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If wishes were stars, we would escape, just now, and run away back to the middle of nowhere in Costa Rica, and have our little house with the shower full-facing the jungle, the howler monkeys in the trees, iguanas and armadillos in the yard. I would bring Severigne a skull from somewhere in the West, and ask her to teach me how to cut mangoes and papayas. We would read and bask and recover. We would explore new beaches. We would have wine with dinner under planets and constellations, and go to sleep in the unexpected cool of the beach/jungle night in each other’s arms. And it would just be us all the time.

If wishes were stars.

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Playa san Miguel, Costa Rica.

Quote of the day: “Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.” — Edgar Allan Poe

Daily gratitudes:
Incorporating sorrow into life
Holding onto faith
That Champ is coming home tonight (I think)
Talks with Kelsea
Loving MKL so much, which equates to missing him so much

Frankenstein was a fairy tale, really, just without the fairies. But that was the word that kept going through my mind as MKL and I ventured out with our realtor for the first time to look for our house together.

We’ve been married over a year and still have not been able to consolidate our two houses into one slice of domestic bliss. I understand the whys and the psychology of it. We both fought hard to rebuild our lives after they fell apart, and buying a house was a huge milestone for each of us, so we are each attached to our respective house. We’re don’t really like each other’s houses or neighborhoods. Neither of us feels like there is room for the other in one or another’s house. I’m told by psychologist friends that this is all not uncommon for “older” people when they marry – that they lives are already more settled and so it is harder to uproot to live together.

But we want to. So we’ve created multiple scenarios (so practical!) that we are working through about what combination of renting or selling our houses will work best. And as part of that, we have begun looking for OUR house. It would be nice to start fresh, with no ghosts (literal or figurative) in a place that we can make our home. We are ready to be away from the Los Angeles-like traffic of the metro area, and the bright lights of the big city.

Our search has started in the foothills, close enough that we can commute in as needed, but on-the-grid enough that we can work from home when possible. We looked at four houses. We loved the location of the first one, overlooking a sweeping valley, with nothing but the sound of the wind in the pines and a random rooster. But not the house, and not the road to the house.

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MKL was in love with the garage of the second house. It was two stories tall, could house at least four cars comfortably, and had water. But the house was full of small rooms and angles, and would never accommodate our vintage pool table, or our aircraft carrier-sized bed.

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The third house was a huge no. You could not enter the house and have the oven door open at the same time. Not that I do that often, but I’d like the option.

And the fourth house was like a fairytale cottage. Open and bright, sunny yellow walls, 1910 latches, marble countertops in a brand new kitchen, rooms full of windows. But no garage. And not priced so that we could afford to build one. I refer to it now as the Enchanted Cottage, so when we talk about it MKL knows which house I’m referring too. It even had some mule deer grazing in the side yard. Sigh. I am still enamored.

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So our ideal place is a Frankenstein creation of one view, one garage, and one Enchanted Cottage.  I’m just going to keep believing until I make it real.

Quote of the day: “For the two of us, home isn’t a place. It is a person. And we are finally home.” — Stephanie Perkins

Daily gratitudes:
A beautiful day
MKL fixing things when they go wrong
My Skype last night with one of my girls
My catering family
Housecleaning

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Well, not quite stars, but as close as one can get without being under the heavens themselves. A perfect wedding tent, pasha-like with tulle and sparkling, twinkling lights, under which to celebrate.

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Sedalia, Colorado

Quote of the day: “Silently, one by one, in the infinite meadows of heaven,
Blossomed the lovely stars, the forget-me-nots of the angels.” — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Daily gratitudes:
A day with MKL
Beach dreams
Tonight’s amazing full moon
Sleeping in and well
That MKL brought me coffee in bed this morning

My wedding gown, too, had buttons down the back, though they were the non-functional kind. It’s one of those little touches that add to the loveliness. I love wedding gowns. To help myself fall asleep sometimes, I design them in my head. I’ve always done so. Somewhere along the line, I missed my calling. It doesn’t help that I can sew about as well as a gerbil can, at least using a machine. I’m actually not too shabby at hand-stitching. Another sign that I was likely born in the wrong era.

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Sedalia, Colorado.

