Maria & Nancy at Irvine Bowl in Laguna Beach for Jahmar's high school graduation

Maria & Grandma Nancy at the Irvine Bowl in Laguna Beach

Maria used to do a little modeling in Japan.
So she knows how to look pretty for the camera, doesnt she?

My ego is convinced that she is flirting with me here.
She was totally giving me the eye.
Her pheromones were shouting, "I'm ready to start ovulating .. in case you havent noticed."
"What do you have planned for the next 72 hours?"

People have accused me of bringing that out in them. (Like it's somehow my fault.)
You should see the other photos that I have of her.
(Just kidding.)

I have had many interesting conversations with Maria.
Because she was in my life, one way or another, for many years.
And this was during a most interesting time in our lives .. for both of us.

Just about the time you think you've heard it all,
you would hear something about Maria that proved you wrong.
Stories that you have never heard before .. about any other person. (Ever.)

» I Doubt You Could Handle It

I found her somewhere between interesting and fascinating .. depending.
I should write a tribute to Maria .. but I doubt you could handle it.
(Rihanna knows what I'm talking about.)

Rihanna in Wild Thoughts

[ Oh look .. people are copying my technique. This too, kinda. My ego is convinced. ]

Maria is actually up there with the Dog in quality of stories. ( I shit you not, my friend. )
There were seemingly no end to them.
She was in a league of her own.

Maria had her issues, for sure. (We all do.)
Rather major ones, I think most would agree who knew her well.

You might say that her life was something of a tornado,
and no one would disagree.
But it was a fun, cool tornado. (And kinda crazy, at times.)

» Fortunate to be Her Friend

I definitely felt fortunate to have had her as a friend.
And I'm sure that others felt the same. Because she was a good friend.

I mean, if she let you into her family, that was a very cool thing indeed.
Very warm and loving and fun and never dull. (Let me tell you.)

» Spending the Holidays with Maria & Her Extended Family

I have spent some holidays with Maria and her family.
They are easily among the warmest and most loving holiday memories that I have.

It felt like I was nested deep in this fun, warm, loving, protected place.
Like it was so cool that you really couldnt figure it out.

I feel myself struggling for the right words.
But, it was like you had to experience it for yourself.
And I rarely say that. I normally feel confident that I can explain anything.

All generations were represented .. from little things to old, gray-haired grannies.
And I won't even get into the food, all of which had gormet aspects.

Mostly, I remember feeling my presence genuinely appreciated to the point of feeling loved.
And I wasnt really sure how they did it, but I knew it was a beautiful thing.
Because this is how everybody wants to make their guests feel during the holidays.

» Moving to the Big House with Marenko

One of my favorite Maria stories (that is not R-rated)
is when she went to ask Marenko [ her husband ]
if I could live in the Big House .. in the separate side studio.

Which had its own entrance via sliding glass doors,
and a mini-kitchen with a gas stove and a full sized fridge.
And a long, narrow bathroom with a shower.

The Porsche looked good parked outside in the space there.
The kids would all bring their friends by to meet me.
I always enjoyed that. They liked me.

This is after the Bug's mom left me the first time,
when we were living in the Laguna canyon (surprisingly cold),
and I could not afford the rent there by myself.

I mean, I have a little money left over from my nuclear days,
but that is quickly running out, and I have no job.
So my rental possibilities are severely limited at this point.

And Maria is telling me the story about how she presented it to Marenko,
and how at first he said, "No! I dont want anybody living here!"
And Maria does a great Marenko impression here.

Marenko was a character himself.
Long story .. too long, for here.

But when he found out that it was ME,
who Maria wanted to move in, she said that his whole disposition changed,
and he said, "Oh, yeah .. HE can live here."

That made me feel good. Real good.
Marenko knew me from when I was living at the ex-church.
He was my landlord. And now I am living in his house .. the Big House.

» The Big House in Laguna

What a place this was.
Four or five levels .. cut into a steep hillside.
And that's not even counting the various terraces.

All with 180-degree ocean views.

He was old and rarely left the top floor, where he lived.
Sometimes we would take friends up to meet him,
and he always enchanted everybody, but especially pretty girls.

So smooth. And fun.
European .. he came here with nothing but a work ethic.

» Those Ashtanga Girls

Anyway .. Maria was heavy into ashtanga there for a while
and was looking very fit .. let me tell you.

She would stop by (the former-church where I lived in Laguna) and show me some of her poses.
Youza. Impressive stuff.

I was totally proud of her .. cuz this was tough stuff.
And she was obviously looking and feeling great. Very positive vibe.

The Bug's mom has her certificate to teach ashtanga.
It is very challenging stuff.

