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Making amends and freaking out

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Fireflys Petite Corn Bread LoavesYesterday there was a prediction for snow here in the evening, and my husband and I planned to make a trip to see his mother, an hour from the farm. I knew we would be cold and hungry when we got back home, so I put on a pot of lentil soup in the slow cooker and baked a batch of petite corn loaves early in the day. I recently bought an adorable "petite" loaf pan (I think I might have mentioned it last week) but had not tried it out. My father is probably the world's biggest corn bread fan, and he suggested I make individual corn bread loaves in the pan. Great inspiration, Dad ... and look at the results. So scrumptious. When Mom and Dad come out here at Christmas, I will certainly make more of these little yummies. This morning, after tea and a bit of knitting, I was on my way upstairs to my office when light coming from the cornfield caught my eye. The corn was ablaze with golden morning light, with a backdrop of dramatic gray clouds. Though it was only thirty degrees outside, I bundled up for an outdoor photo shoot ... glad I did. It was splendid and beautiful out world. Fireflys November CornWhile I was out, I was certain I heard the meow of a little cat somewhere. I have been told it is inevitable a cat will come along and adopt us. My neighbor told me that back in the summer, and I have been watching and listening ever since. A number of times I am certain I have heard the meowing of a little one outside near our house. My husband tells me it might be the sound of a cat bird. I believe he might be right because when I listen closer sometimes I do realize it is a bird I am hearing rather than a cat. I have come to call our future cat the "magic cat" and I will continue to be alert for his or her arrival ... especially on cold, cold mornings. In today's knitting photo I offer a mystery object I am working on. I love the stitch in this project, a fun pattern to work indeed. The fabric is tight, which is what I am going for. As soon as the mystery object is complete, I will tell you what it is and share the pattern. This one might make a sweet gift for someone special ... we'll see. Fireflys Mystery Knitting ProjectIt has been made clear to me by certain readers that I must keep up the pace in telling the tale of How I Met My Husband. There are a few more layers to this tale, and I hope you will allow me to tell the story well rather than rushing through to the punch line. The interest in the story and the stories others have been sharing with me of their own lives and realizations is very encouraging. Thank you all, so much. During the spring of 2005 I spent two months in Denver with my parents and family, as my brother struggled with cancer and eventually passed away.  After Dan passed away, I drove back to Los Angeles by myself just before Memorial Day weekend ... a spiritual journey of my own. I love road trips and enjoy making them on my own very much. My journey home was picturesque, relaxing, and the beginning of my time of healing. Fireflys Water Well and November CornThere were some thoughts that had occurred to me as I spent time with Dan during the last two weeks of his life. He and I held hands quite a lot, and we shared precious tender moments of communication here and there as he came in and out of pain and consciousness. As I sat with him, I thought about many things I had observed about him during his life. A thought that touched me deeply was that he had not had girlfriends when he was in school. He was a very good looking boy, but I think he was shy and tender hearted. Thinking about the fact that he may of been lonely as a teenager and young man made me sad. As I drove home, I remembered a boy from my own high school days who had had a crush on me. He was awkward and shy and not attractive. Back then I had a very sharp, untamed wit. There were a number of times when I hit him with a zinger in front of other students. Over the years I regretted my bad behavior very much. When I was back home I decided to see if I could find him so I could make amends in some way. Visiting our alumni website, I found him registered there, so I sent him an email. He eventually wrote back and we corresponded a bit before agreeing to get together for dinner and to say hello after so many years. Seeing him again was strange because it had been about thirty years and yet there was no mistaking him. He had changed little. We had a good time and fun conversation over dinner. That weekend we also went whale watching up in Santa Barbara and enjoyed a good day and lots of catching up. As it turned out, he had never married and in fact had never even been on a date or had a girlfriend of any kind. He told me he hadn't even had a friend over all those years ... of any gender. He had been in the military for twelve years, and when he got out he moved in with his parents. His parents were his only friends. Between late August and early October we saw each other a few times and I also met his father two or three times. In mid-October, out of the blue, he presented me with a ring and asked me to marry him. I was very much in shock, because there had been nothing romantic that I had noticed about any of our conversations or communications. I didn't want to hurt him, because I believed he needed to be brave in the future when someone else came along who would feel romantic toward him. I didn't want to be someone who would crush him in any way and thus make it harder for him to reach again and possibly find happiness. Inside, I was freaking out and didn't know what to say or do. I told him I was surprised, but that I would think about it and let him know. A couple of weeks later I gently turned him down, and he seemed to take it well. But, he also made it clear that to him "no" didn't mean never, it only meant not now. Oh dear, that was a problem. In November I happened to hear a news story about an online dating site for rural people and small town folks, farmers, and ranchers. It occurred to me that perhaps I could interest my friend in joining such a place to see about finding an old-fashioned woman to share life with. My hope was that I could re-direct his attention off of me and that perhaps with my encouragement he would be brave enough to give it a try. So, I checked out the website and found that the only way I could browse and see what kind of people were there was to join for a one-month free membership. So, I joined and put up a brief profile of myself stating I was only