Should we go? (on a road trip)

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter – September 25, 2020

by Tom Blake Columnist

                                    Part One – Should We Go?

It seems that every time my partner Greta and I plan a trip, situations arise beforehand that make us ask: “Should we go?”

In 2004, we planned a train trip from Madrid to other cities in Spain. A couple of weeks before our scheduled departure, terrorists bombed Madrid’s Atocha Train Station. The bomb was detonated on the tracks from which our train was scheduled to depart.

In a column, I asked Champs: “Should Greta and I go on this trip?” Champs responded with a resounding “Yes! If you cancel, you let the terrorists win.”

Greta and I decided to go. However, we canceled our train reservations and rented a car instead. Navigating hundreds of confusing roundabouts likely made driving more dangerous than taking the train.

This year, we canceled an 82-day roundtrip cruise that was departing in October from Ft. Lauderdale. The ship’s itinerary included crossing the Atlantic Ocean, navigating the Suez Canal and the Red Sea, and circumventing the coast of Africa and back to Florida.

You’re probably thinking: “COVID-19 must have forced you to cancel.”

But that wasn’t the reason. We canceled before the pandemic arrived. We decided against going because a 737-passenger airliner was shot down with a missile over Iran in January 2020.

Our thinking was: Tensions in the Middle East are heating up again. Our itinerary takes us into the Middle East. If a commercial airliner can be shot down, what’s to stop some crazies from shooting a missile into a cruise ship with the words “Holland America” emblazoned on the smokestack? In addition, the itinerary was taking us through places where pirates had attacked ships recently.

As it turns out, Holland America canceled the cruise a few weeks later due to the pandemic.

We still had a yen to travel. In February this year, we made reservations to take the train to Seattle for a week beginning March 9 to visit relatives. In early March, when COVID-19 first surfaced in the USA, Seattle was the initial hot spot in America.

We wondered “Should we go?” We thought that being on a train for 33 hours going to a pandemic hot spot was not a good idea. We canceled.

Last month, the pandemic seemed to be easing somewhat. We had a one-week timeshare to use before the timeshare expired in October. So, we booked a resort in the Napa Valley wine country for September 20 to 27.

Our plan was to drive from Dana Point up the 5 Freeway, stop a night at Harris Ranch, and then on to Napa. On the return trip, we planned to spend a night at the Davenport Roadhouse (a few miles north of Santa Cruz), which is owned by friends of ours. And other friends were going to join us for dinner at the Roadhouse. And yet we wondered: “Should we go?”

Of course, we knew we’d have to be careful with the still-active pandemic. To avoid public restroom stops along the way, we purchased a portable camping toilet that fits on the backseat floor in our CRV. We even tested sitting on it in the car. We were ready to roll.

 Tom and Greta’s personal travel aid

I promised Greta if the portable was necessary to use along the way, I’d even pull over and stop the car. We wanted no backseat tumbles or mishaps while the car was moving!

And then in late August, the heatwaves hit California. We thought, “What happens if our car breaks down? Maybe we should rent a car? If a rental car broke down, the rental company would provide a replacement.” But, with the pandemic, we didn’t want to drive a car that other people had recently driven.

The heat meant we’d likely be inside in air conditioning most of the time.

And then the fires hit California. The two places we were going, Napa and Santa Cruz, were, where the second and third-largest fires, respectively, in California history were burning. The friends we were meeting for dinner in Davenport lost their home to fire. Plus, their son lost his home and my buddy’s sister lost her home. The air quality in both places was dangerous.

On September 7, California closed several national forests due to new fires. Who could forecast what September 20 would bring fire-wise? Would we have to worry about heat, fires, and air quality? Again we asked: “Should we go?”

All these considerations kept nagging at us. We thought: “For now, we should just stay home. Why chance it?”

We decided South Orange County is a good place to quarantine. I do my Stand-Up Paddle Boarding in Dana Point Harbor, and Greta will do water aerobics when the pool where she swims re-opens.

So, we opted not to go, at least not now.

Oh, does anyone need a portable camping toilet that’s never been used for a cheap price? I suppose we could have a yard sale.

Tom’s comment: After this eNewsletter was published, one of Tom’s readers, aka Champs, offered to purchase the portable potty. But, Tom’s partner Greta didn’t want to sell it after all, saying sometime in the future they might use it.

            Part 2 – Comments from Champs – Liars, losers and lunatics

Jim – Humor columnist for Desert Exposure Magazine (

“Regarding the term,”breadcrumbed.” It could have applied to my first marriage. I gave her bread; she gave me crumbs.”

Arlene – “How ironic you mentioned POF (the free dating site, Plenty of Fish). I’ve been on it for years, to no avail. Lots of liars, losers, and lunatics. Currently, a man in Beverly Hills (iffy if he’s from there) contacted me. He says he’s a yacht-designer. OK. Yesterday, he left for Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, and the oil fields (?). He says he’s from Spain and is calling me ‘mi amour,’ etc.

