Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Yeah You Leave Me Holding on, In Red Hill Town

Or “What’s the Takeaway”

I heard this U2 song on the way to work yesterday and it stayed with me throughout the day.  A better title from the song for today’s post would be “there’s no going back, through hands of steel…”  But that might not have been so recognizable so I’ll just go with the above.

The other week I had a meeting with several of my counterparts at work with our VP of Finance to go over budgeting and some "strategery" (just wanted to throw in a “W” word just to show how smart I amJ).  At the end as we were wrapping up the VP said to us “so what are the takeaways.”  I have heard that before but not in awhile and it got me to thinking, not just about our “strategery” session, but life in general.  Isn’t it good to go through our experiences and assess “what’s the takeaway?”  As I said earlier in the week I have an anniversary of sorts on Saturday, April 2nd (see here if you want more info).  Yes, that is the day I heard about Ashley Madison and thus began this adventure I am now on and describing for you here.  So with that in mind perhaps it is a good time to look back and see “what are my takeaways” from this experience.  Although since I have only gotten to about last August in my blog I won’t do any spoilers today.

  • After several initial failures I studied several AM consumer reports.  One guy mentioned that he had some success but one outgrowth was that he had started to work out to get himself in physical shape.  I had begun working out consistently about 4 months prior to registering with AM but this gave me a goal to work toward.  After having some success I became driven to get in even better shape.  I did a physical assessment a few weeks ago and I am in all excellent to very good categories for my age.  In fact I participated in an intramural swim meet 2 weeks ago and whipped some college age boys (and I had not swum competitively since I was in college).
  • Soon after reading the blog Ashley and Me I knew I wanted to put my tale on paper so to speak.  I loved writing in college and had thoughts of being a sportswriter but didn’t.  I have loved writing this blog and have enjoyed the feedback.  In fact now I find myself wanting to go in different directions with completely different storylines.  Maybe even try my hand at a book.
  • If you’ve read this blog you can see I suffer from “nice guy syndrome.”  I am glad to say that I have not forsaken being a nice guy but by having the ability to be a new person to others I have been able to be more daring without seeing the skepticism in the eyes of a familiar face.  You bring no baggage to AM and the blogosphere; you are not pre-judged based on past behavior, so you are free to re-invent yourself in the manner you wish.
  • I have really enjoyed meeting and corresponding with fellow bloggers!  In fact, and this might be a bit of a spoiler, I rarely venture onto AM anymore.  Blogging is way more fun and self-actualizing for me now.  And not that this is anything crazy just realizing people are going through the same issues and feelings.  One fellow blogger and I just e-mail back and forth occasionally and talk college basketball and NASCAR (go figure)!
  • Oh and I tend to be a bit tight assed and prudish.  Out here on the blogoshere I can open up.  In fact I have had a virtual potty dialogue with another blogger, that is very atypical of me (don’t worry; it’s really not gross at all – just me being an assJ).  But I’m glad to NOT be so tight assed!  France, I'm failing at my own advise here!
  • Candor - the state or quality of being frank, open, and sincere in speech or expression.  Yes candor can be tough but in a world where so many tweets and blogs are so mean spirited I have found it enlightening and satisfying to hear the caring candor of several people in response to my story.  And that gives me great perspective on how I should feel, how I should look at myself, and perhaps even where my path will go from here.
  • Serenity Now!  Just like George Costanza’s dad, the experiences on AM and here on the blog have given me the ability to silently say “serenity now” when things are not quite so good in other life ventures J
Oh and I almost forgot – SEX!  That’s been fairly sublime!  Thanks Alicia and other ladies in my current and future story!  Happy Ashley Madison Anniversary to ME!

Anyone else want to share some take aways or just some "strategery!"

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What I'd Say

I copied and pasted these lyrics (below) into a blog entry a while back just in case I was at a loss for words one week.  I guess you could say it's an emergency spare post.  However, I'm coming toward an anniversary of sorts later this week that I will talk about later so maybe this is a good set up for that so here we go.

A few people have made comments about why I tolerate Shannon.  Of course anyone who has ever been in a relationship knows they are complicated and what makes sense for one person doesn't necessarily make sense for someone else.  I certainly won't try to make sense out of my marriage in a one page blog entry, they write whole books about that kind of stuff.

But there is a song on the Classic Country station I listen to that I believe best and most succinctly puts into perspective my feelings on the subject.  So here it is:

What I'd Say

Talking to the mirror, whispering your name
It's just like you were here, you'd think I was insane

I hold these conversations, the silence of my room
Rehearsing all the things I'd say should I run into you

"How's it going?" might be what I'd say
Well you broke my heart you know, looks like rain today
But, God I've missed you since you went away
You're looking well or go to hell might be what I'd say

There's times I've been so angry I could put my fist right through the wall
And then there times I've come so close to giving you a call

I love you and I hate you all at the same time
And then I pray you'd come back to me before I lose my mind

"Hows it going?" might be what I'd say
Well you broke my heart you know, looks like rain today
But God I've missed you since you went away
You're looking well or go to hell might be what I'd say

Or maybe God I've missed you since you went away
You're looking well or go to hell might be what I'd say   

I've read many other blogs and this seems to be a common theme.  Perhaps its passive aggressive behavior, perhaps its being gulable, perhaps it's not wanting to admit failure after sticking with something for so long, who knows?  Or maybe it's just settling into a familiarity with the distance and pain so much that you can simply talk about the weather with someone that makes you angrier than you ever thought possible.

