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Posts Tagged ‘marriage’

My maiden name was a five letter, very simple, never mispronounced cinch of a name.   It had an “s” at the end that sometimes got left off but, for the most part, it was straight-forward and I liked it.  It fit with my equally simple first name.   Unfortunately for me, I fell in love with and married a man with a last name that is always mispronounced and even more often mis-spelled (well, I mean of course it was actually quite fortunate that I fell in love with and married him.  But, you know what I meant, right?  Anyhoo.)  I took his name, of course.  And yes, I do say of course because I personally believed strongly in taking a man’s last name in marriage.  It’s my opinion, no doubt, but I think that unless you have achieved something tied to your maiden name (i.e.  published a best-selling novel, become an Oscar-winning actor, solved world hunger) or maybe unless your husband’s name is just really, really, really terrible then it’s just confusing the matter not to take your husband’s name.  Particularly if you plan on having kids down the line.   Sure, I recognize that I have a number of readers (hello, B and hello, D and maybe hello, others) who will completely disagree with this philosophy.   To each her own.  But, unless my husband’s last name was the exact same as my first name (and that would be kind of freaky, eh?), then his last name was going to become my own.  And I would (and I do) carry it with pride.

Where was I going with this?  (look! a chicken!) Yeah, so I gained a difficult last name at marriage.  Difficult last name paired with the fact that my husband and I both come from pretty traditional families resulted in complete marital accord on the subject of our children’s names.   We agreed that we would not saddle our children with names that would add insult to the injury of an already challenging last name.  Their first names would be straight-forward, easy-to-spell, easy-to-pronounce and traditional.  Our boys carry first names that were familiar in the 1800’s and will again be familiar in the 2100’s.   Oddly, though, neither of them have a single classmate that shares their name.  Today, it seems more likely that young Quinn will have a duplicate friend than Robert or Ted or Mike.

And, while there are definitely unusual names that I hear and say to myself Wow, what a beautiful name or I wonder how they came up with that, I also immediately want to know what the child’s last name is.  Because while Sienna is a lovely name for a little girl, I just don’t think it works if her last name is Schlesinger.  And while Jayden and Aiden are fine names for a little boy, it’s lousy for him if he has to follow it up with Dombrovsky.   Know what I mean?

Mr. George Carlin (may he rest in peace) did a great bit about the wussification of  boys’  names.  Unfortunately, it picks on the name “Todd” which I actually like but it’s a pretty funny routine so here you go.

(Warning:  some graphic language.  But, I mean, it’s Carlin.  What else would you expect?)

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Ease up, everyone.  Call off the dogs.   Stop being so judgmental.  Have a little sympathy.

Jesse James is not a lying, cheating, Nazi-loving, stripper-grabbing loser.

He’s a sex addict.

Puh-lease.

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Bob Dylan had it right about the times, man.  Those of you not directly involved in parenting young children in the 2010 era might be surprised to learn a few things.  For instance, did you know:

1) No more prizes in cereal boxes.  Oh, the injustice!  Prizes in cereal boxes were such a fabulous manufacturer idea.  My mother could talk me right into Oat Granola Barley Bits if it meant I was going to get a pink plastic sparkle ring when I reached the bottom.   Turns out the prizes choked a few small children and, poof, they were gone!  Unfair, I say.  How is one to talk a five-year old into grabbing some Raisin Bran™ when things like Eggo Waffle Crisp™ beckon them from the shelves with smiling yellow bears and images of warm syrup on the box front?   No self-respecting child will be lured in by a metal scoop with overflowing raisins.   Where’s the Silly Putty™ egg in the box?!

