Friday, January 31, 2014

resting easier

Sometimes when I am sad I need to know I am a good person. I need some sort of external validation to lift my spirits.

I decided to read an email from 2010 from SI where he said I was a wonderful, thoughtful and caring person.  I needed to hear those words because I am struggling with my guilt of not doing enough for ManFriend.  But I know I did enough.  In the 1 1/2 years we were involved I did so much for him and he barely acknowledged it.  Maybe he felt it and maybe he did appreciate it, but I didn't get that feedback regularly.

In the end, he wasn't my responsibility anymore, he broke up with me months before.  And he chose to withhold how sick he was so that means that he wasn't expecting anything from me.  Couple that with that I 'mourned' over the loss of him back in June when our involvement ended.  So, I know my life isn't going to change because he isn't here anymore, that change happened in May & June of last year.

So it took a week, but I am doing better.  I went through the shock (that I missed his death, that he was that sick, etc), the anger (him not telling me he was terminal), denial (where I had to look up his obituary several days later because I wasn't really sure), and now the acceptance.

I know I am a really nice person to those I care about, otherwise I wouldn't be so hurt when they disappointment me.  Maybe the loss of ManFriend was a bit more traumatizing because it was so recent and I never was sure about how he really felt about me, and that is something I struggled with over the last two years.  I have to remember the text he sent me in October, the day after his doctor's visit.  He said, he was thinking about me and seeing the doctor clenched his decision to reach out to me "because you've been there to support me when the times were tough".

Naturally, in my busy mind, I start to wonder about SI, the guy I know without a doubt that I loved.  If I found out he died, would I be so upset?  Probably not.  That has been over a long time, but at the same time, I really did love that guy so I am sure some of those memories would pop up...but then again, the email I referred to above told me, in the end, he knew how special I was...and I guess that is all I need to know, that I impacted someone's life for a period of time and they appreciated it.  Isn't that one of the most ultimate compliments?

So, the one time ManFriend told me I was his angel plus me helping him so much when he needed it, I know I impacted his life whether he said it or not.  I can now rest easier and get back to my life.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

illuminating presence

I have a scale in my bedroom, been there for about 3 - 4 years. I use it regularly, you just step on it and it illuminates with your weight.  It has always worked perfectly.

Last night I got into bed about 9:40.  My eyes closed and in a few minuets I was on my way to sleep.  Then there was light, so bright it made my eyes open.  I keep my phone on silent, so I wondered if it was ringing, but that has never caught my eye before.

Then I realized it was the scale.

There was no reason for the scale to go on.  It never has before.  And it stayed illuminated for about a minute.

I said "ManFriend, is that you?" and then I proceeded to chat with him a little bit.  I know that sounds crazy, but of all times for it to go off, it happens to be when I am grieving?

I like to think he stopped by to say goodbye to me.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

the thrill of certification

I've been in my profession about 8 years and figured it was time to try to get certified.  Over the last five years I took a handful of short online courses in marketing, financial management, customer service, etc.  The courses were fairly easy, and as long as you answered at least two discussion questions and completed the project, you got the credit.  Online courses weren't enough, I also had to have a minimum number of hours of webinars or live courses.  Once I completed those 100 hour minimums, I was ready to sign up for the certification exam.

It was really hard to get back into that routine of studying again.  I signed up for an online study group, which helped focus my reading.  First I started with reading the books on the train to and from work.  I also made about 300 flash cards.  Reviewing for 80 minutes 5 days a week didn't seem like enough (shockingly) so I had to include 1-2 hours after work at least twice a week plus a few hours on the weekends.  Of course there were some weeks where I couldn't keep up with this routine.  It was a lot of work.  There weren't many practice tests available, but I did have about 3 in my possession, so I took them throughout the 3 months I studied and turned many of them into flashcards too.  All the exams I finished early, I wasn't averaging 1.2 minutes per question and I was only averaging about a 60%.

3 months of studying.  At the end, I was getting burnt out. I didn't want to study anymore. I wanted my 'life' back (which is silly because I don't do much) and I wanted to read for fun again.  But I pushed through to the end. I took the day off before the exam to review areas I was less confident about...but for the most part, by this time, I thought I was ready to go.