I have also been thinking of that Elton John song "Love Lies Bleeding" a lot recently, maybe that will be my theme for later in the week.

Oh it doesn't seem a year ago
To this very day
You said I'm sorry honey
If I don't change the pace
I can't face another day

Thoughts anyone?

Friday, March 25, 2011

FFF Kissed by the Sun

God I remember the Summer of '58 like it was yesterday.  It was after Elvis and before the Beatles, but more importantly Bautista was still hanging on and Havana was one wonderful place for a young kid with an eye on life's experiences. 

My doting Cuban mom and strict Merchant Marine dad wanted college for me but I wanted a different education so I spent one youthful summer in Cuba.   I had spent some time on fishing and pleasure boats out of Key Biscayne and saved enough money for a Gibson guitar bought at a pawn shop in South Beach.  I had taught myself a few jazz and Latin riffs so I was sure I could get a few gigs in Havana or at worst make a living playing pool or poker.

What I didn’t realize was that I would be going to school.

That summer in Havana was where I met Nadja.  She was a dancer at a club I performed at on occasion and was a rare beauty who's hair had been "kissed by the sun" as they used to say.

On those warm Havana nights Nadja gave me the education that every boy dreams of but few ever receive.

Thanks for the idea!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Where is My Happy Ending

Shannon’s Story – Part V

This is part V of a series of sub-blogs written from my best attempt at writing from my wife’s perception of our life together.  If you are reading this blog for the first time I would request you go to the beginning (here) and start reading or go to any entry that looks interesting but don’t start here as this entry is a bit of a diversion from my previous direction.  The start of Shannon's story is here.

Shannon speaking….
Do you remember Brent from my earlier blog entry?  Brent was now a VP for this company Ryan and I both worked for and was over Ryan’s account and the account I worked for.  I had traveled with Brent once or twice for sales presentations as support.  When Brent found out I had quit he offered me a job to stay.  He said I could work from home and work on a project by project basis for him.  With that I couldn’t really say no.

As I said this was a fairly decent time.  I traveled a little during my second pregnancy but the work pace was not too difficult.  I went from a 1 hour commute to no commute at all and working from home I could really focus on projects and was no longer bothered by the mundane aspects of typical office environments, this was truly my environment.

About four months after our second daughter was born I started traveling for work more often.  It was very difficult to balance work and family but the work challenges were becoming more exciting and my role was becoming more formal and I enjoyed the respect I was receiving.

The short era of contentment in our marriage was drawing to a close.  As I became more successful I felt I didn’t need Ryan as much, he seemed to become smaller and less significant.  I was becoming more in control.  We did attempt marriage counseling but the counselor seemed a bit odd.  We went for about five sessions and stopped.  Her two brilliant conclusions were that I needed a friend and might have a thyroid imbalance.  The only problem I had was that Ryan was an ass!

Actually, I have to say that Ryan had become a very good dad.  It was ironic that as I achieved my goals of becoming a mother I found career success and as Ryan had found the job he had been hoping for he started to become a family man.  But being a good dad didn’t make me attracted to him and I had certainly lost any spark that had once been in our marriage.  Although by now, our struggles had been so intense and so long that it was hard to remember a time when we were ever happy.

I remember Ryan found an article in a magazine I had purchased once, it was about new parents.  There was one quote from a women talking about her husband that said “I fell in love with him all over again (after having children).”  Ryan was very confused, he felt by being a good dad, by being more active around the house, by being the one who helped out on field trips, he was becoming the person I wanted and I would be happier in the marriage.

Two things were wrong with that.  First, there is a Sarah McLachlan song with the words “it's a long way down to the place where we started from.”  For us I would change that thought to “it’s a long way down from where we started.  And it would be a long way back up and maybe an impossible climb.  Second, I wanted someone who understood my dreams, someone who respected me.  Simply folding the laundry, cooking dinner, and taking care of the kids was not necessarily what attracted me.  This was not really what I asked for and I just didn’t want to settle.  I simply wanted more and was beginning to see a path to getting more out of life.  After all, I had earned through my accomplishments this path that I was now on!

My work pace accelerated rapidly and often I was on the road 3 days a week.  And I was traveling with Brent often now.  Brent has a very magnetic personality and people seem to be drawn to him, he tends to create an almost cult-like attraction within his “team” (as he called us).

Brent started asking me questions about Ryan that seemed odd.  Questions like, “who wears the pants in the family?”  “Does Ryan object to your travel?”  “What will Ryan think when you are making more money?”

And of course there were the looks and the vibes.  I knew Brent was interested in me.  Brent had a reputation as a ladies man.  It was rumored that there were more than a few women who he slept with throughout his region.  Coincidentally, Brent looks a bit like Tim Robbins in The Player, and yes he can be “a player.”

I think by being from the south I also fit some romantic image he sought.  He often kidded me about my accent, although I don’t really have a strong one.  Even though Brent was from the North, I think he secretly had a southern soul.  He is really into NASCAR and hunting on the personal side although, as I learned guys from Minnesota, Wisconsin, etc can be just as redneck as those from the south.  He also started to share a few tidbits about his marriage and his unhappiness at home.

What I have learned is that guys will probe, carefully stepping out onto the ice to see how far they can step out.  Brent is from the Upper Midwest and he knows about ice fishing, and he was definitely ice fishing with me, taking those first careful steps out.

