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Posts Tagged ‘marriage’

Thursday, September 11

Love.  Perhaps not the first word that comes to mind on this day, a Memorial to America’s most devastating tragedy.  When I think back to seven years ago, I remember waking up to a morning that was glorious in Washington, DC – there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the sun was illuminating.  I lived in an apartment with my sister in Pentagon City, in northern Virginia.  At the time, I worked for a quaint wine shop in Dupont Circle.  I got up, got ready for work and just after 9:30 a.m., or so, I was on the metro headed for L’Enfant Plaza, where I switched trains from the yellow line to the red line, leading to the Dupont Circle station.  Only, just as we left the Pentagon station, just as we emerged from below ground to cross a bridge over the Potomac, in a sudden flash a bust of fire plummeted into a side of the Pentagon, thrusting a black plume of smoke into the unblemished sky.  My first thought was that we were getting bombed.  It was utter pandemonium on the metro, and in a flash, we were back underground, nearing the L’Enfant Plaza station.   

To make a long, horrific day short, I was stranded in DC overnight.  It was and remains to be a day of horror.  I was stranded and feared we hadn’t seen the worst.  A sleepless night kept me frightened about what might happen next – biochemical warfare?  Bombs?  More kamikaze airplanes falling from the sky?  If it was a perfect sky that day, it was a perfect patchwork of glittering stars that night.  And it was quiet, except for the occasional helicopter pounding through the night.  We listened carefully to the silence, wondering if the sound of airplanes would cut through with sonic booms and possible explosion.

But, back to love.  My parents celebrated their 42nd Anniversary today.  How inconvenient to have a birthday, an anniversary, or any other happy occassion on such a dark, sad day.  That was true for them in 2001.  And perhaps in 2002, as well.  But, since 9-11 became synonymous with a cowardly terrorist act on the Twin Towers and in our nation’s Capitol, my mom and dad have quietly celebrated their marriage without diminishing their respect for the nation.  But, then again, they really celebrate their love and commitment to one another every day. 

It amazes me how they have managed to treat each other with such honor and respect for nearly a half century.  A reminder to me and my siblings about what it means to have a good marriage.  It’s kind of bittersweet for me, because their marriage has been the benchmark for what I expect out of a potential marriage for myself.  I want no less – to find a partner who loves, honors and respects me, who holds his tongue before lashing out before it’s too late to take unkind words back, who feeds my dreams and my soul, who stands strong by my side with an open hand reaching out to mine.  This is the example they have given me.  And it has proven to be a challenge to find and keep the right partner to share my life with – but I’m still grateful that theirs has been that shining example that continues to give me hope.  I’d be so lucky to have a marriage like that.

Okay.  Here’s a photo of my parents on their honeymoon.  They married in Pennsylvania, in my mom’s hometown in the Lehigh Valley, and then headed across country.  Here, they visited my dad’s family in Eugene, Oregon.  My Uncle Ken and Aunt Kathie were married exactly one week before them, on September 4th, 1966. 

 

Pictured on my grandparent’s front steps, Eugene, OR, clockwise from left: (back) my dad, Kurt, my mom, Marie, dad’s brother Uncle Ken (front) dad’s sister Aunt Irene and Ken’s wife, Aunt Kathie 

This photo is of my mom and dad on the Oregon Coast, still on their honeymoon, with my Great Uncle Johnny.  They were clam digging.

And, finally, this photo totally deserves another run.  This is dedicated to my mom and pop – married on September 11, 1966.  Here – they’ve been married five years, still two kids in love.  God bless them!


Okay, so that’s how you go from 9-11 to love.

As for my day.  Well, it was a good one.  Lot of self lovin’ going on, lot of positive energy.  And a lot of big winning.  I went to my friend Lota’s house to play poker.  We started off with a nice spread of bountiful seasonal goodness – a Caprese salad, a garden vegetable salad and I made my Pico de Gallo with three different heirloom tomatoes.  Then we cleared the table and began playing poker.  I hadn’t played in years.  It was so much fun.

And, one of the players brought Red Bridge gluten-free beer.  I had a bottle and began losing on five card draw, seven card stud, and then my luck turned for the better with a fun game called Aces Duces, which I kept calling AC/DC.  I won several pots and took home $10-15 dollars in quarters.  We all had so much fun we decided to do this semi-regularly.

