Determining my happily ever after…

This week I’m at the happiest place on earth… Disney World 🏰

I first came here when I was 27. My husband and I decided to “go all out” that year because we would not be back. “There are so many places to visit in the world… We cannot just go to one place.”

With three pairs of hands (including our daughter) in a circle, on the plane to Florida, we agreed “We will not become ‘those’ people.”

I cried the first time I saw the castle. For me this was bigger than just a vacation. As a kid I never even dreamed about going to Disney. There was no use in wanting to go. Money was way too tight and I would have been disappointed. I have always kept to the dreams I can accomplish. Yet add an adult, there I was standing in front of THE CASTLE, with my Minnie ears, and holding the hands of the people I love. This was a moment.

By the end of the trip I was hooked and have been back many times. I still tear up when I see those white pillars.

This year when I was planning our trip, I decided to make it a road trip. Single mom budget does not account for two flights or the fancy hotel of the past. My daughter is too young to drive so I would be single pair of hands behind the wheel for 14+ hours.

Believe it or not… I was actually excited! Quality time chatting with my fave and busting out our dance moves. What I hadn’t expected was the down time to think and the realizations that come with it. I was driving into the last part of a very adventure filled drive to Florida, inclusive of a wicked snow storm and a spin out that stopped the highway, and had a mom moment. I realized that I was perfectly happy just being her and I.

The truth is I have been focused on dating for the past three years. Yet, I’m not sure that I’m any closer to finding the one. When I was going through my divorce the one idea that kept me going was “maybe I can get remarried someday and have another baby.” Another baby was a major point of contention in my previous marriage. I thought this was my chance.

However, I’m 35 years old. Time isn’t really on my side. For most of my single life this idea would panic me. However, now it a calm option. I am happy with my family being me and my sassy teenager. It rids me of the intense pressure of my loudly clicking time clock.

In my dating life right now everything is up in the air. My dating apps are busy but not substantial. I am not putting the effort needed to make it worthwhile. I’ve been busy planning this trip and working.

I am still talking to Kevin from before although I think we would both agree we are good flirty friends. (No, that is not code for friends with benefits). He’s amazing guy though so who knows.

I do have a high school type crush on a guy from my actual real life (not from a dating profile). Seriously I feel like I’m in high school. The butterflies when I see him, smile when someone says his name “He’s so hot and so nice”, and like my high school experiences… One sided. Ugh!

I can feel though in my life something special is coming. I don’t know what it is but with everything up in the air… Anything is possible! When I stand in front of the castle tomorrow morning and hold my daughters hand I’ll be sure to remember this… With tears in my eyes I’m sure. ❀️

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Judging Jilly…

Life has a way of always teaching me compassion the moment I start to judge someone. For instance, it is easy for me to judge something horrific… like murder.

Yet…someone rides too close to my bumper and I want to hit my brakes in rage… Possibly causing an accident. I realize “Oh that’s the feeling.”

Just enough of a glimpse of an emotion to remind myself everyone is human. It’s those moments when I’m grateful that I have the support and the mental and moral fortitude to give the one finger salute and move to the middle lane.

Kevin and I had a whirlwind dating adventure. We connected quickly and moved even quicker. Although both of us kept saying that we weren’t ready for commitment we were exclusive after the second date. I talked about how many dates we had gone on and the frequency before. It was a lot and often.

Then one night I had a panic moment when I realized I am not ready to be in a relationship. It was too much too fast. I thought back to how Jack felt after our first couple of dates when I started pressuring him. The time when he “ghosted” me. It was something I didn’t understand before and honestly judged him for.

The only difference now was that the speed and frequency was the pressure… not the people. Kevin felt the same way I did. The spark had started to fade and we realized we were too different. It was the most amicable and sweet break up conversation. It was nice to naturally both feel the same way and not be blindsided. I would only hope every break up will be like that in my life. While I am bummed I’m am not sad. It was the right thing to do, for now, while I figure things out.

I’m going to take this time and just enjoy dating. Go deliberately very slow. It is clear I am still moving on from Jack and while it has gotten a heck of a lot better it is not gone. Yes, in case you’re wondering, I feel like a total weirdo that I still have sad moments. He moved on months ago and is happy. Then here I am, a smart, independent, logical woman that still has what my kid calls “Jack moments.” It can be a little annoying to say the least.

