38 Reasons Why

On the eve of our 38th wedding anniversary I thought it might be interesting to challenge myself to list 38 reasons I’m happy to be married to Studly.

1. He thinks I’m smart.

2. His sense of humor. It’s corny and quick and keeps me on my toes.

3. He’s a great mechanic. That ability has been ridiculously valuable throughout our 38 years together. No matter how broke we were we always had reliable transportation.

4. He is handsome. Much better looking than I deserve.

5. He’s honest in his dealings with others. His golf buddies refer to him as the Boy Scout. He never cheats. Never.

6. He can admit when he’s wrong.

7. He isn’t afraid to show emotion.

8. He loves our kids fiercely.

9. The grand kids have compared him to a jungle gym. And he would do anything in his power to make them happy.

10. He is loyal, sometimes to a fault.

11. He treats his mother like a queen.

12. He is generous and big-hearted.

13. His laugh. Oh, wow, his laugh. Sitting through a funny movie with Studly is one of the best mood lifters in the world. I highly recommend it.

14. He is a really good kisser.

15. He is an incredible leader.

16. Have I mentioned how smart he is?

17. He will dance with me if he has had enough to drink.

18. He is a good driver.

19. He taught me to ride a motorcycle without wringing my neck.

20. He likes to hold hands.

21. He does everything in his power to make sure I’m happy.

22. Studly loves our cats as much as I do.

23. He is consistent. That might sound boring, but he’s the perfect counterpoint to my Inconsistency.

24. Punctuality is important to him.

25. He makes kick ass obstacle courses.

26. He is a decent amateur auctioneer for our family reunion fund raisers. What he lacks in speed he makes up for in witty repartee.

27. He is really good at mental math. I never need a calculator when he’s around.

28. My parents loved him.

29. He insisted that Daddy move in with us so we could care for him after Mom passed away. The two years we had with Dad before he died were some of the best of our lives.

30. He never lets me take myself too seriously.

31. He doesn’t worry.

32. He respects my opinion and listens to my points of view.

33. He sees me as an equal partner in our marriage.

34. He can cook much better than I can.

35. He can laugh at himself.

36. Studly has a stellar work ethic.

37. He knows how to enjoy life.

38. And, he loves me. He really, really loves me.

I made it! Truth is I could’ve gone on and on, but I probably lost most of my readers half way through. That’s ok. This one’s for my husband.

Peace, People.

Thirty-eight Years of Living Dangerously

On Wednesday Studly and I will celebrate our 38th wedding anniversary. Not bad considering some guests at our wedding ceremony were placing bets on our marriage not lasting more than a year. We were just kids, after all, not even out of our teens.

Like every other couple who have managed to stay together for any length of time we have experienced tremendous ups and treacherous downs, and everything in between. And yet we’ve managed to survive with relatively minor scars.

I asked Studly to tell me what he believes to be the secret to sustaining a long marriage, and after much thought (2.5 seconds) he came up with two key elements:

1. Don’t die,

2. Don’t divorce

He was serious.

I’d like to add my own thoughts, but I’m busy banging my head against a wall right now.

Peace, People!

Just For Gaffes (edited)

I owe my life to “I Love Lucy.” Not in any literal sense, but certainly in some sort of metaphysical way. Lucy’s propensity for doing the wrong thing at the right time set a disturbingly cool precedent for me back in the days when the television was actually a pretty decent babysitter. Lucy’s grape stomping, ledge climbing, chocolate wrapping legacy, if nothing else, gave me permission to be my goofy self with no, ok, a few apologies.

But Lucy wasn’t my only influence. My mom, Freida, and her younger sister, Nedra, lent their wackiness to my formative years, as well. Once while waiting to pick up a relative at the small airport in Amarillo, the pair scurried off to answer the call of nature inside the ladies’ room of the nearly empty terminal. It was late at night and they might have been a bit tipsy. Mom was in one stall. Nedra in another. Gas was passed. Loud and long and clear. Nedra, always quick with a witticism sternly admonished, “Freida!” A deep silence ensued. The kind of silence that indicates something is very wrong. A toilet flushed, a stall opened and closed, followed by the sound of footsteps leaving the room. Only then did Mom explode in laughter as Nedra realized she’d scolded a complete stranger for farting. The pair hid in the bathroom for awhile hoping the gas passer wouldn’t associate them with their bathroom behavior.

Once my Aunt Nedra and her husband Uncle Richard, along with my mom and dad were spending the night at my grandparents’ home. As was their habit at such gatherings, the men went to bed ahead of the women who liked to tell stories and laugh well into the night. After much silliness my Aunt said goodnight to Mom and my grandmother and went to bed. Soon after, my mom followed, but found her spot next to my dad, occupied. She started laughing and soon her mother joined her in fits of uncontrollable giggles. Groggily, Nedra asked, “Richard, why are they laughing?” My dad, who until then was sound asleep responded, “Maybe because I’m not Richard and you’re in bed with your sister’s husband.” Everyone but my grandfather thought the story was hilarious. It just pissed him off.

