Monday, January 23, 2006

Thinking isn't always good

Or it just doesn't feel good, sometimes. It's uncomfortable and confusing and generally disagreeable. But necessary, I suppose.

I've been thinking about that meeting I wrote about on Saturday, with my writer friend. Boyfriend is a writer, too, so it's not like I can't talk to him about it. Sharing ideas with my writer friend energized me. He made me feel capable and worthwhile, in his confidence in me and my skills. His energy is so positive, it's infectious, even in little things.

For instance, an older lady was bussing tables and accidentally knocked over my cup. It had a lid, so nothing terrible happened, but she kept saying, "I'm so sorry." He looked at her and said, "No reason to be sorry. It's no problem. You have a nice evening, okay?" She looked surprised, but his kindness made her smile as she went along her way.

I hate to say it, but all I could think of was how Boyfriend would have snarled and glared, telling her through gritted teeth to go along her way. In his world, when someone screws up, they need to know they've screwed up, and feel stupid for screwing up. Unless the person is someone he finds interesting. That's a different problem altogether.

It made me sad to see the difference because it's how I've wanted Boyfriend to be for so long. I want him to just be nice, for himself and others. It feels good to be nice, you know? The thing is that he knows this. I've seen him have moments of kindness, times when he's helped those that others avoid. He knows what a difference a kindness makes, and also knows the damage an unkindness does. Yet, in the next moment, he can yell and gesture and make feel terrible. He's uneven that way.

Despite his vow to make himself "irreplaceable" to me, he hasn't carried through. I'm still as much the bearer of the brunt of his moods as I ever was. Maybe the contrast is so sharp in my mind because I went from my meeting to dropping by Boyfriend's for a moment. I was feeling good and thought it would be nice to talk to him. It wasn't a surprise -- he knew I might come by.

I could take it for only a few minutes. He stomped around and slammed things and yelled at the cats, for no real reason. He wasn't pissed about anything in particular. He just was in a(nother) mood, behaving badly, and making life unpleasant.

This should explain part of why I haven't brought up meeting my friend yet. If this is Boyfriend's baseline, I don't want to aggitate him. Yet.

As I said, I don't think there's a romatic thing happening with my friend. But he's inadvertently put a spotlight on things that stress and sadden me. I suppose I feel their absence when I'm not with Boyfriend. There's so much good between Boyfriend and I, but the not good is weighing on me.

More thinking....later.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Nice, warm, friendly....

Remember him? The one with the "nice, warm, friendly smile"? The one I bumped into at Target during the holidays? Well, he called. And called again. I didn't think he would, as I looked a fright when I saw him. Except for the hair, which was having a rare cooperative moment.

A little more back story: I met him in a writer's group when I was going through my divorce. I ended up dating this other guy in the group (HUGE mistake), who ended up making it difficult for me to attend the group. I'd bump inot the nice fella occasionally and he always had a hug for me, even though he always seemed to be with a girl. This time is different. He has some spectacular ideas for writing. Not stories, but how to keep the creativity going, how to solve plot problems, etc. He needs some help honing those ideas and help with his writing, and he thought of me.

We got together this evening over some cheap, fast Mexican food. On a chilly January night, that's a real treat. (Yeah, CHILLY! Finally!) We met to talk about some of those ideas he had. Dang, the man is overflowing with them. He's decided that between the two of us, we have enough know-how to make some money at sharing it with others. He just might be right. Lord knows he has enough enthusiasm for both of us, with a few gigawatts to spare!

In preparing for this get-together, I was saddened to realize I haven't written creatively in nearly 6 years. Hmmm...I've been with I-can't-decide-if-you're-enough boyfriend for just over 6 years. Co-inky dink? I'm beginning to wonder.

My friend and I didn't just talk shop. We shared some stories about friends and childhood. Learned more about each other. It was really nice. We'll meet again to talk more about our writing projects. I look forward to that! This is motivating me!

