Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It's a Small Pond After All

I moved back to my home pond about a year ago after a decade in a pond far, far away. Long story short, I followed my Shark to bluer waters and when the marriage sank, I waded back home.

And a strange thing happened. As life as I knew it was falling apart, other pieces began to fall together.

Most of the best friends I've ever had I've had since high school. The kinds of friends who you can not talk to for months or even years, but when you do it's like no time has passed.

S, B, and P are like that. S and I have been besties since a car accident our junior year of high school left our brains fused. B, P, and I were always together throughout high school. These are my rocks. They keep me grounded and I know I can count on them at my back. But it was still a little surprising when they all, in their own ways, gave me back pieces of myself I hadn't even realized I'd lost.

But even more surprising, was the MySpace message I got about two weeks after I moved back. have you ever lost track of a dear friend and spent years looking for them to no avail? Someone who haunted your dreams, where you'd find them only to lose them again? Someone you finally gave up hope of ever finding again? T was that for me. And when I gave up, she found me. And even though we hadn't spoken in over 15 years, it was like no time has passed. We've gotten together and talk frequently. And this led me to getting in touch with her big bro, my first love.

But this is no the only time this happened. Merely the first. J was my best friend my first two years of high school. She contacted me soon after.

Then little A, my brother's best friend in high school, now a soldier in Iraq.

This led me to some searching of my own. Found my boyfriend from the first half of my senior year, P. And M, a boyfriend from sophomore year.

Most recently Z found me and T. Between us, we have 15 children. We hope to get together without the families first. World beware!

It just goes to show, sometimes you find what you've lost when you stop looking, somethings, you never really lose, and it's a small pond after all.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Let me just start by apologizing for my long absence. I have found having a...yes, I'm going to say it, boyfriend, has somewhat weaned me from my Internet addiction. Don't get me wrong, I still hop online, but having an actual, flesh and blood person to talk to, who is not related to me, is something of a novelty. And as we all know, novelty can become something of a focus in one's life. But not always in a bad way.

For one thing, the r.r.g.s. fish doesn't mind spending time with my family. In fact, he likes it. He talks to them, we all watch tv or movies, we eat dinner together. He's even asked my dad when they can take the jeep out or go fishing. I'm not exactly sure my parents know how to handle this. In all the years my shark and I were together, I'm not sure he said more than 20 words to either of my parents.

Another thing, r.r.g.s. fish is a snuggler. He likes to sit together, holds my hand when we're out or driving, follows me into the kitchen and wraps his arms around me while I cook. My shark and I had separate recliners with a table in between. The only thing that motivated him to cuddle dangled between his legs.

And probably most interesting, is r.r.g.s. fish wants to know what I'm thinking, how my day was. I occasionally find myself exaggerating anecdotes just so I have something interesting to tell him. Not that I lie, but I may occasionally add comments to a conversation or claim something that happened to someone else. I'm sorry, but my life just isn't that interesting.

But I'm going to branch out my blog a bit to include other things in my life. My angelfish, job, friends, family. Everyone who means the most to me will be fair game. Sorry guys. You know I love you.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Fluffy Thoughts

Having gone out several times with the r.r.g.s. fish I find myself at the beginning of a new relationship for the first time in over a decade. And this has caused some fluffy little thoughts to run through my head. (If you don't know what a fluffy thought is, it's like a little ball of fluff that hops around in your brain begging to be noticed and voiced at random times to unsuspecting friends and strangers. Lucky you.)

Probably the oddest thought is how will we classify our relationship? I'm sorry, but I feel like I am too old to be someone's girlfriend. There should really be another term for people of a certain age who are not married, but are in a relationship. And lady friend feels like it should be reserved for those over the age of 60. Old lady is for bikers and mothers. Woman friend sounds like a term used by women for the their same sex friends. So where does that leave me? Hey, you? While I've answered to that in the past, it's hardly a defining term. So, I guess, until something better presents itself, I am stuck with girlfriend and boyfriend.

