She Works Hard For The Money

“I met her there in the corner stand and wonders where she is. And it’s strange to her some people seem to have everything.” ~Donna Summer, She Works Hard For The Money

(Once I sang this song walking out of one my old manager’s office after he dumped a lot of projects on me. He did not laugh. Even after I smiled and did a shoulder shrug to drive home the point I was kidding. You win some, you lose some.)

The last two years had been a revolving door of change. I moved twice, new city, new problems, new friends and new hobbies. I even had to get a new car because my old one finally crapped out and decided it was in charge of when it was in the mood to reverse…you get the picture. I’m busier than I can remember ever being since college, and for the most part that’s ok. My social life is a far cry from what it looked like in Chicago, but I’m working on it. Other than my cats, the one constant that has been with me the entire time has been my job. The dust has settled for the most part on everything else. I feel like, other than building my friend community, things have fallen into place. And yet…

I’m not content. I want more. I want this career thing I have been working towards to launch and literally start paying off. Do I have a good job? Yes. Have I reached my potential? Fuck no. I feel like I’m only getting started.

What sparked this you ask? Well, I realized something while paying my bills last week. Divorce is fucking expensive. I’m still dealing with payments and the aftermath of some finances. I’m just done with writing that check. Part of my income is still paying off that old life, and I feel like it’s taking a toll on me. It’s been two years! So I thought…now. Now is the time to start seeing what you’re capable of in moving up in the world. Why not, right?

How am I going to do this? I’m not really sure, but I will tell you when I have my mind set on something, it happens. I’m reading books, taking notes, making lists and devising a plan. I even started to take ten minutes a day to start meditating. (You can laugh, but I’ve never slept better than the nights I meditate to clear my mind from my crazy days.) People that are not as bright or driven as me have great jobs they love. I’m ready to make things happen for me.

Do I regret playing it safe so far? Yes and no. I could have made moves earlier in life. I could have made moves in my marriage, but his hours weren’t always great and I worried since I was the steady stream of income. My priorities were different. I can’t beat myself up for that. I can only learn and start dreaming big! In some odd way, I feel like the last two years has been the perfect mental training for this exact situation. Thanks to my terrible marriage, I know how to handle disappointment and rejection. Scraping by financially for a while taught me that I am scrappy and resourceful. Being at the lowest point in my life highlighted the support system I have sitting right in front of me. They’ll keep me motivated and reminding me to believe I can get what I want.

I’ve been focused on getting involved in things that mean something to me, trying to find a good guy and finding new friends since I relocated about 8 months ago. It’s been a slow start, so time to shift my focus. If I learned anything from my experiences in life, if you’re trying day after day to make something happen, and it’s not working, revise your plan. Not everything comes in the right order. Maybe my career is what my focus is supposed to be. Maybe it’s supposed to be my focus because that’s where I’ll meet new people I love and adore. You never know. I do know this focus feels right, so I’m going for it. Wish me luck!

Window Shopping

“The phone is ringing and the clock says 4am. If it’s your friends, well I don’t want to hear from them. Please leave your number and a message at the tone. Or you can just go on and leave me alone.” ~Husker Du, Don’t Want to Know If You Are Lonely

In my five months of venturing into the online dating world, I feel like I can sum it up best with those words. I have more or less felt like a mannequin with strangers walking  by thinking:

  • “Yes.”
  • ” No.”
  • ” Eh, maybe. I think I like the last one better.”
  • ” She’s ok and has all the things I said I wanted, but I haven’t seen everyone yet…so imma keep looking because it says she has cats. I wonder if I could find someone like her, but a little hotter who doesn’t own cats. I’m sure she’s out there and will find the pictures of me wasted with my friends hilarious. Swipe….”

Maybe it hasn’t always been this way, but my experience so far has been this weird world where people think they can find this perfect person that doesn’t exist. There could be one minor thing you don’t have in common and they’ll pass. It’s not realistic. Who wants to date a carbon copy of themselves anyway? Snooze fest. And, not to sound like a jerk, but I also found it’s a world where guys think they can get women way out of their league. I don’t know how many “entrepreneurs” really exist around my age, but I call bullshit. You don’t have a job, which is why you’re sending messages at 2am on a Wednesday. I know it’s because you just got home from the bar and you don’t have a job to go to in the morning. I also know you sent messages to at least ten other women you found attractive. A good, smart woman isn’t falling for that so stop sending her messages asking her how she’s doing at 2am. She’s sleeping because she has a job. Go bother a party girl looking for hookups. She’s your girl.

The catalog of available singles has led a lot of dudes to believe, not only that some perfectly polished, perfectly in-shape, bombshell is out there waiting for them, but that they DESERVE her by just showing up with bad car pictures of themselves, a shitty job and the fact they took a trip overseas once in college. It’s weird and confusing.