I actually drove down there to Encinitas with her a bunch of times one summer.
I would hang out at the meditation gardens and find fun stuff to do while she spent the whole day there.
We would meet for lunch and grab yummy smoothies at Swami's across the street.

» Making Babies with Ashtanga Chicks

Madonna is an Ashtanga chick (.. or so she told me).
I bet Madonna can kick your ass.
I am quite the yoga novice, myself, but I know enough that ..

.. if you can even pronounce the word, you are to be commended.
And if you are a practitioner, then you have my respect.
And if you teach it .. then we should probably talk about making babies.

[ Like Drake wants to do with Rihanna. Can you blame him? ]

Maria had yoga classes with the Bug's mom.
(Before she became the Bug's mom.)

» Sounds Like We Have a Friend in Common

One day I was telling Maria about this girl I had met
while running on the beach up at Crystal Cove.
"Hey .. didnt I see you here last week?"

Maria says, "She sounds a lot like this girl who teaches my yoga class."
And I say, "Yeah, that's her name."

Maria must have put in a good word for me.
Because a week later I received a call,
"Sounds like we have a friend in common. We should go out sometime."

» The First Date (Clicking Easily)

I wasnt going to tell the story of my first date with the Bug's mom,
because this is a page about Maria.

But then I realized how big of a role Maria played in that,
and I can see that here is indeed the right place.

So it was sometime after that first phone call,
and after we had chatted on the phone a few times (of effortless fun).

When she calls around 5 or 6 o'clock, on a Friday and says,
"I just got out of yoga and I'm all sweaty, but I checked the times for that movie,
and we can make it if we go now. I'm 5 minutes away. I can swing by and pick you up."

» A Sweaty Yoga Chick is Coming to Get Me

Dude.
I told one of my housemates (Lisa),
"A sweaty yoga chick is coming by to pick me up and take me to a movie ..
.. and who knows what else. Oh, look .. there she is now. Gotta run. Later, Leese. Dont wait up for me."

She's teaching the class.
The girls love her traditional-style classes.
There in Laguna.

And this is November, which can get chilly at night so close to the beach.
And I remember how cozy and warm it was when I climbed into her car.
And a calmness. A relaxed calmness. No pressure.

Before her, I dated this Asian doctor-chick (who I met thru the lawyer-chick).
and whose biological clock was ticking uncomfortably loud.
So, perhaps it was just the jarring contrast.

I could still smell on her the incense and other scents that they use in these yoga classes.
These are pleasantly relaxing scents.
It made me feel meditative.

I was surprised by how big and spacious the car was inside.
Because it seemed like she had pulled up in a little car.
Like it was an optical illusion.
"Wow, it's surprisingly roomy in here."

» Sign Me Up

She gestured to the cups sitting in the holders in the console
and said, "I brought an extra herb tea for you."

I know it was still early in the relationship (first date), but my thoughts as she pulled away from the curb were,
"Sign me up. Sign me up for more of this spur-of-the-moment herb tea and incense relationship.
This is working for me. This is working well."

And I specifically remember pulling away from the curb, because her car wasnt running.
"It's a Prius," she said.
"A what?"

So I could feel myself trying to figure out all kinds of things.
And as I took a sip of tea, the voice in my head said,
"Dude, it might take a while to figure out this girl, but I am interested already."

And we'd barely left the curb.
[ It is now many years later and I still havent figured her out. ]

» Spur of the Moment

It was such a spur-of-the-moment thing.
No time to fret about it.

We saw a strange movie by Paul Thomas Anderson.
(The man with too many names.)
A movie that turned out to be more serious than I had expected.

We went to many cool, artsy movies.

» Yoga Pants are Dangerous

She was wearing a pair of gray yoga pants with brown Ugg boots.
And when she returned with the popcorn and a drink, she passed in front me.

And when I saw her yoga butt go by so close, the bad boy in me said (to myself),
"I might have to get some of that."

I really liked the fact that she wasnt focused on appearance,
being sweaty and what-not. So the relationship seemed more real to me,
more open and honest.

But sometimes we infer things that maybe ought not be inferred.

» Exactly What I Was Looking For

It was easy for things to click in the beginning.
They were clicking without even trying.
Clicking nicely & naturally.
And that's exactly what I was looking for.

» Rad Writing Opens More Laguna Doors

"So, you're a starving writer," she says, fingers poised in front of her mouth with a few kernels of popcorn.
"Can I read some of your writing?"

"Sure," I say, reaching into her lap for a few myself.
I paused a sec until I could establish confident eye contact. Then I added, "Writers are always looking for a fresh set of eyes."

