Books I’ve Read in 2018…

Total Pages Read: 5,482
Shortest Book: 208 pages
Longest Book: 512 pages
Fiction: 13
Non-Fiction: 1
Cookbook: 5
Poetry: 0

Last Book Read:
19. Asian Dumplings: Mastering Gyoza, Spring Rolls, Samosas, and More by Andrea Nguyen. A nice book that covers a large amount of dumpling recipes from East and Southeast Asian cuisines. 240 pages. (Finished 27 Nov 18).

Past Lists:

2017 List
2016 List
2015 List
2014 List
2013 List
2012 List
2011 List
2010 List
2009 List
2008 List
2007 List

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Don’t Miss It

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On dating and friendships…

An acquaintance of mine (Jenny) recently wrote this really good post about why she’s stopped dating. She had a bunch of points that I really related to as I’ve navigated dating after my relationship with H ended at the end of the last year. Her first point: “1. I find it very difficult to be attracted/interested in a picture or two and short little blurb. And so many dudes [women in my case] don’t even write a blurb.”

Honestly I just don’t really get online dating that much. The only semi-successful relationship I’ve had that started from an online dating site was H, and that only lasted about a year. My most successful relationships have been ones that started organically with people I’ve already met. I haven’t necessarily been friends with that person before entering a dating relationship, just that the initial introduction has already happened.

Unlike Jenny, I’m not ready to give up on dating yet, I haven’t even completely given up on the online sites. I don’t think my heart is really into online dating though. There are plenty of anxieties that I’m still working through regarding dating after my divorce and then the end of my relationship (and friendship) with H. I’m in a bit of a Catch-22 when it comes to dating. I want to date, but I don’t at the same time, or at my worst I don’t feel like I’m a good potential partner for someone.

Like Jenny, what I really want is to work on both maintaining and finding quality friendships. I have my friend family both near and far, those folks that you can call up after not speaking for a year or two and its like yesterday, but I’d like to have a few more folks locally. It’s not easy making new friendships in your 40s (as I talked about in a previous post). I’ve reached out to folks to do things (overcoming my anxiety about this). I still spend way too much time watching Netflix alone on the weekends, but I am getting better about making sure I do still get out of the house and see another human at least once during the weekend.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2018/on-dating-and-friendships/

On Friends

Over the past couple years, I’ve thought a lot about my friendships and what they mean to me. What is important to me in my friendships? What are my expectations? Are my expectations realistic? Am I being the type of friend I want someone else to be to me?

I think that I can be a bit of a conundrum to friends. I can be both overly open about things and hard to crack as well. If you are someone I think I can trust, I’ll probably tell you more details then you want to know about something. At the same time, I lean towards a more introverted persona and I don’t often outwardly show a lot of emotion. I also don’t often push for more info from someone than is freely shared. I think this sometimes comes across as detached or indifferent. Which is often not the case. I do want to listen to the things that are going on in my friends lives.

If I had one anxiety about friendships, it would be that I sometimes question if my friends actually want to hang out with me. It often feels like if I do something with friends, it is something that I have to instigate/plan. I know from talking to other friends that I’m not the only person that feels this way. My guess is that it is more widespread than not, especially with the busyness of life as we become older adults. I do know that it feels really good to be invited to do something with someone though. I’ve made a point of focus to make sure I acknowledge when it happens as well, whether or not I can actually take the person up on the invite.

But what is a healthy friendship? There is always going to be some ebb and flow in any relationship whether platonic or romantic. For me, it is important that it is a relationship. There has to be some effort to keep up the friendship on both sides of the friendship. I’ve had to pull away from a friendship because it was largely one sided. I had another friendship that went a little dormant for awhile…and still probably isn’t where I’d like it to be…but has shown signs of life lately.

Ending a friendship is painful. With the exception of my divorce, it’s probably one of the more painful things I’ve done. More painful than even the end of a romantic relationship. I don’t like doing it. Especially when you care deeply about that person. These feelings are fresh. This happened in the past few weeks. I can’t say that friendship is over forever, but for now at least it seems to have come to some sort of end. That still hurts…even if it is the right thing for the time being.

Friendships are an amazing thing. I treasure each one in its own way. They have shaped who I am. They have been my family when I’ve been separated by miles from my actual family. Perhaps that is why they are so hard to step back from.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2018/on-friends/

Adult Friendships

I’ve had several conversations recently with different friends and family about how difficult it can be to both maintain and make new friendships as “adults.” I’m talking about maintaining friendships from childhood/college or making new friends in the post college time. People get married, some have kids. Between work and other family obligations, people get busy.

