Saturday, 30 March 2013

The Motherlode of Love

Day 233
132 Days Remaining

Sometimes I wonder if my children have any idea - any idea at all - of how very much I love them.

I think that they know that I love them, but I really have no clue whether they see how very much of my life is based around them, their happiness, their needs and wants, and their schedule.

It's hard, because in the aftermath of our splitting up, the kids ended up spending most of their time with their dad.  This was partially due to the fact that I initially had a very small place where there really wasn't room for three children, and also partially due to my own emotional difficulties (see my earlier post, Admitting It is the First Step, and its following post, Borderline Genius, about that).  It was not a good situation for any of us, and with my extreme emotion versus their dad's level-headed calmness, of course they would gravitate more toward wanting to be with him.  When Crumbs and I started dating, it only made the situation less comfortable for everyone.  I intended to keep Crumbs completely separate from my life with the kids, but they found out about him, and it cemented in their minds the thought that I would rather be with him than with them.  Nothing could have been further from the truth: I desperately wanted to be with my children...I just didn`t know how to emotionally deal with the fallout of my marriage to their father.  He knew that I was emotionally unstable, and he wanted to protect them from me and from any foolish mistakes I was making at the time.  As a result, when I finally had a large enough home for the kids to come and live with me at least part of the time, they wanted to be back at the family home with Dad.  Things have changed over the years (we've been apart seven years now, and lots of healing has taken place), but even though the kids spend a lot of time at my place, they still in their hearts feel that "home" is the house they live in with their father.  That can be hard to hear, sometimes.

I warn you all again how I warned you in that post: "After any relationship ending, a grieving period is necessary.  After a marriage ends, the first priority is the children - get over yourself for whatever time it takes to be there for can cry and wail when you are alone, but be strong for your kids."  This is hard-earned and regretful advice!  I was not in that place.  I did not allow myself a grieving period.  I was not there for my children the way that I should have been.  It was torture to go to see them in the house that used to be my home and was now a "bachelor pad", and instead of sucking it up and showing them how much I loved them, I allowed myself to be overwhelmed by the feelings that attacked me every time I crossed the threshold.  I did not make my children my first priority, and that is my biggest regret.  Over everything I have ever done stupidly and impulsively and irrationally in my life, not being there properly for my children is the only thing that I absolutely would change if I possibly could.  It forever altered my relationship with my daughter, and even talking to my youngest son today I realize that he has been affected by it as well.  I think my children believe that I would rather not have them in my life.  That`s the saddest, saddest - and most incorrect - thing that they could possibly think.

I wish that there would have been some way to prepare myself - and my babies - for the extreme emotional aftermath of the end of my marriage, so that I could have better been able to support them in their needs and things would perhaps have turned out a lot differently between us.  As it is, my relationship with my oldest - my beautiful daughter - is tenuous.  The boys were younger, so it appears that it hasn't affected them as much, but still, the damage has been done.  I suppose the only way to ensure that they would have been completely happy would have been to stay with their dad...but he and I were both so miserable that I can't imagine that still wouldn't have affected them negatively.

Now my children are almost grown - well, the two older ones, anyway - and I see them getting ready to step into adulthood. Sometimes I look forward to them being old enough to commiserate with, and for them to understand how difficult life as an adult can be.  I have hope that my daughter will eventually be able to see things from my point of view, although my unwillingness to ever say anything negative about their dad in their presence means that they will never truly hear the whole story.  Maybe just seeing how hard it is to make ends meet as a grown-up, and how difficult relationships can be, will help them to have more clarity.  Although I don't wish a bad relationship on any of my children - I hope they find their true love young and stay happily married forever! - I see the possibility of it happening and hope that I can be there for them as they go through it.

