Category Archives: Love

The World Will Catch Me: Pre-Explosion

A little over a year ago, I blew up my life.

I was in a rebound relationship with a very nice guy, who I haven’t introduced but should. Let’s call him Mechanic. I’ll tell his story another time.

That summer I was still so depressed after having broken up with PhD the previous fall. I drank. I smoked. I didn’t eat. I cried until I got headaches. I cried myself to sleep. I maintained a false normal state during the day. And I tried to have a relationship with Mechanic.

But I was tired. Tired of feeling stuck in a cycle of pain. My brain hurt so bad.

I was on MediCal, free health insurance for low-income people, because my only income was about $1,000 a month working part-time at a winery. I called about seeking mental health care. There was one therapist, and, unless it was an emergency, you couldn’t make an appointment, but rather had to wait first-come, first-served.

Plan B. I went to the library and scanned the self-help section. I took out ten or twelve books. The first one I read changed my life. The Ten Things to Do When Your Life Falls Apart.”

It asked me to think about how I got here. How my genetics and environment and experiences led me to this place. How my emotions and feelings evolved from childhood to adulthood. Not what was wrong with me. Not it was my fault my boyfriend cheated on me. Not that it was his fault either. Just think and examine and ask how I got here.

Then, count my blessings. I may feel like my world fell apart around me, but there was still good things in my life. Think about them, count every one of them up, cherish them, hold them tight, use them as a foundation to build on.

It then asked me what I wanted to change or improve about my life, myself. What would make me happier, more fulfilled. What would help me rebuild my foundation in a new way. An opportunity to put the pieces back together with a new look, new design, a better design that I create from scratch.

Then it challenged me to take some steps. Do something about it. Put myself out there. Start building what I want.

One of the things I realized through this process was that I was scared of being alone. I grew up the youngest of three, and, what I jokingly say, as an accident. My sister is 8 years older than me and my brother 6. I basically grew up as an only child. That meant no one to play with in the house. For example, when I was 7, my brother was 13 and my sister 15. They didn’t want to hang out with me. And they were both off to college by the time I was 12.

So I made my own adventures. I was creative, curious, exploratory. But also lonely. I had some friends, but at home the house was empty. My parents divorced when I was 12, and I lived with my mom, who was trying to rebuild her own life. She did the best she could, but I was left alone a lot during my teenage years. I became shy, introspective, introverted, desperate for human attention and connection.

My first boyfriend came in college at age 19. I met PhD as we were breaking up. I met Mechanic as PhD and I were breaking up. In sum, I had three back-to-back, monogamous relationships lasting 20 years – from ages 19-39. I didn’t want to be alone, and I made sure I wasn’t. I didn’t even realized it until this book asked me to reflect on myself.

Fuck, this is some scary shit I’m thinking about doing. I hadn’t been single since I was 19. I didn’t even have any girlfriends in the area. They were all over the country.

I decided I wanted to go away by myself for a few days to think and read. I also wanted to try something new. I decided on Half Moon Bay for two nights and to take a surfing lesson.

I got a room in a big Victorian within walking distance of restaurants and the water. It was nice to be in a place full of people, kids, dogs, chaos.

I arrived in the late afternoon, checked in and then went walking. I climbed on the rocks by the water, and felt the cold sand between my toes. I immediately felt calmer.

I wondered upon a local brewery and stopped in. I sat at the bar a little nervously. I couldn’t think of a time I had ever gone out by myself. The bartender chatted with me, but briefly. I stared at my phone, texted with Mechanic.

Two guys, one with a wedding band, struck up a conversation with me. We chatted about baseball, their lives as teachers, mine working at a winery, living in our respective towns.

I gave them both my winery card and said if they ever wanted to visit Napa Valley, they should get in touch. I was simply being polite. Wasn’t flirting. My mind was far from all that. I really wanted to just be with me.

An hour later, the single guy texted me asking if I wanted to grab a drink while I was in town. I was surprised and flattered. I turned him down nicely explaining a little bit why I was there by myself. He wished me well.

I went back to my room for a nap, got dressed and walked down to an Italian place on the water. I prevaricated a bit. Maybe I should just get something to go and go back to my room.

