Sunday, December 28, 2008

No Hablo Ingles!

Several years ago when I was living in my native land of Ghettofield (aka Greenfield), CA I went to the only fast food restaurant in town. After my nice meal, I went to the restroom only to discover the bathroom was disgusting and every stall was out of toilet paper. I was a little upset. I mean, I pay good money for my food so I deserve a nice bathroom experience, right?

So, I went up to the first employee I saw to complain. I said, "Just thought you would like to know that bathroom is gross! There's no toilet paper and it smells like something died in there." The lady (we'll call her Juanita) responded with, "No hablo ingles."

I gave up, walked out and went to the bathroom at my house which was only a few blocks away.

In my little town, "no hablo ingles" really meant "I really do speak English but want you to think I don't to evade responsibility." My friend Gerardo used that magical phrase for getting out of a j-walking ticket. The policeman bought it and let him go, citation free.

I have to admit that I really wanted to use that line a few times growing up. Like when Ernesto tried to kiss me. Or when Maria wanted to fight me for looking in her direction. It doesn't work too well when you are a pasty gringa. Despite the fact that I thought I was Mexican for the first 16 years of my life, I was really at a disadvantage...

I tried that line, modified once a few years later when Nicole and I were at the Manti Temple pageant. An anti-Mormon tried to give me some pamphlet on how Mormons are going to hell. I said in Spanish, "No hablo Espanol. Solomente Japonese." (I don't speak Spanish, only Japonese). It didn't really work, but it gave us a good laugh.

The the other day, something beautiful happened...

Picture this:

I pull up to the Arco gas station in my nice, shiny red Honda Accord, sporting my "BYU Alumni" license plate rim. There are a lot of people around... to my left I notice a rough looking man, in his early 30's wearing a jacket that said, "Auto Glass". He wasn't pumping gas or even near a car so I thought he was loitering looking for a hot date. Knowing my track record for attracting strange people at gas stations, I cautiously locked my doors and pretended to get out my debit card and can of mace.

After a few minutes he was still standing there, leaving me no choice but to get out of my car. I have to say, I was a little bit nervous... cause by this point he was totally checking me out... and the two cracks in my windshield. Even still, I didn't want to talk to him.

I get out of my car, and he says to me, "Hi ma'am, how are you today?"

My mind races with how I am going to get out of this... and then I remember my friend Juanita from Burger King.

I give him a blank stare, shake my head and say in my best Spanish ever, "No hablo ingles."

Then he said very slowly , "Oh ok. Have a nice day." Yup just like that. And then he walked away to his next victim.

It worked! It really worked!

I might use that line again if occasion permits. I think everyone should try it just once in their lifetime.

It just goes to show that you can take the gringa out of Ghettofield but you can't take the Ghettofield out of THIS girl!

*I dedicate this entry to Juanita from Burger King, Gerardo and all my other amigos who used and will use "No hablo ingles" to get out of jail free.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

5 Photos by Deb

We had the engagement photos taken a few months ago. Of the 50 photos we took, there were 2 I really liked, 30 that were okay, and a few I HATED. When Scott and I were able to look at the pictures, the following were so horrible, we laughed until we cried. I wanted to share them with you.


Photo#1: This was the first photo we took where kissing was involved. We are shy and this photo reflects that. Actually, both of us were laughing but you can't really tell because Scott looks like he is in pain and I look awkward.




Photo 2: This one looks like Scott and I are announcing our upcoming wedding and the birth of our first child.




Photos 3 & 4: These pictures were taken by Deb in 1984. Seriously, why did I agree to do this pose when I knew it would turn out the way it did? In photo #3, if you look long enough, it actually looks like my arm really belongs to Scott.








Photo #4: I look okay in this one... kind of. Scott looks like he is in pain.


There you have it! I will be sharing the good ones soon. Stay tuned!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Confessions of a Bride to Be

Argh.

Everyday I threaten to elope.

Scott and I attend an engaged couple's class held by the Stake. It's interesting to say the least. I am the oldest in there by about 5 or 6 years. The instructors preface their advice with, "I know marriage will be your first experience out of your parent's home..." Gosh, what would that be like?

Last week we talked about finances this week we talked about sexual intimacy. As a former sex ed teacher and a current trainer of financial advisers, I was bored out of my mind. Well, that's not completely true. The instructors talked about buying some red light bulbs to "set the mood"... then I had a brilliant idea-- to register for a years supply of red light bulbs on my Target gift registry! That's not strange at all...

Speaking of registering, Scott and I went to Bed, Bath and Beyond Normal the other day to register. We met Staci who kindly greeted us with a warm valley girl-like hello. I think I was old enough to be her mom (if I had her as a teenager, of course). Anyway, she talked me into registering for china. She insisted I register for 12 china place settings and a whole bunch of other china stuff. I laughed silently, winked at Scott and then said, "uh, sure why not?" Let me ask you... where in the h-e-double-L am I going to put 12 china place settings, a gravy boat, 2 platters, 12 soup bowls, and 12 crystal glasses in my 100 sq foot apartment!? It's bad enough I have to sell my 134 pairs of shoes on EBay in order to have room for Scott in our little apartment.

