Rebuild Your Life Month

It might seem strange to promote a commemorative month on its last day. Originally, I was just going to skip this topic altogether, because personal reflections often find themselves as a part of bluejayblog. I’m touching on the topic of life rebuilding because this is not something we do only in June.

There is no special time of year for something earth-shattering to happen in a person’s life. Nor does someone notice that some major lifestyle changes need to be made, only RebuildYourLife-02in June. On the other hand, June can be the time to jump-start a life rebuilding program, even if the motivation starts on the last day of Rebuild Your Life Month.

Earlier this month, I reconnected, on Facebook, with one of my best friends from high school. I think the last time I saw him was in 1972.  He was the brother of my only real girlfriend.  When all of us were together in public, we were the “Three JJs”. After a very short online chat, I thought about those long ago times of my life.  I recalled the various times I needed to rebuild my life.

My first attempts created an obsession over self-help books because friends, family, and clergy only presented cul-de-sacs. I finally figured out that self-help books only work if you find one or two that you actually use.  Flitting from one to another, not RebuildYourLife-01using the advice, is just an escape. I finally recycled my large self-help library and felt free.  I did manage to glean a few helpful practices from a few of the books.

The most helpful advice was to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. This is not the magical thinking woo that we find in pop culture. If we mentally list, each day, the good things we have in our lives, we get a positive attitude adjustment.   Good times to do this include first thing in the morning and the last thing to do, just before bedtime. This attitude of gratitude provides a strong backdrop for each day.

Personally, I incorporated this ritual into the part of my mornings for meditation. A person can also do this while doing a regular activity.  Sometimes I run through my gratefulness list during workouts.  Many people find time during other physical activities.

The other big piece of mental advice is to continually be mindful of how accepting we are.  I found out that mere tolerance doesn’t do the trick for me. My life got a major boost when I finally accepted myself for who I am, not what other people wanted me to be.  It didn’t take much longer to figure out that when I accept other people for who they are and don’t just tolerate them, my attitude and happiness increases by leaps and bounds.

Part of my problem was wanting other people to conform to my ideals. I finally realized that if I couldn’t force change upon myself, I couldn’t hope to change other people. So, acceptance of life as it comes and other people as they are provides a solid foundation in any life rebuilding program.

Another thing I retained from self-help reading is to write down a list of what you want to “repair” or remedy. Then figure out what you can actually do to fix those problems.  It’s important to actually write these things down on paper. Don’t just mentally think about them.  Also, don’t just type a list into your computer and file it away.  The act of putting ink to paper solidifies the list.  Keep that list in a place you’ll see it each day. For the big things, I put Post It Notes on my mirror and at my desk.

As I finally started work on my rebuilding programs, I focused upon one aspect at a time. Trying to do many things at once scattered my attention and energy.  RebuildYourLife-03Multitasking is a poor strategy for life building. I also found the greatest success comes from tackling the biggest problem first. Nibbling around at the lesser issues, for me, is just another form of procrastination. When I dive in, head first, things get done.

It’s also important to have some moral support. Friends and family are great for this.  I make sure not to just “dump” my complaints on them. I listen to their opinions and consider their advice seriously. I come away with more solutions to put into the mix of fixes. This is all carefully weighed and possibly used as I work through the problem. I utilize what I can and take responsibility for the results. Of course, a good friend or partner is just good to have as a fellow traveller.

Talking and thinking about rebuilding life isn’t nearly enough. A person must actually get down to brass tacks and physically do it.  If I want to feel better, I need to eat better and have effective workouts. If I need a better social life, I work up the courage, then actually go out and meet people. Whatever needs redoing requires real doing.

We’ve all had to rebuild our lives at times.  We can look back and use what helped us to move ahead and we can discard the techniques that don’t work. Once we’ve finished our life rebuilding project, we can step back and enjoy the results of a job, well done.

1984aThe Blue Jay of Happiness says that regular maintenance reduces the need for frequent rebuilding projects.

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Thinking About Comfort Zones

The first time I ever saw the phrase “Comfort Zone” was on the old thermostat for the furnace in my old apartment. Since then, I usually first associate “Comfort Zone” with heating and air conditioning and not the way it is used in popular psychology.Comfort-00

I came across the term the other day on Facebook. A quote by John Maxwell was on a picture of a kitten (of course). It said, “If we’re growing, we’re always going to be out of our comfort zone.” This triggered my mind to contemplate comfort zones.

