Sunday, April 20, 2014

A time of empty waiting

So you need to go read the post I just wrote like ten minutes ago, and then read this, which I read right after I hit publish on the last post.

Learning to Wait In the Dark

"Between the great dramas of life, there is almost always a time of empty waiting - - with nothing to do and no church service to help - - a time when it is necessary to come up with your own words and see how they sound with no other sounds to cover them up."

Somehow, it makes sense, all of that, to me. Maybe this is a time in my life where I'm meant to come up with my own words. There's just something about that that resonates with me.

"If you are willing to rest in this Sabbath, where you cannot see your hand in front of your face and none of your self-protective labors can do you one bit of good, then you may come as close to the Christ as you will ever get - there in that quiet cave where you wait to see how the Maker of All Life will choose to come to you in the dark."

Amen.

Inspired or bust

Another Easter weekend in the books. I love Easter. Easter is my Christmas. I don't so much love Christmas because it is just too much. Too much. But Easter? I can do on my terms. And also? Easter is springtime and flowers and pinks and yellows and the lightest of greens. It's joyful and music and celebration. It's bunnies. I mean come on. It's bunnies!

Easter is just the best. This year I decided to have a party. I brought in a ton of bbq, hid over 300 eggs, and... I'm tired tonight. It was fun but I felt very very single this weekend. It was a lot of work. I enjoyed it and I love my people so very much but I think I'll scale it back down next year. I was working too hard to enjoy everything as much as I would have liked to. And I can't quite put my finger on it, but I did all of this work before the party. Made sure everything was just right during the party. Woke up, did brunch with the fam (which was awesome) and then came home and cleaned up from the party. And it was just me. No one to say - hey, that was awesome. You're awesome for doing that whole thing by yourself. Okay wait. Liz (the ever fabulous Liz) actually wrote me a great note thanking me that made me happy. So, here I am thanking Liz for thanking me. I guess that's weird. But I appreciated it!

Sometimes I wish I didn't want that affirmation. And I don't always want that, really. But I guess this weekend I did and I just felt lonely as I cleaned up today. And I'm telling you, I almost never feel lonely. That isn't a feeling I am familiar with. But it was a very specific lonely. A lonely that could only be banished by someone who loved me. So.... it ain't gonna be banished.

And I'm back around to thinking that kind of love just isn't in the cards for me. I just don't even have it in me anymore to do this whole damn thing. And dear God if one more person says to me - it's when you're not looking that it happens - ? Someone will lose an eye. Or something. You think I'm kidding. But that statement, my friends? Is utter bullshit. Not that it never happens like that because of course it can. But if that were true? I would have been happily ensconced in a warm relationship for a long time now.

I have various mild flirtations going on right now but I'm just generally uninspired. I want inspired or bust, Internet.

In other news, someone turned fifteen this week. A big smile just spread across my face. I am so so so enjoying my incredible teenager. She just makes me happy. I am insanely proud of her. And fifteen. Whoa. I mean you guys... we made it through twelve. And thirteen. And fourteen. Holy shit! I mean I am actually doing this. I am raising a person. And she's awesome. That's just thrilling.

We are both so excited for her Australian adventure this summer. Sadly, we couldn't make both camp and Australia work. The trip ended up being about two weeks earlier than what we were originally told. But, she took that decision totally in stride and will go back to camp in 2015 for her final year. And I am so very glad I will have her in June now.

Lots of other thoughts rolling around in my head. Not sure why I'm not blogging more since I do find it helpful to get the thoughts out of my busy head and settled here. I think mostly I'm kind of thinking I need to come to terms with the idea that this might be it for me. It is very possible I will be single for the rest of my life. And if that is true, what do I want that to look like? And how will I make sure that even though I'm single, I'm not alone? I'm doing that just fine right now but things will change. Sarah will go to college. I can't go with her. My parents are getting older. My friends are for the most part coupled up and happy. Although that said my friends rule. They are coupled up and happy but they are also social and fun and include me and I value those friendships so much. I was with two happy couples just tonight and as usual, I didn't feel like the fifth wheel that of course I was.

On that note I am going to bed. Goodnight, Internet.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Settling

It happened again the other day. A firm admonition against settling.

I go back and forth on this idea of "settling" because ultimately we all settle in one way or another I think. But every now and then I need to hear what I heard the other day. Don't settle, because you don't need to.

And that's true. I don't need to. But it's because I am happy as is. So why would I settle? I only want to be with someone who adds to my life. I want to be with someone who will invest in me as much as I'll invest in him.

I also need to hear that message from people like the one I heard it from recently. Smart. Insightful. Someone I respect. Like when the former CEO of my company told me not to settle. That's when I really hear it.

So, Internet, I'm not going to settle. I want certain things from someone. And I'll get them. Maybe not this year and maybe not next, but eventually I'll find what I'm looking for. And I'll keep having a lot of fun looking.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

It's a small world

I had the most fun night last night. The world is a very small place.

I had plans to hang out with a girlfriend. Then her husband was going to show up later. Then we might be meeting up with some other people. All good.