By the time we registered for our 1000 piece bone china collection we had enough time to register for a few more things before the store closed. Right before we left, Staci SoCal printed out the registry we had so far. I don't know how this happened, but we had registered for 8 knife sets, 8 unmatching towels, and a shower curtain (in addition to the china). That's what I get for putting Scott in charge of holding the register thingy (what is it called?) that late in the day. He is quite the jokester and a mighty lover of expensive knife sets. Yet another reason, why I love him so.

As we left the store, we had a great laugh. We thought about having thanksgiving at our apartment next year with our fine china, set out perfectly on our plastic tablecloth, laid nicely over a cardboard box that would be covertly posing as our dining room table. And then we envisioned us after the meal putting the china away in the nice china cabinet that we would also use as our dresser.

Thanks Staci, for making my bridal dreams come true!

Confession: I hate registering.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Proposal: September 13th

On Wednesday of last week Scott said to me, "We should go on a date this Saturday." I replied with, "A date? What's that?" I got to thinking I should probably take him seriously since we really haven't gone on a legitimate date (paired off, paid for and planned) in I don't know how long. And I had a suspicion that he might propose that day too.

Saturday rolls around. That afternoon, I asked him what the plans were for the evening. "I thought we could go to dinner and when then see what time it is and figure out what we are going to do next based off the time", he said.

"What?! I thought we were going on a date-- you didn't plan anything?!?", I said in a VERY frustrated tone of voice.


"Uh no, I didn't know what to plan. Should we just play tennis?"


"Scott, I am going to get all cute for dinner only to play tennis in 101 degree weather and sweat to death!"


"Uh okay, we don't have to play if you don't want to."


"Okay, thanks.", I say even more frustrated that he doesn't have anything planned which means he probably won't propose.


Dinner finally arrives. We eat and I am in a bad mood. We get back to my house, talk to my roommate for a few hours. He said to me, "It's 9 o'clock... we should just go play tennis... I haven't done anything active all day and I am not going to be able to sleep tonight if I don't do something." By this point I realize there isn't anything else to do so why not play tennis. I am still mad.


We play tennis. My makeup melts off but at least I beat him (for the first time ever, might I add). We end our game fifteen minutes before the court lights shut off. Everyone by this time had cleared off the tennis court. I was picking up stray tennis balls and make it back to where he is. He said to me, "Hey check out this tennis ball. It's brand new and it's already cracked."


I took a look and thought it pretty odd. Then I look closer and see that something strange is going on. The side of the tennis ball have the words, "SQUEEZE HERE" which I thought that was kinda weird. I examine the ball and squeeze where noted, lifting up the tear and exposing an engagement ring. By this point, my draw drops.


Scott drops to one knee, stares at me, and says "This is where it all started, where I fell in love with you. Anneliesa, will you marry me?"


I said no.





Just joking! I said yes with sweat dripping down my face... how romantic!


And that's the story.


We are getting married on January 3rd in the Mesa Temple.


Here are some pictures:






I am sweaty:






Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Story














Remember how I was in the process of creating a 10 part series entitled, "How to Find a Mate in 2008"? I only published 2 entries and the remaining 8 are written on random pieces of note book paper scattered throughout my room. Back in March, in the midst of crafting what I thought would lead thousands to their mate in '08, I had an epiphany: I should follow my own advice.


My first step was to do some serious self-evaluation. March of this year, I realized I needed to become a better person, fear nothing, and focus on what I could control. Consequently, I was working 12 hour days at work, getting pay raises, exercising daily, focusing on my calling in Church, and working zealously to be the best I could be. I thought nothing of dating and guys-- I was burned out on dates, unproductive flirting, and mindless chatter at hormone infested parties. My new goal: To be the Sheri Dew of the 30-somethings!


About this time, I picked up an obsession for playing tennis. One Friday in May I wanted to play tennis so badly I went through my phone to see who could play. Everyone was on a stinking date! Boring. Everyone except for Scott. I hesitantly called him and we played that night.



Before I go any further, let me tell you about Scott. I have known him for over a year now. We have been in the same ward, gone to the same parties, have the same mutual friends. A year ago I asked him to some lame girl ask guy Stake activity only because he was safe and my roommate wanted to get to know him without having to ask him out. Of course, I ignored him the whole time. I am dumb like that. Here's a picture of me ignoring him that night:







Months later, he became good friends with my roommate and he would spend more and more time hanging out with us.

I never paid much attention to him then either. I was still in that phase where the flirty guys captured all my attention. That was probably because I was in denial that 30 years of age was staring me in the face.


In December Scott and I ended up talking one night and I remember thinking that he was amazing... but way too pensive, deep, quiet, and serious for me. I figured he probably didn't have a thing for women with social ADD.