I’m not worried though. It is getting better and the time with Kevin proved to me that there is light and love on the other end. It was just enough of a glimpse of a feeling to not judge myself for still caring and holding on. I am allowed to love and allowed to move on. Afterall, that’s the hardest person for me not to judge… Myself.

I’m glad I waited…

A couple of weeks ago I was sitting with my date at a fondue restaurant. Typically I only eat dinner at this place for birthdays or other bigger moments. After our delicious Wisconsin beer cheddar fondue, salad, and beyond tasty meat course it was time for chocolate. (Can you tell I LOVED this meal?!)

As the woman was heating up our chocolate she asks us “Are you celebrating something special?”

“It is the big 10!” I answer a big smile.

“Whoa 10 years!”

“Nope our 10th date!” Excited jazz hands again and a pat on my date’s back. “I’m hoping we make it to our 11th!”

My date laughs out loud and the waitress just shakes her head with a smile. Yes readers… I am dating a new guy and I’ll call him Kevin*. He wants to be called “The Great Bearded Wonder” and while I agree he does have a great beard, Kevin is much easier to write.

So when I first matched with Kevin he was one of many. I would love to say I knew that I’d like him from first swipe but it was on Bumble and people don’t put a lot of information on their profile. Heck even mine was a one liner from The Office. So the extent of the swipe was “Hot first picture” and that was it.

For those of you outside the dating app world, Bumble requires the woman to send the first message. I actually love this because I can unmatch if I’m not interested before he messages me. It was Christmas day when we matched. I sent him and my other matches a Christmasy message the next day and put my phone down. He replied shortly after and we started talking.

Our first message..

After only a few days of chatting. We agreed to meet and he was going to plan the first date. He gave me two options… One was go to an early dinner OR we could watch the Ohio State game together at a sports bar.

I really do love to watch sports and beer/wings but I’m not a big college sports fan. Also, I know how I can get watching a game (please only talk to me during the commercials) so I opted for the early dinner.

We joked about how we were like old people when we planned to eat at like 5. So when it came for us to pick the place he suggested a family restaurant that is known for an elderly crowd. To match our time. I loved it! Cute, creative and got jokes.

It took me a long time to get ready for the date. I was planning to go ALL OUT with the elderly look. I put on a floral dress, gray leggings, thick white sweater socks, and a gray cardigan. I stared at myself in the mirror and kept thinking…

1. Do I have the balls to wear this?

2. Is it that funny in a first date?

3. Would he get the joke or just think I’m a weirdo?

I wish I could say I went along with it. But about 5 minutes before I left I went with a grandma type cardigan (that I wear all the time πŸ˜€) and a floral scarf. An ode to granny without going over board. I had the balls but liked this guy and didn’t want to scare him off. Now knowing Kevin… He would have gotten the joke and enjoyed it. On the date he even said “you can wear that look next time!”

We chatted for a couple of hours, drinking beers and eating. I am not sure the beer selections and food choices matched the patrons (a lot of old people). I think this restaurant may be realizing a lot of their clientele is dying off and they need to attract a longer lasting group.

The date felt very natural and comfortable. Once I met him I didn’t feel nervous and that I could chat about anything. I very rarely meet a stranger but getting back out there had been a little bit of a struggle so it was nice. There was no pressure, just conversation. Our date ended in a nice big hug and plans to go out a couple days from then.

On our second date we went to a WuTang night at a local bar and an improv show. I realized he laughed at the same things I did at the show. This was a great sign! As he was driving me home he suggested we stop at a hole in the wall bar in my town. This bar had made headlines during the summer for a double stabbing. So needless to say I was not a regular. He thought it would be fun and I thought why not?!

We walked in and clearly we were not regulars. I was wearing a tshirt my sister bought me for Christmas that said “Kinda Hood Kinda Classy.” It did not match the motorcycle ambience of this particular location. But we walked in and I smiled and waved at everyone. Kevin and I are pretty friendly and non threatening. So I got a few half smiles and head nods back.

That was until Kevin gave me a couple dollars for the jukebox. He said “pick songs you would like, don’t worry about the place.”

