Monday, February 28, 2011

What makes you smile?

"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around."~Leo F. Cuscaglia

Today I had a perfect stranger ask me "what makes you smile?"  Wow.  What a question.  Kudos to him.  What a great segue into a conversation. 

I had to think about my response for a few.  He really caught me off guard.  I know that no one has ever asked me that question.  Hmmm.

What makes Michele happy?  It's hard to pinpoint.  But I finally know what happy feels like, so I should be able to answer this.  
  • My children.  Without them my life would be completely unfulfilled.
  • Warm towels when they first come out of the dryer.  
  • Sunsets - love them!  God's favorite canvas.
  • Snowflakes.  Especially the really big flaky ones. 
  • Bacon, egg and cheese croissants
  • Venti hot chocolate from Starbucks
  • When one of my photographs I take really turns out great.
  • The smell of Fall.  The only word I can think of to describe it is crisp.  I came back to visit Ohio a few years ago and could sense it as soon as I got out of the car.
  • My pillow.  Although I don't get to spend nearly as much time as I would like with it.
  • Taking a nap in the middle of the afternoon.  Decadent!
  • Trying on clothes and having to go a size or two smaller.
  • Christmas trees.  Mine's still up :)
  • Curling up with a good book.  Especially one that continues on in a series.
  • Stimulating conversation.
  • A friend who knows you and knows your thoughts without asking.
  • Someone who comments on my blog posts.
  • You!
So, that's just what I could think of off the top of my head.  I would love to know what makes you smile...

I am the exception...

"Girls are taught a lot of stuff growing up. If a guy punches you he likes you. Never try to trim your own bangs and someday you will meet a wonderful guy and get your very own happy ending.  Every movie we see, every story we're told implores us to wait for it, the third act twist, the unexpected declaration of love, the exception to the rule. But sometimes we're so focused on finding our happy ending we don't learn how to read the signs. How to tell from the ones who want us and the ones who don't, the ones who will stay and the ones who will leave. And maybe a happy ending doesn't include a guy, maybe... it's you, on your own, picking up the pieces and starting over, freeing yourself up for something better in the future. Maybe the happy ending is... just... moving on. Or maybe the happy ending is this, knowing after all the un-returned phone calls, broken-hearts, through the blunders and misread signals, through all the pain and embarrassment you never gave up hope." ~Quote from "He's Just Not That Into You"

(If there has ever been a movie that mirrors my life, this one hits pretty close to home...)

Ahhhh, dating.... Seems like a never-ending source of blog posts.  There are millions of single guys out there.  How do I keep finding the real "winners?"

Met a pretty cool guy online.  Yeah - online.  My circle of friends is pretty small here, even with all of the family activities.  Still seems to be the best option for meeting someone.  We talk for several weeks.  Lots of lost sleep.  He finally gets the nerve up to ask me on a date.  I make the babysitting arrangements and am pretty excited about this one.  He's a different sort of guy.  Really honest.  Maybe too honest sometimes but has a great sense of humor. 

The Sunday before the date I'm talking to him again on the phone.  In the middle of the conversation he says "Do you mind if I get off of the phone for a few?  There's a girl I've been trying to set up a date with that goes to bed early.  I know you'll be up for a while.  Do you mind if I call you back?"  OK, here's me - mouth dropped open.  Stomach clenched.  Tears even attempt to sneak into my eyes.  Oh - hell no he didn't.  Yes, yes he did. 

"No, I don't mind," I say.  "You guys have a great time."  Then he has the nerve to ask if I'm upset.  "No, no of course I'm not upset.  Why would I be upset?" [Possibly because I thought you were a pretty great guy and now you just relegated yourself into the loser pile???] Then he says that I appreciated his honesty.  Yeah...I was wrong.  Honesty sucks.  Needless that date never happened...

Well, there was no way I was going to sacrifice a date night since I already had a babysitter (my awesome mom!) lined up.  There was this guy who had been texting me for about three weeks.  I wasn't sure how I felt about him, but he texted me every  morning.  Like clockwork.  As soon as he got up.  Thought I'd give him a shot.  The date actually turned out so much better than I thought.  He turned out to be a super nice guy.  Lots of fun.  Made me laugh.  We talked for hours.  It was a nice surprise.

