Friday, September 30, 2005

You're falling faster than you climb

I finally got some movement on the e-harmony front. However, it wasn't exactly what I was hoping for. When last we left Binghamton Dan, we were waiting for him to send me an actual e-mail message, though through the e-harmony system so I wouldn't have his e-mail address if he didn't want me to. This morning, I logged in and saw that there was a "on hold" message waiting for me.

"I'm just not sure right now, but may be interested in communicating more in the future."

I'm not sure what that means, and I know from my own experience of putting people on hold that there is a list of four or five messages to choose from, so it wasn't like he could elaborate. Trying to see the "glass half full" side of things, I will take it as a good sign that he simply put me on hold and didn't close the match. I think.

I'm still waiting on a message from Jeff in Syracuse. He is at the same stage as Dan -- through all the questions and lists, and ready for a real message.

The matches have also seemed to dry up a little -- I get one or two a week now, as opposed to one or two a day when I first started. Am I that difficult a person? Are my needs that unreasonable? I don't think so. But again, glass half full, I'm not even through a full month -- I have two and half months left of my $99 investment. And really, did I expect to find the love of my life in the first month? No, but a first date would have been nice.

On the B side of things...I'm at a total loss. We have seemingly gone back to normal, though in fairness to him, we have only seen each other in meetings. It's not like we can have the kind of conversation I want while we're discussing the new home page design with five other people in the room.

But he does have opportunities to get me alone -- and hasn't. So then I start to second-guess myself, should I have not IM'd him on Sunday? Should I have not made him cookies? But I always make him cookies. Was it too much? Did I make him think that I liked him? Oh no....I need to get out of this high school/college mentality. However, I think I'm still scarred by those experiences. Those unrequited experiences as the fat girl. Sure the boys all liked me, as a friend -- until they found out that I liked them -- and then it was all over.

Whenever someone found out I liked him, they did whatever they could to stay away from me, as little as possible to encourage me (including talking to me in situations where it would have been completely normal) and out-and-out ignore me.

And so, as much as it might take the wind out of my sails and take away the giddiness and excitement, I would just rather know, than not. If he would just say, "I've thought about it, and I just don't want to risk it being weird between us."

Fine. I accept that. 100%. It's the not knowing, the over-thinking and the wondering that drives me crazy, that makes me doubt myself. And then I'm reminded of the best line from Sixteen Candles -- "That's why they call them crushes. If they were easy, they'd call them something else."

How true...even at this age.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

See you in Toledo

I have seven brothers and sisters. And yes, I am the youngest -- I'm sure that explains a lot to those who believe in the birth order thing. Out of the eight of us, seven of us all get along. The lone wolf, black sheep or as I like to refer to her, my mother's other daughter, gets along with one of my brothers.

And it's not like we're mean to her. We invite her to things, she doesn't come. When we do see her, everything is very civil. But, being the youngest perhaps, I take things more personally, I take things more literally and am not so quick to forgive. Some of the things that I'm still pissed at: she didn't come to my niece's wedding shower, wedding or baby shower; she didn't send my other niece (her god-daughter, by the way) a get well card when she was in a serious car accident; and don't even get my started on what a bitch she's been about my parents' anniversary party and not wanting to be a team player.

My mother has these grand illusions -- along the lines of me marrying Dave or Ed (who you might remember are already married, but whose pictures she cropped to make a picture not of the three of us, but rather me and one of them as a couple) -- that one day, all eight of us will get along like the freakin' Waltons. She tries, she manipulates, she cries and prays -- it ain't going to happen.

When they were here on Sunday, they asked how my elderly great-aunt and uncle were getting to the party. I told them I had it under control -- after pictures at 6, my brother Bob was going to get them.

Knowing my mother the way I do, she held on to that tidbit of information -- that we were doing family pictures at 6 even though the party doesn't start until 7. And this morning I got the following e-mail from her, under the guise of thanking me again for dinner and wanting to know if I wanted my container back.

"Also does Sue know the time for family pictures? remember they need to pick up Marge. so they can plan accordingly."

First of all Marge, my sister's mother-in-law, lives 20 minutes from them and only 5 minutes from the hotel where the party is. So I'm not exactly sure what kind of grand travel plans they need to make -- maybe a trip tick from AAA? Secondly, the party is two freaking months away. The invitations haven't even gone out yet -- so presumably, she doesn't even know when the party exactly is, let alone that I need her there an hour early.

My response to Fran:

"I know you mean well in asking about Sue -- and I know I don't like her, but that doesn't mean that I'm not communicating with her. I'll let everyone know as things gets closer what time they need to be there. I've only mentioned it to some when I've asked them to do something specific."

I knew what I would be in for -- I just knew it. And Fran did not disappoint:

"sorry I know you have everything under control. I know your feelings and I'm sorry that very hurt feelings exist I know Sue can be difficult at times but everyone has their times. I pray that things will get better, I know they will never be as they were, but I just have to believe in time they may. I love all of you very much and am proud of all that has been accomplished in your lives. All are different love MOM"

And yes, these are exact copy and pastes. I figure why should I be the only one frustrated with her non-sentences and lack of punctuation and grammar. I couldn't let her get the last word (again, I think this has to do with me being the youngest), so I responded again:

"You just need to be happy with the fact that you have a relationship with all of your kids and stop trying to make the rest of us like each other."

