Saturday, 31 December 2011

It's all good. . .

I thought this was an expression peculiar to us Aussies. I always took it as looking on the bright side, no matter how bad things were you'd survive, that kind of thing. So I looked it up and it sounds like a universal saying. Or as various dictionaries describe it: a platitude, and even more harshly; a meaningless platitude.

So maybe it's the wrong platitude for me but all cynicism aside: things are good, and getting better all the time. 

I've been doing even more socialising with the on-line groups and have met fabulous people. Somehow there are all sorts of people out there in Melbourne in similar situations to me. They are out there socialising and keen to make new friends. I keep collecting phone numbers and business cards. I frequently appear to be the one kicking on elsewhere after the event has finished with another new friend.

I have a new Canadian friend to go and salsa with - we tried this week but some Melbourne nightclubs have closed down between Christmas and New Years - strange. I've had men buy me drinks apparently just to be nice. I've met people new to Melbourne: Canadian, American, Sydney-siders, Taiwanese, Greek, and even Russian, and people who live in Melbourne. 

In the last fortnight I've had more people say to me, "We must exchange numbers" than I'm sure I've had all year. I've had a ball going to functions where you don't know anyone but simply turn to someone standing nearby and introduce yourself. And then you get to do that with everyone else in the room too.

I've met lawyers, economists, lecturers in physiology, admin people, IT people, people who specialise in hiring out furniture to people (don't know what they're called), business analysts, biochemists, semi-retired people, property developers, engineers, and uni students. 

I've been to more new bars in Melbourne than I've ever been to in my life, discovered new pubs, and enjoyed more Happy Hours than my liver can handle, and tramped the streets of Melbourne in high heels far too often for my back to be happy. I'm friends with the woman who sells me tickets at my local train station now and am happy to be out early and then catch the last train home, which is always packed.

Today I am taking it easy. I might go to Bikram and see if I can rid my body of some of the toxins rushing through my bloodstream ready for 2012. 

Happy New Year everyone!

Stella xx

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Old, scared dog

When my 13 year old Rough-Tough-Scaredy-Ridgeback X, Emma, gets scared by thunder or a noise on the dog-hearing spectrum she takes sanctuary in my room. 

It's nice to think I can provide comfort. When my husband was alive they'd all run to him; men obviously have superior protection skills that I couldn't offer so it's nice that I still "rate" at as it were. 

(Tell me those eyes aren't old soul eyes.)
If you were to look too closely you'd notice the bed curtain is a little less than clean due to her penchant for coming in and leaning up against the bed. She's not allowed on the bed though. And the bedspread also requires frequent laundering, but I don't care. That's the price you pay for love and companionship.

What will I do when she's gone? Will a hamster provide me with as much comfort, or make me feel as safe in my own home?

And the carpet doesn't bear thinking about- it did extra time yesterday during the hours of thunder we endured.

Monday, 26 December 2011

The good karma begins

Getting out about again I had Christmas Eve dinner with the on-line social group, still with few expectations. I arrived on time and bought a drink at the bar. Scanning the surrounding faces for someone to talk to I saw a couple of women who looked my way and then averted their gaze. OK, I thought, so they don’t want to be friendly.

A man who had greeted me when I walked in was standing chatting to someone else so I joined them and introduced myself. It was all plain sailing from there. I spoke to other people who were friendly - I didn’t bother going near the two unfriendly women - and when we sat down to dinner I was surrounded by lovely new faces and interesting conversation.

I met people who have inspired my desire to travel again, ran into a familiar face from the walking group, and even moved down along the table chatting to new people as I went. Eventually my “mate” from the last group turned up but to  my relief he didn’t monopolise me, although he did invite me to his birthday next month. He’s going to run it as one of the social activities. There was no sign of "Jo."

The next day one of the men I had chatted to briefly emailed me and wanted to stay in touch. (I wasn't interested and tried to reply without encouraging him: It was nice to meet you too, I'll catch you at the next function type of message.) This completely confounds me: someone I had spoken to in only a cursory manner shows interest, yet men on the internet are, frequently, complete bastards!

You just can’t tell, can you?

