Tag Archives: love

Feel the Earth Move


Although I don’t know how it works,  I do believe in time travel.  I keep experiencing it.  I can remember a moment in 1971 that keeps repeating itself.  It was a defining experience in my life and probably in the life of my generation.  Carole King brought us with her through her album “Tapestry”.  It is the music that brings us back and forth every moment we hear every song. We sing along. We remember everything about the album…the cover…the playlist…the words. We remember where we were and how we felt.  It became our mantra.

I stood in the audience at the PPAC (Providence Performing Arts Center) after sitting through the show “Beautiful” yesterday afternoon.  The last moments of the performance had the actress who plays Carole King inviting the audience to sing along to “I Feel the Earth Move”.  We were in complete harmony,  in sync, and totally full of the joy of the moment and the memories of our past.  I stood next to my FHB and we sang our hearts out.  We knew all the words, and felt every word, and moved like it was 1971.  We didn’t know one another back then but in our collective minds, I was seventeen and he was twenty-one, and it was now, but it was then.  Eavesdropping on the awakening and the love life of Carole King and Gerry Goffin, as we witnessed the story behind the music, was bittersweet.  We knew how it ended but knew that this was where Tapestry began.

We all have our own stories of becoming our future selves as teenagers into adulthood.  We know the feelings  of love and love lost and unrequited love.  We knew what we wanted in our imagination, might or might not be our path.  My life began and ended and began again at age forty.  I remember listening to Tapestry at certain crossroads in my life and knowing that the songs and words would help me through. If it helped Carole get to where she was going, could I hope that I would also find my way?

There were a lot of tears yesterday as I thought of how I had gotten from then to now.  I don’t know how it happens.  They weren’t necessarily tears of sadness, but more of the recognition of shoulds and oughts. I should have paid more attention and as much as I remember, I imagine there is as much that I don’t or don’t want to.  As I often say, I am unique, but my story really isn’t.  I ought to be grateful, which I am as much as I allow myself to be, both then and mostly now.  Sometimes this aging thing takes my breath away.

We walked in quiet as we left the theater.  We held hands. For this time I have now, I am going to revel in it.

Listen up….


Executive Decision


Have any of you done anything impulsively because you had made a decision, and it made sense in that moment?   Would I do it again?  Probably not.  In the meantime, I got rid of about 250 CDs.  I wasn’t smart enough to sell them on Ebay or Craigslist.  I didn’t donate them to some worthy organization.  I put them in our building’s common area where people put stuff to share, discard and get rid of.  Within a matter of probably less than thirty minutes they were all gone.  Nothing was left, not even the shopping bags I had put them in.  Someone “made out like a bandit” as my mother would have remarked.

The back story….and then you be the judge.  Probably a week or so before the event, my FHB and I had a discussion.  That generally means I have an idea, and I convey it to him and in his pleasant but half to one quarter listening mode of interaction, I told him that since we were giving some of our furniture to one of our kids, we needed to rearrange things.  I was fairly nondescript in my definition of “things” and when the day came, I moved like lightning and emptied, sorted and discarded our CDs into bags and boxes.  I felt rather victorious, much like I imagine Napoleon did until Waterloo.  My FHB helped me bring the initial group of CDs downstairs.  They included the oldies, the show tunes, classical, rock, classical rock (e.g. the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Beach Boys), music from Frank and Dean and the Eagles and The Doobie Brothers.  It was a virtual CD bloodbath.  I couldn’t stop myself.  The jazz was gone and so was the salsa and tango music.  Oddly enough, I saved all the holiday music we own(ed).  We still have a CD player. Now we can play Silent Night and Carol of the Bells in summer if we want.  That’s about all that’s left.

A few days after (C)D-Day,  my FHB, who had taken the second wave of discs down to the second floor, remarked that he had been listening to the music we had danced to many moons ago, in the parking lot of a New Hampshire State Liquor Store. Back then it was a night in December,  and he put the CD on (Barbra Streisand) and opened the moon roof and we danced to a couple of songs while the music filled the cold night air.  We had been together for only a short time and those were the zany beginnings of our ongoing love affair.  He would take us to some random place to park and we would dance to the music. When he told me this,   I initially was unclear about what exactly he meant.  I think I said “what exactly do you mean?” At this point, he told me that he sorted through some of my discards and rescued them.  He looked at me reproachfully and said “why did you get rid of our music?”  That was the moment I realized I had not quite thought this process through.

