Sunday, March 16, 2014

I ask you....

Both of my daughters have warned me, don't post that question.

It's a dumb question.

I still want to know. So will someone (specifically, some man) answer me?

Has dating become a lost art? 

"Dating" as in a single man calling a single woman and asking her to dinner on a Saturday night.  She says, yes, thank you, and he picks her up from her home and they go to dinner, have a glass of wine and good conversation, maybe even cheesecake for dessert.  He drops her off, they may hug or give each other a shy kiss at the door, and he leaves.  After the date, perhaps as early as the next day, he calls again.  She doesn't have to; he wants to.

Whether the couple continues on to a relationship doesn't matter in the scenario.  It's all about the initial contact arising NOT out of mutual agreement, "how about we go out, since we are both single and kind of bored, we'll find someone better later," and NOT out of intentionally being set up by a paid matching making service or from a dating site like, "well I guess we should meet." 

Do men call anymore? 

I was told recently, by a male friend, that "if it's meant to be, it will be..." and I honestly believe he sits on his couch and waits for a knock at the door.

Meant to be?  Sure, I will entertain that as possible.  But what about willingness? We all have free will.   I don't believe God meant to have us sit and wait for a knock. 

At risk of straight out rejection, opening myself up to blatant mockery, I will ask further then, why do I feel like I failed to pay my phone bill, or my Iphone is broken, or something shocking is sticking out of my head that I just don't see in the mirror... ?   

Why am I not asked out on dates? 

Sure, I have been OUT on DATES. The truth, though, which I realized yesterday, is that all of the dates have been initiated by ME.  Perhaps because I don't believe in waiting for the knock?

"Hey, Jeff, let's catch up soon... lunch or dinner this week?"
"Michael, are you in town this weekend?  Want to meet up for a drink?"
"Paul, I still owe you burgers, remember. How about Monday?"
"Mark, I really want to go see this show, but it's a musical... will you go with me?"
"Hi, Elizabeth from Just Lunch... oh, you have another introduction for me... great."

When I asked my daughters this question, why am I not asked out, Savanna snapped back, "because you ask (stupid) questions like this."  Alicia said, "Well, I haven't been asked either."

Savanna aside (she gets calls for dates, by the way), Alicia seems to always be with a cute guy.  Friend or co worker, no matter, Alicia seems to be pursued. Maybe she just sorta gets together with folks on a mutual agreement, too.  Maybe that's how this generation does it.

I asked Jeff.  He hasn't texted me back.

Do you figure the Winter has just shut everyone in to their homes, and away from social contact? Seems possible. 

Seems reasonable too that many of my male friends are either married or in relationships (with a significant other or with their careers);  or getting out of relationships, or getting OVER an old relationship, or just starting a new one.  Timing, timing is key.  Windows of opportunity close quickly.

Maybe men think that since I kept the last name Pokorny, and appear in random status updates at the same location as Bob Pokorny, that I am still married to him?

Let me state this once and for all -- I am NO LONGER MARRIED to Bob.  I will always hold feelings of remorse about all of that, sure, and yes I still love him and my daughters love him and we are cordial and friendly.  He is NOT in any way with me.  He has a long term girlfriend, and I like her.  And yeah, we kind of all get along.  If you think this is strange, too bad, this is how we roll.

And no, I am not seeing anyone in particular.  Yes, I have pictures on my Facebook page with other guys... they are all still important to me, and I value their fabric contribution to my life quilt.  But if I were in a committed relationship, I would not be declared "single" on Facebook, nor would I ever spread such a rumor about myself.  And you all know, it isn't true unless it's posted on Facebook. 

Before anyone tells me AGAIN (females are good at this) to love myself first, let me just say, I love myself (see previous blog post Born of the Wrong Time).

In fact I love myself so much I am not willing to settle with just any man who shows an interest.  I do want a specific sort of fellow (see multiple previous blog posts).  Stalkers need not apply.  Crazy attention seekers who send themselves flowers to get MY attention need not apply either.  How about a "normal" man with values and a job and is able to understand the commitment of fitness and health who isn't afraid to actually earn the love of a good woman?  Perhaps I push men away with my perceived high standards, or maybe my sarcasm or cold humor. 

Is it me? 

Maybe I am too nice.
Or not good looking enough, thin enough, or rich enough.
Or maybe I am too emotional, too old.
That baking thing I do confuses them.
Appearing by name in this blog scares them.
Wait, FEELING any sort of attachment scares them.
The potential of rejection is endless, everywhere, always frightening.

