my own private idaho

What a deliciously, perfect expressive phrase. My own private idaho. It evokes the solitary valleys and caverns of grief, the resounding echoes of the punishing thoughts that the mourner suffers. My own private Idaho.

Remember George? (of Tainted Love fame). I never mourned that loss, I got no closure. Despite the poetic turn of events, I never knew what happened to him, to us, or my ridiculous fantasies of a future together. After months of therapy about everything else in my past, I suddenly discovered the reason I stopped loving my work. I blamed my schoolwork for losing George. If I had never left to come to NY, then it would have been me he married. My ambition damned me to this fate. Such is the way the infantile unconscious mind thinks. I had no idea.

Closure, the therapist said. I had to tell him my feelings for him, because I never did. She promised I would heal. So I agreed to do it, not knowing the torrent of pain and emotion that would avalanche. Not realizing how much I had stored away, how the grief would feel like I lost him yesterday instead of 3 years ago.

He has a webpage. With pictures. You can send messages. I found it two weeks ago. I sent a 'hello' email first. He replied two hours later and sounded excited to hear from me, and not so excited about his life. I spent a week working on my email, THE EMAIL. I sent it last night around 2 am. I said I was sorry I never told him I was in love with him back then, that I knew it didn't matter anymore, but this email was therapy for myself. I also wrote a lot of other things. He replied at 6 am.

All day I was freaked out knowing the message waited for me at home. I couldn't read it at work because I didn't want to cry. His last email was so sweet and sad it made me sob for hours. All day I tried to prepare myself for whatever he might say. Tried to imagine the worst possible words so there would be no surprises.

Yet he surprised me anyway. Just a line saying he would reply later. Another sign of his considerate and kind nature, letting me know he got it and that he would respond in due time.

His wife has a page too, also with pictures. They have been married for three years. They have a whole life, a house, a dog, and married couple friends. And I? I am the Cheese. It makes me so sad and angry and ashamed for my covetous feelings.

Now I must wait. Wait for him to release me, to tell me the words I need to hear; whether they be that he fell madly in love with her and is deleriously happy or that he has struggled but believes in his commitments, that he is sorry I went through this, that he never knew I felt this way or that he did know I felt that way... whatever they may be, it will be a relief to know.

I lie in wait, curled in bed, crying off and on.

My own private idaho.


Tonight's Top Ten: Signs that you've given up on your lovelife

10. You don't bother making the obligatory scope-out visit to the singles ward in your parent's city. (It's a spanish speaking branch anyway.)

9. You have no interest whatsoever in your sibling's single friends. You don't even try to flirt with them when they call on the phone.

8. Parts of your body that used to look fine now jiggle. And you don't care.

7. Because it is so darn hot here, you actually wear tanktops and capsleeve shirts outside the house. Despite your knowledge that your forearms are so unattractive they turn off any man who isn't blind.

6. Rather than preparing to make yourself cute before going to the beach, you try to get used to the fact that no one will see you as a babe-- to prevent disappointment when all the men ignore you. (This is South Beach we're talking about, only supermodels and latinas with perfect bodies turn heads. The rest of us look like toads.)

5. On Friday night, for fun, you go to the store to return the shoes you bought that morning and exchange them for the shoes you bought last week but returned two days ago.

4. While making that trip to the store, you wear black knit stretchy pants covered in white cat fur.

3. Then you rush home from the store so you don't miss the beginning of the movie your brother checked out from the library.

2. Afterwards, you're grateful when you're newlywed sister calls to tell you about her burgeoning sexlife because it breaks up your monotonous evening.

1. You're actually shameless enough to call your ex-boyfriend at 10 pm Friday night (letting him know you have no life) AND then leave him a message!! (confirming you have no life and the call wasn't an accident).

1A. In the message you say: "I hope you're out doing groovy single guy stuff."

AND the real #1 sign that you've given up on your lovelife:
You actually meant it.


Signs of Growth

I have not read Mr. Webcam's emails yet. I'm guessing the first one is nasty and seething and the second one, which came 2 hours later, is apologetic. Unless he is the type who likes to be punished...then he'll be begging me to marry him. Twice. But based on his high opinion of himself and his disbelief that I didn't want to even look at him, it's not likely he took criticism well. But don't worry my lovelies, y'all will be the first to know what he says.

My flight leaves late this afternoon for Ft. Lauderdale. WHeeeeeeee!!!!!

Preparing for this flight, I can see that I am growing. Not in the fat way, in the good mature way. I am doing laundry this very minute! Even though my flight leaves in a few hours. I know, I'm as surprised and impressed as you are. Last time I left for the summer, for Ireland, I left 4 loads of dirty clothes in my bedroom. It festered for 2 months and was not pretty to come home to. But I won't come home to stinky laundry again! That's growth because I'm learning from my mistakes. Not only am I doing laundry, but I had the prescience of mind to take all my winter coats and scarves to the cleaners on Monday. I got up early today and took a jog down there(literally jogged there folks) to pick them up and bought a breakfast sandwich on the way. In the rain. You read that correctly.

Not only have I conquered these masterful feats, but I defrosted my freezer yesterday! I crapped out on it the last time I tried. The little catch tray that separates my freezer from my fridge was full of water and then this inch thick block of ice lining the bottom of the freezer fell into the tray. Then I could no longer pull the tray out because the block was still connected to the sides of the freezer. It was a mess. That's when I got the brilliant idea to turn the cold back on and let it freeze that way. So my catch tray was frozen to the bottom of the freezer for 6 months. Until now.

If you knew me, and knew what a spastic irresponsible mess I am, you would understand the greatness of these small chores. I've also been to the deli twice to get quarters and more soap!

Monday I bought my ticket, and have been stressed out since. Making lists upon lists, then losing the lists and making lists to make more lists...I plan to stay for 2 months which makes this a complicated packing. I'm bringing my cat and have to bring all my papers and books so I can get work done. And I need a work wardrobe so I can get a job.

The other scary thing, besides getting ready, is that I am not good at catching planes. Especially in New York. Having to use public transportation to get to the different airports, with variable traffic times, made calculating the time to get there beyond my abilities. I have probably missed half of my flights in the last 4 years, if not more; that's not an exaggeration. I also missed planes when I lived in Atlanta, but I didn't have the public transportation excuse then. Everytime I get to the airport with time to spare I call someone I know to tell them and they cheer for me. (I can't even count how many times I've had to run up to the gate and been the last one on.)

To prevent this horror and because I have two suitcases and a cat, I'm taking a cab with the money my mother just gave me, (which is how I could afford dry cleaning). Shuttle buses don't come to my neighborhood unfortunately. It's another cost of living in Jersey. If I still lived in the city I could call the BlueVan and get a pickup for $20. The cab costs $45 with tip, even though it's only 3 freeway exits away. Oh well. This is what means to live in the largest metropolis in the country.

My last laundry load is drying in the basement. I still have to collect my papers, clean the bathtub, mop the kitchen, clean out the litter box, clean my nails, collect my CD's, pack the carry-on, lock the windows, pack kitty's carrier with goodies for her, get a sandwich from the deli, take out the trash, do hair and makeup, put laundry away (though I'll probably just leave it on the bed), cancel my internet account....and I think that is it. I have 3 hours. Should be time enough.

Wish me luck. I will still try to blog from mom's house. Her computer is in the guest room so my access is good. Interesting things don't happen much down there so I may spend some time reminiscing.


Mr. Webcam Returns

In case you missed his first visit, you can read about it HERE

Contrary to popular belief, he did contact me again! He sent me an email saying "Hey. Long time no....nothing. How are ya?"

Are you kidding me? How could he possibly want to talk to me again or think I wanted to talk to him again? Well, it turns out he is somewhat of a special case. My buddy looked at his profile after I told him the story. He recognized the guy as an actor from those bad Mormon comedies like "The Singles Ward" and "RM". I thought that was hilarious. The dude even has his own page on IMDB.com. But I won't tell you who he is.

Now this partly explains his obsession with his webcam. He probably wanted me to see him hoping that I'd recognize him from the movies. Then I would become twitterpated by the mere fact of his greatness and moviestar fame. (Even though he wasn't the main character, and actors in those films can hardly be called movie stars-- as my buddy pointed out. My buddy might now notice I did not ask his permission to reference our conversations on the blog. --It was funny, give me a break.)

Well, I decided to write Mr. Webcam back. Mostly because I figured he knows people in New York :
Wow. I didn't expect to hear from you again. I'm well. I'm looking for someone to sublet my place this summer do you know anyone?

He replied expressing surprise at my surprise. Then he said he didn't know anyone looking but he'd love to chat with me again. I thought about it for a few days then sent another email. I wrote that I hadn't expected to hear back from him because he seemed pretty PO'd about the webcam thing. And I didn't like the way he talked down to me.

On Friday he sent me an apologetic email. He said he wasn't POd, he thought it was silly and something to tease me about. And he didn't think that he had been talking down to me, he was sorry. He didn't remember what he said. Maybe I was just extra sensitive because of the disturbing men I'd come across before. Maybe he should have been more cautious with me. Maybe both. But he was sorry.

YUCK! I couldn't just let that go. I spent the weekend thinking about how I should respond. (Mostly because I don't have anything else going on in my life.) Also, I'm on an honesty kick right now. If people were more honest to others within their dating lives, then I think we'd all be better off. Then we could know what we did wrong and fix it. Plus, it hurts less to know why you were rejected as opposed to spending the rest of your life wondering why, inventing horrid reasons for why you aren't good enough.

