Monthly Archives: October 2008

Six Minute Dating in Sixteen Paragraphs!

I’m sure all my regular readers have been waiting by the computer anxiously hitting refresh/checking their readers for an update on my Speed Dating event last night! And if you just stumbled across this post, boy are you in for a treat. Find out what it’s like to re-enter the dating world in your mid-40’s!

For those not in the know on the whole speed dating thing, I invite you to check out this Wikipedia article. If you already know (or don’t care), on with the show!

So the sitter arrived, we all scarfed down Subway subs for dinner, I took the quickest shower in history, put on a red sweater (supposedly men are attracted to red), kissed the girls and headed off to the restaurant/bar where the event was being hosted. On the way there, I realized my error in having had onions with my sub. Clearly I have not gone on a first date in awhile!

We were designated a “private party” in the upstairs part of the bar, while downstairs the after work crowd was in full swing, along with huge TV’s with a Wii game going (but ignored) on one, a sports channel on another and a general news channel on a third. When I say huge TV’s, these were something like 20×10 feet!

Anyway, there were several folks there already, many with a beer or other drink in hand. Another woman and I got there at the same time, and we checked in at the desk and received our name tags, first name only. The two of us walked to the bar area and chatted for a few minutes – turns out she had attended an event a month or two ago and found it a little awkward since her ex-husband was one of the men! I wanted to tell her she should blog about it – what a great story that could be!

Once everyone had arrived, the women were directed to sit at a table matching the number on our name tags. The men would start at the table matching their number, and then move from table to table until we had all met everyone, 6 minutes at a time. Ready? Go!

There were 12 men and 12 women. It was very loud in the place, what with happy hour going on downstairs and the music. They gave us a “Match Sheet” to keep track of everyone’s names and make notes on each person. The first man sat down and we started getting to know each other. Despite my having read up ahead of time on some different, unusual, more interesting questions to ask, I suddenly felt ridiculous even thinking asking someone their favorite childhood memory. To a man, it was all – where do you live, what do you do for work, what do you do for fun. I made sure to tell everyone I had young children. At least two of them shared they have grandchildren the same age. A couple of them asked if my kids’ father was still in the picture, and for them I gave a brief overview of why the answer to that is no.

One man sat down and told me he was 61, but he felt 50. And if he hadn’t told me his age, I probably would have guessed early 50’s.  I actually liked him.

One man kept repeating how attractive I was and that he was going to mark me a “yes”. He reminded me a little of Barry Manilow. Without the singing.

With yet another man we seemed to be clicking somewhat, although I really had to strain to hear what he had to say. And then he asked me about my “faith”, and started talking about the “word of god”. Sorry, I happen to believe I can live a good and moral life without attributing it to religion. Just my opinion, of course, but it resulted in him being a very strong “no” in my book (and I suspect he ended up feeling the same about me).

One man’s children live in LA and he intends to relocate there in the next year. If not for that, he would be worth a second look.

Many of the men knew each other – they attend these events semi-regularly at the request of the coordinator, who needs to keep the men/women balance even for it to work. They also mentioned they knew each other through Meet-Ups which is more a social thing, with children often included. In fact, one of the men is the coordinator of the local meetup they all seemed to be involved in. I had no idea this existed, and it is certainly for way more than just dating – check it out for your own area!

With only one man did I find it difficult to fill the 6 minutes with conversation. Thank goodness it was only 6 minutes and not an entire first date.

This morning we all received an email asking us to go in and score our dates with a quick Yes or No. I marked two men Yes – the 61 year old, and another man who was really interesting, even though I don’t think we have time for each other. Right after I did that I was able to see that two other men had marked me Yes, and maybe I’d want to give them a second look. I didn’t think that would happen – I thought we’d only know if we both said Yes. Later this afternoon the interesting man also marked me Yes. Now, do I really want to take that anywhere? We have 3 days to enter our scores, so it’s possible I’ll have more Yes’s. But honestly, I don’t need them.

So, in summary, am I glad I did this? Yes. After about two dates I started to feel more comfortable. All the men were nice, even if they weren’t all someone I would consider dating. It turned out to be kind of fun. Would I do it again? No, probably not, if only because I have a feeling I’d see many of the same men there!

And if you are happily involved, count yourself lucky. But I welcome you to listen in on my excursions!

Opening up to let go

So Mr. Elusive, the high school would-be-prom-date-except-for-me-laughing-in-his-face, has been found. Since finding him via Facebook we have emailed 4-5 times over the last 2 days – just basic catching up stuff. I told him I’d tried several times over the years to find him, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to dive right into why, but reassured him I wanted nothing from him.