I grabbed a seat at the bar next to an older couple. I started chatting with them. They were visiting from Florida. They bought me a glass of wine and I gave them tourist tips for Northern California.

Next to me on my right was a gap in bar seating for people to walk up and order drinks. I was interrupted talking to the couple by a tall drink of water with a wide smile, cowboy boots and a thick Southern accent. Let’s call him Bluegrass.

He was here on a conference with co-workers, and was buying drinks for the table. He asked me what I wanted. Red wine.

He said he saw me walking in front of the restaurant even before I came in the door. Then watched my long legs in black cowboy boots cross the room and had been watching me at the bar ever since.

There’s more to Bluegrass’ story that I’ll tell later.

When I woke up the next morning, I got breakfast, grabbed my book and sat outside to read. Pausing from time to time, I looked up at the ocean. Heard the seagulls. Felt the crisp chill in the grey air.

I was scared to be alone. But in one day, with my mind as far from men as possible, I attracted two of them. I think I’ll be ok on this front. I think I’ll be ok.

The world will catch me. If I just put one foot out in front of another, the world will catch me.

A Church, A Court Room and then Good-Bye

If you are a Patsy Cline fan, like me, you probably know this song. I’ve loved her since I was a teenager. I found my mom’s old records in the basement, and listened over and over again while entertaining myself with some crazy art project like sewing or making paper.

When I met PhD in the city recently, this song haunted my thoughts, and still does. We didn’t get married nor divorced, but this was the sentiment I was left with. 17 years went fast. At the end, it all feels so empty.

Since December 2013, when I had the first inkling that something was wrong with him, through pain, separation, break up, grief, recovery and lots more pain all over the place, we had been uncoupling. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life so far. I’ve cried through writing this entire post.

After the official break-up in October 2015, we’ve been separating our lives. First, since I managed the money, it was shared accounts like our credit card and his retirement accounts, and I had to refinance the car so I was the sole owner. Then he came to our apartment in St. Helena and went through his stuff. I don’t know why, since we had been together so long, but it was surprising to me how much there was to unwind.

At different points along the way, it was hard to separate even trivial things. He didn’t want to stop sharing our Netflix. I had to eventually ask him for a password to how I log in to the audio in the car.

But a month ago, we were down to literally the last item. We had to go together to the bank so we could take my name off of his checking account. I made an appointment at a branch near his office in the city.

I was worried he’d create an excuse to cancel. I hadn’t seem him in-person for more than a year.

I got to the city early, went to a bar near the bank branch, texted him I had arrived. He asked if he could come over and meet me to catch up over a drink.

He looked the same, perhaps a little more white in his ginger beard. Same Giants baseball cap, skinny jeans, cowboy boots and buckle, whiskey neat.

We behaved as we always had.

He showed me pictures from his niece’s first birthday. I told him about my consulting work.

It felt comfortable. There are no words to describe how desperately I missed that familiarity.

We went to the bank, sat with an account manager in her office, signed our names on some forms. I started to well up. That was our court room.

We walked out to the street. He turned to me and said awkwardly,

“Talk to you around.”

He hesitated to touch me, but I knew this was likely the last time I would see or talk to him. Now there was absolutely no reason to stay in touch.

I reached up and put my arms around his neck and gave him a tight hug. Laughingly, I said,

“Yeah, talk to you around.”

We parted ways. I walked a few steps, and turned. I watched his black shirt disappear among the crowded city street. That was our good-bye.

User Manual, Part A

I just finished “Eight Things I Wish I’d Known About Polyamory” and the author mentioned writing your own user manual to “showcase your self-awareness and communication skills.” Some of you who know me well might chuckle a bit knowing the organized, critical-thinking German in me would love this idea – and you would be correct!

They suggest writing it in three parts: Family background and history; How to turn me on emotionally; and How to turn me on. Each part includes a series of questions to think about and answer. I shall tackle these in three posts starting with the obvious.

Part A: Family background and history.

  • Do you have any brothers and sisters? How would you characterize your relationship with them?