Okay, back to May when Scott and I played tennis for the first time. We played for weeks and weeks after that. We became tennis partners and were the undefeated champions. After playing tennis, we ended up talking for hours and hours discussing and philosophizing. I saw a different side of him every night we would talk. I appreciated his emotional maturity, his depth of character, his view on life, his love for all people and sharing the gospel. We grew up in similar circumstances and he didn't ever go to BYU (which as I have mentioned in previous entries is always a plus). I would walk away from our conversations, empowered and eager to see him again.

About this time, I was going full speed ahead with improving my life. Work and tennis were the only things that ever consumed my time. Even though I Scott and I were becoming the best of friends, I refused to let myself fall into old patterns of running away out of fear. So I decided to just enjoy my friendship. That didn't last long though. I was secretly starting to like him-- never voiced it though (which was the smartest thing I ever did). I had no idea how he felt about me and I didn't want to know either.


Out of the blue one afternoon he sent me a text which read, "You want to go to dinner tonight? It's on me... Happy friendship appreciation day!" Blah blah blah. Free dinner, yes... but disappointed I was just becoming the best friend and wasting my time spending every spare moment with a guy who viewed me as just a friend. I went on the friendship appreciation day outing that night and I couldn't convince myself to run away even though I was just a friend.


For weeks and weeks following we would play tennis and talk for hours (every time he initiated it-- I NEVER called him). I was miserable yet content. I went on vacation for Florida for a week and missed him terribly. Then he went on vacation for a week and I missed him again. He called me when he got back and I was SO excited to talk to him. ARGH! I liked him A LOT.


Then, things got interesting. He asked me on a real date shortly after his return from vacation. We were inseparable from that point on. I found out what that whole friendship appreciation text was about-- he was just testing the waters. He's a smart guy.


Eventually, he became my best friend and my boyfriend! C-U-T-E. Did I mention he's 25?

The end.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Ten Reasons Why I "Love" Co-Ed Softball

1. My games are every Friday night.

2. The team name is awesome (joking)! "Half-cocked" is the name. I doesn't get any more covertly crass than that.

3. I was recruited by a friend of a friend of a friend. When I first heard of the opportunity, I envisioned playing with single athletic men, which would allow me to expand my social circle. Nope. I am the only single one, the only Mormon one and the only one who thinks the team name should be changed.

4. Alcohol is consumed before every game by my team (except me) and the other teams. It's easy to strike out the inebriated. My ERA is pretty darn good!

5. I played my first game with contacts. Turns out the softball isn't a yellow marshmallow afterall. Now that I can actually see the ball, it's so much easier to hit the ball. With my eye sight restored, combined with the tipsy opponents, I make it on base just about everytime. Today I even hit a triple!

6. Everytime I enter the softball park, I have to pay 3 bucks and get a token for a dollar off a cup of beer. That's how they convince the other players that the 3 bucks is a bargain. Works for them but it makes me mad.

7. When I hit the triple, a drunk man from the bleachers yelled, "Hey lady, you are my favorite!" He found me after the game to congratulate me and offer to buy me a beer. I graciously declined and told him the 1980's called and wanted his mullet back by tomorrow morning. He thought that was a pickup line.

8. On my way out of the complex, the umpire jokingly asked me what I was going to give him for being a good and fair ump. I gave him my token for a dollar off a cup of beer and introduced him to the mullet man. They became fast friends. In the end, the token turned out to be a bargain for me too.

9. The stench of nearby cow pastures made me homesick. Tonight my teammates where trying to figure out who pooped in the outfield. Some people just don't have a clue.

10. Thanks to team "Toothless Mullets" who watched our game to scope out the competition, I second-hand smoked about a pack of Marlboros tonight. I am such a hard-core rebel!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

My Not So Secret Secret

Confession: I have an addiction to postsecret.com. For those of you who have never heard of that site before, it was put together by some guy back East. People from all over the world send him anonymous postcards with their secret and he chooses about 20 every week and puts them on his blog. I check that website weekly because I am fascinated with people in general and many times those secrets have a profound impact on my life. Sometimes I even shed a tear when I look at them because I am reminded of all the pain that is in the world and wish there was some way I could track the individuals down to provide encouragement.

So tonight, when I checked my email I was surprised to see that a guy in my ward sent me a link to this website which directed me to a specific post secret. Now, this guy has no idea that I check postsecret regularly (or that I know it exists). What I found most interesting is the post card he felt I should look at. Here it is:
















With that link was a short message from him that said, "many people feel your emotions".

The humorous (maybe sad?) part of it all is that if I were to send in a secret it would say,

"Every year I become more intelligent, more beautiful, and more successful... and more unlikely to find a man who will appreciate me without feeling threatened."

Yeah, yeah, I know it sounds bleak and probably a little sour. Blah blah blah. I don't feel hopeless, just a little frustrated. Why would a Mormon man want a driven 30 year old educated Mormon woman with a successful career when he could have an overly fertile 19 year old without a care in the world? Hey if I were man I would probably choose the latter too. It's much safer and requires a lot less work (or so it seems).