Here's the thing, though -- I didn't tell Boyfriend about this meeting. He's terribly jealous and knows that I'm still not sure that he can ever be loyal to just me. As I mentioned before, after the adult site debacle, I told him that I certainly do not feel like I'll ever be "enough" to him, but that I just can't give up on the dream of being that to someone.
Does that make me as bad as him, in keeping it from him? After all the crap I've endured, do I care? Oh, I'm sure I'll wind up telling him about this collaboration on the money-making idea. I'm not sure he'd understand the writing discussions or my need to have meaningful discussions on that subject. He pretty much assumes that any guy I talk to has "taken a fancy" to me. It's not the case, of course, but he assumes it.

I don't know if that's the case with my friend. I honestly don't care right now. I'm just so glad to feel motivated to write again!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! Please?

I'm a winter kind of gal. I love the crisp air, fires in the fireplace, coats, scarves, gloves, boots, seeing your breath in the air, the low clouds that come before the snow...the whole shebang. The only thing I like about spring is rain and thunderstorms. I passionately hate summer. I endure it, then celebrate when the leaves come off the trees again.

All right, I saw that. Your eyes strayed over to that little blurb about me. You're thinking, "Uhm. You live in Texas. They don't have snow there." But we do! My part of this huge state is to the north, where we get snow during the deepest of winter months.

Or we used to. We'd actually have snow days when I was a kid! Snowball fights with the kids in the neighborhood, followed by hot cocoa in my living room where we'd relive the best pitches of the day. Oh, good times!

Two years ago, winter passed without any snow. Not a flake. What a depressing year! We had some snow a couple of months ago. Kinda freaky because it was so early. I took it as a good sign of the winter to come! Hooray! A real winter!

It'll be 75 degrees today.

80-some-odd days of dry weather.

I'm pissed.

I say nasty things to the weatherman on TV and the radio now. I don't wanna hear from them again until they have something nice to say. Preferably, with the word "precipitation" in it.

Nights are cold enough. Sun goes down, heater goes on. Mornings are lovely and chilly when I leave the house, but I have to turn on the air conditioner because it'll be roasty toasty in there by afternoon!

Maybe I need to move. Alaska. Canada. Washington state. I heard of a job opening in Illinois, but I'd like to move someplace that also looks better than here. They just have corn where we have cotton. Picky, picky.

The chill is starting to leave the air for the day today. I'll sip the last of my hot tea (Ginger and Mint - yum!) and put away the teapot for now. As Mrs. Rhett Butler declared, Tomorrow is another day!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Woe is Me!!

Or I'm sure that's how he feels....

My son is a teenager. A young teenager. And he's mad at me.

He's too young to date. The girl pursuing him is even younger. And it's all so huge, so important to him. Oh, how I wish I could give him my perspective and have him believe it.

Dear boy, it's just not so huge, so important. It's really not. But I know it seems that way. it's what we call hormones.

We've talked about the rules and the reasons behind them for a long time. Now, he's testing them.

"So, can I have a friend who's a girl?"
"Sure, that's fine."
"So, can two 'friends' go to the movies together?"
"Ha! No, that's a date."

Tonight, it started as the classic challenge. "But everyone else does it!" He should know better. It's never worked before.

"So, can she come over here and watch a movie?"

We had a long talk about other struggles we've had lately. Priorities. Maturity. Commitments. Trust. No, she can't come over to watch a movie just yet. Not until you're handling those other things better. One step at a time. "It's not fair!" I know. He mentioned that a few times.

You're just not old enough to dive into the deep end of this, my dear child. You're not equipped to handle it. Neither of you are. I don't know that anyone is ever ready for this freight train, but I'm going to make sure you have a few more tools to handle it when you finally step onto those tracks.

I keep old pictures of him nearby to remind me that this moody teenager covers up the sweet little boy poking at logs with a stick, wearing his Osh Kosh overalls. Or the one waiting to board the steamboat at Disney World. Or the one I cheered with at the Ballpark on his surprise birthday trip not so long ago.