Yes, I have an older sister, 8 years older than me, and an older brother, 6 years older than me. Both are married, each with two kids ranging in ages from 12-19. My sister still lives in NJ and my brother in DE. My sister is Catholic and my brother Evangelical. My sister’s family doesn’t really practice although she goes to church every week. My brother’s family is faith-focused with the kids going to religious school and heavy involvement in church and the church community.

My relationship with them is at a pretty surface level, and because I was so much younger than they were, it’s been that way my entire life. I fly home once a year for Christmas and talk/text with each of them every few weeks or so and it’s pretty much always about family logistics.

Since PhD and I broke up a year and a half ago though, I have gotten a little closer with them. My sister calls more regularly to talk about life, family and job stuff. My brother helped me with financial advice when I bought my house. Still surfacey-level, but it feels just a little deeper.

  • How would you characterize your childhood and its effect on you now?

I call myself the happy accident. My brother and sister were two years apart and then I came six years later. They grew up together. I grew up as an only child, in effect. I didn’t mind this at all really. I was daddy’s little girl and still love to be spoiled.

My parents divorced when I was 12. At that point they had two of three kids out of the house in college. I got fucked. My mom started dating, met a man and in three months they were engaged. He came to live with us when I was 15, and from then until I went to college I was a total and utter bitch to him. I do love him to death now, but at the wedding reception held at my mom’s house I spent the evening in my room crying.

My dad had a girlfriend by the time I was 13. I hated her at first too, but since my dad lived out of the house and she had her own house, I had time to get used to her. By the next year, I loved her. They didn’t marry for ten more years.

In school, I was a nerdy, shy, jock. I didn’t have a ton of friends, no boyfriends, more girl acquaintances with the exception of my former best friend who would throw me under the bus for the slightest whiff of popularity. We knew each other since we were babies and she lived a handful of doors down from me although our parents weren’t friends. We spent a lot of time hanging out and her family affected my upbringing as well.

Her dad worked and her mom stayed home. My friend was the oldest with two younger brothers. Her mom verbally and physically abused all of them and there were very strict rules about things in the house. For example, she grew to be a big girl with big ass tits like her mom. Her mom was always on a diet and therefore so was she. In order to avoid being caught eating between meals, you could never open a package or finish a package of anything.

I was very active growing up too. I started dancing when I was 4, sports at 9, and have kept myself in-shape my entire life. My physical appearance is important to me. I take pride in it.

My parents raised us Catholic for a period. My mom, who grew up in KY, met my dad one summer at the Jersey shore, and they married within a few months. Her family had a long history with alcoholism. She raised us Catholic hoping my Polish Catholic father would take an interest in church. It didn’t work out and neither did they so as their relationship began to fall apart, my mom went back to her church roots attending a baptist church. My brother and I were baptized out of Catholicism at ages 15 and 9, respectively, but my sister stayed Catholic.

I think my childhood taught me self-sufficiency. I can entertain myself. I have the determination to do things myself. I’m self-reliant. I’m fiercely independent. I don’t like authority. I question everything. I want evidence. I’m empathetic. I need attention and affirmation. I don’t like to be alone that often. I also tend to not be as verbally expressive. I have high expectations and can be judgmental and snotty. I think very highly of myself. I’m very critical of myself. I’m shy in social group situations. Alcohol is my drug of choice.

  • What is your family like? How would you characterize your relationship with them?

I have a blended family. My step-dad has two daughters – one married living in Germany with her husband and two sons, another divorced twice with no kids living in Jersey. My step-mom has two sons – one married living in Jersey with his wife, daughter and son, another unmarried living in Jersey with a schizophrenic diagnosis.

My brother-in-law’s family is also blended because his mom married three times. He has one blood sister who adopted a son and they together have a half-brother who is a recovered drug addict. There are many aunts, uncles and cousins on his side of the family that I still have not managed to keep straight. They met when I was 14 and married when I was 16.

My sister-in-law has a twin and their parents died young. Her twin has never been married so it’s a small family. They met at church and married when I was 25.

