Tagged: personal

On dating

If you’re been around this here blog for longer than a minute, you know about my previous attempt at a relationship that failed. If you want to re-live it, check out the post here.

If not, stay tuned for an update on my Catholic dating life.
First, let me tell you how I met this guy.
Online.

Shocking. Embarrassing. Crazy. Foolish.

Sure all of those things.
But also the only want I figured I could meet guys who were honestly Catholic … and in my age range. I love the old men I see at daily Mass, but they are not in my age range.
I thought online dating would be an OK way to find guys that fit my standards.
And after my last attempt at a relationship, I think it’s good to have standards. It’s good to know what I NEED a guy to have (be Catholic, be family orientated, be open to marriage and life), and it’s good to know what I’d LIKE a guy to have (college education, travel goals, limited debt or working on getting debt free).
The needs are non-negotiable. The likes are negotiable if the guy is good enough.

Contrary to what we like to tell ourselves, a lot of dating is superficial.

But that’s OK, too. We need to be physically attracted to our mates. It just makes sense.
So I set up an online dating profile on one of the free sites.
Which is scary itself. It’s free… what kind of guys are on it?
While, just like me. The guys that don’t think they should have to pay to meet people.
That’s where I was coming from, that’s how I look at it.
I screened potential candidates throughly. If they didn’t list their religion on their profile, I didn’t respond to a message they sent me.
If they answered one of the questions in a suspicious way, I wouldn’t return a message.
I also didn’t respond to people who called themselves Christian.

This may have been a too-high-standard, but I love being Catholic. I want to raise my kids Catholic.

I don’t want to have to pray for the conversion of my significant other’s soul for my whole life (or relationship like I did with my ex-boyfriend).
I know this can make a person very pious, and those prayers are heard.
BUT I want a family. A Catholic family, and so I want someone who has my back on those issues. (I’m looking at your Natural Family Planning and birth control.)
I also screened based on photos.
Guys can pick which photos they put on their profiles. Why would they choose photos of them half-naked in their bathroom? Why would they choose photos of them drunk?
I wanted photos of guys who looked like they were out doing things.
There are a surprising lot of selfies taken in cars. I don’t know why. I avoided those guys too.

How the guy answered questions was important as well.

Sex before marriage? No thanks.
Drugs? No way.
Smoking? Nope.
Why even bother? I want someone who is serious about dating to see if we’re right for marriage and then getting married.
After talking to a guy for about a week (well, texting), we met for coffee. I liked him!
He texted me the next day… and we met again for dinner Friday night.
He is all my NEEDS and LIKES: Catholic, family-orientated, open to marriage; college-educated, likes traveling, school’s getting paid for by employer).
While I haven’t gotten deep into all these topics with him, I know at least on the surface that we agree on these issues. The whole six years I was in my prior relationship, I knew that he and I didn’t not agree on these things. I thought I could pray it away. And I tried to.
News flash: it didn’t work.

So Friday night, you’re wondering, how did it go?

Well, first let me tell you that I was so nervous. And it’s not like me to get nervous. Yes, I’m shy, but I know how to handle myself in most situations.
I don’t know how to handle myself on dates because I never dated. It’s so weird. I have usually just “been in relationships.”
I thought about what I was going to wear for hours. I dreamed about the date. I didn’t stop thinking about the date.
…All things that aren’t that healthy.
But while I was doing that, I was also planning trips that I want to take, things I want to do, projects I need to finish up at home.
It’s like my whole life is re-starting right now. Which is weird.
I was also trolling dumb sites that profess how to snag a guy and have a successful second date and stressing myself out.
I can’t believe how many of those sites exist. It’s really startling to realize how much time we spend thinking about stuff like that.
I tired to put myself in the mindset that we’re just getting to know each other and see if we connect at all.
There’s already a physical connection there. No we didn’t kiss after we got coffee the prior weekend. But we hugged. Scandalous.