What have I learned from my five months on the online dating interwebs? A few things:

  • I learned to not get comfortable with any conversation. They leave in the middle when it starts getting interesting because they saw a picture of a girl in a bikini who would never give them a second look, so they’re going to see what’s up with her.
  • I learned quickly to take nothing personally.
  • I learned this is not for me, but it’s fun to pass the time waiting for your subscription to run out by taking screenshots of weirdos and sending them to your friends.
  • I learned self-employed means unemployed.
  • I learned “how are you?” is the leading pickup line. It makes sense. I mean, my heart about stopped every time I read that line….nope.
  • I learned every guy who sets up a date with you has already planned to be out of there within 1-2 hours because he anticipates it’s going to go bad. Even he’s shocked when he discovered I’m not a psycho. (This does make me wonder how many bad dates he’s been on and what he’s seen and heard. If catfishing wasn’t mean and horrible, I would totally try it to see how my modern ladies are presenting themselves to the dating world.)
  • I learned I’m not going to renew this nightmare I paid for. It’s not for me.
  • I learned I’m going to go back to showing up, in person, to places and spaces of interest and let it ride.

I can say I tried, so that’s something. It’s always there if I need it again, but I think for now I’m good. I’m not interested in guys pretending they’re interested in something long term when they’re not, that they want kids when they don’t or being their therapist because they’re still not over their ex. It’s all a learning process. I get that. It makes it easy to continue on coaching, trying to move up in my career and finding animal organizations to volunteer and spend my time. I haven’t felt like I’m missing out, so I’m thankful for the experience for that sole reason. It’s allowed me to be calm, patient and just go live actual life instead of hunting on a keyboard…for now at least. We’ll see where I land in another six months!





Parental Control

“Good things are coming our way. Good things are coming. I’ll wait in line. I long to be inside your company. Maybe you know we’ll go wherever you wanted to. I’m through wishing I was somewhere else. Drive along to escape. Good things are coming.” ~Rival Schools, Good Things

It’s been a while since I wrote a story. If you actually follow this thing, sorry for the delay. I haven’t given up telling my ridiculous stories. It’s just that I’ve been a little preoccupied. No, no, no. I have not met anyone. I got reacquainted with an old friend…volleyball. I am currently assistant coaching a young girls’ club team. It’s been a while since I’ve spent so much time around kids. They’re wonderful little aliens who have brought a lot of joy to my life.

At a recent tournament, I ventured over to the parents’ section while two teams were playing (not mine or my club) while my team was the working team at the time. If you’re not familiar with the structure of club volleyball tournaments, if you’re not playing, your team either rests or helps ref the other games. I should note here, I played volleyball for 11 years (grade school, club, high school and college). I’m familiar with crazy coaches and parents. Or so I thought…

Perhaps I just don’t remember exactly HOW crazy the parents were when I was a player, or maybe most of the parents’ on my teams weren’t that nuts. I have no idea. I know this…I heard some crazy shit sitting in the stands! These parents were terrible. Terrible fans. Terrible to their kids. Terrible to the coaches. Terrible to the refs. Not a single one of them understood the game. So, you had people sitting and screaming about things they didn’t understand. I’ll explain.

A double hit. In volleyball, a double hit is when a player hits the ball twice. Many times this is called when someone tries to set the ball, and the ball hits one hand first and the other second instead of in tandem. Hence, double hit. Two. There are other ways a double hit can be called, but in this particular game the setter on the terrible parents’ team kept getting called on it. To be blunt, she just wasn’t very good. This caused an uproar with the parents because they had no idea what it was. The players knew, the coaches knew, the other team knew…EVERYONE knew why this was being called. Except the three loudest people in the bleachers. These are some of the things being spewed at the ref, the other team and, sadly, their own kids:

  • “How is that a double hit? Explain that to me please. What is that call? If I were the coach I’d be asking the ref to explain a double hit to me so I could tell the girls what that is.”  (Dude. They know.)
  • “They’re not doing so hot on their statuses this game.” (Statuses?)
  • “Come on Shelby!!! Where is she on that?” (This was his kid.)
  • “Smash! Smash it!!” (No one says this in volleyball. If you do, we know you don’t know anything about the sport.)
  • “I think we emptied the shotgun on the first game.” (You did.)
  • “Knock, knock. Who’s there? I guess no one was home on that one.”
  • “If I were the coach, I’d call a timeout.”
  • “If I were the coach….” (For not knowing a damn thing about volleyball, he sure had a lot of “coaching” advice.)

This was what I heard in about ten points of the second set of the match. I had to leave not because I was offended or sickened…but because I was no longer able to contain my laughter. They sounded absolutely ridiculous. I felt bad for the coach who probably gets complaints about her choices from parents who have no clue what is going on. Some poor girl trying to her little heart out on the court has to go home to advice from those dummies at the end of the day. It was eye-opening.

On a completely different note, last weekend there was a group of parents who had choreographed dances for their girls. Another group of parents sang a song and did a pile on in the middle of the floor when their team won a tournament. Same kind of crazy, just on the other end of the spectrum.