With that in mind, I wrote him a rather long explanatory email this morning. I'm nervous about it now. I didn't want to make him angry or hurt him. I thought he should know what happened. He also needed to know that I am not overly sensitive. If anything, I'm insensitive. I frequently hurt other people's feelings by saying things that would not hurt my feelings. Because most people are more sensitive than I am. I explained that to him, as well as my honesty thing.

First, I told him that my friends were all horrified by our conversation and couldn't believe I kept talking to him after the first time he called me damaged. And that it was a good thing he hadn't heard what they'd called him. (This was evidence that I didn't overreact.) Then I said I'd break it down for him, but he should stop reading if he wasn't prepared to hear it.

I calmly told him how things went down from my perspective. That he didn't respect my feelings when I told him I don't like webcams. When he wouldn't take no for an answer it was disrespectful. That I had to keep giving him reasons why I don't like them. And the fact that someone masturbated on my computer screen was usually explanation enough for other people. But he took that as a sign there was something wrong with me. That it meant I was another damaged 30 year old he'd have to deal with. Etc. Etc. I wrote that it's not appropriate to 'tease' someone that way when you don't know them. Then I reminded him of his comment: he'd "have to see how much time I'd make him spend atoning for the sins of men in my past before he decided how good of friends we could be." I told him that was emotional blackmail. And beyond presumptuous and insulting.

Lastly, I said that I was sure he didn't have malicious intent but I am too old to let men talk to me that way. I wished him luck in his future dating endeavors.

I really held my tongue. I wanted to say some brutal things regarding what his words said about him, but I didn't. That would only serve to anger and hurt him. I hope he actually reads it and maybe learns something. I hope I wasn't too mean. I didn't want to make him feel bad, but I probably did.

Now, if we hear from him again, that will be extraordinary. If he sends back something nice then he MIGHT be worth talking to again. Though I think that's as likely to happen as Romney winning the presidency.

***OOo, OOO, he wrote me back twice. But I'm afraid to read them. So you'll have to wait. Yikes. I'd say this man has some juevos.


Finally, an answer.....?

The long time readers of this blog know I have been struggling for awhile now. Struggling to explain what is going wrong with me. For a year and a half I have not been ok. My personality changed. I was no longer able to do my research for school, I suddenly felt stupid and not up to the task. But I stopped caring anyway. I could no longer enjoy anything. Social events became acts of torture instead of fun. My hair was falling out. For 6 months straight, I woke up with nightmares every morning. Sometimes I would wake gasping or calling out. When the stress gets turned on, that happens again. As it did this morning and yesterday. I feel emotionally dead. Not depressed. This is different. This doesn't respond to anti-depression techniques. I feel like I've lost my mind. I have recurring ruminations that make me feel bad that I can't stop. The words "I'm sorry" will run through my mind ad nauseum. Sometimes I say the words out loud without meaning to...

It's PTSD. I have to have post-traumatic stress disorder. Back in October of 2004 something happened that I think triggered the response from past events. Then my cat got sick in December of 2004. She didn't die until July 2005. Watching her death, and futilely trying to prevent it was the worst thing I've ever gone through in my whole life. There is no greater pain in the world than watching a loved one suffer. That's my best guess as to the cause.

My friend mentioned PTSD. Her mother was diagnosed a few years ago and suggested my friend has it too. Her boyfriend of 3 1/2 years went home for Christmas and sent her an email dumping her. Basically with no explanation. She hasn't been right since. It's like he suddenly died for her, but worse because she was rejected too.

This week she observed that we both have the same symptoms. Since she said that, I have read up on it and remembered the course of my devolution. It all fits. What happens is that the reptile part of your brain takes over to put you in survival mode during a trauma. And then something goes wrong making it stick that way. It probably happens when people don't go through the healing mechanisms needed to get back to normal. Or because they've already had so many other traumas in the past that they are broken. But you become numb to emotion and hypervigilent, living in a constant state of fear and self-protection. It can go on for the rest of your life if you don't fix it. Most PTSDers become alcoholics or drug addicts.

I wasn't able to cry after my kitty died. I just took care of her body and moved on. Then, a month later when I was in Pennsylvania visiting old and dear friends, I broke down. Their cat reminded me of her and I had to shut myself away for two hours in the bathroom. I sat on their floored and bawled my eyes out. I think it was the first time I felt safe enough to grieve. When I got home, there was no more crying. It happened again at my mother's house, I started crying right when I walked through her front door. Then again in the temple lobby. Suddenly I felt like I could breathe. That flooded me with sadness.

I qualify for numbness and hypervigilence, the tell-tale signs. Last year I became agoraphobic. I became afraid of leaving my bedroom. I didn't like it when other people were home or my bedroom door was open. Moving to my own apartment helped, so I'm not as bad anymore. So did moving out of the second worst neighborhood in New York City. Walking past drug dealers everyday was unnerving. But I still can't enjoy being around people. Events with more than one or two others are awful exercises in anxiety.

This made my job tortuous. Imagine being afraid to leave your bedroom, but having to go to the city twice a week to lecture to 3 classes with 40 adult students! It was horrendous. It sapped all my energy, and I couldn't do it well. Getting the job in Long Island was a God-send and helped me relax somewhat. So did the breathing exercises and affirmations.

But these were just bandaids. No matter what I changed, the numbness didn't go away. I couldn't make myself care about anything other than my immediate comfort. And the nightmares, anxiety and instability started coming and going in waves over the summer. It still fluctuates. That's why I thought maybe I was bi-polar. Now I see that the craziness is triggered by the slightest increase in stress, it's not arbitrary. Because it started again this week. Because I can't pay my rent. I expected to get one more paycheck from one of my schools. But the last check came in April, even though I was still teaching in May! So, $600 I had counted on never arrived. I haven't yet found a summer job yet because I just finished teaching on Friday. I turned in my grades yesterday. (Yay me for getting them done in time.)

I need to go to Florida. If I can get there then my mom can help me find the doctors I need, and help pay for them too. There's a car waiting for me. Woo hoo! And I can find temp work and start paying for stuff.

So, this may be very good news. If I do have PTSD, that means I'm not permanently insane. That there is hope for me.


My Spinster Prize!!!

Sure, being a single 30 year old virgin woman has its hardships, but it's not all bad. Going to your little sister's wedding as a lonely, dried up pathetic bridesmaid is not the total nightmare that it appears. Why? Because some of us have pushy stepmothers, God bless them! Really.

My father and his wife do very well financially. They have some real estate on Miami Beach and just built their retirement home on the beach in Brazil. But Pops believes very firmly that adult children should be independent from their parental unit. His wife on the other hand, does not. Which means he has two adult stepchildren living in his house, eating his food, using his hot tub, watching his big screen tv...

Good for them. But when I have needed some help paying for medication or something, it was like pulling teeth. I always have to go through my mother. Usually he helps only helps out when mom talks to him. Even then, sometimes he forgets to send it. And you have to call and remind him.

Now, electronics from the man is a different story. He's Santa Claus if you need something technological. Last year I called him to tell him I didn't have an Ethernet card for the internet in the boho brownstone and he went out and put one in the mail for me that day. I suppose this may be a similar type of situation...

I'm not sure what prompted him (other than his wife), but Pops has suddenly decided to be very, very generous with me. Unbelievably so. I'm almost speechless about it. If I had to guess, I'd say he's trying to even things out since he gave my sister $5,000 to pay for her wedding. As the elder spinster daughter, because I've had no wedding, I got nothing. Which is how it goes and I'm fine with that. Life isn't fair and I made my peace with that fact as a child. (Afterall, I got a car in high school but my sister didn't because of the divorce.)

Maybe because he saw me in tears after the wedding, lying on his hotel bed exhausted... and I joked that my brother and I were now the losers of the family. My brother said that if a 24 year old single man is a menace to society then a 34 year old one is an 'Old Dirty Bastard'. We laughed. Maybe he didn't think it was funny. Maybe because I was nice to his wife, we kept each other company during the temple ceremony....I may never know. But I will think of this as my spinster prize.

Monday night Pops left me a voicemail saying he and his wife decided they want to buy me a car. Could I call him back to tell him if I could afford to keep it or not. WHAT!???!!! Just like that? Out of nowhere!!! I was watching X-Men when he called. Can you imagine getting that message while standing in Times Square waiting for the bus at midnight? I still don't believe this.

Of course I can't afford to keep a car. I can't pay my bills as it is. But, I'd like to try anyway. This gives me a good excuse to jump off the teaching-exploitation train and get a real job. That's what I told him. He replied that if I sell the car they would like their money back. Because that wasn't the point. Ok. Not a problem. He said they want to make my life better.

This will change my life. I'm completely shocked. My father just bought me a $5000 car! He called me this afternoon to tell me he got a 2004 Dodge Stratus from the church. (It's a used missionary car.) So, thank you Mrs. Pops. Thank you, Sis, for having a wedding. And thank you Daddy-O!

Wow. Just wow.

This isn't MY car but it's the same type and color.

Now I have to get down to Miami to pick it up. I'd like to spend a few months down there and stay with my mother. She wants to help me take care of my health. So I need to find a sublet for my apartment. Anyone need a place to stay in New York for the summer?

Don't ever let anyone tell you it doesn't pay to stay single.