End of discussion -- it has been a Fran-free day since this all took place in under 20 minutes this morning. My sister has made her decision about living her life the way she wants, without her family. She seems perfectly happy and content with her asshole husband and their friends. But it is something that my mother will never accept.

And unfortunately, until or unless she accepts this, she will be the only one unhappy about this situation.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

It was something as simple as my phone ringing...

Chris called. I heard my phone ringing, I rang down the hall -- and there he was. "Hey what's going on?"

That voice -- that cocky, arrogant voice. And I could have so easily melted into the phone hearing that voice. But I didn't. Certainly it was nice to hear from him. And of course, it was not a call without motivation. He needed dinner invitations for a work event. I've designed them for him in the past. Would it be too much trouble for me to do another one?

*Sigh* Of course not. I found the old file on my computer, he gave me the changes. I told him that I would have it done this afternoon or tonight.

He asked if I was still mad at him. I told him I was never mad at him. I needed him to know how I felt, I did, it's over. He joked that I'm not allowed to tell him how I feel, that's against the rules of our relationship. Which is very true. Sadly. But I held my ground. I told him he could pay for the design job with a gift card for a store or the mall -- that I was in desperate need of new clothes since nothing fits anymore.

It would be so easy to fall back into that habit of having him in my life. Too easy. Especially since the e-harmony thing has been so frustrating, and I have no idea where things stand with B. And this is what gets me into trouble.

Chris calls. And he's there, for the time being and on his own terms -- but he's there. And he gives me what I want, even if its temporary. I'm going to try to be strong. Keep this professional. Keep it friendly. And keep it out of the bedroom.

I made that promise to myself. And if I can't keep a promise to myself, how can I expect others to?

Monday, September 26, 2005

Twice as Nice

My oldest friend Jennifer e-mailed me this morning -- and when I say oldest, I don't mean that she's old, but rather that I've known her longer than any of my "still in touch with" friends -- and she had great news to share. She's expecting twins! Nolan will be just turning 2 when the twins are born, so ... a little scary, a lot overwhelming, but also joyous happy news nonetheless.

Jenn and I met in Home Ec class in the 9th grade (do they still have Home Ec class or did I just really date myself?!). Not only does she know me better than almost anyone -- but she has a way of keeping me grounded, and makes me feel better about things without her being condescending or patronizing me.

When I was visiting her a couple months ago (and I may have written about this), I told her about my fear of accepting single motherhood -- that by doing that, it would make me feel like I was giving up on my man search. And rather than tell me that I was being silly, that it would all happen, be patient, etc....all of the cliche-riddled responses that I normally get from well-meaning friends, she simply said, in the kindest tone possible, "it might not happen."And her saying that made me feel better instantly. It was like she was validating my feelings as real, as...well for lack of a better word -- valid.

But here's the other thing about Jenn, she believes in me. And she believes that it will happen. I mentioned in my last e-mail that I was trying e-harmony, even though I was feeling particuarly destined to be single.

Her response in the e-mail this morning said, "I think that's good you're doing the eharmony thing. More trying = more chances of meeting someone, right? You are not destined to be single. You are just destined to marry later than most...and that's okay too!"

And this coming from a person who initally had trouble conceiving, about to be the mother of three -- somehow it adds more credence to what she's saying. She knows about things not happening as expected, but things happening all the same.


And though I don't feel this way in particular, it is Monday, and it is raining, so....

Sometimes I'd like to quit...nothing ever seems to fit...nothing to do but frown
Rainy days and Mondays always get me down.

Is this a Sign?

When I got in the car last night, to go do a radio interview about Big Brothers Big Sisters, "LOve Stinks" was on the radio. What a fun song, I thought. Haven't heard this in forever. I turned the volume up, had my window down (a balmy September night in Ithaca, it was) and sang along.

An hour later, after the interview (I'm such a microphone whore -- I love being interviewed, love the media, love it all), after talking in the parking lot with my friend Katie for 20 minutes, I got in the car. And guess what song was on the radio? Yup. "Love Stinks."

I'm not sure what it means.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Things my mother says....part 2

My parents came to Ithaca for dinner today. And dinner on a Sunday means 2 or 3. She told me that they would be arriving about 12:30. It was about 11:30, and I had just finished making cookies, the sauce was back on the stove and the kitchen was clean. I was dressed but still needed to do my hair and a little more picking up in the living room. I was sitting at the computer, IMing with B, straightening iron plugged in -- lots of time, right? Wrong.

"Hello...we're here."

"Is it 12:30 already?" I say, trying to sound sarcastic and not at the same time.

"We didn't have to stay at the hospital (where they volunteer on Sunday mornings) as long as we thought."

Great. So I finished with B, ran into the bathroom to do something with my hair. Fran walked upstairs, put something in my room, and came into the bathroom. "Oh wow, your hair is short."

Generally that's what happens when you cut 10 inches off. But I said nothing and nodded.

Downstairs, they were watching TV while I was puttering around the kitchen. And the 20 questions began. I'm not sure exaclty why she grates on my nerves when this happens, or why I'm not used to it, because it always happens.

