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Posts from August 2009

601 Posts on the Blog, 601 Posts on the Blog

Yes, there are 601 posts on the blog. And unlike bottles of beer on the wall, these stay, and are even added to. I started blogging in April 2008; the need to express myself was so great then that there were days when I made two or even three posts. Now, here it is four days since my last post. The anguish and frustration which fueled me in the beginning are still there, but transformed into a more manageable self-awareness and understanding. Perhaps, too, I have been transformed from writing the pain, to being a writer of pain--and happiness (occasionally).

I cannot express how thankful I am for those of you who have come by and read my posts, whether you have left comments or not, because it is what makes me realize that I am communicating, that what has seared me is being heard and contemplated, and, perhaps, has helped someone else.

As always, welcome and thank you.  

Looking for Love Online: Giving Up

For me the summer will officially be over next Monday when I go back for my week of teacher-training and preparation for the big start the following week. The new year will begin as the last year ended on the romance front, but at least in June there was the hope of a summer romance. Now there is the reality of no summer romance and a deepening understanding that I really might be headed to a Golden Girls scenario down the road.

Not only was the romance-less summer disappointing, the few dates or communications that I had have caused pain. Maybe I need to have thicker skin, but if I was going to have thicker skin, it would have developed by now—and it hasn’t, not by the slightest fraction of an inch. It really is you out there, alone, sitting at a computer or a table opposite someone who has his own agenda or expectations that you think should be benign—positive even—but they just don't always end up to be so.

Just this week a lovely widowed Frenchman who has been raising his son by himself who lives nearby, but is currently working in Nigeria building roads, toyed with me. Oh, it was fun. It turns out it’s easy to overcome your finely-tuned instincts when you are fawned over by a handsome man. But today, when I was told that he was upset, that something had happened, that he planned to commit suicide the antennae were up—but so was the seriously concerned heart beating far too fast. When the gunshot sound came through the computer I thought “Oh, no,” and ever so cautiously “What’s going on?” But it was all good in the end, because apparently all he needed was to send some money to his uncle who could then file the papers he needed to….SPAM.

Then there was the man who, apparently, on our one and only date was really filling out an internal questionnaire. Apparently I did not pass the test because I was not courteous enough to the waitress and, I guess, I didn’t cry out in the way of being saved at some revival that he is the man for me. I know that I failed the test because he contacted me about a second date and apparently I again failed the test because my response was a little harsh. What do these men think? They tell you that they have “too many issues” in their life to get involved and then a week later say, no, you know, I really do like you so let’s meet again. Men, know that even single women are people.

I almost forget to mention the older man who seriously looked older than elder. Not just that, our conversation really highlighted that he was of a totally different generation than me. Now I know what I must sound like to my students.

Too bad that I finally splurged on a three-month membership to JDate, because apparently I don’t turn the Jewish guys on either. Oy.

There was one very nice man with whom I had two dates. But the sparks didn’t fly. Too bad.

At this point I’m not so worried that some date will read what I have said about previous dates here because I’m expectationless.

I still don’t regret telling pseudo-man that I don’t want to get together with him now that he really is separated. Even though he is the only man who has sailed my ship, I have learned something, and that is that I really do need to worry about myself and not be here as a platform for a man’s ego.

Oh, and I’ve finally gotten started on my novel and it is going well. There’s a romance in it. And it’s lovely. I think I’ll focus on this fictional romance for a while. So far the gentleman is courteous, caring, compassionate and his kisses…well, you’ll have to read the book. Now that I have so much time to work on it, it shouldn’t take too long to finish writing (and enjoy imagining) it.

P.S.  I had one more date set up for this afternoon, which I decided to go on. It was, truly, the cherry on top. The man had answered my ad, it turns out, because he likes to hear people's stories. It also turns out that he is married, not happy, and thinking that maybe sometime he will have an affair. This is the man who told me, shocker, that he is very conservative. After I gave my mini-lecture on being forthright and not lying to people, I got up and left. Leaving behind my frozen lemonade but not a shred of myself.  

I can't resist

I can't help but laugh when I see the blustering Dick Armey in the news lately. He comes off as a man of no morals, and for whom money and strong arm tactics are central--to hell with people. He talks of tyranny as a man who knows--does anyone seem more tyrannical than him? Is it any wonder that exman, when he was still on his way up, found a friend and mentor in Dick Armey? They were buds for a while.

Arrogant men, can't they just bother each other and leave the rest of us alone?   

Penciling in Dates

An update on how the system's been treating me.

June 18        The house was finally sold in a six-hour "ceremony." Since exman still owed me money (for food, shelter and clothing for his daughters), I filed a complaint in court. The lawyer (one level down the totem pole from Nasty Lady Lawyer) told me the hearing would be on June 26. Since she made a mistake in the filing, a revision needed to be prepared and sent to court by another lawyer (four levels down from Nasty Lady Lawyer) and we were given a new date—July 24. I needed to prepare a lot of things and make a lot of copies for that hearing, which I did.

July 22         When I arrived at 4:50 for my 4:30 meeting (because there was so much traffic) with the lawyer-to-the-4th to prepare for court in two days, she told me that exman had hired a lawyer and the hearing would be rescheduled. She mentioned August 13th as the day she thought this would happen.

July 23         Lawyer-to-the-4th and his lawyer went to court to postpone the hearing.

