How Do You Do It?


My friend asked me, “How do you do it?” “Do what?” I replied. “Keep your marriage growing.” “Ah, well, its different for everyone. I can tell you what works for us, but it might not work for you.” She thought about it for a minute, “So tell me anyway. I want to know, maybe it will give me inspiration so we can make it as a couple for 47 years too.” I asked her to give me a few days to think about it. I am not a marriage counselor, I am certainly not a shrink. I’m just a quickly aging female who isn’t willing to sit down and shut up when others don’t want to hear my opinion. And, as my dear friend Bryan said, patience is not one of my attributes. He knows me far too well.

So, here we go. Stop here if you do not want unsolicited advice from a great grandmother.

I can tell you that there are hundreds of books for sale that will tell you their version of the truth. Most of them, however, will simply add to the confusion. At the end of the day, it is up to the couple, whatever that looks like, to find their own path. But they MUST find it together if they want marriage to work.

The first lesson is to Know Thy Self. No I am not quoting the scriptures to you, I am seriously saying, you have to know yourself before you can learn to love another. What you like, what you need, what you want in a lover, spouse, and the best friend you will ever have. And most of us poor saps haven’t a clue before the age of thirty. By then, of course, most of us are committed, and we love the person we chose to live our lives with. Sometimes deeply, sometimes conveniently, but we are committed.

Lesson Two, Keep your business between the two of you, and/or a professional counselor.

As you grow you change, sometimes in the most profound ways, sometimes superficially, but we all change. With change can come distance between us and the love of our lives. That leads to frustration, miscommunication, downright anger, and feelings of isolation. Now here is where most people, male and female, make a huge mistake. They take it to the gossip mill. Instead of going to their spouse or partner (I will use spouse to make typing easy) and talking things through, they go to their best pal, coworker, or family member if your a guy. A woman goes to her best friend, the ladies at the nail salon, or, heaven help all of them, their mother or sister for advice.

At this point, everything gets confused and every opinion will muddle things up even more. There is nothing that will strain an already difficult situation than for a woman to say to a man (or whomever), “Well My Mother Said…” The immediate response is generally, “You told your MOTHER?” It works the same from the other direction. There is a reason why “mother in law” is a dirty phrase in nearly every culture in the world. Because I can guarantee no one can stick their nose in and stir things up like a mother in law. Sure we all need someone to talk to. I suggest making it a professional who doesn’t have a personal interest in your life. Someone who isn’t going to take sides and pony up excuses instead of practical advice.

Lesson Three, Always put each other first. I can hear the shocked gasps from here.

Before children, before parents, before extended family, before friends, before jobs, before church, before Friday night poker games that have been ongoing since high school, your spouse comes first. Why? Well exactly who do you expect to spend the rest of your life with other than your spouse? One day the kids will grow up and leave home, hopefully. Your friends will drift away, your family will die and leave this mortal coil, and you two will be sitting across from one another, all alone, on your phones, ignoring each other. Okay, maybe not on the phone, but you will still have nothing to talk about if you don’t start building memories and adventures today.

Lesson Four, Kiss the Girl, or Guy. For no reason other than they still ring your bell. Go on, kiss her, in front of the kids, or anyone else standing there. Whisper loving words, or even silly words, in his ear. Make a promise for mind blowing love making, later. Make eye contact across the room, then smile, yes, that smile. Remember what made you want him or her in your arms and hang on to that memory as tight as you can for the times when it seems like one or both of you have lost interest. Take home flowers for her just because, or cook her a special meal, or give him a back rub while he complains about work. Do the little things that require physical contact. Fix his tie, smooth his jacket, hold her jacket for her, smooth a wayward lock of hair into place. Find any excuse to touch. Hold hands, Every. Where. You. Go. If that attraction fades away completely, you are in deep trouble and the further you drift, the harder it is to find each other again. Of course, there are couples that are destined to separate and divorce. It takes two in the endeavor, and if one is unwilling or unable to take part. The marriage will drift into the doldrums of the family court system.

Lesson Five, Dance in the Kitchen. My husband has two left feet, no sense of rhythm, and doesn’t understand the art of dance, At. All. But when I get upset or down, he puts on our favorite slow song, and we dance in the kitchen. Really, he just holds me and we sway to the music, but it is how we dance. I know this is his way of comforting me, he knows after I settle down, I will tell him what is hurting me. We are communicating love, comfort, and compassion without words. Maybe you won’t dance in the kitchen, maybe you will go out and shoot at tin cans, or make pizza together, or go for a walk, but each couple needs to find their comfort mechanism. That one thing they only do together that brings them close to one another, communicating without words. It’s a good thing.

