Archive for April, 2012

Dating is a Numbers Game

April 27, 2012

Dating is a numbers game

I have two criteria for guys I’ll date:  self-supporting and not crazy. I don’t think that’s too high a bar. I went on a date last week with a guy I met through the online free dating service POF (Plenty of Fish.) He emailed me and asked why people in the arts were usually politically liberal. That was an interesting question. I suggested we meet to discuss it. I assumed that he was also a liberal. We spoke on the phone several times and he made me laugh. That was a good sign. I agreed to meet him for lunch, against one of my rules of a first date: never commit yourself for more than a drink or iced tea.

He suggested Thai food. When I suggested a place I knew that was reasonably priced, he rejected it as only mediocre. (Why do I always have to come up with the place to meet?) I then suggested Malee’s On Main in downtown Scottsdale. I’d never been there but it’s always on a list of the valley’s best restaurants. He asked what I would be wearing. I told him he would recognize me because I looked just like the picture on my profile.

I recognized him right away, waiting for me outside the restaurant. Miracle! We both looked like our photos. We were seated at a window table. The place was nearly empty, although it filled as we ate. I was relieved that the lunch prices were within my price range as I always offer to pay my share. (He insisted on paying the bill.)

We settled in and told each other some of our life stories. He was a bit older than me, but definitely economically secure. He still sold insurance part-time to Medicare-eligible people.

I’m not sure this qualifies the guy as crazy, but it turned out that he was a conservative, not a liberal. He chose to discuss religion, politics, and abortion, not usual topics for a first meeting. Our opinions were polar opposites. It never degenerated into an argument because he was the type of person who thought others were entitled to their wrong opinions. I made it through lunch, but knew he was toast, even though both of us said we’d do another date. It’s hard to say “no” in person, and easier to just not communicate further.

My neighbor with the blood clots is doing better and can go out for short periods of time with portable oxygen. She went to the grocery store and was surprised to see an older, portly gentleman, also hooked up to oxygen, checking her out. She smiled but turned way. Dating is not on her priority list.

A friend of mine in Connecticut went out with a Scottish fellow for dinner through It was a disaster. He had his hearing aids in, but they weren’t fine-tuned, so he couldn’t hear her. And his accent was so thick she had a hard time understanding him.

Maybe I’ll have better luck this summer.

Getting older isn’t a battle, it’s a massacre!

April 15, 2012

Getting older isn’t a battle, it’s a massacre!

This is my adaptation of a quote from the Philip Roth novel Everyman. This past week one friend had a stroke, I rushed my friend and neighbor to the ER with blood clots in her lungs, I treated my dog for exploding warts, and my son’s girlfriend bailed him out of jail after I asked her not to.

The good news is that everyone is going to be all right. The friend with the stroke is in rehab for limited movement of one hand and foot, but otherwise, she’s fine.

My neighbor’s recovery is nothing short of a miracle. The doctors couldn’t believe she survived the blood clot that went through her heart into both of her lungs, and the ones waiting to break free from her leg. Her recuperation will require patience and persistence, but she’ll also be fine again. She got out of the hospital yesterday. Her son made me promise to sleep overnight. She wanted to me to go home so she could have time alone, which I certainly understood. But I waited until she was sleeping, and then I crept into her guest room and slept. I didn’t fool her at all. She got up several times to give herself breathing treatments. I never heard a thing! Good thing I’m not a nocturnal caregiver.

My son was arrested for probation violation. I met his girlfriend at the hearing. We talked about how he needed to grow up and take responsibility. Since he had nowhere to live, it was just as well he do his time. She was saving fort an apartment with him when he got out. My son told me he was going to reject probation and serve the last two months of his sentence. Instead, the public defender got a continuance and got him bail.

Long story short, she paid his bail. He wanted to take a shower at my house and live here until his hearing. I had told him that I was no longer going to enable him. He was mighty mad. The girlfriend paid for a motel room for two nights. They thought I would break down and let him stay here. It really felt bad to say “no” but I know it was the right thing to do. Otherwise in ten years I’ll have a thirty-three year old son living with me. I was so upset that I didn’t want to eat anything, not even dark chocolate!

