

I have lots of love in my life but not the love of my life. That’s okay. One of those unresolved issues is a fear of relationships. I don’t want to be a hotel again and I don’t want to check into any more hotels. I have too much self esteem now to do that to myself again. There’s a real difference between being alone and being lonely. I recognize the difference and I’m happier alone than I’ve ever been in a relationship. That doesn’t mean I’ve given up the idea of finding true love, just that without it, I’m still good.

I’m at a point where I’m so sure I’ll screw up an intimate relationship that I won’t even allow myself to get involved in one. I no longer suffer from the dissolution of my relationships, I just quietly lament not having any in the first place. Do I want one? Yes, I do. But wanting something and being open to it can be mutually exclusive. I want a relationship, but I’m not open to it. I know myself too well to put another person through that. The interior scars are too deep. It’s my own fault for letting it go on for so long.

Writing this gives me another opportunity to maintain my perspective. I can focus on the fact I had this health issue that overwhelmed me and redirected my life for over twenty five years, or I can focus on the fact the health issue was the catalyst that allowed me to change and become who I am today. What an interesting conundrum. Did I have the disease, or did I allow it to have me? Or, both? And does it really matter?

I love old movies and one of my favorites is “White Christmas”. In that movie Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney sang a song that I use now as my mantra when I’m starting to get overwhelmed.

When I'm worried and I can't sleep
I count my blessings instead of sheep
And I fall asleep counting my blessings
When my bankroll is getting small
I think of when I had none at all
And I fall asleep counting my blessings.
Writing this and reliving all these memories is exhausting and liberating. When I started it seemed like a huge overwhelming monster of a chore. I could barely write more than a few paragraphs without having to stop and do something to distract myself.

But somewhere along the line it took on a life of its own. The farther into it I got, the easier it was to write and the more the words flowed out of me. Now as I sit here putting the finishing touches on it I feel a lot lighter and happier. I wonder why it seemed like such a daunting task. It almost makes me want to go out and hug a tree or something. Or, maybe I’ll just stay inside and eat a truffle and hug my dogs.

Life should be a blessing. Always maintain your perspective. Don’t be afraid to take chances. Don’t be afraid of the unknown. Never give up hope. You can change.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Things that drive me nuts!

Jessica at Bookends had an interesting post on typos and errors after publication that actually caused me to de-lurk and post. My post wasn’t exactly on the topic but it was directly related. The post concerned who was responsible for the typos and errors in the finished book. If the typos and spelling aren’t overwhelming I can handle them in small doses, but factual errors in a book drive me crazy. Here was my comment:

The factual errors are more irritating to me. I live in Seattle and for some reason many authors (and TV shows) base their stories here. We have traffic problems and are surrounded by water. We also have well known landmarks that haven’t moved since they were constructed. However authors have people who live on the peninsula leaving home and arriving in Seattle in 15 minutes. That’s only possible with a helicopter. They have them living on Queen Anne and driving across one of the Lake Washington bridges to arrive at a job or appointment near the Space Needle. The Space Needle is at the bottom of Queen Anne hill. It’s about a 5 minute drive – no bridges required. It’s obvious the author doesn’t know the city.

If they want to write about a specific, well known place, they should thoroughly research it – perhaps even travel there. I’ve stopped reading in the middle of some books because they were so inaccurate. If they don’t want to do the research it would be better to just make up a city.

Why do people do this? Why do they write about places where millions of people live and visit every year and make up facts about them? Do they really think no one will notice? The internet is full of information about almost every place on Earth. Why can’t they spend a couple of hours looking at maps, reading some local newspapers, reading tourist info from the Chamber of Commerce or even asking friends who live there or have been there for information? If they don’t want to take the time to get their facts correct, why don’t they just make up a city or town or country? It would be more believable and far less irritating.

Am I nuts, or does this drive you crazy too?

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Thoughts on Men – Part 4

The point of all of this is even after fifty plus years of life and over eight years of abstinence I still have no clue about men. I have theories – like my four building types. I have lots of men friends and acquaintances – especially if they’re married, in a committed relationship, or gay. With very few exceptions I don’t really trust anyone who doesn’t fall into one of those categories and I don’t trust some of those who do.

