Tag Archives: relationships

Why “The Croods” made me appreciate my dad even more…

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First off, let me admit that I usually cry at animated movies. I have the distinct honor of probably being the only person to cry at the previews to Return of Neverland and Finding Nemo, but I digress, Yesterday, I went to see the Croods and my crying streak continued. If you’ve seen only seen the previews to the film you may wonder about my sanity. It looks freaking hilarious and it absolutely is. I laughed quite often. What I didn’t expect was to be so taken in by the story of a daughter and her father.

The character of Eep, voiced by the wonderful Emma Stone, struggles to come into her own in a family where her overprotective dad won’t let them out of the cave. The father, Grug (Nicholas Cage), tells stories where anyone that tries something new dies. His is a message of fear, born out of inexperience and love. Grug doesn’t want to keep his daughter from goodness, he just wants to protect her from everything!

It’s hard not to watch as a grown woman and see both sides. I can absolutely relate to the desire to follow the light, which Eep does both physically and metaphorically, but having loved children with my whole heart, I can also see the desire to protect them from hurt at any cost. Watching the journey (and it’s an actual journey) of Eep and Grug from the cave of darkness into a new world of understanding took me back to my journey with my father.

While we didn’t have as much conflict as Eep and Grug, we had our share of moments. It’s hard when you watch a movie, hear the words for which you judged your dad, and realize they just came out of your own mouth not an hour before. The empathy and compassion I felt for Rudy Ray Davis at how hard it must have been to love me and give me freedom brought tears to my eyes.

But those tears were nothing compared to the onslaught at the end of the movie (STOP READING NOW IF YOU DON’T WANT SPOILERS).

As the family runs from the land that is crumbling behind them, they suddenly encounter a chasm that it too great for them all to cross. Grug, being a caveman and immensely strong, selflessly throws each member of the family across the divide, saving Eep (of course!) for last. She knows that once he throws her he won’t be able to come with them and the moment where she tells him she’s not ready to go, that she has too much to tell him, to fix…was where I first lost it. He responds in the way only a good father can. He tells her he knows, that he loves her, and he gives her a hug.

I am lucky enough to have a father who knows me, loves me, hugs me and forgives me.

At this point in the movie, I don’t think it can get worse, but oh, am I ever wrong. Grug tells her to blow her shell if she’s in trouble and throws her to the other side where they catch one last glimpse of each other before the cliff he is standing upon collapses. Of course, the family all believes he has perished and eventually they start blowing their shells as a way to honor him more than anything else. But Grug is alive and he hears the call.

His response is to immediately find a way to come to their rescue because he believes they are in danger. He concocts a crazy scheme that should never have worked and ends up by their side.

This is where I became absolutely verklempt. The selfless love, the willingness to face any danger, the ability to do what must be done because the people you love need you and are in trouble…I’ve only known one man in my life that could actually do what Grug did and I’m lucky enough to call him Dad.

So, thank you Rudy Davis for loving me despite my flaws, for protecting me even when I didn’t want you to, for forgiving me when I was an egotistical know it all brat, and for being the most loving, sacrificing, generous man in the world.

The first time someone shows you who they are…

It’s funny how true words of wisdom have an inherent malleability that allows them to grow with you through the years and apply to each new stage of your life. It’s always a surprise to me when I revisit a quote that profoundly affected my narrow but widening view of people and relationships, only to find that it now means something wholly different. In my late twenties this quote from Maya Angelou rocked my view of love. “The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.” In my late thirties it has suddenly done it again.

I was late to the love game. I was always a flirt with lots of dating options, but actual relationships eluded me. I couldn’t quite figure out the right balance of independence and allowing someone in. I think being overly independent led to me make some questionable choices in the men I fell “in love” with. I ended up angry with them for not being what I wanted when it wasn’t their fault. I heard this quote and the puzzle pieces fell into place. I was too scared to want someone who could really make me happy so I listened to my subconscious instead of the words and actions that they had always put out there. The realization was the lens through which I interpreted Maya Angelou’s words as a warning.

What happens though, if I look through the more mature and optimistic lens of my older, slightly more experienced soul? When I am honest and quiet the anxious chatter from my subconscious self, I can read those words from a radically different perspective. I see a warning, but it’s of a different kind.

This new perspective tells me that instead of being wary that someone I find to be patient and charming, honest and fair, interested and interesting might not be – I should believe that the person I experience is truly as they present themselves to be. After all, it wasn’t the fault of the men I chose in my youth, it was a problem with my listening skills. If my listening skills and self understanding have increased then perhaps, just as I have grown through my joys, mistakes, and bigger mistakes, the people I engage with have, too. Maybe I need to take those words, “The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.”, and apply them to the positive relationships in my life.