My victory turned to ashes.  I asked where those rescued CDs were.  Apparently they are  safely stored in his car.  Different car, but still has a moon roof.  I can’t get the CDs back but with a little bit of luck, on a cold December night, we will dance under the moonlight.

Below …find someone, find a parking lot and dance….

Love and Marriage and Laughter


“I love to laugh
Loud and long and clear
I love to laugh
It’s getting worse every year
The more I laugh, the more I fill with glee
And the more the glee
The more I’m a merrier me”
Mary Poppins “I Love to Laugh” , 1964
I love to laugh…but apparently I am not all that attractive when I laugh. so indicated by  the disapproving look on my FHB’s face.  I’m a barker and a snorter.  I am also a silent, shoulder and full body shaking laugh-er.  This evening there was a conversation during which something my FHB said catapulted me in a full hyena-like laughing fit.  The louder I became, the more incensed the look. It was a like a seesaw of laughter and irritation.  As I sit here and type, I am just about hitting the keys and recalling how wonderful it felt to just “fill with glee”.
Oh, that seesaw of married life….it can be a challenge.  Some days it is like driving on cruise control. It is automatic and regulated and the wind is in your face and hair and then the hair is in your mouth, and you start spitting because it’s gross and you’re making noises and the moment of harmony is gone with the wind.  Those are the moments when the laughter takes over.  Usually it is only funny to me and I just can’t stop.  Then all of a sudden my FHB is looking at me with a grin, trying to look like a grade school principal when the class clown is in front of him.  That moment when the clown knows he owns that moment.  That’s the moment that love reframes the annoyance and life goes on.  The clown wins the point.
The other morning, we actually left the loft at the same time.  My FHB locked the door and I walked ahead down the hall to hail the elevator.  In the morning it is often a wait.  When my FHB arrived at the elevator he looked down at me and said “Hey, cuteness, if my English teacher had looked like you I would have paid more attention”.  From 4’11″(me) to 6′ (him) I looked up shyly and beamed inside and out.  I carried that moment with me all day.  I was shielded by anything negative by that moment.
I don’t watch much television.  However, the television is on much of the time and somehow through some kind of synthesis, I have a sense of what is going on.  I try to corral my FHB when I get home, in an attempt to engage him in conversation about the world news, his work, or maybe tell him about my work.  He doesn’t ask because I usually preempt these moments by blathering on.  He begins to make a weak attempt at feigning twenty seconds of interest and then he goes into some type of suspended animation and barely blinks and his face turns back to the television.  The commercials are apparently far more interesting than my conversation.  That does not stop me once I am on a roll.  I am actually never offended since part of my oratory is my own need to just “drive” the conversation along, and he is like an inflatable dummy in the passenger seat.  The often surprising weird moments are when he references something I had said during one of my monologues, and I realize that he can listen and actually hear me.  I don’t acknowledge this because that might make these moments cease, so I just keep a mental note (book) and smile to myself.
On the nights that I write, he goes to sleep before me.  I often feel the need, when I take a break between words, to go and check on him and I stand over him and stare. I remember doing that when the kids were very little. It made me secure to watch the regularity of their breaths and comforted me. It’s similar with my FHB.  Earlier,  I just went in to take a look and get that feeling of comfort and then one eye opened, and he hissed at me…”What the hell are you staring at?”  I back away, snorted in laughter and thought to myself , he really loves me.

Waiting Room


Shut your eyes (metaphorically) and imagine hearing several voices…and you are hearing “Joey, I told you to sit down”,  “Brad, you don’t belong there…come over here!”,”Tanya, will you stop…how many times do I have to tell you!”  and other conversations…”So how old is she? She is adorable!”, “How do you get her to sit still..mine is always moving, moving!”.  Any guesses where I am….no I am not at the pediatrician’s office.  I am at the vet, with Paka for her annual exam.  I felt a little strange when the technician said to me “What kind of name is ‘Paka’?  I thought, she probably thinks that I am strange, since my cat’s name (which means cat in Swahili) is not a people name. She asked me if Paka was actually Parker.  Paahka…  that is how it would sound in Massachusetts with the Boston accent.  Go figure.

