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

Kitchen Blunder transformed to Wonder: Southwest Sausage and Peppers

Oh, for the love of MUFAs! I miss being in my kitchen. For the last week and a half I’ve been resigned to bed rest. I’ve been at the mercy of the men in my household to bring me food and drink. Just try getting someone to bring you a glass of Merlot to wash down your Percocet – impossible!

The care and feeding of Heidi Lee has no doubt been a challenge for PC as well as for my son, Cole. I love to cook and I can be a little picky/snobby with my flavors. My poor PC has been a bachelor for 46 years and has gotten, how shall we say…. well, very creative with his culinary skills. I was able to detour him in his misguided attempt to slush canned tuna and applesauce together onto a plate by strategically requesting that he make a pot of his Chili. A big pot goes a long way, and every guy in the world swears by his own Chili recipe.

Yes, I’m sharing this strategy with you proactively should you ever find yourself in my position. Play it safe and ask for the chili.

Cole, on the other hand, brings me candy bars and licorice. Good kid.

Lately, though, our gallons of chili has begun to run dry. I find myself moving around a little better though. Last night I hobbled off my lazy duff and finally got back into my kitchen. A bit of a struggle scooting between the stove and the refrigerator, wearing my orthopedic boot makes me feel like I’ve got a 10 lb bag of flour strapped to my leg. No worries, though. I was successful.

I had been craving sausage and peppers for a while, and I could almost smell the fresh basil and garlic dancing around my drugged up nose for over a week. I had grabbed Italian Sausage from my freezer earlier and set it out to thaw.

When it came time to cook, I teetered my way through my cupboard pulling out all of my standard ingredients. As I grabbed the sausage to begin slicing, I realized my challenge. The Italian sausage I thought I had grabbed turned out to be a Southwest smoked chicken sausage I had never used before. Ok, so a change of flavors on the fly. Cool, I’ve got this. Basil and garlic became chipotle chili powder and smoky cumin – throw in a little paprika to boot….Voila! Perfection.

My hodge-podge of a throw together turned into a delectable variation on the traditional Italian Sausage & Peppers. I’d love to share it with you as I am certain I stayed within the requirements to make it a Flat Belly Mufa Meal. The best thing – this meal was my first adventure with a new favorite ingredient – Johnsonville Chicken Sausage with 50% Less Fat! (coupon) I can tell you the sausage was full of flavor. I was very impressed, and PC couldn’t tell that it was actually chicken.

Now to the meat of my post 😉 A little bit of kitchen magic:

Southwest Sausage & Peppers

  • 2 tbsps olive oil (Mufa)
  • 1 pkg Chicken Sausage with Cheese & Chipotle Peppers, cut into bite sized slices
  • 1 large yellow pepper, cut in thin strips
  • 1 large orange pepper, cut in thin strips
  • 2 large green peppers, cut in thin strips
  • 1 med yellow onion, cut in thin strips
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (you can substitute with minced garlic in a jar if you want)
  • 6 oz can of tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup to 1 cup dry red wine – Leave enough in the bottle for drinking. You be the judge.
  • 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 small can tomato sauce (I believe these cans are ~ 4 oz)
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • Whole Wheat Spaghetti, prepared

Pour a 5 oz glass of the red wine – set aside for drinking. See, now I’m back in charge!

Fill a pasta pot with water and bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, using a 5 quart kettle, heat the olive oil over a medium heat and add sausage. Sauté until lightly browned. Add in the vegetables and the garlic, and sauté for 3 – 4 minutes. You want to keep the crispness of these peppers in the sauce, so don’t over-cook.

Enjoy a sip or two of wine and again, set aside. You need to pay attention to adding the tomato paste so don’t let the wine become the activity for right now. If you do this next step right, you get an added surprise in your meal of a rich, sweetened tomato sauce – mess up and your paste turns the whole dish burnt and bitter. So no gulping down the fruit of the vine just yet, k?

Add the tomato paste to the meat & veggie mixture and toss until the paste begins to coat through. You will begin to see the paste start to get a little gloss to it – this is the time to add in the wine and stir until the paste and wine begin to blend. Perfect! Nicely done.

Throw in the rest of the ingredients – not art to this part. Just be careful to toss gently through your sauce rather than to vigorously disturb your lovely veggies.

Set aside to simmer for about 20 minutes – and enjoy that glass of red while the aroma starts to fill your house. Be sure to offer a glass to your own Prince Charming while you are at it.

