July 30, 2007

Is love in the air?

Some of my new girlfriends are dating guys they've met at my parties. That's soooo cool. And I'm still dating the same guy I met at the Concert in the Park. Even cooler. I get emails every day from friends asking how things are going, what's he like, where's it going, and how do I feel about him. Women like to hear about these things from their friends, almost like the warmth of one relationship warms others who hear about it.

It's hard to write about this one because it's so good and I don't want to jinx it. He's kind and thoughtful, he still brings me flowers, he says really nice things about me, and he keeps showing up. He plans things, he asks to see me, and he's sexy. He took me to a party over the weekend with women I thought he was sure to find attractive and, just when I was feeling like I wasn't in my league, he said to me something like "how is it you are the prettiest women in the room?" He continues to express to me in words how much he values who I am and names what he perceives are my good qualities. He makes time for me, he encourages me, he listens to me, and he expresses his gratitude for what I do for him. He calls me during the day just to wish me a good day and he tells me that he feels better just hearing my voice. I feel happy with him in my life and I like who I am around him. He's becoming a good friend. There's nothing wrong. Is that wrong?

I remember that Sex in the City episode where Carrie was dating Aidan and was upset that everything was so good and she complained to her girlfriends that it was too perfect. Like a relationship can't be this good and, if it seems to be, there really must be something wrong. How does that make sense? I know, I know, I know that it's early in the relationship and that there are bound to be issues that cause grief, even if it's only reacting to something when I'm tired or if he pushes an old button or if I give in to my insecurities, but so far I'm living in the moment and commited to just enjoying him. This is good, right?

And I continue to get emails asking who else has met someone from my Parties so I'd like to put it out there and ask those of you who connected with someone you met at a Cocktail Party or the Concert (or anywhere else!) to write to me about it. What's he or she like? How's it going so far? What do you like about him or her? How has this been different than meeting online? Email me at wowthatellen@yahoo.com or push the comment button below and write away. Inquiring minds want to know.

July 28, 2007

Sex, Chocolate, and Other Cravings.

times I wake up in the middle of the night and can't go back to sleep. So I turn on the TV and watch some of the infomercials, which are seriously way too perky at that time of night but I'm always fascinated at how they advertise a new book or a new seminar that will cure all your ills or make you rich or attract the perfect mate if you just call them with your credit card number. I don't believe it, sorry, life is never that easy.

So I invited Darlene Basch LCSW with the topic "sex, chocolate, and other cravings - how to lead a satisfying life." But Darlene I do believe, so let me tell you why. Of course, dark chocolate is a drug, or a combination of 300 substances, that can act like caffeine or amphetamines, increasing our dopamine and seratonin levels, creating a feeling of well being. Which, of course, can be addictive, and she says that it is mostly women who find themselves craving chocolate. There are also health benefit since dark chocolate has antioxidants like berries and black and green tea that decrease our risk of heart disease, lower our blood pressure, and strengthen the cells in the lining of our blood vessels. But it's important to ask ourselves "what are we craving and what need are we trying to satisfy?"

Apparently, cravings silence the part of the brain that controls judgement. Repeatedly indulging in what we crave further intensifies the craving, as the brain remembers the pleasurable experience and the cravings become unconscious. But the cravings are usually out attempts to fill our needs for affection, human contact, and unmet longings from childhood. And chocolate and other cravings and addictions don't meet these needs, no matter how enjoyable the pleasure is temporarily.

So if chocolate, sex, and other cravings don't bring real satisfaction, what are Darlene's steps to leading a satisfying life?
1) Be in the present - focus on what's happening at the moment.
2) Get to know yourself - explore your passions. Ask what makes your heart sing?
3) Eliminate repetitive, negative thinking - each time a negative thought comes up, reframe it in a positive way.
4) Write in a journal - Use paper without lines and a flowing ink pen and make entries in times of upset and times of joy.
5) Say affirmations - create a short list of positive statements about yourself and repeat daily while looking into a mirror.
6) Do physical exercise - take vigorous ten minute walks three times a day, go to the gym, take yoga classes, hike or dance.
7) Connect with a supportive friendship circle - speak or meet daily with at least one person who encourages you to move forward.
8) Live in gratitude - each morning when you rise and/or before going to sleep, write down or say out loud three or more things about which you are grateful.
9) Participate in meaningful activities - Volunteer. Make a difference in your work place, your community, your family.