I love to people watch.  I love to people watch people with their pets.  The veterinarian waiting room is like a incubator for observations of dialogue and behaviors, and many one-sided conversations between the pet parents and their “offspring”.  It’s actually a much friendlier place than my primary care doctor’s waiting room. There’s a lot more eye contact.  I was absolutely fascinated by Brad (who was a pitbull….yeah…Brad the Pit) who couldn’t have cared less about what his mother was asking.  Lily the little white puff barked incessantly and every time her mother told her to quiet down, just barked in response.  It was beyond comical.  When we were finally taken into the exam room, Paka, who I believe was keeping her eyes shut so as to say “I hope this is all a bad dream”, seemed reluctant to come out of her carrying case.  The doctor, who I adore, always asks me the same litany of questions about Paka and her health (any vomiting?), her state of mind (so did she seem angry with you when she rode in the car, and was she particularly vocal?) and inquired whether she seemed bored.  I stated that she vomited when she ate kohlrabi leaves that morning, and that she was rather “indignant” when taken out of her home, and that in fact, she tempers her boredom with periods of long naps and bird watching out the loft windows.  He smiled at me with his amazing smile and seemed happy with my answers.  It’s always the same “dance” but I never mind.

Veterinarians are really special humans who have to develop relationships with both the pet parents and the pets.  They take care of your special friends from cradle to grave. When our twenty year old cat, Lucy, became more and more frail, and it seemed like it was her time to leave us, our vet was compassionate and patient and helped us let her go.  Our family will be forever grateful for his guidance and support.  I baked him cookies.

I am someone who has always loved animals, despite being bitten in the face by a nasty schnauzer named Sonny (Corleone) and scratched by a large gray cat named Molly.  Animals seem to have moved up the ranks from working animals, mousers and beasts of burden, to pampered creatures with people names.  The days of Fluffy and Duke seem behind us, along with people names like Bertha and Ike.  Mittens and King seem so yesterday.  Both my childhood cats were named Charlie (actually Charlie #1 was Charlene but we didn’t know that until the vet confirmed it).  My dog (who came with his name from the rescue, was also Charley (note the ‘Y’).  Personification makes these loving, doting creatures, rise in stature.  There’s a whole industry that is supporting pets. I just saw a television program in which a man was pitching wine for cats.  We have lost our minds for sure.  But when Paka comes and sits next to my FHB and watches television with him (especially the news) we feel comforted that it may be a dog -eat-dog world out there, but it’s a peaceable kingdom in the loft.

Lucky Me


Profundity.  Patient.  Insightful. Quiet. Observant.  Traits of a man who fishes and rarely catches a fish and yet tries again in the face of failure.  Perseverance.  Someone who wants to catch a Christmas fish on Christmas Day during a light snow.  No fish, but hot chocolate waiting for when the fish don’t show up.  Someone who says, after listening to Buzz Aldrin as the keynote speaker,  who arrived late to one of our childrens’ college graduation,  because he said he lost his way and you can’t make this stuff up, “I would rather hear a common man who spoke extraordinarily, rather than an extraordinary man who sucks!”.  This man who upon seeing a classic stone wall while meandering on a drive through a rural area says ” stone walls are the jewelry that decorate a house”.  They are the words that I write down to remember, because they are the words of someone who sees things truly as they are.  These are the words that blow me away and captured my heart when I wasn’t planning to find someone to do any more than have a cup of coffee with.  I often say to him, “I wasn’t planning on you and yet here we are”.

My FHB and I are celebrating our wedding anniversary next week.  Sometimes I forget the years because it all seems so seamless.  I didn’t plan to find such a good friend over that first cup of coffee.  After coffee, he suggested dinner, and subsequently I countered with telling him that I had a dog who was waiting for me to walk him.  He asked if he could meet my dog.  I acquiesced because my dog was a very good judge of character and I thought if he could pass the “Charley” test, he might be someone to have dinner with.  He passed the test. Charley even allowed him to hold his leash and soon Charley allowed himself to love my FHB and it was mutual.  There is something to be said for “love me, love my dog” and for someone who didn’t know dogs, I knew that was big and that it was going to get bigger.

We are not alike although we share a common world view on most issues.  His words are metered while mine are endless at times.  I know I am often the “Lucy” to his “Ricky”, and, sometimes I am the “Lucy” to his “Charlie Brown”.  I can snipe and show my ire and lash in the way that Scorpios can do.  He will take the high road and that is often enough for me to know I crossed a line.  We are adults.  I acknowledge my bad behavior and we go on.  No grudges but kindness.  At fifty and fifty four, respectively, we were pretty set, each in our own way.  We didn’t need to get married.  We had enough offspring between us to keep us on our toes and of course we had Charley.  We laugh a lot.  To make him smile and smirk is a daily goal.  The eye rolls are his way of tempering my nuttiness.  We live a fairly simple life that include family and friends, and quiet moments taken to just pay attention and hold on to one another.  We know that time is too precious to get caught in the maelstrom of being right, when all we want is peace and contentment. It is  to know that in the dark moments and in the light ones, we have someone to navigate with.  We take turns holding the map.  It works.  I am very lucky.

An Open and Shut Case


Many years ago, a supervisor I had, made the comment that tall people are reliant on short people, rather than the other way around.  From where I stand, I have moments when I agree.  My father used to say that the only difference between someone who is short and someone who is tall is merely the  shin bone, and that the butcher throws that bone away. I am fairly sure that this is complete nonsense but when I was shorter than other kids, I held onto that belief.  He was a giant among men, in my eyes, but was only about five foot six to other people.  Point of fact, I was rarely taller than other kids, but that just got me first or second position in line and the attribute of being “cute”.

One’s stature (height not social) is something that we have no more control over than our eye color.  It evolves as we do based on our genes.  It is not a character flaw but merely something that we attempt to measure up to because somehow that matters.  I live with my FHB (and Paka the cat) who is over a foot taller than me.  The cat is much shorter than I am but has access to much higher places because she is a cat.  The height disparity is more of a humorous detail in my FHB’s and my relationship.  The only bone of contention that I have, which he appears oblivous to, is that he leaves doors open, both room and kitchen cabinet and the kitchen doors are just at approximately my eye level.  I have to duck and cover at times so as not to make contact with the sharp corners. When we cook together, his approach to culinary organization, is to open every cabinet and look for things for a recipe.  He appears to make an attempt to find various ingredients, but it seems rather mysterious to him, almost as though I rearrange things at night, just to irk him.  He is hardly a guest in the house, but often, he will ask, in earnest “where do we keep the..” whatever it might be.  I will move him out of my way, and point up to what he is looking for, and like Sherlock Holmes, he has solved the case. I, am, of course, Watson.  I do rely on him to reach to the top shelf or cabinet which he does effortlessly and of course, he does not see that he leaves the door open.  He’s a good man and so I wordlessly ( but in my head, out loud) just close it after him.  It is almost comedic…almost.  He will open a closet door and walk away and sit down and do what he needs to and NEVER shut the door, ever.  It is as though, mid task, something else comes to mind, never to return to the matter, or door, at hand.  I sense, that I may be thought of as picky. Perhaps.

I think I need to balance my “issue”, which I own completely, with a positive event that my FHB and I shared a week or so ago.  We do collaborate and working on household projects, I am a loyal and helpful assistant. I can identify many tools by name and never call things “thing-ys”.  I watch This Old House and all the woodworking shows and seem to have synthsized many skills, none of which I actually use, because I am the assistant.

