All posts by Stifle Me Not

God Guide Me

I recently (within the past year) had the realization that chasing after happiness is a never-ending pursuit of ultimate disappointment. The unfortunate part is you don’t usually realize you’re doing it. It’s such a habit, you pursue what you think will make you happy, end up not as satisfied as you hoped, and repeat the viscous cycle. We do this with whatever fills our “needs”. It can be with something obviously bad, like drug use or dependency on alcohol, or it can be something less obvious like shopping, working, dating or needing to control situations.

Over the summer, I went back to church and started reading the Bible. Quite frankly because I was all out of ideas. I got fed up. Fed up with endless disappointment of whatever it is that I’ve been pursuing. Fed up with chasing and controlling and trying to “be somebody”. Trying to prove my identity? Trying, trying, trying… to do what and for what reason?

And as I got more into scripture, I realized that’s the point. When it comes to God, you’re identity is in God’s hands, so you’ve just got to pay attention, ask for guidance (aka pray), and do what you think is best (regardless of your own personal interests). It’s obviously easier said than done, but this perspective shift has been a game-changer for me the past few months. Whenever I’m in a funk or upset, I pause and just pray, “God, please guide me.”

More often than not, my answer is to be patient rather than react. And that’s okay, the answer usually comes (just not always with my preferred timing). I’ve had less sleepless nights the past few months by simply handing over my worries and frustrations rather than dwelling on what “I” should do about them. I’m not fully in control. I need help all the time. It’s humbling. I can’t do it on my own. I have limits.

Maybe I’m living in some kind of fantasy world over here with all of my positive thinking and prayers. If I am, I don’t want out, because not allowing myself to be consumed with my frustrations is amazing.

Stifle Me Not

The Bible Say What?

At the end of August, something clicked. It was a slow click. It was a gradual build up of years past that aligned in such a way that I stopped many habits over the last two months. I just had enough with my current state of life, and stopped.

I stopped following/watching certain things on social media, I stopped scrolling through dating apps, I stopped letting my thoughts get the best of me, I stopped letting old perspectives halt new ones from coming in.

I started appreciating my life and family more, I started realizing I’m doing the best I can and giving myself a break, I started reading the Bible, I started going to church, I started raising my standards.

I’ve never really been into reading the Bible before. I had all the reasons: It’s too long, it’s too complicated, it’s been translated so many times over the years, etc. One day I had a question on my mind about the Ten Commandments, so I randomly googled the books of the Bible where the Ten Commandments appeared. Exodus and Deuteronomy. I flipped to Exodus 20 and read it. The next thing I know, I read the entire book of Exodus.

After that I didn’t touch the Bible for weeks. It’s like I was slowly digesting everything that I’d read. This month, I picked up the Bible and back-tracked to Genesis. I’m halfway done. I can’t get enough. My thirst for more Bible knowledge has completely replaced all of my old habits. It’s the greatest history book of all time.

I’m a little confused, but pleased, with whatever is happening to my brain, and my being. I’ve been sleeping better and thinking more clearly. I feel more sure of myself – I’m not sure why exactly. I’m a little sad I didn’t start this path sooner, but I guess some people go their whole lives and never open a Bible, better now than never.

I’m in learning mode. And I’ve learned enough that I can’t go back now. I can’t go back.

Stifle Me Not

The Pits of October

October used to be my favorite month, but now it bothers me. Five years ago this week marks the beginning of the end with my ex-husband. It’s the month my ex-husband and I met (in 2000), the month we were engaged (in 2006), the month we got married (in 2007), and it is also the month when everything ended (in 2017). Here we are again in October. I hate October. This October brought my teenage daughter having surgery, spending entirely too much shared space with my ex, having a horrible reaction to poison ivy, and ending up on prescription steroids (only to experience all the side effects that go along with that).

I’m sensitive to my surroundings – who I associate with, the food I eat, what I drink, and the medications I take. I know this and I live my life accordingly so I can feel my best each day. I avoid sweets (including sugary drinks) and fast food, I usually work out regularly, and I limit medication I take because, from past experience, it doesn’t end well when I have too much of anything. My medicine intake is limited to seasonal allergy medicine, occasional ibuprofen (for a headache), and a daily probiotic. If I don’t pay attention to what goes into my guts, I always pay the price.

I desperately needed to destress after spending consecutive days with my ex as our daughter recovered from surgery. I took care of her as she recovered at home, worked at home, cared for my son, and took care of my ongoing awful poison ivy reaction. The stress of being around my ex was enough to make me not feel well, let alone all of the other variables mixed in. I found myself slipping back into my old ways. I was disassociating – going through the motions, where I’m there but not fully there. I was walking on eggshells – watching what I said so I didn’t invoke a negative response from him. It was hard to go back to that “place”.

I was finally looking forward to a calm weekend on my own. Both kids went with their dad over the weekend since my daughter was finally feeling strong enough to travel in a car. Once I dropped my kids off for the weekend, I picked up some Indian food and headed home to stuff my face in peace while I caught up on some shows on HULU. I was going to sleep in and simply relax for the weekend without worrying about anyone else.