 

Bottle of Red Bridge gluten-free beer with some of my winnings…

And, to end a note on love…well, like poker, it’s a gamble.  Okay, that’s pretty bad.  But, if it were true, and if it were anything like last night, then that would make me a winner at love.  And that’s cool with me.

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Thursday, July 31

 

“I am brave; I am bold; I can hold my own spirit.” – Yogi Bhajan (from Yogi Tea)

Today I saw a segment on the news about a Sex & The City type of documentary where thirty-something single women are redefining love – that is, dating and marriage.  There are more and more women who are rejecting tradition and choosing independent lives.  Many are not necessarily ruling out relationships, but rather, are more interested in having a special someone without being forced into an institution that they don’t believe is sustainable.  It looks really interesting to me.  It made me think of the quote above.

 

I am not against marriage.  It’s just, at this point in my life I don’t know if it’s necessary for me.  I don’t get lonely living alone.  I’m so used to it, that it’s a quiet, meditative comfort.  I actually used to get scared when I first lived alone.  Part of me worried that some bad man would break in while I was sleeping at attack me.  It was pretty irrational.  But, part of me worried that I’d get too comfortable on my own.  I don’t live in fear anymore.  And I sleep really soundly, actually. 

 

I used to have the same fantasy as every other single, heterosexual woman, the very one that was drilled into our pretty little pigtailed heads at a very tender age – that some handsome prince of a man would show up on his fiery steed and take me away, off into the sunset, where a shimmering castle awaited us, along with a closet full of designer ball gowns, Manolo glass slippers, and Harry Winston tiaras. 

 

Some women chase that dream with a fervor that’s borderline clinical.  Some women learn a different story, or create a new story. 

 

Some, like me, retell this story in this kind of fashion: smart, strong woman goes off to college, graduates, spends time in Europe, meets and falls in love with very smart, Harvard graduate, but then they break up, so she eventually moves on, then begins writing a novel, quits her corporate job to manage a wine shop, follows her passions, follows her passions, follows her passions and moves to the west coast to work for a winery, reconnects with her old love but, sadly the relationship comes to an abrupt end, she mourns but eventually gets back up and finishes her book, then, along with meditation and yoga, builds a stronger, happier, even more secure self, moves into a townhouse, by herself, decorates it just as she likes, travels, and continues to follow her passions – sometimes she’ll meet a really nice guy and date, and it will likely not turn into a happily ever after, and that’s just fine – because she has lots of friends and maybe, if it’s meant to be, she’ll find someone to share all of that good stuff with, but if not, that’s okay, too, because she can always adopt a child and write another book.

 

It’s wonderful to be able to write your own rules to this game of life.  You don’t have to color within the lines.  You don’t have to roll the dice or spin a wheel and go in the direction that you are told.  You can go freestyle.  And still get the prize at the end of the game.

 

Yeah, I am brave.  I am bold.  And I can hold my own spirit.

 

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Thursday, June 5

Wait.  Is this really June?  Really?  Well, so far this June sucks.  It’s more like March.  It’s cold out.  It’s cloudy and gray.  Oh yeah, it’s Portland.  Where did I think I was when I woke up?

Anyway.  I could rant on and on about how messed up the seasons are out here.  But when it’s good, man, it’s unbelievable.  Portlanders have to hang on to that, grasp it like a dream, else crazy takes over.  Seriously.

Anyway, I woke up groggy.  But I got out of bed and took a warm shower – it was like an Irish Spring commercial.  Well, not really.  But I have some amazing aromatherapy body scrubs and washes (in ginger, lemongrass, citrus, rosemary and sage) that seriously do invigorate.  Won’t change your life, but will get your butt to work.

Again with the neti pot and Wellness supplement.  That’s been my sinus infection exit strategy.  So far, so good.  And by the time I left the house I was feeling better, or at least clear.  But about mid-commute I was getting congested.  It’s so weird, the way of my nasal passages.

I got to work and took a Claritan-D.  I then made a cup of Yogi Chammomile tea and got back to work.  

Oh, and for lunch I had the best gluten free sandwhich I have ever had, to date.  I cut two slices of Whole Food’s Honey Oat gluten free bread, which is amazing.  The trick with gluten free bread is to stick it in the microwave for a few minutes.  This minimizes the typical crumbling.  I added organic smoked turkey breast (no nitrates or hormones, etc.), fresh, organic Romaine lettuce, organic white cheddar cheese slices and mustard.  I also had an organic dill pickle.  It was a great lunch!

