13 February 2017

equals disappointment

Work has been less than stellar. I am tired of the unnecessary upheaval. As a result, work and coping with work stress, also known as going to a lot of kickboxing and Pilates. At least I can side plank like nobody's business now. 

I hadn't given any time to the fact that Valentine's Day was looming. Until I got home from work tonight. There was a bouquet of flowers waiting for me on the kitchen counter. As I got closer, I saw a card as well. It was from my parents. 

Before I sound like a monster for how it made me feel, it was nice of them do to leave those items for me. However, it really drove home the fact that I continue to be alone. The last time I remember celebrating this Hallmark holiday was fourteen years ago. Yes, I had to travel down memory lane to do some math there. 

That number was much larger than anticipated. Compound that with the fact I am 42. Even though I made it through calculus, math was never really my subject. Cue the pity party. 

Between my job and Tour Director's busy season, we haven't connected as much, which has added to my pity party. Emphasized my aloneness here. I have been perfectly content in my aloneness for quite some time, but now with Tour Director on the scene, my aloneness is a real thing, palpable.

This is simply one more thing I have to work through. One more lesson to learn. Another street I must walk down on the road to Mr. Right. 

31 January 2017

not your winehouse rehab

I've only ever met a glass or two of wine that I didn't like. 

Always a glass or two after my ever stressful work days in Austin. Then Lulu died. Numb was the point of it all. Numb to the big gaping hole in my heart with my girl. I couldn't bear the reality of life without her needle nose watching me constantly. Without her promptly putting herself to bed on the princess bed at 8:30 PM and then Lulu would crane her long greyhound neck around the bedroom door about an hour later staring at me with a demanding facial expression that more than communicated, "listen lady when are you coming to bed already?" I simply couldn't face a world, a life without my Lulu because she was my everything. Wine helped.

Shortly after my Lulu's death, it was clear that my temporary assignment in Austin would be coming to a close. Let's just ladle on more terrible things, shall we? My friends, my life, my whole magical world was packaged up in a neat little box called Austin. I tried desperately to find a job that would enable me to stay in a place I call home. Nothing panned out. 

At the time, I took it as a sign that I needed to learn how to live and be happy in Colorado. But moving back to Colorado was the very last thing I ever wanted to do and so I loaded up the car with cases of a special shiraz that I only found in Austin on my way northwest. My mother called those cases of shiraz my prozac to enable to me adjust from my full, vibrant Austin life to the hermit life of Denver. Let's simply pile on the numbing agent. 

I have been back in Denver now for over four years. I've tried making friends, reconnecting with old friends and nothing has really panned out in the long term. I try but nothing sticks like Austin. My heart was broken by the Southern Gentleman. The layoff sent me into a tailspin. Needless to say for the good moments along the way, there was a lot upheaval. Enough so that numbing out with wine was my way to cope. A wine buzz took the edge off everything, the world didn't seem so harsh.

Then in December I get myself on a plane to India. I can count the number of drinks I had during that time on one hand. All my desire, all my need for the numbing agent seeped out of my body during those three weeks. I would have a beer but one was more than enough. The natural off switch had been restored and was working again. The feelings were no longer overwhelming. 

As I described my adventures with the Tour Director to my closest friends, I found myself retelling the stories with the caveat that I was completely sober the entire time as I was openly sharing my feelings with Tour Director. Those who know me best, know that me being vulnerable is near impossible and without the aid of vino, it is absolutely impossible. 

Since my return, I've not reverted to my old ways. The wine holds no mystery. It no longer speaks to me. The taste, the pleasure is gone. 

Last night was a big milestone as between my crappy work day and then Tour Director's SMS, I would have normally had a few glasses of wine as I cried away. This morning I realized the inkling of wine to cope, to numb did not even enter my mind. I dealt with my sadness, my frustration, my disappointment just as the raw feelings they are. I moved through them and I was okay this morning. I survived on my own. And that feels amazing! 

30 January 2017

why not?

