Joan's Jottings


Online Dating-Week 30
July 30, 2011, 7:55 pm
Filed under: Online dating

My new photos continue to aid in increasing communications. I received three “flirty nods” and three emails this week. I am beginning communication with one local, same-aged guy, but that is all I will reveal. Some things need to be kept private (and off the internet) unless there really is something to talk about. You will be the first to know if there is “news.” This week, I also had one of the guys in my writing group proofread my profile. (He has subscribed to online dating sites in the past, and has met with success.) I am pleased to report that in his male, unbiased opinion, my profile received a passing grade. (This is a good thing since I am rather critical of the profiles posted by my potential matches.) So, in regards to this online dating stuff, I have done all I can do. My profile is up-to-date and apparently okay, and my photos are current and close-up. I will just sit back, relax, and read profiles. Here is what I found interesting and sharable this week:

One guy actually included a question in his profile. He wants to know, “Is there a woman that is 35-50 who can forgive small issues, does not complain about every single detail, not a victim in every conversation and can honestly be in a good mood the majority of the time in this state?” My answer to Mr. Frustrated is “No.” All of the women in this state and the remaining 49 are incapable of possessing the qualities you mentioned because they have a uterus. When one is the keeper of this particular body part, and all of the other parts that go with it, she is rendered incapable of acting in the manner you describe. She is entitled to be whiny and bitchy and moody ANYTIME she wants to because she is female. Period. (Pun intended!)

There was one rambling manifesto in this week’s lot, but I will refrain from picking on him too much since he was a hippie and  fellow veg-head. (One of my favorite alter egos.)  He did, however, mention the following, which grabbed my attention: “I caught the happy virus last night when I was out singing beneath the stars.” Here is a word of advice for Mr. Long On Words. It is probably NOT a good idea to use the word “virus” in a profile you are writing to attract women, even if it is a “happy” one. For example, I am sure that lots of folks who have contracted the Herpes virus were quite happy when they were exposed, but not so much later…..Just food for thought!

Each person’s profile has a “tag line” at the top of their page, and this one caught my attention: “My Juliette, My Juliette, where art for my Juliette!!!” First of all, please know that I really dig Shakespeare. I took a course my junior year in college that was nothing but reading, interpreting,and then writing about Shakespeare’s works. It was one of the best classes I enrolled in during my stint at the university. If one is going to quote Shakespeare, (and include a little “twist”), it would be my recommendation that you jot it down correctly. The actual quote from Juliet is, ” O Romeo, Romeo wherefore art thou, Romeo.” Remember guys, always spell check your work, AND get your quotes right!

On the topic once again of ridiculous age parameters, one 56-year old gent (who looked every minute of it), is seeking women aged 37-47. I am not even going to issue a comment.

There weren’t any crazy photos this week, just the usual close-ups and snapshots from scenic venues, however, one 51-year old posted five photos of himself, all of which were blurry and out-of-focus. Did you not notice that when you posted the photos? And I thought I was the only one who needs readers!

One youthful looking 56-year old had a few items in his profile that I found noteworthy. First, he wants his matches to know that he always eats his veggies, even brussel sprouts. That makes two guys now who have mentioned an affinity for veggies, especially the not-always-popular ones. (The other guy had just recently added asparagus to his preferred list.) He also stated that he wants his matches to, “Be kind to strangers, old men and stray dogs.” I have no problem extending kindness and caring to strangers and stray dogs, but after nearly seven months of reading the profiles of old men, my patience and niceness have been worn thin! Lastly, he included a statement that could be written by me. He says, “I am not shy except with girls I have a crush on!” OMG. I say this all the time. I can talk all day with a fellow that I am not attracted to, or perceive as a friend, but put an available guy in front of me who peaks my interest, and suddenly I become mute. (Not an easy feat for talkative Joan!) This exact scenario just happened to me a few weeks ago. I am fully aware of this flaw in my character and am forcing myself to work on it.

