My Name or Yours?

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About this time seven years ago, my divorce with my first husband became final. It was over a year in the making and was quite often difficult and contentious, as most divorces are I suppose. About half-way through the process, my husband demanded I “give him his name back”. Being a stubborn Taurus woman, as well as a Latina, I refused on the grounds that it was my children’s name and I wanted to share that name with them. So I kept it. But not for long.

Months later I changed my mind. I was in the process of redefining who I was and what was important to me. What I valued and believed in. I was in a new relationship with an old friend. He suggested that going back to my maiden name might help me get back on the path I started to make for myself when I left my home in Panama so many years ago. As is almost always the case, he was right.

Later, when we decided to marry, the question came up again. Keep my name? Take his? There really was never any doubt what I would do. Changing my name to take his would not have made me, or him, feel any more married and bound to each other spiritually or emotionally or even legally. I kept my name this time. So we each have our own name, and no one is quite sure what the right pronunciation is for either of them.

Besides, after going through all the hassle of changing it everywhere (work, emails, bank, DMV, credit cards, insurance, etc., etc.) there was no way I wanted to deal with that again. 馃檪

 

 

 

A Wave’s Slow Dance

I’m not a great swimmer and I don’t really enjoy swimming in the ocean, but I love going to the beach. To feel the warm sunshine on my face, the ocean breeze in my hair, and to hear and feel the cool waves dancing on the beach and covering my feet, that is one of the greatest pleasures I don’t get enough of.

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Slow dance

Warm Sunshine

It’s the middle of November and it seems like warmth, particularly outside, is not that easy to find. So for this assignment, on which I’m behind, I’m going to share with you a picture taken last year, in a very warm place: Panama.

I can almost feel the warm rays of the sun as they filter through the palm trees.

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Warmth and sunshine in the tropics

 

25 Random Things About Me

Way back when I was a Facebook addict I participated in some of those Facebook games where you answer or ask questions about something and then tag someone to do the same. One of these was called “25 Random Things About Me.”

For whatever reason, I remembered this today as I was in the shower (lots of inspiration comes to me while I’m showering, and occasionally I remember things I was supposed to do weeks ago) today. Maybe I was inspired by a recent blog post that I connected with written by Rachelle, a fellow blogger.

I found a copy of my “random things” among the data I downloaded from Facebook prior to deleting my account. I originally made my list on January 28, 2009. So much has changed in my life since then that I thought it would be interesting (to someone, anyone?) to review the list and see if these things are still true.

1. I’m very indecisive. Don’t ask me what my favorite color is.

Still very much true.

2. I’m told that I didn’t learn how to drink from a baby bottle until someone put orange soda in it.

Obviously still true since I can’t go back in time, but I think it’s pretty funny. Sad, but funny.

3. Right now I’m listening to American Idol. I’ve been watching since Season 1 and am addicted.

I think this was probably the last time I watched Idol regularly. I have no concept anymore of what season they’re on, but I think it stopped being entertaining when Simon left.

4. My favorite idol is Kelly Clarkson.

I guess she still is, partly because I don’t know much about the latest Idols. I think she has an amazing voice but, in my opinion anyway, she could be making better music. She’s got so much potential and I think it’s wasted in the pop scene. I did hear recently a couple of songs by runner-up (not sure what season) Crystal Bowersox and I was very impressed by her.

5. I watch too much reality TV but so far I’ve drawn the line at those match-making shows. (And do VH-1 and MTV play videos anymore?)

We sold our television last December and haven’t looked back. It really wasn’t as hard to 聽get used to as we expected. We watch movies on the laptop connected to a large monitor, and yes, I do watch Survivor (reality TV still) online the day after it airs. It makes it harder to participate in the watercooler commentary the next morning but I try to tune them out so I don’t hear any spoilers.

We had a couple of reasons for turning our home in a television-free zone. First, we wanted to get rid of another distraction for my son who should be dedicating more of his time on schoolwork. Second, we knew that our time would be better spent engaging in more meaningful activities like reading, listening to music, or having an actual conversation with each other. Now in the evenings we sit in our living room, often with some candles lit, sip on something delicious, and talk about whatever is on our minds. It’s been great having my son sit and join us for many of these discussions. And of course, there’s always the option to go to bed together early.