The date details

He made reservations for us. I was just blown away by this. Reservations.
And when he told me he made reservations the Thursday before the date, I freaked out a little bit. Reservations!? Yikes.
I honestly don’t even know if I’ve ever been to a restaurant with reservations…
So while I stressed about what I should wear, I really didn’t need to. The restaurant was pretty empty.
He was wearing jeans. Oh well. I had a summery dress on with a cardigan and boots. It’s not the worst thing to look nice.
So we ate. He told me he was a social liberal and fiscal conservative. What does that mean, I asked.
He said he was OK with gay marriage because he has gay friends.
Besides that being completely against Church teaching, I don’t really… care, honestly. Does that say more about me or him? I don’t know.
I agree with what the Church teaches: a marriage is a man and a woman united with Christ for life. It can’t be anything else.
But I also believe the government should be out of the “marriage game.” It makes a mockery of what should be a religious institution.

After eating, we went for a walk. It was nice out. It was nice to walk and talk.

We looped around somewhere, and then on the way back, we kissed.
After we kissed, he told me he had never kissed anyone before.
Part of me is thinking at that moment: OH NO! HE’S GOING TO BE ATTACHED TO ME FOREVER LIKE IN WEDDING CRASHERS.
The other part of me is thinking: Wow, that is so sweet. Here’s this nice, Catholic guy who does sweet things like hold doors and text me and ask nice questions and just act like a gentleman, and he’s never kissed anyone before? Wow. Lord, has he been waiting for me?
Those thoughts besides, we were not synced at all when we kissed. I don’t remember if my first kisses were like that, but I tried to help him out.
But really I just took the lead when I should have let him take the lead.
One time, we were kissing, and I reached up and grabbed his shirt. He jumped. Clear out jumped. I laughed.
I laughed a lot actually that night. He makes me want to laugh. I feel so light and happy when I’m around him.
I told him I wasn’t laughing at him. We kept kissing every block or so as we walked back to our cars. We started getting more synced.
It was great.
He walked me over to my car, where we kissed some more, just kissing, and then he asked to see me on Sunday.
Yes.

Sunday’s “date”

We talked on Saturday night (on the phone), and I asked him about abortion and birth control. Those are two issues that (among other things) came up in my last relationship.
He said he didn’t know.
OK. Then we just decided to see what we wanted to do on Sunday. It was nice having just “we’re going to do something” plans with him.
I called him after I dropped off one of my friends, around 4:30 and asked him to come over.
An hour later, he shows up at my apartment for the first time, and we leave for dinner. We eat, walk around my town for a while and go back to my apartment.
We were waiting for it to get dark so we could do some star gazing. Which I think is super romantic.
Anyway, we hung out on my couch for a while, reading my newspaper and talking. He met my cat which was nice.
We kissed a little bit, but not excessive. I don’t want it to get out of hand, and neither does he.
We went down to the lake. Looked at stars. Kissed a lot.
Found some constellations. Kissed some more. Then we went to the beach. It was nice there. So quiet.
Couldn’t really see stars because of the city lights. He started kissing me and I leaned back against a wall, and we just kept kissing… for a long time.

It was good.

He is a great kisser.
And the way we were angled, I could tell we were both… well. Turned on. So I pushed him a way a little bit and just laid my head on his chest. We were both breathing really hard.
I had no idea kissing could be like that. I told him, even though I wasn’t a virgin, I wanted to wait until I get married… and he wants to wait, too.
And he said he’d tell me if we move too fast. And he did. While I had my head on his chest, he said we should slow down a little bit.
Which is just great, that we’re on the same page.
I told him that we should end the night, and when he drove me home he couldn’t come inside again.

He still walked me to the door.

It was late, but I perused some blogs about chastity and dating, and I think I’m going to talk to him about it when we meet up next weekend.

I definitely don’t think we should be spending so much time kissing, even if it is just kissing. That doesn’t mean I think we should give it up entirely, but if we hug and kiss when we meet for the date, and then when we say goodbye, I think that will be OK.
On to more dating adventures… I’m not sure when we’re getting together again. He’s going to call this week. Can’t wait.
God bless.
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28 by 28: See the eagles fly

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Oh, hey. We’re just three BALD EAGLES chilling in these trees over here. Don’t mind us.
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28 by 28: See the eagles fly

Mission accomplished.

Check one off of my list. Yesssss.

If you’re not following, don’t worry. I’ll become comprehensible in a minute.

In the meantime, here’s some more eagles.

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This is a little blurry… because the further you zoom, the more each shake is seen in the photo.

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Alright, now to make sense of all this.

