Sunday, November 21, 2010

It's THAT Time of Year Again

It's that time of year again. Turkey, ham, stuffing, cookies, and pumpkin pie are just some of the good things about it. How appropriate that most of what we eat during the holidays is comfort food. It's probably a good thing that those who face it alone every year get some comfort out of something, even if it's a piece of meat on the table that puts you into a turkey coma after eating too much. Here's an interesting article about what holiday dinners can do to you! Click Here

I'm not posting today though to talk about the consequences of overeating too many goodies on the holidays. I'm here to talk about you and how you're going to handle the holidays again being single.

I used the picture above in 2007, which was my first post about being alone on the holidays. Thought I would recycle it today, since it says it all. I'm pretty good at preaching to the choir, but not too good at taking my own advice! Now you know. The holidays, however, have a particular way of putting the spotlight upon our lives accentuating the obvious - we have no romantic love in our lives to share these special times with us.

The holidays are pretty much a family-oriented occasion, where we gather together to give thanks, regather to give gifts, and gather again to bring in and wish each other good things for the coming year. My fondest memories of life revolve around the holidays. I remember Thanksgiving dinners with my parents and brother. I remember watching the J. L. Hudson day parade when Santa arrived in downtown Detroit. We all sat around the table together, and I still have that same dining room set my parents owned since 1950. I look at it and it's filled with memories of who sat in its seats, who ate off the special dishes still in the china cabinet, and my mother's fantastic raisin tarts she made every year.

Christmas Eve was always spent at my Uncle Red's home, with all of my other uncles, aunts, and cousins. Once in a while my grandparents from California showed up. We we enjoyed those times together as family until my teenage years, and I still remember every inch of my uncle's basement, bar, and nifty little alcove seats.

Then it was Christmas at home the next day. Then New Year's Eve, my dad use to go out the front door at midnight and come back in. He had some superstitious thing that good luck only came to the home when a male entered the house first after the New Year's. New Year's day it was ham dinner and saying goodbye to those darn tarts until next Thanksgiving. I haven't had a male enter my door after New Year's ever since I can remember. I could always pick up my male cat, hold him over the threshold on the other side, and then bring him back indoors. Would that count?

Sometimes, I feel like I'm surrounded by ghosts of the past - those holiday ghosts that haunt you. Now, after 11 years alone, with 75% of those holidays spent totally alone without any family around me, I'm sorry that I don't have memories of holidays to build with another person.

Each year, I tend to do less and less. I stopped putting Christmas trees up years ago and decorations. This year I don't even feel like cooking a Thanksgiving dinner for myself. I can never eat it all anyway, unless I live on leftovers for a week. It seems like such a waste. Oh, I do get those occasional invitations to join others, but I just can't bring myself to intrude upon another family like a fifth wheel just for a bit of turkey. I could always volunteer, I suppose, at a mission too.

Some who read this post may be single with children, parents, or siblings around you to enjoy the holidays, even though you don't have another person to smooch with under the mistletoe. Others of you may be totally alone. Your parents are dead, your kids are grown or you don't have any, your friends are elsewhere with their families, and it's just you and the turkey. You might find comfort in all the food you stuff down your throat. You might cry and have a pity party being alone; or like me, I tend just to think of it as another day, while I mumble a few prayers for the things I do have.

When we give thanks, however, what is the most important thing to be thankful for? Material things don't bring to my soul the happiness I really need. They don't fill the longing to be loved, nor are they eternal. I so often want to tell those who are married and with families not to blow it. Do whatever you can to keep your love alive for one another and your family emotionally healthy and bound together like glue. It's so important, and once lost or tossed away, you may never be given love and companionship again, no matter how many years you wake up and wish it was there under the tree on Christmas morning.

All I can say to my single readers is to give thanks for whatever it may be that blesses your lives, remember you are really not alone because others are going through the same thing, and keep your hope for the future that when the clock strikes midnight and it rolls over to 2011, it will hopefully contain all that you wish for in life.

Blessings to you all this holiday season, and I'll be back after the New Year.

With fondness,
Vicki


Monday, November 15, 2010

"You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling"

So I'm sitting here at my desk eating my Stouffer's Chicken à la King for lunch (360 calories by the way, in case you're counting), and I thought I'd do a quick post.

Anybody remember this song from The Righteous Brothers entitled, "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling?" In case you did, here are are a few of those lyrics:
You've lost that lovin' feeling,
Whoa, that lovin' feeling,
You've lost that lovin' feeling,
Now it's gone...gone...gone...wooooooh.
That realization popped into my brain the other day while I was hugging my new cat, Whiskers. I actually held something warm in my arms and felt something! It was like a slap across the face when I realized that I've come to a place in my life where I really have "lost that lovin' feeling." For the first time in ages, while looking into his green eyes and stroking his black fur, I actually felt a tinge of love - even if it was for just a cat.

Yikes! Am I that far gone? Have I forgotten what it's like to feel the emotion of love? I'm not talking about the love of country, the love of kids, the love of God, love of some TV show, love of some book, or love of your favorite chocolate whether it be white, dark, or milky. I'm talking about the honest real-life emotion of love. When I felt a tinge of it the other day, I realized that it's been gone...gone...gone...woooooh....in my life for far too long. I'm almost to the point that the emotion is a complete stranger to me in many ways.

