Man and Manatees

Here #CJB and I are, in Orlando at his friend Alex’s bar. This isn’t a technically good photo, but I adore it. It really shows how great we feel when we are together.

I am almost home from my vacation (waiting on a bus to take me back to my car now), and while I’m not in the mood to rehash the whole thing, I feel like after my last post I owe you the short version:

1. I’m totally crazy about this man. Even with his imperfections.

2. We did not have a chance to have our big discussion.

3. Adventures with #CJB are the best, craziest, and most amazing things ever. We snorkled with wild manatees, went accidentally off-roading in his Mini, sailed around Key West, visited Universal Studios, fed key deer and alligators, and walked Miami Beach. Every day was an adventure.

4. I trust him. This is pretty big for me. He basically fed me from his own fork the entire week – catfish, alligator, octopus, escargot, Cuban coladas/empanadas/tamales/etc, champagne, wine … if he said I should try it, I did. And it was all amazing.

5. I miss him like CRAZY already. 104 days until he comes back to Maine.

Gluing the Pieces

Putting it All Out There



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Ladies and gentlemen, this is CJB.  You’ve seen him on this blog before – he came along last summer to help me transition my life from survival to really living again. He helped steer me onto my life’s new course – to be a schooner captain, as he is.

He also totally stole my heart.

I mentioned before that I was pretty sure I was falling for him.  Well, folks, this girl has fallen.  Stick a fork in me, I’m done.  Since he sailed South last October we have talked almost daily about everything from his boat to his family to life philosophy to hopes and dreams.  In those conversations, we’ve both come to realize that the connection between us is not going away.  It’s deeper than either of us expected, I think.

So in four days and six hours, I’m boarding a plane to fly down to see him.  We will be together for six glorious days.  Somewhere in those six days, we are going to have a talk, he and I, about what to do about this connection.  I’m going to flat out ask him how he feels about me, tell him how I feel about him, and see if we can’t navigate the difficult seas before us.  I’m excited, and petrified, and so dreadfully unsure how it’s all going to go.

But I need to do this. While he’s been gone I’ve grown used to the idea of being in love again.  It took two years for me to accept the concept of loving again after heartbreak, and I still have a prickly set of defenses and issues that spring up to cause problems at times (so does he.  That boy is the POSTER CHILD of emotional wall building).  But this thing between us is worth naming.  Worth exploring.  Worth working on.

Emily Bronte once said, “whatever souls are made of, his and mine are the same.” I feel that way about CJB. We are so similar.  We have a passion for life, not just each other.  We have adventuresome spirits, a deep and abiding love of the ocean, and soft hearts for those we call our family. We never run out of things to talk about, to make each other laugh, or think about, or admire. We understand the pain the other has been through, and how that’s shaped our lives.  F. Scot Fitzgerald once wrote, “I wish I had done everything on earth with you.” Fortunately, we are young enough that we still can.  I want to sail the world with this man.  Explore exotic locales and dance to the music street vendors play in foreign countries.  I want to see every color the ocean has ever been, in every part of the world.  I want to love under the stars, and beneath the hot sun, and at every sunrise and sunset.  I want to sail beside him, and sleep beside him, and work beside him, too.

I have no real idea if he feels the same, or if he ever will.  But in four days and six hours, I’m going to find out.



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Prepare yourself, CJB.  I’m coming for you.


Befuddled by Love

I think deep thoughts when in the tub. I wander through my head as though it were an ornamental garden, viewing everything without really engaging with any of it.

Tonight I realized that I can’t remember what it feels like to have someone love me. P stopped loving me ages before the affair, by both his own words and behavior, and B never loved me at all, despite throwing everything I had at him. So it’s been… three years or so (?) since someone told me they loved me, and I believed it.

That seems like a long time for a girl who’s never been single.

I had a dream last night that CJB was trying to tell me he loved me. Whatever, it was a dream, dont judge. The point is, my subconscious couldn’t figure out how to do it. He choked on the words, reiterated the “you’re special” and “you think this kind of connection happens every day” lines I’ve already heard, but the word love didn’t make it out of his mouth.

