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Posts Tagged ‘love’

Relationships

Yim and I ran into an old acquaintance of mine while roaming the aisles of Home Depot.  Years ago, this guy, we’ll call him Adam, used to date a good friend of mine, we’ll call her Alice, who, by the way, I have lost touch with.

When Alice and I were friends, we spoke nearly every day.  She lived a few blocks away from me, and Adam lived a few blocks away from her.  When their relationship was at it’s height, perhaps a year into it, my 10 year relationship with my ex was at its mid-point.  With increasing frequency, I would call Alice to see if she’d like to make plans – walk our dogs together or window shop on Walnut Street, for instance, and she would turn me down in lieu of plans with Adam.  Or, even better, I would get no answer when I called her and then I would spot her walking hand-in-hand down my street with Adam.  Alice and Adam cooked great meals together, took walks together, went to see foreign films, and took bike rides together.  I was so envious of their relationship.  Alice seemed to have everything with Adam that I wanted in a relationship.  It’s hard to just be happy for your friends without the tarnishing thoughts of questioning why you don’t have what they have.

After 5 years together my boyfriend and I were just that: a boyfriend and girlfriend.  We had failed to progress beyond an exclusive dating stage.  Forget about engagement; we were still living 40 minutes apart and working our schedules around spending recreational time together.  I was vocal about what I wanted and needed from him, but there were always reasons why it was not possible.  Specifically, the problems were: a) he wanted to feel more financially secure before taking on the responsibility of a family, b) he wanted to live in the suburbs while I remained dedicated to city life with a country home, c) he had to work long hours and had difficulty managing his time efficiently enough to fit in activities with me.  These were the reasons why he couldn’t make it over in time to cook dinner together and then walk, hand-in-hand, to the independent theater to catch a foreign film!  So I did a lot of figuring on how to stay happy in that relationship.  You know, because I loved him!

A few days ago I read something on Mighty Girl that reminded me of what it was like to be strained in a relationship like that:

-”…People often start negotiating from what they think they can get, not what they really want–so even if the other person says yes, they are still disappointed. …People should start by being honest about 100% of what they want. My partner and I use this all the time, for things big and small. ‘My 100% would be having dinner before we see the movie.’ ‘My 100% would be to move to a bigger house in two years.’
…One thing that is surprising is how often you can have your 100%–and then you feel really lucky and happy and loved. And you also have the satisfaction of knowing that you gave your partner what they _really_ wanted. On the other hand, if the 100% isn’t possible and you have to negotiate down from there you at least know that what you wanted was heard.” –Not that Girl

In my relationship with my ex, I got tired of hearing ‘no’ all of the time.  Eventually, I unwittingly gave up earnestly asking for what I wanted and then objectively considering the results and, instead, quietly submitted to dumbing down my negotiations in an effort to get something.  I began to mistake complacency on my part for satisfaction, all the while feeling a constant, subtle uneasiness.  *Gasp*  I’d learned to live with it!  So while I yearned for couple-ship, I spent a lot of time hoping and waiting for that ship to reach shore with him, and before it did, it sank.

Sound ridiculous?  Especially from a confident, aggressive, proud gal like me?  I know. But when your heart is in it, you somehow find a way to put weight in those empty promises made in the name of eternal love.

As for Alice and Adam, their ship sank, as well.  I watched as Alice experienced horrible heartache and I was there for her to lean on me.  In the end, everybody in this trilogy moved on.  Alice actually moved out of state and lost touch with many of her old cronies.  Adam bought a house in the same neighborhood and is now engaged to be married.  And Yim came along to pick me up out of the rubble that was my break up.  And this is the point:

When Yim and I ran into Adam the other day, I remembered all of these things.  As I relayed the tale of the past to Yim, I was stricken by the shedding of all feelings of envy I have experienced.  I thought about how I have personally matured, i.e., I will never again accept anything less than exactly what I want, and I want what I have now.  Of course, with maturity comes the wisdom to know just how much of a compromise can be made before that line is crossed, and in a good relationship, that line never even nears.  As the excerpt above suggests, I voice my 100%, whether it is a want or a need.  The thing about Yim and I is that we seem to always want the same things.  We maintain our individual perspectives, but our goals are so very alike.  This relationship is easy.  Right now I can hear the advice proffered me from my elders over the years on the subject of love.  Sometimes I regret that I did not slow down and try to heed some of that advice.  On the other hand, to each his own, and everything really does happen for a reason.