Unsolicited advice to fans: Be respectful. Be supportive. Don’t be an asshole. Good sportsmanship should not be a fading thing. There is such a thing as being a gracious winner AND loser. Moving on… 

So, this has been my world and focus lately. I kind of put dating on the back burner because, well, it was kind of exhausting and becoming a bummer to think about. I still think about it, but…it’s not my main focus. For now, volleyball, crazy parents, great parents, great kids, crazy kids, smelly gyms and kneepads. The funny thing is, being back in this world has been pretty damn awesome. When I was healing from my divorce, I kept saying how my confidence was returning and started feeling like my old self. I now feel like I’m fully back together. How cool is that?

Party of One

“I don’t go ’round trying to be what I’m not. I don’t waste my time trying to get what you got. I work at pleasing me ’cause I can’t please you, and that’s why I do what I do. My soul flies free like a willow tree. Doo wee doo wee doo wee.” ~Erykah Badu, Apple Tree

Drinking alone. Those two words spark a feeling in almost everyone. Some think it’s sad and horrible. Actually, most people have negative views about it. Me? I think drinking alone is awesome. It’s not sad at all. I can think of plenty of times I had drinks with people and felt terrible. Well, because they were terrible, acting terrible…just shitty people in general. Do you know who is not shitty and terrible when I have drinks with her? Me. I am super nice to me, I let me pick the music to dance around the house to (sometimes I have pants on, sometimes not…I don’t judge me), I let me pick the tv shows to lounge to, I make sure I have a warm blanket when watching the shows I let me pick, I fix me my favorite snacks and make sure my glass is always full. How is this sad?

Even on the rare occasion I go to a bar alone or am (as always) early to meet friends so order a drink while I wait, I am not sad. Do you know what usually ruins my drink? Annoying people at the bar. So…where did this drinking alone = sad thing come from? I have a few theories:

  • People turn to alcohol when they’re sad and lonely so now EVERYONE who drinks alone is sad and lonely. This is dumb.
  • There is an overwhelming point of view that being alone IS sad and lonely…says people who hate their relationship and want you to get in one quick so you can join them in misery. If you add that theory + booze = you’re a sad sack of shit. Also dumb.
  • Alcohol is a depressant, so if you choose to drink this in your own company, you’re a loser…but if you make this choice with friends it’s a party? Dumb logic.

You see where I’m going with this, right? I think it will be a while before the majority of people stop confusing being alone with being lonely. Two totally different things. I felt completely and utterly alone when I was married. Drinking on the couch watching movies with him was sad most times for me. That is not the story I tell anymore.

In fact, I have a weekly routine to treat myself to drinks. I stop by a cool wine shop by my house that has free Thursday night tastings. I drive there after work, sample a few, buy what I like and enjoy my weekend drinks with me if I stay in! See? I’m so good to me.

Next time you get home from work, stay in on a Friday, stop in a bar to have a drink…don’t let the question or doubts of whether or not it’s sad creep in. It’s not. It’s sad to deprive yourself of a Friday night where you make yourself dinner and drinks while Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation is blaring then break into a solo routine in your kitchen…for example…

Go With Your Gut

“Here’s to you, the same chords that I stole from a song that I once heard. The same melody I borrowed from the void. I’d rather observe than structure a narrative. The characters are thin; the plot does not develop. It ends where it begins.” ~The Menzingers, Burn After Writing

I’ve been told this many times since being single, and I’ve been reminded of it several times since venturing into the online dating world. My gut sort of knew the deal when creating my profile…this is not going to be for me. So far I’m right. I’m not into this at all in terms of meeting and finding a boyfriend. I am, however, extremely entertained by the comments and profiles I’ve come across.

This isn’t exactly a shocker, but dudes are aggressive behind their computer screens! When you move past those weirdos, you see and read a lot of hilarious stuff. Here are some of my favorites:

  • I saw a man’s profile picture that was part his face (serious look, long, curly hair) that faded into an image. That image was a cartoon-like waterfall. He looks like Axe Body spray smells.
  • I’m convinced a couple dudes used their mug shots. There is no other explanation for their pictures.
  • A surprising number of guys take their profile picture in their cars. Thumbs down for the bad angle. Thumbs up for their use of seatbelts.
  • Group pictures. These are confusing. I never know who the dude is until the third or fourth picture. Almost every time, once I figured out who the actual profile person is, I thought his friends were hotter.
  • CrossFit. Unless they don’t work out at all, CrossFit seems to be the single guy workout of choice.