Last but not least, one Irish Catholic local guy had not one, BUT two great quotes in his profile. Number One:  “I am looking to complement not complicate your life.” And, Number Two: “I’m not looking for perfection, but rather for someone who is perfect for me!” Well done, lad. I hope you find what you are searching for!

That wraps up your peek into the online dating world for this week. Thanks to my Facebook link, my readership (and subscriptions) have increased. I greatly appreciate that you take time out of your day to read the ramblings of a 50-year old. Apparently, my son and his friends aren’t the only ones with something interesting to say. Peace out!



Ramblings of the Pubescent Male
July 26, 2011, 5:44 pm
Filed under: life

I have been meaning to write this post for months now. I want to record, for posterity’s sake, the language and interests of 13-year old males, one of whom currently resides in my home and shares my last name. Kids, as you know, say the darndest things. This gets stepped up a bit once they reach the tween and teen years, or so has been my experience. Here are just a few noteworthy snippets of conversations with a few American, male teenagers:

My son, like so many kids today, is an avid listener (and downloader) of rap music. (Often referred to by me as “Rap is Crap.”) Music, like television and advertising, has a profound influence on young people, and my son is certainly not exempt. M.’s initial texts to friends is limited to just three characters: Sup. (For those of you unfamiliar with gansta language, this is an abbreviation of “What’s up?”) My son would never greet a friend with a “Hi” or “Hello” or even “Hey.” And, this is just one word (can you call it that?) in a vocabulary that also includes, “Homey” and “Bro.” Whose child is this? Where is my Caucasian, half-Jewish kid?

For awhile now, a favorite response of M.’s is, “That’s gay.” Initially, I was quite taken aback by the somewhat derogatory use of this term, until I realized that it had nothing to do with people who are not heterosexual. ANYTHING, including inanimate objects, can be “gay.” My favorite misuse of this term came late in the school year as the students and staff prepared for the state achievement tests. M.’s class was not permitted to take the tests in their regular classroom (which was Band) due to the lack of desks. They were re-located to the cafeteria, where they could properly sit and work. M.’s response to this room change was, “That’s gay!”

The fascination and obsession with fast, and often expensive cars has begun. For awhile now, M. has informed me that he intends to drive a Mustang or Camaro when he gets his license, preferably as his first car. (Yeah, right! The insurance for a 16-year old, male driver of a sporty car probably costs a few thousand dollars per year.) Fairly recently, the price tag on favored cars has risen considerably as M. and his friends talk non-stop about Bugattis and Maybachs. Personally, I was unaware of the existence of these particular automobiles, most likely because their sticker price is in the millions, and well, I am female. They often talk about becoming doctors (M. wants to be an anesthesiologist) or orthodontists so they can earn enough money to purchase their dream cars. I am thinking they might need to either become pro sports players, rappers or rock stars, or their generation’s version of Bill Gates or Steve Jobs in order to write that check!

Sticking with the topic of cars, I recently picked up a friend of M.’s to bring to our house. Since he and I were alone in the car, I attempted to make small talk during the brief ride. I asked what car his 16-year old sister would be driving once she got her license. This question prompted A. to divulge that he has already informed his dad of the following (and I quote), “My first car is going to be a sexy car, and you know, not all sexy cars are expensive.” ( I have overheard the boys use the “s” word while playing video games. I am not sure what’s “sexy” about gore and violence?) I guess they, like Justin Timberlake, are “bringin’ sexy back!” Oh, my!

A few years ago, a co-worker shared with us her then 13-year old son’s interpretation of the acronym, WTF. He informed her that EVERYONE knows it stands for “What the farm?” Fast forward to 2010. My own son informed me that WTF is short for “Where’s the fruit?” Just the other day, M. clued me in to the more positive, current meaning, which is “Well that’s fantastic!” And it is.

I am fairly certain that I will be privy to more peeks into the mind and interests of the developing male teen, and so I end this post with, “To be continued…….”



