...random thoughts, opinions and secrets on children... aging... cooking... crafts... nature...divorce...second chances...
and whatever else I deem curious...
~Copyright 2017. Hootie~

Saturday, December 09, 2017

A Successful Online Relationship...

I finally met a guy online.

It was pretty much love at first site!

As with any relationship, there are things we will have to work through.  For one, he's younger than I am, and all ready retired.  He also has a lot of facial hair, which I like,  but he looks to be a brown nose.  Gosh, I hope he is!!!

He's currently living in Rochester, MN...with his mom.

His name is Tobias Edward Sveinn, but everyone calls him Toby.

I'll be meeting him for the first time in Indy.

He's coming to live with me, and I really can't wait.

Stay tuned for more details.

~Lisa Kroll
     love warrior, optimist, adventurer

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Be Kind...and New/Old Traditions

I am thankful, and grateful for my family.  This next week starts a time of the year with which in my recent past, I have struggled. 

As time goes on, I am feeling more excited about the holidays! Still, I am aware that there are triggers in my life.  Just 11 years ago on the 22nd, my mom passed away from Brain Cancer; it was also a day on which I was celebrating my 20th wedding anniversary. Daily I think of my mom with joy in my heart, but I was older when she passed, unlike my sister who was still a young adult.  My sister was just 26 years old, a few years married and had a one-year old when our mom died. My sister and I talk, and I know she misses our mom a lot.  I think about my sister's three children, and all they have missed by their grandma not being around.  I do find myself recalling family traditions from my growing up days and I try to share those with my nieces and nephew, as well as with my sister, and my own children.  Two years ago it was impossible for me to even think about the holidays.  I know that wasn't fair to my own two kids, but emotionally it was just too much for me to handle.  As my children grow into young adults, and as I am becoming more distant from my past history, I am finding that I am able to re-invent how WE celebrate the holidays.  We are creating our own new, family traditions.  We blend traditions from my youth with traditions from my children's life.  I am able to choose all those traditions which I have enjoyed.  Thanksgiving is now MY holiday.  I have claimed it back as a way to help me enjoy life.  My sister and her family will come to my house to help continue building our new traditions.  I will be in my element as I work in my kitchen to create our feast.  We will dine on those traditional recipes that were ours, along with those traditional recipes that my children grew up on.  We will play games and laugh.  We will play music and dance.  We will take pictures and veg-out.  We will go to my downtown and be witness to my community coming together to kick-off the Christmas season with the official Canopy  of Lights lighting.  We will get out my Christmas tree and decorate my house.  Just a few years ago I couldn't do this by myself.  The life lesson I've taken away here...don't do it alone.  Count on others in your life!  

Another life lesson, is that we need to be kind to others.  We need to be kind not just to those in our community in need, but to our friends, our family, and to ourselves.  Heaven knows the holidays are hard, period.  Commercialism has made society feel we all need to have the perfect illusion of time spent together: thank you, NOT, Hallmark.  But, the holidays are extra hard when one has gone through loss, and everyone knows someone who is dealing with, or has survived loss.  One may know loss as death of a loved one or beloved pet, rough spots in a relationship, or divorce. Some people may be dealing with impending loss of life, financial stability, or family members struggling with addiction. When my mom died, it was the day before Thanksgiving in 2006.  Thanksgiving and Christmas were surreal that year. Dealing with loss can manifest as depression. Stress compounds feelings, too. As the year is drawing to an end, there are deadlines to complete, mid-year graduations making some wonder what they should be doing next in their life, or stresses in the workplace.  Please reach out to your friends and neighbors.  Just send hello, or hey, how are you doing?  My personal experience has been to hunker down in my house and to wallow in my own sadness instead of reaching out to others.  There were times when it was hard to adult, especially when others seem to have it all together and be so happy.  Illusion is a powerful weapon. I am happier now, but I do still watch those around me and judge myself against the illusions I see.   

Be kind.  

Don't feel you have to do something just because it's always been done a certain way.  There is joy and power in re-inventing happiness.  

Happy Thanksgiving my friends!  

~Lisa Kroll
     love warrior, sister, friend, etc. 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Be You

Found on the curb at Barnes and Nobel
It was written on a stone.  Be You.

Self discovery.  

It is interesting to have a chance in life to do this.  I grew up thinking one needed to be married by a certain age, and was young by today's standards when I was wed at the age of 22.  Today's young adults take time to discover what makes up their being.  Most people my age have someone else they need to think about: a spouse, a significant other, children, parents.  I am free from those responsibilities.  My parents and grandparents are deceased.  I have children, but they are young adults and I can truly only offer my words of wisdom, should they even ask me for advice. I am living in a period of my life where I am allowed to discover, or re-discover, what it is that makes up me.  I get to just be my self, all alone, making discoveries. 

So what makes me, me?  

While volunteering to answer phones last month at the local National Public Radio station's fund drive, I took a character strengths inventory test along side the other volunteers.  The Producer of On-Air Fundraising was our volunteer contact for the night and she thought it would be interesting to see our top and bottom five strengths. She wanted to compare all of us and see if, because we all listen and volunteered, we had the same characteristics.  Here's a link to the test:  VIA Character Strength survey.  One hundred and twenty questions later, and our top 24 character strengths were gathered. 

After taking the questionnaire, I felt slightly less encouraged about myself.  It wasn't because of my top five strengths.  It was because at the very bottom of my list was LOVE.  That's right, my number 24 of 24.    

Love...defined as: valuing close relations with others, in particular those in which sharing and caring are reciprocated, being close to people.  

