Passion by Participation

As I fire up the keyboard here I'm realizing this post will likely be in two parts - some rambling on how I'm doing and then more about the post title.  But hey, it's my blog and my rocks rolling around in my head so there we are. 

My physical and emotional health both took a nosedive this month.  But I think I can say that my cough is pretty much gone.  Just some hacking in the morning and a little in the evening when I'm tired.  After 3 weeks of this, you bet I'm sick of being sick!

Emotionally...well...overall I'm feeling good and putting the whole breakup thing behind me.  Every day it's farther in the rear view mirror and more of a capsule of really great memories rather than anything to feel sad about.

Are he and I in contact, you may wonder?  No, and we won't be.  When he called that night to break up I was in shock.  But somewhere at the end of our conversation I think we'd agreed to speak again in a few days. I was going to call him, yep, we agreed to that.  But since then I got removed off Facebook...un-friended.  Wow, the quirky world of Facebook.  Whatever...OK.  And couple of my friends called his breaking up over the phone cowardly.  Perhaps...but it doesn't matter in the end.  It's still over and wasn't my choice.  I don't feel a need to label it. So no, I didn't call him.

Does he read this blog?  He sure did at first.  And loved it.  Even shared it with some good friends of his on his trip to Australia last month.  Perhaps it was my first post-breakup post that he didn't like so much.  I'd bet money he's read it.  If he has great; if not, great.  It's my words and my feelings and isn't intended for anyone in particular.  There are a fair amount who tune in here regularly (thank you!) and a few who stumble in here on accident (another thank you!). 

If you haven't seen that first post-breakup post yet, it's a couple weeks back, "Misled and Broken."  And it's not a bashfest on him.  I don't operate that way...and as angry as I am (OK, was as we're moving past this) about having my head and heart fucked with, I can't be angry at HIM.  Does that make any sense?  That's a hard one to articulate.

There are a few last dangly things I want to share in here about how I'm feeling post-breakup.  I did feel a little down yesterday as the 26th was supposed to be a special night for he and I.  First, the plan was to go to a fundraiser/auction of some sort.  I remember when he sent the email with the scoop...I thought WOW.  He's already thinking ahead and wants me to do more stuff aways out!  What can I say - that may not be a big deal for some, but that's HUGE for me.  Makes me feel really happy, included and wanted.  Loved.

But the plans for that night later changed into going out with a large group to celebrate his birthday - something he does every year.  Sounds even better! In fact, if I remember correctly, he told me about this change of plans just a few days before we split.  Now, how can you already be thinking about pulling away from someone but tell them hey, instead of going to the auction we're going out with a bunch of people for my (his) birthday?  I don't get it.  Maybe his decision to break up was a super spontaneous one.  Or maybe the chat we had at my place the week prior was my warning shot over the bow.  It doesn't matter now.  I just felt a little wistful last night knowing we'd had plans to be out celebrating.  Plans that he moved forward with and that no longer included me.  And with these words I close the door and move on.

A couple weeks ago I was changing the sheets on my bed and stubbed my toe on something just under the dust cover.  Oh yeah...some, um, props for the boudoir.  Specifically, hand restraints.  Am I blushing as I type this?  What can I tell you - don't knock it till you try it, people.  Tangent warning:  I have never had any issues or hangups with sex.  And with very, very few exceptions, I've never had what anyone would call 'bad' sex.  Meaning, chemistry's usually not an issue.  But props/accessories...well, I've never really ever felt they were necessary nor have any of the men in my life ever suggested using them - till now. 

And now they were sitting in a heap under my bed.  What to do?

I then realized I still had a book he'd loaned me:  The Primal Blueprint, by Mark Sisson.  It promotes the primal (or paleo) way of eating - meaning, to eat like our ancestors did in the hunter/gatherer years, the way our bodies are genetically programmed!  Lots of lean meats, vegetables and fruits.  Hold off on the grains, dairy and processed foods. G raved about this book and I'd browsed through it on a couple occasions in his kitchen when he was cooking us dinner.  It really is a fascinating book.  There are 9809824 diet and nutrition books and theories out there.  What really works?  I don't read a lot of diet books, but this one literally jumped out at me...the same way the Carbohydrate Addicts book did about 15 years ago.  I liked it so much I recently purchased the accompanying cookbook.  Yum.