Grateful for a Great Weekend
July 24, 2011, 10:38 pm
Filed under: life

This summer kicked off in high gear and never showed signs of slowing down. First, there were the back-to-back band camps that my son attended, which required adhering to a schedule. Then there was the dog’s foot surgery, and all of the supervision and work involved in trying to keep it clean and dry and out of her mouth. (She managed to remove her bandage and stitches three times. Long story. Another post.) I was still finishing up yard work late into June after getting far behind this Spring due to my unexpected knee surgery (and slower-than-expected recovery), and never-ending rains, which kept me and everyone else inside. And then there was the planning and packing for vacation, which always leaves me, well, ready for vacation. In between work and all of the above, I seemed to be either chauffering M. and his friends around, sometimes multiple times in one evening, OR pumping gas at the local station so I could cart them around some more.

As June morphed into July, I had the dreadful feeling that this summer was going to blaze by with barely a chance to soak up some down time. And then we hit week three of this month, and I could feel the pace of life being taken down a notch or two.  (The record heat and humidity, which is scorching a large part of the country, might also be a contributing factor to the meltdown slowdown.) I utilized last weekend to settle back in from vacation, and by Friday, I was pretty much caught up at work. All in time for this weekend, which had no things-to-do or places-to-be scribbled on the calendar. Could this be my chance (finally) to catch up on reading and maybe, just maybe, carve out some time to work on my shoe story? The answer is a huge YES!!!!! I feel extreme gratitude for finally being given the opportunity and space necessary to leaf through magazines and leftover newspaper articles, and more importantly, to work on a story that I initially wrote approximately five or six years ago. I spent some time Saturday reworking my piece based on critiques I received in a writing group last month. The group meets again in a few days, and I was determined to have the revisions in place for a second reading by the constructively critical eyes of the other members. Deadline met! As if that wasn’t enough, there was also time for journal writing and the posting of my weekly online dating summary. AND, I drafted another post about the ramblings of 13-year old boys, that I will complete and share with my readers early next week.

This weekend was reminiscent of snowy days in January where you hole up inside with a good book and a mug of hot chocolate,  escaping the frigid temperatures and biting winds whistling just outside the door. It is July, and much of America is barricaded indoors due to stifling humidity and triple digit temperatures and/or heat indices. Suddenly, January doesn’t seem so bad.



Online Dating-Week 29
July 23, 2011, 1:19 pm
Filed under: Online dating

I posted a few new photos on my profile this week. (The pics were taken on our recent trip to the Bahamas.) Apparently, this was all I needed to do in order to shake things up a bit. I received four flirtatious communications from men aged 54-65, and two emails. One of the flirts was a small-in-stature, 59-year old who posted no photo. He is seeking women aged 45-63. He received one point for considering women four years his senior, but loses two points for chasing after ladies 14 years his junior. The 65-year old is seeking women aged 50-80. His magic number appears to be fifteen-he’ll go 15 years younger and 15 years older. I get the younger chick thing, but an 80-year old woman? I honestly have trouble conjuring up a visual of that relationship. Also, the dating site warns that a broad age-range can be a method of the scammer, as they seek to be matched with as many profiles as possible. Watch out ladies!

I was sent the profile of a 47-year old firefighter from my home state. He was a very fit fellow, who posted several shirtless photos of himself. While he was no match for me, I do give him my vote as Mr. August in the upcoming 2012 Hotter-Than-Hell Firefighter Calendar. He was very specific about characteristics he considered deal breakers:

“No smokers or liberals. We would never agree. I don’t believe in spreading the wealth.”

“Not interested in anyone who defines themselves as a mom.”

“If you are currently separated and haven’t filed for divorce, you shouldn’t be on here.”

I came up with an easier (and shorter) way to say all of the above: ” No Democrat, cigarette smoking moms who haven’t ditched daddy yet!”