I’m of at least two minds about comfort zones and “growth”. I agree that stretching our boundaries and trying new things are constructive, helpful lifestyle choices. On the other hand, it seems like many people have an unhealthy Comfort-01obsession with “growth” and condemnation of comfort zones.

By definition, human beings are warm-blooded, living organisms. In high school biology class, we learn that warm-blooded animals naturally seek to maintain a constant bodily temperature. Living beings also seek to maintain a healthy balance in the amount of water and nutrients within its body.

Functions, like breathing and heart rate are also maintained within certain parameters. So, it seems that, biologically, we basically seek to maintain a comfort zone.  I think we warm-blooded creatures also seek a psychological comfort zone. If you observe an animal, you’ll notice that it seeks to achieve equilibrium and safety within a comfort zone.   Regardless of whether its a squirrel, a cat, or a human, creatures seem to gravitate towards some sort of comfort zone.

We do not like a lack of stimulation or boredom. We like to spend more time in bed each morning, but at some point we want to arise and discover the day.  Similarly we do not like an over-abundance of stimulation or anxiety. After an afternoon of theme-park roller coaster rides, a person craves a break and relief from stress. There’s a middle zone that allows us to feel contented. It’s a comfort zone where we thrive. It’s a subjective experience.

Certainly the pop-psychologists have some valid arguments.  They tell us to muster up the courage to take risks. They advocate that we “go where there are no guarantees” and be fearless. I agree that people need to do this and not just be lumps on logs or sticks in mud. However, I wonder, where are the boundaries? When do we know if we are harming ourselves, other people, and the world around us when we act outside of our comfort zones?

How do we know when we have gotten not only out of our comfort zone but have entered a harmful zone?  If what we’re doing is mostly selfish, we run the risk of hurting others. We are free to operate our motor vehicles within a certain “zone” of restrictions.  We have traffic lights at intersections, speed limits, and lane restrictions for very good reasons. If we run red lights, proceed extremely fast (or too slow), or travel in the wrong lane, we may harm or kill ourselves and other people.

There are other obvious actions we are capable of doing that are legally restricted or prohibited, for very good reasons. There are also some restrictions and prohibitions that need to be altered or eliminated because they go too far in the process of keeping society acting within certain boundaries.  Hence, we have a social comfort zone.

Human progress can only happen when we leave many social comfort zones. History shows that the greater good is achieved when this happens. For centuries, society was OK with slavery, but when the comfort zone of involuntary servitude was left behind, humanity benefited. When the social comfort zones regarding equal rights for women, racial/ethnic minorities, and LGBT people are stretched, more people can thrive.  Certainly the tiresome social comfort zones of the past caused great harm and suffering.

In national, political terms, the comfort zone of rule by monarchs and dictators felt acceptable for many years. Democracy required nations to go outside their national comfort zones and take the risk of self-government. Democracy is fraught with Comfort-02Okinawauncharted political territory. It’s certainly imperfect and is constantly being tested. It might be argued that democracy has a shifting comfort zone or perhaps none at all. There are powerful factions that wish to retreat to the comfort zone and others who want society to leave the comfort zone altogether. This is why the conservative-liberal debate will be with us for a long time. Traditionalists versus progressivists have been at each others’ throats for years.

We come full circle to wondering how much self-interest lies inside or outside the comfort zone. Will our actions harm or benefit the greatest number of people? Do we not care or do we care greatly? Do we want to be more like Benito Mussolini or more like Martin Luther King, Junior?  The social comfort zone lies somewhere between these two examples. On the “social thermostat” Mussolini was coldly outside the comfort zone and MLK was warmly outside of it.

Warm-blooded creatures biologically prefer to exist in a warmer comfort zone. We also tend to psychologically prefer a warmer comfort zone. As a rule, we are less happy if we grow up in a cold, neglectful, selfish family. We do much better when we are nurtured in a warm, attentive, altruistic family environment. When children and adolescents explore areas outside the comfort zone, they do so more effectively if they have a healthy comfort zone to return to. Most of us have an ache for a happy home, a place of safety for us to find shelter and not be questioned.

Yet an individual develops beyond childhood and the teen years. At the same time, the social norms of the family adjust to fit the changing offspring. Ideally, as the child explores beyond the family’s comfort zone, the family begins to stretch outside it as well. A new comfort zone develops as the child develops. As the child’s individuality matures, the family either stays stagnant or adjusts along with the unfamiliar surprises from the child. Each member of the family either retains or stretches her or his personal comfort zones.

