Monday, December 27, 2010

Consolation Prize

So I alluded to all of this in the previous post, but here are the details....

It's been a hectic month, and made all the more awful with a sinus infection and ear infection. Right on the heels of my situation with Kevin, like literally days after, I met my friend Tim and his buddies in in Cooperstown for the day.

I had seen Tim in September and he shared with me that he and his wife were struggling, not connecting, hadn't been intimate, that after 10 years of being an asshole, he was finally learning patience, but she was probably fed and was just trying to get through the holidays.

So here we are in November, and while the original plan was that his wife and girls were coming to Cooperstown, the plans changed at the last minute. I already had been looking forward to a trip to the Hall of Fame, had my hotel room booked, so decided to meet up with him and his friends anyway.

He told me that one of his friends coming was someone I might be interested in. He talked him up quite a bit. I was looking forward the weekend.

When I met up with them, I immediately realized that a) Tim doesn't know me very well and b) his friend, while a very nice guy, was the furthest from anyone I've ever dated, should date or would be remotely interested in. I didn't give it a second thought.

I had been in WV a few weeks before with Bubbles and drank (and vomited) way too much to enjoy the taste of beer, so I offered to be the DD for the boys. I ate lots of bar food, as we wandered from pub to pub. They did shots of tequila and got drunker and drunker. At the last bar, I started talking to some guys next to me and we realized we had mutual friends in common from my Baltimore days.

It was such a fun night. Until.....we got back to the hotel. I had left my bottle of water in his room, so went back to his room. Once in his room, he pushed me down on the bed and started kissing me. I will admit that I got caught up in the moment for a minute or two and kissed him back, and then snapped back to reality and pushed him away.

"Oh, Red....please...." He tried to kiss me again. "You know I've always loved you." WTF?!

"No. This cannot happen." He nuzzled against my neck, whispered in my ear. He was still on top of me. "No! Look, I can be this person or I can be your daughter's god-mother. I can't be both."

That sort of brought him back to reality. If I didn't adore and cherish his daughters -- one of whom is the aforementioned god-daughter -- I would have walked out the room and out of his life, but I do love his daughters, so I sat there with him and tried to talk to him.

He was drunk. He wasn't making any sense or understanding what I was saying. I left him and went to my room.

It was a restless night of sleep. But I hoped that it was just a stupid drunken mistake on his part. I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. After getting up, showered and dressed, I called his room. He was showered and dressed, and sounded sheepish on the phone, so I figured it was cool to go back to his room.

I sat on the end of the bed and started with, "what the hell were you thinking?"

I wasn't surprised by anything he said, he talked about the state of his marriage, how he's horny, how he needs intimacy, how special I am to him, again how much he's always loved me. I was getting annoyed. "Look, I am not the consolation prize for married men going through a mid-life crisis."

"I don't think of you that way."

"Clearly you do. And it's not fair to put me in this position."

"You're right. I'm sorry."

I stood up and was ready to go to breakfast. "Look, if you are really serious about working things out with your wife, if she ever agrees to work on things and wants to go to therapy or whatever, don't do anything stupid and admit what happened last night."

"I won't. If I admit that, I'd have to admit what I did on Friday night."

I stopped in my tracks. "What happened Friday night?"

"S and the girls were out of town for the weekend, and a friend came over to the house."

"You slept with someone....in your house...where YOUR daughters sleep?! Who is this woman?"

"A woman from church."

"Oh that's fabulous. Let me guess, she's married."

"Yea, she is."

"Oh it wasn't a question."

"Sometime the devil gets the best of me. I try to be a good man, but the devil is sometimes stronger than God."

"Oh no, you don't get to do that. Don't pull God into this. This is on you. You made this decision. I slept with Chris on and off for seven years. I felt guilty sometimes, but my selfishness was stronger than my guilt. I own that, I did it because I wanted to. Don't blame this on anyone but you."

I walked out of his room and went downstairs to meet him friends for breakfast. I hadn't been to the Hall of Fame in over a year, he was not ruining this. I went through the museum half-heartedly. I just wanted to get away from him.

Monday, December 06, 2010

November Recap

So in the light of day, and with no beers, Kevin is seeing the light. He and his wife are still having issues, they are still not intimate but he is working on it from his end. I've been checking on him every week or so just to make sure. I know one thing, he won't do anything stupid.

Is it appropriate that I know he and his wife aren't having sex? Probably not, but I've given up trying to understand what my role is in the lives of my guy friends. I knew what it was in high school, and college, and even our 20s. As they all got married and evolved, I'm still the same Ellie, here for them to here the good and the bad.

Another friend, who seems to be in the same situation as Kevin -- lack of intimacy, problems in the marriage, etc (I've written about him when the whole Kevin thing reared its head) -- is not being quite so smart. I met him and a friend out one night. He was very drunk, he was very inappropriate. He kept trying to kiss me, told me that he has always loved me, wanted to spend the night with me.

I pushed him away and told him I was not the consolation prize for married men in the middle of a mid-life crisis! That did nothing to dissuade him. I was pissed. When I finally got him back into a bar stool, sipping a coke, we talked a little.

I should have just walked away from him and never looked back. But his kids are important to me, and they are the only reason I didn't walk. We talked about things he's done, mistakes he has made. He was a lot of talk -- and in the subsequent apologies since that night -- about how he's going to change, how he's better than this.

We last talked about two weeks ago, after I had been dodging his numerous texts. And again, it was a lot of talk, and I told him that. I told him to come tell that he's done these things in six months, not that this is what he's going to do.

And then today, a two-page handwritten letter.

I know he means well. And I think he's trying to change, but I'm not the one he needs to change for. I'm not the one he needs to do right by.

All he's done is convince me that being single is probably a better place to be than married to someone like him.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

And the Kevin saga

I spoke to Bubbles and she has put it all into perspective. Well at least has given me something to wrap my head around. "I'm not saying you're not a cool chick, but I think he has idealized you into something that you can't possibly be, because of whatever issues he has going on at home, you are the greener grass."

And she's right. As I knew she would be able to get this into some sort of manageable thought process for me.

Kevin and I haven't seen each other since his wedding, haven't really talked in six months. He's thinking about what he remembers about me....I'm single, I'm fun, sometimes I'm a little wild. There were times when I lived in Rochester and he was in Syracuse, and I would call him at 10pm on a Saturday and ask him if he was up for a 60-mile booty call. And he'd make the drive.

He's thinking about all the times we were single and would hook up. He's thinking about how, before he was seriously dating and then married to Michele, that we would spend hours on the phone, telling each other dating horror stories. He's not thinking about why it didn't ever actually work out between us.

I'm his greener grass, and I need to do my damnedest to make sure he realizes that what he has now is what he's supposed to have.

The End

"It was really easier for you to be mean to me, to treat me like crap, instead of just opening up to me and telling me what was going on in your head? You didn't have to tell me you were scared about going back to Afghanistan, there didn't have to be drama or even a deep conversation. After seven years, you really didn't trust me enough to just say, there's a lot going on, a lot on my mind, can we just hang out and be casual? It was just easier for you to be an ass, to treat me like shit.

"When you left on Sunday, I cried for exactly 10 minutes and then washed my face and made the most of my last day there. Got a tattoo, watched three fountain shows, and sat at a bar and drank beer and watched the Yankees clinch the pennant. We could have done all of that on Saturday, but you chose to be an asshole."

"My silence says it all, you're right...I don't know what to say."

"You could start with 'I'm sorry' because you haven't actually said that yet."

"I'm sorry. I'm an ass."

"I'm glad you're back from Afghanistan safely, I really am. I hope you don't ever have to go back."

"Thanks. I did think about you while I was over there. Thought about how cool you are, how amazing you are, and how you don't deserve how I treated you."

"Yea, I didn't. And I am. And it's too bad you blew it."

And that's the way it was, last night, on the phone, with Chris.

The end.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

This Week Began Weirder Than Last Week

...if that's even possible.

I've not heard from Chris since I talked to him last week. I've gone from not thinking about him, to wondering when he's going to call, to forgetting that he re-entered my life, to cursing him for invading my thoughts again. I wrote down the important points I want to say to him, and then put it away. I'm not obsessing over him, but he's definitely been on my mind. Damn him.

But he hasn't been on my mind non-stop for the past 48 hours. It's Kevin. Kevin and I have been friends for nearly 20 years. Our windows were never open at the same time. When I was thinking there might be something between us, he wasn't there. And when he was, I was onto someone else. But he was always there for me. He was my back-up. Until he got married six years ago.

I sent out a blanket email to a group of friends, as I do at the beginning of every month, to promote the raffle. He wrote back, said yes he had been meaning to write me a check, and asked if I was also taking sperm donations. It was kind of funny. And I answered it the way I would have answered it had it been any of my guy friends asking: "lol...always accepting sperm donations, but my parts are broken so you still need to buy some tickets."

From there, it was bizarre. He took it to the next level, was propositioning me, telling me how hot I was, how he thought about me, could we have fun together. Each time, I wrote back asking where this was coming from? Finally I told him we needed to chat the next day.

After a few rounds of phone tag, we finally connected on the phone. Long story short, he was drunk (I had guessed that), but he and his wife haven't had sex in over a year, that he has always thought I was sexy, beautiful hot, how did he let me get away, sometimes looks at my picture on my work website or on Facebook while he's thinking of me. (I know this kind of sounds creepy, but he has been my friend for too long for me to just give up on where this was going or to get the back story.)

