10 New Year Resolutions for Online Dating

Toad Kissing New Year’s Resolutions: Promises to help you Never Kiss a Toad Again!

Ladies, repeat after me…

In 2012 I will:

  1. Learn to tell the difference between kissing a frog and kissing a toad.
  2. Toad-Proof my Online Dating Profile.
  3. Understand that while I may kiss a couple of frogs this year, I’m going to stay away from the wart-infested toad variety.
  4. Recognize the mating call of the toad so that I stop answering.
  5. Join a Toad Kissing Support Group and help myself and other women avoid warts.
  6. Identify my own personal toad tendencies and work on making sure I am a princess instead of a toad.
  7. Commit to kissing one less toad this year in my search for my handsome prince.
  8. Promise not to give up on online dating and go back to drunk sloppy guy at the bar – realizing that he is and always will be a toad.
  9. Listen to my gut – or at least the guts of my girlfriends – when Toad-Warning signs show up in Neon Pink.
  10. Be true to myself, first – last – always, and not compromise my instincts in the name of Toad Kissing.

And, Dear Friends, I promise to help you!

Happy New Year – Happy New You!

Loving Regards,
Heidi Lee

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Project Toad: Jake’s Online Dating Profile

Friends, you will all be happy to know that our friend Jake survived Thanksgiving Dinner, and he has been able to dedicate time to creating his Match.com profile. He and I spent some time this afternoon figuring out how much of himself he wants to let strangers see online, and we completed his Match.com questionaire together.

Jake struggled with creating his own version of an Anti-Profile. As soon as we got his mind out of the bedroom and into relationship mode, he realized he had no idea who he may be open to meeting. He had no idea of what activities he may enjoy, but he did share that he likes astronomy. Good start – viewing the stars followed by a nice glass of wine.

Jake realized that the women he has always dated wouldn’t fit the profile of the woman who needs to fit into his current life. Jake went to what he knew. When Match asked, “What things do you like?” Jake replied, “Women”.

When the questions came to enjoyable activities, he asked something along the lines of, “Do they mean other than sex?”

Jake manages to find young women who live in party-mode, but he is a business professional and a single father. In his words, he usually meets the girls who are looking for a last-minute “hook-up”, but then they expect the hook-up to last until the next guy trolls along.

Poor, boy-dumb Jake simply has no idea how to meet a woman that he can be proud to present as his date to an office Christmas party without having to worry that she will leave tushy-tracks on the copier.

Match also wanted to know if he was single, married, divorced or separated. Jake wanted to ignore his short-lived marriage because he believed that being a 41-year old divorced father would be a turn-off. As soon as I presented him with my Seinfeld Theory, we were back on track.

After a couple of hours of Toad Kissing therapy, Jake was able to tell me who he hopes to find…

Jake needs a woman who can be as comfortable throwing back a few beers with a couple of close friends as she is hosting a cocktail party for his colleagues. She should also be physically active. We’ve established that she must enjoy exercise from his earlier debacle. Jake identified exercise as a must-have for the woman who becomes part of his world.

Jake’s perfect woman must be confident and comfortable with herself, and she has to have her own interests and commitments. He cannot get involved with a woman who will make her life revolve around his, and she needs to be strong yet gentle enough to tell him when her plans don’t include an invitation for two.

Ok, so all of this is great! We managed to go live on Match.com today, and we even found a couple of cute women that he liked.

Jake asked about using the Wink feature built into Match. I explained from experience that if he finds the woman interesting enough that he needs to take the time and respond to her with an email.

Men who read about a woman’s interests and aspirations should respect her enough to give a creative response. To get the woman to notice him in return, Jake needed to lead with something more than “Hello” in the subject line.

He put together a saucy yet appropriate little note to a lady who showed spunk and energy. And together, we hit the Send  button. Now I find myself sitting anxiously waiting for the phone to ring…hoping Jake is calling me to read me her reply.

Wow, am I living vicariously or what? Tune in…

Kind Regards,

Heidi Lee

Part Two: Single Dad’s Guide to Thanksgiving – Missing in Action

Jake, left on his own in Virginia, was armed with only an oven, a knife and a fire extinguisher. Thanksgiving was stressful to say the least. Last I had heard from Jake, he was on his way to Wal-Mart to pick up a meat thermometer for his first attempt at cooking a turkey.

PC, Cole and I were enjoying our own afternoon of football and feasting with our family in Wisconsin. Occasionally I would sneak away to dial the (703) area code – trying desperately to verify that nothing had burned down. After my fourth attempt to reach Jake and sons, I gave in to helplessness and enjoyed a glass of wine, a plate of turkey, and my Packers whopping on the Lions. Go Team!

