Taking a bow

Don’t think of this as good-bye.

Well, okay, maybe a little.

Friends, after months of periodically mulling things over, noodling, waffling, and otherwise staring into space for extended periods of time I’ve decided it’s time to end my run here at One-Woman Show. For over two years I’ve shared my tales of juggling life, laundry and love, and blogging has been a part of this juggling. But in the last six months or so I’ve realized how important it is for me to simplify my life a bit more, or at least to focus my time and energy a little differently. And with that comes choices.

For now, I’m choosing to focus on new — and renewed — pursuits instead of blogging:

Like writing a new humor column at The Imperfect Parent!

I’ve spent the last year dishing about single parenting and divorce in my Dinner for One column, but it’s time to change focus, particularly because my single days are winding down. (Woohoo!) So, I pitched an idea to the editor for a new yet-to-be-titled humor column and he liked it. I’ll be starting in late June so check back here or at the Imperfect Parent website for more details!

Like writing and submitting articles, essays…and, eventually, another novel.

I didn’t discover a love of writing until my late 30’s; I didn’t discover blogging until 2007. I’ve often wished I’d made these discoveries earlier in life, but now I understand (or at least begrudgingly admit) they came into my life at exactly the right time.

This blog has helped me find my voice and hone my writing style. It’s also opened up writing opportunities for me — other potential blogging gigs, my first column — plus helped me connect with potential agents, authors, writers, and, yes, readers like you whose feedback and friendship I value so much.

What I haven’t spent as much time doing as I’d like to is writing outside of OWS. I’m excited to change gears now and do more pitching and submissions. Build my portfolio. Collect those clips. Get more paying gigs! Start work on Novel #2.

I don’t know how or where this will all go, but I have confidence it will go somewhere.

I want to (or maybe I have to?) give it a go.

Like volunteering — through blogging!

Yes, you read that right. I’m combining my interest in non-profits and writing by helping to start a blog for HEARTH, a great organization I’ve been involved with for about 5 years. HEARTH helps up to 15 single moms and their children find their footing again – through safe housing, mentoring, parenting and life skills classes — plus a lot of hard work on the women’s part. I hope I can keep up with them as an occasional guest contributor.

Like spending time away from the computer.

Despite all I’ve written about, well, writing, I’m looking forward to spending more time outdoors, more time exercising (because I’m actually exercising again!) and just enjoying more of life with the wonderful people in my life.

That’s what I really want to do when the curtains close.

Oh, there is one other thing.

 

 

Heh. I’ve always wanted to say that (and it’s true). 😉

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for reading and sharing your comments here.

I’ve loved blogging at OWS and wouldn’t be surprised if I find myself blogging again someday. In the meantime, I’m linking to some of my favorite posts below. Please enjoy them… and see you real soon around town or the internet!

Susan

Best in Show / Vintage Susan/ One Woman’s Favorites to Write:

I Will Beat Myself Silly with a Limp Lizard (One of my all-time favs!)

Scenes Not from an Italian Restaurant

Italian Genes Do Not Equal la Dolce Vita

Query Me This A really fun one to write. Seriously, I cracked myself up.

Party Moms Gone Mad

Complicated Like This

This is My Life

Take A Flying Leap (or Watch Me Take One) Probably the last time you’ll see me jump out of a plane on purpose!

You Tarzan Me Be Jane

Embarrassing Dating Tales I: Mothballs and Me

And MORE Embarrassing Dating Tales: Dwight Was Right (oh, and these are just the “best” tales – oy!)

Wake Me Up Before You BloNoGoGo – A pseudo tribute to NanoWriMo…and if you don’t know what that is, well, never mind

My Life in Poetry (or Not)

Dating and the Patience is a Virtue Experiment

Better yet, when my patience finally paid off:

A Blog, A Law and a Little Luck – Part I

…and Part II (yeah, it’s good 🙂 )

I do, take two

Many of my friends (including some of my best single parent pals and readers) have asked how I’m handling this whole getting remarried situation. Well, I’m so glad you asked. Or that some of you asked.

I swear someone asked me…or did I imagine it?

Never mind — I’m a-gonna tell you anyway in this month’s Dinner for One at The Imperfect Parent. I reveal more about breaking the news to my kids and what it’s like to be in wedding planning mode a second time around. I’m happy to say: so far, so good!

Read all about it before you get sidetracked with listening to Mominatrix’s Radio spot on Christian sex toys. Or at least go back and read my article afterward. Please?  😉

Etiquette

The other night we were driving over to my parents for dinner and T-Rex said to his sister, “Hey, Drama Girl, is my nose bleeding?”

