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 🙂 )

Advertisements

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

This is Part II of my grand love story. At least in my mind it’s grand, so read on!

It turns out FlyBoy did check my blog out before going away; however, not knowing this at the time, I was certain he was less than enthused at the idea of meeting me. As all my readers know, this would have been incredibly shortsighted on his part – oh, yes! – but I figured, well, whatever; it had been worth a shot, right? At least I could say I explored MY options, even if he wasn’t exploring his.

About a week and a half later Bob — who’s one heck of a guy — told me that FlyBoy was back in town and was interested in contacting me after all. I knew from my sources that he was on the shy side, so I took his “sure, she can email me at this address” in stride. Hey, since I was the pursuer who started the darned thing, I saw no reason to back down now.

I emailed him a warm and witty introduction.

He emailed something equally warm and witty back — showing a stunning display of complete sentences and mastery of grammar. I was intrigued.

We exchanged a few more emails and then I made the move to suggest we meet for lunch later that week. Brazen hussy, you say? Perhaps, but at this point in life I saw no reason to delay. There’s no other way to tell if you have potential with someone until you meet in person…regardless if the person seems to like good grammar and 80’s music/references as much as you do.

Although this was a positive step, I approached our first date with a “yeah, whatever” kind of attitude. It’s not that I wasn’t interested, but I had been down the nice-schmice road before. In fact, the day of our lunch I put on something clean but not what I would consider my best first date effort; I ordered a first-date “no-no” of a pulled pork sandwich (we were at a BBQ place); and I almost had the poor guy meet me at a steakhouse that had gone out of business.

Note that I didn’t REALIZE that the restaurant had gone out of business until my dad mentioned this to me the night before. WHY had I even mentioned an upcoming date to my father in the first place? God only knows, but I’m glad I did. Otherwise poor FlyBoy might have thought I was more interested in jumping him in back of the vacant building for his wallet than potentially jumping his bones.

As it turns out, our first date at the restaurant NEXT to the vacant building was a really fun, relaxed 2+ hour lunch. Still, it was just a first date. I wasn’t about to get my hopes up. I remember telling my girlfriends in Chicago days later that he was super nice, smart, cute and funny, but… But what? I didn’t know what, except that I should give us a few more chances to go out.

And we did. Next, we met for dinner and I got giddy on attention and sangria. I felt that amazing tingle when my arm brushed against his, and a pleasant shock when he leaned over unexpectedly and planted a wet one on me over tapas. (Hmm, not so shy after all, come to think of it.)

On our third date we rented a movie and watched it at his place. (Yes, we watched it!)  What really took me by surprise, though, was when he pulled out a key lime pie for dessert — the pie he had baked for me because he remembered how I said in passing on our previous date that I loved key lime pie.

He baked me a pie.

By the way, I’m sure he’s embarrassed if he’s reading this right now. As he said that night, “Susan, really. It only called for, like, three ingredients. No big deal.”

O, contraire, Fred Astaire!

Ladies, back me up on this: a man who listens, remembers and bakes? Big. Deal.

Anyway, we went out on more dates, some loftier (and crazier) than others, but all giving us the chance to get to know one another — and giving me glimpses into a man who was attentive, sweet, funny and one of the most genuine people I’d ever met. Someone who, for the first time in my life, let me relax and laugh and be me without worry…while treating me consistently and genuinely with love and respect. All the time.

It was just like my mom had told me months before: “Susan, what you need is someone who is just…[searching for the right word] simpatico!” I certainly did and I was finding it with FlyBoy (oh, heck, let’s call him “J”). Strangely enough, shortly after we met, J. emailed me one morning, “We are so simpatico, it’s crazy.

I had never mentioned that word to him before.

Definitely simpatico and crazy.

In retrospect, I’m still not sure why things worked out so well this time around for me. Maybe it was timing, or luck. Maybe a higher force was at work. Maybe it was just that chain of change: me taking another chance; Bob taking a chance with his friends and on me, someone he didn’t know very well; and FlyBoy/J taking a chance on meeting someone new, out of the blue — something that he has since confessed he never would have done before.