I really do miss the chance to love a man. Interesting article recently on WebMD about how romantic love affects your brain like a drug. Please, I want some! Let me be addicted! I'm going through withdrawals, that's my problem! Here's the article: LINK

It states that being in love is like a painkiller. If that's true, then is being without love just a PAIN? I'm beginning to wonder and it's an interesting analogy. It's like that commercial about the latest anti-depressant, "Depressions Hurts." No kidding. So does the lack of love and too much loneliness, which can lead to depression.

Recently, I've been having bizarre dreams. Saturday I was in the arms of Jeremy Northam. Last night it was George Clooney, and this morning I woke up screaming at my ex-husband for stealing my bed frame and mattress. I'm about ready for a counseling session I think.

Are there answers? I use to think there were answers when I was young and 30, especially in my faith that God could fill those voids and be everything I needed. But now 40 years later into my faith and alone for 11, I don't see it that way. I believe that our creator (if you believe in one) made us as emotional human beings who said in the book of Genesis, "It's not good for man to be alone." He was right on with that statement. However, to take care of that problem, he didn't say sing to me, "I'm all you'll need." Instead, he created a help mate, a woman to be with a man. We were created as flesh and blood, and he stood back and said, "It is good."

Why I'm here in this state of life without the emotional drug of love I have no idea, nor the answers to that dilemma. It just seems that right now I'm here to say to others, I'm there with you!

If I'm never to be given the gift of love and marriage again, I hope God increases the dose of grace instead. Perhaps then, I might not be having hot dreams about movie stars and screaming at my ex-husband about stealing my bed and the woman he chose 40-years younger. If a black cat with green eyes is all I get for the rest of my life to feel that "lovin' feeling" again, perhaps I should be thankful. I'm trying.

Well, it's back to work. Thanks for letting me spill my guts once again. And, yes, I scared the crap out of my poor cat waking up screaming. He just put his black furry face into mine and reached out and touched me with his paw to make sure I was okay. Nice to have someone care, even if it's just a cat who rescued me.

With fondness,
Vicki

Monday, October 18, 2010

My New Companion

I have a new hairy companion, and it's a male!  Alas, though, it's of animal kingdom and his name is Whiskers.  I've taken the plunge and adopted a homeless cat.  He's four years old, lovable, sweet, well behaved, and enjoys giving me eye contact with his green orbs.  Frankly, this is the most affectionate cat I've ever met.  He's content to let me pet him and snuggles near me whenever he gets the chance.

It was hard losing my dog, but being in an apartment and gone quite a bit, I thought a cat would be a better choice for me this time around.  This weekend was very nice having something underfoot.  Thank God for providing pets for people who are alone.  It's not a husband, but it helps to fill the empty space.

Say hello to Whiskers!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Travel as One

Here I am writing a post while on vacation in the city of Las Vegas.  This is my fifth time in sin city, and my third time to visit alone.  Right now it's inching over 90 outside at 1 p.m., and I'm back in my room to get out of the heat and sun.  I might as well stay away from the slots, they are nothing but big suckers...like me who keeps feeding them $20 at a pop.  I win, I lose, I win, I lose.  Only once out of five trips have I come home winning the same amount of cash I came with.  This trip isn't one of them.

So I'm licking my wounds and came back to find another comment from a single who appreciates me spilling my guts over single life.  I don't think it can be more starkly evident than here in Vegas.  You occasionally see one person dining alone, but it's not the norm.  If you do, they look just as uncomfortable as I feel sitting alone and people watching over my bacon and eggs.

This morning I ate and observed.  The table next to me were two married couples arguing over who was going to pick up the tab.  One wanted to do it as a favor, the other refused the gift.  Hope that friendship lasts, because it was getting pretty heated.  I almost wanted to jump in and say hey you can pay for mine if  you want!

The table just ahead of me had a young boy who order a large bowl of french fries for breakfast.  Yes, that's it - french fries.  I hope he doesn't grow up with a weight problem.  Mother seemed oblivious to his choice of nutrition.

A couple in a booth a few feet more away were silently sharing a table while both buried themselves into technology.  He was on his mini-computer and she was in her i-Phone.  Let's hope they were texting each other or their communication problems in their marriage will only get worse.  God, would I kill for another across the breakfast table and two married people love their screens more than their spouse's face.  I want to shout at them to turn it off!  Don't they get what they have?  You have a gift.  Cherish it.

Then on the other side of the coin was the table with the domineering woman who wouldn't shut up.  Her poor husband sat there silently looking intently into his coffee cup as if he was looking for a way to escape.  She chatted with another woman across the table who couldn't get a word in edge wide.  I sort of wish she'd shut up and notice what the others were experiencing.  Sorry, honey, but life isn't really all about you.

So that's what I do when I travel alone.  If I don't do it alone, I'd go no where.  Looking back on my trip to England this past March, I can't believe I did that all by myself.  I'm a spunky lady, I guess.  Not too much rattles me when I'm traveling, and I never feel afraid.  I'm careful and not stupid, but at least I enjoy myself.