I choose to believe that the person who shows me strength of character, who values honesty, who respects me and my opinions is indeed the person they are showing themselves to be. It is the ultimate act of trust and living in the present over the past.

The question for 2013: Does it have to?

As 2013 approaches I find the question, “Does it have to?” popping into my head at a pretty steady frequency. The question doesn’t actually refer to the imminent arrival of a new year, but to each assumption I subconsciously make when thinking about my future. I notice that there are patterns to my expectations of what life will hold and that perhaps those patterns are limiting. The thing I love about the question is that I didn’t come up with it on purpose.  It organically popped into my head while watching a character on a favorite show struggle with what they believed to be an unavoidable outcome.  They stated “Now, this means…” and my immediate reaction was, “Does it have to?” Of course the answer to the question is no.  Our interpretation of life events, what different occurrences mean and where they take us is entirely up to each of us. 

For me the biggest assumption that I make every new year is that the year to come will in some way resemble the year that just passed.  I go into January expecting that I will continue in a job that makes me happy, live in my condo with my cats, hang out with some friends every now and then, and spend time with my family.  All of those things are awesome and bring me joy, but does 2013 have to look like 2012 to make me happy?  It would be easy to believe the fact that there’s nothing overtly wrong or challenging about my life situation means it should continue as is, but the question won’t stop badgering me. “Does it have to?”

In my work, does being good at what I do mean I have to continue to do what I do? In my relationships, does being content on my own mean I don’t pursue something new or that I couldn’t find some new level of happiness if I took a risk? In my home life, just because it’s good and easier to stay where I am, do I have to? Asking the question in regards to just those three areas opens up mind boggling possibilities to sincerely explore. I have been in a holding pattern with my career and relationships for a few years now.  It’s a pattern born from a strange cocktail of contentment and laziness.  The question “Does it have to?” pushes me to switch up my drink of choice. 

I find the question exciting.  For instance, continuing to teach while starting my Masters in Educational Technology could be overwhelming.  I could see it as something that will make my life harder and my schedule crazier, but does it have to? Don’t I have control over what I put into each area of my life? Can’t I choose to view each lesson as a joy filled experience of learning instead of a “to do” list to move me to the next stage? Another example: Does being ready to be in a relationship again mean I have to get set up, join an online dating site, or go out to more bars? Or can it mean that I intuitively listen to who I want to spend time chatting or talking with? Can it mean that I let go and just see who pops up in my life?

There’s a lot of freedom in the question, but there’s also an inherent responsibility that when denied could lead to a lack of decision-making or commitment to any one path.  Ultimately we do have to choose or we default into deciding by not deciding. Having been guilty of this quite often in the past, I feel aware enough of the consequences of indecision to avoid its recurrence in 2013.  As I make my way into the new year, I hope to examine my assumptions and self-limiting patterns in order find the meaning I am searching for in life. Good luck to you as you do the same.

Are You Faking Your Life?

I’m always surprised by the height of drama that surrounds me.  People pledging revenge, crying like the world is ending, stressed out to the point that they make themselves sick.  I wonder sometimes what makes each human so different in their response to the trials and tribulations of daily life.  Why does one person lose the love of their life, pick themselves up and love again, when someone else sinks into a depression never to recover.  Did one person truly love more than the other? Is one person’s hell really that much hotter or painful than mine? Is it really individual differences that make us react like night and day or do cultural expectations brainwash some into thinking they’re entitled to be selfish, stage hogging, attention grabbers?

I guess I wonder if everyone around me is overly influenced by the visual entertainment of our time? I’m sure generations before ours dealt with revenge, depression, anxiety and fear…great literature proves this to be true, but was it as acceptable then as it is today to throw a fit? It almost feels to me like people think they’re starring in their own movies and the people that surround them are just extras put there to revolve around their story. If we couldn’t watch the sordid, crazy, unreal situations in the cathartic presence of others, would we be so easily influenced towards the melodramatic?  Does the fact that we’re having a communal experience that seems so real make us believe that it is reality?

I remember when a friend who suspected her fiancé of cheating told me before her wedding, “If I find out he’s cheating on me I will call his boss and he will lose his job.  His life will be over.”  There was more…it was a tirade but I don’t recall it all.  They’re now divorced, but I remember thinking, “Why are you marrying someone you obviously don’t love?” If she loved him, how could she so easily have ruined his life – even if he did hurt her? It became obvious watching their marriage that in the saga that she saw as her life, truly loving that person didn’t matter.  She was living out her own soap opera – and still is.

