Christmas, Parents, and Porn.

I have a lot to share, and as from the title, theres a little bit for everyone. Get comfortable, its a long story.

 Soo, this year my parents decided to come to CA and spend the holidays with me.   This is the first time in the 13 years I’ve lived in CA that my parents have spent the holidays outside of Utah.  It makes sense – all my other family members have kids…grandkids for them to spoil… in CA, its just me and the cats.   I wanted the trip to be perfect.  That things go smoothly and that they were sufficientlyentertained —  and as one would expect,  things just didn’t go as planned.  Nothing terrible… just not right.

  • The Furnace.  So, as one would expect, the unexpected happened. The furnace stopped working.  It started making a weird sound the night I picked my parents up… I had my dad listen to it… then look at it the following morning.  The motor had “arched”… in laymans terms, this means it stopped working….  As the winds blew and the hail attached the house, we sat, at home, freezing our patooties off.  My parents really wanted to escape the cold of the UT winter storms…. little did they know, they would be bundled up with blankets in a small house in the burbs on a very cold holiday weekend.
  • The Oven.  I now rent a home…and this old home is in original condition, including the ancient stove/oven.  A stove/oven that has been neglected…  When I moved in, I noticed a very strong gas smell. Almost 2 months later, the land-lady took care of it….. all pilot lights have been lit and broken pipes have been repaired. As happy as I am that I did not blow myself up, I was a bit perturbed that I didn’t have enough time to practice cooking with the oven before my holiday entertaining.  Well, the first meal I cooked in the oven was Christmas dinner – a beautiful, organic, AND free-range turkey.  However, I served it in a somewhat raw form BECAUSE the oven temperature is off (I’m guessing about 100 degrees)… And of course, thinking I could make up for it, I turned the tempurature up and burnt the pumpkin pie (over compensation for the turkey)… My mom is taking a picture with me and the stove/oven tomorrow – she still cant believe a ‘modern woman’ could “cook”(if you can call it that) with such an old stove/oven.  I’m just glad they are heading home without a bought of food poisoning.
  • A Movie.  My recommendation to anyone out there that is over the age of 30, DO NOT WATCH Forgetting Sarah Marshall with your parents.  I loved the moved when I watched it the first time – thought it was hysterical, so I specifically ordered it (thank you NetFlix!) so my parents could see it. They like comedies, I though they would get a kick out of it.  HOwever, what I failed to realize the first time I watched the movie is how it is filled with a lot sexual content.  About 15 minutes into the movie, all of us snuggled under blankets (furnace is broken), my mom says, “I feel like I’m watching porn”.  Not a complaint, just a statement.   We continued to watch the movie, and I saw it thru new lenses… and yep,  indeed there is a lot of sex in the movie. Towards the end, during some specific sex scenes, I could not believe I was watching it with my parents (mostly my dad!!!!).. jees.  I wont do that again.


But seriously, even with all of this, the visit was a lot of fun. I learned so much about my parents as well as myself, and we’ve grown closer.  We even broached the subject of death and living wills (which I love to talk about… most other people not so much)..

I took my parents to the airport yesterday, I was sad to see them go.  We had such a good time getting to know each other, with all the unconditional love a parent has for a child and a child has for a parent, but now, also with the full knowledge appreciation that we are all adults, doing the best we can to get thru life.  And as different as we are, we can all get past the small, unexpected disasters and just have fun together.  I’m actually looking forward to another holiday with them. I think next time my mom will want to do the cooking… 🙂


Innocence Lost.

I’ve gone done broked it.   Paula has gone and done something stupid….

So, I’m sitting at home over Thanksgiving weekend, sick as a dog, working on a demo that was not cooperating, and basically feeling sorry for myself.  I had gone as far as I could with the demo – literally sitting at home for 4 days straight (no turkey dinner for me, just instant cup-o-soup (yes folks, thats ramen)), 15 hours a day, trying to get software to behave in ways that it wasn’t designed to do (however it all worked perfectly in my head).  On Sunday, after a 4 day work-weekend, I gave up. I sent out a lengthy email to folks at work, outlining all my troubles and stop-spots, looking for support first thing MOnday morning.


