A perfect Sunday and not so perfect boundaries

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“No” is a complete sentence.” -― Annie Lamott

On Sunday my sister and I went to the New Rochelle Street Fair.  It was okay.  We didn’t stay long. We then walked back to R Cafe and Tea Boutique.  Miraculously, the only table outside was empty and waiting for us. It was a gorgeous breezy sunny day. 

For a second I felt like I was in Paris.  All because of the the French rattan bistro chairs and the perfect setting.  I have never been to Paris, by the way 🙂

Later in the afternoon we got foot massages.  In the evening I went to dinner to with my friend A., at Sonora Restaurant in Port Chester.  That is one of my favorite restaurants, and A. is one of my favorite people.

“Boundaries aren’t all bad. That’s why there are walls around mental institutions.” ― Peggy Noonan, Patriotic Grace: What It Is and Why We Need It Now

He lets me be.  I am the type of friend that likes her space.  I don’t want, or need, to be involved in my friend’s lives on a daily basis.  All my friends know I am here for them. If they need me, I will drop everything and be there, in body, heart and financial support.

Lately I am feeling overwhelmed by a couple of friends.  They are just too much.  Is there such a thing as “too much” between friends?  Yes, there is!  Or perhaps there is not, and these are not real friends.  Very possible!

They want to be enmeshed into my, and my sister’s life.  When a text is not replied to, then the phone calls start.  Not one or two, but multiple, in succession, to both my sister and I.  When we are available and finally able to answer, there is no emergency.  They don’t let a day go bye without reaching out.

“If you spend your life sparing people’s feelings and feeding their vanity, you get so you can’t distinguish what should be respected in them.” ― F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night & The Last Tycoon

We almost feel like hostages, or worst, like there is no place to hide. And sometimes they invent excuses to just stop by, unannounced. Besides the multiple calls, there are multiple questions. Where were you?  With whom?  With a friend or a date? What are you doing tomorrow? What about next week?

We don’t want to be mean, specially since I know they went through a difficult situation recently. Which, by the way I helped them 100%.  But at this point it seems like it is a choice between our freedom to just be, or hurting them by setting boundaries. 

When put like that, it seems like a no-brainer.  I shall try, and we shall see.

“If you continue to blame other people for “making” you feel guilty, they still have power over you, and you are saying that you will only feel good when they stop doing that. You are giving them control over your life. Stop blaming other people.” ― Henry Cloud, Boundaries: When To Say Yes, How to Say No

 

 

Art redone: From oil painting to mosaic in glass

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“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” ― Albert Einstein

Here is another piece I just finished. I like to use old paintings that I find in stores or tag sales.  It serves two purposes: First, it already has a frame, often it is antique and beautiful.  Second, it gives me a starting point, an inspiration, even though the end result is, oftentimes, much different, as you can see below:

Doing mosaic art is my happy place, and I I love discovering that I do have some creative bone in my body.

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…” ― Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

The implied and inferred meaning of a hug

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“I had embraced you…
long before i hugged you.”
― Sanober Khan, A Thousand Flamingos

Mr. Stocks and I continue to text. Unfortunately we often have some sort of miscommunication or misunderstanding.  Now, I come to find out, not only my words, but also my actions are being misunderstood.

I thought it was a pleasant hug goodbye, with a potential future.  He thought it was a rejection. 

The texting starts when he is letting me know about his decision about a job offer that he had been considering.

I am not sure what the next chapter will be, but I am proceeding with caution.  I don’t want to hurt him or get hurt, or worst of all, damage the friendship.

I think he is more sensitive than other guys.  Or perhaps more insecure, and more afraid of getting hurt.

“It is an absolute human certainty that no one can know his own beauty or perceive a sense of his own worth until it has been reflected back to him in the mirror of another loving, caring human being.” ― John Joseph Powell, The Secret of Staying in Love

Practicing

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“Tomorrow’s victory is today’s practice.”
― Chris Bradford, The Way of the Warrior

It looks better in person.  Believe me! I always say that, but it is true.  Anyway, how can I find any of my mosaic babies ugly?

I am blaming my phone.  I may invest on a camera to just take pictures of my work. I feel that the colors aren’t true in the pictures.

It is a purple plate that was begging to become something else.  Now it is something else. 