Today was a tough day. I'm not going to lie. Work was terrible as I spent the morning fighting off the angry tears in my office. As the day progressed, I become more focused on a plan to remedy the work situation.  

This evening I get home and Tour Director is text messaging away. We talked about my cruddy day. As happens quite regularly, we say the same thing at the same time to each other. I say to him half in jest that I will come cook and clean house. He responds with one of our inside train comments and that we'll get a maid for everything else. I tell him I will cook, clean, and write all day when he's at work. Tour Director's response is "wish life was so simple to be able to do that." 

Of course, I inquire "why not?"

Tour Director: my parents and the Indian society would roast me alive and sprinkle barbecue sauce over me
Me: But you are already a black sheep
Tour Director: But a living sheep
Me: But what's the point of living then?
Tour Director: That's what...... I am already living under the weight of so many accusations. They won't let you live and you can't die too.
Me: Why does life have to be so complex? That is a rhetorical question...
Tour Director: I am sick of it. So just try to enjoy whatever happiness comes my way. Small smiles. Don't expect big ones. 

And then we returned to our less serious conversation about day-to-day life.

I'm not going to lie. I cried. A lot. Severe disappointment over took me. Cue more tears.

Here is a man I am hands-down absolutely crazy about and the feeling is mutual. But the constricting societal norms are wedging themselves between us, our genuine happiness. 

I don't know if I should simply cut bait and swim off as this is going nowhere if we adhere to society. Or is more time needed for Tour Director to put his "I'm sick of it" into decisive action. 

Right now, I simply don't know. 

29 January 2017

oh be still my beating liberal heart

The world has turned upside down here in America.  I think about the pretense of this country - a land of possibility that did not discriminate. 

                                  "Give me your tired, your poor, 
                        Your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free, 
                          The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, 
                       Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, 
                             I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

Everyone, and I mean absolutely everyone faces struggle. Big or small to those of us casually peering in from the outside, an individual's struggle is still that of her own. It is a place where she is challenged, forced out of her comfort zone. Pushed to the limits and beyond into uncharted territory. 

I believe we are all created equal and should have access to all those basic things like education, civil rights and liberties. I believe that we all have a struggle we are working our way through. I believe we are all more alike than we are different. We are human beings and as such our greatest capacity and our greatest goal should be love. Singularly. Pure. Simple. Love. Love. Love.

Today I had an interesting conversation with my mother. I certainly hope that "interesting" reads so laden with sarcasm that the letters literally drip down your screen. 

I drop the dogs off to Fox News and I, the bleeding heart liberal, balk at Trump's Muslim ban. I face a woman known as my mother informing me that it is a good thing. I stand in horror. Absolute, palpable horror. 

Blood pressure through the ceiling, in the calmest manner I can I ask why? After listening to the babble, I can only respond that it has to be an all or nothing as singular group of people is not responsible for all ill as I cite Timothy McVeigh as a perfect example of a non-Muslim who murdered Americans. My mother is not deterred. As such, I pull out the big guns as I say, "your future son-in-law is Muslim so he can never set foot on American soil." That stops her in her tracks and her eventual response is "that's different" although I remind her that in the eyes of The Idiot my Director is Muslim and that is the differentiating factor. 

Here I spend my time contemplating the discrimination I will face one day in India but even through my rose-coloured glasses, the struggle is here too. Discrimination is everywhere. It is too prevalent. 

Tonight I am disappointed in the humans that do not see that we are only here to love. Tonight I am disappointed that my mother, whose grandparents were immigrants to this country during the early 20th century can so easily forget that pertinent fact. Will she love her future Indian-American grandchildren? Will she love me when I follow my heart and soul to India? How did I come from such closed-mindedness?

21 January 2017

skydiving lessons

As I diligently cleaned the house today, I pondered the fact that I have never really fit in anywhere. Austin was the exception. There we are a rag-tag group of misfits who love each other dearly and will fight to the death for each other. But Austin is a quiet little utopia of love and happiness for me. Elsewhere, I have never fit in. 