My co-worker was so sweet to bring me a gluten free chocolate cookie she picked up at Whole Foods.  I had it with some fresh cherries I brought.  The cookie was more like a brownie.  So good.

But by 4:15 I was feeling like I was going to pass out.  I very suddenly got tired and started to get warm.  Then I began to sweat a little.  Then I was hot.  I knew I had a fever again.  My co-worker gave me an Aleve and I went home.  I was done.

I ordered some chicken Pho for dinner for take out.  I was still congested.  Great.  As I sat back and ate my dinner, I heard a news report on why men are supposedly afraid of getting married.  They fear the marriage will end badly, with a bitter divorce, leaving them in financial ruin. 

On one hand, I can see their point.  But, on the other hand I find this incredibly demeaning and depressing.  First, it makes me think of nothing but greed.  I guess it really is all about money.   But, I even stated in one of my recent posts that so many marriages today are less about love, respect and companionship, and are more like business transactions.  Mergers.  Or sometimes acquisitions.  If men keep this fear or greed, or whatever you want to call it, in the back of their minds when they are making a commitment to a woman, then they are pretty much doomed, as far as I’m concerned. 

It seems to me if these men were more confident and competent in making a choice for a mate then they shouldn’t be worrying about divorce – and believe me, I know it goes both ways.  I’m just saying that a thoughtful, mature man (or woman) should be able to make a sensible decision in who he (she) chooses to marry.  And it takes a lot of hard work to make a marriage last.  

I think another part of the problem is with people who marry too young (before 30, in my opinion), as they have more than 50% chance of falling to a fate of divorce.  I think people who marry in their 20’s are a little crazy.  It seems to me that for those who grow up and live an independent adult life in their 20’s, well, they’ll have more time to become financially secure (both men and women), to figure out who they are and what they have to offer, and to discover what it is they really want out of life and a partner.  So, if you give yourself ample time to learn those very important things, by the time you’re in your thirties, and older, you are better positioned to make sensible decisions in selecting the right kind of partner and securing an enduring, strong marriage.  Statistics will teach you that.  And statistics don’t lie!!

If, I mean when I become a successful writer, and if, I mean when I meet ‘the one’, am I going to have to get him to sign a pre-nup?  Now that I know that men fear financial ruin from divorce, I don’t want to make myself, or my hard-earned financial success, fall to ruin, either.  Still, that’s so unromantic to me.  Perhaps practical, but unromantic.

It often seems like there’s no room for faith in love and marriage in today’s world.  The disease of divorce spreads too quickly like a pandemic.  It’s shocking to me how many men in their thirties are divorced in Oregon.  I’m not really sure what’s going on with the women, but I’ll assume they’re the other halves of that.  These are the guys who married in their 20’s, the guys who seem to really fear financial ruin if they marry a second time.  And who can blame them?  And if the divorce was their fault (cheating, abuse, addictions) that is likely to cost them more in a divorce, I imagine.

I guess if there’s any fear going into a potential marriage, wheather its rooted in finances, lack of self esteem, lack of trust – whatever – there’s a red flag.  And that person should know when to walk away.  But too many people settle and find themselves in less than desirable situations.  And live to regret it, in one way or another.

So, I don’t know how to resolve this issue, not that I’m trying to resolve it.  But, I think it’s silly for men to mope around with fear of marriage because they don’t want to fall to financial ruin.  If you end up making a really bad decision, especially the obvious ones, like marrying a golddigger just because she’s hot, or cheating on a sweet, devoted wife – you’re setting yourself up for financial ruin!   And I think you’re upping your chances for it, too, if you marry when you’re still a kid.  Hint to yourself -you probably shoudn’t marry if you can barely balance your checkbook

Seriously.  What is the rush??  If you meet the person you’re supposed to be with forever, then wait.  If they’re really the one, they’ll still be there when you’ve grown up a little.  Because you’re meant to be with them forever.  Right?  It’s a good test to see if you’re with the right person. 

By the time you’re in your 30’s you don’t necessarily need the same kind of test.  It’s funny.  I actually laugh when I think about my twenties.  Now.  At the time, well, my twenties were full of all kinds of growing pains.  Learning how to be fiscally responsible, figuring out what I wanted to do with my life, learning to live on my own.  These were incredibly important.  Equally important was putting myself in debt, travelling to Europe where I had a couple of amazing love stories, and chasing my dreams.