"How's Jennifer? Now how old is her baby? Now are her brothers married? And her sister? Where do they live? Do they have kids? Have you talked to Kelly recently? How are they doing?" And on and on, until we've gone through all my high school friends and their marital status and child count.

I tried distracting her by giving her my vacation pictures to look at. Unfortunately, that just started in with a new set of questions about my friends from college. And then the ultimate: "You've got to tell your friends to stop getting married before you go broke. Or was Mike your last single friend?"

Yea....moms are fun, aren't they?

E-harmony update:

After going through my list of people, and putting "on hold" those who haven't gotten back to me in over a week, I am down to two that I have communicated with once and haven't heard back from, and two who have gone through all stages and I am waiting for an actual real e-mail from them. One is Dan from Binghamton (picture with the Yankees hat on) and Jeff from Syracuse.

Friday, September 23, 2005

OK, I admit it ....I like him

It was a very atypical Friday for me. I had a couple meetings, including one at the end of the day with my boss. I decided this morning that it would be okay to wear jeans, even though I was meeting with a faculty member. So I put on my new skinny jeans, best thong and shaved my legs -- knowing full well that by preparing so well for happy hour I was no doubt jinxing myself from anything happening.

We headed out for drinks at 4pm -- it was liberating to wave good-bye to my boss a full hour early. But this was a special occassion, celebrating the end of phase one of a huge project that has consumed lots of people's time. I was invited because, as B said to the person doing the inviting, "you're going to invite ellie, right? because how could you not invite her?"

So for the second time in less than two days, I was in the same bar, drinking a Labatts Blue Light. There were about 10 of us, and when B got there, he came and sat next to me. At one point, when I found out our new co-worker was jewish, I asked her if she would make matzo ball soup for me, explaining that while I am an amazing cook and baker, the Catholic vibes just come out too strongly when I'm working with the matzo. I think the way I actually worded it was, "so you'll be my hook up?"

Being the smart ass that he is, B said, "the question is, ellie, will you be my hook up?" Everyone laughed, and being the discreet person I am, I couldn't say what I really wanted to. Any number of comebacks were going through my mind, but what I wish I could have said was, "i think we established the anwer to that last night on your bed."

He left about 5:45, talking on his phone briefly and then giving all of us a group good-bye. I admit I was disappointed -- I really didn't think anything would happen, but obviously I was hopeful. And I think I like him, and what he represents, way more than I want to admit. I certainly would never admit it to him -- not until I know where he's coming from.

That's my credo. And I don't get emotionally attached when there is a chance of rejection. And I know it lets the guy off way too easy -- but it's better to cry alone (when the good cry is needed) than to go through a big ugly scene, to go through the "it's not you, it's me," the "you deserve better than me," or "you're like a sister to me." That's what I can't handle. When I talked to my sister-in-law about this this morning, after she read my post about last night, she scolded me, saying that I shouldn't settle for being friends with benefits, that I should want more. And of course, I do want more, but I'd rather protect myself by pretending that I don't than get hurt. It's like public rejection, even if its only him that knows he's rejecting me. Hearing it out loud -- I can't take the risk. My heart has been broken too many times. Eventually someone will make me trust them, someone will get through my protective barrier. I hope.

My sidenote to this post is that I know I'm such a hypocrite, because I would hate if any of my nieces and friends felt like this about themselves. And I would kick their ass for not having more respect for themselves, for not expecting the best for themselves. But I guess I've been beaten down too many times to want to put it all out there so easily.

Busy as a B

I haven't talked about B in a while -- because there really hasn't been much to talk about. Since coming back from vacation, I felt like that vibe that was there before was suddenly gone. I've chatted with him on IM sometimes at night or over the weekend, but that's about it. And then he's been immersed in this huge project at work, and I haven't seen him over the past two weeks. Until yesterday.

We had three meetings together, and in the first one (maybe the second -- they were in the same room), I caught him staring at me. And he knew that I caught him -- he got a little flustered and looked away. It was kind of cute. And then in our afternoon meeting, as we were walking out, I put my arm around him and said something about not having seen him in so long. He whispered, "you want to get a drink after work?"

So we met downtown at 5:30, at a great new bar, complete with leather couches. It was a Thursday -- it was fairly empty and very comfortable. We each had two beers, I rested my hand on his leg, he rubbed my arm. We talked about sex, we talked about families, we bitched about work and gossiped about people we didn't like. And then about 7:30, we went back to his apartment.

I try to play the "good girl" act at work, but he totally sees through it. As he was showing me his apartment, I purposely went out of order and walked into his office while he was expecting me to walk into the bedroom. We went into the bedroom last.

I sat on the end of the bed, just to see if it was comfortable. He told me to lay down, try out the full effect, so I did and he lay down next to me. We talked a little, and giggled, not knowing what to do next. I told him at one point that he just needed to kiss me. And then his little boy shyness came out, so I kissed him.

He told me he adored me (and what girl doesn't want to hear those words, which sometimes are better than I love you) and he needed to think about this, to make sure it wouldn't be awkward at work. He didn't want to ruin our relationship because they are so few people that he really enjoys working with. I told him that I wasn't looking for him to be my husband, not even my boyfriend -- friends with benefits was fine. I could handle it. He kissed my forehead and said, "Can we just lay like this? I need to think about it. You won't be mad if nothing happens tonight?"

