Back to the Blog!

My, how time flies. I got lazy and skipped a week of blogging. Then another, then another. People started to complain. Well, things got away from me, as things will do if you aren’t paying attention every minute of every damn day.

For example, I started dating this man and, despite the fact that I wasn’t at all sure he was my type, I’m still dating him, which is a little time-consuming and a lot weird. I keep thinking we need to discuss why this may not work, but he won’t stop talking long enough for me to tell him. If there were a talkers marathon, I’d sign him right up and start taking odds. By the end of the evening, I have abandoned all hope of gaining control of the conversation.

Okay, that wasn’t entirely truthful. He sort of isn’t my type except for being bald and funny. For some unnatural reason, a sense of humor as dry as the Gobi Desert appeals to me. That and the fact that I can’t offend him. Not that I try to offend him – I don’t try to offend anyone, but let’s face it, it happens. The man is nearly unoffendable. You gotta like that. Also, he’s a former smoker who cheats, and since I’m a former smoker who will cheat at the drop of a match, the dating continues, just two people being a bad influence on each other.

And speaking of imponderable guy stuff

In the news: a recent study suggests men in their mid-forties are afflicted with “hotness delusion syndrome.” Apparently there are about 15 percent more women than men in this age group now, and too many women chasing too few men can mean only one thing: a whole lot of guys thinking they’re hotter than they are. Or so the theory goes. It isn’t my demographic, of course, but I can see where it might have validity. We all know that for every woman who detests shopping for swimwear, there’s a guy walking the beach in a Speedo and black socks carrying fifty extra pounds and thinking he looks just fine.


Dating: It’s A Lot Like Not Dating


So I’ve been at this online dating thing a month or two now, and it’s amazing what you can learn in such a short time. For example, I have learned that I am attracted to bald men with beards. I have never been particularly inclined toward either bald men or men with beards. But a bald man with a beard is apparently a different animal.

What I’ve learned about men is that they probably are as uncomplicated as they say they are. Women are always trying to figure men out, as if they harbor deep and inscrutable secrets from birth to the grave. “For the love of God,” we ask, “what’s he thinking now?” Unfortunately, what he’s thinking is probably what you think he’s thinking. Also, it’s highly unlikely he will stop thinking it. Move on, woman.

I’ve also learned that men have some odd notions about women. Many complain about women who only want to go out with them for a free meal. What is that about? I know literally hundreds of women, and I can’t think of one who’s that hungry. Even lobster loses its appeal if you have to look at a stranger and make small talk through the entire meal. So, personally, I think men are just off the wall on this one. Pass the clarified butter.

And then there are the people who have simply been doing this too long. You can tell because they don’t care what they say anymore, like this man:
“Okay, it’s become clear to me that I’ve set the bar too high. Looking for a woman with a face, arms and legs. Arms and legs should preferably come in pairs and be of roughly the same size, i.e., arms should be same size as each other (same for legs), rather than arms being same size as legs. Graduation from grade school preferable, though not essential. You should not have worked as a bouncer at a biker bar.”

As for the whole online dating experience, the primary lesson seems to be: 1) you will receive messages from lots of very nice people you have no interest in whatsoever; and 2) the handful of people you do find interesting won’t be interested in you. No point in feeling bad. You don’t know these people, they don’t know you, and God knows what anyone is looking for. Sometimes you’re tempted to write some guy just to give him a clue. (“You are 65 years old – you might have better luck if you broaden your search beyond women under 45.”) But, of course, you do not.

And, yes, I’ve had only the one “date” so far. One per decade…seems about right.

My Left Foot


I finally got a tattoo this week. It didn’t take long, maybe a half-hour, but it hurt like hell, yes it did. Also, it’s a bigger tattoo than I expected to come out with, which is the kind of thing that happens to me. It isn’t that I’m unprepared. I’m a big planner. I plan and plan. Then I leave the plan at home and take off running as fast as I can, until I land in a spot that may or may not look familiar. It sort of works for me.

Uptown Tattoo looks exactly like you’d expect a tattoo place to look – kind of old, dark and funky, with every available surface covered in weird art. Not necessarily tattoo art, just weird art. And of course the artists have a lot of tattoos themselves, so you almost don’t know where to look. There is a stereotype of tattoo artists that didn’t seem to fit. For the most part they seemed smart, friendly and well-spoken. And covered in tattoos.

I like my tattoo a lot. I’d say that I should have done it sooner, but then it wouldn’t be this tattoo but some other tattoo that I probably wouldn’t like as much. It was designed by my friend Sunshine (a talented art director and undoubtedly old soul) and then fiddled with by me. So it is a one-of-a-kind tattoo. It includes five stars, one for each grandchild, with the option of adding more stars if people continue to be as fertile as they have been. I have no regrets.