Interestingly enough, I could have been married twice in my twenties.  And I was soooo in loooove.  I was convinced that I was mature enough and ready for it.   I am so glad that I didn’t do it.  I’d either be divorced now or very unhappily married.  I am a totally different person than I was back then and it truly is a blessing that I got to have that precious time to learn so much about myself.  I really do have so much more to offer someone now at this age (34) than I ever could as a 20-something girl.  And that means I’m looking for a totally different kind of man to share my life with, as well.  But… that’s just me.

Anyway.  For those who are afraid of financial ruin from divorce, whether they were married and divorced before, or if they’re over 30, guys, lighten up and maybe get some therapy.  Everyone needs therapy, so don’t feel bad.  But, seriously, you guys need to talk to someone about those fears.  And if you’re that afraid, perhaps you’ll need a prenup to feel secure.  Nuff said.  I think I’ve beaten this dead horse beyond inhumane cause for imprisonment.

 

 

 

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Friday, May 30

My friends and I have been waiting since February for the Sex & The City movie.  Tonight was opening night!  We bought our tickets two nights ago, as the movie times were all sold out in downtown Portland.  I could only find tickets at Cinetopia, a theater catered to adults 21 and over, with a bar, restaurant, wine room and special events.  Cinetopia is in Vancouver, so it’s a little hike across the Columbia River, separating Oregon from Washington.

I rushed home with excitement after work.  I put on a pair of ‘good’ jeans, a billowy silk BCBG shirt with a plunging neckline, a funky matching smoky topaz necklace, a green puff sleeved jacket from Anthropologie with striping the same color as the smoky taupe shirt, and a great pair of shoes.  Not Manolos, but fabulous enough.  I shined up my hair, added more dramatic make-up and grabbed a gold glitter clutch.  I was ready for the ultimate girl’s night out.

I met Kerry at Ten-01 in the Pearl, imbibing a champagne cocktail at the outdoor cafe seating.  She had her hair down and styled, and was wearing a very stylish black and white wrap dress.  I also ordered the same cocktail – it had Compari and a touch of sugar to enliven the bubbles.  And an orange peel.  We loved this bubbly concoction because it wasn’t sweet.

Our friend, Erica, the sommelier came out to chat.  She sat down and we gabbed about the food and wine industry, her recent trip to France, work stuff.

Soon after, Susan joined us, as well as another friend and colleague, Stephany – a fellow Virginian.  We were celebrating a pre-Sex & the City movie happy hour.  It was a lovely evening out, sunny and warm.  We happy sipped on our cocktails and ordered some food.  Kerry and I shared a half dozen oysters and then I had the duck prosciutto salad with blue cheese and dates.  It was delicious.  I enjoyed it with a glass of Burgundy.

When we finished our pre-movie celebration, we got into Susan’s car, which was conveniently parked across the street, and we headed toward Vancouver.  We didn’t follow the exact directions and took the longer route, which was a little intense because we were behind schedule.  They suggested people arrive at 9:15 p.m. to get seats at 9:30 p.m. for the 10 p.m. show time.  Well, when we got there and picked up the tickets, the theater was already full with the 3 random seats scattered.  Defeated, we left the theater and traded the tickets in for the 10:45 show so that we could sit together.

We checked out the wine bar – it had some really wonderful selections.  Finally, at 10:48 Kerry and I peeled ourselves from the wine bar and found our seats with Susan and two of Kerry’s friends.

The lights dimmed.  The recognizable jazzy theme song blared and all of the women in the audience started to cheer.  It was fabulous!  Sex & the City is our football!  And this movie was the Super Bowl of our favorite team!!

Now, I’m not going to recap the movie.  I will say this – it was luminous, this fab four never looked more fabulous.  And there were some great moments.  I won’t give a full play-by-play recap of the movie.  But, I will give it a review.

And here’s the thing.  I really, really, really wanted to love this movie.  Kerry and I were shunning the NY Times and other critics who dissed the movie. 

But, I gotta say, while just being in the theater with my girlfriends watching this on screen was pretty satisfying enough, the movie left me disappointed.  Now, I know this is fictional.  These women are characters.  It’s a story!  But, having been a true fan of the series, which was so smart and well written on the small screen, earning a plethora of Golden Globes and Emmy’s, among a longer list of shining accolades and awards, the film missed it on so many levels.