He's still in there, and it's all my job to see him through to adulthood. Safe and sound. So, be mad at me for now. It's okay. There are worse things.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Scary, isn't it?

So, I'm online the other night and this guy sends me an intelligent IM. Those are so rare that I pay some attention to them. We get chatting and get this -- sex never comes up. He has a girlfriend and understands that I have a boyfriend, so it's not going any further. It's an interesting conversation, though. We talk a little about our backgrounds. We live in the same area. By the end of it, he gives me his first name. I give him the shortened version of my name that my friends call me. Good to meet ya, chat later. It was a nice way to pass the time.

I started thinking about my last blog and wondering just how much you can find out about a person with how little information. I ran a search of my first name and my location, since that's all my new friend has about me. A couple of legitimate things came up, but apparently enough people with my first name live here that it would be hard to determine which one is me. That nickname of mine is even more common, so that's no help. Good.

I wondered about my new friend. All I had was his first name and town, and a nickname he had in high school. He was careful with his info, which is good. Was he careful enough?

I Googled (I love proper names that become verbs!) his first name and location. From that only, I learned:

His last name.
His wife's name.
His children's names and ages. One child's exact birthdate.
His wife's parents' and grandparents' names.
When he and his wife were married, and his wife's maiden name.
That he wrote for his college newspaper.
That he can write a pretty intelligent Letter to the Editor.
The years that he attended Cal Farley's Boys Ranch.
His email address in 2002.
His wife had extradition proceedings against her last year.
His brother's name and the years that he attended Boys Ranch. Also, that his brother is in the military, recently in Iraq.

Most of that came from the pages found on Google. The marriage record was in a free public database. As harmless as it seems, the high school nickname actually confirmed that I had the right person. He used it as his email address when posting on a public message board in 2002.

The Boys Ranch thing clued me in that this guy might have a "colorful" past. So, I turned to a database that is not free, but to which anyone can subscribe for a modest fee. From that I learned:
About his criminal record from 1998-2004.
His middle name.
His birth date.
His address.
His driver's license number.
The fact that he's not a registered voter.
His wife's address, which is separate from his (I looked at this to try to confirm that they are divorced, as actual divorce records for that year are not accessible online).
The names of other adults living at the same address (I looked at this to try to confirm that he lives with his girlfriend, whose name I now know).

Now, if I were the stalking type, this fella could be in real trouble. I'm just someone who knows how to use Google and a couple of public records sites. What if he runs into a looney basket with the same skills? What kind of nightmare could happen?

And for nothing more than a friendly chat. He didn't even do anything particularly wrong.

For people meeting people online, this kind of information access is a beautiful thing. It keeps them from being hurt by someone like the guy with the "dead" wife. In this case, if this fella wanted to get closer, a woman is warned about his criminal history and what kind of crime he committed.

However, there's a flip side. That's the scary side. By giving seemingly innocent information, you can allow anyone to find you. Maybe even find your family. A first name, a town, and an old nickname. That's all I had.

Next time you cut someone off in traffic (accidentally or not), think about this. There's also a database where someone (for a small fee) can look up your license plate number, and find your name, address, and the former owner of your car....

A step away is the database where they plug in your name and get your address, description, driver's license number, and the names of other adults registered at your address...and all of their information, too.

The classic double-edged sword. Now, I have to wonder if there's any money in teaching people how to wield it for good? Or would I just feed those who would use it for evil?

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

"Ignore that man behind the curtain!" -- Oz

Something squirrely just happened and I had to share it, Dear Diary.

Flashback: Turn back the clock to April and May of this year. I started chatting with a guy who told me all about his lovely fiancee, who died just before they were to be married the year before. She was in a tragic car accident. He found me easy to talk to and sympathetic. Soon, he wanted to meet me.