I had two favorite photos this week. The runner-up was actually two photos posted by “Cheerful Marshall.” His primary photo, probably fairly current, portrayed a gray-haired gent wearing rather large wire-framed glasses which covered a large portion of his face. When you clicked on photo #2, Marshall was staring at me from behind the same pair of spectacles, however, his hair was now a brownish/blond. Apparently, Mr. Cheerful has been donning the same pair of eyeglasses since the 70’s. My advice to him would be to update the lenses with a look that is more current. (I know a great optometrist I can hook him up with.) New lenses plus new photos equals more dates with the chicks. This will give Marshall something to really be cheery about!

The winning photo was actually the 11th and final photo in a slide show posted by a potential match. The picture was a close-up of a cup of beer resting on the arm of a chaise lounge. In the foreground, one could see sand, cabanas and a brief hint of the ocean. This photo rivals pictures frequently sent to me by a co-worker, who resides in Florida.  J.P.enjoys sending close-up shots of his feet, which are generally poolside or propped up on the bow of a boat. Photos of beers and feet. Gotta love the guys!

That folks is a wrap! It was a good week. I had a cool thing happen on Facebook a few days ago. I found one of my favorite high school teachers, who just happened to teach English, one of my better subjects. We are now “friends.” I wonder if I can encourage him to retrieve his red pen from the moth balls and critique my writing? It would be like the old days, though I would no longer be a menace in class. I have grown up-some!



The Five-Year Plan
July 17, 2011, 1:40 pm
Filed under: life

My son starts school as an 8th grader in 39 days. It recently occurred to me that we are staring down the final five years of his elementary and secondary schooling. While I would never wish away these last days of his childhood, it will most likely whiz by at lightning speed, or so I have been told by friends far ahead of me in child-rearing years. I have pondered that oft used job interview question, ‘Where do you see yourself in five years,” and I have come up with a few speculations.

1. In July 2016, my sister and I will have recovered from our fabulously fun and duo graduation party. (My sister is also on the five-year plan, but gets a practice run in 2013 with her first-born son.) M. and I will spend some time this month shopping for dorm accessories (sheets, bath shoes, computer accessories) OR, we just might be lying low, awaiting the start date of one of our exceptional local universities, where M. will be a commuting student. (Mom lucks out on at least one more year with a full house!)

2. Our beloved yellow Lab will have celebrated (with Tasty Paws) her 12th birthday in June. Her advanced age has FINALLY calmed her spastic disposition, as she is now too old to chase after two-wheeled/legged modes of transportation, such as bicycles, motorcycles and joggers. I am in the final days or months (or I guess, years) as a dog owner. In 2011, I loudly and definitively announced to the universe that this is my sixth and final canine. (Read my lips-NO MORE DOGS!) For the first time in at least 23 years, I will reside in a home completely void of dog hair, poop bags and vet bills.

3. If my arthritic knees are still capable of bending and straightening, I will join a local cycling group, relinquishing my seat on a goin-nowhere recumbent and spinning bike. It will be just me and the open road- that is if global warming hasn’t permanently stuck the thermometer on hot and humid in my once seasonal Midwest city. Joan does not enjoy exercising outdoors in a tropical climate.

4. My second turn as a hospice volunteer will prove to be longer lasting than my first stint, which was in college. In August 2016, I will receive my five-year pin for my work and dedication to the terminally ill and their families. My interaction with them will serve as a constant reminder to never sweat the small stuff, to value people over things, and to live each day like it’s your last.

5. My spouse and I (he will also be an empty or semi-empty nester) will travel to states and countries not visited in our childhood or earlier adult years. We will have scrawled a bucket list of sites to see, and eagerly cross them off as having “been there, done that.” (Please note the positive outcome to my year, in 2011, of online and offline dating.) 🙂

6. Last, but certainly not least, I will choose to write. With less of a nest to care for, I will possess the time and quiet necessary to pound away at the keyboard. My 56 years of life will have provided me with much material that is just bursting to be captured within the permanent ink of the written word. Memoirs, magazine articles and quite possibly a biography of the life and times of my son, (which will aptly be titled, “If I Can’t Taste, I Can’t Eat”) will be written and hopefully published. (Junior’s bio will explain the title and the other nuances of 18 years of living with and raising a “spirited child.”)