For one, there were several deep contradictions.  For example, at one point a heart-broken Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker – do I really need to include that??), is reading Cinderella to Charlotte’s daughter, Lily, and whereupon the ending reads as every little girl and woman knows by heart, “Cinderella marries her prince charming and they live happily ever after.”  Then Carrie looks down at the wide-eyed little girl and says, “you know, that doesn’t really happen in real life.  I just thought you should know that now.”

And yet…Carrie gets her saccharine happily ever after.  After her prince charming had piteously left Carrie at the altar…  wait, it wasn’t even at the altar.  He never even got out of the limo!  I was never convinced Big was the right man for Carrie, with his cruel indecisiveness and stringing-along practice perfected.  Throughout the series, you always knew that Carrie loved Big more than Big loved Carrie.  And my mother always said, “marry a man who loves you a little more than you love him.”  This is very important advice.

After Big’s display of cold feet and run-away-groom absurdity, I thought for sure she was finally rid of the egotistical, commitment-phobe schmuck.  Here, I was hoping she’d run into Aiden all over again!  One can only hope…

I will say that the film is fair to Samantha’s character.  Her storyline was believable and in tandem with her character arch (from the series).  I thought Miranda’s storyline was also fair and true to her character.

Charlotte, on the other hand, who was much more of a complex and interesting character in the series, was reduced to a boring and pregnant wife and mommy.  Her life turned cliche and offered no real impact on the storyline, other than a ridiculous bout of Montezuma’s Revenge in Mexico.  In fact, Charlotte was just another accessory in the film, even diminished by an inanimate object – Carrie’s Vivienne Westwood bridal gown.

Also trite was the assistant Louise, portrayed by American Idol finalist and Dream Girls Academy Award winning actress Jennifer Hudson.  In one scene, over drinks, Carrie offers a sagey line to her young assistant – you date in your 20’s, you learn in your 30’s and you buy drinks in your 40’s.  Not sure if that was any real worthwhile advice.  Again, the writing was not as sharp as in the HBO series.  In any case, Louise claims to have come to New York City for love.  But, this never develops while she’s in New York.  She never goes on dates or meets men – in fact, the only scene where she’s with a man, he’s glancing at her cleavage and she scolds, “there’s nothing in there for you.”  Her character never actually gives New York a chance for finding love.  Except for a random booty call she gets when she and Carrie are sipping on cocktails on the said night.  Rather, she returns home to St. Louis for the holidays and befalls the fate of many desperate women – finding herself back in the arms of an ex.  Sold out in her 20’s!  Where’s the dating???  I suppose Louise will sadly have to miss out on all of that dating in her 20’s, and, worse, learning all of the ever important lessons we single women learn in our 30’s!

I will say that my biggest disappointment was Carrie’s fate.  Half of the movie, more like two-thirds of it, was spent on her mourning the fact that Big ditched her at the altar.  And, yet, over time, perhaps a year, she changes her hair color, hangs out with a suddenly separated Miranda, sharing in their loneliness and bitterness, until she wanders into her emptied penthouse apartment she and Big were to move into as a married couple, to retrieve a precious pair of Manolos, of course, when she…no way!….runs into Big.  They have a crazy passionate suck-face kiss and end up laying down in each other’s arms on the wooden floor of the fabulous apartment and realize how much they really love each other.  He’s on bended knee and gives her the cliched proposal he swore he was against.  Everyone sold out.  Even Big. 

I don’t know.  It just wasn’t satisfying to me.  I was kind of sad.  The film, that once celebrated an iconic character’s free spirit, romantic hope for finding true love, smart, hardworking, independent single woman status was reduced to a cliche finale.   Big’s love for her was never truly convincing.  And icon Carrie Bradshaw deserved a happier, better ending! 

It actually would have been better if she remained in her apartment, single and writing her fabulous column, articles and books.  And still near her fabulous friends, of course.  Proving a point that you don’t have to settle for a man you keep chasing and hoping will love you back.  You don’t have to settle for anyone.  You can, actually, continue to live a satisfying, fabulous life on your own.  The film ends with the fab four celebrating Samantha’s 50th birthday – and we get a glimpse that her life is  the only authentic, true one.  Well, hers and Miranda’s.

The best part of watching the movie, actually, was the opportunity to hang out again with Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha for another two and a half hours.  These were some of the best roles created for women – ever.  Even if the movie fell short.

Their friendship is truly the keystone to the movie and the series.  Women weren’t herding to theaters to see these character’s love lives play out.  Instead, they wanted to hang out with their girlfriends once more, these four women who tell it like it is and support eachother through the good, the bad and the ugly. 