The messages…these have been both creepy, boring, confusing and funny. It occurred to me that guys don’t really have to be creative and use pickup lines anymore. They get to take time, use their brain and edit buttons before hitting send in hopes of grabbing your attention. With all of that in mind…they still come with some terrible and lazy notes. I made a rule to not respond to anything that just says “Hey. How are you?” I’m guessing they keep doing this because they get responses. Here are some of my highlights so far:

  • Hey. Let’s giggle and wiggle? (It made me laugh, but no way am I setting the bar that’s ok.)
  • I see you like to cook. Where do you buy your groceries? (Um…what? Either he’s a creep, or he doesn’t really understand how asking a woman where she grocery shops can sound. Also, really? That’s the question that came to mind when you read my profile?)
  • Hey. I’m looking for something to do before the ice storm hits. Want to meet up? My treat. No strings! (No dude. We’ve never spoke and you want me to meet you somewhere before an ice storm hits potentially leaving me stranded with you. Sounds safe.)
  • This next one requires some back story. I had been messaging back and forth with a seemingly nice and funny guy. When he suggested we meet, I was unavailable that day but offered another day. His response was passive aggressively mean and ended with him thanking me for my “generous offer.” He actually put quotes around generous offer driving the point home. I stopped communicating. He has sent a couple messages since that are now in the trash.
  • You left Chicago and the Cubs finally won the World Series. Any correlation to that? (Ugh. I realize he was trying to be funny. It’s just not funny.)
  • Hey. When I first read your profile, I thought it said you didn’t want to date a guy with kids, but I guess I read it wrong. (What on earth do I say to that?)

Part of this might be on me. I’m not sure how to properly conduct searches to weed out the clear mismatches. Part of me is still fighting this process, and I’ve been relying on the searches they automatically send to me. I don’t reply to most messages sent my way. I only reply if I truly think I would want to meet this person in real life. I don’t think this is fun, so using it as a tool just to pass the time is a waste of time. I don’t want my time wasted so am trying not do that to others. I’m trusting and going with my gut. My gut says chill and be selective. In the meantime, I’ll keep keeping an eye out (since I paid for it) and cross my fingers for no dick pics.

New Year, New Me?

“So this is the new year, and I don’t feel any different. The clanking of crystal. Explosions off in the distance. So this is the new year, and I don’t have any resolutions for self assigned penance. For problems with easy solutions.” ~Death Cab For Cutie, The New Year

I hate this phrase. I really do. I only hate it because it’s bullshit and most people only half mean it. You have 365 days in the year to start over. You don’t have to wait until a specific date to change your life, your attitude, your shitty friends, your weight, your love life, etc. I do understand the sentiment of their being a light at the end of a 12-month tunnel. I get it. Sometimes it seems like life has taken a huge dump on you for consecutive months, and you’re looking for any sign of hope that your stretch of bad luck, dullness, boredom…whatever…is maybe coming to an end. I’ve been there. I might even still be in that boat a little bit. That being said, any day can be the day you wake up and change what you don’t like about your life. You don’t have to wait until 12:01 am on 1/1.

How did I spend my first day of this new year? I spent it like I spend most Sundays. I had a small headache from drinks the night before, and then I went for a run. I did some meal prep a couple days before. This isn’t new. I’ve been doing this on and off for the last two years. I just finally had some time off from work to get my life organized. Are you still with me? I know. How mundane and boring…for now. (Yes. That’s right. I just hit you with some foreshadowing.)

I’ve been in KC for three months, so my “getting settled” stories have faded. I am still trying to make friends, so I didn’t really have any crazy or funny stories to tell in the break room at work. I like having stories to tell. I didn’t make any resolutions other than saving more money. I know. BORING! At 8:34pm on 1/4, I resolved to change my situation. I decided, after 10 months of being afraid, stating what I think I would feel or do if I online dated…to actually find out. I can’t believe this is my life right now, but I finally broke down and joined the online dating world.

I’ll tell you what. So far…it’s just as ridiculous as I thought. Also, I realize I am not a selfie picture taker. While not helpful in my impromptu decision to create a profile, I’m pretty proud of that. I had to really search for photos, and I came up a little short in my opinion. My poor sister has to take some of me this weekend. I have been creeped out four times in the last 12 hours, which I feel like is a respectable amount of times. I mean…think about it. If no one was creeping me out, I’m not sure if I would feel safe or if I was doing it wrong. If I am putting up pictures even creeps didn’t want to creep on…is that sad or good? I have no idea! I am not scared for my personal safety yet, but I do feel ok with the level of weird I’ve seen so far. Wow. What a rollercoaster! Here are the odd things I’ve heard so far:

  • “Your profile caught my eye (I only have one), so I thought I’d say hello.”
  • “I’m sure you have gotten plenty of messages from dirty old men asking to be your sugar daddy or rent you an apartment.”
  • “If you’re not wanted from the law or recently escaped a mental institution, maybe we can get a drink.”
  • “Hi. How are you?” (This isn’t creepy. I just don’t know how to respond other than honestly saying, “Really uncomfortable.”)

What will tonight bring? Lord knows. I need to grow a pair and actually engage in conversation now. Baby steps, I guess… I did get one message that I feel comfortable responding to. After I go run in the snow after work, I am going to have a glass of wine, type something and hit send. Maybe… Is this real life?