6. I used to be the president of a Menudo fan club back in the 80s. I was so obsessed it’s embarrassing looking back at myself.

Anyone else remember Menudo?

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Where Ricky Martin got his start? But he was actually not part of the group configuration when I was a Menudo-crazed fan. My favorite was Miguel and my sister’s was Xavier. I used to rationalize my choice by saying that he was the best singer, which he most certainly was, but he was pretty cute too.

7. I love to cook and will spend hours watching the Food Network or looking through recipes.

Well without a TV it’s pretty impossible to do this, but I do browse the website on a regular basis and am now, thanks to a gift from my husband, a subscriber to their magazine. I still love to cook and getting the magazine gives me the opportunity to try new recipes every month and change things up from time to time. I’ve found a few new favorites that are now part of my regular repertoire.

8. I have been at my job for almost 14 years now and sometimes I wonder how I haven’t gone crazy working for this guy for so long!

Going on 18 years now and I’m still there. But I’m not working for the same guy any more. It’s been nice getting a change of scenery and do something different. I expect I will be here quite a while longer.

9. I cry very easily. I can’t watch children sing in a play or at church without getting teary-eyed.

I wrote a post about this not too long ago. Still very much true.

10. I went to Europe after high school and I wish I had taken more advantage of the opportunity and soaked it in more and done more.

I still have some regrets there. I guess maybe I wasn’t quite ready for the adventure. Hopefully I will get another chance to go. I’ve made a couple of business trips to Germany in the last few years but I would love to go with my husband and find our own little adventure.

11. I haven’t been home to Panama since 1995 because I can’t afford it – but I really want to go.

Since 2009 I have been back to Panama twice. It’s still expensive, but my dad’s not getting any younger. Going back in 2010 was almost shocking because Panama has changed so much since I left there in 1986. Our second trip earlier this year was not quite as dramatic but the country is still growing and changing at a fast pace. Fortunately, the people haven’t changed and seeing family was great.

12. I wish I hadn’t stopped going to church regularly.

I’m actually not sure how I feel about this one. My second wedding ceremony was in my church where I still belong because it was important to both of us. But we have only gone back a couple of times, each of them for Christmas Eve services. I’m not sure if it’s that we don’t feel totally at home there, or if goes deeper than that. For him, I think some of it is because so many churches have become too business-like: building bigger buildings and churches, hiring more staff.

13. I met my husband at college through a basketball team booster club. Our goal then was to see Mason in the NCAA tournament. In 2006 we went to the final four. Later that year we separated for 3 months and decided to try again. Almost exactly two years later we were back in the same spot. This time it’s for good. I list these things together just because there seems to be some kind of correlation – not sure yet.

I’m still not sure about the connection between Mason basketball and my marriage, other than the obvious fact that one led to the other. I can’t say that we worked together to get Mason to the Final Four and once that happened we didn’t have a common goal any longer. We definitely had no influence on the team as much as we’d like to think that our cheering helped them play better.

14. My daughter is getting ready to leave the nest for college. I’m going to miss her a lot.

We struggled quite a bit, my daughter and I, when she left for college. I could write a whole blog post about this, and maybe I will one day. She left for school at a time when we were all changing and figuring out what was next. By that fall I was in love with another man and getting ready to move in with him. I’m sure she felt like I had no room in my new life for her. So much has happened between us since then, and many tears have been shed, but I think we’re finding our way back to each other now. Or at the very least we’re headed toward that path.

15. I really enjoy watching my son play sports and I wish he still enjoyed it as much as he used to just a year ago.

Recently we’ve used participating in sports as an incentive for him to do well in school: keep your grades up and you can play basketball/baseball/etc. It worked for a little while. But it didn’t work when it was time to sign up for basketball and it didn’t work for baseball. We’ve all been thinking that he loves baseball and that would be a good motivator for him (and hey his father says he has the build for baseball and therefore that’s where his future is, so…). But maybe I was more right than I realized back in 2009. He does enjoy playing, but he does it for fun. He doesn’t seem to care so much whether he gets to play in an actual league. Maybe baseball, and sports, is more of a social function than a competitive arena.

16. I hate talking on the phone. I’m not much of a talker period.

Still true. If you get me on the phone it’s because you called me and seldom the other way around.