What’s so real and authentic about this program/movie was that it never really lost its footing in the often shallow and materialistic nonsense of Manolos and Jimmy Choos (which is just plain fun, anyhow).  It’s clear that that was just the fluff and fun of the story.  There’s a real depth to these women’s friendships, and that’s what’s most memorable and satisfying. 

In New York, or anywhere else for the matter, love and lovers come and go.  But it’s your girlfriends who stick around for the stuff that spouses and lovers could never realize or understand.  Well, that was why I was so compelled to go see the movie.  It was the ultimate girl’s night out, a date night with my fabulous gal pals – the four on screen and the two sitting next to me.  It was the kind of bonding that makes you realize how lucky you are to have your soul sisters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thursday, May 29

I had an interesting conversation this evening with a neighbor.  She’s a middle aged woman with short, cropped, wispy blonde hair, and she’s very tall.  She’s super stylish with her funky black framed glasses and chic clothes.  She walks with such confidence. 

This evening I met her on the sidewalk walking her two Jack Russell terriers.  We started chit chatting about Jack Russells, and I mentioned I had a friend in Virginia who raced her little dog as part of the opening events at horse races, including the Gold Cup.  Side note – this made me miss Virginia and the horse races – I used to get a new dress each season with a fabulous hat.  The tailgates were the best part – Virginia ham and biscuits and other southern fare.  Good wine.  And mint juleps!

Anyway, she giggled and said if she was remarried she’d quit her job, live a life of leisure and race her two dogs.

She started walking along in the direction I was going, toward the gym.  Somehow we got onto the topic of dating.  I shared with her the subject of an email I sent to my friends today:

From MSN.COM:

Yup.  The last one.  Following all of that other pleasant stuff.  The last one.  Read it??

The issue surfaced last year after a study by researchers at Harvard and Yale indicated that women 40 years old and older had only 1 chance in 100 of marrying.

So what does that mean when you are 39 (1 in 99 chances); 38 (1 in 98 chances); 37 (1 in 97 chances); 36 (1 in 96 chances); 35 (1 in 95 chances)?

By the time you drop down to age 30, the odds are more in your favor – 1 chance in 50 of marrying.  And at 25, it’s like 1 chance in 10.

Is this fair?

My neighbor and I laughed about this.  It’s both funny and frightening, depending how you look at it.  She told me she had been married twice and that the longer she stays single, at 54, the less likely she is to ever marry again.  She felt that explained the ratio about women 40 and older.  She said it wasn’t a bad thing.  She indicated that most women realize how much they love their lives, their careers, freedoms to do what they want, that they don’t need a spouse to make a happy life a reality.  She had lots to say about not being married and told me I was probably better off for it.

I don’t know.  Perhaps I still have that romantic idea about two people in love taking care of one another until the very end.  How much of it is fantasy and how much of that is something real (and not contrived because of a need to believe in it)?  The movie The Notebook is the ultimate fantasy about love, and most Americans fail to have a love story where there’s truly mutual love and respect.  Respect being the important word.

I go back and forth on this.  And it’s relatively easy.  I haven’t met anyone I’d want to spend my life with, so I’m not really in a position to say whether or not I want to get married.  Right?  Otherwise my basis for wanting to get married is one based on pre-conceived notions and fantasy, not on a real relationship with a major commitment.  Little girls are brought up to want their prince charming and happy ending.  And we relentlessly judge eachother based on whether or not we have achieved that socially expected happy ending. 

Now, this all doesn’t mean that I don’t want to find someone to share my life with.  It’s strange, but the draw to having a relationship is often financial.  It’s easier to share all those bills with someone else than do it alone.  And simply having a roommate doesn’t meet that.  This is not to say that people need to leach off of one another.  I simply mean that it’s easier to split all things down the middle than to do it all alone.

It’s much more difficult to do it all on your own.  I get exhausted trying to take care of myself.  And yet, I’m doing it.  It’s very fulfilling to be independent.  I am not one of those women who needs a partner or spouse to survive.  But, it would certainly make life a lot easier.  I think that is often the draw for many women, and perhaps some men, more so than love, respect or commitment.  Those things are important, but I don’t think they drive or incent people to rush down any kind of aisle!  I think you almost have to look at marriage like a business deal today.

Anyway, my neighbor told me that she found out from her neighbors that her husband would cross dress and walk around the neighborhood like a woman.  It was news to her.  She never knew or had any clue.  He never told her.  He hid it from her.  She told me no matter how much you may think you know someone – you never really do.  She lamented that there are no guarantees.   It’s a gamble to give your heart to someone else.