I know I have come far over the past few years, but apparently my subconscious, emotional state is still damaged. I wonder if I'll ever truly heal and that alarms me.  Am I capable of loving others?  What if I am unable?  I do feel I'm becoming more skeptical of relationships.  I look at others, and I think to myself, are they living a lie too?  Maybe all relationships are based on lies and I don't play that game.  What is really going on in their story? Then I remind myself that it's possible they have never experienced the depth of deception, or emotional abuse that made up my relationship.  I wonder, what does real love feel like? What is it like to share everything with someone and have them love you because of that?  It's funny, I feel there are souls in this world who could love me, but also wonder, if they really knew me, would they stay or would they go too?  Rational Me thinks, it doesn't matter, because they aren't with you.  I feel like I'm missing that little something that would make someone else want to stay by my side, no matter what. I am someone who doesn't have a soul mate in this universe. I guard my heart from anyone else who might want to get too close; even my friends.  I can't handle being hurt again.  For my armor to be pieced, it will take an arrow made of Graphene.  Again, Rational Me, knows that I will likely outlive my two cats, so one day I will feel heart ache again.  I am comforted in knowing that my cats won't leave or discard me. Just like my sister and my kids, they love me unconditionally.  Blood links and pets, I have discovered...come back to me.    

Toulouse and Berlioz

Recently, I have been feeling I need a dog back in my life.  I do miss W because he made me get out and I felt I was with someone even though he was a dog. We would do things...like just walk in the woods, or run errands.  I can do things by myself, but it's lonely at times, and my kitties can't go out with me. My recent very late hours at school have made me realize maybe I'm not quite ready for a dog.  I rationalize that if I have a dog, I will have to go home. I have been approved by  a rescue, and should the perfect-for-me-dog need a home...I am open to that addition in my life.  Until then, I am happy to have my two other boys.  I often find them both on my bed acting like I'm disturbing their secret slumber and grooming spot.  Good thing I don't mind cat hairs!  I think these two would love a doggie playmate to chase around the house.  I know that I can love, and I do have love to share.  I am blessed to have a house where animals can be nurtured.  I am an animal lover.  That is part of whom I am.  Another discovery of being me.

Going back to my character strengths, my top five are: Judgment, Social Intelligence, Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence, Fairness, and Honesty.

1. Judgment:  The ability to think things through and examine them from all sides.  Not jumping to conclusions, weighing all evidence fairly and being able to change ones mind in light of evidence.

     This was my number one.  I am compassionate. I do realize there is more to a person or situation than what may meet the eye.

2. Social Intelligence:  Being aware of the motives/feelings of others and oneself.  Knowing what to do to fit into different social situations, knowing what makes other people tick.

     I have spent my lifetime figuring out how to make everyone happy all at the same time, so I wasn't shocked to see this so high up on my list.  I have only recently been practicing mindfulness to learn to be aware of my own feelings, too.  

3. Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence:  Noticing and appreciating beauty, excellence and or skilled performance in various domains of life, from nature to art to mathematics to science to everyday experiences.

     Spot on.

4. Fairness:  Treating all people the same according to notions of fairness and justice not letting feelings bias decisions about others; giving everyone a fair chance.

     I am a people person, and a teacher.

5. Honesty: Speaking the truth but more broadly presenting oneself in a genuine way and acting in a sincere way, being without pretense; taking responsibility for one's feelings and actions.

     Trying to just be me.

I am not sure how the results ended for the group of volunteers.  Honestly, I was embarrassed that LOVE was my number 24.  I was so shocked that I couldn't think about anything else at that moment.  I was sure this group of people, was looking at me and thinking, well of course she isn't good at love.  She's divorced.  Reflecting today, I wonder what was their number 24?  Maybe they were just as upset with what landed in their last position on the character graph.  I also know that it didn't matter who I was with, the emotions I felt would have been the same...embarrassment, feeling my results said I can't love.  

With fresh eyes and and opened mind, here's what I'm taking away from that survey: 

I have good judgment, am socially intelligent, appreciate beauty and excellence, and I am fair and honest.  I also work well as a member of a team(work), and am kind to others.  I show prudence in the choices I make, and take time to express gratitude for what I have. I persevere until jobs are completed, and I enjoy the success of doing so. I am filled with hope and believe a good future will happen by working to achieve it. Humor and laughter cause joy and I like seeing all around me smile.  My love of learning is related to my high level of curiosity about how things work in life.  I am a leader, but might show my leadership skills in helping others be organized. I go all in when I do things and am filled with zest.  I do live life as if it's an adventure.  I am humble and my perspective allow me offer sound advice based on my experiences. My self-regulation opens my emotions to be in the moment. I use my creativity to be a problem solver. My spirituality is based on knowing the Universe is a kind place and we all have our spot in it.  

I suppose I am not surprised that Forgiveness and Bravery are just above Love on my list.  I am still working on forgiving myself for how things played out in my marriage.  I am also still working on being brave enough to speak my mind all the time.  My habit to take the fall and let others have their desires, is hard to break.  I do know that in order for me to love, I must trust. In order to trust, I need to forgive myself, and feel brave enough to speak my mind. I need to know that I will be loved because of my thoughts and what makes me - me, and not because I didn't rock the boat.  

The night I found that rock, I came inside Barnes and Nobel.  I had my tea and started blogging.  I had intended to look up what the protocol was for finding a painted rock and re-hiding it, but when I went back outside at the end of the night, the rock was gone.  Had it only meant to be an inspiration?  

I am left with this wonder, Can I care enough about myself, to cut myself some slack and just finally be me? 

I can.  
I just need more time.   

~Lisa Kroll
     student of life

Sunday, October 08, 2017

The Universe...and The Law of Attraction

The Law of Attraction is the ability to attract into our lives, whatever we are focusing on. Simply put, whatever you are thinking about, is drawn towards you.  I have believed this to be true for a lot longer than I realized.  I also believe that our Universe works in mysterious ways.  I have always felt that positivity is at the root of my soul, and have been told I am an optimistic person.  I would agree, I am.  I believe that when you do good things in the world, good will come to you.  Some might call this Karma.

I have been struggling with my religious beliefs since February.  I am still currently on sabbatical from the Catholic church.  I am a spiritual being, but haven't been able to practice organized religion since listening to a sermon where I felt unwelcome because I am divorced.*  The Universe gives us what we need though, when we need it.