Even after the date, he continued to text.  Same pattern.  Thought that was interesting.  Asked some of my guy friends their opinions of this.  The consensus was that he either really likes me or he likes to text.  But most likely he really likes me.  That's what I thought.  Then one Friday I asked him if he had plans for the weekend.  "Yeah, I have a date Saturday."  What???  Really?  Did this just happen to me again?

Alright - I know we weren't exclusive.  It was just one date.  But I don't need to know that you are dating someone else.  I need to repeat that: "I DON'T NEED TO KNOW YOU ARE DATING SOMEONE ELSE!!!"   I want to pretend in my nice little dating world that our date meant something more than a nice conversation.  I don't want to be "that girl."  I don't want to be your buddy or pal.  And if I am, please have the cajones to tell me that I am.  Don't text me every single morning and make me think that there is something there. 

I have a sneaking suspicion that dating in my forties is just a torture chamber.  That the point to dating is that I will meet so many bad guys that I eventually give in to what is left.  That I will be so worn down from trying that I will settle for just barely OK because it is so much better than the alternative.  Surely that's not what's in store for me?

So, why keep beating my head against the wall?  Believe it or not, I still believe in the possibility of there being one decent single guy left out there.  One that will take me on a real date.  One that can't wait to call me when he gets home even thought he knows he should wait a day or two because he doesn't want to seem eager.  The one that will check his phone constantly to see if he missed a call/text/e-mail.  The one that won't be calling other girls for dates because he knows he already found the perfect one.  And me - I'll be the girl smiling.  Why?  Because I know I am the exception...

Thursday, February 24, 2011


"In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in a clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness."~ Mahatma Ghandi

Well, I've discovered that finding a house is as difficult as finding the right guy.  Elusive.  Teasing.  It sucks just as bad when the house deal doesn't go through as when the guy deal doesn't go through.  Actually worse.

I'm finding there are a lot of similarities.  The house has to be in the right neighborhood.    Same with a boyfriend.  He has to be close enough to your "class" of people.  This doesn't mean race, religion, etc. (because then I would have to renege on my previous blog Diversity, and you know I would never do that.)  But somewhere in the ballpark for whatever differences you do have to be surmountable.  Location is also important.  Close enough to the school and work to make it convenient.  Long distant dating sucks.  Especially if there are kids involved because most likely neither person is going to move because of school districts and stuff like that.

The house has to have a certain appearance.  Do you like white picket fences?  Ultra-modern and sleek condos?  Worn-out jeans and a t-shirt or Italian suits?  BBQ joints or fine linen?   And it has to fit your family just as well as the new man.  In my case there has to be room for three children and a working mom.  Plenty of space to spread out and grow.  Comfortable - not stuffy.  Same with a guy.  He has to have the room in his heart for four more.  The ability to expand his life to accept us all.  And for lack of a better phrase - broken in - so he can adapt to our crazy, chaotic lives.

I didn't think that the house process would be this difficult.  I thought I would pick a house, make an offer, then get it ready to move into.  But seeing how much fun dating has been so far, I guess I should have expected it.

So, for now, we will stay in the apartment.  Hey - the electric bills are super low and I don't have to mow the lawn.  The right house will come when it's time.  Just like the right guy lol!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Helpless (or hopeless?)

"So many tangles in life are ultimately hopeless that we have no appropriate sword other than laughter." ~Gordon W. Allport

So, I'm at the gas station the other night.  Thought I would be the prepared one and get gas the night before so I didn't have to rush around.  I get out and fill up the tank.  It's cold.  The pleasure of living on the lake in Winter.  I clean out the trash from the back.  Then I pop the hood and fill up the windshield washer fluid.  There's a guy pumping next to me.  I think "it sure would be nice if he would offer to help..."  But he doesn't, so I finish my tinkering.

Then a car with two girls pulls up.  The driver opens her window and starts talking to the guy.  "Excuse me...can you help me?"  I figured she needed directions.  But, nooo... in a sing-songy voice: "It's really cold out (flipping her hair back).  Would you pump my gas for me so I don't need to get out?"

