Summer Lovin’

“Summer loving had me a blast…Summer loving happened so fast…”grease_l-4

John Travolta was never so wrong.

Summer used to be the time for first dates, flings, blossoming romance and at least a few months of ‘getting to know you’ dates, dinners, hikes and smooches. Long days, hours of sun and defrosted loins seemed to swarm the city and offer us singletons new hope. It was, in short, a blast.

But lately summer just seems to bring out the hermits, the hostile divorcees and the downright strange. And it’s not just me who has noticed the shitshow that summer dating has become. My single girlfriends are all experiencing a summer of strangeness; flakes, fuck-boys and stage five clingers.

To those happily partnered, let me explain.

Flakes: These charmers jump in, express interest in meeting you then once you accept, just disappear. Having gotten over the hurdle of getting a date.. they just don’t seem to want to make it happen. Flakes fade out faster than your iPhone battery but with far less notice.  The consensus is that flakes don’t actually want to date. They just like the positive thrill of flirting, finding evidence of their attractiveness or creating a ‘black book’ that they’ll never open.  I presume most flakes are already attached, drunk texting or suddenly find me hideous, but mainly I assume they’re just rude.

“John” told me how amazing I was, asked for my phone number , texted me about how he’d love to meet me and how much fun we would have. I finally agreed to a date and then I never heard from him again. Multiple by 20 and that was June.

Fuckboys: Self explanatory really. Guys who are “down for whatever” as long as whatever means sex, straight up, no strings and nothing else. Usually accompanied by a ‘not looking for anything serious, but you never know’, these guys offer up the potential for something in exchange for some humpty.. followed by yawning silence. Where the fuckboy excels is popping up 4, 6, 12 months later, to apologize, seduce and repeat. Great if you just want to get laid, but don’t wait around for a second date; he’s already on his, and it’s not with you.

“Chris” disappeared for a year after our first “date”. He reappeared full of apologies to schedule a “real date” (you know with food and conversation), which I finally agreed to despite misgivings. He left the house after some humpty and then disappeared for 2 years. I headed to therapy with some serious questions over my appeal. Cue year 4, and Chris reappeared proclaiming love. Not surprising, 3 weeks later, he apparently died because I’ve never heard or seen him since. My first, and last, fuckboy.

Stage Five Clingers: After 5 years of dating, I really thought a clinger might be nice. You know, someone who actually wanted to see me. Someone who planned dates, called all the time and seemed to have endless time for me. WARNING- this may be a Stage Five clinger in disguise as ‘normal guy who just thinks I’m awesome’. Be aware, these folks walk right up to the edge of claustrophobic and fall headfirst into stalker territory veeeeery fast.  Expect Facebook, LinkedIn, Insta stalking, back to back texts asking why you’re not responding and then hear about “your” plans for the weekend. All in the first month.

“Bob” was an ok first date and mellowed into a charming second date. I gotta admit, I was sorta excited. Sure, the selfies, morning, noon and night were a little intense, but hey, he was a ‘communicative guy’. But when he started planning “our summer” after our 4th date, and started talkng about ‘believing in me’ and I realized I had a Stage Five Clinger. There’s nice and eager.. and then there’s just.too.much.  After I broke it off, he left a rose on my doorstep and continued to text me support. I put 911 on speed-dial.

And I’m suing John Travolta.

The summer bucket list of a 40-something

  • Research ways to make stay-cation feel more like vacation instead of time to check up on Sand,spade and bucketfriends overseas trips on Facebook.
  • Buy book on personal style. Find new style for 40-ish woman that works for office and home, is smart,  classic and high quality but also funky, on trend and cool. Also slimming. Must not look like a tart. Remember to buy new yoga pants.
  • Find new sun screen. Research chemicals don’t want in it (they seem to keep changing) . Also high protection (45? 50? 100?) but must let enough sun through to get rid of blue/grey leg color. Consider if can ‘ombre’ sunscreen? (white face, tanned legs). Paintbrush?
  • Diet? Feels bit low classy to go on diet for bikini/shorts wearing. Look at Goop and see if ‘wellness’ program will drive weight loss. Cut down wine to just weekends. And Fridays.
  • Sign up for Hinge, Bumble, Tinder, Plenty of Fish and whatever the kids are using. Wonder if need to use actual age? If not, what acceptable age differential?
  • Ask Lisa to take new photos for dating profile. Research ‘photos most likely to result in Likes’.
  • Go to art museum and other cultural events. Enrich mind and explore the city. Also, find out about singles nights.
  • Buy comfortable sandals that don’t make feet sweat, look cute with dresses and don’t look like something my mother would make me. wear in 1978.  NOTE – wedges are ‘basic’.
  • Check am using ‘basic’ correctly. Also ‘bae’ and ‘high key’. JOMO?
  • Figure out how to retweet. Follow more interesting people. George Takai? RoguePOTUSstaff? Unfollow business leaders I followed when trying to find new job.
  • Start watching Game of Thrones. Figure out who Jon Snow character is.
  • Renew New Yorker subscription. Also Glamor, Marie Claire, USWeekly. Teen Vogue? Support the resistance!  (also nieces will think I’m cool.)
  • Buy sun lounger.
  • Have sex.
  • Sleep in.
  • Stay off Facebook.

 

 

 

Boobs on the beach

Its mid summer and as thoughts turn to sand and surf, its time for the dreaded death bikinimarch known as ‘swimwear shopping’. I’m not going to moan about crappy lighting, lumps and bumps or the awful southern migration of everything once pointing north. Thats not my problem.