Sometimes I'm just terrified that the kids growing up means that then they will forever be separate from me.  My daughter is almost eighteen.  She graduates from high school this year.  She was ten years old when her father and I split up and has since become a beautiful, strong and independent young woman.  Her heart is still hurting from how I wasn't there for her all those years ago, and she resists my attempts to hold her or have any kind of meaningful talk with her.  It's painful...not as much for my own selfish reasons - although of course I long to be able to just cuddle her until she can feel my love for her reaching into her very heart - but because I know that deep down, she is longing for her Mommy and feels like she can't trust me enough to allow me to be that for her.  I can see it in brief moments of vulnerability when she just wishes that I had always been available to her.  I ache for her loneliness for her mother.  I want to give her what she has been hurting for all these years, and she is at this point unable to allow me in.  What if she grows up, moves out completely, and takes that lonely heart away with her?  What if I never get the chance to really be the Mom that she so desperately needs, because of those foolish decisions and painful moments from years ago?

My children mean everything to me.  There is no way to express that with everything I do, in the forefront of my mind is the concern of "how will this affect the children?"  There are things that I could never even consider doing at this point, because of my children.  Even if they were full-time with their dad and never stayed at my house, I still need to be in the same town as - and preferably less than a ten-minute drive away from - them.  When they are away from me I long for them.  When I pull into the school parking lot on a Friday after school and get to see my eleven-year-old after three and a half days without him, my heart swells with the joy of loving him so much.  When my daughter calls me and wants to hang out - even if it's just because she needs me to pay for something for her! - I jump at the chance to spend time with her.  When my six-foor-two 15-year-old wraps his arms around me and says, "I love you, Mom", I relish the feel of his lanky boy's body and the rare words of affirmation that somehow, despite everything, I still have given these children a good life.  They are, for the most part, happy, and even if that means I have them for less of the time, and in some ways less of them, that is still my ultimate goal.  I want my kids to be the best people that they can be.  I know that even though I messed up, many, many times, I still have had a part in creating and raising up these three beautiful people.  They are who they are - good parts and bad parts - partially due to my influence and my love.  My determination to come out the other side of a bad marriage and keep my kids intact has paid off to a point.

One day they will be grown.  One day they will have children of their own and know this impossible pain of seeing your babies hurting and being unable to stop it...whether they are in pain from someone else's actions, the children's own choices, or from decisions they as parents have made.  It is so true what Elizabeth Stone wrote: “Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”  It's the hardest thing I've ever done, the most painful, the most overwhelming, and the most rewarding.  But they really have no idea.


Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Oh, Do You Know the Michelin Man? (Part II)

Day 230
135 Days Remaining all want to know what's happening, you say?  Everyone is wondering a) who this mysterious "Michelin Man" is; b) what's happened since I last posted about him, and c) whether his presence in my life means I am giving up on my dating hiatus.  It's rather early to answer these things, but I will do my very best to address at least some of what you are all very curious to know.
Many of you have contacted me asking for clues and hints as to who he is, and I really don't want to spill the beans.  It's so early in the process, and frankly - as I said in my first post about him - it doesn't matter at all who he is in this celebrity-obsessed world.  As I've gotten to know him I often forget that he is well known; in fact, I am sometimes caught by surprise with that fact.  To me he is now becoming someone who I care about, who I want to get to know better, and who makes me smile.  Every single day.  So let's just continue to call him Mitch - I'll drop the Michelin, since he's now so familiar to me and I only think of him as himself, rather than a persona that has been shown to the world - and I will tell you what I am thinking and feeling about this man.

What's happened since I last posted about him?  Well, we have continued to talk, in text, email and on the phone, and things have been moving along and growing steadily.  It amazes me how strongly one can come to feel about another person when they haven't even met each other.  I think about him all the time; I want his opinions on things; I look forward to hearing from him; I feel like I miss him even though we've never actually touched.  It's incredibly romantic in some ways - the distance means that the only way we can really reach each other is through words, and words just happen to be my love language.  He does have a definite way with them and that is a huge attraction for me.
Although the way it started may have been unusual, the development of this "relationship" was purely organic and natural, though admittedly swift.  And yes, he does know about my dating hiatus, and it's certain that the distance makes it easier to stick with it at this point, but honestly, I don't know what is going to happen.  And I think that's just fine.

