Date #8 Stalker Grandpa

Needing a break from a 70 hour work week, I took a little “fun” time to get my car washed in town.  The car wash has a tiny outside covered waiting room with coffee and yesterday’s newspaper. As I look around I spot a man about the age of my Dad. Thinking it’s an opportunity to hear stories that might make me miss Dad less, I introduce myself.

His name is Bill Strong. Bill tells me he’s recently lost 30 pounds on a low carb diet. He used to live in the area but now has a 6,000 acre ranch in Oregon. I talk about growing up in Oregon and how I’m now connecting to my roots by keeping chickens.  We talk about the beauty of the day, and our work. He’s in mining, I’m in technology. He tells me his wife is back at the hotel. And then he mentions that his friends all have mistresses. I laugh, and say that’s because of Viagra, and make a fast exit to check on my car.

Three weeks later I receive a long email from Bill. Here’s a condensed version:

“Dearie – – I am reminded of some of those old days of tracking land ownerships in the Parishes of La – – only the Barras had the records, the cousins married and re-married and their issue scattered to the four winds. A nightmare of trying to determine where people were and who owned the minerals.

That was almost 50 yrs ago…. I stumble on an interesting lady, in of all places (the car wash) – – sounds like soap opera stuff, but after I left it occurred to me that this lady too interesting to simply forget.

Having tramped the world, chasing whomever mineral owners from So America, the US to Europe I thought it should be easy to find this interesting lady in the simple east Bay jurisdiction. So, for a starting point  I determined it was in fact a Pia Stone. I won’t tell you how I found that out.  My office Intalius search turned up nothing, except more Stones doing all sorts of internet stuff.  It evident that this Pia Stone did not want to be easily found. (I didn’t. Having had stalkers before I live in a very private, secure area.)

Bill’s email continues, “My mother told me many years ago my tenacious nature coupled with a dangerous sensitivity would allow me to savor many things in life that others might miss, but the tenacious part might get me in trouble from time to time.   – – which made the search even more interesting, and  finally as any good bird dog would do – – you go where the business action is or was – – and finally the illusive Pia surfaces.”

Bill’s email arrived right in the middle of fundraising for LLS, so I include him on my ask email list of 100+. I thought it might be a fast way to reach my $2,500 goal.

I was so wrong.

Bill writes: “I would do the cancer thing with you only for one other reason.  I/we have a huge 501(c)(3) nonprofit cash load thing that is in its 15th year (headquarters domiciled on our 6000 ac Oregon ranch).  We provide shelter for hundreds of bird species, particularly abused parrots bought for pets and eventually abandoned.  This is a daughter’s project, but funded by Dad.  Two large aviaries at about a half M$ ea.   Anyway, wish I could help your project, but my contribution boat is loaded.”

Umm – I was asking for $25, less than a lunch. Not the best approach to winning my heart.

And so, at 84, Bill’s tenacity brings him to the fringes of my life. He calls, he emails, and he waits at the car wash. I ignore him for months.

Yesterday the phone rang, and thinking it was a call from a recruiter, I answered. It was Bill, and I was forced into having an overdue frank conversation.

I tell him “he is too old and married. Both deal breakers”. He says “he doesn’t need Viagra, and that a divorce is in the works.” I mention getting divorced at 84 is pretty hard on a guy, that men do better with partners. He agrees. “That’s why he spent so much time tracking me down.”

To get something out of what is basically a wasted 40 minutes, I asked him about the lessons learned during his very full life.

Bill answers, “I’ve found the most interesting women in the world have always been the ones that don’t need me.”

Truer words were never spoken. But I bet I’ll hear from him again, and again.


Green House

Now that the chickens have laid their first eggs! It seemed to take so long. I’m off to the next project, building a greenhouse. This is necessary because I’ve discovered chickens eat everything, and I want fresh greens to go with my eggs.

The house next to me is being torn down and I’m going to beg a few windows and old beams from them. The house is 120 years old, perfect for a quaint green house.

Here are some ideas I’ve been collecting.



