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I got married on a beach in Kauai.

Today, four years later, and almost two years since my divorce was set in motion, I can hardly believe how full circle I have come.

When I read my post from this day last year, I was hopeful, but I was still healing. I was searching for a reason, yet deep down, I knew the reason didn’t really matter. I wanted to find love, yet I wasn’t really ready (let’s be honest).

Today? I’m happier than I ever could have thought. I never dreamed I’d be in a relationship with a man that makes me so very happy. It’s mindblowing. It’s profound. It’s simply amazing.

I’m that living proof that I’ve seen in so many of my IRL friends (you know who you are), and my blog friends (T, Nicki, Snark, Sunshine/CBG, Soccer Mom, to name a few) who have found love. The ones I envied (in a good way). The ones I admired. The ones I drew inspiration from.

And now? I’m becoming that inspiration for others. I’m living it. I’m loving it.

I’m not the same woman who married on a beach four years ago (though I would do it that way all over again IF – and a big IF  – I ever marry again), but a better me. Stronger, more resilient, confident, happy, grounded and with a level of perspective I don’t think many actually have.

I’m proud of that. I’ve come full circle. Me.

Four years. And I wouldn’t change a thing.

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Wow. Two days since I have blogged. I guess I didn’t realize I’d be as busy as I was in San Jose, but I was. And I feel so very behind in my bloggy reads, and my own blogging.

I’m feeling busy – like, whoa (see, I knew I’d tie in that blog title somehow!) – and a little all over the place – again – so, I bring to you, my random musings and updates du jour:

…I was amazed at how many comments and thoughts my blog on Sunday elicited. And, to be honest, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the possibilities that lie ahead. I hope to make one of these ideas come to fruition in my quest for simplicity and change.

…Nala is improving! I was really nervous to leave her for my trip, but she had great care (thanks to mom and Jess/Scott!) and the medicine seems to be helping. She’ll be on it for another week and then we’ll go from there, I think. Thanks for all of your support, concern, and kitty prayers. They’re working.

…not much new in the world o’ dating at the moment (goes back to being busy ‘like whoa’ partially). Southern Boy is still around, sort of, but his schedule isn’t quite jiving with mine, we’ve both been traveling, and as I mentioned in a previous post,  I’m not sure what he’s “in it for” – casual dating or longer term. If he’s out for something strictly more casual, then perhaps not meant to continue, but we’ll see. Door’s still hanging open at the moment. Few other prospects in Chemistry.com (which is still such a disappointment to me!) and OKC…but nothing to write home about…yet. 😉

…I ran my longest run on Saturday – about 6 1/2 or 7 miles – go me!! I’m slowly starting to increase my runs since the Wicked Half is just a couple of months away (eek!), and I’m feeling good, day by day. I’m running a 5K tomorrow as well, good race practice.

…what else? Oh, things with me and Pete continue to go well, and I’m constantly reminded at how well we just “get” each other, and get along. This is what was meant to be, between us, and I’m glad. Looking forward to dinner tonight with him, to catch up (belated birthday dinner, in a sense, as well, as his 30th birthday was on Sunday).

that’s about all I got today folks – just some random one-off updates…happy reading, if I haven’t put you to sleep with my ramblings today 😉

As I sit here feeling even worse today than I did yesterday (convinced this is the cold from hell!), I figured I’d post a few pictures and a few last thoughts (and for some fun quotes of the weekend, check out Mel’s latest blog for some funnies) for my Bloggers in Sin City mini-series finale 😉

A few final thoughts:

  • It’s truly amazing to meet people that I’ve shared my life with (and theirs) through blogging over the past year and a half, and to be talking about our lives now vs. then, face-to-face. I can’t explain it, but it just felt awesome, and I truly believe I’ll be friends with some of these girls IRL now as well as through our blogs.
  • We are who we are – everyone I met that I’ve read their blogs are exactly as they are in their blogs…and I love that. Sometimes the “in-person” doesn’t translate from online, and I was afraid that might happen, or there might be awkwardness, but there wasn’t any, it was picking up where we left off, as if we’ve been friends forever. VERY cool.
  • I finally got my designer purse – Coach – living up to my Vegas expectations…but didn’t get to do a few of the other things I wanted to do, like jump in a fountain (guess I could have), or see a Cirque de Soleil show (tix were sold out, BUT they are coming to Boston this summer so I plan to go then!)
  • I continue to amaze myself at traveling alone, and not being overly scared or intimidated by it. It may seem like a simple thing to some, but for me, this is huge, and I am proud of how far I have come. Each and every day. I never take it for granted. Being independent will always feel like a huge step forward for me.
  • I really want to get that blog family reunion going for a “part II” of Bloggers in Sin City, with all of you “family” that I’d love to meet (Quarter for Her Thoughts, INRIS, Snark, T, Nicki, Diary of a Divorced Guy, Lil Devil Mama, Student Mama, etc) and of course those that I already have (Shannon, Mel, duh, of course)
  • I never want to take 5 plane rides in 5 days. Ever. Again. Just sayin.

Now, for some pics!

Great way to "recognize" everyone at happy hour - through twitter handles!

First night out with the roomies! Mel, me, Akirah and Shannon

Goofing off at Zeffirino with some other fun bloggers, including blog newlyweds Erika and Betterment of Man.

One of my fave shots, with Shannon, outside of the Bellagio

our "offensive" t-shirts, aren't we cute? This was at Planet Hollywood.

Group shot i our costumes!

Final dinner out, at Paris.

Hello Jolene’s blog! I’m Shannon and some of you may have read my blog .  For those of you who don’t stalk me on a regular basis- shame on you.  Really, it’s ok though.  I’m here to share a few things with you today that may be a little more than what you wanted to know.  To get my full story on why I’m newly single and dating check out my full blog, According to Me.

I’m one of those people getting over one hell of a relationship and trying to divorce.  Yes, I’m talking about two separate people.  I don’t condone this but it happened.  So, at 27, I’m back in the dating world.  I didn’t know I would need a manual for this crap. I didn’t exactly wake up one day and decide now was the moment to start dating.  No, it was definitely more like Oh, I really need laid.  I didn’t need the whole lets get to know you crap beforehand.

Getting back out there as a single woman after being married for years is definitely different from being single and in college.  I heard what everyone went through with online dating and blah blah but that isn’t my style.  It also isn’t my style to go get drunk, dance like a fool and stay at the bar till 2am.  I don’t go out often because that requires babysitters all around and planning and quite frankly, I would just prefer my sweats and the couch.  Maybe my vibrator to close out the night- depends on how much wine I drank by myself.

I’m kidding.

A little.

Then there is the whole idea of what I’m looking for- besides sex.  I’m not looking for a relationship but I don’t need a freaking idiot either.  In my blog, I call them training wheel men.  Or TW’s for short.  I have been through hell in my life for the past year and through that, I now know exactly what I’m looking for.  The guy in his parent’s basement is not an option.  The one who doesn’t have a job and is still trying to figure out what he wants to be when he grows up is also not an option. Apparently just because I am in this game as more of an adult doesn’t mean all the guys are. I want someone to hang out with, have good conversation, and share a drink with.

Now I sound like a Hallmark Christmas movie.  Queue perfect snowflakes and romantic kiss here.

It was so much easier in college.  You get drunk, you make out, you say oops in the morning and move on to the tons of other available guys that don’t have baggage.  The fact that they still depended on their parents wasn’t a big deal and hell, we all had huge dreams back then.  It was anyone’s guess on whether or not they would work out once we graduated.  Now I’m wondering if the guy sitting across from me is in a world of debt or has a wife hidden at home because lord knows I know that type.