I chose Rake It Up by Yo Gotti. It had been my jam for a while now.

I am not going to say it was a crowd pleaser but we didn’t get yelled at or kicked out. This continued even after we spent 20 more dollars building the soundtrack for the night. Trap music, country music and some old school WuTang to match the early part of the night.

There was one point when someone said “Who picked this shit?” For the record Kevin picked that particular song, although I told the nice young bar lady it was me. I was already in the inner crowd with the head nod group. I didn’t want any drama. I believe the song was Method Man.

The highlight of the night when I gave him a high five while we were talking at the bar. Kevin inner laced our fingers for about a minute. Seriously, I felt a small shock through my arm. Up until that moment I knew he was really good looking and super nice but I wasn’t sure if this was going to turn into a romantic vibe. The kisses at the end of the night sealed that decision. πŸ’‹

We’ve had many dates since those. What I really like about Kevin is that he always makes time for me. Our dates sometimes consist of a quick dinner or desserts / drinks. Meeting for lunch in the middle of a hectic day to eat chicken sandwiches and drink lemonade. Making dinner and a movie night. Yet some are a fondue night at a nice restaurant or karaoke at a bar! I never know what we will do together but I don’t worry that we won’t see eachother.

I just feel relaxed and myself when I am with him. When he first came to my house I didn’t even think about the fact that my dishes weren’t done and my dogs were extra crazy. I just felt at home. I credit some of that to Kevin but most to myself and the work I’ve done the last few months.

I’ve realized that my job in life is to try to be the best version of me. To try what I’m afraid of and to seek gratitude and joy. The person meant for me will encourage me and I them. If I do my best then I’ll get out of life what and who I’m meant to. No need to put pressure on it.

Kevin and I are taking things slowly. We are exclusive but no titles. We are both not ready. A year ago I’d be asking and curious when it will happen. But for now I still have work to do on me and my moving on. I’ve got to fully move on from my past relationship before I can be fully committed to a relationship. This is getting much easier but I’m not quite there yet and still have tough moments. For now, I’m just enjoying this adventure and the guy I’m sharing it with 😘

New Year, Same Awesomeness

A few weeks before the New Year, I finally got the nerve to do something I have not done. I asked a guy from real life out for drinks. Not a guy I met in a dating app but a regular real life hottie. I know this may sound easy for some of you but not me. I am very comfortable in the friend zone with most new guys.

I thought a lot before I sent the message. This was a guy that I would have to see again, could tell others I asked him, and I had no clue if he was interested. Typing with sweaty fingers I sent the message… and waited… and waited some more.

Honestly, if it takes a guy a while to answer you can probably guess the answer, a very polite no thank you. However, during the hours of waiting, I realized something BIG! I was more excited by the fact I had the courage to ask then waiting on his answer. Of course, I was a little disappointed and it was a little awkward when I had to see him again. However when I did, I acted “normal”… Yeah dude “I’m normal, you’re normal, we’re normal” and within a few minutes I didn’t have to act… I was normal-ish.

In 2018 I’m a risk taker…

I was so lucky to be married to a man that is killer with budgets! During our marriage I trusted him to run our finances and his excel spreadsheets of 401k earnings was nothing short of amazing. He knew what we had, how much we could spend, and when we could stretch a little bit.

When we first got married stretch was a very big word. He was going to school full time, working full time and working a weekend job. I remember during this we had moments where we had a $30 grocery budget. He determined the budget and I tried to make it work.

Now I won’t say I was always the best at this. Many times later on (when we had a lot more money) I would go over budget. I wasn’t nearly as frugal or responsible as he was.

So when we divorced, with the emotions, and without my spreadsheet voice of reason… I went a little overboard. Kind of like…the life boats on the Titanic overboard. If each passenger in the lifeboat was a separate online store, food place, or monthly delivery place. It can get so bad at times I have NO IDEA what is in the package on my porch.

Truthfully, Amazon may have a small section of a conveyor belt named after me.

In 2018 I’m going to hold myself accountable for my spending…

I spent most of 2017 thinking about and predicting how my love life will turn out. I spent the first 10 months sure I found “the one.” Then spent the last 2 months praying for a sign to know if I was wrong. Should I hold on or let go? Would my waiting pay off or should I move on? Cleverly I was praying for a sign of certainty.

