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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Love and Other Disasters

I've posted before (partially) in jest about my enjoyment of flatulaughter (laughing and farting at the same time) but I didn't know that other people were out there making hilarious analogies between farting and relationships as well. Today, as I was enjoying a random online netflix experience, I came across this hilarious scene in the film Love and other Disasters staring Brittany Murphy.

I hope you find this clip as awesome as I did:

Thursday, May 28, 2009

True Love

One of my former lovers, Crazy Pot Farmer, is in the hospital with serious head injuries. This is how I found out: His cousin posted a bulletin on myspace asking people to pray for her cousin, Crazy Pot Farmer, who was, at the time, in critical condition (he is now stable although I don't know how extensive his head injuries may be). My sister saw his cousins post and forwarded it to me. So I learned from myspace that someone who I love had a brush with death and may or may not recover. But why do I feel glad to have been informed that Crazy Pot Farmer is in the hospital? How does my knowing his condition help anyone? He hasn't been a part of my life in a long time so what does it really have anything to do with me? Does this even really affect my life? Especially in comparison to the lives of his mother and the rest of his gigantic family who are deeply affected by this on a day to day, moment by moment level?

All of this made me think about relationships and about, well, love. Love is the underlying connector between people. When we talk about love we tend to talk about it in romantic terms or in terms of family. Love, in the context of non-family, non-romantic relationships seems watered down and not the "real thing". People talk about finding their "one true love" as if all the other love in their life was false. Especially when friends and lovers slip out of our lives, the love seems to become null and void, to fade in validity as time goes on. When friendships fade away we talk about the love in past tense: "We used to be friends. I used to love him." 

I would like to argue that we extend and empower our definition of love to include friendships, past and present. Even when there is no longer a practical connection, there is still love. I can love an infinite number of people but I can only keep in contact with a limited few. But that doesn't mean that I love the ones I fell out of touch with any less truly.

If I say, "I still love Crazy Pot Farmer", it sounds as if I am IN LOVE with him in this complicated way and can't move on. But that isn't the case. Crazy Pot Farmer and I had/have an on-again-off-again mutually abrasive friendship where we most of the time enjoyed annoying the crap out of one another. Like many friendships it was casual. We would connect every now and again when life threw us together. 

But the casualness of our relationship doesn't discredit the times we did connect or the lastingness of that connection. Crazy Pot Farmer, while crazy, is also one of my kindred spirits. It is rare to feel as if you really know someone at the core of who they are, to feel as if their soul and your soul walked out of all the things which usually bind us and went swimming together. When this happens craziness and compatibility and lifestyle don't matter because the soul knows nothing of socially acceptable behavior. I was never in love with Crazy Pot Farmer. We were/are friends with occasional benefits but there is still true love there.

The last time I saw him was at his mom's house. I was there visiting and he was there with his girlfriend. We were all swimming. He and I were polite socially but a little aloof (I'm sure he didn't want the girlfriend to know that we used to be lovers) until we bumped into each other in the garage. Nobody else was around and for a moment we exchange a few sentences about the house and a photo on the fridge from the old days. But in that 2.5 minutes we exchanged lifetimes of intimacy and friendship. On the surface our human mouths were moving and words were being exchanged. But underneath all that our souls were doing somersaults on the trampoline. And then we went back out into the real world and our souls went back into hiding. 

Just because Crazy Pot Farmer's soul and my soul are no longer practicing their synchronized swimming routine every week or that our bodies are no longer having sex every now and again doesn't mean that the connection is any less valid. Sex might be in the past tense now but our souls live on. Even if Crazy Pot Farmer's brain doesn't. 

A serious accident like Crazy Pot Farmer's is far more traumatic for the people who are a part of his daily life and who have been a part of his daily life for as long as he has been alive. His mother, for instance, raised him as a single mother from the time she was 15 years old. I am not trying to compare our little soul dance with theirs. I am just trying to say that the love which exists in the nooks and crannies of life isn't any less true than the love people share in broad daylight. 

Monday, May 25, 2009

House. Garage. Tent.