I do have to admit that I have thought this relationship through endlessly.  I mean, there are a lot of factors to consider if we are going to end up together (and of course I am romantic enough that I do imagine that happening...trumpets blasting in triumph as we scale the mountains of adversity and distance and everything works out perfectly and we remain blissfully in love until the end of time!), and when you get to my age - and have wasted a lot of time already - you don't enter into a romantic relationship without considering the possibility of marriage, or at least a future.  If there's absolutely no way for it to work, it's better to pull the plug sooner rather than later.  I shouldn't invest the time in someone if I'm not going to end up with him - I want to find the man who wants to be with me forever.  If it's Mitch, then that's going to be a hard road.  I (finally) believe I'm worth it, but will he?

So it goes without saying that Lisa the overthinker has been wracking her brain trying to see how all of this would pan out.  Would Mitch want to move here (I doubt it)?  Would I have to move to the States (I couldn't at this point)?  Will he wait while I finish my Nursing degree (I'm not quitting!)?  What about the kids?  What about the exes?  What about money and time and stress and loneliness and sadness and a long-distance relationship?  Is it worth it - could it be worth it?

Lisa the Romantic and Lisa the Overthinker agree that love is worth anything it takes to get there.  It may not be pretty and it could be a difficult road, but I am always that eager optimist who is loyal and loving to a fault.  I know that I would do anything for the man I love...but the man I'm looking for will also be willing to do anything for us.  I don't know if that's Mitch.  It's fun to think that it could be.  It's actually fun to think about how we could get past all the obstacles that the circumstances of our meeting - and our statuses as a mom and a dad to several children who must always be considered in the equation - ensure will be absolutely present in our journey.  I've been lonely long enough - and I recognize in him enough characteristics of the man that I want in my future - that I daydream about how we will jump those fences.
Something I had to continually remind myself of while I was working on getting over HB
That being said, I am still keeping my eyes wide open as I begin to take some baby steps toward the end of my dating hiatus, whenever that may be.  Mitch is becoming very important to me, but I have yet to meet him and spend time with him in person.

That will happen exactly one week from today when I step off the plane in California.

Yes, it's time to see if the strength of what we are beginning to feel over the wires of the Internet and the textiverse can be translated into something when we are actually in one another's physical presence.  Thus, all plans regarding how many months of each year I'll spend in Canada versus in the States, and how often he can visit here, and how long he will have to wait for me, and how well the kids will get along with each other, have to be put on the back burner.  It's entirely possible that I will see him and that spark won't be there.  It's also entirely possible that he's built me up in his mind as something much more than I am, and he will be disappointed.  I don't know how I will react if that happens - I'll likely be sad, but I hope I won't be devastated.  I am so pleased that I've been able to feel this way has been so long for me. However long it lasts, I am going to allow myself to enjoy it.

And truthfully, I am a little more worried about the other possibility: the possibility that I will see him and everything that I am already feeling for him will be exponentially multiplied (love squared?).  If that happens, then I have no idea where we're going to go from there.  That means that Lisa the Overthinker will come out in full force and join Lisa the Planner and Lisa the Eternal Optimist to try to come up with a plan that will work to make this happen.  
So as for the third question: does his presence in my life mean I am giving up on my dating hiatus? No.  It does not.  It also does not mean that I will carry on until August 9th simply for the sake of saying I was on a dating hiatus for one full year.  My purpose in embarking on this yearlong journey was to search myself and get to know who I am; what I want (and need) in a man - if, indeed, I need one at all; what I don't want in a man; and how to recognize and get out of it when I am in a bad or unhealthy relationship.  If I do find the right man, yes; I will still want to wait and finish the year off (hey, extra time can never be a bad thing) but I also don't feel as though I need to.  I'm not trying to make a point with my dating sabbatical.  I'm trying to live my life the best way that I can.  The fact remains that I do want to share that life with someone.  If I by some amazing twist have found The One (oh, Lisa the Romantic, settle down!), I'm not going to let go.  I'm going to hold on for the rest of our life together.