But for now it was exciting to be around him and it was intoxicating to have someone value my opinion and abilities and figuratively hold me up on a pedestal.

to be continued…..

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

When people say, 'She's got everything', I've got one answer - I haven't had tomorrow.

Elizabeth Taylor died earlier this morning.  What a beautiful woman and what a life!

Above is a quote from her.  Of course never forget to live in the present but also don't forget about making sure tomorrow is going to be good as well.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Indiana Wants Me, Lord I Can’t Go Back There

Shannon’s Story – Part IV

This is part IV of a series of sub-blogs written from my best attempt at writing from my wife’s perception of our life together.  If you are reading this blog for the first time I would request you go to the beginning (here) and start reading or go to any entry that looks interesting but don’t start here as this entry is a bit of a diversion from my previous direction.  The start of Shannon’s story is (here).

I have been using music Shannon likes for her story thus far.  She is an 80/90’s alternative lady.  But here I couldn’t resist.  The song above is a one hit wonder from the early 70’s.  I have noticed over the years that Classic Radio sometimes has subtle differences from region to region.  Indiana Wants Me is a song that I heard fairly often in the Mid-West (and occasionally on satellite) but never in any other part of the country.  I’ll leave a clip at the bottom of this entry (please take a listen), it is very chivalrous.

Shannon speaking….
I joined Ryan for one of his interviews in the Mid-West.  He was meeting his potential new boss. At the time I noticed that this new boss, Brent, was very striking.  He had that classic Minnesota/Scandinavian look with steely blue eyes, blond hair, tall, strikingly professional, and very serious looking.  Of course that image quickly faded along with the image of any other attractive man one might see in the mall or at a restaurant.  But my road and Brent’s would cross again one day.

As I said before, Ryan and I never resolve anything we just move forward down the road of least resistance hoping that some meaning will come to the surface.  So with that I found myself moving again.  I had the laparoscopic surgery the previous summer and had just completed six months of medication so my window of opportunity for pregnancy was brief before the specter of endometriosis would stir again.  So in my mind I would get pregnant within six months and hope for the best, if not I guess it would be divorce and back to mom and dad.  Ryan did his part of course, why not!  Sex had mostly been absent for six months during treatment so for him this was good luck.

My career track was both lucky and unlucky.  All I really wanted right now was to be a mom.  However, I got a job in marketing with the same company Ryan was working for but at a different location.  I had to drive an hour each way to get to my office.  The drive was torture and I often cried the entire drive.

Happily I did get pregnant after about three months of trying.  Being pregnant and preparing kept my mind blissful and we also bought a house so for the moment I was content.  And of course nine months later we had a beautiful daughter so things were OK for now.

I was not excited to go back to work.  The thought of leaving my newborn daughter each day was exasperating.  Additionally, my boss had recently gotten a promotion and I did not like my new boss.  I held out for one torturous year.  Ryan and I fought constantly about money and what would happen if I stayed home.  To Ryan we would be on welfare, to me I had to ask what is the price of happiness?

Finally Ryan relented and I quit my job and I was happy.  I guess the thought or “negotiated solution” was that I would find something part time and more local.  Everything with Ryan seems to be arbitration L

What really saved me and was the justification that finally convinced Ryan to relent about my job was that I was again pregnant.  About two years after our first daughter was born we had a second daughter.

One thing Ryan and others have always said to me that has always made me mad is “you are great at finding jobs; you will always land on your feet.”  Of course that is always said in justification for some move.  That being said, things always seem to land on my lap.

So just as I was excited to become a “stay at home” mom or at least “gleefully underemployed” a great career opportunity came my way from an intriguing source.

And although the next year would be pretty good within the family I didn’t know at the time that the die had been cast for the next phase of my life.

to be continued…..

Thursday, March 17, 2011

She Took Me to the Garden Just for a Little Walk

So can anyone tell me the name of the group who sang those lyrics?  Hint: they were essentially the Jonas Brothers of their era, teen heartthrobs.  But their music was heavily influenced by the Byrds and this particular song has a very Flying Burrito Brothers quality which means I love it!

OK, so today is a great day to write a blog entry.  For all of you non-Americans none of us are working today and I mean that literally!  Today and tomorrow are statistically the least productive American work days for the entire year (see below):

So for me why stop at watching basketball all afternoon, I may as well screw off all morning writing a blog entry as well J

So what are your Final Four teams?  Mine are Duke, Ohio State, Kansas, and St. John’s with Kansas beating Ohio State in the final.

OK, the actual point of today’s blog is to get back to my Sandra story which is why I chose the lyrics above.  If you don’t remember Sandra here is another introduction (here).

If you don’t want to re-read, Sandra is a 5’10” blond bombshell/48 year old “trophy wife” I met on AM and we have had our first date.  The following week I had to go to the left side of the country for a family vacation so there was no immediate second date.  But during that week on the right side of the country Sandra had her 49th birthday so I did send her an e-card and stayed in touch via e-mail.

When I got back to the right side of the country I called Sandra and we had a great talk about our weeks and set our second date for a picnic at that country store place I was going to take Alecia to back in May.  Sandra had been there and it was one of her favorite places as well!