As I mentioned above, my relationship with my family is cordial but not deep. We all love and care about each other, but I’ve never felt I’ve showed them the real me and I’ve never felt they have showed me the real people they are. And although they all live close to each other, they don’t see each other but for holidays and birthdays throughout the year.

  • What word do you often use to describe yourself? Why?

The happy accident, the only child, the baby, the black sheep all come to mind. I think that really describes my childhood and relationship with my family as well as how I am as an adult.

Part of me never grew up because I didn’t have to so I’m silly and childish. Part of me is spoiled, snotty, attention-seeking/needy, and vain. Part of me feels grateful for my life and everything in it. Part of me also feels like if I wasn’t tall with a big nose that I would question whether I was mixed up at the hospital. My family is deeply uncurious about life. They did everything by the book – college, marriage, kids, house, work. That is completely uninteresting to me. I want to learn, explore, experience.

  • What word do others use to describe you? Do you think it’s accurate?

Hmm, I don’t really know. A new friend recently told me she had a hard time describing me to someone else. Not sure if that’s a good or bad thing?? Maybe I’m unique?? I kinda think so, but that probably wouldn’t surprise anyone who has read this far in this post.

  • What are your key emotional issues a partner might bump into (anger, abuse, abandonment, name-calling, condescension)? Tell a story summarizing why they exist.

As much as I portray outwardly that I’m confident and independent, there are triggers that can turn that foundation to sand and I can quickly wash out into the ocean.

My mom says it’s because I’m sensitive and have a big heart, which I think is partly true. But I also think because I wasn’t reassured and affirmed as a child (owning to my family’s lack of emotional intelligence and communication), I can break at the smallest criticism. I spiral down quickly, become depressed, quiet, anti-social, and throw a pity party for myself. Usually being left alone to think, some wine, and getting a good night’s sleep refreshes my mind. I develop contingency plans or plans to fix the problem and put it into action. Sometimes talking with someone about the problem can help, but because I’m not good at verbalizing it is extremely difficult for me to reach out and ask for help.

Also the three past relationships I’ve had have all revolved around either me cheating or being cheated on or with some heavy focus on cheating. So I tend not to trust very easily or quickly. As I said before, I need evidence, and to me those aren’t words. That’s time and behavior that I watch silently like a hawk making mental notes. If you don’t follow through, I may give you one more chance, but if you disappoint again, I’ll cut you off and discard you like mold on cheese, and I’ll never look back. It’s a matter of survival and protection.

  • What do you value in a relationship? Tell a story summarizing your embracing of that value.

I value trust. If you tell me you will do something and don’t, I begin to lose trust and start backing away. Words are nice, but I want to see your actions back that up consistently. You need to manage expectations with me because my mind is a steel trap.

I value curiosity and exploration. Whether that is in the bedroom or out in the world, I want to do new things with you. I want you to teach me something new. I want to do fun, silly, childish things. I want to explore your mind. I want to learn something new from how you think and act and from what you’ve done with your life.

I value touch. Up until six months ago, I thought touch was silly and sappy. Now I’m a world-class cuddler and notice every gentle, unspoken touch you may give me – from the pat on the butt as you walk by to your knee touching mine as we sit next to each other at the bar to hands running all over me to a simple touch on the arm when you tell me a story.

I value self-actualization. Kind of a cheesy, self-help book word, but I remember learning about it in college. In Mazlow’s Hierarchy of Needs, self-actualization was at the pinnacle. After your basic and phycological needs were met, this was maximizing your existence – getting everything out of it, having no regrets, sucking the marrow out of life. I don’t care what people do for a living or the personal choices they make. I respect you if you are living up to your full potential. If you leave something on the table because of fear or letting other obstacles get in your way, my view of you is diminished. I maintain the same standard for myself and judge myself just as harshly. I don’t believe in regret and I don’t believe in right and wrong. You try, you learn.

Ok, on to Part B: How to turn me on emotionally…

Sum of the Parts

A few weekends ago depression hit me like a ton of bricks. Maybe it’s been the day after day of rain here that put me into a funk, but it was one I couldn’t seem to shake.

