Living Happily Ever After


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A Hairy Proposition: Life

“Life is an endless struggle full of frustrations and challenges, but eventually you find a hair stylist you like.” (Author Unknown)

As I write, “Hairspray” is on t.v. and it has gotten me thinking of Tracy Turnblat. Now there was a girl with hopes and dreams and challenges. She didn’t necessarily have everything going for her, but she didn’t quit. She managed to make her dreams come true despite her unexpected challenges in life–and never stopped singing about it, or dancing!

Tracy was more than a cute, perky bouffant. She was on to something. In fact,  I think we don’t have to look past the strands of our own hair for the keys to living a happy life.  (And not to tout my credentials or anything, but having had the 60s pixie cut, the 70s “Dorothy Hamill”, the Farrah Fawcett do, Olivia Newton John’s “Xanadu”–ribbons streaming down the side twists of my hair, the 80s bob, the 90s “Rachel,” and my share of perms and highlights, I like to think I know what I’m talking about.) Here’s what I’ve gleaned from…hair.

How can I control my life when I can’t control my hair?” (Author Unknown)

Lesson #1. You can’t control life or the unexpected things that happen. Don’t even expect to. Just know sometimes things beyond your control are going to bless your life, and you’ve just got to “relax” until your hairstyle becomes you again.

“It is foolish to tear one’s hair in grief, as though sorrow would be made less by baldness.” (Cicero)

Lesson #2. Tearing your hair out, won’t improve the situation. Baldness doesn’t always make sorrow sweet, and I don’t think it’s conducive to dating (if you’re a woman.) Scream into a pillow, punch a pillow if you must, but then plaster on that smile (fake as it may be in the beginning sometimes) and press forward. Things WILL get better. And until they do, take it easy on your locks.

“Hair is the first thing. And teeth the second. Hair and teeth. A man got those two things he’s got it all.” (James Brown)

Lesson #3: Count your blessings, especially in the midst of adversity. (I’ve had my bad attitude days of counting only two blessings: that I was still breathing and that I was a mother, but I still found two!) We’re all richer than we realize. And James is right: hair and teeth? Check. You’ve got it all!

“Gorgeous hair is the best revenge.” (Ivana Trump)

Lesson #4: Remember that eventually, you’ll have good hair days, even happiness, again. I think that is the best revenge on the unexpected life–hair-flipping-happiness once more! So when the lice of things unexpected infest you, when through no choice of your own your beautiful, flowing tresses are shaved away by challenges, circumstances, adversity, the actions of others and every other part of the unexpected life, don’t give up. Grow your hair back–better, longer and more beautiful than ever!

“Once you’ve had chemotherapy, there’s no such thing as a bad-hair day.” (Elizabeth Tilberis)

Lesson #5: Keep it all in perspective. I mean, when you’ve lost your entire life, you learn to appreciate whatever life you’re left with or that you can salvage out of the destruction. As my mom used to say, something is better than nothing! And in my experience, the something is even better, in many ways, than what used to be.

After all, “It’s not the hair on your head that matters. It’s the kind of hair you have inside.” (Garry Shandling)

Now if I could only learn to French braid…

Life is SOME Book

“Ideally a book would have no order to it, and the reader would have to discover his own.” (Mark Twain)

I began college as an English major. Somewhere along the way, I realized I just wasn’t deep enough (make that insightful enough) to compete with my peers; and at the same time, I realized they were ruining literature for me.

Here are just a few examples.

One class required we recite a poem. I opened a book, picked one that began “Tiger, tiger, burning bright, in the forest of the night…” (You’ve probably heard of it, it’s a pretty famous one.) I was prepared to recite it, but I confess it sounded comparable to how an elementary school student might have done it.

I knew I was in trouble when a young woman in my class stood to recite her poem, and began, “I’ll be doing such-and-such poem in a Meryl Streep, ‘Out of Africa’ accent because…” She went on to explain her deep rationale, but I completely missed her poem because I was so blown away by the fact she had even THOUGHT to do an accent! And that she COULD do an accent! And that she was up there DOING an accent, and didn’t appear to be mortified at all!