I wonder if people were left to truly gauge their own level of emotion without reference to media, would we have the level of violence, craziness, and drama that exists in our society? I’m sure there would still be women like my friend who would take their revenge to excess, but would there be as many?

Sometimes I feel like I’m walking around watching people fake their lives and I can’t help but think that’s really dangerous to the authentic human experience. What would I expect of a relationship if I hadn’t watched a zillion romantic comedies? Would I be so quick to diagnose myself and others with depression or as needing therapy if I hadn’t watched so many people in therapy on the silver screen? How do we know what we are really feeling when we follow a script?

I’m not just judging others, I’ve been there.  I’ve caught myself listening to words come out that I I didn’t think up.  I’ll catch phrases or moments that came from conversations I’ve observed in shows that I like or movies I’ve seen.  People always tell me I’d be a great counselor, but is that because they really feel like I can connect to them, or am I just good at sounding like the movie script they want their life to be?

When I went off script with my friend who wanted revenge on her fiancé it was totally ineffective.  There was no way she was going to see reason.  Was that because love and hate are so closely related or because she was experiencing pain and it was easier to handle it in a way that she’d observed and found fascinating than in the way her authentic self would have processed it?

I don’t have any answers.  I’m just truly hoping that by raising the questions I can up my own level of awareness and maybe that of some people around me.  Maybe the next time I catch myself about to go ballistic, I’ll put myself in check and examine my genuine feelings instead. I hope that I can.  I fear the day we can’t tell the difference anymore.

Leaving the “Waiting Place”

I remember reading Oh the Places You’ll Go when I was seventeen, a graduation gift from a cherished first love complete with obligatory love letter of platitudes appropriate for the occasion. I skimmed it, quickly surmising  that said first love believed in me and I would definitely be going places in my life sooner rather than later. Looking back, I wish I had paid more attention to the twists in the road of life Dr. Seuss so aptly described. If I had, perhaps I wouldn’t have lingered as long as I did in the “waiting place”.

I think we’re fed a lot of bull as we grow up about what our lives should look like.  Some people wade through the manure easier than others.  An ailment from which I suffered that made it harder to get clarity was that of being a people pleaser.  I did a good job at faking independence and looking like I was making choices for myself but really, I went to work for the CHURCH after twelve years of Catholic school.  I was addicted to approval.

I guess I just thought that everything would fall into place and I’d be a teacher, get married, have kids and I don’t know what…that’s what all my friends were doing and I was sure that’s what everyone wanted me to do, too.  So I waited because, let’s face it – sometimes the waiting place isn’t that bad a place to hang.  I was never lonely. I was never bored.  But I was also never proactive when it came to really making my life what I wanted it to be.  I guess what I thought was “just happening” with my friends getting married and starting families was really them making choices in their lives.  And working and teaching religion was easy and fun, so I lived in the waiting place – stuck in a nice existence where I never made a choice because everything was good enough.

It wasn’t until I started writing a few years ago that I finally saw the path out of that waiting place.  It was illuminated by this creative urge that started blinking off and on.  At first it was more off than on.  Now it’s more on than off, but it’s still not as steady as I’d like.  I need it to shine bright enough that I can’t find my way back to the waiting place.  Writing woke me up and helped me say, “Wait, I never really knew if I wanted to get married or start a family and I never really wanted to teach religion my whole life.” So maybe I need to start choosing.

The actual choices I’ve made in the last few years have been full of risks I never would have taken in the waiting place.  Writing conferences, directing, performing, teaching marketing in addition to religion…they’ve all been steps away from that old molasses swamp.  I’m starting a Masters in Educational Technology in the spring and I’ve finished two books (although still haven’t made the choice to actively work towards publication).  I’ve worked on myself both inside and out.  I’m in a good place now and it’s one where I really can’t wait to see what MY future will hold. I’m leaving the waiting place behind.  Guess I should dig out that book and see what’s next!

Voices of Thanksgiving

Thanks to a nasty cold, I’ve spent the last few days without my voice.  At first it was novel and somewhat entertaining, and while it hasn’t crossed into annoying or truly frustrating yet, it has given me pause to consider its worth in my life. It’s Thanksgiving morning and as I sit at my laptop contemplating what to give thanks for today, voices, not just my own fill my mind.