That Friday evening, free of all responsibilities, I happily ate my spicy Indian food and started watching an episode of a show. The food was so satisfying. I finished the whole plate. Toward the end of my hour-long show, my stomach started to make noises.

Oh no.

I made the unavoidable trip to the bathroom, with stomach pains so intense I wasn’t sure what kind of sick was going to be. I was in there for a very very long time. I’d exit the bathroom, and turn right around and go back in. Apparently, eating Indian food after lots of stress and being on new steroid medication was not the best idea. It was miserable. On top of it all, I was still itchy from the poison ivy rash. My nerves were shot. My stomach was shot. My hope for feeling good ever again was just shot.

The next day was a slow start. I didn’t make it to the shower until about 2 pm. Everything I tried to do was a challenge. I laid on the couch for the majority of the day. Somehow I mustered up the energy around 5 pm to go to Target since I needed so many little healthcare-related things. After Target, I was starving. I had barely eaten all day. I decided that chicken noodle soup and a Mediterranean bowl from Panera should be okay. I picked it up as carry out.

It wasn’t okay.

It was like deja vu from the night before. Not long after I finished my meal, I was howling in pain in the bathroom again. Thank God I was all alone. This time it was clear that the spice from the Indian food had exited and burnt the literal shit out of my rear end. I was mortified, winded, and feeling more hopeless than the night before.

This was not a relaxing weekend. Not at all.

That night was the first night I slept through the night without constant itching. Hurrah, I was less itchy from the poison ivy rash, but the downside was my stomach hated me and I was going to have raging hemorrhoids for the foreseeable future.

On Sunday, it took me just as long to get moving as it did on Saturday. I finally got the strength to go to the grocery store and I bought as many sensitive-stomach-friendly foods as I could find. I came home and made ground turkey and rice for dinner. No more food indulgences for me, not until my body has recovered from all the built up stress and medication.

Today I returned to work after more than a week of caring for my family and myself. I feel slow and tired. The pits of October is halfway over and thank God for that.

Stifle Me Not

Sometimes Life Just Sucks

It’s been one hell of a rollercoaster ride the last few of weeks. On Wed, Sept 28th my daughter complained of her side hurting. Kids complain a lot. I’m used to dismissing most things as an ache or growing pain, and then it’s never talked about again. She persisted through the evening that it really hurt. I told her to put a heating pad on it, thinking it could be a pulled muscle. The next morning she said she couldn’t go to school because she was in too much pain, so I made her an appointment with her pediatrician. He ordered blood work and we waited. The results came in later that afternoon and all appeared normal. She woke up on Friday morning, doubled over in pain. I rushed her to the Emergency Room.

After 10 hours in the ER, she was diagnosed with having a large softball-sized cyst in the left side of her abdomen. Five days later, on Wed, Oct 5th, she had surgery to have it removed. Everything went well. They removed the large cyst, but it was also entangled in her left fallopian tube, so it had to be removed as well. Her ovary was untouched and able to remain. Her reproductive system will be fine. I was so relieved for her.

She ended up needing to stay two nights in the hospital. It was difficult, but necessary since she had a c-section type incision. She was such a trooper. I am so proud of her. She was discharged the afternoon of Fri., Oct 7th. The weekend was a good start to her recovery. She has been improving very well each day and can hopefully return to school next week.

In the midst of all this chaos, I was a bit of an anxious wreck, but I was taking it day by day. In between her ER visit and her surgery date, I did many things around the house and pre-planned for a change in our normal routine with my work and her brother’s schedule too. The weekend before her surgery, I did some much-needed yardwork and cleared out overgrown flower beds on one side of my house. It was a nice day and therapeutic to be outside, burning off some of the anxiety of the week to come. I showered immediately after doing yard work, happy to have another thing checked off my list.

On the day of my daughter’s surgery, I scratched at my forearm while in the waiting room. Then scratched again, pulled up my sleeve, and saw a small red rash. I was so stressed out from my daughter’s surgery and now having to hang out with her father for the next 3+ days, that I immediately thought I had some kind of stress rash. I wiped it off with some alcohol and put some hydrocortisone cream on it. For the next couple of days, that’s all I did with it. It did not become worse. A couple of people asked me if it could be poison ivy. Nah, it wasn’t very big and even though I did yardwork recently, it was 5 days ago.

Fast forward to Mon, Oct 10th, and I had a pus-filled golf ball-sized boil on my forearm as well as welts popping popping all over both of my arms and on the side of my face. WTF? I was itchy and in pain and the most uncomfortable I have been in a very long time. By this time I realized it probably was poison ivy, but I still wasn’t convinced since it had been so many days since I’d done yard work. It had been 10 days. I’m typically a research junkie about just about anything. But with everything going on, I never once looked up timeline information on poison ivy rash. Apparently it can start forming up to 5 days after being in contact with it, and it can continue popping up wherever you made contact with it and it can last up to a month. WHAT!?

On Tue, Oct 11th, I took myself to urgent care. It was the fastest urgent care visit I’ve ever had. They took one look at my miserable rash and prescribed me a topical cream and some prednisone to start the relief process. Little did I know that the rest of the week was going to be miserable with my best relief being cold water and ice packs, alcohol wipes, and hydrocortisone cream. My nerves are shot, I’m wired and tired at the same time.

