Sunday, December 29, 2013

About Me, Mr. Charisma and Miss Right.

It was recently brought to my attention on Facebook by a friend, (This is a friend of mine that is also a friend of Mr. Charisma's) that I should start fresh, and stop with the secret code names on my blog and never go back to a single person in my past or I'm doomed to repeat the process again.

Good advice, but not why I use secret code names in my blog.  I figure if I want to write about my life I can write anything I want, but I don't have the right to expose friends, lovers, people, publicly with information that could destroy their lives.  So I use code names for everyone.  Weather it is a humorous or good story or what some might consider gossip, or slander.  What I write here is my own feelings, and facts, perceptions if you will.  Which is all anyone can see, or write about.  When I started this blog almost four years ago now, it was meant as a healing process after Mr. Practical and I fell apart as lovers and started our incredible journey as very good friends.  And it has continued as a writing project, with a Sunday deadline, ever since.  An exercise in publishing, if you will, and making sure I never miss a Sunday.  I've even posted on vacations and I have missed only two in my four year writing career.  One at She Of Little Combat Boots house over July 4th weekend, and the other was an anniversary with Mr. Charisma.  Not the anniversary, but our first weekend away.

But he makes a good point in the reaching backward part, and with the exception of one, I haven't reached backward, and the other funny part about the A-Team, is with the departure of Mr. Charisma, NONE of them are lovers anymore. All good friends.  Even Mr. Charisma and I are working on the same path that was so successful with Mr. Practical and me.  Trying to keep something positive of us.

Now you may think it is insane to do so, but other than sex, which I can teach anyone how to do correctly for me, as I'm sure you can for you, what I miss most about Mr. Charisma is our deep and insightful discussions on life and humanity.  Oddly enough these mentally stimulating conversations would be the actual devices that started to tear us apart, but they were also what he claims healed him, and, "Cut out the cancers in him that he had ignored for years and made him able to be ready for Miss Right."  So he is leaving me with hope and love and joy that he met me and much happier than when we met.  I broke up with him because he has been drifting slowly but surly with me since March.  When he tried to break up with me then, my father had just died and his friends told him that was a bullshit move, so I believe he came back out of some kind of compassion.  Then the next time he tried to leave in September was purely because his love for Miss Right was becoming overwhelming, but he still didn't see it.  Still thought it was his Pet Stripper, or the Meth Head that got away, that he was pining for, and needing to chase answers with.  (All of this sounds like an attack when read, but it's NOT.  Its meant to be plot recap.  Just the I saw them)  So you can see how I was not really happy to take him back again.  I have been falling out of love and especially the trust part since then.  NOW  LET ME SAY THIS before anyone goes off... I don't believe it was intentional that he hurt me.  I don't believe that he knew he didn't love me enough since March.  I believe he wanted to very badly, because hey, where we were good we were great!  And no matter what he says, or more importantly doesn't say about Miss Right, I know she will never completely replace me.  She is more to him and he loves her greatly, he says.  I will reserve belief for when I am ready to accept them both as friends, like I did with Mr. Practical and his wife Mrs. Depressed.  (this is a temporary nick name as I am sure she will somehow, being married to such a good man, will find her way back to everyone that loves her.)  For now, as much as a part of me, a really big part, wants to unblock Mr. Charisma on Facebook, I know I'm not really ready yet to see pictures of them together and happy like we were.  I never go the chance to post pictures of us happy, mostly because he didn't want to be tagged in anything because of his kids.  Funny how now he is ok with it now...thats cuz he loves her more, and made her the new girlfriend daddy loves.  While I was always the mistress that broke up his family.  He could have controlled that better had he loved me more, but as he says, "I made a lot of mistakes with you that I will not make with her."  I hope he is right, but again....experience....once bitten twice shy.  Which brings me to why I did what I did next.

I did a chick thing that I'm not especially proud of but at the same time, the way it turned out, so far, I'm pretty happy about.  I contacted a friend of Miss Right's and told her a great laundry list of things that she can expect her friend Miss Right to go through with Mr. Charisma.  I mentioned a great many things that are true and in one respect kind of a deal breaker for me, two if my gut and third hand evidence is correct.  But see, that's the thing about can never be sure if yours is right until something bad happens.  Then you can believe the red flags and warnings.  I chose not to see them until my heart was already falling into him.  I did everything he asked of me, even the subtle changes, and the more he fell out of love with me the less any of it mattered.  And of course this made me irrational jealous, doubting, untrusting, afraid, and believed I was going crazy thinking he had met someone else....I was right....I just couldn't prove it.

Now I can, and now that he has given my fears validation, and incredible weight that had been holding me down for nine months is gone! Now that he has agreed that perhaps I am very right, and that was the pull he was feeling away from  me......driving him crazy but not knowing why, the slow falling in love with Miss Right.  (Sounds like me and Mr. Selfish, when he fell in love with the waitress and left his family)  Mr. Charisma feels that she is THE ONE.  :D  AND I'M A HOPELESS ROMANTIC.  Anyone that knows me at all knows this.  That I am the first one to step aside for true love.  And if he believes this is it, who am I to stand in his way?

Which brings me to me....I don't want him back.  This is huge growth for me.  Because for my entire romantic life I have fallen for men that have flirted and pursued me.  I had my head turned because a guy felt a stirring in his loins for my bod, or my mind, or both.  I wanted to believe that Mr. Charisma was the first guy I ever chose, but it's not true.  He started flirting with me long before I returned it, even if he doesn't see his swagger, smile, cute jokes guaranteed to make a gal blush as, guess what, we do.  :)  so I have never really picked a guy that I didn't know for sure loved me, lusted after me, or wanted me on some level.  WAIT....I take that first boyfriend, Mr. Closeted.  He came out one week before our senior prom.  I picked him.  And that was wrong too.

So I have stepped off the dark side path I stepped onto when I broke up with Mr. Charisma a week before Christmas.  And was further pushed down that path on Christmas Eve when Mr. Charisma told me that he was already in love with a gal he just noticed.  Not just met.  Important distinction in his favor, but one I still believe he noticed, just fought it for 9 months. (and guess what, kids, he thinks so too.  And this is a good thing.  I feel more centered when I can agree with someone that I'm connected with).  I'm back on the path of finding myself instead of revenge, or harming, or wanting him to hurt the way he hurt me.  Have I forgiven him for not loving me enough? Yes.  Have I forgiven him for not knowing what he wanted after a 19 year charade? Yes.  Do I forgive him for not 'getting me' or loving me as is, as others have? um....not sure on that one,  I think he looked for things to piss him off about me that he will accept in her.  Do I still want him to hurt?  Yes I do.  But I think he needs that too, and not the self inflicted kind he does to himself in his hermit mode or whatever self torture he deems is normal for growth. ( I hate that part, can you tell?)  I'm taking about real hurt, like what he did to me.  Out of your control, pride shattering, ego destroying, confidence bashing hurt.  I do not believe he has ever loved anyone enough for a break up to really be tragic and hurt.  And a part of me is happy to watch this unfold, and a part of me is worried for him...the best part of me is worried now for him.  If this is the first time he has ever really been in love....well we all know how the first time usually ends don't we?  And we all understand karma.  And we all know he has a lot of karma that is going to come down on him really harshly.