“I have never met this man and am amused by his stories. I guess it’s a diversion more than anything that could make me hope it’s a possible match.

“My feelings are that we are not puppies. Time is of the essence in finding someone. I hate being alone; no kids or family here. I am unable to get a pet due to regulations where I live. Wasting time I abhor. Yet, here I sit alone at 67. Covid has halted my dancing and club activities. ZZZZZ”

                            Tom’s response to Arlene:

Of course, the man you met on POF (the yacht designer) is most likely a scammer. What is a yacht designer doing in the Alaskan oil fields–doesn’t track? And the Beverly Hills aspect sounds bogus also. Don’t believe him. That’s the M.O. of a scammer.

Sometimes these guys send a token gift that makes gullible senior women believe the guy is for real. Some women end up losing a lot of money. Please, please, don’t buy into it.

Responses to breadcrumbed. A new senior dating term.

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter – November 22, 2019

by columnist Thomas P Blake

He breadcrumbed Loretta. He was a miserable worm – regardless of how you want to label it and/or him

Today’s eNewsletter is a collection of 20 Champ responses from last week’s article, “Breadcrumbed. A new senior dating term. To refresh your memory, go back and read last week’s post about Loretta being breadcrumbed.

1. Jeanne, “Yikes! That wasn’t a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship! It was a one-way street – going his way.”

2. Wayne, “Total denial.”

3. Art, Florida, “This ‘relationship’ was much more in her mind than his. He carried on his life with her as an occasional date.  When he did not give her so much as a birthday phone call, it was obvious that she was not on his mind, or even in his plans.

“This was for him just another in a line of dates, but no deep communication, no interest in the future, and no relationship.

“I think that many of us read more into situations, and believe the story we tell ourselves, but in the end, wind up being hurt.”

4. Joanie, “I was in two ‘go-no-place (GNP) relationships’ where there was no growth and no further depth than the initial dating. It took me years to realize what was happening.

Alert from Tom: Might Joanie have just created a new senior dating term? A GNP relationship (go-no-place).

“It’s a gift to find this out after a year or two and get out–better to be alone and pursuing a quality life–than to waste one’s precious time on a GNP. Loretta will find a better match.”

5. Miriam, “There were small signs along the way, but she was too trusting with his many excuses and times of not seeing her. In a good relationship, you want to be together as much as possible.”

6. Susan, “It sounds like Loretta’s now-ex boyfriend may be incapable of having a close relationship. There were red flags. For one, being brushed aside for a family dinner every week seems very unusual.”

7. Sue, Phoenix, AZ, “Loretta is much better off without that kind of individual. He’s more of a miserable worm than a crumb.”

8. Jon, Olympia, Washington, “Loretta’s friend should be ashamed of himself. A man should never make the woman guess the status of their relationship. Making and keeping plans is crucial to maintaining communication. For Turkey Day, I’m having dinner at Sharon’s with her family, and I am buying the turkey.”

9. Tasia, “Breadcrumbing – Never heard of it before but it makes total sense! I tried online dating for a few years and met only one person who was honest with me. Unfortunately, the attraction wasn’t there even though he was a good, kindhearted man. We even tried a second time to make it work a couple years later, but, everything that was wrong the first time, was still wrong, so we ended as friends again.

“I’m not online any longer and I have not been breadcrumbed, or, experienced situational dating, but I now recognize that happened with a former friend. I always thought it was because she slept with these guys after the first or second date – not saying Loretta did that – just that my friend did.”

10. Mary Lou, “Long periods between dates, showing up not groomed for a date, talking about making plans and then not following up, didn’t any of these raise a red flag?

“It takes two to make a relationship. This relationship was on its last legs, whether she knew it or not. I bet he met someone who lives closer to him, and, went for it with the other gal because Loretta was geographically undesirable.

“Some people just want to keep their options open (ie., breadcrumbed) until they decide where to commit. Not fair nor is it kind, but it’s what happens.

“Loretta sounds like a nice lady. She’ll be more savvy and aware with the next guy she meets.”

11. Marta from Montreal, “Six weeks is an awfully long time to not get together, especially since they were not very far apart.

“It sounds like the relationship was not developing as relationships do, but how was she to judge that? We are encouraged to be patient, kind, accepting, all that good stuff, but there is a limit, and I understand how deciding what one’s personal limit is can be very confusing.

“If what you want is a loving and permanent romance, be alert for signs it’s not going to happen, and get your runners on and get going.”

12. Gail, Bishop, California, “My reaction is old-fashioned: good riddance! What a rude person. I’m glad she found him out.”