I'm not so comfortable with that. I mean, hey, who are we online anyhow? I'm about to say something shocking: My name isn't really Blogget Jones. This guy wants to meet me, but all I have are words from him. Was there anything behind them?

The Internet blew the Information Age open wide, and I take full advantage of it. He revealed enough personal information about himself, and especially about her, for me to start searching.

Words of wisdom for anyone lying to anyone else. The truth is out there. Someone will find it.

I found his information quickly enough. No, he never gave me his last name, at least not consciously. It was in the file name of the pic he emailed me. His name, Brad, was short for Brady. He lived not far from me.

I didn't find any news stories about an accident involving someone with his fiancee's name. Those stories make front-page here. However, I did find their marriage record. She wasn't a fiancee. She was a wife.

And a very much alive wife. When he approached me again, I was armed to the teeth with facts. The truth is out there, butthead. He tried to say that they were married in a civil ceremony right before the accident. Nope, that's not true, fella. The conversation ended up something like this:

"So, you think I'm some kind of scumbag now?"
"Yes, that's about it. You said the woman was DEAD!"
"Well, if that's what you think then that's what you think."
"It's what I KNOW. And I know I deserve better than this. See ya."

That was in May. Almost exactly eight months later, I sign on to find this message:
"WOW!! you are still alive,,,long time no see"

The punctuation is all his, by the way. Interesting choice of words, yes? "you are still alive". So, I wondered if wifey's death record had hit the death index yet. Five minutes later, I learned that the dead woman came back from the grave and divorced him -- just two months ago.

I wrote him back and asked if he was still reeling-in women with the sob story, and if any of them had figured out the poor dead woman divorced him in November. No answer. Frankly, I'm shocked.

You know what gets me? That there really are women being duped by this guy, and others like him. The information is there, the warnings are there, but they don't find them, for whatever reason. I wish I could change that.

And now for something completely different

New Year's Resolutions.

Now, hold on! Before you start with the "that's not completely different!" thing, it is for me. I've never voiced solid resolutions, much less written them down. Not to mention, written them down publicly. (All right, so it's anonymous...let's not get bogged down in details!)

1. Lose weight

This is a common one, I know, but I really have to do this. I'm a diabetic with high cholestrol. It's time to not rely on the medications to control it because they aren't doing a bang-up job in the first place. And I'm so sick of taking them, and especially of paying for them! This leads me to....

2. Get a grip on my finances

I'm too old to live paycheck-to-paycheck. Heck, within ten years, I'll have two kids in college. That's something to think about. In twenty-five years, I'll be preparing for retirement. Maybe sooner, if I do things right, but I'll really have to get on the stick and (1) get ahead financially and (2) put lots of money away. Something that might help with that is....

3. Finish and submit my major writing projects

I have a short story that's really sellable, if I finish changes to the ending and get it submitted to good publications. I have both a novel and a children's book that are really sellable, if I finish the changes to them and get them submitted to good agents and/or publishers. I even have part of a sequel written for the novel. Now, I'm not just talking out of my you-know with these things. Both the story and the children's book have won small contests and the book was almost published by Bantam ten years ago. I even have the name of a New York agent who wants to read my stuff! I have minor article ideas that I need to write and see what comes of them. So, I have a shot at this, if I just get it done. Which brings me to....

4. Manage my time better

Well, maybe I could start with not blogging at work. Oops. However, I could get the kids in bed on time and then spend some time writing, instead of watching "Dog: The Bounty Hunter" incessantly. It's my private shame. I'm addicted to reality shows. "Dog," "The First 48," "The Surreal Life," "Breaking Bonaduce" (I know that spelling is wrong - sorry, Danny Boy), "The Apprentice," "Nanny 911" or "Supernanny"....the list goes on. Not to mention the crime shows, like "Cold Case Files" and "City Confidential." I'm a total dork, I swear. Time management need some serious attention. Speaking of attention, my house could use more of it, so....