I pushed back at him. Where is this coming from? What is going on? You have a great job, a great house, wife, two healthy kids. And then he said it, he'd been so driven for so long and now he had everything he wanted, what was next? (Well, not me.)

I gave him good advice, I think. I told him he needed to stop drinking so much, that he needed to reconnect with his wife, that he needed to stop thinking about me that way. That he needed to promise me he wouldn't do anything stupid, that he wouldn't do anything to risk what he has.

The conversation turned to me. He told me that he's proud of the person I've become, that he's so happy for what I'm doing, that I'm going to be an amazing mom. And then we made small talk about our parents, about mutual friends, about sports. And we promised to chat more, that we'd both gotten too busy and needed to be better about staying in touch.

I think what has me so upside down about this is the possibilities.

With another friend, who is going through similar problems in his marriage (but is much further along to it being over), I know that he's not a viable option for me. We drive each other crazy, we push each other's buttons, we fight. I get pissed at him and don't speak to him for a while.

But with Kevin...with Kevin, I wonder if I had been smarter in my 20s, if I had realized that smart, cute, driven and funny were what I needed. If I had realized that the bad boy sometimes doesn't grow up, sometimes can't be fixed. If I had realized all of that, would he and I have ended up with each other?

It's all of these questions and more just swimming in my head, making me wonder so many things. Hope could see the stress in me the past two days, and I finally talked to her about it today. We didn't really get anywhere. Actually, we both wondered where was Veganica when we needed her. She would know just what to say.

And so....my life becomes an even bigger saga. Confusing, emotional, and sometimes just plain draining.

Monday, November 01, 2010

The Return of Chris

Yup. I'll let you process that for a second.

I know, right.

I went into work this morning and checked my email. The subject line "how are you?"

And then simply: "Just got back from the desert. A long 10 months. Send an email if you want. Be well."

Just like that. Back in my life. Or at least in my mind.

I wrote back: "I didn't know you were in the desert -- I'm glad you're back safe. I figured I hadn't heard from you....well I figured lots of things. I'm good, lots going on in my life. Where are you now? In California? Or back home?"

I checked my email a few times over the course of the morning. I should have known better. I should have known how he works. Two hours later, my phone rang. No number came up on my caller ID, but I knew. I knew it was him.

He had the decency to not give me his usual "hey there." And even had the decency to tell me that he thought about me while he was in Afghanistan, that he realized he was a jerk, that he had found out the week before Vegas that he was probably going back. Even had the decency to ask if I hated him.

I told him no, told him I was pissed at him, for a very long time, but I could never hate him, could never wish him bad, and was glad that for the third time in his life, he made it back safely from the Middle East.

I was at work. Our connection wasn't great. I asked him to call me at home some night. "Really?"

"There will be yelling, just so you know. I'm at work, I can't get into this now."

"I deserve to be yelled at. I shouldn't have....I'm sorry."

I'm not exactly sure what to think. Or what to feel. Or what I'm actually thinking or feeling. After a year, and now after knowing that he was in Afghanistan for 10 months, I just don't know.

Bubbles sent me an email, offering advice. It ended with "tread lightly my friend..."

How in the world do she and I get ourselves in these relationships? That don't seem to go nowhere, but just always seem to go in a circle? Chris and I were in this exact spot six years ago when he got back from Iraq, and now here we are again.

I just don't know.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Angst

And that's really the way I've been feeling since I got back from vacation, for lots of reasons.

The house thing has fallen through. I've pretty much made up my mind that, at this point, I can't afford a house. Actually, I can afford a house. It will just make it very hard to afford day care when the time comes.

And I've got friends who are single mothers, who are all struggling right now. Who's to say that I would be in the same situation, but I think I'm going to feel more comfortable, more stable knowing that I haven't spent beyond my means.

And so I'm starting to look at my current home and figure out where things will go, how I will baby proof, how I will set up furniture in the baby's room. I don't have all the answers, but thankfully (or not) I have lots of time to think about it.

Tomorrow I will be five months on the waiting list. So officially, or unofficially since these are all estimates, I have 11 to 17 months to go for my referral. It seems like forever to wait, but there isn't much I can do about it. I have so few options.

I'm treating myself to a massage tomorrow. I guess that's the plus about not being able to afford a house -- it does give me more breathing room with my money. And given my mood lately, my stress level, my level and hours of insomnia, my restless mind and never ending thoughts, and the fact that very soon, it will be a whole year since Chris and I talked -- I'm going for an 80-minute massage.

There is so much more on my mind, beyond work, beyond the adoption. I learned that the president and a vice president are each expecting their second child in the spring, and the news actually brought me to unexpected tears the other day -- I thought I was beyond that, I really did. I'm feeling things for a friend that I shouldn't, and I'm also confused by it. I need to mull it over in my head more before commenting.

And so all of that going on, all of that brewing in my head, it's no wonder I have been awake on Saturday since 5:15am (and earlier this week went into work having been up since 1:30am -- good times). I'm hoping some time in the sauna, before and after the massage, will help make things right in my head, at least so I can sleep.

Friday, October 01, 2010

What a Shitty Week

After such a great vacation, this week has absolutely sucked. It started when I walked into my house after vacation and saw my pile of mail on the kitchen counter. Peaking out from under magazines and junk and bills and catalogs, I saw the return address of one of the organizations where I applied for a grant.

I dropped everything and ripped it open. I should have realized, that maybe it's like a college acceptance letter -- the thinner they are, the worse news they carry. One form letter folded into a #10 envelope did, in fact, deliver bad news. No grant from the Christians. I couldn't help but think -- probably unfairly -- that my single status doomed me from the start.

Work has been insane. I'm interviewing for a new position that will report to me and we have the final candidates on campus. Which really translates to I'm in meetings all day and can't get actual work done. There are piles that I know are there, that I've purposely made, that are projects I can't even look at or think about right now.

And I am not that person. I move things. Especially first proofs coming back to me, needing to go to the client. But in this case, these projects are also being managed by one of my problem children. And I know these proofs will need a lengthy email to go with them, since there is missing content and photos. And so, the problem child gets pushed to the side of my desk for the time being.

At one point this week I lamented that I wished I wasn't having lunch with a friend from high school on Saturday so I could come into work. How sad is that?!

For the past three or four months, I've been contemplating the idea of buying a house. I'm throwing money away by renting, and I do need something to focus on for the next year while I wait for the referral. I also figured that I would be able to borrow whatever I will need for the final adoption bills.

And so everyone I've told has thought it was a great idea. Everyone has been very supportive. I went to the bank and pre-qualified for an insane amount of money. I told the woman she was on crack, and then started looking at houses for less than half that amount.

I've seen some duds this week, and then last night, I saw a house that was everything I would have picked. An enclosed front porch. In a neighborhood. An open floor plan. Good sized bedrooms. Huge basement that could be converted to a finished basement with a little work. A yard that I could totally manage taking care of. A garage. And it has character. I can imagine myself walking a stroller in the neighborhood.

And then I figured out the monthly mortgage rate. Fine. And then the state, village, town and school taxes. Welcome to New York, please bend over so we can fuck you. I've heard people complain and vent about NYS taxes my whole life, but it didn't mean anything. Until now. Now I get it.

And now I'm feeling completely over-whelmed. And completely crushed. Maybe it was too much to take on. Maybe a house and a baby in less than 18 months is too much. But for the past three years, I've heard people tell me I'm amazing, I'm fearless, I'm so brave, that I can do anything.

And maybe I finally started to believe it. Because I did feel that a house and a baby in less than 18 months was something I could do. Of course, I could do that. I'm competent. I'm responsible. I have to be able to do it, because if I can't, who's going to do it for me?

But the numbers have been keeping me awake at night. The thoughts and the figures and the wondering and the scenarios are all I think about. And this is when I feel so alone. My friends can be supportive, they can listen and give advice. But at the end of the day, it's on me. No one else can help me make this decision.

And in the end, I'm so afraid that I'm going to make the wrong decision. Should I take the leap of faith? Or should I back off? Whatever decision I end up making, I think, for a long time I will wonder what if I had done the other.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Back to Life

...back to reality

I feel so relaxed, I have no idea how I'm going to get out of bed at 6:15 tomorrow morning. But I'll back up and recap.

The Date -- in a word, dull. I was actually very proud of myself for not fixating on the extra eyebrow hairs growing between his eyebrows or on the fact that he desperately needed a haircut. These are all things that would have been immediate deal breakers in the past, but I moved beyond them. He was just very dull. Couldn't carry on a conversation. And it wasn't that he was shy, he was just dull. So that's an hour of my life I won't be getting back, but I did it.

Baltimore -- was so much fun, if not very very quick. I met my friend Mort for lunch on my way into town. I hadn't seen him in four or five years, and I immediately thought how much he had aged. He's in his early 60s, but he was always very youthful looking. At lunch he told me that he had had a bout of esophageal cancer last year. He was cancer-free now, but had to go for biopsies every few months. If it comes back, they will have to take his esophagus. It was scary to hear that, but he was putting up the fight.

I opted not to call J and treated myself to a pedicure before heading over to T&S's house. I got there about a half hour before the girls got off the school bus, so chatted with S and gave her the updates on the adoption. The girls were excited to see me, and I can't believe how grown-up they seem, even since just the spring when I saw them.

T and I headed downtown for the game. There were many, many beers and a shot of tequila, and a late-night run to Burger King for grease on the way home. The game was really good -- it's so nice to see the Orioles playing well, and then even nicer to see A-Rod hit a home run in the top of the 9th. I saw my favorite beer man, visited in the press box, got my picture taken with the Oriole Bird, and as we wandered around the stadium finding better and better seats, I gave little PSA's to all the out-of-town Yankee fans and made them promise they would go to the museum over the weekend.

