What's a deal breaker when getting to know someone (for a relationship or for friendship)?
There are a handful that would be deal breakers for me but one that rises to the top is treating others badly. So if I meet someone at a restaurant, for example, and he/she is rude and obnoxious toward the staff, I’m done. This is a great indicator of a discourteous personality.
Being polite and respectful toward others is huge for me.
Happy Monday, friends. I hope you all had a lovely weekend. Ours was another wet one. If any of you are dealing with a very dry period, I’d be more than happy to share the abundance of rain we’ve been having.
Also, remember when I asked you to vote for my image in the contest that I had entered it in? Well, I didn’t win but I did come in second place. And that’s pretty cool, too. So thank you for helping me get there. You are the best!
Now how about some funny stuff? Let’s get to it...
It was a long and oftentimes painful journey to finally arrive at this happily ever after but despite everything I remained joyful and optimistic, determined to be happy. And even though it took a long time to get my ex’s debilitating voice out of my head and stop 16 years of toxic experiences that can fill up an entire book from haunting me, eventually that dysfunctional relationship was left so far behind that it seems as though it happened in another lifetime. To someone else. Because if I’d carried that baggage around with me, feeling bitter and angry, he’d still have control over me.
The most amazing man in the world was the only person in my life that knew about my past...until now. Yes, my dear blogging pals, you are the first ones after him who know what my first marriage was like. Even though I’d moved forward, somewhere in the back of my mind there’d always been that lingering fear that no one would believe me, so I kept my story a secret. Which meant that I hadn’t healed 100%. That realization came to me when Birdie and Louise posed the question “How did you meet your husband?” on my ‘Ask me anything post’. And when it did, I decided that the time had come to cross that hurdle and release my story into the universe. I am now free.
My husband’s real name is George, which I never use on this blog, and that’s simply because he is – and always will be – the most amazing man in the world. He and my ex have absolutely nothing in common; they are like night and day. My life has gone from one end of the spectrum to the other. And I’ve gone from thinking “This can’t be my life for the next 20...30...50 years. It just can’t. I won’t make it.” to “There aren’t enough years, enough lifetimes, to enjoy with this man.”
Today the most amazing man in the world and I are celebrating our 11th wedding anniversary, which is a perfect time to end this series. I have created the video below, my first one ever, as a gift to him and I want to share it with all of you. It will show you this incredible man through my eyes. I chose the song “You” (by Jim Brickman and Tara Maclean) because it was a favourite tune during the weeks that led up to meeting my happily ever after. And whenever I used to play it, I dreamed about meeting someone that I could dedicate it to. And I did. My always and forever.
I hope you enjoy watching it as much as I enjoyed putting it together.
Thank you to all who followed this series. And thank you to all for your supportive and encouraging comments. Everyone has a story. And this one that started off as mine...is now ours.
Even during our worst days we can find something to be grateful for; something to make us smile, give us hope, encourage us to keep going. And it’s quite often a simple thing like a cool breeze on a hot summer day or uplifting lyrics in a favourite song. There is always something to be grateful for. Always.
And so today I begin a new series, the ‘A To Z Of Gratitude’ that will run every Thursday until every letter of the alphabet is used.
A is for Animals
Imagine how lonely the human race would be without the companionship of these creatures that we share this beautiful planet with.
I am so grateful for them. For their presence.
Happy Thursday, everyone.
(Please consider joining me in this a to z of gratitude.)
Happy Monday, everyone. I hope the weekend was good to you. And I hope you got to enjoy whatever it is that makes you happy. For us, it's being outdoors, and we got out and about a few times. And during one of our outings we ran across this huddle of love.
‘Cause sometimes you need a group hug.
You know what else you need? To laugh. Which I’m going to help you do. So let’s get to that right now.
His handsome face, his friendly smile, his kind eyes – it was just as I’d hoped and dreamed and imagined. It was like meeting up with a best friend that I had lost touch with; his presence was familiar and comforting and soul-soothing. There were a thousand things I wanted to say, to catch up, to fill him in on everything that he had missed. It felt as if we were just continuing from where we left off, that our souls had been separated for the longest time and finally reuniting. Finally coming home.
