Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Age Differences and Dating- What Are Your Thoughts?

Is there anything I enjoy talking about more than relationships? Probably not. Over the past few weeks the subject of age has popped up in a few conversations. Today a friend who's my age was telling me about grabbing a beer with a team-mate after a baseball game last night. There's no romantic interest there (trust me), but she said she was sitting with him when she realized that he was fifteen years younger than her. My reaction was, "So? You think of these things?" And she said yes, it does matter.

On the other hand, a few days ago I was talking with someone who was friends with a man thirty years older (she was in her early/mid twenties, he in his early/mid fifties and involved with someone, but she felt it could have lead somewhere if he wasn't).

I don't take issue with any of this. It's widely accepted that men who are going through a 'mid-life crisis' often take notice of much younger women, and I'm no exception. But regardless of whether you're male or female and attracted to someone of a significantly diferent age, I generally think it's fine. Romantically, love is love and you can't stop your heart from feeling what it will.  Practically I admit it can be something that makes you stop and think. Do you want to be a forty-five-year-old woman with a seventy-year-old husband? If so, great.  Of course, a thirty-year-old with a sixteen-year-old girlfriend would be downright creepy, so I admit there are always exceptions.

How do you feel about it, would you date/sleep with/ have a serious relationship with someone much younger or older than you? If so, what age gap do you consider acceptable?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Saturday Blogger Meet

After waitng for what seemed forever, Sandy and I were joined for the first time by two of our blogging friends on Saturday. Colleen and I had known each other for about a year, somewhere along the way I introduced her to Sandy. I suggested that she bring someone along, so her friend Leila joined her. They've known each other since university, I just began talking with Leila two weeks ago.

We picked them up from the bus station a little after 2:00 in the afternoon, returned to the house and spent time on the deck enjoying the sun.

Colleen, Sandy (note the hair colour), and Leila

After a while Sandy mentioned she was getting her hair cut the next day and planned to colour it herself. A short conversation followed, those plans were changed and we packed into the car on a trip to our local drug store to pick up some hair colouring. This is what followed...

(wet but darker)

While this was going on, Colleen was preparing chicken alfredo for dinner...

Did I mention my wife allowed me to have two women that I met on the internet over to the house to cook us dinner? Is she amazing or what??

Leila made a caesar salad...

For dessert we had small vanilla cupcakes, chocolate marble loaf and Sandy's world-famous latte.

                                                                    PRESS PHOTO FROM O'SHEA ARCHIVES

We spent the rest of the evening talking in the living room. Colleen was the same as she is on-line, a very easy person to talk to with a great sense of humour. I'm just getting to know Leila but we share many of the same views and are exchanging Psychology books.

We wrapped up at 1am and drove the girls home instead of having them take the bus, went to bed at 2:30. Everyone agreed it was a great time and we need to do it again soon.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Secret Sunday

What an amazing weekend this has been! I hope you're all enjoying it (or did if it's over).

Time for the thirty-seventh round of Secret Sunday, a chance to share secrets and/or fantasies you've been keeping to yourself. Some are uplifting, some are heartbreaking and some are just plain naughty.

All are valid.

Here's how it works:

1) This is open to anyone who wants to participate, from regular follower to casual visitor.

2) If this is something you'd like to run on your blog please feel free.

I'm listening...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Sometimes People Do Come Back

 I've seen a lot of people leave this year, for different reasons. Some I knew well, others only casually. A work friend I've known for eight years moved to a city hundreds of miles away, another died. One on-line friend and I parted ways, and although it was on good terms it was still hard to accept. Is it just me or do our goodbyes always seem to have more impact than our hellos? I guess it's because we're strangers when we meet, but a wonderfully tangled mess of hearts and minds when we part.

  But sometimes the Universe does throw a few back. It's happening a lot lately (mostly in the past three days) and I wanted to tell you guys about it.

