"Love My Way, It's a New Road"

Archive for January, 2016

Our First Anniversary

I had a funny phone call this week from the Hunter. He calls from work to tell me, not discuss with me, what is our official anniversary date. He claims it is when he moved in rather than February 1st which was our first date. I started laughing because, well, it is clear that he thinks we have too romance much crammed into February, so he’s trying to push the anniversary back a month. I called him on it and he sheepishly laughed and said, “Of course! I can’t afford all this in one month!”  

Then I told him that putting a bunch of hype and emphasis on a single day like Valentines or an anniversary isn’t my style. I think that we should be appreciating each other all year and a special day doesn’t have to be some over-the-top occasion. He sighed and said, “this is why I love you. You are such a unique and special woman.”  

But in my mind, our anniversary will be February 1st, celebration or not.  It was our first date (you can read about it here) and it was the beginning of us.  I asked him this morning after a great Sunday fuck, if he had been nervous on that date. He laughed and said, “very much so.”  Yes, I had seen his nerves. Now, knowing him much better, I know that he really laid his soul bare and really opened himself up to me. I could have crushingly rejected him for not having enough money or education or whatever. Instead, I looked inside and saw a wonderful, smart man who wanted to love someone and be loved, unconditionally, as well. 

Fast forward to today and we have settled into domesticity. The Hunter lately has laughingly complained that I have turned him into a “pussy” and he is becoming soft. He isn’t going to the woods as much and we think it’s because he is happy at home and no longer needs to escape. Our home is now just that — ours. It started as my oasis of freedom and an expression of me when I moved out. I furnished it slowly and thoughtfully with things I love and always wanted. Now we have some of his photos in the living room, a bobcat skin and deer antlers in the dining area, camping gear and a smoker out on the patio, a canoe out front –you get the idea — and I am happy with this. 

I am happy with my relationship with the Hunter. It is such an honor and joy to have a good, strong man loving me. He gives me so much support and encouragement. He appreciates my help and support as well. Our life is easy and we are very compatible. The challenge for us will be fighting the complacency and not taking each other for granted. 

The first half of this year is full of significant milestones for Taz which spills over to me, but I am pining for a vacation and want to plan something so I have the joy of anticipation. I need some sand in my toes and to get out amongst folks a bit. The Hunter has unwittingly done the latter by surprising me with tickets to a Valentines concert and a comedienne that we both love. I just need to speak up and act too. I have very ambitious work goals this year and I need to push hard to make the dollars I want to earn. It is all within my grasp and I am so very happy with my life. I am a lucky girl. 

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The Wedding Approaches

It has been an interesting week. Taz was here for three days for wedding planning. Man, this young woman can be tough for me to handle. She is so much like her father and it brings up some strong emotions in me at times. Before I rant, know that 70% of the time was fine. She had a couple of times when she snapped at me and I was dumbfounded because it was completely out of line. I swallowed my hurt and anger but became a bit cool. She calmed down and realized she overstepped, but the damage was done. Just like her dad. 

One interesting thing is that perhaps I have been able to be a strong positive influence on her. I like to think so. On one ride home, we talked about her high school counselor, a man that I am forever thankful for being in my daughter’s life. She has stayed in touch with him and by some weird 6 degrees of separation, he is somehow related to a dear friend of the groom. We are talking a thousand mile connection – bizarre, but I digress. 

Anyway, during Taz’s senior year of high school, she was a handful. Too smart for her own good, strong alpha personality, the rigors of all AP classes, the pressure of college application process and a host of other things in her life made her a force to be reckoned with. My Ex and Taz were clashing regularly and both expected me to resolve it. I was stuck in the middle with my Ex bitterly complaining about her, directing me to correct her and then furious when I apparently “failed”.  Taz was simply growing to hate her dad for all his controlling actions. In steps the high school counselor who wisely told Taz that her dad was never going to change — most adults don’t, so she needed to decide if she could accept her dad for who he is. He told her much more, and she listened to him. Heaven has a special place for people like that counselor. I begged him not to retire until my son graduated and fortunately my son was also able to benefit from his wisedom when I moved out of the house before my son’s senior year. 