I promised him I wouldn't be mad. I was slightly disappointed, but excited also. And confused. Assholes, I know how to deal with. Jerks, jocks, typical guy behavior -- totally predictable behavior for me. Sweet, respectful, honest -- I was at a loss. But we lay there for the next two hours, talking and cuddling. He rubbed my back and played with my hair (sigh, almost as good as being told that I'm adored). I rubbed his back and chest, and played with his hair (his unruly rock star hair).

He told me about his relationship with his father and mother, about his brothers, about his emotional childhood scars. I traced the scar on his eye with my finger and asked about it -- I had always wondered. He told me how awesome his mom is -- strong and nurturing -- and how he thought I had a lot of her characteristics.

And even though I just wanted to lay in his arms all night, I said I should go home. He walked me to the car, there was a hug and a kiss and a "see you tomorrow."

I called my friend Lesley, who was just as confused because she has about as much experience with nice guys as I do. But we decided it was a good night, and so I went to bed happy (a little frustrated maybe) but happy.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

At Least It's Hump Day

Work is, for lack of a better term. Things are getting a little strange. My boss made a presentation to all the deans last week and got raked over the coals by them -- about what our office is or isn't doing for them. Which in turn makes me feel like shit since I'm their main point of contact. We (my colleague who handles the other half of the deans), my boss and his boss have a meeting on Tuesday to talk about all of this. I can hardly wait.

On top of that, when our department was created three years ago, it was created from the recommendation of a consultant. Now the consultant is coming back next week to meet with, yup, the deans, as well as individuals in the deparment to see how it's going. There is a small group of people in my department who have gone to our boss's boss and complained about him. It all sounds very ugly and icky -- I just want to sit in my office and do my work. I guess on the bright side, if we all get fired, I put everything in storage and move to Richmond.

E-harmony update:

* If I haven't heard from someone at the first stage -- so I haven't heard from him at all -- in over a week, I've "closed" the match. Which means he can't get in contact with me, and I've given him the reason why.

* There are three men reading my first stage of communication, the close-ended questions. Two have had since the end of last week, one since yesterday.

* There are two who are answering my open-ended questions.

* And one (I just discovered as I was writing this!) who has sent me a message. A real message -- no more of this chicken soup for the soul crap (though I can appreicate the screening process by doing it this way). I'll write more later, after I've read it. Fingers crossed that Jeff, 37 and in sales in Syracuse, is nice.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

You're Cordially Invited to my Pity Party

I received the following e-mail from a friend of mine. She was answering my "what's new with you?"

"Nothing is really new with me. Work is the same. [Husband] is the same. House is the same. Dog is insane. [17-month-old son] is fantastic. Talk about a little rock. This child keeps me grounded like nothing I’ve ever experienced. Looking at him, or even thinking of him provides instant perspective no matter what the situation. He is the true meaning of nothing else matters. Other than that, I spend most days doing exactly the same thing. I don’t have a lot of freedom to change my schedule. One or two nights a month [husband] will pick up the baby for me so I can have a dinner out with friends or get my hair cut. But the days of “where should go after work tonight” are totally over. There’s very little, if any, spontaneity left in my life. It gets a little boring...but then I look at [baby] and it all becomes clear again. The grass never looks greener on the pre-[baby] side of the fence, but there’s a lot of good memories over there. ;) "

And after I read that, all I wanted to do was cry. I'm not sure why. Of course I'm happy for her. Absolutely thrilled. She deserves it. Why is it that everyone's life has changed, except mine?

And am I being incredibly selfish and ego-centric to think that she's being slightly insensitive to send me a "my life is great because I have a child" message? I probably am. I'll get over it -- pity parties don't usually last long for me. But every once in a while, I feel the need to have one.

Monday, September 19, 2005

E-Harmony Update

I still haven't heard from Tim, the 33-year-old middle school teacher in Rochester. We are stuck at "stage 3." I'm not sure how long I should let it go before I put him on hold or close the match altogether because he's stopped communicating. I guess I should give it a little more time -- he could be in the middle of a family emergency or something.

I have two others that I have heard from, though: Dan is also 33 and also a teacher, from Binghamton (and wearing a Yankees hat in his picture); and Jeff, 37 and in sales from Syracuse. They've answered my five close-ended questions and I've answered theirs. They are both in the "reading your answers" stage.

So today, I'm feeling a little more upbeat about this. At least better than I felt this morning. I was writing this, Jeff already read my answers and we have now exchanged "must have and can't stand" lists. And I sent him three open-ended questions. He and Tim are neck-and-neck at the same stage -- we'll see who answers first.

I'll Just Chalk it up to a Lesson Learned

My mother finally called me back yesterday. I waited and waited, and knew if I ran to the grocery store, she'd call then. I ran and she called. I confronted her on betraying my confidence and it suddenly became all about her. "I don't remember exactly what I said." "I didn't say anything wrong." "I didn't tell her what you told me, just that you told me. I don't see anything wrong with that." Oh okay, so that suddenly makes everything all better.

We went round and round, with me reminding her that I asked her not to say anything, to just pretend she didn't even know what I was telling her, and with her giving me one of the three statements from above. And then -- the reason I dread calling my mother out on anything -- she started to cry. Because again, this needed to be all about her and me feeling guilty for being a bad daughter.