Lesson Six, Take private time for romance. A weekend at the hotel down the road is good enough, if you don’t want to get too far from the kids. Why? Because every couple, admit it or not, need the excitement of a romantic get away. Give the hotel number to the sitter, turn off you phones, better yet, leave them in the car or at home. Spend the time alone, on a honeymoon, or if your having issues, as a marriage get away to talk things through. Romance is vital, VITAL to a lasting marriage. Once, my husband took me to Paris, France (We lived in London at the time.) and he kissed me in the rain, on top of the Eiffel Tower. It wasn’t an all out, I want to bed you right now, kind of kiss, it was a, soft, romantic, I love you, I’m glad I found you, kind of kiss. One that used to make ladies in a movie audience swoon. Now that is romantic. For me. For you, I have no idea what constitutes romantic, but make sure it stays alive between you all your lives.

Lesson Seven, Words Mean Things. Don’t say it unless you mean it. Even in the heat of a knock down drag out screaming argument, Don’t Say It unless you mean it. Because you can’t take back the hurt and shock of whatever it is, and once said, it has meaning that can resonate for years. Just don’t do it, words hurt more than a sharp sword. The damage can be fatal to a relationship. Dead and buried isn’t how most people want their marriage to end. Sometimes it is necessary, especially if there is infidelity or violence in the relationship. Being angry does not give a person the right to try to destroy another person with vicious words, lies, and gossip. Anger is not communication. Words mean things, good and bad. Be kind or Don’t say it.

Lesson Eight, Be gracious, be noble. When we first got married the Mr. and I would argue over stupid things. If I turned out right, I would gloat and rub it in that I was right. If I lost, I would pout and resent him. Talk about twisted. Be gracious in apologizing if you are wrong. Be noble in accepting that apology. Even if you insist you are right, be gracious and let it go, unless you love screaming at him or subjecting her to the silent treatment. Be noble, be willing to be wrong, be willing to apologize. Let go of the need to always control things, to always know everything. Men and women see things from a totally different point of view. I am five feet three inches tall. My husband is six feet one inch tall. I do not see the world from his perspective, nor does he see it from mine. Not unless we are willing to trade perspectives. I climb on a ladder, he sits in a chair, but come on, who always has that available? So we accept that each of us sees something differently, and we nobly, with grace, let it go. (Unless I get into a stubborn mode. You would think I would know better by now.)

Lesson Nine, It’s Okay To Cry. Nothing makes me cry faster than seeing a strong man cry. Because, ladies especially, for a strong man to cry, he has to break social expectations and give in to emotions. Men do NOT like that. They want to see a problem, analyze it, and fix it. If it is something they can’t fix, it confuses and frustrates them. It emasculates them in the deepest part of their foundation. We lost our son. It was horrific, sad, shocking to know a 21 year old was dead. Just gone. His life over. My beloved husband couldn’t fix it. He slid into shock, then into rage, then into a deep, long lasting depression. I got angry, got things done, buried our boy, and picked up the pieces of our life because that what a woman does, even while crying her eyes out. It wasn’t until my husband broke down and cried that I knew there would be a chance for our marriage to survive. He couldn’t fix it, he had to learn to accept the pain, the loss, the sorrow, and still go on living. It has made him a more tender, loving man. So, fellas, its okay to cry. The strongest of men are those who will allow themselves to cry in sorrow and in joy.

Lesson Ten, Nobody is perfect. No, you aren’t. Because if you were perfect, you wouldn’t need to be here struggling on earth. (Okay, there was a God pitch there, deal with it.) Both people in a relationship are flawed human beings. We say stupid things, do stupid things, hurt each other unknowingly and make mistakes. It isn’t a mistake to forsake your marriage vows, or try to maim one another, those are choices designed to end a marriage. Period. A mistake is making an inappropriate joke, telling your spouse something that will hurt them, and being so obtuse not to know. Imperfect means forgetting to say I love you when your spouse needs it. Imperfect is missing the cues she sends out that she is in need of a little tender loving care, and imperfect is to expect a man to catch those cues when they need explicit information to know how to act. (Note to females: Most guys only need to be told the parameters once, with an example, and careful instructions. From then on they will only need to be reminded with a code word.) Imperfect is to expect a man to understand female emotions, and imperfect is to expect a woman to understand that a man needs to FIX things instead of simply understanding and listening. But both come close to perfection when they try to see things as they really are and not through a cloud of emotion.

There is a lot more, small things, significant things that make a marriage work. Sometimes it requires judicial use of blinders, and a boat load of forgiveness. Sometimes it requires a huge sense of humor, and sometimes a hard line drawn in the sand. But, give it time, and most things can be sorted out. Two things are unforgivable: Physical or emotional violence, and infidelity. Either one is a deal breaker, and it can and will end a marriage.