The morning of the exam, I went into the city early and walked around for about 40 minutes for fresh air and to get my blood flowing.  I still got to the site early, mostly because it was raining and I didn't have an umbrella or a hood.

There were only three candidates in the room.  They provided the pencils and the water.  No snacks at all during the 4 hour, 200 question exam.

At the appropriate time, I opened my exam book and started.  Slowly, I started to become frustrated with the questions of the exam.   I started skipping the ones I had no idea what the answer was, and I'd go back at the end, I had to remember to leave enough time.  At three and a half hours, I counted how many questions I had no clue what the answer was...30.  Yikes.  30 questions I would be mostly guessing plus other questions I got wrong.  I was getting frustrated.  I didn't like where this was headed.  Time was ticking.  I realized I was spending so much time re-reading some of the poorly worded questions and re-reading questions because I was still trying to figure it out.

At exactly four hours I put my pencil down.  Not because I was done and confident with my responses, but because I didn't have any time left.  I answered all the questions, but there were a few I would have liked to think about a little more.  Oh well.

Then I had to wait 8 weeks for the results.

When the sealed, confidential envelope arrived at work, I had this sinking feeling that I failed and would try to re-take the exam one more time.  I started to dread giving up my 'fun' reading again.  But I also remembered how much time and work I put into it.  No matter what would happen, I knew that I learned so much, and there is always more to learn.  I looked up and thought of ManFriend and his encouragement about certification, I knew he'd want to see me pass.

I debated if I should open the envelope at work or wait until I got home.  But it was staring at me.  I am really bad with will-power.  I had to get it over with. I needed to know.

I read the letter.  It didn't make any sense.  I read it again.  Wait, what was that first word? Congratulations.?  Holy shit. I did it. I passed.  I started shaking.  I went into my bosses office with the letter in my hand and I said "I did it, I passed".  and his smile was so huge and congratulated me, stating that he was confident I was going to pass.   You could tell how proud of me he was.

I took a picture of the letter and I mass texted many of the people that knew about the examination and the time I put into it.  Everyone was thrilled.

It was a very labor intensive (and expensive) process.  But rewarding.  I feel so accomplished.  And I really did learn so much over the last few years.

Now I just need to keep it up the credential and recertify every few years.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Predictions from September. Moona.

I realized I never told you about my psychic reading from September.  I went to see Moona in Rye (I had a Groupon, but she also has a few specials on her website).  I am not going to chat about the whole reading...just the parts that have passed.

She said in December I would have an inside personal change.  My outlook will change for the better.  Like an epiphany.  Some sort of situation needs to change.
      --> I think this is some of the issues I've been dancing around and not telling you all about.  I can't say I have had clarity in that area, and it wasn't as if December was the first time I was thinking about it.  This could go a few ways.  A little too vague for all my 'issues' right now.

January 13/14 she said to be careful of loss or something being stolen in or around my home.  Connection to the home.  I would not be in any physical harm or danger.  It will be gone for good, will not recover it.
     -->  Since my apartment is for sale, I kept wondering if this would result from that.  But no, I think she was referring to the death of ManFriend.  He died on the 12th and he is connected to my apartment because he lived here for a year and a half.

In love, she said I felt like a hanged man.  Not sure what direction to take, and not to make any decisions, but just let it happen naturally.
     --> YES, I keep writing things along those lines.

She stated I was at a plateau in my life.  time lapses and I am in the same position.  With that I am more hesitant to make decisions than in the past.  That I am searching for something, but I am not sure what it is.
     --> YES, that is exactly what I've been blogging about for years!

I've lost my mojo.  Lost the ability to create balance.  I need to fix it now because obstacles will get stronger.
     -->  Yes, hence the depression and confusion.

I have a lot of bad, old energy surrounding me.  mental frustrations unusually fed up and disgusted with everyone.
     --> really? I hoped that went away. I guess I will always carry around some of that bad energy :(

And my money will fluctuate quite a bit for another year, then it should level off.
     --> I am not surprised. Money stresses me out.  I am hoping to get more financially secure.

Overall, I was happy with the reading.  I felt like the way she described me was practically dead-on...and the best part was that she told me as soon as I sat down that I wasn't allowed to interrupt her. Which means she wasn't asking me questions or looking for 'clues'.