Other times we read poems and other literature as a class and discussed them. The things my peers inferred from what appeared to me to be an ordinary story about an ordinary event made me realize English wasn’t for me. Where were they getting their deep thoughts and all of that meaning? I had spent my life getting lost in stories, and simply enjoying the escape into whatever book’s reality I was reading at the time, NOT looking beyond what was right in front of my face for…meaning. Their “meaning” began to ruin it for me.

I found myself beginning to dislike the classics because of the analyses that took place in my college English courses. I started to dread reading (something I’ve always loved to do–I never dreaded reading, reading assignments or writing research papers. I had always enjoyed everything associated with reading and writing.) So I knew it was time to make a change.

I got out. I changed majors.

I tried interior design for a semester because I liked decorating things. Little did I know how much artistic talent was required for a career in that, and unfortunately, I had zero practical art background and no  skill. (I drew like a preschooler, and still do.) THAT was a tough semester, with a very benevolent end, when my professors basically gifted me with “C”s–as long as I promised to change majors!

About the only thing I did somewhat decently as an English major was write. As often as not, my papers would be returned to me with lots of red markings and notes by my professors encouraging me to submit the piece to a magazine or newspaper for publication. I finally took an aptitude test. It recommended public relations. I’d never heard of such a thing, but I was told strong writing was necessary for that career, so I signed on. And I never looked back. I had found my thing.

It was very unexpected.

One of the most valuable things I gleaned from my PR education was the counsel, “Don’t be afraid of getting fired.” Fired? I’d never been fired, but I knew enough to dread it and consider it a failure. Instead, my professor taught us getting fired can be the best thing that ever happens to you. In fact, he encouraged us at some point to “fire ourselves” if no one else ever did. He said it was good for every career, and every person, to make a big change at least once in their life. He said oftentimes, the situation you end up with after being fired (voluntarily or involuntarily) is often better than your previous one.

I never forgot that. And I’ve been amazed how well it correlates to the unexpected life. Especially mine.

I was living life, loving being a wife and mother, serving others in my own small ways and trying to contribute to the world…and then one day the bottom fell out of my world. Shawn Merriman revealed the lies and crimes he had been perpetuating for 15 years, he went to prison, and I was left alone to provide for and raise our children; forced to re-enter the workforce. I got fired from my life. And had to find, or create, a new one.

Like networking in the business world that leads to job placement, I didn’t find my new life on my own. I was blessed with tender mercies, miracles and a friends (old and new) who stood by me, encouraged me and helped me begin again.

And now, on this side of it, just 18 months later, I wonder if my unexpected life isn’t one of the best things to ever happen to me? Not because it’s easy, it’s not. Not because it has been fun, it hasn’t always been–especially in the beginning. But because of all that I have learned, the many ways I have grown and the good things that have come to me and my children because of it.

An unexpected life is an abrupt plot twist filled with antagonists that threaten to overwhelm. Sometimes it seems its chapters goes on far too long. Yet if you keep pressing forward through the drama, you’ll make it through some difficult chapters, and the NEW story directions that come unexpectedly into your life can amaze and overwhelm you, this time, in a good way. I believe you can actually end up with a story (and a life) better than it would have otherwise been.

Life is SOME book.

You just can’t put it down.

And like the few special books that have touched me deeply, enough to make tears roll down my cheeks as I read them, I think I’ll cry when it’s over.

“Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be, the last of life, for which the first was made. Our times are in his hand who saith, ‘A whole I planned, youth shows but half; Trust God: See all, nor be afraid!’” (Robert Browning)

The Unexpected Life.

New Friends…Prison-Style

“I have friends in overalls whose friendship I would not swap for the favor of the kings of the world.” (Thomas A. Edison)

The incarceration experience for my ex-husband included meeting new people and making new friends. Yes, they were dressed in the only fashion acceptable for inmates–aka. orange jumpsuits–but learning about some of them completely changed my perspective of prison and many of those who reside there. They don’t fit Hollywood stereotypes; they shattered my expectations. (Prepare yourself. I’m about to expose my ignorance.)