In the end, she gave me a half-hearted apology with no admission of guilt, and I just gave up. I told her, "forget it, you don't understand, let's just drop it."

And so a beautiful September Sunday in Ithaca was ruined because I got "franned."

Tell me again why I moved back into the state of New York? Oh yea, so I can realize that I really wasn't homesick, that I really don't need to live near my family, that three or four times a year is plenty of times to see them. Hmmmm...that's an expensive lesson, that's for sure.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

You Get Bit the First Time, It's the Dog's Fault....

Well this wasn't the first time. And yet I thought it would be different. I don't know why I thought that. I don't know why I thought she could keep her mouth shut. It's my own fault for trusting her.

I told my mother something in confidence the other day, stressed the reason for the confidence. I really thought she understood what I was saying to her. And then come to find out, that less than five hours after I spoke with her, she was at one of my sister's houses and spilling..."Ellie told me blah, blah, blah."

I'm so mad right now. I immediately called her, and of course she's not home. I left her a stern "please call me as soon as you get home. I need to speak to you" message. And not speak with you, to you. I'm going to give her an earful when I talk to her.

Why can't I have a mother that can be trusted with secrets? Why can't I have a mother who isn't into playing games, who isn't all about the manipulation? I don't know whether to laugh or cry right now.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

It'd be easier if I really could just be Mrs. Jeter

I've had a good Saturday, so far. I took my "little sister" to a community carnival and when I picked her up, she said, "did you get skinnier from last week? You're like this big skinny person." And then when I got to the carnival, I ran into a friend I haven't seen in about a month and she said, "you're like melting away." Okay, so yesterday I was frustrated because I am still hovering right between 30 and 35 pounds and I only lost about a half pound in the last week -- and I know that muscle weighs more than fat and I've been working out a lot. I guess other people noticing has helped my mood and keeps me motivated.

On the e-harmony front, I haven't heard back from Tim and of course I am now second-guessing my answers, or my lists and wondering if he thinks I'm shallow. Am I shallow? I don't think so. I also have been given about five or six other matches -- none of whom have answered my first set of questions. So what seemed so promising at the beginning is starting to be exactly as I remember my last experience.

Here are Tim's must haves and can't stands:

Must Haves:
Sense of Humor... I must have someone who is sharp and can enjoy the humorous side of life.
Family... I must have someone who shares my desire to have or adopt children.
Shared Interests... I must have someone who is willing to share my interests and passions.
Personal Habits... I must have a partner who maintains high standards of personal hygiene, orderliness, and other personal habits.
Passionate... I must have someone who is willing to explore our sexual desires with passion andunderstanding.
Self-Confident... I must have a partner who knows and believes in himself/herself throughout life'sups and downs.
Communicator... I must have someone who is good at talking and listening.
Adaptability... I must have a partner who is able to adapt to life's surprises.
Exciting... I must have someone who isn't afraid to take a risk and who sees life as an adventure.
Patience... I must have someone who can handle life's frustrations or momentary setbacks with apatient, steady, demeanor.

Can't Stands:
Worrier... I can't stand someone who easily loses perspective and constantly worries.
Lying... I can't stand someone who lies to anyone-especially to me.
Petty... I can't stand someone who focuses on imperfection.
Extremely Shy... I can't stand someone who is so shy that they cannot open up and share with me.
Poor Hygiene... I can't stand someone who is not clean.
Cheating... I can't stand someone who takes advantage of people.
Undependable... I can't stand someone who fails to come through and is unreliable.
Addictions... I can't stand someone who currently suffers from addictions.
Infidelity... I can't stand someone who engages in sex outside a committed relationship.
Denial... I can't stand someone who is unable to accept blame or see fault in their own actions.

And mine:

My must haves:
Family Life... I must have a partner who is committed to marriage, home, and family.
Family... I must have someone who shares my desire to have or adopt children.
Passionate... I must have someone who is willing to explore our sexual desires with passion andunderstanding.
Responsible... My partner must be financially responsible.
Attractiveness... I must have a partner who is considered "very attractive" by most current standards.
Sociability... I must have a partner who loves to socialize with lots of different people.
Affectionate... I must have someone who is comfortable giving and receiving affection.
Kindness... I must have a partner who is gentle and kind.
Strong Character... I must have a partner who is honest and strong enough to do the right thing.
Chemistry... I must feel deeply in love with and attracted to my partner.

My can't stands:
Fiscally Irresponsible... I can't stand someone who is incapable of managing their money.
Anger... I can't stand someone who can't manage their anger, who yells, or bottles it up inside.
Rude... I can't stand someone who is belittling, impatient or hateful to people in anysituation.
Recklessness... I can't stand someone who has a careless and irresponsible manner when with others.
Poor Hygiene... I can't stand someone who is not clean.
Racist... I can't stand someone who believes that any particular ethnic group to which theybelong is superior to the rest of humanity.
Cheating... I can't stand someone who takes advantage of people.
Excessive Overweight... I can't stand someone who is overweight.
Infidelity... I can't stand someone who engages in sex outside a committed relationship.
Victim Mentality... While everyone has times of self-pity, I can't stand someone who continually seeshimself/herself as a victim.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Finding Harmony

Two weeks ago I attended the wedding of one of my dearest friends from college. He was also someone I thought of (and he thought of himself) as an eternal bachelor. He was my back-up. And now he's married. And I couldn't be more thrilled for him. But it also got me thinking. He and Katherine met on e-harmony. And I know I tried that before in Baltimore -- and I rolled my eyes after not having good luck on it and said it was "a little too chicken soup for the soul."