Maybe it was just me having this blog.

All I know is that when J. asked me to marry him last weekend, all I could do was say, “Yes.”

🙂

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 (and Pizza), Chicago Style


Chicago from Above
Originally uploaded by Stuck in Customs

I’m off for a few days to Chi-town, visiting my cousin tomorrow through Friday morning and then my girlfriends for a weekend sure to be filled with lots of talk, laughter, counseling and food (especially seeing that it’s Taste of Chicago this weekend). It’ll be like The Red Tent with shish kabobs, overpriced lemonade and live music from the likes of Stevie Wonder and Chaka Khan.

Let me pause for a moment while you sing, "Chaka Khan, Chaka Khan…"

We’ve been doing this girls get-together for about 4 years now and we all need it for different, yet the same, reasons. There are 5 of us, 4 having known each other since college. A few are going through really tough situations right now, but I know we’ll have a great time, too. I love them dearly; they’ve been a great source of support and friendship to me and I hope I have been to them.

I’m also excited to see my cousin. See, I have a special place in my heart for him. Right after news of my divorce made its way through the family grapevine 6 years ago, he sent me an email out of the blue — we hadn’t really kept in touch much, being 10 years apart and in different cities. Our grandparents were really upset by my news, so he offered to formally come out of the closet as a ploy to divert attention away from my situation! We decided our combined declarations might be too much for everyone’s hearts, but shared a good laugh about it. I will never forget that act of kindness. And he is a lot of fun to hang out with, too.

He’s going to show me his favorite places because I’ve never visited before. Never. Can’t believe that, but I’ve only done an OJ through O’Hare a few years ago. (Um, that would not be the "murder/police chase OJ" or the "busted in Vegas OJ" or the "I’ve done the unthinkable and written a book that someone was ACTUALLY GOING TO PUBLISH before sanity prevailed OJ." I’m talking  the "Hertz running through the airport OJ". And if you never saw the ad, then you’re too damn young to be up this late reading blogs!)

So that’s the scoop. It will be nice to take a break, although it comes at a kind of interesting time. I met someone last weekend, we had a good time and now are trying to work out our next date or two, which normally would have been perfect for this weekend. (Never fear, next week is fine.) And I wasn’t going to take anything resembling a computer, but last weekend I got a letter from one of the agents I queried (but not the one I pitched to). I opened it expecting a big ol’ "REJECT" stamped across the top. Nope, she wants to see my FULL manuscript.

Hooray!

Holy Canoli!

I’ve got some serious touching up to do before I send it out — I’m giving myself about 2+ weeks to get it right. So I’m bringing my laptop to edit in the airport and during a few hours of downtime I might have on Friday. Then again, I may just go get a canoli.

Oh, one last point. I’m kind of disappointed that I won’t be here for the annual Furry convention taking place in the ‘Burgh, which will be going on while I’m gone. Let me tell you, it’s a sight to see — especially because it takes place very close to where I work. Too close. Let’s just say that last year an obese stinky fox followed me into one of those automatic revolving doors in my building. The door goes so slow. Too slow. I was so creeped out I almost threw myself into the glass to make that thing move faster!

Enough rambling, have a great weekend!

Your Buddhalicious Nearest Book

Buddha@Hong Kong
Buddha@Hong Kong, originally uploaded by hk_traveller.
Elizabeth at Love, Elizabeth tagged me for this — it’s a good one and easy! Here are the rules:
  1. Pick up the nearest book.
  2. Open to page 123.
  3. Locate the fifth sentence.
  4. Post the next three sentences on your blog and in so doing…
  5. Tag five people, and acknowledge who tagged me.

When I saw Elizabeth’s selection (one of my favorite books, Pride & Prejudice) I was at work and the closest book was a dictionary. I decided to wait until I got home and here I am.

…Reaching for the bookshelf… Aha!

