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Random thoughts from a woman in love

Steve and I are taking ballroom dance lessons. *sigh* Not an easy thing for a woman who was officially certified as a klutz by her ballet-dancing sisters and who is so shy, she blushes at the thought of dancing with strangers.

At our second lesson, we “warmed up” with a cha-cha.  Ummmm…that’s not a warm-up, that’s a guaranteed way to get me to quit. It was too much like…exercise!   Five minutes into the warm-up and I was sweating.  Steve was grinning from ear to ear, dancing his big ol’ heart out.  Being the trooper (read: sucker) that I am, I continued cha-cha-ing with gusto.

Finally, the music stopped.  I was tired.  Already.  How on Earth was I going to keep dancing for the next 50 minutes? Steve smiled and leaned over to whisper in my ear, “I am so happy right now. I’ve wanted to do this for 36 years, and I finally have someone who wants to learn with me.  You are doing great!”  Okay – that’s how.  I couldn’t quit after hearing those words from him.  And he did look very happy.  He had such a cute, goofy grin on his face and his blue eyes sparkled.  He was in his element.

The instructor yelled “Gentlemen, grab your partner.  Let’s waltz.”  Steve grabbed my hand; put his other hand on my back, and, whoosh!  I was in his arms.  The music started, and we were waltzing.  The man can dance.  I followed him, trying my best to look graceful.   I forgot I was tired and just enjoyed sharing the music with him.

I got to waltz with him for a whole 2 minutes, and, then, the dreaded “Switch your partners!” was called.  Steve handed me over to the man next to us with a quick, “Bye honey!” as the woman to his right eagerly stepped up to him.

Wait! I’m not ready!  I stepped up to my new partner – my shyness-gene went into red-alert status.  Stranger danger!  He smiled and said, “Hello, care to waltz?”  I blushed, as I tend to do, and gingerly placed my left hand on his shoulder as he took my right hand.  Okay.  Breathe. This will not kill me.   The music started, we began to dance.  1, 2, 3; 1, 2, 3.  Hey!  I was dancing! With a stranger, no less.   And the world had not ended.

For the next 45 minutes, I danced with every man in the room, except Steve.  I was learning new steps to combine with that 1,2,3 box step, and I was “getting” it, to a degree.  I hadn’t stepped on anyone’s toes, I was tired, but I felt good, and I could do the reverse turn quite well.

The call for last dance came up, and we got to go back with our “mate”.  Finally!  I scurried back to where Steve stood with a gaggle of women who were flirting shamelessly with him (happens all the time – he’s hard to resist).  The gaggle scattered and Steve took my hand.  “Ready, baby? Let’s show them how it’s done.”   (See why I love this man?)  Up went his right hand, forming a perfect bridge, his left hand pressed firmly on my back, elbow out.  The music played, and we danced and twirled across the room as he led me through the new steps we had learned.  Brilliant!  It was as if we had waltzed together all of our lives.  I was in heaven.  The music ended much too soon.  Our instructor smiled, pointed at the two of us, and said, “Ladies and gentlemen – please watch this couple dance.  Their feet understand the music. Lovely!”  He played the waltz again, and we danced for our class.  Look ma! I’m dancing!  I am not a klutz anymore.

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I love lingerie.  So much so, I have officially run out of space in my little townhouse to store it all.  There is no more room at the inn. My armoire, specifically selected to house my lingerie, overfloweth.  And – I was told by the love of my life that it is time to edit my collection.  WHAT?  How on Earth am I supposed to do that?  Not one piece of lingerie in my home is extraneous – I wear it all and don’t keep any items for just “special occasions” (ok – that’s not entirely true. I only wear the red bra and panties with the white feather trim during the Christmas season, and the Halloween sets are only worn in October). Other than that, I rotate the lingerie routinely so all have an equal opportunity wearing.

My lingerie makes me feel good – pretty.  I can wear a grungy t-shirt and jeans to work in the garden, but I feel pretty because I know that underneath that grunge is a pink and black lace bra with matching panties.  Everybody sing! “I feel pretty. Oh so pretty. I feel pretty, and witty and gay. And I pity any girl who isn’t me today. I feel charming. Oh so charming. It’s alarming how charming I feel…”

Mind you, the man who told me it was “time to edit” has so much junk in the garage, we can only park one car in a garage big enough for 2 cars and a motorcycle!  He has two, count them, TWO 6-foot tall tool boxes.  I know there is a gadget in one of them that can only be used for one specific repair on his Mercedes.  He has used it ONCE and will probably not use it again for another 6 years, but it sits there, in that drawer, taking up space and looking very expensive (it was), while I make certain that MY stuff gets used regularly.