When he first was taken into custody, one of the deputies talked to him about the “average” inmate. He said the jail had all types of men, who had committed all types of crimes, but that “most are just average ‘Joes’ that messed up.” I confess I’d never thought of criminals in that way before–as average people who had made mistakes.

He met an inmate with three college degrees. I had probably assumed, too often, that people commit crimes because they lack education and training for legal employment–that crime is all they’ve witnessed and known so that is what they do. Not true in all cases.

Sometimes I could even relate to their bad luck. Several of the stories I heard took my thoughts back to my teens and the dumb things teenagers sometimes do without thinking beyond the moment. I pictured kids I knew as a teenager, maybe even my brothers, doing similar things–only to a lesser degree. Here’s one friend’s story: He stole an unmarked police vehicle by mistake. In the process of messing with the wires he turned on the flashing lights, unbeknownst to the driver. The man’s friend, driving the other car, tried to catch up to the stolen car and let him know what had happened but the man thought his friend wanted to race–so he sped up. A state patrolman coming the other direction flashed his lights at him, thinking it was a cop who just forgot to turn his flashers off! The man got caught and went to jail.

The most eye opening thing I learned about his new friends, however, wasn’t really anything new it was simply something I’d forgotten as I lived a law abiding life on “the outside.” That is, even gangsters have hearts.

Despite the white collar nature of my ex-husband’s crimes, he was incarcerated with infamous criminals, well-known in all circles, including the media. For that reason, he never shared their names with us. But what stunned me, was how these notorious gangsters were so kind to an older man. After all, he was the age of their fathers. They introduced themselves to him, shook his hand, introduced him to others and told him, “If anyone gives you trouble, just let us know and we’ll take care of it.” (But no one ever bothered him.) They invited him to exercise with them. They showed him the ropes of life on “the inside.” They talked, played games and got to know one another. Yet despite their kindness, they were tough men. He never saw anyone cry or show emotion.

And then one day, my ex-husband lost it. The consequences of his choices hit him and said he felt them deeper than they ever had before. He cried. He had never seen any show of emotion in the jail and was mortified that he couldn’t help himself or stop himself from the flood of tears. In such confined space, there is nowhere to go and nowhere to hide, so everyone witnessed his grief. As he shared the experience, I don’t know what I expected the reaction might have been; my imagination conjured up many different scenarios, none of them sympathetic, all of them included my ex-husband getting beat up for being a sissy. But here is what really happened.

Everyone left him alone. They didn’t hassle him. They gave him his space. And not one inmate made fun of him, shunned him or beat him up for his weakness. In fact, during the most express moment of anguish and grief, the “biggest, baddest gangster of them all” came quietly to my ex-husband’s bunk, put a hand on his shoulder, told him everything would be o.k., and that he had a friend and was there for him if he ever wanted to talk about it.

That touched me.

I don’t know who the man really was, but I named him Mr. C. (“C” for compassion. I envision him looking like the infamous Mr. T of the old “A-Team” show, so basically I just changed the consonant in his name!) We need more Mr. Cs in the world, don’t we? More friends, more people with compassion and more people who choose to be there for for each of us, “outside” or in the slammer, when our unexpected life or its ramifications overwhelms us.

I know I’ve needed that and have been blessed by those who have shown compassion toward me and my children.

I don’t think I’ll ever look at criminals in the same way again. And it’s my unexpected life that gave me a different view.

“Deep down even the most hardened criminal is starving for the same thing that motivates the innocent baby: Love and acceptance.”(Lily Fairchilde)

Singles Conferences Probably Aren’t For The Engaged

“Finally Friday’s is first and foremost a singles dance. We never solicit married couples to attend. However, we do allow, even encourage, our single members to invite their married friends and relatives to attend as couples together (subject to the club’s rules and regulations).” (Gerald Pruitt)

While Bachelor #5 and I were engaged, a singles conference was planned. I’d heard about this particular one since I first moved to Utah. Held on the campus of Utah Valley University, lasting parts of 2-3 weeks, people come from all across the country and even outside the U.S. to attend. One day Bachelor #5 reminded me the conference was coming.

