Welcome Everyone!

If you like what you read, please pass it on and I'll send you positive energy... you can't get that with any coupon! ;)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

My Dating Manifest-O

Over the last year and a half, I’ve learned a few things about dating. I only started doing it when I turned 40. Yes, you heard me right. Long story, just go with me on this. I’m seriously behind the curve when it comes to the modern relationship. But, it’s brought me to this place. The place in time where I’ve decided to write a brief manifesto. I struggled with using the word “manifesto” simply because in the age of the Internet, I didn’t want to get flagged by the Department of Homeland Security. In particular, I live in Montana, where lots of wackos come to embrace their wackoness. Generally, wackos in Montana aren’t actually born here, they’re transplants. I was born and raised here, so I’m perfectly sane... really.

I decided to stick with “manifesto” because it’s time to get serious. It’s time to be true to what I want and send a clear message to those “potentials” out there. I also mean it as a new age-y double entendre. If you know anything about manifesting what you want into your life, you’ll know what I mean.

So, here goes. Listen up people!

If you think relationships are a game to be played with strategies and plans:
Move it along, I don’t have time for you. I am who I am. I don’t want to try and manipulate anyone into liking or loving me. So, I’ll just tell you a little about me. I am caring and kind most of the time. I occasionally get pissed off, but that’s usually directed at my family and people who lie a lot. Not once, but a lot. I can stand up for myself, I am hard on myself, I am funny and I can be generous. I am extremely independent. I tried asking for help from someone I was seeing, once, because all my girlfriends told me that guys like to rescue the ladies and to fix things. My girlfriends were mistaken. I am strong, both emotionally and physically. I want a partner, not someone to take care of me or pay the bills. I deserve the same.

If you just want to “help each other out”, aka: friends with benefits: Move it along and quickly. I don’t want to be your friend with benefits. Friends with benefits is a complete misnomer. It should just be called “benefits” or better yet, random sex with someone you sort of know. People (both men and women) who just want benefits typically don’t know what real friendship is... at all. And although I want a relationship that includes lots of the benefit in question, and I mean lots in a very literal way because I spent 15 years in celibacy, I want the benefit to be in addition to a good conversation, endless laughter, spontaneous dancing in the kitchen, sitting on the couch cuddling (yes cuddling) and lots of other things.

If you’re married but unhappy: Run far away from me. I understand your plight, I really do. Things happen, people grow apart, things change, things are complicated, there are assets or children involved. I get it. But grow some balls and make a decision. You aren’t doing yourself, your spouse, your children, or your finances any favors. Is it hard? Abso-freakin-lutely! But life is too short to make each other miserable and trust me, the kids know, and they aren’t happy either. In fact, everyday you “fake it” you are chipping away bit by bit at their ability to have a healthy relationship in the future. And I am not willing to complicate matters further by being your friend-with-benefits-second-choice-waiting-in-the-wings-hoping-you’ll-eventually-choose-me-girl. Nope, sorry. So, run away and good luck in your quest for testicles.

If you want me to take vacation time so that we can sit in your basement and play
“World of Warcraft”, forget it. I really shouldn’t have to explain this one.

If you want to uproot your whole family and move to my hometown before we even talk on the phone, let alone meet each other... I’ll run, you stay where you are.

If you want to send me penis pictures before we meet in person: As an artist, I totally appreciate the learning value. And the variety in shapes and sizes is scientifically fascinating. A couple were even fairly impressive, but let’s face it. It’s just a little too exhibitionist. Let’s avoid it. After we’re in a relationship... I'm all for it.

If you bought your car... your jacket... your shoes to impress someone: Move it along. I’m pretty sure we’ll have nothing to talk about. This goes double for someone who makes snap judgements about people’s looks or fashion sense.

If you won’t allow a dog to sleep on the bed or get on the couch:
See ya!

If you are relatively honest, funny, sincere, creative, like adventure (not the extreme-you-could-die-zip-lining-in-the-Amazon type but more spontaneous and slightly safer adventures)... if you like movies, being outside, working hard, building a future, laughing, traveling, art, cuddling, zombies, sex (not zombie-sex... ewwwww squishy! And ewwww!) and me... then say hello. Better yet ask me for coffee.

Because here’s the thing. I’m worth it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

In These Shoes

I recently rediscovered my love of shoes. It’s no big surprise that most girls, or women as the case may be, love shoes. The types of shoes we love, of course, varies as much as we do. But nevertheless, we love shoes. There’s no getting around it. Do I have to say it again?

