Sunday, November 13, 2016


You know how it is when sharks smell blood in the water?  How they circle?  How they fight each other, growing ever more frenzied trying to get a bite of something good?  When you want to attract sharks, you chum the waters, tossing bloody bait out to bring them in.

Friday night, I was the chum.

I wear my heart on my sleeve.  Sometimes, this is a problem.  Still, I choose to put myself out there, to share my feelings with all of you.  Anyone who wants to look can see me.

So Friday was a rough day for me.  I was nothing but a raw nerve, unable to even make much of an effort to get myself together, and I put it out there for all the world to see, as I do so often, right or wrong.

My plan was just to go out, get drunk, and feel sorry for myself for a few hours.  I think I'm entitled to do that every now and then.  I didn't bother putting on makeup or doing my hair.  I wore jeans and a long sleeved t-shirt.  My eyes were red and puffy.  Basically, I was a hot mess.

At the bar, I hung out with my friends and I drank...a lot.  Trying to maintain a level of drunkenness that kept me from thinking too much.  All I wanted was to drink and dance and go home and pass out.

But somehow, I ended up in a shark tank.

I had put it on Facebook, that a relationship that had barely begun had come to an abrupt end due to some unusual circumstances.  I'm not going to elaborate on that part because it's not my story to tell, but I will say that the guy I was seeing is a good person and I don't fault him one bit.  Quite the opposite, actually.  Which doesn't make it any easier to let go.  I have no righteous anger to deflect the pain.  Just a sense of having lost something that had potential to be really good.

This, apparently, was blood in the water.

I started getting texts and Facebook messages.  Some from friends offering support...others from people masquerading as friends.

If you're not sure which category you fall in, ask yourself if you followed up your sympathy with an attempt to hit on me. 

Yup, apparently there are people out there who see someone in a vulnerable state and think, "Maybe I've got a shot while she's feeling really low". 

At the bar, I repeatedly told one guy that all I wanted was to drink and dance, but he just wouldn't quit.  I enlisted the help of a friend of the guy I had been seeing to get rid of him, too exhausted to deal with him myself at that point.

The "friend" did help me in that respect, but then things took an odd turn.

He asked what the guy I had been seeing had said to me, what he told me, fishing for information.  I told him that he was one of the few people I shouldn't have to explain the situation to and said no more.  I did, however, burst into tears right there on the dance floor.

More blood in the water.

This guy...he actually sat me down at the bar and wiped away my tears and then started trying to get me to take him home, promising me that he would just hold me and be there for me, then offering some very specific sexual favors.  He told me he wanted my number so he could call and check up on me.

I told him I would give it to him, but I never did.  I sat there and I drank and I listened to him for far too long.  I was so lost in that moment, wishing for real comfort and finding only this.  This...disgusting attempt at leveraging my heartache to try to score.

He actually mentioned seeing me at his friend's house the week before.  I wish I could remember everything he said, but I was so very drunk at that point in time and what I do remember is disturbing enough.

There are not enough hot showers in the world to get that kind of ick off.

In the end, I ran out of the bar, literally ran out the door, tossing on my coat as I went.  I kept looking over my shoulder as I walked home, afraid someone would follow me.  Afraid that there was too much blood in the water and the sharks would move in for the kill.

But I made it home safely.  I locked my door and had a good cry before drifting off to sleep.  I hate that feeling of being hunted.  I know too well the terror of the prey as the pack closes in.

I may have been chum, but anyone who makes another human being feel that way is scum.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

I'm a Lover, Not a Fighter

I answered my phone today only to find a very angry woman on the other end of the line.  She told me that she had found my number in her "man's" phone, and wanted to know what I was doing with her man and how long it had been going on. 

I was at a bit of a loss.  I've met a few new people recently and I have no idea which one of them she might be referring to.  I tried to ask, but she cut me off, "I'm not finished!" she shouted at me.  I ended up hanging up on her since she didn't seem interested in getting any answers to her questions.

