Dabbling in Online Dating?

It occurred to me that there might be some interest in what I’ve learned while dating online.


Angst is the key word. There is the ebb and flow of strangers seeking companionship with one another. How can you be sure that it’s legit?

Plus, having had several less than desirable experiences, I have developed a list of 10 thought provoking rules.

Unwritten Rules for Men Seeking Intelligent Women

  1. Do not send me a picture of how you looked 20 years ago.
  2. Do not send me a picture of your dog. I’m not looking for a pet.
  3. Do not send me a picture of your couch.
  4. Do not send me a picture of your bare chest.
  5. Do not forget to mention the fact you have a wife.
  6. Do not act like you’ve known me forever when you see me.
  7. Do not grab my hands across the table after five minutes. It’s embarrassing.
  8. If you let me pick up the check, please don’t try to hug or kiss me goodbye.
  9. Do not put … “I’ll tell you later” on all the profile questions. For sure, later will never come.
  10. Don’t advertise yourself as a liberal and then upon meeting me, and offering me a seriously conservative diatribe, explain that you’re a liberal conservative.


Do any of you have any other suggestions about dating online? If so, please send me a message and I’ll add it. Would love to hear from you! Share your stories!





I come from a long line of worriers.

My mother worried about everything. When I was small I solved one of my worries by deciding there was no such thing as a real vampire.

Thanks Pinterest, Sergiu Naslau and Wabbaly.com.

After that worry went away, I said: “Now what will I worry about?” As if it were my life’s destiny to become a veteran worrier. Or perhaps an obligation to carry on the family tradition by taking up the mantle of being a lifetime worrier.

And is it any surprise that one of my five children decided to mimic Mom?

If I could undo this role, I would.

It occurred to me that I should share what I worry about and maybe that would rid me of future worries.

Then I wondered what if my worries aren’t big enough to worry about? Just empty illusions of worry. A sham all the way around.

What if your worries are more substantial than mine? What is your biggest fear? What keeps you up at night?

Full disclosure. Here are mine:

1. I worried since I was in grade school that someone would find out I had a ringing in my ears. Tinnitus before its time.

2. I am worried I am writing or thinking about writing all the time and may be staying indoors too much.

3. I am worried that the built-in microwave is going to drop on the eyes of the counter top and break.

4. I am worried that the heating pad will somehow cause a fire.

5. I am worried about my friends in Sierra Leone who have to deal with serious issues like avoiding Ebola.

Are all of these true? No. Figure out which ONE IS NOT TRUE. I’ll draw one from the lot of correct guesses and send you my new book! The real deal. Send your answer to me by March 1 at darlabartos@gmail.com.


The Missing Christmas Tree

The shock of my life was walking into my basement a week ago to discover that my fake Christmas tree had been stolen.

First I suspected my daughter — the one visiting from Australia. Surely she’d thrown the delapidated tree out while cleaning out her stuff for Goodwill. She’d tidied up the basement quite nicely so luckily something kept me from mentioning it right away! Lucky me because something began niggling at me and then turned into a lightning bolt.

After years of procrastination, I’d finally given that tree away last year knowing I WOULD HAVE TO find a new one this year. Only I didn’t realize it would come so quickly. I can’t tell you the four letter words that ran through my mind.

Just returning from a Thanksgiving trip which had extended into December, I was officially running late for Christmas this year. Plus, THE Christmas dinner was at my house.

Seeds of panic nestled quite nicely inside my psyche.

I went out and looked at all the traditional places. Target, Costco, and several others — all the while recalling my sister had every single Christmas ornament in place by N O V E M B E R 1. (Did you get that? NOVEMBER 1) Then I quelled the angst and remembered that last year, I’d finally pulled my Christmas decorations up in February. I love Christmas. I hang onto it. So my strategy is on the other end of the spectrum. My sister puts hers up early, I leave mine up late. Same difference.

I’ll tell you the cliff hanger to this story — Last week I finally ordered a tree from Overstock.com with free shipping to be delivered to my door in … now almost three days. I am a deadline driven person. The belated Christmas tree arriving in the St. Nick of time is proof.

So all of this to tell you I hope you have a warm and merry Christmas and a happy meaningful holiday season!