Quote of the day:
“She puts her wedding-gown away,
As tenderly as one might close,
With kissing lips and finger-tips,
And the petals of a red rose..” — Arijit Mandl

Daily gratitudes:
Baby prairie dogs
The smell of freshly mown grass
Channeling my dad through the push mower
Flowers blooming
Puffy clouds in blue skies

Pardon me for waxing mushy for a post…

When I met MKL (through eHarmony, yes), I had no idea he would become my husband. When we had been matched (on my birthday), I had shown his picture to Kelsea and asked what she thought. She approved, so we did the little email-y, question-asky thing that eHarmony has you do, and it went well. And then I didn’t hear from him. And I didn’t hear from him. And one day, while we were at Topsail, and I was suffering from some stomach juju, I said to Kelsea, “Remember that nice guy that I was emailing with? He hasn’t responded to me. Do you think I should nudge him (because that’s what you can do on eHarmony) or should I just let it go?” “You liked him, right? Nudge him,” she said. So I did. He answered. When Kelsea and I got back, MKL and I had our first phone conversation. I was sitting in a camp chair on my front porch with a glass of red wine. We talked for an hour, and agreed to have lunch. He walked me back to my office after that lunch and kissed me on the cheek. When I got back inside, everyone said I was glowing. I never stopped glowing.

MKL knew that I was someone he had been looking for and hoping for. It took me a bit longer to figure that out , and I am so glad that I caught up with him. I cannot imagine my life and my future without him. He holds my heart and understands me as no one has. We are not identical, and we have our own opinions, but our spirits are shared and that makes me richer than anything else ever could. What a blessing, my MKL.

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(Photo credit: Issy Kilbride)

Quote of the day: “There is never a time or place for true love. It happens accidentally, in a heartbeat, in a single flashing, throbbing moment.”  — Sarah Dessen

Daily gratitudes:
Spoonerisms
The shaking bowl today
A warm Mr. Man in my lap
Physical therapy
Kelsea’s and my agreed-upon text code

Still basking in the glow of newlywed bliss – although it would be really nice if we lived together, but that will come. It’s been a time of many moods, getting ready to send Kelsea off to college. I bought her a one-way plane ticket, and that made me a little shocked. She cut off all her hair and she looks adorable. We know we have a limited number of trashy-tv-together nights, and it makes me a little weepy. So my blues have been coming and going like the tides, rising and falling. But my happiness at being Mrs. MKL and the wonderful memories of our wedding help keep the light in my heart. I had saved a “blue bomb” orchid blossom from a wedding I worked a year or more ago; it has sat on my bathroom shelf so I could describe it perfectly to the florist (shout out to Judy at Surf City Florist for an awesome job). I now wish I had saved a blossom from my own bouquet, but I’m so pleased that I was able to leave Kelsea’s with Lynn and mine with Janie to enjoy.

A Bridal Bouquet
Topsail Beach, North Carolina.

Quote of the day: “She was prettier than a bouquet of roses and crazier than a headless chicken. Fitting in was not an option.” — Marissa Meyer

Daily gratitudes:
The man in mismatched socks in the bus station
Pretty skies
Mothers who smile at their children (that happens less often than you might think)
MKL
Prairie dogs

My feisty friend at Half Girl Half Teacup has nominated me for the Sisterhood of the World award! It’s been a long time since I’ve been in the blog award circuit and I’m delighted, so stay tuned for my acceptance speech and nominations!

MKL and I got married on Saturday. Yes, we did. And it was absolutely perfect. There were so many highlights, I don’t even know how to share them with you, and I will share more pictures over the coming months, but here’s a start:

  • Our open house the day before the wedding had the beach house bursting with friends (who are family), blood kin, and love. And the shark tacos were a hit.
  • At the end of that party, the rainy skies cleared to a beautiful sunset and a wide calm beach, and we all migrated to the water’s edge to walk, talk, take pictures, and play ultimate.
  • No one was eaten by sharks (the shark tacos made it the reverse) and the post-wedding day stingray stab on LJRH’s daughter was dramatic, but not debilitating, making for an excellent story for her to take back to Missouri.
  • My loved ones made the house and the deck (E-bro’s, rented down the beach, with more room than mine) look spectacular, and perfect for an inside (rainy) or an outside (sunny) wedding. The sun cooperated and we were outside.
  • An arc of rainbow appeared behind us as we were sitting together after the ceremony. God and my parents were smiling down on us.
  • Painkillers – the drink of the Soggy Dollar Bar, courtesy of my much loved friends Dave and Amanda, who are my family met at that spot 11 years ago – flowed like the sea.
  • The two small and gorgeous girls became fast and immediate friends. In fact, all the people, many of whom had never met, became friends.
  • Beth K., the daughter of my late parents’ best friends, and a true and beautiful warrioress, joined us. We had never met before, and now I feel I have another sister.
  • My three new stepsons, all of whom are treasures: one was the most perfect ceremony officiate ever, one steamed and bustled me and made sure I looked perfect, and one led the toasts that brought me to tears.
  • My brother and sister-in-law and their wonderful children opening their hearts and home to us.
  • My sister and niece flying quickly and crazily in from Colorado to share the day and capture it in photographs.
  • Having my uncle and aunt and darling cousin (now one of my best friends, after a gap in time of some 35 years) made me feel like my parents were there.
  • Our across-the-street neighbor who lovingly provided a sandcastle cake, delicious crab dip, serving trays, a steamer, and her and her husband’s warmth, affection, and light to our special days.
  • JJ, who continues to allow me to come “home” every year for a few brief weeks, to the house on Topsail Beach.
  • My stepson T’s toast, which touched me deeper than my heart.
  • Having the Swine Sisters – aka my two best girlfriends from when I was 17 – reunited again as if no time had passed.
  • The girlie-hen-party that was a part of my getting dressed for the ceremony. I really feel like I have lots of sisters now.
  • I sparkled. And I glowed. And my dress was awesome.
  • Wearing my mother’s rhinestones that I used to play dress-up in, and carrying my father’s handkerchief.
  • MKL’s shirt matching the sky, and being my “something blue”.
  • Beautiful bouquets from Surf City Florist, and a lovely centerpiece created from grocery-store bought flowers. And my daughter’s swagging and shell-arranging skills were front and center.
  • All the vows, including those read by the officiate, handwritten on the back of placemats from the Breezeway, our favorite beach restaurant. (I’ll share a photo later.)
  • My most darling daughter, who not only wore a dress for the occasion, but looked gorgeous, and bailed me out when I pulled her aside just after the ceremony had started and told her I had forgotten MKL’s ring and she needed to drive like a bat out of hell to fetch it from our house. She did so successfully, saving the day, and allowing her to maintain her dignity by not bursting into tears during my vows (which she read the next day).
  • Another wedding down the beach releasing Chinese lanterns after dark – it was if they were ours, but we didn’t have to go to the trouble. (Fire and I are often not a happy mix.)
  • Seeing the Milky Way in the sky for the first time in years; it was here that my father first pointed it out and explained it to me.
  • Remembering almost nothing about the ceremony but the look in MKL’s eyes, which as always looked sparkling like the sea, with a hint of aspen trees.

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Topsail Beach, North Carolina.

Quote of the day: “There is nothing more admirable than when two people who see eye to eye keep house as man and wife, confounding their enemies and delighting their friends.” — Homer

Daily gratitudes:
A couple more days by the sea
Long walks holding hands
Shark’s teeth
The smell of sunscreen
Love

When we were trying to clear parts of the yard recently, MKL approached me and said, “You know one of the things I like about you? You’re not a girly girl. A girly girl wouldn’t be doing this.” (This being whacking at the weeds with a scythe and yanking the stubborn ones out by the roots with my leather-gloved hands.) He’s right – to an extent. His statement was somewhat validated when I was driving (alone) by a construction site last week and squealed aloud, “Ooooooooo! A BIG hole!!!”, craning my neck to see what action might be going on down there.

But there is a definite girly side of me. The side that likes vintage lingerie and all things weddings, especially wedding dresses. It’s why job number three is in the catering/wedding industry. It has been a pleasure to find my own wedding dress and to have the people I love involved in the process. It releases the girly part of me that I wouldn’t change for the world. But I will continue to curse like a sailor when the lawn mower doesn’t start.

Girly girl
Centennial, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “To say that one waits a lifetime for his soulmate to come around is a paradox. People eventually get sick of waiting, take a chance on someone, and by the art of commitment become soulmates, which takes a lifetime to perfect.” — Criss Jami

Daily Gratitudes:
A little time with Michael Sean
The dress is almost ready
Watching Kelsea and her friends plan their cross-county road trip
That I used to dance
The possibility of a shark-themed wedding

It occurred to me the other day, as Kelsea and I were driving down the road, noting to each other which houses we might like to live in here, how different my life could have been had I had a partner who was working with me towards a shared goal all these years. I know that sounds obvious, and I know, too, that I have pondered this many times, but somehow, not in the same way.