I laugh.  Out loud.  Real loud.  Did I really just hear that?  I look at the guy, thinking "there is no way he is really going to fall for that."  Oh, but apparently I'm a really bad judge of character.  He shrugs his shoulders and pumps her gas.  Really?  I'm laughing even harder now.  In total disbelief.  Yeah, he fell.  Probably figured she would give him her number if he did.

Apparently I'm not the "flip your hair back and bat your eyes" kind of girl.  I'm the "pop your hood and check the oil and maybe even rotate the tires" girl.  I was brought up learning to fix my own bike because you never know when you're going to break down.  I have my own set of tools.  I wonder just for a moment if perhaps I should have been taught the flippy-hair thing.  The coy, needs a man to help her thing.

But I'm not that girl (Wicked reference lol).  I never could be.  It's not that I don't want a man around.  That would be nice.  But I don't need one - at least not for the "man's work".  If I don't know how to do it, I'll either learn or pay someone to fix it.  I was given a brain.  A damned good one to tell you the truth.  Two good hands to fix whatever it is, whether a broken Bakugan, a torn hem, or a loose muffler.  I'm still feminine and classy, but I carry my own Swiss Army knife and a bottle of superglue....

So, here's to those who do for themselves.  And maybe even for those who can get away with flippy hair.  Because without them, how else would the rest of us weed out the guys that just aren't worth the time?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Alone but not lonely...

"You cannot be lonely if you like the person you are alone with."~Wayne Dyer

It's Valentine's Day weekend.  Flowers and candy boxes are everywhere.  The store shelves are spilling over with red.  You can't turn on the TV without a diamond ring commercial.  It's pretty obvious it is a weekend for love.

Where do I find myself this year?  I am single for the first time since I was 16.  No one to go shopping for.  No big plans for the weekend.  It's kind of strange.  All of the other holidays are planned around the kids.  But this one was always for the adults.  Well - all except the 4 dozen cupcakes that I have to make each year.  

Had a guy at the craft fair tell me I needed to have my husband by a particular item.  Told him the ex probably wasn't interested in doing that.  Then he told me to have my boyfriend do it - strike two!  Last he suggested I needed to find a man to do that for me - and you're out!  I would have bought it for myself if he hadn't gone there...

I am alone.  As alone as I can be with three kids 95% of the time.   I don't have a man by my side.  Didn't have the romantic dinner and there won't be a store-bought box of chocolates on the table when I wake up in the morning.  No token card bought as an afterthought.

But it's OK.  Actually more than OK.  Because 1 - I know that special person will come into my life eventually.  And it won't just be a gift because he has to.  It will be because he picked out a special gift for me just to see me smile.  2 - I've been so blessed.  I have so many amazing people in my life.  Some I've known for a long time.  Some have wandered into my life more recently.  Every one of them is a blessing.  And 3 - because like the quote says, I really like the person I am alone with.  It's nice to be able to say that.  Not only do I like her - I LOVE her!  I am proud of who she is becoming.  Better yet - I am content with who she is now.  I am happy sitting in the solitude with her.  Such as that quiet time is...

So, yeah, I'm alone this year.  May be that way for a while.  Who knows?   But I am in no way lonely.  I'm having way too much fun with this crazy, fun-loving person known as me to ever be that way.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Valentine's Day!  If you've got 'em, love 'em.  If not, just give someone a hug that needs it more than you do!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Finding Someone

"The one thing I am waiting for in life is finding someone who knows all my mistakes, flaws and weaknesses and still thinks I am completely amazing!" ~Unknown

Sorry for the hiatus.  Life's been kind of crazy this week.  Just typical supermom stuff, nothing very interesting or blog-worthy.  Just busy.  But you know how it is.

Back to the online dating. Whee. Hmmm.  Some days I am just trying to figure out why I continue to torture myself.  Once in a while I meet a semi-normal person and have a few good conversations.  Even more rare is when I find a friend.   I decided to update my profile and quit wasting time.  This is what I put:

"Alright my paid time on eH is almost up. So I'm putting it all out there to get past the games...  For the short term, I'm just looking to date. Someone that's over their ex, not jaded by their past, still hopeful for the future. Positive people only please. My time's too valuable not to be happy. In long run I will accept nothing but the best. I'm not going settle for any less than I deserve. I'm a great person. Well-rounded. Intelligent. Attractive. I'm not a supermodel but I'm still quite beautiful. I'm a very giving person and expect the same in return.  