It doesn't mean though I don't envy couples when I see them.  One couple boarded the plane who were telling everyone they were on their honeymoon.  It's cute to see couples sitting together playing with their arms around one another as they push the slot machine buttons.  I suppose it helps to have comfort if you lose!  Of course, the worst part for me is going back to my hotel room alone at night.  I often crawl in bed and wonder who has slept in the bed and made love to someone right in that very same spot.  Perhaps I shouldn't, but what I wouldn't give for a warm man to just love me for a moment.  Unfortunately, I don't think they have those services here in Vegas for call-men for 60-year old women.  Doesn't mean I don't need it like the younger generation.  I'm not dead yet.

As far as bars and nightclubs, I'm not exactly in that age group and don't participate.  I'm not much of a drinker anyway.  I like to see shows, of course.  I saw Phantom of the Opera twice...what else.  Tonight since I'm at Treasure Island, I'll watch the sirens with their boats and maybe walk down to the Mirage volcano and Bellagio fountains.

Well, so much for my travels.  Tomorrow I go home to be alone in another place.  I'll count up my losses at the slots and swear again never to play.  (Yeah, like that will work.)  Then I'll empty my suitcase and put it away for my next trip.  I only need 25,000 more miles for a free international ticket on U.S. Airways.  I already have another free one through Alaska Airlines that I'll use in the next month or two to visit my son when he gets settled in Memphis.  After that, the world is wide open for more people watching.

Regards,
Vicki

PS:  So I flew home yesterday and as we descended into the city I had an overwhelming sense of loneliness envelope me.  Rather than feeling as if I was home, I felt misplaced.  Doesn't coming home mean you have someone to come home to?  There was no one waiting for me at the airport.  No one to call and say I'm back.  It was a horrible feeling.  I'm not sure what it meant or what to take from it, except that living in a city by myself with no family or support is beginning to take its toll.  Moving to be with my son, who will very well pack up and move again very soon is out of the question.  Moving back to be around my brother in Detroit is a financial impossibility.  You can't just up and quit and 60 and except to find work elsewhere.  I couldn't find work at 50 for two years.  I think it's time to get a cat.  At least I'll be coming home to something warm and fuzzy. 


Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Masks We Wear

Last evening while chomping on my popcorn, sitting in my green recliner, and watching TV, I was surfing for something to watch after three hours of Without a Trace reruns (my new addiction).  Anyway, I landed on 20/20 and was fascinated by the show - Catfish (click on link).  I've embedded the trailer below to the movie that will be released.

SPOILER ALERT!  Well, yes, it is a wild ride filled with mystery and surprises.  It's a story of someone who meets someone online and falls in love.  A chance meeting with an eight-year old girl who paints, that leads to her mother, and then evolves into becoming friends with her entire family on Facebook.   The bottom line?  It was all a facade.  A cleverly created world by one woman who played a character by the name of Megan.  They thought she was real, but she was only the figment of a person's imagination and stolen identity using pictures of other people.

It's frankly a fascinating tale about desperate humans who resort to building a make-believe world around them in order to fill the emptiness and feed the need to be something or someone other than who they really are.  The story is not only interesting in that one woman was a master at deceit and manipulation, which she admits to on 20/20, it's a story of a single man that falls in love with an illusion - a beautiful girl he talks to on Facebook, Twitter, and the telephone.  At the end, he discovers it's all a ruse and how that revelation affects him personally is interesting to watch too.

I know quite a few singles, including myself, have gone the online route to find love.  Personally, after seeing this program, it's convinced me it's becoming more dangerous by the day.  No one is safe. Not only women are being fooled, but men as well.

Luckily, no terrible outcome resulted.  No one was hurt physically, but only emotionally with a broken heart.  It really speaks though to the desperation of our lonely world, and the sad fact that some play upon our hurts in order feel better themselves.

After watching this, you might want to check all those "friends" on Facebook and make sure they are real.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Thanks for Telling Me!

Well, as most of you know who have followed my blog since I started to bemoan my single existence, I love to use this Blogger to sort out my feelings and dump my thoughts.  Watch out, I'm emptying the dump truck on this post..

I was fortunate that when I divorced 11 years ago, it was fairly amiable.  We just couldn't live with each other for a variety of reasons.  Two wrongs that definitely did not make a right as husband and wife.  We gave it an 18 year run and then shut the show down.   However, after the divorce we remained friends.  We occasionally talked on the telephone.  He took me out to dinner when we needed to catch up on family matters.  We shared holidays together on Thanksgiving and Christmas up until my son married.

Everything was great until a few years ago when my ex-husband took a trip to China.  He fell for his tour guide, 40 years younger than him.  She came to the US for a visit, and they flew off to Las Vegas and married.  During that process, he slowly weaned himself from contacting me.  Once he married, the valve shut off and the well dried up.  I wasn't so upset that he married, as I was upset I lost a friend.  He was someone I could rely upon.  At least, we still lived in the same town and in the back of my mind when my son left and moved away, I knew my ex would be there in case of emergencies...or so I thought.

