Lost It

You should start writing again they say.

Well, “They” say a lot, and I generally shrug off what “They” say with my usual degree of self- absorbed laziness and a plethora of not-so-well thought out excuses, but maybe “They” have a point.

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There’s an age old saying that probably dates back to Old Testament times when God granted Moses the power to do some stuff, and he responded with “Nuh uh. I can’t do that stuff…” To which God replied, “I gave you the ability to do stuff, Moses, now go forth and do some stuff….’cuz if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.”

Or something like that.

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If you don’t use it you’ll lose it.

There they are. Those ancient, dusty words…

And maybe I have lost it.

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Oops. Wrong kind of “lost it”.

Anyhow, at times I can almost physically feel it slipping away…that passion I once had for weaving random verbiage into something mildly entertaining, the way that a kindergartner might weave some fuzzy strips of overstuffed, booger-laden yarn into a pot holder for Mother’s Day. It’s at those times that I give in to the self doubt, and then mentally beat myself up with the assurance that it’s most certainly gone by now…

But then, here we are, and just like that rambunctious little monster that hasn’t been quite right in the head since he was old enough to talk simply has to stick his tongue on the electric fence just to see what happens, I, of course, have to find out.

Who knows? Maybe I do still harbor a glimmer of that former key-stroking glory that once had my adoring one and a half fans so enraptured by my oozing charm and insatiable wit…

Or maybe it’s just a slow night for prime-time programming.

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At any rate, let’s consider this a little “stick my toe in the water” test to see if it’s warm enough to dive back into this vast blog ocean once again.

I’ll either sink or swim.

Or get eaten by something really big with sharp teeth.

So check in occasionally for random (and probably highly infrequent because the crazy lady now has a full time job) installments of really inane babbling that will probably leave you having “lost it” yourself.

Until next time…

Here’s a napkin.

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Sop up that drool.

Commitment to Crazy

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As I stood in the kitchen last week, watching my 12 year old son bawl his eyes out because, and I quote, “Jonathan says he rubbed his nuts all over my food when I wasn’t looking and now I’m too paranoid to eat it,” I thought to myself, “Self, why don’t you write anymore? It’s not like your life is any less entertaining and chaotic than it used to be. I mean…a houseful of teenagers, a husband that sometimes behaves like an overgrown teenager himself, world’s worst excuse for a pet rabbit, a half crazed lizard that thinks she’s a dog…it all screams blog fodder to me.” Besides, my one and a half adoring fans are probably wondering where I’ve gotten off to.

So, here it is. My commitment to try. To once again grace the world with my quick wit, humor, and wisdom. (It’s been a long week, just let me have that one, okay?) To boldly go where at least 85% of all other bloggers have probably gone before. To don my shiny red cape of awesomeness and fight the never ending battle for truth, justice, and the American way. Oh. Wait. That’s Superman. Got a little ahead of myself there. Can’t help it, though, I’m excited.

Now, my posts won’t always be humorous. Sometimes my life can be downright sad. Keep tissues handy just in case.

Sometimes I’ll be in a thoughtful mood, or perhaps I’ll want to just hop up on my soapbox and rant and rave about the injustices of the world.

Whatever the topic may be, I’ll do my best to at least make it worth reading. That’s a promise. It may not be every day, but it will be more often than every 6 months. Deal?

So, on that note, lets all have a group hug. (ooof) Okay, not that hard. And don’t touch me there. Buncha animals.

It’s good to be back. Stay tuned for forthcoming insanity.

Disclaimer: no rabbits, lizards, husbands, or teenagers were harmed in the making of this post.

 

Unconventional Canines

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I’ve always been a dog lover and even used to want one of my own.

I’ve filed that idea away for the time being, though.

My husband had said no to a dog for many years because of his allergies. Then one day, out of the blue he agreed that I could finally get the Dachshund that I had always been begging him for, as long as he didn’t have to walk it or clean up after it. I said, “What about your allergies?” To which he replied, “Benadryl.”

