Evolve

The organist and vocalist were late. I hated my dress. I had little say in the flowers. Yet, there was a smile on my face. I was following in the footsteps of those young women who had gone down the aisle before me. No, not my bridesmaids — the women who followed in the footsteps of their mothers and their mother’s mothers before them.

The person who walked down the aisle that day so many years ago seems like a completely different person from the one who writes here today. I had different beliefs, even though my values have remained the same. We base our beliefs on myths and facts  that updated as new information becomes available.

Values are the things we find important, and although the priorities of our values may shift with time or age, they typically remain unchanged. I value love, but I no longer believe marriage is the only way to secure it. Does that help explain it? Life doesn’t grant do-overs, but it does grant start-overs, and we are all encouraged to grow and evolve.

barbara-billingsleyJune Cleaver and Mary Scott were my role models. June Cleaver was a fictional character on a black and white television show where men came home from work expecting quiet children and dinner on the table. June was known for her impeccable dresses and tidy pearls.

20580367823_243881f7c6_zMary Scott was my grandmother. She was a non-fictional character who watched me while my mother worked. She was known for her jet-black hair, slight frame, and dainty gestures.

Both June and Mary believed it was the woman’s duty and privilege to run the home while their husbands worked. Their homes were always as tidy as their skirts by the time their spouse returned home, and they knew how to get a steaming dinner on the table at the same time each day. Boy, did I have a rude awakening!

It’s hard to talk about how I might have done things differently if I had a the chance. After all, I might have had different children, or no children at all. I’d have waited. I’d have learned more about myself. I’d have considered the impact my choices make on the world, and my life. But life doesn’t give us do-overs. Fortunately, it does give us start-overs.

Is it time to update your beliefs? What myths might you hold as truth? What facts must be updated with new information? What are your values? Do you need to reprioritize them based on a change in your life, age, job, or family?

My children are waiting for marriage and children. I’m proud of the choices they’re making. If they do decide to do either, they’ll have so much more to offer their spouse and/or children. They’ll have a better idea of how to live with other people. They’ll have a better grasp of their own values and beliefs, and not rely on ones borrowed from their parents, grandparents, or fictional t.v. characters.

It’s okay to change your beliefs. It’s okay to realign your values. It doesn’t mean you’re a whole different person. It means you’re evolving.

Peace . . .

Evolution
Evolve.
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BOGOs. More Evidence that the World is for Twosomes

Instead of clipping, sorting, and filing newspaper ad coupons every week, I watch for coupons through member perks.  Everyone has a membership program these days.  I have three coffee shop apps that track my activity, send me coupons, and even let me pay, all on my phone.  Everyone from convenience stores to Chinese restaurants message me to stop in and pick up the latest special just for the trouble of showing them the text.  

Text coupons are convenient.  They don’t clutter up my purse.  I always have them with me.  There is nothing to throw out when they expire.  The problem?   Half of these coupons are BOGOs.

Technically, I’m not a single.  I’m not married, but Bubba and I are a pair.  Two peas in the same pod.  I’d love nothing more than to take him out on one of my BOGOs and spend a lazy morning conversing over two cups of coffee, one of them free.  Except he doesn’t like coffee.  He doesn’t like hot chocolate, frozen blended drinks, or teas — neither hot nor iced.  The only thing he wants from my coffee shop is a muffin and a Coke.  And he doesn’t want to laze around watching the sun come up while eating his muffin.  No.  In fact if you blink, you might miss seeing him eat it at all.  So I happily go alone.

When my kids were in school, they sold coupon books for fundraisers.  My mom would probably have bought one, except they were mostly BOGOs and she was a widow.  When they were both alive, Mom was a loner, and had no problem seeing a movie or stopping for lunch by herself.    A BOGO would have gone unused even then.

I get what they’re doing.  They want your business, but they also want you to bring someone else.  That way they can get more add-on sales with food, beverages or desserts.  They’re also trying to double their pay-off for the marketing.  Except they are excluding half of their audience, so in a way I really don’t get it.

Cup of Caribou Coffee
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For Valentine’s Day, my coffee shop sent out a BOGO text.  I wondered how irritating that is to those who have no valentine, or for those who have loved and lost.  It’s not enough that I have to listen to those horrible diamond commercials on the radio.  Now I have to consider buying two small lattes in the drive-through, drinking them both on the way home.

How about they just give me a percentage off my entrée?  Or a free dessert?  What about buy a coffee, and get a free muffin?  Now that’s something Bubba could sink his teeth into.  Or swallow whole, whichever comes first.

Peace . . .