To all my friends who are reaching the breaking point, breathe, look at your spouse, some where, deep inside both of you are the two people who fell in love once upon a time. Dig them out, dust them off, and let them rediscover each other in the older, wiser version of you.

And, that my friend, is how the Mr. and I manage to stay married after all these years.

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How Weird Is That?


I woke up very early this morning and couldn’t go back to sleep. What woke me was a dream I was having. I was teaching a class of first year college students (do they still call them freshmen?) and we were discussing who the real protagonist in Romeo and Juliet was. I had a list on the board, The fathers, the prince, Romeo, etc., ending with the Friar. After a minute everyone got a wrong answer so I told them it was the Friar and launched into a dissection of the history of England, the anti-Catholic sentiment of the age and how Shakespeare used his plays to promote the propaganda of first the Queen and then the King of England against the Catholic church. I won’t go into the entire lesson, it is one that I taught several times during my teaching days.
 
One way I kept younger kids, meaning teenagers, awake was to compare the feud between the families to modern day gang wars and how the warring factions of the government today were much like the war between the King of England who was also the head of the Church of England and the Catholic Church in other countries and the Catholic Kings. The kids ate it up with a spoon.
 
After waking up, I lay in bed contemplating Romeo and Juliet and other Shakespeare plays where the bias was blatant if one knew the history of the era in which it was written. Personally, I like the comedies best because he used outright parody of the pomposity of the gentry versus the vitality of the commoners to poke fun at everyone from royalty to the servants, merchants, and country bumpkins. He walked a close line between mocking and sneering and lecturing against the unpopular ideals of the King and his Lords.
 
What I find interesting is that after all this time, I remember all the details of the lesson, history, and play and could stand up in front of a classroom and give it again with a few peeks at the play to get my quotes right. How weird is that? No really, I wonder how weird it is.
 
Anyway, now I have Shakespeare on my mind. And I really, really miss teaching.

Interlude


When we went out for ice cream the other day, a mother with identical twin girls got in line behind us. The girls were three, and cute as could be. Addie was so interested in how much alike they were. The mom was kind enough to answer her questions, and share information with Addie. The little girls were equally fascinated with Addie because she had on purple eye glasses and they wanted to know all about them, so I answered their questions. They did the twin thing of finishing each other’s sentences, and talking over each other in their excitement to learn something new.

Addie got her purple ice cream. I don’t know the flavor, it doesn’t matter as long as it is purple or pink. The little girls wanted the same thing. As the girls enjoyed staring at each other, I chatted for a few minutes with their mother about the usual issues of motherhood times two at once. It was a nice interlude.

The point behind this ramble is that it wasn’t until later that it occurred to me that Addie and I had a nice chat with a mother and her children who were people of a different color than we were. And not once did it occur to us that the differences might matter to anyone. We were just people talking about our lives. Addie is amazed at the thought of twins, the twins were amazed at the fact that Addie needs glasses to see better. That was all that mattered to them.

The mother and I simply exchanged mother notes with each other for a few minutes. I complimented her on how well behaved her girls were, she complimented me on how sweet Addie was. I told her I admired her ability to parent two three year old babies at once, and she said it was hard, but worth it. She admired the fact that we wanted to take our grandchild out for ice cream and how much we clearly loved her. I told her that we sometimes got worn out, but it was worth every minute of it. We were just women being women in a singular moment in time. It was comfortable, pleasant, and completely tranquil.

Addie and I have light skin, the mother and her girls have lovely coffee color skin. It didn’t matter. We were humans being humans, nothing more, nothing less. Had I been a hater, or had she been a hater, we would have both missed out on a nice moment in time. And you know, if people would just stop trying to divide themselves from other people through false agendas like race and status, we could all have pleasant interludes where we learn something about each other, have a laugh, and move on with our day more educated and accepting. It is a sad thing that so many want to used differences as a reason to be angry and divisive. Very sad, indeed.

Take A Step Back


I have often said that the Christians who insist they are always right, tend to be the least Christian among us. I recently had a conversation of social media with a friend about the changes in Boy Scouts of America, agreeing that allowing girls into the organization would result in the program becoming mediocre and would end the century long purpose of the BSA to turn boys into capable men. Another person disagreed. Fine, she has the right to disagree all she wants, but typical of people with a dissenting position, she was unable to back her stance with facts. When she realized she was not going to change our perspective, she fell back to the usual practice of spouting personal insults to those who disagreed with her.

However, the woman decided to attack our integrity, our intelligence and knowledge of the topic, and most egregiously, our spirituality. The first two insults are expected when debating a topic with someone who is vehement that they are always right. After all they base everything on their superiority to all other human beings. What I want to know is how someone can call themselves Christian, or even religious, when they turn to attacking someone’s personal spirituality. Her response was amazingly self centered and vicious.