So, I had immersed myself in a search for a canine companion. I had been searching rescue websites and asking around for about a week, when 2 things happened.

First of all, Ray happened. Ray Darr. The rabbit that, I have surmised, was probably found abandoned because Satan had thrown the hairy little troublemaker out of hell. My husband declared that if Ray stayed, the idea of getting a dog was out.

Then my step daughter’s dog Athena came to spend a night at our house.

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When I stuck my head into the girls’ room that night, the smell of dog was so overwhelming that my anxiety went through the roof. That’s when I realized that while I may have made great strides of improvement in the OCD department, my issues still weren’t ready to face dog ownership.

I was rather saddened by this until my daughter pointed out that we do, in fact, have dogs. Two of them. They just don’t bark or need to be taken outside regularly like your customary canines, which makes them that much better.

You see, Ray Darr thinks he’s a dog.

He digs holes:

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Yeah, don’t try to look innocent.

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He goes for rides:

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He gives kisses:

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He has his own harness and leash so we can take him for walks, where he knocks people down and jumps on them:

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Then, if he doesn’t claw the flesh right off your legs begging when he knows you have food of any kind, he just plain steals it:

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So you see he’s not really a rabbit, he’s just a rabbit-shaped dog.

And then there’s Lizzie:

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Now, don’t let her lack of fur fool you. She’s just your average pooch in so many ways.

She’ll flop down on top of her house for afternoon naps:

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She’ll lie in awkward positions:

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She’ll climb on top of things that she shouldn’t:

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(I guess the secret’s out. Now you know who writes most of my blog posts.)

She’ll knock stuff over and then look guilty:

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You can put food on top of her head and command her to stay:

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And she begs, too. Her tank sits near our dining room table, and at dinner time, she’ll rush over to the corner, mash her little face up against the glass, and start clawing until we notice her.

Then, either me or my bleeding heart, animal junkie daughter or will get her out and let her join us for dinner:

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Yep, that’s the dinner scene most nights at our house.

She’ll eat pretty much anything, too, because she’s just a dog in a lizard suit.

So I guess, in reality, I am a dog owner.

No matter how unconventional my canines happen to be.

I Have Let You Go

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To the man that I know loves me:

I have let you go.

I know that it may seem silly to say this to you right now. You’re probably puzzling over what this could possibly mean. Why would I choose this moment in time to say this to you? You’re perfectly healthy. We’re the strongest in our relationship that we’ve ever been. There have been no threats of separation. No diagnosis of disease. Yet here I am letting you know that I have let go of you nonetheless, because I need to.

You know that I’m a worrier. There isn’t a moment when you’re not with me that I’m not worrying about what’s happening to you. Are you sick and we don’t know it? Are you safe? Are you paying attention when you’re driving? Are others watching out for you? Has someone pulled a knife on you? A gun? Threatened you? Hit you? Hurt you?

When I know that you’re on your way home and I hear sirens in the distance, the fear takes my breath away. I pray that it isn’t you that they’re coming for.

I have lived with this overwhelming fear for 11 years. I have lived in fear…for you.

So many times I have thought about what would happen if I lost you. I can never imagine this world without you. I can picture myself curling up and dying right along with you were you not to make it home to me someday. I always think that if I did not die, too, I would just shut down. Never get up again. Stop functioning at a normal human level. Cease to think, reason, or even move.

I admit that I’m co-dependent. I rely on you. You cook because you know I hate cooking. You always put gas in my car because you know I hate doing that, too. You pay the bills. You drive the kids around. You spoil me as much as our finances will allow. I often start to wonder if I might be taking you for granted. Then I think, “No. I always appreciate all that you do, I just don’t tell you enough how much it means to me.”

I could likely never put into words how much I do appreciate you. More than mere appreciation, though, what I feel for you is adoration.

Even after all this time, I am still completely head-over-heels, droolingly, babblingly smitten with you.