I literally can’t remember what it sounds like any more. Not even in my dreams.

It’s not that I don’t believe I’m lovable. I’ve fixed that lie. I know I’m worthy of love. But now I’m not so sure a person exists who will ever say it to me.

I want to be loved. More than that, I want to be chosen. To be told I’m the only one for them. That it’s a no-brainer, that nothing could be more certain.

It has just been so long, the image of that is fading, becoming fuzzy and indistinct. I cant even imagine the man I’m falling for saying it, and I’ve already daydreamed every possible permutation of us being together some day.

I’m not sure where to take this knowledge, really. It was just something that occured to me as I soaked in my tub, alone on another Friday night (it’s how I prefer it right now).

It’s been three years since anyone has loved me; long enough that I don’t remember what it feels like.


Gluing the Pieces · The Broken Bits

Best of Intentions

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You know, I never set out to do all of this alone.

The house, I mean. Living here. Trying to decide where to put my wood pile that won’t interfere with the plow guy (who, by the way, took FOREVER to find). Considering what kind of curtains to put up.  Whether I should by a Ryobi drill for $50, or five tools, batteries and a charger for $150. If a bed frame is more or less of a priority than a new couch. What I’m going to do with the dozen as-yet unpacked totes of my stuff.

In all of my planning for this stage of life, I pictured someone beside me on the couch.  A man to cook with and sleep next to and lounge, spoon style, in my giant antique tub. Someone to bounce landscaping ideas off of.

Now that I’m here on my own with every intention of remaining on my own for the foreseeable future, I’m not sure how to spend all my hours. Yes there are house things I could be doing but many just feel so monumental on my own. I’m tired after working ten hours a day. I just want to shower and go to bed. On the weekends it’s a bit better but I have errands to run and cleaning to do and …

… you get my point. It’s harder when it’s 100% your job to do everything. And yet there are all these blank hours that I feel should be spent with someone and I have only my dog.  I’m a little lonely (less so than I was at first), but mostly just kind of disappointed that it all falls to me. I love my house. I love the peace and security that come with it. I just wish I had someone to install my new curtain rods. I bake bread every week but have to eat it all myself – there’s no one to come home and enjoy the aroma. And my tub is entirely too large for just me to be in it.  I could freaking drown, it’s so big.

A friend on instagram told me I should write the story of my journey into my own home.  She thinks it is an inspirational story of one woman picking herself up by the bootstraps and bending life to her will.  But this journey doesn’t always feel like a triumph to me.  Some days it just feels like a chore. It’s an interesting idea, and I’m considering it, but I may have to jump a few loneliness hurdles first.  Learn to enjoy ALL aspects of life on my own before I write about how awesome it is.

Gluing the Pieces · The Broken Bits

Jewelry Box Ballerina

CJB sailed away last week.  I’m in contact with him as much as I can be, while he’s offshore (due to stops for weather, it’ll take him nearly two weeks to get to Key West), but my anxiety and worry and what-ifs have been driving me crazy.

I did end up falling for him.  It got a little rough when he pulled some shenanigans that didn’t feel great to me, but we recovered.  He left without either of us making any kind of declaration or promises to each other, except that I have an open invitation to visit him whenever I want this winter.  I hope that he means it, because I’d like to.

I’m of two minds where CJB is concerned.  On the one hand, he’s incredible and I have real feelings for him.  And while I know I have perception issues when it comes to evaluating my worth, I know I’m a kickass partner. I give every single thing I have, and that’s a lot.  I’m GREAT at loving.  And because of that, I want to give that all to him.  But – and this is a big but – he hasn’t made the same kind of declaration to me, aside from saying that one doesn’t find our kind of connection every day. So I have questions about whether or not he’ll be able to rise to my level.  I know he’s capable, but I’m not sure that’s the path he’s going to take.

So what do I do? Wait it out?

I hate waiting.