Dude.
It was just like it was with the Film school girl.
In record time, she read a copy of the (unfinished) manuscript (~100 pgs) that I'd given her.

Next thing you know, she is saying,
"Ooh, dude .. you *do* write well. You're starving ass is moving in with me next week. My cats are gonna love you."

She has her masters; she is an educated girl.
She is well-read. She teaches more than just yoga.

I am like, "We've only been going out for a few weeks. You think that's cool?"
She's like, "Dont be silly. These girls here are crazy. Your ass is moving in with me. So start packing."
"I'm gonna bring over some stackable plastic milk cartons for you. They make moving a lot easier."
"I am the queen of moving."

» The Bug Conceived in Maria's Big House

Speaking of moving ...
Remind me to tell you about when we all lived at the Big House, where the Bug was conceived.
It was like a pinch-me-can-this-be-real? type of house to live in.

Up above the bluffs of Laguna.
It felt like, if you thru a stone hard enough, from the deck, you could hit the water (ocean).
But you really couldnt. (Tho you might be able to hit PCH.)

But you were high up and close.
The most amazing Catalina sunsets .. every night.

When the oldest boy, Evan (Marenko's son, not Maria's son) went off to college, UC Santa Barbara,
Maria moved around some people and made a special place for the Bug's mom.

» I Gladly Moved All Her Stuff for Her

It may be worth noting here .. that she had moved out on me before.
When we were living together in the Laguna canyon. By the arroyo.

But it wasnt ugly. Rather, she went to work in the morning and I went to rent a big-ass truck and 2 strong day laborers.
And when she came home from work, all her stuff was moved into the new place (except for the cats).

And when I got to the destination with the 2 day-laborers .. the landlord wouldnt let me move her stuff in,
cuz she had only given him a deposit, but he wanted the first month's rent, too.

So I wrote him a check .. right there on the spot.
Which I would not have done if I were pissed at her.
Well, I wouldnt be moving her shit for her, either .. if I were pissed at her.

» Just Because We Dont Resonate Compatibly Doesnt Mean that Our Lover is a Bad Person

This was my no-fault version of relationships.
If we dont resonate, then that doesnt mean that you are a bad person or that I am bad person.
It simply means that we dont resonate well.

If you take this concept all the way to the end of the road,
you find yourself at samadhi .. which includes the ability to be okay (inner peace) regardless of external circumstances.
I realize that it is not as easy as it might sound. But we can still head in that general direction.
Certainly we can aspire to such lofty ideals.

And if there is one time when such ideals would be tested,
it would be during the break-up of a failed relationship.

Just because you and I do not possess the skills to make this relationship work
does not mean that our beloved suddenly becomes the devil, Satan incarnate.
Perhaps this makes it easier for them to break up.

It's always sad when a previously beautiful thing devolves into something unseemly.
It makes you feel like this person is not the person who you thought they were.

Just because a person is not good for me, doesnt mean that they are not a good person.
But clearly, I did not want to live with her.
But that didnt mean that I didnt enjoy her company .. from time to time.

» What are the Odds?

But would you find it a strange coincidence .. that this new (cute) apartment that she got ..
would you find it curious if it just so happened to be mere w.a.l.k.i.n.g distance
from my little side studio at the Big House?

And fuck if I wasnt walking down there quite a bit, too.
Sunset is such a great time to go for a walk in Laguna.
She lived right near Dizz's As Is .. if you know Laguna.
And I was right up the hill.

Which was good for her, because the yoga studio was walking distance from there.
Which is why Maria went to that particular yoga studio .. because it was so close.

» You Could Never Make Up Shit Like This

So, I knew when Maria told me that she was going to be moving in .. right next door. (Spitting distance.)
I knew then that she was a glutton for punishment.
Because we already know that we cant live together.

First she moved me in .. then she had me move herself out.
Now she's moving back in again.
( You could never make up shit like this, folks. So why even try? )

When she moved out, that first time, she likely figured that I would come crawling back .. on my hands and knees.
Because I had no money, no job .. you know the deal, I'm sure. (Starving Writer 101)
But homie dont play that crawling game .. at least, not that one.

[ Speaking of crawling games .. remind me to tell you about the time I did play. Nobody crawls like me. ]
[ At least, that's what she told me. She said I had real talent. And that I showed enormous promise. ]
[ Given strict supervision, of course, which she was only too happy to provide. ]

» This is Working Well for Me

It wasnt long after we had moved in together, that first time,
when I said, "This is working well for me. If nothing changes, then I can do this."

I had lived with the Film school girl for 5 years, so I knew the deal. I knew I could do it long-term.
But I didnt know if she could.

I could go into great detail here, but my point is that people sometimes bring unrealistic expectations
into a relationship with them.
It is completely understandable, and I have done it myself.

I really wanted that thing to work .. and the timing of things seemed like they were inevitable.
But that illusion quickly crumbled right before my eyes in grand fashion.

It wasnt long before she moved out when I said,
"This is not working for me. If something doesnt change, I cannot do this."
( I wished that I could have .. but I couldnt. )

» Godspeed to You, My Friend

I have had problems with people being clingy. Probably cuz I am so nice. (Not like Mary Karr, the big meanie.)
Problems with both males and females .. and more than just once or twice.

So, when people want to leave .. this does not bother me as much as it might bother others.
"Godspeed to you, my friend. I pray that whatever time we shared may prove a lasting blessing to you."
"Too bad that we couldnt make this work. It looked promising. I pray that you find what you are looking for."
"It's obviously not me, which I can certainly understand."

If you truly believe that we reap what we sow,
then you will strive to sow good, positive things. (And nothing bad.)

Anyway .. to this day, this place at the Big House was the most bitchin' rental deal I have ever seen.
Because these rooms that Maria gave her came with truly amazing ocean/sunset views
and it even had a deck. A big deck. The only deck.

My studio had no view, because it was on the side of the house.
Near the terraces, with the bench swing up on the top level.
But the Bug's mom had the most amazing views.

This was on the floor two levels below the top. (My studio was on the same level, which made things .. uh, convenient.)
Marenko has the entire top floor to himself, and sure, the views up there are sublime.
(Maria herself was sleeping all over the house, but she seemed to like it best on the floor behind the couch.)
But the Bug's mom has the deck, which is accessed from her bedroom. (Kitchen & living room above us and garages below.)

» Huddled Together and Talking in Hushed Girly Tones

And she got tight with Mikaela, Maria's daughter.
You know how sometimes it can be easier for a high school girl to talk to an adult who is not their mother.
I did not really get the girly-girl thing, but she obviously did.

I would see them sometimes, huddled together in a dimly lit corner, talking in hushed girly tones.
I didnt wanna know what they were talking about.
But you could see from the looks on their faces that it was deep girly stuff.
And I was impressed that she was so good at that.

» The Most Marvellous Conversations About Living Real Life

And one time the eldest boy returned from college for a week of holiday break,
and we were all hanging out in my little room having the most marvelous conversations about the juice of living real life.
That went on for hours .. until late at night. Meaty stuff. Deep juice. Dostoevsky woulda fit in nicely.

There were so many people crammed into my little side-studio that it started getting toasty in there.
(Even with the door and the window open wide.)
People were sprawled everywhere.

And the Bug's mom was dispensing with genuinely helpful insights and advice to this new college student.
(Which he admitted, years later, had proved helpful in steadying him during the difficult transition that college can be.)

And there was a moment where, I kinda stepped back from myself while she was talking,
and I caught myself thinking, "Dude, this girl is saying all the things that you think .. how cool is that?"
And these were all hard-won things .. that nobody had ever taught me .. and which I had to learn the hard way.

(Probably because neither of my parents went to college.)
(I never did the traditional style of college-after-high-school, because I joined the Navy first, and worked my way thru college.)
( We all need to do what is right for us. And who better to know? )

» College Can Be a Difficult Transition

The boy was having a difficult time with the transition,
and so many unexpected topics came up .. including sex and attractions and what-does-this-mean? type-of-stuff.
College is definitely a major life transition. For some more than others.

Where people stop telling you answers .. to questions you never asked.
And now people are asking you questions to things that you've never thought about.

Perhaps you had to be there, but it was just the coolest shit.
That whole era felt like a special time where God Himself was smiling down brightly on us.
Almost overwhelmingly, at times.

» Representing Well

I mean, I am throwingdown (with extreme prejudice) every night at sunset ..
.. the leader of the local Laguna Beach Yoga-Chick Society.
You know .. as the sky changes color.

With both of the double-doors to the deck open wide.
So you could feel the evening air come in and caress your skin as night fell.
(It isnt long until the stars come out.)

And I am holding up nicely my end of the bargain.
I am representing well the Starving Writers of America (Laguna Beach branch).

I am in rare form, my friend.
You might say that I have been training for this my whole life.
(Gigi knows the feeling.)

And she is not complaining .. no, sir.
She is too busy trying to find her eyeballs (.. so she can pop them back in her head).
And while I was watching her there, searching the floor on all fours,
I heard the joker in me call out to her and ask, "Who's your daddy now?"

» She Did Not Look Scared

And she is worthy opponent .. let me tell you.
It is obvious that she has also been in training for many years.
(She does not look scared .. no, sir.)

Selene's blue eye in Underworld 5 Blood Wars. She does not look scared.

I had heard from real mountain men themselves
of their experiences living with hard-core yoga-instructor chicks
and the transformtive thing it can be
when they consciously focus their positive kundalini energy on your ass.

You will be like, "Ooh, what's that tingling sensation I feel down there?"

And everywhere [ at the Big House ] is the joy-of-kids,
and their friends, too .. who all like to come visit us whenever they stop by.
The sounds of kids laughing and playing and running around is music to my ears.

It was a very cool time. You are thick in the meat of life. I could go on forever.
Remind me to tell you about the time we all went to the scary movies.
That was a lot of fun.

» Not Gamey

Tho perhaps I should note that, I liked that the relationship wasnt gamey.
Sometimes, if you date a girl who has never been married, then they play high school-type games.

That is hard for me to do. I just want to get right to the meat of things.
And she was good about that .. it wasnt gamey.
But this is just me. Some people get acquainted thru the game route.

Which I have done myself .. more than once.
But now, for some reason, that feels tedious and unnatural.

Like they dont really want you to know who they are,
because they dont really know themselves who they are.

The key motive-force behind a healthy intimate relationship
is, gradually, over time, the elimination of distractions
so the souls can become ever more acquianted with each other.

If you are with a truly beautiful soul,
then you are going to want to get to know this beautiful soul.

But some girls feel a need to throw up distractions.
I have done personal research in this area.

Do your own research and I am confident that you will find
the people who are big on games are insecure
about their own value and worth (.. as a child of God).

The game has an infinite number of variations, but at heart, they all share the following pattern »
"I am going to fabricate dissonance (unnecessarily) in this relationship,
which I want you to use as a way of showing me how worthy and valuable you think I am."

But I think
"If you need me to jump thru this stupid hoop that you fabricated unnecessarily,
it tells me that you have a low opinion of yourself."

Which is why you want me to pump it up for you.

And this is not something that I can give you.
Esteem, rather, is something that only you can give yourself.

Obviously I think highly of you, or I wouldnt be here with you now.
I could really get carried away here, but I wont.

I am not talking about those rare moments-of-doubt and pain that we all have.
I am not talking about the soul-fucking torment that visits us all.
Rather I am talking about self-esteem in general.

» The Confidence that Comes from Knowing You Bring a Valuable Thing to the Relationship

I am talking about the confidence that comes with knowing you bring a valuable thing to the relationship. (yourself)
And if someone is not able to see your value, then why would you ever want to be with them?
(Now there's a rhetorical question if ever I saw one.)

Jude Demorest of Star Cast singing I Bring Me

Hey, Jude .. I see you. I see you singing. I see what you are bringing to the table.
I see what you are bringing to the microphone.
You make a microphone look good. Very handsome microphone you have there. Guapo.

What do you think of this image here that I grabbed of you singing about what you bring to the table?
I have grabbed so many shots of Ariana singing .. that I am actually starting to get pretty good at it.
Where are you getting these lyrics that speak to me like this?

This is cocky, confident huevos rancheros that you are singing here. Very sassy shit.
"What kind of girl sings lyrics like this?" I cant help but wonder.
Because a part of me feels like it's looking in a mirror .. and yes, that is trippy.

They actually stop the music for you here .. to let you sing those verses a cappella.
Is it just me .. or does that not produce a very cool effect?
And then you have a little crack in your voice at 'table' .. oh, my. I am starting to feel lightheaded.

» Hanging Out with a Singer

I used to go with a singer-friend of mine to people's homes at night.
We would go down into their basements, where these part-time musicians had built home recording studios.
These guys would record her singing songs like the one you are singing here.
While I sat by the roaring fire in an obviously ancient super-comfy chair where they brought me one bottle of Heineken after another.

I very much enjoyed that. They were some of the nicest people I'd ever met.
One at a time, a few of them would come over and sit by me and chat and say things like,
"You are so the man .. because this is the coolest girl in the entire universe."
Sadly, at the time, I didnt quite grasp the fullness of what they were saying.

This singer-girl brought so much to the table that it wasnt until many years later that I even realized what she was bringing.
It was like I had to grow and learn a lot of stuff to even be able to see where she was coming from.
Live-n-learn.

Sometimes I think that it tends to stunt our emotional growth when we spend so much time studying and working,
but not really living. I have tried to figure out how she got so far ahead of me so quickly.
This girl was obviously very good at living life with lots of juicy-juice.