Monday, January 27, 2014

doesn't care about me

I think the thing with Mountain Man needs to be over.

If there is one thing I learned from ManFriend, it was that I didn't want love to be difficult; I didn't want to feel like a guy didn't like me even though they claim they do; and I didn't want to put way more into a relationship than I was getting.  I want a guy to pay attention to me and be connected physically and emotionally.

After New Years, I cut back on chatting with him because I didn't really feel like he was into me during our last visit.  Fine.  I said to myself and to him in November that I am not going to convince or persuade someone to like me.  I am a good catch and if someone doesn't want to be with me, I am not going to pressure them and I am certainly not going to wait around for them.  I learned that from SI.

But he'd message me every few days, of course I'd respond.  And it was always nice, I enjoy chatting with him.  It makes me smile.

But last week, he was the first person I told about the death of ManFriend and I asked him to tell me a joke or something funny to cheer me up.  He couldn't think of anything.  We chatted a little bit over the weekend and we talked about something stressful at his job and I followed up with him a few times - to see if he was OK and whatnot.  But he never followed up with me about how I was feeling.

Alas, he doesn't care about me.

I can't say I am surprised.  But I am a little disappointed.  I don't met guys often or easily and I certainly don't find ones I can have really great conversations with.

So what now?  I could just tell him that I am done chatting with him....but if anything we've been more friends than anything else, is there a point to stop talking altogether?  It isn't like he lives close and we'd hang out and I'd be obsessing over if anything will happen.  I'll keep chatting, on his terms and eventually a few days in between conversations will turn into a few weeks into months and then fade altogether.

Of course I'll miss chatting with Mountain Man.  After the end of ManFriend, I met him and I realized there are still some nice guys out there.  I started to enjoy getting to know someone again and it reminded me that I don't want to lose hope on that what if of meeting someone else.  But, I want a guy who is interested in me and what I am going through.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

there isn't a next time

In the last few years, I realized how much guilt I carry around.  I know I am a really nice person most of the time, but after things happen, I carry the extra burden of wondering if I really did enough.  I torture myself over these kinds of thoughts.

In this post I am just going to focus on my feelings of guilt with those that have died.   Growing up, I was lucky, the only people I knew that passed away were great aunts/uncles and people my parents knew. Perhaps it was that kind of non-exposure that is doing me in now.  

My grandmother broke her hip for a second time and was in the hospital.  My mother suggested I go and visit with her, and I didn't, I wanted to hang out with my at the time boyfriend, SI.  I could see my grandmother another day.  But she died the next day from a blood clot, unexpected.  I didn't visit with her and for a long time I felt guilty about choosing a (temporary) guy over my grandmother.  

My godfather was ill, and my mother suggested I send a card.  She knew he was terminal but did not tell me.  I felt so bad at his wake/funeral because I felt like I was the only one that had no idea he was dying.  I should have said more in my card.

When I saw an old high school friend Kevin a little over a year ago, I knew he didn't seem OK.  But since we didn't really talk for a few years, was it my place to ask questions?  We kept it light and he seemed happy enough but I walked away worried about him.  A month later he took his life.  I should have asked those hard questions...I should have done something.  I don't think anything I could have said or done would have made a difference (especially because his siblings and family knew more and couldn't help him)...but maybe I would have felt better about myself.  

And now with ManFriend/Neil...I should have read between the lines.  I should have insisted for the truth.  By the time I realized he wasn't as good as he was letting on...and by the time I got around to following up, he had already died.  I know he wasn't my responsibility, but we had a strong/weird relationship and I did care about him a lot.  Our relationship ended May/June of last year and I grieved over the loss of that friendship at that time, it still hurts now.  I should have been a little nicer a few months ago, but I was so hurt and I didn't see the big picture because he wasn't honest about how sick he was.  

I keep telling myself that I need to be more aggressive when I am in these situations, but I've failed every time. I chicken out or I think next time I talk to them, I will ask those harder questions or I'll go visit.  next time.  but then there isn't a next time.  and I am left with guilt.

Friday, January 24, 2014

dead mail

After Kevin's death, I noticed that his siblings would continue to write on his Facebook wall.  Their postings always bringing tears to my eyes.  I thought it was great that they are trying to understand what happened and why and hoping for some sort of closure.