This looking for signs almost made me a little crazy. Everything seemed like a sign in my quest for an answer. I prayed to move on many nights and my feelings remained. It was a not a great way to spend the year. After seeing Jack, mentioned in my last blog, I drove around for about an hour. I kept praying “How should I feel? Tell me how I should feel?”

Then clear as day I had a thought “I should be asking for the patience to not need to know and have faith.”

I’m not the most religious person and yet I felt a lot better. I realized I don’t need to know the who and how I will meet my future husband. It doesn’t matter how much I think about or analyze my future I only have so much control. I just need to have faith that I will meet him someday.

In 2018 I will keep my analyzing to my men… Not my future.

Not what you thought I’d say huh?! Well I’m still me and need to analyze something. The good news is I have a man I’m currently analyzing and after a few dates in things are looking up. More on him in the next blog πŸ˜‰

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

My Own Christmas Carol

My favorite gift ever was a Barbie house my dad gave to my sister and I when I was in 3rd grade. Living in a single parent household, money was a scarcity. My dad worked in a warehouse clocking overtime hours each week. So when my sister and I saw this gigantic house beside the Christmas tree the excitement was palpable.

This Barbie house wasn’t made from Mattel or even a Barbie knock off from Odd Lots. Instead it was homemade from cardboard boxes. My dad had taped the boxes together and had covered the inside of with contact sheets, construction paper and carpet samples. It was complete with Styrofoam sink and bathtub. He even reinforced the bottom to allow for a large carport for our pink Barbie convertible. Each room and detail was carefully planned and built from a man that had never had a Barbie in his whole life. It was the epitome of love in craft.

I have strived now as a mama to give my child a Barbie house moment. I’m beyond blessed with mine and my kid’s needs and wants so creating these moments have been tougher. However this spirit of my past carries me each Christmas to show even more love and be more thoughtful.

Last Monday was my sister’s birthday! We had planned to go out to eat and celebrate. It turned out to be an exhausting day for our families, so the energy to fight with dinner crowds and children was not going to happen. After SEVERAL detours and rerouting plans (that I won’t bore you with) we all ended up in Target. Me in a very relaxed outfit perfect for holding babies and getting shopping snuggles in. After holding little hands and picking our “perfect pajamas” we went to go check out.

Standing in line chatting with my niece, I hear my sister cheerfully say “Oh look it’s Jack!”

Then without even time to think or process I look up and there he is… Right in front of me. It was truly as if time had stopped. My jaw dropped and I had enough thought to raise my hand in a half hi motion. He was walking by very quickly and talking on the phone in his “lecture tone” he reserves for work or rarely a family member. I’ve heard it before.

He seemed just as shocked to see me as I was him. He looked at me, did half a smile and was gone. I stood there for a while and then looked at my sister and we laughed. I would love to say that I knew immediately I was over him or even still in love with him…I was just confused.

I am still processing everything that happened that night and how I was not supposed to be there at all. Yet there I was and there he was. Fate had stepped in and I was staring face to face at the ghost of my present.

I came across an article from Oprah.com titled “Have you Created your Magic List Yet?” It is about writing down 100 qualities and or attributes of your dream man. I have been really reflecting on my past relationships and what specific qualities I would choose. Of course you have the ones that are obvious (loyal, communication, family guy) but that may get you to 20.

I was at an after work happy hour talking with my coworkers / friends and after some lively conversation I wrote down the below on my Note:

I know this one seems simple and yet oddly specific. I thought of this during the conversation as we were specifically discussing Christmas shopping. I think if a man loves Christmas sweaters he may be a little over enthusiastic for me. But if he doesn’t love it but will go along with it because he wants to make me happy… That is the perfect dynamic!

This is the only one I’ve written down. However, my plan is to finish this list by the first of the year then continue to modify it throughout 2018. I don’t really believe this is a magic list. I do believe in the aligning and figuring out what I want and then making decisions to attract that person. By focusing on that goal I am helping to determine the spirit of my future…husband that is 😍

I’m back…

Okay so I officially went on my first date since Jack*. Yay! I’m so proud of myself for getting out there! I wish I could say things went off with a bang, but unfortunately, the BANG happened before I even arrived…

So in the weeks leading up to the date I have been casually swiping. Not a regular practice like before… more when I’m bored. However, lately, I’ve matched and messaged with a few really cute guys.