So This is Christmas…

“Father Christmas, give us some money. Don’t mess around with those silly toys. We’ll beat you up if you don’t hand it over. We want your bread so don’t make us annoyed. Give all the toys to the little rich boys.” ~The Kinks, Father Christmas

When I was little, I loved Christmas. I’ve always been a morning person, but I was an especially early morning person on Christmas. I would wake up before the sun, sneak out of my room with my pillow while trying not to wake up my sister and walk as fast as I could to the tree careful to avoid the creaky spots in the floor. I was a Christmas morning ninja. I would scope out the presents and see what packages had my name on it…all from Santa who’s handwriting looked suspiciously like my mom’s… No one was awake in my house. It was just me, presents and the tree. I would grab a blanket and lay down by the tree until I heard someone else in the house wake up. It was usually my mom. I’m pretty sure she wasn’t interested in talking that early in the morning, but that didn’t stop me. I couldn’t help telling her Santa ate all the things I set out for him and showed up again with presents even though our fireplace was fake. Slowly but surely my siblings would wake up. When I couldn’t wait any longer, I would go wake up my dad who was still sleeping off the Christmas Eve festivities at my grandparents house. (My mom wouldn’t let us open presents until everyone was in the room, so someone had to do the dirty work.)

Christmas morning and day was always a nice time when I was younger. I’m not sure really why my enjoyment of the holiday faded over the years. Perhaps it was just that my holidays slowly became only getting to celebrate one or two days rather than a whole month planning and prepping with my family. Traveling was annoying, expensive and stressful. It could have been financial stress, observing people being assholes to each other in parking lots and stores over frivolous merchandise, listening to kids act like brats over not getting all the toys they asked for that they weren’t nice enough all year to deserve in the first place, parents trying to out-gift other parents…or just a nasty combination of all of those things. Everyone always seemed too anxious and tired for a day in which we were supposed to have fun. It didn’t, and still doesn’t, make sense to me. The adult in me no longer saw the beauty of the holiday because I focused on the people that seemed to lose perspective of what celebrating time with family is all about. That’s why I fell more in love with Thanksgiving. But I digress…

I’m near family again, and they are REALLY trying to make me love this holiday again. I decided to be open and give it a try. I don’t think I will ever love it like they do, but I can refocus in order to enjoy it, right? Right. Here is what I have done so far:

  • I bought a tree. No one could believe I didn’t own a tree. I could. You know why? I have two cats. One of them thinks the tree is his personal jungle gym where he can climb up, swat off ornaments and watch them fall to the ground. The last time I had a tree I would come home to mangled branches and busted ornaments. I bought a motion alarm, but the only good that ever did was scare my sweet dog, Chopper.
  • I decorated said tree. I didn’t have many ornaments to fill it since most are somewhere in a landfill, but there are things hanging from branches! I have it against a wall so you can’t walk behind it and see there is nothing on the back side. I also have a room to put it in where I can close the door. No cat destruction and the family can see I tried when they come over. Strategery.
  • I’m hosted a party. I hosted Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve always seemed like the fun party night before the Christmas day family time. It seemed like the more adult celebration of the two, so it makes sense it’s me who hosted this night. I’m made lots of food and had lots of boozes. The only presents exchanged were for a Rob Your Neighbor game, so it almost felt like Thanksgiving. Except…
  • I decorated other parts of my house. My sister brought over boxes and bags filled with extra Christmas decorations. Her “extra” decorations are four times the amount of decorations I owned. Maybe more. Who knows? It’s not really traditional Christmas stuff, which I don’t like anyway, so it works for me. Festive without being cheesy. Baby steps, I tell ya…
  • Playlist. I made a Christmas playlist that was over three hours long. Full disclosure, 90% of Christmas music is annoying to me. It’s like the romantic comedy of music genre’s. Listening to the lyrics make me roll my eyes at the absurdity of the content. Also, I don’t know if you noticed, but some Christmas songs are so creepy! “He sees you when you’re sleeping. He knows when you’re awake.” I’m sorry…what? That has to give kids nightmares or some form of anxiety. “I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus.” So, mom’s cheating on dad…and on Christmas of all days? I will say I was surprised to find a lot of artists I love put out Christmas songs. So, while my Christmas does contain Ms. Darlene Love, it also has Sex Pistols, Queen, Run DMC and Madonna. I can work with that.
  • Presents. I always buy these. This isn’t new. I’m not sure why I’m mentioning it other than to say I love you Amazon Prime. Thank you for existing so I don’t have to go to the store and deal with crazy people. I had to go to the grocery store and, that alone, was reason enough for me to want to set my Christmas tree on fire.

I think those are a lot of strides made in a short amount of time. I make an effort to help myself be less of a grump this time of year, but I also did it because I love my family. Celebrating and taking care of each other is supposed to be what the holiday season is all about right? Next step…convincing people to do this all year long! The being nice part…not the Christmas music, crowded stores, yada yada….