After all, having no kids means I’ll probably die alone and unloved, but I won’t have saggy tits or a mom pouch. Hey, there’s an upside to everything. So what’s my problem with swimwear?

Its boobs. Specifically big boobs.

Living in the US means 90% of all female attire is designed for 5ft 10 waifs with flat chests and a 34 inch inseam. Clothing options for big boobs are limited to the ‘Misses’ section, Fredricks of Hollywood hoochy section or the nude granny bra’s hidden next to the flannel nightgowns. Its like the tits fell off the immigrants when they came over on the Mayflower or something, because America sure doesn’t provide for those of us who are blessed in the breast department.

And before you start playing the worlds smallest violin, check out Miss Tits in the picture. See the challenge? Nuff said.

Hailing from the UK – the original land of the pendulous breast – I was used to skinny model clothing everywhere, but stores did still recognize that women – by and large – have tits. And sometimes, big tits, monster tits. Check out a lingerie department in the UK and be awestruck at the sizes. Most Americans would claim ‘fake news’ in the face of a 28GG. But I’m here to tell you – its normal and it does exist. In fact, I’ve seen more than a few IRL.

But here in the US, you’d think that big boobs don’t exist, young chicks definitely don’t have them and they certainly don’t exist the moment you step on a beach.

I discovered this my first year in the US during one of the most depressing days of my life. With a beach vacation looming (and many years before online shopping), I spent 8 hours traipsing around every store I knew in search of something, anything that would cover more than a nipple.

Every store was the same. Tiny triangles designed for mutant sexless elves. Fabric so thin you could see my heart beat through it. And for every top, a bottom designed for an 8-year-old boy. I sized up. I sized up again. I moved into the plus section. And still I couldn’t find anything that covered more than my nipples or my ass crack. I wound up eventually in the ‘Big Girls’ section of a department store, flicking through swim suits with skirts and spaces for my future mastectomy. I felt like a mutant.

So that was my choice. Sexless grandma, cancer survivor or porno reject.

I wound up laying out in a Speedo that year.

Thankfully these days we have the world at our fingertips and I can summon the best swimwear from anywhere (where women have tits), for just $4.99 shipping.

I can look like a 50s pinup, an LA madam or even Aquaman if thats my thing. There’s  ‘full coverage’ or ‘partial coverage’, underwired, ‘bandeau’ (aka wrapping them around your back) and even the mumsy ‘tankini’ to hide that lunchtime prosecco pot belly. Hell you can even go whole hog and grab a burkini. And of course, they still make those triangles.. just bigger and with sturdier straps for us grown up girls.

I still struggle to find options that don’t push my tits up to my chin or come with extra padding (because my DD’s NEED TO BE BIGGER?) but at least there are possibilities.

So thank you internets. Thank you Brazil, Canada, Germany and the UK for acknowledging that women do indeed come with chesticals which we can’t remove for our summer vacation. That our asses have curves bigger than two limes and most of us don’t shave from here to next Tuesday just to pop for a swim.

And for those considering heading out to find that suit for Labor day. Don’t bother. Google ‘bikini’ and your chest size on Amazon and be prepared for the onslaught. It’ll be the best bikini shop of your life.

 

 

 

 

 

My dark obsession

No, this isn’t about my wardrobe of black. I put that down to a laziness, a lot of tattoos and the inability to understand what color goes with what.

No. This one is about murder. Close Up Portrait of Ted Bundy Waving

I’ve never been one for horror or scary stuff in general. I’ve never watched a Saw or Jason movie, NCIS or even Law and Order. Just not my bag. Who needs to be reminded of life’s grimness?

However about 12 months ago I noticed my reading pivoted away from my usual mix of lit, adventure and chick lit towards the darker end of the spectrum. Lured by a recommendation from a friend (In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware.. bloody brilliant), I started gobbling up true crime, detective stories, thrillers and all things murderery. It didn’t trouble me too much – it’s not like I was taking pointers – but when my Kindle recommendations listed 283 books about murder, I did have to wonder what was going on.

Then came the podcasts. I put down my comedians, the NPR stalwarts and then finally I abandoned everything (except Dan Savage) in favor of true crime storytelling.

Just so you know. It’s a thing.

My Favorite Murder, Case Files, Last Podcast on the Left, Sword and the Scale, Criminal, Unsolved Murders, True Crime Garage..my iPhone looks like the library of your neighborhood psychopath. Stories of mysterious disappearances, unsolved crimes and of course, the cherry, the serial killers.

Yes. I know how that reads.

Some might say that I’m obsessed with death, or horror, or reveling in others misery. Others might conclude that giving power to the worst of humanity by revisiting their terrible acts. Personally I know listening to the stories of suffering puts my life, my worries, into perspective.

Plus it calms me down.

Knowing that I walk in the woods on my own, meet strange men for drinks on the regular, drive cross country at 3am and still haven’t been murdered .. well it makes me calmer. I don’t feel invincible. I certainly don’t feel safer. But I do feel calmer about life. Especially the bad stuff. Because no matter what, I wasn’t kidnapped at 14 and stored in the family basement for 19 years. Nor was I asked to help someone with a broken arm carry something to their car. And for now, I’ve not met anyone who wants to wear my skin. And that makes life a lot more ok.

