SINGLES’ OLYMPICS

You don’t have to wait every four or even two years for this occurrence.  You don’t even have to travel to Korea, Japan or Brazil. It is ongoing, with dreams of winning, and the reality of losing for participants, but it is always present as long as people are seeking love-usually online.  I have broken the “games” into several categories, just like the real thing.  Since I am single, I include myself in the competition.

Events that garner lots of interest:

1 Dodging Commitment

This usually takes the form of just looking for a friendship or making no promises about potential meetings.  Coming up with excuses why they can’t make firm or definite plans,  teasing about a future with no intention of following through and are rarely available.  Gold Medal-Unlisted phone number.

2 Running from Responsibility

Another favorite is not being able to show up on time, not calling when promised, and always having a good excuse for being unreliable.  Extra points for not showing up at time of date.  Gold Medal-Thesaures with new words for being unavailable.

3 Speed Abandonment

A real crowd pleaser for many men.  Obvious by its name, this event includes cutting the date short, never calling again, and showing no response to questioning emails.  Gold Medal-Running Shoes.

4 Distraction Demeanor

A most annoying habit of men-looking at every woman in sight and ignoring   present date.  Making it obvious that the other women are more important.  Shows little interest in current companion.  Gold Medal-Binoculars.

5 Forward Thrust

Coming on very strong in the beginning with words of love, and maybe even flowers(I am still waiting for mine.)  Declarations of finally finding a soul mate and knowing it was meant to be.  Gold Medal-muzzle.

6 Rapid Disappearing

See Speed Abandonment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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GOING NOWHERE

This morning, I was running(really fast walking) on the treadmill in the gym at my condo.  The machine shows how far I am traveling, and what my speed is.  I had to force myself to do the time, but earlier sunrises make it easier to get going.  At the end of my twenty minutes, I was still on the treadmill and had not gone anywhere.  Let’s hope my thighs are responsive to the effort.

When I was younger, I was a runner.  I participated in one 10K race and spent the rest of my jogging time circling a track at a local high school.  running away from home without really leaving.  It was fun, and so long ago that women’s running shoes were not readily available.  I used to have to call New Balance in New England to get my foot gear.

I think that the jogging helped me deal with life situations, and a feeling of accomplishment.  Unfortunately, it also led to profound nerve damage in both feet, major surgery, and casts on both legs.  I consulted ten doctors, who all had no idea what the problem was and offered no remedy.

Finally, I consulted a podiatrist who diagnosed me with tarsal tunnel syndrome and told me he knew how to help me.  I was so relieved that I cried.

What followed , even after the operation, was pain for one year limited choices for footwear.  Suddenly, I could only walk in cowboy boots and running shoes.  At my daughter’s wedding, I wore heels only for my walk down the aisle and then switched to socks.  So did the rest of the wedding party.

After many years, i still can’t wear high heels(no great loss) and depend on orthotics in my shoes.  But then life became easier when I discovered Vionic shoes.  They are the best for me and are designed for just my problem.  I am not a paid spokesperson, bit I could be.

So, after running around the track and walking fast on the treadmill,  I may not have gotten anywhere far from home, but I have learned to handle problems more easily.  Thank you, endorphins

VALENTINE’S DAY

I don’t have an official valentine this year, so, no flowers, heart-shaped boxes of candy or romantic cards for me.  I have memories of past love-day celebrations and  suitors who treated me kindly.  I guess I will have to be content to stay on the journey of learning to love myself.

Here are things I love:my daughter and her family, Cuddle Duds, Vionic shoes, owls, poodles, end of an exercise class, warm gloves, home, flying, chocolate,  naps, you who read my blog.

I wish I had more to write about romantic love, but it has eluded me for years, and maybe I just forgot what it is like.  I have had two wonderful relationships since my divorce decades ago.

I picked up one blonde, handsome six-footer at a nice bar back in the 1980s when coupling seemed safer.  I asked if he was having a good time, and we were together for eight years.  What a wonderful man he is.  Recently widowed when we met, he was never bitter-sad, yes, but not angry.  He was the kindest man I have ever encountered. We never made it official, but I am grateful for our time together.