I’ve turned doing embarrassing things into an art form. Too many to list here, but one of my favorites(?) was the time I was having some sort of sonogram done. As I lay on the exam table the tech was instructing me to take deeper breaths, hold, release, etc. The doctor to whom I’d been referred had an odd name, something like Bozdagerian or Bodgazerian or Bogzaderian.

I asked the tech, “Just how do you say this doctor’s name anyway ? Boz-da-ger-ian?”

“Deeper” said the tech.

So I lowered my voice an octave and tried again. “Boz-da-ger-ian?” I intoned.

The tech started laughing. “That was impressive,” he said. “Now please take a deeper breath.”

I’m most apt to commit verbal faux pas, like the time I told a crowd of people that upon Turning 50 I had “embraced my AARP-ness.” Read that aloud and you will know why I was the butt of more than a few jokes that afternoon.

Then there was the time a drunken me asked a lady on the dance floor where the deejay was located. Coincidentally, she asked me the very same question. At the very same time. She even kind of looked like me, only drunker. I noticed dancers giving me odd looks. That’s when I realized I’d been carrying on a conversation with my reflection in a mirror. I told myself thanks and returned to my table. I never did find the deejay.

My mom always said I was just like my Aunt Nedra, but at least I’ve never slept with my sister’s husband.

Peace, People.

Fifty Shades of Hey!

As the movie trailers for Fifty Shades of Grey began appearing on Facebook this week I stopped to reflect on my own interaction with the novel.

I tried reading Fifty Shades of Grey. Honestly. The hype was bubbling around the book like fizzy soda, and avid reader that I am, I inhaled those bubbles and dove right in. For all of maybe 50 pages of 50 shades. Then, I called a friend.

“Hey, you’re reading Fifty Shades of Grey, right?

“Ummm, yes,” she moaned.

“Does it get better?” I asked.

“Yes, yes, yes!” she cried.

I hung up.

I read another hundred pages. I still didn’t get it. Who was this inner goddess, and why didn’t I have one? Did the inner goddess perhaps serve as a replacement for a personality? Was there supposed to be sexual tension between Mr. Grey and Miss Steele? Did I need to reassess my definition of sexual tension?

I called another friend.

Hey, I’m reading that book you recommended, Fifty Shades of Gray.

All I heard was buzzing in the background.

“Hey!” I said, a little more forcefully. “Does the couple in the book ever actually do anything?”

Our connection must have been bad; the buzzing continued, only more loudly.

I hung up.

“Perhaps I should skip to a sex scene,” I thought.

It was a little difficult to determine exactly where in the book that sex scene took place, though. There were so many rules, regulations, and tools involved. It read more like an orientation for shop class than a sex romp.

I called my husband.

“Hey, Studly,” I said. “Do you think we need a contract for sex?”

“Huh?”

“You know, a contract so you can’t be found legally responsible if I get hurt during intimate relations.”

He guffawed. “Intimate relations! That’s a good one!”

I hung up. What a sadist.

Peace, People.

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Looking for Answers to Life’s Biggest Questions

What type of wine pairs best with a ham and cheese sandwich?

Is it ever permissible to lie about one’s middle name?

What is worth more than a bird in the hand?

Whose dogs were let out and where did they go?

Did King George need his spectacles to read everyone else’s signature on the Declaration of Independence?

Was the song, “What Does the Fox Say” merely a way to get uptight middle class white folks to sing dirty sounding lyrics?

Can you let it go without singing about it?

Where have all the flowers gone?

Shouldn’t the show “Two and a Half Men” now just be “Three Men?”

Did Salt-n-Pepa ever talk about sex, baby?

How many hours of CSI does one need to watch before actually qualifying to become a crime scene investigator?

Is anything faster than the speed of light?

Is Yoda the only one of his species?

Did Prince Charming have a foot fetish?

If a dog’s bark is worse than his bite why don’t we have to get stitches if we get a dog bark?

Does this qualify as my fourteenth post?

Peace, People!

Snake Eyes

I never met a snake I couldn’t hate. Venomous, non-venomous, short, long, infant, adult, it doesn’t matter. They give me the willies. If I can see one well in advance of initial contact I can handle a snake’s presence, but the thing about snakes is they tend to lurk, hidden among the leaves and undergrowth, offering apples to unsuspecting naked people.