13. Thyrza, Los Angeles area, “Loretta was hanging on too long hoping the relationship will develop and blossom. Obviously, it did not, time to move on.

“He was not a catch, anyway, I would dismiss it as a ghostly encounter. Move on Loretta. I don’t care what that relationship label is, just move on!”

14. Laurie, “I’ve been breadcrumbed. It stinks!”

15. Stella, “ARRRRGHGH!  Why would she want him anyway?  He’s mentally ill, in bad health, blood clots (unless he’s lying). If a guy isn’t willing to spend his time with you exclusively after a year – HE’S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU!” (The name of a well-known dating book).”

16. Joy, “She thought this to be a loving, committed relationship. Men and women should pay more attention to what their partner does than what he or she says. Actions speak louder than words. Talk can be cheap. I believe most of us heard this ‘saying’ when we were in high school.

Loretta is a loving and kind woman. Love yourself more Loretta and be thankful you can now see his true character. Head up high and move forward with a smile. You’re lucky you caught him in another lie.

17. Terry, “I feel for her as ‘love’ can be like the disease of addiction–cunning and baffling.”

18. Lee Ann, “I’m not fond of labels since every dating experience is different. Breadcrumbed especially. I think what she needs to focus on instead of labeling it is what she wants next time. There were so many red flags. They were dating for a year but would go weeks without seeing each other, even though only 30 minutes apart.

“I’m also disturbed that she wasn’t included in Sunday dinners. Relationships are supposed to grow in a forward direction.

“Another huge red flag for me would be being asked to make a baby blanket for a baby I’d never met. I think she should take some time alone to examine what she wants in a relationship and perhaps see a therapist to learn how to set boundaries and to have a healthy relationship down the road.”

19. Shelley, San Diego, “I think what many women do is: Go by a man’s WORDS and not his ACTIONS. This man was saying he was her ‘boyfriend’ and that he ‘loved’ her, but his ACTIONS tell a different story.
“In all relationships, we need to feel safe, seen and celebrated.

“From a man who says he loves me, I should be getting great treatment, treated as precious.”

20. Stephanie, Midwest, “Breadcrumbing is nothing new. It used to be called ‘stringing you along.’

“Loretta’s boyfriend didn’t want to break off the relationship because his new lady he had dinner with might break up with him, and good old Loretta would still be available for dating.

“For a time, she was his main girlfriend, as he was inviting her to share the holidays with his family. Somewhere along the line, she became a utility infielder instead of a starting pitcher.

“Breadcrumbing is more subtle than ghosting, you feel the person still cares about you and there is an ongoing connection.

“Ladies, don’t fall for this–if enthusiasm wanes, if something has changed–call it out. Put less value on his words than his actions from that point on. Maybe he’s just a coward or fears hurting your feelings so he says all the right things and you calm down–but is the phone ringing again?”

Tom’s final observation: Wow 20 Champs’ responses. You make this eNewsletter so darn interesting. In effect, you write it.

The perfect finish to this eNewsletter was alluded to by Thyrza, when she mentioned Loretta was hanging on. Those two words reminded me of the incredible Rod Stewart song, “You Keep Me Hangin’ On,” from the 1977 Footloose and Fancy Free record album (we’ve featured it before in a column)

That song by Stewart is the greatest tribute to being breadcrumbed in the world. The violins, and, Carmine Appice on the drums, make listening to this 7+ minute song purely enjoyable.

That song, and two others from that album (I Was Only Joking and You Got A Nerve) belong in the senior Music Hall of Fame (which doesn’t exist). Here’s the link to You Keep Me Hanging On. Do yourself a favor and listen (excuse the picture with the video of the woman with the bikini and tattoos)

Breadcrumbed. A new senior dating term

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter – November 15, 2019 – Breadcrumbed. A new senior dating descriptions

by columnist Thomas P Blake

You’d think that after 26 years of writing approximately 4,000 eNewsletters and newspaper columns on senior dating and relationships, I’ve heard it all.

Not true. With our eNewsletter readers (Champs), there is always something new. Such was the case with Loretta’s email this week. She wrote: Breadcrumbed. A new senior dating term.

Having read last week’s eNewsletter about Chris and Tina applying for a 10-year green card, Loretta wrote: “I wanted to share my story in the hope you might provide your insight and perspective.

“As of October, 2018, I’ve been involved in a new relationship. We met through a dating web site. He is 70; I’m 63. We live 30 to 40 minutes from each other.

I considered him to be my boyfriend. I thought he considered me his girlfriend. Not sure if we were lifetime-partner material but my friends who met him thought we could be.

Tom’s clarification: Loretta explained in lengthy detail the background of their relationship. I edited those comments for brevity, paraphrasing what she said so readers will have background with which to work.