Today I am cleaning out my garage or at least trying to make sense of it. Two years ago I lived uncluttered in a studio apartment. Now I have a garage the size of that very studio full of crap. I have no idea why these things are there, what they are or why they are taking up so much room. A great majority of the stuff is stuff that needs to be recycled in some special way (like paint cans or toxic stuff) and the rest of it is stuff I'm saving for various unannounced art projects. There are also a lot of house parts and car parts and a bike and about 20 suitcases/travel bags.

And then there is my camping stuff. It takes up a whole section of the garage. I haven't been camping in about a year and before that it was more like two years.

I love camping. And I am not getting rid of my stuff!

But, while I am trying to make sense of the garage, I hear the voice of my phantom spouse in my head nagging me about my camping stuff. Am I really ever going to go camping again? I have a house and a dog and I no longer live in beautiful California where the weather is perfect and there are alpine mountains and rivers and beaches. Nor do I live in Utah or Wyoming where there are even more mountains and lakes and vistas and trees and wilderness galore. Its hot here. There are lots of sketchy bugs and snakes and flash floods and other nasty things and anyplace nice is at least 2 hours from my home in the the city. 

So basically, I have a sitcom episode going on in my head where the wife wants the husband to get rid of his precious whatever and he resists and they have a whole freaking episode about whatever it is. In this case its a tent and a sleeping bag and a backpack and a camp stove, etc. 

I think it's interesting that I am the man in this episode. I find myself being the man is most of the sitcoms episodes which play only in my mind.

And I am glad that this is my house, my garage and I can keep all my camping stuff no matter how much room it takes up!

This whole experience should make me simply smile and spend another day thinking how grateful I am that I am single. But, when it comes to camping, one of the reasons I don't camp anymore is lack of company. I have no problem with camping by myself. I'm not scared of the dark or anything like that. But camping, most of often, is a social activity, an opportunity to bond without all the distractions of technology and modern life. It is about simplicity. I could always go with my dog and we could bond an marvel at the immense creativity and engineering brilliance of nature. And if I have a chance to go camping and nobody to do with, that is what I'll do. 

But I do miss camping with friends. I miss ambling conversations and ambitious hikes and lounging in whatever body of water we are next to. I also miss the combined energies and the building enthusiasm, the mutual excitement surrounding a trip.

I am a member of several meetup groups which have camping and hiking outings on their calendars but I can never seem to get the right days off from the rest of my life to go with them. Plus, if I have to choose between going with a group and going by myself, I would rather go solo. I don't want general company. I want good company. Camping is a test of compatibility. 

If I were sitting around with time to go camping saying: "But I can't go camping by myself. Its too hard. I'm too scared. Blah. Blah. Blah." Then I would kick myself in my own Singlution and tell myself to throw that stuff in the car and just start driving until I found a pretty place to pitch my tent.

But I have camped solo. And it was wonderful and it was also boring. After 24 hours, I was tired of my own thoughts and just went to bed early. I guess, when it comes down to it, the thing that I love about camping is not merely being alone in nature but sharing that experience with someone.  

So my mission now is to find someone new to share it with. And to put a priority on finding some time to go camping which is hard when there are so many things to do with the house and in the garden and when I have commitments six days a week. 

Maybe if I go camping I'll end up making friends with other campers. Of course the last time I did that I ended up making friends with a guy who might very well be featured on America's Most Wanted. I didn't know how sketchy he was until after I got home but something had prompted me to leave a day earlier than planned. 

So. Practical ways to go about meeting a camping kindred spirit:

1. Go on day hikes with meetup groups and try to find a friend
2. Just go camping and be open to meeting other (non-criminal) campers
3. Invite friends to go camping even if I'd usually assume that they're too busy
4. Actually make time in my own life to go even if it means going solo for a day because anything is better than pitifully pining away for a night in the pine trees. 