I actually feel with my lashing out and my reaching out very quickly afterward, that my karma is righted.  I warned her best friend so she could keep her eyes open for the inevitable changes that Mr. Charisma will put Miss Right through.  I hope I am wrong in assuming they will happen.  I hope he has left me for The One.  Because yesterday we were able to save most of the best parts of us.  We are talking and communicating and getting answers, now that we have nothing to lose, it's incredible because it's the truth.  No more hiding behind cleaver words, which he is so good at.  Its odd, but now I feel I'm finally getting the honest man I thought I was sleeping with all along.  The honesty I know I felt when snuggled safe in his arms before, and after and all night, was more consistent than his fully dressed mode of dissuasion.  Perhaps this is why people think that he is all about the sex, when in reality he is not.  He is misunderstood in this area, and having been on both sides of that couch, I know where he is vulnerable and where he is stronger.  And more honest.  If he has given me up for a woman that is not The One he will find it difficult to be my friend only.  And believe me, that is the only thing on the table now.  Friendship.  Like what I have with Mr. Practical and That Guy.   I know it seems odd to want him as a friend when I still have trust issues.  But I may always have the trust issues, and I still have many friends.  I will continue to be able to work on those issues with my friends, and in all honesty, Mr. Charisma and I think so differently on a basic level, it never would have worked as lovers, but it works as a challenging friendship that will never lie to you or let you get away with your bullshit.  THIS WE BOTH NEED.  LOL and we agreed yesterday, that may have been the whole reason we met.  Being his mistress for 5 months of our year and two months relationship was the best part and the part I'm not proud of, but went into it knowing he wanted a future with me.  In my gut way before he said it.  The rest of the 9 months was him tearing me down and me building myself back up into someone I didn't know anymore.  And me tearing him down and  e building himself back up into a man he likes much better than the man I met.  Its sad really that Miss Right gets to benefit from all my hard work.  :D

I hope someday to be both their friends, with or without a man on my arm.  I hope I can handle seeing them together and knowing that it's not that I am not and was not wonderful and awesome for him and for me, but that he just met someone that fits better.  I can't be bitter about that, that has happened to me, with my second husband, in moving on to my third husband.  I even fell in love with my second husband very slowly, like Mr. Charisma did with Miss Right.  I wonder if she knew way before he did, like I did.  I hope someday to be able to compare notes with her, years from now when I'm much more strong.  I'm not unblocking him just yet.  And it's not because of him, it's still me and my fragile heart.  I've made such progress in the past 24 hours,  I don't want it ruined by random happiness.

Wish me luck on my new path.  I feel very excited and joyous on it.  And thank you to all my kids and family members and friends that reached out to me during the last 11 days.  They have been very rough, but very important parts of my journey for they have set me onto my next adventure, and it's already started.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Sometimes You Have To Talk It Out!

Merry Christmas!

I should stop there.  But I can't.  I don't want to.  I'm at a crossroads, and not sure what to do.  I have several options, most of which are immature, stubborn, or downright evil, so I'm reaching out.  Here. Where its safe and can't hurt me.  Where it's only my head that I'm talking to, only me.  I've made a horrible mistake, and poor choice in judgement in allowing Mr. Charisma into my heart and life.  It has been a roller coaster of emotions from the beginning.  If I'm honest, it has been as fun as its been scary.  I just don't want the scary parts anymore.  I tried, I really did try to love him and be who he needed me to be, but that was a mistake.  I was so lonely and alone and afraid, that I let a man into my heart that a few years ago I would never have even given him the time of day.  In fact he was so irritating to me when we first met, I didn't even remember him, until he reminded me, and the second time dismissed both him and his wife when we met years later.  Last year, was when he really made his move on me, and I have a feeling, since he had already read most of my blog by then, that he might have been stalking me a bit and I didn't know.  The more I look back on it, the more I feel like I was a plan.  A plan to have a catalyst to leave a bad marriage.  A rebound, if you will, because guess who is dating already?  Guess who, three days after I break up with him, he's meeting her kids at the movie theater, and his kids have already met her and well, wow, he's in love....and has a date on friday night with her.  I'm assuming his first, but who really knows?  And he used to tell me he was a slow mover.  NOW he wants me to know how right I was about him, that he's really a fast mover...said it twice in his text about her on Christmas Eve.  


He says he's not a player but I sure sense a pattern.  He says he fell in love with me, and the first five months grew more with me than 19 years with his ex wife.  And that it took him so long to figure it out that when the winds of change did blow he took what he learned from me and changed with them.  What he learned from me?  What he learned from me was how easy it is to con an older woman.  I wish I hadn't taught him that.  I wish I had meant more to him.  I wish it he had been telling me the truth when he said, "its not about being with someone else, it's about me being alone to heal." just keep telling yourself that, because I don't believe it.  No one moves that fast, that doesn't have her waiting in the wings.  The Facebook friend accepting date is all the proof anyone needs.

So all the red flags of the way we got together, and the people he reminded me of from my past, all scary men that hurt me emotionally and or physically.  The strange lack of boundaries his daughters have with men and nudity, the strange ideas he lives by and the molds he tried to fit me into.  The year and two months I deserted almost everyone in my life, friends, family all to devote all my extra time to him, and it still wasn't enough.  Nothing I did or changed was ever enough.  I feel dirty and used and abused and I understand why his wife gains and losing the same 150 pounds over and over again.

I feel like I dodged a bullet, and yet....I'm jealous of her.   I want him back.  And then in the split second my brain imagines them together laughing,.....loving.......I want to disappear from his life.  I want to unfriend him again.  I want to run away because I shouldn't have to watch this.  What he did to me was bad enough, watching it is self inflicting damage.  And probably the most scary of all.  Is that I even consider staying his friend.  Telling him thats what I want.  Almost believing it....wanting to believe it.  Its been true every other time in the past.  I've always wanted to stay friends at the least.  But this time.....

This time.....