I was driving to Nerdie’s house on my way to spend Saturday night with him and celebrate Super Bowl Sunday the following day. While driving on the winding roads between Napa and Sonoma Counties, I was enjoying the sights surrounding me of rolling green hills dotted with cows and flanked with vines. I then had a sudden, painful pang in my gut of missing PhD. Just completely out of nowhere. Maybe a memory of a fun Super Bowl past spent together? Maybe because I was driving west toward SF? I’m not really sure, but it hit hard.

Then I reflected on Nerdie, the five others I was currently dating locally, Diamonds across the country and those on the fringes popping in and out of my life periodically.

Were all these men simply pieces of PhD, that when added together, was me somehow trying to recreate him? Or had I been with PhD so long that these types of guys were the only ones I would or could like?

I did a run down in my head of similar characteristics between my current guys and PhD…

  • Nerdie: Well, Nerdie…into Star Wars, video games, fast cars, loves sports
  • Diamonds: Well-dressed, well-quaffed, works out, big man, big muscles
  • Frenchie: Who I haven’t introduced to you yet, but is actually French-Canadian; tall, intellectual, challenges my brain, loves good food and wine, handy, smart, creative
  • Limey: Also haven’t written about him yet; well-traveled, bearded, well-dressed, well-quaffed, stylish, loves good food and wine
  • Somm: Gosh, wow! Realizing right now I have a lot of writing to do because I haven’t introduce him either! Tall, cute, funny, of course loves good food and wine, fun to get shit-faced with
  • Porno: And it continues with the haven’t-yet-written about…a guy on the newer side – we love to watch Porn together, hence the name; funny, loves good food and wine, creative, easy-going, handy, loves sports
  • Burgers: Well an even newer guy; loves good food and wine, fun to get shit-faced with, funny, easy-going, loves sports, music and movies

These are generally all the same characteristics PhD had. Do I enjoy them because of PhD or because that’s what I enjoy? The thought of the former made me cry myself to sleep two nights in a row.

It made me contemplate whether I had really gotten as far as I thought I had in the last year processing and moving through the pain of our break-up. Maybe I was just fooling myself, and deep down I hadn’t moved an inch – that what I really wanted was PhD back. And I’d forever be trapped in Dante’s inferno swallowed up dozens of levels so deep I’d never escape.

In the end, I still don’t know. I snapped out of it on Monday afternoon. On my hour-long drive home in the rain back to Napa County, I cried it out hard in the car. Knowing that when I got home I had consulting work to do, I had no time for wallowing in a pity party. I had already done that for the past two days.

I’m still curious to perhaps spend some time reflecting on it, but the truth is in the end I can see it anyway I want. I make my own truth and my own reality. If I wanted to be miserable and depressed about it, yes, I could just focus on the question and be sad thinking I hadn’t moved forward. But I choose not to be miserable and depressed.

Yes, there are similarities with each of them and PhD. I spent 17 years with him – very formative years in my 20s and 30s – so of course as I grew up I grew up with him, and loved all those things, mentioned above, about him – or grew to love them over time.

But I don’t think that’s point. The point is, fine, I like similar things between PhD and all these men. So what? Then what it becomes is what new things can I learn from these men? What new adventures can we share? How can I better open myself up to what they have to offer and the experiences we can have together? What new ways can I share and receive love and sex?

Basically, how can these new relationships teach me, challenge me, bring me joy and love, and be places I can safely share parts of myself that together make me whole?

Is Orgasm the Point of Sex?

Well, you might immediately answer babies is the point of sex, but I’m referring to sex for pleasure. Heck even if you are trying to make babies, sex is pleasurable.

One of my new lovers, whose fun tale I will tell in a later post, recently confronted me about not having an orgasm through penetration. In fact, he suggested I was letting my past sexual experiences, basically not coming through penetration, hinder me from being open to even trying to have an orgasm through penetration. Furthermore, he said I should sign up for a three-day seminar called the “Landmark Forum,” where, it seems from all the reading I did, hundreds of people are packed into a room and forced to dig deep into their pasts. Then they are encouraged/forced, depending on where you read about the seminar, to face those things that have been holding them back and deal with them so they can emerge free of them. And then, I guess, I would miraculously orgasm by penetration?