According to her, I have a problem with self doubt. Why? Because I don’t believe women can teach boys the things they need to be men. Boys need a male to emulate, be it a father, family friend, teacher, or Scout Leader. Women can teach boys a lot of things, important things, but there is a built in DNA aspect of being male that most women simply do not understand. It is how human males learned to work together, protect each other, and overcome the lack of leadership in a dynamic world. Call it a pecking order, competition, or simple masculine chest thumping, it is a needed part of how men act and react to each other, danger, and leadership.

That woman decided I lacked self worth because I was a leader in Scouting, teaching men to lead, but believed boys needed men to teach them. Just as girls need women to teach them certain things about being women, it is a DNA hardwired thing. How can you explain that teaching adults how to teach boys leadership is not anything like setting a male example for boys to emulate? I tried. I tried to explain it in several ways, but she close her mind and told me I needed to pray and ponder my lack of self worth since I doubted my abilities to teach boys.

Then, when the woman I was discussing the topic with, on her site, in the first place, agreed with me, she was attacked and told she needed to spend more time praying, pondering, and reading about this because her spirituality was lacking. Now my friend is one of the most open, caring, kind, accepting and loving people I know. (She accepts me as a friend, after all.) She works hard to be inclusive, and she listens to every perspective, whether she agrees with it or not. Then she quietly goes on her own way and does what she thinks is right. She doesn’t argue, like I do, nor does she get annoyed when people simply remain close minded in the face of irrefutable facts. She lives what she believes, and she doesn’t preach or insist on anyone agreeing with her. But that woman, decided she had the right to lecture, insult, and force her point of view on my friend because my friend would not bow to her will.

Who died and gave that woman the right to decide who is, or is not, spiritually healthy? What makes her think she can make that decision? It seems to me if someone turns to that sort of rhetoric and behavior, they might just want to spend some time reflecting and praying about their own attitude and commitment to Christian beliefs. Nothing will drive people away from the gospel and doctrine of any church faster than a holier than thou, judgmental, person who thinks they are perfect in all they say and do.

Everyone has faults, everyone is striving to understand their beliefs and to overcome their problems. If a person is so perfect they can point fingers at others and waltz out the doors on Sunday without a care in the world, then they really need to do some soul searching. Most folks are in a place of worship because they are striving to be better people. No one is perfect in the world of mankind. Everyone struggles, every day, with their imperfections. No one, not one person, has the right to tell someone else they lack in faith, spirituality, or comprehension of what God expects of them just because they disagree on a worldly topic. The only person who has full knowledge of their relationship with their God or higher power is that individual and their God.

Granted, there are rules and values that are required to be part of any organized church. That keeps the mayhem down to a mild roar. But when it comes to knowing what a person does in their personal lives to develop and grow within that religious belief system, it is no one’s place to lecture them on that very personal growth. Especially someone who has issues of their own.

What did I say to that woman? I told her she was exactly the kind of woman that made going to church a miserable experience for most women who were struggling with anything in their lives. Instead of compassion, support, understanding, friendship, and a safe harbor, they got a holier than thou, superior, snobby, judgmental, oh so perfect spiteful female putting them down and making them feel even more of a failure. People like her needed to step back and reflect on the reason why they would do that. Those women also seem to be the biggest gossips, most hateful, and had the biggest spoon to stir the pot of discontent and trouble among the female parishioners. Maybe it makes them feel powerful, but one has to wonder what kind of lack of control in their lives makes them so determined to force their control on those who disagree with them. They tend to be the ones who have a deep need to bully other women, forcing them into what they see as acceptable to God. I feel nothing but pity for their children and spouses.

Church ladies who spend so much time condemning others for their perceived imperfections really need to take a step back and remember that judging others will lead to being judged in the same measure. It isn’t Christian, it isn’t kind, and it isn’t going to solve their issues by hurting others. All of this because I think men should teach boys to be men through a program that gives them a moral, virtuous, and leadership based program that will no longer exist. Part of me wants to throw my hands up and say, “Whatever.” Part of me is outraged that she thinks she has a right to tell me how to think and how to believe. But the part of me that wins out is the part that refuses to be cowed by anyone when it comes to my core beliefs.

Women in the Salon


I went to the nail salon today, this time my nails are lime green. A very pretty and happy color. Addie will love them. The place was busy for a Wednesday morning. It struck me as I was getting my nails done, how very alike all women are when in the company of other women, no matter where they come from.

There were two women from Mexico, at least their accent was more Mexican than Central American. They were chatting about one of their boyfriends, and how much of a jerk he was at times. I had to look up a few of the words they used I had never heard before. I won’t repeat them, they were really quite insulting to any man. But, the conversation was very typical of what two good friends would talk about when it comes to a possibly unfaithful boyfriend or husband.

