Monthly Archives: May 2011

His, Hers and Hers: Blended Families

It’s been four years since we’ve become a blended family; it’s been four days since the “wives” sat down with a few bottles of champagne to celebrate one of our kids high school graduation.

Photo by wanderinghome

True, I admit. I would avoid answering the phone when the caller ID showed her number. I would hang back to say hi from afar when we stopped by to pick up the kids. But there’s something about sharing in the joy of a child’s accomplishment (as well as sharing in the frustrations of a child’s lack of motivation), that breaks down walls which were probably self-induced in my own head.

I don’t think today’s exes carry the stigma they once did.

HER #1: If anyone would have told me 5 years ago that you and I would be sitting in my car going to the supermarket, I would have said, “Yeah, right!”

Graduation Student #34: I want to thank both my moms, my brother and my friends for supporting me these 18 years.

Graduation Student # 52: To mom…..to Steve…..To Daddy….to Stephanie, I’m so thankful you chose to join and be a part of this insane family.

HER #1: Cranberry Light and vodka? For Cosmos? That’s my favorite, too. You and I are a lot alike!

HIM: I think she really likes you, too. I think she likes you in the same way I like her new boyfriend. He’s just a really nice guy, and he looks out for the kids.

Daughter #2: Hi! I want to introduce you to my dad’s girlfriend….

HER #2: For some reason, it helped my kids to have one non-parent they could confide in, who then would inform me of what they were feeling. It’s just nice to have help when it comes to raising kids.

HIM: I think the more the kids to see all of us together getting along, the easier it is for them. That way they won’t feel a need to pick a side, to be loyal to only one side.

I could sit here and ponder whether we should have crossed this bridge earlier, whether it might have made a better impact on the kids sooner, but perhaps the bridge simply wasn’t finished being built then. It’s got great potential views looking from this side now.

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Doing it Heming’s Way

EH's longest sentence found at Michael Wood's Ernest Hemingway's site.

In celebration and kick off to summer, I proposed and answered my own Hemingway challenge, and came up…short. That’s okay. I know a Hemingway I’ll never be, but I do reserve the right to return and amend if I ever feel the need to put my size six feet in a pair of big shoes!

My version reads:

That desiring something I cannot yet determine its sincerity but knowing the level of the desire is a genuine wanting from those unknown or unconnected who dismiss the option to comment on liking the subject nor scrutinizing what’s before in order to know its value, yet you know truly its inherent affirmation and absolute originality cannot continue to regenerate on an island of isolation, when, in the darkness, you are alone with the ebb and tide of technology lapping at your fingertips, to distract or enhance, to inspire or to procrastinate, and know that the Mistress of Fame which you desire and flirt with has courted many before and after you, on screen and before screen, enticing you to answer her calls beyond the limits of your island, becoming susceptible to the undertow of trends versus the beauty of truth and originality, and those who have cohabitated with her, have basked in her brief suntan, which proudly and initially glows, burns uncomfortably between  bed sheets, distractingly peels over time, leaving you marked and lonely, unconfident and unsure about protocol, and an unmentioned fear of being stood up for your next date with her, the pressure, the disappointment, the disclosure rationalized, resurrecting the sweetness of her scent, the dampness of her skin, with newly injected adrenaline to approach with confidence and pour the five-minute wine of wisdom into everyone’s  hour glass, half full or half empty, the purists, the Buddhists, the non-believers, the activists, the passive aggressors, the likers and non commentators who will leave  you swaying in the shadows of your mistress for yet another ride of fame.

 

Bear and Booby and the Hero Child

Bear and Booby are making their way through the winding streets of Augusta, where clinking of glasses and raised voices can be heard in the surrounding pubs.

BEAR (following Booby): What do you mean by “You’re not that special.” That’s a horrible, hurtful thing to say.

BOOBY (partially overlooking her shoulder and moving evasively past yet another pub entrance):  I didn’t mean it to be hurtful. Everyone has bones in their backgrounds they’ve overcome. You’re not that special.

BEAR: But overcoming brainwashing, breaking out of the circuit, and going cold-monkey on reinforcement eating, doesn’t overcoming those pathetic addictions in my life make me special?

BOOBY: No.

BEAR: (stops walking). No?

BOOBY: Haven’t you heard of the Hero….

(BOOBY realizes BEAR is no longer following her, retreats a few steps toward BEAR).