One thing I’ve come to believe is WE are the most precious gifts we can give. The gift of our time, our spirits, our intellect, our bodies and our love is more valuable than any material things we can offer. We shouldn’t give ourselves away to people who don’t deserve us and won’t appreciate us.

I haven’t totally given up on finding someone special but whoever applies for this position is going to have to jump through a lot of hoops before he reaches my bed. First he’s going to have to become my friend – someone I can talk to about anything, anytime and anyplace. He’s going to have to earn my trust. Good luck with that! Absolute, total and complete honesty will be a non-negotiable requirement.

He’ll have to be intelligent and witty. There are 24 hours in a day and approximately eight of them are taken up with sleeping. That leaves the possibility of spending 16 hours some days with this person. Depending on their age and health, sex might only fill a few minutes of that time so you have to be able to talk to them.

The man who finally snags me will also have to understand I still have residual abandonment and intimacy issues. I’m totally aware of this and have been working on it for a long time but it is a deep-seeded part of my psyche and it fights with my rational mind for control of me in many situations. I used to believe it would help to have someone who shared and had overcome these same types of issues. Now I think it would be better to have someone who just recognizes them and won’t allow me to dwell on them. Having a relationship with another person with these issues could be a recipe for disaster and I have experienced enough disasters. I don’t want to complete someone. I want someone who’s already complete.

He’ll have to be patient. Having read this far you should understand why by now. And he’ll need to have a really good sense of humor – an absolute must. He also must like animals – especially dogs. My dogs will have to approve of him. He must be financially independent because I am. I’ve supported men before and have no intention of ever doing it again. And, no skanks! He must be good looking with great self esteem – only humble.

He has to have his own friends and interests and not rely on me to entertain him all the time. I have wonderful friends and enjoy spending time with them. I don’t intend to stop spending time with my friends and I really do enjoy being alone sometimes. I don’t mind if he goes out to play with his friends and he is not allowed to mind if I go out and play with mine. I don’t want a clinging vine. No angst allowed!

Based on all of this, I probably won’t be getting married or into any kind of serious relationships any time soon.

I’ve often thought I should move to Italy. I have a friend who’s married to an Italian man. He says Italian men really appreciate older women because of their wisdom and experience. He says I would be a goddess there and the men would value my wisdom and strength. They would think I was sexy and desirable because they’re looking beyond the exterior and more concerned with what’s inside. He says younger women may look better but older women ARE better. If I’m ever rich enough I think I’ll rent a house in Tuscany for a while and test his theory. Of course my friend could be full of bull and just trying to make me feel better, but it’s nice to think about and I may try it eventually.

Maybe some day I’ll find someone who’ll love me enough to stick around and help me get through all of my issues – someone who’ll care about me enough to prevent me from running at the first sign of tension. When people are tense or angry it makes me cower inside. I think it’s a response to the memory of the yelling and arguing I witnessed as a child, but at the first sign of it all I want to do is head for the nearest exit. Then the chances of seeing me again are very slim. I’m not a fighter.

Anyway, men are last on my list of demons because they are my biggest challenge and obviously I still need to do a little work here. However, I’ve resolved not to fail in this arena again even if that means many more years without someone. And I won’t compromise. Until I meet someone with whom I’m compatible physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually I will stay single.

Maybe when I’m in my nineties in the retirement community, with failing eyesight and poor hearing, my prince charming will roll up to me and make a pass. If I try to hit him with my cane and miss, I’ll know he’s the one.


Well, that's it - my chapter on men. I welcome any and all comments and thanks for reading!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Thoughts on Men - Part 3

(This is a repeat of something I posted in June, but it was the next part of this chapter in the book.)

I’ve spent a lot of time coming to terms with my problems with men and sex. Over the past few years I worked to redefine my relationships and thought I made tremendous progress. About a year ago I told a friend I might be ready to try dating again. When she picked herself up off the floor, she suggested I try one of the internet dating sites.

Three months later (because I never do anything that has the potential to be life changing without thinking it to death anymore) after she and my other friends badgered me relentlessly every day about my NEED to do it, I signed up at one of the big national sites which shall remain nameless because I don’t want to get sued.