Today, Black Friday morning, PC and I shared a pot of coffee as I logged into my email. I wasn’t quite ready to face what disasters lay ahead if I were to track the elusive Jake down. I feared that something may have happened with my poor, boy-dumb friend and his great kids.

I felt guilty from encouraging Jake’s idea at preparing a Thanksgiving Feast, and I was afraid to hear the outcome of under-cooked turkey or a fire in the apartment.

Hesitantly, I accepted the iPad PC placed in my hands. I logged into my Hotmail account only to receive an email from Jake with the subject line reading, Missed Thanksgiving followed by another subject line that read, First Attempt.

Geez – what did I get him into? There I was, trying to help a bachelor-dad to prepare a grand feast  when he had probably never even turned on an oven. And I was a thousand miles away. How irresponsible!

I clicked and the first note opened. I read aloud to PC…

Missed Thanksgiving

Heidi Lee,

First of all the food was amazing!  And asparagus is now my favorite vegetable in the world – just break of the hard parts of the stalk, lightly coat in Olive Oil, fry on the George Foreman Grill, and when done just a bit of lemon juice topped with Parmesan cheese.  It was the best tasting vegetable EVER 🙂

Unfortunately I missed most of Thanksgiving.  The night before I didn’t sleep at all – nervous from my task ahead.  So after the boys and I “wolfed” down a gluttony of food, I can’t really say for sure what happened other than I had laid down to get a moments rest and didn’t wake until 7:00AM EST.

The boys loved Dinner H.  Thank you so much. FYI:  Not a lot of meat left over from that 14 pound bird 🙂

Jake

What a wonderful experience. Today I’d love to thank my friend, Jake, for allowing me to be a part of this memory he created for his children.

And the note that he had titled First Attempt – it was a picture of the meal with the boys standing proudly next to the turkey. Granted, a bit too much of my secret basting liquid, but the bird was cooked to a moist gloss of perfection.

He and I had a quick call this morning, and he shared with me their thoughts on potatoes. He made a triple batch of gravy because his boys never enjoyed a potato on its own. However, he made the sour cream mashed baby reds, and the gravy went untouched.

This morning I’m proud of my friend. I’m happy for him and for his kids – the oldest son is getting ready to join the Marines. I feel privileged to be included in even a small piece of their Thanksgiving experience and their family memories.

Thank you, Jake, and thank your sons for me as well.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Heidi Lee

Project Toad: A How-To Guide to Online Dating

Hello friends. Welcome to my how-to guide to digital dating. By now, you probably know that I met my Prince Charming through Match.com. What you may not know is that I survived years of countless failed relationships in the journey to Happily Ever After.

I have kissed my fair share of toads, and I hope to help other people with what I’ve learned. Until now, I have given you a handful of tips for safety and for fun. I haven’t really shared anything, though, that isn’t common sense.

Today, I have an opportunity to let you into my dating secrets. My friend Jake wants to try a new approach to finding love. He knows several people who met their husbands and wives online, and he has asked me to coach him through internet dating.

Jake also agreed to let me share this journey with you. He has been reading my blog quietly since I started, and now he is ready to dive in. I am thrilled to welcome you to participate in Project Toad.

The first step is to develop a dating profile for Jake – not an easy task. You see, Jake says that he doesn’t know what qualities women look for in a prince. This, to me, is a big problem. Jake wants to create a profile to which he could never measure up. He wants to fit himself somewhere for the sake of belonging.

The first challenge; therefore, is to help Jake understand that he has the right qualities for the right woman. He can’t reinvent himself into something he is not, so he has to find pride in the person that he already is.

Yesterday, I asked Jake to make two lists for me. In the first list, Jake needs to describe his best 5 qualities. The only catch – he cannot talk at all about being a parent in this list. Whenever I ask Jake what he likes about himself, he somehow ends every sentence with “for my children”.

Jake has to look inside of himself to know who he is when his kids aren’t around. That is the person who will be taking some lucky lady to dinner. Jake needs to introduce us to the man who holds the door open for his date as they enter a restaurant that doesn’t have a menu option for Children under 12.

Making this list is harder than it seems. As a single mom, I always thought I needed to find someone who would be a perfect dad to my son. Single parents put their children first, so our views are often skewed by the needs of our kids. I didn’t realize that I was interesting because I was more than Cole’s mom.

I needed to learn to separate the mother from the woman. I needed to learn to have a conversation that didn’t involve grass stained soccer uniforms or lead roles in school plays. Making this list for myself helped me to understand that I was more than just Tuesday Night on the carpool rotation.

Jake is also supposed to write down 3 qualities that he admires in others – qualities that draw him to those people. Is ambition a top quality, or is it sincerity? Qualities that Jake admires in others can compliment his own strengths and characteristics.