Sundance’s Magical Moments

As I walked through the lobby of the Yarrow Hotel at the 30th Sundance Film Festival, a young woman wearing shiny red boots, a heavy winter coat and a red star enhanced with gold in her dark hair stopped me in my tracks.

“Are you Wonder Woman?” I asked. Then Sara Fischel flashed me the full package.

Sara, a videographer and actor, turned her camera on me and asked why I was interested in Wonder Woman. WW was the only female — other than Lois Lane — who ever looked like she was having an adventure. A strong female hero for young women. And still the film industry does not do her justice. I could have talked all night.

Periodically through the festival I saw Sara dancing in the street and wandering around videotaping and being photographed. A delightful personality who’s focused on her career.

Sara Fischel
Sara Fischel stopped for photo with Darla Bartos at Sundance Film Festival 2014.

Other surprising moments bordered from wacky to serendipitous and flat astounding.

Read on.

Meaghan Rath, a Canadian film and television actor, who portrays Sally Malik on the series Being Human, walked by my son Philip and I in a narrow hallway while we were in line waiting to see her in a Slamdance movie Three Night Stand. My son is a big fan and acted quickly.  “Meaghan, could I have a picture with you?”

She whirled around flashing a celebrity smile. I grabbed his iPhone and snapped it.  “We can go home now!” he laughed.

Meeting Meaghan Rath! Meaghan and Phil Bartos
Meeting Meaghan Rath!
Meaghan and Phil Bartos


Whimsical moments occurred that were astounding. And here’s another one.

Phil and I were lucky enough to have passes, which meant priority seating. For our first movie,  we sat in the middle surrounded by rows of empty seats. A young woman walked over and asked if she could sit down in the seat next to me.

“What do you do?” I asked.

“I”m an actor.” The conversation sped up.  When Loren Fenton explained that she  worked mostly in the New York area, Philip leaned in and asked if she knew Nisi Sturgis, a lifelong friend of his sister, and my daughter, Benjie Ruth Bartos. Loren shot her head back and looked at us as if we were pranking her. Her eyes grew wide.

“Yes, I’ve worked with Nisi on several projects!”

I whipped out my phone, asked a stranger to shoot us, which I then texted to Nisi, who minutes later sent back a text of delightful surprise that we’d met! It was uncanny that Loren just happened to select the empty seat next to me with an ocean of empty seats available.  Coincidence?

Actor Loren Fenton, Darla Bartos and Phil Bartps, my son, at Sundance 2014.
Actor Loren Fenton, Darla Bartos and Phil Bartos, my son, at Sundance 2014.

In another theater,  Philip and I  watched as a mass of attendees searched for seats. A woman asked if the seat next to me was taken. I said no and when she was settled, I asked, “And what do you do?”

“I’m a filmmaker.” And when Frances Bodomo, originally from Ghana, said she had directed Afronauts, Philip nearly leapt out of his chair across me. “That’s all my Mom has talked about for days.  Really, you can’t imagine how much she is dying to see it.” And it was true.

Having lived in Africa, I was intrigued when I first heard of Afronauts because the story was so provocative.  http://powderroomfilms.com/film/afronauts/  Bodomo, also a writer, works for a film company. It was a grand moment when the image from her short film eased across the big Sundance Screen.


Of course, I could say a good time was had by all. But that would not convey the experience of having being among so many creative people.

At the end of each movie, the director, producer and sometimes the stars, appeared on stage to answer questions. One young man — I don’t remember which film — made the most memorable comment.

“Honestly, I didn’t know what I was doing.”

A courageous comment and a moment of inspiration for us all.


Where do I begin?

After a robust and healthy Christmas with family, Influenza A paid me a visit.

A full-blown achiever, I was glad it was Influenza A, rather than Influenza B. (Not endowed with medial expertise, I admit freely I knew nothing distinguishing the two flues.)

But I can tell you about Tamiflu, the medication.

After five days of taking it,  I read The New York Times headline:

“Power Vacuum in Middle East Lifts

Militants.” (Jan. 5, 2014)

I stared at the headline and the image before me was a sparkling prototype – something new to help my unforgiving carpet.  Now think about that for a moment. Power Vac. Five minutes later I reread it.  Oh, that’s not a new vacuum cleaner. Thoroughly disappointing.