From Dictionary.com: (n) the process of converting and expressing a primitive instinctual desire or impulse to a form that is socially or culturally acceptable

A few days before I flew to Arizona for my sister's wedding, I went to the grocery store. Not because I needed food, but because I wanted to get out of the house. And grocery shopping is one chore I enjoy. Here's a list of what I bought on that lonely Saturday night sojourn:

1 pint strawberries
1 box fudgsicles (my low-fat attempt to wean off of ice cream)
2 pints cottage cheese
1 box fresh baked peanut butter chocolate chunk cookies (18 count)
1 liter Splenda Diet Coke (since I'm off aspertame, see dorway.org for why)
1 frozen Amy's organic pizza (to prevent me from ordering out)
1 bag Dole's Cole Slaw (my anti-guilt offering or just some fiber to keep the rest of it moving?)

There was actually an attractive single (no ring) man in the line ahead of me. As I placed my items on the counter, I looked down and got embarrassed. Could my food scream "Undersexed single woman!" any louder? No, I don't think so.

Years ago, I became aware of what your groceries can say about you. I was 23 years old and had gone to the Kroger late at night. Then too I had Diet Coke, ice cream, frozen pizza, and some vegetable/salad. An elderly African-American gentleman behind me chuckled to himself. Then he told me he was amused because I was buying a bachelorette's dinner. I laughed and knew he was right. I just didn't think I'd still be doing the same thing on a Saturday night 7 years later.

For 3 years, I had no appetite for food, because of the stress. Now, I wake up hungry--not with real hunger, but with a voracious appetite. Some days I can't eat enough, I can't fill the emptiness or satisfy the desire gnawing on my soul. I actually daydream about eating.

I know this for what it is. It's sexual frustration, sublimated lust and desire. My body screams for sex, so I shove food in my mouth to stifle the sound. I can't get what I really want, a man, so I try to bury the want with food. The worst thing is that even after I eat a lot, I'm just as hungry as before. Because the hunger isn't for food. There is no filling this void. I have to learn to ignore this appetite too.

There are celibate men and women who stay thin, right? So it must be possible. I must learn how to sublimate my hunger too because if I get any bigger I'll be hurting myself. I need to change my behavior NOW. I wish they'd taught us how to sublimate sex in Young Women's instead of cross-stitching. (Then again, imagine your YW president trying to teach that lesson, ew.) So, I ask you, my wise readers, how do you sublimate your lust without getting fat? Any suggestions for replacing my unhealthy food habit? (I refuse to take on another eating disorder so please don't suggest vomittng.)


A merry return

The trip to Arizona and the wedding was torture from beginning to end. I don't think I can do justice to the horror. My return trip home on Saturday took 11.5 hours and I've never been so happy to see the Manhattan skyline. New York really felt like coming home. Sunday I had to hibernate to recover. I spent the whole day reading my flight novel, watching a movie and taking naps.

The problems were nothing that I anticipated. By the time the reception came around on Friday night, and the bridesmaids were 2 hours late (partly because the groom forgot the marriage license and delayed the morning wedding, and because everyone told me I didn't have to wear the dress to the temple so I had to change, and because we had to clean the house where we stayed and there were logistics problems involving transportation to the hair salon....) The other big horror came from my mother and sister being at each other's throats the entire time.

I took it upon myself to be the intermediary to keep them from fighting. Which meant that I got the abuse from both ends. Jill yelled at me more than once when I tried to help her. My mother didn't quite yell at me but unleashed her angry tongue--anger at my sister's disorganization. I don't even want to go into the details. I suppose the retelling could be quite the comedy of errors, but today, the wounds are still too raw.

When we got to the temple for the sealing, I was prepared to wait in the lobby by myself. I brought an 800 page book to keep me company. I wasn't prepared for the tears. Right when we arrived and I met my mother waiting with the in-laws I started crying. I felt so sad, felt I was about to lose my sister. Things would never be the same between us again. I also probably cried because it was the first time I could relax since I arrived on Wednesday night. Things got bad right away. When my sister picked me up from the airport she got mad at me for teasing her about her ghetto car. She has a Jetta but can't afford to fix the crashed bumper or cracked windshield. I was trying to lighten the mood but she lashed back at me in real anger. Her tension was palatable and she was also PMSing so things were not pretty. My mother was just as bad and my brother was really sick on top of that. So I think just sitting in the temple annex, my whole body was able to breathe for the first time and with that breath came tears.

Of course, the tears shamed me so I went to the bathroom to wash my face and pull myself together. Once everyone went in for the sealing, the tears came again. I also wasn't prepared for the parade of happy, beautiful couples all there to get married. All surrounded by their happy loving families. It was a lonely place to be. So I went to the visitor's center to get away from that. It also bothered me to see all these hot mo'men coming in wearing wedding rings. I was envious. And sad. I couldn't help wondering what all those women have that I don't.

When it was time for the sealing to be over I went back to the temple lobby to wait. My step mother was there so we chatted. She told me about the delay. So we had to wait another hour for everyone to come out. Then the obnoxious photographer (way too cheesy) wanted to take a lot of pictures. We were all told there would only be a few temple shots of the couple. I was not dressed for pictures. Jill's sister in law left in a huff because her children weren't dressed for pictures either. Finally all the guests were going to leave to get lunch and the photographer took the bride and groom for more pictures. I tried telling Jill she didn't have time for more pictures if she wanted to eat before her make-up appointment at 2. It was now 1 pm. She got angry and yelled at me to leave her alone.

She missed her make-up appointment and called me at the restaurant where I was with my father, brother, step mother, and aunt and uncle. She was having a fit because her car wouldn't move out of park and David had gone off with his friends for lunch and she was going to miss her appointment. Could I come get her and take her? What? I got peeved that a)her new hubbie had left her at the temple and b)she was calling me for help instead of him and c)she should have listened to me in the first place and d) we had one car for 6 people and we were all in the middle of lunch so what did she expect me to do? We didn't have room in the car for her and the other bridesmaid and the bridesmaid's husband. I told her to call her husband. She yelled at me for this. When she did call him he said he couldn't come get her until after he got his lunch. So it was his fault she was late but I guess he couldn't be bothered to fix it.

Then it looked like I would also be missing my hair appointment at the salon. I had no ride. Jill got her gear shift to move and was on her way. We went back to my father's hotel. I cried when we got there because I was so exhausted, and hurt, and disappointed that I would have raggedy hair. My step mother was sweet about it and said they would drive me to the salon, that I needed to look good. The other thing we had to do was get back to Jill's friend's house so I could change into the bridesmaid dress. Then we had to clean up after the 4 people who stayed there because the woman who had been out of town was coming home that night. Step mom offered to go clean while we got our hair done but the bridesmaid couple without a car or hotel room who stayed at the house told her she didn't need to because it wasn't that messy. At 5 o'clock we headed back for the house and it took 45 minutes to get there. The reception started at 6:30. We arrived close to 8 pm.

I looked great but couldn't have cared less at that point. The reception was beautifully done. We took lots of pictures. My bra showed in the neckline of the dress so I had to wear a pink pashmina the whole night which looked cheesy but whatever. I really didn't care anymore. My sister's emo friends were there and I had to sit at their table. Their conversation was really boring, full of that young person's chatter that is meant to impress and exhibit one's witty repartee but is completely vacuous.

There were no single men for me to flirt with, not that I was in any kind of mood. I got a lot of compliments from the family. My sister and her husband looked amazing. When they danced, they looked like a movie star couple. My mother kept complaining about his brown suit (very mod) and how it made him look like Napolean Dynamite and was too small (Not quite.) The suit was fitted and was sexy, very Steve McQueen-esque. Jill said he was going for a Beatles look. But mom had complained about his suit all week. I think she was kind of out of her mind with stress. Her criticisms were absurd and over the top and crazy. She and Jill got into a nasty fight on the way to the reception because she was talking trash about Jill's new in-laws (who were nothing but sweet to us). Jill got so offended she wanted my mother to let her out of the car so she could walk the rest of the way in her dress and white satin shoes on the streets of a desert city.

One good thing was that I was very much needed. That felt really nice. I knew I was helping my family and my sister. Living in NY by myself, no one needs me. In my everyday life, I don't have opportunities to contribute, so I really enjoyed the feeling that my presence mattered and did some good. People were glad I was there. I did help my sister and did calm down my mother at points and was able to help organize a bit by taking charge when no one else would.

I'm happy to be home. And I am absolutely convinced now that I never want to have a wedding. If I get married, it will be an elopement. The family will get a notice in the mail. I told my family this and they all seemed very happy with that plan.


The merry bridesmaid

Next week I fly out to Arizona for my little sister's wedding. She wanted bridesmaids even though she's getting married in the temple, so I'm going to be a bridesmaid. Since I'm not endowed I won't actually be in there for the wedding. Despite that she wants us in matching dresses for the pictures and the reception. The dress could be worse. However, it's doodoo brown because that's the trend this season.

I don't like brown. I don't wear brown. Ever. Scratch that, I bought my first brown pants I have owned in my whole life in the fall. That's when I had to buy my first batch of fat clothes. I bought them out of desperation more than anything else. Other than my fat pants, and some tweed heels I bought because I have a tweed fetish, I own nothing brown. Oh, except for the Coach clutch mom bought me a few years ago. (She failed to notice that my wardrobe excluded brown bless her heart--now I have a bag to wear with the doodoo brown dress!)