I’ve been trying my best to work at home, care for my daughter, care for my son, and maintain some sort of functional comfort with this poison ivy rash, but it has been so difficult. I can’t sleep at night. I fall asleep quickly but wake up at 1 AM with my arms burning with itchiness. I spend the next two hours trying to relieve the itch and pain, only to wake up to my alarm to face another day of discomfort, work, and mom duties.

Somehow I managed to go to two nights of parent-teacher conferences in the middle of this week. Not ideal, but I had to get all of my daughter’s missed work, and I definitely had to keep tabs on my son’s behavior. Tinted moisturizer and mascara helped make me looked somewhat normal despite the red splotches covering the left side of my face. I slapped on a smile and got that mom crap done.

Last night I hit a breaking point after 1 and 1/2 weeks of nonstop stress. I went into the bathroom for my evening routine of running cold water over my rashy arms and hot tears rolled out of my eyes while I sobbed uncontrollably at the pure suckiness of life at the moment. I was so happy that my daughter has been recovering so well, but I personally felt like complete shit. I’ve had two babies, gone through a divorce, had my career crash (and rebuild), had to live at my parents, have had horrible dates this year, have put up with lice in my home, have experienced people dying in my life… and I’m letting a poison ivy rash break me?

That’s when I realized that it was PMS week, and just about anything was going to make me break. Haha!

October is half way over and has sucked the whole time. I guess sometimes life just sucks. Today is feeling better. I think the prednisone is finally starting to take effect after 4 days. I’m hoping for an upward swing for all of us.

Stifle Me Not

Single Mom Weekend

It was a busy weekend without my kids, and I did practically nothing exciting. Really. The much-needed dating hiatus has started, along with napping season. Yes, cooler weather = naps whenever possible.

On Friday night, I handed my children over to their father at our usual meeting spot. My 7 year old son is not interested in long good-byes, he was fully engaged in his handheld videogame. I got a hug followed by a quick “love you” and complete detachment. My 13 year old daughter took entirely too long to move her belongings from one car to the other while she squealed with excitement about seeing her dad’s dog in the backseat of his truck. She gave me hug with whatever lovely teenager words she chose to grace me with at departure. I still don’t know what she said. Teen speak. I spoke it once myself, but lost my touch once I aged 20+ more years.

I went to meet my long lost friend at a Mediterranean restaurant nearby. She and I had worked together at a few different jobs over the years. Now that we no longer work together, we occasionally meet up for dinner, swap stories, and then don’t see each other for another 6 months. I went in, got a table, and ordered a glass of wine and an appetizer. One drink was my limit since I was driving back home half an hour away. She made her appearance, we caught up, ordered food, caught up more, and went home. I went home, watched a show on HULU, and went to bed.

My next morning consisted of getting up early for a lovely mammogram and some blood work. Not the ideal thing to do on a Saturday morning, but at least I got it done. That afternoon I got some new tires put on my car. Heck yea! It was a Saturday full of adulting activities!

After the very boring morning and afternoon, I went shopping for a little bit. Finally, some me time. My sister-in-law texted me while I was out and invited me over for dinner. I picked up some wine and headed over to their house to hang out. My niece is 4 years old and my nephew is 3 months old, so it was basically us hanging out chatting and trying to talk in between kid interruptions. My brother made burgers and we had some wine.

I have a decent relationship with alcohol. I can have one drink and be fine. I know my limits, especially when I’m driving. I can have two drinks if I’m eating. I can have more if I’m going absolutely nowhere. Although, I detest hangovers, so I rarely ever go over three drinks even if I’m home alone. The headache in the morning is just not worth it.

So that night I had about two drinks, plus I had a burger and fries. They were good-sized glasses of wine. I was definitely feeling relaxed and chatty, but I stopped after that and had some water. After a little bit, my nephew was ready for bed, and I could tell my brother and sister-in-law were tired. So I bid my farewells and ventured to my car for my 10-minute drive home. The majority of the drive is one long road, a straight shot to my neighborhood. I wasn’t sleepy, and I felt fine to drive. It was only about 8 pm.

It was a lovely evening. The cool night autumn air was refreshing. I drove out of my brother’s neighborhood and turned onto the main road that was a straight shot to my neighborhood. I was going the speed limit, I was in a good mood, and I was halfway home… I couldn’t wait to put on comfy clothes and glasses and snuggle up on my couch. As I went through a green light, I noticed lots of cones… and sheriff? … and lines of cars?


My heart sunk. I had nowhere to go. I had to go through it. There was no warning to turn a different way. Here I was, 43-years old and I’m going to jail for drinking with my 3-month old nephew on burger night.

I unwrapped a piece of peppermint gum, but I had to pull up and didn’t want to appear suspicious with peppermint aroma filling my car, so I stuffed the dry piece of gum into the side of my seat before the officer approached my window. I rolled it down, he asked if I’d been drinking, I said no. He asked for my driver’s license, I gave it to him.

He shined his flashlight around my car and onto my license plate. My heart sunk down into the pits of my guts. I kept my mouth closed as he handed back my driver’s license, and bid me good night. I said thank you, and rolled my window up.


