Sunday, September 11, 2011

Finding Forty, Day 466; ADD

I've diagnosed myself as having adult ADD.   I'm not 100% sure, but man, it really seems like I have it.   The forefront symptoms are impulsivity and inattentiveness.  

Impulsivity continues to plague me.   I speak before I think, I act before I consider, I live my life in a constant state of regret and apology.    I truly, sincerely believe that there is something physiologically wrong with me.

My inattention has always been with me.  Daydreams plague me, occupying most of my waking thoughts. I am forgetful, distracted, disorganized beyond belief, despite my best efforts to stay on top of things.

I go to bed each night feeling disappointed with who I am, always pledging to do better the next day.  

This weekend has come to an end and I haven't done the work I brought home.  I will awake tomorrow and scramble into my classroom, doing my best to get things in better order for my students.  I have my plans done, my copies made, but there is still more I could and should have done.  

Constantly, I fight this urge to find and do something fun and exciting.   I feel like a child, wanting my whims and fancies to be met in an instant.

My logical, intelligent brain knows how absurd this sounds.   I get it.  Except I can't overcome it.

Not much has changed in my personal life.   I am living with A, but still pay for my empty, abandoned apartment each month.   We are good, but not great.    We live in the moment.   Nothing seems to really surprise us, move us, upset us, exalt us.  

S creeps into my thoughts on a daily basis.   While not overwhelmed with emotion, I still wonder about him.  

A is still unemployed.   He recently applied for jobs out of state.   While slightly shocked, there is a very small part of me that wonders what it would be like if he did, in fact, take a job multiple states away.  What effect would that have on our marriage?
I really can't imagine.

And besides, my attention span can't handle that thought.  There's too much other stuff in there already.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Finding Forty, Day 453; Down with Gravity

Gravity.  Brevity.  Reality.

Something has been pulling me down lately.   Possibly it's work and the new pressures of wanting and needing to perform better than I have in a long time.   Possibly it's the fatigue and mental stress of worrying about A not having a job yet.   Possibly it's just that no matter how I try, I can't shake certain aspects of who I am that simply just weigh me down.

I've had a couple of really hard weeks lately.   Weeks where there have been moments when I came thisclose to emailing S.  Luckily, in the moment of weakness, I was able to start madly texting my closest friends so that I could be pulled back from the abyss.


It's weighing me down.   I know if I venture too close, the laws of science will take me over the edge.

Why would I want to reach out to S?   I know it won't change anything at all.   Here are the only reasons I can figure out.

He was my escape.  When 'real life' got hard, it was comforting to have S to play with, to laugh with, to give me a break from the yuck of life.  

Even as I type this, I know I sound like an ass.  Everyone has a yucky life in some way or another.  Everyone wants to escape from time to time.

I guess the good thing is that before, I let myself be pulled under and now, at least, I know that isn't the answer either.

Another reason I am frustrated is because A still doesn't have a job.    I want to ask daily what, if any, progress he's made.   But I know that is ridiculous.  All that will do is create resentment.   And yet, at what point do I get to really voice my thoughts on his unemployment?   How long is long enough?  When will it be time to go out and get a job, any job, so that we can pay our bills?

The thing is, now I'm scared to talk to him about things.   I don't want animosity, I don't want arguing.  I don't think I have any tears left to cry.

I'm tired again and weary.    This gravity is pulling me down.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Finding Forty, Day 425 Crazy, Stupid Love.

The impending beginning of work is consuming me.  I've been working hours each day preparing my classroom, reading about best practices in teaching, spending money I don't really have to spend on materials and supplies to make this new job easier.   It's almost, exclusively, all I think about anymore.

In many ways, I'm happy to have a distraction, a new passion, a healthy outlet for my obsessive tendencies.   I'm still scared, though.   Prepping a room and your mind is vastly different than actually teaching, day in, day out.    And yes, I've done this before, but this time, I want to really, truly, get it right and feel great about what I'm doing more often than not.

During the evenings and on the weekends, when I can't be in the classroom, A and I have struck  up an old habit of ours, which is watching television or movies together.  This summer, we've probably seen more movies with one another than we ever have in our history.   When I was unhappy and searching for reasons to prove we were incompatible, I used to point out that watching t.v. was a 'pretend' togetherness.   Sitting in the dark, next to someone, wasn't really being together.   How wrong could I have been?

Each night, climbing into bed together, we lay side by side, sleeping.    If that's not being together, I'm not sure what is.  Sure, there is love making or pillow talk, but most of the time, it's two tired, haggard bodies sharing a space.   Nothing more, other than the togetherness of that.

I'm sure loved ones who hold a bedside vigil with a sick partner would argue the togetherness of such a seemingly solitary event.

I was wrong.

I love going to the movies with A.   Yesterday we saw Crazy, Stupid Love.   I knew it would make me cry.   The previews hinted at far too many familiar plot twists and story lines to leave my wretched heart alone.   And cry we did.   But I haven't had much of a chance to talk about it with him.   Or I've been too scared.

Even though we are moving on, there are some wounds that are still too fresh, too raw to pick at just yet.

It was enough to just curl into bed, with him reading beside me, close my eyes and drift off to sleep.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Finding Forty, Day 407: Today, This Day...

Yesterday I had an interesting email from a friend of mine on Facebook.   I really only know this person via my sister and we've met just once, but she is one of those people with whom you feel instantly comfortable.

She reached out to me, asking why I'd gone back to A, which I'm sure she'd figured out because of posts and status updates on Facebook.

It's hard to answer a question like that in a private message on a social networking site.   I'd have much preferred to sit with her over a cup of coffee and fill her in on the events that led to my change of heart.

But, as I typed my long winded response to her, I knew I believed every word.   It has taken me a long time to get to where I am today and although it's been messy and nasty at times, I feel it's been worthwhile.

Here is what I told her:

We separated in October after about a year and a half of crap. I had the affair in spring 2009 and even though it ended, I would not stop having contact with the guy (emails, phone, rarely in person as he lives near Dallas). I just was NOT trying in my marriage and could only find fault in everything A (my husband) did. I was miserable and wanted change. I wanted excitement and to feel alive. I wanted to be with someone who acted like they wanted me and cherished me.

Well, first mistake was thinking that an asshole who would cheat on his wife is the one who could give me all those things I needed. He was confused just like the rest of us, but also not willing to commit to me, my kids, and a long distance relationship.

I was devastated, heartbroken. I'd already ruined my marriage for this person.  A, as you can imagine was 1000x more heartbroken and upset than me. I broke him. There was no trust, no understanding, nothing. It was just a shell of a relationship, so eventually we split up.

We lived apart (and technically still do) for several months with little to no contact. It was wonderful, but also lonely and sad. I honestly thought I had moved on from A and had moved on from affair guy (b/c he'd not left me any other choice).

I had several dates with a guy I met on who was a super nice,  good guy (but quite boring and HORRIBLE in the sack).    I just knew, also, besides all that, that he wasn't right for me anyway.   It never felt right, being with him.

I had a week long fling with that 28 year old that was hitting on me the night I first met you when you were in town, but truthfully, he was an idiot. I don't do stupid well at all. :)

Then March came around and two things happened. 