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Kreativ Blogger Award & No Name Welsh Award

Last week, I was honored to receive the Kreativ Blogger Award from both Bobby Boy over at Relationship Digest and Monique at Dazzling Single

And back in March I was honored with a Welsh Award (no idea what the award is actually called) by Welsh Girl at Single and Surviving (just)

So now it is my turn to pass on these awards by listing 7 blogs I love (too hard to choose) for the Kreativ Blogger award and for the no-name Welsh award, I must name 8 blogs which fit the following criteria: These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. 

I also must list, for the Kreativ Blogger award, 7 things I love. Easy!

So. Here we go. 

7 Things I Love: 
  1. My loyal old 1977 car (she is actually a transformer/alien life form but don't tell anyone)
  2. My stubborn, yet loyal, black mutt
  3. The blogging community and the online friendships I've found through writing Singlutionary
  4. My new short hair (I donated my long and tired tresses to Locks of Love)
  5. Swimming holes in the summer and swimming in general anytime of year
  6. Fresh vegetables from the garden
  7. Sun Tea

7 Blogs I Love:
(I am cheating by leaving off folks who have already won this award like BobbyBoy, Monique, Special K, and Lisa and Christina at Onely so that I have more spaces!)

  1. For Singles Community: Single Women Rule
  2. For Singles Experience and Humor: Single and Surviving (Just)
  3. For the Single Mom Experience: Single & Blessed
  4. For College Aged Women: Hooking Up Smart
  5. For Unabashed Talk about Sex: Humpday
  6. For a Curated Collection of Short Posts about Single-ness: First Person Singular
  7. And an inactive blog which inspires me to get out and fearlessly explore the world solo (or with my dog): Sweet Solitude

And, last by not least, the No Name Welsh Friendship Blogging Award Goes to:
  1. FemmeFare: Fun, easy-to-read and easy-to-relate to posts about Amy's single life
  2. Happy Girl: She shares some of the most positive uplifting stuff I've ever read
  3. Poor Widow Me: I'm nothing close to being a widow since I've never even come close to being married but this blog is laugh out loud funny and great life advice for anyone 
  4. Meg's Life: Reading Meg's blog makes me feel less alone as I grow up single
  5. Singletude: Another positive place for singles with great advice across the board
  6. Fart Party: Not a blog exactly, but a comic strip which I can totally relate to
  7. The Spinster Chronicles: Slightly random, always fun posts from a happy spinster
  8. Original Diva: Life coaching for Singles

So that is it. I hope you'll check out these blogs and enjoy them as much as I do!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Most Awkward Single Picture Contest

Forgive me for this post is 100% distraction.

I want to be writing about the Kreative Blogger award which I received from both BobbyBoy at Relationship Digest and Monique at Dazzling Single (THANK YOU BOTH!) but that will have to wait because I am distracted by a website with far less substance than either of theirs. 

On this website (which was sent to me by one of my few single friends) someone posts people's willingly submitted awkward family photos. Funny, right? Definitely. This blog does have a Singlutionary bent because they do not discriminate against singles. One of the better pics is of a "awkward solo photo" of a woman with a tiger in the mall (not funny at all if you are the tiger)

I found two pictures which I thought I would share with you.

Hmmm. Well, I decided to do some research into the photoshopping of the 2nd awkward family photo. So I googled "walrus penis". Now the two videos below (which were the top two that popped up when I googled those two magic words) are not for the faint of heart. Actually, I'm not sure this is even appropriate for me to share on my blog. If you're a pre-marital mormon, you might want to avert your virgin eyes. I'm just saying. 

And so this is what I do when not being the Singlutionary.

BUT WAIT! I have been inspired to start a contest. Send me your most awkward Single picture! You can not be wearing a halloween costume or a costume of any sort. You must be dressed like you at some point in your life when your particular brand of awkwardness was most wonderfly captured on film. The picture must be of you, alone. Its OK if you took the picture of yourself. I will post each picture that I get in and whichever picture gets the most comments (negative or positive) will win. The prize? Something from my random basket of goodies. 

Email pics to singlutionary@gmail.com. If I don't get any pictures, I will be forced to publish several of myself with a dinosaur sticker covering my face. 

And onto those gross/awkward/exciting (for the walrus) videos:

I know. I'll never think of a Walrus the same again either. 

Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday Night with the Singlution

I love being the Singlutionary. So the fact that I don't write as often as I used to isn't because I don't want to: It is because there are other things that I want to do more right now. Tonight is Friday night and I thought I'd sit down for my weekly dose of Singlution. It feels good to check in and unwind with the wonderful world of singleness after almost a week's absence. 

I always find myself in a quandary at the end of the week. I am always so busy pushing through each day trying to get things done that when Friday night arrives, I don't really know what to do with it. I don't want to date and the rest of my social circle does (or is married or in a long term relationship) so I am usually on my own. I've never really minded because by the time Friday rolls around the last thing I want to do is be out in public dealing with people.

Tonight I went to the gym to swim. I've been once before on a Friday night thinking it would be dead but both times there have been plenty of people there. The myth that "Everyone is out having a great time with their significant other on Friday night" is a myth after all. I am not the only sane single swimmer in the universe! I guess my pre-singlutionary self would have thought that I was a bit of a loser for swimming solo on a Friday night. But that thinking is now so weak and lame to me. I love swimming and this week I didn't get to do it at all so if I am going to do something good on a Friday night why WOULDN'T I swim? Why would I torture myself by NOT swimming? 

Swimming on a Friday night is great when I haven't been able to get to it all week but blogging on Friday night seems entirely appropriate and perfect. I think I'll make a habit of spending Friday night communing with my single online community. Honestly, there isn't anything else that I would rather be doing!

So, dear fellow Singlutionaries, what do you choose to do on Friday night? Do you feel like a loser or like a champ when you spend Friday night on your own? I'd love to find out all the diversity of highly anticipated Friday Night activities!

And, before I head to bed, I'd like to offer a belated THANK YOU to Susan Walsh over at Hooking Up Smart for complimenting me with a "best of the singlutionary" style post. If you're in college, female or need a couple boosts of confidence and humor to get you through the week, subscribe to this blog!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Singlutionary Shifts

I've changed since I began this blog. When I started it 5 months ago, I was a Baby Singlutionary. Every little step towards being a Satisfied Single was a huge discovery and I found blogging a cathartic and supportive way to put my revelations into words. But now, being a Satisfied Single is no longer news to me. I'm used to it. When I started this blog, I wanted to go out shouting from the rooftops: "I am SINGLE AND HAPPY!" Now I rarely even think about the fact that I am single and when the little girl I watch says: "Why aren't you married? You're old enough." it doesn't even occur to me to be defensive (although I do want to tell her that it is perfectly OK to be "old enough" and single for her own sake). When I do think about my fantastic life, the fact that I am single and happy is like a big "no duh!". Being single and being happy is no longer news. It just is. 

Because of this transformation, I been struggling to find a new approach to writing Singlutionary which isn't as dependent upon my own personal revelations or on screaming "single is sexy" from the rooftops. 

Am I giving up on the Singlution? Heck NO! Of course not. The community that I have found online has sustained and inspired me and I want to continue to participate in these conversations and in building a single-positive world. But things will change a little bit. My posts will be shorter (hey, no more novels to read, right?) and less frequent (about 1 per week) and I am going to try and use a more conversational and interactive approach. What does that mean to you, dear reader? Comment more, read other people's comments and then comment again! Use this blog to pose your own questions or to vent your own frustrations or to celebrate your own singleness. 

So what does my "I'm single and happy, DUH!" life look like? Here are some changes in my life which came about because of this blog but which are now, bittersweetly, edging out the time I used to spend writing Singlutionary:

  • I recovered from 2008's many personal hurdles (which were so large and so frequent, that I wasn't always sure I would ever get past them)
  • I have been reunited with my active (running, swimming, biking, hiking) dog loving self after a year of almost 100% inactivity and exhaustion
  • I found offline community and friendship right here in my home and spend a great deal of time with my roommates
  • I stopped being intimidated by large homeowner projects and began a garden and will soon replace all three toilets all by myself
  • For the first time in years I feel excited about having a full time job
  • I've resumed long neglected writing projects and am considering applying to an MFA program in creative writing

And so the Singlution moves on. 