Something’s rotten in Denmark…would it be wrong to suggest he “edit” his toolboxes so that I can store some of my pretty things in it? Maybe I can re-purpose that Snap-on Toolbox to store my corsets and peignoirs.  Hmmmm…I think I’ll suggest the re-purposing over drinks tonight. I’ll serve them while I’m dressed in the little red silk organza negligée that started this whole “edit” idea.  That should work, don’t you think?

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Easter always puts me into such a happy frame of mind.  It’s a time for celebration of life…and, apparently, gaining 5 pounds thanks to Mr. Reeses and his peanut butter cup eggs.  Oy!

I find it very easy to resist candy and cookies during the Christmas holiday, but it’s a challenge for me on Easter.  Must be the colors…I love Easter colors.  They mean SPRING is here!  Yay! Yipee! Spring is here – let’s have some candy.  I should just skip a step and slather the chocolate and peanut butter directly onto my hips and thighs (I know someone who would LOVE that, but I digress to a topic that should not be discussed on a blog…)

How do people do it? I see peanut butter and chocolate, or solid chocolate eggs or Peeps or…and I want them.  OMG! Peeps! Little bites of heavenly sugar and marshmallowy goodness.  Do they make them low cal? Or no-cal? Nooooooo! What would be the fun of that?  It’s fun to see the fat lady who has managed to lose 8 lbs in two weeks put them right back on!  The love of my life manages to say “no” after just one small piece of candy. That is so wrong. And so unfair.  He can afford to add on a pound or two, but he doesn’t because, as he likes to joke, “That would ruin my girlish figure.”  Smartass.

So – how do you manage to resist temptation? What makes you step away from the candy dish so no one gets hurt? What’s your motivation?  I need ideas, people, because getting into “bikini shape” is so not going to happen.

HTML!  That’s how I greet the love of my life when I send him a text message.  It means “Hi there, my love!   He said he loves that I do that – it makes him feel good and it’s “code” – every guy loves secret codes.

It’s hard sometimes to put into words how much I love this man.  He’s a gentle giant. His plate-sized hands are so large that I have to hold three of his fingers rather than his whole hand when we walk together (mind you – I am 5’9″ tall – not exactly a petite femme).   His physical presence is intimidating to many people, especially the teenage friends of his son, which makes me laugh inside because he is such a kind and gentle man.  Our two cats adore him, to the point where they follow him around the house and yard like puppies, tripping over themselves trying to be the closest one to him. Even my dog loves him – hard not to love the one who “accidentally” drops that forbidden piece of bacon on the floor next to you…

He’s a hugger-extraordinaire.  My friends tend to come back for “just one more hug” from him before they leave our home. His baritone laugh fills the room, and his smile makes my heart skip a beat.  My sisters all think he’s the best thing that has happened to me since…”Forever”, to quote my younger sister.  They have seriously questioned my choices in the past when it comes to men (they were right to do so – I have made some HUGE mistakes – HUGE, HUGE, HUGE mistakes.) All 3 of my sisters  adore him, of which he reminds me constantly.  Well, of course they do – He bakes them fresh sourdough bread and cinnamon raisin bread whenever we go to visit them.  Bribery with food works on my family.

He has kind, happy blue eyes complimented by deep laugh lines.  I noticed the other night (I discover new things about him daily) that he doesn’t have a frown line. Not even a hint of one.  Amazing! So, silly me – I commented on it.  His response was, “It’s been destroyed by all the smile lines you’ve created for me.”  No wonder I’m truly, madly and deeply in love with this man.  I told him I am keeping him.  Like it or not. He’s mine. Mine, mine, mine.

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It’s here! It’s finally here!  Baseball season is in full swing (pun intended).  Oh how I love this game, especially my beloved Giants.  I’ve been a Giants fan since I was 5 and discovered they wear Halloween colors.  What could be cooler than THAT?  I have followed them ever since.  I even married one of them back in the 80’s.  Happily, we’re not married any more.  I had a blast traveling with the team-then I grew up.  And that’s about all I have to say about that.