And if I haven't found "him", then life goes on.  Maybe a little bit less enthusiastically for a while, but it will.  And I'm way better equipped to handle that disappointment than I would have been 230 days ago.


Friday, 22 March 2013

My Happy List

Day 225
140 Days Remaining

These days I've been spending way more time on Facebook than I should be, mainly because I finally gave in and got myself an iPhone (I hate conforming...but I love the phone!) and it's just too easy to find anything and everything to distract oneself from real life.  In these weeks leading up to final exams, I've been finding it very difficult to concentrate on school and studying, and I'm not really sure if the lack of focus is the reason for the constant Facebook scouring, or the result of it.

So, instead of being filled with Biology vocabulary, systems, processes and definitions, my head rather unfortunately gets topped up with memes, pictures of food, and statuses ranging from boastful to disparaging.  I have more invitations to stupid games than I could ever play, I know way too much about some people's private lives, and I have yet another way to throw myself out there and tell everyone everything about myself.  You'd think this blog would be enough!

Yet, on occasion, something very worthwhile will pop up in my Facebook News Feed, and I appreciate these moments.  Most of my favorites are grammar-related ("i before e...except when you run a feisty heist on a weird beige foreign neighbor" being one of my favorites), but often others will make me take a moment to really think.  Tonight I came across a YouTube video that was being shared on Facebook, speaking of pausing in life and just really being present in the moment.  It was called "What's on Your Happy List?", and I'll share it here.  It's not necessary to watch it if you don't feel like it, but the essence of it is to stop and think about what really makes you happy...not the possibilities that may come in the future, but the things that really fill you with satisfaction, happiness and contentment (are those all similes?  Am I repeating myself?  Where's my thesaurus?).  The Facebook friend who shared it started her own Happy List, and it was beautiful to read.  I decided that I would work on one for myself.

 The beginning of my Happy List

The smell of rain

The first bud of new flowers in the spring

Sinking into a welcoming tub filled with mounds of bubbles

That first sip of a perfect cup of tea, all sweet and milky

Seeing someone’s eyes crinkle at the corners when they smile

Dancing to “Y’All Ready For This” or “The Rockafeller Skank” in my bedroom in my underwear

Hearing my kids laughing together

Seeing my kids playing together

Walking through a snowy night and seeing happy scenes lit up in every window as I walk by

My son standing with me at the front of the church holding my hand as we lead worship together

Reading a message that shows me I am cared for

My silly little bedtime routine of turning back the covers, lighting some candles, and spraying the pillow with Deep Sleep Spray from The Body Shop

Having coffee with old friends and feeling like we haven`t missed a single moment

Making food and serving it to people who are appreciative of it

My very rare indulgence of watching a chick flick in my jammies, eating ripple chips with French onion dip and drinking a very strong rum ‘n Coke

When someone just “gets” me

Those jokes that aren’t even very funny but somehow tickle my funny bone, so that I am helpless with laughter for no real reason while everyone else just shakes their head at my ridiculousness

Getting a stellar mark on a report card, test or assignment

Singing a song that I wrote and hearing the audience clap for me

When someone loves a gift I have put a lot of thought into for them

Getting lost in playing the piano

Chills running down my spine when Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman sing “Time to Say Goodbye“`

When I need to hear from God and I flip open my Bible and it lands on exactly the right verse that I need at that moment, or a song on the radio echoes what`s in my heart

Praying with my friends

Writing a story or a blog entry that just works

A clean kitchen

A pile of fluffy folded towels

A hug from my daughter – few and far between, and all the more precious for it

Holding a baby

Performing at karaoke and hitting every note

Remembering love...and looking forward to feeling it again

- - - -
What's on your Happy List?  Give it a try; it's a good way of reminding yourself how much we have to be grateful for every day.