I met this girtl in a club. I didnt even want to go to that stupid club. I was just there to accompany my cousin.
I hadnt even been there a minute. I hadnt even gotten a drink yet.
I saw her, we made eye contact, and my feet started walking on their own in her direction.

I never do shit like that. I am normally cautious with pretty girls.
It was like a magnet pulling me in her direction. It was like I couldnt help myself.
And I didnt even know yet that she was a singer.

» A Walk in the Woods

She was a good fit for me .. maybe the healthiest relationship I'd ever had.
One time, on a day that was raining lighty, she said, "Let's go walk in the woods."
I thought, "That's close to the stupidest idea I've ever heard .. walking in the woods on a rainy day."

But it somehow turned into one of the coolest experiences of my life.
I could go into great detail. The woods dont get wet when it rains lightly. The leaves act like an umbrella.
We were driving there with the windshield wipers on and she is saying, "Oh, this is perfect."
We were the only ones there. We had the whole place to ourselves.

She was doing shit like this all the time .. one cool experience after another.

Thank-you for singing this song. I mean that. What a special treat.
I dont even want to know how old you are.

I love the way they show the recording and editing station at the beginning.
And then when they start twisting knobs .. oh, that turns me on something ferocious.

That thing you girls did at t=1:38-1:39, where your friend sings "Anything I want .. anything I need."
I thought that was a very cool vocal effect.

Speaking of your friend .. she sings some of my favorite verses in the song:
"Cant be something I aint. Won't do something I cant."
I could go into great detail on those verses .. because I am very much about being myself in a relationship.
Please give her my best.

I liked when you sing, "Whose love is the tightest, whose kiss is the nicest," and
"Whose touch is the rightest."

I wasnt really planning to write all this stuff. I was just going to set the image as a visual representation.
Linking it to the song's video .. because I like things that help me say what I am trying to say.
But sometimes I just cant help myself. One sentence leads to another.

» I Heard that Shit Before

When you sing the verses, "Cause if you had no money we will be alright. And if you had no money you would still be mine."
I said to you (out loud) "I heard that shit before."

I probably should not have mentioned these verses.
I could write a little book right about here.

» Money and Gifts and Manipulation

Let me just say that some girls think they can buy you.
But they dont have enough money to buy me .. not nearly. (Nobody does.)

If a girl is going to come bearing gifts .. sure, this is nice .. long as they are really gifts.
And not an attempt at gaining leverage over me. (That's called manipulation.)
Few things put the brakes on a relationship for me like attempts at manipulation.

» Emotional Warmth Signals Confidence

One of the key ingredients that I look for in a relationship is » genuine emotional warmth.
Do your own research and I am confident you'll find that
manipulative people tend to use manipulation as a way to compensate for their lack of emotional warmth.

Emotional warmth can involve a degree of vulnerability, which requires courage and self-confidence.
A girl who radiates a degree of emotional warmth seems more desirable to me,
because her actions say, "I am a confident woman .. feel the glow of my inner warmth."

At one point in my life, I was a cold-hearted fucker.
Nobody could out-cold me.
And I had plenty of excuses for why this was.

Coldness can be a way of dealing with an ugly, hostile world.
But I could feel something in me pushing myself to explore the entire spectrum of emotional temperature.
Coldness was easy for me. Warmth took some work .. it was a challenge.

Because it involves a degree of vulnerability.
I can feel myself trying to say something here.
But I'm not quite sure what that is.

» When is a Gift not Really a Gift?

I once had a girl 'give' me a thing that I did not ask for and could have easily done without.
When she did not receive the desired response from me, she took back her 'gift' that she had 'given' me.

I did not say anything, but thought, "This shit is so fucking dysfunctional. This relationship is going nowhere good."
But I like to know what makes dysfunctional people tick.

Manipulation is a sign of low self-esteem .. it signals insecurity.
"Surely, no one would ever do anything for me because they love me," they think,
"So I must manipulate them."

They do not come right out and say it like this.
But that's defintely what their actions speak.

The moment she took back her 'gift' .. she revealed that it wasnt really a gift.
( It was a manipulative prop, a manipulative ploy. )
And I didnt even want the stupid thing, anyway.

These types of people never give you anything simply because they love you.
Or because they simply want to express their love for you.
(Maybe because they cant love.)

Rather, their gifts always come with a reciprocal obligation attached.
And they always expect more in return than they give. (Way more.)

There is nothing inherently wrong with a quid-pro-quo presentation.
Except when it is disguised as a gift.

You can give a no-strings-attached gift whenever you like.
But, if you are trying to negotiate a quid-pro-quo deal, then this is another proposition entirely.
And I will naturally have something to say where my obligations are concerned.

This is why some people make you not want to accept their so called 'gifts'.
Because they always expect way more in return than you would ever agree to in a business negotiation.

"What's that? You're going to buy me a cup of coffee and you want to own my soul in return?"
"No, thanks .. I'll pass. Let me know if you ever find someone who is willing to make that deal with you."
"That doesnt seem like a very good deal to me."

» When a Person Doesnt Recognize the Value of what You Bring

Regarding your use of the phrasing, "bringing to the table," ..
I have a pretty good story regarding a different girl, who used this phrase on me, at me.

But I cannot tell this story yet .. even tho I so badly want to.
I could so meddle like a motherfucker here.

See .. we are really talking about perceptions and perspectives.
Some people see things one way and some folks see things a different way.
We are talking about perspetives that are critical of others, based on their personal values.
Which are based on their limited perspectives.

As we live our lives, hopfully we continually strive to grow within ourselves,
so we can see things from ever more advantageous positions.
I shouldnt say anymore, because it is difficult to say this stuff abstractly.

[ I feel like a fish who has been caught with a sparkly, star-shaped lure. ]

< end Jude and Star Cast singing I Bring Me >

» Living a Life that is Congruent with your Innermost Values

This confidence of which I speak ..
the confidence that comes from knowing you bring a valuable thing to the relationship ..
you can only get this kind of confidence by living a life congruent with your inner-most values.

Which, admittedly, is not an easy thing to do. It's not far from impossible, in my opinion.
If it were easy, everybody would be doing it. Most people have given up even trying.
(Russell Brand actually does a good job at describing what I am talking about here.)

Games are fine in high school, because few high schoolers are really secure in themselves.
And few high schoolers really know what values they value.
But as time-out-of-high-school lengthens, games should wane (.. as a sense of self-worth grows).

Do your own research, but I'm confident that you'll find that
people with healthy levels of self-esteem tend to make you feel good about yourself.
While people with poor levels of esteem tend to to drag you down. (To their level.)

» The Same Thing that Bums Me Out Makes Her Happy

It may be worth mentioning here .. that one of the first dates that I took her on
was to a play at the South Coast Repertory.

And I had been there before.
I actually had purchased 4 season tickets one year, back when I was still working nuclear
and when I was still making shitloads of money with no time to spend it.

(And I would treat friends, different friends every time.)

And I usually got there an hour-or-so early, to grab a light snack and a beer at this cool restaurant ..
(If you eat too heavy, it makes you logy and lethargic for the play, and I want to be sharp, but not hungry.)
.. that sat at the end of the long-ass walkway that arched over the big street (6 lanes?) that separated the mall from the theater.

So basically, you park at the mall and grab a light snack at this cool restaurant
and then walk across the bridge, which dumps you into a cool park, which leads and snakes to the theater.
And after the play, you walk back over the bridge. (And get another snack and discuss the play.)

And when we got there .. the restaurant had been closed. A sign on the door said new management was coming soon.
And I was actually rather bummed, because I wanted this night to be perfect for her.

But she really liked this .. that the restaurant was closed (and especially that I didnt know it was closed).
Because this said to her that I didnt do this sort of thing regularly with lots different women.
(And I didnt. Because I was conserving my funds because funds = writing time.)

I had her explain it to me more than once .. her reasoning for feeling happy about this shuttered restaurant.
It seemed odd that the very same thing that bummed me out made her happy.

Tho I recall that the doctor-chick had taken me to a fancy-ass restaurant,
which was not very far from this one here by the walking bridge,
and where she obviously knew everybody who worked there. (On a first-name basis.)

So it seems like she (the doctor-chick) *did* wine-n-dine people there regularly.
I could clearly see that .. tho it didnt bother me in the least.
It actually made her seem more _______ (word?) to me.
Established?

But my point here is that there were obviously differences in perspective between us.
And I guess you would expect this .. to a degree.

Anyway .. this is what I meant when I said that things were clicking nicely.
The rest is history.
The Bug has no idea about how crucial a role Maria played in helping to form his particular genetic profile.

Isnt it funny how the littlest things can sometimes have the largest effects in life?

» Mikaela Comes Up With a Name in the Clutch

Come to think of it, it was Maria's high school daughter [ Mikaela ]
who was the one who came up with the Bug's name.

When we were having such trouble coming up with a name.
Everybody is like, "Yeah, that's a good name."

Because this lady with a clipboard came by the hospital room every morning at 7:30
To see if we had a name yet.
And I said, "Cant we just take him home and play with him for a while and see what name comes?"

And a look of dread comes over her face as she lowers her clipboard and says,
"Oh, sir .. if you do not have a name by day #7, I will have to report your ass to the county."
So, the pressure was on .. let me tell you .. every morning at 7:30.

Because, if there's anything you dont want .. it's being reported to the county.
Thank-you, Mikaela.

» Nancy the Loving Gravity that Held a Broken Family Together

Nancy, by the way, who is pictured with Maria in the photo above, is the Film school girl's mom.
An impressive woman in her own right.
And very cool. Many stories. Good stories.

She was glue and the loving-gravity that held that family together.
I had many probing conversations with her about how she did it, her mind set.

I learned lotsa good stuff from her. Family stuff.
But basically, you need to put greviences behind .. for the sake of family cohesion.

It is not a new concept, yet impressive nonetheless when you actually see it wielded so well.
(It's not as easy as she makes it look .. trust me.)

» Losing the Annual Comp'ed Pageant Tickets

One of the downsides to breaking up with the Bug's mom ..
.. was the loss of the annual Pageant-of-the-Masters tickets.
That we would get from her friend (comp), who was married to the City Manager.

Third row, center. Even if you pay the maximum amount, you cant get seats that good. Not even close.
I really enjoy the Pageant. A lot.

She would wave the envelope at me, "Look what I got."
"The tickets?" I said, "What night?"

After things with the relationship had already gone south,
I remember floating the idea that we put aside our differences for one night
and go to the annual comp'ed pageant where she got those killer tickets from her friend.

This should tell you how much I love the pageant,
because I would normally never do such a thing.

I forget her exact response, but I recall that the gist of her reaction was something like,
"You must be out of your fucking mind."

I remember walking away from that exchange thinking,
"That was a stupid idea."

» The Cool Outdoor Venue on Warm Summer Nights in SoCal

This place here, where Maria & Nancy are pictured sitting in the photo above (Irvine Bowl) ..
is is the same place where the Pageant of the Masters is held.
Every night during the summer. I have been numerous times.

It is an outdoor deal.
I love these outdoor venues here in California.
Specially on balmy summer nights.

If you go, go early, an hour or so early, so you can check out the Festival of the Arts before hand.
Afterwards, go for a moonlit walk thru Heisler Park.
It's walking distance from the Pageant.

» The Juicy-Juice On Maria

This turned into a mini Maria tribute page all on its own, it seems.
How did that ever happen?

But I know you really wanna know the juicy-juice about Maria.
And I would be lying if I said there werent a lot of it.
Buckets and buckets.

Because I've barely gotten off the ground with Maria.
The stories .. Oh. My. Gawd.
You cannot imagine.

Dont get me started.

» Richard Teaches Me Tricks of the Trade

Remind me to tell you about the father of Maria's kids (Richard).
I learned a LOT of good stuff from him about how to deal with crazy women.

I mean, I saw him handling her, handling Maria, and when we were alone, I would say,
"Dude, how do you do it?" (He was the only one.)
Because Maria eats most guys alive. You definitey did not want to be her boyfriend.
Anything but. (Issues.)

You would say, "Maria, whatever happened to that guy you were seeing?"
She would gaze off momentarily and wipe her mouth with the back of her hand and say, "Oh .. he's gone."

And Richard would teach me little tricks of the trade.
Practical things.
Things that worked remarkably well.

I am like, "Dude, you are soo the man .. I did that thing you showed me last time. It worked like magic.
I am actually starting to get a handle on this shit."

One of the first things that Richard showed me .. was that
when they start talking that crazy shit .. when they start going psycho on you ..
.. which seemed to happening a lot with me ..

Right here is where he pulled out his cell phone, and a took a call, and held up one finger ..
as if to say, "One minute."

And then he walked away. But he came right back.
He didnt really have a call. But he seemed so convincing.

So he actually demonstrated for me how this thing worked.
It was amazing how something so simple worked so well.

I could've kissed him for that one trick alone.
And he had a shitload of them.
And that's how he handled Maria.

Richard definitely had a savant aspect to him .. in street smarts.
I normally only witness those levels of skills in New York boys, and some Jersey boys.
They are smart, well-educated, yet street-savvy.

Anyway, I would do this thing with the phone every time she went psycho on me.
I would hold up a finger, as if to say, "One minute."
"I need to take this."

And then I would just walk the fuck away and get in my car and drive away.
While thinking, "I love you, Richard."

Because you cannot win these shouting matches standing out there on the sidewalk,
when you are arguing with someone who does not care about things like logic and reason and facts.
So why even try?

The end. ■

Radified Home

■■■■■

■■■