Honestly, I'm looking for Soccer Dad. That guy when I say we have a Cub Scout camp out, he says "that sounds great - can I come along?"  Someone who understands what it means to be with a lady with young kids. Especially one that works. Our weeks are busy. We work hard. We play hard. We're on the go a lot. But we're learning to make the most out the the time we have. And yes, I say "we". There's four of us, not just me. Love me, love my kids. So you wonder where you'll fit in... well there's room for more in our lives.  We have a lot of love and chaos to share."

Yeah, I know.  Pretty blunt.  But to the point.  I mean, really...what do I have to lose?  So I lose a few potential dates.  Most of them run for their lives when they find out I have 3 kids.  Or that I'm 40.  Most likely, I'll just weed out a few more weirdos.  Apparently a lot of guys take single mom of 3 to equal desperate.  Especially the young guys.  I did an experiment on this but I'll leave that for another blog...

So, as I've said before, I'm not in a hurry.  I'm not sure if I want to be married again anytime soon.  I might if the right person comes along.  But I'm not desperate.  I'm quite satisfied with who and where I am right now.  I really just want some adult conversation and perhaps take in a good movie/bowling game/theater show etc...  Get out once in a while when I don't have the kids.  If it's a good date - wonderful.  If not, hey - I always could use new topics for my blog lol!

P.S.  If you are online dating - check out the blog here.  There are some really interesting analysis (analysees?) going on. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

2011 was Amazing!

I borrowed this idea from Dan Pearce on his Single Dad Laughing blog with his permission.  Check him out if you get a chance!

2011 was an amazing year!

This past year started out incredibly.  I decided to quit wasting my time on guys that didn't treat me the way I deserve to be treated.  This gave me way more time and energy to focus on my kids and myself.  And more time for my blog!  Because of the additional postings, the traffic to my blog increased and I was even asked to write a daily column in the local newspaper highlighting my unusual yet thoroughly entertaining views on life.  It's been great getting paid to do something I truly enjoy.

I started taking karate.  This has been a great addition to my kickboxing/zumba regimen.  I also added running to my weekly routine.  I was finally able to get back on track from where I was when I broke my foot.  I started training for and was finally able to compete in a triathlon.  And not a mini-one like I was originally shooting for.  A full-blown, really did I just do that, triathlon.  I didn't take first place, but I completed it with a respectable time.  It's a far cry from being almost completely immobile.  And all this has helped me get closer to my goal weight than I've ever been before.  Who said 40 can't be hot?

Everything finally clicked at my new job too.  It was scary starting out at a new place after 17 years, but it was one of the best moves I'd ever made.  I'm still doing Project Management, but they've added Sales to my job duties.  Our business didn't double in two years as predicted.  It tripled in one!  Because of all the new business, I've been able to travel all over the country and even outside of it a few times.  Italy was everything I ever imagined and more. London was incredible.  Wonder where it is going to take me next?

The kids are doing awesome!  Kiara started guitar lessons.  She's really good.  Well on her way to becoming a rocker.  Brianna has been learning different styles of art.  Her forte is still sketching though.  She's won ribbons for several of her drawings already.  Jacob, well, he's still Jacob... It was a tough beginning, but the medicine helped him get back on track and focus.  Over the summer we were able to change to vitamins and diet modification.  It worked great and we are halfway through an incredible school year.  He's doing great at soccer and still really enjoys karate.

I finally got my house.  We love it.  It is so great having our own place to settle down.  The location is perfect - right near the school.  It has a huge yard, so we were finally able to get the puppy Jacob always wanted it.  We've fixed it up and made it our home.  It's not only big enough for all of us, there's extra room.  Which is a good thing...

Because throughout all of this, I finally met "the One".  Yeah, that one...  the one that gives me butterflies whenever I see him smile.  The one that makes me glow from the inside out.   The Soccer Dad.  The guy that's not only perfect for me, but fit right into our little family.  Oh, and it's a good thing that the house is roomy, because we just might need room for another addition.

So yeah, 2011 was an amazing year... can't wait to see what 2012 holds for us!

(Did this instead of the normal New Year's Resolutions...  Power of positive thinking...)