When we come into the world our voices are instruments we instinctively use as a means to have our needs filled. We give thanks for the strong wails of babies that keep us up at night and tear our hearts open in order to fill them with the insatiable need to care for the tiny body from which emanates the voice of a new soul. As they grow and change their voices produce giggles and squeals that delight and plant in us the seeds to stay with them on their journey.

The stumbles and mispronunciations of toddlerhood give way to the attempts at grown up conversations and connections as the purpose of our voice changes from meeting our own needs to connecting with others.  Voices produce “I wuv yous” and start to ask questions like the ever present “why”? Listening to a three year-old list off every person he knows when you ask him who he loves, or hearing a kindergartener’s attempts to be a little adult when she explains things to us about how things work or what her little brother wants forges a connection between generations.

As we enter our teen and young adult years our voice takes on an attitude and a confidence.  We begin to understand that this gift of a voice isn’t only there for our needs and connection but that it can change the world around us.  The leash of authority that perhaps quieted our voices is suddenly loosed and we say what we mean and what we want to become.  Our voices make mistakes and sometimes speak to soon during these years.  They can spray harsh words and then struggle to find apologies. But this is a transformational time for our voices.  We own them in these years.

As our voices age, they start to reflect our purpose.  They may take on the gentleness or fierce protectiveness of the voices that nurture us and welcome other voices into the world. Parental voices saturated with love and concern help us to feel a part of a family, they soothe us and give us the courage to get up each day. They discipline and encourage with thoughtfulness and care.  They fill hearts with unconditional love that envelops you whole with acceptance, making you feel like the most important person in the world.

We start to appreciate the voices in our lives that inspire us and help us be more than we thought we could be.  The voices that offer confidence, encouragement and solace and those that show patience and never give in to the mean side become the voices we seek out. There are voices that always believe in dreams and ask to help and some that show vulnerability and strength as they teach us to keep going, keep trying, keep reaching, and never give up.

Later in life our voices begin to tell stories. Stories that help us make sense of our lives and stories that connect us to our past and our future.  We become voices that connect generations to memories and people of the past. We create links to the voices that are no longer with us and help others feel like they knew people they never met.  Eventually we all become voices that are only heard in the hearts of those we loved, but for those of us with faith, we believe our voices will all be united again someday.

Today I am thankful for the voices that surround me and for my own voice, quiet as it may be at the moment. I choose to raise it in Thanksgiving for my home, enough food, the country I am blessed to live in and those who serve and protect it.  I hope that those who go without will have their lives filled with voices of hope and that we may all find the strength to let our voices reflect true good.

Bachelorette Emily: Finally! An Entertaining Men Tell All Episode

You know, I usually hate the Men/Women Tell All episodes of this franchise, but for some reason I loved this one from Emily’s season.  I think it has something to do with the fact that despite my initial belief they cast a bunch of ugly, boring guys (review blogs of first two episodes), I ended up with real feelings for these men.  Love (Sean, Wolf, Charlie…) or hate (Kalon!) I ended up caring and you can’t ask for more when it comes to reality TV.

The show started off with a nice montage of memorable moments and moments we didn’t see.  I agreed with the choice of Kalon’s baggage comment, Ryan’s don’t gain weight comment, and Doug’s uncomfortable first kiss! I cringed at seeing more of Travis and the egg and Emily spilling wine before she didn’t give Joe the rose on his date, but loved-loved-loved seeing Arie’s younger brothers spying on their kiss!

Seeing Ryan and Kalon reinforced all the beliefs I’d formed throughout the season.  I wondered if maybe they’d be better in person, but neither one seemed to be able to look back and see what was clear to the audience. Ryan wouldn’t take back his, “I would love you, but maybe not love on you” weight comment and Kalon couldn’t see why the guys had such a bad reaction to the helicopter entrance.  He would have found it “interesting”. Funniest moment had to be when Chris Harrison actually asked Ryan, “Is there a chance you just might be an arrogant ass?” His answer that he couldn’t be arrogant? PRICELESS and predictable.  He wanted to be the next Bachelor so bad he could taste it and was, I think, genuinely hurt when Chris spoke for ABC and said it’s not gonna happen! Ha!

Chris B. still loves Emily.  Poor guy.  It’s true what they say, he was a little immature – BUT I’d rather have an immature guy like him than a 35 year-old Doug, or a 30 year-old Ryan any day.  I think that the best thing to say about Chris is he was in it with his whole heart and truly believed in the process.  It sucked to see how much he still was hurting…hope he finds love on Bachelor Pad! If not he’d be a viable Bachelor option in a few years.  The ability to be that vulnerable and open to the experience is exactly what’s needed in a bachelor! I did a total turn around on Chris from the first show of the season.