So screw that therapy, those meds and waking up at 2.20am to obsess about what you forgot to do. Get some true (or fictional) crime in your life and you’ll sleep like a baby.

(or you’ll stop the leaving the house. Its kind of crap-shoot honestly).

 

 

The dating resume

I’m not kidding. The dating resume is a thing. I’ve seen several posted on men’s profile general-resume-11pages. Dating has officially become as difficult as landing that job you want.

There are also a few guys I wish had written and posted them before the actual date… but that’s another story.

Back to the resume. I always assumed resumes were about work, but since first dates increasingly feel like interviews, I guess it was only a matter of time before I was reading some guy’s “Relationship Goal” and checking out his ‘Special skills’. It was pretty helpful to read about his relationship history (like an actual resume, its always the short tenure or long gaps between that generate the most questions for me.

“Susie: April – July 2010. Casual ” Hmm. Wonder if she had the ‘where is this going?” conversation too soon? Maybe she didn’t like oral or maybe he got dumped for continuing to Tinder? I’ll never know and really, do I need to?? Honestly the only one which matters is “Lisa: Aug 2010 – Present. Married”.

Special skills always seems to be an interesting one. I’ve seen actual skills (‘carpentry, cycling, investing’). fun skills (‘Arson level campfire starter’, accomplished bullshitter’) and then the downright weird (‘my hands are so big I can lift a 2 year old on just one’ – #whydoyouknowthis). My favorite one was a guy who’d actually created the image of slider rules to indicate his proficiency in areas such as ‘fashion’ ‘help you find your keys’ and ‘sexy time’ (ranked from -5 to +5). Funnily enough he ranked himself 4.5 on the sexy time. #biasedreview

My absolute favorite though was the guy who created a pie chart to show how he spent his time. Honestly… genius. Segments included ‘fixing things I should have left alone’ ‘trying new things’ and ‘not enjoying new things I’m trying’. Now that’s a guy I can get on board with.

I don’t think I’m quite at the stage of writing a resume for dating yet (too busy fighting the #bitchesbecrazy stereotype), but it did give me pause.

When your special skills include walking in excruciating shoes, showing up 15 minutes early to everything (and then judging you for being on time), and forgetting everything you ever said instantly after a glass of wine.. its probably best to get that out in front.

 

 

 

The goods are still odd

Its been a while. 2 years since I wrote about dating. Largely because I didn’t. After too many years having coffee interviews I decided I was sick of me, sick of them and over it. So, 2 years later here I am. Trying it again.

This time it will be different. I’m different so it has to be right? New attitude, new empathy, patience and more of an understanding that we’re all a bit broken. It was almost exciting.

I am still so naive.

Guy 1: A guy I connected with before I moved to CA. Surprising, despite great photos, he was still single. I moved in on that and suggested we meet for a drink.

First rule of fight club – use photos which were taken within the last decade. Second rule of fight club, ask me a question. Third rule of fight club, don’t email and text while you’re meeting me for the first time. Unless you’re the president… well fuck that.

I learned more about selling doors, his training regime and his work grievances than I ever need to know. Next.

Guy 2: This guy showed up and looked like his photos. Score. I forgive the ‘dad attire’ of pleated front chinos and a golf shirt (maybe he’s being ironic??), but when he insisted we split the bill I had to wonder ‘did I overdo the independent, successful woman’ bit? Still we scheduled another date, and after an enjoyable hike where I learned of his dating spreadsheet (financial independence, distance from his house and athleticism were weighted heavily) and his upcoming dating schedule, he suggested lunch. After hiking for 2 hours with my jaw on the ground, I relented. I ordered a sandwich and a cup of coffee.

He insisted on separate checks.

COME ON!!!!??? At some point this guy thinks he’s wooing me and that given another date or two, he’s going to want to be inside of me. BUT YOU WONT BUY ME A SANDWICH???

Welcome back to dating. The odds are good and the goods are awfully, perpetually, odd.

 

 

All I want for Christmas is…

xmas-presentI think we can all agree that 2016 was an all around shit show. Before we head – gratefully towards the shining, virginal visage of 2017, I wanted to lay out some of my requests for next year. Long gone are the days when I wished for ‘Operation’ or a ‘Slushy Machine’ (though I’d love a the Margarita version these days) and honestly I need another over-scented lotion like a hole in the head. But 2016 has left me and most of the world looking like a cast member of the Walking Dead.. so fuck it…I need some good cheer. Here’s my modest gift list;

