Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Here's the raw truth: I'm not taking a blogging break to pursue any other projects other than myself.

If you read my other blog, you're well aware of the laundry list of things that need to get done around here but none are more important than job of "cleaning up my act" and taking some much-needed time to fully absorb what that means.

And here's where it starts.

I'm seeing a phenomenal therapist who has encouraged (mandated?) that I spend one hour each day with a journal and a pen. And a whole lot of quiet. Journaling is not the same as blogging and that's why I have to step back from the blogs for awhile.

I found this out the hard way. On my first night of the "journaling job," I dimmed the lights, lit a candle, opened my new and beautiful journal and stared at it. For about 30 minutes. Then I wrote:

I don't want to fucking do this.

But I did and I am and what's coming forth is gut-wrenching and it's insightful and it's powerful and it scares me and it makes me believe that I can be a better, more kinder person - to myself - first, and to my child, my family and my friends.

I have about three weeks into the journal. I write a lot. Some times, I sit for hours on end with the journal and the black pen I've come to love. I've cried a lot. I've dug deep into the corners of my heart and into the dark spaces of my memory to find remnants, pieces of what I believe to be true, to be relevant, to be helpful in this process.

There are so many events that have occurred over this last year that have made me pause and think, even plead, "I need help!"

No one ever taught me how to deal with rejection. Especially with men. No one could tell me what to do when my ex showed up so many times with promises, only to circle around mere weeks, days later with a "serious" girlfriend. Someone who will likely move in with my ex and my son. Soon.

No one ever suggested how I might feel with another maternal figure in Ben's life.

No one ever told me how to handle my father. I never knew how to be his daughter and as the years have gone by, we've gotten better - he and I - but I still feel like I walk a football field of eggshells - always - and I'll never understand why a daughter must have zero expectations of her father so as not to be disappointed.

No one ever said to me that my own mother may never relate to me. That despite living together for nearly a year and a half, we would be complete strangers.

No one thought Florida was a good idea. No one ever encouraged me to date as much as I do. No one ever said to me, "You don't need validation from men. You will always have validation from the one boy who means the most: Ben, and that is all that matters. At least for now."

No one promised that a career would be easy or that faith in God would not waver.

No one showed me a healthy way to eat, without the influences of emotions, guilt and torture.

No one gently hugged me and said, "Your family history is so warped. No wonder you can't sleep. It's not your fault."

No one gave me an identity other than, "single mom" and sometimes, "struggling, sleep-deprived single mom."

And I never had a reason to believe that I was much more than that.

Until now.

I'm investing a good deal of my free time into this process and there are days that I feel so much more free and days that I wonder why I waited 39 years to begin and days that I think that there is such an enormous elephant in front of me and how will I ever even begin to move this giant and stinky creature out of my space?

One inch, one word, one breath, one promise at a time.

That's all I have. For now.

And I have a journal full of amazing thoughts - my very first journal - something that has become my lifeline, my anchor, my home. (Michelle M, are you reading this???)

"Home to me is reality and all I need is something real."

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


I'm still not feeling inspired to write. But I want to get this out so that I can move on; literally, figuratively, emotionally and any other way possible.

Chris, my own version of "Big", is a world class asshole. A fake, a fraud, an egomaniac.

Everyone keeps asking me, "How was your weekend?"

My weekend was fabulous. I stayed at the Ritz and ate amazing food and drank lots of great wine and vodka and I saw a fantastic city (St Augustine) and I loved every moment of my beloved band, OAR.

But I didn't have such a great time to be incapable of ignoring the gigantic red flags that were popping up so quickly and with such frequency, that I knew that the Universe and God were sending me giant messages and I would be a complete and total idiot to ignore even one of these signs.

Starting with no return text the night before my trip, no return text on my layover in Vegas and no sign of Chris at the airport.

But then, a text - of course - "Grab your bag and meet me at the curb."

Now if that isn't being a total gentleman, I don't know what is.

Oh, but wait, we're going to the Ritz - after all - in time to see the sunset and have lots of cocktails and go to an expensive restaurant so really, do the little things matter all that much?

Why yes, they do.

My first revelation of the trip was that I'd rather be greeted when I emerge from the gate area and taken to the Marriott, or even the Hilton - than to be ignored for a day prior to the trip and then have to drag my bag to the curb and look feverishly for my weekend date and be whisked off to the Ritz.