My city has a talented community of artisans.  Supporting the arts and our artisans, on the first Friday of each month, downtown Bloomington hosts a Gallery Walk.  Nine galleries, all within walking distance of one another, offer appetizers and beverages of some type, and stay open from 5-8 pm. I haven't attended as frequently as I'd like, but this past Friday, one of my artist friends had a painting that would be on display.  I made plans to be at the gallery displaying her work when I knew she would also be there.  We snacked and admired all the paintings, pottery, and sculptures before heading to another one of our favorite galleries.  As we walked down the sidewalk, I saw a familiar lady across the street holding open a door, and beckoning us to enter her building.  I yelled hello across to her, but said we were on our way to a gallery.  My friend started across the street and said, 'Come on, let's go in! It's beautiful there. I've been inside for watercolor society meetings."  I followed, then introduced her to my former mother-in-law.  "Cassidy," I said "This is Kate, my next door neighbor." I knew Cassidy had no idea that we were heading into a church service.  Part of the healing process that I've needed to do is to separate my former MIL from her son. I am working on allowing our relationship to be mended.  Earlier in the week I had been dining with Kate, and she had mentioned the Friday Vespers that would be happening at church.  See, this used to be my church for over 15 years.  I all ready knew it is beautiful inside.  In fact, there is so much that I know about it.  If only I had a chance to tell my friend, and pull her back before she started across the street. I wasn't sure I could emotionally handle this building in my life yet. But, the Universe gives us what we need, when we need it.   

We were inside and now heading towards the sanctuary where live jazz was enticing all within earshot to come and listen.  I was greeted by familiar faces with hugs, and words of joy, "I'm so happy to see you."  The words and hugs were heartfelt.

We picked a pew in the back of the church and sat down to listen to the music and singing.  I thought maybe we could find a moment to sneak out before the service got started.  My MIL, whose job as greeter was now over, entered the sanctuary and made her way back to sit next to me.  This was now going to be more of a challenge to leave.  I could walk though, if this became too emotionally difficult.  When it came time for us to sing the first song, my MIL reached out to stead her side of my bulletin because I had offered and was sharing it with her.  Cassidy chucked under her breathe.  We hadn't talked about leaving early, but I suspect she had been having the same thoughts.  We were now all in. We were meant to absorb what the universe was offering.  We needed to be in this moment.  

This service was called a Vesper Service, which means a sunset prayer.  As the service went on, I felt it was more meditative in nature.  It offered soft words that were meant to calm the chaos of life.  The minister, whom I have known for what seems like forever, spoke in her positive tone. She and I are kindred spirits, and I felt the connection once again.  I was being drawn into her positivity.  The service was about balance and letting go of those things in our life we need to let go.  After singing psalms, and poems of peace, there was a period when communion and prayer time was offered. This is a church that accepts all, and they mean all. No one is turned away. At this service, the church had several stations set up as alternative ways to be one with God. You could choose communion, you could lay your hands on a large globe and say a prayer for someone else in the world, you could go to the back narthex and draw a small picture, you could choose to light a candle as an offering, or you could write something on a piece of paper to let go.  The paper could be placed into a bowl of water, stirred, and then melt away...releasing you from whatever you were holding on to.  Cassidy looked at me at this point.  She said, "Did you need to be here?" I felt her question was rhetorical, but responded any way, "I think I did."  She asked if I wanted to participate in any of the stations.  I said yes, and asked if she minded because this had not been part of how I thought we'd spend the evening.  She gave me a smile of friendship and said she was happy to stay.  It was in that moment that we both realized that the Universe was actually working some kind of magic.  I decided I needed communion, because I needed to feel nourished by God, and I needed to release, by writing on one of those small bits of paper.

First Christian Church
Bloomington, Indiana
I went forward and the minister's smile radiated down on me, "Lisa," she said, "You are loved, and there isn't anything you can do about it."  I told her I might cry.  The lump in my throat was not from the gluten free bread and wine I ate.  I went towards the back of the sanctuary and I wrote, I am letting go of ----- There is joy in my heart and love, and peace, and happiness, and I am grateful.  I choose love, understanding and peace.  As I swirled the paper around inside the glass bowl, I saw it melt away as the ink from my words floated to the surface.  My words were mixing now with the words from others.  I was released. I looked up at the front of the church.  The tree of life stained glass window still looks as beautiful as I recall. I could hear the spirit of my father-in-law's voice and feel the pressure of his hand on my right shoulder. So many times he had signaled me to go forward when it was time to serve communion to the congregation. I recalled my own children being baptized in the waters of the baptistery just beneath the tree of life years ago. Their baptism was by immersion.  My children were old enough to make the commitment and know what it meant. I taught vacation bible school in this building and did children's ministry every Sunday for the first five years I was back in town. I have been a very active person in this place.  So much personal history is in these walls.  

I believe the Universe was speaking to me tonight.  I have given so much and now it was time for me to receive back.  I need to be able to heal completely so I can move forward in my life. Thank you Universe.  Maybe my sabbatical from church is nearing it's end?

My soul was shattered and my spirit was broken. 
Life is a forever forward moving process.  
I am open Universe, 
please continue giving me what I need, 
when I am ready for it.  

~Lisa Kroll 
     eating, praying and loving

*my feelings.  The church didn't say, Lisa you are not welcomed.  I just don't like being made to feel like a sinner for being human and living life while always trying to do the right thing.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Ed in Indy... September 8, 2017

"Do I love you? Do I hate you?  I can't make up my mind. 
So, let's free fall and see where we land."
     ~Ed Sheeran, Where We Land,  
                 from the album 5 (2009)

Ed, I love you!  

I don’t have the words to describe how wonderful it was to hear Ed Sheeran live for a second time.  

THIS time I was prepared.  

I knew his tour playlist. Well, I knew the general playlist, and I do know all the words to all his songs, so I was good to go.   