After 11 years together, I continue to look at you with stars in my eyes and butterflies in my stomach. I will watch you singing on stage, or working, or teaching, and think, “Wow. That’s my man.” Then this feeling of overwhelming need will wash over me. I don’t know what it is about those times that I can’t have you that make me desire you even more, but for some reason, it happens.

Yet I’ve been taught the evils of lust. So I have wondered, “Is it okay to lust after your own husband?” Surely that’s an exception, right?

Then I realized that my desire is not always purely physical. I sometimes feel a need just to be near you. Simply touch you. Just hear your voice. Know that your heart still beats. Feel your aliveness.

My love for you had crossed the line into unhealthy obsession. I knew it, and God knew it. As I looked at you on stage again today, and thought, “Look at that guy. He’s amazing, and he’s all mine!” I heard that still small voice tell me, “He is not yours to keep.”

You would think that those words would have crushed me, and maybe, had I had any farther to fall for you, I would have been hurt when I landed on the solid ground that I had just been knocked down upon. I could not have crawled any deeper down into my pit of selfishness, though, so those words had an effect on me that I would not have otherwise imagined that they could have.

You see, it all came to an end for me today. The fear of losing you. The fear of what the future holds. The fear that you will be gone from this world someday, it’s just a matter of when and where.

Understanding that you don’t really belong to me took a burden off my shoulders and freed me in a way that I had never thought possible.

I know that we aren’t promised tomorrow, but if something were to happen to you before the next sunrise, I now believe that I could make it through. Yes I would still mourn. I would hurt. The pain would likely stay with me for longer than I care to even think about.

But I would be okay. I would survive it. I would press on; because you don’t belong to me. Your life isn’t mine to hold on to. You are simply a loan that will need to be repaid someday, and when collection day comes, I will still be able to stand because you were never truly mine to begin with.

You will still hold my heart in the palm of your hand while you’re here, and I will likely hold yours as well, but I understand now.

It’s just for safe keeping until we move on from this world, and someday, we must.

I still love you just the same, and always will, but I’m letting you know that I’m okay with letting you go…

Because now I can.

Tales From the Thrift Store: Chapter Closed

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A few weeks ago I made a tough decision, but it was one that needed to be made for the sake of my own sanity.

I asked a group of ladies at church if they would be willing to take over the thrift store for me.

They accepted the challenge, and I passed the torch off to them. This will now be the second week in a row that I am thrift store free.

The day I packed up my personal effects and took one last look around the place was a bittersweet day for me. I was relieved to get my weekends back and rid myself of some of the stress of taking on too much, but sad to see it go nonetheless. My daughter and I had set everything up and gotten it running ourselves. We built the clothing racks, moved in all the shelving systems, organized and priced it all, and maintained it for a little over a year and a half. I had a lot of hard work and time invested in it, and it was like a baby to me. I shed a few tears as I said goodbye.

You see, In addition to trying to keep my house in order (being a neat freak is hard when you’re already exhausted), and have a little extra time to write and, well…breathe, I was essentially working 3 jobs and it wasn’t working out well for me. I was painting apartments Monday through Thursday, teaching my art class on Tuesdays (which I needed time to pick up supplies and prepare a project for), and then running the store on Fridays and Saturdays. More often than not I was finding myself having to leave an apartment unfinished over the weekend to go off and run the store.

I was admittedly spreading myself too thin, so something had to change. I weighed my options and decided that the store would be the easiest job to let go of because it was the one that wasn’t bringing in any much needed income.

I had waived off any offers of a paycheck when I opened up shop for the church in February of 2012. I just couldn’t, in good conscience, take money from them when they were already struggling to make ends meet because we had to close our daycare in November the year prior. The daycare had been sustaining the church for many years, but with the economy being what it was, we had started losing money. So we closed the daycare doors and it was suggested that I start a thrift store, because I had already been doing bi-monthly rummage sales with a decent amount of success.

Running the store was basically volunteer work that I was doing for my church. I wasn’t being paid, but my kids were being kept in clothing that fit, so I considered it a fair trade.

I loved the work despite the lack of a paycheck. I loved to help the homeless with a fresh change of clothes and food during the busy summer months.

