End Of Marriage Or Beginning of Acceptance?

Today was not one of my prouder days as a mother. Constant issues, constant disrespect, constant ways of intentionally pushing my buttons by Andre in a most difficult and autistic way. It’s a pattern and unfortunately I sometimes allow myself to get sucked up into it even though I know better. And it disappoints me as a mother and as a human being when I react while being poked with an intentional stick instead of laughing and walking away. I was downhearted due to my handling of the situation and I even (god forbid) yelled…something I have been successful at avoiding like the plague since the July.

I fell asleep while listening to a meditation and awoke to the call to dinner. Seems B had come home early and heard I had a rough time of things through Paul. He had made dinner to help out but I clearly saw the disappointment in his eyes.

Later I asked if he wanted to take a walk during which I poured out my soul about myself, how the day went and what I was feeling. As we walking and I was having this heartfelt conversation we were getting ready to turn at our “normal” spot when I said I would like to keep walking and B replied he wanted to get home so he could play his bagpipe.SCREECH! BING-BAM-BOOM. It felt as though he SUCKER PUNCHED me.  I told him I would keep walking by myself because it was obvious where his priorities lie. He said, “No I will come with you” but I sent him home. The possibilities for closeness and understanding felt broken. And for a while all I could think of was that that was the exact moment when my marriage ended because I realized the futility of it all. But in truth that is not what I really want because I still love this man even though I no longer understand him.

Yet, as I walked I began to think about all that was going on and wonder…  is this relationship as it stands now enough for me? Is half of a walk good enough or do I need more? Do I want someone who will listen to me until I decide that I am done whether that’s 2 minutes, 20 minutes or 2 hours… or… do I accept that this is all I will get? Can I just be grateful for a walk? Can I just accept a good gesture instead of a great one? Can I be happy with the wonderful things I get from this man and not concentrate on what I am not getting and being hurt in the moment due to his inability to respond like I would like him to? Why do I feel so vulnerable and raw all of the time? Can’t I just be happy in the way he wants me to be? Because that is all he wants…for us to be happy. As Nicole said “He wants happiness and unicorns on his terms because he doesn’t want to deal with any messes.”

Later when we were laying in bed we discussed the situation and of course he felt hurt (seems like we just keep feeling hurt by the other lately) I asked him when was it you realized that I wasn’t everything you wanted/needed but you decided to accept it and he replied  without a moments hesitation,”I don’t know ten, eight or maybe five years ago.” And truly, I felt shattered that he had been walking around for that long knowing and I didn’t have a clue. Because until tonight I had never thought about it that way. Maybe I should have.

 

 

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Ooo-La-La…Sexy Men In Kilts

I never thought that men in kilts would do anything for me. I mean, after all, knobby knees don’t make me weak in the joints. And hairy legs just make me look at my own and run for the razor. Men in knee highs…well, it is the stuff that horror movies are made of and I have never really had the inclination to lift a skirt regardless of who it belongs to. But this weekend might have changed all that.

Over the past four years or so I have had to get used to watching my husband walk around in a kilt. This kilt-wearing began after a trip to Scotland. I was interviewing a bagpipe maker and B went along for the ride. As we exited the quaint shop in Sterling he said, “I think I want to play the bagpipes.” I almost fell to my knees. First off, B had never played an instrument in his entire life and even the best piper can at times sound like a goat caught in a fence. The odds were not in his favor for becoming the next “Bach of the Bagpipes.” Secondly, for the most part men like B just don’t wear kilts. They wear hardhats, they wear steel-toed boots and they wear Calvin’s tighty whities. They wear those whities because boxers make them highly uncomfortable… there is not enough fabric to protect and hold up what lies within. So an open-air let-’em hang kilt…forget it…I just couldn’t imagine such a thing would ever happen. I was wrong.

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Not only did B buy his pipes he came home and found a pipe band to teach him how to play. It was only a short time later that this Irish lad came home attired in a Scotman’s clothes complete with a sporin. The first time I saw him I looked at those knee socks and thought, “Well there is no way we will ever have sex again!” But eventually I got used his tartan as his ability to play and his demand increased. Now he is a full-fledged member of the band and spends time performing at funerals, store openings and Celtic Festivals. But still the kilt just didn’t do much for me…until this weekend…Really.

Now I don’t know if it was the whiskies talking or the rain but about 2 hours after I started drinking those men in plaid started to look mighty fine. The more I drank the better they looked and those knee socks began to even look like something that might come handy in the bedroom.