Well, my girlfriend was running late so I end up meeting a friend of hers I had not met before (a guy) before she even gets there. We immediately hit it off and in the course of early conversation I think I asked him where he went for undergrad. We had already established we both had MBAs although his is from Wharton so he won that deal. The University of Chicago. Oh, I say, I have a good friend who went there. My friend Liz.

He goes, wait, what? Who? What did you just say?

I say her name again. He is all - you are shitting me. Liz? LIZ? How do you know LIZ? I mean seriously, the dude is having a moment.

So as it turns out, he was, I think, two years behind her at school. But they are both from Oklahoma. So when he arrived at U of C he looked up people from Oklahoma, found Liz, saw that she is absolutely gorgeous, and called her up. And immediately developed some sort of crazy-ass crush on her. Of course he did. Liz was, and is, pure awesomeness.

He hadn't thought of her in years and years and years. He had no idea she lived in Austin. He thought I was pranking with him. Meanwhile, I had never even heard of this guy before yesterday so no, this wasn't some elaborate prank. I'm not that clever.

So, the funnier thing is, of course I am immediately blowing up Liz's phone, and she doesn't remember him. At all. Not even a fleck of possible maybe she sorta kinda remembered him. Nope. And this guy is a very successful and very confident dude and he was reduced to an insecure teenager. It was so damn funny that I'm cracking up as I write this. So obviously the rest of the night was devoted to giving him shit about Liz.

It was just a really, really fun night. And here again is a dude I completely connected with but he's married. And I've decided this is a thing for a therapist. I think I only want what I can't have. So, married is good. Living 2,000 miles away? That works. Someone who doesn't want me? Sure. It's almost like if it's easy I don't trust it. I am sure this is actually rooted in some insecurity of mine. Something as simple as, I don't deep down think I'm worthy of a good relationship so I make sure it can never happen. There you go, I don't even need a therapist! Like I say, blogging is where I figure stuff out.

But really this guy? He is me in male form, just end of story. I swear we were like twins last night. And my girlfriend was all - see why I wanted you to meet him? We weren't alike in that I was thinking wow here is my soulmate. Not like that at all. We're just alike. We sort of immediately had this mutual respect as if we had met a worthy opponent, in a way. I think I have a new dude friend. Now, no dude friend can ever come close to the relationship I have with my BDF (best dude friend) but I'm glad I met this one last night.

And also? Sarah was with her dad last night. He took her to see Bob Schneider (dad for the win for once!). And this happened:

Friday, April 11, 2014

Flowers!

Yesterday I drove through the hill country to have lunch with a client primarily because Texas is so gorgeous in the springtime with the bluebonnets and this is a good year for them. And I really like my client, so a nice day.

So THEN, when Chad came to pick me up to take me to Bob Schneider's "Burden of Proof" evening he got out of the car with? Flowers! And a bottle of wine. Y'all know how long it has been since a man has given me flowers. It was so so sweet and made me so happy. So obviously, the evening started out well. Then the event was fantastic and Bob was so funny. Lots and lots of laughter and good music. And great conversation and an all around nice night.

So here's a twist. Chad, whom I would call the Cyclist if I were going to give him a blog name, reads this blog. Which is kind of strange really because I feel kind of exposed. But it's funny, it changes things up a little. So, hi Chad. Thank you SO MUCH for last night, it was a great evening.

In other news I cannot tell you how happy I am that I am not going anywhere this weekend. Holy crap. Going out with a girlfriend tonight but that's pretty much it. I have so much life to catch up on. You know, life that involves laundry and going through mail and getting ready for the big party I'm having next Saturday (y'all know I love a good Easter Egg hunt) and starting to think about how I am going to get Sarah ready for camp and Australia and oh it's her birthday next week (15, people, 15) and it's really quite endless.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Random thoughts

A collection of things from the past few days.

Helping Sarah get ready for competition Saturday morning and lining her eyes with liquid liner when the song "Godspeed" by the Dixie Chicks comes on. I used to sing that song to her every single night when she was a baby. I changed the words slightly because it was written for a little boy, but every night I sang it. "Oh my love will fly to you each night on angel's wings.... Godspeed.... Sweet Dreams..."

Of course I was struck, in that moment. Seeing so clearly that sweet baby face in my mind as I put makeup on this gorgeous young woman. I don't have the words for what that felt like. But it felt. It felt a lot.

Last night we were in Houston for a dance competition and another mom and I took four of the girls out to dinner, kind of late. And at one point I looked over and Sarah threw her head back and laughed at something one of the girls said and that moment made me happy down to my toes.

Of course watching her dance thrills me. It always has and it always will. It was a really great weekend.

Life seems almost strangely clear to me right now. And no, I can't really tell you what that means. But nothing feels complicated. Everything is making sense. I know that might all get turned on it's head tomorrow but for tonight? It's nice. But I'm wondering why I tend to make things harder than they need to be. I'm really trying to take the whole "people show you who they are" thing to heart. Because they do. So, if you pay attention at all? Relationships? Really not that complicated. People show you who they are and you can decide if who they are is a good fit for who you are. We can't change other people. We can't make other people give us what we want and need. If they don't want to give it, we probably need to move on. And yes, you can read between the lines here but I really don't feel like writing about it and not because I'm upset, because I'm really not upset. Nothing surprising is going on. Honestly, I'm just mostly relieved I'm not upset because everything else feels too good to have any upset going on.