I looked at him. “Oh, that’s right! I forgot! I was going to go to that, before we got engaged. I’ve heard it’s really good. Maybe I’ll have to go and find out!”

Bachelor #5 shook his head and replied, “You’re not going.”

I said, “But I’ve never gone to a singles conference! And now I’m getting married. I’ll never know what they are like. I will miss that pinnacle of the single experience–do you know how many singles travel the world and attend conferences all across the country, and I’ve never even been to one?”

He laughed and said, “That is ONE singles experience I guess you’ll have to miss. You’re not going!”

So I gave up that dream, if you can call it a dream.

A few days later Bachelor #5 suggested, “About that singles conference…I’m thinking maybe you should go after all.”

I looked at him in surprise as he explained that he and a single friend had planned more than a year previous that the friend would come to town, stay with Bachelor #5, and they would go to the conference together. Bachelor #5 had never expected to be engaged, had forgotten about their arrangement and the friend was coming to town. He said, “I’ve thought about it, and what if we just go to the dance? We can see my friend, I’ll be at a conference event with him (and you) so I’ll have kept my word to him, and you can experience what a singles conference is like. We don’t have to stay long. And, we can dance!”

That was the plan anyway.

The night of the singles conference dance arrived. It was a Friday night, I was about to get the final singles experience the portfolio of my single life was lacking, and you’ll never believe it. I walked through the doors and had just one thought, “I am SO GLAD this is not me any more! I am so glad I don’t HAVE to be here!”

Somehow, it wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be. (Being single, that is. And the conference.)

Shortly after our arrival, Bachelor #5 drew in his breath, and if I didn’t know better, appeared to be looking for a place to hide. I think a woman he knew was heading his way. I’d never seen him try to avoid a woman before, but I’m pretty sure that is what he was trying to appear casual about doing! He decided we should dance.

We headed to the dance floor, Bachelor #5 took me in his arms, and as we danced I lifted my eyes to look over his shoulder and found myself staring right into the eyes of…Bachelor #1!

That was pretty unexpected.

I asked Bachelor #5, “Would you mind if we face a different direction?”

Bachelor #5, without a word, spun me around and as I lifted my eyes I found myself looking right at…Bachelor #12!

“I hate to say this but…”

Bachelor #5 said, “Wait, let me guess. This position isn’t working either?”

I nodded and suggested we go far across the dance floor to a new location. Bachelor #5 graciously moved to the complete opposite side of the room, we began dancing again, and I could not believe my eyes. I looked to the left and the right; we were dancing between Bachelor #7 and Bachelor #15!

Sometimes it’s as if you can’t get a break anywhere you turn, even on the dance floor.

So…I don’t recommend singles conferences if you’re engaged–or if you’ve worked your way through a list of eligible men and dated them. You just might have too many friends on the dance floor!

Sometimes, you just can’t win. Or even dance, in peace.

“Dance:10; Looks:3; the moves you do make us all pee. We laugh, we cry, we all say ‘HI!’ but when you dance it’s ‘BYE BYE BYE!’” (“Bring It On: In It To Win It“)

Good Men Aren’t Jell-o!

“There are much easier things in life than finding a good man–nailing Jell-o to a tree, for instance.” (Author Unknown)

Don’t get me wrong. There are a lot of good men out there, I’m just thinking that many of them (most of them?) are already married! Thus the “long” list of bachelors I’ve compiled in my quest for a happy ending.

I’ve met some good men along the way. I’ve learned something from each new friend I’ve made. And interestingly, I even think most of them have helped me on the path to healing in one way or another, some much more than others.

However, after just two months of dating, I was tired of it. I had absolutely loved being single the first time. In fact, when I married in 1989, a part of me was sad to leave my single life. But not the second time around. Although I had determined to make the most of the situation I had been thrust in, and tried to look for the positive and attempted to make myself like it, after a couple of months I realized it wasn’t working. Given the choice, I would have chosen to be married to the right man rather than be single. The newness of it all, the “excitement” (if that’s what you call being unexpectedly single and forced to meet new people in your new life) had worn off.

I was simply a divorced mother of four who had never planned or expected to be in that position.