If you’re an outdoorsy or sporty type, you probably love shoes that comfort your feet, preferring function over form. But, I bet that each and every woman out there loves at least one pair of completely frivolous, ridiculous, useless, over-the-top shoes. In fact, I have a friend who is wildly practical, and even she has a pair of sparkly pink sequined tennis shoes. Yep. I know, right? She is my irrefutable evidence.

As most of you know, I’ve been in the process of rediscovering myself. I’ve been losing some weight, learning to love myself (and let me tell you, this is like an epic battle of good and evil that I like to call Mothra and Godzilla need an intervention by Stuart Smalley) and living again after being hit squarely in the face with an early onset mid-life crisis.

Little by little, I’ve been taking better care of myself, treating myself to some nurturing and basically, doing whatever the hell I want. This is wreaking havoc in some parts of my life, but overall, it’s been fun and fascinating. Over the last year, I’ve been completely and utterly surprised by almost every choice I’ve made. And with all the ups and downs, the woohoos and uh-ohs, I’ve come to one truth. Life is a pretty amazing journey.

During my fantastical ride, I’ve re-discovered how much I love shoes... and other girly things. The fact is that most of the time, I prefer the comfort of elastic waist (or “waste” depending on your fashion dictionary) pants and threadbare t-shirts. I prefer them because they’re comfortable and I can get covered in clay and not worry about ruining anything expensive. Even though I’m an artist, I do have a professional job and I’ve used that as an excuse to buy some completely ridiculous and impractical shoes. In fact, each new pair gets a little higher in the platform and the heel. Eventually, I’ll make my way to stilts, but I’d call the latest pair: Dorothy Does Mary Jane: an over-the-top pair of red faux suede platform Mary Janes that officially make me six feet one inch tall. And yes, every time I wear them, I click my heels and make a wish. Did you really have to ask?

You also know that I started dating again a little over a year ago, and currently my life seems to be soap operatic in that area. See earlier blog posts if you need to get caught up. But, I have to say that my first actual, physical, in-person, old-fashioned date was a complete success. It was a little over a year ago. No, we didn’t run starry-eyed to the little white chapel, pledging undying love right off the bat. He didn’t have a white horse and I wasn’t wearing glass slippers. I was wearing a great pair of taupe faux suede four-inch open toed scrunchy shooties which made me nearly six feet tall. But alas, we are not a we at all. We never became a we even though I still hear from him from time to time.  How does this relate to shoes? Be patient, you’ll see.

The never-to-be we met for coffee at a local coffee shop. Something low-key that I thought would allow him to run for the hills should he be so inclined. It never dawned on me that I might want to run for the hills. Actually, it still doesn’t. But that’s for another post as well.

Anyway, we talked for quite a while and decided to go for dinner. At dinner, we talked some more. He had a couple of years on me, but is oh-so-handsome. Around six feet. Nice build. Dark short hair and goatee with a quick smile and twinkly eyes. Honestly we didn’t have a lot to talk about, but it didn’t matter. I was just enjoying the view. I had to restrain myself from leaning over to smell him several times because he smelled delicious, but of course, that added to my enjoyment of the whole experience. I saw him on his motorcycle a few weeks ago and I actually swooned... Swooning while your driving has an odd effect on your motor functions, by the way. I’m sure I’ll always be attracted to him, not just for his cutie-patootie good looks, but because he helped me find a little thing I lost. Courage.

After dinner, he walked me to my car and he took charge, kissing me goodnight. I am absolutely terrible at these things and although the people I work with would tell you I’m no shrinking violet, I am very unsure of myself when faced with a personal display of affection opportunity. You see, I’m very outspoken at work--probably too much so, but when it comes to dating, I can’t help but to be old-fashioned. This doesn’t mean men have to pay for everything, but they do have to make the moves. And no one had made a move on me in a very long time... In fact, I had kissed a total of four boys in my lifetime. Yep, you got it. And one was a kiss in the sixth grade.

So, needless to say, when he made the move... I could hardly contain myself. And let me give you some more perspective. I hadn’t kissed anyone in about 15 years. Again, more fodder for other posts. Anyhoooooo, my first kiss in 15 years turned into a full blown make-out session right there in the parking lot of the local Red Robin. TMI? Live with it.

Here’s the thing. When you go that long without a kiss, a lot of things happen to you all at once. The gaggle of butterflies that lives in your stomach waiting for occasions like this turn into hyper-active, ping-pong bowling balls on speed without any navigational control, knees launch their official shut-down sequence and uncontrollable giddy laughter holds your brain hostage and tickles it until the rest of you can’t breathe. Every physiological system in this organism I call me went “AWWW-OOOO-GAAAAA!” I was Riverdancing to my own drummer on the inside completely on the verge spontaneous combustion while doing everything I could to on the outside to contain it.

