Tag Archives: love

Tribute


my childhood girlfriend lost her mother this past week. though we correspond periodically and share pictures of facebook, i haven’t seen m since my mother’s funeral, because we live on opposite sides of the country. but the people you reach out to when a nuclear family member dies are those who knew that nuclear family back in the day because there’s a special kind of bond that was forged.

eight years ago at my mother’s funeral, m’s mother was in the beginning stages of alzheimer’s and though she looked the same, it was clear that she was struggling with the disease. i know the disease progressed mightily over the years, and necessitated m’s family placing their mother in a facility where she would be safe and properly cared for. and the facebook pictures of her with her mother and the new grandchild hid the sadness and struggle with an unforgiving disease.

but i only saw a tiny glimpse of her mother’s change as she wondered away from m at the reception after my mother’s funeral and so i’m free to remember her mother as she was a half century ago.

m’s family emigrated here from portugal and lived just a block away from us. she is two years older than me, as were most of my close friends when i was growing up. i can’t remember exactly when we first met, but i know that we were friends when my father died and still friends when her father died just a couple of years later. we navigated our middle and high school years together with our fractured families and each walked down the aisle to get married without a father’s escort.

m’s mom was warm and inviting and i can still hear her hearty laugh. m’s grandmother also lived with them and i remember her mother and grandmother sitting at the dining room table and conversing in portuguese while m and i played with barbies in the living room. the lilting softness of the language drifted in from the next room, punctuated by laughter and just felt so comfortable.

my mother didn’t work and m’s did, so i thought she was just so interesting because she had a job. she was a seamstress in a factory in downtown los angeles, sportswear i think, and i will never forget the day m’s mom took us both to her workplace. i saw the rows of machines and racks of finished clothes, which all seemed like magic to me, but i will never forget the band saw like contraption that was used to cut three foot-thick stacks of fabric. my mom was a home seamstress and all of us girls in the family learned to sew, but to see garments being made on a huge scale was utterly fascinating. i had a flashback to that moment when our daughter took us on a tour of the sewing factory where she now works in production and design.

m’s mom also owned a corvair and we got to ride in it. to me, that car was just about as cool as a mustang, both cars being the pinnacle of auto ownership at the time, except for maybe the corvette. i loved seeing that corvair parked in the driveway as i came up to the front door of their house.

years later, after i had moved away from california and m settled in a town further north of where we grew up, i tried to stop in and say hello to her mother when i was in town (which was unfortunately far less frequently than i would have liked). when i was pregnant with our first child, m’s mom asked my mom to make sure that i stopped by and she surprised me with a beautiful eyelet lace and ribbon comforter and pillow she had made for the baby. i still have them.

i looked for m’s mother’s obituary on line and was a bit taken aback when what popped up was douglass and zook funeral home, the same funeral home in our home town of monrovia that handled my father’s funeral and maybe even her father’s funeral. it’s funny how a moment like that can trigger a long buried memory, but can also serve as some kind of continuum.

though the life arc of our families was different, there is still a bond between us and even moreso now that we both have felt the sadness of losing our mother, but the parts of our lives that we shared will always be fondly remembered.

rest in peace dear mrs. b.

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Filed under family, friends, tradition

Where There is Love


the news has been filled with a lot of tough stories, what with all the strife abroad, the protests here at home and the natural disasters around the globe. but in the middle of all of that, we got a huge dose of “awwwwww…”

our daughter e and her boyfriend became engaged to be married. we knew that her boyfriend was going to propose to her because we spoke to him, like with did with our other daughter’s boyfriend, and told them they needed to come and speak to us before proposing. considering that both couples were already living together before they got engaged, asking for the boyfriend to come and speak to us was clearly an antiquated ritual. still, we clung to it because it gives us a chance to have a special moment with their boyfriend and officially welcome him into our family. we also get the fun of being in on a big secret and who doesn’t enjoy that?

e’s group of friends have this established ritual of throwing a surprise engagement party right after the engagement, so they were all poised for the big night last saturday. unfortunately, the party got a little too big to hold where it was originally scheduled, so it was moved to our house. it was a little hectic, but e’s friends brought food and drink and smiles.

what a happy, exciting night!

so now e and h begin the first tough test of their relationship: planning a wedding. so far they’re a good team, but we wouldn’t have expected anything less. it’s already interesting to see their ideas come together and in the end to see how they present themselves as a couple.

love is a beautiful thing. and when people you love express their love, well, life is more wonderful than usual.

sometimes a dose of love is all you need to put life in perspective.

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Filed under family, Love, manners, marriage, Parent

Three Decades

C and I are celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary this week.

How Do I Love Thee? (Sonnet 43)
Elizabeth Barrett Browning, 1806 – 1861

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

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Filed under family, Love, marriage

A Lovely Post

How Do I Love Thee? (Sonnet 43)
by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

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Filed under Love

Wishes for the New Year


New Year’s resolutions get a lot of bad press. I’m actually a fan of resolutions if only because they’re an excuse to conduct a re-examination of self – kind of like cleaning out the junk drawer. The key is to care just enough to turn resolutions into action, but not care so much that you flog yourself for not adhering to them. Easier said than done.

I’ve made my resolutions for 2014 already but instead of sharing them, I’ve decided to concentrate on my wishes for family, friends and all for The New Year.

First, I wish you love. Whatever form love takes, its calming, affirming force is good for your life.

Curiosity. The world is huge, life is huge. Stay curious and explore.

Open-mindedness. The training wheels to curiosity. Opening thoughts opens doors to possibility.