And as I was rearranging things in my pantry I found a small, round tupperware container of flour.  The first time I cooked for us I made my signature corn chowder with potatoes, fennel and bacon - using the bacon he'd made himself.  I needed just a tablespoon of flour for the roux and was totally out.  And I was in that mode where I'd done all the chopping and prep work and was not in a position to run to the store to get flour.  When you need flour, you really can't substitute anything else!  So, G to the rescue bringing some by at the last minute!

So we've got flour, a book, and bedroom hand restraints.  I've had a few episodes after breakups where we each needed to return stuff we had at eachother's houses - clothes, makeup, shoes or other things.  Never those 3 things, much less all at once!  Random!!  And normally it's done in person, meeting up.  This time it just didn't feel right to do it that way.

So I thought hmm, what to do with these 3 things?  I ended up putting them in a brown grocery bag and drove up to his place late one night and put it in the back entry area near his car.  Some of my friends said I was too nice to do this - should have just tossed everything in the trash.  But that's not how I roll.  Again, I can't label behavior like that as "too nice" or whatever the hell it is.  It was something I needed to do and it felt good. And there was nothing of any significance of mine that was still at his place. Just a toothbrush.  And now closing another door with these words.

Those 3 random things DO have significance...they point to 3 areas that are so important to me in relationships, and things he and I had no issues with period.  Cooking, food and sex...basic needs we all have as humans.

So now, I think about Passion.  Passion for cooking a great meal, sharing it with friends, and then passion later that night (and morning) with your special someone.  Doesn't get much better than that.  When I look back on my short time with G, I am inspired (re-inspired) to cook and cherish my love of food.  I was reminded that you don't need a huge, gourmet kitchen to cook incredible meals for your family and friends.  G's post-divorce apartment has a great floor plan.  The kitchen is, well, your basic apartment kitchen - perhaps a "2 butt" size - enough for two people to cook together, and very basic appliances.  But the cooking that came out of that kitchen - for just the two of us or a group of 12 - phenomenal. 

And, transitioning topics here and onto what was more the point of this post (see, I DO always come back after longass tangents), "passion by participation" popped into my head one day.  I think it was a crappy and stressed day at work that did it.  We're on the brink of a large launch in the next few weeks, and our team's pretty beat down and stressed.  No matter how hard we plan, we discover stuff that still needs to be done last minute.  And we panic, freak out...but get it done.  But we need to do a better job of collaborating under stress.  Rather, we scurry into our silos and shut eachother out.  Given my job is to provide planning and scheduling among other things, our actual way of executing on tasks flies in the face of my basic principles.  But, our group and what we're working on is new, so the opportunities are incredible and boundless.  There's a lot of "we don't know what we don't know."  Myself included.  And to survive in this group, you have to be comfortable being uncomfortable. 

I am a pretty good multi-tasker, but when I get stressed and overwhelmed I spin out and clue out.  I even had an astrologer once tell me, during a natal chart reading, that I'm prone to "clue-ing out" more than others.  Darn you, Neptune!  [Just kidding - I can't remember which planetary alignment is to blame, ha ha].  Combine that with a therapist about a decade ago who introduced me to the word "negating."  Brushing things off, nullyfying...oh dear this could be a whole 'nother post down the road.  Lots of issues there.  I'm fighting back - HARD.

I DO get my clue-ing out-ness quirk and how it gets worse when I'm under stress.  Throw in a little PMS (typically I have one bad day a month) and I'm pretty much an inarticulate, blubbery mess for 24 hours.

What do I do about it?  How do I stretch myself to improve?  I decided I'm going to try very, very hard, no matter what I'm doing, to focus only on that one particular thing and not let other buzz distract me.  When my world at work is a sea of emailing flying around, interruptions and back to back meetings, that's pretty damn hard to do!  But can I do it better?  And if so, will that improve the quality of my work?  Or perhaps my relationships?  How about my Silpada jewelry business? Or my hockey?