First of all, I drank too much one night and contacted affair guy. I knew he was in town for something and I started calling him and texting. It got all Fatal Attraction and he ended up calling me a stalker. When I emailed to apologize a few days later, he accepted my apology, but said again, in no uncertain terms MOVE ON. It was if I heard it for the very first time and it sunk in.   Finally, there was nothing more to ever say to him.  I suppose it was the beginning of me hitting rock bottom, as they say.

A few weeks later, I landed, with a thud, definitely in the pits of despair.   I found myself in a situation where I felt alone, scared, sad and broken beyond belief.   Crying uncontrollably, I knew there was only one person I could reach out to.    And that person was A.

I texted and called him at 4 a.m. so he could talk me thought my crisis, which he did.  In that moment, something clicked and  I just knew that I'd never been loved by anyone quite like him.

Meeting secretly in a Wal Mart parking lot to make out, sneaking calls and text in stolen moments, intense physical attraction ( which I definitely had with the affair guy), that is all fun and exciting, but it doesn't equal love. 

Love is taking a call at 4 a.m. from a distraught sobbing friend.  It's getting up in the middle of the night to change your baby's diaper, or bringing your wife water while she nurses your newborn.   It's telling her she looks beautiful when her gray roots are showing and she's sporting a huge zit on her face-and actually meaning it.  It's eating Chinese when what you were really craving is Mexican or listening to the 100th story about some band from the 80's that you could care less about.   It's all those things and so very much more.  All those things A has been doing in my life for the past 23 years.

I finally opened my eyes to the gifts I had in my life and I didn't want to lose them.

Are things perfect now? No.

Does he still annoy me and not give me the attention I crave? Yes, some of the time.

But I have learned so much about how to ask for what I want and need.

And I have learned so much about how to give, readily and happily, to someone else.

As I said, we aren't officially back "together". I have an apartment still (although I haven't been there all summer, which is crazy, stupid financially), but until he asks me to move back in for real, I am fine with this.

We don't talk about forever anymore. We talk about today. And for today, this day, we are good.

And we are.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Finding Forty; Day 402; Blood Work

The doctor's office called with the results of my blood work.  Everything was fine.   How incredibly warped is it that I was slightly disappointed to hear that?  

Trust me, I'm not looking for something horrible or life threatening, but low iron counts or an under active thyroid, well, those were things I could have jumped on board with.

At least I would have had answers for why I feel so sluggish and exhausted all the time.

I recall, in the midst of the affair and it's aftermath, sort of wishing for the same thing.   I know that A wished that I could have been diagnosed with a personality disorder or something,  so that we could pin the blame for my erratic and unusual behavior on that.

In both cases, turns out, it's just me.

The same empathetic, caring, nurturing woman who cries at Hallmark commercials and dedicated her professional life to helping children is the same one who cheated on her husband and lied to the innocent faces of her friends and family.

The same healthy, vibrant,  body who birthed three boys naturally and has run a marathon and six half marathons can barely move these days without heaving and huffing and wanting to curl in bed for hours at a time.

There is no diagnosis or explanation for either that allows me to remove the spotlight from myself and my own actions.

But I'm not complaining.  I realize things won't always be this way.   Every day I try to do something to help myself physically.

I was diagnosed with vertigo and have my first appointment with a physical therapist on Monday.   Hopefully that will help improve my situation so I can move about again without fear of falling.

My knee is injured, but if one more week of therapy doesn't help then I will have minor surgery and move forward.

In many ways I miss the old me.   The nice one who enjoyed working out.   The happy one who liked to move her body.

In time, in time.  This I know.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Finding Forty, Day 400; Recipe for Success

When I was growing up, it seemed my mom had a limited rotation of dinners that she cooked.   You could almost predict which night would be tuna casserole, although she was never quite that structured.   We ate spaghetti and meat sauce (she always mixed the noodles with the meat sauce despite my pleas to leave each separate like at the Italian restaurants), chicken fried steak, salmon croquettes, hamburgers, and tuna casserole.

This isn't a blog about my mom's cooking.  She was actually excellent in the kitchen and I'd bet my life we ate a more varied diet than the above, but the rotation cycle definitely stands out to me now that I'm a mom.

I do the same in my own kitchen on a bi weekly basis.   My staples are tacos, grilled fish, fajitas, sushi, and brinner (breakfast for dinner).   Of course that's not all we eat, but in a pinch, I'm usually good for any of the above.

It occurred to me tonight that life is like the dinner rotation cycle.  Or at least mine is.  There are certain constants that creep into my reality, no matter how many times I plan or try to deviate from them.

Much like the presence of ground beef somehow showcasing a weekly dinner or two, I regularly spend time during the week in a very severe state of self loathing.   Even though I like to try ground turkey or the more exotic grass fed buffalo meat, I always settle on lean beef more times than not.   I don't want to hate on  myself or feel disgusted when I look in the mirror, but inevitably, at least once a day, I give myself a negative self talk that somehow seems to stick.   It grows weary, but is so well known.

Likewise, despite wanting to branch out and try new, exciting, scintillating recipes, I still find myself concocting what I know in the kitchen.   Same goes for my thinking of S.   It is as if I move forward, like a jet taking off an airplane runway, but then air traffic control calls me back in for an emergency landing.  I'm a passenger held hostage fighting feelings of fear and annoyance all at once.

Lately, the S thinking has been getting me down.   I used to think I would die, truly wither up and cease to exist, if he weren't in my life.   Now such thoughts make me laugh and flush with embarrassment all at once.   And yet, the thoughts of never speaking to him again or never seeing him again still pierce my heart and make me choke back tears.

On an intellectual level, I truly understand how wrong he was for me and how I sacrificed more of myself than was ever humanly necessary for him.   But the emotional level still has some sort of hold that, at times, tightens her grip and threatens to choke me silently.

I have no one to talk to about this.

I would never tell A that lingering thoughts persist or have resurfaced.   He is amazing and, in my estimation, trying harder to make us work.   I have crushed him once, twice, there is no way I could live with myself if I crushed him again.

And anyway, S doesn't give a shit about me.  I refuse to make an ass of myself any longer for someone like him.

It doesn't mean the feelings are gone, it just means I act on them in completely different ways now.

Routines.  So ingrained we hardly think about them.   Familiar favorites are nice, homey, welcome.  I doubt I'll ever deviate from the tried and true.   But I will also try new things, in a sincere effort to break free from the once new but eventually mundane habits that never were and never will be healthy.

There's a recipe for success out there and I'm determined to find it.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Finding Forty; Day 392; Letter to My Best Friend

In the days since I've last written, my life has been full of great and beautiful things.   Our road trip to Destin produced my children's laughter, stolen moments of aloneness with A,  crashing waves on sugar white sand, miles of new scenery, and time spent with the people I love most.   The vacation was many things...trying, tiring, amazing, worthwhile, but we created memories that will last a lifetime.

Now that I am home a sort of malaise has befallen me.   I think this email to my best friend says it best of all.

"Good morning!   I hope you found your bath to be both relaxing and meditative.   I truly hope it was.   I have not been in a really relaxed, contemplative state in quite a while.   Yes, I've had moments of peace and true relaxation, but in the past week or so something has happened.

I hate that it's so hard to pinpoint the source of my feelings or to even be able to articulate them.    First of all, I am exhausted.   I can barely move or do anything without feeling like I want to sleep for days.   It makes me apathetic about everything and minor chores or activities seem like climbing Mount Everest.  I'm dizzy all the time, anytime I move or shift my head or body positions.   Actually, it's vertigo because the room spins.   I just have to close my eyes and hold onto something until it passes.   Both of these have really bummed me out, so I find myself crying more this week about not feeling good.   I have a  dr. appointment tomorrow morning, so that should help some (or at least I hope it does).