Date #7 – Anger Issues

I met JD 20 years ago at work, when I noticed he had a red rose tucked into the lapel of his Italian suit which I thought was pretty cool, until I took count of the two dozen roses on my desk that my boyfriend had sent. I only had 23.

After chasing me for three years he has an opportunity to impress me when I took him up on his offer of lunch. He took me to a frozen yogurt place. It wasn’t a financial thing at the time, he had a six figure income. And it’s not that he didn’t know better. He’s in sales, and entertains all the time. I believe he wanted to invest as little as possible financially in order to get me into bed. His charm and good looks were usually enough. But not for me. He didn’t get a second chance until many years later, when I was at a low point in my life.

He got married and had a couple of kids, then the marriage blew up. JD became very active in the dating market using Match and Yahoo. He is very handsome, educated, and smart so he has plenty of options. But JD can’t control his anger or his mouth. At one black tie event when served a cream pie dessert he loudly asked the waiter to wrap it up so he could take it home and later eat it out of his date’s ass crack. She never saw him again.

He got married, and then became suspicious of his new wife. Breaking into her email account to check on her he discovered correspondence with another man. He began stalking her, and ended up with a restraining order, a lawsuit, and another divorce.

Between the first and second wife I reconnected with him. We met for drinks and I drank way too much. He told me that he wasn’t attracted to me anymore because I had gained weight. He slept with me anyhow. I don’t remember anything other than he had a special bed for his back that had independent controls for how firm each side of the bed could be. Oh and he had weight machines next to the bed. It’s clear that he used them. I snuck out in shame as soon as I was sober enough to drive.

I could never get over the fact that he was so hurtful about my weight, or that he was unable to control himself. But I stayed in touch as a friend offering my guest room to hide out, guiding him to be more tactful, witnessing the drama as relationship after relationship, job after job failed.

A few nights ago he wanted to come over with a surprise — he has adopted a sweet dog. He’s never been so kind. If only he could treat people the way he treats his dog. But the thing is, with a dog, they do what you want. You have the control. Women, bosses, co-workers, employees, children, they have their own agenda – and he can’t stand that. He’s Italian and would have worked well in the mob where lines of respect are clearly defined.

The fire was going, we were drinking wine, and he said “you know if you want, I could be your boyfriend”, we’ve known each other a long time.” I smiled and said thanks for the offer.

He’s been texting and calling a few times a day since then. Today I got a text “fuck you – you need to get back to me”.

No thanks. Being fat may have saved my life.

Date #6 – The Good Guy

For thirty years the Good Guy has been in love with me. He
vividly recalls the first time we met, in a bar. He came to my table to speak
with a friend that he had gone to Catholic school with. As introductions were
being made, I noticed a hot guy at the bar, and said I was going to “go out
with him”. Said good bye to the table and left the bar with the stranger in a
Ferrari. I have no recollection of the evening, but it sounds like something I
would have done.  I probably got a great dinner out of it. The Good Guy tells me it was like watching something out of a movie, I was so beautiful and so fearless. I wish I had a little more of those two precocious things these days.

The Good Guy comes and goes in my life. Thirty years is a pretty big time span. For several years I would see him a few times a month in a walking group. And then one day he offered to help me run some errands. It was more than help; it was like I had a personal servant. He drove the car, placed all the items in the cart, followed a few steps behind wherever I went (he said he like to watch the men look at me, and felt proud that they thought he was my boyfriend.) When we got home the Good Guy unloaded the car, carried everything up the stairs (and I have a lot of them) and put things away. Ok I was addicted. For the next few years he was my shopping assistant – people often mistook him for my body guard. He was very protective.

He called a few times a day to make sure I was OK. When I was working a lot (which is most of the time) the Good Guy would pick up food for dinner and deliver it to my house. Drive me to the airport for business and vacation (without him). Housesit and take excellent care of all my animals, fix things around the house. He loved to shop for a Christmas tree together, and would spend the day decorating to my specifications. For years he’d buy me fresh flowers every week until I demanded he stop spending the money. I just felt so guilty.