But I need to try it again. And so after a little pep talk from my sister-in-law, I signed up for three months. At $99, on my credit card that has already been misused in the past few months (new tires, new wheel stud, dress for the wedding and another dress and shawl to replace that one, hotel room, hair updo and then hair cut, wedding present, etc), I hope it is a good investment.

E-harmony works a little differently than the other sites -- hence my chicken soup comment. You fill out a personality profile. You've seen the commercials, you know its based on the 29 personality something or other. Then they send you matches and you send the match five close-ended (multiple choice) questions. He answers them and sends you five questions back. Then you exchange lists of your 10 must have's and can't stand's in a potential partner.

Here I present my most promising potential so far:

Tim, 33
Middle School Teacher

Tim's friends describe him as:

The one thing Tim is most passionate about:
I am a teacher and I feel very passionate about the way I teach and the students I come in contact with.

The most important thing Tim is looking for in a person is:
I look for someone who knows what they want and are not afraid to try for it.

My five questions (and his answers):
* How important is chemistry to you?
within the first couple of dates I need to sense a certain chemistry
* What best describes your parents' relationship towards each other:
married and loving
* If you could take a dream getaway, where would you most likely choose to spend a week?
a cottage by the sea
* How important is it to you that your partner be accepted by your family and friends?
important, I trust my family & friends but sometimes they are wrong
* Which sort of date sounds like the most fun to you?
visit a comedy club

His questions (and my answers):
* If you decided to stay at home for the evening would you tend to:
watch TV and read
* When in a relationship, how much personal space do you generally find you need?
its hard to quantify "time" I need alone, but I do like some me time, and it depends on both people
* Which of the following marriage issues do you fear most?
fear of marrying the wrong person
* Your idea of a romantic time would be:
cooking dinner together at home
* How often do you find yourself laughing?
I try to laugh all the time and get serious only when it's needed.

After he read my answers, he will send me his list of 10 must haves and can't stands in a potential person.

So far this is more interesting than any other attempt at on-line dating. One of these days, something's got to work, right?

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The ones you love will hurt you the most.

Someone hurt my brother. Not physically, but emotionally. Someone in our family hurt my brother and his wife. And it sucks, mostly because of the kind of people they are. People who would be the last to hurt someone and the first to help.

D&D would do anything for anyone. I remember several years ago when one of the former volunteers at the museum suddenly resurfaced -- homeless. The museum helped him out, hooked him up with social services, gave him a janitorial job. He got an apartment. I told my brother when he was visiting me, and immediately we went to Wal-Mart to buy towels, dishes and flatware for Gilbert.

Each year, they buy school supplies for my niece's 4th grade class. Twenty sets of markers, notebooks, scissors, paper, folders, book covers. For 4th grade kids who might not be able to afford fancy markers and crayons, but because of D&D, have them.

I have a standing offer to move there, to live with them. For whatever reason, for wherever life takes me. If I find a job down there or suddenly can't take New York anymore. The spare room isn't even the spare room -- it's my room.

And they do all this because they can. Because they are able to. And because it's the right thing to do.

But recently -- within the last few days -- someone in the family shit on their generosity. She moved in and lost all sense of what's right and wrong, lost all sense of how you treat your family and how you thank people for helping you.

She and her boyfriend moved in a couple weeks ago. D&D made it clear to her, that she was welcome to stay as long as she needed, but her boyfriend (who just graduated from grad school and is in the process of trying to find a job) could stay two weeks. They talked about it several times with her. Even as recently as my first night in Richmond. It seemed clear enough. What could go wrong?

And so they moved in. And as the two weeks wound down so did a family relationship.

My brother was made to look like an ass. Was really thrown under the bus. She never told her boyfriend that he only had two weeks. And when a discussion about it happened, she acted as if she had no idea what D&D were talking about. And suddenly there was bitterness and hurt feelings and no talking on all sides.

And just as suddenly, as if they were sneaking away in the middle of the night, they were gone. In the middle of the day. Before anyone came home from work or school, they packed their stuff and were gone. No thank you, no sorry for the way things turned out, no fuck you.

Well, maybe the fuck you was the note on the counter asking them to forward her mail. My brother has said he has disowned her as his niece. He's that hurt. The sweetest of my brothers, the one with the most patience, the kindest heart.

I'm not disowning her, because frankly it didn't happen to me and it's not my business. But am I disappointed? Absolutely. I guess I never thought something like this could happen in my family. Again.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Rabbit Lived

I got my period. Not pregnant. And the funny thing is, I'm not sure how I exactly feel about that. Like do I really want to be pregnant by someone I met at a wedding and hooked up with, never to see again? No, that is not the ideal situation.

However, the ideal situation -- happily ever after -- doesn't seem to be happening. And I always said that if I didn't get married, I would still have a baby on my own. First I said 32, then 35 -- now I've changed my biological clock deadline to "if not married by 37 then pregnant by 38." I've changed the deadline for a number of reasons -- I wasn't where I wanted to be financially, or career-wise, and for a while not even geographically. When I was in my mid-to-late 20s, 32 seemed old. Now it's normal for people to just be getting married and settling down.