Then today he noticed my name on his Gmail account, so he sent me a chat message, and we chatted on and off for a few hours (we were both working), and he asked me why I had been “hunting him down”. I hemmed and hawed a bit about it being immature and “high school” and before I could even get to it (these are copied/pasted from our chat session):

Mr. Elusive: I did think you let me down easy when I asked you to the Prom

Me: easy? in my memory i laughed in your face. which was rude and immature. i had never been asked to the prom before and i didn’t know how to respond.

Mr. Elusive: I think I asked you out of blue and took laugh as shock more than mean

Meyes, that’s what it WAS – i was embarrassed and surprised but i felt like it probably felt mean to you and if you were already mature enough to understand me, then you are a fine, fine person. you were someone i liked and cared about, and even a split second later i wished i could have taken it back

So, against Janet’s advice (which I read after this exchange had taken place), I spilled, and I must say, I feel better. As he reminded me, it’s been over 28 years. We’ve lived more since that event took place than we had up to that point. But it really has always bothered me, and I feel some release to hear that he understood. Whether he really understood it so well at the time, or came to that realization with some reflection over time I can’t know.

Hair Apparent

Here is my new and improved look:

I love it!!!

We’ll see if I can replicate it when I style it myself tomorrow. I think she spent as much if not more time cutting it after she’d dried it than before. And while it was not an inexpensive cut, it was not completely outrageous for a skilled change.

Updates on my personal life – eek!


My newly developed Facebook addiction has resulted in my becoming “Friends” with lots of current and former co-workers (primarily), a few high school friends, several fellow bloggers, and more than one man I was previously “involved” with, if you get my meaning (some of whom I found, others who found me — and it’s all OK).

And tonight I found the elusive high school classmate that I completely dissed when he invited me to the prom. I didn’t send him a Friend request – just a private note giving some basic information and asking if it were the right person. But I’m pretty sure it’s him. We’ll see if he responds.

On a separate, but related, note, I’m completely and utterly frustrated with the whole eHarmony experience. Men aren’t even looking at my profile, let alone responding to anything. Since they aren’t even looking I can’t take it personally, but that only frustrates me more because why don’t they care?? After all, they are paying for this.

Reminder: my speed dating event is this Wednesday, October 29th! Another “eek!”

Update on Mr. Elusive – not only did he respond to my email confirming it is him, he sent me a Facebook friend request, which I have accepted. I am only his second Facebook friend (and he is married), and now I need to decide what to do with my guilty feelings! Spill? Or let it go?

What the Hair to do?

I am hair challenged. I suppose it all started when I was 6 years old and about to enter first grade. My mother was giving me a little trim when the phone rang. Being the eager-beaver-people-pleaser I was, I picked up the scissors to continue the job. Which had to be finished off at a salon in a fairly drastic way. I was mistaken for a boy for years afterwards.

Nearly 40 years later I tend to go in cycles. I’ll let it grow (for me, shoulder length is pretty long), it will drive me batty, and I’ll get it cut. I go round and round like this.

The last stylist I went to was really cautious in her cutting style. “Baby steps” she would say. Well, when I leave a salon (and drop nearly $100, including color) I want to look different! So after seeing her 3-4 times, I stopped going, and have been growing out my bangs for the last 6 months or so. I did get a trim about 3 months ago at a “drive through” hair cuttery, but asked them to leave my bangs alone.

Well, I succeeded in growing my bangs out.

Why was I doing this again? All I do is tuck it behind my ears to keep it out of my eyes and let me tell you, that is not an attractive look on me.

I have an appointment on Monday at an Aveda salon (yes, $$$$) and am hoping someone can create a “look” for me. I’m not too picky – give me an easy to take care of style that doesn’t leave me looking like a boy. In other words, no expensive repeat of my 6 year old style.

Do It Yourself

Because I am feeling starved for coming up with original content on my own these days (not a good thing, what with NaBloPoMo coming up and all. And with no theme to boot!), I checked in with the daily meme site I referred to once before, and chose the one called Mind Hump – today’s question is to tell about your proudest “do it yourself” moment. Hey, I think that’s a great topic for any day!