Sometimes we push ourselves too far or society pushes back too hard. This is a large part of pain and suffering for each of us. Sometimes we need the comfort zone in order Comfort-03to heal and recoup our energies.  There are many times we must retreat into a friendly space to enjoy a hearty meal and a soft bed.

Oftentimes it is best to get away from ambition and drive. These are the times to calm the chattering mind and find the comfort zone of silence. In my opinion, it is time to stop denigrating our comfort zones and accept them. This is not to say that we should surrender to our comfort zones. It is to say that we recognize them and their usefulness. When the comfort zone contains authentic love and empathy, it is most useful. When the comfort zone is disguised as rigidity, outmoded beliefs, or inertia it is best to abandon it.

In my opinion, the comfort zone is best when it fosters joy for everyone and harmful when it causes mental laziness and unhappiness. The trick is finding the healthiest balance between comfort and fresh discovery.

moi1986bThe Blue Jay of Happiness hopes your comfort zone enhances and nurtures the lives of everyone around you.

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National Log Cabin Day

logcabin-01Log cabins have long been a symbol of American frontier spirit.  They have also been a part of politics in this country. Seven early Presidents were born in log cabins. The humble structures have also been used in partisan politics, beginning in 1840 with the Whig campaign of William Henry Harrison and into the current era with the Log Cabin Republicans.

Because this is the last Sunday in June, today is National Log Cabin Day in the US.  Thankfully, the focus is not so much on politics as it is about enjoying a very simple lifestyle, at least for a day. Log Cabin Day is more about spending the day at a log cabin. Some people are fortunate enough to own a small cabin.  Others have reserved or otherwise rent a small log cabin at a state park.  The idea is to capture a small sample of life in America when log cabins were much more common as family homes.

The log cabins I’m thinking of are not those ranch-style, luxurious log homes with large floor plans and equally large windows.  Although they are beautiful homes, they do not exemplify a primitive, simple lifestyle. No, a log cabin is a simple one or one-and-a-half story dwelling, architecturally unsophisticated. The little buildings are usually constructed from round, not hand-worked, logs.logcabin-03

We like to think of log cabins as a North American invention, but that really isn’t so.  Log cabins first appeared in the forest regions of Scandinavia and later, Eastern Europe around 3500 BCE. Many of the first log cabins were built in pre-colonial America by Swedish settlers using traditional Scandinavian techniques and styles.

The harsh northern European climates were a good match for those of Canada and mountainous portions elsewhere in North America. Their quick and simple construction made log cabins a logical, popular choice for North American settlers. They were especially well-suited to areas that experience harsh Scandinavian-like winters due to the excellent insulating qualities of solid wood.

Early America’s first log cabins were erected in 1638 by Swedish settlers in New Sweden (now Delaware). Later arrivals from germanic lands and the Ukraine adapted their methods. Colonists from Great Britain did not utilize log cabin building until they learned it from the other Europeans.

Even though the vast majority of Americans do not live nor have access to simple log cabins, we still treasure them as cultural icons. Aside from modern log homes, some commercial products have long used imagery of the log cabin. In 1887, Minnesota grocer Patrick Towle began selling Log Cabin® maple syrup. He chose the name to honor Abraham Lincoln, who grew up in a log cabin. One of my favorite toys was a set of Lincoln Logs®. Many children have spent hours building log cabins and other little constructions with the small “logs”.logcabin-02

Because Log Cabin Day celebrates a very primal, simple lifestyle, I’m planning a day with a minimum of modern technology.  Even though I’m starting the day by blogging and checking the baseball scores, I’ll be spending as much time as possible outdoors, hiking. If weather permits, I’ll spend some time near Norfolk, Nebraska’s Johnson Park log cabin. Simple, non-microwaved meals will suffice for nourishment. A book or two will provide entertainment. I hope to have plenty of time for meditation and contemplation.

I’ll be thinking of how log cabins represent both my American and my Swedish ancestry. I wish I still had my old set of Lincoln Logs®.

Hej då!
mini-moiThe Blue Jay of Happiness dreams of a simple log cabin in the mountains, the perfect space for human being.