But returning to the present, Taz really churned up some emotions in me. They weren’t all happy thoughts either. She said some really sweet and loving things but then she zapped me a couple of times. The Hunter has gently asked if I am over-reacting.  Perhaps, but I know without a doubt that she will not be my caretaker when I get old and senile. She’s too tough. She is headed for a glittering, successful career at the top of her profession. She will be a rock star and I am so proud of her. I just hope that the success doesn’t come at the sacrifice of her loved ones. 

Then after the highs and lows of Taz’s visit, I ran into a colleague at a cocktail party. She told me she ran into my Ex at the bar of her neighborhood restaurant. She told me that he’s excited for the wedding, worried about walking Taz down the stairs in her dress and then she told me that he looked so woebegone. That it is glaringly apparent that he pines for me. WTF. I told her that perhaps if he wasn’t such an asshole we would still be married. 

After I left I called a girlfriend to discuss the conversation. Why the hell did my colleague feel the need to share the conversation with me?  She could have simply told me that they ran into each other and left it at that. As I told my girlfriend, part of me wanted to tell my colleague not to have pity on my Ex because he hates her and always called her a dyke when we were married. But there was no upside for me to do that. I simply had to listen and then retreat. My Ex also talked shit about all my business colleagues. He had nothing nice to say about any of them. It always pissed me off because if he was insulting/belittling those in my trade, wasn’t he also doing the same to me?  I asked him once and he kinda of laughed and admitted that I was right — he didn’t have any respect for my work. 

In any case, it feels good to write this and get it off my chest and out of my brain.  Today I feel fabulous. I figured out some complex financial stuff, cleaned my office and flirted with the Hunter.  I broke my alcohol-free January a bit early and feel great about it. My positive affirmations are working and I see a very bright and happy future before me. I found my dress for the wedding and Taz said that it was the most beautiful dress she has ever seen me wear. Let’s leave it there – happy. 

Elaborate Lives

We all lead such elaborate lives 
wild ambitions in our sights 
How an affair of the heart survives 
days apart and hurried nights 
Seems quite unbelievable to me 
I don’t want to live like that 
seems quite unbelievable to me 
I don’t want to love like that 
I just want our time to be 
slower and gentler, wiser, free 

Elton John & Tim Rice

The Hunter and I are rapidly approaching the one-year mark. It is interesting to see how far we have come and how comfortable we are with one another. I wouldn’t say complacent because we both try to stay interesting. I was thinking about what my list of attributes in a man was and how, in many ways, the Hunter has shown me the ones that truly matter the most. 

Here are some things that fell by the wayside for me (in no particular order):

  • Education – I just need a smart man, but formal education doesn’t equal smart. The Hunter is very smart, but not necessarily book-smart. I have discovered that it’s fine and if I need to stretch my brain beyond it’s limits, I’ll call my son, for example, and engage in a deep conversation with him about geopolitics or whatever. 
  • Money – I have realized that I can do with less and not feel deprived. The Hunter has gone to great lengths to provide for me.  He got a great new job that has tremendous upward mobility and every paycheck is spent on us. He is incredibly generous and giving with what he has. I know that I out earn him and we are both OK with this. I’m feminist enough not to need a man to totally take care of me. Do I miss a great dinner out occasionally, yes, but it isn’t a big deal and once again, I don’t feel deprived. Money is going to get interesting as I enter my First Quarter Pinch. Between taxes, Taz’s wedding and an break in my pipeline, I will be tapping into my reserves heavily. I’ll need to keep using my self-discipline muscle. 
  • Water – this is an unusual one. I wanted a guy who loves the water – beach, boating, etc. This is the one area the Hunter and I don’t align. It isn’t really his thing. I understand and that’s fine, but I will need to make an effort to satisfy my craving for it. 