Eventually, we both got ahold of ourselves and stopped before we got arrested and had to register with the state. But, I was over the moon. It wasn’t the he’s-the-one-we’ll-live-happily-ever-after moon. It was the WOW-my-life-isn’t-over-I-can-do-this-I’m-not-completely-disgusting-somebody-kissed-me-I-can’t-believe-I-forgot-how-great-that-was kinda moon.

After putting ourselves back together, messing ourselves up again, and putting ourselves back together again, times two... we finally said goodnight. I smiled so long and so hard that my entire face ached. I don’t really remember driving to a see a good friend of mine, but I must have felt the need to tell someone for fear the whole experience wasn’t real. She knew that I had a date and as soon as she saw me she said, “How’d it go?”

It took me a few moments. I opened my mouth a couple times, but nothing came out. I jumped up and down in my fabulous suede opened toed shooties a few times and then, out of the blue I yelled,  “I got felt up!! These shoes REALLY work!”

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Lori & the Three Vikings

Okay, well first, there are more than three, but still not enough to make me a floozy. Second, the Vikings are kicking my ass slightly less than my now 41 year old hormones are. Third, I believe I have a multiple personality disorder.

Let’s deal with each one of these things separately, shall we?

More than three, but less than floozy...
So the last year of my dating life has been filled with a Goldilocks metaphor. This one is too soft, this one too hard (I’m sensing a double-entendre here, do you sense it too?), this one too cold, this one too hot... I haven’t found the one that’s just right, quite yet. And at this point, I’m not sure I should keep sampling the porridge.

Here’s the thing... no matter their Goldilocks category, the Vikings have all been good guys, each in their own way. But this dating thing hurts. It hurts to be dumped. It's even painful to hurt someone else’s feelings. And they feel exactly the same way in both regards. I’ve heard that geese mate for life, I’ve often wondered if they hurt this much while they’re trying to find their mate. Note to self: Ask a goose for dating advice. Believe it or not, I will actually do this.

The reason that I’m considering not sampling any more porridge is that I don’t want to get hurt or hurt anyone else, again. My last few experiences have broken my heart even if I was the one saying goodbye. That’s the thing about relationships, I guess. You can’t guarantee anything to the other person. You just can’t. No matter how much you want to. You can believe you can with all your heart, but people, including myself (and that's a huge understatement), are unpredictable. Circumstances change, people grow or change, life changes in general and there we are back in Kansas stealing sparkly red slippers off a dead witch so that we can try again.

I’ve found that if I’m honest about this concept, Vikings interpret it one of three ways: They think I don’t want a relationship or want to be alone ("relationship" and "alone" as defined by them); They think I just want sex... Most of the time they’re perfectly fine with this, but they also think it means they can ask my massage therapist out for coffee after they leave my house; or they think I’m playing with them like a cat plays with a three-legged mouse. None of these are the case, but usually I don’t have an opportunity to explain why.

The case is, in fact, that I want to be happy. And if being with someone doesn’t make me happier than I am by myself, then I’ll stay by myself. I don't expect someone to be perfect. I don't expect them to change. I want to love them for who they are. I want to be able to see a future with them. I don’t want to be in a relationship so that I have someone to share half the expenses with. That’s not ethical, and it’s not love. But trust me, a lot of people do it. And if I’m really honest, I’ve thought about it. I also don’t want someone to take care of me in any sense. I want to take care of each other. But again, it would be nice not to feel like I’m holding up the world all by myself all the time. I can’t put into words what happy looks like. At least not specifically... But I think I’ll know it when I see it. Until then, I’m not going to pretend that I can guarantee anything at all.

The Vikings are winning...
Yes, the Vikings AND my hormones are kicking my ass. First I should tell you that I only started dating when I turned 40. Yep. I know, long story, one I’m saving for a book I’m writing. It’s completely true, with the exception of having a few movie or dance dates in high school and college. And by few I mean between five and eight. Pathetic, I know.

Here’s the problem with not dating until you’re 40:

You have no schema! In fact, you’re up a creek without a schema. You just don’t have a clue what to do. This puts you at an extreme disadvantage and means that you’re going to do a LOT wrong. You’re going to hurt yourself and others in the process. You’re going to feel one minute like the world is the most glorious place in the universe (this is an oxytocin rush, just so you know). And the next minute, you’re going to feel like you can’t do anything right.