She responded that no, his nose wasn’t bleeding.

I asked him why he thought his nose was bleeding — he’s had one nose bleed that I can recall in his 7 years — and he said something like, “I just want to make sure if someone looks up my nose it isn’t bleeding.”

Me: “Hmm. Do many people look up your nose?”

Him: “No.”

Drama Girl: “No, that wouldn’t be appropriate.”

__

On a more serious note, today I’m having lunch with The Ex. After I told the kids about my engagement to FlyBoy/J. and how J. one day would be joining our family I called my ex-husband, who I’ve had a good relationship with since our divorce 6 years ago, and told him the news. I wanted him to hear it from me, not them.

Well, he didn’t react negatively exactly, but he was in shock. I tried to be straightforward, honest and explained the potential timeline, but let’s just say I lost him at “hello…I’m getting married again.” We spoke for about 15 minutes, he thanked me for telling him the news and we hung up.

As I suspected, after a bit of time went by for him to process the news, he wrote to me with his concerns and questioned me on one or two things that, frankly, really weren’t any of his business.

I answered his questions as maturely and as kindly as possible; I realized he was expressing concerns as a father, but I also understood there likely were other emotions running under the surface. (He’s been dating someone for about 3 years, so some of it may not even have to do with my situation…but that’s none of my business!) I told him I’d be happy to talk further.

To my surprise he sent me an email a few days later saying he was sorry he had acted the way he did, and that he knows I have the kids’ interest at heart. He then wrote, “…I know the best thing for our kids is for your marriage to be happy and stable, and I’ll do whatever I can to help.”

Wow. That brought a tear to my eye. And it still does. I feel very lucky to have The Ex in our kids’ — and therefore my — corner.

So we’re meeting for lunch to talk through some things. J. has also offered to talk to him, if he wants, but first things first. I’m not sure what the etiquette is with an ex-spouse, but I think honesty, maturity, and kindness would be an appropriate start.

Yet another reason I love chocolate

First, let me say a big Thank You! for your comments about my engagement news (for the full effect, start with Part I) — it was so nice to get the “thumbs up” from everyone. But seeing I’ve already jumped out of a plane and am now jumping for joy I better figure out what I can do next in order to keep my blog stats up!

I confess I knew the big question was coming because we had talked about our next step — and, therefore, I had the posts and punchline “written” in my head for at least a month — but I didn’t know exactly when or how he’d propose. I met up with him over Valentine’s Day weekend in Norfolk, Virginia, where he was on his 2-week annual Navy Reserves tour. I suspected it might happen while I was there and he didn’t disappoint.

And J. knows me too well: I’m a sucker for the creative, straightforward and sincere approach. I also love chocolate, so it was fitting that he asked me with M&Ms — ones that said:

“Susan” (White M&Ms) “Will You” (Pink) “Marry Me” (Red)

(He backed it up with a  verbal, non-dessert proposal.)

He got me a mini-gumball machine full of extras because, sure enough, I had to eat some of the initial stash. He knows me too well.

Anyhoo, with the cat out of the bag we’re heading into planning mode. I always thought if I got married again it would be a small affair, but this is J.’s first marriage (and let’s hope his last!) and he has a large extended family. It’s a tad overwhelming, but I suppose me having some experience and perspective from the first time around helps. It’s all good.

Or, as T-Rex said a few days ago, “Mom, it’s weird and exciting.”

Yep.

A blog, a law and a little luck – Part I

I know I promised months ago to write about how I met FlyBoy, and today, which marks 8 months together, seems like as good a time as any. It’s not exactly that I was afraid of jinxing anything…I just was really enjoying our developing relationship in private.

And, okay, I admit it — I was a bit cautious based on past experiences. C’mon, can you blame me?!

So, if you really want the scoop, I’ll start at the beginning, or, for a bit of back-story, the end.

BFB (Before FlyBoy) – a.k.a. “At Wit’s End”

Last year around this time I was in the midst of what I would call a “great intentions” relationship with Coach, who was going through a very hard time dealing with a death of a close friend, as well as two young people he and his adult children knew, plus work overload and what seemed to be one family emergency after another. It was awful to see someone I genuinely cared about go through all of that. I suppose we both knew it wasn’t a good time to pursue a relationship, but we tried and persisted for three months. I was so, so supportive and I knew he cared a great deal about me, too. He said so, so it must be true…right? And, then:

Poof

You know: poof. Vanished. Gone.

