Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sweet and Sexy!

I am a consumer of junk. I eat junk, I watch junk on television, my husband would say I listen to music that is mostly junk, and I read junk. Malted milk balls, The Bachelor/Bachelorette, Macklemore  (Have you listened to “Thrift Shop” yet? What, What What, What? Poppin’ tags!), tabloids by the grocery store checkout. Preach to me all you want, but junk is FUN!

This week’s junky reading material included People Magazine, specifically the one with the gorgeous country singer on the cover wearing a barely-there cardigan wrapped around her petite frame, one pretty shoulder peeking out of it. I did a double-take when I read the headline. It said, “My Sweet & Sexy Marriage”. The quote underneath was, “I want to be a hot wife.” Once I absorb that critical information, I see that the article will include something about dates at Subway, flirty texting and long-distance love.

If you’re any kind of a real girl, (like I am) as you’re perusing the front cover, you are going to compare yourself to her, as I did. My hair may not be tousled and blonde, but I’m sure I have a sweater just like that, except with pills. I can’t help but have my shoulder stick out of it because apparently wire hangers are bad for polyester blends. But none of that is important. What’s important is comparing her marriage to mine. 

She has a sweet and sexy marriage?  Well, so do I! For instance, she says she feels “bad” that she isn’t home often enough to make sure there’s food in the refrigerator for her husband. All that time spent making gazillions of dollars singing to packed houses is sure to make going to the local grocery store an event that doesn’t happen too often. Ha! That’s nothing! I’m home ALL the time and there is nothing to eat around here.

Flirty texting? Puh-leeze! Here’s how my husband and I flirt: Every few days he replaces the roll of toilet paper in the bathroom but he does it WRONG. On purpose! There is a sweet and sexy reason he installs the roll incorrectly. He knows darn well, after being married to me for almost 31 years, I prefer to pull the paper OVER and down, not UNDER. Sometimes I think, How adorable! He’s teasing me. He’s saying, “See honey? I’m thinking of you every moment. Even in the bathroom!” I hardly ever grumble anymore while I turn it around and install it the correct way. Take that, Carrie Underwood!

They like to go to Subway for “dates”? Does anyone besides me think that’s ridiculous? If I had a gazillion dollars, I would cease and desist with the Subway sandwiches. In fact, Ken and I refuse to go on dates at all, to Subway or anywhere else. We don’t need no stinkin’ dates. We can stay home and have just as much fun, if not more, eating a more respectable rotisserie chicken from Stop ‘n Shop whilst watching “Dancing With the Stars.” Is there a better date than that? I think not.

Let’s discuss long-distance love. First of all, it doesn’t work. I mean, sure, it’s a novelty in the beginning. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that. And then you’re all hot for each other because you haven’t had sex (in theory) for a long time. But I’m a firm believer that being away from your spouse for weeks at a time is a recipe for disaster. At some point he’s going to come home and suddenly have an interest in weird food that some co-worker introduced him to. Like sushi and something called shabu shabu. Or worse, he’ll start doing Tai chi in the back yard in full view of the neighbors. She’ll think, what the hell is on this plate and why is he waving his arms around like that? Is he sick? You’ll make him come back into the house and ask, “Who are you and what have you done with my husband?” When you finally train him back to some semblance of normalcy, it’s only a matter of time until he has to go away again and the cycle repeats itself until you want to stab yourself in the ears when he brings home yet another fusion jazz CD that he purchased from the piano player at the hotel lounge.

My husband and I don’t have to worry about long-distance love. Besides the fact that we never go anywhere (and we like it that way), Ken works in the basement. If I need him, all I have to do is start vacuuming the kitchen. He stomps upstairs to remind me he’s on a conference call and ‘WTF, it sounds like a train arriving at the station above my head’. But it all turns out okay in the end because now he knows the garbage disposal is stopped up.

The best thing about his working from a home office is I don’t have to worry about him cheating on me. Unless he’s got her stashed in the storage room next to his office, I don’t have any doubts about whether he’s faithful to me. Also, I almost never have to vacuum.

I love that Carrie Underwood is worried about her weight, which is somewhere in the 100 to 101 lb. range. She says, “I want to be a hot wife” and uses a personal trainer when she’s on the road, presumably to make sure she works off all the Subway sandwiches she eats. I weigh about a smidge more than she does, and by smidge I mean, well, never mind. I used to have a personal trainer, but had to give her up because I have a slight problem with authority. She was always telling me what to do!  Still, in the “hot wife” department, Carrie has nothing on me! Even if I’m wearing skimpy lingerie, I’m so hot we need to turn the fan on. No, really, we have to turn the fan on. I’ll say something sexy to Ken like, “Hot flash! Turn on the fan and hose me down!” It’s a real turn-on for him, I have to admit.

By the time I finish reading the People article, I almost feel sorry for Miss Carrie Underwood. What she knows about how marriage works over the long haul is about as much as I know about how to fix a garbage disposal. For instance, since neither of them is home for very long before one of them has to leave again, they can “both kind of enjoy missing each other.” Her husband is a hockey player, and he’s on the road a lot. But being a hockey player means he’ll retire sooner than most guys because you hardly ever see an old guy playing hockey.  So she hopes he’ll find another job after that because otherwise he’ll be home all the time and end up miserable, which will make her miserable.  