I get it. I get why they have those checkpoints, but OH FOR THE EVERLOVNG CRAP! Nothing like topping off my very responsible adult weekend with a DUI checkpoint. I got a mammogram and new tires, had some wine, and thought I was going to jail. Oy vey!

I wasn’t the least bit nervous until I made it past the checkpoint, and after I drove off I felt like I might crash into the nearest telephone pole just because my nerves were shot. I’ve never been so happy to pull into my garage in all my life. I can’t believe I’ve gone this long in life and have never encountered a DUI checkpoint before. I guess that’ll be the last time I do a heavy pour of wine at my brother’s house when I have to drive home.

Stifle Me Not

Solace in Not Settling

Thanks to everyone who likes and follows my blog. It’s for my own self-therapy, but knowing others share in my dating madness brings me some sort of odd solace.

My last post, about not hesitating too long, well that was a joke. I basically missed out on a great Kate Spade purse, that’s it. I gave Joe a chance and he didn’t last more than 5 days. Joe is what I like to call A Wise Old Horn Ball. He was old enough to know better, but horny enough to screw up like a teenager on a porn site. Joe would text throughout the day like an old man going out to get his mail in socks and crocs, but in the evening he wanted to have non-stop nasty talk. I’m definitely not a prude; I’m not against talking any which way with someone I become intimate with, but I hadn’t even talked to this Joe Schmoe on the phone yet let alone met him in person. Sorry buddy, if I don’t know the sound of your voice, I’m not texting about what I want you to do to me in the sheets. Flirting is just fine, but sex talk with a stranger is disturbing. Ugh.

I said all of this to him directly. I even said “hey, we could talk on the phone, I don’t know what your voice sounds like.” But did he want to talk on the phone? No, he wanted to continue texting about what types of things I might say to him when we dated of course. I finally went off on him, and he responded in a joking manner, and then I never texted Joe again. And likewise, he never attempted to text me again. So there, we ghosted each other.

Relief at its finest.

I have basically been on one date a month since May through September. I think it’s time to hibernate again. No seriously, it’s getting ridiculous. Although, the last time I took a 5-month dating hiatus, I came back to a worse dating scene than what I’d first encountered.

The time to date is in your 20s and early 30s. Beyond that, I feel like I’ve missed a main window of opportunity. Clearly I married badly. I have learned, and am still learning from that mistake. I love my children and will go to the ends of the earth to ensure they continue to have a good childhood. They will likely blame me for things I’m doing now when they’re older. Bring it on, no one is perfect. They’ll realize I’m not so bad when they have their own children, just like I realized about my own parents.

My dad met the love of his life after being married to my mom for 14 years and then being divorced for 7 years. He has now been happily-ever-after married to my wonderful stepmom for 22 years. They met through a mutual friend at a funeral. There were no dating sites then. He called her up, asked her out, they went on a date, and they became engaged 3 months later. She was 43 and he was 46. I have not been to any funerals to find dates – there’s a thought.

My mom met the love of her life after being married to my dad for 14 years. She married her second husband 4 years later. She was married to husband #2 for 7 years. They divorced, then she ended up with husband #3. It basically took her an extra 11 years after her first divorce to find her happily-ever-after. This year she’ll have been happily married to #3 for 15 years. They were each other’s “3rd time’s a charm” spouse. She worked with all three husbands at one point. I don’t plan on meeting any future husband at my work, no thanks.

I was married for 10 years, and have been divorced for 4 years, separated for 5. I waited over 3 years to even think about dating, and it has gotten me… nowhere. I’ve had one short-term relationship and have gone out with exactly 6 more guys after that. None of them have lasted more than 3 weeks without showing true colors that were a non-negotiable for me. I’ve met some interesting fellas, but I’d never want to wake up to any of them for the rest of my life.

If I was in a my 20 or 30s, this would be humorous. But I’m 43. I do not want anymore children, so there’s no rush there. I simply want a partner in crime for the rest of my life that is left. It’s half over, I’d like to make the second half count big time. Sometimes I feel like I’m doing something wrong. The dating sites, distance, boundaries, whatever… And other days, I think I’m just not supposed to be with anyone yet. Or ever?

When I think about my parents and the aftermath of their divorce, they were each miserable. I can honestly say that I’m not miserable. I’m fairly content. They each didn’t get their happy back until they ended up with their now significant others. I feel like I’m in a good place the majority of the time. I know no one needs someone, but I sure do think we all should have a special someone who knows us well and cares damnit. There I go fantasizing again.

I’ve noticed that Orange Jeep Guy hasn’t been over at Crazy Angela’s house lately. In fact, this weekend, I saw a black truck and a new guy hanging around. My son was over talking to them at one point, and I went over to retrieve my very talkative son from intruding on their business. This new guy was smoking and they both smiled meekly at me. Black Truck Guy had apparently replaced Orange Jeep Guy. It explained why I heard Crazy Angela screaming in her backyard a couple of weeks ago.