Also, I have realized lately that my feelings have evened out.   In the beginning, when I realized I did want to be with A for the rest of my life,  I felt like this was a good thing and I still do see the merit of being level headed and not all over the place with my emotions, but I also almost feel numb.   That isn't like me and that bothers me too.    

I'm not sure if I've matured emotionally or if the sheer exhaustion of my past two years has finally caught up with me or if I have a genuine health condition that is causing this or what?

And it's the not knowing that possibly bugs me the most.

The fear is creeping in as well about our future.   Will A and I make it?  Do we have what it takes?  Is he really in this?  How much DOES he love me and want to be with me?  How much do I love him and want to be with him (a ton, btw, provided I get what I need in return)?   What will happen with our finances?  When will we declare personal bankruptcy?  What will I do with the apartment?  Will I move back in to the house?  What can we afford?  How will I pay my bills?   What if I am sick?  What about my new job?  How will that be?  Can I really do it and do it well?  

And so on and so on and so on.

On top of all of this are these random thoughts about S.   I just can't seem to make him get out of my mind permanently.   I realize he's gone and I've made no efforts to contact him and it's been 15 weeks (I'll stop counting someday, right?).   I'm better off and I know that, but I still do miss him in this unhealthy sort of way and there is no one in this world I could confess that to except you.   I just know you understand.

I know you aren't going through the same in terms of exact worries, but I know your heart and mind are heavy or at least I sense they are in some way.    What are we going to do?
I so wish you lived close.  If I knew we could get together after work and just laugh things off a bit, I think that would be priceless therapy.   Instead, lately, I've let my busy life and efforts to refocus on my family push you further out and that makes me sad.   I miss you too.

Please let me know how you are doing and what's going on.   And as always, thanks for letting me vent.

Can't wait to see you in August!!!"

I just know friends understand.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Finding Forty, Day 374; Achilles' Heel

Constantly I search for visible signs that I've grown and changed.   I suspect strongly they're present, I just can't see them from the outside.   I know I feel it on the inside.

Today I was reminded how far I have actually come.

To say that I am 100% over S would be a lie.   The truth is, I think about him every single day in some small way.   Maybe I'll drive past the place where we first kissed (okay, I do that everyday as it's right across the highway from our house), or a particular song will come on the radio and I'm transported back.   I wonder about him, what he's doing, if he ever thinks of me.   And then I snap back to my reality, the reality I am truly enjoying.

 I know I've inched further down the path because how those things affect me is less intense and not debilitating anymore.

There was, in fact, a time when I believed people do die from broken hearts.    Now I see the walking wounded all around me, stronger than before.

But, I digress.

Here is how I know I've grown today.

My sister has a conference in Dallas from Sunday to Tuesday and she will be alone.   We live 5 hours apart and Dallas is halfway.   She invited me to stay with her and genuinely wanted me to come.   At first, I said yes.    Then I started thinking about it.

S lives just outside of Dallas.   Two years ago, I would have jumped at this opportunity and would have spent time on the phone planning with him when I might be able to sneak over to see him or meet him somewhere.  

Wow, just writing about it makes me feel horrible.

One year ago, I would have not been able to tell him I was coming but would have still driven past his office, stopped at the same convenience store he stops at every morning, been out and about where I thought he might be and most likely have called him and told him I was nearby, hoping he'd "let" me stop and say a painful, heartbreaking hello.

Writing that makes me feel worse than horrible.

This year, I texted my sister and told her I couldn't meet her in Dallas.   Not only is the price of gas atrocious and we are leaving for Florida in 4 days, but I didn't want to make that trip and put myself through any temptation or misery.

I can't say that I wouldn't do any of the above if left to my own devices while she attends her conference.   I don't want to know how weak I am or might be.   And even if I didn't do anything, I don't want to even have the conversation I would surely have with myself about it.

I want to be here, at the house, googling Gulf Coast routes and packing duffle bags for boys.

It pains me that S is my Achilles' Heel, but more than that, I'm overjoyed that I recognize it now and can make healthy decisions.

My family deserves that.   Hell, I deserve it.

And that feels pretty good.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Finding Forty; Day 372; 30 Rock Monster

The green eyed monster took a huge bite out of my dimpled ass and poisoned me this week.    I hate being jealous, but I am.

We've been watching a lot of 30 Rock reruns this summer and I find myself amazed and in awe of the level of creativity on that show.

I understand their sort of humor is an acquired taste, but it's a flavor my family relishes.   As I sit and listen to the absurd lines that are both written and expertly delivered, I yearn to do something that brilliant.

I'm actually funny in "real life", with a quick wit and a sharp tongue.  But when I sit down to write, all that pours forth are ponderings and deep thoughts.   I'm the Jack Handey of my generation, full of useless nuggets of wisdom, worry, and whatnot.

When I read other writers who are able to channel funny into their blogs or scripts, I crave that sort of giftedness and yet I can't escape my head.

I want to write about stupid things I've said or done that day, but instead I use this platform to work out my more melancholy and serious thoughts.   I know I want and need to write more this summer, so maybe I'll make a concerted effort to work on the humor.    It doesn't mean the somberness will dissipate, but I will try to balance more.

The characters on 30 Rock resonate with me.   I am at once Liz and Jenna combined; quirky and nerdy with a penchant for embarrassing myself while at the same time craving attention.   I think that is why I love the show as I do.   In so many ways, I think I could have written those lines because I've lived them.

So, funny it is.   Which is really so NOT funny.   The fact that I'm whining about wanting to be funny just emphasizes how far I have to go.

Oh least I'm not crying about asshole men or my obsessive tendencies or drunk texting.   Although, I suspect there's huge humor in those moments too.   It's all in how you spin it.

Back off, Green Eyed Monster, I'm done with you.

Stay tuned for the summer experiment....

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Finding Forty, Day 367; A New Year

I'm two days past my first anniversary of this blog.   I suppose that means I should redefine, rename, refocus in some way.   At some point I probably will, but just can't be arsed with it for now.

My mind is fluttering, flittering elsewhere.

To begin with, I was "unofficially" offered the teaching job!  The hiring committee selected me as their first choice, but I've not yet signed any paperwork.   I found out earlier this week and danced a jig in the middle of the aisle in Target.   It was a silent, solitary moment of pure happiness and relief.   With my shopping excursion thrown completely off track, I quickly paid for my few items and rushed to tell A the good news.  With business and consequent personal bankruptcy looming, me having a solid job is a lifesaver.   Many thanks were whispered, shouted, uttered through tears that evening.

Since finding out, I've enjoyed daydreaming about my new school, my new crop of kids, my fellow teacher and future friends and confidantes.   I'm happy to get a fresh start with people who don't know me and the baggage I haul.   In time, I'm sure they'll find out, but when and what I choose to share will come from a more tranquil, healed place.

I like new beginnings.

The other thoughts occupying my mind is our upcoming summer vacation.   We are making a road trip, with two other families, to Destin, Florida in a little less than two weeks.