The next morning, after a little shaking in the shower, I ate a bagel and started to feel a little better. Nothing like grease and/or carbs to help the hang-over.

Once in Richmond, I went wedding dress shopping with my sister-in-law, my niece and her future step-daughter; saw one of my best guy friends from college; went to my brother's softball game; had girls' night at a Mexican restaurant with Debbie and Tiff; took the dogs for a walk every morning and then myself on a three-mile walk; enjoyed the sunshine and 85+ degrees; dealt with two minor work emergencies; managed to get one nap in; took some luxurious soaks in the garden tub; attended Bunco with the neighborhood house-fraus; and sanded and painted my $5 garage sale dresser.

Before.....

After...

...back to the here and now.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I Need Feedback

I'm interested in knowing your opinions on two things:

  1. IF, very big IF, the dating thing pans out, when do I tell someone I'm in the process of adopting?
  2. And....is it strange that I'm going to a baseball game with my friend on Friday night. My friend who is roughly my age, married, with two kids -- and the wife is not going with us. I am spending the night at their house, going to get there early enough on Friday to see the girls get off the school bus and hang out with them, but then it will just be him and me at the game.

    A friend asked me last week who I was going to game with and when I said my friend's name, she said, "his wife isn't going with you?" And I could hear the disdain, disapproval and judgment in her voice.

    So is it weird? Is it inappropriate?

$500 and 5 pounds...a month at a time

Or I could call this post "Random Updates"

I figured if I can lose 5 pounds a month until I get my referral, then I will have lost in excess of 60 pounds. That allows for some holiday and vacation ups and downs, and is totally doable.

Working out has been great. I'm back in the groove, sweating and loving it. And with the exception of a little blip last week when I was bloated and retaining and having my period and gained a little bit of weight, I have lost almost 7 pounds in four weeks. Goal #1 met for this month.

I also figured that I need to save $500 a month (either savings or from the raffle income) to put me close to my goal. I really need to save more, but I know that $500 is reasonable, doable and some months exceedable. (I know that's not a word, but it works here.)

Friday will mark my four-month wait on the waiting list. And it puts me at exactly a year to a year-and-a-half of waiting left. A very long time, but time I need to become a little more healthy. To become a little more wealthy.

I am also half-way through my three-month experiment on eHarmony. They jury is still out. There is talk of meeting someone for coffee after work on Thursday, but until it's confirmed and I'm sitting there with the handsome stranger sipping some hot cocoa or hot cider (I'm not a coffee drinker) will I say that progress has been made. Call me a cynic, but I've had too many disappointments. I won't set myself up for another.

I did hear from E last week. He was hosting a MNF thing at a sports bar in Albany. I asked if it was an FYI or an invite.

"both, but I'm not staying over."

What to do? I stroked his ego and let him down. I was not going to drive three hours one way to spend an evening in a bar while he was working and hanging out with 500 other people.

We went back and forth, and in the end, I got an "I'd love to see you. When you get back from vacation?"

So, when I get back from vacation, I'll need to figure out how to fit in a visit with him.

And so yea, vacation.....I'm headed to the Yankees game on Friday night and then a week in Richmond, relaxing, napping, walking the dogs, and some more napping.

I'll try to post from vacation, but if not, I promise to be better on the other side.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

I am Woman, Hear Me Roar

This sucks. I honestly do not remember feeling this lousy, ever, when I was on the fertility drugs. I was more bloated, I was more puffy, but I was not in this much monthly pain.

And it's not just monthly pain, but every two weeks pain -- ovulation and then that special time of the month.

I've got one more month before I go to the doctor. I only have to go through this dreaded cycle one more time. At that point, they can do a full panel of blood work, tell me all the meds are out of my system, tell me that my insides are useless (knew that), and that will happily give me a hysterectomy.

I don't think it will go quite like that, but here's hoping. If the uterus and/or ovaries are doing me no good, why should I be in this much pain?

And really, we all know how I am, the very next time I have sex, you know and I know that I'll be counting. I'll know exactly where I am in my cycle. I'll hear every single person who told me (over the course of my nearly three years of trying) "as soon as you stop trying, you'll get pregnant."

I'll freak out about when my period is supposed to come. I'll check and double-check. I'll work myself up over every little twinge I feel. And I'll be thinking so much, that I'll make myself late and have to take a HPT. And it will negative. And I will be crushed.

So for all the pain I am in every two weeks, and to save myself from my self-imposed torture after having sex, here's hoping my doctor believes in elective hysterectomies.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Ouch

Yesterday, I was in a meeting for a committee I serve on. I haven't seen another woman on the committee practically all summer -- either she has missed meetings or I have. When she came in, she was overly excited to see me.

"How are you? How's the baby?"

My stomach literally dropped. I couldn't even speak. Just looked back at her blankly.

"Aren't you just coming back from maternity leave?"

I shook my head. "No. That's Heather."

"Oh right," she laughed. And I tried not to cry.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

So Much for Growth

Not that I did anything bad, but I was just writing (wow, more than a month ago -- WHERE did the summer go?!) that July 31 came and went without me thinking of it as Chris's birthday. I had a new reader even comment on that post recently, and so because of that comment, I have to fess up that I have been thinking about him.

And even though I deleted his number from my cell phone, and deleted his email address from my address book, I thought about reaching out. I think, after a couple of tries of combining military.navy.us (some combination of that) with either his first name then last name or last name then first name for his email address.

I was near where he lives last weekend. I thought about the stalker drive-by, even though I know he's not there. Although, do I know that? I haven't talked to him in almost a year.

But I didn't drive by -- partly because I couldn't remember his house number and he lives on a mammothly long road, but also because I have more pride. And that's why I will not combine navy and military and us and first and last names, with dots and @ in between.

This way, I'm the one who never called him, I'm the one who ended it. And, as Bubbles says, "always keep the power."

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

27 Dresses

There's a part in that movie, when James Marsden asks Katherine Heigl why she does it, why she's in so many weddings, wearing so many hideous dresses, going out of her way for all of these people in her life. And her answer?

Because they're her friends, and she wants to be there for them, because she knows when it's her turn, they'll all be there for her.

I've been thinking about that lately. Certainly that wasn't my intent when I did things, when I bought girl scout cookies, or magazine subscriptions, or candy bars, or raffle tickets, or donated for this walk or that walk. I did it because they're my friends or family and I wanted to support them and their interests.

And so was it too much to think, to expect, that the same friends would be there for me? I've got some amazing people -- selling hundreds of dollars in tickets, donating items, selling their chicken's eggs and giving me the money, and even as simple as buying $5 or $10 or $20 worth of tickets.

And then there are others, who are seemingly ignoring me. Ignoring emails about the adoption, are blind to my multiple FB posts and tweets.

And they're people who I always thought I could count on. Brothers and sisters, closest friends. It's so disappointing.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

I've been boring....

I've been AWOL from here because I don't really have much going on. I can only tell you I've been working and working out so many times.

The fund-raising is going well. I've passed the 25% mark for the total I need to save/raise. The raffle is going well -- also at about the 25% mark.

eHarmony is not going well. And I actually looked today to see if there was any way to get a refund. There's not. They have my money and I'm stuck with them until the end of October.

So that's that...I"ll try to be more interesting in the coming days and hope to post again mid-week.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

WWIII, week 1

I "only" lost 1.4 pounds this week. They told me I need to eat more. I was eating all my points, but not the activity points I earned. So I'm going to not think about it and just do it. If it means a spoonful of peanut butter or a handful of nuts at the end of the night to get those in, that's what I'm doing.

And tonight....chips and salsa at Chili's for me "cheat" dinner after weigh-in.

Here's hoping I can keep healthy thoughts throughout this process. So officially, 10 of the 43 gone.

And, my gym re-opens for the semester tomorrow. Whoo-hoo

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I think I've hit my limit....

...of being multiple people at work. I am chairing a search committee for a job search. I actually started to cry while on the phone with a colleague when he said he wanted to have all 50+ resumes read this weekend, so that we could squeeze the phone interviews and on-campus interviews in before I go on vacation next month.

Part of me was over-whelmed at the prospect, not at doing a lot of work over the weekend, but because I am already planning to be in the office for a few hours, and reading resumes is NOT on my Saturday to-do list. And then part of me felt guilty that I'm taking a vacation.

...of this eHarmony shit. Over the past three weeks, I have contacted 28 men. Twenty eight. I have heard from one. Really, I'm that repulsive? I am in need of an ego boost, which leads me to...

not having Chris as a back-up really sucks. Like really and truly sucks! When I'm feeling like this, I could always call him. I could always either have a very inappropriate phone conversation or get him to come visit me for a day. Both did the trick. Both made me feel good. And so without Chris, that leads me to...

I'm wishing to hear from J and trying to think of any excuse that I can contact him. Because if I don't have Chris, then J is the next best thing for my ego. I guess I was a little too harsh on him when I left him with blue balls in the nation's capital a few months back.

So without Chris, without J -- and I haven't heard from E in a week or so -- we have my work friend Jackson, who is very much like Chris. And that's probably the attraction. While maybe they couldn't be brothers, they certainly would have been fraternity brothers. And so with no Chris, I'm looking towards Jackson and thinking very bad things.

Can I really break my no co-workers (among other) rule? And I know what you're thinking, board members don't count. (It wasn't even a fiduciary board so I didn't count BB as a co-worker or even any sort of authority figure.)