  • A hug from a dude: Lets just say its been one hell of the drought in my house. And while my doctors are down to check out my cervix or my boobs… not one is up for a hug. Don’t ask how I know… but I know.  Hand holding wasn’t popular either.
  • A small win on the Powerball lottery: Hey I’m not holding out for millions, but maybe $10,000… even $5,000 would go a loooong way to helping me out. Just sayin’.. moving every year gets hella expensive and these antidepressants don’t buy themselves.
  • Underwear which covers my butt: I’ve not been myself this year and the resulting 10lbs I’m carrying in the Kim Kardashian area is really challenging my jeans, but has declared victory on my underwear. Every pair is now a G-string by 5pm. The challenge is how to contain these new lumps without ending up in a lycra body stocking. I’ve tried all the cuts, all the fabrics and a multitude of sizes. The result is a stack of ‘if I’m desperate’ torture pants, and I’m now skilled at spotting a safe zone for gusset yanking in less than 10 seconds. It cannot continue. I’m afraid of getting ticketed for exhibitionism.
  • 5 new recipes that are healthy, GF, don’t involve lettuce or truffles, and taste better the day after. Since the dog don’t cook, I am the sole chef in Chez Crazy and boy am I boring. I think I could grocery shop blind at this point. Cooking for one is like celebrating your birthday alone. It could be fun… but it’s generally not. You just want to to be over. So please can I get some new recipes that are simple, fail safe and survive the required 2-3 days leftovers that every single person deals with?? Every “recipe for one” involves a solitary egg, soup or pasta… no wonder us single folks drink so much.
  • Wool socks: I was born cold and my feet haven’t quite warmed up yet. Oh god.. I’m asking for socks???… I think I just saw myself at 80. Next up, a heating pad and a tartan blanket. I really need to start getting out more. But seriously, if you know where I live… wool socks please.
  • And finally, World Peace, a centrist Cabinet, Trumps incarceration, equal rights for LBQT folks, free abortions, a draining of the judicial  swamp of racist white men, Brexit reversal and Michelle Obama for 2020. I mean… you can always ask right?.

This one’s done..can I get another?

Image result for broken bodyThe world needs another post about Trump today like I need another 1st date. So instead I’m obsessing about how knackered my body is. Not just tired, but worn out. Done. Ready for recycling. Broken.

Ok, a little bit of an overstatement, but I so feel busted. Hot on the heels from an ENT appointment about my growing allergy to everything living thing, last week I learned that my nose is busted. One side hasn’t worked for a year or so, and the other side is thinking of decamping to Canada. The impact – that I start suffocating when I’m swimming, hiking, riding, running – is a bit of a challenge but “a simple surgery” with fix it.

The last “simple surgery” took a year off my life, left a hole in my shoulder and added a stone (14lbs) to my ass. I still hurt every day from the “simple-ness” of it all (though my  shoulder makes a great hook for a handbag and stores rainwater).

Next up my knees. I’ve always ridden bikes and I’ve run for 20 or so years including quite a few half marathons. Today.. my doctor says I have the knees of a 65-year-old with no cartilage left and torn fascia. But guess what…. ? A “simple surgery” can help eliminate the problem and have me up on the slopes by spring.

I”m noticing a trend here. I’m broken, but not beyond repair.

Except I’m scared of “simple” anything. After all, this election was meant to be “easy” back when we found out a Cheeto was running…

It seems as we age, anything becomes possible. Surgeries are so “simple” they’re not even called surgery anymore. “Procedures” sound more like what I do when putting on a sports bra.. but every doc I see is aching to offer me one in order to fix my failing bits.

Instead I’ve decided I’m opting for all new, all in one. I’m thinking about a full body transplant. An unemployed millennial fresh from a sofa. They’re not using their bodies, and it would be so damn wonderful to ride my bike without clenching at the pain, walk down the stairs like normal (instead of crabwalking with shrieks) or stand up without an ‘oomph’ and a moment to compose myself.

Yes I might have unshaved legs for the rest of my life,  wear a stupid beany while talking about my ‘woke baes’ but I’d trade it for what I’m working with.

No-one needs this many shrieks and moans at 44.  Not unless a Cheeto is talking.

Who’s with me?

 

 

Teeth

This story starts with tea. English BreakfImage result for tea stained teethast to be specific but I’ll take Irish, Earl Grey and Darjeeling if that’s whats available. Because I drink a lot of tea.. and by a lot I mean boxes. My current record is 160 decaf cups and 80 caffeinated cups in one month.  Which  totals ~8 cups a day, a number that still seems sorta low based on the average work day. But still, it’s a lot of tea.

And tea stains your teeth badly. Ever wondered why British people over the age of 35 start to resemble smokers, and in late life Austin Powers… tea. That and no fluoride in the water.  But mainly its the tea. Years up years of tea.

Since I moved to the US and benefited from an aggressive dentist, diligent upkeep and the odd surgery or two, I’ve managed to keep the tea patina on my teeth to a minimum. But when applying a new lip gloss in full sunlight I noticed my pegs starting to look remarkable ‘tinted’. Time to follow my new US brethren to the land of bleach.

Americas love bleach. In their hair, in their water, on their butt holes… it’s a country and that likes things clean and sparkling white. So trays in hand I headed home to restore my mouth to a positively virginal state. No big deal.

Except no-one tells you that you have to wear these things for AGES. The package said 2-3 hours, but after 25 minutes my saliva had dried up to a crust and I desperately needed a drink. So I pulled off a tray and wiped away the gunk to see how it was doing…. nothing. No change whatsoever. Fucker.

Back in with the trays.

After an hour passed I got thirsty. Since my mouth was full of bleach and plastic, and the package mentioned ‘only white liquids or foods for 24 hours after bleaching’.. so milky tea then.

I make a cup of the worlds weakest tea, and then realized the tea would simply swish away the bleaching gunk. So a straw then?

What single woman over the age of 7 owns a straw?

After rifling through my cupboards I figured I had two options

  • Drip the tea onto my tongue using an eye dropper
  • Try licking up the tea like a cat.
  • Dribbling the tea down my throat using a tea-spoon by laying my head backwards and aiming between the trays.

Lets just say I found a way to get the tea into my mouth.

The burns will heal in a few more days and they do take your eyes off my slightly yellow teeth.

Its 52 days until Christmas

Its 52 days until Christmas… and Hallmark is already 5 days into its ‘Countdown to Image result for christmas movieChristmas’ movie-thon.