For me, I admire someone who is grounded and stable – my polar opposite. I’m still out chasing my rainbows. My Prince Charming often comes to my rescue because he makes sure I keep at least one foot on the ground. We are a perfect balance between security and adventure.

I’m anxious to see what Jake comes up with. He has so many good qualities. I believe that he needs to recognize his potential so he can share himself with other people. I promise to let you know as soon as he finishes.

Warm Regards,

Heidi Lee

Beat the Holiday Stress by saying Thank You

Happy Friday to you all! As we prepare for the Thanksgiving Holiday, do you feel life getting a little more stressful? I sure do, but I think I found a way to ward of the evil spirits of stress, frustration and anxiety. If you will allow me, I’ll share.

Last night, PC took me to the grocery store to pick up a few items for my son Cole’s 16th birthday. Needless to say – Festival Foods was a madhouse filled with people shopping for their Thanksgiving Feasts.

Using my shopping cart to cover my Offensive Line, I gingerly tried to lug my orthopedic boot through the aisles. Women were yelling in their cell phones about whether to serve turkey or ham. Young children were terrorizing their parents by playing hide & seek in the produce section. Most people were hurried to jump in the shortest line – damning every person in the way. Calling the store a war zone just about captures the atmosphere.

PC ran interference for me so I could grab only the necessities for Cole’s Birthday dinner and his Turtle Cheesecake birthday cake. He unloaded my cart for me at the checkout, and he went to pull the car up to the curb. He kept me safe while I tried to survive a battle that is hard to fight with two good feet, and I only have one working for me right now.

Watching PC help me, I started to think about the sweet little things PC and I do for each other to make each day a little sunnier than the last. I would love to share an example with you, friends, with the hope that you also get the opportunity to appreciate the little things.

The best little thing that PC did for me this week was to come home. He has season tickets for the local college basketball team – a tradition he has shared with his parents for many years before he met me. It is their ritual, and Ma and Pa love being able to spend this time with their oldest son.

Wednesday night, PC went to the game while Cole and I hung out at home. I had planned to watch a favorite show, Revenge, while PC was at the game. I turned the channel to ABC at 9:00. PC came through the door just in time to hear the theme song. He rushed in and sat with me to watch the show.

When I asked PC if UW Green Bay won the basketball game, he told me he left with 5 minutes still on the clock. He likes watching Revenge with me.

“Wow”, I thought to myself. I really did find a gem, and he really does love me. I know that this was such a small gesture, but it has a huge impact. Imagine having someone think you are important enough to them that they would leave before the end of a game. Saying thank you and seeing his smile simply eased my stress away.

I believe that I often overlook those little things. I know that people in my life do those sorts of things often for me. I need to appreciate the little things more. My goal is to remember to acknowledge and thank people – whether for an intentional act of kindness or simply some spur of the moment good deed. I need to just say thank you. It goes a long way.

And friends, if you are looking for a little something special to do for your special someone, I pack lunch for PC every day. He loves it.

Warm Regards,

Heidi Lee

A Tribute for our Veterans

Hi to All! Please allow me to write this story in gratitude to my PC and to all of our Nation’s Veterans. My PC, you see, served on a submarine during the Cold War in the 80s. I am fortunate to be surrounded by stories of military respect and admiration, and I am often honored to be able to decorate VFW Floats for local parades.

Crew of the USS Aspro, Mare Island Naval Shipyard, 1988

I am proud that my PC serves as the Commander of the Oconto VFW Post, and that he is an active member of the USSVI – SubVets organization. He, and now we, are active supporters of Veterans issues, and we are humbled often to be in the presence of heroes from WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and now into the modern wars. Since I truly wish to express my gratitude, I am posting a day early. I think that our Soldiers and Sailors should be honored every day.

For my tribute, I’d love to share a romantic little “just because I love you surprise” that PC found for me this week. You see, this week has been a surgical recovery for me – I believe my foot is coming along nicely, thank you. PC decided to find me the most wonderful gift to help my healing.

Not to delay in sharing my surprise, but I’d first like to tell you about one of our favorite mechanical toys. Alright, alright…stop 😉 I’ll tell you, your minds can sink low rather quickly. Not that kind of toy – that is for someone else to blog about.

Our favorite toy is a vintage home jukebox from the 1960s – crafted with rich woods and bringing a sense of nostalgia to our cozy little cottage on the Bay. The jukebox sat, unused for many years while PC was a bachelor. He had picked it up at a yard sale for $20 and thought he might tool around and get it working someday. Eventually he realized that he didn’t possess the ability to manage the repairs, so the music box rested all this time gathering dust.