As I walked back into my own yard from Crazy Angela’s yard, all of my dating woes evaporated. I originally had been jealous of Angela when Orange Jeep Guy, but now I see that Angela is in the same boat as me. She’s trying to find the best match for her. I couldn’t help but think at least my neighbors aren’t tracking what vehicles are in my driveway last and for how long. I’ve just been doing my thing, not advertising myself directly or indirectly to anyone. Just minding my business. I’m still open to having a special someone, but I’m not willing to settle or waste my time on anyone for too long if I have that gut feeling. I guess the consequence of that is not the worst thing in the world. I will just continue to water my new fall mums and figure out how I want to display my new mini pumpkins in my yard.

I will also continue to quickly peek in my dating app for any fresh man meat, and then promptly re-pause it when I see the same batch of familiar faces that I’m not interested in starting a conversation with…

Stifle Me Not

Don’t Hesitate Too Long…

By Friday I didn’t hear much from my rainy Tuesday night date. I figured he was done with me. I don’t need fireworks, but a spark is a nice start. He reminded me of an attractive/nice co-worker that I’m not attracted. I enjoyed his company, but wasn’t interested like that. In light of this realization, I turned on my dating app again. I do this a lot you guys, I get bored and go man shopping even though I know it’s not healthy to keep doing it. Well, when I turned it on, I saw a new guy in my small batch of matches. His name was Joe. I was initially attracted to Joe. I haven’t dated a Joe yet. The next thing I know, Joe “liked” my profile.


I wait, a little stunned, because the dating app is whack and the likes don’t usually arrive that fast. I finally go back in and re-review Joe’s profile. Joe looks like someone I want to talk to. His only downside (on the surface) is that he lives an hour away. I decide I’d rather get to know someone I may have a chance with than go on lukewarm dates with nearby guys that don’t have a spark.

I’m an idiot – either there’s a spark and I jump in too fast, or there’s no spark and stay longer than necessary even though I know I want to run the other way.

I respond to Joe, and we have immediate and flowing conversation. We knock out most of the super important value-related conversation topics right away. Joe is about 4 years older than me, but not too old. Joe was hitting allllll of my dating mental checkpoints.

As I’m chatting with Joe, I get a message from the Tuesday night date guy at like 10 pm that night.


I hadn’t heard from the guy in 12 hours. I convinced myself we were going separate ways – not ghosting, but not fully acknowledging the lack of spark either. I made no commitment to this guy, so I didn’t feel guilty for texting a new guy at the same time. Okay, I felt a little bad – made me realize he actually liked me and I just didn’t like him. It sucks to be rejected, but it also sucks to reject someone else, especially if they’re a good person. Good people are hard to come by these days, but just because you can doesn’t mean you should. I couldn’t write him back yet. I had to respond thoughtfully later.

So Joe and I kept texting. Joe started off strong, but then I started to get a little skeptical of Joe. He attempted to cross the flirting zone. I held my boundaries, and of course he tried to act like he was being playful. I flirted to a point, but I called him out and told him I wasn’t looking for a sex-based foundation to a relationship. Men like you until you don’t agree with them or push back, then you’re just inconveniencing them. He ended up agreeing with me. Or so he said. I was skeptical, I was mistrusting. I had been here before, but I figured pushing back in the beginning would either help stop before it started, or establish my ground rules early one.

I went to bed and woke up to more easy conversation with Joe. I kept pushing back if he even tried to cross the flirting zone, and he backed off. Then he wanted to schedule a date with me already. I was not ready to meet this guy. I’d been chatting with him for less than 24 hours. I told him it would be two weeks before I didn’t have my kids and could go out. In the back of my mind, maybe I wouldn’t meet him at all.

By Saturday afternoon, I responded back to Tuesday night date guy. I told him I really enjoyed our time together, but wasn’t feeling all the feelings I wished to have at that point. He immediately thought he did something wrong. I said no. We texted each other good luck. The End.

This is exhausting.

Sigh. Now I have this Joe guy texting me and I’m not sure if I like him. We can’t realistically meet for two weeks, so I’m trying to decide if I should bail now or wait it out. By Saturday evening, the content of his texts mellowed out. I was surprised. I don’t know if he was acknowledging my boundaries or if he got tired. If he stayed like this, I didn’t mind getting to know him more. But when I went to bed on Saturday night, I was still skeptical.

On Sunday morning, I did text him first, and immediately was disappointed in myself. “Let the boy make the first move” was all I could think. Ugh. He texted me back, but he’d slept in. I had already been up with coffee, shower, and getting ready for church. I wasn’t sure if this guy was going to be compatible. I went to church with the family, then breakfast, following by a day with my family and cooking. I didn’t hear from him all day. And similar to the last guy, I thought maybe he fizzled out. Nope, he surfaced again around 6 pm.

I used to get giddy when I started chatting with a new guy. That was about 5 guys ago. Now I’m a jaded doubtful brat about it all. I hate that I’m like this. I was mad that I didn’t take a break from dating when I said I was, but I was also mad that I was even dating at all, and that made me want to rage against my ex-husband, all of those feelings just made me feel like further crap. So I went back into day-by-day mode, and I just simply texted him back.

I texted him back and told him how busy I was all day. He responded and let me know he was actually busy all day too. Here I assumed he was going to laze around on the couch all day and watch football (because I know he’s really into sports). I shouldn’t assume things. Anyhow, we chatted more, but at some point I was just over the conversation. I know I was just tired. I told him goodnight.