Here's another thing. I think it's weird for PhDs to make reservations at restaurants and hotels as Dr So and So. Medical doctors, I can see, but PhDs? I don't get it.

Case in point. Chris ordered room service four times. In one evening. For eight cocktails. And two shrimp cocktails. Every time, it was the same thing: "What else can we get for you, Dr and Mrs Cale?" He thought that was great; I thought it was completely absurd.

I got sick on Friday. I don't know why. Chris went to work and I think that the travel and my strong dose of anti-anxiety meds that I administered on Thursday might have turned my stomach a bit. I was on the hotel veranda - having eggs as "Mrs Cale" - when my stomach completely heaved and I had to dash for the restroom and totally toss my cookies (which were eggs). Then, I was fine.

Not knowing what else to do, I took the shuttle to the Ritz Pool Club, which is across town and only accessible via shuttle. Chris was to meet me there. My cell phone battery was dying, I forgot my book and all I had was sunscreen and a hat. So I sat with my thoughts for about seven hours and wondered why the sweet guy I met in June was - by all accounts - a complete slimeball?

A slimeball who didn't show up to get me from the pool club. He was "tied up" at work, but I later found out that "work" ended at 3pm and then began again at about 3:15pm at the hotel bar. I finally got a shuttle.

Through a series of "snoopy" events that I thought were absolutely justified, I found out that Chris had planned a date with another girl after he dropped me at the airport on Sunday. I really wasn't surprised; we had "the talk" on the way to St Augustine and he told me - with a lot of conviction - that he could not do a monogamous long distance relationship. With me. This wasn't exactly the impression I've been under for the last three months; I thought we were planning to see each other when we could and potentially developing a long distance relationship if things were proceeding in that direction. I guess I was wrong.

But that's OK, because we still had St Augustine, the concert and more time as "Dr and Mrs Cale" at the beautiful B & B that he chose. I was really excited for the concert; I was pretty much done with being Mrs Cale.

Apparently, Chris was not done with that whole charade though and he went on and on to talk about how he can't wait to visit Sacramento and see my real life. The he got smashingly drunk and told the cab driver that I was going to move to San Francisco with him when he got a teaching position at Stanford or Berkeley.

Oh. My. God.

Smashingly drunk for him = a late night for me on the B & B porch, texting and talking to my friends. (Read: the pressure was definitely OFF.)

At 6am, he woke up and dashed to the bathroom. He emerged looking panicked. "I need a plunger!" Despite my sleepiness, I dissolved into laughter and he looked completely mortified. As he ran to find the innkeeper in the adjoining building, I called across the courtyard, "Can you grab a cup of coffee for me when you get the plunger? With a lot of cream?"

Dr. Cale at his finest. You had to be there.

The coup de gras event happened a mere five minutes from the airport. Chris had his GPS on his phone, which was wedged into his steering wheel. I glanced at it, in time to see the GPS image go away and as an incoming text alert sounded.

He clicked on the text.

It was from the girl he was meeting.

There was verbiage about "boobs falling out" and "can't wait to see you."

Mere minutes later, we arrived at the airport. "Bye, babe," he said with a hug and a kiss that was meant to be longer. I pulled away and I walked through the glass doors and I never looked back.

Then I stewed all the way to Phoenix.

I sent a simple note from Phoenix: "I saw the text come in from the girl you were going to meet. I saw what it said. I'm disappointed in you."



It all crystallized in Phoenix as I waited on my late flight. Any guy who was remotely interested in keeping this thing going would have been right on the phone. Making up excuses, lies or apologizing profusely. None of that happened.

I did get a text a day and a half later that said, "That was from my friend. Her boob popped out at the beach."

My only thought is that I think I am worthy of someone who doesn't check their text messages in the last five minutes of our time together. And also, I'm absolutely certain that the whole thing borders on trashy and slimy and generally, gross.

I'm not sad. I'm relieved.

There is the small matter of the upcoming San Francisco trip but I know that I am incredibly justified in telling Chris to find his own fun that weekend.

This girl is staying put.

I still wonder what I saw on June 21st when our paths first crossed. I guess you can see anything you like if you look hard enough.

Monday, September 6, 2010


I've been abandoned and betrayed by who and what really matters and what I've got left is food. Here is where the link between food and God exists. In that isolated place, it is a short step to the conclusion that God - where goodness and healing and love exist - abandoned us, betrayed us.