 

 

“I believe that we learn by practice. Whether it means to learn to dance by practicing dancing or to learn to live by practicing living, the principles are the same. In each, it is the performance of a dedicated precise set of acts, physical or intellectual, from which comes shape of achievement, a sense of one’s being, a satisfaction of spirit. One becomes, in some area, an athlete of God. Practice means to perform, over and over again in the face of all obstacles, some act of vision, of faith, of desire. Practice is a means of inviting the perfection desired.” ― Martha Graham

Dinner with Mr. Stocks

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“When you’re in jail, a good friend will be trying to bail you out. A best friend will be in the cell next to you saying, ‘Damn, that was fun’.” ― Groucho Marx

He offered to pick me up and I agreed.  At 7pm he was standing outside my building. We smiled and hugged. It felt familiar and comfortable. 

He drove a small, vintage, or just old, Porsche. One of those cars that is hard to get in and out of it.  It reminded me of my old vintage Mercedes.  It even smelled the same: a combination of old leather and burning oil.

I asked him to choose the restaurant. He chose a French one called Le Provencal, located in Mamaroneck.  So happens, it is the same restaurant ex took me for my birthday on our second date.

On the way there I told him that and he offered to go someplace else. I wanted to go there anyway and make new memories.

When we got there the restaurant was empty, so we got to choose our table.  He wanted a table in the middle, but I opted for one in a corner.  It felt cozier.  It was the right choice.

The meal: We both had a cocktail made of elderberry.  It was delicious.  We shared an onion and bacon tart as an appetizer.  He had coq au vin with mashed potatoes and asparagus.  I had John Dory fish (who knew there was a fish with that name?) with eggplant caviar and spinach.  I love eggplant, so I was intrigued by the eggplant caviar. It was a major disappointment.  It was a pate of eggplant with tons of cinnamon.  

I didn’t want dessert at the restaurant.  I got a lemon tart with raspberry coulis to take to my sister.

“I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you, and that’s
why.” ― John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men

The conversation:  There was not a single boring or awkward moment. We talked about everything.  We talked about work, vacations, finances, sports, etc. We had a lot fun. 

We both agreed that we were having fun and that we were the same in person, as we have been in the phone, for all these years.  He said I am exactly what he expected:  confident, intelligent, full of life and above all, happy.  He had my name listed as “Happy Ana” in his phone. 

I expected to have a great time, but it was surprisingly even more fun than I expected.

At one point he asked if we were on a date.  I hesitated, but then said: no.  I reminded him that from the beginning he had mentioned he was not open to romance.  We had become friends, and this, to me, was a dinner with a friend.  He seemed disappointed, but understood. 

He said that he is in a better place as of 6 months ago.  I guess he forgot to mention that to me.  Not that it would make a difference.  He became a friend, and once that happens I am not sure I want to risk a friendship for a potential romance.

“When you’re in jail, a good friend will be trying to bail you out. A best friend will be in the cell next to you saying, ‘Damn, that was fun’.” ― Groucho Marx

After dinner:  We decided to take a walk around and look for a place to have dessert.  We went to Milk N Cookies and got some cookies to take home.  Then we stop at a Paleteria and got ice cream on the way to the car.

He drove me home.  He got out and opened the door for me, We hugged good bye.

Later he texted me to say what an amazing time he had.  I said I did too.

“Find ecstasy in life; the mere sense of living is joy enough.” ― Emily Dickinson

The future:  I have no idea, but I feel I met a great friend in person. We will meet up again, and hopefully it will not take another 5 years 🙂  

Yesterday he sent me a video that he said reminded him of me.  He said I should share it with my sister.  At first I didn’t get it.  My sister thought it was a commentary about the difference in our hair.  Her with the crazy curly dark hair, and me with the lighter, straight hair.

He said it was not about that and explained:

He is not wrong! 🙂

“Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.” ― Marianne Williamson

 

The prelude to the Unmasking of Mr. Stock

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Disclaimer: I am writing this post in 2 parts due to lack of time, so please forgive me for that.

“If you wear a mask for too long, there will come a time when you can not remove it without removing your face.” ― Matshona Dhliwayo

It is hard to say exactly when I first started speaking to Mr. Stock (that is what I will call him here).  We met on the dating site Plenty of Fish.

At first he said he was not ready to meet anyone and was only there to make friends.  He sounded vague in his messages, but still, I started exchanging messages with him. Perhaps it was because I love making new friends, and also, I felt a certain compassion towards him.  He felt safe and harmless.

I detected some underlining pain. A pain, that according to him, he wasn’t ready to talk about, but that, slowly, revealed bits and pieces of it.  Much later I learned that he was dealing with the long illness and, eventual passing of his wife.  He hinted at also having some social anxieties and not being comfortable in crowds. I am not sure if the anxiety came about from the grief or was already an issue prior to that.