I went to bed, but for some reason I went into my dating app real quick. I wanted to look at his photos again on his profile, but his profile was gone. Poof! Gonzo! That only happens if the other person 1) unmatches from you, or 2) he deletes his app altogether. I just assumed it was #1. I went to sleep crying my eyes out, because I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to meet him yet, but apparently I can’t handle rejection myself. I cried and cried and blew my nose and fell asleep, not expecting to hear from him ever again.

I drove to work very sad this morning. Sad overall because nothing is working out in my dating life ever. I surrendered that part of my life a few weeks ago – I said here Jesus take the wheel – and then gave in and tried again for whatever damn reason. Shame on me for trying. It really makes no sense what my motive is. It’s not fun, even if it is for a little bit. I learn from drinking hangovers, but not dating hangovers apparently.

I started my Monday work routine. Around 8:30 AM, there was a text from Joe.

Whaaaat? What is happening? Am I losing my mind?

I responded and we had a decent morning chat. I asked why he deleted me from the dating app. He said he didn’t, he deleted the app altogether because he was sick of it already and was enjoying talking to me. I actually think he was being genuine.

I went to TJ Maxx during my lunch hour. Right as I walked in the door, I saw the perfect Kate Spade purse for me. It had all of the right purse dimensions, style, and pockets for me. I picked it up three times and looked at it closely. I never treat myself to a new purse, even a discounted one at TJ Maxx. I put it down since it was connected to a security tether and planned to revisit it at the end of my shopping trip. After about half an hour, I ventured back to the purse section, fully committed to buying the purse, but it was GONE. Someone else had bought the purse I was instantly so attracted to.

Okay, I’m getting it. Nice one. Is this a joke? Lesson learned.

I thought Joe bailed and I was sad. I lost out on a great purse because I didn’t grab it first and I was sad. Moral of the story: If you shop around too long and don’t swoop up what you want, you’ll miss out.

I’ll give him a chance. He seems to handle all of my questions and mistrust of humans quite well.

And hopefully I’ll see another cute purse to buy in the future.

Stifle Me Not

A Rainy Tuesday Night Date

Last Call guy resurfaced literally within minutes of me posting my last blog post. We continued to chat throughout the weekend. We’d been chatting for over a week, and he still hadn’t asked me out. Granted, I was sick and he had THREE county fairs to go to, to watch the tractor pulls there, so I wasn’t waving my hand for a date to a tractor pull. I have been very perplexed with his country fair fascination, but to each their own fancies I guess.

I kept the texting going with him after he resurfaced because he maintains good conversation, answers all the hard questions, keeps a positive attitude, and is fun, so I was like why not? I don’t have to marry the guy. We kept texting. I did wonder if he’d ever ask me out. I got my answer yesterday.

Yesterday afternoon, while I was at work, he asked if I’d want to get together either that night or later in the week. I said later in the week would be better. Then he realized he had plans later in the week, and we both had our own kids the upcoming weekend. So there you have it, the life of single parents trying to date. Suddenly, on a rainy Tuesday night, I had a date. Weird.

I didn’t feel a desperate need to meet him, but I was curious about who I’d been conversing with the past two weeks. I made arrangements with my kids and met him at a nearby brewery that evening. He was tall, looked good, smelled good, was upbeat and positive, wasn’t awkward, wasn’t a loud-talking aggressive person, and he was fun & engaging. We ordered a flight of beers to taste and some appetizers and had fun with it.

Overall, he was great company. If I’d met him the year before, I’d have been leaving that date as a giddy little school girl. I left smiling and happy to have met him, but I wasn’t bursting with excitement. Should I have been?

I was a little anxious to get home to my kids. I don’t ever leave them to go on a date in the middle of the week. Was that it? The older one is a teenager and old enough to care of the younger one, and I knew they were just doing they’re normal nightly routine. I promised to be home by 9 PM.

When I got home, my kids ambushed me with love. I hung out with them for awhile, and they clung to me a little. Maybe I was anxious because they were missing me? I made a mental note to not do that again, even though that was the first time I’d gone on a weekday date…ever.

I texted him that night and thanked him again for a good time. He responded similarly. And I dozed off. Not overly excited, but not disappointed either.

I realized one thing he said, which was a very small discussion in the whole night, was that he was taking his oldest daughter (she’s 18) to a concert soon. He named a band I’ve never heard of them. He laughed and said that they dress up and do a bit on stage where they make fun of the church, and the Pope. He snickered it off, and then changed the subject. It lingered with me.

It stayed, it simmered, it bothered me. It didn’t make sense compared to all of the other likeable qualities about this guy. And here I just started paying more attention to church and ridding myself of godless men. On the surface, I wouldn’t describe this man as a godless man; however, knowing that one small piece of information was enough to know this won’t be my dream man.

I’ve exchanged a few messages with him today, but my intuition is telling me what I think I already know about my rainy Tuesday night date.