  Two and a half years ago someone at work I was becoming friends with was gone suddenly. There were no goodbyes, no conclusion and it stayed with me for years. Last December we were back in touch, she was doing well and pregnant with her first child. She had told me years ago that she hoped to be a mother someday, and to see her expecting made me overwhelmingly happy. Her baby boy was born on my birthday, I don't know why but it was an amazing feeling knowing that. We corresponded back and forth a bit, haven't been in touch since Spring but it made me feel so much better talking again.

  Two weeks ago a very dear blogger, Shula, dropped in on me out of the blue. She's been absent for many months but we've reconnected and she told me she's going to start writing again. Makes me happy.

  Three days ago I was sitting at my desk when in through my office door walks a girl I know who used to work there. I hung out with her and her boyfriend two years ago, they both left work and she moved to Japan. I never thought I'd see her again but she's back for at least another year.

   In the Spring I amicably parted ways with a new blogging friend. For personal reasons we mutually agreed  it would be best not to be in contact any more (it's not what you might be thinking!), which upset me but I respected her wishes.  We commented on each other's blogs once in a while but never spoke directly afterwards. I was glad at least that we parted on good terms as friends.

  Tuesday night out of the blue she IM'ed me. We talked about her situation and I think (hope) we've worked things out. It's a really nice feeling to be back in touch.
  Also on that day I got an e-mail from one of my previous staff. She and I were pretty close, and confided a lot in each other. She left and we didn't hear from her again; a year later and there I was reading this message from her that she had to go back home to Africa for a family situation but she's back. :) We may see her soon. :)

  Then I was walking down the hall and saw a guy who I thought would never come back to work. (He had an accident fourteen months ago and sustained a very serious head injury). I was shocked and very happy to see him! He's had to re-learn many things, go through cognitive therapy etc., but he's alive and very appreciative of everything he has.

  So am I.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Letter To A Younger Me

yup, this is me at nine months

Dear Barry,

  You will never be more innocent than you are right now. Your blue eyes see a world that's perfect and full of love and colour.  One day you'll learn that not everyone is kind, the world isn't perfect and rainbows aren't always outside your window. But you'll never completely lose the part of you that wants to believe this. You'll learn many lessons along the way that will put that to the test.

  In Grade One you will meet your first best friend Tutun. You won't care about the colour of his skin or that his East Indian background is so different from yours, you'll only see a boy much like yourself. Continue to accept people this way and you'll live a life free of colour lines.

  Each year your imagination will grow until it can barely be contained in that head of yours.  You'll be called a dreamer, always accept it as a compliment.  Those who use the word condescendingly only see in you what they lost when life got in the way.

  In Grade Two you'll have your first crush on a girl named Shauna and write her a love note. You'll pass it to the boy who sits between you, who will then stand up and read it out loud to the class. This will be one of the first lessons you receive in public embarrassment, and although it won't be your last it'll make the next time just a little easier. Hold your head high as they mock you, it's never wrong to love another. Never.

  Your childhood years will turn out to be some of the best in your life. You'll play with your cars in the dirt, dig for China, climb trees and even run away from home. But you'll never stray far because there's no amount of love greater in the world than the love contained within those walls. You will find escape in everything creative, learn how to express yourself through writing and drawing, and discover wonder in space and endless oceans.  This will stay with you always.

  One day you'll ask your mother to stop writing notes to you on the outside of the paper bags she packed your lunch in, it is then you'll realize you're growing up. Many many years later you'll speak to her of the regret you feel for asking this of her, she'll smile and tell you she understood. You'll still feel like shit, knowing one day when she's gone you'd give anything to have those notes back.

  In Grade Four you and your friend Sean will like the same girl. You'll feel jealous as hell when Jessica pays attention to him and not you, yet find when you ignore her that she'll do anything to get your attention. When you ask mom why this is she'll tell you it's just the way girls are.

  You'll grow up to find that some things never change.

  In your twelfth year your parents will divorce and childhood will be forever left behind. This will be life's first harsh lesson in change, but also a necessary step towards becoming the man you are today. Through your teen years you'll see the affect that alcohol and drugs can have on the lives of some of those around you, and you will choose to avoid it. You'll also realize that, just as you have your way of dealing with this dark period in your life, people have theirs as well and should not be judged for it.