With about 10 minutes left, remember to start your spaghetti (my favorite wheat pasta). Add a little salt into the boiling water, and add enough of the noodles to feed your family. You may even want to prepare a little extra to take leftovers to work for lunch tomorrow. This meal tasted is even better today.

Guidelines for serving size to make this a Mufa Meal – 1/2 cup of pasta and 3 oz of sausage (1 link is 3 oz). You’re getting your Mufa from the olive oil. However, the wine throws the allowed calories off track – be sure to refer to The Flat Belly Diet recommendations about adding alcohol with a meal if you are attempting the diet plan.

Stop back by and let me know if you liked this recipe. Also, feel free to share a variation if you come up with any.

Cheers,

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

Online Dating: Finding Opera in a Chorus of Elmer Fudds

The view out from my bedroom window is a bit extraordinary – peering through frost-laced glass I see the sun glistening on Green Bay. PC wakes me with a fresh cup of coffee and our Sunday morning ritual of listening to Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me on #NPR radio. A Boom penetrates the bedroom and shakes me in my jammies. My first thought is “here comes an autumn storm” until I realize the thunder in the air is actually coming from Elmer Fudd in my back yard.

Beams of light cross the Bay, and dance in front of the hunters cruising in their viscous vessels of ducky death. I send my thoughts upwards towards Apollo; the Ancient Sun God, “Won’t you please, fair and just Apollo, please bless that hunter with a beam of light straight between the eyes as he lifts his gun and points towards our little feathered friends? Fly away, little birdies. Fly and be free.”

Living in Wisconsin, hunting is a way of life for many. I’m not opposed to the sport as I understand the need to control animal populations. I simply do not choose the rugged outdoors as a primary means of a food source or entertainment. I prefer to get my meat from my grocer’s freezer and my entertainment from HBO.

This morning’s hunting episode caused my mind to wander back to ancient Sunday mornings before PC was in my life – cruising through the Online classifieds of the ugly Singles scene. Those mornings were often dedicated to searching through the profiles of Match.com to see if any new specimens could peek my interest. Too often, however, my AM coffee and Danish was interrupted by an online photo stylings of a potential Match –

Screen Name: Mr. Bass Pro seeks his Little Mrs.

He clearly expectived that the ladies in waiting were anxiously awaiting a private viewing of his latest trophy buck from a hunting expedition.

For reasons unbeknownst to me, some men seem to believe that women are sexually drawn to the guy who can gut a wild boar with his bare hands, and use the tanned boar-skin to line the baskets we timid feminine creatures would use to gather and grind the grains. These men see themselves in the glowing image of Orion, the mythical hunter, and they think that women swoon under their protection.

Really? Why? Why would any person in their right mind think that posting a picture of a Gutted Deer hanging by twine from a rafter was sexy? Why would he believe a woman would get hot and bothered seeing the murderer himself poses next to the victim while toasting with a can of beer and a bag of pork rinds? Why?

People have asked me, how did I get lucky enough to find my Prince Charming (aka PC)? With all of the  unique  people online, how did I navigate through the herds of love-seekers to find my perfect Match? Well, while I truly believe that he and I are lucky in love, I will say that finding him took skill, planning and knowing myself.

I thought I might share some of my Match.com rules with you, my friends, so that you too may learn to enjoy the exciting people in the e-social scene. How do e-love seekers manage to find people in the online scene without trying to fit his square peg into her round hole? How does one avoid the after taste from the aroma of Elmer Fudd if she is more interested in the mindless babblings of PePe LePew?

First – you have to know and love yourself. Realize that you are entitled – not only what you want, but you also have a right to not settle for someone who you don’t want. I have said this before, and I will continue to remind you. If you aren’t happy with yourself, you cannot find true happiness with another person.

Next step – Build an Anti-profile. When I started building my online check list a couple of years ago, I was able to search for men based on hobbies and interests. At first, I started by naming the qualities I had hoped to find in a guy. I said I wanted someone who was romantic, intelligent, funny and who enjoyed travel, wine and conversation. I hoped for someone who liked books and music. I mentioned a couple of my bucket list items included learning to speak Italian or visiting Ancient Greece. Sounds good, right? Sure, but who wouldn’t want those things? It seemed that everyone online wanted some version of that exact thing – but each person had their own translation of how that looked.