I realize that may sound negative.  But, there’s much more to this woman than bitterness.  In fact, she told me about how she stayed with her cross-dressing ex when he was dying from cancer, taking care of him even though they were no longer together.  And she shared with me how glad she was that they made ammends before he died.  Meantime, her father was dying of cancer, as well as a co-worker with whom she had been at odds with for years at the office; then, one day she knew she needed to help her.  And through the experience of being with her during the most difficult and poignant time of this woman’s life, they grew very close.  She stood by them all, helped them all.  And was so generous in how she shared her truths.  She told me that as a woman, next to giving birth, standing by loved ones at the time of death was the most sacred thing she had experienced.  And bloody depressing.  But purposeful beyond any other job or obligation.  She talked about the role of women in ancient cultures, and how they were the ones responsible for bringing life into this world, as well as for preparing the dead for their great departure from this world. 

She’s an interesting, sage of a woman.  She told me to come say hello sometime.  As our path then diverged, she continued walking her little barking dogs around the other side of the neighborhood and I darted uphill to the gym with two new magazines in my arms.

The same link I found on women marrying at 40 also mentioned if women 40 and older really wanted to marry, they’d defy the ratio; but for the women 40 and older who were still undecided about marriage, well, they more accurately reflected the ratio of 1 in 100 getting married.

As I began my workout I thought hard about this.  And I haven’t really changed my position on love and marriage.  The fact is, I only want to marry if I find someone who I want to share my life with.  I don’t want to marry just because I want to marry, a misfortune that befalls so many women.  The decision to marry is so much more than fulfilling an expected role or running to someone else to take care of you.  That would more often than not mean settling and not getting the best partner necessary for a happy life.  And that’s just not an option for me.  It’s always about the person and the dynamics of your relationship – are you better off living together in a long-term committed relationship, do you want children, do you want to marry, or is it better to live separately but in a long-term committed relationship?  There’s no wrong answer or wrong choice, just the one that best suits your relationship and your intentions.

I guess I have to take my chances on finding the right person and accept that if I don’t, I am satisfied with my choice.  And if I do find him, perhaps I’ll have hit the jackpot.  So, maybe that statistic for women 40 and over is fair in that ratio of 1 in 100 not marrying.  Perhaps it’s kind of like hitting the jackpot.
 

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Wednesday, April 30
11:09 p.m.

Call it the promise of better weather – we Portlanders have had a taste of some sunshine and warmth, and despite the bizarre April weather, we’re happily welcoming a more promising May – but,  in the spirit of hope and change, I am turning a new leaf.

I am realizing that opening myself up to love is all about perspective.  I have opened myself up to love of self, friends, animals, earth, family, vocation and even Portland!  That’s been the stimulus to this blog.  But, where I have failed to properly open myself up is in the arena of romantic love.  Now, I don’t want to get trite or lame here. 

Romantic or not, and despite what The Oregonian implied of me and my blog, “Leah Jorgensen is looking for love.  …”, from Margie Boule’s March 23 column, I am not desperate! 

The thing is, I have been repelling love.  I had this almost egotistical too-good-for-love attitude.  I found individuals stuck in couplehood to be annoying and lame (not really).  But, I believed the women in those relationships gave up their independence, sense of self and happiness just to be in a relationship, to follow society’s archiac and masogynistic rule.  I know, I know…

This has only led to me toiling over wanting love, then not wanting love, then wanting love, then not wanting love, then wanting love… just like a woman, right?!  But my fear is real.  I don’t want to lose myself in a relationship.  This terrifies me.  Compromise often turns bright, successful, educated, savvy, interesting women into lesser versions of themselves, and, often they turn into mommies and cleaning ladies to their uninteresting, ungrateful men.  Ugh.  I’m just not willing to do that. 

I often think that married people should live apart.  That way, if the guy wants to be a gross slob he can do so without the nagging, he can have all of his gross friends over to drink beer, smoke cigars, play poker and watch Sports Center and porn.  And if a woman wants a clean, healthy, lovely home she can bask in her happy solitude.  The best part, as soon as she feels a twinge of loneliness, she can go over to her husband’s place, hang out, get a little nookie and then go back to her clean, pretty domain.  Am I the only one who thinks that makes perfect sense???