The dress is a Banana Republic which sis was sweet enough to purchase for me and mail to me. Luckily, I can still close the zipper. But I think I need some kind of girdle underwear... the dress is not flattering. It's made for shorter women with smaller chests. I hang out the v-neck front. Anyone with more than a B cup knows you can't wear V-cut necks. We're talking a V that goes all the way down between the girls. Well, I guess I'll just look like the slutty older spinster sister, in doo doo brown. That's OK.

Because I got me some s-e-x-y shoes to distract attention away from the dress. You can see the shoes above, the heels are 3.5 inches, and yes those are rhinestones. Yow. (Thanks mom!) They're not really my style, and the brown ones are matte instead of satiny. I think the shoes will save me from the dress. And at least now I know I'll look like a high-class hoochie, which makes it ok somehow. Jill wants us all to get our hair done together and then have mani-pedis. She said she wants us to pretend we are a normal happy family. I don't know why she wants to project that fantasy on us but, it's her day. It should be nice. Except.

I'm nervous about seeing all the family. Most of them I haven't seen in 10 years. Every single person out there knows what kind of horror awaits them at a family wedding: the pity (she's the older sister), the inquiry (do you have a boyfriend?), and then the encouragement (oh, you'll find a husband soon, you're so pretty!)--I heard that from my stepmother 5 years ago after I lost my lithium weight. Ugh. I always just want to scream at them: I've been busy because I'm getting a PhD! Aren't you people impressed by that at all??? No. They never are. But lose a little weight and they throw a party in your honor. (Even if they know you lost the weight because you couldn't afford to eat because you maxed out your credit cards in order move to the big city.)

But what are you going to do? Try to smile your way through it and eat lots of cake. (I do hope there is going to be good cake, chocolate that's not too sweet.) I also might try to milk the poor spinster routine, either that or try to play the glamorous big city career girl with no interest in things as parochial as marriage. ;)

It's all ok, right?

Grading got done yesterday. I spent 6 hours on one class. I still have another class and those grades were due today, but I'm not sweating it. The worst thing is going to be the backlash. 8 out of my 25 students that I submitted grades for, got a C- or below. Mostly because they didn't turn in their work. They're going to be angry and surprised because they didn't read their syllabi. Which means it is my fault they failed. I won't be reading my school email for awhile.

At least I got my phone back on finally. I'm a little less trashy now. Going away for the wedding will probably do me good. I haven't been out of here since Christmas.

I'm tired. Tension can wear a body out like that.My lifestyle is not conducive to my well-being. So what do I do now? Change I guess.



Can someone please tell me that at some point life gets easier? Or at least that eventually, there are pay-offs and rewards which make the increasing difficulty more bearable? I am feeling so overwhelmed today. I'm in tears. I want to go back to bed and hide under the covers for the rest of my life. I wish I had someone to comfort me for a few hours. But I don't. This post is a whiner, so if you don't want to read it, best move on now. I don't know what else to do but type.

I'm so scared for my sister who gets married next week. I want to be happy for her, but... I wish I could see what she sees in him. She is in love with the man. Has that ever been enough? She is so stressed out she has lost weight and is dangerously thin. She has had to do everything for this wedding by herself, even getting her fiancee's suit for him. And last week he told her he wanted a Superman wedding ring. She didn't think that was funny. I'll be praying for her and for them. That's all I can do.

Grades were due this afternoon but I blew them off. They only give us 48 hours from the time of the final exam to when the grades are due. That's crappy and ridiculous. In two weeks I get my last paycheck from teaching. So now I need to find a job for the summer, which scares me. Every semester my whole life changes. It's wearying. I don't know why I keep doing this.

They should turn my phone back on shortly, I just paid for the bill. But I haven't dealt with my arrest warrant yet. I need to find a new doctor because soon I'll be completely out of the meds I've been rationing since January. The last doctor I tried to get an appointment with told me it cost $650 for the initial consultation, and $275 for each appointment after so I passed. The doctor I talked to before that was all booked up. The one who referred me to him said she didn't think she could help me, I needed something more intense. Like no doctor at all? Maybe I'll call her back.

I keep waiting for the time when things will get a little easier, and waiting and waiting. I think the secret to life is that as soon as you conquer one thing, you get thrown 10 new things to deal with. It's like the increasing difficulty in video games. As soon as one level gets mastered you move on to the next one which is much harder. But in a game, you have the satisfaction of seeing your progress. Feeling the thrill of moving forward, knowing you got better and mastered something. Life is not so well-defined. It feels more like a drowning, and the water just gets deeper and the light farther away.

We slog on and on. Because we have to keep living. And on and on and on. Watching my sister struggle to put this wedding together, and it has been treacherous, merely confirms my suspicions. That the grass on the other side may look greener, but that's only because it has more weeds, is thicker and takes so much more work to maintain. But when you can't enjoy the greenness, because you don't enjoy anything anymore, then what is the point of trying to get there? How do you keep your motivation going? What keeps you from quitting life's struggle? I really need to know.


Another one bites the dust, sigh

There are networking social sites online where people can post profiles and link to their friends' profiles, Friendster was the big one a few years ago. People also use these sites to look for dates. I have a profile on one of them. I confess that once or twice a year I do a few searches for men and send a few notes out. It's an act of optimism, never yet bearing fruit. Occasionally, I even receive notes from men on their own fishing expeditions.

Last week I got an email that was very bold, compared to the usual "Hi," "Nice profile", "How YOU doing?" . . .you get the idea. The most common thing I've found is that guys send some obscure random question about my profile. (BTW, not effective, it may work as a pickup line in a public place but not on email.) So this guy sent me an actual letter complimenting my tastes and saying he was very interested, I looked like just his type. Intrigued, I checked out his profile. Whoa. My first instinct was, ok, there is something horribly wrong with this man. Why did I respond so cynically? Because he looked too good. He was Mormon, 33, very very tall, good-looking, had a successful career(according to him), and came across as charming--as opposed to the usual socially awkward bloke.

Now, two of any of the above characteristics are enough to make a man prime meat in the singles ward. I learned that the hard way by dating a very tall and very good looking man. That's when I ended up in the nasty quadrangle and gossipy envy. That man had no career, and turned out to be about as dumb as dirt. Yet, women were clawing each other's eyes out for him. As I said, in my experience, a Mormon man needs only two of these golden traits to draw the women like flies on.... And here was a single guy living in Salt Lake(!!!) still single and hitting on me shamelessly. Additionally, the man had about 30 women on his profile gushing over him and obviously in love with him.

If you are familiar with these pages, then you know what I am talking about. Comments such as the following, "He is the best guy I know. He won my heart because he is so hot and fun and cool." "Any woman would be so lucky to have this man." "As soon as I can sell my trailer and move to SLC, this man is mine so back off you B's...." Ok, I made those up. But that's what those comments are like. You can gauge a man's social skills by these swooning comments, the collected broken hearts he keeps on a string. I think most of the guys can't see them for what they are, but the ones with more than 2 of the veiled love letters have got to know and are obviously playa's.

So what was this dude's story? I thought I should find out. I spent an hour Friday night writing a long, thoughtful, descriptive letter telling him about myself. It was witty, it was open, I tried to show glimpses of my soul without being an exhibitionist. Quite a letter. Why bother? I went to all that trouble despite the flashing warning sign, "He's too good to be true!!" because I thought, "maybe". Maybe there really is a super terrific man out there who has just been looking for the right woman and he hasn't found her yet because that woman is me." Please gag me with a spoon. I didn't really believe that thought, but I had nothing better to do so I went with it anyway.

After pushing the send button, I got a reply right back. He said there was so much to say but he was so lazy could we IM? Fine, I wasn't doing anything. And there, the truth was revealed. I'm blown away by the irrationality and freakiness of what I found. Usually, I am the freaky one with the bizarre and paranoid reactions. Oh, no. Not this time. I have included excerpts of our exact IM conversation(thank you archives) because I couldn't reproduce this as well. The typos were his.

Things started out normally with greetings. He complimented my pictures. I told him I took them with a webcam I got from my ex-boyfriend....

BOY: still got that came?
BOY: flip that sucker on!
ME: Not now, I look bad
BOY (10:25:53 PM): please
B: we are beyond that
Me:no, I've had some bad experiences with a webcam and guys I just met
B: sounds like it's time ot get back on the horse

I explained to him about an experience I had one night when I was chatting with someone and went to the bathroom. When I returned I was greeted by the man and a view of his goodies, while he was enjoying his goodies if you get my drift. Personally, I think that is a good reason not to let someone you don't know show you his webcam. But despite that, I really just don't like using them, I find it weird and creepy to watch someone staring at their computer. But this guy would not let it go.

BOY:I can assure you I am decent
B: and sober
B: andMormon
B: Can you see me?
ME: I haven't turned it on
B: why not?
B: take a look
B: see who you are talking to
ME: please, I was traumatized and I need to know you better first

That last bit was an exaggeration, I wasn't traumatized but this guy would not let it go. The point was, I didn't want to see his webcam. If he was so decent, why was he so hot for me to look at him? Perhaps he knew that was the best he had to offer? His pretty face. Harumph. I don't like being pushed...

BOY:so traumatized that you can;t take the risk of LOOKING at me?
B: I an PROMISE you I am not a pervert
B: try me
B: worse case scenerio - you see I am a perv, and you save all this chat
ME: worst case scenario I get another picture in my brain that I don't want...
B: siiiiiigh
B: a 30-year-old girl who si damaged
B: I've seen this movie before

Excuse me? I have damage because I don't want your face on my monitor because I don't know you?? That's what I should have said. So I'm the one with issues because I didn't do what you wanted me to?