The women who work there are all from Cambodia. I can’t understand what they say, I don’t speak that language at all. But, they were talking about children since one of them took out her phone and showed the photos of her little girl to the others and the lady she was working on. Then she showed her to me. A real darling. So the lady doing my nails got her phone out and showed off her son, who is three, and learning to play the piano. No kidding, he is three and he can read music. He was cute too, and talented. We did the back and forth about how bright kids seem to be today.

All of the clients in there were Americans. Black and white women, from about 30 through a little older than I am. The younger women were talking about yoga, where to buy good leggings, boutique shops and wine. The older women were chatting about age related issues, children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. One lady had fourteen great grandchildren and another on the way. She won. The rest of us either had one or two great grandkids, or none.

It was so typical, familiar, comfortable to be in a room of women who were just chatting, being women all together, regardless of the fact that we were from different places, spoke different languages, and live different lifestyles. We all have the same things in common. Things that we can all relate to no matter our age or place in our lives.

Folks who know me well knows I don’t particularly like other women. I especially dislike snobby, holier than thou females who love to put other women down with their superiority and gossip. I loathe women who enjoy hurting others when they aren’t there to defend themselves. I tend to put females like that in their place as soon as they start their hateful spewing. It takes me a long time to trust any female because I have been hurt and used a few times too many.

Today was a pleasant interlude, refreshing, and enjoyable. Women just being women together, laughing, chatting, and talking. It was a good way to start my day. I hope that one girl dumps her cheating boyfriend, I think she will because she was past the hurt and on to furious. I hope the little boy keeps playing the piano, and the little girl grows up to be as sweet and pretty as her mother. I hope all the moms, grandmothers, and great grandmothers love themselves as much as they love their progeny. I hope they all left feeling as refreshed as I did and the feelings linger as they have for me.

Oh, and I learned where the best place to buy good wine is in town, and how much I can expect to spend. I don’t drink, but one never knows when that information will come in handy. Sometimes, going to the salon is a chore, sometimes it is just a room full of women being women in the salon. It was a good morning.

What’s Up With That?


People are strange. Maybe it is because I am old, but I find human behavior baffling, and sometimes, annoying, on a daily basis. Everyone is so tied up in themselves or something that they don’t seem to see the world around them, or participate in the moment. I will keep people watching, I can’t help it. I don’t even have to go to a zoo to watch their behavior, it is all played out right in front of me. For instance:

I noticed a woman driving in car, holding her phone as she talked into it. Nothing new about that, but she was also waving her other hand around as she talked. What I wanted to know was how she was driving the car if both hands were busy? Was she using her knees to steer, her feet, or was a short person in her lap steering while she talked with her hands? With all the pot holes in the streets of Memphis, she was taking a real chance on wrecking if she didn’t have some sort of hold on the steering wheel. What’s up with that?

I have noticed that a lot of folks talk on their phones like that. They hold them flat, talking into one end held close to their mouths, while listening to the speaker – generally on as loud as it can be. I call it the pizza talking position, as if they are going to take a bite of the phone. All of us in hearing range get to be spectators to the conversation. Conversations that, need I say, should be private. This is something that happens in very public places like restaurants and doctor’s offices. If I were one to gossip, the stories I could tell you would be shocking. What is up with that?

I have noticed, not that I could miss it if I tried, women of very round proportions wearing leggings on the verge of splitting. And yoga pants so tight that it is obvious to one an all exactly what kind of underwear they have on, or not. I, myself, am a well rounded woman. I am not standing in a position of a skinny Minnie fat shaming women. I simply cannot understand why anyone would want the world to see every single lump and bump of fat on their body. It is not pretty, sexy, or alluring, and it leaves them open to ridicule. Women of a particular size can be all those things without wearing clothing that points out all their less attractive attributes. But they don’t. What’s up with that?

I have noticed that any group of women, no matter what group, tends to get louder and more shrill as time goes by. Communication takes place on multiple levels. Verbal is the most obvious, followed by hand and body movements, but the most complex and interesting are the verbal tone and facial movements they make together. They can say a nice thing, but if you look at the raised eyebrow, the slightly off tone, the look they give one another, an entirely different meaning of the words they say comes forth. And the most interesting thing, is that men are oblivious to the Female Code of communication. Unless, of course, they are a metrosexual, emasculated male or gay. What’s up with that?

I have noticed that older couples often sit at a table in a restaurant and never speak to each other. They are on their phones, or simply ignore each other. Granted, some might simply be tired, or dealing with issues, but not everyone. And they don’t smile, at anyone. I can’t imagine not having something to talk about with my husband, even if it is nothing more that a chat about the kids or grandkids. I can’t imagine not smiling at people, especially cute little kids who always deserve a smile, or the servers who are working so hard. But they don’t. What’s up with that?