2) Speaking of Silly Putty.  I generally hate Silly Putty.  It’s along the same lines as Play-doh™ as far as its messiness to pleasure ratio.   The scales tip too far in the wrong direction.  Know what it’s made of?  Silicone and (originally) particles of boric acid.  They’re like little toxic balls of breasts — “Silly Slutty” (couldn’t resist).  Anyway, what do you recall as the coolest thing about Silly Putty?  The image lifting, right?  The fact that you could press it against a comic strip and then bend and pull the putty, morphing Snoopy into a wiener dog before your very eyes.  Well, since the invention of that pesky printing press you can’t do that anymore.  For some reason, according to the Silly Putty website, the Wall Street Journal still works, though.  Which is weird.

3) Tivo / DVR.  So, elder generation parents, do you know that we parents in the technology driven world of 2010 can record television shows without a Betamax (remember the Betamax)?  Without a VCR?  Without those clunky tapes?  Yup, we can.  Right there in our tv.  What this means, however, is that, once recorded, our children’s shows can be on at any time of day.  And they are wise to this.  If Big Brother can pad out of his room at 7 am and turn on Wow, Wow, Wubbzy so that Mom can catch another 15 minutes of sleep before Little Brother rises, you can bet he knows Wubbzy’s in there later in the day.   Remember the days of “Sorry, your shows aren’t on right now.  Mom and Dad are watching the news”?   Gone.   They’re onto us.  Live by the TiVo, die by the TiVo.

4) Car seats are a total pain in the a** now.  I really think it’s possible  that if my parents used a car seat at all they stopped using it once I was old enough to sit up unassisted.  (I’d like some clarification on this, Mom)   Today, you can regularly see kids walking over to their car, swinging opening the door of a gigantic Suburban and extending long, strong legs and arms to deftly climb aboard.  Then they climb into a booster seat and strap themselves in.  The law in Massachusetts states they need to be in a special seat until they reach 8 years of age.  In New Jersey they have to be eight and eighty-pounds which just seems crazy.  As the mother of a bean pole, I can tell you that if we lived in New Jersey (which we will not.  ever.) Big Brother might well be enjoying a roadie in his booster seat before he tops 80 lbs.  I wonder if my mother’s right arm shooting out from the driver’s seat over my chest in the passenger seat at any sign of trouble would have qualified as a make-shift seatbelt?  She still does this, by the way.

Revised pregnancy rules would be a chapter in itself.   We were expected to abstain from smoking, drinking alcohol or eating pretty much anything that actually tastes good while we were pregnant.   What a total buzz kill (kidding, of course).  But, still I’m pretty sure my Mom’s water broke over a vodka tonic and a couple of oysters.   And look how awesome I turned out.

Heh heh heh.

Video is a little loud, fyi…

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Aw, Jeesh.

Oh, great.  Like Husband doesn’t already silently roll his eyes at the fact that I insist on my annual subscriptions to both US Magazine and People.  (“They’re different!  Really!”)  I can see it coming now.  This debacle just may not be going over so well tonight.


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There’s a magical book out there called Bear of My Heart, by Joanne Ryder.   I’ve read it to Big Brother since he was a very little boy and we like to think of it as our own special story.  I read it to him with tears welling up in my eyes and take deep breaths to absorb the sobs that creep from the back of my throat.   It’s beautiful and I hereby recommend it to any of you out there with small cubs in the house.

However, reading it today – on my Husband’s birthday – I’m struck by how easily it translates to a story about marriage.  True love.  Partnership.

“Paw in paw, we will greet every morning,

Paw in paw, we will meet every day

For you are the bear of my heart, dear

And nothing can take that away.”

Paw in paw.  Hand in hand.   I’m so grateful for all that he’s given to me (to us) in the giving of his hand.

In marriage

A first dance

In Romance

In Unabashed Fatherly Love

With a Generous Heart

With a Steadying Touch

Offering Little Life Lessons

And reassurance that the next step, however unfamiliar, is safe.  Because he’s there.  He’s with us.

“There are so many bears in the world dear,

but there’s no other one that will do.

You are the bear of my heart, dear,

and I am the one who loves you.”