Saturday, 16 March 2013

With Reckless Abandon

Day 219
146 Days Remaining

Today I wanted to explore a little more one of the Characteristics of Women and Men Who Love Too Much, as I mentioned in my prior post Pushover No More! (if that's okay with you...).

The first three characteristics on the list speak of emotional needs that weren't met as a child, of receiving little nurturing during the growing years.  These don't speak to me, as I felt very safe and comfortable in my family of origin, and I knew both my parents loved me very much.  The next characteristic on the list, however, is glaringly familiar, and uncomfortable to admit.

"Terrified of abandonment, you will do anything to keep a relationship from dissolving."
This is so true of my past relationships that I almost want to cringe thinking about it.  I mean, look at it this way: technically, come this April, I will have been single for three years.  That's speaking completely in technical terms, since it was April 2010 that HB (I`m not linking that one this time; you should all know the story in too much pathetic detail by now - if you don`t, search the blog and you`ll find wayyy too many references to him quite easily) and I officially broke up.  Yet, it took me until December 2012 to finally let go of the relationship. 

So why is this?  What is inside me that causes me to be so scared to let go of someone?  I think it took me a long time to recognize that I would actually be all right - in fact, in some cases much better off - without that deep attachment to another person.  Too much of me saw myself as simply a reflection of whoever I was with at the time.  I look at all that "wasted" time (although many would say that any time that moves you toward a realization or change inside yourself can never be counted as wasted) and shake my head.  Was HB worth all that time, energy and emotion that I invested in him?  I told myself at the beginning of the relationship that I wasn't going to let that happen.  When he broke up with me the first time, I said I didn't want to be that person who tries to convince a man that he should be with her, and that he should make those decisions on his own.  And then - almost subconsciously, while telling myself and my friends all along that I was fine with the status quo - I did everything in my power to be the perfect woman for him so that he could have a little help in making that decision.  I convinced myself that I would be content to wait for long as I knew I would end up with him at some point down the line.  He just needed to wake up and smell the perfume.

Now I look back and realize that was exactly the problem: I left it up to him.  Had I not finally given myself a good mental slap and determined that it was time to move forward - indeed, recognized that I had already moved forward - HB would likely have been thoroughly content to just keep stringing me along.  Who knows how many more years this could have gone on?  I pushed and pushed...I made sure to keep that connection there so that he would eventually realize that I was the one he wanted.  Yet he made it clear - even though he was loathe to just out-and-out say it to me - that he was never serious about me.  Yes, he wanted me in his life.  Yes, he hoped I would be in his future in some way...but he knew that if he just bluntly told me that nothing would ever happen, he would lose that connection that he had to me.  And there I was, cooking for him; making him feel special and loved; happy to spend with him whatever little drips and drabs of time that he would give me.  I accompanied him to special events dressed to the nines, I sent him little text message filled with hearts and encouraging words, and I told him how great he was and how proud of him I was all every day.  Who would want to give that up?  Of course, there is the possibility that HB was also having trouble letting go of the relationship, no matter what its form - perhaps he was also afraid of abandonment.  But that was not a real relationship and it should have ended much earlier.

Truth is, it isn't only that I'm afraid of abandonment or of being alone.  I don't mind being alone as much as I once did...but I like being in a relationship.  I like feeling wanted; I like taking care of someone; I like knowing that I "belong" to another person.  The problem begins when I begin to be absorbed into whoever that person is.  It has taken years for me to see that I don't need a man to make me who I am.  In truth, I'm a much more well-rounded individual now, due to taking on the many and varied interests of whoever my inamorato was at the time, but in the past couple of years I`ve really come to understand that I needed to discover what my own interests are, and the things that I am fired up about.  That`s why I`m in the nursing program; it`s why I`m going to build houses in Mexico this summer; it`s why I`m taking dance lessons; and it`s why I`ve finally learned to say to myself that it`s okay to do things that I want to do.  And it`s okay to want to do them in the first place - I can`t believe I ever had trouble with that.