My boys have had a rough start – losing to the terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad Dodgers.  Now they’re back in form, kickin’ Colorado butt.   I loved watching the past two games, and can’t wait to watch Matty pitch today.  Woohoo!  Next to Timmy, he’s my favorite pitcher.

I sit close enough to the Giants’ dugout, that I can talk to Timmy et al between innings or before the game.  I handed Timmy a bar of Lava soap last year, and told him to chew on a piece of it the next time he says “Fuck, yeah!” on National television.  He’s a good kid and a great pitcher.  His mother must be so proud (except for that little marijuana incident last year…pretty stupid, but what can you expect? He’s a KID!)  *sigh* I do love those boys.   Grown men who are paid A LOT of money to play a kid’s game…lucky bastards.

My boyfriend thinks I’m nuts. How can anyone sit for 3 hours watching 5 minutes of action (he’s an NBA fan…)?  It’s all in the numbers, baybee! I love the stats, and I do like watching those guys in uniform – yes indeedy.   Aaron Rowand (I call him “porn star” because that is what he looks like with the gold chain and facial hair), Nate the Great, Pat the butt (ok – I know he’s called Pat the Bat, but I like his butt…), Sanchez (Johnny and Freddy), Panda, Huff Daddy, etc., etc., etc.  Now that things have slowed down at work, I’m soooo looking forward to many games at AT&T.  Go Gigantes!  Let the season never end!  Pass the peanuts my way and someone find the lemonade vendor…

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Happy dog post-walk

I woke this morning to sunshine streaming in through the glass door in my bedroom. Lovely!  It’s been awhile since we saw sunshine here in “sunny” California. Not that I’m complaining.  We needed the rain.  I would definitely prefer gentle rains rather than these torrential downpours that tend to cause land slides and flooding…but Mother Nature has her own p.o.v. on that.

The hills surrounding the valley are a gorgeous emerald green now and the fruit tree buds have popped.  Our street is decorated in pink, fuchsia and white blossoms (allergy alert…) and the Calla Lilies seemed to have bloomed overnight.

On our walk this morning, my dog seemed to pay less attention to the ground and more attention to the floral scent along the trail (or was it the squirrels taunting  him from every tree?) He walked nose-up the entire trek – 4 miles without once stopping to smell the “messages” left by other dogs!  That’s a first.  He’s a happy boy now – laying in a patch of sunshine on the hardwood floor, freshly exercised and his tummy full from breakfast. He’s starting to drift off into his mid-morning nap. I love watching him relax – he’s so very good at it.  He could teach a masters program in relaxation.

But, I digress (again). It’s a beautiful day today – that was the point of this blog.  1) I woke up breathing. ALWAYS a great way to start the day; 2) The sun is out, and the clouds have moved East; 3) I am loved by a truly remarkable man; 4) I survived meeting his ex-wife yesterday and actually like her; 5) The sun is out (I know – I said that already, but it’s REALLY REALLY good). I am now going to go enjoy the sunshine for the rest of the day.  I have packed a picnic lunch, and we are going for a bike ride up into the hills.  Should be lovely in the hills, a bit muddy, but no worries.

Enjoy YOUR day, regardless of the weather.

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I love to write. I have no interest in writing the great American novel (that’s already been done – can’t do any better then Ms. Harper Lee did when she created a beautiful character named Atticus Finch).  I just love putting pen to paper (yes, I still do that in this day and age).  There is something both relaxing and challenging at the same time when I put ideas and emotions into words.

I had the idea of writing a guide for single moms, but have yet to get it done.  I have the title, “How I Learned to Pee Standing Up in the Woods, A Single Mom’s Guide to Raising an Eagle Scout”.  I also have 4 chapters written.  I can’t say they are done, but they are documented on my laptop…somewhere…I can’t remember where I stored them (again).

My sisters tell me that what I’ve written so far is good – funny, touching, fitting for today’s parental units.  But they are my sisters – they have to say that kind of stuff because, if they don’t, I might hit them.  I don’t think I would take kindly to a critic trashing my work, so I keep my writings safely tucked away.  My skin is thin when it comes to my writing – I react almost as if someone is criticizing my son.  How dare they?