And then I spotted my husband… glory be…that Irishman looked better than any Scot in the place. As we stood listening to the rockin’out pipers of Celtica I put my hand on his butt and…oh laa laa…no thick blue jean material between me and his Calvins and… it felt round and good. Really…the perfect handful.

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“Hmmm, maybe I have been missing out on something,” I thought. “I better test this out some more.”

So I did.

That butt felt better the second time around. And I found out the benefit of a man in a kilt. Just where those folds open … how…and why. But I’ve never been one to kiss and tell. Guess you just better go out and find yourself your own man in a kilt so you can find out just exactly what they wear (or don’t) under there and grab your own handful…you won’t be disappointed.

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When Buying Your Electronics…

Did you know that if you have the “right” credit card  you have protection on your new electronics?

When I bought my MAC two years ago I used my credit card. Two days after buying it I dropped my MAC and it broke at the hinge between the screen and the keyboard. I took it to Apple and they said it would cost $700 to fix…(insert the are you F***ing kidding me sign!) When I told eldest son what happened he told me that often your credit card will cover problems with your new electronics for the first 30 days so I called and lo and behold he was right. I turned in my estimate from Apple and my CC company sent me a check for the cost of repairs. ONLY…and here is the BIG one…I never repaired it….until now.

The until now is happening because all of a sudden my computer is exhibiting big swathes of black across the screen here and there. So I am taking my computer in to be fixed after these past two years of coasting.  So who knows how long I will be off line.Going cold turkey will be difficult…maybe I should take up a new hobby like drinking. especially because I am going to a bagpipe festival this weekend. But until I am back have some great days, connect with someone, and check to see if your CC covers damage to your electronics!

 

Raw

I read a few of my writings to him

He was hurt and upset

Believed my words and thoughts were raw

He said:

“Why didn’t you let me see these

Before we went into the therapists office

Why would you save this for in there?

Why didn’t you let me see your words and let me

think about them before going in?”

I think:

It’s suppose to be a safe place

Exactly where we are suppose to take

Our deepest hurts and fears

Where we have someone to help us

Through the words and through the tears

He thinks:

Why did you ambush me?

It’s his real question

Unspoken with words

But spoken just the same

I think:

Maybe I just want to hear from your heart

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And not listen to your rehearsed

Very logical answers

Maybe I long to know

What you really FEEL not THINK

To hear words spoken from the heart

Not encased in the laughter you use

To deflect the feelings that threaten

To overwhelm you like a bad case

Of poison ivy

I am:

Guilty and sad that I hurt him

Wishing that I could say with words

The things I so easily write on paper

Perhaps they would be less complex

And easier to hear

But I am not sure that words are whats needed now

Maybe its deep feelings

Because we both want to run from them

Instead of dealing with the pain they contain

I know:

I still love him

That it hurt me deeply to hurt him

Even if that was not my intention

My intention was to be HEARD

And I wish I could take back the words

I said because I don’t want to see

Him retreat

Because of my pain

And his pain

Because really he just wants peace, love and rainbows

Happiness and joy

He claims he is a simple man

Uses it as an excuse

Not to touch those parts of him

That make him feel vulnerable and afraid

He says:

He is a simple man

But we both know better than that

 

 

 

Assigning Meaning To Things

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I am hurt and I am pissed and my therapist says I have no right to be. Sigh. I hate it when she is right.

Let me explain.

Right before B stated he “might want a divorce” I had ordered a chandelier from Pottery Barn. I rarely do such things. It was extravagant. It was sparkly. It shined from every angle.. And it would look oh-so-right in my dining room instead of the $25 builder installed light that has been hanging there for the past 10 years. So after much thought and angst I bought it. I am just not a big spender and this was wayyyy over my usual $50 budget for such items.

It arrived in a huge box that sat in my living room for many weeks. And then B dropped the bomb mentioning the chandelier while he listed all his dissatisfactions with me and our life together. About two weeks after his “I might want a divorce” pronouncement he said he was going to put up the chandelier and I told him not to…that I didn’t want to have to leave it in the house should we decide to divorce. I told him that if and when he felt our relationship was in a good place and we would stay together then he could put it up as a sign that things we going to be alright. And so the chandelier was moved out to the garage where it remains to this day, silently sparkling away in its huge box its beauty wasted on  all but the occasional insect who might pass by.