It should have seemed crazy and irrational and surreal and even frightening. But it didn’t. It felt right. Wonderful. Safe. I was lost in the warmth of his beautiful eyes where I could see everything I’d ever needed and everything I’d ever wanted. I knew right then and there that this was the end of a solitary journey that had included fear and betrayal and pain and many tears. And the beginning of forever. A forever that would be filled with joy and trust and laughter and love. Every breath, every step had brought me to this very moment. To this very man.
The spell was finally broken when we started laughing as we each waved in the air an unexpected and thoughtful gift we’d brought for the other. His gift to me was a bag of my favourite candy that I’d mentioned to him I treat myself to at the end of the most stressful and exhausting days. And my gift to him was a Calvin and Hobbes book because he’d mentioned on the phone and even written in an email how much he enjoyed the cartoons “Calvin? Ahh! Sheer genius. Now there’s a kid whose thought processes I can relate to. I can never finish one of those books without ending up rolling on the floor in tears.”
And the date that started around 4 PM and should have been short and sweet, or as he’d put it in an email “Nothing stressful, just for a coffee or something”, lasted until 1:00 in the morning. It was the most amazing day I’d ever had. Heartwarming. Uplifting. Magical. And it could easily have gone on forever.
"The first time, ever I saw your face
I thought the sun rose in your eyes"
At midnight, we finally got to that cup of coffee and spent the next hour talking about anything and everything. And as I sat listening to him, dizzy, my mind hazy, all I could think about was how easy it was being with him. And how much I wanted to kiss him. So when he drove me home that night, I did just that. When he stopped in front of my house, I leaned over to give him a quick kiss and when our lips met I felt electricity run through me. Our eyes locked once more, I wished him good night and stepped out of the car. He waited until I was safely inside, and as I waved good-bye, my very spirit soared with happiness.
The next morning I woke up to an email titled “Blown Away” that he’d sent after he’d gotten home, which included:
“Just wanted to take a minute to thank you for a wonderful evening. You're an absolutely awesome woman... I thoroughly enjoyed your company and wish the night could have gone on forever. I'd also like to thank you for the two great gifts. The first I will chuckle at in a few minutes and the second I will dream about the rest of the night...”
The next day we did it all over again that included yet another heartwarming email from him:
“I just had to say good night one more time. I just had to thank you for the pleasure of your company one more time. And I just had to tell you (one more time) that you're the most amazing woman I've ever met.”
And 13 years later, our love story is still going strong. Not a day goes by that I don’t wake up grateful for this incredible man who is kind and gentle and generous and patient and loving. A man who has not only been good to me but also good for me. Not a day goes by that I don’t wake up grateful for this incredible life we share. This amazing journey we are on. A happily ever after that I dreamed about every day of my life until our paths crossed.
Our happily ever after.
(Please come back this upcoming Friday, June 26, for the final post of this series. I will share a few thoughts and something special I’ve put together).
So two weeks after our initial contact, we decided to get together in person and find out if we could connect beyond the virtual world. We made plans to meet up in the downtown area of Montreal (the city we were living in at the time) around 4 PM on Saturday, May 18, 2002. My kids were away at their father’s that weekend, so I was free to come and go as I pleased without worrying about them.
I decided to leave my car behind and travel by metro (subway); a fast and convenient transit system that is entirely underground and the main form of public transport in the city. This way, I wouldn’t have to worry about traffic or parking, which can be quite difficult and stressful in the downtown area.
As I prepared to leave for our date, I started to think about how attached I’d become to this man just from our abundance of emails and nightly phone chats. In this short but intense period of time, I had made him an integral part of my daily life. From the first moment I’d heard his voice my heart had created a space for him and I looked forward to our phone calls where we shared our day with one another along with so many other things. But we had not met in person and no matter how much I tried to ignore it, the nagging fear returned: “What if it’s all an illusion that we’ve built? What if we meet and the chemistry is not there? What if I don’t like him? What if he doesn’t like me?”