For those not in the know (people with a life), every year Hallmark kicks off its “Countdown to Christmas” program of non stop Christmas movies between Halloween (yes, you read it right), and New Years Day.

Yes, ‘non stop’. As in all-damn-day-long.  Yes as you’re busy trying to untangle your fake cobwebbing from the bushes, and breathing a sigh of relief that Thanksgiving is still weeks away you could have been partaking in such delights as ‘The Best Christmas Party Ever” or ‘The Christmas Parade’.

But don’t fear, I”m here to catch you up on what you might have missed, and to whet your appetite for two.whole.months of Christmas.

In the mood for some bad puns? How about “Its Christmas, Carol!” or “Fir Crazy”? Image result for hallmark christmas moviesHysterical right?

Want to keep the focus purely on the family? “Home & Family”, “Baby’s First Christmas” or “Family for Christmas” should mentally nauseate you into rethinking that trip to Hawaii for the holidays.

How about a little chuckle? “A Very Merry Mix up”,   “A Christmas Detour” or the “Santa Incident” sound like occasions for some laughs. Of the most soporific kind.

Romance – of course – is a huge feature of Christmas and for all you single ladies out there, the choices are positively awash this November ?? Get inspired!!

“Tis the Season for Love” (I thought it was Turkey)

“Matchmaker Santa” (because that’s who I want choosing my lover)

“Single Santa Seeks Mrs. Claus’ (Nothing sexier than a beard and some boots)

“A Boyfriend for Christmas” (does he arrive in stockings?)

“A Bride for Christmas” (That’s one for Santa’s list )

“Snow Bride” (or as we call it, spring weddings in Colorado)

“A Holiday Engagement” (sounds like a trip to the OBGYN)

“A Princess for Christmas” (just for Christmas?)

“Hitched for the Holidays” (because they’re not stressful enough)

“Santa Switch” (now this sounds promising)

“A Divas Christmas Carol” (the only one not married or dating this season)

“Merry Matrimony” (whoever they are, I hate them already)

“Northpole” (if he’s Italian, send him over please)

I seriImage result for hallmark christmas moviesously gave up listing movies here as I was starting to sense that a)the only people watching Hallmark are single ladies who dream about fantastical situations where they find themselves suddenly dressed up like Elsa in Frozen and b) I realized that I was one of those people and c) I felt nauseous.

<insert diatribe on social norms and media stereotypes>

So there you have it.. a brief selection of “movies”, (yes movies with casts and cameras and money being spent) from the now-in-progress Hallmark ‘Countdown to Christmas’.  Going on 24 hours a day for the next 2 months. Set your DVR.

Mazel Tov.

Note to Self: You do not want romance for Christmas. You want gloves.

Dear Mr. Leaf-blower

I know you wanted to be a Jedi Sir, but I’m here to tell you the truth. Your hourly walk up Image result for man leaf blowerand down the sidewalk by my house, armed with what amounts to an outside vacuum cleaner is no more protecting us from Stormtroopers than it is actually cleaning up leaves.

I understand the need to quell the rebellion Sir, but blowing leaves from the sidewalk onto the street, only to have a puff of wind skitter them back on the sidewalk is the very definition of idiocy. I applaud your tenacity Sir, I really do. Most people would give up on the leaf-blower at some point in order to go… well… have a life, but not you Sir. Not you.

Its been about 5 weeks now and as if by decree,  every day around 8am you begin leaf-blowing. I know you’ve run out of sidewalk at times Sir: I saw you heading up the street a few blocks, chasing those damn leaves to another street where they might choose to relocate. But then on your return, you see there are now new invaders to the street. Who.Must.Be.Denied.Vacancy. That seemed to really reinvigorate your search and fight against invading Storm-um – leaves. So I guess I’ll leave you to it. You will not be deterred I can see.

Until snow comes. Tee- Hee.

Oh shit.. I bet you’ve got a snow-blower.

Relaxing into spinsterhood

Image result for old lady walking her dog funnyThe other night I walked my dog in my pjs. Not content with one horror, I compounded it with a pair of wool socks, my retainer, some fetching Dansko clogs and an oversized down jacket. And it wasn’t even dark.

What can I say, I am the poster child for spinsterhood.

This journey started some time ago. After getting divorced in my 30s, one of the simple joys I rediscovered was taking off my pants and underwear as soon as I got home from work. Off with the confines of work, back on with comfort. A really bad day? Off with the bra and let everything have some freedom.

However back then, I still had some modicum of dignity. I suspected that I might meet some cute dude while walking my dog, borrow a doggy bag and be moved in by sundown.. so I dressed appropriately when I left the house. I mean I wasn’t throwing down at the park in a thong and some fur-lined heels, but I looked slightly cute. I wore jeans, t-shirts, cute tops even a bra on occasion.  I usually brushed my hair and spritzed on some perfume.  My level of male-dar was on full alert. After all.. you never know. He could be out there..

Fast forward 10 years and how things have changed.   These days as long I’m warm, pretty much anything goes inside the house. Flannel shirts, granny underwear, that 18 yr old pair of pjs, if its comfy.. it’s on.  Outside the house.. well.I’ve walked my dog in a bikini, clothesless under a Barbor jacket, in hole filled sweat pants (quelle horreur) and mostly in clothes I wore the day before (with or without the food I cooked on them). I wear a beanie or a hoodie on my head to hide my rat tails  and I mainly try not to get picked up for vagrancy.