The discussion with Sean was tough to watch.  He obviously still has strong feelings for her and truly believed she would be his wife.  It hurt to watch him ask, “What am I missing? Am I not bringing something to the table”? No one wants to feel inadequate but the sad truth about love is that sometimes you’re just not what the other person needs and there’s nothing you could do to make it so. He also admitted he’d never really had a broken heart and this is the first time he’s been broken up with! Aww…Sorry Sean but it had to happen someday! At least he said she showed him what he wanted and opened him up.

Everyone wanted to know why didn’t Sean make the final two? Well, I think people were watching with their hearts instead of hers! Emily said Sean is a great looking guy, a gentleman, confident without being cocky, and sensitive with a vulnerable side.  When you listen to what she said in the voiceovers it still seems like, “What? How did that happen?” But seriously, if you watch their interactions and the difference in her conversations with Jef and Arie, it’s crystal clear they didn’t connect on the same level.  Still, Sean said he did love her with “every ounce of his being.” Again, a great Bachelor quality. He was fully prepared to be a husband and father. Haven’t had a bachelor like that since Jason Mesnick! Emily admitted to ugly crying in her room when she watched Sean’s episode and I think that says a lot.  She really had feelings for the man – just not the feelings she had for Jef (hahaha she didn’t say that last part obviously).

Emily’s conversation with Kalon rocked! From the previews I thought I might feel a little bad for him but the boy showed no remorse and fed her more lines! She ended with, “I hope you find faith in something bigger than your Prada shoes and rented helicopters. You go girl!

Chris Harrison ended after bloopers by saying, “Normally I’d ask how things were going…” but he didn’t.  He said we’d all have to tune into watch.  PLEASE!  They are so trying to milk some drama out of this.  And truthfully, I ‘m not sure why.  The audience loves Jef an Arie.  We’re already psyched to see the end.  This all feels so contrived and unnecessary! UNLESS – and here’s an out on a limb wacko guess in case she doesn’t let either guy propose – we get a live proposal from Jef on Sunday night.  Slight, small, miniscule possibility that Jef won’t propose until she meets his parents, or something along those lines.  A live proposal would justify the first ever LIVE After the Final Rose.

Don’t forget the finale is SUNDAY!  Not Monday – Monday is Bachelor Pad and it looks like a sleazy, entertaining, cheesy festival of love, hate and lust.  So excited to see Reid and Ed from Jillian’s season together again!

Bachelorette Emily: Final Two and What’s to Come?

Last night was the first night I felt really bad for Emily.  Having to let one of those three guys go had to hurt.  Even though there was a statement to Chris that noted she knew who she wanted in the end and just had to get there. (It was quick – if you blinked you might have missed it.) If you’re looking for a clue as to who that guy might be, I’ll give you one you may have overlooked.  The whole show seemed to be about Emily dealing how hard it was going to be to send one guy home.  She was really worried about hurting feelings and dealing with the guilt of knowing they are all three in love with her.  When she talked about what a good guy Sean was in the beginning she teared up.  When she talked about Arie in the end, she teared up.  No tears for Jef.

No tears for Jef actually means the exact opposite from what you might think.  No tears for Jef means no guilt about Jef.  She doesn’t have to worry about hurting his feelings because she knows she’s going to pick him. And, as much as I like Arie and agree that he’s hot, I just can’t deny that Jef and Emily have a deeper connection.  When she mentioned she saw him while she was making breakfast? When she said she wanted to turn him down with the fantasy suite and he beat her to it?  All more signs.

When Emily told Arie she didn’t know what he did on a Tuesday morning I was thinking about how she wouldn’t know what he was doing on most of his mornings if he married her because he would be traveling.  I know the producers and editors cut the scenes to make it seem like she was great with their conversation but if you dvr’d it, go back and watch her face as she listens to him.  There are moments of realization that hit her where you can see her thinking, “but that’s not us” (her and Ricki).

I felt horrible for Sean when he was sent home but that exchange on the bench was a perfect example of why he was sent packing.  They sat there not knowing what to say.  They sat on there date not knowing what to say.  In scenes with Jef and Aries you can hear them whisper and talk as they walk before the edit in the actual conversation.  With Sean there was so much dead air.  I get that he was probably extremely uncomfortable revealing love on camera.  feel sorry if that in any way influenced how she felt.  Still, I don’t think there was anything he could have done.  She’s head over heels for Jef and 100% physically attached to Arie.