BOOBY: Haven’t you heard of the Hero Child?

BEAR: (slowly shakes his head left and right)

BOOBY: The Hero Child is everyone’s first born. He or She does, gets everything right, feels entitled to every offer by the world. The child arrives at a perfect time in a union to save it, help it move forward, thus high powered microscopic focus is favored upon this Hero Child.

BEAR: What does THAT have to do with me?

BOOBY:  Nothing. You’re not the Hero Child.

BEAR: (looking absolutely dumbfounded and ready to cry) Oh.

BOOBY: I’m telling you this because you’re not the first child. You’re the second born, therefore the Rebel Child.

BEAR: (looking absolutely dumbfounded and ready to cry again)

BOOBY: (scratching her head, inhaling a deep breath of patience) The Rebel Child is predisposed to bio, social, and psychological characteristics which make them, ergo YOU, more susceptible to falling victims to addictions, drugs, eating disorders, and everything else you survived. Get it?

BEAR: You mean a LOT of second borns have gone through what I’ve gone through?

BOOBY: (gently grabbing BEAR’s arm, moving torward to the end of the street) Yes, maybe not exactly what you’ve survived, but statistically yes. Second borns
have a higher tendency to get caught up in things like that.

BEAR: So all this time, I’ve been a living statistic? Every horrible challenge I faced could have been avoided if only I knew about this birth order rules or guidelines or whatever you call them?

BOOBY:  Probably. Maybe. Maybe not.

BEAR: (Pulls BOOBY to a halt) Wait. How do you know this?

BOOBY: It’s on the Internet.

BEAR: What’s that?

BOOBY: (turns, heads down another street while talking over her shoulder) Well, I don’t know exactly, but it’s like how we passed the temple yesterday and saw many praying for good fortune and seeking guidance?

BEAR: (continues walking) Uhm, yeah.

BOOBY:  It’s like that, but not on your knees.

His and Hers: Little Victories on a Different Scale

We're just on a different scale when it comes to counting little victories.

We’re just on a different scale when it comes to counting little victories.

HER: Oh look, 31 people viewed my blog today. Isn’t that amazing?

HIM: Great. That’s good, right? By the way, the art gallery called. They said the payment is in. This painting is now sold (stepping back from it, giving it a once over one more time).  I have to take in tomorrow.

HER: Wow! That’s great! Congratulations! (looking at a vertical graph bar, hoping it would miraculously grow before her eyes). Sigh.

He’s talented, this is true. He’s an artist. He’s an architect, and he recently taught himself how to play the second movement of  Layla on the piano. Some of his paintings have even been rented for filming Hawaii Five-0 this season. It’s times like these that I’m so proud of him. And times like these (I hate to confess), I feel like an underachiever.

He said to me once, “I only do the things I’m good at.” 

Hmm. Simple. To the point. Makes sense, right? Maybe it’s a guy thing. The least amount of effort for the maximum amount of effect? Whereas women tend to delve into the process of things: conversations, analyzing movies, analyzing our conversations about movies, but the best is when we analyze our conversations about conversations we had. And when we bring our summaries of our conversations home to include our guys, your top three best (and safest) responses should probably include:

  1. Really? She said that?
  2. Oh, how does that make you feel?
  3. Uh-huh. I would feel the same way, too.

[Try it. If it works, post me a comment, okay? You’ll be amazed at how much faster the her mood will improve when we think you’re listening to us.]

So I don’t only do the things that I’m good at. Does that mean I intentionally open myself up to the bumps and valleys of little victories? Maybe it’s not a guy-girl thing. In any case, tomorrow, there’s going to be room to hang our Tagami painting on the wall again. Tomorrow, I will share the great news with our friends and family about another one of Craig’s painting sold. Tomorrow, I’m sure my stats will probably look the same.  But  really, ALL of those are OUR small victories. And I am happy about that.

Countdown to the kiss: what does it reveal?

Countdown to the kiss image

photo by sarizzzzzle

When I was in the second grade, I asked my parents why they never kissed, especially before my dad went off to work.  At that age, I thought all husbands should have a normal routine of kissing their wives at least once a day.

Apparently, my mother got a tickle from my question so she placed the idea on  the dinner table next to the Beef Stroganoff. My father, being a man of no bedside manner at home, had no comment. But the next day, before he left to make his evening rounds, my mom escorted him to the front door. I was left perched on top of the stairs, peering through the balustrade, and witnessed what I believed was their sixth kiss of all time! They seemed awkward: trying to figure out who should lean forward, who should tilt their head a bit left or right.