In March, I had an opportunity to buy tickets to his current Divide Tour,  and he would be playing in Indianapolis.  I was lucky enough to purchase two tickets on the floor. Row 19…hmm, for my first concert of his I was in row 10…clearly, I was feeling snobbish.  What was I thinking!? This time, I would be taking my sister! I would still be close to Ed.  His energy, and positivity would reach me.  

I had foolishly hoped to buy four decent seats at Ticketmaster prices, but I wasn’t willing to settle for seats that would give us “just the experience”.  I experienced that once when I saw Genesis in concert.  I’m not even sure they were really in the same arena we were in that night.  So, go big or go home.  I went big.  

My sister had a birthday in June, and guess what I gave her?  She needed to be my date for this concert.  She needed to be with me because, years before she had been the one who introduced me to Ed. "You should listen to this guy" she said. "He has this song called Lego Houses.  I really think you'd like it." I have to admit, I was too busy to take a even a few minutes to listen to her suggestion.  I was deep into student teaching at that time.  

Six months later however, a guy I was dating played some Ed for me.  This guy had a guitar and he actually PLAYED, and sang to me.  I was smitten!  Not by that guy, but by the music.  The words and melody captured my heart.  I HAD to find out about this young artist.  It was mid-June, and my divorce had just been finalized.  I was suddenly very free, and I was obsessed with a new artist.  Two CD's purchased, my detective hat askew, and I was finding out all I could about the wordsmith who created the poetic songs I was now in love with.  I talked to my sister on the phone one day, “Hey, there’s this singer I'm in love with, and I don't mean like I’m in love with him, he's like 24 and that’s gross, I'm in love with his personality, with his drive, with his word choice, and rhythm, and language. His music is intoxicating! Have you heard of Ed Sheeran?" I'm sure if she was with me face-to-face, her look would have been one of her shaking her head at me while she had that 'I-told-you-so' look in her eyes. I suspect she was rolling her eyes at the heavens as she patiently responded, "Yes (long pause) I told you about him months ago.  He has this song called Lego Houses, remember?" As a Lego lover, I did kind of remember that song name now that she mentioned it.  As a Harry Potter fan though, I also recalled my sister telling me this singer looked a bit like Ron Wesley in the Harry Potter movies. Which I suppose he does.  lol It’s funny how and what our brains choose to recall, and when.  

Well, in my obsession, I realized that just a few weeks later (7-7-15), Ed Sheeran would be playing in Indy, just over an hour from my house.  I asked the guy I was dating if he wanted to go see Ed. He was a fan, too.  He hemmed and hawed, but was noncommittal.  I was all in.  If I was going to this concert, I was going to spend a little money and REALLY see this guy.  I found two tickets close to the stage.  They cost $400, a piece.  This guy I was dating could afford it, but he had excuses.  I wasn't asking him to buy my ticket, just go to the concert with me.  He wouldn't pull the trigger.  I gave him an ultimatum...let me know by a certain time, or I’d buy myself a ticket and go alone.  He didn't respond, so I bought myself a ticket.  Go big, or go home.  I went big.  

Two weeks later, I drove myself north to attend my first rock concert, alone.  My seat was in row 10, dead center.  It was A! MAZE! ING!  I was in awe of the young performer before me.  One guy on stage, making magic happen.  He worked his loop pedal and recreated the tracks I had purchased.  I couldn’t get enough.  

As many others, I became an instant Sheerio.  That’s what Ed Sheeran fans are called.  After the concert, I made sure my music library included all the songs he has recorded.  NOT every song he’s ever written, this guy is a prolific writer.  I just want to own everything he’s recorded.  I check periodically to make sure my library is still up to date.  I believe in buying CD's to support artists, so what ever I can get a disc, I do.  Ed likes to keep things simple and digital.  

I follow Ed on Twitter, and Instagram to see what is happening in his life.  I know he doesn’t manage his official sites, but still, I love feeling in the loop.  I can’t imagine having my life in the limelight as celebrities do.  Yet, I willingly follow him, always wanting to know what he's creating.  There are a lot of wanna bees in the world, but Ed Sheeran is the real deal.  I knew from the moment I truly listened to him that his talent puts him in the same league as Michael Jackson, Elton John, Prince, George Michael, etc.  He IS a big deal.  I hope he’s around for a long, long time.  I love his positive energy and I think the world needs what he has to offer.  

So, in March…I had an opportunity to buy tickets.  This time I wanted my sister to share this with me.  I persevered, and found two seats on the floor, pretty close to the stage.  I pulled the trigger.  Sold.  Next, we just had to wait for September 8 to arrive.  

The next six months allowed me to do even more research.  What would the playlist be?  Who would be the opener?  Did I really own all Ed’s music?  Did I know all the words to his songs?  I’m pretty sure that if Berlioz and Toulouse could talk, they’d be able to sing along with Ed, too!
When September 8th arrived, I couldn’t believe it.  The day didn’t feel real to me.  I took my first personal day, and left school at noon to head north to Indianapolis.  My sister arrived a few hours later.  We haven’t spent any real alone, sister time together, since I turned 50 back in 2014.  We have stolen away a few hours here and there, but just a few hours.  We needed this weekend.  We walked to the venue, stopping for a drink and an appetizer.  Then it was time to go see Ed!  

When I saw Ed the first time, I knew Rixton was opening for him. I educated myself with their most popular songs.  This time I hadn’t been paying attention to opener James Blunt.  I found out that Ed and he were friends and not surprising, Ed has written several of his songs, too.  I was surprised when Joshua Radin came on stage.  I am not familiar with him, but he was a nice opener for the evening.  Apparently Blunt was sick.  I didn’t really care.  Sorry for the lack of love James, but I was there to sing with Ed.  

I apologized to the people sitting next to me.  “Im sorry.  I will be singing every single song tonight, and I’m not a professional singer!”  
They laughed.  “That’s fine.” They approved.  It mattered not, I was going to sing even if they didn’t.  My sister had been warned months ago.    