This passage, from Geneen Roth's book, really struck a chord with me.

I often wonder why I seek God in so many places - in church, in nature, in my child's eyes, in yoga, in prayer - only to find that He's not really there. At least, not for me.

In truth, I've struggled with this notion of an elusive God for quite some time. I even stopped going to church for a while because I was angry with God's passiveness.

The most critical time of abandonment - by God - came when, in the midst of my separation, I fell down onto my knees and begged for Him to soften my ex's heart and to take me back, lovingly and unconditionally. It didn't happen. And when it did, it wasn't loving and there were tons of conditions.

I continue to look for God in dark corners and during the dark nights, I eat because I can't feel Him; I can't sense His presence. I feel very, very alone.

God is goodness and healing and love. I know that. I've felt it at many different times in my life and for many different reasons.

It's just that I lose sight so easily of my own faith and I doubt my worthiness of having goodness and healing and love all the time.

And I slip into the space of abandonment and betrayal.

Where it all goes downhill.




Faith that it can all be mine. Not just during the daytime hours but any time I like.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


I originally created this blog to acknowledge and work through the issues I've had with emotional eating over the last twenty-something years. Somewhere on the path, I lost touch with the purpose of this particular blog and began using it to vent about all the "stuff" in my life.

And somewhere on the path, my struggles with food re-surfaced, significantly, and began to overflow into other areas of my life.

One of my favorite authors on the subject of emotional eating is Geneen Roth. She's written several books, all of which I've read, and I went to see her speak back in 2001, when I first moved to Sacramento.

Recently, she published a new book, entitled, "Women, Food and God."

The book made a media splash. A big one. Oprah had Geneen on her show and also featured her in O Magazine. Big authors, many of my favorites - Ann Lamott, Annie Dillard and Christiane Northrup - spoke out on the significance of addressing spirituality and food together.

I'll spare you the details but I needed to get my hands on this book last month. I should have bought it much earlier. A downward spiral that only accelerates with the passing days is not a good place to be in. Thankfully, Target had lots of copies and I had some time each night to read.

There's so much to this 198 page book. I read it and I re-read it. Now, I'm going through with my highlighter. Eventually, I should probably get my journal out.

Right off the bat - on page 2 - Geneen drives it home. Here is what she writes:

Our relationship to food is an exact microcosm of our relationship to life itself. I believe that we are walking, talking expressions of our deepest convictions; everything we believe about love, fear, transformation and God is revealed in how, when and what we eat. When we inhale Reese's peanut butter cups when we are not hungry, we are acting out an entire world of hopelessness, of faith or doubt of love or fear. If we are interested in finding out what we actually believe - not what we think, not what we say, but what our souls are convinced is the bottom-line truth about life and afterlife - we need to go no further than the food on our plates. God is not just in the details; God is also in the muffins, the fried sweet potatoes, and the tomato vegetable soup. God - however we define him or her - is on our plates.

This passage made me cry. It made me realize how my eating directly affects my spirituality and ultimately, my connection to God. It made me see that every time I eat when the last thing I need is food, I am expressing hopelessness and loss of faith. I am doubting love; and I am in constant fear. And when I really stepped back and looked hard at those areas, I could acknowledge that yes, indeed, these are incredibly painful topics and that yes, indeed, I need better coping strategies.

So I'm going through the book for a third time. And using this blog as it was intended. At least for now.

More to come.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


My favorite band is touring this fall.

The only guy I've had even a remotely great connection with since my ex (that's four years, in case you're wondering) is offering to fly me back east and take me to see my beloved OAR.

Press "Replay."


St. Augustine, this time.

The timing is great and it's horrible.

I'm excited and I'm terrified.

I can't commit and I can't see myself not going.

I've always wanted to see OAR with someone who loves their music as much as I do and I've never wanted to be this vulnerable.

I know and I don't know.

I have objectivity and I have no sense, whatsoever.

I want to run into this opportunity like I did the last time; and I want to run away.

I got quiet yesterday; so quiet. I prayed, meditated - told God to please help me to surrender this situation; take this man who I'm so captivated with and let him float away in a bubble or just vanish to his own corner of the world - and I waited, and I listened, with every sense of my being.

And I played 37 tracks of OAR.

And I cried.

And I wondered why I couldn't just still be married.