Which leads me to my second fluffy thought. How on earth did I not notice for so many years that my shark never quite became a man? I'm not sure I would have any problem classifying him as a boyfriend. While he's not quite a boy, he never quite grew out of his teenage persona. And I didn't realize this until spending some time with the r.r.g.s. fish. I'm not sure if it is the money he sends to his ex to support his kids, who he is only able to see once or twice a year, or the way he treats my kids, or even the way he treats me. Maybe some combination of all the above. He is, without a doubt, a man. And even though he makes me feel like a teenager at times, he also makes me feel like a woman, not the girl I always was with my shark.

Which leads me to my final fluffy thought. I have only talked with a few fish since my split from the shark and only gone out with two. But how many does it take? I could date all the fish in the deep blue sea and still not find anything worth swimming home about. But the r.r.g.s. fish makes me smile and laugh when I don't think I can. He makes me feel hopeful, when the future is still very uncertain. He makes me forget, even for a just a little while, all the stress and pain. And he makes me remember that life is too short to bury your heart.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


I've said before that I believe in chemistry. Sometimes it's there, sometimes it isn't. But do we have some influence over this? Can the things we say or do, whether or not we realize it, sabotage or encourage this spark? Or is it all up to fate?

I got a call from the clown fish today. We were talking about online dating and eventually he steered the conversation to the date we had. I swear it wasn't me, I was perfectly content to let sleeping dogs lie. He said that by my body language, he decided I wasn't interested (in my defense I was having a very stressful few days and had just gotten off a plane). I told him that was the same impression I got from him. We agreed that there were no hard feelings and neither of us had any problems just being friends. He even offered to give me dating advice should I need it.

Fast forward to the really, really good smelling fish (or r.r.g.s.f. for short). When we talked about our first date, he said I was tense at first, but he could see when I started to relax. And I have to say our second date went wonderfully. He still smelled as good as I remembered.

So this leads me to wonder, what about me makes me this open book that men can sense my inner workings? And just how accurate is it? Should I be giving out a quiz at the end of each date asking for impressions?

Question 1-Did I appear a)relaxed, b)tense, c)uninterested, d)interested, e)overly interested to the extent you are considering changing your phone number and email address
Question 2-What body language did I give off on our date? Please be specific so I can correct this behavior in the future.
Question 3-Would you go out with me again? Why or Why not? Please use complete sentences and write legibly.

When the boys and girls are separated in the 5th grade for a "health lecture", do the boys get some crash course on how to read women? Or does this not come until college? Is it just something guys teach other guys when they're holed up in their man caves watching sports and belching to fill the time between innings?

And does their impression of body language have any impact at all on chemistry? Had I not been tired and cranky and nervous when the clown fish and I had gone out, would he have read my body language differently, thus having a different kind of chemistry? Or would the result have been the same? Two people, nothing wrong with either one, who just were not meant to be?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Really, Really Good Smelling Fish

My best friend tells me this is an oxymoron, but there's something to be said about a fish who can intoxicate you with his very scent.

I met this fish on one of my dating sites. Three years older than me and over a foot taller. He was born in South Africa, where his two children still live with their mother. We started out by messaging on the site and quickly moved into instant messages.

He's funny and charming. We talked about our kids and movies and he made me laugh. We exchanged Facebook and Myspace friend requests. It didn't take long for me to decide that this was a fish I wanted to meet in person.

My normal rule of thumb is that movies are terrible first dates. You can't talk and get to know someone. But after talking about movies, that's what we decided to do. We met at a theater about half way between where we live.

My nerves were popping and I wasn't sure what to expect. My first date with the clown fish had been pleasant, but not earth shattering, so I wasn't holding out high hopes. Having seen his pictures online, I had no trouble finding him. He shook my hand and amazingly, my frantic nerves began to settle into a dull buzz.

We walked to the theater and he held the door open (brownie points) and asked me what I wanted to see. We decided on the new Harry Potter (excellent, by the way).