The next stop on my romantic map was answering an ad in Baltimore Magazine.  Pre-Internet, personals ads in the back of city publications were the way to go.  We met for drinks and were a couple for over ten years.  He worked at NSA and I learned about spying and the code-breakers of WW II.  He was attentive to my daughter and me.  The end wasn’t pretty, but not horrible either.

Since then, I have dated sporadically, seeking chemistry and kindness and connection.  No luck so far.  So, on this Valentine’s Day, I will count my blessings and be thankful for  family and the love I have had.

FALLING STOCKS AND FAMILY BONDS

When the Dow Jones average plummeted on Monday, I felt panicky(like everyone else.)  In truth, the downslide was not even in the top twenty of daily market plunges percentage wise.  But the numbers were frightening.

My father, a prominent stockbroker, used to reassure me about market fluctuations and I felt safe while he was alive.  But he died in 2005, and now that he is gone, I have to be my  own self calmer.

Not alone in this endeavor, I have some financial people who I can talk to about what is going on and they never seem to get rattled.  During the crash of 2008, I called them asking advice on how to proceed as the downturn was historic.  Their advice, “turn off the television.”  So, I did and left the portfolio alone.  In retrospect, a good move.

But the hysteria from the media is contagious, and I hesitate looking at the daily rises and falls of the market out of fear.  My family has been generous and I feel responsible for maintaining the money to leave to my daughter.  I am solely the custodian of the funds, I feel, not the owner.

My grandfather was also a stockbroker in Baltimore, after selling liquor from a wagon in St. Joseph, Missouri.  Because of these family ties, I assume I should know what to do about economic problems, but I don’t.  Usually, I follow the advice to buy good stocks and hold them.  When I don’t know what to do, I do nothing.

I like to buy into companies I am familiar with-Coca-Cola(love to drink it,) Reebok(the only shoe I could wear when I busted the nerves in my feet from running,)  and QVC(I knew there were other lazy shoppers like me.)  I skipped the tech enthusiasm of the 1970s.

My dad told me that bulls and bears make money on Wall Street, but not hogs.  So, I am not interested in the latest hot tip, nor in getting the perfect return on my money.

I just hope the volatility settles down in the right direction, and that I have the patience to remain calm when it does not.

DO WE REALLY NEED TO KNOW?

I stopped watching the “Today” show because of Jeff Rossen.  On too many mornings he bombarded viewers with new things to be afraid of.  I have enough of my own fears without adding his to the mix.

One of his favorite topics focuses on hidden germs in hotels, homes, and just about everywhere else.  Who cares?  Like everyone else, I am trying to avoid unnecessary exposure to potentially harmful pathogens, but refuse to curtail my life and habits to stay safe.

Daily, we risk all kinds of dangers, from driving, being around other people, and touching a variety of unclean surfaces. And, yet, we survive most threats to our health.  I believe our bodies are miracle mechanisms that fight off and attack most unwelcome germs.  but I don’t want to always be thinking of the dangers that lurk in everyday life.

The activities which many fear are often the least threatening.  Flying is probably the safest way to travel and except for cramped quarters and too many people using tech devices, it is the easiest.  Any yet still many are frightened of flying.

Years ago, I, too, was afraid of flying.  Pre-9/11, I took a course with now-defunct Pan Am Airways led by a pilot and a psychologist explaining the genesis of our fright and the reality of the safety of traveling by plane.  We were told to put our new perspective into reality by taking a flight within the next six weeks.

I chose to attend a runners’ camp high in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  With no problems re; flying, my enemy  became shin splints.  We also gambled at Nevada casinos-generally a wonderful trip. Since that time, I especially enjoy boarding a plane and heading skyward into the limbo of high altitudes.  I flew to New Orleans in December and am planning a flight to Tucson soon.

