Growing

   When I was young, I had an aunt whose home was dripping with beautiful plants. It was the 70’s, so they were housed in beautiful hand thrown pots and hung in macrame plant hangers. I have always wanted to be a person who could grow lovely plants. My mother has plants- even complicated plants like violets. My aunt has amazingly long and lush plants. I should be able to grow plants, from a genetic standpoint, but I never have. I have tried on several occasions over my lifetime. I have read, talked to people, and visited nurseries. I have never been successful at growing a plant….until now.
   A couple of months ago, I bought two plants. One was a hanging Pothos, and the other was a lush Boston Fern. The Fern was gorgeous, but it was not a good fit for me from the start. I first tried it in the bathroom, since ferns are supposed to like humidity. My bathroom is tiny, and I had to keep the door closed to keep my cat from eating the Fern. It was summer, and the bathroom gets rather warm. It was too warm for the Fern and it began to look not so good. I moved the Fern to the top of the bookcase in the living room. It was not getting enough humidity, didn’t like that it’s leaves were touching everything, and I couldn’t seem to get the watering right. I began to use more plant food to combat the poor conditions for this plant, and ended up over- fertilizing it. Once I stopped killing it with kindness, it began to have a mold problem. In the end, I put it out in the sun to shrivel up and die. I know when I need to give up. This plant was just not a good fit for my desert climate and novice ability.
   The other plant, I repotted and put in a hanging plant holder over my bed. My place gets great filtered light throughout, and I enjoy seeing the greenery when I am lying in bed. It did take me a while to figure out how to water this plant correctly, but I have learned to feel the soil and only water when it needs it but to water more deeply. This plant was also subject to over fertilizing, but it has bounced back amazingly well. I see lots of new little leaves, and I was noticing today how much it has grown in the last couple of weeks. This plant was not the flashiest or most interesting looking at the nursery, but it is the one which was best suited to my climate and care abilities. It is growing well and makes me very happy. It enriches my life by helping to clean our air, and the cat doesn’t eat it. Pothos was the perfect fit plant for me. Now I just need a man who is like a Pothos.

Back Again

Despite the fact that I had a dinner date last weekend, and he has already asked me out again for this weekend, I went back to OK Cupid and made a new profile. Masochistic much?
Lots of familiar faces, from last time I was there and also from other sites. Popcorn is there…. oh yes, he is! I did run across a familiar face that I was happy to see. I met him shortly after my separation. We had one amazing night together, and that’s it. Nice guy…great kisser. I’ve always kind of wondered what happened to him.
   Most of the messages I’ve gotten so far are the usual – just a hi or how are you ( with or without the condescending nicknames) or something sexual. Online dating is such a nightmare most of the time. I have found a couple of interesting profiles, but no connection so far.

Heartbroken

   The last week or so, my ex-boyfriend has been acting weird. He will text me, and when I text him back he won’t answer. Or when I text him he answers right away the first time and then not at all. This morning I texted him that I feel like he hates me. Yes, I was fishing, and I should have worded it different. Don’t judge.
   He said far from it, which made me happy, but then a thought occurred….historically, he does this when he’s interested in someone new, so I asked. No answer for hours. So I added that when he doesn’t answer, that’s how I feel ( like he hates me).
   I woke up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and saw his answer…it broke my heart.
Yes, he is talking to someone knew. He feels the line between us is blurry, and that I crossed some boundary by asking about it. WTF if we are friends, and you change the way that you treat me, I can’t ask about it?? I honestly think it’s his guilt that caused the reaction, but he sounded angry and said he’d talk to me in a few days. We dated for nine months and he never got mad at me.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one, Dear Readers!

Go With Your Gut

   I believe in following my gut instincts about humans. I was also raised to be polite. Sometimes, these two things are at odds. The other day, I received a message on a dating site from a cute but way too young man. I must have been bored, because I answered him. In his next message he called me ‘cutie’. This is sort of a pet peeve of mine, and I don’t answer any first message that contains a compliment of my physical self, or a nickname having to do with my sexuality (cutie, beautiful, pretty, sexy, gorgeous, etc). I have found that any man who does this is not worth talking to, anyway.
   I had already answered this man’s first message, and instead of blocking him at this point like I should have, I decided to be polite. I let him know how I felt about his word choice and he was surprised by my reaction. Really? This is 2015. A woman is more than her physical shell. You don’t get to make comments about my face/hair/body before you even meet me.
    We went on to have a discussion about politics and the country, and prejudices. When I asked him if he understood now why his comment was demeaning he said not really, but he was willing to learn. Again, I should have blocked him. Over the next day he kept sending messages asking me what I was doing. He seemed very needy and I was busy. That night he asked when he could fit into my busy schedule. I asked him for clarification of what he wanted. He said he wanted to meet me, take me out and get to know me. I didn’t even know this guy’s name or anything about him. I told him that I was not ready for that yet, and he tried to bully me into saying yes.
   Seriously?! Do you think that disregarding a woman’s feelings is the way to her heart? I should have listened to my gut from the beginning on this one.