I’m Not From Here Anymore

“I’m dying to tell you this kills us forever. We were already dead. And I’m just fine. I haven’t called you but I haven’t had the time. These thoughts are stale. I’ve been revolving like turnstiles.” ~The Lawrence Arms, Turnstiles.

When you return to the place you called home for many years for the first time, it’s an odd mix of emotions. I took a trip last week to Chicago for several days. I can’t say I wasn’t anxious. I also can’t say I wasn’t excited. It was two extremes at once resulting in me having an anxiety attack before I went. Cool, right? I had just finished up taking a relaxing bath and reading when I started to think about leaving. All of a sudden I felt like I was going to have a heart attack while streams of tears started flooding down my face. I went through the emotional ringer the last two years there, so…you know. It happens.

I’ll start with the excitement part. I’ve been away from my friends, whom I consider the family I chose, for what feels more like 11 years than 11 weeks. I miss being in the company of people who know me – the good, the bad, the ugly and both sides of crazy. In that regard it’s been a long two and a half months. I needed their energy, conversation, laughs, tears and love. I am enjoying my time in my new environment, but only having conversations at surface level is becoming exhausting for me. I needed a break from feeling like a stranger. It was fantastic. I say this all the time, but the one thing I have kicked ass at in life is picking my friends. I didn’t feel like an outsider for a few days. I saw Jerry Seinfeld perform, my friends play music at the Double Door (quite possibly the last time I’ll ever be there since I think it’s closing), ate my face off at my favorite places, drank too much and got to walk as my main form of transportation. All good things. It was clear to me that deep down Chicago is still beautiful to me in many ways.

So, why the anxiety before leaving? I wasn’t sure if I was going to walk down those streets I called home and feel like I didn’t belong. I wasn’t sure if the memories that would flood my mind would be happy or a source of great pain. I’m happy to report it was not a source of pain. When visiting friends like mine, that’s sort of impossible. I should have known! However, it did confirm for me that moving was the right thing to do. I don’t think I could have truly reset and started over in Chicago. I’m not sure why I was mentally stuck there. Perhaps I was attached to what used to be and wanted to recreate it. All I know is sometimes you have to walk away and get some perspective. I’m woman enough to admit when something isn’t working, no matter how crushing it is to my pride.

Moving has allowed me to reflect and focus on the good, and that gives me peace. I’m not saying I reflect on my failed marriage and the emotional aftermath as a thing of beauty. Fuck that noise. It was the worst. I’m saying I now have physical distance and my own space to see that it doesn’t matter anymore. I have a clean slate, and I don’t think I could have generated that for myself in Chicago. I don’t know if I was capable.

I feel warm inside knowing that when I go back to see my friends, it will be concentrated on the people, places and spaces I love. I get to go where I have good memories, whether it’s in a dirty dive bar drinking terrible beer, seeing my friends who are oh so talented play music, walking in neighborhoods for no particular reason other than I love the buildings or stuffing my face at Sultan’s Market. (Seriously. Can Sultan’s move to Kansas City?) It’s refreshing to appreciate my old home again. I didn’t want that chip on my shoulder.

Ok, Kansas City. I’m refreshed and filled with love from my old friends. It’s just the boost of energy I needed so I can start putting myself out there to make some new ones! My new neighborhood may never be the same.

The Perks of Riding Solo

“We’re traveling destinationless with an open ticket for a one way trip. Free of any expectations. Careless while they crack that whip.” ~Samiam, Super Brava

I have spent a lot of time talking about relationships and dating the last several months. After taking time to get settled in my new life here in Kansas City, I noticed a shift on my single lady world view. While there are many times I feel like the odd man out…there are quite a few perks to being alone! In my home, I get to do the following:

  1. TV – I don’t have to watch any shows you like. Only my shows. It also means I don’t have to be embarrassed about the amount of crime shows I have recorded on any given day. Woot!
  2. Music – I never have to give anyone a turn to pick a song. Whatever mood I’m in, I get to pick the songs to match. No one has to be annoyed by my choices, and my mood isn’t ruined by yours. This is heaven to me.
  3. Food – It’s all mine. It’s there because I like it. There is nothing I don’t like in my refrigerator or pantry. If there is no food, that’s on me. I’m forgiving. I never open the refrigerator and say, “Who ate my ___?” It was me. I ate it. If I don’t remember, I still ate it…just while I was drunk. Winning!
  4. Pants – They’re always optional.
  5. Naps – I can take them whenever I want. No one is depending on me, so…night, night.
  6. Ice cream and peanut butter – If you ever find yourself at my house do not eat out of these containers because I eat directly out of them. If I know you’re coming to stay with me, I’ll buy “guest” options for you.
  7. Things – I never have to keep track of anyone’s stuff but mine. I wish I had a dollar for every time my ex asked, “Hey, have you seen my __?” Balls. I always wished he would finish that question by asking me if I knew where his balls were.
  8. Bathroom – I don’t have to share it. I can take as long as I want, or not, getting ready in the morning.
  9. Space – I can spread my stuff out to every closet rack, shelf, drawer…it’s pretty sweet.
  10. Time – I have the option to spend it wherever and with whomever I want…or not. I can watch Snapped all day and no one can say a damn thing.