Waiting makes me feel like a jewelry box ballerina, only “alive” when someone is paying attention to me. I don’t want to live my life strapped to my phone, hoping he’ll text me back.  That’s no kind of life, and even if I did it, it wouldn’t necessarily net me the result I want.  But I struggle with needing attention, needing to feel like someone cares, and it leads me to doing exactly that – sending evocative messages and then waiting for a response.

So I guess the question is this: how do I break the habit of seeking attention?  I have things to keep me busy, but there’s always a little alone time that seems to get me in trouble.  While he’s in transit my phone is close so I can keep tabs on where he is on the planet (the boat and crew, too, obviously.  Late October is no great time to be sailing the North Atlantic), and I’m thrilled when he calls so I can hear that he’s doing well.  But once he’s in Key West, I’m going to have to let that go.  HOW is the question.  I don’t want to replace him with another dude.  I want to be okay being on my own for once.

I have this theory that people are either lighthouses or lifeboats.  A lifeboat person will go after someone, try to save them, care for them, be what they need when they need it, and basically exist to help that other person.  That’s who I was in my marriage, it’s who I was with B … it’s been my default setting for too long.  Instead, I’d rather be a lighthouse.  Over here, doing my thing, giving off light that you can bask in or not; the choice is entirely yours, and that choice affects me not one whit.

I’m starting winter run training this week, I’m back to clean eating and fitness and working on my house, my finances, and my side job.  Funny how that looks like a lot and yet still leaves me too much time to fret mentally that maybe CJB will forget how awesome I am in the ensuing months.

I saw a quote on pinterest (I’m paraphrasing) that said, “if it’s out of your hands, it should be out of your mind, too.”  Girl’s gotta point.  I can’t do ANYTHING about it right now.  I shouldn’t be obsessing over it.  I need to go get my shine on.

If anyone has any tips on how to do that, I’d love to hear them.



Gluing the Pieces


In the middle of Maine, tucked away between the last few mountains of the Appalachians and just beyond the last small town is a place called Gulf Hagas. Nicknamed “the Grand Canyon of Maine,” the Gulf boasts five waterfalls and more than eight miles of rugged hiking. It’s beautiful and remote and a perfect example of the beauty of Maine – small, natural, and stunning in its simplicity. Since the water carved its way through the surrounding slate and granite eons ago, it’s been entirely unchanged by humans.

I used to live near the entrance to Gulf Hagas, in that last small town. I lived there for eleven years. Every year P would promise to take me, to get into shape good enough for the hike. He didn’t want me to go with anyone else, nor by myself. Every year, he had an excuse as to why he couldn’t do it. I never stopped wanting to go, but I stopped asking him after a while. It was one of those many things that I just had to lower my standards about.

But this past weekend I finally made it up there. I did the entire twelve mile hike. I saw every single water fall, climbed every rock face, stopped at every viewpoint. More than 22,000 steps and over 144 floors of vertical rise.

I owe it all to CJB. While he’s in Maine we’ve been doing all the traditional adventures – Bar Harbor/MDI, Belfast, Bangor and surrounding areas. He loves waterfalls and I’ve brought him to Monroe Falls near my house (wildly underwhelming this time of year), but when I mentioned Gulf Hagas and that I’d never been, he said we should do it.

And unlike P, CJB kept his word.

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There are cut offs where you can turn back early, but he gamely soldiered on through the whole thing. Like me, he wanted to do the entirety of the hike. Also like me, he was pretty sore by the end of it. I’m so grateful to him for going with me to see the Gulf. It’s a bucket list item I had begun to think I’d never get to. And through it all he was an awesome hiking partner – cheerful, upbeat, helpful, and moving at my speed (which was not very fast). He even saved my flip flop from the stream we had to ford when I nearly fell and lost it.

It was a perfect day, and I’m so grateful to him for making it happen.

He leaves in eight days, and I’ll have the winter to come up with more bucket list items for us to knock off. I can’t wait. I’ll be doing more hiking before winter comes, that’s for sure. I want to be ready for whatever adventures and hijinks we get up to next time.

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