Loretta and her “boyfriend” were not together often—sometimes weeks would go by without seeing each other. She works full time; he works part time. They usually saw each other on Saturday afternoons and/or evenings. And sometimes during the week. They were comfortable with that arrangement. They texted and telephoned often.

The boyfriend spends Sundays at his son’s family dinners. She isn’t invited. Loretta makes her own plans for Sundays. Last year, a month after they met, they celebrated her birthday by dining out and going to the theater.

In 2018., they spent Thanksgiving and Christmas Day with his family. They exchanged gifts. They did not spend Easter together as he suffers from depression and confused his meds. He spent the day alone. She didn’t see him for six weeks “…while the meds adjusted.”

Loretta was asked to knit a baby blanket for the boyfriend’s grandson, who was born in July. She has not met the grandson. Once, last-minute, she was invited but she had already made other plans.

Hopefully, the above background details are helpful.

And now, back to Loretta’s email

She wrote, “He told me he considered me his girlfriend. He told me he loved me. I called him Tesoro Mio, my treasure and my boyfriend. He wanted to meet my friends.

“He also knew I did I not wait for him to make plans for a weekend. I would see my friends and do things on my own as he did every Sunday with his family. We would share what we were doing, so I thought. Last time I saw him, he asked if I had met someone. I told him no. He was my boyfriend.

“We last saw each other for dinner on Tuesday, October 29, 2019. He didn’t bother to shave or dress up. During that date, he brought up my birthday, saying he didn’t forget my birthday, knew it was coming up. No plans were made for my birthday. Poof.

“During that dinner, I asked about Thanksgiving and he confirmed via text me having Thanksgiving with his family and via a phone call only a week ago.

Prior to October 29, the last time we got together was on September 19 (about six weeks before).

“On my birthday, last Sunday, November 9, I was breadcrumbed. I asked Loretta to define breadcrumbed.

She wrote, “Breadcrumbed is a dating term like ghosting. It is when texting and receiving ‘likes’ on social media that make you think you are in a relationship. And has kinda replaced ghosting. Worse than ghosting, however, as just when you think the relationship may be ending, it picks back up. Or as in my case, talk of plans and then none made. Talk of taking a trip together and then hearing it’s not a good time for a trip.

“It is the story of Hansel and Gretel. The crumbs led to the wicked witch, not a happy ending.

Then, she asked me: “You did an eNewsletter about ghosting. Would you consider one on breadcrumbed and situational relationships?

“Dating has changed so much with social media and texting, it is easy to think or find oneself in what one thinks is a solid relationship, only to learn it isn’t anything at all. Poof, and you realize–despite expressions of love–it wasn’t anything.

Loretta’s disappointing birthday

“I called him early in the afternoon on my birthday. I was concerned about his health (he has a blood clot in his leg). He shared he wasn’t feeling great and was just hanging out at home.

“He said he was selfish in forgetting my birthday. I didn’t correct him just told him where I would be for dinner, if he felt like joining me. Texted him the address and time. I hadn’t heard from him for five days.

“Though, the last few weeks, I realized upon reflection, not so many calls. The missing calls were explained by him–without my asking–that he was receiving calls from his son each evening as his new grandson was being put to sleep.
“I went to dinner to celebrate by myself. I thought it would be a kind gesture to drop off a meal from the restaurant; he had told me many times that I was welcome anytime. This would be the first time that I just showed up without calling ahead. After all, he told me he was home alone, with nothing going on.

“When I arrived–much to my surprise–I saw another car in the driveway with a woman putting food leftovers in her car trunk. She walked back into the house.

“I followed her into the house as the side door was open. He was standing in the living room with his jacket on. It appeared they had just returned from dinner out. He was dressed for a date as was she.

“I handed him the food. Spoke to him and said I brought you dinner as I thought you were too sick to go out.

“He smiled, said she is a friend, and, he asked me to leave. He would call me.

“I said goodbye to him as I left.

“Two things: If she was just a friend, I believe he would have introduced me.

“Second, I haven’t shed a tear. I am in shock. Can’t believe for one who is viewed as sharp and smart by my friends, that it happened. Feeling overwhelmed in my disappointment.

“Believe I’ve been breadcrumbed, and in a situational relationship without ever knowing it. Gotta move on and recover.

“It was a relationship that was comfortable, not perfect. He told me he loved me. I was invited to stay over.  In the end, it’s probably for the better. Just sad how the end happened.”

Tom’s wrap up: I know Champs will have opinions. I have no words, other than: There were red flags that Loretta overlooked. His ignoring Loretta’s birthday was bad enough, but for him to be out with another woman on Loretta’s birthday, and asking Loretta to leave, that’s the end of the line.

So now, we have new dating terms: breadcrumbed. A new senior dating term.

Responses to Loretta’s story from my readers, whom I refer to as Champs, in the following week’s eNewsletters, which is published next in this eNewsletter.