Passion starts with participation.  Showing up!  Being present mentally and physically!  Ignoring other noise and distractions!  YES!  THIS is what I'm going to focus on for the next week, month, year...however long it takes till it becomes a habit. 

I've got a lot of work to do.  And I'm ready.  



"Well, at least you've still got your humor."

I've quipped this a few times and it came up again yesterday when I was taking a (very rare) long lunch with a co-worker.  Our group moved to a different building a few weeks ago, and it's been a very nice change of scenery.  And a much lighter and brighter building.  Plus there's a Mexican restaurant very close by.  We toasted to the end of a rough week.  As much as a margarita was very, very tempting, I stuck with plain iced tea.  Going back to work after having a drink makes me incredibly bloated and sleepy.  Probably not a good mode to be in when you need to crank out a few reports.

I made up for it when I met a couple great friends for happy hour that evening.

Anyway, I think I do have a good knack for eeking out humor, no matter how shitty the situtation is.  But it definitely can take a little time to surface.

Guys, if you're going to dump me, don't do it on the brink of Daylight Savings Time.  Howzat?  Holy crap I have been through the emotional and physical wringer.  I've been sick since late February-ish.  And I still can't quite shake this cough.  My lung power's thrashed.  It really shows when I play hockey and it's cut into my gym time.  I've got some 5Ks to train for this year, people! 

DST's only an hour jump forward, but it might as well be 8.  UGH.  I'm a terrible morning person and it really takes a good week or two for me to adjust.  Combine that with my health and emotions very out of wack and I've been sleeping.  A lot.  Call it cliche, but sleep IS the best medicine.  I've taken a couple sick days from work (very, very rare for me) and after letting people know I'll be out I would go back to bed and sleep.  Until 1pm or so.

And I was just minutes "post-dumped" when the earthquake and tsunami in Japan popped onto the news.  Holy moly, the quake's now upgraded to a 9.0.  I hope I never, ever have to experience the horror.  I was extremely worried about my parents who were in Hawaii and had to evacuate that Thursday evening.  And sleep in their car on higher ground near a school.  My folks have had some sort of drama nearly every year they've gone to Hawaii on vacation.  Their cat died one year.  We had flooding here at home another year and were worried their house would be damaged.  Last year it was the tsunami evacuations following the earthquake in Chile.  This year...well my Mom THOUGHT that finding a mouse in their condo kitchen on their first night was going to be the drama this year.  Turns out it sure wasn't.

So...recombobulating.  The word makes a lot of sense - and makes me giggle too.  I wrote it down randomly a few nights ago on a piece of paper here and I thought, yep, that's what I'm going to do - and write about this week.

This blog's been a real mishmash of topics.  Hence why I almost called it Random Crap when I was first getting it underway.  I took a risk blogging about my dating episode earlier this year, for I'd kindasorta made a mini sort of vow to myself that I wouldn't ever blog on my dating life.  Do I regret doing so?  Nope.  It was a very fun and powerful (and brief turns out) interlude in my life and now it's documented.

How am I recombobulating?  Well, how delicious that we're on the brink of Spring.  The Vernal Equinox is tomorrow and THAT'S new beginnings and changes.  For real and huge.  So the tick-tock of time marching forward resonates deep in me and will naturally realign and readjust my being and soul.

I'm also thinking about what I want to write on and focus on (outside of work) in these upcoming months.  I've got a very beautiful and growing sterling silver jewelry inventory given my Silpada side business.  Business itself has been a tad slow, but my team members say that January and February typically are slow.   Gotta love a side job where you can WEAR your inventory with passion.  If I could sell this jewelry full-time and make a good living I'd do it in a heartbeat.  I've been feeling tiny tugs and pulls inside me that my job - while I'm grateful to HAVE one - isn't feeding my soul.  I have cravings for more creative work and things fashion/beauty focused.  And writing.  I've been doing - loosely - the same type of work professionally for over a decade.  I'm pretty good at it and continually keep my mind open to learn, but I feel it's time for a career change.  But that's going to require a lot more brainstorming, and likely finding a good coach/mentor.

