What Keeps You Together?

I will have more to say on the subject of love and loss soon, but in the mean time I wanted to re-share one of my husbands favorite stories on Random and Rhyme.

Random & Rhyme

Carmen-de-Lavallade-and-Geoffrey-Holder Geoffrey Holder and Carmen de Lavallade (Picture from http://discoverblackheritage.com)

I was filled with both sadness and happiness while listening to the story of Geoffrey Holder and Carmen de Lavallade with Elizabeth Blair on NPR this week and hearing about their 59 years of love, partnership and marriage. You might remember him from the Roger Moore, James Bond days playing the villain in “Live and Let Die” or 80’s 7UP commercials and she has been a dancer for most of her life, dancing with Alvin Ailey, the Metropolitan Opera and on Broadway.

Mr. Holder passed away earlier this month on October 5th. He was 84 years old. Ms. de Lavallade spoke to Ms. Blair about going on with the show, she has a one-woman event at the Kennedy Center called “As I Remember It” where she is dancing and reminiscing about her life and a little bit about…

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No Breath

He has no breath and he takes it slow,

it frustrates him because he so wants to go.

He’s always played hard and was a ladies man,

his charms are not gone, someday he’ll understand.

 

He packs his air and works to breathe,

So young of heart he still wants to speed.

For one “born ready” this is a bitter pill,

these golden years suck and are going to take some skill.

 

Change has come to the one I love,

he’s out of breath and his lungs are done.

The virile man he fears has gone,

but I assure him he is very, very wrong.

 

Sometimes he fears this breath will be his last,

those player days are catching up from his checkered past.

It worries him that he might hear death,

still he says “fuck you” and catches his breath.

 

He’s watched the others who’ve gone before,

he’s seen the future and the prognosis can be poor.

Enjoy this day, its a gift to you

Waste it away at your own peril,  fool.

The Fear Effect

Fear is a familiar friend,

it sucks my life without end.

Fear of what I don’t always know,

it’s always there, a common foe.

 

As I write these words I have my doubts.

Don’t write, it’s crap. Will fear win out?

Is fear my excuse or why I fail

or why I don’t make the attempt and chase my tail?

 

Everyone gets scared at times, of this I’m fairly certain,

but the ones who win the game are those who show fear a hurtin!

 

Awhile back I wrote a post about my Nagging Omission with my husband. Well recently I pulled off that bandage, faced my fear and went all in with a quick rip. First I showed my blog to my husband, letting him read several of the stories. And then I emailed most of my family about my writing and gave them a link to my site.

The good news is my world did not crash in, my husband didn’t ask for a divorce and now knows I do not have an internet lover. I haven’t had any irate calls from family or friends, yet. My husband has shown a tentative curiosity about what I’ve been writing and said he admired my ability to express myself and tell a story, but at first didn’t realize that my blog was open to anyone to see. That part I don’t think he is completely comfortable with and has some fears of his own that we will have to work through.

The only other person to comment about my blog has been my dad(technically my step-dad to those who read my blog and are confused) and he commented on a few of the posts and recited a couple of the poems he has written that are very good. He has one about fishing that is amazing and he has sold some copies of it, but he recited two others I didn’t remember. Maybe we will write a father-daughter poetry book some day.

But now that my husband and my family are aware of this blog and some of my writing; I find that a different type of fear is at work now; I am self-censoring and self-conscience about what I am writing.  Because if there are any people I “people-please” for its these people.  This is going to be tough!

Do you share your writing with your friends and family? Is there anything you keep just for your self for just this reason?

 

They Snore, They Snore

IMG_0660

They snore, they snore, I want to get up and head for the door.

One is a puff, one is a rumble and the other is a dull roar.

They snore, they snore,  I can’t take it anymore.

I give one a stroke and over they role,

the other a poke and they are quiet awhile.

They snore, they snore, I count sheep and try to ignore.

To sleep with my pups and the love of my life

a symphony of snores is the cacophony I endure.

They snore, they snore, and sleep I’m yet to score.

To hear them rest sweetly is the sound I yearn for,

but for a good nights rest it is not a cure.

They snore, they snore, but I could not love them more.

Will I Be Alone?

IMG_0018  Recently, I sat inside a restaurant by a window looking out on to the patio eating area outside. An old woman with an oxygen tank sat out there alone eating her lunch and reading the “Trader Joe’s” “Fearless Flyer”.  Her grey hair was cut in a stylish short bob, she wore a colorful sweater and cute sneakers. The cord for her oxygen tank was tucked discreetly under her shirt and dangling to the ground with the tank itself in the seat next to her in a black bag.

She made me wonder about my life at that age (I do hope I make it that long in good health). Will I be alone? Chances are, yes I will be alone. I don’t have biological children, my step-daughters are older than I am, the grandkids are in far off places and I haven’t gotten to know the great-grandchildren as well as I would have liked. They grow up and get busy and we get less mobile.

Finding a second love of my life seems doubtful in my 50’s or my 60’s if I’m lucky enough to keep my husband healthy for that long. So a grey haired single life will be in my future. I guess for some the grey haired single life is swinging, a New York Times Op-Ed article I read, Sex and the Single Senior by Ezekiel J. Emanuel talked about the huge uptick in STD’s in those ages 65 and older;

“Numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show rapid increases in S.T.D.’s among older people. Between 2007 and 2011, chlamydia infections among Americans 65 and over increased by 31 percent, and syphilis by 52 percent. Those numbers are similar to S.T.D. trends in the 20- to 24-year-old age group, where chlamydia increased by 35 percent and syphilis by 64 percent. Experts suggest there are four main factors contributing to the rise in S.T.D.’s among older Americans.”