What I mean is he called me up one day to tell me he had up and quit his job (without another one lined up) because it was sucking the life out of him (paraphrasing) and it didn’t allow him time to spend with me or his family. Wha-haaaaa? All true, but…um…not exactly a well-thought out strategy, IMO, and I certainly didn’t ASK for him to quit his job. We made plans to get together to talk in 2 days, but when I tried to confirm the where and when he refused to answer the phone. Or his email. For a month.

Needless to say, I was confused, upset and worried, particularly because I knew he was depressed and his behavior was erratic, to say the least. After a short time I figured out he really hadn’t quit his job because his work number and email remained in operation…and I soon discovered through a bit of Internet sleuthing (hello, MySpace public profile!) that Coach was alive and well. After a few weeks of periodically checking in — what can I say, I’m human, and he was about as secretive online as the CIA posting their how-to guide in a chatroom — I saw that he had gone back to his on-again-off-again-on-again-once-more girlfriend.

Ouch.

Actually, I believe my word was (and please excuse this), “FUCKER!”

I enjoyed great satisfaction in emailing him then — and apparently scaring the crap out of him — because he deleted all of the info in his profile about 30 seconds later like a true chickenshit, but since I had no interest in actually stalking him in real life — seriously, who has time for that?! — I decided to move on.

SBFB (Still Before FlyBoy) — a.k.a. “I’ve HAD IT!…so what do I do now?”

Man, I was bummed. Not entirely about Coach, but because I felt I was destined to attract middle-aged men with a truckload of baggage and drama. I felt I couldn’t get a break even 5 years after my divorce. What did I have to show for it? Not a heck of a lot.

But around this time, in mid-May, I decided to do two things that started (or continued), I believe, a chain of positive events. A chain of change, if you will.

First, I decided to try something that Terry at Dating Advice (Almost) Daily suggests: write a list of everything you want in a partner. Terry believes in and writes often about the Law of Attraction, and in fact wrote an e-book on the subject. If nothing else, I figured maybe it would help me recognize what I didn’t want more quickly and make me a lean, mean whittling-away-the-bullshit machine instead of the nice girl who tends to see the best in people, and ignores the worst.

So three pages later — yes, three, but they were more like 5×7 than 8 1/2 x 11 size! — I had my list of what I desired.

Second, I decided I needed to jump back into the dating scene, like right away, which was against my natural instincts. Not that I was going to hibernate for 6 months, but I was kind of emotionally wiped out from being so supportive with Coach, only to have my tender heart spat on. (Spat on? It’s late, that’s the best I can do.) I vowed to get over it and do what my other single friends seemed to do, and just dive back in. The problem was I didn’t want to go back online again. I had tried it several times and that was how I met Coach. I didn’t have anything against it; I just didn’t feel I had the energy. Which led me to Plan B. Or was it Plan A?

IGT (I’m Getting There) – a.k.a. “This is How We Met”

Bear me with me here – more details, but they are all completely necessary. Trust me.

Back in January of 2008 I was emailing a fellow blogger we’ll call Bob (because that’s his name) about some nonsense or another; I think we were swapping comments related to a blog post one of us wrote. We had met a few times at happy hours for local bloggers and he seemed like a nice, down-to-earth, funny guy (despite his penchant for making the Mary Worth comic strip even more disturbing than normal), so I asked him if he had any single friends who might want to meet me-ha-ha. Ha.

He said, sure he knew some guys.

Hmmm.

We emailed back and forth and he agreed to contact two of his friends who we (and Bob’s wife) felt would be the most compatible.

Maybe two weeks went by and I met Coach and Bob had forgotten to email his friends. Life went on…until late May when I decided in my post-Coach/let’s-give-love-ANOTHER-try stage to be ballsy (or desperate) a SECOND time and asked him if he’d still be willing to contact his friends if they were also still single.

Thank the heavens above, he agreed. Thank you, Bob.

Yep, Bob emailed his friends, all right. Friend #1 politely declined (I may have heard “NutCase!” echoing across county lines), and Friend #2, who you know as FlyBoy, was going away for a week and responded through Bob that he’d check out my blog when he got back.

Great. Even after Bob had talked me up, this guy couldn’t spare 5 minutes to check me out before a week away.

Or so I thought…

To be continued tomorrow because it’s way too late and this is running way too long!