Crazy?  Probably.   But we are all so very excited.  I am an extensive list maker and it's been so much fun to ponder all of the things we need to pack and bring.   Last summer, we went to the Texas coast but A and I were deep in the midst of turmoil.  We shared a bedroom, but little else.  I was angry, resentful, lonely.   I found fault in just about everything he did, from spending too much time with the kids to chewing noisily.    In short, I was an asshole.

For his part, he was angry and hurt and had no reason or desire to let me in.   It was a feeble attempt to create some false sense of family, as if by pretending to walk on the beach together would instantaneously bond us together.

It was a colossal failure and shortly after, we separated.

Technically, we live apart still.   I pay rent to a 1200 sf apartment that is almost as expensive as our mortgage payment.    And yet, I am writing this from the bedroom we shared for 12 years and are slowly beginning to share again.  

I can't type this without crying.   I love him so much, I can't believe I was so willing to throw it away in a haze of shortsighted stupidity.

My new secret dream is for us to remarry each other.   Although we aren't divorced, I broke our vows and I want to recommit my heart and life to him.

Now isn't the time.  I can't yet tell him I want to do this.   But hopefully, someday.

Maybe this year's trip to the beach will bring forth a new beginning of another sort.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Finding Forty, Day 357; Robin Round

Today I had an interview for a 4th grade teaching position.  They wanted someone who was strong in writing.   Um, hello?   This would be my dream job if there ever was one for teaching.

It was a committee interview, round robin style with the folding chairs organized in a circle.   Hot seat anyone?

Every time I crossed my legs in my Republican wanna be, safe and conservative, stuffy suit, I worried that the Round Robins might catch an unsavory glimpse of my scuba certified Spanx underneath.

I employed every leg cross known to mankind and quite possibly Kate Middleton, once she masters the Royal Wave, that is.

Well meaning friends and family have already asked how it went?   How did it go?  Well, to begin with, it went clockwise.   The questions that is.

The teacher to my left began and then we went around, like a very predictable game of Truth or Dare for at least 2, maybe 3, rounds.

Funny how about 20 minutes in the salivary glands go through an impromptu, involuntary shut down.   No amount of swallowing or rapid attempts to produce saliva help.   Insert weak smile here in hopes that the up curve of the facial muscles might release a bit of juice to whet the fast talking, over exemplifying whistle that is getting a workout.

But seriously, how did it go?  I should officially know in a week.   There were definite moments of connection and humor, with them laughing at jokes I cracked.   And yes, I felt comfortable enough to crack jokes.   There were also moments where I faltered a bit over answers and now wish I had the chance to word them differently or highlight other elements of my strengths.

And yet, it's over with.  Done.  Too late now to truly make a difference.  I've made my mark, left my impression, hopefully deep enough to sink in and resonate.

The thing is...I really liked this group of people who interviewed me.  I WANT to feel like a part of their team, somehow who contributes to in a meaningful way.   I know that girl is me.

As I type, my fingers are crossed.   I promise to keep you posted!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Finding Forty; Day 356; Found

The birthday has come and gone.   Before I fell asleep Monday night I toyed with the idea of blogging, but decided that the beauty of finding oneself certainly involved freedom.

I felt free to let the writing simmer until the right moment emerged.

It just has.

After a busy day, I walked into A's house (*our* house) to find him sitting at the computer job hunting.   Starving, I was pissed off that he hadn't even started dinner, knowing my day had been stressful and harried.

With some positive self talk and reminders about what is important to me in life, I went to him and said, "At some point tonight, I'd really love to visit with you."   Sugar coating?  Possibly.  But that was the actual truth.   Yes, I wanted dinner ready, but I am fully capable of preparing that.  What I can't do is fabricate great time spent with A.   So, I asked for what I wanted.  I have the freedom to do that.

But what truly prompted the writing tonight was a statement A once said about me during the heat of one of our many discussions since the affair.

He said that I hadn't truly known love in my life for if I had, I wouldn't have done such things.  His words stung in the moment, but resonated deeply.   Was he right?   Wrong?   I was left searching, although I knew instantly I'd known love with my children.

But tonight, as I started dinner and waited for a free moment with him, I realized how loved I really am.

On our eldest's son's bed was a huge box.  It was full of clothes for him that my dad and sister had bought and sent his way.   A few weeks ago I mentioned that he thought is current clothes were "dorky" and "too small" and the very next day, they pooled their money, my sister went shopping, and this box of clothes was delivered.   It was so reminiscent of the generosity my mom used to bestow upon us, in times of need or not.   Within minutes, I was weeping tears of joy, sadness, longing.   I missed her but was so happy to feel her presence alive through my sister and my dad.

I sat down at the dining room table, texting her, wiping my tears and reflecting on my day.

After school today, a co-worker who used to be a recruiter offered to give me a "mock" interview to help me hone my skills.   It was at the end of her work day, when I knew she had places to be, but instead she sat down and helped her friend.  

Also at A's house, on the kitchen counter today, was an envelope with my name on it.   I opened it with curiosity and a slight bit of worry.  Was it a bill?   Something I'd neglected to take care of in this crazy time?

The letter unfolded and I discovered that it was from my friend down the street.   I once tutored her son a few years ago and she had taken the time during work today to write a letter of recommendation for me.   I was moved again to tears.

A says I don't know love.

Here is what I know.

Love isn't sneaking texts in the middle of the night or when you excuse yourself to the men's room.   It's not promising one thing but never delivering.   Love doesn't forget that you have children.   Love doesn't only talk about himself or you.   Love encompasses the good, the bad, the ugly, the unemployed.

A was wrong.   Or if he wasn't, he is now.

I know love.

Finding Forty has found that she is, indeed, truly loved.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Finding Forty; Day 348; Mirror, Mirror

I lied.

The drive home from my sister's house is closer to 5 hours.   The roads wind, but don't seem to be as magically tree lined as I recalled on my way there.    I think I had my snapshot moment of reuniting when I arrived back in town, but I can't even say for sure.

I do know that as I drove home, I fast forwarded through the sappy songs and focused on getting to my final destination as soon as possible.

A is my bubble.  When I push myself out of that iridescent, mesmerizing realm of security I flail.  I knew that the faster I arrived home, the sooner I could be engulfed in that filmy, bulbous, room of safety.   Whatever that might mean.

Arriving home also brought work stress and worry.   I feel like my days and nights are engulfed with stress over my job.  The dentist yesterday suggested many things, including a mouth guard, muscle relaxers and botox as a last resort to alleviate all of the tension I carry in my jawline.   For now, because I'm poor, I'm working on self awareness and relaxation techniques.

Yesterday, I emailed R, my best friend in Chicago (who I honestly feel like I haven't talked to in months) and as I signed off on my email, I realized I had essentially written a blog.  I know I felt like I would be remiss not to share the honesty here.   And with that, here is where I am tonight as I gaze into the mirror of who I truly am.