I’d bet that profile matched probably 3/4 of the people who use online sites. I didn’t say anything unique or creative to stand out in the crowd, and I didn’t really give the men an idea of who I was looking for. How could I, right? I hadn’t found him yet. That would be like describing the a cozy little cottage in Ireland when you’ve never been outside of the United States. You haven’t been there – so you can’t do it.

Some of my mistakes:

  • I didn’t specify that when I spoke of books I meant the drunken mystique of Ernest Hemingway
  • I failed to describe the music I wanted to hear was the romantic and velvety tones of Frank Sinatra
  • I never pointed out that the wine I wanted didn’t involve cardboard recycling

I did get what I asked for though – books and music. For my first coffee date, I met a man in the Starbucks part of Barnes & Noble. Before he arrived, I positioned myself near the front door and watched the types of books each man coming in would pick up and thumb through. As my guy pushed through the crowds and made his way over to me, I saw him touch his fingers to the Bargain Bin where he lifted a copy of Beer-Making for Dummies. He grabbed onto the book as if it were the last true message from a Prophet, and he made a beeline for the empty chair next to me. Oh no!

As we began our cozy little chat, he went on to quote the literary genius from his recent copy of You Might Just be a Redneck. He continued to entice me with promises of visiting the world’s largest ball of twine as we toured the NASCAR museums around the country.

OK, so this guy wasn’t going to cut it for me.

What did I need to do differently in my search? I took a new approach. I needed a little fine-tuning of my strategy. Instead of describing what thought I wanted in 50 words or less, I learned to be proactive. I read into and behind what was in the pictures and the bios of the men on Match rather than waiting for them to come to me. I reached out with a wink and a smile, and I started making tracks with men who had real “Heidi Potential”.

What I found  as I searched through the profiles with a new awareness was that our personalities do really come through the computer screen. I targeted my search more in line with my specific interests. I kept I excluded the characteristics I couldn’t live with –  hobbies that included firearms for example. I only started communicating with the men who could fit outside of my Anti-Profile – well – for the most part anyways.

Typically, an avid Wisconsin hunter makes his passion clearly known through pictures and language. Although I didn’t learn immediately that the online poster boy of Brawny Paper Towels was not my dream man, over time I understood how to use profile images and language to sort through the guys I didn’t want. If their pictures and language resembled Mr. Brawny, then I didn’t try read something between the lines that didn’t really exist.

I’ve heard people say that you can’t tell much from a one-page profile on Match or eHarmony. But you can. True, you won’t find your Love at First Site – but you can figure out how to find the obvious deal-breakers before you get started.

When I went online that I couldn’t say,” I want…a, b, and c”. I it was that simple, I probably would have already found him already. In the past, every man I had chosen to be my Happily Ever After turned out to leave me as Heidi Happily Even After…and on my own.

I believe that we hurt our chances when we lock ourselves into finding the image of the perfect man or woman. Our preconceived ideas create blinders on us against other possibilities. This means we limit our choices to only people who fit inside of that box whether by looks, by career, by education level, by whatever…. But I say, get rid of what doesn’t fit at all – then work your way into finding something better.

Through trial and error, I learned to ask myself,” What are my deal-breakers from the start?”. For me, I knew I could never be a Hunter’s Widow – the Wife who loses her husband a couple of weeks every November to the guys at Deer Camp with several cases of Pabst Blue Ribbon. Images of Christmas shopping in the Taxidermy aisle; thoughts of batting my eyes as I open my new formaldehyde and pine scented anniversary gift –  simply not a chapter in my Happily Ever After. I’d stopped encouraging further winks and emails from profiles that led with the Outdoor themes, and I looked to isolate hobbies such as camping and fishing. While I like the the to take in a bit of nature, men who lead with these activities probably enjoy it way more than I ever would.

And even though the Wisconsin Hunter’s Widow Tradition involves a Tour Stop from the Chip -N- Dale dancers, I’d rather take a trip to the city with my best girl friends to drop the singles into the g-string-covered genitals of the golden Adonis. And I’d top the trip off with a day of shoe-shopping.

Knowing what I truly wanted in my Prince Charming took time. Women and men both build images of their perfect love, but those images are built on dreams and wishes – and often likenesses to one’s self. Quite frankly, I could never put up with dating me – I’m too high-maintenance.

The man who I fell in love with is nothing like the image I created over my 40 year search for happiness. Instead, he is someone who I could have never imagined. While he enjoys taking me to the Theater, to Concerts and to the Ballet, everything he learned about Opera he learned from Bugs Bunny. You would have never looked for that written into a profile, huh? His love of Wagner evolved over many episodes of the tragic conflict between Bugs and Elmer. What a guy!