I contemplated delaying our meeting in person even further. Another week or two. Another month. I was very happy having him in my life, even if he was just a voice on the phone, and I was afraid that it might all end when we’d meet. Because I’d miss him. It was as simple as that. And it sounds silly – missing a voice - but our conversations had become precious. They had put a spark in my life that I hadn’t even realized before now had been missing. And if we met in person and the physical chemistry was absent, it would all come crashing. The space that he had filled would once again be empty. I would return home terribly disappointed and brokenhearted. Disillusioned and weary. Wondering if I’d ever want to take another chance after this.
And yet, despite these concerns, I felt optimistic, and to some extent I was convinced that I had met someone exceptional. There was that tiny part of me – perhaps it was the voice of my soul – that was confident that he and I were headed on an incredible journey together. I didn’t sense an ending, I sensed a beginning. Did I truly feel that way? Truly believe this? Or had I created yet another illusion?
Riding the metro with all that turbulence inside me that afternoon, it was obvious that I wasn’t entirely sure where I was headed but I was hopeful. And I wasn’t entirely sure how the day would pan out but I was willing to take the risk. Because I had to know. I had to know whether this story would end or whether he and I would write more chapters together.
I purposely arrived a little early to our meeting place because I wanted to give myself enough time to calm down and clear my head. That’s what I told myself. But the truth is I purposely arrived a little early to position myself in a way that he would see me before I saw him. In other words, I was going to somewhat hide with my back turned and let him find me. Because I was scared to death to find him. Scared to death of my initial response. And his, too. It was inevitable that we’d come face to face but I was buying some time. Keeping that illusionary world that we had built together alive for as long as possible. Right down to the last second.
So I flipped through the magazine that I’d brought along, keeping my eyes down, facing the opposite direction. And waited. Waited for him to arrive. Waited for him to spot me. Waited for him to walk over to me. My heart was pounding and my mind was racing when I felt a tap on my shoulder.
And with every ounce of courage in me, I turned around to take a look.
Make sure to go to the bottom of the page (below the images). Click on the circle before my name to select me (Martha _P) and press on the vote button below the names. Do not just click on my image. It'll take you to Flickr but a vote won't be casted.
Make sure to go to the bottom of the page (below the images). Check where my name is and press on the vote bottom below the names. Do not just click on my image. It'll take you to Flickr but you won't vote.
(P.S - That's the most amazing man in the world in the photo, so now you really have to vote for it!)
Happy Monday, bloggers! How was your weekend? I hope it was a good one. Saturday was beautiful, so we went for a nice long bike ride. And somewhere along the way we ran across this little family:
Those little babies were the cutest thing! I got as close as the parents would allow me to snap this photo (once they hiss, it's close enough). ‘Cause let me tell you, you don’t want to upset these birds. They will attack with a vengeance to protect those little ones.
Anyhow, I just thought I’d share that. I also want to share some funny stuff, too. I hope you get to chuckle.
He had found me and sent me a smile. So I smiled right back. And later that evening I received an email with the subject line “Crayons are in the mail”. It started off like this:
“Thanks for the smile. You made my day! Really loved your profile. You hit the nail right on the head (and adorable to boot)...”
And had this image attached to it, which made me laugh out loud:
You have to have read this post to understand why this is funny.
I fired off an email in return and received another one from him the next day. So I sent one more. Then he did. And for the next few days we were exchanging emails back and forth regularly; silly, uplifting and playful emails that had us both laughing out loud and looking forward to the next one. In less than a week he gave me his number and I called him; adding a voice to the words and all the photos we shared. And every night, after I put the kids to bed, we ended our day on the phone together sharing stories, laughing heartily, learning about one another and becoming closer. We were pleasantly surprised at how similar we were right down to our upbeat personalities and wacky senses of humour.