Stifle Me Not

Circling Back to Where I Started

I grew up in The Catholic Church. I went to public school, but my dad made sure my butt was in a pew every Sunday, and I was not allowed to miss CCD. I was baptized as a baby, received my First Reconciliation and Communion in the 2nd grade, and in the 8th grade I made my Confirmation. Even though I didn’t go to Catholic school, I learned to fear nuns during my First Communion. Sister Mary Adolph seemed to be missing a part of her name.

My parents divorced right before my Confirmation, so I wasn’t all that into it. I was mostly a self-absorbed, but polite, teenager. I kept to myself, had my small friend group, and mostly stayed out of trouble. My dad ensured we went to church when we were with him. My mom did not. She would waiver. It depended on who she was dating at the time. Overall, I made it out of high school without making any negative life-altering choices. To this day, I credit my father with being a great male role model, even though I hated being dragged to church. I took it as an opportunity to check out boys as they walked up to communion. Why not?

I moved in with my dad my senior year of high school. I couldn’t handle my mom’s irrational decision-making (see: her new husband’s ridiculous rules, like telling me I had a bedtime at 17 years old). No thank you. I chose my own rational biological father’s strict religious household over my step dad’s ego-driven rule book from hell. My senior year was fun, peaceful, and I didn’t do anything stupid. I left for college, looking forward to an even brighter future.

When I got to college, my roommate all but declared she was an atheist. I think she didn’t say the word out loud out of respect for me. I found a Catholic church to attend right off campus and I went a few times during my freshman year. I’m not sure that I went anymore after that. I was too caught up in myself and school and friends and parties. I always believed in God, but church was reserved for when I went home during the holidays.

I met my ex-husband my senior year of college, and he was confirmed in the Catholic church. However, we didn’t go to church unless he came home with me for the holidays. When he proposed, it was a no-brainer that we’d get married in the Catholic church. Once we bought a house, we became members at the nearby Catholic church. We did our Pre-Cana classes there with a priest who could never remember my first name. Finally, we got married at my childhood church. It was an elaborate Catholic mass followed by one drunken reception.

My ex-husband wanted nothing to do with church if it wasn’t a major holiday or a wedding. Sometimes I could get him to go to mass with me on a Sunday here or there, but not often. I mostly gave up on dragging us to church, especially once the kids were born. I had them baptized when the time came. My daughter went to Catholic grade school, and she even got her First Communion. After getting divorced, I just checked out. I wanted nothing more to do with church. I didn’t have the energy to keep my son quiet at church, and my daughter was just “over” being forced to do anymore church after attending Catholic grade school. I chose to do nothing.

In 2018, my kids and I moved in with my religious dad and stepmom and we almost never went to church with them. We lived there for 1 1/2 years and maybe went to church only a handful of times. To me, it wasn’t a good use of time. It felt like I was going to an old people’s club. I had turned my attention to astrology and online tarot readings in the couple of years leading up to that. It was interesting, gave me comfort, didn’t feel so hard, and I “wasn’t sure if it was real anyway”. I had heard that these things weren’t “approved” of by Christianity, but I never opened the Bible or took any steps to lift my ignorance. Ignorance was bliss. I wanted to be left alone.

Fast forward to my past year of Adventures in Online Dating, and I’m brought back to religion. On almost every dating profile, there’s a line item for religion. You can state your religious preference and usually you can filter by it. I’ve selected everything from Christian to Catholic to Spiritual as my label and/or filter. I’ve become more and more aware of how many people identify as Atheist or Agnostic. And I’ve become more aware of how many men state they are Christian, but when it comes to their daily life, they might as well be living in the pits of hell.

When you tighten up the filters on a dating site, you are left with very few if anyone to choose from. It’s made me realize that I’m really missing something in my life: an actual relationship with God and like-minded people. All I’ve ever known is being forced to go to church, not why it was important. Now that I’m trying NOT to mess up the second half of my life, I’m discovering all of these God-less men. I don’t want that again. Been there, done that.

A few weeks ago, I went back to church. I enrolled my kids in Bible study (they aren’t happy, but they’ll thank me later). I also deleted any astrology or tarot card related links, apps, or YouTube subscriptions I had. And I suddenly have an urge to understand Bible readings.

In the midst of all this, I started chatting with a guy who seemed to check off all of the ideal dating boxes… except he doesn’t have church in his life at all. I always ask a new guy if they believe in God. His answer was “absolutely!” and he left it at that. It’s literally the only thing “wrong” with him (well, that and he seems to have a slight obsession with county fairs). If you know me, I don’t do country fairs, ever. We’ve been texting for a few days now, and he left me hangin’ last night. No more responses after we had a short discussion about what was for dinner. It’s been almost 24 hours. I have a clue that this one is over before it started, like many others. He never asked to talk on the phone and never officially asked me on a date. After the exciting “get to know you” phase fizzled out, we didn’t really click. Text messages felt forced. And he already told me he’d be going to a county fair tractor pull this weekend.

I’m sincerely not broken up about this one. He was a pretty positive individual, so that’s rare these days, but I was already trying to figure out my escape route. I had a feeling that Last Call guy wasn’t going to stick. I think he was my Last Wake Up Call to prioritize my dating standards further. Geez, and I thought I couldn’t get any pickier, but here I am: God first, Godless men get to the back of the line.