These are all suggestions we've heard before individually, but Darlene has put them together to make this complete list of how to live a conscious, grateful, and giving life. We have only this one chance to enjoy life and make the world a better place and Darlene has given us the steps to make it happen. I liked Darlene immediately with her gentle manner, her everpresent smile, and her kind and thoughtful words. Being happy is a decision and Darlene's steps are a path. You can reach her at her website http://www.transformationaltherapy.com/ or email Dbasch@aol.com!

And how to have a satisfying sex life? Can't forget this part! Darlene says to eat dark chocolate before sex, of course. And, contrary to what I've read and heard, Darlene says to be present for ourselves. Yes, if we seek to make sex good for ourselves, we will communicate more about what pleases us, and this will encourage our partner to do the same. She also said that we can love with an open heart and open pelvis, with the feelings flowing from one to another, which is how we are in the beginning of a romantic relationship. If we feel betrayed by the other person, or if we carry memories of betrayal from past relationships into this new one, we will retreat and stop the flow between the heart and the pelvis. The point is to find someone, and be someone, who will continue to be open to both.

Darlene ended our presentation with a five minute meditation. We relaxed. We got in touch with our selves and our bodies, connected with our hearts, and visualized spreading love throughout the world. Thanks to Darlene, we know that chocolate has health benefits, that we should find out what we are trying to fix through our cravings, that we can stay open to love each other, and that we can bring peace and love to each other and the world. Thanks, Darlene, for your generous gift of your time and of yourself - you have helped us down our path to be better women, lovers, and human beings.

July 22, 2007

My heroes!

Happiness is an inside job. I've heard that. We have control over our happiness, I also hear. Someone close to me said that we have to be happy first before someone can "make" us happy. Smart guy. Martha Washington said, "The greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our disposition."

So I have these parties. I invite lots of single people our age to meet at a local club to meet and dance and mingle. We had one last night, my 5th party. I ran out of name tags, there were so many people there. I look around and watch the party create itself as more and more people come through that door, some nervously and anxiously, but all brave enough to try something new with new people in a new place. Really courageous, these single people who tell me story after story about themselves, these stories that are so like the others I hear, these stories about suddenly being single in their 50s and not knowing what to do, where to go, how to dress, how to act. Stories about facing something they never dreamed would happen to them, being widowed or divorced at this age, looking toward their future thinking they might be alone.

So these very brave people come to my parties. And sometimes it gets the best of them, their fears, and they have a tough time having a good time. But at least they show up. Others just talk to people they don't know, dance with strangers, talk to more people, and laugh and smile and just look like they're enjoying this night of being social, this rare time of being in a room of people so like them, in such similar circumstances, and feeling good about themselves for being there.

So I say a big hearty "good work" to those of you who come to my parties and do what it takes to have a great time and make it fun for everyone else. A huge thank you to those of you who take the time to find me and tell me how much you enjoy the parties and are grateful that I create them. A big hug to those of you who tell me that you enjoy reading this blog and that you benefit from what I write. Another hug to those of you who email me saying that you had a good time and that we all made you feel welcome. You are all my heroes, you brave single people, for dressing up and driving over and parking your car and walking into this room of strangers, hoping to have a good time and maybe even meet someone to make your life happier. You've taken charge of your lives, you look for the good in every situation, and you walk through your fears. And, in doing so, you make life a little better for those around you. Bravo!

July 17, 2007

Meet more Party Hosts!

Here are two more ladies who will be greeting you at the Party on Saturday July 21st! (If you want to attend the party and need details, email me at wowthatellen@yahoo.com)

This is Pam. She is a Wowette and author of a recent guest post "Goldilocks in the City." Below is Gail, her friend, who volunteered to help Pam welcome you to the Party!
Pam writes:
Gail and I met when she was coordinating education programs for a 'major medical center' and I was teaching nutrition classes. We became closer friends when we moved on beyond the hospital. We reunite with our former hospital friends frequently over group dinners, music concerts and more. Our youngest children attended the same University. We camp together once a year with a group of 50 other friends in Big Sur. We have shared frequent side splitting laughs and have been there to wipe the tears too.

Gail works for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society and lives by the beach. She loves to swim and enjoys riding her bike. She has participated in a century bike ride (100 miles) for LLS Team in Training. She has 2 grown sons. One son is biking the coast of CA this summer in support of the Leukemia Lymphoma Society and will start pre-medical school work in the Fall. Her older son is on tour this summer with the American Idol road show.

July 13, 2007

Dance Etiquette or How To Have Fun at My Party

I'm having my 4th Cocktail Party on July 21st, as you probably all know. You guys ask and ask and ask what to wear and how to woo the ladies and how to behave at the Party, so I'll give you my 2 1/2 cents! Of course, you can google this and get probably 2 million sites to check out, but these are mine, I promise.