Speaking of relationships guess who I had drinks with this week? Super 8. And it was great. At the end of the day we are friends and we have been for almost a decade and I really value and appreciate him as a friend. Because he's a good friend to me and someone I just know I can count on, end of story. And he can do the same with me. As you know, Internet, a lot has gone on between us in the past, but I'm so glad we are beyond all that and we can enjoy a couple of hours together catching up. Plus he's my lawyer. So there's that too. But it was a nice night.

This grand experiment of mine really started with Super 8. This thought that I would just lay my heart on the line and stop being so afraid of doing that and just let myself feel and let myself get hurt if that was the outcome and just stop all of my dumb protect myself bullshit. But as I was telling him the other night, I'm seriously considering going back to my old ways. In all honesty, life is easier for me when my heart is a little harder. And yes, I want my person and all of that. I do. But I am also telling the truth when I say am happy without my person. I like my life. I'm really not sure a partner is in the cards for me but that thought doesn't stress me out. At all.

Goodnight moon we'll find the mouse.... and I love you. Godspeed, sweet dreams.


Monday, March 31, 2014

Greens rule

So much I want to write about. Black diamond ski slopes and the book "David & Goliath" (Malcolm Gladwell) and quilts vs. comforters and springtime. We'll just see what happens.

As I wrote about last post I went skiing this past weekend. I was very happy that my twenty-year absence from the sport didn't much seem to matter much. I think I skied almost exactly like I did when I was younger and skiing at least once a year. After getting my legs under me on some easier, green slopes, I started skiing some blues and then a black after a couple of runs. And I hated the black (most difficult) slope just like I did when I was younger. I just have to work too hard to get down a black and it takes the fun out of it.

And at this age being able to say - hey I skied a black my first day out! Does absolutely nothing for me. I like to ski because it's fun. I don't have a damn thing to prove. To myself or to anyone else. I only did the black because honestly, a) I thought it was a blue (read the sign wrong, the freaking background was blue) and b) it looked okay (yeah, no).

But it has me thinking, as most things do. I want to do things I enjoy, because I enjoy them. Not to be able to say I did them. At this age, I really don't have a competitive bone in my body. Maybe at work, but that's it and that's fine. Otherwise? If it makes you feel like a badass to do something I won't or can't do? Cheers to you! You're braver than me! You're better than me! Whatever! And I'm really not even being sarcastic. I don't mind being around competitive people. But I do laugh a little at them when they really care about things that, to me, just do not matter. And to be clear, it is one thing for someone to celebrate doing something they are proud of. I love that. I'm talking about being competitive with other people just to be competitive.

It's freeing, to not care about that anymore. It feels good. On day two of skiing I think I skied all greens because I enjoyed them the most. I could go kind of fast, I wasn't terrified, but I still completely burned out my legs which was awesome. And I just loved it. The cold air stinging my face, racing down the mountain and feeling my muscles work, standing at the top of mountain looking out. It was awesome.

Okay so there is the black diamond post. More to come. But right now I want to read.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Postcard from Vail

Sitting on the couch with my feet up slowly recovering from another awesome day of skiing here. I had not been on a pair of skis since 1993 before this trip. I've loved the skiing. But mother of GOD am I fatigued! But in the best way.

I'm here with two girlfriends from the Hussey Retreat and we have had so much fun. We've gone out both nights of course and will go out again tonight. This town is full of MEN, which has made it even more fun. I've gotten digits both nights. Ha! Obviously I have to meet someone tonight to round it out. But seriously. A ski trip is a good bet for a group of single women. We are definitely the minority. And everyone here is so friendly. It has just been really fun to sit at the bar and make friends.

Speaking of the menfolk. I got invited to go to a cool Bob Schneider (look him up, one of my favorite musicians) deal with someone and I said yes. Super nice guy, known him a long time but have never spent time with him. It will be fun and I'm looking forward to it. Well, today? Sarah texts and tells me that her dad is taking her to see Bob Schneider for her birthday and I just *knew* it was going to be the same event. Yah, it is. So, I'm going to be on a date of sorts and we will probably run into my daughter and my ex-husband. Awesome. [Hi Chad, you're probably going to get to meet my daughter and my ex-husband! ;) ]

Another great thing about this trip is that the three of us have talked about what we learned on the Hussey retreat, what we're doing right and where we've kind of fallen of track. And we came up with a little plan to help each other stay on course going forward. I'm actually really excited about this and motivated to get more focused when I get home.

In other news, Sarah IS going to Australia this summer and holy crap I'm so excited for her and at the very same really freaked out that I basically will not see her for two months. But it is such an incredible opportunity for her. 

Okay, that's the brief update from this magical place. This is our last night in town, no telling what blog fodder will happen tonight.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Too much

I'll never get you caught up.