While I realize nine months is not a long time to deem a unhappy marriage “cured” I am beginning to resent the chandelier and all it stands for. Everyday when I back my car out of the garage I see that ugly box sitting there as a reminder that the light is the sole determinant of whether our marriage is healthy or still on the rocks and I have left it to B to make that determination. And I am mad. I am mad at the chandelier for all the meaning I have given to it. I am mad at myself. And I am mad that I have given B the power to determine the state of our marriage all based on whether or not the damn thing gets hung.

My therapist says that the chandelier is not indicative of our relationship and it is not fair to all involved that I have pinned so much meaning on it. That, “come on, you know B does not attach meaning to things like a chandelier whereas you do.” That he probably doesn’t even get its significance to you and your relationship. But I’m not so sure. That whether our marriage is viable has NOTHING to do with the chandelier. And that I should let go of this meaning I have assigned it and love myself enough to hang it up even if it means taking it down in the future because I LOVE IT. Because it sparkles in my dreams. Because it is just plain beautiful and deserves to be in the place that it was intended to be instead of hidden away in a dusty garage.

And while I know my therapist is right I also wonder if I can ever hang this chandelier or if it will always remind me of this unhappy time in my life. Can I ever trust that my relationship with B is healthy again or will I always wonder if the sparkle is blinding me to all the things that B is unable to say/do that has made him get to this point that he wanted to leave? Right now I have no clue. But someday I hope that the sparkle of that chandelier will be indicative of the sparkle in our relationship. That is my dream.

 

On Making A Decision

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Recently I was reading about the effects on our body when we make a decision.  Besides solving problems decision making also has the added benefit of decreasing anxiety and worry. Because making a decision involves setting goals and creating intentional effects it engages the prefrontal cortex which reduces that anxiety you have been carrying around. And because decision making involves a shift in how you perceive the world when this shift happens in calms your limbic system creating a sense of tranquility.

Yet, what about all those times when making a decision feels like it involved two equally difficult or disastrous end points? Well, neuroscientists say to go ahead and “make a good enough” decision. Instead of trying to make the perfect decision “the good enough” decision will decrease stress and make you feel like you are more in control. In fact, just the act of making that decision will give your brain a pleasure boost so that skipping your way through the day seems like a real possibility instead of just dragging your butt somewhere.

So there you go. Make a “good enough” decision…stick with it…and you will find yourself under less stress and feeling good about yourself and your place in the world!

The Best Things About Young Love

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I was 23 years old when that I first met B. I had been on my own since I was 15 and at 23 I felt I had “been there/done that” in almost all areas of my life. I was a single mom, enrolled in a specialized medical program and was feeling like I had already experienced everything life had to offer. Then I met B.

One of the things that first attracted me to B was his fresh-off-the-farm innocence. He had grown up poor and had experienced little of the “finer” things in life. This made me fall in love with him. His unbridled excitement and appreciation of trying new things allowed me to see the possibilities that life offered through the eyes of an innocent. That virginal way of looking at things was sexy, spiritual and energizing. We visited museums, spent time in parks and ate out often. Once we went to a high-end Chinese restaurant where I basically forced this shy guy to get frisky under the table with me. Later our very telling fortune read, “Conscious the small part of you that realizes someone maybe watching.” He almost died of embarrassment.

Another one of my favorite things to do back then was to say outrageous things just to watch him blush. At that time saying something like “You are so hot” out loud  in a crowd would make the red spread and I got off on it. My new goal was to see just how red he could get in 1.2 seconds and I loved him for this unrehearsed ability that he had but didn’t necessarily want.

That is the beauty of young love. Its the discovery of EVERYTHING  new and relative to your relationship. The excitement of trying things together while exploring each other and the world. It is finding “your” song, “your” treasured places to dine and “your” favorite positions. While in this phase of love it as if the stars have alined and NOTHING will ever come between the two of you because you are meant to be. FOREVER.

I wonder if that is why marriage is often so difficult to sustain. After 30 years of it,  I can no longer make B blush. Our favorites have become habits and finding things we haven’t done is difficult or at our age impossible to do without knee replacement surgery. The things that would excite us at 23 just don’t at 55. Maybe this is why so many partners leave. Not because they were looking for a new love but because they were wanting to see that freshness and innocence in somebody else’s eyes. After all, it is quite alluring and intoxicating.

This makes me wonder how can one recapture this sense of innocence in a long-term relationship? Is it even possible after so many years of marriage? What is it that might stir those feelings for the two of us once again? Frankly, I have no idea. We’ve done the trips, ate new foods and taken out the Karma Sutra.