I don’t worry about missing that cute dog walking guy or not looking appropriately attractive enough to draw the attention of that volleyball player. I’m too old for them now and I probably can’t even see them at a distance to be completely honest.

Plus I can categorically verify that no one is out there anyway. I’ve looked. I’ve done more than look, I’ve actually walked about 13,000 miles while looking.  So these days I am settling into my spinsterhood and everything that entails. No underwear after 6, no makeup after Friday and whatever the hell I want to wear while walking my dog.

I think I’ll just date the mailman.

Drowning not waving

Image result for drowning in the poolI’m terrified of deep water. If I can’t stand up in it then I’m a) clinging to the nearest stationary and solid object b) peeing in terror and c) screaming.

I’d like to think that it’s this which made me such a great sailor for all those years; abject fear of ending up in the water is a fantastic motivator to staying upright.  I learned how to capsize and right a boat only getting my feet wet.. mainly because I swim like a stone.

The signs weren’t good from the get go. Early swimming lessons at the local pool with my sister kicked off with a lesson in floating. As my body sank to the bottom of the pool and my very very short life flashed before my eyes, it was only the shouting of my mother from the balcony “Grab your sister NOW” that assured my existence. Needless to say, I didn’t take my feet off the bottom of the pool for the next 20 years.

Fast forward to 40 something and in the midst of a life crisis it came to me. I needed to learn how to be comfortable in the pool. Maybe..if I could swim with ease… I’d have one less thing to be terrified of  and live happily ever after. (with a pool)

As I now embark on my 4th set of private lessons I’m still terrified in any pool over 4ft deep. I have my strokes down pat but as soon I see the bottom of the pool deepening I’m heading to the bottom await my drowning. And this time, my sister’s hand is 4,200 miles away.

I’ve tried chanting, wearing fins, closing my eyes, looking ahead instead of down and even Valium. Nothing. Choking, panic, snorting and inhalation of an awful lot of water and once, a lifeguard actually ran to help me..  and still.. nothing makes it less horrid.

So maybe I’ll see you at the pool. I’ll be the one looking for the life lesson wearing horse blinkers and a noodle.   Be sure to look for my wave.

My dog’s butt is sick

Image result for dog in diapersMy dog’s butt is sick.

At the ripe old age of 11, faced with his first chance at some kind of medical problem, he skipped cancer, epilepsy, hypothyroidism or diabetes.

Francis went with an ill butt.

What started as an intense enthusiasm for his butt, morphed into a licking mania which at one point had me donning Bose headphones so I didn’t have to listen to the slurping, gnashing and chomping. I felt like I was listening in on a one man dog porno entitled ‘Hairy Ass Loving: Bite It Until It Bleeds’.

So I took him to the vet. No one is having that much frenzied sex in my house.

And I was rewarded by an infection. Which turned into a mysterious shape. That turned into the specter of ass cancer which $1400 later turned into a ‘self made body’.

Oh yes. My dog grew a living, growing tumor in his butt that was basically feeding on his ‘output’.

(I still feel faint)

I mentally decided that he needed to live on a farm for the remainder of his life. If it was going to turn into something from  ‘The Thing’ or ‘Alien’ there was no way I was sticking around for that finale. But I was assured it could be destroyed. And without Sigourney Weaver.

So while I eat noodles for the rest of the month, my dog rests his spoiled head on his inflatable collar, sighs on waves of relaxation from his meds, and we both try valiantly to ignore whatever’s going on below the waist.

I’m assured he’ll make a full recovery. My imagination may not.

Back in the saddle

Image result for shoulder brace after surgery womenAs everyone knows, starting something is the hardest part. A diet, a commitment, a new job, the toilet roll. Re-starting something might be even harder. This time around you know what to expect..how hard or painful it’s going to be. This time.. you think, maybe just maybe it’ll be easier than you remember.

Following 2 extensive surgeries on my shoulder last year I found myself restricted from all physical activity involving my arms, shoulders or upper body movement of any kind.  A sneeze rendered me in tears and lifting a mug of tea became my Crossfit. As an independent lass it pained me to have to ask for help lifting groceries into my car (where I’d carry them, one or two items at a time, up 3 flights of stairs) and I became adept at deciding what to cook based on whether I could cook and eat it 1 handed.

It was pitiful, with spots of hilarity (I fell over a LOT).

To call me disabled was an overstatement, but basically I became a human wine box with bruises for 18 months.

Fast forward a year and I graduated from my various slings and arrows, discovered pitches of screams I didn’t know I possessed and managed to carry my first gallon of milk. All in all, almost back to normal. Sure I’ll never salute an officer , throw down a Hiel Hitler (wasn’t going to anyway) or ‘raise the roof’ (ditto) but I can now wear a bra strap, carry a purse and blow dry the back of my head.

Exactly the qualifications for some mountain biking.

I’d wanted to get back on the back for a while… pretty much 10 mins after I came around from surgery the first time. But everything hurt, I literally couldn’t use my arm, and every time I thought about falling… the sense of doom was overwhelming. What if I fell and needed another surgery? Or a new shoulder? I packed away riding for ‘another time’. Which came this last weekend.

It had been so long. so so long. I think Madonna was on her first face lift when I last rode some dirt. And oh how I missed it. The fire in your chest, the thumping of your heart, the feeling of flying on the downhill. The smell of warm pine as you crash into a tree on a particularly tight switch back. Glorious. And I was finally done being afraid.