Now, many months later, the dreaded “I’ve gotten used to it” has transpired. Just what I didn’t want to have happen! But I guess you can say that about many aspects of the unexpected life. It is who I am. I don’t cringe when people realize I’m single (and divorced) and wonder what they’re thinking about me any more. I don’t try to hide the fact that I’m divorced. It is what it is.

I’ve had to completely leave my comfort zone and face life, and everything else, alone. I’ve learned to socialize by myself again. I’m happy. And believe it or not, there are even things I’ll miss about my single life should my situation ever change. I NEVER expected to say that!

I’ve also learned that life goes on. I don’t advocate divorce by any means, and I am a strong defender, despite my experience, of marriage and family. But I’ve learned the world doesn’t end when a marriage does. I still have my own little family. And despite the scar of divorce, we’re doing so well and feeling so whole, that on the infrequent occasion when someone refers to my family as “broken,” it surprises me. I don’t think of us as that way. Different than we once were, but NOT “broken!”

Yet I keep pressing forward in dating despite being tired of it. I tell myself I’m lucky. After all, not every woman gets to meet new people (handsome men), date them, and everything else attendant with the unexpected and single life. (That’s the PR spin I put on my situation for myself to motivate me not to quit or give up too soon. I just have to keep telling myself I believe it, too!)

So, in the spirit of pressing forward, let me tell you about another man.

Bachelor #5.

And I’m pretty sure he is NOT a fan of Jell-o.

A Seriously Small World

“Aw, man, it’s a small world!” (“Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back,” 2001)

We talked. We laughed. We shared experiences from our lives. It was uncanny how much we had in common. Seriously, a LOT in common. Even some of the same friends!

As an adult I’d made an older friend in Colorado. She had adopted her children and once we got on the subject of adoption; I told her I had been adopted too. She asked me what I knew of my birth mother and I told her everything except my birth mother’s name. Turns out, my friend had gone to the same university in Utah as my birth mother and had been on the same dance team! She wanted to know the name, she was just sure she’d know her.

I was afraid of that, too. Which is why I didn’t feel I could tell anyone the name. (I learned to be a lot more circumspect after that. I was learning how seriously small the world is.) So instead, my friend told me her maiden name and told me to go home and look at the pictures I was in possession of and see if she was in them.

She was.

I didn’t get back with her, hoping my friend would forget all about it, but she followed up with me. I admitted she was in the pictures with my birth mother and told her she probably had known my birth mother. She racked her brain trying to figure out who my birth mother could be. For years. But she never mentioned any names and I never volunteered any information.

In the meantime, we continued to visit together about once a month, and even went out to lunch for my birthday for several years.

The first time I met my birth mother in person, at some point in the evening I said, “Oh! I think I might know someone you know!” I mentioned my friend and our association over several years, revealed the woman’s first name but was struggling to remember her maiden name, when my birth mother named it for me.

She said, “Not only do I know her, she was my best friend all through college. We were roommates. I was the matron of honor at her wedding!”

How is THAT for a small world? A seriously small world!

“It’s a small world. No kidding.” (“Just Friends,” 2005)

I Interrupt This Blog

To anyone who grew up in the 1970s-1980s: Do you remember those tests of the emergency broadcast system?

Right in the middle of a good song on the radio, or a fun television show, the song would silence or the screen would switch to a rainbow of colors and that irritating beeping noise would fill the air! It lasted forever, it seemed (to me) and then the voice would conclude the whole ordeal by thanking you for your participation. (Like we had a choice!) Then the song or t.v. show would return.

I didn’t enjoy those tests. So I apologize in advance, but I have to do the same thing to my blog.

Get ready!


I interrupt this blog for a very important announcement!

My blog is a bit behind the “real time” of my life. I’m trying to catch up as quickly as I can to the present day. However, something very unexpected happened recently and I can’t not share it.

Last weekend I was at a Sunday evening singles meeting. I was asked to play the organ. Over the pulpit, the man conducting the meeting thanked Andrea Merriman for helping with the music. After the program was over, as I sat waiting for the crowd to disperse so I could leave, a woman approached. She walked toward me with a huge smile and said, “Andrea Merriman!”