Later, I tried to call her back but she didn't answer.  I left her a message letting her know that if she would just tell me "her man's" name I would be happy to not have anything to do with him since the last thing I want to do is to get involved with someone who is already in a relationship with someone else.  I don't need that kind of drama.

This is not the first time this has happened to me.

The last time was probably twenty years ago, when a friend of mine decided to pass my phone number on to a guy friend of hers without asking my permission.  He never called, but his wife did.  That was weird, since I didn't even figure out how some random guy had my phone number until later and had no idea what she was talking about when she called.

The first time something like this happened...well, that time I deserved it. 

I was sixteen years old and dating a guy who was almost twice my age.  I knew he was engaged.  I didn't care.  In my defense, I was sixteen years old and just coming out of a horrible, abusive relationship.  This guy was nice to me, and that's really all I cared about at the time.

And then, she showed up at my apartment.  Imagine being a sixteen year old jackass and suddenly finding yourself trying to console a thirty year old woman in a fake fur jacket with blue mascara running down her cheeks as she asks, "Why are you doing this to me?"

Honestly, I had no good answer.  I didn't even care that much.  All I could think about was getting this sobbing woman out of my house before my father got home and I was forced to come up with some plausible excuse for what was going on.

Somehow, I did get her out, and soon thereafter I ended the relationship.  I decided then and there that I would never get involved in that kind of mess again.

I don't have any interest in fighting over any guy.  If he wants to be with me, he should be with me.  If he wants to be with someone else, he should go.  If we've decided we're going to see other people, everyone involved should know exactly where they stand.  No mystery.  No drama.  No bullshit. 

This whole dating thing is pretty new to me at this stage.  I'm trying to be as open and honest as I possibly can.  If anything, I think I err on the side of providing too much information right now, but that's okay.  If I make mistakes, it's probably going to be in assuming that the guys I'm talking to are being as honest with me as I am with them.  I don't feel a bit guilty over a lie that someone else told me.  All I want is to put some distance between myself and the person who would do that.

Unfortunately, the woman calling me a bitch on the phone today refused to tell me the guy's name, which does make it difficult for me to ensure that I'm leaving him alone.  But, I don't want to fight over anyone and if I find out who it is, she's welcome to him...not that I understand why she would want a guy she thinks is lying to her and cheating on her.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Hard to Keep

Many years ago...many, many years ago...a guy named Dick said to me, "I get it now.  You're not hard to get.  You're hard to keep.  Hard to earn."  Those words resonated with me.  I don't think that anyone in a position to know has ever said anything as true about me. 

I'm not hard to get.  I don't feel the need to play games or make someone jump through hoops for a chance with me.  If I find something to like about you, you have a chance.  The thing is, it's just as easy to blow that chance as it was to get it.

I'll put up with a little bit of bullshit at the beginning.  I'll make allowances.  Tell myself a story to make you come out looking better than you should.

But it's not long before I hit the point where I prefer to just cut my losses and walk away.

I asked my dad recently, "What's wrong with guys?" and he said, "They're just trying to get in your pants".  "But they're so bad at it," I replied.

Most guys blow it within minutes.  They can't seem to help saying or doing something stupid.  One guy actually said to me, "You look like you give good blow jobs".  "Funny, so do you", I said.  What did he expect for a response?  Really???

So anyway, here I am, trying to give someone a chance.  He made it a short distance without blowing it, but he's probably on the verge of goodbye already.  Which is okay.  I may as well put a stop to it before I have anything invested emotionally. The thing is that it's the emotional investment I actually crave. I want someone to show me that they're worth the effort.

I'm just no damn good at playing games.  And I'm definitely not into waiting for a guy to get good and ready to make a move.  I say what's on my mind.  I go after what I want.  I want someone equally honest and open and willing to take a chance.  Maybe some guys are intimidated by that?  I don't know.

All  I know is that I've been single for a long time now, and I'm ready to try.  I'm ready to put myself out there, to get rejected, to screw up and even to fall for the wrong guy.  I'm ready to get my heart broken, and even to take a chance on hurting someone else's feelings.  It's all part of the territory.