In my research, I found a YouTube of Ed singing a song that he’d be singing live…Feeling Good, by Nina Simone.  Last spring I took a history of Jazz class, and this song and artist fell right into that genre. How cool!  Nina started her recording career in 1958.  She was the daughter of a female Methodist minister.  She was also a civil rights activist as well as recording artist.  I was excited to be able to hear Ed singing her song live.  I knew he’d be fusing it with his song I See Fire.  He was commissioned to write that song for the movie The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013). The songs are opposite in mood and message, but melodically they work well together.  I was ecstatic to have my new phone fully charged, and with loads of memory, in my hand.  To see Ed singing Feeling Good/I See Fire in Indy on September 8, click here.  

With my Anna! 
I took photo after photo of Ed, and longed to have my big camera with us.  In the end, it didn’t really matter.  I was in the moment; going big.  I was with my sister, singing with Ed, and having the time of my life.  

I was feeling good.  

The next time I see Ed, I'd like to hear him singing unplugged, and in a small, intimate venue.  I want to hear him sing all his early songs I love from the album 5...Sunburn, So, Be Like You, Firefly, The City, Let It Out, Homeless, Where We Land, Wake Me Up...Oh my, I want it all.  I want to go big!

~Lisa Kroll
     hopelessly romantic, music junkie, Sheerio

Cell phone concert pictures: 

September 8, 2017
Bankers Life Field House
Indianapolis, IN 

Ed Sheeran

From row 19

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Continuing the Journey...

Two years, two months and 13 days have passed 
since my Independence Day.  
I put the dates into a 'days past' generator to find that out.  
I am not keeping track.   

I would not go back to my past life.  
I was so limited and held back.  

I intimidated the person whom I thought was my partner because he couldn't handle my glow.  

I am healing, and learning to love again.  
I am re-evaluating what it is that I have to offer the world.  
I am not dating, nor do I have someone in the 'picture'.  
I haven't loved myself for a very long time.
In order to be able to love someone else, I must first love myself.  

No more accepting life as status quo.   

I am a product of the perfect combination of genes 
which my parents brought together.  

I was created, I did not create myself.  

My complexion, my eyes, my smile...all gifts from my parents.  
I don't see my parents in myself, 
but I feel them in my heart.  
My naturally curly hair, thank you dad, 
and has a mind of it's own.  
I love to let it be free.  
I like that my hair may look different each time I look in the mirror.  
I makes me unpredictable. 

I have joy in my heart, and it oozes out. 
I am truly grateful for all I have.  

I choose positivity in life.  

I enjoy making a difference, even if it's just 
for one person, 
one animal, 
or our beautiful Earth.  
I do love the world around me, and I love others.  

I like to hear what someone young, or old has to say.  

I am a listener, a thinker and a problem solver.  
I look at others and wonder, what is their life story?  
I look at things and think, is there a better way to do that?  

I am a born teacher.  

I have patience.  

I am curious.  
I want to know how and why things work as they do.  

I marvel at simplicity and complexity. 

I am generous with my time and talents.  

I like taking care of others.  

I am maternal.  

I am creative.  
Art and music drive my spirit.  
Music is in every fiber of my being, and it colors my world.    

I thrive when I can share my passions.  

I feel the Universe tingles, 
and that makes my soul happy.  

~Lisa Kroll
    spreading Love, Understanding, Positivity

Go listen to The Power of Peace CD by the Isley Brothers and produced by Carlos Santana.  
released on July 28, 2017

Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Dating Game...Part 3

I decided to conduct some research this summer.  Using the rubric I created (see  What I'm looking for in my partner ), I jumped into the pool.  

Three stories....

Plenty of Fish: POF.com

Bachelor Number Three:  Attractive man, just a year older than me started up a conversation on POF, it was Monday just after dinner. ✔- older.  Unlike Match, one can talk for free on POF.  Why pay when you can get something for free, right?  Well, this guy seemed like someone I would like to get to know better.  His pictures were nice.  His personality, via texting, seemed pleasant.  We text back and forth for several hours.  It was suggested that we meet and have a glass of wine.  I can't recall who suggested it.  He tells me that I can come over to his place, but he has rules...I cannot go inside his house.  What? I think, or "we can meet out someplace?" is my response.  Side note: It's 10:30 at night.  He asks where we can meet so late.  I found myself literally laughing out loud. I hadn't intended to suggest we should meet that night, I had been thinking we should meet another night.  We both chuckle over this slip up, and decide to meet the next night at a local place at 7pm.  

At noon the next day, he sent me a message...he asked if we could chat another night online before we meet face-to-face.  What? What???  Yes, of course. He told me he'd feel more at ease if we could chat via online one more time before meeting. Okay, what ever. I was thinking he's insecure, but will discover later on what I suspect really happened.  That night I can see he's on POF but he's not responding to me, I figure he must have a better catch happening.  No worries.  I'm fine not connecting with him.  Things happen the way they are supposed to happen.  I finally receive a message on POF from him about 20 minutes after we were to meet. I had been busy with a project, so I finished what I was doing and then reply.  Again, the chit chat happens easily.  He says he wasn't sure why he'd been so cautious and canceled meeting me.  He asks if we could we meet now, and chat in person for an hour.  He'd even bring a bottle of wine.  Hmm.  I had to decide, did I trust him enough?  The night before in our talking, he had told me his first name, what he did and where he worked.  I had put on my detective hat earlier in the day.  Bingo!  In my searching, he came right up.  He was easy to find, very public, and seemed to be representing himself accurately.  I asked him if he was bothered by the fact that I live right next door to my former MIL.  I hadn't told him this information until now.  That was fine he assured me...unless she had a 22.  I told him she loved me and was a sweetheart, both true statements.  He said his rules were he'd stay outside and only spend an hour.  He seemed to have lot of rules he followed, and I do have a wonderful porch for hanging out. I told him I needed his full name, address and phone number because I'd be giving this information to my sister.  Then, I added that all my neighbors look out for me...again two true statements.  He was fine with all I threw at him.  What the heck, I thought.  I'm 53 years old.  I need to have a little trust.  We trade cell numbers, etc. 

