Monthly Archives: January 2009

Rate the Date: click all that apply

So it’s Friday night and I’m lying in bed, Killian the black lab at my feet while I peruse JDate. I haven’t decided to take the leap into a paid membership, so I can’t read the messages that I’ve received. That’s probably my way of dealing with not really being ready to take the plunge into dating. After all, I haven’t lost the, oh, I don’t know – 40, 50, 60 pounds yet, gotten the gap between my teeth fixed and developed a love for exercising and the great outdoors (why do so many of these guys expect women in their 50’s to be physically active? Really? Have they met many women my age?).

I think I really go to the site just to assure myself that there are men my age who still have their hair and teeth.

It’s kind of like browsing any other collection-type website, like All Recipes. Now, that’s a great website. Say you’re looking for a chicken recipe. You just to to All Recipes, and voila! you can browse through thousands of chicken recipes. But the part I like best is the reviews section. Especially the ones that go, “I really loved this recipe. I just substituted chicken breasts for the thighs, green pepper instead of chilis, oregano for the cilantro (DH HATES cilantro), and I cooked it in the crock pot instead of on the grill.”

The other day my daughters and I were discussing JDate and we decided that that’s what JDate needs – a review section. You know, like All Recipes, Zappos or Amazon.

It could go like this:

Did you date this man? Please take a moment to fill out our review section…

1. He was (a) taller than described (b) shorter than described (c) I couldn’t really tell unless he removed the lifts

2. He was (a) thinner than described (yeah, right), (b) heavier than described, (c) so fat that the circus was calling

Pros: click all that apply:

[  ] Had all his own teeth   [   ] Had all his own hair  [   ] Used good grammar

Cons: click all that apply:

[  ] Lives with mom   [  ] let me pay for dinner   [  ] reminded me of my ex-husband

[  ] Yes, I would set him up with a friend  [  ] I wouldn’t set him up with my worst enemy

Then you could have dater reviews, like:

Wow! This was a real winner. He was fifteen minutes late for the date, didn’t open the car door for me, and stuck me with the check. He never finished college (unlike what was in the description), and the conversation centered around his weekend gaming addiction. Run, run, run – I give him 1 star (he got one because we both loved the movie “Bridges Of Madison County”).

or

5 stars. I would give Mr. Smith a 10 if I could. This was the best date I’ve been on in years. He was funny, smart, well-dressed and knew exactly what to order. We talked for hours – that man knew so much about movies, books and theater.

**** important notice**** Mr. Smith has withdrawn his “looking for women” status. He can now be found in “looking for men.”

Then, of course, after you do reviews you can have the recommendations part. Like, “Did you date Mr. Black? Then, try…”   Women who dated this man also dated…

So, don’t you think a reviews section would be a great addition to a dating site? Amazing what it would do for truth in advertising. What reviews would you post?

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Ellen Barkin To Star In, Produce Series About A High-Profile Divorcee

From The Huffington Post this morning… Ellen Barkin is going to be producing a series about a “high-profile divorcee” who is “in her early 50s … whose life explodes unexpectedly…Her nerve and life experience allows her to tell the world to go screw itself, and they love her for it.”

I guess I’ll be DVR’ing that puppy. So nice to know that I’m some kind of trendsetter, I suppose. Oh, but wait, except for the “high profile” part…

Full story: Ellen Barkin To Star In, Produce Series About A High-Profile Divorcee

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Filed under Art imitates life, I'm not so different

The ex: pondering the names

Romeo and Juliet
Image via Wikipedia

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”

Romeo and Juliet

I never know what to call him. My husband. The one who eventually won’t be my husband (that is, if he ever gets around to filing for divorce, but that’s a topic for different post).

Today I referred to him (in an email to a stranger who is willing to come to my house and pick up old computers that we have no use for and that my daughter keeps running into when she pulls into the garage) as my husband. Like it was something normal. I just didn’t see any reason to tell a complete stranger that, while he TECHNICALLY is my husband, he doesn’t live here and we don’t pay bills together. We don’t sleep together and we don’t eat dinner together… So I just called him my husband. ’nuff said.

