Musings On Marriage

Today marks the  25th Anniversary of my marriage to Joe. Yup folks, it’s been twenty-five fun filled and exciting years since I stood at the alter and promised to love, honor and obey (oh yes I did), ’til death do us part. And for anyone who still doesn’t know, I had just gotten over morning sickness the day before our wedding, so Joe and I have never celebrated a wedding anniversary without children. This year will be no exception and with everything else going on in our lives right now we will be staying home, eating chili and watching NCIS, NCIS LA, and Castle (thank you DVR) . In other words, a perfect and perfectly normal evening.

I suppose if I had actually stopped to consider how long 25 years would be I would never have imagined getting here. My parent’s were divorced after 15 years of marriage and I actually made my vows figuring that if things didn’t work out I could always get a divorce. I clearly had no idea what I was signing up for if  I had such a naive idea of what marriage actually entailed. It turns out it’s not just about sharing your stuff. It actually involves sharing every single part of your life. The richer and poorer. The sickness and the health. But most of all the good, the bad and the ugly. It’s not just about sleepless nights with babies. It’s about sleepless nights when your teenager comes home from college, borrows the car and proceeds to disappear (and not answer his texts) for the night.

And then there are the in-laws you may or may not like. How do you get through the holidays? Does everyone go? Does one go and the other one stays home and fumes? These are the things that can make or break a marriage. And I am here to tell you that there are some things in a marriage on which you finally agree to disagree. These are sometimes the hardest things to negotiate in any relationship.

Many people have asked me if I am happily married and I never know how to answer that question. What is happiness? Is it really relevant when discussing marriage? I refer again to my friend Michelle; my Matron of Honor, spiritual guide and great friend. She believes marriage is designed to make us better people. To make us the people we were meant to be. And in that respect I am perhaps one of the happiest people alive. I can’t speak for Joe, but I am a much better person now that I was 25 years ago.

I’ve learned patience, respect, tolerance, kindness and how to think before opening my mouth.  Some of these things I’ve learned by living with Joe and some of these I learned from Joe’s example. And quite frankly, my children would have died in infancy if not for their father. With 6 brothers and sisters he was a pro at feeding and changing diapers. I didn’t have a clue. He also taught me how to live in the moment and stop worrying so much about the future. In fact, he’s the one who taught me it was OK to leave dog hair on the floor and dishes in the sink.

Does he drive me nuts? You bet. I’m sure I do the same thing to him. But at the end of the day (and hopefully our lives) it will be the two of us in our RV cruising the highways and bi-ways of American looking for the world’s largest ball of twine.  Wish us luck getting there.


The Lord Giveth, The Lord Taketh Away








Sometimes the hardest part about writing is finding a good beginning. And since I can’t find a good beginning, I’m just going to start in the middle. I had my appointment with the MS Specialist on Monday and he is fairly certain based on my physical symptoms that I don’t have MS. He still wants to see the actual MRI pictures but unless he sees anything on the pictures that weren’t annotated on the radiologist notes I can scratch that off of my list of worries. We still have a lot of work to do trying to figure out these continuing migraines and find a way to treat them along with the brain lesions, but things are certainly looking up. But enough about me, since I don’t find myself all that interesting.

One of the worst things about getting older is that you start to lose people from your life faster than you accumulate them. As if my mother’s continuing illness weren’t enough we received a call early this morning that Joe’s brother Stephen had passed away from a massive coronary. He was 51 years old and lived his life exactly as he wanted. A huge man with a huge personality you always knew when he was in a room. He was a great dancer and had a dry/sly wit. And whether he was directing it at you or someone else he was always spot on with his insights; whether you liked it or not.

During the 26 years I’ve been a member of the family I have watched while Steve struggled off and on with drug addiction and all of the demons that go with it. And yet for the last six months or so he was clean and sober. He was working and putting his life back together. Just yesterday he had spoken to his siblings and his mother and seemed upbeat and happy. So perhaps it is fitting that during this upswing in his life his heart finally gave out.

As I sit writing this my youngest son is having his 14th birthday party in the basement and I am reminded of how quickly time goes by. One day they are born and the next they are apply for grad school at MIT (way to go JJ!!!). In between the days go by and we think that tomorrow we will find time to enjoy life when our job is demanding or the house is less messy. The truth is that whether we have 51 years or 100 years there are never enough of them.

So  go out this weekend and enjoy the sunshine, rain, leaves, clouds…whatever. Call the people you love and a few you just like. Leave a few dirty dishes in the sink and dog hair on the floor. Count your blessings and enjoy all of your days.

Oops..I Did It Again

When I was a little girl, my mother often accused me of being overly dramatic and sensitive. Of course, I didn’t agree with her then, but I’m wondering now if she may not have had a point. In my last post I attempted to explain why I hadn’t been around in awhile and in doing so I think I may have set off a few unintentional alarm bells. Yes, I’ve had some health issues to deal with but I figure that anything that doesn’t end in my eminent demise is a good thing.

Having said that,  words can’t begin to convey my emotions at all of the encouraging messages I’ve received from friends and family over the last few days. I guess that sometimes we live in our own little slices of heaven and never stop to think that others might be even the slightest bit interested in how we’re doing. And, like most people, I’ve never gotten the hang of imparting bad/mediocre news without it sounding weird.  How does one mention that they are ill; but not critically so, without sounding melodramatic. If anyone has some good ideas, I’d love to hear them.

Now on to the latest news about my mother. She has what’s called Hemalytic Anemia which means that every 6 weeks or so she has to go in for a few pints of nice fresh blood. So today we went over to Northwest Community Hospital where they were kind enough to spend about 6 hours topping off her tank. She went in weak, tired and white and came out looking and feeling much better. In fact she was feeling so good she was hoping to stay up long enough to watch NCIS and NCIS, LA. She really has a thing for Mark Harmon.