Those are just my short list of things I have begun to truly appreciate about my life. I’m not sure why I didn’t cherish this stuff before, but I do now! Now that I see the up side, I’m going to be very careful about who I let disrupt this peaceful place I’m in!


“I won’t say your name. You know who you are. I’ll never be the same again now – no way. I just want to say thank you for playing the way you play.” ~Descendents, Thank You

This is the time of year where most folks are reflecting on the things they’re thankful for in life. Families will go around the table saying things they’re thankful for at Thanksgiving dinner (the most honest answers always coming from the kids who say things like cell phones, video games and presents); teachers are forcing students to write thankful notes with illustrations to take home to their parents; some people who have so much will feel grateful for nothing because they’re selfish assholes while many people with minimal luxuries will state they’re just happy to be alive with a roof over their head. Reasons for what you’re thankful for and why are immeasurable. With that in mind, here is my mixed list of emotional and material things I’m thankful for this year and well…all years, really:

  • Family. I couldn’t have gotten through this year and to my current state of happiness without their support. Period. Their levels of support have been so high that sometimes I didn’t feel like I deserved it.
  • Friends. Same thing. I picked a shitty life partner, but I picked incredible friends. Being able to laugh at my lowest point is something I owe to their efforts.
  • Mascara. Without you I look like death.
  • Bed. I love my bed. If my arms were wide enough to hug it, I would. I would have gone to court over my mattress in my divorce if it wasn’t assumed mine.
  • Pets. I miss my dog so much still, but I am grateful for the time we had together. I have two cats that are stepping in where Chopper left off. They lay where she used to and make sure I have a snuggle buddy. Thanks, super cats!
  • Books. The ultimate brain escape for me. I have too many on my “to read” list, and I’m happy with that problem.
  • Cell phone. Yeah, that’s right. I made fun of the fact a kid would say it, but I’m saying it, too. That sucker lets me stay in constant contact with my friends and family, so yes…thank you iPhone!
  • Kind strangers. Most days I see people being polite and doing nice things for other strangers like holding the door, asking them how their day is going, giving them a compliment, not being an asshole and letting them merge onto the highway…all kinds of little things. It makes me smile on the inside and feel like perhaps the world hasn’t totally gone to hell.
  • Dateline. Thank you for never letting me get a false sense of security. Seriously. I’m starting to think I need to follow your suggestion and stop watching alone.
  • Music. Of all of the material things I own in this life, I’m most thankful for the joy music brings into my life. It’s rare I don’t have music on at home, in my car or at work. If it’s not on, I have a song playing in my head or will think of one while in a work meeting. Someone will inevitably say something like, “just blame it on finance” to which I immediately think (but don’t say out loud) “how about we just blame it on the rain?” Then I smile and people look at me weird because they didn’t hear my awesome joke.
  • You. Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this ridiculous blog.

This is my short list. I’m thankful for so much more. I didn’t even get into wine, beer, jokes… Full disclosure, Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. (My favorite, favorite is Halloween. Costumes, candy and creeping yourself out? Yes, please.) Thanksgiving forces folks to take time to truly stop and reflect on the positive in their life, and that’s exactly why I love it. The focus is on food and being present and thankful with whomever you are sharing a meal. AHH! Food! How did I leave that off the list?

Seriously, though. Go tell someone who has helped you, thank you. You’ll make their year.



What’s Your Type?

“Before I met you, I had a few who hung around and made me blue. But I was always looking, I was always looking. Weeks and months turned to years, hiding underneath my fears. But I was always looking, I was always looking…I was always looking for you.” ~Dum Dum Girls, Always Looking

I get asked this pretty often. Typically this question comes after being asked why I’m still single, if I’m interested in dating and if I’ve tried online dating. (Most likely due to my lack of effort. Yes. No.) I never really know how to answer this because I’m attracted to all kinds of men for different reasons. If you lined up my ex-boyfriends and ex-husband you would notice they look nothing alike. Not a single one looks remotely like the other. What they do have in common is they were all immature party people. Most were funny, and they thought I was funny. That’s about it. So…I guess my type until now has been someone I was attracted to with the maturity level of a 22-year old and a good sense of humor. Cool. (If you’re not sure…yes, I’m being extremely sarcastic with the use of the word “cool” in that single-word sentence.)