So my advice to you, friends, Why try to fityour perfect match into an incomplete image? If you limit yourselves within what you think you need, you leave out a whole other world of interest and intrigue. Once you figure out what you don’t want, Let yourself be surprised by what you might find. I did, and I’ve put a new man into my dreams who actually fits there.

Warm Regards,

Heidi Lee

Side note: I realize that many people – men and women alike – are passionate about the sport of hunting. My thoughts are, if this is your primary passion, save the blood and glory stories for Date #3 – at least.

A Thank you to Saint PC – the Patron Saint of Difficult and Whiny Patients

Hello, my Dear Friends. I’m recovering uncomfortably from my foot surgery, and I’ve come to the realization that I am the world’s worst patient. Fortunately, PC has the bedside manner of a saint. I whine, whimper and pout, and he simply strokes my hair from out of my face and stumbles in the dark to find me another pain pill.

My doctor mentioned that I would have at least a week’s worth of pain before I started to feel better, but I honestly could not have imagined the extent. True to form though, PC is right beside me holding my hand. I’ve kept him up all night through restlessness and crying, and the only thing he could think of this morning was to tell me that I look beautiful. Poor guy – he really needs some sleep.

While I am too doped up today to showcase the romance or the humor in the Care and Feeding of Heidi Lee, I did want to take a moment and say thank you.

Friends, remember to thank someone you love today.

Warm Regards,

Heidi Lee

Love through Vicodin Colored Glasses

Hey there! Please let me beg your forgiveness today and possibly for the next few days. My wonderful doctor just performed surgery on my poor little arthritic foot so that one day I can get back into my Stilettos and Slingbacks. While I am comfortably recovering, that’s because I’m simply doped-up, my friends. God forbid this Vicodin wears off and I actually feel my mangled, rheumatic limb.

Yesterday afternoon in the recovery room, I had quite the Epiphany about love and my Prince Charming. Having recently read Deanna Fry’s love-related-tales, a stunning lady with similar romantic challenges (and a new favorite blog) helped me to firm up my  analysis. As a result, I’m even more excited about the man who I chose to share my life with – my handsome, witty, and considerate Prince Charming.

The truth is, I was frightened about the looming surgical redesign of my slowly deforming foot. Not only was I freaking out about potentially crippling long-term complications from my Rheumatoid A.,I was also fixating on Hospital Acquired Infections (HAIs) from poor aseptic technique. (Fact: Over 50% of hospital related illnesses are preventable when a health care worker properly washes his or her hands the Right way – but that is a whole other blogging experience.)

Needless to say, taking care and keeping me calm was no picnic. My PC mastered it with graceful aplomb.

To explain, let me take you back to 2006. I spent the majority of my 30’s dating and eventually being engaged to The Wrong Man. We’ll call him Tom. Tom was a divorced dad who had both of his teenage girls living with him (and eventually with us).

He had established his beliefs, behaviors, and bad habits – I certainly wasn’t going to change him. His daughters were his princesses, and I, as their stepmother, did the work of Cinderella – backwards did you say? Where is that Fairy Godmother when you need her?

These girls got to stay home from school for 3 days a month when they had their periods, and he would stay home from work with them to bring them chicken soup. Sweet girls, but they clearly played their best Daddy-take-care-of-me Card when they didn’t want to take a test.

When I was 36, my loving doctors finally decided that I should stop suffering from one of my many ailments – my feminine curse. I’d had several surgeries over the years for cysts and for endometriosis – in short, my reproductive system was the Devil incarnate and Lucifer saw to it that I suffered regularly. In the worst of my monthly demonic sufferings, Tom would find me curled into the fetal position, perhaps weeping with a glass of red to ease the affliction.

When Tom saw me this way, he saw me only as a burden: He had to do the dishes and cook dinner. He couldn’t understand why I would cry while folding laundry when my feminine cramps or my Rheumatoid or other medical challenges acted up.

Momma always said I was a walking Medical Dictionary. I always said, “If it’s not one thing, it’s your mother <wink>.” Love ya, Ma!

I felt like a burden even asking for a glass of water. You can imagine, then, the trouble that brewed when my doctors advised me to undergo a total hysterectomy. Not only would I lose the works that the Good Lord gave me, but I would also be thrown into menopausal trauma far too early in my ongoing battle against sanity.