Either way I will keep going to their social functions I’ve met several smart, interesting people and after doing it a couple of times it’s not that scarey. Hopefully this is heralds the beginning of meeting nice people who may be potential new friends instead of horrid men who I never want to see again. 

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Continuing my efforts not to let Christmas get the better of me I went out for drinks last night with another on-line social group. I had absolutely no expectations and was prepared to have one or two drinks and then go home. Instead I met . . . a bunch of interesting women. Natch. I was quite relieved as my last attempt at socialising left me not wanting to go back for more. 

There were a few men there but the majority of people were women. One of the interesting men there was from Russia; in comparision he says Melbourne is "awesome." Many of the women seemed to be in the same boat as me, or had moved interstate recently. It makes me feel better that other people are also happy to join a group when their own friends aren't interested in coming out socialising. (I had felt like a bit of a loser to do this but my counsellor was right- being out and about has been much, much better than staying home and feeling sad.)

What was really funny was exchanging on-line dating stories. I am not the only one to have run into strange or thoughtless men. That was a great comfort. I was able to warn them of one or two men they should run like hell to avoid and we all laughed in disbelief at the behaviour of some of these men. One of whom actually went into great detail before they'd even met about why his marriage had broken up, and how his wife had suffered abuse early on and her reaction to that. Things that were totally inappropriate. We ended up wondering if most of the men who are on-line after failed relationships are indeed broken and busted, as someone I know has determined. Do women figure things out? Get counselling? Have better insight into themselves? Or just have a better support network?

It was strange. Anyway, I spoke to several nice women who I'd be happy to socialise with again and even got a phone number! 

I had rung three friends to see if they wanted to join me later: one had her daughter and couldn't; another was already out locally, very drunk; and the third didn't want to catch the train into town by herself. I couldn't let that bother me and as it turned out the train was almost as busy as peak hour with people actually standing, so I felt quite safe.

The only unfortunate thing is I ended up sitting opposite a young couple and hearing their conversation. Actually, they weren't really a couple: she was shrinking away from him, he had his arm over the back of the seat and then draped around her, making excuses to touch her. He was being all worldly wise and trying to advise her on the direction her life should go. . .while trying hard to appear avuncular but still wanting her. It was extremely icky. 

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Bring on Christmas!

I've been rather busy lately catching up with friends instead of on-line dating. This has worked out well for me and this Christmas I don't feel half as sad as I did last Christmas. Yeah, I had reason last Christmas, it was my first without my husband and I did swear that I'd leave the country this year but I have realised there is no way to avoid Christmas.

Instead I've taken heed of my (occasional) counsellor's advice and gone out whether I felt like it or not. This has worked out well, I've made sure I have been busy and now am looking forward to Christmas happening as I'm too tired to do anything else. (I say "occasional" so you don't think I'm completely bonkers.)

As well as catching up with friends I have joined an on-line social group and been to a few of their functions; some of them have been interesting, one has even led to me take up rowing. Well "taking it up" may be an overstatement - I've had three lessons and plan to go back to it next year. One dinner with this group was rather strange with two of the men talking over each other trying to relate a story to the rest of us, I didn't know who to look at. Naturally one of the men was a guy who'd taken a shine to me when we did sailing one day. I made sure not to sit next to him and he couldn't monopolise me with his conversation. See? I do learn from my experiences. 

Then there was the individual with the non-gender specific name, e.g. Jo, and the very androgenous look. It was like an episode of Seinfeld, others at the table couldn't decide whether to use "him" or "her" either, although I did have the most interesting conversation with this person. A few days later she/he sent me an email with some advice on buying property and an invitation to have a coffee if I'm ever in the area.  (I bet you think I'm making this stuff up.) Based on that one strange dinner I have decided not to attend the New Year's Eve celebrations at a cocktail lounge in the city. I am going to a Christmas Eve dinner with them though- will let you know if it's as strange as the first.