I was there for about half of the procedure (she made me go home for lunch and a nap) and was able to spend some quality time with her. As I’m going through this process of watching her life wind down I keep remembering a conversation I had with my old friend Michelle. Michelle is one of those people who everyone should have in their life. Grounded, smart, thoughtful, kind, and above all compassionate. She really lives the ideals of a Christian life. But I digress. When her mother was dying a few years ago from cancer she spent time with her in hospice and was able to come to terms with many of the conflicts that we invariably have with our parents.

I remember thinking at the time what a gift it was for her to be able to do this. And even more than that was her ability to find closure in the conversations. In talking to her mother and coming to terms with the answers her mother gave her and not the ones she wanted to hear. I mean let’s be honest here. What are the odds that we are going to hear what we want to hear? So as I watched my mother sleeping and dreaming I realized that once upon a time she was a helpless infant and child. I wondered how anyone could look at this little person as her mother had and not want to do everything in their power to protect and nurture them. And yet, that hadn’t happened with my mother.

When she woke up I asked her about it and her answer was simple. She said. “My mother, fed, clothed and educated me and that’s all most parents did back then. That’s what they did”. I had never heard my mother utter words of acceptance or forgiveness for her own mother and yet there it was. She had finally given me a response that was totally unexpected and proved that you can learn even as your life is ending.

And although I’ve been slowly coming to terms with my own relationship with my mother over these last few months I’ve never had more admiration and respect for her than I did today. We talked about how long she wanted to continue with the treatments and how she wanted to end her life. For all the pain her going will cause, I am eternally grateful that she is willing to talk so candidly and openly about her passing. It is truly inspirational.

And so although I’m going through a rough patch now I know that it won’t always be this way. As with most things in life, this too shall pass.

Easter Schmeaster

As many women in my age group may know, menopause is a bitch. Someone once asked me what it was like and I likened it to puberty with responsibility. Sad, but true. And one of the worst things about menopause is your inability to eat what you want in large, massive quantities. And I’m not talking about weight gain here. I’m talking about true and lasting pain. The kind of pain you had as a youngster when you drank  6 too many shots on a Saturday when your limit was only 10 to begin with.

That being said, I’ve recently been diagnosed with migraine headaches. Another unpleasant side effect of what I like to call “Menopause’s Last Stand”. Last week I was instructed to keep a migraine diary by documenting everything I ate and how I was feeling when the migraine hit. Really? I don’t think so. The last time I chronicled everything I ate was 5 years ago when I joined Weight Watchers and lost 30 pounds (which I have kept off plus or minus 2-3 pounds). And the last time I wrote down how I was feeling was…NEVER! I suppose as a teenager I wrote the occasional diary entry, but really? The whole thing seems so self-indulgent. And since I’ve been seeing a therapist every Wednesday since October, I couldn’t see where this would help.

Bottom line…I’ve done neither. What I can say I did was eat a lot of sugar in the form of cake and cola the entire Easter weekend. I also cooked for Easter which entailed a great deal of tasting and sampling. I also had coffee and cheese. Anyone who’s ever been treated for migraines knows that all of these things are on the “Not Allowed” list of foods. So on Monday I woke up with the worst migraine I’ve had in weeks. And the worst part is I went “cold turkey” on all banned foods. I’ve actually been very good at eating my yogurt, fruits, vegetables and lean proteins. I had hoped to feel better by Tuesday, but this morning I woke up again with a miserable migraine.

But not to be too negative, I have also been unable to watch television or spend much time in front of my computer (except for work) which I supposed has been a benefit of these constant migraines. I’ve been forced to claw my way through the stack of magazines in my bedroom and I’ve had time to reflect. Reflection. Now there’s a word that should be on everyone’s to-do list. Reflect on the joys you’ve been given. Reflect on your abundance of loved-ones. Reflect on what you want to be when you grow up. Reflect. Isn’t that what Easter is really about? And Chocolate Bunnies!

Is It Just Me…Or Am I Getting Old

Last Thanksgiving I decided that I had enough of spending hours every month to color my hair, only to have silver/gray roots back in only a week. Add on top of that the aggravation of spending extra time in the morning to make sure my eyebrows (which were already silver) matched my hair. I received a lot of negative feedback on this idea from friends and family members alike. Maybe they just didn’t like the idea of being seen with an old broad.

My husband couldn’t decide if this was a good idea or a bad one. On one hand I think he didn’t mind the idea of gray hair on his wife. After all, who hits on gray-haired old ladies. On the other hand, he is 3 years younger than I am and still has a full head of (mostly) blond hair. Was it worth the $30 a month in savings to be seen with his “old lady”? He wasn’t sure. My friend Ann was upset because she has been cutting and coloring my hair for over 15 years and didn’t want to think about how much time she’d wasted on that project. My kids didn’t care since what difference does it make what your mother looks like when she’s already old.  That last quote came directly from my 15 year old son. Always the truth sayer  in our family.

So I colored my hair for the last time in November and a blog was born. OK, so it took me almost 6 months to get started, but with a full-time job, 3 dogs, 2 kids still at home and aforementioned husband it took a little while. But here I am, 5 months later with my first post. And unfortunately for anyone who reads this; this will not be my last. Although most of my career has been spent as a writer, I have only recently begun to write about or even express my opinion. But that is  6 months of therapy and a whole ‘nother blog post away. For now I’d like to wish everyone a Happy Easter! And let’s hope Spring gets to the Midwest soon. I’m freezing!!!