This morning I sent ManFriend an email.

I knew sugar and cancer aren't friends, but yet, I made you cookies anyway, you always liked when I baked for you. I didn't know what to do after we spoke on the 3rd, but it didn't sound good...i just didn't realize how bad it was.  you made it sound like you'd be around longer, you said I can visit in a few weeks.  But it happened only 9 days later.  I was too late.

Neil, you were so special to me.  I don't want what happened in June to taint everything else.  I hope you knew how much I cared about you.  You were only the second guy I loved.  You will always have a special place in my heart.

You taught me about golf, football and passion.  We kissed so amazing together - it was addicting.  Your face alone was able to cheer me up after a tough day.  I am so glad that fate brought us together.  i think we really helped each other during some of our dark days.  I did everything i could think of to cheer you up, and I always felt like it was never enough.

I understand why you didn't tell me, or anyone, how sick you were.  I can't imagine having those conversations with people.  Dealing with not only your demise but their grief too.  I should have told you that night how important you were to me; but I think you knew.

Your life on Earth was too short, and I hope you look down from heaven and realize how many people's lives you impacted.  Our sadness will fade but we will remember the memories.

love, always,

It made me feel better. I sent it with the subject line 'goodbye.'  If his family is accessing his email, they might think I am crazy, but maybe they understand that everyone wants to say their goodbyes. Actually I read an article many months ago about a site for that purpose.  I get it.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

A farewell to Man Friend

When I was on a 9 hour layover on January 3rd I messaged ManFriend to see how he was and how his treatment was going.  He recently had a 16 day hospital stay, lost 30 pounds and was on medical leave.  It didn't sound good.  I suggested a cheer up visit but he said to wait a few weeks so he could get stronger.  This past weekend I decided to bake some cookies even though I knew he probably wouldn't have been able to eat them; but what else do you give to someone who is so sick?

But it turns out he knew he wasn't getting stronger. Upon the delivery of my cookies, his mother called me.  He passed away 12 days ago.

Most of you read a lot about ManFriend over the course of two and a half years...we had a strange relationship...but one that really affected me.

We came into each others lives at a time when we were both so sad and depressed for different reasons. For me, he was a very late rebound.  time for me to allow another man back into my life that I can help and love and hate and spend time with.  For him, I think I was someone to hang out with, while he was very much to himself, we spent quiet times doing nothing together and we kissed so amazingly together.

I knew he wasn't 'the one' but his death still saddens me.  He was only 43.  I thought I'd talk to him again, and I know he knew how much I cared for him at one point in my life...but I'd rather have re-told him that than thinking I hated him for how he acted last June.  But I understand why he elected not to tell people; can you imagine having that whole - I am dying this is our last conversation - over and over again.  When you are so sick, that is a lot of energy and he is hard on both people.

So, Neil...thank you for the memories and the lessons I learned from you.  You will have a special place in my heart, always.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

so much on my mind

Grrrr.  I have so much on my mind.  I don't know where to begin to start telling you about it.   I am not sleeping so well and I've been crying a bit.  I hate when my life is so uncertain.  And I think this past week I realized...that I really might end up alone after all.  I know I've blogged about that before and me saying it would be OK, and it would...but it is still really sad when one realizes they are facing the rest of their lives alone.

Monday, January 20, 2014

2013-14 Fantasy Football Winner

Back in August, I was asked if I wanted to join a fantasy football league. (click here)  Without hesitation, I said yes...I like a little friendly competition and it was with family, so it wasn't major stress or big money.   The only problem I had was that I knew virtually nothing about football.

I spent time researching players, teams, strategies for the draft and solicited help from Mountain Man when I barely knew him, offering some sort of incentive for his advice.

Fantasy football took up a bit of time. Sunday and Monday were spent watching football games.  Tuesday morning were emails to Mountain Man with recaps on how we did.  Tuesday morning through Thursday evening, I was thinking about who to play and who I might want to add/drop.  And Saturday evening was another email to Mountain Man for advice, mostly on defense, but about match-ups too.  Some weekend car rides, I would put on sports radio to listen to hear their advice and mid week I would try to keep up with player injuries.