“Grief does not change you, Hazel. It reveals you.” ― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

I am not sure what we talked about at that point.  Perhaps the weather.  I do remember, at times, being annoyed that we would never meet. We are only 30 minutes apart, so I didn’t understand why we couldn’t meet as friends. At times I would stop replying to him, but would give in and reply anytime he reached out.

Eventually I got off of POF, and gave him my number.  We would say hello every couple of months or so. We would have disagreements. I don’t deal well with negativism, and sometimes he was in that mode.  His unwillingness to see the beauty in life annoyed me.  My optimism was too much for him.

Still, we would always check in with each other.  He would talk about meeting every now and then, saying that he was going to try.  But after so many times I just never believed it would happen.  I had made peace with being phone/text friends.

Months, years passed.

One day I asked him a question about stocks, since he is an investor.  He loves talking about stocks.  From that day on, we speak and text more often.  He would often talk about meeting and teaching me about stocks in person.

Every time he would say something about meeting, I would think about The Boy Who Cried Wolf.  I never thought we would meet, and honestly, by now, I didn’t care.

“Between what is said and not meant, and what is meant and not said, most of love is lost.” ― Khalil Gibran

A couple of weeks ago, he mentioned he was on vacation and then texted: “Just make sure we go to dinner while I’m on vacation”

That text infuriated me. I let him know how mad I was.  To me it implied I had control about meeting or not. Also, it implied we had never met before because of work. It also felt that “meeting”, was always a carrot that was being dangled in front of me.  I don’t like carrots!

We talked it out, and he said it was miscommunication and he would try to meet.  In his mind he had decided to meet months ago but had been too busy with work.

Last Saturday at 7pm he asked if I wanted to meet for dinner or something.  First, I was surprised and second, I was annoyed.  After so long, you don’t just ask me out last minute like that.  I said that I was not free, but said I was available the following day. He said he was not sure about the next day because of the Jewish holiday. I said ok, and I meant okay.

On Sunday,  at 11am he wrote to see if I wanted to go out for dinner, drinks or anything else that evening.  I agreed to dinner and asked him to pick a place in my area.

I thought he would cancel it. I was willing to bet that it wouldn’t happen.  I was ready to get the cancelation phone call.

But it did!

to be continued…

“Masquerades disclose the reality of souls. As long as no one sees who we are, we can tell the most intimate details of our life. I sometimes muse over this sketch of a story about a man afflicted by one of those personal tragedies born of extreme shyness who one day, while wearing a mask I don’t know where, told another mask all the most personal, most secret, most unthinkable things that could be told about his tragic and serene life. And since no outward detail would give him away, he having disguised even his voice, and since he didn’t take careful note of whoever had listened to him, he could enjoy the ample sensation of knowing that somewhere in the world there was someone who knew him as not even his closest and finest friend did. When he walked down the street he would ask himself if this person, or that one, or that person over there might not be the one to whom he’d once, wearing a mask, told his most private life. Thus would be born in him a new interest in each person, since each person might be his only, unknown confidant.” ― Fernando Pessoa

Some tennis watching and a back massage

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“Everyone has the fire, but the champions know when to ignite the spark.” ― Amit Ray, Enlightenment Step by Step

This Labor Day weekend, similar to prior years, except 2020, I went to the US Open on Saturday. 

I was pleasantly surprised that there were almost no lines to get in.  They checked the vaccination card and tickets very quickly.  There were some people with masks but the majority had no masks.  It felt freeing.

This time I wasn’t too excited to attend, as my two favorite players weren’t there:  Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams.  I need to find new favorites.

I do have a Brazilian player left in tournament, Bruno Soares.  He is in the Men’s Doubles semi-final, playing with Jamie Murray (Andy’s older brother).  I am not sure who they are playing against, but I will be watching that match.  

The weather was perfect.  While there, we had  a great lunch at The Mojito Restaurant.  They make the best yucca fries.  Inside the stadium we had Honey Deuce, the official drink of the US Open while watching the Novak Djokovic/Kei Nishikori match. Novak won. I was not happy.  Still it was a great match.

“Life has but one true charm: the charm of the game. But what if we’re indifferent to whether we win or lose?” ― Charles Baudelaire

One new and interesting thing is that there are no line judges anymore.  There is the chair umpire only. The line calls are made with the Hawk-Eye electronic line-calling.  The electronic voice that yells “OUT”, can be female or male, depending on what the other courts that are near are using, so not to confuse the players. 