I had a date planned on Friday night with one of these guys. I actually talked to this guy briefly the few weeks before I started officially dating Jack. Back then, he asked me directly “Am I ready for a relationship?” (In general not with him as we had not met.) I told him all about Jack and that he was the one I wanted a relationship with, so this guy backed off. (Hey I knew what I wanted!)

This was one of the first guys to message me when I got back on the dating sites this round. Unfortunately, I had to cancel our date as my kid was sick on Thursday and most of Friday. We are supposed to reschedule. *fingers crossed*

I also had a date scheduled for Saturday night with another guy. This night my daughter was feeling much better so I was in.

This guy I matched on Bumble and his name is Dale*. He is a good looking single dad that lived close by. He was consistent at messaging and remembered things we texted from one day to another. Seems pretty easy but most guys don’t read the previous conversations or choose not to.

I dropped my daughter off, got all dolled up, and did a Facebook live. Most of my readers are my friends and family on Facebook and have been on this journey with me. I needed some support before I left so I reached out.

Rewatching my video I can’t help but laugh! I made good points but man you can tell I was BEYOND nervous! I actually said nervous 20 times. I quoted my favorite quote from my current favorite author as it has become my mantra..

I finished my video filled with love and support and leave for my date. Still nervous and digging through the butterflies for courage.

I leave early since the roads are really icy. I can feel my car sliding and my orange slip and slide light keeps coming on. Then I slowly approach a hill in my neighborhood.

A few seconds after cresting the hill my tires give out and my orange light is blaring in my face.

I start to pick up speed as I put my foot off and on my break.

I honk my horn repeatedly as there is a cross street and two cars heading my way. I slid through the street and pass the stopped cars.

My car hits a smallish ditch and a small wooden pole. It’s very loud and the neighbors run out of their houses.

I get out of the car and apologize repeatedly. I’m fighting the urge not to cry and can’t think clearly. Then a really good looking man comes out his truck and makes sure I’m okay. I tell him I am and then he begins jokingly teasing me about not wearing my coat. “It’s 28 degrees” he says.

I can tell he is actually concerned about me but my adrenaline is so high I can’t feel the cold. I also don’t remember I have my at winter coat on the passenger seat.

Then an older man from one of the houses helps me get out of the front yard. As he’s telling me directions the cute guy slowly walks away and gets into his truck and drives away. Ugh I am horrible at in person flirting! Plus I wasn’t feeling at my best… Obviously.

I slowly drive the way of the restaurant. Not because I want to still go on the date but it’s the only way to go home and not go up the dreaded hill. I had no idea what to do at that point. I’ve never had an accident where I had to handle the logistics. My brother in law and sister were busy and couldn’t be interrupted so I felt really alone and just a little adulting dumb.

I kept driving and called my date to cancel. I told him I had no idea what to do and that I would need to figure it out. We talked for a minute and I agreed to continue on with the date.My car that night..

I show up to the restaurant right on time. (I told you I left early) Dale is waiting at the hostess station and I can see his back. He turns around and smiles. He is really good looking and his pictures didn’t do him justice. I’m excited!

We then sit down and begin to talk. He’s friendly, can talk about the Browns (major points) and we have a lot in common. However, there were points in the conversation when I realized that he just isn’t the one for me.

A small example was when “No Scrubs” came on the radio in the restaurant. The waiter began to sing and I did too. I didn’t go full out karaoke style but was having fun with it inclusive of a little shoulder shake.

I said “look he knows the words too” at the waiter.

Dale said “yeah everyone does” Then makes this whatever face.

A little about me, I love to sing and dance and really don’t care if someone is watching. If it’s a fun atmosphere then I’ll have go for it. A funeral? Not so much. So it’s a major turnoff when someone legitimately makes a mean face. A small eye roll I enjoy and singing along? 😍😍😍

There were a few other things that came up where I was like yeah no thanks. He will be a great guy for someone else but not me. I paid for myself and we left. Since then, we have had a few texts and I wished him the best of luck!