About two months ago he telephoned me about some inconsequential piece of mail.  We talked candidly for quite some time, and I told him how I was feeling about being alone and not knowing what to do with myself or my future.  He told me "he'd be there" if I needed him.

Well, this Saturday I had a conversation with my son now living in Pennsylvania.  "How's your dad?"  "Dad?" he said a bit confused.  "Dad moved to Idaho."  I yelled IDAHO!!!! Stunned, I guess, is the only word I have to describe what I felt.  Abandoned is the other.

Yes, I know he's married to another woman and owes me nothing.  I guess it's just taken me 10 years to cut the cord with him completely.  Apparently, he decided to take the scissors and cut it without telling me.  I think I would have taken it better had he told me he was moving, but he didn't.  Especially after my hearfelt discussion with him recently.

In any event, he's gone.  I suppose I should be thankful that I didn't go through some hateful divorce that left everyone bleeding in its wake.  Maybe a clean cut would have been better, rather than a slow death.  All I know is part of my security system just left in a U-Haul.

Oh, well, that's what happens when you are JUST ONE SINGLE.  I guess I'm staying true to the name of this blog.

Okay, dump truck is empty.  I'm moving on.

Vicki

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Change

Since my dog passed away last week, I've been looking at my apartment that I often call my cave.  I've been in the same complex since September of 2004, and suddenly after feeling quite content for sometime, I find that I am in a mood for change.  I will admit that my apartment holds memories of good and bad.  By the front door is where my ex-fiance once stood over five years ago.  I can still see him with his mesmerizing blue eyes and baseball cap he always wore to cover up his bald spot.  He still has that silly sexy grin on his face.

On my couch, I see my son and his ex-wife before when they were happy.  I also see him sad and abandoned three months later making poor choices on the rebound.  Last time I hugged him by the kitchen was November of 2008.   By the front door on the hard tile floor still lays Ruby, content, beautiful, and gracing my life with her presence.  In my bedroom is the tiny corner I have my computer shoved up next to the wall and wedged on the other side of my bed.  It's here where I meet my muse, characters, and express the tears of writing three books.  Hours of memories in front of a keyboard, that's for sure.

I think after six years of memories in my small apartment, it's time to move on.  My lease is up October 31, and I'm seriously thinking of moving to another apartment.  It's time for a change and time to leave the ghosts in my apartment behind (except for my muse, of course, who gets to come with me). 

This past weekend I went apartment hunting.  That was a shocker!  I've been out of the market for six years and things have changed.  Rents fluctuate daily just like airfares.  I found one floor plan I liked a lot and found the same floor plan down the street a half mile away for $60 a month cheaper.  Kind of makes no sense.  I will admit, however, that I was star struck by the number of closets I saw.  My current apartment of 635 square feet has one - yes, I said one - 6 foot closet in my bedroom.  That's it folks!  I have clothes stuffed behind my door, under my bed, and crap piled everywhere.  Just the thought of 840 square feet, a walk-in closet, a hall closet, a pantry, and a linen closet, plus a second bedroom with another closet is heaven.  I get giddy just thinking about it.  Needless to say, I'm pretty much going to give my notice come October 1, even if I have to pay more just to get a damn closet!

Okay, so change is good.  Perhaps my life is in a stagnant phase.  I've been hiding in my cave with two windows far too long, and I need to literally open another door and move on.   Though change can be good, it can be stressful too.  When I first divorced, I moved 5 times in 18 months, and one was a major out-of-state move.  No wonder I was depressed, said my doctor.

Perhaps it is good for us as singles, when we feel like we've been in one place too long, to poke ourselves out of our past and move to a new location.  We can clean out the clutter, make a trip to the Goodwill, donate the things we've had in closets for years we forgot we ever had, and leave to build a life elsewhere where we can accumulate more junk.  Who knows, it could cheer me up!  I might meet a nice man walking his dog in the new apartment complex and find love eight miles away from where I live now.  You never know.

Off to find boxes,
Vicki

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Farewell to Ruby - My Companion

Today at 9:30 a.m. Ruby, my dog, passed away. I couldn't watch. Like a coward I went into my bedroom and bawled like a baby while the deed was done by a compassionate vet from a company called Compassionate Care here in the Portland, Oregon. After it was over, I spent a few minutes with her lifeless body, and then helped the vet put her on a stretcher and carry her to the car. Her last stop is at Dignified Pet Services, where she will be cremated.

Who was Ruby? Well, I adopted her in March 2005 from Golden Bond Rescue, who deal in Golden Retrievers that need homes. Ruby had a hard first six years of life. She was a breeding dog and had lived her life in a 6x12 kennel pushing out puppies at a mill. When she was six, the breeder got rid of her and a family adopted her back east. She was dumped again and ended up in a few foster homes in Oregon before she came into my life.

Ruby didn't have many social skills. I never knew a dog that didn't know how to play. When I first brought her home, I bought toys and balls like any owner would do. She looked at them totally clueless as to what they were used for. As much as I tried to teach her to play, she never caught onto the idea. I spent hours on my belly rolling balls her way that she merely stared at and then looked at me with confused eyes. Ruby didn't like sleeping on soft beds either. The hard tile floor near my front door was her favorite spot. I guess she was just use to sleeping on concrete.

