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.

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.

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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.

Conversation Pit

I can’t get the concept of a cozy conversation pit out of my mind. It all started with the Miller House. Which is the best conversation pit ever, totally custom, and out of my budget. Of course I want it white to set off my collection of pillows, and really soft which eliminates leather. So slipcovers, which can be easily washed and changed based on the season is what I’m looking for. Here’s some ideas:

Bucket List #3 – Keep Chickens

These will probably be the most expensive eggs ever; but it’s not the eggs, it’s the back to nature experience I crave. The hillside is dug out and ready for delivery of this coop. It’s on a cargo ship on the way from China. I hope it makes the chickens really happy.

After four months of waiting the coop arrived. And like all things was a bit more complicated than expected, but it is just as I’d dreamed.



The baby chicks come next week.