Then I went to our streets Christmas get-together down in the National Park. I only know a couple of my neighbours but was introduced to the rest as "the new neighbour" - I have been in my house for 18 months; the party got rained out last year by a mega storm so didn't happen. No one hit on me, no one was rude to me, and they were all pleased I'd come along. Likewise the ex-students celebrating an 18th birthday party at a local venue were thrilled to see me and another teacher earlier this week. This is lovely as I last taught them six years ago when they were in Year 7.

In the interests of self-preservation I have stopped the on-line dating efforts, they weren't exactly successful anyway. Let's face it, I've been single for two years now. I'm not that thrilled about it but have survived. There are good things about being single even though I'd prefer to be in a relationship. Perhaps I should comfort myself with the thought that:
a/ I am not in a relationship with any of these thoughtless, tactless men. And
b/ I am not as broken and busted as any of these men. 

At least I don't think I am - although the circumstances of my life are sometimes quite strange.

So now all I have to do is figure out what to do with the rest of my life. I sort of feel obliged to go and work overseas, or at least travel. The only trouble with this is I don't want to go by myself. I have been looking on-line for places I can teach overseas but frankly they're not places I'm sure I would feel comfortable or safe. Perhaps I am just not adventurous enough?

For the time being I am happy being me. I take comfort in the thought that I have met so many undesirable types of late that surely 2012 will bring some lovely people into my life. It has to be better than 2011, doesn't it?

Friday, 16 December 2011

Business based on Dilbert

Ah yes, continuing my unfortunate run with men who have no manners I have had contact today with business people who model themselves on the companies that feature in Dilbert's cartoons. What a complete waste of time and aggravation.

I ordered something on-line for my worth-his-weight-in-gold-Pa for Christmas. It was next day delivery and someone had to be here or they attempted to re-deliver it later, and then charge you again. It didn't come, of course, despite organising for someone to be home all day and having the dog posted as look out on the balcony. 

When I jumped on-line and tracked it via their handy tracking system it said that the driver attempted to deliver it and no one was home to sign for it. Plus they'd left a card to let me know how I could collect the consignment. 

Mysteriously there was no card; I spent the night alternately worrying they'd tried to deliver it to the wrong address and wondering why the driver would lie about delivering it. Maybe they just want to charge me twice and make some extra money. I rang the company, they told me that was just the message that was given and what actually happened is that the driver had run out of time to deliver the package. So I'd wasted my time worrying during the night - but hey, I like to have something to worry about anyway. 

The bad news was that the driver had too many parcels to deliver today so he would deliver it on Monday instead. This didn't suit me as I couldn't be home on Monday- Christmas is bearing down upon us rapidly and I've made all sorts of arrangements to catch up with friends etc now that school has finished. 

Worried that I'd be charged again for the non-delivery of the parcel, and that this would continue ad infinitum, I rang the company I ordered the package through, DPandA to make a complaint. They advertised in big, bold letters that they have "Next Day Delivery".  (Here's a tip, don't order anything through them.)

It was here that I encountered another one of those charming men that have popped up far too often in my world of late. The owner of the company immediately went on the attack. He told me that "in this day and age" it was "unreasonable" for me to actually expect next day delivery, especially with Christmas just around the corner. He proceeded to be arrogant and condescending, finally agreeing with me that it'd be good if I took my business elsewhere because frankly they could do without the hassle. 

I guess his advanced people skills explains why he has an on-line business. I am quite perplexed, all he had to do was agree with me that it was inconvenient that I hadn't receive my parcel and that it was, indeed, frustrating before contacting the courier company himself to find out the details. (Apparently what the courier company told me might be completely different to what they tell him. I'm not sure why.)

Instead he just inflamed the situation and made me think he was an arrogant tool: I'm becoming quite good at recognising them now. I rang the courier company again and got further clarification of what would happen if I wasn't home on Monday to receive my parcel- they simply leave it at the post office. That's perfect, I'd much prefer to pick it up there anyway. 

Why did I just go through all that aggravation? Why?

What I should do now is go to Bikram yoga (in Glen Waverley) where they do  have people skills: the instructors are always pleased to see you as if you are doing them a favour coming to their class, they greet you by name and with a smile, they comment on how long it has been since they've seen you, and also comment on your progress in the class. It's fabulous.