But what do I call him? I sometimes refer to him as the SoonToBeXHusband (or STBXH), but that’s a little cumbersome and a lot too support-group-forum like for my taste. And I never remember the order of the letters, so I have to silently recite “soon-to-be-x-husband” in my head when I type it. Not unlike “the silverware had a fight, the knife and the spoon were right, so the fork left” when I’m setting the table. Really. Don’t you do that? Or “spring forward, fall back” for daylight savings time. Anyway…

The ex? I dunno. That conjures up visions of an overly made up waitress or something. Dangling a cigarette and wearing tight pants and 4-inch heels.

The man formerly known as my husband? Nice, but a little too wordy. And I’m not a fan of Prince.

Sometimes bloggers refer to their partners as Mr (blog name), but that would make him Mr. Coffee, and that’s the name of a kitchen appliance and it makes me think of Joe DiMaggio, which makes me think of “Koo-koo-ka-choo, Mrs. Robinson,” which makes me think of Simon and Garfunkel. And I love Simon and Garfunkel, so I don’t want that association.

There are the obvious pejorative names, like sh**head and a**hole. But I’m not really interested in typing those words repeatedly. Or saying them. Or even thinking them when I think of him. Okay, well maybe sometimes, but not ALL the time.

I’m strongly considering FOMC, which is short for Father Of My Children. But does that imply that we weren’t married?

Which leaves me with his name, but I feel like I need something more descriptive. More descriptive, but not cumbersome and dignified (for me, the speaker).

Suggestions? What do you call your ex husband? Keep it clean, people. Help me out here – what do you call him?

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Filed under Communication, Creating a new life, Redefining your relationship

Stayin’ Frugal

If you’ve been reading here for any time at all you realize that frugal spending is somewhat of an obsession of mine. I think it partially because I’m totally anxious about money and it’s also part of my whole taking charge of my life thing.

A big thanks to Glblguy for hosting this week’s Festival of Frugality. I haven’t had a chance to read all the articles but I really enjoyed The perqs of pinching pennies by Funny-About-Money.  It’s amazing how small changes make such a difference.

To that end, I’ve decided to take enough out of my savings to pay off my credit card this month. Now, that isn’t going to help much with my anxiety, since I’m sure that less money in the savings will mean more anxiety in me. But it just doesn’t make sense to continue to accrue finance charges when I’m getting bupkis (you know that means nothing, right? Not that it doesn’t mean anything, it means nothing. Makes sense?) from the savings account. And I’m just going to focus on looking at that zero balance in the credit card statement. It hasn’t been at zero since the summer, so I’m excited.

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The frugal single

More on living single on the cheap…

Disclaimer: although my husband of 30 years has moved out, my 23 year old daughter still lives with me. I’m still purchasing most of the groceries for the two of us, but she handles her own personal expenses and gas, etc.

I’ve been doing all the shopping for groceries (well, for everything) since he moved out, and it’s been an eye-opener. He did most of the grocery shopping in the past, so I didn’t really know how much we were spending on stuff. Being newly single has forced me to reevaluate the way to do everything, and spending is certainly one area that was ready for examination. Here are some of my recent observations:

Grocery buying at a non-grocery store

I buy a lot of Crystal Light. A lot. We don’t drink much soda at home any more (too expensive, not good for you, and – most important – too heavy to shlep), but sometimes dinner needs something more than water. So I buy Crystal Light. It isn’t the cheapest, either. It is, however, less expensive than soda (and I don’t have to recycle cans or bottles). Friday I was at Jewel (my local grocery store – owned by Albertson’s) and bought a can for over $5.00. But they didn’t have the flavor I really like, so when I was at Target yesterday I wandered over to the grocery section. Not only did they have the flavor I like, but it was under $4.00. That’s a big savings, in my book. Especially since I’m at Target at least once a week.  While I was there I checked out some of the other stuff I buy. Eggs were $2.30 for 18. Normally I buy 36 eggs at Sam’s Club for just over $4.00, so that was a little more than I normally spend, but the upside is that I wasn’t planning to go to Sam’s so the extra 30 cents was well worth it. And, it was still cheaper than buying eggs at Jewel.

Milk. Milk is expensive. Did the cows get a raise? I checked the price of milk out at Target. It was definitely cheaper than Jewel. Speaking of milk – I usually pop into the local 7-11 to buy milk – it’s almost always cheaper than the grocery store (and no long lines to buy it, either).

