Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Back from the Dead, plus a little humor (Kris)

Just dropping by with a quick post. I just went back and read some of my entries when I started blogging on here and first met Grant. I can't believe that was less than a year ago. It was interesting reading all of that without the emotion behind it anymore. All that stressing. Things really did happen quickly. I can hardly believe I actually went through with it. It was a huge leap of faith.

I am happy to report that all those crazy things I was worried about ...well, to be honest, a lot of them came true. My life is so different than it used to be. A lot of what I loved about being single is gone. My life has become quite complex with a 45 minute commute to work each way on top of feeling new family obligations that I never seem to have enough time for, plus moving, trying to sell my condo, dealing with financial stress, etc etc. But, honestly, I have never been happier. I do not regret the leap of faith one bit. Grant is as dreamy as he ever was. For instance, tonight I was supposed to make a cake for Relief Society. It is also our date night and we usually spend it in SLC then sleep at my condo (his kids are with their mom one night a week). Grant just called to remind me about the cake and told me he was making it for me and sending it with a neighbor so I can fulfill my obligation at church yet still have date night with him. He's so great!

I hope you don't mind the personal update. I've missed this blog. What I really wanted to post today was something funny I found while cleaning out my bedroom in the move. This was something one of my girlfriends sent me when we were in college circa 1993.

Top 10 Reasons a Franklin Planner is Better than a Boyfriend:
10. A Franklin is neater.
9. A Franklin will never make you cry.
8. You don't have to worry about whether your Franklin will call.
7. A Franklin can never be late.
6. If a Franklin could kiss, it would be better.
5. A Franklin wont make you do its wash.
4. A Franklin is without hormones.
3. A Franklin won't leave you with wet lips and a broken heart.
2. A Franklin is FULL of necessary commitments.
1. A Franklin is used to organize your life, not screw it up.

Oh how we loved the Franklin planner back in the day.
Thanks for letting me post, even though I'm no longer qualified for this blog. :)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Warning: This is a RANT! (Marnie)

Dating -
Yeah, who made that up?? I realize it was "courting" for centuries, but when did it change? And when it DID change, who made up all the rules and regulations for current art of "dating?"

And WHY - in the name of my unborn children - didn't anybody teach me how to date???? I suppose it was supposed to be done by my older siblings. But my older brothers were ABSOLUTELY no help. They were more afraid of the opposite sex then I was of boys! Should I have asked my mom? Who does that when they are a kid?

I guess my girlfriends should have tuned me in - but I only had one best friend and she didn't date either. And when I got to college, I felt too embarrassed to ask my new friends.

And how come the Young Women's program didn't talk about it? Sure - there was the instruction on chastity. But they never said, "when a boy calls you up and you don't want to go out with him, say this. Or when you DO like a boy and he DOESN'T ask you out, do this. And whatever you do in this situation, DON'T do this!" That would have been helpful!

Most of my dating examples came from the Love Boat and the Brady Bunch. THAT wasn't good. Although I did know that the boy was always to meet the parents when they came to the door to pick you up. Marcia was good about that. Oh, and that coming over to someone's cabin for a "night cap" meant having sex. No really - I thought "night cap" was code for sleeping with someone. See how this wasn't good?

I also got some insight from movies I watched as a teenager, like: Some Kind of Wonderful, Say Anything, Pretty In Pink, Breakfast. All unrealistic and completely useless in the real world of dating. And actually those movies scared me to death! Really, it's no wonder I haven't had any success in relationships until now. I guess I should be blaming John Hughes.

When I was about 29, I got the book, "Dating for Dummies" in a white elephant exchange. Everybody laughed when I got it, but I was secretly pleased and anxious to read it. It made sense and it did help to a point. But then I didn't date anyone for at least a year...I probably forgot it all. I started reading other dating books several years ago after breaking up with The One. It seemed like I was doing something completely wrong because it ended poorly and I really hoped that those books would be the answer to improving my skills. And I'll admit, I have learned quite a bit that was so foreign to me before.