ME: you don't get to be interesting without some scars I'm afraid
BOY: I guess so
B: I'll guess I'll just have ot try to gauge just how much atoning you'l make me do for teh sins of past guys in yoru life before I decide how good of frineds we shoudl be
ME: ouch
BOY: what can I say... I've always been drawn to interesting girls
ME: look, I don't trust the online thing. It's nothing personal
B: a lack of trust usually isn't
B: I understand
B: As I've said, I've seen this movie before
B: it's no problem

What the...? Huh? Atoning for who, what? YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW ME. I wouldn't let you watch me type, so that means I'm punishing you for what other men did to me? You're a head case--again, in hindsight that's what I should have said. And, aside from that lunacy, does any woman actually respond to that kind of thing? I was really mad at this point. But I kept chatting because I had nothing better to do and was curious to see what he would do next.

Despite his alleged 'understanding' he kept going on and on about how being online is not the best way to get to know someone but it's better if you can see each other, not hide behind a curtain...blah blah blah Whatever. He just wanted to know if I had gotten fat or put up fake pictures before he wasted chat time on me. I even asked him that and he said "Partly." Hmmm. I told him I would take a new picture and send it but then I couldn't get it to work, then surprise, he had to go out. He said he had fun and wanted to talk again, but yeah. I'm never going to hear from him again. Good riddance. I'm just sorry I wasted so much time writing him a letter.

Now my question to you, dear readers, is this: Am I over-reacting or was that a totally not normal response? I thought he was rude, manipulative, pushy, and . . . dare I say it, damaged?


Update on the Very Bad Day

Thanks to some very generous people, (thank you soooo much!!) I have enough money in the paypal account to make bail. Now, I haven't done anything yet. I was going to call the court from my office at school on Friday but I forgot to take the form with the contact information on it with me. If I had really wanted to I could have found the numbers from there, but after teaching and taking care of paperwork I just didn't want to deal with it.

For now, I am waiting for the money to hit my checking account from paypal, it takes a few days. When it does I will pay my phone bill and get that turned back on, send in a check for the parking ticket (which was totally unjust but I'll let that go.) and call somebody about bail. My sister said that her friend was in this situation and he said they dropped the warrant when he paid the ticket. But that was in Arizona, so there is no telling how things work here. I do know that this township probably doesn't have enough to keep law enforcement busy because the police escort ambulances and direct traffic, and answer noise nuisance calls. So I don't know what will happen. Tuesday I expect to take care of all of this.

My rent check was cashed on Thursday but I think that was my one free overdraft charge, and my tax refund came in on Friday so that covered the clothes that I bought (just barely.)

Thank you again all the lovely people who donated and all the people who sent their prayers and good wishes my way. I'm holding on. And I have an interesting IM conversation with an Utahn to relate.


Holy Crap! I'm a moron, or Why I'm getting arrested

No, that wasn't a typo, I wasn't trying to write Mormon. I am a M-O-R-O-N. There is an arrest warrant for me. How did this happen to such a nice girl? Well, first of all, I'm not that nice. Secondly, please refer to the second sentence above.

I got a parking ticket in March for the rental car. If you park in this town without a resident permit you get a ticket. I forgot to get the permit. It was a $50 ticket. I figured I should go to court and show them my lease so that I could get it dismissed. Because I am a resident and I parked in resident parking. So I called the number on the ticket. The woman I talked to about requesting a court date sounded incredulous, she said, "you didn't have a parking permit so you got a ticket." Then I said, "But I'm a resident and I parked in resident parking." And she said, "So you got a ticket." Then she sighed and got my information and said they would send me my court information in the mail. It came not long after. I was pleased with myself for uncharacteristically showing so much initiative and adult responsibility. Unfortunately, I stretched beyond my reach.

My court date was on Tuesday at 8 am. I'd lost all my confidence in my rightness and got scared about appearing before a judge and looking like a jerk. I didn't have anything to wear. It was too early and where was the court anyway? So I decided not to go. I figured they would just send me a bill for the ticket and maybe some extra court costs, that shouldn't be a big deal. EEEk!!!!! I just got a notice saying that I have an arrest warrant for contempt of court. It says I should present myself at the police station in order to post bail to save myself the embarrassment of an arrest. Frankly, I don't have money for a cab or bus fare, so if they want me they can come pick me up in the police car.

The bail is $80. I don't have $80. Which brings me to my second stupid mistake. A few weeks ago, they sent me a new debit card. It's gold and looks like a credit card. I didn't ask for it and I don't like it. For 4 years I had a blue debit card. Tuesday night I took a taxi to Marshalls so I could buy myself a new wardrobe. Again, I was pleased with myself for doing something responsible and necessary. Necessary because I have gained so much weight in the past year that I'm now 3 sizes bigger than I've been since I moved to New York. I threw out all my fat clothes when I moved to Jersey last spring. (Of course, as soon as I did that I started getting bigger.)

On Monday, a button popped off of my shirt on the subway. Not because it was old or cheap, but because the stress of my protruding flesh on the stitching was too great. I borrowed a safety pin from the receptionist at school to close my blouse before going in to lecture my classes. Very embarrassing. It made me feel really crummy wearing mal-fittling clothing. No one wants to look like a bum with pinned, taped and gerrymandered clothing, especially not in front of 30 bored students with nothing better to do than make fun of you. Thus, I needed to go shopping.

The shopping went well. At Marshalls I found a lot of clothes. Quite a haul. I paid $267 for 4 pairs of pants, 1 shorts, 1 skirt, 2 sweaters, 4 blouses, 1 pair of shoes and a bra. All of it designer and high quality stuff. Goody. Not. Today I checked my bank account to see if my tax refund had arrived (no) and had a very nasty surprise. I meant to buy the clothes with my credit card. But there was the charge to my checking account!!! I used my debit card by mistake. Holy freaking crap!!! This means my rent check is going to bounce and the bank will charge me $30. I just had $90 in overdraft fees charged two weeks ago. I hate my life. I am so sick of this.

After I learned that peice of bad news, I checked my mail and got the warrant bad news. I don't even know where the police station is. What is going to happen to me when I post bail? Will they take pictures of me and get my prints? Will I have to go back to court again? Where I'm sure they will just charge me more money I don't have. The life of a screw-up. I can't keep track of my money or apparently keep myself from getting arrested for parking a rental car on my own street. Crap. Does anyone know what will happen to me at the station? Am I the only moron in the world who blows off her traffic court date?

If you'd like to help me stay out of jail, you can contribute to:
JL's Bail Fund

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!


Pimp my ride! ...ahem.

No, really. I think I have lived in this city too long. Something happened on Saturday that I didn't think much of, but the people I mentioned it to thought it a big deal. So I will pass the tale on to you, my dear readers. Judge for yourselves if I have become dangerously immune to the incredible.

The grocery store in my neighborhood is about a mile away. Because most people have cars. (Because I live in New Jersey, on a street overlooking the Hudson and midtown Manhattan.) Originally, I tried walking home with my groceries in my arms. Ouch. Imagine carrying 10 grocery bags for a mile. A few times I dragged my granny shopping cart to the store but hauling it there and back was a real pain. And food falls out of the sides, and I have to go down and up a hill.

One late night I helped myself to a store cart and pushed my groceries home. (No, I didn't steal it! You can't get them past the parking lot because the wheels lockup, I had already tried that.) I found it a block away from the store like manna from heaven, just an empty grocery store cart abandoned on the sidewalk. Because it was late at night I didn't feel embarrassed to be seen with a stolen shopping cart. In fact, I think I ran gleefully up the hill with it. But I did feel bad leaving it parked in front of my building, that was a ghetto thing to do. I swore to take it back first thing in the morning. By the time I got out of bed though, it was long gone. So then what could I do? I considered my responsibility for the stolen cart discharged. (Ok, I still felt bad about it for awhile.)

A few months ago I decided that it was worth $6 to get a cab ride home from the store. So now I only feel mildly guilty for spending money I can't afford on such a luxury. To obtain such a cab there are several methods. My friend always calls the cab companies to come get her. But that involves a wait of anywhere between 5-20 minutes. One night they stood me up even after I called 3 times. Wankers. I prefer to catch a ride with the freelance cabbies who hang around at the store looking for customers. I know this isn't the safest plan but they are already there waiting for you.

There is one older gentleman I have now used three times. I liked him because he speaks English, which makes giving directions easier. And he's one of those flirty old guys that you know is really a dirty womanizer. Well, yesterday I saw my guy and waved him down, asked him if he could drive me home. We got in his car and he seemed different, his speech was slurred more. I hoped he hadn't been drinking. He started talking about this rich guy he worked for who made him crazy. My guy has to drive him all over during the week. And now the man wants him to find him women. Blah blah blah. I couldn't really understand what else he was saying so I tuned him out.

Then he looked in the rearview mirror and asked me if I was married. I said 'no' but prepared myself with the 'I have a boyfriend' lie that I knew would be necessary shortly. He heard me and whipped his head around. He said, 'no? Look at you. You're gorgeous! You should go out with him.' I said, 'No, thank you. I have a boyfriend.' Then he went on and on about how rich this guy was, he paid 2 million for that building, he owns all the restaurants on some such street in the Village, he likes to throw his money around, just gives it away, he's lonely, he looks Elvis, his wife and baby died, and on and on...until we got to my street.