I’m not even good at listening to critique that I know is accurate, though not necessarily appropriate.  I nearly decked a mom who commented that MY son wasn’t very good at baseball…grrrrrrr! Clench fist, protect thumb, bring elbow back, aim… Then I stopped.  She was right.  He throws like a girl (my fault – I taught him everything I know about the game, including how to throw.  I know a lot about baseball – it’s my spring/summer/fall passion and I dream about it during the long winter –  but I can’t throw to save my life.  Quite sad.)  I told her “You’re right.  He throws like me, and the game just isn’t his passion. But you should see him rock climb, swim, teach other Boy Scouts First Aid or listen to him play classical guitar while singing songs he has written.  He’s THE best at those things!  Baseball he does for me.  Isn’t he sweet?”

I had finished a beautiful queen-size quilt by myself.  It was so pretty, lovely colors, intricate quilting, DONE! (For those of you who are not and do not know a quilter – DONE is amazing all unto itself.)  I brought it to work to show a friend of mine.  While it lay spread out on the conference table, with my co-workers drooling over it, our VP of Sales stepped into the room.  He walked around the table, studying the quilt for nano-seconds, pointed to a section along the border and said, “You made a mistake here.”  To this day, that’s all I ever see on that quilt.  I don’t see the warm autumn colors, the leaves I quilted on it or the perfect way the compass pieces came together with crisp points and straight seams.  All I see is that one, stupid mistake.  *sigh* How can I let others critique my writing if I can’t even accept a little mistake on a quilt that I made for myself??

How do you handle critique? Any guidance would be appreciated ’cause I’m just not very good at it at all.

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I am in love with a big (65 lb), fluffy (understatement) Sheltie named Beethoven. I melt when he turns his milk-chocolate eyes up to me, eyebrows arched, one ear perked and the other flopping over, smiling that Sheltie-smile.  *sigh*   He’s the smartest dog with whom I have ever shared a home.  He knows people by name, and not just the folks who live with him.  In a room full of people, I can ask him to bring something to Auntie Joyce, and he does it!  I don’t point to her, she doesn’t call over to him.  He just KNOWS.  If I ask him “Where’s Jeff?”, he’ll go to the front door, bark and wait.  Jeff is his boy.  Jeff is grown now and has moved out on his own, but Beethoven checks his room almost daily – I think he’s hoping Jeff will magically appear on the bed.  I sometimes join him in hoping Jeff will magically appear…I, too, miss my boy.

When I rescued B, he was on death row because he was considered “dangerously people-aggressive”.  I took him home with the knowledge that he would be euthanized if I couldn’t get him to change his ways within 3 months.   I took his muzzle off,  massaging his tummy as he lay with his head in my lap.  Poor thing – he wasn’t mean.  He was terrified!  His previous owner beat the crap out of him – that is bound to leave a psychological mark or two, ya think?  Three months of consistent discipline and more love than any one dog should be able to handle, and he was a different dog.  He passed the Canine Good Citizen test with flying colors, and the County exonerated him of all previous transgressions.  Whew!  I don’t think I could have handed him over if he didn’t pass – we’d probably be hiding in Canada right now!  We’ve been a happy team for 7 years now.  He is my friend, confidant, bed warmer and all-around buddy!  Now if I could just get him to stop stealing the fresh loaves of bread off the counter…he’s quickly making himself an enemy of Steve, the bread baker in the house.  I swear I saw Steve googling dog recipes the other day…

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I went to a memorial service yesterday for my Uncle Chuck. He’s not really my uncle, but he is.  I’ve known him for 43 years, during which time he has been my second dad, the great maker of Mickey Mouse Chocolate Chip pancakes and the man from whom I inherited my passion for all things BASEBALL (despite his misguided love for the American League and THAT Oakland team that won the World Series in 1989…damn them!)  He introduced me to the wonderful bands of the 40′ and 50’s and showed me how much fun it could be to dance to the “old” stuff.  He also taught me that you need to expect and welcome happiness every day, otherwise it would feel unwelcome and leave with someone else.

Uncle Chuckles had a booming voice and a wonderfully contagious laugh.  He was always so happy.  Madly in love with Aunt Lee and their 3 girls.   I loved the way he looked at Aunt Lee – a blend of adoration, happiness and passion.  They were married for over 50 years.   His daughters are my best friends.  We refer to each other as sisters, and, after all these years, still get together to talk and giggle all night long, lounging around in pajamas and listening to music (the only difference is our beverage of choice these days is a good Cabernet Sauvignon rather than Coca Cola, and, sadly, we don’t listen to Jethro Tull or Bruce Springsteen very often anymore).