So as I head into the last few months of this yearlong hiatus, I`m carefully schooling myself to remember who I am now.  I want to make sure that I know myself well enough that when and if I get into another relationship, I will still be me, and not allow myself to become just an extension of my man.  If he doesn`t love me for who I am, exactly the way I am, then I need to be able to recognize that it`s not the right relationship for me, and I need to stop it from happening.  I'm hoping that I've gotten that in my head deep enough that I'll be able to do it when the time comes.

I want to be a woman who loves deeply, but not a "woman who loves too much".  I'm pleased and proud to be a woman who is fiercely loyal and throws myself into a relationship; I love with reckless abandon.  I just want to make sure that I never again do that at my own expense.


Friday, 1 March 2013

The Michelin Man

Day 204
161 Days Remaining

Wow, I am a real slacker.  Look at how many blog posts I managed to get done in February: two. TWO!  How in the world did time go by so fast that I only squeezed out two posts?  And with hitting these "important" milestones (like the halfway point, and the 200-day mark, which I hit on February 25th), you'd think I'd be posting a lot more, if only to scream with excitement that I made it this far!  
...and counting.
Well, I can't be too hard on myself.  Truthfully, I've been incredibly busy with school - it's midterm time again, so between writing 13-page essays and studying hard for my Biology Lab and Lecture midterms, I'm almost literally feeling sick at the thought of sitting at the computer and staring at that screen some more.  I do mean that - my eyes are aching and my fingers are cramping up!  I've also spent the better past of the last few days in bed - attempting to keep up with my studying - laid up with rhinovirus.  Terrible, isn't it?  (Don't panic; I'm just practicing using my nursey words - "rhinovirus" is the common cold. But you probably already knew that.)  So here I am, already into March, forcing myself to take a few minutes to jot something down.  I don't want the record of The Evolution of Lisa to suddenly disappear; this time I fully intend to finish what I started.

A few interesting developments have happened since I last wrote, the weirdest of which is that I am being pursued - romantically - by a celebrity.  Well, a pseudo-celebrity, anyway, depending on your preferred television fare.  I don't even really know what to think of it at this point, but it's definitely interesting!

This particular famed individual happens to have been on several seasons of my favorite television show, so if any of you know which show that is, you could perhaps hazard a guess as to who he might be.  He is, actually, very well known, but only people who watch that show would be very familiar with him.  Let's call him..."Mitch Michelin".

It didn't start out as a romantic pursuit, of course, although I'm not naive enough not to realize that if he hadn't seen my photograph, he may not have contacted me in the first place.  I follow his "Official" page on Facebook and had posted on his Wall with comments on occasion, and one day, out of the blue, I received a text message from an unfamiliar number.


>Who's this?

>From way down in the United's Mitch Michelin. :-)

Of course I`m thinking, why would Mitch Michelin text me?!  So, that's exactly how I responded.

>Why would Mitch Michelin text me?   

>I was going through Facebook, and I saw you had your phone number posted, and I'm spontaneous.

Now at this point, I was really confused.  I hadn't realized that my cell number was that easily accessible (I'm set to "Friends Only"), so that gave me pause, but just the fact that he was texting me was so weird!  I, of course, happen to be a very spontaneous person as well, so I could understand how a famous person might want to send a random text message to make the day of some fan, but how did I know he was who he said he was?  On the other hand, why would someone pretend to be Mitch Michelin, of all people, and begin messaging me?