You’re probably thinking, really? There isn’t a particular type of guy you go for? No. It’s hard to pin down into words, so I’ll just list celebrities and athletes I’m crushing on:

  • Carey Hart (Congratulations, Pink. If we met I would high-five you for landing that.)
  • Common (His face and that voice? Swoon city.)
  • Mike Matheny (One of my best guy friends also has a crush on him. We text about it when the Cardinals are in the playoffs every year.)
  • Charles “Peanut” Tillman (I once saw him run and move a female reporter out of the way from one of those flying cameras on the side of the football field. I was completely jealous of her. I also just recently saw him exit a plane in Kansas City. We made eye contact, I smiled like a love-struck teenager and waved like mad. He chuckled at my excitement, smiled back and nodded hello. Meet your crushes, kids.)
  • Conan O’Brien (How do you not have a crush on him?)
  • Brian Fallon (You listen to his music and read his interviews then tell me you didn’t fall victim to having a crush on the lead singer. I wish you the best of luck…)

See what I mean? I didn’t want to further confuse you by adding Jeff Bridges to the mix, but he’s in the mix.

Being the queen of overthinking, I decided to get my thoughts around this, and the only conclusion I can come up with is…stop picking dummies. Instead of telling people what I’m attracted to physically, I’m going to start saying things like…

  • My type is one who does not think waking up before noon is early…especially when he’s almost 40.
  • My type is a guy who has a career and not a job he has no intention of using as a launching pad to a career.
  • My type is a guy who is not just funny but kind. Actually kind to the core. Not fake nice because he wants to sleep with me.
  • You can’t like Nickelback. I’ve given this so much thought…and I just can’t with you if this is a thing. For a brief period I was trying to be open to this, but that door closed.
  • My type is a guy who has moved on from the party phase of his life. He still has fun, but he has also has fun doing things outside of a bar. He doesn’t drink until he can’t function anymore. I don’t have to carry him home because he can’t function alone or starts drunken arguments (or both). This is just a for instance….this totally didn’t happen to me nearly every weekend in my marriage…
  • My type is someone who likes kids. Even if he doesn’t have any or want any…don’t be an asshole. It’s on the same level as being rude to anyone in the service industry and being a bad tipper. I mean…you might as well like Nickelback.
  • My type is someone who is happy.

I think that’s a decent list, don’t you? I’m hoping this weeds out the dummies I seem to attract while keeping the door open for the wide range of men I’m attracted to. Now that I have my priorities in check, I guess I better start making an effort, eh? I might have to start warming up to this online dating thing…son of a…!!

Am I 20 Years Ago?

 “…Just don’t let me fuck up will you; cause when I need a friend it’s still you.” ~Dinosaur Jr., Freak Scene

With the recent passing of my dog, I had to find ways to keep myself busy because not having my best bud around is pretty heartbreaking at times. My choices have been to spend time with my family and start assistant coaching volleyball. It’s been pretty rad. Much like my mindset when I got divorced, I am making choices in this healing process and fresh start in my new city that fall along the self-care lines and focusing on the things I like to do. Why? Because going off the deep end still isn’t helpful to me. I do allow myself time to cry and have moments of feeling lonely and friendless, but then I quickly turn back to healing. I also agree with the notion that if you want to meet someone with your same goals in life, you have to do what you love. I don’t want a party lifestyle, so why would I go to a club thinking Mr. Right is going to be waiting there for me hammered at 2am? He’s not.

Here is what I’ve noticed. In the last two years my choices have slowly brought me back to the person I was before I ever met my ex-husband. I don’t just mean I got my confidence back. I mean, I’m participating in things and living with the outlook I had at 23. There are so many similarities, it’s almost freaking me out. Here are the similarities:

  • I’m in the volleyball world
  • I have almost daily and constant contact with my sister
  • Even though I don’t live in the city as any of them, the friends I am in most contact with are the same (with a handful of rad friends I scooped up along the way in Chicago)
  • Working in a job where writing and project management is the main component
  • Still going to punk shows (and always will)
  • Sometimes drinking wine during the week…not sure I should have brought that back, but…I’m not going to overthink it.
  • Always having wine on the weekends
  • Running
  • Reading any chance I can
  • Single with no prospects in site but don’t care enough to start trying to meet anyone

With the exception of no roommates, this was me at 23. If you add in school, this was also me in college….and high school. (Holy moly…that was about 20 years ago! Also, yes, you did the math. I started drinking way too young. I’m glad social media wasn’t a thing in the 90’s.) This revelation begs the question – am I regressing, or did I know who the hell I was early on in life? I think the answer is I knew who I was all along. I’m me again with the addition of life experiences, lessons I hadn’t had yet and the best people I know in my life. When I say “me again” I mean back to doing what I love and communicating with people I care about the most in this world. Holy shit you guys…life is about to get super awesome! For me…maybe not the next crop of bozos I encounter. Muah ah ha!

Going through hard times blows. There is no other way to describe it. But here’s the thing, life doesn’t stop because you had a bad day. If you do your best to pull yourself out of bed most days, put clean underwear and pants on, then you’re doing better than you think. Eventually, you’ll come out of the bad times. They’re temporary. Eventually, you’ll crack a smile. You’ll start to have some good moments that lead to good days. Then two years later (well, two years for me that is), you have the world at your disposal. Pretty damn awesome. Don’t forget to hug your friends and family who helped you keep your head above water. They deserve some credit. Now go outside and go live!