She was a good dog too. Never chewed anything up. Never barked, unless I left her alone more than 9 hours at a time. Then I'd come home and she'd give me one resounding disapproving "woof" to let me know of her displeasure. She never messed inside and behaved well. Her favorite thing to do was to lean into my green recliner and make me stroke the side of her body for hours on end while I watched TV. When I tried to stop, she would just nudge me for more. Her favorite treat was popcorn, and I swear she ate more in the bag than I did.

She feared firecrackers, and the 4th of July and New Years were always a trying time for her. She also shrunk away when I brought the broom out for the first time around her, which told me that she had been abused in the past. However, she never barked at the vacuum when it was running or tried to bite it like my last dog.

Ruby was friendly to everyone - a tail wagging lovable girl. She even liked sleeping with my neighbor's cat, Bentlley, when she watched her when I went away on trips.

In the past two months her health declined. She had a sore on her paw that wouldn't heal, and I took her to the vet. After examination they told me she had a cancerous mass in her mouth. I never knew dogs could get cancer in their mouths, but I guess it's a prevalent place. We tried six weeks of antibiotics to heal her paw, but it never got better - only worse. She started bleeding from her mouth periodically. Finally, Saturday she stopped eating altogether, and Sunday was her last lick of water. I guess she was just tired of hurting and was trying to die. Perhaps she forgives me for helping her go at the end.

This is the second dog I've had to put down, and it never seems to get easier. I feel like I'm killing them, rather then helping them. Even though I prayed the Lord would just let her die in her sleep these past days, it was obvious it wasn't going to happen for a few more. It was too painful to watch her when she got to the point that she could no longer stand to go outside and she would lift her sad eyes to find me. Ruby was nearly blind too.

So this morning she walked across the Rainbow Bridge, that place we mortal humans make believe our dogs have run off to when they have died. I guess the image of her romping around the green grass with other dogs and cats that have passed over the bridge is somehow comforting. However, I also remember the scripture that an animal's soul just returns to the dust from where it came. I guess the heaven of Rainbow Bridge sounds much better than to think Ruby has ceased to exist in any manner of body or soul.

I hate death. The older I get the stranger the cycle of life and death becomes to me. Billions have gone to that "undiscovered country" before us. When you think about the centuries past, I guess we are like the Bible says a vapor that appears for a brief moment upon this earth and then disappears. Ruby's vapor last for 12 years, and for the last five she graced my life.

Rest in peace, Ruby. For some reason, my world even feels emptier without you waiting for me to come home.

Vicki

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

All The Lonely People

Wow, what a shock! I was eating my lunch and thought I would check the stats on my blog today. Just One Single is my my second most popular blog; Lessons From the Phantom of the Opera is number one.

Occasionally, I check what are the most popular posts being read and the most popular search terms that land people upon my blogs. Frankly, my discovery today nearly brought me to tears.

For my Just One Single blog, the most read page is a little post I did some time back entitled, "Why Can't I Find Love?" I discovered today from the stats on Google analytics tracking my site that that question is the most popular search term entered, which leads people to this blog. That is so sad that I want to run out and hug every one of you!

Here are the search terms in order of popularity - if you can call it that:
  1. Why can't I find love
  2. Can't find love
  3. Why can't I find love and happiness
  4. Why I cannot find love
  5. I can't find love
I will admit, the question stays unanswered for me too, though I don't ask it as much as I use to in the past 11 years. It seems, however, there are plenty of people asking the same question; suddenly I don't feel so alone.

Not to get religious on all of you, but there is a sentence in the Bible that might contain one answer to the quandary:

"Because lawlessness will increase, the love of many people will grow cold."
(Matthew 24:12)

Whether you take that statement as truth or not, it seems to me it's coming to pass in my lifetime. Society is changing. Values are changing. Morals are changing. Violence is more prevalent in television, movies, games, other forms of entertainment, and real life. Have all these changes affected our ability to love one another because our hearts are becoming hard? Is the society we live in deadening our emotions? Are we merely victims of social change running around asking why...why? I am seriously beginning to wonder.

Perhaps it would make me feel better if I could blame my loneliness on a prophetic word spoken in the Bible rather than telling myself I can't find love because I'm not worth it in some man's eyes. All I know, is that I am apparently not alone. The search queries testify to that fact.

Singles are looking to the Almighty Google for answers! No doubt they try yelling Yahoo! as well, hoping to find the answer to their question - why can't I find love?

If you find the answer buried in some search engine, please let me know. And please know, you are not alone in your search for an answer to that question in life.

Hugs to you all!

Sincerely,
Vicki

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Single Accomplishment

Since this is my blog, I guess I'm allowed to talk about my "single" accomplishment of releasing my third book - "The Phantom of Valletta."

It's a continuation of the infamous story of the Phantom of the Opera as penned by Gaston Leroux. It's now available for purchase in paperback on Amazon and also on BooksonBoard.com in all formats imaginable.