It is interesting that as I reviewed this post (written at 2 am last night when it couldn’t sleep), that my list above seems trite and superficial. I think that once I got clear on the man I wanted, it was easier to recognize him. It goes back to this post which was written before the Hunter and I began dating (he was on my radar though).  In that post (for those who don’t feel the need to click on it), I talk about trust and honesty. Now fast forward and here are some of the things that I now understand are incredibly important to me:

  • Patience – the Hunter has the patience of a saint with me. He never yells or snaps when we are doing something together regardless of how bumble-fingered I am. He is a wonderful teacher also, but his patience is inspiring. My Ex had none and would snap frequently which kept me on a nervous edge when we tried to do things together. The Hunter is a breath of fresh air in this regard. 
  • Helpfulness – the Hunter is always helpful without me asking. Last weekend for my Vision Board brunch, for example, he helped set things up and made some awesome sandwiches —  and he wasn’t even staying for the party.  He willingly disappeared for a couple of hours. He does all sorts of things around the house.  It’s lovely. I constantly am happy with all he does. 
  • Thoughtfulness – maybe this ties into helpfulness, but he really thinks about things that give me pleasure. For example, my Christmas present was a bike. It is a wonderful, expensive bike and the nicest one I have ever had. He wanted to make sure I got what I wanted, so he took me to four bike shops so I could try different ones. Then after our camping trip the bike needed adjustment, so he immediately took it in for its 30 day adjustment. He just bought tickets to a Valentines concert because he knows it will make me happy. He doesn’t know that I have wanted to go to this Valentines concert for years, but he just thought it would make me happy.
  • Sex and snuggling- damn this man is good in bed. He keeps things spicy.  I love his touch. I love when his large hands touch me so gently or not-so-gently. I love his strength. I love the smoothness of his skin, the scruff of his beard and his manly scent of tobacco, outdoors and other things. His kisses are divine and he enjoys a good snuggle. 
  • Listener – he is great at listening to me. He let’s me babble about my day, tell my silly stories and he really listens. I know that he is always ready to listen to me. 
  • Communication – I put this separate from listening because it’s about him talking to me. He calls me a couple of times during the day.  He never hides things or evades me. He confronts any issue head-on. I know I can tell him anything.  I love his sexy laugh and his dimples when he smiles. 

I think that because we are empty-nesters and older, we both realize that great companionship is key. We truly appreciate one another and try very hard not to take the other for granted. We also know that compromise is necessary and the ability to compromise gracefully is important. The Hunter has learned and grown tremendously over the years. If I had met him any sooner, I probably would not have fallen for him. He needed to work out a few things and I needed to also. Timing is everything and out time is now. Now I need to wrap this post up because the Hunter discovered I am writing and he is bursting with curiosity, so it’s time to read this to him. Happy Sunday!

My Doppleganger?

The Hunter popped up with two very sweet random thoughts over the past few days. The first was when we

 were watching Danny Collins. This is a delightful movie and I was curled up post-colposcopy watching it when the Hunter got home from work. He got sucked into it and then remarked 2/3 of the way through that Mary Sinclair (played by Annette Benning) is a dead ringer for me. Really?! He said she acts just like me. There is a faint resemblance (although Annette is far more beautiful in reality), but I was charmed.  

That compliment was far better than the time when a former Mean Girl work colleague said I looked like   Jean Stapleton (a la All in the Family).  Fucking viscious bitch. She did this at two conferences in front of senior management. I knew my days at that company where numbered when she started climbing the corporate ladder.  

 
I digress.  Another other random thought from this week came about as we made plans for the weekend. The Hunter has a 3-day weekend so we talked about possibly camping, however, the weather was a bit iffy, so instead we’ll head out for a day hike.  Then he began laughing. “Maggie, you have made my life too comfortable. I am growing soft and not going to the woods as much.”  He then started teasing me, “We need to argue occasionally so I say ‘Fuck It!’ And head off to the woods.  Since you are too nice, I guess I will have to be the asshole.”  Now we are both laughing and I have a new rebuttal when he teases me — I tell him to go to the woods. 

The final, perhaps sweetest random thought came another morning when we woke up. We had jumped out of bed to pee and brush our teeth, but scurried back under the covers for a snuggle. The Hunter had me wrapped in his arms, my head on his shoulder and he gently sighed contentedly. He asked me if during my marriage I ever woke up angry.  He said oftentimes he would wake up already angry and his chest was tight with anger. I told him that occasionally but more often I would silently cry myself to sleep.  He pulls me closer and kisses me deeper. He murmurs, “You are a lucky girl, aren’t you? I am a lucky man”.  One more soft, rich kiss and he’s off to get ready for work.  Yes, I am very lucky indeed. 