So we meet there.  This is a country store that has been turned into an upscale wine, cheese, and gourmet food shop.  Across the road is an old mill with a beautiful little stream and a picnic area.  We have lunch and spend at least an hour just talking.  After, we drive about 2 miles to this old church and take a walk through an old graveyard.  No I’m not a necrophiliac; Sandra likes old graveyards – its fun figuring out the family histories through gravestones.  The old church is pretty secluded so before we leave we enjoy a very long passionate kiss in Sandra’s car.  I love it when someone I am comfortable with runs their fingers through my hair.  Sandra’s right hand was in my hair and her left between my legs as we kissed.  I ran my hands over her knees and delicately progressed up her legs.  I met no roadblocks as I went inside of her skirt.  This was wonderful but alas not quite the place for sex so we stopped there for now.

My story is now in August and that tends to be a very busy time for me, and not a great time for affairs.  The following week I really wanted to see Sandra but couldn’t really afford to drive any length of time to see her.  So Sandra drove up to see me one evening which was a bit of risk given my small town.  We did have dinner at an out of the way place I was fairly sure I would not see any acquaintances.  After, we drove around the area and did stop in town.  There are a lot of nice boutique shops that I thought Sandra would enjoy.  Two funny things happened then that were great lessons.

We parked on the street in town and walked to the other side to see 2 shops I though Sandra would like to just window shop.  Additionally, the sky was looking very ominous as a storm was nearing.  As we walked about 100 yards away from the car the sky simply open up and it started pouring!  We dashed under a small eve outside of one shop for some temporary though not perfect cover.  I turned to look inside the shop (I know the owner) and there inside was a little girl that is a friend of my daughter L  And of course the little girl says “that’s *******’s dad.”  Luckily, I don’t think anyone really paid attention to her and in my job I could simply be meeting with someone, we were not holding hands or kissing so I was OK but big lesson learned (NO MORE MEETING IN MY BACKYARD).

But the other lesson was much better but first we had to get across the street and out of the rain.  So I offer to get the car and drive over.  Sandra gives me the keys and I run across; drenched by the time I get to her car.  I get in a try to start the car.  Now I like to try to portray myself a suave and distinguished in this blog but unfortunately that is not always the case.  Sandra as I said previously has one of those very expensive European style cars and stupid me has no clue how to start it.  So I have to run back across the street, getting further drenched and ask how to start it.  Apparently you put the key in the side near the gear rather than near the steering wheel.  Anyway I get the car started, pull across the street, and pick Sandra up.  While sparing Sandra a little she is still very wet and I am drenched.

But the lesson?  OK, in my marital experience if something I did with Shannon such as show her a shop delayed her as little as a nanosecond and that nanosecond caused her to have one drop of rain hit her head she would have “torn me a new butt hole” as they say down here.  As Billy Crystal says in “When Harry Met Sally,” “You’re the worst kind, you think you’re low maintenance but you’re really high maintenance.”

Now, compare that to Sandra.  First, you need to get a real good visual on Sandra.  This is an immaculately put together woman; I guess the best analogy would be Samantha from Sex and the City.

But as we pull away both sopping wet we just have the best laugh.  And so ends our third date.

Next week would be busy again only time for a quick lunch in a town between us (this time) but things are looking good so far.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Cracklin' Rosie You're a Store Bought Woman but You Make Me Sing Like a Guitar Hummin'

OK dear readers, so we all know the blogosphere is a wonderful place to discuss our transgressions, our faults, and make admissions of things we wouldn't admit to the rest of the world.  So with that in mind I have a deep confession to make today (again writing off the cuff today due to inspiration from last night).

So I am driving home from work and feeling cool while listening to First Wave on XM radio.  If I am remembering correctly as the Inxs song I was listening to concluded the DJ Richard Blades starts to discuss a potential reunion of Berlin (you know he dated the lead singer Terri Nunn back in the day).  Anyway after discussing that he begins to talk about Neil Diamond's recent acceptance into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and then he says in celebration of that, XM radio has a Neil Diamond station through the weekend on channel 23.

And then I find myself at a moral crossroad.  Do I turn away from the Cure?  Do I change that channel from 44 to 23?  Oh, I think you know the answer!

Yes, I did it and it felt great!  Those beautiful Neil songs washed over my soul like Jennifer Anniston pouring warm fudge over my body and then gently licking it off :)

And the things you learn!  I didn't know that he wrote Red Red Wine (you know the one UB40 recorded back in the 80's).

Funny thing though, one of the songs that played was a Neil Diamond cover of "Do You Know the Way to San Jose," which is a Burt Bacharach song and performed by Dionne Warwick.

Anyway, I again enjoyed the Neil channel this morning and felt great as I listened to the song above!  So if you have XM radio turn to channel 23, you'll be glad you did even if a little embarrased :)

"Oh, I love my Rosie child you got the way to make me happy you and me, we go in style...."

Here's a clip from one of my favorite movies "Saving Silverman," another movie I identify with (and not because I look like Jack Black) - Shannon is a bit like the female lead (Judith).

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

We Can’t Go On Together with Suspicious Minds

Or This is What You Get When You Mess with Us

Oh I do love a little Elvis every now and again! But I couldn’t decide if I wanted to go “old school” with Elvis or new school with Radiohead.  I hate to waste such good lyrics like Karma Police on this dopey post so I may use that song again in the future.

My writing mind has not been very active during the past week so my best effort for today is this.  I did write this in my mind about 2 weeks ago on a plane ride back home so while the thought is silly it is true.

So what do all of us here in the infidelity blog world fear most!  Yes, getting caught or even suspicion for that matter.  So it is with trepidation that I admit old Ryan has recently been the subject of some suspicion on Shannon’s part.