I packed myself into straining Lycra, grabbed the Percocet and headed to the hills.

I’ll spare the blow-by-blow suffice to say it went something like this:

  • Shock (‘holy cow this is hard’)
  • Concern (‘is my heart meant to be pounding this fast?’)
  • Horror (‘fuck me, I don’t think I’m even moving forward’)
  • Despair (‘oh god, those people with the old dog are passing me’)
  • Hope (‘oooo is that the top? is it? it is isn’t it??)
  • Devastation (‘damn fucking false flat…’)
  • Resignation (‘Why am I doing this ? I’m clearly too old for this shit’)
  • Self criticism (‘Popcorn isn’t a recovery diet dammit.. should have made more soup’
  • Motivated (‘Damn it.. I can do this.. I have to do this or I’ll get old and crinkly and die’
  • Thrilled (‘I did it!!! I rule!!!! I did it!!!)
  • Realization (‘HOLY FUCK GODDAMN THAT HURTS MY SHOULDER’)
  • Alarmed (‘OMG I need to ride down this fucker! This is going to hurt sooooo bad’)
  • Joy (“I’m gonna love every single second of this. This is why I ride’)

I got on my bike, full of Oprah fed wisdom and promptly rode into tree.

Starting again is hard. You look ridiculous, you feel like a loser and your brain never shuts up reminding you of how much better you used to be at this. But the alternate – a life of memories, of ‘remember when?’, fear and failing confidence  – is way way worse.

At my way,  I get to look good in Lycra.. some day.

I don’t get hugs

Since I came to the US some 19 years ago, I’ve found hugging quite alarming. 

After all every Brit knows that when two people meet, the accepted form of greeting is the handshake. 

‘How do you do?’

‘I’m well. How do you do?’

‘I’m well. Thanks for asking’

You can sense the raised pinkies and stiffness. The natural inclination to keep a distance both physically and emotionally. 

Contrast this with your average American. Unless you’re a cab driver, a waitress or a banker, the hug seems the de facto way of meeting and leaving people.

‘Whazzup?’ Followed by manly backslapping cross hug for the guys 

 ‘Heyyyyyy’ ‘or squeal’ followed by a brief hug and cheek air kiss.

See the difference? Americans are so….physical. They greet with their bodies. Brits greet with their hand. Outstretched. Away from themselves. In fact we’ll do just a head nod if we can get away with it.

Early immigrant me rejected the very notion of a hug as a greeting; bowing to shake hands with small children, proffering my firm grip to employers and even offering my fingers to 1st dates. 

I passed into my mid 40s, I decided to commit to my American ness and start hugging with abandon.

And that’s where the trouble starts.If you’ve never been taught something – at my age- you’re expected to know how to do it. And I hug like a 2 yr old. 

So that’s my explanation to my boss as to why I tried to hug his arm and then threw my arms around his neck like a child at Christmas and body slammed him. 

Confused doesn’t cover his expression.

So it’s Masonic handshakes from here on out. Preferably while wearing gloves. Much much safer. 

Back to here

It’s been almost 2 years since I decided to pack up my snow boots and head out to CAlifornia to chase a golden opportunity and potentially find a new home. 

It sure was exciting. 

  • Google cars sitting on the freeway alongside Teslas and Ferraris. 
  • Meeting CEO of this and president of that.
  • Walking on the beach on Christmas Day as seals and dolphins surf the waves.

Less publicized was the daily 2 hour fight to get to work. The $3000 rent and the 70 hr work week. 

Needless to say, after 20 months I knew a heck of a lot more about wine, but missed my friends, the yellow aspens of fall and knowing where the hell to find a decent camping spot in June. 

It was time to come home. 

Lazy weekends in St.Helena are memories I shall never forget (and hope to add to) but living in a place where meth heads battle it out under my window.. Those nights I’d rather forget.

I leave with wild memories of Santa Cruz descents, the Boss live and giving it some, and my lovely neighbors- now friends for life-  who swam with me through the foggy spring/summer and fed me more wine, cheese and salami than a Brit thought possible.  

To them I raise an Aperol spritz and say ‘salut’

To my Denver peeps I simply say ‘what’d I miss?’

Lady Rage

rageI recently attended a workshop where the discussion of anger management came up. Since the last time I can recall feeling really miffed was when my ex moved out taking one of my books.. it wasn’t a subject I had much opinion or need for.

Oh how wrong I was.

When  asked to think about the physical effects of anger, all of the seeming rational, calm men in the group immediately threw out a practically uniform list of attributes; seeing red, getting flushed, becoming blinkered to everything else, shortness of breath, clenched fists, sweating and taking a wide stance. Presumably this one is to allow for the massive expansion of balls.. or do men get erections when they get angry?  I guess it didn’t come up. Overall.. the responses that you’d expect when facing a large predator or Donald Trump.

Meanwhile all of the women in the group just looked confused. The responses I heard included; “I don’t really feel angry” or  ” I swear inside my car”, “I just swallow it” or (most familiar to me) “I start crying”.

Yep.. really helpful in those ‘fight or flight’ situations.

As much as I hate to tread that whole ‘biology’ trope, it was clear.. men are really used to and conditioned to deal with anger. Women.. we don’t seem to even admit that it exists or when we encounter it, we’re unable to deal with the feeling – the unbridled, uncontrollable, power of anger..and we’re too afraid (or conditioned) to express it. It’s too uncomfortable. And as ‘laydees’ we’re all brought up to stuff those uncomfortable feelings down as quickly and permanently as possible.