Next week is the Men Tell All.  While I will enjoy getting the chance to hear from Sean and some of the other guys, I can’t say I’m that interested.  I don’t really want to see Ryan, Kalon, Doug or any of the others again.  All season it’s been Jef, Arie, Sean and Emily and that’s what I want to watch. The following week we get meet the families, the proposal and a LIVE After the Final Rose all in the same night.  Previews do what they always do…try to get us to believe that maybe she doesn’t pick anyone.  They show her crying and her family making crazy statements.  Trust me, they would never have edited Emily’s love story the way they did this season if she wasn’t getting engaged in the end and I’d put all my money on Jef at this point. (5% of me that thinks I might lose that money…great season!)

Jef, Arie, or Sean – Who will get the final rose + thoughts on hometowns!

If it was that hard for Emily to get rid of Chris last night, I don’t know how the lady will make it through this final three.  There can be cases made for each one of the men to receive the final rose…and I’ve already made most of them.  After the hometown dates I thought maybe Jef and Sean had a slight edge because I didn’t think Emily could see Ricki in Arie’s life as well as she could at Sean’s family home and Jef’s family ranch, but who knows? The chemistry between Arie and Emily is definitely off the charts.

I’m not going to even say much about Chris’ hometown date in Chicago because it was obviously the least eventful of the four, BUT I have to give it to the producers, editors, and to Em as an actress, they almost had me thinking maybe she would go for him.  I think it was a little out of line for her to tell Chris’ dad she was falling in love with Chris.  She had to have known at that point that the other three men had a stronger hold on her heart.  Maybe Chris’ sister telling her to let him go if he wasn’t the one sunk in too late and she was just caught up in the excitement of his loving family, but I think, unfortunately, that her statement was more of a calculated move by the show to keep us guessing. Yuck.

Jef’s date in Utah couldn’t have been better.  Who would have guessed he had “a little country in him” as Emily said.  It was fun to watch them shoot and she seemed to really connect with his sisters.  I have to admit when they left the family gathering, I thought, “That’s it?” Cut to the scene of them on the picnic blanket and him reading her the letter…heart melt.  It was so different from the last letter Emily had read aloud to her on the show ( Ryan Bowers!).  It’s obvious that Jef has fallen head over heels for Emily and, I think, from the way she looks at him with goo goo eyes – she’s fallen for him as well. However, once again, we are watching a show and you will have noticed that she didn’t tell his family she was actually falling in love with him. (Calculation and acting – no!)

Saving Sean and Arie for last totally sets the viewer up to think they will be the final two.  The fact that she told Arie she had missed him and she called Sean “honey” were just two of the little clues being dropped that, hey – these two are sure things.  The show is totally setting us up for the ouster of one of the big guys next week.  I can’t even begin to guess which one it might be…unless I look at Emily’s behavior with Sean’s family which on the surface seemed really cool.

When Emily was with Arie’s family there was a moment of tension with his mom but then we saw their one on one conversation and it was clear that they liked one another.  With Sean’s family we had the practical joke about him still living at home (and if you watched the credits – the armadillo for dinner).  With both of the jokes, Emily’s smile never reached her eyes.  She seemed uncomfortable and a little out of place.  The other clue we got was the absolute overuse of the term perfect with Sean.  Everything about Sean is “perfect”.  In the Bachelorette that usually signifies an upcoming issue or problem.  True, he ran after her for one last kiss and he’s romantic, but if you watch the way she kisses all three of them he’s the one that she looks the least comfortable with.

To close, I will say that if you contrast the way Emily used the word perfect with Sean to the way she used it with Jef, her tone of voice says it all.  My prediction after hometowns: Jef is final two – probably endgame – but I still have no clue about Sean and Arie.  Leaning towards Arie.  What do you guys think?

Bachelorette: No recap, just thoughts and predictions…

I’d have to be living in a hole to not have heard the rumors that Arie, Jef, and Sean are Emily’s top three guys in the best installment of The Bachelorette since Trista Sutter’s season.  Knowing this takes a little of the edge off the upcoming hometown dates next Monday.  It’s pretty pbvious from the episode last night that Chris B. is her fourth the out of the four.  I have to say that for the first time in a long time, I have no clue who she picks and I’m excited about it.  I think it’s because out of Arie, Jef, or Sean, I think she’s found love. Still, if I had to hazard a guess? My gut after last night is leaning towards Jef.