1) Have a good attitude. If you think you'll have fun, you will. The body listens to the mind. Use those face muscles and smile. People are drawn to happy people.

2) Be brave. I know it's scary going somewhere new or if you don't know anyone. It's really just those seconds or maybe one minute from the car to the lounge that's scary, but then it will be fun! It's really likely that most, or all, of the people in the room are feeling the same feelings you are. Sit home or risk having fun and meeting some really cool people? It's your choice.

3) Be friendly. Say "Hi!" to as many people as possible. People love to be approached - we all want to be wanted. And people like to talk about themselves, so ask questions and then really listen and ask more questions about what the person said. There's plenty of time to share about yourself later. Pretend it's your mission to make people comfortable and you'll forget all about your own nervousness!

4) Approach the people standing or sitting by themselves. Ah, it's hard to come alone, especially for the ladies and already you know that the person is brave, so say hi (see #3) and ask them to dance. Make eye contact and say something nice to the person (like that's a pretty dress or you have lovely eyes or a great smile) and do your best to make that person glad that they met you.

5) Stop looking and act. I know there will be lots of very attractive people at the party and they came to meet people like you, so get moving! Instead of staring and wishing and hoping, just put one foot in front of the other and get over there and say "Hi". You don't want to go home mad at yourself for not approaching that lovely women in the red dress, do you? It's worth the risk, I promise. You will NOT stop breathing if a woman says no and the whole room ISN'T watching this happen! Just do it!

6) Ladies, unless you've seen the guy's picture on America's Most Wanted, say a big YES when he asks you to dance. Leave you scripts at home, like you want him to talk to you and buy you a drink or whatever before he asks you to dance, and just enjoy what he does offer. It's tough for guys to approach pretty women so give them points for courage and dance with them. And, I beg you, don't sit with all your lady friends and talk to each other all night. The guys will not, I repeat WILL NOT, approach that group of ladies, no matter how gorgeous you look that night or how brave they are. You came to meet some new guys, so let them in. Get up, move around, talk to someone you don't know. And yes, I've heard the speakers and read the books that say that women should wait for the guy to approach, but what would it hurt to approach them? I'm not saying we should ask them out on a date, but just a "hi" and "you look nice" might give them the courage to be the manly man that they want to be.

7) Look good. There's something that happens to us when we look our best. We just get more confident and happy and it shows. Plus, as a woman, I appreciate a guy who takes the time to dress nicely. Doesn't have to be fancy, just a nice well-pressed shirt and your good pants and maybe throw on a sports coat for extra points. And shiny shoes! I love cool shoes on a guy! And, of course, smell good. Taking a shower is a given, but put on some good cologne or after-shave. You guys have no idea how much we like that.

These events are free. I have no financial gain or receive anything from doing all this work, except the huge pleasure of seeing you all having a good time and meeting each other. I just put on these events for you to have FUN! Do you hear that? FUN! (If you don't have details of the party or the dinner beforehand, email me at wowthatellen@yahoo.com) It's up to you, you fabulous ladies and hunky guys - let's make it fun for everyone!

p.s. If you have any other ways to have fun at a party like this or have comments on my list, hit the word "comment" below or email me and speak your mind!

July 9, 2007

Meet your Party Hosts!

As you know, we're having another party on July 21st. I remember in the 80s how we'd get together on a Friday night for happy hour and laugh and tell stories and hang out until the band started and then we'd dance. There were lots of places around but now I can't seem to find any. I think a lot of singles are just "serial browsing," spending hours on whatever online singles sites they are using, just looking and answering emails and waiting for the guy or gal of their dreams. I like it the old way, meeting in a fun setting, so I created the Party List events and it's been great fun. And to make it easier for the shy or hesitant, we have lovely Wowettes greeting and making name tags and getting you on the dance floor. Here are a few that will be "working" at this party! (Check back in a few days - I'll keep adding more pix and bios as the ladies send them to me!)

Kathy is a new Wowette, always smiling and cheery. This is what she writes about herself:

A tomboy as a kid, Kathy's still a nature girl, but she cleans up pretty nice! In addition to working outdoors (she owns an environmental consulting business), she likes kayaking, landscape photography and hiking with her black Lab Retriever. Five years ago she was working too much and on a whim, drove to Baja. She fell in love with a place south of San Felipe, bought a house and learned there how to relax, to slow down and be kind to herself, and that life was about far more than a successful career and pleasing everyone else. She hopes to semi-retire there someday, but for now she's loving her life in Chatsworth and is happy to have found great friends like Ellen and WOW!

