Posted: November 29th, 2010 | Author: Molly Monet | Filed under: dating stories, humorous moments | Tags: blogging, dating, ex husband | 21 Comments »
I have a little scoop to share with you all. I have had a couple of dates with one of my blog readers, a man going through a divorce (big surprise). He and I exchanged some emails about my blog and his divorce, and well, one thing led to another, and we decided to meet. He asked me if I was violating any blogger code of ethics. I certainly confess ignorance on that issue, but I did consult my Facebook friends and they seemed okay with it.
He is a regular reader of my blog (Hey babe!) so I am certainly not going to reveal many details. However, our interactions together have brought up an interesting question for me. It is clear that he likes me largely due what he has learned of me through my writing, and that has led me to wonder if I am really the woman he thinks I am. In other words, is my writing a true reflection of me or just an idealized version of me?
I have a doctorate in literature so this issue really isn’t a new one for me. In graduate school, we often spoke about the dangers of assuming that an author speaks through his or her texts, even when he or she writes an autobiography. Every writer dons a sort of mask when she writes, as her texts are only a representation of her thoughts on a given subject at a given moment. They are a kind of performance, aimed at a certain audience. I myself know that when I write about a conflict that I have with my ex and how I have handled it, I choose my words carefully. I am conscious that friends, colleagues and exes are reading my words. I also want to represent my divorce in a way that can help others achieve some harmony or cooperation with their exes as well. While I think I am being honest and at times self-deprecating, I know that I also want to represent myself in a particular way. I want to show my readers that I am peaceful and capable of resolving conflict. Sometimes I just want to be funny. I don’t share with you all my every thought and word (Thank God). This is not some reality show where you get to see my every flaw, although even those shows are edited for an objective (to entertain?).
As I was musing on this topic, I decided to talk to my ex husband about it to see what he had to say. Now that was an amusing conversation. I ask him, Am I really who I say I am in my blog? He says, I don’t know. What do you mean you don’t know? You read me and you know me very well. Who would know better than you? He hems and haws and says that he really doesn’t want to analyze that (he’s getting smarter about how to handle me). I goad him into it, and he says, well, that I’m not always as serene as I portray myself. We have a good laugh about that. Of course, I’m not. I don’t tend to write when I’m angry. I write with the calmness of hindsight.
Upon reading one of my posts, my blog reader date gave me a really sweet compliment. While his words were touching, I did let him know that I am not always the way I represent myself. If I were to get involved with him, there would be times that I would lose my temper or say something stupid or sharp or react to something that my higher self, my peaceful divorcee blogger self, knows is petty. However, I do know the ideal that I want to be and I strive to reach that goal each day. So I guess my answer is that the women in my blog is one face of me, and that face is real. It just changes expressions depending on the circumstances.
Posted: November 26th, 2010 | Author: Molly Monet | Filed under: joys | Tags: appreciation, children, cooking, families, happiness, holidays, love, six word fridays | 18 Comments »
The opening act sets the tone.
We started with the pumpkin pie.
Layla was my right hand gal.
While the house filled with warmth
And delicious aromas, she played Bananagrams
With her dad, who couldn’t resist
Getting in on the domestic bliss.
I promised Jonah that we could
See the latest Harry Potter movie.
We joined his best friend and dad.
Jonah’s eyes lit up with excitement.
Layla held my hand tightly throughout.
I began the day with a
Vigorous yoga class. It was packed
With others seeking to burn calories
And to find some inner peace
before feasting and seeing their families.
I gave and received foot massages
Stared into another’s eyes in wheel
And felt the love swirling in
My community of friends and yogis.
Shiva Shakti is like my church,
The best place to celebrate holidays.
After cleansing my spirit, I showered,
The hot water contributing to my
Sense of ease and well being.
Then I felt inspired to clean,
A rare feeling indeed. I scrubbed,
Vacuumed and organized until my house
Sang in orderly pleasure, thereby ready
To open its doors to guests.
Turkey on the grill, potatoes boiling,
Pomegranates seeding, fennel chopping, gravy simmering
The tastes all came together in
Perfect harmony, just like my friends
And family, stomachs empty, hearts full.
Jonah gnawed on a turkey bone.
Layla ate politely but really just
Wanted to get to the pie.