Ultimately, I want to find someone else to love. Someone else who will love me.  Someone who will understand that I'm not hard to get, but that I'm worth the effort to keep.  Someone who will put themselves out there and let me know that they're thinking about me.  Someone who can keep up with me intellectually as well as physically.

I want to find someone I like as much as I like myself.  And I don't think there's anything wrong with that.  It just may take a while to find.

In the meantime, I'll probably kiss some frogs. That's okay, too.  I toad you that I wasn't hard to get.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Invisible Man

I trace your jawline with my fingertips
Read the topography of your smile as I reach your mouth
I imagine the crinkling at the corners of your eyes
Though I cannot see you
It is pitch black in this room where we meet
But I can feel you
I know you

Sometimes you're gone away from me for so long that I wonder if you're ever coming back
Some nights I lie awake waiting for you to come to me
And then I feel a breeze stir the curtains
Hear a soft step approaching the bed
And I know you've come back to me
I open my arms, open my heart
It doesn't matter where you've been

Other nights fear enters my room like a lover
Her icy fingers trace my spine
And murmur in my ear that you will never return to me
That you are hers now
I try to shut her out, curling in toward myself
If you want me, I'm yours
I roll over and tell her that I don't care
If you don't want me, I will cease to want you
I cannot be ruled by fear

And when fear has gone her way I find myself entertaining hope
We drink a toast together in the dark and dream of what might be
We giggle like children, drunk on future happiness
She tells me you may be there even in the light
That you could be mere inches from me and I wouldn't know your face
She tells me you'll be back
And that you're worth the wait
But eventually I turn my back on her, too
I cannot subsist on hope alone

The emptiness is full of these demons that keep me company in the black of night
Until I hear that familiar step approaching
And they scatter like birds as I open my arms to you once again
Each time knowing
As long as you come back to me I will welcome you
To trace your features in the dark
To feel your smile pressed against my lips
To imagine what it might be like to look into your eyes
And to know that you are real and you are here
And not just a dream that returns to haunt me like the ghost of love night after night

But for now, this is all I have
And so I make it all I need
And I make the darkness stretch across the light
Even as I curse the sun for rising
Staring wide eyed at the dawn, hoping to catch just a glimpse of you, my love
Before you turn to smoke and drift away from me once more

Monday, August 8, 2016

Down a Dark Mountain

I've been wanting to get some nice sunset photos, and it seemed to me that the best vantage point would be the top of a mountain.  The only problem is that if you stay at the summit for the sunset, you have to hike down in the dark.

I'm not the most experienced hiker.  I've only been at this for a short time. So, I did what I do and consulted the internet.  Article after article said that you should never ever hike alone at night, that it wasn't smart or safe to go alone, especially if you're not an experienced hiker.

The articles stressed that this should only ever be done in good weather, on mountains you were super familiar with.

So, I told a few people what I was up to, and proceeded to climb Sleeping Beauty to take pictures of the sunset.  Alone.

It was a beautiful night, although there was a bit more cloud cover than I would have desired.  The clouds can make for more dramatic photos, but when there are too many, it just obscures most of the sunset, which is what eventually happened.  Before then, though, I managed to get a few pictures I was happy with.

There was a large group of hikers on the summit, obviously also there to watch the setting sun.  I could have hiked down with their group for safety, but by then I had set my mind on doing it alone.

So, once the sun set, I waited.  And once all the other hikers had gone, I waited.  I gave it about ten or fifteen minutes, just to be sure I wouldn't run into them on the way down.

The clouds had all but completely covered the sky and the second I started down the trail, it began to rain.  What could I do at that point but be glad my hiking boots were waterproof?  I turned on my headlamp and continued on.

At first I stumbled a few times, unused to judging the uneven ground in the beam of the headlamp, but after a few minutes I grew more sure of myself and had little trouble navigating.  I actually found that it was easier to see the trail markers in the dark as they reflected my light back to me. 

Once, I snagged my shoe lace on a tree stump as I took a step down and nearly fell, but I hopped around on one foot until I got free.  The rest really was smooth sailing.  I heard the other hikers up ahead calling someone's name once, but otherwise didn't see or hear anyone until I got to the end of the trail.  It didn't rain hard, just enough to make the trail squelchy in spots, and the dark trail and feeling of being utterly alone in the forest at night lent me some great ideas for a horror movie.