As I acknowledged this enormous responsibility of always making good choices for myself; because good choices for me, are great choices for Ben. Like dominoes - I fall and he falls. I stand strong and he stands stronger.

And everyone wonders why a long weekend in Florida with my favorite band is such a gut-wrenching decision. The consequences, always the consequences. No one understands consequences like a parent and no one deals with stark contrasts of consequences like a single parent.

And I didn't have any more direction; no more of a sense of what to do.

And he waits for my answer.

As I wait on God.

And a strong hand to guide me or at least, a gentle nudge.

A good friend of mine sent an article sometime ago about the deteriorating moral compass of our nation. The author had an incredible point: too many people listen to their heart, rather than their head.

The heart lies. The heart cheats. The heart strays. The heart, unlike the head, is untrained, it lacks intelligence, it falters and blames.

"The head, " I keep telling myself. "Your head will not steer you wrong, it will not leave you, it will provide the right answers to the hard questions.

Sometimes my head hurts from all the decisions. And I want to turn to other instincts.

But I don't trust my heart.

Friday, August 27, 2010


I've decided that I have my own Mr. Big. He's Chris from Florida and I don't know what to do with him.

Chris and Mr. Big share a lot of the same characteristics: they're funny, charming, smart, great-looking. They are also both a bit squirelly. I don't know how Carrie's fate turns out with the second SATC, but I wasn't so convinced the first time around that Mr. Big, or "John" as we find out in the end, was really going to deliver in the long run.

Kinda sounds familiar.

After my emotional tryst in Florida, I came home with too many tears and a raw sense of being way too vulnerable. Can you really ever be too vulnerable? You can if you're me and I certainly was.

I didn't know what to do with Chris so I composed a letter in my head, which eventually became a draft in my Inbox, and the was finally sent as a lengthy message at 4am on a morning when I knew that it was perfectly composed in a way that closed the door, sealed the deal, cleared the space and would allow me to move on. I held my breath, and pressed "Send." Then, I exhaled.

At 5am, I felt my shoulders start to relax a little.

At 6am, like a bird perched on a ledge, I spread my wings and I flew. Away from the situation, away, away, away. I walked away from East Coast time and any expectation of getting a response. I took a long, hot shower and breathed into the space that seemed to be wide open; the space of peace and surrender.

This lasted for about an hour. And then I began to obsessively look for my message indicator light to blink on my phone. I looked for the light, the blink, for two days.

Then I got my response.

What I honestly wanted Chris to say was: "I understand, good luck, it was great in Florida, you're a good person, blah-blah-blah."

What he actually wrote was: "I like you so much. You're such a good person. We're so compatible. I'll be in SF next summer for good. I want to see more of you. I want to see you soon. Thank you for being so honest and candid. I won't play games with you."


No, no, no.

It wasn't supposed to go like that. He was supposed to be scared off by all my expectations, by everything that I want. He was supposed to freak out by my reference to OAR's "Hey Girl" song. He was supposed to bow out.

So I sat for a few days and meditated. Well, actually, I didn't really meditate but I ruminated and that's a lot like meditation, yet far less relaxing.

Then, two days ago, a"Chris" text at 4am:

"I just bought a ticket to CA!"

Me: "When?"

C: "Halloween weekend."

Me: "What are your plans?" (I'm thinking that he should have contacted me prior since he knows that I do not vacation when on "Ben time" unless absolutely necessary and even then, I keep it to a minimum of one or two days away.)

C: "No plans! Just coming out West. Flying into SF."

Me: Silence.

More silence.

C: "I want to see YOU!"

At that point, I wrote back and laid it out in the briefest of texts:

"I have Ben. You need to tell me when you want to see me and I'll see if I can swap days."

C: Silence.

He must have gotten the point because he called me that night - at midnight his time - and talked about how excited he was to come out and see me. And then, the clincher:

"I want to meet Ben."

I swear to God, I thought the phone had cut out, the reception had gotten bad, that my hearing was finally compromised from all that loud MP3 use.

"You want to do WHAT?"

"Meet Ben."

"My son, Ben? Benjamin?"

He started to find humor in my reaction: "Yes, Ben! I want to meet him, why are you so shocked?"

"Because I don't introduce Ben to men that I date."

