Tag Archives: happiness

An Incredible But True Story

Today is my fifth wedding anniversary.  I’ve known my husband for five years and 29 days. (Quick, do the math!) Yup, that’s right, we got married after knowing each other for just over four weeks. As we said to the officiant who performed our marriage ceremony in Las Vegas, “This isn’t as poorly considered as it might seem!”  Read and decide for yourself.  Or just laugh. . . .

Five years ago, I was single and looking for love on match.com.  Well, not love.  Looking for a dining companion who was not horrible, drunken, toothless, crazy or married to someone else.  I had been exchanging emails with several different gentlemen, among them this guy named John.  He claimed that he had previously contacted me (I’d been single for a while) and I never wrote back.  In January 2005, he contacted me (again?) and we arranged to call and then meet for dinner on Tuesday, January 25.

On Sunday, January 23, a major blizzard hit the east coast.  The city was paralyzed.  School was canceled Monday and then Tuesday.  John didn’t cancel and so I braved the snow to meet him. I sat in a nearly deserted bar and waited for him.  As I sipped my second glass of wine and watched the news for further snow cancellations, I thought to myself, “I feel like I am waiting to meet my husband.”  Then, I finished that second glass and thought, “That is the single dumbest thing I have ever thought while waiting for a blind date.”

When he finally arrive 45 minutes late (he did call to apologize– remember, snow EVERYWHERE), I stood up and hugged him.  Why not– I was two glasses of wine into it at that point.

We had dinner. I told him, among other things, that I was committed to becoming a parent in the short-term and if that was an issue for him, that was fine and I wouldn’t hold it against him.  I’d been on a lot of first dates and I was tired of playing the game.  I figured, why not be exactly who I was.  If anyone was scared off, no more loss to me than if they didn’t like my eye color or my height or the fact that I always ordered dessert but rarely ate bread (one blind date did comment on that.)

The wait staff was clearly tired of waiting on just us, so John walked me back to the train and said that he’s like to see me again.  I said that it would be lovely and got on the subway, thinking, “He’s never going to call.”  I looked back and he was still looking.

We went on a second date the following Saturday. As we walked past a mirror, I thought, “We look right together.”

I know, it kind of makes me want to gag a little, too.

On our third date, Sunday, we watched a movie at my house.  The next day, we went and saw “A Streetcar Named Desire” and then had dinner. We gave the waiter our drink orders and I decided to lay it all on the table.

“I have this theory.”

John nodded.

“I figure, if you can successfully have dinner with someone four times, you might as well get married because that marriage has as much of a chance as any other, you know, since 50% of all marriage end up in divorce.  People get their expectations all out of control and don’t just leap and commit and try.”

At this critical juncture, the waiter brought our drinks.  John took a sip of his martini and said, “Have we had dinner four times yet?”

“No, just three, so you’re still safe.”

But he asked me out again, and again and we pretty much spent every evening together after that.

February break was coming up and I mentioned that we should go away somewhere. Jokingly, we talked about going to Vegas and getting married. At some point, it stopped being a joke.

I remember talking with my friend Lucy, asking how she knew that she would marry her husband.  I don’t remember exactly what she told me, but I knew at that point that I didn’t want to date John.  I just wanted to be married to him and start our life together.

Wow, this is kind of sappy, huh?

John and I flew to Vegas on a Tuesday, neither of us completely convinced that we were really going to do it. I did bring a dress– a barely off-white satin, tea length, spaghetti straps, sweetheart neckline with a lace-up back.  It was the dress that I had always pictured myself being married in, ever since I was a teenager.  I had found it on the sample rack when I was shopping with a friend for her wedding dress and bought it and let it hang in my closet for years.

We got up Wednesday morning, ate breakfast, got the license at the courthouse.  Advertised on a bus stop was the Little Chapel of the West, a historical landmark.  That pleased John.  We headed off to book the chapel and buy rings. We had a cocktail.  I said, “Are you sure?  It’s okay if you don’t want to.”  John said, “Let’s do it.”

So we did.  And then we called and told our friends and my parents.  My mom claims my father went to bed for three days.  John’s sister just happened to call him the next morning and when he told her that he was in Vegas, she laughed and said, “What are you doing– getting married?”