I was to be laid up for 6 – 8 weeks. I begged Tom to stay with me and my son, Cole (age 8 at the time), while his daughters stayed with their mother. He agreed but … only …after … a … lot … of … hesitation. He finally admitted that didn’t want the extra drive time to work – roughly 20 minutes more one way. And, he didn’t want to do “your housework.” He thought that if I was able to walk, well,  I should be just fine to carry the laundry up 2 flights of stairs.

What a burden you are, Heidi Lee, I told myself. But I was his burden, and he was going to marry this burden – and I carried a kingdom of guilt. My health has never been stellar, but I am ambitious, motivated, and active in spite of it. I don’t let my physical challenges own me. Occasionally, it would have been nice to feel supported by the man in my life, but something even better happened, dear reader. Tom did me the favor of dumping me for an Online Affair when I was 38. Talk about the other glass slipper dropping! Wow.

Yesterday, many of those old Tom-like feelings resurfaced as I waited with my Prince Charming in the hospital room. I was a basket case by the time the nurse wheeled me away to the OR, and I hesitantly looked to PC for an unfamiliar hint of moral support. He squeezed my hand and leaned in for a kiss.

“Will you be here when I wake up?” I managed to whisper.

“Of course, Dear. I’m right where I am supposed to be today.”

“I’m sorry that you have to go through this, PC.”

“Heidi Lee, will you get into that room and get your foot fixed already? I want to take
ballroom dancing.”

After I woke up, he was waiting in my post-op room to dress me and carry me home.He never left my side, and he’s still home with me today – helping me to shower and bringing me soup and cookies. His only complaint last night: “Heidi Lee, you’re not in your spot tonight. Hurry up and heal up so I can sleep with my arms around you again.”

Now that we’ve got a bit of background, it’s time to share my Relationship Epiphany. Is there only one person, a Soul-Mate for each of us? I think we need to break this
question down more accurately. Can we be happy with more than one man or woman
for the rest of our lives? I think some of us can. Does this mean that he or she is the person we are meant to be with? No – that’s  something more special, and we can’t know It unless we are lucky enough to find It.

I think I could have been happy with Tom for several reasons. Although I’ve described him as being an insensitive and unsupportive jerk, he did have many good qualities. We were friends. And we could have been relatively happy – but I would have been
settling for less than I deserved.

Do I think that many happy marriages /relationships exist without the head-over-heels love factor? You bet! Do I think it’s possible to marry your best friend and be content? Of course.

But … Do I think optimistically that there’s another level of love that transcends so many of us? Do I believe that we miss out on It because we lose patience or settle for what is quite clearly not in our best interest? Absolutely! Do I think that certain marriages are bad or doomed because of this? Not at all.

Picture by Sara Hendrix

I believe now, as I miss my “spot” curled up in the nook of PC’s arms feeling cherished and protected, that there is one perfect person. I am simply very lucky to have found mine. I witness PC’s parents as they grow old together – and they are perfect together. They laugh together, play football pools, and they sneak away to gamble at the Casinos nearby. They know each other’s best and worst, and they love each other more for their eccentricities. They are what I call Legacy Toad Kissers.

Flipping through the news channels, I see this same sort of love in the eyes of #MarkKelly as he watches the graceful and formidable #GabrielleGifford come back stronger than ever. I envy their love story, and I admire them both personally as well as a couple. She is not, and never will be, his burden. His love helped her through, and he was right where he was supposed to be – with her. When you are truly with the one you are meant to find, you know you are in your “spot.”

Wow, this Love-Drug retelling of yesterday makes me feel like I don’t need another Vicodin – well, almost. PC, Honey – will you please bring me my medication?

He loves me, he loves me not. He loves me – oh look, a Vicodin. He loves me. Time to sleep.

Warm Regards,

Heidi Lee

My Relationship with a Married Man

Good morning to all, and thanks to everyone who posted to Sunday’s poll about where you may have met your Prince or Princess Charming. The poll is not the first bit of research into Online dating that I’ve done. Most of you know that I’ve dated digitally myself.

This morning I’d love to share some of my earliest introductions to the intrigue of the Internet Romance. In my early days as a “single-again” woman, I had been fortunate to hear more of the good than the bad when it came to Internet dating. I seemed to go against the consensus and trust the idea of hiding behind my keyboard to create a social life. After all, technology was taking over everywhere else, right?