What did I learn....maybe if I can find a positive that came out of it.....
I learned how to eat better for a longer life.  Everything else was damaging to my ego, personality, confidence, self esteem, moral code.  And I want THAT back?  THAT is insane.  Why in Gods name would I want that?  Why would God put that in front of me....make that my life lesson?  Because he's starting to really remind me of Mr. Selfish.  And Mr. Hopeful....really close to Guezzo now.  I think I know what I was suppose to learn from that triangle long ago.   But maybe it wasn't what I thought.....maybe what I was suppose to learn then, was how to hate.  I just couldn't bring myself to hate any of the fathers of my children.  They are the fathers of my children!  But maybe thats exactly what I was suppose to learn.  Maybe that's why no one divorces like me and stays friends with them.  Maybe with the equation of children not being in the mix....for Mr. Charisma and I have no children between us and he kept his children away from me.  RED FLAG.  Maybe if the same lesson is put before me I'll see it this time?  NOPE.  Did the same thing again, only this time.....

This time....

I not only do not want to be friends, I can't be friends with him.  I can't watch him be happy so quickly after me.  This is purely ego and self preservation.  I gave up the world to be with him.  Thank god I didn't lose it all, only one big piece I'll never see again.  At least my family and friends are still supporting me, even if I feel destined to be alone.  And I promised myself after the first time this happened I'd never let it happen again, and I did.  Right down to the alcohol abuse and fear.  So afraid to choose what I really want instead of who really wants me.  When am I going to just go for the gold?  When am I going to believe in myself enough to not care so much about people that only want to hurt me.

Or as Carrie Bradshaw said to Mr. Big, "We are so over, we need a new word for over."

Welcome to the first bridge I've consciously burned.  Welcome to the first step down a path I've not seen.  Welcome to hate.  I need to reread all of Sandman.  I am finding that Desire has led me to Despair and Delight to Delirium.  And while it feels like my Destiny, if that's true it is the Destruction of all my Dreams, and I might as well welcome Death.

A crossroads, on a day of's Christmas morning, and there is something magical about the love that is everywhere this day, as people near are snuggled together, united in families of love, there is so much hope on a morning like this.  There is something to that cosmic energy felt during religious holidays, or any time that humans put their minds to work in the same direction, at the same time.

Its in this community of love that I will take my first steps on a path I have never tried before, and always been very afraid of.  So I'm going to trust a greater plan, and try to have faith that this is the lesson to be learned, that I must face this fear to become a whole human.  Here I go, alone.  breathing, watching, being careful, and hoping that it will get easier every day, hoping that there is light at the end, because the beginning is rocky and full of thorny brambles as it twists out of my sight....

hey, that sounded a lot like writing....maybe that will help.....maybe I can come through this path stronger and happier.  Maybe the high road will win.  then again....there he is on line, and i'm talking to him because he is opening liking things on my wall that i posted for him to notice.  i'm insane...i should not be talking to him right now.  And I'm right, I should not be talking to him right now.  I got a lot off my chest, and it was better to burn the bridge and then post what I'd been writing when I saw him pop on.

We need a new word for over.....

Sunday, December 22, 2013

IMPORTANT EDIT to Big Break Up of 2013 Blog entry

What a strange morning, but a fulfilling one emotionally.  It was lovingly brought to my attention this morning that a wording in my blog could have been taken and perhaps was, hurtfully instead of as intended.  I got a phone call from that friend of Mr. Charisma's to let me know that he IS indeed my friend and not just his.  And the way I worded it, it made him feel diminished and perhaps dismissed,  and that I didn't feel like he was my friend.

Let me take this moment to say that is not what I meant at all but I can see how it reads like that, and I'm glad he brought it to my attention.   You see, in the past I've always felt like I had to give up my friends that were introduced to me by my boyfriend, once we broke up.  Out of loyalty or honor or something like that.  I always felt that having not known them before I met my boyfriend that they were his friends first, and maybe never really mine.  That I was accepted because their friend loved me.  And I assumed I would have to do the same thing this time.

What a wonderful Christmas present to find out there are adults out there that don't take sides and honestly like me for me and want to continue our friendship even if Mr. Charisma and I are not a couple.  That warmed my heart on a day where I have felt cold and alone.  Thank you for setting me straight.  And thank you for coming to my face with it, instead of complaining or worrying behind my back.  Perhaps I truly have found people that are as upfront as I am, and aren't afraid to say it to my face.


The Big Break Up of 2013

I want to say so much, but I feel like my tongue is tied.  I'm blessed with several friends that have come forward and asked how I am, and wanted to try to cheer me up.  I've contacted some of you personally just to keep you updated and you've listened even if you couldn't respond, and I'm happy for that too.  And you all have had great advice to give me to try to help me understand him if you know him, and even if you don't from the information you have.  

I've been reflecting on breaking up with Mr. Charisma.  I forced the issue on last Wednesday, a week before Christmas, but it was a mutual break up.  Only a matter of a few weeks if I had waited for him to make the decision.  And I was tired of trying and watching him be stressed and frustrated with me, with us.  When I have felt happy and know that any issues we had could have been worked out in time and with love and real compassion and understanding.  Lord knows I tried, but he waffles between his feelings so much and can't really be sincere.  I believe this is because he doesn't know what he wants.  And I believe that while I felt like he and I had a shot at greatness, he just wasn't ready, and add into that a very stubborn nature, even if he liked what he found, he was going to stomp his feet and not be ready because that was his vision.  Like his vision of what a happy marriage was at 8 years old......who can know at 8 years old?  He also found that woman, only to be with her, have three kids, and be unhappy for the entire 19 years he was there....I guess that plan worked, right?  He feels he's been misunderstood his entire life, but I think he doesn't know what he wants so he reflects mixed signals, and becomes misunderstood.  I also think that we understand him very well, but he can't admit who he really is.  And what he really wants.  Because he doesn't respect it, or has felt in the past that it was not a good way to be.  Perhaps even taught it by his parents.  Who knows?  But if he can find himself he will eventually love himself, and then he will know what he wants.  I hope once he does he will reach out to me and let me see if who he has become is someone that I want in my life.  But i believe since he is not responding to my attempts at friendship, which he said he wanted, that I will never hear from him again.  And this breaks my heart and makes me feel like the entire year and two months were not real.  That in the end I meant nothing to him.  

One of his male friends told me "Say what you need to say and be patient.  He will eventually respond when his complacency subsides."  wow....and this from his friend, not mine.  his complacency....

1.            1.
a feeling of smug or uncritical satisfaction with oneself or one's achievements."the figures are better, but there are no grounds for complacency"
2.            synonyms:
3.            smugness, self-satisfactionself-congratulationself-regard; gloating,triumphpridesatisfactioncontentment"the complacency he felt as a math student was abruptly shaken when he took his first calculus exam"


com·pla·cen·cy (k m-pl s n-s ). n. 1. A feeling of contentment or self-satisfaction, especially when coupled with an unawareness of danger, trouble, or controversy.

