Dreams Of The Past And The Future

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When we were young B and I could never have enough projects. They kept us busy and talking to one another about the different aspects that we needed to consider when we were working together. We tore out the kitchen of a cabin we bought, we built a house in the mountains, we started a winery and built the building to go with it. We were busy, tired, and often content with the manner in which our lives were progressing.

These days B is done with projects. He wants nothing to do with them. I suspect some of this stems from having to leave behind our hard work for others to enjoy when we did not yet have that pleasure. Moving for B’s career made us give up some of these comforts and dreams. Not being able to experience the joy of our labors made it more difficult for B to keep up the hard work, determination, and faith that building requires. And I think that stress at work has limited his enthusiasm for projects.

However, recently we decided to sell a property that we have owned for about seven years. This has entailed ripping our a kitchen and installing new cabinets, countertops and backsplash. We have had to repaint the entire place put up new lighting fixtures and vents in all the rooms. It has been a huge undertaking but it has paid off with some unexpected dividends…a closeness that has been missing and the chance to re-visit all of the amazing things we have accomplished together. This isn’t to say that everything is perfect. It isn’t. But it is nice to experience some of our “old selves” again and it is nice to be engaged with one another once more. I have missed this over the past several years. I have missed just being with B and watching him sweat as we struggle to hang a cabinet. I miss having dreams which are flavored with the smell of hard work and the sweetness of a job well done. I have forgotten how just spending time together made me feel connected and how my admiration for my husband would soar when all we worked for came to fruition. And it occurs to me that the respect I feel for this man, who, when exhausted, keeps giving his all, is immense and inspires me to do my best too.

I wish we could work together more. Find new projects to create together. I don’t know that it has to be building but something… anything that will plant new seeds to understanding, respect and appreciation.  I thirst for finding commonalities again with the man that I love. I understand why B wants to lay down his hammer but for me these undertakings  that we embark on together give me a sense of hope and purpose. And even though I can barely move after a day of hard work I would gladly down numerous Tylenol just to spend quality time with B once again. For when we work together I see deeper more personal glimpses of the man I fell in love with and I hope he sees the same in me and it also feels as if there is nothing that we cannot accomplish.

 

Preservation

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When I visited with my therapist this week I told her about an incident that happened while we were in New York. I wanted to explore it a little deeper because I knew that it was important and while I thought I knew why it needed to be tackled, I wasn’t sure that I had all the pieces I needed to fully understand why I did what I did.

On Sunday, our son West, was telling us we should sell a piece of property that we own, to which I replied:

“Honey, we can’t do anything until Dad and I know what is happening with this relationship and if we are even going to stay together.”

I think that is what is called starting to pound the nail in the coffin or maybe torching the bridge.

“So, why did you do it?” my therapist asked. “Why did you open the EXIT door and go right through it when you said that for six months you would not talk about divorce?”

“Because I felt like West was confused,” I answered. “Here we were so happy and yet we have been teetering on the edge of divorce. I didn’t want him to get the wrong idea.”

“First of all it isn’t West’s business and you didn’t owe him any explanations about where you are in your relationship. But I’m not sure that is all there is to it. Anything else come to mind?” she chuckled.

I stared back giving her my best evil eye. She laughed again. I squirmed.

“Okay, I guess I was feeling scared. Everything felt so wonderful and right this weekend. It felt too good to be true. I just couldn’t trust it and needed to put it back in the place I am used to…limbo.”

“So you went ahead and made sure it was too good to be true for everyone involved. You undermined your relationship which gave you a plan of escape. You abandoned the people you were with because you went through that EXIT door. Your plans and words gave the impression of wanting to escape. Why not have a plan to preserve your relationship instead?”

YIKES. WHY DON’T WE TAKE A LESS PAINFUL WAY THROUGH THIS PSYCHOLOGICAL CRAP …FLOGGING MIGHT BE A BETTER CHOICE.

“Think of it this way. There are many ways to preserve food. You can use a water bath, you can freeze-dry,  or dry it like jerky, or even pressure can it. Some things need to be preserved in just one way and some things can be preserved in many ways. But the object is the same: preserve what you have so you can enjoy it on another day. That is what you need to start doing with your marriage.  You can’t preserve your relationship if you are so busy running away through the EXIT door that you can’t stay in the kitchen to get the tasks done which will keep you and your relationship healthy.”

CRAP

“So, this week I want you to think about the things in your relationship with B that need to be preserved so they don’t go bad. Or think about those things that have been neglected and need to be revived. How do you go about preserving them so you have something tasty and good in the future? What work do you need to do on YOU that will allow your relationship to be preserved and ultimately flourish, instead of becoming moldy and rotten?” Are you going to leave the food out or are you going take care of it so it lasts a long time?”