Love songs

It’s funny, this time of year. There are so many jewelry, cards and flowers commercials (plus new horror movies — and I don’t mean reality TV shows), but I never think of this as a season for new love songs. Maybe it’s just escaped me, but it got me thinking about how love songs have impacted my life.

For me, exposure started young,

and continued to infiltrate my pre-teen/teenage years, which were primarily dedicated to unrequited love. Take this sappy one — the theme song for our junior prom, which I got to by having to ask not one, not two, but three guys before getting a “yes”! (ugh – my only consolation was that #s 1 and 2, who natch were the ones I wanted to go with – in that order – were each going to be out of town. Against all odds a very nice friend went with me):

Or this one from the same era:

Friggin’ Phil Collins. So not helpful.

After my teenage years, I graduated to grander and more inspiring love songs. Take my wedding song:

(Note we had a band play this like the simpler, much less schmaltzy version sung by Linda Ronstadt.)

The problem, you might imagine, is that I chose this song with the best intentions (and it was me alone who came up with it) but for the wrong person.

Which, years later, led to my listening repeatedly to Nightingale, a song by Norah Jones. The lyrics seemed to say it all for me as I agonized over what to do about my marriage — and ultimately decided to file for divorce.

I also fell in love with Patty Griffin’s song, Rain, when I first heard it. I’m not sure I’ve ever found (or ever will find) another song that expresses the grief and hope I felt after ending my marriage in quite the same way:

During my subsequent years of frequent, largely unsuccessful rounds of dating I found these “love” songs to keep me company:

Sorry, I can’t seem to find a good video of that one. No, no – noooo, no, no, no…but this one always put a little pep in my step:

And this is probably my favorite…although I’m not sure if I find it empowering because of the lyrics or the juggling:

…life is too short to be unhappy
And since I know what I’m worth there’ll be no settling for dirt
Knowing what I deserve is gold
If I want diamonds then I can’t settle for coal…

Amen!

So now I find myself approaching a Valentine’s Day weekend with my honey, who is the most amazing man I’ve ever met — with not one love song in mind.

Something tells me I’ll find one that fits one of these days.

Happy Valentine’s Day, kids – there’s a song for each of us out there and I’d love to know what yours is.

Oh, and as a bonus while you’re loading up the iPod, here’s a little greeting from the Internet.

Couldn’t resist sharing 😉

PSA for Single Gals Everywhere (maybe a few married ones, too)

With the terrific and terrifying “V Day” upon us later this week (and you can take your pick as to which category it falls into), I thought it appropriate to highlight the book I just finished reading: Manslations: Decoding the Secret Language of Men. Manslations is written by none other than fellow blogger/comedian/actor and all around good (but admits to occasionally having done some of the same doofy guy things he writes about) guy, The Manslator, Jeff Mac.

What I like about Jeff’s book — and Jeff — is his humor and honesty in everything he writes. His Golden Rule and its supporting points to understanding the man/men you’re dating and/or with long-term are straightforward and effective. I mean, if I had actually followed the Golden Rule of “Whenever there is a conflict between what a man says and what he does, always, always ignore what he says,” I would have saved myself so much heartbreak over the years. So much agonizing over what “it” all means. So much friggin’ wasted time pining over men who really just weren’t into our relationship (or me) as much as they claimed to be.

And, let me tell you, as a hopeful, honest person with a big heart, I wanted so much to believe what they said. (Ooh – and I’ve heard some sweet talk.) So much so that I overlooked practically every behavioral clue smacking me in the face.

Hello??????

Sigh.

While there are elements similar to the book, He’s Just Not That Into You, which I’ve also read, Jeff manslates into broader areas: from debunking common myths about the way most men think, to securing, prepping and debriefing a first date, to understanding how to approach men for serious talks, to gift giving and surviving the holidays with your man, to why the heck your significant other is still obsessed with shooting zombies at the age of [INSERT ANY AGE OVER 15 HERE].

Let me pause here and note that I spent a recent Saturday night watching college hoops with FlyBoy and his guy friends, and THEN was introduced to the zombie-shooting game of Left4Dead. And…I liked it. I believe this might lead to my induction into “The Best Girlfriend Ever” Hall of Fame. Thank you.

Anyhoo, for a peak into Jeff’s humor and style, take a look at how he helped me — yes, me! — manslate if men are initimated by women who can hold their own (note my awesome biceps in the photo) and what it means when men express their feelings to a woman…or, in my case, why men seemed to like to dump their crazy shit on me.

Oh, and then do yourself and the women you love a favor — buy the book.