Someone did tweet into my Twitter timeline recently a pretty great piece of advice on one way to help stay connected to your friends in the face of all the everyday busyness of adult life:

I have more to say about this subject, however my thoughts are kinda all over the place at the moment. I’m going to need some more time to make them a little more coherent (I’ve written and deleted 3 or 4 different paragraphs).

In the meantime, anyone who happens to make it this far, I hope all is well with you. If we haven’t talked/texted/tweeted recently, I’d love to touch base and hear what is going on in your life.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2018/adult-friendships/

Movin’ On

New music from Glen Hansard.
Lyrics

Words that ring true recently.

Listen to the rest of the album on this playlist:

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Books I’ve Read in 2017…

Total Pages Read: 14,386
Shortest Book: 22 pages
Longest Book: 592 pages
Fiction: 36
Non-Fiction: 3
Cookbook: 6
Poetry: 7

Last Book Read:
52. 50 American Plays by Michael Dickman & Matthew Dickman.  My former classmates at the University of Oregon (and twin brothers) explore each of the fifty states with a short poem inspired by the format of a play.  110 pages. (Finished 30 Dec 2017).

Past Lists:

2016 List
2015 List
2014 List
2013 List
2012 List
2011 List
2010 List
2009 List
2008 List
2007 List

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2017/books-ive-read-in-2017/

Books I’ve Read in 2016…

Total Pages Read: 9,998
Shortest Book: 86 pages
Longest Book: 624 pages
Fiction: 17
Non-Fiction: 9
Cookbook: 1
Poetry: 5

Last Book Read:
32. The Course of Love by Alain de Botton. A return to fiction and the story of our narrator from On Love. We learn more about who our narrator is and his background. We follow him as he journeys through the beginnings of the relationship that becomes his marriage and what follows over the course of it. 240 pages. (Finished 12 Dec 2016).

Past Lists:

2015 List
2014 List
2013 List
2012 List
2011 List
2010 List
2009 List
2008 List
2007 List

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/books-ive-read-in-2016/

Divorce (Finally)

Friday afternoon we finally reached a settlement agreement. The paperwork still needs to be drawn up and signed, but I’ll finally be able to put this whole chapter behind me sooner than later.

In the end, she’s getting off easier than she probably would have if the case had gone to trial. But the cost of going through with the deposition and trial that her side was pushing for would have canceled out much of the gain. The sad thing is, in the end we ended up only $700 below what I told her the low end would be when she left. So because she was unwilling to communicate at all (except through third parties…first her mom…then the attorneys), and even then unwilling to talk about any sort of settlement until the last week before the scheduled deposition, we both will have ended up spending at least a couple thousand extra dollars and probably 3 or 4 months on something we could have settled on our own.

As painful as this whole process has been, in the end it’ll end up being for the better. From her own words, she apparently had doubts even before we actually got married. The problem was she never said anything to me or anyone else about them. The marriage that I thought was built on strong rock because of the words she was telling me, was actually built on sand. The first storm that hit it damaged it beyond repair (even if it took a year for it to completely fall apart afterwards).

In the last six months I’ve done a lot of self-introspection. I’ve taken this time to really think about what is important to me in relationships. Where I’ve fallen short in the past (not just in the marriage, but prior relationships as well). The places where I gave up more than I should have. I will not distance myself from my family just because my partner feels awkward about being there. That communication is so important. If someone is unwilling to talk about the hard stuff…well then they probably aren’t really mature enough to be making the hard decisions (like getting married). I know I wasn’t perfect in the marriage. I know I acted in ways that contributed to the environment that led to our marriage falling apart. I tried to improve on those things when we went to couples counseling. But I fear, by the time we went to couples counseling it was already too late. Part of her had already made up her mind…she just needed the excuse to run from having difficult conversations herself. Nothing I could have done or said would have changed anything…at most it would have just adjusted the timing. I acknowledge and accept the role my actions played in our marriage ending. I’m not deflecting my personal responsibility on my mom, or her, or any others like she has. In the end, I know that I was faithful to my marriage vows until the end.

Despite how difficult this year has been, I really am in a better place than I was at the end of last year. I have a group of friends that have been a great support over the course of the year. The people I hang out with are a much healthier group of people than some of the people I had surrounded myself at the end of last year. I’ve got great housemates that have a positive outlook on things. Have I mentioned how great my friends have been the last six months? Because they have been…they helped me through my darkest times. They’ve been such a source of strength throughout everything and I’ll be eternally grateful.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/divorce-finally/

Desires

“There were things Jacob wanted, and he wanted them from Julia. but the possibility of sharing desires diminished as her need to hear them increased. It was the same for her. They loved each other’s company, and would always choose it over either aloneness or the company of anyone else, but the more comfort they found together, the more life they shared, the more estranged they became from their inner lives.”

-From Here I Am by Jonathan Safran Foer

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/desires/