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HIV Testing Day

I remember the extreme suffering and fear that swept the nation and the world with the onset of the AIDS epidemic in the opening years of the 1980s. I also remember attending the funerals of several friends, including a former roommate who died from complications as a result of AIDS.


The Centers for Disease Control, CDC, announced that Gay men were the population group most vulnerable to the virus that causes AIDS, but we weren’t the only ones who contracted the infection. Other high-risk groups were hemopheliacs, intraveinous drug users, patients receiving blood transfusions, female partners of men with a high risk of HIV infection, infants of infected women, and Haitians. As a member of a high risk group, I was very worried.HIV-01

I also remember when tests and screening for HIV was first introduced.  Because AIDS sufferers had become highly stigmatized by society, testing procedures were anonymous. As soon as HIV testing was available in my town, I had it done. I soon learned that my HIV status was negative. Years later, I still make sure to get tested on a regular basis.

It’s troubling that one in five people living with HIV in the US don’t know they harbor it. Today is National HIV Testing Day.  It’s a nationwide awareness campaign to encourage everyone to know their status by getting tested. You cannot tell if you have HIV by looking in the mirror. The only way to know for sure is to get tested for it.

People at risk include those who are sexually active with more than one partner or a partner who has other partners, or people with sexually transmitted diseases. Gay and bisexual men should make HIV tests a part of their health care.  Women who are pregnant or who plan to become pregnant need an HIV test.  People who share drug injection paraphernalia with others also need regular HIV testing.HIV-03

It’s important to know so that people living with HIV do not unknowingly pass the virus along to others. It also means that they might not be getting the treatment needed to remain healthy. There are treatment options for people with a positive HIV status. There are also preventative measures that HIV negative people can take to remain that way.

The CDC has these recommendations for everyone:

•Get tested at least once for HIV.
•Get tested once a year or more often if you are at risk of getting HIV.
•Lower your risk of getting HIV by using condoms, using PrEP if appropriate, limiting your number of partners, choosing less risky sexual behaviors, and getting checked for STDs, which can increase the risk of HIV transmission.
•If you have HIV, get medical care and treatment as soon as possible to stay healthier longer and lower your risk of passing the virus to others.

It’s easy to get tested for HIV. You can ask your primary care physician to perform it. You can also call 1-800-CDC-INFO.  Most health insurance plans cover the cost of the test. You might be able to find a site that offers free HIV testing.  There are also a few FDA-approved home testing kits.

Basically, it’s best to know your HIV status.

1984aThe Blue Jay of Happiness likes a thought from Elizabeth Taylor. “It is bad enough that people are dying of AIDS, but no one should die of ignorance.”

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Unexpected …Floral Friday

Several years ago, my great-uncle Ivan said that I should be thankful for the unexpected.  It wakes us up to things we havn’t been paying attention to before. Other people often miss the beauty of this surprise.  He has been proven correct many times.


The unexpected thought or whim often presents us with creative ideas.  That’s why I like the floral arts. The mind often comes up with a new way to combine elements or to repurpose things. I often see the beauty of the unconventional. That is also part of the beauty of being a non-traditionalist.FF062615b

Sunday, I spotted a white Fenton hobnail rose bowl gathering dust on my supply shelf. I asked myself, ” Why was I waiting for a rose to place inside of it?  Why not make it a home for a spiky succulent?” Now, it looks like it was supposed to be used this way all along.

A couple of weeks ago, I came across a Buddhist Hotei statuette tealight holder. To use it for a small candle, seemed like a bad idea. If it didn’t shatter, the inside would probably accumulate a lot of soot. There was also the matter of a small vent-hole at the top of Hotei’s belly. I brought the figurine home and came up with this.

I cannot take any credit for the third item. It looked pretty much like this on a shelf at the Goodwill Store.  The varnished branches grabbed my attention, then the crazy way the flowers were arranged, clinched my choice. I noticed that the branches and flowers are integral with the base because they are extensions of a decoupage. Everything is rooted in acrylic varnish. I brought it home, swished it around in soapy water, rinsed it, and set it out to dry. Now, it’s a centerpiece on my kitchen table.

The next time the unexpected arrives, why not say, “why not?”

DiscoJayAndTheSexOLetsThe Blue Jay of Happiness says to put aside expectations for tradition and be open for a life that’s made rich by the unexpected.