Hope. Without hope, there is no future.

Connectedness. On some level, everything we do is because of or for someone else, even when we insist we are doing it only for ourselves.

Passion. No matter what feeds your passion, a life with passion is always better.

Health. You can’t choose your genes, but you can take care of what you have.

Prosperity. A life of riches is filled with more than just money.

May all of these wishes lead you to my biggest wish for you: happiness.

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Filed under advice, New Year

20 Important Rules for a Successful Marriage

I’m not an expert on marriage, but since C and I have been married for 29 years this month, I think I’m qualified to have a learned opinion.

So, here, in no particular order, is some of what I’ve learned about marriage:

1. Marry the right person. Character counts. There are things you need to talk about, honestly and in-depth before you marry someone. But before you do that, you need to be honest and in-depth with yourself about who you are.

2. Listen. Try to spend more time listening than talking. You might be surprised by what you learn.

3. Talk. Don’t be a martyr. Say what you need to say when you need to say it. Important word here is “need”.

4. Be polite. I’m always amazed at how many couples don’t say the simple words “please” and “thank you” to one another. If you would say it to a guest in your home, you need to say it to the person with whom you share your life.

5. No name calling. Not even if it’s a “joke”. Words hurt and they stick long after the flash of anger or annoyance has passed. Also, name calling is just a bad habit and it should be reserved for use on politicians and criminals.

6. Neatness counts. Messy living goes hand in hand with messy thinking which goes hand in hand with messy being. Honestly, it’s just an irritant, so grow up.

7. Enjoy each other’s company. Your spouse should be your best friend and the one with whom you look forward to spending time.

8. Make and keep good friends. You need a variety of people in your life and sometimes you need time away from your spouse.

9. Get rid of dumbass friends. They are never worth the time or energy. Especially the ones who denigrate your marriage because theirs is crappy.

10. Honesty is your friend. We all need some secrets, but ultimately the level of trust between the two of you should be so solid that you are able to fess up to stuff. It makes your relationship stronger and makes you a better person. Isn’t that part of the reason you chose a life partner?

11. Be a team. Life has ups and downs. Stop keeping score and stop competing with one another. Sometimes one or the other of you has to put your needs second for the short term so that everyone is better off in the long term. Negotiate the terms. Then renegotiate and renegotiate again and again as often as needed. You should have learned and changed some over the years and so should your relationship.

12. Don’t be a jerk. We can all be jerks and we can also do the best we can to not be jerks. Pay attention to when you’re being a jerk and stop it.

13. No cheating. Ever. None. Not at all. Does this even need to be said? You made a commitment and if there comes a point when you can no longer adhere to it, be honest with yourself and your partner. But be honest before you act out.

14. Really think of the money as “ours” no matter who earns it. The way you handle money as a couple can predict a lot about your relationship. Get on the same page with how to handle money.

15. Divide and conquer. No matter what you are doing or how you are living, a division of labor makes everyone’s life easier. Stick to gender rolls if it works for you, if not, figure out how each of you is going to learn a non-gender specific skill that will benefit the household.

16. Learn to pivot. Routine is great, but shit happens. Learn to be adaptable and you just may create good laughs and good fun.

17. Actions speak louder than words. Prefer to be and be with someone who acts lovingly toward you instead of just saying “I love you”. The behavior is the sustenance, the words are dessert.

18. His family is his, your family is yours. I’m sure you love your in-laws, but each of you needs to handle your own family issues yourself. Your spouse is there to help you through the issue, but you have to take the lead with your family.

19. Sex is not a chore. This one should actually be first but I didn’t want our kids to get the wrong impression. On the other hand, how do they think they got here? I’m shocked to find out that most married couples don’t enjoy an active sex life. You can’t have an intimate emotional life together if you don’t have an emotion-filled, satisfying sexual life together.

20. Laugh often . This is the great tonic of life.

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Filed under advice, communication, family, Love, marriage

Just love

the persistent heat is getting to people. at least that’s the explanation i’m going with.  otherwise i’d have to get pretty angry at what’s going in in public discourse.

besides shouting about political parties and candidates, elections and even olympic athletes, now people are shouting about a place that sells crappy fast food.  people are debating the owner’s statements, debating whether freedom of speech allows for municipalities to overreach, debating whether businesses with stated discriminatory viewpoints should be allowed to collect taxpayer benefits in the form of tax incentives to build new locations in municipalities.  debating who can love and how.

maybe instead of lining the pockets of a guy who uses his religious and political beliefs to get you to buy more crappy food, (and should always wonder whether ‘outspokenness’ is just a marketing ploy) we should step away from the fried chicken and waffle fries.

the fact is, fast food is junky food.  yes, even chicken fast food. you can reply how much you love the nuggets or the classic or whatever, but the fact is that this is not food that serves your soul.  it’s not even really food that nourishes you properly.  maybe that’s the real problem.

how about you get a fresh killed, minimally processed chicken, cook it up (or skip the chicken part and enjoy the bounty of avocados right now) and serve with some fresh baked bread, some tomatoes just picked from a (preferably new jersey) garden, some lettuce and homemade mayonnaise?  maybe some fresh basil or a lovely balsamic vinegar and rosemary dressing.

share it with friends.  or relatives.  or strangers.  or pets.

talk about nourishing one another (on all levels, not just with food) while you’re being nourished with fresh food.

and pay attention to what’s around you.  and be thankful for what’s around you.  and talk in a low voice, face to face, person to person, human to human.  and laugh.  and smile.

and learn that to love and be loved is an act of godliness.

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Filed under Love, manners, Uncategorized