Kimberly is an old friend whom I recently found again. A new Wowette, she is fun and smart and here is what she writes about herself:

Kimberly teaches journalism, filmmaking and literature on the high school level. She and her students publish a bi-weekly newspaper and produce a weekly TV show. She has two children, one of whom is currently her student. Her passion is travel, and her adventures have taken her to 42 states and 43 countries.

This is Rookie. No, she's not a bunny, she just wore that outfit at one of her own parties. She has been the biggest help to me with my free Party List events.

This is what she writes about herself: Rookie of SuperSingleMixer fame will be helping again, expect her smiling face to greet you and make all feel welcome. Check out her bio and her info on her web site www.supersinglemixers.com

Again, I'm giving Rookie the night off so she can just be a guest, but I know she'll be out there introducing you gorgeous female partygoers to the handsome guys in the room, so grab her (gently, of course) and get her dancing!

p.s. A bunch of us are meeting before the Party for dinner at a nearby restaurant - if you want to start the fun early, email me at wowthatellen@yahoo.com and ask for the locations of the pre-Party dinner! It's a good way to meet the group and feel comfortable, especially if you're brave and attending alone!!!

July 6, 2007

We're Having Another Party!

I can't resist, I really can't. We've had four Party List Events and they've been SUCH fun! I hear so many complaints about how hard it is to meet quality single people in their 40s and 50s and here I just invite lots of them to a party and they show up and everyone has a great time! (Check back a few posts and then a few more for pix and details of those events!)

I'm on two weeks vacation and I was just going to hang out, pretend I don't have a job, and just do whatever I please each day. OK, I have to take my car in for a check-up and take the dog to the vet for a teeth cleaning and stuff like that, but I really wanted to to take it easy and be lazy. Then I started getting emails from you single guys out there, asking me when was the next party and telling me how much fun they were and now we're going to do it again! And soon!

So get your party shoes out and take your favorite shirt or dress to the cleaners and hold the date of Saturday July 21st for the next party!!! We meet at a local hotel lounge where there is a really cool band and NO cover charge and then more people and more people and then more people show up and pretty soon there's a crowd and the dance floor is full and everyone is smiling and I'm just delighted!

If you are in the LA or San Fernando Valley area and want to join the fun and you aren't already on my Party List, hit me back with an email to wowthatellen@yahoo.com and ask for details! And do check back here for pix and profiles of the ladies who will be greeting you at the door and making your name tags!!! Your single friends our age are welcome! Let's just celebrate the summer (and the end of my vacation) with the best Party ever!

July 4, 2007

Why do we have relationships?

There are lots of relationships, with our children, with our coworkers, with our parents, with our friends, and with lovers. Really, ever time we interact with another human being, it's a relationship. All relationships have a certain time, some short and some long, but all have an affect on our lives. We single people think of relationships as romantic, that falling-in-love thing, but relationships fill our lives. And why?

I've already told you that I sometimes like to coccoon. Just hide under my cozy covers alone, close my eyes or read a book, but just hide away from that big, sometimes cruel world out there. I don't like crowds, especially noisy and pushy crowds. But aren't I'm the one throwing those huge free singles parties, you ask?!? Yes, it's me.

See I know that relationships are life-giving and that I need them to be really happy. I need the companionship and sharing of girlfriends, I need to know that my daughter still needs me and that I can still do things to make her life better, I relish the time with my grandbabies who run and giggle through my house, I need to care for the relationships with my coworkers, and I yearn for tender moments with a lover. I actually even really enjoy those momentary relationships with the checker at the market or the sales lady at the department store. We say hello, inquire about each others' health, make a comment about something simple, and our lives are changed.

I do think that every interaction between people changes the world, I really do. Think of smiling and making eye contact when you say thank you to the guy washing your car versus grabbing your keys, getting in the car, and driving off. Quite a difference. I'm not talking about doing volunteer work here, finding out about his family or his troubles or his successes, but just creating a small space where another person can feel cared about, even for a minute or a second.

We think we have to wait for a fabulous guy who fulfills our wish list to find love, that magical feeling that you can't wait to see him again and that tingling feeling you get when he shows up or touches you. But all of that is just a feeling, and feelings pass and wax and wane, but to me love is a verb, it's something we do, it's an action we take to show we care. Mother Teresa knew this, and said There is a terrible hunger for love. We all experience that in our lives - the pain, the loneliness. We must have the courage to recognize it. The poor you may have right in your own family. Find them.Love them.