Bulk buying when you’re eating alone

Speaking of buying food at Sam’s Club – here’s my observation on that. If I can freeze it or eat it right away, it’s usually worth buying. But most everything comes in packaging that’s way too much for one, so I pass it up if it’s perishable. I almost always buy chicken breasts there. They have a package for around $11.00 that has 6 enormous breasts in it (I can’t quite picture the chicken from whence these breasts came, to be honest). I open the package immediately and freeze the breasts individually. One is enough for Allie and me for dinner. When she moves out next year I’ll still buy the chicken – I figure I can roast one breast and have some yummy leftovers for lunch the next day.

The importance of planning

Leftovers seem to be a huge problem for me. I’m still adjusting my cooking habits, so I end up having a lot of extra food. I also don’t have a huge love for leftovers – I hate eating the same thing days in a row. The problem is I love making soup, and every soup recipe seems to make way too much. I’ve decided to cut back a little on how often I make soup and freeze half immediately. I’m working on eating our way through the stuff that’s in the freezer right now so that I can store portion-sized soup containers to make it easy to pull them out. So far I’ve frozen lentil-barley soup and chicken tortilla soup.

Besides freezing, I’m also working on perfecting the planned leftovers method. In other words, planning on having leftovers to repurpose in another meal. A couple of weeks ago I roasted chicken breasts (try the McCormick’s Rotisserie Chicken seasoning – yum). It uses just as much cooking gas to roast two as it does one, so I made a couple. But that was way too much for Allie and me to eat at one meal, so I sliced the rest up and threw it in the fridge. The next night I took out a ready-made pizza crust, put barbeque sauce on it and covered it with the roasted chicken from the day before and some cheddar cheese. Oh – and some caramelized onions (a worthy addition to every meal, I must say). It was really good and cost next to nothing!

Tradtional 28-ounce tin of McCann's Steel Cut ...
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The next thing I’m going to try is making a large pot of oatmeal and keeping it in the fridge for breakfast microwaving. Check out Mark Bittman‘s blog post for tips on that.

One of the things I was most worried about when the STBXH moved out was that cooking for one would really cramp my style. I love to cook and make a nice meal, and I just didn’t know if it would be fun to do it for just me. I’m finding out that with some modifications it can be just as rewarding and affordable, too.

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Filed under Cooking for one, Finances

Still not feeling well…

Thought I’d share this fun site, though.

yoursign1

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Taking care of yourself

I don’t get sick too often, which is amazing considering that I spend my day around 300 middle-schoolers. And in the computer lab, no less, where I’m sure our keyboards are breeding grounds for everything from the common cold to the plague.

But it’s happened. I woke up yesterday with runny eyes, a congested head… Yuck.

Chicken Soup
Image by Adam “Slice” Kuban via Flickr

This was a place where the STBXH stepped up to the plate. He would make me chicken soup (or buy it from our local Greek-owned Jewish-style deli), bring me cold medicine and make sure I was warm and toasty in bed. He would let the dogs out, let the dogs in, let the dogs out… You know.

He essentially let me have plenty of space to wallow in my self-pity and nurse my yucky feeling self back to health.

So how do you take care of yourself when there’s nobody else around to do it for you? I do want to mention that both my daughters are there for me, lest they read this and yell at me. One offered to bring me her comfort foods (but I’m not as into grape juice and saltines as she is) and the other did make me a delish turkey sandwich last night (and, more importantly, did the dishes after dinner).

But what about the things that we can do for ourselves when we’re under the weather and alone? Here are some ideas I have:

1. Have comfort foods available. For me, it’s Cream of Wheat. That’s easy to keep in the pantry. So are cans of chicken soup – not the same as homemade (or Pete-the-Greek made), but acceptable. Frozen ready-to-bake chocolate chip cookie dough would be nice, too, but I don’t think that will last too long in my house.

2. Indulge and revel in the solitude. Enjoy the opportunity to take a bath without any interruptions. Burn the candles you want to burn, turn the heat up (or down) as much as you want, and wrap yourself up in the cozy blanket without worrying that you’re stealing it from anyone else.

3. Make plans for a day or two out with a friend who will understand if you still don’t feel well and have to cancel. I’m planning to meet Kathy at the movie tomorrow at 5:00 and we’ll go to dinner afterward. She’ll understand if I cancel, but this way I have somewhere to go, so if I’m feeling up to it I already have a plan in place.

4. When someone says, “Is there something you need?” tell them. Drop the stoicism. Maybe somebody else can walk the dogs, take the car for an oil change or return the library books.

What are your ideas? What do you do to take care of yourself when there’s nobody else to do it?

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Filed under Haven for one, Singleness