You say, “you fool – how could you leave Ashley Madison cookies on your computer!”  Oh my, I am dumb but I’m not stupid – like Riff I keep most of this mischief in my spare time at work – of course many at my work would say all my time is spare J

My demise was the dreaded Facebook and maybe my own mouth!  Yes I have been on Facebook a number of years and have accumulated a lot of friends from work, previous work, high school, and college.  Don’t you just love seeing those old girl friends that seemed so perfect back in the day but are now well past prime!  I say that as if I am some George Clooney type getting better over time J Oh, and that sweetheart couple from high school?  Divorced of course!

Anyway, I recently went on a trip with Shannon to I’ll say another town.  She asked me what I was going to do while I was there?  Meaning, what was I going to do by myself as Shannon was to be otherwise occupied (this was work for her).  I mentioned that a guy I used to work with lived in this town and that I would like to see him, he was a really good person and I enjoyed working with him.  We started to talk about (I’ll say Blake) and I mentioned that Blake was gay.  It also came up that I knew he worked in this town because he was a Facebook friend.

Well there were no overt prosecutorial questions that resulted from this conversation but I could tell by the end of the conversation that Shannon’s mind was spinning.  Of course in Shannon’s mind it has been quite a while since Ryan has gotten any sexual stimulation.  She also probably knows that I still have a heart-beat (hence in need of sex if you are male and have a heart beat).  Of course knowing Shannon, she would assume I am too obtuse to carry out a successful affair so I soon see her line of progressive logic! Yep, she is thinking – “has Ryan stepped to the other side of the batter’s box, has he changed teams?” J

And she may be thinking this because in her mind as Jeff Foxworthy says:

"There are some similarities between gay men and married men, for example...if you're a guy and you sleep in a bed with a dust ruffle and more than eight pillows you're either gay or your married (check). If you've ever gone antique shopping in the middle of a big football game (check, except ballet rehearsal)'re either gay or you're married...if you can't remember the last time you had sex with a're either gay or you're married (check, Shannon would assume)"

Oh the exquisite irony!  I know I am a horse’s ass J

OK, enough silliness I’ll get back to my Sandra story a little later this week!

And Blake, I couldn’t get in touch with him.  So I had some good alone time running along the beach and thinking up more twisted blog entries J

And on a religious note I’ve decided to do what I did last year for lent.  I gave up celibacy!  Let’s hope it works again this year J (note, I’m not really a Catholic just pretend sometimes)

Or maybe I should just go back to watching Will & Grace at the gym???

Friday, March 11, 2011

I’m a (Wo)Man Who Doesn’t Know How to Sell a Contradiction

Shannon’s Story – Part III

This is part III of a series of sub-blogs written from my best attempt at writing from my wife’s perception of our life together.  If you are reading this blog for the first time I would request you go to the beginning (here) and start reading or go to any entry that looks interesting but don’t start here as this entry is a bit of a diversion from my previous direction.  Part I of Shannon's story is here if you have not read thus far.

Shannon speaking….
Yes, it happened.  Sammie and I had the most powerful and passionate sex I have ever had.  As we finished I couldn’t believe what had just happened.  I felt deep guilt and complete bliss at the same time.  And I had no clue where I would go from that point.

Ryan can be a bit of a prude.  In fact we have joked before that he is more the female and I am more the male in our sexual relationship.  Ryan likes to cuddle, he likes foreplay and kissing, he can be coy; I like fast paced, raunchy and energetic sex.  No matter who it is I get bored after about 20 minutes, maybe I’m ADD?  With Sammie I was not bored; he pushed me to the edge.

Fortunately or unfortunately fate dictated my direction soon after Sammie and I had sex for the first time.  The small town where we lived had a very tight information network and apparently either Sammie was “kissing and telling” or his roommate had caught on.  At any rate a few weeks after Sammie and I consummated our attraction one of Sammie’s coaches stopped by to see me and confronted me about the relationship.  Without confirming the coach simply said I could no longer see Sammie.  I was scared and mortified.  I told Ryan about the encounter with the coach seeking comfort and advice.  It felt odd going to him but he was all I had at this point.  But I was even more shocked at Ryan’s response.

Stupidly I had been keeping a computer journal of my relationship with Sammie (that is what people did before the days of blogging).  Ryan had apparently found the journal and had read it and was apparently in the process of trying to find out if it was all real.  This might now be his confirmation.  I denied everything but he said he didn’t believe me.  So what to do now?

Luckily Ryan’s job searching (I mentioned earlier) was soon successful and he got that job in the Mid-Atlantic.  Ryan is selfish and his career success soon blinded him to my indiscretions.  So I got off lucky when Ryan became caught up in the excitement of our move and his success.  It’s funny, as glad as I was to apparently “dodge the bullet” I was dumbfounded by Ryan’s lack of passionate anger in response to his discovery.  He seemed cold, like an impartial jury, not a man who was driven to save his marriage and win me back.  I wanted to be cherished not simply let off the hook due to a technicality.  But, for now, the good thing was we were leaving and hopefully leaving our problems.  But, as I said before, we never really resolve anything we just change the scenery and hope the plot gets better.  But like a bad horror movie parts II, III, IV, etc never really get better.

In our new town we would only be about 3 hours away from our hometowns, I was very happy.  The first few months were great.  Ryan was not working as much, we could travel to interesting places for the day, and I got to see my family more often.  But that didn’t last.  Finding a job was hard and I ended up with a job as a receptionist in a very crabby office.

