Spotlight, Review, Guest Post & Giveaway: Yes, Again:(Mis)adventures of a Wishful Thinker by Sallie H. Weissinger

Book Blurb & Info

In this laughter-through-tears memoir, Sallie H. Weissinger, a late-in-life widow, recounts the highs and lows of navigating the tricky online dating world of the 2000s. Interwoven throughout her adventures in search of a new relationship are stories from her childhood as a military brat, her southern heritage, her various marriages, and the volunteer work in Central and South America that helped her keep moving forward through it all.

Weissinger keeps her sense of humor as she meets men who lie, men who try to extort money, and men with unsavory pasts. When she experiences even more loss, her search for a partner becomes less important, but—with the help of friends and dogs—she perseveres and, ultimately, develops her own approach to meeting “HIM.” Blending the deeply serious and the lighthearted, Yes Again shows us that good things happen when we open up our minds and hearts.

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Toot's Review by Betty Bee

I had such a good time reading this and I think you will, too! “Yes, Again: (Mis)adventures Of A Wishful Thinker,” is author Sallie H. Weissinger's perfect blend of laugh-out-loud funny and heartfelt emotionality.

In 1978, Weissinger met her second husband from a personal ad in her local newspaper. After 24 years together, she unfortunately became widowed at the age of 57 due to her husband's death from esophageal cancer. Weissinger missed her husband, but after a while she began to feel like she wanted to find someone else to share her life with. Deciding to try online dating, she went through a string of sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes hilarious first dates.

'Yes, Again,' is about Weissinger's quest to find love for a second time, and all of the romantic pitfalls along the way. After trying, and failing on a few different dating sites, Weissinger ended up devising a system for finding the ideal candidate. Her “personalize recruiting process” as she refers to it, sought a man who had characteristics that included things like: Physically fit, adventurous, spiritual, and others. Eventually, she came up with the acronym, PASTRAMI.

Instead of continuing to use dating sites, Weissinger decided to set up a personal website and spread the word throughout her friend group. Upping the ante ever further, she elected to offer five thousand dollars to a charity organization of her friend's choice if that friend managed to set her up with a relationship that lasted at least a full year.

Weissinger's quest to find someone to spend the rest of her life with is both relatable and heartfelt. I found myself rooting for her as she dealt with so many immature men and continued to have hope that she would find someone. This was an enjoyable and entertaining read and one that I would recommend to anyone!

Author Guest Post

Words from a Philocynic
By Sallie H. Weissinger

I'm a word enthusiast and an etymology nerd. I love learning the derivation of words. When I learn a new word, I need to know its origin. This habit comes from my graduate school days when, as part of my Spanish literature studies at Berkeley, I took a crash course in Latin. I still remember being delighted to learn the familiar word "muscle" comes from musculus, meaning "little mouse." Almost sixty years later, when I flex my biceps, I imagine a mouse running inside my upper arm. Thankfully, while no long-tailed, gray creature scampers under my skin, I enjoy the mental visual.

From an etymological perspective, however, there are more appealing animals to mention, starting with cats. Since my toddler days, I have been an ailurophile: ailuro (cat) + phile (lover). Before I retired, I happily cared for two cats at any given time. I love holding and petting them. They're magnificent to watch, domesticated and wild at the same time. Graceful, unpredictable, and demanding. They can nap peacefully one minute, move through the air like lithe ballet dancers the next, and then go into hyper mode, chasing each other and play-attacking like six-year-old boys. My husband, Matt, accused me of exhibiting early signs of becoming "a crazy cat lady." He went further, saying,” If it weren't for me holding you back, you'd have seventeen cats, our house would smell of cat urine, and you'd wear red tennis shoes." He exaggerated about the number of cats (I would have settled for four) and was probably right about a likely feline stench in the bathroom, with the kitty box placed between the sink and the toilet. But I questioned the reference to red tennis shoes. I don't think crazy cat ladies have a color preference for their tennis shoes. They might select white, black, or navy blue. Besides, they might favor sandals or clogs over tennis shoes.

I've always liked dogs, but my work schedule as a human and public affairs executive was too demanding for me to be a conscientious dog owner. Besides, I was raising a child, cooking dinners, and doing endless household tasks. Matt didn't devote the fifty hours a week to his work that I did. He was happy to be the primary canine caretaker, feeding, walking, and taking a dog to the vet. I pitched in when possible. Evening dog walks were a special pleasure. I loved our French Briard, Annie, who died of a splenetic tumor at age seven. After a period of mourning, we got rescue dog Raleigh, a bearded collie, whose owners had divorced and couldn't keep him in their separate apartments. Raleigh lived a long life, as did our next rescue dog, Sam, who graced our lives for nine years. Then, inevitably, we found ourselves looking for a dog to take Sam's place.