As I headed home I stopped at the fruit stand and bought a lug of strawberries. On a lark I decided to make jam. So I cut,  smooshed, cooked, and added just enough sugar to make the syrupy fruit sweet. Everything in the kitchen was sticky to the touch as I lifted the jars out of the waterbath and as the jars started cooling on my counter I began to contemplate what my therapist was trying to convey. And then it happened… I began to hear the sound that all canners long to hear….the tinney POP of the lids as they seal in the freshness of what is put inside the jar. A POP that tells you that you did everything right and what is inside is preserved.

It was hearing those tiny little pops that made me realize that I wanted to put the best of what we had into our jars to keep what was inside fresh and free from contamination. After 30+ years of marriage, the good the bad and the ups and downs; I finally recognized that someday our cupboard will once again be bare and we will need what is preserved inside those jars to sustain us.

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Closeness

*The other day I posted about the distance I was feeling in my marriage. A very smart reader inspired me to write about what I want. Here it is.*

I would like to feel the kind of closeness with you that you feel when a newborn baby is first placed in your arms. The feelings of awe and beauty in what you have created make you feel elated.A sense of total dedication and belief in all the possibilities that lay before you open to you and bloom like a rose. The total acceptance of this person and the belief you can handle whatever lays before you with them. The way they fit so perfectly in your arms and automatically snuggle in, burying themselves deeper into your heart and soul.

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I want the sort of closeness with you that feels peaceful and reassuring. A closeness in which what what I see before me is truth in all its glorious nakedness and not something dressed to cover it up.

I want a quiet and dignified closeness in which you know the person so well that they will tell you when you are wrong in a way that allows you you to hear it and know it is true because they love you enough to tell you. In a way that in reaching for your hand they are actually grabbing onto your heart and holding it gently in their hands.

I want a closeness with you in which your love knows and acknowledges my flaws while gently trying to lead me to a better way, not through superiority but through genuine good will wished for me. A person who tries to concentrate on the good and not only acknowledge the bad in me. The kind of closeness that encompasses true forgiveness and understanding.

I want a closeness with you in which if I had to have a mastectomy in wouldn’t bother me that I had missing parts because I know you could let those go knowing that I have other parts that were just as precious and wonderful.

I want to feel a closeness with you in which talking to each other throughout a work day feels like a bonus, like a 5 minute picnic in a meadow full of warmth and happiness instead of feeling like a chore.

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I want a closeness with you that at times needs no words. It is just strong and steady and something we can hold onto while feeling safe and confident when the gales of life threaten to pull us from one another.

I want to feel a closeness to you that feels like the biggest and best quality feather bed ever made. It feels light  and airy and its a place where deep rest and relaxation can be found.

I want to feel a long-term closeness with you not something fleeting and temporary based on whims and moods. But something strong and sure  like a Boy Scout knot that won’t come untied unless you release the ends with purposeful intent.

I want to feel a closeness with you that is steadfast and steady like a dogs love and admiration to his people. No questions asked, it is just there unwavering.

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I want to feel as closeness that is devoid of fear, mistrust and hidden agendas. I want this closeness to be pure and bright like a guardian angel or like the closeness God shows us when we are open to seeing it. Closeness that you guard with your life because you both feel that it is precious and worthy.

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I want to feel a closeness to you like I never have. I want to have a deep never-ending connection with you.

Porn

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The other day I mentioned porn and that got me to thinking. After much consideration I have come to the unequivocal conclusion that men should be forever banned from the making of porn films. Not only that they should not be able to write porn, direct porn, or cast the stars of these low budget features; they probably shouldn’t be able to watch them either.

I will confess right here I am not a big fan of the genre. I don’t like how women are demeaned and objectified. I don’t like “please me no matter what” attitudes of the men involved. But most of all I don’t like the plots. Actually, there are no real plots and that is exactly where the trouble lies.

Men make porn the same way they played with their toy cars when they were kids.  First off, they look for the most elusive or expensive model there is. Always.Who cares about what the color is as long as it’s a Porsche! This is followed by further scrutiny about how they will look driving the car and how fast can they can get into it and go. Next up: Leather or cloth seats? Pumped up tires or standard? With a bra or without? Essentially nothing has changed. Just pull it out back and let it rip. Banging into as many as they can becomes the name of the game, both young and old.