Before I knew it, I could see the lights of the group that had left before me gathered at the end of the trail just up ahead.  I had successfully completed my first night hike alone on a cloudy, rainy night. 

I can't wait to do it again!

Monday, July 25, 2016

War and Peace

When you've tired of the battle
I will trace your many scars
Gently, gently with my fingers
Never hardened in a war

I will offer you some water
I will offer you some wine
I will take you to my bed
Where you can quench this thirst of mine

If we lie tangled together
Damp with sweat beneath the sheets
Can we forget for just a moment
All the secrets that we keep

I will smile into your neck
I will offer you my throat
Gently, gently now my lover
This fire ignites my very soul

If we clench our fingers tightly
Hold each other in a gaze
Can we keep the war from coming in
And make a love that stays

Can we lose ourselves forever
Drunk on sweaty, salty bliss
Or will the drums of war intrude again
Until we question this

Will you whisper to me gently
Will you softly say my name
Will you learn to lose yourself with me
To find what we might gain

If our hearts could beat together
Could they drown the drums of war
Gently, gently move together
Until all that's left is love

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Love and Marriage

Yesterday was my Wedding Anniversary, or would have been if I wasn't divorced.  It's a little ironic that I realized it because for most of my marriage, I wasn't very good at remembering the date, a fact my ex-husband never exactly embraced.  It's not that I didn't care, I'm just not great at keeping track of things like that.
I'm not sad about the fact that I'm divorced and, despite what some might think, I moved on a long time ago even though I haven't really dated anyone in the years since we parted ways.  I just needed some alone time.  I needed time to just be me. 
I have thought often in the past couple of years about love and marriage, what they are and what that means to me.  I've thought about what my own marriage meant to my life and whether or not it lost all meaning because it didn't last. 
So, from the perspective of time and distance, here's what I think about all of it.
Love is still the most important thing in the world.  You can have everything else you've ever wanted and, if you don't have the right person to share it with, it can still ring hollow.   It's in my happiest moments that I feel that emptiness most keenly. 
To me, marriage is the moment when you stand up in front of the whole world and say, "I choose this person".  It can be the most daring thing in the world to make that declaration and to mean it with your whole heart.  And it can be the most comforting thing you'll ever know, to feel that the person you have chosen has also chosen you.
The end of a marriage is heart-breaking.  There is no other way around it.  You grieve the loss of not only the person you loved, but the idea of the life you thought you had together, or could have had together if things had been just a little different.
Ultimately, I'm glad that I got married, even though it didn't work out. Tommy gave me a place to call home for over a decade, even if some of those years were difficult.   I'm sure it wasn't always easy being married to someone like me, someone who is independent to a fault.  I often tried to explain why I thought it was important that I didn't need him, that he was in my life because I wanted him there.  I don't think he always understood that.  I never wanted to need anyone.  It's important to me that every moment I spend with someone is by my choice, because I prefer to be with that person over all others, not out of some kind of sense of needing to have someone by my side.  I would rather be alone than to spend my life with someone out of necessity or fear.
Still, I never wanted to date again. And maybe I let things go on too long in the hope that I wouldn't have to. 
When I married him, I made Tommy my family and he will always be my family even if I never see him again.  I wish for only good things for him.  I am thankful for the time we spent together, thankful that he gave me that moment, that he stood up in front of the world with me and told everyone that he chose me and that I chose him.  That moment was everything to an independent girl like me.  It was everything I was afraid of allowing myself to want.
Now, reflecting on all of it from the comfort of time and distance, I can say that I gained more than I lost.  I don't think I could have ever been as happy and as sure of myself as I am now if I had never had that moment.  I don't think I could have ever been as happy alone as I am if I had never tried and failed to make a life with someone else. 
I know now that I'm capable of doing either - living alone or living with someone.  I look forward to the time when I find the right someone to share my life with.
I don't know if I'll ever get married again.  I'm certainly not in any rush.  I don't even know at this point if I'll ever fall in love again...but I hope so.  I'm willing to admit now that while I might not need anyone...I kind of want to.  Maybe allowing myself to rely on someone else isn't the worst thing I could do.  Maybe someday, it will even happen.
But for now, I'm happy.  I'm at peace with my life and with myself. And I'm at peace with my marriage as well as my divorce.
Thank you, Tommy, for being my home for all those years.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Summit