Maybe that is the true beauty of young love…that it stays fresh and true within our minds and can never be recreated. That it gives us something to look back upon and smile especially when the tough times are upon us. And perhaps young love reminds us of all we shared, created and enjoyed together while giving us hope that we can find the unfindable again. Maybe it is what keeps us going when young love fades.

 

 

 

Gone Missing Two

One of the most beautiful cities in America has got to be San Diego, California. We spent the weekend here because Gracie had a swim meet. The city is warm, clean, and has a wonderful mass transportation system. Architecture here is widely held in esteem and The Gaslight District teems with great places to eat and shops that beckon you in to spend those hard-earned greenbacks.

The aqua blue water sparkles and when you head out onto the open seas often you will find yourself surrounded by super pods of dolphins who love to leap up as if in a synchronized ballet as they chase your boat. Big yachts and little dinghies all line the piers and make me sea sick just watching them as they bob up and down. Yes, unfortunately, I am one of the Dramamine girls.

I had picked up B at LAX airport and we headed down to San Diego together. He had flown in from Florida where he had been on business. The next morning we had the car brought up from the valet so we could put our luggage in it and head off to the event which was a ten minute walk away. When we returned five hours later the car was still sitting there…strange.

B goes up to the valet stand.

“Can I have the keys to my car?” he asks handing them his ticket.

“Is that your car?”

“Yes it is”

“Well, sir, you have the keys. That is why we did not move it.”

“No, I don’t have the keys. You do. You brought my car around so we could put our luggage in it. I never had the keys. Your valet kept them. They were never in my possession.”

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And so it went. No one had the keys to the car. Not a soul. All 200 sets on the board were checked. All 200 sets were pushed so lights would come on. No keys for 30 minutes. ANYWHERE. I emptied my purse just in case. That was a major ordeal but I did find a pair of missing eyeglasses, a coupon for a free car wash, and $7.38 cents in change; so it was not all in vain. But still no keys. Just as the discussion turned to hiring  a locksmith the trunk suddenly popped open…seems the keys had fallen on the floor and had been kicked under the desk. Keys found…crisis solved.

We headed back to LAX where B had left the car. The day he left Los Angeles he was almost late after being in standstill traffic for close to an hour. He raced into the airport,found a rooftop parking space and ran inside but now five days later there was no car to be found. ANYWHERE.

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You have to understand there are a total of seven parking garages at LAX.  Each garage consists of approximately five floors. We started at Garage 4 the one he swore he parked at. He turned white as a sheet when it was obvious that his car was not there and started muttering under his breath. I remained calm.We went through each and every floor hitting the horn button on the key fob. Nothing. Okay, well maybe it was Garage 6. He was in a hurry after all and it was also a garage that served American Airlines. I began to silently meditate.

We drove to the top open air parking where he swore he had been. Nothing. Same procedure…hitting the horn button as we went up and down floor after floor. Again nothing. B is more distressed while I remained calm and murmuring words of love and support. We have now been searching for 45 minutes and racking up fees as we go through each gigantic garage.

Garage Number 5 was our next place to explore. It didn’t have a rooftop but we went through it anyway. No car. B insisted that it was in the area but we had begun to wonder if perhaps it had been stolen by this time. We went to the attendant and inquired if they had anyway of checking what cars were parked where. Seems they did…only you had to know the license plate number and B did not since it was a company car.

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Enough was enough. By this time we all needed to pee. Badly. So we got out of the car, found our way to the bathroom and then joined B as he re-traced his steps. He swore he had come in through a walk-way over the street and when we took the escalator up there it was. We walked back through it and came to an open air parking garage and after searching a minute or so we located the car in a space that seemed to be inaccessible from Garages 4,5, or 6. There wasn’t even a proper marking of the space. WTH?

I have to say I was proud of myself. Whereas in the past I might have gotten frustrated and upset matching B’s angst as it rose. Instead, I made a point to be supportive and calm. While in the past I may have said something I may have later regretted like, “This is why you always take a picture of your parking space so you can find it again,” I remained mute of the helpful advice. So while pieces of me have gone missing (read the post prior to this) perhaps this is a good thing. And when trying to find and put the pieces of ME back together I think some empty spaces may be prudent so they can be filled with some kinder and gentler fragments to complete the puzzle that is the new and improved ME. The ME I CHOOSE to be.

 

Gone Missing

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I recently realized I have no idea who I really am. That is a hard thing to write at my age.