It makes a big difference.  There are no longer challenges, which eliminates a lot of the drama.  I used to enjoy some of the drama though 🙂

On Sunday I went to Wegmans grocery store for the first time.  It is new in my area, and some people were raving about it.  It was a good store, but I don’t get excited about grocery stores. After lunch I got a back massage.

While I was getting a massage, I was just trying to relax and think of nothing.  It is an impossibility for me. While fighting random thoughts, the Jewish Holiday, Rosh Hashanah came to mind.  I thought to myself that I should text B. a Happy New Year.

B., is a woman that was very helpful to me in my first years in the U.S. We helped each other, but her coming into my life helped me achieve everything I have today.  

Last time I texted her she didn’t reply.  I don’t need a reply to text someone. I made a point of holding on to that thought to text her when my massage was over. 

After the 1 hour massage, with thoughts of what is for dinner, and no longer thinking of B.  I picked up my phone and I am shocked to see I have a missed call from her.  At the moment I was thinking about her, she was calling me.  I love the little  synchronicities of the Universe.  The Universe is always listening.

I called her back. She apologized for not texting back. We talked for a little bit.  Everything felt right in the world.

“Our intentions attract the elements and forces, the events, the situations, the circumstances, and the relationships necessary to fulfill the intended outcome.We don’t need to become involved in the details—in fact, trying too hard may backfire.It requires attention, and it also requires detachment. Once you have created the intention mindfully, you must be able to detach from the outcome, and let the universe handle the details of fulfilment.”
― Deepak Chopra, Synchrodestiny: Harnessing the Infinite Power of Coincidence to Create Miracles

On Monday I had dinner with someone that I have been speaking online for the past 6 years, and had never met before.  I am going to write about it next. Was it a good or bad meeting? Stay tuned to find out.

 

Not bad for an Old dog

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“If you want to do a few small things right, do them yourself. If you want to do great things and make a big impact, learn to delegate.” ― john c. maxwell

I have always struggled with asking people to do anything for me.  I also struggle with letting go of control.  That combination makes it very hard for me to delegate at work.

As a result I have been overworked for years; even though I do have someone to assist me.

I work for a very small firm, so I wear many hats.  From being the Treasurer to being the Compliance Officer, and everything else in between.  My assistant does the daily contracts.

I was doing way too much.  I realized that she could do more and alleviate some of my burden. Now, slowly, I have been giving her more responsibilities, and making her accountable for some tasks.

I learned that I need to:

  • Give step-by-step instructions
  • Communicate the expected outcome
  • Establish clear and realistic deadlines
  • Have tons of patience

“Focus on what you are good at; delegate all else.” – Steve Jobs

It has been tough.  A lot doesn’t get done as I would like.  Relinquishing control of functions that I always took pride in is difficult.  I have always felt that anything leaving my office is a reflection on me as a professional.

I am finally learning that to delegate is to learn to accept that something will not be done your way, but it will still get done.  So what if an email is not written as perfect as I want?  It is not the end of the world.

At work, I have been guilty of expecting people to take initiative.  I expect people to see that something needs to get done and to step up and do it.  Some people will never do that.  Some people need to be told what to do.

It is okay.  We are all different.  Some people are born to lead and some are born to follow. It doesn’t make one better than the other, but it should serve as a guide to where people should concentrate their efforts.

“The more control, the more that requires control. This is the road to chaos.— PanSpechi aphorism”  ― Frank Herbert, The Dosadi Experiment

In delegating, letting go of control and the need for things to be done my way, I have found some more time in my day.

I have found freedom.  Freedom from the need to be perfect.  Freedom from being in charge of everything.

I am finally learning to work smarter.  I have not only learned to delegate, but I am also learning to say no to additional work.

Who said an old dog can’t learn new tricks?

“I’ve seen too many leaders misunderstand leadership for legacy. Even the most experienced leaders will divide instead of delegate and incite instead of unite to advance hidden personal agendas.” ― Richie Norton

Henri, the hurricane, changed my plans

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“The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.” ― Robert Frost

My sister and I were supposed to spend last weekend in Boston, but the hurricane cut the trip short.  So, instead of Sunday night we drove home Saturday evening.  

We spent Saturday at Quincy Market, enjoying the sites and sounds.  There are all kinds of street performers, from violin players to jugglers. So much fun and talent!

We had breakfast inside the Boston Public Markets.  The bagels (Levend Bagelry) and popovers (The Popover Lady) were delicious.  The coffee was just ok (George Howell).

Quincy Market

Faneuil Hall served as a meeting place of Patriots during the American Revolution.  Nowadays is still used for public ceremonies, such as Citizenship Oath Ceremonies. One can feel the history walking through its doors.