We all choose our mates for different reasons.  I know that, way back in the annals of time, when I was a few days past 21, I chose mine because he was different from me, exciting, and he made me laugh.  They seemed like good enough reasons.  And once I get with someone, I tend to stick with them until I realize it will kill me if I don’t leave.  I’m stubborn. Or stupid.  I know now that I chose my mate to eventually have this wonderful child.  Not another child.  THIS child.

Others choose mates because they want to rescue them (or be rescued by them).  There was some of that in there for me, but it played itself out long ago, when I realized the futility of the whole rescue concept.  Others because they don’t want to be alone. Others still because it’s almost expected, and it’s easier to stick with something than to get out and find something else – good enough will be good enough.

None of us can see all the way down the road. People change. Change is the only thing certain in this life. In some cases, each half of a couple changes in ways that still work for the couple as a whole.  And in other cases, not.

Had I been with someone who wanted to work towards a common goal, I would have had my beach house here – and my travels, and my place in the Caribbean sun.  And some space to write and breathe.  I never expected to be coupled with someone who shared ALL my goals, just as I wouldn’t have shared his, but that part is less important than caring enough about one another to be willing work to fulfill not only common goals, but to help the other realize his or her OWN dreams – simply because you love them enough to want to them to be happy.

I spent my long 25-year relationship without a partner, working to support us, our little family, and occasionally being able to indulge my own goals.  Am I bitter?  Well, yes, a little bit. But only when I think of what I haven’t accomplished, and what more I could have accomplished with some help. With a partner. I am proud of what I have been able to accomplish on my own this past quarter century.  It’s really quite remarkable.  And I have a lot of time left to accomplish more.  It’s just that I wish the train could arrive sooner, as much as I enjoy the journey. I would like to be able to spend more time sitting by the sea, writing, and breathing.

So, in my wizened wise woman state, I say to you, if you are younger than me and wondering if this person with whom you are side-by-side now is THE one, be clear on your goals, and share your life with someone who has goals of their own – as well as ones to share with you – and who is willing to work towards them.  Try to think of it without rationalizing or fooling yourself.  And try to have the difficult courage to act on what you know is true.

You will find both the journey and the destination unfathomably joyful.

 

 

I missed the actual Royal Wedding. 

I woke up just in time to watch the happy couple ride in their carriage to Buckingham Palace.  And by the way, I think Kate’s dress was gorgeous.  And she’s so pretty!  So I’m catching up, and really enjoying listening to the British announcer on CNN.  He’s so excited I’m afraid he may have soiled himself.  But seriously, after our blase American attitude, where we don’t feel like we’re being conscious unless were protesting or objecting or bitching about something just for the sake of protesting, objecting or bitching, it’s lovely to see a whole bunch (and I mean A LOT) of people being happy and enthusiastic about a wedding.

I had it in my head to wake up, but because of my ex’s drunken drama last night, I was kind of tense and didn’t get to sleep until late.  It was a touch reminiscent of the night before Princess Diana’s wedding for me, which I did get up to watch, partly because I wanted to, and partly because I had slept so  tearfully and fitfully.  You see, my summer boyfriend, who as of that morning was my ex-boyfriend, had sprained my arm the night before, twisting it almost to the breaking point.  Why? Because I didn’t get up to change the record we were listening to.  And because, as he confessed, he “liked to hurt me.”  Yeah.  Buh-bye.  My Mother was worried about me, so she got up to watch (with) me.  We cuddled on the couch and she let me talk and cry.  I recall the sense of irony, watching Diana, who was just a few months older than I, walking up the aisle in her gargantuan dress to become a future queen, while I was sitting with my Mother in the dark on a couch in North Carolina, wrapped in a blanket, hurting at the hands of some idiot boy.  Little did I know at the time that our experiences were probably more parallel than I thought. 

And this morning, there is a trace of poignancy, due to the nasty behavior of another guy who can be a real lout sometimes.  But I have left him and do not have to put up with it.  I took my daughter and did not put up with it

So now, I’m snuggled on the Red Couch, wrapped in two blankets, and I’m going to stay here until the Royal Kiss.  They are serving high tea in some British tearoom in Denver and there was talk yesterday of a department field trip there today.  One of our staff bought a hat for the occasion. (I would wear my own vintage hat today, except it’s at the Bungalow.)

I hope for the sake of all parties that this Royal Wedding works out better than the one I watched 30 years ago. 

I still want to believe in true love.

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