Good Luck

   When it comes to dating, there are certain catch phrases that you learn to recognize. The most harsh and cruel of these phrases is “Good Luck”. It sounds like a nice thing to say. It seems well meaning and courteous.
   In the dating world, ” Good Luck” is what you hear when the other interested party is dismissing you. “Good Luck” is akin to ‘Thanks for your application, we’ve decided to go with someone else’. I’ve been ‘Good Luck’ed for being too far away, too heavy, and who not being a career woman.
   Most recently, I was ‘Good Luck’ed because I called a man out on his shit. We were both going out of town for the weekend to the same area. We agreed to meet up while there, but never made specific plans. I texted him a few times over the course of the weekend, but he never responded ( even though I saw him online at the dating site). Finally, I saw him online at the dating site again and sent him a message there. In his profile he complained that nobody really wanted to meet. I told him that was ironic. He sent back a message that his son had broken his foot and he had been out of town in another location all weekend.
Bullshit
If that were the case, you could send a quick text, we all know it doesn’t take long. Be respectful and courteous with other people’s time and feelings, just as you want them to be with you.

I Didn’t get it from my Mother

   As long as I can remember, I have been interested in interior design. When I was 10, I redecorated my bedroom in a celestial theme. We bought wallpaper that had small stars in primary colors scattered on a white background. I spray painted my old dresser in a light blue, and replaced the old knobs with clear glass orbs. My mom made me a quilt of stars that matched the wallpaper, and I displayed my Astronaut Cabbage Patch Kid prominently. I re-decorated my bedroom every couple of years growing up, and my DIY ingenuity always baffled my mom.
   My mother was creative, and crafty. She sewed, decorated cakes, made macrame pot hangers, knit, crocheted, and did needlework. You would think that decorating would be a natural extension. For her, it was not.
   Maybe it was because she grew up in cramped city apartments, but the art of laying out furniture in a room was beyond her scope. Our house was the typical single story ranch of our neighborhood. I had been in half a dozen of our neighbors houses- similar layouts but arranged much more conveniently. Our house had the added bonus of a family room addition.
    At that time, the only other houses I had seen with both a living and family room had set the living room up as a formal space. Ours was a good sized living room open to the small dining room. It had a nice, big window and a fireplace that had been converted from wood to gas. All of my neighbors settled a couch under the window.
   Not my mom. She shoved the scratchy second hand sofa against the wall, so far away from the fireplace that it couldn’t be enjoyed. There was no coffee table opposite it, or armchairs to flank it. Sofa shoved against one wall, bookshelf shoved against another, random chairs in the opposite corners, too far from the couch to make eye contact much less carry on a conversation.
   I always knew that I had a talent for arranging furniture that my mother did not have. What I didn’t understand was why she did not ask me for help. Surely she must realize that there are other places to put furniture than against walls?
   The family room is just as bad as the living room, in all of its incarnations. At this point, I don’t think my mother considers the fact that anyone will ever be in the house besides them. She told me that my dad was concerned about having furniture under the air conditioning unit, which I didn’t quite understand. That a/c unit has been there for years and it has never been an issue. So, they decided to move the family room furniture. The family room is a large room- three times the size of my own living room ( in which I fit a good sized TV on a long buffet, a bookcase, a desk and chair, entryway cabinet, two small side chairs, a square coffee table, and a loveseat). The family room has been mostly unused space for years- the TV on a small stand, two recliners shoved into opposite corners ( each with a side table), and an old futon against the wall.
   As you can imagine, the futon is the only place for guests to sit. When I stay with them for work ( which is a regular occurrence), this is where I watch TV with them in the evenings. My mother informed me today that they put the TV into the corner and their recliners under the window. They got rid of the futon, because it had nowhere to go. She does not believe in free standing furniture.
   My sister invited us to meet her and her fiancee at mom and dad’s this weekend to celebrate her birthday. There will be four extra people in the house. We will have to stand in the kitchen because there is now nowhere to sit, the living room sofa being long gone. We will be staying overnight, and now my daughter has nowhere to sleep. She will have to sleep on the floor or crowd into the double bed with me. Thanks mom, for making your home as unwelcoming as possible for us. I always knew that I didn’t get my design sense from you.

Connecting verses Checking Boxes

   In the world of dating in your 40’s (and I would imagine other age ranges), you will meet people with all different agendas. Some of these agendas come into play pretty quickly, like those looking just for casual sex or fetish play. Others will take a little longer to surface. The one agenda that I see again and again that frustrates me to no end is the Box Checker.
   This guy tells himself ( and you) that he is looking for a serious relationship. The reality is more like he is looking for a reason not to get into a serious relationship with each woman he talks to. He thinks he has upstanding ‘morals’, like not talking to more than one woman at a time, (which he will also make you feel compelled to comply with), and “being a gentleman” whatever that means.
   Conversation with the Box Checker may start out casual enough, but soon you can tell that he’s asking questions with the intent of culling the herd. At first it’s stressful….which answer is the right one?! Then it’s funny, because seriously? These are the questions he uses to determine if you’re “the one”?! Then it just becomes annoying. Rather than getting to know you at all, he’s asking pointed questions to see if he can rule you out. Which one of his ‘requirements’ will you not pass? He will be quick to judge if you ever make it past the messaging to an in person meeting, and there’s almost no way that you will get past a first date. This guy is looking for a creature that does not exist, and when he doesn’t find her he can blame all of the sub-par women that he did meet for not measuring up.
Good luck, Box Checker. While you were staring down, checking off boxes, you missed your dream girl walking by. But you wouldn’t even have known because she isn’t who you thought she was.