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

Archive for April, 2016

No Such Thing as Coincidence

I believe in signs. I believe that when you are open and receptive to guidance, the Universe sends you signals. Don’t get me wrong, I am not some New Age Shirley MacLaine, crystal loving woman (although to each their own), but I firmly believe in the Laws of Attraction.
Sometimes things happen and you look back and think, “You can’t make this shit up!” My mom’s memorial/ash scattering was such an experience. This month marks the anniversary of both her birthday and her passing. Perhaps some day I’ll write more about my relationship with my mom, but suffice it to say it was complicated. She succumbed to a valiant fight with breast cancer. She bravely fought and won the first round, but surrendered to the second so dementia wouldn’t rob her of her self. That’s a story for another day.
A year after she passed, on her birthday, I arranged to meet her sisters in her beloved North Carolina mountains to scatter her ashes. I had just filed for divorce, my kids were super busy, so I traveled alone. I reunited with my aunts and cousins, who are very religious people living a quiet life in a small town. I sprang for dinner that night and the tab for 15 or so kids and adults was less than $200. They were awed by my generosity. I was awed by the low cost of living!

The next day we went into a national park and snuck into a closed area. I was impressed by my religious kin’s law-breaking ways! My uncle performed a lovely brief service, I had a slideshow of photos. We all shared memories of my mom and then we got down to the business of scooping ashes. One aunt retreated from this because it creeped her out. I had purchased some kitchen scoops thankfully, and there are now a bunch of well-fertilized azaleas up in the mountains.

It was simple, meaningful and I appreciated the love and acceptance only a family can provide at these times. My cousins are hilarious. As we got in the car, one gently asks how I was feeling. When I said I was fine, so the other immediately asks if we can 1) stop at a bathroom and 2) could we stop at the outlet mall on the way back to town. I laughed and said that sounded great and surely my mom would approve.

We stopped at one of the park’s cultural centers for the bathroom break. I moved like lightening and was done first. As I emerged from the bathroom, I saw two men, cowboys, dismounting from their horses for a bathroom break. Never having met a stranger, I walked up and began chatting with them. I rode as a teenager and had spent a decade as a horse show mom to my daughter. Horses were the passion always shared between me, my mom and my daughter. My mom and I spent countless hours watching Taz ride.

I told the cowboy a bit about my equestrian history. He immediately said, “Ride my horse!” What?! Is he nuts? The next thing you know, my purse is hanging from the hitching post, I’m up on the horse and headed down the trail with the other cowboy. One aunt emerges from the restroom to hear me hollering at her to grab my purse and I’ll be back shortly.

I trot and gallop a couple of miles down the trail with the other cowboy. We chat about the horses, why they were here and other small talk. Then my realistic brain gently says, “Excuse me, Maggie. You are on a strange horse with no helmet with a strange man. Perhaps it’s time too turn around?”

We return with my cousin snapping photos of my return like a paparazzi. As I get off, I hug the cowboy who had given me his horse. I tell him with tears in my eyes that he has no idea how much this meant to me. Then I tell him why we were in the mountains that day and that his gift to me was a sign from my mother that she is happy and sending me love and happy thoughts.

So yes, I believe in signs. They happen to me all the time and they damn sure aren’t coincidences. Finding my new house was full of signs, so perhaps I’ll tell you about that one day.

In the meantime, instead of a song today (because I wasn’t coming up with anything that tickled my fancy), here is a great podcast from This American Life on the same theme. Enjoy.

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You Can’t Always Get What You Wanted

Least you think that it is all sunshine and unicorns around here, the Hunter and I were in disaccord earlier this week.    Apparently we always do what I want.  I find that funny, but also interesting because that is one thing my Ex could never say. 

After reflection on the Hunter’s claim, I decided a couple of things. First, damn right we do what I want because I spent a lifetime not doing what I wanted. That’s Maggie the Rebel, Non-Conformist speaking. Ahhh, that felt great. 

Then we have gentle, loving, pleasing Maggie who says, “Surely that can’t be! I always acquiesce.”  