I'm also going to blow the dust off my slow cooker and do some Cuban style chicken tonight.  Then tomorrow whip up a batch of bolognese sauce - in the slow cooker - and try it with polenta.  I have one of the Williams-Sonoma Slow Cooker recipe books and everything looks incredible.

So stay tuned for more.  More of what I don't know.  But that's the fun of blogging...while I recombobulate.


Misled and Broken

...and let's throw in Fucking Mad while we're at it. How.  How in the possible hell can things just turn on a dime, shut off and shut down?

I got dumped on Thursday night.  Yeesh, there's no worse feeling out there eh?  Makes me recoil and hunch over in my chair here as I type. And I'm ANGRY.  Angry that he fucked with my head and dare I say my heart too. 

I drank the Koolaid, man. I believed. I believed everything he did and said a million percent.  This is different, I told myself.  This is special.  Hell, I even went out on a limb here to blog about this, this 'burgeoning relationship' to use his words.  

I just don't get it.  The time together, the discoveries, generosity, listening, laughing, caring, calling, texting, his incredible cooking, the massages, the mind-blowing sex, the gifts, 'this song reminds me of you' and...introducing me to his friends - his family, really.  Friends I really enjoyed meeting and well, I felt honored to be included in his special circle.  Which is now cruelly yanked away.  Folks, this is the guy who even kindasorta made me change my mind about Valentines Day - how it isn't so meh after all.  When you get a very thoughtful, sexy gift for V-Day - and get it in January because he's going to be out of the country on the actual day - well, jeebus, how can you not get swept up in THAT??

My inboxes blew up.  Home email.  Facebook email. My voicemail...my texts...good gawd this man blanketed me - joyously - with wonderful musings, thoughts, just random stuff.  Not overwhelming at all.  Just a great dose of hey, I'm thinking about you and on and on.

He even read this Blog.  THAT'S a huge compliment to me.  Fivenineteen's been my outlet, baby and solace here for the past year and a half.  I was so flattered that he actually found it - I'd mentioned it on our first date - and on our second date shared what he'd read.  "I knew I liked you...but now I adore you." 

And the real kicker.  Making plans in advance.  When he and I first met, he would always ask me out again while we were together.  And gawd I purred.  And when he would ask me to do things a few weeks out - after just knowing him a few weeks - well, I felt beyond flattered.  Because in my book that implies there will be not only that to look forward to, but a whole lot of great times in between.  "So, when can I see you again?"  Strum my strings.

I knew we were in a sort of honeymoon bubble that would pop at some point.  That's normal and all.  And I'd only known him since early January really...and then he was in Australia two weeks and then we were each sick around the same time after that - yuck.  Holy fuck, I got more emails from him when he was in Australia than I did the past few days.  "I miss you"  "I can't wait to see you".  Musings on what he's doing there, wondering if I like to travel and what I'd think of xyz...I picked him up from the airport and after incredible Welcome Back sex, we snuggled together and he whispered, "now I really feel like I'm home."

Am I some dumbshit to actually BELIEVE all these things he's said and done?  About cry at the gorgeous opal bracelet he bought me?  Gaze into his eyes and feel something deep that stirs me to my core? 

I opened my heart wide. 

I knew there were things he was struggling with too.  Ugly echoes and legacies of his past...his childhood.  His marriage.  This time of year is especially shitty as it's the anniversary of two deaths - his father's and his marriage.  I get that - as best I can.  We're not 20 and we've been around the block.  We've all got baggage.  And we hopefully are self-aware and deal.  He even confided about some addictions he's working through, actively.  Things that maybe raised my eyebrows but I didn't run screaming out the door.  Things that aren't illegal by any means.  OK, OK...I'm actually honored he would open up about that.  Hell, I opened up to him about things that I'm not proud of - things that I haven't even shared with my closest girlfriends.

So after this past weekend...he went dark.  Was this the honeymoon bubble bursting?  I didn't initially get overly concerned...I mean hey, a little space is OK - after all we'd spent a good chunk of the weekend together.  And I was still craving a little more sleep as I'm at the tail end of this cough.

By Thursday I was all nope - this is bullshit.  I called him and he called back a little later.  We've never gone more than a day with zero contact.