Let me put this in perspective. I’ve spent 19 years, just shy of half my life span, living alone. I had one roommate for a short period and it was actually good (maybe not for the roommate, because I’m pretty sure I’m hard to live with).

The point of telling you this is that I haven’t done a lot of the relationship-y things that most people have. I haven’t shacked up with a guy. I haven’t had a guy spend the night. I’ve never had a morning after breakfast. Bear with me, the TMI will be over soon. I’ve never cuddled on the couch to watch a movie with my significant other. I’ve cooked dinner for a few people, but the only one I was dating, I wasn’t really dating. It’s complicated. I’ve never had a joint checking account. I’ve never had anyone pay my bills for me, but I helped the it’s complicated guy financially a couple of times. I’ve never rented an apartment, bought a house or a car or even a teddy bear on joint credit. Never adopted a dog with anyone. Never had a child. I’ve never said “Honey, pass me the ketchup.” to anyone.

I have a vastly different perspective on life than most people and it’s tough for anyone to put themselves in my shoes. I don't blame them, I'm kind of a weirdo. Imagine going nearly 15 years without a kiss of any kind. Fifteen years without someone ever holding your hand. I’m not telling you this to garner sympathy, I’m trying only to describe my perspective.

I woke up this morning with a huge epiphany. One I didn’t like very much. It was: I may never be capable of having a significant other. This is a relief in a lot of ways because let’s face it, dating is hell. It takes an enormous amount of time and effort. This isn’t bad. It should take an enormous amount of time and effort or it wouldn’t matter. It hurts like hell when something doesn’t work out. And again, it should. Without hurt, you wouldn’t have a context for joy. But the other edge of this double-edged epiphany is that there is a pretty good chance (not 100%, mind you, but so far that’s my track-record), that I’ll grow older and eventually die having never experienced the relationship-y things I referred to above. So, yes I’m relieved, the pressure’s off, I can get back to work. But, I am also deeply and profoundly saddened. That takes me to my third point.

I believe I have a multiple personality disorder:
Most of the last year has been maddening! Mad-Hatter maddening. Too many fairy tales in this blog? Well, anyway... When I meet someone, sometimes even before I physically meet them, let’s say we text or talk on the phone, I can usually tell if we’ll be mostly compatible or not. I say mostly because no two people are ever 100% compatible. It’s just not possible to agree on EVERYTHING, or like ALL the same things. That’s why we’re called individuals. But, we can be mostly compatible and in my observations, those seem to be the happiest relationships. I can usually get a sense for compatibility with someone pretty quickly. And on the flip-side I can generally sense when something’s off as well. I don’t believe I’m always right about these things, but I try and make the best decisions with the information I have when I have it. I’ve also learned to trust my Spidey-sense in the last year, because if I ignore it, I regret it. Where are the multiple personalities, you ask? Well...

I seem to vacillate between the realist, the epically horny teenager and the pink sparkly tutu clad princess looking for her prince charming.

The easiest one to explain is the epically horny teenager. Fifteen years of no dating. Nuff said!

The realist. This is the woman who knows things sometimes work out and sometimes they don’t She is too honest, too logical (Lori-logic is a little different than say... Einstein-logic), occasionally skeptical, and always has a plan, flexible though it might be. She tries to be honest with her potential mates because if she fails them, she wants them to be prepared. She wants to spare their feelings right off the bat. In a twisted way, she ends up hurting their feelings by being honest about her own shortcomings. The trouble with the realist is that she never wants to count her chickens before they hatch. In some respects, she robs herself of her own potential futures.

The sparkly pink princess has counted the 5th generation of hatch-lings and built little pink chicken condos with her prince charming. She wants the fairy tale. She believes in the fairy tale. She believes every “this one” might be THE ONE. And with every potential prince charming, she floats around to the beat of her own drum... heart... something. I kind of lost that metaphor somewhere in the middle, sorry. My point is, she wants to jump in with both feet, tutu flying up over her head laughing all the way.

As you can imagine, the realist and the sparkly pink princess don’t get along all that well. For me, that means I’ve got a constant war going on in my head. Take a chance! No, wait and see. TAKE A CHANCE! No, I already know he’s not the one. TAKE A CHANCE, DAMMIT! But what if I do and it doesn’t work out and I hurt him? Argh!!!! Throw in the teenage harlot and I’m ready for meds and a comfy padded room.

Meanwhile, the Vikings end up hating me or dumping me.