His strange conclusions and suggestions aside, all of this really got me to question what I get out of sex. What makes it pleasurable for me? Is it just to orgasm? Are there other things going on? And to his point, should I be pursuing having an orgasm through penetration? It sure sounds nice. It actually happened to me once when I was in college with my first boyfriend so it must be possible. But does that make is possible with anyone, or was the shape of his hard cock some magic key that unlocked me? Fuck! Am I just overthinking this??

Take Nerdie. What makes sex pleasurable with him? Well for one, I can’t recall a man that ever got me to orgasm the first time he went down on me. It was, and continues to be, just perfect. Most of the time when a new guy attempts, it takes a few rounds and some good amount of instruction, which is totally fine, as long as he is willing and able to take instruction.

But beyond the orgasm, there is so much more I get from having sex with him. I enjoy giving him pleasure. I enjoy having his body next to mine. I enjoy his touch. I enjoy the feeling of his lips.

I enjoy sex with him when we aren’t even having actual sex. We flirt. I send him sexy pics of me and even, once, an audio of me masterbating (creative and naughty!). I enjoy that we talk about and explore toys, sexy outfits for me, and locations outside the bedroom.

Does the pleasure of sex only have to be when you are actually having it? I don’t think so. All of those things I just listed, in and out of the bedroom, are sex to me and they are all pleasurable.

So back to the orgasm through penetration question. It does sound nice, but to me I have to decide, like anything, is it a goal I wish to pursue? How important is it to me that I come through penetration? Are there other sexual goals I want to pursue?

I think one day this may be a goal I’d like to pursue, but right now I have others. Here they are:

  • To have varied, creative, first-time sexual experiences, such as with a woman, in a threesome, using toys, wearing sexy clothes, and being open to different techniques and activities. Because I was monogamous with each of my three boyfriends over the past 21 years and the sex was never really adventurous with any of them, I want to open myself up to exploring myself and others to discover what is pleasurable to me.
  • To explore all the various types of relationships out there. How do people related to each other? What works and doesn’t work for them? Listen to or read about their stories. Think about what I think about them. Maybe monogamy isn’t for me. Or maybe after a period of exploration, it will be again.

I feel like, at this point, while one-nighters aren’t the goal I still learn from them. I am learning from every interaction I have, actually, even if I don’t have sex with them. So thanks to this new lover, who when he gets his own post will be called Scandi (shortly for Scandinavian), for making me think.

Heartache is

Heartache is. I never knew it was.

It has lessened over the past two years when it first made itself known in my life. That’s when I knew something was wrong in my then 15 year relationship with PhD.

6’2″, 44, ginger, balding with hair trim close, big gym muscles he’s proud of making, wicked smart, artistic, creative, well-read.

We met in Richmond, Virginia just a few months after I finished my undergraduate work at the University of Richmond. Soccer was my favorite sport growing up, and once I finished college I wanted to play again. I joined a co-ed summer soccer league. His techie company didn’t have enough women and so I got placed on the company team to round it out.

He said he noticed me right away.

He was emerging from a divorce after one year of marriage in which his wife cheated on him. I was emerging from a three-year relationship/engagement in which I had cheated on my boyfriend.

The team went for beers after the games. We started talking and by the end of the summer he had asked me out. I happened to move into an apartment directly across the street from the one he and his sister and brother were moving in to.

We spent every day together.

After six months, we got an apartment together. Four years later, in 2002, we moved to Manhattan.

We spent every day together.

In 2005, after 10 years as a website designer and project manager, he decided he wanted to pursue a PhD in physics. When it was time to apply to graduate schools, we decided California would be a fun place to live since we were both from the East Coast. He attended UC Davis and I worked on campus.

As he was finishing up in 2013, so was I with my high stress fundraising job on campus. With some inheritance I received after my father’s death in 2008, I decided to quit my job and go to culinary school in St. Helena.

We moved from Davis to St. Helena with our two cats on December 31, 2013 to a crappy apartment right in town. He started looking for jobs in the Bay Area, and much to our surprise landed one that started the following March.