I bought the book If the Buddha Dated by Charlotte Kasl about two years ago. As you may have gathered by now, I can be fairly philosophical about life and love (but not so much about laundry, as in my blog’s tagline — I mean how much does one need to ponder the meaning in a pile of Power Rangers underwear?). Anyway, as the title implies, the book is about dating and finding intimate relationships along the spiritual path — and finding peace within yourself even if it’s not your time to be with someone. It’s a little hokey pokey in a few places, but really rather good overall. I especially like this part, which has nothing to do with the meme, but I’ll share it with you anyway:

“Each person has a story to tell. Some of the chapters are heroic. Some of them are about loss, some about fear, some about achievement or joy, just like my story… When you say good-bye to someone or decide not to see them again, remember you are a moment in their story. Make it a story that doesn’t leave a scar.”

Cool, right? So I turn to Page 123 and follow the instructions above. I notice the title of this section is “When the Buddha Makes Love.”

Oh, my. I’m not sure I signed up for this. When Jeff Mac writes about something embarrassing on his blog, Manslations, he’ll joke that he’s faint of heart because he’s from Connecticut. Well, Jeffrey, I’m from the friggin’ midwest!

I digress. Here’s what I’m supposed to quote:

“…At a spiritual level, making love is an experience of the shared heart that flourishes alongside honesty, love, and commitment. It flows from knowing each other well and desiring to dissolve into the heart and body of each other. It can’t be learned through a how-to manual, or instruction book, because it uniquely reflects all of who you are.”

Well, that wasn’t so bad — no talk of the Big O until further down the page (and we ain’t talking Oprah, honey). Those sentences are spot on, don’t you think?

Wait, I didn’t mean…uh…

I’m putting the book back right now.

I’m going to try something different here because I don’t follow directions well. Instead of tagging people, why don’t you leave me a comment with your 3 sentences from the book nearest to you? (And if you have a blog, feel free to post it, too!)

Please no Kama Sutra if you can help it. I’m not sure my heart can take it. Or just send it to me separately. 😉

Luck, love and loss

I have been lucky in my life in so many ways: one is to have grown up knowing all of my grandparents and two of my great-grandparents. Both of my grandfathers are deceased, and sadly my Mom’s mom passed away yesterday at the age of 93, peacefully. My grandmother had had a roller coaster of a year health-wise, with a few scares and hurried trips to visit her, so this was not unexpected. But it’s still hard, you know? It doesn’t matter I can say, “She lived until the ripe old age of 93” or that she told us she was “ready” many months ago.

My grandmother spent the last few years in a nursing home, losing mobility but never losing her presence of mind; only recently did she start to confuse things and only on occasion. My parents visited regularly from out of state, the last time about a month ago, and my mom spoke to her daily. The kids and I visited her this summer, and I saw her on two other visits to Michigan this year. She participated in bingo at her residence and classes here and there, but she lived a fairly isolated existence in her room watching TV. She always liked TV — you knew never to call during her soaps! I will remember her in other ways, too:

  • a woman who, in her 50’s, went back for her high school diploma because she left school to work as a typist/secretary to earn money during the Great Depression
  • a woman brought up in an Italian household in Detroit, who loved and relied on her family for support and as her social network throughout her years
  • a wife who single-handedly took care of her husband, my grandfather, at home after he had a stroke that left him wheelchair bound and paralyzed on one side; she cared for him until about 10 years later when he had to be hospitalized and then died of colon cancer
  • a mother to four children, nine grandchildren and (I think) seven eight great-grandchildren, raising them with music (she played the piano so well and could play by ear… she even had a song published back in the day!), homemade pasta and sauce, I’m sure some stern words at times, and love

That’s how I’d like to remember her, and I’m glad that even if I didn’t call this week when I planned to (always planning, always regrets, I’ll talk to her on Christmas…), I spoke to her on Thanksgiving and told her I loved her.

Even The Ex emailed me the words he couldn’t tell me (for whatever reasons) when each of my grandfathers died — one while we were dating, one while we were divorced:

“I’m sorry to hear that,” he wrote. And then, “I liked Norma.”

I liked Norma, too. I loved her.

Grandparents, sis and meGrandma, me and Drama Girl

grandma and me