Paper or Plastic?

Today is the 44th anniversary of the day Studly Doright and I said our vows in front of friends and family members at a small Baptist church in Dumas, Texas.

I’ve had his gift for several weeks and will give it to him tonight. This morning, though, I was curious as to what the prescribed gift for the 44th anniversary might be. Maybe, I thought, I’d pick up something that fit the bill in addition to what I’d already bought.

Imagine my surprise when I realized I’ve been celebrating our 44th anniversary nearly every day since we said “I do!”

I should start saving up for next year right now, though. Probably can’t get a sapphire at the Publix store on N. Monroe, either.

Peace, people!

Love is a Battlefield

It might be said that I paint a rosy picture of my 43 years of marriage to Studly Doright. He’s funny. I’m funny. We’re comfortable financially. We enjoy doing things together, but we also give each other enough space to pursue our separate interests. We’ve raised two incredible kids and have five awesome grandchildren. A perfect couple, right?

Not so fast. Studly and I aren’t even close to ideal. We have had some spectacular fights over the course of four decades. I’ve threatened to leave. He’s stomped out. We’ve wrung our hands and cried copious amounts of tears well into the night. I suspect that most couples who’ve spent as much time together as Studly and I have might tell a similar tale.

What do we fight about, one might ask. Stupid stuff, mainly. I’ve hurt his pride, he’s hurt my feelings. Maybe one or both of us have been so stressed out by work or family issues outside of our cozy twosome that we’ve lashed out at each other rather than at the person or situation that’s caused the problem in the first place.

To compound the situation, neither of us is subtle and we both use biting wit while in the heat of battle. I will say I’m quicker to anger while Studly lets things smolder before hitting me with both (figurative) barrels. I’m also quicker to forgive, usually.

On the plus side, our disagreements have evolved over the years, and in some ways are more productive. They occur so infrequently that sometimes I almost believe the rosy picture I’ve painted. Almost.

At any rate, I wouldn’t know what to do without him. He’s my guy.

I couldn’t very well use the title without including the song, right?

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=RDIGVZOLV9SPo

Peace and love, people

A Little Felt Tree

Studly Doright and I were married in July of 1976. I was just shy of twenty, while he was only 18. Broke, stupid, and in love, we had no idea then of the hurdles we’d have to jump over on our way to 43 years of marriage and beyond.

As our first Christmas as a married couple approached we had to set some new guidelines. I was set on keeping up my family’s Christmas traditions while he was equally set on keeping his. We managed to compromise fairly well, but there was one thing I insisted on–a live tree at least six feet tall. Studly’s family had a smaller tree that stood on a short table, as I recall.

I got my way that year, and we soon had our beautiful tall tree standing in its brand new red and green tree strand awaiting decorations. There was just one problem–we had no ornaments. None. And that tree had eaten up most of our disposable income.

My mom came to the rescue. She gave us three kits of felt ornaments that I could stitch together and decorate. One set featured characters from the Wizard of Oz.

Another set included typical Christmas characters–an angel, a snowman, and a Santa.

The last set featured Christmas trees and wreaths. I’ve managed to lose the wreaths, but my Christmas trees have hung in there (pun intended) all these years.

Several days ago I was scavenging for book five in the Harry Potter series at our local Goodwill book store when I came across a little felt tree hanging from the store’s tree. It was exactly like the one I’d made all those years ago

I wondered if some young woman had lovingly stitched the pieces together, adding shiny sequins where indicated by the kit’s directions. Had she been as nervous about her future as I was about mine?

And I wondered why this poor felt tree came to be all by itself at the Goodwill store. Of course I bought it and brought it home. I introduced the ornament to its counterparts on my tree, and then I let our elf on the shelf comfort it.

Welcome home, little tree.

Peace, people.

A Word of Caution

Do not marry an impatient man

Consider all the ways he’ll make your life hell

Driving you to distraction

Making you forget how to remember

Gaslighting in double time

Afraid to take a breath

Or a break

Or a good cry

Kiss him, if you must,

But let someone else take his last name.

Under the Bus

A couple of days ago I shared my hurt feelings with my readers about a comment my husband made in regard to my new haircut, and in the process kind of threw Studly Doright under the bus. After all, on my blog it’s only my side of a story that gets told.

Studly Doright is a really good guy. He’s not perfect by any means, but he’s a decent man in every sense of the word (there’s a reason I call him Studly Doright). When I told him how I’d been hurt by his negative comment he was genuinely surprised that it had sounded so harsh to my ears, and apologized profusely.

He’d made the comment by phone after several long days of travel/work and I received the comment after several days of little sleep. That wasn’t a great communication construct. Once we were face to face the vibe was much better. A good night’s sleep didn’t hurt either.

I need to learn to recognize when my emotions are taking over my brain’s functioning. And I definitely need to resist throwing Studly under the bus. Thanks for all the advice, though. I gained some great insights through this process.