He came over and I thought, hmm, he's cute in person.  I wouldn't mind if he tried to kiss me tonight.  We shared a bottle of wine.  The one hour we had allotted flew past and grew into several.  It was close to 2 a.m. when he went home, and he did kiss me.  It was nice.  When he had arrived on my doorstep, he was visibly nervous.  He rambled on about loving birds.  As a long time bird lover, I could tell he was really a fan, too.  We had this in common.  In our conversations, little things about our era came up...he didn't have to explain, nor did I.  We understood what the other was talking about, no generation gap.  I liked this about him. I asked how he came to be in town and all about his family and his growing up.  I heard about his past girlfriends and how he's a pamper-er.  He also confides in me that he's been the one to end all his relationships, but he has remained friends with four of the last five girls he's dated.  Interesting.  RED FLAG: noted 🚩 I rationalized our conversation details, he seemed to be trying to impress me. This was our first time to meet in person.  I said little about my past. In fact, I asked questions, but barely shared. He liked to talk, but didn't ask many questions. I was happy to be getting to know someone new.  I was determined to not talk about my ex on my first date because, I am moving on.  We talked a little about dating now and Bachelor Number Three told me I should check out what women on dating sites look like, so I could see what I'm up against.  Eyebrows raised, I inquired, and he told me many show themselves in bikinis. I must admit, I all ready feel I don't have a chance in this pond. This new information didn't help my self esteem. He went on to say some even have their daughters in the pictures with both wearing bikinis.  He said this opens up dialogue for dirty conversation with those ladies. I'm sure this should have been a RED FLAG 🚩, but I am still naive in this dating game. 

Over the next day, he and I send pleasant texts back and forth.  Just a little flirty, but nice, and not at all like Bachelor Number Two.  He wants to take me out for dinner on Friday to my choice of restaurant.  I mentioned I like to dine at local places and not chain restaurants.  "Perfect," he said, as the 'local' I could show him new places, and, if I wear a dress with plenty of cleavage, I can order a bottle of wine from the 'top shelf'.  RED FLAG 🚩: noted.  Maybe he's just being flirtatious I tell myself, at least I hoped. 

By Friday night he was referring to me as babe a lot, in his messages. I definitely note this as we had just started talking Monday.  I like terms of endearment...when they are heartfelt.  He sent me a message, he was running a little late, could I have a bottle of wine ready? He suggests we could have a drink to take the edge off, and start the night. There happened to be a bottle of wine in the refrigerator, so sure. I was ready.  I was nervous and a little excited.  A guy that I wanted to get to know better, actually wanted to go out with me?!!  He was picking me up and taking me to a nice place for dinner.  How ridiculous I am, but no one ever approaches me in the real world, asks me out, or seems to want to get to really know me.  Sure we hadn't spent much time talking about me the other night, but we were heading to dinner and I am certain he would want to hear all about me now.  

Before we left my house, I wanted to show him my yard.  It had been too dark to see anything when he was over the other night.  He liked my backyard, but he realized I'd mowed it earlier, and he noticed I had used a push mower. I had. He commented that if we were still together at Christmas he'd be buying me a riding mower. 😳 I politely thanked him but said there was no need, in my mind I was thinking 'are you going to pay me for being with you? I think that's got a name and it's called...', but my voice says I don't have a place to house a riding mower.  I justify my rationale and continue telling him that I have a very nice self-propelled.  He said, he will find a reason at Thanksgiving to buy me a small barn.  I smiled and politely shook my head, but I said no more.  I really don't want to feel bought. We went inside to have our glass of wine before heading out.  I had a playlist on my stereo and it just so happened that an obscure Ed Sheeran song was playing.  He asked if it was Ed, which of course made me happy. My turn to brag a tad, I told him I was going with my sister in September to see Ed in Indy.  He joked that if my sister broke her leg and couldn't go he would gladly be her replacement.  Then he went on about concerts he's attended and ones he'd like to attend.  I had to ask him to repeat himself when he told me he didn't want me to think he was gay or anything like that, but he really like Justin Timberlake and would love to see him.  Then he added without flinching, as if he'd said it a hundred times, "Yay, I'd blow him."  "What???" clearly puzzled I asked out loud.  Laughing he says...."I said I'd blow him.  I said I'm not gay, but I would absolutely do him. You know, backstage, door is closed and locked and he asks for a little. I do it."  "Okay then," I say.  RED FLAG 🚩, eyebrows raised, and noted.  He'd like to see Adele and I can't recall who else, because my brain was still trying to process the Justin comment.  Five minutes later he says, "You know I was just kidding about that Justin thing, right?"  "Do I?" I responded.  I don't know. My eyebrows were still raised. Off to dinner we went.

There was a short wait at the restaurant, which meant we'd be waiting in the bar. My date had me order a bottle of wine, he said he trusted my choice.  I had all ready noted that he wasn't really a wine drinker. He had mentioned that when he does drink wine, he's more of a sweet, white, wine type.  I am not. I like a dry red, with hints of berries. I'll take a Malbec or Shiraz any day! Considering we were at a local brewery, I probably would have gone with a beer. I had noted in previous conversations that my date really prefers Jamaican Rum with Diet Coke, but only beer and wine are on this menu.  Four wine choices tonight, and one was definitely too sweet for me.  I decided upon the Chardonnay.  I thought it was a nice choice, all things considered.  All the bottles cost $24.00. Old habit, I am always aware of how much money is being spent. I was held accountable in my past.  This is a hard habit to break.  Old habits are hard to be free of, especially when I know someone else is buying for me and he has recently said, "I'll buy you a riding mower...which really means I am paying you for your services" comment was still so fresh in my brain.  Just after the wine arrived, the waitress escorted me to our table, while my date settled up with the bartender.  My date chose to sit next to rather than across from me. This makes it easier to talk and hear one another.  At times this was just the right amount of closeness, and at others it was just a bit too much. He whispers in my ear, I couldn't quite hear him, so I leaned in a little closer, he used the closeness to kiss me. I am on display. I don't like kissing where it's so public with someone I don't know that well. I told him when he tried to kiss me a second time that he had a limited amount of kisses for the evening and if he used them all up out in public he wouldn't get a kiss good night.  Boundaries. I set them.  He didn't try to kiss me again at the restaurant. 