I’m a no-nonsense person and I don’t take crap from anyone anymore – just ask my bosses and the other people with whom I work. My philosophy is, if you can’t truthfully say something nice just walk away smiling. It confuses the heck out of people and makes me pretty happy. I decided my profile needed to be absolutely truthful – no lies - because I didn’t want any misunderstandings of whom I was or what I expected. When it comes to men, I lived a lie my whole life. This seemed like a good time to be completely honest.

First I included the word mean in my screen name. Now I’m not really mean but occasionally people who don’t know me have interpreted things I said while being sarcastic as being mean. I am incredibly sarcastic and make no apologies for it, so putting mean in there just seemed honest. Here’s the profile I submitted:

Perfectly happy and content woman living a good life. Friends think I need a man because they all have them and want me to suffer too. No strings, no nutcases, no needy men should respond. Only those who are financially secure will be considered, because I do not need or want to be supported and am totally unwilling to support you financially.

You must be emotionally and spiritually well adjusted and basically liberal to middle of the road - willing to see all sides and not be firmly rooted in any religious or political crap. You must also be very intelligent and have a great sense of humor and be fairly busy with your own life because I really don’t want a clinging vine.

You must be good looking and in good shape. I walk my dog often and you have to be able to keep up with me. I am incredibly picky and like people who are nice looking and take care of themselves. If you are a Dr., it would be a plus because I seem to be falling apart piece by piece.

Overall, I’m a nice looking person in pretty good shape. Way too intelligent for my own good and extremely intuitive. Also extremely honest and totally uninterested in playing games. Don’t I sound like a great catch? Hopefully this will satisfy my sadistic friends who are making me do this.

This was the toned down version. My friends thought the original one was a bit too harsh. What do you think?

Original Version: Total Bitch in need of a booty call. No strings, no nutcases, no needy men should apply. Only those who are financially sound will be interviewed. She doesn’t need or want to be supported and won’t support your sorry ass financially. Must also be emotionally and spiritually well adjusted and basically middle of the road – willing to see all sides and not be involved in any fundamentalist crap. Must also be very intelligent, have a great sense of humor and fairly busy as she really doesn’t want to spend a great deal of time with anyone. You must be good looking and in good shape. She is incredibly picky and won’t be seen with any skanks.

I think they objected to words like skanks or something. I personally liked the original version, but went with the other one on their advice. Anyway, I thought it was a rather good synopsis of me and what I was looking for and the site people didn’t reject it. I figured if anyone responded they must either be able to see past all of the rhetoric and into my true self, which would pleasantly surprise me, or they must be totally stupid and desperate. Either way, since I had no intention of initiating anything, I would be firmly in control.

I had hundreds of hits on my profile and bunches of e-mails and winks, all of which I promptly rejected. It’s not that I didn’t want to find someone. It’s just that the right one never appeared in my in-box. Or, maybe I really wasn’t ready. Who knows? But no one was able to tear me away from the “no thanks” button.

One response really floored me. This idiot had the nerve to e-mail me to tell me he thought my profile was crap. (Wonder where he got that word?) He told me my profile lived up to my screen name – especially the mean part – and if I ever had any hope of finding a nice person and a good match I should change my profile. He said my friends were probably right and having a man in my life would do me good. (Choke me now!) He also said I was probably lying about the mean part and I shouldn’t do that because honesty was very important. Then he had the nerve to wish me well in my search.

I was flabbergasted. Why did he even bother to respond? If he wasn’t interested, why didn’t he just move on to the next profile? I went back and reviewed his profile to see what had inspired him to be so absurd.

Religion was important to him, so my comment about not being rooted in crap probably didn’t sit too well with him. He said all the same things I read in a hundred other profiles about long walks, cuddling, intimate dinners, romantic evenings, loving and spoiling someone, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Did all these men take lessons from the same college – Boring U?But one thing I noticed he had neglected to mention about himself – self important hypocrite!

Hey, at least my profile was honest. The more I thought about it the angrier I became. This bigheaded jerk had never met me. He didn’t know anything about me and was passing judgment on me based on a few paragraphs on the internet.

For about thirty seconds, I seriously considered responding to him and giving my opinion on his lineage. And then I hit the delete key and ate a small chocolate Santa.When my six months membership was up, I quit.

To be continued!