Lest you begin to think that this blog entry marks the beginning of countless Friday nights, alone with nothing to do but knit the shroud used to bury my dreams of finding love, know that I am neither fond of knitting or being at home. I love people. I love parties. I love flirting. I LOVE men. And I am beginning to love dating for more than just a free dinner (that's progress, right?)

I am just a little sad to find my secret isn't a secret after all.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Fermented Hormones and Broken Dreams


Tonight I attended a special fireside for members in the stake who are 30-39 years of age. I have to admit, part of me wanted to go just because attending would give me a story to tell...

I walked the door with confidence exuding from my 30 year old pores. Then, crossing the threshold from foyer to chapel, the pungent smell of fermented hormones burned my nostrils. I suppose when you get to be my age, exuding confidence is often mistaken for old, crusty hormones? I was now one of "them"... You know, one those singles who never thought they would be single in their 30's attending some fireside created to restore hope to the hopeless. I felt similar to how I did on my first day of kindergarten... really wanting to feel grown up but also longing for the comfort of preschool. I am not ready for this... Mentally, I just thought of the fireside as a short orientation to the kindergarten rather than a first day-- kind of like a "this is what you have to look forward to if you don't find a mate in 2008". In the words of Garth Brooks, "I am much too young to feel this damn old."

Looking around the room was painfully comforting. I saw beautiful people in every size and color who just wanted their Mormon dreams to come true. They announced at the beginning that in the valley there were 3,000 singles between the ages of 30-39. My cynical mind broke it down as such: Of the 3,000 people, 2,000 of are women. Of those 2,000 women, 1,499 of them are beautiful, successful educated women who are looking and waiting for the perfect guy to come along. The other 500 were home schooled which explains why they are single (joking, joking). Really, the other 500 are looking too hard for any guy to come along. And the remaining 1 would rather date men under the age of 25 (her name is Anneliesa and she needs help).

And the 1,000 guys? 500 like younger, more fertile women. 300, are bitter because LDSsingles.com didn't find them a wife and so they've stopped trying. Of the remaining 200, half have "issues" and the other 100 are wonderful guys. So the final breakdown: 100 great guys and 2,000 great girls. No wonder I can't find a spouse...

Okay, getting back to the fireside... it was amazing. The General Authority didn't give the usual, "Even a old barn looks better painted" speech. He didn't tell the story about how 36 year old Fifi McFarffin prayed for 40 days to find a spouse... and on the 40th day she met Richy Richguy. I don't need success stories... I need DOCTRINE! And so it was... he taught doctrine and I loved it. I could spend hours writing what I learned but I am saving that for posterity to read.

I tried to find a boyfriend tonight so I would have a fun story to tell. Instead I talked to the same old people (no pun intended), talking about the same old thing. For the first time this year I was happy with being 30. Every year, I become a little more educated, a little more successful, and whole lot better looking. Some may claim that with all the improvements come a decrease in the likelihood I will find a mate. That may be true... but at least I am enjoying the ride!

I am going to end with one of my favorite poems by Langston Hughes. It's deep and applicable in an abstract way.

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

Monday, March 17, 2008

If You Want Greener Pastures, Don't Plant Seeds. Buy Turf.



Last Thursday, a friend of mine asked if I would go with her to San Francisco for the weekend. She assured me that it would be a quick trip (24 hours) and that it would be fun. I didn't want to go but didn't have a reason to use to get out of it. I had nothing planned for the weekend and the shortness of the trip would allow me to be home to go to work on Monday. I knew she needed my help so hesitantly accepted the invitation.

I got back last night from San Francisco and it finally occurred to me tonight why I didn't want to go with her in the first place...

When I was a senior at BYU, my Bishop at the time told me that I needed to get out of Provo as quickly as possible after graduation. He said I needed to be around young professionals who were in the same stage of life I was. Also he said I would thrive being around men who were driven and successful-- men would would finally appreciate me for being goal-oriented and intelligent. He suggested two places: Washington D.C. and San Francisco. I chose Phoenix because it seemed the easiest and least overwhelming.

Most of the people I met in the San Francisco Young Single Adult ward were men (of course). These guys were my age, attractive, most were in their careers (high paying ones), and intelligent. They exuded life experience and appreciation for all things hippie. Really, that's my kind of men! Sigh. I really fit in there-- for the first time in my life, I realized that being an educated, driven, independent LDS woman isn't synonymous with being demanding, controlling and anti-marriage/family. It was then that I knew had I moved to San Francisco after graduating from BYU, poor but happy would be my life. I am a Northern Californian, regardless of the fact I grew up in the arm pit of it all.

Tonight I am extremely pensive and can't help but wonder how my life would be different had I chosen to go to San Francisco. Even more on my mind is the question of whether there are guys in Phoenix like the ones I met in San Fran. If they are here, I haven't met very many of them. Perhaps that's because a large majority of the guys here just came from BYU*, so I find a similar mentality here as I did in Provo. Maybe I just live in the wrong part of Phoenix?