So co-worker? Or continue to walk to straight and narrow? It'll be interesting to see the way it all plays out, that's for sure. Although it would be a whole lot more interesting if he weren't the only thing keeping my attention.

What happened to the days when I had E texting me during the day, J texting me at all hours of the night, and Chris on the phone? Or even me and Chris in Vegas, and E texting me from the east coast?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

WWIII

That would be Weight Watchers, the third time around. When I graduated from college, I was at my heaviest. Drinking beer four or five nights a week will do that to you. I lost 48 pounds.

Over the next 10 years or so, I slowly gained most of it back. I had changed jobs twice, moved from Rochester to Baltimore. Lots of life changes.

In Baltimore, I joined again. It was half-hearted, but I lost about 25 pounds.

Four years ago, I did it on my own. My own plan. I lost 40 pounds, was the lightest and most fit I've ever been. A year later, I pumped my body full of hormones. I tried to get pregnant. My emotions were up and down. I was lethargic, I was lazy, I was complacent. So on top of what the hormones did to me, I did to me.

I gained 43 pounds, and came too close to going back to where I was after college.

This summer, I started and stopped so many times. I tried to do it on my own. No luck. I'd be good for about four or five days, and then something would happen, or I'd go out to dinner, or have one too many beers...

So today, I started WW at Work. I need the accountability. I need the support. And I finally just need to make a change. For good.

So here we go again...

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Growth

I forgot to write about this. This is real growth on my part.

Last Saturday, I saw on FB that it was the anniversary of friends in Virginia. I looked at my calendar and didn't have it written down. So I checked my dates book to make sure I had it. There it was, "Peter & Sherry, 1999." And in the same date, "Chris's birthday."

Chris's birthday. And it never occurred to me. I didn't remember or think about it.

For the first time in seven years, July 31 was just July 31. It was Peter and Sherry's 11th anniversary and nothing else.

I call that real growth.

One More Shot

Brothers and Sisters
I sent out another round of emails to my brothers and sisters the other night. It was simple and I blind copied them all -- so it looked as if I were sending it to a bunch of people.

It's one more chance for them to redeem themselves. Or one more chance for me to realize that I set my expectations of other people way too high. I'm trying my best not to let their actions disappoint me.

They will. Of course. But at least, I'm prepared for it.

The Dating Game
This eHarmony thing is shit. I go in with such high hopes of at least having a decent conversation with someone. And this is what happens. I email someone and they either a) email me back, I respond and then they never do again; or b) never respond in the first place.

My pet peeves about all of this. 1. I'm putting myself out there with my picture, you better fucking have a picture of yourself up. 2. You've paid money to be on this site. Get your money's worth. Respond when someone writes to you. 3. At the very least have the decency to say "thanks, but no thanks."

I have to put up with this for another two months. I've heard from one person. I've called him. We haven't connected. I"ll try again tonight.

Friends
I'm going to Skaneateles next weekend to spend the night at my friend Jen's. She's turning 40 on Wednesday, so we'll her kids and husband and head into town for dinner to celebrate. She is also trying to play match maker.

There is a teacher at her school. She's told me about him, him about me. Finally, realizing it's hard to play match maker, she asked if she could just give him my contact information. That was over two weeks ago.

Now I know it's summer. I know people are busy, people could be on vacation, etc. But it appears I am striking out left and right.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Thanks for the reminder

I received a postcard in the mail yesterday from the Sears Portrait Studio. The headline?

"The Big One! Happy birthday"

And then below that: "your baby is turning one and you must have a portrait to remember this big day forever."

Sigh...yes, had there been a heart beat on January 27, 2009, and all the weeks after that, my baby would be turning one, next month in fact. But there was no heart beat, no more to come at all. There are people in my immediate circle who knew I was trying, but didn't know that I had actually gotten pregnant.

How the hell does Sears know? And if they're so smart to know that, how come they didn't know the rest of the story?

I don't need the reminder, thank you very much. I'll remember each September, even when I have my baby home.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Oh No, What Have I Done?

I figured I have a long time before I get my referral. And we all know how I can tend to obsess and focus too much on one thing. So I need to do things for me. I can't be thinking, sleeping, and breathing this adoption. Not yet.

So I'm slowly getting back to doing good things for me. I only went to the gym one night this week, but I've actually worked out every night. I forgot how much I love walking near my house. I have a great hill nearby. And with work being so busy, I don't ever get to go outside during the day. So going to the gym right from the office -- not what I really want to do, stay inside more.

I would carry that attitude into the gym with me, and have no motivation. Monday, I didn't have my gym bag with me because I had been planning to go to Syracuse after work to see my mom (she had surgery last week), but she was being released from the hospital and sounded so much better than the day before, there was no reason for me to go up.

So I came home and walked. It was great. The endorphins carried over into the next few days and I felt like my eating was under control. Which made me feel like wanting to work out the next night. It was a vicious cycle, in only the best way. And, I stepped on the scale this morning and have nearly hit 14 pounds.

Again, more good thoughts to make me want to walk. So this week, five nights in a row. And eating when I'm hungry. Making good choices. Thinking about eating, not just eating. It's all good. Let's hope I can keep up this momentum.

Which brings me to the other part of my "focus on me" plan. I joined eHarmony. Again.

I know. I know. I said I never would again. But really and truly, I want to give this a go. And if by the end of the three months, nothing, then I am done and will continue to date married men. (Kidding!)

We'll see where things go.

My biggest conundrum is when to bring up the adoption thing? Not really first phone call conversation. Not really first date conversation. But what happens if I get too far in and then it's like, oh shit I should have told him months ago.

I guess I'll wait to see if I get past the first or second date. That would be something new with the online dating thing. For me, anyway.

I'm not telling anyone -- well I told Bubbles, and now I'm telling you all. God help me, what have I done?

This could end either very good or very bad. Stay tuned.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Return of B

Several years ago, I was involved in a mostly tame flirtatious work relationship with B. It all culminated with drinks after work, with my leg over his and him massaging my calf. We walked to his apartment nearby and lay on his bed. He rubbed my back. We talked, we flirted, we let awkward silences hang between us.

And finally, I said, "you just need to kiss me and get it over with, so it's not weird."

You know that sound effect they use in movies and television shows, a needle scratching a record to show something abruptly coming to a halt. Yea, that could have been the noise I heard right after I said what I did. Suddenly he pulled his hand out from under the back of my shirt.

"I don't want it to be weird between us. I really like you as a friend, I wouldn't want to lose that."

"We wouldn't. Look, B, I'm very good at no strings attached. I'm laying on your bed..." He didn't move, so I took a chance and leaned up and softly kissed him. No response.

Suddenly, it was awkward between us. And continued to be. All of my guy friend, who I told this scenario to, said the same thing. "he's gay."

"He's not!"

"You were laying on his bed, offering yourself up with no string attached? He's gay."

We never got to be as close as we were around that time. Fast forward to the past few weeks. We've been on a search committee together, and there's been flirting. He moves his knee so it's leaning against mine, he leans into me, he's intense with his eye-to-eye contact.

At one meeting, somehow the conversation between the two of us led him to saying, "oh you think you could handle me?"

I put my hand on his arm, looked him right in the eye and said, "I know I could handle you."

"We'll see..."

"I'm not the one who said no when we were laying on a bed..."

His mouth dropped. "Oh snap, you're not going there."

"Yup."

Since then, it's gotten a little more intense. He's been more forward. And you know, it's fun. It's good for my ego.

He's always worn his hair long and shaggy -- something I hate and he knows. He got it cut really short last week, and made a point of instant messaging me to tell me. When I saw him on Monday, he looked so handsome. I couldn't stop touching his hair and looking at him. And his ego loved it too.

I have no idea where this is going, if it's going anywhere. For right now, it's just fun.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Resentment is an Ugly Thing to Swallow

And try as I might to not feel that way, sometimes it gets the better of me. I'm hoping that putting it out there, writing down, that hopefully I can then let it go.

So here goes:

I am resentful of pregnant women, especially if they are significantly younger than me. And most especially if they are so young that their pregnancies are unplanned.

I am resentful of a friend from work who sees and hears all the people selling raffle tickets, selling eggs, being supportive -- and who has yet to help in any way. She mentioned to me over a year ago, while I was still pursuing the fertility route but was more realistic about needing to go this way, that unless my adoption fund was associated with an actual 501c3 that she wouldn't be able to sell tickets for me. How could she ask her friends who didn't know me to spend money? How would they know it was legitimate?

Really? They know it's legit because you're asking. Or maybe your friends aren't as trusting of you as mine are of me. Because if the shoe was on the other foot, and I was selling for you, the mere fact that I was asking would be enough for my friends. If they could afford it, they would do it.

I am resentful that my colleague gets 12 weeks of maternity leave, just one year after coming back from another 12 weeks of maternity leave. That she has two perfect little babies -- and I started my whole process well before her.

And I am resentful (and really this one is for Bubbles, though I definitely feel this way) of bitches who treat their men like shit, who are awful awful people and I'm single!

It's day 12 of my new shortened 25-day cycle. I'm ovulating on my own. I'm in pain. I'm bloated, I'm uncomfortable. I've been awake since 4am. And on top of all of that, I fucked up my knee doing lunges at the gym. So much for working out.

All that is to say, I'm cranky. The resentment will be gone tomorrow. I actually already feel better by writing it down, admitting it publicly and moving on.

Tomorrow is another day.

Things that go bump in the night

I saw a picture of Christina Applegate and her baby bump today and was overcome with a brief moment of sadness. And then it was gone. But it was there.