Finally reasonable, rational Maggie emerges after a day or two and she unravels perhaps the real thread of truth in his statement. The Hunter is still learning about compromise and discussions on difficult, fraught issues. 

So what the hell went on that caused this friction? I pulled a veto vote on the place he wanted to rent. I must admit that I also wasn’t fair about how I did it and I admitted such to him. Here’s the story.

We went out house searching last weekend and looked about 5 or so places. We came to the final one and it backed onto the Hunter’s beloved outdoors. He could launch a canoe and be gone. He fell in love instantly. My innate pleasing self said that this could work, but it wasn’t ideal for several reasons. It didn’t fit quite a few of the criteria we had started with. We drove away and within 30 minutes, my feet were icy cold. We got home and I kept looking for places against his wishes.  Then I threw my black ball on the house. 

He was upset. He struggled to keep his emotions in check and did a masterful job. He thought about it, asked me if I was too afraid to move and was that driving my veto. I explained that although the backyard opened up to the woods, the place failed several key criteria. I had the intuition that this wasn’t our place. 

The Hunter sighed. I could feel the waves of frustration verging on anger radiating from him, but I was firm. Then he told me that he would give me six months and at the end he would be moving regardless. Now many of you would see that as a confrontational ultimatum, but I didn’t. I found that to be a generous, loving gesture. Remember, he is driving 120 miles round trip every day for work and he was agreeing to keep up that exhausting schedule until I felt ready.  I felt he listened to me and my concerns, but he was also giving me his boundaries/limits. He wasn’t going to let me walk all over him. 

The next day wasn’t a good day. He wanted to look at cars due to his commuting situation and I wanted to go to a barbecue festival first.  He was miserable and wouldn’t eat. I wanted this to be a fun date outing, so I immediately agreed to leave. Nobody wants a grouchy date.  He dropped me off at home and took off car shopping alone. I know that he was pissed off at me and I was not being the gentle, submissive Maggie that he expects, but   I was OK with that. 

I wasn’t mad and knew he needs some room to think, but I also wasn’t going to sit at home all day because it was Sunday Funday dammit!  I jumped in my car and drove towards the Hunter’s new job location. I wanted to feel the distance so I could more readily relate. On the way, I stopped to check out a house I found the night before. This house is 15 minutes from his job, but an hour away from my clients. It is perfect. 

The owner is perfect.  She and I hit it off. I came home triumphant because this was perfect and fit all of our criteria except one – price. It was a bit more than we wanted to pay, but it was still reasonable. I showed the Hunter and he reluctantly agreed it was beautiful.  It sits on the water and has a fruit tree. He sighed because he knew that resistance was futile.  Then I told him that the next door neighbor also hunts. He said, “Dammit, you just had to find the perfect place, didn’t you?”  

So the lease is signed, the deposit is made yet the Hunter still hasn’t seen it. Partially due to stubbornness and partially due to scheduling issues. He’s getting excited each day as he realize how close it is to his work, that a coworker lives nearby, that the fruit tree will be bearing fruit within a month or so of our move in, that he will have the ultimate man cave workshop in that garage. The Hunter is a good man and this has been a great test of our relationship.  Let’s see how our journey continues to unfold.

Icebreaker

I just re-joined my Toastmaster club after a multi-year hiatus. Some of my best friendships grew out of this club and it’s great for tuning my communication skills. Anyway, I just gave the classic first speech, the Icebreaker, and realized that it makes a great post (once I discreetly filtered out a few specific details).  Here we go into the history of Maggie……

I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be. — Douglas Adams, author of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy  

Today is a momentous anniversary for me and it’s fortuitous that I am doing my Icebreaker on this special day. I’ll tell you more about this anniversary later. I believe that life should be a journey of constant growth and exploration. Oftentimes I take lessons from people of how NOT to do things, so let me explain how I have applied these lessons in my life.   

I was born and raised in North Carolina. I consider myself a Southerner although somehow I lost my drawl along my travels. My parents divorced when I was 6, and my mom went back to school. My dad, who is a great guy and I love dearly, has never been a father figure for me.  He has been merely an interested observer of my life. Between my mom’s education pursuits and impulsiveness, I lived in 9 towns in 12 years. I graduated high school at the age of 16, went to University One for a year, then University Two on the other side of the country (which I consider my Study Aboard year because a Southern girl in the Pacific Northwest is a story in itself) I ended up in our fair city at the age of 19 and sank my roots. I finally finished my communications degree at University Three.    