Some moments that spring to mind:

  • Doing my own taxes, every year
  • My last move, where I used PODS instead of a moving company, saving me $8,000 (technically I had lots of help from friends, but I still consider this something I did myself)
  • Painting (I hate it and I’m not very good at it, but it feels good when it’s done)
  • Lawn care and snow removal

I suppose the most recent one that comes to mind happened just two weeks ago. As many of you know, we recently got a new puppy. She is great! We love her so much. She is so smart. The house training thing, which I had never actually done before, was way more time consuming than I anticipated, but it is so crucial. If you skimp on time or effort on house training you will pay for it later – my advice is to suck it up and do it!

Anyway, we’ve had her a month now (she is 14 weeks old at this writing), and I dare say she is house trained. She rings the bells whenever she needs to go out, and she actually “goes” every time. It is amazing and awesome. I am very proud of her for being so smart, and frankly I’m proud of myself for being consistent and following through. Of course due to her age she still can’t go more than about 3-4 hours (except for overnight) without needing a trip outside, but she is consistent about letting me know when she needs to go out.

And I guess I could include that as a “do it yourself” moment. And while it’s related, it’s not the one I wanted to share with you!

Two weeks ago our friends visited. We had 6 women in the house – 2 adults in our 40’s and 4 kids under 7. Plus our two puppies. We had a great time. We also tackled this project.

Imaging if you will – two middle-aged women (I use that term very loosely!), with four rambunctious children in tow, perusing the Lawn and Garden Center at Lowe’s. No one was around to help. No matter. We examined the picket fencing first. It was by far the more attractive option, but after a quick phone consultation with Susie’s husband, we determined it would be way more work than we were willing to sign up for. A short walk away we found the “chain link” fencing. I put it in quotes because I would not describe it that way, but nonetheless, that is what it’s called. I’d already done the measuring and knew how much we needed. It came in rolls big enough that we’d only need one roll, which gave us lots left over. Susie suggested going with the green fencing over the metal colored (silver? grey?) and I have to agree this was the best choice – so unobtrusive!

After adding 10 posts, some wire, a mallet, wire cutters, stakes, nails and plastic “chicken wire” (don’t remember what they called this, but it was for enclosing the underside of my deck), we were ready to roll! (Some of these items were later returned as we didn’t end up needing them.)

We made up a batch of frozen mango margaritas to grease our fence-putter-upper muscles, and set to work! I pounded the posts into the ground with the wrong type of mallett (eh, who cares – it worked!) while Susie held them in place, and then we secured the wire of the fencing in the little hooks on the posts. The post by the house had to be placed further away than I would have liked since apparently there is a large rock or possibly the foundation preventing anything from being hammered into the ground there!

We also had to create a makeshift gate for access to the yard. I’ll have to give this some more thought possibly next summer, but for now it’s just hooked on a cup hook I screwed into the decking.

We put the “chicken wire” under the deck, so Tessie can’t escape by running under it and out into the yard, and it was when we started this part of the project that we realized we should have picked up a staple gun. Drats! Susie said, “How about a neighbor?” and so I ran across the street and waited, and waited, and waited for the neighbor to find it. When he did he said, “Sorry it took so long – I hid this from the kids and hid it so well I forgot where I put it! Just let me know if you need more staples.” A quick thank you and back to the project I was (I was gone so long Susie sucked down the rest of her margarita – I need to catch up!). No more than 10 staples later we were on empty and I had to run back for more.

Two weeks post fence installation and I can honeslty say my life has changed. I am so completely tickled to have a fenced in yard for my dog to do her business, and even more pleased that I did it myself!

Isn’t she adorable?? And getting so big! Too big! But that’s another post.

What about you? Do you have a proud “do it yourself” moment?

Second Grade Tightrope for Parents

OK, parents, I need some input. And if you happen to be a teacher, I especially want to hear from you.

Krystal’s second grade class was given an assignment during the first week of school to create an “All About Me” poster to share with the class. Each student will have a week during the school year where they are “Student of the Week” and their poster will be featured on the classroom wall. Some suggestions for items to include were their favorite things (color, food, books, movies, etc), pets, family information, baby pictures, what they want to be when they grow up, etc.

I bought Krystal a poster board to use, and helped her brainstorm categories to include, but otherwise left her to her own devices. Her poster has meaningful content and it looks like it was done by a 7 year old.

On the handful of occasions I’ve been in her classroom since, I’ve taken note of the student’s poster featured. It was obvious to me that one of two things was going on. Either Krystal’s classmates are exceedingly artistically gifted, or they had significant parental help. I don’t know about you, but I’m inclined to go with that second option.

