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August 27, 2012

In Good Times and In Bad

You can click on collage to enlarge it.

My niece was married last weekend at a beautiful old inn in Vermont. The ceremony took place in the garden, followed by a raver of a reception, out in the barn. It was the first wedding in our family for her generation and we all had a great time.

At the last minute all the bridesmaids kicked off their shoes and walked down the aisle barefoot because their heals were digging into the lawn. I loved this. They looked like beautiful beaming fairies.

And the bride, oh my goodness the bride.....it still brings tears to my eyes to think about how gorgeous she was, alongside her very sweet and handsome husband.

Being the romance junky that I am, I love weddings, and I like how every marriage I attend, makes me think about my own.

I remember when I married Tom almost twenty-five years ago, my much older sister Sarah shared with me that my satisfaction with marriage would go up and down. She explained that marriage naturally ebbs and flows, and that part of the beauty of marriage is making it through the hard times because they make marriage stronger and solidify it. She has been so right about that and knowing this from the get go, when I was only twenty-seven, has really helped me. I never expected a fairy tale, although after witnessing my parent's loving union, I could have easily anticipated one.

Anyway, the day before the wedding I wrote a toast to the bride and groom on two sides of an index card. Having forgotten a small purse to carry at the wedding, I decided to fold the index card in half and tuck it in the top of my underwear band, in the front. The only problem was that when I went to pee, I forgot it was there and it fell into the toilet! "Great," I thought, "It's hard enough for me to do toasts, let alone with a soggy piece of paper!" But I washed it off, dried it, and carried on.

I realize that this is probably way too much information!

Some weddings need another toast, but with such an articulate group, this wasn't one of them. So in the end, I didn't even read mine. Phew! I thought though that I'd share part of it here as it speaks of what I have learned over the years about being together with someone for so long:

"In the years to come

remember to take care of each other,

and to take care of yourselves.

Remember to leave each other lots of room to balance, and re-balance,

and grow,

and make mistakes.

But mostly,

don't ever forget to always hold each other very, very tight."

I have also learned over the years, that when we grow bored, or lose patience, or focus too much on each others inevitable flaws, it's clearly a sign that it's time to work on ourselves first and foremost.

The best way to bring new fuel to a marriage, I believe, is to refuel ourselves first.

I also wanted to include this, that I read recently from Roger Ebert who has been married for 20 years, and has had many health struggles:


"My wife continues to make my life possible, and her presence fills me with love and a deep security. That's what a marriage is for. Now I know."

August 17, 2012

The Joy of ...

Not me.

Swimming.

It's been two years now since I got back in the water. I did it because I simply wanted to see how fast I could swim at age 50 after having taken 30 years off from competitive swimming. I thought I could very likely swim just one race and quit again. That might be it for me.

Don't let my crazy quest stop you from reading on. 

Luckily, this isn't a post about competitive swimming!

When I first got back in the pool my experience pretty much went like this:

"God am I out of shape.
I can hardly hoist my sorry ass out of the pool.
I hate this, I am so weak. 
My arms are sore.
I haven't done anything with them but pick up babies for 30 years."

"No, this is good, maybe my arms won't do that annoying jiggle anymore when I run to the mailbox."

So I kept swimming, adding on more lengths each week. 

Slowly I grew stronger.

Soon I started to get lost in the water, lost in thought, lost in the underwater oasis.

I was no longer aware of the pain, or how far I had gone.
I felt better. 
Swimming was stretching me out, and calming me down.

It became a new place to realign. To figure life out. 


But here is what I didn't realize until just recently:

Swimming is kind of like having a massage. The water is constantly touching us everywhere, caressing us, swirling around us. 

It feels so good. It chills us out.

No wonder why we can never get kids out of the pool!

Also not me :-)
No wonder why babies love water.

And why we all love baths.

No wonder why my 90 year old mom has recently worked her way up to swimming 24 lengths, and counting :-)

Swimming is my annex, but it is also, 

a bit of heaven.



August 08, 2012

Should



I saw this quote and all I could think about was when I was a student at Boston University (BU) back in the late 70s and they had these small red tin pins that said "Be You" on them. I liked that pin and wore it on my jean jacket for awhile.

I know, it's sounds corny, but I was just being myself  :-)

So here I am over 30 years later, and it still rings true, but in a new way.

These days it's more about being true to myself.

About allowing my youthfulness to slowly morph into something just as interesting.

And about not saying "yes" when I mean "no".

Still, I'm just wondering how self-evolved I need to grow before I don't get on my own case for something I said, or didn't say, or did, or didn't do.

It's getting better with age, but still.

I was chuckling with my mom the other day about what an awful word "should" is. I remember having this realization late into the night one night when at BU.

"Should" is such a guilt ridden word.

Whenever we murmur it, it's never in a positive light.

Never, ever.

Should is a word that should never have been :-)

That's what I think.


On another note, check out these crazy good Instagram photos my older daughter took recently with her Iphone app. She has an internship this summer on an organic farm on Bainbridge Island, WA.

You can double click on them to enlarge.

Check out the adorable pigs.

God I've missed her.

Can't wait to see you again baby.





August 01, 2012

Beneath Us



I've discovered 76 year old Pema Chodron in the last year or so and I really like her. She is one very wise woman. Her quote above caught my attention, especially, as I sense that many people around me are traveling through big transitions in life right now. Myself included. I think it's important to not just stick with uncertainly, but also, to continue to believe in ourselves in the midst of chaos.

We all know what we want, what we're quietly desiring.

Another great quote of Pema's is, “Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth.”

And in further depth I found this good one:

"Feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, and fear, instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is that we’re holding back. They teach us to perk up and lean in when we feel we’d rather collapse and back away. They’re like messengers that show us, with terrifying clarity, exactly where we’re stuck. This very moment is the perfect teacher, and, lucky for us, it’s with us wherever we are.”

Beautifully said.