I had regular customers that I will miss a lot, too. Like deaf Dave, with his wild animations and loud noises. My daughter would lean over to me and whisper, “He scares me” every time Dave would come in. I’d say, “Who? Dave? I like him. He doesn’t know he’s being loud. He can’t hear himself. Why are you whispering, anyway?”

I’ll also miss that 85 year old guy that buzzes through the parking lot every single day with a shopping cart. He wears an Australian style hat with a feather in it. I like his hat. He moves pretty fast for 85, too. I knew he was that age because he stopped and talked to me once while I was sweeping out the entryway. “You want some wine?” he asked as he offered me a swig from his paper bag. “No thank you,” I replied. “Do you know Chico? He’s my son. He’s a chef. Do you know Chico?” he asked as he beamed with pride. “No, I’m afraid I don’t know Chico.” He then rambled on about his life, age, and of course, Chico for a few more minutes before making his departure. I would smile and wave from across the parking lot every time I saw him after that. I just love the elderly. They’re so entertaining.

I’ll also miss the crazy antics of those that inspired my “Tales from the Thrift Store” stories. They supplied me with some great writing material. I’ll miss writing the tales almost as much as I’ll miss the store.

As this chapter of my life and the tales that came with it close, though, another chapter is opening. There’s plenty of crazy stuff that goes on at the apartment complex that I paint for during the week to fill and entire book. Maybe I’ll write one someday. For now just stay tuned for the next dose of insanity inspired by a fresh batch of unhinged people:

Happenings in the Hood.

Bacon Nation

Daily Prompt: 2100

The language of the future: what will it be like? Write an experimental post using some imagined vocabulary — abbreviations, slang, new terms.

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There’s this new Facebook game going around in which you’re encouraged to replace one word of any movie title with the word bacon.

This of course only works with movie titles that are more than one word long, as my son and I soon discovered.

The boy, being 11 (almost 12) decided that this is now his new favorite game, and on our drive home from work yesterday, he started musing to himself over this whole bacon bit of fun. I, of course, added my 2 salty cents, and before we knew it, we were embroiled in a contest to see who could come up with the most amazing bacon movie title.

I was admittedly in the lead with “Mr. Magorium’s Bacon Emporium” and “Percy Jackson and the Bacon Thief”, both of which he found uproariously funny, until he, after about 20 seconds of silence and some careful, face scrunching consideration, blurted out, “Harry Bacon”. We both laughed the remaining mile home. I conceded. The kid won by a landslide.

Then I got to thinking about this amazing little game and the awesomeness of bacon. What if bacon becomes so big, that someday, we’ve replaced every adjective and verb with the word bacon, just like the Smurfs always did with the name of their race. Bank tellers would send us off with a smile and encourage us to, “Have a bacony day!”

What if bacon became currency?! Bacon bits could be spare change, of course, and our wealth could be counted in terms of how many slabs we have. Okay maybe that wouldn’t work; we’d always be eating up our assets.

Bacon could become so huge, though, that it replaces all other amazing things in life. Like hugs and kisses. Can’t you just see yourself holding your arms out to your spouse as they walk through the door, saying, “Come on over here and give me some bacon.”

What? It could work.

There’s a whole bacony world out there, just waiting to be explored. I’m betting that bacon will become so big someday,  that I can almost taste the future.

Just some food for thought.

To the Single Girl From Mrs. ‘Been There, Done That’

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I have been a happily married woman for close to 11 years now. Okay, well, maybe not always happily. Sometimes I wish the man came with a remote control that I could use on him to oh…I don’t know…mute his snoring, make him stop using the top of the laundry hamper as a table, or get him to pay attention to me when I’m talking to him.

At any rate, I love the big lug, and had to endure the same process of luring him in, trapping him, and caging him that every other red blooded woman that doesn’t live in a country with arranged marriages has to go through. Sometimes I think arranged marriages might even be easier than this whole “looking for love” ordeal. At least then you know you’ll have a mate regardless, right?