To add to my mild lament, I was at my ward's FHE tonight, minding my own business flirting with all that walked by. A guy friend came up to me and said, "You know, it would never work out between us because you are too driven. You expect the best and aren't willing to settle for anything but that. Plus, you really aren't needy enough." I was shocked (not really). After he said that, I had this vision of me vehemently saying "No, we wouldn't work out because you are afraid that if we were in a relationship you would actually have to work at it and you aren't willing to do that. I am not going to dumb-down and be more needy so that you feel less insecure." And then I had a picture of me kicking him in the shins just for fun.

Instead I said, "Cool." and walked away.

First of all, why do men feel the need to give me unsolicited feedback, stating the obvious?

Second, if I didn't have a solid job in Tempe, his comment would have sent me back on the plane to San Francisco and into the arms of my adoring and intellectual new found fans.

When people complain about how they wish they were in a different ward or location I normally respond with, "We should spend less time looking for greener pastures and more time cultivating them where we are." I know this still holds true for me... but what do I do if I feel I am continuously planting seeds, only to wait... and wait... and wait... for them to mature?


*Ryan, if you read this entry know that I put that in just for you-- that's all the bitterness I have for today :)

Friday, March 7, 2008

Anneliesa and Pedro's High School Reunion


I loved high school and I am not ashamed to admit it. Even though I was half chola, half Mormon and pretty miserable most of the time, they were the best moments of my life. I had only one wish back then and that was to be as adroit with men as I was with softball. It's true that some things never change.

Experiences in my life are mentally organized into chapters. Recently, I was forced to unexpectedly write the end of the tragic chapter entitled, "Anneliesa and Pedro's* High School Reunion". For over a year now, I have been holding out for a surprising, romantic finish. Admittedly (albeit selfish), I considered this mini love story to have a happy ending only if I walked emotionally unscathed into the sunset.

The close of the chapter symbolizes transfer of the ongoing experience to a mere memory, only to be retold for posterity's sake. Before it is placed on the shelf, I will tell the story which will help you to fully comprehend the significance of the experience. I realize that telling the story honestly will reveal qualities about myself that I need to change. Some people tell me I disclose too much about myself, and that may be true. However, I find comfort in knowing that these weaknesses are quite universal due to our human nature. In other words, whether you admit it or not, you have been in a similar situation. With that stated, here is the chapter and the tragic end:

High school chemistry was an exciting class. The subject wasn't really all that interesting, but the guy in the lab group behind me sure was. Pedro was a shy but popular senior, the captain of the basketball team, and all the girls thought he was "fine" (a term used frequently in the 90's). As much as I despised following the crowd, I was one of those girls.

Pedro's lab group was right behind mine. I would turn around once every class to ask his group a question to the lab assignment. Every time, I was greeted by his dark eyes and gentle smile. Occasionally, we would make small talk about the upcoming basketball game and if I was lucky, we would engage in fluffy banter. He didn't know a thing about chemistry and occasionally I would give him an answer or two to help him out. It didn't matter though because he was so cute! I kept my "love" for him a secret, partly because I knew I never had a chance and partly because I loved the thrill of the chase.

A few months before the senior prom, I found myself daydreaming daily of Pedro asking me to go with him and how I would be the luckiest girl in school if that ever happened. I got asked.... not by him but by my best friend who resembled "Duckie" in the movie, Pretty in Pink (turns out I fell at the prom that year, showing my classmates my underwear-- Specifics of that story are found in the unwritten chapter entitled, "How I Became Senior Class President").

Pedro graduated in June of that year. He got my number and called me a few times over the summer because he knew I was Mormon and since his dad was a Pentecostal preacher he had a lot of questions for me. We would argue and debate for hours about religion. It was great and I was in love. He went to college and I never saw him again. I thought about him ever year though, wondering if he ever felt about me the way that I did him...

A year and a half ago, almost 10 years from our last phone call, he tracked me down sent me an email. He wasn't sure what had happened to me over the past years and thought he would find out. We emailed back and forth for a few weeks and then called me. Catching up was great! We had our religious debate as if time hadn't passed. And then it happened. He said in a nervous, quiet voice, "Anneliesa, did you know that my senior year I went to all of your softball games? I wanted to ask you to the prom and didn't go because I heard you had already been asked. Religion was just my excuse to hear your voice. Over the past few years I have thought about you frequently... and in talking to you now, those same feelings I had for you when I first met you in high school are still there." I don't remember what I said in response, but I am sure it was similar to what a socially inept 16 year old girl would say after hearing something like that. After all these years my secret high school crush had actually felt for me the way I did him!! Now what?

He flew out a month after that and our reunion was anticlimactic, although I refused to admit it because I wanted to like him like I did before. It was as if we were still in chemistry class, clumsily flirting with words void of substance. We had nothing in common but the town we grew up in. He was now a serious, articulate and a successful businessman. I now had a personality, an opinion, and a sense of humor--which I am sure he was shocked to discover. He flew back to California. I later gave the excuse that the relationship would never come to fruition unless he converted and we spend more time together. Both proved impossible when he said he didn't want to be Mormon for me and I said I would never move to California.