OK, that last sentence wasn't exactly what I said but it's what I was thinking because I momentarily lost all my brain cells and what I actually said was something like this:

"Ummmmm. Gosh. That's, ummmmmm, really nice. Really. Sweet, ummmm, yeah. Right. Well, anyway, it's a holiday weekend and Halloween is kind of a big one for kids, at least for mine, you know he loves trick or treating and getting all the candy that he can and I let him have all he wants and it's pretty much a given that he'll have a big stomachache and then I pick out all the junk that I don't want him to have, while he's sleeping of course, and I get all the dark chocolate out; oh, and the Twix too, sometimes Kit-Kat, although I'm really much more about the Hershey kisses these days and gosh, I wonder what he'll be this year; he really hasn't indicated what might be interesting, in terms of a costume, and anyway, I hide the candy that I pull out of his bucket and it's funny, he never seems to notice that there's less in the morning, then as the days go by, I start to throw out more and more, and wow, gosh, you want to meet him, well, gee, did I mention that we alternate holidays and it's his dad's turn this year for Halloween so I really don't think that the whole meet and greet is the best idea because it's a pretty short weekend and it's not like I can get Ben to San Francisco and I don't even know if I can get child care for one day and..."

Yeah, you get the point.

Talk about getting caught off guard.

I know a few things right now:

1. I may or may not see him in October. I'm not in the mood for my emotions to get all fucked up.

2. There is also no way in fuck that he's meeting Ben.

3. I don't know what this guy has over me, but whatever it is, it's not strong enough for me to do any of the following:
a.) cancel my eharmony membership
b.) stop going out on lunch and coffee dates with interesting guys
c.) hold out hope for one single minute that he might actually re-locate here

So, I feel a little better about the framework and about my own expectations, which are, basically, zero.

The thing with Chris is that he could be so much more than Mr. Big. He really could. Whether he will be, remains to be seen.

Perhaps not be me.

And that's okay.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


How do you take a person, an experience, a feeling, a weekend's worth of memories and set it all free?

Apparently, Chris had no problem doing just that, yet I can't seem to follow suit.

So I decided to tie the proverbial bow on the situation and set it free, at least in my mind.

Florida was too good. The time was so easy. The laughs were frequent; the conversation unending. There was instantaneous chemistry; there was talk of deeper things. There was a kayak, vodka, a boat, sushi, hidden bars that offered gorgeous views, warm pools that were so shallow that you could lay on your belly, nose-to-nose, and kiss the other person. There were late nights at the gulf where the moon couldn't have shone any brighter. There was a dinner where we sat so close and ate so much. There was his hand, always around mine or encircling my waist. There was so much, yet so little.

And I can't do that "so little" part anymore. I'm too old for that. I'm too responsible for that. If I had known that Florida would have literally fucked me up for days, I wouldn't have gone.

Last week, I decided that it was time to get on. To stop ruminating, brooding, what-if-ing the whole damn thing. In my heart, I knew that if I could write an honest letter, that I could close the space, answer the lingering questions and push ahead with the clarity and focus I need to get my son into First grade this week and to start soccer and to volunteer in the classroom and to start up our new fall schedule with clear energy and emotional stamina.

I wrote the letter at 4am on Friday. I just go up and did it. What better time to get something off your chest and out of your heart when the airplane awaits for the next adventure? When the house is quiet, when my mind is quiet, when my heart is oh so ready to talk and talk.

And it did. I think the letter to Chris was potentially the most candid letter I've ever written to any male (other than Kevin). I poured out the contents of my heart and I held firm in my stance of not wanting to be "the girl who flies off for fun weekends here and there." I gave him the option to reply. Or not. I promised him no judgment, no hurt feelings.

Not surprisingly, there has been zero reply. Kathie - my best friend who came with me to Malibu this weekend - joked that he "had to send it to his Landmark people for review and input." I kind of wonder if I completely brought too much truth and reality into his "Ritzy" world and maybe, yes, he is shoring up his Landmark folks for a good "Landmarky" reply.

The thing is, I feel a lot better. Almost like I can say, "thank you for the beautiful experience, now let me throw it back at the universe, at God, maybe into the past; some place where I don't have to see it, to feel it, to remember it."

I so desperately needed some closure. A letter may not close the chapter for good but it's a damn good start. Hitting "Send" was time enough to get my shoulders to drop two inches, my eyes to close for the briefest of seconds in relief and my heart to soften, just a bit.

There are a lot of other things that I need to focus on. Chris simply doesn't deserve all that space. And energy. And time.

Closure. It's a good thing.