Things moved very quickly between us with those emails and phone calls, and we connected at a level and speed that was both wonderful and frightening. I had sworn I was going to be cautious and take it very slow and yet I didn’t care to honour it with this man. Everything about him was so comfortable...and familiar. It felt like we were catching up rather than just getting started. But no matter how much we were enjoying this period and how fond we had become of one other, it was still just a virtual connection. We hadn’t met face to face and there was always the possibility that once we did, the chemistry wouldn’t be there, as sometimes happens.
In one email he joked:
So, wanna meet? (Notice how skillfully I fit that in here?) Nothing stressful, just for a coffee or something. I really would like to check this out in real-time (and not be limited to my two-finger typing technique). You know, just a chance to see the look in your eyes, hear your voice, savor your sweet fragrance… sweep you off your feet in a crushing embrace, our hearts beating faster and faster...whoa boy! Easy now! Whoa! Good boy! Well maybe we shouldn’t sit too close together. Seriously? I promise to be a perfect gentleman. Anyway, give it some thought and let me know.
And since I always kept pace with his silliness, something he enjoyed, I wrote back:
Smooth question...very smooth. In fact so smooth that it bypassed me completely when I read your email this afternoon as I snuck onto the site while my co-workers looked the other way. And while I was at the market after work, in the bread section, minding my own business in deep thought about the ecological issues of this world...alllll of a sudden WHAM, I got this sudden mental flashback like a big lightning bolt, not a light bulb mind you (the type of insight someone who spent years taking drugs would get...theoretically speaking of course...not that I would know anything about such things :) And I stopped dead in my tracks (causing other people to collide behind me) and saw the whoooole sentence before me like a revelation “So, wanna meet?” (Such depth in those words...how could I have bypassed it) And I thought “Could it be? Is it so?” How did such a thing come to be and I missed it? Was it the blinding sun through the window (even though I have no window near me at work)? Could it have been the excess caffeine that I abused my body with throughout the day that escalated my senses causing me only to read every second line on the email? Could it be a conspiracy where as [name of dating site] encrypted sentences that contained words like: meet, coffee, real world…? Was it a deep seated Freudian childhood experience that caused me to psychologically suppress words and sentences deep into my subconscious from the inability to face them? So I waited until my children went to bed, pooled all the courage from inside me and did the unthinkable. I pressed the button with a trembling finger and I logged on! And alas and behold, there it was. It was not my imagination, a hallucination or a mirage (not this time). So I sit here in astonishment and bewilderment at the big question before me and my educated, intellectual and well thought out response is: “Yeah...okay”
To which he answered:
“Ok, now I'm getting really, really worried. I'm starting to have serious doubts that one of my multiple personalities, is stepping out without my knowledge. He's managed get my credit card info, logon to [name of dating site], set up your phony id, with the sole purpose of screwing with my mind...”
This is the type of fun we would have with our emails. Phone calls, too. And it was incredible. But the question "So, wanna meet?" had been put out there and the time had come to take this connection to the next level. Meet in person. See if we clicked that way. There was a possibility that all this would come to an end if the chemistry just wasn't there in real time but it was a risk we had to take. Because we had to know either way.
So we made plans to meet in the afternoon on Saturday, May 18, 2002. A day that is etched in my mind forever.