Throughout school, I was always odd girl out due to my love of clothes, my intelligence, painful shyness, less than athletic, naturally curly hair, and any myriad of silly things I have long forgotten. 

Then came university where I was a poor kid in a rich kid's world. I simply wanted out, to be making money, to be free. I left university without any close friends. 

My career has been marked by being the young kid working with people old enough to be my parents. Recently that has changed, but my love of dresses and attempting to look crisp on a daily basis can still be polarizing. 

Why do these thoughts swirl around in my brain? Because as much as I am ready to pack my bags and get myself to Jaipur, I realize I won't fit in at all. I am not ignoring that it won't be easy. There is language, culture, the color of my skin, not to mention prejudice and a million other things I have yet to think of. 

However, my life to date has gifted me with the resilience that has prepared me for this situation. I have no fear as I have faced this challenge for many days that have accumulated into many years. There will always be naysayers, dirty looks, and mean girls no matter where I live. 

I have always followed the tune of my own drummer. Hopefully, I always will because my life has been nothing short of amazing. The people who do love me and accept me for who I truly am will be with me no matter where I reside. My tribe may be small but we are mighty. 

I am surprised at my bravery and stand in awe at it simultaneously. The certainty that courses through my veins is astounding. It is as if I am 30,000 feet in the air standing at the plane door waiting anxiously to jump out with my parachute. I haven't checked my parachute or verified where I should land, but I am dead certain and overflowing in faith that everything is safe and taken care of. I simply need to jump when the door opens. I am ready and waiting. 

16 January 2017

demonetization, first impressions, and sweet memories

Thanks to the Indian demonetization, rupees would be difficult to obtain while in India at the beginning of December. My travel abroad always includes some level of local economy stimulation and I must have cold, hard cash in my hands to successfully execute that mission. This girl must bargain and shop for unusual treasures.

Prior to heading off to Delhi, Tour Director and I traded emails about the best way to accomplish acquiring rupees. Tour Director told me to exchange money at the Delhi airport. Easy enough. Since I was sitting at the bulk head in the beginning of the Boeing 777's economy plus section, I was off the plane and through customs in a jiffy. Rather than wait for luggage, I hit up the Thomas Cook money exchange. After waiting in line, I could only exchange $40 USD. I was aghast in horror. So I retrieved my luggage and stood in line at the Punjabi National Bank. Again the line was long and slow but I successfully acquired $80 USD worth of rupees.

Off to exit the airport to meet the company representative to get my well-traveled bum to the hotel. A young Indian kid in his early twenties, yells "Ms. Stone" with the telltale yellow sign beckoning me. We exited and were waiting for a taxi. The air was warm at 11 PM but the distinct and ever present smell of burning was not present in the air as it had been fifteen years ago when I last found myself in Delhi.

The drive to the hotel was lackluster. None of the wild driving as folks stood in their respective driving lanes on the highway. The excessive use of car horns and flashing brights that marked my memories were gone along with the roadside cows and old cars. Everything was new, flashy and orderly.

Arriving at the hotel, I was checked in and ushered to my room. I could see the Cotton Tops from my flight and who would serve as my travel companions sitting in another section of the lobby chatting away.

We were to meet at a hotel conference room at 10 AM the next morning. I had assumed I would sleep well as I had very little restful sleep on the airplane, but my body had other plans and I was wide awake at 5 AM just like any other day when I head into the office.

I headed down to the restaurant for breakfast as I was in dire need of coffee. Restaurant staff is always a little odd about seating the solo woman traveler but I found myself a nice little table for two situated at the back center of the restaurant with an amazing view of everything and everyone. The staff was wonderfully attentive and my coffee cup was always full. Indeed, I was a happy girl.