I met my fairy godfather at a bar in Nashville last week. Another post on that later. Maybe. But Nashville continues to be full of magic for me.

Sarah made drill team at her high school. It was happy and amazing and a big rush and I'm so excited for her. And she is so excited for her.

She had her fifth, and possibly last, Encore performance with her dance team and it was incredible. And then all of the Seniors had a slumber party here and it was just amazingly fun and I loved it. And then felt like I had been hit by a freight train on Sunday. Totally worth it.

It is looking very likely that Sarah will be chosen for an abroad program with the Rotary Club and will spend July (plus some) in Australia this summer. And tonight I heard this song and then made her listen to it with me and declared it her Australian Theme Song.




It's what I want for her. And for me. And I'm feeling all emotional about everything tonight. We both interviewed for the abroad program and I'm so proud of how well she did. And so excited for the adventures that await her. We will host an Australian student here as well, a few months after she returns, and I love the idea of that too!

I owe a couple of you email responses related to the Hussey Retreat. I will respond. My apologies, it has been a crazy ten days.

And? I'm headed to Vail on Thursday with some women I love and I cannot wait, speaking of the retreat. Meeting Courtney, my roomie from the retreat, and Vicki, another awesome female (she's a pilot for a major commercial airline...awesome) I met there for a girls weekend. I'm pretty sure we'll get into some trouble.

That's what happening.

"I swear I lived..."

Monday, March 17, 2014

Nashville

I'm in Nashville this week. I love Nashville. I have so many fun memories here. There was the night with Mr. Handsome from the Puerto Rico trip. Yeah I never tied those two events together here but enough time has past now that it doesn't matter. The fabulous night in Puerto Rico and the kissing on the elevator and the all around magical night. There was a part two here. Nothing like that night but it was a night that totally makes me smile anyway that I'll never forget. It was fun and intense and just.... I just sighed out loud. And smiled. It was good. So good, so fun.

There was the invite to fly away in the private jet, the one I turned down, from someone else wonderful. I will always wonder what my story would be if I had said yes. Or if the plane had never started that night... (another part to that story). But that night is another one that makes me smile.

There have been many fun dinners and other events here with my clients whom I like and enjoy so much personally outside of our professional relationships. There was a weekend with a dear girlfriend here. We went to a Titan's game with my client and it was all around great.

There were the days with Boston here. I thought about those days today as I walked by Tootsie's in the airport and remembered sitting with him there before we said goodbye. Not knowing then what that particular goodbye would lead to. The Taylor Swift concert. Walking around the Vanderbilt campus hand in hand.

I like this town. Feels good.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Saying no

My daughter is a dancer, as I've written about a lot here. It's something that brings me incredible joy, watching that girl dance. And not anything I expected. I have the coordination of a log of wood (and I might be being generous with myself there); never in a thousand years could I move my body the way she does and it just absolutely thrills me to see her on stage.

For the past five years she has been on a dance team at a very good studio here in Austin. I've loved it, but make no mistake. It is breathtakingly expensive. The monthly tuition alone is the equivalent of a very nice car payment and when you add in the fees for conventions and competitions, the costumes, the shoes, the travel expense, the team fees, it's endless, really. It averages out to close to double the tuition. And I would know because I track it carefully.

I'm super grateful I've even been able to support her doing this for the past five years. But my financial situation has changed dramatically very quickly and I just can't do it anymore.

So, I have been gently trying to get her comfortable with the idea that this is her last year with the team. And it's killing me. I just like to say yes. I want her to be able to do everything she wants to and everything she loves. And for the most part, I've been able to say yes. It's going to crush her, not being on the team next year, and that crushes me. But the fact of the matter is that she doesn't have any ambition of being a professional dancer, she just really enjoys dancing and adores the girls with whom she dances. But I cannot justify the tremendous expense (anymore, anyway) for her to be able to hang out with those girls. Sighs. I'm just not looking forward to drawing this line, even though she knows it's coming. It makes me want to cry, actually.

Then of course I get annoyed at my company which has very systematically destroyed any sense of passion I once had for my job and completely stripped my pay. And annoyed with her dad who has no interest in supporting her financially beyond what he is legally required to, which is a tiny amount, and he doesn't even do that. Sighs.

So on the bright side? I had my first parent meeting this week to learn about the high school drill team. If you're not from Texas and have no idea what I'm talking about, "drill team" is the dance team at the high school. Performs at halftime at the football games etc. I am incredibly excited about it, and she is incredibly excited about it. So we will transition from studio dance to drill team. And for the next three years my life will be high school football games on Friday nights and I am really looking forward to that. Okay, other than the part where I'll be going alone. But I'm sure I'll make friends with the other parents quickly enough.

She tries out and finds out if she makes in in two weeks. She'll make it. And then.... practice starts immediately and she'll have to be at school every day at 7:30. Contrast this with the rest of this year, when she didn't have to be at school until 9 and there are plenty of mornings we have both slept until 8. It has been glorious. And even better because we have both been very aware that this year was a gift that way, and we've really enjoyed our slow lazy mornings.