I nurse my third glass of wine, and consciously decide I won't finish it. I drink water for the rest of the night.  Having started this night drinking wine at my house, plus one and a half glasses here at dinner is more than enough for me. I'm not one who likes getting publicly intoxicated. I'm sure my date isn't that type of person either, but he's starting to show the effects of too much alcohol in his system, so maybe I am wrong in this assumption.  He gets out his phone to show me pictures of his dogs.  And then...pictures of the lady he took to the Biltmore in June. This past June. RED FLAG 🚩 He tells me her name, and assures me she is just a friend. I really don't care.  He says again and again exactly how much he paid a night for the room.  This is followed by him telling me nothing happened between them.  He let her have the king-sized bed in the suite and he slept on the couch in the other room.  He did posed for a picture with her where they kissed. I saw that picture.  He didn't really show it to me, but I could see it as he flipped though all his pictures. He showed me all the cakes she's baked and decorated, apparently that's what she does.  In fact, she had just brought him a cake that day; one that didn't turn out exactly as she'd liked. 😳 I told him she and he made a nice looking couple.  They did.  He was showing me pictures of the two of them.  Still, more pictures, one of three women, when I asked him to go back and tell me about that he acted as if he hadn't heard me.  Okay, he has selective hearing, and he's getting drunk. Noted. RED FLAG 🚩

He comments yet again, that he was kidding about Justin.  Whatever. The conversation shifts to our waiter, "was he a little gay or what?"  😐😕😠 Really??  He made a point of going over the top with our waiter after that comment, too. It was embarrassing.  "Oh, such-and-such, you have made this night absolutely the best!" Then he held his fist out to fist bump the waiter, who awkwardly laughed and bumped fists.  After the waiter left my date asks me, "How'd you like that!?"  😱 RED FLAG 🚩

"Oh, and we aren't going to talk politics." This is his next topic for our conversation.  He proceeded to tell me all about the rules at his place of employment, and how he's had to step in for his subordinates.  He tells me, "You and I will be just fine, as long as you didn't vote for Hilary." RED FLAG 🚩 I responded, "Well, who did you vote for?" He tells me he voted for all offices except President.  I asked why he didn't make his voice heard, and he asks me who would he vote for, a dirty politician or a joke? Fair enough assessment I suppose, but I think Hilary was the best choice. I said nothing to him.  He wasn't worth THAT conversation. 

He's jumping from subject to subject now.  Who would my free pass be? WHAT??? I must have looked very puzzled. "You know, that person who could knock on the door and you'd call me up and say, yay, I need to break up with you for thirty minutes.  Is it Harrison Ford?  Or Clooney?" To be honest, I have never thought like this. In the real world that just doesn't happen, so why would I even think it or say it???  He mentions his list.  I agree his lady choices are all beautiful. 

I try several times to hint that we should leave, at this point he tells me he paid $40 for our bottle of wine, so we will finish it.  I told him I'm not having any more.  I stopped after my 1 1/2 at dinner.  He looks at me and I can tell he's had too much all ready, and he starts to sort of ask, so I jump right in, "I'd be glad to drive us home if you want to finish your glass of wine."  He says he never does this kind of thing, but agrees.  He tells me it would look bad if he was pulled over.  He needs to not be able to drive.  I tell him I understand.  I'm really only thinking of myself now.  He continues and tells me he doesn't have a drinking problem, but he did find out later in life that his dad was an alcoholic, as is his brother, whom he hasn't spoken to in three years.  He doesn't even know where his brother lives right now.  He, my date, used to smoke pot, but he doesn't any more.  He enjoys a drink when he gets home instead.  He used to smoke pot, but he failed a drug test that cost him his dream job, so he has sworn it off.  RED FLAG 🚩 RED FLAG 🚩 RED FLAG 🚩 That drug test was just five years ago, just before he moved here.  Interesting.  So, if I will drive the car..."YES", I say, I am absolutely fine driving his car!  "It's a  *****",  he tells me, with a question in his voice, as if driving a  *****  is different than any other car.  "Is it a stick," I ask? "Because I can drive that too, no worries."  He mentions again how much he has paid for the wine and told me he left a big tip because the next time he comes in, that bartender is going to remember him and treat him well.  Without saying anything, he took my glass and poured what I had left into his own. He drank every last drop from that bottle.  I'm a bit shocked...he couldn't just walk away from my dregs. 

As he's gets his wallet out to pay the bill he asked if I have any cash on me.  "Yes, why?"  Then he hands me the bill.  He wanted me to read it to him.  I asked if he needs glasses, he tells he has them, but he leaves them at work.  As I read the total out loud, he put a line through the tip spot and said thank you.  "Ah,that's why you asked if I have cash, you'd like me to leave a cash tip."  No he says, he has cash and he pulls out a twenty.  WTH?  I am puzzled yet again tonight.  I wondered what this "lesson" he's feeling the need to teach me is all about.  I now know he paid $40 for the wine, another $30 for dinner and  left $20 as a tip.  Was this his way of letting me know how much he liked me, because he's spent a certain amount of money tonight? Or is this his way to impress me, as to what he's paid for me tonight? I wonder, what is it he will want in return? Or is this just a conversation he wants to have because he likes hearing himself talk and sound like a big man?  I was not intoxicated, just curious.  He continues his speech, he knows wait staff prefer green.  True enough, they do.  I don't need this lesson though. 