Unfortunately, I've wasted the morning speaking to these other two businesses and now don't have time for yoga before meeting a friend for lunch. I'm just going to have to try and shake off the attitude from these rude people and not let them ruin my day, or my perspective.

Phew. Thanks for listening!

Stella x

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

On-line dating: completely cured now

Well, the good news is that  I'm completely over on-line dating now: the MOS, the MOS' friend, this pig.

Get a load of what this guy who I thought was normal sent me . . . we were meant to meet up for a coffee near his place but he said he'd "fixed up his 4th floor" ready for his brother to stay and that we could sit outside on the balcony in the sun. . . which we did. He shares with someone anyway and his housemate was in the lounge playing video games. I hadn't realized that all he wanted was sex! Good grief! I am soooo naive!!!

I believe my "exaggerated mannerisms" refers to the fact that I talk with my hands. 

We had planned a 3rd date but I decided I didn't want to go there - luckily as it turned out. 

I don't care anymore, I think I'd prefer to be single, however feel free to go to RSVP and check him out.

Squibbler sent you an Email on  12 Dec '11
That second rendezvous at my place started to get boring after you just talked and talked about yourself. As I lay on the bed with you I kept thinking, 'for goodness sake let's just fuck, or at least get jiggy and pashy, because otherwise this is going nowhere.'
I'm sorry to do this to you, but ask yourself, who wants a skinny 40+ year old*  with tolerance issues, intimacy issues and exaggerated mannerisms? I mean, at your age you've lost your looks, you're socially and conversationally odd and you're unashamedly garrulous, yet you still cling to the idea that guys my age will want you for your beauty and your personality?  As we lay on my bed for hour after hour with you banging on about nothing as if you thought we were actually conversing I just kept thinking, 'for goodness sake let's just fuck, or at least get it on a bit, because otherwise this is a serious waste of time.'
Four hours of your shit with no action ..Jesus Stella, you need to get used to the idea of getting your knickers off, because anything else you think you have to offer is actually a concession the other party has to make.

*I deleted my age. (Funny, he didn't tell me I was vain on top of everything else. Maybe he couldn't fit that in the email?)

Monday, 12 December 2011

Going, going, gone!

I received an unexpected Christmas present today- and the givers don't even know it! See if you can pick what it was. . .

Going . . .

(Er, just ignore the ugly phone/power lines.)

And gone!

My neighbours across the road had the tree that blocks my view removed!

I can't wait to take some night pics but I was so excited I just had to post photos now.

Look at my view!

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Manners and no manners

As I am a sucker for punishment I am still doing the on-line dating thing. 

So far I have had two men respond positively to me by indicating that they would like to hear from me - and it turns out that they didn't really. How do I know this? I emailed them, and subsequently haven't heard from them. (You've gotta wonder what I write in these emails, don't you?) This smacks of bad manners to me. I understand someone may get a better offer, or have a couple of dates with someone else so they don't want to pursue anything with me, however, I will survive if they actually respond to my email and tell me that they don't want to continue correspondence with me. 

Never mind. It's a very cheap way of discovering I really don't want to waste any time on these men.

On the plus side I have had a date with a man who seems lovely. (Yes, I realize I've said that before.) We spent a very nice evening talking, eating, and more talking. He appears genuine - don't they all. (Wait at sec and I'll  just bitch slap the cynic back down.)

Most agreeably, he paid me compliments and actually appeared to want to get to know me, exactly the way I remember happening on dates. It was rather gratifying to see him smile when I returned from forays to the Ladies. 

He does not work for the Federal Police, he does not work overseas, he does not work out to excess (I'm not sure if he even works out) and he was a most interesting and fun conversationalist.

He indicated a desire to see me again.

Fingers crossed.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Broken and busted. . .

Have bounced back, somewhat, after yesterday's post ably assisted by the counsellor I visit once in a while to check on my emotional health. Suprisingly it's pretty good, although she says I should use the following phrase for my screensaver:

I must not be so hard on myself!

OK, so I'll try. 

I briefly related my latest dating adventure with Mr Narcissus and she also shook her head and exclaimed in disbelief at his behaviour. (Always good to have your counsellor do that; makes you feel like you're not the crazy one.)