He found a furnished studio in SoMA and we moved him in. We saw each other every weekend either me driving to the city or him coming by ferry to Napa Valley.

In June 2014 he officially walked for his PhD, by November he was cheating on me with a young, blond from work. I didn’t find out for sure until six months later.

In December, we went back to the East Coast to visit our families. That was the first time I knew something was wrong. Since we were spending 24/7 again together, I could see more obviously there was a problem.

He was more agitated and quick to anger. He and his brother usually have some sort of big argument during the holidays owing to the fact they are both smarty-pants PhDs. But this year it was epic. At one point in the middle of the night, I got out of bed because the passion in their tone of voice made me think someone was gonna swing at any moment.

We also had sex nearly everyday, a quantity highly unusual for us, and it was rough, like borderline rapey rough.

When we came back and restarted our typical routine in January, he began wanting to leave early on Sundays to get back to the city. Excuses of running errands and doing laundry.

That was the beginning of the heartache. I missed him so much and didn’t know why or what was happening, just that something was wrong.

He didn’t want to touch me. He didn’t like it when I touched him.

A frequent time for sex for us was after the gym and a shower. I approached him from behind while he was in his towel, grabbed him and started kissing his back. We moved to the bed, and he was barely hard.

I started sucking his cock and that didn’t improve things. I sat on his cock and nothing changed.

He got made at me and told me he was tired and wanted to take a nap. I went downstairs and watched a movie in complete shock and confusion.

An hour later, he came downstairs and said he wanted to pack up and go early. I confronted him asking if he still loved me, did he love someone else, was he seeing someone else. Nothing in reply.


I’ve been single for the past six weeks now – a status I haven’t had since I was 19. Like pretty much all middle class, educated white girls from the burbs I thought a monogamous relationship was the thing to strive for. Although I never wanted to get married nor have kids, I didn’t think there was any other option besides monogamy. What am I saying?!? I didn’t even have a thought about it – monogamy just was – without thought, examination or question.

But after three relationships and 21 years, I’ve started what I guess I’m calling a journey of sexual and relationship exploration. I just don’t know what’s right for me anymore except for what feels right right now. And right now I don’t want monogamy.

That may be because of those 21 years 17 was spent with a man who cheated on me. I know that’s a logical explanation and pendulum reaction in the complete opposite direction.

However as I talk and go out with new men, I am more and more convinced that no one person could ever meet another one person’s needs. Not only that, but our needs change over time, don’t they?

Were we meant to be with one person for all our lives – ’til death do us part cause the Bible tells us so? I was on that path, without the actual marriage part, but I thought I was going to be with him forever.

To disprove the marriage paradigm, I could point to divorce rates, how my married friends complain about their spouses, the number of men on online dating sites looking to cheat, the fact that perhaps this site will gain traction if only to live vicariously through my life…

I already didn’t think traditional marriage was a good way to go for me because I never wanted to get married. Partly because I didn’t see the reason since I didn’t want to have kids. Partly because, at the time, my gay and lesbian friends didn’t have the same rights as me to get married. Partly because somehow I thought I’d be lost as an individual. Partly because I don’t see that heterosexuals treat marriage with any respect whatsoever yet wanted to prevent others from joining in their misery. Can we please let homosexuals be happy or miserable married people too?!?

I know I’m at the beginning of this journey, and who knows how my thoughts and feelings will change over time. Maybe casual relationships work now, but one day I’ll want monogamy again. Or maybe I’ll practice a poly lifestyle – something I’m learning about from dating men in open married and non-married relationships.

It’s an amazingly fascinating journey, which I hope you come with me on…and comment about!


Why do we cook?


I survived midterms, and with those tests, two of my classes actually ended. Food Safety class prepared me for a successful ServSafe Food Safety Manager exam. It’s good for five years, and allows me to take a management role in any restaurant nationwide. Not that anyone would give me such a job considering I have now nine weeks of culinary school and four days back-of-the-house experience under my belt, but the key is the five years.