I looked at her, trying to place her face. She seemed very nice, but not at all familiar. My first thought was, “This person knows me! Did I grow up with her and I just don’t recognize her? Is she a friend-of-a-friend I’ve met and I can’t remember?”

But before I could place her, she clarified, “Are you Andrea Merriman of…The Blog?”

I admitted my connection to, she smiled and said, “I knew it! When they announced your name I wondered if it was you, so I had to come and meet you! I love you!” She put her arms around me and hugged me. An instant friend.

Because of a blog.

She could not have been friendlier or nicer. She gave me her name and contact information and told me we are going to do something social, as friends. I can’t believe it! It has been a long time since I’ve been invited to do something with a girl friend!

I met a new friend!

After our encounter I realized a couple of things.

First, what an amazing world blogging is! How grateful I am for the connections we make through them. To stay in touch with friends, get back in touch with old friends, and even to connect with new friends we haven’t met yet is an astounding bonus of blogging I’d never imagined.

Second, for what seems like the first time since my unexpected life began, someone said my name, Andrea Merriman. And I didn’t wince, cringe in fear, feel sick to my stomach, or want to hide! It hit me after my new friend left that I’d “forgotten” to feel afraid when someone said my name.

Somehow, I’ve been able to let go of that part of Andrea Merriman. The part I was so ashamed of for far too long as I was thrust into my unexpected life. I don’t know how, all I know is it’s gone.

The healing power of blogging is something I never expected. I guess it has been my self-therapy. Maybe putting myself out there on my terms, instead of the media, Ponzi scheme victims and hostile former clients of Shawn Merriman doing it for me, has something to do with it. (Not that they don’t have a right to be angry, I’ve just never understood their passion for persecuting me because of the actions of someone else.)

So whatever the reason, all I know is that I forgot to be afraid to be recognized. I didn’t even think to be.

I am back to the old me, the original me–Andrea Merriman.

Ironic, that they’re both spelled the same yet the feelings they engender within me are so dramatically different.

So, sorry for the interruption. Thank you for your patience. I just HAD to share that I met a blog reader! In person! A new friend!

Very unexpected.

But such a thrilling aspect of…the unexpected life!

“Nearly all the best things that came to me in life have been unexpected, unplanned by me.” (Carl Sandburg)

That night, that new friend, is certainly one of them.

More Than Divorce To Make a Friendship

“Every person is a new door to a different world.” (from movie “Six Degrees of Seperation”)

When I first moved to Utah, I met several women at church who introduced themselves to me and were very nice. I liked them and looked forward to getting to know them better and building a friendship with them. Instead, every one of them suggested I get to know a certain woman in the congregation. “We think you’d REALLY like her.”

I had left my friends behind in Colorado and missed them terribly. I didn’t know who the other woman was, but was so excited that there was a new friend waiting for me in Utah! I wondered if we were the same age, had the same talents, looked alike, had the same interests or what it was about me that reminded them of someone they already knew–and who they thought I’d be great friends with.

I soon found out. The woman was divorced.

“Being divorced is like being hit by a Mack truck. If you live through it, you start looking very carefully to the right and to the left.” (Jean Kerr)

Unfortunately, it takes more than a Mack truck to make a friendship!

I met the woman and couldn’t sense we had a single thing in common other than we were both divorced. We smile at each other and say hello, but that is the extent of our friendship. I have to say it again, it takes more than divorce (or having similar single status) to make a friendship.

The experience made me stop and wonder how often we categorize people, or make judgements about people, and cut ourselves off from many enriching experiences based on just one aspect of another’s existence. Although I’m a person who generally operates under the philosophy of “the more, the merrier,” I have been guilty of this in my own life on occasion and I have to wonder, “Did I ever compartmentalize friendship opportunities based on marital status?” I don’t think I did, but I hope, again, that I did not!

C.S. Lewis said, “Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.”