In love, what is allowed to be taken has a higher price than what is given. — Petit-Senn

And remember:

Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, nor Hell a fury like a woman scorned. — Congreve

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Buon Compleanno, Zia!

To honor Zia on this day of her birth, I would like to say a few things about her character.

Ask anyone who knows our family, “Who has the biggest heart?” and they will tell you it is Zia.  She never had children of her own to share her love with, but she has dispensed her unconditional love on me, Rock, and Lord Mycol.

She plays better with children than anyone I’ve ever seen before – she enters the world of make-believe and connects with the spirit of the child.  No wonder she was always my favorite aunt.

She loves to dance and has light rhythm in her petite feet.  She used to have the most marvelous variety of high-heeled shoes and I can only imagine her dancing away the night in them.

She was born in an American camp for Italian refugees in the deep south of Italy.  Born into struggle, she has the strongest character and never suffers the pitfalls of a low self-esteem.  Because of her strength, she has no need to utter biting words towards others.  She is always kind and giving.

She is the caregiver of the family.  She dedicated much of her life to taking care of her parents, me and my son.  She gladly cooks and cleans for you – her maternal instincts – it is one way she shows her affection and she knows it is appreciated.

She embraces her heritage, loves the opera and tango music.  She can laugh with all her heart at your jokes and she has a quick wit for humor herself.

She doesn’t pronounce ‘H’ at the beginning of a word.  For instance, ‘Howard’ becomes ‘Oward’ or ‘hang’ becomes ‘ang’.  But she puts an ‘H’ in front of words where it doesn’t belong.  ‘Apple’  becomes ‘happle’.  And so . . . “Do you ave any happles?”  leads to gales of laughter and iperhactivity.  She says ‘her’ ‘are’, and ‘worm’ ‘warm’.  She doesn’t like it if you spend too much time ‘ting-a-ring’ around.  But hall you ave to do is talk to are in are hown language, hand she will laugh hout loud.

She knows all the old movie stars and could have been in pictures herself.  She could’ve been a spy, the way she can talk to anyone comfortably.

She was the style maven of the family, with closets full of fun clothes and jewelry boxes filled to the brim.

She is an example of loyalty, honesty, strength and love that is much needed in any family.  I am blessed that she is a part of mine.

And on top of all of that, she is beautiful and sexy, too.

Happy Birthday, Zia!  You are always Number One in my heart.

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There is a radio in my bathroom that remains plugged in.  This way, when I hit the light switch, voila, I have music as well.  I’ve always kept it this way, no matter where I’ve lived.  I just love to hear music as often as I can, even if it is in the can.

Sometimes a song will take me straight back in time and remind me of everything about a moment in my past, and this is the best kind of sometimes.  Songs are like smells that way.  They can trigger your memory to recall all the details of an instance.

All music is what awakes from you when you are reminded by the instruments. — Walt Whitman

I thought it would be fun to make a list of all the songs I can think of that have this effect on me, share the list with you, and ask you to post a comment with your own songs and the memories they induce.

Here are mine:

Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head” – sung by B.J. Thomas

In my memory this song is forever linked to the nursery rhyme

It’s raining, it’s pouring,

The old man is snoring,

He went to bed and he bumped his head,

And couldn’t get up in the morning.

When I was three years old we lived in an apartment on the third floor of one of the big, old Victorians around here, and from our window I could see the steeple of the Gothic Presbyterian church in East Liberty.  I was three, so I can’t explain anything about the memory other than if I hear the song “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head,” it most definitely always triggers the memory of the nursery rhyme and the view of the steeple from our window.

Suicide Is Painless” – theme song from M*A*S*H*.

I’m sure that many people my age can remember their parents tuning in to M*A*S*H* every week on TV.  It was one of my mother’s favorite programs, and I understood that it was funny, but most of the time the only thing that I could really laugh at was Jamie Farr in drag.  So it would make sense that the theme song would provoke memories of the show.  What I remember when I hear this theme song is my 5th grade music class at Liberty Elementary School.  That year we learned to sing this song and I can still clearly visualize the wide-ruled paper I wrote the lyrics on in pencil.

Through early morning fog I see
visions of the things to be
the pains that are withheld for me
I realize and I can see…

[chorus]:

That suicide is painless
It brings on many changes
and I can take or leave it if I please.