I've been reflecting on how many times he wanted to break up in the last year and two months, wanted to break up enough to discuss it with me, and the grand total is three.  Once in March, I talked him out of it and tried to get him to understand that with my history of divorce I was uniquely qualified to understand and help and he didn't have to be alone.  I should have let him go then.  He needed to be alone.  I see that now.  But way too late.  Too late to have avoided all the arguments and things said by us both that we shouldn't have, that we can never take back.  I hated being alone, even though I'm sure it was good for me, but I hated it after my split from my last serious boyfriend all those years ago.  

The second time was in September out of frustration from all those arguments and different ways we see life and the world.  I let him go that time to chase his answers and sexual exploration that didn't turn out the way he had hoped.  I took him back, but should not have, because he still needed time.  I wanted us to be casual from the beginning, but I was too flattered to keep him as a possible suited, and accepted his wishes to be exclusive too soon.  I was hoping that in September he would loosen up, and not be so serious, but he fell right back into what he would call 'husband mode'.  Its unfortunate really that he doesn't know how to just express the love he had for me without getting serious.  And to just take his time and get to know me before investing so much love and tenderness into us.  Its too bad that he feels so right all the time in his decisions, because he takes his time he feels he is not rushing into anything.  But he still does rush, he still makes mistakes.  And I have to believe I was a mistake instead of the right choice.  Its too bad that he just doesn't love me as much as I loved him...

I miss him, and I'm sad.  And now I'm waffling between anger, and sadness, and fond memories.  I want him back, but not stressed and not out of loyalty or duty.  But out of love and tenderness and a deep want for us.  For me.  Not the idea of me or that I can be put into some kind of mold or vision and he will be happy

I have a lot to think about, and I think I need to be alone to do it.  And not I even sound like him.  Lost and alone.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Graduation Day!

The most important things happen in an instant, in a flash of your life.  When you look back and compare how long it took to say, "I do," or sadly have to admit, "I don't".  Or the moment when you look into the eyes of your newborn,   holding them for the first time.  Or the moment that same child walks away from you, a little nervous but also a little excited to let go of your hand and walk into school for the first time,  alone.   Or the time it takes to walk across that stage and get your diploma at graduation.  All the preparation, all the time invested, all the planning that goes into the big events of your life seem to vanish in the one fleeting moment of accomplishment.  That wave of relief that washes over you as you know a chapter of your life has just ended and a new one has begun.  Full of exciting adventures and perhaps unique opportunities to accept or decline.  Decisions that will shape your entire life journey can happen in an instant.  And that instant can never be repeated in exactly the same way.  Life and the journey is precious, and the opportunities that await should never be taken for granted for they may be the only chance you ever get to grab that moment.  That feeling of accomplishment, that chance at change.

I watched my youngest daughter cross the stage at her college yesterday, accepting her diploma and acquiring her bachelors degree.  The smile on her face was so joyous, infectious and full of relief.  Her excitement level the entire day was amped to a level that I had not seen in her since her high school graduation...or maybe Christmas morning as a small child, or the weddings of her brother, and sister.  The accomplishment is huge to her but even more so to me as I never chose to go to college, and she is becoming everything I ever wanted to be.  All on her own, and without any prompting from me.  Well, I should amend that I only suggested she go to college, not what she should study.  Her interests are very different from mine in that area, and her journey will also be very different.  I am looking forward to sharing it with her.

Getting to meet her professors that influenced her, and sharing in the moment made me so grateful that our relationship is solid, and I have no doubts that no matter how far she travels in her life, (her plan is to cross the ocean to England) we will remain close, connected, and interested in each others lives.  Perhaps even more than living in the same town and always being so busy.

I have always wanted to go to England and visit, and always been as afraid as my daughter that if I went I might never come back.  She has hinted at as much to prepare me, and all I can say is, "Yay!  Charles Dickens Christmas to look forward to when I visit!  Shakespeare at the Globe!"   The smile of relief on her face is all I need to see to know that I've given her the exact answer she was hoping for.  No guilt, no trying to talk her out of it for any reasons, just the respect she deserves of one adult to another discussing her life and future.

I am proud of all of my children both birthed and adopted to my heart and interested in everything that is happening in their lives.  You all know who you are and for the most part I know you check in on this blog when there is time.  Well, when you read this know this, I care, and I'm here.  As busy as I am, I am never really too busy for you.  So reach out, as you need to, and know that even when you don't I know I'm in your heart as well.


Sunday, December 8, 2013

My Blanket of Snow, My Hot Chocolate of Contemplation

She of Little Combat Boots was in town again this weekend for her super secret army weekend, and came over to spend the evening with me and Mr. Charisma and my daughter.  What a great night!  Sitting eating junk-food and drinking coffee, visiting and watching Dr. Who.  I was also having a pirate shot of honey infused whiskey.  BACKGROUND INFO:  I purchased my 8 oz pirate shot glass in Oregon on a shopping trip with Mr. Practical back in 2010....I've never drunk out of it yet, but somehow with all the stress of last week and sad realization of a truth that I would rather not face,  I felt I not only deserved to drown my sorrows in hard liquor, but I needed to.  And that rarely happens.

Surrounded by my best guy and my best girlfriend, my heart opened up and I was able to unload and vent a lot of feelings of hurt and loss and disappointment.  Disappointment in myself for letting myself down and gaining some determination to do better in my business and not let the competition get to me.  Not let myself get drawn down into the failure spiral of sales after a bad month, or two...  I was able to let out a lot of emotion that has piggybacked onto this realization, as it seems Fate never is kind to me when teaching me a lesson or closing doors.  But I feel like several chapters or doors were shut last week, and or closing.  Slowly but inevitably closing, whether I want them too or not.  Whether I'm ready or not.

Winter is my quite time, my blanket of snow, my hot chocolate of contemplation.  I like to hibernate, I like to be at peace with the world, and I only feel it in the winter.  I make a lot of beginnings and endings in the winter, almost as if I'm preparing for the long hibernation alone, or with one special person.

Its also the time to see loved ones you never get the chance to catch or make time to see.  And when the relationships are solid, its like no time has past between you.  And you can pick up and catch up rather quickly.

This time of year also makes me very reflective, causing me to think on friends I miss or loved ones I know I will never see again.  I miss catching up with them, checking in, if you will.  Just to be sure they are happy and doing well.  It's really all I've ever wanted for all my friends, is happiness.   I hope they know that.


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Why Do We Wait Until The Holidays To Reach Out

It seems like it happens every year, and maybe that's why we look forward to the holidays so much.  But every year, I have some friends and well, family yes...they are like family, these friends.  And they seem to pop into my life all of a sudden, from Thanksgiving to New Years.  I look forward to catching up with them every season, and every season I promise myself I'll stay in touch more, not let so much time go by without a visit or a trip to see them over a weekend.  That I won't miss another birthday party, or special event in their lives just because I'm so damn busy all the time with my own shit.