The last time I saw Uncle Chuck was this last Christmas Eve.  He was walking around his house, hooked up to an oxygen tank, dragging an oxygen hose around with him while he cuddled his little poodle, Beau, in his arms.  “You look so happy, Dolly!”, he said to me when we hugged.   I introduced him to the love of my life, and he whispered to me, “Oh – Now I know why you look happy.  I like him –  Look at the way he looks at you.”  I whispered back that Steve looks at me the way HE looks at Aunt Lee, and he chuckled. “Yup – he must know you are the perfect woman just like Leelee!  He’s a keeper, Dolly.  You deserve it – say hello to happiness.”

We didn’t chat much after that because, as usual, there were dozens of people in the house waiting for his hug .  He settled down in the big chair in the living room, and folks gravitated to him throughout the night.  He was in such great spirits.  He was surrounded by good friends and the women he loved and adored.  As was  his way, he chose to say hello to happiness rather than allow self-pity for his health or regret for things he couldn’t do anymore creep in through the window.

I heard his laugh all night – sometimes a chuckle, sometimes a roar of laughter at something his grandkids were doing.  It was such lovely music.  I can close my eyes now and hear him laughing.  There was not one tear shed at his memorial service.   Instead, the house rang with the laughter of over 50 people celebrating his life and sharing stories about him as they drank wine, ate pasta and basked in the love we could still feel from him.  That is what he wanted.   “Hello Happiness! Come on in!”

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“Hi there, sexy!” You have no idea how often I hear that statement.  I hear that a lot.  I mean a lot-a lot.  Not just every once in a while. We’re talking DAILY here!

Ok – it’s me talking to myself in the bathroom mirror, but it’s true.  I hear it a lot. I say it a lot.  I believe I will make it come true some day if I say it often and loud enough and really, really, really believe (clap your hands here if you believe in fairies), I will be sexy. Poof!

Oh – look! It happened! Wow! Thanks for clapping your hands! That must have been the final missing ingredient in my quest for sexiness.

Dang – wait a minute.  This is what sexy looks like? Hmmmm… Same ol’ plus-size body, nice rack, and, oh no! My hair is still curly. Now THAT is a disappointment. I thought I’d get long, straight hair when the sexy fairy came to call. And – I am still fat. EXCUSE ME! I did NOT order this weight as part of my sexy package. *sigh* Never mind. I’ll take it as-is. With my luck, I’d return the package and have start all over again.

My journey to discovering that I AM a sexy, beautiful woman ended perfectly today. I spent 4 hours with an amazing photographer. She had me pose in classic pin-up girl poses, wearing adorable vintage-looking clothes.  And, GASP! For one set of photos, I posed in an emerald-green satin bra, matching thong and a vintage sheer peignoir. Yep – I posed in my undies and looked FABULOUS! I LOOKED HOT! Gorgeous, sexy and confident. I left Sophie’s studio with my head held just a little higher than I normally would, smiled and greeted the men I passed as I strutted the 5 blocks to my car (they all smiled back at me, by the way), and I haven’t stopped smiling since.

This journey took 40 years, and took me through some horribly low points.  There is nothing like having someone tell you, at the ripe old age of 13, that …”you aren’t the pretty one, you’re the smart one.  Boys probably won’t ask you to the prom, but you are so smart, you will be a successful business woman and will find a man to marry you. ” Just what every 13 year old needs and wants to hear. And, what was it that made me ugly?  I was a size 14 in a size 4 world.  She would also tell me, “You have such a pretty face. When are you going to fix the rest of you?” Thanks, Grandma.  Say “hey” to Beezlebub for me.

So – to all of you women out there who had a grandmother, mother or other “well-meaning” family member who told you “You have such a pretty face…”, agree that you do have a pretty face.  And then tell the world that you have a “rockin’ body” to go with it!  Enjoy your body as it is. If you aren’t happy with how healthy you are, than fix THAT – your health.  Love yourself, be happy, confident, sexy!  Above all else – Be Yourself!

Oh – by the way, Grandma, I DID go to prom with the first love of my life.

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