Having been out of the dating scene for so long, I wasn't sure what the etiquette was for who should pay. There seems to be two schools of thought. The old fashioned, guy always pays school and the more recent stag/girl pays/he buys the tickets, she buys the popcorn school. The latter is encouraged, not only by broke men tired of having to pay for dates that might not result in any possibility of nookie, but also by modern women trying to prove their equality and drive home the point of there will be no nookie until I'm good and ready because I owe you nothing.

I guess I am somewhere in between. I don't mind picking up a dinner check or buying the popcorn, but I also don't mind being treated. There's something to be said for being taken care of. But this was an old fashioned fish who wouldn't have it any other way.

We had some time to kill before the movie started, so sat in the lobby to talk. His accent is enough to make your toes curl. While I know it is a Dutch accent, some of his pronunciations sound almost Australian and we all know how much we love to listen to Mel Gibson or Hugh Jackman speak, no matter what they're saying. His English is excellent, although occasionally he can't find a word he's looking for. But he has no problem asking for help in finding it (which if you ask me, is worth it's weight in gold).

I was so engrossed in our conversation, I almost lost track of the time. We got a huge tub of popcorn to split (extra butter, of course) and two sodas. We sat near the back of the theater and almost immediately started throwing popcorn back and forth. We watched the coming attractions and it seemed we wanted to see all the same movies.

The theater we went to is one of those nifty ones with the really comfortable seats and the armrests that fold up in between the seats. He put one of them up on the other side of him so he could stretch out and leaned his shoulder against mine. And I found myself surrounded by the most heavenly scent. I have no idea what kind of cologne he was wearing, but I had to physically restrain myself from sinking my nose into his neck and taking a huge sniff.

He excused himself to the restroom near the middle of the movie and when he came back to put his head near mine to ask what he missed. His hair brushed against my cheek and was so soft, I actually ran it against my face for a moment before answering (of course, it took me that long to remember the question, as well.).

After the movie, he walked me to my car, where we lingered talking for a few more minutes. He bent down to give me a hug. A perfect gentleman, from beginning to end. And best of all, he said he wanted to see me again. According to He's Just Not That Into You, that's a good sign.

I got home to find a text on my phone. He said he had a great time and I was very pretty. Any girl who doesn't melt, at least a little, at a message like that, has something seriously wrong with her or is lying.

We already have plans for a second date. I don't believe in love at first site. But I do believe in chemistry and that chemistry can be felt right away. Sometimes chemistry doesn't lead to anything else, but sometimes it's a step to bigger and better things. And, baby, we got it.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Drug of Choice

The computer is my crack. My mom's crack is cheese. My best friend makes crack berries (strawberries dipped in sour cream and rolled in brown sugar). The Internet is mine.

The Internet is a wonderful source of information and entertainment. If you're bored, play a game. If you need to know something, Google it. If you're lonely and shy (as I am) strike up a conversation with random strangers.

I've met people from all walks of life. A wrestler training for the summer games. A divorced gentleman from South Africa who tells me of his travels. A repo man apprenticing to be a bounty hunter. A guy who graduated from my high school two years before I did. Fathers, divorcees, bachelors.
And every time I respond to one of their messages, I find myself eagerly awaiting a response. I lurk on the websites, constantly refreshing my screen. I constantly check my email. I restart my browser, in case it has frozen up and I am missing some vital piece of communication that my whole future happiness depends on.
You would think that this was only a problem when I was at home. You would be wrong. I have unlimited web access from my cell phone. I can check for messages when I'm at work, out with friends, waiting for a movie to start, sitting at the drive thru, while watching the angelfish at the playground. I check my email as soon as I get home from work and leave my computer on until my eyes will no longer focus on the screen at bedtime.
And the more messages I get, the worse it becomes. I need to hear from people. New people, old people, it really doesn't matter. The more messages I get, the happier I become. Every message is like validation that I am not completely unlovable. I savor the moment before I open each message, like a little rush.
In my defense, this does not keep me from getting out in the world and meeting people. I didn't do that before I got addicted to the web. In fact, it has led me to get out more.
And before you suggest I start going to meetings to get over my "problem", consider that there are so many bad things in life, shouldn't we grab at any little happiness we can?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Clown Fish

I'm almost embarrassed to admit that, up until a few days ago, I had not been on a first date in about 13 years. I met my shark my senior year of high school and married him a year after graduation and we had two lovely angel fish shortly after that. Now we are going through a divorce that was supposed to be amicable, but has turned blood thirsty.