Earlier, I published my 28 by 28 list, the 28 things I want to accomplish before I turn 28 in February 2015.

The list isn’t really in any order… but seeing the eagles fly was the first thing I thought of when I wrote down the list.

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I had already scheduled and booked the hotel room for the weekend in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, where they hold their annual Eagle Appreciation Day in late February.

I got there late Friday night, and barely found my hotel. I get no data service in Driftless Wisconsin, so I had to rely on smoke signals and whatever people used before GPS existed. It was a crazy three minutes in my car.

I woke up early Saturday morning, the day of the event, ready to get started. I drove into the city and immediately saw those first three birds.

They congregate on rivers and open water because they LOVE fish. (But also rabbits as I found out later.)

So I parked my car and walked back to the bridge where I first saw the eagles and took some photos.

The sky was clear, the weather was brisk, cold, freezing, but it was beautiful. And it was quiet. I was expecting a lot more people around for the event. Maybe the weather kept them away. I don’t know.

Murphys Law

It was just peaceful to be there. (I just liked the look of this bar… I didn’t go inside. It was 8 o’clock. The rest of the downtown is also gorgeous.)

Yes, I was alone. But not lonely. I had a really good time. I drove around for a while, spotted a few more eagles perched on trees, then went to a few of the speakers the city had scheduled.

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One of the speakers had a little tiny screech owl and some type of desert hawk.

The next speaker had a full grown bald eagle, and she fed him a hunk of rabbit while she talked to us.

It was so cool.

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After all that, I went over to Iowa.

Can you believe I’ve never been? Iowa is even more quiet and peaceful than Prairie du Chien was. I don’t know if it’s the frozen river or what keeps it so beautiful, but I loved it there.

I went to the Effigy National Monument… couldn’t tour because of the snow, but I will go back (it’s on a secondary bucket list) in the summer.

Then I went to Pike’s Peak state park. That’s where that tree was.

In Marquette, Iowa, there’s a stop over or something for the Canadian Pacific Railroad, and that was too cool to see.

I’m not fascinated by trains at all, but it was still interesting. I think I was just in the right place at the right time… at the right height.

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There are tons of scenic overlooks in the area. I guess people like to stop and look at the Mississippi River from up height.

Even frozen, it was beautiful.

DSCF3019When I got to work this morning, I had an email about my bucket list story… a company offering me zip lining for free. Awesome!

On to more adventures!

God bless!

Actions and reactions

Let me tell you a personal story, since I’ve been doing that lately.

As you probably know, I am a reporter for a newspaper. I write stories, take photographs and do web design stuff.
But I also copy edit all the bulk items that go into the paper (we call it filler, though no one likes to know that).

I’m the only one who reads it, unless I’m running behind and hand some off to the only person in the newsroom who has been here less time than me.
Friday, I read a bunch because I had some time. It was great (meaning, I hate this part of my job, and find it so mundane).

We’re running a whole bunch of FFA stuff in this coming issue of our paper, and I had to read all the copy for that.
I made a lot of changes. It’s what I do. Things need to follow our style (which is mainly AP style, but also some of our own style rules), and they need to be consistent in one article.

The woman who types all these articles up just called me a few minutes ago.
She said she wasn’t going to make those changes because it was someone writing those and we should leave it.

My first reaction is: what a dumb reason. Something is wrong, let’s change it. We shouldn’t leave it that way just because someone submitted it to us that way.
but instead of saying that…
I say, “OK, but here is why I made those changes.”
She goes on… saying we shouldn’t change it.
I’m just getting more irritated. I have read the AP style guide. I work in a newsroom. I know what I’m talking about. There’s a reason I am the one who copy edits those! It’s not just because I’m the low man on the totem pole. I am a subject matter expert when it comes to style.
She ends the call. “OK.”
Except she says it ooooooooohhhhh kay.
Why?

I was respectful, I explained where I was coming from. I didn’t downplay her experience.
I am just SICK of the excuse “we’ve always done it that way.”
I don’t care about that, I don’t care about what you did in the past. I care about making this newspaper the best it can be.
The best it can be is following style when we should, cutting out style when we must.
An FFA submitted article is when we should absolutely follow style.

When I first started this post I was going to talk about reactions…
but really, I am so just, upset about this conversation. I can’t get her reaction out of my head.