I guess I'm not as over it all as I thought. Not over the fact that I won't ever get pregnant. I always knew that I would adopt, even if I got pregnant and had a biological child. And so the two things are almost compartmentalized away from each other.

Adopting a child is not the back-up for having a baby, so knowing that I will have a baby soon doesn't erase all of the hurt of not getting pregnant. Does that make sense?

Monday, July 26, 2010

"I'm Not Mad at You, I'm Mad at the Dirt."

One of my favorite lines from a movie (Mommie Dearest, 1981).

And that's the way I've been feeling lately. My friend at work has been on maternity leave since the middle of May, and won't be back until the end of August. I'm not mad at her, I'm mad at the situation.

Mad that I'm so fucking busy at work. Mad that I won't be able to take a real vacation until September.

I'm in meetings most of the day, which makes it really hard to get any work done when I'm not at my desk. So I either let it go until the next day (or the day after) when I have some time to actually work. Or I stay until 6:00, skipping the gym, and get shit done.

I've done both. Neither makes me happy. It makes me frustrated. It makes feel out of control.

Today, I was in meetings for four hours, tomorrow six. I left work at 4:15 anyway. Came home and went for a walk. And while I walking -- Rob Base and Katy Perry and Aerosmith and Michael Jackson on my iPod -- I didn't think about work. I didn't think about anything. And so for a little while, I was happy with the way things are currently happening.

And so as long I remember that I'm mad at the dirt, I won't get all Pepsi Board Room on anyone.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A little bit of this, a little bit of that....

The Return of E

So a few days after texting to tell me he was going to be on the radio, he texted me to ask how I was, how was my social life, how was work? Just like that. I told him social life had had its ups and downs, work was insane, other than that, all was good.

I gave him the 10 words or less version of Chris, and he told me he was a loser. I agreed. I asked how he was, and of course he changed the subject and somehow our conversations picked up right where it left off.

Not sure how. Not sure where's he been. Although I do wonder, if in fact he and his wife are back together (it was my theory as to why thing suddenly cooled off between us), that the Steve Phillips incident could have been a little too close to home. Who knows?

We texted a little this past week, and he asked if we could get together "next week." I told him that would be tough, what about the week after? Haven't heard from him yet. We'll see what this week brings.

Adoption Update

I am officially two months into my wait (notice my cute little teddy bear counter to the right). And I should be reaching 25% of my fund-raising goals by the end of the summer. Not bad for an autographed picture from someone on a team with less than 30 wins, eh?

I went to a picnic yesterday, sponsored by the agency that performed my home study (and who will do my post-placement evaluations). It was fun to see other kids with their families, and actually be able to see myself in that situation. Not like going to the FG's office with women who had babies or very pregnant bellies. That was its own special kind of torture.

But as hopeful as it was to see these families, it also reminded me that I am so far away. Two months into a 16 to 22 month wait. Ugh. By now, ya'll should know I have NO patience.

The good news about the picnic -- I met another single woman. She just brought her little girl home five months ago from Ethiopia. I have a friend. Someone who knows exactly what I'm going through. The infertility. The singledom. The adoption.

Exhaustion

Work has been insane. Still. My new boss did start on Monday, so there is a light at the end of the tunnel (and it's not an oncoming train), but it's still hectic. I'm still in a bunch of meetings. Still mentally exhausted at the end of the day.

Needless to say, Couch to 5K has been abandoned. For now. I'm hoping to pick it up again in a few weeks. I think my knees will appreciate it -- and I will have more success -- if I can lose a few more pounds before doing much more running. That's the plan anyway.

I'm hovering between having lost 10 and 13 pounds. Still haven't dropped a pants size -- baby belly still in place. *sigh someday I'll get there.

My niece just got engaged (yeah!), so I'm hoping that that date in the future will be my new "focus on the prize" milestone. For me and my sister-in-law. I would love to be able to wear a backless dress and show off my tattoo.

The Absence of J

I haven't heard from him since I left him hanging, with the fact that I was wearing a Jeter t-shirt and nothing else, but needed to go back to sleep. Not that I haven't thought about him. And not that I haven't thought about texting him after a beer or two. But I've been good. I haven't reached out. That's not to say I don't miss him. I do.

I may shoot him an email (during the day, strictly professional) at the end of the month, to let him know how well I did with the Markakis photo during the raffle.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Luckier than I Thought

Or at least in a better position than most. All this time, I thought I couldn't possibly afford the adoption, that it was not the responsible thing to do, on and on I worried (and still worry) about how I will come up with the additional $20,000 I need.

Through the wonder of the internet, I've been put in touch with other people adopting from Ethiopia, other people who have blogs and are doing their own fund-raising. And their process is stalled because they need to raise more money. Can't get fingerprints until I raise this much. Ready to submit my home study but need another of this much. Dossier complete bur still need more money.

I was so fortunate to have a little Uncle Henry money socked away, not to mention the additional money from my interim position. I was able to cruise through final applications, USCIS application and fingerprinting, and dossier submission.

It reminds me of all that I have been through and all that I got through, and I remember that I can do this too.

Friday, July 09, 2010

The Week in Review

I'm still tired. No, more than tired. Exhausted. I had a 28-hour work week (with Monday and summer Fridays ending two hours earlier) and of those 28 hours, I had 18 hours of meetings. Sometimes five hours solid.

Today was my last day as the interim director; Monday the new AVP starts. And although I will be handing over the reigns, I have the feeling that I will still be involved in things while she gets acclimated. And of course, Heather is still on maternity leave, so I'm still covering her responsibilities as well as my own.

I made it to the gym as much as I could. Three days? I think. I'm doing what I can and trying not to beat myself up, knowing that I won't be this tired forever. I hope.

I chatted with E last weekend via text. He asked how I was, how was work, social life and after those niceties...we picked up right where we left off. I never asked where he's been -- that's not my style. It was nice to hear from him.

And that's my boring life for this week. It can only go up from here, right?

Happy Friday.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Happy 4th of July Weekend

I saw Lucia on Friday afternoon, to get some advice and grounding about the upcoming family birthday party in Syracuse. I would be seeing more of my brothers and sisters, more of those I have felt hurt by for ignoring the email I sent a few weeks ago.

She made me realize that being inconsiderate is not the same thing as being malicious, which is how I was feeling. That is to say, I was feeling intentionally hurt by their actions. And I know that's not the case. She encouraged me to bring it up myself.

I told her I would try. And I kept in mind what she said. The afternoon started out a little strange, because I had not attended the 1st birthday party of my great-niece the day before. It was in Watertown, a four-hour drive for me. It would have been too much to do Watertown and back in one day, just to go back up for my great-nephew's birthday party the next day.

True, I could have stayed in Syracuse the entire weekend, but I had shit to do. I rely on the weekends to run errands, and clean the house, and give my brain a little down time, especially with all that is going on at work. And so I emailed my niece to say I couldn't make the party, would she be at Jenny's the next day, and that I would send my present with someone else.

So back to Jenny's on Sunday...there was definite weirdness and it could all been my projecting on other people, because it felt like an elephant in the room. I wanted someone to say something about it to me, but they didn't. They talked about it around me.

And my oldest sister, the grandmother of the birthday girl, barely spoke to me. I'm sure she was offended that I made it Andrew's party and not Lauren's. Again, I could be projecting, imagining, whatever...I stayed clear of her as much as possible.

I spent most of the day outside with my niece's sister-in-law and my sister-in-law watching the kids run through the sprinklers and play on the swing set. And when I got my courage, I did it. I did what Lucia suggested. And I said to Sally, "did you get my email a few weeks ago? About the adoption?"

"Yea, I'm waiting to buy raffle tickets because I want the September prize."

"Oh, I wasn't asking because I was worried about the raffle tickets, I just never heard from anyone. No one responded that it was great news or horrible news, so I didn't know how anyone felt about it...."

"Well, it wasn't a surprise, I knew you were adopting."

And just like that, the hurt dissolved. And what Lucia said was right...being inconsiderate, or even in this case, not realizing a response was necessary, is not malicious.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Blast(s) From the Past

Tuesday night, I got a text about 8:30. I was already asleep (remember my earlier post about how I'm just exhausted?) and stared at the phone. It said "new message from E." It literally took me a good 20 or 30 seconds to comprehend.

It was a generic message, saying that he was doing the show in the morning and "feel free to send a detailed email about how much you like the sub-host."

It barely registered, but somehow crept into my subconscious, because all night I tried to come up with a clever email. It never happened. My alarm went off, I turned the TV on, and sure enough there he was. And then I remembered the text.

I grabbed my phone and looked. Yup, there it was. I hit reply, "I don't know if I should 'detail' how much I like you, but yes, when I'm out of bed, I'll send an email."

Okay, that was clever enough. But no response. I tend to think he sent out a broadcast email to everyone in his phone. And then again, the wisdom of Bubbles comes into play. "At least he still has your number in his phone."

So there's nothing more I can do. I've responded. Up to him to answer. And if not, oh well.

And then as if that blast from the past weren't enough. I logged into LinkedIn to accept a contact request and just like Facebook, they always have a list of people you may know. And there it was. There he was. Chris.

I have no idea who the good folks at LinkedIn would know that we know each other. He's in the Navy. I work in non-profit. There is no earthly reason that my work life should or would intersect with his.

It was very odd. Again, I had to stare at it for a little while to comprehend it. I clicked on it. There was his rank and title. Yup, it was him.

So what does it all mean?