I try to find a way to make
all our little joys relate
without that ever-present hate
but now I know that it’s too late, and…

[Chorus]

The game of life is hard to play
I’m gonna lose it anyway
The losing card I’ll someday lay
so this is all I have to say.

[Chorus]

The only way to win is cheat
And lay it down before I’m beat
and to another give my seat
for that’s the only painless feat.

[Chorus]

MASH
The sword of time will pierce our skins
It doesn’t hurt when it begins
But as it works its way on in
The pain grows stronger…watch it grin, but…

[Chorus]

A brave man once requested me
to answer questions that are key
‘is it to be or not to be’
and I replied ‘oh why ask me?’

‘Cause suicide is painless
it brings on many changes
and I can take or leave it if I please.
…and you can do the same thing if you choose.

Such deep and gloomy lyrics to teach to a classroom full of children.  Obviously, I can’t forget it.

“I Think I’m Turning Japanese” – The Vapors

“Life in Tokyo” – Japan

Music will often play a kind of soundtrack to your life, especially to the good times with good friends.  I think it’s strange and interesting that there is an Asian theme to these two songs that will eternally be linked to my friendship with Elisabeth.

When I was 7 years old, I was walking back to my house from playing up the street.  The summer day was coming to an end.  It was just dusk outside.  My roller-skates with the pink rubber wheels were slung over my shoulder, tied together at the laces.  Sounds cliché, but it is 100% true.  I could see my mother sitting on the front porch with my 3-year-old brother.  And waiting to cross the street on the opposite curb was some lanky boy I’d never seen before.  As I got closer to home I saw this boy cross the street and go right up onto my porch and talk to my mother.  And as I got closer still, I realized that boy was a girl.  Elisabeth was taller than me but had shorter hair than me.  She was long and skinny.  She was wearing a t-shirt with horizontal alternating navy and white pin-stripes.  She had bubble-gum stuck to her shirt.  She had a white gauze bandage taped to her ankle – a burn from the exhaust pipe of her uncle’s motorcycle.  We became quick friends and over the years these songs were used in group choreographed dance contests we had at her birthday parties.  “I Think I’m Turning Japanese” can absolutely be considered our theme song.

“King of Pain” – The Police

I guess I must have been 12 years old when I read Cujo by Stephen King.  By this time we were living in that huge, drafty house that I did most of my growing up in.  My bedroom was on the first floor, while my mother and brother slept upstairs.  I’ve mostly always read in bed before switching off my bedside lamp and going to sleep.  I’ve not always read with the radio on as well, but that is what I was doing then.  Cujo was so scary and I felt so alone and vulnerable on the first floor.  I had the radio on quietly beside me as I read so as to comfort me.  And then the DeeJay played “King of Pain”.  It was the first time I’d ever heard it.  It was just as dark and eerie as Cujo.  I put the book down and listened to the lyrics and got even more creeped out.  Don’t get me wrong, I really love this song a lot, and part of it’s appeal is what it did to me that night.

“Need You Tonight” – INXS

“Tell It To My Heart” – Taylor Dayne

Okay, I just watched these videos and listened to the lyrics and got a little embarrassed.  Oh my.  Well, you can probably guess that these songs, and the videos, trigger my memories of my “dawn of womanhood”.  Let’s just say that the mature feelings expressed by the lyricists inaccurately describe my experience, but nonetheless, I am transported in time to a certain weekend of my life.  And we’ll leave it at that.

“Big Mouth Strikes Again” – The Smiths

When I married Mike in Oregon we spent a few nights in his mother’s guest bedroom before and after our “honeymoon”.  We listened to The Smiths in the damp coolness of Oregon’s November on the Columbia River.  It sounds slightly romantic, but I assure you, the lyrics should be “sweetness, I wasn’t joking when I said I’d like to smash every tooth in your head.”  I actually love Morrissey and The Smiths and think their lyrics are brilliant, but listening to this one is somewhat bittersweet.

I’m not trying to be morose here, there are songs by the dozens that take me back to happy, happy places.  I just felt this was a nice sampling to share, even if the last few do seem to remind me of things less than ideal.  C’est la vie.

Now it’s your turn.  In the comments section of this post, tell us about a song that transports you to another time and the memory it triggers.  More than one?  Great!  Let’s hear them!

