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

 

Making the most of weekends and the summer

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“We wanderers, ever seeking the lonelier way, begin no day where we have ended another day; and no sunrise finds us where sunset left us. Even while the earth sleeps we travel. We are the seeds of the tenacious plant, and it is in our ripeness and our fullness of heart that we are given to the wind and are scattered.” ― Kahlil Gibran

The past two weekends, my sister, a couple of friends and I, went back to the Black Creek Mountain Resort. Again, we didn’t do much.  We said no to zip-lining, biking and horse-back riding.  We said yes to some hiking, fun in the pool, playing cards, delicious BBQs and plenty of nothing.

I am hoping to go back in the winter 🙂

Beautiful sunny days

No biking or ziplining today, but hoping to come back to ski in the winter

“The appearance of things changes according to the emotions; and thus we see magic and beauty in them, while the magic and beauty are really in ourselves.” ― Kahlil Gibran

An abandoned mini golf

Inviting chairs

“Friendship is always a sweet responsibility, never an opportunity.” ― Khalil Gibran

Yes we did!

“When you part from your friend, you grieve not;
For that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence, as
the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain.” ― Khalil Gibran

The fallen flower

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“If we demand perfection from ourselves we are not living in the real world…The inherent problem in the relationship between the ideal & the real is that the ideal judges the real as unacceptable and brings down condemnation and wrath on the real. This sets up an adversarial relationship between the two and like all adversaries, they move further and further apart.” ― Henry Cloud, Changes That Heal: The Four Shifts That Make Everything Better…And That Anyone Can Do

I just finished this piece and it makes me so happy to look at it.

The idea started with some flowers I found at the studio from some other project.  I used a store-bought ready to hang frame.  

I cut an old blue mug in half for the vase. I am choosing to leave it as, with the nicks in it. I added the flowers, then the white tiles for the background.  Then different green glasses and mirrors for the additional leaves.

I was going to use green grout, but it didn’t feel perfect. In the end, I put gray grout on top of the green.  It is hard to tell in the pictures but there are hints of green in the final product and it gives the idea of old and used.  Exactly what I wanted.

I chose to leave the frame in the natural wood, instead of painting it white or some other color.

“Take these broken wings and learn to fly.” ― Paul McCartney, Blackbird Singing: Poems and Lyrics, 1965-1999

“Doctoring her seemed to her as absurd as putting together the pieces of a broken vase. Her heart was broken. Why would they try to cure her with pills and powders?”― Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

“The storm is out there and every one of us must eventually face the storm. When the storm comes, pray that it will shake you to your roots and break you wide-open. Being broken open by the storm is your only hope. When you are broken open you get to discover for the first time what is inside you. Some people never get to see what is inside them; what beauty, what strength, what truth and love. They were never broken open by the storm. So, don’t run from your pain — run into your pain. Let life’s storm shatter you.” ― Bryant McGill, Simple Reminders: Inspiration for Living Your Best Life

Somewhat like a flower

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“Tired, tired with nothing, tired with everything, tired with the world’s weight he had never chosen to bear.” ― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Beautiful and Damned

Hello, I hope everyone has been well. There is a lot going on here, and at the same time, nothing.  If that makes any sense at all.

I canceled two dates.  The two men were both annoying me for different reasons so I decided not to meet them.  I have been on this canceling phase for some reason. It will pass. 

I am meeting my friend Anthony tonight.  I miss him and our conversations, so I am looking forward to it.  He nourishes me spiritually.  Thanks heavens for the friends that brighten our lives.

“Feelings are for the soul what food is for the body.” ― Rudolf Steiner, How to Know Higher Worlds: A Modern Path of Initiation

I have finished two mosaics pieces.  One is below, and and the other will be on the next post.

I think I am the lazy mosaic maker.  I often start with a canvas with already a design there and frame, and go from there.  I have been told canvas don’t work  for mosaics but it has been working for me.  

I have been trying different materials and techniques.  I see growth and it feels great.

It looks better in person, I promise 🙂 The colors don’t look quite right in the pictures.

“That which causes us trials shall yield us triumph: and that which make our hearts ache shall fill us with gladness. The only true happiness is to learn, to advance, and to improve: which could not happen unless we had commenced with error, ignorance, and imperfection. We must pass through the darkness, to reach the light.” ― Albert Pike

 

Memories, Old and New

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“I can only note that the past is beautiful because one never realises an emotion at the time. It expands later, and thus we don’t have complete emotions about the present, only about the past.” ― Virginia Woolf

Last weekend my sister, a couple of friends, and I went to Vernon, NJ.  We stayed at a condo on the Black Creek Sanctuary. It is only one and a half hours from my home. 

On the way there I realized that we passed right by Greenwood Lake, NY.  That is where M. lived.  He is the guy that I dated in January and February last year.  It brought back some memories.  It was the carefree time before the pandemic. He turned out to be a zero, but still we had some nice moments.

The place we stayed at was so beautiful and peaceful.  There are tons to do in the area, but we didn’t do much.  The weather didn’t help.  We enjoyed the pool and BBQed mostly.  We also managed to drive around the area and visit local shops.

Black Creek Sanctuary. It was too muddy to walk around, but a gorgeous place!

Great place to stay at and enjoy nature.

All around the property, there were gardens, and places to fish, hike, etc.

We visited a couple of farmer markets and antique shops

Greenwood Lake, NY – holder of memories

We will go back again to the same place at the end of the month.  We are hoping to do more then.  I am also hoping to go there in the winter, as this place is part of a skiing resort, so I am curious to try this mountain.

On the way home we stopped by Greenwood Lake, NY.  I wanted to show my sister and my friends the area.  Memories of a short-lived potential romance came and stayed with me.

No regrets. Not wanting the past to come back, or change anything. Just enjoying having had experiences and living a full life.

Greenwood Lake: It felt like discovering a new place, or is it, rediscovering an old place?

“Our memory is a more perfect world than the universe: it gives back life to those who no longer exist.” ― Guy de Maupassant