Now, I am not advocating more porn but I know that if women made porn there would be real plots. Instead of sex occurring one minute after the show began, it would take at least a half hour of fancy dresses with numerous costume changes, plenty of castles, and lots kissing and foreplay. The sets wouldn’t be sleazy formica kitchen countertops but fancy feather beds, lush tropical beach settees, and foods like grapes, whipped cream and caviar acting as aphrodisiacs.

I guarantee you that if women made porn the actors would all have straight dicks and perfect teeth. The men would have normal sized tools instead of scary looking tree trucks and the woman would all be able to walk upright instead of bent-over due to the size of their breasts. The actors would all manage to look like your fantasy lover not something that was drug in off of the street. And the sex act itself, well, it would last exactly 22.2 minutes because we all know what happens to our tender parts if you go much longer than that. No woman should ever be put in the position where she has to say, “You are wearing out your welcome.” THAT look of “GET THE HELL OUT” that always crosses the woman’s face in man-made porn would never occur in a film created by gals.

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If women made porn they would turn it into a series in which the viewer knew everything about the characters and cared for them like their own family members. Debbie would do Dallas but she would also do it in the blooming rose gardens of Versailles. By the end of the show you would know all of Debbie’s friends, her parents and her favorite food. She would be a fully developed person, not just a sex machine. And while Debbie and Grant were getting it on in the opera box but we would also get to see the Joffrey Ballet set the mood as they performed a portion of The Nutcracker at the same time.

You see, if women made porn it would be something grand.It would be something your husband would call you about to remind you to chill the wine because tonight is “our night to watch Upstairs and Downstairs too.”  And if there were English accents involved it would be all the better to set the mood.

Women based porn would be something women wanted to watch and men too. It would increase desire and promote safe sex. And I am willing to bet if this were the type of porn that we spent watching with our partner we would all be having a whole lot more pleasurable and sexy sex instead of demeaning sex…and isn’t that what the goal should be in the first place?

 

B’s List Of What He Wants

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Yesterday I posted what I wanted/needed in my second half of life. Today I am posting B’s.

First of all, just so you know, I asked B if it was okay to post this. To my surprise he said yes. This is his list of what he wants in the second part of his life with me. It won’t come as a surprise to those who know us that his list is very different than mine. Much more compact. Remember, I’m the one with the words. Yet, what he wrote touched me deeply because I knew it was from his heart and soul. All of it.

The morning we were to go to breakfast to discuss our relationship; I got into the car and our wedding picture was there along with some flowers. B said that before we went to breakfast he wanted to read what he had written and so with tears in his eyes and a catch in his throat this is what he read:

Black Hole-10 Minute Poem Challenge

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We are like the night sky

You and I

Once bright stars

With secret twinkles

That only the two of us could see

Our relationship for years

Shining brightly

Casting our light out into the world

For all to witness

That spectacular show

But then we began to dim

With age

Shining so brightly

We burnt ourselves out

The twinkling came less often

And the light began to fade

Until, lifeless, we were sucked into a black hole

So vast and deep

It appeared there was no way out

Of the eternal prison

Black holes were thought to be

But Hawking told us otherwise

That once inside the vastness

Things could get out again

And in colliding against

Stones thrown our way

We created a new form of energy

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Together

And we plotted our escape

Back into the universe where love reigns

And where we are able to shine again

Realigned with towards the other

Energized and free

To cast our light

In ways that feel right

To each of us

Without past debris

Clouding the universe

Of our new lives together

While the light renews itself

And slowly gets brighter

 

While The Cat’s Away…

Okay, if I am honest here the whole “DRESS UP FOR YOUR MAN” thing weirds me out a little, especially at my age.  When I was 20 I could pull it off because…well…I was 20! Yet, as a feminist dressing up for a man often feels degrading and so out-datedly contrived. And as a mother.. yuck…just yuck…thinking that someday the men in my three daughter’s lives will be oglingimages-9 them as they flounce about in an effort to try to please their husbands.imgres

 

Yet, I do recognize the fact that men are visual creatures and that after being married for so many years that sex can become a tad boring imgres-2 unless you do something to spice it up a bit. But what to wear without looking like a chubby little schoolgirlgirls-skipping-school-costume that really sends a really perverted message?images-14 It is always a dilemma for a not-so-skinny 50 + year old woman. images-18

 

So I decided while the cat’s away this mouse will play…with different styles of sex-wear. I’m starting with the easiest first…stockings.

Frankly, I was surprised at the variety of stockings that are available these days. When I was 20 years-old fishnets were really risque and only the “bad” girls wore them. Now perhaps I should have been “bad” a little more often so I have decided to regress and try these on for size.