I am going to keep on people watching. I can’t help it. I keep seeing new ways that they astound and baffle me.

Listening To Him Sleep


I lay in bed listening to my husband sleep. I started thinking about the life we have shared over the nearly fifty years we’ve known each other. It hasn’t always been an easy partnership. Life has a way of making things difficult, painful, and sometimes, sad. We have loved long and hard, and sometimes, nearly hated each other just as much as we loved. We grew from young teenagers madly in lust with each other into adults who raised our boys, drifting along with, and sometimes away from, each other. But here we are, growing old together, still holding hands, still dancing in the kitchen to love songs, still laughing with and at each other, still loving each other. We still have dreams, ideas, and travels ahead of us, and we are all too aware that it could end in one last heartbeat of either of us.

Recently, my brother introduced me to a new singer, there are several songs on the album that I like, one, however, made me reach for the hand of the man I love. “More Of You” by Chris Stapleton. The words reached right into my heart and made me cry. In the past two years five of my long time friends and my mother have lost their partner or husband. Every one of them was a sudden, unexpected loss. All but one of these marriages was a long time relationship of between five and sixty years plus years. I have known these women for many, many years. One raised me, and the rest of us became close through friendship that led us together through good and bad, happy and sad events in our lives. Now, late at night they don’t have the blessing of lying next to the man they love listening to him sleep. It makes me hurt for them. And it makes me feel even more blessed than ever to know that the love of my life lies next to me.

I know as I look at him, sleeping and mumbling in his sleep, I hear the music and the words, “I fall more in love with you/ Than I’ve ever been….”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCcby6SVbJE

“More Of You”

When I think of you and the first time we met
And I heard the sound of your sweet gentle voice
My heart took me over and gave me no choice
And right then I knew

[Chorus:]
It makes me want more of you
Again and again
I fall more in love with you
Than I’ve ever been
From the moment you wake me up
Till you kiss me goodnight
Everything that you do
It makes me want more of you

When I look at you now that years have gone by
I think of the memories that time can’t erase
And all of the smiles that you’ve brought to my face
Your love’s been so true

[Chorus]

When I leave this earth you’ll be holding my hand
And it gives me comfort to know you’ll be there
And I’ll thank the Lord for the love that we share
You’re heaven to me

[Chorus]

Everything that you do
It makes me want more of you

A Short Holiday


We went on a brief holiday over the past four days. The more I am around people, the less I like them. Maybe it is because I am old, and I was raised with manners, expectations of certain social behaviors when in public, and on threat of perpetual grounding, expected the same from my children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Things I witnessed this past week makes me wonder about the safety, sanity, and abilities of future generations.

Story One:

We were in the resort restaurant for the dinner buffet. The place was packed, as they usually are. After getting our Addie settled with her meal, I wandered off to check out the grown up menu. A woman pushed past me, and as she did I noticed she was wearing a bikini top and a pair of pajama bottoms with a pair of mukluk boots. Now, granted, we were at a place where the main attractions were the pools and slides, but at first glance she looked like she had jumped out of bed in her bra and pajamas to grab a meal. First of all, she was everything I hate in people. Loud, pushy, obnoxious, and demanding. Secondly, she was downright tacky. It is one thing to grab a snack in your swimsuit at the snack bar, but it is far different to turn up to dinner dressed like that. And don’t get me started on just how tacky it is for a grown woman to be running around in public in pajamas. How hard is it to throw on a pair of trousers or jeans, descent shoes and a top? I don’t even care if you need a bra and don’t wear one, but really, put some damned clothes on.

Story Two:

Same restaurant second day there. We were at the Breakfast buffet. (It’s cheaper and there are more choices.) I get in line behind a family of a mom with her two boys of about seven and nine. She is on her phone. The older boy grabs a plate and starts filling it with eggs. Four large serving spoons of scrambled eggs. Mom says nothing. He hits the bacon next. He scooped up no less than twelve pieces of bacon. Mom says, “Honey let me have some of that bacon.” She takes one piece off his plate. He dives back in and puts four or five more pieces on his plate and heads for the hash browns. By now the first plate is full. He gets a second plate, mind you he can come back for more. He fills the second plate with hash brown potatoes and covers them with gravy. Then hands the plates to his Mom, who takes them, and he heads to the cereal dispenser. He fills a bowl with Fruit Loops and milk and heads back to the table, where the server is setting down his hot chocolate and orange juice. Their table is right across from ours. Because I had never seen a skinny kid that age eat so much, I wanted to see what he would do. His mom nibbled her bacon and sipped on her coffee while she stayed on the phone. The boy ate a few bites of cereal, had a few sips of hot chocolate, and didn’t touch anything else. His mother never noticed. They got up and left and she was still on the phone. Someone needs a lesson on wasting food and greed. Oh, and on parenting.