Well, at the end of the week, I have realized that I don't miss Chris nearly as much as I ever would have thought possible. And it's not even the sex thing, it's him, in general. I don't miss him. And I kind of miss E. For the flirting, for the titillation, and yea, for the sex.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Wisdom of Bubbles

It doesn't matter that my brothers and sisters haven't gotten back to me. It doesn't matter that they've ignored the email my mother sent out as a follow up to mine.

It doesn't matter that I'm hurt, again, by them.

It doesn't matter that they are seemingly ignoring the biggest thing in my life.

The only that matters is this biggest thing in my life, this little baby who will someday be mine.

It only matters that I am the type of person who can let go of hurt feelings, who can let go of the bitterness, so that I can be a good mom, a good role model. The kind of person I want to be for that little baby.

Bubbles reminded me of this, and once again reminded me how lost I would be without her.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Week that Was....

It started out shitty. I was an emotional wreck on Monday and Tuesday, literally crying for no reason a few times. I finally got my period on Wednesday, which helped my emotional stability slightly.

Wednesday night I slept awful. Itchy-twitchy legs all night as I tried to fall asleep (itchy-twitchy is my version of reckless leg syndrome). Thursday I left work early, drove to Syracuse to meet my brother, sister-in-law, niece and nephew for dinner and then my niece's high school graduation. And then turned right around and drove back home.

Friday I realized that I'm exhausted. Not just from the shitty week, the emotional week, the lack of sleep and driving 150 miles in four hours. But from work -- I've been doing two jobs since December and three since early May.

I was too tired to go to they gym tonight after church, but am hoping that blowing it off tonight, getting a good night's sleep and waiting until tomorrow will mean that I have lots of energy for the treadmill.

Added to all that is the fact that I still haven't heard from any of my siblings since I sent the email about my adoption nearly two weeks ago. Add insult to the fact that I went to dinner with two of the people who got the email, and saw another, on Thursday night. Not one word.

My mother became momma bear this morning and sent out an email to my siblings telling them I needed their support. We'll see how far that goes.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Cranky Ellie

I'm not sure why, but I woke up in a foul mood. My stomach hurts. I feel bloated. I'm tired. I feel fat. My period is a few days overdue. And at any moment I could literally burst into tears.

A nice day to stay in bed. Or least, hibernate in my office.

But unfortunately I am in a meeting from 8:30 to 1:00, and then meetings from 1:00 to 2:00 and 2:30 to 4:00.

Ugh....if I don't snap someone's neck or cry today, it will be a miracle.

I found out yesterday that, due to the policy change requiring two trips to Ethiopia, they have raised some rates. An additional $1,000 overall. But that's not really bothering me. At this point, what's an extra $1,000 when I'm paying $26,000?

It all seems so abstract to me -- having to have that much disposable money. It doesn't seem possible.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

I can say that without being too sad. Although I just read a heart-breaking account from another blogger I read and how she bought two cards for her husband for today. It got me to thinking about how my child -- whenever he or she arrives -- will most likely not have a father. It will just be the two of us.

Certainly, things may change. I'm certainly open to getting married someday, I'm just not counting on it anymore. I just hope that I will be enough. I will have to be, I guess.

I had a great weekend in Syracuse, with my niece and her two boys. Garage sale, playing outside, sunburn, hot weather, sprinkler on the gym set to make a "water slide," and lots of hugs and kisses. I can't wait for them to meet their new cousin.

Last Tuesday, I sent an email to the rest of my siblings. The rest of = those I'm not in touch with on a daily or weekly basis, those who I told I was trying to get pregnant and then never heard from again. Rather than giving them the courtesy and showing them the importance of their opinion or support of me by giving them individual phone calls, I sent one email.

As you all know, I tried for nearly three years to get pregnant. It wasn't in the cards, and after much disappointment, I've decided to move on. And knowing that my fertility issues were as serious as they were, I began the paperwork for international adoption as I went through my last year of fertility treatment.

As of May 17, all of my paperwork is in, my FBI clearance came through, and I am officially on a very long waiting list for a baby.

As you may not know, international adoption is extremely expensive. When it's all said and done, my adoption costs will exceed $26,000 (and probably be closer to $30,000).

The good news about the very long waiting list -- they are now estimating 16 to 22 months -- is that it gives me plenty of time to save and raise money. I am applying for adoption-specific grants, and my friends have helped organize a raffle as one fund-raiser, and we have just started selling raffle tickets.

If you are interested in helping sell some as well -- or just want to buy some -- let me know. Tickets are $5 each or 5 for $20, and the list of prizes for the monthly drawings can be found on the website I've set up....

Thanks in advance for your help.

--Ellie

I'd like to say that I'm surprised that I've heard from none of them. But I'm not. I wish I could say I wasn't hurt. But I am.

What I have learned is that I've realized over the last three years is that no matter how important family, friends are just as important, if not more.

Kind of a rambling post, I know. I'll try to have a more cohesive brain later in the week. Until then, happy new week.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

July Raffle

I've officially started selling raffle tickets to go towards my adoption expenses -- at my last estimate, figuring the two trips to Africa, it will cost me in excess of $26,000! My friends have been awesome in helping me -- posting things to Facebook, sending out emails to their address books.

And recently my friend Claudia has started selling the eggs from her free-range chickens at work, with the majority of the money going to the adoption fund.

Our biggest fundraiser is a year-long raffle.

Here are the rules:
  • Monthly drawings on the last day of each month
  • $5 per chance or 5 chances for $20
  • Enter as often as you like
  • Your chances enter you in all "pools" until you're name is drawn -- in other words, YOU HAVE AS MANY CHANCES TO WIN AS THERE ARE DRAWINGS!
  • More chances, more chances to win. Same person can win more than one drawing if they've entered more than once
  • Enter online or in person with raffle ticket
  • For consistency of drawings, all online entries will get ticket(s) filled out for them
  • All items have been donated for this specific cause -- to help offset costs of international adoption
  • All proceeds will be paid toward adoption costs
  • Winner will be notified by email and listed on website by first name and city
  • If not local, items will be mailed priority mail within one week of drawing. Winner will be sent tracking number.
  • If you retweet or post to your Facebook, let me know, and I'll give you one free entry
All of the raffle items are listed in the sidebar to the right, as well as a Pay Pal button. The July raffle is an autographed, framed photo of Baltimore Orioles outfielder Nick Markakis. If you know anything about baseball, you know that Nick is really the only bright spot about Orioles baseball these days.



Sunday, June 13, 2010

We've been through this before....

but I'll say it again. More than two years ago, I wrote a little post about things NOT to say to me. Today I'll add to it.

I received a text from my friend Tim in Baltimore. "A buddy of mine says all he needs is a 12-pack and he'll take care of your pregnancy problem."

Really?

To the guy who said it: "You're just an idiot, a typical narcissistic man who thinks you're so virile you can do what tens of thousands of dollars in fertility treatment couldn't."

And to my friend who sent me the text: "I know you think it's funny, I know you thought I'd get a chuckle out of that text. But I didn't. It actually made me cry. Actually reminded me of something I've probably gone a few days without thinking about. That I'm broken, that as a woman I'm inadequate, because I -- my body can't do what it was designed to do, what women for centuries have been doing."

And while I hate to think I'm so ultra-sensitive that you can't make any jokes with me, please remember that fertility jokes are just that....a cruel joke Mother Nature played on some of us.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Adjusted Wait Times

I received my weekly update from my placement agency this morning. I'm trying to look on the bright side of this, but I'm not really finding anything positive about it:

Twice annually, we examine the trends over time and use our best judgment based on past history and experience in the program to estimate wait times that seem reasonable for the future. We have just finished reviewing families' experience and trending over the past year, and based on that research. As of today, we will be updating our wait times to the following:

* Current wait times for families requesting children 0-24 months: 16-22 months


So no longer a 12- to 18-month wait, which seemed like an impossibly long time to wait. And this is just for the referral, tack on another 6 months before I even bring the baby home.

*Sigh. It's chilly, gray and dreary outside -- and that's the way I feel inside right now.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Oh the pressure

A comment on my post from last week said, "Your blog has been recommended to us as a interviewee's favorite blog!"

Is it legit? It looked like it. I followed the link and answered some questions about my blog.

So, first, to whomever recommended me -- thank you! How flattering.

Second, wow, what pressure, to make sure I live up to your expectations, to not bore you, to keep you coming back, to keep you interested.

It's been a little tough blogging lately -- I have a few blogs. Though this one is my main one. You're not missing anything with the others, really. One, I've pulled all of my fertility posts into (all of my fertility posts from this blog). Just to have them all in one place, for friends and acquaintances who might be going through the same thing.

The second is for my adoption, to keep my friends and family updated on that process. And as a place for people to buy raffle tickets to help with that fund-raising. I can't have my family reading this. It would completely change the tone of what I write.

What I love about "Single Girl's Search," is that I'm anonymous for the most part. I don't feel guarded, I don't have to edit myself. It's just me -- the good, the bad and the ugly.

And then there's the really bad blog -- it's the R-rated (sometimes maybe even X-rated) version of Chris and J and E and every one who has come before and after them.

And so what's been tough is remembering the most important thing about writing -- who is your audience? And so usually I think about what I'm going to write as I'm driving home from work, and then suddenly I have to think -- "for which blog?"

Ultimately my goal is always to write for this one first, to tell you the stories, and then edit them as appropriate for my other audiences.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Dangerous Games

I've been a bad, bad girl. Well, not really, but I'm very close to being a bad, bad girl.

I work with Jackson. He is the perfect cross between J and Chris. He's cocky and confident, like Chris. He's wildly inappropriate, knowing the undeniable sexual tension that exists between us, like J. And like both of them, he falls into that "I shouldn't" category.