Tallahassee, Florida, is basically a hilly jungle. We have oak trees, magnolias, mimosas, pines, sweet gums, palms, and a host of other trees all, apparently, on steroids. In addition we have millions of shrubs and bushes and flowers. A profusion of plant life populates this part of the Florida panhandle. It’s beautiful. And it’s home to five different kinds of venomous snakes: the Pygmy Rattler, the Cottonmouth or Water Moccasin, the Timber Rattlesnake, the Coral Snake, and the Copperhead. These snakes love to hide under fallen leaves. Guess what? Lots of trees mean lots of leaves.

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Above: water moccasin

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Coral snake

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Pygmy rattler

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Copperhead

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Timber rattlesnake

Recently due to an increase in snake bites among the local populace, the “Tallahassee Democrat” ran an informative piece on the venomous snakes in our area. How kind of them. Since then I have barely stepped foot into our forested backyard. Every single snake named in the article enjoys hanging out in fallen leaves. I look out my back door and all I see are trees surrounded by fallen leaves. When I do go out I have this ritual dance. It’s part flamenco, part ninja, part karate. Think John Belushi in “Animal House.”

They tell me cats are good snake repellant. I have two, but they don’t want to go outside either and I’m not sure how much good they are doing as mere spectators.

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A while back I wrote about super powers I’d like to have. I need to add one: Super Snake Dominance and Avoidance. This power would instantly cause all venomous snakes within 5 miles of me to be rendered inanimate and harmless. Indefinitely. I’ll give the non-venomous ones a break as long as they do their living outside of my direct line of sight. They just need to heed my ritual dance.

Peace, People!

To Fly Or Not To Fly: What was the Question?

I’ve given a great deal of thought to my “yet to appear” super powers. Just what would they be? How strong? Will they be worthwhile powers, or useless ones like the ability to consume massive quantities of prunes with no adverse effects?

Any day now I feel sure these dormant abilities will emerge in full strength to make up for all the years they’ve been suppressed. I was fairly confident that my 50th birthday would be the trigger point, alas, here I am at 57.75 and still nothing. I just hope they show up in time for me to fully utilize them before I’m too old to reap the benefits. It’d be a shame to learn I have the gift of super flexibility once I’m confined to a wheelchair.

In no particular order, here are the three standard super powers I’d most like to have:

1) The ability to fly. Okay, I lied, this is by far the most important of the super powers, so I listed it first. I do have some stipulations, though. If I can fly I also want the super power of having hair and skin impervious to sun and windburn. What good is having the gift of flight if one is wrinkled and unkempt? I’d also need an incredibly strong set of neck muscles if I’m going to fly long distances. Maybe that’s just a standard set of accoutrement when gifted with the power of flight.

2) Invisibility. Obviously I’d only use this power for good. Wink, wink.

3) Super strength. This is one that could be especially useful as I age. No more accosting strong young men to open tight lids and doors for me. Wait, I might want to think this one through.

In addition to these, I’d also like to have some not-so-standard powers. For starters, how about the ability to nap at will? Anytime, anyplace. I’ve actually seen this power in action, but have yet to be able to master it.

Also I’d like the power to eat any thing I want without ever gaining a pound of fat. I’d like that one as soon as possible as I’ve been eating like it’s already a given. On second thought, could it be made retroactive?

One more, because I’m feeling greedy snapping up all the good powers. I’d like the power to magically transport my grand kids to my house at any time, and then transport them home when they’ve been thoroughly spoiled. Really, this is the only one that matters.

If the whole super power thing doesn’t work out, I still have hopes that my letter from Hogwarts got lost in the mail. Accio correspondence!

Peace, People.

Waking Up Is Hard To Do

I got two hours of sleep last night. Maybe two and a quarter. My husband, Studly Doright, who by the way doesn’t have sleep apnea (we had him tested) snored all night long. And when I say he snored I mean he:

Snorted
Roared
Snuffled
Gurgled
Rattled
Plorked
And mmmphhed
Loudly

All night long.

There was never any pattern to the cacophony. He usually maintains some sort of almost hypnotic, metronomic rhythm that allows me to slip into sleep. But not last night. Just as a tango was established he’d switch to a rumba, then to a cha cha. There might have been a salsa thrown in, too. I would have loved a minuet, but that never happened.

I moved to another bedroom around 3:40 a.m. The cats found that amusing and wanted to play. I must have fallen asleep at some point, only to have Studly wake me up to kiss me goodbye when he left for work at 6. How very considerate of him. Thank you sir, may I have another?

Normally I’d have had the luxury of snuggling under my covers after Studly left for work, but I’d promised to meet an acquaintance at a fitness center for an early morning aerobics class. I went, and held on through most of the class, but I might have fallen asleep during the cool down. There was a trickle of drool on my yoga mat. I just hope I didn’t snore.