Happy Birthday, to my Husband.    Thank you for (more than seven years ago) asking for my hand.  And for, since then, holding us all so tightly in yours.

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Sometime in the beginning of January, I bought a little bit of garlic.  A medium-sized plastic tin full of pre-peeled cloves.  Very practical, I thought to myself as I loaded them into that week’s grocery cart.   Well done.   And, for just $1.44?  A steal, no doubt.  Yay, me.  Ever the thrifty one, yup, that’s me.

Husband arrived home that night and noticed my new purchase in the refrigerator.

Wow. He calls out to me, as I sit in the adjoining room.  That’s a LOT of garlic!

Truly surprised that a) he would even notice but also that b) he thought it too much, I answered,

Well, not really.  I cook with garlic all the time!  I’m sure I’ll get right through it.  You just don’t know how much I actually need garlic.  You’ll see.

Alright. But, I can just tell in his voice that he doubts me.  That he thinks I’m being wasteful…again.

I’ll show him, I thought to myself.   I will.

So, today (two months later), when I went to make a baked ziti and reached for a little garlic powder before I remembered that…oh, yeeeeah.  I’ve got that real garlic somewhere in here and…

Sigh.  Oh, go ahead.  Mark the date and time.  I hereby admit, he was right.

Nuts.  Hate when that happens.

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I recently learned that my matron-of-honor was pregnant when I read about it on Facebook.   And, I was really, really happy for her.  But, I gotta say, reading about it like that before I had heard it from her just hit me like a ton of bricks.

She was my matron-of-honor when I married in 2002 (she is since divorced and happily remarried) but, more importantly she had been my friend (has been my friend) since we were little girls.  She was that friend who, while we never went to the same school and often went long stretches of time without seeing each other, I just always felt was to be counted as my lifetime best friend.  One of those people who, while the day-to-day updates wouldn’t be shared, the big life events would always inspire us to connect.

Unfortunately, the big life events of late (until the pregnancy) have been sad ones.  My mother’s aneurysms, the death of her father and then her uncle.   But, we found each other.  And found comfort.  In each others voices and, when in the same place, each others hugs.

To be fair, she sent me an email sharing her baby news after her very first OB appointment.  Somehow, I missed it.  Never saw the email and, therefore, never replied.  She assumed I was just too busy with my own life and figured that, while I probably meant to write back, I had let it slip through the cracks.

Isn’t that so damn sad?!  On so many levels, it crushes me.

That she thought I didn’t care enough to acknowledge her huge news. News that I knew she had been praying for.  She will be an amazing mother and we had discussed how kids just had to be in her future.  And, would be.  And wouldn’t that be an amazing day?  We couldn’t wait.  And, she married her Knight.  And, then it happened for her.  A baby!  And, she emailed me.  And….nothing.

That she believed it was possible that I would be so wrapped up in my own life not to get in touch. Never.  I just would never, ever be that sh*tty a friend.  Especially to her.  I hate that she thought I might be.

That she may have felt even the littlest twinge of sadness over my sh*tty friend-ness.  In the moment that was to be so exciting…sharing the big news!  And from her supposed long-time friend.  No reply?   No way.  I hope she wasn’t sad.

That the friggin’ Facebook world got to share her happy news before I did. That I never had that insider feeling you get when someone you love shares something before the news can really be out.  Selfish, I know, but true.

Of course, I don’t think for one minute that this whole miscommunication event was that big a deal to her.  I hope that I’m right that she was happily basking in her new marriage, the amazing man she married, the love of her other friends (surely more intimate friends on a day-to-day basis than I am) and the incredible life she was building inside of her.   (Not to mention the distraction of frequent vomiting.)  And my conspicuous absence from this joy was merely an unexpected blip for her.  I truly hope that it didn’t matter for her.

For me.  It matters.

Am I so wrapped up in my life?  Have I become that person that would miss an email or, worse, not even bother to reply?