He also made an excellent nurse. When I dropped the fireplace poker nearly through my food he bought everything needed to clean the wound and bandage my mangled toe. When the love of my life, Domino (a Chihuahua) was attacked by a coyote he changed his leg bandage every day so it didn’t get infected. He saved the little guy’s leg.

The Good Guy is big and unbelievable strong. He’d move the furniture to new places in the house when I was bored, and put a three hundred pound Buddha statue in place in the yard. His faith in my business acumen was unwavering.
He supported every business idea. The Good Guy was a cross between a husband, (without intimacy), personal assistant, and a gay best friend.

The Good Guy would fade into the background when I was in a relationship; and bizarrely predict the ending. Usually the how, when and why. I began to think he was using some black magic to influence my relationship demise. It was bad karma.

His Facebook page relationship status said “it’s complicated”. I’m sure it was to him, but not to me. I would ask him to back off and he would for a week or two. But then he’d call and offer to clean the gutters for fall, or to give me a break from work with brunch in Napa;  he was so helpful, and it was so easy to say
yes. And soon he’d be carrying my luggage down the stairs for another ride to the airport.

I thought I could count on him for anything. The Good Guy really loved to help. And not just me, he’d help his family as well. Everything he did was pretty much for someone else.

So when Dad got really sick and I needed help to take him home to
die, the Good Guy seemed to be the perfect person to go with me. I trusted him.
He had a big truck, and was strong to lift Dad. He’d accumulated  many vacation days, and he knew my family and had always wanted to visit the log cabin I grew up in. We planned the date around his schedule, praying that Dad would hold out for a few more days. He would help get Dad to the house, spend a few days and then drive home. I’d fly home after Dad passed away.

All this took lots of energy to arrange between building a ramp, lining up hospice, getting a new caregiver organization, and ensuring long term care would cover the new organization. I was an emotional mess on the verge of a stroke. My right eye would throb, my shoulder had shooting pains, I couldn’t sleep or eat. For really the first time in my life I really, really needed help. Dad has his bags packed ready to go, just waiting for me to come and get him.

The Good Guy and I would have to stay together in a motel room for a few days while things were put into place. I’d never stayed overnight with him before. It seemed right. It actually seemed as if we might be a couple. I was so grateful to have him help me with the most difficult situation of my life. I was afraid.

Two days before we were to leave I got a sick feeling in my stomach. Something wasn’t right. The Good Guy hadn’t called the day before. He
always called. Actually his constant calling would interrupt my concentration
at work, but I always answered. I asked him to meet me for dinner that night. He
was very stiff. I said “you’re not going to Oregon with me on Thursday are
you?” He said no, that his mother had some things she wanted to clean up. She
needed his help. I said that “Dad was dying and I couldn’t wait. That we had it
planned that he had the time off. “ “What was I to do?”

And then the Good Guy. The man that had professed his love for 30 years. The man that let his family, co-workers, and friends believe I was his girlfriend, who had pictures of me all over his room, said to me that “blood was thicker than water”.  “I would have to do it on my own, or let Dad die where he was.”

I was shocked. His fortune cookie said “Consider friend decisions carefully; results are forever.”

I went with Domino. It took me four days to bring Dad home to die. I followed the Good Guy’s vacation via Facebook as he traveled the Pacific Coast.  Smiling pictures at all the tourist stops. All the while I knelt for hours a day by Dad’s bedside listening to his labored breath, watching his face as he dreamed of better times, talked with old friends, and sought peace.

I don’t miss the Good Guy. He did the ONE thing that would end our friendship, and the end is a relief. It wasn’t healthy for either of us.

I guess my ask was too big. Or the possibility of a real relationship with me was too scary and/or destroyed the fantasy. Or he paid me back for all the years that I wouldn’t commit to him. For all the good deeds he did, he never even got a kiss. I may have deserved it. Or maybe the Good Guy was just an act to get me to marry him.

His Facebook status still says “it’s complicated”.  I see now that it is not so much about me, but about his emotions regarding intimacy.