This holiday, Thanksgiving is the appropriate kick off to that season for me.  And I am thankful for all of those family-friends that are in my life.  Thanksgiving day, I cooked for my daughter and Mr. Charisma.  This is what is feels like to be in love and not have to sneak around.  I had forgotten how happy I could be if I let myself.  That was family time.

Then it was Friday, and one of my best girlfriends, She of Little Combat Boots and her husband The PunMaster (sorry Bobby)  were in town for Thanksgiving with their wonderful children.  After a turkey day with her mom and dad, they decided to head downtown.

And as it happens we ran into another old family-friend that I had not seen in 20 years, he's not from around here, Mr. Alien, but he sure was fun to visit with and surprise.  It took him a good 20 minutes ( a minute a year, hum) to admit he didn't remember me, but when prompted, it all came rushing back like a tidal wave of memories and good times.

 I never thought I'd ever see him again in my life, and there he was.  Funny what this season does, isn't it?  Strange the people it pulls together tighter, and the ones that it rips apart with disasters of bad decisions or bad luck or both.  How the worst situation in your life might be the best thing that ever happened to you.  Might pull you closer to the people you are too busy for, the family-friends that stand by you when in pain.  This season brings that out in us too.  But why do we wait?  Why do we all keep some of the most special people in our hearts, out of our lives until The Holidays?

I hope this feeling of wanting to stay connected will keep me in touch more with my family-friends.  I know its always my goal, even when I fail.  I hope that this season pulls you to where your heart needs you to be, and doesn't rip you away from where it lives.  This is the season of love and forgiveness and understanding.  I want that season every day.  And this weekend has shown me just how special my family is.  And how much I treasure them.


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Do We Stay Out Of Love Or Duty?

 A black and white photo on Post Secret caught my eye this morning.  The post card was of a little girl handing a colored on red flower to a sobbing little boy.  It read:  "So maybe you're a little more messed up than what I had bargained for...that doesn't mean that I'm going to stop caring for YOU."  Then you turned it over and it said, "I'm not going anywhere."  

I instantly feel in love with the person that had to express this because its often where I believe Mr. Charisma is with me.  And sometimes, if I'm honest, where I am with him.  I know it will hit many of you in many different ways, but I got joy out of it more than pain.  A commitment, or resolve to try just a little bit harder with him than I have with any other man, because I love him.  Because the good is so much better than any bad that we have.  

I have some friends out there, that shall remain nameless, who are in relationships where this is also true.  This feeling of helplessness about being in love with someone who is a bit broken and might need some extra understanding or care, every once in a while.  I have a couple of friends, who within the last couple of years have been very open with their intimate lives with me, and made me aware that the daily struggle to remain sane, and themselves, while trying to care for their mates ever changing emotional situations.  I try to advise, hopefully without too much 'I told you so' and joke with them to see if it is just a passing thing, a phase, if you will, as in hormonal; or if it is something much more serious, like a constant state.  If they don't laugh at my highly improper joke or defend their mate when I fall into "I told you so"-mode, I can only assume they are miserable.  Especially since they both can be sarcastic and have very good senses of humor.   

And in defense of love, they stay with their mates.  I can only assume that even though I'm only hearing the 'bad day' or the 'bad moment', that overall, their situations MUST be happier than I had originally believed.  When I asked them, "Why they stay?"  I get everything from, "I love her" to "The kids" to "If this marriage fails, I'm done with relationships," to silence.  Some of those sound like love, some sound like duty.  

I can't imagine staying with anyone out of duty.  Love I get.  Love I strive for.  Love is easy when its right, or at least the good times make the bad ones seem less important.  Sometimes now when I think of early on disagreements we may have had, I can't even remember why we fought.  Some are still big ones we are working through, but we are working through them.  I think that is normal for where we are in our relationship.  This chapter of my life is moving much slower than any of my past ones.  And I'm really happy about that.  I know sometimes I may seem frustrated by it, but in reality I'm not.  I think I need to see what a normal dating relationship is like.  Something that takes time to grow and is not force-fed a dose of commitment before the deeper love has been achieved.  Something that can only take place with time together.

I've said it once and I'll say it again.  When two people really are in love, they want to spend all their free time together.  Now while I know this is impossible, it does not erase the fact of the FEELING being there.  When I miss him, I miss him fondly.  It is rare now, that I miss him and wonder what he's up to.  Or who he is with.  Or if he is with someone else.  As an only child who is use to getting what she wants when she wants it, it is a new reality for me to have to wait and see.  And to live the journey instead of being so preoccupied on getting to the end... Getting to a label.  

So I'm trying a new mindset.  It's something I came up with all by myself, and I think it will be a huge fad.  I'm trying not to care about what may happen, and have  How's that for a shocker?  Have some faith in myself, and him and what we feel and that everyone else will come around, with time.  


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Is My Journey Starting To Scare Me?

I'm discovering some new habits in my life in the last few months.  It's almost impossible to put a 'time stamp' on it, as my love would say, but I know its been longer than a few weeks.  And they all started cropping up at once.  Its as if, a switch has been flipped inside me, and all of a sudden, I'm finding myself, stronger, less afraid, and more confident and determined to be understood, than ever before in my life.  And I owe this awakening to Mr. Charisma.  I understand what it means now, that feeling of loving someone so much that you want to be a better person, the best you, when they are around.  Meeting him, and getting to know him over this last year, has been so healing, and miraculous in its discoveries.  The ways that I am changing and the me that I am getting to know, is a part of myself that I have kept hidden from most of the world, and shown to only the person I most love at the time.  I have come to realize that saving some of my best parts for only that special person, is wonderfully romantic, but denies the rest of the world, half my personality....the best half, in my opinion.  But I believe I do this from past hurts, low self esteem, and great fear of rejection.  (writer/actress....go figure).

Through my journey in life, so far, I have found myself on many a path that was difficult at first and slowly, with discussion and understanding, and sometimes heavy cranes, a smoother path is reviled, and easier way to continue.  In my distant past, always with a companion, in the more recent past alone, or with a sometimes companion.  I know our timing sucks, but our hearts are not being denied this time.  In spite of our differences, we are drawn to each other, and together find a peace that no one else can help us achieve.  A sure safe-haven of trust and almost complete honesty.  And I mean that as a huge compliment because I believe no one can be completely honest with another person.  Hell, sometimes we aren't even honest to ourselves.

I am quickly coming to the part of my journey with this man, where I am really starting to take shape in the directions I want to go, and the way with him is feeling less and less complicated.  This honesty came at a huge price, but I think, in the end, it will be worth it.  I have felt strong connections like this before, connections that I felt could stand the test of time, distance, love, divorce, life, and still be connected.  Maybe not as strongly as when entwined, but still a thread of respect, hope and the unconditional love that forgiveness brings.  I know no matter what happens with him from this day forward, we will be in each others lives somehow.