Dear R,

Is the detox and B12 stuff going okay?   I'd be scared to see how I check out after the past few years.  I have a dentist appointment this afternoon and I'm worried about that.   Stress is a killer.
My weekend was alright, mostly good.   We had the couples massage on Sat.   It felt good, as most massages do, but I'm always left with that it?  afterwards.
So, my real issue is A.   Things are good and I can envision wanting a future with him, but he is being so very guarded it is hard for me to tell if he's into this (the reunion/me) or not.   I know I cheated on him and have a ton of work to do to mend his heart and rebuild his trust, but it all feels VERY one sided right now.  I am physically affectionate, verbally supportive, very much "acts of service" in terms of doing THINGS for him (chores, helping out, etc.)....all trying to show him how sorry I am.   And I WANT to do these things, but not forever if there is nothing in return.   I can't be in a one sided relationship, no matter how scared/hurt he is.
We talked about this a bit last night.   He is very conflicted.  Part of him feels like less a man for letting someone who treated him like I did back in.   The other part of him loves me and is a loving person and therefore wants love to rule.   He is still unsure he can do what it takes to make me happy.   I tell him that my idea of what I need for happiness has shifted and until he shows me the unguarded him, I can't tell if he's able to make me happy or not.   I feel like I am patient enough to ride all of this out until it just doesn't work for me anymore.
There is less animosity between us.  He says he forgives me and I believe he does.  He knows I am truly remorseful and I made sure to ask for his forgiveness last night.   I've said I'm sorry a million times, but I'm not sure I"ve ever actually asked for his forgiveness.   So, I did.  
He says he wants me to be happy, but him happy too.   Can we both be happy together?  That is still left to be seen. being with him or wanting him a compromise on my part?  Am I selling out?   I'm not sure.   I know that when all that shit happened in Houston and I felt painfully, horribly misunderstood  and alone, the only person I wanted and who I knew would understand me was A.   I know there is a bond with us that goes deeper than the fact that we are parents together.   I see that happiness and peace is a slow burn, not an explosion of fireworks in a few fiery bursts.
I guess what I am wondering is if he even WANTS to be with me?   I can't derive much joy or happiness from him.   It's almost like he's numb.   Having said that, I think he's past the part of pretending.   He's pretty much got a What the fuck attitude about so much lately, I would think that if he weren't into "us", he'd have no part of it.  He's actually said as much, that's he isnt' doing anything he doesn't want to be doing.   Maybe there's a bit of him that is sort of enjoying the near groveling on my part. ;)
I know I"m rambling.  This is all very confusing.   
Added to it all are these ever so slight nagging feelings about S.   I don't envision a future with him, I just play those stupid..."I wonder if he's thinking about me?" games in my head.   "I wonder if he remembers my birthday is coming up?" ....stuff like that.    "What if I NEVER talk to him or see him again for the rest of my life?"....Ugh.    I suppose I would be fine.
I actually SEE and BELIEVE now that people DO, in fact, survive broken hearts!!   I can put him away (most of the time) and just let him sit on shelf in the dusty corner of my heart.

I'm sorry for rambling,

And so there you have it.  I realize there is some backstory that might be hard to follow, but mostly I wanted to express that despite my growth about S and my awakenings about A, I am still the same, old, confused me I once was.    

When I look into that mirror, I still am not quite sure who, in fact, I see. 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Finding Forty, Day 339; May Issue

The road winds as the miles tick by.   In places, the trees shroud the path, beams of sunlight shining through.   Inside me stirs a nostalgic feeling of wistful hurt and longing.   Everything around me is so beautiful, the meadows of yellow wildflowers, the puffy white clouds against the blue of the sky, I feel this wave gathering momentum within me and I am helpless to its power.

I've always been able to view a moment in time as a snapshot of my life.   Quite possibly it's a curse.   Wanting my life to feel like the glossy pages from a Martha Stewart Living magazine or a scene from a movie has been the downfall of me.

As I make my way through the Texas countryside towards my sister's house, I am painfully aware of how much I long for happiness, fulfillment, all those moments that could be plucked from my existence and inserted into a classic, chick flick.

Four hours of nothingness can't be helping either.   The further east I drive, the more static I find on the radio.   To ease the boredom, I put my earbuds in and fire up the iPod.

The shuffle on my iPod seems a mischievous partner in crime to the scenery and my wandering mind.   It's as if every part of my surroundings are messing with my psyche.

For the first time in months, my mind slips and I think of S.   This is the time of year our affair blossomed.   My birthday is looming and I wonder if he will think of me and remember that day we spent together two years ago, still, sadly, one of the best of my life.     That familiar feeling of having my heart ripped out resurfaces and I am at once sobbing into the nothingness of the empty car.    Anger replaces the sadness and I breathe deeply to regain my composure.   He isn't worth this energy and this amount of emotion.   

I can't think of him long though without thinking of A and how wonderful he is.   In every way that S let me down, A has been there for me.   We have been emailing and texting while I've been away, which is a really big deal for us.  A isn't one for texting and I like that he woke me up at midnight with that ever inane question, "What are you doing?"   Yesterday, he even asked me to send him a picture of my cleavage and curves and I did.  Nice.   There is a flicker, maybe more, of a chance with us and I love this  feeling of newness we are sparking.   I can't wait to see him again.

How is it that I can be so drawn to two totally different men?    And why is it that songs have such an overwhelming effect on me?

I've cried  a lot while out here at my sister's house.  She had surgery on Friday and I am staying to take care of my nephews.   My mom's house is less than a mile away, but we won't go.  She's not there, not here, nowhere I can grasp.   

I think that has much to do with my melancholy.   It's more than just S and A, or my sister's surgery.  It's that it is Mother's Day and mine is gone.    I'm homesick for her, homesick for A, missing my  kids, etc.

I know that life isn't a still shot from a magazine.  I know that movie scenes are carefully scripted, directed and highly edited.  Real life isn't always pretty, nor perfect.   But wanting moments that I can hold on to as special and beautiful, that will always be me.  Even the ones that can never be duplicated.

Moving forward has been hard for me after my mom's death, after the end of my affair,  even now as I move forward with rebuilding my marriage and finding a new career.   But if I don't move forward, I stagnate, falter, fail.   For most of this past year, I have been miserable because I was fighting myself, fighting reality, resisting change and growth.

I do see the changes I have made.  I'm not going to beat myself up about letting thoughts of S creep in.   They did and probably will again.   It's what I do with them that matters and for now my plan is to acknowledge them, maybe have a silent cry, wipe the tears, breathe and move forward.   

I'm not going to obsess about things with A.   We will text and flirt, deal with the realities of parenting together, work towards understanding one another better, even after 23 years, and continue to move forward.  What will be, will be.

I still have my drive home tomorrow.   The roads will again wind, the trees will loom, the sun will shine as the clouds dance across the sky.   My romantic mind will wander to and fro and I'll spend the hours daydreaming.  I will probably cry a time or two as well.  That is just who and how I am.

But when tomorrow's journey ends, I will pull into A's driveway and walk into the house to receive hugs from the boys and A himself.   In my mind, I'll take a picture and freeze this frame.   This issue of my magazine life will be as close to perfect as we can pull off.  At least it will be for me.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Finding Forty, Day 325; Peacester

Happy Easter!

 In many ways this feels like an obligatory blog.   I don't want it to be quite that way.   Maybe I have more to say than I realize.

Work is dragging me down.   I am definitely terminated and will no longer be employed by my school district past June 1.   Showing up everyday and putting on my 'happy face' just gets harder and harder.  While I can accept what's happened on the surface, with each passing day I become more and more confused as to why I was one of the few who was let go.

My ego is so wrapped up in all of this, there is no simple way for me to 'not take it personally'.   It affects every personal realm of my being, including the livelihood and wellness of my children.  I am angry.  For a while, I've put off talking to my boss about things, trying to squelch the emotion and move into a spot of neutral acceptance, but the longer I attempt to do that, the more embittered I become.