Sure, the chemistry with Arie and Sean, who both snuck out to see her, has been off the charts as far as TV chemistry, but the chemistry between her and Jef on that library floor? It wasn’t just physical.  It was the shared dreams type chemistry.  Emily has been burned before by Brad and this time I think she’s going for his exact opposite.  Jef is an intelligent, self-aware, respectful man who wants a life just like the one Emily’s envisioning.  The one caveat with Jef? His Mormon family.  They haven’t said it out loud yet as far as I know, but you have to think religion will somehow come into the discussion when Emily goes to meet them! One more thing…will she uproot to start a life with him? I’ve read he’s in L.A. which makes it much more likely than Salt Lake.

As far as Sean goes, I LOVE him.  He’s strong, adorable, smart, and seems to have compatible goals with Emily but I haven’t heard any discussions yet about who Sean really is? I feel like we don’t even know the guy.  BUT, she seems very into his kisses and he seems pretty sure of his place in her heart.  Wonder what they haven’t been showing us?

Arie is the odds on favorite right? But I think in the long run Arie and Emily only have chemistry. I know she was fishing for him to tell her about the producer but that conversation at the lunch table was so strained and forced.  Have they ever really talked about life together? Every time they say something he leans over and kisses her.  He may be an awesome kisser and a beautiful man but I think she’s looking for a situation to jump right into.  When Jef told her he wanted babies yesterday I think it sealed the deal.

We’ll see what hometowns hold and who the final two end up being.  Right now I would say Jef and Arie but that’s the beauty of being so into a season and not knowing what’s going to happen! You can totally enjoy it!

***Random thoughts:

I thought it was time for Doug to go.  Great guy but as he said, his girl radar is way off.

I thought the way they handled the producer situation was cheesy and anti-climactic BUT mature.

Nice cheesy writing last night:” sitting on top of the world” with Arie as they were on top of the boat, “need to go deep” with John as they descend into a dungeon.

You KNOW the lock they gave John to use was one with issues.  Total set up.

If John would have opened up sooner and was more comfy on camera he’d be a great Bachelor.

Bachelorette Emily’s Lost Charisma…Found! (best episode yet!)

Dare we hope that Emily has found her charisma? The question floated through my mind as they played the teasers for the evening and I found myself getting excited.  After watching the first two episodes, I had almost given up on Emily.  Where was the sparkly, flirty, entertaining woman that we caught glimpses of with Brad? Turns out she might have had a little stage fright/insecurity to deal with, or maybe she just felt overwhelmed when surrounded by the larger group of men, but whatever it was – last night she found her chutzpah!

I haven’t really been a Chris fan since I viewed his pic on ABC.com, but I’m willing to say I was wrong about him.  His date was the first time this season that I actually felt excited for Emily.  Sure he’s a little competitive, young, and he seems to be seriously underestimating what she may have going on with other guys (has he watched the show?), but she sparkles when she’s with him and their first kiss was undeniably romantic. He seems sincere and for the most part sweet, although I could have done without his comment on how unbelievable she looked in a harness! (Ick!)

When Emily lets it slip she’s been thinking about someone since the beginning, I tend to believe that’s her voice and not the producers.  It’s obvious he’s on her list of potentials. There date was a pretty cute set up, but you can’t convince me they couldn’t have checked the weather forecast – scaling the building with a threatening thunderstorm seemed an unnecessary risk. The Charlotte people running into the dance floor after their kiss was a little contrived as well, but cute.  Overall, this date brought me back into the process! Hooray!

The group date was one of the best ever, in my opinion.  Never has a Bachelorette had the chance to get so much scoop on her men before.  Emily’s friends preformed to the best of their ability, not shirking the harder responsibilities like viewing the push up performances or the pectoral magnificence of various men.  If you hung around to watch the credits you caught a glimpse of the reasoning behind Emily’s party time conversation with Alessandro, too.  Would she have kept him by mistake had her friends not been looking out? Maybe!

The group date also gave us the chance to get to know Sean and Ryan better.  With Sean, well, let’s face it – is anyone not head over heels for this guy yet?  He’s handsome, sincere, wants to be a husband and father and talked about family and faith.  He seems like he could be her perfect match! With Ryan – wow – the warning signs that cropped up last week made a full-on appearance tonight.  Could a guy be any denser than to say he wouldn’t be “loving on” Emily if she gained weight?  And to say it in front of her friends? Loser! His behavior at the party before the rose ceremony was like that of  a snotty toddler.  Seriously, I know he may have been sincerely jealous when he saw her kissing Arie, but it’s what he signed up for and Arie’s a race car driver not a ballerina! He called him girly! His face as he lifted his glass for a toast spoke volumes.  She’s picking up on it, too – so it’ll soon be sayonara Ryan!