And since I am hard at work looking for a new job, which could well be a job where I don't work from home, I like the 7:30 deal anyway. If I have an office job it will be super easy to drop her and head in. I feel so lucky that I figured this out. I've been able to work from home during these years that it has been incredibly helpful to do so. As soon as she makes drill, she will basically be at school from 7:30 to 5:00 so I don't need to be running her around during the day as much. And of course, she'll be driving in a year anyway. I kinda feel like I've done it, in a sense. And that makes me happy.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Catching up

I have no idea how to get my little blog caught up. I'm not entirely sure what I want to write. But here goes.

First of all, hanging out with Melissa and baby Rhett was the best thing ever. I'm becoming a softy in my 40s. I couldn't get enough of that little guy. And it was just fun to hang out with Mel. And sip on the margaritas I smuggled in for her.

Then Wednesday morning I was up before my alarm, which was set for 5 a.m. Boston's original flight was cancelled and he took an earlier one, that landed in Dallas a little past 9. It was actually really nice to drive to meet him at the airport, and to drive early. If I had just been at home twiddling my thumbs I might have gone crazy.

I parked and we met in the airport. The initial meeting wasn't exactly what I had envisioned. I was a little more nervous than I thought I'd be and I was kind of agitated because there was so much construction at the airport I had a hard time getting to him. I was super happy to see him and get that hug and kiss no doubt, but it took us a couple of hours, really, to find our groove. And in those hours admittedly I wondered if we would. It was still nice to be with him but I just felt a bit awkward and not 100% comfortable, and that comfort level has been one of the great things between us.

But once we got passed that? It was like no time had passed. We both worked in the afternoon, like we've done many times together. We went to the bar and people watched. We watched a movie. We got a couples massage, went to a hockey game, had a fancy dinner. He drove me out to my client meeting and hung out at a Starbuck's while I worked. We sat outside in the glorious 80 degree weather and talked and drank beer. We walked to breakfast and cracked up at the pictures of naked men strewn along the street we walked. (Yeah I don't know) He pretty much spoiled the hell out of me for three days. And just like every other time we've been together, it was amazing. We just work.

We didn't do a whole lot of relationship talking until Friday night, our last night together. And that was kind of intense but in retrospect? I think the way all that went down is maybe how it had to happen, all things considered. The end result, which is what matters here, is that it's all good. And I think we both learned some things about the other, some good and some bad, but it was real. And we're in a better place for it.

As far as what's next? We're figuring that out. I'm just happy there is a next to be figured out.

He left early Saturday morning. I stayed in our lovely hotel. Ordered room service. Watched a movie. Took the longest, hottest shower ever. Felt super sad and lonely that he was gone. It actually reminded me of how I felt when we said goodbye in Vegas last summer. Left there and spent the night with a good friend. On Sunday I volunteered at Matthew Hussey's "Get the Guy" event. It was great to see him. If I haven't mentioned it lately, I believe in the dude. I think he's at his core a really good person, and super talented. He also gives the world's greatest hugs. I worked the registration table and it was fun to see all of the women so excited for the event.

The weather was bad bad bad though so I decided to leave early to get home to Austin. That was a very bad decision. It took me almost 7 hours to get home and it was fairly terrifying at various points. I should have just stayed in Dallas. But home I got. Eventually. I never want to drive on black ice again. For the record.

Today I was sick and basically slept all day. And now it's Monday night. So there you have it. I know, kind of boring post. No juicy details. Sorry, Internet.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Things that are making me happy

In no particular order.

Babies!

So, I certainly never expected to be surrounded by so many babies at age 42 but I am. On Sunday I'm going to His Lordship's 1st birthday party. His Lordship (not his real name, and I really hope I didn't have to tell you that, but it cracks me up when they call him that) is the son of one of my dear friends who found love in her late thirties. She turned 40, got married, had a baby and I'm just in love with him.

Then on Tuesday I am babysitting my friend Melissa at the hospital. She is having her second baby Monday morning and I'm going to relieve her husband so he can go home and spend some time with their 17-month-old and put her to bed! I cannot wait to meet the new baby and I so thrilled Mel is getting the family she has always dreamed of. Maybe a little bit later than what she envisioned but perfect in every way.

I've got another good friend who is pregnant with her second baby. Another a bit older than I am with a five year old.  I'm telling you. Babies everywhere. And I enjoy them way more than I expected to.

It's also kind of a crazy thing to think of good friends just embarking on this journey that in some ways I am finishing. I mean, I will never stop being Sarah's mama but parenting has evolved into something entirely different now from those earlier years. I'm glad I get to watch these babies grow up though! Once really isn't enough.

And speaking of...

Sarah!

Dang that kid makes me happy. I am just so incredibly proud of her. She is dancing in excess of ten hours a week. And getting her schoolwork done and making great grades and being all around delightful 95% of the time (and she's allowed the 5% for teenager moodiness for sure). And to be clear, I do not ride her ass. She is very self-motivated and sets high expectations of herself. I don't check her grades online, ever. I don't ask her about schoolwork. I really do sometimes want to pinch myself. I am very, very grateful for her.