Peace, People

Movie Etiquette for Dummies

Today, I rant. Either I’m getting less tolerant, or the movie-going population has become more rude. I suspect it’s a little of both. At any rate, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore” — a line from the film “Broadcast News” that I might have missed if the couple sitting beside us in the theater today had been sitting by us when that film was released in 1987. And that was a line that was quite literally shouted from the rooftop multiple times. I would have missed every single repetition.

Nowadays, Studly and I move to different seats almost every time we attend a movie, and today was no exception. So, here is my list of theater etiquette. Thoughts are welcome.

1. Don’t text during a film. The light from a smart phone is a real buzz kill. Part of the reason one goes to see a movie at a theater is for the ambiance, and sharing light from a cell phone in a darkened theater is akin to flushing a toilet in the middle of a ritzy restaurant. It ruins the ambiance. And the appetite. And it’s inconsiderate.

2. Don’t rattle wrappers. It drives me insane when people scrunch, shake, and otherwise loudly manipulate their sacks of popcorn and boxes of candy. For pity’s sake, just eat it all before the movie starts, or open the package in such a way as to facilitate easy access to the snack during the film. It’s not rocket science!

3. Chew as quietly as possible. Really. No one wants to hear the crunch, crunch, crunch of popcorn or Jordan almonds during a romantic flick. In a perfect world, only gummi bears would be served in movie theaters. And maybe pudding. Oatmeal would be okay, too.

4. Be aware of surroundings. if the theater has plenty of vacant seats, don’t choose to sit right next to someone else. It’s just awkward. And if you rattle wrappers or chew loudly I’m just going to want to slap you upside the head.

5. Don’t talk. Ok, the words, “Whoa!”, “Ahhhh!” or similar declarations of fear, surprise, even wonder can be uttered, but under no circumstances should one carry on a full-blown conversation. Even in whispers! Whispers carry. Whispers are annoying.

No lie, the couple that sat beside us in the theater today (who could have chosen from among multiple seats, by the way) carried on a running commentary throughout the film. I gave them my best teacher look, the one that says “shut the hell up!” They were too busy talking to notice. I ahem’d. The talking continued. I coughed loudly. They actually gave me a nasty look. Finally Studly and I moved, but it just wasn’t the same after that. They’d blown my experience.

Movies aren’t cheap. And i just want to enjoy my movie in a respectful atmosphere. I know, I know I should just stay home and enjoy movies on HBO or Netflix, but I still like the big screen experience. I refuse to give up on my dream of watching a first run film in companionable silence with a bunch of random strangers. Is it too much to ask? Studly says the odds are against me. As for me, I say, “Never tell me the odds!” Han Solo would be so proud.

In spite of it all,
Peace, People.

Goose, You Big Stud

There are a handful of films that I can watch again and again, coming in at any point in the narrative and getting right down to the business of rooting for the good guys and booing the bad guys.

“Top Gun” is one such movie. I know, it’s an over the top macho fest (aka pissing contest), but it also shows the vulnerabilities of the characters, Maverick and Goose, as well as those of other characters. My favorite scene is the one in which Meg Ryan’s character, who has something odd stuck on her eyelash–I’ve never been able to figure out what it is, declares, “Goose, you big stud. Take me to bed or lose me forever!” Dang! If that isn’t one of the best lines in moviedom, I don’t know what is.

Another movie I can pick up at any point is “Pretty Woman.” Yes, the main character is a good girl gone bad gone good again, and I get that the movie glamorizes a less than glamorous profession, but how can you not love the scene where Julia Roberts’ character, newly made over, dressed to the nines, and carrying shopping bags from a high-end store, strides into the upscale Rodeo Drive establishment that had previously snubbed her and says, “Big mistake. BIG mistake.” I don’t know about you, but I’ve been given the cold shoulder in one of those boutique-y type stores, and I’m not, nor have I ever been, a hooker. Julia’s win is a win for all of us. Plus, she gets Richard Gere.

Probably my favorite movie to watch, watch, and watch again, is “Star Wars Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back.” I can almost quote the entire movie, not verbatim, but close enough to drive my family nuts. This is the movie that cemented my love for Han Solo, that caused me to daydream endlessly about sharing one of those uncomfortable looking cement cots on Cloud City with the infamous scoundrel. When Princess Leia tells Han that she’d rather kiss a Wookie than plant one on him, and he responds, “I can arrange that,” I pretty much swoon. I’m right here Han! I’ll kiss you! No Wookie kisses for me!

There are other films I could add: “The Princess Bride” (“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means,”) “Dumb and Dumber” (“So…you’re telling me there’s a chance,”) and “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (“Snakes. Why’d it have to be snakes?”) are a few of the more memorable.

I’m not a film snob. Obviously. I mean, the “Dumb and Dumber” reference should have been a clue. What are your go to films, favorite quotes, insane movie fixations? Share if you’d like. Just remember, “Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son.” (Animal House)

Peace, People.