It's a wonderful story of mystery, suspense, and, of course, love. If you need a good night by yourself reading a book, I hope you'll order a copy. If you'd rather hang out in a 19th Century brothel instead of an opera house, don't forget about my other work -The Price of Innocence.

Regards,
Vicki

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Need to be Seen

I've been hibernating an awful lot lately, mostly because I'm wrapping up my newest release, The Phantom of Valletta. If you never written a book, I can tell you it can suck the life out of you. It devours your time, emotions, and social life. Frankly, it can be hazardous to your health sitting on your rear for 10 hours at a time typing because some muse won't leave you an hour of peace! Okay, got that out.

Lately, though, I've had a odd sense about single life, and I've noticed another express the same feeling to me lately too; and that is that sometimes we feel like ghosts walking through life. We're having this overwhelming need to be seen. Do you ever feel that way? I know I have, and I think that's the reason I log into Facebook a thousand times a day waiting for wall posts or checking my email every 15 seconds for the next note to Mr. Vick for Viagra. I'm always seeking validation I exist.

I think our fast-paced life that has thrown us into the clutches of Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, iPods, iPhones, Blackberrys, 3G's, Googles, Yahoos and whatever else is out there, really does rob us of being seen. People are disappearing into technology, and that fact is very evident to me at work. Employees walk around with their iPhones in their face never lifting their heads to see who passed by them; or if they are in a meeting, they're eyes are glued to the 2x4 inch screens rather than the attendees across the table. No one looks at anyone in the eye anymore! Checking out the newest app these days is more interesting than the human being sitting next to you. In the end, social interaction is getting pretty weird these days.

I recently saw a stage play called Love Never Dies, which is the sequel to the Phantom of the Opera. Lots of controversy around that subject, but nonetheless there are some good lessons to be learned in the story whether you like it or not. One in particular is about a character called Meg Giry. All she wants is to be "seen." It sort of tears your heart out, because she's a woman who has blended into obscurity even though she has very public life of performing in front of others. You think she would get her need to be seen from what she does - don't we all? Whether it's a job, talent, or gift we share. But those around her that she loves the most have tuned her out, so to speak. She’s like anybody else really crying on the inside – please see me and tell me you care! I'm not a ghost, I'm flesh and blood.

I am often amazed at married couples that spend hours behind technology rather than interacting with their mate. Sorry, but I just don't understand it! I'd kill for an hour face to face with a man across the table, or next to me on a couch, or his arm around me in bed. Yet those who have that gift, don't seem to realize its importance. Technology has taken its place.

As the years pass by and technology takes over more of our lives, I'm seeing more single ghosts walking on this earth and even married ghosts for that matter. We've all hidden ourselves behind the latest technology in our hand or the computer screens in front of our eyes. We turn to the latest wall post, friend request, email, tweet, app, game, or whatever it is to lose ourselves. We're all becoming ghosts, more and more disconnected, when we keep telling ourselves technology is connecting us better.

So if you have those days of walking about feeling like a ghost in the world, you're not alone. It seems to be a growing problem. Maybe if we just hung up the phone, turned off the computer, and lifted our heads to look around us it might help. What a novel idea to look at another living, breathing human being. Perhaps it will catch on again some day. I hear we're entering into a season of sun spots that could knock out all communication! Wow, we'll have to learn how to talk to one another again if that happens. ;-)

Vicki

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Finding Purpose

An author by the name of Rick Warren wrote a book entitled, "The Purpose Driven Life." It's written by a Christian and was very popular. I have to admit, I started to read it, but didn't finish it. I skimmed the majority, because some of the theology wasn't to my liking. Whether you accept his premise that all things whether good or evil are part of some master plan and purpose is entirely up to you. What I do agree upon is that without purpose in life there is no purpose. It's been a stark lesson I've become acutely aware of lately in my own life.

Of course, this relates to being single. I'm not talking to all you married folks out there with spouses, family, and children who give you purpose. I'm talking to solitary singles, like myself, without spouses, siblings, parents, close family, or have children who are far off - it will be you who relate to what I'm about to confess. As you know by now, I'm not afraid to bare my soul regarding my single feelings. You'd probably be surprised too over the emails I receive that tell me, "gee you just expressed exactly what I'm feeling!"

The first five months of 2010 have been a real bear for me personally. I've discovered that without purpose, I'm pretty much a miserable soul. It doesn't matter what kind of purpose I have, as long as it's some purpose and goal to look forward to. Otherwise, what's the purpose? (Excuse the pun.)

When I planned my trip to England and finally went in March of this year, I was probably the happiest I've been in a long time. I had something to look forward to that I dreamed about my entire life. I had drive, purpose, and a destination for me to reach. It gave me purpose in life.

My second book, which is in the process of completion, filled many weeks with hard work. Finishing the manuscript was an achieved goal and now it will soon be published and that purpose will be over.

When I don't have purpose in something, I become acutely and painfully aware that I don't have purpose in much of anything. I exist. I get up and go to work. I come home and feed the dog. I go to sleep, wake up, and do it all over again. That's my purpose. Is it fulfilling? No.

