“Dating is like…

“Dating is like trying to make a meal out of leftovers. Some leftovers actually get better when they’ve had a little time to mature. But others should be thrown out right away, No matter how you try to warm them up, they’re never as good as when they were new.”
― Lisa Kleypas, Sugar Daddy

Disclaimer to my parents and to my kids.  I assume you really are not interested or care to hear about your daughter/mother’s dating adventures.  Although, I realize it’s kind of like a train wreck…and we all know we try to look away, but just can’t…but, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

I’m single.  I’m forty-something and I’m single. I’m a mother of four, I am forty-something and I am single.  I am a mother of a toddler who is one of four children, I am forty-something and I am single. I work two jobs, I am a mother of a toddler who is one of four children, I am forty-something and I am single. Wanna go on a date?

Now, the funny thing is I have not once sat home on a Saturday night pining for a date. When I am home it is because that’s where I choose to be…and I know a date is only a phone call away.  Or an online message. However, there’s not really a large pool of folks who would gladly take on me and all I have that goes with me…and the limitations that go with being with me.  They exist, but are far and few between.  There is, however, a large pool of guys that would enjoy a night out…or in…and then go back to life as usual. Thanks anyway.  Been there, done that. Check my snap chats and text messages. Those invites are aplenty…or at least until I just wrote that.  I imagine that might slow my text alerts at 10:30pm.

Back to the small pool that would take on the whole package, I then need to do my own weeding out which generally leaves me with a nearly empty swimming hole.  How do I weed them out?  Well that’s basically finding everything wrong with them that might inhibit a long term relationship, or even a short term one.  Red flags we call them.  I feel like a fricking referee in my head throwing all the flags around while on a date,  talking to or emailing these poor souls! Nobody stands a chance.

That’s not to say my red flag throwing is not spot on in most cases. Let’s explore that.

I was with my youngest’s father for about 7 years I guess…but in the middle of that time we had split up for a year and a half.  I found myself truly single for the first time in my adult life and about to date.  I was a thirty-something at the time…three children.  Looking around me and knowing there was no freaking way I was interested in anyone I knew…my online dating adventures began (insert dramatic sigh).

POF, Match.com, eharmony…even christiansingles.  I tried them all and probably still have active profiles on the bulk of them.  I was officially dubbed “One-Date-Wendy” by my peers.  For various reasons, that’s as far as it would go.  I actually got to a second and even a third date with a few…but never a love connection.  Why?  A lot had to do with my well conditioned flag throwing arm, but mostly to do with my ridiculous adventures.  You know, the one with photos from a decade and 75 lbs ago. The one who had three martinis to my one glass of wine and got very upset when I checked my phone…accusing it to be my “escape” to get away from him.  Why yes, sir…it was.  Buh-bye! “Mr. Disney” (yes, I nicknamed them all) who I remain friends with, made it to date two. By second date, I mean making out in the backseat of a compact car in a parking lot at the beach… That mighta worked in high school, buddy.  In his defense, and mine, he lived up to his nickname and moved to Orlando, got a job at Disney and married his princess in front of the castle!

Not all my “one dates” were from online, either.  “Construction Guy” smiled and waved to me everyday on my way to work…finally flagging me down to ask me if I was single.  Yes!  I was!  Super hot, hard hat wearing, tan, muscular armed engineer wanted to meet me for coffee. Day-um.  Too bad I learned during coffee that his wife was not aware of their up and coming divorce!!

I have more stories than I know what to do with.  So, what I have learned?

Chill with the flag throwing.  Mr. Right Now can teach you many lessons, about life and yourself, on the way to Mr. Right.  And who knows…he might even drop the “Now”.

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Eating is reall…

hearty-vegetarian-chili-large-24877

Eating is really one of your indoor sports. You play three times a day, and it’s well worth while to make the game as pleasant as possible.
Dorothy Draper

I was just asked the recipe for my vegetarian chili…you know, the one where my meat eaters hear the word “vegetarian” and turn up there noses. Until they try it!  If you are a vegetarian, this is a great recipe!  If you are a carnivore, this is a great recipe!!  The portabellas give this chili a meatiness and you don’t even miss the beef.  And that even goes for my fungus hating audience!  A little heat and a nice depth of flavor in this one.  Enjoy!