Long story short, Mitch Michelin has been texting me for more than two weeks now.  I have confirmed that he is who he says he is (I made him email me a photograph of himself holding up a piece of paper with my name written on it) and I actually really enjoy hearing from him, but I can`t stop myself from feeling a little strange about the whole situation.  No, he didn't start off with anything romantic on the table, but as we talked more, I must have said something - or a few things - that he liked.  It's definitely evident to me now that he hopes to try for something with me sometime in the future, and I'm not really sure how that makes me feel at this point.  I guess the fact that he is so far away (he lives in a completely different time zone in a completely different country) makes me feel safe, but at the same time, I'm very aware that I really don't know this guy.  All I really know of him is what I've seen on TV, and let's face it, that means absolutely nothing.

So what I've been trying to do is to stop feeling so fascinated that Mitch Michelin - himself - is texting me and wanting to be in touch with me - and actually called me one day and chatted with me for two hours - and start reminding myself that I need to always and continuously be aware of the Red Flags.  I don't want to be star struck by the fact that someone who is in fact very well known has declared that I am his favorite human being (and yes, he actually did say that, and I know that there's no way that he can know that without meeting me in person).  The fact that he is famous is not what matters about him.  The fact of who he is is what matters about him...and I have no idea who that person is yet.  I'm cautious, and I'm getting a clearer picture as time goes on.

Red Flag #1: He avoids direct questions - which, granted, happens often with text messaging, but I still don't enjoy it.  However, when we speak on the phone, he does respond clearly to direct cross-examination (I told him how much it frustrates me, and he invited me to ask anything that I wanted).

Red Flag #2: He's never met me and yet he is pursuing me quite adamantly from a distance.

Red Flag #3: He's been married three times.  Now, when I look at it from a different stance and think, well, if I had been married to each of my significant relationship partners, I would have been married four times, then I guess it is's still a red flag.  Yeah, no.  It's not the same thing at all.  Is it?
Red Flag #4: When I told him I was on a dating hiatus, he saw it as a challenge, and has declared his intention - whether he said this facetiously or not, I don't know - to break me before the 365 days are up.  My back got up at that one; I told him quite strongly that I am not a challenge to be overcome!  Even if he flew here tomorrow with six dozen red roses to woo me, I would not let that sway me.

I have to also admit that I have spent a lot of time Googling him since we began this correspondence.  I typed in "Mitch Michelin scandal" and "Mitch Michelin cheat" and "is Mitch Michelin a bad person" (yes, I know, that one is kind of weird) and I tell you, I can find absolutely nothing but good about this guy on the Internet.  I think it's next to impossible to keep such a clean record on the World Wide Web these days, especially if you're well known.  What I did find: yes, he's a Christian.  He is known all around the world as a genuinely nice guy.  He has worked in Christian publishing and produced one of my kids' favorite Christian radio shows.  He gave away hundreds of Bibles for free.  He's a good dad and everyone seems to love him.  And when we talked on the phone the conversation flowed easily and I really liked him.  I guess I'm scared that I'm overlooking things because he is famous, and because he is a Christian, and because right now, well, he's making me feel pretty darn good about myself.

And then I just tell myself: IT DOESN'T MATTER RIGHT NOW.  I have made him no promises; he has made me no promises, and any chance of meeting is way in the future.  Even if we met before August 9th - my last day of this hiatus - there still would be no possibility of even looking at anything romantic until after that date has passed.  And by that time, I definitely will either a) know him quite a bit better; b) have stopped hearing from him altogether; or c) have picked up on any other Red Flags that mean I need to say goodbye.  You can bet that if I receive any "iffy" photographs in my email, I'll be shutting him down (or I suppose I could sell them to the National Enquirer...).

So, what I thought might happen when I began this year (the possibility that someone would want to date me and I would have to make him wait) has happened, albeit in a very unexpected and totally surreal way.  Let`s just hope he stays in the States for a while and his interest in me peters out soon, if it`s going to.  Otherwise, who knows what will happen?