Next...

Sunshine!

Wow I have loved this week. I've had the windows open. I've been outside. And it has done wonders for my mood and frame of mind. I need the sun and blue skies. I just do. I met a client of mine in Fredericksburg yesterday and sat outside and had a two hour lunch with a glass of wine. Those moments are when I appreciate my job. Now if spring would just get her for reals it would be even better. I need leaves on trees. And flowers. Although my beautiful tulip is blooming now which is nice.

And, you knew this was coming.

Boston!

I am quite happy I will be seeing him so very soon. Oh you knew that? I'm repeating myself? I can't help it. I mean, nothing changed for me as far as how I felt about him. But I didn't expect to hear from him again. I'm so glad I did. I'm so glad I was busy this week and it flew by because our little reunion is basically here. I keep thinking about that first hug and kiss. There's just a lot between us. We don't have a ton of plans since we'll be working two of the three days. But we have a fancy dinner Friday night and maybe a hockey game Thursday night. Massages at the hotel at some point. Definitely Mexican food. But neither of us cares too much about any of that. Well, except maybe the Mexican food. But we're just happy we're going to be together.

Alright. Thus ends a slightly obnoxious post. Blame the weather, really. Tonight Sarah and I are off to Georgetown to see the community theater perform "Cats." Yay for weekends!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A week out

At this time next week I'll be with Boston.

So, that's kind of a big deal in my world. The good news is that I am really busy with work and other engagements from now until I hit the road to Big D to see him, so that is helpful. I'm just ready to see him. To talk about whatever we're going to talk about (I don't think either of us has an agenda), to feel how we're going to feel and to figure out whatever needs figuring out. Mostly, I'm just really happy I'm going to see that face so soon.

And that... is really all I've got.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

This is 42

So I think it's the Huffington Post that posts these pieces from women on who they are at various ages. I like reading them and can generally really relate. However, I read one the other day "This is What 45 Really Looks Like" and I really did not relate. And I didn't like it. I'm not even linking to it. On top of just not liking what this woman had to say it wasn't well written.

42 is this strange contradiction for me when it comes to my body. On one hand, I love and accept this curvier, heavier, stronger body. I'm proud of it, and I like it. It's gorgeous and feminine, strong and healthy. It's incredibly sexy. And on the other, I struggle almost more than ever with wanting to lose another 5 lbs (it's always, always 5 lbs, regardless of what I weigh it seems). I feel too thick in clothes; I hate even thinking about a bikini.

42 is being pissed off that I can't be happy weighing 5 or 10 lbs more than I used to. Being pissed off that our culture and society dictates that I spend significant amounts of time and money on physical upkeep. And being pissed off that I am not strong enough to say a big Fuck You to society and let this body age as it wants to. Why can't I just look 42? Why is that not okay?

At 42 I'm wearing less makeup on ordinary days and feeling more confident than I did at 22. But spending significantly more time and effort on days when I have something going on and feeling less confident.

42 is understanding I've past that point in my life where anything is possible. Many, many wonderful things are still possible, but if I decided tomorrow I wanted to be an Olympic figure skater, that wouldn't be possible. We spend many of our younger years with the world wide open. Slowly, things start to close. But at 42, you don't mind giving up those kinds of dreams. There are richer ones to dream.

42 is still being a hopeless romantic even after many years of disappointments. 42 is understanding you don't settle when it comes to the really important things, like love and companionship.

42 is understanding this life is mine to make. Understanding that life is a collection of moments and wanting to have a billion wonderful ones. Understanding that the hard, painful moments are just as important as the glorious ones.

42 is buying myself a gorgeous handbag after a painful breakup. 42 is knowing how to let go and move on. 42 is feeling like I'm kind of sort of starting to figure this whole thing out. 42 is accepting who I am but wanting to be better. Reveling in who I am but hard at work on rough spots. 42 is awesome and full of possibility.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Matthew Hussey Lifestyle Retreat - Want the Scoop?

Okay this post isn't really for my normal readers. Not that you people are normal if you're reading this blog but you know what I mean.

I get a ton of traffic here now from people scouring the web for info on Matt's retreats, just like I did before I went. I found almost nothing. So, hopefully, if you are trying to get some feel for what the retreat is like, this blog has been helpful. I had one person email me directly with some questions and I was more than happy to answer them. I'll answer those again here, then please feel free to email me at lifeonthectrain@gmail.com if you want more info. I would have really appreciated having someone to talk to about it so I'm glad to provide the service.

1. About how many women participated?

On my particular retreat there were a little over 50 participants. I think that number can vary though, so could be more on your retreat.

2. Was Matthew present for every woman individually? I mean what if someone doesn't feel comfortable sharing personal things in front of everyone?

So, yes, he was certainly present. That said, he does not work with you one on one. He has a great staff there who will do that if you need some extra help, which I did on occasion. But he is very much present and invested and really and truly pours his heart and soul into the retreat. So just because he isn't doing the one-on-one, rest assured you get lots of Matt.