We walked to his car an hour later than I had hoped.  I got in to drive us to my house.  But first ...I received a sales speech about all the features on the car. I must have seemed like someone who had never driven a car before. 😡 I was so tempted to drive like a wild banshee. I tried to restrain that beast inside.  As I was driving to my place I suddenly asked, "Hey, do you want to go on a secret road?"  I know a little, narrow lane that cuts through campus. I also know I can drive fast on this curvy stretch.  My banshee wasn't as contained as she should have been!  😈  Unfortunately, I think he liked my wild driving because afterward he told me how his car is a sport coupe and has all wheel drive so the tires stick when cornering, blah, blah, blah.  What ever.  I believe my past knowledge of cars is deeper than most woman, yet I don't care to use that knowledge any more. At least not in talking with this man. I am emotionally over this night.  I haven't been listened to at all.  

We arrived at my place, and I know it wasn't safe for him to drive yet.  UGH!  We needed to wait a few hours before I felt comfortable placing him behind the wheel.  We have more conversation about his family.  To keep his mind occupied, I asked question after question.  I know he's expecting us to kiss, but I was not sure what else he thought he had coming. As the alcohol is leaving his system, he shifts our conversation back to kissing.  He tells me he has Russian Hands and Roman Fingers. 😐 Admittedly, I am human, and have been alone longer than I had expected.  A little kissing and caressing feels good, but quickly lines were crossed.  He was stronger than I am and he pushed the envelope which made me a little nervous.  He was more aggressive than I liked.  

I suddenly recall a part of our conversation from when he was over the night before.  He told me how the girl he had been dating at Christmas...whom he'd bought a bunch of name brand computer gadgets, etc. even though he knew he was going to break up with her...accused him of borderline raping her last New Year's Eve.  His story was that she had too much to drink and came on to him.  The next day she told him that he should have known better.  I'm suddenly aware of how strong he was and I know I didn't think I could stop him, if he didn't want to stop when I said.  I was prepared emotionally to be detached if things got to that point.  An old college memory flared up. Dang, I thought I had that one buried deeper!  Guess it hadn't been as deeply hidden as I thought.  I'm older and wiser now.  I was ready to physically hurt him if things got out of hand.  He had me in a position where I couldn't move freely, and his one hand was where he said it wouldn't roam. The second time I say stop, I don't recognize my own voice.  I was really forceful.  This me hasn't had to ever shown herself.  He stops.  I told him he needed to go home.   I walked him to the door and I told him goodbye.  I knew this was it.  I would not date him.  I just needed to figure out what to say to him the next day. I still felt responsible for letting him down easy.  

Sleep didn't come easily that night. I am so alone. Being over 50 and dating is hard.  I so want to believe that someone can love and respect me.  I want to believe that both can happen simultaneously.  I want to believe that someone will love me for my smarts and not feel threatened because I have a brain.  I want to feel that my sex appeal will excite someone, while being seen as a bonus.  I know that is stupid.  In reality, I am seen as an object only in the world of online dating.  Society still hasn't allowed me to be an equal.  I am easily substituted for younger, or more needy models.  That's what it seems men want in life.  If I stand up and am that strong woman who lives deep inside of me, I risk being alone for ever.  At least that's how I feel.  Men don't seem to want to be partners. I don't think I can play this dating game. In fact, I know I can't.  

End of Bachelor Number Three's dating story.
Time lasted: A whopping five days. 

AFTER NOTE: I suspected Bachelor Number Three had been in a relationship with the lady whom he took to the Biltmore.  I believe he had been looking for a way to end that relationship. A quick FB search of her showed she was "in a relationship" and it also revealed comments they had back and forth to one another. The comments were more than friends and had happened as recently as the morning we were supposed to have met for wine. 

~Lisa Kroll
  currently jaded, skeptical, and a non-believer in the existence of true love between unrelated human beings*

Epilogue: Dating sites are a hard place to spend time.  I think they are probably as hard for men as they are for women.  They hurt, not help self esteem.  In order to be noticed, one must write a catchy profile and include just the right pictures.  Even then, it's hard to meet the right someone.  Pay sites have fewer subscribers in my "little" town and free sites have too many people whom I am not interested in getting to know.  I suppose I'm grateful for the lessons I am taking away from this summer of playing The Dating Game. One guy sent me a message on a free site.  He said, "Ask me a question.  I'll answer"  So I did.  I said, "I have always wondered...Why do banks charge you for 'insufficient funds' when you don't have enough money in your account to pay it?" Needless to say, we never did connect. 

I feel we live in a society where humans have trouble interacting in person. So many people play games on line, on a computer or at home through smart TV's and gaming systems. I think this separates us from reality and online dating is just another version of these virtual games.  Maybe I'm wrong, and it's just harder when one has previously been married for a long time, or has children still at home to be able to connect with other available souls. I really don't know how to help my path cross that of others who might be ready for a relationship.  I have this ominous feeling that unless I put myself "out there", I am destined to remain alone.  Certainly others feel this way as well?  Maybe this is part of the online dating game.  

I really miss having an intimate relationship.  Intimacy to me does not equate to sex only.  I'd love to find someone with whom I can roll over, look into their eyes, see their joy, or pain, and connect on that level.  I long to make plans and go on adventures with someone special.  I would love to have a partner to share the rest of my days.  I realize we all come into this world alone, and we leave it alone too. After my summer research... I think I'm ready to adopt another dog. 

I am happy that school has started once again.  I can, and will fall into my workaholic ways, focusing on my classroom and students.  I love teaching and I love my two kitties. For these loves, I am grateful. 

Goodbye dating sites. I need a life preserver to swim in your waters, and you don't provide this.  In fact, you make my heart feel empty and alone, which is the exact opposite of what you say you are selling.  

                                 *this is just a stage, I hope. 


To read about Bachelor Number One...click here 
To read about Bachelor Number Two...click here