At the end of the day, here we all are... Me, the realist, the sparkly pink princess, the teenage harlot and some Vikings, all special in our own way. I don’t know where we’ll all end up, but I know this. Eventually, we’ll get where we need to go. It might hurt, it might never work out. It might be happily ever after. Who knows? None of us. And fate has a funny way of making it happen  although she beats the hell out of you along the way.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Oowa Means Yellow

"It is a scientific fact that hearts and clocks slow down as they approach the speed of light."  

It's a goofy quote from a stupid television show, but I think it's a beautiful thought. Could it work the other way? If, as the heart slows down, the soul approaches the speed of light. Its a thought that gives me comfort and makes death feel less permanent.

Now, imagine that every person has a little light inside of them. It might be the soul. It might be neurons and synapses firing. I'm not smart enough to know for sure what it is... I don't think anyone is. The thing I do know is that about an hour ago, a beautiful soul approached the speed of light. His name was Jason.

When I got the news, I remembered fighting with him when we were young, particularly around the junior high age when all kids hit that smart ass stage that lasts too long. There were moments when I thought I never wanted to see him again, because we were so mean to each other. Its a wonder that any kid makes it past fourteen quite honestly. Everything is so dramatic.

I remembered his "hip-hop" phase which is kind of hilarious now considering he was such a skinny blond white kid. I remembered my mom driving the two of us to Red Lodge to buy my first mountain bike. I had saved for so long and for some reason he wanted to come along. On the way, we pulled into the Rockvale cafe, where we sat among old men in John Deere caps and cowboy hats while we ate our breakfast. Me in my sweats and Jason in a faux silk purple pants suit, matching tops and bottoms. I kid you not. Buttoned to the last button, adorned with a thick gold chain. Shiny shoes. I loved that confidence, "that dare to be different--just because I feel like it" attitude. I think he was twelve or thirteen at the time.

I remembered two summers ago... I think it was two. Eating lunch. The two of us, now adults, having a real conversation for the very first time. We talked about the things that hurt, the things we struggled with, the things and people we loved, and we both wondered how we actually survived. That's a story for another time. But I remember thinking how amazing it was... that we were both still standing. And that no matter how many times we got knocked down, we also got back up. I remember thinking that the odds against us as kids were nearly astronomical, but we made it. Not only did we make it, we did pretty damn well. Yes, we'd made some doozy decisions. And yes, we'd screwed up. But we'd also built a life. Each of us. He'd soon be marrying a kind-hearted and fiery redhead who he loved like crazy. I was still on my own, but almost always happy. At least content. We talked about letting go for the past, finding a quiet place to live--not outside, but inside ourselves. We laughed. A few days later, I took the pictures at their wedding.

And I remembered the wedding. Certainly not traditional. That's why it was beautiful. Two people, in jeans and t-shirts, standing in the middle of my grandma's big back yard, each telling the other "I love you". And I remembered his ring. An enormous silver skull. Definitely not traditional. But beautiful because it fit him, not just his finger. I remember looking at their hands in my camera's viewfinder. Her hand resting on his. Their crazy rings saying very clearly, we are individuals, but we are together. From that skinny blonde in purple silk to a strong, tall man in a crisp white t-shirt and tattoo sleeves and a skull ring and a beautiful wife. His Great Dane Grimm, the best man in the affair... well, he shared that job with my grandma, actually.

And I remembered getting the picture of him holding his newborn son. A tiny little baby in a crazy blue fuzzy beanie. I remembered how in love he was with that tiny bundle. A boy. Another little light in the world. His name was Acen. I realized today that the name was actually a combination of the names of his parents. I'm not sure why I didn't get that before. Their DNA, their love and their names with him forever.

And then I remembered a tiny toe-headed boy. Mind like a sponge, in fact he learned the expletive alphabet way before I did. And he loved flowers. We had that in common. He loved being in the garden with my grandma. He loved pansies most of all. He thought they looked like little faces, and he told me his favorites were the purple and yellow ones. But, he couldn't pronounce yellow. Instead, he said OOWA, and he called me Yori. From that day on, I could imagine the pansies dancing... Just dancing and laughing every time no one was looking.. I could tell sometimes, when he was staring at a thicket of itsy bitsy pansies, that he was just waiting for them to say something. I could see it in his face, holding his breath with wonder. Waiting. I wish I would've asked him if they ever said anything. Wouldn't that have been something?

And the little boy, the fearless purple tween, the tattooed adult... now a light that seems so very far away. Like so many people we love, gone far too soon. Most of you probably didn't experience his warmth or his twinkle, but you will have that chance now.We all will.

Because "Perhaps they are not the stars, but rather openings in heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy."