Boys, Boaz, and the search for love


So, I haven’t written in YEARS.

But to be fair, it’s because huge things have happened: on August 13, 2010, I accepted a position in fundraising for a private school here in town. On October 7, 2010, I moved out—and closer to work—into my own apartment.

The story I’ve woven here on this blog of my life immediately emerged onto a new path: I was no longer Ruth, living with my Naomi, coping after a loss. I just became a person simply starting over—with Mom across town—and beginning a life on my own. Naomi began a new journey, too, of discovering who she was meant to become in her new life, a story no less important, but in the periphery of mine.

And then my little single-girl in quarter-life-crisis-land-story wrapped up in a strange way: after I reached the end of the allegorical comparison of my life situation to Ruth’s, the ending of my own story wrapped up in somewhat the same way as hers: with a romance.

He’s not really a picture of the biblical Boaz (meaning he’s not my boss, or a kinsman-redeemer in the Levirate sense), but he’s an old flame from college that reignited after I shamelessly took some old advice from the original Naomi:

“Wash and perfume yourself, and put on your best dress. Then go down to [the place where he works]…” –Ruth 3:3.

I totally happened to call him and mention to him that I’d be in town near him visiting a friend, and that I had some books he might want, based on some interests he’d recently shared. He then happened to ask me to stop by, to deliver said books, to him at work. I might have worn a really cute sundress and some darling espadrilles.  My friend I’d met earlier might have wished me luck. 🙂

All we did was talk—I didn’t do what Ruth did at her meeting with Boaz, when she actually climbed into bed with him (the hussy!). But our night did wind up with the two of us having drinks together later that evening after his shift and catching up. It had been over a year since he had called me up, out of the blue, just to ask how I was coping after my dad died: an act that took some boldness and sensitivity on his part, since we were then about a year post-amicable breakup. It was an act of compassion that I’d never forgotten.

The rest, as they say, is Old Testament history…

Yep, I got married to my Boaz.  August 6, 2011.

Yep, I got married to my Boaz. August 6, 2011.

 

But I’ll give you the run-down of the story, anyway.

Boaz and I dated through the summer of 2010, and I was, at that time, still casually dating other guys in the rather old-school 1950s fashion as you’ve read here on this blog; I kept busy “playing the field innocently”, with no physical or verbal commitments offered to anyone until I could tell which man would not only stick around, but was also the man who I wished would stick around.

In October of 2010, Boaz asked me, “So, what do I have to do to get you to clear the other guys off your social calendar?”

“You want the other guys off my date book?” I replied, pleased. “Does that mean you want to keep me? Because otherwise, we’ll be wasting each other’s time when we could be meeting our potential mates.”

“It’s not a waste of time if I’m serious.”

Oh, and he was serious.

By Christmas of 2010, we had confessed our love, and he was driving up an hour and a half to visit on weekends (with me driving down sometimes, too), and we established a delightful routine that was broken a few months later in May of 2011, when he proposed to me in a horse-drawn carriage. Yes, this man knew my predilection for Austen literature. It was also reminiscent of our first date in 2007, when he took me on a carriage ride in our old historic college town.

We were mBoaz and Rutharried on August 6, 2011, a day after my parent’s wedding anniversary. (Good thing I was an event planner for my fundraising job; it was sure a quick turnaround from our engagement!)

We honeymooned in Oregon, and two weeks later, he started working on his Master of Divinity degree, and I kept on working at my new fundraising job. Ruth has never really left the field.

I’m four years into that fundraising job now, and been blessed by the overarching school environment at my institution of work and its Jesuit roots and Ignatian spirituality. It’s been a time that’s been full of both work-induced stress and home-life calm and rest. No other deaths, dramas, or traumas have occurred, but the softening changes that come about from the conjugal bliss experienced while sharing my life.

And so, my friends, I’m relaunching this blog in 2014, some five years after its inception, with a new focus: the journey that Boaz and I are taking together as he enters ministry, as we both become workers in a different kind of harvest.

In the process, we’ll check in with Naomi from time to time, who has started over her life in many ways as well. She’s left the house my father died in and moved into a condo (less than a mile from my little apartment with Boaz), where she’s resumed her artwork and has totally redecorated every inch of her new home in her spare hours outside of her part-time work. But it’s been a journey for her, too.

So, some topics of this newer iteration of this blog will include:

  1. More of the spiritual—because those have always been my favorite posts to share.
  2. Some gender politics –because being married brings all kinds of perspectives on the male-female relationship in the 21st century.
  3. Musings on work-family balance, and trying to plan ahead for a future baby (no, reader, I am not pregg-o yet! We’ve been putting it off while Boaz is in school; more on that in my Family Planning category posts).
  4. Living frugally—because with a husband in grad school and me on the equivalent of a starting teacher’s salary, we’ve learned quickly how to live simply and focus on what’s important. And it’s freeing, actually; it’s something we’ll do all our lives.
  5. Reflections on this generation of Millennials—because we are a weird bunch in many ways, and we’re also a group that craves some direction, since we’ve been blown about in a world that’s gone global, and also rather multiple-personalitied and crazy.
  6. Books, pop culture, and other neat things –because I love writing about them and reading your thoughts.
  7. My new obsession: nutrition and health, because we live in a world full of lifestyle diseases, including many cancers—which, as a child of two cancer-stricken parents, I’m trying to avoid!

Looking forward to seeing you here.  Thanks for your patience, and welcome, new readers.

Love,

 

Ruth

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It’s cute how you all have high hopes for a romatic ending to my golden IMS Pole Day event ticket story.  Well, here’s the boring answer:

I gave up looking for a recipient and returned the extra ticket to the event office, where it was given to a patient on the wait list.  This was the resasonable solution, as the ticket was to the event area only, and would have bored to death any man who actually wanted to watch the race from something other than an air-conditioned tent with closed-circuit live TV broadcasting from the Track itself but not actually giving visual sight of the Track.

Here’s the cute ending, though:

After I finished working the event, I just wanted to go home. Maybe it’s because I’m a girl (and not a Danica-kind of girl), I could care less about watching a bunch of shiny, over-horsepowered cars zoom around an oblong track after seeing it in action for about three minutes.  That, and the over-aged frat boys hanging out in the Track yard were getting drunk and taking their shirts off to reveal copious amounts of gynecomastia.  Or maybe I was feeling overwhelmed at the foot traffic of over 15,000 people moving about in one place in search of a late lunch before their favorite driver went to the qualification round. At any rate, I was hot and tired, and I was done.

As I made my exit, I came across a small boy crying–a dark-haired, freckled boy maybe seven or eight years old.  He was looking around feverishly, obviously lost, and clutching his lunch box.  I thought I looked very unscary in my sneakers, ponytail, and children’s hospital tee-shirt, so I decided I could probablly approach him without scaring him further.

“Hey, bud. Are you lost?”

Sniff. “I can’t find my dad. Anywhere.  He was supposed to be going to the car–and I can’t find the car–and—”

My nanny instincts took over, and I started walking the lot with him, asking him where he thought the car was.  He sniffled and eventually got us close enough to a spot where I saw–being marginally taller than the boy–a 40ish year old man looking around with a worried look. 

“Looking for someone?” I called out.

And the man answered, “Yeah, my–”

“Dad!!!” squeaked the boy, recognizing the voice.

I still had my super-special Indy car garage pass, and I had no intention of using it. And the kid was still shaken and tear-stained. “Here, this will get you into the garage for free to go look at the cars.  Go ahead and take it. I won’t go.”

“Seriously? Awesome!!!”

So that, dear friends, is what happened to the other half of my own golden ticket.  So worth it, don’t you agree?

Lesson is:  calling up boys is silly when God decides to call you. 🙂

So, my job gave me tickets and garage passes to the Pole Day event at the Indy 500 Track on Saturday.  Granted, I’m stuck running PR and photography at an event there for the major hospital corporation I’m now working for as a marketing intern.  But now I have an extra ticket and parking pass, and I’d really like a guy to use them.

I called my brother (now heading to California for a week; he’ll be gone Saturday), my cousin (his paternal grandfather just died–funeral is Saturday), my uncle (has a ticket already–figures) . . .  and yes, even an ex-boyfriend who really liked NASCAR and the fast track (also already has tickets, but was very flattered).

And now there are a few other exes I could call… and I feel very silly digging into my personal archives.  Not that it isn’t good to reconnect in a friendly fashion and give a guy a chance for a free day of wandering around the Motor Speedway, but it is a rude awakening to discover that I’ve gotten so busy that I’ve essentially run out of men.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m still looking. I’m working in an office building all week long, and I’m visiting in a hospital twice a week, with young men buzzing around somewhere, I’m sure.

But where are they?

Nominate your ticketeers in the comments.

Every few years–since my show choir days, actually–I’ve had issues with my left hip.  Too much tango dancing? You’re not walking tomorrow.  A rough, 4-mile hike uphill at Hanover? Sorry, kid–you’re gonna ache for days. 

I’ve had it looked at now and again. It’s my stupid IT band that’s the problem. For those not in the athletic know, the IT band is an overcompensating tight-wad of a ligament.  It’s one of the longest in the body, stretching up the length of the outside of the thigh from the iliac crest* (the edge of the hip bone) and down to the insertion point at the tibia below the knee.  It supports the alignment of the knee as it undergoes weight-bearing and stress from lateral flexing (like a tango twist).  Mine does a sucky job. 

That long white strip of fibrous tissue is the IT band. Illustration credit: SportsMD.com

I recently started running again, with the intention of pushing myself to join a running group at the hospital where I work.  So I’ve been training, increasing the duration of each run every week.  And I wasn’t stretching well enough, apparently, because that IT band got tight and a little achy.  When I set up tables for a hospital event on the 17th of April, I started feeling shooting pains in my hip, which I later learned was a result of my IT band rubbing and snapping across the  femoral epicondyle as my bent  knee moved from a flexed position into an extended position while I lifted displays and moved tables around.  By the time the event was over and I’d hit the fifth aisle of the grocery store during my after-work errand, I was seeing stars behind my eyelids and gritting my teeth. 

I came home with what I’d managed to stuff in my basket, and then I laid myself right down on the floor until I could get to bed. It literally felt like my whole hip was spasming with heat and needles, stabbing down the top of my thigh. I was crying like a baby.  I admit it.

And Mom was a mom–that means she brougth tissues, ice, and Oxycodone.

And, oh, blissful pharmaceuticals! I finally slept several sleep cycles through for the first time in days, waking up in a puddle of melted ice and a mildly throbbing hip.  It was great.  

And I felt like my lesson had been learned: I need time to stretch before running myself ragged, both physically and emotionally.

Then Mr. J called—yes, that Hispanic guy I went on a date with in Dating File #2 that I reallly didn’t want to see again–and he KEPT calling, even after I texted him and told him I was nursing an injured hip and planned on sleeping the weekend away under the fuzzy blanket of painkillers and anti-inflammatories.   Apparently, his English either reallly sucks, or he can’t take a hint.  He called seven times and left three text messages.

The upside is, he gave up after his tenth attempt and after he left a bratty voicemail message about how I obviously couldn’t appreciate/respect his concern for me enough to call him back.  ::Blah, blah, blah, insert the tiny whine of a miniature violin played by a Siamese cat in a sombrero. . . ::   I might have fallen for his guilt trip if he hadn’t stepped in his own trap by ignoring/disrespecting my obvious wish to be left alone to sleep and heal.

So, for those of you who’ve been asking what happened to Mr. J, there’s your answer:  Gone in a huff.

In the days following–full of intense time at work planning for another event, one of our biggest annual PR events (c.1,00o guests), to boot–it occurred to me that, while it was a good thing for this communication cut to happen in the case of Mr. J at this time, I’d run this script before with men during times of stress.  And that’s not a good thing . . .

While I’m sure many of you would agree that it’s understandable that, with my father’s death looming in the background, I was a bit of a basket case over these past months, and especially in the final year of his life.  But that makes two years now—TWO YEARS–of a running streak of failed relationships usually caused by my own flake-outs and inability to handle romantic relational stress on top of the major transitions in my life. 

Apparently, I, like my bitchy IT band, don’t handle being put through too many paces at once without the chance for some downtime to stretch, grow, and recuperate. 

So, I’m trying to figure three things out with God right now:

1.   How can I get the downtime to gently stretch myself emotionally in a relationship?

2. How soon can I do number 1, based on my emotional recuperation from the major changes in my life and the PTSD-induced effects of caring for my father during his dramatic decline and slow, drawn-out, suffering-filled death?  (Seriously, people, if I’m ever terminal with cancer, just shoot me or give me an OD of something. I’m not going through the organs shutting down/brain-chemistry-and-mind altering scary shit my dad did as he died.  And I’m not putting my kids through the nightmare of witnessing that, either.)

3. How am I ever going to encounter a potential mate in my current work life scenario, and how am I going to trust God during the waiting period?

I don’t have any answers to any of these questions, really, just hopes.  God only knows–and I’m trying to trust him again.  Ironically, Anne Rice is helping me do that.  That’s right–vampire authoress-turned-Christian-Anne Rice.  I’m reading Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, the first book in her religious series exploring the childhood and youth of Christ.  Fascinating?  Yes. I’ll be writing more about it once I finish.  It’s definitely worth your read, just because of the wrenching humanity of the young Jesus coupled with Rice’s intense historical research that places him in probable ways amidst some fascinating circumstances surrounding the early Jewish rebellions against Rome.  Picture Jesus as a precocious child who knows too much and too little all at once and often feels overwhelmed and very small—and very human–during a brutal time in history that did little Jewish boys no favors.  Oh, and he occasionally spaces out and sees angels, which freaks people out.   I’m in chapter 10 of 30 or so.  We’ll see what happens.

To read more about Anne Rice’s conversion, visit her website here.

I’ve written a post or two about how I feel about dating in the past (See my post on why current dating practices suck by clicking here.)  But I think you can tell that this new series aims to be a little less academic.  Random poetry written late at night is often more expressive than a five-paragraph essay, in my opinion.  And I’m glad you’re enjoying it, even if you don’t quite know what to make of it (and I don’t always, either). 

 I’m now one week out from that first date I wrote about in the last Dating Files post.   In the aftermath, I called Mr. J back once about a day later, and he was gracious enough not to press for feedback or ask for date two quite yet.  I think he could tell I was still stewing.  However, he did call/text at least twice a day throughout this week, which was making me a bit antsy (stalker, much?). 

Part of this, I understand, comes from our cultural differences.   I am Anglo in heritage, primarily, and he is Hispanic.   His tendencies, to me and my English courtesy-based-wait-at-least-18-hours-before-calling for-the-second-date-rule, seemed invasive.  To him, they were complimentary and meant to express continued interest.   He’s just now figuring out that he’d made me feel flighty and cornered, since I only just this afternoon called him back.

But to my feminine intuition’s credit, I was right to take some time and distance to consider the things I’d learned about him on our date and during our conversations before and after.  

For starters, I was able to accurately relay to him this afternoon that I felt that our cultural differences, when combined with our age difference, were hard for me to overcome at this life stage. He is over thirty, and he spent most of his childhood and adolescence in Mexico. His knowledge and experience of modern American popular culture, dating culture, politics, language, and even technology all reflect this.   Needless to say, it was hard to feel like we had more in common than an interest in salsa dancing and a shared love of Johnny Depp’s films  (We went to go see “Alice in Wonderland” last week).  It also forced me to stretch and focus really, really hard on my Spanish, which is rusty, to the point that his hour-long conversations gave me headaches from simply trying to keep up.  He was having to stretch to understand my theological perspective (which, admittedly, is complicated, even when I discuss it in his own language), my aspirations for love (no, I’m not your typical postmodern female who will accept dating/shaking up for several years before even considering marriage), and even my references to rather common books and films (at least, in English).   

I think you get the picture: I was struggling to keep up and struggling to drag him along with me, in every encounter. We just didn’t fit. 

He accepted this graciously, remembering that I was young, and conceding that I was the first American girl he’d dated. And then he decided, while we were being honest with each other, to tell me that he was divorced, and that he had two children here in Indianapolis  (ages 10 and 14) that he neglected to mention on our first date or in any of our eight phone discussions. Huh.

I know, realistically, that since I didn’t find my mate in college (or, because I was a depressive psycho in college while my dad was dying, I ruined those chances I might have had), I am now entering a wider and less-polished dating pool, full of minnows, sharks, and slimy eels who have various degrees of education, sexual experience, and relational expectations.  I have even accepted that I might, like my mother, wind up marrying closer to age 30 than to 20, and marry a man with some baggage (my dad was previously married for a few years, with no children, before he had his divorce). 

 But a divorced expatriate with two children, an actively meddlesome ex-wife, no desire to pursue better English or education, and no plans to (re)marry any time soon?  No, God, no.

So here’s my early evening poetry.

A Decent Man

“Dear, God,” I said, “I need a seasoned Jewish matchmaker double-quick

because I am tired of the finding/chasing/dating/dumping/hurting/waiting schtick.

The record shows that I clearly seem to stink at choosing my own mate,

and at $50 a month for aliterate (yes, a-literate) goonies, eHarmony isn’t so great.

My matchmaker friends are quickly running out of stock and luck,

so I’m begging here, God: please,  please,  just send me a guy who doesn’t suck.”

God smiled a Cheshire grin at me, then winked, and then he said,

“Dime con quién andas, y te diré quién eres, m’ija.  Así encontraremos tus errores.”

And I answered, “I’ve been hanging with my friends, mis amigas–las mejores–

who accept who I am, but don’t reflect my values, or my belief in you,

but I would have thought these men who met me knew–”

And God raised a hand to interrupt me, smiling still, and sad.

He didn’t speak, but I understood.  And, briefly, I was mad.

“Are you saying this is my fault? For chilling with my friends?

Drinking a little, dancing a lot– all these things are just trends,

things I enjoy innocently. Are you saying they give the wrong idea to men?”

He said, “Like in appearance attracts like in substance, child.

The players, the slicksters, they see only a girl being wild.

You can’t expect them to know that you want quiet,

solid character, and goodness when you’re standing in a riot.

Go where there is good work, and peace, and kindness, and then,

You’ll be surprised to be surrounded by so many decent men…”

Ah, good advice.  Good advice.  But then, that’s God talking, so don’t be surprised. That about wraps up this post.  But before I go, I am going to up my flagging hit counts for the blog with a dash of Robert Pattinson news that’s all over the web this week. In light of Rob’s obvious humility, and Obama’s obvious hubris in the form of the recently-forced passage of a bill that conflagrates our Constiutional rights, I thought this news was pretty. damn. funny:

Robert Pattinson tops Obama in Time‘s list of influential people

New Statesman

Published 02 April 2010

Time Magazine has released the preliminary results of its poll on the 100 most influential people in America.

The final list, based on the votes of the American public, features several Hollywood actors at the top.

According to the preliminary findings of the poll, conducted by the American news magazine every year, the US public seem to find English actor Robert Pattinson, known for his role in the Twilight trilogy, and the US talk show host, Conan O’Brien, more influential than President Barack Obama.

The initial results were based on the first 5,000 votes counted.

The poll asks votes for leaders, artists, innovators and icons who they think merit spots on 2010’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

The poll has nominated 200 individuals and calls for votes before it finalises the list.

From Fablife.com's report of the TIME poll. I thought it was clever. See link below to their article. Hail to the---er, God save the---Oh, what the hell. America, let's just go back to being ruled by the British, so long as it's Rob on the throne. 🙂

There’s a more detailed article on the subject here, as well as this clever bit of Photoshoppage (above, which looks great except for the fact that Rob is equally as tall as Obama in real life. Tru fax!).

Spring is here at last, and with it, the first rush of solar-induced testosterone in men.  Under the influence of said rush, men tend to ask Ruth and other girls out on dates.  Ruth sits up afterwards sometimes and thinks—and the men probably wish she wouldn’t.  The next few posts will center around some of these musings, from a girl’s perspective, that will be aimed towards both my male and female readers.  Because, guys, let’s face it–how often do you get the chance to pick a girl’s brain on this subject?  And, gals, who doesn’t want a postable forum for discussing this topic?

So, first, a bit of weird-random poetry, courtesy of being awake too long after a date…

 Manicuring

Before the date, I grabbed a buffer and a clear-coat lacquer for a hasty manicure.

Over dinner, his sad and touched-up self-disclosures over antipasti brought the thought: is this a man—I–cure?

During the bask ing rays of male attention before the silver-screen glow comes the man: a cure

who offers a shiny bit of polished compliments to cover chips on a broken, grief-discolored heart.

And post-date come the decision-making moments: oh, the manic you’re in.

 

Happy New Year! 

Here’s hoping 2010 will be better than 2009 for us all.  I can’t look back at 2009 without some personal regrets, seeing as how it was tainted with so much sadness and, on my part, temporary madness. Today would be my dad’s birthday; if he were still with us, he’d be fifty-five. This February, I’m going to be twenty-three.  I feel very old and very young all at once, but I suppose that’s what happens at my age anyway.

And I’ve been busy again–with holiday stuff, friends visiting, and now, with the new year, many friends leaving. One just left for Florida at the end of the previous weekend. Then on Monday, I accompanied one of my oldest girl-friends (since 5th grade) and her parents to the airport where we would send her off with our love and best hopes to the “South American New York City”–Buenos Aires, Argentina. 

Thiana (pronounced “TEE-Anna“) has been preparing for this trip for many months now, practicing her Spanish, arranging for her future living situation, and saving up her paychecks from a temp job at a kosher bakery.  But she couldn’t prepare for falling in love–which she did, in early November, barely more than a month before her trip was to take her away from her amor.

Newly in love, Thiana and her hombre share some last laughs at the airport. Man in the background is surprised by Ruth's camera.

Understandably, it was a rough goodbye.  Her parents got foggy-eyed as they watched her walk off into her concourse towards the security line and strip off her tiny boots, wondering if she’d land safe and sound, when they’d see her next, and if she’d be happy during the year in-between landing there and here again. Her amor, who met us at the airport, struggled to hide his emotions and wound up in a retreating silence, lingering until she passed through the security line and went out of sight towards her gate.  Then he bought her car from her parents later that night, and I know he was smiling bittersweetly at her grip-prints on the wheel when he slid behind the driver’s seat.  He’s the sentimental kind of guy who might even enjoy it when the driver’s seat’s collection of shed strands of her oak-leaf colored hair finds its way to the fabric of his winter coat.  Yeah, as a couple, they’re just that cute.  (And I admit, I match-made them and can’t help bragging a little.)

By now, Thiana is settling among the bonairenses, adjusting as an unofficial porteña to the sorts of things the natives of the city take for granted:  the cheek-kiss as way of greeting, the practice of getting people’s attention by saying “che” in a politely obtrusive way (can that be done?), and of course, the tricky use of “vos” rather than “tú” when addressing someone in the informal second person.  And she’ll be wondering why she’s there when her amor is here in the States; why she had to go now when she’d only just found him; and how they’ll be whenever they meet face-to-face again, possibly in his native Mexico.

She’s “walking off the map,” as J.R.R. Tolkien called it–and into a realm of faith.  And I told her at the airport that I wouldn’t wish her luck, only courage and strength to face the strained emotions that arise from being far from home and  facing a life in transition.  I admire and envy her for taking on the adventure and long-distance love story ahead, and I wish her the best. 

If you want to follow her story, check out her blog here at http://argenthiana.wordpress.com and send her some love.

Instead of resolutions, I do poems for the new year. I think my poem for this year is going to be Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s (1806-1861) “Consolation” :

All are not taken; there are left behind
Living Belovèds, tender looks to bring
And make the daylight still a happy thing,
And tender voices, to make soft the wind:
But if it were not so—if I could find
No love in all this world for comforting,
Nor any path but hollowly did ring
Where ‘dust to dust’ the love from life disjoin’d;
And if, before those sepulchres unmoving
I stood alone (as some forsaken lamb
Goes bleating up the moors in weary dearth)
Crying ‘Where are ye, O my loved and loving?’—
I know a voice would sound, ‘Daughter, I AM.
Can I suffice for Heaven and not for earth?’

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