3. How late was the party on the last night and what if I have to leave early and miss it?

The party is a real party and you won't want to miss it. You get close to so many people during the week it is really great to just kind of blow it out that last night. One thing to know about the party: They will provide some champagne at the party and other events but otherwise it's open bar so bring some cash if you're a drinker. Like I am.

All that said, if you miss the party, you aren't missing any of the real meat of the retreat work so don't sweat it.

4. What do I wear?! From what I read it is very physical, and usually I'm a high heels person.

I had this same question and I'm a heels girl too. First thing to know. You start every day with exercise. So bring enough workout stuff for every day that you are there. You will have plenty of time to change and eat breakfast after the exercise session. Secondly, yes, it is very physical. Matthew will have you literally jumping around, a lot, every day. Don't wear heels. Be comfortable. Everyone is there to learn and grow and it's not at all a fashion contest. If you want to dress up for dinner or the cocktail hour (there is one of those), feel free but during the day be comfy. Then everyone gets dressed up for the party on the last night.

Other information I would have found helpful before I went:

You are on your own for meals. Don't be worried about that, you will have plenty of people to head out with and plenty of time for lunch etc. but meals are not organized activities.

You do a LOT of sharing with the people around you. If that makes you nervous, don't be. Again, everyone is there for the same thing. I am not a person who likes to share in that way but I jumped in and did it and I am so glad I did.

Sign up to share a room. I was MOST nervous about that but you really will want someone to debrief with in the evenings. And I don't know a single person on my retreat who regretted having a roommate or didn't get along with hers.

Leave your bullshit at the door. Don't go there to try to impress anyone. Don't make it a point to talk about what you've accomplished etc. you will miss the point of the retreat. You are going because you want to change something in your life. So who gives a shit what anyone else thinks? Go and focus on you and don't worry at all about anyone else. That's the best advice I can give you. The retreat is expensive. Don't waste time worrying about anyone but you. If that sounds harsh then you probably aren't understanding what the retreat is. It's not a team building event. It's a you building event. Everyone is very supportive of one another no doubt, but you are there for you.

And I think if you've gotten as far as googling the retreat you know this already, but this isn't a "Get the Guy" retreat. There is very little time at all talking about relationships and dating and the like. This retreat is about making changes in your life to make it a happier and prettier place.

Oh and finally? Yes, go. Sign up. Do it.

Valentine's Day!

I have a lot I want to write about lately. But I'm going to knock this one out real quick.

I love Valentine's Day. I just do. I love the red, the pink, and the white. The candy and the cards and the flowers. I love love love all of the flowers. I loved when I worked in an office and there would be deliveries all day. I do not care that it is a Hallmark holiday. I think Valentine's Day is all kinds of fun. When Sarah was little we would make our own cards. We would spend hours in the kitchen with glitter and glue and paper and ribbons and stickers and markers. We still do it sometimes, like this year.

Granted, Valentine's Day for me is like pretty much every other holiday for me. No presents etc. (I know, wah wah) But I still love it. Last year I was kind of bummed about getting absolutely nothing because I was actually seeing someone. It was casual for sure, but still. Nothing? Really?

And I was disappointed I didn't at least get myself something to celebrate the fun day. So, yesterday, I got these gorgeous things. They are in my office (clearly) and making me ALL kinds of happy.

Happy Valentine's Day Internet! Do something sweet for yourself if you're not lucky enough to have someone doing something sweet for you.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Life

Life is happening all over me. Unfortunately at about 2 a.m. this morning that was the dog getting on my bed after being sprayed by a skunk and Sarah getting sick and not quite making it to the toilet (the perils of a loft bed). Hi, stinky life.

But this weekend it was last minute plans with friends which ended up consuming my whole weekend in really fun ways. Drinks at a new place Friday night followed by Indian food and watching the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. Wherein I stole my friend's phone (I don't know. I just got home and had two iPhones in my purse.) So I went to return it Saturday morning around 9 a.m. and ultimately didn't get home until 3 a.m. the next morning. Mimosas in the morning, a coffee break, outdoor patio with this guy ---->
in the afternoon, babysat the cutest baby ever for a few hours in the evening, and rounded it all out sharing a bottle of wine, late, with his parents. Who are dear friends, obviously, since I'm not necessarily a fan of humans under the age of about five. But I'm seriously into this particular baby. And I have to say.... putting a baby to bed after all this time? Was sorta awesome.

Then last night Sarah and I went to see "Frozen" which I loved and all day long I've been singing in my head, "Do you want to build a snowman?"

So, I'm tired. But happy.

The thing is, I would have been just as happy right now if I had had the weekend I thought I was going to have. Which consisted of not much of anything. At 42 I'm very comfortable in my own company. But I'm also compelled to say yes to things. Because life is about the moments we create, no?

In other news I'm about two weeks out from seeing Boston. What?! I know. I kind of have to not think too hard about it. Every now I'm then I'm kind of like, "Wait. Really? I'm seeing Ryan?" (because I don't call him Boston in my head). I mean, just a lot has gone on there. As you, Internet, know. I have felt a lot in a relatively short period of time.