In an odd turn of events, I began working as a para-professional teaching other folks how to overcome fears of public speaking, and, yes, flying.  With assistance of a social  worker, I took fearful flyers on a plane to Newark, NJ and back several times.Richard Bach, in his book “Illusions”says we teach best what we most need to learn. I know I talk a lot about how to live peacefully and well, yet struggle myself with these concepts.

So, Jeff Rossen, please stop sharing new things to frighten us.  We all live with our own private fears without your help.

 

RAINY DAYS AND SUNDAYS

I am happy when the skies darken and raindrops fall on a Sunday, especially.  This once-sanctioned day of rest relieves us of the pressures to be social and engaged in activities. Whenever someone asks me if I am “keeping busy,” I happily respond “not if I can help it.”

A dreamer and fantasizer by nature, I adore free time to be filled or not.  I even hope scheduled events are cancelled.  Even though I am not employed, I still crave freedom and the absence of plans.  Was I once forced to fill my time?  I have no idea, and it doesn’t really matter anymore.

This morning, I put on my favorite hoodie which says “Oregon” and that I bought at the Portland airport.  I was attending a writers’ conference and never even saw the City of Roses as the workshops were held at facilities at the airport.  But at leaset I have my sweatshirt, and I feel somewhat worldly when I wear it, like a seasoned traveler.

On to my favorite morning hangout-Barnes & Noble, where I gobble a huge chocolate-chip cookie and have my minimal caffeine fix for the day.  Reading magazines for free is an added bonus.  I don’t think I would be any happier sitting at a cafe on the Champs Elysee in Paris.  Then, I bought the James Patterson book about the rise and fall of New England Patriot’s star, Aaron Hernandez. I am fascinated by people who trash their stellar careers for whatever they seek-excitement, money, sex, escape.  I personally know of a physician and writer who traded it all for momentary pleasures.

Next stop was the Giant-where the pharmacist knows me better than does my family since I am a large consumer of pharmaceuticals and grateful for their powers.  Not in a hurry, I am not annoyed by the man who pushes in front of me at the deli counter. Normally, I would internally hate him and perhaps even externally chide him about his rudeness.  But not today.

So, on this easy-breezy Sunday, I look forward to starting my book, playing online, maybe watching TV and just relishing in being free.

MEMORIES OF A GEISHA

I am not in a particularly good mood this morning, a feeling not allowed when I was growing up.  I had to be cheerful, cooperative, and undemanding.  This mandate of always being inoffensive and agreeable causes me to hide any negative emotions, and fake what I am feeling.

John Bradshaw, recovery guru of the 1980s, wrote that children should not be born with a job.  The task that migrated to me, the youngest child, was to never offend anyone and be pleasing and entertaining-the training to be a geisha.

I never experienced any options other than to be of service or at least always speak kindly of and to others.  The lack of permission to be angry, upset, fearful or real resulted in an avoidance of people and introversion.  The work of always providing entertainment and good words to others became exhausting and depressing.  So, too often, I have chosen to be alone.

This week, I met a new neighbor and tried much too hard to be kind, interested, and pleasant.  I am not the damn Welcome Wagon, but my actions were rote and misplaced. The lady contradicted and challenged much of what I said and made no effort to please me. I envied her freedom to be real as much as I disliked her words.  Why do I try so hard to be nice and “lady-like,” and end up angry and annoyed?

I know the answer is that I was taught to be responsible for the feelings of my parents and sibling.  I was given the idea that I had the power to destroy them with anything but compliments and support.  I grew to be too pleasing and conciliatory and still suffer from this posture.

Just once, I want to experience disagreeing with the words of a person and not feel as if I destroyed them.  I am not that powerful, and need to learn how to be more authentic and less pleasing and conciliatory.

An unpleasant result of this grooming is that I feel responsible and to be blamed when relationships fail or sputter.  My default mode is that it must be my fault.  I never consider the role the other person may have played in the problem.  I am so sick of always smiling.

At least, finally I am aware enough of this dysfunctional pattern of behavior to experiment being freer in my interactions with others to express all of my emotions and feel more comfortable in the world.