If you had asked me last year who I was and what I stood for I could have given you a laundry list of my good qualities, the bad ones, my likes and dislikes, my truths, my foibles, the things that I tolerated and the things that I could not. Now I have few clues. I am left holding a bag of pieces, a rope and flashing sign which reads detour ahead.

Sometimes I wonder if this is the definition of  a mid-life crisis because it seems as if I am wiping clean the slate and starting over. Only problem… the cleaner doesn’t do its job and all I am are left with is grimy streaks that just muddy things all up and make clarity a rarity.

Supporters of Sigmund Freud believed that a mid-life crisis was brought about by a fear of impending death. I will confess that thoughts of dying do not keep me awake at night but what I want written on my tombstone does.  I guess that is the writer in me wanting to make sure the final sentence of my life is THE perfect one.

Or maybe this loss of “ME” is as simple as early onset dementia. I cannot seem to remember ANYTHING anymore. In fact, I took one of those on-line memory tests and the outcome was SEE YOUR DOCTOR SOON… at least that is what I think I remember. It used to be that I remembered every telephone number in my head nut now I can’t even find the phone. Maybe who I was is now crammed into the junk drawer in the kitchen between the batteries and the eyeglass repair kit. Who knows…but I do know I cannot find myself anywhere.

When Grandma was 85 she told me that when she would walk by a mirror she would think, “Who is that old lady?” because what she saw didn’t match who she saw in her head which was a 25 year old girl. I laughed when she said it but maybe now it is my issue too. What I see doesn’t reflect back who I think I thought I was…that is before I went missing.

It is shocking to me that his has happened. I mean it took so long for me to “find” myself, a self that I was finally pretty comfortable in, only to lost myself again in the prime of my life. I had gotten used to salesgirls ignoring me, the total absence of wolf whistles and having to buy compression socks when I flew. But this…arriving home to a perfect stranger…  I wish I knew her better…it would make life a whole lot easier for all involved.

 

 

Extending Our Life Span

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Scientists at Newcastle University in the United Kingdom have announced mitochondrial complex II activity decreased significantly in older skin. This development means that scientists hope that they can harness this energy to create powerful new anti-aging treatments both to prolong life and make us appear younger longer. While I am all for  getting on the “let’s not look a day over 40” train I am not so sure about extending our lives for significant periods of time. I mean do we really need people who are 125 years old or older walking this earth?

Yes, its true that people who have been-there-done-that often bring a lot to the table. Hopefully it’s wisdom and the ability to reflect back on all they have done in order to improve things for themselves and others in the future. But what about those who are unable to be introspective and self-reflective? Do we really want those who make the same mistakes over and over again hanging out even longer gobbling up our limited resources? And knowing we have finite resources what would be the criteria for being chosen to live significantly longer? Is it the poet, the musician or the mathematician whose contributions to society is more valuable? Maybe the doctor, the street cleaner, or the academic? The person with autism or cerebral palsy?

Should your genetic code be analyzed to determine if you will suffer from dementia or lung cancer? Which cancers would be permissible and at what point do you start costing society more than you are worth if you live longer and develop several throughout your lifetime? Would it be IQ or emotional intelligence which would rein supreme or would brute physical strength be the desired attribute? Should people with three DUI’s and a wrecked liver the size of a football field be given the chance to prolong their lives an extra 30-50 years? And should the amount of melanin in your skin be the determinate factor because if you listen to people involved in American politics like frontrunner Mr. Trump “those people” (meaning those who do not look like him and have more melanin) are causing all the crime. UGH. DO I NEED TO MAKE CLEAR WHAT AN IDIOT HE IS?!!!!

Yet, with all these questions to consider there are even more important ones to be asked. Specifically who should it be that makes the determinations of which qualities and characteristics are superior? Is it persons who are Black, White, Asian, Native American, Latino, East Indian, German, Dutch or from the Cook Islands?  Do they represent all of us or just a few?Are they Jewish, Catholic or Buddhist? Are they rich or poor? Happy or sad? Are they male or female? And what are their ages? Should they be required to have longer alleles longer so they are more resilient than others in the face of adversity?

While we forge ahead in science it seems to me that often we do not take into account whether or not we should do… or not do… something in the first place. As long as it is done in “THE NAME OF SCIENCE” (a just and noble pursuit)  then it must be okay. But often it isn’t. Maybe bigger, faster or new and improved is not what we should be looking towards. Maybe a live man-eating T-Rex is not in our best interests. Because maybe, just maybe, the circle of life is already perfect just the way it is…a circle with no beginning and no end… and it should be left alone just the way we found it.