I sent an email late last week asking to speak with her about the lay off.   While nervous and anxious about the prospect of facing her, I must have some answers, even if I am leery that they will be honest.

Job hunting is mentally exhausting.   I search and search and my current skill set leaves me empty handed.  My goal, thus far, has been to apply to two per week.   Better get on that later today.

As for my love life, well...I continue to be committed to repairing things with A.   This morning, the image of Dorothy and Oz came into my mind.   I awakened at 4 a.m. and realized I needed to set out the boys' Easter baskets.   I shuffled through the living room in the dark, retrieved their hidden stash of goodies from the pantry and sequestered myself in the laundry room to assemble the baskets.   Sorting through each boys' pile of goodies, I felt extreme happiness.   In that moment, in the wee hours before dawn, while each of my boys (including A) slept soundly, I realized there was no other place in the world I'd rather be.  Dorothy knew what she was talking about when she said "There's no place like home."

We are tentatively moving ahead.  I know A needs space and time and that patience will be my biggest ally during this transition.  He still loves me, of that I am certain and deep down I believe there is a chance for us.   I must wait and just let things be.

It seems bizarre, but I find myself able to just 'be' like never before, especially as it relates to us.   Our friendship is strong and secure and that brings me joy.  Our family is tight, weaved with years of love and devotion and there is immeasurable comfort in that reality.

As I was driving home from work the other day, it occurred to me that I haven't talked to S in ages.  It hasn't even crossed my mind.  The thought that I could, at any time, reach out to him if I so desired gave me such a feeling of power and success.   I can but have zero desire.   Finally, I feel free.

So, despite my job situation, I still feel blessed.  I feel a level of contentment I haven't experienced in quite some time.    No, I feel more than contentment.   I feel, at last, peace.

This is a Happy Easter indeed.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Finding Forty, Day 311; Why?

For a while now I've been thinking of a particular subject for this next blog.   It was going to be about the perks of living alone, like eating Baked Cheetos at midnight in bed, never having to do laundry, or being able to talk OUT LOUD to yourself and not worry if anyone hears you.

But the more I thought about those things, which truly can be great in the moment, the more I realized they don't make me as happy as I thought they would.

I want mashed potatoes and meatloaf.   I want grey sweat pants and thick socks.  I want morning breath and bedhead.   And I want those things with A.

Something happened to me recently.   Were I a character in a movie, there'd surely have been a scene where I hit my head on the bathroom tile or drank a strange potion from a glass vial, but I can't figure out the moment when my universe as I know it altered.

I just know it did.

Suddenly, the things that are the most important to me in life are the little things I neglected and forgot about when I started down that forsaken path a few years ago.

I want a hand to hold.   A body next to me in bed.   Someone to share the newspaper with on Sunday morning.

I want to bicker about what we watch on t.v. and what we want for dinner.   I want to look at him from across the soccer field as he leans over and whispers into our son's ear and know he's mine.

I feel so stupid for not knowing how loved I was.

So, I type this, wrapped in a towel, sitting on the floor of my closet in my new apartment.

The Cheetos are in the kitchen, the laundry patiently waits in a pile,  and I can say anything I want, as loud as I want.

Today, into the empty cavern of my very own place, I say out loud...."Why?"

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Finding Forty, Day 298; Moving Forward, Looking Back

The pink slip was delivered on Friday morning.   In truth, it was a white piece of paper that I signed and I didn't cry during my meeting with my principal.

Tears flowed later, throughout the day and into the night, but I still find myself hopeful.   Something will turn up or present itself.   Things will work out.

A week ago, we discovered my middle son had lice.   If you've ever had it in your house, you know how exhausting the process can be to safeguard everyone else and rid the area of the pesky parasites.

I stayed around to help A with everything because it truly is daunting.  I spent a great deal of time at his house this week and we have entered into a very interesting situation.    We are the best of friends.

More and more, the stronger I get, I see him clearly for who he is.   He isn't perfect, but he's the closest thing I've ever found.  

Recently my sister told me that our dad (who divorced my mom after 27 years of marriage) confessed to her that he wishes he'd spent more time focusing on the good things in his marriage to her than the bad. He said that he has spent his life searching for perfection and realizes now, on the brink of 70, that it's not out there.

I don't want to be him.

A and I talked all day yesterday about us, our past, our future.   Imminent is our declaration of bankruptcy.   I'm ready for that, even though I don't like it.   I hate the dark cloud hanging over my head.

I don't want to divorce him, yet...if ever.   I'm not hoping or even wanting to reconcile full force at this time, but I do like that we are able to spend time together one on one.    We don't touch, hold hands, kiss or have sex, but there is a level of intimacy that feels amazing.

We are both in financial ruins, having to start over in our respected professions.   Something about being at that spot together brings the past two years into sharp focus.

I would love to move forward and rebuild with him.    I know that is scary and I know that my last blog was about loving someone else.

But over the past few weeks and especially as I deal with being laid off, I see what unconditional love looks and feels like when it's directed at me.

There is beauty in A.   How I overlooked it shocks me.

I'm not rushing back.  I'm saying that I am seeing things more clearly and seriously contemplating.   I also know that I hurt him horribly, possibly beyond repair, and he may not want me in his life as anything other than a friend.

And if that's the case, then I will feel honored to be there.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Finding Forty, Day 284; Ugly Truths

When the rain is blowin' in your face
And the whole world is on your case
I could offer you a warm embrace
To make you feel my love.

When the evening shadows and the stars appear
And there is no one there to dry your tears
I could hold you for a million years
To make you feel my love.

I know you haven't made your mind up yet
But I would never do you wrong
I've known it from the moment that we met
No doubt in my mind where you belong.

I'd go hungry, I'd go black and blue
I'd go crawlin' down the avenue
No, there's nothin' that I wouldn't do
To make you feel my love.

Though storms are raging on the rollin' sea
And on the highway of regrets
Though winds of change are throwing wild and free
You ain't seen nothin' like me yet.

I could make you happy, make your dreams come true
Nothing that I wouldn't do
Go to the ends of the Earth for you
To make you feel my love. 

When I began this blog, I vowed to be honest, for better or worse, in all its ugly reality.

Tonight's blog is hideous.    Two years ago tonight, I began my affair with S.   In the steamy cab of his truck, I leaned over and kissed him.   

It wasn't our first kiss.  

At 18, on a graduation trip to Acapulco, I leaned over to him in a club and began kissing him.   There has always been something about him that drew me in, held me captive.

Now I feel I'm a prisoner.   I can't escape the feelings I have for him, the love, the laughter, the foolish, impetuous dreams I created.

And it makes me feel so incredibly stupid.   He doesn't want me.  He lied to me.  He told me horrible, beautiful things and then took them all back and still I pine for him.

Why?  How?  

I want it to end, to go away.   I want to have a heart transplant, a lobotomy, something, anything to move past this ridiculous longing.

The emptiness, so hollow and aching, I try to fill with hobbies, work, interactions with friends.

And I know I'm not the first to ever have a broken heart.   But I feel so alone in this at times. 

I feel so stuck.   I want to be free of him, of all these feelings, and I just don't know how.   Isn't there a recipe for this?  A timetable?   I feel desperate.

Ugly truths, be gone.

Like him.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Finding Forty, Day 279; Waterfalls

No news is good news, they say.   In my case, no news is just no news.  The pink slip hasn't arrived.  It looms overhead like a huge, dark cloud ready to burst at the seams.   I can don my purple Wellies, have my umbrella in hand, but the inevitable drenching will come.