I have also learned some things on my own from practical experience. Nobody is better at a blind date than me! I've had more than my share of practice. But when it comes to going out with a guy I've just met or an acquaintance, I seem to get all confused as to how that works and things get messed up. And when it's trying to take a casual dating relationship into something more - watch out: I crash and burn at that! You can see the flames from miles away. It's really tragic.

I realize I'm blaming the past for my current troubles, which is a complete waste of time. Only I can change the future. But honestly, I wish I had some kind of heads up on how to understand, how to relate and how to respond to the male gender when I was much younger. I'm positive if I had, I would have been more successful, found out my issues faster and would be currently happily married with 4.5 kids.

Well, I HOPE happily married...

Stupid dating. I hate it.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Dreams (Leah)

“I finally understood what it meant to lose yourself, and I'm not talking about surrendering to the joys of motherhood and all that jazz. I'm talking about forgetting who you are or who you ever wanted to be, realizing that who you wanted to be would be an impossibility, a joke in your personal repertoire. To lose yourself meant the very real possibility that at the next holiday party you go to, you will become invisible once people find out that you don't "do" anything. You're just a mom.”

I read this on a young mother’s blog this morning. When I got to the line about “forgetting who you are or who you ever wanted to be, realizing that you who you wanted to be would be an impossibility” I was totally struck by my own voices in my head in relation to the lost dreams of being a mother. Who I always wanted to be was a young mom with a ton of kids. I never wanted to be some great public school teacher. I never wanted to be the secret blogger about being single and in my thirties. In fact, truth be told, I always dreamed of being married by 20 or so, living in a basement apartment cooking beans for dinner while the husband finished his graduate degree. I liked to imagine that I’d help him type and proof his thesis (my mother did that for dad) and we would both feel the victory of his academic accomplishments. We’d continue to struggle as we had one kid after another while he worked his way up to a respectable sort of job and we’d celebrate when we were able to finally buy a car that wasn’t a total junker. Yep, those were my dreams. They’re gone now. If/when I do marry the basement apartment will never happen – something about owning a nice house of my own dashed that dream. Please don’t get me wrong – I totally value my life’s experiences and wouldn’t trade them – I love all that I’ve learned and the fabulous people who I’ve encountered in my life as a single woman – but it does require that I put aside childish dreams. A “joke” as the blogger said. Not a painful one, just the inside variety that make you go “hmm.”

It just goes to show that dreams really are just dreams – good for formulating goals and giving a bit of color and excitement to the present, but like the kind that happen when you’re asleep – when they’re over, it’s best to look at reality and get living.

Monday, March 9, 2009

50 Dates to a Mate! (Marnie)

Remember when I blogged about every date being a learning experience? Well, I’ve come up with something else that makes any date – no matter how painful or embarrassing – all worthwhile for me! It’s called, “50 Dates to a Mate.”

I’m a list kind of gal. I love checking things off. It makes me feel like my hard work is worth it in anything I do and I get a lot of satisfaction when I complete a list. A while I go, after I had several bad dates, I decided I would give myself credit for going out on them and “enduring to the end” of the date. I made up a chart with 50 boxes – numbering them from 1 to 50. And for each date I go on, I fill in the name of the guy I went out with.

The goal for me is to go out with 50 different guys. I read a book called, If I’m So Wonderful, Why Am I Still Single by Susan Page and it talked specifically about how statistically speaking, the more a person dates, the better chance they will find the right person to fall in love with and marry. And let’s face it, most dates aren’t that fun – setups can be downright, tragically WRONG. But, if I can just remember to make it a learning experience AND a check on my chart, it’s much easier for me to take the risk and go out with a guy that may not normally qualify as the man of my dreams. Because ONE of these times, it’s GOING to be the right guy! It’s all a matter of getting through those 50 dates!

The rules for myself was that I couldn’t count a date if I wasn’t sure if I was asked out because in my painful, past experience (referring back to my relationship with “Rebound”) - if you aren’t sure you are on a date, then you’re not. (I went on about 6 “hangout dates” with him that never meant a thing to him much to my embarrassment.) I also couldn’t count a guy more than once. And I couldn’t count it as a date if I asked them out. I only started really trying to date about a year ago, so I allowed myself to count some past dates as well so I would have a good running start – because for a girl like me 50 is A LOT!