I met my husband when I was 19 years old. We married when I was 23 and our marriage lasted 25 years. We had two wonderful children and many happy times. Today’s anniversary is the second anniversary of my divorce becoming final. Before you assume that this is a sad day for me, please don’t. I celebrate this day because it represents an important transition in my life. You see I consider my marriage a success, but a chapter in my life that had a beginning, a middle and an end.   

I just read a quote the other day that personifies my parenting style:  There are two things we should give our children: one is roots and the other is wings. I was able to take the lessons learned from my parents about what NOT to do and apply them my marriage and raising my children. These lessons were: Create roots for my children and be actively present in their lives for all their pursuits.  

Raising my kids was an incredibly busy, rewarding time of my life. Their father and I kept them close to their aunts, uncles and cousins. They grew up in a very stable, two-parent household and I am thankful they had the childhood I didn’t have. My children are perhaps my greatest success. 

My mother-in-law passed away in January 2013. Her death caused me to reflect and once again I took away several valuable lessons of how NOT to do things. I loved her dearly. She was a wonderful, smart woman, but she also sacrificed for everyone and never put her needs first.   

As I approached 50, I suddenly realized that my life is halfway over if I’m lucky or more than halfway over otherwise. It was time to get serious about living the life that I want to live. This led me to divorcing my husband because it was time for me to live my life on my own terms. My children were out of the nest. I won’t air the dirty laundry of our marriage, but suffice it to say that from the outside our marriage looked perfect, but inside it was not.   

I have been stretching myself outside my comfort level. I went to Jamaica by myself, I tried online dating (huge waste of time). I joined a hiking club, thanks in part to our fellow Toastmaster, P. This hiking club has pushed me outside my comfort zone with canoeing and hiking. Through this hiking club I met my boyfriend, The Hunter. Any man that would date me after seeing me with no makeup, sweating is the right man for me.   

For my next push outside my comfort zone experience, I am bravely moving and leaving our fair city after 30 years for a new one an hour away. Yes, by summer I will be living in a beautiful house on the water with a fruit tree. It felt like home the moment I drove up.   

This chapter of my life is amazing. I know that I am living my life on my terms. I was so incredibly flattered by the note my daughter wrote to me on her wedding day this past February. She described me as fearless. How flattering. Particularly since she’s seen me react to cockroaches. 

There you have it, Dear Readers. Quintessential Maggie in a nutshell. By the way, I got an awesome evaluation and then retreated to a nearby bar with two girlfriends and drank the afternoon away with rounds of prosecco to celebrate my anniversary. What an outstanding day!

Dear Hunter

You are coaxing me with that sexy voice of yours to step way outside my comfort zone and have a threesome. I struggle with sharing the man I love. I have been doing my homework and listening to my guide, Dan Savage, and reading about polyamory. I think I understand where you are.

It’s not about me being “not enough” for you. It’s about your nature to reach and experience. I’m beginning to understand that. I needed time to process that. I need to realize that you love me more than any other woman in the world and that your exploration is not because I have failed you or am lacking. You want to share this adventure with me, and I am grateful that you feel comfortable bringing me into your most inner longings.

What I needed, when I snapped last night, is love and reassurance. I need to know that I will always been your Number One. That no matter what happens between the sheets with others, what you and I have outside the bedroom bonds us more than anything else.

I can make room for others so long as you make me your Number One and show me that you value me above all others as your most important, primary relationship. I am insecure. I had a long sexual abyss and I lack experiences and sexual maturity. I struggle sometimes to keep up with you. But know this – I love you. You are the man for me. You listen to me, encourage me, support me and love me unconditionally. And I do the same for you.

So if you need to spread your sexual wings and explore, I am grateful that you are bringing me along. Please give me a bit more time to process, please continue to carefully outline the path you seek and in return I promise to keep an open mind and strive to embrace the change you want to introduce.