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I mean seriously if these don’t catch a man’s eye he is stone cold dead.images-3 But frankly, it would be helpful if the manufacturer included a tutorial on how to put these on so the seam goes STRAIGHT up the back of your legs instead of swerving side to side like a cheap drunk.

FISHNETS have come a long way baby! My oh my, the choices are mind numbing these days. Bows, lace, and streamers are now standard fishing gear allowing you to reach even lower depths than before.

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I have to stop here to confess that I’ve always wondered why these types of stockings are called fishnets. (Yes, those ARE the crazy questions that keep my mind spinning out of control) Yet, as I wrote this, it occurred to me that wearing fishnets have one purpose and one purpose only….trolling for fish… and once you catch that fish in your net it is yours until you decide to throw it back. In this case, size really does influence that decision.

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I never knew until today that you could buy stockings with writing on them. What a great idea! I know a lot of women who would like TALK TO MY LAWYER climbing the back of their legs as they were walking away from their cheater husbands. zu6932816_main_tm1388876938YOU DON’T DESERVE ME and FUCK YOU would probably be other popular choices.

 

There are also the RICH BITCH hose. I propose that any woman who wears these sparklers should demand a real diamond for each of the fake ones that grace her legs.zu6295865_main_tm1390849776

 

 

Then there are the WICKED WITCH OF THE WEST thigh highs. zu6369623_main_tm1385773170You’ll have to buy your own flying monkeys if you want to add an element of danger to your sex life.

There are also the sentimental I LOVE YOU type of nylons.zu20591130_main_tm1414434537 Somehow I imagine this just wouldn’t look good on a 50+ year-old broad and I shudder to think of being in a car accident and having the paramedics cutting them off with an onslaught of rubberneckers witnessing this kinky event. I am sure that those paramedics would never be able to work again due to the trauma they had endured.

Finally, a burning question that I have always had is this… do stockings go with flats? I have bad knees and wearing shoes like the models wear  would bring me to my knees which, I confess, is probably where my husband would like to see me, if you know what I mean. But seriously, doesn’t it look like something is missing here?    images-22

So I am off to the store for some sexy seven story high stilettos, a knee brace, and a tube of Ben Gay. I  can only hope that I don’t fall off of them as I greet B at the door wearing almost nothing but a red face.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love Is A Choice

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If there is something else of importance that I came away with from this weekend’s Marriage Encounter it is that LOVE IS A CHOICE.  It is a choice that you make again and again and again over the lifetime of your relationship. The choice to love begins when you wake up in the morning and think pleasant thoughts of your spouse while he lays there sleeping. It is present when you decide to take the time to really listen to what your partner is saying. And it renews itself when you chose to give your sweetie the benefit of the doubt and believing in the best instead of the worst.

I am not sure when B and I forgot this or if we ever viewed love in exactly this way. Letting resentments build up is not choosing to love. Foregoing intimacy is not choosing love. Escaping from each other by putting other things first is not choosing love and I know these things were happening in our relationship. No wonder our relationship became unsatisfying to both of us. Other things intruded and we did not recognize it nor stop it when we did. Making sure that our love for each other a priority just never got very high on the list.

I thought it might be difficult to make sure that B knew I was choosing love. But staying connected throughout the day via texting and dialoguing at night is helping us to see that putting our relationship first makes us feel good about the other. It makes us appreciate and celebrate what we have.

Sure, it has only been a few days and we have yet to be put to the test with schedules, poor behavior and a disagreement. But I have hope that as long as we both remember that LOVE IS A CHOICE and choose to honor the choice we have been blessed by; then loving each other as the unique individuals we each are will become as natural as a rose opening itself for all the world to appreciate and see.

 

A Weekend Of Promise

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This weekend we traveled six hours to attend a World Wide Marriage Encounter. This program is put on by a segment of the Catholic Church and its aim to to strengthen and preserve marriages. Since we are not Catholic, I was a little worried but I decided from the get-go that I would take away what I needed and leave any discussion behind regarding ideas/values that I may disagree with. That was a good decision but in truth there was very little church doctrine thrown our way.

All I can say about the weekend is that it was very therapeutic and restorative. Programs were given in which the Marriage Encounter leaders shared powerful stories from their own lives and gave examples of how following the program renewed their relationships and made communication/intimacy easier. Listening to the hardships and disappointments of these couples really helped B to understand we were not alone. Seeing their relationships and the intimacy they shared made us want the same for our marriage too.