Quick as a flash she points out that he's got issues - phew, I thought it was just me - and that he hasn't resolved at least a couple of issues when it comes to women. Eg the fact that an early girlfriend deceived him for years about her true age, and the fact that his wife left him while he was posted overseas, for his cousin. They're still together. 

At the time I thought his wife taking the kids and deserting him was w-a-y harsh, as they say. Yes, I still think it's harsh but now I wonder what the other side of the story was; what was in his behaviour that led to this situation. But more importantly I wonder how she could see that so clearly while I had to muddle through a couple of dates with him until I figured it out. Hindsight I guess.

She was also agog at the news that he knew the MOS. "Did he shed any light on the MOS' behaviour?" she wanted to know. Well, no. I didn't encourage a long conversation about him.

Then we got onto me. 

But it was interesting to hear her professional opinion of these men. And it's making me think a bit more about some of the people I've met and that sometimes just giving it your best shot isn't going to be enough. For example, any fool could see that a man who chooses to work overseas, for several years now, coming home for a couple of weeks every six weeks, is seriously not looking for a relationship. He is someone who is happy being quite solitary, and not looking for commitment. Sometimes I shouldn't listen to my girlfriends when they encourage me to pursue someone; although to my credit I did initially try to tell him I didn't want to meet him. Actually, I did try and stop it on more than one occasion. 

Someone I've swapped emails with has concluded that most people on this dating site are "broken and busted." I wonder if that's true? I wonder if anyone comes out of a marriage not busted and broken? Do they resolve their issues? Are they capable of moving on?

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Men do not like to be deceived

Right - I have been too weighed down by inconsiderate and tackless men to blog of late. Still, perhaps a little venting will help.

I last noted that the new bloke knew the old bloke, ie the MOS. Not that the MOS could be classified as a relationship or anything. I also noted that I thought the new bloke didn't want a relationship either.

On that note I was wrong.

Continuing on from our last date, we had dinner, we had drinks, we played pool, the date ended. (OK there was a little hanky panky, then the date ended.) I figured he wasn't very interested, it's not like he asked me out again. In fact, hardly asked me anything about me but was happy to speak about himself.

So he's narcissistic: I figured that, he's got his own fully equipped gym, is also a trained personal trainer as well as his day job. He works out every day, and sometimes twice a day.

Granted he looks very hot. I have forgotten all about Steve from Hawaii 5-0 but am thinking I should resurrect that obsession as men on TV are far less likely to hurt me.

Anyway, the date ended I figured I wouldn't be hearing from him again and besides I should want something better for myself. I had almost convinced myself of this when he texts me to ask if he can ring me that night.

I wonder why but a little smidgen of hope is fanned in my heart. I am nothing if not completely pathetic.

So Mr Narcissus rings me eventually and after some awkward chit chat - again mainly about him - he confesses that he wasn't completely truthful with me on Friday when he'd said he didn't want a relationship, just sex. Turns out he is looking for a long-term relationship but decided he didn't want one with me.

I am completely flabbergasted that he would even bother to ring and tell me this. I actually asked why he rang. He claims it was the courteous thing to do. Really? Courteous?

I laughed at him and told him he had a hide ringing me to confess he'd be deceptive with me. When we made contact I'd confessed that I'd been "circumspect" about my age. He took me to task and told me a past girlfriend had lied about her age for years, as a result he doesn't like deception.

Are you following all this? I think this sums it up:

  • He doesn't like deception.
  • During a date he tells me that he "can't guarantee" a relationship with me but he does want sex with me.
  • Then he rings me three days later to tell me that he wasn't truthful with me.
  • He actually does want a relationship - just not with me. 

Bemused I got off the phone. Later I text him and told him he was a narcissist inside and out, and that I figure rang me to tell me that he does actually want a long term relationship, not just sex, so that he doesn't look bad. Or something.

He texts back to tell me that he didn't deceive me, and I shouldn't put all the blame on him, and that he respects me and was just being courteous.