"I'm a retired cop." He says. So he would go with us and would protect me. "I wouldn't have to do anything with the man, not even kiss him, but I'd get a nice dinner. Don't I trust him? He would keep me safe." No. No. No. As I got out of his car he got really desperate to pimp me out to his sugar daddy. He said, "You're scared aren't you? Are you chicken? You're a chicken." I said 'yes' and collected my bags from the trunk of his car. Then he switched tactics to flattery, "How old are you? 20? 21?" Nice try. I'm 30 buddy. He wouldn't let it go until I slammed the door in his face.

I found the whole thing annoying and decided never to use that driver again.

My friend is afraid to use the freelance guys, she says if they kill you there won't be any record of it, at least with the places you call there is a record. I think she is overly optimistic about the quality of cabbie dispatch. And I trust myself to get out of the backseat of a car. She has more sense than I do generally, and probably in this case as well. I may rethink this though and start calling a cab from the checkout line.

My ride tried to pimp me! For real.


Just like everybody else does

When you hear the same criticism from two people in one week, it may be a good idea to pay attention. In my depressive cocoon of withdrawal and isolation, I like to think that I am growing, that this time is for healing and self-improvement. So, two different men told me they thought I was unfair to Mormon men. Touche'. Naturally, I responded defensively, sort of 'they deserve it' or 'I have a right to be bitter' reaction. Right or not, I don't want to be bitter.

That's what this comes down to, my choice. Can I set aside my pride in order to get what I ultimately want? Pride will be my damnation before anything else. Even as a child I knew that, when I first heard about the '7 deadly sins', I gulped when someone told me the definition of pride. As far as defense mechanisms go, pride is a beauty. What a wonderful shield to throw up in the face of hurt and rejection. I felt unloved at home, rejected by my family so I turned a proud cheek to them. They weren't rejecting me because I didn't love them either. They wouldn't ignore me anymore because I'd stop talking to them. Stop I did. And no, they didn't notice. Which deepened my adolescent anger and pain.

But all that is behind me now, right? Sigh. A defense learned so early in life really digs itself into one's personality. So, when I again faced repeated rejection, this time by the male Mormon population, my shield automatically went up. They don't want me? Fine, I don't want them either! How mature. And not good for me.

Several factors lead to this result. I started dating non-members from the beginning. In our youth group  we had about 12 teenagers. Most of us had grown up together which kills romantic mystique. One boy, who became very popular with the ladies, I remembered playing with him when we were four. Picking noses together as toddlers does not lead to sexual desire. Those of us in the group who dated either went out of the ward or out of the religion. My first boyfriend at age 16 was a nice non-practicing catholic drummer in a speed metal band. (it was 1992!).

Then when I went to college there was a sizeable singles ward full of Utah transplants. I felt like a freak from another planet. I did not understand the culture of that ward at all. I found the cliqueyness disgusting and couldn't get a boy to look at me twice. So I turned my back on that nonsense and stayed in my family ward. Those of us who spurned the singles ward became a pretty tight knit group for a few years. We had dances in town for the whole stake twice a month. That's where I met the recent convert that I dated when I was 21. That didn't work out at all. He just wanted a wife and rejected me for not being good enough. Whatever, he was the redneck who didn't go to college and lived with his mother. (He made her move to the guesthouse because she was living in sin.)

For the 8 years that I lived in the south I stayed on the fringes of the singles LDS life. There were two men I dated but we never became couples. One guy I was never attracted to but really wanted to be. The other had strung me along in a love quadrangle for a few months then dumped me at a Valentine's Day Dance. He told me he was getting back together with his ex, left me to sit by the wall and watch as he danced away with her.

The quadrangle drama was the result of my attempts to get into the singles social scene. I started attending the ward and going to activities, unaware that I was dating the guy that two of the more important females were in love with. So I didn't have a chance with the women, no one liked me. Except my friend April, we were paired as visiting teaching companions and found a real kinship that has lasted to this day. A lot of the other girls didn't like her either. I think they were too jealous because she looks like a prettier version of Britney Spears and was working on an MBA. (She's still single too.) My own behavior towards the other quad-women when I did realize we were in competition frightened and repulsed me more than anything else. And I haven't attended a singles ward since.

Blah, blah, blah. A few more years and boyfriends later, here I am. In no shape whatsoever to date anyone. I am not well. Trying to get into a relationship now could only end in disaster. The only man who would want me in this state would have to be sick himself. Bad, bad, bad. I'm wise enough to see that now. So I'm taking a breather from the drama. I haven't had a real date in almost a year. (The couple almost dates don't count.) I am on sabbatical from romance and the hunt. This isn't just lip service, the thought of going on a date makes me ill.

So now that I've been accused of being unfair to Mormon men, what am I going to do about it? Initially I didn't care. But I have since had an epiphany. This is my choice. The single LDS men my age belong to a social culture and operate by those rules. Up until now I have rejected that culture because it rejected me. Good for me, I'll die a spinster that way. I see now that if I want a nice Mormon boy then I will have to bend. I must set aside my pride and play their game by their rules. I don't like the game and I don't understand it but that's a pill I have to swallow. Unless I want to continue playing worse games with the non-lds dudes. They'll pretend they're ok with my celibacy to gain my trust so they can get into my pants. That's a no-brainer.

If I want a 'good' one, I have to stop waiting for the LDS man who plays by my rules to come and get me. That will never happen. Now I have resolved that if and when the day comes when I feel up to dating again, I will dip my toes into the mo'men pool and leave it there. I will pursue them with kid gloves on, using that magical mix of non-aggressive aggression. How to do that, I don't know. But that's for another day. Today, I'll enjoy my newfound maturity.


Fun with Genealogy

Grandma was the genealogist of our family. I haven't done any research myself though I expect to take it up shortly. She recently moved into a home because she has increasing dementia. It's very sad. But I visited her one summer in Utah as an adolescent. She told me and some cousins very proudly about one of our ancestors, a famous general and friend of Brigham Young, James Ferguson.

Tonight, for no reason in particular, I felt like looking him up and finding out exactly how I was related. I used this site to look up the records : Family Search it's the LDS church's website so it's free to use unlike many others. All you need to find someone is their name and some piece of information, such as year of death or birth or state.

So it turns out, Ferguson is my Great-Great-Great Grandfather and he was freaking cool. Unfortunately, he died at age 35 from his 'devotion to the inebriating cup.' Looks like he only had 4 wives. Though we know from his letters he was madly in love with the woman he left behind in Ireland. Perhaps his second wife? I can't remember. Here's an excerpt from an article about him:

Sheriff James Ferguson's exploits have always been short on documentation but long on notoriety, from hunting for mountain man Jim Bridger to almost igniting a war between frontier Utah and the federal government. Yet the brilliant career of this colorful soldier, actor, missionary, newspaperman and attorney was cut short before he reached middle age.
. . .
While sheriff, Ferguson read the law, later serving as territorial attorney general. He also became one of Great Salt Lake City's foremost actors, appearing in 1853 as Hamlet, and remained Utah's favorite leading man almost until his death.

On his mission to Britain in 1854 for the Mormon Church, Ferguson served as pastor of Ireland and on his return helped organize the handcart emigration of 1856. On reaching home, he was named adjutant general of the Nauvoo Legion. Perhaps craving action, he led a mob that dumped the law library of federal judge George P. Stiles into an outhouse and burned it, helping to ignite the Utah War that brought one-quarter of the U.S. Army to enforce federal authority in the "State of Deseret."

The rest of the article can be read here: Utah History

Go Gramps. I imagine he and I would get along very well.


Guest Post: The Last Word

*Casanova, the winner of our pathetic personal ad contest has submitted this post for your reading pleasure. Enjoy!

The break-up is an interesting phenomenon. Though often painful, it can also be relieving, anticlimactic or even funny. Lovers’ final words can speak volumes about their relationship, and often about the nature of romantic relationships in general. In this spirit, I offer you five personal break-ups, each with a different flavor:

1. The “I Really Didn’t Mean It” Break-Up

My best friend and I were going steady with twin sisters. In our defense, we were nine. The following took place in their front yard with family watching…

Me: So…umm…we don’t want to go with you anymore.
Best Friend: Yeah, we’re kicking you to the curb like yesterday’s garbage.
Me: And we’re not giving you rides on our skateboards anymore, either.
BF: Unless you really have somewhere to go.
Me: Yeah!

The girls didn’t say a word. We regretted the decision 15 minutes later. They never took us back.

2. The Mutually Beneficial Break-Up

Done over a casual lunch…

Girlfriend: I think we should break-up.
Me: Me too.
GF: I’m so glad you said that. I think we’ve both known it’s been coming.
Me: Yeah, are we still going swing dancing Friday, or should I find a date?
GF: Either way. Maybe we can go together and help each other find dates there.

We didn’t find dates for each other and we never got back together. But it was the least painful break-up ever.

3. The Divine Intervention Break-Up

While cuddling on a grassy knoll overlooking the city…

GF: I’m going to Texas next week to the homecoming of I guy I met on my (LDS) mission.
Me: Texas?
GF: I’m not sure why, I just feel like God wants me to go.
Me: Texas?
GF: I guess what I’m saying is that I think we should slow things down until I find out what God is trying to tell me.
Me: Texas?

She and the Texan were married six months later.

4. The Chemically Induced Break-Up

Over the phone…

GF: Sorry I haven’t called you in a month. I’m in drug rehab.
Me: Rehab? You don’t do drugs.
GF: I know. I don’t…didn’t. I tried heroin and it ruined my life. I just checked in.
Me: I’m so sorry. Is there anything I can do?
GF: I think we should break things off. At least until I can get my head back on straight.
Me: Yeah, umm…sure…okay (still trying to figure out what just happened).