This morning I would love to share one of the stories that gave me hope through the dine-and-dash relationship failures of those earliest days.

I have a dear friend at the office named Scott who I met a few years back. I knew him through Happy Hours, office lunches, and the coffee pots. I knew he was handsome and smart, but I also knew he was married. Often I thought to myself – what a lucky lady she must be as I would twist under my breath that it should have been me.

Over time, Scott became a fantastic sounding board for my dating dilemmas. He always gave me the man’s view. He helped me see when I was being stupid. He praised my virtuous ways. He guided me when I was confused. In short, he acted as my therapist.

Now, friends, if you don’t have a “Scott” of the opposite gender – get one. This role is an essential friendship if you need someone to slap you across the face with the ugliest of truths. Believe me; you’ll be grateful for the honesty from a friend rather than the heartache from yet another dirt bag.

At the same time when Scott and I were evolving as friends, I had a physical therapist from a shoulder injury – Jen. She had one of the gentlest smiles I had ever encountered (Even if I did call her Attila the Hun). During our sessions, Jen would ask all about my dating life and my adventures with men. She was always so curious about the guy I was seeing at that moment in time….Did I meet him at a party? What about the guy my friend set me up with? How is that man from back home I was seeing? Jen loved the stories, and I loved her opinions.

Jen would also mention to me bits here and there about her beau. She was a young bride with a darling infant, and she seemed to have a magical relationship. I was jealous to say the least. However, I never really asked Jen how she and hubby had met. To me, it just seemed that they had always been. She seemed so naturally connected. Maybe inside I was jealous of Jen – ok, so no maybe about it. I wanted what she had.

During one of my appointments, Jen saw my office badge.

“Oh, Heidi Lee, you work at West?” How did I never know that?”

I suppose my tales of men and romance had always been more interesting than my work life. She and I spent over 2 hours a week of muscle-managing with me, and we had rarely talked about anything other than my men.

“Heidi Lee, maybe you know my husband. His name is Scott.” And the light went on in her eyes. “Oh, Heidi, I never made the connection. You’re Scott’s Heidi from the office. I feel like I already know you.”

Jen, you see, never brought work home with her. She was truly a professional, so they never came together to compare notes on me. She kept our discussions as well as my treatment completely confidential.

We laughed through the irony and talked a little bit more intimately about our lives from that point forward. With this new level of comfort, I asked Jen, “Where did you and Scott meet?”

Jen’s smile brightened and she got a tingle in her eye remembering her first encounters. And she beamed, “We met Online. Match. He winked; I winked back. The rest is history. He is simply wonderful.”

I returned to work following my physical torture and I marched right into Scott’s office. “You could have told me your wife was a Physical Therapist. I’ve been seeing her for weeks now since the accident. She is adorable – lovely. Hell, you really did well, buddy. I love her”.

Scott’s face lit up like a school boy with his first crush as he started to tell me about their courtship. And he told me about his experience on Match, “You know, Heidi Lee, guys don’t get many return winks on Match. Jen had her pick of the litter, and she picked me. Can you imagine?”

Actually, I could. And I had – and it would have been steamy. And I never would again – promise. My sweet and handsome friend met his soul mate in an Internet Catalog. And he was happy. She was happy. And neither of them had any horrifying stories of Internet freaks or psychotics – only stories of a few genuine people all in the same quest for Happily Ever After.

Over the last few years, I’m still surprised when I ask, “How did you two meet?”. Online dating is usually at the top of the responses. People who truly have committed to finding a relationship seem to migrate to the virtual channels with the trust that everyone is there for similar reasons.

The great thing about these sites is that woman and men alike should be able to weed through the catalogs and select the sizes with the most potential to be right. The tip I can give you is to go into Match or eHarmony honestly. Expect to date losers just as you would if you met through another social setting. There is no magic formula, and there are no guarantees. Instead, you get the security of learning about someone from a more harmless location – your own home.

True, any type of dating can be dangerous or disappointing at the least. You have to be smart about it, and you have to watch for inconsistencies in truths. Do it right – you may end up with the romantic side of a Scott of your own.

In my blog, I’ll share some of my lessons learned with you here if you are interested. For today the best lesson I can give you is – keep an open mind and an open heart. That’s it. Don’t judge yourself or others for using Online dating to find a dinner date. After all, if my PC hadn’t wanted someone to take to dinner one Friday night, I would still be single and searching. And Attila wouldn’t have found her Hon.

Warmest Regards

Heidi Lee