Ryan quickly went back to his work-a-holic syndrome.  And I was left with a dead end job I hated but had to work because Ryan always said we have to pay the bills.  Seriously, when did I sign up to be married to my father? 

What kept me occupied during this time was my longing to start a family and purchase a home.  We did find a lovely home in the country perched up on a hill with the prettiest little river running through our back yard.  I loved having a yard and home of my own to plan for and design.  On the family side we tried diligently for a year before I was diagnosed with endometriosis.  I had laparoscopic surgery and started on medication which threw my body completely off cycle.

During this lovely time and only 1 year after moving into our new home, Ryan decided that this escape job we were so happy with just two years before was now a dead end.  Ryan began looking again for that golden career challenge and soon found another opportunity in the Mid-West.  I protested vehemently but to no avail.  Ryan was determined to advance his career so we were on the move again right when I was hoping to start a family.

to be continued…..

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

She Saw the Look in His Eyes

"I'm talkin' about character. I'm talkin' about - hell. Leo, I ain't embarrassed to use the word - I'm talkin' about ethics."   -   Johnny Casper from Miller's Crossing

I love Gangster movies and this is one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite gangster movies.  Of course the thought of a ruthless mob boss talking about ethics is hilarious but when you think about it ethics is always relative to the situation.  To me the proper way to run illegal liquor (in the case of Miller's Crossing) is odd but to the mobsters there are rules and ethics about their work.

So what does this have to do with anything?  Well, today I did not intend to write an entry.  This is in fact a rare occasion where I am writing directly and off the cuff into Blogger.  But this morning Wally Cleaver on Sex and the Shitty had a wonderful and insightful entry about men and how we relate to women on a "friendly" basis.  The one quote I didn't see in his post from that same Chris Rock bit is when Chris eloquently states correctly that "men are as faithful as their options."  So true, we are just like dogs around food, as faithful as our options!

Anyway, I had read Wally's post while briefly stopping by the office.  I then went over to the gym and spent my time exercising and contemplating the wisdom of the entry and happened upon an ethical paradox.  Hence, the link with the quote above.

And before I start I would really like some female feedback after this (please)!

So here is what happened.  I like to finish a workout with a big blow-out on the rowing machine for about 10 minutes.  The rowing machine is directly behind the row of Stair Masters.  Often while rowing I have noticed that if a women is on the stair master they almost always turn around at one point to see if I'm stairing at their rear end (I'm sure this is instinct).  And of course sometimes I am :)  Today I was on the rowing machine and of course there was a woman on the Stair Master.  She is probably around 40 and fairly attractive.  I have seen her around but don't know her.  Now as much as I portray myself as a cad I am actually a fairly decent guy.  So during my workout I focused my attention on the Will & Grace episode on the TV in front of the machines (Fox was on the other TV and on ESPN they were talking about the Miami Heat's latest choke) and paid no attention to this lady's behind.  Of course inevitably I noticed her out of the corner of my eye look back.  Proudly I knew that she saw there was nothing to fear, the galant Ryan was admirably watching Will & Grace and paying no attention to her!

But then I thought, is this galant?  Is this the right thing?  Dare I say, is this the ethical choice?

This poor lady may now be wondering, is my ass not good enough for this guy?  At 40 am I over the hill, am I not to be coveted any more?

So there-in lies the ethical question of the day?  To look or not to look?  What should the aspiring gentlemen do?

Thoughts anyone?  Or as they used to say on SNL's Coffee Tawk "tawk amongst yourselves."

I'm feeling a little vaclempt :)

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Way that You're a Lookin', You Got Me Cookin' and I ain't Talkin' 'bout Etoufee'

Ayeee!  It Mardi Gras tomorrow!  Laissez les bons temps rouler!

A great little cajun’ ditty by George Strait above – “to be with my sweet Adalida, I’d swim the Pontchartrain!”

So speaking about Etoufee, with it being Mardi Gras tomorrow and since I can’t show you my tits  for beads out here in the blogosphere, I’ll just share some cajun’ culinary wisdom with you.  Actually, could I set up an HNT then you could pay me in beads through PayPal?  OK, so the Beaumont blood runs deep southern; in fact I picked this name because it sounded so Southern!  Oh you thought that was actually my real name, oops – forget I said that.  Anyway, I have cooked many a Cajun/creole meal so I have a lot to offer! In fact over the years I believe I have developed a specialty for Southern poor folk food.  Funny how poor folk food finds its way into haute cuisine J

*         Lesson 1:  almost all cajun’ and creole cuisine is based off of a stock flavored by either a Mire Poix (diced onions, carrots, celery) from French cuisine or a derivative and what folks on the Bayou call “The Holy Trinity” which is chopped onions, bell peppers, and celery in a 1:2:3 ratio.  The stock would additionally be flavored with any meat or seafood available and then added to rice, vegetables, etc. to create a gumbo or other dish such as red beans and rice.