Emily’s last one-on-one date with Arie showed why he’ll be around until, my guess, the end.  Not sure about the very end but probably top four, at least.  Her actual words after her date with the daring driver, “Guys like Arie are really hard to find.  I feel like I finally found him and I don’t want to screw it up.” My only concern with Arie is that Emily has a bit of a transference issue going on.  First she transferred all her excitement and idol worship of Dolly Parton in to the experience of the date, then she transferred her feelings about little Ricki’s daddy to Arie.  She said he reminds her so much of him – good for Arie, maybe not so psychologically good for Emily finding true love.  She’ll have to get past the image she’s imposing on him to see the real him.

My favorite moment and line of the night had to be when Kalon reprimanded her for interrupting him. In reference to his rudeness she stated, “I do like tall, skinny, and funny but I don’t like tall, skinny, and condescending.” It was at that moment I fell in love with her.  I just wish the producers would have let her kick his skinny butt off the show like you know she wanted to! Sadly, it was Kalon’s nemesis, Stevie, that took the walk out alone since she had already sent Tony and Alessandro packing!

Three moments to keep in mind for future shows: Sean and Emily’s first kiss at the rose ceremony party (oh my goodness!), Arie and Emily’s make out session at the rose ceremony party (oh my goodness gracious!), and Jef’s confession of his crush on her – courtesy of her friend’s advice.  We only caught a glimpse but it was apparent in that moment that her friend’s dug him.  They gave him the edit they gave Sean last week and look what that got Sean this week…I’m just sayin’.

Looking forward to next week’s show – Golly, I’m so happy to be able to say that!

Online Dating Sites…Just Not For Me!

Recently I decided to try the world of online dating again.  I went back to a particularly well-known site that I had tried about 10 years ago because the number of people using it had grown exponentially and I thought that would guarantee a better experience than before.  In a way I was right and in a way I was crazy.  While there are so many more attractive men using online dating services than in the early 00’s and the stigma of admitting you’re on a dating site has decreased, I haven’t really been happy with my time there.  I’ve searched my soul trying to decide if I’m just too picky or if maybe, I just really don’t want to be dating, but I haven’t come to any firm conclusions.

I can be a little picky, but not in the way you’d expect.  I’m not looking for Mr. Perfect in the looks department, but the bar is set pretty high when it comes to his brain.  With this is in mind, you can understand how frustrating it is to get one e-mail after another that doesn’t even attempt to show that they read my profile, or can manage a full sentence. I’m sorry guys but an e-mail that just says, “Hi!” leads me to believe you’re either lazy or lacking. Then there are the guys that must not be able to read.  If the first line of my profile says I’m serious about you living in my city, I don’t really want e-mails from other states.  So, while there seem to be more guys to choose from, it feels like the good ones are still pretty difficult to find.

Which leads me to my other concern regarding myself – not them – if I feel “done” and bored by the prospect of having to meet any more people after 1 week…do I really have it in me to FIND anyone? I’m thinking about pulling my profile because I ‘m already annoyed by one guy’s texts who I haven’t even met yet. He was probably just being nice when he texted me two mornings in a row just to say good morning and in the middle of the day after I had made plans to meet him later in the week for coffee, but I kind of felt like it was an intrusion on my time from someone I hadn’t had a chance to decide if I wanted in it or not.

I guess I just really don’t like the whole process. I know myself well enough to understand that it takes me a while to know if I’m into someone or not.  People I find very attractive can become less so after spending time talking and people who at first I don’t find attractive can really grow on me.  The thing is – with a dating site it’s hard to give the people who might grow on me a chance.  It feels like so much work!

I ran into an old friend on the site and facebooked him instead of using the site’s communication system.  We went out for drinks to catch up because despite mutual friends, we’d never really gotten to know one another.  That was fun.  He was attractive, intelligent, funny and I enjoyed the conversation. That experience leads me to think that it’s not the actual dating I’m having issues with – it’s the starting from scratch that irks me.

The laundry list of qualities that you use to narrow the search would never have led me to my past relationships. The ages, religions, and interests of my old boyfriends would all have been things I could have used to eliminate them – but those men I didn’t “match” with added up to the awesome years that were my early thirties.

I’m pretty sure after writing this blog that I’ll be pulling my profile in the next day or two.  I don’t think my desire to “date” is strong enough.  I do have a desire to be with someone, but not enough to continue a process that feels more burdensome than fun. I’m thinking I’ll return to the old what’s meant to be is what’s meant to be mentality and just keep my eyes open in my daily life.  My life’s too happy and good as is to make it miserable by dating just to date!