The article also pointed out the similarities of retirement living to college campus living with lots of similarly aged people living in close proximity to one and other which was leading to the inevitable interaction of the sexes. This statistic about condom use was also interesting;

“But while they are having a lot of sex, seniors didn’t seem to get the safe sex memo, or when it came through they ignored it because they did not think it applied to them. They obviously don’t have to worry about pregnancy. And they grew up before the safe sex era. So seniors might think they have no reason to use condoms. According to the 2010 National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, among college-age Americans, condoms are used in about 40 percent of sexual encounters, but only in about 6 percent of sexual encounters among those 61 and older. A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed that older men who use Viagra and similar drugs are six times less likely to use condoms compared with men in their 20s.”

Apparently they need to begin handing out safe sex pamphlets with those Viagra prescriptions. Mr. Emanuel suggested Social Security begin sending out safe sex messages with the retirement checks.

All of this rings true, I know not long after (I mean in a matter of weeks) my grandmother passed away there were at least three women vying for my grandfathers affections. And it wasn’t long before he had a girlfriend he was traveling with and spending time time together cooking and golfing. He said he wasn’t in love, but he liked the company.

Maybe there won’t be a second love of my life, but chances are I could get laid in my old age, if trends hold true. But, “No Glove, No Love” will be the rule.

Do you worry about any particular part of growing older?

Doggy Style

IMG_0640  Mo chillin in the window sun.

Funny, I posted my story about how our dog Maddie came into our lives “We Don’t Need A Damn Dog” and the next morning I came across this article in the New York Times by Jane E. Brody, “Life With A Dog: You Meet People.”

Mrs. Brody writes that she has been a widow for nearly 4 years and felt acquiring a four legged friend would be a better option that a two legged one. That comment made me chuckle. And this observation about those who encourage and those who discourage your dog ownership.

“While most dog owners I know encouraged my decision, several dogless friends thought I had lost my mind. How, with all my work, travels and cultural events, was I going to manage the care of a dog?

No one asked this when I decided to have children. In fact, few people consider in advance how children will fit into their lives. If you want a child badly enough, you make it work.”

One of my work friends responded to our addition of Maddie to our home with “Why the hell did you get a dog?”  Non-dog people just don’t get it.

Another passage that rang so true was about how much her little furry friend makes her laugh.

“Yes, he’s a lot of work, at least at this age. But like a small child, Max makes me laugh many times a day. That’s not unusual, apparently: In a study of 95 people who kept “laughter logs,” those who owned dogs laughed more often than cat owners and people who owned neither.”

Mo apparently doesn't get "Doggy Style"

Mo apparently doesn’t get “Doggy Style”

Our two crazy dogs crack us up everyday with silly antics. They also seem to instinctively know when we have had a terrible day or need some love and attention. When my husband recently came home after a stint in the hospital those two wouldn’t leave his side for days, just very mellowly hanging out with him until he felt better.

And as the title of the article states: “Life with Dogs: You meet People” she writes of the number of people that she has met because she has her little Max.

“But perhaps the most interesting (and unpremeditated) benefit has been the scores of people I’ve met on the street, both with and without dogs, who stop to admire him and talk to me. Max has definitely increased my interpersonal contacts and enhanced my social life. People often thank me for letting them pet my dog. Max, in turn, showers them with affection.”

Because of Maddie and Mo my husband and I know most of our neighbors; well I should say most of our neighbors children. We can not walk through our little neighborhood without some of the kids shouting “Maddie and Mo”, “Maddie and Mo” and stopping us so they can shower some love on the two of them and get kisses in return. And these two are little social butterflies, they just bask in all the love and attention.

Jane Brody’s article also goes on to share some common sense tips before acquiring a canine companion as well as links to other studies about the benefits of having a pet in your life.

Having Maddie and Mo in our lives has definitely had it’s challenges, from the chewed molding around the house that we are still saving to have repaired, to the middle of the night potty runs and the occasional scuffle over food.  But every challenge has been met by three times the joy from the love they shower on us and the laughter that they bring to our lives everyday. I can’t imagine my life with out them in it!

Do you have a pet in your life?

Life is good Pet Tees

A Nagging Omission

IMG_0163  I have something nagging at me right now.

My husband doesn’t know that I am writing. I haven’t shared any stories with him or even hinted that I’m writing. I write while he is working on his car or, like now, while he is taking his morning shower and shave or when I am on the road for work. Sometimes I will start working on a piece when he has headed upstairs to get ready for bed. When I come up an hour later he asks what I’ve been doing. I say I have been looking at Facebook or on Twitter or something. I think he thinks I really have an internet lover.

I don’t know why I haven’t shared this with him; because I have shared almost everything else with him over the past 30 years. But maybe that is why; it’s just something for me right now. Well me and anyone else I am lucky enough to get to stop by and read a story or two.

I will have to share it with him eventually, I’m not sure why I am waiting.

Still I wait.

Is there anything you don’t share with your spouse or significant other?