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Elon Musk (Review)

To say that Elon Musk pushes the envelope is to greatly understate the man’s accomplishments. The business titan with the odd name is changing the paradigm of innovation. These days companies come out with underwhelming new apps, style changes, and fresh colors and claim revolutionary change. That attitude does not describe Musk at all.  He has labored to develope a new power utility, an amazing car company, and a private Outer Space corporation.

I knew all of this before I picked up Ashlee Vance’s biography of Elon Musk.  In fact, I had been eagerly anticipating the book.  The other day, I spotted Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future waiting for me at the Norfolk (Nebraska) Public Library. I didn’t hesitate. I snatched it off the shelf and brought it to the check-out desk right away.

Ashlee Vance

Ashlee Vance

This biography is laid out in chronological order. It begins with Elon Musk’s childhood. Musk was born June 28, 1971 in Pretoria, South Africa. He grew up with five siblings whose parents  were entrepreneurial globe trotters. Young Elon was somewhat of a loner in a privilaged Afrikkaner culture. He showed exceptional genius at an early age.

This biography covers Musk’s business life, which is to say is the lion’s share of Musk’s life.  His first venture was the video game “Blastar” that he created at age twelve. In the mid 1990s Elon and brother Kimbal began the start-up Zip2, an Internet based city guide for newspapers. Zip2 was eventually acquired by the Compaq computer company.

With funds from the Zip2 sale, Musk co-founded a financial company, In 2000, merged with Confinity which had a cash transfer service PayPal. The new company focused on the transfer service. The development was largely financed by Musk, who was PayPal’s largest shareholder. A corporate coup during Musk’s vacation saw the acquisition of PayPal by eBay.


The PayPal drama is the prelude to the really hardcore, juicy story of Musk’s most famous companies, SpaceX and Tesla Motors. Here is where Ashlee Vance’s writing skills shine.  Both companies are the product of much struggle and near financial catastrophe. This is the first example of business writing that had me sitting at the edge of my seat.

The closing pages of Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future describe Musk’s joint venture, SolarCity and its expansion into the solar power generation industry. The book goes on to outline the revolutionary ultra-high speed transportation system called Hyperloop. There is also a brief mention of Musk’s visionary mini-satellite based Internet Provider Service that has been featured in the current tech and business press.

Musk’s well-written biography left me feeling both exhilarated and somewhat down  at the same time, in a personal sense. I saw the future and realized it doesn’t include me. My dream car, the past few years, is the Tesla Roadster. The car is out of my reach.  Space flight has long been a fascination of mine, but I’m no rocket scientist.  Maybe, someday, I will live in a home or apartment that has SolarCity solar panels, but that day seems distant.

Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S

Overall, the dreams of Elon Musk are much needed visions that could power a rebirth of American know-how and industrial might.  Musk says he is motivated by the need to help mankind, not exploit us. His companies are headed in the right direction and are giving birth to meaningful job opportunities.

Vance’s book revealed a hard driven, hard driving industrialist who I continue to admire and find inspiring. Musk comes off as demanding, with more than a touch of narcissism. He’s someone I’d like to meet, but could not have as a boss. Unlike most powerful people with massive egos, Musk has found ways to channel his energy in truly constructive, positive ways.

This tome goes beyond business writing and biography. It’s a book for progressive thinkers and people who are concerned about the future. I recommend it highly.

{ Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future written by Ashlee Vance; 392 pages; published by Ecco, an imprint of Harper Collins; ISBN: 978-0-06-230123-9 }

mini-moiThe Blue Jay of Happiness likes this piece of advice from Elon Musk: “Constantly think about how you could be doing things better and questioning yourself.”

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Meet A Mate Week

I’ll state the obvious, right away.  The dating scene is a confusing, frustrating, often disappointing place. Sometimes, though, it works very well. These truisms are multiplied for singles over 60, and multiplied again if you’re an over 60 LGBT, and once again if you’re LGBT living in a small Midwestern community.

My day planner says this week is Meet A Mate Week. I laughed when I spotted it.  It’s certainly going to take more than a week, for me.  The last time I tried this was about 20 years ago.  Even then, dating and searching for a long term relationship seemed MeetAMate-01more like a job hunt.  It took at least as much effort and discernment.

One of my heterosexual friends went through similar straits at the same time, so we were a small support network for each other. It was helpful to compare notes and share suggestions.   He found a wonderful companion and eventually married her.  I came up with plenty of false starts.  It was after I became disheartened and gave up that someone special appeared. One night, out of the blue, he phoned me at work. After awhile, we became a couple. Now, some 13 years later, the dating scene awaits, again.