Happily, she stayed clean after getting out of rehab. We never got back together.

5. The “I’m An Emotional Black Hole And You’re A Loose Cannon” Break-Up
(Part I)

GF: You’re emotionally unavailable.
Me: Yeah…
GF: Is that all you can say?
Me: No…
GF: A@#hole!

With that, she threw an entire stack of cds at my face. Each left me a small, bruised reminder of the night’s events. We got back together a year later. We’re sadistic like that.

I could add the “It’s Not Me, It’s You” Break-Up or the 14 Hour Drive Home In Silence Break up, but I’d rather hear about you. What are some of your best break-up stories?


Celibate Cinema: 'Slither' Superb

Firstly, one must have an appreciation for the genre. If you do not enjoy movies dripping with fake blood and engorged entrails, then you should probably miss this one. But, even the occasional B-movie viewer, and definitely the aficionado, should see this film. "Slither" is a superb example of B-movies at their finest. It manages to please by sticking to the formula we know and love: monster infects dude, who transforms into carnivorous worm beast(zombie) and impregnates local girl as they attempt to take over the earth(turning everyone to zombies). However, it is not formulaic. The plot surprised me throughout. I didn't know who was going to win until the last 10 minutes, which is a good thing.

Another surprise is that the creators obviously wanted to have characters that broke the usual stereotypes. The teenage girl was not a slut but wasn't totally virginal either. The same goes for the main heroine, she oozes sex and every man in town lusts after her but she has madonnalike virtues as well. Her husband, the infectee, is in fact an obnoxious jerk who is faithful to his wife! Those twists alone break several rules for zombie movies. The other surprise is that these monsters share a single consciousness, they are all in love with the heroine. How creepy is that? As far as I know that has never been done before. Any zombie movie innovation is always cause for celebration!

I really loved the opening scene because we see teenage boys gazing at their sexy teacher. I have seen that look before and it made me laugh. When the opening makes you laugh it portends more to come. Which indeed did. It was funny without trying too hard, the pacing was perfect, the dialogue was good and authentic (unusual for B movies) and the gore wasn't overwhelming. There was just enough goo to make you squirm in your seat without getting boring.

Lastly, this picture was a love letter to classic horror and b-movies. The movie is replete with references: Toxic Avenger is playing on the TV, the name of the local honky tonk, and more. Play how many references can you find with your buddy. My only complaint is with the deer fighting scene. Our hero gets in a fight with a monster deer but you don't actually see the deer aside from some quick shots of the head. It looks like someone took a deer trophy, wiped it with fake blood and shook it over the guy being attacked. I suspect this was supposed to be a reference to another film, but it comes across like they ran out of money and was frustrating. I want to see the freaky deer.

Tip: Stay for the end of the credits. A bonus scene sets up the sequel.

Yes, I'm a megadork. My sister has already told me. Before you throw stones at me, ask yourself how you got to the end of this post, you're the one who is still reading.


Happy Easter and Passover

For those of you who may have forgotten what the single life is like...

Easter was nice. PBS had several good arts documentaries on in the afternoon. I enjoyed eating the other half of the cheese babka I bought on Saturday. (No, they didn't have chocolate. I could only dream what a chocolate babka tastes like.) But the cheese was very nice. My little ghetto kitty and I had some bonding time in which I threw colored balls with bells in them at her and she jumped and ran with joy. I also took her for a run up the stairs in my building and gave her an extended sniff of the front entryway. The weather was lovely.

I didn't talk to anyone because my mother was having dinner with my brother's in-laws all day. She usually calls me every Sunday but couldn't. I didn't feel like calling anyone either. But I did finish reading my latest fantasy book, "Sinner" by Sara Douglass. It was book 4 in a series and the whole thing mostly set the scene for the invasion of the plague demons from outer space. So it was unsatisfying because the book ends when they enter the star gate and commence to terrorize the world. But that's ok, it was entertaining enough.

For dinner I made myself a spinach and egg casserole (like a quiche without the crust.) I ate it as I watched the show about the giraffes. Good times. I ended the day with a nice little IM chat with a stranger. My toenails needed a touch-up so I planned to paint them in the evening but I didn't get around to it. Because I was so very busy.

I missed the community I had in Atlanta. A nice group of families from church would have invited me to spend a holiday such as this one with them. I don't have that here at all. Makes things a little more lonely.

By the way, single people should check out the newly restored blogward cultural hall A new member, Chris has put up two new discussion questions and I posted one last week too. We'd appreciate y'all's input.


I missed the train

In more ways than one. First, traffic in Lincoln tunnel last week for some inexplicable reason was horrendously worse than usual. I think it was the weather. For some reason, when it is warm, more people like to go to Manhattan. I take a bus into the city to go to work. I give myself 40 minutes usually to get to Penn Station. Most days it only takes 20 minutes. Last Wednesday it took 45 minutes. I have to take a 9:24 LIRR train to get to my class by 11:20. If I miss that one, I will take the 9:31 to Babylon which isn't far enough. From there I have take a taxi that costs $50. I am loathe to pay that much since I am paid so little...but pay it I do.

Except last time I did not have $50 to take from the ATM so that wasn't an option. I decided to take the 10:24 train and called my colleague to have her give my class a writing assignment, that way I wouldn't have to cancel. We were in chapter 10 of the book so without even looking at it, I had them do the essay assignment in that chapter. It was due by the end of class, at which time I knew I'd be there. So, during lunch I read the essays. They were typically not good. The topic was, "Should public schools be allowed to post the 10 Commandments." They were to research the arguments then decide which they agreed with and write an argument.

One student got very creative in her example and in fact had one of the better essays. However, she slandered Mormons in the process. She said that if a Mormon child who had polygamous parents read the 10 Commandments at school he would realize his family did not follow them. His parents were adulterers for having multiple wives, so his feelings would be hurt and other children would make fun of him. In the margins I wrote that Mormons do follow the 10 Commandments and in fact, being married means that his parents are not adulterers.***

Then I had the students write critiques of their essays. On hers she wrote that she used an example that required interpretation and she should have interpreted it in her essay. That whether or not polygamers were adulterous was interpretive. She also said that her aunt attended 4 Mormon churches and they did not in fact follow the 10 Commandments. Groan. I didn't read this until after class when I checked their critiques. So I decided I should talk to her after the next class and clear up her misconceptions. That class was on Wednesdy.

But I wasn't really sure what to say to her. I had several variations. Mostly I wanted to tell her that she shouldn't assume that no one in the class was a Mormon, and that she should be more careful about repeating whatever, etc etc. I did not look forward to this chat. I knew it would make her uncomfortable and it would definitely make me uncomfortable. I felt I should tell her I was a practicing Mormon so whatever her aunt had told her, I could trump by actual expertise. Then class ended and I just didn't feel like stopping her, teaching that class is a real struggle, definite teeth-pulling involved. So I let her go.

An interesting coincidence happened the same day I gave them the essays. While I was reading them in fact. One of the other professors in my department told me his son was s teaching in Kansas and how terrible it was to have to be in 'tornado ally'. But that was certainly better than being in Utah with the Mormons. Then he went on a diatribe about what a ridiculous faith it is, how could anyone believe some guy saw God and etc etc....I actually interrupted him and told him I was Mormon. He was horribly embarrassed of course. I tried to assuage him by saying that I wasn't offended at all. I just wanted to stop him before I did get offended. In the past I wouldn't have said anything, just nodded uncomfortably. So I felt pleased with myself for this. Even though it caused him embarrassment and now he no longer respects my ability to reason, it was better than if he found out later on. So I kind of felt LDS-Defender exhausted and puzzled by the weird convergence.

Now it is probably too late. I'm kind of relieved. But I wonder if I have been disloyal to my church. Do I have a responsibility to clear up misconceptions whenever I come across them? I think I probably do. What do you think? What would you have done?

***For the record: Mormons do not practice polygamy and have not for over 100 years. Any member of the church caught in a polygamous marriage is excommunicated from the church and no longer a Mormon. There are some freaky groups calling themselves Mormon and practicing polygamy but they are not part of the real church.
**I happened to be more offended by the student's error in reasoning than I was in her factual errors. Which is why I didn't make a note of this on the paper.


Breakup Remorse: Baggage Handling

It was not having sex that made me so insecure with him. I knew he liked me, was attracted to me and enjoyed my company. But I knew he was used to sleeping with his women. I knew he wanted to sleep with me too. I didn't know how to maturely deal with the situation. Our discussion about sex went as follows:

"By the way, you're not getting any from me."
"I figured as much. That was an odd way to put it."
"Well, it's not an easy thing to bring up."
"I imagine so."

Then we went back to kissing.

The insecurity and non-communication are what led to our weird confusing break up. That, and my intermittent psychotic episodes. (I wasn't hallucinating but was delusional and paranoid.) Now, I'm afraid he thinks I gave him a marriage ultimatum. Which is completely ridiculous because we weren't even officially a couple. I would be ok with his misconception if he kept it to himself. But now I think he's telling other people.

Our mutual friend let one of her smug comments slip at a dinner party last week. She likes to make private jokes that she thinks are opaque. She gets this smug grin on her face when she thinks she knows something you don't. I figured out they used to sleep together because of one of her 'private' jokes. The latest one had to do with marriage and leads me to believe he is telling people I wanted to marry him. Which makes me sick. You make one psycho phone call in the middle of the night and it screws everything up....