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Intricate

Untitled

“To be well married you have to have a penchant for the intricacies of intimacy and larval change..If the personality is a spider’s web, you will want to know every thread…Pleasures no longer come to you, but there are pickings to be had if you can learn to scavenge for them”

— Hanif Kureishi, The Body

For more photographic interpretations of Intricate, or to take part in The Weekly Photo Challenge, go to The Daily Post.

The ring bearer’s pillow pictured above exhibits the Norwegian art of Hardanger.  Even weave fabric, cut between series of satin stitches, creates intricate open designs.  I made it in 1982 at the age of 21. 

I haven’t done this Weekly Photo Challenge in a while and I’ve missed it.

Peace . . .

Two Peas in a Very Small Pod

Peas in pods.
Peas in pods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s been almost two years since Bubba moved in.  Or is it three?  There was some adjustment at first, but then we seemed to fit in like two peas in a pod.  A very small pod.

 

We moved Bubba in slowly.  First it was blankets and seasonal boxes.  You know, the things no one really notices showing up at your house.  Later, we would move in a knick-knack or two, maybe some boots or coats.  I emptied out half of my dresser space and one of the bedroom closets.  As those filled up, I hardly noticed he was starting to occupy what used to be my space.

 

SVG version of the screenshot found at Image:E...
Image:Emacs Tetris  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Then one weekend, we piled the rest of his apartment into the back of a rental truck like it was a championship game of Tetris.  *All at once I understood George Carlin when he said, “Have you ever noticed that their stuff is shit and your shit is stuff?”  

 

By American standards we live in a small house.  In fact, according to **Apartment Therapy, we live in a house much closer in size to the average French.  For this reason, I prefer the minimalist look — you know, tuck all the clutter out of sight, so it looks like I don’t own any.  Bubba likes the honest approach.  His things are all out where he can access them.  No matter what devices I employ to keep his useful shit hidden, he always finds a way to keep it out next to my pretty stuff.

 

My grandparents, who lived in an even smaller home than we, demonstrated compromise in the most basic way.  Grampa would turn up the heat and Gramma would open a window.  If they were displeased with the other, they never showed it.  This was possibly my first and best lesson in cooperation.

 

Someone once said it’s never to late to teach an old pea new tricks . . . or something like that.  Bubba and I are still finding new ways to live together in this wee pod.

 

When we make our grocery run, we share a cart; my food on one side, Bubba’s on the other.  The fact that we disagree about whether to place the soda in the cart or underneath it, or how to park the cart in the bagging area fade in comparison to the system for which we have devised for loading it into the car.  We are a well-oiled machine.  If grocery-loading were an Olympic sport, we’d take gold.

 

Provided we take my car out on errands, I drive.   When I’m backing out, Bubba yells out “Clear!” as if I’m paying him for it.  If we take his car, he drives.  When Bubba backs out, I just close my eyes.  Keeping my eyes closed keeps me from gasping, which in turn keeps peace in the car.

 

I like listening to my audiobook during my morning routine.  Bubba says absolutely nothing in the morning, preferring to grunt unintelligibly akin to a Neanderthal.  This is how our mornings pass; him not interesting in speaking, me not interesting in listening.  The perfect non-communication.

 

These are a just a few of the ways that couples such as us become a partnership through tolerance, teamwork, and cooperation.  What works for one pair may not necessarily work for another, which makes it all the more fascinating.  I would bet that some of the most retold stories in your family are those of couples coming to terms with their relationship.  They are the  lessons of life, fables for the future.

 

Bubba loves his treats, and once they’re in the house, I can’t resist.  The thing is, Bubba likes his cookies and bars soft and chewy.  I like them crisp and crunchy.  One day he was breaking off the outside edge of the cookie.

Cookies

Me:  What are you DOING?
Bubba:  Ish aw hard (with a mouthful of soft middle-cookie).
Me:  That’s the best PART!
Bubba:  Mmm . . . nooo . . Dish ish d goob part.
Me:  Are you THROWING these OUT?
Bubba:  Mmm-hmm (with a look of serious disgust).

Since then, Bubba and I buy one cookie between us.  He eats the middle.  I eat the outside.  If I make a pan of brownies, I get the edges, he eats the gooey middle, and as it turns out we are quite happy.  As happy, in fact . . .

 

. . . as two peas in a very small pod.

 

Peace . . .

 

George Carlin
Cover of George Carlin

*George Carlin was one of Bubba’s favorite people.  He can quote several of George’s bits, and he hung a large poster of “An Incomplete List of Impolite Words: 2,443 Filthy Words and Phrases Compiled by George Carlin” in our bathroom.  Just one more way we live together in this little pod fit for two.