Arranged partnerships and marriages are rare in the West and becoming more so elsewhere.  Personally, I’m glad, because my life would have been incredibly messed up if I would have been pressured into an arranged marriage.  Yet, I’ve often wondered what life would be like if parents of LGBT offspring arranged same sex partnerships for their queer kids. Oh well, dream on.

We singles can choose from a bewildering variety of dating options. These are all complicated by virtue of national culture, religious affiliation, social class, income MeetAMate-02level, age, gender, and sexual orientation. We can add to this list, rapidly changing social mores and technology.

The most unnerving part of dating is finding potential dates. Young people have the advantage of a large dating pool already, because school provides many opportunities to meet potential dates in a relatively safe atmosphere. Many successful adult partnerships begin life as a result of contacts made through work, either by referal from coworkers or dating coworkers themselves. Coworker dating comes with a lot of handicaps and is often discouraged. I once dated a coworker for several months; it didn’t turn out well. Our time together at work became quite awkward.

Some people have found agreeable partners through their social circles.  Some people meet during parties or a mutual friend introduces them to each other.  Many times, these are blind dates.  Besides work or friends, some singles meet through other social connections linked to hobbies, public service organizations, newspaper/magazine classified ads, speed dating, and even political campaigning or activism.  I once dated a guy I met while working at the regional Bobby Kennedy campaign headquarters. We had a lot of other interests in common, too.

The Internet has enabled many new ways to meet potential dates. There’s a baffling array of dating websites and meet up sites. The options, frustration, and potential dangers are not for the faint of heart.  We may have heard about eHarmony, Match dot com, Adult Friend Finder, or OK Cupid. I’ve encountered some specialty sites like that matches dates according to music tastes and VeggieMatchMakers, the Vegan and Vegetarian dating site.

If you’re only looking for a hook-up, there is Grindr for gay guys and Blendr for straight folks.  Personally, I avoid Grindr and the many other hook-up sites because I’m looking for a long term relationship.

The list of dating and hook-up sites is long and filled with a mix of positive and questionable places to search for romance.  So, if your date search will take place online, do your homework and scrutinize potential Internet dating services carefully.

We can reasonably expect to find realistic representations of potential dates online if we keep our wits about us. There is a lot of trial and error when dating off-line or online. I’ve learned to watch for tell-tale deception and unreasonable inflation of descriptions and expectations. If a long term relationship candidate requests an explicit photograph, I take that as a red-flag and drop him. This is not out of line if you’re using a hook-up site, but impersonal hookups are not my thing.

I expect honesty so I express polite honesty.  I make sure to accurately describe my physical attributes and age. My profile also includes a recent photo of myself.  I’ve been surprised, more than once, by meeting someone who looks completely different than his profile and photo led me to believe. It’s best to be honest up-front because the truth will eventually be known, anyway.

Safety should be utmost. The daily headlines report date rape, robbery, mayhem, and even murder. Intimate partner violence happens across the age spectrum, all cultures, religions, social classes, and sexual orientations. We must take reasonable measures to protect ourselves but not become paranoid.  It helps to carefully screen dating candidates.

Then, when you find a potential partner, make it a date for coffee or something dutch treat, and be sure it is in a public place. If it is dinner or a fancy treat, there will be a sense of obligation. MeetAMate-03

When going out, make sure a friend or family member knows where you’re going and with whom you’re meeting. Never leave drinks unattended, even for a few moments.  Before your date, be certain to plan an iron-clad exit strategy in case the date goes bad.

I’m certainly not a dating expert, so continue to investigate dating sites, potential dates, and exercise prudent care during the first few dates. I like to get to know the other person by asking friendly questions but not by conducting an interrogation. A few times I felt like I was being investigated by the KGB.  I wondered when he’d bring out the  bright spotlights and water torture. This is a major turn-off.

A trustworthy college mentor once quoted William Shakespeare as dating advice. My psych professor said I would understand the meaning of this famous quotation if I’m on the right track. “Good night, good night! Parting is such  sweet sorrow, that I shall say good night ’til it be ‘morrow.”

mini-meThe Blue Jay of Happiness likes this nugget from Joey Adams:  “Never let a fool kiss you, or a kiss fool you.”

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