Dating and Other Self-Destructive Acts


So I kind of went on a date last weekend. Well, not really a date, more of a Hi, Stranger kind of thing, but given the time elapsed since my last Hi, Stranger thing, I thought it qualified as a date.

It all started when I came home one Saturday afternoon and found Daughter #1 on my computer checking her online dating service. One thing led to another and pretty soon she was signing me up to receive messages from complete strangers too. Now I’m hanging out in the online world, waiting to get proposals of all kinds, indecent or otherwise, although nothing indecent has been proposed, maybe because men my age have learned a thing or two about women my age. Or maybe they just aren’t in a hurry anymore.

And here’s what you’ll find if you search your average online dating site for men of a certain age living in Minnesota: a lot of pictures of guys holding fish. Big fish. Now, far be it from me to suggest that this might be a metaphor for something else, but what’s the deal? Do they think women find men with large tackle particularly attractive? Are they proving they can put food on the table? The only thing it makes me think is, boy, I’m glad I didn’t have to clean that big stinky fish.

Another thing you find is pictures of men with their machines – cars, motorcycles, boats (plenty of boaters in these parts). Sometimes the men aren’t even in the photo – it’s just a picture of a car, motorcycle or boat all by itself. I went so far as to add a clarification to my profile: “I am not a boater. If you’re looking for someone to be that special ‘first mate,’ best look elsewhere.”

So anyway, I had this Hi, Stranger experience last weekend, which was not unpleasant, but the most interesting part of the whole thing was the feedback from Daughters #1, #2 and #3, who apparently are under the impression that they have the right (nay, the obligation) to weigh in on something this rare and this enormous. I didn’t mind the phone calls clamoring for details, but I did get a little miffed by comments like, “Good for YOU, Mom!” Like I might just be the most pitiful excuse for a date in the seven-county metro area. Which I am not. I am a darn fun date. I can hold up my end of a conversation, you better believe it.

Anyway, Daughter #1 tells me this is how things work nowadays. So, okay, I can hang out with the online daters for a while. Winters around here are almost endless.

The Sixties Again, Part 2





The process of aging is a strange thing. You go along blithely, knowing that each year you’re getting older but feeling immortal nonetheless. You turn 40, 50, and subtly things change. One day you start getting hot flashes – you take hormones and forget about it. Then you’re at the dollar store buying reading glasses so you can see small print. You get a pill from the doctor to take care of that acid reflux in the morning. And if you aren’t on blood pressure or cholesterol medicine, your friends are. It’s only in hindsight that you start adding things up, and then you think, “This sucks.”

But it’s turning 60 that really starts the train moving. Friends you still picture at 18 or 25 or 30, aren’t. People you used to laugh and drink with half the night start talking about their heart stints and knee replacements and won’t stay out past ten. The guy who partied too hard and got in fights on Saturday night, who should have died behind the wheel more than once, dies of cancer instead. And then one of your dearest friends in the world, who sat next to you in Sister Mary Mark’s first-grade class, dies of complications from ovarian cancer, and part of what you feel is the Sixties punching you in the nose and saying, “Pay attention, fool!” Which you sort of do. But you sort of don’t.

I went for my annual physical last month. Had to. They wouldn’t refill my prescriptions anymore. I was a little wary, as my doctor of 15 years moved on and left me in the hands of someone who could pass for 24. (She’s 34. I asked.) There were times during the physical when the new doctor just sat there studying my medical history, looking worried and saying nothing. My old doctor used to do that too, so I figured the new one knew what she was doing. I know she’s thorough, because she signed me up for more tests.

Which is what led to the discovery of two nodules in my neck, one on the thyroid gland and one on the parotid gland. They call them nodules because the word “mass” tends to alarm people, but if you ask them what a nodule is, they say, “Well, it’s a mass.” The next step, of course, is any number of tests and scans, because God forbid you should skip one and jump ahead to the place you know you’re headed anyway, The Biopsy, where they plunge a needle into your neck a lot deeper than the so-called numbing stuff goes and you end up looking like someone jammed a golf ball down your ear canal. Excuse me, that was Biopsy #1. #2 is coming up.

I don’t know for sure yet, but my nodules are looking distinctly more nodule-like than mass-like. A welcome thing, but they may have to come out regardless, which means a 3- to 4-hour surgery per nodule. A little something for me to look forward to this winter, along with quitting smoking. Because although my nodules are unrelated to smoking (hard to believe, isn’t it) you’d have to be an idiot not to see the handwriting on the wall. And that means becoming intimately acquainted with the bathroom scale again. There is absolutely nothing easy in this life. Not one thing.

It’s unseasonably hot for Minnesota in October, in the eighties yesterday and today, which makes blowing leaves a worse job than it already is. The Twins have dropped two games to the Damn Yankees in the AL playoffs. Randy Moss recognized the error of his ways and came back to the Vikings, where he was welcomed with open arms. I’ll be out in the yard blowing leaves and contemplating my nodules.