While my shark and I were together, I swam in a very small pond. Thousands of miles away from my family, friends, and home waters. And while I loved my shark with all my heart, without the balance of having other fish to swim with, I lost a part of myself.

Now I am finding it again. But it took a kick in the butt to get me going.

I met the clown fish on one of my dating websites. His opening line to me was "you have the nerdiest smile I have ever seen. I like it." Really wasn't sure how to take that so responded that I thought I was offended. His reply, "don't worry. It will pass."

In all honesty, I was ready to write this one off as a jerk. But then, he wrote me again. And again. And eventually I found myself writing back and laughing at the things he had to say. Looking back, his opening line did get my attention.

Eventually he asked for my number. This was enough to set off a panic attack. Did I really want to talk to these people on the phone? Was I ready for this? Was I in over my head? So I put him off. He was persistent. We started instant messaging.

I have to say I love instant messenger. I don't have to ask the person to hold on every time one of my angel fish is demanding my attention. I don't have to lower my voice to the point of whispers to keep what I'm saying from being overheard. There are no awkward silences. And I can read over what I want to say before hitting send, giving me editing options.

As I got to know him, I discovered he had a great sense of humor and liked to tease. We talked about family, work, the dating site we met on. Eventually, he asked me why I was afraid to give him my number. I tried to play off like I was being cautious, not scared. He asked me if I was actually looking for a relationship. That made me think. What was I looking for? Did I even know. And I told him as much. Something about the tone of the conversation at that point made my defense mechanism kick in. You know, the one that urges you to leave before you can be left. I told him I didn't want to waste his time and no hard feelings.

He laughed at me.

Laughed at me! I wasn't sure if I should be offended (again), relieved, or amused. Maybe a combination of all of the above. He said that even though he had not yet met the love of his life, he'd made some good friends from the dating site. He liked my sense of humor and I could carry on a decent conversation, so he didn't feel like time had been wasted.

The things he said bounced around in my head all that night and into the next day. When I got home from work, I had a trip to get ready for, but took the time to send him a message. First, I called him a pain in the ass for getting into my head. Then I gave him my number.

He called while I was driving to the airport. He sounded totally surprised that I'd given him my number, but we had a great conversation. We talked on and off until I had to get on the plane. Then again when I landed. And again when I got to my hotel.

The next day I had divorce court. It was the first time I'd seen my shark in 6 months. My heart was pounding in my throat when he walked in. Just then, my purse vibrated. The clown fish had sent me a text wishing me good morning and good luck in court. The timing couldn't have been better and I actually smiled.

Court was a disaster. I called the clown fish on my way back to the airport to come home. He listened and helped me gain some perspective. Court was much worse in my head than it was in reality.

Since he lived near the airport, he asked if I'd like to have coffee or a drink when I landed. This was another huge step for me. My first first date since my senior year in high school. But, I'd already gone this far, so I told him I would call him when I landed and we'd go from there.

Thinking about going out with him largely distracted me from my anxiety, both about court and the flight (I hate to fly). When I called him from the airport, he asked if dinner would be okay and we agreed to meet at a Mexican restaurant right off the highway. He gave me a hug when I arrived. We were both exhausted so agreed to keep dinner short. We had a great conversation. He was a perfect gentleman.

However, having just watched the movie, He's Just Not That Into You, I was picking up on that vibe. And surprisingly, that was okay. While I wouldn't have minded going out with him again, it wasn't the end of the world that there was no huge spark. In fact, he was the kind of fish I could get to be pretty good friends with. And he was a great first first date.

We still talk on the phone from time to time. He still makes me laugh. And more importantly, he gave me the courage to take a chance again. Not every date has to lead to a second. Not every guy has to be Mr. Right. And it never hurts to have more friends.