I love you, Hunter, and together we are such a supportive, loving couple. Help me help you embrace all of your sexuality and mine. Help me shed my shyness and learn what truly appeals to me. You are so lucky to know what cranks you up, please help me through that same journey so I can learn and explore my own sexuality.

Break on Through

Made the scene
Week to week
Day to day
Hour to hour
The gate is straight
Deep and wide
Break on through to the other side
Break on through to the other side
Break on through
Break on through
Break on through
Break on through
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

The Doors

I read a great sales book this week. The book and a searingly candid discussion with my girlfriend has exposed a huge gap in my professional development. I have virtually no skills at obtaining new clients. This is a problem in my business because I eat what I kill. What’s funny/sad/interesting is that I have hobbled along for 15 years making a decent living without these skills. I have had pipeline crises before but now I am really digging into the root of the problem and discovering what has truly been holding me back.

My theme for this year is self-discipline and I have to admit that for the first quarter it has sucked. With Taz’s wedding and other distractions, I have once again put my needs last and not focused on myself. That’s a problem. I need to be selfish. I need to be focused. I need to be more disciplined. I need to be more aggressive.

The good news is I know now what I need to do to fix this problem. I have outlined my steps and with a few more mental exercises, I’ll be 100% locked and loaded. The question becomes do I want to fix it? My days of cocktail parties, business lunches and endless meeting people aren’t so interesting to me. I need to do those things though, so I will need to figure out a reasonable balance so I don’t burn out.

By a quirk of fate, the Hunter had asked me to simply see if there are any jobs in our new locale. I googled it and lo and behold something in-house with an organization of gargantuan proportions popped up. It had been listed only 2 days before. On a whim, I freshened up my resume and applied. Then to make sure I made the short list, I called an executive there thinking I would report to him, I wouldn’t but he graciously pointed me to his counterpart in HR who forwarded my voice mail to the recruiter. I was already on the recruiter’s short list and the next day we had a 45 minute intro interview that resulted in him recommending me for the next round, an interview with my potential boss. The problem is the salary is too low. Even with the bonus and all the benefits.

This conundrum has occupied my mind this week as I roll the issue around and think about it from different angles. My girlfriend has been infinitely helpful coaching in this regard because she has sat on both sides of that table — the boss and the interviewee. Her advice: stand my ground, draw my line in the sand with regards to salary and let them want me. I have to agree. To go in-house means surrendering everything, so they need to pay for that.

What’s interesting is I noticed in LinkedIn – the absolute best place to stalk people – is that a business acquaintance joined them about 8 months ago. She works for another division in another location, but the job is the same. I have more experience, a much better pedigree of prior jobs, so that cemented my thought about salary expectations. I’m worth a lot more than her. I don’t say that to be conceited — it’s the truth.

So now unfortunately I have brought myself to a difficult fork in the road. Security of an in-house job versus freelancing. I have decided that I cannot wait around to see if this job materializes. There are too many unknowns. I have to continue down my current path with my current position with my current firm and focus on self-discipline and business development. I have to fill my pipeline, so I must concentrate on the business development which isn’t in my comfort zone, but is essential not only for success but for survival.

It all goes back to my theme this year – self-discipline. I have said this will be a year of change. I should go get a lottery ticket because I am right on the money.

Two for the Price of One?

He said, “I read your ad, it sounded rather thrilling
I think a meeting could be mutually fulfilling
Why don’t we meet for a chat
The three of us in my flat
I can’t forget what I read”
This is what it said:

If you dream of the girl for you
Then call us and get two for the price of one
We’re the answer if you feel blue
So call us and get two for the price of one
If you dream of the girl for you

Abba

One of the funniest things about meeting Madeline was the Hunter’s reaction to all this. First, he was a bit anxious that I was meeting a complete stranger by myself. I laughed and said that M isn’t a stranger, we are meeting in a public place and he needs to calm down. He did and I commend him for trusting me on this. He was needlessly worried about our anonymity.