My artist sister may argue with me about art not being necessary to survival (lol) and I am quite an art lover myself in my own way. So there is a part of me that disagrees with C.S. Lewis–especially the part of me that wonders how I would ever have lived through the events of the past almost year without friends. But this I know and do agree with C.S. Lewis about: friends have added color to what was at moments, the bleak canvas of an unexpected life.

When the canvas of my existence was revealed to be a forgery, when the museum my canvas was housed in was seized, and when everything about my life’s art was devalued by others and even destroyed on some levels by the choices of another, my friends were there for me. They helped give value to my survival. And that helped me do the same for myself and my children. And to keep pressing forward when I didn’t even have an idea of the picture I was striving to create.

Friendships HAVE touched my soul and enriched my life. I am so grateful and so blessed to have friends like that, who continue to give value to my survival and add color to my existence. So thank you, again, to my old friends and my new friends.

I don’t know what I’d do without each of you and your good influence in my life! Each of my friends has broadened my perspective and enlarged my world. And made it so fun and so valuable. I am touched every single day of my life by the kindness of friends. I hope every person in the world feels that same way about friends, their friends, and the doors to new worlds each friend we make opens to us.

“This is my wish for you: Comfort on difficult days, smiles when sadness intrudes, rainbows to follow the clouds, laughter to kiss your lips, sunsets to warm your heart, hugs when spirits sag, beauty for your eyes to see, friendships to brighten your being, faith so that you can believe, confidence for when you doubt, courage to know yourself, patience to accept the truth, Love to complete your life.” (lynnie_buttercup)

Bachelor #13: Mr. Hostile

I have attended singles functions the past several months because…I’m single. If I stopped to analyze it, I guess I’m going to meet people and make friends. However, in the wake of the trauma I lived through discovering my spouse had betrayed me and neighbors and friends and relatives and strangers, in the aftermath of our divorce and our move to Utah and my return to the workforce full-time, I never let myself think about my purpose or motivation in going, or anything else related to being single. I just went.

So I can’t imagine what some people think of me.

There I am, at a singles function, with 99% of the people probably in attendance to meet members of the opposite sex, and I freeze (like a deer caught in headlights) every time a man asks for my phone number!

I stammer. I am not quite sure what to say. I’m shocked. I’m surprised. And I’m embarrassed. I don’t want to be seen giving out my phone number. Yet…don’t I go there to meet people and have social experiences? Clearly, I haven’t thought the whole thing through very well.

That’s how I met the man who would become Bachelor #13.

He wasn’t bad looking; he was tall; he had hair; he was educated; he had six children. And he was really pressing me for my phone number! In fact, he got out his phone to enter my contact info as we stood on the dance floor. I could have died! I asked him to put his phone away.

He obliged, but asked me for my business card. (Just my luck, my company hadn’t ordered mine yet so I had nothing like that to give him.) He began reaching for his phone again so I had to think quickly before he pulled his phone out in front of everyone again.

Instead, I asked if he had a business card and told him if he gave me one, I’d contact him and give him my information. (I’m a loser at some of this stuff, I admit it!)

He gave me his card. A few days later, I followed through on my commitment to contact him. I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into. I didn’t know what to expect. All I know is I didn’t expect the full court press he gave me.

Bachelor #13 began calling all of the time, emailing every day, texting me constantly, and asking me out. I tried to keep an open mind about the whole thing, but something wasn’t quite right and I couldn’t put my finger on it. It was just an impression I had. As a result, my inclination was to take it slow. So that’s what I attempted to do. Much to Bachelor #13′s chagrin.

His constant presence in my life was too much too soon. After working all day, I needed to be free to spend time with my children and chat with them during the rest of their waking hours. I asked Bachelor #13 to please call me after 9:30 p.m. at night so I’d have time to spend time with my children, check their homework, and get them all taken care of and in bed before I became inaccessible because I was on the phone.

It seemed like he couldn’t wait that long. The phone calls came anyway.

So I told him my evenings were a bit more complicated than I’d anticipated; email was probably the best way to reach me.

Within a few days, I got a very hostile but anonymous text to my cell phone. The text message ranted and raved about how inaccessible I made myself, about how uninterested in men I must be to limit contact (outside of dates) to email and phone calls and only after a certain time of day. Then the text told me I was missing out, that he was the best thing that had ever happened to me, the best thing that would ever happen to me, and that I was an idiot. The message ended by saying, “And the best part about this? You don’t even know WHO this is!”