A loving spouse can give you purpose. Children to care for and be with can give you purpose. Mothers, fathers, and siblings can give you purpose. However, if you have huge voids in your life in this area you start to feel like a fish flopping on the shore gasping for air, because you can no longer swim to any destination with purpose.

It's quite obvious as I struggle with my own loneliness and empty life that when I do not have something - rather than someone - to keep me focused with purpose, I struggle like that fish. I have to flop myself back in the water, wiggle down the current, and find another source of purpose or goal to achieve. Will it be the next book? Will it be the next trip?

I ask the question often too, so what is my purpose? My friend Bethany will scream at me for writing this article, because she thinks my purpose is to write and touch others. Maybe. But do I have to experience everyone's pain in order to empathize? Geesh, such purpose. I'd rather have purpose to love a man, embrace a new family, hold children in my arms, and have loving companionship. That is my ideal for purpose. Is my life really some sort of master plan that I'm living? Is this my purpose?

Of course, I do have things to be thankful for, and that should give me purpose. I'm not under a bridge. I have food on the table, a roof over my head, and a good paycheck. Yes, but those things take care of my physical needs, not my emotional needs, and there is a vast difference. I can feed my body, feed my spirit, but I'm still a living soul that needs to be loved and touched and that is the purpose I long to experience. Frankly, I just wish for that purpose to live before I die.


Sincerely,
JustOneSingle



Saturday, April 3, 2010

It's a Stacked Deck

Ah, the single life. The only thing it seems to be saving me from these days is being the victim of infidelity. With all the news of happy marriages gone south due to infidelity on the part of the spouse, I don't have to deal with the broken heart of a Woods or Bullock. I often bemoan my lonely existence, but the alternative doesn't look much better.

I recently heard on the news that it is estimated that roughly 30-60% of all married individuals in the United States will engage in infidelity in their marriage and these are "conservative" estimates. On top of it folks, half of all marriages will end in divorce. There is only one thing to say - the deck is stacked against us singles.

With stats like that, I often fear entering into another relationship if that's the projected outcome. I already know that most second and third marriages have higher rates of failed marriages than first. I blame that on people taking their problems from marriage to marriage and not cleaning the suitcase of problems before they go on their next honeymoon.

However, even more disturbing is the fact that as you look at the person at the altar you're about to marry nowadays, there's a greater than 50% chance they're going to sleep with someone besides you! Gosh, what a horrible thought. My trust in the opposite sex is already at rock bottom thanks to my past experiences, so how does one trust again? I often thought too that my own religious beliefs would shield me from having to experience infidelity, but even the "faithful" are falling to temptation. There is no guarantee any longer.

I really must admit, I hate the world we live in these days. Perhaps that sounds sad, but I truly have lost faith. Morality my friends is a joke and though we think it has no consequences on society or upon us as individuals, it's quite apparent that it does. We're turning into a society of untrustworthy, deceitful, self-centered individuals that seek pleasure. And what does the pleasure bring us? Broken lives, broken families, and broken hearts.

Perhaps I'm on my soapbox today, but it's obvious after 10 years of singleness the deck is getting stacked higher and higher against me. I often thought after spending so many years without love that I've been dealt a bum hand in life. However, even if another hand is dealt me and I find someone to love, will it still be a bum hand? Hard to know if I'll ever find my King of Hearts now.

Okay, I'm done ranting. I have more problems - it's time for another oil change. Where are the men when you need them?

Vicki

Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Insanity of Singleness

There are days I think I'll go insane. Loneliness has a way of wrapping its slender fingers around your neck and strangling the life out of you. Some days I can handle it - others I cannot. Now entering my 11th year of being alone, I'm beginning to relate to the Count of Monte Cristo.

You remember the story, don't you? Edmond Dantès, falsely accused, is locked up for 14 years in a cell alone in the Château d'If. He almost goes insane from the loneliness until he meets another prisoner like himself and they try to tunnel their way out of the hell hole they live in on a prison island.

Interesting story. I sort of feel like the poor dude! I've been sentenced to a life of loneliness, to no fault of my own. I'm about to go bonkers, and the only relief I find is through other singles like myself who are trying to tunnel our way out of a prison of solitary life.

Of course, if you know the story, Edmond does strangle the life out of his warden when he escapes. The man was kind enough to beat the living day lights out of him every year on his anniversary of being locked up. I think if I ever get out of my prison, I may strangle someone too! (Just kidding, of course.)

Alas, yes, the story has a happy ending. He escapes, finds a fortune, becomes the richest man alive, and retrieves the woman he was suppose to marry 14 years earlier. Of course, he has to thrust his sword into the gullet of one of his enemies to move on, but hey - you gotta do what you gotta do to find that happy ending.