Pained by the standstill, he stopped talking to me. I was okay with that because I knew that he still had feelings for me and that was enough to preserve my self-esteem. I liked the idea of being liked (who doesn't?). Ashamed to admit this, I would purposely contact him so I could hear him say, "I still really like you but talking to you is too painful." Sadly, I used Pedro to help me patch up my heart, which had been broken a year prior. I figured that holding on to him (even though unfair) would get me through until someone else came along.

This is where it turns "tragic"-- I found out today that Pedro met someone, fell in love and is soon to be married. So here I am, still painfully and selfishly single, watching him walk away into the sunset with his true love, which he rightfully deserves.

The story really is only tragic in the sense that it marks the death of my once-thriving pride which lived for too long in heart protected by egocentricity. Fortunately, this experience welcomes the the birth of a new chapter in which I finally realize that protecting my heart forever from emotional bruises will never lead to a true "happy ending". He was able to love anew because he did not close his heart to other possiblities, even though what he wanted didn't work out. Lesson learned. Thanks Pedro.

*name changed to protect the identity of just one of the many men who painfully learned patience by dating me. :)

Sunday, February 3, 2008

FIND A MATE IN 2008: Introduction and Part 2 of 10

Best Friends?


"Being friends with someone you would rather be in love with is like being invited behind the barn to look at the stars and just looking at the stars"

A few years ago, I had this vision about how my life was going to go regarding marriage. I envisioned that my future husband would be this handsome guy whom I had known for a long time, basically my best friend. I would listen to his “girl problems” and he would pretend to be my boyfriend at my high school reunion (every relationship needs an element of reciprocity). Over time he would notice how beautiful I really am and eventually would fall in love with me. When that finally happened, we would get married. Yeah, I had it all figured out.

Then one day, I realized that this idea was so DUMB for many reasons! Let me explain.

First of all, why do we enjoy being enslaved by false hopes? The “what ifs” get us through the lonely days. Eventually though, they turn into tombstones marking buried dreams. For example, you might say, “What if he gets a concussion resulting in amnesia and forgets he’s really not attracted to me?” or “What if one day he realizes that he can’t do any better?” Then there’s my all time favorite, “What if I dye my hair blonde, un-smart myself, and lose 100lbs? Then he will love me.” Hate to break it to you sister, but those women who ultimately find the love of their life don’t wait around for “what ifs” to become reality because they usually never do. It doesn’t even happen in the movies! Those women who have love either let things happen (not by force) or if nothing happens, they move on.

Second idiotic thought: “over time he will realize how beautiful I really am”. I don’t want to “grow” on some man. Last time I checked, I am not a fungus. How romantic will it be when he tells the story of how you two fell in love and it goes something like this: “Yeah, at first I thought she was a troll. Then after liposuction, she turned out to be just what I wanted. She’s so beautiful to me now.” (I think I just threw up in my mouth) Here’s a little secret about men that I learned from teaching sex ed (8th graders know so much)… Men of all ages are visual creatures. If they don’t find you attractive right away, they never will. If his attraction for you waxes and wanes, understand that your relationship will never be anything more than platonic. Men aren’t shallow, they are just men. Trust me with this one- (un)fortunately, I know. It’s much better to wait for that guy who is instantly attracted to you. Please don’t think you shouldn’t try to be attractive because a guy should “love you for who you are”. That’s dumb too. If you are doing everything you can, just be patient. The best feeling in the world is when the man you love looks you in the eyes and you just know he thinks you are the most beautiful woman in the world. You were made to be adored. To accept anything less that that would be an insult to your Creator

I am going to use my “spotlight analogy” to illustrate my third point. Picture this with me. You are holding a bright spotlight on your “love” who is on center stage (right where you put him). The spotlight is powered by all the effort and energy you put into the relationship. When a light is shining in his face, it’s so bright that he can’t even see you. What does this mean? He doesn’t like YOU, he likes the attention and enjoys basking in the energy you are so willing to giving him. He will keep consuming that energy, because he can (if the roles were reversed, you would do it too). Consequently, when you put the spotlight on him, it dims your vision, disabling you from noticing other men who are waiting in the wings to adore you.

Lastly, each of us knows deep down that the guy who we are best friends with doesn’t have any romantic feelings for us. I can’t say this enough… if he talks to you every night but asks out other girls, HE IS NOT INTERESTED IN YOU ROMANTICALLY. If you have to ask your friends if he is interested in you, HE’S NOT. If you have to analyze his every word and move to prove to yourself he likes you that means it’s time to move on. STOP WASTING YOUR TIME!!!

If you are in this situation, I urge you to liberate yourself from the chains of unachievable romance. As painful as it is to break from those shackles now, it’s a whole lot easier than having to sit in the front row at his wedding, wishing his bride-to-be was you instead.

Ultimately, I will marry my best friend. But that friendship will be born from adoration and admiration on ALL levels.

If you really need a best friend, buy a dog. Sadly, it will be as attracted to you as your guy best friend but at least Scruffy will never get married.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

He's dreamy... He's WHAT?!