And as much as I wish I could let myself be swept away by this man, I am still, a year later, keeping one foot on the ground.  Call it lack of trust, call it broken, call it CGB, call it whatever you want, but I am going to protect myself.  And somehow be understood.

Wish me luck.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Are We Only Creative When Completely Disappointed and Unhappy?

I've always been disappointed with artistic women that seem to lose their creativeness when they stop being angry and get happy.  For example, Amanda Palmer, Alanis Morissette, Pat Benatar, Amiee Mann, Gwen Stefani, Tori Amos.  I mean really.  I miss these women and their music.  But it seems as soon as they found love and started having kids and being, well, happy, I lost interest in what they were trying to tell me.  It's really sad to me to see the creative process linked so much to the soul and mind.  I know its necessary to be truly great, but its sad to me.  Because I want both.  I want happy endings for these women.  I've read their poetry in song lyrics, and felt their pain in intense singing sessions from my bed with headphones on.  I've danced around my apartment cleaning to them or working out with the songs blaring away in my head, with or without electronic accompaniment.  And as much of a fan as I am to them all, I've only seen one of them live.  And Tori was great!  Biter, brokenhearted, hot, redhead, singing her guts out and playing a piano like a rock guitar god!  The way you think Beethoven or Mozart might have really played for their close companions.  I immediately saw the Tree that Neil Gamin publicly wrote was her, AND Delirium whom we all secretly know is her.

I've seen one other female performer live, that still speaks to my heart and soul and still makes me feel sane with what she is trying to tell me.  That's Stevie Nicks.  And she will always be my favorite female performer.  There is a petition going round the internet that reminds me of the one that went around for RUSH for ten years, before they got in.  And it's in favor of Stevie being inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame for her solo work.  I would love this to happen.  She'd be the only female performer to be inducted twice.  Once for her work with Fleetwood Mac, and then for her solo work.  I looked it up.   Only a few men have accomplished this, and only Eric Clapton three times.  (The Yardbirds, Cream, and his solo work).  Of course the members of the Beatles, and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young came to mind.  But I admit I forgot about Michael Jackson, Johnny Cash and Jimmy Page....opps.  What an honorable list to be the only woman on?  Now the nominations for the 2014 year are out and she's not on it, according to my source.  But I am hoping for soon.  John McVee (bass player for Fleetwood Mac) diagnosed with cancer and Fleetwood Mac canceled the Australian leg of the world tour.  It would be sad if he didn't live long enough to see his band become a part of rock music history, twice.  Stevie is far and away the most deserving female artist, of her generation, for this honor.  And I also have to admit that I was surprised that Diana Ross had not already done this for The Supremes , and her solo work.

I wish the popular choice of the amount of albums, 8 tracks, cassette tapes, and cd's purchased had more influence.  I wish the fans voice meant more in this process.  Perhaps if it did many deserving artists like, KISS (eligible since 1999), Bon Jovi, The Cars, B-52's, Cheap Trick, Sonny and Cher (eligible since 1990), Depeche Mode, Chicago (eligible since 1994), Berry White (eligible since 1994), The Moody Blues (eligible since 1989), Jethro Tull (eligible sine 1993), Deep Purple (eligible since 1994 and first nomination is for 2014!) Journey and "Weird Al" Yankovic might already be in the Hall of Fame.

I miss my music.  It's starting to disappear, like the music of the 50's, 60's and 70's before it has.  I hear more and more music from the 90's again as classic rock.  WOW.  That really made me feel old for just a split second.  The new music I discover now is mostly from my boyfriend or my kids or their friends.  My newest favorite is What the Fox says.  And here is a link for all you over 40 types that may be starting to not listen.

Cheers and hottie, hottie, hottie, ho

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Patterns Of The Broken Hearted

I've spent a lot of time on this blog reflecting on my patterns and how I've repeated some that just are not healthy.   I'm not perfect by any means but I do feel like I continually get better at the issues I'm trying to improve.  I have my moments of back sliding.  I love to talk and discover what is hidden in our psyche.  The things that make us who we are, especially with people I love.  When I discover a difference in a stranger I don't really care.  I might for a customer try to empathize enough to build report, but not really delve into the why's or care as deeply as I do with a man I'm in love with.

With my current love, we have a lot of differences, see life very differently.  This is both a fascinating and painfully dangerous.  For when certain topics are brought up, and we can't agree on the motives or reasons why, or emotions behind actions, it can be very hurtful for the person that felt wronged or hurt,  What I didn't realize with him, is that he gets even more hurt by disappointing me.  I'm sure other men in my past may have felt this, but none have been able to express it to me the way he has.  I have hurt him in ways I can hardly comprehend.  And it has been good for me, for I am seeing it, perhaps for the first time in my life and am trying to make changes that stop hurting him.  And I think I'm making great strides.  But it doesn't matter.  Guess why?

He doesn't forgive.  He holds on to negative impressions and lets go of all our positive ones, and holds a grudge.  Not one that is final, but one that slowly tears him apart until he has to leave to find some new happy.  This is the exact same pattern for him in his relationships.  This is not for me.  So I'm growing in this relationship, even if he can't see it or feel it or believe it will last. And he is stagnant.

He used to feel like being with me was 'coming home'.  He shared with me last night that he doesn't feel that anymore and he's not sure when it changed.  He had a similar feeling five weeks ago when he tried to break up with me.  So I'm back to walking on eggs.  I wonder why he even keeps trying when all I can see for a future with him now, is heartbreak of repeated patterns that will end up disappointing him.  I can't be a disappointment in love.  I must be the joy he can't want to come home to.  And if he has lost that, then he has lost what brought him to me.  He says he is chipping away at it and is hoping for a big break.  Aren't we all?  Don't we all chip away at the things that block our paths?  That make our lives a struggle or that we don't understand, until we have a moment of clarity?  I hope he finds his big break.  The great nurturer that I am is tied up in a corner of my mind, and gagged, because  I can't trust her not to coddle him.  And while I know he needs that, so do I.  And while I know I have to give that, I wonder why?  Will I give him everything he needs just to find out that it's still not good enough for him?  That he will still not trust the sex?  Still not trust the love because it was too fast, too deep?  He wants me to fall into him with abandon, and yet he can't get swept away?  That's not fair, and not right.  But it is who he is.  And I love him.  So I'm left with trying, growing and hoping that we can grow together but fearing that we will grow apart, just like they did, only much quicker.

I can also see us very old and very happy together, walking hand in hand and discussing everything we know.  And this feels right and true, and worth every minute of the issues about sex that, frankly at our ages, won't matter much longer anyway.  Not in the scope of the many, years I hope to have left with him.  I can't bear the thought of being just another sweet gal he gave a piece of his heart to that didn't work out.