  When the time for your high school prom comes around you'll ask Aurora Dicella if she's going. When she tells you she doesn't have a date make sure you ask her instead of Andrea, who you'll only end up leaving there. This decision may not change your life but it could certainly make the evening a lot more enjoyable.

  Teachers will have a significant influence on you. One will be the object of a childhood crush, you'll be forever grateful that when you tell her you love her she says she loves you back instead of breaking your heart. Another will open your mind further to life around you and give your written words wings. You'll always hate math but find it more bearable with Mrs. Redmond to distract you who, by the way, will be the one who sparks your attraction to redheads.

  You'll be shy and awkward around girls when dating and wonder if you'll ever have sex. Be patient, it'll happen and your first time will be memorable. At twenty-one you'll fall in love for the first of only two times in your life. You'll be intense, she will be cold and break your heart. If you have a second chance don't change a thing, this girl will only lead you to the one you're meant to be with. One year later you'll find yourself venturing across a vast ocean and gazing upon things you only read about in school, it will be one of the happiest times in your life and the girl will be but a memory.

 You'll feel lost through your teens and twenties, but what you won't realize is that most people you know will feel the same. Twenty years from now you still won't know what you want to do but remember it's who you are, not what you do that defines you. Spend most of your time developing yourself and not your career. You'll find that wealth doesn't always equate to happiness, everyone else isn't always doing better and some of the kindest people in society are those who have less than you do. Always give them equal time and never look down on them, you may be there yourself one day.

  When the girl you met on the phone dating service calls you back four months later saying she had misplaced your number but you can call her back if you'd like, do it. She'll end up not only being the one you walk beside but your best friend as well. Nineteen years later you'll still be holding hands and looking back on that moment with a smile.

  You will never be driven by money but by passion, the same curiosity you possessed as a boy will open your eyes to the beauty and wonder in everything around you. You'll fall in love with smiles and words, gaze endlessly into clear starry skies and get turned on by thunderstorms. These things will captivate you in ways that many will never understand, embrace this in yourself and don't ever wish to change it.

  In 2008 you'll make a bad decision at an intersection that will change your life and your character more significantly than anything you've ever experienced. It will be a tremendously emotional time for both of you but in the end you'll emerge with a new outlook on life and a greater understanding of others. You won't be sure where it's meant to take you but don't overanalyze it, just accept that it was meant to happen. You'll get the greatest happiness from helping other people; give of yourself as you're able but don't let it consume you.

  During this time you'll know more single women in their twenties than you ever knew when you were dating, proving the Universe has a sense of humour. You'll also become incredibly philosophical and finally find peace in knowing that some things must run their course no matter how hard they are to understand at the time. You'll realize that every decision, every thing that did or didn't happen has lead you to where you are when you write this letter. There won't be much you'll want to change, a sign that some of life's harshest lessons have taught you the most.

  Throughout your life you'll want everyone to like you. Not everyone will, and you'll find sometimes that the harshest criticism from one will resonate more loudly than the highest praise from many. Don't listen to that voice, chances are it's coming from someone who feels the same.

  Although you'll find it tempting, avoid comparing yourself to others. Many who seem well-off would give anything to trade their troubles for yours.

  Let your inner child run loose and pay no attention to those who would have him sit in a corner. Speak your mind. Love unapologetically and out loud. Eat your vegetables. And always, always make people wonder what you're up to.



PS: When you and your brother think about bringing the snakes you caught into the house...don't. They'll only get loose and you'll come close to not seeing your tenth birthday.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Secret Sunday

Hey everyone, welcome to the thirty-sixth round of Secret Sunday, a chance to share secrets and/or fantasies you've been keeping to yourself. Some are uplifting, some are heartbreaking and some are just plain naughty.

All are valid.

Here's how it works:

1) This is open to anyone who wants to participate, from regular follower to casual visitor.

2) If this is something you'd like to run on your blog please feel free. You may copy the rules if you wish.