Once I made this goal for myself, I had to figure out how to get more men to ask me out – because the truth is, the ball is in their court to ask us out. So I decided to change some expectations and to go out with guys maybe I had already realized wasn’t going to end up in a relationship. That doesn’t mean I’ve gone out with creepy or mean guys, but it means I try to keep an open mind and go out with someone that may not be the perfect choice for me. For me, it’s about building some skills and trying to learn to get along and communicate with guys. And it’s a true known fact (because it happened to me once), that a girl that dates – even if it’s a lot of first dates – shows more confidence around guys and somehow becomes more attractive to the opposite sex and - as a result - gets asked out more. It’s a really strange phenomenon.

Also to help out my situation, I found some good flirting tips from Alisa Goodwin Snell’s book, Dating Game Secrets for Marrying a Good Man. I’ve tried not only smiling more and making myself look more approachable, but I also try to compliment them once during the conversation or touch their arm once while talking to them to show my interest. I made a real effort with ALL guys instead of just the ones I liked or was interested in. When I did that with any guy I met or talked to at a party, it was much easier later to talk to the guys I was really interested in. I try to make the few moments (and that's the key too!) with me good and positive. As I have done this, I have had success and am asked out more than I ever have. It hasn’t always been with whom I’ve wanted – but like I’ve decided, no date is a waste!

Now I might be wrong and at the end of 50 dates and I may still be single. But I’m pretty sure if I put all my effort into it and try as hard at that as I do with anything else in my life, I will be that much closer to my ultimate goal of marriage. (Maybe at date 65!?!?) And the experience will at least help me learn some important new skills in relating to that very intriguing, sometimes annoying, always surprising and downright confusing, opposite sex.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Jack Fm,just what the Dr ordered(Bridget)

I took my Sunday drive on Saturday this weekend. The morning after a date with my old flame. The evening produced some emotional residue, some positive,some negative. This morning when the emotions were still running high,I was driving and assessing what had happened the night before and taking inventory, as it were. Take the Long Way Home by Supertramp came on the radio. And I thought of how appropriate that song is to describe much of my life. Taking the long way home. I thought about how the Gospel gives us a road map to follow, that if followed, offers a straight line to happiness and more importantly,joy. I thought about how much of my behavior and patterns with the men I fall for, and the decisions that I make help design a road back home with extra pitfalls and turns down dead ends. Things I know in my heart have been pushed away numerous times and sometimes forgotten because I'm tired of the fight, or the belief that it is really valid for me is waning. I've covered a lot of ground in my 37 years. A lot of ground that has taught me that even though my way home is long, the pitfalls are part of my individual road. If they weren't necessary, I wouldn't continue with them. There's some sort of scenery on those dead ends that may be still necessary to teach me that the paved straight road is better..and simpler...that without the pitfalls I wouldn't be able to recognize how safe and sound the straight road is. Apparently for me it takes a lot of dead ends to offer me the lesson. Overall,life is good. The Lord loves us and is aware of us fully, in the pitfalls and on the road.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Speed Dating - the Next Generation (Leah)

I have a student with less than the perfect set of social skills – he’s in high school, though, for crying out loud! Anyway, he came into class today excited to show me a flier he’d picked up at the local library. It was for a workshop on dating. It advertised a panel of experts. He misread that part, though, and thought it was going to be one of those speed dating things. What surprised me was that he even had the concept in his head of speed dating and was excited to try it! I thought speed dating was for desperate people over 35! Now a fifteen year old needs to resort to it? He then proceeded to tell me how every girl just sees him as a friend. He wants to get past “friends” and actually have a girlfriend. I advised him to ask those girls for advice. Apparently they just tell him he needs to change his face. It’s too bad girls can be so immature and hurtful. He did say they advised him on what to wear and he was apparently dressed on the spiffy side today. I advised him to talk less and ask girls questions about themselves. I felt like I was spitting in the wind. (That’s a real expression, I think that means doing something useless – anyone know?) Anyway, I’m hoping for the best for him. He may not be the tallest or smartest or suavest guy in the bunch – but if he’s really nice and attentive I think he’ll be successful someday in the world of dating. Someday. I will choose to be hopeful anyway!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Perspective (Leah)