It's the week before Spring Break, so I have to confess that it is hard to get motivated to do much of anything professionally.   My mind is already on vacation.

R is flying in from Chicago and a few other friends are gathering to enjoy some much needed time together.    We have been sending a flurry of emails to and fro, back and forth, discussing everything from accessories and clothes to where to eat out and what to do.  It's so exciting, I can hardly stand the wait.

The other cloud in my mind, though, is that the "anniversary" of when my affair officially began with S is at the end of the week and I keep fighting the urge to drop into dwelling on that time in my life.  For 15 years or so, he traveled here during this time of the month for a tournament and I keep wondering if he'll be here this year.  Last year he skipped, because of everything that happened with us, so I'm just going to assume he won't be here this year either.

I know I shouldn't even entertain such thoughts, but it's hard.

So, there is good and bad.  Happy and sad.  

Life, I suppose.

When I think back to all those years I lived just coasting down the stream, never having to give thought to anything other than a pesky bug buzzing in my ear, I'm overcome with the urge to either laugh or cry.

There is no coasting now and it seems the rapids come harder and stronger with every passing day.    If there is a waterfall somewhere down the way, I almost welcome it.  At least it provides a change from this worrisome, hectic, exhausting pace.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Finding Forty, Day 273; Pink Slips and Hope

As ever, time has passed and changes, so many changes have come about.    My dalliances with the young one (I referred to him as 'the kid') only lasted a few days.   Like fellow blogger Kate says in the comments below, fit and cute only go so far.   I couldn't get over his horrible spelling and grammar on his texts.   I also couldn't get over his tongue!

Being 40 has it's ups and downs, but one of the perks has been that I finally am able to recognize what I like, don't like, and more importantly, have the courage to say so.

When I would kiss 'the kid', I could not stand the way his tongue felt.  It was huge and thick and soft and mushy.  I kept trying to overcome my distaste for it, thinking that perhaps it would reap other benefits elsewhere, if you catch my drift.   But my 40 year old self remembered how important kissing is to me and knew it would always bother me.

And then something else happened.

Last Tuesday, the same day as my last blog, I found out that my position at work is being eliminated.   While I haven't received the official pink slip, it's a well known fact in my district that with the massive budget cuts that need to be made, all probationary teachers will be let go.   Probationary contract status, for me, means I am a new hire.  I am finishing up my second year in the district, the last little bit of my probationary contract, and got caught in the crossfire.

I am a good teacher with a Master's Degree, but I will have to go.  My performance has never been substandard, I've never been reprimanded for anything, never placed on a growth plan, but I am out.   I understand that the district has to implement a plan that is fair for all, but it almost feels fair for none.

You can imagine the shock, the fear, the numbness I felt, particularly on that Tuesday night when I first found out.   'The Kid' didn't even say he was sorry when I told him.   I think the words he texted back were 'Shut up!'    I knew he meant 'get out of town' or 'no way', but I wanted more of a shoulder to cry on than a passing glance.    I just didn't have the energy for him.   Oh, that and he didn't get my Mrs. Robinson joke.   Please!

I can handle just about anything, but as you longtime reader's know, I am handling many things right now.   Pending divorce, pending bankruptcy due to the failure of "A"'s business, and now this.

Mostly I'm just tired.   Exhausted.  Cannot find the strength to even begin to know how to move forward.

I spent a few days crying.

I broke down and called 'S' who was sympathetic and nice, but comfortably sitting in his office, getting ready to go home to his wife, who would be coming home from her job.

Anger poured through me as I realized how his life had changed not one iota, while mine seems to be unraveling at the seams.

But then I stop and ask it really?   Maybe all of this is a gift?    S can go on with his life, with all of the same problems that existed when our affair first began, never dealing with them, never facing adversity of any sort.

I have to believe that in the end, I will come out stronger, wiser, more worn, but with a patina that shows my value.

Maybe this is an opportunity to reinvent myself or become even truer to who I've always wanted to be?  Maybe I find a job that combines writing and fashion and music or any combination of all of the things I so love?   Who knows?

If I stop and dwell for too long, the fear creeps in.   If I lay down to rest, I worry I might not have the strength to even get up.   So, I do my best to keep moving forward.

When I feel this way, I think of Mary Tyler Moore.  Forgive me if I've shown this already on my blog.

I'm gonna make it after all...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Finding Forty, Day 264; Cougar

I'm laughing as I begin this entry, which can only be a good thing for me.   So rarely has humor found it's darling and beloved place in my words this past year, I welcome tonight's blog wholeheartedly.

I'm cracking myself up because of the situation I find myself in recently.   Here is my story and I'm sticking to it.

One of my best friends is a co-worker and is divorced.   Although I am not officially divorced, my marriage has been over for a while as most of you know.

Two weeks ago, my friend, F, called to see if I wanted to meet her for a drink at local restaurant/bar.   It had been a long, hard week, and I thought a glass of wine sounded great.   We met at the bar and before long, it was swarming with men.  We had fun dancing and flirting, but nothing more.   It was a work night for goodness sakes!

Fast forward to last Thursday night and we again met for dinner, great conversation, and drinks.   We started at a different place, one that was more sports bar oriented.  I won't lie.   We dress cute when we go out together and make a formidable pair of MILF's.  We are 40 and 41, each have three kids, and still look pretty darn good.   I mean, we aren't sure to get hit on or 'picked up' every time we go out, but we rarely have no bites.

This particular night, a beefy guy in a tight t-shirt was checking her out.   It's so obvious when a man is interested.   If you miss their glance your way the first time, you are sure to notice it one of the next 20 or so repeats.   She sort of likes that Ed Hardy style, so it was amusing.

We also had a pudgy,  high-tech worker in Dockers and a button up shirt who could hardly contain himself.   We politely smiled, but gave no welcoming looks.

Then, as we were finishing our nachos and beer, a group of young guys walked in and as they passed us, one visibly checked me out.

I tend to find F prettier than me and am fine with her getting more attention, but this was interesting.  She immediately said, "Oh, he likes you."

I just laughed because as I glanced at him, he looked like a kid.

A while later, I saw him walking to our table and he bee-lined right for me.    He told me he and his friends were leaving but that he wanted to introduce himself.  He said I was beautiful and asked where I'd be later.   I threw out a few places and smiled as he walked off.

Later, F and I joked about how we'd never have been able to pick him up anyway because neither one of us had our car seats with us.

We laughed a bit more, went to get my sister and her friends who were in town on business, and took them to the restaurant/bar we'd been to the week before.

Lo and behold, when I walked in, I immediately spotted the guy from the bar earlier in the night.   He beamed and me and said, "I KNEW IT!  I knew you'd be here.   My friends wanted to go home and I made them come here because you said you'd be here."

I won't lie.

He's cute.   He's young.   He's fit.  

My mind raced.  Surely he's drunk and looking at me through beer goggles?   There must be something really, horribly, desperately wrong with him.  

I'm not ugly, but I'm not THAT great.  Really.

He chatted me up a bit, with me giggling like a school girl and blushing.   My sister kept saying how much he looked like my twin nephews who are 19 (eww), but in all honesty, he really does.

I finally had to ask how old he was, fully expecting to hear him say 20.   When he said he was 28, I wasn't sure if I felt relief or queasiness.