Back in college, when I worked for Dial America Marketing, "cold calling" for magazine subscriptions was the worst.  It was so much easier to simply make a sales call for a renewal.  They were already interested in the product.  They had already invested in the subscription.  Cold calling was a numbers game.  The only way a person ever survived was to keep dialing and dialing, and to never take a rejection personally.   That job was difficult.  Not many folks made it through to being given good leads... they gave up, fed up, exhausted, defeated. 

Maybe every man is so tired of extending themselves with busyness they don't have any energy for "cold calling" women. 

Or very simply, dating just may be a thing of the past.  The landscape of life has changed.  We all are so technologically "connected", we think a happy birthday text is enough effort to extend for a day of celebration.

I still believe in celebrating birthdays in person.  And holding someones hand... receiving phone calls, talking.  And being invited to dinner.  

Maybe it really IS me.

I think I am afraid, too.  I quietly fear that if I didn't initiate contact with folks I would never hear from a soul. 

"How is your knee, Jay?"
"Steve, is your back feeling better?"
"How's the job, Bob?"
"Sorry I gave you my cold, Damon, can I do anything to help?"
"Larry, how's traveling going for you, busy?"
"Ken, how's your running coming along, ready for the race?"

Why does no one ask ME how I am without ME asking them first?

I have been close to testing a theory, because I don't DARE post these dumb questions outright to my 700-plus friends on social media:   

If I didn't text or FB message anyone for a week, would anyone notice? 

If I stopped reaching out to you, would we ever talk again?

I just don't know anymore.  That's why I am asking.  Is there anyone who loves me enough to answer?

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Born of the wrong time

In her strongest moments, my mom would say of herself, "I was born before my time."

I can picture her little body, all rigid with attitude... she was making a point:  she didn't need a man.  My father always knew if he didn't WANT to be there with her, with us, "there's the door." "But if you leave, don't think you are ever comin' back, Fred."  My dad never left. 

Oh, there was no arguing, that woman was tough.  Fortified.  Independent.  The way a strong woman needs to be in this day.  If dad complained about his coffee, she'd say, "then get your own."  If he complained about the chili being too bland, she'd say, "then next time YOU make dinner."  Funny thing was, by the time dad retired, he was the chef cooking for mom.  She was convincing like that.

Even while my father was ill in the hospital for seven straight months, trekking to see him every day without fail, my mom acted strong, able to get along just fine alone.    Granted, Evelyn loved Fred, they were married 64 years; and she missed my father terribly when he was gone.  But I do agree, my mom was born before her time -- the way a woman is raised to be THESE days:  she loved herself and needed no man to make her someone better.  Being married to my dad was a choice they made together every day.

You see, as progressive as my mom really was in her thinking and personality traits, she still was raised in a time where couples endured.  Couples may have fought just as much as they do now, but they were together more resilient or stubborn, dedicated in some way, beyond general couples of today.  My parents took care of each other.  They did simple, loving, predictable things and made our household a home, our family a home base.

Mom taught me what I have recently learned is called "homesteading";  planting a garden, living simply, loving our neighbors.  I think maybe the term is more acceptable to this current generation if it seems to be a new found technique.  In any case, mom modeled such technique to me, and it was mainstream. All the families on my street seemed to do the same.  We ate dinner at 5:10 p.m. every week day evening.  Mom packed us lunches, dad included, after making toast and coffee for breakfast.  Her chocolate chip cookies were divine, buttery, perfect.  Of course it went beyond that, but you get the idea, the picture of stability.

When my daughters were younger, I would pack them lunches, too.  Not as consistently as my mom, just because she was better at everything, but I did... and I cooked, too.  Even when the girls were bigger, and we all led such busier lives going in different directions, I made dinner, complete with salad, fruit, dessert, and "how was your day conversation."  I managed that routine on top of commuting and working a full time job, and running the training miles of a marathoner.  And I baked cookies, from "scratch" no less.

Those years of being a mom and wife were the best years of my adult life.  I miss that caring and consistency with a heaviness on my chest I physically feel, even now as I recall the warmth of the table and the laughter.

My realization over this winter:  I, too, was born of the wrong time.  I was born too late.  I should have been here back in the day when it was an honor to care for my husband, to cook healthy meals for my family, to clean my home and make it comfy and warm, to plant vegetables by seed and grow flowers in beds along the fence.

Because that is what I want now.