No one expected this would work.  And it hasn’t all been ice cream and flowers, but we leapt and believed and I have the life I have today because of John and I am grateful.

Happy Anniversary.

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We’ve Replicated

Long day. Lots of stuff going on.  Many things I could post. Coming in under the wire (I have to learn to post in the morning.)  Today’s pithy thought is. . . . .

I had a fabulous time at my dear friend Laurel’s 40th birthday.  I also got to see my friend Michelle.  My kids had a fabulous time. Well, Charlotte is a pretty undemanding party guest, but Mads was over the moon to play with all of the kids.

There are several people who may shudder to realize that collectively Laurel, Michelle and I have 7 kids.  (Keith Mallory, Gary Green, Bobby Metro– are you reading this?)  I half-shudder myself.  Here’s five of them.

M loved her new older friends.

(Both photos courtesy of M. Clark and her Blackberry.)

All of these seven kids got on fabulously (well, again, not so much Charlotte, because she really isn’t into the socializing scene.)  Is there some genetic link to who you get along with?  You know, the mothers are friends, so the kids are predisposed to be friends? Or did the kids all just play together because that’s what kids do?

There some philosophizing to be done here, but I’ve got a very tired three-month-old who needs to fed and soothed to sleep.

Indoor and Outdoor Fun

One way we have reduced our expenses is to drastically cut our entertainment spending. Luckily, we have an in-home mobile entertainment unit. See?

She’s also helpful in teaching Charlotte to be similarly entertaining.

"See, Baby Charlotte? This is how you be a ballerina."

Charlotte wasn’t too interested, though.  She was reading.

Luckily, Daddy is interested in Madeline’s entertainment choices.  On Tuesday, the storm that they had both been waiting for was finally here. That would be the storm that gives us snow that can be formed into a snowman.

Maddie inspects the snowfall and finds it to be ideal for snowman making

Daddy did the bulk of the hard labor. . . .

. . . while Madeline focused on the accessories.

I put rocks for eyes, hats, scarves and a plastic carrot for a nose in the bag.

The end result pleased M immensely.

I like it!

She pointed out the snowman to all of neighbors who were busily shoveling.

"See, everybody! Snowman!"

It was so pleasing, that she and her daddy built another one, a lady this time.

Mads kept a close eye on everything, to ensure quality snowman construction.

I have to admit though, the lady snowman looked like a guy to me, but what do I know?

We have no need for going out on the town, designer martinis or theatre tickets when we have this.  But I wouldn’t refuse theatre tickets if they came my way.  With a free babysitter.

Less

I spent the day today decluttering a friend’s house.  We spent six hours in her bedroom and culled out three contractor bags full of clothes. We found about $15 in random coins.  We swiffered the walls.  I was in heaven.

I love to throw things away.  Well, actually, to get stuff out of the house and donate it or recycle it. Creating more trash actually kind of agitates me.  Call me freakish, but the chance to spend an hour shredding outdated contents of my files brings me joy. For a while, I tried to hold myself to “bring in one new thing, get rid of two old things” standard.  I’m not prepared to do the 100 things challenge — partly because my life doesn’t really work with that construct and partly because I can’t part with my Le Creuset cookware, amongst other things– but it does have me thinking.

I also happen to be reading a book called Less by Mark Lesser.  I am not done with it and have no recommendation either way on it. Lesser focuses on doing less, being in the moment, recharging yourself to be more effective, etc. etc.  All advice most of us have heard before.

So here’s what I’m pondering– if less is good for you (in this context), what happens when you don’t have less?  What happens when you have too much? You are featured on Hoarders or you have a nervous breakdown from trying to maintain a frenetic 23-hour-a-day schedule?  Obviously, most of us don’t go to that extreme, but neither do most of us live with just 100 things or meditate peacefully on a mountaintop.  But at what point does having and doing stop bringing contentment and start generating stress?  My friend with the contractor bags full of clothes says that she feel overwhelmed and out of control. That’s not surprising at this point, but how can we see when we are getting close to “that point”?