So at the beginning of May, just days before I was set to quit the online dating world, I ran across a new kid on the block who was breathing new life into an otherwise monotonous website. And I laughed out loud as I read his profile. Here it is (with permission):
Found: Adorable stray... Found in Montreal West, this warm and affectionate animal responds to the name "George" or "C'mere Boy" or even to the smell of cooked bacon. Possibly abandoned by former owner, this caring and loyal animal is house-broken and won't chew-up the furniture (although he has been known to nibble at times). Doesn't drool or bark, but does prefer to sleep on the bed. Has not been neutered, but will not mistake your leg for the female of the species either (Hmmm?). Loves kids and can do neat tricks like rolling over and playing dead (especially on Saturday mornings). The perfect addition to any family... So who am I really? I already told you, but let me expand: To the uninitiated, I'm a well-mannered, good-humored but reserved type of guy. To the initiated, I'm a real sleazeball (just kidding!). Young at heart, I love to play... Hold the "Oh! One of those!” I do take my responsibilities seriously (and yes, I do have a real job). But on that subject, I have to admit I'm not aggressively clawing my way up the corporate ladder either. It's a job, and it pays the bills...period. Maybe if I make it as a Hollywood actor someday, I'll feel different about it... Naw! I think I prefer life with the "real" people. The only folks I have to impress are the people I love. This also somewhat explains how I feel about competition in general. If you want to impress me, do it by sharing the depth of your passion or conviction, not by reciting a boring list of possessions, knowledge and accomplishments that reads like a sales brochure. So what am I looking for? A sweet, petite, lean & mean fu@#ing-machine... Wow! I can hear the sound of all those "back" buttons clicking from way over here! But seriously? "I want a girl, just like the girl who married dear old dad"! (That should keep the amateur psychologists busy for a while). Send a smile... It's free! Disclaimers: No picture, no reply. No return smile, no reply. All substance abusers and clingy brain-dead type life forms with unbelievable expectations need not apply. Same goes for people who always want to be entertained (I'm not a machine). I am currently married and negotiating the separation agreement. The ex moved out 7 months ago, after 2 years of soul-searching (yes, it's really, really over). C'est la vie! PS: As Rodney Dangerfield said: "It's been so long since I had sex, that when dogs see me coming, they cross over to the other side of the street". Gee, I hope it really is like riding a bicycle...
HOLYMOLY…what fun! Extremely refreshing after viewing dozens and dozens of generic profiles with generic lines. I was fascinated by this man who stood out from the crowd with his creativity, crazy imagination and wonderful sense of humour. And I didn’t even know what he looked like because there was no photo attached. It was possible that he’d submitted one at the same time he uploaded his profile but images have to be approved first therefore it would be a day or two before it was visible. And what were the chances that I would like what he looks like as much as I liked what he had to say?
The next evening, a Friday, after my kids had been picked up by their father for his weekend visit with them, I logged onto the dating site to check whether this man’s profile had a photo attached and sure enough, there it was:
OHMYGOSH...I even like how he looks! OHMYGOSHOHMYGOSH! Be still my beating heart. Now all I had to do was send him a smile, which was totally free, to show him that I’m interested. And if he sent me a smile back, I would then send him an email or contact him through the site’s instant messaging. All I had to do was press the button...
I stared and stared and stared at the computer screen for what seemed like eternity. And you know what I did in the end? Absolutely nothing. I decided to log off, shut down my computer and let fate decide. In a few days I was going to disappear from the online dating world (I was still going ahead with it) and if the two of us were meant to cross paths, this man would find me, just like I’d found him.
The next morning (Saturday, May 4th, 2002), when I logged onto the site, there was a smile waiting for me. From him.
“The camera has always been a guide, and it's allowed me to see things
and focus on things that maybe an average person wouldn't even notice.”
- Don Chadwick -
I didn’t know what to share today and then I thought to myself “You know, I think it’s been awhile since I did an ‘Interesting Sightings’ post. And self said “You’re right”. So smart that self. I tell you, I just don't know what I'd do without self. My self? Or myself? Well, whatever.
Here are some interesting, unusual, fascinating and even entertaining things I’ve spotted with camera in hand. I hope you enjoy them!
Is it just me or does this look like a face? Two spooky eyes and a tongue sticking out.
This has to be the oddest ship I've ever seen! (Spotted in Ottawa)
Docked ducks. Try saying that a few times.
One of the best names I've ever seen for a boat. Today. That's where our focus should be.
This is a (partial) shot of the six-floor 'living wall' at the University of Ottawa. It has been billed as the highest of its type in North America. It is spectacular!
A dog day afternoon - literally - in Havana, Cuba.
A young lady in an amazing costume feeding the pigeons in Havana, Cuba.
Had a good laugh with this store sign!
This is how they washed in the 1800s (at least the more privileged).Seen in Bellevue House National Historic Site of Canada; the home to Canada's first Prime Minister,
Sir John Alexander Macdonald from 1848 to 1849. The house has been restored to the 1840s period.