But I think the biggest reason is if I do get pregnant, if I do the single mother thing, I feel like I am giving up. It's like I'm saying to myself, that's it, the search for the man is over, let's move on to the next dream. When I tell people that, they laugh uncomfortably, they shake their heads and give me the tired line of "you've got lots of time."

Well, honestly, I really don't. Realistically I have five good years left. I do not want to be in my 60s when my child graduates from high school. So I have five good years left.

And so, even though I knew there was very little chance of me getting pregnant at the wedding (can you double precautions), there was the slim chance. And if I was, it would have been scary and maybe even awful at first. But I would have dealt with it. I would have dealt with how it would suddenly change my life. What I would need to do to prepare. And then, and then... it would have been wonderful.

Because more than anything, I want to be someone's mom.

And so I have to think that this isn't the way its supposed to happen. It's not supposed to be a drunken night of sex with someone I just met.

And so I'll be thankful, even if wistfully so, that I did get my period, that I'm not pregnant, and hope that the next time I might be in the position of waiting on my period, or hoping I don't get it, that I'm waiting and hoping with someone else. Because that's the way it should be.

The Stupid Things Our Hearts Do

I miss Chris. I know I shouldn't. But I do. I thought about him the other day and realized that for the first time in two and a half years, he wasn't in my life.

I tried to think back to our last conversation and how proud I was of myself. How proud for telling him, you can come visit me but we are not having sex. For telling him how he made me feel the last time we were together, how that was the only time in my life I felt like shit after sex. How I managed to tell him exactly how I felt without getting emotional, and doing it in a way that he totally understood and agreed with. I even got an apology out of him. Of course, he could have been apologizing to see if I would change my mind.

He told me he would call me the next time he was down this way and we'd have lunch. I don't think he will.

For the same reason that I haven't really heard from BB since I've been here. What do I have to offer him (and him me) now that we don't live in the same city? It 's sad and cynical to think that way -- but truthful nonetheless.

And maybe he will call me. But really, what would that accomplish? I'd get my hopes up -- and then they'd be dashed. He's doing the right thing by not calling (whether it's an intentional, conscious decision or not). I know that.

But I can still miss him, can't I?

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Duck, Duck, Goose

I once read: "We expect the places of our childhood to be eternal."

And are always disappointed when they're not. However, today I visited a place that still holds the magic that it did when I was little. Webster's Pond. It's a duck and bird sanctuary in Syracuse, and so after a thoroughly wonderful trip to the zoo with my "little sister," I took her to Webster's Pond.

The old barn is still standing, but didn't seemed to be in use. They've brought in a trailer to act as the "office" and place where you get the kernels to feed the ducks. Always thinking ahead, I snagged a can of corn from my brother before heading down, just in case the barn wasn't open.

I don't know what it is about the "duck pond," as we always referred to it. It was always a treat to go there. To feed the ducks. To get ice cream either on our way there or on our way home. But even without the ice cream, the duck pond was special.

And maybe its the simplicity of it that is special. Ducks. Geese. Swans. A small pond. A gravel driveway. A small grassy area. And benches. Grab a little cup of kernels to feed the ducks and any child is in heaven. The ducks, geese and swans are so used to being fed by people that many will eat out of your hand. Or be so bold as to walk up next to your bench if they feel they are being ignored.

Its a peaceful place. Back far enough from the road to not really notice the traffic going by. The only noise is that of the fowl, barking at each other, chasing each other away, or perhaps proclaiming themselves the "queen of the pond." And there is the chatter of the kids, as they run and chase the ducks that have found their way onto the gravel area.

I used to take Tiffany to the duck pond when she was little. I felt it was our special place. And even now, when we have been on our way to family events and she rode up from the south with me, we've stopped. And today, I took Mary. And we sat on a bench, with the baggie of soft corn from Bob and two cups of hard kernels, throwing the food out farther to the ducks -- who in the hierarchy of things didn't come close to the edge of the pond -- and feeding the geese and swans out of our hands.

I look forward to the day when I can bring my own kids to the duck pond. To get ice cream. And to create memories.

As I said to the man in the office when I got my cups of kernels, "thank you for still being here."

Friday, September 09, 2005

The PR Goddess Wants Out

I'm bored. I'm going through a funk at work. The feeling was there before my vacation, but has gotten worse since I got back.

Was it because I had a week away, a week doing absolutely nothing? Probably. Also part of the equation that has to be considered: I was in Viriginia. I miss Virginia. I don't miss Baltimore (Charm City, my ass). But I do miss Virginia. I could live in Virginia. I could work in Virginia.

But hmmmm.....why did I move back to New York then? Mostly because this is where I got offered a job first, sure. But I also missed being near my family. But I have family in Virginia. Ok, I'm going off on a tangent -- this is about me being bored at work.

I like most of the people I work with. I like working on a college campus (though I hate all the red tape and committees -- just make a decision for the love of God). But I don't necessarily like my actual job. I miss the parts of my old jobs that I really excelled at.