I usually have all kinds of anxiety when I decide to make a life change like this, but I feel nothing but calm. Calm and confident actually. I guess I’m circling back to where I started.

Stifle Me Not

The Pattern Continues

Every time I date someone for a couple of weeks and it doesn’t work out, the same pattern unfolds: I get annoyed, I withdraw, I try to act like everything is fine, I focus extra energy on my kids, work, working out, I overthink and write in my journal A LOT, and I can’t sleep well.

Then, as suddenly as it started, it ends. It’s like another cycle is complete, yet again, and I’m free to live my days in my usual ways. I sleep well again and don’t overthink a damn thing.

Not. A. Damn. Thing.

It’s like sidewalk chalk that gets washed away by the rain. No evidence in sight that it was there. It astounds me how indifferent I can feel about a person today, who just a week ago made me smile or laugh or cringe or cry or otherwise invoked any feeling whatsoever.

On the flip side, I can go from completely fine with being single for weeks, or months, with no care in the world to meet a soul. Then something will trigger me to “try” again. It’s like a hidden switch is flipped. And as suddenly as my life returned to the simple routine life I know so well, it flips back to the wild unknown of the dating world.

If you’ve been reading my posts, you know I must be a glutton for punishment since I keep jumping back into the dating pool. Like a freakin’ idiot. I never know what will trigger me to try again. It’s so random.

My latest trigger was my crazy ass neighbor, Angela. Angela moved in next door last year. She is a working single mom of three kids. I’m a working single mom of two kids, and at first I was very interested to meet her, thought maybe we’d have something in common and could hang out.


I can’t stand how loud she talks, how she screams at her ex on the phone in her garage, how she yells at her kids after 9 PM in the back yard, or how her parents come over and help her with every little thing. My daughter and I exchange raised eyebrows each time we hear her voice echoing through the neighborhood, and we’ve given her the nickname “Crazy Angela”. Angela and I are very cordial to one another, but I our vibes don’t match up. She is one neurotic & passionate lady, full of the delightful kind of drama that I automatically repel, like oil and water. We simply aren’t matched to be friends. We casually say hi when we’re outside and go about our own business. No need to drink wine on the deck and share life stories.

I noticed an orange Jeep parked at her house on a few occasions and didn’t think much of it at first. Until one weekend I was home alone and noticed the Jeep never left. Then I saw a guy on her deck one morning when I was out doing yard work. Ooooh, Angela has a new man!

Welp, fast forward a couple months, and I started to see the orange Jeep more often. It seemed to appear when her kids weren’t around, and it disappeared by Sunday evening. Just in time to avoid the kids! I was so proud of Crazy Angela. There she was getting her groove on and living her best life.

After my last debacle of a dating mess, I swore off men and went back to church. I figured I’d better raise my own vibe a bit if I want to attract someone that isn’t a lying, cheating asshole. So, I’m still going to church. And, for the past month I’ve been too busy to think about dating. Work has been busy, the kids started back to school, and it hasn’t seemed like there’s enough hours in a day. Then one night, I got home from work and see the orange Jeep parked next door. And I see Crazy Angela’s kids playing outside. I see Crazy Angela, her new man, and her kids all playing together. He met the kids!

What the heck? Angela and her new man are getting serious?!

I noticed, but that wasn’t my trigger. That same night I took my kids to a store. As we pulled out of the driveway, I see Crazy Angela again with her new man, close together in her garage, as she was leaning up to give him a kiss.

And there it was. My trigger.

I couldn’t stop thinking about how Crazy Angela had a man and I didn’t. Jealousy isn’t good. It’s bad bad bad. I don’t even like Angela, so why is this bothering me? I also didn’t feel good, and that added to my brain chaos and feelings of wanting more. I’m so sick of doing everything on my own. I just want someone to rely on, someone I can call, someone I can have over and hang out with until the sun goes down.

So after having an internal meltdown, I gave myself a pep talk. “Go get yours. Your dating app subscription expires Sept 4th. No one is forcing you to keep it paused right now. “

I flipped the switch. That night I played Candy Crush and fell asleep on the couch. I woke up to a comment on my profile, from a guy I’ve seen on the dating site, and thought about “liking”. I don’t usually make the first move. I let the guy do that. And he did. I didn’t respond that night. I was too tired, and wasn’t sure how stupid I was being by letting Crazy Angela trigger me into reactivating the pits of hell on my phone again.

On Saturday morning I woke up and stared at his comment while I drank coffee. Do I, or don’t I? Every time I jump into the wild unknown, I end up with… see first paragraph of this blog post.

I’m so sick of the dating cycle. So sick of it. Not starting before it’s even begun is the perfect way to break the cycle, right? I couldn’t answer that question. I’m not sure there’s a right or wrong answer.

I responded. And we proceeded to message each other for the next 3 hours. I learned quite a bit in Day 1, and I brought on the hard questions on Day 2. He answered them all quite well. We’ve made it to Day 4 of as regular texting buddies. Usually the next step is meeting. He hasn’t asked me that yet, but I have a feeling it’s coming.

I’ll let ya’ll know if the pattern repeats itself. The spell has to be broken at some point, right? I don’t know the answer to that question either.

Stifle Me Not