I’m not here to preach, but I want to put it out there– what happens to the essential stuff when the non-essential stuff encroaches on it?  How much is enough? Discuss amongst yourselves– or comment below.  And, do you also love the thrill of getting rid?

L-O-V-E

(image source:  http://en.clipart-fr.com/clipart_pictures.php?id=4968)

I saw this on www.thepioneerwoman.com and really liked it, so here you go.  In honor of Valentine’s Day, a list of stuff I love.

  1. Heart shaped boxes of chocolates
  2. My swell husband who always sends me roses on Valentine’s Day
  3. My goobies
  4. The move Witness
  5. Making things from scratch– it wasn’t there before, and now it is!
  6. Talking about books
  7. A good blow out, generally from Jeff (you should see my hair right now!  The man is a god!)
  8. Listening to Madeline sing
  9. My cousin Marisa
  10. Generally everyone in my family, so don’t feel slighted if you are not mentioned by name
  11. Hotel showers
  12. Brunch
  13. Mimosas
  14. Snow in December
  15. Christmas carols
  16. Advent
  17. Handel’s Messiah
  18. The Sound of Music— it’s even better to me now because Madeline likes it
  19. Target
  20. Cashmere sweaters
  21. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
  22. Summer evenings at the beach
  23. Boxes of fried shrimp and sweet potato fries
  24. Cake icing
  25. Lemon bars
  26. Pedicures
  27. Frank Sinatra
  28. Tiger lilies
  29. Murphy’s Oil Soap
  30. Peace Prayer of Saint Frances (Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. . . )
  31. Dance class (not that I’ve gone in about forever)
  32. Bacon
  33. My Kitchen-Aid mixer
  34. Coffee (but for me, loving coffee is like loving air– both are necessary to life.)
  35. Drum corps
  36. Bubble gum pop from the 60’s
  37. swimming pools

I might add more in the comments as this is obviously an incomplete list.  What do you love?

The Secret to Joy

I wish I could find where I originally saw this, but somewhere I read that one of the secrets to happiness is connecting with strangers.  My husband is fantastic at this.  He will talk to anyone.  Everywhere we go, he makes a new friend.  This morning, we went out to breakfast.  The tables in the café were close together and we kind of created a spectacle, wedging Charlotte’s giant car seat into a chair and coaxing Madeline into sitting  at our table, as opposed to the neighboring one.  There was also a flurry of coats and hats to deal with and my giant mama purse with snacks, wipes, diapers and books and all the regular purse stuff.  We dominated the aisle for what felt like a half-hour but was probably only two minutes.  The two gentlemen next to us commented on our peaceful baby and when I finally sat down, the older of the two gentlemen said, “See?  Everything always works itself out.”

So we struck up a conversation.  The younger guy (who was not young) worked at the Garden so we talked sports for a minute.  The older gentleman was a retired pediatrician so we raved about Children’s Hospital.  We even talked politics, but without getting contentious.  When our places came, we turned our attention to eating and the two men had their own discussion.  When it was time to leave, we said good-bye and thanked them for a lovely conversation.

Then we went over to the resale shop to look at an armoire I had seen two days ago.  It was gone, of course, but we ended up chatting with the woman in front of us in line.  She seemed a touch unstable, but pleasant enough.

Then we went home to sell our too-large Thule box to a couple who saw it on Craig’s List.  They were charming and pleasant.  John amiably helped them mount the giant box to their roof.

John and I called it an exceptionally good morning.  Would it have been as heartening to only talk to each other at breakfast, ignore the crazy lady and just take the couple’s money and go back into the house?  Probably not.  Will we ever see any of these people again?  Probably not. But in being open to what the day presented, we had a more pleasant day.  I have no clue about the psychology behind this, but it made me feel good.

And Madeline got a new Curious George for a buck.  Life is good.

Discussing happiness and acting like I know what I’m talking about is making me tired, so I’ll switch gears.

Why do baby pants have pockets?

What is she supposed to put in there? Her keys?

Why doesn’t she do this all the time so we don’t have to keep track of those infernal binkies?

And Madeline says hi.

Go forth and talk to strangers.