That search was interrupted when Matt, my favorite being in the world, died. The loneliness was inescapable. The house seemed empty and airless, and the cats weren't enough to keep me company. I yearned for the depth of connection I knew I could have with a dog. In time, I started going to shelters, looking for the right companion, ideally a female. One sunny Saturday afternoon in Berkeley, I went to a street adoption event with leash and collar in hand, determined to come home with a companion for whom I'd already bought toys and treats. When I saw a black and brown half-German shepherd (the head) and half-dachshund (the body) mix wagging its tail at me, I knew it was meant to be. "It" turned out to be "she" - Clementine - whose name I had picked out in advance, in honor of Winston Churchill's wife.

I learned Clemmie's story: The shelter vet estimated she was about nine months old. She'd been found starving and filthy, walking down a back road in Visalia, in the central valley of California, and was rescued by the Berkeley shelter sponsoring the street event. They'd cleaned her up, and her bleeding paws had begun healing in the few days since they'd taken her in. She'd won the hearts of the shelter staff, who had her wormed and spayed. I passed their interview, signed the adoption papers, paid the fee, and made a donation as well. She was mine.

House training and leash training were easy. Clementine gained weight. I shortened my work hours and took her with me in the car whenever I could. We spent Saturday mornings attending puppy training classes at the East Bay Humane Society, where she gained more points for cuteness than for her obedience training performance. At home she stayed by my side, laid her head against my chest when I was sitting in a chair or on a sofa, and put her head on my left knee (always my left knee) when she knew I was sad. At those times, she looked up at me with her soulful brown eyes, as if to say, "We're fine. I'm here. I love you." We fell asleep together.

Clemmie turned me into what I now describe myself as: an irrepressible "philocynic." When that word appeared recently on my Word.A. Day app on my iPhone, I was wrong about what I assumed it meant and its derivation: someone cynical about love, right? Nope. The "philo" part does signify love, but the "cynic" part has nothing to do with one who scoffs, sneers, and disparages. "Cynicus" is Latin for dog; in Greek it's "kynikos." It's what I am.

To end this love story about words and their origins, cats, and especially dogs, I must add I was crushed to lose Clementine to anal gland cancer nearly a decade ago. I mourned her loss more than I have mourned the loss of any other pet. But, as I type, I gaze fondly at two resting dogs next to my legs. I stroke them with my feet, and they stir with pleasure. McGee, a thirty-pound mix of terrier and poodle, and perhaps other canine strains, was found walking the Berkeley campus seven years ago. He was about two years old at the time. That sweet, shy boy was taken to the Berkeley pound, and, after a two-week waiting period to see if anyone claimed him, I brought him into my home. Two years later I found Tillie on a dirt road in an impoverished village in the Dominican Republic. Seeing a motorcycle heading straight toward her, I ran to pick up a black and brown puppy, who was limping in the middle of the road and whimpering. The mutt, part-Chihuahua, part-dachshund, and part "quien sabe que?" (Who knows what?), weighed three pounds and was between five and six weeks old. The villagers told me she had been dumped there and no one was feeding her. She was ridden with parasites and ticks (with over seventy garrapatas on her tiny body). These days her tick-free coat is shiny and she weighs sixteen pounds.

Call me crazy. Call me happy. Call me a philocynic.

Author Info

Sallie H. Weissinger is a native of New Orleans and was raised as a military brat away from the South (Germany, New Mexico, Ohio, Japan, and Michigan). Every summer, she and her family returned to visit her mother’s relatives in New Orleans and her father’s family in a small Alabama town. She has lived most of her life in the Bay Area and also in New Orleans. These days, “home” includes not only New Orleans and Berkeley, but also Portland, Oregon, where she lives most of the time with her husband, Bart McMullan, a retired internal medicine doctor and health care executive, and their three dogs.

A retired executive herself, she now teaches Spanish and does medical interpreting for non-profit organizations in Central America and the Dominican Republic. Weissinger is a passionate member of the Berkeley Rotary Club and has served on the boards of Berkeley Rotary, the Aurora Theatre in Berkeley, and the East Bay (formerly Oakland) SPCA.



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