My achiote turkey and sweet potato
Puree are still the favorite dishes.
My ex and a friend washed
The dishes, while we played games
With the kids. Layla made us
Guess words that she was writing
In one of her many notebooks,
Jonah and RaRa watched skateboarding videos.
We chatted, laughed and marveled at
How you can never leave Ikea
And how fast the kids grow.
Then everyone departed, leaving me in
Quiet, blissful peace to reflect upon
This lovely holiday that truly had
The most delectable of all ingredients.
I am also thankful for Melissa at Six Word Fridays who provides me with great topics every week, for my readers who inspire me to keep writing, and my commenters who encourage me and give me great food for thought.
How did you give thanks yesterday?
Posted: November 24th, 2010 | Author: Molly Monet | Filed under: joys | Tags: cooking, holidays | 4 Comments »
As I was busy preparing my Thanksgiving meal, my daughter came home from school with a picture that she made of a cornucopia overflowing with fruits and vegetables. I was thereby inspired to put all of our meal’s ingredients into a big bowl to photograph. I like the still life effect. Furthermore, I am grateful that I live in the fertile Pioneer Valley where I was able to buy all this beautiful produce at my local farmer’s market. Thanks to the neighboring farms, I am able to make pureed sweet potatoes with Ancho chiles, mashed potatoes with cabbage and leeks, and fennel salad. It’s too bad that I am not making cranberry sauce because that would definitely be locally grown. The pomegranate salsa that I make instead belies my California roots.
In addition, I came home last night from work and whipped up a lovely local vegetable soup with potatoes, leeks, cabbage, parsnips, and carrots. I even added a little local cream. The corn and tomatoes were canned. Layla liked it so much that she wants me to serve it tomorrow.
So, I’d love to hear about your food plans. What yummy dishes are you working on? And what are you thankful for this year?
I hope you all have a wonderful, loving and peaceful celebration with your family and friends.
Posted: November 22nd, 2010 | Author: Molly Monet | Filed under: challenges, tips for a peaceful divorce | Tags: co-parenting, dealing with conflict, holidays, love after divorce | 9 Comments »
Last Friday I bumped into a divorced dad I know from my kids’ school and asked him about his Thanksgiving. He said he didn’t have the kids and was going to his parents’ house. I had seen him have friendly interactions with his ex wife so I asked if they ever celebrated the holidays together. He immediately looked taken aback, and I felt a little nervous. He said, “We’ve only been broken up three years!” I said that my ex and I had also been apart that long but were still planning on doing Thanksgiving together. He softened a bit and said that maybe they could do that eventually.
Today, I took a similar step into awkward territory when I ran into my ex boyfriend’s (Marc aka the wound splitter aka Mr. grey sweatsuit aka Mr. Garanimals) adult son at yoga class. He told me that he was spending Thanksgiving with his mom and his dad. I said, excitedly (because those two had become bitter enemies), “Oh they are spending it together?” His response? “Oh God no. I’m making a brief appearance at my mom’s and then eating with my dad.”
Okay, I briefly considered avoiding these somewhat touchy interchanges, but I have decided instead to embrace them. If I’m going to preach for anything, it might as well be for peaceful co-parent relations. People might initially react with a little discomfort or disbelief, but maybe, just maybe, I’ll make them think twice about trying to have some post-divorce holiday togetherness. So, with that hope in mind, I wanted to share again with you the story of my first Thanksgiving after my breakup so that you can see that peaceful divorcees don’t always get it right the first time. It takes time, and practice.
Three years ago, we had agreed to continue our now twelve-year Thanksgiving tradition of having dinner at my house with our good friends Stephen and Ramie, who are also the kids’ godparents. My ex didn’t have other plans and was excited to eat my delicious fare, so it seemed like a win-win for everyone. I told him that I would provide everything but asked him just to bring some beer or wine and charcoal. The latter was very important because I grill my turkey for a bit to give it some flavor and then I finish it in the oven.
Well, he waited until the last minute to purchase these items, and it turned out that all of the stores were closed on Thanksgiving Day. So I started calling around to my friends to see if they had charcoal. We found some, but I got angry because I had thought that this was a simple way for him to contribute and that he had failed to do so and therefore created more work for me. I am sure that I expressed my frustration in a less than even-keeled way (ie I got pissy), and, as was our pattern (oh those confounded patterns!), he got even angrier in response, and the situation got blown out of proportion. He therefore decided that he wasn’t coming to the dinner.