Sure, I brainstormed with Mountain Man about my team, but the draft I picked on my own and I didn't always listen to his advice.  It was great to have someone I can ask questions to so I can manage the team better.  By mid-season, he went from calling the team my team to our team.

In the end, I won both the highest overall score with 1976 points (second highest points was 1625) and my team won our Superbowl.

For the most part, my main players were:
Quarterback - Drew Brees
Running Backs - Jamaal Charles, Eddie Lacy, Knowshon Moreno, Giovanni Bernard
Wide Receivers - Antonio Brown, Brandon Marshall,
Tight Ends - Julius Thomas, Rob Gronkowski, Jordan Cameron
Kicker - Steven Hauschka, Dan Bailey
Defense - Kansas City

The trophy will be passed around in the coming years to whoever wins the Superbowl along with bragging rights for a year.

It was  lot of fun, while I am looking forward to playing again next year, I did so well this year, that going into it knowing the odds again are slim.  And to be doing it 100% solo is a little nerve racking.

Friday, January 10, 2014

shutting my mouth

My family is very close, we know a lot about each other and spend a lot of time hanging out and talking. It is so wonderful to have people that I can do that with.

However, like anything there is good and bad with everything.

After the SI fiasco, my family became very concerned about me and did everything they could to make me feel better and fit into their lives.  They took pity on me and tried to shelter me from further pain...all so selfless, and I needed them to mend.

But they couldn't bear to see me get hurt again.  I started to not tell them some of the lies SI was telling me about still getting back together and having our future because how many times could I say that - it was like I was the boy who cried wolf.  They knew it was never going to happen, I didn't.  I stopped telling them because I didn't want to hear them tell me things I didn't want to hear.

If I told my family I had a date, they'd all want to know the details.  And if I said the guy was OK, they were practically planning a wedding.  They were overly hopeful that the next guy to come into the picture was going to be the one.  They wanted that so badly for me; to be happy.  But just because a date wasn't bad doesn't mean it is going to go anywhere.

Unfortunately all my family is married - they don't understand the fundamentals of dating and how complicated it is and how bad the dating pool is.  They don't necessarily understand that just because two people are single that they don't mesh.

When I was hanging out with ManFriend I decided not to tell my family too much. My sisters knew more than my parents, but I didn't want them up my butt all the time asking me questions.  I felt bad about it and I know it isn't right to be talking to someone for a year and a half and not meet your family when you are so close, but I knew he wasn't the what was the point?

But I made the mistake of telling my family about Mountain Man back in August after I met him, but I was so happy.  They are curious about what is happening and ask a lot of questions.  They don't get that even though it has been 5 months - that we aren't dating exclusively....I am not even sure if we are dating.  It is complicated. And I come back from my recent trip and they all want to know how it was and what happened...I am not sure what they were hoping for - I still barely know the man. One nephew told my parents I was engaged....and my mother believed it...that is the kind of fantasy world they live in.  I know they want me to be happy and get I even need to finish this thought?

It was my mistake to tell them about the guy...but I figured I kept so many secrets about other guys in the past, maybe that wasn't the right option...but keeping them in the vague loop isn't good either.  Both parties really need to understand that them asking so many questions and getting their hopes up isn't good for me because they will be disappointed in the end...and I need to figure out better boundaries on what I should share and not.

Just another reason why I need to separate myself from my family a little bit more.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

still not sure

I like to think I am a somewhat smart woman, but I can't read Mountain Man and that frustrates me.

I am sure you are like - just talk to him and find out...and sure we've been chatting for 5 months, but our last encounter was really like date number 4...and isn't that about the time you start to wonder if there is potential?  And isn't that too soon to ask what is going on.  Obliviously we find each other interesting because we chat regularly.

I guess my thought is that I think he makes a fantastic companion.  I love that he is outdoorsy, smart and so different than people I am used to.  I love that in my short visit we played trivia pursuit and completed a puzzle.  I loved that we snuggled on the couch to watch tv/movie and I love that we like the same kinds of foods and have very similar thoughts on those controversial topics.