I thought back to the times I’ve actually been really angry – seeing red, losing control, balling up my fists fury- and I couldn’t come up with anything. Certainly not in adulthood.

26 years. 1 divorce, several heart breaks, numerous indignities, insults and betrayals. No anger that I can recall. I did call my ex out for ‘smelling bad’ and I’ve called people ‘mean’. But rage..fury… anger… ? Nada.

The women at the workshop… the best we could come up with was passing irritation towards inconsiderate drivers, annoying partners or friends, or frustration. But the symptoms felt by men, or expressed by men.. We just didn’t have the experience.

We didn’t need an anger management discussion. We needed a ‘how to feel anger’ course. A ‘stop swallowing this shit’ retreat. A certificate in ‘expressing anger externally’.

So there and then I committed to exploring my ‘lady rage’.

I know I have stuff I must be angry about. Things which make me teary-eyed to remember or stuff I don’t even want to remember because it makes me uncomfortable. I’ve had my fair share of let downs, humiliations and mistreatment. And god knows, I have a whole state of rudeness and bad driving to get started with.

Next time I feel uncomfortable, when I’m so frustrated that I’m fighting back tears or trying to hold it all in.. I’m going to clench my fists, widen my stance and let my lady balls grow. I am going to experience my anger, my fury, my rage.

Lady rage.. coming to a woman near you.

Sidebar: I Googled ‘angry woman’ for an image, but was faced by women with their arms crossed, fingers pointed or steam coming out of their ears. Clearly even Google can’t find a woman who actually looks angry. Unless she is black. There were lots of black angry women. Grrr. That’s a WHOLE other post.

Ch-ch-ch-changes

Time goes by pretty fast if you don’t take the time to look around.

(Time also goes by Clichepretty fast after 40.. how is it almost July??? And where are my glasses).

Grey hair, sore knees, sad eyes and that’s just the dog. Its true I’m starting to resemble him these days, but I refuse to resort to spending my days lying on the sofa farting and snoring… no matter what I feel like.

A few data points from the last year or so to catch you up:

  • 3 new bosses, 13 keynotes, 6 conferences, 18 town halls, 300+ powerpoints and 1TB of new content created.
  • 2 heads of state, 2 ambassadors, 6 tech icons and many of the Fortune 100 CEOs. (Favorite was the Dutch Prime minister who was delicious, weird and still lives with his mother. Wonderful manners).
  • $$$$$ earned. I mean ridiculous.

And in non work life;

  • 11 procedures via 2 shoulder surgeries, 32 weeks of PT, knee cartilage busted
  • 7 glorious weekends in St. Helena, CA
  • 3 dates with men who turned out to be married.
  • 3 apartment moves
  • 1 old flame
  • And I finally saw BRUCE in concert (Springsteen not Hornby and the Range)

And the best thing of all?

I realized I prefer working with and being around nice people over most everything else.

Life is just too short to run behind Mr.Big in 4 inch heels hoping that you’re having some positive impact on someone somewhere. No matter the astonishing people you meet, the innovation you’re absorbed in, the resources available and the learning you do… nothing beats working with a team of people who have your back, who treat you well and who share your values. Seeing the impact of your work. Having a team who knows you and doesn’t think its weird when you lend a hand, offer or ask for help. It makes all the difference.

I’m sure this reads like every cliché in the book.. but its been an eye-opening, life changing 18 months for me.  I’ve always been independent, up for an adventure and embracing of change.. and this time might be the ultimate challenge. Putting my values first and building the life I want around them.

Now.. does anyone have a use for some slightly used high heels?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the road again

santa-cruz-skateboardsEver the wandering non-Jew, I’m celebrating the season by once again packing up and moving to a new zip-code. I personally think its a GREAT way of avoiding dusting or ever cleaning the oven, but frankly this time its motivated by a need to find my tribe. Some friends. A life outside of work, and tech and Teslas.

My current locale has much in common with a Ferrari. Everyone agrees that its beautiful, but its bloody expensive, ridiculously ostentatious and its not exactly the ‘go to’ to for a single chica with tats and financial challenges. I look like everyone else’s dog walker.

So I’m heading over the mountain to the promised land. Aka Santa Cruz. The land of the Banana Slug. Where I can walk to the beach, ride my bike to the bar and my dog can watch for whales, seals and seagulls all damn day long.

Populated by students, dropouts, hippy throwbacks, surf addicts, completely normal people and mountain biking fanatics, its also a place where I’ve experienced a lot of positive things. Christmas on the beach. Girlie friendship. The psychotic reaction of my dog to a dolphin. Insane downhill. The ability to breathe out. Strangers telling me how to cure mange while exploring rock pools- (no mange here but now I have the cure!).

Suffice to say, its my kind of weirdos.

I know the common denominator in my moves is me, and I’d be the first to admit if I was trying to escape something, but actually this is more of a ‘find’. Finding the trees, air, beauty and silence of Colorado.. but next to the ocean and peppered with friendly folks with a 70s vibe. Finding my tribe of peeps who don’t judge, who disappear on a surf day and who let you turn right without laying on the horn. Who knows.. maybe I’ll find a dude who gets me, some friends to hang with and the secret of eternal life for my dog.

But first I just need to deal with the reality of sand in everything.