My Wish

I hope the days come easy and the moments pass slow,
And each road leads you where you wanna go,
And if you’re faced with a choice, and you have to choose,
I hope you choose the one that means the most to you.
And if one door opens to another door closed,
I hope you keep on walkin’ till you find the window,
If it’s cold outside, show the world the warmth of your smile.

But more than anything, more than anything
My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,
Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small,
You never need to carry more than you can hold,
And while you’re out there getting where you’re getting to,
I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too,

Yeah, this, is my wish.

Rascal Flatts

I went camping for New Years Eve in a redux of my magical camping with the Hunter last year. Last year’s New Years Eve was our first camping foray and when we discovered that we were really interested in one another. It’s a multi-post story that begins here and continues to Part 2 .  This year it was me, the Hunter and my son, who felt like a third wheel. He likes the Hunter but doesn’t like that squeamish thought of our intimacy. It is palapable and was glaringly apparent in the close confines of a campsite. He spent one night with us before bolting to spend more time with his dad. After he left, I wrote the following open letter to my son.

Dear Son,

I know that I must puzzle you these days post-marriage. My actions speak louder than words, but I want to provide some words, some context, to my actions. 

You and your sister were the focus of the most important chapter of my life -motherhood.  That was a busy time of life with the plates spinning non-stop.  I balanced family, work and running a house for over 20 years. That took a lot of work on all fronts: mental, physical, logistical, psychological, sociological to be successful.  I like to think I was/am extremely successful with that chapter. After all, I have raised 2 incredible young adults who are very accomplished albeit in different ways. I think that is one of my biggest parenting success– recognizing and embracing the differences in my kids. 

My married years were very busy and I enjoyed them for the most part.  But my yearnings/daydreams were always focused on a quieter/simpler lifestyle. A cross-country road trip, walking thru Tuscany from BnB to BnB, living in a cabin like Majorie Kinnan Rawlings.  I have always craved quieter moments where I can think, rest, reflect. 

Perhaps I  sought   craved all that because we were always so busy. As we have discussed, I’m a social introvert who prefers smaller gatherings and I enjoy being alone. When I moved out and set up my new place I wanted to provide you with the same quiet sanctuary that I wanted. That’s why I don’t push for tons of activities/events. I now realize that perhaps it is too soon for that much quiet for you. 

For the past 1-1/2 years I have been writing a great deal and exploring. I am living my life on my own terms.  These terms may continue to change and evolve, but my life is pretty near perfect for me. The Hunter is part of why my life today is so satisfying. He is a great companion in so many ways. He wants to take care of me; treats me well, and is very in tune to my feelings. I find him to be very smart and open, although our politics are opposing and he’s not an intellectual like you. 

My #1 goal in motherhood was to give you roots and unconditional love. I didn’t have either when I was growing up. I wanted both you and Taz to have the best I could provide. Mission accomplished. 

Taz is moving through life in classic Alpha female, oldest child fashion.  Don’t get me wrong — I mean that only in the good, positive way. She will do better than me professionally and economically and I am thrilled with her many long-term friends and other accomplishments. 

You have so much life before you. The only thing I want you to know –OK, there are two things. The first is that I will always love you both unconditionally.  The second is that you have infinite choices.  Travel, big job, not-so-big job, exploring, learning, experiencing.  Follow your heart, sometimes your mind, always your intuition. Nobody told me (or the Hunter) that life has many forks in the road and sometimes we should take the road less traveled. 
I am still a mother and damn proud of it. I am trying to figure out what I should do to best mother young adults.  I’m a woman who still has dreams and a small bucket list. I’m not afraid of living alone, but I realize that I love sharing my life with the Hunter. His love and companionship are precious to me. 

But I feel no need or desire to “keep up with the Jones”.  I feel no need to follow society’s dictates or at least those I perceive from my married days. I saw how folks reacted when I moved out and realized that it really didn’t matter. I want more outdoors in my life. I enjoyed downsizing and living with less. I enjoy cleaning my house, walking to stores and living a slower, simpler existence. I like life in the right Lane now after 30+ years in the left Lane. I want my next 30 years to have simpler pleasures, more travel, family and friends. 

I just want you to know that I’m happy. I’m struggling to figure out the best way to parent you these days, so use your words and help me out once in awhile. I’ll try to remember that we need to do stuff together because that’s when we talk/interact the most. Your ideas on things to do are always welcome ….