I tried to convince him that the kids would suffer because of this. However, as I have learned over time, this argument held no water with him, mainly because he didn’t want me representing myself as the expert on the kids. I now know to back off and let him cool down instead of trying to convince him of anything. In fact, I have realized that trying to persuade people of anything is a futile exercise (that’s been a tough one for me).
So we proceeded to have the dinner without him but instead of having fun, I was feeling disappointed and down about his absence, and I am sure that the kids picked up on that. My attitude usually sets the tone for theirs. I put on a happy face, but it was a façade. As we sat down to eat, my ex kept calling on the phone and getting mad. We have both learned since then not to prolong our disagreements by trying to talk about them, but at this point we were still engaging in our conflicts, on the phone instead of in person. The calls kept coming and I kept answering them (not a good decision). Suffice it to say that he made lots of unpleasant and hurtful comments, even to our friends who got on the phone and tried to help calm him down. I ended up crying and it was a very difficult evening for me. I felt terrible that someone I loved so much would say such mean things to me.
The next day, the kids and I went to the gym (to work off the evening’s indulgences). My ex showed up there. I can’t remember why, but I do think he did it purposely to see us. He and I sat down in the gym’s café, and I attempted to talk with him calmly about the night’s events. He was still angry and saying that he didn’t want to be friends anymore. I kept telling him that I loved him and that I would always think of him as my friend no matter what he said. He continued with anger and I continued with love. It was like we were having two different conversations. This lasted a while, but eventually he crumbled and started crying. My love had finally penetrated his angry shell and found his tender heart. At this point we were both crying (I always wondered what the other gym patrons thought of this scene), but we made up and he came over to the house for leftovers.
I have written in the past about how stubborn I have been in my insistence that we get along. No matter what my ex said or did, I kept telling myself that we would eventually be friends and that love would win out over anger. Often I had no shred of proof to indicate that this would be the case, but my faith in it didn’t waver. I believe that this obstinacy has paved the way for us to have the peaceful relationship that we have today. So, if you are feeling a little hopeless about the possibility of ever having a peaceful holiday family celebration, I recommend that you keep trying, no matter how long it takes or how impossible it seems. Love eventually trumps bitterness and resentment. I really believe that.
Posted: November 19th, 2010 | Author: Molly Monet | Filed under: happiness | Tags: California, children, family, home, six word fridays | 32 Comments »
Here's my Mom in 1971 when we bought the house. Don't you love her boots?
When I was four, we bought
Our home. I remember it well.
White stucco exterior, grey Tudor trim,
Avocado linoleum with matching painted bricks
Around the fireplace. In the kitchen,
Patriotic paisley wallpaper, our living room
Had silver paper with white flowers
Mirrored tiles in the dining room.
Natal plum bushes, night-blooming jasmine, bougainvillea
In the backyard with a view
What a view…the Pacific Ocean
on one side, mountains on the
other. But that wasn’t its magic.
It was the love that flowed
in every room, in every nook.
That was home for 31 years.
My sister and I have longed
To reproduce such a shangri-la for
Our kids, but as they say,
There is no place like home.
As I stand here in Massachusetts
I feel nostalgic, as if uprooted.
Home is where the heart is,
So where exactly is my heart?
With my divorce I considered moving
Back to my homeland of California.
Jonah dreams of adventures out West,
Like his grandparents did before him.
Layla only cares where I am.
What do I want?, you ask.
Be here now, Ram Dass said.
So here I am, in my
Happy Valley, during the academic year.
Christmases and summers in Cali, basking
In my family’s love. I am
Here and there and possibly everywhere
Because in the end I know
People can move, children grow up.
Yet my home, my true home
Can only reside inside of me.
* * * * * * * * * *
This week’s topic was provided, of course, by Melissa at Six Word Fridays. Please check out the other poems on the topic because this blog community has some very talented writers in it. As synchronicity would have it, Bruce, from the Privilege of Parenting, wrote a poignant piece this week called “Homeward Unbound” about visiting his childhood home and ailing father. In it he refers to his blog and the readers that visit it as a kind of home. I like that idea. Welcome home, my friends.