This past summer, we found a gentleman in Chicago who specialized in this type of repair, so we loaded the dinosaur into the back of the Ford Pickup Truck and took a 3-hour tour down to the Windy City.

Just over a week after we left our baby in the care of this jukebox artisan, we got a call to come and bring her home. Shiny and new, she had a voice that could bring tears to a WWII Veteran as he would sit in memory of how the music could heal his war wounded heart – if only through the end of Side Two of the record.

Since she came home, we’ve tinkered a bit to get her back in shape. After all, she is about 50 years old, and she sat dormant for a couple of decades. Now, however, she is at full strength, and she fills our little home with the cracks and pops of albums from the generations who knew how to get off from the couch and flip the record to the other side without a remote.

Now that I’ve shared a newly rediscovered passion, I’ll share my gift from PC. PC, you see, is an eBay king. He loves finding old treasures: jewelry, antiques, books, you name it. This week, a package came in the mail, and he couldn’t wait until Christmas came to give it to me. He wanted me to be able to use the music to help in my healing, and he knows how I think I become more brilliantly focused with classic tunes of the legendary crooners.

With that, my present is 5 albums from my absolute favorite, Frank Sinatra. I’ll leave you with a couple of lines from his poetry, and I’ll let you in on who I get to listen to now in the way his voice was intended to be recorded – on black vinyl that pops and crackles with wisdom and truth. This morning as I write to you, I put the jukebox on all-play. I have the joy of this debonair gentleman singing me his sultry lullabies all day as I work.

His voice trembles through the walls of my home, reminding me to love who I have become:

But now the days grow short. I’m in the autumn of the year.

And now I think of my life as vintage wine from fine old kegs,

From the brim to the dregs, and it poured very clear.

It was a very good year.

Hmmm… Those lyrics have me thinking, “Self, treat yourself to a deep red Cabernet tonight. Yes, self, enjoy a very good year.”

And for all of you, my friends, join me. Tomorrow is Veteran’s Day. Please, if you raise a glass, raise it high to our Veteran’s. Thank them for keeping us safe.

And raise a glass to the Oldies but Goodies. We can find so much purity in their messages. Like a fine wine….

Thank you to Fire Control Technician First Class, PC. Thanks to my Father-in-Law, Pa; and thanks to Ponch. Thank you to Floyd and to Scott and Laura. Thanks to Tim, Eric, Kevin, Jim and Dean. Thanks to Zach. Thank you Elmer and Cliff, and Uncle Gigs and Uncle Allie. Thank you to our Wisconsin Military that is actively deployed. Thank you Bear who served in our Air Force, and thank you to all of our Veterans, and to our military personnel who are actively serving. Thank you, and here’s to you all! And thank you to the Military families who also sacrifice. Remember the wives, brothers, sisters, children and parents who give their most precious support. THANK YOU!

Please feel free to post a thank you to the Veterans in your life. We’d love the chance to thank them as well.

With Warmest Regards and Humble Gratitude,

Heidi Lee

Confidence Booster from Robin Roberts

“When I started I was 19 and scared. Today, I am 44 and….Fierce!”

Photo Credits: ABC John LeMay

Wow! What a statement. The sentiment that has taken me 25 blog posts to try to convey, Faith Hill summed up the story with a Finish this Sentence interview question posed by Robin Roberts.

This dynamic 44-year-old country singer and mega-star has evolved into a person who can feel comfortable in her own skin. To me, that is the most admirable trait about her. Yes, she has sold over a gazillion albums. Sure, she has managed an endearing character or two on the big screen. Definitely, she found her own devastatingly handsome PC. They seem to have a family life that we all would hope to emulate. But, WOW, she is comfortable in her own skin – greatest accomplishment to date.

Photo by Donna Svennevik, courtesy of ABC.

Last night, PC and I watched In the Spotlight with Robin Roberts where she interviewed several of Country Music’s biggest stars. For me, Faith was clearly the one to watch. I wouldn’t normally blog about celebrity gossip – I have no interest in Baby Bieber’s possible baby. But when someone stands up and says something so seemingly honest, I take notice. Faith’s statement took guts, but the words came so naturally to her. I want that feeling for myself, and I wish that type of confidence for each of you as well.

With that being said Ms. Roberts, may I borrow your interview question and ask my friends to complete this sentence? Your interview inspired me. I’d say this particular sentence is a strong Confidence Booster without needing any additional props.

Ladies and gentlemen, please complete this sentence:

When I started I was 19 and scared. Today I am (age) and _________! I’ll start.

When I started, I was 19 and scared. Today I am 41 and Formidable!

Photo courtesy of My Mom! MBA Graduation

Ok, everybody. Your turn! Let’s see what you’ve got.

Kind Regards,

Heidi Lee