Story Three:

We decided to take a drive up into the mountains to see the National Park. We went to a very cool place that has a drive through living history thing. That takes everyone to see the old settlement in the valley. It is about eleven miles round trip and there are loads of places to stop and take photos and go into the old buildings. We ended up behind a car with a family of five. Two parents, three kids. Like everyone, they had their windows down. Two of the kids, one on each side, were sitting on the window sill of the doors, hanging outside the car, leaning back as far as they could go. Granted, the speed limit was about ten miles an hour, but there were a lot of sudden stops as people would decide to leave the road and park to take photos etc. We followed them for about two miles, and ever single minute, I expected one or both of those kids to fall out of the car. I kept falling back as far as I could, terrified I would run one of them over after they hit the ground. Finally, they stopped and we got past them. About half a hour later they turned up at the ranger station. Someone called out to the woman in the car and asked her why she was allowing her kids to do something so dangerous. Her response had a lot of F words in it, and basically said it was no one’s business what she let her kids do. The first woman said it would be everyone’s business if one of those kids got hurt. More than a few folks agreed. The woman was on her phone and smoking her cigarette, the kids were running wild, trying to climb on everything they weren’t supposed to climb on, and she basically told everyone to go do something anatomically impossible. The dad never got out of the car or engaged with anyone. The rangers made the kids leave the exhibit after the two girls started fighting over stuff. Unbelievable.

Story Three:

Back at the restaurant the next day at lunch. Vastly busy. We were seated next to a table full of pre-teen boys between ten and twelve. There wasn’t a single parent near them. The tables were next to windows that looked out over the wave pool and water slides. Two of the boys turned around and were kneeling in their chairs backward. Then they started rocking them back on the legs and banging the backs of the chairs on the windows. I asked the wait staff if that was a good idea, the guy shrugged and said, “The windows are supposed to be break proof.” At my surprised look he said, “They’re being kids.” Then walked off. I called him back and asked to see a manager. I explained that all glass has a breaking point, all it takes is for the right amount of pressure to be applied at the right point. Even if it is shatter proof, it will crack, and sometimes it will fall from its frame causing the window to come crashing down and the kids could fall out of the window. She said she understood, but that they were not allowed to correct other people’s kids. So my husband got up and went over to the boys and said, “You know, banging into the windows might not be a good idea. If they break and you fall two stories to the walkway below, you could hurt yourselves. That would make the rest of your vacation suck.” They stopped, turned around and finished their meal and left. How hard was that? If you don’t say anything, kids will just keep on doing what they do until someone gets hurt. Especially boys that age who still haven’t learned to fear getting hurt.

Story Four:

Parents and phones. If you are going to spend upwards of three hundred dollars a day for a family to go on a holiday, why are you on your phone? It is supposed to be a FAMILY adventure. We saw kids from the age of three up doing their best to get their parents attention. The parents never put their damned phones down for a second. Two little girls about Addie’s age, somewhere between four and six were playing in the water right in front of their mommy. They were thrilled to get up the courage to go into the water up to their knees. They were having a great time, squealing and jumping around. “Mommy look! Mommy watch me! Mommy, Mommy, Mommy!!!” She had a phone in her hand, face buried in it. Not once did she look up, take a photo, or interact with them. It was no wonder that in minutes they were whining and crying. All they wanted was five seconds of Mommy’s time. That enraged me. Those poor kids. And it was like that everywhere we went at the resort. Parents on their phones, at the pool bar, ignoring their kids. Why the hell bother to take them anywhere if you aren’t going to enjoy time with them? I never took my phone out of the room while we were there. Neither did my husband. And Addie got every bit of attention she deserved.

Story Five:

I was waiting for the elevator to go to our room. Waiting with me was a mother and three teenage girls. The girls were surly and snarly. All of them complaining of different things. One in particular that I pegged around the age of fourteen was really snarky. The elevator comes and the doors open. Instead of allow the people on it to get off first, the mother and all three girls shoved their way on. The other family with four little children almost ended up with one child left behind. I got on just as the doors closed. The hateful girl sighed and rolled her eyes at me. When I asked if she could press the floor button for me since she was standing in front of the controls, she moved and snarled, “What am I, your slave?” I looked at her mother, she had her face buried in her phone. I pushed the button for my floor, then the brat stood back in front of the control panel and pushed down on her floor button. Her sister asked what she was doing and she said, “I don’t want to have to wait for anyone else to get on. Its and old fireman trick.” I said, “I don’t think that works on these new elevators, most of them require a key to make them stop working.” At that time we stopped. The people waiting were going down so didn’t get on. I didn’t say anything. We got to my floor. The girls piled off, I waited for the mother. She was still on her phone so I got off. I heard her say something, but didn’t understand her. I asked her what she said. She told me I was rude for not letting her get off with her daughters. I pointed out that the doors were getting ready to close so I kept them open so I could get off. She gave me a nasty look. So I said, “While your learning some manners of your own, why not teach some to your daughters as well. You aren’t the only people who are paying to stay here and we have just as much of a right to use the elevators as you and your daughters. If you don’t like people sharing the elevator, take the stairs.” I got the expected F word response. It wasn’t worth my time to deal with her idiocy. I figured she would get her karma response in dealing with those hateful girls of hers.