Friday, May 8, 2009

Getting Excited About Nothing

I am in bed at 11:30 at night and I am getting very excited about a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  I squirm around and kick my legs in anticipation. 

So while I don't know exactly how I want to live my totally-wide-open-wonderful-single-life, I do know what I want to eat. 

Never before in my life have I felt such freedom to not only do what I want with my life but to do good in the world with my life. My decisions and my dreams are at the moment 100% my own. All the folks for whom I spent years of my youth caring for are either grown up or passed away. I am healthy and the people in my life are well. Now I just have to figure out what to do now that I get to just live by myself. 

Which, lately, has been 100% overwhelming. I get all excited about my peanut butter and jelly sandwich and then I go online and google "peanut butter and jelly sandwich" and I find out that I am truly an idiot. There is so much to be learned about eating PB&Js that I am simply a beginner, an amateur. And if I really want to make something of this whole sandwich thing, I need to study the ins and outs of jelly including the jellies of the world including chutneys which includes reading all novels which contain the letter "J". This does not include an extensive observation and charting of my own toe jam. In regards to the peanut butter component, there is a art and science to peanut butter which requires living for 5 years on an organic peanut farm and riding elephants in the circus. 

If I really want a PB&J, it seems that I must give my entire life to understanding anything and everything about this delicious treat. 

But I don't want to commit my entire life to a sandwich. I just want to enjoy eating it. 

So I go into the kitchen and realize that what I really really want is a peanut butter and honey sandwich. So all that toe jam charting was for naught. 

**The above post is a sampling of the state of my brain and writing capacity these days. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Singlutionary Short Circuits

I have about five drafts that I can't seem to finish. I write this blog as I discover things myself and as I learn how to live a more Singlutionary life. These days I have many thoughts but they're all in a jumble and I can't seem to come to any conclusions. So be prepared for an onslaught of posts just as soon as my brain works out this crazy equation. 

In the meantime, here is my only clear thought:

I finally quit match.com! And I'm pretty certain that I do not want a boyfriend right now. Actually, I am absolutely certain that I do not want to date and I do not want to be in a relationship. I've got too many things to do with my life before I want to get involved in someone else's. 

But in the past few months I've been getting back to my naturally active self and abandoning the sleep-all-day-in-despair-and-exhaustion self which ruled the roost for pretty much all of 2008. I've been doing lots of things that I already love and I bet that, if I wanted to date, I would be able to find potential quality friends and lovers all over the place. All I would have to do is to turn my head to the side and look around and smile at people. Right now, I am still in survival mode a little bit, getting in and getting out and not making eye contact with anyone. I am still conserving my energies, keeping it to myself, unwilling to share. I am still charging up my batteries after letting them be sucked dry. 

But when I do dare to look around I see interesting people. And surprisingly, not all of them are wearing giant wedding bands. And even more surprisingly, none of them look like freeloading freaks.

Here are some places that I joyfully frequent and where I believe I am far more likely to make a love connection (plutonic or romantic) than on the ole computer:

The hike and bike trail on the lake
The 2 mile secret loop where single walkers with dogs abound
The gym
My mailbox
The local swimming hole
The new organicy food grocery store that just went in down the street
The organic garden store
Dog training class

In the past, I never thought it was possible to strike up a conversation or meet someone in say, the grocery store. It seemed too forced especially when my first question was: "Are you single" and my next question was: "Do you want to marry me?" Of course I'm not going to be able to make casual conversation with all that pressure looming over me. 

When I was in the place of single-as-desperate instead of single-and-satisfied, it was really hard to get to know people in random places. But now that I am learning to be who I am and enjoy my life I wouldn't be afraid to talk to someone in dog class or on the hike and bike trail because I would just be chatting. I'm not looking for anything, just enjoying my life. And if the other person is like: "You freak. Ew. Quit talking to me. You stink." I would be like: "Hey, I actually do stink a little bit but its not like your pits are all pristine in this weather either." And I would go on my merry way.