I can’t believe I let people make me feel this way, when I know I am right. In this situation, I am right, and I think something should change.
I can’t let her bring me down like this. That gives her the control.

She’s not even a bad person. She’s just old and set in her ways. (And I’m not saying she’s old because she’s 30. She’s in her 60s for sure.)
I’ve felt this tension since I started working here, actually, and it only got worse when I told her I was Catholic.

I don’t know what to do. I do know that when I walk by her the next time, to go fill my water bottle, I’m not going to appear upset or changed at all.
That conversation DIDN’T change my mood. If I can fake it, I can make it.

God bless.

Quick Takes Friday (on a personal note)

Thanks for hosting, Jen!

1. I am growing increasingly unsure how to title this QTF posts. I mean, the numbers went a while ago, now I’m back blogging (for the time being), and is there really a good way to do it?
2. Speaking of being back, I just decided I needed to write more. I left because I wanted to find a part time job (in additional to my current full time job), and I wanted to spend my time on things that make money. I didn’t do that. I did move, and I’m still on the lookout for a part time job, but I’m not going to do something I hate. The only reason for the additional job is to pay down debt, and with only $4,050 or so left, I know I can make it in the three years before I turn 30. So I’m not going to stress.
3. I am going to stress about the HUGE pimple on my chin.
I’m clearly not a grown up yet. It’s one of those big and painful ones. And I’ve actually been really good about washing my face, but with the dry, dry, dry air all around, it’s becoming impossible to win this battle.
Part of it is what I’m eating through. I’m slowly cutting the sugar (again) from my diet. It’s slowly working.
I’ve also started running a novice 10K training program this week. I know this stress, emotional weight will come off. It’ll just take time, it’ll just take being healthy.
4. Next Friday I’m going to be in Prairie du Chien. Please don’t stalk me. I’ll be there for Eagle Appreciation Days!
I am so excited to see the bald eagles. They all flock there because the upper (more upper) Mississippi River freezes over, so they winter in Prairie du Chien. I anticipate it being beautiful and peaceful.
It was originally a planned weekend with my now ex-boyfriend. I’ll be alone instead, but I’m OK with that. I need to get used to being alone and still DOING THINGS. It would be really easy to just sit at home ALL THE TIME and not go anywhere, but I have so many places I want to go, things I want to see! I’m not going to let heartbreak (so painful) get in the way of my enjoyment of life.
(This doesn’t mean I am not completely upset about the break up and wish it hadn’t happened like that. But I have to move on. And I have to see the eagles because I’ve wanted to do this for years.)
5. I forget how long these quick takes posts can turn out… Here’s a photo to break up the copy.
Font Holy Theophany 2
This is an Orthodox priest blessing the waters of our nearby lake and then the congregation. It was for Holy Theophany, or the Baptism of the Lord as we Catholics call it. Theophany means the appearance of God. Remember how God says, this is my beloved son? Yeah, that was the appearance of God, Jesus was made apparent as God.
Anyway, I love this group of Orthodox and have written about them twice for my newspaper.
6. I moved earlier this month. I know. Again. If you were following along on twitter or in the real world, you would know that it was quite the experience. Driving my first U-Haul truck and all that. But I had a good time. My friends/coworkers came and helped me unload the truck. Then we ate tacos.
Since then I’ve been alone in my apartment with my cat, and it’s OK, but I feel the loneliness sometimes. I’m excited to buy a lamp so I can actually see in my living room, and then I want to start on my project to refurbish the chair I’ve been working on.
7. Prayers… for my discernment, please. I have been going to daily Mass this week… while I started on Tuesday morning, went Wednesday, missed the communion service on Thursday and went today… I love it. I love it. So much.
I could be at MASS, all day long. I would like the priest to be a little more conservative and serious when he celebrates the Mass… but I’ll live.
I’d like to join a Parish group soon… actually, I need to un-join my old Parish, and join this one, now that I’ve moved.
Prayers also for one of my coworkers who is (with his wife) trying to get pregnant. Prayers for my family, prayers for expecting mothers, prayers for the Holy Father’s intentions.
God bless!
Sorry for not using the template Jen created. I don’t know what I was thinking.
Please check out Conversion Diary for all of everything versions of QTF.