When I got home, he was already half-asleep, exhausted by his early wake-ups (4 am), long work day and commute, so we didn’t talk too much about my evening. Plus my head was spinning about some job stuff, which I’ll post about. The day I met M had some big thinking events (M and a job interview), so I needed quiet to process it all.

The Hunter was apparently processing the M meeting and it revved his engine up. I got a text the next morning. “I had a dream last night about fucking both of you and it was a lot of fun. Invite her over for a threesome.” That made me laugh. I text him back, “I love a good, naughty fantasy. Sexy man.” He calls me and we chat. Apparently my meeting with M, which was innocent girlfriend chitchat and fun, triggered intense sexual fantasies in him that have been dormant for a few months.

I get another text a couple of hours later. “So are you having your new friend over for a fuck fest?” I replied, “Nope”.

Let’s dive into all this. M can chime in here as well because I shared this with her first because it does include her to a certain extent. The Hunter has always been interested in a FMF threesome. Due to his jealousy issues, a MFM threesome is not in the cards. I have been a hesitant. At the beginning of our relationship, I wanted time for us to solidify our relationship before moving onto varsity, post-graduate activities. He agreed. One of my biggest requests has been that the third needs to be an anonymous person, NSA-type, actually I would prefer a sex worker. Sorry, M, but nobody I know will be in the bed with me and the Hunter. LOL.

Now here we are, a year later and the Hunter is once again thinking about it. M’s visit coupled with the security of a new job where he feels happy and secure has apparently relaxed his brain and allowed the fantasies to pop back up.

Last night he got home and was cooking dinner while I walked the dog. He had no shirt on when I left and when I returned 15 minutes later, he was wearing underwear, a huge grin and had popped half a Cialis. He fucked me on the couch while dinner simmered. I was bemused. Where the hell did this come from? He wanted to eat dinner naked, but I’ve got limits. He can, but I pulled on a t-shirt and sat on top of my skirt.

I drank some wine during and after dinner, he smoked a little after dinner and got a second wind. I jacked him off while he had a butt plug in. Then he began talking about how the threesome would work. Clever man had recalled some of my previous requests, namely the criteria for the third. He has already called me again today to discuss this.

I have to say how much I appreciate his consideration of my needs, thoughts and comfort level in this. I have told him this as well. Do I really, really want a threesome? Meh, I feel some stirrings as the Hunter’s sexy voice lays out the scenario, but I’m also not “Whooo Weeeeee — lets DO THIS!!” Remember – I am a middle-class, somewhat conventional 51-year old woman, so this shit is major league for me. I need some time to think about it, but I also know I shouldn’t over-think it. Sometimes you just need to jump into the deep end and not worry about how cold the water is or how high the diving board is.

I told the Hunter this could be his birthday present, but he doesn’t want to wait until late May and he’s thinking about more than once. Good grief, is this Pandora’s Box? We have a bit more to talk about, but what the hell, I’m in.

Meeting Madeline

This week I had my first face-to-face meeting with a blogger, Madeline formerly of The Woman Invisible. How exciting is that? M and I had texted intermittently through Google Hang-Out, so when she headed down on vacation, she reached out to me.

We spent a 3-hour afternoon hanging out and talking like close girlfriends do. We immediately launched into a great conversation that never lagged and told some stories that can’t go up on the blog due to anonymity reasons. I did tell her one that she is insisting I write about because it’s pretty funny — the actual logistics of getting the Hunter to pass a drug screening.

So what are my impressions of the real M? The flesh and blood one sitting across the table drinking prosecco? She is very true to herself. I think her blog is truly as honest, raw and deep as anyone can possibly be. She really does expose it all — good and bad. Her real life is big and bold, so how she has time to write amazes me. She has challenges approaching her in the near future that will be stressful, but she clearly sees them and is already laying the groundwork on how to deal with it all. M is very smart, very successful, brave and fierce (in a wonderful way).

It was a fabulous afternoon. I have felt like I lack a posse of close girlfriends. I have a handful but I’m not great about staying in touch regularly. Now I have the fabulous M to add to my posse. I will be headed to her hometown more regularly in the future, so she has made me promise to stay an extra night for her. That sounds like just the kind of fun/trouble I need.

Thanks, M. The next round is on me!

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