I have much to work on.  I hope he wants me around while I am.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

When Harry Met Sally

Happy Anniversary to us.  One year ago last night Mr. Charisma and I took a step together.   A step along a path that would change our lives forever.  It wasn't the first time we met, although I must admit I can hardly remember meeting him, since it was two years ago at Mr. Hopeful's birthday party.  My mind was not on meeting new people, but Mr Charisma remembered me, and although we didn't see each other for almost a year after that, I'm betting it was a fond remembrance.  When we met the second time it was through our mutual business connections.  He was a vendor for a supply company that the company I worked for ordered from, so it was strictly business....Until a year ago last night.

We had both been invited to a birthday party of a mutual friend of ours.  I didn't really expect to run into him but was very pleased when I did, as other than our mutual friend, I knew no one else at this gathering.  I have since come to know some of them much better, which I'm also happy about, for they are all good people.

Mr. Charisma and I fell instantly in lust, with a lot of suggestive flirting, and just plain talking.  I enjoyed his company and I could tell he didn't want to let anyone else get too close to me, and pretty much monopolized my attention the entire party.  From restaurant to bar, to bar, to dancing, to bar, and back to my place.  The lust was obvious, and the love quickly followed. This was a huge surprise to us, as we were in very different places emotionally and mentally; AND with other people at the time.  We tried not to love each other, and almost successfully pushed each other away several times over the last year, but our love just keeps reaching out for each other.  And eventually, six months ago he took another huge step along a path toward me, and got away from that other relationship.

We have discovered so much about each other that no one else bothered to have the love, understanding or patience to discover.  And have helped each other in very deep and healing moments.  We end up having more patience than we would with each other than anyone else.  More understanding, more desire to understand, and more ability to change into better people.  You see changing with someone when you are in love is a good thing.  Being willing to admit to yourself that you want to be a better person, not for yourself only but for this other human you have met and fallen so in love with that you want them to be proud of you.  Love you.  See the best side of you.  And so you try harder.  They say we always hurt the ones we love, the ones we shouldn't hurt at all.  And I think that's true too, but it shouldn't be.  We shouldn't hurt the ones we love because we know they will forgive us.  We shouldn't become lazy in love or complacent because we won her (or him) so now we don't have to try as hard.

Mr Charisma showed up on my door step with red roses and pink tiger lilies.  My two favorite flowers which he did not know.  He swept me away to one of our special restaurants for a romantic dinner.  This is a new place we discovered together, with very good food, and reasonably priced and they are so wonderful there and treat us like they know us every time we go.  I guess we are regulars now.  Your anniversary restaurant is an important choice.  I thought he might pick the restaurant of our friends birthday, but I'm glad he picked the one he did.  It means more to me that he would pick a place the he felt was just ours.  I've always loved our Saturday nights/Sunday mornings, but this week he really out did himself.  And by all reports my trip to Victoria Secrets was well worth it.


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Fortress Around Your Heart - Sting

A lot of words have been tossed around over the last four it been that long?  The "starting over" or "seeing each other anew" has been a very interesting experiment.  You see when Mr. Charisma and I met we weren't completely ourselves.  I'm not saying we completely misrepresented ourselves, but lets just say, our flirty, playful, and sex-starved selves were really out to play that night.  That being said, once that self-image was discovered, by both, we realized we actually might just like each other WAY beyond attraction.  And I mean this word 'attraction' in all its facets.  Both mentally and physically -- the heart and mind united, in a single, perfect, sphere....(ah...Neil,  thank-you)

And over the almost year now that we have been unable to stop touching each other, or anxiously waiting a comment on an important daily event, or say good morning, and good night...every single day....even if angry or disappointed in each other.  Our connection both physical and mental, (here's where we both trust one over the you can't guess which one is ya.)  is very strong and seems no matter how hard we both try to sever it, it just can't be broken.  WTF? is wrong with this stupid connection!  Doesn't it know that it pisses us both off to find out that we might just be made for each other?!  REALLY?  0_O  Where we are alike we are so alike, but where we are different we are like polar opposites that not only attract each other, but actually NEED to learn from each other.  NEED to have met and been together.  Or, hopefully BE together.  Just breathing and be....that's the hardest part for two lovers who have met in their individual journeys, coming from to very different directions, but somehow having met at the same place.  With the same unfulfilled needs.

I understand why I have met him and why now, and why he is in my life; and I hope after this time together from last night through to tomorrow morning, if I'm lucky, he will understand why he has met  

We are committed to trying, and in understanding that we just can't live without each other.   Sometimes that is a really hard thing to admit.  Especially if you honestly feel like you are meant to be on a solo journey.  Or you feel you only hurt those you love and have a wake of lost souls and broken hearts behind you.  Hard to admit that you may have not only met your match, but your compliment.

It must be love, because I can't explain it.  It just is...

"And if I built this fortress around your heart
Encircled you in trenches and barbed wire
Then let me build a bridge
For I cannot fill the chasm
And let me set the battlements on fire"


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Beyond the Veil

New connections with familiar loves are very possible.  You have to let down your defenses, no matter how you accomplish this, it must be done.  Once your defenses are down, the next step is crucial.  Listen.  Listen with your mind, not your heart.  Have your heart ready to feel, and give you important input, but do not let your heart be your guide in this.  Especially if you are passionate.  Especially if your emotions are like the ocean, forever ebbing and flowing, increasing in velocity until a gentle loving brush against the sand becomes a hurricane of fear bashing against the shore.

Your mind will be your guide and you will be able to reason yourself out of the torrent and into the eye of the storm.  Where, if successfully listening to your intellect, you will be able to calm your emotions to a rational, and logical state of awareness.  THIS is how growth is accomplished for me.  This is how I handle immediate hurts and when I'm successful I do not blow up.  When I am not, is when the storm comes.

This week I had several moments of clarity, in which old, and thought healed hurts, were revisited by comparison.  My heart shut me down.  Made me believe that because it felt like an old hurt it would BE a new one.  Made me not trust, or even want to try.  That's not because I'm not in love or trust him.  It's because the old hurts were not healed.  The old pain of being tossed aside for another were still very raw.  Sad really, because I was sure I had conquered that.  Sure my confidence was real, not armor.  Sure that my ability to forgive and move on was real and not just 'what I should do.'  Not just what he needed me to do.