Peace, people.

Loose Ends

I enjoyed (🤪) another of my sleepless nights last night, so my brain is devoid of any meaningful content. Who am I? Where am I? Both questions for another day when I’m better rested. Fortunately I have some loose ends that I’ll try to tie together for a blog post.

The first loose end is fittingly about threads. Namely, what’s up with the construction of this garment?

The top photo shows it with the facing tucked in as it should be when worn. Guess who wore it with the abnormally long facing hanging down over my collar not once, but twice? If you guessed me, and who didn’t, you’re absolutely right.

Until a pajama clad woman in Walmart called it to my attention I had no idea this flap was just hanging around back there. And that was the second time I wore it that way. Go figure.

What kind of sadistic ass makes a garment in this manner? What is this excess fabric’s purpose? It’s difficult to position the facing correctly even when I remember to do so. Was it meant as a means of humiliation? A test of flexibility? I may never know. On the other hand, the garment is soft as butter, so I’ll continue to wear the blouse. Would it be permissible for me to cut out the excess?

The next loose end is a cartoon I came across on Facebook. I added the comment, “And this is why we live in a single story home.”

My daughter thought that was way too much information. She’ll be more sympathetic when she’s 62. At least I hope she has reason to be.

The third, and perhaps final, loose end is going to be controversial: I saw the new Mary Poppins and was a bit underwhelmed.

Don’t get me wrong, though. I thought the acting was very good. Emily Blunt was fantastic as Mary Poppins. Lin-Manuel Miranda was handsome and lovable as a London lamplighter, and all of the other actors were spot on.

So, what’s my problem? I found the music lacking a certain spiffiness. There’s nothing in the new film to match the wittiness of “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” or the sweet sorrow of “Feed the Birds.” There’s no equivalent to the bouncy “Spoonful of Sugar” or to the hilarious “I Love to Laugh.”

I could tell they were trying to bring about the same vibe, but I think that might’ve been part of my dissatisfaction. Maybe if I’d never seen the original (9,999 times) I’d be more enthralled by the music in the sequel. It’s still a wonderful movie, and maybe I’ll change my mind. Peer pressure might work in this case. Put your arguments forward.

Thanks for sticking around to the end.

Peace, people.

38 Reasons Why, Plus 4 More

July 30, 2018, marks the 42nd anniversary of the day Studly Doright and I were married. We said our “I do’s” in a small Baptist Church in Dumas, Texas, where we were surrounded by family and friends. Our exciting honeymoon was a long weekend spent in Amarillo, Texas, a whopping 45 miles from Dumas.

Most of those friends and family didn’t expect that we’d remain married a year, let alone 42 years, after all, we were just barely adults. Yet here we are, more than four decades into this experiment called marriage. We’ve had some outstanding moments of couplehood and some really rotten times, as well. We’ve managed to survive through a lot of hard work, love, and forgiveness.

Four years ago on this date I published a piece titled “38 Reasons Why” in tribute to Studly. I even followed it up with a piece the next year. But today I give you 42 reasons why I love this man, and how we’ve made this whole marriage thing work.

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’ve 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.

39. No matter how crazy his work becomes, he seldom brings it home.

40. He’s taken me places outside of his comfort zone because he knows how much I love to travel.

41. Studly supports my need for adventure even when he doesn’t want to join in.

42. He can still surprise me even after all these years together.

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

Peace, People.

Who Is This Man?

Have you ever looked at your spouse and thought, “What the hell?” Maybe he or she has done something so out of character that you are briefly taken aback. Perhaps they’ve said something that makes you question your entire relationship.

Several years ago Studly Doright and I were seated at a booth in a restaurant in Champaign, Illinois. When the waiter took our drink order, Studly said, “I’ll have a gin and tonic.”

I almost fell out of my chair. You see, Studly rarely drinks, and when he does, he drinks beer. I felt like I was in an episode of The Twilight Zone. Who was this guy sitting across from me and what had he done with my Studly? I was as close to having an out of body experience as I’ve ever been.

When our drinks arrived at the table I watched carefully as he took one sip, then another. Studly was actually drinking a gin and tonic. What other secrets was he keeping?

The gin and tonic period lasted roughly one summer. I bought limes and good gin and became a regular little bartender. Then abruptly Studly ended his affair with the drink and I watched the limes shrivel. Life was back to normal. I was the drinker and Studly was the sober one.

So for several years now, there have been no surprises. Until today, when I opened up a shopping bag from a local department store and discovered this:

A purple shirt. Studly, my guy who sticks to blacks and grays and greens, bought a purple shirt. Again, I feel like I’m in The Twilight Zone. What’s next? Will he begin reading the classics? Will he start quoting Shakespeare? I’m shaken to my core. God help us.

Peace, people.