And yet I want to. We flirt, we talk way beyond the bounds of appropriate...and so far, nothing has happened. And while I want it to, I'm hoping I can be satisfied with the way things are right now.

Like J, like Chris, Jackson is really good for my ego. And like J and Chris, I could totally cross the boundaries of friendship and what's right, and have no emotional attachment whatsoever.

Here's hoping I can stay the course.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Newborn

My friend had a baby the other day. Her husband called me and I was genuinely excited. Not knowing what they were having before, I immediately went out and bought a cute little frilly dress for her.

And later in the afternoon I went up to visit. Because it was what is expected of me, what I expect for myself. I didn't think about how it might make me sad, how maybe I should wait a few days or a week before seeing the baby. I wanted to meet her that day. And was so excited to have her all to myself before visitors ascended the hospital the next day.

And then when I was there, I looked around the room and realized I would never be there for myself. I would never have nurses coming in to check on my, to take the baby's vitals. And I looked down at this perfect little face, only a few hours old at that point, and realized I would never know my baby this little.

And it made me sad. I took a deep breath and tried not to think about me. I thought about my friend, and how happy she was, and how of all the people in the world, she called me to spend the afternoon with her, just hours after giving birth.

And she did it not to make me feel sad, but because she knew how much I would enjoy having baby time that I didn't have to share with anyone else, how much I would enjoy the quiet time with the baby, maybe so I could reflect in my own way, on my own terms.

And for that I thank her, and realize how luck I am to have the friends that I have.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Wow, I Needed That

I've been so tired lately. For the past two weeks, utterly exhausted. I know it's because I was pushing myself at the gym, but also because it's been so busy at work. Mentally exhausted and physically exhausted.

So for the past two weeks, I have been doing the gym every other night. But I haven't been killing myself. And the scale hasn't been unkind to me about it, either.

Tonight, I felt better. Was actually excited about going to the gym. I hadn't run in almost two weeks, but tonight, I knew it was time to start again, before I lost my momentum.

And I picked up right where I left off. Week 2 of the couch to 5k plan -- 90 seconds of running, two minutes of walking. And I felt great after wards. Even did some hills for 10 minutes and then 10 minutes of the cross-trainer.