I'm listening...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Blogger Award and a Short Story- Saturday Morning Cafe (revisited)

I was very pleasantly surprised to visit my friend Mhairi's blog and find she's bestowed an award upon me, the Story Time Blogger Medal:

  Totally loving the Monty Python reference. Thanks so much for this Mhairi, is it any wonder I hang around?

  So I feel it's only fair to write a short story to go along with it.  But since time is so limited lately I hope you guys won't think I'm cheating if I blow the dust off the cover of this one that I wrote some time ago. Yeah, I'm a sucker for romantic relationships...

Saturday Morning Cafe 

   Danielle set the overflowing mug of latte on the table and nestled into ‘her’ comfy chair, in the corner of her favourite local cafe. She had always thought of this place as quaint, a word not used often these days but still somehow perfectly describing the atmosphere and charm it held. She had recently made a routine of coming here every Saturday morning. In actuality there was no point; she had an espresso machine in her apartment and was more than capable of making whatever she wanted. But the shop was comforting in its familiarity and besides, she reasoned, a single girl in her twenties needs to get out if she's to ever meet someone.

   Pulling the novel from her purse she rested its worn cover on the table’s edge and opened the bookmarked page, briefly allowing her eyes to sweep through the room. The cafe was surprisingly busy this time of morning. Her eyes were half-turned back to the book when she spotted him. Danielle had seen him here each Saturday around this time, which perhaps was a large reason for her continual return. Impeccably dressed in business attire, she couldn’t help but wonder what he did for a living. Executive? Salesman?

   Whatever the case, the laptop always occupied a good amount of his time. This morning as any other he was fixated on the screen, which allowed her the usual time for stolen glances. The kind accompanied by quick aversion of our eyes when the subject of our attention looks our way, should (God forbid) they ever notice our interest. Their eyes had never met yet she couldn’t help but wonder if he played the same coy game, and was as skilled as she at not being obvious. Danielle grinned, fully knowing that without this distraction she would have finished the novel long ago.

   No matter.

   She lazily sipped on the hot drink, awash in morning sun as it came around and began gently streaming through the window. This was her favourite part of the day, a chance to enjoy some quiet solitude before the reality of chores, errands and phone calls intruded.

   Only this morning was different. Because with one careless glance, one glimpse too long, this man who had remained elusive for so long looked up and met her eyes with his.

   'Oh crap!' She froze, just long enough to catch his smile before quickly turning feigned attention to her book. She was afraid to look back up, a million thoughts running through her head. ‘What did that mean? Was he even looking at me? Of course he was stupid, you’re sitting in the corner. There’s no one behind you.'

  From the corner of her eye she caught his form as he closed the laptop and rose from the table. Making his way towards her, he turned not towards the door but instead to where she was sitting, and before Danielle knew it he was before her. This couldn’t be happening. He leaned in.

   "You may not know this, but..."

   The anticipation of words to come hung in the air for an eternity. She wanted to clutch her chest, almost afraid he'd hear her heart racing. She stared into his eyes, embarassingly lost in the depth of blue gazing back at her. He moved in closer still. God he smelled good.

   Mr. Dreamy gently scooped up a tuft of foam that had dripped down the side of her mug, playfully placing it on the tip of his nose.

   “…it looks like we have something in common.”

   Big smirk.

   “Oh God.” Danielle whispered, mortified. She cupped one hand over her mouth and wiped it off, sinking into her chair. “I feel so stupid.”

   “Not at all. You look better in latte than any woman I’ve met.” He grinned; she definitely possessed a certain charm. Gesturing toward the chair across from her he placed a hand on its back. “May I?”

   The request caught her completely off-guard. “I thought you were leaving?”

  “Doesn’t seem that important anymore” he replied, resting his laptop on the table. “I’m Robert...” Registered & Protected

photo credit: me

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Secret Sunday

Hey everyone, welcome to the thirty-fifth round of Secret Sunday, a chance to share secrets and/or fantasies you've been keeping to yourself. Some are uplifting, some are heartbreaking and some are just plain naughty.