"I don't want to date you.  I don't feel the spark and chemistry anymore."

I about dropped the phone.  He sounded like he was reading fucking cue cards.   And you know what?  I call BULLSHIT.  I don't believe him.  OK, I'm not all that - I know this, people - but mind-blowing chemistry like what he and I have/had doesn't just plop over to black like that.  G, there are people out there LIKE ME who GIVE A SHIT and BELIEVE IN YOU.  There are two people in this - how can you just pull the escape artist here and say nope, sorry, I'm done?  Do you honestly expect me to be oh OK, no worries, no problem??  I don't believe it.  And that's the first time I've ever doubted anything he's ever said to me.

But I kinda went numb.  Mere minutes later I heard about the huge earthquake in Japan and the tsunami warnings.  Oh no, here we go again...my folks are on vacay in Hawaii and - for the 2nd year in a row - have had to evacuate.  Amazingly I was able to reach my Dad on his cell and hear how they were doing. Thank God they are safe. 

I woke up Friday morning thinking maybe it was all a bad dream.  Then my stomach went *thud* and I knew it wasn't obviously. 

I went so numb I didn't realize I was speeding to work, doing 50 in a 35 zone.  Ugh.  Flashing motorcycle lights.  A $195 ticket?  OK, whatever, Officer.  Seriously.  I just shrugged and thought...whatever.

So yeah, there's anger.  Moreso than sadness.  I have no freaking clue why I picked a picture of Yosemite for this week; guess it just looks pretty and calming - probably what I could use right now.

Is this truly the end of the story?  I guess only time will tell; he and I agreed I'd call him in a few days or so.  Honestly I'm not even sure that's worth it or if I'm even going to.  He's made his point clear, as crappily as it was delivered.  Sorry, but when you set the bar high like he did, well, you expect more.  Even with the Exit. And nope, I don't believe what he said one iota.



Early Marches

I can now just about count on one hand the number of people I know where the first part of March truly is...a march.  An emotional, gut-wrenching march.  Is it the battle of Fledgling Spring vs. Late Winter out there?  Is it the lingering end of the February "blahs" (see my last post).  What IS it about this time of year?  And the whole 'in like a Lion' thingy too, with a nod way back to elementary school years.  Yep, in like a lion - out like a lamb.  Guess we'll see how Lamb-y the month wraps up.

This stupid cold morphed into an even more stupid hacking, lingering cough.  Billions and billions of hackhackhacks and seemingly gallons of phlegm.  Good lordy already I've felt like ripping my sinuses out.  And I actually took a true "sick day" from work on Tuesday, where I pretty much shut off my laptop and phone and said hey kids, sorry, this shop's closed. And went through a bottle of cough syrup in about 2 days too.  The next day I had an early morning presentation to finish up and preview with my manager, plus some hard finger crossing that I could get through it without a major coughing fit.

I did and it went well.  The major coughing fit actually happened later at the end of the day, when I stepped out of the office to meet up with my Director at the consulting firm who placed me in this current work assignment.  After about an hour of talking and white boarding with him, I suddenly burst into a coughing fit, one where I had to bolt to the ladies room and just hack until it subsided.  Hilarious!  OK, it is now but at the time extremely embarrassing.  No, I'm not crying...really.  My throat and voice are just shot.  And when that happens, my eyes water.  Yay me. 

And evening conversation.  G's father passed away two years ago on March 2.  He came by and we talked about this and other things and you know, I really don't want to elaborate in here.  Not that the whole friggin' world reads this blog, but some things need to stay deliciously private.  And they will.

Can you feel even closer to someone while learning at the very same time that there's so much more to that special someone that you don't yet know?  But (and?) as you listen with every fiber of your being, saying something like "Man, I know how you feel," rings fake and hollow.  Because I can't possibly know.  I can't possibly.  But my Care is bottomless. 