It helps knowing that I don't have to be at work again until Tuesday, but the running actually felt easier. I remember the last time I ran, Adam was with me. And he had to run the intervals with me. I could barely run the last few intervals of 60 seconds. I needed him to push me. Not tonight. I was able to push myself.

~~~~~

I heard from J last night. He was at a gala in DC. We texted back and forth for a little while and then he wrote, "May have to bother you later. U gonna be up?"

Sigh. He did just send me two autographed items. "Maybe. the phone will wake me up."

A few hours later, at 1am, he texted. It started off innocent enough but I knew where it was headed. Or better yet, I knew where he wanted it to head. "What are you wearing?"

How to answer. "A Jeter t-shirt"

"Nice."

"I'll leave you with that image ;) I need to go back to sleep"

And that was that. There were some niceties about having a good night, good weekend, etc. But I think I handled him well.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

I hate asking for help

I'm the person who organizes the fundraisers. Who delivers meals or drives friends to the doctor. Who checks on the cats and picks up mail, and leaves baked good when you arrive home from your trip. I send funny little cards for no reason.

But in the past few years, I've had to ask for help. I've needed people to go to the doctor with me, to stop at the store and bring some ice cream when I needed cheering up. But just because I've had to ask for help, doesn't mean that I like it.

I don't. I haven't. But I need to ask for help again. And I need people to not wait for me to ask for help. Over the course of the next year and a half, I will need people to remind me that 18 months really isn't that long. I will need people to understand that sometimes, still, seeing a baby hurts. That sometimes, I don't want to hear about your child, niece or nephew, grandchild -- all of the above. And sometimes, I will want to hear about every little thing they are doing. And I just need you to follow my cues.

And I need help with the raffle. Selling tickets, keeping me motivated, even when I feel like giving up. Even when I'm feeling humbled beyond words at needing to ask for help.

It won't be every day. It won't be every week. But it'll be. It'll happen. And that's when I'll need you.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

72 Weeks

Or maybe 76.

That's my estimated wait time. Officially, it's a 12- to 18-month estimate. But the latest reports are that families getting a baby 0-12 months are now waiting 19 months; a baby 12-24, the wait is 18 months. My immigration approval is approved for a baby 0-24 months.

But the good news is....I'm officially on the list. All paperwork is in. Here we go, the longest year and a half of my life.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Three Weeks and One Day

That's all it took for my "up to 90 days" approval.

Yesterday, I received my notice from the Department of Homeland Security: "Notice of Favorable Determination Concerning Application For Advice Processing of Orphan Petition."

And so, as long as everything in my dossier looks good, I am ready to go on the waiting list. And I'm only 12 to 18 months from learning who my baby will be!

And I have to apologize in advance for adding advertisements to the blog, but every little penny will help -- and I've heard from other friends who have turned ads on through blogger that it really isn't a lot that they get. But returning soda cans for the deposit is only a few bucks every month, and over the next year or so, it will add up.

I figured out my budget this morning, and *think* I will be able to save about $10,000 towards what I have left to pay for the adoption. If that's the case, between grants and the raffle (and ads and bottle deposits and this summer's garage sale and saving pennies in the bottom of my purse), I need to come up with about $8,000.

If I can do that, no loans, no debt when I bring my baby home. So forgive me for the ads at the bottom of the post -- and if you feel inclined, click on it and support my "sponsors." ;)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Babies, babies and more babies

A friend in Rochester is due with her third boy this month.

A friend from work had a baby girl on my birthday last month.

Another friend from work goes on maternity leave tomorrow.

And two friends (one from high school, another from Baltimore) both announced on FB today the sex of their babies due this fall -- a boy for one, a girl for the other.

And that is my life. And I almost started to feel sorry for myself, and then got an email from a friend who is also adopting from Ethiopia, and just awaiting her travel dates. She was writing to see where things are with me.

I told her my dossier was mailed into the placement agency (yeah!) and I am three weeks into my "up to 90 days" wait for USCIS approval. Once I get that, it's an estimated 12 to 18 months until referral.

Her response was perfect, and just what I needed: "You are almost done with your job....and that's a good feeling."

And she's right. I am almost done with my job. Then it's waiting, and preparing, and taking care of me, so that when the baby arrives, I can do nothing but take care of him (or her).

And so, this weekend I will continue to work on the marketing plan for the fund-raising raffle, create a website and graphic element for the website and my "adoption fund," and work on the adoption grant applications.

It will also be about sleeping in, lounging around, going to the gym, going grocery shopping, and just taking it easy. Taking care of me.

Because Jo is right, I am almost done with my job, and it is a good feeling.

PS....about to finish "week 1" of couch to 5K tomorrow. I increased my running speed a little and my form felt better, so last day of 60 seconds running, 90 seconds walking tomorrow.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Thank you

I was exhausted at the end of the day. I had three meetings, including two interviews for two open positions. I had to deal with the office bitch in two of them. Had to watch her roll her eyes in the back of her head, fluttering her eyes, while she spoke. Had to deal with her being hostile and even more bitchy than usual in the last meeting because it was interviewing a candidate for a position that she applied for. Okay, that wasn't hard to watch, but still. You get my point, it was a long day.

I headed up to the gym right from my last meeting, and as soon as I got on the treadmill, my legs felt heavy. And tired. And I thought, I could just walk today. Maybe do hills. But no, I have a readership to answer to. Especially after what I wrote last night.

And so, I did 60 seconds of running and 90 seconds of walking for 20 minutes. Day 3 of week 1. I will continue week 1 all this week. Like I said, it might be longer than the 9 weeks of the training program.

But knowing I had people to answer to, not just myself, I didn't give in. I didn't throw in the towel. So thank you, you know who you are, those of you who check in every few days or once a week, to read about my life.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Weekend Update

I remembered my actual "couch to 5K" training instructions for Friday and stuck to them -- 60 seconds of running, 90 seconds of walking, for 20 minutes. I was dying by the end of the 20 minutes, but I finished. It may be that "week 1" stretches into two weeks. I'm fully prepared to take longer than the suggested 9 weeks of the program.

That night, I had a dream where I was running. Not for my life, not away from anything, but actually running for fun, running for recreation, running in some organized event. I ran past people I knew, neighborhoods I've lived in that aren't in the same zip code. Jogged in place as I stopped to briefly chat with old friends.

It wasn't hard. I felt good. And so I know that I can get to that place. I may never run a marathon, but soon I'll be able to run more than 60 seconds at a time. If I can go through what I've gone through the past three years, I can run for several minutes (and someday, several miles) at a time.

Yesterday I went to the gym that I've joined for the summer. Also felt really good. Still at the point where 60 minutes is enough. And that, is a good thing.

I'm still trying to wrap my mind around a visit I had last week with a friend. Parts of it were great, other parts disturbing. And while I have to remind myself that we are of two different generations, of two different political parties, I still need to think about how to handle future conversations with her. When we parted ways, she did ease my mind a little, by telling me that no matter where I adopt from, she will support me.

Today is Mother's Day, and I wasn't as sad as I usually am. In fact, I don't think I was sad at all. I had my volunteer shift at the Catholic Shop at church this morning, and then my parents came down for lunch. I wished a fellow parishioner a happy mother's day, and she asked if I had any children. And I smiled when I answered her. "Not yet, but I'm in the process of adopting."

And I borrowed Heather's FB status for my own: "Happy Mother's Day to all my mommy friends -- those with their babies in their arms, babies in their bellies on the way, and babies waiting across the world to meet them!"

Bubbles responded with: "Your Mommy's Day will come very soon my dearest friend! In the meantime you are such a "mom" to so many of us..." And my oldest niece with an immediate "Amen."

I have a busy week at work -- tomorrow the easiest of them, with only four hours of meetings. I just need to get through the next two weeks at work, and then (I think), I'll be okay.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

MILF in Training, Day One

When I looked at my 5K training program this evening, I was supposed to run for 60 seconds, walk for 90 for 20 minutes. What I thought it was supposed to be was 60/60. So what I actually did was 60/60, but only for 15 minutes. Now I know why I was dog tired at the end of those 15 minutes.

I will be better about reading my training program and knowing exactly what I'm supposed to do. But here I am -- sweaty, hot, tired, and full of endorphins. Knees don't fail me -- I really want to do this.

Day one, week one of my 12-week training program, is in the books.

And it's been nearly two weeks since I was fingerprinted and no notice from the FBI. My fingerprint scans must have been good -- my background check is in progress.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Deadlines

I work best when I know I have to have something done by a certain date. At work, if there's an open-ended project, it gets pushed aside. In life, it works the same way.

Four years ago, I received a save-the-date for a wedding for six months later. I saw the finish line and lost 50 pounds.

And so, my friend April proposed training for a 5K in the fall. I've actually had the "couch to 5K" training schedule on my fridge for a few weeks. I've done nothing with them, because, there was nothing to shoot for. But now, now there's a goal. There's a finish line.

So tomorrow.....alternating 90 seconds of running and walking.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Biometrics

Friday morning I drove up the Syracuse, to the Immigration & Naturalization Office to get my fingerprints scanned. Hopefully the FBI accepts them (I've had problems in the past with my rolled fingerprints - my ridges aren't very deep).

If they don't accept them, they will send a letter out a letter this week and I'll go back to Syracuse. If they're accepted, my background check moves forward. The last piece of the process.

I still need Bubbles' reference letter -- I forgot to get an original signed copy when I was in Baltimore last week. And after my trip next weekend, I will schedule a time for my friend at work to go with me to the doctor's office to get my medical form signed and notarized.

I found a website that will be a good model to follow for my fund-raiser. I need to pull my "team" together to figure out the logistics. I'm trying not to think about how length I still have to wait.

I guess one thing at a time.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Art Imitating Life (or life's dreams)

"Watch, you're going to get pregnant and then meet the man of your dreams."

I can't tell you how many people said that to me over the course of the last three years. Little did I know that a. it would not happen, and b. they would make a movie about it.



This is one movie I will NOT be seeing. I'm a masochist in a lot of way, but not this one. Not this time.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Reinventing Ellie

I just read through a blog post from four years ago, about gaining weight over Christmas. That was before the neurosis about exercising and eating got the best of me, before I took a break from blog.

It was good to get back in that frame of mind, when I really thought about what I put in my mouth and how much I moved during the day. I'm getting back to that point. I (perhaps foolishly) started an actual diet this week. I hate that word, I hate the negative connotation associated with it. I prefer healthy food choices. Healthy lifestyle changes.

But this week, to get me back into that frame of mind, to get me motivated right off the bat, I started what is called "the four-day diet."

It was restrictive, it was hard. I know I wasn't eating enough calories for how much I was working out, but at the end of the first four days, I'm down six pounds. It was enough to make me aware of when I reached for food when I wasn't hungry, it was enough to help me keep track of portions. It made me make a conscious effort to include vegetables every day.

And the six pounds -- mostly water weight I know -- were enough. I got a new middle number. I will follow the next four days, and after that, I will use the following sets of four days as a guidepost, but I know I need more calories. I know given my typical 45-60 minutes of cardio plus resistance training, I need to eat more.

My vow, after the next four-day cycle, is to only weigh myself once a week. (I've already gotten into the habit of once or twice a day -- bad Ellie!) To work out five days a week -- without fail, even if some days are not as high intensity as others.

I took a picture of myself in my skivvies the other day. And I have pictures from my birthday weekend in Baltimore. Both will serve as guide posts. And just like celebrities who endorse a weight-loss product, I will post the before picture, but only after I have a good "during" picture to go next to it. And that will -- eventually -- go for my actual weight. Once I've lost an amount I feel comfortable with, I will post that too.

If for nothing else, but to keep me honest. To keep me going.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

And the rest of Baltimore

Friday evening was low-key, gearing up for spa day and going out the next day. I jumped on FB to send J an email -- he wanted my address so he can send me a couple of autographed items he has for me. And then I noticed that we're not friends anymore. Interesting.

First I was pissed, and then I laughed. I was friends with him about a month ago when I posted on his wall that I was sorry I missed his phone call the night before. He removed it, and then must have unfriended me. HA! It actually made my day.

Saturday was a fabulously girly day -- manicure, pedicure, lunch, a little shopping (including a LaPurla bra for moi), back to the spa for massage and facial. Then a shower, make-up, dressing, and out to dinner at the Capital Grille.

I can't even describe how delicious the food was (12-year-aged balsamic vinegar over fresh mozzarella!) or how great the service was. At one point, Bubbles looked at me and said, "that guy's checking you out."

I looked over a mid-50-year-old sitting with his wife and another couple, and caught him looking. I smiled over my beer glass. Several times throughout the night, we made eye contact.

Really? Even without trying, without talking, without flirting -- the married man magnet works? After they were finished the wives headed to the bar while the men waited for the bill, and sure enough, he came over. "Hello ladies, special occasion?"

Bubbles immediately said, "it's her birthday!"

He took my hand in both of his and wished me a happy birthday.

I shook my head when he left. Perhaps it was the two large bottles of beer I had consumed, the nostalgia of being in Baltimore, or the fact that I was suddenly 40, I looked at Bubbles and said, "he wasn't ugly, he was fairly attractive, why can't I find a guy like that? A single guy. I have no problem with the age thing...is it really that hard?"

She patted my hand -- there were no words.

We headed to a bar after dinner, and now I know -- or remember -- why I don't go to bars anymore. It was crowded, people were obnoxiously drunk and bumping into me. Guys were hitting on Bubbles left and right. I was ready to go after an hour. But the night was still young. So as we were walking to the car, Bubbles said one word. "Boobies?"

I looked at her and smiled. "Boobies." We headed off the Hustler Club for a late-night drink and a little debouchery. New beer in one hand, fistful of ones in the other, we settled down near a stage and clanked our bottles to my 40th birthday and enjoyed the looks on the men's faces as they wished their girlfriends/wives were as cool as we are.

From a long day, a filling dinner, and just being over tired, even after three shots, I wasn't drunk. I think I was beyond it. We closed the Club. I can't remember the last time I was out at 2:00am, but here I was.

I had to drive home the next day, but was so grateful that I took Monday off. It made the five-hour drive that much more tolerable.

And so I turned 40 -- though no one we told over the course of the weekend believed me. Even the esthetician put my skin at 29 to 32. Thank God for good genes and sunscreen.

I turned 40, and while I may not want to stay out all night, I know I still can. And while the men who frequent bars have no use for me, still the older man is still wanting some of Ellie. Again, if only that older gentleman weren't married. I guess one thing at a time, right?

The fact that I have a positive attitude about all this is amazing. I'm not going to over-analyze or wonder why.

Here's to my first week in my 40s.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Being 40 Makes Me Wiser

I'm in Baltimore for a birthday bonanza weekend. The 40s started out great and made me realize that with friends like these, I don't need no sitnkin' man (okay maybe I still do for some things).

My staff threw me a surprise birthday party during the day -- party disguised as a budget meeting. And then what I thought was going to be just a couple girlfriends turned into a whole group taking me out to dinner. And Bubbles contacted them all to let them know what spa we would be going to over the weekend and I got more than $100 in gift certificates to put toward spa day.

Thursday I headed to Baltimore to see a high school friend and then T & S and my god-daughters. I had each block of day planned perfectly -- seeing all my Howard County friends while I was on that side of town, including breakfast with J. Well, planned breakfast. We all know how it will turn out.

And true to form, on my birthday he texted to see if instead of breakfast, we could meet for drinks on Friday. I told him yes, but that I would be in Mt. Washington by then. He said, no problem, will text you then.

Thursday, as I was pulling into Laurel to see previously mentioned high school friend, he texted to see if we could meet in Columbia. We went back and forth, me giving him my entire itinerary, and basically showing him (without spelling it out) that it would be ridiculous for me to from Howard County on Friday morning, downtown the museum, to Lutherville to meet a friend, and back to Howard County to meet him, and then back to Mount Washington to stay with Bubbles. Was there someplace in the middle?

He texted back, how about Catonsville? I finally had to spell it out to him. It was stupid and selfish of him to expect me to do that. It wasn't the 25 or so miles each way, it was that it involved Friday afternoon Baltimore beltway traffic. Each way!

And for him to suggest Catonsville as the middle! The hard part would be over. I'd be done with the beltway, I might as well have met him in Columbia. I told him that it wouldn't work.

And so, for the first time, in a long time, I said no to J. And it felt good. No walking all over me. No one-sided friendship. I would have done that drive for any number of friends -- mostly because I know that they wouldn't have expected me to. He expected it. Like it's some sort of right, that I have nothing better to do than to drive to him.

Not this time. Not anymore.

And so halfway into my Baltimore weekend, I'm feeling good. I'm feeling wise. Not old.