Last weekend a friend of mine in the ward said to me, "I want you to meet my cousin. He will be here in a few weeks and I think you two would get along great. He's so cute, smart, and just wonderful. I can't wait for you to meet him!"

As she speaks I create a mental image of a 42 year old man, with a face only a cousin could love. Yeah, with my luck he's probably on his last round of drug addiction rehabilitation or maybe he's looking for a good Mormon girl to "straighten" him out. No pun intended.

My pessimistic thoughts were paused by the realization I was turning into a cold, cynical, nearly 30 year old.

"He's from Seattle and he's going to grad school.", she said.

My ears perked up. Oh, how I love intelligent men from liberal cities!! So dreamy.

She continues, "But... [oh no!! here it comes]... He's only 25. Is that too young for you?"

PHEW! Too young? Ha!

By this point, I am intrigued. After all, this is my year. I mean, my motto is "find a mate in 2008". Maybe he be could be the one! I hear Handel's Messiah in the background, "Hallelujah. Hallelujah...". My mind wanders to an open meadow. I run to my faceless liberal lover and he runs to me. Just before we embrace rationality calls me back to reality, as it often does.

I ask a question, the most important question of all...

"Where did he do his undergrad?"

Handel's angelic choir decrescendos... I lean in towards her to ensure I hear the answer clearly.

"Oh, he went to BYU."

The choir stops, mid-lujah. The brakes in my racing heart come to a screeching halt.

Two words: deal breaker.

It's over before it has begun. So much for it being my year after all...

Confession: I am a BYU male hater. Strike that-- hate is a strong word. Let me put it to you this way... I would rather marry a guy who didn't finish high school, who was a chain smoker, and who never brushed his teeth than date with a guy who went to BYU. I would rather get 5 root canals in the same day than spend an hour on a date with a male cougar. It's as simple as that.

She sent me a picture of him. He's cute. Very cute. I am pretty sure we would have beautiful children together. But when I look into his eyes, all I see are Y's, reminding me that I left Provo to get away from BYU men. He doesn't even stand a chance with me now.

Where do these feelings of antagonism come from, you ask? See, by tossing BYU men out before they have a chance is my way of getting back at BYU men for tossing me out before they gave me a chance all those years. Am I bitter? No, just honest. Best part? I have all the intelligent girls in Provo, over 150 lbs. on my side. I represent them.

BYU men, with few exceptions, suffer from what I call "the grass is greener in the dorm next door" disease. It's highly contagious and when left untreated it leads to numberless amounts of socially- inept -BYU male graduates who's only hope for marriage is ldsdesperate.com. It can only be cured by a swift kick of life experience, away from Provo.

When I meet this guy (if it still happens after he reads this blog entry) we will become fast friends. Shortly thereafter, he will fall in love with me but will still be holding out for the woman who has all my qualities bundled up in a 90 lb body.

Years from now, I'll be married to my Stanford grad husband, living comfortably and beautifully in my size 12 jeans. He'll still be single, wishing that he had chosen to go to Georgetown instead.

FIND A MATE IN 2008-- Introduction and part 1 of 10

I heard this line recently and loved it. The wheels in my analytical mind started to spin so I decided to create a series of notes/blogs on how to find a mate in 2008. As many of you know, I am obsessed with relationships- not my own, of course because they really aren’t that interesting. I am the self-appointed soccer mom (minus the mini van and tapered jeans) of everyone else’s love life. Perhaps it’s because I majored in marriage and family. Or maybe it’s because dating is apart of every conversation I partake of at this stage of my life. Needless to say, these notes aren’t a 10 step program to finding the love of your life (go to eharmony.com for that…don’t really go). My goal is to provide comic relief to the broken hearted and frustrated and comfort for those who know the term “unrequited love” all too well. And hopefully, my words will be the catalyst for change to those of you who are couch potato lovers. Whatever the need, enjoy…

Part I—Lessons on Love from Mutual FundsThis week at work I trained a group of new financial advisors on the value of mutual funds in their business. As part of the instruction, I discussed that when they present a mutual fund idea to their client it’s crucial to explain that the biggest risk of investing isn’t the inevitable market fluctuation that could lead to capital loss. The biggest risk with investments, I told them, is doing nothing at all. This got me thinking… It reminded me of a cheesy quote that I probably acquired from the marriage preparation class that I almost failed as a junior in college. Side note: Don’t let that fact deter you from reading on… So here’s the quote (author unknown):