5. Become a better housekeeper

This is important because I have two kids who need to know how to take care of their own home someday. Seriously, right now, I foresee spouses pulling their hair out and blaming me for the chaos. And they'd be right. I need to model the proper behavior and teach them. How's that, Dr. Phil? Maybe I should....

6. Learn to be organized

This includes not hanging onto useless things and bits of paper. I need to "Clean Sweep" the place! (Another reality show reference. Dang, this is gonna be hard.) Hey, here's an idea. Maybe the kids and I should each pick one area in our little domains per month that we're gonna clean out and reorganize. Hmmm....that might work, and it will all seem less formidable, too. Ah, I love inspiration!

7. Finish my miscellaneous projects

The winter cape I never finished sewing. The pillows I never taught my daughter to make. The vintage quilt chest I've been refinishing for a year-and-a-half. The mass of eBay stuff I need to post and sell (which could help with Resolution #2). They all need completing, and they need to be done NOW or I need to admit defeat and get rid of them.

Okay, that's all I have for now. Feels good to get that crap out of my head and into print. Dang, why didn't I do this before? Oh yeah, #4.

Monday, January 02, 2006


I just gotta know. Maybe some guys out there can shed some light on this for me. What exactly is it about the Internet that makes some men decide vulgarity is the way to a girl's heart?

Hmmm. I suppose it's not really her heart he's after, though, with all that rubbish. Is it?

"Hey, you're from Lubbock. Me, too. Wanna fuck?"
"I like your hair, baby. Wanna fuck?"
"Hi. 26m single. U look hot. Wanna fuck a younger guy?"
or the ever charming - "You got a good rack. Fill out that top nice. Wanna fuck?"

I'm not making this stuff up. These are quotes. Some are more subtle, if you can use that term with these fellas.

"How are you."
"Fine. And you?"
"I'm good. You're in Lubbock?"
"Yes, I am. You, too?"
"Yes. I saw your pic. Very nice, if you don't mind me saying."
"Well, thank you. That's sweet of you to say."
"Your welcome." (They hardly ever get that word right.) "So, what do you do for fun?"

Let's go to the IM dictionary: "fun" equals "sex." Now, we're getting to what he really wants.

"Movies, music. The usual."
"Want to go out with me some time? I'm a good fuck." And there you have it folks!

I have to know -- are there really girls out there who respond to this? Are they really stupid enough to say, "Yeah! Sure! I'm a good fuck, too!" Or maybe it's just some series of grunts that these cavemen at her virtual door understand.

Words of wisdom for men dealing with intelligent women online:

  • We are not impressed with abbreviations like "how r u" and spellings like "kewl". Tell me "CUL8R" and no, you won't. Ever.

  • We are not interested in pictures of your crotch. If you say, "Here's a pic of me," it better be your face.

  • We are not your sweetheart, baby, honey, darlin', or even sweetie. You don't even know me! I could really be that 600-pound man down the street who hasn't left his chair for any reason in the last ten years. (Say, "Ew.")

Seriously, 9 of 10 messages I receive from men online are like this. I'm so relieved to talk to the tenth one, the guy with a brain placed between his ears and not his legs, that I can't wait to talk to him again. But he seems to be an endangered species, and that quite frankly panics me.

(Note: I know women can be just as bad. I just haven't heard from as many of them.)

I find it disheartening, especially when I realize I'm considered naive for wanting something more from online conversations. I want discourse, not intercourse!

Here's a good rule of thumb, in my humble opinion: If you can't say it to her in person without getting slapped, then don't say it online. Seems a little cowardly, too, doesn't it? Hiding behind a computer so that she can't throw a drink in your face for being crude, rude, and socially unacceptable. Ooooo. My hero.

It takes a real man, of intelligence, to rock my world -- then I'll rock his.

Whatever happened to grace, charm, and plain ol' respect? Why does the Internet make people forget it?