17. But I love being around loud – happy – goofy people. It makes it easier to be part of the group without having to contribute too much.

I guess that’s part of being an introvert. I can fade into the background and just enjoy the show.

18. I used to want to be a Girl Scout just for the uniform, the sash and the badges.

Yes, I was all about the accessories. Too shy to actually participate, but I wanted the bling.

19. I got out of playing softball in PE during high school because my mom wrote a note saying I only had one good eye and couldn’t afford to get hit in my one good eye and be blind. It’s true about my eyes …

Sometime during my childhood, probably while I was living in the jungles of the Darien, I got to the toxoplasmosis virus/bacteria (not sure what it actually is). It didn’t really manifest itself until during one the eye test they do at the schools they found that the vision in my right eye was very poor. Upon further examination and after several blood tests, the diagnosis was that toxoplasmosis had caused scarring in my right eye, in location close enough to the retina to impair my vision, but not so close to make me blind in that eye. My left eye apparently had been compensating for the right. So, my mother didn’t want to take any chances. Any excuse to get out of playing softball was good enough for me.

20. I didn’t get my “real” driver’s license until I was 26 years old and had a daughter. I was afraid to drive until then.

21. I did have a license in Panama – but it was acquired without having to drive a car or take a test.

I was scared to death to drive, and if you’ve spent any time in Panama City you may understand why. I went through Driver’s Ed in school (we never actually touched a car) and my mother did try to teach me. But my Panama driver’s license was bought and paid for through various connections without me having to take a test. The only reason I got it was so I could show it to my friends. But my brother was the one who drove me around when my friends weren’t available.

I did get my license after my daughter was born, and there was a period of time when I didn’t really enjoy driving. Getting in an accident, through no fault of my own, just six months later did not help. But once I got past that stage, I enjoyed the freedom it gave me.

22. I wish I was as organized as some people think I am.

I think I can fake it pretty well, until I meet someone who is much more organized, like my husband. I tend to start out great and then I lose interest. Maybe that’s the Panamanian in me (full of great ideas and best intentions but often lacking in follow-through).

23. I have three dogs and still can’t believe we have three dogs – fairly big dogs.

One of these dogs passed away before I moved out. I still miss Mason sometimes. He was a sweet dog. When I moved I didn’t take any of the pets with me. This was for practical reasons, but it also allowed me to let go of some responsibility that I didn’t need anymore. I miss them sometimes, but not having to care for and feed and attend to the needs of two or three pets has been liberating as well.

24. I’m excited and nervous about the future.

Now there’s an understatement. Still excited but not nervous any longer. My life is 100% better and richer in so many ways. In January 2009 I didn’t know what my future was going to hold but I knew it would only get better. That May I reconnected with my current husband and the rest, as they say, is history. And it’s still true that life will only get better every day that I get to spend with him.

25. I can’t miss an episode of Lost so it’s a good thing I’m done!

There’s no Lost any more, and no TV, but this time what’s waiting for me is Chinese food that’s about to be delivered! It is great though, not having to rush through something just to make it to the couch in time to tune in to something.

I could probably expand on some of these points further and explore them deeper, and maybe I will one day.

What would be on your list of random thoughts?

Daily Prompt: Places

I’m a day late for this daily prompt, but I think there’s a saying that goes “better late than never?”

Beach, mountain, forest or somewhere else? Definitely the answer has to be beach. However I’m a little flexible regarding the type of beach. Ocean beach would be preferable, and a tropical beach even better. But actually any body of water will do.

Emerald Isle

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I grew up in the tropics (Panama City, Panama). I loved it there. However, I don’t think I fully appreciated it until I had already spent years living in a cooler climate, without an ocean to drive by or dip my foot into on a regular basis. Virginia’s not bad, and there are beaches within driving distance, but it’s not the same. I would love to breathe the ocean air every day and feel the warm ocean breezes on my face. It’s not even about hanging out at the beach all day long and swimming in the ocean. I actually rarely get in the water when I do get to the beach. It’s the atmosphere, the slower pace of life, and basking in the sunshine. I miss the sunshine. Yes, I even miss the oppressive heat and humidity. I miss hearing the waves and the seagulls.

Maybe one day we’ll be able to relocate closer to this dream environment. For now I guess I’ll have to be content with week-long vacations.