I know what the next question is…what about the kids?  Ah, the kids.  If the kids are slobs they live with their slobby father.  If they are neat and clean and perfect like mommy dearest, then they get to stay with her.

I know there needs to be compromise.  But are people really happy when they have to compromise all of the time?  And does it make you selfish if you are annoyed by having to compromise all of the time.  I love the phrase ‘you pick your battles’.  Hmmm.  Not sure if I subscribe to that one.  Point is, it’s not easy.

And on ABC’s Nightline last night I had a good laugh on a segment about geneticists claiming men will become extinct  and women will prevail and continue to reproduce without the need for sperm.  Researchers say that’s going to happen sooner than later and than men’s sperm counts are on the decline.  What?!?!   

The report asserts:
“The Y chromosome is passed from father to son, it’s what makes babies into boys. Basically the human template is a female: the Y chromosome kicks in a few weeks after conception and makes a boy. “Men are genetically modified women,” explained Sykes. But unlike other chromosomes, the Y chromosome can’t repair itself and will, says Sykes, disappear altogether in about 125,000 years.”

“Every generation one percent of men will have a mutation which reduces their fertility by 10 percent,” explained Sykes. Unlike most chromosomes, the Y does not travel through the generation in pairs, so can never repair itself from a mirror. Flaws are never repaired. “So if that goes on for generation after generation,” Sykes argued, “eventually there are no functioning Y chromosomes left.”  So no more men…”

“But would the absence of men make the world a better place? There would be far fewer wars without men on the planet, and the U.S. prison population would drop a colossal 97 percent. Road deaths in the U.S. would fall 70 percent.”

Wow.  And then the report posted this:

“But surely, flawed Y chromosome or not, bad behavior or not, we are needed for procreation. Women can’t have babies without us … right? I’m afraid, pretty soon they won’t need our sperm, our chromosomes, our anything. “

“Until now, female-only reproduction has been limited to the plant and animal kingdom. So-called parthenogenesis, observed in the Cape Honey Bee, the Kimono Dragon and the hammerhead shark. In humans: confined to 1950s B movies. But Sykes says the technology for women to procreate without us is just around the corner. “

This makes me wonder – am I just a super-evolved woman who simply realizes her sustainability without the need for a man?  No, I am much more enlightened and compassionate than that.  I don’t hate men and I certainly don’t want to spend my entire life alone.  Don’t get me wrong.  I clearly love my freedom and space to think, to create, to grow and to just be.  It’s glorious.  But, I suspect I will eventually open my heart up at some point.  Yet I will only open my heart to the kind of man who recognizes I can’t compromise myself for the relationship, that I need to be respected, embraced and cherrished for who I am.  I will try my best to do the same.  But, I refuse to be his cleaning lady.  Period.  If he doesn’t know how to keep a clean, clear livable space, he should move back in with his mother for a year and learn what she failed to teach him the first time around.

All kidding aside, I am optimistic that I will find a life partner in every definition of that concept.  It’s all about perspective and lightening up!  And I will pledge to do what I can to help sustain the male specie!

Funny, this evening I heard the wonderfully happy reggae-beat song I’m Yours by Jason Mraz, a fellow Virginian.  His website is great.  It’s hilarious.  Check it out immediately (link is with his name).

I include a few of the lines of his lyrics without permision:

…Before the cool done run out
I’ll be giving it my bestest
Nothing’s going to stop me but divine intervention
I reckon it’s again my turn to win some or learn some

I won’t hesitate no more, no more
It cannot wait, Im yours

Well open up your mind and see like me
Open up your plans and damn your free
Look into your heart and you’ll find love love love love

…I won’t hesitate no mor, no more
It cannot wait I’m sure
There’s no need to complicate
Our time is short
this is our fate, I’m yours

No please, don’t compromise
Our time is short
This is our fate, I’m yours

No please, don’t hesitate
no more, no more
It cannot wait
The sky is yours!

Young songwriter Mraz got it right.  Oh wait, he’s not that young.  Wikipedia has him born in 1977.  Datable.  Totally datable.  Anyway, to his point in the song.  Life is too short.  You just have to open up your mind and look into your heart and you’ll find love right there.  Yup, this is my new theme song. 

Wait a minute!  Maybe that means that the love right there, that I found from this song, links me to the songwriter.  No way.  Maybe Jason Mraz, singer-songwriter from Virginia (I’m from Virginia!) is the love of my life.

Again, I hope there aren’t psychologists out there analyzing my blog… 

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