Before all of my strong women friends begin their rants against me, and the supposed power I am holding disappears, know that I like my life just fine.  I love myself.  I don't need any man to make me a better person.

I love my career at CSU and love that I earn enough money to own a home and a car and support myself.  I don't want to give that control away, to some "man of the house," or be subservient to some husband (who currently doesn't exist).    But I do want that old fashioned having someone to come home to, to cook for, to talk with, to love -- that "mutual caring for each other thing" -- back in my life.  It is good to know I CAN do this life on my own.  I have proven it.  I just don't want to do this, to have this, alone.

There is no weakness in this wanting. It is not out of desperation, it is not from some place of neediness.  It is actually from a giving place in my heart.  Now that my daughters are grown, they require less of me.  Letting them fly is healthy!

Sadly, at this prime moment of my life-- when busyness has turned suddenly slower -- there is no man for me who wants the same thing.

Being single is what both men and women seem to want these days.  Sex is so easy to get anymore, hardly anyone requires a relationship for it. Freedom to work 12, 14, 16 hours a day to earn money he will possibly never spend seems to be the partner so many seek.  Fast food is, well, FAST, who needs to waste time eating a home cooked meal that has to be, well, COOKED.  Maybe mom is still around to provide a meal once a month, on a Sunday, or a birthday.. but really, why, when there is a new restaurant open down the street by that chef from the Food Network?  Christmas can be saved for the lavish meal.

You see, traditionalism has no reason to exist anymore.  We are each revolving around our own selves, a complicated simplicity so time consuming there is no give. 

And who wants permanent emotions anyhow. That would mean investing in someone aside from ourselves.  I have been told at least four times since October, "work is all I have going right now, I don't have time for a relationship." Or the best one ever, "I don't have the time to give you that you require."  As if spending real moments with me is aiding some sort of unhealthy, unnatural need of mine (you know, that crazy woman who wanted more than a few hours a week with her boyfriend).  Bring him a banana bread and he's done.  Out.  Somehow baking suggests permanency in and of itself. 

Think what you want to think about me.  Because I love to send cards in the mail to say thank you for being kind, or that I appreciate you, doesn't mean I am needy -- just grateful.  And because I offer to make you dinner on Sunday, doesn't mean anything beyond me believing you need a good meal for a change.

So, maybe I too was born of the wrong time, like my mom.  She would have been a terribly powerful single woman in her day.... and, I, an excellent wife back in her's.

And if that isn't true, then my only other explanation is that I have missed my time, the time God gave me my Homestead, and I carelessly lost it.  I let it go when I had it.  And though I have been told that God is not a punishing God, maybe this is what I get for letting it go. 

Today I baked an apple pie for no one.

Not even because I wanted a piece of pie.   It's sitting there now, in the kitchen. I had apples that needed to be used.  And I wanted to feel, like me, again. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

This difficult decision

This decision, relative to all the other daily decisions I and others like me have to face, should not feel so difficult. 

Perhaps by writing this blog I will either work the choice out in my head, through these words, or one of my faithful friends might read this and make a suggestion.  What would you suggest I do?

So it's the dead of winter in northern Ohio. It has been a harsh one.  The snow is one consistent challenge, one we expect living here, but the extremely frigid cold spells have been unusually rough.  The low temps have actually closed schools.  While I want to -- almost -- say, "suck it up you buttercups," here I sit in my warm house not wanting to run outside.  Thus I don't actually tell the little children to freeze their tootsies at the bus stops, cuz I get it, it's cold.  

Not running outside has become the issue of decision.  I get home from work late every day (pretty much because I drag my lazy butt into work late and have to make up the time).   It is dark.  Which makes the bitter cold feel even more bitter and insulting.  What are my options for fitness -- mileage -- aside from running outside, alone, in the dark cold snow every night?

1.)  I could fix the treadmill that is sitting in the garage over at the Friendship house.  I purchased it last year on Craig's list for $50, set up the whole garage for an indoor workout facility, and the treadmill belt began slipping.  So I walked on it.  Then it just stopped running.  It may or may not be a cheap fix.  Throw good money after bad? 

1.a.)  Sub-decision of choice 1.  Could have a treadmill doctor come out for $100 to assess whether or not it is worth it to fix.  Seems counterproductive.

1.b.)  Could buy the belt cleaning package somewhere, try and take the damn machine apart myself, tune it up etc., for about $25 but a whole lot of frustration.  I probably don't even have the tools (material or mental) to accomplish this task.  And yes, my engineer-in-training daughter does live with me, but no, has no interest in attempting to fix the stupid old treadmill in the frozen garage at Friendship. And don't even suggest that I have my handy boyfriend fix it.  There is no boyfriend.  And any friend, well, I would have to pay him... and we are back to the sub-decision of spending good money after bad. 