Here's an interesting thing. If he hadn't have checked out on me like he did, I wouldn't have gone on that retreat. I just wouldn't have. I can't just be gone all the time. I couldn't have seen him in November or December and done that retreat. And I needed to go on that retreat.

Things have a way of working out. Life has a way of unfolding like it should. One way or another. Even when things hurt and are sucky. We come through them and there's no telling what we'll find on the other side.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Baby it's cold outside

I got about halfway through writing this one and had to add this at the beginning. This is a very boring post. You might want to skip it. I'm basically just talking to myself.

We are having a full on, real, winter this year. Mostly, I'm just glad I finally bought a pair of Uggs last year. Say what you will, those things keep me warm and I am a girl who does not handle cold well. Sarah is home from school yet again today because there is a fear the roads will be icy this morning so they made the call to last night to close the schools. I love it for her. And feel for the parents who have less flexible jobs and young children trying to deal with the schools being closed. No fun.

Of course, with it being Friday, and her being home, and it being really cold outside, I just want to hang out with her and cook all day but I have a super busy day at work so that can't happen.

You know how I have this six month goal from the retreat related to my physical self? (I don't want to call it a weight loss goal, although that would be descriptive, but it's really and truly a health goal.) I gave myself six months to get to a certain place. My first big check-in milestone is February 10th (a third of the way in) and I hit that goal today, so three days early. If I hadn't done the traveling and then had the Week of Queso I probably would have been here earlier but doesn't matter. What does matter is that I am on track. This makes me very happy. It is not easy, at all, at age 42 to get weight off this body. Lesson freaking learned. This summer was all kinds of fun and no regrets but putting on 5 - 10 lbs is too easy and getting it off is too hard.

And...Boston. Wow. Alright. So, the trip is planned. We both need to be in Dallas for work so scheduled the visit around that. I love it because I can drive which just makes it so easy. He booked us in this incredible boutique hotel that I am familiar with but have never stayed in and has plans for us have massages and an amazing dinner there and has instructed me that my only job is to show up with some nice wine from my Sonoma trip.

Remember that whole "Proceed With Caution" thing? That is getting harder by the day. And I'm okay with throwing caution to the wind for the most part. We both know there is a lot to talk about. We'll do our talking first and then just enjoy the hell out of being together. It makes me a little nervous thinking about seeing him for the first time after all of this time and where we've been. I've never been nervous to see him before, not even in Chicago when I waited for him in that hotel bar wondering if I had actually lost my mind. But nerves aside, I can't wait to see him. I'm so excited about the fabulous hotel and the wining and dining and pampering but we could really be anywhere and I'd be happy.

Monday, February 3, 2014

The but guy

Okay, first of all, I said but not butt. Get your minds out of the gutter. Although that's exactly where my mind went in the conversation last night that prompted this post.

I was sitting around with some friends and somehow it came up that Sarah doesn't like anyone I date. She won't give anyone a chance. She adored the guy I dated in grad school, she's pissed we didn't end up together, and that's pretty much that as far as she is concerned. Never mind that said ex-boyfriend is now married. She doesn't care.

Anyway, one of my friends said, "But does she know he's a but guy?" And I was all, "Umm, excuse me?" (Mind straight to gutter) And she said, "You know, like we've talked about before. How you always have the disclaimer."

I've probably talked about this here before too. But with every guy I've dated, including my ex-husband, I've always had a but.

I am not going to use real examples but it went something like this. "Okay, so, you're going to meet Harry tonight. He's a super nice guy and I am so into him. I mean, he's really kind of a big dork, but I find it endearing and I like him anyway."

There you have it. The But. He's not the cutest guy you've ever seen or anything, but I really like him. He has been married 8 times and has 11 children, but I really like him. He never did finish his degree, but he's smart and I like him. He's in the middle of a messy divorce, but I think it will all work out just fine.

I stick some disclaimer on the guy. Like, I have to acknowledge the obvious flaws. Or rather, the flaws that are obvious to me but are often not obvious to anyone else. This is all stemming from my own insecurity, clearly. And isn't very nice, and why would I be with someone that I wasn't 100% good with anyway.

So, I don't have any disclaimers with Boston. Not a one. I'm not saying he is perfect, I don't believe in perfect, but I really like him. End of story. No buts.

This is a big deal to me. I think part of the reason I do the "but" thing is because I can find something to love in most people. And then I zero in on that something, and cling to that something, and try to ignore everything else. Doesn't work. I do think I have learned that lesson by the way. It was kind of a one-two punch. One, I met and fell for Boston and realized there are people in this world that I can totally accept. No ifs ands or buts. Two, I went on the retreat and learned that I need to not settle and not sell myself short.

I used to hate the whole thing about settling. And it goes back to being able to find something to love in anyone, and to not believing in perfection. And also the understanding that I am by no means perfect. Not settling sounded silly, of course we all have to settle in some ways because again, we aren't perfect. But I was a little off track. We all have things we want and need, and we shouldn't settle for less than those things. If I'm throwing a "but" in there, one of my must-haves is missing.