I couldn't help myself and text back with the following:
Didn't you just ring me to tell me you weren't truthful with me the other night? My mistake. Oh, and good to know you hold me in the highest respect.

Clearly I am doing something wrong. Perhaps I need to vet all future men to see if they know the MOS because I suspect they're all the same. A friend at work read the texts and decided he's got "issues."

I've spent the last couple of days feeling a bit bludgeoned, bewildered and beaten but will no doubt bounce back. Or take up drinking. Or swear off on-line dating.

Or swear off men who work for the Federal Police - apparently the MOS actually works for the Federal Police too, but under the umbrella of the UN in East Timor. (Mr Narcissus tells me that means that technically the MOS wasn't lying to me when he said he worked for the UN.)

Really, can you believe my love life at all? It's not even a 'love life' and it's still a complete mess.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Just Shoot Me Now

Alternative title: Get Me the Hell Out of Here

Why, you ask? Here's why:

Bouncing back from the tail spin the stupid clairvoyant had put me in by predicting NO man in my future, I stayed on the internet and had an actual 2nd date with a guy I found very attractive. I was quite taken with him. While at dinner on this 2nd date he mentions he's considered going and working overseas. Yes, in the same country as the MOS.  

Amber Alert!

Amber Alert!

Amber Alert!

The next day I think, "No. Don't do that. Stay in the same country." I continue on my merry way, pretty much "stoked" that I'd met this nice guy who seems normal and like he is wanting a relationship. 

We have a 3rd date. During this time I ask him about this overseas option and flippantly ask him why the men I meet all seem to want to go and work there in East Timor. This leads to a discussion, of course, wherein he asks what was the name of this man that I had the non-relationship with. . . 

Red Alert!

Red Alert!

Red Alert!

Yes, of course they freakin' well know each other! Not only do they know each other, they are quite good friends. I resisted the urge to run screaming from the restaurant. Somehow. And just stayed there and felt uncomfortable. He excused himself to go to the Little Boys' Room, I whipped out my phone and text three friends in uncomprehending horror. 

Really, can I catch a break here? I have a fairly awful suspicion that this guy doesn't actually want a relationship either.

I am about to turn to voodoo or witchcraft here. What the hell do I have to do to find a man?

A man who wants a relationship?

A man who lives and works in the country?

Someone please tell me.  Oh, and BTW I am NOT moving to East Timor. 

Thank you. 

Thursday, 1 December 2011


Alas, I failed at NaBloPoMo at the very last minute, the last two days. I was so good until then, although my plans to roam around Blogher and read lots of other blogs never eventuated. Then all of a sudden it's the end of the month. 

The 2nd last day I had a friend over for dinner, all very nice. Then when she left my small scale migraine got the better of me and I just went to bed. Didn't even think of blogging. I think this is fair enough, I had a super busy day: teaching all day, and Yard Duty at lunchtime, then after school tutored a student who really did not want to do any work, all the time with my mini-migraine. 

Well, the doctor says they're migraines but I don't know. No funny vision, no throwing up, just a feeling of complete exhaustion and of course pain. I take ibroprofen but eventually that starts making my stomach hurt. The only thing for it is to wait two days - they always last two days. And they're always behind my right eye and make my shoulder and neck seize up too. (Any suggestions in dealing with migraines?)

Then last night I had a meeting after school which, as far as I'm concerned, was a complete waste of time. I couldn't access various things on my computer (as usual, bad IT karma) to update the curriculum documentation we were working on. I felt obliged to stay nevertheless as I've hardly been to any meetings as I usually finish before the end of the day - the beauty of being part time. I looked on as someone else updated and contributed unhelpful observations.

Then I rushed to the gym because I hadn't been in the morning, the migraine getting the better of me. Came home and got ready for my date. Yes, I had a date. A second date, in fact. Success! Oh wait, maybe I shouldn't say that until I find out if we have a 3rd date. (Although he's a sloppy kisser. Am I allowed to say that? And can I change that?)

So, it was a very late date. Dinner, we chatted for ages, it's all very positive. Home after midnight, so there goes the opportunity to blog on the last day too. Ah well. It's put me in the blogging frame of mind again.