But in the midst of this chaos I got the inspiration for my next book and started it. It’s a memoir that will include a scathing condemnation of the Maricopa County Criminal Justice System. I’ll let you know when it’s published.

My Son’s Girlfriend

April 8, 2012

My Son’s Girlfriend

I have two terrific daughters-in-law. They are caring, intelligent, respectful, generous and grateful. I am not their best friends, but we’re close. I waited until my sons were engaged before emotionally bonding with their fiancés.

My two older sons had long-term girlfriends in high school but I never got close to them for several reasons:  one was very shy, one was argumentative, and I would get hurt if they broke up and I had a deep relationship with the girl.

My youngest son had a girlfriend for five years. She was a beautiful and intelligent girl but the couple fought often. I didn’t like the way my son treated her and I told him so. They broke up and he’s played the field as well as having girlfriends who lasted a month or two. My son has not taken on adult responsibilities although he is twenty-three. I refuse to support him.

Now he has a girlfriend with a with an eight month old baby boy (not my son’s.) She also is pretty, intelligent, caring, and has a career path. Her parents live a thousand miles away. She calls and texts me. We have met for smoothies. Of course her baby likes me. I’m great with dogs and children. Men, not so much. I have been aloof on purpose. I don’t want to invest in this woman and her baby and then have them disappear. I’ve tried to convey to her that I hope she doesn’t support him financially or enable him in other ways. Perhaps that’s overstepping my bounds.

I rarely give advice to my married sons and daughters- in-law. I’ll give my opinion and leave it up to them to agree or not. I don’t get upset when they don’t agree.

I’m not sure how to relate to the girlfriend. I guess time will tell.

April 2, 2012

I’m So Glad I Don’t Have to Work!

I am still recovering from last week. I subbed all five days in a kindergarten classroom. The students were well behaved, the teacher left decent plans, and I was the principal of this particular school twenty years ago. Still it took me three days to regain my energy. The hardest part of the assignment was standing on my feet for seven hours a day. Of course I wore my good athletic sneakers with my “professional outfits,” but my back was still sore at the end of every day. Two days I went to the gym after work to limber up. It worked on Wednesday. On Friday I went to the gym and could hardly do my routine. I went home and collapsed on my bed for three hours.

It was fun to interact with the five and six year-olds. I got lots of hugs and pictures drawn and colored for me at home. Kindergarten is all day and very academic these days. The kids switch for reading in order to be taught in achievement groups. I had one off-the-wall child in my reading group. One day he ran out of the classroom. Another day he locked himself in the boys’ bathroom while the psychologist was observing the class. On Friday he kicked and hit seven children and then ran off. When the principal tried to return him to my classroom, not knowing what behavior had sparked the escape, I informed her and gave her my “principal look.” She took him somewhere else for the rest of the period. I don’t know how the teacher can deal with him and teach the rest of the kids.

.Since I was the sub I could do fun things, like help them write a book and illustrate it, use playing cards for math, read and tell stories and act them out, and teach them songs. I brought in my puppets and used animal stickers for rewards.

The key point, though, is that I choose to do this, I don’t HAVE to work. I have a golden parachute from the district where I get paid extra for subbing as a retired teacher for a maximum of thirty days a school year. It serves as incentive for retirees and the district benefits from instruction going on more or less as usual, with some fun projects thrown in. All the retirees I know who substitute.bring their own bag of tricks. My bag of tricks includes favorite picture books, copy paper and Ed Emberley’s drawing books I teach the children to draw figures that actually look like race cars, bears, hippos, castles, etc., rewarding good classroom behavior with stories and drawing by following directions.

The money I earn is a nice cushion to pay country club dues or extra on my credit cards, but not essential for food or mortgage payments. I do have a friend who’s a real estate agent who worked convention registrations to eat during these lean times. She earned eight dollars an hour. It wasn’t a bad job but sometimes she was a room monitor and had to stand on her feet all day. Now that the real estate market is picking up, she \’s glad to jettison that job.

Although I never earned big bucks in education, even as a principal, the social contract is that educators earn a fair retirement. The attacks on pension programs scare me. I agree that high level officials shouldn’t get enormous sums. I don’t even think people should “double dip,” returning to the career they just retired from and getting a salary and a pension. But most of us education retirees are teachers and live modestly. We earned our pensions.