The flip side – the good side of it is this.  When you step back out into the dating world all over again you are a new you. You can make better decisions.  You can take the guy home and it isn’t to a dorm room where you try to stay on the twin bed after all those tequila shots.  You have the guts to go up to the guy and buy him a drink at the bar.  You can ask the tough questions because you deserve to.  And even better- when you do get that girls night out, you can let loose.  You can jump on the bar, dance with your friends, and kiss the hot guy up against your truck at 2am in the parking lot.  Because he may just end up being a damn good lay and the guy sitting next to me on the couch as I type this.

Dating is a different world as a grown-up, but there is no parent or roommate to come bursting through the door when we start going at it on the couch here in a few minutes.

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I can always count on Shannon to say it like it is – and her post is dead-on – dating as a “grown-up” is so different, and so different on top of that as a divorced woman…check out my post on Shannon’s blog for my thoughts on this subject as well. And, I also couldn’t agree more…I am a new me now, than I was then, and dating, even with it’s up’s and down’s, has been hugely impactful for me in my growth path.

One other point – which I think I will expand on in a future post is this – it takes a strong woman to date. It really does. It’s not easy, it’s not black and white, you don’t “know” instantly, and it’s a lot of fits and starts. It takes patience, it takes confidence, and it takes guts. I’ve realized that, especially recently, and I applaud everyone out there that has taken the leap, and if you haven’t, even though it sounds scary, it’s worth it, it’s rewarding, and you never know when you’ll meet yout TW3 (wink – Shannon, he’s more than your training wheels, I can feel it!).

So, yeah, this weekend? Pretty much rocked my socks off…I just got home a little while ago from a wonderful night with CBE, one that is somewhat hard for me to put into words, because, well, it just seemed to “fit” so well – us, our personalities, our moods, everything.

(disclaimer: I’m a little giddy tonight, so if I ramble, you know why.)

I went to his place, about an hour away from mine, yesterday, late afternoon-ish. He has a really nice townhouse, well kept, with just “enough” “guy” clutter around – nothing major, and very clean, otherwise, which I like (clean as a pin strikes me as weird, for a guy, a little bit, so the little bit of clutter looked “normal” to me, despite my “neat as a pin” place of my own!). I brought over a bottle of wine from my favorite Sonoma winery (Fieldstone), and we had a taste of that, and then went out to a casual dinner (and then, I had to purchase a white bra, as I packed only dark colored ones and uh, only light colored tops! He had no qualms about a quick run into Victoria’s Secret, of course!). We went back to his place and watched “Office Space” – my all-time favorite movie that he had NEVER seen before (oddly), and we enjoyed some more of the Fieldstone. It was cozy, it was quiet, and it was nice to just cuddle and enjoy some laughs….the rest of the evening? Well, that’s again up to your imagination, but I will say, it was utter perfection – take that detail however you please 😉

This morning, we woke up late (daylight savings time and all…ha) and lazed around for awhile. Went to a late breakfast at a nearby country club that was delish! And, on the way back to his place, we strolled through Lowe’s so I could take a peek at bistro sets for my patio and he wanted to look at grills (since he is jealous I have one, and he wants to get one too). It was kind of fun to just stroll through the store..sitting on the swings, testing out the patio chairs, and walking around aimlessly. He’s fun, funny, and always has just the right “touch” (quick peck on the cheek, or grasp of the hand) that makes everything light up, no matter what we’re doing (okay, I know, I’m starting to gush, I’ll stop, I promise!). We ended back at his place, talking and lazing around some more before I had to reluctantly head home. On the way out, as we were saying goodbye, he said he had fun at Lowe’s in particular, because we “felt like a couple” – that made me smile, but there’s nothing “set” yet in my mind to define what “we” are and I’m fine with that…in a way, I’d rather he bring it up than me, because I am fine with the pace we’re going and I think I know where it’s headed anyway.