We had a late lunch at State Street Provisions. We shared a little of everything, fish and chips, cheeseburger, avocado toast, street corn, salads.  The food was good.   The drinks were disappointing. I ordered the Triple Lindy (Vodka, Strawberry St. Germain, Yellow Chartreuse, Orgeat and Lime).  It sounded amazing on paper, but it tasted boring and flavorless.

After the late lunch, we browsed an outdoors fair and bought some glass jewelry.  By 7pm we were getting to my friend’s house to change to go out to dinner and more fun.  That is when another friend called me and scared me with the news about hurricane Henri.  He said: it will hit NY and then travel to Boston.  If you don’t leave now, you may not be back until Monday or Tuesday.

I was not afraid of missing a day or two of work, but in such situations I rather be in my home and not stranded at a friend’s house.

“All human plans [are] subject to ruthless revision by Nature, or Fate, or whatever one preferred to call the powers behind the Universe.” ― Arthur C. Clarke, 2010: Odyssey Two

Faneuil Hall

I loved, loved, loved the harbor.  It was such a beautiful sunny day. We didn’t take any boat trips or tours.  We were interested in doing the Duck Boat Tour on Sunday, but that never happened.  Will do that in a next trip.

I guess I should start paying more attention to the weather reports when I plan trips.

“Plans are of little importance, but planning is essential.” ― Winston Churchill

Boston Harbor

All in all it was a fun Saturday.  The storm was not as bad as expected, but I don’t regret returning home.  Better safe, than sorry.

“Ester asked why people are sad.
“That’s simple,” says the old man. “They are the prisoners of their personal history. Everyone believes that the main aim in life is to follow a plan. They never ask if that plan is theirs or if it was created by another person. They accumulate experiences, memories, things, other people’s ideas, and it is more than they can possibly cope with. And that is why they forget their dreams.” ― Paulo Coelho, The Zahir

Work in progress, or just unfinished?

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“It is wise to master your self, but it is wiser to leave a few rogue thoughts, some few doubts, and some loose ends. It is into the wild and unfinished places that we can grow.” ― Chris Ernest Nelson

I have so many posts started, on topics such as “How to break up with a friend”, “Do I really need a pap smear every year?”, and everything else in between.

I start writing about something and go off to do something else. By the time I get back to it, hours or days later, it doesn’t feel fresh anymore.  That topic is not at the forefront of my mind anymore.

I don’t want to serve you guys anything stale 🙂  So it is pretty much your fault lol

Perhaps I should get back to all those drafts and either finish it and post it, or just delete it. I may be on to something here.  I have drafts from when this blog started in 2012.

“I keep turning over new leaves, and spoiling them, as I used to spoil my copybooks; and I make so many beginnings there never will be an end. (Jo March)” ― Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

Moving on for now.  I continue my streak of canceled dates. If it is not one thing, it is another.  Mostly it seems that it is becoming harder to actually schedule a date.  Everyone wants to talk on the phone, then becomes all confused about meeting up.

I guess I am growing impatient in my old age 🙂  I want someone that will take charge and not be wishy-washy.  I want someone that will be direct and make plans.  Plans that actually take into account that I am a woman, and that this is our first meeting.  

Lately, I feel I am getting all the lazy guys.  If they can’t drive 30 minutes to see me now, what kind of effort will they put into the relationship?

Where are all those guys that drove over 1 hour to see me?

oh, yeah, I remember… I didn’t like them in person. 😦

“Too lazy to peel fresh? You don’t deserve to eat garlic.” ― Anthony Bourdain, Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly

The last guy that went bust, last week, after we had decided on a Friday night date, wrote me:  “You don’t mind coming to Harlem, do you?

Sure (eye rolling), I would love to go to Harlem on a Saturday night to meet someone for the first time!  I am sure there are great places in Harlem, but also scary ones too if you don’t know where you are going.

I wrote back: “Actually, I do mind.”  He never replied again.  

That was easy!  That shows his level of interest to begin with.

In the meantime, life has been so busy with work, mosaics, friends, gym again, and learning French.  Yes, I am going to parle Français once and for all.

I am not discouraged from dating.  Everything in life ebbs and flows. 

“I want to see you.

Know your voice.

Recognize you when you
first come ’round the corner.

Sense your scent when I come
into a room you’ve just left.

Know the lift of your heel,
the glide of your foot.

Become familiar with the way
you purse your lips
then let them part,
just the slightest bit,
when I lean in to your space
and kiss you.

I want to know the joy
of how you whisper
“more”
― Mawlana Jalal-al-Din Rumi