Here is what actually happened.

We broke up in June. In May, I hit my lowest point emotionally. They told me my cat was dying and that they wanted to fire me from my job. After the boss gave me that speech, detailing all the things I had done wrong, I needed to see my man. I needed someone to comfort me. I was a mess. So I called him and asked if I could come over, but he said 'no, he had to get up early for a bris.' I was crying on the phone but he was oblivious. I should have been more forceful but I already felt so broken. I cried all the way home from Manhattan.

The next day I called to see if we could have dinner. He couldn't because he had planned to go out drinking with his students after class. I had meant before class...but he didn't get it. I tried to explain but he was not listening again. It never occurred to him to invite me along. We'd been dating for 7 months so you'd think he wouldn't mind bringing me along to things. But he never invited me along for anything. He suggested we go to a movie tomorrow instead. The next day, after my class, I turned on my phone and found a pissy message from him. He wanted to know why I wasn't answering because we were supposed to go out. Because he didn't listen when I told him what time my class ended! Stupid jerk.

When I called back, he took an attitude with me. I defended myself but agreed to see him anyway. I was extremely fragile and still resentful about his rejection the two nights previous. On my way to Union Square I got angry about his attitude so I decided to go home instead. I texted him that I wasn't in the mood for a movie anymore. That must have made him mad. He was already waiting for me. But he didn't say anything or complain at all. Now I can see that he punished me for it. He does that, he silently punishes those who wrong him. Of course, I did the same thing by canceling without telling him why. Weren't we a passive aggressive pair?

After that I tried to see him a few more times, but he didn't have time for me, everything else was more important. I realized then I was his last priority. I could list 10 things he had chosen over me. This hurt. I was nothing more than a tryst of convenience, something to do when he had nothing else. So, I decided to stop asking him out. If he wanted to see me he had to ask me for awhile. As each day passed and he said nothing, I grew more hurt and angry. It wasn't fair. He wasn't my last priority. Stupid jerk. At this point my unstable mind created all kinds of scenarios to explain the discretion; that he was just using me to amuse himself, it had all been a game to see how far he could go with me, etc. I was losing my grip on reality.

Four weeks passed. In my mind we were already broken up and he was glad to be rid of me. I had stopped calling him too, but he still called me everyday to talk. I figured the calls were for his own personal whatever. By then it was June and one day I magically got a text saying he could come to see me next week if he was invited. I was supposed to be thrilled? Ok, for 5 minutes I was thrilled, and texted back 'you're invited'. 10 minutes later, I went crazy. I grew enraged with him for suddenly thinking I'd want to see him after all this time. For not noticing that we hadn't gone out in a month. So I texted him again, "You are uninvited. I don't have time for you either." He gave no reply. I had a screaming fit and threw things around my apartment, breaking things. My rage scared me. In the morning I sent an apology, I felt really bad about it. He made no reply. We didn't talk for a week.

But we did talk before my psycho call. It went well. I apologized for canceling and explained why I had done it. He had noticed I stopped asking him out, but he was giving me space because I was so depressed. He thought I wanted to be left alone, that if I wanted to see him I would have said something. Because I'm better at communicating than he is. That fact should have sent me screaming into the hills.

Afterwards, I remember not being able to sleep but feeling better about us. My mind raced and obsessed with our problems until I suddenly needed to talk to him. It was 1 am. I HAD TO TALK TO HIM. I needed to know if it was worth putting all this work into our relationship. Would he ever marry a non-Jew? I didn't know. I would just ask him. I wasn't getting what I needed from him now, so I wanted to know if I should keep trying. I made the call but some psycho switch had gone off in my head.

First I asked if I could come over--which was insane, it would have taken at least 2 hours to get to Brooklyn by subway at that hour. He said 'yes', obviously thinking I wanted to make a booty call(the non intercourse makeout kind.) Um, no. Realizing this I chose to talk to him over the phone instead. I said, "I need to know if there is a chance we will ever get married. Because I need to have sex someday so I need to find someone who will marry me. If that's not where this is going then I need to stop wasting my time."

OY! I cringe typing the words. I had to have been out of mind. I knew better. How those words came out instead of what I really meant, I don't know. But he said that was understable. We should talk in person about it. I knew he wasn't good on the spot so I told him to take some time to think about it. The other time I asked him about our relationship, and whether or not we were exclusive, all he could say was, "I'm not prepared to answer that question right now." After 30 minutes of me trying to get some kind of statement of commitment from him or just an admission that he had feelings for me, I got nothing. So I went on a date with someone else. That's another story. It came back to bite me on the rear. But I had learned he couldn't answer questions about his emotions until he had time to think about them first.

That's why we made plans to meet in the city. It was awful, I was so nervous. I thought he understood what I wanted but he didn't. He surprised me by saying that he thought our relationship was totally casual. That he had good reason to think so, especially since I was dating other people. "Excuse me? I only went out with that one guy because you couldn't tell me you wanted to be exclusive. And I haven't gone out with anyone else since." He asked me why not. "Because I don't want to go out with anyone else. I only want to be with you." He seemed surprised. I certainly didn't have casual feelings for him, and I wasn't taking this relationship casually. I tried to tell him what I wanted, some kind of commitment and definition to the relationship. I needed to know what I had a right to ask of him. I'm sure I didn't make myself clear.

It didn't matter anyway. He couldn't hear me. He could only hear my words from the night before...'I want to get married....' He asked me if I really wanted things to change between us. I said I needed them to, I couldn't go on this way. He said he didn't want them to change. Of course not! This relationship had been totally easy for him. He agreed that it had. He gave me nothing. I told him to think about it some more.

Then, a strange thing happened. He asked me to join him on Friday, he was having a drink with a student and her boyfriend. I got so excited. What a couple thing to do. I thought it meant he understood and wanted the same thing I did. I ignored that he said he wanted me there because he thought the boyfriend was jealous he had been spending time with his student. Had I thought more about it I would have realized a man does not invite his girlfriend in such a way. But I didn't get it, that he only wanted me there to make it less awkward for himself.

On Friday, I was having nasty anxiety and had arrived at the bar before everyone else. The bartender yelled at me for reading a paper and not ordering anything. I told him I was waiting for people. He said this wasn't a public park. That made me feel worse. When he got there I told him how badly I was feeling. He tried to comfort me and we cuddled on the couch. Until the other people arrived. Then he sat up straight and moved away from me. The couple was pleasant, and we had a nice time until they asked us if we were dating. I said, "I don't know, are we?"--with obvious venom. He said he was going to ask me the same thing. Which irked me. After that we commenced in thinly veiled bickering. We probably made the other couple very uncomfortable. Afterwards, he and I had a nice dinner together. I went home completely confused about our relationship status, and afraid for my mental health, and afraid for my dying cat, and worried about my career and not having enough money...

It was an ugly summer.

The next week I met him in midtown to help him look for new shoes. We stopped for lunch and I tried to talk to him about us. What had he decided? Looking back, I don't think either of us even understood what the question was. I said, "So what's the deal?" and he said, "I want to be a fashionista. What does one have to do to be a fashionista?" That's the kind of behavior one finds charming at first but... I knew the signs. I'd been in this type of situation before. We were breaking up. If he had good news he'd talk. I grew forlorn and didn't press him. Not until I was in line for the bus to go home.

I said, "So that's it then? We're done?" He nodded his head. "Ever since you brought up marriage it changes everything. You don't want to end up with me. You want to marry someone like you. You're going to hate me in 6 months anyway." I tried to explain that I wasn't asking him to marry me but he wasn't listening. It was so humiliating, to be dumped in public like that. I did everything I could to keep from crying in front of him. Instead, I cried myself home again. Here's the post I wrote afterwards.

Why did I want him anyway? Why should I feel any remorse over him? True, he sounds like a grade-A monkey's arse. Which he was indeed, but he was more than that too. He was affectionate and sweet, funny, easy to talk to and so patient with me. Sexilicious too, our chemistry was atomic. It was so easy to be with him--when we were actually together, it felt so natural. No one else made me feel so calm and safe. His ordered mind gave my crazed one a rest. It felt so good to be with him that I hated being away from him. Because when he wasn't there I was left on my own in the crazed hurricane of my psyche. Without any promises that he'd come back. A dangerous place to be, making me too needy.

Which is why I needed the relationship as it was to end. It had caused me incredible torment, at a time when I didn't have the emotional stability to deal with it. However, I wish things hadn't ended in such a confused way. Obviously, part of me wanted to get out. I said the 'M'-word! What a major, unbelievably self-sabotaging mistake! What I really wanted to say, I was too afraid to utter. Too afraid to ask him to make me a priority in his life, to afraid he'd say 'no'. So instead I made sure he'd say 'no' by using the worst words possible, the only words in the English language guaranteed to run off a man. Brilliant.

So many things were wrong with us. With me. It still makes me sad now to think that it ended with such a misunderstanding. Sad that I could be so insecure because of sex. Frightened by how insane I was. Wishing I had the skills to say what I needed and wanted. Scared to try again with someone else. My heart was smushed. This makes me think I can't date non-celibate men. Not until I have the chops to know that I am worthwhile even when I don't put out. It leaves me feeling hollow. And more than annoyed that he's telling people I gave him a marriage ultimatum. At least you, my dear readers, will know the truth. I was crazy, but not so insane to do that!