All this waiting and hoping and wishing for a great love, a prince who will come along and treat us like a princess, maybe isn't the way to find love. Maybe we ourselves have to love, give love, show love. If we love others, especially the lonely or needy, it changes them. We spend a good deal of time trying to find some purpose for our existence, some meaning to the suffering and longing and pain. A kind word, a big smile, and thoughtful gesture will all go far to ease another's burden. I vote we stop seeking love and BE love. Let's change the world.

July 2, 2007

Where did I find him?

I keep hearing the same question, where did you find him? I've met a guy who has really shook me up, kinda appeared when least expected, and is waaaaay better than I could have imagined. I'm doing my very best to enjoy the moment and not project into the future, or "futurize" like my lovely new friend Kathy says. I'm determined to enjoy him, learn about him, learn about me by being more vulnerable, and just let it happen. I really don't want to miss it, this new creation happening in my life, by thinking or projecting or being someone or somewhere else. But you ask and ask and ask, how did this happen?

Remember, I'm the one who didn't want to date so I formed Wow to have more women friends. I happened upon a speaker, a relationship coach, and asked her to do a similar presentation to the ladies. Took some courage to do that, I must admit, but then speaker after speaker came my way and we learned about being conscious, about men, about dating, about what keeps us from living our dreams, and it's been great fun. That's nothing new to my readers, I'm sure, how much fun we have at Wow meetings. Great ladies, my Wowettes.

That's how it started and grew. The group did and I did. Along with some really nice new friends, I gained courage and confidence and, each time a meeting was successful, I grew again.
I learned to hear that little voice inside of me, prompting me to pursue new activities, invite new women, and to enjoy the process. I tell people that I think it's all made me a bit religious, like someone else has had a hand in all of this, because each speaker taught me something new, changed my life in different ways, and moved us all along a path of being self-aware and wise, almost like each step led to the next and then the next again, magically.

Almost from the start, I had an idea to invite men from the online dating sites to meet my ladies so that they could stop all these crazy coffee dates and interviews and meet the guys , lots of them at once, in a fun setting. I heard that little voice and finally felt it was time to act, so I advertised on Craigslist for men and planned a party at a local hotel lounge. You get the picture yet, that I just followed that little voice, waited before acting to make sure it was the right thing to do, and then creating the party was like nothing, no work or trouble at all? And it was great! Lots of guys and gals our age, having fun on a Saturday night, and maybe some love-connections were made. Hope so.

Then, wanting to invite my Party List guys to a party in Los Angeles of my good friend (and fellow-party planner) Rookie of http://www.supersinglemixers.com/, I put another ad on Craigslist for guys in a different area of town closer to her event. I looked through the guys' ads just to see what was there, found one that really spoke to me and I wrote to him and then invited him to my next Party List activity, a Concert in the Park. Mind you, he was the ONLY guy I wrote to and our limited email exchange was good and I thought he might not be the usual guy. So then we had the Concert and, again, it was a great success and he showed up, brought Taquitos to share, sat next to me, and I liked him right away. He had this quiet confidence, an inner strength about him. He carried all my stuff (and his!) to my car, handed me a flower that one of the ladies had passed out, I hugged him, and voila, here he is. And proving to be a grown-up guy, well grounded, funny and sexy and seems to like me, my quirkiness and all, and we're just having fun. And yes, it's special and wonderful and I'm not gonna miss a minute.

He says we're lucky to have had this random meeting, but I don't think it's random. I did all those things, the Wow group, the speakers, the parties along the way. I'm not the same woman I was when Wow started. My dear friend (and fellow blogger Jessica at http://www.itsnotaboutyourstuff.com/) says that I attracted such a great guy because of all the growth I've had in the recent past. One thing has led to another and people say how amazing it all is, but really I'm just listening to that little voice, being willing to see my own shortcomings and grow past them, and am willing, finally, to allow myself to fully participate in this amazing thing we call life. To really walk through the scary places where that little voice takes me. To really live.

So the morale of this story? Stop seeking. Stop making lists. Stop trying to find him. Just be open to seeing yourself as you really are, love yourself and your gifts and your flaws, be passionate about life, and listen to that little voice that guides you. Take the time to be quiet so that you can HEAR that voice. Instead of seeking someone to love, love YOURSELF. Instead of looking for a great GUY, be a great person YOURSELF. Instead of seeing what you DON'T have, appreciate with your whole heart what you DO have. Instead of seeking love, BE love. Thanks for asking.