A slight variation of Emeril’s from the food network:

Total Time: 55 min
Prep: 25 min
Cook: 30 min
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Level:Easy

Ingredients
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large chopped yellow onion
1 large chopped red bell pepper
2 to 3 cloves minced garlic
2 to 3 serrano peppers, stemmed, seeded, and minced, depending upon taste
1 medium zucchini, stem ends trimmed and cut into small dice
2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 3 ears) – This time of year you can get it in the organic produce
1 1/2 pounds portobello mushrooms (about 5 large), stemmed, wiped clean and cubed
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespooon ground cumin
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 large (28oz) can diced tomatoes
1 can (15oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup vegetable, chicken or beef stock
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Sour cream or strained plain yogurt, garnish
Diced avocado, garnish
Shredded cheddar, garnish
Chopped green onions, garnish

Directions
In a large, heavy pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, bell peppers, garlic, and serrano peppers, and cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the zucchini, corn, and mushrooms, and cook, stirring, until soft and the vegetables give off their liquid and start to brown around the edges, about 6 minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin, salt and cayenne, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the diced tomatoes and stir well. Add the beans, tomato sauce and stock, stir well, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro. Adjust the seasoning, to taste.

To serve ladle the chili into the bowls. Top each serving with a dollop of sour cream and spoonful of avocado. Sprinkle with chees and green onions and serve with warmed tortilla chips.

“It’s all about…

“It’s all about falling in love with yourself and sharing that love with someone who appreciates you, rather than looking for love to compensate for a self love deficit.” ~ Eartha Kitt

As this “List things people don’t know about you” game is circulating around Facebook, I have been fascinated at not only what people are writing about themselves, but writing about myself as well!!  I started thinking, “Am I that self-indulgent” that I loved taking on the task so much and I am actually itching to do it again with a whole new set personal stats??!!

I came across this quote and it dawned on me.  I have spent the last two years restoring my love for myself.  Restoring my self-worth.  Up until then I had become someone who second guessed every action and every word that came out of my mouth…the inevitable side effects of living with a partner that has an addiction for many years.  Being questioned and doubted and inadequately treated for quite some time takes its toll and eventually you start to do the same thing to yourself.

I am happy to say that taking this time to focus on myself (and obviously my children) I am restoring that self confidence and self-worth and have taken the time to fall in love with myself for the first time.  Not in a selfish or narcissistic way, but a respectful love in knowing that there are positives and negatives about me.  It’s what makes me…me!  I think that’s where this list comes into play…I love looking at my good, my bad, my uniqueness, my shortcomings.  And I adore reading about others’ admissions of themselves.

So all this time by myself without a partner, the self love deficit is being satisfied.  Work in progress…but definitely in the right direction.

Now, can we get back to my next list???

“No one who coo…

“No one who cooks, cooks alone. Even at her most solitary, a cook in the kitchen is surrounded by generations of cooks past, the advice and menus of cooks present, the wisdom of cookbook writers.”
― Laurie Colwin

Wow, is that true or what??!!  Funny, in my “about me” section, I never once mentioned that I love to cook and that it is a passion of mine.  I think it’s just such a part of me that it’s the same as me not saying that I breathe air or that I have arms.  But, anyone who knows me…or is a facebook friend of mine…knows I LOVE food and I LOVE to cook.  (Yes, and I love to take pictures of it almost as much as I love to eat it!  Don’t hate.)

There are many different reasons for my love of cooking and many different ways I like to cook.  Some days it’s experimenting skinnying up a traditional dish and others it’s cooking for comfort with savory, rich sauces.  No matter what, though, the way I feel when slipping off my shoes, throwing my hair up, having a great soundtrack in the background and a glass of wine going while mixing it up in the kitchen is completely at peace…no matter what life is throwing at me.

…Someone toss me an apron, would ya?