*         Lesson 2:  Every good Mardi Gras party needs a King Cake.  A King Cake is decorated with the Mardi Gras colors of the festival of Epiphany (gold, purple, and green).  These colors represent the colors of gold, frankincense, and myrrh which were the gifts the 3 Wise Men gave Jesus (@ Epiphany). Of course Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) is the celebration before the beginning of lent which begins on Ash Wednesday.  This is one final blow-out for Catholics to drink, party, screw, etc just before giving everything up over lent J  A token should be placed in every King Cake symbolizing the Baby Jesus.  Whoever gets the Baby Jesus in their slice is supposed to host the next Mardi Gras party according to lore!  FYI, if anyone wants to see me making a King Cake send me an e-mail and I will give you my AM pass-key, I have it in my private photos (sorry, that was shameful) J

            To make a King Cake take several tubes of Cinnamon roll dough and roll it out as thinly.  Then braid the tubes together (see picture).  Let the dough proof and then bake.  Spread a normal white icing over the top of the cake and sprinkle gold, purple, and green glitter over alternating sections of the cake/braid.

*         Lesson 3:  Blackening spice is a key ingredient in many cajun’ recipies.  It contains several spices but the predominant taste is from the mixture of peppers.  The peppers include white, black, and red (cayenne) pepper – more red if you like it hot!  Additionally add paprika, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, thyme, and oregano.  The spice blend will have a rust color but will turn black on the entrée you add it to once cooked.  Generally you would want to apply the mixture to a thin piece of fish or well pounded chicken so that you can cook at a higher temperature (less time) with the high heat giving the spice blend a crusty texture without overcooking the meat.

*         Lesson 4:  What is the difference between Cajun’ and Creole.  I read once the difference is “nothing and everything!”  Cajun’ is a slurred name for the French Canadians (Acadians) that moved to Louisiana from the Canadian Maritime Provinces.  Creole is derived from a Spanish term and tends to mean “native to the colony” so it represents the melting pot of cultures that developed along the Gulf Coast including French, Spanish, Native American, African American, the West Indies, Central, and South America.  Hence, Creole cuisine is a wonderful blend of the French, Spanish, African, and Native American cuisines.  For example, the spices and the “holy trinity” are derivatives of European cuisine, the seafood was local, and many vegetables such as okra were brought to the New World from Africa.  Cajuns’ tend to live in the county while Creole culture is more cosmopolitan.  Btw, I watched “Interview with A Vampire” last night; Le Stat samples some great Creole ladies in that movie!

*         Lesson 5:  Differences between Etouffe, Gumbo, and Jambalaya
Gumbo has a thick soup/chowder consistency from its base or roux (flour & butter) and is then flavored with stock (w/mire poix), vegetables (usually including okra), and any available meat.  Jambalaya is simply a flavored or “dirty rice” and again using whatever meat is available (sausage, seafood, etc) and perhaps a light stock.  Etouffe means smothered and is basically a stew usually including seafood (shrimp or crawfish) and served over rice.  The more popular Creole style Etouffe adds tomatoes giving it the distinctive red color.

*         Lesson 6:  Let’s Cook – An easy Shrimp n’ Grits (serves 4 to 6)

For the Grits:  8 cups of water, 3 cups of stone ground grits, 1 stick unsalted butter, salt & pepper to taste
For the Sauce:  2 tbs vegetable oil, 1½ # andouille sausage, 1 cup diced bacon, 1½ # (21/25 ct) shrimp (pdv, peeled/deveinied), ½ cup chopped/peeled tomatoes, ¼ cup each of finely sliced scallions and green peppers, 4 tsp minced garlic, 4 tsp Cajun-style blackening spice (see above), 1 cup salt free chicken stock, 4 tbs butter, salt & pepper to taste

For Grits:   Bring water to rolling boil and turn down heat, gently wisk in grits.  Keep grits at a simmer.  Add salt, pepper, and butter when grits are completely immersed but before thick.  Keep on simmer until grits are thick and keep on low heat until shrimp and sauce ready to serve.
For Sauce:  Heat oil on high in sauté pan on stove top burner.  Once oil is sizzling, add bacon and sausage and cook until brown and caramelized.  Reduce heat to medium and add shrimp, tomatoes, scallions, peppers, and garlic.  Once ingredients blended completely stir in Cajun blackening spices.  Next, pour in chicken stock and cook for 1 minute.  Add butter and melt into mixture.  Add salt & pepper to taste.

Serve Shrimp over grits and put a Beausoleil CD on!

Note:      I have to admit this recipe actually comes from a Charleston, SC cookbook but it is good.  Btw, Carolina Low-Country is probably my other favorite cuisine, though very similar to Creole.  I’ll put out some Gullah cuisine at a later date.

I hope I don’t offend anyone here but I can’t help leaving before telling a cajun’ joke, so here goes:
  • Boudreaux was lying on his death bed. The doctor had already told him that he surely wouldn't live another week. Suddenly, and much to Boudreaux's glee, a wonderful aroma hit Boudreaux like a Gulf Coast Hurricane. He knew that the smell meant one thing - his wife had jes’ made her uh pot of gumbo. Boudreaux wanted a bowl sooo bad, but he was no longer able to walk, so he crawlt’ himself out of bed and into the kitchen. Just as Boudreaux was reaching for the pot, his wife barked out, "Boudreaux! Shame on you! You know ‘dat gumbo is going to be for the funeral."  Ayee!
And let me give a shout out to my favorite restaurant of all time.  If you are ever on the Mississippi Gulf Coast go to Mary Mahoney’s Old French House Restaurant, you’ll never forget it – especially if you meet the owner, Bobby.

And Happy Mardi Gras!

Friday, March 4, 2011

We're Just Following Ancient History, if I Strip for You Will You Strip for Me

I don't have anything big to say today but I did want to share this with you.

God help me I do love a good pole dance!  :)

I think I said once I had a funny strip club story, I'll have to work that into an entry down the road.