Without music life would be a mistake. — Nietzsche

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In keeping with the week’s Valentine love theme, I was going to write a post to all the men I’ve loved before.  But rally, dears, I just don’t have the time!  I mean, Joe Park Willy was 34 years ago and in between then and now the path behind me is strewn with broken hearts.  Okay, okay, but just Joe.

I used to walk a mile to elementary school.  I went to a wonderful little school in a red brick building built in 1911 and annexed in 1934.  The original building from 1872 had been torn down and replaced.  The school I remember fondly was the same as it was in 1976 as it was in 1934.  I could go on relaying memories of the place, but this is a love post about Joe Park Willy.

By the way, where are you Joe?

Joe was in my class from kindergarten through 2nd grade.  Then he went away to some private school, only to return to me in 5th grade.  At least that’s how I think it went.  He had blond hair – really blond hair.  It was straight and cut like Ricky Schroder’s in Little Lord Fauntleroy.

https://i0.wp.com/www.joeparadox.com/images/thlf041s.jpg

In second grade Joe Park Willy’s baby-blue eyes were tarnished by a shiner.  I don’t even remember what happened.  I do remember that I had such a major crush on him.  In elementary school?!

I guess it was also in second grade when Joe, Bernita DuBois, and I decided that we would leave a little early for school in the mornings and take turns going to each other’s respective houses for a second breakfast before school.  We all lived close enough.  We were all walkers.  And our parents would all be gone for work already.  Weren’t we sophisticated?  It was Joe’s turn first and me and Bernita did go there.  He poured cereal for us and we ate together before walking the rest of the way to school.

Joe lived at the end of a dead end street some halfway distance between my house and school.  In fact, if you pushed through the brush of his side yard, there was a rope swing tied to a big tree right on the edge of his parent’s property.  That rope swing swung out over a wooded hillside, which, if traversed, led to a 7-eleven parking lot and a shortcut back to my house.  I walked home that way a few times.

Mostly, I loved Joe Park Willy from afar.  But I don’t think it was any secret.  My best memory is from our kindergarten year.  It may have been the last day of school, and that is not an attempt to dramatize this young romance.  My mother had come to meet me and walk me home.  The weather was nice and all the school children were running around in the playground.  As my mother tried to take my hand and lead me home I told her to just wait a minute.  There was something I needed to do.  I scanned the playground for the blue-eyed boy with the blond blond hair.  And when I found him, I ran right up to him and kissed him square on the lips before turning and running back to my mother.

Since then I have been attracted to a variety of men, but the truth is that most of those broken-hearted boys had blue eyes.  Turns out I’m a sucker for them.

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Oh, Ed: an Ode

Eddie Vedder’s voice makes my soul quake.  I’m not into Capricorn men, usually they are weirdos, but I’ve got a crush on Eddie Vedder.  And I do think he’s a bit weird.

When he sings Footsteps I have out-of-body experiences.  I usually don’t like to listen to Pearl Jam in company because if I closed my eyes and started to whirl like a dervish I might lose friends.

But seriously.  Ed.  I had a dream he stopped by my work and when we hugged he whispered in my ear, “I’ve always loved you.”  Me, too!  I mean, I have always loved you.  …I mean him.

When I went to see Pearl Jam a few years ago, I wore a yellow tank top so that Eddie might see me in that sea of plaid.  I was pretty close to the stage.  I saw somebody’s pictures from the concert on flickr and I spotted myself.  The yellow tank top worked.  After the show I wanted to go to the bar in the hotel where the band was staying.  Yeah, like a groupie.  So what’s wrong with that?  People do it all the time.  Once, I had a completely unintentional groupie moment with the Ben Folds Five band.  I told the bassist that when I go in cognito I call myself Sabrina.  Hey, he sat next to me.

Anyway, my ex-boyfriend got so irrationally jealous over the prospect of Eddie and I falling instantly and madly in love with each other that we had a fight.  Then he gave in and took me to that bar anyhow.  Which, in hindsight, I can say, was probably not such a good idea after all.  Because I think if Eddie Vedder had been in there, he quite reasonably could have fallen instantly and madly in love with me.  Hey, he’d sit next to me.

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On Time and Love

This Valentine’s Day I was given pause to think on Valentines past and to reflect on how time changes everything.  Or, how everything changes in time.  Or, everything in it’s own time.  Or, a time for everything.