 

**Thank you to Lois of Living Simply Free for leading me to this site.

 

 

 

Living in Sin

 

Love
Love (Photo credits: PB Teen)

Shacking up.  Cohabitation.  Domestic Partnership.  Living over the brush.  It doesn’t matter what you call it.  Bubba and I live under the same roof outside of matrimony.

We enjoy much of the same music, films, and even have the same sick sense of humor.  We share everything from living space to groceries.  Bubba and I have every intention of doing this till-death-do-us-part thing.  Sounds like marriage.  So why not just get married?

  • Children need safe, peaceful, loving homes.  Bubba and I aren’t raising any children.  There is the dog, of course, and separation could make that very messy indeed.  However, no children will be harmed in the making, or unmaking, of this relationship.  I am glad my family was born into a home with a mother and father, but I’m not sure that marriage is what made that happen.  Children are born into all kinds of good and bad homes.  Marriage does not guarantee that.
  • I don’t believe in sin.  I know there is good in the world, and unfortunately, bad too.  The bad stuff hurts children, kills people, and makes the world a scary place.  The home in which we live is a good place.  We believe in love and peace, and all that hippie stuff.  No, we aren’t smokin’ anything.
  • I don’t need a license to tell me I’m committed.  Signing that contract is easy and cheap.  Getting out of it can be difficult and expensive.  That’s the point, isn’t it?  We want someone to think twice before they walk out that door — and make ’em pay when they do.  As if breaking a relationship and dividing up your stuff isn’t painful enough.  Yeah . . . no one thinks twice about that sort of thing.
"MARRIAGE AND PISTOL LICENSE" office...
Coincidence?

I want to wake up every morning knowing we made the choice — today — to be together.  I have made no vow before anyone but him that I will be here tomorrow.  There is no paper saying that I must share everything with him and he with me.  We choose to do that daily.

Will a license or marriage ceremony ensure that my partner will always love me?  That he will remain faithful?  That he will allow me space to grow and change?  Of course not.  It all comes down to trust.  Do we trust each other enough to marry?  Indeed . . . do we trust each other enough not to?

If, for some reason, we fall out of love — and that can happen — I don’t want to keep him here by a signature on paper.  I want to be free for each of us to find someone who will love and adore and cherish us again.  I love him that much.  I love myself that much.  If a paper and public vow is the only thing holding him here, I say GO!  The only thing that hurts more than breakup and divorce are lies and regret.

While it is true we don’t have a wedding anniversary, I think we have something better.  Sometimes when we are going to a nice dinner, Bubba will say, “This is our anniversary, isn’t it?”  And then we will spend the evening in celebration.  It might be any month(s) of the year, but we celebrate.  At some point, I will usually estimate how many years and months we have been together.  Bubba typically responds, “Really?  Well, I’ll be go ta heck!”

“Bert + Ernie for Marriage Equality” / Toy Sto...
“Bert + Ernie for Marriage Equality”

As for those around me with different points of view, I support you wholeheartedly to keep them.  I will attend your wedding, raise a glass to the honored couple, and hand-wrap the gift.  As a matter of fact, some of my favorite people live in wedded bliss or will soon, and I am glad for them.  And some of those people only recently received the right to marry.  It’s shameful to believe this took so long in a nation that claims separation of church and state.

Whatever your intention, no one should enter into a relationship feeling like the other is the better half, or that they are not complete without the other.  Rather, offer a whole person to the other, that you will form a partnership together.  Merge your lives together as a strong force of two, and not a single bond of one.

 

Peace . . .

 

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Valentine’s Day Game-ON!

valentine

I’m so tired of hearing about how everyone hates Valentine’s Day.  You might reply, “That’s easy for you to say, you have Bubba.”  Let me tell you a thing about Bubba and me.  We refuse to assimilate to the expectations of modern society.  In other words, we are disgusted by holidays that get all blown out of proportion because someone is trying to make a buck.

  • Are you dreading Valentine’s Day because you don’t have anyone to share it with?  Share it with a friend, an offspring, or go take your mom and/or dad out to dinner for crying out loud!  If you really don’t have ANYone who wants to be with you for a couple of hours, you have more problems than worrying about getting a heart-shaped box of chocolates.
  • Are you spending hours trying to come up with an original Valentine’s gift?  Let me clue you in.  If she/he is going to be disappointed because you didn’t come up with something that has never been thought of before, you should be spending those hours trying to find a way out.
  • Are you hoping for a proposal?  Isn’t that rather trite?  How about Friday, September 13th.  Now that’s a good day for a proposal!
  • Are you lamenting over how to propose?  Wowing someone with a ring is easy.  It’s the next 50 years that get tricky.  You’re setting the bar here.  Make sure you set it low enough that you have room to raise it every 5 years or so.  You’re going to need that wiggle room.  I’d also like to know why we don’t hear about women proposing?  Aren’t we supposed to be all equal and everything?