However, we lack passion.  I know I blogged about passion two years ago; something I figured I needed.  I am sure it could be there...since our situation is different it could be not wanting to show it because we still don't know where/if anything it is going to is not an ideal situation.  It could be that he felt bad that I spent a lot of money to go out there that he doesn't know if he can reciprocate his feelings enough, a fear once mentioned.  Or it can be simply he isn't attracted to me in a physical way.

And unfortunately I am anxious.  I have spent 7 years waiting. Waiting to find a man to date, that could love me, treat me with respect and someone I could have a future with.  I don't know if he is that person or not.

Monday, January 6, 2014

a try at cross country skiing

Mountain Man is an outdoorsy kind of guy, one thing I am attracted to.  He took me cross country skiing - something I hadn't done before.  He helped dress me in warm clothing by supplementing items I did not pack/have, rented me skis, boots and poles, and then drove me up to the area where we'd spend a few hours.

He gave me a lesson on how to click my boots into place, how to move my legs, the purpose of the poles, and strategies for going up and down....because of course the land is not completely flat.

I was off to a good start.  My first obstacle was just 5 minutes in when we had to cross a small bridge that didn't have banisters...I barely knew how to move; I was fearful that the slight drop into the bridge would have me go into the river, but I made it over....and then I fell.

Mountain Man was so sweet and got down to the ground to show me how I was supposed to get up.

After I was comfortable enough to move, I told Mountain Man to go at his own pace and just wait for me every once in a while - I didn't want him to have a horrible time just because I was slow.

After a while, I became more comfortable with the activity and started to enjoy the dips in elevation....but not the inclines!  But I was still sort of tired and was unable to go at a faster pace.

The place we went was quiet and serene...just want I needed.  It was so peaceful and the fresh air felt so different in my lungs.

We skied for about 3.5 miles a good length for a first-timer.  I wasn't sore or in pain, but I did feel an ache on my right side.  I was also sweating like crazy, even with it being only 15 degrees.

In total I fell 5 times...always after a hard part, I guess when I relaxed.  The last fall was feet from the parking lot - and hurt the most.

After we got back to his place, he taught me how to make a fire, then we ate some cheese cake, opened a bottle of champagne, ordered pizza for delivery and had another bottle of champagne.

It was a great day.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

starting the year off on a better note

What is the most extreme thing you've done for New Years?

I hate the holiday.  Perhaps it stems from when I dated SI, and he'd leave me alone and crying so he can go be with his mistress...and all the New Year's after that more or less sucked because I was alone on a night that is known for kissing at midnight.  So I'd go to a matinee, order Chinese food, work on a puzzle and go to bed by 10 pm.

Then I spent 2012 and 2013 with ManFriend, so I wasn't alone, and I did kiss someone at midnight.

This year I decided to fly out to see Mountain Man.  I have no idea what is going on with 'us'.  Sure we email and text 6 of 7 days and we've had some virtual dates...but is anything there?  I hoped to find out.

New Year's eve was a long day.  I woke up really early, worked 1/2 a day then spent about 10 hours traveling.  Instead of watching the ball drop, we watched a movie cuddled on the couch, I did make it to midnight in the new time zone and we wished each other a happy new year after the movie was over.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

2014 Goals

This year my goals include:

  • learn/try to compost
  • read at least 10 non-fiction books
  • become a better friend....or make a friend
  • save more, lower debt
  • enjoy a more balanced life
  • send written notes (thank you's, birthdays, congratulations, etc)
  • be more tolerant of other people
and I'd really like to sell stuff I don't use/need...but that is a lot of work...and I am just not sure if I have it in me to do that this year.  Garage sales are great, but why should I sell a coach bag I used once for $5? I shouldn't.  People go to garage sales thinking they can get anything everything super cheap ($5-$10) sometimes the stuff is good stuff.

I'd also like to be more productive.  Not just with work, but my free time.  I feel like I waste a lot of time away, and I'd like to see that time being put to better use.

And without needing to list it above, selling my apartment this year would make me really happy.  I need this to happen, I hate living here.  But the apartment is listed with an agent, and the price is below market (and will probably be reduced again) and therefore sort of out of my control regarding selling.

Finally, I'd love to plan a trip...but I am not sure if I am going to have the money for the kind of trip I'd like to plan.  This year I will have some big this is not a priority.