OK, I was pleasantly stoned when I wrote that and it meanders a bit, but I like the thoughts in it. I also felt much better when a dear friend and co-worker told me, that as an adult, she still felt awkward with her dad and his long-time girlfriend. She’s a level-headed woman, so that eased my mind tremendously. I won’t give this to my son, but I’m glad to spew the thoughts. 

The Climb

There’s always gonna be another mountain
I’m always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose
Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about what’s waitin’ on the other side
It’s the climb

Miley Cyrus

One of my biggest goals this year is to work on my self-discipline.  I have allowed that muscle to become flabby. Even as I write this, I am not working and am still in workout clothes although I haven’t worked out and it’s approaching 9:30 on a weekday and I have plenty to do.  I’ll consider today a lapse, but tomorrow I need to get back on schedule. I’ll get back on schedule for today also, but let’s finish this post first.

Last weekend I had about a dozen girlfriends come over so we could create Vision Boards. I did this last year and it was such a rousing success, that it appears this may become my annual signature event. I haven’t finished mine because I was busy playing hostess, but I want mine to be covered with images and phrases about self-discipline. I need it. I have big goals and aspirations for the year. 

I have been reading and planning a great deal. I have been questioning why I haven’t lived up to my true  

 potential and it came down to two simple things: mindset and self-discipline. I have worked on the mindset and my ThinkUp app continues to do wonders for me. I feel like I am improving dramatically on that front. Self-discipline is another story. 

I started out strong, but then my SD muscle gets tired and I allow it to lapse. This week has been a great example. I need to plan my week and then update it daily. My workdays are unpredictable, but I need SD to keep all my plates spinning. This week jumped out of the starting gate and I wasn’t fully prepared. I feel like the racehorse is galloping around the track and I’m still trying to get my feet in the stirrups. I need to re-group. 

SD is also key for my goals around my health. I need to get in shape and lose more weight. I haven’t been good about exercising, eating the right foods both in terms of amount and type. It all circles back to SD. I like to think of myself as something of a free spirit. Unfortunately that will only work if I won the lottery and even then it would take SD not to squander the money. 

I spent quite a few hours over the holidays planning out this year. I have annual goals and then these are broken down to quarterly, monthly and weekly goals. I created a kick ass spreadsheet that impressed the shit out of my business coach because everything on it was SMART (specific, measurable, actionable, reasonable, time-bound).  Everything is there, but it is up to me to execute it. For that, I need to build up my flabby SD muscle. The great news is that every day, every hour is a new beginning. So with that, it’s time for me to get started. 

I Don’t Need No Doctor

I don’t need no doctor ’cause I know what’s ailing me
I don’t need no doctor ’cause I know what’s ailing me
Yes I do, all I need is my baby
You don’t know I’m in misery

Ray Charles

Ugh, I had the second procedure on my lady bits. A colposcopy with the doctor nipping biopsies off my cervix that are the size of a grain of rice.  My grimacing facial expressions said it all.  The great news is that my uterine biopsies have come back clean.  We are very hopeful that this round is good as well. The doctor feels confident that all is well, but we just need science to confirm his gut instinct.

My doctor is gentle and kind. I have no embarrassment bursting into tears in front of him. I did this once after my mom has died (of breast cancer) and he made the strategical error of simply asking me how I was doing. He must get that frequently because he is that rare man that doesn’t get freaked out by a tearful woman. But he is also pretty funny. 

Today I teased him about where was his GoPro camera for today’s procedure. The last procedure he had used a camera that eerily looked like one. Deadface he tells me, “we had to stop because the pictures were going viral on YouTube”.  I, of course, believe him for a split second. “Seriously?!”  He laughs and tells me he’s joking. I don’t tell him it wouldn’t be my first nude picture on the internet. 

These biopsies suck.  I am crampy afterwards and they are uncomfortable as hell.  When he is done, he puts the icing on the cake,”no sex (douching or tampons) for a week”.  I exclaim, “Wait – what?! That doesn’t work for me!”  He laughs and says “OK, how about five days?”  I reluctantly agree. Then he tells me that only women over 30 protest on the abstinence orders.  I told him I had to make up for lost time. 

I like my doctor, but I would like to see less of him. One more follow up visit to go!

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