It had been about twenty years since I last climbed a mountain, a trip so terrible I had all but blocked it from my memory.  The highlights of that hike include a run-in with a six foot rattlesnake and wading through chest deep water while taking a "shortcut" suggested by one of my fellow hikers.

Probably because that trip was all but forgotten, I decided that I wanted to hike again.  My goal last summer was actually to start hiking, but somehow it never happened.  This past winter, I decided I was going to start training and be ready to do it in the spring.  I was doing the treadmill on steep inclines for an hour at a time and feeling pretty good about myself.  Then I got plantar fasciitis which is basically fancy doctor talk for excruciating pain in the foot.  For a while, all walking was put on hold, my foot so painful at times that I struggled just to go grocery shopping.

After months of babying it, my foot was finally good enough to start walking again. I went out most nights for at least an hour, enjoying spending time outdoors and yearning for more.  I was ready.

So, last Saturday morning, I got up and climbed Buck Mountain.  As soon as I started the first part of the ascent, I realized I had forgotten my asthma inhaler at home.  At that point, I wasn't going to let a little thing like not breathing stop me, so I pressed on.  I took as many breaks as I needed to, for as long as I needed to.  I took pictures along the way and enjoyed the peace and seclusion of an early morning hike in the woods, listening to the breeze rustling through the trees and the sounds of the birds chirping away to each other.

I made the summit in just under two hours.  It was beautiful.  Amazing.  Everything I wanted it to be.  I chose a rock to sit on and had my breakfast.  A friendly dog belonging to another hiker came over and licked my face in greeting.  I pet her for a few minutes and she ran off as soon as I tried to snap a picture, preferring a life of anonymity to the constraints of celebrity, apparently. I took pictures and enjoyed the wind whipping through my hair and cooling me off after all the hard work of getting to the top.

After about an hour, I headed back down, glad I had decided on an early start as an endless stream of people made their way upward.

I was so thrilled with my day's experience that I decided to hike Sleeping Beauty the next morning. I practically skipped up the mountain, it was so easy compared to Buck, and I made it to the top in a little under an hour.  Again, I spent an hour taking pictures, having a snack, and generally feeling content before heading back via Bumps Pond. 

But this journey did not begin this past weekend.  It didn't begin at the gym last winter or even last summer when I decided climbing mountains was something I wanted to do.  This journey began a few years ago, when I decided I didn't like the life I was living any more.

There have been many starts to this journey.  I have made advances, and I have had setbacks. Some days my path has been clear and others I have all but lost my way.  In the beginning, I took a step.  And then another.  And another.  Until one day, I found myself at the top of the mountain...looking forward to the next mountain to climb.

There is only one way to change your life. Take a step. Start moving in the direction you want to go in and keep moving in that direction, even if you find that your path is long and winding or overgrown completely in places.  Sometimes you may need to sit and rest.  Sometimes you will need to lay back and look up at the stars to make sense of it all.  Sometimes you might even need to stop and have a good cry.  But no matter what else you do, keep getting up and moving in the direction you want to go in. 

I promise you, one day you will get there.

Sunday, March 6, 2016


This is an overview of my visit to Barcelona and surrounding areas in October of 2015.  It was a beautiful city and I found so many things to love there.  Sights included in this video are the city of Barcelona, Park Guell, The Vall de Nuria in the Pyrenees Mountains, Queralbs, Labyrinth Park, Barcelona Beach, Cadaques, and a hot air balloon trip in Cardedeu, among others.  The music on this video is by Romuald Borowiak, who was playing guitar and selling his CD's outside Park Guell the day I visited. I hope you enjoy it!