I personally had to venture out into the big, wild world and repeat stage one of this process several times until I finally caught my keeper, though.

While those tales of high school sweethearts that have known no other and are now celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary are wonderful stories, they’re few and far between. For those women that aren’t living the ultimate fairy tale, well, there’s a process to go through to get from “How do you do,” to “I do”. A process that might make competing in a triathlon pale by comparison. A process that some have even given up on after several failed attempts. A process that strikes fear into the hearts of women and men alike all over the world.

The dating process.

Now, I have single friends. Several of them. Friends that I love dearly and wish nothing but the best for. I sit back and listen to their tales of dating woes time and time again, and, well, I admittedly grow weary of hearing them. Not because I already have my special someone, so I’ve now become selfish and incapable of being sympathetic to the lonely plight of the single girl, but because every fiber in my body wants to tell them exactly what they’re doing wrong.  That would make me a bad friend and a bad listener, though. Wouldn’t it?

Then I got to thinking. Maybe, just maybe, I’d be a better friend if I were to finally (wo)man up and lay it all out straight for them. I’d hate to lose anyone as a friend, but I can’t sit by and watch some of them ruin their chances at happiness time and time again anymore without saying something, even at the risk of angering them.

So, I’ve decided it’s time for an intervention. Not only for my dear single friends that I feel need a little schooling from someone who’s been there, done that, and emerged victorious, but for single girls everywhere.

Consider class to be in session. Feel free to take notes as we go.

Lesson #1: Keep Your Goodies to Yourself.

Being A Christian woman, I could go on and on about the biblical ramifications of sex before marriage, but you’ve likely heard it all before at some point in your life, so I won’t.

From the point of view of your average, reasoning being, here’s what’s wrong with jumping into bed with a guy on the first, second, or even fifth date.

Every relationship in the world is built on trust; man and woman, landlord and tenant, employer and employee, and so on.

When you almost immediately give up the one thing that seals the deal and finalizes an intimate relationship with a man, you’ve completely blown it in the trust department, and here’s why:

“Well if it was this easy to get her into bed, who else is she out there sleeping with? I don’t want a girl that gets around.”

Yep, your credibility as a trustworthy woman just went right out the window for 3 minutes of fun. You’ve now been demoted from filet mignon to about the level of a hot dog.

Now, while a lot of men may see nothing wrong with throwing themselves at anything that bats an eyelash or flirts a little, this isn’t generally a quality that they’re looking for in a woman. Seems like a double standard, I know, but it’s simply human nature. I can guarantee that “a girl that sleeps with me on the first date” isn’t anywhere on a guy’s list of what he wants in a wife

So, turning your first date into a booty call isn’t winning him over. While it may have “been awhile” for you, and those hormones and pheromones and any other sort of ‘mones’ may be so thick in the room that you can cut them with a knife, you need to keep your self-control in check if you genuinely want things to work out.

You’re an adult, you can do this. I can guarantee he’ll still respect you in the morning, and if he does walk away when you don’t give it up on the first date, well, it’s pretty obvious that he wasn’t serious about a relationship with you to begin with.

Then you can simply chalk it up to a ‘bullet dodged’ and move on.

Lesson #2: Find a New Body Wash.

Look, ladies, if I can smell it on you, I can pretty much guarantee that he can, too.

Desperation.

While most men suffer from selective hearing and vision problems, they have a sense of smell keener than a bloodhound on a raccoon trail when it comes to unwanted emotional female baggage. They can smell the stench of desperation from a hundred miles away, and this will almost always send them running in the opposite direction, because with desperation, comes clinginess.

Just ask any man if they’re looking to give up any and all sense of freedom that they currently enjoy to a clingy woman. I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to figure out what his answer will be.

Here’s a great way to gauge your level of desperation:

How often does he text you first? Are you almost always the one sending the first text and then just sitting there, phone in hand, checking your screen every 10 seconds until you receive a text back?  Then, when he doesn’t send a text back after about 10 minutes, are you texting him again just to be sure he actually saw the first one?