Last week, I put on a pair of earrings that I had ordered in the mail.  I had come home from work and the package was there. I have no ability to put off doing certain things that should probably wait, so I put on the earrings and admired my good taste.  One of my household commitments, is to the care and feeding of Paka.  This involves food preparation and cat litter box maintenance.  I am a responsible adult and while I am doing the latter, I go to my happy place in my mind, and just get the job over with.  Paka was quite pleased and left me with a little personally manufactured gift in her box, to thank me for recognizing that it had been time to clean.  Can’t say I was grateful.  As I washed my hands at the bathroom sink, I looked in the mirror only to discover, I was wearing one earring.  I was quite annoyed with myself.  I did a bit of  chastising and then scouted around the house, retracing my steps, which all led back to the cat litter box.   It seemed evident to me that the old litter, now in a trash bag,  might be hiding my new earring.  A quandry….what to do. Do I admit my flaw?  Do I venture to go on this dig unaided?  Yes, to the first, and no to the second.  I called in my assistant.  I explained what I had done and what needed to be done.  This is where my FHB rocks my world.  I put on surgical gloves (non sterile, good for when you make meatloaf).  I lifted the bag up and as my FHB patiently held the bag I sifted through it and move the contents to another bag after I used the litter scoop (my FHB’s brilliant suggestion) to transfer “items” and look for the earring.  He stood patiently, and did not say a word.  I can’t of course know what he was thinking, but I saw that he was committed to helping me.  The end of the story is that the earring never appeared despite our joint efforts at search and recovery.  Luckily, I didn’t invest much, but they were pretty, and they did look good for about five minutes (give or take).  He never said much about it and let me just stew in my own reckless misery.  That’s the synergy we create.  He’s open to helping and I just shut my mouth.


Peace of Heart


Complexity.  A metaphor for love.  A vital part of our functioning that can be strong and at a moment’s notice, can break, or get damaged.  And yet, our heart, collective or individual, can grow in ways we never considered, expanding to include the best of the most miraculous events, and at other times, can contract when things become too much, too difficult.

This particular calendar year has been filled with  my own  growth as well as  the expansion of my heart.  I am also surrounded by so many people who have had the same experience, finding that falling in love can happen over and over, and over again.  Hearts melt and swell with the joy of new family members in the guise of babies!  Some of us have become grandparents again, or for the first time, and others have become parents, aunts, uncles and whatever name your relationship with someone new takes on.  It redefines our place in the universe, as we are reminded that we are on a path which recognizes we are forever changing, and the change is happening around us, and sometimes to us, but that we are impacted in some way we might not have expected.

I am always surprised at how much I can love, and how my capacity grows.  My oldest granddaughter, at 3, can show me that she can be compassionate, funny, serious and joyful, all in a matter of moments. She invites my FHB and me into her world and to watch her figure out what she wants, and how she can discover something new. engages us, time after time. It never, ever, gets old.  We fall in love every time we see her, or see her picture.   The best part is when she speaks to us and it’s just us, listening and having a conversation.  Three year olds are incredibly smart and teach us so much.  My newest granddaughter, at almost eight months can smile and connect and communicate with her eyes and her vocalizations and we just enjoy holding and hugging and kissing this lovely girl. We are kept in the moment, which is a child’s mission.  It is about them, and now, and the world goes away and our attention is riveted.

There is awe in watching the generation we have created take on the world, creating their next generation, as well as figuring out how to recognize the needs of others and take care of business. We hope that they can  rebuild the broken hearts and broken systems for the people who live among us and those who have been born this year in our world.   We too, have faced a lot of unexpected pain and damage, imagining the world a certain way, only to find out, it is not the way we thought it was, or was going to be.  When things don’t work out, we have to reach out and try again, until it is better, and better for us and for everyone.  We have to put our heart in it, and take heart and heal that which is broken.

As the year closes, many are grateful to put it behind them, as it may be a ledger sheet that has more minuses than pluses.  It’s all how you spin it.  It was “the best of times,it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness…”.  It was all of it,  and yet, if you add up what you decided to take on, and minus those things you let go of, for good or for bad, you may discover that you may have broken even.  For those who were not around to see this year, or those who left us this year, we must acknowledge that new life and every life is precious and important.  We take a chance, with every beat of our heart, to live the best life we can.  It seems like it was just a year ago, and here we are again.  I need very little, but want very much, not for me but for those who have a piece of my heart.