I’ve really wanted to post something on here, but sometimes life gets so busy being lived it’s hard to find time to do much reflection. Or, as may be the case right now, sometimes the living and reflecting of life just gets so serious that it’s hard to find reflections fitting to share with the masses. This weekend, though, I had a lot of good bonding time with solid girl friends that helped bring some clarity to my thinking. Perspective seemed to be a running theme. Then this morning I was reading an email my brother sent to the family and I noticed a part of it could relate to my ideas of perspective. First let me share what he wrote. I’ll preface this to say he is a first year teacher. He has said that this is the hardest job he’s ever had. The teachers out there may enjoy his thoughts in relation to the profession; I did.

“I used my day off to outline some more chemistry. By the end of this year I will have essentially my own mini high school chemistry textbook. I’ve gotten less creative as the pressure of time has blown the petals off my week. Creativity is a time intensive product, which demands concentration and a lot of patience. ‘Patience is a virtue, catch it if you can. Seldom in a woman, never in a man.’ I’ve also started making mini-lectures online to accompany my mini-textbook. The problem is I don’t have all the necessary equipment to do the job that I want to do, so I have to settle for mediocrity and pray to Salieri for forgiveness (a reference for those who’ve seen Amadeus). I post my lectures on you-tube and use it as another tool to convince my students that it is their own fault that they are failing my class. I never realized how guilt-inducing a student’s failure is on a teacher. I’m trying everything I can to shake my clothes in front of them and not be lazy in my responsibility to teach. Nevertheless, the guilt still haunts me and I try to think of ways to reach them and motivate them. Pom-poms anyone?

“School starts tomorrow and it is a long stretch before our next break. I hope I can maintain the necessary patience to withstand the hurricane storm of complaints that my students launch at me daily. I’ve decided that they are going to have to write them down. My skin is too thin and my conscience too weak to stand up against the daily barrage of whining. It’s tiresome enough to teach and to think of creative ways of connecting the material with their life let alone to swallow the excuses that pile up at your feet. Every student must take chemistry to graduate. What percentage of students would you imagine are grateful to be struggling to learn chemistry? A new rule will be written on the board tomorrow, ‘All complaints and excuses will have to be written for them to be considered.’ Perhaps I will start a blog for that, for my students to post their complaints. I can respond to them at home, at a distance.”

So… how does this relate to a dating blog? I’ll tell you. I find that a lot of my peers and I complain. We complain about the clueless members of the opposite sex, married people, society that makes us feel second rate, pain of rejection, bad blind dates, petty and manipulative women, creepy old men, bitter old-maids, and judgmental twenty-somethings, whatever we can find we complain. Don’t get me wrong – the world is full of complainers – not just single people. I KNOW we’re not an exception in that regard. I just know what I hear and I hear complaining. One friend says she is concerned because she feels like a lot of people wind up cursing God in their frustration. Whatever it looks like or sounds like I think it’s easy to fall in the trap of self pity and negativity. When I read my brother’s woes it occurred to me that we’re all a bunch of “chemistry students” in the school of life. We’ve been required to take a class we really don’t enjoy. Instead of complaining about it and making our “teacher” miserable maybe we should all just suck it up and try to learn something.

Actually, that sounds a lot harsher than I intended. When I first decided to share my brother’s words I wanted to share the fact that I think God has probably bent over backwards trying to help us understand. He’s provided endless resources for us to find solutions to our problems. He is available at all times to answer our questions and He’s even paid the ultimate price to enable us to repent and progress despite our weaknesses and short comings. But like my brother’s students I think we are quicker to complain than we are to take advantage of God’s help. Maybe my brother needs to create a gratitude blog, instead of one for complaining, since after all, gratitude brings more happiness than complaining.