If this sounds like you, girl, you need a hobby.

While he may be the hottest thing since fire and you genuinely hope a relationship with this guy is in your future, blocking out all other thoughts but him from your mind is not only unhealthy for so many reasons, it going to cause you to blow it in the end. You need to redirect your focus into other things and let nature take its course if you want this relationship to work.

Lesson #3: Slow Your Roll.

This still falls under that whole desperation category. If you’re mentally hearing wedding bells after the first phone conversation, you need to take a deep breath and go watch a movie on Lifetime or something. You’re getting attached too quickly, which will make for a huge let down and mental anguish on your part should things not work out the way you had anticipated. Don’t let your mind get ahead of the game. You haven’t even passed go and collected your first 200 yet, but you’ve already sent yourself to mental jail. Here’s your get out free card:

Knock it off.

Though waiting is one of those things that sucks to a generation that wants instant gratification, you don’t have much of a choice if you truly want things to work out. Patience is a virtue, and there’s no better time than when you’re dating someone new to be virtuous.

Also, it’s great that you had a wonderful first date and plan to see him again, but your second date or second lengthy phone conversation is a bad time to throw out the fact that you’ve had 30 failed attempts at relationships already and you’re just looking for lifelong commitment. There are challenges on Fear Factor that are likely less off-putting to a guy than this bit of information. Even if he asked you what you are looking for in a relationship, it’s still a bad idea. Why? Because he’s likely just gauging your answer to see what kind of mess he’d be stepping into should he choose to get involved with you.

This would be a good time to play it cool. “Well, I just figured I’d go with the flow and see what happens.” Is always an acceptable answer when faced with what your future relationship plans are. Stifle your need to divulge too much information too quickly.

Save your expressions of undying love for this guy and your constant text affirmations that he’s always on your mind for a couple of months down the road, too. Hook him with your personality first, before you start throwing the cutesy shmootsy hearts and flowers junk at him.

Just have fun for now. Enjoy the companionship. That’s what phase one in a relationship is all about.

Lesson #4: Don’t Be THAT Girl.

After a person has heard, “I think I’ve found the one” for the 12th time in a 3 month span, it tends to grow tiring. Then, like ‘the boy who cried wolf’, no one’s going to want to listen when you genuinely have found a lasting relationship.

I was happy for you the first time. And the second. I was even happy for you with the third guy that you fell head over heels in love with after two dates and a romp in the bedroom. We’re coming up on oh…I lost count how many now…occasions of this very same pattern repeating itself and I am becoming emotionally numb here.

I get it; I do, because I adore my man. You want to shout your joy from the rooftops and tell everyone how amazing this new guy is. Do yourself a favor, though, and keep it on the down low for a month or two until things actually do start to get more serious. Then, once there’s some indication that he’ll be sticking around for a while, by all means, share your good news with the rest of the world. I’d love to hear about how into him you are when you get to that point.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t mind hearing about how a date went. If you want to talk about how he’s a nice guy, and that you went out and shared a few laughs over some slices of pepperoni, by all means, tell me all about it and share some information about him. I don’t mind at all. It’s watching you go completely off the rails for each new guy that comes along that I’m having a hard time with. Hopefully you can understand.

For those of you that I know personally, and those that I’ve never met, I mean no offense. I’m just calling it as I see it. Don’t think I haven’t been right where you are now. I have. It just so happens that along the way, I learned some valuable lessons in playing my cards right. That’s why I can say with pride that I’ve enjoyed nearly 11 years of marital bliss now with a wonderful man.

It all boils down to one thing; limits. They’re put in place in many situations to keep us safe. Speed limits, drinking limits, dosage limits…dating limits.

Ladies; if you’re looking for a meaningful relationship, yet you find yourself changing love interests more often than you’re changing underwear, it may be that you need to set some tighter limits in this game called love.

If you’re only betting on the queen of hearts, don’t bet everything you’ve got. Wait until you have a full house to go all in.

That’s just my 2 cent anti.