Well, back to my cell. Here are few quotes to ponder:

There are days when solitude is a heady wine that intoxicates you with freedom, others when it is a bitter tonic, and still others when it is a poison that makes you beat your head against the wall. ~Colette

Solitude never hurt anyone. Emily Dickinson lived alone, and she wrote some of the most beautiful poetry the world has ever known... then went crazy as a loon. ~Matt Groening, The Simpsons, spoken by the character Lisa Simpson

Loneliness can be conquered only by those who can bear solitude. ~Paul Tillich

Language... has created the word "loneliness" to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word "solitude" to express the glory of being alone. ~Paul Johannes Tillich, The Eternal Now

Just One Single,
Vicki


Friday, February 12, 2010

Fantasy Land

I suppose many of my readers, like myself, have hobbies. Today I thought I would share with you mine. Don’t be surprised – it’s writing.

Yeah – yeah, I know! I write blogs. I write books. But, I also have a very cool hobby of roleplaying. Roleplaying? Yep, I’m addicted.

Let me tell you about my little fantasy land that I enjoy with four other friends. We have a world on MySpace where we get together every day and write collectively a story set in 19th century Paris, France. Each of us has a profile that represents a character and we post multi-paragraph or novella style writing collectively that makes a story. We have 13 characters – most of us play two or three. They are all aristocrats in high society set in 1870. We have a Marquis, Marchioness, Comte, Comtess, Vicomte, Vicomtess, Baron, Duke, a Lady, and a prostitute (got to spice things up!).

Our world is played like it was lived. We hold tight to the rules of the day regarding courtship, love, marriage, no divorce, and plenty of mistresses. It was the way life was lived. However, there are things I absolutely love about our world. We have manners, rules of society, certain behavioral standards that must be kept, and lots of plotting. Of course, there's lots of love, deceit, and dastardly things happening too.

Sometimes I wish I could have lived in the 19th century. It was a place where people talked face to face. They met at social gatherings like balls, the opera, or took walks in parks. Men and women bowed or curtsied when they greeted one another. There were no cell phones, computers, iPods, or whatever. People actually had to converse and talk rather than meet on Facebook, Twitter, or MySpace. The ladies had tea together after dinner parties, and the men went off to smoke cigars and have a glass of brandy. I often wonder what they talked about!

Well, in our world of make believe, I find my fantasy land. I actually don’t play the part of a woman – I play the part of three men – a Baron, Comte, and Vicomte. It’s fun and I get to break all the ladies' hearts, and all the ladies break mine! I am faithful to one wife though. We have a great time, and all five of us are addicted to a world we find solace in just because it’s away from our hectic lives where we create our own world and terrific story. We hardly ever watch TV, as our roleplay group has become our number one soap opera.

The world we live in today is so stressful, so disconnected – when technology tells me it’s connecting me with everyone! Bah humbug! We can barely carry intelligent conversations, hardly ever make friends, find new loves for our lives, all because we all hide behind a computer monitor and live through the technology of Internet rather than the humanness of real social networking. I see that a lot with single people.

For me, roleplaying takes me to a time that was different. A quieter life – a place where women were respected, men were gentlemen, people socialized, and respect was given. So that is my fantasy land that helps me deal with my single life of loneliness. Hum, perhaps I should leave it and find the real world out there and meet someone. Nah, I like the 19th century better.

What do you think? Where is your fantasy land and your place to cope with your lonely single existence? Behind a game? Playing Farmville on Facebook? Solitaire on Windows 2007? Whatever it is, I understand – we all need to cope one way or the other.

If you’ll excuse me, I’m up next to type. My extremely rich French Comte is looking for love and there’s a new lady in town.

Cheerfully yours,
Vicki

Friday, January 1, 2010

The Past, Present, and Future

Happy New Year! I thought I would post on this momentous occasion of the first day of 2010. Of course, I'll probably get a bit philosophical, so bear with me!

Last night I spent another New Year's Eve alone. I did horrible things - dastardly things! I overate. I watched the BBC production of North & South for the second time in two weeks (four hours worth of DVD's), cried at the end, and went to bed at 11:50 p.m. Then I lay there in the dark waiting for midnight and the New Year.

I will admit as the fire crackers started bursting outside my apartment window (thanks to my wonderful neighbors by the way), my first thought was, will this be another year that I will spend alone? Unfortunately, rather than being filled with hope that it would not, I closed my eyes in resignation to the possibility it would. I've learned that striving and agonizing over the matter changes nothing, except the state of my heart.

While listing to the popping outdoors, I said a little prayer for the things I wished for in 2010. I think all of us want health, happiness, and prosperity - even if prosperity just means possessing the finances to make our monthly bills these days.

After that, I thought about my writing goals for my two books and pondered whether it was worth the trouble since marketing is so dang hard. When the popping finally stopped, I concluded I'm driven to write whether I sell any books or not. It's part of who I am as a person, and if I start denying that gift inside, I might as well pull the covers over my head and hide the entire 2010!

As singles, we are faced with another year. What are your desires? What are your resolutions? What dreams do you hope to fulfill? What things are you glad to leave behind in 2009?

I will admit that New Year's day is really my favorite holiday of all. It gives me a clean slate. I can close the door to my disappointments, failures, heartaches, unfulfilled desires, frustrations, and tears. On the other hand, I can open a new door and step through to live another year of endless possibilities.

I'm reminded of the scripture in Philippians 3:13, "...one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead ..." I think that's great advice.

Have a wonderful New Year everyone!

Cheerfully yours,
Vicki