I used to roll my eyes at technophobes.  Those archaic dinosaurs who say email is so impersonal.  That we should all be picking up the phone more often.  Writing notes.  Visiting each other.  Touching each other in a way that doesn’t involve a keyboard and DSL.

Now?   I just really wonder.    What’s technology doing to my relationships?  I may have 415 Facebook friends but how many of those people actually give a rat’s a** about me?  When push comes to shove, I mean.  Probably ten?  Six, maybe?  Really.  Not many.

And, one of that small collection of real friends?   She’s having a baby and I had no idea.

(sigh)

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We loved the show Ed.   I mean come on, a bowling alley lawyer?  Does it get any better than that?

Seriously, we laughed out loud regularly at that show and how many sitcoms can you say that about anymore?  And, I think Ross is still having a little mental affair with Carol Vessy.

Here’s a classic little clip from the show.

*Credit to Always Home and Uncool for discovering this video.  I totally stole it.

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Dick

When I was a little girl (an only child growing up in a small Vermont village), my parents seemed particularly concerned with not spoiling me.   They started out a newly-married couple without much more than their degrees (Tuck Business School and Wells College), entrepreneurial spirits and a love of the country life.  They weren’t handed anything from their own parents.   They worked very hard to build a catalog business together and saw it reach great heights of popularity during the mail order boom of the 80s.  Their business was launched in the basement of our house, then moved to bigger space in the neighboring one-light town, then they bought a big chunk of land, built their own warehouse and office space and grew right into that, too.   More warehouse space, more land, more employees, more money.   Eventually, my parents sold their home-grown business to a larger catalog conglomerate that was, at the time, very busy collecting other niche mail order companies (like Golf Day and Talbots).  This left them with no business but a whopping big warehouse that became home to Burton Snowboards.  Their story is a model of successful business building.  And, they did it side by side.   All day, every day — which I almost find even more impressive.

All the while, there was me.  A baby in a #10 box, a toddler with a mailing tube trumpet, a pre-schooler in packing peanuts, a kindergartener in customer service.  A middle schooler that thought…well, that thought she was pretty darn cool.  And, pretty sure that things were really going to start getting pretty cushy in the world in which I was living.   But the amazing thing about my parents is that, despite the fact that they were starting to do quite well, they never really showed it.  We lived (and my parents still live) in the same house they stretched themselves to purchase in the mid-70s.  My Dad has always driven a Ford pick-up truck and I think he likes his trucks better once they’re somewhat beat-up and rusty with dog scratches on the door and a, mostly unused, gun rack in the rear window.   My parents purchased a wood burning system to forego oil in the winter and my Dad, at age 65 and an implanted defibrillator later, continues to schlep load after load of wood down to the basement to fire that sucker up every day because he prefers to “burn wood, not money.”

So, any thoughts I may have had of all the trendiest fashions, a car for my 16th birthday, big weekly allowances, whatever?  Sadly misguided.  I was not indulged.  But, don’t get me (or them) wrong.  I certainly didn’t want for anything I truly needed (and I admit to attending a tony private high school) but all the really superfluous spoiled only child stuff you might expect?  Nope.  Not even vaguely up for discussion.

But…there was one thing I loved.  That almost every child loves.  One thing that I was allowed to have.  In excess.

Pets.

In the time that I resided under my parents roof, they also accepted residence of the following:  two cats, six dogs, two guinea pigs, two hamsters, a bird, an opossum, a rabbit, baby chicks indoors and countless varieties of backyard chickens.

And, I’ve probably forgotten some.

Sweet, huh?  Letting their little girl have a menagerie of pets?  Mostly, yes.  But, there’s this one other thing about that.  You see, the first pet that was officially mine was a kitten.  A black, fuzzy thing as cute as a button and only about twice as big.  And he was to be mine (all mine!) with one condition.  My Dad was going to name it.   Sure!  I’d take that deal any day.  I mean, how bad could it be?

Blackie? I suggested.  Nah, said my Dad.