At this point I sent an email to Nasty Lady Lawyer telling her that I did not want any one to do anything on my case except get a new date. I noted that I feared that the amount I would get was not much more than the amount it would cost me.

July 27 or August 3         I don’t know on which day the scheduling hearing took place because lawyer-to-the-4th never bothered to contact me (was this part of not doing anything?). At that meeting exman appeared by himself because he had fired his fourth lawyer. The new date for the hearing is DECEMBER 9! Lawyer-to-the-4th, feeling pleased with herself (somehow) had the gall to write to me (after I emailed her asking WELL?) that she told exman “no more continuances.” Yeah, she really has him eating out of her hand.

I have decided that I must be as detached from the legal dealings as I am from the dating game. Just play along until something proves to me that I am being taken seriously. No more tears or sleepless nights. These are the follies of my life. I regret going to court this time, but I have started it and will see where it leads. By the way, I do not get child support nor do I think that it will ever come to pass because it will involve more hassles and fighting that I don't want to undertake because I want and need to be done with him, hence the desire to get some of what he owes me for the last two years. 

I just received a bill from the electric company. Shocker. He didn't pay what he owes them and since his electricity is apparently included in his rent in his new place, they want me to pay it. I just kept repeating to the supervisor on the phone (in a not very calm tone that I apologized for at the beginning--stating that this is coming at the end of a bitter divorce) that "I don't owe them anything." She got off the phone, but I don't think that will be the end of that.

Safe Driving

Maybe it’s because I don’t have long legs that I can’t understand this phenomenon, but even so, it does seem incredibly odd and unsafe. Why would a person drive a car with his left foot sticking out the window like it’s a turn signal? What is with that? How can you possibly drive safely with your body so contorted? Of course my foot can barely reach the dashboard, but I could imagine what it would be like to have longer legs and being able to stick one out the window, feeling the breeze and waving to passing cars, is just a ridiculously unsafe idea. What must be required of a body to have one foot navigating between the brake and the gas pedal while the other foot is outside?

Besides the absurdity of putting your foot where your hand should go, how could you maintain good control over the car when you are doing a split?

Since Congress is finally getting around to writing a law against texting and driving at the same time, I think they should add an amendment against driving while contorted. 

What interesting sights have you seen drivers doing lately?

What I’m Reading

I’ve read many books this summer. As goes with my mind, the books are deeply entrenched in me when I read them and poof! gone the moment I finish them. They inform and inspire me as I read them and then I move on. The reading of them is another experience in my life. I don’t remember every meal I’ve eaten and conversation I’ve had, so, too, with my reading material—it’s been absorbed into my system some stays, enriching the rest, and some goes. 

But right now I am in the midst of two books that point to the two ways my mind seems to be wandering of late. They are What Was Asked of Us: An Oral History of the Iraq War by the Soldiers Who Fought It by Trish Wood, and home safe by Elizabeth Berg.

One, as you can tell by the title, is a very tough-to-read book about what some soldiers have experienced in Iraq. The other is not; it is about a woman coming into herself after her husband dies. One I need to read because it is too horrible to think that “we” are fighting two wars, one since 2001 and the other since 2003, and yet my life is untouched and even my reading, except for some articles and the biographies that the Washington Post publishes when there have been enough deaths for a two-page spread.

I am determined to pass this reading onto my students. No, not just reading, I am determined to have them think outside of their boxes for a while. No, I am determined that they rise to their capability to think about the world they live in.

These wars have become the white noise behind the childhood of these kids (and our own “adult” lives); the seventeen-year olds I will be teaching would have been nine when the War in Afghanistan began and eleven when the Iraq War began. My assumption is that except for the kids who have a parent serving in Iraq or Afghanistan or the military (lots of military kids here, right down the road from the Pentagon and a number of bases) they are not very aware. Not only that, with all of the wars and sundry other things that the history teachers must cover in a year (my take on our history textbooks), they barely talk about Vietnam. So rather than read a novel that enables them to escape, which they surely know how to handle, I feel that we need to reach into the world we live in and consider it.

I’m not sure if I can blame them for their complacency when it’s us, the mature grown-ups, who have become complacent. Or have our experiences and observations made us not believe what Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

While there had been a time when I entertained visions of creating an NGO that changed people’s lives I have come to find that I am not so much of a doer. I feel bad about that, and no, no amount of wanting it is going to change my personality and I don’t care what all the self-help books say. But in my little classroom I am determined to do my part. It’s not possible that I have become an English teacher only to help kids master the comma and the thesis statement. There must always be a purpose behind a purpose. So, the woman with a master’s in conflict studies, is going to read and talk about war. And I’m excited about it.

Because the way to peace is to understand war.

Dating is Like Being a Politician

It just occurred to me that dating is like being a politician. Everything you type or say or do is scrutinized to the umpteenth degree. But whereas politicians are allowed their occasional moral lapses, daters are not. One incorrect comma or comment and you are voted out of contention. Photographs are the most damaging. Any inconsistencies with expectations of hair, height, and heft will cause you to not even get your name on the primary ballot.

I say this not only because I have suffered from backlashes, but because I seem to be as guilty as the press in highlighting lapses and forgetting about positives. Aren’t we supposed to be looking for the good in each other and not the bad? Or is fear of backing a losing candidate causing too many things to become red flags?

Now I just need to figure out how it is that so many politicians, once they get past the scrutiny and get elected, manage to have wives and girlfriends? Is this akin to money going to money? Or ice cream going to my thighs?