So let me get this straight: they’ve been married all of three years, and she’s already worrying about him being underfoot when he isn’t “working” anymore? Can’t she just set him up in the East Wing of their mansion? That way, if things are getting moldy in the sweet and sexy department, she can always leave him there for a few weeks and pretend she’s not  home so they can “enjoy missing each other,” just like the old days. Actually, there are times I’ve considered locking the basement door, but just for a few hours while I blast my Justin Bieber album and finish reading The National Enquirer in peace. Then, when I start to miss Ken, I can let him out. What a sweet and sexy time that would be!

Seriously though, I’d like to see the People Magazine cover about thirty years from now, just to catch up with those two lovebirds. That is, if she ever lets him out of the East Wing.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013


How many choices do we make in a single day? Fifty, a hundred, a thousand? And of those choices, how many are simple decisions like what to eat and how much, or which route to take on your drive home? What of those choices that carry more importance like whether you’ll quit your job, ask someone to marry you, spend money you don’t have, have the baby.  Each choice, large and small, has a reward or a consequence, and nowhere in our imaginations is there a thought that one seemingly harmless choice could carry a weight we may not have the strength to bear. Sometimes, that is precisely what happens.

Sixteen years ago, Ken and I made the choice to move to Massachusetts for a new job and the reward of a better quality of life for our family. It has taken a long time for me to feel at home here, as I had left many friends behind, both mine and those of our children. The closest family members are three hours from here. The transition wasn’t easy, but at some point along the way, I chose to bloom where I was planted.

That choice, like so many choices I’ve made, was for the stability and happiness of my husband and children. Massachusetts is a fantastic place to live, a place full of culture, of natural beauty, of devoted Red Sox fans. We have the best hospitals in the world, some of the best colleges and universities, parks and beaches. Boston has duck boats. Boston has the North End and the Freedom Trail, the Public Garden and Faneuil Hall. We have Quincy Market.

We celebrate Patriot’s Day, and on Patriot’s Day, we have the Boston Marathon.

Thousands of people made the choice to take part in the Marathon as runners, helpers, spectators or fundraisers. There were people of all ages who ran for the sake of running, the challenge of Heartbreak Hill, in memory of or in honor of someone special, or to proudly say they’d done it. Mothers and fathers brought their children, choosing that day to do something fun and exciting, perhaps something out of the ordinary. Some came to support friends or family who had qualified after training for months. For some it was a first foray into an important part of the culture of Boston, while for others, it was a tradition begun years ago.
That Monday, April 15, 2013, the Boston Marathon became a place where tragedy, incomprehensible and heartbreaking, would take the place of an ordinary day. Someone made a choice to place pressure-cooker bombs in benign-looking trash cans. Someone packed each one with BBs, nails and metal brads along with explosives. Someone wanted to inflict grave harm, to make innocent people suffer trauma, injury or death.  The choice was so fraught with hatred that no one standing ten deep in front of the grandstand could have possibly understood it. Who can truly understand that kind of evil intent?

Certainly not an eight-year old boy holding a sign that read, “No more hurting people. Peace”. Certainly not his father, mother and sister standing with him. Certainly not two young women who had their whole lives ahead of them.  And certainly none of the men, women and children whose blood pooled in the street by the finish line.
It’s impossible not to think of the simple choices made that day by a staggering number of unsuspecting victims. Where shall we stand? What time should we stand there? Shall we stay a bit longer? They will never, ever forget what they said to themselves that day, in full expectation of the happy rewards inherent in the spectacle of the triumphant finishers. In the pursuit of an extraordinary day, they instead came away to sit vigil with memories of chaos and pain, loss and grief.

We lost our innocence that day, but not our resolve to maintain our exuberance for life despite the sick efforts of others to erase it.

 As long as I live, New York will always be my first home. But two days ago, on a beautiful sun-filled afternoon of devastating consequences, Massachusetts became my true home. That is my choice. I stand with Boston Strong.

I have asked a friend and fellow writer for her permission to print a powerful piece she wrote on the subject of the Boston Marathon bombings. She has kindly allowed it.

GUEST POST:  by Evelyn Zepf

April 15,2013


About suffering they were never wrong,

The Old Masters; how they understood

 Its human position; how it takes place

While someone else is eating, or opening a window,

or just walking dully along

                                                W.H.Auden – Musée des Beaux Arts


I think of this poem whenever I hear of senseless, brutal violence against innocents.  After the sick churning in my stomach has passed, and the tears that well up in my eyes have dried on my cheeks; after I see in my imagination what people must be experiencing when their normal lives become a tragedy in just an instant – then, as I come back to myself and feel the sun on my face, I continue on with the task at hand, and I think of this poem:

About suffering they were never wrong,

The Old Masters; how they understood

 Its human position; how it takes place

While someone else is eating, or opening a window,

or just walking dully along


After learning of disaster, we have to choose how to respond.  If there is no immediate connection, nobody to go to to offer comfort or practical help; if, practically speaking there is no action to take that will make a difference at this moment; I carry on, drive home, cut up vegetables and eat dinner.  My life goes on, but what do I do with the residual miasma of sadness and dread that lingers?  Is there any practical action to take to counter adversity?  Should I tense up, avoid crowds, make my children move out of the city, be ever vigilant?  All of that is energy wasted.  There is no protection against random violence.


I choose to let the emotions wash over me.  The miasma of sadness and dread will linger until a breeze blows it away and I recognize that there is still joy in the world, still the joy of simply living.  I know there is pain and suffering but I also know that joy is inherent in the universe. 

As long as I have a choice, I must choose joy.