..~~*~~..

Before you go criticizing me for being a romantic party-pooper, let me tell you that I am very romantic.  I think that covering me with a blanket after I’ve fallen asleep on the couch is a sign of true love.  Talking to me about the philosophical significance of The Tree of Life is a turn on.  Bringing home Sezchuan on Friday night is the fastest way to my heart, and possibly heartburn, but I digress.  I love love.  This is all I require, but I require it constantly.  Not just every February 14th.  On February 14th Bubba and I like to gorge ourselves on some of those mini pink and red cupcakes and joke about how we didn’t need reservations.

cupcake

Have I depressed you yet?  Good.  Let’s pick up our spirits with a little game.  Everyone gets a prize, so you can’t lose!

  1. How It Works:  This is an instant-win game beginning immediately and ending at 11:59:59 PM PT February 15th, 2013 (The day after Valentine’s Day).  One Grand Prize will also be available to be won during the promotion period.  In addition there will be a First Prize(s) available to be won during this promotion period.  The Grand Prize will be revealed online at WholeyJeans.wordpress.com by Sunday, February 17th, 2013 at 11:59:59 PM PT.  See Rule #5 for Prize details available to be won during promotion period.  No purchase is necessary, nor is it possible.
  2. Eligibility:  The Game is open to all married, single, divorced, partnered, widowed registrants ages 2 or older as of the date of participation.  Employees of WholeyJeans World Headquarters (Barney, Sabbath, and Bun), and promotion agencies (Bubba) are not eligible.  All federal, state, local, and especially household laws apply.
  3. How To Register:  Any time between now and the end of the promotion period (see Rule #1), submit your entry in the comment section of this post.  Entry must include 1) Participant’s intended recipient (by description only — no name required), and 2) Detail of how you played/will play the game (See Rule #4).  Then click “post comment” to successfully complete your registration.
  4. How to Play:  Participant must choose a non-romantic recipient to acknowledge for Valentine’s Day, such as a favorite cashier, co-worker, administrative assistant, receptionist, neighbor, server, or anyone Participant sees regularly, but has never acknowledged for Valentine’s Day.  Participant may acknowledge their recipient through email, verbally, anonymously, by card/gift/song, through postal delivery, or any other generosity.  Recipient must know this benevolence is in celebration of Valentine’s Day, and understand why they are appreciated by Participant.
  5. Available Game Prizes:  The Grand Prize and First Prize(s) will be revealed online at WholeyJeans.wordpress.com by the end of the day on Sunday, February 16, 2013.  The winners of the Grand Prize and First Prize(s) will be at the discretion of WholeyJeans.
    • Grand Prize:  An Official Cupid’s Arrow through the heart, and top mention on the Prize Reveal Post on Sunday, February 17, 2013.
    • First Prize(s):  Authenticated Valentine Hugs (kisses if appropriate) and mentions on the Prize Reveal Post on Sunday, February 17, 2013.
    • Honorable Mentions:  May be awarded as necessary.
    • Instant Prize Winners:  Every Participant is an Instant Prize Winner!  Instant Prize will be awarded upon completion of Game Rule #4 in the form of heartfelt joy, a smile to be worn across the face, and a positive attitude adjustment toward Valentine’s Day.
    • All winners will be linked to their related blogs, if applicable.  All winners will be notified by comment reply to their registration.
  6. Release of Liability:  By accepting any Prize, Winners (and parent/legal guardian if Winner is a minor in his/her state of residence) agree to hold Employees of WholeyJeans World Headquarters (Barney, Sabbath, and Bun), and promotion agencies (Bubba) harmless against any and all claims of giddiness, kindness, or softening of the heart arising out of acceptance, redemption, and/or use of any Prize.

NOTICE:  ANY ATTEMPT OF AN INDIVIDUAL TO DELIBERATELY UNDERMINE VALENTINE’S DAY OR THE OPERATION OF THIS GAME IS A VIOLATION OF GLOBAL LOVE AND PEACE, AND SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEPT BE MADE, SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO POKE HOLES IN EACH OF SAID INDIVIDUAL’S CHOCOLATE HEART ASSORTMENT.

Now go find your unsuspecting target.
Game on!