It’s Sunday night, 10pm, I’m feeling sorry for myself, so I grab a bottle of wine (I know, BIG surprise), and log onto a website that my friend recommended to me: a sugar daddy website.  I know, I know.. you DO NOT have to tell me what is oh-so-wrong with this picture…


Anyway, my girlfriend had told me that a very wealthy friend of hers finds great dates on this site.  So I’m thinking that I would so much rather be on a dance floor with a glass of wine in hand than at home, by myself with software that wasn’t cooperating (as it turns out, the software works, my ideas of how it should work is what is the problem)… I seriously thought to myself, I’m a good looking woman, great sense of humor, fun-loving, good-natured.. why am I busting my ass..?? I need a Sugar Daddy!!


I thought to myself, what is wrong with finding someone who also has money?  I married for love and look how that turned out (not so good).  So I thought to myself, I needto be more realistic (instead of niave) about what relationships about…. an exchange. So, I make a list of all the things I have to offer as well as the things I want.  Seemed reasonable…  So I write up what I think is this great profile, how I’m independent, looking for a gentleman with means who wants an intelligent, articulate, fun lady, interested in travel and adventure… blah blah blah.


Those of you reading, I’m sure, one of your hands has just slapped your forehead, and you are saying, out loud “ohh no no.., what is wrong with Paula”?   Yes, I agree.  What a mistake.  Yes, I am NOW fully aware of the flaws of my thought process. Sometimes I wonder if I’m the idiot on the planet, and everyone around me is ‘normal’.   But what surprises me, again and again, is my niavete. Why do I always think the best of people, only to be disappointed and/or saddened when people are who they are? 


For those of you NOT in the know, the sugar daddy websites are basically for legalized prostitution… men looking to exchange their funds for young ‘ladies’ willing to do whatever it takes for these funds. Probably a great site if you are a woman looking to give goods away for $$… or a sugardaddy with $$ looking to fulfill a fetish or two .  Which is fine, nothing wrong with it.  I however, am/was not looking for that kind of exchange….


I was very shocked and troubled by the responses.  And though it makes a great story, I quickly realized that I do not belong on this site.   Although I’m stil not sure what I want a partner (I am enjoying NOT being responsible for a failing relationship/failed marriage), I am pretty clear on what I’m NOT looking for:  a submissive man (apparently my profile screamed dominatrix), a “happily” married man looking for adventure, or basically anyone that would sign up for this site.


Life goes on.. Another lesson learned:  find out what the definition of “exchange” is before signing up for anything…..

Having It All.

So, I spent the entire Thanksgiving weekend thinking (waaayyyy too much IMO).  But for those people who actually think about what they want in their lives (vs. being blissfully happy and unaware of their surroundings…….. which I envy … more about this later), “having it all” is a theme that seems to occupy a lot of my thoughts these days.


“Having it all”… what does this mean?  From my experience, it has different meaning for every person – There are probably as many different ‘meanings’ as there are people on this earth….  but, the idea is that people will be able to give love and get love in equal amounts, in ways that they can understand…. and/or balance their work and life.. and/or balance work, personal needs, kids, etc.  …. and have financial security, and have passion…. all this bundled into one happy life.


“Having it all”… is it possible?  For me, the answer is yes.  But the history behind this answer goes back to 1994, when one of my favorite movies came out – Shawshank Redemption. For me, “having it all”  means that I make a point to live life fully and completely, that I create my life thru conscious choice.  For me, this means that I won’t be sitting on the sidelines, that I will be out there, living and experiencing life to its absolute fullest.  And by doing this, and only this, will I find the love, passion, excitement, and happiness that I so crave and deserve.


Now that I’ve decided that “having it all” is possible, what does that mean for me?  It means getting engaged, staying engaged, and be willing, no matter what, to succeed (or fail and picking myself up) in life:

  • To be confident enough to stand alone (when no one will stand with me),
  • To be strong enough to believe (when others tell me to be o.k. with what I’ve got),
  • To be humble in success (when others say how lucky I am .. and I know differently),
  • To move on in failure (even if its just to the closest local Taco Bell)


I haved lived this way for 14 years (since 1994), and it has not been easy.  The road has been rocky, chalk full of good (and bad) choices.  But I live without regret – because it takes a lot of energy to live consciously… and I do know, without a doubt, that when I go to my grave, I have done everything to the best of my ability.