looking for friendship, because I honestly was not looking to do any online dating myself. Then I got busy working on a project for a client, so I forgot about the dating site for a couple of days. Two days after joining, I received a couple of "flirts" from some men at the place. Purely for the purpose of research, I responded but in a non-flirtatious way. However, one of the men did have a very nice face, a cute smile and I thought to myself, "Huh". He wrote back again and he had a wonderful style to his writing. He spoke to me as if I had arrived at his house and we were having a cup of coffee on his porch. He described bonfires and moonlight and music and so forth, but in such a way that it felt I was there visiiting with him. Meanwhile, my daughter told me I could not try to get my friend from high school to go to that site. She pointed out it would be cruel to do so since he was still "in love" with me, no matter what my intention was. Her advice made sense, so I dropped the idea. More emails and "flirts" from a variety of gentlemanly men started showing up in my inbox, which very much surprised me. I hadn't thought I would hear from anyone, and yet a pretty good stream of men were contacting me. They were all quite respectful and well-mannered ... nothing like men in Los Angeles. They were intelligent, educated, witty, and sincerely looking for someone to share life with rather than just looking for someone to "hook up" with. I wrote back to every single man, being friendly and polite and allowing myself to get to know some of them. Still, the one man who had sent the first "flirt" stood out above the others. There was something very special about his emails that was creative, fun, and engaging. As more and more men contacted me, that one fellow and I continued to correspond until finally we decided to speak on the phone. We shared a few phone calls, and he even wrote a poems for me. Each poem had a theme of the sea and viking lore, because of his heritage. They were beautiful and sincere, and I was quite surprised at the turn of events. After all, I was single, destined to remain single, and I was cool with that. As I made plans to spend two weeks in Denver with my parents, my daughter, and her husband at Christmas, it occurred to me the Viking and I would be 1,000 miles closer to each other while I was there, and perhaps we should meet face to face. I proposed the idea to him, which caught him a bit off guard but then he agreed it would be a good idea because there seemed to be genuine attraction between us. Keep in mind, this was a very private activity on my part. The only person I had shared it with at the time was my daughter. I was reluctant to tell my son I was "online dating" ... it was so out of character for me, and I thought he would think I was going bonkers or something. As Christmas grew nearer, the Viking and I agreed we would each drive to a mid-way point between Denver and the area he was from and have coffee at a cafe in a little town in Nebraska. I rented a car in Denver and went on my little adventure. Only my daughter and her husband knew where I was going. I am not, by the way, advocating that other people do what I did. It was quite a leap of faith. But, I did have the fellow's home phone number, first and last name, and address. I had googled his phone number and found that his name and the street address did match up in phone records. Plus, he did not know what vehicle I was driving, and we were meeting at a public place. I felt safe doing what I was doing, but then I am an adventurous soul. Our meeting was wonderful. He was fun, funny, witty, charming, handsome and warm. We had coffee, then went on a bit of a walk, then a bit of a drive, then back to the cafe for dinner. We spent the entire evening talking and laughing and getting to know each other better. There seemed to be quite a genuine bond there, as agreed by both of us. We both stayed over night in the little town, but separately of course. Our meeting and "date" was very wholesome. The next morning we met for breakfast and shared a tearful goodbye. He said it was going to be very difficult to drive hundreds of miles back home and I agreed. Oh, romance when it is not expected! We spoke a few times by cell as we drove in opposite directions; I smiled pretty much the entire seven or eight hundred miles back to Denver. And after all of that ... he went somewhat out of touch. Hmm. So strange. We shared a few more emails, and even spoke on the phone a bit ... but the emails were fewer and further between and the phone calls were sporadic. I became very confused, and it pretty much hurt. I do not understand how people can get weird and just leave other people hanging without an explanation. He kept saying he was still interested, and yet something was wonky ... obviously wonky. Finally, in mid-February I got him to tell me the truth about what was going on ... we were of different faiths, and he was struggling with the differences between our faiths. To me, that would be a great reason to talk more rather than less, but his chosen route was to pound out what he thought our differences were without any input from me. That would not bode well for a successful marriage ... so, crash, crash, crash went the romance. Meanwhile, I had cancelled my membership in the online dating service ... thinking I had found my true love in the Viking. In late January, after examing the entire experience, I decided to rejoin the online dating service but to do it for real this time. The first time I had joined it was insincere, and my profile was written mostly just to put something there so I could be in the community. In January I decided to join with an actual intent of finding a wonderful man and getting married. That was a huge, bold move for me. It was completely out of character, out of the ordinary, and not something I would have ever thought I would do. But something told me to do it and do it well. So, I did. This is where the story pauses today. Hang in there with me, the story just gets better and better. And by the way, when I got back to Los Angeles after the holidays, I told my son about my adventure. The reason I had not told him before hand was that I knew he would say, "That probably isn't a good idea," with this gentle, sarcastic yet loving way he has of speaking to me when he hears of one of my impractical ideas. When I did finally tell him he said, "That probably wasn't a good idea." I love him dearly. This story continues here. Have a warm weekend, inside or out. "See" you Monday. ~firefly


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