I truly enjoyed my leisurely breakfast and it was certainly leisurely because I had basically an entire morning to myself - just me and the coffee. At the appointed hour, I headed up to the conference room and saw the group of Cotton Tops congregating. Each chair had an envelope with a name on it. Of course mine was front and center - first row, first chair on the left. The tour director's back was to us as he fiddled with his visual board but he was a tall, fit man. All the Cotton Tops were staring at me and it was very unnerving. Then the tour director turned around and I was surprised by how good looking he was. His smile was simply amazing. Then he spoke and I swear the words danced out of his mouth to my ears. I was not prepared for the Tour Director.

I tell you this short story of our first encounter because it was the first time I laid eyes on the Tour Director; however, he had seen me earlier at breakfast.

While we were in Jaipur on our super secret extended trip, Tour Director shared with me the first time he saw me. It was that same morning but at the restaurant. He said he walked into the restaurant and I was the very first thing he saw and he thought I was so very beautiful. He was trying to find me because I was the only person the trip he hadn't met yet. He wandered around the restaurant looking for a 42 year old American woman. He asked a few women whom he thought fit the profile if their name was Patsy Stone. None were. All the while I was there and he never guessed it was me. He told me I was not at all what he thought because I look much younger than my actual age. He was delighted when he first saw me upstairs at the get-acquainted/introduction lecture.

Why did I tell you all of that? Because Tour Director has started a new tour and we had our little waltz down memory lane while he was on the bus Delhi bound. He asked what my thoughts were when we first met. I shared I was surprised he was my age as I thought he'd be older. that he was very handsome, and all business; I'd never guessed that we'd click so amazingly. In my honest vulnerability that only he elicits, I went on to tell Tour Director that I can't wait to see his fabulous smile again. See him looking into my blue eyes. Falling asleep in his arms. To which he replied, "We gotta figure out something".

My heart danced with joy. I couldn't fall asleep because happy excitement shot adrenaline through my entire body. And we are that much closer to starting our life together.

15 January 2017

present and future

The week ended oddly. Unnecessary work drama abound. I hate drama and work drama is the worst.

Earlier this week, I was informed by my manager that the client complained to my VP about me. More importantly, the conversation ended with a statement about my manager being unsure if the VP would do something irrational. Reading between the lines I knew that meant I could very well be fired next week when the VP is onsite.

Pre-India Patsy would have gone haywire calling HR and preparing my legal case, basically bat-shit crazy, worked up and climbing the ceiling. However, we are dealing with post-India Patsy, who was eerily calm and didn't have a single ruffled feather. Sure, I was not pleased at the idea, but I was more concerned that my future-living-in-India fund's growth would be prematurely stifled .

I spoke to my manager later in the day and he assured me that nothing would happen to me. Honestly, I simply want to be able to take my leave of absence when the time is right. All I want is to be living in Jaipur with Tour Director, building our life together. I want to be back in the C-Scheme condo waking up together, making our morning tea, and reading the paper before work. While Tour Director is at the office, I see myself very clearly sitting at the dining room table writing away as the peacocks squawk outside the balcony. Tour Director comes home around 3:30 PM and I greet him with a kiss at the door unless I am absorbed in a crucial story point. We make our afternoon tea and share our day's stories on the burgundy couch. I can see it all so clearly and feel it down to the depth of my very being.

I have never felt this way. Ever. I have never felt so strongly, so certain. I honestly believe our paths crossed for a reason and it is a bigger reason. It is the reason I have been searching for for years upon years. I finally found my mate.

10 January 2017


Peace, true peace became a part of my daily existence from the moment I touched down in India. Since my return, each day, several times a day, I find myself sitting and pondering who the hell have I become. I have never been so calm, so unfazed by day-to-day pettiness. Truly, I have returned from India transformed.

The whole situation at the office is nothing short of a hot mess. Before December 2nd, I would have been twisted up over the hot mess oozing through; today, I go in, do what I can, and leave. I don't participate in the drama; I have no interest. I actually leave and leave in a timely fashion. This is such a huge shift and I barely recognize myself.