All are valid.

Here's how it works:

1) This is open to anyone who wants to participate, from regular follower to casual visitor.

2) If this is something you'd like to run on your blog please feel free. You may copy the rules if you wish.

I'm listening...

Friday, August 12, 2011

Life's Hellos and Goodbyes

I've been thinking a lot about relationships lately, how people come and go from our lives and how many have come and gone from mine. The two things I have the hardest time dealing with are death and goodbyes and I've had to face both over the past two weeks.

  On July 30th someone I knew well at work passed away of complications from cancer. Elizabeth fought courageously for almost eight years, during this time she had her ups and downs but always tried to hide it and take the focus off herself. I loved her positivity through it all, she was a very uplifting and encouraging person. Always asked how Sandy is doing and how the cats are. Her face just lit up when she spoke about our gardens. I knew her health was declining but I didn't think she'd be gone so soon, she was in her forties and died too young.

  A few days ago another work friend of mine walked into my office. Vanessa and I have known each other for almost eight years, and as she made her way towards me I could feel she was leaving. Today was her last day, she's moving to another city over three hundred miles away and we'll probably never see each other again. I'll miss having her around, we had some good talks, but mostly I'm just happy for her. It's a new opportunity in a new city, a new chance to pursue what makes her happy. That makes it easier for me to see her go.

  Saying goodbye is never easy. I don't know if I'm growing used to seeing people come and go from my life but I'm more philosophical these days, more at peace with it all. The poem, "A Reason, A Season or a Lifetime" has helped. I've grown to realize that some people are in our lives for the length of time they're meant to be, even if why they go away when they do isn't always obvious. Sometimes it's terribly unfair and even cruel, but I believe there's a reason for these things. I have to believe it, it's what helps get me through.

  Most of you I've talked with by e-mail know I love to explore things like relationships, our desires, fears and victories...what makes us tick. I have many of these conversations and sometimes they've shown promise of developing into a trusting relationship only to fade weeks or months later. Other times they grow into very close friendships. And it makes me wonder why. Why is it so many people drift in and out of touch with us while the bond between those we met years ago continues to grow stronger?

  I know there are a million circumstances but I think it just comes down to connection and how much we need or relate to someone at any given time. Sometimes it's temporary, to help us through a situation.  But sometimes it runs a lot deeper than that and those are the people who stick around.

  Then there are those who pass through each others' lives and return when the time seems right.  A perfect example happened just today. I was having one of the most stressful days at work in recent memory when a  certain someone made an appearance out of the blue and left me this comment, " You've become like my big brother, honestly."  It made all the difference.

  Every goodbye will be met by a new hello. We just have to wait for it sometimes.

(photo credit here)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Five Quick Things About Me

  • I've never had a regular cup of coffee in my life. I'll drink flavoured coffee though
  • I growl sometimes when I'm frustrated. I don't mean to, gotta change that
  • every time we buy a fresh loaf of bread from the bakery I have to tear into it, like a lion devouring its prey. I just can't resist, it feels good to unleash a little primal instinct sometimes.
  • I could live on Eighties music
  • I never found Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren, Pamela Anderson, Kim Kardashian or Angelina Jolie particularly attractive. Male stereotypes don't apply to all of us y'know.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Secret Sunday

Ever ask yourself where the hell the time's going?  Yeah, you probably do. There's been so much to catch up on lately that I've had little time to visit everyone's blogs let alone write for my own. I've gotta change that, maybe book a couple days off.  

  In the meantime, welcome to the thirty-fourth round of Secret Sunday, a chance to share secrets and/or fantasies you've been keeping to yourself. Some are uplifting, some are heartbreaking and some are just plain naughty.

  All are valid.

Here's how it works:

1) This is open to anyone who wants to participate, from regular follower to casual visitor.

2) If this is something you'd like to run on your blog please feel free. You may copy the rules if you wish.

I'm listening...