So what do I do now? Answer: Search everywhere for a hottie in a blue truck… Just kidding!

I’m going to continue to get myself out there. While I did mention Jack a few times on the date it is getting easier and easier not to think about him.

I wanted to leave you with a text that my friend sent me after the accident… I literally laughed out loud when I read it. It sums up this round of dating perfectly!

I’m looking forward to sharing more adventures soon!

It’s not about being funny…

I was in a really confusing time where I needed to move on from Jack but was not ready to date. I chatted about how lost I was with my coworkers / friends. I hadn’t been single and not actively looking to date before. I went directly from divorce to farmersonly in one day.

Dating myself was weird.

I really loved yoga but was looking for something else to grow. My buddy recommend I take a class… At first he said a singing class …

I reminded him of my “Celine style” chops and he quickly course corrected by saying “What about Improv?”

(I think some of his speed in reply was in fear that I may break out into My Heart Will Go On with dance moves and hand motions – obviously.)

Within minutes I found the location of a local class, times and a plan to sign up when I got home. I am by far the funniest person I know (to myself not by other people’s laughter rates), I can think on my feet and while I sometimes get nervous I can push through talking in front of people. It was perfect!

Walking into the door the butterflies in my stomach were mating and my hands are sweaty. It was not nearly as confident as I hoped.

I signed in with the owner (a guy from high school) and sat down front and center ready to bust out butterflies.

After only one class I took away the below lessons. Just note this is my blog, so these are definitely my interpretion of the lessons as I learned I don’t listen well… so feel free to sign up for some classes to learn your own lessonsπŸ˜‰

A key to improv is managing anxiety under pressure – Wow this was huge! I hadn’t even thought of this! I’m supposed to be focused on being funny and yet within minutes.. WHAM!

Anxiety is an issue I have documented here and struggle with a lot. Putting myself in a situation with lights aiming at me, on a stage with judging eyes and having to think quick on my feet… Yea hoping to be a skill I learn.

You have to REALLY listen to people– I’m sorry what did you say?! I am one of the worst listeners. I have literally walked away from someone as they were talking. If I have a to do list… I always forget to add thoughtful listening to it. I do care…I swear.

In improv I have to actively listen. It’s not an option to multi-think. I have no idea what the next person will say and don’t want to be the asshole that ruined a scene by thinking ahead. It will make everyone in the audience lose their vibe and be distracted..awkwardly.

Normally I live for that stuff…Thats where I laugh the hardest. A stand up comedian that bombs?!? πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

So yeah I know the judging faces…

I’m normally one of them.

Your goal is to make the other person look good- This is something I actually try to focus on in life. I try to purposely call out others accomplishments and work.

However in improv, If I become the person trying to outdo everyone its not a scene-its stand up, in a very weird setting, with props.

I learned this lesson loud and clear in my last class. Our assignment was on stage to come up with crazy laws as if one of us were the president. Then the other had to be the Sean Spicer and clean up what was said to make it make sense.

I was able to think pretty quickly as the clean up person. However, when it was my time to make the laws… Ugh..

In a panic I went to what I know… Dating.

“There should be a law where everyone that swipes right on every picture should lose a hand.”

Well the class is composed of a lot of different demographics, many of which I don’t know have online dated or more specifically “Tindered”…

It was now on my poor partner to save the law. On something I don’t think he knew about. As was promised I looked like the jerk.

My other laws? Just as lame and specific… I mean do you think the rest of the room knew who Yo Gotti is..

Crickets…

Improv pushes you to stay in the moment.. Actually in the moment. Not thinking about the past, what will happen in the future but what is happening now.

This is something I strive to achieve in yoga and yet get closer to accomplishing in improv.

This is my greatest struggle and lesson I need to learn right now in my life. I don’t know how many nights I’ve laid awake with what ifs. Early mornings I wake up with worries of what will be. My heart isn’t in board with this break from dating so I have to combat it at the most inconvenient times. Now I am learning a skill of focusing on now.

I had no idea when I signed up for this class it wouldn’t be about laughs, but an actual serious (while fun) skills based life lesson. It’s exactly what I need.

Only 6 more weeks to master that it really is not about being funny…. While being absolutely hilarious!