Of course their routine lasted less than a week, which if I had known what foreshadowing meant in the second grade, it would have spared me a handful of  revisiting-your-childhood sessions in therapy.

Fast forward to present day relationship with my partner, Craig. And I was wondering? Do we have a routine? Is it bad to have one? Should we have a routine and then mix it up with spontaneous kisses–yes, yes! I like this.

There are soooo many types of kisses, but my ultimate real-life favorite kisses I like to give and receive include:

  •  the 3-seconds kiss planted softly at the top of the forehead
  • The Anticipator (consists of a double kiss) one full on the lips and a softer one off centered and lingering
  • 0h, and I absolutely adore the one second kisses in the middle of the night when he thinks I’m asleep. He’ll kiss me on the my check, after brushing my hair away from my face, accompanied with a whisper, “I love you so much.”
And then there are the movie kisses. Don’t get me wrong, we get to rehearse a lot of these types, too. The movie kisses are the ones I call the countdown kisses. Five, ten, twenty second kisses or longer. I hope no couple has forgotten these, but just in case, you can be inspired with the video. If I were in the second grade, and YouTube existed, you know what I’d make my parents watch during dinner, right? 

Bear and Booby and Reincarnation

Both Bear and Booby are resting on their backs, squinting at the bright sky through the thick monkey pod tree branches.

BEAR (looking at the sky): Do you believe in reincarnation?

BOOBY (looking at the sky also): Yeah.

BEAR: But I don’t get it.

BOOBY: What don’t you get?

BEAR: A thousand years ago, there were less of us on Earth. Now we have billions. Where are all the souls coming from?

BOOBY: What do you mean? Where are they coming from?

BEAR (turns his head toward Booby): Back then there were 1 billion souls being reincarnated; now we have 10 billion. Where did the new souls come from?

BOOBY: Well, I think, they always existed.

BEAR (returns to looking at the sky, then looks at Booby’s feet, then back to they sky) : Really?

BOOBY: Yeah. Not everyone gets a chance to be reincarnated.

BEAR: So they wait?

BOOBY: Wait and ponder.

BEAR (still trying to avoid looking at Booby’s feet): Wait and ponder. Ponder about what?

BOOBY: Oh, about this and that.

[15 seconds of silence pass]

(BEAR grunts and tries to sit up quickly. Looks over at Booby)                     BEAR: So these ponderers could be sitting and thinking under the tree where we are right now?

BOOBY (looks over at Bear and back at the sky. She knows Bear is staring and she’s trying not to let her irritation grow): Sure.

BOBBY: We’re probably two physical beings amongst a thousand invisible souls who chose to ponder in the shade for a bit before moving elsewhere.

BEAR: Well,  I think that’s fascinating. How many souls do you think exist in the Universe?

BOOBY: See, that’s the thing. There is no finite number. Your thinking is physical and limited. The Universe isn’t limited to the solar system we know. I’d imagine it’s an infinite number of solar systems with many beings in many systems. 

BEAR: Oh. That’s a lot of souls.

BOOBY: Infinitely so.

That’s U-nique, not Eunuch

The answer will present itself when the time is right.

I love tragic love stories. To me, they are much more memorable. You hardly remember a movie if the boy gets the girl at the end. It’s done. Tied up neatly. Life goes on. With tragic couples, you replay parts of the movie, imagining the what-if’s and why couldn’t they….? Frintstance, Bridges of Madison County, Titanic,  Broke Back Mountain, and Autumn in New York (not necessarily in that order).

There’s a line from Autumn where Winona Ryder describes her mom, “She was truly a U-nique.” And I thought she said something else. Glad that wasn’t the direction of the movie.

There’s been much discussion in our home about posting what’s popular vs. what you desire. Taking photos which appeal to the general audience? Or photograph what we like to see when we emerge from behind the lenses.

The other day, when I cracked opened my fortune cookie, it told me:

Be yourself. An original is always worth more than a copy.

I believe the Universe (or whatever higher power you believe in, if any) provides answers when we’re ready to accept them. Funnyweird, right?  Or maybe just a  co-inky-dink? So just for the record, when it come to this blog and my writing wishes, I want to be a U-nique. Not the other one, okay?