Story Six:

We had a great time. Addie loved everything from the swimming and wave pools and slides, to painting ceramics with me, and doing sand art with her Papa. She loved the ranger station where they helped her learn the life cycle of moths and butterflies, and she got a Junior Ranger Award for answering all the questions correctly afterwards. She got to have Old Time photographs with fancy costumes along with her Papa, and she ate at a real diner for the first time. We all stayed up too late, ate too much, and wore ourselves to a frazzle. It was too bad so many other kids weren’t having fun with their parents or grandparents, and so many parents were acting annoyed to be there. Addie was in her element as the center of our attention, and the one melt down she had was quickly under control because a time out sitting in the middle of Nana’s bed with nothing to do is no fun. Next holiday, I think we need to go somewhere that has a lot fewer people and a lot more nature.

I Am Take A Side


I find it deeply disturbing that everyone wants to start screaming hatred at each other when discussing this horrific act of violence against innocent human beings. It becomes political from the moment it happens, and it just keeps getting more and more vicious as everyone takes a side.
Well, I am taking a side.
I am taking the side of the parents who will bury a child, be it one of the students, or their son or daughter who was a teacher.
I am taking the side of the community that will now bury 17 of their neighbors.
I am taking the side of the first responders, police officers, and adults who had to face the horror inside the school in the aftermath of the shootings, who will face the nightmares that will come from those hours.
I am taking the side of the students who lost friends, and who will have to go back to school and remember the fear.
I am taking the side of the mothers who will mourn for the rest of their lives.
I am taking the side of the fathers who will forever feel as if they didn’t protect their lost child.
I am taking the side of the victims, each one whose life was cut off without warning, though no fault of their own.
I am taking a side that condemns the media, pundits, and hate filled rhetoric of the people who think their opinion about guns is more important that taking time to pray for, with, and about the deep sorrow of the families of those who died.
I am taking a side. It isn’t about us, it is about them. I hope you will join me.

A Blank Page


There is something about a blank page that bugs me. It doesn’t matter if it is on my computer screen or a real piece of paper, it screams out for something, anything, to be written or drawn on it to make it unique.

When my kids were little, paper was a way to keep them entertained for all of two minutes while I made a bathroom stop. A notebook and pencil in my purse or diaper bag was a must to hold off boredom in places like restaurants and church. As they got older, we used paper and pencils to write words, and draw pictures to go with them. Sometimes, if we were in an appropriate, and sometimes not appropriate, place we would make paper airplanes, or fans, or anything we could by folding paper. It was a useful tool.

Then, when my kids were teenagers, before we all had text messaging, they left me notes on the fridge, the front door, in my car, and sometimes, on me, to remind me of things they needed or places they needed to be. I did the same for them and for my husband. Notes became an every day way of communicating in a busy teenage household.

But always, through the years, writing down my life was a part of my daily routine. I filled pages of paper in journals telling my story. Then I started writing down imaginary stories, always trying to write something that would teach, lead, or entertain others. I wrote letters, by hand, and notes saying Thank You, or You Are Invited To An Event, to others. I wrote love letters to my husband, and letters of appreciation and admonition to my children and grandchildren. I wrote the histories of my ancestors, and reams of papers for college courses.

Today, I still write every day. Sometimes it is just a blog, sometimes I work on a book or a short story, sometimes I just write an email, a response on social media, or to my elected officials. Like reading every day, writing is as much a part of my life as breathing. I can’t imagine being unable to do either.

So, today, when I was faced with a blank page, I thought about how important it is to write things down. Because once you are gone, and your children are gone, who will remember what you said, how you though, or the feelings that filled your life? This is your chance to put down the words that mean something to you. This is your time to tell your own story, opine on your ideas and dreams, and your time to say what you really think about any and every subject that comes to mind.

Every personal story is important. Without personal accounts of events, real history will be lost to the ages. All that will be left is what the professional politicians had to say, or the media of the day had to say, not what every day people had to say about a moment in time. Daily grind events are just as important as life changing events. And in the future, some many times great grandchild will sit in wonder reading what you really thought, did, or felt in your life. It will amaze, thrill, and surprise them with the turn of every page. Write it down. Inquiring minds will want to know.

A blank page is an opportunity. Don’t waste it.