My Food Safety class has become Nutrition and the other class, Product Knowledge, has become Gastronomy. Both extremely fascinating, but Gastronomy more so. Last week, we started the conversation with some very elementary, but little thought of topics, such as ‘what is cooking?’ and ‘why do we cook?’ We got into a long classroom discussion about the application of heat, seasoning, chopping, marinading, and how, at its most fundamental level, cooking is the transformation of food into energy and nutrients. Somehow we even ended up talking about the 50 ways to cook and eat carrots.

Of course in these discussions, there are no wrong answers. I agree with these assessments and everything everyone said was valid, but somewhere in there I tuned out the back and forth between my classmates and the teacher.

I don’t cook to eat.

I’m not good at communicating my feelings, and neither is anyone in my family. I’m not sure how my sister and brother knew they were loved, or how they felt it, but for me, it was through food. This is a surprising statement because no one in my family is particularly passionate about food. Nobody’s careers have even remotely touched food in anyway. Unlike many of my classmates, I didn’t grow up in a restaurant or on a farm.

My parents divorced before I had self-awareness, so my memories are with them separately, and for some reason they are all about food. This is the only reason I can possibly point to for why I’m so into food.

I felt their love for me through food.

Crystal clear childhood memories of when my parents still lived together; me and my dad on the back patio in front of the grill. It’s summer, after work, sun is going down, humid as hell. Thankfully, I wasn’t quite tall enough to be towering over the grill so I escaped some of the additional heat. On the grill were Oscar Meyers, and if I was lucky, the kind with the cheese piped through the middle. Processed foods in those days were so simple and elegant. Not like today. Case in point: Jimmy Dean Chocolate Chip Pancakes and Sausage on a stick. I can’t even come up with anything to say about that so I’m moving on.

Back to the dogs. They were burnt to black, crispy perfection on all sides. Toasted bun with sweet as candy, green as neon relish. But the best part was standing next to my dad, grill utensil in hand, and every so often I’d get a sip from that cold Bud can in the faded cosy.

With my mom, it was all about Christmas cookies, and ‘Merry Christmas Johnny Mathis.’ We’d start out on a Saturday and bake all damn day. When it got dark out, I remember the twinkling multi-colored Christmas lights from the fake tree in the front window when I’d go to flip the record over. In our house, the fake tree went up right after Thanksgiving. Oh, we’d still buy a real tree – from a farm right down the road (see Fierce Jersey Pride post). Walking through the rows of fresh cut trees smelled like Christmas. To this day if I get around too much rosemary, those tree-picking memories come flooding back – Christmas at home in Jersey. We’d bring that fresh tree home, and care for it in the cold garage until Christmas Eve when we’d bring it out and decorate it together.

The cookie baking with mom was epic. Spritz cookies from an ancient cookie press gun from the 1960s, I think – anyway, it was puke green so I’m guessing ’60’s. It jammed a lot, but we pressed out zillions of shapes and sprinkled food coloring-dyed sugar on top. Then there was Peanut Butter Balls. These no-bake guys were just peanut butter, powdered sugar, butter and Rice Krispies mixed together, rolled into a ball, then dipped into melted chocolate and frozen. When you bit in, the chocolate layer pleasantly cracked and froze your mouth at the same time. Oh gosh, we must have had a dozen more kinds of cookies and bars going – too many to remember – but we were careful to lay a big plate out for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve after the tree decorating. And P.S. I still love Johnny Mathis and have seen him in concert a bunch of times – makes me feel so young!

When holidays or vacation rolled around, my dad always wanted to let loose and gave me money for candy, and bought huge gallon tubs of ice cream and boxes of junk cereal. My mom, on the other hand, was all about no preservatives and healthy foods, which in retrospect, was pretty cool for the ’80’s. Somehow, though, this didn’t seem to rub off one bit on my sister or brother. When the candy came in, my mom always solicited me: candy for shiny silver dollars. I bargained and gave up some of it, but never all. Candy high was the only high back then.

So that’s why I cook – to show love – and that’s why I’m deliriously happy in culinary school. Sure my pants are still on fire, but I love it! Cooking is how I communicate with people I care about. I love you if I cook with you and/or for you. Sorry if I don’t say it often enough – that’s part genetics and part my childhood environment – but now you know family and friends!