2.)  I could buy a new treadmill.

So many sub-decisions fall under this category, I won't even number or letter them.  Even if I buy one, get it shipped to my door, where do I put it.  How do I put it together?  My basement has flooded a few times over the past year... is it safe down there?  And again, how do I put it together?  No way I will have a treadmill in my living room, the house is small enough already and I don't even know if all that weight and pounding wouldn't shake the glass cabinet down, or worse.  Walking across the floor sounds precarious.  Not chancing that, so basement would be the option.  And how do I get it down there?  And again, how do I put it together?

Oh, yes, which do I buy?  New or used?  Tried the used route, that was a poor decision.  Is a new one worth the money? I would have to put it on a credit card.  After everything else I have had to put on the credit card.  Like a matchmaking service that I will forever regret falling for buying.

Worst question of all, would I use it after spending good money on it?  Probably.  But I am still stuck on how to put the thing together.  By myself. With no tools. 

3.)  There is always the gym at CSU.  But their treadmills are full of students. Busy.  Same with the Medina Community Rec Center.  Busy, always.  And time-limited to 30 minutes.  And I have to go in their window of open hours.  This is all just assuming I am motivated to get my workout stuff gathered together to go.  And no, I wouldn't, because I haven't.  This option has been an option for years.  And have I used it?  No.
4.)  Do I join a 24-hour gym instead?  Excellent choice.  But would I use it.  For $34.95 a month, would I even go there at 10 p.m.?  I am thinking this might be the best choice, financially, and mentally.  I could easily drive myself up to the Snap fitness center at 10 p.m. or midnight. And hope I am safe and won't get robbed or worse.  Hmmmmm. 

5.)  I could find a fitness friend who would force me to accountability.  Meet me at the gym.  Tell me to hang in there, spring is coming.  Unfortunately, this idea sounds real -- really real and believable, just like the matchmaking service sounded.  Then reality hits, and well, it is all an illusion.

6.)  OR, do I just sit here and look out my window, losing fitness more every day, as the snow goes falling and the temperatures stay at all time lows during global warming (what??)  waiting for that hour in Medina between the cold spells where it is 20 degrees and that would be the best moment to run 6 miles outside for free.  Provided I am not at work during that hour.  Or commuting.  Or sleeping.  Planets aligning? Doubtful.

I used to be tough.  I used to be an ultrarunner.  I used to do things that others would say Wow at, and I would impress myself with upon finishing. Where did it go?  With the sun... with the spring and summer... with the good days of motivation and young healthy muscles. 

And I do remember a time, too, where money wasn't this big of an issue.  I spent money to register for races, racing to train.  I spent money traveling to a warmer state in February to break up the monotony of the winter and to make me run and prove I still had a base.  Registration fees even for local ultras have risen so much I don't even know which ones to choose -- so I don't choose, and then miss deadlines.  Travel costs are so outrageous I am fortunate to get one more state in a year toward my 50 states. Why is everything so expensive? 

I wasn't always robbing Peter to pay Paul for gas bills or electric bills.  I wasn't feeling guilty for not riding the Rapid into work to save a few dollars.  Paying for parking at work wasn't a luxury, and neither was owning a television and having cable -- both of which I have sacrificed since April 2013 in order to pay for gas, electric, water, food.  

I didn't realize this decision was so political.  But it is, isn't it.  If I am having a challenge financially, emotionally, mentally, and *I* have a job,and healthcare and a car and a house, what of those folks who don't? 

I wonder if any of the good times will come back. 

So in the course of writing this blog, I have felt a range of emotions, from confusion to guilt to thankfulness to desperation.  And I still haven't decided on a winter fitness strategy. 

I want the days back when running was simple.  My simple solution to the bigger challenges of life. When everything didn't cost do damned much. 

Ya see, when you suffer with depression -- be it seasonal, situational, or major -- one of the strategies to counteract the disorder is exercise and healthy eating and living. 

So even if you believe this decision before me is minor, or silly-simple, the impact is pretty wide and truly matters.  Not doing anything, like I am today, is a circular, downward spiral.   Your opinion right now would be welcome -- your suggestions, your friendship and caring, a gift.  I am serious.

I need to make this decision soon, before there is nothing left of the me I used to be.