So how has the idea, this notion of “having it all” effected me?  Immensely and to the core of my being. I want it all – a loving an attentive partner, lifelong friends,  supportive family, passion, security, possibly child(ren),… all the regular trappings that most folks want. Simple pleasures really.   I thought I had this, but it wasnt meant to be.  From the outside it surely looked like I had everything… but it didn’t feel like that on the inside – unfortuntately for me, I couldn’t make my partner love me (all my efforts were futile).  And I learned, the hard way, that the only person I can be is myself, and people will either love it, or not.  Nothing I can do about that except be wiser, smarter, and more aware the next time around.


Giving up the comfort of my marriage was the hardest decision I’ve made to date.  My marriage was not bad, and in some respects it was very good: It was safe, it was comfortable.  But it wasn’t loving, it wasn’t connected, it felt distant to me, and this is why I was unhappy.  I’ve had people tell me (all well meaning advice) that I “should just be happy with what I’ve got”… or use it as a stepping stone to get all the things I want (financial stability, a child, etc..).. niether of these choices felt like options to me.  I decided to take my chances to “have it all”.  I am so very aware of what I’ve left behind… what I’ve chosen to let go of for the chance for “something more”.  Why did I do this?  Sometimes I wonder.


Every day I ask myself myself why, and pretty much, I come to the same conclusion:  Because what I couldn’t answer, or rather I did answer and didn’t like what I heard/saw/felt was, “what would happen to me, my spirit, my being IF I had stayed for the wrong reasons?”  I know myself and I know I would have died inside… On the outside my life would have looked grand, but I would have been numb inside, going with the flow, unhappy, and truth be told, busy dying (vs. living).   The only person I would have deceived by being complacent was me. 


Anyway, life is really hard right now. My sadness has effected every aspect of my life.  BUT, I do realize that I have made the choice to walk down a different path, take the chance, give up what I had, in hopes that I can have/find  “it all”.  Right now, all I hope is that I recover from the heartache, awake from the fog,  and be strong, able, and grateful to actually experience “it all”.  Right now, I am focused on the daily to-do’s such as waking and getting up, engaging in life via friends, work, etc..


So, yes, to summarize this very long post, I believe that “having it all” is not only possible, but that I’m closer to “it” than I was before.  But I also realize that I will not truly “have it all” until I fully engage in life (whatever that is … time will tell), choosing awareness, lose my inhibitions, take risks, and get out there and play in this game called life.  And most of important of all, do whatever it takes to live without regret (again).  This to me, is living life fully and completely.

Get Busy Living or Get Busy Dying.

So, Back in early 1994 I went on a not-so-great date to the movies…. we saw Shawshank Redemption. The date was nothing to write home about, but the movie, that is another story.   The message of this movie hit me to the core, and has stuck with me to this day — the message I walked away with comes from one line in the movie:  “Get Busy Living or Get Busy Dying”.  This line alone jolted me into a world of self-awareness.  That life is a choice, and how I choose to live it is completely, 100% up to me.  That I have no one to blame but myself for anything good or bad in my life.  I am the captain of my ship (master of my domain if you are a Seinfeld fan… ).


So, a little background… I had spent many years working as a nanny and was very much looking forward to graduating and landing a ‘real job’.  This was not an easy task given the US economy – we were a few years into a recession (not a depression)… no one was hiring, and you can be certain that no one in Utah was hiring ‘non-mormons’ (tight knit community, more on this later). Not that I wanted to stay in Utah, but being a non-mormon in a mormon community,  It was probably best that I expand my job search outside the great state of UT, which was even more challenging given the economy. 


I had no idea what I wanted to do, and no “real” skills in the business world.  To summarize, I was not confident.   But I saw this movie, and it forced me to go after what I wanted… I really got into the job search.. and I landed one of twelve open spots at Andersen Consulting…   I thought i had landed a dream job (until I realized that I was working 80 hours a week for $30K AND living in SF)…   BUT, the point is, I dont know if I would have gotten that job, or even had the confidence and drive to apply and push for it had I not seen the movie.


Sooo… there is not a single day that goes by that I dont think about this…this line, “get busy living or get busy dying”, the movie, and it forces me to make a conscious decision on how I want to live my life, where I want to go, and who I want to be. 


SIDENOTE:  As I write this, I am now thinking that this movie (and that very bad date) has ruined me… had the date been better I wouldn’t have had to tune into the movie, and I would/could be a coaster.. a person who just cruises thru life, enjoying what I experience, whats given to me, what I’ve experienced, and where I have ended up. I guess it is what it is, and now I’m plagued with consciousness… Damn those bad dates!!