Kitty? Nope.

Midnight? Uh-uh.

We’ll name him Dick.

Dick?

Yup, Dick.  That’s what my Dad named that cat.

You laugh, don’t you?

Want to know what he named my hamster?  Dick the hamster. And the bird?   Dick the bird. I kid you not.   I lived with this.  Repeatedly.

I laugh now, of course.  And, truth be told, I’m a BIG FAN of giving pets human names.  Our other pet names (you know, when we already had a Dick in the house – snicker) were Mickey, Bonnie, Sam, Sonny, Katie, etc.

When I was in college, I went out and got a guinea pig (my roommates were not so excited but they grew to love her.   I think.)  We named her Joyce.  As an aside we thought we were naming her after that saxophone playing Muppet.  You know, the one with the crazy hair?  Turns out her name was Janice but whatever.  Joyce stuck.

Ross and I got a dog together after we were married and named him Bernie (after #51).  We’ve already decided our next dog will be Jorge (#20) although I plan to pronounce it “George” and Ross will likely drive me crazy by actually calling him “Hoar-hay”.  Just rolls off the tongue, no?

I’ll bet there are a lot of things that my parents are proud they passed along.  Things that I carry with me every day in the form of my happiest childhood memories.  And, there are also probably some things they hoped I’d forget.

I wonder where the memory of “Pets Named Dick” stands in their minds?

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Anyone reading my blog lately knows that we’ve been on a quest to clear some clutter.  One pile, one box, one drawer at a time.   Serial swooping tends to lead to excessive piling.  So, every now and then, it’s time to actually dig through a pile, remember what’s in it and trash all the stuff we thought we’d “get to” when we piled it up in the first place.

One day last week, while Husband was at work, I decided to clear the clutter from the top of the giant dresser in our room.  It’s BIG, an IKEA purchase (a b*tch to put together) from a few years back.  It holds our somewhat outdated (read: also BIG) clunker of television and sits against a wall a few feet from the foot of our bed.  And, I went after that sucker last week.  In my de-clutter frenzy, I removed the following items from its surface and placed them either in their rightful place in the house or their rightful place in the trash:

  • Nine hard cover books
  • An old  box full of “jewelry” circa 1988 – 1992 (tarnished silver crap,  hippie-days Fimo bead necklaces, my Tri-Delta pledge pin -yeah, yeah, yeah, judge away- anklets with jinglebells, match-less earrings)
  • A pair of fireplace / work gloves
  • A random collection of Time US, Newsweek People and National Geographic Boston magazines
  • AA batteries
  • Tyrone and Pablo (pronounced Plablo) miniatures
  • A “Disney on Ice” light up swirley stick
  • Two rolled-up retail bags with still-tagged items enclosed to be returned

Like I said, it’s a big dresser.

Husband returns home that evening, greets the kids, kisses me, dodges our always-shedding yellow labrador trying to brush up against his suit pants, and heads into our room to change.  The suspense is killing me.  I shush the kids and wait for the response that will come when he sees my masterful de-cluttering job.  And I wait.  And wait.

Out he comes.  Not a word.

“Hey!  Did you notice the dresser?”  I walk him back in.   “See?!

“Oh, yeah!  Nice going, cutie.”

Not exactly the enthusiasm I was hoping for but it’s not exactly like I ran a marathon so I’ll take it.  The night continues.

Bedtime.  We finish up watching Masterpiece Theater, World News Tonight, oh, ok….Real Housewives of Orange County and head into our room.  Going through the bedtime routine.  I’m in the bathroom brushing my teeth when I hear from the bedroom…

“Hey!”

“Yeah?”

“What happened to my workgloves?!”

Your workgloves? I kid you not.   Turns out he used said gloves to hold his Blackberry at night so that we don’t have to listen to it vibrate at all hours.  Not a bad plan, of course, but man…sometimes you just can win.

(Of course, we would need these in our bedroom.)

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