As five years counts down to four, then three, etc., I am confident that this list will grow past its current six items. There is so much left to see and do……



Online Dating-Week 28
July 17, 2011, 1:11 pm
Filed under: Online dating

This Bahama Mama had the better part of week 28 off-from work, chores and reading profiles. My son and I, along with my sister and her family, spent four funtastic days on Paradise Island (along with several thousand other folks.) Needless to say, I had little time to visit my lone online dating site. (A treat in itself!) I probably read less than 10 profiles between Friday and today, and only managed to jot down one humorous description. “Wild Scott” was sent to me as a match. W.S., a lead guitarist in a jazz/blues band, posted a single photo, which was a close up of him and his scruffy, bearded face with puckered lips, lying on a sofa. He wants his potential mates to know, “Most would say I’m crazy funny, not crazy nuts.” I would inform Steve that I was a sane, older woman until I went crazy nuts after spending six months reading bios on two online dating sites!

I promise to read (and write) more next week. It is forecasted to be a dangerously hot week here, so I shall be spending lots of time indoors at the computer. In addition to this blog, I also hope to spend some time re-working a writing piece that I hope to submit to a magazine. (I just put that intention out there so I would be accountable to someone to actually work on my little story.) It is easy to write a blog where mostly friends check in to see what I am scribbling down. It is completely different to pen something for the critical eye of strangers who have the power to reject your work. I enjoy the safe, cozy, positive space this blog provides, and I thank you for taking the time to check in this week!



Online Dating-Week 27
July 10, 2011, 12:32 am
Filed under: Online dating

This was a busy week for me, which left little time for browsing through profiles. I did read a few, and managed to extract some noteworthy sentences which I shall share with you now.

One 55-year old gent says, “I’m looking for a best friend and long-term partner who doesn’t snore too much.” I would have to agree with Mr. Double Nickels. I believe there are a staggering number of couples who actually sleep in different rooms due to this very noisy, bed-rattling condition.

Another guy with an intact sense of humor states, “I can even pass a FBI background check!” In this day and age, one must also be able to pass an AIDS test as well.

Another funny, local fella listed words NOT used to describe himself: Skoal, GED, Probation, Parole, Live w/mama. I would also toss in unemployed, tattooed, bankrupt, never-married and player.

This next quote is printed in its exact form: “I enjoy conservation about most anything and the Bilbe.” I have stressed in much earlier posts the importance of utilizing spell check, or at least a teenage proofreader. This is precisely the reason why!

One romantic bachelor considers “mutual massages, foot rubs and bubble baths a must.” This conjures up those infamous Cialis commercials with the couple in dual bathtubs, which just happen to be located outdoors in their scenic backyard. Due to the age of my matches, I would find it highly likely that Mr. Bubbles needs to pop a pill before jumpin’ in the tub!

And lastly, there is always at least one guy who has ridiculous expectations of the age ranges of his potential mates. This week, one 52-year old (who looked older) is seeking women aged 35-51. Okay, it is math time again. He is comfortable dating a woman 17 years his junior (a little on the creepy side), but cannot date a woman his own age. (She has to be at least a year younger than him.) WHAT IS UP WITH THAT?????? After more than six months of reading profiles, I still fail to understand the insecurity of men who cannot date/marry a woman their own age, or even a few years older. Especially, when they look MUCH OLDER THAN THEIR AGE!

And, that folks, is all she wrote. I hope you had a good week, and that your summer is in full swing. Our summer has been anything but “lazy,” and appears to be passing at lightening speed. I will write more about that in another post!