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

My Epic Long Weekend Getaway Post

  This past weekend was a long one for us in Canada with Monday being a Civic Holiday. For those of you not familiar with the term, "civic holiday" is really just a bullshit excuse for everyone to get away and get into whatever mischief they can, while the weather's still nice enough to do it.

  My sister's boyfriend's mother was celebrating her 80th (!) birthday, her family was throwing a bash and Sandy and I were invited. The party was being held about three hours North of Toronto in Owen Sound, a city of about 22,000 people. Sandy's sister and her family also live there and we decided to tie the two in together. So on Saturday morning we packed the car and off we went.

  There's a reason we never travel on long weekends: TRAFFIC. I wish I'd taken a photo of it but you probably already know what a traffic jam looks like. Take one car and put another six inches in front of it. Now multiply that by a bazillion and that's what we kept getting in the middle of. We'd be driving through miles of open country road, the wind blowing through what's left of my hair, get to the top of a hill and BAM! there it was, stretching out for as far as my eye could see. (Which as I get older is less and less).

  Mother Nature seems to have put an internal GPS in my body which calculates the exact middle point between the last rest stop and the next one. My first and thankfully only off-road pee break came in the middle of one of these traffic jams, we pulled off to the side and I was able to walk down a short hill into an overgrown area. As I was doing my business, hearing invisible critters scurrying around me, I looked up and saw this:

  I've always loved to be where I shouldn't, so I had to go back to the car and get the camera.

  Here are some more pictures of the trip along the way; we took the same route as last year and I'm posting some of those photos here since we didn't have as much time to stop.

I love horses and took the opportunity to sneak onto a farmer's property to take these.  This year we saw a couple Palaminos at another spot that I wish I had snapped some pictures of.

There's a huge windfarm along the highway that stretches for miles, it's very dramatic. I'd never seen one until this..

tiny-ass little post office (it always catches my attention)..

  Four hours later (on a trip that should have taken three) we arrived at Sandy's sister's place and had a brief chance to visit with her grandkids and daughter. Boys being boys they were rambunctious and eager to get our attention, which they did.

  We grabbed a quick lunch and after about an hour and a half we were off to the local KAO Campground to meet up with some of my family for the birthday party. My sister and her boyfriend were already set up with my nephews at the cabin, a very cozy 12' x 12' affair with two bunks and a double bed.

We sat around and talked before heading over to the party. About a hundred people were invited and by the looks of things almost everyone showed. Inside they had a huge pot luck buffet (Sandy brought a salad) with a barbeque, lots of salads, beverages, a dessert table and live music (okay, it was one guy with a guitar singing Elvis songs, but still). Since it was a family event there were several kids and they all seemed to have a good time. I took a few photos but they're on Sandy's camera and it'll be a day or so before I can download them. I really want to get this post up so this'll have to do. Sorry! 

  When we returned to the cabin we got the tent set up for the boys...

and did your typical camping stuff..

a sure sign there were women among us...

for the morning after...


 Yeah, the other photos are on Sandy's camera. I suck. Sue me.

As dusk fell I mountain biked with my nephew into the (very dark) forest and gathered sticks to roast marshmallows.

  We awoke to a rain shower in the morning...

...which fortunately didn't last long. Then we packed the car and said goodbye to my sister and her family and headed into town to see Sandy's sister for a longer visit (but not before hitting Tim Horton's for breakfast!)

  Now, a house without two young boys is in theory pretty peaceful. Until you factor in two rabbits, two cats, two dogs and a cockatiel. By the time our visit was over I had been nuzzled and licked by just about everything around me. Not to mention witnessing an impromptu floor show of a bunny humping a dog. Apparently rabbits go more for speed than accuracy, but that's taking this post in a whole new direction.




  Yeah I kinda like the little guy. Okay so maybe I wanted to take him home.  Not shown in this post: Gus the cat, Quincy the dog-humping rabbit, Louis the cockatiel and Annabee the cat. Who is as elusive as Bigfoot but my sister-in-law swears she exists. I'll have to take her word for it.

  We left mid-afternoon and had a great, traffic-jam-free drive home in gorgeous weather. It was a busy two days but it was well worth it.