And I’m feeling really conflicted about this!! Krystal has not expressed any dissatisfaction with her poster in comparison to anyone else’s. When I saw the first one, I did comment to her that it looked like that student had lots of help from a parent, and she agreed. I’ve kept my mouth shut about the others since.

I feel like I did the right thing, in letting Krystal run with the bulk of this project. I honestly feel like I walked the tightrope between offering support and guidance while letting her have creative control. But I can’t help feeling inadequate on her behalf when I see the other posters. Look, I know this is second grade. And her teacher is seasoned – she knows what 7 year olds can and can’t do on their own. But will she feel like Krystal has a parent who doesn’t care because her poster isn’t as polished as others? Or will she be relieved that at last a student did their own work?

How the hell am I going to handle the high school years??

A Picture is Worth….What?

Some of my readers may remember that I participated in a “free communication weekend” offered by eHarmony, the dating web site, over Memorial Day weekend. Periodically since, I’ve received emails from them offering me a discount on a paid membership, which I always ignored. Until the one I got late last week which offered three months for the price of one, and I figured, what the heck?

Oh, and I am also scheduled to attend a speed dating event in two weeks.

Now that I’m an actual paying customer on EH, I get to see photos of the men I’m supposedly a match for. This has been eye-opening to say the least. According to EH, due to my age (45), I’m going to be considered a match for men ranging in age from 41 to 60. Sixty!! I still do a double take when I see matches for men in their 50’s, which is only a few years older. It’s definitely a mental thing. But then again, some of the photos underline their age, and make me think of my dad. And not in a good way. And if there are no photos, it’s a definite turn-off, which I now understand. During my Memorial Day stint I chose not to share my photo, but this time I put three up that anyone can see. Two are head shots, and here is the other:

I like that one because it show my basic body type, which I know is important to a lot of men, it shows me with my children, but not their faces, and they can see that my children are young without having it bashed in their face.

SInce Monday night, when I signed up, I have heard from exactly zero men this time around.

I initiated communication with one man earlier today, and am waiting to see if he responds.

I am really not sure I’m ready for all this.

A Seed is Planted

We had a very busy and fun weekend. Our good friends visited us for the first time in 3 years (usually we visit them). Susie, who I love like a sister, and her two girls the same age as mine (Greta and Kaylee) came, along with their new puppy, (Koby), who is only 9 days older than Tessie. Her husband stayed home with the three teenage kids, who would have been bored, bored bored!

They arrived about 7:30 on Thursday evening and Tessie immediately became frightened at the sight of Koby, who is no bigger than she is. He had been in the car for 7 hours so was very happy to finally be running around. She, in turn, peed while trying to melt herself into my leg. I was not terribly surprised since she is extremely submissive and cowers at puppy class, although at home she is quite active and content. However, it only took 10 minutes or so before the two puppies were frolicking madly about the house. We had so much fun just watching them. I will be very interested to see if any of that has an affect on Tessie’s approach to puppy class tomorrow night.

The weather here was perfect all weekend, and the four girls had a ball playing outside – Kaylee (5), even rode a 2-wheeler for the first time! Tessie and Koby anxiously awaited each other’s appearance each morning and were inseparable, acting like siblings fighting over the same toy. We were really very entertained by them. And I realized how much fun it can be to have two dogs….a seed has been planted. We’ll see if it grows.

Susie was also impressed and not a little jealous that Tessie is consistently ringing the bells to go outside to pee. Frankly, so am I! Now that we are three weeks into this house training thing, it suddenly doesn’t seem so bad. Susie also helped me fence in a section of yard off my deck so I can just open the door for Tessie without having to phyiscally take her out each time. This will be especially wonderful as the weather gets colder in these here parts!

Susie, Greta and Kaylee left at 8:00 this morning for their long drive back, and I spent the morning doing laundry that had piled up while they were here. After lunch the girls and I took Tessie on a hike nearby along a river which tired them all out. Krystal fell asleep on the couch watching the Red Sox lose abysmally to the Rays before I realized it and got the girls to bed, an hour earlier than usual.

And now I am sitting on that same couch with a laptop on my lap, a puppy warming my leg, enjoying the first alone time I’ve had in four days. Visiting friends are a gift, and so is the space they leave when they go.

Right now the plan is for us to visit them the week between Christmas and New Years and we all can’t wait!

In which Krystal critiques your fashion choices

Krystal was watching her new favorite show, Bindi the Jungle Girl, this morning and the segment featured poachers.

Krystal: Why do some people kill animals for clothes?

Me:  Because they think it looks pretty, I guess.

Krystal: I think it looks better on the animal.

How right you are!!