Oh and “live in joy” – well that’s just the inscription on a silvery funky chunky ring CBE gave me randomly (he gets remants of random things from homes he re-opens after they’re foreclosed on, so he got the ring from a recent foreclosure he was listing) – I love the wording and it was just an “on the whim” thing he did that I thought was pretty neat.

So, I like him. A lot. And I feel like it’s the start of something great, and I felt it pretty strongly all weekend. I’m just happy…that it’s going well, that I took the chance and went out with him in the first place, and of course, that it’s going so well.

Oh, and a couple of other signs of “future makings?” He invited me to a party next weekend that he’s going to…to meet his friends. Ack (a good ack!). And, he agreed to do drinks with one of my sisters in a couple of weeks when we go to dinner in Boston for Restaurant Week. Double Ack 😉

…and he just emailed me and said “ I like you and in one way that’s scary and on the other hand it’s really cool and exactly what I need.”

…and, just like that, the weekend is over. I’m gonna try to ride this happy high as long as I can this week!

(Just re-read this post – I SO RAMBLED! LOL, get a chuckle out of that peeps!)

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One more thing? He’s reading “The Secret” – a book my BSF RAVES about (I’m going to borrow it from him) and he quoted something from it today – “Time could stand still, you could do it all day” – he said it reminds him of us. *Insert cute sigh here**

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My horoscope today (Libra) is dead-on! I was planning to come home early-ish and work out and get some stuff done, but I decided to “throw caution to the wind” and say “screw it, I’m staying here longer!” Guess it was in the cards, eh? 😉

You could benefit from less scheduling today rather than more. Surprisingly, you’ll accomplish a lot more by going with the flow than by making commitments in advance because you could promise so much that you end up being scattered and inefficient. Instead of trying to plan every moment of your day, just let the currents carry you where they will.

A couple of days ago, I wrote a post on happiness, and why it seems so hard for some people. So, I think the following quote was perfect for today’s quote Friday

“I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance but by our disposition.”

A lot of what I have learned over the past almost eight months is PERSPECTIVE. Not only going through divorce, but everything – from work, to friends, to general disposition. And the quote above really speaks to that – we CHOOSE to be happy or miserable, no matter what our circumstances are. I realize it is very difficult to pull yourself out of a deep funk or misery, but I honestly believe that taking a step back, surveying your surroundings and what is really bothering or upsetting you and comparing that to all the good in life really helps. Couple that with a good relationship with God, family and close friends, and that’s a combination for success. At least it has been for me. So, there’s my sage advice for the week, take it or leave it 😉

BTW – my blog just hit 4000 visitors – very exciting (not even sure if that’s a lot since February when I launched my blog, but feels pretty good!)!

Happy Quote Friday everyone! This week’s quote is “borrowed” from a great friend of mine – she recently blogged about this quote and I absolutely fell in love with it. An excerpt of the quote:

“The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift…”

Life has thrown a lot of obstacles at me over the last seven months, and I feel as though now, more than ever, I feel closer to God and closer to MYSELF and feel stronger and as though I can conquer any other setbacks that come my way throughout this situation. It’s funny, because I was cleaning out some old emails at work today, and found a few emails from one of my sisters and a few of my friends – their reactions to my impending divorce and the outpouring of support, and that sorrow and pain and angst came flooding back, and I know I never want to feel that way again, and I am confident that if I ever have to go through something as painful, I will feel stronger and more resilient.

Another excerpt from my friend’s blog – Life by the Day – is absolutely true (and if you knew this person – she’s gone through a LOT, so this says a lot about her strength and resilience as well – so proud!!):

Reading something like this reminds me to remember (and believe) that God never gives us more than we can handle. Life isn’t always easy, there are up and downs around every corner, but step by step, we’ll get through them, and be stronger for it.

I believe in myself, for probably the first time in a long time (as somewhat sad as that sounds), and am hopeful for the future, both near-term (bring on summer!) and long-term (post-divorce, dating, LIFE!) and thank everyone for all of their support so far, it has meant more than you could know.


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