Coming out of the flu stupor after ten days on the couch, I reflected on my forced house arrest.

The first two days I could not endure noise or light. Bummer. Nix television, which can be a lifesaver when you’re not even up to thinking.

I wrestled with life while wallowing in pain. I was determined not to give this to another living soul. My grown children delivered meds or soup to my door, which I only opened after they were safely in their vehicles.

Convinced that drugs alter our brains, I can now testify that Tamiflu can make you half crazy. On a few evenings I thought I saw the Grim Reaper. But, he vanished when my lids closed. And luckily, I was still there the next morning.

I snuggled into my pillow and relaxed on the couch again and drifted off, realizing later I might want to write about it – if I curvived. So I jotted down a word here, a sentence there so I wouldn’t forget.

All I can say is that these pills, which looked incredibly harmless, were mind blowing.

But I made it.  I’m all better. How about you?


A twinge of a sore throat hit me while driving back from a meeting in Denver. 

LIttle did I realize that I actually had a “pre-cold.” Amazing the education you receive from the pharmaceutical companies. ( Is Pre-Pre cold next?)

My nose dripped  and sneezes came at regular intervals with, you know,  the hack, hack, hack of a cough. 

I feigned a “it’s just a cold” for 24 hours and then ended up thinking I was okay to face the world. Went over to my daughter’s house to watch her paint her baby’s room. One hour in and I announced, “I can’t do this anymore.” She walked me to the door, told me she’d bring me meds later and I went home to bed for the day which turned into several days.

Kristian Hammerstad

Thanks pinterest.com and

Kristian Hammerstad

Five things NOT to do when you have the flu. 

1. Don’t allow anyone in your house or abode. … except the pizza man.

That means the UPS man, your boyfriend, your children or grandchildren or the friendly solicitor. And I was kidding about the pizza man. Do you really want to give him the flu?

2. Don’t panic when you’re running out of groceries. Consider it an imposed diet. Sit back and lose a couple.

Eat canned soup and saltines. When you feel somewhat better, clean out your fridge by eating everything in it.  A liquid diet is also good.

3. Don’t watch the news. Watch all those Halloween horror movies with no guilt. If you’re not sure which is which, call me.

Or come up with something more helpful, like reading…if you can. But when I’m sick, I’m in favor of dulling my brain and my face with ice and vegging out on the couch. If I take sinus tablets, no matter the assurances on the box,  they always knock me out.

4. Don’t wait to collect items for your flu kit.

In case you haven’t had the opportunity, prepare your flu kit. Make sure you have a strong flashlight, a magnifying mirror, a digital thermometer, Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup, Jello, tea bags, lemon, honey and cold and sinus medication.

5. Don’t procrastinate.

If you aren’t better in three days, call a doctor or start a diary. Describe the way you feel especially the type of headache you have. So after your procrastination a week later, you’ll have something definitive to tell the doctor.

f5dd6caece99e1d421bd464e3c303835Oh, and good luck! A flu shot might be a good idea.

The Now

In case any of you are dreaming of the next season coming up, I’ll give you a hand.

I may be the only one applauding when the lightning and thunder roll in with late afternoon clouds storming and performing proclaiming summer is on its way out.


In the early days,  I never disclosed that I didn’t like a particular season. At least not openly. Our family spent hot steamy summers in Waco, Texas and I loved absolutely every minute of it, primarily because of the love.

In later years I realized the truth of the matter was I adored  the ocean.


If I couldn’t live near the sea to  breath in the damp air and smell those summer breezes as they washed over me,  then I wanted the snow.

And that’s where I ended up. Near the mountains where snow is plentiful.

Yesterday someone reminded me that once snow fell as early as September 19. My body relaxed. Snow was on its way.

And I was delighted.


But something niggled at the back of my psyche. I knew better than to look backwards so I’d become an advocate of looking forward. But, what about being present in the moment?

What about loving where we are right now? This minute.  What about looking out our window and appreciating what we have?

What about our goal for today, just today?

What about the now?

(Thanks Pinterest for lightning and ocean photos. Snow photo by Darla)