I do know the feeling of deep, deep feelings woven in with our lifelong memories...like one's life as a big lake or ocean where some parts are calm while others are chock full of weeds or logjams.  And there are cool, sexy waterfalls, swirling currents...and in some places dangerous undertow.  Old patterns that we all have and we are so seductively drawn to, however destructive they might be.  But they're familiar, right?  Do we get sucked in, tugged and pulled back under again, or do we learn how to manage the deep tides, rhythms and storms that wax and wane inside us...when can you get close to your undertow?  When do you steer far clear?  And when do we learn how to swim through it all?  Or how to tread water?  Perhaps it's a lifelong Learning Swim.

B passed away 3 years ago on the 3rd.  She was a dear friend from the hockey league and just an absolute joy.  She had a game late in the evening of March 2nd.  I'd seen her a couple nights prior at a Silvertips game with K, the guy who I was dating at the time - she was working one of the raffle tables in the arena.  I gave her a huge hug and introduced her to K.  And that was the last time I ever saw her.  For during the last period of her team game two nights later on the 2nd, she suddenly was having trouble breathing on the bench.  Game stopped, paramedics called.  They did everything they possibly could but we lost her early that next morning.  An aortic aneurism they said. 

And I sobbed and sobbed.  Sobbed so much I was sobbing that next morning while plumbers were at my house trying to fix a massive, unexpected overnight water leak in my garage.  Hey guys, a friend of mine died last night, but carry on with what you're doing.  

I'll never forget B.  Her laugh, smile and warm heart.  I have her initials and her beloved (jersey) #8 on my helmet in tribute.

On Friday I was chugging away at work - I share a large cubicle now with a co-worker - we've all just moved to a different building.  And I sensed something a little 'off.'  When I turned to glance over my shoulder, she was crying.  Whaaa?  L'd just found out a good friend lost a hardfought cancer battle.  And my heart broke.

I fell into the weekend physically and mentally exhausted.  G invited me over for dinner and for dessert-making for his Supper Club gathering which was the following evening.  We had a relaxing evening combined with cooking projects, and were both so spent when we were done that 10pm felt like 2am.  Sleeeeeeeeep.

G's Supper Club rotates hosting between 5 different couples - the theme changes each time too. Plus, the hosting couple gets to invite a sixth Guest couple of their choosing.  Food themes?  Well, sometimes No Theme is the theme and that's what Saturday's dinner was.  Exquisite food, warm company and conversation.  From potato leek soup with creme fraiche, parlsey and bacon...to arugula, pine nuts and goat cheese wrapped in prosciutto, to a mixed green salad with shallots, an incredible vinegar dressing plus small puffs of fried, breaded goat cheese nestled on top...to homemade duck sausage corn dogs with hand-crafted curry mustard, lamb sliders with aoli, lettuce and tomato on homemade brioche buns (and fingerling potato chips)...to dessert.

When I passed out pint glasses partially filled with Guiness for 'dessert', the table went abuzz.  Just what in the heck were G and I going to serve up?  Then, shot glasses filled with a mix of Jameson and Baileys.  And beautifully-plated homemade vanilla bean ice cream with (homemade) chocolate dipping sauce and chocolate chip cookies with hazlenuts and cacao nibs.  Yep, you drop that shot glass into your pint glass and Bottoms Up, my friend.  That's an Irish Immigrant Car Bomb, by the way...a nod to G, Sr.

It felt good to reconnect with G by spending a good chunk of the weekend together.  Let's face it, he'd been in Australia for two weeks and then he and I were each some sort of Sick for a week or two following that.  Quarantined from eachother and tired for so many different reasons emotionally and physically.  Perhaps now things will resume some sort of 'normal,' whatever that might be.  I feel happy and relaxed with him and am enjoying this still-new journey we're on together.  With emphasis on new, of course.  What's yet to become we don't know.  We talk about future things we want to do together - plans which make me smile in anticipation of experiencing more things together...and yet I can't help but stick the cautious card in there too.  Is that OK, I have to wonder?  Or this me trying to go full speed with the brakes on, my old self-protecting patterns?  I don't know what about that is healthy or what is not.  I just know I have to be true to myself, honest and open-hearted.  And not self-doubt or second guess. 

My eyes sparkle and my heart flutters when I'm with him.  There's much, much more beyond that, but I think that's a great place to start.

And March marches on.