“ To laugh is to risk appearing the fool.
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.
To reach out for another is to risk involvement.
To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self.
To place your idea, your dream before the crowd is to risk their loss.
To love is to risk not being loved in returned.To live is to risk dying.
To hope is to risk despair.
To try is to risk failure.
But risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
The person who risks nothing does nothing, has nothing, is nothing.
He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love… live. Chained by his certitudes, he is a slave, he has forfeited freedom.
Only a person who risks is truly free”
So what does it all mean, you ask? Beats the heck out of me! Ok, actually, it reminded me of a time when I really liked this guy. I thought he was everything I ever wanted. We were best friends. I over-analyzed his every move. Every thing he did, I thought, was an indication of his undying love for me. Never again will I mistake, “Do you want to shoots some hoops?” as a sign of interest. One day, I blurted out that I liked him more than a friend. His response was, “Oh, I am sorry. I will try to fart more around you” (real mature).Months later, after my heart had healed from being broken, I attended his wedding reception. I met his mom who graciously and repeatedly thanked me for being his “mom away from home”. OUCH! I got drunk off of wedding cake and crème puffs that night hoping that would teach him a lesson. It didn’t. I was left with a sugar hangover and the need for pants once size bigger.
It wasn't until years later that I appreciated that I took a risk. I learned that he's not for me... One man down, 999,999 more men to go. He did me a favor by getting out of my life. I wasted too much time telling myself the reason he didn't like me was because I wasn't pretty enough... Time that I should have spent taking care of myself-- for me. Taking that risk changed my life.
Well, we aren’t going to find the love of our lives marinating in hot tubs of self-pity. That, my friend, will only make your soul stinky and shriveled! Men, ask her out or at least tell her that you think she’s great. Ladies, I am not saying ask him out. DON'T do that. Just say yes when ask you out because you just never know… And if the man you “love” doesn’t show interest in you, teach him a lesson that he missed out… not by consuming a tub of lard (also known as ice cream), but by going out and meeting more guys.
Take a risk this week when it comes to love…Yeah, there is a chance it will turn out unfavorably. If it does, I will let you write a chapter in my forthcoming book.

They call me coach. Love coach.

I don't profess to know everything about dating and relationships... but I have learned a few things over the years that are noteworthy. Before I go any further… There are many who say, “Why should I listen to you? You are nearly 30 and still single!” If anything, that fact alone makes me credible because I know what NOT to do. I learned the hard way... Because my thoughts tend to be discursive, I am going to number them. Oh, and PLEASE don't shoot the messenger...

Women:

1.) If he doesn’t ask you out, he’s probably not interested in you. If he is interested in you and still doesn’t ask you out, chances are he’s not the right one for you (at least right now)… unless you have a thing for docile men.

2.) Just because he asks you out doesn’t mean he wants you to bear his children. Enjoy the date and don’t pick out your wedding colors just yet. More than likely, you will look back years later and say, “What in the HECK was I thinking?!”

3.) If you have to ask your friends if they think he’s interested in you, he probably isn’t. So if he said hello to you in a “seductive voice” it doesn’t mean a thing. Don't use your secret decoder pen to figure out what that means. He’s probably just going through puberty. Trust me.

4.) Men are hunters and it’s constantly deer hunting season. If you (the deer) jump in front of the AK 47 (or whatever they use these days) and say, “Hey, handsome hunter, look at me! Shoot me because I would make a nice wall decoration!” he will run away. If he shoots you, he’s lazy and will never appreciate you.

5.) Going on dates and meeting societal standards of beauty does NOT define your worth. Your worth is inherent so stop giving all the credit to men and Jessica Simpson. Take care of yourself for YOU.6.) NCMO- Don’t do it! It’s like injecting your brain with Novocain and your heart with methamphetamines.

7.) View rejection as protection. Rejection filters out (protects you from) the men who would never love you the way you want to be loved.

8.) It’s better to think, “All men want me” than, “No man will ever want me”. Don’t let self fulfilling prophesies determine your future.

9.) Know the difference between love and infatuation. It will save you from a lot of stress.10.) Be alluring, not emasculating.

Men:

1.) If you don’t ask her out, she’s not going to know you are interested.

2.) Just because she says yes, doesn’t mean she’s planning your wedding… Sorry.

3.) Women are like spaghetti. Everything is intertwined. Let women analyze and look into everything. It’s how they convince themselves to like you when you really don’t have a chance.

4.) Men are built to be hunters (it’s anthropological) not predators. There is a difference. Random question: If you don’t like playing "games", then why do you like to "hunt"?

5). Yeah you are attracted to atheistically pleasing things. You are visual and that’s okay. But if I hear you say you need to see a woman in a bikini before you will marry her, I will throw a fat suit on you when you least expect it, clothe you in women’s clothes, and make you walk through BYU campus for a week. In other words, don’t verbalize what women already know.

6). NCMO- Don’t do it. It’s like injecting your brain with methamphetamines and your heart with Novocain. (note the difference with women)

7). View rejection as protection. Rejection filters out the women who would never appreciate you the way you need to be appreciated. Good thing is there are a lot more good women than good men (a man told me that). The odds are in your favor.

8.) It’s better to think but NEVER SAY, “All women want me” rather than, “No woman will ever want me”. Confidence, not arrogance is attractive.

9.) Know the difference between lust and love. It will save you from a lot of destructive relationships.

10.) Be a man. And don’t let women try to change you. One Richard Simmons in this world is enough.

Two both men and women: Ever play that game where two people sit back to back and link arms and the object of the game is to stand up simultaneously? It only works if both contribute. That's the secret to sucessful relationships.