We spent the weekend writing and learning to dialogue with one another. For someone like B, who finds sharing and even discussing FEELINGS difficult, seeing other men who were in the same boat as he, but have learned how to share and behave differently was a huge break through. The most important things we learned were:

  1. Feelings are neither good nor bad. It is the actions that follow the feelings that can be good or bad.
  2. The difference between thoughts and feelings. Thoughts include judgements, beliefs, ideas, perceptions and opinions while feelings are spontaneous inner reactions.
  3. If you can replace “I feel” with “I think” then you have expressed a thought not a feeling.
  4. If you can replace “I feel” with “I think” and it doesn’t make sense or if you can replace “I feel” with “I am” then you are most likely expressing a feeling. For instance “I feel irritated about this” it doesn’t make sense if you say “I think irritated about this” so it is a feeling. You can also identify a feeling by saying “I feel irritated about this” and then replacing the “I feel” with “I am” “I am irritated about this” so it is also a feeling.

There was also a priest there who participated and shared about his journey and disappointments with his vocation. He was so honest and forthright about his life. It was refreshing. I think for some of the men hearing the struggles of a priest allowed them to really look at their own lives and to open up.

It was an INTENSE but amazing weekend full of hope and promise. The feelings and intimacy we shared was much needed and appreciated. We both felt like we came away with the tools to improve our marriage and make it be the type of relationship we both need and desire. And we both had felt a renewed commitment to our marriage and each other.

Yet, I think the thing that touched us the most was when we found out we had had two couples who had gone through Marriage Encounter praying for us and the healing of our relationship throughout the weekend. I have to admit that prayer is a iffy thing in my book and I have always felt uncomfortable with others praying or asking for things on others behalf. It has just never sat well with me. Yet, to know that people we didn’t know were wishing us well, encouraging us through prayer and rooting us on just amazed me and somehow it felt like a blessing rather than an intrusion. But what was even more amazing was that after the weekend was over and we were exiting the building there were those same couples who had prayed for us standing there welcoming us with their insight, love, the candles they burned for us and flowers…well, it caught us both off guard. We felt encouraged, joyful, honored and amazed that strangers would do all this for us with the hope that our marriage would come to a place of peace and harmony.

There are not many times in life where you truly get to feel uplifted and amazed while experiencing positive changes working within your own life. This weekend was one of those times and it leaves me hopeful and gives me the ability to dream again about our future together. It doesn’t mean that we will be free of troubles but we have some more tools in our tool belts and how they work make sense to both of us and we are both willing to take them out and use them to improve things between us.  I hope you will root us on too in whatever way you choose for one thing we learned this weekend is that we can use all the help we can get to take our relationship in the direction that we want it to go.

 

 

Love Letters

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Recently someone contacted me (after finding my family tree on a genealogy site) saying that they had found a box of letters from 1912 from my 2nd Great Aunt (I’ll call her Mary) to her then boyfriend who later became her husband. She had three boys from an earlier very bad marriage and in stepped (I’ll call him Ned) to love and cherish her and the boys. Not many men would have had the heart or the courage to take it all on but he did and I know that Mary and her sons were blessed to have Ned in their lives for another 51 years.

There are about 40 letters in all and they are courtship letters. Mary and Ned were separated at the time by two long train rides from one another and they were trying to find a way that they could be together as a family but things were hard and there was not a lot of work where my Aunt lived, so Ned went to the “Big City”  to look for work. One of the bonuses of these letters is that my Grandfather is mentioned in them twice. He was about seven at the time. In one her letters to Ned, Mary says that my grandfather said to her son, “Do you think that man is going to marry your mom?” He replies “I reckon they might.”

Throughout all the letters there are pronouncements of practical love and a few glimpses of passionate love too. In one letter my Aunt talks about what might happen if they were to work together and says, “But if we do you have to promise to keep your hands off of me while at work!”

These letters are nice reminders of how early in relationships we do our best to impress, to praise, encourage and to believe in the possibilities that lie ahead. I think that is often missing as marriages mature and the letters have reminded me of just how important those kinds of gestures are in everyday life. Mary and Ned’s belief in their love and their future together is strong and its an overriding theme throughout their writings. It was important to them to believe and celebrate what they had and what they had found in each other. It’s some thing I want to rediscover in my relationship too.

Ever since B brought up the”maybe divorce” I have had difficulty celebrating what we have had, what we do have, and what we might have. Yet, as Mary and Ned have shown me celebrating a relationship and each other if important. It is a must do and it serves a much needed purpose to foster love and a sense of connection. So I have decided that if I want B and I to be a couple, I have to live like we are a couple and act as if we will be together forever. I have to believe in the possibilities that still exist for our marriage if this relationship is to survive. I must:

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