I have always known that I chose men that found me attractive.  That choose me first.  I have come to understand this might not be the best way to find a mate.  (laughing at myself here)  But it has been fun in finding sex partners.  Unfortunately I want more than just sex from my partners.  I don't just connect with sex.  I connect first with my intellect, then very, very firmly with sex.  As an almost exclamation point to the wonderful mental connection I have already established.  But why do I wait to see who choses me?  Why don't I choose?  I could say it's because I'm shy, but I doubt any of you that know me personally would agree with this.  But it could be true.  I could say it's because I'm afraid of rejection.  That sounds more like me, as a writer, actress, lover...pretty much the entire risk categories of my hobbies.  (I know that sounds bad, lover as a hobby...not sure I mean that, but DAMN when sex is good its fun, and hobbies should be fun.   But until one of my lovers decides, once and for all, that I'm the one, I guess I have to consider all sex as fun instead of love....this saddens me, but it may be true.  Not sure yet.)

I have found out, after having Mr. Charisma read my screenplay Regrets, that he does this too, and have done this in our past...choose only the ones that have chosen us first.  And basically this has not worked for us.  Now I know you are asking, how is this true?  How can you be together if you both wait?  Well the night we got together we both did wait.  I saw immediately how much he was into me, and I let him continue to flirt and I flirted back, until I saw that he wanted to take me home....but he never closed the deal.  He couldn't.  I didn't know this then.  All I saw was a player, a guy out on the town trying to hook up, while he told other gals that were texting him, that he was busy.  Including his relationship at the time,  boy, did I feel desired.  At this point I felt he had chosen me, so I allowed it to go farther than I ever have with anyone else, publicly.  (Yay!  Slutty growth! Or if you watch Scandal, "We have a slutty President problem.")--But growth, none the less.  He had no idea that I wasn't this way with all the boys.  See the problem yet?  Anyway, I finally closed the deal and we ended up at my place.  For him that was me choosing him.  So we both waited.

And now it feels like we are in love and both still waiting.

Waiting for the other to be who we think we know, and seeing the real person, not the images we met under, has been eye opening, intense, intellectual, growth inspiring, healing, painful, cathartic, sexually healing, hopeful, calming, frustrating, surprising, passionate, curious, probing, and honest.

I think all of that is worth keeping.  And I want this man in my life forever.  I just don't know how to make that happen.  And my big brain keeps telling me that is good, because that will keep me interested and trying.  And my big heart keeps telling me, its worth it.


ps.  he liked the screenplay so much he wants to read the novel I wrote that inspires it...have to find it.  And he is curious about the fantasy novel I was writing with Mr. Practical.  Which I have e-mailed to him to read.  And now I am wanting to write again.  Stay tuned on this.  This could be big.

Sunday, October 6, 2013


A lot happened again this week on the Mr. Charisma front, but I'm not talking about that, because there is nothing I can do for him.  And it only makes me sad.  

This week I'm going to share with you my first test drive.  Not a test drive from work, like every day for a customer deciding on a car.  But a REAL test drive, of a prototype vehicle from my training class on Friday.  I can't show you any pictures of video, because well, I didn't take any.  But also because it's a prototype and we weren't allowed.  But I wish I could have.  The vehicle was the new Jeep Cherokee that is coming out at the end of the year.  And the three classes on technology, capability and safety were informative.  Took a ton of notes that I didn't end up needing because they gave us a goodie bag at the end, and one of the items in it was a preloaded JEEP flash-drive of the print material.  (My favorite was the JEEP hat!  Score!)  After all the training, my group moved on to the drive.  Two obstacles courses awaited me.  One was the 4WD course and the other was the speed course.  I've never been on a professional test drive of a vehicle before it was deemed ready for the public.  Was very exciting.  Not to get into selling mode here, but the new Jeep Cherokee has three different drive systems in it for 4WD, the Active Drive 1, Active Drive 2 and Lock.  We tested all the base 4WD, Active Drive 1's.  and WOW.  OMG I can't imagine needing more power,  or ground clearance than that.
There were five different "terrain" sections on the 4WD course:
1. one uneven ramp to simulate 2 and 1 WD.  So the Jeep is tilted to one wheel going over it, all four times.
2.  Mt. Jeep, to simulate a steep uphill and plateau, then down hill.  Was like driving over a garage.
3. several very thick ropes in S curves to simulate a river bed
4.  about 10 feet of huge boards, like 2x4s but much thicker and in different depths, to simulate a very rough road.
5 speed bumps, to simulate well, speed bumps.

We drove that course four times in groups of two for the 6 cylinder and the 4 cylinder....once as a passenger once as the driver.   Watching the other students do the course was the scariest for me, as I have very old experience with 4WD.  You know the 70's kind of 4WD....get out, lock the hubs, get back in, go.  This is all automatic.  We didn't even have it set for mud, snow, sport, or rock.  We had it set on auto.  And the Jeep just knew what to do, by the way the wheels spun. Then the differential would take over, and apply the power to the wheels that were actually able to get traction, while breaking would automatically clamp down on the spinning wheel to put power where you needed it to keep moving forward.  Keep moving forward....that's my motto right now.  Or rather, Jeeps motto....Life is calling.  I like that one too.

Anyway this was my very first drive, and I was nervous.  But I didn't topple one cone, and the professional drivers they have guiding you from the outside, like for airline pilots at take off, were great.    I was amazed that I didn't have to do anything, but use some common sense.  Not floor it.  :)  Just a slight suggestion of acceleration and the Jeep did the rest and got me out of every one of the simulated road hazards.  Of course with Jeep they aren't hazards, they are fun!  And I thought I wanted one before the class.  It was like a roller coaster.  Filled with awe and amazement and wanting to keep going again and again.

The speed course also had five challenges:
1 & 2.. Hard acceleration to a accident avoidance swerve lane change and hard break
3. Sound test over pavement breaks like on a highway
4.  Slalom
5. 10 mile and hour pot holes

In the speed test we got to drive a Jeep, Toyota RAV 4, Honda CRX and Ford Escape.  And none of them had the acceleration, or control of the Jeep.  None of them could even do the first two of the 4WD test and had to drive around them both to the last three easy ones.  And on the boards they bottomed out!    I know all these other SUVs claim they can do and have what Jeep has, but their testing is not like ours and they can't do as much as easily.  I was very impressed with my brand vs the others and found that information very valuable for my customers who are shopping.

On the speed course I lost a few cones, but we all did.  We were in groups of four for that course, and all of us in our team were very different drivers.  The aggressive driver in my group pushed each car to it's limits much more than I did.  But by the third drive through, I had found my comfort zone and pushed the Jeep to the limits on the slalom.  He said, "You'll never make it"  I could see out of the corner of my eye my shotgun grab the "oh shit handles"  as I maneuvered it steering sharply between the slalom curves,  the Jeep responded to my slightest suggestion and I didn't loose a cone.  He yelled with glee from the back seat as if I were his little sister getting it down from his example, "You made it!  Good Job!"  We all laughed like kids.  The girl can drive.  ;)

All in all a long day but a very fun one, full of meeting new people and driving.  (Two additional paragraphs on how I'm REALLY feeling deleted.  YAY personal growth!)