OK, since I have your attention for a bit I guess I will make one more comment for the day.  Under the catagory of "I told you so" here is a simple answer to why we don't listen.  So its not because we are jerks its because your voice is just impossible to decipher!

Maybe this was why I was hearing Inigo Montoya in my head the other day???

Thursday, March 3, 2011

You May Find Yourself in Another Part of the World

Shannon’s Story – Part II

This is part II of a series of sub-blogs written from my best attempt at writing from my wife’s perception of our life together.  If you are reading this blog for the first time I would request you go to the beginning (here) and start reading or go to any entry that looks interesting but don’t start here as this entry is a bit of a diversion from my previous direction.  Or at least go to Part I of Shannon’s story (here).

But for those of you who have been reading along with me, why would I do such a thing?  Yes to be certain part of it is because my “brain is full of spiders and (I) have garlic in my soul” J  But actually Shannon and I were discussing the Disney shows that our kids watch a few weeks ago.   Most we hate but a few are OK.  Our favorite we decided was Hanna Montana because the adult character played by Billy Ray Cyrus is so well developed and thus an aspect of the show that us adults can understand and relate.  In fact, I enjoy him and the brother Jackson much more than Hanna.  So then I started to think about how horror movies or Gangster films are so much better when the antagonist is developed.  Like Hannibal Lecter, such a terrible person yet intriguing because we are allowed to see his personality through his voice.  Then I started to think about my blog and how I thought it would have more meaning if I gave Shannon a voice.  So here I am.  And I have actually found it easier though admittedly painful to reveal our past through her voice (or at least my interpretation of her voice).  And btw Shannon is not really like Hannibal Lecter, she is not at all into Chianti and Fava beans – she is more of a sweet white wine kind of lady.  Oh, and I don’t think she eats anybody either! J

Shannon speaking….
My feeling throughout this marriage has been that I am clearly not driving this car and I feel like I am the third lead actor in a movie about someone else’s life and I have no control.  Even our honeymoon had to be put on hold.  Rather than going right after we got married we went about 4 months later when it was more CONVENIENT for Ryan.  It was fairly nice though although I had always dreamed of something more than just a week on Florida’s Gulf Coast (there is a reason its called the Redneck Riviera).  And we both got sunburned the first day so we ended up inside a lot and not for sex (which would have been very painful at that point).  A lot of the issues in our marriage have been a result of my struggle to find something for myself or at least rebelling against the path I was on. 

I could write a lot about our first two years together.  But mostly it was about me driving to school and then waiting for Ryan to get home from work.  There was the occasional night out on the weekend.   But often money was tight a message Ryan drove home consistently.  I did have a part time job but we were mostly living on Ryan’s salary and I was in graduate school full time.  Ryan is very frugal and I’ll admit I enjoy spending money so that was often a source of discord.

Mostly I lived for the holidays and summer when we would travel back home or to other places like the time we went to a bowl game to see Ryan’s team – that was enjoyable.  We did spend a New Year’s Eve at Disney and had nice trips to New Orleans and Memphis.  While I hated living in this particular town in the extremely rural Deep South, I always was able to embrace the culture as I am a proud Southerner as well, though more South Atlantic.

Often the weekends seemed worse because I didn’t have school on my mind and the loneliness was just pervasive and controlled me.  But this life did embolden me to be more independent and self-assertive.  On one Spring Break I drove out to Texas to do research for a paper I was writing at the time.  For a lot of reasons I won’t go into here two years prior that would not have been something I would have done.  Graduate school was a challenge but I was excelling and gaining more confidence and I was now seeing myself as a professional

Under those circumstances though I was very susceptible to the fates!

And so toward the end of our 2+ years in that small Southern town fate allowed me to meet Sammie.  Sammie was a college student in the small town where we lived.  He was Latino and was in the States to play basketball.  We crossed paths many days and I could see he was always looking at me.  We finally started speaking and he was always happy to see me and to speak.  He was GORGEOUS!  He was tall, handsome, and had a chiseled physique with a beautiful café au lait complexion.  We began a flirtation for several weeks.  He would stop by where I worked on certain days and I started to make sure I dressed very sexy on those particular days.  One day when Ryan was out of town he stopped by just to check on me, he came in and we talked for a long time.  I began to fantasize about him.  I questioned where I was going with this, but I missed those days when I was coveted.  On another day, soon after, I stopped by his apartment when I was out for a walk – Ryan was working of course.  As I was getting ready to leave Sammie surprised me, grabbing me and kissed me passionately.  I started to pull back but relented and started kissing him back.  After what seemed an eternity he let me go.  We spoke a little longer.  He said he wanted me and had been attracted to me from the start.  He said he had an affair with an older, married woman back in his country before he came to the states.  He said he knew and liked Ryan and didn’t want to change anything for me but he did want to have sex.

Later that week Ryan was going to be at the gym after work and I knew he would be home late, he is always consistent that way.  I invited Sammie over.  I was not sure what would happen, this was a big risk and I was scared but I could not turn back now.

Sammie came over about 15 minutes after Ryan left so there would be about 2 hours before I expected Ryan back.  The bottom living room area of our townhome was too open so we went upstairs to talk.  Of course upstairs there was only 1 bathroom and 2 bedrooms so the only place to talk was sitting at the edge of a bed.  There was some brief small talk to begin with but I knew it was just an appetizer for what I both feared and hoped was surely to come. 

to be continued…..