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.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


There should be a SPF for love.

Being the SPF Nazi that I am, I slathered myself in 100+ Coppertone while in Florida. Didn't even go for the organic stuff. I wanted full protection.

And damn it, I still got burned.

Granted, I have a golden tan that is lovely - far prettier than the brown skin I see here in Sacramento all summer - but I also have one scorched heart.

The thing of it is, there's no reason to have a burned heart. I knew the complications going in. I knew the risks. I knew of the possible outcomes. I took the chance.


And it's not his fault, it's really not.

He wants what I want and I do believe that he will get there.

But he also has a mistress. I met her a few times while we were there and I didn't much care for her. Had I known she would be around on the trip, I would have known more about my seemingly wonderful guy's personality.

Yes, his mistress is with him a lot. She announces herself on his ever present Blackberry. She pushes herself into our conversations and makes it known that she needs him in other conversations. She is controversial. She is loved by many, feared by some, hated by others.

Her name is Landmark.

My guy didn't tell me that he's a "big gun" leader for Landmark. Which explains how outgoing he is, how confident he is, how communicative he is, how present he proclaims to be.

Except that he wasn't all that present when things went downhill small bar we were in and he proceeded to pass out in the bathroom. On the toilet. Then the bartender carried him to a bench where he slept for two hours while I smoked cigarettes (that's our secret, please) and drank beer.

I wonder what Miss Landmark would have said about THAT.

To be fair, I don't mind Landmark. I briefly considered enrolling in a course at one time. I know a lot of people who have thrived with Landmark. I know it also to be a bit of a cult; a place that "feeds" information, validates like crazy and allows its followers to hide behind its well-polished fascade.

I'm picking on Landmark because "she's" an easy scapegoat. I believe that if Chris pulled back from Landmark and truly pursued the things that he wants:

1. Move to the Bay Area
2. Find principal position
3. Marry
4. Have a child
5. Play music

...that he may have an actual shot at one or all of the above.

But until he cuts the Landmark umbilical cord that is feeding him, I don't think that there's much of a shot.

Chris captivates me with his brains. I love how he thinks. I'm amazed by his schooling. His ideas are groundbreaking.

Chris makes me feel amazingly sexy in a school-boy way. He leads me by the hand, he kisses me so gently, he tells me I'm pretty.

Chris takes care of details. He gets me another glass of wine, encourages me to eat the last prawn, makes sure I'm comfortable and happy.

Chris dials it down. We sit by the pool and he digs into my US and OK magazine stash. He doesn't rush. He's content to rest his hand on my knee and stay a long, long while.

Chris tells me stories of his family; of his traditional parents who are Methodists, married forever; of his brothers, of his wonderful nephews and two nieces who are soon to be born. The pride in his face - when he speaks of his family - makes me want to know them.

Chris and music are mesmerizing together. His band's "Final Approach" becomes our tag line for the countdown of our days together.

Chris confuses me. He wants me to stay. He wants to me go. He asks fact-finding questions but leaves the biggest one out: "Will we see one another again?"

Chris goes to work on Monday. I should be long gone. But I'm not. I'm in his old Miata, in his town, finding my place on the shore of the Gulf. Warm salty tears mix with warm Gulf-y waves. What does he want? Why am I here? The answers scare me.

Chris takes me to Tampa late Monday night, while simultaneously facilitating a Landmark call. He wants one more dinner with me. The call is put on hold and resumes when the entrees are served. I wait. I get up, make my way to the restroom. My flip flop breaks. My expectations break, too.

The call is completed. Chris chastises himself for not being more present. He takes me to my airport hotel. He asks to stay; he's tired and it's a long drive home. Of course I agree.

At 5am, I rise and dress. He helps me with my bags and to the shuttle. I don't remember how we say goodbye.

The tears start in the shuttle.

They continue into the Tampa airport.

I ease into my aisle seat and the flight attendant's gaze meets mine. She approaches. "Are you OK, honey?"

I am OK, yes, that I am. But...

I'm not a playmate. I'm a mom.

I'm not a date to look forward to in six months. I'm living now.

I'm not certain that the real Janeen went to Florida. That girl took a rockin' body, small bikinis, teeny dresses, gold flip-flops, big eyelashes, sparkly lip gloss and a huge tolerance for wine and vodka.

Maybe we were both playing the parts of two very, very different people.

I get off the plane in Houston, find my gate, find a Starbucks, dig for Ativan. Nerves calm. Momentarily. Then the flight is called and the tears start again as we are lining up to board.

Once again, I find my seat, bury my head this time and turn on my MP3 player. The songs that I loaded for the trip are haunting: OAR's "That Girl" and Lili Haydyn's, "Saddest Sunset." And then "Final Approach" breaks in just as we begin to take-off.

Finally, the Ativan settles me and song by song is played in a surreal and dreamy haze.

In Sacramento, only 11am and the day is beautiful, my mother pulls up. I push my suitcase in her trunk and then slide into the passenger side of her car. It is then that I cry the hardest. I don't believe that she knows what to do. How could she? She's never been in this position before

I just want to be comfortable. To call the trip what it was and leave it there. For good.

But, I can't seem to get my bearings and I need to get them damn quick because we are leaving for LegoLand in one day. Meanwhile, Chris is on the coast- in a rented house - with 70 of his closest family and friends, celebrating his latest degree and his upcoming birthday.

Where does the truth lie? Is it in the Gulf, where I found so much peace and where I left so many tears?

Maybe there is no truth at all. Maybe it's just my latest lesson. Maybe it's my "Final Approach" to something really, really big. Maybe the game of love takes a wild detour when there is so little information, so much distance and so much glamour when it's finally right there to look at. Maybe I just don't want any of that at all.