Yes, I had a pretty good idea who it was. I may be an idiot, but I’m not stupid! It was Bachelor #13. He was the only man that I knew of, at the time, who had my contact info and was upset that I couldn’t or wouldn’t use it all hours of the day and night, and at the expense of my job and family!

That was the end of Bachelor #13.

I’ve seen him a few times since then but he won’t speak to me; he pretends not to know who I am when I say hello. So since he won’t speak to me, I’ll speak for him. This is what I imagine he’d say:

“I’m hostile to men, I’m hostile to women, I’m hostile to cats, to poor cockroaches, I’m afraid of horses.” (Norman Mailer)

With Bachelor #13, I’m not sure who dumped who. I’m just grateful it happened.

Life’s too short to lash out like that. And only cowards won’t sign their name.


A Child of The 60s

I don’t remember which dark day occurred first last year: the day my former spouse was taken in to custody or the day I turned 42. In some ways, difficult days had become a blur, they occurred all too often in my life last year!

So about my birthday.

“Well, birthdays are merely symbolic of how another year has gone by and how little we’ve grown. No matter how desperate we are that someday a better self will emerge, with each flicker of the candles on the cake, we know it’s not to be, that for the rest of our sad, wretched pathetic lives, this is who we are to the bitter end. Inevitably, irrevocably; happy birthday? No such thing.” (Jerry Seinfeld)

In some ways, that was my birthday last year.

August 25, 2009, wasn’t a fun day to turn 42 years old and face my life for what it was! It certainly wasn’t where I had envisioned myself being by that age. Talk about feeling like a loser.

All I could think of was that I had very little of what I had ever wanted or dreamed of. My marriage had failed. I was overwhelmed with all kinds of legal pressures, financial pressures, work pressures, and life pressures. I had always thought I’d “be” someone or someplace or somewhere in life by that age. Instead, I was starting over. Wait. Make that starting from well behind the “start line” compared to most people my age! I was still trying to claw my way out of the dark abyss I had been knocked into by the choices of another.


If I’ve ever had a birthday I would like to have skipped or forgotten, it was my birthday last year.

I worked all day and told no one it was my birthday. I certainly didn’t want to face it, much less celebrate it! I wanted to forget it. But I couldn’t. To me, it was an anniversary of my failures. I probably cried in the bathroom at work that day and for sure cried on the drive home.

I arrived home to find my children ready to celebrate my birthday. They had set the table, cooked dinner, and had somehow scraped together some funds to buy me a gift. They had all secretly gone to the mall to purchase it together–all of them. (Anyone who has ever taken my youngest shopping knows what a labor of love that effort, in itself, was!) They were glowing with anticipation and delight at celebrating a year in my life with me.

While I had tried so hard to forget that day, they had gone all out to remember it.

And they weren’t the only ones. A friend sent me flowers. A friend had her college-age daughter deliver a birthday cake to me. A friend took me to lunch. Friends called. Friends sent gifts. My children looked at me with delight and made a fuss over me. And I had a job and a roof over my head.

Hadn’t I said all along if I could just have a job and a roof over my head, I could handle everything else? Alone or not, 42 or not, that was still the truth. I had everything I needed. And it wasn’t over.

“Whatever with the past has gone, the best is always yet to come.” (Anonymous) I just had no idea, at the time, how true that statement by an unknown person would turn out to be for me, in my own life.

“Sooner or later we all discover that the important moments in life are not the advertised ones, not the birthdays…not the great goals achieved. The real milestones are less prepossessing. They come to the door…unannounced, stray dogs that amble in, sniff around a bit and simply never leave. Our lives are measured by these.” (Susan B. Anthony) And what we do with them.

It is absolutely what we do with our moments, THE moments we’ve been given, that matters. The challenge is to bloom and blossom like a rose, instead of close up or become bitter like a cabbage.

Roses versus cabbage? Do I even have to think about it? Does anyone?

Flower power!

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