But this shift is for my highest good. My thoughts, my ideas, my beliefs have changed for the better. I see new possibilities and I have complete faith and trust in all those amazing things materializing. I cannot express how much I am truly enjoying this new found freedom. I feel lighter and quite frankly unstoppable. The new lens I view the world through is magnificent.

When I booked my Indian holiday at the beginning of November, I had no idea that this would be more than a "burn my PTO" holiday. This holiday was fate, pure and simple. This holiday was the catalyst of change that has placed me on a new trajectory.

Unfortunately I am tired tonight, so I will cut this entry short. The pups need some quality love time with me and I need to go to bed at a decent hour.

09 January 2017

central park revelations

Jaipur Journal Flashback from Thursday 22 December 2016....

Listening to the afternoon call to prayer in the distance, I sit on the ground in Jaipur Central Park connected to the earth under the Indian flag that is moving ever so subtly in the warm sun soaked air. 

This 4 kilometers have served as a walking meditation of my time here. From the moment I landed on Indian soil, I have been washed in a constant stream of peace and calm and serenity. A tranquility I have never known and serves now as my new normal. 

Enter Tour Director stage right. Such a kind, caring man. I never met anyone like him. Smart, ambitious, honest, funny. Even though we are from opposite sides of the world, I would never notice. Leave it to me - meet the most amazing man ever and he's literally on the other side of the world. 

But that's the strange part. I don't feel like an outsider here. I roam the streets and feel at home. The peace I have felt pouring over me and through me has only intensified during this unplanned third week. 

And so revealed to me on this walk is the fact that I have worked like a dog for the past 20 years seeking money and freedoms it brings. While I've enjoyed it, that part of my life is over. I'll always work, make money but not in the same way, not as a simple cog in a wheel. The past two years have taught me that I know much more than I ever realized. I can spread my wings and soar. I choose happiness now. I am so willing to uproot my life to be here in Jaipur. The way I feel with Tour Director is something I've never known. My walk revealed a sabbatical is the way to go. I'll have to discuss with Tour Director. 

It's Thursday and it pains my heart to think I'll have to leave soon. I don't want to think about not feeling Tour Director take me tightly in his arms. Look into his incredible eyes that wander deep into my soul. Wholeheartedly laugh together at the antics of Rocket. 

Just as my additional week here was gifted with ease. I have the utmost faith in God that the path I'm supposed to travel will be revealed as the time is correct. 

08 January 2017

surprises in the taj mahal tea leaves

Yesterday through the never ending leftovers of the yucky snow accumulation, I ventured in a northwesterly direction to Boulder in hunt of a well stocked Indian grocer. Tucked away in a sleepy little strip mall, I stumbled onto a little taste of India complete with the heavenly aromas that haunts my memories.

I slowly wandered the aisles seeking out the items on my list while being washed over with memories of that magical time, overcome with yearning to return to the arms of the Tour Director, to return home. The Edward Sharpe and Magnetic Zeros' song "Home is Wherever There is You"overtakes my being as I write this.

Tea was a central component of our daily life in Jaipur; our ritual of sorts. Once Tour Director taught me how to make it, each morning either one of us would whip up the masala tea or we would make it together. Together was always the best - we'd tag team the simple steps.

At the back of a corner, there was the tea selection. Joy overcame me as I spotted the iconic blue box of Taj Mahal tea. I quickly snatched up a box even though the bright orange price tag read $11.49. That simple box of tea serves as our connection.

This morning, I got up and made the tea just as I was taught and done so many times with Tour Director. That first sip that I'd assume would bring me joy through my memories remembering and cherishing those inconsequential yet sacred moments we shared did not act as predicted. Instead I felt immense sadness that Tour Director was not here, that we were not together; the pangs of missing him were intense. So much so that I found myself crying in the face of the chasm that physically separates us. Never have I felt this way about a man. Never.

But I continue to sip my tea through my tears focusing on the fact that one day we will be reunited again inshallah.