Nothing is true forever . . . a man and a fact will become equally decrepit, for truth is as mortal as man.James Stephens

So much has happened in my life, and in particular, the last 2 1/2 years have been revolutionary.  Case in point; this blog.  How did I jump from 2007 to 2010 with nary a post?  What happened?!

Everything happened.  And it wasn’t all bad.

In 2007 I’d never had a broken heart.  I’d been in a relationship going on 10 years with the man who I will always consider my first true love.  We’d struggled at least the last 3 years of those 10, but I thought that in the summer of 2007 all was reconciled.  So although we still didn’t live together, I was happy to submit to what I could not change and to enjoy the fruits of our union sans marriage.  I just loved him so much.

The head is always the dupe of the heart.La Rochefoucauld

On my month-long road trip across America, we spoke on the phone nearly every day.  I blogged about my trip, mentioning him in some of my posts.  It all seems ridiculous now, but when I got home from the road, my relationship with him rapidly deteriorated amidst the revelation of lies and betrayal.  Anything I had chosen to overlook before in the name of compromise (and LOVE); immaturity, jealousy, fear of commitment, paled in comparison to the realization that this man could hold me close, profess his never-ending love, and tell me that I was his best friend, all the while carrying on with another woman.  I KNOW, I KNOW!  It makes me look like a daft and weak woman, which I am verifiably not.  When I say that I always knew that if I were in a relationship with a two-timer the situation would reveal itself in no time at all, I mean it.  And it did.  It came to light quickly and horribly.  You should hear the things he said about it.  “She’s a nice girl so I gave her my number, but now she won’t stop calling.”  (Here’s me, calling bullshit on him.)  “I just can’t get rid of her.”  (Here’s me, calling bullshit on him and advising him on how to grow a spine.)  “She’s in love with me already.”  (Here’s me, calling bullshit on him, advising him on spinal growth, and asking him to be honest.)  “She’s boring and dumb, I can’t talk to her about anything.”  (You know what I am doing.)  “I tried to break-up with her, but she cried and wouldn’t let me.”  (I feel murderous.)  “Sleeping with her is like masturbating.”  (OH. MY. GOD.)  Just like that I found myself weighing in at 15 pounds less than usual.  Just like that my son and I were traumatized and disenchanted with life, love, and family.  In 3 months time, October through December, the bulk of my adult life disappeared like so many rings of smoke.  I used to say that our love was magical.  That’s the thing about magic; it’s not real.

By February I was still shell-shocked and sheepishly engaging my time in reading silly pamphlets on how to get your ex-boyfriend back.  Remember, folks, we’re talking about 10 years here.  My brain was still being duped by my heart, and he was still calling and texting me regularly.  I’d told him about a date I went on to see what reaction I’d get, hopelessly hoping that he would imagine me moving on and realize he had to marry me right away.

Love lessens the woman’s refinement but strengthens the man’s.Richter

And so.  On Valentine’s Day, 2008, my doorbell rang unexpectedly.  When I opened the door, there stood my ex-boyfriend with a single red rose.  And that day he looked to me like who he really was.  My brain was no longer my heart’s dupe.

That was the last time I saw him.

Essentially speaking.

I think I technically saw him twice more, but without the false pretense of hopeless romance struggling to survive.

By February 24th I was on my first date with Yimmy.  He took me to see his sister-in-law in The Vagina Monologues at the City Theater.  As she pretended to reach orgasm on stage I turned to him and said, “Now you know what your brother listens to in the bedroom.”

Yim and I met in December of 2007 and he’d been following me around since then making me laugh like crazy.  I had a bad attitude chip on my shoulder and kept trying to resist laughing, but he was so funny.  When he tried to tell me things, I tried to be a “too-cool-for-school” show off.  When he mentioned his girlfriend I said, “Don’t cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me?”

And then I became his girlfriend.

And I am still laughing.

The worst wasted of all days is that during which one has not laughed.Chamfort

(Guess who wasn’t funny?)

Last year for Valentine’s Day Yim took me to the Campbell House Bed & Breakfast in Ligonier.  We hiked Linn Run State Park in a beautiful snow fall and stood by the waterfall, still gushing it’s mountain spring water down the hillside in that wintry wonderland.

And this Valentine’s Day…. well, that is to be announced.

Other things that have been revolutionized since 2007 and the ex?  Procrastination, home renovation, travel, health, and general outlook on life.  Cheers to that!

Each day is the scholar of yesterday. — Syrus

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