Last Saturday I flipped open my laptop, stomped over to my Amazon wish list and purchased a new camera body. I’ve hemmed and hawed over a new body for YEARS. Last Saturday I’d had enough. My DSLR Rebel is 9 years old. I’ve shot tens of thousands of photos for the last decade. Hell, there are 3,000 on my iPhone at this very moment. I love photography. Fuck, Sheri. Buy the goddamned camera already. That’s kind of how that went. Thanks, MasterCard, for the heavy lifting.

A few hours later I got a message from a friend in Mountain View, CA, asking if I’d be interested in house/pet sitting for about 10 days. Um….DUH. I would just need to talk with work to be sure I could work virtually from the Bay Area. Because I am always reaching to the highest shelf in every life experience, I began scouring my brain for the larger benefit to the situation. 

I texted 4 or 5 friends in California letting them know I’d likely be there towards the end of June and seeking meetings in social tech, media and food. I texted a few friends here the same thing. I jumped onto the city of Mountain View’s parks and rec site to research camps (because of course I’d take the kids). I touched base with Expedia to get an idea on airfare. I started plotting days in my head. Weekend beach trip. Last Saturday at the Ferry Building Farmers Market. Meeting at Twitter. Chasing down that blogger and this magazine and whichever brands I could get my hands on. Who knows about any startups? I want to beta test my face off! My head was spinning like a top and buzzing with white noise.

My 2-3 early June music prospects had declined, so I all but abandoned Sheri’s Living Room for June. There was no time. 

I talked with my boss about the opportunity. Later in the week I got authorization for adventure.

On Friday I began taking all the factors into consideration. That day I also had 5 or 6 meetings, one of which was a lunch between the 5 past presidents of my Rotary club along with next year’s president. During lunch, Andy said something I’ve heard him say dozens of times in the 6 years I’ve known him:

Priorities are like arms. If you think you have more than two you’re crazy.

I’m sitting in a world of credit card debt, robust work load, volunteerism, personal life and parenthood. Each one of these aspects contain at least 5 unfinished projects that are grossly overdue. Except the credit cards…they get paid in a timely fashion (only because I hired a bookkeeper 6 months ago). Here I was looking to Add More Things.

I was crazy. 

On Friday night, still buzzing from the possibility of the trip, I stood in my kitchen making dinner. Spotify blared Joy Kills Sorrow as I diced a peeled sweet potato. I clearly felt the truth surfacing… stay home. I need to focus on the things important to me right now. Music. Peace. Seeing a few things through. I need to skip this particular impulsive decision. I need to play with my new camera (which arrived Friday to remind me why my MasterCard couldn’t shoulder 3 plane tickets) and book some music and see family and chase down the calm. 

On Saturday morning I messaged my friend and she graciously didn’t hate my face for telling her no. I messaged my bestie and she congratulated me on my adult decision. I messaged my boss and he agreed that it was a good call to pass. I messaged the booking agent in Austin and secured Matt the Electrician.

I messaged Andy to borrow a great lens for my new 70D. Then I focused.







My dear friend Jack, who a several months ago met a wonderful woman who is the absolute sparkle in his eyes sat across from me at lunch recently with a thoughtful speech prepared. After he and his girlfriend heard me rant across a glass or three of whiskey one weekend after a bad dating experience, he bestowed upon me his words. I wish I could have recorded it. He was very right in a lot of ways. More on that in a second.

I am a mega fan of Brene Brown’s work and was wishing last week she had some sort of help with staying Wholehearted through the dating life. I know I can apply those principles on my own but to have specific anecdotes would be tremendous. As a person who spent the last year or two on a quest for wholeheartedness, presence and the reclaiming of my Self, this territory of dating is difficult. 

Jack knows I believe most people are good and sees me give people the benefit of the doubt when at all possible, over and over and over. He worries it leaves me too vulnerable. Personally, I believe that if I’m going to have a successful go at this phase of my life that I have to approach it as true to my Self as possible, which must leave me vulnerable. It isn’t easy to strike the balance of vulnerability and boundaries. I never want to shroud myself in armor, but I also don’t want some guy to get his sharp knife into my tender, pink heart. It is tricky. 

The last 6 months of dating have gifted me a hell of a lot of experiences. So many first dates. So many friend zones (both where it happened to me and where I did the reclassification). So many first kisses and bad kisses and holymotherofpearlmyfacejustmelted kisses. A few skin on skin thoughtful or funny or provocative conversations while daylight streamed through the mini blinds. Several late night bad decisions that were so. much. fun. y’all. And a few moments of such extreme and throat-closing awkwardness I thought I would absolutely die. But I didn’t. And neither did he. Or him. Or that other guy. 

I’ve tried lots of dating approaches and really thought I had stumbled upon genius a few months ago. Multi-dating! This is the term I use to describe where I am technically dating two or more men at once (with full disclosure). You see, Guy A and I only see each other every other week or so but then Guy B and I might have happy hour or catch dinner once a week. But when either or both of them are occupied there’s a Guy C who I just met but, “Sure! Let’s get coffee,” because you just never know. One must kiss a lot of frogs, I’m told.

The downside is that the approach is really, really consuming of both time and mental resources. While all the joys of dating are amplified, so are all the frustrations. My most recent Guy C was a man I met on Tinder who was only in the US for a short while. He asked about my American dating life and as I proudly explained the logistics he responded, “So… you don’t want to get close to anyone?”


So much for Wholehearted

This guy who barely knew me was dead right. I am tuckered out from trying to date without letting anyone close to me. Or dating guys who I know won’t get close to me. (I need a nickname for emotionally unavailable. Any thoughts on that, kind reader?) I can’t say that all the guys have fallen into the “don’t get close” category, but more have than haven’t. 