I miss doing the media relations, the public relations, the special event planning. I miss being fearless, knowing that when CNN or WCBS called me, I was instantly ready to do a live interview and knowing that everything that came out of my mouth was fine. I miss (even with ALL the work that goes into it) the special events -- the hectic, hair-pulling parts of it, the 14-hour days leading up to the event, the 20-hour day the day of the event, the last minute crisis that may pop up. Because again, I was fearless. I knew what I was doing. I knew how the handle the situation. Any situation.

Right now, I'm doing more martketing, more strategy. I'm not a strategist, not a marketing guru. I am a PR Goddess.

And so just 14 months into my new job, I'm looking towards the horizon. Looking at what else Ithaca has to offer. And if not Ithaca -- *sigh* the thought of moving AGAIN makes my head hurt -- then somewhere else.

And so begins -- every quietly, every slowly, every thoughfully -- the search for a new job.

New Do, New 'Tude

I cut my hair last week. Ten inches. It was a lot. I'm not thinking I'm like Sampson and the "power of my hair" thing. Oh no. Just the opposite really.

My hair has been mostly one length for a good four or five years. No bangs. Either straight or curly, though mostly straight. And mostly, it would be in a ponytail. That was just the easiest thing to do, especially in the summer. But it was getting to the point where I realized that I needed a change. It was unruly. It was hard to take care of. It was too easy to put it in a French braid everyday.

So I kept it long, long enough for the wedding. I had a fabulous up-do for the wedding. And then two days later, having been back in the state of New York for less than two hours, I got it cut. It went from past the middle of my back when it was dry (almost to my waist when it was wet) to just barely touching my shoulders.

It's healthy. It's bouncy. It makes me look longer and yet makes me look more professional at the same time. And amazingly, it gives me more self-confidence. Maybe because it makes me look younger and more professional.

Combine the new 'do with my new (and ever improving) body, and socially I'm a force to be reckoned with. Watch out world. And watch out men of Ithaca. I'm a girl on a mission -- and for the first time in a long time -- a girl who knows she won't be beat.

PS...locks of love is a great organization doing great things for kids with cancer. anyone who has the chance, the opportunity or the hair, it's a wonderful feeling knowing that by doing something as simple as cutting your hair can change someone else's life.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

When You Least Expect it....

I haven't been on in almost a year, but apparently my profile is still live. I got an email from someone saying that he knows a friend from work (having the pre-approval from someone I know and trust made a huge difference in reading the rest of his email.)

He's a huge baseball fan, close to his family, etc -- all the usual stuff that may or may not be true, that may just be a mirror image of what I've written. But again, because he's friends with Dayna and her husband, I took what he said at face value. Didn't let the cynic in me dsitrust every other word.

I got the email just before I went on vacation -- and life was way too hectic to do anything about it then. But we've been in touch briefly over the last week. He couldn't do anything last weekend because he was going to PNC to see the Cubs (does that earn his extra points -- I think it just might!).

Because he is a friend of a friend, I felt safe enough giving him my phone number. I let him know when I'm usually home from the gym each night. A window may be opening...

Monday, September 05, 2005

The B Side

So I've been back to work for a week. And I've come to realize that my infatuation with B was just that, an infatuation.

Still very hot? Absolutely.
Still really attracted to him? Physically, yup.
Still sleep with him if the opportunity every presented itself? Probably, yes.

So maybe this vacation was a good thing. This week apart was what I needed. To re-evaluate. To see things more clearly. To not jump at the first man who suddenly pays a little attention to me. I can't help but go back to what Gina said to me, about thriving on male attention. And I think that's what happened with B. He got a little overly flirtatious and I latched on for all it's worth.

This vacation was also good for me in another way. Being all dolled up, hanging out with some of the most important men of my college life, having them see me in a different light -- it did something, too. It helped with my self-confidence. I may always be the baby of my family, may always feel like I have to sit at the kids table. But I didn't feel like that with these guys. Didn't feel like the insecure girl I used to be in college. And they accepted me as the me I am now -- not the me I used to be.

If only I could feel that way around my family. If only I could feel like a full-fledged adult. But I guess that's a column for another day.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Things my mother says...

I love her. She's my mother, and she has done many, many selfless and amazing things for me over the past 35 years. But as my sister Cindi says, "she's a doodle, but she's our doodle."

And sometimes she just has no clue how inconsiderate, hurtful and rude she is. And if I tried to call her on it, or confront her, I truly believe it would only make it worse. She would either get defensive or, more likely, end up in tears, apologizing for the next month.

And it's not always the content, but the condescension that goes with what she says. Here, in no particular order, is some of the Best of Fran:

Re: the princess dress she ruined...
"Lose more weight and I can fix it."

When two of my high school girlfriends were getting married in the same summer...
"Jennifer and Kelly this year, maybe you next year."

Out of the blue, making Christmas cookies...
"I had a dream you found the love of your life on e-harmony."

After my friend's wedding, I sent her pictures of me and two male friends. She cropped them so that it looked like two different pictures -- and me as a couple with each of my (married) friends. "You would have made a beautiful couple with Dave. Or Ed."

I don't remember the context, but I vividly remember where I was in the car, on Main Street in old Ellicott City, getting ready to turn left to go to Target.
"Anyone special in your life? You don't need a man anyway. You could have a baby by yourself. Men are just a pain in the ass anyway."