Thirty years is a very long time to fantasize about someone. To pass up on real relationships with women that would return his love. I hope he moves on quickly. I’d love to see his Facebook page say “In a relationship with…”

We both need to grow up.

Date #5 – The Water Snake

I met him through Match, his big smile in the picture was so welcoming. He stressed his strong values and Catholic upbringing. He wanted to spend more time cycling, so we met for the first time before sunrise to do a century ride through Napa.

He was a super nice, accommodating, encouraging, and much more fit than I am.  After the first five miles he zoomed ahead, did 60 miles and called it a day.

He’d been divorced for a few years because of “that infidelity thing” that ultimately didn’t work out. It  brought an end to his marriage and damaged his relationship with his two beautiful children.

He loves to swim and surf, and is long, lean and blond.  Most women would classify him as attractive, but I couldn’t shake the feeling he looked like a snake.  I believe George Orwell was correct when he said “that by 50 people have the faces they deserve”. The sun has been harsh on his skin, requiring several cancer removals and skin grafts. His hair is thinning around hair plugs that must have been put in years ago.  He seems to slither when he moves which I’m not sure is sexy or scary. I occasionally see him around town sliding in or out of restaurants.

Since we met in 2008 we see each other a couple of times a year, as friends because I’m not his type. He has a very specific list of who he wants to “connect with”. Blond, stunning, in the real estate business, thin, athletic, beach lover and some more things that I’ve forgotten. No mention of qualities like honesty, faith, compassion. I appreciated his honesty that I didn’t meet his qualifications, but that didn’t keep him from trying to get me to bed.

One night at dinner, his cell phone kept beeping with text messages, I asked if I could look. He said yes and headed to the bathroom. I’m a very fast reader, and oh what an education I got in the tease of sexting. I don’t do it as I don’t want a record of my sexual conversations, but I may be in the minority on this use of technology.

He kept a running dialogue of sex messages with at least a dozen women who appeared to be looking for a deeper relationship. He was very open with me, sharing their pictures and stories. Most were tiny, busy, lonely single moms. None were the blond model type he was looking for. He must spend several hours a day texting to keep the sparks alive.

And then the snake look thing clicked for me.

His dating behavior was like a water snake that dwells in shallow waters with their mouths open waiting for any prey to come close by – within a few inches – so they can simply close their jaws around their prey.

He is a single guy, free to do what he wants, and certainly has plenty of options.  But I’m glad that I will never be his prey.

Sometimes ladies, what you see in a man’s face, is exactly what you get.

Date #4 – The Cheater Loves Him Some Biscuits

Realizing he was married took a couple of months. By then he thought I was so in love I’d never leave him. Wrong. I’m an Aquarius. We keep our emotions in check when it come to love.

His story was that his housemate was a hoarder, he was embarrassed to take me to his house. She was in the process of moving out but taking longer than he hoped. Boxes were all over the place. They had been friends for a long time and he had been helping her out with a room. She had a place in the City where she spent most of her time. “Did you sleep with her”? I asked. “Never. Of course not. She’s been a friend of the family for years. Not my type. She has her own bedroom and bathroom.”  “I’ve just been trying to be a good guy — that’s how I roll.”

As the winter holidays approached and we started to talk about where we would spend them together, the housemate turned out to be a wife of 20 years. But, good news, he had started the divorce paperwork. He had been working on it late at night locating all of the assets. It was just hard to serve her over Christmas and New Years, but right after would be good.

And then it was her birthday and he couldn’t do it because she planned and paid for the trip to Europe. And then he did it – and surprise she wanted to go to counseling. She liked the relationship the way it was. This was six years ago. I dumped him right after an expensive dinner on my birthday.

But he continued to hang around, starting with a lunch now and then, and then drinks in the middle of the week. I would only meet with him in a public place. And then he worked his way up to cooking dinner on a perfect spring evening so we could enjoy my new fountain and landscaping — with a bottle of wine he had been saving for a very special occasion. Tasted pretty blah to me.