Everything prior to this paragraph was essentially written a couple of weeks ago. Tonight as I settled in to play catch up on some computer things, I checked my email. A fresh post was waiting for me from Danielle LaPorte, a new-to-me life coach who is the perfect blend of sassy and softie. The title of the post read, “Open, gentle heart. Big fucking fence.” The advice I give on Love that took the longest time to learn. I began to read…

“being loving” meant: letting everyone in the door … ignoring the mismatch between people’s words and their actions … and generally taking more shit than anyone should. While I professed to suffer no fools, I was, you know, suffering some serious fools.

Well, now. That got my attention. Then she said,

Closing my heart would be certain soul death. Not an option. Shutting my heart half-way would be like shallow breathing for eternity, and I’m here to breathe life in fully wholly holy. So semi-openness was not an option either.

Yes. Yes. Yes. Then she told a story she tells her son, 

“Keep your heart open, as wide open as you possibly can. Keep it so soft. Let it be tender. FEEL EVERYTHING. Feel your feelings, share your feelings. Keep your heart gentle, gentle, open, open.

And then… put a big fucking fence around it. Make it tall and make it strong. Ask your angels to guard the gate for you at all times. Do not let anybody past your gate unless their own heart is open and gentle. Only let in people who are respectful, kind, interested and loving. Emphasis on respectful, kind, interested and loving.”

Do not let anyone past your gate unless their own heart is open and gentle. 

Only let in people who are respectful, kind, interested and loving.

I have not done this. I’ve let everyone in all willy nilly and then get pissed when they aren’t interested or respectful or loving or kind. Or any combination thereof. 

Dear Universe, please grant me patience and compassion. 

I’m putting my fence up now. 

Me and the music

One evening 7 months ago I sat across the table from David and KC, poked at an Irma’s burger and tried to keep it together. We would talk about things unrelated to the heartbreak I was swimming in but with any pause in conversation I would slip right back under the surface into the depths of hopelessness. Like it was yesterday, I remember my head and shoulders folding forward and I asked them through the shudders of tears, “What am I going to do about the music?” 

Confession time: I’m not well-educated about music. It’s embarrassing. The previous 2 1/2 years with a fellow music addict was an incredible gift and I was exposed to so much music. I was and am still quite grateful for that gift. But in the glow of the Irma’s neon I asked my question because I knew the musicians would understand the question reached far beyond a hard drive of songs. It was about the sharing. The discovering. The magic that pulses between the notes. What am I going to do about the music?

It turns out I didn’t have to do anything. 

The music found me just fine without any intermediary, which is an even better way to get it. I’ve befriended bands, shaken the hands of artist and poets and learned a few things on my instruments. I’ve traveled a few highways and found my own damn treasures. The Universe keeps sending me signs and people and experiences and it’s enthralling. 

But I also do the work.

I very sheepishly confessed a fun fact last Sunday morning. I was giving a first-time listen to Abbey Road and the White Album. Yes, like….first time ever listen beginning to end. What I further explained is that I am giving the entire Beatles catalog my undivided attention right now, because I never have.

That’s a shame.

And we are anti-shame nowadays.

So far I’ve listened through Rubber Soul, Revolver, White Album and Abbey Road. I don’t have a favorite yet. I’ve probably only gotten through each of them 6 or so times, which isn’t enough. Because…GAH. The Beatles are really good. I won’t bore you with a break down of what I love most because I know squat about the technicalities of music. It’s been a neat little gift of discovering a legendary band at the ripe old age of 37 and being able to appreciate it 10x more than I would have when I was 13 or whatever. 

Perhaps more fun than falling for Eleanor Rigby or Got to Get You into My Life (ok….maybe I am pretty fond of Revolver) was seeing my Facebook wall blow up TWICE with Beatlemania. 

The post with 57 comments thus far where grown men and women basically lose their shit and openly adore the Beatles. And think that I am lying about my ignorance. Nope guys, I’m from rural Oklahoma — ignorance is in my blood. 

The next day I mentioned a little Beatles feelings on a new post and twenty more comments happened.

Later that afternoon I got a text that said, “Check your car and have your mind blown.”

"Check your car and be prepared to have your mind blown." What happens when one of your friends gets irritated at people fawning over the Beatles.

He was a little irritated with all the Beatles fawning. Bowie Bonus. 

Then, for reasons unknown to me, I needed to listen to Phenomenal Handclap Band’s Above All Else (featuring Bart Davenport) on repeat this morning.

If I listened to it once I listened to it 20 times. So much so that I searched for lyrics and when none were found, I transcribed them. Welcome to my rabbit hole. This is why my laundry is never caught up and the novel in my head has never been written. Feel free to double check me. I’m not quite sure about the last line in the second verse. 

You’ve been through a lot these days 
I can tell by the look in your eyes
With the company that you keep
It’s really no surprise
And you’re sayin’ there’s an easier way
Than wearing yourself so thin
So if you’re ready to listen now the lesson will begin

A – Always say what you mean
B – Be something you can be proud of
C – Try to keep yourself clean
D – Don’t get no one else involved

All this time spent talkin’ about it
Would be better spent gettin’ it done
How long before you realize that you’re the one
Who can do almost anything
But learn some disciplne
So stop awhile sit in this style the lesson will begin

A – Always say what you mean
B – Be something you can be proud of
C – Try to keep yourself clean
D – Don’t get no one else involved

Me and the music are doing just fine. Rabbit holes and all.

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