It finally came time to tell him my age and as you all know, I deal in being as upfront as possible.

"Forty" I answered sheepishly.

His eyes popped wide open and he said, "No way!   How old are you REALLY?"

Well, suffice to say, he hasn't had a problem with my age.

We had our first date this morning (yes, it was a breakfast date) and are having another one tomorrow.

I haven't dated many 28 year olds, oh wait, I haven't dated any, but he seems really genuine and nice.  He hasn't made any sexual moves on me and is content to talk to me and tell me how great I am.

I have smiled and laughed all day long.

Sometimes I think my life couldn't be any more ridiculous if I actually tried for it to be.

Just before starting this blog, I googled "cougars" to see if I truly fit the description.   In some ways, yes. I am 40, almost 41, while he is only 28.   That 12 year age difference puts us pretty darn close to Ashton and Demi.  

There is actually a website,, where people can go to willingly and readily and hopefully enter into such relationships.   The women call the men "cubs"!

When I think about the fact that he was born in 1982, I just laugh.    What in the world would he want with a woman like me?

He constantly tells me I am beautiful, so I plan to let him discover my "National Geographic" breasts (see one of my early blogs) and my "Okavango river delta" stretch marks on my belly all on his own.  No point in giving away all my secrets.

Actually, with all of these African savanna references, maybe I am a cougar after all?

For now, I plan to just go with the flow and enjoy this smile that has crept upon this middle aged face of mine.

I better sign off.  I have a breakfast date to prepare for.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Finding Forty, Day 257; Nine Days

My, my, how time flies.  

The past 9 days have been a whirl-wind, a roller coaster, a ride, to say the least.

In nine short days I've traveled with my girlfriends for a short, but adventurous get away.   Discerning folks might have even unknowingly viewed me on VH1 as I was a "casted audience member" for the Pepsi Fan Jam concert that aired the Thursday before the Super Bowl.

I was in Dallas to see my favorite band, but I also go to witness snow.  Big, fat, soft flakes fell from the heavens  above to the icy earth below and made this romantic girl wish she had a warm hand to hold on to.

She didn't.  Unless you count my own hands as they met between my thighs to find a bit of warmth.

The weekend brought a let down of colossal sorts.  It's very hard to bask in the glow of your favorite rock star and then be thrust back into reality within hours.    Add to that the fact that your future ex husband loaded your kids into the Suburban to head out of town for a family birthday gathering while you were left home alone and the truth can definitely weigh heavily on the heart.

As the weekend hit it's peak, I realized I was also getting sick.  

Sunday found me in bed, alone, puffy eyed, red nosed, crying inconsolably feeling like I had made the biggest mistake any human being had ever made.    A is a REALLY NICE GUY and I felt like I'd walked away from potentially the best thing I'll ever know.

A was sweet and sympathetic to my plight, but firm in his belief that we are doing the right thing.



Okay, I can remember when I was on board with that.

Monday brought my new after school job.   Yes, I found a new job on Craigslist.  I am a "homework assistant" for two brothers three days a week, every OTHER week.  I could not do it weekly, but the bi weekly nature of it makes it do able.   So, I work a full time job as a teacher and then go and do this new job.  

It just so happens though, that this new job coincided with my apartment move in date.

It was a bit anti-climatic to get my apartment key, zip through the apartment for five minutes, then dash off to help a 5th grader convert improper fractions.

But I keep thinking of the money I am making and how it might help go towards our family beach trip this summer or dinner next week.

My budget is yet to be determined and I feel as if I am stretching things to the absolute.

Today brought forth a vaginal ultrasound and a mammogram which is always an experience in and of itself, and now I sit, tired, stinky, and still living out of heavy duty sized garbage bags and moving boxes.

I have no furniture, no organization scheme, no money, no man in my life (save three very resilient, beautiful boys) and here I am.

The wrinkles under my eyes and above my upper lip remind me of the journey I've been on for some time now, perhaps my whole life, and there is a bittersweet feeling I get when I look upon them.

I'm happy, deep down, because I know I will be alright in the end.  But I'm sad, and the sadness is deep.   It's a heavy hearted feeling that just won't seem to go away.

I don't look forward to sleeping on my air mattress alone tonight.   Thank goodness I still have Hippo.

But tomorrow is another day and soldier on I will.

Nine days, so much life lived, so much accomplished.   Sometimes my own fortitude surprises me.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Finding Forty, Day 248; The Lion

This morning, again, I awoke from a tremendous dream.  As my mind's adventure ended and my eyes popped open, I slowly began working through the details of the story that had been playing out in my state of slumber.

The first thing I remembered was a lion!   Not any lion, but the most majestic creature I'd ever seen.   In the dream, I could speak to the lion, with and without words.   It was as if, at times, our minds were one.

The lion and I were in love.  We shared tremendous passion for one another and anguish at our alternative states.   

In the dream, the lion could be human as well, but only for very short periods of time.   Eventually, in the end, his animal form would have to dominate.

But we shared such intimacy and I was so unafraid.   I would reach right into the lion's mouth, I would nuzzle into his wild, exotic mane, I would bestow him with kisses and caress his sinewy body. 

With his eyes and the inner voice only I could hear, he expressed to me how deeply he loved me and how soon he would make the transition, forever, to his human form so that we might be together forever.

And I believed.

Until I woke up.

As I laid in bed, thinking about that dream, wondering why in the world I would journey there in my mind, a metaphor slowly came to form.

I did love a lion once, still do.   His magnificence was more than I could bear, I was captivated, mesmerized.    He told me he would come to me, leave the wilds and live with me, but never did.

I should have never expected or asked him to.   

 How could a lion ever be human?


Monday, January 24, 2011

Finding Forty, Day 240; Flipping Pages

Seven days pass, a lifetime, a nothingness, a blur.

I am happy tonight.   Adele is soulfully singing to me through my ear buds.   It's not yet 10 p.m. and I'm snuggled into my bed (alone) and feel content.

The original apartment plan fell through last week, so I spent the greater part of Saturday apartment hunting.  Not being a communal dweller for over two decades, I was dejected and overwhelmed most of the day.   Finally, as I grew wearier by the minute, I asked the locator to take me back to a complex we had looked at earlier in the day.   Originally, I felt it was just a hair out of my budget, but then it hit me that the apartment came with a washer and dryer (full size) in the unit.   When I factored in the cost of buying those either new or used, I could justify the cost of rent.   Yes, I will be strapped, but hopefully soon A will be gainfully employed and can again help with our family's finances.

The boys are excited.   The amenities are appealing to them and the apartment is about a mile from their house.

  I shed tears on Saturday as I got cash from the ATM to get my money order for the deposit and application fee.   I called A, one more time, to confirm this was truly in our future.   Again, yes was his response.

At the complex, as I answered all the standard questions I texted him to see if he would be my emergency contact.    My rock in my time of trouble, he's always been.   He was the reason I was able to push through, literally, all three of our kids' births without any pain medication.   If I  knew he was in the room, I felt safe.

Now I'm leaving him in his own room, his own walls as I strike out on my own.   It's scary, sad, and exciting all at once.

When I think about walking through my newly cleaned apartment in early February, I know I'll cry, but I'll also laugh to myself at the craziness reality of my 'new chapter', as my best friend R says.  

I'm an avid reader.   Voracious, all my life.  New chapters have always been exciting, especially in the books that grip me.  

I can't wait to flip my pages.