And then my Dad died and he stepped up the pressure. I was numb. Coming to the rescue to be sure I was OK, cooking a great dinner, getting me really drunk, and then sleeping next to me – naked. I’d taken two sleeping pills and with the wine I guess snored like crazy. You think that would have turned him off forever.

My guard was down, and he wasted no time. Calling every day. Insisting I return the calls or he would come by the house to make sure I was OK. As if I was going to kill myself, or die of grief. Geez I’m online all day long, it’s pretty easy to see if I am alive.

And then last week he pulled out all stops, groping, pushing, hugging, french kissing, putting his face in my lap to try and get to my pussy. I couldn’t drink my wine, I couldn’t eat. I tried to clean up the dishes and he cornered me in the kitchen. I laugh it off. I turned red.

He followed me to bed and got in. I asked him to leave. He stayed, erect and waiting. “I’ve been waiting for years he’s said” “I’ve never forgotten how it was to have sex with you in the morning when I was still sleeping. How you would make me fresh biscuits while I was in the shower.” I did, from scratch, timing them just right to be out of the oven by the time he was done shaving. When I want to, I can be pretty charming. The best biscuits he’s ever had, were for him, a testament to how much I loved him. It’s said the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.

God, how does his wife stand it. No wonder she keeps her own place. May the two of you find love again, and keep me out of it. Honey if you want him, try the biscuit recipe. It went something like this:

Baking Powder Biscuits Recipe

1. 2 Cups of Sifted Plain All Purpose Flour

2. 2 Teaspoons Baking Powder

3. 4 Tablespoons Real Butter at Room Tempurture

4. 1 Teaspoon Table Salt

5. 3/4 Cup of Whole Milk

You want to sift your flour with a hand sifter once into a bowl. And then add your baking powder and salt to the flour and sift again. Use your hands to cut your butter into the flour. Be sure that the butter is very well mixed into the flour. Add your milk gradually until soft dough is formed. Turn your dough out onto a floured surface and roll the dough out to 1/2 inch thick. Cut your biscuits out with a 2 inch floured biscuit cutter or a small glass.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and make sure it is thoroughly preheated before you bake your biscuits for 12 to 15 minutes until golden brown. Please be sure to not over work your dough. Try to basically follow along with my instructions and you will have great baking powder biscuits.

He likes them with organic honey and unsalted butter. Put the extras in a paper bag for him and he will eat them all day at work.

Vintage Fabric + Vintage Furniture = Love

My love affair with vintage textiles continues. I’ve been ordering suzani fabrics from Ebay to redo the dining room chairs. In the meantime as I wait for my project to take shape, I’ve been collecting photos of furniture done well. Turns out it’s a trend. Who knew? I’ve been thinking about it for years, just takes me a long time to get things done.

 to .









Mason Jars Never Get Old

When I was young I would help my grandma can jam from berries we picked, and apples, pears and peaches off of her property. It was an all day process with cleaning fruit, boiling water, paraffin wax, sealing, and date labeling. It was serious business, if it wasn’t done right you could die of botulism.

What I loved most was the jars. Bell or Mason they both seemed very cool to me. Still do. Here’s some ideas of how to use these very same jars today, without the threat of death.



Success Factors

While I’m not totally where I want to be — I’m on my way with two start-ups, starting up. And if this chart is correct, I’ll get there. I do everything on the left, every day. As for the right side, still working on the not talking about people item. It’s hard, I start in a simple conversation and the next thing you know you are somehow talking about someone in a not so good way. And I don’t even care about them! Peer example. I’m working on moving a few of those people out of my life.

Color Outside – Keeyla Meadows

Yesterday on a fountain excursion to American Soil I wandered into the landscape work of Keeyla Meadows and never wanted to leave. I’d seen pictures before of her outdoor art, but didn’t make the immediately connection to the beautiful display I was captivated by. Hours of research later, and I’m ready to start my own paver and planter designs. I’ll need her master vision to put it all together, but I can get some of the pieces going now.

Her work reminds me of Matisse — so here is a jumble of inspirational images. Pottery class on my list for next fall.